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HUNTING AND HUNTED IN THE 
BELGIAN CONGO 







Photo by Gannon, Johann, 



THE AUTHOR. 



HUNTING AND HUNTED 



IN 



THE BELGIAN CONGO 



BY 

REGINALD DAVEY COOPER 

EDITED BY 

R. KEITH JOHNSTON 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND A MAP 



LONDON 
SMITH, ELDER & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE 

1914 

[All rights reserved) 






PRINTED BY 
WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, 
LONDON AND BECCLES. 



INTRODUCTION 

To old and young alike I trust that these pages may be 
of interest and may serve to arouse some little sympathy 
for my distant Congo friends, dusky though they be. 

My trip to that country was not undertaken solely 
for pleasure, for I have some claims to be numbered 
among the dozen or so of men who are styled " Elephant 
Hunters," of whom few, if indeed any, have worked so 
far into the Congo wilds as my friend and I in the 
course of the journey set forth in the following pages. 

I hope I may be successful in giving some idea of the 
enormous obstacles, the disappointments, and the dangers 
which daily, nay, almost hourly, confront the hunter 
and trader in the north-eastern Congo, i.e. the Lado 
Enclave and the Luele District. 

Speaking collectively of the natives in Central Africa, 
they regard us undoubtedly as a set of fools with some 
queer ideas. Why does the white man hurry ? To- 
morrow will follow to-day for certain, then why always 
hurry ? They shake their heads at the hurrying man, 
they cannot understand him, he is so utterly foreign to 
them and their natures. You might argue with them for 
weeks and months, but they would still shake their heads 
and say, " The days come one after another, they are 
all the same." It is hopeless to try and hurry a native. 
They have no account of time ; the killing of an elephant 
or the visit of the last white man will form the out- 
standing feature of their calendar until something else 

v b 2 



. 



INTRODUCTION 

equally extraordinary happens. The days are spent in 
idleness by most of the people ; the men gather in front 
of the chief's hut and discuss various topics of the 
moment. This usually takes place after the early morning 
meal of half-smoked fish, matamma (native flour), etc. 

In a brief account which appeared in the London 
papers on my return home, I stated that one of our 
greatest difficulties was the fact that it was impossible 
to rely on the published maps of the Congo. Those 
issued by the Belgians are typical of a skeleton adminis- 
tration. Scores of towns and settlements are shown, but 
few of them exist except upon paper. I searched in vain 
for many of them. No one knew where they were. 
Mountains were indicated where rivers ran. Towns 
where only groups of huts were to be found. 

The north-eastern Congo of to-day is little different 
from its condition when Stanley, Schweinfurth, and one 
or two others first entered the country. 

Something like one thousand followers accompanied 
Stanley into Central Africa. Many weary days and nights 
have I spent in traversing the plains and forests of Congo 
wilds with but three boys ! encountering the worst of 
uncivilized races, and sneaking away, under cover of 
darkness, from some hostile village or other to escape a 
furious savage onslaught. 

Many people have suggested that next time I should 
get three or four friends to go with me, and a large number 
of native followers. This would be impracticable. The 
natives are not in a position at every village to find food 
for, say, one hundred and fifty porters. Sometimes we 
had to carry food for ourselves and our porters sufficient 
to last for several days. This was always the case when 
near a Government station, for neighbouring chiefs have 
to provide constant supplies of matamma, potatoes, and 
what not for the staff and askaris, and should they fail 
to send in the necessary quantities, no matter what 

vi 



INTRODUCTION 

excuse they may offer, a body of askaris would be sent 
to investigate, and, well, I will not say any more, except 
that native troops should not be allowed to roam 
about without a responsible officer in charge ! 

To you at home in Europe it is inconceivable that 
parts of Africa are to-day as they were before the first 
white man set foot on the continent. 

The heights of snow-clad mysterious Ruwenzori 
cannot yet be reached by a funicular railway, nor can 
the great Kibali or Welle boast of Pullman cars and 
comfortable steamers such as are to be found on the 
Lower Nile. 

Long years must elapse before the average traveller 
abroad shall gaze upon the country that lies between the 
Upper Nile and the Ubhangi river. 

Various opinions have been given regarding the 
utility of the great Cape to Cairo railway. The combina- 
tion of boat and rail from Tanganyika upwards will, in 
the opinion of some people, make through traffic expensive 
because of the necessity for transhipping goods. There 
will be no through traffic, it will be local feeding for the 
nearest fine leading to the coast, or for the interchange 
of local produce. No other enterprise, commercial or 
missionary, can be so instrumental as a railway in 
striking at the root of the innumerable obstacles which 
prevent civihzation from reaching the people. Cannibal 
raids, the slave trade, and other atrocities will all vanish 
as the line with its arteries stretches north, east, and west, 
opening up the country, establishing channels into which 
trade can be directed. No amount of mission work can 
ever hope to accomplish the result seen clearly by the 
late Cecil Rhodes when he planned the line destined to 
link the Cape to Cairo. The idea that it will compete 
with the great ocean liners is absurd, but it can and will 
do for the heart of Africa what the line between Mombasa 
and Port Florence has done for British East Africa. 

vii 



INTRODUCTION 

The Congolese as I saw them were more often than 
not a cadaverous people to gaze at, bloodthirsty, and 
often enough cannibalistic, but I found that almost 
without exception they possessed a good point, which 
rarely failed to show itself, provided that they were 
treated patiently and honourably. 

The years which preceded my travels in Central Africa 
were spent in a variety of different ways and under the 
skies of many countries. 

I have been cyanide worker on the Rand gold mines, 
typist, post-master in Basutoland, learner foreman on 
the Central South African Railways, mason, saddler, 
bioscope operator, motor driver, clerk, actor, and so on 
in various parts of the world. 

I have done farm work, made coffins, assisted at 
burials and weddings, and I went through the Zulu trouble 
in 1906. More recently I have been charged by elephants 
and wounded by cannibals in ambush, and my last but 
by no means least adventure was a fight with a madman 
at sea. 

I have travelled pretty extensively in and around 
Australasia. I retain countless memories of far eastern 
temples, the tea and cinnamon gardens of Ceylon, cane 
forests, the coral strands and lagoons of southern seas, 
and Indian bazaars, whose narrow streets reek of the 
jostling motley throng garbed in multi-coloured raiment. 

Wherever I find myself I go off the highways into the 
byways, to the unbeaten track, so that my knowledge of 
the world and its people is not merely what I have seen 
from hotel steps or the interior of a sleeping car, or the 
deck of a sumptuously appointed steamer. 

Circumstances have placed me among people of 
practically every race under the sun, against whose 
shoulders I have rubbed in work and in play. 

With regard to Mission work in Africa I have little 
to say, except that I hold a decided opinion that the 

viii 



INTRODUCTION 

native should be taught to become a useful industrial 
worker, to till the soil and to absorb such education as 
will assist him to become a real asset to the country 
wherein he lives. This is far more important for his own 
welfare than learning to wear European clothes, chant 
hymns, and write essays, such as we often see executed 
by the finished " article." 

The Belgians treat their natives like vermin ; the 
British official, on the other hand, makes fools of them. 

With regard to the reported atrocities in the Congo, 
I regret that as I have not come into contact with the 
Belgian authorities on many occasions, I have not been 
able to study this matter as I would like to have done. 
One thing struck me, however, and that was the very 
sparse population in the country where we travelled, 
and from accounts obtained from various village headmen 
I understand that sleeping-sickness, small-pox, and other 
diseases are not alone accountable for this state of affairs, 
and judging by accounts given me by men who had 
penetrated through the far west and south-west of the 
Luele district, and had reached the Nile close by Soudanese 
territory, I should say the administration of the Belgians 
is terribly unjust and cruel. 

I was told of one European who thought he had struck 
a brilliant idea when in search for elephants minus a 
passport. He entered the Congo and succeeded in travel- 
ling for many days in the guise of a photographer with a 
stand camera. His scheme was short-lived, however, for 
the authorities came across him and took greater exception 
to the camera than to his guns. Of course the camera 
faithfully portrays occurrences, the revelation of which 
might be unpleasant to those responsible for certain 
little incidents in the administration of the country ! 

That the Belgians are hated and feared I had proof 
in abundance, for often when within hailing distance of 
a village, the people, on seeing our white faces approaching 

ix 



INTRODUCTION 

would rend the stillness around with frenzied shouts, 
and whistling alarm signals, and in a second the whole 
population would fly pell-mell into the cover of forest 
bush and grass. Sometimes as many as six hundred 
people would become panic-stricken at our approach, 
clouds of dust would rise up, dogs would bark, and 
children howl with fright like their elders ; the weak 
would fall and be trodden down by the press behind, 
spears, bows, knives, quivers, and what not, all would 
be left ; they heeded nothing so long as they could reach 
the cover that they sought. 

In isolated cases some of the people had never before 
seen a white face, and this alone would account for such 
behaviour ; but it was significant that after Salem, our 
man who marched in front of the expedition, had dis- 
carded an old Belgian jersey — blue, with a yellow star 
on the front — the people seldom resented our approach 
or exhibited any signs of fear. 

In the eyes of the Congolese, a gun is a very terrible 
thing, and most of them took it for granted that we 
were seeking two-legged and not four-legged game. 

The people, when left alone, are supremely happy in 
their own peculiar way. Gold is not yet their god as it 
is fast becoming ours. Heathen they may be, yet it is 
a mistake to think that the Fetish worshipper is beyond 
the pale of justice and pity and that the Cross can do 
no wrong. When I see in the papers such headlines as 
" Terrible retribution," " The floodgates of battle were 
opened," " Human abattoirs," etc., and watch a Christian 
world gloating over such inglorious victories against a 
people whose sole crime is the love they have for their 
homes, whether by forest, desert, or plain, I am inclined 
to think that Christ is to us but a name and not yet a 
power. Christianity must be getting lower and lower. 

This is hardly the place to set down my stories of 
campaign and native war in Southern Africa. Or of the 

x 



INTRODUCTION 

Insuzi valley, Mome Gorge, Cetewayo's grave, and the 
" impis " that we watched gathering around the N'khan- 
dlha forest, the loss of the searchlight, and the finding of 
what was believed to be Bambata's head in the gorge. 

I could easily fill another volume with anecdotes and 
reminiscences from various chapters of my roving career. 

A fire at sea is anything but a pleasant experience, 
and I for one have no wish for a second taste. 

The life of a rolling stone, as I have known it, is always 
a glorious uncertainty, up one day and down the next ; 
but I do not advise any one to try it, for in the long run 
the game is unprofitable financially, and you must be 
extremely versatile, able to adapt yourself to all grades 
of society, and willing to accept cheerfully whatever may 
come your way. Drive an ox team to-day and play 
Shakespeare to-morrow. At all times remember that 
your pocket is your truest friend, always keep smiling, 
be ready to do anything, go anywhere, face any danger, 
and be careful with whom you chum up. Acquaintances 
and friends are two vastly different types of people. 

To roam around the world is all right for a youngster 
in his early twenties ; it is, in fact, the most liberal 
education of all, you learn something of humanity, 
become self-reliant, and judge with broad views the 
world around you, its social and other problems ; but 
sooner or later the time must come to settle down to 
something definite. 

People have often told me that had I settled down 
at first when leaving school I could have been this or that 
by now ; but if I had those ten years over again I would 
do precisely the same as I have done. The lesson has 
been hard at times, I admit, but certain I am that it has 
been thorough, and the experience gained will always 
prove invaluable in after life. 

Some scenes there are, trivial enough in themselves, 
perhaps, but which stand out in sharp relief as we gaze 

xi 



INTRODUCTION 

dreamily down the long vistas of our past, long ago 
vanished from our mental sight or faded in the haze of 
days gone by ; but here and there an event, a sensation, 
or a scene will rise up in front of us as though we had but 
that moment experienced it, and so it is now that I am 
standing once again on a hill, watching the sunset and 
its glory of colours fade away : and then, from the tent 
door where I sit — pulling at the old trusty briar — seeking 
comfort from " My Lady Nicotine," looking over the 
millions of trees in the forest below, which bend their 
heads weeping to the restless sigh of the wind, thus I 
gaze away to the east, watching for the sky to lighten 
and proclaim the coming of a great blood-red moon which 
shall climb into the heavens from behind the mountains 
far beyond which are the shimmering silent waters of old 
Mother Nile, flowing away to the north like a stream of 
molten lead. 

From below comes the low growl of a prowling beast, 
which startles the solitary night bird on yonder branch, 
and sends it flitting away with a hoarse croak into the 
uncertain shadows beyond. 

The distant heavens gradually lighten, and the huge 
glowing mass of red climbs rapidly upward amidst a 
myriad of stars which seem to mock the darkness below, 
for up to now, across the face of the orb, have lain hori- 
zontal bars of cloud, six in number, giving it the appear- 
ance of a huge Chinese lantern ; slowly, however, they 
drift away, and the country appears bright and sharp 
under a sea of silver light. Mosquitoes buzz, insects 
drone, and borne on the breeze from afar come the sounds 
of tapping drums and weird song from a village under 
yonder knoll beside which can be seen the fitful glare of 
camp fires and curling wind-driven columns of smoke. 

And so in that mysterious unknown country you learn 
to appreciate something of wild, undisturbed nature and 
those equally wild, savage-looking people. 

xii 



INTRODUCTION 

You have for the time being left the outer world 
behind, London and the Mall are but half forgotten 
memories. Theatres, taxis, and the hypocrisy of civili- 
zation are left behind, while you probe the unknown 
depths of the wilds to revel in the mystery of the forests, 
fields, and plains in Darkest Africa. 

Until you have seen it all as I have seen it you cannot 
realize what strange corners there are in this world of ours, 
lands where Ghost Kings dwell, and the dreams of boyish 
youth are realized to the full. Cannibals and so forth, 
they have all come true at last, lions, snakes, leopards, 
elephants, witch doctors, real bows and arrows, yes, it 
has all been very wonderful ; but time brings its changes, 
and some day I suppose those quaintly constructed homes 
of the savages must give way to the oncoming tide of 
civilization, poverty, struggle, storm, and strife ; the 
forests that hitherto have remained almost impenetrable, 
the silent, deep-flowing rivers, will all cease to wear 
that air of romance and mystery. 

The grandeur and glory of one of nature's greatest 
shrines will fade, then the country will become but another 
" Tom Tiddler's " ground. The people that have dwelt 
there from time immemorial will be but pawns on the 
chessboard of Christianity's ambition. The strong must 
win, and the weak shall fall. 

The black, we are told, can never be the white man's 
equal. I agree fully with this, but there is room under 
the sun for all, and I, in common with many others, see 
in the " nigger " more good points than bad. In the great 
beyond there is to be no distinction of class, and I am 
inclined to believe there is to be no distinction of colour. 

I am not one of those who worship and adore the black 
man, any more than I agree with those who would exter- 
minate him, but I do believe in justice and fair play to 
the coloured races, whom an Unseen Power has thought 
fit to place under us in this world of ours. 

xiii 



INTRODUCTION 

To the white races this great responsibility has been 
entrusted. Shall the work of Christianity be carried 
through with unstained hands or with guilty red ones ? 

As it has been carried on so far the work is no credit 
to the pages of nineteenth and twentieth century history. 

Time alone can prove, and the moral responsibility 
rests not alone with us to-day, but with the next few 
generations to come. 

R. D. C. 



xiv 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 

I. Reaching our Rendezvous 

II. Our Safari . 

III. "Jambo, Bwana" . 

IV. The Albert Nyanza 

V. "Posho" 

VI. Through Elephant Grass and Water 
VII. Hartebeeste and Water-buck 

VIII. Elephant and Hippopotamus 

IX. A Free Fight 

X. The Lado Enclave 

XI. Uncanny Cookery 

XII. Three Lions and no Rifle 

XIII. A Terrible Day's March 

XIV. Amateur Surgeons 
XV. A Camp among Cannibals 

XVI. A Stampede of Elephants 

XVII. How we Cured the Chief 

XVIII. An Escape in the Dark 

XIX. A Skirmish with Cannibals 

XX. Farewell to the Congo 

XXI. A Plea for the Savage 

Index .... 



PAGE 
V 

I 

12 

20 

45 

ss 

7 2 

83 

95 

106 

118 

'3 1 
146 

159 
172 
186 
198 
212 
225 
=3S 
2 5' 

261 



xv 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PACB 

The Author Frontispiece 

Masai Warriors 2 

Bullock Cart and Gharri 4 

The Fruit-Market, Dar-es-Salaam 6 

An Embankment on the Uganda Railway .... 8 

Lion Shot by the Author near Nairobi 10 

Kavirondo Natives at Station on the Uganda Railway . 10 

Women at the Village Pump 16 

A "Fort" in British East Africa 22 

"Nine Feet Six" 42 

Zanzibar from the Sea 46 

Bush Buck 58 

A Native Village 60 

Natives of British East Africa 66 

"A Fine Old Cow" 82 

Trestle Bridge, Uganda Railway 84 

An Eland — the Largest of the Antelopes .... 98 

"An Old Bull Rhino" 100 

A Group of East African Children 116 

A Fallen King 138 

The Wart Hog 140 

Native Doctor and Attendant 210 

A Chief and his Body-guard 220 

A Company of Spearmen 232 

A Congo Warrior 240 

Giraffe, British East Africa 254 

Sketch-Map At end of text 

xvii 



CHAPTER I 

REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

One day in the early part of June, 1910, the express 
train from Johannesburg landed me at the pretty little 
station of Delagoa Bay or Lourenco Marques, in Portu- 
guese East Africa, a place in which I found nothing worthy 
of special remark, with the possible exception of the 
pavements, Polana beach, and the Portuguese policemen. 

The first-named are decorated with small coloured 
pebbles, laid out in designs as striking as various. 

The beautiful Polana beach is well worth visiting. 

I cannot say that I admired the police, but neverthe- 
less they certainly impressed me, for a more Gilbertian 
body of men I have never seen, undersized, slovenly and 
strongly addicted to holding up street corners, lounging 
against shop fronts, constantly smoking cigarettes, and 
toying with the huge swords that dangle by their sides. 

I spent two days here waiting for the boat to take me 
northward to Mombasa, and on the third morning stood 
on the promenade deck of the Adolph Woermann of the 
Deutsche Ost-Africa Linie, a fine twin-screw boat of some 
seven thousand tons. 

The journey up to Mombasa merits brief description. 

Beira was our first port of call, and there is no doubt 
this will be the port for Rhodesia in the near future. 

Chinde, at one of the many mouths of the Zambesi 
River, came next, and here the little bar steamer Kadett 
came bobbing out to us as we lay at anchor a few miles 
from the shore, to bring us a few bronzed-faced passengers. 

r b 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Then, northward ho ! for Mozambique, which we reached 
without incident. Our stay here was limited to a 
few short hours, which I rather regretted, for this old 
centre of the slave trade is brimful of interest. There is 
an ancient fort, with a fine old gateway and an obsolete 
battery of muzzle-loading guns that crown all and pretend 
to guard the harbour entrance. The queer old dhows, 
that now do duty as lighters, grim relics of the past, 
with their towering richly carved poops and forward 
raking masts, by themselves lend to the place an old- 
world atmosphere which at once impresses the stranger 
who visits it for the first time. 

While here we dragged our anchor with the turn of 
the tide and swung round and crashed into a large Portu- 
guese troopship, the Lusitania — since wrecked off the Cape 
of Good Hope — catching her right amidships with our 
stern. Our officers and crew were all engaged with the 
cargo and no one appeared to be on duty, but fortu- 
nately one of the passengers and I were watching the cargo 
being slung aboard, and gave the alarm in time for the 
rope fenders to be put out from our craft. 

At Zanzibar another fellow and I, with a Swahili 
boy, who rejoiced in the name of George Washington, as 
guide, explored the Bazaar for ice cream, and after walking 
for miles through a maze of winding closely-built streets 
or passages that reeked of the lower-class Indian com- 
munity, we succeeded in obtaining the object of our search. 
We bought the ice-bucket full and ate it in the street, 
seated at a little table on the pavement, outside the shop. 

Wireless telegraphy, with which the ship was equipped, 
formed one of the features of the trip, and kept us in 
touch with the world. After calling at Dar-es-Salaam 
and Tanga, we headed for Kilindini, on the south side 
of the island of Mombasa. The trip from Delagoa Bay 
had occupied eleven days, and for an interesting sea trip 
it is hard to beat. 

2 



REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

One thing strikes the traveller in these parts, and 
that is the English shipping companies have been slow 
in recognizing the volume of trade on this coast, which 
the Germans, having once succeeded in getting, will 
continue for many reasons to hold for some years to 
come. How many English passenger and cargo boats 
on the east coast can boast of half a dozen men with a 
knowledge of German, Swahili, or Portuguese ? Board 
any German boat you may see running up the coast, 
that boat caters for the different nationalities met with 
up the east coast. It is much nicer for the German to 
travel on a boat where he can be understood, can mix 
with the people and will not be regarded as a fool because 
he cannot speak English. Our people are the fools for not 
seeing that in every case the purser, at least, should be able 
to converse with the people, as he is supposed to do, and 
not strut about the first-class deck trying to look pretty. 
Another thing that strikes all Englishmen unpleasantly 
is that the Germans are bringing out railway material 
for British contracts on British boats under the German 
flag. At Beira I was standing on the deck chatting 
with one of the officers when a large 10,000-ton ship 
came into port, and as she passed us I noticed that 
although she was an English ship and belonged to an 
English company, she was flying the German ensign. I 
felt a lump in my throat, a tinge of shame shot through 
me when the German officer called my attention to the fact 
that material made in our own country was brought out 
by Germans on a boat hired from us. This was not an 
isolated case, for during the next few days several other 
British ships, flying the German ensign, came into Beira. 
The Germans are nothing if not enterprising, they have 
been running right round Africa for years. In and around 
East Africa they have come to stay, and it will be some 
years before we recover the trade which we have allowed 
to run through our fingers or even an appreciable portion 

3 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

of it. Thanks to the Union Castle Company, who in 
the latter part of igio ran the Gnelph to the east coast, 
we can at last boast of being on a level with the Germans, 
inasmuch as we have now a regular service of passenger 
steamers running right round Africa. It is to be hoped that 
the Castle Company will receive not only the encourage- 
ment of the travelling public, but material assistance 
from the Imperial Government, similar to that enjoyed 
by many foreign lines. 

A brief description of how, after landing at Kilindini 
on the south side of the island, one reaches Mombasa 
town about one and a half miles away, on the north side, 
may not be amiss. A trolley or " gharri " is requisi- 
tioned for the journey. The gharris are covered in with 
a neat little awning, and run on a miniature rail track 
of about eighteen inches gauge, natives supplying the 
motive power. The average vehicle carries four people. 
It is a delightful run to the town : tropical vegetation, 
grand old trees, which long years ago frowned down on 
the tumult of Gallas, Portuguese and others who have 
figured in the history of Mombasa since the early days. 
Away we sped down the lovely avenue, with its gorgeous 
wealth of foliage that reminded me of far-away Ceylon. 
Arabs, Mohammedans, Swahilis, and Goanese ; dusky 
maidens, bicycles, rickshas with their chanty boys, the 
one in the shafts singing a few lines, and then the two 
pushing behind joining in with a low drone. Along came a 
native cart drawn by a camel, dark-skinned people flitted 
by in turbans and fezzes, some on wheels and others 
walking, arrayed in khanzas of coloured silks or calico. 
The khanza is a sort of robe reaching down to the ankles. 
Many had only a blanket thrown over the shoulder, beads, 
wire bangles, huge earrings, and the usual paraphernalia 
to be found on natives, who are just emerging from the 
old life into the dawn of civilization. 

We passed the little police-station on the right-hand 

4 




V 










REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

side of the road close to the railway bridge. The native 
" officer " on duty with rifle came to the salute as we 
passed. A native girl, carrying an earthenware jar on 
her head, with fresh green leaves stuffed into the neck 
of the vessel, was arrayed in a gaily coloured cloth that 
hung round her waist, beads and wire bangles adorned 
her neck and arms, she stood aside as the gharri flitted 
by and shouted some pleasantry to our boys, who laughed 
in return to her sally, and began to sing something, in 
which the word " Beebe " (girl) figured every now and 
again. 

It would need a cleverer pen than mine to describe 
the charm of a run on a gharri down the avenue at 
Mombasa, a cloudless sky overhead. 

Perspiring natives chant weird songs as they run, 
pushing our gharri. Curious-looking folk from Zanzibar, 
the Persian Gulf, or India, their brightly coloured garments 
contrasting vividly with the more sombre clothing of 
the few European visitors, pass in continuous procession 
on either side of the way, which is bordered with luxuriant 
growth of palms, mangoes, and other fruit strange to 
Western eyes. 

Picturesque bungalows nestle half revealed and half 
concealed among the gorgeous vegetation. 

During my stay here I visited the Memorial Cathedral, 
on whose walls are to be found brass tablets bearing 
the names of pioneers of Empire who helped to open up 
East Africa and Uganda in days gone by — missionaries, 
bishops, soldiers, and others, struck down by fever, 
murdered, or mauled to death by lions. 

My train left on the Wednesday morning, about 
eleven a.m., running past Kilindini and over the Salisbury 
bridge, a very fine structure some 1700 feet in length, 
which connects the island with the mainland. Shortly 
after crossing this we reached the station of Changamwe, 
six miles up the line. On the platform there was a 

5 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

chattering crowd of fruit vendors selling the produce of 
the surrounding plantations. From here we got a lovely 
view of Port Reitz and the Shimba Hills. We now 
entered on our trip through Nature's zoo, steadily 
rising to Voi, 1830 feet above sea-level, whence one can 
generally obtain a glimpse of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, 
19,000 feet high, away on the German frontier. 

Our next station was Tsavo, where during the railway 
construction days the man-eating lions played havoc 
among the coolies. We have seen game nearly all the 
way from the coast, close to the train ; ostriches, gazelle, 
zebra, blue wildebeeste, hyamas, giraffes, jackals, lions, 
and rhinoceros are all living here. Far away in the sky 
vultures hover over the carcass of some animal that the 
king of beasts has recently struck down. It is, indeed, 
a marvellous trip, one that no period of time can easily 
efface from the memory. Every now and then the 
engine whistle shrieked as a bunch of zebra or gazelle 
stood on the permanent way not more than fifty feet from 
the cow-catcher, kicking their heels in the air. Impala 
frequently stood on the track, and only made off when 
the engine was well-nigh on top of them. 

At one of the railway stations where there was a 
refreshment-room I overheard the following conversation 
between a young Dutch settler and the man in charge 
of the catering department. The Dutchman said, " Have 
you any cigarettes ? " " Yes ! " replied the man. ; ' Then 
please to give for me one ounce of tobacco." Then he 
remembered that the vrouw (wife) and child might also 
require some refreshment, and asked, " Please to give 
me some lemonade — no stay, I will have beer." ' We 
have no beer," replied the man. " Very well," said the 
other, " I will have one cups of tea and two cup of 
coffee." 

Next morning we ran down the slope from Athi river 
into Nairobi, a distance of sixteen miles, and entered 

6 



REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

Nairobi station. The distance from Mombasa is 327 
miles, and the journey takes just twenty-four hours, 
including waits at stations, such as Voi, for meals. 
Nairobi is 5450 feet above sea-level. At the time of my 
visit (1910) the town was still in the tin shanty stage. 
The post-office, treasury, Norfolk and Stanley Hotels, 
stood out as the leading buildings of the town. There 
is a good racecourse, golf links, club, and town hall. 

At Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga, in German East Africa, 
I was particularly struck with the solidity of the buildings, 
municipal and otherwise, for this is not often met with in 
British East Africa. Good stone buildings with red-tiled 
roofs have the effect of making a country look prosperous. 
The}* speak of a people that have come to stay, while the 
corrugated iron or " tin shanty " settlement lacks sadly 
the air of soundness in the country ; everything seems 
to be temporary, as though our motto were " Make as 
much as you can in as short a time as possible, then 
clear." There has always been that feeling in South 
Africa. Prominent men there have said from time to 
time that people come there with the sole idea of making 
their money in the country and then leaving to spend 
it elsewhere. This is undoubtedly the case with the 
large majority ; there are very few towns in South Africa 
that have any outward signs of homeliness about them, 
everywhere there is the same monotonous stretch of 
corrugated iron and wire, everything has the " here to-day, 
gone to-morrow," appearance. 

I stayed at Nairobi for a short time, meeting several 
old friends and making new ones, and arranging the trip 
which I am about to describe. I was disgusted to find 
so many little " cliques " in Nairobi. I have been in 
dozens of places in the Colonies, and it is noticeable in 
every case that certain people from home cannot or will 
not adapt themselves to their new surroundings. For 
instance, the married couple who arrive and grudgingly 

7 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

admit that the country is " tolerable," " but the whole 
thing is dreadful after our large house at home, where 
we always kept our four servants, horses, motor car," 
and so forth, and yet these people have come out to Africa 
to live on the 200.00 rupees that the husband earns 
per month. Why did they leave their luxurious sur- 
roundings ? 

The settlers in British East Africa are the finest 
fellows one can meet, and the country is very fortunate 
in having such a class of men to open it up. I spent 
a very enjoyable afternoon looking over Messrs. Newland, 
Tarlton, and Co.'s showrooms and stores, where we 
obtained some very useful material for our trip. There 
was a football match one Saturday afternoon, at which 
Sir Percy Girouard, the deservedly popular Governor, 
was present, and I was impressed by the enterprise of 
a local photographer, who was perched on the roof of a 
small shanty overlooking the field busily engaged taking 
a bioscope picture of the game. Your African native 
male and female is nothing if not a keen sport. Large 
numbers of them were standing round taking a great 
interest in the game, chattering gaily, one group watching 
the bioscope man open-mouthed as every now and then 
he turned the handle of his instrument. They had seen 
cameras before, but the handle on this one gave rise to 
great speculation, one of them suggested that it was a 
gun, and pointed to a player who had been charged over 
in the game ; a roar of laughter greeted this and the 
many remarks that followed. 

1 thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Nairobi, and received 
the greatest kindness from all with whom I came in 
contact. My friend went ahead of me some seven days 
to get things ready and engage porters at Kampala. 
The races were on in Nairobi during my last week, and 
I still retain very pleasant memories of that time, in- 
cluding an excellent programme of music played by the 

8 



REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

fine native band of the King's African Rifles. They 
reflect the very greatest credit on those who trained 
them. 

There were several old friends whom I had known 
in South Africa, who were all unanimous in praising the 
prospects for settlers in East Africa, more especially 
around the highlands, the Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, and 
Naivasha. 

Once or twice from the hill in the early morning 1 
was able to see Kilimanjaro with the naked eye, quite 
plainly, and Mount Kenia, although a hundred miles 
away, on a clear day appears quite close. Some twenty- 
five miles from Nairobi, on the line to the lake, we come 
to Limoru, then we climb through a fine piece of forest 
country to the Kikuyu escarpment, 7380 feet above 
sea-level. From here we obtain a really magnificent 
view, for we are looking 2000 feet down into the great 
Rift Valley, which, it is said, can be traced from the 
Zambesi to Palestine. At this spot it reaches its finest 
development. The volcanic cones of Mount Longonot 
and Suswa form a fitting background to this truly remark- 
able picture. From Escarpment station we descend 
along the side of the hills to Kijabe, through seven miles 
of forest country, over imposing steel viaducts. Kijabe 
is half way on the descent to the valley, and rattling along 
at a very good pace for a three feet three inches gauge 
railway, the train shortly runs through a piece of bush 
country into Naivasha station. There are plenty of 
elephants, hippopotamus, buck, gazelle, antelope, wild- 
fowl, duck, etc., to be found around here. Leaving 
Naivasha and passing through Gil-Gil and Elmenteita, 
where the East African Syndicate, Lord Delamere, 
Captain E. S. Grogan and others have large farming 
interests, we reach Nakuru in time for a good hot dinner 
at the Nakuru Hotel. 

On leaving here after a smoke and chat, I decided 

9 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

to turn in, and prepared for a cold night passing over the 
Mau Summit. It is always as well to wrap up warmly 
for this stage of the journey. On the Mau Summit, 
8350 feet above sea-level, a pillar marks the highest spot 
on the Uganda railway. I awoke early in the morning, 
to find that it was bitterly cold, several things had fallen 
off the bed, and I was shivering. At Londiani, 500 
miles from Mombasa, I saw several old trek waggons 
brought from South Africa by the Africanders, of whom 
there are now great numbers taking up land around the 
Uasin Gishu. The Government station at Eldama Ravine 
can be reached from Londiani station. 

About eight o'clock in the morning after leaving 
Nairobi, we arrived at Port Florence, on the Victoria 
Nyanza, the altitude here being only 3650 feet. The 
train runs first into Port Florence station, and then down 
to the wharf alongside which the fine twin-screw steamer, 
Clement Hill, is berthed. On the wharves are very fine 
iron goods sheds, through which the baggage trucks can 
be run, as in the huge quay-side sheds at Southampton. 
Our train, however, was drawn up alongside the ship 
itself within a few feet of the wharf edge. 

It was a lovely Sunday morning ; the Great Gulf of 
Kavirondo lay stretched out before us. Overhead a 
cloudless sky, with the great sun slowly climbing up from 
the east, throwing its powerful rays across the silent 
shimmering waters, from which I saw many fish jump. 
A curious native craft with sail up and tiny fluttering 
pennant skimmed gracefully by, the Kisumu boy aboard 
sitting astern, crooning to himself and staring at a 
beautiful Kavirondo crane which flew away westwards. 
Two other steamers, both about 500 tons, lay close 
by, waiting for their next trips. On the wharf side 
where we stood, a bustling mob of natives singing and 
shouting were engaged in getting the last of the cargo 
aboard our steamer ; trim European officers in white 

10 




LION silol BY THE AUTHOR NEAR NAIROBI. 




KAVIRONDO will' .il<>\ on 1111. UGANDA RAILWAY. 



REACHING OUR RENDEZVOUS 

drill with sun helmets and deep tanned faces supervised 
the operations with that quiet but firm way characteristic 
of the officers of the Royal Navy. 

A tiny monkey gambolled on the for'ard deck amidst 
a party of drowsy Indians. Aloft in the morning breeze 
the Blue Peter flapped merrily, showing that we should 
be leaving that day. The Clement Hill, 750 tons burthen, 
Captain Gray, R.N.R., is fitted with triple expansion 
engines and twin screws. A fine promenade deck covered 
with double awnings runs the whole length of the ship. 
On the after part there is a capital lounge very comfort- 
ably upholstered, wherein one may read, write, or smoke 
at leisure. On the walls there are weather glasses and 
large charts of the lake. A wide staircase leads from the 
lounge down to the cabins, where on turning aft we 
enter the commodious dining saloon, which would do 
credit to many of the large ocean-going liners. There is 
a capital library, with seating accommodation for about 
two dozen passengers at the tables. The cabins, bath- 
rooms, and lavatories are all one could desire for comfort 
and convenience, and are furnished in excellent taste. 
Above all, everything is scrupulously clean. Goanese 
stewards clad in white move silently about, tending to 
the comfort of the passengers. The engineers have very 
cosy quarters, and are justly proud of showing one the 
many interesting details of the engine-room. 

As I ascended to the deck again a group of army 
officers from South Africa, spending a holiday in East 
Africa, were being photographed on the wharf. 



11 



CHAPTER II 

OUR SAFARI 

At eleven a.m. the syren sounded, gangways were 
removed, hawsers cast adrift, and to the steady thumping 
of the screws we drew away from the shore. Mr. Fleisher, 
an elephant hunter and slayer of big game, was travelling 
with us en route for Uganda. Mr. Sydney Pearson, a 
visitor to the country, one of the keenest sportsmen 
extant, also added to the pleasures of the trip. Twelve 
months ago polar bears were dropping to his gun, now he 
was following the trails of Central Africa. Although 
only three months in the country, Mr. Pearson had already 
to his credit a heavy bag of game, both large and small. 
He had secured a magnificent specimen of a black-maned 
lion, equalling that shot by Captain Cowie, which now 
adorns the billiard-room at his Nairobi residence. 

Swahili sailors have a curious preference for a ship 
on which they get an occasional spell of drill, they will 
even work for a lower wage, in order to be drilled, for 
those queer people dearly love drilling. My " syce " 
(mule boy) was mighty proud of a smattering of the words 
of command, and frequently tried to imbue the whole 
Safari (expedition) with a similar feeling of soldiering. 

The trip across the lake to Entebbe and Kampala 
was very enjoyable. There were only five or six of us 
passengers, making a very pleasant little party. At 
night, according to custom, and in view of floating islands, 
we anchored at ten p.m., remaining stationary until the 

12 



OUR SAFARI 

following morning at five a.m., when we again started 
ahead. Incredible as it may seem to many who do or 
do not know the lake, I must own to having felt a slight 
sensation of mal-de-mer, for during the evening a gentle 
breeze had sprung up after we had left the gulf and entered 
the lake itself, making the vessel pitch rather heavily, 
and although I have travelled some thousands of miles at 
sea, it takes very little to upset me. 

The lake is something like 26,500 square miles in area, 
and if you happen to get in a stiff breeze, it is possible 
to enjoy the motion of a boat in a choppy sea in the Bay. 
I am told that a gale on the lake is something to witness, 
for huge seas sometimes get up during a big storm, worthv 
of the great Australian Bight. The lake is studded with 
numerous islands, from which the Government have 
removed the inhabitants, owing to the terrible ravages 
of the dreaded sleeping-sickness. It seemed hard to 
believe that these beautiful shores, with soft green grass 
and a wealth of trees, were sheltering death in its most 
terrible form. In years gone by, peaceful villages stood 
nestled amidst the foliage. From the wooded banks 
below, quaint canoes made of planks and fibre darted 
across every cove or creek. Everywhere one found a 
laughing, fearless people, as wild as their surroundings. 
Alas ! now the hush of death has fallen over the islands. 
The very birds seem to shun the smiling grassy slopes 
and sheltering trees. No longer the thin blue columns 
of smoke curl heavenwards from the camp fires. The 
deep notes of native drums rolling away far into the 
distance, sending their message across the dark moonlit 
waters, are heard no more. Reluctantly the people have 
left their homes, driven out by that most terrible of 
insect scourges, the Tsetse Fly. Fish, water birds, croco- 
diles, are all shunned as food. Everything is left to its 
own. King Tsetse reigns supreme. 

We reached Entebbe at midday on Monday. Here, 

13 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

again, a splendid wharf has been erected with ample 
shedding accommodation and steamers can come along- 
side, so that the inconvenient landing in canoes or boats 
is no longer necessary. 

Entebbe, the seat of the Government and headquarters 
of the administration for the Uganda Protectorate, is, 
in the opinion of most people, an exceedingly pretty little 
place. As one climbs up the road, lined on each side with 
fine old trees, one comes quickly to the little town on the 
hillside. From certain points in the town, perfect views 
of the great lake stretched at our feet can be obtained. 
I suppose that, next to the Governor, the best known 
man in Uganda is Mr. Albert Edward Bertie Smith. I 
first met Mr. Smith in his famous private Museum of 
Curiosities, collected from all parts of Central Africa. 
He has spent many years in the country, and I recommend 
any one visiting Entebbe who is desirous of spending 
a very enjoyable hour, to look in and see Mr Smith, 
for he is always pleased to show visitors over his place 
and to give them much valuable information regarding 
the country and its resources. It was at Entebbe that 
I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Doctor 
Rendle, who was busy superintending the packing up 
of his household effects prior to proceeding to Nimule, 
via Jinja. We left Entebbe the following morning, 
Tuesday, and after some five hours' steaming, reached 

Kampala Port, where I landed. P had come down 

to meet me, and after passing through the offices of the 
Port authorities a number of cases containing stores, etc., 
we proceeded by ricksha to Kampala Town, seven miles 
away. The greater part of the road is cut through tall 
elephant grass. The journey occupied close upon an 
hour, the ricksha boys singing chanties all the time and 
perspiring freely. 

The Cathedral of Saint Paul at Nairembe Hill stood 
out as we entered the main street, and drew up at the 

14 



OUR SAFARI 

headquarters of the British Trading Company, in whose 
hands we had placed the organizing of our safari. Our 
tents were pitched close to the residence of Mr. M. Moses, 
the popular manager of the B.T.C., and a large number of 
our porters were camped close by. 

That day I changed from my ordinary clothes to 
safari gear. Thick helmet, khaki flannel shirt, with 
pockets, short knickerbockers, and puttees. Many people 
make a great mistake in travelling in heavy boots ; 
certainly one requires strong footwear, but to have 
heavy boots is a fatal mistake. It is always as well to 
have the soles spiked, for it is often necessary to rely 
on fleetness of foot, and without spikes one cannot make 
headway on the dry slippery grass. 

Passing through a certain town in British East Africa 
on the down trip I saw one or two men — not children — 
resplendent in an exaggerated rig-out that resembled 
something between a Boy Scout and a Cow Puncher. 
Knives, revolvers, and other cumbersome accoutrements 
entered largely into the scheme. My friends informed 
me that they were living close by — not far from hotels — 
and had just arrived from the old country. I thought 
thev had escaped from a Wild West show ! These white 
men were all right to look at on the stage, but rather out 
of place in British East Africa. 

That evening we had a most enjoyable time with Mr. 
Moses. I met Bishop Hanlon, of the Roman Catholic 
Mission, on Nysambya Hill. 

Next dav I had an opportunity of seeing their rubber 
and coffee plantations, of which the Fathers are naturally 
proud, and they are always pleased to show them to 
visitors. I consider that the Roman Catholic Mission 
is doing a real good work, and for good sound company, 
Bishop Hanlon and the Fathers working with him are 
hard to beat. Bishop Hanlon can speak from experience 
of the early days in Uganda, and I was greatly interested 

15 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

in the many little reminiscences that he gave me on the 
first evening spent at Kampala as we slowly essayed the 
stiff climb to the mission. 

The next three days we spent in arranging the various 
boxes and loads to be borne by our carriers to the Congo. 
This was no joke, each boy's load must weigh not more 
than sixty-five pounds. It is reckoned tha: a boy 
carrying this amount should travel fifteen miles a day. 
Tents, folding chairs, washstands, baths, kit-bags, boxes, 
beads, hoes, americani — a sort of cheese-cloth — all had 
to be packed and weighed. Numbering each box, by 
the way, saves an enormous amount of trouble, and a 
good deal of bad language. If, when packing, you make 
a list of the contents and put a number or mark on the 
load, you need only turn up your store sheets when you 
require, say, a tin of pea flour, to find the number of the 
case containing what you require. In the daytime we 
left the headman, Mpala, together with the cook or 
" pishi," to watch the tents during our absence from camp. 
Twenty-eight porters had gone ahead to Hoima with 
the heavier loads under the charge of Salem Bega, a 
deputy headman. 

In my opinion a great many people lose half the 
pleasure of a hunting trip in Central Africa by having 
the game brought to their tent doors, as one may say, 
in return for a fixed fee. There is also a considerable 
amount of pleasure to be derived from getting together 
you own equipment, which is missed if you put yourself 
entirely in the hands of a company who deal with you 
in a commercial spirit. One aristocratic " safari " even 
carried its own electric light plant ! I certainly advocate 
obtaining one's carriers and personal boys through the 
agency of a trading company, who always have on hand 
a list of boys suitable for and experienced in work con- 
nected with a safari. The uninitiated sportsman should 
pay great attention to this. Elsewhere I have given an 

16 



OUR SAFARI 

instance showing how important it is to have reliable 
gunbearers. Sulky malingering carriers spoil a trip. 

By midday on Thursday everything was ready. 

That afternoon P and I walked up to the Cathedral 

at Nairembe. This building was burnt down some three 
months after our departure from Kampala. Nairembe 
Hill is the headquarters of the Church Missionary Society 
under Bishop Tucker. The hospital is also situated 
here. St. Paul's Cathedral was a very fine building of 
bricks made on the spot and constructed by native 
labour. The roof was thatched with grass, with bleached 
reeds artistically arranged inside the building, the whole 
upheld by massive brick columns. Kampala being built 
on scattered " kopjes," is called " the city of seven hills." 

On Friday morning we struck camp at an early hour, 
and made everything ready for an early departure. 
About ten a.m. we had the safari lined up ready for the 
first stage of what, for me at least, was to prove an 
eventful journey, ere I should see Kampala again. There 
was the headman, Mpala — a Baganda — our four gun- 
bearers, two cooks or " pishis," two tent boys, two syces, 
mules, and the one hundred carriers, forty of whom were 
engaged for the trip to Lake Albert only. Mpala was 
excitedly haranguing the mob of chattering porters, 
every now and again making use of his cane to emphasize 
the importance of his position. Some of our boys wore 
old tattered remains of blue jerseys, some with the sleeves 
intact, some without. Many wore nothing at all save 
a scanty piece of dirty cloth tied round the loins, bracelets 
adorned the arms, while their necks were hung with all 
sorts of ornaments among which old keys seemed to be 
favourite charms. By the way, experience teaches that 
it is not advisable to let your boys, personal or otherwise, 
carry keys of any sort, for they are apt to take a fancy 
to some of your boxes, and try their stock on the locks. 
Natives are very inquisitive people at times. 

17 c 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

One boy had an old dress coat on, but alas ! it had 
seen its days, and seemed on the point of dropping to 
pieces ; there were great holes in the shoulders, and one 
of the tails hung by a thread. During the whole trip, 
I do not remember seeing the boy with the coat off his 
back. Everywhere, day or night, rain or sunshine, 
wading neck-high through flooded rivers, the garment 
was always in evidence. Like most natives all over 
Africa, he was always smiling or laughing, nothing worried 
him. Life for this semi-savage boy was one laugh from 
morn to night. The carriers of Central Africa take all 
their worldly possessions with them when on safari ; 
sometimes it is only a blanket, a native pipe, a piece of 
tobacco wrapped up in a leaf, and a sleeping mat of grass. 
Add to these a stout stick and you have a picture of a boy 
on safari. With his sixty-pound load on his head he will 
travel up hill and down dale, laughing and singing, 
shouting the customary greeting to passers-by. Sharp- 
edged pebbles have no terrors for his bare feet ; he ascends 
winding paths, makes steep, treacherous descents, brush- 
ing his way through dense thorn bushes, scratched and 
bleeding from head to foot. His body is bathed in 
perspiration— yes, he smells at times ! Give him ten 
rupees a month and play the game with him. If you 
make a promise to a native, keep it to the letter. Some 
people are apt to lose control of themselves where native 
women are concerned ; remember, nothing tends to 
lessen the prestige of the white man more than im- 
morality. In the eyes of the uncivilized native this is 
a crime. Among several tribes of the Congo, cannibals 
and others, this offence is punishable by death. Having 
travelled all over South Africa, I make bold to say that 
had the white man left the native woman unmolested 
we should not have heard so much as we do to-day about 
white women being raped by Kaffirs. This may furnish 
food for reflection to manv whom I have met between 

1 8 



OUR SAFARI 

Cape Town and Cairo, who have in this manner assisted 
to lessen the prestige of the white races in Africa. 

Has civilization brought to the people of Africa 
such enormous benefits as many would have us believe ? 
There are still vast tracts of the country, containing 
many thousands of people, to whom civilization is as yet 
unknown. They are supremely happy in their present 
state, far better off than thousands at home in the old 
country. They have plenty to live on, nothing to 
worry about. Has it ever struck you that there is an 
enormous amount of work to be done at home in the 
poorer parts of our large cities ? Don't you think that 
the many charitable institutions at home urgently in need 
of funds in order to help the destitute and starving, the 
waifs and strays, would put to far better use the huge 
sums sent out to Africa for the purpose of educating 
and " converting " the natives ? No one can deny that 
educating the native has, after all, been prompted by 
purely mercenary motives. Thousands have lost their 
lives working for individuals, mining companies, and 
governments in their mad rush for wealth. The native 
is the willing and often the ill-used tool of the white 
man. Kicked and cuffed by bullying white men, his 
spirit is speedily broken, and at length he falls in the 
scramble for gain. And this is civilization ! For the 
favoured few it is easy. For the great masses it is a 
struggle in which little quarter is given. 



19 



CHAPTER III 

" JAMBO, BWANA " 

To return to the scene of our departure from Kampala. 
Taking farewell of our friends we set off down the street 
in single file, passing through the Indian Bazaar among 
the hundreds of people loudly recommending their wares, 
the carriers taking farewells of their friends and relatives 
who had gathered to see us off. 

Shortly after climbing up on to the road for Hoima, 
we passed the first mile post, a small iron plate, partly 
hidden in the grass at the side of the road. We had 127 
more to do before reaching Hoima, and we allowed our- 
selves ten days for the journey. 

When a few miles out of Kampala, I chanced to look 
back, and espied between two hills, several shining tin roofs 
far behind. It was our last glimpse of Kampala for some 
months to come. Beautiful trees clothed hill and dale, 
gay plumaged birds flew from branch to branch, a galaxy 
of colour on every hand, wild bananas with their huge 
leaves rustled in the morning breeze, butterflies of 
gorgeous colours abounded, buzzing insects made them- 
selves heard above the marching song of the carriers, 
overhead the great blue heavens looked down on the 
weirdly dressed natives and Indians arrayed in their 
long coloured robes, with turbans or fez caps. Native 
women drew meekly aside into the grass as we passed 
slowly wending our way down the beautiful avenue. 
Odd parties of carriers taking loads for the trading com- 
panies between Hoima and Kampala passed by in either 

20 



"JAMBO, BWANA" 

direction, saluted with the customary " Jambo, Bwana ! " 
(Good day, Master). Everything was so simple, no 
motor-cars with rank petrol fumes. The telegraph, yes, 
or " tin-glove " as the natives call it, but that was almost 
lost to sight in the wealth of tall grass and trees. Native 
carts drawn by two oxen went creaking along. Sheep 
and cattle in charge of a small native youngster, not more 
than ten years of age, who amused himself sitting on 
the roadside, almost naked, as he munched a huge banana. 
He looked up at us as we passed, and shouted, " Jambo." 
His large eyes opened wide in admiration as he stared 
at one of our carriers, who in addition to chanting in 
the song of the marching body of boys, every now and 
again would run ahead of the party and perform a most 
peculiar dance, prancing round with sinuous movements 
of his body, and uttering a loud yell, after which he 
would return to the ranks. The deep voices ever and 
again swelled out like a beautiful organ as we passed under 
the overhanging trees. The voices would suddenly stop, 
when again the prancing figure would rush forward and 
repeat the queer performance, returning to the ranks, 
on reaching which the wild song would again resound in 
the morning air. Every one looked to the free life of 
the game trails. The prospect of unlimited meat also 
had its attraction for them. No one had a care. On we 
marched. Between the verses of the carriers' song, the 
long prancing figure performed all sorts of evolutions, with 
swaying shoulders and great streams of perspiration 
running down his body and demoniacal expressions on 
his face. I felt that I was among a stranger people than 
ever. 

The third day we reached the 46 mile post, 
where Mr. and Mrs. Walsh carry on dairy operations in 
a very large way, and have some splendid cattle, which 
were all well cared for and housed at night in excellent 
byres. Close to these buildings large wood fires are 

21 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

lighted at night, in order to keep the flies away from the 
cattle. Mr. Walsh came down to our camp in the after- 
noon, and as he knew South Africa very well — having 
been there during the Matabele campaign — we found 

plenty to talk about. That evening P and I, arrayed 

in the most presentable portions of our wardrobes, paid 
a return visit and had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. 
Walsh, who without question is the best known woman 
in either Uganda or British East Africa. 

The next morning we pushed on, and during the day 
managed to get some very good sport among a great 
many buck and wild-fowl, bagging two of the former 
and three fowl. At frequent intervals buffalo, water 
and reed buck, were to be seen some distance away. 
Huge beetles laboured heavily as they crossed the road, 
often in large numbers. The biggest specimen in this 
branch of insect life is the Goliath beetle, to be found 
throughout Uganda. Surely no better field exists than 
Central Africa for studying the marvels of insect life. 
Huge spiders, with webs that offer no little resistance to 
the traveller, abound in the forests of the Congo. It 
is interesting to record the fact that one of the largest 
elephants known was found dead a few years ago — pre- 
sumably from old age — close to the 80 mile post on 
this road. Some people are wont to undertake extra- 
ordinary journeys. One poor fellow without means of 
subsistence, set out to walk from Cairo to Cape Town. 
He reached Hoima, where some charitably disposed people 
collected a few rupees for him, in order that he might 
obtain food on the march to Kampala. At the 70 
mile post, where he camped one night, he contracted 
spirillum fever, and he died before reaching Kampala. 

We are all apt to do very rash things when travelling 
in wild countries. One of the most dangerous is to travel 
without a bed or mosquito net. Again, people should 
be warned against dirty camping grounds, old dry and 

22 



.* 




1 I 



MS.'^ * 




"JAMBO, BWANA" 

rank gTass, for these afford shelter to the spirillum tick 
and the jigger. The " jigger " is said to have been 
brought to the west coast of Africa in the old days from 
some other equatorial portion of the globe by a boat 
which was wrecked on the west coast ; they seem to have 
first made their appearance shortly after, and were traced 
to the rotten timbers of the hulk that lay up on the sandy 
beach. The jigger is a small insect hardly visible to the 
naked eye, and burrows in the sand or on paths frequented 
by travellers. It burrows under the toe-nails and causes 
a black swelling to appear, which gives great pain ; 
it can be removed by squeezing after piercing the blister 
with a needle or small lancet. Often a mass of eggs is 
also expelled from its retreat in the foot. Care should 
be taken to use steel instruments only in the extraction 
of these unwelcome visitors, and I advocate washing the 
wound afterwards in permanganate of potash. I noticed 
the jigger chiefly in Uganda and took care not to walk 
in bare feet nor to throw my socks down on the ground, 
for socks are their favourite resting places. 

