We encamped on the Kalomo, on the 1st of October, and found the weather very much warmer than when we crossed this stream in August. At 3 p.m. the thermometer, four feet from the ground, was 101 degrees in the shade; the wet bulb only 61 degrees: a difference of 40 degrees. Yet, notwithstanding this extreme dryness of the atmosphere, without a drop of rain having fallen for months, and scarcely any dew, many of the shrubs and trees were putting forth fresh leaves of various hues, while others made a profuse display of lovely blossoms.
Two old and very savage buffaloes were shot for our companions on the 3rd October. Our Volunteers may feel an interest in knowing that balls sometimes have but little effect: one buffalo fell, on receiving a Jacob's shell; it was hit again twice, and lost a large amount of blood; and yet it sprang up, and charged a native, who, by great agility, had just time to climb a tree, before the maddened beast struck it, battering-ram fashion, hard enough almost to have split both head and tree. It paused a few seconds--drew back several paces--glared up at the man--and then dashed at the tree again and again, as if determined to shake him out of it. It took two more Jacob's shells, and five other large solid rifle-balls to finish the beast at last. These old surly buffaloes had been wandering about in a sort of miserable fellowship; their skins were diseased and scabby, as if leprous, and their horns atrophied or worn down to stumps--the first was killed outright, by one Jacob's shell, the second died hard. There is so much difference in the tenacity of life in wounded animals of the same species, that the inquiry is suggested where the seat of life can be?--We have seen a buffalo live long enough, after a large bullet had passed right through the heart, to allow firm adherent clots to be formed in the two holes.
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.