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not like being nipped by ice. It is more like being lost in a maze, and, after nosing round, one usually wins clear, though at times it may be necessary to cleave a passage with the bill-hook, the anchor, and the double-handed saw-cutting through papyrus, tearing at the tangling Phragmites, severing the long stems of the waterconvolvulus, dislodging the floating amaranth and count less little Pistias. There are many orocodiles in Choga, and they may occasion unpleasant happenings. The other daythat phrase which in Africa replaces the fairy tale's "onee upon a time"-the other day a dug-out with two white men and its quota of black servants and paddlers encountered one, and the erocodile paid the penalty of getting too close to civilisation. He was nine feet long, and it was no easy matter to get him aboard, but eventually he lay on the rounded bottom of the uncertain vessel, which sped upon its way urged by its eben

orew.

One of the white men occupied a camp-chair, and sat with his face towards the bows. In a dug-out such a position is a fixture till land is reached, for one can play no pranks in a hollowed tree trunk, the most oranky of craft. The other sat towards the stern, and between the two were the black men and the crocodile. Suddenly the white man in the bow realised that some commotion was taking place behind his back. There were shouts and yells, the dug-out

lurched dangerously, his companion uttered a warning ery. In a momont he understoodthe crocodile had come alive. Presumably the bullet had merely grazed its spine and stunned it. Now the shock had passed off, and the saurian was beginning to make things lively. Its tail swung viciously from side to side, its jaws opened and snapped. Some of the blacks stumbled out of its way; one, a stout fellow, crouched between its snout and the back of his master's chair. The white man could not even turn round to see what was was happening, but fortunately he was a gentleman of resource, who was accustomed to travel with a knife fashioned from an old bayonet. Thanking his stars that he had it with him, he handed it back to his servant, and the plucky black, with one shrewd and powerful blow, drove the sharp steel through the monster's neck and pinned it to the wood of the dug-out. Then, with all speed, a course was shaped for land, which was reached without further misadventure. What remained of life in the crocodile was extinguished, and an adventure, which might easily have ended in tragedy, terminated happily.

The lake is full of fish on which the oroeediles feed, and here and there on islands or swampy promontories one comes upon little colonies of fishermen belonging to the Mukenzi, a tribe of the Bakenzi, the original lake-dwellers both of Choga and Kwania, the latter really a northern ex

tension of the larger sheet of sudded water.

The natives are almost amphibious. The dug-outs in which they visit the steamer to sell their day's catch are surely the most wretched in all Africa; miserable shells, scarcely raised above waterlevel, leaking badly, so that when their owners are not paddling they are baling, presumably for dear life, though whether beings who navigate in such craft could possibly drown or become the prey of crocodiles is, to say the least, doubtful. They are a curious primitive folk, but it seems a deadly existence to live in nakedness amongst swamps and reeds and mosquitoes the life of a frog and not of a man. Doubtless, however, the Mukenzi are content, which is more than most folk are, so it is no use wasting pity upon them. There is at first a strange beauty about these sudd regions of Africa, but it soon palls, for &ores of papyrus grow monotonous unless one has visions of making paper out of them, an industry which may one day one day transform these vast green stretches.

We are fortunate in finding the channel next morning, and plod along hour after hour till, far ahead, a very tall and very tall and solitary palm rises against the blue sky, marking the place of disembarkation for the Lake Albert road. The palm is said to be one mentioned by Sir Samuel Baker, the place is Masindi Port, and as much

like a port as is the corner of a duck-pond.

Perhaps the comparison is hardly fair, for the lake was high, and whatever landingplace exists had been submerged. As it was, the steamer anchored off a little bay flanked by reedy banks, and the passengers transferred themselves and their belongings into wobbly dug-outs, which have a wonderful holding capacity, and are well adapted for negotiating shoals and shallows. We disembark upon sundry planks, which keep the feet from being mired in the oozy slime of mud and rotting vegetation, and proceed up a slope to a spot where, opposite some tumbledown bandas, a motor-lorry is in waiting. Somehow it seems strangely out of place at Masindi Port.