Exactly on the tenth day after leaving Kampala we 
entered Hoima. Salem Bega and our twenty-eight 
carriers were waiting for us. We pitched our tents 
opposite the British Trading Company's store, near the 
local branch manager's house. Finding Messrs. Buckley 
and Pearson, two other hunters, in camp here, made our 
stop in this small town very enjoyable. We had a 
great time in camp with the gramophone. I can see us 
all now, as we used to sit, listening to the strains of 
•' Just before the battle, mother," and other familiar 
airs. The young King of Unyoro was greatly in evidence 
at Hoima. He was then learning to ride a bicycle. Sup- 
ported by about half a dozen stalwart natives, he sat 
on the machine, and was followed by a further mob of 
faithful adherents, two hundred or so strong, all running 
to keep up with him. Once during our visit he came 

23 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

through the town heralded by the Court jester, who 
always marches in advance of the royal part}'. This 
" fool of the house " is a tall, cadaverous looking individual 
arrayed in wild cat skins, and other hides, to say nothing 
of a wealth of bangles and trinkets liberally arranged over 
his body and arms. Suspended by cord from the neck 
he carries a native drum, on which he performs in the 
most frantic manner. Every now and then he goes 
through a weird dance with body swaying and bending 
as he shuffles his bare feet on the ground, making an 
unearthly din with drum and mouth. To add to the 
extraordinary appearance of this wild creature, he 
wears on his head an old weatherworn conical grass 
hat. 

The King would frequently ride in a ricksha, arrayed 
in a khanza and fez cap. 

Lieutenant Carew, in charge of the Askaris (soldiers), 
with another officer whose name I regret I have forgotten, 
invited us up to their quarters, but as we had to take 
over extra stores and to repack several of the loads, we 
were unfortunately unable to get away far from the camp. 
Carew and myself had something in common, for we dis- 
covered that he knew several little villages at home that 
I knew. At one time he had held a commission in the 
same town wherein I had spent the early days of my 
youth. Both these young officers were exceedingly 
agreeable, and were always heartily welcomed at the 
camp of any safari passing through Hoima. 

Several of our carriers who showed symptoms of sleep- 
ing sickness were prohibited from proceeding into the 
Congo with us. The Government doctor showed us how 
to detect the first indications of this dreadful disease. 
By taking a firm hold with the thumb and first finger 
on the glands in the neck above the shoulders, one can 
feel the hard lumps which form under the sinews of the 
neck in the first stages. 

24 



"JAMBO, BWANA" 

Let me state here one of the multifarious grievances 
of the hunter or trader when setting out for the Congo. 
We had got all our porters together down at Kampala 
and paid ten rupees advance on each boy, as demanded 
by Government there. We reach Hoima and some of 
those boys are discovered to be suffering from sleeping 
sickness ; those boys are allowed to travel to Butiaba 
on Lake Albert, but must then return to their homes. 
For our ten rupees we got a bare half month's work. 
The collector was so uncertain that we should ever obtain 
a refund of the six odd rupees lost on each carrier, and 
the settlement of any claim would take so long, that we 
were advised to hand the men over to the British Trading 
Company and let them utilize them for taking loads to 
Kampala. I am surprised that the Uganda Government 
does not facilitate matters for those who bring money 
and spend it in their colony. The laws regarding the 
engagement of carriers are absurd. Many hunters and 
traders travel via German and other territories, whose 
Governments encourage new-comers, rather than be 
thwarted and heckled in Uganda. All the ridiculous 
formalities in this colony with regard to engaging carriers 
are typical of an administration suffering from swollen 
head. Safaris can reach the Congo by other routes than 
through Uganda, where they know they will be dealt 
with patronizingly by a crowd of self-opinionated young 
officials who are inclined to treat the visitor in a rather 
off-hand fashion. Their unpleasant demeanour is no 
doubt due to jealousy, for it must be rather galling to 
these young people to see hunters returning from the 
Congo with a caravan laden with valuable trophies after 
a few months' trip. East Africa was for some time the 
playground of the officials stationed there, and when the 
time came for land settlement those who took up land 
were regarded by the officials almost as usurpers of what 
they had come to consider as their prescriptive rights. 

25 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

For a long time the officials stood apart from those who 
were coming in to open the country, and thereby to assist 
in relieving the British taxpayer of another burden, but 
nowadays their attitude is not quite so unfriendly. 

Certain tribes of natives are not allowed to pass out 
of Uganda into the Congo. Some of our boys had signed 
on at Kampala as being of a certain race, but on our 
reaching Hoima they had the audacity to go and inform 
the official at the Boma (native word for Stockade, in this 
case the Commissioner's office) that they were natives 
of an entirely different district from that which they had 
stated down at Kampala. In some cases this proved 
correct, and those boys would be unable to go across the 
Nile. They received no punishment for the imposture, 
but were allowed to go scot-free back to their homes. 
Many tried to deceive us on this point, but their names 
were sufficient to convince the Collector that they were 
lying. 

A native can say or do several things when near a 
Boma ; you must not touch him, and he knows it. He 
is cheeky and lazy, but when away from civilized parts 
he becomes a cringing submissive character. Dark 
stories of the Congo had evidently reached the ears of 
the boys from out-of-work, lazy native scoundrels in 
the town, many of whom are past masters in the art of 
telling lies. Invariably they are those with a thin veneer 
of civilization about them. To the man with a safari 
passing through Hoima, I say, get your business done 
with all speed and clear out. Before you have been there 
many hours the local native liars are busily engaged in 
sowing the seed of discontent among your boys, telling 
them all sorts of tales of how the white men shoot their 
boys as soon as they reach the Congo, of terrible floggings, 
and so forth. Naturally your carrier, who has probably 
never been away from his hut and village before, is soon 
frightened by these lying statements. He may be a 

26 



"JAMBO, BWANA" 

boy of fifteen, or perhaps a man of thirty, but these raw 
people are easily scared, and as the)- listen to such tales 
rolling from the tongues of the local scandalmongers, 
they quiver and regard the speaker with open mouths. 
Horrified, the simple ones immediately go to the Boma 
to announce that they are really members of one of the 
tribes prohibited from entering the Congo, or to complain 
that they have been badly treated on the march from 
Kampala, the Bwana has flogged them, and so on, doing 
all this at the bidding of the " converts." 

Here at Hoima we were besieged by boys wanting 
soft jobs on the safari. One came up arrayed in a straw 
hat of obsolete pattern, an old Askari tunic, a piece of 
calico fashioned like a kilt, ammunition boots — size ten 
— but no socks, a grizzly-faced truculent-looking creature. 
I read through his record card, and among other remarks, 
I read something like this : " Native Henry, has been in 
my employ for the last four months as gunbearer. He 
is absolutely hopeless." Further down : " Bearer, Native 
Henry, has been far from satisfactory. Willing, but alas ! 
not honest. Chase him off." Several boys' references 
finished up with " useless," "... his appetite is appal- 
ling," " spoilt all our food," "... either a ' has been ' 
or ' never will be,' " "no hope for Tin Box. He gave 
us endless trouble." Another came forward and produced 
his " card " from the customary piece of dirty rag. 

" What work do you want ? " I asked. To which he 
replied — 

" Cook, Bwana." 

" Have you done any cooking before ? " 

" Yes, Bwana." 

I opened the card, when lo ! I beheld that " he was 
not a strong carrier." On seeing this I asked him his 
name, to which he repiled, " Khasi " (Khasi is Swahili 
for " work "). The name given in the book was 
" Kadale." I threw the book at him and sent him 

27 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

flying. He had stolen that book from another boy, and 
with it was canvassing for work and posing as a cook. 
Of course he was entirely ignorant of its contents. 

We picked up what we thought were bargains, in 
the shape of two natives named Monica and Wanaka, 
to replace two incompetent tent boys. For laughter- 
raising propensities Monica and Wanaka were hard to 
beat. They fairly " topped the bill," to use a theatrical 
term, among the talent of our safari, and believe me, we 
had some " stars." 

At Hoima we also engaged another syce, who rejoiced 
in the name of " Juma," a young powerfully built native 
of Unyoro. This boy was gifted, or shall I say afflicted, 
with an enormous mouth, his lips would roll back when 
smiling and reveal his snow-white teeth. He thought 
nothing of devouring a whole banana at one gulp, but 
the effect of trying to speak at the same time was 
disastrous. 

Dog-faced apes and harnessed antelope are to be 
found around Hoima. The latter, though fairly plentiful, 
is seldom seen, for it comes out only at night and barks 
much like a dog. Its colour is dark chestnut, with 
flanks striped white, and white spots on the shoulders. 

Standing in the main street at Hoima and lookng 
due west, one gets a very good view of the precipitous 
mountains that loom in the distance some fifty miles away, 
on the western or Congo side of the Lake Albert. After 
spending three days in Hoima, we set out for Butiaba, 
thirty miles north-west. At midday we reached a camp 
about fifteen miles from Butiaba. As we were to catch 
the large sailing-boat James Martin, which sailed on the 
next day, we decided to stay here until midnight, for the 
moon would rise at eight in the evening and would afford 
us sufficient light to travel to Butiaba by. At the camp 
we found an old native appointed by the Government, 
to see that the camp ground and bungalows of reed and 

28 



"JAMBO, BWANA" 

grass erected for travellers are kept clean, a very good 
idea. I noticed when travelling through Uganda that 
some people — Europeans as well as Indians — invariably 
leave the grass huts — erected by their boys to sleep 
in overnight — standing. Now, this is a foolish, almost 
a criminal act of negligence. It is to the interest of all 
that these camping grounds be kept clear of old grass, 
and that the huts should not be left to rot on the grounds, 
for the spirillum tick and jiggers rest and breed in such 
rubbish. I have often had to give fixed camping grounds 
a wide berth, purely for the reason that on my arrival 
I found that the safari preceding me had not complied 
with the customary rule of burning and clearing away 
remains of the huts erected by them during their stay. 

The value of the vultures, dogs, and certain insects 
of scavenging propensities cannot be over-estimated. 
The filth and squalor of the African native is appalling ; 
he is utterly ignorant of the principles of sanitation, 
and were it not for the heavy rains and winds and the 
living scavengers I have referred to it would be well-nigh 
impossible to enter a native village. It is a matter of 
wonderment that the land is not periodically devastated 
by plague or other epidemic. 

Some people allow their carriers to camp on the same 
patch as themselves. For reasons of health alone our 
porters were located sixty yards or so away from our 
tents. Spirillum fever, often of a virulent nature, com- 
municated by a bite from the spirillum tick or jigger, is 
more often than not caught in this way. It is a form of 
paralysis of an intermittent nature, generally lasting for 
some months. It has in many cases ended fatally. 

That night I awoke to see the moon high in the heavens. 
I felt terribly sleepy as I stretched my arm over my head 
and gazed at the dense canopy of huge banana leaves 
that stood with their clear-cut outlines against the starry 
heavens. Within fifteen minutes of my rousing the deep 

29 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

snoring carriers, the tents were down, beds folded, and 
everything ready to resume the march. In an hour or 
so the well-kept road from Hoima had dwindled down to 
a narrow, and in places almost indistinguishable, track 
where it was necessary to march in single file. Every 
now and then we had to cross the improvised native 
bridges placed over streams and small swamps, out of 
which surging hordes of buzzing malarial mosquitoes 
came to greet us. Occasionally amidst the grass and 
trees, we could discern a rest-house, erected for the porters 
who carry merchandise between Hoima and the lake. 
Around the fire, huddled up in blankets, some half-dozen 
forms would be sitting, chattering away. They would 
endeavour to peer through the dense cloud of smoke 
as it hung over the fire. Their curiosity would perhaps 
be aroused, and the}' would advance to the roadside, 
questioning our boys as to our destination, and the object 
of our journey, to which one would reply, " Tembo," 
" Congo," to which thev would regard us with awe and 

reply, "Ah! ah! ah! oh ! oh ! oh ! o h— h," 

and as an afterthought one would say in Swahili or 
Luganda, " Elephants, oh yes, elephants ! elephants ! 

a h — h — h, O ! " He would then draw the blanket 

around him, shake his head, and say, " Congo bia sana " 
(Congo very bad). A running conversation would be 
kept up between them and our boys, despite the fact that 
we were now perhaps sixty yards ahead. 

Gradually we were shaking off the bonds of civiliza- 
tion. At the moment I had little idea that several 
months would come and go before I should again speak 
to or see a white woman. Many people are apt to regard 
Africa as a civilized country. How main- white people 
have penetrated the vast forests of the Congo ? One 
good person whom I met shortly after my return home, 
in referring to my trip, asked me " if the influence of the 
Dutch Government was making itself felt in East Africa." 



" JAMBO, BWANA " 

I assured him that such was not the case, as East Africa 
is considerably over two thousand miles from the Trans- 
vaal. Then again, some are apt to think that because 
Blantyre is in Central Africa, it is within a few hours' 
reach of Wadelai. Look at the map and see ! At the 
present moment, the number of white people living who 
have been up the Kibali, M'Bomu, Welle districts, could 
be counted on the fingers. Hence the impossibility of 
obtaining correct maps of this country. 

We came to a halt when we had travelled for two 

hours, and after a consultation between P and myself, 

we decided that I should go ahead and acquaint the 
Superintendent of Marine of our approaching safari. 
Taking the "405 Winchester and two boys, I set out 

again ahead of P and the carriers. It was reckoned 

by our bearings that we were now about four hours 
from Butiaba. Setting off at a brisk walk we soon left 
the chattering mob of carriers far behind. The moon 
was now almost directly above our heads as we parted 
the bushes and stepped into a small stream reaching 
over the ankles, and commenced to toil up the opposite 
slope, on reaching the top of which I could faintly dis- 
cern the outline of the foam-fringed shore of the lake 
hundreds of feet below us. 



31 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ALBERT NYANZA 

The grey dawn was approaching and gradually the 
scene was unfolded to us. One of the boys murmured 
" Nyanza," pointing to that marvellous picture of the 
great Albert Lake with its smooth waters sparkling 
beneath the moon's silvery rays, the faint ripple of the 
tiny waves breaking on the sandy shore which in the 
light of the moon we could see fading away to the north 
towards Butiaba. A native fishing boat was dancing 
on the surface close in to the beach. The occupant was 
crooning in a musical strain. As I gazed down at the 
calm waters, I almost fancied I could see Baker looking 
down from the steep granite and red porphyry cliffs 
at these placid waters, when, after years of hardship, 
his tenacity was rewarded with a view of the lake from 
which he had wrested the secret of the source of the 
great White Nile. Simultaneously the shades of Speke 
and Grant passed before me. In this great silence as 
we overlooked the lake, dawn broke upon us. Slowly 
the darkness around the stretch of sand and steep cliff 
to our right gave way to the growing light. The silence 
could be felt, and was rendered more remarkable by 
the wild nature of the bushes and trees running down 
the face of the escarpment and stretching to the water's 
edge far below. 

To the south, I saw that the coast suddenly became 
a great wall of granite rising hundreds of feet sheer from 

32 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

the lake itself. Presently Wanaka pointed to the west, 
where I could just make out the rugged outline of the 
Bulegga mountains fully fort)- miles away. I stood as 
though mesmerized. It was too grand for words. I 
have experienced the fascination of South Africa, with 
its kopjes and boundless undulating veldt and barren 
land, wild Zululand with its lovely valleys, soft rippling 
streams and mountain paths richly endowed with nature's 
rugged grandeur, the glorious scenery of far away Aus- 
tralasia, and the islands of the Great Pacific, but they 
must all give way to the mountains, forests, and rivers 
of Central Africa, where dwell a people still wilder — if 
that be possible — than their surroundings. 

The crooning lullaby of the native fisherman came 
from below, as he sat in the stern of his dugout canoe 
plying the broad-bladed paddle as the little craft skimmed 
gracefully over the shining waters, gradually fading away 
into obscurity. Even the boys spoke in whispers, for 
they too had recognized that we were alone with nature 
wild and undisturbed as it was centuries ago. There it 
was, just as Baker saw it on that eventful morning of 
March 14th, 1864. 

Threading our way down the stony path, winding in 
and out among the trees, we began to walk the remaining 
few miles along the sandy shore to Butiaba. A slight 
breeze sprang up from the south-west, and very shortly 
the sun had kissed the Bulegga mountain peaks that rose 
thousands of feet sheer from the water's edge in the 
west. Gaunt forbidding sentinels of the Congo ! What 
strange people dwell behind you ! The dwarfs and others 
with their poisoned implements of war — cannibalism with 
all its attendant horrors. A people that cannot tell us 
of their past. The ages gone by are all a blank to them. 
These people are akin to the beasts of the forest, inasmuch 
as they care only for the present. They live for the 
present, the past is gone, no records have been written 

33 d 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

of them. The war paint of vermilion-coloured pig- 
ments which is smeared all over their bodies adds to 
the hideousness of these savages, darting from rock 
to rock, hiding behind trees, lying hidden in the foliage 
overhead, waging war with all. Tragedy follows tragedy 
behind those Bulegga mountains in the Congo, to the 
south of which lie the snow-capped crests of rugged 
Ruwenzori. 

Slowly as the great orb rose in the east the chilly 
atmosphere of dawn gave way to shimmering mists of 
heat that gradually hid the western range from view. 
The lake appeared as a boundless ocean but for the 
nearest point in the north-west, from which the land 
continued to run and dwindle toward the Nile, where 
the shores are hidden in the dense papyrus growth 
lining the banks for a great distance. About a mile 
from the end of the sandspit on which Butiaba stands, I 
came upon a pretty little bungalow standing under two 
very large and beautiful palms, only a stone's throw 
from the water edge. Rapping on the door, I came face 
to face with Mr. Reynolds, the engineer of the Uganda 
Marine on Lake Albert and the Nile. From him I 
learnt that it would be impossible to get away for a 
day or two. The James Martin had sailed the day 
before. The Good Intent, the only boat in port at the 
moment, was under repair, having been damaged by 
hippopotamus up the river. So here we had to remain 
until the other boats returned from their respective 
trips up to Nimule, Koba, and Mahagi. Let me recount 
another instance which proves how small a place the 
world is. While speaking of South Africa, as we sat 
over the breakfast table in his house, Mr. Reynolds 

happened to mention a Mr. B , whose name is a very 

uncommon one — but which I happened to recognize. 
It turned out that I had spent nearly two years under 
the same roof with B in Bloemfontein. That fact 

34 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

alone at once drew us together. B and Reynolds 

had been at school together in the old days. 

It was several hours before P and the carriers 

turned up, for he had considerable trouble with the boys 
and the mules while coming down the escarpment. 
Some of the carriers dropped their loads, and sat down 
and cried like children. Many offered all their earthly 
belongings to any one who would carry their loads, but 
of course they appealed in vain, at least the majority 
did. Some were really of inferior stamina, and to the 
weakling the descent of the escarpment with a sixty 
pound load on his head is indeed a trying experience. 
Eventually, however, the complete safari reached us at 
Butiaba with everything intact, excepting our case of 
champagne — the best antidote against blackwater fever 
— which had been dropped. On opening the case, how- 
ever, we found that only two bottles had been smashed. 
It was a certainty that we should be here for at least 
two days, so there was nothing for it but to put up the 
tents and look happy. Placing most of the loads in 
the store-sheds on the wharf, we sent back the boys who 
were unable to travel to the Congo with us. We now 
had but sixty-four boys all told for our tramp to the 
Congo. 

We strolled round and had a look at the fine new 
paddle steamer Samuel Baker, which was being built 
up at the shipyard under the supervision of Reynolds, 
assisted by Messrs. Joe Durham and Bamber, who had 
come out from Scotland to reassemble the various parts 
of the vessel and to stay until after the launching. 
Since February 7 , 191 1, a trip down the Nile can be taken 
with all the attendant comforts one finds on the large 
ocean-going liners. It is a great improvement on the 
old whale-boats, reeking with old fish steaks drying on 
the awnings, strong smelling natives huddled up at one's 
feet, the journey from Koba to Butiaba, a distance of 

35 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

about forty miles, taking anything from twenty-eight 
hours and over to accomplish. 

On the day of our sojourn here we ran short of sugar. 
Rather than open up the loads in the sheds, we decided 
to ride over and visit an Indian store. It was about nine 
in the morning when we dismounted in front of a broken- 
down grass and mud hut. Except that it was a square- 
shaped building, there was nothing to distinguish it 
from the native huts around. I knocked at the door, 
but as no response came after repeated kicking and 
hammering, I pushed the door in. It was the store right 
enough, but the sight of a filthy scraggy piece of Eastern 
humanity, lying fast asleep amidst the very sugar we had 
come to buy, at once prejudiced us against the place. 
The store was in semi-darkness, rats scampered away 
to the corners as the filthy brute sat up and stared 
vacantly at us, rubbing his eyes with both fists, and at 
the same time expectorating all over his wares. Need I 
say that we rode away without purchasing the sugar ? 

On the Sunday afternoon the entire population, some 
seven Europeans all told, came to our camp, and we had 
a very enjoyable time. The gramophone delighted all 
as we listened to the strains of " Oh ! Oh ! Antonio," 
and other familiar songs. It seemed strange to be there 
listening to Harry Lauder, Marie Lloyd, etc., in the heart 
of Africa. Our porters and the local natives were all 
eyes and mouths at this innovation. It was at once 
dubbed by them as a " Kinanda," which in the Swahili 
language means apparently anything that makes music. 
Pianos and mouth organs are alike named Kinanda. 
We had several French records, and " Chez le dentiste," 
a duologue with the screams of the unfortunate patient, 
created roars of laughter. Another gave selections of 
bugle calls of the British Army, at which my syce, who 
had heard the bugler at Kampala, and was himself 
frequently subject to fits of " army fever," would jump 

36 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

up and go through a series of drills ; with a stick he would 
endeavour to present arms, carry at the slope, trail, etc. 
I gave some of them a broken record, for which they had 
a free fight, afterwards examining it as a monkey does 
on first seeing himself in a mirror. They appealed to 
me to explain it to them, and I put myself to no little 
trouble in trying to do so as lucidly as my knowledge of 
Swahili would allow. I spent some ten minutes haran- 
guing the crowd, during which time the cook forgot to 
attend to the meat in the pan over the fire, with the 
result that our dinner was burnt. When I had finished 
they all looked at, and nudged each other for some 
seconds, and finally burst into roars of laughter. All 
sorts of oh ! oh ! ah ! ah ! a — h — h — h — h ! murmurs 
were heard. Of course the trumpet of the gramophone 
had to be examined and handled very circumspectly. The 
clockwork motor with the tiny governors whirling round 
was more than some could stand. Many rubbed their 
eyes as though they were in a dream, others went into 
hysterical fits of laughter. The boy on whose head the 
gramophone used to travel, carried the machine very 
gingerly ; the rest of the party always regarded him as 
being in touch with the devil ! I don't know whether 
he thought that he could imitate the machine, but 
certain it is that he became the noisiest member of the 
safari. 

The heat while we waited at Butiaba was intolerable, 
even at night 94-97 degrees was nothing extraordinary, 
so we were told. About 3 a.m., however, it got cooler, 
but after 9 a.m., it became terrific again. 

I made several attempts to catch some of the fish 
that abound in the lake, but my line was evidently not 
adapted for that clear water, for I did not get a single 
bite. The natives generally use a spear, and I have 
seen fish landed fully seven feet long. These fish are 
called by the natives " Bukka " or " Buggera." They 

37 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

are often found floating on the surface of the lake, and 
become a prey to the large fish eagle, which attacks them 
and picks their eyes out, leaving them with enormous 
gashes and with hollow eye sockets, looking as if they 
had been attacked by sword — or thrasher — fish. 

Around the inner harbour there were large numbers 
of beautiful crane and heron. Buck and gazelle were 
very plentiful on and around the hills in the east. 

In connection with the construction of the Samuel 
Baker, it is rather interesting to note that the Khedive 
and Nyanza, which were running on the Nile and Lake 
Albert some thirty years ago, could with their draught 
of five and six feet go anywhere between Nimule and 
Butiaba. When the Uganda Marine were about to 
construct the Baker, they found it necessary to have a 
draught of only about two feet. I have read most of 
Stanley's and Baker's books, and do not recall that even 
their deep draught boats experienced any difficulty in 
reaching any part of the lake or Nile, south of Nimule, 
or, as it was known in those days, " Dufile." Several 
times during recent years the launch Kenia, with a 
draught about three feet six inches, and even smaller 
craft, have experienced no little difficulty in keeping off 
the floating islands and shoals of the lake and river. 
The floating islands consist of a substratum of decom- 
posed foliage and reeds, dense enough to support an 
upper layer of living vegetation, by whose roots and 
tendrils the whole mass becomes solidly matted together. 
I have had some experience with these islands myself, 
on one occasion narrowly escaping being run down. 
There is no doubt that great changes have taken place 
in the bed of the Nile. It seems strange that proper 
soundings of the river were not taken before the con- 
struction of the Samuel Baker. There are some stretches 
where even two feet of water cannot be found, and it 
would be a serious undertaking to shove the Baker off 

38 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

a sandbank — an experience not unknown in the past 
few years to the crew of the launch Kenia — which after 
all is nought but a crazy little steam launch. 

Bennett, one of the elephant hunters, formerly 
engineer of the Uganda Marine at Butiaba, was camped 
close to us and gave me a full account of his adventure 
in the Mullah country, In a district under the chief 
Njoro. The Mullah is in the neighbourhood of the 
mountains which form the boundary between Belgian 
and Soudanese territory, at the south-western extremity 
of the Lado Enclave. As Bennett was sitting in his 
camp one afternoon, the local natives brought food and 
laid it at his feet. He stooped down to inspect some 
matama in a gourd, when he was suddenly seized by two 
fellows from behind. In a wink he was bound from head 
to foot, and surrounded by an armed mob of savages. 
His cook was dragged away and seen no more. Bennett 
was kept in a grass hut until sundown, when he was 
taken before a native court for trial. As he did not 
know the language he was entirely ignorant of the 
sentence passed on him. That night he was again im- 
prisoned in the hut. Next morning he and his boys were 
blindfolded and led over rough paths for miles, hatless 
and practically devoid of clothing. Eventually the 
bandages were taken from their eyes, and they were free 
to go. Some few days later they reached Mahagi. 
Since that period I believe Njoro's people have learnt 
better. 

On the third morning of our stay here the Semitita 
arrived with Mr. Britlebank, who had brought over one 
hundred tusks of ivory down from the Congo. We were 
told we would probably leave Butiaba the next morning 
at nine. There was great excitement among the boys 
at this news, they were all eager to get ahead. Accord- 
ingly on Tuesday at daybreak we were all ready for 
the next stage of the trip. The carriers and mules were 

39 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

put into the larger sailing boat Kisingiri, together with 

most of the loads. P and I with the cooks, personal 

boys, guns and ammunition, went aboard the smaller 
craft Good Intent, a whale boat about thirty feet long, 
fitted with a sail. On the top of the awning, the crew 
had spread out a selection of fish cut open to dry in the 
sun. It had already been there for some days, and 
smelt accordingly ! There was not a breath of wind at 
the start, so the Swahili crew had to pull at the oars 
until we rounded the point and stood out in the lake, 
when a light breeze partially filled out the sail. This 
was a signal for the " Sea Dogs " to have forty winks. 
I do not think we covered five hundred yards in a solid 
hour. The sail flapped idly. Perched behind us, com- 
pletely isolated by the awning flap, was the coxswain, a 
powerfully built Swahili, who was crooning to himself 
about Zanzibar, in a monotonous strain. It seemed 
that he was singing away about his family, in far off 
Zanzibar. I threw him a banana with which he amused 
himself for some minutes, taking the greatest pains in 
pulling off the skin. He was quiet for a moment, and 
then the dull droning reverie commenced again. There 
was scarcely sufficient wind to fill the sail, I lay back 
watching the lumps of papyrus grass floating past us 
towards the river. In front of the boat, Wanaka was 
lying curled up with his marching impedimenta still 
on him, water bottle, belt, knife, haversack, fez cap, and 
cotton shirt. That was all ! 

An old tracker named Sabawa, who was evidently 
suffering from the effects of sun, talked wildly of elephants, 
what he had done and was going to do. Oh yes ! he 
knew where the large bulls were to be found. It after- 
wards proved that he knew nothing of the sort. 

The cooks were busy getting the lunch ready. Monica 
sat upright staring straight ahead. He was clad in a 
fez cap, an old Harris tweed waistcoat, and a pair of 

40 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

Hindoo shaped pants of coarse calico. Every now and 
then he would attempt to converse with Wanaka, who 
was listening with open mouth to Sabawa's elephant 
yarns. The " baharia," or crew, had been sleeping for 
two hours, with the exception of the crooning individual 
at the tiller, who was gazing dreamily across the vast 
expanse of water all round us. The Kisingiri, with her 
laughing chattering cargo, was about a mile behind, the 
oars flashing in the sunlight as she came lazily on in our 
wake. A wild chant coming from her reached our ears 
over the glassy surface of the lake. Small birds 
manoeuvred far above us against the clear blue sky. 
Some miles away to our left thin trails of smoke curled up, 
showing where a tiny village lay nestled on the hills. 
Several canoes were hugging the shore. 

Presently the breeze strengthened and carried us 
some few miles further on. Butiaba was now lost to 
view in the mirage appearing off the shore to the south- 
east, showing us only the level tops of the hills. About 
3 p.m., we sighted an island, consisting of a low sand 
stretch covered with small trees and thorn bushes. 

P was busy reading a novel. Anxious to stretch 

my legs again, I roused the crew, and in a few minutes 
the oars were dipping into the water whose surface it 
seemed almost a pity to disturb. Every now and then 
large fish, four and five feet in length, sprang out fully 
ten feet above the water, coming down with a terrific 
splash, sending a mighty volume of spray into the air, 
as though a thirteen-inch shell had been let loose. Pre- 
sently one of the oarsmen started to drawl a few lines 
of a Swahili song, every now and then it was punctuated 
by the entire crew, with their quaint musical voices 
all differing in pitch. O — ah — ah, O — ah — ah, and then 
a great swell of voices would shout " O Zanzibar ! 
Zan — zi — bar ! '' " O Mombass — a ! " frequently was 
shouted. The Kisingiri soon caught us up and the 

4i 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

occupants of one boat would greet those of the other 
with yells of delight. One boy on the other boat had a 
mouth organ, and they had evidently been having a 
very good time. There he sat just by the mast playing 
the instrument for all he was worth. Perspiration poured 
off him as he swayed and stamped in time to the music 
— if such it could be called — one eye on a mule standing 
almost on top of him, with the other he was taking in 
the whole scene. The rest of the occupants flocked to 
one side to see our boat as they drew near. The musician 
stuck to his post, and continued to play with increased 
vigour. The sails on both boats were partially filled 
with the breeze and, together with the oars, both craft 
were doing a steady five knots. As we neared the island, 
which was about half a mile long and a quarter broad, I 
espied a crocodile on the sandy beach and got out the 

Westley Richards -450 and roused P . Taking careful 

aim I fired, but only succeeded in wounding the brute, 
which lay flapping about the beach, endeavouring to 
make for the water, which it managed to reach almost at 
the same moment that I let go with the left barrel. At 
this it turned over on its back and remained motionless 
in the shallow water. I was all excitement to get at it, 
but the boatmen pointed out the impossibility of doing 
so without running a great risk. As the water was quite 
shallow it would be out of the question to try to reach 
the beach with the boat at that point, so we left the 
carcase, intending to get it later on returning by terra 
firma. After landing on the shore, however, we had 
such sport shooting others, that it was only just before 
sundown that we remembered about it. Four boys were 
sent out, but they returned to say that the brute had 
vanished leaving only a thin trail of blood on the sand. 
Apparently others had dragged it off. We had only 
been using some old black powder ammunition that we 
kept for practice work, which of course lacked the 

42 



THE ALBERT NYANZA 

penetration and smashing power of cordite. Crocodiles 
abounded, the water was alive with them. We got 
behind two small bushes, when presently up came the 
snouts of half a dozen or so, floating idly on the surface 
of the water. Both guns rang out, and only a dull 
reddish tinge was to be seen on the expanding circles of 
water. After a few minutes another emerged from the 
water and sank its belly into the hot sand on the beach. 
Bang ! bang ! in the still air over the Nile, the brute 
was sent reeling, its tail lashing the sand which rose in 
a cloud, the huge jaws snapping furiously. When its 
frantic struggles subsided we closed in on it. The boy 
got a stout branch and prepared to thrust it into the 
huge mouth, but there was no need for this as one bullet 
had entered just behind the eye, and the other found 
its billet behind the shoulder. The measurement was 
a little over nine feet six. Shortly afterwards we had 
two more. Lying down on the sand we potted at the 
numerous snouts that appeared all over the water. We 
succeeded in killing five that afternoon on the beach 
alone, besides others that disappeared in mid-stream, 
whose bodies it was impossible to recover before night- 
fall when the density of the water increases as the tem- 
perature falls, and the carcases rise again to the surface. 
At sunset dark clouds loomed up in the south-west. 
We did not erect the tents as the Swahili skipper was 
desirous of getting under way by four in the morning. 
After dinner, a smoke and chat, we turned in to sleep 
with our blankets rolled round us under the mosquito 
nets in the stern of the boat. We were lying alongside 
the beach with some bushes overhanging the awning. 
In the middle of the night I was awakened by a terrific 
clap of thunder overhead, it rumbled away over the 
waters reverberating among the mountains in the west. 
A strong wind had sprung up and the rain was pouring 
down. Lightning, the like of which one sees only in 

43 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the tropics, illuminated the lake for miles around, showing 
white crested waves right away to the mountains whose 
rugged outlines were clearly discernible. From them 
the roars of thunder re-echoed tenfold. The leaves on 
the trees and bushes were being torn and swept about 
by the wind. The terrible crashes of thunder ceased 
for a moment now and again, and then, as though they 
grudged a second's quietude, they would again send the 
whole universe trembling, to the accompaniment of 
violet coloured flashes of lightning, which seemed momen- 
tarily to blind one. It certainly was a grand sight, but 
as the rain penetrated the old piece of canvas that did 
duty for an awning and let great volumes of water in 
upon us, our admiration of the scene was lessened by 
our discomfort. Blankets, clothes and everything, in- 
cluding ourselves, were soaking. I shall never forget 
that night as we sat wrapped up in the blankets, being 
tortured by the myriads of mosquitoes that had gained 
admission under the net, and water pouring down from 
the awning all over us. It was impossible to make 
ourselves heard in the awful driving storm, with its 
almost incessant crashes of thunder, as we looked out 
on the angry waves that dashed against the boats with 
increasing fury. We were fortunately moored firmly by 
the beach and escaped the terrible shaking up we must 
have experienced had we been out on the open lake 
without shelter. I have been through many a big 
storm in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific, the Australian 
Bight, and off Cape Agulhas, and I doubt whether our 
boats would have come safely through the tempest that 
blew that night. During a storm huge waves are to 
be met with as far up the Nile as Koba, which stands 
fully fifteen miles from the lake. Not infrequently these 
troubled waters dash clear over the landing stage, which 
stands over six feet out of the water. 



44 



CHAPTER V 

" POSHO " 

After lasting only about an hour all told, the storm 
stopped as suddenly as it nad begun. It was now 
drifting away to the north-east, and the thunder gradu- 
ally dwindled to a low rumbling in the distance. The 
heavens above soon cleared, and I sat watching the first 
grey streaks of dawn appear in the east. Slowly, slowly, 
it came on. Some of the boys having kept some fuel 
dry had managed to light a fire and sat around en masse, 
wringing pints of water from their blankets. Most of 
them were soaked to the skin. Their spirits were not 
damped however, and a continuous run of talk and 
laughter was kept up. Salem Bega, the deputy head- 
man, an elderly man, was among them chatting wildly, 
dressed only in an old blue jersey with an older fez cap 
on his shaven pate. With a long knife he was busy 
cutting up some native tobacco for a chew. His long 
puckered old face with its fringe of beard was lit up by 
the dancing flames of the fire. He was amusing the 
huddled up group of listeners with yet another of his 
endless stream of anecdotes, which every now and then 
brought forward a chorus of approval. 

Many such a night have I passed since, in the Congo. 
Tents and everything blown down and exposed to the fury 
of the storm. Up to the ankles in running water, devoured 
by one of the worst of those African insect scourges — 
the malarial mosquito — that has made many a night a 

45 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

mere hell on earth to the unfortunate white man, whose 
net has been torn out of recognition by the hurricane 
that invariably accompanies a heavy storm in those 
parts. 

The waters had regained something like their usual 
appearance when the sun, like a great ball of glowing fire, 
rapidly arose from behind the long range of hills in 
Uganda : we had put out on the lake only half an hour 
before. The men at the oars were dreamily chanting, 
' O — O — O Zan — zi — bar ! " keeping in time with the 
strokes. Ahead of us land was fast closing in, both 
shores being lined with large tracts of papyrus grass. 
After the rain over night, the fish jumped about with 
increased vigour. From the Uganda side came the loud 
tones of a drum rolling out to us across the smooth 
surface of the lake. In places one could discern canoes 
drawn up on the small sandy parts of the beach and 
several craft were out fishing close to the shore. Trails 
of smoke revealed where a native village still existed in 
the middle of a district in which the tsetse fly is said to 
thrive. It is for this reason that the Koba-Butiaba road 
is closed to traffic. Some twelve miles after passing 
the Victoria or Somerset Nile, we could feel the current 
carrying us into the great White Nile, which, as far up 
as Nimule, is between two hundred and seven hundred 
yards in width. Small islands of papyrus floated down 
alongside of us. I got the gramophone out and idly we 
drifted down the river, with now and again sufficient 
breeze to flap the sail. The sun beat down on the 
awning until clouds of steam arose from the rotten 
old piece of canvas under the burning rays of the sun. 
A mirage floated to our left and partially hid the shore 
from view. Amidst it all the tuneful strains of the 
" Gold and Silver " waltz, from The Merry Widow, 
reminded us of the fact that after all, though Africa had 
its drawbacks, it was speedily making amends for the 

46 



.*. 





" POSHO " 

previous night's experience. Only those who have made 
a trip on Lake Albert and the Nile can picture the 
marvellous effects one sees on a morning after heavy 
rain. Everything is freshened up, the very fish jump 
about in an ecstasy of joy. Quaint birds sing merrily 
away high up in the clear blue sky. Shimmering mirages 
dance on every side. A native dug-out — nought but a 
tree trunk roughly hollowed out — is seen with its quaint 
dark-skinned occupant, lazily manipulating a broad- 
bladed paddle with which he sends the little craft skim- 
ming over the water. 

Once in the river, we see on our right beautiful fresh 
verdure with grand old trees from which hang a network 
of monkey-ropes and creepers. Tall stately palms do- 
minate the scrubby country, as they nod their heads in 
the morning breeze. Native women and children, each 
with an earthen vessel or a gourd balanced on her head, 
emerge from the semi-darkness of the forest-like growth 
on the right bank, and walk down the green slope to 
the water's edge, where perhaps one or two canoes are 
drawn up half out of the water. These people are naked 
but for a platted grass apron around their waists, and a 
string of beads at the neck. Large rings around which 
the lobe of the ear is stretched dangle almost down to 
their shoulders, pieces of grass or copper rings are 
fastened through the lip or nose, while heavy wire 
bangles encircle their arms and wrists. In their semi- 
savage state they are happy, far, far happier than millions 
of our own colour, for they are naturally a contented folk, 
taking things as they come, and are not troubled by the 
worries and cares of civilization. One day follows 
another, years come and go. 

Here at night the hippopotamus roams crashing and 
thundering through the tall grass. Frightened chattering 
monkeys gaze down in horror from the trees on the 
prowling leopard and scamper off in droves at the scent 

47 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

of danger. Fire-flies and glow-worms glitter like spark- 
ling diamonds amidst the grass and trees. Above all 
the clear starry heavens, with the great moon shining 
across the water as the Southern Cross slowly lifts itself 
slantwise into the sky. 

The precipitous shores on the Congo side of the lake 
now loom up behind us, the west bank has dwindled to 
a flat stretch of bush country. We are travelling along 
the western side of the Lado Enclave, which extends 
back to the mountains that form the divide between the 
Belgian Congo and the Soudanese territory. Running 
from the vicinity of Mount Emin Pasha, the Lado En- 
clave extends round the country of Njoro northwards 
by Aba to Amadi in the north and round to Kero, being 
bounded on the east by the Nile. This country is now 
Soudanese territory under the Governor of Mangalla — 
Colonel Stigand. 

Up till recently large herds of elephant lived in this 
country and came down to the water for their dip every 
day, but now they are gradually being driven back, and 
in a few short years we shall have to go far into the 
country seeking fresh hunting grounds. Elephants can 
still be seen coming down to the Nile, but not the huge old 
one hundred and seventy and two hundred pounders as 
of yore. 

We sighted the landing stage at Koba about two p.m., 
and after another two hours we came alongside. The 
Kisingiri had already arrived, and the boys were busily 
engaged getting out the loads and mules. Mr. Britle- 
bank had very kindly offered us the use of his kitchens 
and camping ground, which stood on an elevated position 
about five hundred yards from the river. From this 
point a superb view could be obtained of a fifteen mile 
stretch of the Nile wending its way to the north-west. 
The mountains in the west with their rugged peaks, 
whose outlines stood clearly defined against the clear 

48 



" POSHO " 

blue sky, formed a fitting background to the bushy 
country in the Enclave. Mount Emin Pasha to the 
south-west stood out clearly above the range. The great 
Wliite Nile, shimmering in the sun on its way to enrich 
the arid wastes of Egypt, lay before us. In a very short 
time all the loads, together with mules and donkey, had 
reached the camp and tents were soon run up. 

Further up the well-kept road was the Government 
Station or Boma, a trim little place with its old mud and 
grass buildings, each with a verandah around it. There 
are the Commissioner's offices, large storeroom and post- 
office, standing on a square piece of ground surrounded 
by a large number of very beautiful trees. Leading 
from the Commissioner's house to this verdure-clad spot 
is a very fine avenue. 

In the morning, when the Commissioner is seen 
approaching, the bugle rings out, a dozen or so Askaris 
in khaki uniforms, with short knickers, red sash and fez 
of the same colour, fall in with their rifles, and give the 
salute. The Union Jack flutters from a tall staff in the 
centre of the square. The Commissioner is the only white 
man in Koba. Once we leave Koba with its rude ideas 
of civilization we shall go long before seeing another 
white face. Perchance one may meet an occasional 
hunter, or a traveller taking the trip home from Uganda 
via Lake Albert and the Nile to the Mediterranean. 

Some eight miles away to the north there is a mission 
station in charge of some very excellent people, but Koba 
itself consists of the Boma and one or two Indian stores. 

A meat market occupies a small patch of very bare 
ground with one solitary tree. Around the tree on 
market days a crowd of jabbering semi-naked savages 
are wont to haggle over the price of a piece of the ox 
which hangs from a branch of the tree. Every one talks 
excitedly, nobody listens. Indians display an assort- 
ment of cheap coloured cloths, gaudy shirts, beads, and 

49 E 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

what not, all of vivid hues to attract the eyes of the 
natives. One young man who has come from a village 
close by, clad in nothing more than a string of beads 
with an old skin slung over his shoulders, gazes pensively 
for about an hour at a piece of coloured cloth. Eventu- 
ally he decided to purchase it, ties it round his loins and 
having carefully arranged it, looks himself up and down. 
He at once assumes a superior air to all the admirers 
who gaze on him with envy as he proudly struts about. 
Here is vanity in its most acute form. The raw native 
knows a good piece of cloth at once, although he has 
not perhaps set eyes on good or bad before. I have 
noticed the same with boys on the mines in South 
Africa, they invariably insist on having a real Witney 
blanket no matter what the cost. 

The morning after our arrival we were seated at 
breakfast, when a European hove in sight with some half- 
dozen boys, coming up from the river side. He proved 
to be Mr. Rogers, who, accompanied by a friend, had 
recently reached the head of the lake, having walked 
up from Katanga, the Star of the Congo, a distance of 
some 1200 miles. The two men were prospectors. For 
days at a time one, and sometimes both, had been struck 
down with fever during the journey. Neither of them 
used a mosquito net, which naturally made things verv 
much worse than they would have been. The soft and 
narrow sandy shore of Lake Tanganyika presented great 
difficulties owing to the sand and dense vegetation which 
came down to the water's edge, and enormous stretches 
were covered ankle deep in the water. 

That evening Rogers had dinner with us, and during 
the meal he astonished us by saying to his boy in English, 
" Aaron, bring me my big spoon." It is certainly very 
nice in some respects to have a boy who can speak 
English, but it has its disadvantages. When two of 
you are together chatting, it is impossible to discuss 

50 



"POSHO" 

adequately certain matters in connection with the safari, 
and it is not advisable that your table boy should be 
able to carry away to the camp fire the conversation 
that has passed between you. Again, if you always 
have a boy by your side who speaks English, you will 
never learn Swahili, and I do not care what character 
that boy bears, there is nothing like dealing with the 
safari yourself. There is no chance of your words being 
misconstrued, or your interpreter sulking at an Indaba 
with the village headman, and cutting out certain passages 
of a speech that may be of great import to the subject 
under discussion. There is no excuse for anybody not 
learning Swahili, at least sufficient to make himself 
understood, in two months. It is a mere bagatelle com- 
pared to the Zulu, Basuto and South African languages. 

We left a large number of loads in the camp under 
charge of two of our boys. Having packed up sufficient 
stores for a three months' trip we set out for Wadelai 
on the third day after reaching Koba. 

We wended our way in Indian file down the slope 
towards a belt of forest-like country a half-mile below 
our camp. 

The track was bordered by fairy-like ferns, great 
trees matted together by a network of creepers, through 
which most magnificent views of the Nile could be seen, 
a solitary canoe was being forced against the stream by a 
silent native, who sat perched in the extreme after-part 
of the boat taking deep strokes with his quaintly shaped 
paddle. A rough winding path ran through this gor- 
geously bedecked stretch of country. The heavy storms 
of the last few days had left great pools of water in the 
pathway. A damp though not unpleasant aroma rose 
up from the hundred and one species of tropical growth. 
Every now and then we came upon patches of soft green 
grass into which our feet sank as into a thick carpet. 
We were soon swallowed up in the uncertain light of 

5i 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

another glade. In less than two hours we had climbed 
up to the top of the flat high country which runs alongside 
the Nile towards Wadelai. From here we looked back 
over the tops of the densely packed trees that up to now 
had kept the burning rays of the sun off our heads. 
The plantation around the Boma, now eight miles away, 
showed up clearly against the skyline. The Boma stands 
far above the other buildings in Koba, and for some way 
we could make out the Union Jack at the masthead, 
fluttering over an outpost of civilization. The scene 
was gradually lost to view as our path dipped towards 
the first river outside Koba. The boys cautiously 
climbed down its steep banks and entered the water, 
which although it reached only up to the waist, ran 
fiercely. It looked tempting to see those beautiful 
swirling waters on their way to the Nile, which, though 
still parallel to our path, now lay a mile away to the left. 
Sixty yards above the ford and just around a bend 
great rocks peeped up in the river and the water rushing 
against them with fury sent clouds of spray high in the 
air. There was a small cataract close by, the noise of 
whose swirling waters resounded loudly in the small 
canyon, whose steep banks were topped with fluttering 
palms and cactus. Gaily coloured lizards were sunning 
themselves on the banks and a beautiful crane fluttered 
out of the long grass above the cataract. A heap of 
grey ashes lay on the blackened surface of a slab of stone 
close to the water, showing that natives had on the 
previous night been down fishing by the light of the 
fire. 

Arriving safely on the other side we rested for twenty 
minutes, enabling the boys to splash about in the water 
or to gather some of the wild fruit close by. A short 
distance above us the steep high bank had slipped and 
let three huge trees fall across the river, which they 
spanned from bank to bank. It was interesting to 

52 



" POSHO " 

watch how the angry waters resented the intrusion of 
these monsters whose trunks were half submerged in 
the river, acting like a boom, beneath which the waters 
came out with increased vigour. The boys were en- 
joying their ablutions and their voices sounded through 
the little canyon with a ring of happiness and content- 
ment. Insects buzzed around, now and again a queer 
little gaily plumaged bird piped away in the morning 
air, lending an additional enchantment to the music of 
the rushing waters. 

Now let me sound a warning note to the intending 
traveller in tropical Africa. Be careful about going into 
rivers. Apart from the impurities in the water likely to 
harm the skin, never bathe in cold water in the heat of 
the day. Never let yourself dry in the heat of the sun, 
to do so is courting trouble and tempting providence. 
One poor fellow whom I knew in Bloemfontein, some 
five years ago, and whose name was well known in 
Government circles in South Africa, came up to British 
East Africa a short time ago, and in the heat of the day 
bathed in a stream and dried himself in the full glare of the 
sun. Bear in mind this took place within a hundred 
miles of the equator. The result was that the poor fellow 
died shortly afterwards. If you want to bathe, the safest 
way is to take a folding canvas bath. I recommend 
a canvas bath, because it is so much more compact and 
more durable than the tin ones, which wear out very fast 
with the constant knocking about. Bathe at any time 
between four and six p.m. It is better not to use cold 
water, except for the face and hands. It is equally 
dangerous to use water that is too hot. Above all, after 
a bath beware of the chill after sundown, for a cold is 
the root of most ills in Africa. A warm bath should be 
taken every day. 

That night we camped at the Big Tree, about twelve 
miles from Koba, close to some huts. Looking down on 

53 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the river we could discern a number of huts built on one 
of the islands, some sixty yards from the east shore. 
These people were very keen fishermen, and some of 
them brought a very welcome supply to our camp. 
There seems to be some difficulty at present in obtaining 
food for the porters on the road to Nimule. These 
people are a well set up race, but completely spoil them- 
selves in appearance by unnecessary " ornamentation," 
such as grass projecting from the upper or lower lip, or 
stuck through slits in the nose and ears. Here again we 
found that some one had camped quite recently. The 
little heap of grey ashes lying at the foot of the tree was 
not even damp, so our predecessors must have been 
there within forty-eight hours previous to our arrival, 
as no rain had fallen for that time. 

Here we gave eut the half-monthly rations or " posho." 
Rupees and cents would be useless on this side of the 
river, so for purposes of barter with the natives of the 
district in exchange for food, it was necessary to supply 
each boy with americani and salt to the value of one 
rupee, with which he would have to purchase the neces- 
sities of life for two weeks, so this " posho " business 
took place every fortnight. It is necessary to get an 
idea from the local native as to the nature of barter 
required in the country wherein you are about to travel. 
Some districts will take salt and beads, others want 
brass and copper wire, hoes, needles, old tins, bottles, 
empty match-boxes, and so forth. Everywhere, how- 
ever, " americani " (trade cloth), takes like " hot cakes." 
For the boys, americani, beads, or salt is generally given 
out. 

Next day we set off down the slope and passed 
through several rippling streams, plunged into great 
tracts of elephant grass that reached far over our heads. 
Emerging from beautiful glades we came upon stretches 
of fine grassy country with a fair sprinkling of tall bushes, 

54 



" POSHO " 

occasionally getting a shot at hartebeeste and buck, 
thereby laying in a supply of fresh meat, which unfor- 
tunately cannot be kept more than a day or so, conse- 
quently it is somewhat tough, but infinitely better than 
the native chickens. These birds are invariably so 
highly domesticated as to become in my eyes much the 
same as the child's pet rabbits which one is always averse 
from killing for eating purposes. 

There is a telegraph wire along the path with the 
insulators that support it attached to the trees. In 
several spots the wire rested on the grass. Surely the 
posts and telegraph department would find it much 
cheaper in the long run to lay out the small capital 
required for erecting proper telegraph poles, and thereby 
put a stop to the present frequent interruptions of the 
line. Elephants and other game are largely responsible 
for many of these annoyances, I grant ; but iron poles 
might be instrumental in preventing the trapeze per- 
formances of monkeys disporting themselves in the trees 
and utilizing the wire for their gymnastic displays, such 
as I have seen on several occasions when passing along 
this road. 

Our camp for that night was at Panyongo, almost on 
the banks of another small river. This is where a rest- 
house stands for the post boys, when en route for the 
north. A letter posted at any spot in Uganda, let us 
say, for instance, Kampala, is carried from there to 
Butiaba, a distance of about 160 miles. This is accom- 
plished by runners on foot in five days ! From there it 
is taken by boat across the lake to Koba, whence it 
proceeds more often than not by road to Nimule on 
the heads of relays of runners. Each of these runners 
is escorted by another boy who carries an old gun of an 
extraordinary pattern, reminding one of the " baby " 
carried by Baker, which with the aid of ten drams of 
powder threw a half-pound bullet ! The gun I first saw 

55 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

one of these fellows carrying made a report something 
akin to the noise created by a fifteen-pounder field gun. 
Should the bird aimed at fall to the ground, you can 
be assured that the concussion alone has rendered it 
senseless for the time being. Probably it does fall, but 
not from the effects of the bullet ! The best plan s 
the boys say) is to run up and capture the prize before it 
recovers from the shock and flies away ! This, however, 
is not always possible, for the " gunner " is generally 
enveloped in an immense cloud of blue smoke for fully 
half a minute, and judging by the way he rubs his 
shoulder, it is evident that the experiment would be 
repeated only in case of dire necessity. The mail bag 
continues the journey on the boy's head, who like his 
escort wears an old Post-office uniform that looks as if it 
has seen service since the days of Rowland Hill. On 
they go, now walking, occasionally breaking into a trot. 
A swollen river is reached, the Government has placed 
canoes here, but perhaps the natives from the Congo 
side of the Nile have been across on one of their periodical 
raids, causing the local people temporarily to fly up the 
river. The mail has to reach Nimule on a certain date. 
Cautiously the boys try the depth and find that it 
reaches up to the shoulders, but the river is subsiding 
and the strength of the current is not very great, they 
return for the mail bag and gun which they have left on 
the bank and walk into the river. Often there is a great 
stillness over the country, the tall grass lining the opposite 
bank rustles in the breeze. There are innumerable dangers 
besetting them, not the least of which are the crocodiles 
that abound in the rivers. Possibly the visiting marau- 
ders from the Lado lie hidden in the long dry grass with 
bow-string taut waiting for the unwary traveller. Once 
on the bank they plunge into the semi-darkness caused 
by the tall grass overhanging the path, reaching perhaps 
twenty-five feet high. Fifty vards ahead a stretch of 

5~6 ' 



" POSHO " 

water is seen covering the path and hiding treacherous 
elephant holes and tangled undergrowth. As there b 
here a dip in the land the water which has lain since 
the last floods cannot drain off, and even now it reaches 
\v« 11 over the waist. 

