A JOURNEY OF EXPLORATION
Being the Narrative of
My reason for the publication of the following narrative may be briefly stated. The Expedition which I commanded was of a public character, and it was imperative that some account of its doings should be produced. That being the case, I resolved to clothe the dry bones of a mere report in the flesh and blood of a narrative. I call honestly say that the prospect of writing it was one which had very little attractiveness for me, and that, if I am delighted to hand it over to the reader, it is more because my task is finished than from any expectations of a favourable reception.
I suppose I need hardly attempt to deprecate criticism.. Still I may be allowed to remind the reader and reviewer that one who at the age, of twentysix has undertaken three separate expeditions to the interior of Africa cannot be expected to have had much opportunity to acquire the graces of literature, or an elegant style. I have poured this narrative forth redhot, without any delicate weighing of words, or conning over of sentences, content that my meaning be expressed, whatever might be its guise.
I should have liked to be able to say that "Through Land" has been written under palmtrees, or amid other romantic surroundings. A regard for truth, however, compels me to make the confession that it has been entirely composed under the customary prosaic surroundings of the "easychair geographer."[X] As in the case of my former book, "To the Central African Lakes and Back, "I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to my brother, the Rev. J. B. Thomson, of Greenock, who has relieved me of the irksome work of literary revision, seen the book through the press, and otherwise saved me a world of trouble.
I need but add that with one or two exceptions the illustrations are from photographs taken by myself in the course of the Expedition. For several of the Wanyika and Wateita illustrations I have to thank my friend the Rev. A. D. Shaw, of Rabai, Mombasa, who kindly placed his collection of photographs at my command, and thus added another to the numerous obligations under which he has placed me.NOTE TO NEW EDITION.
In introducing a new and cheaper edition of this narrative to the public, little requires to be said. Some additions, a few corrections, and, it is hoped, a number of literary improvements have been made, tending to render the book more useful and more readable.
The chief fact to be noted is that, since the appearance of the earliest edition, great political changes have occurred in East Central Africa.
Then (1885) Masai Land was for the first time made known to the world; now it has come within the "sphere of British influence," a delicate way, I suppose, of saying that it now practically forms a part of our Imperial possessions.
Reasons of State, obscure to ordinary morals have made it necessary to sacrifice Seyyid Barghash, Sultan of Zanzibar. We have, under these circumstances, but to congratulate ourselves that we have had an Arguseyed and farseeing diplomatist to look after our interests. In possession of the beautiful plateaulands of Masai Land, and healthy, easy route to the interior, we may look with equanimity on our German neighbours further south, sweating in the malarious marshes, or attempting to exploit the inhospitable regions inland.
I am singularly happy in being able to incorporate a note on the recent development of events in East Africa, by Sir John Kirk, G.C.M.G., whose unwearied care and watchfulness and farseeing policy have not always received the recognition they deserve. His influence in the cause of African Exploration has been great, and lie might well be called the Friend of Travellers.
Others besides diplomatists have not been slow to see the value of Masai Land. At this moment numerous sportsmen [XII] are seeking adventures around Kilimanjaro; while, on the other hand, the extraordinary caves, the wonderful volcanic mountains, and other physical* features described in these pages, have supplied material sufficiently romantic to stimulate the imaginative efforts of a recent novelist.
The advantage of the newlyrevealed route to Victoria Nyanza was promptly recognized by the Church Missionary Society; but unfortunately a rashlymanaged and somewhat illtimed attempt to utilize it, ending in a calamitous massacre, has postponed the possibility of fully profiting by it.
It only remains for the commercial world, seeking new fields and new outlets for its trade, to open its eyes to the extreme fertility of the soil andfor Africa salubrity of the climate, in order to make British influence in that region something more than a political fiction.
As the relief of Emin Pasha is at present a subject of absorbing interest, I may be permitted, in conclusion, to refer to the expedition for that purpose. I cannot but express my surprise that a route which no authority can deny to be at once the shortest, the healthiest, and the least obstructed by physical difficulties, should, notwithstanding the urgency of the crisis, have been discarded in favour of a route not only incomparably more tedious, but obviously much more trying in its character. An expedition of manageable proportions might easily have pushed with rapidity, and with perfect security as to supplies, through Masai Land and put Emin Pasha in possession of the ammunition, &c., he so pressingly needs to save himself and his brave party from annihilation; while a supplementary expedition might have cooperated to secure the leisurely retreat of the beleaguered garrison.
If Emin Pasha is in the desperate plight represented by his friends, it is manifest that haste in getting into touch with him is of paramount importancea fact apparently lost sight of in the elaborate preparations for the bringing away of a party which meanwhile may be massacred.CONTENTS. INTRODUCTION to the THIRD EDITION
NOTE TO NEW EDITION.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONSTHROUGH MASAI LAND.
TO TAVETA.CHAPTER III.
A FORTNIGHT IN A FOREST FASTNESS.CHAPTER IV.
THROUGH THE DOOR OF THE MASAI.CHAPTER V.
PREPARATION FOR A NEW ATTEMPT.CHAPTER VI.
ONWARD ONCE MORE!CHAPTER VII.
TO KIKUYUCHAPTER VIII.
TO LAKE NAIVASHA.CHAPTER IX.
TO LAKE BARINGO Via MOUNT KENIA.CHAPTER X.
MASAI LAND AND THE MASAI.CHAPTER XI.
THROUGH KAVIRONDO TO VICTORIA NYANZA.CHAPTER XII.
BACK TO BARINGO viâ ELGON.CHAPTER XIII.
SPORT AT BARINGO AND JOURNEY COASTWARD.BRITAIN AND GERMANY IN EAST AFRICA. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Illust. 1 On the War path in
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