My Dear Sir William, I have great pleasure in dedicating this book to you. It professes to be the Official Report to yourself and the Emin Relief Committee of what we have experienced and endured during our mission of Relief, which circumstances altered into that of Rescue. You may accept it as a truthful record of the journeyings of the Expedition which you and the Emin Relief Committee entrusted to my guidance. I regret that I was not able to...
My Dear Sir William,
I have great pleasure in dedicating this book to you. It professes to be the Official Report to yourself and the Emin Relief Committee of what we have experienced and endured during our mission of Relief, which circumstances altered into that of Rescue. You may accept it as a truthful record of the journeyings of the Expedition which you and the Emin Relief Committee entrusted to my guidance.
I regret that I was not able to accomplish all that I burned to do when I set out from England in January, 1887, but the total collapse of the Government of Equatoria thrust upon us the duty of conveying in hammocks so many aged and sick people, and protecting so many helpless and feeble folk, that we became transformed from a small fighting column of tried men into a mere Hospital Corps to whom active adventure was denied. The Governor was half blind and possessed much luggage, Casati was weakly and had to be carried, and 90 per cent. of their followers were, soon after starting, scarcely able to travel from age, disease, weakness or infancy. Without sacrificing our sacred charge, to assist which was the object of the Expedition, we could neither deviate to the right or to the left, from the most direct road to the sea.
You who throughout your long and varied life have steadfastly believed in the Christian's God, and before men have professed your devout thankfulness for many mercies vouchsafed to you, will better understand than many others the feelings which animate me when I find myself back again in civilization, uninjured in life or health, after passing through so many stormy and distressful periods. Constrained at the darkest hour to humbly confess that without God's help I was helpless, I vowed a vow in the forest solitudes that I would confess His aid before men. A silence as of death was round about me; it was midnight; I was weakened by illness, prostrated with fatigue and worn with anxiety for my white and black companions, whose fate was a mystery. In this physical and mental distress I besought God to give me back my people. Nine hours later we were exulting with a rapturous joy. In full view of all was the crimson flag with the crescent, and beneath its waving folds was the long-lost rear column.
Again, we had emerged into the open country out of the forest, after such experiences as in the collective annals of African travels there is no parallel. We were approaching the region wherein our ideal Governor was reported to be beleaguered. All that we heard from such natives as our scouts caught prepared us for desperate encounters with multitudes, of whose numbers or qualities none could inform us intelligently, and when the population of Undusuma swarmed in myriads on the hills, and the valleys seemed alive with warriors, it really seemed to us in our dense ignorance of their character and power, that these were of those who hemmed in the Pasha to the west. If he with his 4000 soldiers appealed for help, what could we effect with 173? The night before I had been reading the exhortation of Moses to Joshua, and whether it was the effect of those brave words, or whether it was a voice, I know not, but it appeared to me as though I heard: ""Be strong, and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord thy God He it is that doth go with thee, He will not fail thee nor forsake thee."" When on the next day Mazamboni commanded his people to attack and exterminate us, there was not a coward in our camp, whereas the evening before we exclaimed in bitterness on seeing four of our men fly before one native, ""And these are the wretches with whom we must reach the Pasha!""
And yet again. Between the confluence of the Ihuru and the Dui rivers in December 1888, 150 of the best and strongest of our men had been despatched to forage for food. They had been absent for many days more than they ought to have been, and in the meantime 130 men besides boys and women were starving. They were supported each day with a cup of warm thin broth, made of butter, milk and water, to keep death away as long as possible. When the provisions were so reduced that there were only sufficient for thirteen men for ten days, even of the thin broth with four tiny biscuits each per day, it became necessary for me to hunt up the missing men. They might, being without a leader, have been reckless, and been besieged by an overwhelming force of vicious dwarfs. My following consisted of sixty-six men, a few women and children, who, more active than the others, had assisted the thin fluid with the berries of the phrynium and the amomum, and such fungi as could be discovered in damp places, and therefore were possessed of some little strength, though the poor fellows were terribly emaciated. Fifty-one men, besides boys and women, were so prostrate with debility and disease that they would be hopelessly gone if within a few hours food did not arrive.