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writer can testify. One's head aches intolerably, there is a racking pain down the back and in every joint, while to remember things in their order is exceedingly difficult; indeed, he can recall trying to pay coloured labourers some £50 in British currency, and taking all day to count it. This is at a blood-temperature of about 102°; when it rises to over 104° or 105° the sufferer's troubles cease, for he either dies off quietly or lies still in a blessed indifference to pain and surroundings.
Later arose the difficulty of transport from rail-head to the advance parties, in which camels, mules, oxen, donkeys, died off as imported; in one expedition, for instance, one returned out of 120, while an unfortunate contractor lost three lakhs of rupees, and out of 130 camels and 140 bullocks saved only 15, half-dead. The humble "jigger" also crippled the human carriers and coolie labourers, and there seem to have been some 15,000 of these, while, without tracing its genealogy, the writer may mention what he has learned from a personal acquaintance with the pernicious insect. Throughout much of tropical Africa, if you walk with uncovered feet, even in tent or house, you will probably find a curious tickling follow, most likely under the big toe-nail-that is to say, if one is lucky. Then the wise man gets a negro skilled in such matters to take the tiny intruder out with knife or needle, while if this is neglected or impossible, burrowing deeper presently it swells, and a numerous progeny eat their way through the foot until the latter rots away. You may see negroes often with only the stump of an ankle left, and the writer has been told, though he has not witnessed it, that the jigger invades other portions of the body as well.
There was next a stretch of uncovered, rolling desert, utterly devoid of food, to traverse in the Athi plains, while all the time the varying level rises from the coast to the heights of the interior, until some 350 miles from the sea a ridge 7,800 feet above tide-level has to be crossed, and a precipitous dip negotiated into a rift 2,000 feet deep,
which, extending far north and south, divides the Kikuyu and Mau escarpments, the latter rising some 3,000 feet above it. Here for a time at least rope-inclines perforce will be used. Then there is an abrupt slope down to the journey's end on Lake Victoria. So malaria-swamp, impenetrable scrub, mountain ridges, scorching plains, and the fluted sugar-loaf escarpment--for such the twin heights appear in profile-had to be surveyed and crossed with mostly untrained labourers, many sicknesses fought with, and sometimes armed raiders, too-perhaps one of the most difficult pieces of rail-laying attempted in the world. Yet between December, 1895, and December, 1898, 256 miles had been laid, at a cost of some 1,500 men of all colours dead or invalided, though perhaps the most difficult work remains yet to do.
Even when the steel highway is finished to the waters of Victoria, it appears, commercially speaking, very doubtful whether we shall ever get our money back. With the exception of the Singo highlands and some other uplands, the country is evidently unfitted for European colonization; that is to say, the majority of white men will more readily find a grave than a home in it, and the others exist as it were upon sufferance. The rivers, too, which elsewhere serve as channels of communication, are here rather huge obstacles, for many are choked with papyrus and forests of giant reeds impassable by canoe, and often unfordable by carriers, so close are their nine-foot stems. Then there is the labour difficulty, for the Waganda and their offshoots are scarcely adaptable, and an ever-present trouble in finding food, the banana fried half-ripe, or made into flour, being practically the only thing available, and we find it recorded that all provisions for the 15,000 railroad men had to be imported. It is curious that while banana flour is largely made by these unskilled semi-savages the writer once found a white man in the Canaries who had spent much time and money on all kinds of costly appliances, and failed to satisfactorily produce it.
Still, the coolie may perhaps colonize Uganda, and once established there on an outlet from the heart of Africa, even if we fail, as we probably shall, to settle white cultivators upon the soil, we may hope to set up a great mart for British goods, and gather in equatorial produce, which would otherwise gravitate westwards through the Congo State. It has been proved elsewhere that when the market is opened wholly unexpected customers flock in, while, strange to say, distance seems no object to the slothful African. At least, it is so in other parts of the Dark Continent, for the negro even more than the Bantu seems born with the trading instinct, and from almost unknown regions, passed often through many hands, merchandise flows in.
