« AnteriorContinuar »
with casks if he could have was as well that no man who gone to sea in no other way. had sailed aboard of her through The Mary floated; the survivors tempestuous seas had realised of the officers and crew, their what was under his feet. It strength restored, tidied her was found "that all her Cutand rigged her and made “ a water and Sterne were torne priddy ship of her so success- and beaten away, together with fully that by the last day of fourteene foote of her Keele, June she was ready to leave much of her sheathing cut the island, where she had lain away, her bows broken and since the previous November. bruised, and many
many timbers On 2nd July, with flags flying cracked within boord. And —the ship's ensign on the under the Starboord bulge a poop and the king's colour at sharp Rocke had cut thorow the main-James set sail, and the sheathing, the planke, and after a voyage perilous indeed, an inch and a half into a timber though not more perilous than that it met withall. Many was every venture in Northern other defects there were be. waters in those days, reached sides, so that it was miraculous Bristol safely on the 22nd Octo- how this vessell could bring us ber. The wonder-ship which home againe.” And what was had brought the company home, even more miraculous was that in defiance of all reasonable such a vessel should have found probabilities, was hauled up on such a man to salve and sail dry ground and examined. It her home.
THE MITIMONI RAIDERS.
On the Portuguese side of village. In fact, if ever the the Rovuma River, some eighty old adage “Put a beggar on miles east of Lake Nyasa, horseback was exemplified stands-or rather stood—the anywhere in this world, it village of. Mitimoni.
was in the conduct of those In its day it had been quite three native police officials at an important village. For the village of Mitimoni. merly it was the seat of the The groans of the oppresslocal government, for the Por- ed population ascended unto tuguese commandant had his heaven, but—and this was more house there, from which he important–they did not penedispensed justice to the sur- trate through the two hundred rounding district. In our day, miles of jungle that separated however, Mitimoni had fallen Mitimoni from the nearest Porfrom this high estate, and tuguese administrator. The when we first knew it, was police watched that. nothing more than a rather Many times my gorge has large Yao village, presided over risen at the tales that drifted by a native police “capitao" through the bush to our camp, and two constables.
but, of course, we could do These three gentlemen ruled nothing. We had not the ear with a rod of iron. They took of the Portuguese governor the first-fruits of all harvests, any more than the native had. especially of the rice crop. We could neither of us speak They commandeered the pick Portuguese—and the governor of the young girls. They levied could speak no language but toll on the river ford in the Portuguese—so that we had dry weather, and extracted an to converse with him through exorbitant fee for the canoe his native interpreter, we speakpassage in the wet season. They ing Yao and the native transinaugurated a system of free lating into Portuguese. labour for themselves and their Naturally, the interpreter (who, households, and collected a of course, drew large sums of private tax, in addition to the backsheesh from the police) regular Government poll tax, told the governor anything but from every one in the district. what we were complaining of. Furthermore, they systematic- Then, turning to us, he would ally robbed the stranger within naïvely promise
the the gate, and charged lodgings matter would be looked into !' at a very high figure to every This was as far as we ever got, traveller passing through the but we bided our time.
Our chance came when these hippo shooting. With an eye three policemen stopped one of to our future comfort we had our boys, and through some made it a rule that wherever misunderstanding as to where we stopped for a night, the he came from, severely thrashed Angoni people must build us a him prior to robbing him of his house. In later days these little store of money, and of houses were remarkably useful our letters which he was bring- as dak-bungalows, for use when ing to the camp. Now al- we were out after elephant. though we could not interfere Now during the dry season, between the villagers and the whole villages would flock to police, we most certainly could the Rovuma to catch fish. between our own boys and the Often they stayed for a month police, and as soon as ever I or more, and in time we began could get away, I set off with to realise that these hordes of a small following—including the natives were using our houses maltreated boy-for the village as a sort of home from home. of Mitimoni. It lay rather In this way the places were over one hundred miles west becoming rapidly unin habitable of our camp, but the going was —from a European point of fairly easy, and the journey was view --so we took steps to accomplished in five days. rectify matters. Boys were
The police capitao was most sent out from our camp with obliging, and offered me the instructions to throw out any choice of half the houses in natives who might be found the village to sleep in. As a occupying the Bwanas' houses, matter of fact, I elected to and afterwards to rebuild the sleep in my own tents, and houses and leave everything there, early next morning, I habitable. held my court. Having heard This was done, and a good the evidence for and against many sore heads were CONmy boy, I found a verdict tracted in the doing of it. Imagainst the police, and amid agine, then, my surprise when the terrified silence of the vil- my partner shortly afterwards lagers, administered the thrash- returned from a shoot and ining of his life to Police Capitao formed me that twenty-five Gombameti. I also gave a natives had not only taken smaller dose to the two con- possession of two of our houses stables by way of thoroughly but were actually digging their impressing upon them that the gardens round them! This person of the white man and was the limit, and we were all his household were sacrosanct still debating the best way of to police oppression.
once and for all putting a stop To appreciate what followed to this kind of thing, when it is necessary to go back a word was brought in that a little to the previous year, when native had been caught by a we had been doing a lot of lion.
