Missionary Travels And Researches In South Africa By David Livingstone



 -   On the way
he met Sechele, who was going, he said, to see the Queen of England.
Livingstone tried to - Page 290
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On The Way He Met Sechele, Who Was Going, He Said, To See The Queen Of England. Livingstone Tried To Dissuade Him.

"Will not the Queen listen to me?" asked the chief.

"I believe she would listen, but the difficulty is to get to her."

"Well, I shall reach her."

And so they parted. Sechele actually made his way to the Cape, a distance of a thousand miles, but could get no farther, and returned to his own country. The remnants of the tribes who had formerly lived among the Boers gathered around him, and he is now more powerful than ever.

It is slow traveling in Africa. Livingstone was almost a year in accomplishing the 1500 miles between Cape Town and the country of the Makololo. He found that Mamochisane, the daughter of Sebituane, had voluntarily resigned the chieftainship to her younger brother, Sekeletu. She wished to be married, she said, and have a family like other women. The young chief Sekeletu was very friendly, but showed no disposition to become a convert. He refused to learn to read the Bible, for fear it might change his heart, and make him content with only one wife, like Sechele. For his part he wanted at least five.

Some months were passed in this country, which is described as fertile and well-cultivated - producing millet, maize, yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, pumpkins, water-melons, and the like. The sugar-cane grows plentifully, but the people had never learned the process of making sugar. They have great numbers of cattle, and game of various species abounds. On one occasion a troop of eighty-one buffaloes defiled slowly before their evening fire, while herds of splendid elands stood, without fear, at two hundred yards' distance. The country is rather unhealthy, from the mass of decayed vegetation exposed to the torrid sun.

After due consideration, Livingstone resolved to make his way to Loanda, a Portuguese settlement on the western coast. Sekeletu, anxious to open a trade with the coast, appointed twenty-seven men to accompany the traveler; and on the 11th of November, 1853, he set out on his journey.

Three or four small boxes contained all the baggage of the party. The only provisions were a few pounds of biscuits, coffee, tea, and sugar; their main reliance being upon the game which they expected to kill, and, this failing, upon the proceeds of about ten dollars' worth of beads. They also took with them a few elephants' tusks, which Sekeletu sent by way of a trading venture.

The river up which they paddled abounds in hippopotami. These are in general harmless, though now and then a solitary old bull who has been expelled from the herd vents his spleen by pitching into every canoe that passes. Once their canoe was attacked by a female whose calf had been speared, and nearly overturned. The female carries her young upon her back, its little round head first appearing above the surface when she comes up to breathe.

By the order of the chief the party had been furnished with eight oxen for riding, and seven intended for slaughter. Some of the troop paddled the canoes, while others drove the cattle along the bank.

African etiquette requires that a company of travelers, when they come in sight of a village, shall seat themselves under a tree, and send forward a messenger to announce their arrival and state their object. The chief then gives them a ceremonious reception, with abundance of speech-making and drumming. It is no easy matter to get away from these villages, for the chiefs esteem it an honor to have strangers with them. These delays, and the frequent heavy rains, greatly retarded the progress of the travelers.

They had traveled four months, and accomplished half of their journey before encountering any show of hostility from the tribes through which they passed. A chief, named Njambi, then demanded tribute for passing through his country; when this was refused he said that one of Livingstone's men had spit on the leg of one of his people, and this crime must be paid for by a fine of a man, an ox, or a gun. This reasonable demand was likewise refused, and the natives seemed about to commence hostilities; but changed their minds upon witnessing the determined attitude of the strangers. Livingstone at last yielded to the entreaties of his men and gave them an ox, upon the promise that food should be sent in exchange. The niggardly chief sent them only a small bag of meal, and two or three pounds of the meat of their own ox.

From this time they were subject to frequent attempts at extortion. The last of these was made on the banks of the River Quango, the boundary of the Portuguese possessions. A Bashinje chief, whose portrait is given by Mr. Livingstone, made the usual demand of a man, a gun, or an ox, otherwise they must return the way they came. While negotiations were in progress the opportune arrival of a Portuguese sergeant freed the travelers from their troubles. The river was crossed, and once on Portuguese territory their difficulties were over.

At Cassange, the frontier settlement, they sold Sekeletu's ivory. The Makololo, who had been accustomed to give two tusks for one gun, were delighted at the prices they obtained. For one tusk they got two muskets, three kegs of powder, large bunches of beads, and calico and baize enough to clothe all the party.

On the 31st of May, after more than six months' travel, Livingstone and his companions reached the Portuguese sea-port of Loanda. The Makololo were lost in wonder when they first caught sight of the sea. "We marched along," they said, "believing that what the ancients had told us was true, that the world has no end; but all at once the world said to us, I am finished, there is no more of me." Still greater was their wonder when they beheld the large stone houses of the town.

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