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IN 1893 

Sir Gerald H. Portal, K.C.M.G., C.B., Her Majesty's 
Consul- General for British East Africa. With photo- 
gravure portrait, map, and numerous illustrations. 
Demy 8vo., 15s. 

" A very interesting account of the writer's adventures in Abyssinia on 
the occasion of his mission in 1887-88 to the king of that country, for the 
purpose of bringing about a modus vivendi between Italy and Abyssinia 
after the massacre of Dogali. Mr. Portal's narrative is personal and 
descriptive rather than political. It abounds in interest and excitement, 
and he has much to tell which is well worth hearing." — Times. 

" A record of one of the most daring achievements ever accomplished 
on behalf of the Foreign Office. Mr. Portal's narrative is at once lucid, 
brief, and intensely interesting."— ,S'/. James's Gazette. 

" The dangers to which the mission was constantly exposed, and the 
calmness and courage with which they were faced, are simply and modestly 
recorded, whilst we obtain also much light as to the habits and character- 
istics of the Abyssinians as a nation." — United Service Institution Journal. 

London: EDWARD ARNOLD, 37 Bedford Stkeet, W.C. 



3^%..a^^ir^.X:'rgJC.'S. "€£§. 




IN 1893 















Some six months ago, as the good ship Sinde of the 
Messageries Mari times was crossing the line on her 
homeward voyage, bringing Sir Gerald Portal, Colonel 
Rhodes, and myself back from Zanzibar, the papers 
from which the following pages have been compiled 
were first placed in my hands for perusal. I could 
but little anticipate, as I read them then, that it would 
ever fall to my lot to prepare them for the press, or 
that the valued friend who seemed so full of life and 
vigour, so eagerly looking forward after a protracted 
absence to home and all that it means to those whose 
lot is cast among alien faces and in distant lands, had 
written the last word of the record he had modestly 
and unassumingly compiled. The sheets of the first 
eight chapters had been roughly drafted in the intervals 
of arduous work, of weary marches and watchings by 
the bed of sick companions, and more than half the 
«tory was still to be written. It was his request that 
I should read through the chapters which he had 
prepared, and make such suggestions as might occur 


to me with regard to their style and matter. I have 
little doubt that the verdict which I then expressed 
as to their keen and living interest will be fully 
endorsed by all who read them, and that the regret 
which they will feel at the abrupt conclusion of the 
written narrative will approve the advice which I 
offered, that he should complete the book and give 
it to the public. 

The tragic ending of a life so bright in promise, so 
rich in actual achievement, has left such intentions 
unfulfilled. And now, in addition to the fact that 
the information contained in his manuscripts and 
notes possesses a vital and most present value, the 
deep personal interest aroused by his almost romantic 
personality and the pathos of his untimely death, has 
impressed on those into whose hands these papers 
have passed the sense of a duty to his memory, and a 
response to the universal sympathy displayed, which 
may best be fulfilled by publishing them even in their 
incomplete form. 

At the request of friends and relations I have 
undertaken the task of preparing them for the press, 
somewhat reluctantly indeed, not because I could 
hesitate to do all in my power to honour the memory 
of such a friend, but rather because, in the first place, 
I did not feel myself competent to deal with matter 
largely outside the range of my own personal ex- 
perience; and, secondly, because when the request was 


made, so great a portion of my time was claimed by 
the public service that I knew it was scarcely possible 
for me to do justice to aiiy additional work. The 
companion, however, of his eventful journey home, 
Colonel Khodes, had once more left England on a 
long voyage beyond easy reach of communication, 
and his return was very uncertain. At the same 
time it was felt that the publication should not be de- 
layed, and that in this hurrying age of ever-changing 
interests and distractions the present moment was the 
appropriate one. 

It was generally agreed that it would be beyond 
the powers of any editor to fill up the gaps in the 
narrative so as to render the book a full and complete 
history of Uganda and of the British Mission, such as 
Sir Gerald Portal had intended it to be, and that all 
that could now be attempted was rather to make the 
notes and papers which he left into a personal record 
and memorial, from which might be gathered some- 
thing of the nature and character of the man whose 
loss has been so sincerely deplored. 

These papers consist, in the first place, of eight 
written chapters, left, as I have already intimated, in 
the rough-and-ready manner of their original concep- 
tion, which would no doubt before publication have 
received a finishing touch from one whose feeling for 
literary style was considerable ; secondly, of a pencilled 
Diary carefully kept in a pocket-book from day to day ; 


and, finally, of a certain number of letters. In dealing 
with these materials I have left the written chapters 
almost untouched, correcting only here and there a 
hasty phrase, supplying a deficient or eliminating a 
superfluous word. It was characteristic of his method 
that he wrote both his public and his private corre- 
spondence with but little correction, deliberately 
and clearly, with considerable force and felicity of 
expression. Beyond these few additions or erasures, 
therefore, and the need of an occasional footnote, 
these chapters have called for little editing. 

The Diary, on the other hand, written solely as 
personal memoranda, and the letters intended only 
for the eyes of near relations and friends, contain 
many matters of a purely private character which 
claim a reverent reticence. In dealing with the 
latter, I have quoted long extracts from them for the 
most part, withholding only those portions of an 
intimate correspondence which seemed too sacred to 
print. From the former I have extracted all the 
passages which appear to me essential as illustrating 
the incidents of travel, the progress of the Mission, 
the aspect of the country, and the character of the 
writer himself, beginning from the period where the 
written narrative breaks ofi" up to the return to 
Kikuyu, the half-way station on the journey home. 
A few connecting links have been supplied, a word 
for clearness' sake inserted here and there, or a note 


where occasion arose. With regard to the latter 
portion of the Diary, which deals with the march 
from Kikuyu to the Tana river, and the journey 
down the river to the coast, it appeared to me that 
as much of the route lay through untried country, 
and as the history of that journey would never be 
written now, even at the risk of the pages growing 
monotonous, the daily entries should be given in 
full as material for future reference. The hard 
struggle of each day's progress fills its appointed 
place in the pages of the pocket-book, to the exclusion 
of all outside thoughts or personal reflections. The last 
section contains, therefore, a simple transcript from 
the note-book, while no better summary could be 
made of all these experiences than that which he has 
drawn up himself in the comprehensive letter with 
which it concludes. Such criticisms as are there 
made on the cartography of previous explorers it 
seemed to me should not be omitted in the interests 
of the advance of geographical knowledge, and I feel 
assured that neither Captain Dundas nor Mr. Hobley 
will resent the suggestion of rectifications to be made 
in their valuable maps and records. On the other 
hand, it has been a matter of much regret that 
we have been unable to communicate with Colonel 
Rhodes in order to obtain possession of a map which 
he is known to have made to illustrate this portion 
of the journey. If I have not erased the mention of 


my own name here and there in the Diary or letters, 
it is because that mention is connected, in my own 
mind at any rate, with that kindly solicitude of the 
writer for the health and welfare of others which 
these private memoranda reveal, for which I often 
have had cause to be grateful to him. 

It was Sir Gerald's intention to have prefaced his 
book with an introductory chapter on Zanzibar, the 
famous metropolis of East Africa, now flourishing as 
a British Protectorate. For various and sufficient 
reasons I have not attempted to supply the missing 
chapter, but some account of his work there will be 
found in the accompanying Memoir. 

This record would not be complete without more 
ample allusion to the name and services of Captain 
Kaymond Portal, Sir Gerald's elder brother, whose 
death from malarial fever in Kampala cast a gloom 
on the latter months of the Mission. The Diary, 
which he also kept since the first day of departure, 
has been placed in my hands, and after reading it I 
did not hesitate to include it in the book. It is like 
himself, fresh, manly, and full of a simple humour, 
and it will at any rate have a very genuine interest 
for the friends whom his frank and chivalrous per- 
sonality inspired with a genuine devotion ; for seldom 
has a man died more beloved or more regretted by 
his associates than Raymond Portal. 

In conclusion, it is my duty to state that, having 


obtained permission to edit these papers, I am bound 
to disclaim as an official all responsibility for opinions 
expressed in them. The time at my disposal before 
the date announced for their publication has been 
very brief, and fully occupied with other important 
work. It has, however, been a labour of love, though, 
indeed, a very sad one, for recent circumstances had, 
after long separations, brought the brothers and 
myself very near together once more, and the death 
of those two friends, under conditions so intensely 
tragic, is touched for me with a pathos which words 
of mine could but ill express. 



By Lord Cromer, G.C.M.G. 

In performing the sorrowful task of writing an intro- 
duction to Sir Gerald's Portal's Diary, I am under one 
considerable disadvantage, and that is that I have 
never seen the Diary itself. As the work is being 
published in London, and as I am writing at Cairo, I 
have necessarily been unable to read the manuscript. 

But if I know nothing of the Diary, I knew a 
great deal of the man who wrote it. He was, in 
fact, one of my dearest friends. 

Sir Gerald — or, to use the name by which he was 
known to those who were intimate with him — Gerry 
Portal was one of the best specimens of that class 
of Englishmen, pre-eminently healthy in mind and 
body, who, to the great benefit of their country, 
issue forth year by year from our public schools. He 
was a fervent Etonian. He may be said to have 
passed through his short but honourable career sing- 
ing Floreat Etona. 

My first acquaintance with Portal dates from 
September 1883, when I w^as appointed to be English 
Consul-General in Egypt. Portal, who had entered 


into the Diplomatic Service four years previously, 
was at that time one of the staff of the British 
Agency at Cairo. With two short interruptions — 
the first in 1887, when he went on a special mission 
to Abyssinia, and the second in 1888, when he took 
temporary charge of the Zanzibar Agency — he re- 
mained on my staff till the spring of 1891, a period 
of nearly eight years. 

During all those years — some of them years of 
much trouble and anxiety — Gerry Portal was not 
only of great assistance to me in my work, which was 
at times very heavy, but was also the life and soul 
of our " family " party at the Cairo Agency. Hand- 
some, plucky, chivalrous, genial, equally at home in 
the chancery, the drawing-room, or the polo-field, this 
spirited young Englishman possessed every quality 
calculated to endear him to those with w^hom he was 
brought in contact. 

Before Portal had served under me for long, I 
discerned that he was destined for more than a social 
success in life. In the autumn of 1887 his oppor- 
tunity came. I was requested by Lord Salisbury to 
recommend some one to go on a special mission to 
Abyssinia. It was at the time somewhat difficult to 
foretell what would be the precise nature of the 
difficulties which the English envoy would have to 
encounter. It appeared to me, however, that kthe 
main qualifications likely to be required were iron 
nerves, a cool head, and bodily strength capable of 
enduring fatigue. If to these I could add sound 
common-sense and no inconsiderable degree of diplo- 


matic skill, I thought that I should find an ideal 
man to answer Lord Salisbury's purposes. All 
these qualities I found combined in Gerry Portal. 
I had, therefore, no hesitation in recommending 
him to Lord Salisbury. My recommendation was 

The adventures of the whole party have been told 
by Portal himself in his book, My Mission to Abys- 
sinia, with the becoming modesty which distinguished 
him, and which led him to underrate alike the dangers 
to which he was exposed and the skill w^hich he 
displayed in meeting them. He describes how the 
whole party nearly died of thirst, and although their 
adventures did not end with this narrow escape, it 
will not be necessary for me to follow up in detail 
the events which subsequently occurred. But I may 
mention that I well remember the anxiety which 
began to grow upon me as week after week passed 
without any news from Portal. Knowing the dis- 
turbed and excited state of Abyssinia at the time, 
I became alarmed for his safety. I was just begin- 
ning to make arrangements with a leading Austrian 
merchant at Cairo, who had commercial relations with 
the interior of Abyssinia, with a view to obtaining 
information as to what had occurred, when, to my 
great relief, I received a telegram from Massowah on 
the morning of Christmas Day, informing me that 
Portal and his party had arrived safely at the Italian 
outposts. That telegram turned the Christmas Day 
of 1887 at the Cairo Agency from one of sharp 
anxiety into one of gladness. 



The courage and judgment displayed by Portal in 
his Abyssinian work clearly marked him out for pro- 
motion at no distant date. After having on several 
occasions been placed in temporary charge of the 
Cairo Agency, he was appointed, in 1891, to be 
Agent and Consul-General at Zanzibar at a time of 
much difficulty in connection with Zanzibar affairs. 
The manner in which he conducted his work at this 
responsible post fully justified the choice which had 
been made. Eventually he went on the Uganda 
Mission, with results which are now known to 
the world. The deadly African climate proved 
fatal to his gallant brother, who accompanied him, 
and ultimately to himself, for I conceive that his 
constitution was undermined by fever and by 
the fatigues which he underwent in his Uganda 

I have no hesitation in saying that Gerry Portal's 
premature death was a heavy loss to the Sovereign 
and to the nation whom he had served so well. The 
Ministers under whom he had held appointment — Lord 
Salisbury and Lord Eosebery — have borne emphatic 
testimony to the esteem in which they regarded him 
and to his value as a public servant. England, albeit 
prolific in men of courage and ability, can ill afford to 
lose before their time those of her sons who resemble 
Gerry Portal. I cannot doubt that a useful and 
even brilliant career lay before him. More especially 
was he born to be an Oriental diplomatist and 
administrator. Besides those high and attractive 
qualities to which I have already alluded, he possessed 


others of great value — excellent manners, tact, moral 
courage, a firm will, great capacity for promptitude 
and decision in action, and that keen and ready 
perception of the realities of Eastern life and politics 
which appears to come to some almost instinctively, 
whilst it is not acquired by others after years of 
residence in the East, Thus mentally and morally 
endowed, my strong conviction is that, had he lived, 
he would have left no inconsiderable mark on the 
history of his country. He died at the moment when 
his high qualities, which were well known to his inti- 
mate friends, were just beginning to be appreciated 
by a wider circle of his countrymen. 

I do not dare to constitute myself the interpreter 
of the feelings entertained by those who were nearest 
and dearest to Gerry Portal. To these I can but 
tender an expression of respectful and heartfelt 
sympathy with their sorrow. And as concerns the 
many others who, like myself, regarded Gerry Portal 
with feelings which may more correctly be described 
as those of affection rather than of friendship, I can 
but use the commonplace, but in this instance, very 
true phrase, that he will ever live in our memory. 
Within my own recollection few more sad events 
have happened than the untimely death of this fine 
young Englishman at a moment when to all appear- 
ances the prospect of a long, happy, and useful life 
lay before him. Speaking for myself alone, I may 
add that I took a special pride in helping to train 
Gerry Portal, that I regarded him as one who might 
not improbably be my successor in Egypt, and that 


both Lady Cromer and myself entertained towards 
him feelings of almost parental affection. His un- 
expected death in the prime of life dashed suddenly 
to the ground all the hopes which I had founded on 

his future. 


Cairo, 4th May 1894. 



Introduction by Lord Cromer, G.C.M.G. .... xiii 
Memoir of the late Sir Gerald Portal .... xxv 



My apiiointmeiit as H.M. Commissioner to Uganda — The staff of the 
Mission — Equipment of the caravan — The main body despatched 
to Kikuyu — A farewell state-visit to the Sultan of Zanzibar — We 
start upon our journey on the 1st of Januaiy 1893 . . 5 


We arrive at Port Reitz— By the "Central African Railway" to our 
encampment at Mazeras — An awkward squad — The first day's 
march ••...... 24 


The day's programme— Crossing the great Taro Plain— The first station • 
of the East Africa Company — A splendid view of Mount Kili- 
manjaro — Bad news from Kikuyu — A flourishing Industrial 
Mission ........ 39 


The scene of a Masai raid — Our first rhinoceros — Arrival at Machakos 
— Victualling the caravan — On the war-path — I bag a lion — The 
AVa-kamba tribe and warriors— The Wa-Kikuyu . . .63 




A state of siege at Kikuyu — An ivory caravan — "We pnsh on for Uganda 
— The game-abounding prairies of Lake Naivasha — First intro- 
duction to Masai warrioi-s — The Masai tribe — The Salt Lake of 
Elmenteita — Hartebeest and antelope — An African forest . 86 


West of the watershed — Extinction of the buffalo and eland — The 
Wanderobbo tribe — The fertile Kavirondo district — Mtanda — 
We cross the Nile and camp in Uganda — The Ripon Falls — Amidst 
civilisation and rifles — We enter the Fort of Kampala on the 17th 
ofMarch 117 


A short survey of the conditions of the country — The districts suitable 
for European settlement — Facilities for traffic — Suggestions for 
improving the road — Proposed regulations for caravans and forma- 
tion of stations ....... 151 


The kingdom of Uganda : its climate and popiilation — The King and 
Council — Provincial governors — Oppressive taxation — Intelligence 
and religion of the peasantry ..... 179 



At Kampala — Visit to King Mwanga— Arrangements for a division of 
territories between the Protestant and Catholic Missions — The 
slave question— The queen-mother— From Kampala to the Ntebe 
Hills — Kaima's ease — Illness of Captain Portal . . . 205 


Captain Portal's illness — He returns to Kampala ; is joined by Lis 
brother— His death and funeral— Sir Gerald Portal's expedition 
starts from Kampala for Kikuyu . . . . .236 




The return journey — DiflSculties of the march during the rainy season 
— Trouble in Uganda — Illness of Colonel Rhodes — Selim Bey is 
handed over to the Commissioner — Arrival at Kikuyu — Death of 
Selim Bey ........ 246 


The Tana route to Uganda — Crossing the Malanga river — DiflBculties 
on the route — The Grand Falls — Along the Tana river to Ndura — 
From Ndura to Witu — Zanzibar . . . . .267 


Diary of Captain Raymond Portal, with an Inteoduction . 319 
Epilogue ........ 349 


Portrait of Sir Gerald Portal, from a drawing by the Marchioness of 

Gran by ....... Frontispiece 

Tippoo Tib . . . . . . . . xxxiv 

Ripon Falls. From a sketch by C. Whymper .... 4 

Siuli Bin Suleiman, Native Headman of the Mission Caravan . . 40 

My Tent ........ 44 

Group from a Caravan preparing to start with Ivory . . .87 

Group at Kikuyu ....... 91 

Masai Warriors in their War- Paint . . . . .99 

Masai Women at Lake Naivasha . . . . .102 

A 90-lb. Tusk bought in Kabras . . . . .125 

Crossing the Nzoia River . , . . . .129 

The Nile below the Ripon Falls . . . . .135 

Embarking to cross the Nile ...... 137 

The Nile after leaving Lake Victoria ..... 140 

Bridging a Swamp in Uganda . . . . . .143 

A Group of Uganda Natives . . . . . .198 

Port Alice ........ 204 

Mwanga, King of Uganda ...... 210 

Bishop Tucker outside his Church at Namirembe . . .211 

Group at Kampala ; 20th March . . . . .212 

The King's Drums . . . . . . .213 

Apollo, Katikiro of Uganda ...... 216 

Lowering the Company's Flag and preparing to hoist the Union Jack 

at the Fort at Kampala . . . . . .218 

Soudanese Troops at Kampala — Bayonet Drill .... 221 

Baby Elephant, brought into the Fort at Kampala, being fed on milk 223 
A War Canoe ........ 224 

Tomb of Mtesa, late King of Uganda ..... 228 

The Queen-Mother (Namasole) ...... 229 


Dr. Moffat and Dead Hippopotamus, near Port 

Port Alice .... 

Captain Raymond Portal's Grave 

Natives with Hippopotamus (Victoria Nyanza 

A Creeper Bridge near Mumia's 

Bridge over the Malanga River . 

Swahili Bridge over the Malanga River 

The Seven Forks, Tana River . 

Canoes on the Beledzoni Canal 

The Tana River : the Grand Falls 

Portrait of Captain Raymond Portal 

Map ..... 







To face page 319 
At end 

*^* All the Illustrations, with the exception of the Portraits of Sir 
Gerald Portal and Captain Raymond Portal, are from photographs taken 
during the expedition by Colonel F. Rhodes, who kindly placed them at the 
disposal of Sir Gerald Portal for the purposes of this work. 


Sir Gerald Herbert Portal was the second son 
of Mr. Melville Portal of Laverstoke, and of Lady 
Charlotte Elliot, daughter of the second Earl of 
Minto. He was born on the 13th of March 1858, 
and had therefore not completed his 36th year when 
a life so remarkable not only for its promise, but also 
for its actual achievement, came to its untimely close. 
The handsome face and knightly bearing of the two 
brothers, Eaymond and Gerald Portal, w^ere typical 
of their family's origin in that southern school of 
chivalry, where French and English vied in feats of 
arms under the banners of King John and the Black 
Prince, in the days when lances were broken in the 
tilt-yards of Aquitaine. Either of the two brothers, 
indeed, might well have seemed to recall in form and 
features the goodly presence of that Eaymond de 
Portal who rode with Bertrand du Guesclin to 
avenge the death of the Queen of Castile in 1336, 
and of whose martial deeds the troubadours made 

He was educated at Eton in the house of Mr. 
Marindin, with a number of brilliant young con- 


temporaries, who have already distinguished them- 
selves in various branches of the public service. It is 
interesting to remark, that already in these youthful 
days those who watched his early development had 
discerned many of the characteristics which were 
especially noticeable in his after life : a courage, 
namely, in carrying through to the end whatever he 
had set himself to do, a gift for organisation, a power 
of influencing others, and of winning the best sort 
of popularity, together with a rapid perception of a 
favourable opportunity and a capacity for bestowing 
all his pains on the work in hand. To quote a 
concrete instance : there occurred in those days an 
opportunity for lower boys who displayed any apti- 
tude for bowling to obtain, rather as a task than as 
the amusement of playtime, instruction in " Upper 
club" during the vacant hours on the afternoons 
of whole -school days. Of this somewhat irksome 
privilege Gerald Portal at once availed himself with a 
perseverance which no doubt assisted in enabling him 
later on to realise his first great ambition, namely, to 
represent his school in the cricket-field, as he did in 
1886 and 1887. 

He achieved a good position in the school, but 
was there only credited with fair and not remark- 
able abilities. His tact, however, and his power of 
winning confidence were displayed in his excellent 
management as captain of his house, where also, after 
gaining experience in the School Debating Society, he 
was mainly instrumental in starting a local Debating 
Club — then a somewhat novel institution — which 


maintained a vigorous life as long as the house lasted. 
At these debates, curiously enough, were first noticed 
the eloquence and the command of general knowledge 
of a younger member of the house, who has now 
succeeded him as Her Majesty's representative at 
Zanzibar. He also acted as editor of the Eton 
Chronicle and as Master of the Beagles, and thus his 
school career may fairly be said to have exemplified 
once more the truth of the often-quoted opinion, that 
the qualities which distinguish Englishmen in after 
life are formed in large measure on the playing-fields. 
He became a keen sportsman, a fearless rider, some- 
thin sc more than an amateur in the understandinof 
of horses, and, it is scarcely necessary to add, pro- 
ficient in all those exercises in which Englishmen 
excel. ^ 

After leaving school he had intended to matriculate 
at Oxford, but for some inexplicable reason he failed 
to satisfy the college examiners, and thus afi'orded a 
remarkable instance in support of the theory that 
examinations are not a final test of ability. This 
accident was the more curious, since he became, at 
any rate in later years, a man of wide reading, with 
considerable literary taste and discrimination. 

Abandoning, therefore, the prospect of a university 
career, he entered the diplomatic service after a 
due course of studies, and having spent the usual 
period of training in the Foreign Office, was in 1880 
appointed an attache to the Embassy in Rome, when 

^ The Editor is indebted to Mr. Marindin for the facts concerning Sir 
Gerald Portal's school career. 


Sir Augustus Paget was Her Majesty's representative 
in that capital. 

Two years later lie was transferred to Cairo, just 
at that period of crisis in Egyptian history which 
culminated in the bombardment of Alexandria, at 
which he was present. Here in the able school of Sir 
Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer) he gained that insight 
into Oriental life which was afterwards to serve him 
in such good stead, and no pains were spared by his 
chief to develop the qualities which he had detected 
in so apt a pupil. This, indeed, was the turning-point 
in his life, and those who knew him before, as well as 
after, a few years' residence in Egypt, could not fail 
to be struck by the change which had come over him 
with the responsibilities of a position in which he was 
annually called upon during the absence of his chief 
to take charge of the Agency. Some five years after 
his first arrival in Cairo, he was entrusted with the 
perilous mission to King John of Abyssinia, the 
object of which was to pave the way for a peaceful 
solution of the difiiculty with Italy, arising from 
the disastrous episode of Dogali. The story of that 
most difficult and eventful journey has been written 
by himself in the simple and unassuming narrative 
of My Mission to Abyssinia, originally printed for 
private circulation among friends, and subsequently 
published by Mr. Edward Arnold. 

Without entering into the circumstances which led 
to the Italian occupation of Massowah, it may suffice 
to state here that it had very quickly led to disputes 
with the Abyssinian monarch, who not only resisted 


the levying of taxes at that port on goods coming 
into his country, but strenuously denied the right of 
the Italians to be there at all. Although the coast 
and its parts had been occupied for some 300 years 
by Turkey, and had finally been transferred to the 
Khedive of Egypt, the sleeping traditional claims of 
the Abyssinians, ousted only by the power of the 
sword, had never been forgotten, and when the suc- 
cesses of the Mahdi brought about the retirement of 
the Egyptian garrisons from the Soudan forts and the 
coastal possessions, they beheld with sullen resentment 
a new power, hitherto unknown in these regions, 
stepping in to take possession of what they considered 
their legitimate reversion. This feeling of resentment 
and the irritation caused by customs disputes, had 
reached a dangerous point when Rasalula, governor 
of the frontier j^rovince of Hamazen, returning from 
his Pyrrhic victory over the Mahdi's forces at Kassala, 
found the Italians in possession of Sahati, a strategi- 
cal position some ten miles inland from MonkuUu. 
He assaulted the Italian works without success, but 
on the day following the engagement he was able 
to intercept with 10,000 Abyssinians a small force 
of under 500 men, marching to relieve the garrison 
of Sahati, in a narrow plain commanded on every 
side by rocky hills which covered the ambuscaded 
attack, and they were massacred almost to a man. 
This disastrous episode was naturally followed by a 
national cry for vengeance, and preparations for an 
expedition on a large scale were pushed forward in 
Italy, while in Abyssinia all available forces were 


collected, and savage patriotism was stimulated to 
make ready for a desperate resistance. 

As time, however, went on, the magnitude of the 
task which lay before Italy in embarking on a war of 
reprisals began to make itself felt, and the prospect of 
extended operations against a far from contemptible 
foe in the heart of so savage and inhospitable a 
country appeared calculated to cramp her free action 
in Europe, so that calmer counsels began to prevail. 
It was not, however, until nine months had elapsed 
after the disaster at Dogali that England was 
invited to use her considerable influence with the 
object of averting the imminent war. The whole 
of Abyssinia was meantime in an ever-increasing 
ferment, the passions of the undisciplined soldiery 
were thoroughly inflamed, and every province was a 
moving camp. 

It was into this hotbed of fanaticism that Gerald 
Portal was instructed to proceed and endeavour to 
impress upon the king the advisability of a pacifica- 
tion within the short space of five weeks, beyond 
which, for climatic and other reasons, the Italian 
Government could not delay warlike operations 
should the efi'ort be of none eff'ect. In this brief 
space of time he had secretly to equip and organise 
his caravan, to reach Massowah, and to make his 
way to the king's headquarters, wherever they might 
prove to be. He was accompanied in this expedition 
by Mr., now Captain, Beech, of the Egyptian army, 
and by his English servant Hutchisson, who later 
also followed him to Uganda. 



At the outset, on their departure from the Italian 
headquarters, the party were led by treacherous 
guides a two -days' march away from water, and 
there abandoned, to find that all the supplies brought 
with them had been drained or spilled from the 
bottles, and they were thus forced to return, under 
the rays of a pitiless sun, by a path they were not 
sure of being able to retrace, speechless with thirst, 
with blackened tongues and lips, to the original point 
of departure, the interpreter brought from Egypt 
falling a victim to his sufferings. New guides and 
porters were hastily collected, and a second start was 
made. Twice they were detained as prisoners, and 
throughout they carried their lives in their hands ; but 
in spite of constant opposition and repeated menace, 
the determination of their leader carried them through. 
It would occupy too much space here to follow their 
progress through all the perils and adventures which 
beset them until the final accomplishment of the 
mission, or to show how, if it had no other results, it 
at least served the purpose of gaining time until the 
march of events in the Soudan created a diversion, 
and drew the attention of the Abyssinians to another 
quarter, where the death of King John at the battle 
of Metemmeh and subsequent internal dissensions 
finally averted the breaking out of hostilities on the 
Italian side. The thrilling story is told at length 
in the volume which has been referred to, and it 
will here suffice to quote his own words from the 
preface : — " Few men, even among African travellers, 
have stood face to face with death so often in the 


course of a few months, — from want of water, from 
the decrees of the highest authorities in the land, and 
at the hands of unscrupulous and over-zealous chiefs, 
— and have lived, absolutely unhurt, to tell the tale." 
For his services on this occasion he was rewarded 
with the C.B. 

In 1889 he was selected to take temporary charge 
of the Agency at Zanzibar, and during his six months' 
tenure of office there won such golden opinions that 
in March 1891 he was definitely appointed to succeed 
Sir Charles Euan Smith at that post. In the mean- 
time he had married Lady Alice Josephine Bertie, 
daughter of the seventh Earl of Abingdon, who did 
not hesitate to accompany him to his new destination, 
where her name will long be remembered for many 
acts of kindness, and will always be associated with 
the tropical garden which under her exclusive care 
rapidly grew up round the residence of Her Majesty's 

Zanzibar had now become a British Protectorate, 
but as yet it was so little more than in name. The 
task before him was to make that Protectorate 
effective, and out of the chaos of an uncontrolled 
Arab despotism to develop a system of orderly 
government, to turn the resources of the islands to 
account for the benefit of the inhabitants, and to 
reform a thousand abuses. For the work in hand 
his Egyptian training had especially qualified him. 
Many of the difficulties to be faced were merely 
repetitions on a smaller scale of those with which 
he had grown familiar in Egypt, and a few words 


From a Photograph by Colonel Rhodes, taken in Zanzibar. 


about the conditions prevailing in this metropolis of 
Eastern Africa will suffice to show how great those 
difficulties have been. 

It is perhaps scarcely necessary, in view of the 
many books of travel in which our latest Protectorate 
in Eastern Africa has been described, to enter here 
upon its antecedent history. It will be remembered 
that, since the time of its conquest by the Arabs 
of Muscat, Zanzibar formed an appanage of that 
sultanate until the death of Sultan Said, when, 
disputes having arisen among his heirs, the throne of 
Zanzibar was separated in 1856 from that of Muscat, 
with the concurrence of the powers chiefly interested, 
and given to Majid, the son of Said. Majid was 
succeeded by his son Barghash, a ruler of enlightened 
views, who visited England, and brought back with 
him to his African dominions a quantity of Euro- 
pean plant and machinery, who acquired steamers 
to facilitate trade communications, and who greatly 
extended the dominions, commerce, and influence of 
Zanzibar, while he throughout maintained the most 
cordial relations with Great Britain, and relied in all 
his acts on the friendly counsels of Her Majesty's 
representative. Sir John Kirk. His force of un- 
disciplined irregulars was placed under the orders of 
another Englishman, Lieutenant Mathews of H.M.S. 
London, now Sir Lloyd Mathews, K.C.M.G. ; and it 
has been the influence of these two men, their power 
of sympathy with both native and Arab, and their 
constant upright and just dealing over a long 
course of years, which has made the establishment 


of the British Protectorate a comparatively easy 

Sultan Barghash derived a very large revenue 
from the duties which were levied at the coast on all 
goods coming down from the interior to his ports, 
and the power of his name was respected in the 
interior up to the central lakes. But his possessions 
were ill defined and his sovereignty not uncontested. J 
At the settlement, therefore, which took place at 
the Conference of Berlin in 1885, the dominions of 
Zanzibar on the mainland were specified and recog- 
nised as extending to a limit of ten miles inland, 
alonor the eastern coast between the river Tana to 
the north and the boundary of Portuguese East 
Africa to the south. The islands of Lamu, Manda, 
and Patta were also recognised as belonging to 
Zanzibar, together with the northern port of Kismayu 
and those on the Benadir coast, each including a 
small radius of surrounding territory. Then followed 
the keenly-contested race of the European powers 
for the partition and occupation of Africa, and in 
return for a sum of £200,000, Germany acquired the 
Zanzibar territories between the Umba river to the 
north of Zanzibar Island and the Portuguese boundary. 
The coastal region between the Umba and the Tana 
was leased to the Imperial British East Africa 
Company, together with the islands north of the 
latter river and the Kismayu district, but in these 
regions the sovereignty of the Sultan was still acknow- 
ledged, whereas the cession to Germany was absolute. 
The actual territories administered directly by the 


sultanate were, therefore, confined to the two islands 
of Pemba and Zanzibar, and the ports on the Benadir 
coast, but these last were also shortly destined to 
be ceded under lease to Italy. Meanwhile Sultan 
Barghash had died, and had been succeeded by his 
brother, Seyyid Khalifa, who reigned but a short 
time, and was again in turn succeeded b)^ a still 
younger brother, Seyyid Ali, who occupied the throne 
at the time of Gerald Portal's second arrival in 

The islands of Pemba and Zanzibar are portions of 
the same coral reef running nearly parallel with the 
African coast, from which the latter is separated at 
the nearest point by a channel not twenty miles in 
width. They nowhere rise to a height of more than 
400 feet above the sea, and are of extreme fertility, 
producing some four-fifths of all the cloves that are 
consumed, with magnificent mango groves and cocoa- 
nut palm-trees, and it is anticipated that many valu- 
able sorts of spices will here find a congenial soil. 
The islands are covered with small villages or nests 
of native huts, but the only town of any importance 
is Zanzibar itself, the population of which it is difficult 
to estimate correctly, but which probably contains 
upwards of 35,000 souls, while the population of the 
islands is supposed now not much to exceed 150,000, 
of whom a very large proportion are domestic slaves. 
The rest are either Arabs, the original population 
of Swahilis, or British Indians, which last probably 
number upwards of 6000, and are all to be found in 
the city occupied as petty traders, merchants, and 


clerks. A considerable area is occupied in Zanzibar 
by the palace and its dependencies, by the spacious 
stone-built houses of the Arabs, of the European and 
trading community, the missions and the consulates, 
but a far larger circuit is covered by the wattle and 
mud huts of the native population with their palm- 
leaf thatch, the scene of constant conflagrations. 
The native population, and especially the slaves, are a 
light-hearted, merry folk, who find life easy enough 
in a climate which minimises wants, but the unruly 
elements are present also in the shape of half- 
caste Arabs, who flock to the island in their dhows 
at certain seasons, and a number of semi-savage 
irreirulars whom former sultans have introduced 
into the island, so that the policing of so large a 
centre with its narrow, labyrinthine streets, blind 
alleys, and ruinous houses is no light task to take 
in hand. 

Together with his appointment as Agent and J 
Consul-General at Zanzibar, Gerald Portal was also | 
nominated Commissioner for the British sphere on 
the mainland, including the coastal region and the 
hinterland occupied under charter by the I.B.E.A. 
Company, where the restless and hostile district of 
Witu to the north of the Tana, and Kismayu, 
surrounded by a belt of fanatical Somali tribes, gave 
cause for constant anxiety. 

The position of Zanzibar was a very difficult one, 
and required the most delicate handling. In the 
first place, as has already been stated, the Protectorate 
was so far rather a name than a fact ; the Arabs 


were ready enough to accept the advantages of 
protection, but had slight appreciation of its re- 
ciprocal obligations, and the Sultan was but little 
disj^osed to cede any of his personal prerogative, or 
to yield into other hands any portion of his unlimited 
control over the revenues. Secondly, domestic slavery 
still continues among the populations under Moham- 
medan law, and though many decrees are in force for 
its strict regulation. Her Majesty's representative 
has to exercise the closest scrutiny to prevent their 
evasion, and to watch over the interests of thousands 
who are as yet incapable of looking after themselves. 
At that moment the Arabs, who had hitherto witnessed 
no practical demonstration of the resources of the 
protecting power, were learning with sullen discontent 
that these regulations meant the ultimate extinction 
of an institution which to them appeared a necessary 
condition of existence. Thirdly, there exist certain 
treaties between the sultanate and foreign powers 
dating, in one instance, as far back as 1846 (the date 
of the French Treaty with Muscat), by which 
European merchants and settlers were guaranteed 
against what was at the time of their conclusion a 
barbarous and fanatical Arab despotism. Under 
these treaties foreigners enjoy the privileges of the 
capitulations with which we are familiar in Oriental 
countries. They are only amenable to the jurisdiction 
of their own representative, their persons and houses 
are sacrosanct as far as the authority of the ruling- 
sovereign is concerned. Moreover, with the exception 
of a uniform duty of five per cent on all goods 



imported, they have entire immunity from any 
contribution to the burdens of the state whose 
hospitality they enjoy, and even the taxation which 
the sovereign may levy on native produce is strictly 
defined by these agreements. Such instruments 
naturally hamper considerably the development of 
a new and equitable administration, but none of the 
powers concerned has as yet shown any disposition 
to abandon the privileges and immunities, which no 
doubt were absolutely indispensable at the time they 
were conferred, now that the situation is altered. 
Another arduous task imposed upon the repre- 
sentative of the protecting power was that of putting 
into force and giving practical application to the 
provisions of the Brussels Act for the suppression of 
the slave-trade, and for the protection of the native 
against the poisonous liquors and the cheap firearms 
with which the manufactories of Europe were threaten- 
ing his extermination. 

Gerald Portal at once set to work with a vigorous 
hand. The first and most difficult task before him 
was to obtain control over the finances, and after 
assigning to the Sultan's civil list a sum more than 
sufficient to cover reasonable expenditure, to secure 
that all revenue should pass through a Government 
office presided over by an English chief minister. 
For this office the services of General, now Sir 
Lloyd, Mathews, who had been appointed Consul- 
General at Mombasa, but who had not taken up his 
post, were lent to the sultanate. 

The customs department was thoroughly re- 


organised, new storehouses were built, a new wharf 
completed in a very short space of time with steam 
cranes and every convenience — to be used, however, 
only by those who were prepared to pay for the 
privilege of landing their goods when they were 
guaranteed against the risks which they ran at the 
old incommodious landing-place. A post-office was 
organised under an English officer (Commander 
Hardinge, R.N.), and the provisions of the Brussels 
Act were promptly put into force. The army was 
also placed under a British officer, Brigadier-General 
Hatch, and as many of the numberless irregulars 
who fattened on the improvidence of the palace 
were disbanded as was possible consistently with 
the public safety. A department of public works 
was instituted, and a shipping -office, the Sultan 
having been induced to make over two of the 
smaller vessels which he had inherited to the 
Government service. The lighting of the town at 
nights was strictly enforced, and a number of minor 
reforms, such as the removal of petroleum stores to 
a place of security outside the limits of the populous 
town, were initiated. As may be imagined, innova- 
tions so sweeping and wholesale were not brought 
about without considerable opposition from all parties 
interested in the maintenance of the old system. 
The subjects of Her Majesty were naturally no less 
anxious than those of foreign powers not to lose a 
particle of the privileges secured them by the old 
treaties, and the Sultan grew more and more disposed 
to place difficulties in the path as he saw his power 


ebbing from him ; but with firmness, patience, and 
goodwill these objects were all secured. 

One change which needed considerable determina- 
tion and courage was immediately decided on by 
ETer Majesty's agent as vitally necessary to the 
existence of the Protectorate. The firm establish- 
ment of Germany on the mainland was beginning 
to attract directly thither a considerable portion of 
the import trade from foreign countries, which had 
hitherto been discharged at Zanzibar as the emporium 
of Eastern Africa, and Sir Gerald foresaw that while, 
owing to her valuable clove plantations which yield 
far more important results than any portion of the 
coast can for a long time compete with, Zanzibar was 
certain to attract ships to the port and provide them 
with freights, her import trade was in danger of 
falling off, and her commanding position as the 
universal market of the interior was menaced. He 
therefore boldly determined to abolish the five per 
cent duty on imports and to make Zanzibar a free 
port. This involved considerable loss of income, but 
it was anticipated that some compensation would be 
provided by the wharf rents and the storage of goods 
in Government go-downs, and the choice lay between 
accepting such compensation and witnessing an annual 
decline in foreign trade. Time has as yet been too 
short to judge of results, but hitherto, at any rate, 
Zanzibar has fairly well maintained the position 
which was undoubtedly menaced, while a better 
collection of taxes and certain new sources of revenue, 
such as a widely-extended system of registration of 

MEMOIR xliii 

titles and contracts among the native populations, 
have further contributed to make up the deficiency. 
In spite of the great initial expenditure entailed by 
the reforms undertaken, the first financial year ended 
with a slight surplus, and the position appears to be 
steadily improving. 

It was in the midst of the serious preoccupations 
caused by these reforms, and many other still inchoate 
schemes, that the summons to undertake the important 
Mission to Uganda reached Sir Gerald Portal towards 
the end of 1892, and he was compelled to direct all 
his energies to the new work before him, and to leave 
to other hands the task of completing the development 
of the new European administration — a task which has 
since been considerably facilitated by the death of the 
late Sultan Seyyid Ali, wdiose views grew more and more 
obstructionist as time proceeded, and by the establish- 
ment on the throne of the present enlightened ruler 
Seyyid Hamed bin Thwain, who has most loyally 
co-operated in every scheme for the improvement of 
the island and the condition of all classes of its 
inhabitants. For his services in Zanzibar and on the 
coast Gerald Portal was rewarded with the K.C.M.G. • 

How the Uganda Mission was organised and carried 
out he has told himself in the following pages, and no 
more need be said about it here ; but, in conclusion, 
his services to his country in a career in which the 
younger members seldom are able to emerge from 
the body of their contemporaries, and find but rare 
opportunities of distinguishing themselves, may be 
summed up as having consisted in the work which he 


performed while only a subordinate in Cairo, in the 
adventurous expedition to Abyssinia, in his initial 
organisation of the Zanzibar Protectorate with which 
his name will always be associated, and, lastly, in 
the Mission to Uganda, — a considerable record for so 
young a man, and one which promised a career of 
great utility in the future had his life been spared. 
^ Little more remains to be told. Sir Gerald had 
suffered from repeated attacks of fever both in Uganda 
and on the march, which, though never serious enough 
to give rise to anxiety, were undoubtedly very trying 
to a constitution already weakened by continuous 
residence in a tropical climate. He had, however, 
returned to Zanzibar in excellent health after his 
arduous experiences on the homeward journey, and 
he arrived in England in the last month of 1893 
apparently strong and well in the full flush of success, 
eagerly anticipating the delight of home and the en- 
joyment of so much that ho had been cut ofi" from in 
his adventurous march of some 2000 miles through 
Equatorial Africa. Early in January he fell ill with 
what appeared to be a relapse of African fever, but 
after three weeks of varying phases the fatal signs 
of typhoid became manifest, and his strength, 
impaired as it was by a most trying climate, was 
unequal to contending against the ravages of disease. 
It was a hard fate for a man who had encountered so 
many adventures, and passed so often through the fire, 
to fall a victim to a sickness bred of city life ; and he 
struggled bravely, as those who attended him bear 
witness, in that last unequal battle. But the end 


was near, and on the 26 th of January the brief and 
brilliant career was closed, and Gerald Portal passed 
away from us, rich in the affection of many devoted 
friends, and in the sorrow of all his countrymen. 

His character may fairly be judged by the ensuing 
record, and by the pages of the Report which he 
has submitted to Her Majesty's Government. The 
qualities which marked him most, perhaps, were the 
quickness with which he surveyed a given situation, 
a rapidity of decision, and a dogged determination in 
carrying out the line he had adopted. He was some- 
what reserved by nature, and little inclined to discuss 
matters on which he had assumed the full responsi- 
bility, but he combined with this characteristic a 
generous appreciation of the work of others, and was 
staunchly loyal to his friends. Success had only 
done him good, and taught him a wider tolerance, 
and that passion to excel which had marked his 
youth helped him to make up the ground he may 
have somewhat neglected in early years, so that his 
general knowledge of a wide range of subjects made 
him the most agreeable of companions. At the same 
time there existed in him a softer side, by right of 
which he was a true lover of Nature, an ardent 
admirer of all things beautiful — a quality which from 
time to time finds voice in the following pages. He 
was a man eminently qualified by the strength of his 
personality, by his own natural inclination, and ho 
less by the power of sympathy which he possessed, 
to carry out the Imperial policy with which his life 
was associated. The men of his own time and age, 


comrades at school, colleagues in his profession, and 

contemporaries in the sister services, will mourn him 

long and sincerely, while many of those who met him 

only once or twice will hardly fail to preserve the 

memory of a very winning smile. 

Of his brother Raymond Portal something remains 

to be said in its proper place. Of both of them much 

has necessarily been left unsaid, but their own words 

will help to fill the vacant spaces. It is not easy for 

one who has grown up with them to write with the 

reserve which is due, for the two graves are still quite 

new, and there are many living for whom the pathos 

of their story is very near to tears. 

R. R. 





From a sketch by C. Whymper ajter a photograph by Colonel Rhodes. 

[See page 1 i 


My appointment as H.M. Commissioner to Uganda — The staff of the 
Mission — Equipment of the caravan — The main body despatched 
to Kikuyu — A farewell state-visit to the Sultan of Zanzibar — We 
start upon our journey on the 1st of January 1893. 

The events which led to the despatch of a Mission to 
examine and report on the state of affairs in Uganda 
will still be fresh in every one's recollection. The 
Imperial British East Africa Company, whose first 
caravan, under the leadership of Messrs. Jackson and 
Gedge, had arrived in that country in April 1890, 
found, after some eighteen months' experience, that 
the task of exercising a control over a province at 
such a distance from the coast was beyond their 
strength, and announced their intention of with- 
drawing their officers and forces from the whole 
region. Fearing that such a course would gravely 
imperil the lives of the missionaries in Uganda, some 
friends of the Church Missionary Society subscribed 
£16,000 towards the expenses of administration, on 
the condition that the Company would maintain 
their forces and officers there for another year, 
till the end of 1892. The ofier was accepted by 
the Directors of the Company, and the year was 


spent in Uganda : the first part in a sanguinary 
civil war, the remainder in efforts on the part of 
the Company's local officials to re-establish peace 
on a permanent basis. Nothing, however, occurred 
to induce the Directors to reconsider their deter- 
mination to evacuate the country, and towards the 
end of 1892 the same problem, regarding the future 
disposal of Uganda, which had been shelved for a 
year by the munificent offering of the members of the 
Church Missionary Society, presented itself for final 
consideration and solution. Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment determined not to interfere with the Company's 
evacuation, but, in the hope of lessening the danger 
to the lives of missionaries and others which would 
be caused by a hurried retreat, and in order, at the 
same time, to enable them to receive fuller informa- 
tion as to the actual state of affairs in Equatorial 
Africa, they consented to defray the Company's costs 
of administration there for three months, from the 
1st of January till the 31st of March 1893, and 
at the same time to despatch a Commissioner to 
Uganda to report upon the subject, and to suggest, 
if possible, the " best means of dealing with the 

It was with great delight, not unmingled with 
some dismay at the magnitude of the task and the 
importance of the interests involved, that I received 
the offer of this appointment on the last day of 
November 1892. My next feeling was that the time 
at my disposal for organising and equipping the 
necessary caravan, and for reaching Uganda before 


the evacuation of the Company, was uncomfortably 
short. The usual allowance for a caravan to travel 
from the coast to Uganda was ninety days, and the 
date of the Company's retreat from Uganda was 
definitely fixed for the 31st of March, the 90th day 
of the new year. Even if, therefore, I were to count 
upon no more than to arrive in Uganda one day before 
its evacuation, this would only leave me the short space 
of one month for the recruitment of porters — who 
have of late years become most difficult to obtain — 
and for their medical examination ; for the engagement 
of officers of the staff", and for their journey of three 
weeks from Europe to Zanzibar ; for the selection and 
purchase of provisions, of equipment, of innumerable 
articles of barter, such as cloth and cotton stuffs of 
different qualities, beads of several sizes and kinds, 
iron, copper, and brass wire, small chains, looking- 
glasses and coloured handkerchiefs, of axes, bill-hooks, 
intrenching tools, ropes, canvas, tents and their 
equipment, medical stores, and, in short, of all the 
thousand and one articles which may sound 'like 
trifles and be easily overlooked at the coast, but the 
absence of any one of which 800 miles in the interior 
may be productive of serious inconvenience to the 
whole caravan. 

Concurrently with all this work of preparation, 
innumerable outstanding questions had to be settled 
in connection with the somewhat complicated system 
of administration in Zanzibar, and the Sultan's assent 
had to be obtained to my taking 200 of his partly- 
drilled soldiers to serve both as escort on the 


journey, and, if necessary, as a sort of police force in 
Uganda itself. With regard to these soldiers, I may 
at once confess that almost from the moment of 
leaving the coast till the day of our return, I never 
ceased to regret, in an ever-increasing degree, the 
unlucky moment in which I consented to inflict their 
company on the Expedition. As events turned out 
they were almost useless from start to finish, and yet, 
in self-justification, it must be added that it was 
impossible to foretell this in December 1892. No 
one in Europe or on the African coast had any but 
the vaguest ideas as to the numbers and nature of the 
force which could be placed at our disposal in Uganda 
on the retreat of the Company. We knew that the 
Company had a certain number of excellent Soudanese 
troops who had been recruited in Egypt a couple of 
years before, but we were informed at the same time 
that the period of service of these men had expired, 
and that they would all have to leave Uganda with 
the Company's ofiicers. It was also reported that 
som^ of the refugees from Emin Pacha's old province, 
ex-soldiers of the Egyptian Government, had been 
enlisted by the Company, but nobody could tell us 
either the approximate number of these recruits or 
the degree of efficiency which they had attained. 
It was evidently necessary, not only that the 
Commission should have complete liberty of move- 
ment both before reaching Uganda and in that 
country itself, but also that it should be throughout 
in a position of absolute independence : it therefore 
appeared expedient to cause it to be accompanied 



by at least 200 armed men with some knowledge 
of the use of a rifle. Moreover, the Zanzibar soldiers 
in their own town, with their clean white uniforms, 
presented a most creditable appearance. On parade 
they appeared fairly smart, they drilled in a way 
that would put some English militia regiments to 
shame, and they could go through the bayonet 
exercise faultlessly. I confess, indeed, to having 
often looked upon this Zanzibar force as a future 
factor of some value in the eventual settlement of 
the whole East African question. It was, therefore, 
with real disappointment that I felt compelled, after 
travelling some hundreds of miles in their company, 
reluctantly to acquiesce in the unanimous verdict of 
the other officers of the Mission, that these Zanzibar 
soldiers were the laziest, the most hopelessly and 
repulsively dirty, and the most untrustworthy collec- 
tion of men with whom it had ever been our mis- 
fortune to come in contact.^ 

A few days after a telegram had been despatched 
to London expressing my grateful thanks for the 
honour which had been done me in selecting me for 
this task, a further message was received from H.M. 
Secretary of State, informing me of the appointment 
of the officers who w^ere to accompany the Mission 
to Uganda. These officers were : Colonel Rhodes, 
D.S.O., Royal Dragoons, then Military Secretary to 
H.E. the Governor of Bombay, who is well known 

^ In consequence of these and other recent experiences, a new system of 
recruiting is being introduced with a view to securing men of a better stamp. — 


for his distinguished services in two expeditions to 
Suakim, and in the terrible fighting of the desert 
column of the Gordon Relief Expedition, where he 
served as A.D.C. to the late Sir Herbert Stewart, and 
afterwards to Sir James Dormer, and who has, 
moreover, gained renown both in the hunting and 
in the cricket fields; Brigade-Major Owen, D.S.O., 
Lancashire Fusiliers, whose name is familiar in many 
circles, both for conspicuous services rendered in a 
recent expedition against the Jebus in West Africa, 
and for innumerable laurels earned " between the 
flaojs" as the most consummate horseman and the 
best gentleman rider of modern days ; Captain 
Portal, my brother, of the Royal North Lancashire 
Regiment, then Adjutant of the Mounted Infantry ; 
and Lieutenant Arthur, Rifle Brigade, at that time 
serving in the army of the Sultan of Zanzibar : this 
officer was appointed specially to command the 
escort of Zanzibar troops. To these were added 
Mr. Ernest Berkeley, a Consul in H.M. service, who 
had for the last year acted as Administrator of the 
possessions of the Imperial British East Africa 
Company at Mombasa ; Dr. R. Moffat, recently in 
charge of a Scottish Industrial Mission at Kibwezi, 
in British East Africa, whose services I was most 
fortunate to secure as medical officer to the Mission ; 
and Mr. Foaker, lately of the I.B.E.A. Company, 
who had already made one journey to Uganda, and 
was now to act as caravan leader, whose arduous duty 
it was to superintend all details of the organisation 
of porters, the weight and distribution of loads, the 



supply and distribution of rations, — in short, all the 
innumerable and troublesome details connected with 
the internal economy of a large caravan bound on a 
long journey. Another valuable addition to our 
strength was made later, in the person of Lieutenant 
C. Villiers, Eoyal Horse Guards, who happened to 
have arrived about this time in East Africa with the 
intention of starting on a private shooting expedition 
into the interior, and who, in reply to his own 
earnest solicitation, obtained, at the very last 
moment, permission from the requisite authorities 
to accompany us to Uganda. I should not forget to 
add to these the name of my servant Hutch isson, 
who at once volunteered to accompany me, and who, 
in a journey with me through Abyssinia at the end 
of 1887, had given ample proofs of his powers of 
endurance, his resource and pluck, in some very 
critical moments, and under circumstances of peculiar 
discomfort and danger. 

After the appointment of this staff, I could but 
confess to myself that, so far as concerned the actual 
journey and the work to be done, no expedition had 
ever left the coast of East Africa with so good a 
prospect of success, and that if we were destined to 
meet with disaster, or to break down through any of 
the countless accidents to which caravans in Eastern 
and Central Africa are liable, not only the responsi- 
bility but also the fault would lie with myself. Let 
me add here a fact of which we may all be justly 
proud, and to which, I fear, claim can be laid by very 
few expeditions after a long journey in Equatorial 


Africa, that not only did general good fellowship 
reign throughout the journey, but that never on any 
occasion was the harmony of the party disturbed by 
a single squabble, by any jealousies, by any hasty or 
ill-considered word, or even by a day's coolness 
between any of the officers of the Expedition from 
the moment of starting until, nearly ten months 
later, some of us again saw the waters of the Indian 

The first steps taken, in the early days of 
December, were to select the soldiers who were to 
accompany us, and to send forth emissaries in every 
direction to recruit a sufficient number of porters. 
The soldiers were a comparatively easy matter as 
soon as the Sultan had kindly given his consent 
to their employment in this manner. A call for 
volunteers from among the battalion of 800 
"regulars" produced immediately more than the 
200 who were required, and the necessary selection 
was easily made by the rejection of the weakest. 
The remainder were then medically examined, 
vaccinated, and equipped with two serviceable suits 
of "khakee" tunic and knee-breeches, putties, and 
two pairs of sandals each ; and every man carried a 
Snider rifle, sword bayonet, and forty rounds of 
ammunition. The precaution of causing every 
member of the caravan to be vaccinated is one 
which should always, when possible, be observed 
by the leader of an expedition going into the interior 
of Afri(3a from the East Coast. There is scarcely a 
single tribe between Mombasa and Uganda which is 


ever quite free from the scourge of small-pox ; some- 
times it does not make itself very conspicuous, while 
at other times, especially after a period of drought, 
scarcity, or, as at the present moment, of distress 
caused by the death of all the cattle, it breaks out as 
a veritable plague, and decimates the population of 
immense districts. Few greater disasters can befall 
a caravan than to get small -pox among the men, 
as frequently happens when this precaution has 
been omitted. If the first cases occur at a 
station or in the neighbourhood of some village 
whose inhabitants can be trusted not to cut the 
throat of any defenceless stranger, the patients may 
be left behind with no greater inconvenience than 
the necessity of distributing their loads among other 
already overburdened men ; but if an unfortunate 
wretch is seized with the disease in some district far 
from any human habitation, or tenanted only by the 
murderous Masai, his chances are small indeed. The 
caravan cannot wait : it has only rations for a limited 
number of days, and must push on to the next food- 
supplying district ; the man must be carried by two, 
or perhaps four others, which means that three or 
five loads must be either thrown away or added to 
the burdens of their companions. The ruin which 
therefore befalls a caravan if, as not unfrequently 
happens, ten, fifteen, or twenty men are attacked 
almost simultaneously may be better imagined than 
described. And yet, although instances of such 
disasters are numerous and well known, such are the 
conservative and laisser-aller properties of the whole 


atmosphere of East Africa, that not only does no rule 
exist regarding the vaccination of porters, but I have 
never even heard of this ordinary precaution having 
been taken with any other caravan than my own 
which has left Mombasa at any time during the last 
three years. 

Meanwhile the work of collecting porters was 
proceeding but slowly, for several reasons. In the 
first place, I had insisted on none but volunteers 
being recruited. In the second place, the pro- 
fessional porters are seldom keen to engage them- 
selves for a very long journey, such as that to 
Uganda. If we had been going to Mount Kilimanjaro, 
to Jabora, or to Kikuyu, we could have secured as 
many good men as we liked in a couple of days, but 
the idea of Uganda rather frightens them : the road 
is but little known, and they feel that it means a 
long and wearisome journey, sometimes on very 
short rations, and an absence of many months from 
their homes at Zanzibar. In the third place, while 
the supply of porters is diminishing every year, the 
demand is growing ever larger. 

It is a great mistake to suppose, as do most 
Europeans when they arrive in Zanzibar to collect 
a caravan for a journey or shooting expedition, that 
any stalwart peasant or street loafer of Zanzibar will 
make a good porter. Such a man would break down 
in a week, whatever may be his physical strength. 
He would infallibly get sore feet or cracked heels; 
the skin of his head or shoulders would be rubbed by 
his load ; these sores would develop into serious ulcers, 


and after walking a hundred miles the man would either 
have to be left at some friendly village, or would have 
to hobble along with the caravan, doing no work and 
eating precious food. The professional caravan porters 
form a distinct clique by themselves. They spend 
their whole lives in either travelling about the con- 
tinent with loads on their heads, or in spending the 
money thus amassed with all possible speed and with 
reckless extravagance at Zanzibar. They are a cheery 
lot, with heads like iron, feet like leather, and with 
the stomachs of ostriches — miserable, like children, in 
cold and wet districts, or in times when food is 
scarce, but forgetting all their discomforts with the 
first ray of sunshine, or with the first successful shot 
at a rhinoceros, zebra, or other animal which will 
supply them with meat. The life is a hard one, and 
the professional caravan porter seldom lives to be an 
old man, while the increased facilities now offered to 
able-bodied men of earning a comfortable living at 
Zanzibar or on the coast prevents younger men from 
joining their ranks. The authorities of German East 
Africa have long foreseen this difficulty, and have not 
only employed many devices to attract all the Zanzibar 
porters to take up their residence in German territory, 
but have also enacted the most stringent, and, on the 
whole, efi"ective measures to prevent these men from 
leaving the German colony. I shall have occasion to 
return later to this question of porters and the means 
of transport which must eventually replace them in 
East Africa. 

The number of men which we calculated would be 


required for the Mission amounted to nearly 400, and 
it may perhaps be of some use to future travellers if 
I describe briefly the nature of the loads which made 
this apparently large number necessary. To every 
European ofticer were assigned ten men, two of whom 
were to carry his tent, with its poles, pegs, etc. 
These are heavy and awkward loads, especially in 
wet weather, and should, when possible, be divided 
into three. One man carried the bed and bedding, 
and the remaining seven were available for boxes of 
clothes, boots, scientific instruments, canteen, cooking- 
pots, chair, table, guns, ammunition, and all the rest 
of the ofiicer's paraphernalia. As our party consisted 
of nine European officers, this accounted for ninety 
porters, to whom may be added four or five more who 
carried the mess-tent and its appurtenances. To each 
European was allowed one box of European provisions 
per month : these boxes were not to exceed sixty- 
five pounds in weight, including some fifteen pounds 
for the box itself, which must necessarily be strong 
and solid enough to withstand much dropping and 
bumping and general ill-treatment. These were filled 
with those necessaries of life which are not procurable 
in the interior, such as tea, coflfee, cocoa, salt, sugar, 
oatmeal, rice, lime-juice, jam (a most necessary anti- 
scorbutic), and a certain quantity of tinned meats. 
In absolutely foodless districts, such as the greater 
part of those through which the road to Uganda 
passes, it was found that one such box per month 
for each officer was very far from being a liberal or 
unnecessary allowance. As we were preparing for an 


absence of ten months, the European provisions for the 
party of nine officers amounted to ninety more loads, 
which were brought up to one hundred by medical 
stores, medical comforts, and one or two " extras." 
The soldiers were allowed ten porters for every com- 
pany of fifty men, including officers ; their four 
companies, therefore, absorbed forty porters, to whom 
may be added about ten more for axes, intrenching 
tools, small grindstone, ropes, etc. 

Nearly eighty men were required to carry the 
" currency " of the different countries through which 
we had to pass, consisting of cotton cloth of several 
different qualities and sizes, coloured handkerchiefs, 
beads of several kinds, brass, iron, and copper wire, 
small looking-glasses, and so forth. These have to 
be most carefully selected and packed, as in the 
centre of Africa a piece of cloth damaged by water, 
or beads of the wrong sort, are of no more value than 
they would be as articles of barter in Piccadilly. It 
is also most necessary to have quite the latest in- 
telligence as to the change of fashions in different 
countries, for it often happens that the large and 
bright blue bead which last year was eagerly sought 
after in a certain district, and for strings of which 
flour and corn were readily produced, may now be 
a drug in the market, while its place in the estima- 
tion of the native has been taken by a small white or 
red one ; or, perhaps, what is even more embarrassing 
to the traveller, beads may be temporarily out of 
fashion altogether, and the cry be all for small coils 
of bright brass wire. I need scarcely add that the 


fashion in these matters is set by the ladies of the 
tribe, who assert their arbitrary rights and their 
monopoly of taste in matters of dress — even when 
that dress consists of no more than a few strings of 
beads or a necklace of wire — with the same successful 
determination as the other daughters of Eve in Paris 
or London. To these loads of so-called " trade goods " 
about ten more may be added for "odds and ends," such 
as presents for the king of Uganda or for the more 
important chiefs, stationery, etc. To the 340 porters 
thus accounted for we added ten per cent as a moderate 
allowance for sickness, desertions, or accidents, and 
the total number of 400 was completed by the addition 
of headmen, overseers, cooks, and tent-boys. 

By the middle of December a sufficient number of 
men had been collected and vaccinated to enable me 
to send off the main body of the caravan and of the 
soldiers, under Mr. Foaker and Lieutenant Arthur, 
while I had to wait at Zanzibar for the other officers, 
who were due to arrive on the last day of the year. 
The advance party were instructed to push forward 
with all convenient speed to Kikuyu, about 350 
miles from the coast, and there to use their utmost 
endeavours to purchase, and pack in loads of sixty-five 
pounds, a sufficient quantity of flour or other available 
food to suffice the whole caravan for the long march 
of nearly 280 miles through the absolutely foodless 
country which lies between Kikuyu and Kavirondo. 
Meanwhile the work of collecting the remainder of 
the porters and of packing the rest of the loads wa& 
being pushed forward with feverish haste, but, alas I 


the supply was not equal to the demand. It is true 
that a fair number of applications were received for the 
two months' advance of wages which it is customary 
to give to porters before starting on a long journey, 
but it was perfectly evident, from the character 
and appearance of the applicants, that the money 
was the only object aimed at, and that they could 
be relied upon to desert before going fifty miles from 
the coast. Many others had to be rejected on account 
of their extreme youth or physical weakness ; but at 
last a sufiicient number were engaged, not inferior 
perhaps to many others who are in these days taken 
as porters by caravans, but of whom certainly a large 
proportion were quite unfit for this sort of work. 
The main body, which had already gone on with 
Lieutenant Arthur, consisted of a very fair lot of men, 
including some magnificent specimens of muscular 
development, but our second party, which had to 
make forced marches, and to overtake the others with 
all possible speed, could not, in spite of all our efibrts, 
muster more than a small proportion of even moderately 
good men ; the rest were boys or " shirkers." 

Our difficulties would have been far greater — in 
fact, it may be doubted whether we should have been 
able to make a start within at least a month of the 
appointed time — had not Zanzibar been blessed, in 
the person of its chief minister, with an English 
gentleman of the true patriotic, honest, self-sacrificing, 
and sympathetic type, which has gone so far to make 
England respected above other European nations by 
many of the native races of Africa. The name of 


General Mathews is as a household word throughout 
many hundreds of square miles in East Africa.^ Not 
an English or American traveller has ever set foot in 
these regions during the last fifteen years without 
owing to him a heavy debt of gratitude. Scarcely a 
native family can be found in Zanzibar that has not 
had cause to bless his open-handed generosity or his 
unswerving sense of justice. He is known as the 
true friend of the upright Arab and of the struggling 
Swahili," but a terror to the oppressor or the evil- 
doer ; and the influence of the cheery and kind- 
hearted General, handicapped by his alien race and 
his Christian religion, is barely second to that of the 
sacred person of the Sultan himself. General Mathews 
would have given his eyes to have been allowed to 
accompany our expedition, and it need not be added 
that we should more than gladly have welcomed his 
presence and the invaluable addition of his experience ; 
but it was out of the question that the man on 
whom, more than any other, depended the working of 
the whole new administrative machinery of Zanzibar 

^ General, now Sir Lloyd William Mathews, K.C.M.G., began life in the 
Royal Navy. While serving at Zanzibar on H.M.S. Lmrdon, the station- 
ship for the repression of the slave-trade, his services were lent to the famous 
Sultan Barghash, who was anxious to have his troops drilled in the 
European fashion. In due course he left the navy and entered the service of 
the Sultan, whose friend and confidential adviser he became, conducting many 
expeditions on the mainland for that monarch at the time of his greatest 
prosperity. When Zanzibar became a British Protectorate, General Mathews 
was named British Consul-General for the mainland, but he has hitherto 
never taken up the post, his services having once more been lent to the 
Sultans of Zanzibar, where he acts as first minister in the European Adminis- 
tration which is now completely organised. — Ed. 

'■'■ It is perhaps scarcely necessary to explain that Swahili is the name of the 
mongrel people on the East African coast, in the British and German spheres, 
whose language is the lingua franca of Eastern Africa. — Ed. 


could be spared from that country in the then critical 
state of affairs. 

Sadly realising this penalty of the value of his pre- 
vious work, General Mathews, with an unselfish kind- 
ness and devotion which no words can properly 
describe, not only placed his invaluable influence, his 
time, and his experience at our disposal, but even 
insisted on going himself with this second party of 
porters to Mombasa, in order to ensure that all the 
preparations for our departure should be completed. 

