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David Livingstone;
Missionary Travels

Chapter 23

Contents page

Introduction etc. | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30 | Chapter 31 | Chapter 32 | Appendices etc.

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Chapter 23.

  Make a Detour southward -- Peculiarities of the Inhabitants --
  Scarcity of Animals -- Forests -- Geological Structure of the Country --
  Abundance and Cheapness of Food near the Chihombo -- A Slave lost --
  The Makololo Opinion of Slaveholders -- Funeral Obsequies in Cabango --
  Send a Sketch of the Country to Mr. Gabriel -- Native Information
  respecting the Kasai and Quango -- The Trade with Luba --
  Drainage of Londa -- Report of Matiamvo's Country and Government --
  Senhor Faria's Present to a Chief -- The Balonda Mode of spending Time --
  Faithless Guide -- Makololo lament the Ignorance of the Balonda --
  Eagerness of the Villagers for Trade -- Civility of a Female Chief --
  The Chief Bango and his People -- Refuse to eat Beef -- Ambition of Africans
  to have a Village -- Winters in the Interior -- Spring at Kolobeng --
  White Ants:  "Never could desire to eat any thing better" --
  Young Herbage and Animals -- Valley of the Loembwe --
  The white Man a Hobgoblin -- Specimen of Quarreling --
  Eager Desire for Calico -- Want of Clothing at Kawawa's --
  Funeral Observances -- Agreeable Intercourse with Kawawa --
  His impudent Demand -- Unpleasant Parting -- Kawawa tries to prevent
  our crossing the River Kasai -- Stratagem.

We made a little detour to the southward in order to get provisions
in a cheaper market.  This led us along the rivulet called Tamba,
where we found the people, who had not been visited so frequently
by the slave-traders as the rest, rather timid and very civil.
It was agreeable to get again among the uncontaminated,
and to see the natives look at us without that air of superciliousness
which is so unpleasant and common in the beaten track.
The same olive color prevailed.  They file their teeth to a point,
which makes the smile of the women frightful, as it reminds one
of the grin of an alligator.  The inhabitants throughout this country
exhibit as great a variety of taste as appears on the surface of society
among ourselves.  Many of the men are dandies; their shoulders are always wet
with the oil dropping from their lubricated hair, and every thing about them
is ornamented in one way or another.  Some thrum a musical instrument
the livelong day, and, when they wake at night, proceed at once
to their musical performance.  Many of these musicians are too poor
to have iron keys to their instrument, but make them of bamboo, and persevere,
though no one hears the music but themselves.  Others try to appear warlike
by never going out of their huts except with a load of bows and arrows,
or a gun ornamented with a strip of hide for every animal they have shot;
and others never go any where without a canary in a cage.  Ladies may be seen
carefully tending little lap-dogs, which are intended to be eaten.
Their villages are generally in forests, and composed of groups
of irregularly-planted brown huts, with banana and cotton trees,
and tobacco growing around.  There is also at every hut a high stage erected
for drying manioc roots and meal, and elevated cages to hold domestic fowls.
Round baskets are laid on the thatch of the huts for the hens to lay in,
and on the arrival of strangers, men, women, and children
ply their calling as hucksters with a great deal of noisy haggling;
all their transactions are conducted with civil banter and good temper.

My men, having the meat of the oxen which we slaughtered from time to time
for sale, were entreated to exchange it for meal; no matter how small
the pieces offered were, it gave them pleasure to deal.

The landscape around is green, with a tint of yellow, the grass long,
the paths about a foot wide, and generally worn deeply in the middle.
The tall overhanging grass, when brushed against by the feet and legs,
disturbed the lizards and mice, and occasionally a serpent,
causing a rustling among the herbage.  There are not many birds;
every animal is entrapped and eaten.  Gins are seen on both sides of the path
every ten or fifteen yards, for miles together.  The time and labor required
to dig up moles and mice from their burrows would, if applied to cultivation,
afford food for any amount of fowls or swine, but the latter
are seldom met with.

We passed on through forests abounding in climbing-plants, many of which
are so extremely tough that a man is required to go in front with a hatchet;
and when the burdens of the carriers are caught, they are obliged
to cut the climbers with their teeth, for no amount of tugging
will make them break.  The paths in all these forests are so zigzag
that a person may imagine he has traveled a distance of thirty miles,
which, when reckoned as the crow flies, may not be fifteen.