Then there is the moral side of the question, the suppression of slavery, the letting in of civilization, and the establishment of even justice, which the British, though somewhat egotistically and often blunderingly, accept as their special mission. There is evidently need for the latter, because between the Soudanese mutineers who until recently appear to have run riot over the country, Moslem raiders from the North, and predatory intertribal wars, the state of Uganda has not been a happy one. Also-surprising, perhaps, to those who have not seen the same thing elsewhere-the work of the officials in attempting to maintain the Pax Britannica has been further hampered by the preachers of peace, because the missionaries' adherents of different faith, besides hating each other with a deadly hatred, occasionally coerce the heretical or collect proselytes by force of arms. This is unfortunate, but I know much the same appertained in the Niger country, where, as in Uganda, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike by disputes, which are often more than wordy, bring discredit on a common Christianity. In both regions the mutual recriminations have almost a ludicrous side, especially in Uganda, when one party declares it has made twice the number of converts the other has, and the latter answer
that the said converts were incorrigible thieves and drunkards they had turned out of their fold. To those who cared to follow it, and remembered Justinian, a recent newspaper correspondence must have proved an interesting object-lesson. And meantime through much of dark Africa, one and indivisible despite its wrappings of superstition, the faith of Islam steadily advances, teaching at least sobriety, and more or less skilled industry. It has struck the writer, among keener observers, that the missionaries often fail by reason of what some of them glory in-the casting out of fear, because the negro seems as yet hardly fitted to grasp the idea of doing well for the love of it, and a grim, swordhilt religion, with its lex talionis, makes a finer man of him. It is also little use sending him a man whose only qualifications are zeal and allegiance to the doctrines of his particular sect, for even the naked heathen discriminates, and looks for moral power or personal bravery. Failing to discover these, he classifies his would-be teacher as a "white bushman," sometimes, I regret to say, with a forcible British adjective and the word "low" in front of it.
Much light has been thrown upon the lesser-known region surrounding Uganda proper by the work of the expeditions under Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonald, especially that northwards by the great Lake Rudolf towards the Abyssinian border. Here again the lack of food and the native cultivator's insecurity of tenure are made manifest, while the story is chiefly that of a grim race with starvation, and a running fight by unfed men with the physically splendid Turkana, who stalked them through the undergrowth or tried to storm the midnight camp, fighting on occasion with desperate gallantry. Well it was for the white officers that they had good men from the fighting Soudan, and loyal Swahilis to follow them. In fact, in spite of its cut-and-dry record-for the Government does not encourage sensational writing-the account of the starving column limping at last into Ngabato, with the last ounce of rations exhausted, to find the relief expedition
had not arrived, and how stubbornly holding on with a twelve days' march ahead they met it the same day, form a thrilling narrative.
Another expedition starting to Latuka, partly in the hope of joining hands with the Egyptian forces viâ Sobat and the Nile, penetrated the mutineers' country and territories partly ruled by Moslem potentates. Here again
food could not be found, and men starved and sickened on rations of ground-nuts. They were further soaked in drenching rain, the equatorial deluge which, coming down in solid sheets, hurls the mould into the air, scrambled and hewed over mountain-sides and through bamboo jungles. During the march there was the constant prospect of trouble with the late mutineers, and Captain Kirkpatrick sent out with a survey party was treacherously murdered, after which a hard battle was fought. This northern region would seem to be overrun with well-trained soldiers, who have set up petty kingdoms of their own, Emin's men, old. Egyptian soldiers, mutineers from the British service, and some Dervishes, while apparently its subjugation would be most difficult.
Indeed, the more one investigates the present condition of the region about Uganda, the stronger is the conviction that the few white men have entered a hornets' nest. Still, more difficult things have been done than its setting in order, and it is gratifying to find that some of these splendid banditti are tendering allegiance to the Government again. In Africa, at any rate, the warrior-robber, who has seen the error of his ways, if ruled with a strong hand makes an unexcelled policeman. That is why on the West Coast our black constabulary are largely recruited from Moslem semi-raiders of the hinterland, who proved at Bida and elsewhere that they will fight to the death beside their new masters. The tribesman of this kind seeks diligently for the strongest and boldest leader.
During the whole of these expeditions the officers were forced to curious expedients to purchase donkeys, which
THIRD SERIES. VOL. IX.