Early in the morning of the 30th of December, a 
signal flying from the flag-staff" above the Sultan's 
great clock-tower announced that a French mail- 
steamer had been sighted, and a couple of hours 
later I was delighted to greet Colonel Rhodes, Major 
Owen, and my brother. The first of these officers had 
come from Bombay, and had joined this steamer 
of the " Messageries Maritimes " at Aden. The other 
two had left England on the 10th, having thus 
had barely a week to complete all their prepara- 
tions for a long journey and an absence of eight or 
ten months in Central Africa. It was not surprising, 
therefore, that almost their first words were an 
entreaty for one day's delay at Zanzibar in order to 
enable them to complete the purchase of various 
necessaries which had been forgotten in the hurried 
departure from England. Fortunately it was possible 
to grant this request, as Captain Campbell, R.N., had 
most kindly off'ered to take over our party to 
Mombasa in H.M.S. Philomel, and this beautiful 
cruiser was the only vessel in these seas which could 


negotiate the run from Zanzibar to Mombasa between 
sunrise and sunset.^ I was also anxious to have a 
clear day at Zanzibar in order to enable me to discuss 
with Mr. Kennell Rodd, who had come out in the same 
steamer to act as H.M. Agent and Consul- General 
during my absence, many complicated questions 
affecting the internal administrative economy of the 
Sultan's dominions. * 

As soon as this point was settled, the party 
separated to put on all the finery at their command, 
and with all the stafi" of the Agency we proceeded to 
pay a state visit of greeting and farewell to the 
Sultan Seyyid Ali.^ The streets were lined for some 
distance with soldiers, a guard of honour was drawn 
up opposite the steps of the Palace, the really good 
Goanese band played "God Save the Queen" and 
" Rule Britannia," long rows of beautifully-dressed and 
dignified Arabs made a lane for us through the lower 
ante-room and up the stairs, at the head of which 
stood the Sultan himself. His Highness led us to 
the upper end of the long reception-room, which was 
already more than half full of gray-bearded princes 
and dignitaries ; we sat down on gilt and velvet 
chairs in a row on the right of the Sultan, while on 
his left were placed his relations and the high-born 
Arabs in strict order of precedence. I may be 
allowed to add here that disputes about this same 

1 Mombasa, the most important harbour ou the British East Africa coast, 
and the headquarters of the Britisli East Africa Company, is the point of 
departure for all caravans proceeding to Uganda through the British sphere. — 

2 The late Sultan Seyyid Ali, who died March 5, 1893. 


order of precedence among the leading Arabs are 
not the least troublesome among the many com- 
plicated local questions which are constantly beipg 
brought for adjudication before H.M. Consul-General. 
After the customary cup of coffee and glass of iced 
sherbet, of which it was good manners to drink only 
a mouthful or so, we rose to take our leave, it being 
left to the guest, in, I think, all Oriental countries, to 
give the signal for departure even from the reception- 
room of a sovereign. Many good wishes and polite 
phrases were uttered by His Highness, whose manners 
on occasions of this sort were truly excellent, — a 
refined combination of the dignity of the potentate 
with the Oriental and graceful courtesy of the host. 

On the evening of the 31st of December a great 
banquet was given to the members of the Mission by 
all the English residents at Zanzibar, in a large room 
of the new English Club, which was opened for the 
first time on this occasion. The whole affair was 
admirably done, and the room was tastefully draped 
and festooned with flags and bunting of all sorts by 
the deft fingers of blue-jackets from the three men- 
of-war then in harbour. Some fifty English gentle- 
men were present, — a fair muster for a place like 
Zanzibar, so lately almost unheard of in Europe. 
Speeches, some of which, by the way, were of a really 
high order of oratory, prolonged the entertainment 
until the midnight breeze from the Indian Ocean 
carried into the dinino-hall the last moanino- breath 
of the dying year, while the brilliant tropical moon 
smiling into the open windows brightly announced 


the birth of the year 1893. The party broke up 
amidst the cordial farewells and good wishes of true 
friends, to many of whom I owe debts of gratitude 
for help and support during some trying times at 
Zanzibar which I can never repay. There remained 
barely time to write a few last necessary letters, and 
to despatch the last outstanding matters of official 
business, and at 4 a.m. the staff of the Mission met 
me again on the hospitable deck of H.M.S. Philomel. 
Before the sun had risen on the first day of the 
new year the anchor was up, and we were actually 
launched upon our long journey into the very heart 
of the Dark Continent. 



We arrive at Port Reitz — By the " Central African Railway " to our 
encampment at Mazeras — An awkward squad — The first day's 

That we were able to equip and organise a caravan 
of men and 200 soldiers, thoroughly supplied with 
" trade-goods," provisions, stores, tents, and all the 
paraphernalia necessary for a journey then estimated 
to last for ten months, and that we could send 
off two-thirds of the party in the marvellously 
short time of fifteen days, and start with the 
remainder within a month, is due not only to the 
unwearied exertions and great experience of General 
Mathews, of whom I have already spoken, but also 
to the self-denying courtesy of the Imperial British 
East Africa Company. I am happy in having here 
an opportunity of placing on record my sense of 
gratitude for the invaluable help received from the 
Administration of that Company, without which, I 
have no hesitation in saying that we must either 
have been considerably delayed in leaving the coast, or 
else have started with insufficient equipment. From 
the Directors themselves down to the lowest clerk at 
Mombasa, there was not one who did not render 


assistance in this work to the full extent of his 
opportunity ; the whole machinery of the Administra- 
tion and the organisation of their transport office 
were placed at our disposal, and the officers of the 
Company vied with each other in giving us the 
benefit, not only of their invaluable experience in 
such matters, but also of their personal assistance, at 
all hours and with a self-sacrificing devotion of which 
every member of the Commission appreciated the 
result, and for which it is impossible for us to express 
our thanks in an adequate manner. 

The first day of the year 1893, during which we 
accomplished the first 140 miles of our journey, 
was spent, so far as I was concerned, in the most 
prosaic way. I had been somewhat overworked for 
a month, and was thoroughly worn out by the last 
two or three days : there was a fairly strong breeze 
■ and a good deal of sea, with the general result that I 
spent the whole time of our voyage from Zanzibar to 
Mombasa in a most uncompromising and undeniable 
attack of sea-sickness. I only recovered in time to 
join the other officers in admiring one of the most 
beautiful scenes that can be offered by East Africa — 
the entrance into the magnificent harbour known 
as Port Reitz, on the southern side of Mombasa 
Island. For over a mile we steamed along between 
groves of cocoa-nut palms, relieved by the heavy 
masses and deeper green of mango-trees. Here and 
there appeared the gray ruins of an ancient Portu- 
guese fort or tower, its crenellated walls tinged with 
purple and gold by the rays of the setting sun, as 


though in memory of their bygone glory. H.M.S. 
Philomel was at last brought to an anchor close to 
the little promontory known as "Railway Point," 
from which we would bes^in our march on the follow- 
ing morning. Here we were joined by Mr. Berkeley, 
with the welcome news that our men and loads had 
all been sent forward to a place named Mazeras, 
about nine miles inland, where a camp was already 
pitched in preparation for our arrival, and that a 
sufficient number of porters had been sent back to 
carry up the personal baggage which we had brought 
with us from Zanzibar. That evening, at the hospit- 
able board of Captain Campbell, we enjoyed for the 
last time for many months to come the luxury of 
porcelain plates, fine linen, glasses, and wine (well 
iced) to put into them. Henceforth we were to be 
satisfied with iron enamelled plates, tin mugs, tea 
and coffee. 

Early the next morning the baggage was sent 
ashore in native boats, followed by a gray pony, the 
joint property of four of us, on which we wished to 
try the experiment of a march to Uganda. 

Just before starting my attention was drawn to 
some English newspapers which were put into my 
hand, and in which the opinion was advanced that 
our Mission was being despatched too late, and could 
not possibly arrive in Uganda before the evacuation 
of that country by the Company ; that in consequence 
we should find on our arrival nothing but disorder, 
anarchy, and bloodshed, should probably have to 
fight for our lives, and that a strong military expedi- 


tion would be needed to get us out agcain ! My last 
official act before starting was, therefore, to send a 
telegram to H.M. Secretary of State, hazarding the 
prophecy that we should cross the Nile and enter 
Uganda on or about the 13tli of March, and should 
arrive at Kampala about the 17th of the same month. 
The patient reader will see later how far these pro- 
phecies were justified by the results. 

All the officers of the staff then rowed off to the 
landing-place in several boats, and, lastly, I was 
invited to take my place in the Captain's galley, in 
which a crew of officers, with Captain Campbell him- 
self as stroke, wished to row me ashore. I am not 
ashamed to confess to having felt profoundly affected 
not only at the honour which was thus done me, 
but even more at the feeling of friendship and good- 
will which dictated this signal compliment, nor was 
this feeling lessened when, after a salute had been 
fired from the Philomel, the whole ship's company 
sprang into the rigging and cheered us till the woods 
and cocoa-nut groves rang again. 

We soon set foot on the mainland of the African 
Continent, but not even yet were we forced to trust 
entirely to our own feet for the means of progression. 
For about seven miles into the interior from the spot 
where we landed, the East Africa Company had 
laid, some two or three years before, a little 24-inch 
tramway, which was, I am told, opened at that time 
with great ceremony under the name of the "Central 
African Kailway." Although it had never been used 
except for occasional picnic parties from Mombasa, 


this tram-line was still in a fairly serviceable condi- 
tion, and we therefore placed ourselves as comfortably 
as we could on some flat open trollies, on which a box 
or inverted basket was made to do duty as a seat. 
Two of us were placed on each trolly, which was 
propelled by a couple of natives pushing from behind. 
Our nerves were highly tried a few hundred yards 
from the start by finding ourselves at the top of a 
steep incline, about half-way down which we could 
see there were " points " leading on to a siding. 
Colonel Rhodes was my companion on the leading 
trolly, and, to our dismay, on arriving at the top of 
the slope our miserable coolies gave the machine a 
final push, and then left it to its own devices. Away 
we went at ever-increasing speed, perfectly helpless, 
and with the boxes on which we were sitting gradu- 
ally working themselves towards the end of the little 
rushing platform ! The " points " which we had 
noticed with such suspicion had, fortunately, been left 
open, either by chance or by the last comer, and with 
a jolt and a crash we whirled safely over them. Safely, 
too, we charged through or took a flying leap over a 
heap of pebbles lying on the rail ; and at last, having 
reached the bottom of the valley, began to rush, but 
with gradually-decreasing speed and with a comfort- 
able feeling of security, up the opposite incline. 
Now it was our turn to look back and enjoy the 
danger and discomfort of our friends. By extra- 
ordinary good luck they all arrived safely at the 
bottom of this dangerous slope, but not so the 
baggage placed on the last few trucks. More than 


one ominous crash was heard, and more than one 
trolly was seen tearing up the ground with its wheels 
in the air ; but, marvellous to relate, the damage done 
was comparatively slight, and did not extend much 
beyond the infliction of some deep dints in a few 
tin boxes, and the complete pulverisation of some 
extremely choice cigars which one of the officers was 
carefully bringing with him as a last relic of the 
luxuries of civilised life. Along the rest of the line 
the journey was fairly easy, and through scenery the 
beauty of which would have been a suflicient compen- 
sation for almost any discomforts. The only difficulty 
worthy of note was caused by the weeds, creepers, 
grass, and small bushes which had grown up all over 
the line, and thereby rendered progress a matter of 
very hard toiling and pushing for the unfortunate 
coolies. As my companion remarked, this hardly 
looked as if the traffic along the Central African line 
had been very great since the day when it was first laid ! 
I should here explain that the reason why this 
tramway is not used by caravans entails no reflection 
whatever on the administration of the Company. It 
is simply that the line does not run along the regular 
caravan route, and does not extend far enough to join 
that route at any part. If it could have been con- 
tinued for another ten or a dozen miles, there can be 
no doubt that caravans would have been eager to 
make use of the line, but at present it is not worth 
their while to turn from their well-known road for 
the sake of only seven miles of rail. The work was 
laid 'aside at the time when an agitation was set on 


foot for the construction of a more permanent line 
under the guarantee of Her Majesty's Government. 
So far as we ourselves were concerned, we undoubtedly 
found that this tramway saved us the greater part of 
a hot and disagreeable day's march. 

About seven miles from the coast the line came to 
a sudden end without any warning, except such as 
was given by a few heaps of rails and boxes of nuts 
and screw^s lying by the wayside. The work was 
evidently abandoned as hastily as it had been com- 
menced ; rails, bolts, sleepers, screws and nuts, suffi- 
cient for some seventy or eighty miles of line, lie in 
stacks and heaps near the beach of the harbour ; not 
a living soul, until ourselves, had ever made use of 
the line for any practical purpose, and the whole 
work remains as a monument to good intentions 
overpowered by force of circumstances. 

A brisk walk of about three miles brousiht us to 
Mazeras, where our eyes were pleasantly greeted by 
the sight of a neat camp already pitched in a shady 
spot, with the tents in two ordered rows, the porters 
already told off into companies and messes, and 
drawn up for inspection, and, most grateful sight 
of all, a sumptuous luncheon prepared for us by the 
indefatigable hospitality of General Mathews. The 
rest of the day was spent in telling off the men to 
their respective loads, in repacking some of the 
baggage which was found to be above the regulation 
limit of sixty-five pounds, and in distributing the 
surplus among lighter loads when such could be- 


Here, too, we were glad to make the acquaintance 
of the medical officer of the Mission, Dr. Moffat, a 
proof of whose energy and keenness had already been 
afforded by the fact that, although the offer of the 
appointment had only reached him at the Scottish 
Industrial Mission at Kibwezi on the 16th of 
December, he had at once started for Mombasa, 
had walked 200 miles under the broiling sun, in 
the hottest time of the year, and within six degrees 
of the equator, had replenished his medical stores 
from such supplies as were available at the coast, 
and was now not only ready to start on the journey 
to the centre of Africa, but also willingly consented 
to take upon his shoulders the additional and most 
onerous work of caravan leader and general superin- 
tendent, until we should join the larger body which 
had gone forward a fortnight earlier under the leader- 
ship of Mr. Foaker. Hardly had we arrived in 
camp before Dr. Moffat's professional services were 
requisitioned by two of our party, who had been 
completely overpowered by the cruel and unaccus- 
tomed heat of the tropical mid-day sun, to which we 
had been unavoidably exposed in consequence of the 
delay and slight confusion at starting inevitable on a 
first departure from the coast. 

The next morning at daybreak we prepared for 
the start of our first real march with the caravan 
and with all our belongings. The tents were struck, 
and then, in spite of all the care, the forethought, and 
the explanations which had been expended on the 
porters the preceding day, there ensued a scene of 


squabbles, of confusion, and of abject helplessness on 
the part of two-thirds of the men, which caused our 
hearts to sink into the very soles of our boots as we 
thought of the long journey before us. The older 
and shrewder professional porters, who had been at 
this game before, at once seized and shouldered the 
lightest and most comfortable - looking loads, and 
marched boldly out of camp ; others were endeavour- 
ing, with the hopeless awkwardness of inexperience, to 
fold up the tents into some portable shape ; others, 
again, were feebly attempting, with the help of 
some very rotten -looking string, to fasten the bags 
containing their ten days' rations of coarse flour to 
the top of the loads which they had to carry ; while 
some, probably the most weakly and the youngest of 
the lot, were not even pretending to do anything, but 
stared with idiotic dismay at the formidable-looking 
packages which had been left to them by their sharper 
companions, and to which they had to add the weight 
of their own rations. We at once sent messengers to 
stop the leading men, and the whole party was halted 
in a long line along the path about a quarter of a 
mile out of camp. Here every man w^as made to 
place his load on the path in front of him ; packages 
and men were rapidly counted and checked, and a re- 
distribution of loads more in proportion to the strength 
of the carriers was quickly effected; headmen and 
overseers were placed at intervals all along the line ; 
Major Owen, Captain Portal, and Dr. Moffat were 
told off to bring up the rear for the day ; and by 
eight o'clock the whole party of some 200 men. 


including thirty of the Zanzibar soldiers who had 
been left by Lieutenant Arthur as our escort, was at 
last ready for a final departure. 

There now only remained the most painful part of 
the whole morning's duty — to say good-bye to General 
Mathews. There was not one of our party, even 
among those who had only seen him for the first 
time a few hours ago, who had not been fascinated 
by his kindly cheerfulness, his indomitable self- 
sacrifice, and his unfailing energy ; there was not 
one of us who did not wish that the General could 
accompany us to Uganda and back ; but for myself, 
to w^hom his sound common-sense, his honest advice, 
and his marvellous influence over all classes at 
Zanzibar, had been simply invaluable during the 
many months that we had spent working side by 
side during very critical times, I could only wish 
helplessly that I could find some words to express 
even a fraction of the gratitude and of the confused 
rush of feelings which made me speechless. How- 
ever, the graceful facility with which any son of the 
Latin races would be able to clothe his sentiments in 
fitting and picturesque words is denied to all but a 
favoured few of our tongue-tied and awkward nation, 
and our parting was what such partings always are 
between two English friends in any part of the world 
and under any imaginable circumstances, — a hearty 
grasp of the hand, perhaps rather more sustained 
than usual, and with an almost involuntary extra 
pressure at the end, and a simple " Good-bye, old 
fellow ! " After all, is this much less eloquent, or 


does it convey much less meaning than the graceful 
phrases which have been unable to force their way 
through the confusion of real feeling, and to which 
one regrets half an hour later not to have been able 
to give utterance ? 

For a few minutes after the signal had been given 
to march all appeared to go well at last, and the 
picture then displayed before us would have been 
ample compensation to any lover of the beautiful in 
Nature for all the trouble, the time, the storms, the 
sea-sickness, and the heat incidental to a journey into 
tropical Africa. The long line of white-clad and 
black-skinned porters, bearing on their heads loads of 
every colour, size, and shape, slowly winds in single 
file along the narrow path like a brilliant and gigantic 
serpent, now almost dazzling to look upon under the 
rays of the morning sun, now gliding in dark and 
mysterious silence through the cool shade of a wooded 
valley. All around the richly -clothed downs and 
park-like glades of pasture are clotted with clumps of 
mimosa thorns, interspersed with flowering shrubs of 
every hue, which shine like rubies and turquoises 
against the dark and massive background of some 
gigantic mango-tree ; the fan-palm thrusts its bristling 
head high into the air ; the frowning severity of the 
black rocks, which here and there break through the 
grassy covering of the hills, is softened by groves of 
graceful cocoa-nut palms, to whose swaying stems 
cling masses of the most lovely flowering orchids ; 
while the palms in their turn are compelled to bend 
their heads in unceasing homage before the ponderous 


strength of the mighty baobab, which on every emi- 
nence displays a bloated and unwieldy trunk, and, shak- 
ing itself clear from the festoons of creepers that try, 
as in mockery, to hide the ungainly nakedness, wildly 
stretches to heaven its distorted, gnarled, and leafless 
arms in a perpetual agony of despairing malevolence. 

There was, however, but little time for the enjoy- 
ment of Nature's picture-gallery, for after a few 
minutes' walking the line of porters began to lengthen 
ominously. While the leading men still stepped out 
briskly with their heavy loads, others began slowly 
to di'op farther and farther to the rear. Badly-tied 
loads, consisting of perhaps three or four separate 
articles, came to pieces, and the inexperienced youths 
could not adjust their burdens in a comfortable position 
either on their heads or their shoulders ; they had "not 
yet learned the older porters' trick of winding a good 
piece of cotton cloth tightly round their heads like 
the towering turbans worn by some Sikh regiments, 
in order to form a pad which keeps the actual load 
several inches above their skulls. These pieces of 
cloth, some seven feet long by four wide, were served 
out to every porter and every soldier before leaving 
the coast ; by day they serve as a pad for his head 
while carrying his load, or, if he prefers it, as an 
additional garment in cold weather; while for the 
night two of these cloths stretched on sticks and 
leanins: towards each other form an excellent little 
tent, under which the two owners can sleep in comfort 
and with less danger of fever from rain or dew. 

It would have been hopeless to have attempted 


more than a very short march on this first day. We 
had made a late start and the sun was fierce, the men 
had not got accustomed to their loads, nor were these 
as yet quite fairly distributed ; both Europeans and 
natives were thoroughly out of condition, and would 
be liable to break down if severely pressed at first ; 
above all, it had to be remembered that since they 
had received their two months' advance of wages at 
Zanzibar the large majority of the porters had probably 
been endeavouring to get as much value out of the 
money as possible in the few days yet left to them. 
It was safe to assume that every rupee which they had 
saved from the clutches of the Zanzibar and Mombasa 
ladies had been spent in cramming inordinate quan- 
tities of food and drink into their stomachs, and that, 
consequently, for the last few days about three-fourths 
of my caravan had been in a comfortable state of 
perpetual intoxication.^ It was necessary to let all 
this work itself ofi" by degrees ; no more drink would 
be obtainable this side of Uganda, so that the physical 
training of the men was only a question of a short 
time, and it was above all things necessary to bring 
them pretty fresh to the edge of a long waterless and 
desert tract which lay a few days' march ahead of us, 
and which had to be traversed in one long scrambling 
march of nearly forty miles. 

^ In spite of the efforts that have been made, with purely humanitarian 
objects, to prevent the import into East Africa and the supply of spirits to the 
native, he is still able to satisfy his craving for alcohol with the fermented 
juice of the cocoa-nut palm, a liquor not less intoxicating ; while the European 
trader has ingeniously found means to evade the line of prohibition by flooding 
Africa with a cheap and most pernicious spirit under the disguise of Eau de 
Cologne. — Ed. 


On the first day, therefore, after a brisk walk of 
about six miles, we halted and camped at a place 
named Muachi, by the edge of some rather repulsive- 
looking water which, though apparently stagnant, 
feeds a slight stream, which eventually finds its way 
to the head of the great harbour of Mombasa (Port 
Reitz). The only thing worthy of note in connection 
with this camp is that although it lies within sixteen 
miles of Mombasa, the only means of crossing the 
deep, muddy water is afi'orded by a slippery, half- 
rotten, and twisted tree thrown from bank to bank, 
with no rail or artificial assistance, — difficult enough 
to traverse in dry weather, but a veritable trap for 
the wary or the unwary during or after rain. We 
made an estimate that the amount of losses suffered by 
caravans at this place during any average month 
would have been more than equivalent to the cost of 
construction and maintenance of a sufficient bridge 
for several years. 


The day's programme — Crossing the great Taro Plain — The first 
station of the East Africa Company — A splendid view of Mount 
Kilimanjaro — Bad news from Kikuyu — A flourishing Industrial 

Let not the reader be afraid, from the contents of 
the last chapter, that I am about to inflict upon him 
a detailed account of our proceedings day by day, 
after the approved fashion of African travellers. The 
hours at which we rose, breakfasted, marched, and 
halted, were no doubt of great interest to ourselves 
at the time, and so also were our numerous petty 
difficulties about porters, loads, food, and water ; but 
I can scarcely hope that a faithful recapitulation 
of all these episodes of daily life would rouse the 
interest of even the most enthusiastic inquirers into 
African matters at home. It is sufficient to say that 
after the first few days of comparative confusion, the 
whole machinery of the caravan began to work 
smoothly. Headmen and porters soon settled down 
in earnest to their respective duties ; the effects of 
coast-life, and especially of the final debauch, worked 
themselves off", the men's feet began to harden and 
their condition to improve, while the younger and 



more inexperienced porters soon learnt innumerable 
little tricks for tying up, packing, and arranging their 
loads in the most efficient manner, and at the same 
time in the most comfortable way for themselves. 

There were, however, 
an ominous number 
who still continued to 
give the rear -guard a 
good deal of trouble, 
and who were con- 
stantly throwing down 
their packs and sitting 
down by the wayside 
on every sort of real 
or imaginary pretext. 
Some of these were 
really too young or too 
weakly for the work 
they had to do, others 
were suffering, almost 
from the start, from 
sore feet and ulcerated 
legs, but there was 
also a fair proportion 
of genuine " malinger- 
ers" — men as strong 
as donkeys, who simply calculated that by constantly 
dropping back to the rear, lying down by the road- 
side, shamming sickness, and so forth, they would 
succeed not only in escaping the necessary " fatigue 
duty" on arrival in camp, but that they would be 


Native Headman of the Mission Caravan. 


given lighter loads, or even allowed to loaf along for 
some days with no burden at all. 

The general routine of the day's work was as 
follows, and varied but little : — At 4.30 a.m. a drum 
was beaten, and the bugler of the Zanzibar soldiers 
sounded the reveille. Everybody then had to get up 
and hastily perform, in the dark, such toilet as might 
be thought necessary. While this was in progress 
the cooks were preparing some hot cocoa and porridge 
for the Europeans, which was devoured in immense 
quantities, and with hearty appetite, but in a hurry, 
between 5 and a quarter past. In the meantime 
the tent-boys were packing up the beds and bedding, 
closing and locking any boxes which might have been 
opened by their masters, and generally looking about 
to see that no articles of personal property were left 
behind. At the same time the porters told off to 
each officer were striking his tent, rolling it up tightly 
with its poles, pegs, ropes, and mallet in two loads, 
while others were eno-aged in fastenino; their own little 
properties, spare clothes, bag of ration-Hour, etc., on to 
the loads which they were to carry. By about 5.30 
A.M. everything was usually ready for a start, the 
signal was given by sounding the drum, and away 
we went as soon as the first streak of dawn was strong 
enough to show us the path. During the first part 
of the journey it was found desirable to halt the whole 
party for a few minutes about half a mile out of camp 
in order to give stragglers and clumsy packers time 
to join the rest, and also in order to let the headmen 
and officers of the rear-guard make a thorough search 


through the deserted camp to see if any load had been 
hidden or inadvertently left behind. We discontinued 
this practice after the first three weeks. 

One of the English officers was told off, in rotation, 
every day, for the wearisome and disagreeable duty of 
rear-guard. It was his business, with the assistance 
of a headman, to see every porter, load, and soldier 
always in front of him ; and it needs a few hours' 
personal experience of that task in order thoroughly 
to appreciate the amount of patience, good temper, 
and physical endurance which it demands. In the 
first place, it is always annoying to be the last man 
of a long column ; secondly, the trail of a large 
number of Zanzibar porters, in the clothes which they 
have worn unwashed for some weeks, who themselves 
last touched water, except for drinking purposes, 
perhaps many months ago, is by no means savoury 
in the early morning ; thirdly, within half a mile of 
starting there are probably a few men who have 
thrown down their loads and sitting by the wayside, 
swearing they are ill or lame. A hasty examination 
has to be made to see if the excuses are genuine or 
not : in the former case some arrangements have to be 
at once made for a substitute to carry the load, but in 
the latter, and far more frequent case, the " malin- 
gerer " has to be forced to shoulder his load again and 
urged forward to join the others. As the march goes 
on these events multiply, and, especially if the day 
be hot and the way long, it is by no means uncommon 
to come across a whole pile of loads lying by the way- 
side, and no carriers visible until a more careful search 


discovers them peacefully sleeping under a tree. It 
was customary, after walking about two or two and a 
half hours, for the ofi&cer in front to call a halt in 
order to rest the men, and to let the rear — by this 
time straggling a long way behind — close up again. 
The leading men now enjoy a good rest for perhaps 
nearly an hour, but not so the unfortunate officer of 
the rear-guard ; for his arrival is the signal for a 
fresh start, this time probably for a longer spell, to the 
place where it has been decided to camp. The average 
speed of marching was about two and three-quarter 
miles an hour, and as we covered 820 miles in sixty- 
six marching days, the amount of ground traversed 
averaged twelve and a half miles a day, which, I 
may observe, en parenthese, is far above the usual 
speed of heavily-laden caravans going up-country. 

As soon as we reached the halting-place, generally 
between 11 o'clock and mid-day, suitable sites were 
chosen for the tents, which were at once pitched wit)i 
the help of the Zanzibar soldiers. The camping-place 
for the porters was then marked out, cooks were set 
to work to boil water, make tea or coffee, and prepare 
luncheon ; men were despatched for water, and others 
for firewood ; every officer looked after his own tent 
and counted his loads as they came in ; the general 
stores, "trade -goods," etc., were checked off, and 
deposited in an orderly heap in the middle of the 
camp, and then covered with a large tarpaulin; a strong 
" boma," or hedge of thorns, was made in which to 
enclose at night the donkeys or cattle accompanying 
us, and sentries were posted at such places as were 



thought suitable. After luncheon came the medical 
parade, at which the doctor had to spend a consider- 
able time in dressing ulcers, administering quinine, 
and generally examining and prescribing for all those 
who presented themselves for treatment. Meanwhile, 
if not too tired, some, at least, of us would go out 
shooting, returning at sunset for dinner with or with- 

out spoils of the chase, and by 9 o'clock most, if not 
all, of the Europeans were safely in bed and sleeping 
the sleep of healthy weariness. 

It would be difficult to imagine a more healthy life 
than this. Nothing stronger than coffee ever passed 
our lips except, perhaps, when the water was very 
high-flavoured and of a green or brown colour, an 
extremely diminutive allowance of whisky at bed- 


time ; our only enemies were sore feet and fever ; the 
weather was, on the whole, fine and pleasant, the 
nights cool, and the sun, after the first fortnight, not 
too hot ; the result was, therefore, that the " hardships 
of African travel," of which we had all read so much, 
resulted, for the most of us at least, in the develop- 
ment of an amount of strength and of an abnormal 
appetite to which we had long been strangers in more 
civilised life. 

It must not, however, be imagined that we had no 
troubles and no sickness in our party. We had our 
share of both, which shall be noticed later, and we 
even had cause more than once for grave anxiety ; 
but, on the whole, for those who really kept well, the 
routine above described was about as health-giving a 
course as any that could be prescribed by a physician. 

Even before the end of the first day's march, which 
I have endeavoured to describe in the last chapter, 
all signs of cultivation and of cocoa-nut plantations 
had disappeared. The country for the next fifty or 
sixty miles consisted of low undulating hills, covered 
with rank dry grass and stunted mimosa thorns, with 
a few small pools of extremely bad, thick, and stag- 
nant water at long intervals. Occasionally, in the 
neighbourhood of one of these pools, was hidden a 
small poverty-stricken native village, inhabited, near 
the coast, by the Wa-Deruma,^ and a little farther 
inland by the Wa-Nyika. Of these settlements and 
their inhabitants little need be said. Both were 

^ In the Swahili language, the lingua franca of East Africa, inflexions take 
place at the beginning of the word. Wa- is the mark of the plural. — Ed. 


characterised by the extreme dirt and misery of their 
appearance ; the few scant patches of grain or cassava 
on which the people depended for their subsistence 
were ill-kept, and could yield barely sufficient for 
the support of the villagers, certainly none for sale 
to passing travellers. The men carried a badly-made 
spear, with a small bow and poisoned arrows, and the 
clothing of men, women, and children alike consisted 
only of a single piece of very filthy and greasy cotton 
cloth, or an equally repulsive piece of hide. Neither 
men nor women showed any curiosity at our appear- 
ance, nor the slightest wish to enter into communica- 
tion with the caravan, but, at the same time, they were 
not particularly shy, and did not run away at our 
approach; they appeared to be harmless, amiable, lazy, 
and imbued with all the philosophy of stolid stupidity. 
These people, the nearest in point of distance to 
the coast and to European development, as repre- 
sented by the East Africa Company's headquarters at 
Mombasa, were morally farther removed from civilisa- 
tion and of a lower type of intelligence than any 
whom we met on the whole subsequent journey. 

Five days after leaving the coast we found our- 
selves face to face with the bugbear which had been 
looming before us ever since the start. This was a 
parched, waterless district, known as the " Taro plain," 
thirty-seven miles wide, extending from our camp at 
Taro, near a rock-hole full of green and almost putrid 
water, to a mountain named Maungu, in the blue 
distance, on whose extreme summit water is to be 
found during the greater part of the year. It was 


necessary to traverse this distance in one march, it 
being impossible to add to the loads already carried 
the weight and bulk of all the water which would be 
required for two days' march under a tropical sun 
during the hottest season of the year. The existence 
of this waterless plain is indeed one of the principal 
reasons which has caused Arab and Swahili traders 
to avoid the caravan route from Mombasa, and, in 
preference, to run the risks of attack from various 
native tribes to which they are exposed, by using the 
road from Bagamoyo or Pangani through German 
territory. This is less to be wondered at when it is 
remembered that the water at Maungu, at the north- 
western end of this plain, is by no means a certainty, 
and that when that pool is dry the march has to be 
prolonged from thirty-seven to about forty-eight miles, 
— a very severe trial for a loaded caravan, and one 
which, it is to be feared, has already cost many 
lives. I am only stating a self-evident fact in saying 
that this road from Mombasa can never become the 
main outlet for the commerce of Central Africa, so 
long as, in this district at all events, the only means 
of transport are the heads and shoulders of human 

It may be of some interest to give a brief account 
of our experiences during this march, which, it must 
be remembered, came upon, us long before either the 
men or ourselves were in good walking trim. Most 
of us were rather stiff and weary from the un- 
accustomed exercise of the last few days, two of 
the officers and several of the men were pulled down 


by attacks of fever, and a large number, both of 
officers and men, were sutfering from the blistered 
and ulcerated feet which are an almost inevitable 
consequence of the first few days' march under a 
tropical sun on a sandy path which burns like hot 

Before leaving the coast we had heard a good 
deal about certain wells, said to have been dug by 
the Imperial British East Africa Company at a place 
named Butzuma, in the midst of the Taro plain, and, 
relying on these wells, we had hoped that perhaps 
the greater part of the difficulty of this march had 
vanished, and that we should be able to halt and rest 
for a night half-way across. All illusions were, 
however, dispelled on the evening of the 6th of 
January, by the arrival at our camp at Taro of a 
party of natives who had just crossed the plain, and 
who told us that there was not a drop of water at 
Butzuma, and even laughed at our ignorance for 
asking such a question. In order to escape some 
hours, at least, the thirst -producing sun, and as, 
fortunately, we could rely with confidence upon a 
fairly bright moon, it was decided to do as much as 
possible of the journey by night. The men were 
therefore given an idle morning to lie about in the 
shade till 11.30 a.m., when tents were struck and 
the column slowly began to wind along a dusty path 
through a thick scrub of prickly mimosa. Soon after 
starting we sighted our objective point, the Maungu 
Mountain, standing abrupt and high out of the 
plain in the blue distance, and I think that our 


hearts sank a little as we took note of its blueness 
and distant appearance. 

At mid-day down came the rain in a torrent such as 
is possible only in the tropics. Although this rather 
increased the difficulties of progression, and added 
materially to the weight of the loads, especially of 
the tents, the rain was received with sounds of 
welcome ; for, we argued, now that the water is 
running off the rocks in little cascades, and that the 
path itself is churned by the feet of the leading men 
into a liquid slush, surely the Butzuma wells will be 
full of water, and we shall be able to camp there to- 
night and continue the march comfortably to-morrow 

After marching for between five and six hours we 
arrived at an open space, in which were two small 
square thatched roofs on poles. This was Butzuma, 
and these little squares of thatch covered the cele- 
brated wells. The appearance of the place was not 
promising, and it was with a sinking heart that I 
went to examine the *' wells." What I saw there 
would have been ridiculous if the attendant circum- 
stances and the disappointment had not made it 
almost tragic : the much-vaunted wells consisted of 
two holes about eight or nine feet square by as 
many deep, covered over by a roof of grass-thatch in 
a state of considerable dilapidation ; but as for water, 
I think I may safely say that the bottoms of these 
wells were the only thoroughly dry spots in the 
whole country within a circumference of ten miles ! 
The afternoon was extremely oppressive and sultry, 



and we were all in the undignified position of being 
short of water with wet boots and clothes, and were 
also beginning to feel already that we had had 
enough walking for one day ! 

The tail of the caravan did not arrive at Butzuma 
till after we had been there a full hour, and the men 
had already, in their usual improvident manner, 
drunk most if not all of the water contained in the 
tin water-bottles which had been served out to them 
at the coast. It was thought advisable to make as 
much progress as possible before dark, and so, after 
allowing a short rest for the rear party, we started 
ofi' again and marched till a little after sunset, i.e. 
for about an hour, and then stopped again. Even 
after this short spurt the tired rear lost a lot of 
ground, and did not appear till nearly an hour and a 
half after the leaders. Here we decided to wait till 
the moon should rise, and each of the Europeans 
contributed a little out of his water -flask into a 
common tea-pot, and we had some very refreshing 
tea and a biscuit, after which most of us got about 
two hours' sleep. At 11 p.m. the moon made her 
appearance, the tired men were kicked up somehow, 
loads were collected in the dark, in spite of the 
efforts of the " shirkers " to lose them, and once more 
we toiled along a pretty straight and good piece of 
road, which had recently been cleared for nearly ten 
miles by the orders of the East Africa Company. 
This time we struggled wearily along till 2.30 a.m., 
and then once more laid the seeds of future fever by 
lying on the ground for nearly an hour. At 3.15 a.m. 


we were off again, limping forward, but now very 
slowly and painfully ; all attempts at conversation had 
long ceased, and we felt inclined to regard a harmless 
remark addressed to any of us in the light of an 

With our minds a blank, our eyes fixed on the 
steep sides of Maungu, which in the bright moonlight 
now really began to look a little closer, we could do 
nothing but feebly hope for the end, and wonder 
whether we should ever get in, while the only sounds 
were an occasional deep curse in English or Swahili, 
as either a booted or a bare foot tripped over a stone 
or a root in the dark shadows. From time to time 
the ghostly form of some antelope, or the uncanny 
outline of a hysena was seen crossing the path before 
us, or, with a hushed rustle of downy wings, some 
large night-bird would almost brush our faces, but 
the general impression produced by this forest of dry 
thorny scrub was one of deep, solemn, weird silence. 
At 4.30 A.M. the straight and newly-cleared path 
came to an abrupt end, and now to our other troubles 
were added those of sharp thorn branches hanging 
right across the road, which tore our faces, knocked 
the loads off the porters' heads, and caused additional 
loss of temper. At last, at 5 a.m., we arrived at a 
small clearing in the bush, and at the same time the 
first streak of dawn showed us each other's haggard 
faces. By mutual consent, and without a word being 
said, every one here threw himself once more on the 
ground for a little rest. The tail of the caravan 
straggled in within an hour, and at 6 o'clock we 


were off again for a last effort which should take us 
right in to Maungu. 

By this time I don't suppose there was a pint of 
water left in the whole caravan, so that nothing but 
harm could be done by further waiting. To increase 
our difficulties the path now became the most 
circuitous, the most overgrown with thorns, and 
generally the most unkempt that it has ever been my 
fate to experience even in Africa. Our objective 
point, Maungu Mountain, was clearly visible, bearing 
W.N.W., but now we found ourselves marching 
sometimes due north, sometimes south, and some- 
times even in an easterly direction — never seeing 
more than ten yards along the path ahead of us, 
always dodging under branches, and wrestling with 
thorns two and even three inches long, and as sharp 
as needles. Nothing, I think, is so tiring, so 
thoroughly heart-breaking, as the feeling thus 
engendered that, in spite of all one's walking and toil, 
one is not really making much progress, and count- 
less were the anathemas hurled at the heads of the 
East Africa Company's authorities, as we realised 
how the expenditure of a few pounds, a few weeks' 
work for a few men, at any time during the five 
years that they have held their charter of adminis- 
tration, might have saved us all this trouble, might 
have cleared and straightened the road, and thereby 
shortened the whole of this accursed march by at 
least five miles.^ 

^ I must here state, as Sir G. Portal would himself have done had he 
lived to revise these pages, that since this passage was written, a new road 
has been constructed by the patriotic enterprise of the late Sir W. Mackinnou, 



At last, however, we began to ascend the foot of 
MauDgu, and hoped our labours were at an end. 
Sharply, but in vain, we looked about for any signs 
of a watercourse or of a swampy piece of ground. 
Steeper and steeper became the path, till we felt that 
it only needed this ascent to break our hearts com- 
pletely. By this time there was nobody anywhere 
near me except a couple of soldiers and a cook bearing 
an empty kettle. Higher and higher we climbed, 
despair alternating with philosophical resignation, 
until at length, at five minutes past 9, we emerged 
on an open space where there were evident traces of 
former camps. This, I was informed, was our destin- 
ation. So far so good, and with a sigh of relief I 
sank down on the root of a tree, but where was the 
water ? The irony of the situation, and the com- 
pleteness of the "sell" devised by Nature, struck me 
as so successful that the answer only elicited a some- 
what husky laugh : the water was at the extreme 
summit of the mountain, 1000 feet above the camping- 
ground 1 After a short discussion the two soldiers 
volunteered to go up and bring some water, and off 
they went, hung all round like Christmas-trees with 
the water-bottles of the men who had as yet arrived, 
and taking also the cook's empty kettle. For two 
more wearisome hours we had to wait, while a few 
more men dropped in, and then a shout of joy 
announced the return of the messengers. A very 

executed at his sole expense, and continued by the public spirit of his heirs, 
which remedies all the defects alluded to, shortens the distance considerably, 
and, passing to the east of Maungu, avoids the wearisome ascent now about 
to be described. Eeference is made to this work in chap. viii. — Ed. 


limited drink was all I could allow to either myself 
or the men who had arrived, and then we sent back 
more volunteers with water for the tired ones scat- 
tered along the road for manv miles. At the same 
time a fatigue party of the strongest men was de- 
spatched to help their weaker companions and to carry 
their loads in for them. For the rest of the morning 
haggard and limping men came staggering into camp, 
and it was not till nearly 3 o'clock in the afternoon 
that the whole caravan had arrived. There were 
many cases of exhaustion, and some of rather alarm- 
ing prostration that afternoon, but I am happy to be 
able to add that not one ended fatally, and that there 
was, moreover, not one man unable to continue the 
march next day. 

On the 9 th of January we arrived, very stiff and 
tired, at a lovely spot at the foot of the Ndara Hills. 
Our camp was pitched in a grassy plain, shaded by 
magnificent trees, by the side of a sparkling stream of 
pure water which falls in a long silver thread from 
the summit of a lofty precipice, dashes proudly through 
the plain for a few hundred yards, and then loses itself 
suddenly in the thirsty soil. High in the precipitous 
mountains were hidden a few small villages of the 
Wa-Teita, a peaceful, harmless people, who complained 
bitterly of the oppression which they had suffered at 
the hands of passing caravans. They were very 
short of food, their meagre fields of maize and millet 
were parched and bare, and they could sell nothing 
to us except a few sugar-canes. In order to give a 
much-needed rest to the men, we stayed the whole of 


the next day at this pleasant spot, which gave an 
opportunity, to such of the officers as were not too 
footsore to move, for the production of guns and 
rifles of every calibre and every degree of modern 
perfection, in the anticipation of finding big game. 
The whole country was, however, too parched and 
dry ; the game, which is usually reported to be in this 
neighbourhood, had evidently moved off to richer 
plains nearer the Sabaki river, and but little was seen 
by any of our party except a few zebra, two of which 
were bagged and brought to camp. The doctor was 
also fortunate enough to shoot a somewhat rare and 
curious gazelle, with a long, swan-like neck and long 
tail, known as Clarke's gazelle {Ammodoreus Clarhei). 
When bounding along, this creature bends its long 
neck backward and raises its tail over its back till 
they give the impression of a complete arch. I should 
add that not only all round our camp, but for miles 
in every direction, the plain was simply alive with 
small "button" quail. At every other step they 
were rising in twos and threes, and it is no exaggera- 
tion to say that every acre of grass concealed hundreds 
of these excellent little birds. Powder and shot was, 
however, far too precious to be wasted on quails of 
any sort. 

For the next few days we pushed ahead without 
any adventure worth recording, crossing the Voi 
river, which entails nearly half an hour's walk through 
high rushes, water, and deep black mud of the most 
repulsive and odoriferous nature, and making gener- 
ally rather long and forced marches till we arrived 


at the Tsavo river, where the East Africa Company 
had established their first "station" on the road to 
Central Africa, 140 miles from the coast. Somewhat 
to our disappointment, we found that this post con- 
sisted of nothing more than a mud house surrounded 
by a rough stockade of logs, in a dismal spot on the 
banks of the clear, quick-running Tsavo river, about 
twenty yards wide at this point. The Company's 
representative in charge of this station and of the sur- 
rounding district was a Portuguese half-breed youth 
of about seventeen years of age, who was apparently 
much depressed by the enforced companionship of a 
dozen " irregular" Arab soldiers, natives of the Persian 
Gulf and Hadramaut coast, deservedly looked upon 
at Zanzibar and along the shores of East Africa 
as being the veritable scum of the earth. 

At Tsavo we found a quantity of flour and rice 
which had been sent up from Mombasa for us a week 
previously. From this, ten days' rations, at the rate 
of a pound and a half per diem, were dealt out to 
each man. 

Two days afterwards, at a place named Kinani, 
notable chiefly for the thick, green colour and slimy 
character of its water, which lies in a marshy pool at 
the foot of a great mass of red granite rock, we 
obtained our first view of the mighty giant of East 
Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Late in the afternoon 
we had climbed to the top of the rocks and searched 
the horizon for the two lofty peaks, 21,000 feet above 
the sea-level. Before us opened an apparently endless 
vista of bold, rugged mountains piled up one behind 


the other till their outlines were lost in the red mist 
of the distance. It was with some disappointment 
that we selected the highest of these as being Kili- 
manjaro, and strove to make ourselves feel awe-struck 
and impressed with the grandeur of this monarch of 
a continent. But, as though the insult of this mis- 
taken identity were too great to be borne any longer, 
suddenly, just as the sun began to touch the broken 
line of the horizon, a hitherto imperceptible mist was 
rolled aside as a curtain might be drawn back, and high 
above the highest of those ridges towered a gleaming 
mass of red-tinted snow and black rock. Frowning 
down upon the now humbled mountains around him, as 
though to reprove them for daring thus to depreciate 
his majesty, the snow-clad tyrant determined to show 
himself in his best aspect. Against his gleaming 
shoulder the setting sun nestled closer and closer; 
above and on either side dense masses of cloud enclosed 
the picture, the bold, irregular outlines of their inward 
edges gleaming with scarlet, purple, and gold, until 
the snow of the twin peaks caught the reflection and 
transformed itself into the richest mantle of brilliant 
velvet and satin. Near us not a sound was heard, all 
Nature was silent, the tongue of even a Rifle Brigade 
subaltern was stilled ; spell-bound we gazed as slowly, 
tenderly, an imperceptible veil of mist was drawn 
before the face of the glory, gently and unwillingly, 
shrouding it as an Eastern Aphrodite dims her beauty 
with the transparent yashmak ; darker, heavier grew 
the veil, until we gazed, as before, into a confused 
sea of gray mist and black peaks in the middle 


distance. Silently, and with a sigh as of relief from 
extreme tension, we turned away and wondered, was 
it real, this which we had seen ? 

After this incident our journey for a few days was 
most uninteresting. The road was fairly level, so that 
we managed to cover from twelve to fifteen miles every 
day, but there was no game, the country alternated 
between dense thorny scrub and sparse thorny scrub ; 
water was only found in pools at long intervals, and 
was either thick, green, strong-smelling, and full of 
little animals, or else thick, brown, and full of mud. 
After an animated discussion a committee of taste 
decided that the latter was, on the whole, the best 
for culinary and drinking purposes. During these 
days we met an officer of the Imperial British East 
Africa Company returning from Uganda to the coast. 
He drew for our edification a most dismal picture of 
the general state of affairs, and of the life led by 
Englishmen in Uganda; but, what was far more 
distressing, he also brought news of a mutiny of the 
Company's troops at Kikuyu, and of the death at 
that place of Captain Nelson, who had done such 
gallant service and had passed through such terrible 
sufferings during Mr. Stanley's expedition for the 
relief of Emin Pasha from 1887 to 1889. Apart 
from the sincere sorrow caused by the news, it also 
gave rise to some anxiety on our own account, as 
Kikuyu was the station on which we were relying 
for the collection of a sufficient quantity of food to 
support the whole caravan of porters and Zanzibar 


soldiers across a foodless tract of some 250 miles 
which lay beyond that place. 

On the 1 8th of January we struck into an excellent 
and well-kept road, some ten feet wide, along which 
the men stepped out bravely. It led us for three or 
four miles through a lovely park-like country, over a 
clear, murmuring stream, to the station of the Scottish 
Industrial Mission at Kibwezi, about 200 miles from 
the coast. The road had indeed been cleared some 
months before for nearly thirty miles, but all the 
rest of it had unfortunately been allowed to become 
so overgrown with bushes and long grass that the 
track is almost imperceptible. As we approached 
this Industrial Mission evidences of its work and 
beneficent influence were apparent on every side. 
Fields were being cultivated, the natives were at 
work, and, standing with confidence to see our 
caravan defile, shouted out cheery greetings to the 
men. This was a refreshing contrast to the conduct 
of the inhabitants of a village only two marches back, 
who had fled with every sign of panic at the sight of 
a white man, and who, when with difliculty they were 
induced to come into the camp, poured out bitter 
complaints of the exactions, the ill-treatment, and the 
violation of domicile w^hich they had sufi'ered at the 
hands of travellers. 

At the Kibwezi Mission we w^ere received with 
every possible kindness and hospitality, and a pleasant 
afternoon was spent in admiring the neatness of the 
gardens, the grass - built houses, the well - kept turf 
intersected by walks and hedges, and in noting with 


pleasure the trust and good-will shown by the natives 
of neighbouring; villa<jes. Althouo-h this Industrial 
Mission had only recently been established in the 
country — scarcely a year before — the progress it had 
made in the affections of the people, and the general 
good it had already effected in the neighbourhood, 
were really remarkable. The founders are to be 
congratulated on the success of their enterprise, 
which bids fair, if well supported, to rival in well- 
doinof its elder sister, the Lovedale Mission of 
Southern Africa. 

This establishment affords another proof, if such 
were needed, of the wisdom of introducing the true 
benefits of civilisation among natives, not in the 
time-honoured English fashion with a Bible in one 
hand and a bottle of gin or a Tower musket in the 
other, but by teaching simple, useful arts, or by 
inculcating an improved system of agriculture, the 
benefits of which, and the additional comforts thus 
acquired, are quickly noticed and appreciated by the 
imitative African. The ordinary African, by the way, 
is not half such a fool as he looks ; he appreciates as 
much as any one the advantages of a warm blanket 
on chilly nights, or of an iron hoe to replace his 
wooden spud in digging his little field ; and the 
man who can teach him how to earn these luxuries 
will obtain a proportionate influence over him. But 
even in Africa the general laws of supply and demand 
are as strong as anywhere else : it is useless to offer 
the ordinary tribesman wages to serve as a caravan- 
porter or as a coolie in some engineering work. The 


first he connects in his mind with heavy loads, sore 
and ulcerous shoulders, long marches, swearing head- 
men, and possibly a vision of a gang of poor fellows 
fastened together with chains; the second means to him 
continuous work, more brutal headmen, and probably 
over all a terrible white man with a long stick, freely 
used, and strings of loud oaths in a strange tongue. 
After careful consideration, the African comes to the 
conclusion that whatever may be the inducements 
offered in beads, wire, or even blankets, this sort of 
thing is " not quite good enough." He hates regular 
hours or anything approaching to discipline, but he 
is quite ready to improve his own material comforts, 
and even to work with that object in view, if any one 
will show him what to do and how to do it ; but as the 
very foundation of his nature is suspicion, he must 
first have confidence in his teacher. 

I have no wish to be led here into an essay on the 
means of disseminating civilisation in Africa : the 
whole question is a most complicated one and full 
of difficulties, and it has already formed the subject 
of several thousands of pages from far abler pens 
than mine. Theories of the most admirable nature 
have been laid down and clearly expounded ; books, 
pamphlets, speeches have proved to the world that 
the African native is a suffering martyr or that he is 
a demon incarnate, and treatment has been recom- 
mended accordingly. Africa certainly cannot com- 
plain of having received insufficient attention during 
the last few years, and yet it must be confessed that 
but little progress has been made except in a few 


isolated instances. It is to be feared that the 
shortcoming has been in the practice, the mise en 
execution of all the carefully-devised plans for the 
improvement of the lot of the negro. It is true that 
the long hide whip and chains of the white overseer 
are things of the past, and that slave caravans are 
now scarce, but it is to be greatly feared that the 
breechloader and the repeating rifles of the European 
officer and his half-disciplined troops are still emptied 
far too often in the cause of civilisation, and that the 
fire in which the African now finds himself is not 
much more comfortable than his former passive 
position in the frying-pan. All the theories, rules 
for guidance, and plans which have been evolved 
on this subject, are useless if the first principles be 
forgotten ; the ordinary African native is a curious 
compound of suspicion, superstition, child-like sim- 
plicity, and mulish obstinacy : if he knows and 
trusts his leader he may be guided gently towards 
civilisation, may be made a useful member of society, 
and even a Christian, but he will resist with the 
whole force of his nature any attempts to kick him 
from behind into comfort or into heaven. 


The scene of a Masai raid — Our first rhinoceros — Arrival at Machakos 
— Victualling the caravan — On the war-path — I bag a lion — 
The Wa-kaniba tribe and warriors — The Wa-Kikuyu. 

At Kibwezi Major Owen had a sharp attack of 
gastro- intestinal catarrh, but, fortunately, it was 
possible to get him out of his tent and into a 
comparatively warm and comfortable house, and as 
the next day's march was to be a short one of only 
about six miles, he had a long morning's rest, at the 
end of which he was sufficiently recovered to be able 
to accompany the caravan on one of the invaluable 
ponies. Regretfully we turned our backs on the 
hospitable mission-house, where we had enjoyed the 
luxuries of fresh milk, butter, bread, glasses, clean 
tablecloths, and wine, to which we had been strangers 
since leaving the coast, and unwillingly we felt 
compelled to turn a deaf ear to the petitions of the 
men, who clamoured for a day's rest on the plea that 
they were being worn out by travelling at this 
unprecedented pace. As though to confirm the 
justice of their dismal forebodings, almost immediately 
after crossing the Kibwezi river we entered upon two 
or three miles of the worst bit of road which we had 


the misfortune to encounter during the whole journey. 
Loose slabs and lumps of lava piled one above the 
other, with points like needles and edges like razors, 
cut our boots into ribbons, and reduced the already 
limping caravan to a sorry plight. Several extinct 
craters, visible in a range of hills on our west flank, 
showed clearly the origin of this lava, which was 
satisfactory from a geological point of view, but of 
little consolation to a porter with sixty-five pounds 
on his head and with bleeding feet, or to the officer 
who sadly watched the dissolution of what was of 
more value to him than its weight in gold — his 
precious pair of boots. 

So far our experience of Africa as a country for 
sport, or indeed for anything except rank grass and 
stunted thorn bushes, had been most unfavourable. 
We had walked over 200 miles, and except for the 
very few beasts shot by those who were well enough 
to go out at Ndara a fortnight ago, we had not even 
seen any four-footed animal larger or more dangerous 
than a well -grown field-mouse. The general im- 
pression was gaining ground that African shooting 
was " a fraud," that big game was a myth, and that 
former travellers had been addicted to romance. I 
may as well say at once, that long before we reached 
the end of our journey we acknowledged that on two 
of these points our fears were not justified. On 
20th January, two days after leaving Kibwezi, we 
entered what really looked like a more promising 
country. Over rolling hills and open grass -land 
dotted with fine trees, we travelled through an 


immense park. At a mid-day halt for luncheon we 
counted over a hundred hartebeest and a dozen 
ostriches within a mile of us ; later in the afternoon 
we passed two herds of that most beautiful of all 
animals, the "Grant's gazelle" [G. Grantii), besides 
several little " Kirk's gazelles." On every side were 
tracks of giraffe and rhinoceros, but I do not think 
that any of our party saw either of these animals. 
Unfortunately, we had but little time for stalking or 
shooting this day : we had to do a march of over 
seventeen miles, and it was therefore impossible to 
stray very far from the path without having to make 
up a most disagreeable amount of " lee- way " after- 
wards. A couple of hartebeest {Buhalis Cokei) and 
a Kirk's gazelle were, however, collected on the march 
and formed a most welcome addition to the meagre 
fare of the men, hardly any of whom had tasted meat 
since we left the coast. 

As we neared the camping-place we noticed that 
some of the old hands among the men began to point 
significantly to the remains of a disused " boma " or 
thorn fence near the path, and to tell some tale evi- 
dently of a thrilling nature, in connection with the 
place. On inquiry, we learnt that at this spot, only 
four months ago, a caravan of Swahili traders were 
peacefully encamped for the night, dreaming of no 
danger, but congratulating themselves on approach- 
ing the end of their journey after an absence of more 
than a year. They had built the " boma " as an en- 
closure for their donkeys and cattle, but the men were 
confidently sleeping in the open ground outside. 


Suddenly, at midnight, tliey were rudely awakened 
by a din as of the infernal regions. By the fitful 
firelight, as they started up, they caught a vision of 
immense weird forms, apparently above the height of 
men, towering high above whose heads were strange 
shapes and devices — horns of antelopes and of cows, 
crowns or halos of long eagle-feathers, the skins and 
grinning heads of monkeys, of leopards, and of cats, 
and as they moved there was a clash of many bells 
attached to their thighs, knees, and ankles ; like 
demons these huge forms flitted and bounded about 
between the fires, while the light glanced from off 
their strange head-gear, their garters and anklets of 
bells, from great shields painted with patterns of red, 
black, and white, and, above all, from mighty spears 
seven feet high, with keen broad blades of nearly half 
their length. Not for long were the unfortunate 
Swahilis and coast-traders allowed to gaze in terror 
on these sights ; barely had they time to realise that 
these tall and active forms were not ghosts or 
intangible visitors of any kind, but veritable Masai 
warriors in all their war dress, and that the hideous 
noise meant that their peaceful camp was the scene 
of a midnight Masai raid, when amid the shouts and 
clash of bells was heard the dull thud of sharp iron 
cutting into flesh and breaking through bone, and the 
ghoulish, triumphant laughter which burst from the 
leaping warriors was mingled with more than one 
despairing shriek, startling the prowling hyaenas more 
than a mile away, but ending too often in an in- 
articulate gurgle as the broad blade crashed from 



breast-bone to spine. One shot only was heard, one 
Masai rolled on the ground, and one man of the 
doomed caravan had time to seize his gun, plunge 
into the friendly darkness of the bush, and escape, 
eventually reaching the coast with a tale of having 
alone resisted and vanquished a war party of 100 Masai 
after all his companions had been killed. Long before 
daylight the camp was silent, the " boma " had been 
opened, and the cattle driven off. The warrior band 
were already many miles away when the sun rose on 
the scene, and revealed a confused heap of broken 
bales, scattered boxes, and distorted corpses, through 
whose gaping wounds the life-blood was still welling 
as gaunt, mangy hysenas fought and snarled and tore 
the warm limbs asunder with their jaws of iron. 

Not having the least desire for any similar ex- 
perience, we made a formidable " boma " round our 
camp that night on the banks of the Kiboko (Hippo- 
potamus) river, posting at suitable places round the 
camp pickets of Zanzibari soldiers, who took measures 
for ensuring the safety of the whole party by lighting 
great fires, by shouting out " Halt ! who goes there ? " 
to the immense astonishment of any porter happening 
to stray near them for the next hour, and by then 
going comfortably to sleep for the rest of the night, 
with the complacent consciousness of having done 
as much duty as could reasonably be expected of 

The next day was rendered famous for the death 
of our first rhinoceros, which happened in this wise. 
After the day's march was over and the camp 


arranged, Major Owen, accompanied by a native boy, 
was pensively strolling with a rifle up a narrow, sandy, 
dry watercourse fringed on either side by dense 
thickets of thorny bush on high banks. Kounding a 
corner he found himself face to face with a hus^e 
rhinoceros, sauntering with equal deliberation towards 
him, and only ten or fifteen paces distant. Both 
were at first equally startled by the encounter, and 
stopped for a few seconds to look at each other. The 
rhinoceros, after pondering over the matter, evidently 
had no desire for a further acquaintance, and began 
to turn his unwieldy carcass round in the narrow 
path. This ofi'ered a fair side shot, of which the 
gallant Major took prompt advantage, and in another 
moment the huge brute lay like a great boulder 
across the torrent -bed. During the same after- 
noon I, strolling similarly in search of adventure, 
happened to strike on fresh rhinoceros tracks at some 
distance from this spot. Following the spoor I soon 
came upon unmistakable proofs that the beast could 
not be more than a very short distance ahead, and 
every faculty and nerve was therefore kept at full 
tension. Soon I heard a great crashing and crackling 
of bushes close to the right-hand side, where a small 
same track debouched on to the stream-bed which I 
w^as following. Down behind a rock sank my boy 
and myself, nearer came the crashing and crackling, 
rifle was held ready, and our eyes vainly tried to 
pierce the blackness of the jungle. At last, to judge 
from the sound, the animal, whatever it was, could 
scarcely be ten yards from our ambush, and in 


another second would give a fair shot. A louder 
tearing of thorns than usual was followed by an 
angry snort, clearly proving that it was no animal of 
the antelope species before us, when suddenly I was 
considerably startled by this angry snort being 
followed by a very distinct and articulate sound, in 
which we recognised the three good Anglo-Saxon 

words, " D these thorns ! " For the second 

time that afternoon, as we advanced from our hiding- 
place, the Major was startled by an unexpected en- 
counter in the bush. He then conducted me to the 
place where his rhinoceros lay dead across the path ; 
the tracks which I had been following for so long led 
up to the carcass, and then ceased. 

By this time the news of the dead rhinoceros had 
reached camp, where, as nothing in the shape of meat 
is unwelcome to the stomach of a Swahili porter, 
except ostrich, lion, and hyaena, it was received with 
shouts of joy. In a marvellously short space of time 
the ominous number of patients who were waiting 
their turn for treatment outside the doctor's tent had 
dwindled down to two or three genuine sufferers, and 
soon a solid mass of half-naked men, all flourishing 
long knives and yelling at the top of their voices, 
was tearing across country in the direction of the 
carcass. The scene which ensued on their arrival defies 
description. In the twinkling of an eye the armour- 
like hide of the beast was ripped open in a dozen 
places ; great lumps of dark, coarse, repulsive-looking 
flesh were being hacked and torn off ; knives dripping 
with blood were gleaming, slashing, and digging in 


the most dangerous way in every available spot ; 
men behind were pushing and trying to climb over 
or force their way under their more fortunate com- 
rades in front ; others were thrusting their long 
sharp weapons over the shoulders and between the 
legs of their rivals : several, drenched with blood and 
offal from head to foot, were standing and struggling 
actually inside the carcass ; porters, who during the 
morning had either carried their loads cheerfully and 
with quaint songs along the road, or who had whin- 
ingly tried to shirk their duty by complaining of 
sore feet or stomach-ache, were now transformed by 
the sight of meat and the smell of blood into an 
assemblage of wild beasts. The whole scene was 
instructive, but absolutely sickening. A pack of 
fox-hounds breaking up a fox were tame lap-dogs in 
comparison to these men. I could think of nothing 
in the annals of the human race to which they could 
be likened, unless it were Carlyle's description of the 
Meo^seras of the French Revolution. 

Without further adventure we ended a long and 
tiring march on the 22nd of January, at the Com- 
pany's station at Nzoi. The station itself consisted 
of a small hut, inhabited by an elderly Swahili, who 
was assisted in his duties by a small boy. These 
duties consisted in taking care of certain stores of 
food which were occasionally sent there for the sup- 
ply of the East Africa Company's caravans. All the 
way from Kibwezi the country had been gradually 
improving in appearance, but from Nzoi its char- 
acter underwent a complete change. We now entered 


the mountainous district of Ulu, well watered, 
densely populated, and extensively cultivated with 
Indian corn, sugar-cane, potatoes, and beans. Here, 
too, for the first time we began to complain of the 
cold at night, and found in the morning that the 
men were most unwilling to leave the neighbourhood 
of their fires. The pleasures of starting to march at 
sunrise in a heavy wet mist under these circumstances 
were not increased by the fact that for the greater 
part of two days' journey our road lay along the course 
of a mountain torrent, up which we had to wade 
against a swift stream, sometimes on soft, yielding 
sand, and sometimes over loose stones or great 
boulders of rock. Although the nights and early 
mornings were so cold, the heat of the sun later 
in the day was very oppressive in the deep gully up 
which we travelled : the rays were refracted from 
every rock, no breeze could penetrate into the gorge, 
and as we marched along we felt our heads almost 
splitting and the skin being scorched from our backs, 
while our nether limbs were ploughing through the 
icy water. The people of the far-reaching Wa-kamba 
race appeared to be industrious, friendly, and 
intelligent, but it was not pleasant for an English- 
man to notice that at the first sight of a European, 
these people, living on the main caravan road of 
British East Africa, fled with shrieks and with every 
sign of terror. When some of the neighbouring 
chiefs had, with some difficulty, been induced to 
visit our camp, we were the recipients of a string 
of bitter complaints against caravans which had 


previously passed along this road, and long stories 
were told ns of burnt villages, looted cattle, and of 
volleys poured into flying crowds. Into the merits 
of such stories it is outside the scope of this account 
to enter, and I would only remark that Africans are 
wonderfully good hands at making a big business out 
of a small one, and that native evidence can seldom 
be taken au pied de la lettre. 

After a steady ascent of four days from Nzoi, for 
the most part over rounded grassy hills and through 
a pleasant country, we saw in the morning of the 
26th of January the Company's flag flying over a 
strong, well-built fort and stockade, surrounded by 
a ditch and wire entanglement enclosing a well- 
arranged collection of good buildings and an orderly 
garden. This was the station of Machakos, 300 
miles from the coast, and 4500 feet above the sea- 
level. Around the station crowds of Wa-kamba were 
walking about in the most friendly and confident 
manner, herds of cattle were grazing, and the whole 
scene was a picture of peace and prosperity in which 
the frowning stockade, ditch, and armed sentries 
stood forth in strong contrast. Our eyes and appe- 
tites were agreeably tickled by the sight of trim 
beds bright with well-known English flowers of 
every kind, side by side with a flourishing kitchen- 
garden well filled with lettuce, cabbages, beans, 
green peas, and all sorts of luxuries to which we 
from Zanzibar and the coast had long been strangers. 
Greedily we were anticipating the pleasures of a 
much-needed day of rest in this delightful spot, when 


our joy was effectually damped by the news that the 
main body of the caravan under Mr. Foaker had 
indeed arrived safely at the Company's station at 
Kikuyu, but only to find a state of war existing 
between the Company and the surrounding native 
tribes. Not an ounce of food could be collected 
there by love, money, or force. For their daily 
sustenance the Company's people were sending out 
foraging parties to dig potatoes in the fields of the 
natives, to cut down their sugar-canes, or to drive in 
their cattle. It was not surprising, under these cir- 
cumstances, that Mr. Foaker's invitation to the tribes 
to come forward and sell food for our caravan had 
remained without effect, and that he had conse- 
quently been unable to make any preparation of any 
sort for the 280 miles of foodless country which lay 
before us. Fortunately, at Machakos there was both 
peace and plenty : had we arrived during one of the 
not unfrequent " tiffs " between the Company and the 
neighbouring Wa-kamba, the chances of the Expedi- 
tion reaching Uganda before the evacuation of the 
31st of March would have been small indeed. As it 
was, with the energetic help of Mr. Ainsworth, the 
Company's local representative, about 400 loads of 
flour w^ere collected like magic; 100 natives agreed 
to carry loads to Kikuyu on condition that we 
undertook to escort them back again ; we were able 
to engage the services of all the porters and donkeys 
of a Swahili caravan which happened to be stopping 
at Machakos on its way to the coast ; and thus, by 
leaving behind all the other officers with their tents 


and baggage, and impressing their porters into tlie 
food -carrying service, Colonel Rhodes, the doctor, 
and I were able to start at daybreak next morning 
with a long string of people carrying nearly 500 
loads of flour. 

