On our first trip we met, at the landing opposite this place, a middle-aged woman of considerable intelligence, and possessing more knowledge of the country than any of the men. Our first definite information about Lake Nyassa was obtained from her. Seeing us taking notes, she remarked that she had been to the sea, and had there seen white men writing. She had seen camels also, probably among the Arabs. She was the only Manganja woman we ever met who was ashamed of wearing the "pelele," or lip-ring. She retired to her hut, took it out, and kept her hand before her mouth to hide the hideous hole in the lip while conversing with us. All the villagers respected her, and even the headmen took a secondary place in her presence. On inquiring for her now, we found that she was dead. We never obtained sufficient materials to estimate the relative mortality of the highlands and lowlands; but, from many very old white-headed blacks having been seen on the highlands, we think it probable that even native races are longer lived the higher their dwelling-places are.
We landed below at Mikena's and took observations for longitude, to verify those taken two years before. The village was deserted, Mikena and his people having fled to the other side of the river. A few had come across this morning to work in their old gardens. After completing the observations we had breakfast; and, as the last of the things were being carried into the boat, a Manganja man came running down to his canoe, crying out, "The Ajawa have just killed my comrade!" We shoved off, and in two minutes the advanced guard of a large marauding party were standing with their muskets on the spot where we had taken breakfast. They were evidently surprised at seeing us there, and halted; as did also the main body of perhaps a thousand men. "Kill them," cried the Manganja; "they are going up to the hills to kill the English," meaning the missionaries we had left at Magomero. But having no prospect of friendly communication with them, nor confidence in Manganja's testimony, we proceeded down the river; leaving the Ajawa sitting under a large baobab, and the Manganja cursing them most energetically across the river.
On our way up, we had seen that the people of Zimika had taken refuge on a long island in the Shire, where they had placed stores of grain to prevent it falling into the hands of the Ajawa; supposing afterwards that the invasion and war were past, they had removed back again to the mainland on the east, and were living in fancied security. On approaching the chief's village, which was built in the midst of a beautiful grove of lofty wild-fig and palm trees, sounds of revelry fell upon our ears. The people were having a merry time-- drumming, dancing, and drinking beer--while a powerful enemy was close at hand, bringing death or slavery to every one in the village. One of our men called out to several who came to the bank to look at us, that the Ajawa were coming and were even now at Mikena's village; but they were dazed with drinking, and took no notice of the warning.
Crowds of carriers offered their services after we left the river. Several sets of them placed so much confidence in us, as to decline receiving payment at the end of the first day; they wished to work another day, and so receive both days' wages in one piece. The young headman of a new village himself came on with his men. The march was a pretty long one, and one of the men proposed to lay the burdens down beside a hut a mile or more from the next village. The headman scolded the fellow for his meanness in wishing to get rid of our goods where we could not procure carriers, and made him carry them on. The village, at the foot of the cataracts, had increased very much in size and wealth since we passed it on our way up. A number of large new huts had been built; and the people had a good stock of cloth and beads. We could not account for this sudden prosperity, until we saw some fine large canoes, instead of the two old, leaky things which lay there before. This had become a crossing-place for the slaves that the Portuguese agents were carrying to Tette, because they were afraid to take them across nearer to where the ship lay, about seven miles off. Nothing was more disheartening than this conduct of the Manganja, in profiting by the entire breaking up of their nation.
We reached the ship on the 8th of November, 1861, in a very weak condition, having suffered more from hunger than on any previous trip. Heavy rains commenced on the 9th, and continued several days; the river rose rapidly, and became highly discoloured. Bishop Mackenzie came down to the ship on the 14th, with some of the "Pioneer's" men, who had been at Magomero for the benefit of their health, and also for the purpose of assisting the Mission. The Bishop appeared to be in excellent spirits, and thought that the future promised fair for peace and usefulness. The Ajawa having been defeated and driven off while we were on the Lake, had sent word that they desired to live at peace with the English. Many of the Manganja had settled round Magomero, in order to be under the protection of the Bishop; and it was hoped that the slave-trade would soon cease in the highlands, and the people be left in the secure enjoyment of their industry. The Mission, it was also anticipated, might soon become, to a considerable degree, self-supporting, and raise certain kinds of food, like the Portuguese of Senna and Quillimane. Mr. Burrup, an energetic young man, had arrived at Chibisa's the day before the Bishop, having come up the Shire in a canoe. A surgeon and a lay brother followed behind in another canoe. The "Pioneer's" draught being too much for the upper part of the Shire, it was not deemed advisable to bring her up, on the next trip, further than the Ruo; the Bishop, therefore, resolved to explore the country from Magomero to the mouth of that river, and to meet the ship with his sisters and Mrs. Burrup, in January. This was arranged before parting, and then the good Bishop and Burrup, whom we were never to meet again, left us; they gave and received three hearty English cheers as they went to the shore, and we steamed off.
The rains ceased on the 14th, and the waters of the Shire fell, even more rapidly than they had risen. A shoal, twenty miles below Chibisa's, checked our further progress, and we lay there five weary weeks, till the permanent rise of the river took place. During this detention, with a large marsh on each side, the first death occurred in the Expedition which had now been three-and-a-half years in the country. The carpenter's mate, a fine healthy young man, was seized with fever. The usual remedies had no effect; he died suddenly while we were at evening prayers, and was buried on shore. He came out in the "Pioneer," and, with the exception of a slight touch of fever at the mouth of the Rovuma, had enjoyed perfect health all the time he had been with us. The Portuguese are of opinion that the European who has immunity from this disease for any length of time after he enters the country is more likely to be cut off by it when it does come, than the man who has it frequently at first.
The rains became pretty general towards the close of December, and the Shire was in flood in the beginning of January, 1862. At our wooding-place, a mile above the Ruo, the water was three feet higher than it was when we were here in June; and on the night of the 6th it rose eighteen inches more, and swept down an immense amount of brushwood and logs which swarmed with beetles and the two kinds of shells which are common all over the African continent. Natives in canoes were busy spearing fish in the meadows and creeks, and appeared to be taking them in great numbers. Spur-winged geese, and others of the knob-nosed species, took advantage of the low gardens being flooded, and came to pilfer the beans. As we passed the Ruo, on the 7th, and saw nothing of the Bishop, we concluded that he had heard from his surgeon of our detention, and had deferred his journey. He arrived there five days after, on the 12th.
After paying our Senna men, as they wished to go home, we landed them here. All were keen traders, and had invested largely in native iron-hoes, axes, and ornaments. Many of the hoes and spears had been taken from the slaving parties whose captives we liberated; for on these occasions our Senna friends were always uncommonly zealous and active. The remainder had been purchased with the old clothes we had given them and their store of hippopotamus meat: they had no fear of losing them, or of being punished for aiding us. The system, in which they had been trained, had eradicated the idea of personal responsibility from their minds. The Portuguese slaveholders would blame the English alone, they said; they were our servants at the time. No white man on board could purchase so cheaply as these men could. Many a time had their eloquence persuaded a native trader to sell for a bit of dirty worn cloth things for which he had, but a little before, refused twice the amount of clean new calico. "Scissors" being troubled with a cough at night, received a present of a quilted coverlet, which had seen a good deal of service. A few days afterwards, a good chance of investing in hoes offering itself, he ripped off both sides, tore them into a dozen pieces, and purchased about a dozen hoes with them.