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Full text of "On the borders of pigmy land"

ON THE BORDERS 
OF PIGMY- LAND 




B. FISHER 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 






ON THE BORDERS OF 
PIGMY LAND 



ON THE BORPERS 
OF PIGMY LANP 



BY 

RUTH B. FISHER 

(nee HURDITCH) 



[SECOND EDITION] 



LONDON 
MARSHALL BROTHERS 

KESWICK HOUSE, PATERNOSTER ROW, EC 



R. VI. SIMPSON AND CO., LTD.. 

PRINTERS 
RICHMOND AND LONDON. 




PREFACE 

TO none of her many friends in England and Ireland 
does the writer of this book, whether as Miss Ruth 
Hurditch or Mrs. Fisher, need any introduction ; 
but I gladly accept the opportunity offered to me 
of commending her graphic story of Mission life and 
work to a still wider circle, including the American 
Christian public, among whom we are assured the work 
will find ready circulation. 

No one can read it and not be impressed by the 
evidence with which it abounds that the same Gospel 
which conquered Europe, civilized or barbarous, in ages 
past is as potent to-day to transform the most degraded 
and dormant races into peoples of quick intelligence and 
spiritual consciousness, and has given them in a 
marvellously short time a measure of self-respect, a sense 
of the dignity of labour, and a devotion to the welfare 
of others, not always found in Christian lands or even 
Churches of ancient fame. At a time when the jaded 
faith of many at home is giving way before the incessant 
undermining of the old foundations, and when we are 
invited to recast the " details " of the Gospel, it is no 
small thing that the Bible is seen to be making new 
history again, and giving fresh evidences of its divine 
vitality. The Mission Field is paying back its debt to 
the Church at home. Africa, emerging from the night of 
ages, is bringing her treasures of grace to make up the 
" fulness of the Gentiles." The pigmies themselves are 
worthy of a better lot than to be carried off by a 
traveller and be made a show for the sordid curiosity 
of holiday crowds. 



1C49C21 



Preface 

There are other reasons also why we welcome Mrs. 
Fisher's journals. She has drawn with her pen pictures 
of the country and people as lifelike as the excellent 
photographs which adorn the book. She has enabled us 
to share her adventures without the discomforts. The 
tropical storms and glaring sunshine, the swamps of 
Semliki, and the snow peaks of Ruwenzori, the camps 
and caravans, the dispensary and the school, the good 
King and the gentle Queen, the Prime Minister and poor 
Blasiyo the pigmy are all as real to us as though we had 
seen them and known them ourselves. 

Mrs. Fisher has shown us how a devoted couple whose 
hearts are filled with a longing to win souls for the 
Saviour can face dangers, and cut themselves off from the 
common comforts of home, not only with patience but 
with cheerfulness. No one will feel the playfulness and 
the sense of humour with which she often describes the 
most trying situations to be inconsistent with the more 
serious purpose of her Missionary life, or to unfit her for the 
gracious ministry of comforting the sorrowful, teaching 
the ignorant, and healing the sick, in which she has been 
engaged. 

If each reader of these pages will let them raise before 
the conscience such questions as these, " What have / 
done, and what can I do to help such blessed work" or 
" Why should / not follow in such steps myself," and if 
such questions be honestly answered as in the presence of 
the Lord, I cannot doubt that results still more wonder- 
ful than those which this book describes will find a record 
in the near future, that may be even the Coming of the 
Lord. 

May the Holy Spirit moving in many lives bring this 
to pass. 

H. E. FOX, 

Hon. Sec., C.M.S. 



VI 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER. PACK. 

I. A JOURNEY ON THE UGANDA RAILROAD FOUR 

YEARS AGO i 

II. ON LAND AND LAKE . . . .11 

III. MENGO, UGANDA .... 22 

IV. TORO, THE LAND OF THE MOUNTAINS OF THE 

MOON . . . . -31 

V. THE COUNTRY . . . . 41 

VI. HOME LIFE . . . . -50 

VII. ROYAL LIFE .... 59 

VIII. THE WOMEN OF TORO . . .69 

IX. CHILD LIFE .... 79 

X. RELIGION . . . . .84 

XL LANGUAGE .... 92 

XII. FESTIVITIES IN TORO . . -97 

XIII. TRAMP I. To THE ALBERT EDWARD LAKE . 106 

XIV. TRAMP II. HOLIDAYS . . .119 

XV. TRAMP III. TRAMP THROUGH THE FOUR 

KINGDOMS OF THE PROTECTORATE . 128 

XVI. TRAMP IV. TOWARDS THE PIGMIES . 151 
XVII. IN DARKEST AFRICA. THE PIGMIES (BATWA) 

AND THEIR (BAMBUBA) NEIGHBOURS . l6l 

XVIII. A CLIMB TO THE SNOWS . . 173 

XIX. MISSIONARY WORK . . . 188 

XX. MEDICAL WORK . . 199 

XXI. SCHOLASTIC WORK . 2" 

vii 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

.* 

A GROUP OF BAGANDA. 

A GROUP OF MASAIS. 

A GROUP OF PIGMY WOMEN. 

A MUBIRA LADY: AN AFTERNOON CALLER. 

A NANDI FAMILY. 

A NATIVE OF BULEGA : THE FIRST TO BE BAPTISED OF HIS RACE. 

A PEEP AT THE SNOWS. 

APOLO KlVEBULAYA. 

A SCHOOL IN TORO. 

A VIADUCT ON THE UGANDA RAILROAD. 

BACK FROM THE SNOWS : BAKONGO PORTERS. 

BLASIYO : FIRST BAPTISED PIGMY. 

CROSSING THE MULUKU RIVER. 

KICUCEI CAMP. 

KING DANDI KASAGAMA OF TORO AND HIS CHIEFS. 

MULUKU GLACIER. 

NEW CHURCH, KABAROLE TORO. 

OUR HOME IN TORO. 

PORT OF MOMBASA. 

SNOW PEAKS. 

STIFF CLIMBING : A CLIMB TO THE SNOWS. 

TABALA, CHIEF OF MBOGO, AND SUITE. 

THE ALBERT EDWARD LAKE. 

THE BAAMBAS : NEAREST NEIGHBOURS TO THE PIGMIES. 

THE BAHUKU : CANNIBAL RACE. 

THE BAKONGA AT HOME. 

THE BATORO AT HOME. 

THE FOUR PIGMIES AT KABAROLE. 

THE KIDONG ESCARPMENT. 

THE MARKET PLACE. 

THE NEW BOAT ON VICTORIA NYANZA. 

THE SEWLIKA RIVER. 

ix 



CHAPTER I 

A Journey on the Uganda Railroad 
Four Years Ago 

IT was in the beginning of the year 1900 that a British 
India steamer cast anchor and set down on African 
soil a party of seven missionaries bound for distant 
Uganda. Six of that number might be termed " freshers," 
for they were complete strangers to the "dark continent," 
and absolutely uninitiated in the art of African travelling. 
It is a little difficult to define the feelings of a new arrival 
who has before him or her the prospect of life and work 
in that country. The memories of magnificent lives laid 
down for its people fill the heart with an intensely solemn 
sense of responsibility and dignity ; records of travel and 
adventure kindle a love of daring, and a desire for oppor- 
tunities of heroism ; while the meagre knowledge that 
exists on the interior districts breaks the imagination of 
the traveller away from its leading strings. 

The port of British East Africa the Island of Mombasa 
is a typical foreign mercantile coast town, with its 
medley of craft, ships, yachts, tugs, boats and canoes 
manned by seamen of various nationalities, pushing, 
hustling and screaming in all the tongues of Babel. The 
handsome old Arab fortress that stands on its jagged 
rocky prominence as a sentinel at the entrance of the 
harbour, takes one back to the time before the port was 
taken over by the British, and when it was used by those 
who had carried on the terrible slave traffic in the 

I B 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

interior. A little to the left is to be seen the British 
Consulate with its Union Jack fluttering from the mast 
as the emblem of liberty and justice to all who come 
under its jurisdiction. 

As we stepped from the ship's deck on to the landing- 
stage the sun felt distinctly African. The dazzling white 
and somewhat congested streets seemed to singe our very 
boot leather. It was a relief to have pointed out a strip 
of bright green mainland which lay at the extreme end of 
a sheltered bay, as the place where hospitality would be 
offered me and two others of our party of seven, while 
preparations were being made for our journey up country. 
A short row brought us to this mission station of the 
Church Missionary Society Freretown the situation of 
which is very pleasing ; in front stretches the transparent 
blue bay, beyond to the right the white minarets and red 
tiled roofs of Mombasa, and all around dense foliage 
mango and banana trees, creepers and shrubs and flowers 
in tangled confusion. A warm English welcome awaited 
us from our missionary friends there who were domiciled 
in a solid two-storied brick house. 

The guest room delegated to me was evidently an 
afterthought, as it was constructed of corrugated iron 
with plaited grass stretched across for a ceiling. The room 
opened out on a broad balcony, and as it is the custom 
to leave open the doors at night to catch the least sus- 
picion of a breeze that might blow in across the bay, the 
bats and rats made free use of my room until daybreak. 
The first night I found the rats had shewed an appreciative 
appetite for Cadbury's chocolate, for they completely 
finished off my half-pound tin which had been tusselled 
for at a chess tournament on board ship. 

The terrible famine up country had brought many half- 
starved folk to the coast. Bishop Peel had sent down some 
30 to 40 girls and boys from the Wanika tribe to be clothed, 
fed, and cared for at the mission dormitory. Starvation 

2 



A Journey on the Uganda Railroad 

had played frightful havoc with them. One wee babe of 
about two years, all skin and bone, had had her hands held 
in the fire by her mother because hunger bad driven her to 
steal a banana. Her tiny fingers were twisted back and 
much distorted, some joints having entirely gone. Other 
children had no toes, these having bean literally eaten 
away by the little insects known as jiggers, which 
are very numerous inland, and trouble Europeans as well 
as natives. 

On Sunday we went to morning service in the splendid 
brick native church. As it was conducted in the Swahili 
language we could only follow in silence the order of the 
liturgy. The church, holding about 500 people, was 
almost full. Colours were very pronounced among the 
women. The girls were dressed in white gowns with red 
handkerchiefs round the head ; but the elder women 
adopted the most remarkable hues : orange-coloured 
sashes and violet head gear were the most conspicuous. 
They attended very devoutly, and as I knelt at the 
Communion rails with a native woman on either side, 
that text appealed to me with a new power " Other sheep 
I have . . . and there shall be one fold and one 
Shepherd." In the afternoon I delivered my first message 
to Africans. I had been asked to speak through inter- 
pretation to a class of women ; it was not easy to stand 
up before one's first audience of dusky faces and to try 
and adapt the message to their minds an unexplored 
land as yet to me to choose carefully words which 
would lend themselves to interpretation and to recollect 
the point stopped at between the sentences. 

The morning after our arrival we all met in the office 
of the Church Missionary Society's agency. Before us 
were arrayed a dozen Swahili lads who were coming up 
country with us to act as our personal attendants. Each 
of us was to be allowed the sole service of one, the half of 
another, and a quarter of another ; that is, one boy was 

3 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

to act as housemaid, two of us would share a cook, and 
four a cook's mate. Minute instructions were given us 
as to travelling arrangements, which resulted in, for one 
thing, the re-adjusting of every one of our loads that 
weighed anything over 65 Ibs. It let me in for some 
days of arduous labour. If it had not been for my newly 
acquired " housemaid " Richard, who had attached him- 
self to me after that morning in the office, the unpacking 
and re-packing would have proved an almost hopeless 
task in such melting temperature. The last load nailed 
down contained a heterogeneous collection of groceries, 
Monkey Brand soap, photos, a saucepan, and a few 
garments, all of which had been taken out of loads of 
overweight. Quite unexpectedly we heard that our start 
up country was to be made on the fifth day after our 
arrival at the coast. A breakdown was hinted at as being 
likely to occur on the railroad on account of the heavy 
rains that had fallen. Apart from this we were told that 
the train would accomplish the 364 miles of its journey 
in one day and night. At railhead our caravan of porters 
was awaiting us, as also the two donkeys and two jin- 
rickshas, which would prove essential in case of sickness 
on the road. We speedily fixed our bicycles up on hearing 
of the immediate start to be made, which seemed to 
make us all desperately impatient to be spinning along 
the African roads to Uganda. 

On February 23rd we left Mombasa. A large party of 
missionaries met at Freretown Church at eight o'clock 
for united Communion. Then we hurried down to the 
shore where a boat awaited us to take us across to Port 
Mombasa. After getting together all handbags and other 
small baggage we were packed away in a ghari a tiny 
truck for four persons, with shade, run on rails along the 
street. A curious party we looked ; three gharis left 
the town, boxes, bags and rugs heaped up in a pile, a few 
natives scattered about here and there among us, and 

4 



A Journey on the Uganda Railroad 

boys pushing behind. These vehicles simply fly along 
when going downhill ; one box toppled over in one of 
these wild escapades, and the whole contents burst out 
and were scattered about on the road. Then a derailment 
of one ghari necessitated the passengers dismounting, 
and the cars that followed in the wake being carried 
round the obstructing car. The terminus of the railway 
is at Kilindini, which lies about two miles outside 
Mombasa. At the station a strange scene confronted us. 
People from various countries were rushing about in a 
state of great excitement, all struggling to crowd into the 
few compartments allotted to fourth class passengers. 
They were so jammed together that one could only 
expect to see the carriages burst apart with the pressure 
from inside. Our compartments were ever so much 
better than I had expected ; two had been reserved for 
our party of seven. Perhaps some of us were a little 
disappointed that there was no "roughing it," but we 
tried to console each other with the thought that there 
might be a breakdown on the line. Our feelings can be 
imagined when the train whizzed away and kept up a most 
respectable speed, in fact, behaved itself like a civilized 
being. We had armed ourselves with plenty of provisions, 
but found that good meals had been prepared for us at 
various long halting stations on the route. Wanting to 
lighten our supplies, however, afternoon tea was suggested, 
and as passengers could walk from one compartment to 
another by means of an outside foot-board, even though 
the train was running, we invited all the members of our 
party in to a social tea. My canteen was produced and 
efforts were made to boil the water, but the train was 
shaking so unreasonably that the small kettle needed to 
be constantly replenished during the boiling. We had 
to warn our guests to avoid the streams of water that 
were running down the carriage from the kettle spout, 
but the last arrival made a dreadful mistake by sitting on 

5 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

the top of the teapot just as the tea was made. This 
was not discovered until the whole contents were upset 
and the offender realized a scalding sensation. 

The first day on the Uganda railroad was certainly not 
the most enjoyable; the heat was stifling and the dust so 
obtrusive that in spite of having the windows closed, in 
less than an hour everything had assumed a brownish-red 
appearance; the carriage cushions, our clothing, hair, and 
eyes were full of it, and if one did venture to open the lips 
to pass a remark, a mouth-wash was necessary. Mile after 
mile of country v/as passed where the grass was entirely 
burnt up, and almost all trees and shrubs dried and 
bleached. The land was in the grip of famine, whose 
hand of death had touched all nature. Some of its last 
victims dragged their exhausted limbs to the banks of the 
railroad as the train passed through their land of hunger. 
Poor wee children, their sharp bones standing out in a 
most ghastly manner, looked like skeletons moving. We 
gave them food which they voraciously seized, but alas, 
many had got beyond the power of eating. 

Our first halting place was Voi, which we reached at 
seven p.m., after a run of eight hours. As the train was 
not leaving again till eleven o'clock we were allowed time 
for a short rest after dining at the station bungalow. 
Native couches of woven grass stretched over wooden 
frames were given to us, but the need of mosquito nets 
and blankets drove all ideas of sleep away. The next 
morning we found the scenery had entirely changed ; vast 
stretches of plain and gently undulating country extended 
for miles on either side. This district, known as the Athi 
plain, is thickly populated with all sorts of wild animals. 
There were scores of antelopes, zebras, and ostriches. The 
tracks of lions were pointed out to us, but these are the 
only animals that apparently do not venture near the 
trains in broad daylight. 

Nairobi, which has been named the " tin-town " on 

6 



account of all the buildings being composed of corrugated 
zinc, is quite an important place. It is one of the head- 
quarters and workshops of the railway company, and a 
large and rapidly increasing European, Indian, and Arab 
population has settled here. From this point we had to 
take up our porters, and this was not an easy matter. 
Instead of the 300 or so required, only about 150 were 
procurable to carry all our loads of food supplies, clothing 
and household requisites for the road and our destination, 
besides various other boxes and literature for missionaries 
and mission work in Uganda. 

After leaving Nairobi another complete contrast opened 
out before us. Dense thickets, forests and jungle covered 
hill and dale, without a sign of human life. Truly the 
world seemed here as in infancy, and the railway a harsh 
discord of civilization. It is a rest to the mind and soul 
to pass through these world's natural parks ; the deep long 
silence, unreached by man's babble, carries in its air a 
breeze from Home and one's whole inward being rises on 
the wing to its God. I wondered why such miles and 
miles of uninhabited land existed when "He created it 
not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." Was it that 
He might give us "the treasures of darkness and hidden 
riches of secret places " which God deposits in regions 
where, untrammelled by the footprints (not the results) 
of sin the Shekinah dwells revealed in such natural 
splendour ? 

On Sunday at two p.m., we found ourselves at rail- 
head. The train before ours had been derailed several 
times on account of the heavy rains washing down the 
new embankments, but as trains only run once a week, 
repairs had been temporarily completed, so we finished 
our journey without a single mishap. 

I wish you could have seen our plight as we arrived. 
To begin with, even in the finest weather the country 
would always appear somewhat dreary ; nature has no 

7 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

behaved very liberally. The train drew up abruptly, not 
because of its having reached a station, but there was no 
more line on which to run. The only buildings were a 
few tents and iron sheds, the property of the six Europeans 
and score of Indians employed on the construction of the 
railway. The whole country was under water, and the 
rains were sweeping down in a deluge. Out of the 
waters appeared our two jinrickshas and a few boxes, 
and these indicated the spot where we were to camp. 
Our first inclination was to remain in the train, but as 
that had to return at once, we waded out and about, and 
did not quite know what to do next. Here the Europeans 
came nobly to our assistance and offered the ladies shelter 
in a tent called the post-office. It is remarkable what a 
lot it takes to make you depressed in Africa. In England 
I believe most of us would have felt rather despondent, 
but none of us confessed to those feelings. After a 
cup of tea, with condensed milk, had warmed us up, we 
gave a right good British cheer as a tapping at the 
telegraph wires in our tea room told us of a splendid 
British victory at the seat of war. 

Towards evening the rain ceased and as the ground 
was well digged round with trenches the water quickly 
drained off, so our tents were unpacked and erected. The 
railway officials kindly supplied us with a number of 
solid planks, which formed a firm flooring over the mud. 

The tents looked so warm and bright in the midst of 
such grey surroundings. Camping out was quite a new 
experience to most of us and we immensely enjoyed 
moving in to our new quarters. When we had got 
straight the whole party came together in our tent, 
squeezed round the tiny table, and we had a thanksgiving 
service. Through the goodness of God, things had 
marvellously adjusted themselves, considering the short 
time and the swamped condition of the country. We all 
sang the Te Deitm till our little tent rang with voices. 

8 



A Journey on the Uganda Railroad 

As we joined in the general thanksgiving and prayers 
I can truly say that no more heartfelt praise ascended 
into the courts of Heaven from any temple that Sunday 
evening, than from our little tabernacle in the wilderness. 

Outside, darkness reigned, except for the porters' 
fires, burning in every direction, with the black figures 
squatting round, which gave the whole scene a weird and 
fantastic appearance. 

The next morning all our loads were hauled out for 
inspection, and owing to the lack of porters we were 
obliged to choose out such as would be required for more 
immediate use ; the remaining boxes had to be stacked in 
a rather too well ventilated shed to await reinforcements 
of porters. This particular district was in rather a 
disturbed condition. The day before we had arrived 
some natives fired upon a European and killed him ; in 
consequence a small detachment of soldiers had been sent 
out to see into matters and had shot two natives. We 
were warned at night to have our camp carefully guarded 
by askaris,* as thieves were about in addition to any un- 
friendly folk who might be prowling round. So a fire was 
lit just outside our tents, and sentries stationed at close 
distances. They accosted every passer-by in angry tones, 
and those who did not use the password " friend " stood 
a very poor chance of getting off. 

As we stood round the log-fire at evening, the thunder 
and lightning roared and flashed ; and then down came 
the rain and pelted hard all night. One of the tents was 
quite flooded ; the bed and furniture were rescued and the 
occupant moved into another's tent pitched on slightly 
higher ground. We had arrived in the rainy season, and 
were told that we must not be surprised if we got a daily 
soaking. It rather damped one's enthusiasm for camping 
out and cycling. This district is called the Kidong 
Escarpment, and is a ledge of land that suddenly drops 
* Native guards or soldiers. 
9 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

some 500 feet. The railway takes a circuitous route to 
avoid this drop, but at that time a most elaborate 
temporary line had been laid down the precipitous bank, 
the cars being worked by cables. One had here an 
example of the almost insurmountable difficulties that 
faced the engineers of the Uganda railway, difficulties 
emphasised by the fact that all material required had to 
be imported from India or England. Viaducts, some of 
which are of gigantic height, frequently connect rock to 
rock, and along these the train has cautiously to pass. 
At other times the brave little locomotive pants and 
gasps as it toils along with its burden ; now and again it 
stops to gain breath, then it goes on again, climbing, ever 
climbing, till it has reached an altitude of 7,000 feet. 

After the burning heat of the dusty plains, along which 
the train rushes with hysterical speed, filling the traveller 
with misgivings and treating him to plenty of rough 
shakings, how welcome is the cold frosty air of these 
African Highlands, which have proved no barrier to the 
Uganda railroad. 



10 



CHAPTER II 

On Land and Lake 

WE certainly set off for our first so-called tramp most 
professionally fitted out, but this only lasted for 
one day. The marching Norfolk dress was soon 
discarded for a loose blouse ; the water bottle, 
which did give one rather a heroic aspect, was quietly 
given over to the " boy " ; that wonderful compendium of 
knife, corkscrew, file, button hook, and so forth, which 
includes everything that you never want and nothing that 
you do, was likewise voted too heavy ; even the puggaree 
that had offered a suggestion of trimming to the very un- 
becoming bald topee, was thrown out, and any considera- 
tion for personal appearance that might have secretly 
lurked within was superseded by the one desire for 
comfort, as we steamed along on our bicycles over good, 
bad, and indifferent roads, the sun beating down upon us 
all the time. 

Lake Naivasha seemed scarcely large enough to satisfy 
our inordinate thirst as we pulled up ; we were not a bit 
polite when tea was generously doled out to us by the 
Europeans stationed there, for none of us refused a fourth 
and fifth cup, even when we saw the supply was running 
short. I got very behindhand in my journal while on 
the road. Never had I been successful in keeping one 
for longer than a week ; on the seventh day it had 
become so intolerably dull that Dryasdust must even 
have yawned. Of course, Africa supplies you with 
plenty of material, but the methodical mind and will 

11 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

power are somehow wanting. Let me tell you why. At 
4.0 a.m. daily one wakes up with a start, for as the sun 
does not rise till 6.0, night still seems to rest heavily on 
the land and on one's eyelids. But the caravan leader is 
beating a drum, accompanying it with a shrill falsetto 
call to rise ; and if one dares to stay rubbing the sleep 
out of the eyes, the porters are fumbling away at the 
tent ropes, and before there is time to complete one's 
toilette, the whole tent flops down like a closed umbrella. 
A truly undignified exit is made by a dishevelled figure, 
and one turns up while breakfast is being served round 
the camp fire on tin crockery. 

In the dusk we push off; a real expert rider you must 
be to dodge in and out of the porters who are already 
filing along on the narrow path, and have a happy knack 
of swinging round at the sound of the bicycle bell just 
as you pass the tent-pole carrier was a veritable man- 
trap, and more than once pitched machine and rider into 
the ditch. I am sure I shall never complain again of 
English or even Scotch roads ; the ridges we have ridden 
over (often ending in a swamp) have helped to strengthen 
one's nerves and powers of balance. We generally reach 
camp before our porters, and then seek out some shelter 
till our tents arrive. It is a quaint sight to watch the 
long line of the caravan coming in; the men become very 
excited at sight of the halting place, and as the first man 
who carries a drum beats it with all his might, swinging a 
zebra tail round and round his head, the men all break 
into song and a slow dance, which gradually increases in 
volume and speed until the 65lb. box on the head is 
quite forgotten, the body springs about in mid-air, and 
finally throws itself down with a shout of ecstasy and an 
eloquent outburst of self-praise and congratulation 

When tents have been pitched and bodily restoratives 
have been applied in the form of cool baths, a good meal 
and a sleep, the only possible hour for journalling has 

12 



On Land and Lake 

come. But who could resist the desire to peep outside 
the tent door, and then into the new and fascinating 
features of folk, animals, birds, and country that surround 
the colony of tents ? So my pen remained idle for many 
days on the road, and as we were constantly going 
forward, it was not easy to go back and pick up broken 
threads. 

The day from Lake Nakuro must have a few lines to 
itself. The usual 15 miles' journey had appeared 
exceptionally short on account of the good roads, and 
there being no houses or even signboard to tell you " this 
is camp," we rode past it unconsciously. While resting 
mid-day on the banks of a shady nook for a cup of tea and 
biscuits, two bicycles unfortunately fell over on my gear 
case and completely smashed it up. This made riding a 
little difficult for the remainder of the day, as the skirt 
would keep catching in the chain, and the gear-case 
strapped across the handle-bars did not allow much knee 
space. Very hot, dusty, hungry, and tired at 3.30 p.m., 
we came across a small Indian encampment which had 
journeyed up country for railway survey with a large 
number of pack mules. The campers told us we had come 
34 miles. This rather alarmed us, for we wondered how 
our porters could cover that distance. It was a ghastly 
spot. The ground was strewn with numbers of bleached 
skulls and bones, which we afterwards learned were part 
of an Indian troop that some time previously had travelled 
down country under Mr. Grant, and had died for want of 
water. 

After waiting some time scouts were sent out to 
search for our men, but as night fell they returned with 
the tidings that our caravan was camped some 15 miles 
away, and was too exhausted to push on. Having eaten 
nothing since 4 o'clock a.m., with the exception of that 
mid-day impromptu lunch, I must confess that our first 
consideration was for food. Fortunately one of our party 

13 



had shot during the day a bustard. This was speedily 
prepared and cooked in a pot lent us by the Indians. A 
few biscuits and some tea still remained in our canteen, 
and so sitting round an ember fire inside the stockade 
constructed for the mules as protection from the lions, 
we enjoyed, perhaps as never before, a hearty, simple 
and crude meal, .without chairs, spoons, forks, or even 
chop-sticks. We tried to effect further loans, and through 
the generosity of our new friends succeeded in procuring 
one small tent for the night. It was small, 6 feet square, 
and we five ladies had to pack into it. We did manage 
it by strictly adhering to the agreement of sleeping on 
one's side and not attempting to change over. There 
were no blankets, but certainly none of us felt the need 
of them ! The gentlemen kept guard round the 
watch fires all night, but I think they got in more 
sleep than we did. 

In case such a thing should ever happen again, the men 
of our party were evidently determined to be prepared, 
for on the following afternoon we saw them shouldering 
their guns, and after hearing a few distant sounds of shot, 
two zebras and three antelopes were carried into camp ; 
and before we had finished admiring and pitying these 
splendid fallen lords of the country, they were carried off 
and skinned. The next sight we caught of them was 
in the form of Jong, gory strips festooned from branch 
to branch of a tree close by. The porters, hawk-like, 
were standing round, as hungry East Enders outside 
fried fish bars. Perhaps they can l^e partially excused 
when we consider the monotonous, unpalatable millet 
which constitutes their daily diet. At 7 p.m. a 
drum was beaten, and every man presented him- 
self in as famished a condition as he could assume. 
They stood like soldiers waiting to be decorated with the 
V.C. In a few minutes the tree was quite cleared, and 
outside each tiny tent was fixed on sticks venison and 

14 



On Land and Lake 

wild beef roasting over the fires. The sounds of revelry 
had scarcely died away when the morning call drum 
sounded. 

The people who live in the district through which we 
had hitherto passed are called the Masai tribe, a nomadic 
folk who travel about from one place to another, accord- 
ing to the pasture the land offers for their goats and 
sheep. They have distinctly warlike propensities, and a 
warrior chief is often met having a few armed followers, 
who, like their master, smear their bodies with grease 
and red earth, only wearing a small strip of cloth, or an 
animal's skin over the shoulder, and sometimes a few 
feathers in their matted and oiled hair. The fierce 
opposition they showed to the pioneer Missionaries is now 
no longer displayed ; in fact they appear somewhat timid 
and reserved. 

The general physical feature of the land is soft, gently 
undulating country. But for the lakes Naivasha and 
Nakuro, and the River Gilgal, there is a marked scarcity 
of water. Not until we reached the Eldoma Ravine did 
we pass anything worthy of being called a forest. At that 
point we had risen 7,000 feet above sea level, and exquisite 
stretches of tangled forests of cedars and bamboos 
afforded a welcome relief after the dried up and treeless 
track we had been accustomed to. Cycling was quite 
impossible owing to the many trees that had fallen across 
the road, and the deep ruts made by the ox waggons 
which had passed along in the wet season ; one waggon, 
carrying along parts of a new boat to be floated on the 
Victoria Nyanza, was overthrown and broken up by one 
of these ruts the day we passed through the forest. 

In spite of the weariness that often overcomes one 
travelling day after day under such a fierce sun, how glad 
I am that the railway had left us 300 miles of tramping 
before we reached the lake! Those who come up country 
now the railroad is completed will never experience 

15 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

the fondness, and shall I call it proprietorship, that one 
seems to feel for the land when each step has involved 
labour, every little change from the prairie grass and 
thorn bushes been noticed and welcomed, and each new 
district and tribe prayed and longed over to be claimed 
for Christ. How can I describe the scene that stretched 
before me as I stood on the Nandi plateau overlooking 
the tranquil silver lake, the Victoria Nyanza, lying 3,oooft. 
below. The sun was slowly sinking towards the west, 
and, as it did so, drew the attention to the other side, our 
land of promise, Uganda. As the distant horizon and 
sky were flooded with a gentle red and golden light, 
salvation and victory seemed written in the handwriting 
of God upon the walls of that country. 

Turning round towards camp what a contrast the scene 
presented. Hundreds of natives had congregated 
together dressed in animals' skins, and armed with 
shields and spears, which they were flourishing in the air 
with wild dancing and shrill war song they were going 
out to fight with a neighbouring tribe. In the morning 
I had had an undesirable encounter with some of them. 
Having taken my writing case and pocket Bible to a hill 
a short distance away from where we were encamped to 
get a view of the wonderful panorama of plain and lake 
beneath, I had been somewhat startled by a number of 
men suddenly appearing from what at first were quite 
undistinguishable grass huts. Void of clothing they had 
painted their bodies with bright red earth, and had 
made various designs with grease on their limbs. Their 
hair was long and twisted into streaks by means of goat's 
fat, and each man carried a spear and shield. Soon a 
small crowd had gathered round, and I must confess to a 
certain feeling of uneasiness at the isolation of my 
position. However, I determined to evince no fear and 
tried to make the best of it. I undid my writing-case 
and showed it to them, and my watch. They literally 

16 



On Land and Lake 

shrieked with delight and surprise when they saw the 
hands run round. The gilt edges of my Bible attracted 
them, so handling it reverently I tried to tell them it was 
God's Book, and drawing one of the children to me by 
signs, sought to convey to their minds that God loved us. 
I do not know if they caught my meaning, but I do know 
that God caught up the prayers that ascended for them. 

The same evening a violent storm broke over us. One 
of our tents was literally washed out, not having had a 
deep ditch digged round in case of emergency. 

After moving off again and descending very pre- 
cipitately to the level of the lake, the heavy rains were 
found to have made marching exceedingly difficult. We 
had to plough through thick black mud till we reached 
Port Florence, a distance of twenty-one miles. At one 
point on the road a stream about thirty yards wide had to 
be waded, as our porters were unavailable for carrying, 
having all gone on in front. The water in some parts 
was a foot deep, and it was by no means an easy thing 
getting through it when there were inches of mud from 
which the boots very reluctantly parted. 

News had reached us that the steamboat Ruwenzori 
which had been sent to meet us and take us across the 
lake had been wrecked on the way, so we had to put off in 
an Arab dhow, a sailing boat used for transport purposes 
only, and one that offered no passenger accommodation. 

Three thousand square miles ! Can you imagine a 
lake about that size ? And yet on our maps it is no larger 
than a boot button. Quiet and peaceful as is its normal 
condition, there are times when its mighty waters are 
lashed into uncomfortable anger, and casting up foaming 
crests break on the shore with the force and roar of an 
ocean's storm. Abundant in its resources, it can afford 
to be generous in its supplies ; with prodigality it pours 
its fulness into its off-spring, so that distant Egypt sub- 
sists on its benevolence the Nile. 

17 c 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Although only 7 p.m., darkness had already set in as 
we made our way down to the rough landing-stage to be 
shipped for Uganda. The dhow looked uncomfortably 
small for its crew, seven English passengers, twelve 
" boys," and all their cargo. It could not get up to the 
little wooden pier, so we rowed out in dug-out canoes by 
the light of a hand lamp. This took time, and it was 
nearly midnight before everything was on board. 

A small portion towards the stem had been reserved 
to our use for sleeping, feeding, and living purposes. One 
of the ground sheets of the tent was fixed up on four in- 
secure poles to form an awning over us. 

Our sacks containing camp beds and blankets were 
placed about to act as bolsters as we lay down on the 
bare boards in the vain hope of sleeping. But they were 
the most bony bolsters I have ever known, for on what- 
ever corner you took up your position, there was a point 
of the bedstead running into you. We were all glad 
when a sharp breeze sprang up in the early morning, and 
the sails that had been nodding all night braced them- 
selves together for work. 

Mid-day we passed a small island which is inhabited by 
fisher folk. They trap the fish by means of baskets with 
inverted necks like a safety ink-pot. Someone suggested 
pulling into shore in a canoe that was passing at the 
time for the purpose of buying some fish, but the people 
had misinterpreted our intentions and had armed them- 
selves with spears, and were waiting for us entrenched 
behind large rocks. So it was decided to lunch off tinned 
sausages that day ! Our prospects of landing and enjoy- 
ing a change at night from the hard boards of the dhow 
were shattered by the captain assuring us that he could not 
possibly waste such a splendid wind as was blowing, but 
must push on. Accordingly, mattresses and pillows were 
pulled out and spread on the deck, so that our couch might 
be a trifle more comfortable than on the preceding night. 

18 



On Land and Lake 

The wind did blow, and the dhow pitched to and fro 
like the tub of Diogenes. He must have been a better 
sailor than most of us were, else he could never have 
steered his craft. 

It was wonderful how the food was cooked. The 
Swahili boys are prodigies, and can somehow manage 
under any condition. Finding a large iron tray they 
built up their wood fires on it in the bow of the boat 
and with the usual three stones they boiled their 
kettle, saucepan or other kitchen requisites. 

The scenery round the shores of the lake is exceedingly 
pretty. The land gently slopes upward. Here and there 
a belt of forest stretches down to the water's edge ; the 
grass huts huddled together in small communities just 
appear peeping out from the creeks and woods, and birds 
of gorgeous colours fly about or build their nests in 
the branches overhanging the water's edge. 

On the third day of our trip we were becalmed, and it 
was decided to land on an island for the night so that we 
might get a complete change of toilet and rest. There 
was no canoe at hand to take us ashore, so a raft was 
constructed of poles and two large Masai hide shields 
which had been given me up country. We crossed over, 
two by two, carefully balanced in the centre of the raft, 
with shoes and stockings in our hands. The men 
managed to get a few things across, but the raft would 
not bear the weight of the tents. A ground sheet was 
once more utilized by tying it to branches of trees to form 
a covering over our camp and beds at night. Looking 
through the mosquito net I saw the stars peeping down, 
and the fireflies and glow worms lighting up the air and 
shrubs, and heard the croaking of the frogs and the night 
bird cooing in the trees. It seemed like a page out of 
childhood's fairy book. 

There was no chance of getting off in the morning, and 
we made a tour of the island. It chanced to be the 

19 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

one on which the Ruwenzori had been wrecked. The 
captain and his native crew had succeeded in getting 
safely to land, but were in a sad plight without shoes and 
socks and provisions. It was most fortunate our party 
happened to have lighted on that particular island, and 
so were able to replenish the meagre stores of these ship- 
wrecked mariners. The natives flocked together when 
they heard of the arrival of white men, and begged them 
to shoot the hippopotami that had been destroying their 
cultivation. They showed us round their village, in the 
centre of which was their devil temple. The head priest 
alone was allowed to enter. Round the courtyard were 
placed flat and upright stone slabs ; these were the seats 
of the priests, who sat round in a semi-circle when their 
head priest was inside invoking the evil spirit. The only 
one in our party who knew their language spoke to them, 
and they all united in asking that teachers might be sent 
to them to instruct them in these "good words." Now 
there is no need to send to them, for since then the island 
has been depopulated by the sleeping sickness. Not one 
inhabitant remains and they died with their request 
unanswered ! 

On the morning of the eighth day we were all eagerly 
examining the fringe of land lying straight ahead. The 
opera glasses spied out a few dark figures moving about 
close to the landing stage. In imagination and Pears' 
Soap advertisements I had often seen the picture, the 
blue, transparent water, a stretch of sandy shore the 
background of banana trees and palms, a few grass huts, 
and a dark-skinned figure standing out in bold relief with 
the broad smile displaying a row of white teeth. 
" Otyano Munange " (How do you do, my friend ?) and a 
prolonged exchange of grunts greeted us as we stepped 
from the dhow on to the shores of Port Munyonyo. 

During the few minutes of waiting for our boxes to be 
unloaded I moved toward a little hut from which the 

20 



On Land and Lake 

sound of voices was coming. Peeping in at the low door- 
way, I saw a man dressed in white linen (evidently the 
head of the household). He was sitting, reading aloud 
to a group of men and women gathered round him. The 
Book was the Gospel of St. John. 

Surely this was Uganda, where the people who sat in 
darkness have seen a great light. It is wonderful what 
the Bible has done for them. Its influence penetrates 
the entire country, and its very utterances are the 
language of the people. Its expressions of greeting and 
farewell are used, and with reverence. 

How our bicycles did run away with us over those 
seven miles to Mengo. After mounting them, we were 
followed by numbers of natives, and from every direction 
they came out of their shambas to greet us, falling down 
on their knees and saying, " You are our prayers, thank 
you." 

On hearing of our arrival, our missionary friends had 
all started off to greet us. They described it as a little 
bit of England to see seven cyclists coming along with an 
impress of home which the five weeks' knocking about had 
not quite obliterated. The first one to meet us must 
have been guilty of scorching, as he was far ahead of the 
others, and he was determined to give us a real taste of 
Uganda right away, for he produced from his pocket 
some bananas (shall I own it, rather squashy) wrapped 
up in a newspaper ; they were good ! 

Next came along a mule, bearing towards us Bishop 
Tucker, who had come out to welcome his new recruits. 
I do not remember quite distinctly the other faces, for we 
were literally hemmed in by scores of excited natives, 
hustling, bustling, clapping, and chattering, seizing our 
hands and thanking us for having come so far to them, 
while tears of gratitude glistened on some of their 
splendid, intelligent, brown faces. 

21 



CHAPTER III 

Mengo, Uganda 

JUDGING from the view obtained from this, the 
native capital of Uganda, Mengo, the country 
seems composed of hills. On one of these stands 
the cathedral and missionaries' houses, and the splendid 
hospital, then just ready to be opened (but since burnt 
down), and holding fifty to sixty beds. The Roman 
Catholic Mission commands another hill, while on the 
highest is the King's palace. The head man of the district 
builds at the top of each hill, and his dependents live round, 
their site being determined by their social position. The 
whole district is densely populated, but this is difficult at 
first to see, as the huts harmonize with the vegetation 
around, or are hidden by the large banana plantations 
that surround each dwelling. What strikes a new 
arrival are the very wide, well-made roads that have been 
cut in various directions, quite a novel feature for Africa. 
Living out here is necessarily very simple. The 
English houses then resembled bungalows constructed of 
poles and light, long reeds sewn together by means of a 
black fibre : two layers formed the walls, with dried leaves 
stuffed between, the roof being thatched with grass. The 
floors were beaten earth, with skins or grass mats thrown 
down in place of carpets. There were only outside 
doors, pieces of terra cotta coloured bark cloth being 
hung as curtains between the inside doorways. The 
apertures made in the walls for windows were closed in 

22 



Mengo, Uganda 

at night by shutters of sewn reeds. The rooms looked 
distinctly rural, with bookshelves, wardrobes, and 
cabinets made with packing cases of uniform size 
stacked one upon another. A few native curios and 
chairs placed about were rather more useful than 
ornamental. 

Each missionary's house was fitted up with a spare 
room, but visitors were expected to bring their own 
furniture and attendants, even though it might be but a 
Saturday till Monday visit. If you were not a bona-fide 
fresh arrival you had to bring your cow as well. The 
European's staff of domestics consists generally of small 
boys varying from eight to thirteen years of age. These 
cook, wait, clean up, wash, in fact will do anything you 
want them to do and a great deal more besides. As we 
passed the little cook shed one evening the chef was 
rubbing up the roast chicken with his grimy little hands 
to give the final touch before sending it to table. The 
ladies employ female labour, and the girls range from three 
to fifteen years of age, after which they marry. One 
small thing of five years was " parlourmaid " to their 
household at the time of our arrival. At afternoon tea 
she strolled into the room with the tea-pot balanced on 
her head ; in the same exalted position were the vege- 
tables brought in at dinner served up in a large plaited 
basket shaped like a Japanese hat, with leaves placed 
under the unsweetened cooked bananas or potatoes. 

The kitchen, like the servants' quarters, is built apart 
from the houses. There are no ranges or stoves. The 
cooking-pot, saucepan, kettle, or frying-pan sits on three 
bricks or large stones between which the firewood is 
rammed. The cooking-pots make successful ovens for 
bread-making if a tray of fire is placed on the top. 