We reached the River Moamba (lat. 9d 38' S., long. 20d 13' 34" E.)
on the 7th May.  This is a stream of thirty yards wide, and, like the Quilo,
Loange, Chikapa, and Loajima, contains both alligators and hippopotami.
We crossed it by means of canoes.  Here, as on the slopes
down to the Quilo and Chikapa, we had an opportunity of viewing the geological
structure of the country -- a capping of ferruginous conglomerate,
which in many parts looks as if it had been melted, for the rounded nodules
resemble masses of slag, and they have a smooth scale on the surface;
but in all probability it is an aqueous deposit, for it contains
water-worn pebbles of all sorts, and generally small.  Below this mass
lies a pale red hardened sandstone, and beneath that a trap-like whinstone.
Lowest of all lies a coarse-grained sandstone containing a few pebbles,
and, in connection with it, a white calcareous rock is occasionally met with,
and so are banks of loose round quartz pebbles.  The slopes are longer
from the level country above the further we go eastward,
and every where we meet with circumscribed bogs on them,
surrounded by clumps of straight, lofty evergreen trees,
which look extremely graceful on a ground of yellowish grass.
Several of these bogs pour forth a solution of iron, which exhibits
on its surface the prismatic colors.  The level plateaus between the rivers,
both east and west of the Moamba, across which we traveled,
were less woody than the river glens.  The trees on them
are scraggy and wide apart.  There are also large open grass-covered spaces,
with scarcely even a bush.  On these rather dreary intervals
between the rivers it was impossible not to be painfully struck
with the absence of all animal life.  Not a bird was to be seen,
except occasionally a tomtit, some of the `Sylviadae' and `Drymoica',
also a black bird (`Dicrurus Ludwigii', Smith) common throughout the country.
We were gladdened by the voice of birds only near the rivers,
and there they are neither numerous nor varied.  The Senegal longclaw,
however, maintains its place, and is the largest bird seen.
We saw a butcher-bird in a trap as we passed.  There are remarkably few
small animals, they having been hunted almost to extermination,
and few insects except ants, which abound in considerable number and variety.
There are scarcely any common flies to be seen, nor are we ever troubled
by mosquitoes.

The air is still, hot, and oppressive; the intensely bright sunlight
glances peacefully on the evergreen forest leaves, and all feel glad
when the path comes into the shade.  The want of life in the scenery
made me long to tread again the banks of the Zambesi, and see
the graceful antelopes feeding beside the dark buffaloes and sleek elands.
Here hippopotami are known to exist only by their footprints on the banks.
Not one is ever seen to blow or put his head up at all;
they have learned to breathe in silence and keep out of sight.
We never heard one uttering the snorting sound so common on the Zambesi.

We crossed two small streams, the Kanesi and Fombeji, before reaching Cabango,
a village situated on the banks of the Chihombo.  The country was becoming
more densely peopled as we proceeded, but it bears no population
compared to what it might easily sustain.  Provisions were to be had
in great abundance; a fowl and basket of meal weighing 20 lbs.
were sold for a yard and a half of very inferior cotton cloth,
worth not more than threepence.  An idea of the cheapness of food
may be formed from the fact that Captain Neves purchased 380 lbs. of tobacco
from the Bangalas for about two pounds sterling.  This, when carried
into central Londa, might purchase seven thousand five hundred fowls,
or feed with meal and fowls seven thousand persons for one day,
giving each a fowl and 5 lbs. of meal.  When food is purchased here
with either salt or coarse calico, four persons can be well fed
with animal and vegetable food at the rate of one penny a day.
The chief vegetable food is the manioc and lotsa meal.
These contain a very large proportion of starch, and, when eaten alone
for any length of time produce most distressing heartburn.
As we ourselves experienced in coming north, they also cause
a weakness of vision, which occurs in the case of animals fed
on pure gluten or amylaceous matter only.  I now discovered that when
these starchy substances are eaten along with a proportion of ground-nuts,
which contain a considerable quantity of oil, no injurious effects follow.

While on the way to Cabango we saw fresh tracks of elands,
the first we had observed in this country.  A poor little slave girl,
being ill, turned aside in the path, and, though we waited all the next day
making search for her, she was lost.  She was tall and slender for her age,
as if of too quick growth, and probably, unable to bear the fatigue
of the march, lay down and slept in the forest, then, waking in the dark,
went farther and farther astray.  The treatment of the slaves
witnessed by my men certainly did not raise slaveholders in their estimation.
Their usual exclamation was "Ga ba na pelu" (They have no heart);
and they added, with reference to the slaves, "Why do they let them?"
as if they thought that the slaves had the natural right
to rid the world of such heartless creatures, and ought to do it.
The uneasiness of the trader was continually showing itself,
and, upon the whole, he had reason to be on the alert both day and night.
The carriers perpetually stole the goods intrusted to their care,
and he could not openly accuse them, lest they should plunder him of all,
and leave him quite in the lurch.  He could only hope to manage them
after getting all the remaining goods safely into a house in Cabango;
he might then deduct something from their pay for what they had purloined
on the way.