On the path traversed by these boys I have been 
walking through stinking water that crawled with insect 
life, every now and then slipping on the ground under- 
neath, warily treading through the trampled grass and 
hidden growth. Perhaps you go from six in the morning 
until seven at night, through water reaching up to the 
armpits and full of ticks, frogs, dead lizards, and so 
forth. Imagine, if you can, the porter with a sixty- 
pound load on his head, or the mail boy by whom your 
letter is carried, trying to force his way through great 
stretches of country that are in this state. Your letter 
will travel from Kampala to London via Gondokoro and 
Khartoum for six cents, equivalent to one penny in 
English money. Surely this is a great pennyworth ! 
Only those who have been through the country can 
realize the enormous difficulties that present themselves 
daily to these post-boys. 



57 



CHAPTER VI 

THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

We struck camp at Panyongo early in the morning and 
as usual breakfasted under the stars amidst the noisy 
chattering carriers, who were busily folding up the tents. 
Each man, taking his load, with his sleeping mat firmly 
tied on top, lays it in line with those of the rest of the 
party who have already formed up in a row on the dew- 
spangled grass, each of them squatting behind his load 
and shivering in the damp atmosphere of early morn. 
When all were ready we set off down the slope through 
long elephant grass that waved over our heads and 
presently emerged at the river, which at this spot is about 
thirty yards in width, overhung by large trees that line 
the banks with festoons of gaily coloured foliage that 
reach from the branches almost down to the water. 
Fortunately a canoe is kept here by the Government for 
the use of the post boys and any traveller that should 
chance to come this way. 

On this trip the natives who look after the canoe were 
at their post, apparently the Congo people had not raided 
here lately. We could put three boys and four loads in 
the leaky old eighteen-foot dugout at one trip, and in 
spite of an exceptionally strong current prevailing at the 
time, the whole safari was across in an hour. The 
mules and donkey were made to swim over with a rope 
attached to the headstall, the end of which I, with half 
a dozen boys, had hold of on the north bank, pulling in as 

58 




*/as 




&GM*Apiffr <"< fi,; ' : , * 



; li^lVt 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

the beast swam across, for on reaching midstream the 
torrent would hurl beast or boat down the river at a 
furious pace. The canoe boy, who was attired in nought 
but a few beads, told me how one of his friends had been 
trying to ford the river just at this spot a few days before 
our arrival. He had got some distance from the bank 
into the river when he was dragged under by a crocodile 
and was not seen again. This fellow had watched the 
tragedy and recounted it in a most dramatic manner. 

The best way to prevent attack from these beasts or 
reptiles when fording a river, is to make a lot of com- 
motion in the water, splashing about and shouting- 
There is not so much danger, however, in a party fording 
at the same time, provided the natives make plenty of 
noise. At all times I prefer to use a canoe if one is avail- 
able, but on the majority of smaller rivers they are not 
always to be found where and when you may require 
them. 

Both crocodiles and hippo, when shot in the water, 
will float for a few seconds and then sink, remaining 
under the surface until nightfall, when the temperature 
falls and the water acquires sufficient density to float 
the carcases. 

Slowly we threaded our way through the tall grass, 
travelling with the greatest difficulty owing to the slippery 
mud underfoot. Apparently the water had only recently 
drained off this part of the country, leaving the path in a 
treacherous condition with coarse tangled grass beaten 
down over the track. Every now and then some one 
sat down rather hurriedly, as a tent pole with its ropes 
hanging loosely from the load became entangled with 
the huge thorns of an acacia-like bush, and such a mishap 
lent additional discomfort to one and all. 

In a short time we came to a piece of short grass 
country dotted with large trees and bush among which 
roamed numerous herds of buck and antelope. With the 

59 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Rigby, I brought down a fine specimen of Uganda Kob ; 

shortly after P brought down a fine reed buck. The 

firing brought out a large number of people from the 
village, and as our boys had quite enough to earn', we 
decided to get some of the natives, after skinning and 
cutting up the beasts, to bring the meat to camp up at 
Wadelai. We gave them the heads and horns, and a leg 
of each animal. Presently we arrived at the head of the 
plateau, overlooking the flat grass country south of 
Wadelai, through which runs another river on its way to the 
Nile. We had about eight more miles to do before reaching 
the Post-house at Wadelai. We could see a canoe on the 
opposite bank, but all was still as death. It was im- 
possible to cross the river without a boat of some sort, 
so to attract attention we fired a shot which soon brought 
down some of the people of the village. After the usual 
shouted greetings between our boys and the people of 
Chief Okele, the canoe came over and we set to work 
to get our goods and chattels across the water, paying the 
requisite Government rate for hire. In another twenty 
minutes we found ourselves outside the Post-house. 
This stands on a hill overlooking the delightful part of 
the Nile known as Lake Rube, over which I have seen 
from the eastern side, the most glorious effects of sunset 
in Central Africa. Away to the west, in the Congo, I could 
see the rough grey outlines of the hills running from north 
to south, at the foot of which lies the bush country of the 
Enclave. The lake is about three miles across at this 
spot. Half a mile away a solitary canoe drifted idly 
northwards. I could hear the dull chanting of the figure 
seated high in the stern as he stared at a flock of wild 
geese flying overhead to the west. The sun, a huge 
glowing mass of fire, was sinking fast beneath the grey 
mountains far away. A cool breeze rustled through the 
grass and bushes as the sky above darkened rapidly to 
a violet hue. Suddenly in the west there flamed a glory 

60 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

of sunset colours. In the east the sky was of the darkest 
shade of blue. Slowly a mass of floating grass drifted 
across the lake into the river below. Gradually the 
colours blended smoothly into a rose-like hue, nothing 
was sharp, there was no violence in this marvellous 
transformation scene. 

As I walked away towards the camp the air became 
quite cool and when half-way up the slope I turned to 
gaze again at the scene. A picture that no living hand 
could hope to reproduce. The great sun had died away, 
and with it the voice of the native in the canoe had become 
more and more indistinct as he headed for the river. 
Slowly the shades of night dropped down upon us. 

Outside the Post-house camp fires glimmered and 
by nine o'clock the great moon was well in the sky, 
throwing its light across the lake below us. Slowly 
the Southern Cross rose up in the sky amid myriads of 
other stars. On the banks of the river below mights- 
hippopotami crashed and roared in the grass, reminding 
one that canoe travelling at night is a risky undertaking, 
for these brutes are fond of attacking any craft. Night 
birds wheeled overhead. From the Congo side the 
lurid glare of fires showed up above the trees, a dance was 
evidently in progress, judging from the shouting and 
singing accompanied by drums beating that reached our 
ears. One by one the fires of our boys in the camp died 
out, the smoke cleared away from the huts, under the 
rays of the moon everything was as light as day. Sabawa 
had ceased to chatter of the elephants. The figures of 
the boys could be seen, rolled up in their blankets near the 
fires, most of them asleep : here and there a crooning 
individual would poke around the ashes of the fire : 
selecting one of the embers he would blow gently on it as 
he held it in his fingers until it glowed. Then he relit 
his pipe, puffing vigorously, and with an air of content- 
ment drew the blanket around him. Two or three sat 

61 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

on around the little heap of ashes, carrying on a whispered 
conversation for a little longer. Now and again the howl 
of a pariah dog or jackal in the distance broke in on the 
still night air. The fires across the river were kept going 
up to a late hour, until, with a tremendous beating of 
drums and frantic shouting, the dance finished and the 
village was hushed in peace. 

When two white people are together far from the 
outer world, their conversation often takes a peculiar 

turn ; for instance, that evening P and I compared 

our ideas as to the best author living at present, or 
discussed the merits of the last plays we had seen, where 
we had last stayed in London, the best place for a rump 
steak in town, and so forth. At length we drifted into 
our respective tents and prepared to dream of the 
happenings of another day spent far from the cant, 
hypocrisy and cares of the outer world. 

The next morning, Saturday, we decided to overhaul 
our stores, examine the medicine chests, etc. During 
the morning word came in by a boy who had travelled 
down from the Nimule country, that large herds of 
elephants were gathering along the banks of the Assua 
River. Sabawa, who claimed to have a complete know- 
ledge of that country, was straightway brought forward. 

Eventually P determined to go over to the Assua 

River via Fatiko, cross the river and work down it to 
Nimule. 

I was going to see what the Lado contained. The 
whole country on both sides of the Nile had recently 
been under water, so we decided to leave the tents at 
Wadelai in order that the boys might travel light and 
enable us to cover greater distance. The fly, or outer 
sheet of the big Edgington tent was erected on the Uganda 
side of the Nile, just above Lake Rube, on a patch of 
short grass under a large tree. Here we placed the loads 
that we would not require for at least two months. 

62 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

We arranged to join forces again at this spot in 
exactly six weeks' time. On the eve of departing we 
instructed Pishi to produce a real flash dinner, which he 
did, not forgetting to swim everything in fat. However, 
a bottle of Dry Monopole soon put things straight. It 
was the last dinner we might have together, who could 
say ? Elephant hunting is a risky business at the best 
of times. 

Every one was astir before sunrise the following day, 
Sundav, the porters were drawn up and divided between 
us, each taking twenty-four carriers, a cook, headman, 
syce, tent boy and gun-bearer. Two boys were to remain 
in charge of the stores at Wadelai. There was great 
excitement between the boys who were to go with me, 

and those about to travel with P , many of them 

embraced each other and kissed, handshaking was going 
on all over the place. 

A start was made shortly before the sun appeared 

above the horizon, Mpala, P 's headman, led the way, 

clad in an old shirt and a straw hat, in his hand he held a 
long spear. 

Great shouts of farewell were given on both sides 
as the party set out for the east, travelling through the 
long grass, in which they were soon lost to view. The 
excitement having passed off, I set two of my boys on 
the top of an ant-hill to shout lustily for the Shinzis 
on the other bank of the Nile, which is here about 400 
yards in width. Directly opposite to us, some half mile 
back from the river, we could see the tops of the huts in 
the village, just visible above the long waving grass. 
It was from them that the noise of singing and drums 
beating amidst the lurid glow of fires had come on the 
Friday night. I sat down and smoked my pipe while the 
boys yelled frantically and beat old tins in the hope of 
attracting the villagers. Presently a few figures came 
out of the long grass at the water's edge. Shading my 

63 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

eyes with one hand I made them out to be women with 
earthen vessels on their heads, coming down to get water. 
In spite of the existing dangers in the form of crocodiles, 
etc., they walked calmly into the water until waist deep, 
and frolicked about, splashing each other and clapping 
their hands, taking not the least notice of us on the other 
side, or the noise my party were creating, for I had 
summoned the whole safari to join in and make as much 
row as possible. The women filled their jars and returned 
to the village. A short time after several figures lined the 
banks, and when we made them understand that we had 
presents for them, a canoe soon put out from a creek a 
little lower down, manned by two men, who paddled up 
the river alongside their bank in the direction of Lake 
Rube. 

I began to fear that they did not intend coming over, 
but when they had paddled for some 500 yards they 
suddenly turned round and headed for midstream. On 
reaching the centre of the river we could see that they 
were working hard to get out of the strong current which 
carried them down the river at a great pace. Eventually 
they managed to come to the outgrowing papyrus that 
stood out from us a hundred feet into the river almost 
opposite to where they had started from. Experiencing 
some difficulty in paddling through this, it was several 
minutes before they beached their craft and came up the 
slope to where I was sitting. 

By this time another canoe had shot out and was 
coming across at a great pace. The first comers were 
evidently afraid of my boys, for they started to retreat 
towards their canoe and talked excitedly, my people were 
laughing at them and they evidently did not know how 
to take it. Calling for silence I beckoned to them to 
come forward, but they waited for their friends to arrive, 
and make sure that everything looked square before 
venturing near us. The combined part} 7 numbered only 

64 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

five, and after a hurried consultation they came forward 
to within a few feet of where I was sitting, and saluted 
in approved military style, each man afterwards coming 
forward to shake hands. This seems rather objection- 
able at first to the European who has been in South 
Africa, where one never thinks of shaking hands with a 
native, but with the Congo people one has to do so, to 
decline an outstretched hand from any of these people 
is a foolish thing, and may cause trouble. One of them 
held a huge fish, another a chicken, another recognized 
the cook and sprang forward to shake"* hands with him, 
to my surprise he spoke Swahili fairly well. The cook 
had been to Wadelai before, and it turned out that he 
knew quite a number of them. 

In a deep sonorous voice the elder of the party ex- 
plained to me, through the cook, that he was the headman 
of the village, and hinted that he generally received 
presents from white men about to travel through his 
domain, at which his followers gave a grunt of approval. 
First of all I presented him with some meat, which seemed 
to please him ; but, of course, as is customary with these 
people, he expected more. I told him that when I 
reached his village I would shoot some more meat for 
him, provided there were plenty of game about, to which 
he replied with a series of ahs ! ahs ! and grunts. He was 
certainly fifty years of age, and powerfully built, and car- 
ried a bow and quiver of arrows. The latter hung down 
his back attached to a cord around his neck, and a small 
dagger in sheath was strapped just above the muscle on 
his left arm. His head was shaved but for a small ridge 
of hair that ran across from ear to ear, through the hair 
was thrust a parrot or other feather, a piece of stick about 
four inches long hung from the lobe of each ear, and 
cicatrised marks covered his cheeks and forehead, standing 
out like warts. On the neck string were hung two empty 
cartridge cases and dried beans. Large blue and white 

65 F 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

beads were strung round his waist with a little grass 
apron fore and aft, and a copper ring through the upper 
lip completed his toilet. 

The others were younger men, but their features also 
were spoilt by unnecessary trinkets. Through a hole 
in their lower lips dangled pieces of glass, shaped like a 
new moon and some four to seven inches in length. The 
glass ornaments have a horrible effect on the wearer, and 
when in a rage they draw the under lip up so that the glass 
rod projects out like a sting. These ornaments, which 
look like glass icicles, are made by knocking the bottom 
off an old bottle and grinding it down on a stone to the 
shape required, generally in the form of a small tusk. 

The men were quite satisfied when, in exchange for 
the fish, which weighed thirty-seven and a half pounds — 
a barbel by the way, the same as is found in the South 
African waters — I gave them an empty six-pound sugar- 
tin. For two chickens I exchanged an old bottle and four 
teaspoonsful of salt. For a soft iron hoe head and a red 
blanket they contracted to take us across the river, loads 
and all, which meant about fifteen trips to and fro to 
get the complete safari across, as well as one of the mules. 
The other mule and donkey I was going to leave at 
Wadelai, till my return. It was only possible to get 
two boys and three loads aboard at the same time. The 
queer craft was what is called a dug-out made of a tree 
trunk roughly hewn out with a native adze. This one 
was about seventeen feet long by twenty inches in width 
and depth. The natives are exceedingly clever in their 
manipulation of these extraordinary craft. I have seen 
them even standing up while paddling. On first seeing 
the natives sitting high in the stern dipping the large 
curved bladed paddle it seems easy enough to " paddle 
your own canoe," but to be a mere passenger in one is a 
sufficiently nerve-trying experience for most people. I 
knelt down in the thing, and, as I was the only unoccupied 

66 




Mfi 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

man on board, I had to do the baling, which in itself is 
an art acquired only after some considerable practice. 
Every time I scooped up the water with the little gourd 
that did duty for a baling dish, it invariably fouled the 
curved edge of the canoe, and the contents were dashed 
all over me, and long before we reached the other side of 
the river I was wet through. 

There are large numbers of hippopotami about here, 
and a mile or so lower down they form a real danger to 
small craft. About half a mile from where we were the 
river is split into two channels by a large island of grass, 
reeds and sudd. Islands similar to these further down 
interfere greatly with the navigation of the river, especially 
near Bora, where the Nile is about four miles in width. 
At times it is almost impossible to see the current. Close 
by here is the site of an old Soudanese station, now a relic 
of the past. 

As it had taken about four hours to get the safari 
across it was well into the afternoon before all were 
landed, so I decided to camp some little way beyond the 
village for the night. The natives around here are a 
branch of the Lures, and I found them to be a very 
respectable and quiet people, endowed with a love and 
instinct of trading. They are not brave by any means. 
They decorate themselves with heavy brass and iron 
rings round their necks and arms, some smear themselves 
over with a dull reddish pigment of ant-heap or clay. 
I have also seen them powdering up some of the 
native red bricks from the ruins of an old Belgian Boma, 
which stood slightly north of the village. After crushing 
the bricks they mix water with the powder, making a 
fairly thickish paste, which is applied to all parts of the 
body as well as the hair. 

I was much struck when passing the first bunch of 
houses, or grass huts, to see nothing but the young women 
and girls sitting around, most of them engaged in drying 

6 7 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

corn and beans, spreading them out thinly on grass mats 
in the sun, others were grinding or rather pounding 
mtama into flour. The " mill " consisted of a piece of 
rock hollowed, into which the grain was placed, to be 
pounded with a large stone or piece of hard wood as 
pestle. 

A hundred yards further on I came to another small 
settlement where all the men, together with one or two 
women of a mature age dwelt. Around the huts several 
children were playing with miniature bows and arrows, 
learning how to shoot ; pariah dogs slunk about looking 
hungrily at the pieces of meat which were toasting on 
little sticks stuck in the ground around the fires. These 
people give a remarkable amount of consideration to the 
women so far as all social matters are concerned. In 
most cases the young girls live apart from the main 
village, or at least have their own huts. The women are 
never beaten, and the husband rarely takes any im- 
portant step without first consulting his " better half." 
Except when fetching water, the women are seldom far 
away from the huts. Practically all the cultivation is 
carried on by the men. The women are occupied ex- 
clusively with the household duties ; the Lures and 
Shulis are alike in this respect. The Shuli country lies 
to the east of the Nile, and runs from the neighbourhood 
of the Somerset Nile towards Nimule and the Latooka 
country. The Madi country starts around the neighbour- 
hood of the Osso River northwards to the Bari. Com- 
pared with the people further west I consider these 
folk are not over-endowed with a love for work or 
cultivation. Chickens, potatoes, mtama and beans form 
their staple diet. Like most tribes in the Congo, they 
catch buck and most other game by digging a pit and 
placing a net over it, on the top of which they spread 
grass. The unwary buck comes along and steps into the 
trap, the horns and legs becoming entangled in the net 

68 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

so that it is impossible for the beast to get away. The 
arrows these people use are generally made with a slender 
head of soft iron, about six inches in length, and three- 
eighths of an inch thick at the base, tapering to a very 
line point. It is not barbed. I have often seen these 
arrow-heads completely doubled up. They are shot 
with such force that when they strike a bone the impact 
is so great that the head is bent into a semi-circle. I 
remember seeing many of them on a path up the Kibali 
river doubled up in this way and covered with blood and 
hair. 

Around the huts several young men were squatted 
twanging away on curious stringed instruments, made of 
bark, with skin stretched across the top : some were 
constructed out of a piece of hard wood about sixteen 
inches in length, hollowed out, in shape very similar to a 
canoe, with strings stretched from end to end. I walked 
up to one of these musicians who was huddled up under 
the overhanging bee-hive-like roof of a hut, wherein I 
presume his fiancee was sleeping. When I asked him in 
Swahili to play he simply stared and grunted. I had 
forgotten for the moment that these people did not all 
understand the language in use across the river. When 
I imitated his movements in playing he opened his huge 
mouth, threw his head back and laughed loudly. In a 
moment, however, he regained composure and began to 
play. At first it sounded rather pretty, but a native 
tune of four notes played with endless repetition for hours 
on end becomes monotonous after a time. I stood 
listening for about five minutes and began to wonder how 
long it would last, but to my horror, the music seemed 
to get more furious as he went on. At last calling my 
headman I told him to bring me some beads, a few of which 
I threw to the musician in token of my approval of his 
efforts. He stopped for a moment to gather them up, 
but as I walked away he followed me and began to play 

69 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the same tune again, accompanied by a nasal chant, 
similar to that of the Malays, and I had great difficulty 
in ridding myself of him. 

Summoning the carriers to get on the road again, we 
moved on to a suitable camp site that I had espied on the 
slope about a mile ahead of us. All the musicians of the 
country seemed to be with us, for not less than thirty 
people, ferocious looking folk most of them, marched 
just ahead of me twanging strings, blowing on reeds, 
clapping hands, singing, shouting, and dancing madly. 
Little children ran away into the grass crying out as we 
passed by, dogs of every description barked and ran 
around me with their dry tongues hanging limply out of 
their mouths as great clouds of dust rose up from the 
path. Behind the procession came the more timid 
members of the populace, and women lifted children 
shoulder high in order to let them see the newcomer. 
Those ahead, who accompanied their music with shuffling 
feet and peculiar rhythmic motions of the body, cared 
nothing about the choking clouds of dust they were 
raising, and the peculiar odours emanating from their 
perspiring persons were very unpleasant. Ahead of all 
there marched one fellow carrying an old single-barrel 
muzzle-loader of enormous bore, evidently a relic of the 
old days of Emin Pasha's regime near Wadelai. The 
barrel was polished up so brightly that one could see 
one's face in it ! The barrel had long since come apart 
from the stock, and in place of the metal bands that once 
held them together, a few pieces of grass cord were tied 
round, half the shoulder piece had been broken off and 
the sights had gone altogether. The owner carried it in 
true military style on the left shoulder at the slope. 
A conical grass hat like the top of a Chinese Pagoda was 
on his head, his body was adorned with the remains of an 
old blue Belgian Askari jersey, on which there was worked 
a huge yellow star, and the garment was worn back to 

70 



THROUGH ELEPHANT GRASS AND WATER 

front. The sleeves had been ripped off, leaving his arms 
with their enormous muscles bare. But for this solitary 
garment he was naked, and he presented a magnificent 
picture of physique. Every now and then he would 
bring his right hand up and smartly place it across the 
gun on his left shoulder, in true Askari style. He had 
evidently seen the drilling of Askaris when around on 
patrol, for every now and again he would shout some 
unintelligible order and go through all sorts of imaginary 
paces. An old bandolier, which he wore round his waist, 
contained no ammunition. Such was my escort to my 
first camp in the Lado Enclave, which up till recently was 
under the Belgian Government. 



7i 



CHAPTER VII 

HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

During our stay among the Shinzis I was very much 
interested in watching the people make grass ropes and 
wicker baskets in which they catch fish. They are made 
like the safety ink bottles, or the eel-pots familiar on our 
English rivers, and are about four feet in length, and two 
feet in diameter ; they are placed in the river and ex- 
amined generally before sunset. 

Another fish-trap consists of a long tapering basket 
shaped like a cigar with the end cut off, about four feet 
long and ten inches in diameter. 

Just before sundown on the first night, I was resting 
in my hut enjoying a quiet pipe, when the stillness of the 
evening was suddenly broken by the sounds of music. 
On going outside I saw two fellows sitting with legs 
crossed close by the door playing for all they were worth, 
a little way off was Matakanga dancing like a madman. 
His threadbare coat had drifted over his shoulders. 
Two of the carriers, with sticks in their right hands, were 
shuffling their feet and stamping, while an admiring crowd 
of carriers and villagers stood around clapping and yelling 
with delight. It was not a bad amusement for them, but 
volumes of dust poured into my hut and covered every- 
thing. Picking up a stick I walked towards them, 
intending to put a stop to the performance ; but before 
I could get within reach they all rushed off into the grass. 
Except the cook and headman, not a soul could be seen ; 

72 



HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

but hurried whispering and an occasional tittering could 
be heard on all sides. I ordered all my boys to come out 
of the grass immediately, which they did, and I told 
them that the dance was not to be repeated again that 
day. They slunk off to the fires which had just been lit. 
For ten minutes no one dared even to whisper, after that 
every one was as merry as before, but the dance was not 
resumed. The villagers had flown at the first sign of 
trouble, tearing down the hill at a great pace, shrieking 
and laughing, to their huts. 

Later on in the evening I was rather surprised to 
hear the clear notes of a bugle ring out. It sounded quite 
close to our camp. At the time I speak of there was still 
some doubt among the hunters and traders as to whether 
the Belgians were still to be found patrolling the Lado. 
In these circumstances I was fully aware that some 
unpleasantness might ensue, knowing well that their 
Askaris are recruited from such races as the Manyema 
cannibals, and are allowed to pillage and plunder, rape 
and murder as much as they like. However, in this case 
I learnt from some natives who passed through the 
camp, homeward bound from a hunting expedition, that 
the people at a village further back had a bugle on which 
thev were wont to give a few calls every night, just to let 
every one know that they were all right I suppose. I 
recognized one or two calls as similar to those that we 
had on the gramophone. 

Next morning, on going through my stores, I found 
that one case of provisions had been left behind, on the 
Uganda side of the Nile, so taking Monica, the tent boy, 
and Kadali, the gunbearer, with the two guns, I set off 
for the river-side, and for a hand of cloth the canoe man 
agreed to take me over : a " hand " of cloth is measured 
from the ball of the elbow to the finger tips ; in some cases 
traders and others measure from the elbow to the knuckles 
only. On arrival at the Wadelai camp the case was 

73 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

nowhere to be seen, but it turned out afterwards that one 

of P 's boys had taken it by mistake. I returned to- 

the canoe, and away we set off again. We had just got 
halfway across the river when I noticed some grass floating 
down on us, thirty feet or so from our port bow. Instead 
of letting it pass in front of our craft the canoe boy took 
deep long strokes with his paddle and attempted to run 
across the front of it, which he did only just in time to 
avert disaster ; for as we shot in front of the floating 
mass it fouled our stern and made the canoe wobble 
about terribly for a few seconds. I felt sure that we were 
going over, an experience that I did not want with the 
two guns and ammunition aboard. It is impossible to 
gauge the size of these floating islands by what appears 
above the surface, for the solid part may extend some 
little distance under water, like the ram of a battle- 
ship. 

In the afternoon two of the villagers came to the 
camp with a report of game to be had a short distance 
away ; so leaving Salem in charge of the camp, I set out 
with some of my boys and the villagers, and after an 
hour's walk we reached some short grass country where 
I succeeded in bringing down two fine hartebeeste and 
a water-buck. 

The next morning we left Wadelai and pushed on in 
a north-easterly direction ; the path for the first two 
hours ran through a thickly wooded country full of that 
horrible thorny bush that I have mentioned before. 
The mule would persist in dragging me through the thick 
of it. My knees being bare were soon torn about, and 
every now and then a hooked thorn, similar to the South 
African " Waacht en beetje," would catch in my shirt 
and come near pulling me out of the saddle. From time 
to time a chicken tied by the leg on the top of a load 
would come into contact with a branch full of these 
thorns that the boy ahead had held aside, and when he 

74 



HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

released it, it would fly back and catch the unfortunate 
chicken like a shot from a gun, causing it to struggle and 
cackle vigorously. 

A few hours after leaving Wadelai we came upon 
several old elephant tracks. A large number of trees had 
been torn up by the roots and lay strewn across the path. 
Although elephants had previously been travelling in our 
direction it was necessary in places to get the boys at 
work with the axes to clear a path through the dense 
creepers and other growth. When about eight miles 
from Wadelai we emerged from the dense wooded country 
on to a fine stretch of short grass. We were now on a 
branch of the Nile ; but it was only fifty yards across, 
the navigable portion being two miles further east and 
cut off from us by a dense stretch of papyrus and reeds. 
This is one of the Nile reaches and swarms with hippo- 
potami. I called a halt in order to let the boys rest 
before continuing to skirt along the bank to the next 
village, which could be seen on an elevated position a 
few miles away. 

Three or four old grass huts close by aroused my 
curiosity, especially as a square shack, partially beaten 
down by the wind, stood beside them, for in the Congo 
square huts are only built by white men. In one of the 
huts I found an old Eno's Fruit Salt label, a broken gourd, 
and a pair of horns lay on the roof. I was busily engaged 
investigating, when a yell arose from one of the boys 
who had put his head into the opening of one of the 
huts, and in spite of his black skin he turned an ashen 
pallor as he ran back to the others shouting " Nyoka " 
(snake). Picking up a stick and standing in front of the 
door I called all the boys, telling them to arm themselves 
in a similar manner and surround the hut ; the grass 
being dry I had no trouble in setting fire to it with 
a match, and in a few seconds the hut was aflame. 
Sticks were raised aloft and blankets held out in front of 

75 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

each boy toreador fashion, every one was trembling with 
excitement. Suddenly with a frenzied shout Matakanga 
leapt up in the air as the reptile came towards him, and 
in an instant all were shouting excitedly as sticks whizzed 
through the air. Some of them must have been aimed 
straight, for the snake was killed. Its measurement was 
four feet seven. The back was of a dull brownish colour 
with black diamond-shaped marks and little white spots, 
the belly was of a silvery hue. I flung it with my stick 
into the bush amidst disappointed murmurs from the 
boys. 

Resuming the march we shortly afterwards came upon 
a group of native men engaged in breaking up about an 
acre of land for cultivation, who regarded us with great 
interest. A little further on we saw some huts, built like 
haycocks, six or seven of them standing together sur- 
rounded by a dense hedge of cactus and thorn bush. 
The only means of entering this encampment was through 
a small door two feet high. Some people who have 
written about this country have stated that a thorn hedge 
around the villages is peculiar to the Madi race ; but I 
have seen them further in the country, around the Aba 
district, up the Kibali and Niam-Niam. Although as we 
passed I could not distinguish a single person through the 
dense barricade, we heard a great deal of chatter and chil- 
dren screaming, and the inevitable chickens were scraping 
about under the hedge. There could be no doubt that 
my appearance in this out-of-the-way place was causing 
a great amount of interest, because, when we had left 
the village behind, I happened to look back and noticed 
that the entire population had crawled outside the 
zareba to see that we were continuing our journey. 
Their curiosity was natural, for a white man is not to be 
seen hereabouts once in twelve months, and then he is 
either a Commandant with a patrol of Askaris, or a 
solitary trader or hunter. 

76 



HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

Close to this place I found a sort of wild cucumber 
which looked very good to eat, but Salem and others 
strongly cautioned me not to try it, or I would need 
" dawa " (medicine) the next day. I took their advice, 
for it is always well to remember that you can learn a 
tremendous amount from your boys or the natives about 
the ins and outs of the country that is of the greatest 
importance to the welfare of the safari. Not a few of the 
white men who have lost their lives in Africa have done 
so by disregarding the warnings or despising the counsel 
of people who know their own country better than the 
stranger. The blacks may be dunderheads in many 
ways, but where the tracking and stalking of game are 
concerned we can well afford to learn from the people 
who have spent their lives in the wilds. 

To reach the village, close to which I intended camp- 
ing, we had to climb a fairly steep wooded slope and 
force our way through a big patch of what Stanley called 
"acacia horrida" (thorn bush). Although it sheltered 
us to a certain extent from the sun, it greatly impeded 
our progress, for many of the loads became entangled 
in the branches, and I was compelled to walk as the 
trees were a mass of thorns. 

The people here seemed to be far more communicative 
than those we had passed on the march. I ordered 
the boys to drop their loads beneath a large tree, and 
placing my chair under the shade of the branches, I sat 
and smoked, watching the boys build a square grass hut 
for me. Several of the villagers, men, women and children, 
volunteered to assist in cutting grass and firewood, and 
I was surrounded by a gay chattering mob of people all 
anxious to shake hands. Presently the village headman, 
rejoicing in the name of " Singooma," a pleasant old 
fellow fullv seventy years of age, tall and muscular, stood 
before me and gravely saluted by holding aloft his bow, 
after which he shook hands. Making use of the cook as 

77 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

interpreter he said, " I want some meat : there are a great 
many elephants, they have destroyed my fields and we 
have nothing to eat." On my asking him if any white 
men had been here lately, he replied, " not since the last 
elephant was killed by a white man with a lot of hair on his 
face. Ah ! that was grand ! the hairy man was old, 
yes, very old, no teeth " ; but he was unable to give me 
any other clue as to who the white man may have been. 
A grass mat round his loins and an old buck-skin thrown 
over his shoulders was all this headman wore, his head 
shaved clean but for a tiny patch in the centre. He was 
adorned with copper rings through his lip and ears, and 
heavy iron and ivory bangles around the wrists and 
biceps. On cross-examining him he said that at present 
the elephants were not in his district ; but after the first 
rain they would all come back and make further depre- 
dations on his domain. I gave him a few tawdry trinkets, 
and he arranged that some of the young men of the 
village should go out and watch the country around and 
bring reports of any game they saw. 

It was now midday, and I found that we had travelled 
over fifteen miles from Wadelai. At our feet lay the 
marshy Nile, some three miles in width, but choked with 
grass and other growth. To the north-east a range of 
hills stood up, running towards Nimule and forming the 
right bank of the river, which for miles flowed in a series 
of channels separated by wide tracts of grass. It became 
somewhat monotonous sitting in camp, the centre of a 
curious and interested mob of people who freely dis- 
cussed my appearance, laughed and nudged each other 
when I made any movement unfamiliar to them. For 
instance, when the midday meal was ready and Monica 
had set the table, I drew up my chair and began to eat. 
The sight of my knife and fork caused great amusement, 
and the mob pressed forward to witness the manipula- 
tion of these strange things. Every time I brought the 

78 



HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

fork up to my mouth they opened their mouths and made 
a peculiar clicking noise with their tongues. My clothes 
were discussed freely, and the colour of my hair, how 
long it was and so forth. There was a scramble for the 
bones which 1 threw away ; some of the people actually 
placed them in their hair or tied them around their necks 
with a piece of grass. When I blew on my whistle for 
the syce to go and fetch the mule, there were great shouts 
of delight. 

The mule had a small wound on its back, and when 
I dressed this with vaseline the curious villagers swarmed 
around with outstretched hands asking for some of the 
" dawa." I gave some to one fellow, and he and two 
others ate it with evident relish. 

Remembering that one of my shirts wanted repairing, 
I went inside the hut for a needle and thread, whereupon 
they all began to jabber and utter exclamations of sur- 
prise, many of them roared with laughter at the sight of 
me sewing with a needle and thread. The work that I 
was engaged upon seemed to them so novel that they 
stood and glared at me open-mouthed. My folding 
scissors were most wonderful of all, for the whole crowd, 
numbering by this time some two hundred, gathered 
around me uttering loud ah ! ah ! ow ! ow ! accom- 
panied by mouth clicking and much head shaking. The 
women hastened to bring their children along to witness 
the sight, and covetous glances were made at the shirt, 
while the scissors held every one spellbound. In a few 
minutes chickens galore were being offered in exchange 
for them. They were prepared to sell all their possessions 
for them. When I folded them up the excitement 
reached its limit, some clapped their hands and slapped 
their thighs yelling with astonishment, and long after 
I had replaced the scissors in a small box wherein I kept 
my sewing gear, they still hovered around staring at the 
box, expecting to see the scissors appear again. Toddling 

79 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

children, clinging to their parents, looked up at me with 
a frightened expression on their faces, as though I had 
come from another world. After this my wrist watch 
became the centre of attraction, and one of my boys 
came over to say that a deputation of these queer people 
had asked him what I was wearing on my wrist. Willing 
to let them see any object of interest I opened up the 
back of the watch, exposing the "works" — but no, I 
cannot ! it would be impossible adequately to describe 
on paper the excitement of these people when they 
observed the movement of the tiny balance wheel, the 
action of the hair-spring, and, above all, the brilliancy of 
the silver-plated case. One of them, more inquisitive, or 
shall I say venturesome, than the rest, advancing stealthily, 
not daring even to breathe, with eyes wide open, nervously 
fingering his bow, got so close that he could see his own 
reflection in the dazzling case. He stood as though carved 
from stone for a full minute, spell-bound. I can see him 
now as I write this, a tall muscular fellow about twenty- 
five years of age, a large copper ring fixed through his 
upper lip, all the hair shaved off his head saving only a 
small tuft at the crown, in which was stuck a solitary 
chicken feather, his body smeared with a dark red 
pigment, rows of cicatrised marks standing out in lines 
across his face and body. His whole frame trembled 
with suppressed excitement as he continued to gaze on 
the works of the watch, and his reflection in the case. 
He had been clinging tightly to another fellow's hand, 
but at length, dropping his bow he advanced towards 
me with outstretched hand, while the whole party, my 
boys included, stood like statues staring at the watch, 
which at last I laid on the corner of the table, face upper- 
most, with its little second-hand going round and round. 
There was no going back to work for these people that 
day. A white man had come along with all sorts of 
curious things, was not that sufficient to bring all and 

80 



HARTEBEESTE AND WATER-BUCK 

sundry for many miles around to see the " Msungu " 
(white man) ? 

Great big fellows of thirty years and over walked 
up to the camp, hand in hand like children, and after 
respectfully saluting by holding their bows aloft, and 
shaking hands, they would mix with the happy laughing 
throng, many of whom were by this time on excellent 
terms with the " Pagazis " (porters) and exchanging 
mtama for salt and calico. Singooma, the village head- 
man, had obtained some salt from the cook in exchange 
for chickens, and now sat on the ground close to me 
licking the palm of his hand, his beaming countenance 
shining with the greatest delight at the taste of salt. 
My syce stood in the centre of an admiring group giving 
an exhibition of drill as carried out by the Askaris ; 
another of the villagers had traded the lid of an empty 
biscuit tin in exchange for some fifty large potatoes, and 
was admiring his reflection in the mirror. The mule was 
taken by some to be a lion and spoken of as " simba," so 
Salem informed me ; certain it is that it caused the 
greatest consternation by grazing among a herd of goats, 
and the two little boys in charge clambered up a friendly 
tree and yelled like fury. Yes ! every one regarded the 
mule with awe, as, all unconscious of the role he was 
playing, he continued to graze away quietly until I sent the 
syce to get him into camp lest some of these people might 
take it into their heads to put an arrow into him. At length 
the sun fell and one by one the people crept back to their 
huts tired out with the excitement of the day. 

That evening the great branches of the tree overhung 
the dancing flames of the camp fires, mosquitoes in millions 
swarmed around, the heavens were ablaze with stars. 
Now and again the night birds sighed overhead, the 
guttural snort of the hippopotamus; as it crashed through 
the grass by the river; sounded as though in the camp 
instead of a half-mile away. 

" 81 G 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

I noticed several pieces of stick with curious looking 
chunks of meat toasting on them around the fires, and 
on interrogating the headman I found that some of the 
carriers had recovered the snake killed that morning and 
brought it on with them. 



82 



CHAPTER VIII 

ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

Next morning I arose early, by starlight in fact, and 
after breakfast proceeded to give out blankets and shirts 
to the boys. During the day I went down to the river or 
marsh, and after going along the bank for a mile or so I 
came close on a hippopotamus with its huge snout on the 
surface of the water. I aimed at the nostril, but 
apparently only succeeded in tickling the beast, as it 
simply disappeared beneath the water and presently 
dashed up the bank into the tall grass opposite. How- 
ever, later on I brought down a line old cow with the 
•450. She stood out on a spit about forty yards off. 
I gave her the right and left barrels, down she went, and 
in less than ten minutes a delighted chattering mob of 
porters and Shinzis were engaged in cutting up the meat. 
The cook was soon on the scene with tins in which to 
collect the fat. I did not taste the flesh, but the fat was 
most excellent, and is useful in many ways. 

Hippopotamus, " Kiboko " in Swahili, abound in the 
upper White Nile. They have peculiar little slits of eyes 
like nostrils placed close together. Their ears are small 
and erect. They are vicious beasts and will attack 
canoes in the water, even if unmolested. 

Next day two messengers came in to report that a 
large herd of elephant were travelling down towards the 
south, some two hours away from the camp. I set out 
at once with a few of the boys and provisions for a few 
days. Travelling lightlv enabled us to make considerable 

83 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

headway, which would have been impossible had we been 
hampered with the whole safari. Two hours later we 
came on the tracks of what must have been a fairly large 
herd, and upon examining the grass it was evident that 
it had only been trodden down within the last few hours. 
There were several distinct paths, one of which measured 
just over seventeen inches in width. Fortunately the 
grass was not more than three feet high. Following up 
the spoor we wound among the trees and bushes, and 
presently came to a small pool around the edges of which 
our quarry had left impressions in the soft clay soil. The 
water was thick and muddy, and some distance beyond the 
pool we noticed a number of twigs freshly broken from the 
trees together with several uprooted plants lying about 
the path. Presently Matakanga and the villager Oshelese 
stopped dead and took shelter behind a clump of bushes. 
Coming up to them I peered through the branches and 
leaves and saw, not more than a hundred yards ahead, 
nine elephants bunched together grazing and snapping 
twigs off tree and bush : even as I gazed, one of them on 
the far side put up its trunk and brought down a huge 
branch off the tree close by. There appeared to be only 
one decent-sized brute among them, and he was in the 
centre. We crouched down and waited to obtain a 
better view of them. I could not see the head of the large 
animal, but the others seemed to be all females. In a 
few minutes they opened out : yes, the large one was a 
bull. I could now see his tusks gleaming white in the 
sun as he swung round almost facing me. Resting the 
•450 on a friendly bough, I waited until a chance offered 
for the heart shot. The huge ears which were flapping 
idly made it difficult for me to gauge where to fire for the 
brain, so I determined on the heart. Bang ! went my 
right barrel, the huge beast stumbled, but recovered 
itself, the others cleared away in a flash, with ears spread 
out and trunks raised high. The bull swung round a 

84 



ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

moment later, bringing up the rear. The earth trembled 
as they set off, trees and branches crashed down right 
and left. We started at once in pursuit and after follow- 
ing up the reddened trail for several hours we espied the 
I lephants in a glade just ahead with only half their 
bodies visible above the tall grass. The bull stood apart 
from the others. Taking shelter behind a tree I got 
ready again, and in two minutes another shot rang out 
and he came down with a crash of trees and bush. On 
account of the long grass it was hard to tell, from where 
I was, whether it was safe to advance; so Matakanga 
scaled a tree close by and looking down on the brute 
from above was able to assure us that he was dead. I 
advanced, taking care to keep clear of the trunk. A shot 
in the back of the head seemed to quench the last spark 
of activity in the enormous creature, but I would not 
allow the boys to approach until I had given him a few 
more rounds. In a short time the work of cutting out 
the ivory began, the axes were got to work and every one 
was beaming with delight. Very soon the villagers began 
to arrive, men, women and children carrying grass and 
wicker baskets. Reserving a good portion of the flesh 
for my boys I told the villagers they were free to have 
the rest of the body. Loin cloths and trinkets were put 
aside and they squatted all over the huge carcase, off 
came strips of flesh, knives and spearheads detached from 
the shafts were all brought into requisition by the de- 
lighted mob, who seemed to revel in covering themselves 
with the blood. 

•303 and -450 rifles are not allowed in Uganda. A 
pamphlet I have seen which advocates the taking of a 
•303 or -450 over the Uganda Railways is rather apt to 
mislead in this respect, for as yet the Uganda railways 
referred to do not run in Uganda itself, but only from 
Mombasa to Port Florence on Lake Victoria Nyanza, 
that is to say through British East Africa. 

85 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Trading is not all honey when pursued in the Belgian 
Congo, as is shown in E. D. Morel's " Future of the 
Congo " (Smith, Elder), as follows : "... A merchant 
purchasing ivory from the natives is required to hand 
over one-half of his purchase to the Administration. 
Thus if he buys two tusks (with European goods upon 
which he has paid ten per cent, import duty to the 
Administration), weighing forty pounds each, he must 
hand over one of them to the Administration. The other 
is stamped and he is then free to take it out of the 
country." 

The tusks, which were rather long and thin, weighed 
twenty-nine and thirty-one and a half pounds respectively. 

That night the village was lit up with numbers of 
fires around which dark forms sat and literally gorged. 
My camp was also a scene of great festivity, half a dozen 
fires burnt merrily away and around them sat the boys, 
each with his allotted portion, chunks of which he toasted 
on a stick or cooked on the hot embers ; all ate until 
their eyelids drooped ! Talking ceased, camp fires 
flickered and dwindled to mere heaps of ashes. In the 
east the clouds gradually hid from view the glittering 
heavenly bodies, and it looked as though we should 
shortly have some rain. Suddenly a stiff breeze came up 
from the marsh, and so did the mosquitoes. After seeing 
the mule made comfortable for the night in his little 
improvised stable I went in to bed. I seemed to have 
slept only a few minutes when I was awakened by a 
terrific crash of thunder, rain was falling in a deluge, 
terrible violet tongues of flame seemed to strike the ground 
at our very feet. The storm played incessantly around 
and over us. The ghastly flashes seemed to snap in the 
drums of my ears and every moment I expected to be 
flung to the ground. I could see as though a thousand 
searchlights played over the country around. It was 
bright, yes ! even more so than the midday sun, and 

86 



ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

momentarily blinded one. Every now and again with 
guttural snort and roar the hippopotamus crashed and 
bellowed amidst the reaches of the Nile. Far away I 
could see the hills and every detail of the country towards 
Nimule, everything stood out boldly in the uncanny 
beams of light, and to relieve the strain on my eyes I 
had to tie a handkerchief over them, and sat up amusing 
myself by playing a mouth-organ, the notes of which 
were hardly distinguishable amid the incessant crash 
and roar of the tempest. It only lasted about half an 
hour, however, and within a few minutes of the last 
thunder-clap, millions of stars shone out again in the 
lu-avens as though rain and storm were unknown in the 
land, but the ground was nothing less than a morass. 

As I had taken care to select a high spot on which 
to pitch our camp we were much better off than the people 
in the village at the foot of the slope where miniature rivers 
were now sweeping through the huts. The porters had 
fared somewhat badly, their grass huts, or haycocks, 
leaked terribly as the wind had stripped most of the roof. 
The one solitary dry residence was that of Salem and 
Pishi the cook, and to this the more unfortunate fled for 
shelter ; and as it was only some six feet in diameter, 
and four high in the centre, it did well to cover eight of 
them. How they were huddled up ! jabbering away, 
blankets wrapped round them, all were shivering in the 
damp cold atmosphere. I turned in again and must have 
slept soundly for two hours when I felt something cold 
on my face, and discovered that the rain had percolated 
through the grass roof and was running down on to the 
bed in a stream. 

Presently another breeze came up and shook the 
hut somewhat alarmingly, so I put my guns over the 
cross pieces under the folding bed, covering them with a 
piece of sail-cloth, and on top of all this I placed the bath 
to catch the streams falling from the roof. Then I put 

87 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

most of the things lying about into the boxes and sat up 
waiting for the storm that I knew was coming. I had 
not to wait long before the wind died down for a few 
minutes and heavy drops of rain fell slowly, heralding 
the approaching deluge which soon came, and then the 
whole roof became like the rose of a watering-can. I took 
good care to keep my matches and tobacco dry. Managing 
to rig up the mosquito net I sat under it with water 
pouring down all over me. Myriads of mosquitoes tried 
to obtain access to the net in which I was sitting, 
and not a few succeeded in doing so, much to my 
discomfort. 

Often on a wet day I have sat down in the tent and 
thoroughly enjoyed reading the advertisements of Lemco, 
Sunlight Soap, etc., that are to be found wrapped round 
these products. When alone on a wet day in the far 
interior there is nothing much to do and reading the 
pamphlets of various firms is one form of amusement 
when far from a circulating library. 

I puffed at my pipe harder and harder, in the hopes 
that the smoke might make them desist ; but it made 
little difference, and I just had to sit it out. The red 
glow from the tobacco was all that I could discern in the 
darkness. In a few moments, however, the lightning 
started again. Thunder crashed and rolled far away to 
the west. I still stuck to the chair with a soaking blanket 
wrapped round me, my teeth chattering and rattling like 
castanets. Fortunately I had dressed myself fully when 
I first woke up, and was therefore prepared for the worst. 
Two of the chickens had sought shelter in my hut, but 
seemed to be feeling uncomfortable in the wet, as queer 
gurgles and cacklings arose from under the bed. 

Suddenly a terrific gust of wind caught the hut and 
laid it flat, and I found myself prostrate beneath the 
ruins — still smoking — the roof lay across my body, and 
as I struggled to free mvself from the tangle of mosquito 

88 



ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

net, the cursed insects did not relax their operations on 
my body, but continued to bite vigorously. I was 
properly pinned down by the ruins of the structure. The 
chair had been carried away from under me, but in spite 
of the wreck of my temporary home, I was compelled to 
laugh outright, for it all seemed so ludicrous — for the 
moment. 

I yelled to the boys, who pretended not to see the 
catastrophe, as they did not relish the job of coming out 
in the rain to help me re-erect the shelter. 

In a few minutes I managed to get free from the 
ruins and mosquito net, and crossing over to the hut, I 
dragged the supposed sleeping beauties out. Each of 
them rubbed his eyes and looked blankly at me, some of 
them whom I had not yet disturbed actually broke out 
with a chorus of snoring in spite of the water which was 
running down their backs ! It was all very cleverly 
acted, but failed to have the desired effect, for I roused 
the whole crowd and made them set to work rigging up 
my hut again. The rain was still coming down in a deluge, 
one boy who was holding up the side of the wrecked hut, 
apparently began to drowse, and the wind proved too 
much for him, with the result that he was sent spinning 
over still clinging to the framework which fell on him 
and pinned him to the ground. Another came cringing 
up to me and whined that he was sick, oh ! so sick ! — of 
course all humbug — and in two shakes I had him at work 
with the axe cutting fresh corner posts. 

Fortunately the stores were all in a heap raised from 
the ground on blocks of timber and covered with a heavy 
sail firmly roped down, so nothing suffered. Salem, with 
his old puckered face fringed with a sort of stage sailor's 
beard, was frantically shouting himself hoarse and 
bordered on the barking stage ! Presently he tripped 
over a tent peg and lay clad in just an old jersey and a 
piece of cloth worn like a kilt, one hand clutching his old 

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HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

black fez cap, jabbering away in flowery Swahili as the 
boys yelled with delight at his misfortune. 

I shall never forget the horrors of that night, wind, 
rain, thunder and lightning, the like of which it is im- 
possible to compare with anything to be seen in Europe. 
I have lain down to sleep in torrential downpours in 
Zululand, lying in a sort of channel with the water running 
in at the neck of my shirt and coursing through it and 
coming out at the bottom of my trousers. I have spent 
nights under the most adverse circumstances in a dozen 
different countries, but I have never experienced anything 
to compare with the discomforts of that night spent on 
the upper Nile, without a mosquito net, close to the 
marshes from which comes the dreaded malarial mosquito, 
whose untiring attentions made life unbearable. 

One man I knew, just out from the Old Country, was 
worried by them to such an extent as to come near 
losing his reason. Not only do the mosquitoes attack one 
at night, but along the Nile they are sometimes so bad 
during the day that I have had to walk up and down the 
camp while eating my food ! Some of them even pene- 
trate the finest mesh net. One means of avoiding them 
in the evening was to sit in the trail of the smoke from the 
fires. On the night I have just described I had a bottle of 
some preparation that was strongly recommended for 
keeping away the mosquito — we had bought it in fact 
with the medicine chests at the sale of stores from the 
Roosevelt safari — but like many of the vaunted pre- 
ventives of sea-sickness, it proved quite ineffective. 
One scientist has stated that one hundred and fifty 
million germs have to be got into the system before the 
first symptoms of malarial fever are seen. I think a 
few nights without a mosquito net on the Nile would be 
sufficient to gather this little party together ! 

How I longed for the dawn to break as I sat there 
during the long hours enveloped in blankets, still smoking 

90 



ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

my pipe. At length a grey light stole over the heavens, 
day was coming at last ! I could have clapped my 
hands at the welcome sight. Another hour and every 
one was astir, what pictures some of the boys looked ! 
Monica had worn his red fez cap all through the night, 
evidently it had not before faced the furies of a heavy 
storm, for the dye had come out and there were long red 
streaks down his face and all over his cheap cotton shirt ! 
I really could not suppress a hearty laugh as I gazed on 
this miserable shivering specimen of dusky humanity ! 
Many of the boys had suffered heavy losses, inasmuch as 
more than half of their " posho " was destroyed, and 
most of the salt, having been exposed to the downpour 
of rain, was lost. 

One boy came to me holding in his hand the sodden 
remains of a paper package in which he had kept his 
salt : alas, it was all that he had managed to save from the 
wreck, and he was on the point of bursting into tears ! As 
for myself, I was soaked to the skin and feeling none the 
better for the experiences of the night. Not long after 
the sun had shown itself over the rugged hills to the east, 
I was enveloped in steam from my wet clothing; but in a 
short time Monica managed to dry a change of clothes on 
a line strung between two trees, so I was soon feeling 
myself again. 

