Thanks to the bravery of these poor fellows, nothing was lost, although everything was well soaked. This rapid is nearly opposite the west end of the Mburuma mountains or Karivua. Another soon begins below it. They are said to be all smoothed over when the river rises. The canoes had to be unloaded at this the worst rapid, and the goods carried about a hundred yards. By taking the time in which a piece of stick floated past 100 feet, we found the current to be running six knots, by far the greatest velocity noted in the river. As the men were bringing the last canoe down close to the shore, the stern swung round into the current, and all except one man let go, rather than be dragged off. He clung to the bow, and was swept out into the middle of the stream. Having held on when he ought to have let go, he next put his life in jeopardy by letting go when he ought to have held on; and was in a few seconds swallowed up by a fearful whirlpool. His comrades launched out a canoe below, and caught him as he rose the third time to the surface, and saved him, though much exhausted and very cold.
The scenery of this pass reminded us of Kebrabasa, although it is much inferior. A band of the same black shining glaze runs along the rocks about two feet from the water's edge. There was not a blade of grass on some of the hills, it being the end of the usual dry season succeeding a previous severe drought; yet the hill-sides were dotted over with beautiful green trees. A few antelopes were seen on the rugged slopes, where some people too appeared lying down, taking a cup of beer. The Karivua narrows are about thirty miles in length. They end at the mountain Roganora. Two rocks, twelve or fifteen feet above the water at the time we were there, may in flood be covered and dangerous. Our chief danger was the wind, a very slight ripple being sufficient to swamp canoes.
The waterbuck--Disaster in Kebrabasa rapids--The "Ma Robert" founders--Arrival of the "Pioneer" and Bishop Mackenzie's party-- Portuguese slave-trade--Interference and liberation.
We arrived at Zumbo, at the mouth of the Loangwa, on the 1st of November. The water being scarcely up to the knee, our land party waded this river with ease. A buffalo was shot on an island opposite Pangola's, the ball lodging in the spleen. It was found to have been wounded in the same organ previously, for an iron bullet was imbedded in it, and the wound entirely healed. A great deal of the plant Pistia stratiotes was seen floating in the river. Many people inhabit the right bank about this part, yet the game is very abundant.
As we were taking our breakfast on the morning of the 2nd, the Mambo Kazai, of whom we knew nothing, and his men came with their muskets and large powder-horns to levy a fine, and obtain payment for the wood we used in cooking. But on our replying to his demand that we were English, "Oh! are you?" he said; "I thought you were Bazungu (Portuguese). They are the people I take payments from:" and he apologized for his mistake. Bazungu, or Azungu, is a term applied to all foreigners of a light colour, and to Arabs; even to trading slaves if clothed; it probably means foreigners, or visitors,--from zunga, to visit or wander,--and the Portuguese were the only foreigners these men had ever seen. As we had no desire to pass for people of that nation--quite the contrary--we usually made a broad line of demarcation by saying that we were English, and the English neither bought, sold, nor held black people as slaves, but wished to put a stop to the slave-trade altogether.
We called upon our friend, Mpende, in passing. He provided a hut for us, with new mats spread on the floor. Having told him that we were hurrying on because the rains were near, "Are they near?" eagerly inquired an old counsellor, "and are we to have plenty of rain this year?" We could only say that it was about the usual time for the rains to commence; and that there were the usual indications in great abundance of clouds floating westwards, but that we knew nothing more than they did themselves.
The hippopotami are more wary here than higher up, as the natives hunt them with guns. Having shot one on a shallow sandbank, our men undertook to bring it over to the left bank, in order to cut it up with greater ease. It was a fine fat one, and all rejoiced in the hope of eating the fat for butter, with our hard dry cakes of native meal. Our cook was sent over to cut a choice piece for dinner, but returned with the astonishing intelligence that the carcass was gone. They had been hoodwinked, and were very much ashamed of themselves. A number of Banyai came to assist in rolling it ashore, and asserted that it was all shallow water. They rolled it over and over towards the land, and, finding the rope we had made fast to it, as they said, an encumbrance, it was unloosed. All were shouting and talking as loud as they could bawl, when suddenly our expected feast plumped into a deep hole, as the Banyai intended it should do. When sinking, all the Makololo jumped in after it. One caught frantically at the tail; another grasped a foot; a third seized the hip; "but, by Sebituane, it would go down in spite of all that we could do." Instead of a fat hippopotamus we had only a lean fowl for dinner, and were glad enough to get even that. The hippopotamus, however, floated during the night, and was found about a mile below. The Banyai then assembled on the bank, and disputed our right to the beast: "It might have been shot by somebody else." Our men took a little of it and then left it, rather than come into collision with them.
A fine waterbuck was shot in the Kakolole narrows, at Mount Manyerere; it dropped beside the creek where it was feeding; an enormous crocodile, that had been watching it at the moment, seized and dragged it into the water, which was not very deep. The mortally wounded animal made a desperate plunge, and hauling the crocodile several yards tore itself out of the hideous jaws. To escape the hunter, the waterbuck jumped into the river, and was swimming across, when another crocodile gave chase, but a ball soon sent it to the bottom. The waterbuck swam a little longer, the fine head dropped, the body turned over, and one of the canoes dragged it ashore. Below Kakolole, and still at the base of Manyerere mountain, several coal- seams, not noticed on our ascent, were now seen to crop out on the right bank of the Zambesi.