Company of Adventurers

Company of Adventurers

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick)

1928

Book ID 624

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Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928


The extracts from this book are also available in a MS Word document. Follow the Link.

Extract ID: 3930

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Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 000 Table of Contents
Extract Date: 1910

Boyes in 1910

Introduction by Mike Resnick

The White Adventurers of the Lado Enclave

Photo (right): Boyes in 1910

Technique of an Elephant Hunter's Life

Further Adventures in the Congo

Gentlemen Adventurers

Round the Camp Fire

With the K.A.R. in my old Kikuyu Haunts

Donkey-Buying in the Karamoja Country

Trading in "German East"

Safari-ing de Luxe

Lost in the Bush

Nairobi to Dire Daoua

On the Road to Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa and the Abyssinians

The March to the Frontier

Across the Desert

Over the Mountains to Nairobi

Extract ID: 3430

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 110a

Sanseviera

Extract ID: 3609

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Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 110b

A Kikuyu Woman being shaved

Extract ID: 3610

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Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 110c

Kikuyu Husband and two wives

Extract ID: 3611

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Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 111
Extract Date: 27 Jan 1903

Return to Africa

My visit to the Old Country, which lasted about nine months, brought on a bad attack of the restless spirit that compelled me to be off again roving. During the journey home on a German steamer - that was in the year 1902 - I had heard much of German East Africa and decided on my return to see it. Whilst at home I had made the chance acquaintance of a young man, called "X" in the following pages, who was eager to join me. He seemed so anxious to go that I finally consented, and it was agreed that he should be one of the party.

Knowing from my past experiences in British East Africa what I was likely to require for the journey, which was to be a hunting and trading expedition, I bought plenty of provisions and trade goods in England to take out with me. One thing which made me choose German East Africa was that at that time the hunting regulations there were not so strict as in Kenya Colony, or British East Africa as it was then called, and therefore I hoped to have plenty of sport. I had all my goods made up into 60-lb. loads, the limit for a Native porter to carry, and special boxes were made for me which would just hold a load.

During my holiday at home I had also been practicing photography, and I took with me a full outfit. I had, of course, a good supply of guns and ammunition,

We started from Hull on January 27, 1903, and joined the German boat at Rotterdam. Our fellow passengers were chiefly Russian Jews going out to South Africa. Instead of taking the ordinary route via the Suez Canal, the steamer went round by Cape Town, and called at all the ports along the East Coast. A younger brother of mine in South Africa, who also wanted to join this expedition, was picked up at Durban.

Extract ID: 3584

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 112
Extract Date: 27 March 1903

Tanga

We reached Tanga and dropped anchor in the beautiful little harbor on March 27. Tanga was then a clean little town, well laid out with broad streets and avenues of trees. The inhabitants, like those of Mombasa, were chiefly Swahili, with, however, for so young an African town, a fair sprinkling of white people. There were a number of Indian stores and all the hotels were kept by Germans. There was quite a force of Native soldiers, and a very good Native band which played in the garden on the public parade. The trouble with Tanga was the climate. It was not so healthy as Mombasa, and fever was very prevalent. During the day-time it was intensely hot, and at night, as soon as the sun went down, mosquitoes gave us no rest.

An old Indian resident offered me the use of some land for a camp on the outskirts of Tanga, so I pitched our tents on this site, and all our goods were brought to the camp. I obtained licenses without much difficulty and had the guns registered and the ammunition passed through the Customs House without trouble.

Having decided to use donkeys for transport we began making pack saddles. Some Natives were engaged and a lot more trade goods bought, such as cloth and blankets, and provisions for the Masai porters we were to take with us. No donkeys were to be had at Tanga, however, and I found we should have to go to Korogwe, the then terminus of the Usambara Railway, sixty miles away, before any could be procured. The wet season was just beginning and it rained very heavily. We were very thankful when everything was on the train and safely on its way. Korogwe is situated on the banks of the Pangani river at the foot of the West Usambara Mountains. It was a most unhealthy place, a region of swamps and fever with the hateful mosquitoes ever present. The river was infested with crocodiles, which could be heard moving about in the water at night whenever we approached,

I bought some donkeys here, but not sufficient for my purpose. As all the boys and my two companions were new to the work, I had a most difficult task to get everything in order. The rain came down in a steady downpour, which made things very unpleasant. I found time to visit the station of the Universities' Mission, and was well received by the three missionaries in charge.

On the morning of Easter Sunday we began our long and tedious journey into the interior. I found that travelling had been made much easier in German than it was in British East Africa, for rest-houses had been erected by the Government a day's march apart. Headmen of the villages close by were responsible for the proper maintenance of these rest-houses. They were also expected to bring in food for the guests, chickens or eggs or whatever of their produce the travellers might require,

Our safari now consisted of about twenty-five porters, thirty donkeys, X, my brother, and myself.

It was hot work travelling with the donkeys, which were no different from other donkeys in their obstinacy, and required much coaxing to move at anything quicker than a snail's pace. The roughly made pack-saddles were continually going wrong and our progress was necessarily slow, averaging about ten miles a day.

Extract ID: 3585

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 113-114
Extract Date: 1903

Wilhelmstal Justice

Although I could speak some German, our porters knew that we were not Germans and they were inclined to presume upon this fact. They imposed upon us at every opportunity, objecting to do as they were told and were very difficult to manage. Had we been in British East Africa I should have punished them at once and probably had no further trouble, but being a stranger in a new country I went along quietly, hoping things would improve. At last I got tired of the continued bother, and hearing there was a Government station at Wilhelmstal, up in the Usambara Mountains, about fifteen miles off the caravan road, I decided to report the matter to the officials. I took all the boys with me and started for the boma. It was a good mountain track, through a beautiful wooded country, reminding me of the Kikuyu country round Kenya, and splendidly adapted for colonization. Situated at a lower elevation, it was not so cold as the Kikuyu country.