Cabango (lat. 9d 31' S., long. 20d 31' or 32' E.) is the dwelling-place
of Muanzanza, one of Matiamvo's subordinate chiefs.  His village
consists of about two hundred huts and ten or twelve square houses,
constructed of poles with grass interwoven.  The latter are occupied
by half-caste Portuguese from Ambaca, agents for the Cassange traders.
The cold in the mornings was now severe to the feelings,
the thermometer ranging from 58 Deg. to 60 Deg., though, when protected,
sometimes standing as high as 64 Deg. at six A.M.  When the sun is well up,
the thermometer in the shade rises to 80 Deg., and in the evenings
it is about 78 Deg.

A person having died in this village, we could transact no business
with the chief until the funeral obsequies were finished.  These occupy
about four days, during which there is a constant succession of dancing,
wailing, and feasting.  Guns are fired by day, and drums beaten by night,
and all the relatives, dressed in fantastic caps, keep up the ceremonies
with spirit proportionate to the amount of beer and beef expended.
When there is a large expenditure, the remark is often made afterward,
"What a fine funeral that was!"  A figure, consisting chiefly
of feathers and beads, is paraded on these occasions,
and seems to be regarded as an idol.

Having met with an accident to one of my eyes by a blow from a branch
in passing through a forest, I remained some days here,
endeavoring, though with much pain, to draw a sketch of the country thus far,
to be sent back to Mr. Gabriel at Loanda.  I was always anxious
to transmit an account of my discoveries on every possible occasion,
lest, any thing happening in the country to which I was going,
they should be entirely lost.  I also fondly expected
a packet of letters and papers which my good angel at Loanda
would be sure to send if they came to hand, but I afterward found that,
though he had offered a large sum to any one who would return
with an assurance of having delivered the last packet he sent,
no one followed me with it to Cabango.  The unwearied attentions
of this good Englishman, from his first welcome to me when,
a weary, dejected, and worn-down stranger, I arrived at his residence,
and his whole subsequent conduct, will be held in lively remembrance by me
to my dying day.

Several of the native traders here having visited the country of Luba,
lying far to the north of this, and there being some visitors also
from the town of Mai, which is situated far down the Kasai, I picked up
some information respecting those distant parts.  In going to the town of Mai
the traders crossed only two large rivers, the Loajima and Chihombo.
The Kasai flows a little to the east of the town of Mai,
and near it there is a large waterfall.  They describe the Kasai
as being there of very great size, and that it thence bends round to the west.
On asking an old man, who was about to return to his chief Mai,
to imagine himself standing at his home, and point to the confluence
of the Quango and Kasai, he immediately turned, and, pointing to the westward,
said, "When we travel five days (thirty-five or forty miles)
in that direction, we come to it."  He stated also that the Kasai received
another river, named the Lubilash.  There is but one opinion among the Balonda
respecting the Kasai and Quango.  They invariably describe the Kasai
as receiving the Quango, and, beyond the confluence, assuming the name
of Zaire or Zerezere.  And the Kasai, even previous to the junction,
is much larger than the Quango, from the numerous branches it receives.
Besides those we have already crossed, there is the Chihombo at Cabango;
and forty-two miles beyond this, eastward, runs the Kasai itself;
fourteen miles beyond that, the Kaunguesi; then, forty-two miles farther east,
flows the Lolua; besides numbers of little streams, all of which contribute
to swell the Kasai.

About thirty-four miles east of the Lolua, or a hundred and thirty-two miles
E.N.E. of Cabango, stands the town of Matiamvo, the paramount chief of all
the Balonda.  The town of Mai is pointed out as to the N.N.W. of Cabango,
and thirty-two days or two hundred and twenty-four miles distant,
or about lat. S. 5d 45'.  The chief town of Luba, another independent chief,
is eight days farther in the same direction, or lat. S. 4d 50'.  Judging from
the appearance of the people who had come for the purposes of trade from Mai,
those in the north are in quite as uncivilized a condition as the Balonda.
They are clad in a kind of cloth made of the inner bark of a tree.
Neither guns nor native traders are admitted into the country,
the chief of Luba entertaining a dread of innovation.  If a native trader
goes thither, he must dress like the common people in Angola,
in a loose robe resembling a kilt.  The chief trades in shells and beads only.
His people kill the elephants by means of spears, poisoned arrows, and traps.
All assert that elephants' tusks from that country are heavier
and of greater length than any others.

