Though we could not blame ourselves for the course we had followed, we felt sorry for what had happened. It was the first time we had ever been attacked by the natives or come into collision with them; though we had always taken it for granted that we might be called upon to act in self-defence, we were on this occasion less prepared than usual, no game having been expected here. The men had only a single round of cartridge each; their leader had no revolver, and the rifle he usually fired with was left at the ship to save it from the damp of the season. Had we known better the effect of slavery and murder on the temper of these bloodthirsty marauders, we should have tried messages and presents before going near them.
The old chief, Chinsunse, came on a visit to us next day, and pressed the Bishop to come and live with him. "Chigunda," he said, "is but a child, and the Bishop ought to live with the father rather than with the child." But the old man's object was so evidently to have the Mission as a shield against the Ajawa, that his invitation was declined. While begging us to drive away the marauders, that he might live in peace, he adopted the stratagem of causing a number of his men to rush into the village, in breathless haste, with the news that the Ajawa were close upon us. And having been reminded that we never fought, unless attacked, as we were the day before, and that we had come among them for the purpose of promoting peace, and of teaching them to worship the Supreme, to give up selling His children, and to cultivate other objects for barter than each other, he replied, in a huff, "Then I am dead already."
The Bishop, feeling, as most Englishmen would, at the prospect of the people now in his charge being swept off into slavery by hordes of men-stealers, proposed to go at once to the rescue of the captive Manganja, and drive the marauding Ajawa out of the country. All were warmly in favour of this, save Dr. Livingstone, who opposed it on the ground that it would be better for the Bishop to wait, and see the effect of the check the slave-hunters had just experienced. The Ajawa were evidently goaded on by Portuguese agents from Tette, and there was no bond of union among the Manganja on which to work. It was possible that the Ajawa might be persuaded to something better, though, from having long been in the habit of slaving for the Quillimane market, it was not very probable. But the Manganja could easily be overcome piecemeal by any enemy; old feuds made them glad to see calamities befall their next neighbours. We counselled them to unite against the common enemies of their country, and added distinctly that we English would on no account enter into their quarrels. On the Bishop inquiring whether, in the event of the Manganja again asking aid against the Ajawa, it would be his duty to accede to their request,--"No," replied Dr. Livingstone, "you will be oppressed by their importunities, but do not interfere in native quarrels." This advice the good man honourably mentions in his journal. We have been rather minute in relating what occurred during the few days of our connection with the Mission of the English Universities, on the hills, because, the recorded advice having been discarded, blame was thrown on Dr. Livingstone's shoulders, as if the missionaries had no individual responsibility for their subsequent conduct. This, unquestionably, good Bishop Mackenzie had too much manliness to have allowed. The connection of the members of the Zambesi Expedition, with the acts of the Bishop's Mission, now ceased, for we returned to the ship and prepared for our journey to Lake Nyassa. We cheerfully, if necessary, will bear all responsibility up to this point; and if the Bishop afterwards made mistakes in certain collisions with the slavers, he had the votes of all his party with him, and those who best knew the peculiar circumstances, and the loving disposition of this good-hearted man, will blame him least. In this position, and in these circumstances, we left our friends at the Mission Station.
As a temporary measure the Bishop decided to place his Mission Station on a small promontory formed by the windings of the little, clear stream of Magomero, which was so cold that the limbs were quite benumbed by washing in it in the July mornings. The site chosen was a pleasant spot to the eye, and completely surrounded by stately, shady trees. It was expected to serve for a residence, till the Bishop had acquired an accurate knowledge of the adjacent country, and of the political relations of the people, and could select a healthy and commanding situation, as a permanent centre of Christian civilization. Everything promised fairly. The weather was delightful, resembling the pleasantest part of an English summer; provisions poured in very cheap and in great abundance. The Bishop, with characteristic ardour, commenced learning the language, Mr. Waller began building, and Mr. Scudamore improvised a sort of infant school for the children, than which there is no better means for acquiring an unwritten tongue.