After a friendly greeting by the officials in charge, I was at once offered a whisky and soda. I explained the trouble I was having with my men and named the one I believed to be the ring-leader. As I wanted to get back the same day, an official was at once told to inquire into my case. We were then taken into another office and all my men drawn up in line. Here I called out the ringleader, who turned round just at that moment and pointing to me said, "White man a bad man," He had no time to say more before he was pulled up with a sharp cuff from the official, who told him to remember there were no bad white men. There was no arguing with them.

Asked if I wished these boys to go right through with me, I said "Yes," as I did not wish to be delayed getting more boys, though I did not care what became of the ring-leader. The Natives were immediately put down and given twenty-five lashes each by a powerful Nubian, who laid it on hard. The ringleader got twenty-five lashes there and then and was sentenced to three months, imprisonment with twenty-five more lashes in prospect when he finished his term. That was the difference between German and British treatment of the Natives. After receiving their punishment the boys were told to go about their business. They returned to camp with me and I had no further trouble.

Had this happened in British East Africa we should probably have had a Court case lasting a week, and in the end the boys might have got off scot free. The difference between the two countries was very marked in many ways, and particularly in the demeanor of the Natives towards Europeans in German East Africa. Every Native got off the footpath to let one pass, at the same time standing to attention,

Extract ID: 3586

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 113a

Snapped near Moshi

Extract ID: 3612

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 114
Extract Date: 1903

Wasamba and Wagogo river

Along the caravan road the country was not very thickly populated, as most of the Natives lived up in the mountains. About six miles before entering camp I saw five giraffe, about five hundred yards off the road, eating the leaves of some bushes. I crept on hands and knees to within three hundred yards of them, but the wind being in the wrong direction they scented me and made off at a gallop.

The next day we were in a thick bushy country, and thinking I might get some game I went out with two of the Masai boys. I got a glimpse of some hartebeest and managed to get one just before we got into camp. Everything had been soaked by the rain and the difficulties of the journey were increasing with every step of the way. The heavy rains had flooded the caravan road and I was obliged to make a detour, which took me up in the mountains, to get to the next Wasamba village. I had some compensation for the long march in the lovely scenery to be viewed from the higher ground. But what with the rain, the intense heat and being nearly eaten up by mosquitoes, our lot was not a happy one. The country was now opening out and we could see for miles around. Previously we had been going through thick bush and the change was very welcome.

At the Wagogo river the Masai porters showed signs of discontent. Kilimanjaro boma, named after the great mountain, the goal we were aiming for, was not far distant, but, intervening, lay a huge swamp. I managed to get through this with the porters but it was not so easy for the donkeys. X and my brother failed to cross it that night, and spent a very miserable time out in the open. They had off-saddled the donkeys, as the packs would have been in the water in the swamp, and the donkeys were sent through without the loads. X and my brother came in next morning, very tired, wet and hungry. They had not been able to light a fire, and had nothing to eat for nearly twenty-four hours.

We arrived at the boma all thoroughly exhausted and full of fever. A splendid view of the surrounding country was obtained, but it was very hot here during the day and at night very cold.

Extract ID: 3587

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 115
Extract Date: 1903

Kilimanjaro Boma

The boma was a fairly large place, consisting of a Government station in charge of three or four white officials with about a hundred Native soldiers. The principal civilian residents were two Greek traders, who owned some coffee plantations. They had been in the country for many years and in the early days did a good trade in ivory. Before the country was taken over, this part was thickly populated by the Wachagga, a rather fine race of people, who gave the Government a lot of trouble. They were well versed in woodcraft, did beautiful carving in wood, rhino horn and ivory, and they were very clever at copying anything. A Hungarian baron, named Boenemisa, was staying at the boma at the time of our arrival, collecting curios for the Budapest Museum. He was an old traveler and I had many interesting chats with him.

Extract ID: 3588

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 115a
Extract Date: 1903

Kilimanjaro Cattle

The absence of any cattle here was surprising, until one day I saw some Natives going along very gingerly with a cow. The animal seemed to be blind and its hoofs were very peculiar, having grown out to a great length at the front. I found that all cattle were kept in huts on the mountain, and I remembered seeing the Natives cutting grass at the foot of the mountain and carrying it up the heights. As these shelters were quite dark inside, the cattle became blind in time. This strange practice may be perhaps accounted for by the fact that in the early days the cattle were confined to prevent them being raided by the Masai, and the custom had remained; or it may have been a safeguard against the Tsetse Fly.

The rainy season had now started in earnest, and we had downpours every day. It was impossible to shift, as all the rivers were in flood and unfordable. In addition everybody was suffering from fever; and, to add to our misfortunes, the donkeys were beginning to die. With no prospect of making a move, I paid off all the porters, keeping only the cook and our personal servants. The rain came down incessantly, and at times we were nearly washed out of our tents. My brother got sick of the whole thing and decided to clear out, so I sent him back to the coast. At intervals we had a few hours fine weather, and I then went out with my gun and did some shooting, and took a few photographs. This photography led to a rather unpleasant incident. Not having a dark room, I had had a hut built of wood and thatched with grass, in which I did my developing at night. While at work in it one night I put my hand down to reach a chemical bottle. Instead of the bottle my hand closed on a huge snake. There was no more developing that night, for needless to say I left the hut rather hurriedly!

