Still following close to the river which, unfortunately, is so enshrouded with thick bush that we could seldom see it a few of the last villages in Uzaramo were passed.
Lion's Claw also turned up again, getting his cloths of yesterday one more being added from the Sheikh's stores and he was then advised to go off quietly, as I was a fire-eater whom nobody dared approach after my orders had been issued. This was our third march in Uzaramo; we had scarcely seen a man of the country, and had no excessive desire to do so.
Rosako is the frontier village of Ukwere, while Kikoka is the north-western extremity of Uzaramo. We entered this village, and occupied its central portion with our tents and animals. A kitanda, or square light bedstead, without valance, fringe, or any superfluity whatever, but nevertheless quite as comfortable as with them, was brought to my tent for my use by the village chief.
Colonel Rigby, with Captain Grant and myself, then called on the Sultan, to bid him adieu, when he graciously offered me, as a guard of honour to escort me through Uzaramo, one jemadar and twenty-five Beluch soldiers. These I accepted, more as a government security in that country against the tricks of the natives, than for any accession they made to our strength.
Leaving the park, we now entered the riches part of Uzaramo, affording crops as fine as any part of India. Here it was, in the district of Dege la Mhora, that the first expedition to this country, guided by a Frenchman, M. Maizan, came to a fatal termination, that gentleman having been barbarously murdered by the sub-chief Hembe.
During this march we crossed three deep nullahs which drain the Uzaramo plateau, and arrived at the Makutaniro, or junction of this line with those of Mboamaji and Konduchi, which traverse central Uzaramo, and which, on my former return journey, I went down. The gum-copal diggings here cease.
To which of these rains should I compare this dreadful Masika of East Africa? Did not Burton write much about black mud in Uzaramo? Well, a country whose surface soil is called black mud in fine weather, what can it be called when forty days' rain beat on it, and feet of pagazis and donkeys make paste of it?
Perhaps all, and I should have been left with my boy gunbearers to have my jugular deliberately severed, or to be decapitated, leaving my head to adorn a tall pole in the centre of a Kigogo village, like poor Monsieur Maizan's at Dege la Mhora, in Uzaramo. Happy end of an Expedition! And the Doctor's Journal lost for ever the fruits of six years' labor!
The two chief men, besides Said, were Bombay and Baraka, who commanded the Zanzibar men. Fifty carbines were distributed among the elder men of the party, and the sheikh was armed with a double-barrelled rifle, given to him by Captain Speke. The sultan also sent, as a guard of honour, twenty-five Beloochs, with an officer, to escort them as far as Uzaramo, the country of the Wazaramo.
It is occupied by Arab merchants as a central trading depot, and is fast expanding into a colony. At the time of our starting we did not know that, but imagined we should find a depot of that sort at Ujiji. Travelling through the country of Uzaramo, both Captain Burton and I contracted fevers.