ON May 12th we reached Beira Bay. It is so large that as we steam in we can only just see the mouth of the Pungwé river in the distance. The land looks flat in every direction--indeed the spit of sand on which Beira itself is built looks as if it would disappear under a high tide. There was a delay of three days here, transhipping stores, &c., and then we went up the Pungwé in a small river steamer. It is very broad at its mouth, with mangrove swamps on both sides. The following day we spent on a sandbank, not getting off till the evening, when we went on for a mile and then stuck again, remaining there all night and the next day, which was Sunday. Late in the evening, when nearly every atom of cargo had been removed, we floated off, but stuck twice again.
I went to the two lighters that were following our steamer to try and have Service for the natives on board, but found them being towed along by some fifty men in the water, and the shouting and holloaing made any service impossible. There are about a hundred natives on the lighters going up for road-making in Mashonaland, and their overseers (white men) tell me 'they are an admirable lot,' and I [17/18] gathered from their behaviour at our Service together last Sunday that they must nearly all be Christians.
Higher up still, we reached the Portuguese settlement of Nevez Ferreira. I landed, and was most hospitably received by the Portuguese Commandant, who showed me their little hospital, consisting of a long tent and a smaller one, in which I found a man from North Wales whom they had been nursing for some time. He had tried to get into the Manica country with a companion, who died, and he himself was brought back very ill.
Later on a new relay of Portuguese soldiers arrived, and I was surprised at being merely glared at by one of their officers when I saluted him. His arm was in a sling, and then I saw there were other arms in slings, and that the soldiers about all seemed in a very much less friendly mood than in the morning. The new contingent had brought bad news from Massi-Kessi of a fight with the Chartered Company's police a week ago; three of the Portuguese are reported to have been killed, and these are the wounded men.
Orders were sent to our steamer to wait below the village, and our consequent relief was great when we saw the English Vice-Consul from Beira coming up in his boat. After he had seen the Commandant we were allowed to go on to our final point on the river, 'Mpanda's village, but to go no further till instructions came up from Beira. This means a delay of forty-eight hours at least. I was also told the [18/19] natives have been forbidden to carry for the English, and that the men I have engaged lower down the river will probably not be allowed to come up.
May 20th.--Here we are, still some distance from 'Mpanda's. I went to have our midday meal with the Vice-Consul.
May 21.--The first transport boat reached 'Mpanda's and unloaded. I had brought a note up for a white man called L---- who had preceded us, but I found he had died a few days ago; I suppose from fever. It is certainly a fever-stricken place to look at. Towards the morning there is a thick mist rising from the river; the trees and reeds grow down the banks right into the water, and the whole vegetation is rank. The natives have chosen slightly rising ground here and there for their little villages, and near one of these I pitched my tents. The steam launch has come back from Beira, with orders that Major Sapte, carrying instructions from the Governor, is to go on at once, with his companion, so as to give definite orders to the Chartered Company's police to evacuate Massi-Kessi; and that I may go on if I like At my own risk; but that the rest are to remain here.
I can get no carriers, so I shall try to get on without them. I asked my five native Christians if they would carry five light loads, and they were very willing; so during the night I put together some biscuits, a few tins of meat, some clothes, &c, and was ready to start at 6 a.m. Major Sapte had left the day before, and I intended to start with the [19/20] Portuguese officer who had been sent up to accompany him, but who was too late to do so. However, this morning his carriers have run away, as they were said to have been beaten, and I found the only one left, a poor creature tied hand and foot with a rope.
Eventually he and I and my natives started with a guide, intending to reach the chief Makanguela. We walked for an hour and a half, and then found that the officer's guide was taking us in exactly the opposite direction, so we made for the nearest place we couldr which proved to be the Nevez Ferreira we had passed on our way up the river. The Commandant most-kindly fed us, and I then arranged for my men to start the next morning for Makanguela's again, while I and the Portuguese officer went up the river with the luggage in his boat past 'Mpanda's to meet them there.
The natives of this country speak a kind of Zulu, though their habits and character are more like those of the Mashona, but they are not in the least like them in face. Though they live on a river, they certainly don't understand boats as the men did who-took me down the Zambesi. As I write we are being-punted along by a crew of four, and very feebly are they doing it. However, the.Portuguese officer is-contented, and he is by way of going up as fast as possible.
May 24th.--Twenty-six hours were we in that boat, and I think that we ran aground at least thirty times. Now we are at Makanguela's.
 May 26th.--The five admirable natives have walked here, so they and I with another guide start this morning, leaving the officer to wait for some men to carry him. The grass was very wet, and a long swamp we had to go through was worse. The guide left us when we were on the track for Sarmento, and we walked on till, just as it was growing dark, we came to a native village. The people here were Banzai; they were very hospitable, and gave us two fowls. When I spoke to them they said they had never had a teacher, and afterwards when we had our Prayers they seemed much amused.