Seeing we were likely to stay there some time, a temporary house was put up and all my belongings shifted into it. On examining the trade goods I found that nearly all the cloth had already been eaten through by white ants. It is extraordinary the amount of damage these tiny insects can do, We were obliged to go through our things every day and clean them out. In one day they would eat right through a box and destroy everything in it. The Natives put ashes down to keep them away.

Extract ID: 3602

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 116
Extract Date: 1903

Contemplating Lake Nyanza

We had now been here twenty-six days. It was still raining, but not so continuously as before, and we had occasional bursts of fine weather during which it was possible to go out hunting. I was contemplating a trip to the Victoria Nyanza as soon as the weather cleared. The time had hung very heavily on my hands and I was anxious to be moving.

Having left my proper camping outfit in British East Africa, I sent X to Nairobi to fetch it, and also to bring my mule which had served me so well in the Kikuyu country. By this time all my donkeys had died, and I stayed behind at Kilimanjaro to engage porters and get a safari ready for the projected trip to Victoria Nyanza. News now came in that there were elephants in the forest, and they had made a raid on the Native shambas.' I took my gun and went out to the place where they were reported to have been seen, but they had disappeared. I told the Natives if they returned they were to bring me word at once and I would go out and shoot them.

Extract ID: 3589

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 116a
Extract Date: 1903

Elephant Hunting

Next morning I was just sitting down to breakfast when news came in that the elephants had returned. I went to the shamba where they had been, but again they had left before my arrival. Following the trail into heavy forest country till after mid-day, I could hear the elephants crashing in the forest, and it was not long before I was close up to them. The bush was so thick it was impossible to see more than a few yards in front, and I had to crawl up very close to get a view of them. I caught sight of one big bull through the bush, but before I could take aim he scented me and charged right down in my direction. There was barely time to give him a shot in the forehead and dive into the bush before he came rushing past As soon as I had recovered myself I gave him another flying shot and he disappeared, crashing through the undergrowth, tearing up small trees in his mad flight and leaving a large spoor behind him. He had been vomiting all the way, and I found two or three places where he had lain down to rest, so I knew he had been badly wounded. I followed these tracks until it was dark, and then gave up the chase. Two other elephants crossed my path, but being small females I did not shoot. Finally I set out for camp, and arrived there tired out and with all my clothes torn from scrambling through the bush.

The next morning I got up early and returned to the forest to follow the spoor of the wounded elephant. After tracking it the whole day I found at dusk that it had crossed the Rau river, and the hunt had to be abandoned for that day. Being convinced I should find the elephant either dead or dying, I went out again to make a further search for it, for a wounded elephant may travel four or five days before it succumbs. I had nothing but bad luck. I saw other elephants, but they were mostly small, and if there was a bull it was usually surrounded by a lot of small cows and could not be shot.

Still waiting for X, I went on with my photography when not hunting. If news of elephant reached me I went out with my gun, but they were very shy and it was impossible to get near them. I was at a loss to account for this, until one day the fact explained itself. I had been following some elephants all day, and they were travelling pretty fast. It must have been about three or four o'clock in the afternoon when they stopped, and I was just creeping up, expecting to get a good shot at a big bull elephant, when all at once I heard a volley fired and bullets whizzed past me. A second afterwards the elephants came screaming and trumpeting in my direction, and I had to scramble to get out of the way. On recovering I saw about a dozen Swahili, armed with old fashioned rifles, emerging from the bush, and realized that it was they who had fired the volley into these elephants. They appeared as much surprised to see me as I was to see them. They told me they had been in the forest some months shooting at the elephants with their old rifles, which accounted for the animals being so timid.

Extract ID: 3603

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 117
Extract Date: 1903

News from Nairobi

X returned sooner than I expected, bringing letters and news from my friends at Nairobi and my camp outfit, but the mule had been sold in my absence and I had just to reconcile myself to its loss. The rain had pretty well cleared up by the beginning of July, and we pushed on getting the safari ready for making a start to Victoria Nyanza. We had a lot of trouble in securing porters, and just when we were ready to set off half the men deserted. So I left X to try and get more men and went out for a few days to see if there were any elephants about. I managed to get only a small bull. While sitting in camp one day I saw some Natives bringing in ivory to the Government station, and on inquiry found it must have been from the first elephant I had followed up for so many days. I put in a claim for it, but the officials said I could not prove it was mine, and the Government stuck to it.

Extract ID: 3590

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 117a
Extract Date: 1903

Approaching Arusha

After leaving Kilimanjaro we were astonished to come upon a fine wide road, equal to a well-kept highway in England. Such a road as this, in the depths of uncivilized Africa, was the last thing one would expect to find. My men knew of it, and said fearfully that we were coming to the boma of Bwana Fisi, which means "Mr. Hyena," of whom they were evidently in great fear. We were not sure, being English, what sort of a reception awaited us, but we could not help admiring the man who had been able to build such a fine road, carefully marked off in kilometers. The road led to a place called Arusha, and as we approached it we came to our astonishment in sight of a truly marvelous building, erected in European style and surrounded by a moat. Everything about Arusha was equally surprising, the streets being well laid out with. fine side-walks, separated from the road by a stream of clear water flowing down a cemented gully-way. We had discovered a real oasis in the wilderness. The township was spotlessly clean and we saw Natives with small baskets picking up any litter lying about, as though the place were the Tiergarten of Berlin and not the wild interior of the Dark Continent.