To the reader unaccustomed to African travel this 
amount will no doubt appear excessive for the re- 
quirements of a caravan, unless he will give himself 
the trouble to do a short sum in simple addition and 
multiplication. The problem before us was this : we 
had a caravan consisting of some 400 porters and 200 
soldiers, in all 600 hungry stomachs, to lead across 
280 miles of uninhabited country, throughout which 
not a spoonful of food of any sort could be procured 
except such game as might be shot by the Europeans. 
To every man was allowed a pound and a half of 
coarse flour per diem — a small enough quantity on 
which to walk twelve miles a day over a cold and 
mountainous country with a load weighing from 60 
to 70 lbs. on his head; the caravan would thus 
consume 900 lbs. of flour a day, or 22,500 lbs. in 
25 days ; adding to this the very small allowance of 
250 lbs. for loss from leaking sacks, from rain, from 
flooded rivers, or any of the thousand and one acci- 
dents which happen to such goods in such a country, 
we thus had to start from Kikuyu with at least 
22,750 lbs. of flour, in addition to all the other loads, 
which already seemed as much as the men could man- 
age to carry. The difficulty was no slight one ; some 
of the strongest men might perhaps be able to bear an 
extra weight of some 20 lbs., but if we were to over- 



load the whole caravan we should not only incur a 
charge of cruelty, but should also run a grave risk of 
defeating our own object by breaking down the men, 
or by " breaking their hearts " in a way that is fatally 
familiar to many an owner of gallant horses con- 
demned to run under the " top weight" in handicaps. 
To increase the number of men was out of the 
question ; no more were procurable in these countries, 
and in any case this would only have added to the 
difficulty by doubling the number of mouths to be 
fed. Our only hope was in donkeys, which by East 
African custom are supposed — though, as we after- 
wards discovered, most erroneously — to be able to 
carry a weight equal to two men's loads, i.e. 130 lbs., 
and to pick their own living by the wayside. We had 
relied on being able to procure a sufficient number of 
these animals at Kikuyu, and in ordinary times 
should no doubt have been able to do so, but what 
were our prospects now that we learnt that the 
Kikuyu tribes were practically holding the Company's 
station in a state of siege ? It appeared as though 
our only chance of reaching Uganda in time lay in 
leaving nearly all the officers to kick their heels in 
idleness for two months at Machakos, while one or 
two of us pushed forward with all their porters laden 
with food. It will be readily understood that it was 
with no little anxiety that we said good-bye to those 
who were to remain behind, as we turned our faces 
towards the distant blue mountains which rose from 
the plain between us and Kikuyu. 

As though to compensate us for our somewhat 


gloomy situation, the road from Machakos to Kikuyu 
lay through some of the most delightful country that 
it is possible to conceive, and absolutely at variance 
with all accepted notions about Equatorial Africa. 
As we walked along that morning over rich pastures 
and rolling downs, breathing mountain air exhilarating 
as that of the Scottish Highlands in August, the flag- 
ging spirits of the men, somewhat sulky at having 
been defrauded of their promised rest, rose at every 
step, until great herds of antelope were seen galloping 
away as the echoes were roused by some ringing — 
and usually obscene — Swahili chorus. As we sat 
that night in greatcoats round a blazing fire, we 
agreed that it would be impossible to feel ill in this 
district, and that if only communications with the 
coast were a little simplified, as they easily could be, 
no life could be more delightful than that of the first 
European settlers on these plains, with magnificent 
scenery on every side, clear streams of water, a prac- 
tically unlimited extent of the richest pasture, any 
amount of what is now probably the best and most 
varied shooting in the world, and a complete immunity 
— at least for the present — from telegrams or " inter- 
views," circulars or companies, dinner-parties or duns. 
Next morning, wishing to get some shooting before 
all the game within a ten-mile circle should have been 
scared by our noisy caravan, I started with a single 
gun-bearer about an hour before sunrise, and groped 
my way ahead through a heavy Scotch mist. After 
about three hours' walking, during which ghostly 
forms of horns and heads had occasionally shown 


themselves as a rattling of hoofs announced the in- 
visible vicinity of great herds of hartebeest or of the 
" Grant's gazelle," a sudden rift in the mist revealed 
to us that we were nearing a steep grassy hill. 
It disclosed at the same time a sight which caused 
my boy and myself to drop in our tracks as though 
we were shot, and to lie prone on our stomachs in the 
grass. Less than a quarter of a mile ahead of us a 
long string of natives in single file was crossing our 
path at right angles to it. A single glance showed 
us that this was no peaceful trading-party ; no women 
were visible, no sheep or goats, nobody carried a load, 
but we clearly saw that every man was fully armed ; 
bright blades flashed through the mist, a long bow 
was in every right hand, and a full quiver of poisoned 
arrows hung at every back. Swiftly and silently 
these warriors, on mischief bent, defiled before us as 
we crouched on the plain; 550 men we counted, and 
then the long procession passed slowly out of sight 
round the shoulder of a hill. As the last glittering- 
spear disappeared we rose to our feet with a sigh of 
relief and looked back for any signs of the approach 
of our caravan. Hardly, however, had we turned our 
heads when our nerves were destined to receive 
another shock. At less than thirty paces from us, 
flat on their stomachs as we had been, watching us 
as we had been watching the native war-party, were 
three lions, whose tails were wickedly thrashing down 
the grass behind them as they appeared to be weigh- 
ing the question of attack or retreat. Fortunately 
my gun-bearer was a sturdy, plucky youth, and not 


a native of Zanzibar, who would probably have turned 
and fled and left me weaponless ; he remained motion- 
less as he gently, almost imperceptibly passed a loaded 
rifle into my hands. As I raised the gun to my 
shoulder the three lions sprang up together, and I 
am ashamed to confess that a somewhat hasty shot 
resulted in a clean miss ! The second barrel, however, 
produced the dull thud of a bullet penetrating flesh 
and bone, but to my intense annoyance there was no 
apparent efi'ect on the lions. These animals simul- 
taneously took two bounds forward, and again halted 
and crouched, while I was hastily ramming in a couple 
more cartridges. Before I had time to load they were 
up again, and off" at full speed, but this time in the 
opposite direction. As soon as possible I prepared for 
a parting shot at the last of the three, but to our 
astonishment, before I touched the trigger, the lion 
suddenly turned a complete somersault, and then lay 
on the plain motionless. On running up we found 
the beast quite dead, with the clear track of my second 
bullet in at one side and out at the other, clean 
through the very middle of his heart ! Since receiv- 
ing this wound, from an express '577 solid bullet, the 
brute had charged forward about ten yards, had 
crouched, risen again, and bounded away for nearly a 
hundred paces ! 

When at last the caravan arrived on the scene, a 
few inquiries from the local natives who were carry- 
ing flour elicited the information that the war-party 
which had passed us consisted of the warriors of all 
the Wa-kamba villages round Machakos, who were 


bound on a great raiding expedition against their 
hereditary enemies the Masai. It struck us, not un- 
naturally, as being somewhat remarkable that nothing 
should have been known of this expedition by the 
British Company's representative, from whom we had 
parted the preceding day, and who was, theoretically 
at least, in charge of the administration of the whole 
of this district. 

These Wa-kamba, who thus dare to attack the 
dreaded Masai in their own country, are a somewhat 
interesting race. Not many years ago they were 
almost unknown outside a small district on the Ulu 
Hills, but while all neiorhbourino; tribes have been 
exterminated or scattered far and wide beyond the 
ever-increasing radius of the Masai raids, the Wa- 
kamba have been able to hold their own, and are 
now, as we have seen, beginning even to assume an 
aggressive attitude. They are a fine, active, well- 
grown race of a dark brown colour, and, probably, of 
purely African origin. Their men, though not so 
tall as the gigantic Masai warriors, are frequently 
quite six feet in height, and present a grand picture 
of muscular development. They appear to combine, 
to a dea;ree unusual amon^r East African tribes, the 
instincts and tastes of a pastoral and of an agri- 
cultural people ; and while we had practical experi- 
ence of the ease with which the villages round 
Machakos could, at a moment's notice, supply us with 
about eight tons of grain and flour, we saw their hill 
slopes covered with great flocks of goats and sheep, 
intermingled with not a few cows. The terrible 


epidemic which two years ago destroyed nearly every 
head of cattle, all the wild buffaloes, and most of the 
wildebeest in East Africa, did not spare the Wa- 
kamba, who told us that they had then lost every 
bull and cow belonging to their tribe ; but whether 
by honest purchase, or, as is more likely, by success- 
ful raids, they appear to have succeeded in again 
collecting a small stock for breeding purposes. 

Although the climate in their hills is often ex- 
tremely cold, and made both ourselves and our porters 
very loath to leave our beds at sunrise, the men of this 
tribe wear but little clothing, being usually content 
with a short apron of hide slung in front of them, 
supplemented sometimes by a similar apron behind. 
I observed, however, that in the principal villages 
near the caravan road some of the chiefs had already 
taken to wearing far warmer draperies of cotton cloth, 
and I have no doubt that should traffic through their 
districts be at all developed, in a very short time 
both men and women will barter the corn far more 
eagerly for cloth than they now do for blue beads or 
for small round looking-glasses. Apropos of looking- 
glasses, an assemblage of Wa-kamba warriors under 
the morning sun is literally one of the most dazzling 
spectacles to be seen in this continent. No article of 
civilisation is more prized than a small circular 
mirror, about two inches in diameter, and framed in 
some gilt metal, the whole thing costing at the coast 
about twopence. Every warrior who respects him- 
self possesses one of these articles of luxury, which 
he fastens with a string of blue beads to the centre 


of liis forehead. Then, when he has decorated his 
arms, legs, neck, and waist with many coils of 
brilliantly - polished iron or brass wire, and has 
smeared his sleek body with a thorough coating of 
castor-oil, he can stalk proudly about in the bright 
sunlight like an animated heliograph. 

The arms of the full-grown Mkamba consist of a 
good-sized bow with a full quiver of poisoned arrows, 
a straight, spatulate- shaped sword, and sometimes, 
but not often, an oblong shield of thick hide. This 
tribe is almost the only one I know in Africa which 
despises the spear as an offensive weapon, and pre- 
fers to rely exclusively on poisoned arrows, with the 
sword for use at close quarters or for despatching 
the wounded. It goes without saying that with the 
bow and arrow they are extremely expert and power- 
ful marksmen. The expenditure of a couple of 
cartridges to kill a brace of the huge kites which 
always hover around a camp is well compensated by 
the gratitude of a whole tribe of Wa-kamba, who 
prize the strong and wiry feathers of these birds 
above all others for binding on to the shafts of their 
poisoned arrows. These people appear to be some- 
what more prolific than most of their neighbours ; 
the number of children to be seen in their villages 
is considerable, and both men and women carefully 
eschew various articles of diet, among others eggs of 
any kind or in any form, which are supposed to 
induce sterility. More probable and practical reasons 
for their increasing population are that they live in a 
bracing climate, and above all, that they appear to 



practise but few of the horrible customs of infanticide, 
of executions for supposed witchcraft, and of public 
murders for various superstitious reasons, which year 
by year, and month by month, stain the soil of the 
continent with the blood of so many thousands of 
victims among the neighbouring tribes throughout 
almost the whole extent of British and German East 

The result of the expedition, of which I had 
witnessed the march on the morning of the 28th of 
January, we never heard. Having been secretly 
planned and organised it was probably unexpected 
by the Masai, and therefore successful ; but the 
chances are that at least a dozen or twenty of the 
warriors who defiled before me in the early morning 
mist were before the next sunrise lying stiff, with an 
enormous gash in their breasts from a broad-bladed 
Masai spear, or were already torn in pieces and 
scattered over the plain by a scuffling mob of strong- 
jawed hysenas. The modus procedendi in these 
Wa-kamba raids is nearly always the same : on ap- 
proaching the village or district to be attacked, the 
whole party is divided into two bodies, of which the 
stronger creeps silently round to the rear of the 
unconscious enemy's position, while, after an interval 
to enable their companions to reach their allotted 
station, the other party makes a sudden and noisy 
rush, with much whooping and yelling, at the princi- 
pal gate. The attack is generally made either at 
night or with the first streak of dawn. While the 
Masai warriors seize their great spears and rush out 


to engage the a,ttacking party in hand-to-hand com- 
bat, the women, children, cattle, and old men stream 
out of the back of the village, to seek shelter in the 
bush or in some neighbouring and perhaps stronger 
kraal. These, of course, all fall into the arms of the 
hidden Wa-kamba of the main body, who rapidly 
knock the old men on the head, despatch or neglect 
the children, seize all the women, girls, and cattle, 
and hurry off with their booty, giving a signal to 
their friends, who are maintaining the fierce combat 
with the warriors, that the object being successfully 
accomplished they may now retire with all speed 
from the fight. The whole party then return as 
quickly as possible to their own country, and the 
Masai women and girls, if they are not sold to some 
Swahili slave-trader, settle down to be mothers of 
Wa-kamba children, with the same material philo- 
sophy and animal contentment that they had pre- 
viously displayed among their own people. A 
retaliatory raid would surely follow an episode of 
this sort, but the Wa-kamba villages are perched in 
safe positions on precipitous hills ; they are not so 
easily attacked, and they keep good sentries. The 
Masai have more than once burnt their fingers severely 
in attempting to exact their revenge. 

For two days we continued to march across the 
magnificent plain of pasture ; the Athi river by 
which it is watered was fortunately low, and offered 
no serious difiiculty, and such was the abundance of 
game, that we three Europeans — Colonel Rhodes, Dr. 
Moffat, and myself — had no difiiculty in furnishing an 


ample supply of meat for the whole crowd of our 
600 followers. Among other beasts four rhinoceroses 
were killed — two of them by Colonel Rhodes with the 
new army Lee-Metford rifle and its microscopic bullet. 
On comparing notes in the evening, we found that we 
three had, collectively, seen during the day specimens 
of the following animals, some of them singly, and 
some of them in many hundreds : rhinoceros, bufialo, 
hippopotamus, lion, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, 
hartebeest ; Gazella Grantii, Thomsoni, Kirhii ; pah, 
mpallah, hare ; geese, guinea-fowl, florican, partridge, 
and snipe. There are, I imagine, but few other spots 
left in the world where nineteen different sorts of 
game animals may be seen in one day. 

On the morning of the 30tli January we left the 
open plain and plunged into the darkness of a dense 
belt of forest, which forms the natural boundary of 
the regions inhabited by the treacherous, cunning, 
and usually hostile people of Kikuyu. Warned by 
the state of affairs which we had heard was prevailing 
at the Company's fort in this district, we were care- 
ful to keep all our people close together, every man 
within a couple of paces of his neighbour. One Euro- 
pean marched in front, one in the rear, and one in the 
middle of the long line. The Wa- Kikuyu, as we 
knew, seldom or never show themselves, or run the 
risk of a fight in the open, but lie like snakes in long 
grass, or in some dense bush within a few yards of 
the line of march, watching for a gap in the ranks, or 
for some incautious porter to stray away or loiter a 
few yards behind ; even then not a sound is heard ; 



a scarcely perceptible " twang " of a small bow, the 
almost inaudible " whizz " of a little arrow for a dozen 
yards through the air, a slight puncture in the arm, 
throat, or chest, followed, almost inevitably, by the 
death of a man. Another favourite trick of the Wa- 
Kikuyu is to plant poisoned skewers in the path, set 
at an angle of about forty-five degrees, pointing towards 
the direction from which the stranger is expected. 
If the path is much overgrown or hidden by the 
luxuriant growth of long grass, these stakes are some- 
times of much greater length, and so pointed that 
they would pierce the stomach of any one advancing 
towards them. Keeping a sharp look-out for these 
delicate attentions, our progress was inevitably slow, 
but at length we arrived without further adventure 
at the strong stockade, ditch, brick houses, and well- 
guarded stores known as Fort Smith in Kikuyu, above 
which was floating the Company's flag. 


A state of siege at Kikuj'u — An ivory caravan — We push on for 
Uganda — The game-abounding prairies of Lake Naivasha — First 
introduction to Masai warriors — The Masai tribe — The Salt 
Lake of Elinenteita — Hartebeest and antelope — An African 

At Kikuyu Fort we found Lieutenant Arthur and 
Mr. Foaker in excellent health, and evidently thriving 
on the superabundance of good things produced by 
the admirable garden which was tended as the apple 
of his eye by Mr. Purkiss, the Company's representa- 
tive in charge of the station, and which, for the 
variety, the abundance, and the general excellence of 
its produce, would put to shame many of the kitchen 
gardens that are the pride of English country houses. 
Here, too, we met Mr. Martin, a caravan-leader in 
the Company's service, who had just arrived from 
Uganda with a large caravan, laden principally with 
some £8000 worth of ivory. It was satisfactory to 
learn from this gentleman that when he left Uganda, 
some seven weeks before, all had been apparently 
quiet in that country, and that he had experienced 
no unusual difficulties in the countries through which 
he had passed. The great stack in the midst of Mr. 
Martin's camp, of about 15,000 lbs. of ivory, was a 


curious and interesting sight, and one which could 
now be nowhere seen out of East Africa. It gave a 
better idea than could be gained by any amount of 
reading, both of the immense numbers of elephants 
which are wandering about the head waters of the 
Nile, and of the terrible slaughter of these animals 
which is annually, daily, taking place in order that 


Europe and America may be supplied with billiard 
balls and piano-keys. Many of the tusks were over 
70 lbs. in weight, and one magnificent piece of ivory 
pulled the scale at 140 lbs. 

For our edification, Mr. Martin had a parade of 
his "strong men," viz. the men who were carrying 
the heaviest tusks on the journey. At his call, 
some twenty grand specimens of black humanity 


came forward, each seized a tusk over 80 lbs. in 
weight, with a Hercules at their head carrying the 
gigantic one of 140 lbs. As though they had feathers 
on their shoulders, these men fell into line, and then 
actually proceeded to dance under a weight which 
would deprive most average Englishmen of the power 
of motion. Eound and round in a large circle they 
danced, singing a weird, monotonous chant, from time 
to time, on a given signal from their leader, swinging 
the great ivories from one shoulder to the other, the 
muscles standing out on their necks and backs in 
great solid lumps, glistening in the sun. It was a 
sight worth recording, particularly when we remem- 
bered that these men were not only capable of per- 
forming these feats of strength for our amusement, 
but that, as a matter of course, they w^ere carrying 
these crushing weights for five or six hours a day, 
over mountains, through deep morasses and rushing 
torrents, week after week throughout the 800 weari- 
some miles which intervene between Uganda and 
the coast. 

To ourselves, however, whose thoughts were ever 
fixed on Uganda and the means of getting there, a 
far more interesting sio;ht than stronsj men and traders' 
ivory was a fairly large herd of donkeys browsing 
within the precincts of Mr. Martin's camp. These 
animals had just carried food for his caravan from 
Kavirondo to Kikuyu ; between this place and the 
coast he would have no further use for them, and in 
a short time the whole lot, except an ominously large 
proportion who were suffering from terrible and re- 


volting sore backs and withers, became the property 
of H.M. Government "for a consideration." They 
were not a good collection of animals, far from it, 
and moreover they had just completed a very trying 
journey of 280 miles under heavy loads ; but there 
was no choice open to us, and by taking over all 
that were capable of going we made it possible for 
the whole party to resume the journey to Uganda 
together. Most of the beasts could at all events 
carry something, and by an East African fallacy 
donkeys are supposed to thrive on what they are 
able to pick up for themselves on the road, whether 
the season be wet or dry, and whether the grass be 
young and green or burnt and yellow. We therefore 
lost no time in sending back messengers, under escort, 
to tell the officers who had been left at Machakos to 
push forward and rejoin us with all possible speed. 

A few days' compulsory rest at Kikuyu did good 
to all the men, and probably to the Europeans also, 
though it was rather a curious fact that most of us 
were laid up there for a day or two after our arrival ; 
perhaps in some cases from over-indulgence in the 
unaccustomed luxuries of fresh vegetables, green food, 
and fresh provisions of all sorts. Outside the fort 
itself the state of affairs was not so pleasant to con- 
template : we were surrounded, day and night, by a 
complete ring of hostile Wa-Kikuyu, hidden in the 
long grass or bushes, and for any one to wander alone 
more than 200 yards from the stockade was almost 
certain death. On the morning of our arrival, a porter 
of Martin's caravan, who had strayed down to the long 



grass at the foot of the little hill on which the station 
is built, was speared through the back, and killed, 
within 250 paces of our tents. A short time before, 
eight soldiers in the Company's service who were 
foraging for food — probably in an illicit manner — 
were all massacred in a neiorhbourinor villag;e : and a 
day or two before our arrival the natives had even 
had the temerity to try to set fire to the fort itself at 

Meanwhile, as no food for the garrison could be 
bought in the neighbourhood, although the whole 
country was literally covered with cultivation, 
strong armed parties had been sent out every day to 
dig potatoes, cut sugar-cane and corn-cobs, and other- 
wise collect food for themselves. This system, added 
to the fortuitous and almost simultaneous arrival of 
Mr. Martin with some 600 men and abundance of 
guns from the west, and of ourselves with a similar 
number of men from the east, appears to have made 
the Wa-Kikuyu reflect that their true interests lay 
rather in the direction of peace than in the continua- 
tion of their inefficient blockade ; and on the 2nd of 
February about thirty chiefs of as many neighbouring 
villages presented themselves at the fort gates, and 
informed the Company's representative that they had 
had enough of war and now wished to try a little 
trade. Terms of peace were soon arranged, and the 
remaining days of our residence at Fort Smith were 
in consequence a good deal more comfortable, although 
every one knew that, peace or war, no native inhabitant 
of this district could be trusted to keep his spear out of 




the back of a defenceless stranger, if ever he were offered 
a fair opportunity without much danger of retaliation. 
The Wa-Kikuyu, and especially that section of 
them who occupy the neighbourhood of the Com- 
pany's fort, are undoubtedly a treacherous, untrust- 

Lieutenant Arthur. 
Mr. Ernest Berkeley. Sir Gerald Portal. 

Major Owen. 

worthy crowd, and have for many years been a source 
of constant trouble to passing caravans ; but, on the 
other hand, they are not without their good qualities. 
They are, above all things, industrious and careful 
agriculturists ; their crops are plentiful, clean, and 


well cared for ; their sweet potatoes are twice or 
three times the size of any that I have seen either 
on the coast or in other parts of the interior, and the 
same remark applies to their corn, beans, and other 
produce ; they appear to have no objection, unless 
they happen to be at war at the time, to travellers 
helping themselves from the fields as they pass, so 
long as this system is carried on in moderation ; and 
they appear to cultivate, from very love of the work 
and of the soil, far more than they can either consume 
themselves or hope to sell to caravans. It was not 
unusual to see acres of potatoes or beans allowed to 
rot and run to seed in the ground, simply because the 
natives had no need of them, and did not care to take 
the trouble to sjather the whole of their harvest. This 
mania of theirs for planting and sowing is carried to 
an extreme which is actually harmful to their country, 
as in pursuance of their hobby, by constantly taking 
up fresh land, they are year by year destroying 
thousands of fine timber trees, and rapidly dis- 
afi'oresting great tracts in a region which is already 
not overburdened with woodland. It will, however, 
be a matter of time and difficulty, requiring great 
tact, patience, and firmness, to induce these Wa- 
Kikuyu to have confidence in Europeans, and to 
discontinue their practice of spearing or otherwise 
murdering any defenceless Swahili porter whom they 
may find straying away by himself. Their experience 
of European travellers up to the present time has not, 
it must be confessed, been calculated to inspire them 
with any great love for the white man. They have 


been given a bad name, which sticks to them like 
a burr, and the stranger arriving within their gates 
treats them accordingly. Long before I went into 
their country myself I remember being told by an 
African traveller of great renown that the only 
way in which to deal with the Kikuyu people, 
whether singly or in masses, w^as " to shoot at 

The Company's station is situated at almost the 
extreme southern limit of their territory ; the 
inhabitants of that district are, I believe, the least 
admirable of the whole race, and are even looked 
upon as black sheep and outcasts by the more 
respectable members of the same tribe who live 
farther north. The country of the Wa - Kikuyu 
extends in a long strip from the neighbourhood of 
the Company's fort northwards to Mount Kenia and 
the river Tana. The whole of this region lies 5000 
to 7000 feet above the sea-level, enjoys a perfect 
climate eminently suited to Europeans, is of the most 
remarkable fertility, producing, apparently, the grains 
and vegetables of England and of Africa with im- 
partial luxuriance, and is well watered throughout by 
innumerable clear mountain streams. 

On the 5 til of February the second half of our 
party, which had been left at Machakos, arrived in 
safety and without adventure, and for the first time 
all the members of the expedition sat down to 
luncheon together. Only, however, for one meal 
was this the case, for before the evening our doctor, 
who for some days had been sufi"ering from slight 


fever, was seriously ill with all tlie symptoms of 
that most dreaded of common African diseases, 
"Black water" or hsematuric fever. All through 
the next day poor Moffat's condition gave rise to the 
most serious anxiety, but on the 7th he was so much 
better that we decided to push on with the caravan, 
leaving Captain Portal to nurse the doctor and to 
bring him on after us if he was able to move before 
the 12th. I am thankful to say that he was well 
enough to start on the 10th, riding a pony which 
had been left for that purpose, and that he and my 
brother caught us up on the 17th about a hundred 
miles farther on our road. 

Our first march from Kikuyu was rendered 
memorable by a ludicrous, though to the sufferers, 
an extremely disagreeable contretemps. Walking in 
front as usual, I had arrived at a suitable camping 
place, and selected the site for our camp, but was 
surprised to find not more than a dozen porters with 
me. We waited for half an hour, growing more and 
more surprised at the non-appearance of the rest, as 
the march had been an exceptionally short and easy 
one, and there had really been no apparent excuse for 
such straggling. At last a man turned up with a 
box on his head, and to my somewhat anxious 
inquiries about the whole caravan answered the 
single word " nyuki " (bees) ! This explained the 
mystery ; and soon the demoralised and disorganised 
party began to straggle in twos and threes into 
camp, showing every sign of having passed through 
a severe engagement with their persistent enemy. 


Eyes were bunged up, noses twice their usual size, 
lips prominent to an appalling degree even for a 
negro, and general ill -temper all round. When at 
last the other officers arrived the whole story was 
told. It appeared that soon after I, with the head of 
the column, had passed certain trees, several distinct 
swarms of bees, annoyed by the noise and singing of 
the porters, had made an organised attack on the 
whole of the rest of the caravan. They went straight 
for the faces and especially the eyes of the men, who 
without a moment's hesitation threw their boxes 
down with a crash and bounded off into the long 
grass, in which they rolled and crouched and crawled 
in the hope of escaping the common foe. Having 
thus routed the 600 men of the caravan the bees do 
not appear to have pursued them far, but in order to 
show that they were complete masters of the field, 
proceeded to settle in swarms on the abandoned loads, 
and to defy any one to come and take them. This 
was decidedly awkward, no one would go near the 
loads, and the whole affair seemed to have reached an 
impasse, till some brain full of resource suggested an 
attack with fire. Under the direction of the English 
officers, who had arrived on the scene, the crestfallen 
porters were set to work to collect great handfuls of 
dried grass ; when all was ready, these were simul- 
taneously lighted, and a gallant charge on the bees, 
led by the Europeans, resulted after a short sharp 
struggle in the complete victory of humanity over 
insects. The caravan was re-formed, loads were 
shouldered, and the whole column left that spot at a 


pace which has never been equalled by our party 
before or since. 

The next few days passed without any adventure 
worthy of record ; we soon passed out of the rich and 
cultivated Kikuyu country, and our road lay through 
parched, arid, and stony plains, covered with dust, 
refracting the rays of the sun in a pitiless manner, 
and generally productive of much thirst and 
discontent. A somewhat difficult rocky descent 
brought us into the deep wide gorge familiar 
to geographers as the great meridional rift. In 
this curious volcanic depression we camped for two 
consecutive nights in what is known as the valley of 
the Keedong river, a small stream of clear warm 
water which gushes from the precipitous walls of 
the escarpment. These two nights were, without 
exception, the most uncomfortable of the whole 
journey. Every wind of the heavens appeared to 
have been let loose, and buffeted our unfortunate 
camp first from one side, then from the other, from 
the front and from the rear. At intervals during 
these nights a sound of the tearing of canvas or of 
the crashing of boughs, followed by maledictions 
in English or Swahili, announced the overthrow or 
destruction of a tent or of a temporary hut-shelter 
built by the porters. Few of us, tired as we were, 
could get any sleep in the midst of the din, we could 
only lie still and wonder how much longer one's own 
tent would hold out. In the morning everything, 
clothes, boxes, camp-beds, faces, and bodies, were 
covered with a thick layer of black dust, which had 


even penetrated into closed packages, into gun-cases 
and gun-locks, and had generally made itself as dis- 
agreeable as can well be imagined. 

On the 10th we passed over the shoulder of Mount 
Longonot, a most interesting extinct volcano, graphi- 
cally described by Mr. Joseph Thomson, who tells us 
how, after a most arduous climb, he succeeded in 
reaching the edge of the crater, where he actually sat 
with his legs dangling over an immense hole thousands 
of feet deep, at the bottom of which he could descry 
trees and abundant vegetation. We had, unfortu- 
nately, no time to go and inspect these geological 
wonders ; and the same day, after a long march, we 
camped near the edge of the beautiful fresh-water 
Lake of Naivasha, a remarkable sheet of water of un- 
known but immense depth, evidently filling a huge 
ancient volcanic crater. The lake itself is about 
twelve miles long by half that width. The water is 
as sweet and fresh as that of a trout stream ; but the 
most remarkable phenomenon in connection with this 
interesting lake is that, although it is liberally fed by 
several fine rushing streams and torrents on the 
northern and western sides, the water has no apparent 
exit, while the evaporation from its surface, even 
under a tropical sun, would not, apparently, be nearly 
sufiicieut to counterbalance the constant supplies of 
water thus poured in. An exit of some sort there 
must be, either deep down at the very base of the 
crater or by some unknown subterranean channel, or 
by rapid infiltration through some very porous sub- 
stratum at present undiscovered. In this respect 



Lake Naivasha resembles, but on a much larger scale, 
the Lake of Ashaugi in Abyssinia, which similarly 
preserves the sweetness of its water without any 
apparent escape for its surplus into the deep sandy 
plains lying thousands of feet below it within a few 
miles of its eastern shores. 

Around Lake Naivasha the prairies were literally 
covered with game, especially with thousands of that 
beautiful little antelope first discovered by Mr. Joseph 
Thomson, and named after him {Gazella Thomsoni). 
Zebras, too, were present in fair numbers, though very 
wild, and a few hartebeest and Grant's antelope added 
to the variety ; while the waters and swampy shores 
of the lake itself were alive with duck, teal, wild 
geese, and many sorts of water-fowl ; and the hoarse 
note of the lordly and beautiful crown crane sounded 
towards sunset in every direction. It need hardly 
be added that we lost no time in seizing rifles and 
setting out in different directions to work for the pot, 
with the result that in the evening the whole caravan, 
porters, soldiers, and Europeans, were able to enjoy 
hearty meals of venison, zebra, and other game, a 
most welcome and indeed valuable addition, for the 
hard-worked men, to their daily allowance of only a 
pound and a half of black flour. 

It was in the neighbourhood of Lake Naivasha 
that we first made acquaintance with the most 
dreaded, but at the same time the most interesting, 
of all races living between the Victoria Nyanza and 
the East Coast, the far-famed and much-talked-of 
Masai. In the immediate neighbourhood of our camp 



we had observed on arrival several immense herds of 
cattle, grazing peacefully, tended by a few stalwart 
men with long spears ; but in the afternoon we re- 
ceived a visit from a party of some thirty young 
warriors decked in all the bravery of their best war- 

MASAI VVAUlUUltS i^ THKlli W Ail,-i'AINT. 

dress. Splendid fellows they were too, not one of 
them under six feet in height, with long sinewy limbs, 
under whose shining chocolate skin the muscles could 
be seen working like bundles of india-rubber and 
whipcord. Clothes they had but few ; a couple of 
short leather aprons slung over the shoulders, one in 

^ The photograph from which this engraving was made was very indistinct, 
and the iUustration does not give a fair idea of the impressive aspect of the 
Masai warriors in their war-paint. The figure reproduced on the cover of this 
volume is from another photograph by Colonel Rhodes of a Masai warrior. 


front and the other down the back, and neither of 
them quite reaching the hips, were all that could 
really be classified as garments ; the rest was decora- 
tion and ornament. 

Most of the warriors added to their great height 
by wearing some lofty and ferocious head-dress, either 
an edifice like a guardsman's bearskin made of hawks' 
feathers, or a complete circle of long feathers round 
the head made fast under the chin, or in some cases 
the horns of antelope, or a contrivance of iron wire 
covered with wool in the shape of immense bufi*alo 
horns. The upper parts of their arms were covered 
with coils of brightly-polished iron wire, of which 
also many of them wore coils round their waists ; to 
the left thigh was tightly strapped a circle of small 
bells, which jingled loudly in unison as the warlike 
party kept step in their march ; round the ankles 
were rings of iron wire, and usually also an anklet of 
hide with long stifi" hair, possibly from the zebra's 
mane, standing straight out at right angles to the leg. 
In a girdle round the waist every man wore a straight 
sword rather less than three feet in length with a 
small handle of horn, no guard, and a topheavy 
blade of a spatulate shape about two or two and a 
half inches wide near the point, and only three- 
quarters of an inch at the hilt. On the other side of 
the girdle was stuck a heavy knob-kerry, either of 
wood or, more frequently, of rhinoceros horn. In 
the left hand was carried the splendid shield which is 
characteristic of the Masai alone ; oblong, about four 
feet in height, slightly convex, and made either of 


buffalo or giraffe hide, it affords a perfect protection 
from spears or arrows to the warrior crouching behind 
it ; but the most striking feature of these shields is 
the curious heraldic device and distinctive family 
badge with which each of them is painted. The only 
colours used are black, white, and red, but the 
different patterns are infinite and often very graceful. 
In the right hand was grasped the mighty and now 
world-famed Masai spear, six feet in length, with a 
broad shining blade of at least two and a half feet by 
three inches wide, and shod with a square sharp- 
pointed piece of iron nearly three feet long ; thus in 
most of these spears no more wood is visible than is 
sufficient to leave room for the grasp of the hand in 
the middle of the haft. The warriors take the 
greatest pride in their spears, which, it must be 
allowed, are beautifully made and finished, and are 
always kept as bright as a Life Guardsman's cuirass 
at a birthday parade. 

For our edification the Masai warriors, who in the 
presence of our large party were both fearless and 
friendly, performed a war -dance, accompanying it 
with a monotonous chant ending in a savage chorus, 
the effect of which was materially assisted by the 
clash of their thigh-bells as they stamped in unison. 
The dance over, the warriors prowled in an uncon- 
cerned manner about the camp, looking like monarchs 
of all they surveyed, and it was amusing to watch the 
endeavours of a little Zanzibar sentry to prevent a 
huge warrior from approaching too near the stores he 
was supposed to be protecting. Most of the Zanzibar 


soldiers average less than 5 feet 5 inches in height, 
and the calm contempt with which the naked warrior 
gazed down upon the little cloth-clad figure shoulder- 
ing his rifle might have been taken as a picture of 
the triumph of primitive barbarism over a foreign 

Confidence being thoroughly established, a good 


many Masai girls, or " dittos " as the unmarried ones 
are called, came into camp. In contrast to their 
gigantic brothers, these girls were singularly small 
and slight, with graceful figures, and sometimes with 
really handsome features of almost a true Asiatic type. 
These girls were all sufficiently clothed for purposes 
of decency, and many of them wore as ornaments 
immense quantities of rings of bright wire, wound 


tightly — too tightly, it seemed, for comfort — round 
their necks, from wrist to elbow, and from ankle to 
knee. The weight of metal thus carried by one 
extremely prepossessing little iron-clad girl must have 
been a really serious burden and impediment to pro- 

Of the habits, manners, customs, morality — or 
rather immorality — of the Masai, I can say nothing 
which has not already been said with far greater 
authority and experience by Mr. Joseph Thomson in 
his interesting book. Through Masailand ; but for 
the comfort of future travellers in these regions, I 
may safely assert that the Masai of to-day are no 
longer the dreaded, all -conquering, and triumphant 
" bogie " of ten years ago. " Ichabod " — the glory is 
departed from them, the terrible disease which a 
couple of years ago slew every buffalo in their country 
did not spare the cattle on which the Masai depend 
for their sole means of existence. Their cows and 
bulls died by tens of thousands, the whole race was 
reduced to the verge of starvation ; women, old men, 
and children did indeed die by hundreds from want 
of food or from the plague of small-pox which attacked 
them at the same time. Even the young men, the 
warriors or " El-Moran," deprived of their sole articles 
of diet — blood, beef, and milk, seem temporarily to 
have lost their spirit; many sold their spears and 
shields for food, and in some parts of the country they 
so far changed the whole traditions of their race as to 
begin to sow grain and to till the ground. They 
have now recovered to some extent from their recent 


misery, a persevering system of raiding on their 
neighbours has enabled them to collect together a fair 
number of cattle, and their young men can once more 
enjoy their deep draughts of warm blood. In fact, 
although we saw a good many of the older men and 
women, and some of the children, looking as if they 
had not had a " square meal " for many a long month, 
the stalwart young warriors and their female com- 
panions the " dittos " presented a remarkably sleek, 
shiny, and well-fed appearance. 

But another and better reason for the decadence 
of the Masai power is the introduction into East 
Africa of firearms, and especially of arms of precision. 
The Masai will not desert their old traditions and 
methods of fighting so far as to exchange their spears 
for guns, even if they could obtain them ; but never- 
theless they have a thorough dislike to seeing a rifle 
pointed at them, more especially if behind those 
shining barrels they descry the white face of a 
European. They are discovering that to people with 
guns, unless taken by surprise and overwhelmed by 
great disparity in numbers, the broad-bladed spears, 
the painted shields, savage head -gear, and jingling 
bells have lost more than half their terrors. The 
Masai will still, if they get an opportunity, and if 
their great superiority in numbers gives them courage, 
attack small parties of Swahilis carrying mails or 
messages, or, more rarely, small ill-supplied Swahili 
caravans ; but they openly say that they do not wish 
for a feud with the white man, that they do not 
think it "good enough," and they have completely 


ceased either to expect or to demand any tribute 
whatever from caravans led by Europeans which may 
pass through their country. They are still, however, 
a great curse to the whole of British East Africa; 
their sanguinary raids, added to the terror of their 
name, not only check the development of all neigh- 
bouring tribes, but render desolate and absolutely 
uninhabited many hundreds and even thousands of 
square miles of fertile and healthy territory. Never- 
theless, the Masai are of a distinctly higher order of 
race, intellect, and physical development than any of 
their more purely African -blooded neighbours, and 
there is no reason why, with patience, a firm adminis- 
tration, and even-handed justice, they should not, 
even in a short time, be converted into useful, docile, 
and pastoral members of the African community. 
Their stature, shape, clearly -chiselled and aquiline 
features, show the superiority of their Hamitic origin 
over that of the surrounding negro tribes, but, as in 
the case of their cousins the Gallas and Somalis, it is 
the very consciousness of this superiority which will 
probably offer the greatest resistance to the introduc- 
tion of civilising reforms. Agriculturists they never 
will be ; both the nature of their country and their 
racial traditions are adverse to this sort of labour, but 
when they have discovered that a better administra- 
tion and an increase of self-confidence among sur- 
rounding tribes makes cattle -raiding and murder a 
losing game, and when they have learnt, as they are 
already learning, that they may trust to the word 
and honour of Englishmen, there is every ground for 


hoping not only that the once-dreaded Masailand will 
be a safe, pleasant, and healthy resort for European 
travellers and sportsmen, but that the Masai them- 
selves will become valuable and expert breeders of 
cattle, donkeys, and horses (if these last are intro- 
duced), and that individuals of the tribe may be 
utilised as messengers, mail -runners, and even as 
disciplined soldiers or police. 

Two days after leaving Lake Naivasha we arrived 
at the Salt Lake of Elmenteita, a long, comparatively 
narrow sheet of water, surrounded by a bleak, bare, 
and burnt country, intersected by cliffs of inhospit- 
able-looking rock. On the road we had seen game of 
every sort and kind in vast numbers, — the bag during 
one day's march alone amounted to three zebras, 
seventeen Thomsoni antelope, one Grantii, and 
three crown cranes, which was sufficient to keep the 
whole caravan in meat. Unfortunately, however, at 
this time one of the keenest sportsmen among us. 
Major Owen, was suffering from such a badly ulcer- 
ated leg that he was not only quite unable to join 
any shooting party, but, as he became incapacitated 
from walking at all, was obliged to travel for the 
next 250 miles in a hammock slung on the shoulders 
of the most stalwart men that could be found. It 
may be mentioned by the way that this hammock, 
over which the Major had constructed a sort of shel- 
ter with a blanket thrown over the pole to protect 
him from the fierce rays of the sun, gave rise to all 
sorts of rumours and expectations previous to our 
arrival in Uganda. The natives of Kavirondo and 


Usoga who saw the caravan pass with a number 
of white men on foot, and a covered litter care- 
fully carried, not unnaturally jumped to the con- 
clusion that in this closed conveyance must lie a lady. 
A rumour to this effect therefore flew ahead of us 
into Uganda, receiving additional confirmation and 
credence every day, so that on our arrival we not 
only found all the Europeans in Uganda making 
preparations to greet the wife of the Commis- 
sioner, but that King Mwanga himself was on tiptoe 
of excitement and expectation, as he had been 
told by his courtiers, and fully believed, that the 
mysterious lady was an English princess, sent as 
a suitable present to him by Her Majesty the 
Queen ! 

Close to Lake Elmenteita we passed the scene of 
the massacre of an entire Swahili caravan of some 
300 men, which took place about twelve years ago. 
Three porters only are said to have made good their 
escape, and to have arrived after a marvellous series 
of adventures at the coast, where they narrated how 
their caravan had been attacked by the branch of the 
Masai known as the Wakwavi, and had successfully 
held their own for two days and a night, but that on 
the second night, all their ammunition being ex- 
hausted, in attempting to get away quietly under 
cover of the darkness, they had been discovered by 
the enemy, and, with the exception of the three 
lucky ones, massacred to a man. These Wakwavi, 
who used in former times to occupy all the country 
lying between this place and Kavirondo, are a some- 


what degenerate branch of the Masai tribe, of whom 
they appear to have all the vices and none of the 
virtues. After a series of sanguinary battles and 
campaigns, the details of which are given by Mr. 
Thomson in his book, they were finally defeated by 
the true-blooded Masai, and driven to settle in Kavi- 
rondo, where they remain to this day, scattered all 
over the country in dififerent native villages, stealing 
what they can, domineering over and terrorising the 
more timid inhabitants, doing little or no agricultural 
work, and generally making themselves a curse to an 
otherwise friendly and peaceful collection of village 

Thence we passed along an easy road to the salt, or 
rather brackish. Lake of Nakuru, a not very impos- 
ing piece of water some four miles long by the same 
in width. The country was still full of game, the 
only change being that the common hartebeest of 
the plains (Buhalis Cohei) was replaced by a larger 
and longer-horned species known as Jackson's harte- 
beest, it having first been shot by Mr. F. Jackson, 
recently an ofKcer in the service of the I.B.E.A. 
Company. This animal, although more difficult to 
stalk successfully than any other game in the dis- 
trict, did not appear to be quite so wild as its cousin 
of the plains. But to whatever branch of the tribe 
they may belong, a herd of hartebeest never settle 
themselves to feed without first posting a sentinel on 
some spot, usually a tall ant-heap, whence he can 
command a good view of the surrounding country. 
Thoroughly conscientious, too, and vigilant these 


sentries are. They never attempt to browse or to 
"philander" with the ladies of the herd near them, 
but, standing erect, motionless, and somewhat un- 
gainly, they incessantly sniff the breeze and scan 
the plains in search of a possible enemy. The instant 
that danger of any sort is suspected, the " look-out 
man " warns the rest of the herd by a stamp on the 
ground and a loud sneeze. At this signal up go all 
the heads, ten or twenty pairs of ears are pricked, 
and a similar number of sharp eyes are searching the 
grass and bushes on every side, while every nostril is 
distended and quivering for the slightest taint in the 
forest air. If, after the signal is given, the too eager 
sportsman makes the slightest mistake, if the sun 
strikes bright rays from his gun -barrel, if he in- 
cautiously shows even the crown of his helmet or 
treads on a dry stick, then good-bye to his chance of 
getting a shot at that herd. In a second the whole 
family, awkward and angular when at rest, are 
stretching out in a long -striding, graceful gallop, 
which would quickly distance any other species of 
antelope, or any other wild animal, in East Africa. 
When shot the hartebeest, if not too old, makes 
moderately good venison, though not particularly 
refined, the liver and tongue being perhaps the best 
parts of him. His flesh cannot be compared, in point 
of culinary excellence, with brisket of zebra, which is 
equal to the best veal, while the best of all fourfooted 
wild animals in East Africa, without the smallest 
doubt, is the beautiful Grantii antelope ; of birds, 
the guinea-fowl, the florican, and, above all, the 


crown crane, are all worthy of a place of honour at 
Bignon's, or the Maison Doree. 

Ever since leaving the coast we had been gradually 
ascending into colder and better air, but two days 
after leaving Lake Nakuru, and having without diffi- 
culty crossed the Guasso (river) Masai, our ascent of 
the Mau Mountains began in earnest. On the 18th 
of February we camped at a spot fixed by the Eail- 
way Survey Expedition as being within a few hun- 
dred yards of the Equator, and bitterly cold it was. 
It was rather difficult to imagine ourselves almost 
exactly on the Equator, as we shivered that night 
in bed, covered with all the blankets we could 
muster, on the top of which were heaped coats, 
flannel shirts, and clothes of any sort which might 
help to keep in the heat, while most of us went to 
bed wearing; two or more suits of niojlit orarments 

Unfortunately, the cold of the Equator Camp, 
added to the unpardonable stu2:)idity or carelessness of 
some of the men, cost us far more than a little tem- 
porary inconvenience. In the afternoon when we 
made the camp, the donkeys, carrying the spare food 
and the sick men, were still a long way behind, and 
not expected to arrive for about a couple of hours. 
Our camp was surrounded by tall, dry grass, and the 
wind was blowing back along the road by which we 
had advanced. The men had several times been 
seriously warned of the danger of fire in this long 
grass, and already, a few days before, we had suffered 
some inconvenience, and I myself had been pre- 


vented from entering the camp on my return from 
shooting, in consequence of a grass fire kindled by 
our men. But on this evening, some of the Zanzibar 
soldiers, with the crass stupidity and wooden-headed 
carelessness which distinguished them in most of 
their proceedings, must needs set fire to the grass to 
leeward of the camp. In five minutes there was an 
immense wall of fire charging down the path by which 
we had come, and along which, as we knew, the 
donkeys, cattle, and invalids were painfully advanc- 
ing ! Nothing could be done, search parties were 
sent to follow in the wake of the fire, but they 
returned late and disconsolate without news. All 
throuojh that nio^ht there were no sisrns of the missing; 
party, and our anxiety may be imagined better than 
described ; not only were the lives of the men in 
charge of the animals, and the invalids at stake, but 
they had also all the food on which we could depend 
to take the whole caravan either forward or back. 
Porters and soldiers alike had left Kikuyu with 
twelve days' rations already issued to them ; this 
was the twelfth day, a fresh issue was to have been 
made that very afternoon ; we were at least 120 
miles from the nearest food - supplying district on 
either side, and there was not one day's rations in 
the camp ! When the porters began to realise (with 
empty stomachs) the full extent of the possible dis- 
aster which might be caused by the soldiers' stupidity, 
they were almost ready to tear the latter in pieces. 
At last, however, the next morning, one of the search 
parties returned with the news that they had found 


the missing men and animals safe from fire, in a 
damp nook near a stream. Soon afterwards the 
donkeys themselves came in sight, but it then ap- 
peared that two of the invalids had died during the 
night from exposure to the cold, as well as one 
donkey and two sheep. 

One of these unfortunate invalids did not belong 
to our caravan, but was a poor old man whom I had 
found wandering alone some days before in a miser- 
able state. His story was that he had been a porter 
in a caravan led by a Swahili, that he had fallen 
ill and had been unable to keep up with the others, 
on which the leader had quietly abandoned him to 
his fate. The unhappy wretch had been painfully 
hobbling along alone for five days when I found 
him. He was without food, almost without clothes, 
and without any means of making a fire at night. 
It appeared to us simply marvellous that he had not 
already died from exposure to the cold, or that he 
had not been killed by lions or even hysenas, who 
are quite bold enough to destroy a sick and helpless 
man by night. That these and similar acts of ghastly 
cruelty, amounting almost to cold-blooded murder, 
are done day by day, and have been done for the 
last fifty years in native caravans, there can be no 
doubt whatever ; such caravans, when once they are 
fairly up-country, are free from all control ; power, 
almost of life and death, over dozens of his fellow- 
creatures remains absolutely in the hands of the 
leader, who is perhaps a half-caste Arab, or perhaps 
a Swahili of a class from which domestic servants or 


private soldiers are drawn at Zanzibar ; nobody asks 
or cares how many men, slaves or free, are taken or 
inveigled into coming as porters, and nobody knows 
or ascertains how many of these men ever return. 
The old man whom I picked up was some miles off 
the road, and, had I not happened to bend my steps 
that way in search of game, had no more chance of 
reaching any place where food could be obtained than 
he had of finding a balloon ready to transport him 
to his own hut in Mombasa. A thorough system 
of registration, inspection, and control of native-led 
caravans, both at the coast and at up-country stations, 
is one of the very first measures which should be 
carefully and thoughtfully devised and then efficiently 
carried out, if British authorit}^ or the British name 
is in any way, directly or indirectly, to be connected 
with this part of Africa.^ 

During the march on one of these daj^s, our 
righteous English indignation was fired by what at 
first sight appeared to be a most abominable case of 
torture and cruelty in our own caravan. Our atten- 
tion being attracted to a small group of men bending 
over a prostrate figure, we strolled up to see what 
was the matter. On arrival we found a porter, or 
soldier — I forget which — stretched face downwards on 
the ground, while two powerful men were pulling at 
his arms and legs in opposite directions with all their 
strength. Round each of the victim's ankles, sepa- 
rately, cords had been tied as tightly as they could be 
drawn, and the pressure still further increased by a 

^ Such steps have already been initiated in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. — Ed. 



rude tourniquet made of a stick twisted in the knots, 
till they appeared to be cutting into the flesh. As 
though this was not sufficient torture, a third strap- 
ping big fellow was walking and even stamping up 
and down on the naked back of the unfortunate 
wretch, who was lying motionless, and, as we thought, 
without the power to struggle. Blazing with anger 
at the idea of this act of barbarism being perpetrated 
under our very eyes, we hotly demanded what it 
meant ; but somewhat to our discomfiture the cold- 
blooded torturers only answered with a grin, and 
quite undisturbed by our anger, the single word 
"tumbo," while the panting victim raised his pros- 
trate head and softly muttered the same not very 
poetical sound. '*Tumbo" may be literally trans- 
lated by the English colloquial expression " tummy " ; 
in other words, the prostrate gentleman was suffering 
from apparently severe pains in the abdominal region, 
for which this stretching of the limbs, the tying up of 
the ankles, and the walking on the back constituted 
a favourite native remedy. The cure was rapid and 
complete, for on the termination of the operation the 
patient jumped up — a little stiffly at first — shouldered 
his load, and marched off in excellent spirits. 

Before the end of our journey I saw this violent 
and original cure in operation on several occasions, 
and in each instance it was apparently successful ; at 
all events I never heard of a second application being 
necessary, nor did the patients who had chosen to be 
treated by these methods apply to our doctor for any 
of his pills, chlorodyne, or other more civilised but 


milder modes of treatment.^ A whole chapter might 
be filled by describing the wonderful native ways of 
treating difierent ailments, some of which have, at 
difi'erent times, come under my notice ; for instance, 
in Abyssinia, some of my mule-drivers undertook the 
cure of one of their comrades who was suffering from 
a sharp attack of fever ; the process consisted in first 
tying cords, with tourniquets of stick, tightly below 
each knee and above each ankle, while two men with 
small sharp knives made innumerable and apparently 
indiscriminate gashes all over the calves of the 
patient's legs. I am bound to confess that, whether 
in spite of or in consequence of the remedy, the 
fever was shaken ofi" that night, but the next day 
the unfortunate man was far too stifi" and sore to be 
able to walk ! 

On the 20th February we successfully crossed what 
is now known as "the Big Ravine," a precipitous 
descent into a cleft about 300 feet deep, with an 
equally steep ascent on the other side, the whole 
ravine not being more than 100 yards wide at the 
top. It took over four hours to get all the donkeys, 
loads, and men safely across this rather formidable 
obstacle. After this, for a day or two we had 
some experience of the true African " darkest forest " 
work, and as we cut, burrowed, and scrambled in the 
gloom over and through thick undergrowth, gigantic 
festoons of creepers, and rich, rank vegetation of every 

^ I have seen this rough-and-ready form of massage used by porters on the 
march for a strain of the muscles of the back, and I am informed that it 
is much resorted to for various ailments in Zanzibar and performed by the 
women of the house. — Ed. 


sort, under the perpetual shade of towering forest 
monarchs, we could fully appreciate the true force of 
Mr. Stanley's graphic descriptions of the interminable 
Congo forest, and could enter in some small degree 
into the feelings of himself and his followers at their 
deprivation of air, light, and sunshine day after day, 
and even month after month. In our case, six or 
seven hours of work in this damp gloom was quite 
sufficient to make us long for the blessings of the open 
country, and we shuddered as we tried to realise what 
it would mean to be condemned to wander and toil 
painfully through a region so unfit for man and beast 
for hopeless consecutive months ! 



West of the watershed — Extinction of the buffalo and eland — The 
Wanderobbo tribe — The fertile Kavirondo district — Mtanda — 
We cross the Nile and camp in Uganda — The Ripon Falls — - 
Amidst civilisation and rifles — We enter the Fort of Kampala on 
the 1 7th of March. 

As we emerged on the 21st of February from the dense 
forest described in the last chapter, and camped, with 
a sigh of relief, on its edge, at a spot commanding a 
magnificent view over interminable downs, intersected 
by sparkling streams, and dotted with clumps of 
splendid timber, we found ourselves just 8600 feet 
above the level of the sea. During the first two 
hours of next day's march we climbed about 300 feet 
higher, and then, to our immense satisfaction, we 
began to observe that the little rivulets and mountain 
streams were no longer running towards us in an 
easterly or south-easterly direction, but were gurgling 
and tumbling away from us westward and north- 
westward. In other words, we had at last crossed 
the great watershed, at a height of just under 9000 
feet, and the streams across which we now stepped so 
easily were all hastening to contribute their quota to 
the Victoria Nyanza, and were themselves some of 
the innumerable head-waters of the mighty Nile. 

. i 


The descent into the great Central African plateau 
was gradual and comparatively easy, the nights by 
degrees became warmer and pleasanter ; game, which 
on the top of the Mau Mountains had been rather 
scarce, again became plentiful, the men's chilled spirits 
revived, and every one felt more cheerful as we 
realised that most of our difficulties were now over, 
and that we had nothing before us but a few days' 
march downhill into Kavirondo, where we should 
again see living human beings, and be able to buy 
fresh food. 

The general eflfect of the higher altitudes of the 
Mau Mountains and the Mau Forest was, I think, to 
produce a sense of gloom and depression of spirits 
among both Europeans and natives. The cold, at all 
events at night, was more than a mere inconvenience ; 
we white men could make ourselves fairly comfortable 
in our tents with blankets and flannel clothes and a 
meat diet; we were, moreover, natives of a cold 
country, and might be expected to welcome a certain 
degree of chilliness as a homely feeling ; but the half- 
clad porters, natives of the steaming coast, suffered 
severely in their little shelters of grass and twigs, as 
they huddled close together with their feet almost in 
a blazing fire, and their heads and bodies wrapped in 
the scanty bit of cotton cloth which constituted their 
only garment. The crossing of these mountains cost 
us altogether the lives of four men, all of whom died 
of acute pneumonia, contracted presumably during 
these cold nights. Another cause for a general sinking 
of spirits was perhaps the desolation and silence of 



the region. The absence of game, the paucity of birds, 
and the eternal wild sighing of the giant juniper- trees, 
all had a somewhat eerie and depressing influence, 
deepened by the sight of hundreds and hundreds of 
skulls, skeletons, and scattered bones of the unfor- 
tunate buffaloes, which only two or three years ago 
used to range in vast herds over these mountains. 

A dreadful plague which, spreading southwards 
from Somaliland, overran, two years ago, the whole 
of East Africa, furnishes one of the most melancholy 
instances in the annals of natural history, of the 
sudden and almost complete extermination of a whole 
race of noble animals. Three years ago the magnifi- 
cent African buffalo roamed in tens, and even hundreds 
of thousands over the Masai plains, over the Mau 
Mountains, over, in fact, the whole of what is called 
British and German East Africa ; but now a traveller 
may wander for months in all the most likely or most 
inaccessible places, and see nothing of the buffalo 
except his horns and whitened bones scattered over 
the plain, or lying literally in heaps near tempting 
springs and cool watering places, to which the poor 
brutes had flocked to quench their consuming thirst, 
and to die. In South Africa the buffalo is still to be 
found, I believe, in some numbers, but there he is 
rapidly being exterminated from the south by the 
advancing rifles of civilisation, while on the other side 
there is reason to fear that this same dread plague, 
having done its fatal work in the east, is steadily and 
relentlessly pursuing its course southwards, so that, 
unless in the meantime the virulence of the epidemic 


mercifully dies out, the South African buffalo will 
inevitably share the fate of his northern cousin. 

The stately eland, which was never so numerous 
as the buffalo, appears to have succumbed to the 
same plague, and the natives assert, though with 
what truth I know not, that there is not one left in 
East Africa. Certainly, although for days we passed 
through their former haunts, and diligently patrolled 
the country in every direction, not one of our party 
ever saw anything of an eland except a skull and 
some bones. It is to be feared, too, that the influx of 
travellers and sportsmen, which will inevitably take 
place as communicatious and means of transport are 
improved, will quite destroy any hope which might 
otherwise have been entertained that by degrees these 
two splendid races of wild animals would eventually 
recover, to some degree at least, from the recent 
effects of their deadly and almost unprecedented 

As we briskly descended the western slopes of the 
mountains, it was pleasant to note by the wayside 
such old friends as the common daisy, forget-me-not, 
primrose, and buttercup, while blackberries climbed 
luxuriantly over the stunted bushes. 

A little farther on some distant columns of smoke 
rising above a wood showed us that we were no 
longer the only human beings in this vast region. 
These fires, we found, were made by some wandering 
parties of the nomad tribe of Wanderobbo, a curious 
race of people who appear in some mysterious way 
to owe allegiance to the Masai, by whom they are 


tolerated and even to some extent protected. These 
Wanderobbo are clever blacksmiths, and it is they 
who, from iron wire supplied to them by the Masai, 
manufacture the beautifully - finished and finely- 
balanced spears which we had so greatly admired in 
the hands of the dominant tribe. But the Wander- 
obbo are above all things hunters ; they live by the 
chase, and eat hardly anything but the flesh of game. 
It need scarcely be added that in this profession 
they are both bold and expert, and we all regretted 
that we had no chance of seeing them at work. They 
have no firearms, but, with nothing better than 
native -made spears, they manage to collect a con- 
siderable quantity of ivory every year, even though 
elephants have now become very scarce in their 

The weapon with which they attack elephants is 
a short, heavy spear -head, deeply barbed, smeared 
with poison, and fitted loosely into a short socket of 
wood which is held in the hand. The sporting- 
native, with this primitive weapon, crawls and glides 
silently and snake-like right up to the gigantic beast 
until he is within arm's-length of the ponderous body. 
Then, quick as thought, he plunges the poisoned 
spear-head into the belly of the enormous brute, 
withdrawing sharply the socket, which leaves the 
head buried in the mountain of flesh above him. 
Now, woe betide the native if he is not as agile as a 
monkey and as quick as a snake in getting himself 
out of the way and under cover! With a yell of 
pain the elephant turns round and furiously searches 


and sniffs for his unknown foe ; failing to find him, the 
doomed brute crashes ahead through bushes, trees, 
creepers, regardless of impediments, leaving a trail 
behind him which his persistent enemy will follow, 
if necessary, for days, until the deadly poison has 
done its inevitable work, and, after swaying un- 
certainly backwards and forwards, and from side to 
side, the six tons of flesh, bone, and ivory fall to the 
ground with a sullen crash ! I am informed that if 
the poison is well made and quite fresh, and the 
spear-head well driven home, the elephant will often 
succumb in about four hours from the time when he 
is first struck, during which he will perhaps cover 
some twenty-five miles of country. Sometimes, how- 
ever, the Wanderobbo pursue a wounded animal for 
a hundred miles and more before securing their prize. 
In this way they will follow up a herd of perhaps 
eight or ten elephants until every member of the 
family is destroyed. Apart from their hunting pro- 
pensities the Wanderobbo are a shy, harmless people, 
seldom seen, and usually living in small parties, in 
the heart of the thickest forest. 

After leaving the mountains we descended to a 
vast, bare plain extending as far as the eye could 
reach, dotted with innumerable ant-hills eight or ten 
feet in height, but without a tree or shrub of any kind 
to break the brown and red expanse. There were on 
this plain a fair number of hartebeest, steinbuck, klip- 
springers, and other small gazelle, but in the total 
absence of cover, even the grass being at this season 
short and withered, it was almost impossible to get 


within range of anything, and but little damage was 
done by a good deal of shooting at impossible ranges. 
Luckily, through the very middle of this plain flows 
a small fresh stream with a few unhappy -looking 
bushes and trees on its banks, which gave us just 
sufiicient firewood for the evening camp. 

On the 26th of February, during the march, 
Colonel Ehodes and I were stalking some hartebeest 
a few hundred yards to the left of the head of the 
column, when we heard loud shouts behind us, which 
sent off our game at full gallop. Somewhat annoyed 
we looked round, and saw the leading section of the 
caravan in a state of wild excitement and confusion, 
while the other English officers were running at full 
speed to the front. The cause was not far to seek : 
at a little distance on the other side of the path we 
could see an enormous rhinoceros trotting steadily 
straight down on the porters, apparently with every 
intention of charging the whole crowd ! Eunning 
and stumbling over the rough ground, we were 
on the scene in a minute, just as Villiers and 
my brother came into action with a couple of shots 
at over 100 yards' range. The rhinoceros apparently 
thought no more of these bullets than of flea-bites, 
and came steadily forward. Then followed a regular 
fusilade ; Rhodes, Berkeley, my brother, Villiers, and 
myself blazed away, pouring bullets into the unfor- 
tunate beast at thirty, twenty, and at last even ten 
yards' distance. Close behind us the porters were 
yelling, jumping about, half-running away, and gener- 
ally making a pandemonium of the quiet plain. The 


scene was so ridiculous that our laughter and haste 
seriously interfered with the accuracy of our aim, but 
at last the enormous brute gave a great lurch and a 
stumble, and, sinking down on its haunches, sat and 
looked at us at about five paces' distance, threatening 
us with its head and vicious horns, but no longer able 
to make a last charge. A final shot in the head put 
an end to the performance, and in another moment 
the carcass was surrounded, hacked, gashed, opened, 
and carved by a yelling crowd of black men, who had 
thrown down their loads anyhow, and were plunging 
with their long knives into what soon became a shape- 
less heap of blood, flesh, and unmentionable horrors. 
Fourteen bullets were found in the carcass, two or 
three of which had gone right through the heart, 
most of them being from '577 express rifles. No 
better instance could be adduced to show the solid 
strength which had enabled this animal to stand, 
without turning or flinching, these terrific successive 
shocks, or the vitality which enabled it to continue 
its steady course, apparently unhurt, up to our very 
feet. The horns, which were not a very good pair, 
became the property of Lieutenant Villiers as having 
planted the first bullet. 

The vitality of the rhinoceros appears, however, to 
vary considerably in different animals : a few days 
before I had come across one in an open plain, 
and put a bullet through his heart at a distance of 
about sixty yards, which had rolled him over stone 
dead like a rabbit, while on another occasion I had 
crept to within a few paces of a rhino-cow, and had 



given her a similar bullet in exactly the same place, 
which only had the effect of starting her off like a 
racehorse across the plain. She managed to cover 
nearly three-quarters of a mile in excellent time 
before pulling up, sinking slowly to her knees, and 
then dying. These were all the common two-horned 
black rhinoceros ; of the white species we never saw 
a single specimen, nor do I believe that they now 
exist in this part of the continent. 

On the 28th a steady climb brought us to the top 
of a pass over the Kabras 
Mountains, whence we 
had a magnificent view 
of the whole of Kabras 
and Kavirondo lying at 
our feet, bounded on the 
north by the huge mass 
of Mount Elgon (14,000 
feet), towering high above 
the plain, his head wrapped 
in an almost perpetual 
veil of cloud, while in the 
blue distance ahead of us 
to the west might be 
faintly seen some of the hills of Usoga. This 
really felt like the beginning of the end of our 
long tramp, and that evening, as we camped in 
the plains below, we had proof that we were no 
longer the only living human beings in the country, 
as black gentlemen and ladies, not wearing a 
single stitch of clothing, flocked into camp with a 



few heads of corn and half-starved-looking hens for 
sale in exchange for pink beads. The population on 
the outskirts of Kabras and Kavirondo is now very 
sparse and scattered, although, judging from the great 
number of deserted villages which we passed at frequent 
intervals during the march, this district must have 
been far more densely inhabited and thoroughly 
cultivated in quite recent times. It is the old story : 
Masai raids, extending year after year, have gradually 
driven these peaceful and timid people away to seek 
new homes out of the reach of their dangerous 

As we advanced farther into Kavirondo villages 
became more frequent, and on every side in their 
immediate vicinity were rich fields of Indian corn, 
millet, beans of several kinds, and sweet potatoes. 
The people were evidently industrious and skilful 
agriculturists, but, their wants being few and easily 
satisfied, quite four-fifths of this rich and ideal corn- 
growing land is still left to lie fallow. With peace, 
protection of the weak against the strong, and with 
rapid transit to the coast, there can be no doubt that 
Kavirondo could be converted into a granary capable 
of supplying vast quantities of every sort of grain at 
a merely nominal rate. If ever a railway is built to 
this part of the country, the freight charged on the 
transport of corn can be easily regulated in such a 
manner as to enable Kavirondo grain to undersell the 
produce of India at the coast, in Zanzibar, and even 
in Europe. The insignificance of the initial cost of 
the grain itself at the present time is sufiiciently 


shown by the fact that, although only comparatively 
small patches are now cultivated by the most crude 
and primitive methods in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the villages, our 600 men were able to 
supply themselves with more corn than they could 
possibly consume, with eggs, occasional fowls, and 
fish, on the allowance issued to them of one string 
of small pink beads a day, in value something less 
than a farthing ! 

