The Inhabitants On Both Banks Were Now
Civil And Obliging.
Our possession of a boat, and consequent power
of crossing independently of the canoes, helped to develop their good
manners, which were not apparent on our previous visit.
There is often a surprising contrast between neighbouring villages.
One is well off and thriving, having good huts, plenty of food, and
native cloth; and its people are frank, trusty, generous, and eager
to sell provisions; while in the next the inhabitants may be ill-
housed, disobliging, suspicious, ill-fed, and scantily clad, and with
nothing for sale, though the land around is as fertile as that of
their wealthier neighbours. We followed the river for the most part
to avail ourselves of the still reaches for sailing; but a
comparatively smooth country lies further inland, over which a good
road could be made. Some of the five main cataracts are very grand,
the river falling 1200 feet in the 40 miles. After passing the last
of the cataracts, we launched our boat for good on the broad and deep
waters of the Upper Shire, and were virtually on the lake, for the
gentle current shows but little difference of level. The bed is
broad and deep, but the course is rather tortuous at first, and makes
a long bend to the east till it comes within five or six miles of the
base of Mount Zomba. The natives regarded the Upper Shire as a
prolongation of Lake Nyassa; for where what we called the river
approaches Lake Shirwa, a little north of the mountains, they said
that the hippopotami, "which are great night travellers," pass from
ONE LAKE INTO THE OTHER.
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