May 26th.--Early this morning we reached Sarmento, and found the Portuguese official most polite; he gave me a guide, but could not give carriers as he had given them all to Major Sapte, who had preceded us. We walked for about nine and a half hours with ouly a very few rests. The men said they could do without cooking food till the evening; but in the great heat and with only a little biscuit to eat they overtasked themselves, and one of them, Bernard, nearly fainted, so I carried his load for the last part of the journey. There is no water at the place where we sleep to-night, but happily we have brought a little with us.
May 27th.--We reached some water this morning after two hours' walking, then two hours further on we caught up Major Sapte, walked all day with him, and slept at a Portuguese camp considerably further on our way. Here I found an Englishman, [21/22] said to be dying of fever, who had been twelve days coming here from Sarmento, and had lain out in the woods for two nights before he was picked up, quite delirious, by a Portuguese party. I think if be can be carried down to the Pungwé, and then sent on to Beira and Natal, that he may recover. This has been arranged for. I have strained my left foot, and walking has become very painful. Though we have come a long way since leaving the river, there still seems a great deal of fever, and the official at Sarmento told me it was 'normal.'
As we walk on the whole country is changing. There is still the high grass, sometimes two feet above our heads, which in the narrow footpath when it is very wet in the morning is most annoying; but the dead level of featureless country is left behind, and I begin to recognise the same trees that grow in Mashonaland. The country is practically uninhabited; now and then at great distances apart there are native villages, but everywhere else is this-wide sea of grass. The five natives are walking and carrying most admirably, doing long journeys every day.
May 28th.--To-day we have made a very long march. In the middle of the day I was able to hire five carriers, and so relieve my men. We started at 6.15 a.m., and stopped at five in the evening, going very fast and only taking short rests. All the way the ground was steadily rising, and now we seem to have got out of the heavy night mists, and the air is [22/23] very different. We have left Major Sapte, and sleep near some bad water to-night.
May 29th--We started early and walked for about three hours, when suddenly a rifle and a black soldier appeared, and told us to stop. I waved my Portuguese letter to the Commandant at him, as he looked as if he meant to be unpleasant, but after some delay he took us through the sentries to the Major in command at Shemoio's village. The Major was most polite, gave me an excellent breakfast, and a supply of food for me and the men for at least three days. He wanted me to, be carried when we went on, but I thought I could still walk, and only engaged six carriers for the loads.
The native carriers are very irritating to deal with, and it is almost impossible to believe that these poor, stupid, noisy, smelling creatures come from almost the same part of Africa as did my five Christian natives, and that Christianity and education have apparently changed them into a different creation. Certainly, if a man can keep his temper with these native carriers he can keep it with nearly anyone.
We met a stream of sick people belonging to the Portuguese going down to the sea, and I heard the whole story of the destruction of Masai-Kessi. The Portuguese here believed the Company's police were there now--seventy miles away; but I had hardly left Shemoio's, and gone through the gardens [23/24] (cultivated land) outside the Portuguese settlement, when to our mutual astonishment an officer of the Chartered Company, the Hon. E. Wickham Fiennes, and I came face to face. He was reconnoitring with one of his men, and an attack on the camp which I had just left had been arranged for tomorrow morning. I told him that Major Sapte was coming up with instructions for the Company to retire out of Massi-Kessi, and as this was much to the east of Massi-Kessi, and consequently in Portuguese territory, now that an agreement had been made, he decided not to attack. I was very glad I had walked fast, as the Portuguese camp, except for the officers and a few others, was full of a sickly looking lot of men, who to-morrow morning would probably have been scattered; and as I had just left, laden with their hospitality and kindness, it would have been painful to know they were being attacked by an English police force. We slept at Mr. Fiennes' camp, and I scribbled a note to the Portuguese officer, giving him my word that I did not know of the force being there.
May 30th.--We started very early; and Mr. Fiennes lent me a horse. We had a long, very uninteresting journey all day, and slept near a broad brook. Nearly every night we reach one of the grass shelters put up by Portuguese parties on their road to Massi-Kessi, which are an improvement on the open ground.
May 3lst.--We nearly reached Massi-Kessi. The [24/25] country here is terribly hilly, and the immediate prospect of a road to the Pungwé river seems small. There have been scarcely any villages along the road, but now we see a few huts dotted over the mountains. I found some carriers for to-morrow, as my own men are not fit to carry further, and slept in a native grain-barn, which was a great luxury.