The journey thence to Masindi is scarcely exhilarating. The road is red, there is bush and low forest where there are not clearings with banana groves. Here and there are hill-ranges where the prospect impreves, but it is rather a mournful and monotonous landscape, this bit of Unyoro, and calls for scant notice. Black night has shrouded it long before Masindi is reached, a black night lit by countless fireflies and resonant with the rumblings of distant thunder.

Masindi, the capital, has much to commend it. For one thing, it lies in open country, in a shallow basin covered with short rough grass, and looks out on wooded hill -ranges sufficiently picturesque. For

another, it is excellently kept, a clean trim place, the official bungalows well designed, homely and comfortable abodes, screened against the mosquito and yet pleasing to the eye. There is a little hotel in Masindi, no great shakes of a place, but better than the usual rest-house, and a very considerable native population occupies the congeries of huts which oluster amongst trees and plantains on the slopes to the south-west. A notable feature is the tower of the mission church, & pretentious red building bowered in greenery. What a change since Sir Samuel Baker's day! Yet, after all, though in mere externals Africa may change, her dark heart remains as of yore. Go into the little cemetery and you will see the tombstone of one who sought to defy superstition. He was told that if he felled a certain holy tree disaster would overtake him, but he laughed at native fears and native warnings possibly in a spirit of bravado, did the deed. Within a year he and all those associated with him in this impiety had vanished like the tree, and now his lonely grave is one of the sights of the station. It is at Masindi that one can obtain the interesting pottery glazed with plumbago and fashioned to resemble gourds of various shapes and sizes, attractive products of native manufacture with a beautiful jet-black lustre and very graceful outlines.

and,

One would fain have lingered at Masindi, a hospitable spot, but even the few hours avail

able were due to the need of repairs to the motor-lorry, and when these were completed we rolled off once more en route for Butiaba. The bush closed in upon the road as soon as the outskirts of Masindi were left behind, and again the journey grew monotonous until all at once weird sounds announced that everything was not well with the lorry. Far from it; for soon the ponderous vehicle was at a standstill, and her passengers, after waiting a while in vain and sending back a message for a repairer, had perforce to foot-slog it, hoping that ere night their camp outfits might reach them, and that threatening clouds would not burst before a coffee plantation was reached where there was a chance of food and shelter. The road improved as we tramped along it, for here and there clumps of mighty trees towered alongside, outliers, doubtless, of the great Budonga forest, home of the elephant and the chimpanzee.

We catch a glimpse of a colobus monkey swinging himself to earth, his white and sable livery conspicuous against the forest background, and then, somewhat suddenly, find signs of civilisation. We are in a coffee-growing country, and there are the shambas with their rows of pretty bushes, whereon cluster the beautiful red berries, which almost make one think of holly-trees and snow. Large tracts of the country are oultivated here, and the planters are waiting for the day when facilities will be given them for export to the

north. They are far, very far from the sea, these pioneers of Empire who have mastered the bush, but they grow good coffee and they live in hope. Like most Colonials, they are a hospitable folk, and, as usual, there are Scots among them, who can produce scones for tea and relish a tale in their native Dorio. A restful night at a picturesque homestead amongst the coffee, and we are off again next morning by the resuscitated lorry. For a space we leave the shambas and skirt the fringe of the primeval forest, which recalls the famous High Woods of southern Trinidad. There is a dense jungle, and out of it rise tall lean trees seeking the light. There is a multitude of creepers, a riot of green growth, and the ground is covered with rotting vegetation, the decay of ages.

The forest glades are almost ohilly, and the forest itself is very still. Even its clear streams are silent, slinking along amongst the undergrowth and starred in places with white flowers. Strange creatures lurk in the green depths-the man-like ape already mentioned, the giant forest hog, and little-known nocturnal ramblers. Here the elephants bear heavy tusks, and are savage from much hunting; but there is no sign of them as we lumber past their retreat.

