With all his other work, he was still enthusiastic in science. “I have written Professor Buckland,” he says to Mr. Watt (May, 1845), “and send him specimens too, but have not received any answer. I have a great lot by me now. I don’t know whether he received my letter or not. Could you ascertain? I am trying to procure specimens of the entire geology of this region, and will try and make a sort of chart. I am taking double specimens now, so that if one part is lost, I can send another. The great difficulty is transmission. I sent a dissertation on the decrease of water in Africa. Call on Professor Owen and ask if he wants anything in the four jars I still possess, of either rhinoceros, camelopard, etc., etc. If he wants these, or anything else these jars will hold, he must send me more jars and spirits of wine.”
He afterward heard of the fate of one of the boxes of specimens he had sent home—that which contained the fossils of Bootchap. It was lost on the railway after reaching England, in custody of a friend. “The thief thought the box contained bullion, no doubt. You may think of one of the faces in Punch as that of the scoundrel, when he found in the box a lot of ‘chuckystanes.’” He had got many nocturnal-feeding, animals, but the heat made it very difficult to preserve them. Many valuable seeds he had sent to Calcutta, with the nuts of the desert, but had heard nothing of them. He had lately got knowledge of a root to which the same virtues were attached as to ergot of rye. He tells his friend about the tsetse, the fever, the north wind, and other African notabilia. These and many other interesting points of information are followed up by the significant question—
“Who will penetrate through Africa?”
Want of rain at Chonuane—Removal to Kolobeng—House-building and public works—Hopeful prospects—Letters to Mr. Watt, his sister, and Dr. Bennett—The church at Kolobeng—Pure communion—Conversion of Sechele—Letter from his brother Charles—His history—Livingstone’s relations with the Boers—He cannot get native teachers planted in the East—Resolves to explore northwards—Extracts from Journal—Scarcity of water—Wild animals and other risks—Custom-house robberies and annoyances—Visit from Secretary of London Missionary Society—Manifold employments of Livingstone—Studies in Sichuana—His reflection on this period of his life while detained at Manyuema in 1870.