In Fact, By The Time The Babisa Return, The Expenses Of The
Journey, In Which They Often Spend A Month Or Two At A Place Where
Food Abounds, Usually Eat Up All The Profits.
Our new companions were trading in tobacco, and had collected
quantities of the round balls, about the size of nine pounder shot,
into which it is formed.
One of them owned a woman, whose child had
been sold that morning for tobacco. The mother followed him, weeping
silently, for hours along the way we went; she seemed to be well
known, for at several hamlets, the women spoke to her with evident
sympathy; we could do nothing to alleviate her sorrow - the child
would be kept until some slave-trader passed, and then sold for
calico. The different cases of slave-trading observed by us are
mentioned, in order to give a fair idea of its details.
We spent the first night, after leaving the slave route, at the
village of Nkoma, among a section of Manganja, called Machewa, or
Macheba, whose district extends to the Bua.
The next village at which we slept was also that of a Manganja smith.
It was a beautiful spot, shaded with tall euphorbia-trees. The
people at first fled, but after a short time returned, and ordered us
off to a stockade of Babisa, about a mile distant. We preferred to
remain in the smooth shady spot outside the hamlet, to being pent up
in a treeless stockade. Twenty or thirty men came dropping in, all
fully armed with bows and arrows, some of them were at least six feet
four in height, yet these giants were not ashamed to say, "We thought
that you were Mazitu, and, being afraid, ran away." Their orders to
us were evidently inspired by terror, and so must the refusal of the
headman to receive a cloth, or lend us a hut have been; but as we
never had the opportunity of realizing what feelings a successful
invasion would produce, we did not know whether to blame them or not.
The headman, a tall old smith, with an enormous, well-made knife of
his own workmanship, came quietly round, and, inspecting the shelter,
which, from there being abundance of long grass and bushes near, our
men put up for us in half an hour, gradually changed his tactics,
and, in the evening, presented us with a huge pot of porridge and a
deliciously well-cooked fowl, and made an apology for having been so
rude to strangers, and a lamentation that he had been so foolish as
to refuse the fine cloth we had offered.
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