It is evident, from all the information I could collect
both here and elsewhere, that the drainage of Londa falls to the north
and then runs westward.  The countries of Luba and Mai are evidently
lower than this, and yet this is of no great altitude --
probably not much more than 3500 feet above the level of the sea.
Having here received pretty certain information on a point
in which I felt much interest, namely, that the Kasai is not navigable
from the coast, owing to the large waterfall near the town of Mai,
and that no great kingdom exists in the region beyond,
between this and the equator, I would fain have visited Matiamvo.
This seemed a very desirable step, as it is good policy as well as right
to acknowledge the sovereign of a country; and I was assured,
both by Balonda and native traders, that a considerable branch of the Zambesi
rises in the country east of his town, and flows away to the south.
The whole of this branch, extending down even to where it turns westward
to Masiko, is probably placed too far eastward on the map.
It was put down when I believed Matiamvo and Cazembe to be farther east
than I have since seen reason to believe them.  All, being derived
from native testimony, is offered to the reader with diffidence,
as needing verification by actual explorers.  The people of that part,
named Kanyika and Kanyoka, living on its banks, are represented
as both numerous and friendly, but Matiamvo will on no account permit
any white person to visit them, as his principal supplies of ivory are drawn
from them.  Thinking that we might descend this branch of the Zambesi
to Masiko, and thence to the Barotse, I felt a strong inclination to make
the attempt.  The goods, however, we had brought with us to pay our way,
had, by the long detention from fever and weakness in both myself and men,
dwindled to a mere fragment; and, being but slightly acquainted with
the Balonda dialect, I felt that I could neither use persuasion nor presents
to effect my object.  From all I could hear of Matiamvo,
there was no chance of my being allowed to proceed through his country
to the southward.  If I had gone merely to visit him, all the goods
would have been expended by the time I returned to Cabango;
and we had not found mendicity so pleasant on our way to the north
as to induce us to desire to return to it.

The country of Matiamvo is said to be well peopled, but they have
little or no trade.  They receive calico, salt, gunpowder,
coarse earthenware, and beads, and give in return ivory and slaves.
They possess no cattle, Matiamvo alone having a single herd, which he keeps
entirely for the sake of the flesh.  The present chief is said to be mild
in his government, and will depose an under-chief for unjust conduct.
He occasionally sends the distance of a hundred miles or more
to behead an offending officer.  But, though I was informed by the Portuguese
that he possesses absolute power, his name had less influence
over his subjects with whom I came in contact than that of Sekeletu has
over his people living at a much greater distance from the capital.

As we thought it best to strike away to the S.E. from Cabango
to our old friend Katema, I asked a guide from Muanzanza
as soon as the funeral proceedings were over.  He agreed to furnish one,
and also accepted a smaller present from me than usual,
when it was represented to him by Pascoal and Faria that I was not a trader.
He seemed to regard these presents as his proper dues;
and as a cargo of goods had come by Senhor Pascoal, he entered the house
for the purpose of receiving his share, when Senhor Faria
gravely presented him with the commonest earthenware vessel,
of which great numbers are brought for this trade.  The chief received it
with expressions of abundant gratitude, as these vessels are highly valued,
because from their depth they can hold so much food or beer.
The association of ideas is sometimes so very ludicrous that it is difficult
to maintain one's gravity.

Several of the children of the late Matiamvo came to beg from me, but never
to offer any food.  Having spoken to one young man named Liula (Heavens)
about their stinginess, he soon brought bananas and manioc.
I liked his appearance and conversation, and believe that the Balonda
would not be difficult to teach, but their mode of life would be a drawback.
The Balonda in this quarter are much more agreeable-looking
than any of the inhabitants nearer the coast.  The women allow their teeth
to remain in their beautifully white state, and would be comely
but for the custom of inserting pieces of reed into the cartilage of the nose.
They seem generally to be in good spirits, and spend their time
in everlasting talk, funeral ceremonies, and marriages.
This flow of animal spirits must be one reason why they are such
an indestructible race.  The habitual influence on their minds
of the agency of unseen spirits may have a tendency in the same direction,
by preserving the mental quietude of a kind of fatalism.

We were forced to prepay our guide and his father too,
and he went but one day, although he promised to go with us to Katema.
He was not in the least ashamed at breaking his engagements,
and probably no disgrace will be attached to the deed by Muanzanza.
Among the Bakwains he would have been punished.  My men would have
stripped him of the wages which he wore on his person, but thought that,
as we had always acted on the mildest principles, they would let him move off
with his unearned gains.

They frequently lamented the want of knowledge in these people, saying,
in their own tongue, "Ah! they don't know that we are men as well as they,
and that we are only bearing with their insolence with patience
because we are men."  Then would follow a hearty curse,
showing that the patience was nearly expended; but they seldom quarreled
in the language of the Balonda.  The only one who ever lost his temper
was the man who struck a head man of one of the villages on the mouth,
and he was the most abject individual in our company.

The reason why we needed a guide at all was to secure the convenience
of a path, which, though generally no better than a sheep-walk,
is much easier than going straight in one direction, through tangled forests
and tropical vegetation.  We knew the general direction we ought to follow,
and also if any deviation occurred from our proper route;
but, to avoid impassable forests and untreadable bogs, and to get to
the proper fords of the rivers, we always tried to procure a guide,
and he always followed the common path from one village to another
when that lay in the direction we were going.