June 1st.--We passed Massi-Kessi this morning, the place where the fight lately took place; it is burnt and empty. I took a boy as a guide and went ahead of the carriers. The road was very beautiful but very steep, and quite impassable for waggons. We went over a pass quite 6,000 feet high, and near it are hollows in which bananas and innumerable wild flowers were growing. In the afternoon we reached the Umtali camp; some of my men stayed behind and slept at a village on the road, as they were too tired to come on. /
June 2nd.--Major Sapte arrived. I offered his carriers £2 each and their food to go back to Mpanda's and bring up the hospital nurses in chairs and twelve loads of provisions, but they refused; so I sent down a letter by them with instructions in the hope it might be delivered, if the nurses had arrived at 'Mpanda's.
June 5th, Friday.--I held a Service for the men, when the best hut we could find was packed with a congregation of forty to fifty. I was very unwell, and hardly knew what I said. The doctor told me afterwards it was fever, and sent me to bed with quinine. [25/26] However, it was a mild attack, as the next morning I could start in a police waggon for Fort Salisbury. It was not a pleasant journey: the oxen were bad and the driver ill.
June 7th, Sunday.--When we stopped at a post hut I gathered nearly all the men for Service. An uncomfortable Sunday ended in a vain attempt to get our poor oxen through the river Odzi. The next day after some difficulty the waggon got through, and we trekked on. Near Massi-Kessi I heard of two men living alone in a hut, one of whom died, while the other was too weak to do more than crawl away from his dead friend to another hut near. They could not be reached at first because the river was in flood, till Mr. Fiennes very bravely swam across and buried the dead man. Poor Pattison, with whom I have stayed when he was a trader in Basutoland, was found dead alone in his hut, in the northern part of Mashonaland. I am very anxious about the nurses, who must be now at 'Mpanda's, and have again sent directions for them to be carried up in chairs. If one could only have foreseen that this advertised line of communication was not to succeed, one would have arranged some very different journey for them, and I would certainly not have come up, leaving our provisions behind at the coast. I offered a man £1 for half a bottle of Elliman's embrocation, but he strongly preferred the embrocation to the £1, as one might be replaced, the other not.
June 10th.--The waggon is too slow to be endured, [26/27] so I started to walk the remaining 120 miles to Fort Salisbury, taking one carrier and two of my own natives. We trusted to getting native food on the way, and only took a little coffee, tea, &c, with us. Every twelve miles or so there is a hut where a half-caste or native lives to take care of the oxen for the hoped-for post; we walked eleven miles to one and slept near it. There was not a sign of human life along the road except the grass huts put up by a road party. There is a great chief, Maconi, living about six miles away, where I shall try to put a Mission, and have sent him a message by the trooper, Trevor, who is stationed there. This man takes a great interest in missionary work, and as the chief can understand what he says, this may be a good beginning. The nights are bitterly cold at this height, and the dew is heavy.
June 11th.--We started at dawn, and walked about fifteen miles. Two of the boys were ill and had to rest; while we were waiting, Father Hartman, the Roman Catholic priest from Fort Salisbury, caught us up. At a native's hut on the road I bought eight ship's biscuits for is. Then we started by moonlight again, and walked on till nine o'clock; it was beautiful. Thirty miles farther back we could not have done this, as the lions there use the road a good deal, and might have caused trouble, as we had no rifle with us; there we saw the 'spoor' of a very large lion walking towards the waggon. A white man is supposed to have been taken off by lions, and [27/28] not far from here another was thrown on the ground by a lion jumping out of the bush at his horse.
June 12th.--We started before sunrise, when it is cold but delightfully fresh, and walked for about twenty miles; the sand is heavy at times, and later in the day the sun is very hot. We go on over a sandy plain with scarcely a tree, and not very much water, and to-night we are about sixty miles from Fort Salisbury. I never felt so weak during a walk before; it was the food, I suppose, or the want of it; so the next day I broke into my handful of sick stores^ after which I walked better. We passed the first village of any size on the road, belonging to the chief Morondella. Father Hartman rested in the heat, and I walked on with my natives; and after we stopped we spent the half-hour before dark in finding water and collecting boughs for shelter. So long as one is alone with the Mashona, there is scarcely anything which they will not do.
June 14th.--We started nearly an hour before sunrise, and met two men with oxen going down to 'Mpanda's to try to fetch up the coaches. They have 300 miles to go, and at least 100 miles of new road to make. Shortly afterwards Father Hartman had an attack of fever, but happily I had quinine with me, so later he was able to walk on. The road went through some bad bogs, but we slept near a beautiful river. The delight of coming to these running streams after a long day's walk in the sun is inexpressible.
 June 15th.--We started an hour before sunrise, and reached Fort Salisbury before midday. We had walked the 120 miles (as it is reckoned) in five days, but then we had had four most admirable Mashona to carry our few things for us.
Fort Salisbury is on rising ground, but, I think, too close to a small marsh. It is a collection of huts, chiefly native-built; those for the hospital, for the Administrator, and for the police lie in blocks near each other. About a mile away is a small hill, where the traders live, chiefly in their waggons. I hoped to meet Canon Balfour, but he is very rightly away on a visit to the Europeans who are gold-prospecting on the Mazoe river: and with the ever-moving camps it is hard to provide ministrations for them.
