For some time past I had
acquired a great influence over him, and he depended so thoroughly upon
my opinion that he declared himself ready to do all that I suggested.
Accordingly I desired him to call his men together, and to leave in
Shooa all those who were disinclined to follow us.
At once I arranged for a start, lest some fresh idea should enter the
ever-suspicious brains of our followers, and mar the expedition.
It was difficult to procure porters, and I abandoned all that was not
indispensable - our last few pounds of rice and coffee, and even the
great sponging-bath, that emblem of civilization that had been clung to
even when the tent had been left behind.
On the 18th January, 1864, we left Shooa. The pure air of that country
had invigorated us, and I was so improved in strength, that I enjoyed
the excitement of the launch into unknown lands. The Turks knew nothing
of the route south, and I accordingly took the lead of the entire party.
I had come to a distinct understanding with Ibrahim that Kamrasi's
country should belong to ME; not an act of felony would be permitted;
all were to be under my government, and I would insure him at least 100
cantars of tusks.
Eight miles of agreeable march through the usual parklike country
brought us to the village of Fatiko, situated upon a splendid plateau of
rock upon elevated ground with beautiful granite cliffs, bordering a
level tableland of fine grass that would have formed a racecourse.