“Oh,” said Capt. Webb, “it is all very well for you to talk about energy and all that kind of thing, but I assure you that a residence of four or five years on this island, among such people as are here, would make you feel that it was a hopeless task to resist the influence of the example by which the most energetic spirits are subdued, and to which they must submit in time, sooner or later. We were all terribly energetic when we first came here, and struggled bravely to make things go on as we were accustomed to have them at home, but we have found that we were knocking our heads against granite walls to no purpose whatever. These fellows— the Arabs, the Banyans, and the Hindis—you can’t make them go faster by ever so much scolding and praying, and in a very short time you see the folly of fighting against the unconquerable. Be patient, and don’t fret, that is my advice, or you won’t live long here.”
There were three or four intensely busy men, though, at Zanzibar, who were out at all hours of the day. I know one, an American; I fancy I hear the quick pit-pat of his feet on the pavement beneath the Consulate, his cheery voice ringing the salutation, “Yambo!” to every one he met; and he had lived at Zanzibar twelve years.
I know another, one of the sturdiest of Scotchmen, a most pleasant-mannered and unaffected man, sincere in whatever he did or said, who has lived at Zanzibar several years, subject to the infructuosities of the business he has been engaged in, as well as to the calor and ennui of the climate, who yet presents as formidable a front as ever to the apathetic native of Zanzibar. No man can charge Capt. H. C. Fraser, formerly of the Indian Navy, with being apathetic.
I might with ease give evidence of the industry of others, but they are all my friends, and they are all good. The American, English, German, and French residents have ever treated me with a courtesy and kindness I am not disposed to forget. Taken as a body, it would be hard to find a more generous or hospitable colony of white men in any part of the world.
CHAPTER III. ORGANIZATION OF THE EXPEDITION.
I was totally ignorant of the interior, and it was difficult at first to know, what I needed, in order to take an Expedition into Central Africa. Time was precious, also, and much of it could not be devoted to inquiry and investigation. In a case like this, it would have been a godsend, I thought, had either of the three gentlemen, Captains Burton, Speke, or Grant, given some information on these points; had they devoted a chapter upon, “How to get ready an Expedition for Central Africa.” The purpose of this chapter, then, is to relate how I set about it, that other travellers coming after me may have the benefit of my experience.
These are some of the questions I asked myself, as I tossed on my bed at night:—
“How much money is required?”