June 16th.--I am delighted to have got here; the Administrator is most kind, and offers me everything I can possibly want for our work. I am arranging with him to have our hospital at Umtali, with our Mission farm up the valley at the back. It seems to be the most perfect place in the country, with, perhaps, the least fever: a good centre of a very large native population, probably close to future gold-camps and a white settlement, and nearest to the sea, and therefore in the future most convenient for the transport of all necessaries. Indeed, the future of the Mission, under God's blessing, seems, by a concurrence of circumstances, to be opening unexpectedly brightly, considering the difficulties around. There were 52 inches of rain during the wet season this year.
 On going to visit the hospital I met Canon Bal-four at a cross-path, coming back from the Mazoe river. He is very well, in spite of his year of hardships.
June 17th.--The English mail went, so I sent a short report to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In the evening I went through the hospital, and found our waggon-driver from Umtali down there with fever. I had a long talk with Canon Balfour on starting a Mission at Unyamwenda's, a large native chief about sixteen miles from here; he and his people had received me very well three years ago, and promised to build a house for a teacher when one came.
June 18th.--Mr. Borrow has very kindly lent me the only available horse he has, and I have had to buy another, a salted one. The price is terrible, but a horse is a necessity if I am to do much work during the next few months in the way of visiting the chiefs, arranging places for our Missions, finding timber, labour, &c, for the buildings. There are only seven months to be reckoned on for work in the year; the other five are the rainy season, when little can be done. Every day now is of the greatest importance to get huts up, sites chosen, wood and grass for the thatch brought in before November.
I visited the hospital, seeing a poor man--the last of a party of three. One died on the road up, one died in hospital, and he is going back as soon as possible. Spent the evening with Major Forbes, [30/31] arranging my journey back to Umtali round by the great chiefs of the district.
June 19th.--Arranged with Canon Balfour that he should visit three more great chiefs beyond Unyamwenda's, I guaranteeing every expense and promising £25 for an interpreter out of our funds. Then went to the hospital, and found there a man who has his wife in the country; the poor thing has had fever on and off for four months. Another man had ridden in on a donkey, doing thirty miles in thirteen days.
The kindness of the officers and of the officials of the Chartered Company here is delightful beyond words. No news has been heard from the coast since we came up.
Sunday, June 21st.--Holy Communion and Service at eleven. Canon Balfour has built an excellent little church with trees, mud, and thatch; there were a fair number of people. At three o'clock I had Service at the traders' camp, about a mile away; and another at the hospital at 4.30. In the evening I joined Canon Balfour for Service in his hut at eight o'clock, when a few faithful ones were present.
June 22nd.--I had intended to start very early, but there was more to arrange than I expected, and by the time I could get off I had fever, and the doctor sent me to ' bed.' It has been most happy that both my fever attacks have been at camps where there was a hut to go to.
June 23rd.--I started as soon, as I could in the [31/32] morning, and went on till an hour and a half after sunset. With me are two of my Christian men, three carriers, and two horses. We slept with a delightful native at a station. He is one of Khame's men from Bechuanaland.
June 2ith.--One of my men is too ill with fever to move; so after giving him as much quinine as I dared, I left him with a further supply of it, and of money with the man to send him on when possible. Certainly sitting on a horse in a blazing sun with a bad head for nine hours seems to make one conscious of one's own weakness and the length of a day, and not till sundown did we reach a village. It was Undzi's--one of the most picturesque in the country, rising from a swamp; but on the dry side banana trees are growing, and the heap of rocks there are one mass of huts and trees. I remembered the doctor's advice in choosing places for Missions: 'Beware of picturesque sites.' The dirt was great. I went as high as I could above their houses, and crawled through a hole into their kind of fortress, but in the dirt it was difficult to find a spot to lie down on. I bought food for the men and horses, and told the chief what I came for; but their interest in one ceases after one has bought all one wants.
June 25th.--We passed a village where there had just been a fight. It is characteristic that three women, but only two men, had been wounded; but I believe that if these Mashona could have judicious rule, and were educated by Christianity out of their [32/33] slavish qualities of lying and cowardice, and some add thieving, they would make a very intelligent nation. They have never stolen anything from me; but this evening, on reaching Maguendi's village, where two troopers live, they told me their things had been taken. The thief had escaped, but the chief, on being Appealed to, had taken the man's wife and family. This is not so terrible a hostage as might be supposed. I passed a village a short way back where a man had had two wives taken by the Matabele, but he did not feel it very severely. We are now coming back to the hilly country, and find a village which is as pretty to look at as it is dirty. I told the people a teacher would come to them. When we got to the post .station at Maguendi's, I sent a message and a present to the chief. He sent word that he would come tomorrow morning with his headmen. There are a large number of villages round under this chief. There is the dearest little Mashona boy here, who gives one hopes of the whole people, and visions of a Mission filled with boys before they have learnt much from their own race. These Mashona have, I am sure, the makings of a very superior people in them, but every noble quality seems to have been crushed by their long state of terror under the Matabele raids.