After leaving Cabango on the 21st, we crossed several little streams
running into the Chihombo on our left, and in one of them
I saw tree ferns (`Cyathea dregei') for the first time in Africa.
The trunk was about four feet high and ten inches in diameter.
We saw also grass trees of two varieties, which, in damp localities,
had attained a height of forty feet.  On crossing the Chihombo, which we did
about twelve miles above Cabango, we found it waist-deep and rapid.
We were delighted to see the evidences of buffalo and hippopotami
on its banks.  As soon as we got away from the track of the slave-traders,
the more kindly spirit of the southern Balonda appeared,
for an old man brought a large present of food from one of the villages,
and volunteered to go as guide himself.  The people, however,
of the numerous villages which we passed always made efforts to detain us,
that they might have a little trade in the way of furnishing our suppers.
At one village, indeed, they would not show us the path at all
unless we remained at least a day with them.  Having refused,
we took a path in the direction we ought to go, but it led us
into an inextricable thicket.  Returning to the village again,
we tried another footpath in a similar direction, but this led us into
an equally impassable and trackless forest.  We were thus forced
to come back and remain.  In the following morning they put us
in the proper path, which in a few hours led us through a forest
that would otherwise have taken us days to penetrate.

Beyond this forest we found the village of Nyakalonga, a sister of
the late Matiamvo, who treated us handsomely.  She wished her people
to guide us to the next village, but this they declined
unless we engaged in trade.  She then requested us to wait an hour or two
till she could get ready a present of meal, manioc roots,
ground-nuts, and a fowl.  It was truly pleasant to meet with people
possessing some civility, after the hauteur we had experienced
on the slave-path.  She sent her son to the next village
without requiring payment.  The stream which ran past her village
was quite impassable there, and for a distance of about a mile on either side,
the bog being soft and shaky, and, when the crust was broken through,
about six feet deep.

On the 28th we reached the village of the chief Bango (lat. 12d 22' 53" S.,
long. 20d 58' E.), who brought us a handsome present of meal,
and the meat of an entire pallah.  We here slaughtered the last of the cows
presented to us by Mr. Schut, which I had kept milked until it gave
only a teaspoonful at a time.  My men enjoyed a hearty laugh
when they found that I had given up all hope of more,
for they had been talking among themselves about my perseverance.
We offered a leg of the cow to Bango, but he informed us
that neither he nor his people ever partook of beef,
as they looked upon cattle as human, and living at home like men.
None of his people purchased any of the meat, which was always eagerly done
every where else.  There are several other tribes who refuse to keep cattle,
though not to eat them when offered by others, because, say they, oxen bring
enemies and war; but this is the first instance I have met with in which
they have been refused as food.  The fact of killing the pallahs for food
shows that the objection does not extend to meat in general.

The little streams in this part of the country did not flow in deep dells,
nor were we troubled with the gigantic grasses which annoyed our eyes
on the slopes of the streams before we came to Cabango.
The country was quite flat, and the people cultivated manioc very extensively.
There is no large collection of the inhabitants in any one spot.
The ambition of each seems to be to have his own little village; and we see
many coming from distant parts with the flesh of buffaloes and antelopes
as the tribute claimed by Bango.  We have now entered again
the country of the game, but they are so exceedingly shy
that we have not yet seen a single animal.  The arrangement into many villages
pleases the Africans vastly, for every one who has a few huts under him
feels himself in some measure to be a chief.  The country at this time
is covered with yellowish grass quite dry.  Some of the bushes and trees
are green; others are shedding their leaves, the young buds
pushing off the old foliage.  Trees, which in the south stand bare
during the winter months, have here but a short period of leaflessness.
Occasionally, however, a cold north wind comes up even as far as Cabango,
and spreads a wintry aspect on all the exposed vegetation.
The tender shoots of the evergreen trees on the south side
become as if scorched; the leaves of manioc, pumpkins, and other tender plants
are killed; while the same kinds, in spots sheltered by forests,
continue green through the whole year.  All the interior of South Africa
has a distinct winter of cold, varying in intensity with the latitudes.
In the central parts of the Cape Colony the cold in the winter
is often severe, and the ground is covered with snow.  At Kuruman
snow seldom falls, but the frost is keen.  There is frost
even as far as the Chobe, and a partial winter in the Barotse valley,
but beyond the Orange River we never have cold and damp combined.
Indeed, a shower of rain seldom or never falls during winter, and hence
the healthiness of the Bechuana climate.  From the Barotse valley northward
it is questionable if it ever freezes; but, during the prevalence
of the south wind, the thermometer sinks as low as 42 Deg.,
and conveys the impression of bitter cold.