Extract ID: 3604

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Extract Author: Dinner at the Boma
Page Number: 118
Extract Date: 1903


After pitching our camp we went across to the boma and introduced ourselves to the officer in charge, who struck me as the living image of "Captain Kettle." He was a trim, dapper little man with a pointed red beard, who looked-and was-a stern disciplinarian. He had certainly accomplished wonderful results. The boma was a one-storey building of stone and mortar, with a huge tower in the center, and the whole glistened bright in the sunlight, like an Aladdin's Palace transported from some fairy-land and dropped down in the heart of the tropics. Emblazoned on the front of the tower were the Royal Arms of Germany, which could be seen nearly a mile off.

Lieutenant Kuster, as this officer in charge of the station was named, very kindly showed us round, and we were amazed at the ingenious devices adopted by this enterprising military pioneer. Water from neighboring gullies was laid on throughout the building, and a plentiful supply was available for all purposes. Water-power was used for driving a lathe in the workshop, and the officer had a staff of trained Natives. The woodwork especially was particularly well done. Even the tiles on the roof were made by the Natives, and the building was made entirely from local material. The inside of the station was paved with stone; the living-rooms were fitted with electric bells; and Herr Kuster said he hoped to install electric light at an early date. The station was walled off and, being furnished with a Maxim and a machine gun, made a formidable stronghold. Attached to the fort was a splendid kitchen garden in which grew almost every kind of European vegetable, and next to that a coffee plantation. A market was held not far from the boma, and in the town itself were about thirty Indian and Arab stores.

Lieutenant Kuster entertained us most hospitably and invited us to dinner, which was served in a very comfortable dining-room, furnished in European style with furniture made by the Natives. The various dishes were passed through an opening in the wall, and as each course was finished our host made a sign which was well understood by the Native servants who went about their duties without a word. Everything was done with military precision, and it was evident that the Natives stood in awe of their master, which accounted for the title he has earned of Bwana Fisi.

Extract ID: 3591

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 118a

Arusha Boma under "Bwana Fisi"

Extract ID: 3613

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 119
Extract Date: 1903

Mbugwe

The country through which we passed on resuming our journey was full of game, and having got a Thomson's gazelle, I lit some grass to guide my men to the spoil was waiting for my camera to take a snapshot of the gazelle, when the animal, which had appeared to be dead, staggered to its feet and dropped in the burning grass, thus spoiling my chance of a photograph. The fire was scattered about by its fall and quickly spread into a large veld fire. This was the first chance I had had of getting any game since leaving Tanga, and there was great rejoicing in camp that night, the boys spending half the night in feasting. Some of the meat was exchanged for flour from the Natives.

The next day I went ahead of the caravan as before but found little game, and that seemed rather wild. I had been warned before leaving Arusha that water was very scarce on the road to Mbugwe, and at this camp the water was already bad. Mbugwe is situated at the foot of the mountain of that name. The Chief, whose name was Takayiko, brought in a fat sheep and food for the men. The Natives in looks, speech and manner very much resemble the Masai, and I am of opinion that they are half-bred Masai. Their huts are very peculiar structures, square, and about three feet in height; but you descend another foot on entering, so that they are really four feet high inside. They have a flat roof made of plaited matama (millet) stalks, covered with a kind of natural cement found in the neighborhood. The walls are built of small tree trunks, put closely together and coated inside with cow dung. One half of the hut is divided off for a cattle pen. These Natives are great cattle breeders. The huts are made with flat roofs to avoid damage by the strong winds which sweep across the plains.

The water was again very bad. a Greek, of course, was trading here, One meets this race almost everywhere in Africa. I had dinner with him that night and got a great deal of useful information about the country and the Natives on the road ahead. a rather startling incident happened during dinner. I was sitting in front of the Greek when I saw a fairly large snake just beneath his chair. I quietly told him of it, and asked him not to move. He immediately jumped up, but fortunately the snake did not bite him, and we killed it with sticks. Later on another one appeared, evidently looking for its mate, and this met with a like fate.

Extract ID: 3592

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 120
Extract Date: 1903

Selaibai and Garube

After ascending a mountain next day we entered what normally was evidently a dry grassy plain, though now most of the grass had been burnt off by veld fires. Crossing this barren and infertile looking country, we arrived at Selaibai. The usual hospitality was extended to us by the Natives, the chief bringing in a sheep and some food for the men. We gave him presents in return, and laid in a good supply of food, as we were told we should probably not be able to obtain any more for three or four days. The water was very bad, but the country seemed more healthy than it was farther back.

Soon after leaving Selaibai we were charmed with the view of a fine lake, the country through which we travelled continuing very dry, all the vegetation being parched grass and thorn bushes. But the going was good, for we found it possible to do thirty miles in a day's march. We camped near the village of a Native chief, who was a very old man and seemed anxious to please us. The water was very salt and not fit to drink, and the cattle had a disease of some kind and were dying every day.

At Garube we were still in a country of dry grass plain, all the vegetation having a very parched appearance. While leading my caravan I started three lions from under a bush not ten yards away, where they were feasting on the carcass of a zebra they had evidently killed. They all cleared off except a lioness, which commenced to growl at me. My first shot went over her shoulder, and as she bounded away I gave chase, but did not find her. Knowing from experience that lions usually return to finish their meal, I stopped the safari and went into camp. I then went out to have another search for the lions, and although nothing was to be seen of them I managed to shoot some impala, which my men brought into camp.

Extract ID: 3593

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 120a

Native with his store of Maize cobs

Extract ID: 3614

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 121
Extract Date: 1903

Wanyamwezi

I ordered the porters to build a shelter near the remains of the zebra, intending to keep watch during the night for the return of the lions. My blankets and guns were taken into this shelter, and I tied a sheep to a stake fixed in the ground as a lure. After dinner I ensconced myself in the shelter to keep my lonely night vigil. It was a beautiful moonlight night, objects being visible for a good distance, so that if the lions camel felt sure of getting a good shot at them. The silence and peace of the scene had a very soothing effect, and as the hours went by I dozed off to sleep. I was awakened by a low, purring sound, and at once knew that my guests had arrived. My men in camp made the discovery about the same time, and piled more fuel on the fire.