There is one thing I would particularly impress on 
all who are contemplating a trip in East, Central, or West 
Africa, that is to take a pair of mosquito boots either of 
canvas or soft leather reaching to just below the knee : 
they are positively invaluable when in camp. 

That day we set out again, following the Nile across 
flat stretches of grassy country that were literally teeming 
with game. The ground underfoot was a perfect mire, 
in places the water reached up to one's knees, and was 
full of insect life. Mbuga, a burly native from Toro, 
who carried a fifty-two pound box of salt and a parcel 

91 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

of beads as well as my folding chair and washstand, 
making a grand total of sixty-seven pounds, to say 
nothing of his own impedimenta, was engaged in a 
ceaseless running chatter with the boy ahead of him, 
apparently paying little heed to the slippery nature of 
the ground. His foot became entangled in a root and he 
fell on his back in the water, causing no little merriment 
to the others. Of course, box, chair, and washstand 
went down with a splash, drenching every one close by. 
However, after rubbing his neck, which had suffered 
somewhat, he replaced the little grass pad that porters 
carry between their heads and the load, like the circular 
pad on which bakers carry their bread-boards, gathered 
up his load and went on. He had a neck like a bull's, 
otherwise the consequences might have been more 
serious. 

A little further on I saw a spur-winged goose sitting 
on a tree about sixty yards off, and in response to a bullet 
from the left barrel of my 450 rifle, it came down with a 
series of somersaults. I found on picking it up that I 
had blown away the top of its head, so I was not prepared 
for the shock that I had, when, after we had marched a 
few miles further on, the bird recovered strength enough 
to chuckle loudly and struggled to get free from the hand 
of the boy who was carrying it ! Shooting birds, the 
small fry more especially, with a -450 big-game rifle is 
vastly different from using a shot gun where you have 
several small shot scattered. 

About eleven a.m. we left the Nile and commenced 
winding our way towards the west. Acacia horrida 
abounded everywhere. Climbing up a considerable slope 
we discovered from the top a village some miles away to 
the north-west, and I could see plainly that in order to 
reach it we should have to cross a very swampy piece of 
country ; but there was no help for it, so off we set. Our 
path, which was something like twenty inches in width, 

92 



ELEPHANT AND HIPPOPOTAMUS 

had been made by the natives in the dry season, but 
now it was hardly discernible, being covered with long 
tangled grass, and water in places up to our waists. For 
four hours we travelled through this swamp that was 
only about three miles across : boys tumbled and slipped 
about, every now and then stumbling into an old elephant 
hole lying hidden beneath the water, huge roots and 
plants were trodden under, myriads of tadpoles and 
frogs swam in the water, all around us were large fish 
that had been washed out from overflowing rivers, 
carcases of buck, birds and rats in all stages of putre- 
faction floated by us, everything stank terribly in the 
glare of the sun. I espied several of the harbingers of 
sleeping sickness, the tsetse fly, and the inevitable 
mosquito lent additional discomfort to our slow progress. 
Silwali, Kalakese, and Karetese dropped their loads and 
refused to budge when dry land was not more than half a 
mile ahead of us. I got them going again, but alas ! 
Kalakese became entangled with a submerged root and 
dashed headlong into the putrid water where he lay 
howling and begging to be left to die. I soon had him 
on his feet again, when suddenly the cringing, skulking 
coward of a moment before became possessed of an over- 
whelming rage, and picking up a long stick he came for 
me with a bound, his nostrils distended and his great 
lips firmly set. I dodged the swinging blow and as he 
tried to dash past caught him a smashing right-hander 
behind the ear : he fell face downwards in the grass and 
water, and for a second lay almost submerged. On seeing 
this I ordered the boys to drag him out and lay him on a 
stout patch of roots and grass close by. His eyes were 
wide open, but not a muscle moved as he lay staring 
blankly at the heavens above. The whole safari was now 
murmuring away, regarding me with sullen countenances 
and on the point of mutiny : some dropped their loads 
in the water purposely. Seeing this I snatched the 

93 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Winchester from Pishi and threatened to pump a shell 
into the first man to disobey my order to advance. This 
had the desired effect, but necessitated my carrying a 
gun to prevent further accidents arising. Half a dozen 
subdued characters bent over the prostrate form of 
Kalakese, who after some cold water had been poured 
over his head, began to show signs of life again. Pishi, 
now relieved of the Winchester, took over the boy's 
load. I made Kalakese march in front of me ; next 
came the mule, almost done up, for the poor brute's feet 
sank deep in the mud, making the journey for him 
doubly hard. At length we emerged on to clear ground, 
and once again stood on a dry path. Calling a halt I 
bade the boys rest for a short time before resuming the 
journey uphill to the village, which we reached about 
sundown, having travelled from nine that morning, and 
covered in all some sixteen miles. 

For a considerable distance around the village the 
country was under cultivation — matama, potatoes, and 
pumpkins were grown, as well as a low bush bearing 
small pods each of which contained two little nuts : the 
natives call it karanga. The people here were extremely 
industrious and brought a large supply of food up to 
the camp. 



94 



CHAPTER IX 

A FREE FIGHT 

My people were very quiet that evening over the camp 
fires, the only one who seemed to be talking was the 
mutinous Kalakese. This fact was not lost on me as I 
sat smoking over my own fire, and before turning into 
my hut I ordered two boys to sit on guard outside and 
arouse me on the slightest suspicion of trouble. As 
usual I had the Winchester by my bed ready for emer- 
gencies, and slept soundly for some hours. My camp 
was situated half a mile from the village amidst fairly 
thick bush and grass. In the early hours before day- 
break, I was awakened by Kongozi, one of the guard, 
who was in a great state of excitement. Kalakese and 
another boy were missing. Hastily dressing I sent word 
down to the chief of the village that I wished to see him 
at once. In a short time a grizzly-faced, shrunken old 
man appeared with several of his followers. They 
saluted gravely and listened intently as I told the chief 
that two of my boys were at large, and offered him four 
hands of cloth if his people could recapture them, which 
he promised to do. I thought it necessary to emphasize 
the fact that they were not to use any arrows or in any 
way to injure the deserters. Dismissing them and 
leaving Salem and half a dozen boys in camp I set out 
for a likely elephant haunt about five miles off. Three 
young villagers who were armed with the customary 
bow and arrow acted as guides, and in a short time we 

95 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

discovered elephant tracks not more than a few hours 
old, which we followed up until late in the afternoon 
when I heard a low rumbling sound. One of the Shinzis 
climbed a tree and reported a herd just ahead of us in 
long grass. Moving on again we got to within sixty yards 
of them. Mounting an ant-hill I could just see their 
backs and an occasional ear flapping like a huge sail, 
when they got our wind and with a shrill trumpeting 
the females called to the young ones, and they stampeded, 
the earth trembling as they thundered along. 

The game was up for that day, so we returned to 
camp, where I found a crowd of the Shinzis who, on seeing 
me, dragged forward the two deserters of the previous 
night, hands bound with pieces of grass rope and hide, 
and a huge thong fastened round the neck of one and 
tied to the wrist of the other. What woe-begone counte- 
nances they had ! They were so utterly ashamed of 
themselves that the)' hung their heads and cried like 
children. Their captors, of whom there appeared to be 
at least two dozen, stood proudly by, while the chief 
came forward to receive the reward of cloth which was 
fully earned. Of course he asked for more, which he 
did not get ! I have stated elsewhere that a promise 
made to a native should be kept to the letter, but it is 
unwise to go beyond what was originally promised, or 
the natives will only be encouraged to impose upon you. 
It is as bad to give a native too much as too little. 

Ordering Salem to untie the culprits, winch was no 
small undertaking, I made them lie face downwards while 
Salem administered a few strokes of the sjambok. I 
was determined to deal firmly in order to prevent any 
recurrence of this sort of thing. Every one was vividly 
impressed at the ceremony, and spoke in whispers for 
the rest of the day. 

One or two of the boys had rather severe attacks of 
fever here, and consequently required doctoring up. 

96 



A FREE FIGHT 

One more persistent than the rest worried me all day 
for medicine. I gave him four Livingstone Rousers 
and two five-grain capsules of quinine, telling him to 
keep them in his mouth and bite them. Gradually 
his features underwent extraordinary contortions. I 
threatened to beat him if he attempted to spit out the 
medicine, and all the other boys were highly amused 
and shouted aloud at the sight of the patient who 
was trembling and making the most ghastly faces. 

Some Shinzis stood by watching the boy with their 
eyes and mouths wide open. I told the cook to give 
him some hot water with which to rinse his mouth out. 
Of course the hot water made things very much worse 
for him, the Shinzis became alarmed, children howled, 
and away they all dashed for the village. Poor devil, 
he did not trouble me for medicine again. 

Some of these fellows have a great liking for vaseline 
or epsom salts, and they would come up complaining of a 
sore chest or bad throat. A new chum, judging by the 
sleepy expression and the sluggish crawl of the supposed 
sick man, would be prone to take compassion on the 
poor miserable object, but invariably it is a dodge to 
escape hard work. After this sort of thing had gone 
on for some days I began to suspect that many of them 
were in excellent health, anyhow their appetites belied 
their langour, so I concocted a vile mixture that made 
them very sick. Colds and sore throats were few and 
far between after that. 

The rest of that day not a soul returned from the 
village, so I was enabled to enjoy a little quiet. I was 
awakened next morning by a great commotion, and on 
looking out of the door I espied three of my boys having 
a heated argument with a small group of the villagers. 
Fearing there might be trouble, I slipped on my shoes 
and went out in my pyjamas ; even as I strode towards 
the group one of my party, Kasinbasi, a muscular fellow, 

97 h 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

sprang at one of the Shinzis, whose friends joined in 
immediately. Kasinbasi had his man down and the 
two were struggling and rolling about on the ground. 
In a trice I bore down upon them and dragged my boy 
off. He had an ugly wound in his left cheek where the 
other had bitten him. A heavy blow in the eye silenced 
him for a time. Two more of my boys were laying into 
the remainder of the villagers with stout sticks, blood 
was flowing freely on both sides. Fortunately the 
Shinzis were unarmed. I was in good training, as tough 
as nails, so I planted myself in the thick of it, and received 
a nasty blow on the shoulder from one fellow's kerrie, 
swinging round I had him down on the ground before 
he knew what he was doing, and possessing myself of 
his kerrie I continued to give the remaining combatants 
a hot time as I swung the weapon with my left hand, and 
dealt out undercuts with the right — behind the ear is 
the best place, it rarely fails to have the desired effect 
of rendering the recipient senseless for the time being. 
My pyjama jacket had received rough treatment, and 
although I had got a sore neck, I had the pleasure after 
the fray of seeing one boy lying on his face stunned, 
stretched out like a log : the other two of my fellows were 
howling like fury. One of the Shinzis had come off 
badly, he had received a terrific blow on the head, and 
was now being supported by two others, his left arm 
hung limply by his side, and was evidently giving him 
great pain. He was breathing deep and hurriedly. I 
sent one of his people down to the village for the chief, 
and after breakfast held an inquiry into the matter. It 
appeared that the Shinzis had brought some food to the 
camp intending to exchange it with the porters for beads, 
and began to deal with the three boys. Kasinbasi, the 
ringleader, refused to return a gourd in which the food 
had been brought to camp. The Shinzis, simple as 
children, snatched at Kasinbasi's blanket which lay close 

98 



A FREE FIGHT 

by, whereupon the owner sprang to his feet and closed 
with his opponent. Such was the account given by 
Salem, and corroborated by all the other boys who had 
witnessed the affair from the start. Judging that the 
punishment that I had already meted out to them was 
not sufficient, I ordered the three of them to stand 
stationary for three solid hours in front of my house, each 
bearing on his head a seventy-five pound load. The old 
chief loudly harangued those of his people who were 
concerned in the fight, and judging by the way they 
slunk off to the village it was evident that his speech 
had made an effect on them. The old man was highly 
pleased and amused to see my three shame-faced delin- 
quents standing like statues under their respective 
burdens. 

It was most fortunate that this was a friendly village, 
and the affair had passed over as lightly as it did. 

That day I shot a fine buck on the flats to the north, 
and the greatest punishment of all to Kasinbasi and Co., 
was that they were not allowed to join the other boys 
in the feast that night. 

The next day we moved about eighteen miles to the 
west, at the foot of the mountains that divide the Belgian 
Congo from the Lado Enclave. I camped on a beautiful 
flat piece of country with fine short grass, outside the 
village known to the natives as " Farbra " : there was the 
customary scrub, and forest-like glades through which 
beautiful streams ran down from the mountains. My 
grass house was sheltered by a grand old tree with 
enormous branches stretching out fifty feet from the 
trunk all round. The natives were delighted to have a 
" msungu " (white man) near the village, for they all 
anticipated a huge feed of elephant flesh during my stay. 
Large herds had been seen in the vicinity lately, so they 
said, but experience teaches that natives are gifted with 
extraordinary love for " throwing the hatchet," especially 

99 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

when a white man comes along with plenty of cloth and 
other desirable articles, and has no intention of staying 
over the night unless there are prospects of elephant 
shooting or trading to his advantage. 

There was no difficulty in obtaining food for the boys, 
the people here cultivated their lands to the fullest extent, 
and appeared to be prosperous. All were in their true 
savage state, some of the women had from two to eight 
pounds of red clay in their coiffures. All around were 
large herds of goats and a goodly number of cattle. 

We were now at a fair altitude, having climbed above 
the flat country and left the mosquitoes in the marshes 
and swamps by the Nile. Life was indeed worth living 
up here. 

After a day's hunting I would sit watching the effects 
of the sunset, the great lulls of the border covered with 
enormous boulders, some of them weighing hundreds of 
tons. Winding paths stole between the trees and bushes 
and the dull roar of a waterfall made itself heard even 
above the din of the drums and the weird song of the 
dancing natives in the village close by. A large bird, 
the size of a bustard, hopped like a frog in the grass, and, 
by way of song, made a strange sighing noise. Slowly 
the stars peeped out from the dark blue sky. What a 
paradise it is in those parts ! It seemed impossible 
that I could be living in the same world with those 
countless thousands who were on the verge of starvation 
in the great cities away to the north. Here all material 
wants were supplied, the native is quite contented so 
long as his physical requirements are satisfied, and money 
has no purchasing powers in his eyes. If you were to 
offer him the choice between a sovereign and a spoonful 
of salt, I know which he would prefer. 

One evening Salem had the audacity to use the large 
cooking pot in which the boys had prepared their food, 
as a bath, of which proceeding I did not approve, as in 

100 



A FREE FIGHT 

the event of anything happening to my own pots and 
pans I would require this same article to have my own 
food prepared in. 

The third day of my stay at Farbra I brought down 
an old bull rhino. I was out in the hopes of seeing 
elephants, and on emerging from some dense scrub I saw 
a huge slate-grey creature just ahead, grazing in complete 
ignorance of our proximity, half of his body screened 
from sight by a huge ant-hill. One of the boys, like a 
fool, gave a low whistle to acquaint me of what he 
thought I had not seen, and at the sound the brute 
raised his head and snorted furiously. Fortunately I 
had the "450 on my shoulder, for the boys dropped what- 
ever they were carrying and scattered in all directions. 
I speedily sought shelter behind a small tree and fired 
at the rhino's shoulder : for a few seconds he stood stamp- 
ing, blowing, and making an unearthly row, then he 
dashed off to the right, and was soon lost to view in 
the long grass. It was just like witnessing a runaway 
steam roller, as the ground trembled under the stampede 
of the enormous brute. I dashed headlong after him, 
but the huge beast travelled at a great pace, leaving only 
a few drops of blood on the down-trodden grass in his 
wake. Several times he lay down to rest behind a bunch 
of bush, and I got within ten yards of him when with a 
most terrific commotion he crashed away once more ahead 
of us. By this time the boys had caught up to me, and 
had regained something of their former composure, and 
followed the trail with me. More than once I got near 
him, but not until close on sundown did I get an oppor- 
tunity to open fire again. At last he stood, completely 
done up, by the bank of a small stream, and I gave him 
both the right and left barrels of the -450 in the shoulder. 
He attempted to rush at us and clear off ; all the boys 
stood at a respectful distance, and I did not venture too 
close myself. I finished him with another shot in the 

101 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

shoulder. There was no hope for the beast against the 
smashing power of the solid '450 bullet. Nevertheless I 
was proud of having brought to earth one of these cumber- 
some beasts, and stood gazing for some time at the 
enormous mass of flesh with its little crimson streams. I 
was always careful to have a blanket with me and food 
sufficient for all for four days, so we camped close by for 
the night. The boys and the two Shinzis who had 
accompanied me soon busied themselves in cutting off 
long strips of the flesh, which they greedily devoured raw 
with the warmth of life still in it. 

The Black Rhinoceroses such as I encountered confine 
themselves to the thick bush country. The one I killed 
was a huge brute about 5 ft. 3^ ins. in height, and 11 ft. 
10 ins. length over all. Its weight I would guess to be 
3 _ 3s tons. I left its horns to the villagers : the body was 
a mass of sores, but this condition is peculiar, I believe, 
to the wet season. 

The apparent colour of rhinos and elephants depends 
largely on the soil of the country, for their natural coats 
become caked with mud from the water holes in which 
they love to wallow. The rhino has a very restricted 
range of vision. 

Next morning I returned to the camp at Farbra. The 
villagers went out to the scene of the kill en masse, and 
returned in the evening loaded with meat for a feast. 
I noticed that by way of preparation they covered their 
stomachs with fat, with the idea of imparting the necessary 
elasticity to the " little Mary," a custom which seems 
to be practised by most of the Central African people. 
My boys ate till their eyelids drooped. 

Not many miles from here I found some exceptionally 
fine samples of alluvial gold. In almost every river and 
stream of the North-East Congo — I have seen it in the 
Nile — there is a kind of shale which the inexperienced 
is likely to mistake for the precious metal. 

102 



A FREE FIGHT 

Leaving Farbra I struck out in a southerly direction 
along the foot of the mountains towards the Mullah in 
the south-west corner of the Enclave. Crossing the 
river about half a mile below the waterfall I found that 
in the centre it reached just up to my armpits, and as 
it was running fairly strong several of the boys were 
afraid to go over, but a little persuasion soon remedied 
matters. When I made my first trip in the Congo I 
used to get my burliest follower to carry me across the 
rivers on his shoulders. One day his foot slipped, and I 
was pitched headlong into the swirling current, and 
when I came to the surface the water was rushing out 
of my nose, ears, and mouth. That afternoon Monica, 
my personal " boy," came to the hut at the customary 
hour for my bath, and said, " Bwana, do you like hot 
water or cold ? " 

The river had not long been left behind when we 
came upon the remnants of a once peaceful hamlet, and 
while foraging around I came upon a human skeleton, 
whose very posture sent a chill through me. I now 
guessed the reason why the people at Farbra refused 
to guide me in this direction in spite of a liberal amount 
of cloth that I had offered for the services of two of their 
people. But for the pile of blackened stones against 
which the remains rested in a sitting position I should 
perhaps have paid less attention to it. Several bones 
lay on the ground amidst a mass of broken gourds and 
earthenware. It was a ghastly sight. The boys made 
a detailed inspection of the wrecked dwelling, and dis- 
covered a lot of native stringed instruments, armlets, 
pieces of earthenware vessels, grass matting, and a few 
arrow heads, two of which were covered with a dark 
thick substance, probably poisoned. They were beauti- 
fully made and were of a fantastic pattern. On making 
a further inspection myself I discovered a number of 
bones thrown down in one of the huts, the roof of which 

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HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

had long since parted company with the rest of the 
structure. The ashes of a fire lay scattered within a few 
feet of the pile, and pointed to a cannibal raid of some 
time ago, for long since elephants had left their mark 
in the tall grass that now grew all over the one time well- 
trodden ground between the huts. 

At this period Monica was wearing an old pair of 
puttees that I had given him, and I had cause to regret 
my generosity, for he had not yet discovered how to bind 
them round the leg, consequently every now and then 
the safari suddenly came to a halt : I would investigate 
the cause, to find Monica calmly adjusting his puttees 
while the carriers, glad of an excuse to put down their 
loads, would prepare for a rest by the way. Now this 
sort of thing became rather trying to the nerves after 
a time, so I made him walk just in front of me. Sometimes 
the puttees would come undone and he would walk with 
six or eight feet of puttee trailing behind him, which, 
becoming entangled in the grass or bush, would pull him 
up short and nearly throw him to the ground. Presently 
he found out that they would serve more purposes than 
that for which they were made : to-day he would wind 
them round his body, to-morrow he would wear one 
thrown across his shoulder like an officer's sash, and the 
other tied round his fez cap like a puggaree. 

Matakanga hit upon a novel idea. He cut up his 
grass sleeping mat, and with some grass cord tied a 
piece on each leg like a shin guard. The wear and tear 
caused by constantly coming in contact with the grass 
on the path soon gave these improvised leg protectors 
the appearance of having frills around the edges. It is 
astonishing how soon leggings and puttees wear away 
when travelling through a grass country. Personally I 
do not favour puttees when hunting big game, short 
stout grass or stubble gets entangled in the folds and 
is likely to cause no little delay, and if you have to do 

104 



A FREE FIGHT 

much wading in water the material gets sodden, and 
frequently comes undone. Tins sort of thing, with an 
elephant within a few yards, is rather disconcerting. 
Leggings or field boots are without a doubt, taking them 
all round, far safer and more convenient, the sharp 
pointed grass cannot work its way through leather and 
cause irritation to the leg as it does through puttees, and 
there is nothing to drop down and trail behind. 



105 



CHAPTER X 

THE LADO ENCLAVE 

Our next camp was made some sixteen miles south-west 
of Farbra, close to a small stream, and on a high piece 
of ground overlooking the wild country around us. In 
the west there rose the rough verdure-clad hills of the 
divide, the border between the Belgian Congo and the 
Enclave of Lado. About a mile away to the north from 
where I stood, a small range of hills ran east and west, 
terminating, however, somewhat abruptly before reaching 
the border. In the east, fully forty miles away, stretched 
the blue shimmering waters of the great White Nile. 
Looking over to the south-east I could make out the 
precipitous shores of Lake Albert running from east to 
west and forming the southerly limit of the Enclave 
above Mahagi. All round us there was wild bush country. 
Here and there a thin blue column of smoke curling 
heavenwards indicated straggling villages which lay 
hidden among the trees and bush. The yelp of a pariah 
dog ever and anon reached our ears, the bleating of goats, 
and now and again the dull notes of a drum would come 
from afar. The nearest village appeared to be about 
three or four miles away, so I looked forward to having a 
fairly quiet evening ; what a treat it would be to get 
away from the noise and inquisitiveness of the men, 
women, and children. However, not an hour had passed 
from the time of our arrival before a small party of 
natives with bows and arrows were seen coming through 

1 06 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

the grass and wending their way up the slope. On 
reaching my hut they hastened forward with the cus- 
tomary outstretched hand, a quiet, reserved and most 
respectful people, but shy and timid to a degree. They 
came from a village about half an hour from us. One of 
them when out hunting had seen a msungu (white man) 
pass close to his game traps and lost no time in reporting 
to his people. They had brought with them a few 
miserable looking chickens, some matama and eggs. 
A well-built pleasant looking young fellow seemed to 
be the leader of the party, he was arrayed in a piece of 
cloth suspended like an apron from a grass cord round 
his waist, and had a piece of stick about four inches long 
through the lobe of each ear. This completed his toilet 
save for the curious treatment of his head, which had 
been shaved clean, except for a small tuft of hair in the 
centre, that stuck up like the knob of a tam-o'-shanter. 
On a string round his neck were a number of old cart- 
ridge cases, and his chest was covered with cicatrised 
marks in a large X-shaped design. Cicatrisation is met 
with practically all through Central Africa. I saw it 
first among the Portuguese East African natives around 
Mozambique. At an early age small incisions are made 
in the skin, from time to time, at intervals of some months, 
and black powder, cam-wood, powdered charcoal and 
ashes are alternatively employed by various tribes in 
filling in these incisions, which in time stand out in bold 
relief. Mr. Herbert Ward in his book, " A Voice from 
the Congo," gives reproductions of Bronzes executed by 
him illustrating clearly this peculiar decoration, which 
is not always confined to the body, for some of the people 
cover their faces also with this manner of adornment. 

The young man, who spoke Swahili fluently, in- 
formed me that many moons since he had visited Koba, 
where he had seen the Bwana Makubwa (the Commis- 
sioner), he had even been on safari with a white man, and 

107 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

he proudly informed me that he was very clever in 
tracking elephants. I asked him who the white man 
was with whom he had worked. 

" Ah," he replied, " he was an old man, for on his 
face he wore long hair, his eyes were small, he was kind 
to me, and I liked him." 

" Did the white man shoot many elephants ? " 

" No ; he filled boxes in the river with sand," so I 
concluded that he had been with a prospector. 

" Where did he go ? " I asked. 

" He has gone far away," flourishing his hand in the 
direction of Mahagi. 

I tried to get the fellow to join me, but when I told 
him that I was shortly going across into the Belgian 
Congo, he shook his head and replied — 

" The people there are bad, the black men eat you, 
yes ! they are bad, fight all day and night, all people 
die in the Congo. Did not Amali, our friend, go with the 
white man long ago, and we have not seen him again?" 

This last sentence was directed to his friends standing 
by, and a chorus of approval went up instantly. I tried 
to convince him that he would be safe with me, but I 
might as well have spoken to a stone, he spoke hurriedly 
of all sorts of rumours that had reached him concerning 
that country beyond the hills in the west. No, he had 
plenty to eat where he was, and warned me against 
going. 

The natives in the Enclave are full of queer stories 
concerning the interior. Superstitious to a degree, they 
are almost all afraid to travel from one village to another 
for fear of attack by the people who live within a few 
miles of their own village. Intertribal quarrels are not 
unknown, and I have seen traces of more than one affair 
having been settled in deadly earnest. 

On the next day's march I came across the fresh 
tracks of elephant leading to the south-east. We followed 

108 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

them for about an hour, when Matakanga, who was 
ahead, drew back and sheltered behind a bush. Almost 
at the same moment I heard a low rumbling sound, and 
telling the boys to fall back a short distance, which they 
did with surprising alacrity, I crept forward and saw 150 
yards off about twenty elephants. They continued to 
graze, with their huge ears flapping, while I waited for 
an opportunity to get a good shot at the nearest decent- 
sized bull. I was disappointed, however, for a huge old 
female raised her trunk aloft and trumpeted shrilly. 
The herd set off pell mell to the left, and crashing through 
the grass and bush were soon lost to sight. They stopped 
suddenly, and I was about to set off in pursuit when my 
boy signed to me that it was no use, for the wind was 
behind us, and we should have to take a circuitous route. 

These natives carry a small bag filled with fine ashes 
from the fire. The contrivance is used in the fashion 
of a pepper castor, the fight ashes showing the direction 
in which the wind is blowing. They employ it when 
stalking to make sure that the game shall not " get 
their wind." Wild animals are notoriously keen of nose, 
and it is said that an elephant can scent a man half a 
mile off. 

After travelling round in a circular course for some 
few hours, I was rewarded ere sunset by bringing down a 
fair-sized bull whose tusks weighed thirty-five and thirty- 
seven pounds respectively. For the Enclave this is not 
very small in these days, for there is no doubt that the 
big brutes have been driven back to the Welle since the 
time when Buckley and Pearson, and one or two others, 
first entered this country. 

It is curious that elephants are " left handed," if 
the expression may be employed in connection with these 
brutes. The left tusk is always worn shorter than the 
right by constant work. A great many people think 
that an elephant can be shot in the forehead with fatal 

109 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

result, but many have tried and have not lived to repeat 
the performance. The Asiatic elephant, it is true, can, 
when charging, be stopped by a forehead shot ; but it is 
not so with the African elephant, who carries an enormous 
amount of bone in the head, and a bullet even from the 
heaviest rifle is seldom enough to stop him. The most 
effective method according to my own observation, and 
it is corroborated by other hunters, is to aim at the knee 
when an elephant charges, for a well-placed shot here 
rarely fails to stop the rush of the maddened beast, and 
gives one time to gain a more suitable position from 
which the heart or brain may be reached. I have seen 
an elephant run a considerable distance even when 
shot in the brain, and when shot through the heart 
they will often travel for many yards before dropping. 
Some people prefer the brain to the heart shot, but there 
are several arguments for and against e ich. With the 
heart shot, in the event of your first shot not being well 
placed, the elephant still has his head and will lead you 
a long dance, perhaps you may have to follow him for 
days before again getting up to him. The brain shot 
is good, but to my thinking, only those of experience in 
elephant hunting should try it : judgment in elevation 
alone is not an easy thing at close quarters, for if you 
are standing on the ground the elephant is higher than 
yourself. It is by no means easy to calculate the correct 
angle that will ensure your bullet reaching the brain. For 
men like Buckley and others of many years' experience, 
the heart and brain are alike easy targets ; but Buckley 
has told me himself that he prefers the heart shot to the 
brain. Buckley has in his time killed over 500 elephants. 
As I say, there are strong arguments for and against 
both heart and brain, and the best thing is to get accus- 
tomed to both as soon as you can. At first I did not 
attempt the brain shot unless the brute was undisturbed 
and the ears being still offered some idea as to where to 

no 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

aim. While on the topic of " Arms and the Man," it 
is an excellent plan to get used to putting the gun or 
rifle to either shoulder, as a slight accident may at any 
time place the hunter hors dc combat, unless he has trained 
himself to shoot as easily from left as from right. It is 
also a good plan to get accustomed to shooting in various 
positions and in different shades of light. In your spare 
time in camp aim around at anything you can see — 
except your boys — it will save many a long, weary tramp 
after some wounded animal or other. It is remarkable 
that an elephant in spite of its enormous bulk is one of 
the hardest animals to kill, for, as he is of the same colour 
as the forest, he is very difficult to see ; and secondly, only 
a square foot and a half of him is vulnerable to a bullet. 

Elephants feed at night and in the early morning, 
drinking at midday and again at night. They sleep 
standing, and sometimes sleep until late in the afternoon. 
When being pursued elephants do not rest, and will keep 
moving on steadily for many days and nights, eating as 
they travel. They have a keen sense of smell, but their 
hearing is not acute. They cannot distinguish a human 
being from a tree stump in full view at fifty yards, so 
long as he remains motionless. Any movement, however, 
is at once noticed, and should they charge, they invariably 
do so with tail and ears erect, looking from side to side 
for the enemy, and trying with raised trunk to get his 
scent. When he is sighted they utter a short, sharp 
scream of rage, and then they settle down to a headlong 
charge with trunk extended straight in front. 

When trying to locate elephants the hunter should 
listen for the sound of blowing through the trunk, and 
peculiar intestinal rumblings, accompanied by sudden 
squeals of calves. 

Chewed bark, branches, and leaves, roots, etc., are 
often to be seen along the game trails and native paths. 
I have several times found these still wet with saliva, as 

in 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

well as uprooted thorn trees, a sure indication that 
elephants have passed by a very short time before. 

One well-known hunter says, " the heart is a sure 
mark, but the effect is not so sudden ; I regard the brain 
shot as instantly fatal." 

In elephant hunting it is not so much the first-class 
shot that comes off best, but the man who can at the 
supreme moment keep cool and act accordingly. 

Elephants, when charging, will come 120-130 yards 
in ten seconds, and it would be impossible for a man to 
keep ahead for more than 80 yards : he can save himself 
by dodging to right or left, or by lying prone on the 
ground behind a bush or tree without moving a muscle 
until the danger is past. If it were not for their inferior 
sight and sense of hearing, elephant hunting would be 
sheer suicide. 

An elephant was shot at Wadelai some few years 
since measuring 11 ft. 6 ins. high at the shoulder. 

The elephants in Lado have huge ears that form an 
acutely pointed triangle. 

As I approached Wadelai on my return, I looked 
across the Nile to the Uganda bank and was surprised 
to find that the tent fly under which we had left our 
stores had disappeared. The natives told me that one 
night a big " canoe with smoke " had come along, and the 
next morning the tent was gone. Not a word was said 
about the storm that had raged on the self-same night 
over Wadelai, the boat with fire had passed, that was 
enough for them. Yes, the white man's canoe must 
have done it. 

I crossed over at once to the Uganda shore, where 1 
found my two boys living in a grass hut. They told me 
that the storm had wrecked the tent poles and ropes. 
Of course I could see that they had not slackened the 
ropes out when the rain came, and the strain of the 
shrunken canvas and cordage was so great that one of 

112 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

the cross-poles had snapped in two. When I suggested 
this to them they shook their heads and said a great 
storm had blown the tent down. Times without number 
I had impressed upon them the necessity of slackening 
out the ropes when rain was seen to be approaching, 
but no, they could not or would not see the force of the 
argument. 

The next day saw me preparing for another trip, this 
time to the south-west of the Enclave of Lado. The 
natives near Wadelai on the Uganda side seemed to be 
in a state of unrest, and complained of raids from the 
natives on the opposite bank of the Nile. I spent a 
couple of days at Wadelai where I had some good sport 
with the hippo on the north-east shore of Lake Rube — 
on the Congo or Enclave side of the lake — and was 
fortunate enough to bag two cows, and after erecting a 
proper grass hut for the stores I set out for the countrv 
near the Mullah, to reach which I estimated would 
occupy about a week. Part of the first day's march led 
us along the steep banks of the Ara river which flows 
into the Nile just below Wadelai, and derives its source 
from the Divide. It averages about fifty yards in breadth, 
and in flood time it has a treacherously strong current, 
like all the rivers in Africa when swollen by many rains. 
To the casual observer on its banks the muddy waters 
appear to swirl gently by, but in fording it one finds in 
the centre a strong undercurrent which strikes one with 
terrific force. The whole country was inundated by 
the recent floods, and the guides, two villagers from 
Wadelai who had expressed a desire to come out to the 
Mullah with me, lost the path and for hours we were 
wandering about knee-deep in water that had been 
stagnant for weeks. Coarse grass cut my bare knees, 
and the thorn bushes lent an additional touch of dis- 
comfort and pain as even - now and then I brushed 
through a clump of them. 

"3 i 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Some of the boys climbed high trees in hopes of 
seeing a village, but their efforts were unrewarded, and 
for hours we plunged on amidst water, tall grass, bush, 
and trees, vainly seeking a path that would lead us in 
the direction that we wanted to go. Eventually we 
succeeded and came out close to the banks of the Ara, 
which in its zig-zag course now came round to us again. 
The floods had washed away large slices from the bank, 
and in one place the path almost overhung the river. 
Zaabali, one of the carriers, ventured too near the edge 
of the bank, suddenly the earth slid from under his feet, 
and he fell headlong into the water some twenty feet 
below. He was carrying a " chop box " (food box) on 
his head at the time of the mishat , and as this was now 
being fast carried down stream, one of the other boys 
dashed in and recovered it before it had got many yards, 
but most of the contents were spoiled. Zaabali in the 
meantime was hanging on to the long grass that lay out 
from the bank, and after some trouble we dragged him 
up again. Owing to the dense vegetation it was im- 
possible to follow the course of the river until we should 
reach a village, and it was well nigh midday before we 
struck a path that led us again to the Ara, and were 
glad to find that by this time we had left the flooded 
country behind us. The guides and four of my boys 
suggested that they should go forward and test the 
depth of the river a short distance ahead of us ; to this I 
consented and waited for their return. But about twenty 
minutes later, being impatient at waiting, I went down 
to the bank and found them swimming about and 
splashing each other in high glee, absolutely indifferent 
to my instructions to return after having tested the 
depth of the river at the ford, for such it proved to 
be. The water was several feet deep and impassable 
for that day. 

On rating them soundly for their disobedience one 

114 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

of them turned and said, " Master, the water is deep, we 
must sleep and come back to-morrow." This was not a 
bad idea, but nevertheless no one slept until late that 
evening, for I made them follow the path which ran 
parallel to the river, and although we did not strike a 
village that day, I was satisfied that we had covered 
more than fifteen miles, and in the right direction. The 
country was now densely wooded and the mule had 
difficulty in finding a suitable spot for grazing. While 
sitting at my evening meal I noticed that my hut was 
being interfered with, and on looking out of the door I 
espied the beast quietly munching away at the fresh 
grass that formed the roof. Another dodge he had learnt 
was to put his head in at the door and lift the lid of one 
of the food boxes to look for the salt package that I 
kept there for bartering purposes. 

The next morning I was up long before daybreak, 
and had not gone far before we struck a promising path 
with recent tracks of natives upon it, following this 
we came upon a village situated on both banks of the 
Ara. The river had subsided, and here at last we were 
enabled to cross in safety, though it was some sixty 
yards across, and the water was still armpit deep ; but 
every one got over without mishap and our camp that 
night lay close by the south bank of the Ara. 

The sight of the moon rising behind the village was 
gorgeous, the leaves on trees and bush stood clearly 
outlined against the clear night sky as the great orb rose 
over the frenzied dancers, whose fires sent thin curling 
columns of smoke wafting across the glowing mass, and 
then a gentle breeze would waft the smoke to one side 
and again reveal that sight of sights in the tropics — 
the rising of the moon. 

I shall not soon forget the unearthly din of singing, 
trumpets blowing, drums beating, and babies howling 
to the accompaniment of hundreds of naked feet stamping 

ii5 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

and shuffling on the ground as they pursued a wild dance. 
Almost from sundown to daybreak the village rang 
with the noises of the excited dancers, and I am sure 
I did not get an hour's solid sleep during the whole 
night, although my camp was a quarter of a mile away 
from the scene. On asking the reason of this long con- 
tinued annoyance the next morning, I was informed that 
I alone was the cause of this outburst of joy, for they 
had not seen a white man for a very long time, and this 
was their way of showing their satisfaction at my appear- 
ance among them. 

Several elephant tracks ran close to the village, but 
they were old, and the natives said that the herds were 
now further west. Among the cultivated lands outside 
the village I saw a lofty platform on poles standing fully 
thirty feet above ground, and on the top of this there 
stood a native clad in antelope and leopard skins, with 
a large drum made from a section of hardwood tree and 
covered with skin tightly stretched over either end was 
affixed to one of the corner poles that held the platform 
aloft. He would beat this in a monotonous way for a 
few moments as though it were a funeral bell, and then 
perform on it in a frantic manner for several minutes on 
end to the accompaniment of a wild chant. I stood 
watching him for about ten minutes, in which time he 
repeated the performance twice, and continued to do so 
until the sun went down some two hours later. What 
the idea was I cannot say unless he was acting as a 
human scarecrow, or indulging in a little drum talk 
with some village far away, for at intervals I could 
make out the sharp notes of a drum beating from a 
north-westerly direction. All through the Congo this 
method of drum tapping is used as a means of communi- 
cation between the people of neighbouring villages ; in 
fact the drum acts a prominent part in their life, serving 
as a warning in case of an approaching stranger, and I 

116 



THE LADO ENCLAVE 

have entered many a village amidst a deafening tattoo 
of these instruments. 

The natives here when speaking of the Belgians 
referred to them as the " Billygee." 

When travelling again in a south-westerly direction 
from the Ara, I noticed at intervals alongside the path, 
earthen jars of " pombe " (native beer). Not a living 
soul could be seen to whom they could possibly have 
belonged, and covetous glances were bestowed on them 
by my boys ; one even stooped down intending to drink 
the potion, but I soon had him away from it. One has 
constantly to watch the carriers and other followers to 
see that they do not steal or otherwise bring trouble 
on you when in the Congo. The slightest thing may 
upset the people, for they are as easily angered as amused, 
and with most of them no amount of argument will 
conciliate their childish nature when once they are put 
out. 

It was close to the Ara river that one day, having 
nothing better to do, I amused myself while the tents 
were being put up by playing " tip cat." That after- 
noon when passing close by the huts I noticed groups 
of men, women, and children ; they had imitated my 
example and were revelling in the game, which was 
entirely new to them. By the time I left the place the 
craze had spread like wildfire. 



117 



CHAPTER XI 

UNCANNY COOKERY 

One evening Salem told me of his home in far-away 
Zanzibar, and I was surprised to hear him speak of 
Beira in Portuguese East Africa. He had been down 
there some years ago as a sailor on a coastal steamer, and 
had seen many white Askaris (soldiers). 

" When did you first reach Uganda ? " I asked. 

" Bwana, it was a long time ago. I came to Mom- 
basa with several white men and a great many carriers, 
at that time I was a carrier myself ; we had to walk to 
the lake in those days, and many died from not having 
any water to drink for two days and more. The natives 
used to attack us, the country was bad, and the journey 
from Mombasa to the Lake Victoria Nyanza, where 
Kisumu now is, took us nearly five months, and to-day 
we come by the railway in two days. Ah ! it is wonderful. 
Then in those days we had to cross the lake in canoes, 
and great storms would come on us ; the people on the 
islands were trying to kill us when we came to sleep at 
night. I was at Zanzibar when the guns on the ship 
fired at the buildings ashore, that is many years ago." 

Salem was now enthusiastic and gabbled away at 
such a rate that I found it impossible to keep pace with 
him, and thus lost what must have been a very interesting 
account of his life. Like the Congo people in one respect 
he would, if you asked him about one incident connected 
with his life, give you the whole history from the beginning 

118 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

and introduce all sorts of side talk about his brothers 
and the rest of the family. 

At the next village my khaki knickers became unfit 
for further service, and as I had not another pair with 
me, the bulk of my personal effects being at Wadelai, I 
had to construct a pair out of the trade cloth. Comfort 
being the first consideration and appearance the last, I 
laid the old pair on a piece of cloth and marked round 
them with a piece of copying pencil, this was repeated 
again, and the two pieces of cloth were then sewn 
together. 

When four days from Wadelai and in sight of the 
hilly country to the west, the two guides who had accom- 
panied me from Wadelai suddenly departed in the night. 
To their credit, let it be said that they did not " borrow " 
anything. The previous day they had betrayed a con- 
siderable feeling of nervousness when seeing the hilly 
country ahead, and I had no doubt as to their motive 
for returning to Wadelai, where on my return some weeks 
later I found them, and they were not at all abashed at 
their cowardice. 

At one village we came upon when nearing the Mullah 
close to the hills that run to the lake, above Mahagi from 
the west, the fields were deserted and the huts close by 
lay in ruins. Passing on we came, about an hour later, 
to a number of huts surrounded by a dense thorn hedge, 
behind which the people were now sheltered shouting 
wildly. For a considerable time they refused to answer 
the questions put to them by my boys ; presently, how- 
ever, one of them shouted to us to take a certain path 
that would lead us away from the village, which advice 
I acted upon and camped shortly after on a nice piece 
of ground void of grass that lay a half mile from the 
village we had just passed, and could now gaze down 
upon. The people still remained behind the hedge 
chattering and yelling for all they were worth. I was 

iig 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

afraid that I was in a hornet's nest, for occasionally 
figures could be seen darting from rock to rock in front 
of the huts below us, and every now and then I caught 
the gleam of a spear head glistening in the sun ; moreover, 
the people I had camped near the day before had warned 
me of this village. In a short time swarms of excited 
savages were darting here and there waving bows and 
spears aloft, some even had guns, and I could see the 
polished barrels glistening in the sun. For a time I was 
afraid to let any one go out of the camp either for wood 
or water, but the hostile behaviour of the people soon 
gave way to curiosity, as I had sat down and smoked, pay- 
ing little heed to their cries and shouts of defiance. An 
air of complete indifference has more often than not a 
greater impression on the native mind than the exhibition 
of a row of guns, or other attempt to play a high hand. 
At length they came stealthily towards us in twos and 
threes and surveyed the camp at a respectful distance. 
Pishi shouted out to them that we wanted food, and held 
out a string of beads for them to see. In ten minutes 
about a dozen people returned with chickens of all ages 
and sizes ; potatoes, eggs, and matamma were soon being 
handed over in exchange for cloth and beads, and 
before long we were on fairly good terms with the 
villagers. 

I had some tins of Irish stew, which, on being pierced 
in a certain spot would become self-heated, the necessary 
warmth being generated by a chemical. Placing one of 
the tins on the table I told the cook that in a few minutes 
the food therein would become hot. The natives standing 
near got to hear of this and watched intently. When I 
opened the lid and poured out the steaming contents 
loud cries of wonderment went up from the people. I 
tried to exchange the empty tin for another chicken, but 
no one would touch it, and the village headman forbade 
them to go near it. I threw the tin away, but every one 

120 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

gave it a wide berth and walked round it rather than 
pass near. Even the carriers and other boys with me 
regarded it as sometlung uncanny. 

I thought at first that the people in the neighbourhood 
and in the N'joro or Mullah country were a timid com- 
munity, but from what I had previously been told, I felt 
that it would be advisable to be most careful in keeping 
an eye on them day and night. 

I was rather interested to see the people in this part 
of the world playing a game similar to what is known to 
us as " knucklebones," but in lieu of the orthodox bones 
they used a kind of bean. 

I remember, when close to the Kibali, organising a 
sports afternoon for my boys. Obtaining a supply of 
eggs from the neighbouring village I introduced an 
egg-and-spoon race, while crossing a stream on poles 
greased with elephant fat. It caused roars of laughter, 
and the local natives were not satisfied until they had 
tried also. No amount of persuasion would induce 
them to do anything without carrying their weapons — 
spears, knives, bows, quivers, and so forth. Even in 
the running races they insisted on carrying them, although 
they stripped off all their metal ornaments. In order 
to prevent quarrelling it was necessary to give every 
competitor a prize. Among my own boys I arranged an 
egg duel. Two boys stood facing each other at a distance 
of twenty yards, each combatant was armed with six 
eggs. The boy that received one in the face laughed 
more than any one, some of the eggs were " old timers." 
The aspect of both boys when the contest ended was 
laughable. Both of them scraped themselves with their 
fingers and eagerly devoured the mess of egg that still 
clung to their bodies and limbs. 

The hilly country was delightful to gaze upon after 
the monotonous bush flats by the Nile. Fertile and 
green, the grand slopes of pasture with babbling streams 

121 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

that trickled here and there gave the country an appear- 
ance of a model arcadia. The natives were not too 
pleased at our arrival in their midst, and in many cases 
gave practical demonstrations of their feelings by holding 
out rotten eggs and dead chickens, shouting and spitting 
at any of my boys whom they could reach, and jeers and 
curses were showered on us. 

One afternoon a solid phalanx marched towards us 
with an array of knives, old guns, bows and arrows, there 
must have been two hundred of them yelling, shouting, and 
waving their arms above their heads. When about sixty 
yards off, they began to throw dirt into the camp, then 
they halted and held an excited parley among themselves. 
I went inside the hut and made some loopholes in the 
grass sides of the structure and got the guns and ammuni- 
tion out on the table ready for trouble should the occasion 
arise. Lighting my pipe I returned to my chair under 
the tree close by and waited for the next move. Three 
of my boys had bows and a good stock of arrows that 
they had bought from the natives near Wadelai for a 
few spoonfuls of salt, the others cut boughs from the 
trees for use as cudgels, axes and knives were all re- 
quisitioned for purposes of self-defence. My men looked 
warriors born, but I knew that on the first shower of 
arrows from the enemy they would make themselves 
scarce. Pishi was posted in my grass hut, and so we 
waited to see what was going to happen. I sat for fully 
ten minutes while the crowd, besides hurling stones and 
earth at us, were fast quarrelling among themselves. A 
stone hit one of my carriers full in the face making a 
nasty gash on the left cheek, and for a moment he was 
stunned by the force with which it struck him. Mean- 
while heated arguments were taking place among the 
villagers and presently they took to blows. After about 
ten minutes they retreated to the village. I was at a 
loss to understand this sudden change in tactics, but a 

122 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

nod being as good as a wink, I determined to get away 
as soon as convenient. It was a severe test to my nerves, 
but not a soul came near us after that. 

One day I was sitting on the bank of a stream fishing, 
and noticed large numbers of Colobus monkeys gazing 
down upon me from the lofty tree tops. Suddenly one 
of them fell to the ground with a plaintive cry. A native, 
coated from head to foot with red earth, his body covered 
with cicatrised marks and naked but for a bunch of grass 
that hung like an apron, stepped out of the grass close 
by me. Without a word he waded through the water 
to the opposite bank, picked up the dead monkey, and 
strode away through the trees. Some people are inclined 
to think that the bow and arrow even in the hands of the 
natives is an unreliable weapon, carried more for show 
than for use. Seeing is believing, this and other exhibi- 
tions of skill I have witnessed, prove that a bow and 
arrow in the hands of the average warrior in the Congo is 
worthy of respect. 

In the village huge fires were lit at sundown and a 
savage orgy was evidently taking place, singing and 
dancing accompanied by a medley of unearthly noises. 
My camp fires soon blazed away, and I had boys posted 
at various points in the grass and up the trees. The 
wind blowing from the direction of the village now and 
again brought the noise more clearly to my ears, and 
several times I fancied that I could hear the mob 
approaching. About midnight, when the festivities 
seemed to be at their height, the fires in my camp died 
to thin columns of smoke rising from little piles of grey 
ashes. Several of the boys had crawled close to the 
village and scouted about to see if the coast was clear ; 
at a pre-arranged whistle they returned to camp simul- 
taneously and reported that everything was all right for 
our departure, the natives were keeping up their singing 
and dancing hammer and tongs. The trees all round the 

123 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

village were lit up with ghostly uncertain lights and 
reflections from the flickering flames of the fires. Silently 
we retreated down the path by which we had come the 
previous day, and presently we cut across country regard- 
less of rivers or any other obstacles so long as we kept 
off the paths, lest we should encounter any prowling 
natives who might raise the alarm. In the darkness of 
the night, for the moon was clouded, we were torn 
horribly by the long thorns and the wacht en beetje 
bush, as the Dutch call it, with its small hooked thorn 
that invariably snaps off in the flesh if you brush by too 
hurriedly. The damp cold atmosphere struck a chill 
through one's body ; now and again we would stop and 
listen for any signs of pursuit, but none came ; strange 
noises from birds and low growls now and again reached 
our ears, showing that our presence was detected by 
bird and beast as we passed through some glade or 
thicket. 

By daybreak we stood, I calculated, about twelve 
miles north-east of the village we had so hurriedly left 
behind. We were now some six days from Wadelai, 
and at the foot of the Divide. Two days after this affair, 
when fifty miles or so south-west of Wadelai, I was com- 
pelled to stay in bed and rest for a day, for excruciating 
pains shot through head and body. I was afraid I was in 
for a serious illness, but after doctoring myself with hot 
whisky and water I was well enough to proceed the next 
day. The poultry enjoyed the day's rest, and frequent 
cock fights took place ; their chief delight, however, was 
to feed on the ants that ran up and down the trunk of a 
big tree. 

The boys killed a snake measuring just under fifteen 
inches long which they found curled up in the grass at 
the back of my hut. Snakes are always most unwelcome 
visitors where I am concerned, and size alone does not 
determine their venomous attributes. In South Africa 

124 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

I have had several narrow escapes from these reptiles, 
perhaps the most serious of which happened when I was 
staying on a farm in the Orange River Colony. 

Just before sundown one day on coming out of the 
heat of the sun into the shade and cool of the house I 
threw my sun hat on to the floor and did not notice 
that it rested over a saucer of milk that was kept there 
for the cats. About an hour later after the evening 
meal we had a smoke, and as I was about to bend down 
to pick up my hat preparatory to departing, I was seized 
from behind and dashed to the ground. Thinking my 
friend had taken leave of his senses my hand instinctively 
clutched the knife in my belt, but my eyes followed his 
finger as he pointed to the small length of tail which 
showed from under my hat. A blow from a sjambok, 
and the remains of a deadly night adder — one of the 
smallest and most venomous snakes extant — lay in a 
small pool of milk amidst the fragments of saucer. 

Few women would have shown the pluck once dis- 
played by Miss Crawford, the senior sister at Mombasa 
European Hospital. She was walking along a narrow 
path that overhangs the sea on the cliff a short distance 
from the hospital. Her favourite dog was a little way 
ahead of her when it attracted the attention of a puff 
adder. The reptile was so busily engaged in exercising 
a fascination over the little pet that Miss Crawford was 
able to deliver a swinging blow with a small sjambok 
that she carried, and she returned to the hospital carrying 
the dead reptile, which measured fifty-two inches. Snakes 
abound on the Island of Mombasa, and one frequently 
encounters them when out for a stroll, and it is not at all 
uncommon for them to be run over on the road by a 
gharri. The puff adder is one of the most venomous 
reptiles in the country. 

A few hints as to how to deal with a snake bite may 
not be inappropriate here. In the first place }-ou must 

125 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

lose no time in attending to it. Suppose, for instance, 
that you are bitten on the calf of the leg, make a tourni- 
quet or tie a handkerchief very tightly round the leg 
above the knee thus stopping the flow of blood below 
the bandage, next take a knife and cut the wound open 
and rub in permanganate of potash ; but this is of little 
avail unless applied almost immediately after the bite, 
so it should always be carried on the person. Be careful, 
whether the bite be on leg or arm, not to use the knife 
crossways, but cut parallel with the limb and thus 
minimise risk of severing an artery. A friend of mine, 
Mr. " Jock " Craig, of Cape Colony, who was with me on 
the Consolidated Gold Fields, had a marvellous escape 
from death. He was out shooting, and when getting 
over a fence he set his foot on a large puff adder that 
lay hidden in the grass, of course the fat was in the 
fire instantly, and he was bitten on the leg. With great 
presence of mind he shot the snake there and then, and 
in a trice dashed back to the house, where an old native 
woman who saw him coming lost no time in cutting open 
the flesh and applying Reckitt's Blue, which was effectual 
in saving his life. Snakes have an exceedingly strong 
partiality for milk, and often enough cows are found 
sucked dry when brought into the kraals after grazing 
in the lands. It is then that your boy comes to you from 
the kraal and says, " Baas, milk no come." 

