Days Like These

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
10 November 1871

HENRY STANLEY,

correspondent of the `New York Herald', records his arrival on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in east Africa:

"We are but a mile from Ujiji now, and it is high time we let them know that a caravan is coming; so `Commence firing' is the word passed along the length of the column, and gladly do they begin. They have loaded their muskets half full, and they roar like the broadside of a line-of- battle ship. The flags are fluttered; the banner of America is in front, waving joyfully. Never was the Stars and Stripes so beautiful to my mind - the breeze of Tanganyika has such an effect. The guide blows his horn, and the shrill, wild clangour of it is far and near; and still the cannon muskets tell the noisy seconds. By this time the Arabs are fully alarmed; the natives of Ujiji, Waguha, Warundi, Wanguaga, and I know not whom, hurry up by the hundreds. Yambos shouted out to me by the dozen, and delighted Arabs have run up breathlessly to shake my hand and ask where I come from. But I have no patience with them. The expedition goes far too slow. I should like to settle the vexed question by one personal view. Where is he? Has he fled? Suddenly a man - a black man - at my elbow shouts in English: `How do you do, sir?' `Hello, who the deuce are you?' `I am the servant of Dr Livingstone,' he says; and before I can ask any more questions he is running like a madman towards the town. We have at last entered the town. There are hundreds of people - I might say thousands. It is a grand triumphal procession. All eyes are drawn towards us. The expedition at last comes to a halt; the journey is ended for a time; but I alone have a few more steps to make. There is a group of the most respectable Arabs and, as I come nearer, I see the white face of an old man among them. He has a cap with a gold band round it, a short jacket of red blanket cloth, and his pants - well, I didn't observe. I am shaking hands with him. We raise our hats, and I say: `Dr Livingstone, I presume?' And he says: `Yes.'"

Comments