It was now quite dark, as the moon was hidden by a heavy cloud, and as I peered into the gloom I saw what I took to be the stealthily creeping form of a lion. Steadying my gun, I took careful aim and fired. Immediately there was an awe-inspiring roar, and I knew that my bullet had found its billet. I fired again, but could distinguish nothing owing to the darkness. Stealing from my post at dawn to reconnoiter, I could find no traces of the lion. Calling X and some porters, we searched the ground for blood spoor. We found where one shot had hit the ground; the other was nowhere to be seen. We were on the point of packing up and starting the safari, when a shout from X and the porters, who were still out searching, called me to them, and they directed me to a spot where a fine lioness was lying dead in the long grass. I had shot her in the shoulder, and the bullet was still lodged in the skin on the far side. When skinning the carcass, it was amusing to see the men squabbling over the fat, from which they make a salve which is highly valued by them as a cure for rheumatism and other ills. While the cutting up was in progress, I was overwhelmed with the praises and thanks of the cook's wife, an old Native woman who accompanied the safari. She had not been able to sleep all the night, thinking she heard lions roar, and she thanked me for having saved her life.

We packed up and made a short march to the shores of the lake to which I have referred, and here the skin of the lioness was pegged out to dry. We had pushed on because there was no water at the camp; but we were now able to indulge in the luxury of a bathe. After a good night's rest we continued the march, skirting the borders of the lake. The country presented the same features as heretofore-dry grass and thorn bushes—and the water we found was hardly fit to drink. The people inhabiting this part were Wanyamwezi. On going into camp the chief brought the usual sheep.

Extract ID: 3594

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 122
Extract Date: 1903

Fighting near Myera

On our next march we heard that fighting was going on near by between Government troops and Natives, because the latter had refused to pay hut tax. Next day we met some men who said they had been fighting near there that morning. The country here presented a totally different aspect from that we had grown accustomed to lately. We climbed some foot-hills and came to a fine grassy plain on which herds of cattle were grazing. The plain was dotted with huge rocks. The Natives rushed out to meet us, and the chief, or jumbe, as he is called, handed me in a very dignified fashion an old German newspaper which he carefully produced from a goat-skin bag hung round his neck. He evidently believed this paper to be a document of some importance. After I had glanced at it I handed it back to him, and he seemed quite satisfied.

The Natives informed me they had sent for the head chief and he would be there on the morrow. Early in the morning he came down to the camp and I entertained him with a tune on my gramophone, with which he was delighted, as were all his men. This was the first time they had heard or seen anything of the kind. The next day the chief brought his seven wives and his little son to hear the gramophone, and they were greatly amused with it. The little boy closely watched my face while the music was being played as though he believed I created the sound, I now had my first opportunity of trading, and bought six head of cattle. The chief, whose headquarters were at Myera, three hours distant, sent in food for the men, and I gave him and his men presents. They impressed me, however, as a folk easily roused to a fighting mood, for they were really savages. Their huts were precisely the same as those of the WaMbugwe.

We soon saw evidences of the fighting. Some of the huts were partly demolished, but, being very strongly constructed, they were not easy to destroy. The Government troops had done as much damage as possible, and raided cattle. As we went along we saw ruined villages, but the Natives appeared to understand that we were not connected with the Government and did not show any hostility towards us.

One of the Natives was acting as guide for us, as there was no proper path. The scenery was of the same uninteresting character; trees a great rarity, sandy soil, and nothing growing but short sweet grass; a suitable country for sheep farming, but not very attractive for European settlers. It was very hot here during the day and wintry cold at night. The Natives did not appear too friendly, and we kept a good guard.

I now sent men out in all directions to trade. The local cattle were of excellent quality, large and strong, and I hoped to get into friendly trading with the owners, though the reports brought in proved them to be treacherous. They wore little or no clothing, and very few ornaments-only a little brass wire and beads-and were typical, simple savages. They were different in appearance from the other tribes we had met, of a light brown color, tall, and very lithe and strong, though lightly built. It was easy to tell they had never been out of their own district, for a looking-glass or mouth organ was sufficient to astonish them.

Extract ID: 3605

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 123
Extract Date: 1903

Sansu

Some of the men came in and said they had been badly treated by a Chief named Penda. X, whom I sent to inquire into the matter, confirmed the reports. The Chief had evidently not got over the visit of the Government troops, who had knocked down some of the huts and fired on his people. It was dusk when X returned, bringing with him some cows which he had bought during his absence.

Early the next morning Penda sent to the camp demanding the return of these cows. X went over to see him, and the Chief stated that his brother had sold the cows without his consent and he wished them to be returned. To avoid trouble, I sent two of the cows back, and as no business was to be done I decided to move on to Sansu. One of the headmen returned at sunset, bringing in three cattle. The Natives resembled the Masai in their affection for cattle, and would not have parted with them at all had they not wanted money for hut tax. When I made a purchase I paid them half in rupees and half in trade goods. A good-sized ox cost ten rupees, and smaller ones, five. A cow could be bought for fifteen rupees.

At Sansu, four days, march away, there was a Government station. Leaving X with my safari and instructions to go on trading during my absence, I started off, and being lightly loaded managed thirty miles a day. On the last day's march the country changed to thick bush with no Native habitations. Arriving at mid-day at a disused rest-house, I made a halt for lunch. While sitting down partaking of my frugal repast, my attention became riveted on a hole close beside me, from which crawled a big snake. To make any movement would have attracted the reptile's attention, so I remained perfectly still, my nerves all on a tingle, while it crawled between my legs as I sat with my knees crooked, and finally, much to my relief, disappeared.