The day after our arrival being Sunday we had 
an early opportunity of witnessing a little of what 
Christianity has done for Uganda. The unreached tribes 

23 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

we had passed through in their nakedness and savagery, 
propitiating demons, and offering human sacrifices, 
are what these people were before the Gospel reached 
them. Now, as the huge church drum, echoing from hill 
to hill, called to morning prayer, a continual stream of 
people was seen pouring into the large "basket" 
cathedral. As we entered at 9 a.m. what an impressive 
sight awaited us ! Perhaps the first thing that attracted 
one's attention was the veritable forest of poles that sup- 
ported the roof; but, then, looking down, the eye travelled 
over a sea of black woolly heads of about two thousand 
men dressed in spotless white linen on one side, and of 
women draped in the bark cloths, so soft and restful to the 
eye, on the other. There were no chairs or pews, but each 
one brought a goat skin or grass kneeling mat. With no 
muffled, inarticulate voice did they join in the service, 
but as they all united in the Lord's Prayer a noise as of 
thunder sounded throughout the building. When the 
time for reading of the Scriptures had come, there was 
a general unbandaging of Gospels or Testaments, which 
their owners securely bind round in strips of calico to 
protect them.* 

In the afternoon we paid a visit to the young king 
Daudi Chwa. His palace is approached by passing through 
an endless number of courtyards formed by woven cane 
fencings ten feet high. In some of these are circular reed 
houses for his courtiers and servants ; the last one is the 
royal enclosure. Three round buildings stand here, 
coloured grass plaitings over the entrance distinguishing 
them from others. In one, the audience chamber, sat the 
King, then aged four years. 

* Surely the most ardent critic ot missions could not have failed to 
be convinced of the reality of these people's Christianity had he 
looked at the order of this great service. Their reverent behaviour 
as they worshipped in a church built with their own hands, and 
listened to one of their own native clergy, must have deeply impressed 
even the most cynical onlooker. 

24 



Mengo, Uganda 

There was no furniture in the apartment; fine grass was 
carefully and uniformly laid on the ground, over which 
mats were placed on a slightly elevated reed dais. He 
was an important-looking little lad ; his curious get-up 
made him appear twice his age. In spite of the great 
heat, a man's European shirt fell in folds to his feet, and 
over this was an English greasy black morning coat, made 
to fit a man of abnormal proportions. Five women and 
two chiefs waited upon him. Not a word did he speak, 
but stared uninterruptedly, and when on leaving we had 
reached the last courtyard, I was peremptorily recalled. 
It was my velvet collar band he wanted to inspect. 

The form of native government is very highly 
developed and remarkable, for a tribe that had had no 
contact with the forms of government adopted by 
civilized nations. The feudal system is practically that in 
vogue throughout the country, which is divided up into 
shires or districts placed under a chief called the Saza, 
who has his own sub-chiefs. He has the power of settling 
trifling local questions, but everything of importance has 
to be transferred to the King. 

The English Government had recently levied upon the 
whole Protectorate a hut tax of 3 rupees yearly. This 
creates a new demand, and has had a salutary effect on 
a people whose needs are so few, and these so easily 
supplied, that they have had little necessity for learning 
the dignity of work. 

Tourists could easily spend some days profitably in 
Mengo, where there is much of real interest to be seen. I 
will give my few days of excursion trips, as there is no 
Baedeker on the subject. 

First day. Grand reception by natives. 

Second day. Visit to Cathedral, Schools, and 
Industrial Department of the Church Missionary Society, 
open each day from 8.0 to 4.0. Pay respects to His 
Majesty Daudi I., King of Uganda. 

25 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Third day. Uganda " Picture Gallery" in the Bishop's 
Palace (constructed of mud and wattle). Every picture 
produced by the Bishop's own brush while journeying 
through the country. They were so beautiful and give 
such a faithful idea of the country I simply longed to 
despatch the whole lot home. 

Fourth day. Three miles' walk to the ruins of Mackay's 
Church and house. Banana plantations now extend over 
his once carefully cultivated garden, a few scattered 
bricks (the first and only introduction of bricks up to that 
time in Mengo) point out the place where the foundation 
of the great invisible Church of Uganda was laid. As 
one stood there one almost felt surrounded by that crowd 
of witnesses of whom the world was not worthy. Just 
to the front is that sacred spot where the first native 
converts were martyred for their faith. 

Fifth day. Visit to the Hospital. I went with the 
doctor to observe and take notes for future use. The 
day's work commenced with a half-hour's service held in 
an open outside court. The gate was closed then against 
those who might come for the medicine without the 
morning prayers. Some 150 patients were seeking 
attention this day, and they were allowed into the tiny 
consulting room five at a time. They evidently have a 
good idea of anatomy, for they have a word for nearly 
every bone and gland. Their faith in the white doctor 
speaks eloquently of the cures he has effected. One man 
was quite hurt because the surgeon would not take out 
his liver. 

On the same day can be fitted in a bicycle ride to the 
native potteries. Outside a small hut we found two men 
squatted moulding the soft clay with their hands ; a well 
rounded flint gave a polish to the pot, while a strand of 
coarsely plaited grass stamped on the soft clay gave a 
border impress. A huge wood furnace was burning in an 
adjoining court into which the vessels were placed and 

26 



Mengo, Uganda 

baked. We were so interested in this process that the 
sun had set before we were aware of it, and our ride home 
was in pitch darkness over the deep rutted roads. I had 
a nasty fall which suggested that it might be wiser to 
walk our machines the remainder of the distance. When 
we reached Mengo sharp pain and swollen ankle told of a 
sprain. This kept me a prisoner for three days. It was 
rather providential, for the mail from England came in, 
and as no letters had reached us since leaving the home 
shores, just ten weeks ago, a very big budget was handed 
in to me. Only those who have really experienced it can 
enter into the awful homesickness that sometimes a girl 
feels on her first long separation from England. After 
some amount of tossing about and roughing it, to be 
suddenly carried back by a letter into the peace and quiet 
of the home, and to read all the interesting little natural 
bits which make you feel once again among the home 
circle, for a minute, when no one is looking, you may 
behave like a big baby. 

The destinations of our party of missionaries were 
soon definitely fixed ; I was asked to go as one of the first 
women to Toro, a separate and independent kingdom nearly 
200 miles further inland to the north-west of Uganda. 
It involves a journey of 12 to 14 days, as the road is rather 
tough and there are no conveyances. The wonderful 
growth of the work there dates from the conversion of 
the King Kasagama at the beginning of the year 1896, 
who was the first monarch to be baptized in the whole 
Protectorate. In 1897 he wrote the following letter to 

the C. M.S. : 

TORO, February i, 1897. 

To my dear Friends the Elders of the Church in Europe. 

I greet you very much in our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us 

on the cross to make us children of God. How are you, sirs ? 

I am Daudi (David) Kasagama, King of Toro The reason why 

I commence to tell you that is because I wish you to know 

me well. 

27 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

God our Father gave me the Kingdom of Toro to reign over for 
Him, therefore I write to you my brethren to beseech you 
to remember me and to pray for me every day, all the days. 

I praise my Lord very very much indeed for the words of the 
Gospels He brought into my country, and you my brothers 
I thank you for sending Teachers to come here to teach us 
such beautiful words. 

I therefore tell you that I want very much, God giving me 
strength, to arrange all the matters of this country for Him 
only, that all my people may understand that Christ Jesus 
He is the Saviour 01 all countries, and that He is the King 
of all kings. Therefore, sirs, I tell you that I have built a 
very large Church in my Capital, and we call it "The 
Church of St. John." 

Also that very many people come every day into the Church to 
learn the "Words of Life," perhaps 150, also on Sunday 
they are very many who come to worship God our Father in 
His holy Church and to praise Him. I also tell you that in 
the gardens near here we have built six Churches. The 
people of this place have very great hunger indeed for the 
" Bread of Life," many die every day while still in their sins 
because they do not hear the Gospel. The teachers are few 
and those who wish to read, many. Therefore, sirs, my dear 
friends, have pity upon my people, in great darkness ; they 
do not know where they are going. 

Also I want to tell you that there are very many heathen nations 
close to my country Abakonjo, Abamba, Abahoko. 
Abasagala, Abasongola, Abaega, and many others in 
darkness. We heard that now in Uganda there are English 
ladies ; but, sirs, here is very great need for ladies to come 
and teach our ladies. I want very very much that they 
come. 

Also, my friends, help us every day in your prayers. I want my 
country to be a strong Lantern that is not put out, in this 
land of darkness. 

Also I wish to make dear friends in Europe, because we are One 
in Christ Jesus Our Saviour. Now good-bye, my dear 
friends. God be with you in all your decisions. 

I am your friend who loves you in Jesus, 

BAUD I KASAGAMA. 

How well I remember the deep impression that request 

28 



Mengo, Uganda 



made on me as I read it, little realizing at the time that 
God would send me out in answer to it. Mr. and Mrs. 
A. B. Lloyd were also located to Toro, and Miss Pike, 
who had arrived in Uganda six months previously. 

As soon as we knew our location we went off to 
Kampala, the market place and Government station of 
Mengo, to lay in a stock of oil, wheat, matches, bark 
cloths ; also cowrie shells, beads, and calico, which are 
the currency of the Toro district. Our purse took the 
shape of two large sacks, each weighing 65lbs., and these 
needed two men to carry them. 

Kampala was very different from Namirembe. Swahilis, 
Indians, Arabs, and natives crowded the narrow, stuffy 
street called a market place. Open booths extended 
down either side, and on shelves were displayed various 
native grains and vegetable produce, while gorgeous 
coloured prints and calicoes, baads, and brass wire 
adorned the outfitters' shops. As we passed along, small 
amused crowds followed us to see the " tall ladies." 

The law court would have shocked the members of the 
profession of Fleet Street. It was a barn-like structure 
built of reeds ; there were no benches and witness boxes, 
the only official item being a coat of arms wrought on an 
enamelled iron plate over the judge's seat and table. 

We heard there was a nice little white-washed mud 
house awaiting us in Toro, but there were no windows 
or doors. The European missionary already working 
there promised to make these when we supplied him with 
wood from our packing-cases. 

Toro was still in its very dark state, but the people 
were willing and eager to learn. The Uganda of the 
present has been the result of years of labour, the cost of 
noblest lives, the scenes of grandest heroism, the patient, 
untiring, lonely work of such men as Mackay, Pilkington, 
and many others. Toro appeared to have few physical 
dangers, but the moral and spiritual difficulties were just 

29 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

the same. A fortnight's journey seemed a long distance 
to the nearest European station, especially to one straight 
out from the roar and bustle of London life, the noise and 
rattle of a large family of brothers and sisters. 

We felt very incompetent implements, but remembered 
the prayers going up for us in England, and believed that 
they would have power with the great Master-Builder, 
the Architect of the ages so that the habitation being 
builded together for God in Toro might be " all glorious 
within." 



30 



CHAPTER IV 

Toro : The Land of the Mountains of 
the Moon 

ON Tuesday, April loth, igoo, the start was made for 
Toro. Our caravan of porters had been sent on 
before to have our first camp in readiness on our 
arrival. 

Bishop Tucker, who was coming our way for 
two days on a visit to an out-station, set off on his mule, 
with Miss Pike mounted on a most apologetic-looking 
donkey. The Lloyds and myself arranged our departure 
two hours later, as our cycles promised a quicker method 
of locomotion. Having said the last good-bye to friends, 
I went away for an hour's quiet to get strengthened for 
the journey. Taking out my " Daily Light " I looked 
for its message, which was the promise given to Israel 
while in captivity, " Thy renown went forth among the 
heathen for thy beauty, for thou art perfect in the majesty 
(R.V.) that I have put upon thee, saith the Lord." 
What a glorious responsibility through the graciousness 
of God to be allowed to proclaim the renown, beauty and 
majesty of Christ among the heathen. 

At 3.0 three cyclists could have been seen scorching 
down the hills from Mengo with a crowd of boys and 
men as bodyguard, all the twelve miles to camp. Africans 
seem to be possessed with an extra breathing reservoir, 
for they can run almost any distance without stopping to 
regain breath. It was dark or semi-obscure in the small 
forest opening where we found our encampment. Miss 

31 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Pike was unceremoniously seated on a big box swallowing 
pints of tea ! The porters had tried to erect our tent, 
but had not learned the knack, and we had to creep into 
flabby folds of canvas. It looked like a native who wants 
his one daily meal it sadly needed inflating. Oh, dear ! 
How did we manage that night ! It became dark so soon, 
everybody had to fish about with candles among a 
medley of boxes, porters and food. Our Baganda boys 
were certainly not trained like the Swahili attendants 
who came up with us to Uganda, in the mysteries and 
arts of camping out. European equipments were un- 
solved conundrums to them. Our four youths looked 
hopelessly vacant, jabbering about round the tent, doing 
nothing but getting into one's way. When we did sit 
down to a personally - superintended cooked meal, the 
" waiter " knocked the wash-hand basin of water over 
my pillows, which had to be round a fire all -night to dry. 
The "boys" can learn to do things fairly nicely if you 
have patience to allow them plenty of time for an idea to 
filter through their minds. They wanted an hour for 
preparing our table at each meal, which was only 
furnished with the simplest and most limited number of 
things. Sitting down before the food box they took out 
every tin and contemplated each one for some minutes 
before deciding whether salt was eaten with tea, jam 
with meat, and so on. 

The next morning at 4.30 we were all astir again, and 
as soon as our belongings were packed up, were on our 
way. How I wish I had the power of descriptive 
writing to enable others to peep into one of the many 
exquisite belts of forest that crossed the road at constant 
intervals. They surpassed any Kew tropical greenhouse. 
Unlike the tangled disorderly forests passed on our way 
to Uganda, date palms, trees, climbers, flowers such as 
orchids, sunflowers, wild pea and tomatoes flourished 
there in perfect life and vigour. 

32 



The Mountains of the Moon 

Emerging from the cool shade of these trees, our track 
passed through stretches of papyrus and pampas grasses 
eight to fifteen feet high. It was almost impossible to see 
the path of about one foot wide which had become over- 
grown and covered by broken tiger grass. Cycling was 
anything but easy. We had to butt our sun helmets into 
the long, wet waving grass, blindly careering forward. 
There is absolutely no level ground between Toro and 
Uganda, but a succession of hills over the tops of which 
the road has been cut. The descents, sometimes very 
steep are dangerous on account of the thick muddy swamps 
that frequently wind round the bases of the hills. The 
bridges over these swamps often get washed away in the 
rainy seasons. One almost feels the treacherous malaria, 
as heat waves sweep heavily along, while being carried 
through these " Sloughs of Despond " on the shoulder 
of one of the strongest porters. I suppose one of these 
was responsible for the heat sickness that I woke up with 
one morning. A long tiresome march lay ahead, so the 
hammock was insisted upon, and six men, lent by the 
chief of the village, came as carriers. It was rather 
ludicrous to watch the sympathy of the natives. I could 
have imagined myself dying; but the shock they sustained 
when the first little bit of decent road was reached ! 
In half-a-minute the awe-struck men stood gasping as, call- 
ing out to be lowered, the poor, dying " Mukyala " (lady) 
coasted down a tempting hill. They looked quite relieved 
when they found her awaiting the hammock at the foot 
of the next climb. 

In one camp the chief came to pay us his respects 
and brought six old men with him and several folks to 
whom he wanted to show the white ladies, none having 
passed along that way before. I could do nothing more 
than greet them with an extenuated string of grunts, but 
this pleased them immensely. Mr. Lloyd asked if I 
would let down my hair, as they had never seen 

33 D 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

anything different from their own cropped, frizzy pates, 
and the short hair of a few white men. Out came 
the hairpins, and as the hair tumbled down a 
loud laugh of delight and surprise came from 
every onlooker. A lesson in hairdressing 'followed, 
and each twist, turn and pin was watched with lively 
excitement. A spoonful of salt was given round to every 
visitor before leaving. Their eyes glistened, their hands 
were lifted to their mouths, the tongues protruded, and, 
oh, the delight of that moment ! They smacked their 
lips and relished it as much as I enjoyed sherbet in girl- 
hood's days. The remaining dainty morsel was tied up 
in a piece of banana leaf. 

The roads proved too much for my poor wheel. Until 
it could be attended to by a London specialist it had to 
be regarded as a chronic displacement. The strain on 
the fork had been too incessant and heavy with only a 
front rim brake. The ruts, ditches, and obstacles had 
given it a terrible shaking, and finally succeeded in 
literally tearing the fork away from the bar. The 
remainder of the journey, about 140 miles, had to be 
covered on foot. Miss Pike was in the same predica- 
ment, as the donkey gave in even before the bicycle. 

On the sixth day from Mengo we reached Lwekula and 
put up at a European fort, vacated now, but built and 
occupied at the last Soudanese rebellion when the Nubian 
troops and Mohammedan population were up in arms 
against the British Government. It is a square fenced-in 
enclosure with sentinel boxes at each corner and a deep, 
dry moat surrounding it. Two or three reed sheds 
stand inside, one of which we made use of instead of our 
tents, which are intensely hot during the day time. 
Unfortunately, Mrs. Lloyd was taken with bad fever as 
we reached here, and as her temperature remained at 104 
on the third day a special runner was dispatched to 
Mengo asking Dr. Cook to come out to her. The six 

34 



The Mountains of the Moon 

following days of waiting for his arrival were anxious 
times to us all, and we watched by her bedside day and 
night. When he did come the fever refused to yield to 
treatment. After a fortnight spent thus it was decided 
that she should be carried back to the nearest European 
station three days away. Before leaving, the doctor had 
an opportunity of relieving several poor native sufferers. 
One was a tubercular case, which necessitated amputation 
of the finger. In lieu of an operating theatre the patient 
was laid on the ground and given chloroform ! We 
enjoyed a few regular out-patient days of hospital life 
again. 

The knowledge that our two travelling friends must 
return had come to us on my birthday, and a new weight 
seemed added to my quarter of a century of life. They 
had been like brother and sister to me ever since leaving 
England, and now it was like going away from everything 
that connected one with the old land. Then I turned to 
my Bible, and Psalm 22 was the birthday portion " The 
Kingdom is the Lord's " stood out as written in gold. I 
could nsver get beyond God's country, God's territory. 
It brought such peace, comfort, protection. No longer 
was it one person almost alone in a big strange land, but 
a child of a King who reigneth in Africa as in England, 
and never sends without Himself going, too. 

The doctor left at 12.0 p.m. on April 30th to get ready 
the camp for the Lloyds, and at 4.0 p.m. we fixed the 
invalid up in the hammock and left the Fort with them. 
It was a sad and silent procession, and a talk with Mr. 
Lloyd showed us how bitter was the disappointment to 
them both. At sunset we stood and wished them good- 
bye, and it just needed all the strength we could command 
to keep back the hot tears that wanted to fall with those 
that shook the poor little patient. Neither of us could 
speak as Miss Pike and I returned to the desolate Fort. 
Already two of our companions has been obliged to turn 

35 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

back, and we two girls were left to go on with a missionary 
who had come out to escort us to Toro. 

At midnight my companion was seized with violent 
sickness and slight temperature. Donning slippers and 
enveloping myself in a blanket, I ran out across'the Fort 
to rouse one of the boys for hot water. It was awfully 
uncanny. The starlit sky was entirely shut out by angry 
clouds, and the darkness was intolerable. Only the shrill 
shriek of the hyenas broke the stillness, and I half expected 
the faint light from my candle lamp to fall upon a leopard 
or reptile. 

After two days, however, she so far recovered as to be 
able in a hammock to take up the journey once more. 

I am quite sure Heber had never visited Uganda when 

he wrote : 

11 Where Afric's sunny fountains 
Roll down their golden sand." 

If he had done so it might have run : 

" Where Afric's swamps and mountains 
Meet one on every hand." 

Our experience next day especially proved this. At 6 a.m. 
a cloudless sky greeted us, and damp white mists were 
sleeping in each hollow. At the foot of the first hill we 
were confronted by a long swamp with tall papyrus grass 
growing on either side. We had recourse to the 
hammock, and as the water reached the carriers' waists, 
one felt the canvas was some inches in water and that it 
was a case of floating through the dirty, stagnant river. 
I wondered if poor little Moses in the bulrushes ever felt 
as we did among the papyrus. The second swamp gave 
us a little variety, as the reed bridge had been broken 
down and the step down into the swamp was so steep 
that we felt uncomfortably like sliding over the front 
carrier, while the climb up at the other end gave us our 
first sensation of standing on our heads. 

36 



The Mountains of the Moon 

At ii o'clock we halted under a tree and feasted on 
sausages (tinned), sweet potatoes, cornflour, biscuits, and 
tea. Sausages are a great treat out here, and we only 
indulged as we were doing a double march to reach Toro 
that day week. We then waited till 2 p.m. so as to 
allow the sun to cool down a bit, and enjoyed reading an 
English newspaper, the " British Weekly," of February 
i6th date. After that we felt quite ready to continue our 
march, reaching camp at 4 o'clock, only to find our tents 
had been pitched on such a disgustingly dirty old camp- 
ing ground that they had to be taken up and erected 
some hundred yards further on. 

Diary-making that day was impossible. Our tent, from 
the bottom to the top, was literally lined with mosquitoes, 
and their singing quite put in the shade the Royal Choral 
Society at the Albert Hall. In the two previous camps 
they had covered the roof, but evidently never tasted the 
joys of European flesh and feared to descend. These 
others were more initiated. 

Arriving at Butiti, which is only 30 miles from 
Kabarole, the capital of Toro, we found a most prosperous 
work going on among the people. Our kind escort from 
Lwekula, Mr. Ecob, was stationed there. A marriage 
was solemnized in the Mission Church on the day of our 
arrival. We went out of curiosity and to get a peep into 
the native customs. Never have I disgraced myself by 
such uncontrollable laughter. First of all, the pair were 
not forthcoming, and so the parson organized a search 
party. A hilarious sound from the porch warned us of 
the bridegroom's arrival. He was a lanky stripling of 
about 17, dressed in a long white gown. His best man 
wore a very hole-y shirt, Jaeger-coloured for want of a 
wash. An unwound turban was thrown over his 
shoulder till required. The bridegroom went forward 
and squatted on a grass mat in front of the chancel to 
await his betrothed. Soon a slow, solemn procession 

37 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

coming in at a side door brought in view the belated 
bride, accompanied and surrounded by about thirty 
maidens. How can I describe that picture ! She was 
ugly as ugly as the imagination could picture ; some- 
what advanced in years ; her face was marred by cutting 
and branding, and she was reeking with grease which 
was amply smeared over face and shoulders. On her 
head sat a red Turk's cap worn as a sign of marriage or 
high station. This, on account of its size, had the 
appearance of a candle extinguisher. Then her body 
was swathed in all sorts of coloured prints and beads. 
After the ceremony, the couple left by different doors, the 
bridesmaids holding an old torn " brollie " over the 
retiring bride, who was weeping copiously. The women 
regard marriage in rather a philosophical light. They 
say it has two arms. One brings a home, protection, and 
presents of clothing and rejoicing. The other, shuts the 
door of liberty ; it brings work, and that means sorrow. 
The thought of the latter predominates on the wedding day. 
When six miles away from Butiti we got our first view 
of the Mountains of the Moon. I can never forget the 
sight that was suddenly opened up as we turned a sharp 
bend round a high hill. It was 4.30 p.m. Huge peaks, 
sharp and rugged, stretched from north to south in an 
unbroken range of sixty-nine miles long. Heavy black 
thunder clouds rolled over some of the summits, while 
the lightning shot out angry tongues of fire. Torrents of 
rain were sweeping away to our right, while the sun beat 
down in full strength upon the valleys. Above all, calm 
and serene, shone the region of snow. For all ages the 
sun has directed its equatorial power against that ice 
fortress. Storms have thundered and crushed against its 
foundations, but it has ever stood as the one impregnable 
and unsullied witness of holiness and purity to God, in a 
land where darkness has reigned, and the storms of 
passion, vice and barbarity have laid desolate. 

38 



The Mountains of the Moon 

Descending to the forest just beneath us, we sat under 
the shade of its trees, keeping well in view of glorious 
Ruwenzori. While tea was in preparation we just gave 
ourselves up to the influences of environment. For a 
moment we even dared to feel poetical. Long forgotten 
stanzas lived again in the memory, but were all put down 
as original and momentary genius. My turn having 
come round, I made a rush at something with a guilty 
conscience of poaching on another one's preserves, and it 
ran something like : 

" Mountains on whose rugged breast 
The labouring clouds do often rest." 

But I got no further, for who should appear but someone 
suspiciously like a tourist. So unusual a sight made us 
forget English customs, and we waited for no introductions. 
We received a real warm welcome straight away from our 
companion-designate and only co-worker in Kabarole. 

Next morning we rose at 5.0 and saw the sun rise on the 
snow peaks and then started on our last walk. 

Almost immediately runners met us bearing letters 
from the King and Queen, the Namasole (the King's 
mother), the Prime Minister, and chiefs, all welcoming 
us in words of warmest thanks. These men scarcely 
waited for our verbal answer before rushing back. In 
fact, the road for a long way ahead was defined by men 
and boys rushing toward and from us with messages. As 
we drew nearer a few teachers and others came to prepare 
us for the reception that awaited us, and informed us 
that the women of Toro were congregated just beyond 
our next hill. We little guessed what an army lay 
entrenched there. As we approached, one moving mass 
of fluttering white and crimson gowns came bearing down 
upon us, rushing, clapping their hands, and shrieking. 
Then crowds of black arms were thrown wildly round our 
necks, and as many pates placed from one shoulder to 

the other. 

39 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

We talked as well as we could to them, but our pro- 
gress was slow, as every now and again they stopped us 
and repeated their demonstrations. Over the next hill 
the male force had rallied, and here a no less hearty 
though more formal welcome awaited us. 

We made for the church, which was crowded, and a 
few impromptu prayers and hymns of praise went up on 
our behalf. Then we inspected our future white-washed 
home, and from that moment, all day long and every 
day, we were crowded with visitors. 

The royal band was sent down by His Majesty to play 
outside our house. It was composed of six drummers 
and twelve fifers, whose instruments are able to produce 
about five notes, and with these they produce indistin- 
guishable tunes. Their appreciation of music seems to 
depend on the volume of sound produced, so in order to 
give us a proof of their welcome they blew to bursting 
pitch. All day long we were serenaded and at night, 
too. It went on into the second day, and thinking the 
bandsmen might prove to have stronger lung power than 
we had of endurance, we sent a polite message to his 
Majesty asking that they might be allowed to rest at 
night till daylight. 

So at last we had reached our journey's end. The 
sixteen weeks that had run out since leaving home had 
been long and eventful. As the evening fell on our first 
day in Toro, we gathered round our log fire and sang 
together " O God our help in ages past." 



40 



CHAPTER V 

The Country 

TORO is one of the four Kingdoms that comprise the 
Uganda Protectorate and lies on the North-west 
boundary. The present outlook would lead one to 
think that it will remain unaffected longer than the 
other three neighbouring States by the inroads that 
civilization is making in Uganda, which the railway has 
brought into such close proximity to the outside world, 
while traders pass along the splendid caravan roads 
through Bunyoro up to the Nile, and to the Southern 
cattle-rearing Kingdom of Ankole. There is nothing to 
attract them to Toro, as the journey is a real physical 
effort, and there is no commercial prospect of mineral 
wealth or remunerative industry to justify the long journey. 
The ivory that formerly brought the Arab traders into the 
country is now almost entirely preserved by the British 
Government. So, unless Toro is visited by more suc- 
cessful prospectors than those who have already casually 
looked round, who shall discover some hidden mine of 
wealth, in all probability it will remain undisturbed in 
its present state of rusticity. 

But it is a wonderful country, and one that must ever 
fascinate a lover of nature and its freaks. The moun- 
tains are in themselves a unique feature. One can 
scarcely reconcile the co-existence of an equatorial sun 
and eternal snows, yet so it is. Strange mountain tribes 
in quite primeval state live among its forests and creeks, 
while just on its other side extends Stanley's Great 
Forest with its pigmy inhabitants. 

41 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

On all sides one sees the results of the operation of 
mighty unseen forces. Numbers of extinct volcanoes are 
visible from our hill, the craters of which form the beds 
of lakes now, with vegetation and forest growth stretching 
down their sides to the water's edge. 

They must have enjoyed a good long sleep, as no hints 
of their activity are traced in the native traditions, which 
go back to a corresponding Adamic period. There are 
quite a number of legends, however, which invariably 
associate them with evil spirits that are supposed to live 
in the craters. This is believed even still by some of the 
raw peasants. One day a woman told me that her two 
little boys had been playing in the courtyard while she 
was at work, and the " Muchwezi " (evil spirit) from the 
Crater hill two miles away had come and run off with 
her elder child. For two years he had remained lost to 
them, when suddenly he returned clothed in a strip of 
bark-cloth and a charm round his neck peculiar to that 
evil spirit. He was sworn to divulge nothing of what 
had happened to him while being with the evil spirits in 
the crater, under the penalty of being caught away again 
by them. 

Here let me recount a rather unique picnic we had at 
one of these crater lakes three miles away. It happened 
on a Monday the Missionaries' off-day when general 
repairs and washing are usually done, or visits paid to 
neighbouring villages. We started off on our bikes in 
high spirits which managed to survive a heavy thunder- 
storm that overtook us half way and soaked us through. 
We hung ourselves out to dry round a fire in the hut on 
the lake shore, and having warmed ourselves with tea 
made for the lake in search of wild-duck. We baled 
the water out of the dug-out canoe and set off with three 
boys as paddlers. You never met with anything more 
aggravating than an African dug-out ; they are so badly 
balanced that the least movement threatens to overturn 

42 



The Country 

the skiff; and as for steering, that is out of the question. 
Anyhow, when we were far away from our landing point, 
the canoe refused to move, except in complete circles. We 
could make no headway; the united efforts of all barring 
myself, who did not row failed to move the boat except 
in rapid revolutions. Then a storm blew up and dark- 
ness seemed to be suddenly settling down on us. One of 
our party, who knew from experience our danger, was in 
a terrible fright. I tried hard to tune up to " Excelsior" 
and " Midshipmite," which eventually evidently appealed 
to the kind heart of the elements, for the boat moved and 
we were safely landed. But the return home was the 
difficulty. The moon went in as soon as it appeared, 
and as it was so dark a different route was suggested, in 
order to escape the river which we had to cross on our 
way out. About half way we found out that the recent 
storms had washed away the bridge we had relied upon 
to get us across the river and so were obliged to trust to 
other means. Miss Pike headed the procession on a 
boy's shoulder, but as the water came up to the lad's arm- 
pit her position was far from enviable. Then I ventured 
on the donkey, sitting in a sort of tailor fashion, but, alas! 
the water refused to let me off scot free. After that, in a 
miserably drenched condition, with our flapping skirts 
like reservoirs of water, we trudged on through long grass 
and thick mud, and at last reached a succession of deep 
swamps. One of these looked so tragic and interminable 
that the men insisted on crossing hands and taking me 
through in dandy-chair style. I shall not forget that 
experience. Like Christian of old, one of my carrier's 
strength and courage failed him, and half-way I became 
suddenly aware that he was rapidly disappearing under 
water. A violent yell brought small boys to the rescue, 
who, supporting me, managed to extricate him from the 
mud depths, and a second start was made ; but just as we 
were reaching the other side the same poor, unfortunate 

43 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

man landed in more mud, into which he sank. Before 
I could release my hold, I saw him go completely under 
the water, and felt myself rapidly descending into the 
depths over his head. The situation was so ludicrous 
that the awful after-effects were forgotten in the. peals of 
laughter which no one could restrain, in spite of the poor 
man's miserable condition and my own. 

To resume our description on the east of Ruwenzori 
the land presents an unbroken stretch of undulating 
country; on the west side the land falls rapidly and forms 
the Semliki plain, so called after the river that winds 
zigzag through it, uniting the Albert Edward Nyanza on 
the south to the Albert Nyanza on the north. 

Descending to this plain round the north end of the 
mountain range, the configuration of the land indicates 
two distinct ancient water levels ; this is confirmed by 
the quantities of small shells that are often - found in 
scattered heaps among the sandy soil, similar to those 
now found on the Lake shores. 

With the exception of the fringe of the Congo Forest 
that enters the Toro boundary, and the Bamboo Forests 
that grow so thickly on the slopes of the mountains, Toro 
is not .abundant in trees and timber. Wide veins of 
woodland winding along the river courses, however, form 
welcome relief to the prolific elephant grass that covers 
hills and valleys. Looked down upon from a distance 
these extended forests present a rich variety of tints. 
Winter is never seen, for when old age strikes the 
branches, the tree breaks forth into its second childhood 
under the influence of the sun's rays. But on entering 
beneath the shade of these tempting oases, one realizes a 
feeling of disappointment, for everything appears to have 
outgrown its beauty. Powerful and unkempt creepers 
and rubber plants have wound their long bare limbs like 
poisonous snakes round the barks and branches of the 
trees till the vegetation has ceased to breathe in their grasp, 

44 



The Country 



and has withered away. Then the mischievous little 
monkeys as they frolic and scamper about leave such 
litter behind ! 

Toro is almost entirely void of isolated trees. The 
annual grass fires that are lighted to clear the country 
for the sowing of the crops have given them no chance of 
an existence. 

Banana groves are gradually springing up over the 
country, for the Batoro are emulating the example of the 
Baganda in adopting the unsweetened banana called 
" Matoke " as their staple food. Formerly they lived 
entirely on " Bura," a small millet which possesses a 
very low percentage of nutritive quality. The only 
thing that commends it is the infinitesimal amount of 
labour needed for its cultivation, and this is the chief 
consideration of these folk. They grind the grain 
between two stones which gradually crumble away in the 
process, making the food when cooked hardly distinguish- 
able from boiled sand. 

Ruwenzori gives the whole kingdom of Toro a very 
plentiful water supply. The streams, flowing down from 
the ever-melting snow and ice, unite and form clear and 
swift rivers which provide the land with pure cold water, 
but at the same time make the country difficult for 
travelling about in. The crude bridges made by the 
natives get washed away in the rainy season, which often 
monopolises nine months out of the twelve. The moun- 
tains seem to attract every cloud that rises above the 
horizon. Nature indulges in most phenomenal pranks 
out there. There may be a perfectly bright cloudless 
afternoon, when suddenly it looks as if all the clouds of 
heaven had been unchained and let loose. From every 
direction they gather in impenetrable blackness, then 
girding themselves with fury, they burst forth and, with 
a hurricane in their wake, menace Toro with a few angry 
tears of passion and break with roars of thunder and 

45 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

tongues of fire on Ruwenzori's side. Failing to shake 
that mountain ridge, they rebound and empty themselves 
upon Kabarole. In a few minutes the whole country is 
a wash-out ; the hills send down sheets of water, and so 
do our thatched roofs. Unless these are under constant 
repair, all our little black boys, when they see a storm 
coming, are armed with pots, pans, basins, and dishes, 
and stand about in the rooms to catch the rain water, 
and so save themselves the trouble of going to the spring. 
One afternoon a terrible thunderstorm broke over 
Toro ; the force of one clap, which was simultaneous with 
the most vivid lightning, was indescribable. A thunder- 
bolt seemingly had fallen just over our heads and sounded 
as if a million dynamite explosives had burst over us. 
Scarcely had one recovered from the momentary shock, 
when the dreaded sound " Tera enduru " was heard; this 
is a fire alarm which the natives produce by clapping their 
lips with the palm of their hand. Hastening outside, we 
saw clouds of smoke issuing from Mr. and Mrs. Maddox's 
house, which adjoined ours. Not waiting for hats or 
umbrellas, we hurried across to the yard, where boys and 
girls were rushing frantically about; Mrs. Maddox was in 
bed with fever in the very room where the fire had broken 
out. Her room was blazing away, while she was asleep, 
unconscious of her danger. Wrapping her in blankets, 
we managed to have her carried across to our house. 
The lightning had struck the corner of the room, instantly 
igniting the thatch, poles, and bamboo ceiling ; the flash 
had travelled through the room, just escaping the 
bed, but singeing a little Bible on the table close by. 
Really, her escape was nothing less than a miracle. In a 
very short time the Katikiro was on the spot with his 
men, and we all worked hard at carrying out the things. 
To save the house was an impossibility. It was merely a 
fight with time and fire pulling down packing cases and 
books, carrying out stores, boxes, bedding, clothing, 

46 



The Country 

crockery, tables, and chairs, and feeling the flames were 
quickly devouring all that lay in their way. When 
almost the last item was out, we were ordered away, and 
with a crash the end of the roof fell in, while the flames 
ascended in one solid, angry mass. Meanwhile, the King 
had posted an army of men to guard our house, and fan 
away all sparks with large banana leaves. All this had 
taken but fifteen minutes, so you can imagine the rapidity 
with which everyone had worked. The only things burnt 
were a tent and camp-bed, which had been stored in the 
roof, and were quite unreachable. 

Fortunately, this happened just ten days before they 
were due to leave for England, so they were not homeless 
for long. 

The whole of Toro seemed to crowd into our court, 
congratulating us all on our escape, and thanking God for 
protecting us. You will easily imagine how dead beat we 
were when the day was over, and how we welcomed 
sleep ; but this was not to be for long, for at 12.0 mid- 
night the same alarm of fire awakened us, and tearing on 
our dressing gowns and slippers, we found Mr. Fisher's 
women's house a conflagration. This was truly terrify- 
ing, as it was in such close proximity to his own house ; 
while, as the house was entirely built of grass and reeds, 
the flames were more rapid and dense. Black figures, 
silhouetted against the flaming background, were seen 
wildly scrambling up on to these two roofs, beating away 
the flames and sparks. It really seemed an impossibility 
to save either, especially when you heard people shouting 
" Muije okutukonyera enju yahya " ("Come and help us, 
the house is on the point of burning.") But I am glad to 
say the God of Deliverances was again with us to save, 
and to show forth His power. Nothing was lost but 
the women's house, and the possessions and clothing of 
the seven women. In the morning, this was found to be 
a case of incendiarism ; a small girl, who had recently 

47 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

left through stealing, had set fire to the house to revenge 
herself on the women. 

These things are a little bit upsetting to one's nerves ; 
the constant earthquakes and terrific thunderstorms keep 
one always girded for flight. One afternoon the 
missionaries had met together for afternoon tea, and 
suddenly there was a slight underground murmur, and 
the house shook as if it trembled. There were three 
windows and one door to the room, and out of them the 
three men instantly disappeared ; they looked rather 
shaken when they came back for their tea. It was agreed 
not to let out names ! 

On the western wide of Ruwenzori, and close to the 
base of that mountain range, are boiling springs contain- 
ing a considerable proportion of sulphur. The natives 
have discovered their medicinal properties for skin 
diseases and have digged channels so as to divert part of 
the water into trenches or pits where they can sufficiently 
cool it for bathing purposes. They also carry their food 
down to the springs, and in a short time the plantains or 
potatoes are cooked and ready for use. 

Lying as it does on the Equator, Toro experiences 
scarcely any change of seasons all the year round, and in 
consequence of its being some 5,000 feet above sea level, 
the temperature scarcely rises above 75-80 Fahr. in the 
shade, while the nights are often cold enough to justify 
the log fires that the Europeans indulge in. The 
prodigious and constant rainfalls just rob the country of a 
reputation it might have held for possessing an ideal 
climate for the colonist and for agricultural purposes. 
Except in the low-lying marshy districts, Toro is 
exceptionally free from mosquitoes and malaria, 
and, up to the present, not one case of sleeping sickness 
has been known. 

The soil is abnormally rich. Eucalyptus seed sown in 
the open produces trees of 12-156:. in 18 months. 

48 



The Country 

Strawberries yield two and three plentiful crops annually, 
in fact growth has often to be checked, as in the case of 
cauliflowers, which need transplanting three times if fruit 
is to be obtained. Excellent coffee is grown in the 
country, and a very limited amount of inferior 
wheat. There is no reason why rice should not be 
successfully cultivated in the swampy soil, and tea on the 
sides of the mountains. The great obstacle to the 
developing of industries at present is the difficulty of 
transport to the districts where there is a profit-yielding 
demand. No minerals have yet been discovered with the 
exception of an appreciable amount of iron, which the 
people have instinctively learned to work ; they are able 
to turn out good spear heads, hoes, knives, and even 
rough needles of clumsy proportions. 

This is undoubtedly one of the world's natural 
zoological gardens. Huge herds of elephants, sometimes 
numbering 200 or 300, trundle through the tiger grass; 
leopards and lions may be heard at night roaring after 
their prey, sometimes even round the capital ; crocodiles 
and hippopotami infest the lakes ; monkeys and 
chimpanzees scamper about the forests ; snakes lie coiled 
up in the long grass; and everywhere teems insect life, 
from the infinitesimal jigger to the locust. Lions are 
feared less by the people than leopards. In Bunyoro, 
where lions showed a leaning towards human flesh and 
blood, the King or Chief of the infested district used to 
send out two black cows or calves, and the lions, after 
having tasted their blood, no longer troubled the people, 
but dieted from that time on pigs and hyenas. 

Toro is still in the infancy of its development ; the 
land, its resources, the people, and their possibilities are 
fields that give promise of a harvest of rich fruition to 
those who go to labour with mind and will. 



49 



CHAPTER VI 
Home Life 

LIFE in Africa offers as sharp a contrast as is possible 
to imagine to the rush and bustle of the old 
country. Perhaps this is one of the earliest 
impressions that strikes one when coming straight 
from a large and noisy household in the Metropolis. The 
keynote of this country is " mpora, mpora" "slowly, 
slowly," and its effects are seen and felt everywhere. 
Time is of no consequence or value to the people. The 
wheels of life revolve so slowly that I felt as if my whole 
being had been pulled up with a jerk. The clockwork of 
activity had to be allowed to run down gradually, in order 
to fall into correspondence with things around. 

Having left England just after Christmas, with its 
memories of busy thoroughfares streaming with 
lights from the gaily decorated shops, and teem- 
ing with folks big and small all chattering and 
preparing for the festive season, I had scarcely hid 
time to forget all this noise and rattle before 
arriving at the antipodes of existence. Step out of 
the house one evening with me at about 8.0. Miles 
and miles of country lie faintly outlined by the phantom 
light of the moon that orb of death. No other spark or 
ray breaks the long, wide expanse of darkness, and all the 
land and nature lie in profound sleep : no song of mirth 
or infant's cry reaches us, everything is mute and every- 
where is sleeping. 

50 



Home Life 

Suddenly a shrill shriek from the hyena or a leopard's 
low growl drives us indoors. Oh for the rumble of a 
London 'bus or the rush of the Irish express as it passes 
the old home in a mad hurry night after night. There is 
the faithful companionship of a scratchy pen, so that is 
how one generally turns out a voluminous correspondent 
in these parts of silent Africa. 