The height of this hill I make to be 4,800 feet. The native village is still higher, a long way from the river; but to live among the rocks the Mashona will sacrifice even a good water-supply.
June 26th.--Maguendi sent a message to say he [33/34] had a bad leg, so I went to see him. Our interview lasted nearly two hours; he expressed himself very glad to have a teacher, and called out his head wife to hear the news.
We arranged that I should build a hut and keep a teacher--European or native--here. Then he wanted to send a message to the Queen, It was somewhat as follows:--
'Maguendi is very sorry, but he is too old to go and see the great Queen. Maguendi would like to send the great Queen an ox or a cow.'
Poor chief! Again, as I was leaving, he asked when he should send the ox to the great Queen.
The trust of these native races in the unknown English Queen seems inborn: it is very touching, and fills one, as the trust of a child does, with a wish to respond rightly to their faith.
Maguendi lives oh a mountain, about three-quarters of a mile in length. When I left him I climbed about it for some time trying to choose a site for a Mission, but saw nothing sufficiently near to water. Eventually I settled on a small, plateau among the rocks, facing the setting sun, sheltered from the wind, with a most beautiful view over the brook at the bottom, and very high. This should be as free from fever as anyplace; so I roughly surveyed a piece of ground near the plateau, so that, should the chief's power ever be taken away, and this country be made into farms, the Mission would have this land, which could be a [34/35] kind of Reserve for the natives; It has been a hard day's work but the success has been delightful, and I arranged to have one large Mission hut built for three pieces' of calico and some beads.
In the evening I had prayers with one of the troopers, who had been ill with fever; the other one has been down all day with a relapse of fever, and next morning I confirmed him, and then travelled on till after sunset; We were happy in getting good food on the road. There are some hills near here, on which natives live, that are almost perfect ready-made fortresses; but neither these nor their artificial fortifications seem to have saved the Mashona, when the attack came, from the Gaza or Matabele raids.
June 29th.--We reached the police huts early; they are four miles from the chief MaconL We seem to have done nearly fifty miles in two days and a bit. Frank, the native left behind with fever, had rejoined us by a Scotch cart. The trooper here, Trevor, has done remarkably well in giving my message to the chief, and speaking to him about it. He and his people have since been going through some heathen rite to ascertain whether or no they ought to receive a teacher. To-night Maconi sent a message to say he was sending me an ox as a present.
June 30th.--We went up early to try and find Maconi sober, but were disappointed. The village is large and dirty, and the path to his quarter winds about among rocks and huts. We found about [35/36] thirty of the chief men collected round him, and I explained what I wanted to do. But after a great deal of noise we found that nothing satisfactory could be done, and we left. I proposed building a hut about four miles from here, as there are many villages around where a catechist could visit the people, and I mapped out a piece of ground for a future Mission here, when the chief should change his mind, or a different régime begin. We walked for nearly three hours, but were not much pleased with my special site. I left Bernard, one of my catechists, to go back to Maguendi's, and Frank, another, to stay near here, giving them all the barter goods that could be spared to provide their food with. It is the day of small things, but missionary work with two important chiefs has been at least begun, and will accomplish what God wills it should.
I left the chiefs ox as food for my men, and rode on with three Mashona towards Umtali, about fifty-five miles away. We passed many villages and many suitable sites, so if things don't go on well at Maconi's we can change our position.
We slept in a little grass hut, taking precautions against lions, which have done a good deal to annoy people about here. Next day we went on about twenty miles to the Odzi river, which is the division between Mashonaland and Manicaland.
July 2nd.--A mist covered the river, which changed into sunshine on the high ground. Further on two men from the coast told us that our three [36/37] nurses had arrived at 'Mpanda's from Durban, and were doing excellent work, and that another doctor had been sent up from one of H.M. ships at Beira, as Dr. Wilson was ill. The nurses were only waiting for carriers to come on, but these seemed hard to get, one of the two men telling me that seven carriers from 'Mpanda's had cost him £21. Gladly would people here give a shilling a yard for barter calico worth twopence. Of the two last waggons sent here with provisions from Fort Salisbury one upset in the river Rusarpe, and much was spoilt. The waggons that ought to have brought my provisions have not arrived, but I can get my [37/38] 'rations' from the Company here, though one does not like touching their stores.