The people themselves are not particularly inter- 
esting, and are evidently related to the negro tribes 
of the Upper Nile. The men are tall, well-made, 
stalwart fellows, stark naked, or sometimes wearing a 
string of beads or one or two coils of wire round their 
necks, arms, or waists. They nearly always carry a 
long roughly-made spear. The married ladies wear a 
string — occasionally threaded with beads — round their 
waists, from which are hung, in front and behind, a 
couple of tufts like fly- wisps, or like a handful plucked 
from a horse's tail. The unmarried girls, with ingenuous 
simplicity, wear just nothing at all. As they never 
appear to oil, grease, or wash their bodies, their skins 
have a dull, rough, and unclean appearance, which 
contrasts most unfavourably with the sleek, well-oiled 
figures of the Masai youths and maidens. The 
villages of Kavirondo are all surrounded, for protec- 
tion, by a deep ditch skirting a mud wall some six 
feet in height, through which the only entrance is 
across a very narrow causeway and through a low 
door, less than four feet in. height, easily blocked by 
heavy beams of timber. 


The village of the chief Mumia, at which the 
I.B.E.A. Company had established a small storehouse 
in charge of a native, is a favourite halting-place for 
caravans, and is in some ways already in advance of 
its neighbours. It is surrounded by more cultivation 
than most of the others, its inhabitants have learnt 
the instincts and the advantages of trade in corn and 
other food, and nearly all the principal men of the 
place have already begun to hide their nakedness in 
garments of cotton cloth, a demand for which com- 
modity is, in consequence, rapidly being created. 

At Mumia's we halted, out of pity for the hard- 
worked men, for a day's rest, and then, on the 4th of 
March, began the last stage of our journey of 187 
miles to the capital of Uganda. A mile from the 
villaije we had to cross the Nzoia river, the most 
important stream which had yet opposed itself to our 
progress since leaving the coast. At the first glance 
it certainly looked rather formidable, being about 
forty yards wide, and running with a swift three-mile 
current between steep banks. It was, therefore, not 
surprising that among the leading men there was at 
first a good deal of hesitation about venturing into 
the water, which looked as if it might be of any 
depth, and haunted by innumerable crocodiles and 
other horrors. My exhortations and objurgations not 
having the smallest perceptible effect, I proceeded to 
lead the way in person, and walked, full of righteous 
indignation, into the brown current. The first step 
was only up to my knees, and I began to jeer at the 
timid porters, the second brought the water to my 



waist, and though still triumphant, the jeers ceased 
of their own accord, but the fourth or fifth step saw 
me fairly swept off my legs, and Her Majesty's 
Commissioner was ignominiously striking out for the 
bank from which he had started. Foolishly, too, in 
my zeal and wrath I had not even taken the ordinary 
precaution of first divesting myself of my coat, so that 
the ducking was complete. After this we proceeded 
with more caution, and soon found a ford by which 
the whole party, with their loads, got safely across in 
little more than an hour. 

For the next two days we made long, wearisome 
marches through a desolate country of abandoned 
villages, deserted and overgrown crops, and ruined 
huts. It appeared that a certain local chief, who had 
acquired rather more power than his neighbours, had 
been in the habit of raiding all over this country, till 
it was more than half ruined, and that then a *' puni- 
tive " expedition of the Imperial British East Africa 
Company, directed against this chief, had overrun 
the district, and completed its desolation. The only 
incident of interest to us was that on the 5th we 
got our first distant view of the Victoria Nyanza, 
while our practical ingenuity was greatly exercised 
by the extreme difficulty of finding camping-places 
at which any firewood could be procured, the whole 
of Kavirondo consisting of rolling hills and plains, 
where the soil, impregnated with iron, is of extreme 
fertility, but almost without a tree. The marches 
through Kavirondo were quite the most uninteresting 
of the whole journey. The road was circuitous and 


aggravating to an unnecessary and heart-breaking 
degree, there were numerous swamps of evil-smelling 
water and deep black mud, and when on terra firma 
we were eternally toiling along over plains of burnt 
grass, without shade, with no scenery to admire, 
and nothing to look at except the dazzling iron- 
loaded soil, or a few very dirty black people without 

On the 7th, however, the whole aspect of affairs 
underwent a complete and sudden change. We had 
camped that night almost on the shores of that part 
of Lake Victoria hitherto known as Sio Bay, which 
had been rechristened "Berkeley Bay" by the 
officers of the recent railway survey expedition. Our 
march the previous day had been, as usual, over 
monotonous, burnt, and barren plains, with occasional 
patches of cultivation round the villages ; but now, 
without any gradation or preparation, we suddenly 
passed into a land of fine trees, of endless banana 
gardens, of cool shade, and intelligent -looking, 
chocolate-coloured people, completely clothed from 
head to foot in graceful togas of bark-cloth. We had 
crossed the frontier of Usoga. Now, indeed, were 
we in a land of plenty ; great bunches of sweet, ripe 
bananas were brought to us at every plantation, and 
distributed to the porters by hospitable villagers 
without payment being demanded or expected. To 
us, who had seen no green or fresh food since 
leaving Kikuyu, the luxury was inestimable ; the 
only serious danger which now threatened us was 
that the whole caravan should so over-eat itself 


in the midst of this abundance as to be unable to 

However, although next morning, and on each of 
the subsequent days, many cases of " tumbo " or 
"tummy" came for treatment to our long-suffering 
doctor, no serious inconvenience was suffered by the 
community at large, and in high spirits the men 
stepped out bravely along well-kept paths, running 
between the cool and shady banana groves, over 
which towered here and there magnificent cedars, 
gum-trees, and forest giants of every description, 
while the divisions between the different plantations 
were marked by rows of the invaluable fig-tree, from 
the bark of which is made the warm and picturesque 
cloth worn by every native. 

On the 8th of March we arrived at the large and 
prosperous village of the chief Mtanda, which is 
called on the maps "Wakoli's," after the name of 
the father of Mtanda, who was killed in 1892 by a 
porter in the caravan of an English missionary then 
on a visit to this place. Here the British East 
Africa Company had a stockade and a " station," in 
charge of a young German gentleman, to whom our 
hearty thanks are due for a pleasant and hospitable 
reception. Our men were supplied, free of cost, with 
goats, fowls, bananas, and every description of food, 
with the most lavish generosity, with the result that 
a good many murmurs were audible when their 
petition for a day of rest here was refused. I should 
explain that the bananas usually supplied, both to 
the men and ourselves, were immense bunches of 


green, unripe fruit, which are either boiled or, what is 
better, skinned and thoroughly steamed for an hour 
or so before they are eaten. 

Having dealt out presents of wire, cloth, coloured 
handkerchiefs, and other treasures to all the hospitable 
chiefs, we pushed on for four more days through the 
same delightful, rich, and shady country, our appetites 
flattered by the good fare, our sense of smell by the 
sweet perfume of the various gums and of innumerable 
resinous trees and shrubs, and our eyes delighted by 
the fresh green and waving leaves of the bananas 
contrasting with the sombre hues of the stately cedar, 
while the red tulip-like flowers of the Spathodia vied 
with every shade of purple, yellow, blue, or white 
convolvuli, creepers, or flowering trees, in adding 
warmth, joy, and brilliancy to the smiling scene, to 
be themselves in turn almost put to shame by the 
thousands of brilliant butterflies of every hue and 
every size which rose in clouds from the path before 
us, and lightly defied competition in colour and 
beauty from any flower yet produced by Nature or 
Art. At intervals, as we rose over the brow of some 
green-clad granite hill, from which great gray masses 
of rock thrust their heads through the waving verdure 
as though to reprove the bright thoughtlessness of the 
vegetation, we could see below us, on our left, inlets 
and bays of the Victoria Nyanza. The water reflected 
every shadow and colour of the surrounding hills, 
lovely islands dotted the surface as it lay calm, blue, 
and peaceful under the morning sun, more beautiful 
than any Italian lake, but cruel as the very crocodiles 



which haunt its depths, treacherous and untrust- 
worthy as the people who inhabit its shores and cut 
each others' throats in the name of the Christian 

At last, at 11 o'clock on the 12th of March, a 
muffled roar of water told us that we were approaching 
the frontier of Uganda, and in a few minutes a steep 


and rapid descent brought us to the head of Napoleon 
Gulf, at the very spot where the Somerset Nile leaves 
the Lake, and, severing all connection with its parent 
by throwing itself madly over the Eipon Falls, sets 
forth alone on its 3000-mile journey to the Mediter- 
ranean Sea. 

. A couple of long, light, but somewhat leaky canoes 
were ready to transport the whole caravan to the 


opposite bank, across a ferry some 500 yards wide. 
These canoes were fairly well constructed of strips of 
wood neatly sewn together with fibres of aloes and of 
bananas ; they were built on a stout, solid keel, which 
projected some distance before the boat, and was then 
turned upwards till it towered proudly and gracefully 
above the water like the prow of an ancient Roman 
trireme. These lofty prows were always adorned in 
some manner as the taste of the owner might suggest, 
most commonly by a pair of antelope's horns, by a 
device worked in grass, by a pair of hippopotamus 
tusks, or some other trophy of the chase. It 
took nearly six hours to get all the men, loads, 
invalids, and animals across the ferry, the ponies, 
goats, and cattle being tied by the head to the canoe 
and made to swim, but before sunset that evening all 
the work was finished, the camp was pitched, and we 
could sit down with a clear conscience to our first 
dinner in Uganda, lulled by the hoarse murmur of 
the Ripon Falls. 

The following morning, the 13th of March, after 
sending on the caravan at daybreak as usual, my brother 
and I turned back to the Ripon Falls, armed with fish- 
ing lines and a luncheon basket, with the intention of 
spending a thoroughly lazy morning, and of overtaking 
the others at their next camp in the evening. As we 
sat on rocks just below the Falls, occasionally throwing 
our lines in a desultory manner, the grand beauty of 
the place fascinated us as thirty years before it had 
fascinated Captain Speke, the first white man whose 
eyes had ever rested on this spot. To describe the 


scene I cannot do better than quote Captain Speke's 
own words, which are as true to-day as when they 
were written : ^ — 

The "stones," as the Waganda call the Falls, was by far 
the most interesting sight I had seen in Africa. Though 
beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected ; for the 
broad surface of the Lake was shut out from view by a spur of 
hill, and the Falls, about 12 feet deep, and 400 to 500 feet 
broad, were broken by rocks. Still it was a sight that attracted 
me to it for hours ; the roar of the waters, thousands of 
passenger-fish, leaping at the Falls with all their might, the 
Wasoga and Waganda fishermen coming out in boats, and taking 
post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and 
crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above 
the Falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the 
Lake, made, in all, with the pretty nature of the country, — small 
hills, grassy-topped, with trees in the folds, and gardens on the 
lower slopes, — as interesting a picture as one could wish to see. 

While my brother and I spent a happy and idle 
morning at this lovely place, fishing with great 
perseverance, but contentedly catching nothing, we 
complacently reflected that this was the 13th of 
March, the very day on which, before leaving the 
coast, I had ventured to prophesy in an official 
telegram that we should be at the Nile. It was 
pleasing to realise that in spite of the unforeseen 
difficulties and delays at Kikuyu, and of various other 
impediments with which we had met on divers 
occasions, we were at last actually in Uganda, and 
even one day ahead of our time. 

Innumerable incidents and details now seemed 
to combine in order to demonstrate to us that, as 

^ Speke's Discovery of the Source of the Nile, p. 466. 



compared with the countries through which we had 
been wandering since the beginning of the year, 
we had arrived at the home of African civilisation. 
Great as had been the contrast between the people 
of Usoga and the naked blacks of Kavirondo, the 
superiority in bearing, in dress, and in manner of the 
Waganda over their cousins and neighbours on the 

Fish Crnise in the Foreground. 

other side of the Nile was hardly less marked. Our 
eyes were first opened by the refusal of a poor fisher- 
man at the Falls to accept our proffered beads in 
return for some bait, bananas, or other trifles which 
we had bought from him, and by his asking, instead, 
if we could not give him anything to read, whether a 


book or a single page, printed in Luganda or Swahili ! 
Unfortunately we were not supplied with any such 
literature, and the bargain was eventually struck for 
a few wax matches. That afternoon again, as we 
strolled on to rejoin the caravan ten miles ahead, we 
no longer stumbled in single file along a narrow path 
overgrown with grass and creepers, but walked freely 
and comfortably along a straight road, from ten to 
twenty feet wide, cleared of all vegetation, and 
that evening on arrival at our destination, we found 
the caravan encamped in a smooth, clear, well-kept, 
and well-swept open " square " in front of a clean- 
looking village, surrounded by crowds of sleek men 
and women, all decently dressed from head to foot in 
a softer and superior class of bark-cloth to that worn 
by the Wasoga. Finally, when at sunset I received 
the visit of the half-dozen chief men of the place, 
I was rather startled to find that they were all 
dressed in ample robes of the cleanest and most 
snowy cotton cloth of very fine quality, and that 
each man was followed by a slave bearing his master's 
chair or camp-stool ! 

Verily the wearied traveller entering Uganda for 
the first time across the eastern frontier, contemplates 
with unconscious relief the most ornamented, polished, 
and whitened side of the sepulchre, and, at first at all 
events, neither sees nor suspects anything of the 
festering bones, the foulness of iniquity, and the 
hideous decay which lie behind that pleasing surface ! 
Next morning at 5.30, after bidding a formal 
farewell and giving a suitable present of cloth to the 


hospitable chief of the village, Mondo by name, we 
had a most agreeable march of twelve miles through 
a fertile, hilly, and prosperous-looking country to our 
camping-place in another clean square in front of the 
village of the chief Mworogoma. The whole march 
had been along a broad, cleared road, evidently " done 
up " for the occasion ; in fact, in several places the 
work was not yet finished, and some hundreds of 
women and children were busily engaged in scratch- 
ing, tearing, or cutting away the grass and tangle 
which had been allowed to encroach upon the old 
path. During the day we crossed, dry-shod, several 
nasty - looking swamps which had been admirably 
bridged by a solid causeway of interlaced palm logs 
covered over with a thick layer of brushwood, grass, 
and earth. 

About an hour before arriving at Mworogoma's 
we were met by a great personage named Zachariah, 
who holds the lucrative and important office of kangao 
or governor of the rich province of Bulemezi, besides 
being a most influential member of the Great Council 
of the king, and, I believe, a general of some reputa- 
tion in times of war. In addition to his other 
dignities this Zachariah has now been ordained a 
deacon of the Church of England, and is thoroughly 
under the control of the Church Missionary Society. 
Having been sent by the king, with a guard of 
honour of twenty soldiers, to bid us welcome to his 
country, I am bound to say that Zachariah acquitted 
himself of his task to perfection ; his appearance was 
pleasing, his clothes the very ideal of snowy white- 


ness, while his manners were a type of politeness 
itself, and would have fitted him for a post in any 
European court. During my residence in Uganda I 
had occasion to see a good deal of this man, and 
always found him intelligent, anxious to do his best 
in any matter that was required of him, and gifted 
with more common-sense and a less narrow mind 
than falls to the lot of most of his African brethren. 

The guard of honour was a curious and motley 
crowd armed with at least half a dozen different kinds 
of rifles ; one or two of them were clad in old tunics 
of English line regiments, others had coats of white 
cotton, evidently cut and sewn by themselves, but 
all, I noticed, had well-filled cartridge-belts round 
their waists. In my innocence, as I thought of all 
the thunders of the General Act of the Brussels 
Conference, and all the ordinances, enactments, and 
regulations which had been published thereafter by 
different Powers having possessions on the African 
coast, I wondered how, in the very centre of Africa, 
these people were enabled to keep their belts so well 
replenished with cartridges of diff'erent and of the 
most modern patterns. I had not been a month in 
the country before I had learnt that, for those who 
had the wherewithal to trade, guns, powder, lead, and 
all the instruments of destruction thereunto apper- 
taining, could be as easily purchased in Uganda as in 
Pall Mall. This worthy guard of honour, having 
drawn itself up with mathematical precision in a line 
across the road as the caravan approached, proceeded 
to present arms in the most a23proved fashion, while 



Zachariah made his little speech of welcome, and 
suitable compliments were interchanged ; but having 
said all we had to say, and being, on our side at 
least, very anxious to get on to camp and luncheon, 
the guard across the road offered a serious obstacle, 
and having got themselves into this unaccustomed 
attitude, much to their own pleasure and astonish- 
ment, the "soldiers" did not seem to know how to 
get out of it. 

In vain I hinted, through the interpreter, to 
Zachariah, that we might now proceed on our journey 
— he only bowed and smiled, and replied that all 
must be as I wished. I pointed to the guard, but he 
thought I was only admiring them, and bowed and 
smiled all the more in modest deprecation. I then 
marched straight up to the guard, hoping that they 
might break their ranks and let us through, but they 
evidently imagined that I wished to inspect them 
more closely, and only continued to present arms 
with greater stolidity than ever. The situation was 
ludicrous, but was eventually saved by one of the 
porters behind me, who knew the Luganda language, 
shouting out a few words, which were afterwards 
translated to me as meaning, "Out of the way, you 
idiots." The guard then executed a wonderful 
manoeuvre, which excited the admiration of the 
military officers of the Mission : they wheeled to the 
left and marched away ahead of us, still presenting 
arms, and with their noses apparently glued to the 
barrels of their rifles. For a mile or so they solemnly 
marched in this new fashion, and then one by one 


were observed surreptitiously to bring their rifles to 
the shoulder, or to some more comfortable position. 

On the evening of the 16 th, as we pitched our last 
camp at a small village only six miles from the capital, 
having received during the day's march at least half 
a dozen messages from King Mwanga, inquiring after 
our health and bidding us welcome, a brown pony 
with a somewhat seedy saddle made its appearance, 
with his black Majesty's request that I would ride 
the beast into the town next day in order that all 
the people might know which was the Commissioner. 
Until after sunset our camp was thronged by multi- 
tudes of brown-faced, brown-clad people, anxious to 
have the first look at the strange white men, who 
had been sent up by the far-famed Queen to set 
everything straight ; and everything tended to show 
that the greatest excitement prevailed about our 
arrival. This became more evident the next morning, 
for although we got under weigh at the usual early 
hour, we had not gone a mile before we found the 
road crowded with people, while every ant-hill and 
post of vantage was occupied as thickly as are the 
rickety stands on the river-bank at the Oxford and 
Cambridge boat-race. As we ajDproached the town 
the crowds, well-behaved and quiet, increased in 
density, while breathless messengers were continually 
dashing up with messages of welcome from the king 
and from various chiefs. At last a wooden palisade 
and a few mud huts on a low knoll ahead of us was 
pointed out as being the British East Africa Com- 
pany's now famous fort of Kampala. After all we 


had read and heard of it, the fort itself and the mud 
huts in it appeared to us absurdly small and insigni- 
ficant, and the available space was uncomfortably 
crowded with the highly-flavoured dwellings of the 
Company's Soudanese troops ; but an inner enclosure, 
containing the storehouses and the mud huts occu- 
pied by the Europeans, was, though small, clean and 
well kept, and it was with a hearty sigh of relief 
that we entered the gates, leaving the picturesque, 
chocolate-faced, and bark-clothed mob outside, and 
surrendered ourselves to the cordial welcome and 
hospitality of Major Eric Smith of the 1st Life 
Guards, who was at that moment representing the 
Imperial British East Africa Company at the capital 
of Uganda. Captain Williams, Captain Macdonald, 
and other officers whom we had hoped to find here, 
were all away travelling in different parts of the 
country, — a welcome proof, at all events, of the pacific 
state of affairs in the provinces. 

We were thus able at last to congratulate ourselves 
on having successfully accomplished our journey of 
820 miles from the coast, and on having arrived at 
our destination the very day mentioned in my tele- 
gram sent from the coast, viz. the 17th of March. 
We thus entered the fort of Kampala on the seventy- 
fifth day after leaving the deck of H.M.S. Philomel 
at Mombasa. As eight days had been lost in a 
compulsory halt at Kikuyu, and two other days at 
different times were spent in complete rest, our 
marches had thus averaged about twelve and a half 
miles a day, a record which speaks volumes for the 


stamina and endurance, both of the European officers, 
and more particularly of the native porters, especially 
when it is remembered that for nearly 250 miles 
between the coast and Machakos, and again for 280 
miles between Kikuyu and Kavirondo, we were 
travelling through an uncultivated and almost unin- 
habited country, and, consequently, that in addition 
to all the baggage, impedimenta, and stores of a large 
caravan going into the centre of Africa for eight or 
ten months, our heavily-laden men had sometimes to 
add the weight of twelve days' rations to their other 

At certain periods of the journey — as, for instance, 
on leaving Kikuyu with full rations — many of the 
men had been carrying 7^ lbs. or even 80 lbs. of 
dead weight on their heads, and with that crushing 
load had, without faltering and without murmuring, 
covered the day's march of ten or fifteen miles under 
a burnino- sun or throuojh a chilling fosf, over rocks 
and mountains, through swamps and rivers, with no 
certainty of anything to eat beyond a handful or two 
of the coarse black flour of mixed beans and corn 
which had been dealt out to him, and of which 1 8 lbs. 
were to last him for twelve days. It was indeed for- 
tunate that by hard and constant work the Europeans 
had been able to keep the whole caravan so well sup- 
plied with game, that hardly a day passed without 
every man having a ration of meat to add to his 
supper. Without this addition I have no doubt that 
the work demanded of the porters would have proved 
to be beyond their strength. As it was, these half- 


savage Zanzibaris had performed a feat which could 
certainly not be equalled by even a picked battalion 
of beef-fed, cloth-clad Englishmen, and which would 
probably prove to be beyond the powers of any race 
of people existing in the world except the despised, 
crushed, and enslaved East African. 



A short survey of the conditions of the country — The districts suitable 
for European settlement — Facilities for traffic — Suggestions for 
Improving the road — Proposed regulations for caravans and 
formation of stations. 

Before continuing the narrative of our experiences 
in Uganda itself, I would entreat the patient reader 
to accompany me through one chapter, which shall 
be as brief as possible, while we endeavour to analyse 
the experiences gained, and to recapitulate the lessons 
learnt by the nine Englishmen who had thus success- 
fully completed their walk of 820 miles into the in- 
terior from the East African coast. So great is the 
responsibility in connection with the future of this 
vast continent which devolves on the present genera- 
tion of Englishmen, so vital to the welfare, the pros- 
perity, and even to the very lives of thousands — 
ay, millions — of human beings in this tropical land, 
is the decision which must without delay be taken 
by the inhabitants of that little island far away in 
the cold northern seas, that I have the less hesitation 
in following far abler and better qualified teachers 
than myself along some of the paths which they have 
trodden, and which they have, with immense labour. 


cleared of the undergrowth of romance and tradition, 
and of the impediments of surmise, for the benefit of 
their successors. 

The present modest work, which is simply a list 
of our personal experiences threaded together as beads 
on a string, does not pretend to add anything to the 
scientific or geographical knowledge of Africa already 
in the possession of experts or even of ordinarily well- 
informed persons ; it will have amply fulfilled its 
purpose if it succeeds in adding a few details or a 
little colour to the somewhat gray and blurred picture 
of the interior of this mysterious continent, of which 
the outlines have been sketched by the noble band of 
great explorers and travellers who for this end have 
sacrificed time, health, and too often life itself 

In the first place, let those who have not yet read 
Mr. A. Silva White's valuable book^ realise that, 
roughly speaking, Central Africa consists of a vast 
plateau varying from 2000 to 6000 feet in height 
above the sea, the exterior margins of which, as Mr. 
White tells us, " will generally be found, as in those 
of other continents, to be higher than their central 
portions, thus presenting towards the sea a sort of 
natural rampart." This great fortification has for 
hundreds of years successfully withstood all attempts 
made from the outside world to penetrate beyond its 
frowning battlements. Rivers and lakes are, of course, 
the natural, and, before the wide dissemination of the 
use of railways, the sole means of communication 

^ The Development of Africa. By Arthur Silva Wliite, London : George 
Philip and Son, 1890. 


to any material extent, " but all the large rivers, not 
only in their upper, but also in their middle and 
lower courses, where they break through the margins 
of the plateau, have in consequence their beds filled 
with all sorts of rocky obstructions, and so great is 
their inclination that the accelerated waters become 
rapids, or break into cataracts, or fall down sheer 
heights, in their eager passage to the sea. And, unfor- 
tunately, from the fact of the inland or continental 
plateau approaching so near to the coasts, all the great 
rivers have their navigation obstructed at relatively 
short distances from their mouths." ^ It is this natural 
obstacle which has been one of the chief reasons why 
the whole of this vast continent, three times larger 
than Europe, has been allowed to lie dormant and 
undisturbed for so long. It is only in this generation 
that it has become possible, without swamping the 
undertaking by its initial cost, to organise means of 
transport which will overcome the opposition of Nature, 
and carry into the very heart of the interior the com- 
merce, civilisation, and light of the outside world. 

It has been already seen that the route which we 
followed is not connected with any of the great rivers 
or natural highways. An exaggerated fear of the 
Masai had kept it as a sealed book until Mr. Joseph 
Thomson made his celebrated journey from Mombasa 
through Masailand to Lake Victoria in 1883-84 ; but 
since that time it has been traversed by many caravans 
equipped at great expense, and painfully conveying 

1 The Development of Africa, chap. i. p. 9. By Arthur Silva White. 
London : George Philip and Son, 1890. 


small packages of goods on the heads of long-suffering 
men. Such European parties as have come this way 
have always found it a very expensive business ; 
native and Arab traders have sometimes been able to 
recoup their outlay, and even to make a profit, by a 
judicious combination of trade in ivory and in slaves, 
but I venture to think that even a cursory examina- 
tion of the geographical, geological, and ethnological 
conditions of the country thus traversed will make it 
clear that all the commerce which can be carried, or 
all the intercourse which can be established between 
the coast and the interior under existing conditions of 
transport and communication, will be too insignificant 
in amount to have any important eff'ect, or to confer 
any material benefit upon the central countries near 
the upper waters of the Nile, which are the objective 
point of most of these expeditions. 

To render this plain, I will proceed, for the benefit 
of those who have not made any special study of the 
question, to make a crude and rapid dissection of the 
rpute which we have traversed. 

In the first place, near the coast we find a narrow 
strip of land of recent geological formation, steadily 
rising from sea-level to a height of about 300 feet. 
This strip contains certain centres, usually in the 
neighbourhood of towns and villages, such as Mombasa, 
Malindi, or Wanga, where there is a fairly plentiful 
population of the curiously mongrel race known as 
Swahilis. The soil is fertile, and produces immense 
numbers of cocoa-nut palms, areca palms, great 
quantities of manioc, sweet potatoes, beans, some 


rice in suitable places, and, in short, most other crops 
which it may please the farmer to sow. Where the 
inhabitants are more scattered, and the ground has 
not been cleared for planting, there is a good deal of 
timber, sometimes of a valuable nature. Being ex- 
posed to the hot breezes and washed by the warm 
currents of the Indian Ocean, the mean annual tem- 
perature of this region is high, and averages not less 
than 80° Fahrenheit, while the mean range of tem- 
perature between_the hottest and the coldest months 
does not averao-e more than eight or ten desjrees. 
The rainfall, which occurs principally in the months 
of April, May, and June, and again in November and 
December, is plentiful, and may be estimated at about 
sixty to seventy inches a year ; on the islands, such 
as Zanzibar and Pemba, it amounts to perhaps ten 
inches more. 

As will be gathered from the above figures, this 
region cannot be said to be well suited to European 
inhabitants. There are, it is true, a good many 
Europeans of different nationalities to be found living 
on the coast, nearly all of w^hom are either traders, 
officers of the Administration, or missionaries, but 
it would be difficult to find one who looks as if his 
residence there had done him good ; all, except per- 
haps those who have just arrived from Europe, have 
that bloodless, washed-out look which is so character- 
istic of Europeans in Africa ; white children do not 
thrive, and it would be better for the whole com- 
munity if a universal rule could be made, that no 
foreigner should be allowed to remain more than two 


consecutive years on the coast without paying a visit 
of at least two months' duration to more congenial 
climates. The only exceptions to this rule might be 
the Indians and Portuguese, all of whom appear to be 
quite at home in this orchid-house atmosphere. It 
is to be feared, however, that such a regulation can 
only be made generally effective when men have 
ceased to struggle, fight, and strangle each other in 
the race for wealth, when international rivalries have 
merged into universal friendship, and when religious 
enthusiasm in Africa is tempered by broad-minded 
moderation. But although it is too much to hope 
that, until this millennium is declared, merchants, 
companies, or governments will afford to their swel- 
tering employes the luxury of a biennial " run 
home," yet, if the East African question is seriously 
taken up, an opportunity may offer itself of giving 
fresh life to many an exhausted but patiently working 
subordinate, of restoring health and vigour to many 
an anaemic body or overtaxed brain at a merely 
nominal expense, by the establishment of hill stations 
and health resorts in the cool, healthy uplands only 
300 miles from the coast. This suggestion, however, 
like almost every other East African problem which 
can be presented, resolves itself at once into the great 
all-shadowing question of transport. 

Leaving the coastal strip after a couple of 
days' journey, we found at once a totally difi"erent 
aspect of country. The palms and all the rich 
vegetation and cultivation had disappeared, and 
were replaced by interminable scrub, thorny acacias, 


mimosas, and stunted, unhappy - looking trees of 
similar kinds. In the course of the next 250 miles 
we gradually — almost imperceptibly — ascended from 
300 to over 3000 feet above the sea-level, the air 
becoming proportionately lighter and the temperature 
cooler. The rocks over which we walked, and the 
painfully dazzling red soil formed from them, were of 
the Mesozoic period, and lie in a sort of inner belt 
behind the coastal zone along the whole east of Africa, 
from Cape Town nearly to Cape Guardafui — some- 
times, as in Somaliland, extending to the sea-shore 
itself. It was easy to see that this district derived 
but little benefit from the warm rains of the Indian 
Ocean ; the general aspect of the country was parched, 
and the nature and appearance of the stunted trees 
and vegetation showed that they suffered from con- 
stant drought. The annual rainfall in the lower parts 
of this region probably does not amount to more than 
some twenty -five or thirty inches a year, increasing to 
about forty inches with the rise of altitude towards 
Nzoi and the Ulu Hills. The mean temperature 
decreases in inverse ratio to the rise of level, from 
80° to about 72° Fahrenheit. The population, partly 
in consequence of the poverty of the country, and 
partly from inter-tribal wars and Masai raids, does not 
exceed about four persons per square mile. 

This district, commencing some dozen miles from 
the sea-shore, and extending for 250 miles to the little 
station of Nzoi at the foot of the Ulu Mountains 
(where we camped on the 22nd of January), may 
thus be written down as almost valueless. There are, 


no doubt, here and there a few oases on the banks of 
some of the small streams found at rare intervals, 
where healthy young Englishmen might find life 
bearable, and where, as at the Scottish Industrial 
Mission at Kibwezi, their labour would be repaid by 
the soil ; but, generally speaking, the heat of the 
climate, the want of rain, and the consequent absence 
of rivers, forbid us to hope that, at all events for 
many years to come, this part of the country will 
fulfil any rdle in history but that of a serious impedi- 
ment in the way of reaching the more fertile and 
salubrious districts lying behind it, which it has 
shielded for so long against European invasion. 

At 250 miles from the coast the nature of the 
country undergoes a complete and sudden change ; we 
found ourselves climbing hills of the Palaeozoic period, 
and as we ascended steadily to a height of 5000 feet 
at Machakos, and 5500 at Kikuyu, the air became 
proportionately cooler and more invigorating, while 
the smiling aspect of the country showed clearly that 
the rainfall was much greater than in the lower 
regions. The mean annual temperature may be safely 
said to sink with the rise of the land from 72° to 
about 64° Fahrenheit, and the rainfall would prob- 
ably be found to be some 50 to 60 inches per 
annum, while the dews at night are heavy. As I 
have said before in the course of the narrative, the 
whole of this district appears to be exceptionally 
fertile, well watered by clear mountain streams, 
thoroughly healthy, and admii-ably adapted for 
European residents, while the first settlers, if their 


tastes inclined in that direction, would have the 
additional pleasure of living in the very heart of one 
of the finest and best-stocked game countries in the 
world. Labour could be fairly plentiful, as the 
population, especially among the Wakamba tribes in 
Ukumbi and the Ulu Hills, and again in the Kikuyu 
country, is dense ; villages, huts, and native settle- 
ments are packed close together in every direction on 
the hills ; and although the fear of the raiding Masai 
prevents the natives from settling on the more 
exposed and open plains, the population of the whole 
district cannot be less than thirty or forty per square 
mile, all the adults of both sexes being actively 
engaged in cultivation. It is this district, extending 
from the Ulu Hills to Kikuyu, which holds out hopes 
of prolonged life and health to the pale-faced 
residents at the coast, on whom a month or two 
among the hills of Kikuyu or on the plains of the 
Athi river would confer the same blessings as a visit 
to the moors of Scotland, without the crushing 
expense and loss of time entailed by the long sea 

Immediately after leaving the Kikuyu district 
there was another change. We entered suddenly 
into a barren, arid -looking district, of which the 
geological formation is purely volcanic or " eruptive." 
Extinct volcanoes reared their heads on every side as 
we crossed the great trough which furrows this part 
of Africa from north to south for some 600 miles, and 
in which lie a series of interesting lakes, from Lakes 
Rudolf and Stephanie in the north down to Lake 


Naivasha. The height of Lake Naivasha above the 
sea is 6000 feet, and its climate cool and bright like 
that of Kikuyu, though in this part there would 
appear to be rather less rain ; but after leaving the 
trough or " meridional rift " we rose rapidly to a 
height of nearly 9000 feet while crossing the Mau 
Mountains, before descending gradually to the level 
of 4000 feet in the plains of Kavirondo. In the 
higher altitudes the rainfall is naturally much greater 
than in the districts previously traversed ; the moist- 
ure which is held in suspension in the warmer air as 
it passes over the plains, is at once condensed on 
arrival at the mountain range, and the higher parts 
of Mau receive probably not less than sixty to eighty 
inches of rain every year. The soil, formed by the 
decomposition of volcanic rocks, is generally rich, and 
the whole country well watered, but some days before 
reaching Kavirondo we were travelling through dry 
plains and over the undulating hills of the Palaeozoic 
period. The whole of this country, across which our 
road led us for some 280 miles, would be well suited 
to Europeans so far as climate is concerned, but at 
present it is absolutely neglected, uncultivated, and 
almost uninhabited. Its only occupants are the 
Masai tribes, and these nomads cannot be reckoned 
at more than two or three persons per square mile 
of country. 

In Kavirondo itself, which is also throughout of 
Palseozoic formation, the villages are in places fairly 
close together, but, on the other hand, there are many 
desolate tracts, extending for several days' journey, in 


which no human being can be seen ; it would not, 
therefore, be safe to estimate the population at more 
than twenty to twenty-five per square mile. As the 
whole country lies from 4000 to 4500 feet above the 
sea, the climate is, on the whole, temperate ; the 
nights are thoroughly cool, so much so, that although 
the variation between the hottest and the coldest 
months of the year cannot exceed five degrees, yet the 
average temperature throughout the year may be 
estimated at about 73° Fahrenheit. The annual rain- 
fall, which occurs principally in the months of April, 
May, and June, and again in November and December, 
is probably forty inches. 

In the last section of our journey, through Usoga 
and Uganda, we entered upon what is perhaps one of 
the oldest parts of the oldest continent of the world, 
the rocks being throughout of the archaic period. As, 
however, I shall have occasion later to speak more 
fully of these countries, I will here conclude this 
hasty and somewhat dry resume of the different 
sections of our route, leaving the reader to draw his 
own conclusions as to the present or future value and 
prospects of the country described. Before leaving 
this subject I should add that for many of the 
statistics and figures which I have quoted above, I 
am indebted to Mr. A. Silva White's book. The 
Development of Africa, and to the valuable notes 
and maps compiled by Mr. E. G. Eavenstein, F.R.G.S., 
which form its interesting appendix. 

I now come to one of the most important of all 
questions in connection with the future of Africa, 



viz. that of the road itself and the means employed 
for carrying traffic along it. 

As regards what is by courtesy called the " road " 
but little need be said ; it is well known that an 
African road consists simply of a footpath some ten 
inches wide worn in the grass by the constantly- 
passing naked feet of native villagers and caravan- 
porters. If, for any reason, such a path falls into 
disuse for a few months, especially during the rainy 
season, it is quickly obliterated by the rank grass, 
thorns, and creepers which always seem to ally them- 
selves with the other forces of Nature in order to 
repel the invasion of the stranger. All marching is 
thus of necessity done in single file, and a large 
caravan, even without straggling, will often spread 
itself over a mile of country, while conversation is 
only possible by the leading man addressing his 
remarks to the empty air before him, and taking in 
the answers at the hollow of his back. 

On fairly level and open plains, where the long 
grass has been burnt down, or before the young 
shoots have grown more than six or eight inches, 
these paths are good enough, and, if the weather is 
cool, the day's march is a real pleasure ; but on the 
sides of hills, especially on hard soil, where the 
paths become runnels for rain-water, they are fre- 
quently hollowed into a deep and narrow gutter by 
no means well adapted for the comfortable progression 
of a man in boots. After the rainy season, when the 
grass of the plains has grown to four, six, or even 
eight feet in height on either side, it is frequently a 


matter of some difficulty for the leader to see tlie 
track through the overhanging masses of grass-heads 
and weeds, and, while his progress is seriously im- 
peded by the tangle, the discomfort of the traveller is 
increased by his clothes being drenched through and 
through every morning by the heavy dew, or by the 
drops from the last shower which he brushes ojff the 
foliage as he forces his way forward. As the sun rises 
and gains strength the moisture is evaporated from the 
grass, and the pedestrian's clothes are gradually dried 
on him at the same time, but, nevertheless, it is an 
undoubted fact that this ducking, undergone with 
wearisome monotony from 6 till about 9 o'clock 
every morning, is the cause of many a bad attack of 
fever which is put down generally to the African 

These, however, are among the minor inconveni- 
ences inseparable from travelling on foot in uncivilised 
regions ; what is a more serious annoyance, inasmuch 
as it causes unnecessary delay and fatigue, is the 
circuitous nature of the path, which twists, turns, 
and winds in a ridiculous and most irritating manner 
for no perceptible reason. In order to explain this 
peculiarity of African tracks, we must lay down three 
axioms : first, that the paths are made by natives ; 
secondly, that to the native time has no value, and 
he is consequently never in a hurry ; thirdly, that 
the native will always prefer to go round even the 
smallest obstacle rather than take the trouble of 
cutting or clearing it away for his own benefit or for 
that of his neisrhbours. Thus a fallen tree or an 


overhanging bough, a new ant-heap, or even a tuft 
of rank grass, will each be sufficient to cause the 
path to deflect perhaps for many yards; a similar 
occurrence will take place on the loop thus made, 
and so on, until in the course of years the road is 
made to trend for a considerable distance away from 
its objective point. 

Frequently, towards the close of a long, weary, 
and thirsty day's march, our patience and our tempers 
have been sorely tried at finding ourselves following 
the path in a northerly, southerly, or even easterly 
direction, while w^e knew that our camping-place lay 
due west. If the road in such places were to be 
straightened, slightly widened throughout, and cleared 
even of such minor obstructions as would not demand 
any serious expenditure of labour, not only would the 
journey to Uganda be shortened by several days, 
but a still greater saving would be made in the 
muscle, stamina, and health of the overloaded men 
and donkeys. In forest countries and places where 
constant attention would be necessary in order to 
keep the road clear, it should be made compulsory on 
every caravan to be preceded by a small band of 
pioneers sent a mile or two ahead, armed with 
hatchets and bill-hooks, whose duty it would be to 
clear away such creepers, undergrowth, or overhanging 
branches as might have even partially blocked the 
path since the passage of the last party. 

Again, an immense amount of delay and trouble to 
caravans could be easily avoided by the construction 
of a few bridges of the simplest nature ; a couple or 


perhaps three slender tree-trunks laid side by side, 
and bound together by creepers or by rope, would in 
most cases be quite sufficient for the present, especially 
if these trunks were then covered over with grass, 
branches, and finally sods of earth, so as to make 
them passable for animals. There need be no fear of 
the natives destroying such bridges ; on the contrary, 
they would appreciate the convenience thus ofi'ered as 
keenly as any European, and would most religiously 
preserve them. Only recently I heard of such an 
instance : a caravan was passing through a part of the 
country in which the natives had the reputation of 
not being too friendly to strangers ; a small river 
ofi'ered an obstruction, and crowds of natives sat on 
the adjoining hills while the commander of the party 
superintended the building of a bridge by his own 
men. As soon as the work was completed, and the 
caravan had got safely across, the leader wished to 
take away some rope which he had used for lashing 
his bridge. Scarcely, however, had he touched the 
rope than down came the natives who had been 
quietly watching the proceedings: "No, no," said 
they, " you have made us a nice bridge, and we see 
the use of it as well as you do, but you need not 
think that we are such fools as to let you destroy it 
or take it away now that it is made ; pas si hetes, we 
thank you for your work, and now you may go in 
peace ! " 

It may be urged as an objection to all this, that 
labour is so scarce along the road to Uganda, that the 
expense and difficulty of any such undertaking as 


road-making would far outweigh its advantages ; but, 
as a matter of fact, such is not the case. It has 
already been proved that near the coast the Wa- 
Deruma and the Wa-Nyika are perfectly willing to 
work for infinitesimal wages, if once they are sure of 
not being maltreated, of being punctually paid, and 
of securing protection for their homes from the 
attacks of more powerful neighbours during their 
absence. A little farther inland the Wa-kamba are 
ready to work on the same conditions ; the Kikuyu 
people have been sufi"ering under a bad reputation, and 
have never yet been given a fair chance, but there 
can be little doubt that with tact and patience their 
confidence could be gained, and a vast supply of 
labour thereby rendered available ; the Kavirondo 
people are willing to do almost anything for a string of 
beads, and if they could see the chance of an occasional 
gift of meat, either from a bullock — price four or five 
dollars — or from the carcass of a hippopotamus, which 
could be easily shot at any time by the overseer, the 
supply of muscular men and wiry women would be 
found to exceed the demand twenty times over. In 
Usoga and Uganda this sort of labour is already 
organised to some extent by the native chiefs, to whom 
the execution of the work would have to be entrusted, 
and who already well understand the art of road and 
bridge making. 

It is only just to those who have especially 
interested themselves in securing new fields for 
British commerce in Africa, to remind the reader that 
this question has not been entirely overlooked. It 


will be remembered that on the Taro plain near tbe 
coast we found that the Imperial British East Africa 
Company had cleared a road through thick bush for 
about ten miles, and a little farther on about double 
that length of road had been constructed by the 
energy of the Scottish Industrial Mission at Kibwezi. 
I am given to understand, moreover, that since our 
departure from the coast this work has been carried 
on at the personal expense of the late deeply-regretted 
President of the East Africa Company. 

We now come to what is perhaps the most im- 
portant of all questions in connection with the 
establishment of commercial intercourse with the 
rich countries of Central Africa, that of the means 
of transport of goods. It is well known that from 
the earliest times until to-day every parcel and 
package of barter-goods, personal baggage, or food 
has been carried on the heads or shoulders of men, 
occasionally assisted by a few half - starved and 
decrepit donkeys. So many abler pens than mine 
have written eloquent words about this system that I 
should be unwilling to say anything on the subject, 
did I not feel that it is the duty of every leader of 
an expedition who has been compelled by force of 
circumstances to use this only available form of 
transit, to lose no opportunity of entering his formal 
protest against it. From a moral and humanitarian 
point of view the arguments are obvious ; they have, 
moreover, been set forth in innumerable books and 
pamphlets, and thundered from countless platforms, 
frequently with more zeal than accuracy of detail. 


Therefore, passing over all question of humanity, or of 
the rights of man, and shunning all argument as to 
the equality or superiority of our black brothers, I 
will venture merely to touch briefly upon the utili- 
tarian side of the question. 

As an animal of burden man is out and out the 
worst. He eats more, carries less, is more liable to 
sickness, gets over less ground, is more expensive, 
more troublesome, and in every way less satisfactory 
than the meanest four-footed creature that can be 
trained, induced, or forced to carry a load. Why, 
then, is the question which naturally occurs to the 
stranger, has not some animal ever been substituted 
for man ? The answer to this is, that until the last 
year or two, since Equatorial Africa has become a 
European field of enterprise, all commerce with the 
interior from the east coast has been a monopoly in 
the hands of Arabs and half-breeds, who have always 
tried to combine the slave - trade with a little 
legitimate dealing; for the former they require a 
certain force of men armed with guns, and this force 
is supplied by the porters, who thus serve a double 
purpose. In the second place, the porter is not quite 
such an expensive luxury to the Arab caravan leader 
as he is to the European. In the caravan of the 
former the men are all slaves, either his own, or those 
of friends who supply some of the capital, and " stand 
in" with him over the whole enterprise. Thirdly, 
the Arab has not much initiative, and, as beasts of 
burden are not easily procured at the coast, it does 
not enter his head — it would indeed be opposed to 


the Arab nature — to import them in any paying 
quantities. Unfortunately, in the damp, hot climate 
of Zanzibar and the coastal zone, no such animal 
appears to thrive, still less to breed. The few horses 
to be seen have all been imported, usually in open 
dhows, from Muscat or from India, and their price 
places them beyond the reach of the ordinary Arab 
trader. Camels are occasionally imported iu small 
numbers from Somaliland, but they do not thrive 
near the coast, and neither the trading Arabs nor the 
Swahilis have the smallest idea as to how to treat 
these somewhat delicate animals. Donkeys are 
fairly cheap and plentiful at Zanzibar, but with them 
also the air or the food of the narrow coastal zone 
appears to disagree, and, even if they do not die, they 
lose flesh and muscle during the delay which always 
takes place on the coast before a caravan is ready to 
start. These reasons are sufiicient to show why 
the Arab has always had his goods carried by men, 
with perhaps a few half- starved donkeys as a 
reserve ; and the European companies, which during 
the last few years have begun to dabble in trade 
with the interior, have only followed the established 

Before discussing possible remedies and reforms, 
let us consider for a moment what is the common 
experience of a porter leaving the coast on a journey, 
let us say, from Mombasa to Lake Victoria under a 
native Arab leader. In the first place, he is utterly 
out of condition at the start, his muscles are flabby, 
and he has probably been more or less drunk for the 


last week. On the appointed day for the start he 
is given a load weighing some 60 or 70 lbs., to this 
he has to add his own rations for about ten days, say 
15 lbs. more, bringing the load to a weight which few 
Englishmen would like to lift on to their shoulders, 
much less carry for ten miles a day. During the 
first days our porter, willing though he may be, feels 
that his burden is greater than he can bear ; he lags 
behind, and at last drops his load by the side of the 
path while he lies down for a rest. From his pleasant 
reflections, however, he is shortly startled by the 
"thwack, thwack," of a hippopotamus -hide stick 
across the shoulders, which forcibly brings home to 
him the fact that the headman in charge of the rear 
of the caravan has arrived on the scene, and that it 
is time to move on if he values his own skin. In a 
day or two the labour and scanty food have very 
likely caused some small scratch on his bare foot to 
develop into a raging ulcer, but still he must get 
forward somehow, and carry a load. If the caravan 
be under a European, there may perhaps be a medi- 
cine chest, and he may have the chance of getting 
his wound dressed and sprinkled with "iodoform," 
but if it be an Arab trading expedition there is no 
such hope for him. Slowly and painfully he toils 
along, always getting whacked for lagging behind, his 
open sore becoming worse and worse until every 
step is an agony to him. At last comes the day 
when he can literally move no farther, and even the 
headman sees that the game is played out. If the poor 
fellow be near a native village he may creep there and 


take his chance, but if, as is more likely, he is in the 
midst of an uninhabited district, he need do nothing 
more than speculate as to the way in which the end 
will come, whether by lion, hyaena, or starvation. 
The caravan goes on, his load has been added to the 
already heavy burdens of his companions, and nobody 
will ever ask what has become of him, why he was 
left behind, whether he was murdered, or whether, 
indeed, he ever existed. 

Meanwhile, there being no percentage or margin 
of spare men for such eventualities, the other porters 
toil ahead with 60 or 70 lbs. more on their shoulders 
than before. At last the caravan arrives at the top 
of the Mau Mountains, with the thermometer at night 
well below freezing-point. The improvident men 
have all left the coast wearing and possessing little 
more than a single loin cloth ; the bitter cold pene- 
trates to their very bones ; in vain they huddle to- 
gether, and almost burn their feet in the fire, the 
cold gets the better of them, and after forty-eight 
hours in this region the echoes of the night are 
roused by a long-continued chorus of painful cough- 
ing arising from every side. A few spare blankets, 
a little medicine, a couple of days' relief from carrying 
the hateful load, would now perhaps save half a 
dozen lives ; but such an idea as that of carrying a 
load of blankets merely for the use of the men has 
never entered the head of the leader, — such an un- 
remunerative bundle would appear to be the wildest 
extravagance. The result is that perhaps five or six 
more men are left to take their chance, — in other 


words, to die of cold, of starvation, or from wild 
beasts. I need follow this example no farther. 

Let it not be thought that I have been guilty of 
exaggeration. There is not the smallest doubt that 
these things, and worse, are done every day in Arab 
caravans up-country, and it is whispered that they 
have not been unknown even under European leaders. 
The commander of the party runs no risk. Nobody 
asked or cared how many men left the coast with 
him, and nobody will ask or care how many come 
back. While up-country he exercises an absolute 
authority and power of life and death, and no in- 
quisitive police or executive officer will ever make 
any awkward inquiries. Let it be clearly understood 
that all this does not apply to caravans of the British 
East Africa Company ; in these the men are all 
duly enrolled, registered, and provided with a num- 
ber stamped on a brass ticket ; their leader is always 
provided with a certain quantity of simple medicines 
for the men, and there is often even a small per- 
centage of spare men to relieve those who are 

Now we are met with the question, What is the 
remedy for the state of things sketched above, for 
surely all men will agree that it cannot be allowed to 
continue in a part of Africa which is supposed to be 
more or less under British influence ? One answer 
to this question would of course be, — abolish 
altogether, once for all, the whole system of human 
transport. This, no doubt, will be the best solution 
if it is feasible ; but time will be required before 


such a radical change can be thoroughly carried out, 
and an efficient substitute for men must first be 
found. Failing this, surely the first thing to do is 
to brine: the whole traffic under as efficient control 
as the existing administrative machinery will allow. 
This is not the place in which to discuss all the steps 
which might or should be taken towards this object, 
but a few crude outlines of such regulations as could 
be most easily enacted may fairly be enumerated. 
In the first place, no caravan, whether under Euro- 
pean or native leadership, should be allowed to leave 
the coast without being submitted to preliminary 
inspection by a competent officer. The names of all 
the men should be inscribed in a register, with their 
rates of pay, etc. ; the number and weight of the loads 
should be examined, and a maximum weight fixed ; 
while every caravan should be compelled to provide 
itself with at least 10 or 15 per cent of spare men to 
relieve those who may fall ill on the journey. No 
man should be allowed to go up-country who could 
not produce a certificate of having been vaccinated or 
of having had the small-pox. If the caravan contem- 
plates crossing any of the colder regions, it should be 
compelled to take an adequate supply of cloth or 
blankets for the men, and should be also furnished 
with such simple medicines as might be safely used 
even by an ignorant man. The caravan should be 
made to report itself at every station of the Adminis- 
tration lying on or near its route, at which its papers 
would be examined and checked. Finally, if it be 
possible, no native-led expedition should be allowed 


to go into any region where slave-trade is suspected, 
nor indeed into any part of the country where its 
misconduct would have bad effects on the people, 
without being accompanied by a European official 
detailed off for the purpose. 

Many other useful and necessary regulations could 
easily be enacted, if ever it be decided seriously to 
take up the whole question of the development of 
East Africa, and in the meantime important experi- 
ments might be made with animal transport. It is 
difficult to believe that camels would not thrive in 
the dry country between the coast and Machakos : 
the mimosa, their favourite food, is plentiful all along 
the route, the damp atmosphere, which is so fatal to 
them on the coast, is replaced by a dry climate less 
than twenty miles inland, and the route itself offers no 
natural difficulties or obstacles to their progress. An 
experiment with camels is said to have been made 
unsuccessfully some three or four years ago, but, from 
all accounts, it was so ridiculously mismanaged that 
the only wonder would have been to find that any of 
the animals survived the trial. 

It has already been sufficiently proved that horses 
manage the whole journey to Uganda with ease. 
Several have been taken up there during the last two 
years : we ourselves started, with a couple of ponies 
who did their full share of work in carrying tired, 
footsore, or invalid Europeans, and arrived in 
Uganda in far better condition than when they left 
the coast. Horses on the East Coast are too expen- 
sive for baggage animals, but henceforth no European 


who has the smallest regard for his own comfort, or 
who wishes to be fresh and able to shoot meat for 
his men in the afternoon after the day's march, should 
dream of leaving the coast to travel along our route 
without having provided himself with at least one 

Mules have never been tried, and I cannot recall 
ever having seen one in East Africa ; in Abyssinia 
and its neighbouring countries the mule is the princi- 
pal means of transport, and there is every reason to 
suppose that it would thrive equally well in East 

The patient donkey is the only animal of which 
any use has yet been made, and he, poor beast, is 
overloaded, underfed, and maltreated to a pitiable 
extent. An idea appears to have fixed itself in the 
heads of all East African authorities, that the little 
native donkey, far smaller than a common English 
"moke," can carry a weight of no less than 150 lbs. 
for ten or fifteen miles a day, and can then pick up 
its own living by the wayside, requiring neither food 
nor attention. This crushing load is even tied on 
to the wretched beast with no saddle to keep the 
weight off his spine, but merely a rough pad of cotton 
stuffed with a few handfuls of grass or leaves ! 
Loaded in this manner the unfortunate animal is 
beaten, pushed, and pulled by main force up and 
down mountains, and through swamps, from which he 
could scarcely extricate his legs even without the 
load on his back ! Is it then surprising that on the 
long piece of road between Kikuyu and Kavirondo 


the hyoenas are growing fat on the flesh of donkeys 
varied by that of an occasional porter ? 

Before leaving the subject of transport animals, 
let me repeat a suggestion which surely must occur 
to any traveller in this part of the world. The horse 
of East Africa is the zebra ; active as an Arab pony, 
sturdy as a mule, hardy and swift, this animal is 
found all over the plains in hundreds and thousands. 
For some reason the zebra has acquired the reputa- 
tion of being wild and untamable ; as regards wild- 
ness, he is far more confident and more easy of 
approach than any other animal of his size in this 
country, and so far as I have been able to ascertain, 
no real and intelligent effort has ever been made 
during late years to domesticate a young zebra, 
except in South Africa, where we hear of a team of 
zebras being constantly driven about Johannesburg. 
Even if the experiment has been tried without 
success on the East African zebra in former times, 
would not the immense advantages which wait upon 
success justify a second trial on the spot, and with 
all the light of modern intelligence ? 

Finally, there is one other step which must be 
taken before there can be any hope of a really 
important English commerce with Uganda and its 
neighbouring countries. Eeaders who have accom- 
panied me so far will have grasped the fact, that the 
greatest difficulties of the journey are those caused 
by the wide uninhabited tract of 280 miles between 
Kikuyu and Kavirondo. How to carry sufficient 
food for the whole party across this region is the great 


problem for every caravan. In our case it was solved 
by our good fortune in being able to secure nearly a 
hundred donkeys ; other parties are not so fortunate, 
and have to contend with immense difficulties and 
privations. Apart from the purely economical aspect 
of the question, what must be the feelings of a man 
who falls ill or becomes very lame a day or two after 
embarking on this march. There is no hope for him 
unless he can struggle along somehow to the very 
end : the caravan cannot stop, if it did the food 
supply would run short ; there is no possible resting 
place by the way, no hospitable village. In our 
caravan we had spare donkeys on which the sick 
were carried, but in other expeditions the unfortunate 
invalid must either push forward as best he can, must 
keep pace with the rest, or die in the bush. 

The one thing which is a real necessity, if any 
effort at all is to be made to open up the country, is 
the establishment of a permanent station under Euro- 
pean supervision half-way along this section of the 
road. The site, at twelve days' march from Kikuyu 
and a similar distance from Kavirondo, would be 
most healthy, about 7000 feet in height above the 
sea, and in a well-wooded, fertile, well-watered, and 
lovely country. The stores of grain and provisions 
which would be kept at this station would enable 
caravans to walk straight through from the coast to 
Uganda without any special preparations as regards 
food, never hampered by more than the twelve days' 
rations which can be carried by the porters them- 
selves without extra assistance. As soon as the 



station is established, and is seen to be a permanency, 
providing adequate protection against the Masai, 
there would be no difficulty in planting a colony of 
cultivators around it who would be able^ to dispose 
of their grain to their great advantage as fast as it 
could be grown. It is unnecessary to go further into 
details on this subject ; suffice it to say that with such 
a station, and with certain improvements to the road 
itself, such as have been indicated, the route to 
Uganda through the English sphere of influence 
would become one of the easiest of all East African 
journeys; without these reforms it is vain to hope 
that it will ever be a channel for commerce. 

Throughout this chapter I have been careful to 
avoid any mention of a railway. It would hardly be 
proper for me to discuss here the pros and cons of 
this scheme. If a railway is ever built the whole 
way to the Lake, that would of course in itself settle 
all the questions which have been raised above. 
The suggestions which I have just ventured to make 
can only have any application in the event of no 
such railway being made, or of a line being constructed 
over only part of the whole distance. 


The kingdom of Uganda : its climate and population — The King and 
Council — Provincial governors — Oppressive taxation — Intelli- 
gence and religion of the peasantry. 

The kingdom of Uganda, which during recent months 
has been the subject of so much "ink-slinging" and 
of such frequent oratorical efforts, hardly appears, at 
first sight, to deserve the amount of attention which 
has been bestowed upon it. The country is shaped 
like a somewhat irregular rectangle, or a " carpenter's 
square," of which the inner sides rest upon the 
Victoria Lake, occupying nearly 120 miles of its 
northern shore stretching westward from the exit of 
the Nile, and then turning southwards for 90 or 100 
miles along the western coast of the Lake. The 
frontiers on the outer or land side are ill defined, 
but are seldom more than about 60 miles from the 
Victoria Nyanza. The whole country may be said to 
cover about 15,000 to 16,000 square miles, and is, 
therefore, roughly speaking, about the same size as 
Switzerland. Outside the limits of Uganda proper, 
its kings claim a sort of feudatory lordship over 
several small neighbouring states, such as Usoga on 
the east, and Torn and Ankori on the western side. 


In some cases, as in Usoga, this claim is grudgingly- 
recognised, and a small tribute is occasionally sent as 
a propitiatory offering to the king, but the more 
powerful or more distant chieftains, while careful in 
all messages and correspondence to address the king 
of Uganda as their "father" or "master," and sign- 
ing themselves his " humble servants," would laugh 
to scorn any demand for a practical contribution 
towards the expenses of the central government, 
unless such a message were accompanied by a larger 
army than could be locally summoned into the field 
on the spur of the moment. All along the northern 
and part of the western frontier lies the powerful and 
jealous kingdom of Unyoro, whose kings and people, 
though less advanced in civilisation, are closely con- 
nected by blood with the inhabitants of Uganda and 
Usoga. The form of government of Uganda, which 
in the days of Speke (1862) and of Stanley (1875) 
was an absolute and bloodthirsty despotism, is now a 
monarchy, restrained, or hampered, as the case may 
be, by a supreme council of chiefs. At the present 
moment the country is nominally governed by a king 
named Mwanga, son of Mtesa, of which individual 
we shall have more to say hereafter. 

Descriptions of Uganda and of its morals, customs, 
and form of government have been given to the 
world at different times since 1863 by Captain 
Speke,^ by Mr. Stanley ,2 by Emin Pasha,^ by several 

^ Journal of the Discovery of the Nile, By Capt. J. H. Speke. Blackwood, 

2 Through the\Dark Continent. By H. M. Stanley. Sampson Low, 1875. 
' Emin Pasha in Central Africa. Edited by Dr. Felkin. G. Philip & Son. 


missionaries, and by divers other gentlemen who 
have taken an interest in African matters. But the 
evidence furnished by their respective works appears 
so contradictory, the country itself has undergone 
such violent political changes, and has suffered such 
terrible experiences, that it is a matter of great 
importance for a clear idea to be generally held 
concerning the actual state of affairs existing at the 
present moment. It may, therefore, be useful even at 
the risk of repeating what may be already known to 
give here a superficial description of the principal 
features, both physical and social, as they appeared 
to the officers of the English Mission on our arrival 
in March 1893. 

As has been said before, Uganda is, geologically 
speaking, a district of extreme old age, that is to say, 
the rocks composing it are of the archaic period ; 
and, by that very fact, where they thrust their gray 
and weather-beaten heads above the surface, they 
reproachfully convey to the traveller an oppressive 
sense of the countless ages during which they have 
grimly frowned on this expanse of land and water, 
silent witnesses of innumerable and untold deeds of 
nameless horror ; the runlets on their battered sides 
filled too often with streams of human blood ; hope- 
lessly, until to-day, shut out from the light of the 
outer world in the very darkest centre of the vast 
continent of negroes. 

Uganda is, however, essentially a country of 
contradictory impressions. The first feeling of gloom 
caused by the antiquity of the land, by its crime- 


laden history, and by the veil of mystery which is 
now being rudely torn aside, is dissipated as the eye 
ranges from the sparkling waters of the Lake over an 
endless vista of round or flat topped hills rising, close 
together in every direction, to a height of 300 to 600 
feet above the level of the water. Nearly the whole 
country consists of little more than a close con- 
glomeration of these hills, all of them clothed in the 
brightest green, a tropical character being given to 
the scene by the rich banana plantations which 
frequently cover their sides. Here again, however, the 
pleasant impression is shaken on closer inspection by 
the discovery that, except where its place is taken by 
the banana gardens, this wealth of verdure consists, not 
of growing crops and luxuriant cultivation, but of an 
impervious tangle of tall elephant grass, twelve to 
sixteen feet in height, whose close-growing cane-like 
stems offer an effective barrier to the comfortable 
progress of almost any living creature except an 
elephant or a field-mouse. It is, moreover, unpleasant 
to realise that between each hill and its neighbour 
lies an unwholesome -looking swamp, through the 
centre of which a sluggish stream of slimy water 
languidly struggles with the obstacles offered to its 
progress by dense masses of rushes, papyrus, and 
other rank and matted products of the marsh. 

With a sigh of perplexity as he passes from the 
tangled waste through the carefully -tended and fruit- 
laden banana grove, from the bright air of the hillside 
to the death-dealing miasma of the foetid swamp, the 
traveller as he raises his eyes towards the evening 


sun tells himself that at all events in the unearthly- 
beauty of its sky-effects, and in the marvellous and 
utterly indescribable wealth of colour of its sunsets, 
Uganda surely has no equal throughout the world. 
In this he is probably right; for truly the magni- 
ficence and brilliancy of the visions I have gazed at, 
standing spell-bound on the shores of the Victoria 
Nyanza, have an overpowering glory, an almost 
defiant loveliness, unrivalled by the transcendental 
delicacy of colours where the sun sinks into the 
desert sands behind the Great Pyramid at Cairo, or 
by the weird beauty of the scene so often gazed at 
from the terraces of the Villa Medici at Rome. But 
again there is a revulsion of feeling as the cloud, 
just now so glorious with gold and purple, hurries 
across the sky, growing blacker and more threatening, 
till a few heavy splashes, followed by a blinding 
flash and a deafening roar of thunder, remind all men 
that hardly a day may be allowed to pass in this 
country without at least one thunderstorm. 

During the three months that we spent in the 
country, although we did not have rain quite every 
day, I may safely say that at no time did twenty-four 
consecutive hours elapse without our having seen 
lightning and heard thunder. It is true that we were 
there during the wettest time of the year, but in 
Uganda there is rain more or less throughout the twelve 
months, though the greater part of the yearly supply 
falls during April, May, and June, and again in 
November and December. The average annual rain- 
fall of the country is estimated at 51 inches, or about 


30 inches per annum less than on the coast. Even 
during the wettest months the rains never appear to 
have the heavy persistency of the tropical downfall, 
but to come rather, as in Europe, in passing showers 
and local storms. In fact, the whole climate, the air, 
the general aspect of the country, make it difficult to 
realise that the capital of Uganda lies within one 
degree of the Equator. The general altitude of the 
country being about 4000 feet above the level of 
the sea, the air on the hillsides is fresh and light, 
and although the diflference between the hottest and 
the coldest months is hardly more than 3° Fahr., 
the mean annual temperature does not exceed 70°. 
During the late morning, and in the middle of the 
day, the vertical rays of the sun are, as might be 
expected, too fierce for thorough comfort, and would 
make it unsafe for Europeans to walk about without 
some good protection for the head ; but the evenings 
and nights are cool and fresh, and we all slept under 
at least one, and more often under two good blankets. 
The inhabitants of Uganda consist, to speak 
correctly, of an agglomeration and partial fusion of 
many different races. Local tradition and internal 
ethnological evidence agree in supporting the theory 
that at some comparatively remote period, the date 
of which is hopelessly lost, the country was overrun 
by an invading horde from the north-east, possibly 
of Abyssinian blood, which drove most of the original 
inhabitants southwards into a district on the western 
shore of the Lake, where they were allowed to remain 
unmolested, being contemptuously known as Buddu 


(slaves). That part of the country has taken its 
name from this circumstance, and has figured con- 
spicuously in recent history as the fertile province 
of Buddu. After the successful occupation of the 
country, the conquerors, as so often happens in Africa, 
mingled and intermarried freely with the subject race, 
losing by degrees nearly all trace of their distinctive 
language, and gradually acquiring more and more 
of the negro type, until we have to-day the curious 
mixture of negro coarseness of feature with slight 
traces of higher refinement, of African cunning with 
some real intelligence, of sensuality, cruelty, and 
immorality with polished manners and courteous 
dignity, which are among the most striking charac- 
teristics of the race of people known as the Waganda, 
who constitute by far the greater proportion of the 
present inhabitants of the country. 

Leaving aside several unimportant Bantu tribes 
occupying certain parts of the country, who are all 
either connected with or in process of assimilation 
with the Waganda, we may say that the remainder 
of the population is supplied by the far more interest- 
ing, refined, and handsome race of Wahuma. Although 
the villages of the Wahuma are to be found scattered 
throughout the country, they keep themselves quite 
distinct from the Waganda, retaining their own 
language in all its purity ; nor do they willingly 
intermarry with their neighbours. These Wahuma 
are a pastoral people, their villages are always to be 
found in a rich grass country, on which roam their 
herds of cattle. They live chiefly on beef and milk. 


whereas the Waganda, with the exception of the wealthy 
chiefs, seldom eat anything more invigorating than 
bananas and pumpkins. The Wahuma are probably 
an oflfshoot of the Galla race, and although the sleek 
Waganda affect to look down upon the hardy but 
somewhat poverty - stricken race of herdsmen, this 
contempt is said to be cordially reciprocated ; and 
one glance from the tall upright figures, the clear 
skins, the oval faces, thin lips, straight noses, and 
classically- chiselled features of the Wahuma to the 
lowering, coarse, and indeterminate faces, the thick 
skins and heavier bodies of the Waganda, shows at 
once on which side lies the pride of race and the 
purity of descent. 

