In a short time a small island or mass of rocks was passed, on which were a number of armed Mazitu with some young women, apparently their wives. The headman said that he had been wounded in the foot by Mankambira, and that they were staying there till he could walk to his chief, who lived over the hills. They had several large canoes, and it was evident that this was a nest of lake pirates, who sallied out by night to kill and plunder. They reported a path behind the hills, and, the crew being reassured, the boat sailed on. A few miles further, another and still larger band of pirates were fallen in with, and hundreds of crows and kites hovered over and round the rocks on which they lived. Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone, though ordered in a voice of authority to come ashore, kept on their course. A number of canoes then shot out from the rocks and chased them. One with nine strong paddlers persevered for some time after all the others gave up the chase. A good breeze, however, enabled the gig to get away from them with ease. After sailing twelve or fifteen miles, north of the point where Dr. Livingstone had left them, it was decided that he must be behind; but no sooner had the boat's head been turned south, than another gale compelled her to seek shelter in a bay. Here a number of wretched fugitives from the slave-trade on the opposite shore of the lake were found; the original inhabitants of the place had all been swept off the year before by the Mazitu. In the deserted gardens beautiful cotton was seen growing, much of it had the staple an inch and a half long, and of very fine quality. Some of the plants were uncommonly large, deserving to be ranked with trees.
On their trying to purchase food, the natives had nothing to sell except a little dried cassava-root, and a few fish: and they demanded two yards of calico for the head only of a large fish. When the gale admitted of their return, their former pursuers tried to draw them ashore by asserting that they had quantities of ivory for sale. Owing to a succession of gales, it was the fourth day from parting that the boat was found by Dr. Livingstone, who was coming on in search of it with only two of his companions.
After proceeding a short distance up the path in which they had been lost sight of, they learned that it would take several days to go round the mountains, and rejoin the lake; and they therefore turned down to the bay, expecting to find the boat, but only saw it disappearing away to the north. They pushed on as briskly as possible after it, but the mountain flank which forms the coast proved excessively tedious and fatiguing; travelling all day, the distance made, in a straight line, was under five miles. As soon as day dawned, the march was resumed; and, after hearing at the first inhabited rock that their companions had passed it the day before, a goat was slaughtered out of the four which they had with them, when suddenly, to the evident consternation of the men, seven Mazitu appeared armed with spears and shields, with their heads dressed fantastically with feathers. To hold a parley, Dr. Livingstone and Moloka, a Makololo man who spoke Zulu, went unarmed to meet them. On Dr. Livingstone approaching them, they ordered him to stop, and sit down in the sun, while they sat in the shade. No, no!" was the reply, "if you sit in the shade, so will we." They then rattled their shields with their clubs, a proceeding which usually inspires terror; but Moloka remarked, "It is not the first time we have heard shields rattled." And all sat down together. They asked for a present, to show their chief that they had actually met strangers-- something as evidence of having seen men who were not Arabs. And they were requested in turn to take these strangers to the boat, or to their chief. All the goods were in the boat, and to show that no present such as they wanted was in his pockets, Dr. Livingstone emptied them, turning out, among other things, a note-book: thinking it was a pistol they started up, and said, "Put that in again." The younger men then became boisterous, and demanded a goat. That could not be spared, as they were the sole provisions. When they insisted, they were asked how many of the party they had killed, that they thus began to divide the spoil; this evidently made them ashamed. The elders were more reasonable; they dreaded treachery, and were as much afraid of Dr. Livingstone and his party as his men were of them; for on leaving they sped away up the hills like frightened deer. One of them, and probably the leader, was married, as seen by portions of his hair sewn into a ring; all were observed by their teeth to be people of the country, who had been incorporated into the Zulu tribe.
The way still led over a succession of steep ridges with ravines of from 500 to 1000 feet in depth; some of the sides had to be scaled on hands and knees, and no sooner was the top reached than the descent began again. Each ravine had a running stream; and the whole country, though so very rugged, had all been cultivated, and densely peopled. Many banana-trees, uncared for patches of corn, and Congo- bean bushes attested former cultivation. The population had all been swept away; ruined villages, broken utensils, and human skeletons, met with at every turn, told a sad tale. So numerous were the slain, that it was thought the inhabitants had been slaughtered in consequence of having made raids on the Zulus for cattle.
Continuing the journey that night as long as light served, they slept unconsciously on the edge of a deep precipice, without fire, lest the Mazitu should see it. Next morning most of the men were tired out, the dread of the apparition of the day before tending probably to increase the lameness of which they complained. When told, however, that all might return to Mankambira's save two, Moloka and Charlie, they would not, till assured that the act would not be considered one of cowardice. Giving them one of the goats as provision, another was slaughtered for the remainder of the party who, having found on the rocks a canoe which had belonged to one of the deserted villages, determined to put to sea again; but the craft was very small, and the remaining goat, spite of many a threat of having its throat cut, jumped and rolled about so, as nearly to capsize it; so Dr. Livingstone took to the shore again, and after another night spent without fire, except just for cooking, was delighted to see the boat coming back.
We pulled that day to Mankambira's, a distance that on shore, with the most heartbreaking toil, had taken three days to travel. This was the last latitude taken, 11 degrees 44 minutes S. The boat had gone about 24 minutes further to the north, the land party probably half that distance, but fever prevented the instruments being used. Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone were therefore furthest up the lake, and they saw about 20 minutes beyond their turning-point, say into the tenth degree of south latitude. From the heights of at least a thousand feet, over which the land party toiled, the dark mountain masses on both sides of the lake were seen closing in. At this elevation the view extended at least as far as that from the boats, and it is believed the end of the lake lies on the southern borders of 10 degrees, or the northern limits of 11 degrees south latitude.
Elephants are numerous on the borders of the lake, and surprisingly tame, being often found close to the villages. Hippopotami swarm very much at their ease in the creeks and lagoons, and herds are sometimes seen in the lake itself. Their tameness arises from the fact that poisoned arrows have no effect on either elephant or hippopotamus. Five of each were shot for food during our journey. Two of the elephants were females, and had only a single tusk apiece, and were each killed by the first shot. It is always a case of famine or satiety when depending on the rifle for food--a glut of meat or none at all. Most frequently it is scanty fare, except when game is abundant, as it is far up the Zambesi. We had one morning two hippopotami and an elephant, perhaps in all some eight tons of meat, and two days after the last of a few sardines only for dinner.
One morning when sailing past a pretty thickly-inhabited part, we were surprised at seeing nine large bull-elephants standing near the beach quietly flapping their gigantic ears. Glad of an opportunity of getting some fresh meat, we landed and fired into one. They all retreated into a marshy piece of ground between two villages. Our men gave chase, and fired into the herd. Standing on a sand hummock, we could see the bleeding animals throwing showers of water with their trunks over their backs. The herd was soon driven back upon us, and a wounded one turned to bay. Yet neither this one, nor any of the others, ever attempted to charge. Having broken his legs with a rifle-ball, we fired into him at forty yards as rapidly as we could load and discharge the rifles. He simply shook his head at each shot, and received at least sixty Enfield balls before he fell. Our excellent sailor from the north of Ireland happened to fire the last, and, as soon as he saw the animal fall, he turned with an air of triumph to the Doctor and exclaimed, "It was MY shot that done it, sir!"