Mr. John Sunley, of Pomone, Johanna, an island in the Comoro group.
Degraded state of the Manyuema. Want of writing materials. Lion’s fat a specific against tsetse. The Neggeri. Jottings about Merere. Various sizes of tusks. An epidemic. The strangest disease of all! The New Year. Detention at Bambarre. Goitre. News of the cholera. Arrival of coast caravan. The parrot’s-feather challenge. Murder of James. Men arrive as servants. They refuse to go north. Parts at last with malcontents. Receives letters from Dr. Kirk and the Sultan. Doubts as to the Congo or Nile. Katomba presents a young soko. Forest scenery. Discrimination of the Manyuema. They “want to eat a white one.” Horrible bloodshed by Ujiji traders. Heartsore and sick of blood. Approach Nyangwe. Reaches the Lualaba.
6th December, 1870.—Oh, for Dugumbe or Syde to come! but this delay may be all for the best. The parrots all seize their food, and hold it with the left hand, the lion, too, is left-handed; he strikes with the left, so are all animals left-handed save man.
I noticed a very pretty woman come past this quite jauntily about a month ago, on marriage with Monasimba. Ten goats were given; her friends came and asked another goat, which being refused, she was enticed away, became sick of rheumatic fever two days afterwards, and died yesterday. Not a syllable of regret for the beautiful young creature does one hear, but for the goats: “Oh, our ten goats!”—they cannot grieve too much—“Our ten goats—oh! oh!”
Basanga wail over those who die in bed, but not over those who die in battle: the cattle are a salve for all sores. Another man was killed within half a mile of this: they quarrelled, and there is virtually no chief. The man was stabbed, the village burned, and the people all fled: they are truly a bloody people!
A man died near this, Monasimba went to his wife, and after washing he may appear among men. If no widow can be obtained, he must sit naked behind his house till some one happens to die, all the clothes he wore are thrown away. They are the lowest of the low, and especially in bloodiness: the man who killed a woman without cause goes free, he offered his grandmother to be killed in his stead, and after a great deal of talk nothing was done to him!
8th December, 1870.—Suleiman-bin-Juma lived on the mainland, Mosessame, opposite Zanzibar: it is impossible to deny his power of foresight, except by rejecting all evidence, for he frequently foretold the deaths of great men among Arabs, and he was pre-eminently a good man, upright and sincere: “Thirti,” none like him now for goodness and skill. He said that two middle-sized white men, with straight noses and flowing hair down to the girdle behind, came at times, and told him things to come. He died twelve years ago, and left no successor; he foretold his own decease three days beforehand by cholera. “Heresi,” a ball of hair rolled in the stomach of a lion, is a grand charm to the animal and to Arabs. Mohamad has one.