One day's journey above Sinamane's, a mass of mountain called Gorongue, or Golongwe, is said to cross the river, and the rent through which the river passes is, by native report, quite fearful to behold. The country round it is so rocky, that our companions dreaded the fatigue, and were not much to blame, if, as is probably the case, the way be worse than that over which we travelled. As we trudged along over the black slag-like rocks, the almost leafless trees affording no shade, the heat was quite as great as Europeans could bear. It was 102 degrees in the shade, and a thermometer placed under the tongue or armpit showed that our blood was 99.5 degrees, or 1.5 degrees hotter than that of the natives, which stood at 98 degrees. Our shoes, however, enable us to pass over the hot burning soil better than they can. Many of those who wear sandals have corns on the sides of the feet, and on the heels, where the straps pass. We have seen instances, too, where neither sandals nor shoes were worn, of corns on the soles of the feet. It is, moreover, not at all uncommon to see toes cocked up, as if pressed out of their proper places; at home, we should have unhesitatingly ascribed this to the vicious fashions perversely followed by our shoemakers.
On the 5th, after crossing some hills, we rested at the village of Simariango. The bellows of the blacksmith here were somewhat different from the common goatskin bags, and more like those seen in Madagascar. They consisted of two wooden vessels, like a lady's bandbox of small dimensions, the upper ends of which were covered with leather, and looked something like the heads of drums, except that the leather bagged in the centre. They were fitted with long nozzles, through which the air was driven by working the loose covering of the tops up and down by means of a small piece of wood attached to their centres. The blacksmith said that tin was obtained from a people in the north, called Marendi, and that he had made it into bracelets; we had never heard before of tin being found in the country.
Our course then lay down the bed of a rivulet, called Mapatizia, in which there was much calc spar, with calcareous schist, and then the Tette grey sandstone, which usually overlies coal. On the 6th we arrived at the islet Chilombe, belonging to Sinamane, where the Zambesi runs broad and smooth again, and were well received by Sinamane himself. Never was Sunday more welcome to the weary than this, the last we were to spend with our convoy.
We now saw many good-looking young men and women. The dresses of the ladies are identical with those of Nubian women in Upper Egypt. To a belt on the waist a great number of strings are attached to hang all round the person. These fringes are about six or eight inches long. The matrons wear in addition a skin cut like the tails of the coatee formerly worn by our dragoons. The younger girls wear the waist-belt exhibited in the woodcut, ornamented with shells, and have the fringes only in front. Marauding parties of Batoka, calling themselves Makololo, have for some time had a wholesome dread of Sinamane's "long spears." Before going to Tette our Batoka friend, Masakasa, was one of a party that came to steal some of the young women; but Sinamane, to their utter astonishment, attacked them so furiously that the survivors barely escaped with their lives. Masakasa had to flee so fast that he threw away his shield, his spear, and his clothes, and returned home a wiser and a sadder man.
Sinamane's people cultivate large quantities of tobacco, which they manufacture into balls for the Makololo market. Twenty balls, weighing about three-quarters of a pound each, are sold for a hoe. The tobacco is planted on low moist spots on the banks of the Zambesi; and was in flower at the time we were there, in October. Sinamane's people appear to have abundance of food, and are all in good condition. He could sell us only two of his canoes; but lent us three more to carry us as far as Moemba's, where he thought others might be purchased. They were manned by his own canoe-men, who were to bring them back. The river is about 250 yards wide, and flows serenely between high banks towards the North-east. Below Sinamane's the banks are often worn down fifty feet, and composed of shingle and gravel of igneous rocks, sometimes set in a ferruginous matrix. The bottom is all gravel and shingle, how formed we cannot imagine, unless in pot-holes in the deep fissure above. The bottom above the Falls, save a few rocks close by them, is generally sandy or of soft tufa. Every damp spot is covered with maize, pumpkins, water-melons, tobacco, and hemp. There is a pretty numerous Batoka population on both sides of the river. As we sailed slowly down, the people saluted us from the banks, by clapping their hands. A headman even hailed us, and brought a generous present of corn and pumpkins.