The station I found in charge of six white men and quite a number of troops, who were engaged in rifle practice as I approached, I saw the commandant, to whom I explained that I had come into the district trading and buying cattle. He said he could not allow me to trade there, as they had just been out punishing the Natives for refusing to pay hut tax, and it was not safe to remain. I decided that my best plan was to get back to camp as quickly as possible, buy all the cattle I could, and then make for Nairobi.

When I returned I found that X had bought a number of cattle during my absence, but the Natives had been very truculent, and some of the men who had been sent out to buy cattle had been chased with spears. I had a palaver with the old Chief, Guru, and told him that his men must stop their nonsense. The Chief where we were camped would sell only small bulls and cows, so I offered him a large accordion as a present, but in this case the "music" failed to "lull the savage breast." I played it to him, but the first few spasms so terrified him that he asked me to stop, and he firmly declined the proffered gift.

Extract ID: 3595

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 124
Extract Date: 1903

Many Chiefs

a young Chief named Kankula brought in a cow and an ox, which I bought. He was delighted with the presents I gave him and said he had other cattle to sell and would come again. Subetu, another Chief, also came in the same day with about fifty of his men. When I saw this big caravan coming in the distance I thought something was wrong. There was no cause for alarm, however, as he came in a friendly spirit, bringing me presents of sheep and matama flour. At his request I sent men to his place with trade goods to buy some cows and oxen. They returned early in the day and said the Natives had taken the cloth and given them nothing in return. I went myself and made vigorous protest, as the result of which two cows were given me.

The Natives were a most lazy set, doing nothing all day but smoke bubble-bubble pipes. They lay on the grass while the women ground flour by rubbing two stones together, and the children herded the cattle. I sent a Swahili headman to Kunguru, one of the fighting chiefs who had refused to pay the Government hut tax, and he returned to say the people were not very friendly. However, two Natives from Kunguru's place came in bringing a young bull as a present. There were no more cattle for sale here.

I had been down to inspect the main herd of my cattle when a headman came along to tell me that a Greek trader with askaris had been to one of the villages, and, after firing his guns in the air, had gone into the Native cattle boma and taken what cattle he wanted, leaving three or four hands of cloth per head as payment. Illicit trading, by arousing distrust in the Native mind, prevents honest men from doing good and fair business, and I was very angry at the news. Shortly afterwards a Chief, called Miama, told me that the Greek had sent men to his village the day before. They were armed, and took a cow and calf, leaving two hands of cloth as payment. He also said they had given an adjacent Chief twenty five lashes with a kiboko, a whip made out of rhino hide.

Extract ID: 3596

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 124a

Huts in Tanganyika Territory

Extract ID: 3615

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 125
Extract Date: 1903

Mgodi

I had been fairly successful in my trading up to this time, having got together about 150 head of cattle, and I now decided to get away. The trade goods I had with me were not very suitable for this part of the country, and I hoped to return later with the right kind and a better equipped expedition. As I left Mguru’s place the old Chief came out with his sons to say good-bye. I gave them presents, as they had behaved fairly well to me. After a short march we picked up six head of cattle, which we had bought from a Chief and left at his village. From there we went on to Mwezai's camp, Mgodi, where we had camped on our way up. We had been travelling behind the cattle, and the road being dry and dusty, our eyes, mouths and noses were full of sand.

We spent the night in our old camp, but I was not to have much sleep. Amongst my belongings was an old alarm clock, a cheap American thing I had bought in Hull for its lid. Something had gone wrong with the works, which rendered it useless as a timekeeper, but the alarm would still go off after being wound up. I showed this clock to the Chief, and he took a strong fancy to it, and gave me a cow in exchange for it. He seemed to think he had got a bargain, and considering the amount of pleasure the Natives got out of that clock I am inclined to believe him. He took it into a hut amongst some of his people and the alarm was going the whole night through. They wound it up time after time, and when it went off they all laughed. How they managed to keep it up so long I cannot imagine. Of course, we could not get to sleep for the noise, but they never seemed to tire of hearing it.

The Natives had some peculiar fancies. They delighted to possess anything out of the ordinary. At another village one of the chiefs gave me a cow in exchange for a hurricane lamp. It was an ordinary paraffin lantern, the vessel being about half full of oil. As we had no more to replenish it, I was not sorry to get rid of it. The Chief was strangely taken up with the light. He thought, possibly, it would last for ever.

Before leaving Mgodi we laid in a good supply of provisions, as the road we intended to take to British territory lay through an uninhabited part where food could not be obtained and water was also very scarce. On the fourth day of our march we came to Irangi. We had a badly needed wash and then got our papers ready to go to the boma. The Government officer was away hunting, but the sergeant in charge was very friendly. I camped near the Government station, and had all the Indian shopkeepers and traders round my tent during the day. While waiting I bought a number of head of cattle at a dear rate. Then I went up again to the boma to get my papers signed, and was advised not to go near Mbugwe or Arusha, where cattle disease had broken out. Having learnt that there was a path through the wilds which avoided these places, I decided to take it. All round I noticed dried up rivers, but in the rainy season the country must be a huge swamp. The Natives were Wagogo, much resembling the Masai in appearance.

Our next march was to Buyuni, going through a forest without seeing a drop of water from leaving camp at 6 a.m. until our mid-day rest at 2. Marching on again for an hour and a half, we went into camp near a very large mbuyu tree, in the trunk of which a hollow was cut about six feet square, forming a little cabin in which some of the men slept. It was now a nightly occurrence for the hyenas to come howling round.

