For several days past our guides
had told us that we were very near to the lake, and we were now assured
that we should reach it on the morrow.
I had noticed a lofty range of
mountains at an immense distance west, and I had imagined that the lake
lay on the other side of this chain; but I was now informed that those
mountains formed the western frontier of the M'-wootan N'zige, and that
the lake was actually within a march of Parkani. I could not believe it
possible that we were so near the object of our search. The guide
Rabonga now appeared, and declared that if we started early on the
following morning we should be able to wash in the lake by noon!
That night I hardly slept. For years I had striven to reach the "sources
of the Nile." In my nightly dreams during that arduous voyage I had
always failed, but after so much hard work and perseverance the cup was
at my very lips, and I was to drink at the mysterious fountain before
another sun should set - at that great reservoir of Nature that ever
since creation had baffled all discovery. I had hoped, and prayed, and
striven through all kinds of difficulties, in sickness, starvation, and
fatigue, to reach that hidden source; and when it had appeared
impossible, we had both determined to die upon the road rather than
return defeated. Was it possible that it was so near, and that tomorrow
we could say, "the work is accomplished?"
The 14th March.
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