Now let that same pen tell something of our home and 
various domestic odds and ends. Our house was built 
of wood and mud daub with a roof of thatch. The rooms, 
five in number, were lofty and fairly large, with walls 
which could be called neither straight nor smooth in fact 
they rather reminded me of " Uncle Podger's " wall that 
looked as if it had been smoothed down with a garden 
rake after he had been hanging a picture. But ours were 
whitewashed, and this, at least, gave them a clean and 
cheerful appearance. The fact was that a violent storm 
had slightly blown the walls out of gear before the ground 
had sufficiently hardened round the framework poles. 
The windows were ingeniously made of wood with calico 
nailed across as a substitute for glass. We had only one 
door to start with the front door made of the unpolished 
and unplaned material of two packing cases, ornamented 
with the names and destinations of the owners of the 
boxes. There was a verandah all round the house which 
kept it cool from the midday sun. 

Really, it was a marvellous building when you consider 
that the workmen had never built anything different from 
the round beehive grass and reed huts in which the 
people live. The poles had all to be brought in from a 
forest seven miles away, and were carried in on men's 
heads. The mud was beaten by their bare feet. They had 
to be overlooked at every point and turn as they have no 
idea of work, or even a straight line, unless the European 
is actually on the spot to show them. And when that 
European was absolutely alone and endeavouring to act 

51 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

as pastor, teacher, and schoolmaster to hundreds of eager 
and teachable people, the question is how he ever squeezed 
in time to build this and his own house. 

Our tent furniture was far too diminutive and scanty to 
fill our five rooms, so we turned cabinet-makers, -and pro- 
duced some highly creditable articles, all things 
considered. 

Piling up six packing cases of uniform size, and nailing 
round strips of native grass matting, we had a splendid 
" Liberty " bookcase. 

A " cosy corner " was made out of two more boxes 
turned upside down, stuffed with shavings and covered 
with cretonne. It looked very comfortable but rather 
belied its name. 

Our dining-room table consisted of the lids of cases 
joined up and nailed to four posts planted in the mud 
floor. After a few weeks the legs took root, and the 
young branches supplied novel decorations. 

We framed a few large photographs in reeds and hung 
them where the walls were flat enough. 

The nights in Toro are cold, for although we are only 
i "5 degrees lat. North, the capital is 5,000 feet above sea 
level. In consequence the houses are built with brick 
chimneys. With a bright log fire burning in the open 
hearth and a comfortable arm chair our sitting-room 
looked very cosy and bright. It is quite remarkable the 
amount of enjoyment one can derive out of things which 
cost nothing but a little hard work and a good deal 
harder thinking out. 

One learns sometimes from rather trying experiences 
that several things which have been regarded as absolute 
essentials in England can so easily be dispensed with out 
here. 

A lot of things brought out from home reached me in a 
hopelessly wrecked condition. As I have said before, on 
account of the scarcity of porters we had been obliged to 

52 



Home Life 

leave several boxes behind. Three of the twenty-three 
I had left were never again heard of. As these were food 
supplies I hoped they nourished some of the half-famished 
natives we passed up country. But the cases that did 
arrive had been exposed without protection from the 
rains, and were absolutely rotten when they reached me ; 
the zinc linings had been destroyed by rust, and the con- 
tents reduced to pulp. In a sort of mechanical way I 
sorted out the different things, throwing aside books, 
letters, clothing, and nick-nacks on the rubbish heap. 
Some things could never be replaced little recollections 
of the past and home-links. How reluctantly were these 
cast out ! but God showed me that this was known and 
allowed by Him, and when once He shows us this, the 
sunshine bursts forth and the heart rejoices. It 
strengthens one all round when sometimes the temporal 
is shattered to allow the Invisible and Eternal to appear. 
I should not be at all surprised that our missionary 
example St. Paul had had all his loads spoilt by shipwreck 
when he wrote : " I have learned in whatsoever state I 
am therewith to be content ; not that I speak in respect 
of want." 

On another occasion when our annual supplies from 
England were within one day's march of Toro the porters' 
shed was burnt down and all our loads but two were 
destroyed. 

Now, as to food, there are just three items you can 
buy out here : goats, or sheep that have not an ounce of 
fat except in their tails. These cost about 2s. 8d. 
Chickens, which provide sufficient flesh tor one person's 
meal of very normal appetite, can be purchased for fifty 
cowrie shells (i^d.), twenty eggs for the same price, but 
these are not often cheap, as very frequently they are 
brought for sale when they will not hatch. 

Of course our store room, furnished from England, is 
our grocer; the garden answers to greengrocer and 

53 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

fruiterer, for it produces nearly everything ; crops can be 
had in constant succession if care is taken to sow 
systematicallv. We also have from our cows a constant 
supply of fresh butter, cream, and milk which is churned 
on the premises in a native gourd. Besides this we are 
our own bakers. Flour is grown in limited and 
fluctuating quantities in the country. This is ground up, 
mixed with carbonate of soda and buttermilk, baked in a 
native pot with fire above and under, and in less than an 
hour a very decent wholemeal loaf is ready for afternoon 
tea. 

The only drawback is that most of these departments 
of industry have to be worked by one's self. It is rather 
curious the number of professions a European holds out 
here, simply because he must, there is no one else to do 
it. The natives have such exalted ideas of the powers of 
a white man, that they appeal to him in every difficulty. 

The first week we had brought to us an umbrella to be 
re-covered, one watch with broken mainspring needing 
repair, a lamp to be soldered, all sorts and conditions 
of sick people wanting medicine, and one raving mad- 
man ! 

The servant question was one that had to be faced 
immediately on our arrival, so we decided to write up to 
the King and Namasole. In reply, four young girls were 
sent down who did nothing but weep in spite of our 
kindly assurances of friendliness. They had never seen 
white ladies before, and were literally scared at us. 
They all ran away during the first night ! So we had to 
keep on our road-boys until we had won the confidence 
of the women. We sometimes wondered if we should 
live to see that time ; for one day a cabbage was sent to 
table that had been cooked in about one pound of soda. 
The cook had seen the European put a pinch in the water, 
and judging the diminutive quantity was with an eye to 
economy, determined on giving us a liberal treat for once ! 

54 



Home Life 

Our best " cosy " was served up at another meal as a 
dish cover to the roast chicken ! 

It is not often, however, that they knowingly deviate 
from the model lesson given them; they sometimes err 
too faithfully on the other side by reproducing the 
European's mistakes and never improving on them. If 
you have once taught them a heavy pastry, your pies 
will always have that same unfortunate crust in spite of a 
more successful second lesson. They believe absolutely 
in reverting to original type. However, this is a one- 
sided view of the little black cooks. Imagine an English 
lad of twelve serving up a six-course dinner as these little 
fellows can, after some training ; and with such a kitchen 
range, three bricks or stones and some twigs, and a very 
limited storeroom. Give a Toro cook a leg of goat and 
he can turn out a most satisfying meal of varieties goat 
soup, goat curry, goat stewed, goat boiled and roast ; and 
then if you want one more course, give him flour, eggs, 
milk, and a little butter, and he could send you in goat 
pie and goat pudding, or pancakes, boiled or baked batter, 
boiled or baked sponge pudding. 

If you live on poor food in Toro, you must not blame 
the country or your cook, but yourself, that you did not 
arm against the future by occasional visits to your 
English kitchen. That is by far the best way of learning; 
cookery lectures and cookery books are not much use for 
a country like this ; they generally tell you to " take " 
something you have not got and cannot get, and on that 
seems to depend the success of the recipe. Often have I 
recalled the long, tiring hours spent in learning to knead 
bread, and then the patience of waiting for it to rise ; we 
should be eating tinned biscuits (like our predecessors) 
till this day if our bread depended on that method out 
here. 

Vegetables form rather an important part in the daily 
diet ; in fact, one is inclined to be a vegetarian where 

55 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

vegetables are so plentiful and meat very tough and 
tasteless. On some occasions fifteen different kinds have 
been sent to table at a meal. They are all cooked in one 
large earthen pot, each vegetable being tied up in a large 
banana leaf with water the leaf is water-proof and made 
soft and pliable by passing it through the fire. 

The white ants and snakes show marked appreciation 
for the Europeans' houses. In spite of digging deep 
trenches round outside, the ants, which are supposed to 
travel only a few inches under the surface soil, manage to 
get at the poles and so gradually undermine the safety "tf 
the walls. They are the most indefatigable workers. In 
one night the floor of a room will be covered with little 
heaps of soil which they have carried up ; a mackintosh 
coat was half eaten away by these little pests that had 
discovered it on a peg behind the bedroom door. 
Sulphur, hot water, Keating, pepper, thrown down 
proved quite ineffectual in driving them off. The natives 
advised a European to leave the little ant-heaps for a few 
days until a crop of small mushrooms appeared on the 
ant-heaps, and that would satisfy the ants and off they 
would go to begin their work elsewhere. The experiment 
was tried, with the result that on the third day the floor 
was covered with tiny white fungi, and the ants really 
did disappear after that. I will not attempt to explain 
the reason scientifically. 

More stringent measures than passive resistance were 
needed for the snakes that came and built under the 
sitting room floor. Their appearance was first discovered 
by one of them leaving his top coat behind him in one of 
the rooms. 

One evening we were roused from our peaceful occupa- 
tions hearing two rifle reports and a regular stampede 
outside our house ; we rushed to the door, but were 
quickly told to shut it up, as a leopard was rushing about. 
Two shots had been fired, but missed it. A large search 

56 



Home Life 

party was formed of excited, frightened natives with 
spears, rifles, and long torches, but all their endeavours 
were in vain. Three nights after that another and even 
larger leopard prowled round the houses, entered the 
donkey stables and dragged out a small baby donkey. 
In the morning an awful sight met our gaze on the path 
outside the stabling. The two hind legs had been com- 
pletely eaten and the body torn open ; the ground was 
covered with blood, and many claw marks were visible. 
The war drum was beaten, and, according to the law of 
the country, all the men turned out, from the chiefs to 
the poorest peasant, armed with spears and clubs. The 
excitement was intense, the King's Hill was thronged 
with dancing, rushing natives, singing war songs and 
making dashing onslaughts toward imaginary foes. They 
all danced and rushed in step, accomplishing the curious 
body dance in perfect order. They tracked the beast, 
and Mr. Fisher, who had led out the party, shot it as it 
gave one spring from its lair. The return home was a 
yell of victory, all assembling under the large tree on 
the top of the King's Hill to salute the Katikiro (Chief 
Minister), who sat in state to wait the arrival of the prey. 
Afterwards all the wounded were brought to the 
dispensary for surgical attention ; one arm was so 
severely cut with spears and torn by the leopard's claws 
that I had to stitch it up. Leopard's claws are very 
poisonous, and inflammation immediately sets in ; many 
cases prdve fatal on account of blood poisoning. 

Just one word more before closing this. Life out here 
is not one of constant "roughing it." No girls in 
England could have been happier than we were, and 
there are heaps of things that make up for some left in 
Merrie England. 

For instance, a punt down the Thames is not to be 
compared to a paddle in a dug-out canoe or a sail in the 
same by a square of calico hoisted. There is a delightful 

57 



lake right away among the mountains, only five miles off, 
and no one ever enjoyed a lunch like the one we had in 
the little reed bungalow on the shore. Our first picnic 
there was unique. The lunch was provided by the 
Government officials, and really, I had never -imagined 
men were so domesticated. They superintended the 
culinary arrangements. The Administrator made a meat 
pie, the crust of which might have been improved ; 
another produced a sort of trifle ; while a third manu- 
factured scones ; and we tried not to notice the lack of 
baking powder. But we survived all three. 



58 



CHAPTER VII 
Royal Life 

KABAROLE, the capital of Toro, may be described 
as a city of hills. On the highest of these, com- 
manding a panoramic view of the country north, 
south, and east of Ruwenzori, stands the palace 
of King Daudi Kasagama. The Uganda Protectorate 
differs from Nigeria and the other west coast districts, in 
that it possesses no old-established cities and towns. The 
custom of the Kings of each of the four independent 
Kingdoms of the Protectorate formerly was to remove the 
capital as each succeeded to the throne. This involved 
a constant exodus of the people, who cleared out bodily 
in order to be close to their King. Scarcely any traces 
can be found of the previous capitals, as the houses were 
constructed merely of reeds, poles and thatch, which offer 
no resistance to the destroying hand of time ; occasion- 
ally a worn grinding-stone or a broken cooking-pot is 
met with among waving elephant grass that immediately 
assumed mastery of the ground on the removal of the 
people. 

In 1891 Kasagama succeeded to the throne of Toro, 
which was then being plundered and ravaged by the 
Kabarega, the neighbouring and powerful King of 
Unyoro. For some years the whole district was dis- 
tressed by the merciless tyranny of the raiders, and the 
people were obliged to flee to the shelter of the moun- 
tains. Now peace and order reign, the security and 
authority of the King and his counsellors have been 

59 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

established by the British Government, and the country 
sown on all hands with the seed of Christianity which has 
effected a complete reformation in the lives and condition 
of the people. 

The King's house is the only brick building at- present 
in the country. It is two-storied, with walls two and a 
half feet thick. The staircase is roughly constructed of 
bricks and runs outside. On the ground floor are three 
rooms. The centre one, into which the front door opens, 
is the reception room. The walls and ceiling are gaily 
hung with bright printed calico strips of varied design 
and colouring, stitched together. Over these are large, 
coloured Bible pictures illustrating the life of Christ. 
On the floor are spread grass mats and leopards' skins, 
which are the sign of royalty. An Indian rug is placed 
under a table and chair in one corner where His Majesty 
sits and receives his guests. The room is supplied with 
no other furniture. A waiting-room leads off from this, 
which is unfurnished, with the exception of a native 
divan made of reeds for important or sick attendants ; the 
others lounge about on the fine, soft grass strewn on the 
floor. 

Kasagama's study is on the other side of the reception- 
room, and that is where he does most of his business 
and carries on his correspondence. Upon the rows of 
shelves fixed to the wall are to be seen small piles of 
documents and letters received from his chiefs in the out- 
lying districts, who are just learning to write. The 
boxes at the end of the room contain all his treasured 
presents received from the Government officials, 
missionaries and friends in England. If you call in any 
afternoon about five o'clock and are a friend of His 
Majesty you would perhaps be allowed into this sanctum, 
and there might find him working away at his typewriter 
or dictating to his typist, who can run his fingers very 
rapidly over the keyboard. Kasagama is now hard at 

60 



Royal Life 

work writing a history of the country. To prevent any 
unauthentic references to the past he has two old men, 
well versed in ancient lore, to refer to. 

The Council Hall, in which Parliament assembles every 
Monday, is in an adjoining country, and this is a large 
reed structure decorated inside with coloured calicos like 
the reception room. The railed off partitions are 
intended for the King's chair, and for the Queen Mother 
or Sister, either of whom is expected to attend each week, 
The Ministers of State are arranged in straight rows down 
the building, and the people involved in the various cases 
brought up for trial come and kneel in the wide aisle 
which leads up to the King's seat. 

I only attended once, as women are generally debarred 
the privilege, but the first thing that struck me was how 
very civilised is the House in Toro and much in advance 
of one's own native land, for we were not put up in a 
third gallery behind wire caging to merely catch a glimpse 
of the Speaker's head, but had seats given us next to the 
King ! However, there was a sad need of an Opposition 
or Nationalists' Bench, to add a little gusto and sensation 
to the proceedings. To make up for this at the conclusion 
of each case, the Royal band broke out into uproarious 
melodies, and the bandsmen accompanied their instru- 
ments with caricature Irish jigs. 

A visit to the King must always include an inspection 
of his flower garden, of which he is very proud. It dates 
back to our arrival in Toro. As he used to drop in for 
afternoon tea, he would often find us armed with rake 
and spade, just ready to tackle the patch of weeds out- 
side our house. It was a matter of surprise to the natives 
when they heard that the white ladies were " cultivating," 
and a still greater wonder when they learned that they 
were not sowing food but flowers. Whatever was the use 
of flowers ? However, Kasagama thought it must be the 
correct thing, so one day ventured to beg a few flower 

61 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

seeds to start a garden for himself, and then very 
hesitatingly and half apologetically he asked what was 
the exact use of flowers, as he wanted to have an answer 
ready to give to questioners However, the beauty and 
fragrance of our English flowers have spoken to these 
people and awakened in their hearts a real admiration 
and love, so that outside many a Toro homestead now 
can be seen borders of carefully tended flowers ; and often 
prettily-arranged bouquets will be brought by them as 
greetings or offerings. At Easter time one result of this 
is seen in the Church. On the Saturday each one is 
asked to bring in the decorations and to help arrange 
them. The first time this was done the chancel was 
simply banked with bouquets, wreaths, and bunches of 
wild or cultivated flowers; palm leaves and papyrus grass, 
fixed to the columns of reeded poles down the church, 
made continued arches right along each aisle, while the 
open window sills were festooned with wild clematis. 
Most of this was done entirely by the natives. 

Court life in Toro has a very attractive home side to it. 
One can scarcely wish for a more touching picture than 
when, the affairs of State being over for the day, Damali, 
the young Queen, comes into the Royal Palace with the 
little Princess Ruzi (Ruth). The Queen first bows before 
her husband-King, and the tiny child follows her mother's 
example, and in baby language greets His Majesty. Then 
Kasagama for a time lays aside his regal dignity and 
clasping the child in his arms fondles her and talks and 
romps like a big school-boy. 

The old custom of the men and women feeding apart 
has disappeared in the King's household, and every 
evening Kasagama and Damali dine together. The menu 
never varies from one year's end to another. Each day 
the King has his own particular cut from the goat, 
namely, the chops and cutlets, and the Queen has a leg. 
They generally manage to finish their joints, besides the 

62 



Royal Life 

quantities of boiled plantains and various native vege- 
tables served up with the meat. 

Kasagama has recently developed distinct sporting 
inclinations, and although it cannot be said that he has 
made his name, certain it is he has made his mark at 
them. Tennis was the first pastime he indulged in. One 
court was enough to allure anyone ! A space was 
thoroughly cleared of vegetation in the mission compound 
and beaten by foot in place of a roller ; two posts were 
firmly planted in the ground, a rope stretched across and 
strips of banana pith knotted on to it, hanging down like 
kippers put out to dry. The King was rather too power- 
ful with his racquets; scouts had to be posted like fielders 
at cricket. Seeing the ball coming he made a desperate 
plunge toward it and either missed it altogether or slogged 
it as if intended for Ruwenzori's snows. So he gave that 
up for football ; the dimensions of the ball I suppose 
appealed to him as being more adapted to his size. He 
is now a great player ; his grief is that he has never 
experienced the excitement of a scrimmage, as the men 
are afraid of hustling their King ; the only member of the 
team who apparently does not mind doing so is Blasiyo, 
the pigmy ! Another reason is that there is little chance 
of getting too close, as he is followed about the field by 
one attendant who holds an umbrella over his head and 
another man careers about with a chair, so that His 
Majesty can rest when the ball goes in an opposite 
direction of the field to where he happens to be. 

In all Church work, Kasagama has been a leader and 
example to his people. Almost daily, at 8 a.m. as the 
people gather from all directions for Bible Classes or 
school teaching, a procession may be seen slowly issuing 
out from the reed enclosure that surrounds the royal 
palace. With a large company of retainers and an 
armed bodyguard at the front and rear, on his bay steed 
rides the King, a fine majestic figure, 28 years of age, and 

63 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

6ft. 3in. in height. The Katikiro and other important 
Chiefs, with their attendants, if they have not already 
started, come out from their houses on their side of the 
King's hill, and fall in behind His Majesty. They are 
bent on no Ministerial business, but if you we're to ask 
the King, he would say " to learn wisdom from God, for 
how can I rightly rule my country without having first 
received that." 

When the drum beats for Sunday services, Kasagama 
is nearly always at his place in the church to join with 
his people in prayer and worship. Besides encouraging 
his young men and chiefs to offer themselves as mission- 
aries to the neighbouring villages and districts, he helps 
in every possible way to supply the necessary means in 
order that the native organisations shall be supported by 
themselves. When the large reed Church showed signs 
of old age, Daudi Kasagama, like his namesake David, 
King of Israel, set his heart to " build a house unto the 
name of the Lord." 

Calling together his Christian Chiefs, he conferred 
with the Missionaries as to the quantities of material 
needed for a large Church, and when the approximate 
number of poles was given, he divided it up asking his 
Chiefs each to be responsible for a proportion. 

The new " Temple " was not to be built of carefully- 
hewn stone, prepared bricks, or granite pillars, but of 
forest poles brought from long distances, many needing 
fifty men to carry them in ; bamboos from the forest-clad 
heights of snow-peaked Ruwenzori ; grass brought in by 
the women for thatching ; reeds fetched from the swamps 
by men and children, and red mud for the walls. Every 
morning the King came down to work with his people in 
the erection of the building, and when the framework 
was completed, helped to bring in the grass which was 
cut up and beaten with the mud to form a kind of solid 
brick wall. 

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QJ 
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Royal Life 

At 8.0 a.m. the Katikiro, Chiefs and others made their 
way down to the mud pits, into which there was thrown 
red earth, straw and water. About twenty men then 
would jump in, clasp arms in a circle, yell anative air and 
stamp the mud with their bare feet till the right con- 
sistency was reached. By that time they had become 
splashed and disfigured into fearsome representations of 
painted Red Indians. The mud was then put into baskets 
and shouldered by a body of carriers, who marched single 
file to the scene where the building operations were being 
carried on, while a drummer always went on before to 
give a spirit of militarism to the work. 

With shirt sleeves rolled up, Kasagama and an army 
of mud-layers were ready to receive the mud and slap it 
into the walls with a whoop and occasional mutual con- 
gratulatory exclamation " Wehale " " well done." 

In this manner the Church, holding eight hundred 
people, was completed in six months free of debt and not 
having caused any expense to the Missionary Society ! 

When it is remembered that until the advent of 
Christianity six years previous, the King and Chiefs had 
never done one day's manual work, one can only regard 
this Church as a standing testimony to the reality of a 
religion that can call forth such a spontaneous demon- 
stration of the sincerity of its disciples. 

One day while watching the unmistakable earnestness 
of the men at their toil, I turned to Kasagama and said: 
" King, your people are really enjoying their hard work." 
He replied : " Oh no, my people have not yet arrived at 
liking work, but they are rejoicing because this is 
God's house." 

Pending the arrival of the Bishop, an informal dedica- 
tion service was arranged on the first Sunday of its 
completion. The Church was packed from end to end, 
the men on one side led by their King, the women on the 
other with the Queen Damali. A great stillness fell on 

65 F 




On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

that large congregation as King Daudi, who scarcely ever 
takes an active part in the services, rose and offered up a 
prayer of Consecration. In it he said : " O God, we 
know Thou dwellest not in temples made with hands, but 
this House has been built with our hearts' devotion ; 
therefore come down and take up Thy dwelling place, 
that sinners entering may be saved by Thy presence." 

Kasagama in his time has played several "parts." 
Two days after the opening of the new Church, he was 
called upon to fill a position in a novel function for Toro, 
namely, the first European wedding. A great deal of 
excitement had prevailed for some time among the 
people, and whisperings of the unique event had filtered 
through to the villages, bringing a large number of people 
into the capital out of curiosity. It was a beautiful 
clear morning, and before sunrise the bride designate was 
needlessly reminded of the day by a loud shuffling and 
scurrying going on outside her calico window. The 
Katikiro's loud baritone was heard commanding a regi- 
ment of workmen, and by way of creating an excitement 
in the proceedings, he accompanied his orders by 
eloquent aerial cracks with his whip of hippo hide. 

In order to have a share in the festive preparations 
they had come down to strew fresh cut grass all round 
the house, in the courtyard and along the road to the 
church. On the preceding days, the chiefs' wives, 
headed by the Queen, had been with their spades levelling 
the mud floor in the scarcely completed church and 
carpeting it with soft green grass. It was a welcome 
substitute of nature for the customary red felt drugget, 
and no one would have exchanged for canvas awning the 
archway of palm leaves and bushy papyrus grass heads 
that adorned the verandah and porch leading from the 
house. 

All the Europeans in Toro were invited they numbered 
five and each had an allotted task. One performed 

66 



Royal Life 

the ceremony, another stood as best man, the organist 
pedalled away nobly at the portable baby organ and 
even persuaded it to produce the Wedding March 
creditably. There was one bridesmaid, and the fifth took 
the part of "guest." 

At 9.0 a.m. the church drums beat, and King 
Kasagama, dressed in a cloud of white and elaborate silk 
draperies, came down to act " father " to the bride. His 
Majesty looked almost pale with the responsibility of his 
new position, and scarcely trusted himself to speak as he 
took his " child's " hand and led her from the house 
along the road lined with crowds of his excited people. 
The church presented a sea of black faces and white 
linen garments freshly washed for the occasion. Every- 
one was standing, for there was no room to sit down. A 
Lunyoro hymn was sung, and then the service proceeded 
in English till the close, when the faithful old native 
deacon Apolo offered pra} T er in the language of the 
people. 

The usual carriages and greys had to be dispensed 
with as the livery stables were a little too far off ! But 
a regulation reception took place and about seventy 
guests crowded into the very limited space of the 
European's sitting room. A real iced cake specially im- 
ported, was mounted on a stool draped with trails of wild 
clematis. Heaped up dishes of thick sandwiches, stodgy 
jam tarts, cakes and biscuits, that suggested a Sunday 
School treat for at least some hundreds of hungry English 
bairns, proved a scarcely adequate supply for the visitors, 
who started on the cake, then tucked in sandwiches, 
jam tarts and sandwiches again, and so on, in a hopeless 
mix up. The tea was served round time after time, till 
the guests, out of sheer inability, had reluctantly to refuse 
further supplies. One chief, with a sigh, regretfully 
eyeing a dish of cake, exclaimed : " Okwongera nukwo 
kufa " " Any more would be death." 

67 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

As the guests departed, timidly limped forward old 
Mpisi, the first dispensary patient. He had been silently 
waiting his opportunity to slip in and give the bride his 
little wedding gift of five cowrie shells : their value was 
one-third of a farthing, but they were all he possessed. 

The honeymoon was spent " on the Continent " the 
dark continent of Africa, a trip of about 700 miles, across 
lake and over land, visiting a continual succession of 
mission stations. It included a visit to the Government 
Capital of Entebbe, where an official repetition of the 
marriage service had to be performed. Fancy being 
married twice within one month ! 

As the happy pair rode off on mules, actually the 
customary rice followed them. A mob of natives enjoyed 
this part immensely; but some of the women ran up, and 
tearing the bracelets and necklaces from their own wrists 
and necks, gave them to the bride with sympathetic 
tears ! 

Even the slipper .was not wanting; it was delivered to 
a native to throw at the couple as they turned off at 
cross-roads, but not quite seeing the point, and having a 
respectful regard for the shoe, he solemnly presented it as 
a parting greeting from the Europeans ! 



68 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Women of Toro 

ALTHOUGH undoubtedly belonging to one and the 
same parent stock, as a race the Batoro are in 
features superior to the Baganda, but physically 
inferior owing to the different conditions under which 
their lives have been lived. Women, both high and low, 
until within recent years, were practically the slaves of 
the Baganda households, and even now are expected to do 
the cultivating and cooking of the food. Before the sun 
has risen the Baganda women start on their digging in 
their banana plantations or potato fields. This has 
developed their muscles and at the same time had a 
healthy effect on the mind, for no one can handle nature 
without consciously or unconsciously being influenced by 
it for good. 

The Batoro women, on the other hand, have been 
merely the chattels of the home. The upper classes 
scorned menial work and left it to their dependents and 
peasant folk. The middle class did no more than was 
absolutely essential, which generally resolved itself into 
cooking the one meal for the day. Their homes offered 
no occupation for them. The rude grass huts possessed no 
furnishing, for their wants were of the simplest. Bark 
cloth stripped off the wild fig tree and beaten out into a 
soft texture, or animals skins, provided them with clothing 
by day and covering at night. Their water vessels consisted 
of the hollowed out gourds that grow round their huts. 
One cooking pot sufficed for the household. A plaited 

69 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

grass mat took the place of mattress over a bed of reeds 
strung across a wooden framework and built in along 
the side of the hut. Grass covered the floor of 
every house seldom changed and never aired. 
Soot and cobwebs hung in festoons round the 
inside, as there are no chimneys in the huts to carry away 
the smoke from the open fire in the centre of the floor. 

In recent years the upper class women have discarded 
the barkcloth as apparel for white calico and coloured 
prints. When these garments show signs of wear the 
general custom is neither to wash nor change them for fear 
of hastening their end, but clean draperies are thrown 
over them when the wearer appears in public. 

Some of the women can work very prettily with grass 
and fibre. Having discovered various vegetable dyes, 
they are able to make very attractive designs in basket- 
work by dyeing the grass different colours. The fibre they 
make into string and then form beautiful knotted bags in 
which they have their gourds. It was only by living 
some time among them that we discovered these hidden 
trophies of a spasmodic industry. Very few care about 
rousing themselves and devoting the time and care 
needed for this work ; the fault of the women is their 
inherent laziness ; the generality of them desire nothing 
so much as to sit still and do absolutely nothing. They 
are so fond of begging, begging, begging, but when you 
suggest their working, off they go and you never see them 
any more. Others will remain in their homes ill for 
days, and no one will have the energy to come down and 
ask for medicine. An industrial exhibition was suggested 
by two of our missionaries in 1903, and will be held every 
year, it is hoped. Most ingenious bee-hives and rat traps 
were brought in as exhibits, besides all sorts of grass and 
string work, painted bark cloths and gourds, and so on. 
The novelty of the exhibition caused great excitement 
among the people, and the schoolroom was packed to its 

70 




L 



utmost capacity with competitors and others. His 
Majesty, Daudi Kasagama, opened the proceedings with 
an earnest appeal to his people to make the show an 
even greater success next time by increasing the number 
of exhibits and raising the standard of proficiency. 

Before the advent of Christianity there had been nothing 
to break the dull monotony of the women's existence. As 
they sat, day after day, huddled together in their dirty little 
grass homes, their conversation scarcely ever ventured out- 
side the well-beaten track of real or imaginary sickness, and 
the usual revolting topics that polygamy and heathenism 
suggest. Modesty, reserve, shame and sensitiveness were 
not known among them. One's whole nature recoils 
from the recollection of Africa's lost womanhood. 

Girls are sometimes betrothed as infants but do not 
marry till they have reached the age of 14 or 15. The 
husband is judged rarely according to his merit that 
receives small consideration but chiefly according to his 
means. The girl's value is determined by her rank or 
physical appearance. Her parents or master fix her 
price at so many heads of cattle or goats. A peasant 
woman can be had as cheap as one goat ; should the 
husband be fortunate enough, in course of time, to possess 
a sheep or second goat, he will sometimes take it and 
his wife and exchange them for a stronger and better 
woman who will be able to do more work for him, or add 
more variety, quality or quantity to the day's menu. A 
peasant, living on the mission hill, married one of our 
women, and coming to the missionary in charge, fell 
down on his knees and eloquently praised him for his 
gift of potatoes, bananas, and beans. The European 
looked rather perplexed, and at last had to own up that 
the present had not come from him. " Oh yes, Master," 
answered the man, " it was you who gave me my wife." 

When we arrived in Toro in 1900 there was quite a 
goodly number of baptised women, including Vikitoliya, 

71 



the Queen Mother, Damali, the Queen, several of the 
Chiefs' wives and ladies of the royal households. Several 
of these had been taught to read before the arrival of the 
European missionary, by King Kasagama, who was 
baptised in 1896 during a prolonged visit to Uganda. 
On his return to Toro he had become a true missionary 
King, and gathering his women around him day after day 
in his courtyard he instructed them in the things he had 
been taught, while the men went to the two Baganda 
Evangelists in the little reed church. 

When the European missionary arrived he found a 
large body of eager women as well as men, ready to be 
prepared for Baptism. Vikitoliya was one of the first 
whose heart responded to the new religion of love and 
holiness, as she listened to the earnest words of the King 
her son. She is a woman of considerable influence 
and of decided intellectual ability. Her features present 
none of the negrotic characteristics, but on the contrary 
they are sharply defined and somewhat aquiline ; her 
expression, sweet and pleasing, betokens her kindness of 
heart and gentleness of disposition. She has built for 
herself an imposing two-storied mud house with a 
verandah and balcony all round. From the inside door- 
way hang reed and bead curtains which she made herself 
after seeing a Japanese model in a European's house. 

She lives about two miles from the capital, and in order 
to encourage her people to learn to read and attend daily 
Bible classes she erected on her estate a church, which 
holds about 400 people. I rode over there one Sunday 
morning as I had been asked to stand as godmother to 
the first little son of the sister of the King. When I 
arrived the Church was crowded it is a large cane 
building, with innumerable poles inside to support the 
walls and roof. It contains no stained glass windows, but 
the blue cloudless sky, tall, waving banana trees, and the 
graceful grasses of the Indian corn with its golden heads 

72 



The Women of Toro 

of grain, made a charming background to the aperture 
windows and helped the soul in its flight toward God 
perhaps more than such exquisitely elaborate windows as 
are seen at Notre Dame, which always struck me with 
their rich colouring. At the west end stood the font, a 
black native pot fixed to a wooden packing case which 
was draped in Turkey twill. Who could help being 
impressed as the words "Suffer the little children to come 
unto me "sounded out in the foreign tongue, and a sweet, 
wee thing, lying on white flannel worked with pink silk, 
was brought forward by its delighted royal grandmother. 
At the east end were spread the sacred memorials of 
our Redemption, speaking with such force of that 
one Sacrifice which uplifts and unites all nations under 
Heaven. 

Vikitoliya possessed a peculiar love and reverence for 
our late Queen, after whom she was named. She never 
tired of listening to stories of the " great white Queen," 
and it was her ambition to strive to be to her people 
something of what Her late Majesty had been to her 
subjects. Never shall I forget her grief and that of all 
the leading women when the news of her death reached 
us. Immediately they came down to us to sympathize, 
and were at first quite silent in their grief, then with 
tears running down her cheeks, the dusky Queen subject 
said, "Your sorrow is our sorrow, we have lost our 
Mother, our friend." It is wonderful the influence that 
such a reign of purity and righteousness has had even on 
far off Africa, rousing the best chivalry and patriotism in 
the hearts of its people, and inspiring them to 
nobler ends. 

Christianity is doing for Toro what it has done for 
every other country where it has effectually entered it is 
raising its women from their depths of degradation and 
beautifying their lives, cleansing and refining their speech 
and habits. Clean, tidy homes are now seen, and care- 

73 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

fully cultivated land in place of the pestilential filth and 
gaunt elephant grass. Happy family life is springing up 
among the people, and everywhere there is a stir and pro- 
gressive vigour. 

Upon the Christian women as well as the men has 
been laid the responsibility of doing something toward 
spreading the knowledge of Christ among the surround- 
ing heathen. At first a district visitors' band was 
organized to go two and two into the near villages when 
the daily classes in the church were over. They took 
their books, and either collected the villagers together or 
entered their houses and taught them their letters and 
syllables, after having read and spoken to them. I used 
frequently to go out with them to see what progress they 
were making ; a shrieking bodyguard would at once 
attach itself to me under pretence of frightening the wild 
animals off! Our arrival was always hailed with delight, 
and a dirty mat that acts as bed, couch, and footscraper 
was generally politely placed for me on which to be 
seated. The small children generally showed their 
appreciation of the white lady by opening their 
commodious mouths as wide as possible and screaming 
prodigiously. It took one a very long time to find them 
attractive, they so sadly needed a rub down with Pears' 
soap or Monkey Brand. 

Sometimes I found 100 or 150 natives eagerly struggling 
with their reading sheets, all squeezed into an infinitesi- 
mally small hut. Somehow they always found room for 
the European, for they were very impatient to be questioned 
by her and passed on to a higher class. When the read- 
ing lesson was over we used to have a short service with 
them, and it was exceedingly impressive to listen some- 
times to the young Christian women speaking to them 
naturally of Christ's love. They never attempted an 
impossible address or delivered a thorough out-and-out 
sermon, but with touching simplicity told in their own 

74 



The Women of Toro 

language what was a living and real thing to them. It 
seemed impossible to believe that so wonderful a change 
could have taken place in these Batoro women in so short 
a time. When the visit was over, all the women, 
children, and some of the men used to tear off in front to 
the neighbouring huts to inform them that the European 
was passing, so on my homeward journey I was accom- 
panied by excited, chattering men and women and a crowd 
of naked little folk, many of them bringing small offerings 
of flowers, beans, or eggs to deposit at our door. 

Although these folk can make plenty of noise they can 
make very little music. They have never been educated 
up to it. The royal band has been their only conservatoire 
of music, and their few songs were connected with drink or 
plunder, themes scarcely conducive to the highest poetry. 
But their singing is great. You should have heard a 
singing class I used to have on Saturday mornings. 
About twenty of the ladies used to turn up and exercise 
their vocal powers. They only knew a few of Sankey's 
most unmusical hymns, and to these they resigned them- 
selves with a fixed expression and still more fixed 
attitude, without making the slightest facial movement. 
They produced a curious grunt through their nasal organ, 
quite irrespective of time, key, or tune. I sacrificed myself 
to making the most hideous grimaces it is possible to 
form my features into, in order that they might imitate, 
and so bring a few muscles into action. But neither 
tonic sol-fa nor any other tonic would bring about results, 
so I gave up the class very hoarse from my efforts. 

In August of each year is held in Toro a Teachers' 
Conference. All other work is suspended and the native 
teachers come in from all the villages and distant 
districts. In 1901 we decided to invite the women who 
were church members, so that a united Women's Confer- 
ence might be held for the deepening of spiritual life, and 
discussing methods of work. 

75 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

We had three separate meetings for women, at each of 
which a native and a European spoke. The subjects 
treated were : ist Meeting The work of teaching for 
Baptism and Communion its methods and re- 
sponsibilities. 2nd Meeting The work of visiting and 
teaching in the gardens its methods and its importance. 
3rd Meeting The organization of women's work, and 
farewell word. 

On the last day, at the close of a very solemn afternoon 
gathering, one woman rose from among the large number 
present, and in a trembling voice said, "My heart pains me 
for those around in darkness, and I want to go and teach 
them of Christ's love." A great stillness fell on the 
meeting, and Damali, the Queen, scarcely able to steady 
her voice, closed in prayer, thanking God for having 
called one from among them to be a missionary and ask- 
ing that others might hear the voice. On the third day 
nine more women had come to offer themselves as 
missionaries. One was Ana Kageye, the head woman of 
the Royal household, one of the leading women of the 
country. Before coming to us she had been to the King, 
and received his permission for her to leave him for God's 
service. She had, before her conversion, led a desperately 
wicked life, and, being old and so steeped in witchcraft, 
one almost supposed her to be beyond the power of 
reformation. She had first heard of Christ from 
Kasagama's lips, and although her eyes were then getting 
somewhat dim with age, she learned from the King to 
read the Bible for herself. From that time a complete 
change came over her whole life and appearance, so that 
her scarred face became quite attractive. Since then she 
had proved a most indefatigable teacher and helper in all 
Church work. 

A class was at once arranged for instructing these can- 
didates morning and afternoon for six months in St. 
Matthew, St. John, Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and a 

76 



The Women of Toro 

sketch of Old Testament history. At the end of that period 
they were examined for one whole week. During that 
time their excitement and anxiety were strained to their 
highest pitch ; they refused to eat at mid-day for fear they 
might become incapable of hard thinking, and were found 
in their places at class nearly one hour before the 
appointed time. After the first week old Ana Kageye 
took pity on their troubled appearances, and insisted they 
should all go to her house after the morning class and 
she would give them a substantial meal. Out of twelve who 
were questioned two reached ninety-eight per cent, marks 
and the lowest did not fall below seventy-five per cent. 
After that they were brought before the Native Church 
Council and ten were assigned to stations. Two (one being 
Ana Kageye) were located as foreign missionaries to distant 
Ankole, two to a hill station four days' journey away on 
a southern ridge of Ruwenzori, and the remaining six 
villages two and three days away. This was a brave 
step for these Batoro women to take, after having led 
such indolent and sheltered lives, and in spite of the 
intense joy that filled their heads, they did not leave 
without tears in their eyes as they bade good-bye to all 
their friends for the first time. Surely they teach a lesson 
to many in favoured England who have not yet faced 
their personal responsibility to the unreached heathen. 

All of these first women teachers did splendidly. After 
six months' work they returned for a few weeks, as no 
native worker is allowed to remain at his post without 
coming in for occasional rest and restrengthening. The 
deadly influences of heathenism might prove too strong 
for such young Christians if they were to live away from 
helpful surroundings. Eight of the ten again returned to 
their work, and the other two were married and after- 
wards went out as teachers with their husbands. 

Ana Kageye at first found the women of Ankole eager 
to learn to read, but not so quick to believe the new 

77 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

religion she brought to them. One day a young Princess 
fell sick, and their own cures failing she was carried up 
to the European doctor temporarily stationed at the 
Government fort. When it was declared by him to be 
almost a hopeless case the natives gave up all idea of her 
recovery, saying that if the white man could not cure 
her nothing would. 

Good, brave old Ana then came forward and told them 
again of the Living God who hears and answers prayer, 
and they answered together "If your God will heal her 
we will believe." The young dying Princess was there- 
upon carried to Ana's little grass house, and as night 
fell the fires died down in every hut but the one in 
which the sick girl lay, and all night long the faithful old 
servant of God, as she watched by the bedside, wrestled 
in prayer for the life before her. What a wonderful act 
of faith was witnessed that night in the little hut in 
Darkest Africa ! This woman so recently brought to 
know God even dared through faith to prove her God 
before these heathen. As the day dawned the women 
gathered round the hut expecting to mourn over the dead 
body, but the God of Life had come forth and revealed 
His power, the girl's unconsciousness had passed off and 
she had taken the first step to recovery. The result was 
that after Ana had been working there nine months she 
had instructed and prepared for baptism the first five 
women of Ankole. 

Is it not worth leaving home and friends to search 
among the dust and mire of that dark Continent and find 
such gems, even if they be but few ? " They shall be 
mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make 
up my jewels." 



78 



CHAPTER IX 
Child Life 

CHILD life! How immediately our minds linger 
over happy scenes of mirth and innocent laughter, 
romping, rollicking games of mischief or of fun. 
Bright, happy childhood ! No cloud of care and trouble 
has arisen on life's horizon, and sin has not yet tainted 
the atmosphere of Heaven that still lingers round its off- 
spring. 