It is a curious fact that in spite of this real or 
assumed contempt on the part of the dominant 
Waganda, the royal family is reputed to be of 
Wahuma extraction, although by indiscriminate poly- 
gamy and concubinage it has now lost nearly all 
outward trace of its racial origin. Among the 
Waganda I never saw a handsome man, nor even 
a passably good-looking woman or girl; the latter 
after marriage, as in the case of most African races, 
soon " fall to pieces," and are wrinkled and old by 
the time they have reached their thirtieth year. In 
a Wahuma village stalwart, proud-looking aristocratic 
men are the rule rather than the exception, while the 
large, soft hazel eyes, the delicate lips gently parted 
over most brilliant teeth, the proud carriage of 
the little head, the clear velvety skin, the firm 
budding figure and elastic step of some of the 


Wahuma maidens would be more than sufficient to 
turn the head of many a London sybarite. 

Besides these two races, the inhabitants of the 
islands of the Lake present yet other distinct charac- 
teristics. They are divided into the Wa-Vuma, in- 
habiting the islands of that name scattered all along 
the coast from the eastern corner to about the centre 
of the northern shore, and the Wa-Sesse, occupying 
the Sesse archipelago on the western side of the Lake. 
These tribes, though quite separate one from the 
other, and speaking different languages, may be 
jointly described as being negroes of a blacker colour 
than the Waganda, more savage, more courageous, 
but altogether less civilised than the inhabitants of 
the mainland. The Sesse islanders have the reputa- 
tion even of being cannibals, though it is said that 
if taxed with it they do not admit the soft impeach- 

As to the total population of Uganda proper it is 
difficult to arrive at any very accurate conclusion, 
though it may safely be said that it has been vastly 
overstated by several enthusiastic writers and speakers 
during the last few years. The almost incredible 
misgovernment, the barbarous enactments of its kings, 
the cold-blooded massacres, the wars of extermination, 
the raids, the murders, and the internecine conflicts 
under which the country has groaned for the last 
thirty years, have in many districts more than deci- 
mated the population, and have driven thousands into 
voluntary exile to the south of the Lake. In 1875 
the population was estimated by Mr. Stanley at under 


one million; in 1879 an English missionary put it at 
five millions ; more recently I am informed that one 
of the authorities of the British East Africa Company 
announced that the country contained three millions 
of inhabitants, while a member of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society has been heard to state that in 
Uganda are nearly a million Protestants out of a 
total population of a million and a half. On the 
other hand, another ofiicer of the East Africa Com- 
pany, of local experience, held the opinion that there 
were not more than 250,000 people in the whole 
country. A careful, but at present incomplete, cal- 
culation of the number of inhabitants, taking village 
by village, and province by province, has been carried 
on during the last few years by some of the French 
missionaries in Uganda, and these gentlemen told me 
that their labours had now progressed far enough to 
enable them to predict that they would find the total 
population to amount to about 450,000, but certainly 
to fall short of half a million. AVe may, therefore, 
in default of more accurate statistics, take 450,000 as 
the figure, which gives us an average of about thirty 
per square mile. To convey to the reader a sense of 
the relative density of population, I would remind 
him that Switzerland, in about the same area, con- 
tains three millions of inhabitants, and that in 
England and Wales there is an average of 500 
human beings to every square mile. 

It is already well known from the accounts of 
former travellers that in its political and social 
economy Uganda stands forth in strong contrast to 


all surrounding African nations ; this indeed is one 
of the principal reasons for which this country has 
attracted so much attention, and has been the un- 
willing cause of so much heartburning among politi- 
cal, religious, and general circles at home. It has 
been the fate or the fortune of Uganda to differ in 
character and habits from its neighbours ; its peculi- 
arities and idiosyncrasies have secured public atten- 
tion, and, like any private individual who is rash 
enough thus to single himself out from the common 
herd, it must now, whether for good or evil, prepare 
to incur the inevitable consequences of the sin of 

I have already said that the government of 
Uganda is vested in the hands of a king (in the 
vernacular Kahaka), assisted by a council of chiefs. 
To define accurately the powers and functions of this 
council, or the limitations which it may exercise on 
the king's despotic authority, is, I regret to say, 
beyond my ability. Generally speaking, the authority 
of the council, as in England during the Middle 
Ages, would appear to rise and fall in inverse ratio 
to the strength of character of the monarch. In the 
days of Speke (1862) and Stanley (1875), when all 
men trembled under the tyranny and nonchalant 
cruelty of Mtesa, this council appears to have con- 
sisted of little more than a ring of fawning syco- 
phants, who were beaten, fined, mutilated, or executed 
like the lowest of his subjects at the whim of the 
autocrat. To-day, under the weak and invertebrate 
Mwanga, although each chieftain is careful to pre- 


serve, in the royal presence, all the outward signs of 
abject submission and grovelling humility, nobody 
knows better than the king himself that if his wishes, 
advice, or commands do not happen to coincide with 
the opinions or interests of his council, they will be 
ignored or disobeyed without the smallest hesitation. 
The council itself consists of some ten or twelve 
chiefs, all of whom assist at its deliberations in virtue 
of divers offices held by them, and to which they 
have been previously appointed by the king. The 
majority of them are governors of certain of the ten 
provinces into which Uganda is divided ; the re- 
mainder hold posts, which need not be detailed, in 
the king's household. 

In theory this system of government by the king 
and his council would appear to be well enough, but, 
unfortunately, on our arrival we found that neither 
the one nor the other exercised any authority what- 
ever over more than a portion of the whole country. 
For instance, the Catholic party had recently been 
driven away from the northern shores of Lake 
Victoria, and had been given the province of Buddu 
as their portion. The governor of Buddu was ex 
officio a member of the great council, but not only did 
he and every other official in the province decline to 
come near the capital — and indeed it would have 
been as much as their lives were worth to do so — but 
the whole province and the Catholic party looked 
upon the king and his chieftains as the representa- 
tives of a foreign and hostile power, and absolutely 
ignored their authority. Again, the British East 


Africa Company had recently brought into the 
country a large number of Waganda Mohammedans, 
and had caused them to be allotted three provinces 
in which to settle, their own chiefs being made 
governors of the provinces ; by all of these also the 
orders, writs, mandates, or exhortations of king and 
council were treated with calm contempt, and merely 
disregarded without any show of overt hostility. It 
will thus be readily understood that we found the 
central administration in a very limping, dishevelled, 
and unhappy condition of mind and body. 

Below the governors of provinces, the country is 
cursed with an endless and complicated network of 
chiefs, sub-chiefs, petty chieftains, and jacks-in- 
office, from the wealthy court favourite who exercises 
his sway over a district of a hundred square miles, 
daily fawned upon by dozens of grovelling underlings, 
down to the poverty-stricken headman of a miserable 
village with its half-dozen tottering reed-built huts. 
In a few rare cases the chieftainships of districts are 
recognised as being the legitimate inheritance of 
certain families, but with these exceptions every one 
of these thousands of so-called " chiefs" who prey 
upon the country is, in theory at least, appointed by 
the king himself. The natural result is that the 
higher offices, governorships of provinces, seats at 
the council, and so forth, are held by favourites, who 
have generally served an apprenticeship at court, 
and have wormed themselves into the royal favour as 
"the king's pages." The minor posts are simply 
given to the shrillest and most pertinacious appli- 


cants, and to those who can "grease the palm" of the 
chamberlains and even of royalty itself in the most 
satisfactory manner. As soon as the coveted ap- 
pointment is successfully secured, two qualities are 
simultaneously developed in the new chief, which are 
universal among his colleagues, and common equally 
to the highest and to the lowest of the fraternity. 
The first of these is that from the moment of his 
appointment he ceases to do a single stroke of work 
of any sort or kind himself, and the second is that he 
forthwith lays himself out to beat, rob, maltreat, and 
oppress the wretched peasantry or hahopi by every 
means in his power. 

The w^orking of the whole of this quasi -feudal 
system may perhaps be best illustrated by an example 
of the methods of procedure which are almost daily 
obtaining in all parts of the country. Let us imagine 
that the king, as is the habit of kings all the world 
over, feels a sudden desire for an increase of revenue 
to meet his real or imaginary needs. He informs his 
council of the fact, and after a short deliberation it is 
decided that a certain province shall be forthwith 
called upon to furnish the required contribution. It 
is perhaps scarcely necessary to explain that there 
being no money currency in Uganda, all taxes and 
contributions to the exchequer are made in kind — 
viz. in ivory, in cattle, sheep, goats, corn, bark-cloths, 
and all other produce of the country, besides a system 
of corvee or forced labour, for which men have to be 
supplied by the different provinces in certain propor- 
tions. As soon as the king and council have agreed 


upon the province which shall be the victim of the 
royal necessities, the governor is forthwith informed 
that he had better bestir himself, and produce what 
is wanted with as little delay as possible. He, nothing 
loath, for he has probably even intrigued that his 
province may be the one selected, departs from the 
capital with many promises and vows of loyalty. On 
arrival in his district he summons before him all the 
most important local chiefs, and to each one assigns 
the amount of the contribution for the production of 
which he will be held responsible. In this partition 
the governor is particularly careful to see that the 
aggregate amount, when brought in, will be more 
than double of what he has to pay over to the king ; 
the rest will remain in his hands. Away go the sub- 
chiefs ; the whole proceeding is repeated again and 
again in endless subdivision and gradation, and thus 
the hard-working peasantry, beaten and persecuted 
until the very last drop is wrung out of them, have 
to pay in the end five times, and even ten times, the 
amount at which their province was assessed. It is 
safe to say that scarcely one-tenth of what is paid in 
taxes by the people ever reaches the exchequer for 
which it is ostensibly levied ; the remaining ninety 
per cent remains in the hands of those drones and 
curses of the country, the chiefs and petty chieftains 
of Uganda. 

If, however, the sufferings of the hakopi were 
confined to extortions and robberies of this nature, 
their lot would not be much worse than that of the 
peasantry in several civilised but over-taxed countries 


which might be mentioned ; but, unfortunately, the 
power of even the most petty sub -chief goes far 
beyond that of mere financial oppression. The whip, 
the stick, the cord, and the stocks are in constant 
use : the daughters of the people, if looked upon with 
an eye of favour by a great man, are taken without 
ceremony, and until quite recently even the lowest 
office carried with it the power of life and death over 
all subordinates. In the days of the late King Mtesa, 
and during the first years of the reign of Mwanga, 
executions on the most trivial pretext were of daily 
occurrence, not only at the capital and by command 
of the king, but all over the country, and at the mere 
will of these hatongoli or district chiefs. An instance 
has been quoted to me of a man being put to death 
by an insignificant chieftain for the crime of dropping 
and breaking a gourd containing banana-beer; ears 
were cut ofi", eyes put out, hands amputated for yet 
more paltry reasons, and there was no redress for the 
sufierer ; it was nobody's business to inquire into the 
case, nor could any greater chief be expected to put 
himself to any trouble about the ear, the eye, or the 
life of a mere peasant 1 

In this respect, however, it is satisfactory to note 
that during the last few years the influence and 
teaching of European missionaries, and the subse- 
quent advent of European authority, as represented 
by the East Africa Company, have worked wonders. 
On this point, and it is to be feared on this one only, 
the missionaries of both the Catholic and the Pro- 
testant divisions of the Christian religion have been 


in full accord, and their joint influence has been 
brought to bear on every possible opportunity with a 
view to putting a stop to the whole system of off-hand 
executions, tortures, mutilations, and other cruelties. 
While Mtesa was still alive their representations and 
pleadings were met with a deaf ear or a scornful 
laugh, and day after day miserable wretches, courtiers, 
concubines, and even boys, were hurried off to execu- 
tion at the whim of the king, whose example was 
imitated by the provincial chieftains until the whole 
country ran with blood. During the first years of 
Mwanga's reign things were no better, and the mis- 
sionaries themselves had to leave the country ; but 
when at last the Christian parties really obtained 
the upper hand, one of the first and best results of 
the newly-acquired influence of their teachers was 
the cessation of the deeds of blood which for many 
years had characterised the court and government 
of Uganda. As usual, the provinces followed the 
example of the court, and although there can be no 
doubt that oppression, violence, and extortion at the 
hands of his superiors is still the lot of the peasant, 
and although dark deeds are undoubtedly practised in 
country districts, of which the merest whisper scarcely 
reaches the ears of the white men many months after- 
wards, yet the actual life of the hakopi is now pretty 
safe, and he may even congratulate himself on a fair 
prospect of retaining and using his arms, hands, eyes, 
and ears during the remainder of his days. 

In spite of the oppression of the lower by this self- 
styled upper class, there is no real aristocracy in Uganda. 


The family of the kings is distinct, and as I have 
said above, there are a few offices and provincial chief- 
tainships which have become hereditary in certain 
families, but with these exceptions the chiefs from 
highest to lowest were drawn originally from the 
hakopi class ; a peasant girl may, without exciting 
any surprise, become the concubine of the king, and 
her son may succeed to the throne ; nor is the pro- 
motion of the merest peasant to an important chieftain- 
ship a sufficiently rare occurrence to cause any gossip 
or even w^onderment. Although, as soon as they 
have a grasp of authority, the chiefs treat the hakopi 
as a conquered race, the same blood runs in both, and 
the chief himself probably began his life as a peasant. 
He will possibly end it in the same condition unless 
he can exact enough from his district to satisfy not 
only his own requirements, but also the extortionate 
and constantly repeated demands of all his superiors. 
Similarly, the open degradation or the mysterious 
disappearance of the most powerful lord, or even of 
a dozen great personages at one swoop, would fail 
to excite more than passing gossip. The African, 
whether brown, yellow, or black, is thoroughly 
material in his tastes and sympathies, and so long as 
he sees a fair prospect of being able to fill his stomach 
with the daily ration of food to which he is accus- 
tomed, and to surround himself with what he con- 
siders his comforts, he is not in the least inclined to 
get up any show of indignation, or to "fash himself" 
in any way whatever on account of injustice, robbery, 
or death suffered by his neighbour. 


It would, of course, be ridiculous on my part to 
pretend that, in the course of three months' residence 
in Uganda, I or any of the officers with me were able 
to acquire any thorough personal knowledge of the 
habits, thoughts, or distinctive modes of life of the 
Uganda peasantry ; for information on these subjects 
we were forced to rely on the opinions of others, such 
as missionaries of various denominations, who had 
been longer in the country, and the very nature of 
whose work brings them into frequent contact with 
this class of the people. But here again, as in almost 
every instance in which we were compelled to appeal 
to Europeans of local experience, we were perplexed 
by the utterly divergent nature both of the evidence 
and of the conclusions brought forward by competent 
observers of different creeds. 

On the one hand, we were asked to believe that the 
peasants of Uganda are an exceptionally intelligent and 
quick-witted race of people, eager to learn, diligent to 
work, quick to grasp the benefits of civilisation, and 
that they — or at least the Protestant section of 
them — had already in large proportion learned to read 
and write. On the other hand, we were told that these 
hakopi are little better than any ordinary African 
negro, that they were fairly good husbandmen, though 
not better than other African races, that they worked 
indeed, and kept the banana plantations clear of 
weeds, but only because they were cruelly beaten if 
they did not; that, as regards their deep religious 
fervour and the extensive purchase of religious reading- 
sheets sold by the Anglican Mission, which was so 


triumphantly quoted by the Protestant missionaries as 
a proof of the progress of their religion and of the 
education of the natives, these things merely proved 
once again that the hakopi would at once adopt any 
religion favoured at the moment by their masters, 


and would eagerly spend their cowrie-shells in pur- 
chasing these or any other "fetishes" which might 
appear to them to be connected with such religion ; 
but that should Mwanga and the leading chiefs to- 
morrow become Catholics, Buddhists, or followers of 
Confucius, the peasantry would with equal readiness 
put away the reading-sheets for a fresh turn of the 


wheel, and crowd eagerly to the new church, temple, 
or joss-house. 

As in the majority of such cases, the truth will 
probably be found to lie half-way between these two 
extremes. It is undoubtedly true that the peasantry 
do work, the women more than the men, and that 
they keep the banana plantations in beautiful order, 
free from weeds, cutting away the decaying leaves, 
plucking the fruit at the right moment, and so forth, 
but it is equally true that they would pass through 
some extremely unpleasant moments, the effects of 
which might last a lifetime, should the master dis- 
cover that they had been remiss in any of these 
duties. As regards their general intelligence, it may, 
I think, be placed on a somewhat higher level than 
that of the ordinary negro tribes of the Nile valley, 
or of East Africa, but more than this cannot as yet 
be said ; they are certainly far behind the natives of 
various parts of the coast of Africa, who have already 
for many years had their wits sharpened and their 
morals depraved by intercourse with Europeans. The 
religious feelings of the peasantry are no doubt such 
as might be expected among such a people. It would 
probably be easy to pick out men from each party, 
Catholic, Protestant, or Mohammedan, who, whether 
from sincere conviction or from obstinacy of character, 
would be ready to suffer any amount of inconvenience, 
and even death, rather than give up his beliefs at the 
bidding of another, but with the vast majority their 
creed is without doubt the creed of the strongest. 
The religion of the peasant is that of his immediate 


superior, that is, of tlie man who has most power to 
cause him constant inconvenience, and so on up the 
social scale, until we arrive at the chiefs of the great 
council and the king himself ; and even in this august 
circle it w^ould not be difficult to select men with 
whom faith and flesh-pots are synonymous terms. 

The foregoing somewhat desultory description of 
the system of government and the division of classes 
has, I trust, been sufficient to show how greatly in 
Uganda the peace and prosperity of the country, and 
the w^elfare of the people, depend upon the individual 
character of the sovereign himself, and it is now- 
necessary to devote a few pages to a description of 
Mwanga, son of Mtesa, King, or as the natives say, 
Kahaka, of this little corner of Central Africa which 
has unconsciously made such a stir in the great 



At Kampala — Visit to King Mwanga — Arrangements for a division of 
territories between the Protestant and Catholic Missions — The 
slave question — The queen-mother — From Kampala to the Ntebe 
Hills — Kaima's case — Illness of Captain Portal. 

With the concluding words of the last chapter the 
written narrative is at an end. It was the intention 
of the author to have devoted the following chapters 
to a description of the court, the manners, and the 
resources of Uganda, — showing how it had passed from 
a condition scarcely rivalled by the horrible records of 
Dahomey to the promise of a rapid development under 
the guiding hand of the white man, only to relapse 
into an anarchy almost as disastrous through the poli- 
tical animosities which have found their opportunity 
and pretext in the antagonistic zeal of rival religious 
denominations. The concluding chapters were to 
have dealt with the homeward journey of the author 
and of Colonel Rhodes by the river Tana, passing in 
great measure through regions hitherto un visited by 
European travellers. 

The history of Uganda as he would have told it 
cannot be recorded here ; such material as he had 
gathered has already been utilised in drawing up the 


Report laid before Her Majesty's Government as the 
result of the mission entrusted to him. What has 
there been left untold must now be entrusted to other 
hands, and the sequel to the first eight chapters can 
only be found in the pages of the Blue-Book.^ There 
remain, however, ample notes in a Diary kept from 
day to day with much neatness and care, from which 
may be gleaned the story of the homeward journey, 
and there are a few entries made during the months 
passed in the country itself, together with letters 
to friends and relations, which are valuable in sup- 
plementing information, but perhaps still more so in 
portraying the character of the writer himself. I 
propose, therefore, to include here such passages from 
the Diary as may fairly be made public, together with 
extracts from such letters as have come into my hands 
in their chronological order. Such a Diary possesses 
a special interest which a finished work might lack, in 
showing how days are filled up, and in revealing many 
of the details of life in savage countries. At the 
same time, it must be remembered that the events 
which are jotted down represent but a small portion 
of the activity of every day, and convey an inadequate 
impression of the immense quantity of work accom- 
plished in a few weeks. It is easy in reading 
to pass over the infinite labour involved and the 
patience expended in such pioneer work as the 
establishment of the new headquarters, the trans- 
planting of the colonies of Soudanese troops, and the 
slow conversion by drill and discipline of these half- 

^ Farliamentary Papers, Africa, No. 2. 1894. 


savages into orderly and useful co-operators. Through- 
out the whole period covered in the present chapter 
the Commissioner was also engaged in collecting the 
information as to the country and its resources which 
he has placed on record in his Eeport, in studying a 
scheme for the pacification of the rival factions, in 
devising a temporary administration providing for 
future eventualities, and in working out the details of 
financial requirements, — no small labour with so multi- 
form and singular a currency as that which Central 
Africa makes use of, the cost of which, moreover, 
depends upon the number of miles which it has been 
transported from the coast. 

With regard to this Diary and the letters, I would 
claim that they should be read with the reserve and 
indulgence due to words written as purely personal 
memoranda or solely for the eyes of intimates. 
After mature consideration of their contents, I have 
come to the conclusion that little would be gained by 
giving publicity to any extracts either from the Diary 
or from private correspondence written previously to 
the Commissioner's arrival at Kampala, although the 
latter is far ampler during the early months of the 
Expedition. The foregoing chapters are so full, and 
deal so completely with every incident of the march, 
that such extracts would only read like repetitions 
of what has already been better told before. We 
will therefore take up the Diary at the point where 
the narrative breaks off: — 

Friday, 11th March. — Started 6. Road cut very broad — 
unnecessary waste of much labour ; but only heads and 


blades of grass cleared, roots left ; road will be choked 
immediately after rain. Crowds of people at various spots : 
messengers kept on arriving with messages of welcome from 
various chiefs. 

Halted 8. Then rode Katikiro's pony, a screaming beast. 
Half a mile from town, met Raymond and Bishop Tucker, who 
had walked out Great crowds near town. C.M.S. church at 
Namirembe conspicuous on the left front. Kampala ahead and 
Mengo behind. 

Arrived Kampala about 9. Smith in charge.^ Fort very 
much smaller than I expected, and crowded on E. and S.E. sides 
by Soudanese huts. Two rooms for self and one for Berkeley 
in mud house. One for Rhodes in another. Saw many chiefs, 
R.C. missionaries, and C.M.S. 

ISth March. — Got up 6.30. Prepared for king's baraza.^ 
Officers all turned out in extraordinary kits, red coats, breeches, 
big boots, swords, etc., but heavy rain all morning, so sent to 
put off baraza till Monday, after waiting for two hours. 

At 12, Macdonald and Wolf arrived from Buddu.'^ W. ill 
witli lumbago. Report plague in Buddu : symptoms, swellings 
in glands under arms and in throat, — death in four days ; also 
great suffering there from jiggers. Jiggers very prevalent also 
here, attack toes and feet chiefly, cause great irritation, have to 
be cut out. Fleas innumerable ; few mosquitoes. Company's 
influence here seems very small. The Fort of Kampala in 
badly-chosen place, commanded by all surrounding hills. Smith 
against drilling or organising Waganda ; probably right. 
Visited Bishop Tucker : very fine, well-built church : holds 
5000 people. All roof put on in one day. Mission houses 
very nice, of reeds, far superior to mud houses in Fort. 

19 th March, Sunday. — Long talk with Macdonald on 
situation. Mwanga sent to offer to come this afternoon ; told 
him No, — must go to church. Went to church at 4.30 with 

1 Major Eric Smith, 1st Life Guards, then acting in the I.B.E.A. Com- 
pany's service. 

2 Baraza, general East African term for parliament, solemn reception, 
durbar, etc., originally the verandah or shed where such meetings are held. 

^ Captain Macdonald, R. E., in command of the Railway Survey Expedition. 
Herr Eugen Wolf, whose letters on Uganda have appeared in the Berliner 


all members of Commission : none of Fort people. Writing 
Road Report.^ 

20//i March. — Went to visit Mwanga 9 a.m. Staff in red, 
white, and all colours. Macdonald in full dress. Self in 
Zanzibar officer's sword and sash and Macdonald's plume. 
Escort of fifty Soudanese in front, then flag, then selves, then 
fifty Zanzibaris in rear. Through many courts enclosed by neat 
cane palisades to Mwanga's baraza. About fifty chiefs there. 
Mwanga on velvet chair given by Company, and carpet before 


him. Very grave offence for any one to tread on carpet. 
Bishop Tucker and English missionaries there, but not French : 
had not told missionaries. Mwanga's not a bad face, but 
weak ; all chiefs talked as they liked — no discipline. He had a 
foolish habit of clasping the hands of any chief near him when- 
ever a remark was made that pleased him. He is evidently 

At 4 Mwanga came to call on me. Gave him tea and some 
presents. He asked for a khakee coat, also that I Avould kick 
out Mtanda, and put his brother on Busoga throne. 

Dined with Bishop. Proposed scheme of paper currency. 

^ See Africa, No. 2. 1894. 


21s/ March. — Further discussion with Smith about Torn 
Soudanese. He is against putting them near Guaso Masa. 
Smith declines Usoga command, only wants transport work, to 
brins: loads and caravans from coast. 


Captaiii R. Portal. Lieutenant Arthur. Lieutenant Villiers. Dr. Moffat. 

Major Owen. Captain Macdonald. Sir Gerald Portal. Mr. Berkeley. 
Colonel Rhodes. 

Went in the afternoon with Rhodes to visit the French mission- 
aries at Rubaga. Splendid site, commanding king's hill and 
Fort. It was offered to Lugard. Peres Gaudibert and Guille- 
main there ; very agreeable men ; gave us an excellent glass of 
Algerian wine. In the evening Mr. Gedge ^ arrived from Buddu. 
He and Williams ^ had shot twenty -four Speke's antelopes. 

^ Acting as correspondent to tlie Times. 

- Captain, now Major Williams, R.A., in the I. B.E.A. Company's service, 
and in charge of Uganda after the departure of Captain Lugard. 



22nd March. — Writing Eoad Report all morning. Garden 
taken in hand and all available seeds sown, it had been terribly 
neglected and allowed to go to waste, Williams arrived in the 

Tin; ja.M. h DUIJMS. 

There is a letter of this date from Captain Portal to 
Lady Charlotte Portal, describing the Commissioner's 
arrival in Uganda, with a short note from the Com- 
missioner himself, which may perhaps be most appro- 
priately inserted here. 

Captain Portal to Lady Charlotte Portal 

Kampala, 22nd March 1893. 

My dear Mother — ^You may observe that our walk is at 
an end, for the present. I think I wrote last about the 3rd 
or before, and since then we have been wandering through a 
country consisting entirely of banana groves, whicli took about 
five days to get through — miles and miles of bananas, which of 
course were brought in daily by the ton, for nothing. 

On the 12th we crossed the Nile, and took all day over it. 


Swarms of hippopotamus kicking about, of which I slew one. 
The next day Geny and I let them walk on, and spent a lazy 
day at Eipon Falls, trying to catch some of the swarms of fish 
which were jumping up the Falls like salmon. We did not get 
any, however. The day after I went on alone with a dozen 
porters, to get to Kampala before them, and I got in on the 16th. 
It's a very civilised country compared to all the others we have 
seen. Gangs of women making a great broad road, and bridging 
the swamps, of which there are lots. The people are wonderfully 
good-mannered and civil, and are very intelligent. Nearly all 
speak a little Swahili, which is a blessing. It's damp and steamy 
rather just now, as it rains every day for a bit, but it seems to 
agree with everybody. 

The rest of them got in the following day. Crowds of people 
went out to meet them, all the chiefs, and there was great 

Next day we all went to see the king, an ordinary-looking 
person, who I believe doesn't count for very much. He returned 
the visit in the afternoon, which meant that he came to get his 
present. . . . 

We are still living in tents at the Fort, as there is no room 
inside, but when the Company's people go, on or about the 1st, 
those of us who are here will get under cover. There are six 
Europeans at the Fort besides our nine. I shall be left here 
with two others, and some of the Company's people will stay on. 
I am not sure where I shall go, probably to the R.C. district 
about four days off. . . . — Your affectionate son, 

M. R. P. 

Sir Gerald Portal to Lady Charlotte Portal 

Kampala, 23rd March 1893. 

My dear Mother — We all arrived here well and strong on 
the 17th, the very day I had selected before leaving the coast. 

Since then I have not had a moment's breathing time — 
interviews, writing, talking, and business of all sorts, from 
6.30 A.M. till late at night, without a moment's respite. 

I have only come to the conclusion so far that this is a far 
more complicated, difficult, and disagreeable business than any 
one anticipated. . . . — Your affectionate G. H. P. 


23rd March. — Decided to take over whole of Soudanese, both 
those here and those in forts : estimated cost, Eupees 74,000 per 
annum. Also to send Owen and Raymond to Toru to recruit 
and organise men, and probably withdraw them from farther 
forts. Instructed R. and Owen to learn as much as possible of 
organisation of Soudanese here. 

2Uh March. — Instructed Arthur and Berkeley to go to Usoga 
with ninety to a hundred Zanzibaris to take place of Soudanese 
there going down with Williams. Berkeley to examine question 
of succession to Wakoli, and decide whether to turn out Mtanda 
and put up his brother in his place. Muxworthy writes mail 
route interrupted,^ probably by Wahehe or Wagogo. 

Wolf better, says he is going (back to coast) by Usukuma. 

25^/i March. — Gave Owen instructions about going to Toru and 
selecting site for new post half-way. Told Foaker to go to Toru 
to bring back the 1000 Soudanese — men, women, and children. 
Wrote to Zschatsch ^ and offered him Rs. 200 per month till 
31st December. Rhodes and Williams making joint estimate of 
value of buildings, 

26^/4 March, Sunday. — Went with Smith, Macdonald, and 
Berkeley to the king's landing-stage on Lake, 1\ miles, pretty 
good road. A pretty place, but low and unhealthy, with large 
papyrus swamp alongside ; just opposite is the island of Balin- 
gugwe, the same of Williams' fight. C.M.S. steel boat lying there, 
and a small Berthon boat. Steel boat pretty good — two masts, 
lug sails, and jib, small cabin for storage forward, and six oars 
for calms. (]) Hire boat for Government for six months. Rhodes 
and Williams rode to another landing-place a mile farther up 
creek, and report it good spot for settlement of Soudanese. 

11th March. — Bishop says he is willing to agree and help in 
partition of territory, and that arrangement would not have 
broken down if he had remained here. 

Sent for Mwanga, who came with Katikiro, and told them 
object of my mission. They both said emphatically that if we 
go war will begin next day, and both they and all Protestants 

^ This refers to the mails regularly sent up by Messrs. Boustead, Ridley, 
and Co., of Zanzibar, through the German sphere to the south of Lake Victoria. 

2 A young German employe of the Company, referred to in Part I. Chap. 
VI., at Wakoli's. 



will come out with us : said late war was not one of religion, but 
simply of ambition for power. 

Promised to begin Torn road at once. 

28/^ March. — Proposed to Owen independent command in 
Usoga, but he said he preferred Toru business. Immense stocks 
of ammunition in store. In our caravan no porters sick, but 
many Zanzibar soldiers, whose physique appears to break down 
after the journey even without loads. 


29/A March. — Messengers from Toru came in to Bishop, sent 
on here, say people won't obey Kusagama^, and that K. wants 
Christian teachers. This probably a plan to prejudice division 
of spheres of influence. 

Instructions to Owen about his mission issued also to 

Told Katikiro to send boat for French Bishop : long 

letter from latter. 

Told king to send Usoga claimants back to Usoga. 

30//i March. — After immense fuss and many countings of 

^ The rightful native cliief of Toru, driven out by Kabarega, and replaced 
in power by Captain Lugard. 


loads and porters, Owen got off at 9.30 with 127 porters and 12 
Soudanese : took Berthon boat. Armed all porters with carbines. 

Rhodes and Williams busy about valuation and handing 
over of all arms. Saw chiefs of Mohammedans ; told them 
at once to make road to Toru. They complained of having too 
little territory. 

Long talk with Wolf as to future of Uganda. He thinks 
evacuation of Uganda would soon drive Germans back to coast. 
They could not aflFord to hold Uganda, and Arabs and Moham- 
medans would be so strengthened as to make tenure of Tanganyika 
and Usukuma impossible. 

31st March. — Gave Smith instructions for return caravan of 
320 loads if Government approve his appointment. Wrote to 
Rodd to support it, also that Smith is to organise whole trans- 
port system and be Road Commandant. 

1st Apil. — Smitli and caravan left at 8, well organised, 
every man knowing his load ; no confusion or bustle. He took 
forty-four loads of ivory. 

12 o'clock. — Hauled down Company's flag and hoisted 
Union Jack. Guards of honour and royal salute. King sent 
to me to ask for a flag like this ; told him he could not have it. 

A letter of this date from Captain Portal describes 
his departure with Major Owen on this mission to 
engage the Soudanese troops referred to above. 

Captain Portal to Lady Charlotte Portal 

\st April 1893. 
My dear Mother — . . . I can't remember when I wrote last, 
but I think it was since we arrived at Kampala. I left there three 
days ago with Owen, and we are on our way to Unyoro, which is 
near the Albert Nyanza. We are going to some old forts they 
have there, to destroy two of them, and remove the garrisons, 
which consist of Soudanese troops, originally with Emin, who have 
been there for years without pay or food or anything, and live 
by raiding the surrounding country. They are believed to be 
about 4500, of which only 450 are fighting men, and the 
remainder women and slaves. We have sot to move half to 


Kampala and half are to be left in other forts, but first we are 
going to try and enlist the men, and put them on pay. I believe 
they are a wild lot, and no wonder, and it will probably be a 
hard job to move the mob to Kampala, also to feed the whole 
lot, as they are not to raid in the future, and there isn't much 
food in Unyoro, so what they are to eat I don't know. 

This is a perfectly horrible bit of country, this part of 
Uganda. The road is very bad, and every day there are about 
four to six swamps to be crossed, some of them 400 yards long 
and up to your chest. Nearly all my boxes have been dropped 
by the porters in them by now, and as we have perpetual rain 
into the bargain, it is hard to be dry for a single moment, 
except perhaps for an hour or two in bed. It seems as if fever 
ought to be a certainty, but I never felt better, and it is the 
same with the others. These swamps are really all rivers, 
blocked, I suppose, by either papyrus or forest, as there is always 
one or the other. I can't make out how our cows and goats 
and sheep manage them, but they always turn up somehow or 

I think it is likely that in a month's time, after we have 
settled the Soudanese, I shall go to look after Buddu, the pro- 
vince where the Roman Catholics are, and make a station there. 
I shall be glad if I do, for though it is much more pleasant to 
be with one of our people, it is better to have a job of one's own 
to do. If I do this I shall have to return to Kampala, probably 
with another body of Soudanese, who are to be settled near 
there, and there is just a chance I may see Gerald again before 
he departs for the coast. 

There has been no shooting up here yet, though just now we 
are in an elephant country. I believe in three days we shall see 
some game, however. No mail has arrived for us yet. Just 
before I left Kampala the missionaries got one, with letters of 
November, but nothing newer ; but as that looks as if the road 
to the south end of the Lake was open now, some letters may 
come up any day. 

The Company's people were to leave Kampala yesterday. 
We are taking on three of them up here, to look after the stores, 
etc., and Macdonald, an engineer officer who has been surveying 
for the railway, has been left in charge of Uganda. I think 


under the present regime they will be peaceful here, but there 
will be nothing lasting about it. Now it's too dark to write, 
and we are short of candles [and of everything else it seems to 
me], so good-bye. — Yours affectionately, E. P. 

Ind AjJril, Easter Sunday. — Some of staff went to service. 
Church full, estimated 1500 people there. Busy with Williams, 
taking over stores. Told Wolf he could have loan of a few 
porters to Usukuma. Williams keen not to destroy clan system 

3rd Apil. — Williams started 9 a.m., ordered destruction of 
huts in Fort. Letter from Owen ; has selected site for half-way 
post at Kibibi in Mohammedan country three and a half marches 
from here. Deserter from Owen with rifle and ten rounds of 
ammunition caught and put in guard-room. 

Uh April. — Parade of Zanzibaris and Soudanese troops at 
9 A.M. Zanzibaris looked clean and did well, including the use- 


less bayonet exercise. Soudanese have some fine men, but know 
very little drill as yet ; in every sort of uniform. Hard rain in 
middle of parade. Deserter from Owen given twenty-five lashea 
with rope's end and one month in prison. 

5th April. — French Bishop Monseigneur Hirth arrived, having 
walked all night from Mtebe, where he landed at 10 p.m. He 
seems a clever man, and a man of the world. (He is) bitter 
against the Fort and officers, also against the king and Pro- 
testants, but willing to be conciliatory. He eventually said he 
would be satisfied with Singo, Kaima, and Sesse, and the Katikiro^ 


and Magisi. He also demanded that king's sister should be 

6th April. — Bishop Tucker came and said Protestants were 
signing a paper, undertaking not to give back runaway slaves 
from Mohammedans, and not to claim themselves. Bishop 
thought this an opening for stopping all slavery. 

Went to Mwanga, 3 p.m. He asked anxiously about giving 
up runaway slaves. I advised getting Protestant and Catholic 
chiefs to agree about it, and to forbid all sale of slaves in 
country. He asked that Usoga cases might be tried here. I 
said Yes, for cases now actually here, but in future Usoga cases 
were to go to Resident there, except land and small cases, which 
are better judged by his baraza. 

Went Rubaga and saw Mgr. Hirth. He agrees to meet 
Tucker at my house to discuss division of territory. Tucker 
also agrees; appointed meeting at 9,30 to-morrow. 

The result of this meeting on the following day 
was an arrangement for the division of territory 
between the two religious denominations and the 
distribution of offices, which has been already 
recorded in the official papers. A letter from Sir 
Gerald, dated 7th April, refers to this interview. 

Sir Gerald Portal to Lady Charlotte Portal 

Received 28th June 1893. 

Kampala, 7th April 1893. 

My dear Mother — I am, in fact we all are, growing rather 
tired of being without any mails or news from civilisation. The 
latest that any of us have seen was a paper of 24th December, 
which caught us up at Kikuyu at the beginning of February. 
It is made more trying by being a case of " hope deferred," as a 
mail through German territory to the south end of the Lake 
is long overdue, and we hear that the Arabs and others near 
Taboss have been in insurrection against the Germans, and have 
cut up one or two caravans from the coast which probably had 
mails. To make matters worse, a steel boat, belonging to the 



East Africa Company, which I propose to buy for the Govern- 
ment, was sent to the south end two months ago, and should 
have been back here before my arrival. If she has come to 
grief and got wrecked it will be rather serious for us, as she is 
bringing cloth and stores, and the means of paying all our men 
for the next six months, and it takes a long time to get fresh 


stores — in fact, we cannot expect any before September. Every- 
thing is paid for here in cloth, including the pay and money for 
rations for all the men, so you may imagine that with a staff of 
13 Europeans, about 600 soldiers, and 250 porters, the rolls of 
cloth disappear somewhat rapidly. It is this system which 
makes Uganda such an expensive place to hold, as to the 
original cost of the cotton cloth you must add the wages and 
cost of maintenance of the porters who carried it — the large 

^ It died in a few days. 



proportion damaged by weather, by being dropped in rivers or 
muddy swamps — that lost by deserting and stealing porters on 
the road, the cost of the return journey of the porters who 
brought it up [for one cannot rely upon sufficient ivory to load 
up all the number], the risk of keeping it, the danger of 
rot, mildew, above all of white ants, and other burrowing 
insects, and the length of . time during which all the money is 
locked up. 

All these and many other similar problems make it by no 
means an easy task to arrive at an accurate estimate as to the 
cost of administration of a country like this. 

Capt. Macdonald. Dr. Moffat. Sir G. Portal. Lieut. Villiers. 

We are all very busy here now, and a good deal scattered, 
and although I have taken on in temporary Government service 
three of the Company's late employes, I still want two or three 
more good officers. Owen and Raymond and Mr. Grant are well 
away to the west, scattered between Albert Edward and Albert 
Lakes and near Mt. Ruwenzori ; Arthur has gone to Usoga with 
100 men, Berkeley is to go to Usoga in two days, another of the 
Company's late men has been sent to establish a station on the 
road to Buddu, half-way between the capital and the western 
forts, to keep open communication with Raymond and Co., and 
as soon as I can get clear of the most pressing questions, I am 


off to Buddu myself ; I shall go there by canoe across the Lake, 
and then try and get by land to the nearest of the western forts, 
meet Raymond there, and bring him back with me, and also, 
probably, about 1000 more wild Soudanese — men, women, and 
children. After that, if I have time, I want to run down north 
for a week or ten days to have a look at the country, then back 
here, wind up outstanding questions, try to establish general 
administration in working order, and then off for home. Barring 
accidents, I calculate on getting away the last week in May, and, 
unless there is any reason for going personally through Usoga 
to settle more difficulties there, I shall probably try to get by 
canoes to the north-west corner of the Lake. I calculate on 
reaching the coast in seventy days, or at most seventy-five from 
the day of leaving Kampala, so that we ought to be at Zanzibar 
by the middle of August. I fear we can't return quicker than 
we came up, as, although there will be fewer and lighter loads, it 
is raining everywhere now, and will continue to do so till the 
middle or end of June, so that we shall find the small streams, 
which we walked through on the road up, swollen into rushing 
rivers, sometimes requiring two or three days' halt to make 
bridges ; and dry ravines across which we stepped dry-shod will 
be quaking swamps, while all the red clay hill-sides will be 
slippery, and bring pain and grief to loaded porters. 

I have had a very busy time here, every day from sunrise till 
night, and all the others who are still here are also kept pretty 
hard at work, but we are getting forward. 

Yesterday I managed to get the Catholic and Protestant 
Bishops to meet in my room, to see if we could not come to an 
amicable settlement of these miserable religious quarrels. They 
and I were at it hammer and tongs from 9.30 till past 1. The 
atmosphere was rather electric once or twice. Bishop Tucker 
gave way to a certain extent, but would not go far enough for 
Monseigneur. At last they both agreed to leave me to decide 
the whole matter. I then warned them that if I did so, I 
should admit no further question, and should insist, by force if 
necessary, on my decision being at once carried out. To this 
they agreed, and I dictated the partition of territory and offices 
which appeared to me just, and then got them both to sign an 
undertaking that they not only accepted it, but would use their 



utmost influence and endeavours to get it carried peaceably into 
execution. After a lot more trouble I also got them to enter 
into an agreement as to future extension of mission work, so 
that the Catholic and Protestant missionaries may no longer 
continue to follow each other about, and plant new missions in 
the same districts, with the inevitable result of more war and 

All's well that ends well, but I don't wish ever again to have 
a three and a half hours' skirmish with two angry bishops — one 
not understanding English, and the other knowing no French. 
The whole history of Uganda for the last ten years is more 
worthy the Middle Ages, or the days of the Edict of Nantes, than 
the end of the nineteenth century; but I don't think either 
side is more to blame than the other. 

I had not intended to begin this third sheet of paper, as 
we are rather alarmingly short of that commodity, and it is 
disappearing rapidly in answering innumerable notes from 
bishops and missionaries, and from my own officers away in 
different parts of the country. I don't think there will be 
another mail from here till we go ourselves six or seven weeks 
hence, so don't expect to hear any more of me till you see 
the announcement in the papers that we have reached the 

As I said before, I hope to get Raymond back at headquarters 
before I start, if he can only get his job through pretty quickly. 
I propose that he should be chiefly here, and travelling periodic- 
ally into tlie provinces. 

I have not yet decided in the least what course to recommend 
with regard to the future of Uganda, nor probably, by the way, 
would I say what it was if I had. 

All the Waganda are liars to the last man. They really lie — 
especially to a European — in preference to speaking the truth ; 
and they regard successful lying as a fine art. A man who told 
the truth to a European unnecessarily, in preference to a 
plausible lie, founded on distorted facts, would be regarded as a 
mere fool, and would be distrusted by the others. As you may 
imagine, this does not make it easier to deal with the numerous 
complaints and quarrels which are ahvays cropping up. 

The climate here is distinctly good — the sun a little hot, but 


not too much so — and in the morning, evening, and at night it 
is quite cool, and one could wear European summer clothes with 
comfort, — in fact, we do so, except for the starchy shirts and 
collars, and at night I always have one blanket, and would have 
two if I had got them, over me, but a coat or mackintosh serves 
the purpose. 

The country is nothing but a collection of steep hills with 
swamps between them, but looks green and pleasant, and the 
endless banana plantations give it a rich appearance. The only 
drawbacks are that the water is bad, and looks and smells very 
" swampy," and that the whole district is alive with creeping, 
crawling, and buzzing and flying insects of every sort and 
description, both by day and night — a paradise for a collector ; 
and now, good-bye ; love to all. 

My prophecy is that this should reach Laverstoke about the 
20th of July. I sent a letter to you on the 24th of March by 
the German route, but it is possible that some black chief may 
be reading it, as they are rather given to stopping mails on that 
road. — Yours affectionately, G. H. Portal. 

Sth April. — A paper given me signed by forty Protestant 
chiefs, saying they had determined to follow " coast custom " and 
free all slaves. This seems suspicious, also rather too radical, as 
throwing thousands of people free at once. It would make it 
impossible at first to get any work done by any one, and it is 
perhaps only a pretext to avoid work on roads, etc., by pleading 
as excuse no slaves. Mgr. Hirth is against the measure. 

9th April, Sunday. — Very busy with mail. 

II th April. — Berkeley left 9 a.m. for Usoga, with instructions 
to report, collect taxes, see chiefs, encourage trade, and get them 
to bring grievances to Englishman for settlement. Gedge ac- 
companied him, going shooting elephants Chagwe. 

10 A.M. — Saw all Protestant chiefs; explained arrange- 
ment with Catholics clearly ; told them chiefs would be held 
responsible for peaceful execution. They raised many difficulties 
and objections, but these overruled. 

3 P.M. — Went with Macdonald to Mwanga. Met all Usoga 
chiefs ; told them Mtanda put on throne pending good behaviour ; 
shambas to be given back to his brother Kaisema ; explained 


about taxes. They expressed themselves pleased. Mwanga 
made them good speech. 

1 2th April. — Began writing book. Walked with Rhodes and 
Villiers to Mtesa's tomb ; fine large house and well kept, but 
dark and not much to see. Broad stripe of red cloth all along 
roof. Curious wooden cannon lying there. 

13^^ Apiil. — Saw all Catholic chiefs ; told them I should hold 
chiefs responsible that all goes quietly ; all seem quiet and 


The entries during the next few days all deal with 
the difficulty experienced in bringing about a final 
settlement between the two religious denominations, 
whose representatives continue to wrangle over the 
distribution of offices, until at length, on the 19th, 
the draft agreement is signed by the Protestant chiefs, 
and by the Catholics on the 20th. In the meantime 
this note occurs on the 1 7th : — 

Namasole (king's mother) came to visit me, riding on the 
shoulders of a strong man. She was dressed in a good leopard- 
skin tied on the right shoulder, and a good mbugu ; nice intelli- 
gent old lady, with a cheerful, pleasant face ; had at least one 



very good-looking girl with her ; greatly admired my room ; 
gave her a Cashmere shawl and some good silks. 

22nd April. — Mwanga said he would come at 9 (to sign the 
agreement), but did not; said 
he would come at 3 ; waited 
till 3.30, then sent and told 
him to come at once. He came 
with Katikiro and several 
other Protestants ; signed 
paper ; other chiefs objected 
to Rubuga clause, but I sup- 
pressed them. Princes to be 
sent for immediately.^ 

Special messenger to Owen 
telling him to send Raymond 
back at once. 

2Zrd April, Sunday. — Very 
wet. Rhodes sends note 
reporting favourably of 


2Uh April. — Offered Mgr. Hirth three canoes of Kakunguru 
to go to S. of lake and fetch princes. He refused, on ground 
that he would not accept any canoes of Protestants, nor allow 
them to have anything to do with princes ; asked me to send 
Nubians 2 to fetch boys. I refused to send Nubians, saying 
they could not be trusted so far without officers, and that I 
would only take responsibility for boys on their arrival here. 

2bth April. — Tucker writes again about Rubuga and boys, 
saying Protestants object to clause signed by king. Answer 
that I cannot listen to chiefs against king, that I only recognise 
latter. Later T. writes chiefs accept conditions signed by king. 

2Qth April. — Foaker and Reddie returned with crowd of 
Soudanese, but no list or papers. 

^ Rubuga, the king's sister, with a high official position. One of the 
chief points at issue had been whether or not this lady should be, as she finally 
was, conceded to the Catholic party. The princes had been detained with 
the Catholics since the war. See 5th April. 

2 The term Nubian is here used, as it frequently is, somewhat inaccurately 
for the Soudanese. 


Macdonald went with Protestant, Catholic, and Mohammedan 
chiefs to apportion shambas^ on Eubaga Hill. Great excitement 
among Protestants in consequence of decision. I said I would 
stick to Macdonald's judgment unless the natives could come to 
an agreement among themselves. Gave severe reprimand to 
Katikiro, who was impertinent to Macdonald. 

27th April. — More excitement about shambas. Protestants 
object to giving up shambas on king's hill. Catholics refuse any 
others. Eventually Catholics say they will accept exchange and 
get bigger ones offered by king. Mohammedans ask for shambas 
on road to their provinces. 

Gedge returned from Cbagwe ; got nine elephants ; asked 
leave to accompany us to coast. 

28/A April. — Macdonald started for delimitation of road to 
Kaima. Called roll of Nubian soldiers from Torn, 85 in all. 
Told all soldiers and followers to go to Ntebe ; cripples and old 
men to be settled in little shambas on opposite hill. 

Namasole, the queen-mother, came to see me. Was more 
than friendly. Gave her a sheet of paper and red and blue 
pencil. She wanted to kiss me on going. Frank photographed 
her in gilt chair. 

29th April. — Left Kampala 10.30 with Rhodes. Marched to 
Kisubi, fifteen miles : arrived there 4 : good road all the way. 
Met P6re Guillemain at Kisubi : very tired, but walked with 
him for two hours round shambas of Bugananowa and Kiballe, 
which French Mission want for a post and to try agricultural 
experiments. Kakuguni, to whom they belong, came there later : 
arranged with him for cession of Kiballe. Had very bad night : 
could not sleep : a terrible lot of mosquitoes. 

ZQth April, Sunday. — Left Kisubi 6.30, and arrived Ntebe 
Hills 9.30 ; lovely place commanding peninsula : fine fresh 
air : walked to flat rocks running into sea : grand place for 
summer house. 3.30. — Walked all over high hills with Frank : 
grand site for fort, but far from water. Small-pox in village 
close by. 

1st May. — Very bad night, millions of mosquitoes and heavy 
rain. Walked 9 A.M. with F. R. all over peninsula, and finally 

^ Shamba is the Swahili name for a garden or plantation, and hence for 
property in the country as distinguished from town-property. 



settled on big hill. Moved camp up there and marked out road 
through future Soudanese village : hard work in long grass. 

Foaker and Eeddie with about 500 Soudanese arrived 3 p.m. 
Fine cool air up here and magnificent view. 

2nd May. — Worked all morning allotting ground to Soudanese 
for^ their compounds : eleven yards by fifteen, and wide streets. 


Men seemed pleased. Also got Waganda to work on roads, and 
Swahili porters to clear road near hill : others to bring building 
wood. At 4 went to shoot hippos in Port Alice : ^ had four 
shots, all hits. Mgr. Hirth arrived and called, but I out. 

?>rd May. — Went 6 a.m. to see Mgr. Hirth : caught him just 
starting. On return found Bishop Tucker had arrived 8 P.M. 
Boys reported my two hippos dead : sent people : gave one to 

^ This name was given by Sir Gerald Portal to the new settlements, or, 
more strictly speaking, to the port at the foot of the Ntebe Hills. 


Nubians, one to Swahilis. No quarrelling. Went on building 
house, also mess -house. Set Nubians to work on roads. 
Macdonald expected, but did not arrive. 

Uh May. — Bad night and rain. Macdonald arrived 8 A.M. 
with 120 Soudanese men and women. Cleared at 2 p.m. Went 
to sail steel Mission boat, but no wind. Letter from Berkeley 
respecting Usoga : satisfactory. 

bth May. — Gedge arrived Ntebe, and Bishop Tucker left. 
Building tent-houses ; both broke in ridge pole ; soft wet wood : 
sent for wild-date poles. 

%th May. — AVrote some of Report. Tent-house finally built, 
but, as very wet day, ground inside is soaked and unfit to inhabit. 
Letter from Raymond saying he leaves at once. 

1th May, Sunday. — Letter from Berkeley reports Soudanese 
soldiers sent with letters of 4th to Unyoro were stopped by Kaima, 
maltreated, robbed of guns, and sent back. Sounds very serious, 
as they say Kaima was present in person. Instructed B. 
to make preliminary inquiry : I would come in to-morrow and 
hear case at 4 P.M. If Soudanese story true, must make an 
example of Kaima, and severely warn king and Katikiro. 

8th May. — Left Ntebe 7.15 a.m. with three porters and the 
boys : walked right through to Kampala without a halt : arrived 
1.10 P.M. : twenty-one miles in 5.50 hours. Spent afternoon 
examining Kaima's case, and taking depositions of Kaima and men. 

9th May. — Gave judgment in Kaima's case : convicted him 
of stopping Queen's soldiers in execution of duty and of taking 
the Queen's guns. He condemned to go as prisoner to Kikuyu, 
and his man Mtobasa got twenty -five lashes in presence of 
Soudanese company. Kaima had to give back guns to soldiers. 
Drafted treaty with Mwanga, who sent to say he was coming, 
but did not. 

lOth May. — 6.55. Got note from Mwanga, saying he would 
come at 8. Answered I was off to Ntebe. Started with Berkeley 
at 7 A.M. ; rained nearly all the way ; roads wet and bad : was 
dropped by old Sindano carrying me across river. Arrived Port 
Alice 2.30. Found Frank had had road cut to join caravan, 
also village streets finished. No mail heard of here. 

nth May. — Worked all morning. Sailed Mission boat for 
two hours in afternoon in good breeze, but she is very slow. 




heavy, and undersailed. Macdonald returned with forty loads 
of cloth, and with steel boat in fair condition : reports Dzinga, 
an island, with three feet of water all round, Bunjako only two 
or three feet of swamp. 

12th May. — Continued Report on existing situation. 

13th May. — Writing Report all morning. Set Fundis^ to 
work making new mast for steel boat. Berkeley left for 
Kampala. Heard case of complaint by five Waganda against 
five Swahili porters for entering shamba to assault woman — 
drawing knives : one Swahili was cut on shoulder by his friend. 
Sentenced two Swahilis to twelve lashes each, promising much 
more next time. 

lUh May, Sunday. — Left Ntebe G.45, and arrived Kampala 
1 P.M. : met pony on way and rode in ; did not wait for 
Macdonald ; very wet. Mwanga came to plead for Kaima to 
be let off with a fine : told him I consider ; at last sent to say 
he might pay twenty frasilas ^ ivory. Went through proposed 
agreement with Mwanga, who said he would accept. Ordered 
1st Company of Soudanese to prepare at once to go to Ntebe. 

15/^ May. — Saw king; went through proposed agreement 
with him ; he says he agrees to all. 

Mail came in; Renter's telegrams to 16th March; sent by 
Cecil Rhodes ; Sultan of Zanzibar dead. 

Explained situation and instructions to Macdonald (who was 
to be left in charge). 

Letter from Raymond received by Berkeley ; says he is ill 
and in great pain from head : probably sunstroke or malaria : 
due at Kibibi on 16th : Villiers offered to go to meet him. 

1 Qth May. — Villiers started 7 a.m. to meet Raynipnd ; took 
pony and medical comforts. 

Started 8 A.M. ; arrived Port Alice 4 p.m. ; dead beat and 
bad head ; took quinine and bromide to give sleep. 

nth May. — Sorting papers and writing Report all day : not 
very well. 

18//i May. — Finished Report and instructions to Macdonald 
4 P.M. Feeling seedy and anxious about Raymond. 

^ Fundi is the general name throughout Eastern Africa for a skilled work- 
man, from an elephant trapper to a locksmith. 
* The frasila is thirty-five pounds weight. 


Captain Portal's illness — He returns to Kampala ; is joined by his 
brother — His death and funeral — Sir Gerald Portal's expedition 
starts from Kampala for Kikuyu. 

We now approach a very sad period in the narrative. 
I should not wish to dwell unduly on the painful 
details of a sorrow which cast its gloom on all the 
latter half of Sir Gerald's eventful journey, and yet 
there has seemed to me to be so fine a pathos in the 
simple record he has given of his brother's death that 
no word of it should be omitted in justice to them 
both. Nor is that all. When brave men die at the 
far outposts of Empire, doing the world's work at 
their country's call, perhaps amid the throb and hurry 
of life at home for a passing minute's space the 
shadow of a brief regret falls across the daily path 
when first the news comes in. But as quickly it is 
lifted ; for all, except the very near and dear, the 
acuteness of perception is dulled by intervening 
distance, and it almost needs immediate contact to 
touch the imagination deeply. To those, however, 
who knew and loved the manly, generous nature that 
once was Raymond Portal, there will, I think, be a 
special interest in these last scenes of the life of one 


who never made an enemy, who inspired the warmest 
friendships, and whose compelling charm was recog- 
nised by all who chanced to come across him. There 
will be occasion to return to Raymond Portal later. 
In the meantime, such glimpses as have been already 
afforded of the hardships and difficulties of daily 
travel in the heart of the Dark Continent will serve 
to impress on those, who try to realise the conditions, 
some sense of that indomitable pluck which nerved 
him to carry out, with the heavy hand of sickness 
upon him, and the shadow of death before his eyes, 
alone, " without witness or honour," his last march 
back to die among his comrades in the mud house at 

It will be remembered that he had accompanied 
Major Owen into the Torn country, whence he was to 
march back with such Soudanese soldiers as it might 
be found possible to enlist, and the Commissioner 
had written to accelerate his return for reasons which 
are explained by the following extract from one of 
his letters home : — 

" I was anxious to get him to command the new station 
of Port Alice, where I have established the headquarters in a 
lovely, healthy spot, on a high hill overlooking the Lake. This 
would have given Raymond just the chance of independent and 
responsible work which he has been longing for, and which he 
would have done so well," 

It was towards the last days of April that Captain 
Portal became aware of the symptoms of the fever, 
complicated perhaps with sunstroke, which had seized 
him in the Torn country. He was never very 


prudent or careful of himself, and a perusal of his 
Diary during the month of April will make it clear 
that the life he was leading in the Torn swamps could 
hardly fail to tell upon one whose constitution had 
already been severely tried with fevers on the West 
Coast and in the AVest Indies. At first he grew 
better and worse at intervals, but continuing to 
march in spite of pain and weakness, with scarcely 
any comforts or assistance, he wore out his little 
remaining strength, and was found at length by 
Lieutenant Villiers, who went out from Kampala 
to meet him, now far too weak to walk at all, and 
being carried by his porters, whose affection and 
fidelity he seems to have had a strange power of 
winning. Lieutenant Villiers had brought medical 
stores, and nourishing food and champagne, and at 
first it seemed as if these might not have come too 
late. Dr. Mofi'at was himself unable to put foot to 
the ground, but Dr. Baxter, of the English Mission, 
who had just returned tired out from a journey him- 
self, no sooner heard of Captain Portal's illness than 
he set out immediately to meet him and bring him 
into Kampala. Captain Portal's Diary is published 
as a supplement to this book, and what more there is 
to be told will best be told there. These few words 
will perhaps suffice to explain the sequence of Sir 
Gerald's notes. 

On the 20th of May the Commissioner, who was 
still at Port Alice, received the news that Captain 
Portal had been brought into camp, better, but very 
ill. He was at the time very far from well himself, 


but he started the following morning for Kampala at 
9.30 A.M., being delayed till this late hour by terrific 
thunderstorms. The narrative of the Diary con- 
tinues : — 

2lst Maij, Sunday. — Quite beat in five miles : had to drag 
along supported by whisky at intervals rest of way. Macdonald 
came to meet us on Kubaga Hill with some champagne ! Found 
Raymond bad, very weak ; but temperature down to 101° : had 
been \0i^° ; quite deaf; looking very poor, but knew me. Dr. 
Baxter more than kind, spends all his time here. Self very 
seedy ; went to bed. 

'2.2nd May.—R. P. 102° and 103° all day. Baxter not very 
pleased. Self seedy, and fever. Mwanga came : went through 
treaty with him ; he agrees to all. 

23rd May. — R. P. temp. 101° in morning, then 100°, but up to 
102° in evening. I sat with him all day, feeling very seedy. My 
own temp. 101° at bedtime. Took some Warburg. Sent for 
Moffat to come in, 

2m May.~R. P. 101-6°-102°, 100°, and up again to 101-4°. 
Wandering a little in afternoon; took nourishment (Brand 
and milk and water). Pulse 86, and fairly good. Sat with him 
nearly all day. Self feeling better, but still seedy. Waganda 
Wa-Islam impertinent : claim province of Mugema, and say they 
won't work for king. Selim Bey wrote to me on subject. 

25th May.—R. P. temp. 101° at 6 A.M. and 101-4° but steady; 
about 100-8° all day till 9 p.m., up to 101°; pulse weaker and 
wandering a good deal. Pulse rose to 100; Moflfat arrived 
and consulted with Baxter : gave some champagne. Saw Selim 
Bey ; pointed out the Wa-Islam not his business, he quite 

2Qth May. — R. P. dreadfully weak and wandering all day, 
talking in Swahili a great deal ; got no sleep all night, and very 
restless all day : temperature a shade better, varied only from 
101-2° to 100-6°, till at 8.30 p.m. it went down to 99-8° ; he had 
some sensible moments. Pulse rose to 120; he spoke to me 
sensibly at 4 p.m. Wrote officially to Owen, explaining situation 
as clearly as possible, got stores and Maxim gun ready to send out 
to him. Self bad head all day. 



27th May. — Raymond's temperature not bad — about 100° to 
100'6°; but pulse weaker, has risen to 130; breathing very 
laboured and rapid ; had been given bromide, but without effect; 
has had no sleep for over two days now. Berkeley, Villiers, 
Ehodes, and Moflfat had relieved each other through night ; all 
report that he was restless, with quickened breathing and wander- 
inij. Rhodes and Moffat with him all mornincr. I had to work. 

^l»^ . H.. . » 

Tp y w --.i fn, * r*"p r! ," i' i, ' 
>''"77'|,' ^" ' ' " ' " ., ' , ' I"W 



At 1.30 P.M. I relieved Rhodes and thought R. looked 
worse. Temperature at 1 rose to 102°, and at 2 to 103°; gave 
him egg beaten in milk ; he very quiet and motionless ; at 4 
temp, had risen to 104° and soon after to 105°; pulse and 
heart weaker. Moffat sponged him all over with cold water ; 
temperature fell to 104*2° ; weakness and difficulty of breathing 
increased. Gave hypodermic injection of carbonate of ammonia 
twice, but no effect perceptible. Dr. Baxter came. We prayed. 
All over about 5.30, quite quietly — motionless. Frank under- 
took to see to everything. He is more than kind and tactful. 


2^th May, Sunday. — Funeral was at 7.30 A.M. Frank had 
arranged everything : officers in full dress, four on each side ; 
firing party of Soudanese battalion under Arthur. Went to 
English church at Namirembe ; Bishop Tucker officiated ; all 
done quietly and well. Kind letter from Bishop Tucker. De- 
cided to start Tuesday morning. 

Extract from a Letter from Sir Gerald Portal 
TO Lady Alice Portal 

Kampala, 2?>th May 1893. 

As you know, Raymond was sent out with Roddy 

Owen to the Toru country in the west. He was to have been 
sent back from there with a lot of Soudanese soldiers whom Owen 
was commissioned to enlist and send in to Kampala. (It is quite 
twelve to fourteen days' journey to where they were.) 

On the 16th of May I happened to have come up here for a 
day from Port Alice — (the new headquarters 22 miles off) — and 
we received a note from Raymond saying he had started two 
days before, but was feeling very ill indeed, and feared that he 
might knock up on the way. As bad luck would have it, our 
doctor, Moffat, was quite a cripple from these infernal " jiggers," 
and could not put a foot to the ground, so he could not go ; but 
I at once sent Villiers to meet R., with a pony and with every 
sort of comfort and medicine we could think of and scrape 
together. Villiers himself, poor man, was suffering from bad 
ulcers on the feet, also from "jiggers," but most pluckily limped 
off. Three days later there came a note from Villiers, saying 
that he had met Raymond with all his party, but that R.'s 
condition alarmed him, and he asked for further help and advice. 
Luckily the Mission doctor had just returned from a journey that 
night, and though himself with ulcerated feet, at once most 
kindly consented to limp off and meet R. and Villiers. Rhodes 
and I had in the meantime had to return to Port Alice, whither 
we wanted R. brought, as it is a thousand times healthier than 
this hole, Kampala. However, by Dr. Baxter's (Mission doctor) 
advice they brought R. here, as it was a little nearer, and when he 
arrived Berkeley sent word to me (who was expecting him at 
Port Alice) to say that he was here, with a good deal of fever, 



but nothing alarming, though a great deal knocked up by the 
journey, and that I need not come in : this was on the 20th. 
However, Ehodes and I determined to come to Kampala, and 
started at daybreak on the 21st. I was a good deal out of sorts, 
and had had fever and headaches myself for nearly a week 
previously, so that 22-mil6 walk over hills and swamps that 
day nearly knocked me up altogether, but Frankie helped me 
along and kept on giving me whisky, and so we arrived somehow 
late that night. I found Eaymond comfortably in bed looking 
much pulled down, but perfectly conscious, temperature falling 
from 103° to 102°, and in no pain. He knew me, and we spoke a 
little, but he was very drowsy, and I was half off my head my- 
self, so Dr. Baxter turned me out and sent me to bed. The 
doctor was not anxious then at all. 

Next day, 22nd, R. continued about the same, varying 
from 102° to 103° ; he was quite sensible, and talked occasionally 
to me. I sat with him all day, except for a few hours when I 
had to see King Mwanga and some chiefs on business. 

On the 23rd R.'s temperature went down to 101°, and 
then to 100°, and every one was beginning to think it was all 
right, but it rose again to 102° in the evening. I was with him 
all day, and he talked quite sensibly, and even cheerfully, though 
of course that was discouraged as much as possible. At 
night they would not let me stay, as I had been feeling very 
seedy, and had been over 100° and 101° myself all these days, 
and had bad heads every day. 

On the 24th li. remained about the same, fever a little 
lower, but he was evidently a little weaker, though he took all 
the nourishment given him and his pulse was fairly good. He 
began to wander rather in the afternoon. 

On the 25 th still the same, though another very slight fall 
in his temperature ; his weakness was great, and he talked a 
good deal in a delirious way, but he was often quite lucid and 
quiet, and knew me, and, in fact, if he was spoken to he alwayS' 
came to himself. Dr. Moffat arrived on this day ; we had 
managed to borrow a pony to send for him. He was rather 
alarmed by R.'s general weakness, and they began to give 
champagne and stimulants. 

The 26 th, the weakness was very alarming, and both heart 


and pulse were very feeble and rapid. E. was wandering 
all day, talking chiefly in Swahili, but in the evening about 
4.30 he was conscious for a moment and knew me, and spoke to 
me quite quietly ; after that he soon became very restless again. 
We all had great hopes still, as the fever was again less, and in 
the evening at 8 o'clock the temperature dropped for the first 
time to below 100°. 