Mr. Fiennes and I went and looked at a place for a hospital; then, going on further, we were most successful in finding a site for our central Mission station, that seemed to combine all requirements: very high, facing west, well exposed to the wind, with water close, not stagnant water, but water in the form of a fast running stream that can hardly breed malaria, with a most lovely waterfall, beautiful to look at and excellent to turn a water-wheel, so that in the future our own sawing, grinding, and pumping could be done by it, Behind all this a large area will make admirable arable land, I think, with excellent nooks for cattle, and an abundance of timber for our house-building and firing, The place is about two miles from the present camp.
July 4th.--I set men to work at the Mission station moving poles and reeds, cutting grass for thatching, and found a place where bricks for the walls could be made.
A trader came up from M'Panda's with, thirty bearers and things to sell. The men are delighted. He brought me a letter from our nurse in charge, Miss Blennerh asset, written bravely in the best of spirits. She and the other two nurses are all very hard at work: as they must be if a collection of Europeans stays in one camp at such a spot on an East. African river. Wilkins, our carpenter, seems valuable. Some one writes about him: 'He nurses [38/39] the sick, builds huts for people, everyone goes to him about everything--he is the most splendid fellow.' I am very thankful to hear all this.
One pf my Christian men is very ill with fever and pneumonia, and we are nursing him up, and I hope he is getting better. He is a dear boy. It is curious that a native from another country is almost as liable to fever when it is prevalent as a European would be.
July 5th, Sunday.--We had a very quiet and happy service with the police and others. Many men, unfortunately, go out 'gold prospecting' on Sunday as their free day, and this and other causes lead to a smaller attendance than one would wish. When men have cut themselves off for some time from all religious influence, it seems to be most difficult for them in these wild countries to regain the habit of keeping Sunday.
July 7th.--I am building huts as quickly as possible, so as to get shelter for the Mission workers before the rainy season comes on. I wish one knew more about this fever; no one seems quite to know how relative heights affect it, or whether a site 4,700 feet high, with a swamp close under it on the plateau, is more or less healthy than another only 3,800 feet high, but with the nearest swamp 1,000 feet below.
I went with Mr. Fiennes to see Umtasa, the native chief of all this part of the country. He lives twelve miles away, with a long climb on foot up to his town, [39/40] which is all among rocks, and defended by one stockade after another. I sent him my present, and after he had received it, and had time to put on his-reception clothes, I saw him. What I wanted was-to gain his approval of our being in his country; and after explanations he gave this fully and in the presence of his headmen, which was important, as this makes it a far more formal, or, as we should say, authoritative sanction; nothing could have been more satisfactory. I then alluded to a teacher living in or near his town; this was a new idea to him, and he naturally wished for time to think over it, but his; manner gave me no doubt that with a little time and patience we shall gain our point. At any rate we are settled in his country by his goodwill, and, please God, the rest will come.
This is the third beginning of a Mission made, one at each of the largest chiefs between here and Port Salisbury. So I rode home contented, and borrowed two candles, a most valuable concession on the part of the lender, to allow me to get on as quickly as I could with work in connection with the survey of the ground that I want for the Mission.
If I could only hear of my waggon coming up-through Bechuanaland and getting near Mount Wedza I would go and meet it, and arrange for a fourth centre near Wedza, as a large mass of Mashona live there, and to the south, where I have been before.
I am staying meanwhile in a hut belonging to Mr. Moody and Mr. Campion, not quite a mile from [40/41] the camp. Mr. Moody, by the way, was reported dead of fever, but came in last night. Mr. Campion said that one of his oxen had been killed by lions about sixteen miles on the other side of the Odzi riverr and that they had then retired among the rocks.
There are ten Mashona now under Tom, one of my Capetown men, hard at work building the huts and collecting thatch for our large Mission building. I hope soon to have a hut up near the spot, so that I can be there.
Sunday, July 12th.--I had service at the camp in the morning, and with Mr. Campion, my host, and the Christian natives in the evening. I told the Mashona who are working for us that they need not work to-day; however, they went off and worked for some one else, so they did not have their day of rest. A belief in spirits seems to be the most prominent feature of their religion. Near our huts is a village where all the people are said to have been killed in one of the Gaza raids, and the ordinary native will not go into it.
July 14th.--I was superintending the thatch and brick-making when a native runner came up to say the nurses and Dr. Glanville were near. They soon appeared, terribly tired, with boots and clothes much the worse for the journey, having walked the whole 140 miles--though it is usually reckoned much more--with only four carriers for a great part of the way, so that they have but little with them. They are full of courage and good spirits, in spite of [41/42] the hardships and difficulties they have been surrounded by during the thirteen days of their journey up from 'Mpanda's. It is a most remarkable performance, and will probably meet with more recognition in the future than it does now. In Africa there seems to be too strong a tendency to self-advertisement to allow any unadvertised work to be much recognised. Mr. Campion and Mr. Moody at once had the nurses up to their huts, and we all did what we could. I am afraid our best was bad. Two of them had to sleep on cut grass piled on the mud floor; still it was probably far better than anything they had slept on for some time.