But where can memory rest upon such a picture as 
that in darkest Africa ? Look upon a tree, the tender 
buds of which half fearfully peep through the bare 
branches just to catch a glimpse of the outer world, when 
a cold frost blast of winter strikes across the frail young 
life and withers it for ever. That is child life in Africa. 
Innocence and purity were withered just as they dared to 
step from infancy. Happy, careless mirth was crushed 
with the weight of the burdens laid upon the shoulders 
of childhood. Their mother's home, as has been described, 
was their earliest environment, their language was learned 
from her, and then lovelessness was the children's portion, 
as they were sent away as servants or slaves to neighbour- 
ing chiefs. Parents scorned the idea of bringing up their 
own children ; they affirmed that a child would never 
listen to its parent and would refuse to work, so they 
exchanged their children at the age of four or five years 
for others who would be as slaves to them. Even at this 
tender age they were taught to gather the sticks and 
twigs, and then sit by and feed the fire while the food 

79 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

was cooking, or they carried the gourds or pots on their 
little woolly pates down to the river to draw the daily 
supply of water. They were generally fearfully neglected 
and underfed ; their dislike to water was accounted for by 
the fact that they possessed no clothing and the dirt kept 
them warm. If anyone had been born with a leaning 
towards cleanliness his mother would have effectually 
crushed this by the cold water treatment administered 
during infantile blutions. It was the custom every 
morning between 4.0 and 5.0 a.m., when the cold night 
air still clung in damp mists to the land, to hold the 
babies naked out in the courtyards, throw cold water over 
them, and then leave them out to dry. 

Their little insides were treated with no greater con- 
sideration. One morning a woman brought down to the 
dispensary a wee morsel of three weeks : it was a pitiful 
little object of mere skin and bone. The mother explained 
that it had either been poisoned out of spite, or it was 
possessed of an evil spirit. " See," said she, " I have 
done all I could to let out the poison or devil." Looking 
at its body I saw it was covered with a number of small, 
deep cuts, and the blood had been left to dry. Low 
moans and a tired cry came from the poor little helpless 
mite as the flies tortured its mutilated body. After 
questioning the mother the " evil spirit " took the form of 
bananas and mushrooms that she had been bringing the 
three weeks' infant up on! Feeding bottles were an 
unknown luxury, and as no equivalent had been invented, 
babies were compelled to lap from the hand, an art they 
never properly learned and thrived very poorly on. Some 
three dozen india rubber " comforters" were sent out to 
me, and these I managed to fix on empty ink bottles or 
medicine bottles, and so a new-fashioned "Allenbury" 
feeder was introduced. The demand far exceeded the 
supply, so they could only be lent out by the month. 
" Stephens' Ink " would have been immensely pleased 

80 



Child Life 

could it have snapshotted the babies being solemnly fed 
in church with its bottles held to their mouths. 

Certainly it was a case of the survival of the fittest 
with the Toro infants, and as the " fittest " were few and 
far between, mortality was very great among them. 

The first two dolls that arrived in Toro met with a very 
mixed welcome ; the children howled and fled in terror, 
but their mothers showed a most profound admiration 
for them. At first they held the doll very gingerly and at a 
distance, as if in fear of being bewitched, but finding that 
nothing happened to either one or the other, and the doll 
still smiled at them like the Cheshire cat, they became 
great friends and begged that they might borrow it for a 
few days to play with. 

Whether it was the large circulation that those two 
dolls got, or the gradually increasing confidence of 
the Toro children in the white ladies, the fact remains 
that in a few months all childish prejudice had 
disappeared, and often a little voice was heard asking for 
"a child that causes play." When this was known in 
England over 100 dolls were sent to me from two work- 
ing parties. I never saw such a wonderful doll show as 
they made. They were all displayed on our verandah, 
and the house was literally besieged with men, women, 
and children for some days. 

A bride, beautifully dressed in white satin and kid 
shoes, who, even in her wedding attire, cried " Mama " 
and " Papa," was sent to little Princess Ruth, but the 
report reached me that King Kasagama had constituted 
himself guardian, and kept it locked up in his study for 
slack moments ! The Mother Queen wrote an imploring 
letter to me for a dainty little Parisienne who arrived with 
her travelling trunk ; and Apolo, our faithful native 
deacon confirmed bachelor asked me in secret if men 
ever played with dolls, and beamed with satisfaction as 
he most triumphantly carried one off, peacefully sleeping. 

81 G 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

The others were given out to the little girls who had 
been most regular at the school, and were noted for 
having come with clean faces and bodies. 

When the boys saw that the dolls were only given to 
girls, some borrowed their sisters' garments to try 
and appear eligible ! I did not know till then they were 
versed in such cunning ! It was so pretty to watch the 
joy and even playfulness that those dolls brought into the 
lives of so many little ones who had scarcely known what 
this meant till then. Christianity has completely 
revolutionized child-life in Toro. No longer are the 
new-born babes given over to the Devil by causing their 
blood to flow as a dedicatory offering ; the teeth are not 
now extracted to propitiate the Evil One, and happy 
family circles are seen in place of slavery. 

I am sure in no Sunday School in England is there 
brighter singing than among the Toro infants when about 
200 of them, with very lusty lungs, open their rather 
prominent mouths and sing " There's a Friend for little 
children above the bright blue sky." 

Certainly the girls and boys make very clever little 
domestics. I have sometimes wondered whether the 
problem of the over-taxed English market could not be 
solved by exporting some of these small people. I had a 
little maid named Keturah, who was 12 years of age, and 
she could almost manage the work of a housemaid and 
parlourmaid. She kept my room in perfect order, care- 
fully putting away anything left about, and cleaned it 
regularly every Saturday. On Mondays she carried off 
the soiled linen, washing, starching, and ironing it as well 
as I had been able to teach her ; and she could wait 
at table like a Gatti's waiter ! Was that not splendid for 
a little girl who had come to us without ever having seen 
an English bed, garment, knife, fork, or iron ? 

Of course, one has occasionally to put up with small 
inconveniences. One day a pair of boots were sent out 

82 



Child Life 

to be dried by the fire, with strict injunctions not to leave 
or scorch them. In a few minutes they were brought in 
with a big hole burnt out of the leather, and the sole 
shrivelled up beyond repair and these were a last pair ! 
Pocket handkerchiefs frequently find their way into the 
boiled starch, a white muslin blouse sometimes loses its 
identity completely by a strong dose of the blue-bag ; if it 
is needed for a special occasion the quantity is increased ! 
A flannel nightgown was boiled for three hours on one 
occasion ; fortunately it was a very unattractive Jaeger, 
but even then it did not surrender its colour. That shade 
of flannel is like the Ethiopian's skin I could never even 
get it to fade. Take my advice, and try white instead. 

But, after all, these are mere details. They are faith- 
ful little people, and would never refuse to follow their 
master as he travels up and down the country, though 
they scarcely ever escape malaria when marching through 
fever districts, in spite of strong doses of quinine. Often 
concealing a high temperature from the European, they 
hurry on in front to see that his tent and a refreshing cup 
of tea are ready when he comes into camp. As we 
travelled down to Uganda, on our way home to England, 
our staff of six boys started out with us; one after 
another knocked over, and had to be carried back, till we 
were left with only two to do everything for us, and 
in spite of their being ill, they insisted on coming as far 
as Victoria Nyanza. As the big lake steamer weighed 
anchor and cut through the water, two little white caps 
were waving at the end of the pier until we disappeared 
from sight. 



83 



CHAPTER X 

Religion 

CENTRAL Africa may be said to have no religion, 
if by that we understand belief in a God. It has 
produced no Buddha or Mahommed to make known 
to its people some revelation of a deity, neither has 
it possessed any ancient writings that a Confucius could 
bind together as a foundation to a nation's creed. In its 
belief we see the most pitiable product of a dark, 
ignorant, and degraded mind, that, left to itself, has 
worked out some antidote for that which is inherent in 
every man an indefinable longing after the spiritual. Its 
faith bears in it the seeds of inevitable decay, for in its 
tenets can be found no trace of truth, purity, or holiness, 
which, varying however much they may in degree, hold 
together the great religious systems of the world. It 
might be described briefly as Devil-worship or the 
Propitiation of Evil Spirits ; it differs in its rites and 
rituals among the various tribes. In Uganda the 
practices of the people were more extreme, perhaps, but 
certainly less torturing than in the Western Provinces of 
the Protectorate, where superstition led to the most 
barbarous infliction of human suffering from the cradle to 
the grave. For every real or imaginary evil and sickness 
that fell upon the individual, family, or community, 
branding, cutting, and mutilation of the body took place ; 
while, without exception, all the front teeth in the lower 
jaw were extracted as soon as ever they appeared. 

84 



Religion 

These customs, practised for so many generations, have 
had a very deteriorating effect on the physical constitution 
of the people. The strength of the natives has been 
sapped, their minds degraded, and their energies crushed. 
They possess very small physical resources, and fall an 
easy prey to any sickness that visits their district. 

A few years ago, before the teachers of Christianity 
reached their country, tiny devil temples, made of grass 
and twigs, stood in the courtyards of the houses, and in 
these were placed, from time to time, offerings of cowrie 
shells or food. One day there was brought to me at the 
dispensary a child who was said to be devil-possessed. 
The physic prescribed was so far successful that the 
grateful mother brought a little thank-offering. It con- 
sisted of ten cowrie shells tied round a small piece of 
papyrus stalk. When the child had fallen ill, the mother 
had tied one of these shells to the strip of grass and given 
it as a propitiatory offering to the devil ; as the sickness 
increased, each day another shell was added, until, find- 
ing her child become rather worse than better, she 
brought her down to the dispensary. And as the 
European had done what the devil refused to do, the 
woman took the shells away from him and gave them to 
the white lady ! 

Generally speaking, the people are in partial or total 
ignorance of their belief ; they have never been taught it, 
and practise the rituals from habit without realising their 
significance. The priests prescribe what form the 
offerings shall take and their claims are never questioned; 
besides this, they extort heavy fees each time they are 
consulted. They profess to divine the will of the evil 
spirit by means of charms made of sticks, hide, horns, 
and the entrails of fowls and goats. When Kasagama 
was brought from Budu by Sir Frederick Lugard to be 
re-installed in his kingdom of Toro, from which he had 
fled, as a young prince, from the raiding bands of Banyoro 

85 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

under King Kabarega, a white fowl was killed and 
examined. The priest declared the omen augured that 
success and peace should attend his reign. But 
Kasagama, being unacquainted with what they had done, 
nearly brought upon himself the worst misfortune by 
approaching near to the grave of the fowl. Had not his 
attendants just stopped him from walking over the grave 
a moral offence would have been perpetrated upon the 
body of the fowl and its spirit would have avenged the 
wrong ! 

By carefully clearing away the accumulated legends of 
centuries, one finds, however, faint suggestions of a purer 
belief, which reminds one of a saying by an Indian 
monarch, who lived in the 3rd century B.C., " The sap 
of all religions is alike." 

There are a few Batoro whose memory recalls their 
primitive belief, which, despite the contortions which 
time and repetition have effected, bear a recognisable 
similarity to Old Testament revelations. 

At the beginning of all history they say God and his 
brother Nkya were in the world and made all things. 
Nkya had three sons whom he brought to God to be 
named, and in order to do so He proved the heart of each 
man. When the sons were brought in at night, to 
each of the sons was given a pot full of milk and God 
ordered them to take care of it until the morning. At 
midnight the youngest dozed and some of his milk got 
spilled ; then he turned to his brothers and asked them 
to fill up his pot with a little from each of theirs, and this 
they did. After a short time the elder son knocked over 
his pot and all the milk was spilled out. Then he begged 
the others to give him of theirs, but they refused, saying, 
" And what shall we do? " When the night had passed 
God came and uncovered each of the milk pots. To the 
second son he said, "Where is your milk?" And he 
answered, " The youngest's milk was spilled and I filled 

86 



Religion 

up his pot." And to the eldest God said, "And yours? " 
He replied, " I slept and mine was all upset and I asked 
my brothers to give me of theirs but they refused." 
Then God cursed him and called him Kairu (a little 
servant), saying that he should become his brothers' 
servant. And God said to the youngest, " You shall be 
called Kakama (Little King), you shall rule all people, 
you shall be King, and your second brother shall live 
with you and be your minister." 

After this God took counsel with his brother that they 
should leave the world and go to their home in heaven, for 
there was very great sin in the world, and God did not wish 
to kill man whom he had created. So God and Nyka left 
the world and Kakama was left to rule the people. The 
Banyoro trace all their Kings back to this great Monarch. 

Their fifth King was named Kantu, who they say, 
brought punishment and death into the world. Like his 
predecessors, he disappeared suddenly, and is believed to 
have gone up to God to beg that disease and death might 
visit the people. God then spoke with Nkya, his brother, 
and said it was well people should die and come to life 
again after four days. But Nkya said, " Let them die 
absolutely." After this the little son of the reigning king 
became ill and died, and the King Isaza sent to God 
and said, " My son will not wake up." God said, 
" What is his sleep like ? " And he replied, " Since lying 
down to sleep he will not move and he does not breathe." 
Then God sent to Isaza and told him to dig a hole and 
bury the child. But the King did not understand what 
death was, and as he sat in his house he sought for his 
son and ordered for him to be brought. But his people 
told him that he would never again see his son ; hearing 
this the King lifted up his hands and as he stood over 
the grave he cursed all men for the death of his child. 
For this God plagued his people with sickness, but Isaza 
remained unsoftened, so God sent death to his second son, 

87 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

After this the King of Hell sent messages to the King 
Isaza, tempting him with gifts to make a covenant with 
him ; and after much hesitation Isaza yielded and set out 
with his companion the Moon to visit the King of Hell. 
When he had gone some distance the ground suddenly 
opened, and Isaza was cast down till he reached the gate 
of Hell, from whence he never returned. Whereupon 
the moon, grieving over the loss of his royal friend, went 
up into the sky and has ever remained there. 

The method of these people for making a covenant was 
that of blood-brotherhood. 

Each of the two parties took a coffee bean, dipped it 
in the blood from a small incision made in his body, then 
handed it to his companion to be eaten. It was a most 
sacred pledge of indissoluble union, a breach of which 
met with immediate death. Whoever the King chose to 
honour with blood brotherhood, was raised to the highest 
position, regardless of his birth or estate. This has often 
made clear to them the passage, "we who sometimes 
were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." It 
is said that when the first English official passed 
through the neighbouring country of Ankole, the King 
and people were in a state of great consternation, 
speculating as to the purport of his visit. The 
explanations of the Englishmen were not sufficient 
to allay their suspicions, but on his agreeing to 
make " blood brotherhood " with the King an under- 
standing was arrived at and the confidence of the 
people established. 

Their ideas of an after life seem to have been of the very 
vaguest. Their belief that the soul continues to exist after 
death was evident in that they had a great fear of the spirits 
of the departed. A man on the death of his wife (or one 
of them) did not marry again till the body had decayed, 
for fear of offending the spirit of the dead. Frequently 
in the villages are to be seen long zig-zag paths leading 

88 



Religion 

to the huts that are supposed to baulk the spirits which 
only travel in straight lines. 

Burial takes place immediately after death. The body 
is wrapped round in bark cloths and with it are buried 
quantities of white calico, bark cloths, and blankets, 
according to the wealth of the chief mourner. When 
the head of the household dies he is buried in the court- 
yard of his house, after which the hut is removed to 
another spot, so that the spirit of the deceased shall not 
trouble the surviving members of the family. When the 
King died the custom was for five women and four men 
of the chief families of the land to be taken by force and 
buried alive with the King, to complete the number ten, 
so that he should not be alone. A house was then 
erected over the grave, and inside the surrounding fence 
the Queen came and lived. Every day at daybreak she 
went with the keepers of the tomb to clean it down and 
sweep out the courtyard. They lived on the food and cows 
stolen from folks passing along on the roads. A man had 
to forfeit all right to anything claimed for the " Gasani " 
(the King's Tomb), and could look for no reparation. 

If a man dies without expressing any wish as to the 
disposal of his belongings, his brothers, and not the wife 
and children, inherit them. Among the Bahuma tribe 
the wife is included in the personalty and is handed over 
as wife to the brother of the deceased. Our small milk 
boy, of about fourteen years of age, came to me one day 
with a petition for a rise in his wages, as he found it 
difficult to support his wife and children on his present 
earnings. He then went on to explain that his brother 
had died, leaving him to marry the rather elderly wife, 
who had two children. I felt the right thing was to 
sympathise with him, but quickly learned my mistake, 
for he was very well pleased with his legacy, which gave 
him a wife to cultivate and cook for him without the 
usual payment of goats and sheep. 

89 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

The Batoro have little or no fear of death, in fact some 
seem rather glad to create a iittle sensation among their 
friends by becoming for the time the chief object of 
interest ! On one occasion I was called to visit a dying 
man in the Namasole's village. With a little bag of 
medicine strapped on to my saddle, I rode out to see if 
anything could be done. An unusual stillness had fallen 
on everyone, for the sick man was none other than the 
Katikiro ot the place. Suddenly, as I stepped up to the 
doorway of the hut, there arose a wild shriek from 
inside ; this was taken up immediately by everyone 
around and the air was rent with wailings and loud, 
piercing screams. I knew at once my medicine would 
not be required, but, entering, tried to quiet the frenzied 
mourners. I drew out from my bag the Gospel of St. 
John, and read the words " I am the Resurrection and 
the Life." Immediately the tumult ceased, and every- 
one listened to the message of Life spoken in the 
presence of Death ; and as we all knelt in prayer one 
realised perhaps as never before how death hath been 
swallowed up in Victory. One of the greatest joys one 
can know is to wave the torch of Life and Immortality 
across the darkness of ages that has never known a hope 
beyond the grave. 

The result of the people's belief is stamped unmistak- 
ably on almost everything in the country. With the 
lack of physical energy has died the desire to master 
their country. The rich, productive soil, with its 
abnormal generative properties, has been left uncared for 
and unkempt, till "thorns also and thistles," the insignia 
of a blighted world, cover a land that might have been a 
veritable Eden. 

Tall, tangled weeds creep up to the very doorways of 
the houses, while most of the roads are merely narrow, 
beaten tracks. Whenever an attempt is made to tackle 
an appreciable task, a few days suffices to exhaust 

90 



Religion 

the labourer completely ; at the end of that time he may 
be seen in a state of total collapse, with a strip of rag 
bound tightly round the hand, the outward and visible 
sign of being hors de combat. 

In Toro one realises at times the dead weight of life 
and its environment. The changes of the seasons spring 
with the freshness of infancy and vitality of youth ; 
summer decked in the exquisite glory of a new life ; 
autumn and winter folding tired nature up in a long, 
deep sleep are sadly missed where the trees are always 
green. The sympathy in nature is lacking ; flowers lose 
their subtle and delicate charm ; the bright, soft sward is 
there exchanged for the elephant grass with its saw-like 
blades. The birds have no song ; the voices of music 
and poetry have never been heard ; and as age after age 
has rolled by, no lip has breathed a prayer to its Creator. 
There are instances when heathenism seems to surround 
one with such blackness that the soul stands as if isolated 
in a foreign Land, breathing a new atmosphere in which 
there is lacking the spiritual ether of one's native land. 



91 



CHAPTER XI 

Language 

THE language spoken in Toro is Lunyoro, and quite 
distinct from that used in Uganda ; but it is un- 
doubtedly the parent dialect and almost identical 
with that spoken in the Kingdoms of Unyoro and Ankole, 
besides being very generally understood by the tribes 
beyond Ruwenzori. 

For the first three years, Missionary work in these 
districts was carried on in Luganda, as neither the 
European nor Baganda teachers had sufficient knowledge 
of Lunyoro, and there were no books or reading-sheets in 
the language. Luganda was understood by some of the 
upper class men and a few women, but it was scarcely ever 
spoken, and none of the peasants were acquainted with it. 
Until these people could have their religion and reading- 
books in their own tongue, it seemed as if vital Christianity 
must remain more or less outside their actual lives. So 
towards the end of 1899 Mr. Maddox went up to Toro 
with the intention of studying and reducing the language 
of the people to writing. 

When we arrived in 1900 a little reading-sheet had 
been printed, and St. Matthew's Gospel was in hand. 
But there was no book or literature to help us, and as the 
natives did not understand one word of English it seemed 
a hopeless difficulty. Miss Pike, my companion, had 
studied Luganda for six months, so was able to speak with 
those who knew it, and through interpretation to those 
who did not. By this means she piloted us both through 
those first days when the house was thronged with 

92 



Language 

people from morning till night, and they pelted us with 
kind remarks and every imaginable and unimaginable 
question. I never felt so absolutely stupid as when they 
addressed me with a torrent of eloquence, until the idea 
struck me of retaliating with a continuous flow of 
English. It pleased them immensely, but certainly did 
not check them. 

The third day after our arrival, Mr. Maddox kindly 
gave us our first lesson in Lunyoro. He was trying to 
impress on us that the words were largely formed by 
prefixes and suffixes, so one had only to find the stem and 
it was all right. " Tinkakimuherayoga " was obviously, 
said he, from the verb " okuhu," to give ; find that, the 
meaning of the word was made plain : "I have never 
given it to him there " ! My mind was chaotic, and I 
wondered if it ever would be anything else. 

After a few weeks our patient teacher had to go off on 
an itinerating trip, so we were left alone to flounder 
through the quagmires. I believe the best and quickest 
way of acquiring a new tongue is to summon up all the 
courage you possess and go in and out among the people 
until you adopt it much in the same way as an infant 
does its mother language. Undoubtedly it requires pluck. 
The first time I ventured forth with a remark, peals of 
laughter came from my audience, which almost quenched 
the one spark of courage left. Afterwards I learned this 
was a mark of their appreciation ! 

In the fifth month, and after a great deal of hard 
persuasion, I decided on attempting to take a daily Bible 
Class. As the 8.0 morning drum sounded and I made my 
way to the church, my nerve powers fell below zero, and 
I felt decidedly limp. The words " Who hath made 
man's mouth ; I will be with thy mouth " pulled me 
together a bit, and I hurried in to my class to find 
between twenty and thirty women waiting for their 
teacher. Talking for one whole hour was a terrible tax 

93 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

on my vocabulary, and must have been even a greater 
tax on the endurance of the class. I was quite done when 
they were in a questioning mood ; it would have been bad 
enough if there had been no foreign language to under- 
stand. The very first morning they asked me about 
Michael disputing with Satan over the body of Moses ! 

It is rather surprising to find that such simple people 
possess so advanced a form of etymology. The parts of 
speech and general construction in a broad sense resemble 
the other dialects of the Bantu class, but the verbs are 
very complex and more technically developed than its 
offsprings, Luganda and Swahili. All our English tenses 
are employed besides several others met with in Greek. 
Most of these effect a complete change in the relative 
form. Verbs practically dominate all the other parts of 
speech ; the nouns, with very few exceptions, are their 
parasites. A few straggling prefixes tacked on to the verb 
root are the only attempts the nouns make toward an 
individuality of their own. Adverbs and prepositions are 
rarely granted an independent existence. They add to 
the corpulence of the verb by being absorbed in it. The 
perfect harmony between nouns, adjectives, and verbs is 
a veritable man-trap, for a native will rarely understanda 
discord, however untutored he may be. Besides grammar 
and pronunciation, there are two other important things 
to study the proverbs, and the mode of expressing ideas. 
The Batoro are not quite so versed in the metaphorical 
form of speech as the Baganda, who are capable of carry- 
ing on a lengthy conversation in the most mystical and 
involved proverbs, only quoting the first two or three 
words of each, and quite expecting you to imagine the 
rest. I trembled literally when this was first told me, for 
I had never been able to get beyond " never too late to 
mend " in English proverbs. But Lunyoro is really 
kinder in this respect. They do, however, exist in 
spasmodic forms. If you want to really win the love and 

94 



Language 

confidence of the people you have to make a regular 
business of learning their catch expressions and idioms, 
and dropping completely the habit of translating English 
into Lunyoro, then they will confer on you their highest 
degree " Oli Mutoro," " you are a native of Toro." 

The Batoro have what I believe is a unique custom 
among these tribes, that is, every mother gives a pet 
name to her child, and this clings to him always ; it is 
used when addressing as a token of love or respect by 
friends and dependents. Ana Kageye constituted herself 
my African " Mother," and straight away gave me the 
name " Adyeri " (pronounced Ar-de-air-y). This was 
very readily taken up by the people, as my name abso- 
lutely beat them. Only the King and one or two others 
got so near as " Hurudeki," and really it took some time 
to answer up to " Beki " " Deki " " Heki " " Bodeki " 
" Hedeki " and even " Paratata," which were all supposed 
to be " Hurditch." Really, to save the poor family name 
from such rough treatment I was not sorry to put it away 
entirely except in memory. 

In less than five years a great deal has been accom- 
plished in translation, and with the exception of a few 
hymns, it has been entirely undertaken by the one 
missionary who has also been responsible for direct 
mission work. During that period the New Testament, the 
Prayer Book with Psalms, two Catechisms, a hymn book 
of nearly one hundred hymns, and a reading sheet for 
learners have been completed in the language of the 
people. Since Lunyoro was adopted in place of the 
neighbouring dialect of Luganda, the work has gone for- 
ward in leaps and bounds, and to it must be attributed 
largely the wide spread of Christianity among the 
peasants in the villages. It is not an uncommon thing 
to find a village that has given up devil-worship, not 
through the instrumentality of a European or native 
teacher, but simply through the people having learned 

95 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

to read the Bible for themselves from someone who had 
been instructed in the alphabet or syllables. 

When Mr. Maddox was about to leave Toro for 
England, the King and chiefs came together and pre- 
sented to him a letter signed by a very large number of 
Christian men. In it they expressed their warm appre- 
ciation of all the work he had done for them in translating 
the books, and earnestly hoped he would soon return to 
them again. These books form the entire library of the 
Batoro. They are most insatiable readers, and as you 
pass along the roads any hour in the day you will hear a 
voice here and there issuing from the little grass huts 
reading in loud measured tones from the Bible. It is 
impossible to estimate the purifying and sanctifying 
influence this literature has had on the national and 
family life. The conquering martial strains of the 
" Onward Christian Soldiers " have displaced and driven 
out of the country the old songs of plunder and bloodshed. 
Instead of the little children learning demoralising 
heathen songs and dances they are being taught to sing 
such hymns as " I think when I read that sweet story of 
old." Right away among the creeks and crevices of the 
ancient Mountains of the Moon, on the very borders of 
the great primeval forests inhabited by the little pigmy 
tribe, you hear to-day the strains of these Christian 
hymns. 



96 



CHAPTER XII 

Festivities in Toro 

I. CHRISTMAS. 

CAN it be that this is the season that in one's mind is 
always associated with snow, Jack Frost, Santa 
Claus, shops and streets ablaze with gas jets, 
holly and mistletoe, people hurrying and jostling 
each other good naturedly, wrapped up in the warmest 
furs to keep out the crisp, frosty air, and wishing each and 
all the compliments of the season. Yes, it is really Yule- 
tide ! And yet the hills and dales are waving their 
ripening grain under the deep sapphire of a cloudless sky. 
The dry season is near its close, hills and mountains are 
scorched and parched, the banana groves and the tiger 
grass of the swamps which wind like a serpent's trail 
round the base of the hills, are the only bright and green 
tracks that have survived the conflict with the equatorial 
sun. On all sides are to be seen tiny patches of culti- 
vated land, even reaching up to the lofty peaks of 
Ruwenzori's range, where the people have sewn their 
grain (Euro), and this will soon be ready for the har- 
vesters. 

In the garden round our bungalow mud house are 
gorgeous zinnias, balsams, mignonette, carnations, sweet 
peas, geraniums, nasturtiums, and two little rose buds. 
A few steps further will bring you round to the vegetable 
garden. One gardener being an Irishman, potatoes are 
very much in evidence, and of course cabbages. Besides 
these there are cauliflowers, green peas, beans, 

97 H 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

celery, only wanting the nip of frost to make it excellent, 
lettuces, beetroots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, 
and turnips. And yet this is Christmastime ! It is little 
wonder that one has constantly to revert to the calendar 
to be assured of this. 

And so we set to work to get the little gifts together 
that our kind friends from home sent us for our native 
friends knives, pencils, bags, sashes, blotters, and so on. 
The wee tots from the school come down for their attend- 
ance prizes, and go away beaming with their new posses- 
sion of a pinafore. Then the oxen are killed, and on 
the day before Christmas all the sick folk come to the 
" missionary butcher " and hobble off rejoicing with their 
joint of beef wrapped up in a banana leaf. And, although 
Father Christmas has assumed a black face in Africa, he 
does not pass by the white man's door, and he leaves his 
gifts of a grass mat, animal's skin, beans, beads, or 
bracelets, the only things with which he can fill his Toro 
sack. 

At 12.0 a.m. on Christmas Eve from the King's, the 
Queen Mother's, and the Mission Hills the drums are set 
beating, and from the English forts the guns are fired to 
proclaim to all the country that the Christian's day of 
rejoicing has dawned, for the Christ child Immanuel 
has come. Then on the midnight air is borne the strains 
of " O come all ye faithful " and " Hark the herald angels," 
sung by some of those who have been redeemed from the 
heart of Darkest Africa, and now step out from their 
little huts to join with us in praising God. 

At 8 a.m. on Christmas morning the church drum is 
beaten, calling the people together, and by 9.0 the church 
is completely crowded out, many being obliged to sit 
outside. In the schoolroom over four hundred of the 
peasant folk and children have gathered, and in the 
dispensary the sick have come together for morning ser- 
vice. 

98 



Festivities in Tore 

The church is beautifully decorated with palm leaves 
and flowers that have been brought in by the people, and 
the building echoes with voice as the audience unites, as 
one man, in the service. 

On ^.fric's sunny shore, glad voices 

Wake up the mom of Jubilee 
The negro, once a slave, rejoices ; 

Who's freed by Christ, is doubly free. 

After that we all go to our homes, the natives to make 
merry over their beef and bananas, and we to prepare as 
near an approach to an English Christmas dinner as is 
possible, and although there are no grocers' shops or 
fruiterers' to supply the usual details, and our cook for 
the twelve j^ears of his existence has been reared in 
African ignorance, still one can fare very excellently, for 
the guinea fowl and sausages are really turkey in all but 
name. The baron of beef, although far removed from the 
prize oxen of the English markets, is very good, and 
the home-made plum pudding, with its few suspicious 
native ingredients, brings up the menu to almost English 
standard. 

Boxing Day is generally a grand field day, when sports 
are arranged on an extensive scale, including running, 
pick-a-back, hurdle, three-legged, and obstacle races. 
This latter involves scaling a bamboo scaffolding, crawling 
through packing cases with the ends kicked out, climbing 
a tree, and wriggling through a stack of reeds. Then 
there is a greasy pole placed in an oblique position, at 
the end of which is hung a leg of goat. Big and small, 
old and young attempt this, quite regardless of the 
undignified tumbles each experiences. Loud was the 
shout of applause on one occasion, when the Katikiro, 
who is of clumsy proportions, after many falls landep 
safely at the top and secured the joint. A banana peeling 
competition for the women comes next. The competitors, 

99 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

some twenty at a time, sit in a row with their knives and 
twenty green bananas on a leaf before them. When the 
whistle sounds they attack their task with great excite- 
ment. Some women, in place of knives, use sharpened 
pieces of wood. Those who finish first and peelthe best 
receive prizes of calico. Scrambles for cowrie shells 
generally bring the sports day to a close. 

On more than one occasion Bishop Tucker has honoured 
Toro by dating his annual visit about Christmas time. 
This was the case during our first year in Toro. We 
had had a busy time previous to his arrival questioning 
and examining the hundred and fifty women candidates 
who were to be presented for confirmation, and when all 
this was completed we ran away to the crater Lake, eight 
miles distant, to snatch a few days' rest. But on the 
second day we were unexpectedly recalled, as one of our 
fellow missionaries had been taken very ill and was 
obliged to be carried into Mengo under the care of the 
other one. So for the first time we two girls were left 
quite alone, eight days away from the nearest European. 
But we were too occupied to realise it. The engineers, 
surveyors, and foremen (?) having suddenly left us in this 
manner, we were obliged to see through the completion 
of the jobs they had taken in hand in order to get things 
into shape before Christmas. Here at last we found a 
chance of putting to use our youthful study of Euclid. 
With a measuring line and sticks we felt distinctly pro- 
fessional as we tried to mark out a new road, but we 
found that if only the ground space had been long enough 
to test it our two straight lines would certainly have 
enclosed a space. So perhaps Euclid's axiom is only an 
absurdity after all ! 

Then the house where the Bishop was to be entertained 
needed repairs. The roof was in such a state that one 
evening, while we were tidying up inside, a big storm 
visited us and simply poured down through the reed 

100 



Festivities in Toro 

ceiling into the sitting-room. Fortunately there are no 
carpets in these parts, for the floor was covered with 
puddles in a very few minutes. But the water soon 
drained off into the holes the white ants had made; they 
must have suffered from rheumatism that night ! 

It was a difficult matter to find workmen just then, for 
most of the chiefs had gone off, each with some hundreds 
of men, to capture young elephants. Sir Harry Johnston 
had offered a certain sum for each young elephant 
brought in alive, as he was hoping to have them trained 
for transport use. A few days after the first party had 
set out, a loud report of distant yelling and screaming 
reached the school, where daily classes were going on. 
Nearly everyone ran out to discover the cause of the up- 
roar. A large crowd was seen approaching, beating 
drums, blowing pipes, dancing, and shouting. There 
seemed no apparent occasion for such a row till one spied 
a tiny, hapless baby elephant, with ropes round its body 
and four legs, limping along among its captors. It died, 
like all its followers. But for a few days just then Toro 
threatened to become a most undesirable menagerie, for, 
besides these elephants and various monkeys, the King 
had collected, and sent to the Commissioner, one of the 
largest, most repulsive, and horribly human-looking 
chimpanzees. The mode of capture had been rather 
unique. The tree in which it had taken up its position in 
the forest was isolated by the capturers cutting down all 
the surrounding ones for some distance. Then, placing 
a circle of men with spears to guard the boundary, 
they felled the only standing tree, and as it suddenly 
crashed down with its coveted and unsuspicious object, a 
net was thrown over the black monster, that was then 
hustled into a large cane cage standing in readiness. 

One of our runaway Missionaries managed to get back 
to Toro just in time for the Bishop's arrival three days 
before Christmas. We went with the King's wife, his 

101 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

mother, his sister, and about 250 women, and waited for 
his arrival on the brow of a hill. All the men, headed by 
the King and Katikiro on horseback, had preceded us. 
When the Bishop came up, riding on his mule, he was 
literally besieged, and we could scarcely move on for the 
crowd. The days that followed were big days. Three 
hundred and sixty-four candidates came forward for con- 
firmation. 

It was a truly wonderful sight to see the church with over 
500 men and women assembled for Holy Communion. My 
mind travelled back in thought to six years ago, when 
outside the houses had stood the devil temples. Genera- 
tion after generation had passed, the Prince of Darkness 
exercising undisputed sway and holding the people in the 
most degraded and merciless allegiance. Now his power 
had been completely shattered, his temples cast down, 
and a great Invisible Temple was being builded together 
for a Habitation of God through the Spirit. 

Together at the Communion rails knelt the King in his 
royal robes, and close by was one of his peasant subjects 
dressed in a small goat skin. There was old Apolo Mpisi, 
the dispensary patient, with a beaming and peaceful 
countenance this was his first communion. Among 
others, hobbled up an old lady on crutches, who had had 
her leg amputated during a visit from Dr. Cook, of 
Mengo. The responsibility was a solemn one of feeling 
that we had done something toward preparing many of 
the women for this holy ordinance. When we shall 
stand together, all united before the Throne in Heaven, 
will it not be glorious to have had a share, however small, 
in leading forward some of the multitude from Africa ! 

As the powers of Heaven looked down upon Toro that 
day, surely they broke forth into a song of victory. Bless- 
ing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and 
honour, and power, and might be unto our God for ever 
and ever, Amen. 

102 



Festivities in Toro 



II. CORONATION CELEBRATIONS. 

Although so far from things that stir and thrill the 
great heart of the British Empire, Toro must not be con- 
sidered behind in loyalty to that centre of its Govern- 
ment. Certainly it exercised its utmost ingenuity to 
follow close in the wake of the plans and excitement that 
occupied the mind of every English subject for commem- 
orating the great event of the Coronation of its King 
Edward VII. 

Our mails from England for months seemed to have no 
other subject to talk about. Our minds pictured it all 
sombre London stripped of its usual calm sobriety, 
decorated in full war paint. We were seized with a 
violent fit of patriotism, and because we could not join in 
the London throng, or even go to the grand festivities 
that were prepared by the Government at Mengo, we 
determined to do our best for Toro. 

First of all, some days before the event, invitations 
were sent out to the four other Europeans, and to the 
royal native court, for a coronation dinner. Ordering the 
donkey to be harnessed, someone was despatched to our 
village shop to purchase red, blue, and white calico, with 
which were made two long lines of streamers for decor- 
ating our station, and a large Union Jack to cover the 
Table in the Church. Some of the people came down to 
decorate the outside, while we decked the church inside 
with the royal and imperial colours. At 8.0 a.m. on Coro- 
nation Day over 1,000 people had gathered in and outside 
the church for a brief service. After prayer and Scripture, 
a Royal decree was read that had been sent out from 
England and translated, and this was followed by a brief 
address on the event of the day. Then we all rose and 
united in the good old National Anthem, that had been 
translated and type-written for the occasion. 

That was the first half of the day's proceedings. The 

103 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

second half started at seven, when the dinner came off. 
The table was decked out with a table centre of red 
geraniums, white balsams, and cornflowers, the serviettes 
were folded as crowns, and the first course consisted 
of crown-shaped patties covered with the yoke of eggs, 
and studded with the white to represent crown jewels ! 
King Kasagama and Queen Damali, dressed in draperies 
of silk and white linen, arrived with the other native 
guests, who had hung about the outside courtyard so as 
to avoid being the first arrivals. It was marvellous how 
easily and quietly our native guests manipulated the 
European table equipments ; half concealed glances were 
cast in our direction every now and again. The serviettes 
rather puzzled them were they to be left on the table or 
used as handkerchiefs ? When the plum pudding came in, 
all ablaze, with a little British flag stuck at the top, three 
hearty cheers greeted it, the King joining' in with 
boisterous glee. 

On the table there were three dishes of strawberries, the 
first we had been able to produce in Toro, and we were 
keen on introducing them into the country generally. Pre- 
paring a plateful with sugar and cream, I respectfully 
begged his Majesty to try a real English luxury. He 
glanced timidly at them, and showed the usual disinclina- 
tion that is always evinced \\hen given a new English 
dish to sample. He assured me that he was so satisfied 
that anything more was impossible, but, passing the plate 
to the Katikiro, told him to try it. The poor man, look- 
ing the picture of misery, begged to be excused, so it fell 
to the lot of the unfortunate chief minister to submit 
himself to the task. With a pitifully resigned expression 
he took one strawberry on a spoon, then another, and 
another, till he called out " Excellent, excellent, the best 
of all." Forgetting his recent excuse, the King took the 
dish near at hand, and simply finished off the whole lot ! 
The day following requests came from one and another 

104 



Festivities in Toro 

for strawberry roots, and King Daudi superintended the 
Queen as she herself planted them in a plot outside the 
sitting-room window of his Majesty's new house. 

After dinner the King was determined to do his part, 
and insisted on our all going up to his home. To our 
utter amazement we found our court outlined with 
hundreds of flaming torches, ten to twelve feet long ; the 
bearers were waiting to conduct us to the royal palace. 
The whole distance was lined with double files of torch- 
bearers, which made the country look like Earl's Court 
Exhibition on an exaggerated scale. Big bonfires were 
burning on the surrounding hills, the torches of guests 
coming from all directions looked like so many fireflies. 
On arriving at the Royal Court, we were met with a blaze 
of fire. Quickly falling into order, the people unanimously 
shouted a salute to his Majesty and his friends, as we 
made for the chairs all set out on leopard skins outside 
the two-storied mud palace. Then the performance 
began. The Royal band was then in full force. On 
striking up one of the most weird, discordant tunes, 
nearly the whole crowd of people broke into dancing, 
their fluttering, white linen garments flapping about them 
as wings. More and more excited they got, till they 
danced so high as to appear held up in mid-air. Then 
they gave way to the pipers, who performed on 
instruments made from crude pieces of reed. Singing 
accompanied this performance such fantastic tunes, all 
praising the greatness of their King and exalting in the 
prowess of his people, with ringing cheers interspersed for 
England, its King, and King Kasagama. The evening 
closed in giving us all a longing that the great 
Edward VII. might have seen how one of his kingly 
subjects in the heart of Africa had commemorated that 
important day. 



105 



CHAPTER XIII 

Tramp I. To the Albert Edward Lake 

THE year after our arrival in the country my com- 
panion and I were again on the tramp toward the 
Albert Edward Lake, combining an itinerating tour 
with a holiday. We started under not very pro- 
pitious circumstances. The wet season was not over, and 
promised to treat us rather shabbily, for the rain began 
drifting down just as we had put off from home. We had a 
small body of caravan porters numbering about fourteen 
in all, and an ordained native deacon, named Apolo 
Kivebulaya, as protector and overseer of the forces. He 
is just one of the best natives you could ever meet. 

His experiences seem like a page out of apostolic history. 
He, with his friend Sedulaka, came from Uganda to Toro 
in 1896 as teachers. When a European was afterwards 
stationed there, he went further afield, even as far as 
Mboga, on the boundaries of the Pigmy Forest, and there 
he established a Mission Station. At first he met with a 
great deal of opposition from the chief Tabala, which 
might have been expected from the graphic account the 
late Sir Henry Stanley gives ot these uncontrollable 
people in his book " Darkest Africa." Apolo's house 
and few possessions were burnt by incendiarism, and for 
three weeks he remained hidden from his persecutors in 
a house of a woman, who had become a "reader"; but 
his zeal and faith never flagged even when he was 
cast into the chain gang, for there he commenced to 

106 




a- 

D 
ffl 
W 



To the Albert Edward Lake 

speak to his guards, and taught them to read the Testa- 
ment, which he always carried about with him. Shortly 
after these things Tabala himself got converted to 
Christianity through the instrumentality of this very 
man, and, from being one of the fiercest opponents, he 
became, and has remained since, one of the most ardent 
supporters of the Christian Faith. Apolo is a well-known 
character throughout the country ; nothing succeeds in 
ruffling his quiet, contented nature, but with a chronic 
beam on his old dusky face, he goes along in his daily 
routine of instructing catechumens or confirmation 
candidates, officiating at burials and marriages, or visiting 
the outlying Mission Stations. 