Nothing can exceed the beauty of the change from the wintry appearance
to that of spring at Kolobeng.  Previous to the commencement of the rains,
an easterly wind blows strongly by day, but dies away at night.
The clouds collect in increasing masses, and relieve in some measure
the bright glare of the southern sun.  The wind dries up every thing,
and when at its greatest strength is hot, and raises clouds of dust.
The general temperature during the day rises above 96 Deg.:
then showers begin to fall; and if the ground is but once well soaked
with a good day's rain, the change produced is marvelous.
In a day or two a tinge of green is apparent all over the landscape,
and in five or six days the fresh leaves sprouting forth,
and the young grass shooting up, give an appearance of spring
which it requires weeks of a colder climate to produce.  The birds,
which in the hot, dry, windy season had been silent, now burst forth
into merry twittering songs, and are busy building their nests.  Some of them,
indeed, hatch several times a year.  The lowering of the temperature,
by rains or other causes, has much the same effect as the increasing mildness
of our own spring.  The earth teems with myriads of young insects;
in some parts of the country hundreds of centipedes, myriapedes, and beetles
emerge from their hiding-places, somewhat as our snails at home do;
and in the evenings the white ants swarm by thousands.  A stream of them
is seen to rush out of a hole, and, after flying one or two hundred yards,
they descend; and if they light upon a piece of soil proper for
the commencement of a new colony, they bend up their tails,
unhook their wings, and, leaving them on the surface,
quickly begin their mining operations.  If an attempt is made
to separate the wings from the body by drawing them away backward, they seem
as if hooked into the body, and tear away large portions of the insect;
but if turned forward, as the ant itself does, they snap off
with the greatest ease.  Indeed, they seem formed only to serve the insect
in its short flight to a new habitation, and then to be thrown aside.
Nothing can exceed the eagerness with which, at the proper time,
they rush out from their birth-place.  Occasionally this occurs in a house,
and then, in order to prevent every corner from being filled with them,
I have seen a fire placed over the orifice; but they hesitate not even
to pass through the fire.  While swarming they appear like snow-flakes
floating about in the air, and dogs, cats, hawks, and almost every bird,
may be seen busily devouring them.  The natives, too, profit by the occasion,
and actively collect them for food, they being about half an inch long,
as thick as a crow-quill, and very fat.  When roasted they are said
to be good, and somewhat resemble grains of boiled rice.
An idea may be formed of this dish by what once occurred
on the banks of the Zouga.  The Bayeiye chief Palani visiting us while eating,
I gave him a piece of bread and preserved apricots; and as he seemed
to relish it much, I asked him if he had any food equal to that
in his country.  "Ah!" said he, "did you ever taste white ants?"
As I never had, he replied, "Well, if you had, you never could have desired
to eat any thing better."  The general way of catching them
is to dig into the ant-hill, and wait till the builders come forth
to repair the damage, then brush them off quickly into a vessel,
as the ant-eater does into his mouth.

The fall of the rain makes all the cattle look fresh and clean,
and both men and women proceed cheerily to their already hoed gardens,
and sow the seed.  The large animals in the country leave the spots
where they had been compelled to congregate for the sake of water,
and become much wilder.  Occasionally a herd of buffaloes or antelopes
smell rain from afar, and set off in a straight line toward the place.
Sometimes they make mistakes, and are obliged to return to the water
they had left.

Very large tracts of country are denuded of old grass during the winter
by means of fire, in order to attract the game to that which there springs up
unmixed with the older crop.  This new herbage has a renovating tendency,
for as long as they feed on the dry grass of the former season
they continue in good condition; but no sooner are they able to indulge
their appetites on the fresh herbage, than even the marrow in their bones
becomes dissolved, and a red, soft, uneatable mass is left behind.
After this commences the work of regaining their former plumpness.

MAY 30TH.  We left Bango, and proceeded to the River Loembwe,
which flows to the N.N.E., and abounds in hippopotami.
It is about sixty yards wide, and four feet deep, but usually contains
much less water than this, for there are fishing-weirs placed right across it.
Like all the African rivers in this quarter, it has morasses on each bank,
yet the valley in which it winds, when seen from the high lands above,
is extremely beautiful.  This valley is about the fourth of a mile wide,
and it was easy to fancy the similarity of many spots on it
to the goodly manors in our own country, and feel assured that there was still
ample territory left for an indefinite increase of the world's population.
The villages are widely apart and difficult of access, from the paths being
so covered with tall grass that even an ox can scarcely follow the track.
The grass cuts the feet of the men; yet we met a woman with a little child,
and a girl, wending their way home with loads of manioc.
The sight of a white man always infuses a tremor into their dark bosoms,
and in every case of the kind they appeared immensely relieved
when I had fairly passed without having sprung upon them.
In the villages the dogs run away with their tails between their legs,
as if they had seen a lion.  The women peer from behind the walls
till he comes near them, and then hastily dash into the house.
When a little child, unconscious of danger, meets you in the street,
he sets up a scream at the apparition, and conveys the impression
that he is not far from going into fits.  Among the Bechuanas I have been
obliged to reprove the women for making a hobgoblin of the white man,
and telling their children that they would send for him to bite them.