On the 27th the temperature was not at all bad, about 100° 
and 100|° till mid-day, but his heart and pulse were painfully 
feeble, and his breathing was very rapid and distressed ; he was 
quite unconscious ever since he had spoken to me the day before. 
At 2 o'clock the thermometer showed his temperature had 
suddenly run up to 102°; we gave him some brandy and eggs 
beaten up in milk, which he swallowed. Then Moffat went to 
lie down and get some rest, and left me with R. alone 
again. R. was quite quiet, but his weakness was evidently 
growing rapidly. When I took the temperature again it had 
risen to 103°, so I called Moffat, who was evidently seriously 
alarmed. It soon after, at 4 o'clock, rose to 104°, and in less 
than half an hour to 105°; breathing very rapid and difficult. 
We then sponged him all over with cold water, which sometimes 
in desperate cases has a magical effect, but now it only brought 
it down a quarter of a degree. We gave champagne, which had 
no effect. Moffat tried strong injections subcutaneously, but it 
was evidently near the end. At 5.30 it was all over, quite 
quietly, and without a sign, except that the rapid, laboured 
breathing suddenly ceased. I am afraid I broke down altogether 
then ; but the doctor went away and left me alone. Some time 
after Frankie came in and made me come away. He was so 
gentle and full of tact, and very much upset himself. He saw 
to all arrangements and everything. I cannot say how he 
helped. I felt I could not do anything. The funeral was this 
morning at the Protestant church. Bishop Tucker officiated. 
It was a military one, with a company of the Soudanese battalion. 
It has all been so miserable, I can hardly realise it all yet. It 
does seem so hard that it should be Raymond, the strongest and 
most active of all, who only wanted an opportunity to show 
what he really was, and who up here among a picked lot of 
officers had already proved himself far and away the best of 


them all. He was a different man here from in England, and 
was working hard and cheerfully all day. And it was my 
responsibility that brought him up here at all ; that may be a 
selfish feeling, but it seems to make it all weigh much heavier.^ 

I am going to give this to Bishop Tucker, who starts to cross 
the Lake this week, and is going down by the German route. 
He may get down before our runners from Kikuyu. 

Frank, Berkeley, Villiers, and I leave this place at daybreak 
the day after to-morrow, and it will be something to be on the 
road again instead of staying still. 

There is another letter written, many weeks later 
during the journey home, to Lady Charlotte Portal, 
in which Sir Gerald, on the eve, as he believed, of 
returning to Uganda, tells over again the sad story 
which he had deferred writing home until the news 
had been broken. Here is a characteristic extract : — 

The Mission doctor and I had prayed for him by his bed- 
side at about 4 that afternoon. I fear I broke down com- 
pletely then, and they put me to bed. I was very weak from 
the daily fever myself. He was buried at the Protestant church. 
The Bishop read the service, and volleys were fired by the 
escort of troops. I am sending a pencil sketch of the grave 
most kindly made for me by the Bishop. 

The Bishop wrote a most kind letter, pointing out that a 
death like this, in doing his duty and trying to bring light to 
this unhappy country, was far nobler than one on the field of 

Two days afterwards I left Uganda. Going up there again 
the evening before, I met the Bishop, and we knelt by the grave 
while he prayed for help and comfort to you and all at home. 

That is all I have to say. I can't tell you how dreadful it 
has been to me up here, — feeling that he came here at my 

^ A letter from Sir Gerald Portal to the editor of the same date, which 
contains matter entirely similar to the above extract, assigns malarial fever 
as the cause of Captain Portal's death. 


instance and my responsibility. He was by far the best of all 
here, and would have really made his mark and got deserved 

The only thing I am glad of is that Raymond and I were 
never so much together in our lives, nor so close together in 
every way, as during these last four months. 

29/A May. — Busy day working and finishing up everything. 
Mwanga came in and signed treaty at 4 P.M. Had rather a 
stormy interview with Mohammedans in Mwanga's presence 
about their attitude ; told them clearly they had no right to 
further territory, and must work for king ; warned chiefs they 
would be held responsible. Went to say good-bye to Bishop 
Tucker, and arranged with him about his sending two telegrams 
for me if he gets to coast before us. 

30//i May. — Started from Kampala 8.15, with about 130 
porters, 30 soldiers, and nearly 30 women, most of whom are to 
be left at Wakoli's. 

March of 7| miles ; self very tired and utterly beat. 

Berkeley left behind at Kampala to catch us at Bandu. 

31s^ May. — Berkeley arrived 5.45 p.m., having marched from 
Kampala, 23 miles, in 7 hours. 


The return journey — Difficulties of the march during the rainy 
season — Trouble in Uganda — Illness of Colonel Rhodes — Selim 
Bey is handed over to the Commissioner — Arrival at Kikuyu — 
Death of Selim Bey. 

On leaving Uganda it was Sir Gerald Portal's intention 
to follow the track by which he had come as far as 
Kikuyu, and thence to send off with all speed to the 
coast, by the established route, such of his despatches 
as were already completed. From Kikuyu he would 
then himself, accompanied by Colonel Rhodes, march 
in a northerly and somewhat westerly direction, 
passing through hitherto unexplored country, with 
the object of striking the upper waters of the river 
Tana, and of thus ascertaining whether its course, 
which was known to be navigable with difficulty up 
to a certain point, offered any prospect of providing 
an alternative road to Uganda. With a view to 
facilitating their movements I had, in accordance 
with Sir Gerald's wishes, taken steps to despatch up 
stream to a place called Hameye, in the neighbourhood 
of which they expected to strike the river, a . number 
of native canoes sufficient to convey the whole party 
from there to the coast by water. Circumstances, 


however, delayed their journey, as will be seen farther 
on, and the departure of the canoes after many weeks 
of waiting added greatly to their difficulties. It is 
this journey at first through new country, and 
subsequently down the Tana, as it is described in 
the Diary and in letters, which it is most especially 
valuable to place permanently on record. The inter- 
vening notes, faithfully recorded day by day, of the 
journey between Kampala and Kikuyu, cover precisely 
the same ground as the latter chapters of the written 
narrative, and the road presents no new features 
beyond the increased difficulty of travelling, caused 
by the prevalence of the "great rains," which had 
now swollen streams into torrents, and converted 
muddy hollows into breast-high marshes. I therefore 
propose to extract from the Diary, during this stage, 
only such entries as appear to have any special 
interest, either as illustrating the character of the 
writer, or as bearing upon the nature of the country 
and its inhabitants : — 

3rd June. — Two Zanzibar! soldiers with letter from Zschatsch, 
saying Waganda still raiding all over Usoga : sent them on 
with note to Macdonald, advising him to fine Mwanga half his 
tribute ; and said that I would tell all Usoga chiefs to catch 
and tie up all Waganda, and send them to officer at Wakoli's, 
who would flog them. 

4:th June, Sunday. — Lubwa's ferry : halted in shamba 7.45. 
Lubwa came to meet us in red coat. Went on 8.45 over hill 
with lovely view all over Usoga, and back over whole Napoleon 
Gulf : on by beautiful shady paths, full of thousands of the 
most beautiful butterflies of every size and colour, to Lubwa's 
chief village ; did not halt, but went on to his son's a mile 
farther, where better camping ground. Lubwa came : gave two 


bullocks, six goats, six fowls, lot of eggs, and also a good shield. 
Told him station to be moved to his place with a European : 
he delighted. Also told him to settle all small cases among 
his people. He promised to build us ten canoes. Terrific 

8th June. — Mtanda's. Received letters from Macdonald say- 
ing Owen in diflSculty. Five Swahilis from Salt Lake, sent as 
messengers to Manyema, taken prisoners by them. Kabarega 
has cut him off from forts one and two. Shukri killed ; his 
position threatened. Wrote fully to Macdonald on subject, and 
said we would wait at Mumia's till 21st for news, and return 
if wanted. 

9th June. — For three hours to-day marched through swarms 
of locusts, sometimes in thousands on path, sometimes thinner. 
They eat all grass and corn (wembe), but do not touch the 
bananas. Two hours into Kavirondo they suddenly ceased. 

12th June. — Between Tunga's and Tindi's. Very wet long 
grass. At 6.45 reached strong running river, very deep, forty 
yards wide. In middle a rude weir of stakes. Waded up to 
middle to these, then great scramble across with ten men ; 
found it impossible for men to carry loads across : so lined 
whole bridge (?weir) with men shoulder to shoulder hanging 
on to stakes, and passed loads from hand to hand, with relays 
of men at my end to wade waist deep rest of way to dry land. 
Much against expectation, nothing lost except one Snider rifle 
and some porters' goods. Pony swam across and got stuck, 
nearly drowned on landing side. Donkey refused, and got 
jammed against weir : pulled along by main force. Men swam 
across with cows, sheep, and goats. All over in three hours. 

This passage is typical of an almost daily experience 
on the march through this region during the rainy 
season, and the crossing of these swollen rivers always 
involved a delay of some three hours. On the 14th 
the caravan arrived once more at Mumia's. 

The following extract from a letter addressed by 
the Commissioner to Lady Alice Portal, dated the 


14th of June, gives a consecutive narrative of recent 
events : — 

My movements and plans are again unsettled by news which 
has followed us from Uganda. To begin at the beginning : I 
managed to finish up all work and business at Kampala, and 
left Captain Macdonald in charge, and gave him all necessary in- 
structions, and started with Frankie and Villiers on the 30th ; 
Berkeley staying back to finish some work for me, and caught us 
up two days later. I was still rather seedy with fever and 
heads, and the doctor hustled me oflF, Before going I went for 
the last time to see Raymond's grave at the Protestant church, 
and got Bishop Tucker, who sketches beautifully, to make a 
drawing of it for mother. Frank also took a photo. I was 
awfully knocked up by the first few days' marches, and, unluckily, 
a pony which Frank and I have bought between us for the 
exorbitant price of £130 was so weak and ill, and such a scare- 
crow, that he could not be ridden. I may at once say that both 
the pony and I are much better, and practically all right. 

Well, after five days we crossed the Nile. We had divided 
into two parties, as I wanted to see a big chief, so Berkeley and 
I went one way with Arthur (who accompanied us for a week), 
and left Frank to conduct the main body of men with Villiers. 
We crossed at a place where it was three miles wide ; it was a 
most beautiful spot, like the best of the Italian lakes, only 
prettier. Here all my men (fifty) and ourselves got into 
ten native canoes and raced across ; the whole thing was like a 
perfect scene in a panorama. 

In Usoga (at Wakoli's) I halted for a clear day for rest, and 
to arrange matters about those useless Zanzibar soldiers who 
were in garrison there, and of whom I am taking 120 with 
me, and leaving fifty behind. Frank and Villiers joined us 
there ; the latter shot an elephant on the way. 

Next day we marched ten miles, and then we were overtaken 
by runners from Macdonald at Kampala with rather bad news. 
He writes and asks advice. I have -svritten fully my views, but 
added that if he found the situation getting really serious I 
would come back to Uganda, and that I would wait at Mumia's 
(here) till the 21st for his letters and for the latest news, and 


would be guided by that. So after all I am not yet clear of 
that country. If I have to go back I shall go just with a few 
porters for my own things, and shall send on the caravan with 
the others to the coast. Frank says he would rather come back 
with me, and so does Villiers ; but I don't know if that will be 
necessary. In any case I will send Berkeley and Foaker to the 
coast with all Zanzibar soldiers. I devoutly hope we donH have 
to go back. Tlie journey here from Kampala, 170 miles, has 
been most disagreeable. The rains have scarcely ceased, and 
the whole country is a vast swamp. One day, for instance, I 
was for three hours up to my waist in water, with blazing sun 
overhead, getting the men and loads across a difficult and 
swollen river. Later in the same day we had to walk more 
than a mile in horrible-smelling black mud and water up to our 
middles, and then suddenly I in front found myself in up to my 
chin. I sounded with a long stick, and found that the next step 
the water would be about two feet above my head. And this 
has been the sort of thing every day, especially for the last 
week. When not actually in swamp and water and black mud, 
we are forcing our way through high grass usually two or three 
feet above our heads, which wets us to the skin in a minute. 
Again and again our pony has been all but drowned in the 
swamp, and as for the sheep and goats and bullocks which we 
are taking for food, it is a marvel how they have got across 
alive. We have been fortunate in not having rain during the 
morning while actually on the march, but we have usually had 
terrific storms with thunder and lightning towards evening, 
which makes the whole camp wet and miserable, and the tents 
awfully heavy to carry. I have been making very early starts, 
and usually have a big drum beaten to rouse the camp at 4.30, 
so that we get the tents packed, and can actually march with 
the first streak of dawn. I have told you very little about 
Uganda itself, and now I think of it, you know nothing of all 
that happened since I wrote to you about the lOtb of April. 
Well, there is not much to say, and now I hate the whole place 
so since poor Raymond's death that I hate even writing about 
it. I had a very hard-worked time there. I moved the head- 
quarters from that close, unhealthy, and altogether hateful spot 
Kampala to a lovely place on the Lake ; two great grassy hills. 


MUMIA'S 253 

like the Kingsclere Downs, rising almost straight out of the 
water ; and a view over the Lake like over the sea dotted with 
a dozen islands, I put the European quarters on the highest hill, 
and the Soudanese troops on the lower one, and we marked out 
all the streets and divisions, giving each man a small compound, 
and established a market-place, and cut great wide roads in every 
direction. Before I left there was already quite a neat town of 
about 1000 inhabitants, ten times more healthy than at Kam- 
pala, and I left the officers there engaged in marking out allot- 
ments for each soldier to grow corn, potatoes, etc., which the 
Soudanese love doing. The name of the whole settlement is 
Port Alice. During the last fortnight I was busy with my 
final big Report, which you will see published sooner or later, 
I suppose. It is very curious on this journey, that after leaving 
Kampala all through Uganda and Usoga (ten days), one never 
sees a soul who is not dressed in cotton or bark-cloth from head 
to foot ; then in one day across the frontier into Kavirondo, 
we find people nearly quite black, and not a shred of 
clothing of any kind or sort on man, woman, or child, except an 
occasional string of pink beads round the neck or waist, and 
perhaps a bracelet or anklet of brass or iron wire. 

Whether I go forward or back, the rest here for a few days 
will do me good, and make me thoroughly fit. It is very hot 
to-day. I am writing in shirt-sleeves rolled up, and about 
2,000,000 flies in my tent, but by night it is quite cool, and I 
sleep under two blankets. Frank Ehodes is our doctor on this 
journey, and is now in front of me applying ointments and 
dressings to all sorts of repulsive sores and wounds on a lot 
of porters. Villiers looks after the mess and the books, and 
the stores and firewood, candles, etc. 

Instead of remaining at Mumia's, it was decided 
that they should press on to the Kabras Hills, there 
to await the expected mail from Captain Macdonald, 
as the higher country seemed likely to afford a more 
appropriate halting-place than the damp and running 
hollows at this season of the year. In the second 


Kabras camp on the 19 th the Commissioner suflfered 
from a return of his old attack of fever, and his 
servant Hutchisson also began to sicken. On the 
24th all the party were well enough to push on, and 
messengers from Captain Macdonald having brought 
in a report that the situation in Torn had improved, 
they were able to pitch their camp by the Guaso 
Masa, which was much swollen by the rains, and 
running with a very rapid stream. 

Sunday, 25th June. — Guaso Masa Camp. — At midnight 
roused by messengers with another letter from Macdonald : 
he had received an improper message from Selim Bey ; fears 
mutiny and trouble with Soudanese troops joining Waganda 
Mohammedans. Asks me to return. 

Arranged self, Rhodes, and Yifliers return with Hutchisson, 
and Berkeley to go on with Foaker and take despatches to 
England. Promised men returning double pay till next start 
homeward ; no trouble with men ; several asked to be allowed 
to come back. 

Berkeley to catch French mail of August 3. 

2Qt/i June. — Parted with Berkeley and Foaker, and then 
Rhodes, Villiers, and self turned back. Rhodes had bad head 
and rode. 

This was the commencement of the very serious 
illness of Colonel Rhodes. With great difficulty, 
sometimes riding the pony, sometimes carried on a 
bed or in a hammock, he was brought back to 
Mumia's by the 30th. Thence Lieut. Villiers was 
despatched with all speed to Kampala, with orders to 
intercept and open all letters from Captain Macdonald 
and send them on, and further, to despatch stores to 
meet the Commissioner with as little delay as possible, 


since, owing to the necessity for the return journey, 
the difficulty in the food supply between Kikuyu and 
Uganda, and the division of the party, everything 
was beginning to run short. Meanwhile the Com- 
missioner remained at Mumia's, awaiting news and 
nursing his sick comrade. In all this record of 
difficulties manfully faced and duties bravely under- 
taken, there are few things more touching as a simple 
testimony to the character of the chief of the Expedi- 
tion than the entries which cover the next few pages. 
To reproduce them from the minute, but neat 
pencilling of the pocket-book would be difficult, 
and they would perhaps only be wearisome to 
the reader ; the statement of the fact may therefore 
suffice. Throughout many weary days of doubt and 
anxiety, hour by hour of day and night, every 
variation in the temperature and pulse of his patient 
is noted with the scrupulous care of a hospital nurse, 
and opposite to each hour is set down the nourish- 
ment and the drugs administered. Interspersed with 
these tables are little notes of ominous import, 
telling how the scanty stores were ebbing fast, and 
all the port wine finished. Then the thermometer 
broke, and the tension of anxiety was only allayed 
when it was discovered that the interpreter Tembo 
had brought one with him. On the 4tli of July news 
came in of the fighting with the Mohammedans in 
Uganda, which terminated in their defeat and the 
trial and exile of Selim Bey. 

About the 7th of July Colonel Rhodes began to 
mend, but was far too weak from his long and 


exhausting attack to make a move in the direction of 
Uganda possible for at least another week. Messen- 
gers were therefore again despatched to headquarters 
to bring stores and carry letters to Captain Macdonald, 
pressing for his final decision as to whether the 
Commissioner's return was really necessary, in view 
of the news which appeared to indicate that the 
Mohammedan uprising had been suppressed. Mean- 
while, when the period of real anxiety was over, the 
time of necessary waiting was chiefly spent in ex- 
ploring the neighbouring region, in shooting and 
providing a hungry camp with meat, and in writing 
the earlier chapters of this book. On the 1 6th letters 
arrived from Captain Macdonald, stating that the 
situation no longer required Sir Gerald's presence, and 
that Selim Bey, together with certain Mohammedan 
Waganda chiefs, were being sent down as prisoners or 
exiles in charge of Mr. Gedge. But it was not until 
the 26th that he received from Mr. Gedge in person 
the Acting Commissioner's full rejjort of the short- 
lived Mohammedan insurrection, now happily sup- 
pressed, and such satisfactory assurances as enabled 
him to continue without misgiving his journey to the 

One or two notes in the Diary during this period 
are interesting as illustrating the nature and resources 
of the surrounding country : — 

12th July. — Mumia's. Started 6 A.M. to go and shoot 
hippos down river to exchange for flour; 1^ hours from M. 
crossed Oelkom (? Welcome) river by curious swing-bridge of 
creepers about thirty yards wide. Crossing one by one took one 


hour for thirty men : sent pony back, too risky for liim swim- 
ming ; sixteen-mile walk crossing many swamps to village of 
Nyango ; 4 P.M. went after hippos ; shot six, but all carried 
right down stream, running too strong. 

13^/i July. — Shot six more hippos, but only one caught going 
over falls. It is ridiculous to come and shoot here when the 
river is high ; they are all carried down to the Lake, or at 
least many miles down stream. Many pitfalls for hippo along 
river bank ; I fell into one which was well covered over with 
twigs and grass ; most of hippo meat taken by Kavirondo 
natives and porters. 

nth July. — Two hippo recovered; that makes three out of 
twelve; at 11.30 a third dead hippo reported; most of meat of 
three taken by natives and whole of one. 

This district is very thickly populated ; innumerable villages 
and large ones ; fine crops ; eggs plentiful, and all provisions far 
more abundant than at Mumia's. 

But the story of this anxious time is best told by 
Sir Gerald himself in a letter to Lady Alice Portal, 
dated from Mumia's on the 9th of July, and finished 
on the 5th of August : — 


As ink, like all other stores, is running very short, I must 
write in pencil, and tell you of all our misfortunes since I had to 
turn back from the Guaso Masa river. 

As I told you by the letter sent on by Berkeley, I was roused 
at midnight on the 24th-25th June by a letter from Macdonald 
(who was left in charge in Uganda), saying that he anticipated 
Mohammedan troubles, and asking me to return. . . . Frank 
Rhodes, Villiers, and I turned back on the 26th, sending on 
Berkeley and Foaker with the mails. I was just recovering 
from a sharp attack of fever, and so was Hutch isson, so that 
forced marches were out of the question, and we came along 

That very day Frank felt seedy, and had some fever — not 
much; his temperature was 102° in the afternoon. Next day, 



27th, we pushed on; he still had bad headache, and fever 
about the same. I gave him antipyrine (10 grs.), which did 
good ; we could not stop, as there was no food in that district, 
and our men had hardly any flour left. 

On the 28th we came on, Frank still with bad head, riding 
the pony. But after two hours' march he called to me, and 
said he felt faint and bad ; he got off", and then fainted alto- 
gether ; head burning hot, hands and arms and legs stone cold ; 
was quite unconscious. Luckily I got hold of a little brandy, 
and revived him a little, but things looked very serious. Mean- 
while, as we had been some way behind the caravan, going more 
slowly, I had sent on to Villiers, and told him to pitch camp at 
the nearest water, which unluckily was at least an hour and a 
half distant After waiting three hours, and giving R a little 
hot Liebig, we got a stretcher or litter and four men, and carried 
him on to camp. He was awfully bad, nearly unconscious, 
suff'ering from head, and feeling stone cold, though it was a 
blazing hot day. When at last we got him to camp and in bed 
I gave him carbonate of ammonia to restore him, and found his 
temperature run up to nearly 105° ! He was bad all that after- 
noon ; I did not know what might happen. 

Next day we halted all day there, and Frank was decidedly 

On the 30th we had to push on to get to a food country ; 
so we arranged a covered hammock with a bed inside it, and 
carried him on for fifteen miles to this place. Though he 
was most carefully carried, there were a lot of swamps and 
bad places to cross, and it was impossible to avoid a little 
shaking. I gave him Liebig and Brand's essence on the way. 
On arrival here we put him to bed, but all that afternoon he 
had very high fever ; temperature over 104°, at last going down, 
I treated him as well as I could, and then gave some champagne 
when his pulse got over 120, and he was evidently very weak 
and sinking. 

Next day, the 1st July, I sent on Villiers to push to 
Kampala with all speed, while I dared not leave Rhodes. To 
cut the story short, ever since then till now it has been a 
terribly anxious time. Frank has again and again had these 
recurrent attacks of very high fever, each making him weaker, 


and my small stock of medical stores rapidly became exhausted. 
... At last on the 7th his temperature became normal, and 
remained so for over fifty-six hours, and now I think he is quite 
clear of the fever, and I am ramming in the quinine as hard as 
I dare, but he is terribly weak and pulled down. 

Meanwhile we are in a bad way for stores, which had been 
calculated just to take us to Kikuyu, where we have a fresh 
stock. Berkeley and Foaker took on half, Villiers had to take 
some more, and we are quite on our last legs. 

The only thing which refreshed Frank when he was so bad 
was an occasional cup of tea. Providentially the tea, by great 
economy, just lasted till the fever left. Cofi'ee was finished 
long ago. Salt will last us about two days more with great 
care. Sugar, none for a fortnight past. Port wine, which I 
want badly for Frank, none. We had only two bottles, and 
my fever and Hutchisson's used one. Whisky or spirits I have 
not tasted for a long time, nor any sauce of any kind to help 
down the daily dry goat. Rice none, white flour none, biscuits 
none, and oatmeal none ! Candles and matches quite on their 
last legs, so that I shall have to go to bed at sunset. Tobacco 
running short ! 

Luckily I can get a little milk here and plenty of black flour, 
composed chiefly of sand mixed with crushed beans and millet, 
and there are plenty of goats. ... A little jam would be worth 
its weight in gold. Yesterday Hutchisson had a great triumph, 
and got a chicken (an oldish one), from which we made some 
soup for Frank. 

Even the people here are uninteresting. They do not wear 
a single stitch of clothing, either men or women, and are very 
black and very dirty. Altogether our position is most distress- 
ful, and I don't think I have ever hated a place more. 

Meanwhile in Uganda, Macdonald writes that the chief of 
our Soudanese soldiers tried to make a mutiny, and to get the 
men to join the Mohammedans against the Christians — but 
failed. The Mohammedans attacked the Christians and got 
thrashed. The Soudanese colonel is arrested and sent to an 
island, and all seems quiet. It was a local squabble. Now I 
expect him to write and ask me not to come to Uganda. The 
only cause for anxiety is Roddy Owen, who is on the other side 


of the Mohammedans, but as soon as we hear he is safe, I really 
see no reason for my going on to Uganda. I have written to 
Kampala for more stores, and hope to get them in about ten 
more days ; — but, oh ! this is a weary place, and I have had a 
terribly anxious time by myself nursing poor Frank. 

10//i Juhj. — All yesterday afternoon and again this morning 
the whole air has been black with immense clouds of locusts. 
All the people are out round their fields of corn, lighting bon- 
fires, beating drums, shouting, and waving rags and grass to 
prevent them settling. Millions and millions came through and 
over our camp, just out of reach of the hand. Thousands settled, 
and the men are catching them to eat. I tried some fried ; 
tasteless, but not nasty. They are a great nuisance if they really 
settle here in their millions, as one can't move without squashing 
them, and they get into tents and everywhere. 

Wth, I2th, IM, 14cth July. — Nothing exciting. Frank 
getting stronger by slow, very slow degrees. On the 12th I 
decided I could leave him safely for a couple of days in 
Hutchisson's care, while I went about sixteen miles down the 
Nzoia river to shoot a few hippopotami, in order to exchange 
their meat for flour, as we are running short of beads and cloth 
for buying food. It was a long, swampy, tiring march, but 
at one place we came to a good-sized river about thirty yards 
wide, with a very deep and strong stream. There was a most 
picturesque bridge swung between two trees, over which we had 
to cross one by one. The bridge was simply made of creepers 
interlaced, with great holes and gaps through which one might 
easily tumble into the water. The whole thing was open work, 
like a very coarse net, and was swung at about this angle — 





so that the climb up on the opposite 

side was rather a scramble. Inside 

the bridge was like this (a), and 

swung about with one's weight till often 

one found one's self like this (h). 

Oddly enough we dropped nothing 

into the river, although on these occasions one usually loses 

one's most valuable box, or bed, or something of the sort. 

When I got to my destination, I found that there were 



lots of hippos, but the river was in flood, and running so 
strong that it was extremely difficult to prevent those shot from 
being carried over the falls, and right down out of this part of 
the country. I shot twelve, but we only could recover four. 
The others will all be found and eaten by the people lower 
down. Hundreds of natives came rushing along and tried to 
carry off all the meat : we nearly had a serious squabble and 
row. I had only thirty men altogether (porters), and ten had to 


remain in camp to look after it. However, after a lot of yelling 
and squalling, we managed to collect as much meat as the men 
could carrj', and I returned on the 15th to find Rhodes getting 
on well, and also to find that we had received a present of a 
small tin of tea, and another small tin of salt, from a young 
German ^ in Usoga to whom I had written in our distress. This 
was real luxury. 

On the 16th I got a letter from Macdonald, saying, as I 
expected, that all the trouble is over, and that my return is now 
unnecessary. We must, however, wait for our stores from 
Uganda, and for a final report from Macdonald, and then I trust 
we shall get fairly away from this hateful place and on the road 
home. If we get off on the 24th July from here, we should 
arrive at Mombasa about the 1 7tli of September, and in that 
case would probably come home by the French mail of October 3, 
getting to London October 21, where at last I shall meet you 

When Mr. Gedge at length reached Mumia s with 
Captain Macdonald's final report, he at the same 
time handed over to the Commissioner the mutinous 
Selim Bey in person, together with a miscellaneous 
crowd of Soudanese women and children who were 
to be taken down to the coast, as well as a brother 
of Mwanga's, Mbogo by name, whom it had become 
desirable to remove from Uganda, and who was also 
accompanied by a crowd of hangers-on. Great diffi- 
culties were experienced in providing all these addi- 
tional mouths with food in a country where supplies 
ran so short, the more so as they had wantonly wasted 
the provisions distributed amongst them at the start 
to save themselves the trouble of carrying them. 
However, a start was made in the direction of the 
coast once more on the 27th, through an interminable 

^ Zschatsch. 


cloud of locusts, which darkened the surrounding air 
for a space of two consecutive hours. The country 
to be traversed was in a terrible state from the con- 
tinuous rains, and the record of the next three weeks' 
marching is only the same old story of flooded rivers 
and waist - high swamps, traversed with infinite 
difficulty and repeated loss of time, patience, and 

A few extracts from the Diary will therefore 
suffice : — 

31s/ July. — Guaso Masa. Found river in flood; ford im- 
passable ; all traces of bridge gone. Found spot with two fair- 
sized trees on opposite banks. Set all hands to work to cut 
them and make grass rope. First tree cut at 1 1 A.M., fell in- 
wards into bank. Second tree fell into river, and jammed well, 
but not across. Cut many more small trees, and tied them with 
grass rope. Bridge made and ready by 3.30, but water rushing 
over in parts. Got all our men (loads passed from hand to 
hand) over by 5. Cows, pony, and donkey dragged, and swam 
with rope below. All over by 5. 

2nd August. — Saw herd of eight giraffes quarter of a mile off, 
but they saw us and went. 

5th August. — Gedge announced intention of going ahead to 
Kikuyu : gave him mails and twelve Zanzibar soldiers to take 
them on to coast. Told Mbogo to go on with Gedge ; gave him 
two sheep. He begged for tea, sugar, and flour ; told him I had 
nothing for him but the two sheep. He had been warned to 
carry twenty-five days' food. 

9th August. — Equator. Self riding for sprained knee. 10.30 
A.M. — Saw three elephants cross path in front. F. E. and I 
went after one, who separated himself : long tracking ; I got a 
shot at 100 yards, and hit him too high, but through lungs. 
He came slowly towards us ; both boys ran away. F. K. came 
up, and we followed him long way. Saw him standing at 250 
yards, then lost him again. After some time I came across him, 
and shot him in neck. F. K. gave him two in neck. Mortally 


hit. Arrived camp 3 p.m. At 4.30 went after a distant rhino ; 
after long, careful stalk came unexpectedly on him at twenty 
yards in long grass, head to us. He at once charged ; boys ran 
away ; Ramadan up a tree. Rhino came to within ten yards of 
me, then suddenly wheeled round snorting, gave me no chance 
of side shot ; saw lots of game, 

Wth August. — Total bag, 5 zebra, 1 Grant. 

1 2th August. — Lake Nakuro. I went after a Swayne's harte- 
beest, and got him after some trouble ; two shots at him going full 
speed rolled him over. . . . Whole plain (S.E.) literally moving 
with zebra in parts : estimated we saw over 2000 in the day ; 
counted one herd over 300. At one time about 400 trotted round 
our front within eighty yards, looking at pony which I was riding. 
Shot one Grantii doe. Decided not to shoot zebra to-day, as 
plenty of meat in camp already. View of Lake Elmenteita at 
1 1. Country very dry ; grass ready for burning ; could see big 
fires ahead near L. Elmenteita, evidently Masai. 

I3th August, Sunday. — Marched to south-east side of Gari- 
anduss river on Elmenteita Lake. Lots of zebra quite close ; 
magnificent view over lake and volcanic country ; small steep 
cones in every direction. Lake Elmenteita about seven miles 
long by two wide. Shot one partridge, large, with bright red 
legs ; one Grant's ; many long shots at Thomson's. Salt from 
lake no good ; Mahomed Bau, one of the headmen, says he tried 
it with Martin, and it made all the men ill, probably natron.^ 

16^^ Jul}/. — Lake Naivasha, north-east end. At about mid- 
night Selim Bey died of heart disease ; had been as well as 
usual all day and evening; was found dead. Nubian women 
wailing all night. F. R. and I went to see him at 6 A.M. He 

^ The following is the analysis made by Messrs. Savory and Moore of a 
sample of water from Lake Elmenteita brought home by Colonel Rhodes : — 

Chlorine, parts per million .... 590 

Ammonia ,, ,, .... 3'2 

Nitrogenous nitrates, parts per million ... 

Total solids „ ,, . . . 4210 

Sulphuretted hydrogen, by volume . . . 0'065 

The residue on evaporation was of a yellow colour and very deliquescent. 
The quantity of the water sent was insufficient for a quantitative analysis of 
the solids. It contained chlorides and carbonates of sodium and magnesium 
chiefly, together with smaller quantities of iron, aluminium, and calcium. 


was buried close to camp. Shot a liysena. F. R. got two 
mpallah ^ and one Grant's. 

Three days more varied with plentiful sport in 
this magnificent game country brought the caravan 
to Kikuyu, where Major Eric Smith, who had come 
up from the coast, on his first journey as transport 
ofiicer, had arrived with some 500 men. Long- 
expected mails from Zanzibar and England were 
awaiting them here, and a week was spent in resting 
and making preparations for the eventful journey to 
the coast by the Tana river, which will be dealt with 
in the following chapter. 

After the dreary experiences of the last few weeks, 
it is pleasant to close with a letter written in a 
cheerful strain from the " camp of plenty " in 
Kikuyu : — 

Sir Gerald Portal to Mr. Rennell Rodd 

Kikuyu, 20(f/i August 1893. 
My dear Rodd — I arrived here yesterday, and find Mr. 
Gedge, of the Times, had only arrived two days before me, 
and had not yet sent on the mails which had been entrusted to 
him. ... I have received five letters from you all waiting for 
me here, the last of them being of June 10 from Zanzibar. 
Many thanks for all the trouble you have taken about our 
canoes on the Tana; of course our plans and times of arrival 
here have been all upset by Macdonald's alarmist views about 
the Soudanese in Uganda, and the boats may have already gone 
down again, but we have decided to try it, and to strike across 
to the Tana, hitting the river just below M'Kenzie, and marching 
to Hameye. Even if the special canoes have gone down, it 
appears that we may be able to get others by chance, and if not, 
that the road is not very difficult. Of course this makes the 
date of our arrival at the coast uncertain, but I should say about 
^ Mpallah {^pyceros melampus), a variety of the antelope family. 


the 30th September or first week of October should see us at 
Lamu, or Mombasa, or we may strike across to Mombasa from 
Golbanti, only five days' march. Smith and Martin with their 
huge caravan arrived at this place just half an hour before we 
came in from the other side, and last night we were a happy 
party of seven — Smith, Martin, Purkiss, Hall, Gedge, Ehodes, and 
myself. Smith brought me up cigarettes, and champagne sent 
by that most excellent Berkeley, and we " roughed it " in the 
heart of Africa last night on champagne, gazelle, venison, ex- 
cellent mutton, duck, fresh English potatoes, cabbages, beans, 
lettuces, beetroot, honey, eggs, milk, and every conceivable 
dainty. It was delightful, too, to wake up in the morning in 
a room, and to lie lazily in bed till 6.30, instead of getting up in 
the dark at 4.30 in a wet tent. 

I shall rest here about four days ; the men want it. I think 
I told you in my last letter from the top of Mau that Macdonald 
had sent me a crowd of naked Nubians — men, women, and children 
— whom he wanted to get rid of out of Uganda, and therefore 
packed off to the coast. I propose to leave the bulk of this 
lot here ; they can be employed for work on the station in 
return for their food, and don't want any pay, and I shall get 
Gedge to take to the coast only the few people who claim to be 
entitled to a passage to Egypt from the Company or the Egyptian 
Government. Selim Bey himself died of heart disease at Lake 

I am truly sorry to hear that you have had a sharp attack 
of fever, but it does not appear to have impeded the smooth 
current of affairs, and I must again most sincerely congratulate 
you on the great success of the whole show. I am very glad 
you have mopped up Witu, and hope you will secure Rogers. I 
fear that a radical change will have to be made in the whole 
force of Zanzibar troops. The class of men sent up with us — 
and they were picked men — will never be of the smallest use up 
country, but I will talk over all this on our arrival. 

I am annexing Mr. Purkiss, and sending him up to Uganda ; 
he has already resigned the Company's service. Love to 
Mathews, Hatch, and Company. We are both well and 
flourishing. — Yours sincerely, G. Portak 


The Tana route to Uganda — Crossing the Malanga river — Difficulties 
on the route — The Grand Falls — Along the Tana river to Ndura 
— From Ndura to Witu — Zanzibar. 

The object of Sir Gerald Portal's Mission to Uganda, 
and the examination which he was instructed to make 
into its condition, resources, and capabilities, would 
hardly have been complete without the last most 
trying experiences entailed by the investigation as to 
whether an alternative route to the coast was practi- 
cable by the waterways of the Tana. The river had 
indeed been visited and even explored by several 
travellers since the days of Baron van der Decken 
and the earlier discoveries of Dr. Krapf on the upper 
reaches in 1851. The first scientific map of its course 
was that of the brothers Denhardt, who in 1878 
ascended the river in company with Dr. Fischer. 
In 1889 Mr. Pigott, now Acting Administrator of 
the Imperial British East Africa Company, made his 
way to a point some twenty -five miles above the 
Hargazo Falls, obtaining a distant observation of 
Mount Kenia, and then struck south for Kikuyu, pass- 
ing considerably west of the route taken by Sir Gerald 
Portal and Colonel Rhodes. A map was also produced 


by Dr. Peters, who followed shortly afterwards, the 
accuracy of which, however, has received considerable 
criticism. To Count Teleki and Lieutenant von 
Hohnel belongs the credit of makinoj the first ascent 
of Mount Kenia, which they explored in 1887. 

In the enlarging of our knowledge of the Tana, 
however, the most important expedition of recent 
times was that conducted in 1891 by Captain F. G. 
Dundas, R..N., who, accompanied by Mr. Hobley the 
geologist, and Mr. Bird Thompson, ascended the river 
in the I.B.E.A. Company's stern-wheel steamer /iema 
as far as Hameye, the highest point to which naviga- 
tion was possible, and thence continued his journey 
overland to Mount Kenia, where he finally reached 
an elevation of nearly 9000 feet above the sea-level, 
on the slopes of the mountain chain. Returning 
thence, Captain Dundas successfully navigated the 
Kenict through the precarious journey from Hameye 
back to the coast. ^ 

The portion of the Diary in which the daily 
experiences of the Commissioner between Kikuyu 
and the coast are recorded, is given unabridged in 
the following pages as a further contribution to our 
knowledge of the subject. There are certain points 
in which his observations difi'er from those of Captain 
Dundas and Mr. Hobley, and it is therefore possible 
that they may be of value in rectifying previous 

The circumstances under which the journey was 
performed rendered it an exceptionally arduous one, 

^ See Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, August 1892. 


and Sir Gerald was of opinion that the result of his 
experiences went to prove that, owing to the inhospit- 
able nature of the intervening country, and the actual 
difficulties encountered upon the river itself, the idea 
of establishing any alternative route to Kikuyu and 
Uganda by the Tana was an impracticable one. 

Besides the entries in the Diary, the eventful story 
of the voyage is summed up in a full and very interest- 
ing letter, begun upon the 14th of September, and 
concluded at Zanzibar on the 22nd of October, when 
his long march had at length been brought to a 
successful termination. This was the last paper from 
his hand written in Africa, and with it the eventful 
story of his Mission closes. 

26th August, Saturday. — Kikuyu. Took headman Wadi 
Bunduki, who knows road, as guide ; strongly recommended by 
Purkiss and Martin. 

Had to shorten up tent loads a little to make room for three 
new chop boxes, champagne load, seven food loads, Bunduki's 
porter, load of flour for selves, etc., the two last being shot on 
me at last minute. 

Marched along very good and well-cut straight road to outside 
forest, not more than seven miles in all. Camped between forest 
and stream. Grass fires all round threatened camp ; turned out 
men and extinguished it with branches. 

Afternoon, shot three bull wildebeest and one Thomson. 
F. Ehodes, three Thomson ; Hutchisson, one wildebeest. 

27th August, Sunday. — Meruba R. outside Kikuyu forest. 
Start at 6. Crossed river S.E., then turned E. and N.E. across 
grass, not very thick, following right bank of river. Halted at 
8. 1 5, and there met some forty Wanderobbo going to hunt game, 
especially wildebeest. Saw many hundreds of wildebeest, at 
one time some 300 in one herd, also many hartebeest and 
Thomsoni, latter not nearly so wild. At 9.30 (two hours 
from leaving road) arrived opposite junction of Ngong river, and 


one mile later arrived at end of scattered trees. No more fire- 
wood visible for many miles, so camped 9.45. 

Saw near camp waterbuck, mpallah, and hartebeest of mouse 
colour, all hind -quarters white. Hutchisson saw bush-buck. 
Saw "Wanderobbo having drive of immense herd of wildebeest 
past archers with poisoned arrows posted behind ant-heaps. 

Afternoon, skinned yesterday's heads. Shot two waterbuck, 
right and left shots, after long crawl. 

28th August, Monday. — Started 6.10. Had to make small 
bridge over the Ngong, eight feet wide, but six feet deep. Took 
till 7 to get all caravan across. Pony of course went in. At 
8 (2 1 miles) crossed swamp of 300 yards running water going 
S.E. to join Ngong. Halt 9 (five miles from Ngong crossing). 
Marched again 9.45, and at 10 began to cross another swamp 
river running S.S.E. and S. to Ngong. Could not see how wide, 
as it was high papyrus, deep swamp, and then very thick papyrus, 
through which had to cut path inch by inch; could not see a 
yard in front: slightly east direction. Did not get clear till 2.30 
P.M. (4 1 hours in water and cutting thick papyrus) ; then on, 
3.30, across bare plain N.N.E. (70°) for 1^ hours, 3^ miles, and 
crossed rapid and strong river twenty yards wide at 4.30 and 
camped. This river runs also S.S.E. Altogether in 10| hours 
covered about 7i miles. 

No shooting. Saw hundreds of wildebeest and two rhinos 
within 200 yards of camping-place, who took no notice of us. 
Shot one guinea-fowl. 

29^/i August, Tuesday.— ?Mns. Started 6.15. At 7.30 (2f 
miles) came to river running S.E. to Ngong. Crossed on fallen 
tree; took one hour for all. At 8.20 marched again, heading 
just north of north shoulder of Chianzabi. At 10 reached another 
river eight yards wide, but deep ; found a ford only four feet 
deep, and camped 10.15 on E. side, about seven miles. 

From camp Mt. Chianzabi's highest point bears 105°, i.e. 10' 
S. of E. Distant about fifteen miles. 

No shooting on road, but saw three rhino and lots of zebra, 
hartebeest, and wildebeest. 

Afternoon, shot two hartebeest; saw waterbuck and rhino and 
mpallah. Aneroid, 7 P.M., 5800. 

ZOth August, Wednesday. — On fifth river after Ngong. 



Marched 6, direction 45° for two hours; then halt on banks 
of deep strong river running W. and E. ; found ford, but did not 
cross, as I thought it probable this river goes into Tana. After 
consultation with F. E. and Mabruki decided to follow along south 
bank. Marched nearly due E. and a little inclined to N. for 
two hours till 11.30, and camped near old Wanderobbo boma, 
by river, near pool full of hippo. Eiver swarming with hippo 
all along, largest river yet seen in East Africa. 

Wounded a giraffe (one of six) on road, but did not get him ; 
shot at 200 yards. Shot one hippo at camp. F. R. a very 
large crocodile of enormous girth, and quite twelve feet 

In afternoon men secured my dead hippo with ropes and cut 
her up. I followed river down for three miles, still going due 
K ; could not well see its course; afterwards thought it appears to 
turn S. towards Athi, though according to maps it ought to go 
to Tana. Chianzabi bears 165°. 

Shot one mpallah buck, and wounded giraffe badly, but lost 
her in dark. 

Hutchisson, fever, temp. 4 p.m. 102*8°, gave Dover, 10 gr. 
Do. 8.30 P.M. 103-0°, sweating. 

Do. 11 P.M. 102-6°, 18 grs. quinine. 

Aneroid, 7 p.m., 5700. 

31s^ August, Thursday. — Large river, sixth from Ngong. Eiver 
averages ninety feet wide and eight to ten deep ; full of rapids 
and falls. 

6 A.M. started, and followed right bank of river, at first E. and 
E.N.E., hoping it would prove to be Malanga tributary of Tana, 
as from its size and volume it seemed much too big for Athi or 
Sabaki. After 1^ hours it turned S.K and S.S.E., between high 
steep hills which prevented our seeing its course ahead. At 
8.15 halted (about 5^ miles), determined to cross, as it was 
evidently bearing towards Athi. Its width made bridging very 
difficult, even tall trees would not reach across. Half completed 
one very doubtful bridge by cutting tree, when F. R. discovered 
rapids and fall half a mile down, where river is in four branches ; 
beautiful spot; traces of Wanderobbo bridge. Made four 
bridges over four branches of rapids. All across by 3.30. 
Camped on left bank. Hippos everywhere in shoals. My 



Winchester rifle dropped in six feet of water, but recovered. 
Aneroid, 7 p.m., 5550. 

1st Sept., Friday. — Left bank of sixth river. Started 6 over 
hills N.N.K X N. for two hours ; long grass, slow progress, 
skirting range of hills on our left running in N.N.W. x S.S.E. to 
river. At 8, turned N.K over pass in hills ; grass six feet high 
and very thick. After passing through gap between two hills 
found ourselves overlooking valley about 800 feet below us, but 
almost precipitous descent, impossible for loaded men. Had to 
keep along very steep sides of hills for two hours, N. by N.N.W.^ 
very slippery, steep, difficult going. At 1 1, descended into valley, 
and camp on far side of stream (nearly dry) running N.N.W. 
Valleys open before us on N.W. x N.E. side into apparently 
large plains with distant river, probably Tana 1 

Near camp, one askari sitting in grass attacked by small 
gazelle, and badly bruised just below left eye. 

Hutchisson feeling bad, temp, on arrival 102°, but great pains 
in right side; gave 5 grs. calomel. Aneroid, 7 P.M., 5100. 

2nd Sept., Saturday. — (?) Jigu Mts. in gorge. Started 6.15, 
after very bad night ; sleepless ; Hutchisson feeling very weak 
and ill. March N.N.E. for some three miles along a native track 
till it turned N.W., then over succession of low hills, and through 
long grass and stunted trees, always N.N.E. ; crossed several dry 
torrent beds. After some six miles arrived at bigger stream bed 
with pools of water. Halted and camped to let Hutchisson have 
long day's rest (9.30). 

Saw four rhino on road, but all took alarm and went off. In 
camp porter came at 11, and reported big river ahead N.N.E. 
At 2.30 walked three-quarters of an hour N.N.E., and came to 
Tana river at last. Fine river, some 100 to 150 feet wide, good 
strong stream and evidently deep, literally full of hippos in 
shoals and herds on every reach. Men caught good many fish 
of a Silurus kind. River running K x S.K 

Shot three hippos dead, but they remained in mid-stream. 

Went very little way up river ; saw lots of small monkeys, 
and large herds of mpallah and waterbuck, and one bush-buck. 
Shot two mpallah and one partridge. Lost way back to camp ; 
but when quite dark, some way beyond camp, going on in oppo- 
site direction, heard gun fired by F. R. and came back. Hutchis- 


son better in afternoon, but in pain again in evening. Can't 
lie down. Temp. 101|^ Aneroid, 7 p.m., 4600. 

Both my hands bandaged and in bad state from thorns, etc., 
also intense irritation from innumerable ticks from long grass. 

3rd Sept., Sunday. — In Jigu Mts., near Tana river. Started 
6.15 ; arrived at bank of Tana N.E. at 6.45. Followed river 
E.S.E. X S.E. along well-worn path for some miles, passing many 
traces of native camps, probably Wanderobbo hunting hippos. 
At 8, path continued S.E. x S.S.E., leaving river and apparently 
going back to Jigu Mts. ; but we stuck to it, and after six or 
seven miles it turned again E. across bare, burnt, ugly plain, with 
a few ostriches, hartebeest, and zebra. At 11.30 arrived 
suddenly on large river flowing S. to N. towards Tana, evidently 
the Malanga (Fischer), which we crossed with such difficulty on 
31st. Found well-made bridge of big trees and poles tied with 
creepers, quite new, and which must have entailed much work ; 
probably Swahili caravan, too good for natives. Camped on E. 
or right bank, near deserted village and boma. Six Wakikuyu 
came to camp in afternoon returning from Mumoni ; say that is 
three days off and food scarce. 

Shooting in afternoon, a rhino made unprovoked charge, but 
turned when he received a bullet from "450 in chest ; I had not 
got the "577. Shot hartebeest on road, and waterbuck in evening; 
waiting for men till quite dark ; very difficult and painful return 
to camp through darkness and thorns. Aneroid, 7 P.M., 4520. 

Uh Sept., Monday. — Started 6. Followed well-worn path going 
S.E. (145°); said to lead to Mumoni (Ukamba ya Mumoni). 
Natives in camp yesterday reported to have said it was our 
road. It led us continually about 145", but very circuitous, 
across very long bleak and bare plain, river apparently leaving 
us. Crossed water in pools twice in early part, but later all 
watercourses dry, and everything burnt. At 10.15 passed 
Swahili camp near torrent bed now dry, then on through thorn- 
wood, no water, and still going S.E. At 12.15 reached dry 
torrent; halted ; situation serious; dug for water, but no success. 
Sent on Wadi Bunduki, and found water up the hill, just below 
the sandy bed ; plenty of it. This road evidently leaves river 
altogether. Wanted to turn N.E. at 11.15, but F. R. was for 
sticking to road. 


Sent men out 4 P.M. N.E. to look for Tana, also others to 
follow porter ahead, and report if any cross track. 

Saw giraffe, shot one rhino, F. R. one hartebeest. Aneroid, 
7 P.M., 4900. 

5th Sq)t., Tuesday. — Lanjora in Ukambi, E. of Mumoni and 

5. of Tiza. Men sent out returned 9 P.M. after much fn-ing of 
guns and beating drums ; report Tana about five hours. Started 
5.30, having made all men fill their water-bottles. Marched N. 
by S. about 35°; hilly /ind long dry grass, very tiring. Halt 
8.30. Three rhinos at different times came close up to head of 
caravan and frightened men. I sent them off by firing Winchester 
at them ! one at fifteen yards. At 10.15 rose over high hill 
and saw what we thought was Tana N.E., about two hours down 
valley. Followed valley till 12.30 ; very bad going, very rough, 
innumerable dry, steep watercourses, long tangled grass, thick 
thorns and long grass, and millions of ticks. At 12.30 halted 
and had hot coffee and cold meat. Marched again 1.30 for one 
hour, and found water in hole in dry torrent bed, and camped. 

Went on to look for river ; it seemed at least ten miles fartlier, 
but F. R thinks only seven. Krapf Kenzi hill bears N.E. 
We marched quite sixteen or seventeen miles, shows we went 
quite twenty-five miles wrong yesterday. About six men and 
one woman missing ; lit large grass fire to guide them. Aneroid, 
7 P.M. 4210. 

6/A Sept.j Wednesday. — It appears that twenty-seven people 
are missing ! i.e. twenty-one Zanzibar askari, four of the Kikuyu 
askari (mail men), my tent askari, and one woman. Set fire to 
grass in camp on leaving to give them a sign, and marched at 

6, steering N. by E. about 25° for Mt. Albert, down ravine. 
After 2^ hours through rather rougli grass, rock, and thick 
thorn, arrived at river Tana, in strong cataract ; three distinct 
branches of river; cataracts extend long way up stream, and 
some way down. Mt. Albert bears 24° from camp. 

Camped here at 8. 30 to give lost men a chance. Sent out 
Captain Hamed and Captain Amani^ at 10 o'clock to look up and 
down river ; they returned in two hours, saying that they had 
seen nothing. Told Hamed this was disgraceful, that I would 
cut all his pay from Kikuyu, and put him on half rations to 
^ Native officers of Zanzibar troops. 


coast, r. R. and I spent all afternoon shooting hippos, several 
killed, but unattainable. Food badly wanted ; gave out one bag 
grain, i.e. one kibaba to every three men. 

Porter reports food about two hours off, and native path. 
Saw baobab trees. Aneroid, 7 P.M., 3850. 

1th Sept., Thursday. — Tana river, — seven forks ; Mt. Albert 
24^. 5.30, sent men to look for dead hippo, but all had floated 
away. At 6, was informed that Hamed had gone off on his own 
account with all his remaining men, and offered to look out for 
the lost ones, without asking leave, and without even asking 
our route and intended camp. Marched 6.30. Cutting road 
through thick thorns for an hour, then arrived at so-called food. 
Crossed one branch of river, thirty yards, up above waist, very 
stony bottom, full of holes, and very strong current ; then a second 
river, about the same ; then across a quarter mile island to third 
branch. It was a roaring fall, slippery rocks, and falling water 
ten feet below ; had to bridge about fifteen feet, and then awful 
scramble ; noise of water terrific. This appeared to be last branch, 
but eventually in next half mile there were three more branches 
to cross, all cataracts, all above waist, and very strong stream. 
Immense difficulty with cattle, donkey and one calf saved, though 
nearly drowned, but had to kill two cows at number three, and 
one cow drowned. 

Dealt out meat for three days. Not all over till 3. Marched 
down left bank ; thick thorn bush till 5. Camped in old native 
camp ; lit big fires to guide lost men. No signs of Hamed or 
others. Lots of bee-hives in trees. Aneroid, 3620. 

8^/i Sept., Friday. — Captain Hamed and soldiers did not appear 
all night, but big fire kept up on hill. Started 6. Crossed a 
stream, and immediately afterwards saw three dead hippo in 
river. Halted, and with great difficulty man swam out in rapids 
and secured rope to one, which was hauled in and cut up. This 
took till 10.30. 

At 8, Hamed and soldiers appeared on opposite bank, tried 
to ford, but failed ; sent them back to our ford one hour up river. 
Marched 10.30 to 12.30, and 1 to 2.45, i.e. for 3f hours, about 
eight miles ; general direction N.E., but river very winding ; 
twice it went due south, and I left it and bore N.E., meeting 
it again. Thick bush everywhere ; hard work. In camp one 


man reported missing, carrying 2 heads and 25 kibs. grain (our 
last grain) ; had been seen close to camp ; sent out men and fired 
guns, but no result ; had big fire lit on hill behind us. 

New camp in bush about half a mile from river; met huge hippo 
walking about, fired four bullets from Martini into his head and 
shoulder ; twice he tried to charge, but was stopped by bullet. 
He just reached the river, leaving great mess of blood on 
track, lay like a log, and then sank. Mt Albert bears 350°. 
Aneroid, 3500. 

9th Sept., Saturday.— T&nsi, Mt. Albert 350°. March 6. No 
signs of missing men. Three men in front Avith axes and 
bayonets ; hard work cutting path through endless thick thorn, 
bare of leaves ; desolate and altogether hideous and miserable 
country. River bore E. and then S.E. and S. ; cut off a corner, 
and steered N.E. Marched till 8 (two hours, did about three 
miles only) ; halted half an hour, and then on till 10.45 ; rather 
clearer. Did about seven miles in the 4 J hours' marching. At 
10.45 arrived at quite recent Swahili camp, with good boma for 
many goats and donkeys, and strong bridge over part of river ; 
but it does not appear certain that they crossed whole river, as 
their tracks appear along a good path towards Mt. Albert. 
River here flowing nearly N.E. F. R. went on in afternoon 
down stream, climbed a hill, and got clear view for miles all 
round ; nothing but this interminable brown thorn bush. 

I went straiglit inland and saw only the same. Mt. Albert 
bears 325°, so that Hobley's map is deceptive about the food 
district. His map and Dundas's also disagree very greatly as to 
course of river, and both are very different in every way from 
Mr. Ravenstein's. 

Men still have plenty of hippo meat, and catch great quantities 
of fish. Bau caught eel about four feet long, like a conger, dark 
green sprinkled with black. In afternoon put up five buffalo 
from thicket not six yards from me. Shot a partridge ; F. R. a 
guinea-fowl. No other meat in kitchen, no grain, and only 
a small tin of wheat flour given me by Martin. Aneroid, 3400. 

\Oth Sept., Sunday. — Tana. Swahili camp in bush. Marched 6. 
Thick thorn ; hard work cutting road ; river went N.E. with many 
bends, once turning quite S.S.W. for f of a mile. Kept usually 
close to river, but once lost road and went in circle, striking our 



old track again : this was my fault. Marched 6 to 8. 30, and 
9.10 to 1.15, and camp on river where it runs N.E. Men 
have no food left: we had one guinea-fowl only: no corn 
or flour, 

Mt. Albert bears about 285° from here, and solitary mountain 
on right bank (evidently Krapf's "Kenze") in 83°, therefore by 
Hobley's map we should be in food country. 

In afternoon I pushed on to where I got Mt, Kenze at 104°, 
and Albert 283°, i.e. in straight line on each side, but still same 
thorn bush all round. Hobley's and Dundas's maps misleading. 
Situation getting serious. Men have finished all meat and were 
hunting for berries, but good many fish caught. F. E, went to 
shoot hippos above camp, where he got two guinea-fowl ; I got 
goose, but it fell into river. Aneroid, 3300. 

11^/^ Se^L, Monday. — Tana, Mt Albert 285° and Kenze 83°. 
Many men had nothing to eat last night, having finished two 
cows and a hippo in two days. Marched 6. Cutting as usual 
through thick thorn N.E. for two hours ; there found three 
natives by river ; made them come as guides, seizing their bows 
and arrows to prevent escape, and tying one round the waist to 
a headman. They led us 2| hours (five miles) through thorn 
bush most of the way by native path, E.N.E., gradually away 
from river, till at 11.30 we emerged over high range on cultivated 
valleys. Harvest just gathered, and whole country very dry, but 
good lot of corn apparently been grown. Lots of natives came 
up, all well fed, all with bows three feet long and poisoned 
arrows, most wearing red and blue beads, some with brick- 
coloured dyed cloth on shoulder like Wakamba. On a very 
long and trying walk for water, which we didn't reach till 2 P.M., 
having been marching some six hours. Water under sand in 
dr}^ river bed. 

Natives want presents before they bring food ; gave three 
hands cloth to four elders. Food in plenty, but natives don't 
seem to care for beads, want cloth and empty tins. 

12^/i Seipt., Tuesday. — Mb6. Halt all day. Issued two days' 
posho (two strings pink beads) to all men, and bought also 
180 kibabas to carry on. Great numbers of natives in camp all 
day with mahindi, beans, flour, and honey for sale, but prices 
not cheap. Men over-eating themselves, and some sick. Bought 


some honey for selves, and flour. Porter lost on 8th appeared ; 
had been four days in bush ; luckily was carrying corn, which he 
opened and ate ; said he lost caravan by following hippo track. 

F. E.'s donkey stung by "Drobo" fly; seems very bad. 
Remained in tent all day, to give chance of healing to sore feet, 
and also because no boots. Hutchisson mending one pair. 

Only one guinea-fowl between three of us all day. Aneroid, 

I3th Sept., JFedncsday. — Mbe. Three guides appeared 6. 
Started 6.15, over steep and rocky hills and precipitous gorges, 
some cutting of thorn to be done, but not much. At 10.50 
arrived at tributar}' from north, good water and cold, about 
20 yards wide by 2h feet deep, flowing over rocks in deep gorge. 
Crossed this river and camped at its junction with Tana river, 
about eight miles. 

Man carrying all beads missing. Sent back askaris, and off'ered 
reward to Washenzi, but nothing heard or seen of him till night. 
Can't well move without beads, so decided to stay here to- 
morrow and send out search parties, both of my men and 
natives, to off'er rewards. 

At 4 P.M. F. R. went out shooting, and after a shot, heard it 
answered from opposite bank, and directly after two of our 
missing soldiers appeared. Report all the lost party safe and well 
in Wakemba (Mumoni) village close by ; had crossed river, met 
Swahili caravan, and then recrossed. Told them to meet us at 
ford lower down to-morrow. Very hot, 94° in tents ; aneroid, 
2840. No meat at all ; killed calf, then F. R. shot seven 

14^/t Sept., Thursday. — Tana; junction of Abaziba river ; Mb6 
country. Halted all day and sent search parties after man with 
beads; they found him and brought him in at about 12 : the 
natives had offered to bring him before, but he refused ! 

Two hippos shot by F. R. yesterday found dead; one brought 
to this side by natives with some difficulty, and cut up. 

Good many fish caught by men, chiefly scaled. 

Local natives seized bows and arrows of our guides, and 
demanded compensation for bringing us to their country. Gave 
chief guide three hands cloth to redeem them. 

15^A Sept., Fiiday. — Tana; junction of Abaziba river ; Mb6. 


Started C. One man deserted in early morning. Difficulty with 
guides, who wanted to strike for prepayment, but on my going 
on without them they came on. Guides quite useless, knew no 
path. For 1\ hours fairly open country, but numberless very 
steep ravines to cross ; very hard for porters. Halted 8.30, 
opposite tall, conical, conspicuous hill. INIarched again 9.15, 
now into very thick thorn bush, endless cutting, very slow 
progress, guides leading us in most erratic way. Arrived at river ; 
not till 1.30 (1 Guaso Nagur, Dundas), reached it half a mile 
from junction with Tana, thirty yards wide, and deep and strong. 
Guides wanted to take us far west to ford ; eventually found 
ford at junction itself, waist deep, but very strong current ; 
camped on opposite hill at 4.30 p.m. Cook lit grass fire; some 
danger and trouble. Aneroid, 2750. 

16^/i Se'^t., Saturday. — Tana; junction of? Guaso Nagur? 
Started 6. Very slow cutting through thorn bush ; reached top 
of lava cap at 8. Mb6 guides refused to come on from camp, 
saying they were on bad terms with Wathaka. On top of cap 
met a lot of Wathaka, all friendly, led us (8.30) down hill on 
W. side, and for 2| hours N. by N.E. by good roads, and camped 
by Tana at 11. Good deal of cultivation, harvest just gathered. 
Country very dry ; marks of many goats and cattle. 

Wathaka finer and bigger men than Mbe people ; armed with 
bows, arrows, and a few spears and painted shields ; wear beads 
of all sorts, especially pink ; iron chain, and ivory rings in ears. 
Split ears very wide. Wathaka saw our big bush fire of last 
night ; thought it was war, and were all on the watch, — cattle 
all driven up to hills. 

Very hot, 97° in tents. 

Natives very slow in bringing food, only a few came into 
camp late in the afternoon, could only buy one bag full (50 

One Mkamba man here ; says he saw me at Machakos on the 
way up to Uganda ; tried to engage him as guide to Korokoro 

Mt. Krupp bears about 37°, fine bold mountain. "Pelly 
range " visible due north. The Wathaka mountains bold volcanic 
formation, but not so high as Mumoni's, opposite river, and now 
S.E. of us. Apparently more cultivation on right bank of river. 


Many natives crossed just below camp, but had to swim part of 
way, no canoes at all. 

Men caught plenty of good fish, both scaled and silurus. 
Aneroid, 2630. 

17 fh Sept., Sunday. — Tana. Wathaka country. Guide refused 
to accompany ; said he was afraid. Marched 6. Following river, 
clear path, lots of cultivation, crops all in. Did not see a single 
native. Camped 9, about half a mile short of junction of " Guaso 
Niro," or " Mt. Tsombiso " (Dundas), just opposite Grand Falls 
of Tana. Falls about sixty feet in four branches, over rocks, and 
overhanging shady trees, very picturesque and striking. Found 
good new bridge over " Guaso Niro " ; followed fair path for 
two miles beyond, then it ceased. 

No natives came near camp all day ; can't understand why 
they won't bring food for sale. At 10 A.M. sent on Bunduki 
and Mfaume, each with six men and guns, and beads, and bags, 
to go to villages and bu3\ 

7 P.M. Headmen returned ; Mfaume with 2i full loads, and 
Bunduki with less than a quarter load ! Both report natives all run 
away, frightened by European. Aneroid, 2620. 

I8th Sept., Monday. — Tana. Wathaka; Grand Falls. Sent 
out Bau and Mfaume at 6 A.M. with men to buy food. He 
went far and to many villages, and succeeded in buying about 
eight or nine loads of mahindi, metamma, and kunde. Natives 
still refuse to come near camp ; say they are afraid, as they were 
ill-treated by a European before. Can't find out when or by 

Gave three days' rations to men in beads, and told them to 
go and buy in villages. 

"We have by the evening three days' rations bought by men 
themselves, and three days' given out in grain, and ten bags = 
five days = in all eleven days. 

In morning went forward for some two or three miles, path 
for 1^ miles, a lot of clearing, then path ceased ; thorn bush, 
but not so dense as above Mb6. Eiver goes E. nearly in deep 

On right bank all open and cultivated as far ahead as we can 
see. Tried to find ford or place for bridge below falls, but failed ; 
decided to stick to left bank and cut through. Saw water- 


buck and small antelope. Shot ten guinea-fowl near camp. 
F. R. got two. Plenty of fish caught by men. 

\^th Sept., Tuesday. — Tana. Grand Falls. Started 6. Crossed 
" ? Guaso Niro " by fair native bridge of branches from rock 
to rock across rapids, then turned right to bank of Tana. 
Followed fair native path for nearly two hours, all through 
pretty thick bush, though fairly extensive clearings in first half 
hour. Path had evidently been cut either by natives or by a 
previous caravan. Halt 8.30 to 9. At 9 marched again ; no 
path except few game tracks, very thick bush and steep hills, 
and very slow progress, about one mile between 9.30 and 11 ! 
From 11 to 12 found clear room alongside of water in river 
bed, but deep sand and often bad rock work. At 12.15 found 
good open place and camped, about nine miles. Lot of natives 
on opposite bank with many goats and cattle, tried to buy milk 
goats, but neither our men nor natives would swim across. 

Water in Tana seems very much less than above falls, 
although it has taken in three big rivers ! Very hot, thermo- 
meter 99° in tents 4 P.M. One man missing, carrying mess 
box, sent back to halting-place, no signs. Men caught many 
fish. Aneroid, 2550. 

20^/t Sept., Wednesday. — Tana. Nine miles from Grand Falls. 
Missing man did not appear ; he was a professional deserter, 
started in chain gang from Mombasa, deserted in Usoga, and 
was brought back by natives. He has all our flour for mess, 
and a box containing looking-glasses, butcher-knives, and some 
small beads and a lot of matches ; the latter a serious loss. 

Marched 6. Along river bed, alternately deep sand and 
scrambling over huge rocks ; went fairly well to 8.45 — about 
five miles. Halt opposite high conical peak on right bank, very 

Marched again 9.30; for some way in river bed, then had to 
leave it and cut through dense thorn, very slow, but from 1 1 to 
12 got on better. Halt 12, near river opposite rapids, just S. 
and close to two conical high rock hills about half a mile 
back from left bank; about ten miles in 5^ hours' actual 

Very hot marching ; thermometer 95° in tents 4 P.M. 