As we pursued our march we came upon a river running 
south-west of the Ara, which was only some fifteen yards 
across in flood time, nevertheless its passage proved 
exceedingly difficult. Trees were cut down, and one 
massive trunk lay from bank to bank, over this the boys 
started to go without their loads to test its stability, 
and when they were nearly over the opposite bank caved 
in and the party were hurled into the seething, swirling 
waters. I was glad I had taken the precaution to 
test the structure before trusting the loads, guns, and 

126 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

ammunition across it. One huge trunk swerved round, 
and, driven by the rushing waters, was carried along at a 
great pace. The struggling boys in the water had great 
difficulty in keeping clear of the mass of timber and 
branches as it swept down upon them. 

At the next village the natives brought a number of 
dried and half-smoked fish up to my camp. It was the 
first and last day of fish diet that the boys had with me. 
No attempt could ever convey on paper any idea of the 
awful aroma that emanated from this form of food. I 
gave orders that in future no one was to have fish in the 
camp. The next day on march I happened to be in the 
rear of the safari with a gentle breeze blowing on my 
face, when suddenly an awful smell struck me ; calling 
a halt I made every boy put down his load ; all faces 
were turned towards me with an expectant air. 

" Now then," I shouted. " Some one has got fish 
here; out with it." 

They looked at each other and then at me — 
" Fish, oh no, Bwana, the fish was eaten yesterday." 
I had every load untied and examined, and as I 
suspected, pieces of fish, black and putrid and hard as 
a board, were hidden away in three or four loads, one 
piece was actually tied on my kit-bag wrapped in the 
boy's blanket. To my very face he had the audacity 
to say — 

" That is not fish, Bwana, it only smells like it." 
" Only " — was there ever such a smell, that I could 
possibly have been mistaken ? Certainly not, and when 
he unfolded his blanket there lay before my eyes another 
consignment. Other boys had pieces wrapped in large 
leaves and cunningly stowed away in the loads. I dis- 
covered afterwards that Salem had the largest stock of 
this delicacy. Seeing that they were so fond of this form 
of food I suggested that they should sit down there and 
then and finish off the offensive stuff. They were all 

127 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

delighted, but the fish did not agree with them, for that 
evening nearly all those who had partaken were suffering 
from sore stomachs, and looked very down in the 
world. 

At that village the people greeted me next morning 
before the stars had disappeared, with shouts of " Pembe, 
Pembe" (ivory), and pointed to the south. Numbers of 
them were armed with spears, etc., and led off down the 
path in the direction that they had indicated. Not 
feeling well at the time I sent Matakanga with them 
and instructed him to return with a piece of stick 
measuring the exact width of the largest elephant's 
tracks he could see. About midday he reached camp 
torn and bleeding, in a great state of excitement, with 
a piece of stick measuring just under nineteen inches. 
Hurriedly I set out on foot accompanied by six boys and 
followed up the tracks, but not until after noon the next 
day did I have the satisfaction of lowering a thirty- 
pounder; the ivory was short and thick but excellent 
in quality. I spent thirteen rounds before dropping him. 
The rest of the journey back to Wadelai was uneventful 
but for the increased depth of the water and its expanse 
in the flooded country. 

Salem had lately been suffering from severe internal 
pains, and was in a bad state when we got to Wadelai ; 
I always told him that the fish was responsible. Here 
on my arrival at the post-house on the Uganda bank 
of the Nile I received a letter from my friend, written 
at Nimule some three weeks before, asking me to meet 
him in the neighbourhood of Faradje in the Belgian 
Congo. I tried to get in touch with him on the telephone 
at the post-house, by ringing up Nimule, but was unable 
to get a reply : presumably the wire had been pulled 
down by a giraffe or an elephant. The natives referred 
to the telephone and telegraph indiscriminately as the 
" tin glove." 

128 



UNCANNY COOKERY 

It was necessary for me to return to Koba in order 
to replenish my stores before setting out for the Belgian 
Congo. Leaving Salem with three other boys and the 
mule at Wadelai, I set off with the rest of the safari for 
Koba and covered the distance of about forty miles in 
less than twenty-four hours. As we had started in the 
afternoon of the previous day from Wadelai, it was late 
in the evening when we arrived in the camp at Koba. 
The first thing I did on arriving was to despatch Monica 
to the Post-office with a note for my mails ; but I was to 
be bitterly disappointed, for during my absence not a 
thing had been received for me. The next thing was 
to uncover all the loads that had been piled up at the 
camp, and left in charge of Wanaka and Juma I. Wanaka 
had in my absence from Koba become quite a dandy, 
and now strutted around in a pair of most extraordinary 
Hindoo-shaped pants, fancy socks, and an old pair of 
tennis shoes. I had to rate both boys severely for the 
disgraceful state of the camp, grass now grew wild all 
over what had formerly been a nice well-trodden square 
piece of ground. They had apparently been doing 
nothing but sleeping and eating the whole time ; what 
an ideal rest-cure it had been for them. Both of them 
had accumulated a large quantity of old clothing, and 
evidently thought that my return for a few days was 
the signal for a holiday for them, but I set them to work 
at once on the weeds and grass in the camp. The 
kitchen had been blown down in a gale and they had 
not made the slightest attempt to re-erect it. 

It was a treat to have milk and biscuits again. I 
had had no milk for some weeks and tea without 
it is not very palatable. Biscuits are exceedingly 
handy when one is travelling on safari, and it is always 
as well to take a good supply in airtight tins. For 
my part, however, I much prefer bread. A great many 
people — I have done it myself often enough — mix a 

129 K 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

certain amount of matamma — native flour — with the 
white. 

Visitors to Central Africa have often wondered how 
the numerous skin sores so often seen in this country 
arise. I have spoken to a great many of the older resi- 
dents of the country in Uganda and other parts, and 
almost without exception they attribute this malady to 
an excessive use of matamma. At any rate, I am con- 
vinced that visitors to this country should avoid bread 
or porridge made either wholly or partly of matamma. 
There is no doubt that in the majority of cases it is far 
from clean, often enough containing thirty per cent, of 
dirt and sand. During my first visit to the Lado I 
became covered with horrible open pustules, and I feel 
sure that when starting on the march in the early morning 
the coarse wet grass that I had to brush through left 
poisonous matter on these wounds : my knees, which were 
uncovered, suffered most. In some parts of the country 
it is impossible to keep bandages on any part of one's 
body or limbs. 



130 



CHAPTER XII 

THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE ! 

On the first evening after my return to Koba I was 
sitting in camp under the banda (a grass roof on poles) 
enjoying a good hot dinner and a bottle of Dry Monopole 
to wash it down. It was well on in the evening and the 
boys were sitting around their fires chattering away, 
when Monica came to me and said, " Bwana, Msungu 
kuja " (master, a white man is coming). In a few 
moments a native boy carrying a hurricane lamp emerged 
from the grass and stood on the well-trodden sand of the 
camping ground. Next moment a cheery voice rang 
out — 

" Hallo, are you Cooper ? " 

Looking up in the faint light from my table lamp I 
saw that my visitor was a complete stranger to me. 

" Yes, I am Cooper," I replied. 

" I am Longdon. I thought I must just come along 
and look you up. How are you going on ? Any luck ? " 

That was my first meeting with Mr. Gerald Longdon, 
another elephant hunter. When I was at home writing 
the account of my trip the following appeared in the 
London papers : — 

" Entebbe, Uganda. Mrs. Gerald Longdon has 
reported to the Government that her husband has been 
wounded by an elephant and has died in the Congo." 

The elephant hunters have lost in Mr. Longdon a 
man who was one of the best of them, a man with a big 
heart for black or white. We shall all miss him and his 

131 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

cheery, genial ways greatly. I think I was one of the last 
white men to see him alive, for when coming down from 
the Congo last December I met him just between Wadelai 
and Koba setting out on what proved to be his last trip. 
Truly the life of the elephant hunter is one of the most 
perilous callings a man can take to. How strange it 
seemed after those weeks and weeks without having 
spoken in one's own language suddenly to hear a cheery 
voice greet you with the familiar " Hallo." For a moment 
when Longdon came forward, I found that I had almost 
forgotten the command of my native tongue. That 
evening, over a huge log fire that crackled and spurted 
away under the starry heavens, we sat and talked of 
everything imaginable. Longdon had heard from the 
Commissioner that I was expected, for the telephone 
wire from Wadelai being in working order, the boy 
at the Post-house had advised Koba of my departure 
from there, and that was how Longdon knew my name. 
One morning a messenger came down from the Post- 
office with a telegram from P , who was still at 

Nimule, for I had inquired for him by wire on my arrival 
in Koba. The wire was to the effect that we should meet 
at Osso and Nile Junctions on the west bank of the Nile, 
just below Dufile, and start from there for the interior. 
One afternoon Mr. J. T. Manly, a well-known rubber 
prospector, and I were sitting in my tent sheltering from 
a very heavy storm, accompanied by a fierce gale of wind. 
We were chatting away when suddenly a terrific gust 
laid the tent flat ; we were pinned down to the ground 
by the heavy wet canvas. The wind had torn the pegs 
right out of the ground, in spite of their being some two 
feet in length and driven in to within a few inches of the 
top. The boys came to our rescue, and between us we 
managed to cover up my belongings, guns, boxes, and so 
forth. There was nothing for it but to get the boys to 
sit on the wreckage to prevent everything being blown 

132 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

away, while Manly and I sought shelter from the driving 
storm under the grass banda. At length the storm 
cleared away, and on inspecting the wreckage I was glad 
to find that nothing had suffered. 

Instructing Matakanga (acting headman in place of 
Salem, whom I had left sick at Wadelai) to supervise 
the re-erection of the tent, I proceeded with Manly to 
his camp, situated further towards the Boma, and we 
found that it had also been torn down by the gale. In 
spite of the inclemency of the weather, his cook managed 
to bake a batch of bread, and presented us with an excel- 
lent dinner that evening, all cooked out in the open. I 
wonder what our chefs at home would do and say if they 
were told to prepare a meal with a driving rain and a 
small hurricane raging around the pots and pans ? The 
native cooks are, indeed, weird mortals ; the greatest 
difficulty that presents itself to them in the Congo is to 
find something to cook. Often enough my cook has 
had to put up with the most extraordinary interruptions. 
I remember on one occasion he had to leave the fire 
for a few moments ; no sooner was his back turned than 
a goat came along and knocked over the saucepans 
and pots containing my dinner. Again, when up the 
Kembe river he was baking bread, cooking meat, boiling 
cornflour and custard. Everything was just half-cooked 
when a runner came in to report elephants some miles 
off and travelling away from us. In an instant poor 
Pishi had to follow the example of all and pack away the 
half-prepared food, while the other boys were busying 
themselves taking down and packing up the camp equip- 
ment preparatory to the long march before us. In a 
few minutes we were all on the road, but Pishi looked sad, 
and remarked to me — 

" Bwana, you not hit me if food bad to-day." 
Poor devil ! it was no fault of his if things were not 
always up to the mark. He was, indeed, often a victim 

133 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

of circumstances. The cook is often the most harassed 
member of a safari. He tries to make cake without 
eggs, as they are sometimes impossible to get in the 
Congo. 

One day I was in a rather bad temper, for I had an 
attack of fever on me. Every one moved about the 
camp cautiously and silent. The Bwana was sick, and 
they knew it. I lay on the bed in the tent enveloped 
in blankets, in spite of a temperature of 104 in the 
shade. Pishi came to me and whispered " Bwana." I 
looked up, and saw a yellow paste in the frying-pan that 
he held. Oh, Pishi ! I shall never forget that incident. 
Knowing that I was fond of an omelette, he had inno- 
cently been trying to make one with some sulphur. 
What a mess it was ; and the smell ! He had emptied 
a whole quarter-pound tin of sulphur into the frying-pan, 
and fried it with that useful culinary commodity — 
hippo fat. By the way, egg powder is invaluable in these 
parts, likewise the custard powder also made by the 
well-known firm of Bird. The value of their products 
cannot, in my opinion, be over-estimated. The explana- 
tion of Pishi's mistake was that I had kept sulphur in 
an old egg powder tin. 

At Manly's camp I met the popular Assistant District 
Commissioner in charge of Koba, Mr. Hannington, son 
of the late Bishop Hannington, whose name stands out 
prominent in the history of Uganda. I greatly appre- 
ciated his kindness during my stay in Koba. The 
launch Kenia arrived with a European passenger who 
had come from Nimule, and was travelling home to 
England via Victoria Nyanza and Mombasa. He was 
taking with him a lion cub and a young leopard : both 
of these frolicked about the landing-stage and around 
the tents in absolute freedom like dogs. The local 
natives and Hannington's little terriers were rather 
frightened at the advent of these strange pets in their 

134 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

midst ; but the doctor was only staying for the night, 
as he was anxious to reach Butiaba as soon as possible. 
Having waited in Koba for six days getting together 
the necessary stores for a three months' trip, I set out 
from there on the morning of the seventh day. Nothing 
extraordinary happened until, on nearing the big tree 
just north of Wadelai and half an hour after crossing 
the first river, I missed six of my boys. This was about 
four p.m. Knowing the country round there to be safe, 
except for the leopards that were wont to stroll around 
after sunset, I did not at the time pay any particular 
attention to the circumstance ; but it was not until about 
eight o'clock that they turned up. 

" Where have you been ? " I asked. 

' ' We washed ourselves in the river, Bwana ; and 
then the rain came, and we stayed until it stopped," they 
replied. 

Yes, the rain had come right enough, and these boys 
had stayed behind with my tent, kit-bag, and three of 
the loads, so I had to go without my tent and mosquito 
net in the meantime. 

Next day we reached Panyongo safely, but at night 
a terrific storm broke over us, and a huge tree close by 
was struck by lightning. The next morning, on going 
down to the river side, I was surprised to hear a lot of 
shouting going on among some natives on the opposite 
bank. On emerging from the grass and standing at the 
water's edge, I saw a European on the opposite side 
surrounded by a number of police boys, who were busy 
loading their kit into a canoe. The officer — for such 
he proved to be — was directing the loading of his packages 
in the frail craft. This was how we greeted each other — 

' Hallo ! Good morning ! " he shouted across. 

" Good morning ! " I replied. " Have you come from 
Nimule ? " 

" Yes, I am H , now on my way to Koba." 

135 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

He came over, and as it would occupy some thirty 
minutes to get all his kit across, we had our chairs un- 
packed and settled ourselves to smoke, chat, and watch 
the transport arrangements. 

Nov, for another instance of how small this world is. 

" Do you know South Africa ? " he inquired, after 
ad chatted away for some time. 
' Yes, I have been pretty well all over it," I replied. 

" You know the Orange River Colony, then ? ' 

" Yes," I said. 

" I was at Heilbron and Frankfort for some time." 

" I had a brother in the S.A. Constabulary at Frank- 
fort." 

" What, Arthur Cooper ? " 

" Y- 

" Arthur Cooper vour brother ? 

" Yes." 

" I have played football with him many a time. I 
was in charge of the polke there." 

And then, of course, having spent over nine months 
in Frankfort and Heilbron districts, I knew a number 
of people that he did. 

Although it does not bear on my African travels, 
there is one Other instance that I would like to quote. 
At the conclusion of my N- '/.■ land trip in ic/j8, on 
the last day of my stay at Auckland, when coming out 
of tin P t-offio I noticed a young fellow going past 
in the crowd of pedestrians on the pavement; Tl. 
was instantly mutual recognition, for be happened to be 
a friend with whom I ha '1 in 1903 -it Ledbury in 

W' hire. For '1. ■ we had ight of 

.1 other, and neither of us had :,. that the other 

was in the same spot of the world at that time. Only 
four boors were wanting before my boat, the Moana, of 
the Union S.S. Co., would be leaving for Sj N.S.W. 

It : to have a chat Ha 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE I 

over fifteen thousand miles from home. Had eitli< 1 <>i 
us been a second later at the Post-office , oeithei be nor 
I would ever have known how close we were to each 
other. 

The country between Panyongo and Wadelai was in 
a terrible state of flood, and the rivers were, with the 
exception of the Nile, almost unrecognizable. The banks 
had been washed away and the greatest care had to be 
taken not to approach a river without first acquiring 
some idea as to the whereabouts of the stream that lay 
under water. In the country before reaching Wadelai 
the water was up to our necks for three miles, and the 
submerged path so slippery that we had to steady our- 
selves by clutching at the tall grass. It was only with 
the greatest exertions in fighting against twisted roots 
and down-trodden grass, which became entangled in our 
feet and legs, that we managed to keep our heads above 
the filthy water, which had lain stagnant for days and was 
teeming with fly and insect life. It took us five hours 
to do the three miles. Every now and again the leading 
boy — who had been relieved of his load and was acting 
as pilot — would disappear entirely as he fell into 
a concealed hole made by an elephant or hippopo- 
tamus. A shout of laughter would go up from the othes 
boys at sight of an accident happening to any one but 
themselves, and when the unfortunate creature again 
arose to the surface he would be greeted with peals of 
delight as the water poured out of his ears and nose. 
It was no holiday trip, that march of five hours in water, 
up to one's neck and a little bit higher in places, that 
reeked of stagnation and swarmed with every insert 
imaginable, becoming tangled in hidden grass underfoot, 
momentarily expecting to fall a victim to a crocodile ; 
water everywhere and not a drop fit to drink. But we 
drank all the same, in spite of the insects and other 
creatures it contained. Overhead a burning sun poured 

137 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

down upon us with all its dazzling might as we crawled 
forward at a snail's pace. Some of the boys carried loads 
weighing as much as sixty-eight pounds. Our guns had 
to be done up in the tent loads, borne on the boys' heads, 
for carrying them on the shoulder was impossible, since 

all but our heads was submerged. Captain H had told 

me that he had had great difficulty in coming from 
Wadelai to Panyongo, but the water was only armpit 
high, and only that in places, when he came through, 
so the river must have come down with increased volume 
in the night. I do not know the name of this river, but 
it is the third and last one of the journey from Koba to 
Wadelai by footpath. 

My arrival at Wadelai was hailed with delight by 
Salem and the other boys that I had left there. Salem 
had recovered, and was now quite himself again. 

There are one or two little incidents that I may mention 
that happened during my stay there. One afternoon I 
decided to go for a walk and examine the ruins of an old 
boma close by, that dated back to the days of Emin 
Pasha's regime here. Leaving the camp in charge of 
Salem, I set out with Monica, who carried a short spear, 
and, lighting my pipe, I walked behind him, feeling 
happy and content with the world at large. We had 
travelled for about three-quarters of an hour, and were 
walking through a patch of grass on a narrow well- 
trodden path, when Monica suddenly bent down and 
examined some marks on the narrow track, and told me 
that he considered that they were the spoor of " simba " 
(lions). The impressions made were not very distinct, 
and personally I regarded them as being the tracks of 
a prowling leopard on his rounds of the previous night. 
Every one had up to then told me that lions were not to 
be met with in those parts, although the natives had 
big stories of the depredations made by them. Half 
an hour later, as we were skirting a piece of dense wooded 

138 



t i. 




ft 

1 


■ 




%#•■£?£ 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

country in fairly long grass, we heard a slight commotion ; 
but as we had previously passed by some stray hunting 
dogs, I was not prepared, in spite of the spoor behind us, 
for what appeared presently. 

On the path not more than twenty yards ahead of 
us there stood three lions in a bunch. Two of them were 
full grown, but the third was a cub not much larger than 
a dog. On seeing us, they pulled up short , and regarded us 
with twitching mouths and tails swinging slowly around 
their bodies as the flies worried them. Surveying us 
sternly for some seconds, the male gave a low growl, 
then, sniffing the ground, he led off into the grass on the 
left of the path, while the other, against which nestled 
the cub, after regarding us intently, followed slowly and 
majestically after her mate. The whole thing did not 
last much more than ten seconds, but it seemed an 
eternity before I breathed again freely. Except for 
Monica's spear we were unarmed, as I had left the guns 
behind in camp. It was plain by the way the brutes 
acted that they were on a game trail, and to this alone 
I attribute our safety. What a picture they had formed, 
standing together with the cub between their legs and 
frolicking like a kitten. The superior swaggering gait 
with which they disappeared was, indeed, eloquent of 
the proud position that these beasts hold in the animal 
kingdom. Needless to say, the return journey to camp 
was not delayed. 

Lions are as much afraid of man as man is of them, 
and with the exception of the man-eater, will seldom attack 
unless wantonly irritated. 

I heard them often enough when passing through 
Uganda, and at times saw them, but I was never attacked. 
Some few years since, however, when the Uganda marine 
and Nile flotilla headquarters were at Wadelai, eleven 
natives were carried off by lions in one night ! 

They are generally to be found in small groups. I 

139 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

doubt if any one has ever seen more than fifteen at a 
time— except in zoos or menageries. 

A few years ago a fine man-eater was killed at Mom- 
basa by a native, who shot it with a bow and arrow ! 
There are any amount of lions around Nairobi, where 
they will even venture within the police camp at times ! 

I would far rather, however, meet a lion than a 
leopard, for the latter is cunning to a degree and seldom 
leaves a human being alone ; he is crafty and treacherous, 
and will crawl up and spring on one from behind, whereas 
most lions I have seen seldom attack a man, unless they 
are being irritated by the hunter. The man-eating lion, 
of course, is an exception. 

Another day when out with several of my boys in 
search of game, we passed the ruins of an old boma, 
evacuated by the Belgians long since, and now a mere 
heap of bricks overgrown with grass. Suddenly, as we 
threaded our way amidst the piles of weatherworn brick 
that lay strewn over the ground, the boy in front pulled 
up short, exclaiming, " Nyoka, nyoka " (Snake, snake). 
Creeping forward, I saw a huge mass curled up in a small 
ditch that ran down to the Nile. It was asleep, and offered 
a splendid opportunity for a shot at the head. Taking 
careful aim, I let go with both barrels of the -450 : the 
grass was instantly lashed right and left, but before 
two seconds had elapsed since the report a dozen 
excited boys had gathered around and were raining 
terrific blows all over the reptile. When I examined it 
afterwards it was almost unrecognizable, but careful 
measurements proved it to have been twenty-one feet 
nine inches long. 

Pythons are found in well-nigh every part of the 
Congo, and attain huge proportions, and not infrequently 
they have been known to swallow a full-grown antelope 
almost as large as a cow, horns and all. The reptile 
1 had shot was regarded with awe by the boys, and no 

140 







w IS 






! 5 • 








THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

one expressed a desire to carry back the body to camp, 
so I did not wait and trouble to have the thing skinned, 
as we had already more than enough to carry without 
collecting snake skins. 

I have often regretted that I did not bring away 
many of the beautiful heads and horns of the great variety 
of game bagged during this trip, but when on an elephant 
trip you have to travel as light as possible to enable 
greater distances to be covered. Until my friend and 
I joined forces again at the Osso River, each of my 
boys had to carry as much as he could possibly manage ; 
but when the two camps were united it would be much 
easier, as the loads could then be divided up between 
our boys. 

The tsetse fly worried the mules at Wadelai, and 
large fires had to be lit during the day to keep them away. 
The tsetse fly is to be found chiefly on river banks, living 
in the tall grass, from which it rarely follows man or beast 
for more than half a mile. Not unlike the common house 
fly but slightly larger, it can, when resting, easily be 
identified by its wings, which are crossed or folded over 
the back. I have frequently felt the needle-like lance 
pierce my skin through a woollen vest and shirt. Little 
or no irritation arises from their attack, as in the case of 
a mosquito bite. The tsetse fly only troubled us in the 
daytime, from about nine a.m. until five p.m. I captured 
several specimens of this fly when at Wadelai, but, like 
many other things, the box containing them was lost 
in my encounter with the Legworo people later on. 

Sir Harry Johnston in his book, " George Grenfell 
and the Congo," speaking of sleeping sickness, says : 
" There is a tsetse fly — Glossina Palpalis — the probe of 
which occasions a temporary smart, but which we now 
know as one of the deadliest enemies of humanity, the agent 
for introducing into the human system the trypanosome, 
which, when it reaches the spinal marrow and the brain, 

141 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

causes ' sleeping sickm SS Then again he says : 

" Emin Pasha's Sudanese, when they settled down in 
the Lendu country to the west of Lake Albert, seem to 
have become infected with the disease. A portion of 
these troops was moved somewhat rapidly into BuSOga, 
the district of the Uganda Protectorate which is on the 
opposite bank of the Victoria Nile to the kingdom of 
Uganda. After the Sudanese troops of Lugard's recruit- 
ing had thoroughly settled down in Busoga, sleepi 
sickness began very slowly to develop. Possibly its 
spread was checked by the convulsions and displacement 
of population occurring during the Uganda mutiny. . . . 
The matter is really In coming very urgent for those who 
take an interest in the commercial development of 
Africa, as the spread of the disease is attaining such pro- 
portions as may almost end in the depopulation of the 
Congo basin and of the Uganda Protectorate. While the 
extension of the malady into British Central Africa and 
the Egyptian Sudan is also a matter of concern. The 
area of sleeping sickness seems certainly to be limited 
by the range of one or more species of tsetse fly that do 
not care about parts of Africa without heavy rainfall 
and abundant vegetation, and it may be that where these 
forms of tsetse cannot live no other agency may be present 
to transmit the trypanosomes from the blood of infected 
human beings to the veins of other people not yet 
inoculated. Sleeping sickness is ' a human tsetse fly ' 
disease How it started is a mystery as much unsolved 
as the original inception of most other diseases. It is 
due to a trypanosome possibly trypemosim* gcmbUust 
— passing from the blood of an infected human being 
into the cerebro-spinal fluid. From the moment these 
micro-organisms enter the spinal marrow, and thence 
the brain, death is almost certain after a more or less 
lengthy period of increasing somnolence." Then again 
he says: "... it seems to have reached Lake Alberl 

x 4- 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

along the courses of the Aruwimi and Welle-Mubangi, 
passing from the head waters of these rivers to the Lendu 
country, where Emin Pasha's Sudanese were settled. It 
infected their Lendu slaves and followers, and thus was 
transported in the subsequent movements of the troops 
to Busoga and Uganda." 

I have seen cattle in the Congo affected by a fly which, 
judging by the descriptions of the people, is presumably 
a species of the tsetse ; they were thin and miserable- 
looking objects, with running noses and swollen testicles. 
They dragged themselves along, but showed no lack of 
appetite, in spite of their gaunt appearance. 

I experienced considerable delay — three days to be 
exact — at Wadelai, waiting to cross the Nile. On the 
day of my arrival the natives on the western or Congo 
shore shouted across that there was too much wind, and 
they would not venture to bring their frail craft over to 
us. The Nile being about four hundred yards across 
here, I fully understood that it would be a risky under- 
taking, and whether they came over or not I should have 
hesitated before risking my loads in their frail craft 
during so heavy a wind. Next morning the sun was about 
two hours high before my boys could attract the atten- 
tion of the people on the other side. This time the}' 
haggled over what they were to receive, and refused to 
come over for what I offered. In addition to this, they 
danced about in a state of great excitement, yelling and 
sending howls of derision at us. By midday another 
strong gale was blowing, and it was useless to think of 
crossing that day. About four p.m. a sailing-boat, 
coming down from Nimule, hove in sight around the 
bend a mile north of us. Through the glasses I could 
make out a European sitting astern under the awning. 
The stream was running against them, and the native 
crew had great difficulty in battling against the heavy 
head wind. It was fully an hour later that, in response 

143 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

to my signal fires and red blankets mounted on poles 
waved aloft by the boys, the boat was seen to head 
for the bank below our camp. It proved to be the 
Good Intent, laden with ivory and about twenty native 
men, women, and children. The white passenger was 
a Greek trader, coming down from the Congo. From 
him I learnt that Doctor Rendle had been ill at Nimule 
with malarial fever. The people on the Congo bank 
were greatly excited at the advent of my visitors in their 
craft. Being afraid that we should attack them, they 
even drew their canoes out of the water and hid them 
in the grass. However, the Good Intent left in the early 
hours of the next morning. Seeing that, the Shinzis, 
as the natives in this part of Africa are usually called, 
that is the raw or savage communities, were not inclined 
to ferry us over. I went along to a chief on our side of 
the river, "Okele," I think his name was, and arranged 
for his people to take us across. His canoes put out 
and paddled along the Uganda bank until abreast of our 
camp. On seeing this, the Shinzis yelled across the 
water, agreeing to do the work that I required of them 
yesterday. Okele's canoemen, on seeing the Shinzis, 
were frightened, so I dismissed them. At the same 
moment a canoe shot out from the opposite bank, and 
on reaching us the Shinzis agreed, after some bargaining, 
to carry the safari across. To prevent any trickery I 
went with Pishi in the first trip over, and found every 
one in a great state of excitement. A rumour had 
reached them that large numbers of white men were 
coming down to their country from the north. 

" Yes," they said, " we do not want the white men ; 
they will want all our food, and then they will bring 
askaris, who will kill us. Why are they coming ? ' And 
they shook their heads in dread and fear, for they 
remembered the misrule of their country in former days. 
They would not tell me how the news had reached them. 

144 



THREE LIONS AND NO RIFLE! 

The ground for this report was that the Sudanese were 
at that time working southward through the Enclave 
and establishing bomas at various points. I knew for a 
fact that they were not nearer than Kagulu or Yei at that 
time. News travels far and fast in the Congo, and the 
villages through which I afterwards passed all showed 
uneasiness at the rumours of another experiment being 
made to govern their country. It is to be hoped that 
justice will not be conspicuous by its absence when 
the new regime is established. A certain Belgian Com- 
mandant at a boma not a hundred miles from Lake 
Albert recently entertained a friend of mine — chiefly 
at my friend's expense — to an orgy of mingled wine, 
beer, and champagne, which lasted from sundown until 
five o'clock in the morning. At eight o'clock this 
self-same official sat on the verandah administering 
"Justice" to a dozen natives, who were chained together 
and were being tormented by a number of askaris, who 
struck the prisoners unmercifully with the butts of their 
rifles. I was told that the bloated face of the official was 
a sight to see. I will leave you to imagine what the 
official " Justice " is as dealt out by such people. It is 
sincerely to be hoped that the Sudanese askaris will not 
be permitted to roam through the country without a 
European officer in charge, for if they are allowed to 
patrol under the supervision of a native or coloured non- 
commissioned officer, we shall hear of atrocious deeds 
similar to those perpetrated under the Belgian regime. 
None of the people knew whether Belgians or Sudanese 
were in charge of this district of the Enclave. 



M5 



CHAPTER XIII 

A TERRIBLE DAY'S MARCH 

To make sure of striking the Osso and Nile junction, I 
decided to keep close to the Nile, and expected to accom- 
plish the journey from Wadelai comfortably in five days. 
On the morning of the second day after leaving Wadelai, 
instead of taking the path that led in a north-westerly 
direction, I decided to keep close to the Nile. Our path 
led us on to the flats opposite Bora. The grass was 
shoulder high, and gradually we forged ahead through 
water in places ankle deep, full of insect life and putrid 
remains of fish and game. It was the beginning of a 
large stretch of almost impenetrable flat grass country 
covered in places with water three feet deep. It was 
dark that night before we again stood on dry land, minus 
four of the carriers and the mule that was left dead in 
the middle of the swamp. From about eight a.m. until 
nine p.m. we had been crawling at a snail's pace, cutting 
our way through the dense coarse grass and bushes, and 
horrible stinging plants, and being bitten all over by flies 
and insects of a thousand varieties. A glaring sun 
overhead beat down on us unmercifully as we fell into 
hippo holes and sat down in the slime and mud that lay 
hidden under the putrid and stagnant water. Boys fell 
headlong, and loads crashed about, while our bodies 
were torn and bleeding. About midday the mule, which 
was carrying a forty-pound load of cloth, fell into one 
of the holes, dropped forward with a groan, and rolled 
on its side. I kept its head out of water, while Salem 

146 



A TERRIBLE DAYS MARCH 

and Pishi cut bundles of grass and bush and stacked them 
into a heap on which to rest some of the loads. It took 
nine of us to lift the poor brute up again. Having 
relieved it of the load, which was now distributed between 
Monica and Salem, we again proceeded to carve our way 
through the treacherous tangled roots that abounded 
amidst the long grass and bush. Before long the poor 
beast fell again and again, eventually succumbing to the 
terrible ordeal. His feet had sunk deep in the mud at 
every step, and for some days past he had been suffering 
from the attacks of the flies. He had become such a 
companion to me by this time that I felt his loss keenly, 
and turned away with a lump in my throat after making 
sure that he was dead by putting a -450 bullet into him. 
Shortly after leaving the mule we came upon a large 
clump of bush standing on a little knoll a few feet above 
water-level. It was about fifty feet in circumference, 
and afforded room for about twelve people to stand on 
at once. Syce, who was a nimble fellow, clambered up 
a tree that stood like a lighthouse with a sea of waving 
grass round it, from the top of which he reported a rise 
in the country to the west about three miles off ; but it 
took us from two p.m. until nine p.m. to cover that 
distance. 

Pishi and I went ahead with stout sticks, and did 
our best to clear a track through the long tangled grass 
and swamp. I shall never forget how frantically we 
worked our way along, often taking half an hour to do 
fifty yards. By sundown — six p.m. — we were within 
half a mile of the plateau, but not until nine o'clock did 
our feet touch dry land. Had any one been there to 
see us step out of the swamp on to real dry and hard 
ground he must have thought we had taken leave of 
our senses, for the boys danced and shouted with delight. 
Pishi and I had suffered most of all, for we had had a 
terrific struggle, forcing a path through the swamp, and 

147 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

almost as we stepped on to the dry ground we lay down 
thoroughly worn out, bleeding from head to foot. My 
hands were terribly lacerated by the coarse, sharp 
grass, and broken thorns were left in the flesh all over 
my body. 

I was greatly worried when the headman Salem came 
to me and said that four of the carriers had not yet 
emerged from the swamp, and although the boys yelled 
and shouted, no response came from the path behind. 
It soon became too dark for us to see any distance. Those 
who had last seen them stated that they had stayed 
behind on the clump of bush in the swamp. Again and 
again the boys shouted, but still there was no response. 
1 was greatly afraid that unless they reached camp before 
long something serious would befall them. The mosquitoes 
would be intolerable so long as we stayed at the foot 
of the slope, so after a few minutes rest I sent a party 
of the carriers to select a good site on the top of the 
plateau, from which our camp fire would be visible for 
miles by any one following in the track by which we had 
come. The slopes of the rise were covered with trees, 
until near the top, where they gave place to a stretch of 
short grass country that dipped again towards the west. 
Of course, the loads carried by the missing boys proved 
to be the tent, a case of champagne, the medicine chest, 
bath, chair, and bed, so I looked like having a lively 
night. Fortunately, the mosquito net and my kit bag 
were with us, as well as the cooking-pots and a scanty 
supply of food. It had been a hard day for all of us, but 
after twenty minutes' rest we were busy getting up an 
apology for a grass house wherein I could sleep for the 
night. Meanwhile, a fire had been lit and burned brightly, 
showing itself to the country for miles around. I next 
proceeded to cut down the tree that Syce had climbed 
up, fixing ropes round the upper half of the trunk, with 
a bunch of boys on the ropes, so that the tree might be 

148 



A TERRIBLE DAYS MARCH 

guided to fall away from us. The trunk was some twenty 
inches in diameter at the base, so it required two of us at 
work with the axes, as I was anxious that no further time 
should be lost in making a fire of larger dimensions than we 
generally had, so that the wanderers might know where 
to make for. With an ominous crackling and a groan 
the tree came down with a crash, and nearly caught the 
boys clinging on to the ropes. In a few moments they 
swarmed all over it with axes and knives, cutting off the 
branches, which were triumphantly borne to the centre of 
the camp and placed in a pile by the fire. In a few 
minutes a huge fire with long tongues of flame shot 
heavenwards, blazing merrily away. A cool breeze 
sighed through the trees like the lap of the sea on a low- 
tide beach, and the air had a feeling of rain about it. 
Pishi managed to cook some meat and potatoes, for which 
I was thankful. This with a glass of stiff hot whisky 
soon put heart into me. Salem came to tell me that 
the boys had little or no food to eat. Fortunately, this 
was soon remedied by the supply of matamma and meat 
that I carried for such contingencies. When the boys had 
lit the fire they lay down to a man around it and all were 
fast asleep in a few minutes, for every one was done up. 
Imagine, if you can, carrying a load of seventy-five and 
in some cases one hundred pounds on your head through 
a swamp, slowly threading your way through tangled 
and trampled grass deep in stagnant stinking water, full of 
decomposed insect and bird life, thorns and prickly plants 
tearing your flesh from head to foot. Many of the boys 
had perforce to drink the crawling water. Not a bite 
passed our lips from noon to late at night, and now that 
we were again on terra firma the reaction of the terrible 
experiences of the day began to make itself felt by one 
and all. Huge bats flitted above our heads, so close 
that the very smell from them poisoned the surrounding 
air. Around the great fire the half-naked porters, worn 

149 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

out and foot-sore, now lay snoring hard. Pishi and 
Salem busied themselves making a couple of huge pots 
of stew and porridge for the others. Many of the boys 
were shaking violently, and not a few refused to touch 
food at all. That night a terrific storm burst over us. 
The hut was blown down, and, minus a roof, I sat up, 
soaked to the skin from midnight until dawn, as did the 
rest of the boys also. It was hard lines to have to sit 
up all night after the experiences of the previous day. 
Deafening peals of thunder rattled and burst overhead, 
terrible flashes of lightning struck the ground close to 
where we were. A terrific downpour accompanied all, 
trees and grasses were torn about in the fury of the 
storm, which, as the first grey streaks of dawn appeared, 
abated somewhat abruptly. The tree tops and the 
swamp below were roofed with a billowy sea of white 
mist, that stretched away to the great silent waters of 
the Nile in the east. Overhead, as the darkness of the 
clouds rolled away to the west, where the angry storm 
was lending its fury towards the deep, rushing waters 
of the great Kibali, the great pall above fell slowly back 
and revealed in contrast to the spectral mist around and 
below us, the early morning sky still ablaze with leaping 
stars that gradually in their turn were swallowed up by 
the advancing streaks of day. A chill wind from the 
east brought with it the music of birds that were breaking 
to the sky from the country below as the light of day 
gradually advanced upon us. Tree tops burst through 
the ghostly white pall which hung over the country 
below, but slowly gave way to the overpowering light of 
day. Gradually the welcome light strengthened, until 
the great blood-red sun rose above the rugged crests of the 
hills beyond the Nile, and everything was bathed in 
the splendour attending the birth of day. Armies of light 
in a glory of colours transcendent shone above as the 
great mist rolled back to the east and revealed the vast 

150 



A TERRIBLE DAYS MARCH 

waste through which we had fought but yesterday. 
1 date my first attack of malarial fever from that 
march through the swamp. A number of the boys 
were suffering from ague. I felt far from fit. I had a 
sickening headache, and all the strength was gone from 
me. My temperature at eight a.m. was 1023. My 
first care was to organise search parties for the missing 
boys. Before despatching the searchers, I fired two 
rounds of the "450, so that the wanderers might gauge 
in what direction our camp lay. I remember how over 
the white mist which still hung above the swamp that 
extended towards the Bora reaches in the east, the loud 
report of the gun slowly found its way for miles as it 
crept towards the hills at the back of the Nile. Have 
you ever heard a field gun fired from an eminence across 
a valley or hollow piece of country, how it rattles away 
in the distance with a moaning and whistling that 
suddenly pulls up short as it reaches the higher country 
opposite ? There is something unutterably weird in the 
effect of a gun shot just at daybreak, when the great 
hollow and silent country beneath you is enshrouded 
in a white mantle of mist. The report is increased 
tenfold as it spreads itself in all directions, startling the 
dogs and prowling animals of the wilds for miles around. 
Flocks of birds fly up from the mist heavenwards and cry 
loudly as they take to flight. Monkeys scamper off, 
crying out in alarm as they swing from tree to tree. The 
great and almost sacred silence is broken ; to the natives 
in the surrounding country the report causes alarm, and 
drums are soon tapping messages from village to village. 
A gun : think what it means to the people of the Congo ! 
In the villages all sorts of pictures are conjured up in their 
imaginations. Perhaps the women and children busy 
themselves transporting the precious store of grain from 
the queer mud and grass granaries, that stand on rude 
wooden platforms raised from the ground on poles in 

151 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the centre of the village, like huge beehives. Chickens and 
goats are hurriedly driven or dragged into the long grass 
close by : for the sound of a gun leads these people to 
believe that Askaris are coming to extort food from those 
who often enough have not sufficient for themselves, 
more especially when the surrounding country is under 
water. 

Many of the natives in the Congo are completely 
ignorant of what the white man can do with the gun, 
and what are his limitations. Frequently I have been 
awakened in the middle of a pitch-dark night by the 
excited chattering of the natives who have come to my 
tent to tell me that elephants are making depredations 
in their lands. " It is too dark," I would say. " Ah, ah, 
ayeh, ayeh, but the fire-stick is powerful ; come, there 
are many, and we are hungry ! " 

By midday the stragglers had been found and stood 
in camp recounting their experiences of the night, how 
great birds had come and attacked them, and were driven 
off with sticks. All night they had spent on the little 
patch of earth and bush in the centre of the swamp. The 
mosquitoes and other insects had given them a terrible 
time. 

" We were afraid, yes, greatly afraid, for was not the 
punda (mule) close to us, and all night the spirits talked. 
We could not sleep, we had no food ; yes, the spirits 
spoke loud. Early this morning big birds came high 
in the sky above us and came down close ; they thought 
we die finish, but no not so, for we used our sticks, and 
we are here." 

" Master, I am cold and sick," said one, and he buried 
his face in his hands. 

" Did you see the body of the mule to-day," I asked. 

" Yes," replied Mombwasa the elder; "the birds are 
eating him, and now his bones will be white." 

I learned afterwards that these boys had tried to get 

152 



A TERRIBLE DAY'S MARCH 

the piece of rope from the headstall of the mule while 
the vultures were tearing strips of flesh from its carcase. 
Naturally the birds resented the intrusion of the bovs, 
and attacked them. Fortunately, up to then only one 
or two of the rapacious creatures had put in an appear- 
ance or the affair would have ended badly for the boys. 
By midday there were large numbers of these birds 
hovering over the body, that lay out in the swamp 
below, some three miles from our camp. That day 
nine of the boys were down with fever and moaning 
piteously. Several of them declared that they were 
about to die, but I advised them to think it well over 
before deciding finally. Even the sight of food was 
repulsive to them — that alone was sufficient evidence 
that something was wrong with them. About midday 
I had to go to bed with a sharp attack of fever. I tried 
some of Dr. Warburg's Fever Tincture, and gained con- 
siderable relief from it. The majority of drugs other 
than quinine are not to be recommended, as opium is 
largely employed in their making ; but Dr. Warburg's 
Tincture is, I am convinced, an excellent antidote for 
fever and many other complaints that one is likely to 
meet along the Nile and in other equatorial countries. 

By the way, while on the subject of fever and its 
cures, many people think it a good thing to take five 
grains or so of quinine daily even before any symptoms 
of fever are apparent. Quinine is an excellent thing, and 
it is universally acknowledged by those who have lived 
in fever countries to be still the finest and safest thing 
to use as a cure for fever ; but it should never be abused, 
for if used injudiciously it is often injurious to health, 
causing dizziness, deafness, and looseness of the teeth. 
Moreover, when the attack of malaria comes, as it invari- 
ably does to the hunter, traveller, and explorer, larger 
doses are required than would otherwise have been needed 
had the subject not taken quinine before he even 

153 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

reached the fever country. However unpleasant they 
may taste, I think it wise to bite through the sugar- 
coated capsule or tabloid of all medicine before swallow- 
ing. Several instances can be cited from Africa and 
elsewhere of people having passed the entire tabloid 
intact, for the simple reason that the sugar coating is 
too thick for it to be dissolved and the active drug to 
be effective. In making this recommendation, I do not 
wish to create any prejudice against the drugs which are 
made up in capsule or tabloid form — far from it. The 
medicine chests we had supplied by Messrs. Burroughs 
Wellcome & Co. were invaluable, and ranked in importance 
next to the guns and ammunition, without which one 
would be lost. In my opinion there is nothing better 
for travellers than the products of this firm, whose medi- 
cines were put to a severe test on several occasions on 
this trip in fire and flood, but always turned up smiling 
and in perfect condition, for I carried them in the original 
steel case supplied by the firm. 

The tent, which had now come to hand, with my bed, 
was erected instantly on reaching camp. Monica and 
Matakanga asked leave to go and get food for the boys 
from a village that one of them had espied from the top 
of a tree about two miles away. As I was too ill to 
move myself, and there was no food in the camp, I had 
perforce to let half a dozen boys visit the village to obtain 
sufficient food for the rest of the party. On their return 
they were all in a great state of excitement, for the 
Shinzis had said that a white man had passed through 
the village the previous day, going in a southerly direc- 
tion. From the description given I felt certain that he 

was P , who doubtless by this time had come to meet 

me, and we had thus missed each other. 

It is not advisable to let your carriers stray far from 
the camp, unless you can be with them, for the slightest 
thing may create trouble with the natives. For instance, 

154 



A TERRIBLE DAY'S MARCH 

every village has detached outposts hiding in the grass 
and prowling around with their spears and arrows, 
ostensibly for the purpose of hunting game, but really 
watching the movements of the surrounding communities, 
of whom they are in constant fear and dread lest they 
should make a sudden attack. These outposts and scouts 
are likely to try their skill of arms on any strangers who 
may unwarily be trespassing on their domains, and 
although the boys are comparatively safe so long as they 
are accompanied by a white man with a gun, it is risky 
to let your carriers go far from the camp unattended. 

For two days I was prostrate with fever, and lay 
thinking of civilization and all its attendant comforts 
when one is sick. There I was alone, and without any 
one to speak to, for the native boys are of little use when 
you are laid low. On the morning of the third day, 
although far from well, I was fit for the road again. The 
villagers all swarmed round as we drew up near their 
huts. The headman of the village, a tall, sinewy creature 
with a huge shock of hair decorated with crane's feathers 
and red earth, naked but for a piece of dried beaten 
bark that served as an apron, came forward smiling and 
offered to show me where the other white man had 

camped a few days since. I knew that P had a 

'350 with him, and I noticed this fellow was wearing two 
empty cartridge cases round his neck, and on questioning 
him as to where he had obtained them, he informed me 
that the white man had made death of " nyama " (meat). 

" Yes ! the white man with a head like you " — and 
he pointed to my helmet — " had his big stick and held 
it so Pe, Pe," and imitated the action of firing a gun. 

By this time we had walked some little distance from 
the huts, and were approaching a clump of trees. 

" See here," he cried, and pointed to a little pile of 
ashes on the ground. Close by from a branch was 
suspended a pair of antelope horns. My interest in the 

155 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

movements of my friend had aroused this fellow's curio- 
sity, and he regarded me with his large brown and blood- 
shot eyes for some moments. After a short conversation 
with some of his people, he gave a grunt, that signified 
that he wished me to listen. 

" Is the other white man } T our father ? " 

" No," I said. 

"Is he your friend ? " 

" Yes ! " I replied. 

They seemed disappointed at hearing this, and the 
chief again had an animated conversation with his people. 

" I see you also have two fire sticks ; but we have 
many more than that," and he pointed to one fellow in 
the background who held an old trade gun of the early 
days with barrel polished and a quantity of grass wrapped 
round it. 

" Your guns are not so good as mine," I said. At 
this they all laughed loudly and shook their heads. " See 
here, I will show you," for I thought it would be good to 
make an impression on the people. My cook had a small 
piece of board that he carried to cut up the meat on when 
making mince, etc. It was about nine inches square. 
This I had put against a tree at a distance of some fifty 
yards. The people stood back, and the plank that had 
rested on a wart in the tree came down at the sound of 
the report, with a small hole practically through the 
centre. The people were loud in their praises of the gun, 
and crowded round the tree to look at the bullet hole, 
continuing to gaze at it in wonderment, for no gun of 
theirs had the penetration of this, and I doubt whether 
they were capable of being fired at all, or they would 
certainly have given me an exhibition of their riflemen 
in the hopes of outdoing my weapons. 

" There are a great number of elephants here," said the 
headman. 

" Ah, ah ! oye, oye ! " shouted the people in a chorus. 

156 



A TERRIBLE DAY'S MARCH 

I knew that this was a lie, for the villagers had the 
day before let out that the elephants had gone south and 
west. Moreover, the tracks to which they pointed were 
all old. It was a ruse to get me to stay in order that they 
might exchange chickens and other food for the beads 
and other goods of barter that I had with me. 

' You have a lot of cloth and chumbi " (salt), said 
the headman, who had all along been eyeing the loads. 

" Ah, ah ! ayeh, ayeh ! " shouted the people, clapping 
their hands at the sight of the cloth and other loads. 
Many opened their mouths and indicated that they 
wanted salt. As it was necessary to get some provisions 
here for us all, I decided to stay for an hour. The 
people, seeing that I was going to stay, ran back to the 
huts and shortly returned with chickens, matamma, 
eggs, and a host of other things that they were anxious 
to exchange for the beads, cloth, and salt. In a few 
minutes every one was busy talking, shouting, laughing, 
and haggling over some trivial matter. It struck me 

that I would write a short note to P and leave it 

with the chief to give to him on his return to the village, 
as I knew the natives at Wadelai would tell him that 
I was travelling to Osso, and that he would follow me 
up. I wrote the note, saying that I should be going on 
due west, and was making for a few miles south of a large 
mountain that showed up from here about forty miles 
away. Being desirous of reaching a higher country than 
that of the Enclave, I decided to leave the mosquito 
region and get west, where I could wait for him. Calling 
the headman of the village, I got Salem to explain to 
him that he was to hand the envelope to the white man 
on his return. The fellow called several of his people 
to come and discuss the matter well before taking over 
the " skin that talked." It was handed round his family 
and advisers, who handled it with fear and trepidation, 
as though it were alive and an unclean animal. The 

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HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

usual squabbling and shaking of heads ensued. The 
headman was willing, but the women and some of the 
men assured him that it was not wise to have such a 
thing in the village ; there was a surety of evil coming 
of it. Having an idea that it would be destroyed as 
soon as I turned from the village, I told the chief that he 
was to inform my friend of the direction I was taking, 
at which every one looked greatly relieved. One old 
fellow asked me if the paper on which I had written was 
the skin of an animal ; where did I find it, and a string 
of ridiculous questions. It was amusing to see the people 
when I rolled the innocent envelope into a ball and idly 
threw it down as I sat listening to their chatter. A 
moment afterwards a prowling dog came and sniffed 
at it. On seeing this, one fellow went forward and 
carefully removed the ball of paper into the grass. He 
would not even touch it with his fingers, but lifted it 
carefully with two pieces of stick. I was greatly sur- 
prised to find such an ignorant people within a fairly 
reasonable distance of civilization. 



158 



CHAPTER XIV 

AMATEUR SURGEONS 

For three days I marched to the west and camped 
slightly north-west of an old Belgian station, presumably 
that marked on the maps as Drani or Alenzoi. There 
are a few things worth recording that happened during 
the three days as we gradually pushed on and gained 
higher country, and left the hordes of mosquitoes behind 
us. In places the country was beautifully wooded, and 
not unlike slices cut out of an English park, but with 
longer grass. Nature had strewn great boulders here 
and there ; every now and again a great ant-heap of a 
dark-red colour stood up several feet. At the foot of 
these, after a rain, countless thousands of ants would 
swarm and drone in a state of ferment. 

One day I came upon a wide and fast flowing river, 
that in the dry season of the year would be nothing more 
than a babbling stream ; but the rains were now coming 
down from the Divide, and what had in the summer 
been but a stony gully with a skeleton dry sandy and 
rock-strewn floor was now a raging torrent, whose swirling 
and eddying waters we had heard for fully a couple of 
miles before we gained the slight rise, and saw a hundred 
yards ahead between deep-cut banks a swollen river. On 
testing the depth in various places with long poles, it 
was evident that we could not ford it. A large tree 
overhung the river further up stream, and I set the boys 
to work with the axes, and shortly had the satisfaction 
of seeing the great mass totter and fall across the stream ; 

159 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

but I was surprised and disappointed when the whole 
thing turned and rushed on with the furious dashing 
waters. The tree was just about two feet too short to 
span the stream and keep itself clear of the water. Madly 
we all started in pursuit, and half a mile lower down the 
trunk was arrested by three huge boulders in the river. 
After a great deal of labour we succeeded in cutting a 
number of bushes, branches, etc., and with the vines 
and lianas of neighbouring trees, made an apology for a 
bridge. Several of the boys got a ducking, but the loads 
were passed over without mishap. 

One evening long after sundown, when all was dark, 
we were camped on a little clearing by the edge of a small 
forest-like glade. One of my boys left the camp for 
some purpose, and presently returned in a great state of 
excitement, and rushed towards me shouting — 

" Bwana, the Shinzis are coming." 

Expecting a surprise attack, I waited with gun in 
hand, while the excited creature was whispering in a 
hoarse voice to the frightened carriers of what he had 
seen and heard. It appeared that he had been gathering 
some wild red fruit, and heard a disturbance in the grass 
close by. 

"No, it was not nyama" (meat). He had heard 
them talking, and every one was in a great state of excite- 
ment, when lo ! and behold out of the glade in the very 
direction that he had indicated there came three of my 
own boys bearing huge lumps of wild honey. They 
had stolen away from camp under cover of darkness to 
gather it. Every one breathed freely after that, and the 
alarmist had a lot of chaff thrown at him. 