The officers and police sent them milk. I little knew, when the engagement was made with the Company to give them 'rations,' how great their value would be. I took a very long walk to gain information for the Mission, and the men are all working well. The supply of food among the natives seems to be very limited. There is considerable difficulty in always having enough for our men.
July 17th.--Miss Blennerhasset has had an attack of fever, and I have a slight one to-day; but the next day I rode over to the 'works,' where the bricks are turning out admirably, though the moulds were made out of packing-cases, and they seem so hard from the effects of baking in the sun that they scarcely need burning.
Nobody who has not been here can quite under-.stand how every plan is thrown out by our having [42/43] scarcely any tools to work with. Gladly would I give £10 for two bricklayer's trowels.
Sunday, July 19th.--I went to the camp and visited nearly all the men's huts before service; it was a particularly good one, and the one hymn we ventured on was very well sung. I had service for the nurses and my men up here at our huts in the afternoon. The first element of Christianity that the Mashona seem to appreciate is that they need not work on Sunday. Tom, one of my Christian natives, is trying to teach them something to-day. A poor Frenchman, very ill, and carried in a hammock, was brought in here, his carriers refusing to go on to his friend's hut, but we arranged it for him. I grow more and more thankful that I made my journey of exploration three years ago, when one had the country almost to oneself and with most of the things one wanted.
I was so sorry to hear that Harrison, who gave me £6 towards the hospital, was ill on his way to the Pungwé river. He had, too, most kindly lent us his tent while the nurses had the hut.
July 22nd.--A man brought in a cow last night from Umtasa's, but as he wanted four pieces of calico for it, and I had not much more left in hand to pay and feed my men with, I had to let the animal go.
To-day we began blasting stone for the foundations of the house; nothing else, probably, will resist the heavy tropical rains. There are about twenty men now making bricks. I have been most fortunate in getting natives to work for me, though I can't pay [43/44] them much. They require constant supervision, not because they wish to cheat one, but it is impossible for them to understand the value of time.
July 24th.--The hospital huts are going up fairly well. I had a long talk with Samuel (one of the native Christians) to-day, and arranged to take him and Tom to start a new Mission among the Mount Wedza people. Mount Wedza lies about fifty miles from this, and I was delighted to find both men so eager to begin there. I cannot be too thankful for the excellence of my Christian natives.
July 25th.--All the work going on well. Mr. S. arrived with carriers and some of the nurses' luggage. He is to come to live with me at the Mission Camp, and work for us in exchange for his food.
I am told that candles are selling for 15s. a packet in camp, and calico (presumably, the usual 2d. a yard barter stuff) at 2s. a yard. This can only be temporary, as calico is the staple payment for all work done, except for the few men paid in gold; but as gold is practically impossible to be got here, and as all our own tools are lying still in their cases at 'Mpanda's, and we have to buy what we can at high prices or borrow, some idea of the difficulties' to be worked under may be imagined.
The incessant difficulty of feeding the men, and of getting them to have their food at the same time, of keeping them from wasting half the day, with their dread of cold weather, and their reverence, as a rule, for nothing but force, make the founding of a [44/45] Mission in such a country as this a difficult undertaking.
It is painful how the Mashona character plays into the hands of all advocates of violence, for being slaves at heart and cowards, they will so often do through fear what they will do from no other motive. One of the gentlest men in the country was lately so derided by his carriers, who would do nothing, that at last, when one huge native threatened him and drove him to desperation, he knocked him down. and beat him with a thick stick. Immediately every load was readily carried, and perfect peace and order reigned. I am afraid the quickest way to gain a point is so obviously by the policy of force that at times one can hardly wonder at a certain class, of white men resorting to it; of course in the end it only demoralises the poor creatures more and more, and puts off their moral, not to speak of their spiritual education farther than ever. In their present state the only power they seem really to respect is brute force; therefore, probably, the rougher the white man they are dealing with is, the greater 'lord' they imagine him to be, though they may prefer working for the gentler master. Forgiveness is nothing to them but a confession of weakness, and they can't help feeling a certain respect for anyone who knocks them down with a stick. As to gratitude, they have no word in their language for 'thank you.' I always allow it is hard to exercise the firmness, that will prevent their taking one's [45/46] payment for little or no work done, without being forced over the line into violence. A missionary must have a strong belief in Christianity and in the ultimate power of love to keep on his own lines.
If justly treated, in course of time the natives in their curious way appreciate kindness. But while they do not, it is impossible to deny that, to gain a temporary end, with a slave race force may be effective, but at our hands it lowers the people more and more. One can see, however, how educating-to the character of the Israelites the training and punishments of the wilderness must have been; but these were inflicted with infinite wisdom and love, and it is certainly not for us, their poor fellow-sinners, to take the law into our hands. But, [46/47] indeed, we may be well content with the progress which the native character makes under Christianity to-day.