Extract ID: 3597

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 125a
Extract Date: 1903

Avoiding Mbugwe and Arusha

Before leaving Mgodi we laid in a good supply of provisions, as the road we intended to take to British territory lay through an uninhabited part where food could not be obtained and water was also very scarce. On the fourth day of our march we came to Irangi. We had a badly needed wash and then got our papers ready to go to the boma. The Government officer was away hunting, but the sergeant in charge was very friendly. I camped near the Government station, and had all the Indian shopkeepers and traders round my tent during the day. While waiting I bought a number of head of cattle at a dear rate. Then I went up again to the boma to get my papers signed, and was advised not to go near Mbugwe or Arusha, where cattle disease had broken out. Having learnt that there was a path through the wilds which avoided these places, I decided to take it. All round I noticed dried up rivers, but in the rainy season the country must be a huge swamp. The Natives were Wagogo, much resembling the Masai in appearance.

Our next march was to Buyuni, going through a forest without seeing a drop of water from leaving camp at 6 a.m. until our mid-day rest at 2. Marching on again for an hour and a half, we went into camp near a very large mbuyu tree, in the trunk of which a hollow was cut about six feet square, forming a little cabin in which some of the men slept. It was now a nightly occurrence for the hyenas to come howling round.

Extract ID: 3606

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 126
Extract Date: 1903

Ufiomi

Reports about cattle sickness at Mbugwe and Arusha were confirmed, and we were told that we could obtain a guide at the next camp to make a detour across country. After three hours' march we reached Ufiomi. The chief was a fine fellow, fairly intelligent for a savage. I bought three young bulls from him. He told me part of the money paid him was wanted for hut tax. In the afternoon he came into my tent for a chat and made me a present of a donkey. His only son and heir was a mute, whom he asked me to cure.

We procured a Masai guide for our ten days' march across country, and, not knowing where we might get to, we increased our food supply. We were destined to fare sumptuously next night, as a fair-sized water hole was discovered in the bed of the river where we were camping, and this proved to be full of mud fish. Hooks and lines were quickly got out and we were soon busy. We had a good fry for dinner, and the porters sat round and simply gorged themselves with fish and meat.

Next day at lunch the guide came up to say that his knowledge of the road ceased there, and he could guide us no farther. This came as a great surprise, as I had expected him to take us right through. If this man did not know the way, what were we to do? We were in a trackless wilderness, short of water, with very little food. We might wander for days without finding the right path. I questioned the man closely and gleaned from him that the Wanderobo, a hunting tribe, sometimes frequented these parts, and if there happened to be any in the neighborhood they might be induced to guide us. We immediately pitched camp and I sent men out in all directions to scour the country for Wanderobo. We were again lucky enough to find a water-hole with fish in it, and I had plenty of sport with rod and line. The cattle up to this time were going well and keeping healthy, the only death being that of a young calf which was very weak when we started. The men returned at sunset, but without having met any Wanderobo.

We could not move without a guide, so the next day I again sent out parties to try and find some of the hunters. About noon, some men who had been fishing down the river brought in two of the tribe. The Wanderobo are naturally timid and these men were very frightened. Through an interpreter I asked if they would act as our guides, and after they had eaten a goat and some other food they undertook to do so if I would give them a sheep each at the end of the march. To this I readily agreed.

Extract ID: 3598

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 127
Extract Date: 1903

X gets into trouble

On resuming the march I had left X behind to look after the cattle, as some Masai were reported to be about. He was acting as a kind of rearguard whilst I went ahead with the guides to find the road. All at once I heard a shot fired and rushed back to see what had happened, thinking we were attacked. A strange sight greeted me. One of my men was lying on the ground bleeding from a wound in the abdomen and the others were rushing about raving and shouting in a state of mutiny. Those who were armed were flourishing their guns, and one had his gun at full cock pointing at X.

I took in the situation at a glance. X had somehow shot this man and the rest were clamoring for revenge. I managed gradually to quieten them, and in the meantime I examined the injured man, who was not dead, though it was apparent that his wound was mortal. The Natives wanted to rush to the nearest Government station and report, but I explained to them that if X were in the wrong it was no reason why they should punish me by leaving me in the lurch. The position was critical. The timid Wanderobo had sought shelter in the bush, and were on the point of running away. We were travelling in a wild, uninhabited country, dependent entirely upon the guides, and if the men deserted it would be absolutely impossible for us to drive two hundred head of cattle through the thick bush, to say nothing of bringing along our camping outfit. Even the Natives did not know the way, and the Wanderobo alone could guide us. After a lot of talk I persuaded the men to stay, promising to report the matter myself at the first Government station we came to.

By questioning X and the men, I found out what had happened. The wounded man, who was supposed to be driving cattle, was a long way behind, and X told him to hurry up and keep with the cattle. He refused, and X foolishly threatened him with his revolver, which was in its case in his hand. The revolver must have been cocked, for it went off and shot the man. I had the injured man carried into camp and doctored him as well as I could. X afterwards told me that if I had not come on the scene he would certainly have been killed, or had to flee into the bush.

As an evidence of good faith to the men, I took possession of the revolver and locked it up in a tin box, where I promised to keep it until we got to the Government station, but it was some time before I succeeded in pacifying the men and getting them in the humour to go on again. A roughly constructed hammock was prepared for the wounded man, and I told off six of his tribe to carry him.