It was here the next morning that I gave Kadjaka, 
one of the boys, some of my shirts, socks, etc., to wash, 
and on strolling along the riverside half an hour later 
I observed him just ahead of me squatted down by the 
bundle of linen, which lay across a large boulder. He 

160 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

was eating the blue mottled soap that I had given him 
to do his work with ! 

That evening I had an opportunity of witnessing a 
dance held in the village close by to celebrate the coming 
of the new moon. As there was no hedge around the 
huts, I could look down from the camp on the well-trodden 
ground in the centre of the village, on which the dance 
would take place. By sundown huge fires were blazing, 
drums were being beaten frantically, and the customary 
unearthly din of the men, women, and children singing 
and whistling arose amidst ear-splitting blasts on reed 
and eland trumpets which were blown incessantly until 
a tattoo on the native drums rolled over the tall palms 
and trees, sending the news afar that the dance had 
commenced. Being desirous of witnessing closely the 
apparently fanatical horde of dancers, I advanced towards 
the scene, taking shelter behind a tree-trunk and a clump 
of short bush in order that my presence should not be 
noted. I was suffering from a violent attack of toothache 
at the time, and took but little interest in the proceedings, 
keeping one eye on the camp just up the slope at my 
back and the other on the weird scene fifty yards ahead 
of me. In the Congo, in fact I may say throughout all 
Africa, dancing is an impossibility without singing of some 
sort, solo or chorus. So far as I can recollect, the out- 
standing features of this dance were as follows : there 
were shrieks and grunts in unison with the rhythmic 
motions of the body and limbs, clapping of the hands, 
stamping with heel or flat foot, wagging the head, raising 
the elbows, and peculiar quivering movements in the 
muscles of the stomach. In the case of a dance held to 
celebrate the new moon, a marriage, or rejoicing of any 
sort, the whole community takes part. On this occasion 
individual exhibitions of skill were given almost with- 
out cessation. Every now and then a repulsive featured 
individual with a fantastic head-dress of feathers or grass, 

161 M 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

his face, body, and arms besmeared with ochre-like 
pigments and grey ash, would dart out of the stamping 
and shuffling mob of people who, like himself, were reeking 
with perspiration that streamed down their bodies and 
filled the air with a sickly pungent odour, his features 
lit up by the flames of the crackling wood fires. He would 
lunge forward as though in imaginary combat with another 
person, perform wriggling sinuous movements with 
shoulders heaving, the copper and iron ornaments that 
clanked together on his limbs showing up sharply in the 
lurid glare from the flames. Every now and then a 
cloud of smoke hid his body from my view, showing only 
the demoniacal and ghastly features capped by the 
fantastic head-dress, as they appeared over the drifting 
smoke. 

All the time this performance was in progress the 
rows of men and women behind that formed the chorus 
continued to sing, shout, stamp, and wriggle their 
bodies and limbs, wag their heads, and shuffle with their 
feet, while the whirling, shrieking figure that stood in 
the open space some yards in front of the chorus per- 
formed for some minutes all sorts of ridiculous comic 
and dramatic evolutions, until with a shout he sprang 
high in the air and dropped exhausted, lying prone on 
the ground amid a cloud of dust for some moments. The 
chorus still kept going, and in a few seconds another 
wild creature sprang from the front rank and started to 
try and outdo the performance of his predecessor. The 
other creature had by this time retreated to the back 
row of the solid phalanx of dancers. All round, behind 
the dancers, I could just discern in the uncertain light 
from the flames the tops of conical shaped grass huts 
backed up by the outlines of the wealth of foliage which 
showed up against the clear night sky. Even tiny 
children took part in the ceremony. Suddenly the 
creature that stood out from the rest uttered a loud yell, 

162 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

stood stock still, struck an attitude of defiance, snatched 
a blazing brand from the fire, and held it aloft ; with 
prancing steps, lifting his feet high from the ground, he 
careered madly up and down the front line of the excited 
wriggling and shuffling chorus, who were still clapping 
their hands, yelling and shrieking to the accompaniment 
of blasts of trumpets and roll of drums. The deep bass 
voices of the men and the shrill falsetto notes of the 
women sounded not unpleasant as their anklets jangled 
and rows of white teeth shone forth in the mystic light 
under the starry sky. 

Dogs barked and night birds screamed in the trees 
but were scarcely audible above the din of those excited 
savages, who, standing aside from the dancers, beat on 
the wooden and skin covered drums in a frenzy of excite- 
ment. Almost without a minute's relaxation the frenzied 
people sang, stamped, danced, and shouted, beat drums 
and made their unearthly din until the early hours of 
the morning. 

At daybreak a white pall of mist hung spectre-like 
over the village ; it was still dark, damp, and chilly. 
Slowly the white mantle gave way and lifted to the 
growing light. Only a few yawning natives stretching 
themselves outside their huts and the little piles of grey 
ash of the fires, wet with the dew of the early morn, 
were left as evidence of the night's ceremony. 

The following day, when the sun had risen four hours 
high in the heavens, the sharp report of a gun rang out 
from the low wooded country that lay below us to the 

east. Instinctively I knew that P was coming my 

way, and hastened to answer the signal by firing the 
•450. The villagers, having been told that another white 
man was expected to join me, turned out in large numbers. 
From the top of a high tree close to the village one of 
the people espied a white man coming at the head of a 
crowd of boys carrying loads. 

163 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

" He carries a big stick, and comes with many people," 
he cried. 

In a few minutes P stepped out of the grass 

followed by crowds of excited villagers. Two white men 
in the village together ! It was a thing that they had 
not witnessed for years, perhaps never before. Two 
white men ! They rubbed their eyes and wagged their 
heads, gazing at us in wonderment as we both laughed 
at the sight of each other. There was no doubt that we 
had changed since our separation. Both of us had beards 
and our clothing had suffered somewhat from the effects 
of thorn bushes and flooded rivers. There were huge 
patches in our knickers and shirts, and the swamps, 
floods, and other incidentals of the march had left their 
marks. 

All the boys that had been with P were genuinely 

pleased to see me again, and loud shouts of " Jambo, 
Bwana " (good day, master) were raised again and 
again as each boy dropped his load and saluted me with 
beaming countenance. We had much to tell each other, 
and the whole day was devoted to smoking and chatting. 
Both cooks were instructed to cook the best chickens 
that could be found. The villagers were never tired of 
watching the two white men talk and laugh as we sat under 
the fly of the tent, which extended some eight feet from 
the body of the tent itself. 

P 's trip had not been without its fruits, in spite 

of hostile natives and flooded country around the Assua. 
He had been down to Wadelai and learnt of my having 
passed through for the Osso : following up again in my 
trail he had also come through the same swamp as myself, 
and found the bones of the mule and a piece of the head- 
stall, which at once told him of the misfortunes I had had. 
He had had similar experiences in the flat country south 
of Dufile and close to the Nile, and fearing that I was 
unable to get up to him, he pressed forward to Wadelai, 

164 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

and we must have passed each other quite close at one 
spot. He had discovered the site of my camp, where I 
had stayed after emerging from the swamp, and convincing 
evidence was found of my having been there in the label 
from the bottle of Dr. Warburg's Tincture that I had 
thrown down by the ashes of the big fire. The natives 
had after that given him full particulars as to my 
route. 

As we were nearing the Legworo people, a treacherously 
inclined race that dwell to the west of Mount Wati and 
around the hilly country of the Divide towards the Kibi, 
we placed two boys instead of one on guard over the 
camp at night. 

Four days later we reached the first Legworo village 
after passing over a hilly and thickly timbered country 
full of flooded rivers, many of which did not exist in the 
dry season, but now had to be crossed by improvised 
bridges of creeper and boughs. Every village had warned 
us that the people further on would attack us and we 
should all be killed. It was of the greatest importance 
to keep close together on the march through the long 
grass country or in the patches of forest, as any stragglers 
would undoubtedly be captured and dragged away by 
the natives. 

" Naramba " was the name of the chief at the first 
Legworo village. He was a pleasant-faced fellow of 
middle age. Unlike many of his people, he did not 
bedaub himself with coloured earth from head to foot, 
nor had he anything extraordinary in the way of metal 
or grass ornamentation. An old felt hat, that had pro- 
bably once been in the Belgian service, was on his head. 
He carried a large stick, with which he freely emphasized 
his speech. A piece of old blue cloth, also I fancy of 
Belgian origin, was tied around his loins. He was a 
quiet man, and gave us much information as to the best 
part of the country for elephants. He fully confirmed 

165 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

our previous information as to the treachery of the 
Legworo people further on in the country, where our 
path must necessarily take us to reach the region around 
Aba. In the afternoon of the day of our arrival he 
brought one of his children up to the camp. The little 
one was suffering from the bite of a dog, and queer methods 
of cure had been employed. The gaping sore, which 
measured some five inches in length, was on the left leg 
just below the calf. Green leaves of a certain wild plant 
had been gathered and boiled to a pulp. This material 
had been applied to the wound boiling hot and left there, 
being partially covered up by wide bands of grass and 
leaves, that sei-ved as bandages. The youngster stood 
by our tents trying with a small leafy twig to dissuade 
the flies and other insects from worrying the sore. 
Pieces of flesh hung out from the edges of the wound. 

Getting out the medicine chests we set to work trying 
to alleviate the youngster's distressing condition, while 
the father stood by, as did the crowd of villagers, watching 
closely. Permanganate of potash and warm water soon 
cleansed the wound, which had laid bare the bone. The 
little feUow was quite happy, sucking away at some sugar 
we had given him, and was as proud as Lucifer of the 
cloth and lint bandages on his leg. Then the father 
lifted him on to his shoulder and murmured his thanks, 
and the little one was borne away to the village, waving 
his hand at us as they stepped into the trees below. 

After this several of the villagers took the oppor- 
tunity of hunting up their sick relations, and it was sur- 
prising how many people came for medicines. I little 
guessed that I should live to bless the day when, by going 
to a little trouble, I was creating a friendship with these 
people, who proved by their actions later on, that although 
savages, and in many cases of cannibalistic habits, they 
are not the heartless, unthankful, and forgetful people 
they are generally said to be. 

166 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

From our camp, which stood on a hill overlooking 
the great stretch of tall waving grass country dotted 
here and there with huts, we could see Mount Wati in 
the north-east, and the Legworo country, through which 
the Osso and Insa run towards the Nile, as well as the 
numerous hills that lie to the north-west, so that we 
could form a good idea of the direction in which we should 
travel. While at Naramba's village we found that eggs were 
so plentiful that we had an omelet containing twenty- 
seven. On resuming our march we had got about a 
quarter of a mile from the huts when I noticed that there 
was a hullabaloo behind. It appeared that some slaves 
whom Naramba had captured from the people further 
on were trying to make their escape by getting in among 
our boys; but Naramba's people were too sharp, and 
detected them before it was too late. Half a dozen of 
his warriors came tearing down the hill and dragged the 
unfortunate struggling slaves back to the village. We 
took two of the villagers, who had volunteered to come 
to the next camp with us and act as interpreters, taking 
payment in cloth. They got there all right with us, 
but I learnt from Naramba on my return journey that 
they had never returned, and it was generally believed 
that these unfortunates, although trying to sneak back 
in the night, were waylaid and figured on the menu of 
some village's repast the next day. I was sorry to hear 
this, for we had offered them a place in our safari on the 
same terms as the rest of our carriers, and it would at 
least have been safer for them to come with us for the 
long journey than to return over the fifteen miles that 
we had left behind since leaving Naramba. One or two 
of our boys could speak the language of the people here 
a little, but it would have been very much better for us 
to have had two of the villagers themselves. Unfortu- 
nately the natives of the Congo have not hitherto experi- 
enced such treatment at the hands of the white man as 

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HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

would inspire confidence, so it was useless to ask them 
to join us. 

The Osso, which is a large river at its junction with 
the Nile, was here, near its source and within a few miles 
of Mount Wati, only knee-deep and some twenty yards 
across, with its banks hidden in a wealth of trees and bush. 

In passing from the Osso to the Insa we traversed 
through country not unlike that around Matlock, hills 
and dales all covered with beautiful short green grass. 
It was thickly populated, little groups of huts were 
scattered irregularly over the country, and large fields 
were under cultivation. The people themselves were a 
repulsive, evil-countenanced community, in many of 
them every other tooth in the front of both upper and 
lower jaws was missing, while those that remained were 
either chipped or filed into a V shape. Their lips, when 
rolled back in smiles, revealed a picture that was horrible 
to gaze upon ! The extraction of the teeth not required 
in this style of decoration is performed by means of 
chiselling with a piece of iron, and the pointing up 
of the remaining incisors, which have the appearance of 
the edge of a handsaw, is done with the same primitive 
instrument. Their appearance is rendered all the more 
repulsive by the blackness of the teeth, the enamel 
having been destroyed in the process of chipping and 
filing. This extraordinary method of treating the teeth 
is peculiar to cannibals, which I have since proved these 
particular people to be. 

On arriving at the second Legworo village before 
reaching the Osso, it appeared to be deserted. Not a 
soul was to be seen anywhere, dogs, chickens, and every- 
thing had vanished, but they had overlooked the fact 
that the fires with curling columns of smoke would show 
us that they were not far off. The village stood on a 
clearing some 200 yards square surrounded by tall grass, 
and we knew that within a very short distance from 

168 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

where we stood dozens of naked forms lay in the waving 
grass watching us in the hope that we would continue 
our journey. Placing all the loads in a heap we waited 
for the people to come out. Gradually faint whistles 
and peculiar noises made with the mouth by blowing into 
the hollow of the hands, were heard all round us, but 
still no one was to be seen. Thinking they were afraid 
of the guns, we hid them under the loads of cloth, and 
our patience was at length rewarded by a few forms that 
peeped at us from behind a clump of bush and stones. 
Hurried chattering took place between them ; several 
times they made as if to advance, but hesitated and 
darted back to the cover of the grass. In spite of the 
density of the tall grass we could now and again make 
out the glistening blade of a spear or lance as the metal 
flashed in the fierce rays of the sun. 

As I knew that it was not far from this place that 
Bushiri, an elephant hunter, had been killed by the 
natives a year ago, it was prudent to exercise the greatest 
care in dealing with these people. 

After we had waited inactive for half an hour they 
emerged in small groups, and one huge fellow, over six feet 
high, who carried a long spear, was more daring than the 
rest. He looked a perfect model of physique, with 
enormous muscles that stood out in knots on his arms, 
his chest and face were covered with double rows of 
cicatrised marks worked in fancy patterns, a gleaming 
band of ivory encircled his left arm, highly polished 
glittering metal bangles adorned his wrists, and a heavy 
iron collar, that weighed certainly not less than nine 
pounds, hung round his neck. His hair was shaved clean 
from the back of his great bullet head, leaving a stubbly 
growth that crossed from ear to ear, in which suspicious 
looking bones that spoke of something human were 
fastened ; last, but not least, his teeth were fashioned 
" a la mode." 

169 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Before deigning to recognize either of us white men 
he addressed a few short and sharp words to our boys, 
who referred him to us. Through the mouth of Savar- 
kaki, one of our personal boys, we explained to the chief, 
for such he was, that we wanted to camp close to his 
village, and required food, for which we should pay him 
in cloth or other goods that he fancied. After some 
hesitation the fellow eventually thawed and agreed to 
have chickens and matamma brought to us. 

Some excitement was caused in our camp that after- 
noon by several of the villagers quarrelling among them- 
selves, attacking each other fiercely with the flat of their 
spears which they brought down on each other with 
great force. Blows rained down on shoulders and across 
heads and many ugly wounds were caused by the keen 
edges of the spears. One fellow had a gaping wound 
in his left shoulder and lost an enormous amount of 
blood, so that he had to be carried to his quarters. 

The quiver for the arrows, carried by most of these 
people, is made of antelope skin, and is worn hanging 
down the back from a cord around the neck, so that in 
many instances it received the full weight of the blow. 

I found out that several of our carriers were actually 
buying bundles of sticks to make their fires with ! This 
was not only the height of laziness, but their stores of 
cloth and other goods provided for barter and for food 
did not allow of luxuries such as firewood ; and there was 
plenty of timber close at hand, but they were too lazy 
to go and cut it down ! Several boys had lately come 
to us complaining that they had not enough to eat. 
This explained it, and we decided that the next offender 
should receive punishment. 

We took the greatest care to have the camp well 
guarded at night, as there was every likelihood of an 
attack. All night long whistles and cries not unlike 
the Australian Co-ee, resounded all around us. On 

170 



AMATEUR SURGEONS 

every hill to the north-east and west signal fires were 
burning, now and again the notes of the wooden drums 
rolled from hill to hill, each bearing its message to the 
people further along, "The white men are coming!" 
Everywhere the alarm was sent to enable the women 
and children, grain and livestock to be removed to a 
place of safety. 

Next morning a few villagers were bold enough to 
come close to us and see the camp struck, but the great 
majority thought it prudent to remain hidden in the 
grass or behind trees until we had taken our departure. 



171 



CHAPTER XV 

A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

The country here being in places dense with matamma 
fields and tall grass that reached far above our heads, 
and our path being so narrow that we had to march in 
single file, I was expecting momentarily to see a shower 
of arrows or a thousand gleaming spears or lances, knives, 
and other weapons raised against us, but we were allowed 
to pass unmolested. Once over the crest of the hill 
above the village the track led through a short grass 
and bush country studded with small groups of huts, 
the inhabitants of which were in a great state of excite- 
ment at our approach. Below us we could see groups 
of dark creatures standing by their huts gazing intently 
at us as we pushed along. Again the drums beat forth 
the signal of alarm, shrill whistles and wailing cries 
broke into the calm morning air, and were borne far 
away to the north-west by the faint breeze. Looking 
back up the winding path that we had left behind, we 
saw a mass of humanity clearly outlined against the 
azure blue sky, gazing down at us from their lofty 
position with the sun glinting and flashing on the blades 
of their spears, and as we passed down into the valley, 
howls of execration were showered on us. It was for all 
the world as though we had upset a bees' nest. 

Looking up at the steep hills in front of us we could 
see another crowd of armed savages, whose numbers 
alone would have rendered it easy for them to surge 
down on us from all sides and cut us up, but the expected 

172 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

attack did not follow. Far on the hills where the trees 
fell back and the grass waved, the winding path to the 
summit showed clearly as it wound in and about the 
broken slope, whose surface was strewn with gigantic 
boulders of ironstone, some of which must have weighed 
thousands of tons. 

At the foot of the next dip we were at the bottom 
of the valley, and threading our way through densely 
packed trees and creepers. From the ground underfoot 
came the pungent odour of decayed vegetation that the 
sun never reached. A little farther on the sound of 
rushing waters reached our ears as our boys worked with 
the axes among the long creepers and massive boughs 
that hindered our progress. The ring of the axes striking 
the heavier limbs that had to be cut away echoed far 
around us. Occasionally a snake would wriggle or glide 
from under the dead leaves close to our feet and disappear 
in the semi-darkness of the place to nestle beneath some 
other bush or deep carpet of leaves, and as we moved 
slowly forward millions of insects and creeping things 
droned and crawled beneath our feet. At length we 
reached the water's edge and saw that the Insa was a 
" tough proposition," and impossible to pass at the point 
at which we had emerged. We stood listening to the 
hollow echoes of unfamiliar sounds and the cries of 
alarm and trumpet blasts of the natives above who 
lined the summit of the hills ahead. These were hidden 
from view by the dense vegetation and the branches of 
enormous trees which overhung the river from either 
bank. Many of the plants and trees were a glory of 
coloured blossoms, and around the tree-trunks there 
grew moss and fairy-like ferns in a glorious profusion, 
looking down on the foaming, tumbling waters which 
kissed the trailing creepers and tendrils as they hung 
from the great limbs that stretched out overhead. We 
had to clear a path through the network of vines, bush, 

173 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

boughs, and other virgin growth by the river side and 
work up stream in search of a suitable spot at which to 
cross. Eventually we hit on a likely place where the 
river was scarcely more than twenty-five yards in width, 
and the rushing waters reached just up to the armpits of 
an average man, but entirely covered some of our smaller 
carriers. The bed of the river was strewn with unseen 
boulders over which many of the boys stumbled, and 
the difficulty of the crossing was increased by the force 
of the current, which was running so strongly as almost 
to sweep one off one's feet. A number of the more 
powerful boys took up positions across the river holding 
sticks from one to another to guide and steady the carriers 
as the loads were carefully passed over. All the time 
we were aware of the danger of attack from either bank 
by the seemingly hostile natives, who could have been on 
top of us before we were aware of their advance, and 
from behind me there came an ominous crackling of 
twigs that told of the proximity of a horde of savages 
irritated at what they held to be our unwarranted in- 
trusion on their domain. We owed our immunity from 
attack to the fact that these people stood in awe of our 
rifles, looking on them as fateful " sticks of fire " with 
which elephants are brought to the ground. Fortunately 
for us they did not know the limitations of our weapons. 

While I was crossing over the river to the opposite 

side, P who had already crossed, covered the bank 

behind me with his rifle in case of a rush being made as 
I waded over with the water up to my armpits. 

No sooner had we resumed the journey and struck 
off into the dense forest than a dozen glistening naked 
forms darted from behind their shelter on the other bank, 
others lowered themselves from the trees, and all stood 
frantically yelling, waving, jeering, and swinging spears 
and bows as the carriers were gradually swallowed up 
in the gloom of the trees. I was rearguard, and before 

174 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

proceeding on the march I turned to see if they were 
about to follow, but the sight of my Winchester struck 
terror into their hearts, and in a flash they all dis- 
appeared, flying behind trees and bushes pell mell, 
shouting excitedly. 

So much for the passage of the Insa. It seemed that 

the appearance of P 's mule, which was suffering from 

sores, and so had been relieved of its pack, was by no 
means welcome to these people, who regarded the beast 
as uncanny, for these animals are not to be seen in those 
parts. 

Emerging from the trees we continued to toil up the 
hill, the excited gesticulating naked forms with flashing 
spears and shining ornaments fast disappearing at our 
approach, with all sorts of shrill wild cries and whistles. 
We came upon a number of huge boulders balanced on 
end on huge flat slabs of stone on which our footsteps 
sounded with a hollow ring, as though we were passing 
over an enchanted subterranean kingdom such as is 
pictured in Rider Haggard's works. Suddenly on the 
top of a huge rock, not a hundred yards from our path, 
there stood up a burly naked savage holding a sort of 
trumpet in his right hand. From his lofty position he 
first of all surveyed us, with his left hand shading his 
eyes, and then taking a deep breath he gathered his 
whole strength together, drawing up his huge oily frame 
that glistened in the sunlight like a jewel, and sounded a 
few long notes of a rich tone which echoed and re-echoed 
through the whole valley beneath. Gazing at us for a 
second he vanished from the crest of the massive boulder 
that frowned on us with a mock severity as it stood 
above everything else, covered with patches of moss and 
clumps of wild fern. His trumpet was formed of a 
reed some five feet in length, the bell being made of 
the neck and half the body of a gourd. It was as though 
heralding the opening of a musical "turn" at a music 

175 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

hall. There was no curtain, however, to rise and reveal 
the scene of grandeur, but on gaining the summit of the 
hills there lay before us a great open country clothed in 
waving grass, with huts scattered in every direction. 
Away to the west from where we stood was the Belgian 
Congo. The hills continued to run away round to the 
north-west in the direction of Aba. The usual din came 
from far and near, but few people were to be seen. One 
or two solitary heads peeped above the tall grass as we 
surveyed the country below us. Taking care to avoid 
any cultivated land we took up our position on a suitable 
spot on the high ground a mile from the nearest huts. 
By degrees the villagers, attracted by curiosity, swarmed 
around us as we sat watching our tents being erected. 
Our camp was pitched on a piece of ground some six 
acres in area and practically void of grass. In the centre 
of this there ran the native path which forms the only 
means of communication with the neighbouring villages, 
and by which we had arrived. 

Some of the people boasted of old coloured loin 
cloths tattered and weather beaten. Covetous glances 
fell on the axes and knives with which our boys were 
cutting firewood, and a number of the natives began to 
peer at the loads and inquire the why and wherefore of 
the many strange things that we carried. A folding 
washstand, for instance, caused amusement, and was 
admired by all. They were eager to help in the camp 
work ; but we politely declined their gratuitous offers to 
cut wood for us with our tools, for we knew that it would 
be good-bye to axes and knives if they once got hold of 
them. 

One burly fellow, however, insisted on worrying the 
cooks ; finally, laying his bow and personal adornments 
carefully down, he squatted by the cooking-pots and 
proceeded to blow his nose in the orthodox native fashion ; 
in a few minutes he was busy scouring the pots and pans 

176 



A CAxMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

that were not in use at the fires. For two solid hours 
this huge creature sat there with a piece of damp rag and 
some sand, working like a trojan, and put such a polish 
on the copper and aluminium ware that he was eventually 
loth to surrender them to the cook ; who, however, by 
coaxing the creature with some stew and potatoes, 
succeeded in recovering his pots and pans. How the 
volunteer scullion smacked his lips at the taste of salt ! 
Two little boys, presumably his offspring, with large 
rolling eyeballs and huge stomachs, ran towards him as 
he enjoyed the novel meal of stew and sliced potatoes, 
and shared in the repast. He shook his head at the 
taste of Worcester sauce, and declared it to be made of 
fire! 

Late in the afternoon a heavy storm broke over the 
camp, and sent all the carriers inside their small grass 
haycock-like huts built to accommodate three people in 
a stooping position. There happened to be a large 
number of villagers in the camp at the time, and as the 
storm came on with unusual severity and rapidity, many 
of them took shelter under the nearest trees. Shortly 
afterwards, when the rain had abated somewhat, we 
heard a great commotion going on outside the tents 
and on looking out we espied some of the natives running 
at top speed towards the nearest group of huts, carrying 
off several of our long grass-cutting knives and axes. 
Later in the afternoon the people returned in large 
numbers and hung round the huts. We informed them 
that the knives and other stolen goods must be returned ; 
they all cleared off on hearing this. In a few minutes 
one of them came to within a few yards of the tents and 
hurled an old table knife at our feet. It was not part 
of our missing property, but had belonged apparently 
to some poor unfortunate who had fallen into the hands 
of the savages, and himself figured in the menu of a feast 
in days gone by. As soon as the retreating figure reached 

177 N 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the border of our clearing, hundreds of others shot up 
in the grass all round the large space on which we were 
camped. It was now plain that we should have to be 
firm, and if necessary give them a severe lesson. Having 
several hundred rounds of ammunition and four good 
guns in addition to an automatic Mauser pistol, we were 
not afraid of them, for if they wished to reach us they 
must come across the wide open space. There were one 
or two trees that would afford us excellent shelter, and 
the guns were got ready in case of need. Standing 
on fairly high ground we commanded a pretty good view 
of the country around, and could see long lines of women 
and children walking in single file through the tall 
grass, their heads just visible, carrying grain and other 
stores from each bunch of huts, and taking them far 
out of our reach in anticipation of our attacking the 
villages. Taking care not to betray any undue excite- 
ment we sat smoking in our chairs close to the table on 
which lay the two '450's, a 405, and a 350. These were 
covered up in order that we should not be to blame if a 
panic arose. 

The long rows of women in Indian file worked until 
sundown transporting the valuables from their huts to 
a village further east, while the male inhabitants of the 
surrounding country continued to yell and jeer at us 
as they stood on the edge of the grass around the open 
space flourishing knives, lances, spears, bows, and a host 
of other weapons. 

Savarkaki, who could speak their language, if such 
it could be called, for it seemed to consist chiefly of 
such words as Pe, Te, Tu, shouted out to them that unless 
the stolen property was returned, the village from which 
the thieves came would be burnt down before we left 
the next day. At this the people stood out from the 
grass and hurled all sorts of imprecations at us, adding 
that we were afraid — they had killed white men before. 

178 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

Many of them rubbed their great fat oily stomachs as if 
to indicate our destination if we fell into their hands. 
Trumpet blasts echoed and re-echoed from hill to hill, 
sundown came and the light gradually failed ; we had 
not sufficient wood for a fire to be kept up all night, and 
we should have to rely on our eyes and keep the boys 
on guard in turns. All through the long night the flames 
of beacon fires on the slopes and hills for miles glared 
bright in the darkness, vigilant eyes on both sides peered 
into the uncertain gloom, each party expecting the other 

to take the initiative. P and I snatched an hour's 

respite, turn about, and several times during my watch 
I thought I could make out the forms of natives gliding 
on their bellies snake-like towards the camp. . . . 
Morning broke, the savages had vanished, and not a 
sound save the barking of dogs afar off disturbed the 
stillness of daybreak as the sun rose like a glowing ball 
of fire beyond the great and silent Mount VVati far to the 
east. The people had fled ignominiously and now stood 
in swarms on the hills far away on the road that we had 
traversed the day before. 

There was no likelihood of our regaining possession 
of the stolen property, so camp was struck just after 
sunrise. Half an hour later the village close by, con- 
sisting of fourteen huts and six granaries, like huge 
circular beehives that were raised from the ground on 
platforms some three feet high, was enveloped in flames. 
I say again, that if you make a promise to a native keep 
it to the letter, however unpleasant the duty may be : 
remember that a firm hand is the only effective way of 
teaching them when they reach such a stage as this. To 
have crept away from this place with our tails between 
our legs would have shown weakness. To betray a sign 
of fear to these savages, for they are nothing more, 
would be fatal, and once they were permitted to think 
that they had got the better of a white man there would 

i/9 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

be no stopping them. In this case we put on a bold 
front and marched up to the village with a few matches 
and watched the great flames roaring and licking round 
the structures of reed and grass. Clouds of dense black 
and white smoke soared high above the roar and crackle 
of the flames, showers of ash were borne away on the 
breeze as some roof or other collapsed and fell in between 
the mud walls. The howls and cries of the people who 
watched their burning homes from the distant slopes 
and inwardly regretted their work of the day before 
were wafted to our ears. When the huts were nearly 
levelled to the ground we continued our journey to the 
west. 

Some weeks later, on the return journey to civilization, 
I marched through that very village and it still lay un- 
touched. It was reduced to a few scattered heaps of 
grey ashes and charred poles. The trunks of what once 
had been fine trees reared themselves scorched and dead ; 
devoid of leaves and branches, they stood as silent, barren 
pillars which from a distance looked like the broken 
columns of some Grecian structure. 

Nothing of interest occurred during our next two 
days' march, at the end of which we were camped close 
to a high conical hill at the village of an old chief, Matuga. 
We had almost passed out of the Legworo country, and 
found ourselves among a quiet, respectful people, who, 
by having come in contact with the Belgians more fre- 
quently than most of the others that we had encountered 
so far, were not wholly unaccustomed to the appearance 
of white faces in their midst. At first our advent did 
not meet with approval, but they soon learned that we had 
nothing to do with the administration, and that we were 
in search of elephants. The latter fact was agreeable 
news to the people, and every one was anxious to assist 
in taking us out with the prospect of having a good feed 
of meat themselves. They had a number of fine cattle, 

180 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

and appeared to be in good circumstances. The chief 
and other prominent members of the village were arrayed 
in old Belgian jerseys, blue with a large white or yellow 
star, and baggy cloth trousers of blue cotton. If only 
their faces had been whitened they would have looked 
very like clowns in a circus ! Large conical grass hats, 
old felts, and fez caps were worn with great pride. Some 
of them carried old flintlock guns, many of which were 
devoid of stocks, and the children used them as play- 
things. Old bandoliers and pouches were strung around 
their bodies. Powder flasks swung on grass cords from 
their necks and dangled between their shoulder blades. 
How they came by these military 7 accessories is open to 
question. We made a few trips after elephants in the 
neighbourhood and had succeeded in getting up to a 
herd, when one of the villagers broke into a loud talk, 
at which the herd, numbering some 200 elephants, 
crashed away past us to the west. Trees dropped right 
and left, clouds of dust rose high up as they thundered 
away through the forest. 

On the third day of our stay we travelled far from 
the village, and had to return in the darkness over rock- 
strewn paths and through swamps that buzzed with flies 
and reeked with the fetid exhalations of putrid grass 
and plants. Thorn bushes tore open the flesh of our 
bodies, arms and legs. Strange animals and birds flitted 
across our path and lent ghostly shadows as through the 
dense panoply of leaves and vines there penetrated the 
silvery light of the moon. Troops of monkeys scampered 
off in the trees in a great state of excitement and dismay ; 
around the bushes and trees there swarmed millions of 
fireflies, and glow-worms glittered like sparkling diamonds. 
Now and again we came upon open chambers of forest 
connected by galleries of creepers, while bats with great 
wings flitted to and fro or hung from the branches of 
the great trees whose trunks were hidden in a mass of 

181 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

encircling creepers and moss. Progress was slow as we 
felt our way through the masses of virgin nature un- 
disturbed by the hand of man ; then suddenly, out of 
the darkness of a forest region, we would emerge into 
the full glare of the almost dazzling moon. In such 
places there is a feeling of awe that holds one enthralled 
as one stops to think of the vastness of those regions 
of hanging creeper, beard moss, wild pepper, dense bush, 
trees, and wild ferns, and underfoot is a thick bed of 
springy vegetation which gives one the sensation of 
walking on a spring mattress. You cannot see in day- 
time farther than a few paces from where you stand, and 
although the view is arrested within a few feet, there is 
an instinctive knowledge that the place is vast, that you 
are in forest regions in which dwell wild animals and 
equally wild people. Strange unknown sounds can be 
heard echoing around you, it is indeed a world of mystery 
and romance. In every corner of the continent of 
Africa, whether in the heart of the forest, on the grassy 
plain or rugged kopje ; on the snow-capped Mountains 
of the Moon ; from the Atlas range to the Twelve 
Apostles in the south, you realize the feeling of fascina- 
tion that the country has over you, which is known as 
" the call of Africa." 

At times you are called out late in the day by a 
native rushing into the camp bearing a piece of stick 
measuring the exact size of the spoor he has just found, 
possibly miles away. The stick being something over 
fifteen inches long, you gather together your guns, pack 
whatever food may be handy, summon a half-dozen 
boys, and set out followed by a crowd of natives who 
find it hard to suppress their excitement, for it is quite 
possible that they have not tasted meat for years. In 
the high country and around the mountains in many 
cases there is no ground game for them to trap. Elephant 
flesh rarely comes their way, and were it not for the white 

182 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

hunters many tribes might not get a big feed once in a 
lifetime. 

Several crude ways of capturing elephants are 
practised by the Congo natives. One of these is to use 
a long, broad-bladed spear, the wider part of which, or 
that part near the shaft, is generally barbed ; two feet 
behind this a large mass of clay encased in grass or 
strips of bark-like bandages, is affixed round the shaft, 
sometimes the clay is replaced by a section of hardwood 
tree of great weight. The whole thing, with shaft and 
blade, measures some seven or eight feet in length. To 
use this the wily natives climb up a tree that overhangs 
the path taken by the elephants when going down to 
the river or pool of water, and as the game passes under 
the tree the weapon is driven down into the neck, and 
with the heavy weight behind it the blade often penetrates 
to a great depth. The elephant in trying to free itself 
of its burden, rubs against the tree trunks and branches; 
this onlv makes matters worse for the poor brute, for 
the blade is being dragged to and fro, inflicting an awful 
wound. Eventually the beast drops from loss of blood 
and is speared to death. Seething masses of the natives 
then swarm over the great body and wallow in the very 
bowels of the carcase, covering themselves with the blood 
that lies all round in huge pools. 

On the news of a dead elephant in their domain, 
women and children crowd to the scene where lies the 
giant of all game, the great skin hanging on the body 
in folds, caked with mud and dust, the effect of the great 
brute's ablutions at some pool or other far back in its 
muddy midday toilet. The frenzied people around the 
body of an elephant are mad with excitement, it is a 
sight both repellent and disgusting ; they eat the flesh 
raw, just as they tear it from the great frame, as though 
they had never had food before. The women and 
children have brought baskets of palm fronds, bark or 

183 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

giant leaves in which to bear away the spoil. Every one 
shouts and quarrels, huge strips of flesh are flung to the 
women and children, who delight in paddling in the warm 
blood, yes and drinking it from the hollow of their hands. 
All around lie baskets of still steaming flesh, for the body 
is yet warm with life during this wild orgy that fills 
one with a sickly feeling as one watches the fiendish, 
grunting, shouting, and maddened people who have 
taken leave of their senses at the sight of food. Now and 
again a spear or knife flashes in the faint streak of sun- 
light that penetrates the great roof of foliage overhead, 
for one fellow has in his greed trespassed close to another 
equally eager butcher, who, mad with the sight and taste 
of blood, and in his savage lust for flesh, slashes at the 
other with the keen edge of the spear or knife. In a 
few hours the spot is trampled down, with the grass dyed 
a dull red, the blood squelches underfoot as we approach 
the remnants of the great frame, the bones of which are 
scraped dry and white ; but we stand our distance, for 
nature's scavengers are hovering around eagerly watching 
for their opportunity to swoop down on the few small 
lumps that have been forgotten, and lie half covered in 
the dripping grass. The very intestines have been carted 
away, and the natives are settled round the fires in the 
village toasting the flesh or eating it raw until they can 
swallow no more, and, with bellies distended, the}' lie 
down and sleep. The fires that glimmer faintly in the 
soft breeze of the early hours before the dawn, and the 
great piles of grey ashes, are all that remain to tell of 
the orgy of the previous night. 

In some cases the natives, on observing a herd in the 
valley or other suitable grass country during the dry 
season, set fire to the grass and timber all around. The 
elephants, terrified, bunch together and circle round, 
falling victims to the rushing wall of fire that bears down 
upon them from all sides. 

184 



A CAMP AMONG CANNIBALS 

On the upper and north-eastern Congo the natives 
often hunt individual elephants in large bands; sur- 
rounding the beast in a suitable spot, they close in 
and hurl spears and lances at short range. This is an 
extremely risky method, and is nearly always accom- 
panied by the death of several men. 

I have also come across pits that have been dug in 
the ground, narrower at the top than the bottom, and 
covered over with branches and leaves or grass. The 
unwary elephant comes along and falls in and is then 
speared to death. All over the Congo one comes across 
pitfalls and snares for ground game. Not infrequently 
the natives find elephants that have become entangled 
in bogs or swamps while seeking a mud pool in which to 
wallow ; the ground, although too soft for an elephant, 
is sufficiently hard to enable the natives to follow up 
and attack the helpless brute with their spears. 



185 



CHAPTER XVI 

A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

From the top of a great conical hill, on which a few 
trees like giant mushrooms stood above the long grass, 
we could see far away into the Congo towards the Kibali 
river and up to Aka. Our eyes swept the country all 
around for miles, on every hand something held our 
attention riveted, and the powerful Goertz field-glasses 
revealed huge stretches of country thickly wooded, in 
the centre of which through a dense sea of foliage there 
came thin clouds of curling smoke that floated in the air 
for a few moments and then vanished into space. Loud 
drum taps and shrill whistles denoted a village by yonder 
hill. Far to the west, from a large belt of forest-like 
country, there came the sounds of tapping drums and a 
chorus of voices wildly chanting as the shuffling feet 
sent a cloud of dust into the air, which, rising over the 
tree-tops, reminded one of the approach of a large cloud 
of locusts at a great distance. 

Along a winding path at the foot of the hill on which 
we stood, a long line of naked women and children with 
crude agricultural implements and baskets, laden with 
the millet and other fruits of the soil from the fields 
around, tripped lightly by singing softly in their queer 
euphonious voices. A cloud passing over the sun threw 
a great shadow over the earth, and for miles we watched 
it as it travelled over hill and dale swimming over the 
great stretch of country to the far north. 

To the south-west there stood seven large hills, like 

186 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

great sentinels watching over the country. On the slopes 
below one could discern between the trees massive 
boulders that stood on commanding ledges, lending an 
additional feature to the romantic aspect of the sur- 
rounding landscape. 

As we had provided ourselves with all the maps of 
the country obtainable we proceeded to take our bearings 
from this lofty position, while the natives with us looked 
out across the great expanse of grass and trees, with one 
hand shading their eyes and in the other a long spear or 
bow and a handful of arrows, muscles drawn taut and 
sinews standing out, with nodding headgear of grass or 
feathers mounted in a ring of hardwood. One fellow 
pointed to a spot certainly ten miles away, and after 
hurried talking he softly and silently led the way down 
the path, followed by three more of his people and 
Savarkaki, who was instructed to see that the tracks 
were worth following before returning to us. 

For some time we could see the party in single file 
on their march to the Kibi country through the long 
grass. The maps were less to be relied upon at this spot 
than further back, and it was plain that from them we 
could hope for little assistance. Some places marked 
in large letters do not even exist. This careless carto- 
graphy is typical of a skeleton administration that has 
bluffed the world with maps of the country showing 
settlements and stations that are not there ! 

Of the march across country to the Aka district and 
the Kibali there is little of note to relate, though the 
people themselves are interesting, and there were 
numerous unimportant incidents on the downward 

journey, to the time of my leaving P just east of 

Vankerckhovenville. A great many observations and 
items of interest were lost later on in my encounter with 
the natives, who rifled the chop box and bore away my 
diaries, leaving me with only a few odd pages, which in 

187 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the hurry of my departure from Legworo I stuffed into 
the pockets of my knickers and forgot to remove when 
wading through the rivers later that day. As they were 
written with a copying pencil the results were fatal. 

We decided to leave certain of our impedimenta with 
two boys at Lonely Hill, or Monica's Rest, as we nick- 
named the camp on the large conical hill. Katodawali, 
a carrier suffering from sore feet, and Monica, who had 
recently been playing " old soldier," and caused us 
constant annoyance by a form of drowsiness that had 
taken possession of him, and made it necessary for us 
to travel at a crawling pace, were to be left behind in 
charge of the camp, likewise the mule, whose sore back 
had rendered him hors de combat. The old chief was 
warned that we relied on him to see that the stores that 
we were leaving behind should remain intact until our 
return. He was promised a number of beads and some 
cloth for the safeguarding of the boys we left in charge. 
He wanted his payment at once ; but we told him that 
he would get it when we returned and found everything 
in good order. The old man listened intently to our 
instructions, nodding his head all the time to indicate 
that he fully understood what was expected of him. At 
mention of punishment should harm befall the two boys, 
he trembled and doubtless remembered more than one 
experience with the Belgians. 

These people, who have travelled to and from stations 
or bomas carrying food to the Government representa- 
tives, are keen to recognize anything that speaks of 
" Governmentie " as they call it. For instance, on 
showing the old man a blue envelope and seal he looked 
upon us as big people and in league with the " Billygees " 
or Belgians. Often enough since then, by merely showing 
any paper with a seal on it to a chief, I have succeeded 
in turning the complexion of my host from its normal 
colour to a perceptible ashen grev, as with quivering 

iss 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

lips he dropped from his pedestal of hauteur and obeyed 
my commands to the letter. Food troubles are often 
settled in this way, and the chief who two minutes before 
swore that there was no food to be had from his people, 
on espying the sealing wax instantly succumbs, and, not 
a bit abashed at his previous lying, informs you that the 
food shall be forthcoming. A strange people are these 
Congo natives. 

Four days later, between Aba and Faradje, P was 

down with fever and covered up in bed with all available 
blankets, trying to sweat it out. I spent the afternoon 
rambling around the outskirts of the village with a gun 
and boy. Half an hour from camp I came upon a group 
of natives wailing and moaning to such an extent that 
I made sure that some one was dying. On approaching 
the group curiosity led me to glance at the miserable 
objects. As I did so the crowd gave way as though to 
enable me to obtain an uninterrupted view. On a litter 
of branches and leaves there lay a young man with a 
ghastly open wound on his left leg in winch I could have 
buried both of my fists ; it was covered with powdered 
ash, and was very offensive. A woman was holding a 
palm leaf over his head shading him from the sun and 
occasionally driving away the flies that constantly 
worried the wound. What must have been excruciating 
agony was borne heroically by the young fellow, who lax- 
there without a twitch, and attempted to speak with me 
through my boy. I learnt that he had been bitten by 
a wild hunting dog. All the time that I stood by, the 
women moaned and wrung their hands, they seemed to 
be suffering more than the young fellow himself. He had 
been there for three days, so he said, and he knew that 
he was to " sleep." I knew it too, for my offer of help 
was refused in spite of my boy's endeavours to persuade 
the people ; he told them of the great cures effected by 
the white man's medicines, but they shook their heads 

189 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

and spoke wildly about some bird or other that had come 
the last few nights and sat on a tree close by. The 
superstition of these people in regard to certain things 
is insurmountable, among them is the belief in the " bird 
of death " which makes a strange sighing noise in the 
trees at night. 

While on the topic of superstitions there are one or 
two little things that may be of interest in this connection. 
The people to the west of Lake Albert and the Upper 
Nile have a rooted belief that should the moon cast a 
shadow across any one sleeping in the open, death will 
speedily overtake him. Sir Harry Johnston (" George 
Grenfell and the Congo "), says, "... the Bangala 
believe the sun to be the lover of the moon, whom he is 
continually pursuing across the sky. On the rare occasion 
on which he catches her there is an eclipse." I once 
asked some natives — cannibals by the way — near Aba 
what they thought of the Comet (Halley's) that had 
appeared in the sky some time before my arrival among 
them. For some minutes they shook their heads and 
talked fast among themselves ; it was some time before 
they grasped what I had spoken of, and one of my boys 
who understood what I meant, talked to them for a long 
time about the great light in the sky that came some few 
moons before. At length they saw what I meant and 
all started to talk at once. For them it was a long way 
back to remember. " Yes ! " they said, " the sky was 
on fire." Other ideas of theirs as to the meaning of the 
" fire in the sky " were freely discussed. It is the law 
of the people not to attempt to alter that which nature 
has commanded, what nature has done must be left 
as it is. I have come across a tree that had been blown 
down and lay across the path, it has been left there and 
the people make a detour and walk round it and pass on. 
It was no good trying to help the young fellow who lay 
i >n the litter, my proffered assistance was rejected. I 

190 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

stood back and the mournful women closed round liim, 
scarcely leaving breathing space. It would have been 
useless to stay and argue, and it might have caused 
trouble. It was distressing to contemplate the terrible 
ignorance of the people, the silent refusal of assistance 
as they waved me back from the httle piles of sticks 
and egg-shells that lay by the sick man, whose eyes 
alone bore a look of entreaty as I gazed on him ; but no, 
his nurses firmly held to their belief in the dirt on the 
wound and the little piles of sticks and shells designed 
to propitiate the evil spirit that was afflicting the patient. 
As I moved slowly away I appreciated in how many 
senses one can employ the words " Darkest Africa " ; 
they are applicable not only to a country of which most 
" civihzed " men are extremely ignorant, not only to 
the darkness and mystery of its great silent forests, but 
to its people, who live in an atmosphere of darkness with 
deep-rooted superstitions and primitive ways, living for 
the most part just as Stanley found them forty years 
ago, often enough driven, murdered, and outraged to 
satisfy the whims and fancies of a white race in its head- 
long rush for wealth. 

When I arrived back at the camp I found several 
of the boys digging busily in the ground. They had 
discovered that close to my tent a number of potatoes 
were growing. As the old saying goes, " When the cat's 
away the mice will play," and in my absence they had 
been having a good feed off the chief's potato patch. 

P was in bed and in complete ignorance of what was 

taking place. 

Sending for the chief I hastened to explain that my 
boys had in my absence dug up the patch, and in payment 
of the damage I gave him four hands of cloth. The old 
fellow was delighted, and we were thus enabled to get 
forty pounds of potatoes. 

The following day found us on the trail of the mighty 

191 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

tusker again, and had not the wind been unfavourable 
we should have bagged something large. We did not 
know that we were near elephants until within fifty 
yards of them, when the rumbling sound so familiar to 
the ear of the elephant hunter was heard ahead. Mounting 
an ant heap we could obtain a view between the trees 
of the herd grazing. We could see the branches being 
drawn down by their great trunks; the majority of the 
beasts were covered with a dull red earth, and presented 
an extraordinary sight. Telling my three boys to go 
back to the small glade through which we had just 
passed, we took the gun-bearers and two Shinzis and 
crept from tree to tree and bush to bush to within about 
thirty yards of the herd. The nearest brute, a huge old 
bull with thick tusks that were almost straight, stood 
with ears flapping and trunk stretched out before him 
skimming over the grass and roots beneath. Suddenly 
he scented us, and with a shrill trumpeting gave the 

alarm. P and I had opened out some fifteen yards, 

and we stood, with gun-bearers behind us, sheltering 
behind the bushes ; the Shinzis gave a simultaneous yell 
and dashed away to the rear, and it was marvellous that 
they escaped the charge that followed. I thought my 
last moment had come, for as I dropped down on my 
belly, the boy imitating my example, I saw the whole 
herd advance and rush headlong at us. It was like 
seeing a wall hurling itself down on one. Clouds of dust 
shot up, the earth trembled, branches were crunched 
up ; this was no earth tremor such as I had experienced 
before, but a solid mass of maddened tossing life, great 
carcases, with gleaming tusks that reached within a foot 
of the ground, bore down upon us. I shut my eyes and 
waited motionless ; every second I expected to be crushed 
to a pulp as the frenzied brutes tore past within a few 
feet in their rush for the cover of forest close by. It 
lasted for some minutes, and through it all I lay flat on 

192 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

my face with eyes closed, fearing to breathe, for I knew 
that to lie dead still was my only hope, and for several 
seconds after the great herd had passed I continued 
motionless, for it seemed impossible that I could have 
come out of such a maddened stampede uninjured. Can 
you imagine a more exciting sport than elephant hunting ? 
Every other class of game hunting, even when the lion 
is the quarry, pales into insignificance besides such an 
experience as a stampede of elephants. 

We were not long in following up, but they had already 
dashed into the semi-darkness of the small forest and 
out on the other side, and had got far ahead of us. On 
reaching the huge trees and dense vegetation it seemed 
incredible that elephants had been there not many 
minutes before and had passed through the masses of 
creepers that hung on every side ; the elasticity of the 
galleries of creepers, tendrils, lianas, the bush and other 
dense growth was so great that everything seemed to 
have shot back into place as though it were hung on 
spring hinges. Giant tendrils and monkey ropes hung 
from aloft as though nothing had been disturbed; but 
underfoot, where dry rotten leaves and twigs had been 
trampled into the muddy soil, there was no doubt as to 
whether the elephants had been there, for their huge 
feet had sunk deep in the undergrowth and left their 
mark in the soft soil. Without axes we were utterly 
helpless in our attempts to follow. 

That night our camp was pitched close to the scene 
of tumult that we had gone through in the day. I 
remember waking up and hearing the trumpeting of 
elephants all around us and uncomfortably near, in 
spite of the blazing fires of the camp guard who sat 
looking wistfully into the darkness of the night. It is 
remarkable that elephants invariably take hills for their 
landmarks and travel from one to another. 

That day we travelled to a village some twenty miles 

193 o 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

due west, close to which, on a large well-kept piece of 
high ground, there were a number of " Bandas " or 
conical roofed grass huts with thick mud walls. Some 
of them were built square and lined with reeds, so we 
knew that this was an outpost of the Belgians, and was 
occasionally visited by a patrol. Halting on the square 
we had not long to wait before the chief, a middle-aged 
surly brute, was seen to approach, garbed in fancy blue 
and white striped cloth like a sun awning. He was 
followed by a large retinue of people clad in a variety of 
old Belgian uniforms and the customary relics of old 
flint-lock guns ; one of them, however, carried a modern 
weapon, a superior trade gun, but the ammunition had 
evidently been spent, for the bandolier and pouch were 
empty. Any chief who brings a certain quantity of 
ivory into a Belgian Government Station or Boma is 
rewarded with one of these weapons. The sight of a 
caravan of ivory passing through the country is a great 
temptation to these natives, and should there be but 
an Indian in charge of, say, forty native carriers with 
ivory, he is likely to be attacked for the sake of the tusks, 
for which, under the present conditions, the natives can 
obtain a few guns and some ammunition by delivering 
them to the nearest Boma. In this instance the chief 
was rich in his way, for he was the proud possessor of an 
old deck chair which one of his followers placed in position 
for him. With a self-satisfied air and complete disdain 
for either of us he dropped into his chair and lolled like 
a badly brought up child. 

He told us there were plenty of elephants, and pointed 
away in the direction of Faradje, the Belgian Boma. 
By his manner and crafty expression it was plain that 
he was trying to put us in the way of trouble with the 
Belgians. Our little boy Savarkaki, who was not more 
than sixteen years of age and had distinguished himself 
greatly by his knowledge of the language and tracking 

194 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

work, then did an extraordinary thing. With an air of 
languor and absolute disdain he folded his arms and 
hung over the back of the chief's chair. For a moment 
the latter did not appear to notice him until, gesticulating 
wildly as he talked, the youngster spat over the chief's 
shoulder on to the ground at his feet. The fat was in 
the fire at once, and the fellow, sorely offended, got up 
and walked over to a tree and leant against the trunk. 
Savarkaki still jabbered away, trying to pump the old 
man, his comical little face following his victim's move- 
ments, and, as if determined to assert his importance, 
he strode over to the spot where the chief stood and 
actually leant against him, resting his right hand on his 
shoulder. The chief, being engaged in a heated con- 
versation with some of his people, did not immediately 
pay attention to the urchin, but presently he gave him 
a heavy smack on the face which sent him flying. I 
have never seen anything to equal the impertinence of 
the youngster, and in the eyes of the villagers he became 
almost a hero for having so much as dared to go near 
the chief. 