The brutality of some of the white men seems to be very great. One man allowed, apparently without shame, that he killed a native in the Transvaal by hitting him with a brick, and I have heard many other painful stories: All this is one of the great difficulties we have when we try to give the natives any respect for the white man's religion; and it will be hard work for any missionary to make way against the dead weight of the ideas and actions of the lower moral stratum of the European population in Africa.
I had another service for the nurses and men in the afternoon, and then walked out to the Mission camp. Mr. Campion came with me, and was surprised at our progress, saying he had never imagined before that so much work would be done before the rains. Early in the week Mr. S. and I moved up to live on our Mission site. It is raining and very cold. Cows are constantly going past to be sold in the camp, but we can't afford them, as the natives want either gold or calico, and what I have is going at a terrible pace, and everything must come second to feeding our workers and getting up buildings.
The traders who walk up seem to make drink a large factor in their stores. When some of our luggage came in, full of hope, I opened one bag that ought to have contained food. A torn rag only [47/48] appeared inside. 'What is it, Charlie?' Charlie, laconically, 'Rats.'
But in spite of all it is a very interesting scene, with a future in the background that may be, by God's guidance, infinitely fruitful. Just now all the different little gangs are at work, one thatching a large hut close to mine; another, about 200 yards away, blasting and moving rock, taking out really splendid pieces of granite; and though the trouble is very great, this stone foundation may stand when anything else would be washed away. On the rise beyond, the native thatch-carriers are continually moving up and down, tying up and carrying away the grass, as the cutters supply them; under the hill [48/49] the brick-making is going on. Certainly, some of these coast natives have either seen brick-making before or have fallen into it very quickly. The Mashona have learnt after some trouble to tread the clay and lay out the bricks. But the most characteristic scene is when the work is over, and they all gather round their half-dozen fires in the evening; to-night they are in specially good temper, as no food could be bought for them, and I had to give them some of my meal. They are giving a good English day labourer's work, beginning at about 6.30 a.m., with an hour for food at eleven, and working on till sunset.
August 1st.--A cold drizzly day, and the men don't like working, but! they keep on very well. They make little songs and sing them as they work; this was the chorus of one: 'Ikona chikogo, maninge makaza' (We have no coat, and it is very cold).
August 2nd.--Holy Communion in my hut with S. and the three natives. Another drizzling cold day. I walked to the camp for the eleven o'clock service, and administered the Holy Communion there a second time. I found a good many relapsed cases of fever.
August 4th.--I got a great concession from Umtasa's men this morning. After saying they liked me and would do the work I wished, they began to call me 'Umfundisi' (teacher) instead of 'lord,' which is a great improvement.
I am very anxious to get off to the western and southern chiefs, but must wait till provisions of some [49/50] kind come up, and especially some barter goods to buy food with.
August 6th.--There was great excitement round the camp fires to-night over the new moon; the men have been watching for it eagerly, and it was curious to see one elderly gentleman of the tribe leaving the groups round the fire to jump up on to a rock and address the moon. After an apparently eloquent speech he threw a stone vigorously towards the slender crescent in the deep blue above our heads, and then solemnly jumped down again. I had hoped the day was over, but the new moon ushered in a whole train of trouble that one trusts may pass away soon.
A note came in by some post-runners to say our catechist Frank is very ill at Maconi's, and that the medicine there is exhausted. He seems to have been doing admirably, building two huts, and getting on well with the natives. Two boys have been sent to him by their father to be taught, and both old and young are very anxious to hear what he has to say. As this report is from a trooper quartered there it is certainly reliable. The good account of his success is a great relief, and more than could ever have been expected after my rather stormy interview with Maconi. Under God's blessing the success that seems to be attending all the missionary work is ah intense pleasure, and cannot be cancelled even by the continual anxiety and worry caused by the news of some false step.
 August 7th.--I sent Tom and a very good coast boy, who speaks Seshuna perfectly, to the great chief here, Umtasa, with a message about my building a church there. At present we have more native food brought to us for sale, than we can stow away, but the men bringing it must not be discouraged, though we have almost come to our last yard of calico. At the camp they often send to the villages to buy. I am reduced by dirt to offer 6s. a bar for common soap, but I cannot get it. Wilkins, who has been bringing up the Mission stores from 'Mpanda's, came in to-night. The men who engaged to bring them started with seventy oxen, and little more than half-, way here the last of them were dying or dead from tsetse fly.
To-day Captain Heany wrote, saying that a Diggers' Fund for the hospital here was being raised among the men, and that he expected a fair sum from it. This is a great comfort, as it may enable the nurses to have some decent arrangements made, and to have appliances of a rough kind brought for the hospital from the coast. A few days afterwards I was very ill from something; I am told that it was another attack of fever, and that I ought to leave the country, but I think that a much too serious view is taken of it.