Certainly we could not have had a native escort so 
respected and beloved all round these parts than good old 
Apolo. 

In order that we should find camp comfortably fixed 
up on the first day, we had despatched our belongings 
some time ahead. We were anxious to wait for the heat 
of the day to pass before actually starting off on our 
wheels. Just outside Kabarole the rain came down in 
torrents. We struggled to cycle on through it, but it was 
tough business. The mud, added to the hilly condition 
of the path, prevented us from making much headway. 
My wheel was a solid tyre, generally known as a " bone- 
shaker " ; it would not stick on the down hills, and 
insisted on skidding along the narrow, slanting paths cut 
round them. Once I did a most uncomfortable somer- 
sault, and having for a second time got thrown into thick 
mud, relinquished the bicycle for the remainder of that 
day's journey. When we reached camp, we were in a 
condition better imagined than described. Evidently the 
rain had rather damped the energies of our porters, for 
we found the tent only just commencing to be tackled, 
and mud, mud, mud, everywhere. It was certainly rather 
confusing ; 5 p.m., and in a tiny space surrounded by 

107 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

banana trees were the jabbering porters ; boxes were 
lying about in the mud, and a small crowd of inquisitive 
natives stood round gaping with astonishment. One of 
them kindly offered to turn out of his tiny hut to allow 
us to change our soaking clothes, and our stay there 
turned out to be somewhat longer than we bargained for, 
for one of our porters came to us with a cheerful grin 
saying that he had left the ground sheet of the tent 
behind. Stacks of soaking grass had been laid down over 
the wet mud inside the tent, and our low camp beds 
were almost sitting in it. So we had them removed into 
the hut, and there we passed the night. Oh, these native 
huts ! There are no apertures for light excepting the 
low entrance ; this one was partially divided into two 
apartments by means of a reed screen, and in one of these 
we slept; in the other, our girls cooked and knocked 
about. There was just squeezing space for our two beds. 
Above mine was a ledge, where some fowls were roosting 
and strutting about, shaking down the soot and cobwebs 
that hung round the inside of the hut. We scarcely 
dared attempt to close our eyes, as rats were scampering 
about very excitedly all night. We cleared off as soon 
as we could in the morning, hoping to settle on a more 
congenial spot next time. The road left much to be 
desired : it was a constant succession of hills and deep 
ridges, with a few swamps to add variety to one's mode 
of travelling. Feeling scarcely like wading through 
these, I mounted the shoulder of a stolid porter, who 
stumbled through the mud and water above his knees. It 
is a tragic experience to balance yourself up so high, and 
only a woolly pate to tenaciously hold on to, especially 
when your carrier gets stuck in the mud, and extricating 
it, with an unexpected jerk, nearly sends his burden and 
himself head-first. 

At every halting-place food was brought to us by the 
natives for our porters ; they generally offer it as a gift, 

108 



To the Albert Edward Lake 

but would be very disappointed if they did not get some- 
thing of greater value in exchange. One has to be pro- 
vided with a purse of curious dimensions, for at some 
villages reading sheets, hymn books, or gospels are the 
payments most valued ; in others, calico, cowrie-shells, 
pice, or even beads of the particular design which 
happens to be the latest fashion in clothing there at the 
time. The scenery on our second day's travel was 
exhilarating ; the road lay near the base of Ruwenzori's 
mountains. We steamed along on our machines with sun- 
hats and big sun-shades over ridges and through mud at 
which even a horse would stop and consider. Our noble 
Apolo insisted on keeping pace with our bicycles, and as 
small batches of natives passed on the road, gazing with 
blank astonishment at these " running snakes," he called 
out with pride and elation " Look at the wisdom of the 
white man." Just as this remark was shot out for the third 
time the front bicycle tumbled clean into an ant-pit, and 
was irremediably smashed up. The people did not 
evince any concern or surprise : they evidently con- 
sidered it a part of the show. One of the onlookers was 
chartered to shoulder the fragments back to Kabarole. I 
am not quite sure if he did not wonder where the 
' wisdom " came in. 

When we were within one and a-half hours of our next 
camp, streams of natives came running out to meet and 
welcome us. They continued increasing in number till 
we reached the village, Butanuka, which seemed well 
awake, what with the shrieking excitement of the people 
and the howlings of the children, who yelled with fear 
and alarm. Really our welcome resembled our first 
appearance in Toro, for here as everywhere in these parts 
the people had never seen white women. The drum was 
beaten, and although we were tired out and longed for a 
quiet rest and a cup of tea, we were borne along with the 
crowd there and then into the little grass church, where 

109 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

the native teacher thanked God for sending us, and we 
expressed our joy at coming out to them. The chief had 
erected a large grass shed where we could sit during the 
time of day when the sun makes a tent absolutely unbear- 
able. His wife brought us in her offering in the shape of 
a sheep, six chickens, eggs, twenty bundles of bananas, 
native spinach, and two large gourds of " mubisi " 
banana juice. Butanuka is a charming spot, surrounded 
on three sides by mountains. Toward the south these 
suddenly terminate and expose an arm of Lake Dweru. 
In nearly all the valleys are stretches of cultivated land 
and banana groves, while the little brown grass huts peep 
out like so many eyes from among their green surround- 
ings. 

There is a peculiar fascination in journeying through 
these unknown districts of Africa. When one can talk 
with the people in their own language they become an 
intensely interesting study. Cunning plus lying plus 
theft plus indolence these qualities seem to sum up the 
very generally accepted idea of a black man. Thus the 
European approaches him with a distinctly biassed 
opinion, and instinctively realising that the white man dis- 
trusts him ; the real self of the negro shrinks back into 
itself, the fidelity, dog-like affection, generosity, and keen 
penetration of his nature remain unrecognised because 
untouched. Dispel all preconceived ideas, study the 
people's environment, the external and internal influences 
that sway them, approach them not as "niggers" but 
fellow creatures, and the European will never need to 
complain of the black man's presumption, but will find it 
even possible to accept the inspired statement " God 
. . . hath made of one blood all nations of men." 

During our three days' stay at Butanuka we were 
besieged with callers. The sick came in for medicine, 
readers to be questioned for baptism, and others desirous 
of being written down for instruction. A teacher from a 

110 



To the Albert Edward Lake 

neighbouring village was sent to us with an eager request 
that we should visit them. We agreed to squeeze it into 
one afternoon. Although the teacher had only been there 
at work one month we found quite a lively interest had 
been awakened among the people. The chief of the 
village, who was captain of the King's soldiers, came out 
in big style to welcome us. After a little service and a 
great deal of medicining, we were taken to the chief's 
hut, where a meal had been prepared for us. After 
seating ourselves on the soft, fresh grass that had been 
laid down on the floor we started operations. First of 
all water was brought in for hand ablutions, then the 
unsweetened cooked bananas were brought in, and a 
boiled chicken, all wrapped up in the banana leaves in 
which- they had been boiled. The chicken was broken 
up into tempting morsels by the host and an immoderate 
helping of the bananas was plumped down in front of each. 
Then commenced the process of rolling the bananas 
into small balls in our hands, and punching a depres- 
sion in the middle by which the gravy could be scooped 
up. A sheep and three chickens were brought to us as 
presents, and as we started off nearly the whole village 
followed on behind. In spite of hurrying we did not 
reach home before the darkness fell, and a thunderstorm 
broke over us, extinguishing the long, flaming torches 
which the natives carried ; so we had to push along as 
best we could, and arrived in a wearied and very 
bedraggled condition. 

Leaving Butanuka and keeping a southerly course we 
found ourselves shut in by the big mountains that rise up 
so erratically from their gently undulating surroundings. 
For the first time I indulged in the questionable luxury 
of being hammocked. We had been experiencing some 
days of heavy rains which had made the paths very 
muddy, and the long grasses through which we had to 
push our way was very wet, so that I determined to take 

111 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

advantage of the voluntary offers from some of the young 
Christian men, headed by the teacher, to act as carriers. 
The men gaily hoisted the hammock pole on their heads, 
and trying to appear unconscious of their 10^ stone 
burden, rushed off at a motor-like speed. They evidently 
felt a little uneasy of the possible consequences, for the 
front man kept calling out to me " Do not fear, my child," 
but suddenly I was precipitated backward, the heavy pole 
on the top of me, and my black " father " was sprawling 
unceremoniously in the mud. After that they were con- 
vinced of the necessity of going slowly, especially as our 
imperceptible path lay somewhere between tall thistles 
that gave us uncomfortable pricks and scratches as we 
pushed our way through. When we reached our destina- 
tion for that day the hammock bearers yelled and literally 
jumped with joy, regardless of my feelings, calling out 
"JuliAbakuru ba Buingereza," "We are great people 
of England," as they put me to the ground with " Well 
done, very well done, mistress " ; but I felt in an 
advanced stage of mal de mer. 

That day we had a typical African travelling experience. 
After descending a long, almost perpendicular hill we 
landed where our path lay through a broad, rushing 
river, the force of which was so great that the men could 
scarcely stand. The recent rains had swelled the river, 
which, coming from the lofty snow peaks, formed into a 
perfect cataract. The first man who very gingerly went 
to test the strength of the water was carried off his feet 
and just saved himself by clinging on to the bank at a 
bend. After long deliberation Apolo, our leader, got 
together six or eight very powerful men, who volunteered to 
post themselves where the current was strongest and help 
the others along. The first load that was taken across 
was our sack of kitchen utensils, which floated cheerfully 
down stream for some distance. Then the men suggested 
taking me across in the hammock. I generously hinted 

112 



To the Albert Edward Lake 

to my companion that she should go over first, but she 
would not see it. So, summing together all my courage, 
I got into the hammock and they plunged along, dragging 
their burden through the madly rushing waters. After 
about three hours had elapsed everything was safely 
landed on the other shore, baggage and all. The only 
tragedy we had to relate was the sad fate of a chicken 
that, at sight of the tempestuous waters, broke from its 
captivity and was carried away by the relentless river to 
supply food to the hungry little fishes. 

Things were not much better on the following day. 
We had almost walked on to the Equator and the sun did 
its best to make us know it, so that at the end of four 
solid hours' marching we literally collapsed under the 
shade of a big tree and sent scouts on ahead to ascertain 
the condition of the River Mubuku, through which our 
path lay. They returned with the news that the waters 
were so high that it was impossible to attempt crossing 
that day. We determined not to be done if possible, 
however, and pushed on to see for ourselves. The 
mountains seemed to close in upon us on all sides, and 
from their precipitous heights rushed down numerous 
rivulets, which united and formed the mighty Mubuku 
River. We halted on the stony bank and viewed the 
situation. On the opposite side could be seen groups of 
natives crouching down among the long grasses and 
peering with frightened glances in our direction. It was 
evident that we must wait till the waters had abated 
somewhat, so pitched camp close by and made the best 
use of our time by rallying the villagers round us, who 
gathered together in swarms. There, as everywhere, the 
cry was, " Give us a teacher." The desire on the part of 
these people for instruction is quite remarkable, but to 
speak intelligently to them is very far from easy. They 
have never thought in the abstract, so it is essential to 
clothe every spiritual truth in parables or concrete 

113 i 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

qualities. One must get back further than the A. B.C. 
and adopt the kindergarten method. If one does not reach 
them it is because the teacher has forgotten how to be a 
child, or has failed to make the invisible visible. God in 
revelation and God in manifestation employed parabolical 
means for presenting to the natural man in his infancy 
truth which is infinite and incomprehensible. 

When once the desire for reading has been actually 
awakened in these people, nothing will deter them from 
mastering the letters. If they possess nothing with which 
to purchase the five cowrie shell reading sheet, they will 
be quite willing to bring in firewood or do any work in 
order that they may obtain it. One old woman at this 
particular camp brought her spade and cleared a small 
space round our tent, and when we gave her the longed- 
for wages she started right away to struggle with the 
Alphabet, although her eyes were dim and her bristly hair 
was tinged with white. 

Thus, when no teacher can be sent to the people, they 
are not left in total darkness, as the Bible is slowly 
penetrating the entire land and being read eagerly by its 
people. 

The next morning we found the waters had gone down 
sufficiently to enable us to venture cautiously. It was not, 
however, a very desirable experience ; about twenty men 
supported the hammock while the waters were foaming 
and roaring beneath and coming right over the sides of 
the canvas ; two men who were attempting to lift it out 
of the water by holding on to the sides were carried 
away by the strength of the current, then all the remain- 
ing availables made a hasty grab at the other side, with 
the result that I was on the point of being overturned and 
pitched out. I just managed to save myself by hanging 
on to the pole, but got drenched through. 

The following morning we started off at 7 a.m. The 
scenery was enchanting and the air very invigorating. 

114 



To the Albert Edward Lake 

We continued steadily marching until 11.30, passing 
through hamlets absolutely deserted on account of the 
destructive visits of the elephants, which had torn up the 
banana trees from the roots, trampled down the Indian 
corn, and razed to the ground the little grass houses of the 
people. They themselves had fled in terror, leaving the 
wild pigs to feast on their potato patches. 

The four and half hours' walk gave us a decided 
hankering after i A. B.C. or Gatti, also a change of 
clothing, as our boots felt like water cisterns and our 
skirts were weighted with mud and water that literally 
trickled off the edges. The porters put our boxes down 
under a tree and went off in search of what they could 
pick up in the way of food, while we fished out some dry 
things and indulged in a meal of goat soup and cold 
chicken. Our guide told us another hour and a half 
would find us in camp, but at the end of two hours hard 
walking and no signs of our tent being visible we 
inquired how much further had we to go. " Oh," said 
one of the porters, " it is impossible to halt here, three 
hours more will bring us to water and food." This fairly 
did for us ; we had somehow doled out our walking 
powers without reckoning for this extra distance, and we 
felt decidedly despondent. The natives always under- 
estimate distance in order that the very prospect should 
not have a discouraging effect on a pedestrian's spirits. 

The scorching sun had made us very thirsty, and we 
worked our teapot very hard that day ; the mosquitoes 
gave us a lively time of it, but faint, yet pursuing, we 
dragged on, reaching our welcome little tent at 6 p.m. 
But oh, what a resting place. A strong smell of stale 
fish pervaded the air, mingled with all the odours peculiar 
to African huts, where cattle, sheep, chickens and people 
all huddled together. We found our tent pitched in the 
middle of a court completely surrounded and suffocated 
by fishermen's huts, for we were close to the lake shore. 

115 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

The only compensation for this and the mosquito 
discomforts was the enjoyment of tasting fresh fish once 
more. The lake fish somewhat resemble fresh haddocks 
and are of delicious flavour. On our arrival men were 
sent to catch them, and in half an hour they were 
served up steaming hot from the stewpan ! Their 
method of fishing is primitive in the extreme. They 
have wicker baskets open top and bottom, which are 
shot down in the water ; when they have enclosed a 
fish its kicking about is heard on the sides of the basket ; 
then they thrust in their arms and draw out the captive. 

Nyagwaki, the mission station for which we were 
making, is situated on one of the southern points of 
Ruwenzori. A short, steep climb next morning brought 
us face to face with streams of people, who came hurrying 
down the mountain side to greet us and to help push us 
up the rougher places. When we reached the summit of 
the hill on which stands the village, a truly marvellous 
view stretched beneath. 

Evidently the Albert Edward Lake once extended over 
the miles of plain which lie to the north of it, for bare, 
flat islands appear here and there in the large arm of the 
lake that lies almost surrounded by plain. It is just as 
one might imagine the world looked when Noah came out 
of the ark with his family. At sunset the view was most 
impressive, the lake lay shimmering like a sea of gold, 
while the evening mist that gently touched the land made 
it appear as though it were blushing as the sun kissed 
good-night and disappeared behind the distand hills. 

A very vigorous work we found was going on here ; the 
little mission church, with its capacity for about 200 
people, was well filled, and several came to be written 
down for baptism. An occasional visit to these isolated 
stations from a European missionary does much toward 
encouraging the young teachers and Christians who often 
are subject to severe and subtle temptations to fall back 

116 



into the old heathen practices by which they are 
surrounded. The Chief of the village, Kasami, had been 
brought into touch with Christianity when visiting 
Kabarole during a visit from Dr. Cook. There he 
had undergone an operation for opthalmia, and, having 
received " new windows," he returned to his country to 
use them in learning to read. 

Our experiences on the homeward journey were much 
the same, although we took a less circuitous route. 
Almost without exception, we got soaked through and 
through twice daily : first with the heavy dews, which 
necessitated a mid-day halt and change if malaria was to 
be avoided, then again, in the afternoon came the rains, 
which fell regularly from i.o p.m. and onwards. Our 
first thing on reaching camp was to have a large fire 
kindled and all our wardrobe hung round to dry, singe, or 
stiffen. Our boots suffered terribly and so did we when 
we struggled into them each morning. 

One day, after five hours' marching, the thunderclouds 
came tumbling together and sent down torrents of rain. 
We tried to squeeze up under a tree, but this soon offered 
no shelter, and even our mackintoshes could resist the 
water no longer. It was impossible to cook any food as 
the fire would not light ; meanwhile our thirst became 
tragic, until the idea occurred to us of standing under 
each other's umbrella and quaffing the streams that ran 
from the spokes ! Hunger at last drove us on toward 
camp, despite the rain, but the roads required one to be 
rough shod. Faithful Apolo insisted on grabbing my arm 
with such a grip that when it finally lost all power of 
feeling, a row of bruises presented themselves to prove 
the conflict passed through. 

For a whole week we had been passing elephant 
tracks, which the porters declared were quite freshly 
made, but once only were we fortunate enough to see 
these magnificent monsters. At mid-day the porters had 

117 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

spied three some distance off, slowly tramping along in 
the tall grass, but we only saw their heads and tops of 
their backs. At 5.30 p.m., however, that same day, a 
herd of fifteen passed comparatively close to us. In single 
file they solemnly marched over the brow of a hill, 
silhouetted against a gorgeous sky. A yell from one of 
the porters brought their heads round in our direction, 
when we saw that five had immense tusks. It was an 
imposing sight, the whole was so perfectly harmonious ; 
there is something vast, untrammelled a strange 
abandonment and magnanimity of nature in scenes like 
this, that even an Englishman must feel small! 

Antelopes, birds, and butterflies of the most brilliant 
colouring abounded in these parts, and these make up for 
the less attractive shades of an African tramp. 

We arrived home very much braced up (the malarial 
germs had not a chance of settling down), and feeling 
that we had perhaps been enabled to accomplish some- 
thing toward the carrying out of the marching order, 
" Go ye into all the world." 



118 




AUGUST, I believe, is generally admitted to be the 
month of domestic monsoons. Bradshaw, 
Baedeker, and time tables are the hardest-worked 
books in the house at that time ; trunks and boxes 
are all upset ; and every conceivable seaside town and 
village is considered and rejected in turn as a possible 
antidote to the general disgust with which we regard 
home at that time of the year. Even in the remote 
corner of the world known as Toro, my companion and I 
managed to create something of the old disturbance by 
announcing that we wanted a holiday. Perhaps the con- 
ventionalism of our up-bringing was to blame for the 
suggestion, but I believe we were honestly a wee bit 
tired after eighteen months of wrestling with the 
language and becoming acquainted with such new con- 
ditions of life and work. But the fuss that Uncle Podger 
created whenever he undertook to do a little job was 
nothing compared to the business our little holiday 
involved. First of all we had to get the permission of 
the Missionary in local charge, and he had to write in to 
headquarters at Mengo to find out if the Committee 
were agreed on the point. Then the whole district had 
to be carefully considered as to the spot most likely to 
offer real rest and enjoyment without encountering any 
perils of microbes, perils of hunger, perils by animals, 
perils by heathen, and perils by cannibals ! That 
seemed a difficult matter, but when it was at last all fixed 

119 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

up the drum was beaten to rally together porters ; food 
boxes, tent and furniture were packed up into parcels, 
and two cows were ordered to the front to complete our 
daily rations. Swarms of people came down to wish us 
good-bye ; one dear old lady declared she was consumed 
with grief, and another that she was on the point of death 
because of our leaving, but we told them all to cheer up 
and hurried away to assure ourselves that we were really 
off. We found ourselves with two military attache's, 
who had been told off by the King with strict injunctions 
to guard his European friends on their travels. But 
rarely have I set eyes on more spindle-like specimens of 
humanity ; if it had not been for the thick puttees, heavy 
jerseys, and cartridge belts with which they were laden, 
one would scarcely have noticed their presence. 

It had been decided to make for the southern shore ot 
Lake Albert, which as the crow flies appears to lie about 
forty miles north of Kabarole. The first day we struck 
camp at the crater Lake only a few miles away. This 
spot has a peculiar charm; a turn in the road brings one 
suddenly in view of this still sheet of water, and there is 
something rather uncanny about the dead waters lying in 
sepulchres of the past. I am not surprised that the 
natives associate them with stories of devils and hob- 
goblins. One side of the crater has been worn away, 
leaving an outlet for the water that has accumulated 
in its mouth, and this flowed out a few hundred yards 
before it found its level. Numbers of duck play about 
the waters of the lake, and beautiful purple and pink 
water-lilies grow close to the banks. We found a regular 
orchestra of frogs croaking forte fortissimo as an all-night 
serenade. It was just one of those days when the world 
feels flooded with self-satisfaction and peace and God 
seems " to rest in His love " as we started off early the 
next morning. Having the loan of a Muscat donkey 
given me, I hurried off to get ahead of the caravan and 

120 



Holidays 

reach 01 listeners, and then gave full vent to my feelings 
in that glorious hymn, " Praise my soul, the King 
of Heaven." An old woman, who had been fearfully 
startled at the unusual sight and sound, peered suddenly 
through the long grasses on the roadside, and so stopped 
my noble steed in his lively gallop. Exercising the usual 
native politeness, I greeted her with " How are you, my 
mother ? " She replied in the most complimentary terms 
" How's yourself, mother of my grandmother? " I then 
asked her why she wore the shell and bit of wood 
threaded on string round her neck, and she told me it 
was to cure a pain on the chest. The words felt like a 
harsh discord. When " Heaven lies about us" and every 
common bush is aflame with God, it is inconceivable how 
any man can remain cognisant only of the Spirit of Evil. 
Our path led us right close up to the north end of the 
Ruwenzori range, where it gets broken up into a 
succession of pyramid peaks, ridge intersecting ridge. 
Bamboo forests crowned the crests, as few points reached 
a higher altitude than eight thousand or nine thousand 
feet. The dry season had just about exhausted itself at 
that time, in consequence of which the grass on the 
mountains was dried up or had been burnt away in huge 
patches, exposing the bare soil and jagged rocks that 
frowned down upon us with uncompromising severity. As 
the second day closed in upon us, we stole out of our 
little tent to watch the storm freaks on the mountain 
sides. An old dame, with a basket of sweet potatoes 
balanced on her shaven pate, passed us, and stared hard 
from our headgear down to our boot leather, with grave 
disapproval. She insisted most vehemently that we must 
live without eating, for where could the food go when we 
were tied up in the middle like that ! Which reminded me 
of a chief who visiting us one day just as we were going 
in to lunch, asked if we became like the Batoro when they 
had finished eating, who resemble inflated balloons. 

121 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Instead of being able to take a direct route to the Lake 
over the hills we were obliged to get down into the 
Semliki plain, a long, unwholesome tract reeking with 
malaria that lies between and unites with a broad 
navigable river, the Albert Edward and Albert Lakes. 
Although actually in sight of the broad sheet of water, to 
our dismay we found the only path zig-zagged continually 
across the plain, so that we were actually let in for five 
days floundering up and down it pushing our way 
through grass five to ten feet high always laden with 
moisture as we started out each day on our tramp. The 
river Semliki winds along the plain like a glittering 
snake : it is about thirty yards wide, and has a very rapid 
flow which prevents swamps from collecting along its 
course. A few straggling huts sprawled about on the 
banks go by the name of fishing villages. With small 
harpoons the fisherfolk spear the fish, which are chiefly ot 
the carnivorous species. Great care has to be exercised 
by the people as the river abounds in crocodiles. The 
inhabitants of the plain are a timid, dull folk they did 
not even venture to look up at us as we passed them, 
although they had never seen a white woman. Arriving 
at one village we found it absolutely deserted ; the people 
had all fled on hearing of our approach, leaving their 
homes with their few possessions scattered about. A 
search party was organised from among our porters, and 
after a long hunt one poor, unhappy creature was brought 
in. He looked as if his last moment had come when he 
was brought to us, but when he heard his own language 
spoken and learned our peaceful intentions he went off 
and hauled in the others who were soon on the most 
friendly terms with us. Towards evening they all came 
round us as we had prayers with our boys and porters. 
They were delighted with the singing, and without 
waiting to be correctly taught the tune of " Jesus loves 
me " they rushed into it, all together, and soon fell into 

122 



Holidays 

unison. The original air was quite unrecognisable, but 
one must forget to be orthodox sometimes out here. 
Singing never fails to arrest the minds of the people, and 
offers an opportunity of telling them something of the 
Great and Loving Creator whom we laud and worship. 
Christ alone who is Wisdom can give one the confidence 
to attempt, in one short time, to draw aside the veil from 
the eyes and reveal the Father to those who have never 
heard His Name. Yet once having seen Him, one dares 
not allow that opportunity to pass by. 

Within the last few years this plain has been placed 
among the game preserves of the Protectorate ; it will 
consequently be a tantalizing route to the sportsmen, as 
it abounds in antelopes of several kinds harte-beestes, 
wilde-beestes, water-buck, wild boars, and birds of 
exquisite colouring. We could get practically no food 
for our porters, and on the second day's fast, regardless 
of laws and regulations, we ventured out with a gun to 
try and bring down something. But it was impossible to 
get anywhere near the animals, as our scouts got so 
excited that they frightened them away before we could 
get within shooting distance. Then we tried the plan of 
despatching one of our noble soldiers with a number of 
men from one of the villages to the nearest market in 
order to buy food. The men procured some potatoes, 
and started back with them, but, as the military went on 
slightly in advance, they all decamped one by one, carry- 
ing off the food with them. They had evidently taken in 
the measure of their leader ! 

The following day, Sunday, we could not do otherwise 
but press on, while our men were without food. At mid- 
day we reached a most indiscribably desolate stretch of 
country; for many miles there extended scrub, inter- 
spersed only by thorn bushes and tall cactus trees. Being 
thoroughly exhausted with fatigue, we struck camp by 
three lonely huts that unexpectedly were dumped down 

123 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

in this wilderness, without any sign of cultivation around. 
The people were wretchedly emaciated and seemed to 
have no spirit or strength to provide themselves with 
nourishment. They declared nothing would grow, and 
they were obliged to live on what they hunted or the food 
which occasionally they could get in exchange for animal 
flesh or hides. 

The only prolific life was mosquitoes. We got out our 
prayer books towards evening to sing one of the well- 
known hymns, but our spirits were at low ebb and would 
not rise. Two hungry-looking vultures sat on a naked 
cactus tree opposite our tent, watching our effort ; they 
did not encourage song ! I do dislike those birds so ! 

The fact was we were all feeling the dreariness of 
our surroundings, and needed a good, sound chop ! 

During a holiday, perhaps more than at other times, 
one just longs for a Sunday back in the dear country. 
The exposure and frugality of camp life makes one appre- 
ciate the shelter and calm of the home life. That all 
seemed so far off, and yet the setting sun said it is but 
two hours away. It is always thus when we look up. 
Here below it is distance, time, and change ; up there it 
is infinity, Eternity, God ; and our citizenship, after all, 
is in heaven. Our earthly life, home, and loved ones are 
gradually passing beyond the arc of time, and hereafter 
we shall find all again, perfected and completed, like the 
rainbow, round the Throne. 

We were really getting very alarmed on our porters' 
account, but they were very plucky about it, and, seeing 
our concern, assured us they could go without food nine 
days ! Nevertheless, they all sent up a shout of joy on 
the third day when a fairly flourishing little fishing 
village was spied close by, on the south end of the lakes. 
It consisted merely of a few scattered huts, but food was 
plentiful. As we arrived, the fishing smacks (dug-out 
canoes) had just come, bringing in a two days' haul. 

124 



Holidays 

The fish, which resembled large cod and dabs, looked 
delicious, and was a rare treat after the everlasting goat 
and chicken. In the evening the proprietor of the boats 
came, asking if we would like to be paddled out on the 
lake. It was a case of paddling, for the canoe let in the 
water as quickly as two men could bale it out. Stacks of 
grass were laid at the bottom of the canoe for us to sit on, 
but we got horribly wet. The beauty of the scenery 
made us forget this, however. From the eastern shores 
rose, sheer out of the lake, cliffs rising to 800 or 900 feet, 
with thick vegetation growing down to the water's edge ; 
and round the wooded banks on the west the most 
gorgeously-coloured birds and herons sported about. The 
wide, tranquil waters, like a great sleeping ocean, 
rested in a dead calm. Suddenly, without the least 
warning, five huge hippopotami raised their ugly heads 
out of the water and snorted at us furiously, which made 
us beat a hasty retreat. But they were evidently keen on 
catching another glance at the Europeans, for in the 
middle of the night, when the whole camp was peacefully 
sleeping, we were awakened by feeling the ground literally 
shaking under us. A premonition of- impending 
destruction seized us ; then the ropes of our tent 
cracked, and we made for the poles, which were tottering. 
But the tent withstood the attack, and with loud, hungry 
snorts our clumsy mammoth intruders trundled off, under 
cover of night, to seek their prey. 

The people round the southern end of Lake Albert are 
extremely primitive. In their homes is no indication of 
the least exercise of intelligence to furnish themselves 
with any tool, utensil, or garment. Only a very few of 
the men and women adopt clothing ; their food consists 
almost entirely of fish, which they hang out in the sun to 
dry. Those who possess a boat, a cooking pot, or a food 
basket have obtained them from other folk in exchange 
for fish, or inherited them from their ancestors. There 

125 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

are times when one asks if the soul of these people has 
ceased to pulsate, all human instincts are so crushed in 
them. But even here were the temples of a deity in the 
centre of each courtyard stood a rickety wee grass hutch, 
in which offerings of food had been placed. Carlyle has 
rightly said that man was made a worshipping 
creature. 

At evening prayers we called the people round us, and 
tried to talk with them. One typical grey-haired old 
heathen appeared interested, but hurried the audience 
back to their homes as soon as possible. When we pro- 
posed moving off to a village higher up on the lake, he 
generously offered himself as escort, and, on our reaching 
the spot, went from hut to hut, as we thought, asking the 
people to bring us in food for barter. He then wished us 
farewell and returned to his home. We afterwards 
learned that he was circuit priest and had been to every 
home forbidding the people to visit or listen to the words 
of the white ladies for fear of offending their god, the fish 
of the lake, who might withhold their only means of 
sustenance. Demetrius has many descendants ! 

Judging from the few days we spent roaming along the 
shores of the lake, I should say that it would be difficult 
to find a more fascinating spot for a holiday when once 
you get there. The botanist finds rare treasures hidden 
away in the creeks and crevices of the cliffs ; the sports- 
man has a free hand to carry home as many hippo teeth 
or crocodile hides as he may desire, and the modern 
historian would find on its shores not a lew materials for 
writing up the story of present day Africa. 

Quite close to where we were camped, took place some 
years ago the meeting between Emin Pasha and his 
rescuer, the late Sir Henry Stanley, who had, in his 
search for the lost general and his column, penetrated 
right through Africa from the West coast, overcoming 
almost insuperable difficulties. In spite of the attractive- 

126 



Holidays 

ness of the Albert Lake it is scarcely a cheerful place to 
be isolated at, and standing so near to the same spot one 
felt a strong pity for that Egyptian leader as he gave 
orders for his boat to be sunk to prevent the enemy 
seizing it, so cutting off all chance of his own escape. 

Time has wrought a phenomenal change ; the country 
from being threatened by strong foes on the north, and 
harassed by rebellious tribes within itself, has now settled 
down into a quiet peace, and two English girls were able to 
stroll over the same soil in perfect safety, with nothing to 
fear, save perhaps that the)' themselves should fail to rise 
to the privileges given them of living and working in such 
a land where lie footprints in the sands of time. 



127 



CHAPTER XV 

Tramp III. Through the Four 
Kingdoms of the Protectorate 

THE Uganda Protectorate is built up of four inde- 
pendent self-governing kingdoms, besides some 
outlying districts to the South East, which are 
under the control of Chiefs. The kingdoms are 
Uganda, Toro, Bunyoro, and Ankole. Toro is ruled 
over by a once rebellious branch of the Bunyoro tribe, ttha 
many years ago drove out the original inhabitants and 
established an independent kingdom. With this excep- 
tion each state is absolutely distinct from the other in the 
general physique and customs of the people. All of the 
four reigning sovereigns have been baptised into the 
Protestant Faith, and excepting in the case of Daudi 
Chwa, King of Uganda, who is at present but a small lad, 
they are leading exemplary Christian lives and helping 
forward Missionary work in every way. 

A circular tour of 600 or 700 miles through these 
districts could be accomplished just within one month, but 
this would involve heavy travelling and give but a feeble 
chance of appreciating the rapid transitions that are met 
with in country, animal life, and people. 

It took us nearly nine weeks to go the round, as our 
object was to visit all the mission stations along the 
route. In Toro we deviated slightly from the direct path 
in order that church sites might be measured and pegged 

128 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

out. The English Government some months before 
had granted to the native church a certain amount of 
land which could be divided up and marked out wherever 
required. In the kingdom of Toro about 130 plots were 
chosen where, in the near future it is to be hoped, 
mission centres will be planted, manned by trained native 
teachers. Already between 90 and 100 have been taken 
up and occupied, which means that the country is slowly 
being net-worked with Christian testimony. Measuring 
and marking out land in these parts is a rather complicated 
business. Once only did I attempt to offer the help of my 
services, and never again. It means geometrically describ- 
ing circles and right angles through the rankest weeds and 
tiger grass, stepping it out through swamp and marsh ; 
planting young saplings at every point as boundary marks 
only to find all these carefully calculated demarcations 
removed after perhaps a few days, to suit the convenience 
of one of the land holders who was in need of firewood, 
or wished to extend his boundaries. Quod non crat 
faciendum. 

Starting from Kabarole, we took a south-easterly 
direction toward Ankole, making the first halt at Isumba, 
a charming spot on the banks of a crater lake. There 
are seven more of these large volcano puddles in the 
immediate vicinity, lying in the heart of mountains of 
various altitudes. The waters are extremely picturesque 
with the rich tropical vegetation extending from the lip 
of the crater down to the water's edge. Hippopotami 
plunge about in fhe day time, while at night they lug 
their heavy bodies up the steep banks and snort about 
from one lake to another in search of food. The country 
round is very beautiful and reminds one faintly of 
Cumberland hills, mountains, forests, and lakes the 
monkeys and ourang-outangs, however, would not allow 
that idea to take root ; they made a fearful noise as we 
passed near their quarters. They were too much for our 

129 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

little fox terrier, who worked himself into a great rage at 
being unable to get at these intruders of the peace ; he 
simply made for the next native on the road (evidently 
thinking him one of the same tribe), but was driven off at 
the point of the spear that his antagonist was carrying. 

The forest close to our camp was swarming with 
monkeys, which made wide turning movements from 
branch to branch when disturbed. I kept on wondering if 
one was not going to land on my head. The two days old 
baby monkeys led their big sedate mammas exhausting 
scampers from tree to tree. What a good thing it is 
that they improve in behaviour during the process of 
evolution ! 

At 9.0 p.m. a message came asking me to give medicine 
to a sick person close to camp. Taking our lantern we 
went out and administered physic, then hastened home 
as lions could be heard roaring some distance "away. The 
oil unfortunately gave out before we reached our tent, 
and I must admit to a horrid sensation of fear lest one 
of them should spring out upon us from the pitchy 
darkness, as the roaring seemed to get nearer and nearer. 

In the morning our cowman came in with the tidings 
that one of these creatures had broken through the zariba 
built round the cowshed and run off with one of the 
calves. 

While encamped there a terrible storm visited us in 
the afternoon. We had watched the clouds rapidly 
gathering from all directions, increasing in density and 
rapidity until they collided together and crashed with 
terrific force on a near hill, blotting out all objects from 
view. Then, with united energy, these heavily charged 
thunder clouds bore down upon us with such anger that 
it seemed our little tents must be torn up and twisted into 
shreds. All the porters had been called out to stand each 
at his post to meet the enemy ; and right well they did it, 
too, for as the tent cords snapped we must have soon been 

130 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

houseless if the men had not held on to poles and canvas. 
In less than half an hour the storm had passed, and then 
the porters set to work, repairing ropes, hammering in 
pegs, and redigging the trench round the tent. 

The following day, after a hot, dusty march, we reached 
one of the mission stations, and before \ve had the chance 
of a wash-up and rest, the teacher came begging us to go 
to the church, where the people were all waiting. So in 
we went and found nearly two hundred squeezed into the 
tiny reed building (intended to hold one hundred), all 
roaring from the various grades of the reading sheet. 
Instead of stopping the clatter when we entered, a sign 
from the teacher made each one put greater exertion into 
his reading and they simply yelled out their lesson to 
impress us with the progress they were making. 

After a short service with them, we were escorted to 
our tent by a considerable following. When my medicine 
chest appeared the scene was like the "Zoo" let loose. 
A guard had to stand round to prevent me from being 
suffocated; of course the majority of the applicants were 
shams. They watched to see which patient received the 
largest dose, then asked him what his complaint was, and 
by the time they had pushed their way to the dispenser 
were suffering from the same trouble, but in an acute form. 

On the fourth day we reached the capital of a Saza or 
country Kitagwenda. Toro is divided up into five large 
chieftainships or sazas, each of which is governed by a 
man who has tributary chiefs. The "lord" of Kitag- 
wenda was ready in state to receive us as we arrived. 
His round reed house is built on the brow of a hill, and is 
surrounded by a tall, imposing plaited reed fence. As 
we slowly climbed up the broad, well-kept path, the 
chief, dressed in white linen, came down to meet us with 
a large crowd of followers. He was very keen on impress- 
ing us with his greatness, so ordered a drum to precede 
him and one piper. The people were all wildly excited, 

131 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

dancing and shouting themselves husky. While this 
pandemonium was at its height, two poor, miserable- 
looking fat-tailed sheep were pushed forward for our 
acceptance. With these Uganda sheep all the good 
points were embodied in the tails. These are 'often as 
broad as the back, and hang in festoons almost to the 
ground. They are poor creatures, and are not cheap at 
2s. 8d., which is their market value. I doubt whether 
one animal contains as much nourishment as two pounds 
of Welsh mutton. At this place two of our first trained 
women teachers had been at work. They had experienced 
some difficulty in getting the women interested, for digging, 
cultivating, and cooking had provided ample excuse for 
staying in their homes. On the second day of our visit 
we rallied all the women together at the tall mission 
church and urged them to stand by their teachers, who 
had come with a message of love and peace and would 
instruct them in wisdom. There and then classes were 
formed, and some sixty came forward for daily teaching. 
At night a body of soldiers were sent down by the chief 
to guard our camp against the lions, which were very 
numerous in these parts. The head officer, feeling the 
importance of his commission, essayed to issue his com- 
mands in true British fashion by using a few words he had 
picked up from the English lieutenant in Toro. He 
drilled his men just outside our tent door, and it was 
evident that the language of their general, as he bawled 
out incomprehensible English, was quite a conundrum to 
the men, and in concealed whispers he was obliged to 
repeat his orders in the native tongue. 

A remarkably fine view of Ruwenzori snows was 
obtained at the junction of Ankole and Toro. With no 
cloud to intercept, miles of glittering ice stood out 
against a sapphire sky, and pushed down a hundred 
streams that tumbled in impetuous speed and flowed as 
swift rivulets- through the forests that crossed our path. 

132 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

Only those who have known the weariness of continual 
walking in the tropics can rightly appreciate the joy that 
these forest shades and the cool, refreshing rivers bring. 
At no time of the year could the country have been seen 
to better advantage ; the grass fires had carried off all the 
long withered grass, and the hills were now carpetted with 
fresh, green glades. The forests displayed a strange 
variety of colouring, for the young buds of spring, the 
luxuriant verdure of summer, blended in exquisite con- 
trast and harmony with the gold and ruddy tints of 
autumn. Shrubs of wild jessamine and seven-petalled 
tuber roses were in rich bloom on the roadside. These 
latter are called by the natives " Eky skulema njoju," 
" that which gets the better of the elephants," for 
although the bark is comparatively slender, it can stub- 
bornly resist the force of the powerful elephant trunks 
that make matchwood of the larger forest trees. 

Two days further marching brought us to the boundary 
of Ankole, and glad were we to leave behind the rains of 
Toro, which had made the paths so slimy that with diffi- 
culty we maintained the perpendicular. Our peaceable 
caravan was evidently mistaken for a raiding horde. The 
villagers were in a most perturbed state of mind as we 
pressed on ; the men collected together all their women, 
children, and goats and packed them off with all speed to 
hide in the swamps and hills, while a few of them 
remained hidden on the outskirts of the huts to sound an 
alarm at our approach. 

The language at this point deviated from that spoken 
by the people of Toro. Besides employing a few entirely 
different words, the Banyankole soften down the s, j, and 
k, and until the ear has become accustomed to these 
changes one might imagine it a distinct dialect. A rather 
welcome sight was the men working on the roads and 
digging in the banana plantations, in place of the peasant 
woman who do all the rough manual work in Toro. 

133 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Ankole is a large ranch country. A gentle range of moun- 
tains extending toward the east shores of the Albert 
Edward is the only interruption to an extensive area of 
rolling land of which the whole kingdom is composed. It 
is inhabited by two separate races, the Bairu, who are 
the original people of the country, and the Bahima, the 
ruling race. The latter are an extremely superior order 
of people ; generally speaking, they are of lighter com- 
plexion, and their features, in the sharply defined nose 
and chin and the thin lips, are in marked contrast to the 
other tribes of inland Africa. Another peculiar 
characteristic is that the women live in entire seclusion 
and keep the face and head covered, as in Mahommedan 
lands. It is generally believed that they migrated from 
Abyssinia or Arabia ; probably disease among their cattle 
drove them from their native land, and they travelled 
south until they reached the pasture land of Ankole. 

At first sight the country looks scarcely inhabited 
there are no fences or patches of cultivation which else- 
where denote villages. The population, however, is con- 
siderable, but the people are a tribe of herdsmen, who 
build unpretentious little grass huts among the soft, 
waving grass, and live almost exclusively on their cattle, 
which graze together in enormous herds. The oxen are 
splendid creatures, with immense horns ; there is not so 
much hump with them as with the cattle of Uganda. 