The next day found us at a Belgian " rest camp," 
where the people boasted of a bugler who was never tired 
of disturbing the peace with his ear-splitting instrument. 
The country round about appeared to be thickly wooded 
and hilly. A few days later we crossed what was pre- 
sumably the Aka, but the natives had a hundred names 
for it, not one of which bore any resemblance to that 
given on the maps. In the country here and to the 
north of the Kibali (in fact, I may say throughout the 
Congo), the natives get across the rivers on curious 
bridges, some of which require a strong nerve and trust 
in Providence to cross. Massive ropes of bark and 
grass and strong cables of vines which grow round the 
trees in the forest and hang from lofty branches are 
thrown across the river and fastened to the trunks of 

195 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

trees growing on either side of the stream. The rest 
of the structure is of the same materials as the suspension 
cables, interwoven with giant tendrils, sticks and grass, 
with hand-rails of monkey ropes by which the timorous 
traveller steadies his progress across the flimsy structure, 
often at a great height from the water. It is somewhat 
similar to the rope bridges one sees in remote corners 
of the old country. The experience is trying to a degree, 
and should two people cross at the same time, the whole 
thing sways and almost takes the feet from under you. 
Other bridges are supported on poles and held in position 
against the current by ropes of vine and creeper con- 
nected with the banks ; reeds, grass and branches fixed 
with bark strips and grass cord are employed in their 
construction. 

There was one of great length over the Kembe 
supported on poles and branches firmly sunk in the 
river bed, with guy ropes of grass and creeper woven 
together leading from the centre of the bridge to either 
bank holding it against the strong force of the stream. 

In the country to the west of the Divide, towards 
the M'Bomuthe, people have a very curious method of 
smelting and forging iron. The bellows consisted of 
two crucibles of clay or wood, not unlike flower pots in 
shape, but inverted. These stood on the ground, and 
over the top of each a piece of skin or banana leaf was 
loosely stretched. In the centre of this covering a stick 
was fastened, and these sticks when worked up and 
down alternately created a draught which was led to 
the furnace through a pipe of clay or hollowed stone. It 
was necessary to have two separate pots or crucibles 
because there is no clack-valve on these primitive 
bellows. The air is sucked in by the same channel 
through which it is afterwards delivered. 

Travellers in the Congo should, if possible, carry a 
few loads of soft iron, for the natives in certain places 

196 



A STAMPEDE OF ELEPHANTS 

will clamour for it and will give anything to possess it. 
Although there is plenty of iron ore found in the Luele 
district, its smelting involves an enormous amount of 
work. This is effected with charcoal fires in hollowed-out 
ant heaps, and the extraordinary bellows I have de- 
scribed. The hammers are suggestive of the stone age, 
consisting as the}- do of a piece of gneiss or hard smooth 
stone. Sometimes a cylindrical bar of iron is employed, 
the anvil is generally a large mass of iron shaped like 
a mushroom, but with a fairly flat top and sunk deep 
in the ground or in a large section of timber. Although 
yet in a primitive stage the natives in the districts through 
which I have travelled are extremely clever in iron work, 
and the decoration of their weapons of war. I have by 
me a number of cleverly fashioned arrow-heads, some 
of which were given me in terrible earnestness on my 
return journey to the Nile. Nearly every tribe or race 
has its own special scheme of decoration on its spears, 
lances, knives, and arrow-heads, and all are extremely 
ingenious in design and fashioning. Twice I saw several 
arrow-heads standing immersed in a dull brownish liquid 
that simmered in a large earthen jar over a slow fire ; 
from this there emanated a distinct smell of rubber juice 
mixed with other properties that filled the air with a 
sickly odour. My boys, who were wont to hob-nob with 
the natives at times, confirmed my surmise that the mess 
contained the poison with which the barbs and heads of 
these terrible messengers of death are thickly coated. 



197 



CHAPTER XVII 

HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

One day, when approaching a large village near which 
we had heard that there was a Belgian rest camp, we got 
rather a scare. Peeping through the trees we saw, a 
couple of miles away, a patch of something red. Thinking 
that the Belgians were in occupation of the camp, and 
not particularly wishing to meet any of them, we held 
counsel and discussed the situation. On nearing the 
village, however, the " patch " turned out to be a tree 
covered with red blossom, and not, as we had thought, 
the red blanket of an Askari spread out to dry. 

The people around the Kibali and the Welle and 
towards the north wear nothing more than a few leaves 
strung on a grass cord around the waist. Salem when in 
this part of the country became imbued with a high sense 
of vanity, and one day appeared in a pair of trade cloth 
or " americani " pants, very baggy. For hours he could 
do nothing else but parade up and down the camp, the 
cynosure of all eyes. Personal adornment in this case 
evidently came before the necessities of life, and Salem 
had not realized that the trousers were made out of his 
posho (food rations), and represented seven days' pro- 
visions, therefore when his salt was finished the trousers 
gradually diminished as each day he would tear a small 
piece off either leg and barter it among the shinzis for 
food. 

In one case where we found a sick native with a 
gaping wound in his arm, we bandaged him up with a 

198 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

piece of cloth. Ten minutes later he returned from the 
village with the bandage ripped off and worn as an apron 
hung on a piece of stripped bark. 

At one village the huts were surrounded by a strong 
reed palisade and thorn hedge, while on poles around the 
barricade were numbers of grinning bleached skulls that 
bore ample evidence of the habits of the pointed tooth 
community. 

On the downward journey I was on several occasions 
attacked by fever and had to get the tent erected in 
uninviting spots. On one occasion I lay for two days 
with a high temperature in a country of notoriously 
hostile people. The following morning, about six miles 
from where our camp had been, I came across some 
deserted huts, broken earthen jars and gourds. As I 
was alone I was anxious not to delay in reaching the 
Nile, and thereby run greater risk of being attacked. I 
noticed under a bunch of trees a large frame of stout 
poles some six feet square on which the half-decomposed 
corpse of a man was fastened in a standing position by 
cords of bark and skins. I was surprised that the 
vultures and other carrion eaters had not been there, 
but my boys were of the opinion that the body had only 
been there a few hours, for they pointed to recent im- 
pressions of naked feet on a path running at right angles 
to that on which we were travelling ; moreover, there 
were fires close by which though apparently dead were 
still warm, and from one of these Salem took some tiny 
pieces of ash which when blown on for a few moments 
showed a faint spark of life. Apparently we had 
narrowly escaped contact with some raiding tribe. We 
were midway between two villages and far from huts 
of any description. It was a mystery, and one that I 
turned from and quickened my pace to the east where 
lay the great Nile nearly 200 miles away. 

The graves one sees occasionally are indeed curious 

199 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

and remarkable in demonstrating the extraordinary 
beliefs and superstitions which prevail among the people 
of the Congo. Pieces of native clay pottery, short 
lengths of cane with numerous incisions and land shells 
are placed in little heaps over the graves, sometimes a 
small pile of food may be seen near at hand and a few 
chicken feathers are stuck in the ground, while perhaps 
over all there hangs from a long pole the skin of a pariah 
dog, civet cat, leopard, or other animal. Any earthly 
possessions which the deceased had treasured, such as 
armlets, a solitary arrow-head, a sitting stool, stones, 
and shells, are often strewn over the little grave. Now 
and then we would pass the grave of some departed 
mortal close to the path, and our carriers would give it 
a wide berth. 

In that land of sunshine with its tall waving grass, 
nodding palms, and vast forests, there is something fresh 
at every turn, but of all sights the one that affects one 
most is the performance of the last rites at a native 
burial, the strange and abhorrent obsequies peculiar to 
the savages in that great land of mystery. In the village 
the women wail and moan, wringing their hands in 
mournful agony. Sometimes the body preparatory to 
being rolled in bales of bark or grass matting is propped 
up against a pile of stones or sticks with its knees drawn 
up to its head in sitting posture. A wild dance is per- 
formed in the light of day, or if the ceremony takes 
place at night, fires set around the corpse light it up with 
their dancing flames. It is smeared with charcoal ashes, 
or camwood powder, mixed with palm oil, or it is covered 
with a red pigment with white streaks on the forehead, 
all sorts of armlets and anklets are on the wrists and 
feet, crockery, pieces of wood gaudily streaked with red 
and white pigments lie strewn around. 

Streams of perspiration flow down the painted bodies 
of the wild dancers. Now and again the proceedings 

200 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

are stopped, and the mourners who but a minute before 
were sadly moaning and wailing or dancing wildly round 
the corpse, are now smoking, quarrelling, eating, drinking, 
or resting. In a few minutes the obsequies are started 
again and the din is kept up until after sundown, when 
should the deceased be a person of some social standing, 
a headman or chief maybe, the fiendish and frenzied 
form of the Witch Doctor madly performs the dance of 
death by the graveside. In a cloud of dust, surrounded 
by hundreds of hideous-looking savages with glistening 
bodies lit up by the uncanny light of the fires, he performs 
prancing sinuous movements, revolving at times like a 
teetotum wildly chanting the song of death. A medley 
of cat, leopard, and other skins that hang loosely from 
his ghostly form are swinging in all directions, small 
iron bells jingle as he revolves with ever-increasing 
rapidity. A great feather head-dress caps his features, 
which are rendered demoniacal as the performance grows 
while streams of perspiration pour off him. With a yell 
he jumps into the air and falls prostrate gasping for 
breath, covered with dust, while a loud wail soars above 
the heads of the people and rolls away on the soft night 
breeze. By some tribes, at the funeral of a chief, human 
sacrifices are made, the victims usually being his wives, 
in order that his spirit may not be unaccompanied in the 
great journey. Sometimes they are buried alive with the 
chief in the yawning darkness of the deeply dug grave, 
and hundreds of people hurl the earth into the living 
tomb, and at the conclusion of the terrible affair hundreds 
of naked demons with glistening spears and savage song 
dance in revelry as the night grows on, drums beat loudly 
till the morn approaches, huge bats that wheel overhead 
pollute the atmosphere, dogs yelp and howl, the cool 
breeze waves the heads of nodding stately palms that 
line the river whose waters are lit up by the silvery 
beams of the moon. We turn away from the scene with 

201 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

a shudder and wend our way to the camp under the light 
of the glittering heavenly bodies, and stand upon the 
hill looking over the tree tops of the country below, upon 
which the moon sheds a sea of silvery light. 

Let us return to the country around the Aka, Kibali 
and towards the Welle. I doubt if a white face has been 
seen in parts of the Mangbettu country, and there are 
certainly not many who can speak of having reached 
this region at the age of twenty-three. 

It is an interesting fact that here in the neighbour- 
hood of Dungu we are as near to the Atlantic as to the 
Indian Ocean. Sugar-cane and maize are to be met with 
in all directions, the land is fairly well cultivated and 
the villages like those of the Legworo are distributed 
irregularly over the country. The clothing of the people 
who have not yet come in contact with the missions 
consists chiefly of a piece of beaten bark from the fig 
tree hung round the waist from a grass cord or a shred 
of creeper. 

Numerous stories reached my ears of hidden stores 
of ivory, and I know for a fact that three years ago a 
trader obtained a sixty-pound tusk in exchange for a 
cup and saucer. 

Women's suffrage seems to have dated from time 
immemorial among these folk, and the husband does 
nothing without first consulting his wife. The house- 
hold duties are performed entirely by the women, who 
sit on little stools or benches in front of their huts busily 
pounding the maize or making baskets of grass and reeds. 
In most cases when we were seen to approach the work 
would be hastily dropped, and they would retire into 
the seclusion of their huts together with the children, 
who would peep out of the semi-darkness within and 
stare at us through the tiny opening, not more than two 
feet high, that did duty for a door. 

The walls of their dwellings rose only a short distance 

202 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

from the ground and were capped by a very tall bell- 
shaped roof of grass. Like most of the people that I 
have met west of the Nile, the men are past masters in 
idling, and unless away hunting game, fishing, or raiding, 
they spend the day in loafing round the huts, smoking, 
chewing sugar-cane, and sleeping under the shade of 
the palms. The natives of Central Africa are exceed- 
ingly fond of talking and arguing ; they all talk at once 
loudly and with much gesticulation ; now and again the 
babel of voices stops as one fellow emphasizes his speech 
with a more extraordinary method of head shaking than 
the rest, together with a waving of his arms. The lucky 
one who thus manages to obtain a hearing will now and 
again be interrupted by a chorus of " Ayeh, ayeh, ow ow, 
oye oye." He surprises his hearers with something 
unusual about himself or his friends, and their astonish- 
ment may be signified in many ways, the chief of which 
is to place the palm of the right hand over the open 
mouth. 

It has been said of the Mangbettu that they never 
for an instant sit on the ground. Certain it is that the 
people who visited our camp were almost invariably 
followed by their slaves or servants bearing fancy carved 
stools on which the master would seat himself with an 
air of importance, and for hours on end would discuss 
the colour of my hair and its length, also my clothes and 
boots. These latter they never could understand, and 
arguments as to whether I ever took them off lasted for 
a great length of time. The idea of a one-legged stool 
seemed ridiculous to me, but to judge by the pre- 
dominance of this class of seat their owners evidently 
considered it to be quite the thing. 

One afternoon I went into my hut leaving my chair 
standing outside, and on emerging again I beheld one 
fellow, whose skin was saturated and glistening with 
palm oil, comfortably ensconced in it and haranguing a 

203 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

group of his friends in an excited way, enforcing his 
speech by excitedly waving his arm. He held in his 
right hand a curiously shaped knife not unlike a hedge 
sickle. On seeing me he stopped for a moment and 
glanced at me as much as to say " wait a moment," 
and continued his animated conversation, at the end of 
which his hearers laughed heartily, clapped their hands 
and slapped one another's shoulders with glee. After a 
disgusting exhibition of nose blowing and expectorating 
the orator rose from my chair and returned to his own 
seat, a carved bench that showed no mean workmanship 
in its design. 

The inquisitiveness of these people surpassed any- 
thing I had previously seen, and my bath time was the 
signal for the gathering of a large crowd outside the 
tent, eager to catch a glimpse of the white man minus 
clothing. Once they did succeed, for the blanket by 
some mishap fell to the ground and left me minus a 
curtain, placing me in a similar position to that occupied 
by some freak of nature in a Dime Museum. The sight- 
seers pressed forward talking rapidly and making all 
sorts of remarks, and one more humorous than the rest 
would succeed in eliciting roars of laughter and hand 
clapping from his friends, who did not conceal their dis- 
appointment when my boy again erected the curtain. 

The boys constantly told me of rumours that the 
people were addicted to the eating of human flesh, and 
one trip I made across the Kibali to the south bank did 
not tend to lessen the apprehension I held for the safety 
of our party. 

I was desirous of learning the lie of the country, so 
I set out one morning in a dug-out fully thirty feet in 
length to cross over to the other side of the river ; on 
nearing the shore we could make out several forms 
watching us from behind trees as we approached, and 
some of them stood out from their concealment now and 

204 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

again for a second to watch our progress. On our 
arrival a host of seemingly good-humoured people lent 
willing hands to assist in my landing and escorted me 
to a group of huts which stood back in the trees and 
grass half a mile away. The spot was truly delightful 
and boasted of a luxuriant array of oil palms, bread fruit, 
wild pepper cane, and plantains. The village rested 
under the shade of trees that hung over the conical grass 
roofs in gorgeous profusion lending to the air a sweet 
fragrant aroma. Many of the dwellings were long and 
square and were covered with flat roofs. The women, 
as I expected, all scuttled into the seclusion of their 
huts and crooned to the children in their endeavours 
to still the cries of the little ones whose attention had 
been attracted by the unusual excitement and noise 
that followed my unexpected appearance. In the village 
itself the ground was void of grass and the dark reddish 
well-trodden soil offered a fine contrast to the beautiful 
sombre shades of green on the foliage around. Here and 
there between the dwelling huts were erected the usual 
small granaries raised on poles about four feet above 
ground, queer little beehive-like structures of reed and 
earth with a movable conical thatch roof under the eaves 
of which here and there a native rested in the shade. 
Dogs slunk around sniffing by the fires in search of food, 
while the natives regarded me with open eyes and oily 
beaming countenances. One fellow came forward and 
shook hands. My boy, interpreting for me, informed 
him that the white man had come far to seek elephants, 
and was a friend ; on hearing this the chief showed his 
misgivings by shaking his head and conducting an 
animated conversation with some of his retinue who stood 
by. Gazing around me I saw a group of men arranging 
little strips of meat on sticks round a fire. I had an 
uncomfortable feeling as to their origin, which was con- 
firmed when I saw, on pieces of matting, a number of 

205 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

human fingers which seemed to have been smoked and 
dried, for they were of a leaden grey colour. 

On some of the dwelling huts the extreme point, of 
the conical roof was decorated with eland horns, but 
in one case I saw a group of human skulls affixed by 
cords of stripped bark ; they had been smeared with a 
reddish pigment and had a ghastly appearance as the 
shadows of the great palm leaves on the trees swaying 
to and fro in the soft breeze permitted a ray of dazzling 
sunlight to play on the features. The people themselves 
were smeared with a horrible concoction that smelt 
strongly, and added to the feeling of nausea that had 
already seized me at the horrors I had seen. At length 
the chief turned and spoke to my boy who interpreted : 
" Bwana, he says there are elephants close by, but they 
are small." I was glad to turn my back on the place 
and retrace my steps to the riverside, apparently un- 
accompanied, but when we entered the thicket a number 
of heads and shoulders appeared from their hiding places, 
and numerous nodding plumes and glistening spears 
denoted the presence of an attentive escort, who kept, 
however, at a respectful distance from the path. 

Many grey parrots and other birds of beautiful 
plumage looked down upon us as the canoe bore us away 
from the bank, which was lined not only with people, 
but with grand trees whose trunks were wrapped so 
tightly in the folds of creepers that it seemed marvellous 
that their growth had not been arrested by the snake- 
like bonds of the twining plants. The inquisitiveness 
of the people was a continual nuisance and the freedom 
with which they discussed not only my belongings but 
my personal appearance was appalling. My moustache 
and beard called forth little comment from the natives 
of the Mangbettu country, who have decidedly more 
hair on their faces than either the Niam Niam or the 
people to the east. The fact of my youthful appearance 

206 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

in spite of the " face trimmings " called forth many 
arguments, and my long hair, which then hung down 
on my neck, caused great admiration and surprise. 

I was astonished to notice the sudden change of 
features as I passed from the regions of the upper Nile to 
the country west of Faradje and towards Amadis. The 
Mangbettu seem to have an Arabic strain in them, for 
they have longer and more shapely noses than are found 
among most other tribes. Their skin is of a lighter hue, 
but for muscular development in my opinion they occupy 
a secondary place to the natives around Lake Albert. I 
would not say for a moment that this detracts from 
their powers of endurance nor does it affect their capabili- 
ties in dealing with the surrounding tribes who are con- 
stantly in dread of the possibility of a raid from these 
people. Unlike most of the natives in Central Africa 
they are possessed of a keen intellect, and one rarely 
fails to elicit an intelligent reply to a straightforward 
question, very different from the absurd and senseless 
rigmarole of the ordinary native who will deliver a long 
speech for many minutes on end, at the conclusion of 
which you are rarely any wiser than before. 

Of course as regards elephants they will at once say 
there are plenty, all will agree on this point, and they 
crowd round you in numbers declaring that they saw 
them only the night before, and all sorts of other lies, 
for they are only too glad, in exchange for beads, wire 
and what not, to march you out in search of elephants 
which they know are not anywhere near. I have been 
deceived once or twice like this. After you have tramped 
for an hour or two from the village the excited natives, 
who have exercised an enormous amount of will power, 
for them, in keeping their mouths shut, except for hurried 
whispering, will crouch down with heads raised and 
beckon to you. " At last ! " you say to yourself, " I 
have reached the elephant grounds," but when it turn? 

207 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

out that the cause of this sudden halt is merely a bunch 
of eland on the grass plain ahead, you realize that you 
have been led on a wild goose chase. 

" The elephants are gone," they say. " Kill this 
meat, it is good. No ! there is no ivory, but we shall 
all get plenty to eat, see ! there are many many." You 
then return to camp conscious of the fact that you have 
been fooled ; you may have seen old tracks, but the 
elephants of last night that they had spoken of must 
have had wings. 

During the stay in Mangbettu country I noticed 
that a large number of people carried ivory trumpets 
slung over their shoulders. I remember one day when 
we were travelling along I saw ahead of us on the sky- 
line what I thought were elephants in single file. When 
we got there, however, I found that what I had seen was 
a number of women bearing on their backs loads of bark 
and produce from the fields to the village. Our visit 
to their country was brief therefore. 

The journey back to the country west of the Kibi was 
accomplished in some twelve days, and was without 
any event of an exciting nature. Our progress in the 
journey eastwards to Mount Wati was, however, arrested 
at a village called Lodo, the headquarters of a powerful 
chief of that name and the site of a Belgian rest camp 
used when the officials are on patrol. The camp com- 
prised half a dozen square-built huts of mud and grass 
and a banda for the officer in charge — when there is one. 
This was simply a tall conical grass and reed roof some 
hundred feet in circumference at the base, supported on 
poles. On approaching the village a number of people 
flocked along the narrow path in the tall grass to meet 
us, and unusual excitement seemed to prevail among 
them. We found that the chief was lying very ill and 
had sent one of his sons to greet us. He was a handsome 
young fellow and possessed of good manners for a native. 

208 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

On hearing that the chief was desirous of seeing the 
white men, we decided to go to him as soon as the tents 
were erected, and see what could be done for him. The 
people had a large number of cattle, and I noticed that 
every one was of fine physique. They could not tell us 
how long it was since the Belgians had been there, for 
they had no idea of time. We followed the young warrior 
through the trees along a zig-zag path through the 
village, where children frolicked under the piles on which 
their homes were built. Chickens and dogs drew back, 
as did the men and women, who on our approach ceased 
to chatter, and hid themselves in all directions. At the 
far end of the village we came upon a large round hut 
built on the ground and not raised as most of them were 
on wooden platforms some three feet high. At the door 
there sat a grizzled old creature whose very skin had 
become dull grey and hard with age. Skins of animals 
hung all round him, little pieces of stick lay on the ground 
before him, he was surrounded by a huddled-up crowd 
of natives, and was making weird passes over a pile of 
rubbish, which consisted of bones, land-shells, stones, 
and what not, that lay at his feet ; he was the oracle or 
doctor of the village. 

To our surprise we did not halt here and enter the 
chief's hut, but passed through the trees until about a 
couple of hundred yards further on we reached a group 
of men and women. The chief lay in the full glare of 
the sun on a rough litter, with the moaning crowd pressing 
around him ; he had scarcely room to breathe, and was 
in an advanced state of fever. At the sound of his voice 
which was scarcely audible the natives fell back, and 
again we beheld a scene that made our hearts feel sick 
at their ridiculous superstitions. Around his forehead 
and neck, wrists, and ankles were tied the entrails of 
chickens. His son stood by and explained that the 
doctor had them placed there. " The blood will cool 

209 p 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

down and the pain will go away and never come back 
again." Goodness knows what else they thought this 
savage method of doctoring would accomplish. Half a 
dozen more cock birds, tied by the leg close by, pulled at 
the tethering strings with their tongues hanging out 
gasping for water. These were to be sacrificed at sun- 
down and their intestines strung around the chief in 
place of those he was wearing at present. The women 
wailed, children scampered round, flies, butterflies, bees, 
and ants all buzzed and droned around the feverish form 
on the litter, and one of the wives was kneeling down and 
waving a palm leaf over his head. For some time we 
endeavoured to persuade the chief and his son to dis- 
pense with the horrible-smelling mess that hung round 
him ; at length the son spoke to one of those standing 
by and presently a shout went up, " Where is Yabena ? ' 
A messenger tore off to the village and presently 
returned with the " oracle." In spite of his great age, 
the old fellow was as lithe and active as a boy and 
hurried towards us. The chief's son told him something 
about the white men who kill the elephants and pointed 
to the medicine chests that we had brought with us. 
The old fellow regarded us with anything but a friendly 
expression, and I could see that should the people decide 
in our favour we should be taking on a great respon- 
sibility. The chief had lain there for days and nights, 
how many the people could not say, they had lost count, 
but he had been there for " many, very many days ! " 
He was no better, and the people were not slow to show 
their approval of the advent of the white men with their 
medicine, in spite of an excited speech by the oracle 
which he punctuated with blows of a stick that he carried 
and swung round him, slashing at any interrupter. At 
length the women carefully removed the bands, and we 
ventured on the risky proceeding of supplanting a native 
doctor in the endeavour to cure a native chief on whom 

2T0 




'•" ' im3rir;!&^' ■ I 



i 

NATIVE DOCTOR AND ATTENDANT. 



HOW WE CURED THE CHIEF 

we were doubtful that our medicines would be of any 
effect, for the constitution of the native is different from 
that of the white man. Furthermore, we were not sure 
that he was suffering from fever alone. If our remedies 
failed we should stand a poor chance of leaving the 
village alive, and we foresaw an anxious period during 
the next few days. 

" Livingstone rousers," phenacetin and quinine, all 
in heavy doses, effected a reduction in the temperature 
next day. At night time the entire conical roof of a 
hut which had been carried down from the village rested 
on poles above him. We covered him with red blankets 
and left two of our boys with him night and day to 
watch against any interference from the doctor who was 
busy trying to turn the opinion of the people against 
us, and nearly succeeded once, but a word from the chief 
turned the tables on him. 

Our patient was sitting up the next day and was 
able to take some food. At first we had been afraid 
that there might be some other complication besides the 
fever that had got hold of him, but on the fifth day he 
was up and able to walk a little, though he was terribly 
weak. However, we had conquered, and the people 
looked up to us and regarded our little box of medicines 
with awe. Mouths opened wide, heads nodded, the 
people were restless with excitement at the appearance 
of their chief among them once again. 

In my reflections on the Congo I often fall a-thinking 
as to what our fate would have been had the chief died. 
Certain it is that the people would have rushed to the 
witch doctor and listened to his excited talk. No ! 
I do not think we could have left the village alive ! 



211 



CHAPTER XVIII 

AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

News came in one morning that large numbers of 
elephants were to the north of us, and working across from 
east to north-west ; but for me the news was of little 
interest, inasmuch as I was suffering from Nile boils and 
other skin sores inflicted by thorns and grass. I was now 
unable to stand the laborious work of long, hurried 
marches, for I was very weak from incessant attacks of 
malaria, therefore I reluctantly yielded to my friend's 
advice and decided to leave for Wadelai. The journey, 
we reckoned, would occupy some fifteen to seventeen 
days. 

There is one incident worth recording here that took 
place ere my departure. Juma, my old syce, and 
Zaabaali, after helping themselves to some of the other 
boys' worldly possessions, knives, etc., disappeared in 
the night, and without a doubt by the time we discovered 
their desertion they were already well on the road to 
Aba. Probably their intention was to set the Belgians 
against us by spinning some plausible yarn. The chief 
on hearing this agreed to send parties of warriors to track 
them down. Half an hour later small bands of young 
bloods, armed with bows and arrows in quivers of ante- 
lope-skin, spears, knives, and old flint-lock guns, minus 
ammunition, set out in every direction. We had given 
them instructions to bring the boys back unscathed. 
This seemed to disappoint them, for they had evidently 
thought that there was a chance of a good man hunt 

212 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

with a bloody ending. With a promise of plenty of cloth 
on their return, the little bands departed in high spirits. 
Just before sundown the two boys were brought back to 
the village, tied neck to neck with grass cords and thongs 
of bark, and a host of other things. Great tears rolled 
down their faces and every now and again the natives 
would prod them with their spears if they lagged behind. 
How proud the captors were ! Drums were set beating 
to recall the other parties of seekers. 

With my departure, some of the boys in the safari 
would be superfluous, and I agreed to take them down 

to Kampala with me. P wanted all the porters 

possible, so I decided to take Salem, Juma, Kalakese, 
Karetese and Kalalili. On reaching Lonely Hill by the 
Legworo country, or Monica's rest, as I called it, I would 
exchange Kalalili for Monica. 

On the seventh morning of our sojourn at Lodo 
the camp was astir early, getting ready ; for some two 
hours all was bustle and confusion. The tent was rolled 
up and every tiling was being packed for the journey. 

Taking farewell of P , the boys, and a large number 

of the villagers who stood by, I gathered my five boys 
together and we set off down the path. I remember my 
friend saying, " Keep your eyes open, it is a bad country 
you are going through." At the time I paid little 
attention to the warnings of imminent dangers that lay 
on the road as day followed dav. Sometimes when 
lying ill with fever, hundreds of miles from the nearest 
white man, I felt the seriousness of my position. I might 
be not very far from a village whose inhabitants, had they 
known that I was sick and unable to raise a hand to 
defend myself, would have swooped down on us, and the 
outer world would have been none the wiser. It was 
with a light heart that, in spite of a system enervated by 
fever, I set out to walk just on two hundred miles to 
civilisation, accompanied by only five boys. I would 

21 3 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

have to travel through a country where the sight of a 
white face excites the savage minds of the people who 
ever since the advent of Europeans have been subjected 
to ill-treatment by roaming bands of troops with irre- 
sponsible officers under an equally irresponsible adminis- 
tration. Is it any wonder that the white man is hated 
by these poor wretches, many of whom have fled from the 
far interior around the Congo Basin and have come 
eastwards where, on hearing the news that a Belgian 
Patrol is running riot, they can take refuge in the moun- 
tains in Soudanese territory until the storm has passed ? 
The shouts of " Kwa Heri, Kwa Heri Bwana " (good- 
bye, master) dwindled away as we fast left the village 
behind, and were soon lost to sight in the long grass and 
trees through which our path led. About a mile from 
the village we were joined by eight or ten warriors, whose 
bodies and limbs were smeared with red earth and 
glistening with oil. They were armed to the teeth with 
spears and bows. They had been sent by the chief 
ostensibly for the purpose of escorting me safely to the 
borders of his country, and travelled until nightfall with 
us. In the long grass and dense timber it was impossible 
to make out in what direction we were really travelling ; 
for the native paths here, as elsewhere in Africa, twist and 
turn in every conceivable way. I knew, however, that 
Lonely Hill lay south-east of Lodo. We marched all 
that day through heavy hilly country, thickly covered 
with trees in whose branches troops of monkeys swung 
from tree to tree. Treacherous fast-flowing rivers had 
to be forded at suitable spots, or crossed by means of a 
tree felled and thrown across. Now and again beside the 
path there lay the snow-white bones of antelope, eland, 
and cattle, while in one place the mighty bleached bones 
of an elephant lay scattered in every direction. As we 
neared a village little graves stood here and there, marked 
by a small pile of shells, eland horns, and pieces of pottery ; 

214 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

and in some instances there hung on a pole the skin of 
some animal like a scare-crow, the whole presenting a 
spectacle that was weird in the extreme. The conical 
roofs of the native huts peeped above the great leaves of 
tropical plants and trees among which the village was 
built. As we entered the semi-darkness of some forest 
region, small, but the exact replica of the larger forests 
further west, the shrill cries of birds overhead gave the 
alarm. Dark shadows hung across the path as some 
creature flitted or crashed away ahead of us and dis- 
appeared into the tangle of ferns and plants that grew 
on either side. The path itself was scarcely passable, 
for it was obstructed by thick undergrowth, tendrils, 
roots and fallen boughs all covered with dead leaves, 
and for long stretches it was just like walking on a spring 
mattress. Gaily coloured monkeys lined the branches 
overhead, gazing inquiringly at us as we passed. Vast 
open spaces where every bush and plant was crushed flat 
by the mighty elephant, revealed troops of monkeys in 
the surrounding tree-tops performing the most extra- 
ordinary antics. 

Just before sundown the eight warriors who had 
accompanied me drew into the grass, raising their spears 
and bows aloft in a farewell salute, for we were now on 
the eastern boundary of their country. 

Shortly afterwards I camped on the bank of a small 
stream close to some huts, from whose inhabitants I 
bought food for myself and the boys. I took care to 
have a boy on guard all night. 

Next day, when walking down a steep hill in a rough 
piece of bush and grass country, I met about a dozen 
warriors, who drew aside and acknowledged my greeting. 
One carried a large elephant spear, with its weight of clay 
around the shaft, such as I have already described. I 
asked them where they were going ? " To kill elephants," 
they replied. Thinking that there was a chance of some 

215 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

sport and ivory, I suggested that my gun would be more 
likely to kill an elephant than the knife that they had 
with them. They all shouted in a chorus of approval, 
for they had previously seen the mighty beasts dropping 
before the " sticks that spoke with fire." Their faces 
were wreathed in smiles, the warrior who carried on his 
shoulder the enormous spear which was fully eight feet 
in length, and weighed about sixty pounds, swung round 
in his excitement, and as the unwieldy weapon came in 
contact with Juma's load, the boy was all but felled to the 
ground. They all spoke in a hoarse whisper of subdued 
excitement, and every now and again peered through 
the bushes as though watching the movements of the 
tuskers. 

Replacing solid for soft-nosed ammunition in the 
magazine, I was prepared to start. " Where are the 
elephants ? " I asked. " We do not know, we are going 
out to look for them," they replied. Judging by the 
subdued whispering I thought a large herd was close by ; 
but no, they had no idea where they were bound for, or 
whether elephants were anywhere in the vicinity ! Dis- 
gusted, I swung round and continued on my journey, 
leaving the natives staring and jabbering away in an 
excited manner. 

That afternoon I was smoking my pipe and taking 
things easy in camp when Kalalili came to me in a great 
state of excitement. " Master," he whispered hoarsely, 
" the Shinzis are coming to-night when you sleep ! ' 
' Who told you this ? " I asked. " I went to the village 
to get some eggs and matamma, I overheard them talking, 
and they are coming to kill us." I had heard rumours 
of this sort at various times, and now that I was single- 
handed it behoved me to take extra care, and I sat 
pondering over the matter for some little time. I was 
alone with five boys and but sixty rounds of ammunition. 
I decided to chance it until nightfall, and then to try a 

216 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

game of bluff ; there was no moon, and I hoped to succeed 
without much difficulty. 

We were camped on the banks of the Kibi. One or 
two of the natives hung around the camp until sunset, and 
then retired to the village. Although there was nothing 
to warrant any festivities, as far as I knew, they made an 
unearthly din with their singing and drum-beating ; 
their voices were every now and then borne on the breeze 
in increased volume to our ears, making me think at times 
that they must be coming nearer to us ; but with the lull 
of the wind the sounds became faint again. At what I 
judged to be nine o'clock, Juma led the way through tall 
grass to the riverside ; the village lay half a mile down 
stream, and we crept along the bank in the opposite 
direction until we came to a path that led down to a ford. 
Cautiously we passed between the grass and bushes and 
lowered ourselves down the bank into the black and oily 
looking waters, and steadily waded across stream to the 
east bank ; the very fact of having put the river between 
them and ourselves gave me a feeling of safety ; but it 
was not long lived, for close by a dog yelped and the alarm 
was soon taken up by others. Bending down I could 
make out the roofs of huts standing out against the sky, 
only just the tops appearing above the tall grass ; but I 
could see that we were in a critical position. Getting the 
he of the village we set out in a different direction, and 
soon struck a path which, from the position of the 
Southern Cross, seemed to lead due east. As we passed 
silently through the plantations and matamma fields, 
I was momentarily expecting to hear the sound of pursuit. 
The dogs continued to bark and howl as we pushed on 
end gradually accelerated our pace. The people must 
have been sleeping like logs, or must have thought the 
dogs were disturbed by some prowling animal. 

For hours we continued the journey, occasionally 
snatching a few minutes' rest in some glade or other. At 

217 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

length, when the dawn arrived, I felt that we had left our 
enemies behind, and accordingly we camped for a few 
hours, and rested far from any village. 

The sun was three hours high on the third day after 
leaving Lodo, when I reached Lonely Hill to find the mule 
with an arrow wound in its right shoulder. I learned 
that two days before Chief Matuga's village, at which we 
had left our two boys, Katodawali and Monica, had been 
attacked by a neighbouring chief named Siro Arocco, 
whose warriors had crept close up to the village in the 
long grass and a fierce fight had taken place within the 
last thirty hours. I now began to see that there was 
likelihood of trouble before very long, for some of Matuga's 
men had been killed, but the other side had lost heavily 
too. The mule was suffering considerably, and laboured 
heavily, for the wound had been deep. It looked merely 
as if a needle had pierced the flesh, but the boys had found 
the arrow lying on the ground ; it was not unlike a long 
skewer, and not being barbed, it had fallen out of the 
wound when the mule had started to trot ; nevertheless, 
it must have penetrated to the bone, for its point was 
bent in the shape of a half -moon. The following account 
of the affair was given me by Chief Matuga, and was 
corroborated by my boys who took part in the fight : 
"It was some four hours after the sun had risen that I 
was sitting in front of my house talking with some of my 
people. One of the young men who looks after the cattle 
was sitting on the hill (Lonely Hill), and looking down he 
saw several people come through our fields from the 
south ; he could see them as they entered the long grass, 
where they were joined by another party who came from 
the same direction, they were out of their own fields and 
walking towards this village. Lusambo, for it was he 
on the hill, ran fast to tell us of what was happening, 
but only just got inside the hedge as they sent a lot of 
arrows into our midst. One of my men was killed, for 

218 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

the arrow hit him in the front of the body. In an instant 
we dashed outside and found the mule kicking and making 
a great noise, for, as you see, it has been wounded. A 
tierce fight took place, but we drove them off to their 
homes ; many of them dropped their bows and ran. 
See here, the bows they bring to fight us with are short, 
and the arrows do not go far like ours ; and see, we had 
guns, although not any powder. They did not wait for 
the big bang, no, they ran when they saw us ; but not 
before they had killed two of my men. We killed five 
of theirs. Siro Arocco is very bad." 

The affair being apparently quite an intertribal one, 
I did not interfere with Siro Arocco and his warriors ; 
but had I had plenty of ammunition to spare I should 
have been sorely tempted to teach him a lesson that he 
would have remembered ; for it is wonderful what you 
can do if the occasion calls for it with a gun and a box of 
matches, in teaching natives a lesson not to interfere 
with anything belonging to a white man. 

Katodawali and Monica had armed themselves with 
bows and arrows obtained from Matuga's men, and now 
presented almost as savage an appearance as the villagers ; 
for they had dispensed with what scanty clothing they 
had had. Fortunately the cases of stores had remained 
intact, and were now lodged in a hut specially built by 
the two boys in the centre of the village. I was taking 
a hasty meal preparatory to resuming my journey, and 
as I opened a tin of sardines, loud exclamations of sur- 
prise came from the villagers when the little fish dropped 
out of the tin on to the plate. I threw the tin down 
close to the natives who stood gazing at me. With 
shrieks and yells they tore off in all directions, for the 
coming of fish out of a tin seemed to them the doing of an 
evil spirit. Fancy a tin of sardines being responsible 
for half a hundred people stampeding and shrieking as 
though an army were pursuing them ! About ten a.m. 

219 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

we resumed our journey. Monica had taken the place 
of Kalalili, whom I left behind with Katodawali at 
Matuga's village. Nothing of any import happened 
until we reached the grass country near the village that 
had been burnt down. No alarm signal had preceded 
us and our appearance was unexpected. As we struck 
through the cultivated lands where several men, women 
and children were working, they became panic stricken 
at the sight of my party, and, dropping their tools and 
weapons, raced for the long grass around the fields. The 
shrieks of women, mingled with the bird-like calls of the 
men, soon spread the alarm. Trumpets were blown, 
drums rolled, and all sorts of cries went up from hill and 
dale. Soon we reached the site of the village which still 
lay in ruins, and as we passed between the huts it became 
evident that little or no attempt had been made to 
reconstruct the village since our absence, for the charred 
poles, blackened masses of reed and mud walls remained 
almost as we had left them. Large numbers of people, 
yelling and whistling, followed on the path through the 
long grass and clumps of trees behind us, keeping at a 
respectful distance of some one hundred and fifty yards. 
Others fled before us and hid in the grass or behind trees 
that stood several hundred yards on either side of the 
path. 

Threading our way down the steep descent to the 
Insa valley was a ticklish business. From behind the 
great boulders that lined the path I expected every 
moment to see glistening spears or to hear the dull twang 
of bow strings that would send a shower of death-winged 
messengers in among us. I kept the boys well bunched 
together, and to prevent any lagging I brought up the 
rear, for I knew that any second a rush might come from 
that quarter. Once or twice as we passed close to a rock 
there was a sudden scuffle as a dark form sprang up and 
tore off to some other shelter close by. It does not 

220 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

require pluck to be treacherous, and I knew that 
treachery was my immediate danger with these 
people. 

On the ridge that we had left behind when descending 
the valley, which now towered above us, I could see 
outlined against the sky hundreds of naked forms waving 
spears and all sorts of weapons which flashed in the 
sun's rays. They were hurling imprecations and yelling 
at us furiously, and I began to look forward to reaching 
the other side of the river. At the foot of the valley the 
path for half a mile was lined with dense trees and bush 
that offered splendid shelter, and we would have been 
helpless and tangled up in the bushes in the semi- 
darkness had an attack been made, so we hurried as much 
as possible. Just as we entered the bush I heard a rush 
of feet behind, and swinging round I drew into the bushes 
and covered the path with my rifle, expecting to see the 
people follow, and I was not disappointed, for even as I 
pumped a shell into the breech half a dozen fiendish forms 
with long lances came round the bend in the path with the 
intention of following us into the wood. On seeing the 
gun, however, they turned back, but I did not venture 
to proceed until the sounds of their feet grew faint, and 
even then I stopped frequently to listen for any sounds 
of pursuit ; but everything was still, every one had 
ceased to shout and blow trumpets, and, but for the birds 
in the trees, a great silence had suddenly fallen on the 
land. I was thinking it might be the calm before the 
storm, especially when, pushing through the wealth of 
ferns, bush, and creeper on the riverside, I found that 
the water had risen since our last passage of this 
ford. 

The awful truth now dawned on me, the Insa was in 
flood, and it would be impossible to cross until I could 
find a suitable spot or a tree spanning the stream. Even 
then there would be difficulty in getting the loads across. 

221 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Our plight was indeed serious. As we stood looking on 
the fast flowing waters, a sound of twigs crackling came 
from just behind ; the boys hid behind a large bush that 
hung partly over the bank on which we stood and reached 
down to the water. I turned round and sought the shelter 
of a large tree-trunk and waited. Presently three natives 
came walking along cautiously until, on reaching the 
water's edge, they turned round and saw us. I had the 
gun in my hand, but did not level it at them, for by their 
manner I could see that there was no immediate danger. 
Salem addressed them and a conversation ensued. To 
my surprise they dropped their bows and two of them 
entered the water and tested its depth, but found it 
impassable ; the elder, a man of considerable age, 
beckoned to me to follow them as they worked down 
stream and searched for a suitable spot. For a moment 
I could not understand the meaning of this sudden 
change, but not only did they find a crossing place 
where the river was dotted with numerous islands of 
grass, which rendered our passage easier, but they 
actually helped us across and even stood with us for 
some minutes on the other bank. I gave them three 
times the quantity of beads that I should have done 
under ordinary circumstances, and they actually shook 
hands with us before returning to their own side of the 
river. 

It seemed almost too good to be true. It was like 
awaking from a horrible nightmare. Before they had 
regained their own shore a large concourse of savages 
had arrived at the water's edge, and now regarded us 
uttering howls and cries of derision, shaking their fists 
at us and trying to spit over at us. 

With a wave of the hand to them in farewell I gave 
the order to go forward, and brought up the rear. As I 
turned and entered the bush a great chorus of shouts 
went up from the natives as we set off up the incline 

222 



AN ESCAPE IN THE DARK 

towards the heights opposite to those that we had left 
behind. 

As it was close on sundown, and the Insa, which we 
had just crossed, marked the boundary between the 
domains of two chiefs, there was not much fear of our 
being followed, for natives will seldom, if they can help it, 
travel after sundown, especially should they be venturing 
near the country of another chief, for they are likely to 
get caught. 

When halfway up the steep slope which forms the 
southern wall of the Insa valley, I could see the sunset 
effects on Mount Wati in the east, for the trees had 
fallen back and we were now standing in short grazing 
land. 

Slowly the sunlight travelled up from the plain, 
left the short green grass, and travelled up to the rough 
weather-worn and storm-beaten crest of the mountain, 
and then disappeared, for the sun had gone below the 
horizon. Soon a glorious array of colours swept over 
hill and dale, a short twilight followed, and then the 
stars peeped out of the sky as the dark mantle of night 
fell on us ere we had reached a suitable spot on which to 
camp. On reaching the top of the ridge some hundreds 
of feet above the Insa we marched for half an hour until 
we came close to a group of huts and prepared to rest 
for the night under a large tree close to them. 

I estimated that we had travelled just on thirty 
miles that day, for it was past seven o'clock before we 
halted, and we had taken only one rest of twenty minutes 
during the march. 

The country here is largely under cultivation, and 
well watered, for babbling streams are plentiful. The 
inhabitants are scattered in all directions, I do not 
remember seeing a village of more than two dozen huts 
in the whole of the Legworo country. Everywhere one 
sees small bunches of huts peeping over the tops of 

223 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the grass and trees. The distance between these 
scattered communities varies, and not infrequently are 
they to be found within half a mile of each other. 
There is intercourse between most of the communities of 
the Legworo and the people are to be seen wending 
their way from one group of huts to another. 



224 



CHAPTER XIX 

A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

Let us return to the camp, where, after having received 
a deputation of the natives, I was at liberty to attend to 
my own affairs and rest after a heavy day's work. Juma 
was soon busy preparing my food, Salem occupied himself 
with the boys' food, and Monica was putting the tent 
furniture straight. Kalakese and Karetese were sent 
for wood and water ; both of them could have accom- 
plished their errands in twenty minutes, but it was over 
an hour before either returned, and I was not in the best 
of humour at having to wait for wood and water with 
which to cook my evening meal. 

Later in the evening I was writing up my diary when 
I noticed unusual joy among the boys. Kalakese held 
in his hand some pieces of native tobacco which he 
distributed among the others. I paid little attention to 
this at the time, but the events of the next day threw 
some light on the cause of the unusual gaiety of my 
boys that evening. 

Several times during the evening one or two of the 
people from the huts came up to the camp holding 
bunches of flaming grass above their heads as torches. 
They had already supplied me with what food I required, 
and I was at a loss to understand the reason for their 
visit. Although tired and suffering from an attack of 
fever, I determined not to sleep until they had returned 
to their huts, and the disquieting noises had died away. 
For hours babies did their best to disturb the peace. 

225 Q 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

From behind the hedge which partly surrounded their 
huts the chatter of women and cries of children continued 
far into the night. 

About midnight a sharp storm broke over us. I shall 
never forget the terrific flashes of lightning, the deafening 
peals of thunder and the downpour of rain. Vivid flashes 
from time to time revealed the great Legworo sentinel — 
Mount Wati. What a magnificent sight it was to see the 
huge mass flash out for a second and then disappear as 
the darkness again enveloped the country ! My tent 
leaked, mosquitos buzzed and bit incessantly in spite of 
the fairly high altitude, my bed was drenched, and for 
hours I sat awaiting the welcome light of day. I shall 
long remember that night sitting up shaking with cold 
listening to the wind that lashed the trees and sounded 
like a heavy sea breaking on a low rocky shore. At 
length the dawn arrived, and I was informed by Salem 
that one of the cooking pots was missing. Some one 
must have crept into the camp and stolen it during the 
night. 

Our preparations for departure were watched with 
intense interest, for over the hedge there peeped a row of 
faces laughing and shouting, and lumps of earth were 
hurled at us as we passed by. A group of glistening 
naked bodies stood on an ant heap close by, and pointed 
to the path which lay in front of us. Nothing extra- 
ordinary was noticeable at the moment to show the 
intense hatred of the people. On we went from one ridge 
to another, rising and dropping as we crossed over the 
fields and through the long grass. The people were 
blowing reed trumpets and whistles and making strange 
cries, shouting and yelling. 

When we had kept going for two hours we passed 
through the site of an old camp that we had made on the 
journey up country. The natives evidently expected me 
to stay here again and camp for the night, for they all 

226 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

betrayed a feeling of disappointment as they watched us 
pass on our journey. A mile further along the path 1 
looked back and espied half a dozen of them with long 
spears over their shoulders following us up. Only their 
heads and shoulders were visible above the tall grass. 
At the moment it did not strike me as anything excep- 
tional that they should be behind on the same path ; they 
were not walking as quickly as ourselves, and being 
accustomed to seeing occasional natives on the paths, 
I assumed that they were bound for a hunting trip. 

Shortly afterwards we entered grass which was 
shoulder high, leaving behind the fields that lay between 
the travellers and ourselves. In a few minutes I turned 
round and was surprised to see a head bob down in the 
grass a few hundred yards away. Again we resumed the 
journey, again I turned round, and this time I just caught 
sight of several forms as they ducked their heads down 
in the grass some one hundred and fifty yards behind us. 
I knew for certain now that we were being followed, and 
this game of jack-in-the-box was kept up for about half an 
hour. Presently when in the centre of a patch of matamma 
so tall that it hung over our heads, and so dense that it 
was impossible to see more than a few feet either way, 
I was electrified by a series of blood-curdling shrieks 
and the clash of a pail as it fell to the ground. Instantly 
turning round, and taking three steps back, I beheld 
Karetese in agony. In his left armpit was an arrow with 
several inches of head and shaft embedded in the flesh. 
Forgetting that it was barbed like a fish-hook, I gave a 
furious heave, and withdrew it from the wound ; it was 
like pulling the plug out of a tap, for the blood spurted 
out in a stream all over my shirt and shorts. Some 
flesh was clinging to the barbs, and the poor boy's shrieks 
were terrible to listen to. My other boys became almost 
panic stricken, but I warned them not to move from where 
they stood, for the natives were all round at no great 

227 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

distance. Espying the boy's loincloth, I ripped it off 
and tried to plug the gaping wound from which the warm 
blood flowed in a stream all over me, and settled in a pool 
on the ground. His features were ghastly, and in another 
few seconds he was foaming at the mouth and fell forward 
with a gurgle, my left arm in which I had the gun, went 
out in support as he tottered ; and as I beheld his quiver- 
ing body I perceived that he had two other arrows 
between his shoulder-blades, beside other large gashes 
that had evidently been caused by spears. His case was 
hopeless. All this time a scrimmage was taking place 
within a few yards of us, although we could not see 
through the dense grass. I could hear, however, that 
Kalakese was being dragged off, for he was loudly shriek- 
ing, " Bwana, Bwana." It was of no use attempting to 
rescue him, for we were in a tight corner, and I knew that 
the grass or matamma was alive with naked savages 
waiting with tightened bow-strings for our appearance. 

Juma had taken a few steps ahead, and shouted to me 
saying that a clear open space was close by. I ordered 
Salem and Monica to carry Karetese forward, while I 
covered the retreat with the gun, and we managed to 
carry him to the centre of the fresh tilled field some two 
acres in extent. Ordering Monica to stand by Karetese's 
quivering body, I returned with the other two who were 
left alive, to recover some of my lost loads. 

In the bucket that Karetese had carried were a 
bottle of condensed milk, a jar of jam, a tin of sugar, and 
other minor articles. The milk and sugar were all mingled 
together. Kalakese's load had vanished, and so had the 
thirty-five odd rounds of ammunition, together with my 
folding bed, bath and chair. We got together as much as 
the boys could reasonably carry, and dashed ahead out 
for the open again. The whole country was soon echoing 
with whistles and subdued shouts. We could hear 
whispering all around us, heads popped up on all sides. 

228 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

It was useless to stand by Karetese, for he was past help, 
and, in spite of my attempts to staunch his wounds, he 
lay in a pool of blood. I saw ahead of us a hillock, some 
two hundred yards away, and decided to dash for it and 
make the last stand there, if necessary. We plunged 
into the long grass again, every second seeming a lifetime, 
as we sped onwards to the small mound. 

Juma was labouring hard with the tent. Feeling at 
the moment that such a thing was superfluous, since the 
likelihood of my ever requiring it again appeared ex- 
tremely doubtful, I ordered him to drop it, which he 
gladly did. Covering our retreat I turned round every 
now and again, and sent shots at the numerous heads that 
bobbed up in the grass, and thereby dissuaded for the time 
being those who were intent on following us up. 

On gaining the crest of the hillock I turned round in 
time to see three forms dart out of the matamma and 
rush to the prostrate form of Karetese, who had just 
sufficient strength to give vent to a feeble yell as one 
brute raised his spear and dashed the blade into the boy's 
body. Poor devil ! he gave a convulsive shiver and then 
was still. The other two fiends used their spears like 
axes, and hacked at him in a terrible way. They were 
standing bunched together engaged in their butchery, 
I dropped on my knee, but for the moment the bolt of 
the .350 seized, in another second I was ready. Taking 
careful aim I fired ; the report cracked loud through the 
country, one of the brutes, who had just raised his spear 
to deliver another blow at the body of the boy, with a 
shriek reeled and fell on his face like a log ; the soft- 
nosed bullet had done its work. The other two seeing 
this dropped also ; but I knew from experience of native 
fighting down in Zululand that it was a game of bluff. 
However, No. 1 had a soft-nosed bullet in him, and he 
was finished. I had drawn my first blood for the day 
and avenged Karetese. In the pause that ensued after 

229 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

the report, the two who were not hit sprang up and dashed 
into the matamma field at the back. I was compelled to 
be sparing with my ammunition, for I had but twenty 
rounds left, and was many days from another supply or 
any chance of help. It was a tough time, and I little 
expected to come through alive. 