Once more come coffee-fields, unhappily devastated by the deadly thrips, so that the once comely bushes look starved and lean and ragged, a sorry sight. But we think no more of coffee,

for, away beyond, we sight a mighty mountain-range, and we know we are looking at the Belgian Congo. A little farther and at the base of the distant range gleam the blue waters of a lake. It is our first glimpse of the Albert Nyanza. Ere long we are at the end of the motor journey, for the winding road down the steep escarpment to Lake Albert is not yet ready for traffic, and so we halt upon the brink and, dismounting, look down upon the quiet stretch of waters which gladdened the eyes of Baker and his heroic wife on March 14th, 1864.

The prospect is superb, the long blue lake lying in its mountain trough, narrowing to the north, where the Bahrel-Jebel leaves it, stretching at its full breadth of five-andtwenty miles away to the south where lies the snowcapped Ruwenzori, invisible from where we stand. About us are blocks of rough granite, and a stony path twists and twines down the hill-face to the seven miles or so of level bush - covered land which reaches out to the lake margin. Purple-grey and vast, beyond the lake, lies the Congo buttress, 7000 feet in height, and seemingly rising sheer from the Nyanza, whieh to-day is smooth as glass, placid as any pond. In the foreground at the lake's verge lies Butiaba : a few houses, a few huts, the port from which the steamer starts, the little white steamer which we can make out clearly with the glass, and which is called Sir Samuel Baker.

It is easy work swinging proach, he makes for a bed of downhill, albeit the track is reeds. The lake is very high, steep and rough and stony, and much of what was once and must try the porters who, dry land is under water. We with impedimenta upon their pull slowly along such a subheads, follow us as we descend. merged bank, from which The geing is heavy amongst bushes and even trees thrust the sand of the alluvial flats, upwards with bare branches, which are full of salt and sup- killed by the long immersion. port euphorbias and little else. Indeed, it is rather a dreary trudge, though we have the memory of a fine view to cheer us and the prospect of a bit of sport at Butiaba, where there is fishing fit for a lord.

Emerging from the seraggy bush we cross the open and find ourselves upon the verge of a kind of lagoon, an overflow from the lake, which has to be crossed in a dug-out. Thereafter we pass a few Bagaya dwellings, with their curious food stores, like beehives set on poles, Anon we come upon an Ajowa village, with yet another type of grain store, and soon reach Butiaba, a cluster of thatched huts with European houses some little distance off. At a tiny wharf lies the white paddle-steamer, smart as paint and polishing can make her. The night is spent under a hospitable roof close to the lake shore, and in the morning, ere it grows hot, two of us embark in a tiny steel dinghy with a sturdy black as oarsman, and push off, armed with a tarpon rod and the stoutest of tackle, for we are in quest of the giant Nile peroh, Lates niloticus. It is very calm on the lake, the surface unbroken save where an otter's head oleaves the surface, as, startled by our ap

For a time nothing happens as, with a dead fish for bait fixed in a truly formidable apparatus of metal framework and hooks, we trawl slowly round a point.

Suddenly, however, there is a cheek. a cheek. "A snag surely!" is the thought, for the feeling is as though one was fast to the Continent of Africa. But no! the reel spins, the line travels out faster and faster. There can be no doubt we are into a big fish. It is a wild rush, and yard after yard of stout tackle vanishes into the depths. On goes the powerful brake and the strain begins to tell. The line slackens, cautiously we reel in, the black rower pulling slowly off-shore the while, well into deep water. Then once again the reel handle whizzes as the fish dashes for freedom. Again the brake checks him, and as the line rises it is apparent that the quarry is seeking the surface. Fifty or sixty yards away he breaks it and hurls himself into the sunlight, a huge mass like molten silver, curving in the air like a leaping salmon and splashing heavily as he regains his element. He sounds and down goes the taut line, and the thick rod quivers and bends and the arms grow weary. There can be no

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