Shot two geese on road, and ten blue vulturine guinea-fowl. 


afternoon ; beautiful birds, with bare head, no tuft, and blue 
breast. Aneroid, 2490. 

'2\st Sept., Thursday. — Tana. Gneiss conical hill. Started 
5.40 and marched to 8.20. A good deal of bush cutting, bad 
thorns, and climbing rocky hills, with occasional comparatively 
open places near river, about five miles in two hours forty 
minutes. On again 9 to 12.15. At first clear going, and got 
ahead well, then more bush cutting and rock work. At 11.10 
crossed Swahili caravan road, marks of camps at ford. 

-Ford just below small rapids on and off island ; found no ^^ falls 
forty feet " as stated by Dundas, fall of perhaps four feet in all ! 
After ford river goes S. one mile, and then nearly due N. for 
about three miles. Bush and rocky hills for half an hour, then 
clear path near river. Camped at 12.15; actual marching six 
hours (excluding halt). 

Hobley's map marks none of the chief hills and landmarks, 
nor any of the important river bends. Distance actually walked 
at least thirteen miles. 

Afternoon F. K. Avalked on some distance, but saw no sign 
of the tributary stream marked by Hobley as falling into Tana 
three miles from road. 

Lovely moonlight night by river, hippos snorting, baboons 
barking, and two lions grunting, all close to camp. Aneroid, 

22ruZ Sept., Friday. — Started 5.30. Fairly clear of thorn, and 
made good progress ; reached tributary from N. at 6.40, about 
twenty yards wide, but only two deep. This makes it quite 
five miles (or six by river) from Swahili road. River running 
pretty steadily N.E. and N.N.E. ; big bend south shown by 
Dundas doesn't exist. 

Halt 8.15 to 9; then along fairly open ground in bush 
country to series of rocky hills, where river runs very narrow 
and quick. At 11.30 reached second tributary from N., 20 
yards wide, 1^ feet deep; 3| hours' good walking, or at least 
nine miles from first tributary. Just before junction Tana gets 
very wide again, and after junction turns E. by S.E. Camped 
just beyond mouth of tributary, 11.45. 

Afternoon, went ahead some three miles, found river goes 
S.E. by S.S.E. for two miles, and then sharp turn N.E. Can 


cut off big corner. Flat country, mucli more open. Saw big 
fire N.E. about three miles off, probably Wanderobbo. 

Country full of little Kirk gazelle ; shot three ; saw a Clarkii, 
also two waterbuck, and red antelope as big as a Grantii. 
Aneroid, 2250. 

23rd Sept., Saturdaij. — Tana, second tributary after great 
falls. Started 5.50. Marched E. on rising sun ; fairly open, 
but certain amount of bush cutting ; river went away several 
miles south. After three hours' good marching due E., and at 
the end a little S. of E., struck river again at 9 ; halt to 9.40. 
Getting hot, and men all very thirsty. By this cut saved several 
miles of walking. 

9.40. — Marched again along river N.N.E. and N.E. by E.N.E., 
over flat country with comparatively open glades. At 10.15 
country became rocky, with small steep hills, and river runs 
between steep banks and very narrow. At 10.30 river divided, 
small island, and falls some ten to twenty feet in series of small 
falls and rapids. 

At 1 1 came suddenly on Mackenzie river running in from 
N.W. between steep banks, and falls of some thirty feet, but at 
mouth easy ford only two feet deep. Camped 200 yards beyond 
mouth of Mackenzie river. Shot on road three Kirkii, two 
partridges. Afternoon, two Kirkii. 

Afternoon, went on, found river goes S. of E., then nearly N. 
for two miles, then sharp turn due E. Got good view ahead 
over large plain covered with bush, and two bare hills prominent 
about twenty miles off, bearing 140^" (S.E.). 

First willow-tree on river bank opposite my tent. Hippos 
in shoals during march, sometimes quite out of water, also many 
baboons. Aneroid, 2090. 

24:th Sept., Sunday. — Mackenzie river. Started 5.50. Marched 
E. Cut off good comer of river, struck it again after two miles 
of rough rock and thorn bush, good deal of cutting ; then river 
makes very sharp turn from N. to S.E. Eough, rocky, and 
thorny going for three miles, then get to depression about one 
mile wide and two miles long, semicircular, enclosed by cliffs, 
filled with very thick green bush and jungle, but clear at edges. 
I went on shooting round edge, perfectly clear, but F. E,. led 
caravan through thickest part. Halt 8.30 to 9; then fairly 



clear plain with scattered thorns for five miles, and halt at 
12.15, thick belt of d6m palms along river. Shot on road two 
Kirkii, one hog. Saw giraflfe. F. E. saw rhino. 

Afternoon, went straight inland, fairly open country, with 
scattered bush j shot three mpallah and one big partridge. 
Aneroid, 2060. 

25th Sept., Monday. — Tana plain, five miles from bushy de- 
pression. Started 5.50. For a mile or two good going and clear, 
then long succession of small, steep, rocky hills with deep gullies, 
all covered with thick thorn and broken gneiss and quartz, and 

At 8.30, river turns very sharp from N. to E. Halted till 
9. From that comer river very broad and fine, willows in 
many places on banks, and d6m palms. At 9.45 arrived at 
Salt river, about eight yards wide, clear sweet water ! then 
more small hills and stones till 11.15. Camped in dry river 
bed, about three miles from Salt river. Shot at Salt river one 

Afternoon, went long way in bush ; saw four rhinos together 
and one girafie, did not get a shot ; got two partridges. Aneroid, 

26th Sept., Tuesday. — Tana, three miles below Salt river, in 
torrent bed. Started 5.40. Marched through bushy country, 
but along clear path at good three miles an hour till 8.20, first 
going S.E. for some four miles, then N. and N.N.E. for three 
miles. Did good seven miles before halt. 

Started again 8.50. Still good path, marks of cutting by 
Chanler or other caravan ; marched S.S.E. past long rapids 
(marked " no falls " by Hobley), then S.E. for three miles, good 
pace up till 11.15; camped in clear place. Pink prominent 
gneiss peaks just opposite, bearing about 170°. Marched at 
least fifteen miles, but by map only nine. 

Afternoon, walked long way through thorn bush, seeing 
nothing ; returned along broad bed of a river ; saw three giraff"es 
(shot at one), a Walleri, and some waterbuck, but all in bush ; 
only got one Kirkii. Aneroid, 1900. 

21th Sept., JFednesday. — Tana, opposite pink gneiss hills, near 
dry river. Full moon. Having ordered drum to sound early^ 
they woke me at 3. 1 5 to ask if it was time ! 


Started 5.30. Marched fast and well for three hours along 
fair path by river. Halt 8.30 to 9.10 at falls (Princess Louise, 
according to Dundas ; Hoffman, Falls of Peters, and Hargazo of 
natives); not really falls at all, only succession of rapids for 
about three miles, full of wooded islands. On again 9.10 to 
11.10; general direction S.E. Camped just beyond dry river. 
Shot one blue guinea-fowl ; saw two Walleri. 

Afternoon, went shooting, got into dry swamp, very thick 
green bush, beyond that open country, small gravel hills. No 
game whatever, but a few KirJcii (shot two) and sand grouse. 
Native Korokoro came into camp, could get nothing out of him, 
seemed rather off his head. Aneroid, 1780. 

28th Sept., Thursday. — Tana. Started 5.25. Marched well 
away from river, over clear, rolling gravel; small hills. At 8 
wanted to get to water for halt, but had to struggle through high 
grass of dry swamp. Halt 8.15 to 8.45 ; then Wadi Bunduki said 
he knew road, led us long way inland, and after two hours con- 
fessed he must have passed Hameye ! Went straight to river 
and camped ; sent Bunduki back to Hameye for food, canoes, and 
natives ; saw many native game traps. 

Afternoon, went out 3 to 6 P.M.; walked long way, saw hardly 
anything. F. E. saw no game at all. I shot two francolin. 

Sent out Wadi Bunduki to find Hameye. He returned sun- 
set, reporting Hameye deserted ; saw only two small shambas on 
opposite bank. Aneroid, 1750. 

20th Sept., Friday. — Started 5.45, and marched chiefly S.E. 
through rather thick bush ; had to cut our way often. After 
two and a half hours (six miles) halted to 9, and at 9.30 
came on Company's deserted station of Balarti ; good boma, and 
good house, which we occupied. No signs of natives, but people 
(probably our canoe men) had been recently living here. 

Passed many game traps made of nooses of good strong rope 
fixed to a bent bough, which springs back ; also many native 
tracks. Sent Bau off at 10 down river with thirty men ; 
returned 1.30, reporting no natives, nor shambas, but many 
game snares and bee-hives, and fresh native tracks. 

Sent Capt. Mahomed and all soldiers on with Wadi Bunduki 
down river to look for natives, and seize canoes, and meet us to- 
morrow. This place delightful situation on river. 


Afternoon shooting 3 to 6.30 ; very hot at first, bushy country 
with open glades; walked many miles, saw only two very 
distant Walleri ; coming home shot waterbuck doe ; very useful, 
as men's posho all finished. Aneroid, 1700. 

ZOth Sept., Saturday. — Balarti. Started 5.30, rather dark. 
After some searching found good human path leading E. and then 
N.R ; followed it till 7.30, when we met our askaris and Banduki 
(sent on yesterday), who reported having found an island full of 
ripe mahindi, but no huts, nor canoes, nor inhabitants. Marched 
to bank opposite this island and camped, sending all men over 
to pick mahindi. Lots of sand grouse in flocks. Shot two. 
Men collected six days' food each in mahindi from island. 
W. Bunduki discovered small dug-out canoe ; in this Bau and he 
visited larger island ; found cultivation (mahindi), but no inhabit- 
ants or canoes ; sent men up and down river for considerable 
distance ; they found one or two huts deserted some three weeks 
or month ago, but not a sign of man or canoes. 

During day we came upon several more noose rope game 
traps, which seem to show near presence of people. We took 
all the ropes, which are really good and well made. 

Men all in good spirits to-day, and all over-eating themselves. 
Hutchisson sick, complains again of pain in side, says he had 
another cold bath yesterday, although I and F. R. had especially 
told him that this was extreme folly. 

Went shooting at 4, so did Frank ; hopeless country, not a 
sign of game, except few very wild Walleri, never seen within 
200 yards, and always off like wind. Thin thorn bush, and dry, 
bare ground everywhere, bleak, ugly, desolate, inhospitable, 
with fringe of bush and willows and dried swamp near river. 
Fresh elephant tracks everywhere, and fair number of giraffe 
tracks. No signs of buffalo here, though about Hargazo Falls 
their tracks were numerous. Cooler day, cloudy. 

\st Oct., Sunday. — Tana, about 4| miles below Balarti, above 
Bokore. Hutchisson complains of being very tired and feeling 
pain ; offered him choice, and he elected to go in canoe with 
Wadi Baraka ; told them to start late and drift slowly down, 
keeping near left bank, that we should not go more than eight 
miles, and that they were to try and get hold of natives and 


We started 6. Had very difficult march over very rough 
ground, cutting through thick bush, and struggling through dried 
swamps, cut up everywhere by deep elephant track, sometimes 
three feet deep. In avoiding swamps we had to go some three 
miles from river, and at 10.30 began to cut our way back to it, 
very thick and hard work. At last struck river 11.30. 

With much difficulty got into communication with some 
natives in a canoe, and soon afterwards others came (Wa-koro- 
koro). Sent them off to get canoes. Shot on road one har- 
nessed bush-buck. 

Mzee Bonair, Galla chief, and some men came to camp ; long 
shauri about canoes, etc. They say Gallas have no canoes, but 
at last undertook to send to all Korokoro people to bring canoes 
here for us to buy. They say our canoes from coast waited two 
months at Balarti, and only went twenty days ago. Our missing 
men three days ahead of us. Aneroid, 1650. 

2nd Oct., Monday. — Tana, on sand-bank above Bokore. 
Plenty mosquitoes at night; waiting all day for promised 
canoes, but none came. A few came with food for sale. 

Mzee Bonair sent to say he would send canoes by evening, 
but none arrived ; said to be because the old man has fever. 

Another very windy and dusty night on this beastly sand- 
bank, only six inches above the water, and impenetrable jungle 
all round. 

3rd Oct., Tuesday. — Tana. Sand-bank. Captured a canoe at 
6.30 A.M., and sent M. Bau to see Mzee Bonair, with message 
that unless all thirty canoes appeared by mid-day I should have 
to take them by force. 

At 11 A.M. Mzee B. appeared, ill with fever, with eleven 
canoes, of which seven very small. Gave him one jora (7| dots) 
of amerikani and five rings of copper wire. Tied canoes side by 
side in pairs ; got all tent loads and mess loads, selves, boys, and 
tent askaris into them, with two natives in each to punt. 
Started 1 p.m. (only two hours after first arrival of canoes), and 
went quickly down stream for about one mile, landed on left or 
south bank, at Chanler's camp ; nice open camp on good clear 
ground, well above river, just opposite Mzee Bonair's place on 
island. Sent canoes back for second half of caravan, who all 
arrived by 3. Shooting afternoon, promising-looking country. 


but absolutely no game seen, except Kirkii, etc. Lost road 
back to camp. 

iih Oct., Wediiesday. — Left Rhodes in charge of canoes ; put 
all loads in canoes and Hutchisson, all sick, and about three 
men in each pair ; sent Mahomed Bau with F. R.'s party. 

Started myself with all rest of men by land to walk and try 
to effect a junction at camp. Impossible to keep near river, so 
struck in, found fairly open thorn bush and bare country ; 
steered S.E. and then E., back to river, which we struck at 
11.30 ; fired many guns, no signs of boat party. 

At 2.30 started back with five men to look for others. 
After two hours' very bad going near river, signal gun answered 
up stream, and soon after Bau appeared in canoe. Reports 
F. R in camp very long way back, so we got in his canoes and 
came back to our men ; arrived 6. Secured five canoes on way 

Bivouacked on bed of palm leaves, but mosquitoes bad. On 
march saw no game at all, all day ! 

5/^ October, Thursday. — Tana. Bivouac above Sandi's. Rather 
bad night, and mosquitoes, but plenty to eat with beef sent by 
F. R, and beans and mahindi from the men. During morning 
we secured eight more canoes, bringing total up to thirty in all. 
Tied all two and two together. At 10.30 Rhodes and party 

He says he sent Ramadan out with one porter, both with 
guns (Ramadan with my Martini), to look for me ; neither has 
appeared. Wadi Bunduki also lost one of his men, and returned, 
saying he can't find him. Started again 11, and went down 
stream till 1, and camped. On arrival Bau reported seven men 
refused to come in canoes, and started to walk ; now they have 
disappeared ! 

Body of one porter found close to island opposite camp, with 
throat cut and mutilated, evidently killed while looting. Sent 
out search parties, but no signs of any of missing men. This 
is too disheartening. We must stay here to-morrow to give 
Ramadan a chance, and send canoes up and down stream. 

Qth October, Friday. — Tana, below Baboia. Sent canoes up 
and down river to look for Ramadan and other men. The 
disobedient porters were found a mile back, surrounded by 


natives and in a blue funk, and brought back to camp, when 
I ordered them to have their hands tied and kept so all day, till 
I should pronounce their punishment. No signs of Ramadan, 
though a shot heard inland, answered by me 1L30, and men at 
once sent in to fire two more shots, but there was no further 

Two natives came in ; complained of their canoes having been 
taken this morning ; on inquiring found it true, so gave them 
their canoes back, and promised big reward if they found 
Ramadan. They said he had passed Sadi Ramatha's, but 
undertook to go and bring him to see me, also to bring food, 
etc., for sale, but they did nothing of the sort. 

In afternoon punished deserters, cut pay from Uganda, and 
to be bound from reaching camp to sunset every day for a week. 
Apportioned all men to their canoes. No meat left, nothing 
shot, hard up ! 

1th October, Saturday. — Same camp, below Baboia. No signs 
of missing men, no use waiting longer, so started in canoes at 6, 
and went down stream till 2 P.M. Only two accidents, and 
nothing lost ; stream very tortuous, and very full of sunken 
snags and trees ; banks lined with trees and forest all the way. 
At 2 camped on sand-bank on right bank. Went to shoot at 4 ; 
struggled for an hour through dense bush ; gave it up and came 

Shot on road two large waders of the stork kind ; one of 
them not at all bad to eat, especially as we had nothing else ! 

8//t October, Sunday. — Tana. Forest between Wapokomo and 
Korokoro. Started 5.45, all together ; then a very difficult 
piece of navigation; sharp bends in river; quite full of countless 
half-sunk trees and snags, and strong current ; many canoes got 
foul of trees, Rhodes and Hutchisson both got foul of trees, 
and had to land and mend canoes. 

Thick forest on both banks all the way, and many very 
difficult and dangerous parts. Passed a few huts and small 
patches of rice at various intervals. Saw three Gallas, who 
said, " Kimabombe in three days' journey " ; probably untrue. 

After seven hours' good paddling camped at 1 on sand-bank, 
north bank. Pitched tents in small clearing in forest. Caravan 
all in by 3.30. Shot four-guinea fowl drinking by water. 


9th October, Monday. — Started 5.50. River became more open ; 
fewer trees and snags, and broader and longer reaches. At 9.30 
in a clear part of the river ; Tembo and Wadi Baraka in charge 
of canoes with all my luggage ; ran into a large conspicuous tree 
trunk standing quite by itself in mid-stream, with heaps of room 
all round it ! canoes capsized, and all my things went into river 
and sank ; had to camp there, and by diving recovered all boxes, 
but all heads, skins, -577 rifle, and bed were lost! Gross care- 
lessness on part of both Tembo and Baraka ; told them I cut all 
their pay to pay for losses. Would sooner have lost almost 
anything than this rifle and heads and skins. Only did about 
ten miles in consequence. 

All afternoon drying things, as every box was full of 

1 0th October, Tuesday. — (?) Manyole district. Slept on ground, 
bed being lost ; good many insects crawling over me. Started 
5.45, river broader, clearer, straighter, but current getting pretty 

Passed a few patches of cultivation on either side, and a larger 
one at 12.30 on left bank, when some Gallas told me we were 
one day from Malululu, and that this was Manyole. The two 
statements hardly reconcile themselves. Thick wood both sides 
nearly all the way. Camped at 2 on sand-bank. 

"Went out at 4, to see if I could reach open country, but only 
found dense bush and dry swamp and elephant paths. Heavy 
rain came on, and I got soaked through. Shot on road three 

ll^A October, fFednesday. — Between Manyole and Kidori. 
Started 5.45. River very winding ; went N.E., E., "VV., and N.W. 
on its way south, but not many snags. At 11.45 passed Kidori, 
a collection of small shambas and villages all along left bank. 

At 2 reached Tuni, on right bank, and camped. Hutchisson's 
canoe swamped ; he lost boots, bedding, and horns and shields. 
Good deal of cultivation on both banks, chiefly Indian corn and 

I2th October, Thursday. — Tuni. Started 5.45. River winding; 
for an hour still in Tuni district. Then from 7.30 to 10 in 
Bura. From 10 to 12.15 in Massa. At 12.30 entered Malululu; 
camped on right bank in fairly open grass and scrub at 1.30; canoes 


not all in till 2.30. Plenty of natives. Villages passed to-day 
a good deal larger than farther up. 

Went out shooting; in a quarter of an hour got to dry and fairly 
open thorn scrub, hopelessly barren and dry; saw two waterbuck 
and shot two Kirhii. No tracks or signs of much game anywhere. 

l^th October, Friday. — Above Malabati, in Malululu. Started 
5.30. Found we were much farther back than had thought ; 
progress slow, river very winding, and one or two difficult places 
with many sunken trees. Strong head wind blowing from S. 
At 8 passed Malabati. At 10.20 Sisini. Camped at 1 on right 
bank, above Marumbini, which natives say is close — how far 
that means is doubtful. 

Self very seedy; in great pain in canoes and most of afternoon 
from internal chill, probably from sleeping on ground. Natives 
full of praise of Chanler and Hohnel. Natives say no game near; 
have to go day's march in for it. 

\Uh October, Saturday. — Wachakoni, above Marumbini. 
Started 5.30. Passed Namoni (R.) 7.45. Passed Gallo (right 
bank) 8 ; Gorami 8.30 ; Korori 8.45, all left bank. Villages on 
right bank mostly deserted. Ndura, large village on right bank, 
10.30 ; saw here one or two Arabs (Kiroboto). 

Camped in Kinakombe district in open place on left bank at 
2.15; most of caravan not in till 3 and 3.30. Natives friendly 
and confident ; spoke well of Chanler. 

Went shooting ; open dry thorn country, and farther in very 
thick ; saw nothing but some waterbuck late in evening. Shot 
buck who fell on his back, then suddenly recovered, went into 
bush, and was lost ; getting too late and dark to follow. 

Hutchisson sick and in pain from stomach. 

Sultan of Kinakombe — Gidu. 

Saw several Borassus palms on either bank, getting more 
plentiful as we go down. 

15^/i October, Sunday. — Kinakombe. Started 5.30. Made 
good progress for four hours ; passed Guano at 10 ; river 
straighter and broader. Saw one cocoa-nut tree, young one — 
looked ill. Also some pineapples, and, near Ndura, mango- 
trees. From 1 to 1 strong head wind ; got very wet and 
shipped a lot of water ; delayed progress badly. At 2 reached 
large village of Ndura, right bank; full of Gallas. High wind all 


afternoon. Heard here of severe fighting at Witu, one English 
officer said to be killed. Witu people all run out into Barra, 
and Witu now occupied by "Nubians" from Zanzibar, with 
Sultan of Zanzibar's flag.^ 

Sultan of Ndura — Comorodtido, or Nife. 

Much bothered here by people crowding round my tent, 
mostly drunk ! 

4 P.M. Sultan sent to say he was drunk ; would come later 
to see me ! Didn't come. 

16/A Oct., Monday. — Ndura. Under weigh by 5.30, so 
Sultan had no chance of coming for his presents to-day. At 
10.30 and 11.10 passed two villages, both on right bank, both 
calling themselves Mwina, both fairly large. Then numerous 
very sharp bends in river to N., S.E., and W. Strong wind 
from S. delayed us much, and wetted everything ; went on till 
2.15, making slow progress, and seeing no villages or people 
for the last two hours. Camped 2.15, under trees in deserted 
village on left bank, probably above Gaylwa. Saw shamba of 
cocoa-nuts, young trees not looking healthy. Native in canoe 
came in, said this had been Mitobe, and a big village, but all 
people bolted from this and neighbouring villages on account of 
Witu people's raids. 

\lth Oct., Tuesday. — Mitobe. Woke camp 4.30, and under 
weigh by 5.20, in order to get through as much work as possible 
before high S. wind which gets up at 11 every day. Made good 
progress past several deserted villages, including Mgatana. Lot 
of cultivation (chiefly plantains) up to there, then but little on 
to Merifano. At 11.30 river became very rough in places from 
high S. wind ; one canoe of Zanzibar soldiers swamped, and 
Uganda boy drowned. 

Very difficult to find camping-place, but eventually camped in 
dried swamp on left bank above Yunda. Sent on W. Baraka in 
canoe with letter to missionary at Golbanti to announce arrival 
to-morrow. Gave out posho, one hand amerikani for two days. 

Mosquitoes simply awful, in thousands. 

^ The second Witu expedition, .Tuly and August 1893, against the brigand 
forest population in Witu, in which the Naval Brigade and the Sultan of 
Zanzibar's troops took part. No English officer was killed, but two were 
wounded at Punwani. 


8.30 P.M. W. Baraka returned with note from Mr. Bird 
Thompson,^ who had opened my letter to Golbanti ; sent us tea, 
beer, etc., and mails. 

18^^ Oct., Wednesday/. — Yunda. Started 5.25, and reading 
mails in canoe. Mosquitoes in thousands all round us. At 
6.15 met Bird Thompson coming to meet us in canoe. Got into 
his, a very good large one, with three Wapokomo men ; went 
great pace down stream past Ngao, where is German Mission on 
right bank, past Golbanti, to village 1 h hours below, where camp- 
ing place prepared. Village, Fitina. 

Thompson greeted everywhere by Wapokomo, who all seem 
to know and like him very much. Many fine muscular men came 
into camp. We arrived about 11.30, the caravan at 1. 

Eeading letters, etc., all afternoon. Heard Kodd very ill. 
and about fighting at Witu, etc. 

Idth Oct., Thursday. — Fitina, on Tana. Started with 
Thompson to go ahead to Witu, 1^ hours by canoe to mouth of 
Beledzoni Canal,^ then IJ hours' walk along bad and slippery 
path alongside canal while canoes are poled through. Canal 
very winding and not more than four to six feet wide, high 
grass on both sides. Then f hour down Ozi river, and 1 \ hours' 
walk across island of Kau to village of Kau, where Akida 
received us ; crossed ferry and walked about seven miles across 
hot plain to Witu. 

Station is open, undefended collection of huts and sheds and 
stores. Twelve Soudanese there and some fifty Swahilis. 

Wali Omar Amadi seems good fellow, said to be trustworthy. 

Caravan arrived at 5 p.m. 

Talked through telephone to Rogers ^ and Hatch * at Lamu ; 
sent telegrams by telephone to Rodd and J. 

I^th Oct., Friday. — Up at 4 ; gave over all spare stores to 
Thompson; got his receipt. Started at 5.30, marched to 8.45, 
halt at Pumwani, a collection of sheds built for blue-jackets 

^ Assistant Administrator in the British Protectorate embracing the 
Witu district. 

2 Connecting the rivers Tana and Ozi. 

^ Administrator of the British Protectorate N. of the Tana. 

•* Brigadier-General Hatch is in command of the Sultan of Zanzibar's 


in late row;^ on to Mkiunumbe, arrived 2 p.m. — twenty-one 

Met by Rogers and Hatch. Lunch and dinner in small shed 
built for them. Embarked all men on three dhows at 8 P.M. 
Selves in steam - launch ; tide out, could not start till 1 2 
midnight. Slept well on board, and few mosquitoes. Em- 
barkation of men done quickly, and no trouble. Much talk with 
Hatch and Rogers about whole Witu business. 

2lst Oct., Saturday. — Embarked on H.M.S. Swallow from 
launch 6 a.m. Told they could not get up steam and start till 
11, and could not reach Zanzibar till Monday. Said I wanted 
particularly to reach Sunday evening. Captain Sampson promised 
to try, went full speed trial for four hours, shook and rolled a 
fair amount ; F. R. and self both rather uneasy and delicate. 
Calmer in evening. 

22nd Oct., Sunday. — H.M.S. Swallow at sea, calmer and 
well. Heavy current against us. Could not save the daylight, 
but arrived in Zanzibar at 8.30 P.M. 

The staff of the Agency and the members of the Zanzibar 
Government came to meet us. 

Went ashore 9. Saw Rodd for a moment, in bed, looked 
dreadfully weak and ill. Saw Doctor O'Sullivan, who strongly 
urged getting him away at first possible moment. 

Letter from Sir Gerald Portal to Lady Alice Portal 

Uth September 1893, 

Mb6 Country on Tana River, 

S.W. OF Mt. Kenia. 

I don't suppose you will get this much before we 

ourselves arrive in England, but as I have got a blank day 
to-day, I may as well write a few lines which may tell you 
some things which will be forgotten before we reach the coast. 
We left Kikuyu on the 26th of August, so that this is our 
twentieth day out, and we have had decidedly a rough time 
of it. 

^ This is a mistake ; Pumwani was the chief town of the rebel Fumo Omazi, 
and was taken and destroyed in the second Witu expedition. What Sir 
Gerald saw was the temporary bivouac erected by the Expedition in a clearing 
some five or six miles from Pumwani, 


The first day from Kikuyu we descended into the grassy- 
plains of the AthijK., as if we were going to Machakos, but 
on arriving at a little river called the "Mgong" we turned 
sharply northwards, following this stream. There was no path, 
and the grass was usually about three feet high, very dry and 
tangled, which made marching in front of the caravan very tiring 
work ; for those behind it was easier, as the front ones beat 
down a smooth path. The grass was also full of millions of 
ticks, which drove Rhodes and myself almost to desperation. 
They got into our clothes and on to our legs by dozens, and 
caused more irritation than double their number of fleas or other 
crawlers — in fact, we became really anxious lest we should be 
laid up with bad legs, or given fever by being kept awake at 
night by the irritation. 

Our party consisted of about eighty porters, servants, and 
headmen, and thirty of the Zanzibar askaris. On these plains 
we had excellent shooting, and regretted that we had not more 
mouths to feed, as we only shot what was wanted for food. We 
could have got any number of hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest, gnu, 
and so forth, and could also have shot at least eight or ten 
rhino if we had wished. After three days of this we came 
across the very worst swamp that I have ever seen even in this 
journey. It was all full of tall papyrus twelve or sixteen feet 
high, and so thick and tangled that we couldn't see three yards 
ahead of us, while the mud and water was usually up to our 
middles. Every step of the way through this had to be cut by 
knives and choppers ; and occasionally in the middle, where 
we couldn't see dry land or anything, we had to cut a long 
way out of our direction in order to avoid deep water and 
bottomless mud. We entered this swamp at 9 A.M., and didn't 
reach the other side till 3 P.M., the men not being all out till 
4. In this beastly place we lost our pony, who stuck in the mud 
and was drowned, and two calves which belonged to cows on 
which we relied for milk. The calves being dead, the mothers 
at once ceased to give any more milk. After the swamp I 
pushed on, and at 5 the same evening we crossed a torrent 
boiling over great rocks, in which the water came up nearly 
to my shoulders. Here again we very nearly had some of the 
men carried off their legs and drowned — but not quite. 


Still going northwards towards Mt. Kenia, we crossed 
five rivers in five days, and the 31st came suddenly on a 
sixth, ninety feet wide and twelve feet deep, running like a 
torrent. This was rather a thumper. It seemed impossible 
that it should be the Tana, though it might be a big tributary ; 
so for a day and a half I marched along its right bank, hoping 
it would turn northwards to join the Tana, but the obstinate 
beast went S.E., and finally due south or even south-west, heading 
straight for the Athi river, so we decided that somehow we must 
cross it. After much hunting we found a place where it divided 
into four branches, forming islands ; here it foamed, or boiled, 
or tumbled in a series of cataracts with a deafening noise. 
With tremendous work and difficulty we at last made four 
bridges, and got across and camped. 

Next day we had to cross a mountain range, and all day 
were clambering and slipping on hills like the sides of houses, 
through long grass and huge boulders. This was a very tiring, 
long march, and awfully hard on the loaded men coming down on 
the northern side into deep valleys. We had some difficulty in 
finding any water — having had far too much of it before. Also 
Hutchisson was seriously ill — had got a chill in the liver crossing 
the big swamp ; was in very great pain, and with a good deal of 
fever. We couldn't stop for any sick men, as our food supply 
was getting short, and there was now hardly any game to be seen 
in the stony, hilly, rocky country which we had entered. 

At last, on the 2nd of September, we really struck the Tana 
itself flowing east, a fine swift river, 120 feet wide, and literally 
full of hippos, whose heads were popping up and snorting every 
five or ten yards in the smooth reaches. There were no signs of 
any sort of inhabitants, and, unfortunately, the banks were fringed 
with a belt several miles thick of dense, almost impenetrable 
thorn bush, while the mountainous nature of the country and 
the innumerable gorges in every direction made it impossible to 
tell with certainty the course of the river if we kept outside the 
skirts of the bush. However, having come across a fairly good 
native path, apparently following the course of the stream, we 
determined to follow it, with the result that after a long march 
of fifteen miles, on rising a hill after emerging from gullies, we 
found to our horror that while we had been complacently tramp- 


ing S.E., thinking we were going parallel with the river, the 
Tana, hidden behind mountains, had suddenly turned due north, 
and was about fifteen miles away from us, while Ave could see 
absolutely no signs of water anywhere. All stream beds were 
dry and dusty, the whole country parched and baked, the men 
exhausted, and not a drop of water in the caravan. The 
situation was serious, but, providentially, at 2 P.M. we found 
some green plants growing in a dry torrent bed, and by digging 
a little came upon beautiful water. This was a most merciful 
escape from a very awkward predicament. Next day we 
tramped back to the Tana, cutting our way through hideous and 
obstinate thorns, torn to ribbons, scratched and bleeding, halting 
every moment as the men in front with knives and choppers 
were stopped by a tangled thicket, so that our progress was 
dismal and wearisome. 

After some days of this terrible thorn work, we arrived at a 
place where we decided to cross to the north side in hopes of 
finding people and food. Luckily we had shot some hippos, but 
all the grain and flour was finished, and the porters cannot go 
on for long on meat alone, with nothing to help it. On the 7th 
we set to work on the crossing, at a place where the Tana had 
divided into six branches, all of them roaring cataracts. 

The first was up to our waists, and the men had to cling two 
or three together to prevent themselves from being carried away. 
The second branch was about the same — each some twenty-five 
yards wide. The third was a narrow but sheer fall between 
two high precipitous rocks, where the water rushed with a noise 
that made it almost impossible to hear one's neighbour shouting 
at the top of his voice. 

Over this very jumpy place we at last made a fairly strong 
bridge of poles tied together, and over this the men passed 
safely, but very slowly. We tried to get the cattle across, but 
one cow fell over and was at once smashed against rocks and 
drowned, so we killed the other on the spot. By extraordinary 
luck, and almost carrying the beast, Rhodes's donkey came safely 

We then all thought we were safely across, but to our horror 
we found three more branches of the river in front of us, all 
cataracts, or foaming over huge boulders. At last, however, we 



all got safely across, and on the other side found more intermin- 
able thorn forests and dense bush. About this time, too, we 
were made very anxious as a party of twenty-one of the Zanzibar 
soldiers (who were always doing the wi'ong thing) didn't turn 
up. We lit fires, fired guns, sent out scouting parties, but to no 
purpose ; for five days they were lost ! — idiots ! They have 
turned up again now, I am thankful to say. 

To cut a long story short, we went on slowly carving our 
way through these hateful thorns till the 11th, occasionally see- 
ing traces of where natives had been, and at last on that 
morning I suddenly came across three natives sitting by the 
river. They were frightened out of their wits, but we soon 
reassured them, and got them to guide us by some paths 
which we should never have found ourselves out of the thorn 
forest to some big clearings where we are now, and where there 
is abundance of Indian corn, beans, and sweet potatoes. Most 
of the men had had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours, and 
have consequently now all over- eaten themselves, and are 
incapable of moving, with stomachs swollen out and as tight as 
drums ! I meant to march forward to-day, but a most serious 
thing has happened : the man carrying our whole stock of beads 
— the currency of all these countries — has disappeared with his 
load. I have sent out search parties in every direction, and 
have offered rewards to the native chiefs if they will bring him 
in, so I trust he will be found, but if he is really lost it puts us 
in a serious hole, — 300 miles from the coast and no means of 
buying food ! It is true we have some cloth, but that we 
shall want for buying canoes 100 miles lower down, where the 
river becomes less full of rapids, and also cloth is not good for 
buying grain, which has to be bought up in very small quan- 
tities by different natives. 

Hutchisson is better, but still suffers a great deal of pain in 
his right side, and, as a last misfortune, the Colonel's invaluable 
donkey, which has always carried the invalids, has been stung by 
a fly which the natives say is fatal, — the poor beast certainly 
looks like dying. 

I sincerely hope that we are now through the worst part of 
the journey, and that the rest will be easier work. One good 
thing is that we have now reached the part to which Capt. Dundas 


came in 1891, and of which he made a rough map, so that we 
have now something to guide us from Hameye (150 miles ahead 
of us) down to the coast. I hope to be able to get canoes, 
Avhich will be a great relief, as, even if I can't get enough for the 
whole party, we shall be able to embark most of the loads and 
rest the men. All these casualties and misfortunes will make us 
a fortnight later on the coast than I had calculated. 

2nd October 1893, 
Near Balaeti, a little below Hameye. 

To continue from where I left off a fortnight ago : the 
Colonel's donkey died next day from the fly-bite, but the man 
with the beads turned up all right. From the Mbe country we 
came pretty easily in two days to the country of the Wathaka 
people, where we had to buy sufficient food to take us through 
the 120 miles of uninhabited country which lay between them 
and Korokoro. We had a good deal of trouble in getting this 
food, although there were plenty of signs of a good harvest 
having been gathered, because we could not get into touch with 
the people. They all ran away and would not come near the 
camp. I sent into their villages, but again they ran away. 
When at last we managed to inspire a little confidence, the 
people complained that they had been ill-treated by a white man 
who had been there before, who had beaten them and taken all 
their corn and cattle by force. 

Our last day in Wathaka we camped in a beautiful spot on 
the river bank under giant trees, and just where the Tana goes 
over its " Grand Falls," about sixty feet high, with a tremendous 
roar and excitement, and boiling and foam. The falls are quite 
lovely, in four or five branches, each overhung by great trees and 
palms and huge rocks. At last I had managed, on the 19th 
September, to collect enough food for ten days for the party, — 
all Indian corn and small beans, and we left the Wathaka and 
started again down the north bank of the Tana through 
uninhabited, desolate country. 

We had confidently hoped that now we should find it much 
easier travelling, but were bitterly and very completely dis- 
appointed to find ourselves at once again in thick, impenetrable 
sharp thorns, and rocky hills and gorges. For days we had to 


chop and cut every step of the way, and it is no joke to cut 
through such thorns as these, which tear the men's hands and 
faces as they work, and run into their feet. Sometimes it took 
us an hour to get over half a mile. Sometimes we scrambled 
over rocks and huge boulders, or else deep soft sand in the river 
bed itself, as the water was fortunately low. 

All this time, ever since we first struck the Tana, we had 
seen no game, and we were greatly exercised about getting meat 
for ourselves and the men. For the latter we shot hippos, and 
about one in every three got caught up in rocks or near the 
bank, where the men by swimming and wading could make 
them fast with a rope, or tow them ashore. For ourselves, we 
depended entirely on my shot gun; and, fortunately, I was able, 
by much struggling through thorns in the afternoons, to keep 
us supplied with guinea-fowl, of which there were a fair number 
in most places. Very good they were, too, so we lived on 
nothing but guinea-fowl and an occasional partridge for about 
three weeks. As we got nearer Hamej^e the country became 
less mountainous and a little less thorny, and sometimes we 
strode along for quite a mile at a time without having to stop 
and cut. This was really luxury ; and here, too, there were a 
lot of little gazelle, about as big as hares, which were quite 
excellent, and a change from the old guinea-hen. If I had not 
brought a shot gun I don't know what we should have done, 
as Rhodes has only rifles for heavy game. To cut a long story 
short, we arrived at last on 29 th September at Hameye, where 
thirty canoes had been sent from the coast to meet us (above 
Hameye the river is one long succession of rapids and cataracts, 
and no canoe could live in it). 

We arrived with sighs of relief and hope, to find nothing — 
and nobody 1 The canoes had waited, and had all gone back to 
the coast just fifteen days ago ! This was real bad luck; no 
inhabitants could be found, and the old food difficulty was 
beginning again ! The men all wanted a rest, as they had had 
very hard work for many days, and were all getting knocked 
up, and Hiitchisson was again really seedy. 

Now the character of the river changed, and instead of 
forest of thorn, the banks were fringed with swamps and 
impenetrable green jungles, sometimes extending for several 


miles back. But we had to push on at all costs, and after 
three more heart-breaking marches through swamp and jungle, 
here we are camped on a sand-bank in the river-bed, but in an 
inhabited country, and with the camp now full of Indian corn 
and naked niggers. These people all live on islands, and as 
the only means of communication are by river and canoes, there 
are absolutely no paths inland. 

I am making a halt here all to-day to try to buy canoes. 
Yesterday, by great difficulty, and by sweetly smiling and waving 
handkerchiefs, we at last induced a somewhat more enterprising 
native to come near us ; he was soon followed by others, and 
they had promised to bring canoes for sale, and food, and all 
sorts of good things. We shall see the result by this evening, 
but, if I can get thirty of these little dug-out canoes, I shall 
lash them two and two alongside of each other, and we shall 
swing down the river at the rate of twenty miles a day. 

6//i Odoher. — Korokoro country. When I ceased writing on 
our sand-bank on the 2nd, I was hopeful (moderately) of getting 
canoes, and of everything going on smoothly, but it is fated in 
this really dreadful journey nothing is to go smoothly for more 
than one day at a time. On that day we managed to induce 
the natives to sell eleven canoes only — we wanted thirty — and 
neither for love, money, cajolery, nor threats could we get any 
more. Accordingly, as the banks and the country for miles 
inland at that part are absolutely impassable, we had to make 
a very short journey on the 3rd, and send back the canoes to 
bring up the men and loads in relays ; and it was no joke to 
have to punt and paddle these " dug-outs " back against the 

On the 3rd we camped on the south bank, where the country 
seemed drier and more open inland, so we arranged that on the 
4th Frank Rhodes should take all the loads into the canoes, 
and just enough men to guide them down stream, while I made 
my way across country with all the unloaded men, and we were 
to try to meet after about five hours' march. This sounded 
very well, and we had arranged for signal guns to be fired at 
certain fixed hours by two parties, but when it came to practice 
it was a dismal failure. I found after a few miles' march that 
it was quite impossible to keep near the river, which became 


fringed with an impenetrable belt of swamp and tropical jungle 
several miles wide. I had to push on till at last I found a 
thinner place, and by cutting and tunnelling our way through 
the tangled green wall for half a mile, arrived at the river bank 
to find no signs of Rhodes and the canoes. Guns were fired, but 
no answer came. It was awfully hot; we had had a long and 
tiring march of some eighteen miles over very rough country, 
and I felt sure Rhodes must have camped farther up stream ; so 
after a short rest I left all the men by the river, and started 
with three men to struggle up stream again through the jungle. 
For 2^ houi's I panted, and crept, and crawled, and ploughed 
my way through the most horrible tangle that ever was seen, 
till at 4.30 P.M., to my immense relief, one of my signal shots 
was answered a long way up the river, and shortly afterwards 
the headman with Rhodes's party appeared in a canoe, and 
reported that they had been delayed by swampings and acci- 
dents, and were camped a long way back, and that it would 
be quite impossible to get back to Frank Rhodes before dark. 
I therefore jumped into the canoe, and came down by river to 
where I had left my men, and bivouacked there for the night. 
I had no tent, no food, no clothes, no nothing, and the mos- 
quitoes were awful. However, the men had lots of rations of 
Indian corn and beans, and there was plenty of good water in 
the river, so I was pretty comfortable as far as food was con- 
cerned, and by cutting and spreading a few fan-palm leaves on 
the ground, managed to get a moderate night in spite of mos- 
quitoes ; but I would not advise Europeans, as a rule, to sleep 
on the ground in Central Africa just under the Equator on the 
bank of a river which overflows periodically. Next morning 
Frank and the canoes appeared at 10.30, and meanwhile both 
he and I had succeeded in collecting several more canoes and 
plenty of food, and were now able to embark the whole party. 

So far so good; but as nothing could go quite right, it 
appeared that the day before, Frank had sent out my "boy " 
(my chief gun-bearer), who had gone with the canoes in charge 
of all my baggage to look for our party, and that he had not 
returned ! He had taken one of my rifles with him, by Frank's 
order. Frank had naturally thought that Ramadan (the "boy") 
had found me and stayed with me, and so had come on to us. 


Now we had to wait and send out search parties for Ramadan 
in all directions, but it was hopeless work in the jungle. We 
searched right back to Rhodes's camp, but found no sign. 
Meanwhile a porter was reported missing as well. At last it 
was decided to be useless to wait, and that the missing men 
having lost us would certainly follow the river down. So we 
all embarked again, and came on down stream. Yesterday the 
body of the missing porter was found floating down the stream, 
with his throat cut and gashed all over with spear wounds. 
The man had evidently been looking for food, etc., in the native 
plantations, and being alone and unarmed had been murdered. 
This made us more anxious about Ramadan, who, though not a 
particularly plucky one (especially if face to face with a rhino, 
when he invariably bolts up a tree with my second gun), is a 
good fellow, and has worked well for me ever since we left the 

So to-day once more we have waited all day, and sent canoes 
up and down stream, and search parties everywhere, but with 
no success ! It is useless to wait longer, and to-morrow morning 
we must go on. There is still a slight chance that he may have 
pushed right past us on land, and that we may see him sitting 
on the bank to-morrow waiting for us to pass. If he is sensible 
that is what he will have done, but it is, I fear, a very slight 
chance. He has one of the porters with him, and also my rifle, 
so I don't think the natives will have harmed him unless he tries 
to loot for food. This is a lovely camp by the river, under giant 
shady trees, but we are really prisoners, with a dense wall of 
impenetrable jungle between us and the open country miles 

This river is by no means easy navigation for canoes. It is 
literally full of snags, sand-banks, and great trees which have been 
swept down by the floods, and whose bare branches can be seen 
just above the water at frequent intervals — sometimes as many 
as twenty of these sunken trees in half a mile, and with the 
water foaming over their branches. The most dangerous are 
those that barely show above the surface, and whose branches 
are perhaps a few inches below the surface of the water. 

Ndura, 15th Oct. — I am very sorry to say we have heard and 
seen nothing of Ramadan, or of the porter who was with him. 


and can only hope that they are all right, and have got to some 
friendly natives, but one can't help feeling that they may have 
come to grief in spite of his having my rifle and plenty of 

The natives of Korokoro are not by any means a trustworthy 
or good lot. I can't quite understand Ramadan, who has been 
so many caravan journeys as servant and gun-bearer, being quite 
such a duffer as to lose us altogether, and can't help fearing he 
may have come to harm. 

From daybreak on the 7th till now we have pushed ahead 
well in the canoes, and have paddled hard from about 5.30 A.M. 
till 2 P.M. every day. Fearfully dull and monotonous work it is, 
too, and uncomfortable beyond words, to sit for eight and a half 
hours at a stretch in a narrow " dug-out " canoe. Some of the 
navigation has been really difficult with the river-bed quite full 
of sunken trees (carried up and left by big floods) over which the 
water boils and roars in an alarming manner. There have been 
several swampings, but I myself have been by far the greatest 
sufferer. The canoe, or rather the two canoes, containing all my 
worldly goods, tent, clothes, guns, bed, everything, were in charge 
of Tembo, who succeeded a few days ago in running them 
against a very visible tree trunk sticking right out of the 
water. The canoes were capsized, and everything at once went 
to the bottom. 

Unfortunately just there the river was about twelve feet 
deep and very swift. We halted at once, and all the afternoon 
made men go on diving, I having offered a liigh reward for 
every box recovered. By this means most of the boxes were 
recovered, but all full of water and in a dreadful state. But, 
alas ! the things irretrievably lost were just those I valued 
most They were (1st) Mathews' rifle, which he lent me — a 
very excellent and valuable one. (2nd) My bed, so that now 
I have always to sleep on the ground. Luckily some blankets 
were saved and the mosquito net ! (3rd) All my shooting 
trophies — heads, horns, skins, etc. — shot since we left Kikuyu. 
These I regret as much or more than anything. I had some 
very good and rare heads and skins, including those of what I 
believe to be two brand-new sorts of antelopes, hitherto never 
been shot by any one. It is too annoying for words. 


Hutchisson has also been swamped ; has lost his bed and all 
his boots, but we shall not have to walk much more. 

There has been absolutely no shooting since we got the 
canoes, though Frank and I go out religiously every afternoon 
and struggle through swamps and thorns. We have seen just 
nothing. It is most fortunate I had a shot-gun, as nearly every 
day I have been able to shoot a goose or two, or a water-bird of 
some sort, from the canoes, so that we have not been quite 
reduced to a diet of beans yet. 

Zanzibar, 22nd Oct. — Arrived all safe and well. We were 
met by Mr. Thompson at the mouth of the Tana, where for two 
nights we were simply devoured by mosquitoes in millions, 
which made dinner, sleep, and early breakfast periods of utter 
horror. Then we marched to Witu, and from thence a twenty- 
two mile walk to the head of the long creek, where three dhows 
and a steam-launch Avere waiting to take us to Lamu. 

In Witu we met Captain Rogers and General Hatch, and at 
last we had a moment of supreme happiness, as we drank off a 
bottle of beer apiece (the first for ten months) and ate real fresh 

At Lamu the Swallow was waiting, and brought us slowly 
down here, where I am horrified to see how terribly ill Rodd 
looks. He has been dreadfully bad, and the doctor is most 
anxious to get him out of the country at once, so he comes with 
us by French mail. 

Sir Gerald Portal left Zanzibar for England on 
the 4tli of November. 


Photo l>y DibeHliam, 





Although tlie present book only purports to contain 
Sir Gerald Portal's own account of his mission to 
Uganda, it has been necessarily supplemented with 
matter from another hand ; and therefore, when the 
Diary of his brother, the late Captain Portal, was 
submitted to me, I felt that nothing could be more 
appropriate than to include in what has now become 
a memorial volume a document which appeared so 
fresh, simple, and manly, and to add a few more 
words in introduction about one who, in the narrow 
circle of his friends, has been so deeply regretted, and 
who only needed, as Sir Gerald has said himself, an 
opportunity to show the stuff which all his con- 
temporaries knew was in him. And if I seem to 
some to speak almost with an excess of warmth of 
one whose name was perhaps scarcely known to the 
public until the news of his untimely death reached 
home, I trust that the sincerity of this appreciation 
will excuse the form ; and I feel certain that it will 
find an echo in the hearts of all his friends. 

Captain Raymond Melville Portal, the eldest son 


of Mr. Melville Portal of Laverstoke, was born on 
the 9tli of October 1856. He was educated at Eton 
and at Balliol, but lie left tlie former early without 
having made any particular mark there, and spent 
the interval between school and college acquiring 
a knowledge of foreign languages in France and 
Germany. In these early days, while at Havre, he 
was aw^arded a medal for saving the life of a man 
from drowning, a recognition which he always 
modestly deprecated as out of proportion to the 
service rendered. At Balliol he became distinguished 
as the finest athlete of his year, during that brilliant 
period between 1870 and 1880 when the college had 
as great a reputation on the cricket field and river as 
in the schools, and he twice represented Oxford on 
the running path in the annual competition with the 
sister university for the hundred yards and quarter- 
mile races. He also contributed with Grenfell, Mul- 
holland, Wickens, and other famous oars, to bring the 
Balliol Eight to the head of the river on the last 
occasion on which it occupied that proud position. 

His inclinations had always been for a military 
career, but by the time he had taken his university 
degree he had already passed the prescribed limit of 
age, and was only eligible for a commission in a 
West India regiment. He entered Sandhurst after a 
very creditable examination, and while there renewed 
his Oxford laurels in the athletic contests with Wool- 
wich at Lillie Bridge in 1880. Passing out of the 
college with honours, he was gazetted a second 
lieutenant in the 1st West India Regiment in 1881, 


and, after a course of instruction with the 52nd at 
Chatham and in Ireland, joined the former in Sierra 
Leone. He subsequently served in the West Indies 
and in Demerara, and after suffering severely from 
the consequences of fevers contracted on the West 
Coast, exchanged into the 81st Foot. Then for some 
four years he acted as A.D.C. to Sir George Willis 
at Portsmouth, and was eventually appointed adju- 
tant to the mounted infantry at Aldershot, an 
appointment which he still held when Sir Gerald 
was enabled to offer him a place on his Uganda staff. 
This offer he unhesitatingly accepted, and after barely 
a week in which to make the most necessary pre- 
parations, he sailed in company with Major Owen 
and myself for Zanzibar, not without grave misgivings 
on the part of friends, when they learned that one 
whose constitution had already been severely tried 
by African fever was embarking on an enterprise 
inevitably fraught with many risks and hardships. 

An interval of nearly fifteen years had passed 
since he had left me behind at Balliol before we met 
on board the s.s. Ava at Marseilles, once more to 
spend three weeks in close and daily companionship. 
These years had changed him little. He was still the 
glorious type of physical manhood we remembered on 
the Iffley path ; he still had all the old commanding 
sunny charm, his honest, kindly nature beaming through 
the eyes. Grave on occasion, reserved, almost shy 
with strangers, he was full of a light-hearted humour 
among his intimates, and his smile went straight to 
the heart — a man whom men would follow anywhere, 



and who only needed opportunity to lead. He was 
the type and pattern of an English gentleman at the 
best, calm, sensible and just, generous, simple and 
sincere, and his head was as good as his heart. 

It was not long before that irresistible charm 
which his contemporaries had always recognised in 
him made itself felt among his companions on the 
Uganda Expedition. No one was so well able to 
manage the refractory porter as he was, no one 
more patient in the thankless task of keeping the 
rearguard up to the mark. All who have returned 
hitherto bear common testimony to this ; as in fact 
his brother has written, " he was the best of them 
all," and there is not one that will grudge him this 
simple praise. 

It was just as he was preparing to return from 
Torn, where he had gone under the circumstances 
already narrated, that the fever overpowered him, 
and to those who read the following pages it must 
appear to have been the inevitable result of the life 
he was there doomed to lead. Sick as he was, how- 
ever, he started for Kampala with the enlisted 
Soudanese whom he had been instructed to brino; 
down. It was a fortnight's march for a man in 
vigorous health, and he, growing daily weaker and 
weaker, almost without supplies and medical stores, 
absolutely alone as far as human sympathy was 
concerned, with his motley crowd of half- drilled 
irregulars, his porters, and his native servant almost 
a stranger to him, pressed forward with indomitable 
pluck day after weary day, until at last he could go 


no longer, and the men carried him in a hammock, 
right willingly, and doing their honest best for him 
as they were able. 

A messenger despatched to Kampala brought 
news of his critical condition, and Lieutenant Villiers 
at once volunteered to go out and meet him, taking 
all such comforts and drugs as could be collected. 
The rest of the story has been already told. That 
last march back to camp had worn him to a shadow. 
His strength had ebbed away, and the gallant life was 
not to be saved. It was a dark day for that little 
band of Englishmen in the heart of Equatorial Africa. 
It was a day of sadness for many of us when the 
news reached the coast, and up in the Witu forest, 
where we were at that time, men who had known 
him but slightly during the short period of his 
passage through Zanzibar, spoke reverently of his 
name, and seemed touched with the shadow of a 
personal loss. If he was known to comparatively 
few, at least it may be said of him no man died more 
beloved by his friends and contemporaries, and many 
a tender thought has gone out since over the thousands 
of intervening miles towards the green hill in Kampala, 
where, before long, an iron cross will mark the distant 
grave of one of the finest fellows who ever died in his 
country's service, for the Greater England's sake. 

R. R. 


Left England, Sunday, 11th December 1892. 
Left Marseilles, Monday, 12th December 1892. 
Arrived Zanzibar, Thursday, 29th December 1892. 


1st Jan., Sunday. — Left Zanzibar 5 A.M. in H.M.S. Philomel, 
after big dinner night before given us by British residents. Much 
speaking, eating, and drinking. Rough sea for two or three 
hours, and several distinguished people invisible. Arrived 
Mombasa about 4. Went on shore and did a walk with 
Roddy. Dinner given by skipper in the evening, also very 
big thing. Nice harbour, but didn't see town. 

In the last two days everybody has eaten and drunk a very 
great deal too much for good walking. 

2nd Jan., Monday. — On shore about 11 ; Gerry rowed by 
captain and officers of Fhilomd ; salute of guns and cheers of 
crew. By tramway about six miles, then four-mile walk to 
camp at Mazeras. Everything prepared with greatest comfort 
and luxury by Gen. Mathews. Also there, Rogers and Wilson, 
of LB.E.A. Co. ; was rather seedy. 

Zrd Jan., Tuesday. — Left about 7. Went with rearguard ; 
porters rather weak and lazy. Very short march of about five 
miles to camp at Muachi. Waste of a day, as we might have 
come on here yesterday. Mathews sent on more luxuries — 
champagne, beer, fruit, etc. Water plenty, but beastly. Head- 
man seems a fool. He has brought a smart harem of six. 

Uh Jan., Wednesday. — Marched 6.30, minus harem. No 
sleep at all for mosquitoes ; thick scrub ; no food or water till 
11.30, where water, undrinkable. In rear with Frank and 
Berkeley, who is rather ill. Porters very bad ; stoppages every 
five minutes ; some of them clean done up. Met parties of 
Wa-Nyika; no houses. Camp at 2.30; rather cooked; more 
than an hour after the head. Got a wetting. 

Mh Jan., Thursday. — Left 6.15. Short march to Samburu, 
arrived 11.45 ; just got tents up before heavy storm. Put out 
all baths and basins, and got lots of clean water. Berkeley and 
Moffat both seedy. Afternoon Villiers arrived from Muachi 
with nine porters and pony. Porters good ; pony poor. Went 
shooting ; got one guinea-fowl ; saw deer, quail, and pigeon. 


Qth Jan., Friday. — Left 6.20. Got blisters from wet socks. 
Did last two hours bare feet. Got through last of good water. 
Arrived Toru noon ; rain-water holes. Stopped mail down from 

1th Jan., Saturday. — Started at 12. Feet rather bad. Rode 
Villiers' pony to first halt, afterwards got on boots and walked. 
Got to Butzuma about 6.30. No water ; went on two miles 
farther, and halted four hours. Did nice sleep. The Company 
seem to have done nothing to collect water on this plain ; have 
cut wide path for twelve miles from Butzuma. 

8^/i Jan., Sunday. — Started just before midnight ; long and 
tiring march. Halted about 6.30. Villiers produced some 
much-needed Liebig. Horrible winding path ; men sewn up. 
Head of caravan got to Maungu about 9, tail not till after 2 ; 
the last bit very tiring. On getting to top of ridge the finest 
view I ever saw. Unfortunately water one hour up the moun- 
tain, so got very little and no bath. Eather seedy, slight fever. 
Hamilton'- came in with homeward caravan. This march more 
than thirty-four miles, without water and very little food. 

mh Jan., Monday. — Felt bad. Started 6.30. Walked two 
hours, then rode. Marago ya Kanga about 12.30 ; lovely camp 
under mountain. Looks fine game country ; saw lots of quail, 
and tracks of lion, giraffe, hartebeest, etc. Laid up for feet. 
They got a few quail. 

lO^A Jan., Tiiesday. — Rest here to-day ; stayed in bed ; others 
went out early to get meat for men. Two zebra, one Clarke's 
gazelle. Feet better. Villiers brought sugar-cane, not very 
good, and a goat ; excellent. 

1 1th Jan., Wednesday. — Started 6.30. Rode ; beautiful country. 
Crossed River Voi on foot ; long swamp, long rushes. Camped 
far side. Lots of tracks of all sorts, but saw no game. 

\2th Jan., Thursday. — Started 6.30. Rode again; sick of it. 
Pretty country. Gerry and Villiers on ahead; got shots at 
zebra and hartebeest, no result; halted 11-2. Four men absent 
starting ; got three apiece. Roddy, Frank, and G. ahead. 
Roddy one Kirkii antelope. Ngorungo M'Buyuni about 5. 

IMh Jan., Friday. — Off at 6. Rode. Halt 11-1. Very hot 

^ Of the I.B.E.A. Co.'s service — killed by Soraalis and mutinous garrison 
at Tuzki Hill Fort, near Kismayu, August 1893. 


afternoon. Tsavo 4.30. They got a few pigeons. Wretched 
place — one mud hut, with feeble stockade ; nice river, no culti- 
vation whatever ; a little bit of widened path, the only sign of 
improvement by Company except the bit of road over Toru 

lAth Jan., Saturday. — Left noon. Rode. Two porters deserted 
at Tsavo. Uninteresting country — low, thick scrub, quartz and 
granite. More food at Tsavo, making loads heavier. Much 
struggling and very slow. Arrived two hours after the head, at 
5.30, at Ngorini; nasty, dirty place, full of creeping things. 

15^^ Jan., Sunday. — Left 6.10. Rode; very thick scrub and 
jungle ; path nearly grown over. Rear of caravan very bad, all 
lame or sick. Camp noon, Kinani ; good big water hole. Got 
good view of Kilimanjaro, due west. 

16th Jan., Monday. — Left 6. Walked two hours, then rode. 
Camp about 1L30, Mto Ndei; got on new road about 10. 
Moffat still got fever. M'Donald coming down, is camped here 
— dined with us ; gave awful accounts of Uganda. They went 
out shooting, but of course got nothing. M'Donald says he got 
one mail in nine months. 

1 7th Jan., Tuesday. — Left at 6. Passed M'Donald at start ; 
walked to-day about fourteen miles. Still on road, fast being 
grown over. Very thick stifling jungle part of the way, then 
open plains, good timber and long grass, rather park-like. Camp 
Masongole about 12.30. Too much inhabited by Wakamba to 
go shooting. Heard leopard. 

ISth Jan., Wednesday. — Left 6.10. Walked about ten miles to 
Kibwezi, pretty park-like country ; good road, cleared for the 
last two miles. Nice tidy place, and a good deal seems to have 
been done in a short time. Mr. Watson gave us milk and 
butter on arrival — great treats. Afternoon had trial shots with 
rifles, and tilled a few hollow bullets ; result to be seen. Roddy 
not well, with tummy ache. Strike among men, headed by 
Sudi, about going on. Lots of Wakamba about ; amused them 
with burning glass, telescope, etc. Great dinner with Mr. 
Watson — champagne, and all kinds of things. 

19th Jan., Thursday. — Walked on at 7 with Gerry and Frank. 
Caravan followed at 1 2, Six miles to Mbwinzao ; bad, rocky road. 
Knocked over guinea-fowl with '450, but couldn't find him. F. 



had a stalk at hartebeest, but missed. Walked miles, had shot 
at hartebeest galloping hard, but didn't get him. Large herd, 
saw nothing else, no tracks. 

2{ith Jan., Friday. — Left 5.45. In front with Villiers ; he 
had a shot at hartebeest ; missed. At lunch saw herd of quite 
100. Sudi and Moffat each got one. Had two stalks and one 
long shot, missed. Saw tremendous lot, also ostriches. Gerry 
got one Kirkii antelope. Big open plains, full of hartebeest. 
Tracks of giraffe. Villiers got one lesser bustard. Long day, 
about seventeen miles; camp 5.15, Kiboko river. 

'list Jan., Saturday. — 5.50, about 10 miles to near Ngurun- 
gani : did nothing in afternoon. Roddy got a rhino, men all 
squabbling over meat. They only brought away half, but 
enough for all. 

•2'2nd Jan., Sunday. — 6 a.m. Long march, about seventeen miles 
to Nzoi, 3000 feet. Pretty mountain country. Improved tribe 
of Wakamba, very smart, but ugly, much brass ornament and red 
ochre. Great traffic going on. We got hens, milk, native flour, 
sugar cane, etc. They will only take one very particular shade 
of blue bead, which rather checks business. 

We passed one nice river 2| hours from here, the Ndange. 
Saw a herd of waterbuck or rapallah, and one of hartebeest. 
Roddy went out early to look for lions at the remains of rhino, 
found only fresh tracks. 

23rd Jan., Monday. — Very nearly frozen to death last night. 
Off at 6.15, like an October morning. Mountain country, beauti- 
ful strong air, shambas all the way, but very poor soil except 
valleys. About fourteen miles to Kilungu, shallow river ; burst my 
water-bottle by carrying fresh milk, but produced some butter. 
Dosed my boy with chlorodyne — doctor says it ought to have 
been the other thing. 

24:th Jan., Tuesday. — Started 8. Awful cold night, had all 
my clothes on, and don't know what to do when it's colder. 
Deputation of Wakamba. Presented a goat. Tiring march, 
porters bad ; first half up and down hill ; second up the middle 
of river. Camp about ten miles, on river, crowds of Wakamba, 
butter, milk, and vegetables. Have got nothing to buy with 
except empty cartridge cases, and nearly spent them all. Lovely 
country, much cultivation. 


25th Jan., JFednesday. — 6.30. Cold, half-way up river, 
remainder over spurs of hills ; met runners with mails, bringing 
also two sheep and fresh vegetables for us from Machakos. 
Camp about 1, eight miles from Machakos. Came about ten miles. 
Lovely air, but rather bare country ; good deal of cultivation, 
lots of milk and butter. Went out at 4 with some Wakamba 
after guinea-fowl. Got five, horned — might have got lots more, 
but they pumped me out. Whole tribe joined in beating, much 
excited. One covey of fourteen. 

26//i Jan., Thursdaif. — 6.15. Short march. Machakos 9.30. 
Nice station among the hills. Great luncheon with Ainsworth ; 
fresh vegetables, milk, etc. Found 200 of Foaker's men here sent 
down from Kikuyu to get food. Can't get any there because of 
rows with the people. Gerry, Frank, and Moffat go on to-morrow 
with them and all ours, loaded : Roddy, Villiers, Berkeley, and I 
stay here shooting, I think, till porters return. Beastly wind, 
and tent full of dust and muck. 

27th Jan., Friday. — They went off at 9 ; Moffat with Wakamba 
porters at 2. I went after guinea-fowl, with two tame Wakamba, 
but only saw one. Got three partridges and a duck after very 
long walk. Afternoon filled a few hollow bullets. Villiers and 
Berkeley rather seedy. Blows here like blazes. 

28^/t Jan., Saturday. — Roddy and I started at 9, with twenty- 
nine Wakamba and a few others. Villiers too seedy to go ; went 
about eight miles and camped. Huge undulating plain, simply 
swarming with huge herds of all sorts. Roddy went on and had 
shot at rhino. I went out after putting camp right. Saw 
several rhino, had long shot at hartebeest. Hard to get near 
them, no cover. Nineteen Wakamba are volunteers, who have 
come in hopes of meat. 

29/A Jan., Sunday. — Out early. Stalked ostriches ; couldn't get 
shot. Then a long stalk, one hour, at a rhino in the open and 
moving. At last he lay down ; got within fifty yards and 
plugged in two shots, which he didn't mind, but bolted away. 
Saw another a mile away. Walked up to eighty yards, put a 
shot behind his shoulders, didn't mind a bit, and went off. No 
more rhino with these bullets ; heard all three hit. 

This morning I saw ten rhino. Roddy got another shot at 
cow with calf — no good. Got small antelope. We got near 


nothing else. Villiers came out afternoon. Lovely air, nice 
breeze, like Switzerland. 

30th Jan., Morula,]/. — Three in a tent rather tight. Out at 6. 
Tried a drive ; failure. Villiers got long shot at hartebeest. 
He and I came back disgusted at 11. Had lunch and went to 
sleep. At 2 saw two rhino three miles off. Shortly after 
Roddy returned, he had shot both and wounded them. Gave 
it up and returned to Machakos at 4, arriving 6.30. Quite 
impossible to stalk anything but rhino : ought to have had some 
of them with proper bullets. Eoddy also wounded lion. Heard 
that Gerry shot lioness two days from here. 

31s^ Jan., Tuesday. — Stayed at station. Went out with Roddy 
for an hour, afternoon, to get partridges. Having only shot- 
guns saw a buck and a leopard ; of course got neither. 

1st Feb., Wednesday. — Went out about 9 with Roddy to camp 
at Lanyoro, nine miles out. Afternoon tried to get at beasts, 
without success. Roddy got small antelope. Afterwards he 
saw some lions go into a bush ; went at them ; I, like an ass, 
with only two solid bullets. They faced us about ten yards. 
He fired, result unknown, confused flash of four lions, all 
disappearing into ravine ; one lioness appeared far side, about 
eighty yards. I got her. Afterwards I saw one crouching in 
grass, facing him, fired and killed her. Doubtful whether 
wounded one of his. About six miles home in dark. Skinning 
took long time with blunt knives. On our way out met 
Wakamba porters returning from Kikuyu. 