Having passed the Loembwe, we were in a more open country,
with every few hours a small valley, through which ran a little rill
in the middle of a bog.  These were always difficult to pass,
and being numerous, kept the lower part of the person constantly wet.
At different points in our course we came upon votive offerings to the Barimo.
These usually consisted of food; and every deserted village
still contained the idols and little sheds with pots of medicine in them.
One afternoon we passed a small frame house with the head of an ox in it as
an object of worship.  The dreary uniformity of gloomy forests and open flats
must have a depressing influence on the minds of the people.
Some villages appear more superstitious than others, if we may judge
from the greater number of idols they contain.

Only on one occasion did we witness a specimen of quarreling.
An old woman, standing by our camp, continued to belabor
a good-looking young man for hours with her tongue.  Irritated at last,
he uttered some words of impatience, when another man sprang at him,
exclaiming, "How dare you curse my `Mama'?"  They caught each other,
and a sort of pushing, dragging wrestling-match ensued.
The old woman who had been the cause of the affray wished us to interfere,
and the combatants themselves hoped as much; but we, preferring to
remain neutral, allowed them to fight it out.  It ended by one falling
under the other, both, from their scuffling, being in a state of nudity.
They picked up their clothing and ran off in different directions,
each threatening to bring his gun and settle the dispute in mortal combat.
Only one, however, returned, and the old woman continued her scolding
till my men, fairly tired of her tongue, ordered her to be gone.
This trifling incident was one of interest to me, for, during the whole period
of my residence in the Bechuana country, I never saw unarmed men
strike each other.  Their disputes are usually conducted with
great volubility and noisy swearing, but they generally terminate
by both parties bursting into a laugh.

At every village attempts were made to induce us to remain a night.
Sometimes large pots of beer were offered to us as a temptation.
Occasionally the head man would peremptorily order us to halt under a tree
which he pointed out.  At other times young men volunteered to guide us
to the impassable part of the next bog, in the hope of bringing us to a stand,
for all are excessively eager to trade; but food was so very cheap that
we sometimes preferred paying them to keep it, and let us part in good humor.
A good-sized fowl could be had for a single charge of gunpowder.
Each native who owns a gun carries about with him a measure
capable of holding but one charge, in which he receives his powder.
Throughout this region the women are almost entirely naked,
their gowns being a patch of cloth frightfully narrow, with no flounces;
and nothing could exceed the eagerness with which they offered to purchase
strips of calico of an inferior description.  They were delighted
with the large pieces we gave, though only about two feet long,
for a fowl and a basket of upward of 20 lbs. of meal.  As we had now
only a small remnant of our stock, we were obliged to withstand
their importunity, and then many of their women, with true maternal feelings,
held up their little naked babies, entreating us to sell only a little rag
for them.  The fire, they say, is their only clothing by night,
and the little ones derive heat by sticking closely to their parents.
Instead of a skin or cloth to carry their babies in, the women plait a belt
about four inches broad, of the inner bark of a tree, and this,
hung from the one shoulder to the opposite side, like a soldier's belt,
enables them to support the child by placing it on their side
in a sitting position.  Their land is very fertile, and they can raise
ground-nuts and manioc in abundance.  Here I observed no cotton,
nor any domestic animals except fowls and little dogs.  The chief possessed
a few goats, and I never could get any satisfactory reason
why the people also did not rear them.

On the evening of the 2d of June we reached the village of Kawawa,
rather an important personage in these parts.  This village
consists of forty or fifty huts, and is surrounded by forest.
Drums were beating over the body of a man who had died the preceding day,
and some women were making a clamorous wail at the door of his hut,
and addressing the deceased as if alive.  The drums continued beating
the whole night, with as much regularity as a steam-engine thumps
on board ship.  We observed that a person dressed fantastically
with a great number of feathers left the people at the dance and wailing,
and went away into the deep forest in the morning, to return again
to the obsequies in the evening; he is intended to represent
one of the Barimo.

In the morning we had agreeable intercourse with Kawawa; he visited us,
and we sat and talked nearly the whole day with him and his people.
When we visited him in return, we found him in his large court-house,
which, though of a beehive shape, was remarkably well built.
As I had shown him a number of curiosities, he now produced a jug,
of English ware, shaped like an old man holding a can of beer in his hand,
as the greatest curiosity he had to exhibit.