The unvaried diet of milk and butter has produced 
a people of abnormal dimensions. The King, although 
only about 19 years of age, weighed 20 stone. He could 
not walk, but had to be carried about in a gigantic kind 
of clothes-basket. One little chief waddled into our tent 
to salute us who stood about three feet high and was 
nearly twice as large in circumference. The higher 
a person is in social position the larger is the amount of 
milk he must daily get down in order that he may reach 
a worthy correspondence in weight. On one occasion, 

134 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

while walking along the road, we heard screaming and 
shouting coming from a hut, and, on going in to find out 
the cause, saw a young princess with her eyes bandaged 
and face dripping with milk ; an old hag was standing 
over her with a cane, which she brought sharply 
down across her shoulders when the unfortunate girl 
declared she could take in no more milk. Being 
remonstrated with, the old woman explained how the 
young princess was only going through the customary 
preparation for her bridal days. 

As Uganda gradually opens up, Ankole will probably 
become the Leadenhall Market of the Protectorate. 
Excellent roads have been cut for transport to Entebbe, 
on the shores of the Victoria Nyanza, to Albert Edward 
Nyanza and Koki, and the Government has built a strong 
fort at Mbarara, the capital of Ankole, which is 
under civil and military control. 

After years of bigoted opposition to the missionaries, 
the country has now been thrown open to them. A large 
mud church had just been completed when we visited 
there, and a large number of men and women were under 
Christian instruction. For generations there had stood 
in the Royal courtyard a large drum, which was 
absolutely believed to bring death to the King who beat 
it. Immediately after the baptism of the King, he, 
Kahaya, in the sight of a large crowd of his subjects, went 
deliberately towards the drum ; then, loosening the 
sticks, he stood for a moment looking round at his 
people, who were expecting his instantaneous death. 
With one mighty swing he brought the sticks down 
on the drum, which only thundered out, as it were, the 
doom which fell that day on their old heathen 
superstitions. 

Soon after arriving at the capital we went to pay our 
respects to the Royal Household. 

Passing out from the new mud " palace " of the King, 

135 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

I went across to the ladies' quarters. The seven wives of 
His Majesty Kahaya, who at that time war, only an 
inquirer after Christianity, were all sitting silently in a 
semi-circle round the inside of their grass hut. The 
atmosphere was unbearably stuffy, and reeking with 
odours of rancid butter, for the custom is to rub this well 
into their bodies, and, without washing off the stale, they 
rub in a fresh quantity each day. They treat in exactly 
the same way the bark cloths in which they entirely 
envelop themselves. Not until I had become accustomed 
to the dim light could I distinguish the seven shrouded, 
dusky figures. Then they resembled so many ant heaps. 
After the usual voluminous salutations, they begged me 
to take off my hat and show my hair. I agreed, if they, 
on their part, showed me their faces. Immediately 
fourteen merry eyes popped out of the oily bark cloths, 
and a row of fat, smiling faces appeared. After satisfy- 
ing their inquisitive questions about my clothes, my age, 
my parentSi and how long I had been married, I tried to 
find out a little about them. From what I could learn, 
they seemed to spend all their lives huddled together as I 
saw them, with absolutely nothing to do except to feed. 
They neither cooked, sewed, plaited grass, cultivated, nor 
worked at any of the small industries common among 
other tribes. The Christian women teachers were visit- 
ing them each day, and a large number of women had 
shown a real desire to read. As their minds have been 
allowed to lie dormant for so long, it is a wonder 
that they can learn to do so really quickly. 

After a few happy days spent in Ankole, we pushed 
on in a south-easterly direction to Koki. Scarcity of 
water necessitated rather longer marches than usual, so I 
indulged in the luxury of a hammock. Six men were 
taken on as carriers who did not understand the art in the 
least. They literally galloped away with me. The 
hammock swung to and fro with such force that the ropes 

136 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

on the pole gradually slackened, and the canvas hung 
like a sling with its burden doubled up inside. My 
gesticulations and calls were quite unavailing, as the 
carriers ran on, singing gaily ; then they suddenly hauled 
the pole over from one shoulder to another, which was 
more than it could stand, and, with a squeak of pain, the 
ropes burst, and the hammock fell with a big bump to 
the ground. While I stood endeavouring to recover 
from the rather boisterous mode of travelling, the carriers 
walked round inspecting the shattered ropes and con- 
gratulated each other on being such men of strength ! 

We had reached a wide, scorching plain with no trees 
or shelter save a few tall thorn bushes, which made the 
ground all about like a pincushion with the points stand- 
ing out. We had come along at such a rate that the 
caravan and lunch basket were miles behind. One 
hundred and five minutes were spent under that thorn 
bush waiting for the rear with nothing to read, nothing 
to look at, and nothing to eat. I tried to think a thought 
that might find a niche in my next journal letter, but the 
sun must have nearly melted all the brain cells as it 
poured down its burning rays, for nothing took shape. 
To punish the men for their rash behaviour I inflicted on 
my carriers the punishment of searching for firewood, so 
that when our detached corps joined us we soon had the 
kettle singing and a chicken frizzling to replenish 
exhausted strength and revive our fainting spirits. The 
following morning camp was awake at 4.0 a.m., and a 
hurried start was made in the dark so as to get the day's 
march over before the sun had a chance of treating us as 
it had done previously. But it was rather an unfortunate 
day to have tried the experiment, as our path for the first 
three or four miles skirted a long swamp, the haunt of 
mosquitoes, and these little pests had not been frightened 
away by sunrise before we ventured through their 
domain. They swarmed round us like locusts, and 

137 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

although we kept furiously beating out at them in all 
directions at once, the prodigious application of Homocea 
afterwards was, for the first time in my experience, 
ineffectual in allaying the inflammation and irritation. 
We spied a few monkeys in the trees, but instead of being 
up to their usual pranks they solemnly sat staring at each 
other, looking deplorably sorry for themselves ; evidently 
the mosquitoes had proved too much even for them. I am 
sure they would have been willing to pay a pied piper 
any fee. 

After five days journeying from Ankole we reached 
Rakai, the capital of Koki. The C.M.S. had two ladies 
stationed there and an ordained M Uganda. 

Koki was in former years an independent kingdom ruled 
over by Kamswaga, but in recent years it has been joined 
to Uganda, on the King agreeing to become a " Saza " 
of his stronger neighbours. 

Excepting for Lake Kanyeti, which twists about among 
rich and varied vegetation, the scenery is unattractive 
in the dry season the chalky soil gives an anaemic appear- 
ance to the country, and the rather too plentiful supply 
of swamps necessitates a large stock of quinine being 
always at hand. Kamswaga himself at that time had 
gone up to Entebbe on business, but hearing of our 
expected arrival had left us a greeting in the shape of an 
ox and quantities of food for our caravan. Visitors in 
these parts were rather a novelty, and the people came 
dow,n in large numbers to look at us. I returned the 
visit of the wife of Kamswaga before leaving. Her 
reception house quickly filled with a number of men and 
women, each trying to get a word in edgeways with the 
" white " visitor. A handful of boiled coffee beans in the 
pods was passed to me to dispense to whomsoever I 
wished to honour. I was obliged to take a share, but that 
was very limited, for they are as hard as nuts to crack and 
like physic to swallow. On leaving they pressed round 

138 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

and ^bedecked my wrists with all sorts of curious wire 
and bead bracelets which they had taken off themselves. 

The work being carried on there was, happily, 
prospering. The school, daily classes, and the church, 
holding two hundred people, were well attended. 

A whole day's excursion in a native skiff on the Lake 
gave us an opportunity of seeing something of the village 
work that has been opened up by the Mother Church of 
Rakai. We could not stay longer than three days, as 
there was still a long programme before us. Budu was 
the next district on the list to be visited. 

This is the stronghold of Roman Catholicism. At 
every side road we found a tall wooden cross standing and 
nearly everybody wore a medallion or scapular. 

At Kajuna the people were evidently not accustomed to 
seeing European visitors, and they came tearing out of 
their houses like mad creatures, dancing round us and 
clapping their hands. It was a perfect pandemonium, 
and we were not sorry to escape from such a rabble. 

The two missionaries welcomed us very warmly. They 
were hard at work on a much needed house for them- 
selves. The new building was a unique structure, for it 
was built only of one brick that is, the walls were formed 
of solid mud beaten down between wooden boards, which 
were removed when the mud had dried. The roof was 
thatched with strips of banana bark knotted on rows of 
poles. This is supposed to offer stronger resistance to 
lightning than the usual grass. A regular timber yard 
had been set up in a strip of Forest close by to supply 
doors and windows for the new house, and the natives 
were receiving from the missionary practical lessons in 
carpentering as they felled the trees, adzed them out and 
then sawed out planks in pits. The scene suggested 
pictures of Canadian life among the Rockies. Truly a 
missionary in Uganda is a compendium of trades. 

One of our hosts was an out-and-out Irishman, and 

139 



On the Borders^ of Pigmy Land 

when he was joined by an enthusiastic compatriot the 
conversation waxed very warm. I wonder if everyone 
belonging to the Emerald Isle regards it as the pole-star 
of the Universe the two Sassenachs did not quite agree 
to it. 

At the time of our visit twenty-one men and women 
were being finally questioned with a view to baptism. 
No chiefs were then under Protestant instruction, and in 
consequence there was little inducement for their 
dependents to associate themselves with our missionaries. 
It was therefore very pleasing to find this number ready 
to publicly confess their faith in baptism, for one felt 
they must have been prompted by an honest and sincere 
conviction. 

A fifteen miles march from Kajuna brought us to the 
shores of the Lake Victoria Nyanza. Nearly six miles of 
the road was across a sand plain, and walking it was too 
much for me, for the boot at each step sank in four to six 
inches of burning sand. I was obliged to call the 
hammock-bearers to my assistance, who panted along 
without a murmur ; but when they had safely landed me 
under the first tree of a lovely wood, they exclaimed 
" We are nearly dead." 

The two boats provided for us looked very frail and 
small to carry two Europeans, eight "boys," two steers- 
men, two balers-out of water, twelve rowers, and all our 
loads. The boats on this Lake are constructed of boards 
he,wn out by native knives, and sewn together with cane. 
There are no seats for passengers, but sticks and grass 
are laid at the bottom. There was a big gale blowing 
when we wanted to make a start foam-crested waves 
broke on the shingly shore as if it had been the Atlantic. 
One is surprised to miss the brine in the spray, forgetting 
momentarily that so immense an expanse of fretful water 
is other than an ocean. We waited two hours for the 
storm to abate, when the boatmen came saying we could 

140 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

put off. As soon, however, as we had rowed well out, the 
wind got up again and blew with terrific force ; 
immediately the lake was lashed into anger, and had no 
mercy on our little craft. The oarsmen were quite unable 
to keep her from being driven broadside to the storm. 
Sitting at the bottom of the boat we watched wave after 
wave bear down upon us like a wall and break over our 
heads. The boatmen assured us that we could not 
stand much more, for the cane fibre that kept the boat 
together was rotten and giving way under the strength of 
the breakers. The heavy tossing made us feel wretchedly 
sea-sick, but we dared not let our courage flag, as the 
men were losing heart. We had drifted completely out 
of our course, but fortunately were driven toward one of 
the Sese Islands, which we ultimately reached, drenched 
through and very exhausted. Here we pitched our tent 
for the night, and as evening came a dead calm settled 
down on the Lake, and insect life awoke, swarming 
round us in clouds. All night we kept waking up to 
assure ourselves that we had not contracted sleeping 
sickness, as this was one of the haunts of that disease. 

The next morning dawned bright and calm, so we 
started before sunrise, startling the many gulls, divers, 
and herons that were indulging in a morning bath. The 
paddlers broke out into weird nautical songs ; there is 
generally one man in a boat whose special work is to 
lead the singing to encourage the oarsmen. He begins 
with a loud shrill note, sustaining it with a few minor 
variations till a short stanza of the song is sung ; then all 
the others join in with a deep, guttural grunt of assent to 
the words ; this is repeated over and over and over again 
until the voice cracks. Seven hours' rowing was as much 
as they would undertake in a day, so we landed on a 
beautiful little island which since then has been entirely 
depopulated by sleeping sickness. The sun was just 
about to say good night when we put into Entebbe on the 

141 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

following day. The view from the water was quite en- 
chanting. A bold, rocky promontory reminded one of a 
bit of the borderland coast between England and Scot- 
land, otherwise the shore and islands were covered with 
the most prodigious forest growth. 

As we landed from the boats and looked up at this 
town we really asked ourselves if this were Uganda. 
There are rows of neat villas with the strips of gardens 
back and front resembling the bijous of London suburban 
life ; splendid wide roads with avenues of trees planted ; 
a market with an English butcher, a dairy, an Indian 
bakery where delicious little loaves can be purchased for 
four annas, and an aggressive Indian firm that is the 
William Whiteley of Uganda, and manufactures mineral 
waters at two annas per bottle, are some among the 
many surprises. There is a very cosmopolitan popula- 
tion, and comparatively few of the real natives Baganda 
are seen in the town. The fifty or more Europeans 
made it feel very homelike after the isolated life in Toro ; 
and yet after the first surprised impressions had partially 
worn off, one was conscious of two distinct elements 
running side by side the English and the African with- 
out actually becoming assimilated the one by the other. 
The result was that so many reminders of England 
brought with them feelings of home-sickness, but the next 
moment one was sympathising with the country yokel in 
London who pined for the rusticity of village home life. 

Our four days there were spent very pleasantly. Colonel 
Sadler, H.M. Commissioner, Mrs. Sadler, and several 
friends were most kind and hospitable ; indeed we were 
almost strangers to our tents. 

A visit to the Botanical Gardens was most interesting. 
Mr. Mahon, who was then in charge, took us round and 
pointed out the tea, coffee, cocoa and cotton shrubs 
which gave promise of agreeing very amiably with their 
newly-adopted land. Fruit trees, vines and pine apples 

142 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

were also being experimented on, and the flower beds 
were aflame with colour. The idea is, I believe, to test 
what flourishes successfully in the Uganda soil, then to 
send out cuttings and encourage the cultivation of that 
plant throughout the Protectorate. Colonel Coles, who 
is in command of the troops, is a very keen horticul- 
turalist, and has been most successful in rose-growing 
and in bringing to perfection the native crinum lily. 

Leaving Entebbe, we made for Port Munyonyo by 
canoe, which took six hours in consequence of a wind 
working against us all the way. Reaching the Port at 
5.0 p.m. we had no time to inspect the vigorous dhow- 
building that was in operation. We hurried off on our 
seven to eight mile walk into Mengo, which we reached 
just after seven o'clock. A roast leg of goat and steaming 
potatoes were being served up by our kind hostess as we 
entered. I think we had rarely enjoyed a dinner more 
than that one, as we had eaten nothing since 7.0 a.m. 
excepting two cold sausages and some bread and milk, 
the only things procurable from our food basket in the 
canoe. 

This was the only time I had visited Mengo since first 
arriving in the country, and it was interesting to find out 
how many of one's first impressions remained. Two 
years ago it had been to me a country unpenetrated, its 
people and lauguage unknown, and now in a limited 
very limited degree the closed door had been pushed 
open and something from within had been revealed. In 
that time Mengo seemed to have made wonderful pro- 
gress. A colossal brick cathedral stood on the site of 
the previous wicker building ; it is a striking witness of 
what the Baganda can be taught to accomplish under 
such persevering and able instruction and superinten- 
dence as they have received. The educational work had 
developed considerably. At 8.0 one morning we went 
across to Mr. Hattersley's boys school : he certainly had 

143 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

his work cut out, for I should not like to guess at the 
number of men and boys that were packed into the large 
class rooms, through which ran rows of desks and forms 
made at the Industrial Mission. At each class stood a 
native teacher setting sums or copies on the blackboards. 
His pupils were a strange collection, for a grey-bearded 
old chief would be sitting next to a sharp eyed infant, 
both eagerly wrestling with pen and ink. Specimens of 
writing, which had been acquired in six months, were 
shown to us, and they compared very favorably with a 
fourth or fifth standard in England. Every afternoon 
classes were held for the teachers for instruction in black- 
board writing, geography, astronomy, natural history and 
Scripture, and these men were being sent out to the 
villages for educational work, when their course was 
completed. Since that time, scholastic work has received 
very special attention. A boarding high school for the 
sons of chiefs was opened in 1904, and the number of 
lads that were immediately sent by their fathers or 
guardians was a proof of its need. The Baganda are 
quite conscious of the fact that the time has come to 
rouse and equip themselves in order that they may be 
able to stand before the civilized nations with whom they 
are now brought so closely in touch. 

A third school is also in course of erection, which will 
be an intermediate step for those desiring to train after- 
wards for Holy Orders. 

The Industrial Department of the Mission is certainly 
one of the most necessary and practical methods of help- 
ing these people who possess no trades or crafts of their 
own. On passing along the road toward the Industrial 
quarters, one sees a crowd of men hard at work in the 
brick-fields, and others employed at rope-making. Enter- 
ing the actual work-shop compound a buzz and whirr of 
machinery meet the ear. The first building is the 
carpenter's sheds ; here were men turning out book-cases, 

144 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

chairs, tables, and really a first-class sideboard. Across 
the courtyard the printers and stitchers were hard at 
work producing Lunyoro hymn sheets, Luganda hymns, 
Luganda commentary on St. Mark, and a book of Uganda 
fables by Ham Mukasa. Until within six months of our 
visit all this work, including the building of the 
Cathedral, had been started and supervised by one man. 
Uganda owes a great debt to Mr. Borup for the in- 
valuable help thus rendered to the country. 

The hospital, which was nearing its opening day when 
I had first seen it, was now in good working order and 
quite full up with patients; some, alas, suffering from 
the dread sleeping sickness. 

No one then dreamed that the fine building was on the 
eve of being completely destroyed by fire. But such was 
the case. Within a very few months the scene of pain, 
yet of peace and comfort, had given place to one of 
noisy activity, for on the old spot there was immediately 
put in hand the erection of the present solid brick 
building with an iron roof to resist the lightning which 
destroyed its predecessor, and a concrete floor that can 
withstand the constant traffic up and down the wards. 
After a few days we again set off on the march, making 
for Bunyoro, in a northerly direction. A good road had 
been cut for a distance of a hundred miles by order of the 
Government for transport purposes toward the Nile. On 
the second day we overtook an oxen wagon caravan, 
which was being conducted by a young Englishman, who 
we found was down with bad fever and cough. We sent 
him milk and meat juice, but could not dissuade him from 
pushing on in the evening. The scarcity of food for porters 
on the road makes delays very difficult, and in his case, 
travelling by night was essential as the oxen cannot bear 
the heat of the day. But being jostled along on spring- 
less carts in the damp and cold African nights did not 
suggest much comfort for a patient suffering from malaria ! 

145 L 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Next day on arriving in camp we found no less than 
three other European caravans settling in. A military 
captain and a ship captain were coming down from 
Bunyoro, and a trader was making for that direction. 

Uganda is getting overrun with civilization ! There is 
generally a little consternation and hurried confusion 
when an English woman is seen in camp. There is at once 
a shout for the "boy "who had relieved the pedestrian 
of his coat on the march, and a long search is made for 
the razor that, very apparently had been some days in 
disuse. One of our fellow travellers who came in at 
afternoon tea suggested that a new regulation should be 
passed by the Government, ordering all ladies travelling 
on the road to send a white flag three miles ahead to 
warn fellow countrymen ! 

We did some fairly long marches on this road, as we 
were anxious to complete our tour, and although fifteen 
to eighteen miles do not look anything to the Londoner 
who is accustomed to record spins on his bicycle, yet I 
think he would find five hours walking day after day a 
laborious task, especially when it means rising at 4.0 a.m. 
We had been a little unfortunate in our culinary arrange- 
ments, for our cook was taken ill and had been obliged 
to return to Toro. We took on a substitute from our 
porters' ranks, who knew nothing about cooking. I care- 
fully taught him how to turn out a decent pancake which 
he seemed really to master, but a few days afterwards he 
served up hard, solid, flour-and-water dough-balls, saying 
he feared he had forgotten the recipe, so the process of 
teaching had to be gone through over again. He never 
would believe that anything could be cooked without 
water roast goat he cooked in quantities of it instead of 
fat, and buttered eggs were swimming in brown swamp 
water ! Then all our other boys got down with fever, 
and one day we were without a single attendant. 

When we were half-way to Bunyoro, a Nubian caravan 

146 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

encamped close to us. We instantly ordered a close 
watch to be kept on our goods, as these folk have 
the reputation of being not too strictly honest. In spite, 
however, of vigilant guard, very soon things were 
missing. We succeeded in rescuing some articles from 
one of their temporary huts, but a large plate, which con- 
verted an open cooking pot into an African oven, was 
never found, and so we were deprived of bread and all 
baked food for the remainder of our journey. 

The country was a monotony of undulating land, with 
no hills, forests, or rivers to interrupt the continuity of 
sameness. For three days we were travelling through a 
district of Uganda called Singo, where eight years ago 
Mr. Fisher was stationed. A particularly dreary spot 
was pointed out to me as the place where he lived 
for months quite alone, and had one attack after another 
of fever. During one of those occasions, a woman, the 
wife of the district chief, came a long distance twice a day 
to nurse him, and, when he lapsed into unconsciousness, 
she took a razor and shaved his head to ease him. He 
was rather a shock to himself when he was well enough 
to see his own reflection in the lid of a Huntley & 
Palmer's biscuit tin the only looking-glass then in his 
possession, as he had lost most of his things through a 
recent act of incendiarism. 

We were delighted to catch sight of the hills that 
lie round Hoima, the capital of Bunyoro, on the seventh 
day. Mr. Lloyd, who had been Mr. Fisher's fellow- 
worker in Toro, and chaperon to the party from England 
of which I had formed part, came scorching down on his 
bicycle to meet us, with a large following of natives who 
had come to greet "their father." In the year 1895 Mr. 
Fisher had visited these people, who, up to that time, had 
never heard of Christianity, and in 1898 was located at 
Hoima in order to establish a European Station. Then 
the country was in the grasp of famine ; the people, from 

147 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

the King down to his peasant subjects, came each day to 
the European teacher and his two Baganda assistants 
begging food. Through the generosity of friends in 
England and Uganda, a fund was organized, and with 
presents in kind from the Christians in Uganda and Toro, 
hundreds of the Banyoro were saved from starvation. 
With the return of the rains, the famine terminated, but 
this time of trouble had created and cemented a con- 
fidence between the natives and missionary, who learned 
to know them then better than if he had lived years in 
the country at the time of its prosperity. The King, his 
brothers, sister, and several of the leading chiefs, became 
sincere inquirers after Christianity, and ultimately 
acknowledged their faith in public baptism. 

The kingdoms of Bunyoro is one of the most ancient 
now existing in inland Africa. Formerly it was the pre- 
eminent power of all the districts round and including 
Uganda, but for many years its strength has been on the 
wane through internal disaffections and external warfare. 
Toro, which was once ruled over by Bunyoro, broke 
away from its rule, and the Baganda gradually ascended 
north, appropriating to themselves large districts of 
Southern Bunyoro. Kabarega, then King of Bunyoro. was 
for years the terror of the surrounding weaker tribes. He 
was quite a remarkable character. Realizing the gradual 
decadence of his kingdom, with persistent effort and 
despotism he rallied his people together for one mighty 
struggle to regain their lost power. Marching on the 
surrounding weaker tribes, he raided, plundered, and 
burnt their villages, and King Kasagama (of Toro) and his 
people fled to the mountains for shelter. But in 1899 
the British Government sent up a force of Baganda under 
Colonel Evett, who succeeded m taking prisoner 
Kabarega. The latter has since remained a prisoner in 
the Seychelles Islands. His son Andereya, an earnest 
Christian and an able man, is now reigning in his stead. 

148 



Through the Four Kingdoms 

The Banyoro have always had a most elaborate priest- 
hood and abundant ritual connected with their belief; 
hence it will be a long time before heathen customs and 
degrading forms of superstition will be effectually up- 
rooted. 

After the discomforts of the road it was delightfully 
restful to revel in the refreshing luxury of easy chairs, 
sipping cups of tea, surrounded with a hundred and one 
reminders of dear old England, while a pink-cheeked, 
chubby baby grabbed at the flat nose of his black boy 
nurse and cooed with satisfaction at having two, new, 
civilized admirers. A week spent with Mr. and Mrs. 
Lloyd, during which time we were enabled to visit the 
people and hold some meetings with them, brought us to 
the final stage of our circular trip a seven days' march 
home. The anticipation of once more seeing Ruwenzori, 
our mud bungalow house, and all the Batoro folk, made 
one forget to write notes and comments of those few 
days. But no written records were necessary to keep at 
least one day green in the memory. The wet season had 
begun in real earnest, which did not improve the many 
unbridged swamps that lay across our path at constant 
intervals. One day we were plunging through grass, 
often twelve feet high, for nearly three hours right off. 
Emerging from that, we had to pass through a succession 
of nine swamps. The only possible means of getting 
across was to sit on the shoulder of a thorougly sturdy 
and sure-footed porter, holding on with all one's might to 
his woolly head. At the ninth swamp I had maintained 
that position for ten minutes, with feet held straight out 
in front, as my noble carrier stumbled among a broken 
down bridge, sometimes to his armpits in black mud. 
Actually weeping tears, I called down to my steed, " My 
friend, you must put me down, my back is broken with 
weariness." Without a word he floundered off through 
the grass, having spied a fallen tree trunk on which to 

149 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

put down his burden. There we stood panting, too tired 
to speak, but a hallooing and a shouting at one side 
made us both turn round. There we saw the other 
European in a most indescribably mixed-up position, 
being brought along on the shoulders of two men, while 
two more hung on to a leg each. With scarcely a note 
of warning, the front man lost his foothold and 
disappeared with the second. The European immediately 
followed suit, but the remaining two stood their ground, 
still holding on to those legs. 

Never did the Mountains of the Moon appear more 
fascinating than when we returned to our home under 
their shadow after nine weeks' absence. The first to 
welcome us, four miles out on the road, was old Apolo 
Kivebulaya, the native deacon. Close by on his heels 
followed my little god-son, the first baptised pigmy, who 
looked characteristically grimy, but his ugly 1'ttle face 
appeared really pleasing as he ran up and welcomed his 
master and mistress back with a grin that seemed to 
stretch from one ear to another. Then the Katikiro 
came out with thirty to forty retainers, all of whom he had 
dressed up in brand new white linen turban caps as a 
token of welcome to us. Last of all rode out the King. 
" Well done, my friends. God be praised for bringing 
you back." And we could only in our hearts respond 
"Amen." 



150 



CHAPTER XVI 

Tramp IV. Towards the Pigmies 

WHILE the Kingdom of Toro has distinctly defined 
boundaries on the East, North, and South (the 
latter two being the Albert and Albert Edward 
Nyanzas) there are no lines of demarcation that bound it 
on the West. It adjoins the Protectorate to the Belgian 
territory that extends across from the Congo Free State, 
and until that boundary is officially fixed the Kingdom of 
Toro may be said to include a number of untamed savage 
tribes with a portion of the pigmies, who recognise no 
authority and rule outside themselves. 

Immediately the Toro Mission was established its 
first branch station was planted about sixty miles west in 
Mboga, the district that touches Stanley's Great Forest 
the home of the pigmies. Although the chief offered 
much opposition to the Baganda missionaries, yet the 
workers persistently held on, realising its important 
strategic position for reaching the many tribes round its 
borders, and it formed one of the few last links yet to be 
forged in order that Krapfs dream of a chain of missions 
extending across Africa might be fulfilled. After oppo- 
sition had burnt itself out and the Chief Tabalo had him- 
self become a Christian the work prospered vigorously, 
and in 1903 the number of men and women baptised 
reached over two hundred. 

In that year the question of boundary line between 
Belgian and British territory was again raised to be 
finally marked out. The decision would either result in 
the district of Mboga being retained by the British, or 
given over to the Belgians in exchange for a strip of land 

151 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

farther south, in which latter case the River Semliki 
would form the natural dividing line. 

It was considered expedient, pending the arrangement 
between the two Governments to strengthen in every 
way possible the mission work at Mboga so that it might 
not be shaken should it ultimately lie outside the Uganda 
Protectorate. 

It was, therefore arranged that in the five months 
remaining before leaving for furlough in England we 
should fit in a visit to that district. The time of year 
fixed on for starting was a little unfortunate, as the wet 
season was in full working order, and that never adds an 
enviable charm to the gipsy life of African travelling. 
It was evident that we were getting near the end of the 
prescribed period of service, for instead of gaily trudging 
off in stout boots and puttees, we pushed off from Kabarole 
with a donkey and a hammock, the only available modes 
of conveyance. 

When only three miles out we were overtaken by one 
of Toro's special storms. The heavily laden clouds had 
been running off towards the west when Ruwenzori stood 
in their way and forbade them. So, in a terrible temper, 
they turned back and gave us the full benefit of their 
tears. My hammock bearers did not seem to mind ; cer- 
tainly they had nothing on that would spoil, and I believe 
these casual drenchings are the only occasions on which 
many of them feel the touch of water on their bodies. I 
have often seen them trying to avoid even this by taking 
shelter under a tree and holding a huge banana leaf over 
their head, when only clothed in a tiny goat skin. The 
donkey slipped along behind with its rider enveloped in a 
commodious mackintosh that left only the donkey's nose 
and feet visible. In order to get to the mission station 
of Busaiga, where we were to spend a day, we had to 
turn off for two miles along a sloppy kind of sheep-track 
path, which the donkey managed better than my men, 

152 



Towards the Pigmies 

who stumbled along in the mud, very fearful lest they 
should let their burden down. The man carrying our 
bath went before to warn them of danger ; but we passed 
him halt-way, for with a splash he fell. No one seemed 
to regard it as anything unusual, and continued marching 
on. Looking over the side of my hammock, the last I 
saw of him was a hopeless mix-up of black man's limbs 
and bath sitting in inches of mud. 

It was very good to find a big fire burning and a hot 
cup of tea ready in a well swept native house that had 
been prepared for us, and designated for our temporary use. 
In the afternoon our tent was well surrounded by broad 
grins and inquisitive eyes as we were "at home" to 
callers. They continued coming in from 1.30 to 5.30, by 
which time the air felt heavy, so we escaped for an 
evening look-out. The complete range of mountains 
was clearly defined from south to north and terminated 
close to us, in the Semliki plain. Towards their northern 
base rested a heavy dense bank of white cloud that slowly 
glided along. When it had reached the farthest shoulder 
of the range, it woke from its soliloquy and with a mighty 
effort plunged upwards, and in a few minutes flooded the 
whole country with a dense, damp mist. 

The first of May dawned in all the brightness of its 
reputation. Lake, plain, valleys, and mountains appeared 
in their brightest garments to do honour to the day, and 
the air trembled in its endeavour to laud the Creator. No 
wonder that the people swarmed out of their stuffy little 
huts for morning service. It was then pointed out to 
them that their house of prayer needed rethatching, and 
in less than three hours the " restoration of the church " 
was completed, for streams of tiny naked figures went off 
and returned with a few strands of grass balanced on 
their heads ; the women followed with heavier burdens, 
and the men were standing ready to tie it into small 
bundles and stuff them into the thatch. There was here 

153 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

as everywhere a great demand for "reading sheets," and 
those who did not possess five cowrie shells (half a 
farthing) wherewith to purchase one brought in a bundle 
of firewood, two eggs, or undertook any little job in order 
to earn the sum. In the afternoon we had meetings for 
men and women. At each gathering over one hundred 
were present, which must have included nearly all the 
adult inhabitants of the place. The audiences one meets 
with in the villages are distinctly responsive; they 
evidently have an idea that it is a slight to leave the 
European to do all the talking. In the middle of your 
" sermon " one native will burst out with " Aye, aye, that's 
so," and the whole company will agree in chorus. Then, 
again, they will repeat after you a whole sentence that has 
struck them, and when your oration is over they all 
exclaim " That's very good ; well done, very well done." 
It is most encouraging to a nervous speaker. 

Leaving Busaiga, we descended to a wide plateau, 
which was most likely at one time a lake bed, but the 
water has run off and left it quite dry. The curious 
parallel gorges, where villages now nestle, resemble 
immense yawning cracks formed by the land calling out 
for water. In one of these clefts, where there was a 
sleepy little hamlet, we pitched camp. The old chief of 
the place was sitting in his courtyard contentedly smoking 
a huge pipe. He did not take the least notice of our 
arrival, and, from what he said, if we had been a party 
of plunderers, he would have assumed exactly the same 
immovable attitude. It was a very stuffy place ; the 
heat seemed to fall down listlessly in the little valley and 
had no strength to move off at night. As for the varieties 
of insects that visited us as the candles were lit, even the 
most initiated naturalist must have been puzzled at 
classifying them. 

On the following day we were up at daybreak to cheat 
the sun, which we expected would do its worst for us in 

154 



Towards the Pigmies 

the exposed Semliki plain. When we reached that level, 
although it was only 8.0 a.m., the heat was almost un- 
bearable. The little donkey must have felt it rather 
badly, for it upset itself in the mud, and this twisted into 
weird contortions the invaluable umbrella that was being 
carried on its back. The Semliki River has to be crossed 
halfway across the plain ; its waters are of a thick grey 
colouring, and in them are smuggled away crocodiles, all 
sorts of fierce fish with tusk-like teeth, and fever germs. 
A big dug-out canoe came over from the opposite bank to 
ferry us across, and then returned to fetch our porters, 
ass, and cows. The animals took most naturally to the 
skiff which might perhaps be traced back to their 
ancestors of the Ark period. 

In the cool of the afternoon an old fisherman punted 
me out in his canoe. He attracted my attention to a big 
crocodile drawn up on the bank it suddenly woke from its 
sleep and slipped into the water for an evening ablution. 
These dug-outs are scarcely what you might call inviting. 
I have never seen one that does not leak considerably, and 
it is difficult to imagine yourself comfortable when seated 
on a few rushes at the bottom of the boat, feeling all the 
time the water oozing in under you. 

Antelopes simply abound in the plain. In one spot 
alone there must have stood forty of these peaceful 
creatures. They evidently understand that all their 
district is preserved against the sportsman, for they now 
venture quite close to the path and look at passers by 
with the greatest impertinence. Two fine creatures with 
handsome antlers stood defying our caravan only about 
fifty yards away, and simply refused to be frightened off. 

Mboga stands on a ridge of hills about 18 miles on the 
opposite side of the plain to Ruwenzori. The scenery 
was in charming contrast to that on the previous day's 
journey, as we lifted up on to high land. Forest arteries 
flowed through every bend and hollow from the great 

155 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

aorta of Stanley's Pigmy Forest that stretched away for 
miles behind the Mboga Hills. The trees closely 
resembled the English oak and mountain ash ; there was 
a marked scarcity of flowers, and my butterfly net 
remained quite limp as we climbed up for -three hours 
till the Mission station appeared in sight. The people 
that came out to meet us broke up into two parts ; the 
one went with Mr. Fisher to superintend camping opera- 
tions, and I was borne off by the others to the Chief's 
reception hall to hold audience with his mother, who had 
ready a big black native pot of smoked milk to offer me. 
Over one hundred women then streamed in to look at the 
first European lady who had visited their country. They 
exclaimed, " Bwana Fisher has much grace and love, for 
he was the first white man to come and tell us of the 
religion of Christ, and now he has brought to us the first 
lady." A large open shed had been erected by the Chief 
Paulo Tabalo, under which our tent could be erected and 
so sheltered from the burning heat of the day, and it also 
provided us with a large airy sitting room, which was 
necessary for the four weeks we intended to remain. 

The first thing that was absolutely essential to take in 
hand was the building of a new Church, for the reed 
one standing was totally inadequate to accommodate 
the people. Consequently each morning after a brief 
service the men and women poured across to the new 
site to start operations. The men, headed by their Chief, 
went off into the forests for poles, and the women, laying 
aside their white linen draperies, handled their hoes, and 
in a few days had completely cleared the plot of all the 
long grass with which it had been covered. It was quite 
astonishing to see the rapidity with which everybody 
went to work, and although the proposed large mud 
church looked rather a formidable undertaking, the 
Christians insisted on building a permanent mud house 
adjoining the Church, which they hoped would secure 

156 



Towards the Pigmies 

more frequent visits from the Missionary, or procure them 
an ordained teacher from Uganda. 

The late Sir Henry Stanley, in " Darkest Africa," has 
given a most vivid picture of Mboga in his time. It was 
there he met with so much trouble and savage opposition 
from the natives. Paulo Tabalo tells a thrilling story of 
how his father collected together a large army to oppose 
the great white man on the banks of the Semliki River, but 
was compelled to flee, leaving behind a number of slain. 

Oppression has given place to justice, turbulence to 
peace, and the most abject fear of and subordination to 
the Evil Spirit is gradually being overcome by knowledge 
and trust in God. 

Stepping out from our tent one evening, I strolled away 
to a near hill to watch the sun set. As it slowly disap- 
peared behind a low ridge of distant mountains it 
scattered trails of golden light across the plain, through 
which the white waters gleamed. Then for a few brief 
minutes the vast Ruwenzori Range appeared completely 
vestured in a deep pink transparent mist, above which 
shone as a coronet the pure white snows. Never again 
in the four weeks we spent there was such a wonderful 
effect repeated. 

The hushed stillness was suddenly broken by a voice 
that issued from a little hut almost hidden from view. 
Glancing round a tall rock that stood between, I saw a 
dusky figure sitting in the doorway peeling potatoes for the 
evening meal. She was quite unconscious of any intruder, 
and as she bent down over her work she sang in the native 
tongue " Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace." 

Mboga of the present is a " Cave of Adullam " to the 
numerous surrounding tribes who have fled from the 
hands of plunderers and raiders and come to settle down 
under the peaceful rule of the Christian Chief. 

Among the thirty-six men and women who had been 
instructed and were then presented for baptism there 

157 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

were representatives of five different tribes, three of whom 
were the first-fruits from those tribes. I held a daily 
class with them for three weeks, and so had a chance of 
comparing the brain power of these people. Certainly 
the one pigmy did not by any means stand last in the 
class ; on the other hand, he displayed a very keen 
perception and often turned round to his neighbour and 
tried rather impatiently to rub in the point. On the 
other hand, he was entirely lacking in concentration, and 
it seemed impossible to pin his mind down to the subject 
under discussion. Every afternoon the people stopped 
work for two hours in order to go to Church to listen to 
the white missionaries' words. On the first Sunday a 
hint was thrown out to them that they should study 
together in their homes, and so help each other to under- 
stand their Bibles better. The day following Paulo 
called his people together in his audience hall and told 
them that they had listened to very good words from 
their European friend and teacher, and he felt that if 
they were to become strong and be blessed by God they 
ought to carry out the advice given. Several of them 
thereupon started systematic Bible study in their homes. 
Many of the Christian women came to my afternoon 
class with questions prepared which they had planned 
out together ; and they helped each other to make notes 
of my answers. I was surprised at the intelligence 
shown in their questionings, for they had received 
practically little teaching and are not naturally sharp. 
They asked many things about the Epistles, when they 
were written, whether on St. Paul's journeyings or when 
in imprisonment ; then they wanted to know the meaning 
of " Alpha and Omega " and " the woman clothed with 
the sun," etc., etc. 

One afternoon, just as the class was closing, I looked 
up, and in the doorway of the Church stood two most 
repelling figures. Their hair had grown to the shoulders 

158 



Towards the Pigmies 

and was rolled into thin streaks with an ample quantity 
of white goat's fat ; they wore a mere fragment of clothing, 
and held in their hands a bow and sheaf of arrows. 
My lesson came to a dead standstill, and I asked the 
women who the two men were. " They eat each other," 
was the reassuring response. I dismissed the class right 
away and made off, but found the two cannibals standing 
outside. Very bravely I went up and saluted them, but 
they only stared and grunted, then when I turned to 
hurry back to camp they came too ! In spite of being 
told that they only eat their own people, I did not like to 
run any risk, so enticed a number of women to come 
with me all the way to our tent by saying I had some 
pictures just out from England to show them. 

As we stood there in Mboga among some of the most 
primitive of the human races it was difficult to realize 
that they formed part of that greatest existing empire of 
the world. Let us hope the time will soon come when 
these people will be brought within the circle of its moral 
and intellectual influence as well as the circle of its civil 
rule. One can scarcely imagine that there ever existed 
a more unenlightened age in the history of man than the 
present twentieth century among these distant subjects 
of Great Britain. From the brow of the Mission hill at 
Mboga no fewer than seven distinct practically untamed 
tribes, each with its own peculiar customs and dialect, 
lie within the range of eyesight. During the four weeks 
spent in these parts we had an opportunity of coming in 
direct contact with some people from each of these tribes, 
and as we learned something of their habits and modes 
of existence we realised in a deeper sense than ever before 
the significance of the words, " And darkness was upon 
the face of the deep." 

After one month's life under canvas, nomadic life loses 
its charm, especially when the rains are a little too 
generous. The last three weeks of our stay in Mboga 

159 



proved somewhat distressful on this account, for the 
storms beat down upon our skeleton shed and poured in 
through the tent almost daily. The wide trenches dug 
round our quarters were quite ineffectual in carrying off 
the water which came sweeping in upon us like a flood. 
Frequently we were obliged to sit on our chairs or boxes 
with our feet tucked under us while the water gaily took 
possession of the ground floor of the tent. 

Then food was a difficulty, for no one would sell the 
few goats and chickens that they possessed. After the 
first fortnight they assured us that we had eaten up all 
the chickens in the place ! (In spite of this we certainly 
lost weight.) Eggs were very scarce, and were sold at 
the same price as a chicken, for, they argued, an egg is 
a chicken, and the ones they brought for sale nearly 
proved their argument ! All our boys got ill with malarial 
fever, and when they were at their worst a "case of cholera 
was brought in to me for treatment. This seemed to be 
an unknown complaint in these parts, and the people had 
no idea of its infectious character. Already three deaths 
had occurred, and two households were stricken down 
with it through visiting the sick house. We immediately 
ordered all the infected huts to be quarantined and the 
strictest attention given to the burning of all contaminated 
matter. Fortunately the disease was thus checked from 
spreading, but not until four had succumbed to it. 