At the end of the next day's march we came to a settlement of Wanderobo, on the edge of the forest and close to a beautiful stream of water coming down the mountain-side. The chief brought me some honey as a sign of friendship, and I gave him a present. They were very similar to the Wanderobo I met round Kenya, and, like all their tribe they did nothing but hunt. Every day they killed some kind of game.

We camped near water, and were kept up all night by animals coming to drink. The country was teeming with game, and herds of zebra and other animals came in a continual procession to the water. When the Natives drove them away it was pitiful to watch them returning again and again and hanging about for the chance to quench their thirst.

Extract ID: 3599

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 128

Returning to Arusha

We secured another guide from the Wanderobo settlement, our old guides having been dispensed with. As no water was to be obtained at the next two camps, we took a supply with us. Two days' march through the same rugged country brought us on the outskirts of Arusha. That night, as the boys drove the cattle down to the river, I heard shouting and some of the men calling "Simba!" (lion). Picking up my gun, I rushed out on the chance of getting a shot. In the gathering dusk, which follows so quickly on the African sunset, I caught a glimpse of a lion disappearing over a ridge on the opposite side of the river, I ran up the hill, but it was too dark to see anything. Returning to camp, I got the boys to make a specially strong fence and light plenty of fires, at the same time giving them instructions to keep a sharp look-out, which was a wise precaution, as lions were prowling round the camp the whole night.

The wounded man now expressed a wish to go back home, and when I spoke to the other Wanyamwezi, who were from the same village, I found they were all anxious to get home. They had forgotten their anger against X, but I was quite prepared to give them extra pay to compensate them for what had happened. I gave the wounded man a hundred rupees, and I admit I was not sorry to get rid of them, as a wounded man on a stretcher was naturally a hindrance to the caravan. It took six men to carry him. So that night I paid them all off, giving them three weeks to get home, and paying them their wages up to the very day they expected to arrive at their own village.

Extract ID: 3600

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 128a
Extract Date: 1903

Getting rid of Bwana Fisi

Next morning Natives brought the rather surprising news that Lieut. Kuster had left Arusha, and I quickly noticed the change in the manner in which they spoke of him. Little boys who had been afraid to utter his name before, now ridiculed him and boasted of how they had got rid of Bwana Fisi. They had been in terror of him, and they rejoiced at his departure.

Extract ID: 3607

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 128b
Extract Date: 1903

Kilimanjaro

Continuing our march on the caravan route, we sighted Kilimanjaro. The grey mist which enveloped the mountain melted beneath the burning rays of the sun as they gradually crept upwards until they reached the summit of Kibo, the topmost peak, and encircled it with a halo of gold. This was the first opportunity I had of seeing the true form of the mountain, and as I gazed from its base, clothed in a green mantle of forest upward and upward to its giant head, towering 18,000 feet into heaven, I stood awed and fascinated by the grandeur and beauty of the scene. Hitherto the mountain had been shrouded in gloom and presented rather a depressing appearance.

We were all in good spirits, for we had returned safe and sound after a most successful trip. Not one of the two hundred head of cattle had been lost on the way, and there was a prospect of netting a good round sum as profit on the expedition. But it is not wise in Africa to count your chickens before they are hatched, and my apparent good luck was soon to be turned into dire misfortune.

Extract ID: 3608

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers, 1928
Page Number: 129
Extract Date: 1903

Selling Up

At Kilimanjaro I reported my arrival, and presented the skin of the lioness, which was returned to me with a bonus of ten rupees. This covered the cost of my hunting license, and I had two hundred head of cattle to show for my trading. Considering I had bought these at about £ I per head and they should be worth £6 or £7 in British East Africa, where I intended to take them, the outlook was very promising.

I paid a visit to my old friend Boenemisa, who gave me a very cordial greeting and was pleased to see me back. But the rosy aspect of things very quickly changed. We had only been there two days when X got into some quarrel with the men, and the old feeling against him returned. The tragedy in the bush had passed from my mind with the departure of the wounded man, and I had been so much occupied with other things on our arrival, I had neglected to report the occurrence at the Government station. It was something of a shock, therefore, when I received a peremptory summons to attend with X at the boma to give an explanation as to how this man had been shot. Of course I gave all the facts of the case: that it had been an accident, and that the man and his companions had been sent home after being given their full pay. The commandant was satisfied, and we were set at liberty.

I had been thinking of leaving any day for Nairobi with my cattle, as there was no market at Kilimanjaro and better prices were current for them in British East Africa. Going down to the cattle boma one morning to see how they were getting on, I was astonished to find that seven of them had died during the night. The death roll had doubled the next day, and I at once reported the matter at the Government station. They examined the cattle and stated that they were affected with a disease which was prevalent in the country, and which we had gone so far out of our way to avoid at Mbugwe and Arusha. The officials acted very fairly towards us, and gave orders that no one should kill any meat in Kilimanjaro until my cattle were consumed. They had a butcher's shop to supply meat for their own station and soldiers, and this was handed over to me. All the cattle that were required to supply the place with meat each day were killed there, and the money handed over to me every night. It was a very bad disease, but those of the cattle which did not show signs of being affected were fit for consumption, and were killed as required. But the disease spread very rapidly, and many of the cattle died every day. I was only getting about .£2 per head for those killed, so that my loss was very great.

The change from good to bad fortune and vice versa is such an every-day occurrence in Africa that I did not let it trouble me too much. I had had the same fickle luck in Africa before, so I treated the matter philosophically and quietly sat down to fill my new role of butcher.

After a month the disease died out, and I found myself left with five head of cattle out of the two hundred I had brought into Kilimanjaro. Practically all the money I had received from the butchering business had gone to pay the porters' wages. I had sold some of my camp outfit and my finances were at a very low ebb.

Extract ID: 3601
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