Selimani, our capitao, in- strong line about the dogs," vestigated the business, and remarked R. “We might do strangely enough it turned out worse than broadcast that to be one of the boys who had yarn.” trespassed on our property. The more we thought about
Well, he's paid the price, it the better we liked the idea, Selimani," observed R. as the and eventually we decided to capitao related the tragedy to carry it out. Up and down us. “He should not have the countryside went the word slept in the Bwana's house, that the Bwanas then the lion would not have (lions) had been warned to caught him.”
guard all their property, and to No, Bwana,” replied Seli- eat anybody whom they found mani slowly, but I noticed that living in the Bwanas' houses. he looked very thoughtfully The effect of this was highly from one to the other of us. satisfactory, and we had no
“What’s he got into his further cause of complaint. head now? asked R. as Seli- To return now to the Mitimani went out. We could moni affair. always distinguish his “great Having executed justice on idea ?? look by this time.
the police I arranged to leave However, we thought no the next day, but before going more about it until later in I called together the whole the evening, when we hap- village, including the police, pened to be returning through and delivered a short but powerthe compound from an in- ful homily on the future penspection of our gardens. Seli- alties attached to the beating mani was sitting in the centre of any of the Bwanas' boys. of a circle of natives who were I was rather good at this sort listening open-mouthed to his of thing, and made a vast immonologue. We paused in the pression. Feeling my eloquence shelter of a hut and listened. beginning to fade before I had and you see,
see,” we properly rounded off the period, heard Selimani proclaiming in I searched in my mind for a his
sonorous accents, “the suitable climax. The sight of lions caught him because he a mangy dog in the village was in the Bwana's house. gave me the idea. Looking These are true words, because the capitao straight in the eye, the Bwana told me so himself. I said, as impressively as I Lions are the same as dogs could to the white man. This I
and as for you,
Gomknow-”and away he started bamuti. Be careful ! If I on some long-winded story to hear anything more of you I illustrate his point.
shall send two of my dogs We moved on, smiling, and over to fetch you to my camp ! went up to our house.
Thoroughly frightened, for " That seems to me to be a of course he understood the
allusion, Gombameti threw his the other. I could see somearms in front of his eyes to thing was wrong. ward off the threatened evil, “Bring the boys in, Seliand shrank back against the mani,” said R., and presently tent. For a moment I fixed we heard them approaching. him with what I imagined Come near,” I answered looked like an “evil eye,” and to their ceremonious inquiry, then, in silence, departed thor- and in they came—six sweatoughly satisfied that I had smeared natives, each hiding
put the wind up" Mitimoni. his eyes behind his hands. Indeed, from what I gathered What is it? What do on my way back to camp, my you here so far from your name was called blessed by homes ?
I began. the delighted villagers, though Oh, Great One, we have in the nostrils of the police it come for the bones of Capitao very properly stank.
Gombameti," quavered the The sequel to the affair was spokesman. not long delayed.
“What! Is he dead, then ?” Eleven days after my return I asked incredulously. we were sitting at dinner in "You know it,” he answered Siwezi Camp, when the cook- in a low voice. You sent boy rushed into the room to your dogs for him even as you inform us that six boys had said." arrived from Mitimoni.
Good Lord! You mean a “Oh !” said I. “What do lion got him ? they want ?
Two, oh, Great One! Two The cook looked down awk- you said would come—and two wardly at his feet and said came." nothing.
“But Gombameti isn't here,” “Didn't you hear" roared explained R. ?
“We haven't R. in a voice of thunder. (Severe got him—or his bones !' toothache had very consider- “The Great Ones but jest," ably shortened his already answered the old man solemnly. short enough temper.) But at “But I tell you I know that moment Selimani ran in. nothing about Gombameti. He He had already been to bed, is not here. This is foolish and his clothes showed signs talk. I have no dogs. White of a very hasty toilet.
men don't do things like that. “Bwana, they've come for Lions eat white men the same him," he burst out, his eyes as black men," I protested.
” rolling wildly in the lamplight. “Two dogs would be sent,
" Who's come for who? I the Great One said, and two asked petulantly.
dogs were sent,” intoned the “ Gombameti,” he mouthed. old man. “ This we know, and The boys have come for him.” So we have come for the bones
I looked from Selimani to that we may bury them, or where the cook stood, un- else the spirit of Gombameti easily rubbing one foot against will haunt the village."