I Could Not Conceive That Anything In This World Has Power To Resist A
Determined Will, So Long As Health And Life Remain.
The failure of every
former attempt to reach the Nile source did not astonish me, as the
Consisted of parties, which, when difficulties occur,
generally end in difference of opinion and in retreat; I therefore
determined to proceed alone, trusting in the guidance of a Divine
Providence and the good fortune that sometimes attends a tenacity of
purpose. I weighed carefully the chances of the undertaking. Before me,
untrodden Africa; against me, the obstacles that had defeated the world
since its creation; on my side, a somewhat tough constitution, perfect
independence, a long experience in savage life, and both time and means,
which I intended to devote to the object without limit.
England had never sent an expedition to the Nile sources previous to
that under the command of Speke and Grant. Bruce, ninety years before,
had succeeded in tracing the source of the Blue or Lesser Nile; thus the
honor of that discovery belonged to Great Britain. Speke was on his road
from the South, and I felt confident that my gallant friend would leave
his bones upon the path rather than submit to failure. I trusted that
England would not be beaten, and although I hardly dared to hope that I
could succeed where others greater than I had failed, I determined to
sacrifice all in the attempt.
Had I been alone, it would have been no hard lot to die upon the
untrodden path before me; but there was one who, although my greatest
comfort, was also my greatest care, one whose life yet dawned at so
early an age that womanhood was still a future.
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