African Camp Fires eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about African Camp Fires.
tied the cloth over his wonderful head; nor as far as we knew did he again remove it until the end of the expedition.  All his movements were inexpressibly graceful.  They reminded one somehow of Flaxman’s drawings of the Greek gods.  His face, too, was good-natured and likeable.  A certain half feminine, wild grace, combined with the queer effect of his headgear, caused us to name him Daphne.  At home he was called Kingangui.  At first he carried his burden after the fashion of savages—­on the back; and kept to the rear of the procession; and at evening consorted only with old Lightfoot.  As soon as opportunity offered, he built himself a marvellous iridescent ball of marabout feathers.  Each of these he split along the quill, so that they curled and writhed in the wind.  This picturesque charm he suspended from a short pole in front of his tent.  Also, he belonged to the Kikuyu tribe; he ate no game meat, but confined his diet to cornmeal porridge.  We were much interested in watching Daphne’s gradual conversion from savage ways to those of the regular porter.  Within two weeks he was carrying his load on his head or shoulder, and trying to keep up near the head of the safari.  The charm of feathers disappeared shortly after, I am sorry to say.  He took his share of the meat.  Within two months Daphne was imitating as closely as possible the manners and customs of his safari mates.  But he never really succeeded in looking anything but the wild and graceful savage he was.


[16] After the fashion of the Canadian tump line.

[17] Pronounce all the syllables.

[18] An entirely different stream from that flowing north of Mt.  Kenia.

[19] Pronounce every syllable.

[20] His official name was Lightfoot, Queen of the Fairies, because of his ballet-like costume.



For four hours we descended the valley through high thorn scrub or the occasional grassy openings.  We were now in the floor of the Rift Valley, and both along the escarpments and in the floor of the great blue valley itself mountains were all about us.  Most of the large ones were evidently craters; and everywhere were smaller kopjes or buttes, that in their day had also served as blow holes for subterranean fires.

At the end of this time we arrived at the place where we were supposed to find the wagon.  No wagon was there.

The spot was in the middle of a level plain on which grew very scattered bushes, a great deal like the sparser mesquite growths of Arizona.  Towards the Likipia Escarpment, and about half-way to its base, a line of trees marked the course of the Kedong River.  Beyond that, fairly against the mountain, we made out a settler’s house.

Leaving Billy and the safari, C. and I set out for this house.  The distance was long, and we had not made half of it before thunder clouds began to gather.  They came up thick and black behind the escarpment, and rapidly spread over the entire heavens.  We found the wagon shortly, still mending its dusselboom, or whatever the thing was.  Leaving instructions for it to proceed to a certain point on the Kedong River, we started back for our safari.

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African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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