On the 6th of August, 1861, a few days after returning from Magomero, Drs. Livingstone and Kirk, and Charles Livingstone started for Nyassa with a light four-oared gig, a white sailor, and a score of attendants. We hired people along the path to carry the boat past the forty miles of the Murchison Cataracts for a cubit of cotton cloth a day. This being deemed great wages, more than twice the men required eagerly offered their services. The chief difficulty was in limiting their numbers. Crowds followed us; and, had we not taken down in the morning the names of the porters engaged, in the evening claims would have been made by those who only helped during the last ten minutes of the journey. The men of one village carried the boat to the next, and all we had to do was to tell the headman that we wanted fresh men in the morning. He saw us pay the first party, and had his men ready at the time appointed, so there was no delay in waiting for carriers. They often make a loud noise when carrying heavy loads, but talking and bawling does not put them out of breath. The country was rough and with little soil on it, but covered with grass and open forest. A few small trees were cut down to clear a path for our shouting assistants, who were good enough to consider the boat as a certificate of peaceful intentions at least to them. Several small streams were passed, the largest of which were the Mukuru-Madse and Lesungwe. The inhabitants on both banks were now civil and obliging. Our possession of a boat, and consequent power of crossing independently of the canoes, helped to develop their good manners, which were not apparent on our previous visit.
There is often a surprising contrast between neighbouring villages. One is well off and thriving, having good huts, plenty of food, and native cloth; and its people are frank, trusty, generous, and eager to sell provisions; while in the next the inhabitants may be ill- housed, disobliging, suspicious, ill-fed, and scantily clad, and with nothing for sale, though the land around is as fertile as that of their wealthier neighbours. We followed the river for the most part to avail ourselves of the still reaches for sailing; but a comparatively smooth country lies further inland, over which a good road could be made. Some of the five main cataracts are very grand, the river falling 1200 feet in the 40 miles. After passing the last of the cataracts, we launched our boat for good on the broad and deep waters of the Upper Shire, and were virtually on the lake, for the gentle current shows but little difference of level. The bed is broad and deep, but the course is rather tortuous at first, and makes a long bend to the east till it comes within five or six miles of the base of Mount Zomba. The natives regarded the Upper Shire as a prolongation of Lake Nyassa; for where what we called the river approaches Lake Shirwa, a little north of the mountains, they said that the hippopotami, "which are great night travellers," pass from ONE LAKE INTO THE OTHER. There the land is flat, and only a short land journey would be necessary. Seldom does the current here exceed a knot an hour, while that of the Lower Shire is from two to two-and- a-half knots. Our land party of Makololo accompanied us along the right bank, and passed thousands of Manganja fugitives living in temporary huts on that side, who had recently been driven from their villages on the opposite hills by the Ajawa.
The soil was dry and hard, and covered with mopane-trees; but some of the Manganja were busy hoeing the ground and planting the little corn they had brought with them. The effects of hunger were already visible on those whose food had been seized or burned by the Ajawa and Portuguese slave-traders. The spokesman or prime minister of one of the chiefs, named Kalonjere, was a humpbacked dwarf, a fluent speaker, who tried hard to make us go over and drive off the Ajawa; but he could not deny that by selling people Kalonjere had invited these slave-hunters to the country. This is the second humpbacked dwarf we have found occupying the like important post, the other was the prime minister of a Batonga chief on the Zambesi.
As we sailed along, we disturbed many white-breasted cormorants; we had seen the same species fishing between the cataracts. Here, with many other wild-fowls, they find subsistence on the smooth water by night, and sit sleepily on trees and in the reeds by day. Many hippopotami were seen in the river, and one of them stretched its wide jaws, as if to swallow the whole stern of the boat, close to Dr. Kirk's back; the animal was so near that, in opening its mouth, it lashed a quantity of water on to the stern-sheets, but did no damage. To avoid large marauding parties of Ajawa, on the left bank of the Shire, we continued on the right, or western side, with our land party, along the shore of the small lake Pamalombe. This lakelet is ten or twelve miles in length, and five or six broad. It is nearly surrounded by a broad belt of papyrus, so dense that we could scarcely find an opening to the shore. The plants, ten or twelve feet high, grew so closely together that air was excluded, and so much sulphuretted hydrogen gas evolved that by one night's exposure the bottom of the boat was blackened. Myriads of mosquitoes showed, as probably they always do, the presence of malaria.