The Vegetation On The Banks
Is So Thickly Planted That The Surface Of The Earth Is Not Abraded
By The Torrents.
The grass is laid flat, and forms a protection to the banks,
which are generally a stiff black loam.
The fact of canoes being upon them
shows that, though not large, they are not like the southern rivulets,
which dry up during most of the year, and render canoes unnecessary.
As we were crossing the river we were joined by a messenger from Katema,
called Shakatwala. This person was a sort of steward or factotum
to his chief. Every chief has one attached to his person,
and, though generally poor, they are invariably men of great shrewdness
and ability. They act the part of messengers on all important occasions,
and possess considerable authority in the chief's household.
Shakatwala informed us that Katema had not received precise information
about us, but if we were peaceably disposed, as he loved strangers,
we were to come to his town. We proceeded forthwith, but were turned aside,
by the strategy of our friend Intemese, to the village of Quendende,
the father-in-law of Katema. This fine old man was so very polite
that we did not regret being obliged to spend Sunday at his village.
He expressed his pleasure at having a share in the honor of a visit
as well as Katema, though it seemed to me that the conferring that pleasure
required something like a pretty good stock of impudence, in leading
twenty-seven men through the country without the means of purchasing food.
My men did a little business for themselves in the begging line;
they generally commenced every interview with new villagers
by saying "I have come from afar; give me something to eat."
I forbade this at first, believing that, as the Makololo had a bad name,
the villagers gave food from fear.
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