Our last Sunday spent there was a memorable occasion, 
for thirty-five men and women were admitted into the 
fold of Christ through the confession of their faith in 
Baptism, and sixty-two from this little "lighthouse" 
station united with us in Holy Communion. After the 
evening service two young men came forward and offered 
themselves to be trained as teachers to the villages beyond. 
So although darkness yet covers the land of Mboga it 
might be said " And the Spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters." 

160 



CHAPTER XVII 

In Darkest Africa. The Pigmies 
(Batwa) and their (Bambuba) Neigh- 
bours 

IN attempting to describe some of the tribes that we 
have come in contact with round Mboga, I feel the 
first place should be given to the Pigmies, for 
although they are the smallest of all folk, yet they are 
one of the most ancient peoples of history. Not only do 
they appear in the pages of the Greek historian, 
Herodotus, but to-day their representatives may be traced 
on the Pyramids. Beyond these bare facts of their exist- 
ence nothing was definitely known about them until the 
late Sir Henry Stanley penetrated their forest home on 
his search for Emin Pasha, and startled the civilised 
world by his marvellous accounts of these legendary 
folk. Judging from their present conditions of life it is 
impossible to believe that they have made any advance, 
physically or morally, during the hundreds of years that 
have passed by since first they were known to the outside 
world. 

Their home is one vast, impenetrable forest which 
extends about one hundred and twenty miles north to 
south and nearly two hundred miles east to west ; with- 
out intermission its vegetation has assumed abnormal pro- 
portions ; out of dense, tangled undergrowth the trees 

161 M 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

h ave forced their way, and, as if to find breathing space 
and shake themselves free of the crush and their tiresome 
parasites, have reached a gigantic height. But the 
rubber plants, ivy, and creepers have proved equal to the 
task, and pushed their way up the tree trunks, have 
crawled along from branch to branch, until only glimpses 
of sunshine and sky appear through the thick foliage. 

Doubtless this obscurity and the seclusion of their 
environment have acted as a narcotic on the develop- 
ment of the people. 

Although small of stature they are by no means dwarfs, 
for their little bodies of four feet to four feet eight inches 
are perfectly proportioned. A very close view shows 
them to be covered with an almost imperceptible downy 
hair ; on the arms this meets at the elbow as in monkeys. 
It may be due to their habit of sitting with arms crossed 
round their neck while the rain constantly drips down 
upon them through the trees. Their features are not 
prepossessing in fact they are really ugly ; a very broad 
bridgeless nose and two wide protruding lips appropriate 
as much space as the face can spare. 

They possess no permanent homes, but are constantly 
on the move, never spending more than three to five days 
at one spot. They burrow among the thick undergrowth, 
and make clearings round the trees in order to erect 
their tiny grass huts, which are built in less than an hour, 
with saplings stuck round in a circle and tied at the top ; 
grass and leaves are then thrown over as roofing. Very 
few adopt any clothing. Each man travels about with a 
bow and quiver of poisoned arrows in order that he may 
keep the family supplied in food. Although peaceable 
among themselves, there is no civil cohesion among the 
pigmies. They recognise no king or chief; each man is 
perfectly free to control his own household. There are no 
class distinctions ; but the best huntsman will have the 
largest following because with his spoils he is able to 

162 



The Pigmies and their Neighbours 

effect exchanges with the near neighbours of the tribe 
the Bambuba, a sturdy, thick-set race varying in height 
from four feet eight inches to five feet, who live on the 
north-east fringe of the Forest. 

Necessity has never taught the pigmies to make fires. 
They are dependent on wood ashes from the Bambuba 
folk, which they carry about tied up in leaves, in which 
the fire smoulders for hours and is kindled into flame with 
a little gentle blowing. The Bambuba have learned to 
produce fire by means of igniting two little bits of stick by 
friction. They also make tiny torches of three or four 
thin twigs tied together by fibre ; these are dipped into 
rubber juice freshly drawn away from the plant; then on 
the point of the torch is placed resin, which moderates the 
rate of combustion. One of these torches will keep 
burning for two to three hours. The pigmies do not 
cultivate the ground; they are exclusively a tribe of hunts- 
men who travel about in search of their prey. Their 
remarkable agility enables them to spring from branch to 
branch when watching the track of an animal. Often 
they are obliged to follow an elephant for hours before this 
forest monarch succumbs to the poisoned dart that has 
lodged itself in its tough skin ; then as the huge animal 
rolls over like a thunderbolt falling, the little pigmies 
jump down from the trees, stand on the carcase, and 
draw out of a crude leather sheath their knives which 
have handles made of animals' bones ; they then com- 
mence cutting up the joints. Some of these will be 
carried off to the agricultural Bambuba tribe, who give 
potatoes, Indian corn, knives, or arrows for the meat. 
The rest is taken up into the trees and dried, after which 
it is either roasted or eaten raw. Although all their meat 
is poisoned they do not attempt to purify it, and the 
blood is regarded as a special delicacy. They do not, 
however, suffer any ill-effects, for the poison is said to 
have lost its power when once it has acted. The pigmies 

163 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

are regarded by the neighbouring tribes in very much 
the same way as the wild pigs, inevitable plunderers. At 
night they creep up to the potato patches, under cover of 
the long grass, and carry off their booty into the copse. 
No one dares to venture on revenge; indeed the surround- 
ing tribes stand in terror of the little people because of 
their wonderful powers of self-concealment and deftness 
with their bows. 

A pigmy rarely possesses more than one wife, and 
never more than two. A man purchases her with 
poison or fowls a woman is valued at eighty to one 
hundred chickens. The wives are treated kindly and 
with consideration ; only when a husband is provoked by 
abuse does he attempt to subdue his fractious helpmate 
by a sound beating. 

A pigmy baby is the funniest little atom imaginable. 
A woman once brought to me her infant of three 
months ; it was her first, and she evidently regarded it 
as an exceptional beauty. It was about the size of a six- 
penny doll. I did not venture to touch it for fear of 
hurting it. 

Having only reached the outskirts of the Congo Forest 
we never had an opportunity of seeing the pigmies at 
home. Those we have met and conversed with are 
women and boys that were stolen some years ago, and 
now have no desire to go back to the forest. At Mboga 
we found seven under Christian instruction, one of whom 
had been baptised. In Kabarole there are two pigmy 
girls and one lad learning to read besides Blasiyo, who 
was the first of his tribe to be baptised. 

He was my first God-child, the first of these wee and 
ancient people to step forth from their physical and 
spiritual darkness and before the listening Host of 
Heaven declare his belief in God the Father, God the 
Son, and God the Holy Ghost, his faith for salvation, for 
salvation in Christ's sacrifice, and his desire to never be 

164 



The Pigmies and their Neighbours 

ashamed "to fight under the banner of the Cross." He 
is a quaint little figure, with a high sense of his own 
importance, and is quite able to stand his ground alone 
when assailed by his taller companions. Work is a great 
trouble to him, but he is always ready for tricks and 
games. Football is his speciality, and he never misses a 
chance of squeezing his way into the game, even when 
the men's team is on the ground. In order that he might 
have a game with his friends whenever he could shirk his 
work, he invented a very ingenious football of a goat 
skin stuffed with dried banana leaves. While learning to 
read we took him on our staff of boys, not that he did 
much work, but in order that we might try and instil 
clean and industrious habits into him. His duties were 
to help the cook by feeding the fire with fuel and keeping 
clean the pots and pans, but when he knew his master 
and mistress were at lunch, he would run away from his 
post, and fetch a large ivory war-horn ; then, taking up 
his position outside the dining-room window, would blow 
for all he was worth. He accompanied the blasts with 
weird, swaying movements that gradually developed into 
wild dancing, and transformed the little figure into a 
veritable imp or gnome. His idea was that this enter- 
tainment would quite justify his act of truancy; and he 
reasoned that if he could get his master and mistress to 
laugh their anger would be dead, for laughter drives out 
wrath. When he came to us, cleanliness was not a 
strong point with him, and he was for the time being 
quite debarred from playing football on account of being 
crippled with jiggers an irritating, infinitesimal insect 
that bores in under the surface skin of the feet, and if 
allowed to remain there sets up mortification. The fact 
of their being there did not trouble him in the least, but 
his inability to kick the football drove him to get them 
extracted. A message one day was brought in that a man 
wished to see me on business. Going out on to our 

165 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

verandah I found a powerful, muscular figure dressed in 
a colobus monkey skin. He told me that his name was 
Mbeba, which means " a rat," and that he had been sent 
by the pigmy to contract for his jiggers. Hia fee would 
be five hundred cowrie shells, which was a big price, but 
it would be a long job. I felt it was an offer to close 
on, and did not in the least regret my investment of 
sevenpence halfpenny when the pigmy proudly emerged 
from a ten days' operation with his unshapely little feet 
considerably battered, but in sound kicking order. 

Each week it was our custom to give round to our 
boys fifty or hundred cowrie shells for pocket money. 
These generally went to purchase pencils, or exercise 
books, or were carefully put by till sufficient were collected 
to buy a sheep or goat. But Blasiyo was never able to 
save a shell, for his great ambition was to ride about on 
a horse like the king, and as this was an impossibility 
he hired the tallest available man to run him up and 
down the roads on his shoulder for payment of shells. 

One day aloud altercation was going on in our court- 
yard, and I was called out to arbitrate between Blasiyo 
and his two-legged steed. The man's grievance was that he 
had agreed to ride the pigmy round our courtyard for five 
shells, and now he was refused payment. Blasiyo listened 
until he had finished presenting his case ; then, when 
called on to give his defence, declared the man had not 
fulfilled his contract, for he had cut off all the corners. 
He was told to pay down three shells, and these he pro- 
duced from under his tongue ! When he had learned to 
read, he was very anxious to exhibit his wonderful 
intelligence, and asked that he might have a class in the 
reading school. Accordingly he was enrolled as a 
teacher. With an air of great importance he used to 
strut into school and take up his position among his 
scholars, some twelve to twenty men, whom he had 
asked to be allowed to teach in preference to boys. One 

166 



The Pigmies and their Neighbours 

day while going the round of the school to take the 
register I found Blasiyo's class in rebellion. The reason 
was that the teacher had brought with him a little cane 
and whacked them all round because they did not pay 
him due respect. " Without respect," said he, " progress 
is impossible." 

For several obvious reasons it will be impossible to 
send teachers to the pigmies under present circumstances. 
While they continue constantly moving about they can- 
not be satisfactorily reached ; and no European or native 
of another tribe could live in the semi-obscurity of the 
dense forest, or exist solely on poisoned meat. The only 
hope of effectually reaching them is to teach and train 
those who are living outside among other people ; for 
there is every reason to hope that some from among them 
might be found who will in the future be ready to go back 
to their old forest home and carry the torchlight of 
Truth to their own kith and kin. 

Meanwhile it is a cause of great rejoicing that already 
some of these strange tiny folk have been baptised into 
Christ Jesus, of whom the whole family in heaven and 
earth was named. 

THE BAHUKU. 

In a strip of forest lying between the Semliki River 
and the Congo Forest, and within four hours of Mboga, 
lives^a savage tribe known as the Bahuku. Among all 
the distinct races to be found on the western slopes of 
the Semliki Plain, these people undoubtedly are the 
most degraded and void of intelligence. Like the 
Ba-amba, many of the men allow their heads to remain 
unshorn : when the hair has reached to the nape of the 
neck they twist it into thin strands with goat's fat, which 
is frequently mixed with a quantity of red earth. This 
gives them quite a terrifying appearance. They live in 
circular huts composed of closely-packed poles, with 

167 



roofs of grass and leaves. They have no means of digging 
up the soil, but their method of cultivating is to cut down 
the grass and shrubs, to fell the trees, and sow their 
crops of Indian corn, beans and sweet potatoes among 
the stubble and roots. 

A Muhuku may have any number of wives, but is 
obliged to build a separate house for each, as the women 
are very quarrelsome among themselves. If any 
favouritism is shown for one wife the others make no 
attempt to conceal their jealousy, and sometimes poison 
or spear the unfortunate woman. The custom of pro- 
curing a wife is to take her in exchange for a sister, cousin, 
or any other available female relation. When these fail, 
goats will be taken as a substitute. By the former 
method a woman is free to leave her husband and marry 
another if she wishes, but purchase by goats is binding on 
her; she has become her husband's property absolutely. 
Should she run away and return to her people they are 
immediately suspected of bribing or stealing her. The 
injured husband then sounds the warhorn, and a sharp 
encounter with spears and knives takes place between the 
two families. When the victor has succeeded in driving 
off his antagonists he claims the bodies of the slain, 
which are taken to his home and feasted upon in honour 
of the occasion. 

The warhorns of the Bahuku are regarded by them 
as family heirlooms, and have been handed down from 
their distant ancestors. They are formed out of small 
elephant tusks, which have been scooped out and shaved 
down to within two or three inches of the mouthpiece. 
Strips of elephant hide or lizard skin are sometimes 
neatly fitted round part of the horn and sewn with gut. 
The centre part of the instrument, which has become 
much discoloured by time, is decorated with various 
curious designs. These probably were intended for hiero- 
glyphic writing or distinguishing family marks, but their 

168 



The Pigmies and their Neighbours 

significance, if ever their really was any, is quite unknown 
to the present generations. The Bahuku are very loth 
to part with these horns for fear of offending the spirits 
of their forefathers. A few, however, were willing to risk 
their displeasures when they saw the skinny little goats 
we sent out as purchase money. 

Human flesh is regarded as a luxury among them, 
besides corpse-eating. The upper class buy from the 
peasants their dead for two to six goats. The bodies 
that are not sold for food are buried with a very prolonged 
ceremony. A deep hole is digged and the corpse is 
placed in a sitting posture with the hands crossed on the 
chest. It is then covered over with earth as far as the 
neck ; the head is left exposed for six days, during which 
time the friends come and bestow on it their farewell 
glances. Then the burial is completed and the grave is 
carefully swept and guarded day and night until the 
family removes to another place. 

Their religion is a form of fetishism. Tiny devil 
temples are built among the long grass away from the 
homes of the peoples so that the evil spirits may be kept 
at a safe distance. Only the men and old women are 
allowed to visit these little grass temples to take offerings 
of food or to practice divination. The men take with 
them a horn in order to acquaint their wives with the 
time of their worship. 

Several from among these people came and visited us 
during our stay in Mboga, and although they were quite 
friendly, they expressed no wish for a teacher to be sent 
to them. Indeed, their minds seemed so unutterably void 
that they appeared incapable of receiving any new impres- 
sion. 

BABIRA AND BALEGA. 

A few years ago, before European rule was established 
over the country, Mboga could scarcely have been a 

169 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

desirable quarter in which to find oneself shut up. The 
Bahuku, on the west, then practised cannibalism without 
any restraint, and captured anyone who ventured near 
their domain. 

Then, while the vindictive little pigmies and half- 
tamed Bambuba enclosed it on the south and west, two 
powerful and savage tribes joined hands and claimed the 
district running north, right along to the western shores 
of the Albert Lake. These Babira and Balega people are 
very closely allied in features and customs, but the 
former are numerically very inferior. These have a 
peculiar practice, which I believe to be unique among 
Central African tribes, that is, the women bore a hole in 
their top lip and gradually increasing this until it is able 
to enclose a disc of wood two and even three inches in 
diameter. A Mubira woman came to call on us whose 
disc measured two and five-eight inches across. The size of 
the wood inserted proclaims the rank of the person. 
Peasants are only allowed to wear pieces of stick the 
same dimension as a match. The weight of the wood 
causes the lip to fall down over the mouth, and, in order 
to eat, it is necessary to lift up this shutter with one 
hand while the other conveys the food to the mouth. 
Frequently the lip breaks under the strain put upon it, in 
which case the disconnected ends are carried back and 
tied to the ear. 

While the Balega do not adopt this inhuman custom 
of their neighbours, they have not reached to their degree 
of civilisation in introducing clothing. The Balega 
women still groan under the weight of pounds of thick 
brass wire wound round their arms and legs. This is 
supplemented by a prodigious amount of beads. 

Until brought under Belgian rule these people refused 
to recognise allegiance to any power. Nominally they 
were under Bunyoro, for the King of that country years ago 
went across and laid waste the whole district plundering 

170 




AN MUBIRA LADY: AN AFTERNOON CALLER. 




A NATIVE OF BULEGA : The first to be baptized of his race. 



The Pigmies and their Neighbours 

their sheep, cattle, and women. This was repeated 
by successive kinds till the people were compelled to 
yield to the claims of the Banyoro. But their submission 
was compulsory and not permanent, so that when Bunyoro 
was troubled with civil war and outside foes the Balega 
ceased to be controlled by them. But the Banyoro are 
very proud of a legend that relates how their King, 
Ndohura, who conquered the Balega, while righting them 
broke his stick and from it sprung up the Forest of Kirare. 
Returning from the war the same King is said to have 
slipped on a rock, and his footprint is to be seen to this 
day. 

These people are very clannish and insular. Children 
remain under their mothers' roof until they marry. If, 
like the " old woman," they lived in a shoe, the mother 
would need a fairly roomy one, for often her offspring 
number twenty to thiity. As a man possesses many 
wives he has a lively time trying to keep his children in 
hand. When the sons marry they bring their wives and 
build close to the old homestead, and generally continue 
to recognise the authority of their father, and no other. 

They believe in an evil spirit called Nyakasana, for 
whom they build a little grass temple in the court yard of 
their houses. They always offer to him the first-fruits 
of their potato, Indian corn and millet crops, and when 
they kill a goat for meat or entrap an antelope they take 
to their little temple a portion of the flesh, before tasting 
it themselves. The spirits of the dead have constantly 
to be propitiated by gifts of food and live stock. These 
are carefully kept apart, and when any member of the 
family is taken ill, the offerings to the dead are brought 
in, so that the sick person shall look on them and 
recover. 

During our stay at Mboga, the first man from the 
Balega tribe was baptised, and since then several 
teachers have gone to them from Bunyoro and found 

171 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

a great willingness and desire among the people for 
instruction. 

Thus gradually the Light is dawning on " Darkest 
Africa." 

"Arise shine, for the light is come and the glory of 
the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold the darkness 
shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people but 
the glory of the Lord shall arise upon thee . . . 
And the Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to 
the brightness of Thy rising." Isaiah. 



172 




STIFF CLIMBING: A CLIMB TO THE SNOWS. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

A Climb to the Snows 

IT is impossible to live any length of time in close 
proximity to Ruwenzori without being overcome 
with a desire to reach the land of glittering ice that 
resembles an enchanted city with its pinnacles, 
turrets and domes pointing upward to the sun, which with 
all its equatorial strength has ineffectually endeavoured to 
displace the age-long snows and ice. The highest point 
has, in recent years, been estimated to reach an altitude 
of 20,000 to 22,000 feet. The snows are not often clearly 
visible, for in the dry season the hot heavy mist that 
envelops the whole country completely hides the range 
from view, while in the wet season clouds frequently veil 
the highest peaks. From the glaciers rush numerous 
streams that flow down into the Albert Edward Lake, 
and out again by the River Semliki to the Albert Lake 
and the Nile. In ancient times an Egyptian caravan 
road extended right down into these interior districts 
along the route of this great natural watercourse. Doubt- 
less the Egyptians, and probably Solomon, drew their 
supplies of ivory from the vast herds of elephants that 
still ramble about round Ruwenzori with tusks some 
weighing 150 to 2Oolbs. each. 

The old legend that the sacred river Nile had its 
source in Heaven may have originated from the reports 
brought back by traders that one of its most important 
tributaries flowed down from a mountain that seemed to 
reach into Heaven. The Baganda call the mountain 

173 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

" Gambalugula lufumba ebiri," which means " the leaf 
that cooks the clouds." This has reference to their 
custom of cooking all their food in banana leaves. Their 
imagination regards the mountains as a big leaf which 
holds the clouds over the boiling springs that bubble up 
from the base of the mountain, the mists that sweep 
down the mountain sides is the stream from the "cook- 
ing pot." 

Ruwenzori does not consist of one single snow peak 
like Kilimanjaro and Kenia, but vast fields of inter- 
cepted snow and ice extend for over twenty miles North 
and South. 

The late Sir Henry Stanley heard of its existence in 
1875, but not until his second visit to its locality in 1887 
did he obtain a complete view of the snows. 

Since that date several have tried to reach the glaciers, 
but only three expeditions had been successful up to the 
time of our ascent. Others had proved unfortunate in 
the time of year, for it is impossible to accomplish 
the task in the wet season. Mountain sickness, and 
pneumonia among the carriers had compelled others to 
turn back from the attempt. Until 1904 no one had 
tried to reach the snows from the Western side of the 
mountain range. From the east several had unsuccess- 
fully endeavoured to discover a route to higher altitudes, 
but the one along the course of the Mubuku River was 
the only one that had proved practicable. During our 
visit to Mboga we were very fortunate to obtain con- 
tinual views of the snow peaks, and we were convinced 
that an ascent from that side of the mountains would 
prove more resultful. This has been conclusively con- 
firmed since by a recent explorer, Dr. David, who 
reached a point 16,000 feet high ; that is, 1,200 feet 
higher than anyone previously. To scale Ruwenzori's 
highest point must remain an impossible task. No one 
could endure the penetrating cold for the period of time 

174 



A Climb to the Snows 

required to master the prolonged and precipitous heights. 
Besides a complete Alpine outfit being required, tent and 
food would be compulsory, and no native would under- 
take the transport of these things beyond the lowest 
glacier point, and even if this difficulty could be overcome, 
camping space might be sought for in vain. Judging 
from the angle at which my bed was placed at one camp, 
I can picture an 9ver ambitious adventurer, having 
pitched his tent within 3,000 feet of the summit, suddenly 
finding himself and his belongings toboganning down 
over the glaciers at lightning speed, only stopping to find 
himself landed in a freezing morass. 

In 1903, Rev. A. L. Kitching, Mr. Fisher, and myself 
started off for a trip to that unfrequented region. Our 
baggage looked more suitable for a Polar expedition than 
a climb on the Equator. Every conceivable fusty and 
moth eaten winter garment was hauled out and packed 
into a waterproof sack ; eiderdown quilts, India rubber 
foot warmers, and bales of blankets for ourselves and 
boys formed part of the caravan. The reports of our 
mountaineering predecessors led us to anticipate an 
arduous and colossal task, but our ambition was not to 
attempt more than those who had a wider experience in 
mountain climbing than ourselves, but to stand on that 
untraversed land of ice where scarcely mortal foot had 
trod, and to inhale its cool life-giving air so that we 
might be refreshed for a return to work in the hot 
tiring lowlands. 

January was the time fixed on for the expedition. That is 
generally regarded as one of the most reliably dry months 
in the year, but the mountains manage to upset all one's 
calculations, and in Toro fine weather is more the excep- 
tion than the rule. So we found ourselves in a few 
very stiff storms before we had even reached the base of 
the mountains. Our porters were aggravatingly discour- 
aging, and on the first day, regarding my skirt flapping 

175 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

about after a drenching shower, shook their heads, and 
said, " Perhaps the two Bwanas will reach the snows, 
but who ever heard of a woman doing it." They did not 
understand that their very argument was one of my 
strongest incentives ! Four days of strong marching 
from Kabarole brought us to a village of the Bakonjo 
called Bihunga. It was about 6,oooft. high, tucked away 
in the very heart of the mountains. Frowning peaks and 
ridge upon ridge of dense foresting completely shut us in 
from the outside world. Save for the noise of the River 
Mubuku, as it rushed madly down and tumbled into the 
valley beneath, there was no sound to break the deep 
silence of the mountains. All nature was at perfect peace 
with itself, and the few clouds that seemed wearied 
in their flight through the hot, dry air rested for a while 
on the green slopes as if to enjoy the quiet and beauty of 
the scene. It was to these strongholds that the Batoro 
fled in past times for security when the raiding King 
Kabarega of Bunyoro made plundering expeditions into 
their country. Although they found safety and shelter in 
the thickly-wooded crevices and creeks, the refugees 
searched in vain for food, and while some were able to 
drag through the time of their temporary captivity by 
subsisting on the roots and leaves of wild plants, 
hundreds are said to have died from hunger and 
exposure. 

The so-called village at which we halted was a collec- 
tion of three tiny circular huts, built of poles packed as 
closely together as possible. Round and outside these 
was tied a thick padding of dried banana bark, leaves, 
and saplings, as protection from the gales and storms that 
blew down from the snows and whistled round these 
little dwellings. 

A grandsire and his dame, two sons, one daughter-in- 
law, and an infant composed the entire population. The 
old man, in a very contented state of mind, sat in 

176 



A Climb to the Snows 

the doorway of his hut smoking a pipe over a foot in 
length. He gave us a most reassuring smile of welcome. 
The two females, heavily decked round the knees and 
arms with scores of plaited and greased bracelets, 
immediately made off with themselves into the thick 
vegetation, and only came out of their hiding by a great 
deal of persuasion. We explained to the people the 
object we had in view, and how we wanted to leave our 
Batoro porters with them to await our return, while we 
took on men from among them who were acquainted 
with the mountains and inured to the cold. The two 
young men at once offered their services, and promised 
instantly to get together as many other porters as 
required. We wondered how they could do this, as there 
was no sign of a habitation, excepting two lonely huts on 
a far distant height. But, after making a long, far-reach- 
ing sound with their lips, there suddenly appeared, as if 
by magic, quite a number of figures emerging from far 
and near. The Bakonjo, in the old times of rapine and 
oppression, had chosen out the most secluded spot where 
they might safely build their homes, and they still adopt 
this practice, from custom no longer from necessity. 
Among the dense forest growth it is quite impossible to 
detect their huts, and as only a very small minority of 
the Bakonjo cultivate the soil, there is nothing around to 
indicate human existence. 

As is the case among most of these tribes, the women 
do all the digging and sowing, but they are very few 
in number as compared with the men, and in consequence 
are regarded as valuable property, and not to be worked 
to excess. Being naturally more prone to indolence 
than industry, the furnishing of the daily board depends 
almost solely on what the husbands can bring in from 
the hunt and exchange, but they generally keep in store 
a stock of arum roots (the women's cultivation) on which 
they can fall back when fortune fails the huntsmen. 

177 N 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

The men are a striking race, their arduous searching 
after rats and conies (hyrax) often leads them up to the 
regions of ice ; this constant climbing and exposure to the 
cold have developed their muscles in a remarkable 
manner, and with the surefootedness of a mule and light- 
ness of a gazelle they spring up the steepest bank and 
rock, experiencing no fatigue. 

Besides being their chief item of diet, the coney supplies 
them with practically their sole clothing. Six or eight of 
the little skins are sewn together, and worn over the 
shoulders, secured by a thin piece of hide round the 
neck. 

Although the conies have enough sense of self- 
preservation to burrow among the rocks for shelter, they 
have not sufficient instinct to escape their capturers when 
once they have tracked them down. The men sit 
patiently for hours outside the conies' entrance door, and 
when at last the little creatures come out in single file to 
search for a meal, a stick suddenly descends on one head 
after another ; sometimes fourteen to fifteen in one family 
are killed off in this way. 

Twenty men were chosen out, from those that offered, 
to act as carriers, two more were appointed guides, and 
two of special strength were told off to help me over the 
exceptionally rough bits of climbing. While the neces- 
sary agreements were being gone through, the sky 
became suddenly overcast with dense, threatening clouds, 
and a loud clap of thunder, that reverberated all round 
us again and again, scattered us in every direction with 
great speed to our several homes. From the tiny 
window of our bedraggled tent we peeped out at the 
storm, as the forked lightning struck one peak after 
another almost simultaneously, and the thunder concus- 
sions made the very mountains tremble. 

An Academy picture, of many years back, illustrating 
Dante's Inferno, seemed to have assumed living form 

178 



A Climb to the Snows 

here. It was almost impossible to believe that such a 
transformation could have taken place in so short a time, 
for in comparatively few minutes day was plunged into 
night, calm into torrential storms, and quietude into a 
fierce battle of the elements. 

When we at last ventured to draw back the canvas 
doorway the rain had ceased, and mud, mud, mud lay 
everywhere. The storm had left behind it a cold, raw, 
dismal evening. And there drawn up in single file before 
the tent were our twenty porters and guides, who, in 
order to appear more pathetic, had come without their 
fur shoulder garments. One of the guides stepped for- 
ward as spokesman and explained that they wanted to be 
paid in advance. They absolutely refused shells and 
rupees, and would only accept calico, which, they said, 
would protect them from the cold on the journey to the 
snows. Judging from the quantity of clothes we had 
heaped already on ourselves to keep off the penetrating 
damp wind, their demand threatened to be a real 
difficulty, as we had only equipped ourselves with a 
limited supply of calico. They were then asked what 
length of material each required as wages, and in a half 
timid voice, as if afraid of uttering such an extortion, the 
answer came " three hands apiece" (one and a half yards). 
Our calico managed to run to that, and thereupon each 
man received his advance payment. With a broad grin 
of satisfaction and pride they struggled to tuck as much 
of themselves as possible inside their fifty-four inches of 
material. The result was quite ludicrous, but they 
appeared perfectly delighted. Evidently their plea had 
only been a ruse to insure their wages, for none of the 
calico was seen on the journey. The only personal 
impedimenta with which most of them travelled were a 
few strands of smouldering grass encased in a bark 
sheath. This was brought out immediately we struck 
camp, and they had ferretted out a shelter for themselves 

179 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

under a rock or trees. A fire was quickly kindled, and 
round this they all squatted and roasted the conies they 
had entrapped during the day's climb. At night they did 
not attempt to erect a hut or covering, but maintained 
this same cramped position round the fire ; they inter- 
laced arms, and each one slept with his head resting on 
the next man's shoulder. On one occasion the rain 
poured down upon them all night long, and although their 
little shoulder coney-skins were hopelessly inadequate 
to insure them against a thorough soaking, they turned 
up in the morning in the most cheerful spirits, absolutely 
unaffected by their uncongenial surroundings. 

In preparing for the actual ascent to the snows from 
Bihunga we were obliged to reduce our outfit to mere 
essentials. A large caravan would have experienced 
considerable difficulty in the matter of food ; and each 
man was only able to carry a load of twenty to twenty- 
five pounds, which was fastened to a strong sling of fibre 
and slipped round the forehead. This method of carrying 
is adopted by the Bakonjo tribe, and leaves the arms 
perfectly free for climbing up on fours, which is so often 
necessary. I was the only member of the party privileged 
with a bed; the two men had to content themselves 
with waterproof sacks and blankets. Our boys judged 
spoons, forks, and knives as non-essentials and reduced 
us to two forks and one pen-knife, so for some days we 
had to return to the most primitive manners at meal- 
times. Our first days real climbing began in a kind of 
retrograde direction, for we had to slide down a hope- 
lessly greasy track for some two hundred yards. My two 
supporters evidently anticipated a lively time ; they were 
required to render aid at once ; the fact was, my feet 
refused to stick, and in struggling to keep me back with 
yards of calico brought round under my arms, I nearly 
succeeded in dragging them down head-first. They were 
urged to manage better than that, and they promised to 

180 



A Climb to the Snows 

improve, but explained how they had had no practice at 
that kind of travelling, and were a little unprepared for 
it. I again tried the plan of a calico body sling when a 
very steep bracken ascent had to be scaled, and the sun 
was at its height. The men went in front, each pulling 
most vigorously at the calico end which he held, but 
they somehow always managed to jerk in the wrong 
place. Just as I had breathlessly succeeded in securing 
a foothold a big pull from the front almost robbed me of 
my last gasp. So I dispensed with such questionable 
aid and found all the help I wanted in a long bamboo 
which our guide presented to me as a kind of charm, for 
it had taken him up to the glacier when he escorted Sir 
Harry Johnston's expedition. At an altitude of seven 
thousand feet we reached the point where tropical 
vegetation assumes its most exquisite form. The river 
Mubuku had to be crossed and recrossed six times in the 
one march, and all along its river bed was the richest 
display of varied forms of vegetable life. Several species 
of palm trees, a few wayward bamboos, tree-ferns, a tree 
resembling the English yew, and the bright red-flowering 
Ekirikiti tree. The forests passed through frequently 
recalled some of the most charming parts of Devonshire ; 
the ground was carpeted with ferns and moss interspersed 
with forget-me-nots and orchids. 

At Bihunga we left behind all human habitation. Our 
first halt after leaving it was under a rock at a height of 
eight thousand feet. From the almost intolerable silence 
it seemed as if we had also got beyond all amimal life. 
We listened in vain for the insect's hum, the bird's 
chirrupping, or the squabbling of the monkeys. How- 
ever, similar welcome sounds had not entirely ceased, for 
very occasionally a night bird hooted, a rat squeaked, or 
a solitary fly cheered us with its living presence. 

Our camping space was decidedly cramped, and the 
tent felt very insecure, for it was impossible to drive poles 

181 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

or pegs into the rocks ; the canvas merely had to be 
balanced by tying the ropes to large stones. Water was 
also very scarce, and, in spite of a consuming thirst after 
our hot climb, we were obliged to content ourselves with 
two cups of tea and half that amount for a wash down. 

The region of Bamboo Forests was next reached, and 
it was disappointing to find that what looked so attractive 
from a distance beneath when seen from within was 
nothing but a monotonous stretch of stiff brown sticks 
surmounted by masses of green grass. The bamboos had 
completely monopolised the soil to the exclusion of almost 
every other plant. For hours we were pushing our way 
through these obstinate poles that would not bend or 
budge an inch to let us through. Men went before to 
slash them down, and as we stumbled over the broken 
stems my poor skirt was literally torn into, shreds, even 
though it had been shortened eight inches the previous day. 
Emerging from bamboo-land we crossed a stretch of 
marsh and found ourselves surrounded by frowning bare 
rock peaks which rose almost perpendicularly from where 
we stood. Pointing up to a spot about one thousand feet 
above us, our guide indicated the only possible halting 
place. Although so near, it took us over two hours to 
reach ; with the utmost caution we had to drag our bodies 
up the sheer face of the rocks. At one place we had 
recourse to a rough native ladder formed of two long 
bamboo poles with rungs of the same tied with grass. 
This was placed against an absolutely smooth-faced 
stretch of rock, where for a space of ten to fifteen feet 
no hold could be obtained. To add to the danger, strong 
mountain streams were pouring down over the rocks, no t 
only soaking us through, but making our grip less secure. 
Certainly I had never before been in such a critica 
position ; it was quite impossible to get a real firm foot- 
ing, and one slip might have resulted in dragging others 
down into the seething waters and rocks that lay beneath. 

182 



A Climb to the Snows 

On reaching the top, vegetation assumed an entirely 
new form. The only trees were gigantic heaths, but it 
was almost impossible to distinguish them, for the stems 
were covered with a thick moss, which in some places 
was 12 inches deep. In colouring it varied from a dark 
brown to a light golden or deep red. The trees were 
almost entirely denuded of leaf, and festoons of whitish 
lichen hung from branch to branch. The ground was very 
marshy, for the hills that enclosed us emptied down into it 
numerous small torrents. About fifteen square yards of 
dry land was found on which to erect our tent and hang 
up the clothes to dry. Our stout marching boots had 
already succumbed to the rough usage, and we each took 
a strong needle and thread to see who could turn out the 
neatest job. In the evening the rain poured down upon 
us in a deluge, and continued all night till it even 
penetrated the double roof of our canvas waterproof tent ; 
besides this, as we were now at an altitude of io,oooft., 
the cold was indescribable. Each breath we took seemed 
to cut at the chest like a knife, and, in spite of blankets 
and an eider-down, it was impossible to sleep with the 
damp piercing cold. All the following day the rain 
continued and kept us prisoners at this indescribably 
cheerless spot. I had time to overhaul the shattered skirt ; 
it looked a hopeless task, for it really would not bear 
shortening again. The advice was then given me to cut 
it up and put it into bands under the knees, which I acted 
upon on hearing the toughest bit of climbing was yet to 
come. When we were at last able to push on, and the 
garment was worn with puttees and a football jersey, I 
felt like an evoluted man. 

For three hours from Kicucu camp we did not once 
touch the ground ; during the whole of that time we were 
slowly climbing with hands and feet over fallen heather 
that for scores of years must have lain in that position, 
only becoming more seasoned with time. The thick moss 

183 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

that still clung on to the slender bark was very deceptive, 
and, when mistaken for firm soil, broke away from the tree 
and one suddenly found oneself slipping down, down 
between branches and barks; fortunately there was a 
depth of fallen forest underneath, and this saved me from 
disappearing beyond the armpits. These heaths grow 
on the rocks in a very thin surface soil which is not able 
to support them when they reach great heights, conse- 
quently the tree falls, and in this way the irregular jagged 
rocks have been bridged and joined up by the continually 
increasing amount of timber thrown across. 

Having once disentangled ourselves from this tumbled- 
down forest, a weird scene was opened out before us. 
Almost surrounded by a lofty ridge of rocks was a wide 
river basin fed by the melting snow from above. With 
the exception of one waterfall which poured down from a 
height of about 200 feet, the water did not descend in 
streams, but fell slowly in sheets from the surrounding 
rocks. The few trees visible were entirely enveloped in 
the white lichen, and the ground was covered with thick 
drab moss, dwarf cactus plants, and a tall green poker 
called by botanists lobelia, but resembling in shape 
Cleopatra's needle. The effect was that of a world 
tottering in its old age on the verge of death it was 
easier to imagine it another planet, for is it possible to 
recognise Earth without voice, without colouring, and 
almost without life. We plunged through this morass 
and found the moss saturated like a sponge with freezing 
water. The effect was chilling in the extreme, and before 
we had crossed it half way my limbs felt quite numbed 
with the cold ; I scarcely knew how I dragged myself up 
into our last camp. The roof only of our tent was some- 
how fixed up under a rock, over the entrance of which 
water continuously trickled. But these little discomforts 
were quite forgotten when towards sunset the clouds 
rolled away and the land of snow and ice was revealed 

184 




MULUKU GLACIER. 



A Climb to the Snows 

crowning near ridges and peaks with its dazzling white- 
ness, while in the hollows and clefts all round lay patches of 
glistening ice. Before sunrise next morning we were all 
astir, impatient to reach the goal of our expectations. The 
air was clear and crisp, patches of freshly fallen snow lay 
around us on all sides, icicles hung from the rocks, and 
little frozen puddles glistened like glass. The wet 
penetrating cold of the two previous days was now 
exchanged for the dry frosty breezes that nipped toes, 
finger-tips, nose, and ears. Although the thermometer 
had fallen to freezing point, no numbing sensation was 
experienced ; but as the blood tingled through the veins 
it seemed to impart a feeling of rejuvenation, and an 
uncontrollable exhilaration laid hold of the spirits. In 
the valley of the Muluku glacier vegetation had once 
more assumed its healthy green colouring ; a little silver- 
leafed buttercup even ventured to peep out at us, and a 
tiny white flower, almost identical with the Swiss 
edelweiss, concealed itself among the rocks. This 
beautiful little fertile spot seemed a special pet of the 
snow mountains, for they clasped it in their great white 
arms as if desiring that its only life should impart some 
degree of warmth to their implacable nature. 

Ruwenzori certainly has not left one point of its snows 
unfortified against intruders. Having taken possession of 
the most unconscionable heights, all sorts of subtle man- 
traps have been laid up the mountain's sides, and even if 
an attempt is made to merely stand on the threshold of 
its domain an almost impassible rock barrier guards the 
portal, just as the adventurer imagines all difficulties 
have been passed. But that realm of ice allures one on 
to dare much, and so while two ropes were thrown down 
from above the forbidding rocks, one was hastily tied 
round the body and with the other we slowly climbed 
up hand over hand. Twice we attempted this per- 
formance, and twice we succeeded in mastering the situa- 

185 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

tion, and then we stood face to face with one of 
Ruwenzori's glaciers. It was in the shape of a huge, 
open mouth, and as it slowly pushed its way down into 
the valley, the tongue collected the few fragments rubbed 
off the rocks and taken up from the soil, but the cave 
itself was one spotless mass of dazzling white. 

We had decided to dismiss any idea of prolonging our 
stay at this altitude, realizing the terrible suffering that 
this involved among the porters in previous expeditions, 
so, instead of using any of the precious time in attempt- 
ing to reach a higher point, which seemed futile without 
Alpine implements, we explored the Muluku glacier cave, 
from which flows that remarkable river that carries 
its cool, life-giving stream into the scorching plain till it 
loses itself in the Albert Edward Lake. 

Only one of our personal boys had succeeded in facing 
out the difficulties of the climb. While standing on the 
ice with us, he took out from his pocket a little tin pot, 
which he filled with ice. He explained it was a present 
for his wife. Afterwards, when we had descended to 
camp, he took it out to show the other boys, and, 
although disgusted beyond measure at the trick nature 
had played him, he consoled himself by taking the 
water to his wife to explain to her how it was once 
a stone. 

Scrambling up on to the glacier, we looked beyond 
over miles and miles of ice that for hundreds of years 
God the Creator alone had been beholding. Although 
we were standing nearly I4,oooft. above sea-level, the 
highest peak, that rose as a white dome above its com- 
panions, appeared miles above us. It was difficult to 
judge of its approximate height, as so many other points 
intervened, but it could not have been much less than 

20,000ft. 

Having climbed above cloud-land, there was nothing 
to break the reflex in the ice of the deep sapphire sky, and 

186 



A Climb to the Snows 

as the sun poured down its white heat, the whole world 
around glittered and sparkled with iridescent hues. 

" A step . . . opened to my view, 
Glory beyond all glory ever seen 
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul ! 
The appearance, instantaneously disclosed, 
Was of a mighty city boldly say 
A wilderness of building, sinking far 
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth 
Far sinking into splendour without end ! 
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold, 
With alabaster domes and silver spires 
And blazing terrace upon terrace high 
Uplifted . . Forms uncouth of mightiest power 
For admiration and mysterious awe." 



187 



CHAPTER XIX 
Missionary Work 

MISSIONARY enterprise in Uganda has been justly 
described as one of the greatest modern triumphs 
of Christianity. Indeed, the record of its work- 
ings read like pages from the annals of the infant 
Church in Apostolic days. But, whereas in those times 
Christianity had to face the most exclusive and bigoted 
form of belief, Judaism, the highly developed intellectual 
power of Grecian learning, and the shameless profligacy 
of civilized Rome, in Uganda it has had no force to con- 
tend against save barbaric ignorance that could not stand 
before the advent of Truth and Righteousness. After the 
missionaries had been working some years in the country 
it occurred to them that the most effectual way of reach- 
ing the people was to try and meet their insatiable 
demand for instruction by instituting throughout the 
country little synagogues or reading schools, where the 
people could come together daily and be taught to read 
by one who had received some training. A little gradu- 
ated reading sheet, consisting of the alphabet, syllables, 
words, the Lord's Prayer, and a selection of texts, was cir- 
culated by the thousand at a charge of ten cowrie shells 
each. By these means within a comparatively short 
time the land had been sown with portions of Holy 
Scripture, which were being eagerly read by the people, 
who possessed no other books. 