2ri(Z Feb., Thursday. — Very tired ; out latish, about 9. Went 
back to lion place, found nothing. Home to lunch about 3 — 
twelve miles. Afternoon, went out; 1 got long shot at hartebeest ; 
broke hind leg — long chase ; he was caught by the leg by a 
porter running out from camp. We both ate too much as 
usual. Did about twenty-five miles walking to-day, very fit. 
Morning, met porters returning from Kikuyu, opened letter, we 
to start to-morrow. 

3rd Feb., Friday. — Packed things, started at 9. Wasted hours 
over attempting drive with Wakamba and Machakos porters, 
who understood not one word of what they were to do. Swarms 
of game ; of course didn't get a shot. Then I viewed three 
rhino. Having Berkeley's 8-bore we stalked two, put in four 


bullets at fifty yards, and both went away smiling. Another 
cow and calf were 200 yards away all the time. Another long 
stalk ; I put a bullet under ear, seventy yards — off she went 
three miles. Another stood up 300 yards away ; walked straight 
at him. Roddy shot at 100 yards, same thing; sickening. On 
way to new camp Roddy killed hartebeest ; had only his boy, 
Wakamba having gone, also Machakos men. Cut off head and 
haunch, and started, I carrying two 8-bores and '450, boy the meat. 
Boy is played out in a mile, darkness coming on. When dark 
and no signs of camp I fired 8-bore, nearly stunned, but 
answered by shot not far. Soon met four soldiers, sent them 
back for Roddy and boy, whom they never found, and reached 
camp beyond Lanyoro Point about 8. 

Ath Feb., Saturday. — Started nominal 6, really 7.15. Tried 
shooting on the way, but no good. Villiers had many shots at 
about half a mile, and at last got a Thomson at 250 yards. 
Swarms of game, but too long a march to shoot much. About 
twenty miles, I think, to edge of Kikuyu forest, near nice 
running stream. Party of soldiers from Kikuyu to meet us. 
We are a day later than expected. Two lions seen to-day, also 
buffalo and wildebeest. 

bth Feb., Sunday. — Start 7; cold drizzle and mist. Great 
precautions taken going through forest belt, but saw no- 
body. Caravan for once closed right up, partly from funk of 
natives, partly because of 100 porters sent from fort last night 
to help our needy lot. Arrived about 11.45; strongish fort, 
and need be, apparently. Natives have been murdering a bit, 
but peace now, they think. Seem treacherous lot. We are not 
to go on to-morrow, as Moffat has been taken worse. Glad of 
a day here ; very cold brick huts, kitchen garden, best of food, 
and Purkiss providing all sorts of needed things. 

6^/t Feb., Monday. — Wind all night; my tent pole broken 
again; new one supplied by Purkiss. Nelson's grave here. 
117 donkeys started off mid-day to next camp. Moffat very 
bad. I am staying here to bring him on if he can travel in 
four days. Cast '577 bullets; tried a few shots. Lots of 
repairs being done in fort. 

1th Feb., Tuesday. — Cold ; rats running over my bed, 
fleas in it. Caravan started 2.30, leaving me twenty-five porters 


and twenty-five soldiers. Moffat slightly better. Moved into 
room in fort, which seems great comfort. Purkiss says he 
has a fire every day in the year; lat. 1° 35' ! ! 

Delighted to have the oj^portunity of leaving behind my 
miserable yellow Abdullah. He has been sick for the last 
fortnight. Am taking on the blackest boy I can find, with the 
pretty name of Sali Boko, or Sally, for short. 

8//i Feb., Wednesday. — Much more comfortable in fort. My 
tent has been enlarged, the bath-room part. Rigged camera and 
took six photos to send back, to see if they will do. Moffat 
up and eating a little. We may perhaps get away Saturday. 
Hyaenas kick up an awful row all night here, walking all round 
fort. Caravan left us no headman, no guide or any one who 
knows road, no interpreter, and no port wine for Moffat, no 
tarpaulin, spades, axes, filter, or rug for pony. 

^th Feb., Thursday. — Moffat better, talk of getting away 
to-morrow; will see. Took photos of station askaris and 
natives, and made a lot of things with skins. Mail arrived 
from coast. One man killed by Masai near Nzoi, and two 
parcels, for Villiers and Rhodes, stolen. 

Orders received here to make roads both ways ; looks 
like decision to keep Uganda. Nearly murdered by fleas 
last night; captured six in morning, but missed about ten 

\Qth Feb., Friday. — Moffat a little better, but I think not 
strong enough to start, though very anxious to. Bowled over 
ten fleas in my bed, and boy afterwards bagged eleven, so there 
seems a fair stock. Am nearly eaten up. Purkiss sent off a 
special mail to coast, fearing that Martin might exaggerate state 
of things here. Busy all day with various repairs. Decided to 
start early to-morrow, Purkiss sending on our loads eighteen 
miles. One man died. 

Wth Feb., Saturday. — Off at 8, caught P.'s porters, also a 
runaway, about five miles. Our men, without loads, awful lot 
of weedy cripples. Very long march, twenty -two miles. 
Purkiss said fifteen, or would not have tried it. Burnt, barren 
plains, traces of elephants, rhinos, etc. Down a precipice to 
Keedong Valley. Camp about three miles farther. Moffat not 
so done as I expected. Camp at 6.15 ; just getting dark. Tents 


up, mine at least, too late to do anything but eat in a hurry, 
and to bed, filthy, dirty. Blowing a regular hurricane. 

12th Feb., Sunday. — Tents nearly blown away. One sheej 
taken by hyaena. Off 6.30. Porters not so bad as I feared, 
but want the needle a bit. One man died. Dusty, dry, barren 
valley, zigzag roundabout road, to the upper camp, where 
lunch about 11.30. On at 1, filled up with water. Met 
Leith's caravan returning (without him) with letters from our 
people. They seem to be two marches ahead. Went on till 
end of firewood, about 4.15, and camped. Shall get no water 
till mid-day to-morrow, and am very thirsty. Moffat rather 
done, and no wonder, about fourteen miles. 

I3th Feb., Monday. — 6.30 ; marched over dry plains down to 
Naivasha. Met a party of Masai on war-path, going to touch up 
the Wa-Kikuyu. Afterwards met several other parties, very 
friendly. Fine, strong-looking men ; got to a camp about 2. 1 5, 
both rather done and dirty. Went out about 4 and got a duck. 
Swarms of wild-fowl, but didn't get very near them. Mosquitoes 
awful, and my curtains have gone on. 

14//t Feb., Tuesday. — No sleep, bad headache, bitten to pieces. 
Started at 6.30. Nobody knows the road, but somehow we 
fetched up at Gilgil river about 11.30. Moffat got a Grantii. 
Saw good many antelope, and several parties of Masai, one 
lot on war-path, with jingling knee bracelets, very effective 
as they stepped together. All asked for presents, but didn't 
much mind not getting them. Found fires still burning in 

Went out about 3, Moffat three florican, I one florican, one 
guinea-fowl, and one goose on the way. Had long shots at 
wild antelope. Sun to-day wonderfully hot. 

15th Feb., Wednesday. — Still trying to catch them. Luncheon 
at Karia Ndouss. Their fires still burning. Afternoon through 
seven miles of burning bush. Country seems alight all round ; 
must have bothered them rather. Walked on alone to camp at 
Mbaruk. Boy and I both saw tents of large caravan when about 
500 yards away, and hurried on, to find nothing. Must have 
been effect of smoke, and rather a blow. Along Lake Elmenteita 
to-day, bitter water and barren shores. Sun very hot on these 
dry plains. Moffat and I both knocked over at noon. 


Got a marabout stork with rifle at 200 yards. Shall probably 
be burnt out to-night ; fire all round. 

16th Feb., Thursday. — Got off about 6.30, but nobody knew 
the road, and we were delayed by starting on wrong one. Shot 
Moffat's donkey as he wouldn't move. Moffat shot a good deal 
on the way, and got two Thomsonii. Hot march to Nakuru. 
Salt lake; arrived 12. Went out at 3, and got one Thomsonii, 
and Moffat two. Saw Grantii and zebra ; also the caravan, 
camped ten miles away. Ought to catch them by twenty-mile 
march to-morrow. Saw nobody to-day ; deserted country ; bush 
still burning in front and behind. 

17th Feb., Friday. — Started 6.30. Went to their camp; 
off the road and off" direction, lost two hours finding it. Lunched 
there. Found an old man nearly dead ; brought him on, on 
moke. Great difficulty in finding road ; rather anxious about it, 
as we were clean off my map. When found, started off ahead, 
and walked in in three hours thirty-five minutes, fifteen miles at 
least. Sent thirty men back to help, brought them in after 
dark. Long day. We did twenty-three miles at least. Found 
Roddy with bad leg. 

1 8th Feb., Saturday. — Got up too early — at 3 ; such a row 
was going on. Very seedy and sick. About fourteen miles to 
Equator camp; through pleasant bits of dark forest, icy cold 
streams. Lay down all afternoon, and went to bed at 6. Lucky 
I didn't knock up two days earlier, also lucky we caught them 
up yesterday. Should never have found road. Lots of elephant 
tracks, not very new. 

19th Feb., Sunday. — Woke up at night by cold, put on 
clothes and went to bed again. Don't think much of Equator 
for warmth. Still rather weak, so rode. Gerry and Villiers 
killed five zebra on march. Roddy still with bad leg, in a 
hammock. Went about twelve miles to camp at Big Ravine ; 
patches of forest and open land, very up and down. 

Two sick men died, one of them the old man we brought on 
two days ago. Did not feel like shooting, and I suppose it's 
nearly the last chance. This cold at nights is the devil. Got 
no more clothes, and it's as hot as fury from 9 to 3. 

20^^ Feb., Monday. — Started 7. Crossed ravine and camped 
other side, about 300 yards. Bush all that side, so no good 


trying to shoot. Gerry stayed on other side and got three 

21st Feb., Tuesday. — Very cold night; 42° inside tents, so 
probably 32° outside. Came on behind. Very trying march, 
all up and down mountain, through dense forest, dark and cool. 
In parts very tall cedars, quite 200 feet. We are 8200 feet 
up, which accounts for cold and hot sun. Many men ill from 
cold ; two died. 

Ilind Feb., Wednesday. — Met real hoar frost at bottom of 
hill we camped on. Within an hour the heat must have been 
at least 75°, time 7.30 a.m. Very hilly march, about ten miles, 
bare downs, just like English ones, except for roughness of grass 
and ground. Many English wild-flowers and plants and grasses. 
Height to-day about 8700 feet. Saw a few hartebeest at a 

Saw nettles, thistles, blue scabious, mignonette, forget-me-nots, 
kind of dandelion, and many others whose names I don't know. 

23r<i Feb., Thursday. — About eleven miles ; open, hilly 
country ; a few hartebeest. Frank got two. Began to rain 
8 P.M. 

24/A Feb., Friday. — Rain soon after starting, down hill 
gently about seven miles, then six more on plain. No firewood 
except along river. Went out with G. and Berkeley; five 
partridges. Went after rhino, which walked up to eight yards 
of me, then fled — result, two hits, but didn't get him. Another 
man died. 

25th Feb., Saturday. — Beautiful morning; marched about 
twelve miles. MoflFat got a waterbuck ; while his boy left it 
for five minutes it was bagged entirely by natives. We have 
seen none about. They would certainly have cut his head off if 
he had been there. One man died. 

2^th Feb., Sunday. — About eleven miles over plain. A rhino 
ran straight at head of caravan, and received about fourteen shots, 
which eventually proved fatal. Wonderful scene of worrying 
the meat. Met a party of Wanderobbo near camp, going on to a 
fight with some chief three days' march off; rather like Masai, 
but not so gaudy. Shook hands, evory one, first picking grass 
and pressing it into palm of your hand. Tried to get hartebeest, 
but only one hit. G. and F. E. each got one. 

MUMIA'S 335 

21th Feb., Monday. — About thirteen or fourteen miles — very- 
hot indeed. The Guaso Masai stream has become a formidable 
river. Got to camp about 12, and did nothing. Gerry got a 
small antelope, but we are out of game country. One man 

'2^th Feb., Tuesday. — Across the Kabras mountains and river; 
also other streams, about fourteen miles. Not a sign of animal 
life. A few natives came into camp. Very hot. Box contain- 
ing all our lime juice dropped and smashed. Several other loads 
dropped into river by these weeds of porters. 

\st March, Wednesday. — Horrible day. Behind with Moffat. 
Was six hours before sick and donkeys had got six miles. One 
sick man nearly dead when we came across him ; quite dead 
about half an hour after. Scratched ground and covered him 
with leaves. Lots of muddy, swampy gullies. Passed through 
great number of native villages, all surrounded by well-made 
mud walls, loopholed, and ditch. Ugly people, next to no 
clothes : seem good farmers, but crops looking dried up. Did 
not get in till 3, fifteen miles, rather beat. Donkeys, etc., in 
at 8 — fifteen hours. 

Ind March, Thursday. — Through ugly, cultivated country to 
Mumia's, fourteen miles. Mumia brought goat, etc. Smart- 
looking person. Village not great at supplies. Williams is 
waiting in Uganda for us. 

^rd March, Friday. — Stayed here for a day's rest. Tried to 
catch fish in river, but didn't. Got some honey, bananas, and 
milk, very little else to be got. Took a few photos to send home, 
cleaned guns and put them away. No hippos within miles of 
here, they say. Mumia himself came down prepared to go 
after them with me : nice-looking man, rather dressy. 

Uh March, Saturday. — Started 6. Great business crossing the 
Nzoia. Gerry out of his depth ; I mostly undressed, well over 
waist, took over an hour ; lost my burning glass and tinder, 
which is a great nuisance. We left all the donkeys and thirty- 
five sick behind, also letters, etc., to go down with Leith. Orders 
for stores for six months also went. Hot march of thirteen 
miles through ugly country. Villages, but no cultivation. So 
much for the promised land of plenty. 

hth March, Sunday. — Past Mtindi's, curious Druidical-looking 


stones, about one mile from camp. Marched about fifteen miles 
through ugly hot country and swamps ; very well-made fish-pots 
and dam on one stream. Quails in baskets hanging on poles. 
Thunderstorm after luncheon. Distance to Wakoli's discovered 
to be sixteen miles more than we were first told. There seems 
to be next to no attempt at cultivation, though any amount of 
villages. People all look half-starved, many villages deserted. 

Qth March, Monday. — Started at 5 A.M. Country still bare 
and villages deserted. At 11 came among cultivated ground 
and flourishing villages, and a much improved tribe — Wasoga 
or Kavirondo. Fine, tall, well-made men. Camp, about 1.30, 
a mile from head of Sio Bay of Victoria Nyanza. Beastly water 
from swamp ; crowds of natives, and much trade, milk, eggs, etc. 
Only pink beads here. The people wear absolutely nothing. 
Distance about sixteen miles. 

7th March, Tiiesdmj. — About eleven miles, through better 
country ; wonderful extent of banana plantations for miles. 
Camped near one of Mramba's villages. Very nice-mannered 
youth. Brought, besides goats and hens, about half a ton of 
steamed bananas ; good, like mashed potatoes, and steaming hot, 
and about fourteen gallons of fresh pombe ; better than the water, 
but mawkish ; fermented. It is rather bitter, and not very nasty. 
Did some trade, and got long knob-kerries and many bananas 
for a few cartridge cases. 

8^/i March, Wednesday. — About fifteen miles to Wakoli's, or now 
Mtanda's village. Banana groves most of the Avay ; remainder 
very pretty mountain pass. Small station of Company. A 
German in charge ; quite a boy, but seems smart. Mtanda in 
Uganda, but prime minister and chiefs came in state ; also 
another party, Mtanda's mother, sister, etc. Former an ugly 
old hag, who asked for baccy. Gave presents, brass wire and 
handkerchiefs. They brought four goats. Bananas still our main 
food and drink ; wonder how long before they sicken us. Heavy 
thunderstorm in afternoon. 

9^/i March, Thursday. — Fire last night while at dinner. Grass 
hut inside enclosure blazing ; marvellous that whole place not 
burnt down; huts almost touching. Pulled grass and thatch 
off nearest, and it soon burnt itself out. March about ten miles. 
Still bananas. People here shy and wouldn't bring food for 


some time. Thunderstorms afternoon and evening. Camp in 
middle of banana grove. 

lOfJi March, Friday. — Rain and thunder all night; steamy- 
morning. Moffat's boy bolted in night with two rifles — luckily 
not his express. Very hot and damp walking ; still bananas. 
Guides took us all wrong, and we went about fifteen miles instead 
of ten. Chief came into camp ; not very enthusiastic ; apparently 
had lately been attacked. 

Wth March, Saturday. — Wandered about winding paths; no- 
body seems to know the way. Camped about 1 ; twelve or 
thirteen miles. Within sight of Speke Gulf ; nice pool of water. 
Straight road wanted badly. Went out and got guinea-fowl. 
Shot others, but bush too thick to pick them up. 

1 2/A March, Sunday. — About thirteen miles to the Nile. Began 
crossing about 1, finished about 7. Took photos while they 
were crossing, and walked about half a mile down to see Ripon 
Falls. Lovely scenery. Afternoon went with Gerry in canoe. 
Got three king cranes, two guinea-fowl, one hippopotamus. 
Swarms of hippo. We killed probably one other ; shall see in 
morning. Cranes excellent eating ; the best bird I have eaten 
in Africa. 

Arrived in Uganda on G.'s birthday. Nice-looking, intelligent 
people, very civil. 

13//i March, Monday. — Staj'^ed with G. and went to Ripon 
Falls with Sudi and Hutchisson to fish. Got none ; tried 
spinning and bottom fishing. Swarms of big fish jumping the 
Falls like salmon. Tried cupful of euphorbia juice, but too 
deep. Had lunch, and came on about ten miles to camp, arriv- 
ing 5.30. Camp in village surrounded by bananas. People 
most hospitable and civil. Country looks very rich for dry 

\Uh March, Tuesday. — Went on alone with ten men up to 
Kampala, forty -six miles, Thursday, to get ready for their 
arrival. Camped where Foaker told me. He said nineteen 
miles, but I think fifteen or sixteen. Very civilised country, 
wide roads, bridges, tidy villages, and very nice -mannered 
people. Passed missionary Baskerville building new station. 
Chief here, Nansambo, very civil, but gave me a lot of his 
company. Wanted pens, can read and write ; mosquitoes bad 



— bore having no cook, shall do Avithout dinner, except bananas 
and biscuits, 

I5th March, Wednesday. — Tremendous road-making going on. 
Gangs of young and old women, separated mostly. Got a 
Avetting in morning ; after, just like vapour bath or greenhouse. 
Bits of forests very steamy, also the elephant grass. Had a lot 
of talk with many chiefs, all of them rippers. Met Mwanga's 
Katikiro going in state to meet caravan. Did about twenty-one 
miles, and got to horrid place near Salu Salu's ; sure it can't be 
the right place. Mosquitoes deadly and as big as partridges. 
Killed to-day the only two snakes I have seen in Africa : one, a 
pretty green one, two feet long, evidently poisonous, the other 
black, doubtful, but wouldn't trust him. 

16/A March, Thursday. — Got to Kampala about 9.30. Tidy 
town, great broad streets. Found only Smith and Wilson, 
others away, not known where or for how long. Looked out 
camping grounds, etc., and went to give Bishop his letters. 
Comfortable house his. Afterwards went to see Katikiro. Fine- 
looking youngish man, with excellent two-storied house. It is 
like getting back to civilisation, but I am told this is only first 
impression. Squared headman Avith three hands cloth. Turned 
up in old 52nd tunic. 

They are wonderfully neat builders, these Ugandese. All 
their fences, and the linings of the better houses, are made of 
elephant grass canes (they are not really canes, but look like 
it) bound and woven together beautifully neatly with bark. It 
seems hard to believe that some of these buildings are run up 
■without a single nail, and with no tool of any sort except a 
rough, native-made hatchet ; the English church, for instance, 
that would hold about 3000 people. 

\1th March, Friday. — Went out Avith Bishop to meet caravan. 
Awful howling, shouting crowd, full of excitement. They were 
all looking clean and shaved. In course of the day various 
visitors, head Mohammedan, Bishop and missionaries, French 
priests, Katikiros, etc. Made an oven for bread. Heavy rain, 
dinner-time, lasting two hours. Bad camp for us ; cramped, and 
full of fleas, 

\9>th March, Saturday. — Got ready to go and see king at 9. 
The military gents in curious masquerading dresses, some red 


serges, breeches mostly brownish. Hats, terai, and various 
coloured helmets, gaiters, putties, field boots and button boots. 
Rained very hard, and visit put off. Went on raining till 
nearly 4. Macdonald came in, looking very well, and Wolf, 
very ill. There are only two months' stores here, and German 
route blocked. What will happen goodness only knows. One 
soldier died. 

I9th March, Sunday. — Dined with Pilkington of the Mission 
last night ; gorgeous repast. Wish we could get any fresh food. 
Wet morning, tent beastly and smelling, won't be long before 
fever appears, everything damp. Fine afternoon. All went to 
church ; English service ; sermon by Bishop on standing fast to 
principles — never mind being called bigoted or narrow-minded, 
and don't give and take to secure peace or better results. 
Probably good religion, but policy doubtful. Fine church, room 
for 2000 people. One young elephant brought into fort by the 
Kangan for Williams. 

'20th March, Monday. — Masquerade again at 9 to visit king. 
Nubian army in front, Zanzibar army behind. Mwanga very 
cheerful ; weak-looking man ; when he says anything funny gives 
his hand to the nearest toady to be clasped. 

King returned visit 4 p.m., but no state, and no masquerade 
for us. Heavy storm, afternoon, everything wetted again. Got 
into new mess shed, thank goodness. 

2\st March, Tuesday. — Wet all morning; copied maps, etc. 
Afternoon went to tea with Pilkington, and after to see Mtesa's 
tomb. Visit from several parties of king's Avives, touting for 
presents. Discovered that my last six photos were taken with- 
out plates — great pity. The masquerade group would have been 

22nd March, Wednesday. — Not so much rain ; messed about in 
fort all day. Baby elephant said to be dying ; given a pill size 
of walnut by Moffat, which ought to do him. Williams came in 

23nZ March, Thursday. — Carpenter's work all day, without 
proper tools. Rain all night. Smith packing his ivory — about 
£1400 worth. Williams has some good heads, from Buddu, etc. 
Roddy and I are to go to Toru in four days. Elephant dead 
and skinned. 


24/A March, Fiiday. — Studied Maxim guns, and fired them at 
target, to the admiration of large crowd. Bought '450 express 
from Smith £45, only fifty solid cartridges. Filed fore-sight of 
•577, and tried three shots ; not quite right. 

No rain to-day, for a wonder. Tried to sell bay pony ; asked 
eight frasilas, offered five, think we shall deal at seven. 

2bth March, Saturday. — Headache from sun yesterday ; did 
nothing all morning. Afternoon, short walk with Villiers ; no 
more heard from chief about pony. News from Grant that he 
will be at last Toru Fort before end of month, so we shall prob- 
ably stay here till his report is in. No rain. 

26//t March, Sxuxday. — No rain again. Six of them went to 
the Lake to look at site for proposed new station ; I didn't go, 
but spent very lazy day, and slept mostly. 

27//i March, Monday. — Walked to Lake, eight miles, witli 
Villiers. Saw nothing there. G. went to see king about 
making roads to Toru. He says the Roman Catholics and 
Mohammedans won't do their share. He certainly can't make 
them. Chief came to say he won't buy our bay pony ; wants 
the gray, but Frank has taken him for £130 ; must be mad. 

28th March, Tuesday. — Great mess in fort, taking over, etc. 
They have a lot of useless things, and antiquated ammunition. 
We expect to be off day after to-morrow or Friday. Gedge sat 
in my tent an hour. Roddy all over the place. One man 

29th March, Wedtiesday. — Fearful fuss all day, as if a huge 
expedition was starting for an unknown country. We start to- 
morrow with about 130 loads, about one-third utterly useless. 
Smith starts for coast following day. Took on Nubian boy of 
Williams at Rs. 20 a month. Doubt if he's worth it ; looks a 
fool, but speaks a little Swahili. 

30^/i March, Thursday. — Start nominally 8.30, really II. 
Never seen such fuss or such a mess. Sat down to look on. 
After start, guides sent by Kangan apparently went home. 
Came on with none. Long swamp half-way, nearly 400 yards 
long. Tried to carry Roddy, but took a fall over a root, up to 
waist. Pouring rain, wet to bone. Camp after three hours in 
nasty shamba. Mosquitoes awful. About seven miles. 

31s^ March, Friday. — No sleep at all for mosquitoes, swarming/ 

TO TORU 341 

inside curtains. A poorish performance to-day, very bad road, 
nearly grown over ; one very bad swamp, up to chest, and 400 
yards. Tried Berthon boat, but not enough water. Several 
other swamps, steep hills, and forest. Marched six hours, about 
fourteen miles. Men very late and tired ; two deserted to-day, 
probably many more to follow. Difficulty about food, but got 
enough. Bed broken, sleeping on wet floor. Camp believed to 
be Kaima. 

1st April, Satunlaij. — Eoddy had drum beaten and woke 
everybody at 11.45 P.M. Pouring wet; bed wet and mosquitoes 
awful. Cheerful life. Started in rain rather late, went about 
ten miles to Katumbala's village. Several nasty swamps. 
Believe we are on wrong road, but impossible to find out from 
these people. Curious that road from Kampala to nearest fort 
should be practically unknown after several years of occupation, 
but so it is. 

Ind April, Sunday. — Nice night, and nice, fine day, for a 
wonder. Three or four swamps. Walked about 2| hours and 
stopped at Kibibi, where we purpose to put small station. 
Superior-looking Mohammedan chief ; name difficult to find out 
as they told us at least four ; had useful afternoon cleaning guns, 
all smothered in rust — some spoilt, I'm afraid. 

^rd April, Monday. — The country is looking better, not so 
many swamps and elephant grass, and better air ; looks like game, 
but saw no tracks. Very little inhabited. Passed Kitunzi and 
came on to Bujigu ; shambas nearly deserted, and not much 
food. Effects of late war. The patches of forest in the hollows 
very thick, and path nearly grown over. Lots of glittering stuff 
on paths over hills, looks like mica, but was transparent like 
talc. Got a king crane on getting into camp about 1. Two 
heavy storms and wettings. About fifteen miles ; a lake about 
four miles to north. 

A:th April, Tuesday. — About 12| miles to shambas, believed to 
be Kisiba. Very bad papyrus swamp, stinking like fun. Passed 
two shambas or small villages, Mugema (?) Ij hours, and 
Mosika (?) three hours. Country more open, no game. Camp 
about two miles south of west end of lake. Went out to try to 
get birds, but saw none. Party of Swahilis camped here, the late 
garrison of Salt Lake Fort, just relieved by Soudanese, I suppose. 


5th April, Wednesday. — Caravan Avent on ; we went shooting. 
Saw a lot of zebra and some hartebeest. I got two zebra. 
Left two Nubians with the meat and went on to camp — Matongo ; 
arrived 3.30, after three hours' hard walking, too late to send 
back for meat and Nubians left. Caravan only did 3f hours ; 
can't make it out. Camp in banana grove ; water beastly ; chief 
not very willing ; two more porters deserted. Carry three days' 
food from here. 

6//i Aiyril, Thursday. — Roddy got one zebra soon after start- 
ing. After three hours saw herd of elephants. Foaker and I 
both counted them twice, and made them well over 250 ; thought 
it too far from camp to go after them, with no spare men. Soon 
after saw two near road ; went after them, into patch of bush, 
and found myself between two lots of about 20 each. One lot 
moved towards main lot. As the second was following I got a 
shot at one, about 100 yards, hit, I think, somewhere near 
temple, but did not fall, and went in among another large herd 
in the open. They formed a sort of square, but did not move away. 
Had only three cartridges, so turned away. Urged by Shukri ^ 
to go after single one, gone opposite way into bush ; when within 
eighty yards he came smack at us, and we ran like the devil 
different ways ; luckily he gave it up. Nice park country, no 
swamps. Fourteen miles. 

7th Ap'il, Friday. — Same country, very foggy and hot ; saw a 
few hartebeest. Long and tiring march, about sixteen miles. 
Camp about 1.30 ; loads an hour behind. Roddy had shot at 
hartebeest, didn't get him. I went out for an hour and got 
two partridges, only could find one. Swarms of them, but can't 
get them to get up ; more like French partridges than any I 
have seen yet. Elephants seem to have flattened out every bit 
of wood we have passed through, trees all torn up. Bimbashi 
Shukri got two hartebeest. One man deserted. Mosquitoes, if 
possible, more awful than yesterday. 

8^/t April, Saturday. — About fifteen miles. Two bad swamps 
and one other. Camp about 2. Lots of banana plantations, but 
only lately taken into cultivation again, so no bananas. Plenty 

^ Bimbashi Shukri EfTendi was the chief officer of the Soudanese after 
Selim Be}'. He was subsequently killed in a skirmish with some of Kabarega's 



of potatoes. Went out for an hour and got two king cranes and 
one pigeon. Going on early to-morrow to the fort. Caravan to 
do it in twice. 

9th April, Sunday. — Went twelve miles to deserted shamba, 
with twenty porters. Stopped there for lunch, where rest of 
caravan overtook us. Came on again, 6i miles to Fort de Winton. 
Wild country, but very picturesque. Great masses of rock, 
granite ; swamps at bottom, but not deep, and clear-running 
streams, sources of river Katonga. Has been a good deal of 
cultivation apparently, potatoes and bananas, but deserted. 
Fort a square mud bank and ditch, full of Soudanese huts 
mixed up anyhow, flying Turkish flag! Grant living 100 yards 
outside, surrounded by grass huts of Soudanese, Swahilis, and 
slaves. Very piggish. The garrison paraded and made a 
hideous noise with four bugles in different keys. After, reception 
of about six native officers, queer-looking old savages. 

lOth April, Monday. — Had up the garrison and read Selim 
Bey's letter, also manifest of Roddy's. Enlisted about sixty, 
rejected about fifteen. Picked out worst half to go to Kampala, 
with the last ones, slaves and women, etc. Not so many as we 
expected. Afternoon took over a lot of rusty guns of all sorts, 
and ammunition. The fort is a smelly place, and would do 
nicely for an outbreak of small-pox. Chose site for a hut for us, 
and hope to get it begun to-morrow, if not too rocky. Caravan 
came in about 1 0. Got three presents of bread from Nubians ; 
curious-looking, like leather, but one sort not bad, rather like 
sour crumpet. Native chiefs came in, and apparently willing to 
cultivate and sell grain, on having things explained. Potatoes 
seem plenty, grain very scarce. 

nth Ajyril, Txiesday. — Taking over things. Grant having a 
stiff" time of it. Very heavy storm mid-day, tents flooded. 
Nothing done towards building house by 100 porters except 
collection of very small pile of crooked bits of wood. 

I2th April, Wednesday. — Roddy and Grant left for No. 3 Fort 
about 7.30, after a good deal of preparation. Tried without 
success to get ground cleared for house, and got about ten square 
yards done. Had a drill of Nubian savages, apparently their 
first, but they did very nicely. Went out with Foaker in after- 
noon after guinea-fowl ; saw none, but got one king crane. 


Everybody, without exception, drunk to-night, from headman to 
tent-boy. Bimbashi Shukri is being married, which may account 
for some free liquor. Begged forty rounds of ammunition on the 
ground of its being the invariable custom. They are being rapidly 
expended, probably without removing the bullets. 

IStk Apil, Thursday. — Uneventful day; no rain; drilled 
Nubians, and learnt their Arabic words of command. Building 
of house progressing. Got two poles up. Afternoon despatch 
from Roddy altering all previous arrangements. All the in- 
habitants of this place to go in, instead of half, on Saturday. 
This place getting horribly filthy, and stench awful. 

\Uh April, Friday. — Roddy arrived 3 p.m., about ninety 
useless people and slaves from No. 3. Another muster of the 
population, for no particular purpose, except to see if slaves 
would engage as porters. About twenty out of a hundred 

One of our cows killed by lion last night ; didn't know 
there were any. 

\bth Apiil, Saturday. — Got off a crowd of about 1000 people 
about 8 o'clock. Then assembled the remainder ; found that at 
least fifty more had to go. Many deserted caravan and came 
back. Had a house-to-house search, found a few slaves, and 
some horrible sick people. Lots of food left behind. Collected 
nearly fifty bushels of wimbe. Got rid of my Nubian idiot of a 
boy, the worst bargain I ever had ; wants a whole load carried 
for him ; scored off him by giving him 8-bore and '577 to carry. 

\%th April, Sunday. — House progressing very slowly. Roddy 
and Grant off again to-morrow to forts. I shall be left with 
only fifteen porters and twenty-five Nubian soldiers. Unyoro 
chiefs came in for a talk. Reported large force of Kabarega's 
people two days from here, said to be going to attack us. 
Another later account makes us doubt this. They promised 
to give us all information about this, also about contraband' 
caravan returning with ivory from K.'s country. Also promised 
to form a market here. One of Foaker's porters died. 

nth Ap-il, Monday. — R. and G. off at 6.30. Wanyoro very 
prompt about market. Sent in twenty loads of potatoes, which 
nobody was likely to buy with all this spare food about, so I 
bought it for one doti, to keep up delusion. House progressing 


well, at last. Had a drill of new lot of Nubians in afternoon, 
and tried to find guinea-fowl, but didn't. Doctored a lot of 
diseases. One goat died, leaves thirteen. Killed sixty-four 
mosquitoes on my hands and arms while at a hurried solitary 
dinner. Such a bag is worth recording. 

18th April, Tuesday. — Mohammedan Christmas, so they say, 
whatever that may mean, but no work to be done. Woke last 
night by shots ; after three or four made sure we were being 
attacked, and went out ; found sentries firing at or near hyaena 
with goat ; ten rounds, they loosed off. Crossed swamp and 
plunged about in bush with pyjamas on, got bitten to death ; went 
in afternoon with one of the same men to find the hyaena ; found 
his hole under big rocks, impossible to get him out, man very 
keen to fire down hole. Later went climbing up mountains to 
north-west to choose spot for look-out picket. A motherless 
calf died ; we killed a sickly goat. Another goat died, ten left. 
Fifteen soldiers in from Eoddy at No. 3. 

19^/i April, Wednesday. — Drilled natives morning and after- 
noon. After lunch, alarm of leopard having carried off goat 
close by. Went after him with two Nubians, who tracked him 
wonderfully well, to the same den I visited yesterday; doubts 
as to hyaena, this certainly leopard ; must do something to the 
place, as it's getting serious. A lot of rain to-day. Natives 
brought present of bananas and four loads of potatoes to sell ; 
gave sixty shells. Killed one mosquito at dinner last night, two 
fires each side of table. Think I'm going to have fever at last. 

20th April, Thursday. — Wrong about fever, but feel uncom- 
fortable, everything damp and more than filthy. Got in two 
more loads of potatoes for twenty shells. Also present of 
bananas and large jar of pombe, which gave to porters. Going 
to No. 3 to-morrow with three Nubians and ten porters, leaving 
Shukri boss here. Went round cultivation with old Yuzbashi. 
If looked after, quite enough to keep population. Letters from 

21st AjJril, Friday. — Two of our goats and five inside fort 
killed by leopard in night, leaves us eight. Shall not kill 
another, as I can't eat one before meat rots. Started about 
7, got ill with violent pains in head half-way, which partly 
passed off in an hour. Had to stop and lie down. Big swamp 


roughly bridged over by natives and Nubians, also one smaller 
one ; arrived about 3. More prosperous-looking place, but a 
regular labyrinth inside. Good hut to live in, so tent not 
needed. Fine wild country; remains of many shambas ; natives 
living in caves, not funking Nubians quite so much. 

22nd Aprils Saturday. — Sent back four porters, gave out seeds 
for planting. Had two drills of these stupid people, who are 
assembled with some difficulty. I like this little beehive of a 
house, and shall improve it, as somebody will live here off and 
on. Went out with Nubian to try for guinea-fowl. He walked 
me to death nearly. Saw three, only got one shot, bird towered 
and fell, but couldn't pick him. 

Second day without meat, but don't mind a bit, get lots of 
presents of vegetables, bread (excellent), and milk. Brought one 
cow besides. Had talk with ten or twelve Unyoro chiefs. Gave 
one doti to the six principal ones. 

23?tZ April, Suiidai/. — Two crown cranes reported about 
9.30; went out and got both, luckilj^, long way off; one not 
much hurt, and now walking about round the house. Rained hard 
all afternoon. Sorted a bagful of seeds we brought from 
Kampala. All very mouldy, and none labelled except some ; 
green peas. Planted some of them, and a few of what may 
possibly turn out to be onions. Am provided with the best of 
food by the Yugbashis. Vegetable diet not unpleasant. Made 
puddings, at least the useful Tom did, of wimbe and mehinde. 
Latter very good. 

The people from Kampala, from No. 2 Fort, ought to have 
arrived to-day, but didn't. Got seven loads potatoes for them 
from Wanyoro chiefs. 

24//i April, Monday. — Still no people from No. 2. Busy with 
these savage soldiers all the morning. Rain began at twelve, and 
went on till five, so nothing much done. Askari from Roddy 
arrived afternoon, no letter or message, but says No. 2 people 
hadn't started yesterday, and were not expecting to start. 
Roddy having gone through in a hurry on hearing report that 
Wanyamwesi had kidnapped six of Salt Lake garrison. Shall 
wait another day for news, and then go back to No. 4 for a day 
or tAVO. 

25th April, Tuesday. — No people arrived, spent day much as 


before. Planted garden seeds. Letters from Kampala. They 
start on 25tli. I am expected by 15th. Doubtful at this rate. 
Going to No. 4 to-morrow. 

26th April, Wednesday. — Started 7, arrived 1.30. Got 
guinea-fowl and a sort of curlew on the way. During the 
night more Wangamwesi have passed through to Kabarega's 
country. Wish we could catch them. Got rather bad again on 
the road ; violent headache. Can't make it out. Went to sleep 
on arriving, and lay down all afternoon. House not much 
forwarder — two rooms done, however ; very rough work. 

Sending three Nubians off with the Kibibi mail men to-morrow; 
we are to have men there on 1st and 15th of each month. 
Letters for Roddy left early this morning. 

27th April, Thursday. — Woke up at midnight by letter from 
Roddy, rather complicated one, to say refuse from Nos. 11 
and 2 arrive at 3, 26th and 27th, total 700 ! also details of 
about six different moves of soldiers. Got off Kampala letters 
early. Bimbuka of 4 to be in charge, and Yuzbasha of 3 
to go — rather short notice. Rushed over to 3 again. Awful 
afternoon with Yuzbasha's retinue, all wanting to stay for 
various reasons. Up to dark none of the leaders had come in, 
and only fifty people. Can't leave here to-morrow. 

2d>th April, Friday. — People coming in ; seen all the leaders. 
Letters from Roddy, from Kampala, arrived by native, who 
apparently has taken his time. Have decided to go on to 
Kampala with this mob. Sent letter to Salt Lake. 

Evening. — Letters from Kampala, dated 22nd, saying. Don't 
bring this crowd in — nice mess. Sent on to Salt Lake. This 
will stop me here another fortnight, looking after this wild 
mob. Shall go back to No. 4 to-morrow with half the lot, and 
camp them there. 

2%th April, Saturday. — An awful day. Started at 7, 
after talk with natives, Yuzbasha and chief men from No. 1. 
The Nubians from No. 2, 220, also started. It rained very 
heavy all the way, the path at tops of hills four inches deep and 
a torrent elsewhere. Got chilled to the bone, though walking 
fast ahead. Found two children and a girl, all very nearly 
dead, deserted by some brutes of Nubian soldiers I sent on 
yesterday. Camped these wretched people about half a mile 


from the fort, in long wet grass. Went to bed on arriving, 
under four blankets, but could not get warm. New house 
leaking pleasantly, and very damp, muddy floors. Mail men 
from Kampala off to-morrow early. 

30^/i ^pril, Sunday. — Am very seedy, pains in head, but 
hardly any fever. Also am most uncomfortable in the new 
mansion ; though unfurnished, it already swarms with rats and 
mice. Gave the owners of the two children forty each, and took 
children away — would have given them a hundred if I had known 
they stood it so well. Am quite wretched, and can only sit down 
and do nothing except record my woes ; worse to-night, rather. 

This marks the beginning of the serious attack of 
fever from which he was not to recover, and sickening 
thus he started on the march back to the capital. A 
short entry in the Diary on 7 th May runs as follows : 

Thank goodness my Shakespeare returned ; no more setting 
myself impossible algebra sums. 

And there is a singular pathos in the last two 
entries, somewhat wearily and weakly pencilled : 

KUnbi, 17th May. — Found Villiers who had come out in 
about two days to meet me — rather upset me. Brand, eggs, 

\%th May. — Came a long way; hard on my six (carriers) 
to Kaima, seventeen miles. All drowsy, painless, and almost 

Ten days later the Soudanese battalion fired the 
farewell volley over the soldier's grave at Namirembe. 









Britain has never failed to find among her sons the 
men that she has need of. Willingly they have 
always devoted their health and lives in her un- 
sparing service, welcoming the jungle bed, the desert 
j)ath, the mountain, or the wave, in the spirit of a 
summer holiday with the eager heart of the playing- 
fields of youth. And they will never fail her till she 
turns her hack on empire, and forgets the sea. In 
her luxurious country palaces, as under the humbler 
cottage thatch, they are found, with the sea-born love 
of adventure in their veins, able to command and 
ready to obey, with the same earnest sense of duty, 
just, in the main, according to their lights, brave, 
strong, and merciful. And when that call of duty 
comes, there is no moments hesitation, no ties how- 
ever dear will hold them back; whether it be to 
tropic sands, or into the winter zone, it is enough 
that their country needs them, and round the world 
they go. Such was the brood which built our island 
Empire, and became of old knights-errant of the sea, 
founders of new nations and pillars of their own. 
Such there are still ready, as every year bears 
witness at all that Empire's outposts and round the 


perilous coasts of a hundred treacherous seas. And 
such tvere these two brothers ; eagerly and with a 
frolic ivelcome they accepted this hard service, and 
leaving all that gladdens life, they gave their youth 
and the promise of their years to their country. 
Speech is vain, and sounding words seem out of 
place, therefore we do not dwell on these things, hut 
we feel them none the less, and their country is proud 
of them and ivill not forget them. 

But it is not alone of those who died and now sleep 
sound that we must think, and, ere ive close the pages 
in which we read their nnanly record, a tribute of silent 
sympathy is justly due to those that are left behind, 
who surrendered husband, son, or brother, in whose 
homes are the vacant chairs and the sorrow that does 
not pass. To these their country's love and honour 
too, for theirs was the greater sacrifice. 

What is hidden in the mists of the future we may 
not tell; ive dai^e not prophesy how soon the great 
Dark Continent will enter into light and draw the 
life-springs of the teeming Northern lands into her 
ample heart. But slowly, after the night of centuries, 
the dawn of a new sunrise is breaking into promise 
over that Godforgotten world, and the message of the 
pioneers is eagerly interpreted by hope. 

If some day on those eastern ranges a new race 
shall quicken into life, when peace and goodwill have 
supplanted internecine feuds in the child-heart of the 
savage, when the greed of the white has ceased to 
seek for profit in the damnation of the black man's 
body and soul, when the story of the slave-raider is 


only a sullen page in the past, then one would 
wish to dream maybe that, as they reap the 
harvests that are still unsotvn, men ivill speak tvith 
an almost mythic reverence of the goodly man ivho 
came in the beginning from the white Queen to give 
the country peace, and that the first traditions of a 
land which has no memory yet, may gather round 
the grave on Namirembe hill. 


Printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh 

C(x(a(o^ut of lX>otti^ 

(Btmvnl Uittvntnvt 

publfsbet) bB 




Ipttblishcr to the InVva. ©fficc 

Summari? of Contents, 

Volumes of Reminiscences - 
Works by the Dean of 

Rochester - ■ • * 
Works by Professor C. 

Lloyd Morgan 
Works by Edward Brown ■ 
Works by Rennell Rood 
Works of Fiction 
Gift Books - 



- 8 

- 9 

- 9 

- II 

History, Philosophy, etc. - 13 
International Education 

Series - ■ ■ • ^7 
General Literature - - 19 
Oriental Literature - - 21 
Books for the Young - - 23 
Children's Favourite 

Series- - - - -26 
Periodicals - - - - 27 




The Late Sir GERALD PORTAL, K.C.M.G., C.B. 

Edited, with a Memoir, by Rennell Rodd. With over Forty 
Illustrations from photographs taken by Colonel Rhodes, engraved 
from sketches by E. Whvmper, Ward R. Cheshire, and others. 

Demy 8vo., cloth, 21s. 


An Account of a Voyage in the yacht Blencathra. 


With a Preface by the Marquis of Dufferin and AvA, K.P., and 
Contributions by Captain Joseph Wiggins and Frederick G. 


With several Illustrations, demy 8vo , cloth, 15s. 


By Alfred Milner, 

Formerly Under-Secretary for Finance in Egypt. 

New and Cheaper Edition, with a prefatory chapter on Egypt in 
1894 by the Author. 

Large crown 8vo., with Map, cloth, 7s. 6d. 



Author of ' Culinary lotting^: ' Fifty Breakfasts.' etc. 

A Standard work on the management and economy of the kitchen, 
containing full directions as to the best methods of cookmg and 
serving dinners, etc, with a great variety of recipes and menus. 

Large crown 8vo., cloth, 7s. 6d. 


An Incident in the History of a Nation. 


A powerful story of Irish Life by a new Author. 

Small 8vo, elegantly bound, 3s. 6d. 

Uniform with. ' Stephen Remarx.' 


Editor of •Boys' " Chess and Draughts Corner," ' etc. 

A complete handy guide to the rules and best methods of play 
for beginners and students. A large number of carefully-selected 
games are given ; and the English, Itahan, Spamsh, Johsh, and 
Turkish forms of the game of draughts are explamed and lUus- 


A Companion Volu?ne to the Chess Pocket-Manual. 

Small 8vo., cloth, 2S. 6d. 

- ~J. -J .\ \ 


(Beneraf BUtvaiutt 




publisher to the Inbia ®fif cc. 




kcnons of W. R Le Fanu. Third Edition one vol. .^dem v 8vo iS 
With Portraits of the Author and J. Sheridan Le FanJ ' 

^^^^^^^^:^^:^^^^^l^^}^^ Nationalists no less 

^^A?to\^^^^.^°?? ^^ ^IFE AND WORK. Being the 

^ T^ Prafe'th^e'Sh'oiy""""- ^"^ ^°^- «-' '^'°''^' ^5S. With 
back ote'r herTo'rk and"the chnn^' 'flflT '" "^'^ autobiography. Miss Twining looks 



Henry Custance, Thrice Winner of the Derby. Second Edition, one 
vol., 8vo., cloth, 15s. With a photogravure frontispiece, and eight other 
full-page illustrations. 

*»* Also a large-paper edition, 21s. net. 

' An admirable sketch of turf history during a very interesting period, well and humor- 
ously written.' — Sporting Life. 

ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. Recollections of Sport, 

Society, Politics, and Farming in the Good Old Times. By J. K. Fowler, 
of Aylesbury. Second Edition, with numerous illustrations, 8vo. , los. 6d. 

*♦* Also a large-paper edition, of 200 copies only, 21s. net. 

'A very entertaining volume of reminiscences, full of good stories.' — Truth. 

THE MEMORIES OF DEAN HOLE. With the original 

illustrations from sketches by Leech and Thackeray. New Edition, 
one vol. , crown 8vo. , 6s. 

'One of the most delightful collections of reminiscences that this generation has seen." 
— Daily Chronicle. 

STUDENT AND SINGER. The Reminiscences of Charles 

Santley. New Edition, crown Bvo., cloth, 6s. 

' A treasury of delightful anecdote about artists, as well as of valuable pronouncements 
upon art.' — Globe. 


Rector of Cheltenham and Honorary Canon of Carlisle. 
POEMS OLD AND NEW. Crown 8vo., cloth, 7s. 6d. 

' Canon Bell's place among the poets will, we feel sure, be finally settled by this volume. 
In the amount of his workmanship, in the variety of it, and in the excellence of it, he 
makes a claim which will hardly be disputed for a place, not simply among occasional 
writers of poetry, but distinctly for a place among the poets.' — The Record. 



THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME, and Other Sermons. 

Crown 8vo., cloth, 5s. 
• A series of sermons which will prove a model of excellence in preaching.' — The Rock. 


(The Very Rev. S. Reynolds Hole). 


nearly forty illustrations by John Leech, including the famous steel 
frontispiece of the ' Claddagh.' Large imperial i6mo., handsomely bound, 
gilt top, los. 6d. 

' Leech's drawings comprise some of that artist's happiest work as a book illustrator.' — 
Saturday Review. 


PLATFORM, One vol. , crown 8 vo. , 6s. 

' The orator is a happy combination of the divine and the man of the world — thoroughly 
in earnest, but looking at everything with the eyes of one who knows what men are and 
what life is.' — The Globe. 

THE MEMORIES OF DEAN HOLE. With the original 

illustrations from sketches by Leech and Thackeray. Twelfth Thou- 
sand, one vol., crown 8vo. , 6s. 

' One of the most delightful books of the season.' — AthentPittn. 


With steel plate frontispiece by John Leech, Second Edition, crown 
8vo., 6s. 

' A delightful volume, full, not merely of information, but of humour and entertainment.' 

A BOOK ABOUT ROSES. Twentieth Thousand. Crown 

8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 
' -V perfectly charming book.' — Daily Telegraph. 



Principal of University College, Bristol. 


trations and a photo-etched frontispiece. Second Edition. Demy 8vo. , 
cloth, i6s. 

' The work will prove a boon to all who desire to gain a general knowledge of the 
more interesting problems of modem biology and psychology by the perusal of a single 
compact, luminous, and very readable volume.' — Dr. A. R. Wallace, in Nature. 

ANIMAL SKETCHES. With nearly forty illustrations. New 
Eklition, one vol., crown 8vo. , cloth, 3s. 6d. 

• One of the most delightful books about natural history that has come undtr 
our notice since the days of Frank Buckland.' — The Guardian. 

THE SPRINGS OF CONDUCT. Large crown 8vo., 3s. 6d. 

'The material is so well .irranged, and the views so lucidly expressed, that the work 
constitutes a most interesting epitome of modern thought upon psychology and ethics.'— 
Dr. G. J. Romanes, F.R.S., in Nature. 


Lecturer to the County Councils of Northumberland, Cumberland, Hampshire, 

Kent, etc. 


AND COTTAGERS. With fourteen full-page plates by Ludlow, 
and nearly fifty other illustrations. One vol., demy 410., cloth, 6s. 
' The most useful book of the kind ever published.'— ^ar;///«^- World. 


8vo. , cloth, 2s. 6d. 
' This handbook is as useful as it is comprehensive.' —Scotsman. 



A small handbook chiefly intended for cottagers and allotment holders. 

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farmer, but also of all cottagers throughout the country.' — Newcastle J ournal. 


POEMS IN MANY LANDS. Crown 8vo., cloth, 5s. 

' It is hardly rash to say that of the younger poets none exhibit a truer love of Nature, 
or a more intimate knowledge of her phenomena.' — Academy. 

FEDA, with other Poems, chiefly Lyrical. With an etching by 

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' The descriptive passages possess the delicacy of vision that springs only from intimate 
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THE UNKNOWN MADONNA, and Other Poems. With a 

frontispiece by W. B. Richmond, A.R.A. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 5s. 


With a frontispiece by the Marchioness of Granby. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 5s. 


With seven full-page illustrations by Tristram Ellis. Svo., cloth, 8s. 6d. 


THIS TROUBLESOME WORLD. A Novel. By the Authors 

of ' The Medicine Lady,' ' Leaves from a Doctor's Diary,' etc. In three 
vols., crown Svo. , 31s. 6d. 

'An extremely vigorous, well-constructed, and readable story. It abounds from first to 
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DAVE'S SWEETHEART. By Mary Gaunt. A Story of 

the Australian Goldfields. In two vols., crown 8vo. , 21s. 

' From the opening scene in the tin store at Deadman's Flat to the closing page we 
have no hesitation in predicting that not a word will be skipped, even by the most iias^ 
of novel-readers. ' —Spectator. 

THE TUTOR'S SECRET. (Le Secret du Prdcepteur.) 

Translated from the French of Victor Cherbuliez. One vol., crown 
8vo., cloth, 6s. 

' An admirable translation of a delightful novel. Those who have not read it in French 
must hasten to read it in English.' — Manchester Guardian. 

HARTMANN THE ANARCHIST ; op, the Doom of the 

Great City. By E. Douglas Fawcett. With si.xteen full-page and 
numerous smaller illustrations by F. T. Jane. One vol., crown 8vo., 
cloth, 3s. 6d, 

' A very remarkable story, which is supplemented by really excellent illustrations by 
Mr. F. T. ]z.n^:— World. 


W. K. Clifford, Author of ' Aunt Anne,' ' Mrs. Keith's Crime,' etc. 
One vol., crown 8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 

' One of the cleverest books that ever a woman wrote.' — Queen. 

THAT FIDDLER FELLOW : A Tale of St. Andrew's. By 

Horace G. Hutchinsx)K, Author of ' My Wife's Politics,' ' Golf,' 
'Creatures of Circumstance,' etc. Crown 8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 

'A strange history of hypnotism and crime, which will delight any lover of the grim 
and terrible.' — Guardian. 


STEPHEN REMARK. The Story of a Venture in Ethics. 
By the Hon. and Rev. James Adderley, formerly Head of the Oxford 
House, and Church Mission, Bethnal Green. Small 8vo., paper 
cover, IS. ; elegantly bound, 3s. 6d. 

' It is brilliant, humorous, pathetic, trenchantly severe, sound in intention, grand in 
idea and ideal.' — Manchester Courier. 


WINCHESTER COLLEGE, 1393—1893. Illustrated by 

Herbert Marshall. With Contributions in Prose and Verse by Old 
Wykehamists. Demy 410. , cloth, 25s. net. A few copies of the first 
edition, limited to 1,000 copies, are still to be had. 

' A noble volume, compiled by old Wykehamists, and illustrated by Herbert Marshall 
in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the oldest public school 
in England. Lord Selborne discourses eloquently on Wykeham's place in history. . . . 
" Wykeham's Conception of a Public School," by Dr. Fearon is most interesting; the 
Dean of Winchester writes of Wykeham's work in the cathedral; old traditions and 
customs are treated of by T. F. Kirby, the Rev. W. P. Smith, A. K. Cook, and others, 
v/hile the Bishop of Salisbury contributes " Hymnus Wiccamicus," and the Bishop of 
Southwell, Canon Moberley and other writers supply appropriate poetry, all the verses 
being inspired with that intense love of his old public school which distinguishes a true 
Englishman.' — Daily Telesraph. 

GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Eton — Harrow — Win- 
CHESTER — Rugby — Westminster — Marlborough — Cheltenham 
— Haileybuky — Clifton — Charterhouse. With nearly a hundred 
illustrations by the best artists. One vol., large imperial i6mo., hand- 
somely bound, 6s. Among the contributors to this volume are Mr. Max- 
well Lyte, C.B. ; the Hon. Alfred Lyttleton, Dr. Montagu Butler, Mr. P. 
Thornton, M.P. ; Mr. Lees Knowles, M. P. ; his Honour Judge Thomas 
Hughes, Q.C. ; the Earl of Selborne, Mr. H. Lee Warner, Mr^ G. R. 
Barker, Mr. A. G. Bradley, Mr. E. Scot Skirving, Rev. L. S. Milford, 
Mr. E. M. Oakley, Mr. Leonard Huxley, and Mr. Mowbray Morris. 

' No one who has been, is, or expects to be at a public school should be happy till he 
gets it.' — Westmorland Gazette. . 



London and North-Western Works at Crewe. Midland Rail- 
way Works at Derby. Great-Northern Railway Works at 
Doncaster. Great-Western Railway Works at Swindon. 
Great-Eastern Railway Works at Stratford. North-Eastern 
Railway and its Engines. North British Railway Works. 
With over one hundred illustrations. The papers are in nearly every case 
contributed by officials of the Companies, and the illustrations from official 
photographs. One vol., crown 8vo., 3s. 6d. 

'Their authors are well-known men; the essays are well written and well illustrated 
from official photographs. This interesting little work will be read with pleasure by both 
railway men and the travelling public' — Kaiiway Herald. 


October, 1892 — September, 1893. With nearly one thousand pages, and 
one thousand illustrations. Super-royal 8vo., handsomely bound, 8s. 

' Decidedly the best and most continuously readable of any volume of its class. . . . 
This volume is richer in its contents than any of those that went before, and is in the 
best way fitted to secure universal approval." — Irish Times. 


new and beautifully illustrated work, to be completed in six parts. By 
J. C. L. Sparkes, Principal of the I-Iational Art Training School, South 
Kensington, and F. W. Burbidge, Curator of the University Botanical 
Gardens, Dublin. Each part contains three or four beautiful coloured 
plates of Flowers from water-colours specially drawn for the work by 
Mr. H, G. Moon. In order to do full justice to the plates and enable the 
Flowers to be represented in their full natural size, each part is printed 
on royal quarto paper, and enclosed in a stout wrapper. Price of each 
part, 2s. 6d. Subscription to the six parts, 15s. post free. It is intended 
to publish the complete series in one volume, handsomely bound for 
presentation, in cloth gilt, price One Guinea, 

'The lithographic representations of these flowers (in Part I.) in colour are very success- 
ful, and the work promises to be an attractive as well as useful one.' — The Field. 

WINE GLASSES AND GOBLETS of the Sixteenth, Seven- 

teenth, and Eighteenth Centuries. By Albert Hartshorne. With 
many full-page plates and smaller illustrations. In course of preparation. 



Author of ' Theory of the Chess Openings,' etc. A complete handy guide 
to the rules, openings, and best methods of play. Small 8vo. , cloth, 2S. 6d. 

' Combines brevity with fulness perhaps more successfully than any similar work to be 
had.'— /"a// Mali Gazette. 

FIFTY BREAKFASTS. Containing a great variety of new 
and simple Recipes for Breakfast Dishes. By Colonel Kenney Herbert 
(' Wyvern '), Author of ' Culinary Jottings,' etc. Small 8vo., as. 6d. 

' Colonel Herbert's book is one of the best of its kind, for it is thoroughly practical from 
beginning to end.' — Speaker. 


ENGLAND IN EGYPT. By Alfred Milner, formerly 

Under-Secretary for Finance in Egypt. New Edition, crown 8vo. , with 
map, 7s. 6d. 

' .\n admirable book which should be read by those who have at heart the honour of 
England. ' — Times. 

Wi MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. By the late Sir Gerald 

H. Portal, K.C.M.G., C.B., Her Majesty's Consul-General for British 
East Africa. With photogravure portrait, map, and numerous illustrations. 
Demy Svo., 15s. 

' The dangers to which the mission was constantly exposed, and the calmness and 
courage with which they were faced, are simply and modestly recorded, whilst we obtain 
also much light as to the habits and characteristics of the Abyssinians as a nation.' — 
United Service Institution Journal. 


Lecky, D.C.L., LL.D. An Address delivered at the Midland Institute, 
reprinted with additions. Crown Svd., cloth, 2s. 6d. 

' It should be read by all students of history and political science.' — Cambridge Review. 



the Right Hon. George Joachim Goschen. Crown 8vo., cloth, as. 6d. 
'.The book is full of excellent advice attractively put.' — Speaker. 


to determine the First Principles of Metaphysics considered as an Inquiry 
into the Conditions and Import ot Consciousness. By Edward Douglas 
Fawcett. One vol., demy 8 vo., 14s. 

' We are agreeably impressed with the intellectual power and philosophical grasp of 
the author, as well as with the evidence of his high literary attainments. . . . The first 
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devoted to the criticism of materialism.' — Westtninster Gazette. 


of the Latest Lectures (at Gottingen and Berlin) of Hermann Lotze. 
Translated and edited by George T. Ladd, Professor of Philosophy in 
Yale College. About 180 pages in each volume. Crown 8vo., cloth, 4s. 
each. Vol.1. Metaphysics. Vol.11. Philosophy of Religion. Vol. III. 
Practical Philosophy. Vol. IV. Psychology. Vol. V. .(Esthetics. 
Vol. VI. Logic. 

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THE SOUL OF MAN. An Investigation of the Facts of 

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With 150 illustrative cuts and diagrams. Large crown Bvo. , cloth, 12s. 6d. 

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HOMILIES OF SCIENCE. By Dr. Paul Carus, Editor of 

The Open Court, Author of ' The Soul of Man. ' Large crown 8vo. , 
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' This book may be read with intellectual and moral profit.' — Manchester Guardian. 

TIONAL LAW. By John W. Burgess, Ph.D., LL.D., Dean of the 
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two volumes. Demy 8vo. , cloth, 25s. 

' The work is full of keen analysis and suggestive comment, and may be confidently 
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the Discussion on Early Land Tenure. By Enoch A. Bryan, A.M., 
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Veto Power : Its Origin, Development, and Function in the Government 
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By Albert Bushnell Hart, Ph.D. Demy 8vo., paper, 5s. 

BETTERMENT. Being the Law of Special Assessment for 

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County Council. By Arthur A. Baumann, B.A., Barrister-at-Law, 
formerly Member of Parliament for Peckham. Crown Svo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 

' Should be read by every ratepayer of the Metropolis.' — St. yaines's Gazette. 


for the Use of Teachers, Parents, and Governors. By Henry W. Disney, 
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' This manual should be in the hands of every schoolmaster.' -Law Journal. 


By C. A. Whitmore, M.P. Post 8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d. 
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Literary Portraits of the most prominent men of the day. Two volumes 
in the series are now ready. Crown 8vo., paper, is. each. 

_' All of these sketches are good, admirable alike for the matter and the manner in which 
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A GENERAL ASTRONOMY. By Charles A. Young, Pro- 

fessor of Astronomy in the College of New Jersey, Associate of the Royal 
Astronomical Society, Author of The Sun, etc. In one vol., 550 pages, 
with 250 illustrations, and supplemented with the necessary tables. Royal 
8vo., half morocco, 12s. 6d. 

' A grand book by a grand man. The work should become a text-hook wherever the 
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PLANT ORGANIZATION. By R. H. Ward, Professor of 

Botany in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 410., flexible boards, 4s. 
This volume consists of a synoptical review of the general structure and 
morphology of plants, clearly drawn out according to biological principles, 
fully illustrated, and accompanied by a set of blank forms to be filled in as 
exercises by the pupils. 

' The order of its arrangement, and the fulness and clearness of the printed hints and 
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Adderley.— Stephen Remarx , n 

Adler,— Instniction of Children . 18 

Amaranthe (l") . . . , 

American Philological Asso 

CIATION . . . , 

Arrowsmith.— Rigveda . 

Baumann. —Betterment 

Bell.— Poems .... 

>> Name above every Name 

Benson,— Men of Might . 

Brown. — Pleasurable Poultry 


II Poultry Keeping as 

an Industry . 
■ I Industrial Poultry 

BuRBiDGE.— Wild Flowers in Art 

and Nature . 
Burgess.— Political Science 
Carus.— Soul of Man . 

,, Homilies of Science 
Cherbuliez.— TheTutor'sSecret 10 
Children's Favourite Series . 26 
Claude.— Twilight Thoughts . 25 
Clifford.— Love Letters . . 10 
Cook.— Sidney's Defense of Poesy 20 
,. Shelley's Defence of Poetry 20 
Custance,- Riding Recollections 6 
Davidson— Handbook to Dante . 21 



Dickens, Children's . . 25 
Disney,— Law relating to School- 
masters . . , le 

English Illustrated Maga- 
zine j2 

Everett.— Ethics for Young 

People . , .24 

Fawcett.— Hartmann the Anar- 
chist , . .10 
Riddle of the Uni- 
verse , . .14 
Forum ^^ 

FowLEK.— Old County Life , 6 

Gardner.— Friends of Olden 

Time . . ^ 2-? 
GARBE—Kapila's Aphorisms . 22 
Garnett.— English Prose Selec- 
tions . , ,20 
Gaunt,— Dave's Sweetheart . 10 
Goschen.— Use of Imagination , 14 
Gossip,— Chess Manual . . 13 
Great Public Schools . . n 
Greenstreet.— Fouill&'s Educa- 
tion . . 17 

Hans Andersen.— Tales from 24 
Hartshorne. — Glasses and 

Goblets . 12 




Harvard. — Historical Mono- 
graphs . .IS 
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Herbert.— Fifty Breakfasts . 13 
Hole. — Little Tour in Ireland . 7 
,, Addresses to Working 

Men .... 7 
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,, Book about Garden . 7 

,, Book about Roses . . 7 

Hudson.— Characters of Shake- 
speare . . .19 
, , Harvard Shakespeare 19 

Hutchinson. — That Fiddler 

Fellow . . 10 

India Office Publications . 22 
International Education 
Series 17 

Johnson.— Richard II. . .24 
,, Midsummer Night's 

Dream . . .24 

Kay.— Omarah's Yaman . . 21 

Kern.— Jataka Mala . . .22 

Lamb.— Adventures of Ulysses . 24 

Lanman.— Sanskrit Reader . 21 

Latham.— Dante's Letters . . 21 

Lecky.— Value of History . . 13 

Le Fanu.— Irish Life . . .5 

Lotze.— Philosophical Outlines . 14 

' Medicine Lady, The,' authors 

of. —This Troublesome World 9 

Milner.— England in Egypt . 13 

Modern Men . . . . 15 

Morgan.— Animal Life . . 8 

Animal Sketches . 8 

Morgan.— Springs of Conduct . 8 
Morphology, Journal of . 27 
Morrison. -Historical Geography 16 

Nash. — Bare Rock . . .25 

Oman.— History of England . 24 

Payne.— Rosseau's Emile . . 17 
Perry. — Sanskrit Primer . . 22 
Philosophical Review . . 27 
Portal. — Mission to Abyssinia . 13 
Preyer. — Infant Mind . . 17 

Ransome.— Battles of Frederick 

the Great . . 23 

RoDD. — Poems .... 9 

,, Feda .... 9 

,, Unknown Madonna . 9 

,, Violet Crown . . .9 

,, Customs of Modern Greece 9 

Round the Works of our Railways 12 

Santley, — Student and Singer . 6 

ScARTAZZiNi. — Handbook to 

Dante . . 21 
ScHELLiNG. — Jonson's Timber . 20 
Sharpless.— English Education . 17 
Shelley. — Defence of Poetry . 20 
Sidney. — Defense of Poesy . . 20 
Sparkes.— Wild Flowers in Art . 12 

Tatham.— Men of Might . . 23 

Thayer. — Elizabethan Plays . 20 

Twining. — Recollections of a 

Social Worker . 5 

Whitmore. — Unionist Govern- 
ment . . .15 
Winchester College . . .11 
Young.— General Astronomy . 16 

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BinulNia ^bU I . JUL 1 1 



DT Portal, (Sir) Gerald 

433 Herbert 

•2 The British mission to 

P67 Uganda in 1893