Arrival of H.M.S. "Gorgon"--Dr. Livingstone's new steamer and Mrs. Livingstone--Death of Mrs. Livingstone--Voyage to Johanna and the Rovuma--An attack upon the "Pioneer's" boats.
We anchored on the Great Luabo mouth of the Zambesi, because wood was much more easily obtained there than at the Kongone.
On the 30th, H.M.S. "Gorgon" arrived, towing the brig which brought Mrs. Livingstone, some ladies about to join their relatives in the Universities' Mission, and the twenty-four sections of a new iron steamer intended for the navigation of Lake Nyassa. The "Pioneer" steamed out, and towed the brig into the Kongone harbour. The new steamer was called the "Lady of the Lake," or the "Lady Nyassa," and as much as could be carried of her in one trip was placed, by the help of the officers and men of the "Gorgon," on board the "Pioneer," and the two large paddle-box boats of H.M.'s ship. We steamed off for Ruo on the 10th of February, having on board Captain Wilson, with a number of his officers and men to help us to discharge the cargo. Our progress up was distressingly slow. The river was in flood, and we had a three-knot current against us in many places. These delays kept us six months in the delta, instead of, as we anticipated, only six days; for, finding it impossible to carry the sections up to the Ruo without great loss of time, it was thought best to land them at Shupanga, and, putting the hull of the "Lady Nyassa" together there, to tow her up to the foot of the Murchison Cataracts.
A few days before the "Pioneer" reached Shupanga, Captain Wilson, seeing the hopeless state of affairs, generously resolved to hasten with the Mission ladies up to those who, we thought, were anxiously awaiting their arrival, and therefore started in his gig for the Ruo, taking Miss Mackenzie, Mrs. Burrup, and his surgeon, Dr. Ramsay. They were accompanied by Dr. Kirk and Mr. Sewell, paymaster of the "Gorgon," in the whale-boat of the "Lady Nyassa." As our slow-paced- launch, "Ma Robert," had formerly gone up to the foot of the cataracts in nine days' steaming, it was supposed that the boats might easily reach the expected meeting-place at the Ruo in a week; but the Shire was now in flood, and in its most rapid state; and they were longer in getting up about half the distance, than it was hoped they would be in the whole navigable part of the river. They could hear nothing of the Bishop from the chief of the island, Malo, at the mouth of the Ruo. "No white man had ever come to his village," he said. They proceeded on to Chibisa's, suffering terribly from mosquitoes at night. Their toil in stemming the rapid current made them estimate the distance, by the windings, as nearer 300 than 200 miles. The Makololo who had remained at Chibisa's told them the sad news of the death of the good Bishop and of Mr. Burrup. Other information received there awakened fresh anxiety on behalf of the survivors; so, leaving the ladies with Dr. Ramsay and the Makololo, Captain Wilson and Dr. Kirk went up the hills, in hopes of being able to render assistance, and on the way they met some of the Mission party at Soche's. The excessive fatigue that our friends had undergone in the voyage up to Chibisa's in no wise deterred them from this further attempt for the benefit of their countrymen, but the fresh labour, with diminished rations, was too much for their strength. They were reduced to a diet of native beans and an occasional fowl. Both became very ill of fever, Captain Wilson so dangerously that his fellow-sufferer lost all hopes of his recovery. His strong able-bodied cockswain did good service in cheerfully carrying his much-loved Commander, and they managed to return to the boat, and brought the two bereaved and sorrow-stricken ladies back to the "Pioneer."
We learnt that the Bishop, wishing to find a shorter route down to the Shire, had sent two men to explore the country between Magomero and the junction of the Ruo; and in December Messrs. Proctor and Scudamore, with a number of Manganja carriers, left Magomero for the same purpose. They were to go close to Mount Choro, and then skirt the Elephant Marsh, with Mount Clarendon on their left. Their guides seem to have led them away to the east, instead of south; to the upper waters of the Ruo in the Shirwa valley, instead of to its mouth. Entering an Anguru slave-trading village, they soon began to suspect that the people meant mischief, and just before sunset a woman told some of their men that if they slept there they would all be killed. On their preparing to leave, the Anguru followed them and shot their arrows at the retreating party. Two of the carriers were captured, and all the goods were taken by these robbers. An arrow- head struck deep into the stock of Proctor's gun; and the two missionaries, barely escaping with their lives, swam a deep river at night, and returned to Magomero famished and exhausted.
The wives of the captive carriers came to the Bishop day after day weeping and imploring him to rescue their husbands from slavery. The men had been caught while in his service, no one else could be entreated; there was no public law nor any power superior to his own, to which an appeal could be made; for in him Church and State were, in the disorganized state of the country, virtually united. It seemed to him to be clearly his duty to try and rescue these kidnapped members of the Mission family. He accordingly invited the veteran Makololo to go with him on this somewhat hazardous errand. Nothing could have been proposed to them which they would have liked better, and they went with alacrity to eat the sheep of the Anguru, only regretting that the enemy did not keep cattle as well. Had the matter been left entirely in their hands, they would have made a clean sweep of that part of the country; but the Bishop restrained them, and went in an open manner, thus commending the measure to all the natives, as one of justice. This deliberation, however, gave the delinquents a chance of escape.
The missionaries were successful; the offending village was burned, and a few sheep and goats were secured which could not be considered other than a very mild punishment for the offence committed; the headman, Muana-somba, afraid to retain the prisoners any longer, forthwith liberated them, and they returned to their homes. This incident took place at the time we were at the Ruo and during the rains, and proved very trying to the health of the missionaries; they were frequently wetted, and had hardly any food but roasted maize. Mr. Scudamore was never well afterwards. Directly on their return to Magomero, the Bishop and Mr. Burrup, both suffering from diarrhoea in consequence of wet, hunger, and exposure, started for Chibisa's to go down to the Ruo by the Shire. So fully did the Bishop expect a renewal of the soaking wet from which he had just returned, that on leaving Magomero he walked through the stream. The rivulets were so swollen that it took five days to do a journey that would otherwise have occupied only two days and a half.
None of the Manganja being willing to take them down the river during the flood, three Makololo canoe-men agreed to go with them. After paddling till near sunset, they decided to stop and sleep on shore; but the mosquitoes were so numerous that they insisted on going on again; the Bishop, being a week behind the time he had engaged to be at the Ruo, reluctantly consented, and in the darkness the canoe was upset in one of the strong eddies or whirlpools, which suddenly boil up in flood time near the outgoing branches of the river; clothing, medicines, tea, coffee, and sugar were all lost. Wet and weary, and tormented by mosquitoes, they lay in the canoe till morning dawned, and then proceeded to Malo, an island at the mouth of the Ruo, where the Bishop was at once seized with fever.