Travels Of Richard And John Lander Travels in West Africa (Congo Francais, Corisco and Cameroons) by Mary H. Kingsley

 -   Now I do not
want to arrive at the Rembwe in a smoked condition, even should my
fragments be neat - Page 132
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Now I Do Not Want To Arrive At The Rembwe In A Smoked Condition, Even Should My Fragments Be Neat,

And I am going in a different direction to what I said I was when leaving Kangwe, and there are

So many ways of accounting for death about here - leopard, canoe capsize, elephants, etc. - that even if I were traced - well, nothing could be done then, anyhow - so will only take three Fans. One must diminish dead certainties to the level of sporting chances along here, or one can never get on.

No one, either Ajumba or Fan, knew the exact course we were to take. The Ajumba had never been this way before - the way for black traders across being via Lake Ayzingo, the way Mr. Goode of the American Mission once went, and the Fans said they only knew the way to a big Fan town called Efoua, where no white man or black trader had yet been. There is a path from there to the Rembwe they knew, because the Efoua people take their trade all to the Rembwe. They would, they said, come with me all the way if I would guarantee them safety if they "found war" on the road. This I agreed to do, and arranged to pay off at Hatton and Cookson's subfactory on the Rembwe, and they have "Look my mouth and it be sweet, so palaver done set." Every load then, by the light of the bush lights held by the women, we arranged. I had to unpack my bottles of fishes so as to equalise the weight of the loads. Every load is then made into a sort of cocoon with bush rope.

I was left in peace at about 11.30 P.M., and clearing off the clothes from the bench threw myself down and tried to get some sleep, for we were to start, the Fans said, before dawn. Sleep impossible - mosquitoes! lice!! - so at 12.40 I got up and slid aside my bark door. I found Pagan asleep under his mosquito bar outside, across the doorway, but managed to get past him without rousing him from his dreams of palaver which he was still talking aloud, and reconnoitred the town. The inhabitants seemed to have talked themselves quite out and were sleeping heavily. I went down then to our canoe and found it safe, high up among the Fan canoes on the stones, and then I slid a small Fan canoe off, and taking a paddle from a cluster stuck in the sand, paddled out on to the dark lake.

It was a wonderfully lovely quiet night with no light save that from the stars. One immense planet shone pre-eminent in the purple sky, throwing a golden path down on to the still waters. Quantities of big fish sprung out of the water, their glistening silver-white scales flashing so that they look like slashing swords. Some bird was making a long, low boom-booming sound away on the forest shore. I paddled leisurely across the lake to the shore on the right, and seeing crawling on the ground some large glow-worms, drove the canoe on to the bank among some hippo grass, and got out to get them.

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