Moemba owns a rich island, called Mosanga, a mile in length, on which his village stands. He has the reputation of being a brave warrior, and is certainly a great talker; but he gave us strangers something better than a stream of words. We received a handsome present of corn, and the fattest goat we had ever seen; it resembled mutton. His people were as liberal as their chief. They brought two large baskets of corn, and a lot of tobacco, as a sort of general contribution to the travellers. One of Sinamane's canoe-men, after trying to get his pay, deserted here, and went back before the stipulated time, with the story, that the Englishman had stolen the canoes. Shortly after sunrise next morning, Sinamane came into the village with fifty of his "long spears," evidently determined to retake his property by force; he saw at a glance that his man had deceived him. Moemba rallied him for coming on a wildgoose chase. "Here are your canoes left with me, your men have all been paid, and the Englishmen are now asking me to sell my canoes." Sinamane said little to us; only observing that he had been deceived by his follower. A single remark of his chief's caused the foolish fellow to leave suddenly, evidently much frightened and crestfallen. Sinamane had been very kind to us, and, as he was looking on when we gave our present to Moemba, we made him also an additional offering of some beads, and parted good friends. Moemba, having heard that we had called the people of Sinamane together to tell them about our Saviour's mission to man, and to pray with them, associated the idea of Sunday with the meeting, and, before anything of the sort was proposed, came and asked that he and his people might be "sundayed" as well as his neighbours; and be given a little seed wheat, and fruit-tree seeds; with which request of course we very willingly complied. The idea of praying direct to the Supreme Being, though not quite new to all, seems to strike their minds so forcibly that it will not be forgotten. Sinamane said that he prayed to God, Morungo, and made drink-offerings to him. Though he had heard of us, he had never seen white men before.
Beautiful crowned cranes, named from their note "ma-wang," were seen daily, and were beginning to pair. Large flocks of spur-winged geese, or machikwe, were common. This goose is said to lay her eggs in March. We saw also pairs of Egyptian geese, as well as a few of the knob-nosed, or, as they are called in India, combed geese. When the Egyptian geese, as at the present time, have young, the goslings keep so steadily in the wake of their mother, that they look as if they were a part of her tail; and both parents, when on land, simulate lameness quite as well as our plovers, to draw off pursuers. The ostrich also adopts the lapwing fashion, but no quadrupeds do: they show fight to defend their young instead. In some places the steep banks were dotted with the holes which lead into the nests of bee-eaters. These birds came out in hundreds as we passed. When the red-breasted species settle on the trees, they give them the appearance of being covered with red foliage.
On the morning of the 12th October we passed through a wild, hilly country, with fine wooded scenery on both sides, but thinly inhabited. The largest trees were usually thorny acacias, of great size and beautiful forms. As we sailed by several villages without touching, the people became alarmed, and ran along the banks, spears in hand. We employed one to go forward and tell Mpande of our coming. This allayed their fears, and we went ashore, and took breakfast near the large island with two villages on it, opposite the mouth of the Zungwe, where we had left the Zambesi on our way up. Mpande was sorry that he had no canoes of his own to sell, but he would lend us two. He gave us cooked pumpkins and a water-melon. His servant had lateral curvature of the spine. We have often seen cases of humpback, but this was the only case of this kind of curvature we had met with. Mpande accompanied us himself in his own vessel, till we had an opportunity of purchasing a fine large canoe elsewhere. We paid what was considered a large price for it: twelve strings of blue cut glass neck beads, an equal number of large blue ones of the size of marbles, and two yards of grey calico. Had the beads been coarser, they would have been more valued, because such were in fashion. Before concluding the bargain the owner said "his bowels yearned for his canoe, and we must give a little more to stop their yearning." This was irresistible. The trading party of Sequasha, which we now met, had purchased ten large new canoes for six strings of cheap coarse white beads each, or their equivalent, four yards of calico, and had bought for the merest trifle ivory enough to load them all. They were driving a trade in slaves also, which was something new in this part of Africa, and likely soon to change the character of the inhabitants. These men had been living in clover, and were uncommonly fat and plump. When sent to trade, slaves wisely never stint themselves of beer or anything else, which their master's goods can buy.