Certainly the success of Christianity in Uganda has 
been due to the widespread distribution of the Bible 

188 



Missionary Work 

among the people and the remarkable desire and ability 
on the part of the Baganda to impart whatever know- 
ledge they have been able to assimilate. It has been 
rightly said that every country must be evangelized by its 
own people. Certainly this has been proved to be so in 
Uganda.^ A European pioneer missionary is obliged to 
travel with a certain number of things, and, however 
meagre they may appear in his eyes, yet to these poor 
Africans they represent great wealth and create a deal of 
suspicion. They will gather round him half timidly and 
full of curiosity, and while he is endeavouring to deliver 
his message to them, their eyes are travelling from his 
collar stud to his boots, then from his bath to the frying- 
pan, and all the time they are thinking within themselves, 
" Wonderful, wonderful ; the white man is beyond our 
understanding quite ! " When they, at last, attempt to 
listen and find that he is speaking to them in their own 
tongue, and not in English, in spite of the slight foreign 
accent, they are absolutely incredulous, for they cannot 
believe that they and the European can have anything in 
common. The European is white, he has wisdom great 
wisdom he is rich, but the African is black and a fool, 
and a beggar; the white man worships one great, 
wonderful Spirit, and the black man worships a spirit 
only it is an evil one. On the other hand, if one of the 
native converts goes out on pioneer work, he ties all his 
possessions in a sleeping mat, and off he starts with the 
little bundle on his head. When he reaches his destina- 
tion, he creates no suspicion or fear, as he unrolls his 
mat, shakes out his bark-cloth covering, and takes a drink 
of water from his gourd ; they see he possesses nothing 
beyond what they themselves own. But as he draws out 
of a little cotton bag a Book, they all gather round 
to inspect the novelty, and he tells them that the Book is 
a written voice, and the letters stand for the words 
uttered; he has learned to read the signs, and he 

189 



On the Borders ol Pigmy Land 

has come to teach them to do so, for it is God's voice 
that has spoken to them. Immediately their excitement 
is aroused, and the teacher from that time has found his 
pupils. As there is no house large enough to hold them 
all, they set to work to build a reading school, and, as 
many come from a distance and are anxious not to arrive 
late for the day's lessons, a big drum is hung outside the 
building and beaten every morning at 7.0 and i.o to warn 
everybody that in one hour reading will commence. 
After a few months, when the European visits the station 
on an itinerating tour, he finds a demonstrative welcome 
awaiting him. Food is brought and banana juice to 
show their gratitude for the teacher having been sent. 
Then their books are produced in order that the 
European may hear the great wisdom they have 
learned, and others come with questions about words 
they have read in their Gospels and do not understand. 
Uganda to-day is calling out for European missionaries 
more than it ever was, not to evangelise the heathen but 
to organise, train and instruct the thousands of Christian 
men and women, that they may be capable of taking 
their place among the civilised nations of the world, and 
become a praise and a glory in their land. 

It was through two young Baganda teachers that 
Christianity was first carried into Toro in the year 1895. 
At that time the country was in a very unsettled state. 
The King, Kasagama, had not long been established on the 
throne, and his chiefs were not too eager to own allegiance 
to him. Soon after the arrival of these two evangelists, 
Kasagama was falsely accused before the British Officer 
in charge of the Government Station there, and was 
thrown into the chain gang. On his release he was 
advised to go into Mengo to the Government head- 
quarters and have his case gone into. His stay there ran 
into some months. During that time he was deeply 
impressed by the change that Christianity had effected in 

190 



Missionary Work 

Uganda, and attended the Church classes daily that he 
might receive instruction. When Her Majesty's Com- 
missioner had heard the charges and exonerated 
Kasagama he was told to return to his Kingdom with 
full power ratified by the British Government. Before 
leaving Uganda he begged Bishop Tucker to be allowed to 
publicly confess his faith in Christ by Holy Baptism, and 
asked that a European missionary might be sent to Toro 
to help him and his people to increase in the wisdom ot 
God. Meanwhile there was great excitement in Toro 
when the people heard that their king, after such a long 
absence, was coming back to them, and they collected 
together in hundreds at the capital to welcome him. As 
he mounted the hill, leading to his house, the people 
thronged him, dancing and screaming with joy and 
poured into his courtyards. Then, standing up and 
ordering them to remain quiet, he delivered his speech to 
them. He told of all the wonderful things he had seen 
in Mengo, of his own confession of Christianity in the 
Cathedral, and concluded by saying that he wished his 
country to go forward in strength and wisdom, and this 
could only be obtained from God, so he called on his 
people to believe in his God, to stand by him faithfully 
in the united desire for the good of their country. 

From that day the teachers had as much as they could 
do to instruct all those who came forward to be taught ; 
and when Bishop Tucker arrived there the following year 
with Mr. Fisher, who was to establish a permanent 
station, he found fifteen men and women ready for 
baptism. 

''Excepting in the case of old people, everyone in 
Uganda desirous of being baptised must first learn to 
read. When they have passed the standard required of 
them and are ready to enter a baptismal class, they are 
obliged to bring with them two witnesses or sponsors who 
can vouch for the sincerity of their belief by the outward 

191 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

conformity of their lives to the teaching of Christianity. 
Then, for from three to six months instruction is given 
them for two hours four days a week. At the end 
of this course of teaching each candidate is carefully 
examined, and should the result be satisfactory the name 
Is read out twice in Church and anyone is asked to bring 
forward a reason, if such there be, for keeping back the 
candidate from baptism. Thus every care is taken to 
test converts thoroughly before admitting them into this 
sacred rite.; 

Toro very soon sought to emulate the church in 
Uganda in recognising its responsibility to those living in 
darkness around, and one year after the founding of the 
work in the capital, young men came forward and offered 
themselves to be trained as teachers to the distant villages. 
Apart from an honest desire to enlighten those who 
have not received the Truth as it is in Christ Jesus, there 
is little to tempt men to devote themselves to this service 
the only payment they receive is sufficient unbleached 
calico with which to clothe themselves. ; The people in 
the villages who have sent in the pressing request for a 
teacher are expected to build their own " synagogue," as 
well as house, and feed the teacher sent to them. In this 
way the whole native church organisation throughout 
the Protectorate is self-supporting. In Toro alone, seven 
years after the introduction of Christianity, there were no 
less than eighty-five mission stations established through- 
out the Kingdom, with a staff of one ordained Muganda 
deacon and one hundred and five paid men and women 
teachers, all supported entirely by the young Christian 
Church! Besides these there was a strong band of 
honorary workers who taught in the capital on week- 
days or went out to the near villages on Sundays. 

Once a year there is a " review of the troops," when all 
the teachers regulars, reservists, and volunteers come 
into the capital for re-equipment and reappointment. 

192 



Missionary Work 

One of these events took place after we had been in 
the country only a few months, when we were decidedly 
new to the way things were managed out here, and still 
retained a fair amount of the provincialism of home 
training ; so when a teachers' conference was announced 
we conjured up in our minds a kind of forthcoming 
Mildmay or Keswick Convention on a small scale, but 
the arrangements took a slightly different form. The 
first day opened with a big feast to all the workers. The 
dispensary was converted for the day into the banquet- 
ting hall ; the entrance was draped in gaudy native 
cloths, and the floors of the two rooms were carpeted 
with banana leaves. The men were allocated to one 
room and the women to the other. Long before the 
hour of the feast the guests had arrived and packed 
themselves as closely together as was possible in circles 
of seven or eight, the King and his chiefs forming one of 
the groups. An ox had been killed for the feast ; it was 
boiled in banana leaves and served up with quantities of 
unsweetened, cooked bananas. Prodigious piles were 
placed in the centre of each circle of guests, and then 
business began ! Off came their top draperies or coats, 
and with bare arms all eagerly outstretched towards the 
food they dived into their food with astonishing rapidity 
and energy. The banana mash was rolled round the 
fingers into balls and stuffed down their throats without 
any regard being given to mastication. The King and 
chiefs seemed to momentarily forget their dignity, and 
ate till the perspiration rolled down their faces. Tea 
was served round in kettles ; every available cup, mug, 
basin and jug on the station had been collected together 
for the use of the guests and the two-quarts jugs were 
far more popular than afternoon tea cups. 

With no small compunction I submitted myself to the 
native custom and joined in the feast. After a series of 
hand ablutions I sat on the floor next to the King's 

193 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

mother, who picked some of the choicest bits of meat off 
a bone and set them before me. It was such an effort 
for 3.0 p.m. in the tropics, and visions of Mildmay's 
shilling tea tent, with its ices and strawberries, made at 
least the first stage of the Conference appear very 
different. 

The King's band, with its medley of instruments, round 
drums, cylindrical drums, squat drums, horns, and reed 
pipes decorated with monkey tails, performed boisterous 
symphonies outside. But when, after the feast, the 
people were for the first time introduced to the phono- 
graph, the Toro band stood still in astonishment, and as 
an English orchestral band roared out " Soldiers of the 
Queen" it felt quite eclipsed and could only exclaim 
" Ekyamahano, ekyamahano " (marvellous, truly marvel- 
lous). 

The following day the real Convention started, and 
was continued over three days. The mornings were 
entirely given over to devotional meetings, and in the 
afternoons the workers were asked to bring forward diffi- 
culties met with in their work, and discussions were 
invited as to what more effectual measures could be 
employed in organisation and in strengthening of the 
various mission stations. Throughout all the meetings a 
deep and earnest interest was evinced by the teachers. 
It was most encouraging to watch the enthusiasm 
gradually growing and to hear the young teachers talk of 
their work and their peculiar difficulties relating to the 
subject treated. 

A specially impressive service was held when all the 
workers gathered in from near and far distant heathen 
districts met together at Holy Communion. 

Before returning to their spheres of service a large 
missionary meeting was held in the church, at which 
most stirring accounts were given of the victories against 
the powers of darkness. At the close, a collection was 

194 



Missionary Work 

taken up. For this a large packing case was placed in 
the centre of the chancel to receive the larger contribu- 
tions and a row of baskets for the smaller offerings. Then 
the people came up in single file to place in their gifts ; 
one brought a tusk of ivory, another a huge bundle of 
bananas, others beans, potatoes, and sugar cane, the 
Queen forty yards of fine white linen, others chickens, 
and finally a goat was brought up and tied to the pillar. 
One little boy, carried away by the impulse of the 
moment, put his little fez cap into the basket, and as 
this was only a loan it had to be redeemed afterwards. 

The sight was very remarkable. It was as if one had 
been taken back to the Court of the Tabernacle at the Feast 
of First fruits. The similarity of these people's lives with 
those of Old and New Testament history is so strong 
that it is difficult to convey to the native mind the idea 
of distance in time, and often one is asked if Joseph, the 
son of Jacob, was the husband of the Virgin Mary, or if 
Paul before his conversion was the first King of 
Israel. 

The Toro Church has now reached its sifting time. 
The excitement and rash enthusiasm of infancy have 
matured into the more evenly balanced judgment of man- 
hood. Its disciples are learning to weigh the demands of 
its tenets, its refusal to compromise with sin and with 
almost everything that has constituted their existence for 
centuries past, and its call for constant activity of heart 
and hand as opposed to the intolerable indolence of their 
nature. All these things must constantly be borne in 
mind by the missionary if he is not to be unnecessarily 
depressed by occasional failure on the part of the con- 
verts. One must not look for impossibilities, and the 
growth of past centuries cannot be destroyed in a day. 
I am not sure but that too much is expected of the young 
teachers. For instance one goes out to the villages when 
only quite a youth with a hereditary taint, many generations 

195 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

old, of the worst forms of heathenism as against two or 
three years of religious instruction. He is the only 
Christian in the village, and, indeed, for miles round ; and 
there he is surrounded by the old heathen practices and 
constantly tempted to return to habits of the past, while 
he has not the same normal amount of moral and intel- 
lectual strength which nerves an English lad to fight 
against these external influences and internal tendencies. 
And yet only about twenty per cent, of them really 
fail. 

King Daudi Kasagama once said that the white man 
could never understand how fierce was the black man's 
conflict with himself at times. The one has generations 
of civilization and Christianity as a rear-guard, and the 
other, centuries of corruption and self-indulgence. With- 
out trust in a Divine keeping power, said he, one would 
inevitably fall. Ten years have now passed by since the 
Baganda teachers left for heathen Toro, and in that time 
the character of almost the entire country has been prac- 
tically transformed. British jurisdiction has established 
peace throughout the Kingdom, and now that an end has 
been put to tribal and civil warfare, there is nothing to 
distract the mind of the people from settling down and 
learning to improve their land. 

In the districts that have come under the influence of 
Christianity, heathenism has been abolished, if not abso- 
lutely at least in the outward form of practice. Over 
three thousand converts have been baptized, and although 
this only represents a very small proportion of the 
inhabitants, it includes mainly the more influential and 
leading body of men. 

The desire of the Batoro for teaching and their love of 
reading promise much for the future of the country if this 
can be satisfactorily coped with immediately and not 
starved by inability on the part of the missionaries to meet 
the need. It certainly cannot be said of Uganda and 

196 



Missionary Work 



Toro " of the making of books there is no end." The 
Baganda are, I believe, limited to ten books, namely : 

Hoi)' Bible. Oxford Bible Helps. ' ' Pilgrim's Progress." 

Prayer Book. " Search and Find." " Kings of Uganda." 

Hymn Book. Geography Book. English Primer. 

Commentaries on three Gospels. 

Those of the Batoro who do not understand Luganda 
and so are confined to books written in their own 
language, only possess the New Testament, Prayer Book, 
with Psalms and Hymn Book. Through the generous 
aid of the British and Foreign Bible Society, the 
Religious Tract Society, and the S.P.C.K.. which have 
provided the country with almost the whole of its 
literature, these books have been supplied at a cost price, 
much under their cost of production and carriage, so as 
to bring them within the possible reach of the people, 
who, as a whole, are exceedingly poor. 

But even so, it is generally necessary, in the villages 
especially, for the people to make real efforts to supply 
themselves with books they require. A curious scene 
was enacted in the courtyard of our house when the 
teachers came in from their stations on the first Monday in 
every month to execute the orders for books or stationery 
entrusted to them by their people. Our yard was 
temporarily converted into a live-stock market, for the 
purchases were rarely made with cash. The most popular 
currency was cowrie shells, which were tied up in 
bundles by means of dried banana bark, but when these 
were beyond the means of the would-be purchaser, he 
would send in by his teacher a goat, or chickens, or eggs. 
A curious shaped till was needed by the salesman ! One 
of his orders would be for " One chicken, Matthew," 
which being interpreted was " One Gospel of St. 
Matthew, price one chicken." 

Another man, after purchasing a hymn book for six 
eggs, would ask if he had enough eggs over to buy 

197 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

Bunyan. It frequently happened that a lad had been 
carefully collecting the eggs from his one hen for weeks, 
but as the hen had not been very obliging by the time 
the right number was reached, the salesman was distinctly 
out of profit through his customer. 

Others, who possessed nothing saleable, came in from 
distances of ten to fifteen miles and asked to be hired for 
work during the day, in the late afternoon they would set 
off on their journey home the proud owners of the little 
hymn book or reading sheet which had been thoroughly 
earned. 

At the close of one of the terms of the teachers' pre- 
paration class, prizes were to be given for the best 
answers at their examination, and the first prize was to 
be the option of four yards of calico or a Bible. The 
one who on this particular occasion stood out pre- 
eminently first was a peasant youth of about eighteen 
years of age with exceptionally well-formed and forceful 
features. His dress consisted of a coarse piece of the 
barkcloth knotted on the shoulder : having come from a 
distant district he had never known the luxury of the 
calico garments worn by the more fortunate town folk. 
As he came forward to receive his prize, the choice 
between the calico and the Bible was given him. For a 
while he stood handling the material, then looked down 
at his own shabby garment ; but it was only a momentary 
hesitation laying aside the calico, he took up the Bible 
and clasping it with both hands, said " My master, the 
Bible has got the better of the cloth." 



198 



CHAPTER XX 

Medical Work 

REALISING that the acquisition of the language 
would be slow work, with no books to study, and 
only five hours teaching a week. I had decided on 
arriving in Toro to plunge into work right away. It 
was not a case of going out in search of work, for outside 
one's very door was the mute call for help. When the 
tidings of our arrival had filtered through to the villages, 
sick folk came from every direction to see if the white 
women had brought medicine. In our courtyard each 
morning there was quite a large company of maimed, halt 
and blind, who had hobbled along, or been brought in, 
some from very long distances, by their friends. The very 
prevalent forms of skin diseases, ulcers, and the hacking 
cough required no language even for diagnosis by an 
amateur dispenser; other patients, by eloquent grunts and 
gesticulations, managed to convey some idea of their 
complaints; and the remaining class, whose language and 
sickness were conundrums to the European " quack," 
received a mild dose of nauseous phj'sic; certainly it 
did them no harm, and in some cases their faith in that 
dose of " white man's medicine " worked the cure. 

At first I used to receive the sick folk on our verandah, 
but they became too numerous, so a removal was 
effected. The first house of the European missionary in 
Toro was still standing, but was quite uninhabitable, as 
it had been made of reeds which rot very quickly. It 
stood in a very forest of weeds. The long elephant grass 

199 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

barred all the windows and doors against would-be 
intruders, snakes suspiciously lay hidden among the 
thick tangled undergrowth, and a few half-choked 
flowers struggled to exist as a witness to a past cared-for 
garden and in protest against their present usurpers. 

A few days of hard work with hoe and shovel cleared 
a breathing space all round the house, the ceilings and 
walls were swept down and repaired, new beaten mud 
floors laid in all the three rooms, shelves and boxes fixed 
up as fittings, a rough table, chair, enamel wash-hand 
basin brought in as furniture, and there was a splendid 
dispensary quite formidable in appearance and decidedly 
pretentious for one who possessed no qualifications 
beyond a few months hospital training. In Africa 
a little knowledge is not dangerous so much as useful. 
The most appalling forms of suffering are met with on 
every hand, and nothing but inhuman, superstitious, and 
absolutely ineffectual means are employed to alleviate it, 
Even if one can only cleanse and bind up the wounds 
and pour in oil, the look of gratitude and contentment 
that reward the soothing of the pain reminds one that it 
has not been wasted labour. 

This first dispensary consisted of three apartments, the 
" consulting room," drug store, and waiting room, where 
patients assembled every morning at 8.30 for instruction 
in reading and a short bright gospel service. This 
primitive medical work was a distinctly effectual means of 
reaching the bakopi (peasants), who had not hitherto 
been touched in any large numbers. The King having 
been the first in the country to adopt Christianity, the 
work in its initial stage had extended almost exclusively 
to the upper classes, while the " foreign " language had 
been an obstacle to the peasants who could not under- 
stand it. 

It was frequently found that the curiosity and interest 
of patients in the letters and syllables were so awakened 

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Medical Work 

that when there was no longer need to attend the 
dispensary several passed on to the school to be further 
instructed. 

One of the first patients was an old man who had been 
receiving ulcer medicine from the missionary then in 
charge. Although his hair was sprinkled with grey, and 
he suffered from an impediment in his speech, nothing 
would daunt him in his assiduous struggles to master the 
alphabet. Day after day he came, and even when cured 
of his ulcer continued coming, as he was afraid to go to 
the big school to learn. Actually he did in time master 
words of three letters, and then, as he was so anxious to 
be baptized, he was put into an old men's daily Bible Class 
for instruction. His joy was beyond description when 
with tears streaming down from his eyes he came to me 
one day saying, " My mistress, I have finished being 
questioned, and now lam going to be baptized." I asked 
him, " Mpisi, will baptism save us ? " And he answered, 
"Oh no, only Jesus who died for us on the Cross." 
" Then what is the use of baptism ? " " Well," said he, 
" Christ told us to believe and be baptized, and it shows 
that we want to leave our bad habits and follow the habits 
of Christ." From that day he has rarely missed coming 
to the dispensary, not always for medicine, but that he 
might teach the patients what he has learned. 

A daily attendance of thirty to fifty sick folk soon 
exhausted our limited supply of drugs, and when Dr. and 
Mrs. A. Cook, on an itinerating round, paid a medical 
visit to Toro twelve months after our arrival they found 
the medicine almost completely used up. Till the 
arrival of fresh stores the patients were being kept 
together by supplementing the diminished stock with 
table salt, mixed spice, and curry powder. This latter I 
found was a much-appreciated prescription, and as none 
of the missionaries were partial to it and each had a good 
supply among their stores, I dispensed it generously to 

201 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

dyspeptic patients. You never saw such agonizing 
grimaces as when they swallowed a spoonful raw, but 
they smacked their lips, saying, " Omubazi mubingi muno 
muno," " Medicine very very good," and would have 
finished off the whole tin if they had been allowed. 

That visit from the real " medicine-man " was a grand 
time for our people, and they were not slow to show their 
appreciation and wonderment when opthalmic patients 
found themselves with " new windows," and surgical 
subjects, the possessors of " new bodies." After that the 
Toro dispensary became amalgamated with the Mengo 
Medical Mission, and was regularly supplied with 
medicines. The chief diseases met with out there are 
skin complaints, malaria, dyspepsia, pleurisy, bronchitis, 
besides paralysis, muscular rheumatism, dysentery, and 
pneumonia. Owing to the inexperience of the dispenser 
nothing surgical was attempted in those days beyond 
lancing abscesses and gums, cutting tongue-tied infants, 
and stitching up leopard-torn patients. One man was 
brought in from a leopard hunt in a terrible condition ; 
limbs and body were badly damaged, while the face was 
scarcely visible, the flesh of forehead and one cheek having 
been torn away, exposing bone and teeth. The extra- 
ordinary thing was, that after weeks and weeks of careful 
treatment, some very deep scars were the only signs 
remaining of the terrible ordeal he had passed through. 

These Batoro have grown absolutely reckless in the 
hunt. Their method is to surround the spot where the 
leopard is known to lie crouched, and slashing down the 
thick vegetation that conceals their prey, they gradually 
draw closer and form a smaller circle round it. All the 
time they scream and pour down invectives on the head 
of the leopard, and by the time it actually appears in 
sight they have worked themselves up into such a state 
of excitement that, losing all self-control, some will 
actually throw themselves upon the infuriated creature, 

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Medical Work 

With one last death effort the leopard throws all the 
strength of its fury into its final attack ; torn, and perhaps 
with mangled limb, the man is released -from the grasp of 
his foe by a hundred spears being run through its body. 
The injured are then borne on stretchers in triumph to the 
dispensary, and while the wounds are being attended to, 
the carriers and friends laud the extraordinary prowess of 
the patient. Every man who is able to carry home a 
blood-stained spear is sure of his wife killing the fattest 
goat or cooking the best possible meal in their honour. 

One day, while dispensing medicine, an unusual 
shuffling and pushing seemed to be going on in the 
doorway, and walking round to find out the cause, I 
saw a cow being pushed by force toward me. The 
herdsman explained that it was very sick with " Kifuba " 
(chest generally meaning indigestion). In order to 
quickly get rid of this undesirable patient I mixed up 
some castor oil with salt and ordered it to be administered 
in one hour's time. I thought that would allow the cow 
and its master to get a safe distance off. 

I rather regretted this afterwards, for very soon another 
veterinary case was brought in for treatment. This time 
it was our own faithful Muscat donkey ; it was suffering 
terribly from the plague of flies that generally appear in 
the dry season. The poor creature's legs were absolutely 
raw, and it had almost lost the power of standing. After 
the donkey boy had applied antiseptic washing and 
ointment I tried to fix on bandages, but donkey's legs 
were evidently never made the right shape for that I 
could not get the bandages to stick. Mr. Fisher was then 
consulted on the point, and of course, man-like, he 
suggested trousers. It really sounded very suitable, so I 
set to work on a pair, and when the donkey was put into 
them he looked most distinguished. The people gathered 
round in numbers to see it, and exclaimed, " What 
honour the European gives his animal!" There were 

203 



O n the Borders of Pigmy Land 

several spectators who were not clothed so magnificently, 
and being afraid of giving the impression of extravagant 
waste, I explained to them the object of the garment 
and our ideas of kindness to dumb animals. The 
donkey did not take at all kindly to his first pair of 
trousers ; perhaps they did not fit well ; at all events, 
he kicked them to pieces in two days. A second pair was 
made on a modified scale, and whether or not the owner 
had cultivated more civilised instincts, it is not easy to 
affirm, but they remained intact till they were no longer 
needed, and the owner was able to run about and be up 
to his usual pranks again. 

Great care has to be exercised in administering drugs, 
as the people have absolutely no idea as to how they act 
on the system. Medicine intended to last for some 
days has often been swallowed down in one dose, as 
they argue that if so much physic can cure them at 
all, the sooner it is taken the better. Powders for 
internal use have been received with incredulity and 
sometimes scorn by those suffering from skin diseases, 
and they will insist on impressing the dispenser that they 
are quite well inside. If, with all their persuasion, they 
cannot obtain some blue stone to apply to the sore (which 
they simply love, as it causes them to scream uncontroll- 
ably), then they go off with their packet of powders and 
show the superiority of their wisdom to that of the white 
doctor by using it externally. 

One of the very few medicines that it is absolutely 
necessary to keep under lock and key is sulphur, which is 
well known to them as an unfailing skin remedy when 
mixed up with butter. Our cook once bribed one of my 
little assistants to smuggle some away for him, and being 
misled by the similarity in appearance, the lad gave 
him iodiform instead. This he mixed up into an oint- 
ment and smeared well all over his body. As he sent up 
dinner that evening iodiform was as pronounced as oil is 

204 



Medical Work 

in a German table d'hote. It was soup a 1'iodiform, 
viande a 1'iodiform, confection a 1'iodiform, cafe" a 
1'iodiform, in fact there was no getting away from it. 
When we left the table in despair we were like a 
chemist's laboratory. 

As for ideas of hygiene, these are absolutely absent from 
the native's mind. When a person is very ill, regardless of 
her station in life, she is carried into the dirtiest and 
smallest hut. This is soon crowded up with well-meaning 
and sympathetic friends, whose one idea of condolence 
seems to be to assure the invalid that she is on the point 
of dying. The hut continues filling up till the only inlet 
for fresh air (the cramped doorway) is entirely blocked 
up, by which time the condition and atmosphere of the 
hut becomes so indescribable that it is a wonder anyone 
comes out alive. These things suggested to my mind 
that a few elementary lessons on hygiene might perhaps 
prove beneficial, so, taking to my afternoon class a 
diagram of the human body, I described to them the 
anatomy of the body, blood circulation, &c. Their interest 
and surprise were great. They had always imagined 
that blood circulated from the head. This was their 
argument for cutting their heads in cases of fever ; they 
reasoned that malaria was an over-heating of superfluous 
amount of blood, so they must let out some. At first they 
were inclined to doubt the soundness of the new theory of 
circulation from the heart, and asked " can a river flow 
up, does it not always flow down ? " " What about a 
spring ? " said I. They thought for one moment, and then 
answered " The European's wisdom has overcome ours." 
Then a new difficulty struck them, how was it in the case 
of women, for they had no hearts. Their old King 
Kabarega, when he killed off his wives, had cut open 
some, and never found one with a heart. So the state- 
ment had become an accepted fact with them. How 
could they have believed such an error ! 

205 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

They also imagined that mind was tucked away in the 
heart, and did not in the least associate brain with intel- 
lect. Poor woman, minus heart, therefore minus mind, 
was very poorly endowed. 

Their attention and interest were very keen, and did 
not seem to diminish when the moral was applied in 
the shape of ablutions, fresh air, and the care of the body 
being essentials to health. 

It is sometimes difficult to arrive at an exact diagnosis 
of a patient's ailment. One will describe her complaint, 
pointing to her lungs, as a voice inside that says " Chew, 
chew." Another affirm that a spear is running into every 
part of his body. Infants are always suffering from evil 
spirits or poisoning, in cases when a dose of dill water 
would be generally prescribed. 

Although I have occasionally met with a native doctor 
in a sick house, I have never been able to discover a 
native drug or remedy outside cupping, branding, and 
revolting forms of witchcraft. These men make a 
regular study of the art of deception and exact 
exorbitant fees in the form of goats or even oxen. As 
an example let me give the case of a lad who was suffer- 
ing from tuberculosis. He had consulted the witch doctor, 
and after having paid his fee was told that he had been 
poisoned. Whereupon the " surgeon " drew his knife 
out from his belt and made a number of small incisions. 
He then declared he could see the poison inside the 
youth and took it away. But the lad was not cured and 
so came down to give the European's wisdom a trial. 

This ignorant credulity of the people has sometimes 
proved useful to the white man in times of extremity. In 
one instance a European noticed that his daily supply of 
milk was continually disappearing in an unaccountable 
way, and one day he determined to investigate the cause. 
It had been proved that the cows were not to blame ; they 
had given their usual supply. The milk boy was cleared, 

206 



Medical Work 

for the boys of the household vouched for having seen it 
being delivered. The discrepancy in the amount had 
unmistakably occurred in the cook house, where the cook 
alone was resident at the time. So the culprit was called 
up to be examined. He insisted on his innocence 
declaring all the while that he did not know how 
to drink milk. As no eye-witnesses could be called the 
idea struck the " magistrate " that he would conclude the 
matter quickly and unquestionably by their own means. 
Turning to a youth close by he said "Just fetch me my 
little pocket knife to bore a hole and see if the milk is 
inside the cook." Whereupon the culprit fell on his 
knees exclaiming, " Oh, master, I did drink the milk. 
Forgive me, I pray you." 

After the affiliation of the Toro branch with the 
medical headquarters at Mengo, the work was placed on 
a far more satisfactory basis. A report had to be sent in 
every three months with statistics dealing with daily 
attendance at the dispensary, out-patients' visits, etc. 
Then, in addition to this, a list was made out yearly of 
drugs and dressings needed for the forthcoming twelve 
months, which ensured an adequate and regular supply 
of medicine. The work, however, passed through a 
varied succession of small vicissitudes. Our faked-up 
building had to be pulled down, as the site was needed 
for a new missionary's house, but in exchange we got a 
brand-new airy dispensary. We scarcely knew ourselves 
with such spacious surroundings, and the two little native 
assistants, who had been trained to attend to all dressings, 
assumed quite a ridiculous air of professional importance, 
to say nothing of the feelings of the quack doctor ! But 
at the end of a fortnight we were completely evicted from 
our grand premises patients, staff, drugs, and all. A 
violent storm had destroyed the only house that had been 
standing ready to receive a fresh addition to the staff of 
missionaries, which was then only within a few days of 

207 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

arrival in Toro. As there was not another available 
inch, the new dispensary had to be speedily converted 
into a domicile. 

Feeling decidedly crest-fallen, my little assistants and I 
packed up all the medical impedimenta and carried them 
over to a little reed building that had been the reading 
school till the constantly increasing inside pack had 
necessitated more ceremonious premises. 

We completed our removal, and had not been installed 
many weeks when a furious hurricance swept over the 
little hill capital, and succeeding in throwing our new 
dispensary completely over on its side. When the debris 
and roof were cleared away, a most heterogeneous 
collection of medicines were revealed, all hopelessly 
mixed up in wild confusion. Pills of every shape and 
form were scattered about, bottles of liquid drugs, and 
stock mixtures had been smashed up, and the combination 
of odours was enough to frighten away all the microbes 
for miles round. Once more, and for the fourth time, 
the dispensary was transferred to different quarters, and 
there it remained until the present complete medical 
compound was erected at the advent of the much-longed- 
for and long-expected doctor in 1904. Through the 
generosity of a friend in England the " Gurney Hospital" 
and new dispensary were then built, together with the 
doctor's house. The former is a good-sized building 
consisting of two wards for thirty-four patients, besides 
consulting and waiting rooms, while the broad ten-foot 
verandah which runs all round allows ample space for 
convalescents. 

At first the Batoro were inclined to be fearful of under- 
going chloroform, but King Kasagama, half out of 
curiosity and half out of a real desire that his people 
should derive the fullest benefit from the " doctor's 
wisdom," successfully banished these fears. One morning 
he came down to the dispensary asking that a slight ulcer 

208 



Medical Work 

from which he was suffering might be lanced under 
chloroform. This was kept a profound secret from his 
people till it happened to reach the ears of his mother 
just as he was getting over the operation. The poor old 
lady came bustling down in breathless speed very fearful 
of the effects the "sleeping medicine" might have had 
on her son. She was intensely relieved to find that 
nothing worse had resulted than rather a sorry expression 
on the usual smiling countenance of the patient. It soon 
became the topic of the hour, and even to the distant 
villages the news spread. From that time surgery was 
in great demand ; in fact it became a kind of fashionable 
epidemic. 

The need for medical work in these parts is seen in 
the one hundred to one hundred and fifty out-patients 
that came up every day for doctoring, and the scarcity of 
vacant beds ever since the opening of the new hospital. 
Indeed it seems a practical impossibility to carry out to 
these people the message of love, peace, and goodwill 
unless one can at the same time do something to alleviate 
the terrible physical suffering to which they are subject. 
Besides being a most effectual channel for conveying 
balm and healing to their souls, the object lessons given 
to the in-patients must accomplish much in introducing 
new ideas of cleanliness and possible comfort into their 
own poor, dirty homes. 



209 



CHAPTER XXI 

Scholastic Work 

THERE are many people who, not being quite 
up-to-date in missionary literature, have an idea 
that the work of a missionary in such places as 
Africa is to stand under the shade of a huge sun- 
hat, umbrella, and palm-tree, in the broiling heat of the 
day, and preach to a small crowd of open-mouthed 
astonished semi-savages. The picture does not attract 
them, and they dismiss the subject from their minds with 
" I could never be a missionary." 

Well, although I have found in Africa the identical 
topee, the umbrella, palm-tree, the broiling sun, and a 
few gaping crowds, yet the picture is a painful distortion 
of the truth. If there is one thing that a missionary has 
less to do with than any other, it is preaching at least, 
that is so in Uganda. He rather assumes the roles of 
teacher, schoolmaster, builder, carpenter, doctor, nurse, 
and everything else, for he has learned that the African 
cannot be a saint without being a scholar and an artisan, 
any more than men of other nations can. 

Besides the more direct spiritual work and the medical 
work that are being carried on in Toro, there are also 
industrial and educational departments. This former 
branch has not been developed to any extent, owing to 
the lack of workers, but, as far as he is able, King Daudi 
Kasagama personally superintends it. Being most 
anxious that his people should be instructed in useful 
trades, some years ago he sent a youth, Iburahimu, into 

210 




M 



Scholastic Work 

Mengo to be apprenticed for two years to carpentering at 
the Industrial Mission of the Church Missionary Society. 
When the period had transpired and the lad had served 
his time, Daudi wrote to England ordering Rs.3OO worth 
of tools, and, close to his own house, the King had 
a large suitable shed erected. Iburahimu was then 
installed as Carpenter to the Royal Household, and 
twenty youths, who had signed for a two years' 
apprenticeship, were placed under him for instruction. 

Any serving lad of the King who was employed on 
no particular service, and refused to be taught, was put in 
the chain gang for three months ; for His Majesty was 
determined to put a price on loafing in his household. 

The entire educational work of Uganda is being 
carried on in Church Schools. Receiving no subsidy 
from the British Government, up to the present there has 
been no question of Education bills, and consequently 
there are no passive resisters among the Baganda ! 

The School system is, I believe, the one adopted by 
the Americans in their board schools, where boys and girls 
learn together, and no social distinctions are recognized, 
but in Uganda, besides non-differentiation of sex and 
caste, there are also no age limitation children, parents, 
and grandparents all attend the reading schools. 

On reaching Toro, Miss Pike immediately took over 
this department of the work, and within a few months 
the School had outgrown two different buildings, and an 
extension had to be contemplated in order to make room 
for the 300 average daily attendances. As soon as this 
was made known, a willing band of workers was collected 
together under the Katikiro, and started throwing out the 
end of the mud building. I am quite sure no Member of 
Parliament ever laboured more strenuously than this one 
did ! Whether it was levelling the soil, demolishing the 
old wall, erecting the new, or roofing it in, he was 
always in the thick of it. But his dignity would not 

211 



On the Borders of Pigmy Land 

permit him to throw aside any of his superfluous 
garments ! And the coarse, Jaeger-coloured vest, tweed 
coat and waistcoat, and top layers of draperies proved 
very oppressive. Every now and again he sank back in 
his chair quite exhausted, gorgeous coloured handker- 
chiefs were applied as mops to his steaming brow, and 
two attendants stood round with an umbrella and fan. 

A mistress in these reading schools must be free from 
any neuralgic or nervous tendencies. I was simply over- 
come with admiration at the spirit of fortitude and calm 
endurance that my colleague was displaying when I paid 
my first visit to the Toro seminary. Morning prayers 
had been concluded, and the School had sorted itself out 
into about twenty classes, which represented various 
grades, from the alphabet to St. Matthew's Gospel stage, 
and each was presided over by a native teacher. The 
scholars were a queer medley; chiefs clothed in their 
white linen gowns sat on tiny round stools, which they 
brought tucked under their arm, and in the same class, 
struggling over the same letters, were seated on the 
ground serving boys, probably their own, and raw peasants. 
Women who had just left their cultivation and, strapping 
the baby to their shoulders, hurried off to school, were 
sitting with quite small infants, perhaps being taught 
their syllables by their own little daughters. 

Excepting in the alphabet classes, the scholars sat in a 
circle round their teacher who, with a strand of grass, 
pointed to the letters which all the pupils were expected 
to shout out together. The one little reading sheet only 
allowed those directly in front to read the letters right 
way up; the others, who were careful to take up the 
same position each day, learnt at all angles. Quite a 
large proportion of the Batoro are able to read their 
books upside down in consequence. When all the classes 
were fairly started and each of the three hundred pupils 
was trying his best to drown his neighbour's voice, the 

212 



V 




Scholastic Work 

noise was indescribable. Each class had its own formula 
which was recited metrically. Take for instance, the 
one dealing with syllables of three letters all the pupils 
sang out " b w a, we call it bwa," then the teacher 
intoning, asked " how many letters and what are they 
called," and the answer was shouted back " letters three, 
b w a, and they are always bwa." Then they tackled 
b w e, b w i, b w o, in the same way and so on 
all down the alphabet. While this pandemonium is 
going on, one after another is sent up by his teacher to 
be examined by the European. The pupil who answers 
satisfactorily is then given a pass to a higher form ; he 
returns to his old class to receive the profuse congratula- 
tions of his contemporaries, and then marches off to his 
new quarters full of pride and elation. 

One would wonder how it is possible to ever learn 
to read in such a hubbub, but the Batoro have a 
remarkable power of insulating themselves from their 
environment, and some have been known to pass right 
through the school, from the alphabet to the highest 
reading class in four months. 

Until 1902 no other secular subjects were taught 
excepting writing, but at that time it was thought advis- 
able to increase the educational work amongst the 
Christian men and women, consequently two separate 
schools were arranged for them in which they could be 
taught writing, arithmetic, geography, and dictation. 

Miss Pike, who was then in charge of the women's 
work, took over their school, and I was responsible for 
the other. 

My pupils consisted of members from the Toro Cabinet, 
House of Lords and House of Commons ! The Katikiro, 
our Lord Chief Justice, was nominated school chastiser. 
Corporal punishment was his usual method of dealing 
with a noisy scholar ; with a sudden bound off his chair 
he made a rush at the culprit, and if he was not quite 

213 



sure who the offender was he struck a box on the ears at 
all in the vicinity of the noise. The King reserved for 
himself the office of school inspector, and generally 
looked in on his way home from morning service at 
the Church. 

Arithmetic was not at all an easy subject to start 
teaching these people, and they could not for a long time 
understand figures in the abstract. Numeration was the 
thing they were started on. With a blackboard and 
chalk I wrote up the usual i, 10, 100, and then attempted 
an explanation. One pupil instantly interrupted with 
" But what are the ten ? " " Oh, I said, ten anything, 
ten chickens or ten eggs." " But if its a chicken how can 
it be an egg," he replied. The Katikiro found arithmetic 
very difficult. He stuck at "twice two" for days; he 
would insist that it made twenty, and even when he was 
convinced otherwise, his memory refused "to agree with 
his conviction. But when he at last mastered the " two 
times " table and numeration up to a million, he rubbed 
his hands with satisfaction, and exclaimed " What 
wisdom ! " When Kasagama heard of the different 
subjects being taught he evidently thought that tailoring 
ought to be included, for, one day he sent down a lad 
with a roll of white duck, and an earnest request that I 
would teach him how to make coats. The boy was sent 
away with an explanation that in our country men did 
the tailoring. But His Majesty was not to be put off, 
and so the message came back " would ' Bwana Fisher ' 
teach him ? " Our protestations only called forth more 
beseeching requests, so in despair I took a pattern from a 
London coat and showed the boy how to put it together. 
The result was far from being complimentary to the 
original, but Kasagama did not take into consideration 
the cut, so much as the fact that it was a coat. 

A few of the more promising pupils used to come 
together each afternoon for extra instruction, in order 

214 



Scholastic Work 

that they might be able to help in the morning school 
which was getting beyond the work of one person. 
Elementary astronomy was added to their list of subjects, 
and was a theme of intense interest and wonderment to 
them. One afternoon a very simple explanation had 
been given them on how the world was held up in space 
by the law of gravitation. After asking a number of 
questions they begged me to teach them nothing more 
that day, for they wanted to take the words away and 
think them out. One man, who was a Muganda, stayed 
behind and very apologetically, as if afraid of suggesting 
that he doubted the veracity of my words, he asked if the 
world is held up by gravitation, how did it manage for 
the first three days, for in Genesis we read that the sun, 
moon, and stars were created on the fourth ! 

Uganda to-day presents a land rising from a sleep of 
centuries. The outside world in its onward march has 
stepped in, and with its Babel of Tongues roused the 
people from their long deep slumber. Thus startled out 
of lethargy, the surprised nation stands gazing in wonder- 
ment at a great world controlled by undreamed-of mental 
and moral forces. And a new desire has been born 
within them, a desire to bring themselves under the same 
irresistible powers. The possibility is there, but the 
guiding of the mind and soul of the people cannot be 
undertaken by itself. England holds herself responsible 
for the protection of its national life, and it is for the 
Church of God to-day to stand at the helm, and steer 
past the rocks and shoals till the people have learned to 
take over the control themselves. 



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