We had now an opportunity of hearing a case brought before him for judgment.
A poor man and his wife were accused of having bewitched the man
whose wake was now held in the village.  Before Kawawa even heard the defense,
he said, "You have killed one of my children; bring all yours before me,
that I may choose which of them shall be mine instead."
The wife eloquently defended herself, but this availed little,
for these accusations are the means resorted to by some chiefs
to secure subjects for the slave-market.  He probably thought
that I had come to purchase slaves, though I had already given
a pretty full explanation of my pursuits both to himself and his people.
We exhibited the pictures of the magic lantern in the evening,
and all were delighted except Kawawa himself.  He showed symptoms of dread,
and several times started up as if to run away, but was prevented
by the crowd behind.  Some of the more intelligent understood
the explanations well, and expatiated eloquently on them to the more obtuse.
Nothing could exceed the civilities which had passed between us
during this day; but Kawawa had heard that the Chiboque had forced us
to pay an ox, and now thought he might do the same.  When, therefore,
I sent next morning to let him know that we were ready to start,
he replied in his figurative way, "If an ox came in the way of a man,
ought he not to eat it?  I had given one to the Chiboque,
and must give him the same, together with a gun, gunpowder, and a black robe,
like that he had seen spread out to dry the day before; that, if I refused
an ox, I must give one of my men, and a book by which he might see
the state of Matiamvo's heart toward him, and which would forewarn him,
should Matiamvo ever resolve to cut off his head."  Kawawa came
in the coolest manner possible to our encampment after sending this message,
and told me he had seen all our goods, and must have all he asked,
as he had command of the Kasai in our front, and would prevent us
from passing it unless we paid this tribute.  I replied that the goods
were my property and not his; that I would never have it said that a white man
had paid tribute to a black, and that I should cross the Kasai
in spite of him.  He ordered his people to arm themselves,
and when some of my men saw them rushing for their bows, arrows, and spears,
they became somewhat panic-stricken.  I ordered them to move away,
and not to fire unless Kawawa's people struck the first blow.
I took the lead, and expected them all to follow, as they usually had done,
but many of my men remained behind.  When I knew this, I jumped off the ox,
and made a rush to them with the revolver in my hand.  Kawawa ran away
among his people, and they turned their backs too.  I shouted to my men
to take up their luggage and march; some did so with alacrity,
feeling that they had disobeyed orders by remaining; but one of them refused,
and was preparing to fire at Kawawa, until I gave him a punch on the head
with the pistol, and made him go too.  I felt here, as elsewhere,
that subordination must be maintained at all risks.  We all moved
into the forest, the people of Kawawa standing about a hundred yards off,
gazing, but not firing a shot or an arrow.  It is extremely unpleasant
to part with these chieftains thus, after spending a day or two
in the most amicable intercourse, and in a part where the people
are generally civil.  This Kawawa, however, is not a good specimen
of the Balonda chiefs, and is rather notorious in the neighborhood
for his folly.  We were told that he has good reason to believe that Matiamvo
will some day cut off his head for his disregard of the rights of strangers.

Kawawa was not to be balked of his supposed rights by the unceremonious way
in which we had left him; for, when we had reached the ford of the Kasai,
about ten miles distant, we found that he had sent four of his men,
with orders to the ferrymen to refuse us passage.  We were here
duly informed that we must deliver up all the articles mentioned,
and one of our men besides.  This demand for one of our number
always nettled every heart.  The canoes were taken away before our eyes,
and we were supposed to be quite helpless without them, at a river
a good hundred yards broad, and very deep.  Pitsane stood on the bank,
gazing with apparent indifference on the stream, and made
an accurate observation of where the canoes were hidden among the reeds.
The ferrymen casually asked one of my Batoka if they had rivers
in his country, and he answered with truth, "No, we have none."
Kawawa's people then felt sure we could not cross.  I thought of swimming
when they were gone; but after it was dark, by the unasked loan
of one of the hidden canoes, we soon were snug in our bivouac
on the southern bank of the Kasai.  I left some beads as payment for some meal
which had been presented by the ferrymen; and, the canoe having been left
on their own side of the river, Pitsane and his companions
laughed uproariously at the disgust our enemies would feel,
and their perplexity as to who had been our paddler across.
They were quite sure that Kawawa would imagine that we had been ferried over
by his own people, and would be divining to find out who had done the deed.
When ready to depart in the morning, Kawawa's people appeared
on the opposite heights, and could scarcely believe their eyes
when they saw us prepared to start away to the south.  At last one of them
called out, "Ah! ye are bad," to which Pitsane and his companions retorted,
"Ah! ye are good, and we thank you for the loan of your canoe."
We were careful to explain the whole of the circumstances to Katema
and the other chiefs, and they all agreed that we were perfectly justifiable
under the circumstances, and that Matiamvo would approve our conduct.
When any thing that might bear an unfavorable construction
happens among themselves, they send explanations to each other.
The mere fact of doing so prevents them from losing their character,
for there is public opinion even among them.

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