Salem called my attention to a river further on the 
path some three-quarters of a mile away, and again we set 
off down the slope on a narrow track through the long 
grass. On either side of us within a few yards were 
excited savages ; but although they were so close the 
density of the grass prevented us seeing them. They 
ran alongside of us whispering hurriedly and hoarsely, 
and making strange cries. Reed whistles and horrible 
noises made by the mouth and the hollows of the hands, 
were kept up unceasingly. 

In a few minutes as we neared the river, they even 
shot arrows across the path at random, but most of them 
flew high ; one hit the six-pound bag of rice that Salem 
was carrying in the bucket on his head, resting, as it was, 
on the top of the load ; it was pierced by the arrow which 
hung loosely by the barbs in the sacking, while a thin 
trail of rice continued to leave a track on the path as the 
boy jogged along. 

I could hardly repress a smile even at that critical 
moment. When we were within fifty yards of the river 
the arrows were coming in pretty fast, and we had several 
narrow escapes ; one would have struck my helmet if I 
had not ducked. The banks of the river were lined with 
overhanging bushes for some distance, and I hoped to be 
able to slink down to the water between them. At last 
we got to the river, and the three boys dashed in. I 
took cover behind the bushes and covered the path behind 
while they waded through the stream which was about 
waist deep and running strongly. No one appeared on 
the path behind us, and it seemed that our pursuers had 

230 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

for the moment lost us. During this unaccountable lull. 
with gun raised high, I dashed into the water, and had 
scarcely reached the other side when the infuriated mob 
appeared on the bank behind me. As I dragged myself 
up under cover of the bushes that hung over the water, 
hundreds of throats sent a yell of rage high up on the 
morning air. They had seen me at last. The boys, like 
fools, stood in a bunch together awaiting me, thus 
offering a fine opportunity for any marksman, and I 
could ill afford to lose any one of them, for I had now 
but three boys left. 

A few yards ahead of us through the bush there was 
a large open square of freshly-tilled ground which proved 
our salvation. It was surrounded by tall grass about 
ten feet high which afterwards proved to be full of 
Legworo warriors, eagerly anticipating my approach, 
but something intervened. I felt a dull pain in the top 
of my left arm near the shoulder. At first I took no 
notice of it, thinking it was caused by brushing through 
the thorn bushes ; but when looking over my shoulder 
to see if we were being followed, I saw that an arrow was 
embedded in my arm. Half of the shaft lay on the ground, 
for it had snapped in two. Salem, on observing the angle 
of the shaft, pointed to a tree on the left just behind us. 
It was evident that some one was hidden in the foliage 
above. Instinctively we dashed to the centre of the 
square, which measured some eighty yards across either 
way, and I told the boys to drop the loads. The Legworos 
on observing that I was hit, sent up a mighty shout of 
delight. Salem immediately came to my assistance. 
The shaft had certainly snapped in twain, but the other 
half still stuck in my arm with over an inch and a half of 
head and barbs. He attempted to draw it out, but it 
stuck fast, so handing him my knife I made him run the 
blade down on either side of the arrow-head before 
attempting to withdraw it. 

231 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

I dared not drop my rifle for fear of a sudden rush. 
There we stood, Salem Bega sucking vigorously at the 
wound, in which he afterwards put permanganate of 
potash, which I always carried with me in an old cart- 
ridge case ; while I waited for my friend of the tree to 
appear, which he suddenly did, in attempting to descend 
on to a lower branch, thinking perhaps that I could not 
see him. Up went the rifle, and I sent one more fiend to 
account for his work. He fell with a loud splash into the 
fast-flowing river to the accompaniment of yells from 
some three hundred fellow cannibals on the opposite 
bank, to say nothing of those concealed in the long grass 
around the back of the square. It was an awful time, 
and every moment I expected to feel myself getting faint 
from loss of blood. Then they could have had us easily, 
but as long as I could keep on my legs we were safe. 

Several attempts were made to rush us from behind, 
as one or two would-be " braves " crept on their bellies 
out of the grass. However, my boys informed me of all 
movements behind while I attended to the dense crowd 
that lined the opposite bank of the river, mad with rage 
and excitedly waving aloft spears, bows and horrible 
knives all flashing in the sunlight. Grass ropes and 
game nets were all dragged out to the front of the mob 
for my inspection, the whole countryside resounded 
with their shrieking and yelling as they danced about 
flourishing their weapons. Little children were held 
shoulder high in order that they might see the whole 
affair. 

Salem still stood by me staunching the wound that 
was now rapidly becoming inflamed, but the per- 
manganate was doing its work, and, fortunately, I could 
still use my arm. Thank goodness these people were 
ignorant of guns, because if I only pointed the -350 at 
them it had the desired effect of keeping them at a safe 
distance. We were kept in suspense for fully three 

232 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

hours. We were parched with thirst and I had an awful 
headache ; the sun poured down on us unmercifully as 
we stood surrounded by some hundreds of yelling mad- 
dened cannibals, and many days from the nearest white 
man. 

Juma had for some time been shouting for the chief, 
and at last he came forward from the crowd on the bank, 
and after a lot of haggling he finally consented to come 
across and listen to what I had to say. I was not 
inclined to receive him on my side of the water with more 
than half a dozen of his followers, and at first he would 
not agree to this. Ten minutes later, however, he came 
over, followed by half a dozen warriors, all of them 
armed with spears and bows. I told Juma to inform 
him that his men must lay down their weapons before 
coming close to us. At first they demurred, but on seeing 
me la)' down the gun across the loads and advance a 
step with hand raised aloft, they followed suit and came 
forward to within eight feet of me. I was careful to keep 
within arm's reach of the gun, for I thought it likely 
that some trickery might be behind this curious armistice. 
Anyhow, I could see that it would have to end one way 
or the other soon. Syce was the interpreter and managed 
to get a hearing. 

1 Why did you come here ? " the chief asked. 

" I am going back to Wadelai," I replied. 

' You have killed two of my people," he said. 

' Yes," I replied, " you have killed two of mine ! " 

At this he shook his head and spoke to his followers, 
who turned round and pointed to the country we had 
traversed that day. 

" My people did not kill your boys. No, they were 
not my people who killed them," he said. 

" Who did this ? " I asked, pointing to my shoulder. 

He laughed at this. " Are you coming back here ? " 
he asked. 

233 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

I assured him that once I got away it was certain 
that I should not return through his country. 

" You must go far over there when you come back," 
he said, indicating the country to the west. " What 
did you come here for ? " 

" To kill elephants." He evidently took me for a 
Belgian, for he asked Juma where my askaris were. 
On hearing this, Juma told him that I had not anything 
to do with the askaris, and then a long conversation 
followed between the chief and his friends who stood by. 

Dry as my throat was I assumed a careless air and lit 
my pipe. Heaven knows how I managed to smoke it, 
for I was gasping for a drink ; but it had the desired 
effect, for the people, on seeing me smoking, talked aloud 
and laughed among themselves ; but all around there 
was a sign of restlessness. 

Presently the chief came forward again and spoke to 
Juma. He wanted to see what I had in my kit bag. 
I told Monica to empty it of its contents. I agreed to 
the chief's proposal to give him some shirts and beads, 
etc., if he would conduct me to the next village, for I 
knew that Naramba's shamba lay only a few miles to the 
south. Monica, quivering like a leaf, handed over the 
articles I indicated, viz. shirts, beads, wire, and a knife 
and fork ; last, but by no means least, a copy of the 
East African Standard. This the chief, after casting a 
glance at it, handed to one of his courtiers, and that 
paper nearly spelt disaster for me ; the great burly brute 
had mistaken it for linen, for they do not know what 
paper is, and tried to make a loin cloth of it, but the paper 
tore under the strain, so he threw it down on the ground 
and looked annoyed. On seeing this Juma, like a fool, 
laughed aloud ; in an instant the fellow stepped quickly 
towards my boy. I dashed in between them, but the 
chief stopped him in a second. Instinctively my hand 
had got hold of the gun, for I fancied that things had 

234 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

reached a climax. Eventually, after I had given him 
most of my gear, the chief signed for me to follow him. 
Before doing so, however, I made Salem, who by this 
time had bound my neck scarf round my arm, pick up 
three arrows that had been sent after us as we waited on 
the square. It was fortunate for us that their bows 
were of a short pattern, for although we were on a fairly 
large piece of ground, some arrows had fallen within a 
few yards of us. On gaining the edge of the grass beyond 
the square, the chief stood aside as though to let me walk 
first, but I preferred to have him in front of me. At 
this he laughed, as did his followers, for the same half- 
dozen were to escort us. As for them they could follow 
if they liked ; but I was determined to have their chief 
in front, for I knew that as long as I had the gun behind 
him we were safe. 

Off we went, the chief in front, I came next with the 
•350 ready for instant use ; then followed Salem, Monica, 
and Juma, after them came the chief's followers. 

Travelling in a southerly direction for a mile or so 
we came to a stream, and I would have given anything 
for a drink ; but I dared not take my eyes off the chief, 
for a second's hesitation might mean disaster. After we 
had marched for about two hours, the chief turned round 
and informed me that he had reached the limit of his 
country and could proceed no further ; but against my 
gun this argument did not carry. He persisted that the 
natives of the next village would kill him on his return 
trip ; but I had him in front of the gun, and I let him 
know it, so again we started. In another half-hour the 
hills and ridges around Naramba's village hove in sight 
as we emerged from a small piece of forest land. 

It was not surprising to see large crowds on the 
summit and ridges attracted by the firing of my rifle, 
and small parties ran down the slopes to meet us. In a 
very short time the whole countryside knew who was 

235 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

coming. I had done a slight service to Naramba's child 
on the journey up country, so I was not surprised to see 
a tall, powerful figure with a white loin cloth and old felt 
hat advance with hands out in welcome. In a few 
minutes I had shaken hands with him, and we were safe 
at last. 

Naramba, seeing the other Legworo chief standing by 
with his followers looking very uncomfortable, made a 
stride towards him and began to shout at him in a 
threatening manner ; but I told Naramba that I wished 
the chief to return to his people unmolested, for I had an 
idea that he was not connected with those who had 
killed my two boys, although he appeared shortly after 
the tragic event. It seemed more probable that it was 
the work of those from the village we had stayed at the 
night before, and that they had tracked us down as far as 
their western boundary; then the sounds of my firing 
caused the other people to become panic-stricken, and 
they hunted me for fear of being attacked themselves ; 
they had no doubt thought that I was connected with the 
Administration. I told the fellow that my friend would 
be coming through his country on the downward journey, 
and that he must not attack him as he had done me. 
We were friends and had no wish to shoot at the people 
of the country through which we passed ; but they must 
learn to leave the white man alone. He still insisted that 
it was not he who had started the trouble, he began to 
get fidgety and wanted to go, for Naramba's men were 
all crowding round by this time, loudly exclaiming their 
astonishment at the wound in my arm, which was now a 
mass of congealed blood with a little black hole in the 
centre. 

The Legworo chief turned to me and pointed to my 
shirt. Good heavens ! He had the impudence to ask 
for the very shirt off my back, after having already 
secured all my others. Oh, no ! he did not get it ! I 

236 



A SKIRMISH WITH CANNIBALS 

told him that if he wanted a present he could have one, 
and I tapped the magazine of the 350. I told him that 
I had informed Naramba that he would be free to return 
to his village, and that neither he nor his followers should 
be touched. The brute drew himself up to his full height 
and raising the bow aloft, proceeded to harangue me. 
Juma acted as interpreter. 

" You must never come back here, but go far away 
over there," and he pointed out to the west, then with 
a shout of " Mingi, mingi," they turned and marched 
away on their homeward journey, looking back several 
times to see if any one was following them ; but I stood 
out a few paces from the crowd behind me and watched 
them until they were swallowed up in the density of 
the fairy-like glade below us. 



237 



CHAPTER XX 

FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

I must have formed a quaint object as I stood there 
watching them depart, a few feet in front of the crowd, 
with the gun thrown over my shoulder, my clothes sodden 
with blood from Karetese. My left sleeve was almost 
black, for on the top of the blood that had flowed from 
the wound there was a thin dark scum which floated like 
slag from a furnace of molten metal. The arrow had 
evidently been poisoned, but it must have been a very 
weak mixture, for as a rule a poisoned arrow proves 
fatal some twenty minutes after it has pierced the flesh. 
I cannot overestimate the value of permanganate of 
potash for cleansing a wound. No doubt Salem's prompt 
action in sucking the wound immediately after the arrow 
struck me proved instrumental in saving my life. He 
had had experience with the natives, pygmies, and others 
in the Congo for years, and was for some time employed 
on expeditions of research, boundary commissions, and 
safaris of both British and Belgian Governments, there- 
fore he knew what to do and how to do it at the right 
moment. 

My head was throbbing and my throat was like a 
piece of leather, but I felt safe now. What a day it had 
been ! When the sun rose there were six of us, but twelve 
hours later only four were alive, and we had many days 
to go through a wild country before reaching civilisation. 

In a few moments water was brought to me by one 
of the women, and shall I ever forget that drink. Onlv 

238 



FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

those who have experienced a day in the equatorial 
climate without a drop from sunrise until late in the 
afternoon can possibly understand my sensations. 

Salem again turned his attention to the wound, and 
after he had washed it afresh I was able to proceed to 
the village half-a-mile away. I walked ahead of the 
crowd. Then came the chief and my boys, who had 
been relieved of the remaining loads by many willing 
hands. All were laughing. The natives pressed forward 
talking excitedly, laughing and shouting. Some of them 
twanged their queer stringed instruments merrily. Clouds 
of dust shot up from under the naked feet of the crowd 
that followed behind me. Every one spoke at once, no one 
seemed to listen. There was a babel of voices, so much 
so that I had difficulty in making Monica understand 
that I wanted my pipe and tobacco that he was carrying. 

On reaching the centre of the village, I stopped, and 
the boys brought up the few loads that remained to me. 
For some little time I sat down smoking and holding a 
meeting with the chief Naramba and his counsellors, 
for I wished to ascertain the names of chiefs in the 
country through which we had just travelled, for future 
reference. 

Naramba had food brought to me, chickens and a few 
eggs, potatoes, etc. I had fortunately a little salt in the 
bucket, and although it was mixed up with the condensed 
milk that had been smashed in the fray, I took out the 
fork, rice, cup, and plate and let the chief scrape the 
bucket, which he did, and I think he enjoyed the jumble 
of condensed milk, salt, and a little rice ; it was amusing 
to watch him scraping it out with a small piece of stick 
and licking away like a child at an ice-cream stall. When 
he had had enough, a general scramble took place for 
what was left. The piece of stick was handed round 
and sucked by one and all. 

After a brief visit, in spite of Naramba's advice to 

239 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

stay for the night, I ordered the boys to pack up and get 
ready. Food was given me for the boys, and one of the 
chief's sons, a youngster about twelve years old, was 
deputed to escort us to the next village. We had a very 
cordial send-off ; every one wanted to shake hands and 
have another look at my arm ; but at last we got away. 
My boys had regained some of their old composure, and 
even started to sing, but I could not forget Kalakese and 
Karetese, who were probably in a stewpot by this time ! 
When about a mile from the village we came to a steep 
declivity, and saw, standing on a slab of rough stone that 
overlooked the great stretch of country beneath, a fine 
specimen of a Congo warrior. 

Our path led straight to his rock, and then curled 
down the slope, which was covered with bushes and trees 
far down to the flats below. From his position he could 
see far away to the east. As we approached he shaded 
his eyes and gazed intently at me. A child of about 
three years was playing at his feet with a miniature bow 
and arrow, and on seeing us the little one hid behind his 
father's legs and peeped round at us. The man's body 
and even his face was covered with cicatrised marks, 
from head to foot his nakedness was coated with red 
earth, his only pretence of clothing was a fragment of 
cloth a foot square hung as an apron from his waist ; a 
piece of grass was threaded through the lobe of each ear ; 
in his hands he held a long lance and bow. 

Seeing the boy that had come with us from the village, 
he spoke to him in a soft low voice, and listened with 
rapt attention to his account of the day's doings. He 
was intensely interested in my wound, and laughed loudly 
when he heard that I had killed two of the Legworo 
people, for although Naramba's community is apparently 
a.branch of the Legworo, and they are in outward appear- 
ance of the same tribe, they are not at all friendly with 
the tribes further in, and the man made no effort to 

240 



i 




A < I PNl .<> WA1 



From Ik. m the Congo." 

ind William Heintmann* 



FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

disguise the fact. Our guide, who was named M'weri, 
brought us to a village in the south-west about seven in 
the evening, and here again great interest was displayed 
in us ; indeed, I was closely inspected by all and sundry. 
They could not understand how it was that the arrow 
had not finished me. 

Can you picture our camp that evening, as I sat out- 
side the little grass hut which the boys had erected for me 
among some huge gnarled trees garlanded with creepers ? 
Our fire blazed away merrily. The fires in the village 
a hundred yards or so off lit up the people as they 
danced and shuffled their feet to the accompaniment of 
rumbling drums, piping whistles, and the shouts of 
men, women, and children. Individual performances 
were given incessantly, the glare of the flames lighting 
up the diabolical features and glittering metal ornaments 
of the natives who sat under the eaves of their huts 
clapping their hands in time with the music. In the 
background a number of tall trees and broad-leafed 
palms hung over the roofs of the houses, insects droned, 
and the mosquitoes buzzed and bit under the starry 
heavens. It was typical of what one may see in any 
village in the African wilds. Eventually the performers 
grew tired and settled down to sleep, but there was little 
rest for me that night. I could not shake off the idea 
that we might be followed. When the wind stirred the 
trees I would look out into the darkness, expecting to 
see the faces of our enemies, but nothing came save the 
shrill shriek of a prowling hyaena. The weird cry of an 
owl that settled in a tree close by added to the eerie 
feeling which came over me in my loneliness in this out- 
of-the-world spot. 

Salem kept the fire going, and every now and then 
spoke in a subdued voice of the events of the day as he 
squatted on the ground, wrapped up in his blanket, 
watching a number of sticks stuck in the ground with 

241 R 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

a portion of chicken spitted on the end toasting over the 
fire. 

I made a hearty meal of the chicken that evening. 
We all sat round, and it was a sight to see the boys 
eating. After supper I lit my pipe again, my thought 
flying far away home as one by one the boys fell asleep 
round the fire. My arm and left side were very much 
swollen, and were giving me great pain, but there was no 
help for it, and I had to put up with it. The boys had 
collected enough wood to last all night, so I sat smoking 
and looking into the dancing flames, then beyond into 
the darkness, for strange sounds seemed to come from 
every quarter, something seemed to be moving in the tall 
tree overhead, restless babies and dogs were to be heard 
far away, but still nothing came to disturb us. It had 
been a tough day, and the reaction was straining my 
nerves. I could not believe that it all had happened, 
but when I found myself rubbing my eyes and looking 
round for the boys who had been killed, I remembered 
that it was all too true. I had no bed to sleep on, and 
only one blanket besides the clothes that I stood up in. 
At length I dosed off, but awoke frequently at the sound 
of some prowling beast, whose low growl echoed far away 
in the night air. My arm throbbed terribly, and pain 
shot all through my body. Towards morning, however, 
I slept fairly soundly rolled up in my blanket under the 
mosquito net, which had fortunately been saved, and 
with my arm resting on my rifle. 

I did not wake up until the sun streamed in at the 
door of my hut. My wound was worse than on the 
previous evening, and the swelling had spread around 
my shoulder and towards the neck. Salem again dressed 
the wound with permanganate. The natives marvelled 
that I was still alive, for they handled carefully the 
arrows which Salem had brought forward wrapped up 
in grass. 

242 



FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

" See, it is the death," they cried, pointing to the 
muddy-looking substance that lay behind the barbs and in 
B thin layer over the head. The women shook their heads 
and agreed that the spirits had willed it that 1 should 
live. Every one crowded forward to inspect the wound 
and wanted to know if I would return with askaris to 
kill all the Legworo. Yes, they were certain as to the 
fate of my two boys, without a doubt they would be 
eaten. 

1 reckoned that we were now in the Lado Enclave, 
and no longer feared that I would be followed. The 
only danger was that another tribe would try to finish 
us oft, because I had now only three boys and a handful 
of ammunition. 

The rest of the journey to Wadelai was accomplished 
under enormous difficulties. I suffered much from pain, 
fever, and sleeplessness, for I was unable to lie on my back 
or left side. I had no tent, and only one knife with which 
to cut wood for the fires and huts, a blanket, one shirt, 
and a pair of pants. My only pillow was the kit bag ; 
my only comforts were a bottle of whisky and tobacco, 
but fever had hold of me, and for hours at a time I lay 
under a shady tree barely conscious of my surroundings. 
The quinine was soon finished. 

Often I would purposely avoid villages for fear of 
being attacked. When the fever left me for a while 
we marched along under the blazing sun. The native 
paths were bordered by all sorts of thorny bushes, and 
not infrequently one of the branches would hook into 
my flesh by the wound, and I could feel the pain travelling 
down my left side to the knee. The sleeves of my shirt 
were cut short above the elbows. It was impossible to 
keep a bandage on for any length of time, as it kept 
slipping down every now and again. The flies tormented 
my unprotected flesh, and for the rest of the journey 
life was miserable indeed. Everywhere the natives 

243 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

expressed their astonishment at the boys' accounts of 
our misfortunes from the start. 

We had to wander through swamp grass and densely 
wooded country, where the conduct of its inhabitants 
gave us from time to time fresh scares. One village 
warned us against the next, and all sorts of alarming 
tales were poured into my ears. 

" White man, you will be killed ; you are alone and 
ill ; stay, for the people you will reach to-night are bad, 
and they will kill you." 

Certain it was that at many of the villages I saw 
large stocks of arrows and other weapons being made, 
but my plight at times made me bold, and I would march 
right into their midst. At first sullen countenances 
would regard me and my small party searchingly ; 
whispered conversations would be carried on aside by 
small groups of warriors until they heard what had befallen 
us, and then they would drop their tools and what not 
and come to listen intently to the vivid account that 
Juma was giving. 

"It is wonderful," they would say, " but you will 
not reach the Nyanza." In this case they were referring 
to the Nile, for natives call any large stretch of water 
" Nyanza." 

At some villages, indeed, I was received kindly, and 
food was offered freely, but at others I was painfully 
aware that I was unwelcome. It must be remembered 
that certain white men have visited villages with large 
numbers of porters and have treated the natives with 
unnecessary roughness if they did not bring sufficient 
supplies of food up to the white man's camp. 

Probably the last white man seen here was a tyrant, 
and stuck at nothing so long as he got his whims and 
demands carried out, at the muzzle of his rifle if necessary. 
Although it may have been years since the last white 
man had visited some of the villages, it was certain that 

244 



FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

they would pay off the score on the next one who was 
unfortunate enough to come that way. No matter who, 
so long as he is white. 

At length I arrived at Wadelai, but before the chief 
would take me across the river, I had to hand over to 
him my old terai felt hat. He was a perfect specimen 
of a land shark. 

Twenty minutes later I had left the Congo behind 
and stood in Uganda territory. 

We could now breathe with a sense of safety so far 
as hostility from the natives was concerned. Our 
troubles were at an end at last. The Swahilis up at the 
post house did their utmost to make me comfortable, 
and the next day saw us on the road for Koba. At 
Panyongo I found the canoe on our side, but the country 
seemed to have been deserted. No answer came to my 
gun signals, and we ventured to board the canoe, which 
was minus a paddle, trusting that we should be able to 
clutch at the overhanging trees by the bend below us 
as we were carried down stream. This we succeeded in 
doing, and forced a path through the bushes to the rest- 
house which now lay in ruins. They had told me at 
Wadelai that a fight had recently taken place between 
the natives of the Uganda and Congo banks, close to 
Panyongo, and I guessed that the evacuation of the 
district was the outcome of some raid or other. 

We camped at Panyongo, on the afternoon of the 
same day that we had left Wadelai. The next day we 
pushed forward and rested at noon under the Big 
Tree, resuming our journey in the evening by the light 
of the moon. 

When approaching the river that runs from east to 
west, about nine miles north of Koba, I saw a group of 
tents pitched close to the path, and gathered that some 
European was en route for Wadelai. At length we 
arrived at the river's edge, and found it rushing with a 

245 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

roar over the rocks. It was in flood, and sending down 
too much water for us to cross that night. I sent one 
of the boys in to try, but he went only a few yards and 
returned, saying that the water was too deep. Thinking 
it was a ruse on his part to wait and have a good sleep 
rather than go further on that night, I waded in myself, 
and found it almost impossible to stand against the 
current in mid-stream. Beyond that it was deeper still, 
and I saw that we would have to wait until the water 
went down. It was a risky thing to wade about in the 
river there, for so close to the Nile it was quite possible 
that a stray crocodile might be in the neighbourhood. We 
searched the bank up and down stream for a canoe that 
is supposed to be kept here, but nothing of the sort was 
visible. It had probably been swept away. 

That night I slept in one of the tents that we had 
seen. They belonged to Mr. Longdon, who was staying 
overnight at the Austrian Mission close to the other bank 
of the river. The tents were under the charge of his 
headman, a Masai boy, a splendid fellow, who did all 
he possibly could to make me comfortable for the night. 
He had a few askaris with him and a number of porters. 

Salem and my other two boys told them the story of 
our journey down, to which the others listened intently as 
they all sat huddled around the blazing fire, by which 
my clothes were being dried. 

Next morning the river had subsided sufficiently to 
allow us to cross, and shortly after doing so we got on to 
a ridge, from which we could see the boma at Koba, 
with the belt of trees that surrounds it standing clearly 
against the skyline about eight miles away, and two hours 
later I was seated under the banda in our camp at Koba. 

A large batch of letters lay awaiting me at the post- 
office, and it took me quite two hours the next day to 
read through them. I had not heard from home for 
nearly eight months ! 

246 



FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

There were still two hundred miles to go before 
i«-hing the Victoria Nyanza, one hundred and sixty of 
which would have to be covered on foot. 

I found that Mr. Hannington, the collector, was about to 
leave for home on six months' furlough. Mr. C. S. Sullivan 
had arrived from Nimule the night before my arrival to 
take over the charge of the district during Hannington's 
absence. It seems to me that the officials working in the 
Nile Province are entitled to an allowance of leave similar 
to that granted to those on the west coast. The Nile 
Province is admittedly far more unhealthy than Nairobi, 
for instance, yet the same conditions prevail as regards 
" home leave " in both districts. I consider that for 
reasons of health alone eighteen months is quite the longest 
period a man should be called upon to serve at a stretch 
in the low-lying fever country around the Upper Nile or 
Nile Provinces. 

I well remember the evening when Messrs. Hanning- 
ton, Sullivan, Maulkinson, and I dined together. The 
table had been spread on the landing-stage. A large 
lamp lit up the snowy white table-cloth and etceteras. 
Afterwards we smoked and chatted over all the news. The 
moonlit waters danced around us, overhead the stars 
gleamed brightly, while on either side of us lay the Kenia 
and the Good Intent ; the former had steam up ready 
for her journey to Butiaba. The James Martin, heavily 
laden with askaris and porters, lay anchored close by 
to be towed by the Kenia. At length the whistle sounded, 
farewells were taken, the fox terriers that had been 
accommodated on the roof of the iron awning barked 
their adieu, and the Kenia glided away down the river 
towards the lake, leaving Mr. Sullivan and myself as the 
sole European population of Koba. 

The following morning I told Mr. Sullivan my story, 
or at least gave him a brief outline of it, which was 
afterwards corroborated by the boys who had survived. 

247 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

I cannot speak too highly of the kindness shown me by 
both Messrs. Sullivan and Hannington during my Koba 
visits. 

The Good Intent, a small whale boat with sail, carried 
me and my boys from Koba to Butiaba. During the 
voyage across the lake we captured a large fish that lay 
idly floating on the surface. When we came up to it 
we found that it had fallen a victim to one of the fish 
eagles that pick the eyes out, for not only were these 
missing, but several gashes had been inflicted behind the 
gills. 

Making for the nearest stretch of sand, the crew 
jumped ashore and set to work cooking some of the fish. 
It was excellent eating, and I thoroughly enjoyed my 
share. The journey was continued about nine p.m. I 
managed to have a very comfortable bed rigged up astern 
with the mosquito net and everything complete. On 
waking up the next morning I found that we were still 
drifting along with a slight breeze that flapped the sail 
idly. It was just before sunrise, and a faint mist hung 
over the lake. I could, however, make out the shores 
on either side of us. The men were all looking astern, 
and two of them had even climbed on to the awning. 
They told me that the Kenia had passed us some little 
time since on the port side, on her return journey to 
Nimule. Just then the light grew stronger and the mist 
lifted rapidly. The boys, with a shout of excitement, 
pointed away over our stern, and I could just make out 
the low hull of the steam launch with her little funnel 
peeping over its awning, and the mast. It must have been 
some miles astern of us, but we watched the little vessel 
with her smoke belching forth from the funnel until 
she was lost in the distance many miles away. 

Butiaba was reached two hours later, and after 
breakfasting with Mr. Reynolds, we again resumed our 
journey. An hour or so later, from the escarpment that 

248 






FAREWELL TO THE CONGO 

forms the cast wall of the Lake Albert, I got my last 
view not only of the lake itself, but of the Great Congo 
and the southern extremity of the Lado Enclave. 

We did the thirty-mile journey to Hoima in nineteen 
hours, and here I met Messrs. Payne and Glencross, two 
other hunters, who told me of a disturbance that had 
taken place in the Mullah or N'joro's country between 
some Europeans and the natives. I expect it was the 
old tale of insufficient supplies of food for their porters, 
for I had visited the Mullah myself in the beginning of 
my trip, and I was not surprised to hear of the occurrence. 
The natives there certainly delight in " looking for 
trouble." 

The journey from Hoima to Kampala, a distance of 
128 miles, was one that I shall long remember. I was 
longing for civilisation again, and wanted to do the 
journey in good time. I reckoned that it would be 
possible to accomplish the distance in five days. The 
first day we journeyed from 128 miles to 113^- miles, the 
next day to 86, not bad going— 27-I- miles in the tropics 
when in weak health. Seventy-one-mile post was the 
next, and then the following day I was down with fever 
badly. The wound in my arm had ceased to trouble me 
to any extent after we left Koba. Next day I managed 
to drag myself in short stages as far as mile post 46. 
Making my way to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Walsh, I 
was greeted by the dogs, but Mrs. Walsh did not know 
me until I again introduced myself, for I had a beard, 
moustache, and long hair, besides which I had for the 
time being altered considerably owing to the ravages of 
fever. For four nights and three days I lay with malaria 
at their house, and I shall ever be grateful to them for 
their kindness and attention. Thanks to them I was 
able to proceed on my journey feeling fit again, but Mrs. 
Walsh insisted on my taking her hammock and machele 
boys as far as Kampala, in order that I should not 

249 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

over-tax my weakened powers of endurance. I reached 
Kampala safely, and Mr. Byass, the acting manager of 
the British Trading Company, in the absence of Mr. 
Moses, who was on home leave, was most kind and 
hospitable. 

The Clement Hill had left Kampala Port that morning, 
so I decided to go to Jinja and catch her there, instead 
of waiting another week in Kampala for her to return. 
I learnt here that some small disturbance had taken place 
in the Nandi country, and a detachment of the King's 
African Rifles was being held in readiness. I had given 
notice to Messrs. Bertie Smith's agent at eight o'clock 
in the morning that I wished to reach Jinja that evening. 
The distance between Kampala and Jinja is about sixty 
miles. I did not start until ten a.m., and spent the 
intervening time in settling up and paying off my boys. 

I was genuinely sorry to part with them. We had 
been through a great many trials and tribulations 
together. Salem grasped my hand and almost sobbed 
the words, " Kwa heri, Bwana " (good-bye, master). 
The three of them stood round me as I boarded the 
ricksha, and there was a mighty handshaking all round. 
Away I sped in the ricksha to the chanty of the boys 
that were to take me for the first twelve miles. As we 
turned the corner at the foot of the street, I glanced back 
at my three boys, who were still waving farewells and 
shouting good-byes. Another few seconds and they, 
who formed my last link with the Congo, had vanished. 



250 



CHAPTER XXI 

A PLEA FOR THE SAVAGE 

The journey to Jinja was an experience that I shall long 
remember, for it was one of the most extraordinary feats 
of endurance by natives that I have seen. The distance 
had to be traversed the same day that I gave notice 
at Kampala to the agent. There were four relays of 
boys to be employed on the road. The agent had tele- 
graphed to Jinja advising them there to despatch two 
relays of four boys each. The first relay had to travel 
over thirty miles from Jinja, and the second some fifteen 
miles. The first stage of the trip was nothing extra- 
ordinary, since the boys were fresh at the start ; the 
second, however, was only moderately good, inasmuch 
as the boys who took me on from there had already 
travelled from Kampala on foot, and had only arrived 
an hour before me. They had then to work the ricksha 
over a hilly and laborious road to near the 30-mile post 
where I was taken over by the first batch of boys from 
Jinja, that was, if I remember correctly, about four 
o'clock in the afternoon. These boys took me to 
about fifteen miles from Jinja, and then the fourth and 
last stage was accomplished by a party who rattled 
me along at a terrific pace regardless of the boulders 
in the road that nearly sent me flying out of the 
ricksha ! 

From a scenic point of view I do not think I have 
ever seen anything to compare in its class with the road 
from Kampala to Jinja. The grand trees and the green 

251 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

fronds of the great banana leaves amidst which there 
hung huge bunches of ripe yellow fruit threatening to 
drop as every breeze waved them to and fro. Huge 
ferns, gorgeous avenues of innumerable tropical plants, 
babbling streams, from which the boys quenched their 
thirst caused by the heat from the dazzling rays of the 
scorching sun and the dust that rose up from the road. 

Dotted here and there were reed bungalows peeping 
out from luxuriant trees and fern. Great palms with 
nodding heads hung over quaint little grass huts by the 
wayside, around which a number of native women and 
children stood admiring the gaudy hues of the cloths 
exposed for sale by Indian traders. The colours of trees 
and plants and the native robes on the women and coolies 
who stood gazing at us half shyly, against the beautiful 
green in the avenue of trees, the buzz of insects, the 
gorgeous tints of the butterflies that hovered around, 
made one feel that here at last was a paradise to look 
upon. 

I have had pretty good ricksha boys in other parts 
of Africa and Ceylon, but surely there never was a more 
fearless quartette than those boys, who ran the last stage 
of that day's journey. The road was fairly level, but 
plentifully strewn with boulders, to which they paid 
no heed but tore on at a furious pace. From time to 
time one wheel of the machine would rise over a huge 
boulder and nearly shake me out as it crashed down on 
the road again. The boys yelled and behaved in a 
frantic manner when they espied any one on the road 
in front of us, for under the clear starry sky it was light 
enough to discern any object sixty yards ahead. It was 
the greatest shaking up that I have ever experienced on 
land, and sometimes I thought the whole thing would 
have tottered to pieces as it came in contact with the 
huge stones and ruts in the road. 

About nine o'clock we got to the Somerset Nile just 

252 



A PLEA FOR THE SAVAGE 

above the famous Ripon Falls. The ferry boys had been 
advised by the Jinja agent of my approach, and had a 
large canoe ready waiting for me. It was a huge thing, 
nearly sixty feet long, constructed of planks and fibre, 
about five feet in beam, with a long keel that ran out from 
the bow and curved up about four feet like the Swedish 
or Norwegian skates. The top of the prow was fantasti- 
cally decorated with carving and a bunch of grass. 
Loading the ricksha and my boxes aboard, the craft 
moved away from the shore as the silent crew dipped 
their paddles deep in the smooth, placid, shimmering 
waters. From the opposite bank came the lights of the 
Clement Hill dancing across the waters. Her winches 
were working hard at the cargo that she was taking 
aboard. 

That crossing of the Somerset Nile, winch took close 
on twenty minutes, was a thing to be remembered for 
all time. The strong current against which the native 
paddlers struggled hard, the smooth waters, buzzing 
flies, and the blaze of radiance from the Clement Hill, the 
lights from whose deck and port holes sent shimmering 
rays over the great expanse of water to greet us as we 
neared the other shore, on reaching which I stepped out 
once again on terra firma and stretched my limbs after 
the cramped position that one has to adopt in native 
craft. When off-loading the ricksha, it was found that 
one of the springs had broken. I was thankful that it 
had lasted until the journey's end. 

Jinja is situated at the head of Napoleon Gulf in the 
ex-kingdom of Usoga. It is well known to the sportsman 
and traveller for the hippo shooting that may be had in 
the vicinity. The celebrated Ripon Falls, down which for 
centuries the overflow from the Victoria Lake has poured 
itself at the rate of ten million gallons per minute, on 
its way northwards to Lake Albert, are just above the 
pier. I am told that the breadth of the falls is 850 feet. 

253 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

Lake Victoria Nyanza is hidden from us as we stand 
near the pier by the lofty and well-timbered headlands 
close by. 

Shortly before my arrival at Jinja the ceremony of 
cutting the first sod of the Jinja-Kakindu railway had 
taken place, and the residents, both European and 
coloured, were naturally eagerly awaiting the opening 
of the first line of railway in Uganda. Although the line 
running from Mombasa to Port Florence is styled the 
Uganda Railway, before the building of the line that 
I have mentioned there was not a mile of railway in 
Uganda, with the exception of a mono-rail from Kampala 
Port to Kampala, a distance of some seven miles; but 
the working of this is so erratic that it may be left out of 
the question as a means of transport for either passenger 
or goods traffic. 

My journey to Port Florence was not very enjoyable, 
for I was suffering from fever again, and was heartily 
glad to leave the boat. Only those who have been away 
from civilization for a time can understand what a delight 
it was to return. A good bed, well cooked and appetising 
food, the pleasure of seeing white faces and enjoying a 
chat in one's native tongue, all added to my pleasure in 
reaching the beaten track again. Even the deafening 
whistle of the engine on the train at Port Florence 
was a joy to me after my long absence from the outer 
world. 

Of the journey to Mombasa I have little to say. 
Herds of antelope, buck, zebra, occasional bunches of 
giraffe and buffalo, gazed on the train as we sped past 
from the lake down the 600-mile iron road that forms 
the most wonderful and intensely interesting railway 
journey imaginable. At Nairobi I was greeted by man)' 
friends who were anxious to hear a full account of my 
travels, and pressing invitations were given me to stay 
with many friends, but fever had for the time being 

254 



A PLEA FOR THE SAVAGE 

totally unfitted me for company, and my one wish was 
to be alone, quiet and undisturbed. Had I been feeling 
well I would have liked to stay and renew old friendships, 
but in the existing state of my health I preferred to con- 
tinue the journey. At Mombasa, where I was in hospital 
for some weeks suffering from malaria, I met with the 
greatest kindness from many old friends, especially 
Mr. Walter Brown. At length I left Mombasa on the 
good ship Bilr germeister, of the D.O.A.L., and sailed for 
Delagoa Bay. Thus ended my trip in Central Africa at 
the age of twenty-three. 

Those days are now growing faint in the shadow of 
the past, and I am once again in Old England. The 
well-worn helmet and khaki shirt open at the neck, the 
short pants and gun are now laid aside for a time. I 
suppose I shall soon forget the drawbacks of Central 
Africa and be preparing again for another expedition. 
It is curious that when you have left a country behind you 
invariably remember its good points alone and long to 
be back. The more I see of Africa the more susceptible 
I am to its fascination. 

Here in the Old Country there is a feeling of con- 
finement that is very noticeable after the free, open 
life of the Colonies. The cant, hypocrisy, and pettiness 
of the older countries is appalling after the great stretches 
of veldt, forest, and scrub of Africa. 

My greatest pleasure now is to sink deep in a com- 
fortable chair and smoke a pipe, to think and dream of 
those strange people so far away, dwellers in the forests 
and other fairy-like regions of Central Africa. As the 
smoke curls up slowly from my pipe I can almost see a 
silent, deep-flowing river with banks overhung by tall 
palms and swinging creepers, gay sunbirds, droning be. ss, 
and buzzing insects against the sombre green of the great 
trees in the forest beyond. I can see a canoe coming 

255 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

round the bend full of paddlers singing in unison, taking 
deep strokes as they head for the shore below. The frail 
craft is made fast to the bank, and they walk in single 
rile up to the village through a profusion of wild peppers 
and other foliage. At length the great sun sinks red in 
the west, the mosquitoes buzz around slowly, the stars 
twinkle in the heavens above, and then I can see the 
people gathering for the dance. Another puff and I 
can hear the low growl of the leopard against the shrill 
shriek of the hyaena ; great bats pollute the atmosphere 
for the moment as they flit past and gather in the trees 
beyond. I look up and see the Southern Cross lifting 
itself high in the clear night sky and listen to the voices 
of men and women singing in the village, and the shuffling 
of their feet on the hard-trodden ground. Drums roll, 
anklets clank, children cry, and the dogs are barking all 
the time. Presently I see the tired people crawling into 
their huts through the low, narrow aperture that serves 
as a doorway. The fires dwindle and die away, the wind 
rocks the trees gently as the silent lap of the ocean on 
the sandy shore. At length a stillness falls over the land, 
broken only by the buzz of the mosquitoes or the distant 
cry of a night bird. 

Think of those people who are living in that tre- 
mendous stretch of country, who have dwelt there since 
time immemorial, shut out from the world as we know 
it ; we have progressed with the advance of civilization, 
but they have lived there without a guiding hand, without 
knowledge of the Supreme Being. It may well be styled 
Darkest Africa ! They are cut off from the outer world ; 
few of us realize the ignorance that exists among the 
natives in that far-away land. I am longing to hear 
again the mighty crash and roar of the hippo, and feel 
the earth tremble under the feet of the great elephant 
herds as they dash by in a cloud of dust with gleaming 
white tusks and huge ears flapping like sails, and the 

256 



A PLEA FOR THE SAVAGE 

tapping of drums ; to see the blazing fires that crackle 
away in the still night air, and the great White Nile 
flowing towards Egypt on its mission to fertilize the arid 
wastes in that great country to the north. 

Those days are gone ; the obstacles that at the time 
seemed insurmountable have been overcome ; the escapes 
from man and beast, the disappointments and discom- 
forts, are now done with. Nowhere in the world can one 
live closer to nature than in the heart of Central Africa, 
among a people who rarely see, or perhaps have never 
before seen, a white face. Savage cannibals, call them 
what you may, there are black sheep in every race of 
white as well as " black." I know from experience that 
there is many a good heart in the Congo natives under- 
neath the earth-besmeared skin. Suffice it to say that 
they deserve vastly better treatment than they have 
had in years gone by under the flag of a " civilized " 
people. I liked them from the start, I always saw the 
humorous side of their natures, and the more I got to 
know of them the more I felt that they were worthy 
of being dealt with as human beings with hearts the same 
as ourselves. Christianity has for years been an enigma 
to them, for under its banner the more ferocious or warlike 
tribes have been gathered together for the oppression 
of the humbler communities, and I say once more that 
it is criminal to send native troops away from the stations 
without a responsible officer in charge. 

By the term responsible officer I do not mean a man 
who has a fancy for seeing others suffer, but a man who 
can still observe the laws of humanity although he may 
be far away from the outer world. I have met some of 
those brutes who are never content unless they are 
torturing some bird or animal. Creatures of this sort 
are far worse than the most savage of natives, for a white 
man has been taught to know right from wrong, but many 
of those who are placed in authority over natives forget 

257 s 



HUNTING AND HUNTED IN BELGIAN CONGO 

themselves when they are away from civilization and let 
their brutal natures get the upper hand. He must be 
a man of great principle who goes to shut himself away 
from the outer world for years, beyond the restraints of 
civilization ; and it behoves all Governments to be 
careful in selecting as their representatives in the heart 
of a great country like the Congo only men of character 
who can be relied on always to play the game with the 
people over whom they are placed. Force must some- 
times be employed to punish wrong-doers, but some of 
the methods adopted in carrying out the sentence have 
formed a blot on the page of Christianity that can never 
be effaced. 

Since writing the account of my trip, I have learnt 
the sad news of the death of Mr. Rodgers, the gentleman 
of whom I have spoken as having walked up from Ratanga, 
the star of the Congo, to Lake Albert. When I met 
Rodgers he was prospecting. The papers, in reporting 
his death, however, refer to him as one of the elephant 
hunters, but even if big game had been the object of his 
journey, that would have been no justification of his 
murder in cold blood by the Sudanese askaris in the 
Lado Enclave. 

This furnishes an instance of native troops getting 
out of control when sent out on an expedition without 
a responsible officer in charge, and I have no hesitation 
in declaring that the official, whoever he may be, 
who was responsible for sending out askaris, with- 
out a European in command, to escort Rodgers 
into his boma is directly responsible for that horrible 
crime. 

The very fact of sending natives to escort, or I should 
say forcibly drag, a white man in to a Government station 
is an enormity. I suppose this official was too busy with 
his whisky and cigars. This is typical of the Sudanese 
Regime. 

258 



A PLEA FOR THE SAVAGE 

Colonel Stigand, the Governor of Mangalla, who is 
in charge of affairs affecting the Lado Enclave, should 
have something to say about it. He has been a very 
enthusiastic elephant hunter himself, as Rodgers was said 
to have been when he met his death. 



259 




--■--. 



London! Smith Kldcrft To. 



INDEX 



Aba, 48 

Acacia Horrida, 77, 92 

Africa, mission work in, viii 

Aka district, 187 

Albert Nyanza, Lake, 32 

Alenzoi, 159 

Amadi, 48 

" Americani," 198 

Amusements, native. (See under 

" Native.") 
Antelopes, 9, 59 
Ara river, the, 1 13 
Arrows, Congolese, 69 
Ashes as wind-gauge, 109 
Askaris, 24, 49 

Bandas, 194 

Bangala, the, 190 

Bari river, 68 

Bathing in the tropics, 53 

Belgian Administration, the, 86, 145 
Congo, obstacles to trade in, 86 
treatment of the natives, ix, 168, 
188, 257 

Bellows, Congolese, 196 

Bennett, Mr., 39 

" Billygces," the, 188 

Blackwater fever, 35 

Bora, 67 

Brain-shot v. Heart-shot at elephants, 
109 

Bridges, native suspension, 195 

Britlebank, Mr., 39 

Brown, Walter, 255 

Bow and arrow, native skill with, 123 

Buckley, Mr., 23, no 

Buildings, native, 205 

Burial customs and ceremonies, 200 

Bushiri, 169 

Busoga, 142 

Butiaba, 55, 248 

"Call of Africa, the," 182 

Camp, night scene in, 61 

Camping grounds, selection and care of, 

22 
Cannibalism, 204 



Cannibals, 257 
Carew, Lieutenant, 24 
Champagne, medicinal value of, 35 
Chemical cookery, 118, 120 
Church Missionary Society, 17 
Cicatrisation, 107 
tolobus monkeys, 123 
Commissariat, the, 129 
Congolese, the, v, viii 
Cookery, uncanny, 188 

under difficulties, 133 
Cooper, Arthur, 136 
Cooper, R. Davey, early experiences, viii 
Craig, Jock, 126 
Crawford, Miss, 125 
Crocodiles, 42, 58 
Cultivation in the Congo, 76, 100 
Curiosity, native, 204 



191, 250 
(See also Medicine.) 



" Darkest Africa, 
" Dawa," 77, 79. 
Delagoa Bay, 1 
Drani, 159 
" Drum-talk," 116 
Dungu, 202 

Egg and spoon race, 121 

Elands, 9 

Elephants, 84, 108, 128, 192 

habits of, in 

native methods of capturing, 183 

their keen scent, 109 

vulnerable parts of, head-shot v. 
heart-shot, 109 
Entebbe, 14 

Farbra, 99 

Fat, external application of, 102 

Fire-arms, the use of, in 

Fish " Eagle," the, 38 

Fishing, 37, 72 

Flcisher, Mr., 12 

Floating islands, 74 

Game, 9. (See also under various 
specie ) 
nativr mi ihods of capturing, 68 
Girouard, Sir Percy, 8 



26l 



INDEX 



Glencross, Mr., 249 
Glossina Palpalis, 141 
" Governmentie," 188 
Greasy pole, walking the, 121 

Halley's comet, 190 

" Hand " of cloth, a, 73 

Hanlon, Bishop, 15 

Hannington, Mr., 134, 247 

Head-shot v. Heart-shot at elephants, 
109 

Henry, native bearer — his " testimo- 
nial," 27 

Hippopotami, 67, 83, 113 

Hoima, 20, 249 

Huts, native and " white," 75 

Ice cream, a bucket-full of, 2 
Inquisitiveness, native, 204 
Insa river, the, 167, 173 
Iron, native smith's work, 196 
Ivory, rewards for bringing in, 194 

" Jiggers," 23 

Jinga-Kakindu railway, the, 254 

Jinja, 250 

Johnston, Sir H. H., 141, 190 

Kadali, 73 

Kagulu, 145 

Kalakese, 93, 227 

Kampala, port and town, 14, 250 

Karetse, 227 

Kasinbasi, 98 

Katanga, 50 

Kibi river, the, 217 

Kiboko (hippopotamus), 83 

Kibuli river, the, 76, 150 

Kisumu, 118 

" Knucklebones," 120 

Koba, 48, 129, 246 

Lado Enclave, the, 48, 99, 243 

Latooka, 68 

Leggings v. putties, 104 

Legworo, the, 165, 202 

Lendu country, 142 

Lions, characteristics of, 139 

" Livingstone Rousers," 97 

Lodo village, 208 

Lonely Hill, 218 

Longdon, Gerald, 131, 246 

Lourenco Marques, 1 

Lures, the, 67 

Madi race, the, 76 

district, 68 
Mahagi, 106 
Manly, J. T., 132 
Matakanga, 76 

Matamma, danger of using for bread, 
130 



Matuga, 218 

Mau Summit, 10 

Maulkinson, Mr., 247 

M'Bomuthe, 196 

Medicine, 97, 166, 189, 209. (See also 

" Dawa.") 
Mission work, viii 
Mombasa, 4, 85 
Mongebettu, the, 203, 206 
" Monica," 40 
Monkeys, Colobus, 123 
Morel, E. D., " The Future of the 

Congo," 86 
Moses, Mr. M., 15, 250 
Mosquitoes, 90 
" Msungu," 81 
Mullah district, 113 
Musical instruments, curious, 69 

Nairobi, 7, 254 
Napoleon Gulf, 253 
Naramba, 235 

Native amusements, 41, 69, 116, 117, 
120, 161 

characteristics, v, vi, 257 

customs, 107 

medicine, 166, 189 

superstitions, 108, 190 
Niam-Niam, people of, 206 

river, 76 
Nile, the White, 46 
Nimule, 68 
N'joro, 48, 121 
Noise, native fondness of, 116 

Osso river, 68, 167, 168 

Panyongo, 55, 135, 245 
Payne, Mr., 249 
Pearson, Sydney, 12, 23 
Permanganate of potash, therapeutic 

value of, 126 
" Pishi," 133 
Poisoned weapons, 197 
" Pombe," 117 
" Posho," 54 
Porters, hiring of, 25 
Port Florence, 85 
Portuguese East Africa, 107 
Post and Telegraph department, the, 55 
Puttees v. leggings, 104 | | 
Pythons, 140 

Quinine, the use of, 153 

Reckitt's blue, 126 
Reed buck, the, 60 
Rendle, Dr., 144 
Reynolds, Mr., 34, 248 
Rhinoceros, 101 
Rhodes, Hon. Cecil, vii 



262 



INDEX 



Rifles, calibres prohibited in Uganda, 85 

Ripon Falls, 253 

Rivers, characteristics of African, 113 

Rogers, Mr., 50, 258 

Rope bridges, 195 

Rube, Lake, 60 

Safari, 12, 15 

" Salem," 77, 118 

Savarkaki, 178, 195 

Shinzis, the, 63, 72, 144, 216 

Shipping, German v. British, 3 

Shulis, the, 68 

Siro Arocco, 218 

Sleeping sickness, 141 

Smith, Albert Edward Bertie, 14, 250 

Snake-bite, treatment of, 125 

Snake stories, 125 

Snakes. 140 

their appetite for cow's milk, 126 
Somerset Nile, 68, 252 
Song, native fondness of, 41 
Sports, athletic, 121 
Spur-winged goose, the, 92 
Stanley. Sir H. M., vi, 77 
Stigand, Colonel, 48, 259 
Sudanese, the, 145 
Sugar, a bed of, 36 
Sullivan, C. S., 247 
Superstitions, native, 108 

Tailoring in camp, 119 
Tanganyika, Lake, 50 
Telegraph department, the, 55 
Telephone, the, 128 
Tent-ropes, attention to, 112 
Thorn hedges, 76 
" Tin glove," the, 128 



" Tip-cat," the natives take to, 117 
Tooth extraction, 168 

filing, 168 
Trading in the Belgian Congo, 86 
Tropics, bathing in, 53 
Trypanosoma Gambiense, 142 
Tsetse fly, the, 93, 141 
Tucker, Bishop, 17 

Uganda, 5, 85, 245 

Kob, 60 

railway, the, 10, S5, 254 
Unexpected meetings, 136 
Unyoro, the king of, 23 
Usoga, 253 

Vankerckhovenville, 187 
Victoria Nyanza, Lake, 10, 12, 13 

Wacht-en-beetje thorn, the, 124. 

(See also Thorn Hedges.) 
Wadelai, 60, 245 
Wait-a-bit thorn, 124 
Walsh, Mr. and Mrs., SI, 249 
Wanuka's dandy attire, 129 
Ward, Mr. Herbert, 107 
Wati, Mount, 167 
Welle, the, 109 
White Nile, the, 257 
Wind-gauge, the native bag of ashes as, 

109 
Witch doctors, 201 
Women's Suffrage in the Congo, 202 
Wood ashes as wind-gauge, 109 

Yei, 145 

Zarebas, 76 



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