Project Canterbury

The Life of Charles Alan Smythies
Bishop of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa

By Gertrude Ward

Edited by Edward Francis Russell, M.A.

London: Offices of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa, 1899.

Chapter IV. The Third Year, 1886

AFTER Christmas spent in Zanzibar, the Bishop wrote to the Home Committee the following important letters relating to the education of the Kiungani boys and the financial condition of the Mission:

January 14, 1886. Gentlemen,--

.... The theological school is just now being worked into some sort of form, but it will be so entirely a growth and development out of what already exists, and has been for some time in course of preparation for it, that it is very difficult to write anything definite about it. We hope to be able to apprentice, to different kinds of work, all boys in this school at Kiungani as soon as we are satisfied that they will never be fit for teachers. Most of these boys who are apprenticed will leave Kiungani and live at the new house at Mkunazini. The elder boys who remain at Kiungani will employ half their working time in teaching the lower classes, under the superintendence of the European teachers, and will themselves receive instruction during the other half. When it is thought advisable they will be sent on the mainland to teach in the village schools, say, for a year or more, to give them a sense of responsibility and test their powers of more independent work. They will, as a rule, live with the missionaries at the central stations. Then, after this time of probation, they can return to complete their training at Kiungani if they are found to have a vocation for Holy Orders. Should it appear desirable, as will often be the case, that they should marry before completing their course of study, there are houses near Kiungani which they and their wives can occupy.

The boys who are apprenticed are still supported by us entirely, and we have besides to bear the expenses of their apprenticeship.

I fear I am not able to give any estimate beforehand of what the expenses of the Mission are likely to be, which will be of more use as a guide than the average expense of the last few years. I am doing all I can to keep the expenses down, and I have given directions that no building of any kind should be undertaken here without my express sanction, and that nothing should be sent out from home without my being first referred to.

But I fear, with every wish to be economical, it will not be possible to carry on the work of the Mission on what has been assigned as its current income. And in saying this I venture to express a doubt as to whether it is right for a Mission to keep so large a capital in hand when so much work is to be done. Especially I hope you will forgive my saying that I think the whole principle of an emergency fund is of the most questionable character as applied to an undertaking full of dangers and eventualities, which can never be faced on principles of worldly prudence, but can only be met by the principle of Faith in God. I feel quite sure of this, that nothing is more likely to daunt the enthusiasm of men who might otherwise be inclined to give their all to the Mission than the knowledge that so much money was expressly kept in hand to provide for the transference of the Mission staff to England. I am quite certain that, did such eventualities occur as to make this necessary, we could trust to our fellow Christians to do all they could for us. I do not think it unreasonable that the Committee should wish a certain sum to be considered as endowment, but the idea of an emergency fund seems to be foreign to any thoughts we, who are interested in this Mission, ought to have about it.

I would also venture to deprecate most strongly the idea that we are already drawing as large an income as we can expect from subscriptions in England, even in times of great depression. So far from the amount spent on Foreign Missions being a subject of congratulation, I must say that if we take our stand upon our Lord's own words, which make missionary work the first duty of the Church, it seems to me a subject for deep humiliation. I suppose the income of all missionary societies together is not more than that of one or two rich Churchmen. At least it will be conceded that a man would hardly be considered extraordinarily rich, as things are now, if he spent an amount equal to the whole income of this Mission on his establishment and surroundings. That being the case, is it right for us to listen to those who would tell us we cannot expect in these hard times to get a larger income from subscriptions?

But I am assured, by one who seems competent to judge, that it is probable there are many people in England who would be glad to hear about our work, and willing to help us, whom we have not yet been able to reach, because of the inadequateness of our machinery. The great interest which is now being so widely felt in Africa would seem to warrant such a probability. If so, I would venture very respectfully to urge that the fact of our finding it impossible to carry on the work we have already begun on our present income is a call to us not to curtail our work here, but to consider how we can bring that work under the notice of a larger number of people at home, and make its needs more fully known. I have said that I do not see how it is possible to carry on the work already begun without exceeding the current income of the Mission as apportioned by the treasurers. But, Gentlemen, I feel it is right for me to say more than this. When I was asked if I would accept the very honourable post of the headship of this Mission, it surely was not intended that one of the duties laid upon me was rigidly to keep the operations of the Mission within the limits of work the lines of which had already been laid down. It might be reasonable in the case of a colonial diocese to say that only a certain income could be expected from home; but can it be reasonable in the case of the Bishop of a Mission which is surrounded by multitudes of heathen, the conditions of whose life are such that it must be very long indeed before they can be ministered to by a large native ministry or support their own religious teachers? Up to this time there was no need for me to say much on this point, because if there were many openings for work there were not many trained workers to send. But now that our numbers are increasing, and I see around me a growing band of men on whom I can thoroughly rely, the question presses for answer. Am I to make use of these men? or is this Mission to have the power to attract the enthusiasm of such men, and not to have the power to use that enthusiasm when given, because there is not enough money? Will it not be a grave scandal that a Mission should attract men of high capacity and devoted life, simply by its promise of work for God, and should attract them to live amidst the dangers of a tropical climate where life is often shortened and health impaired, offering them no reward but that joy which their work brings, and then should fail to evoke sufficient enthusiasm in others to obtain the money necessary to enable them to do the work for which they have come? Allow me to illustrate what I mean.

There is in the middle of the Makonde plateau an influential chief called Lumanga. He would gladly welcome a teacher, from, I believe, really good motives. He is a great friend of Matola, our chief at Newala. He happened to visit Matola when I was there, soon after he had taken the cross as a sign of being admitted a catechumen, and Matola asked him if he would not like to do the same, to which he answered: 'You know I wish to do what you do.' He knows of course nothing of Christianity except at a distance. Why should I not send him a teacher? Because he lives more than a day from Newala, and it would be a considerable expense, and I am now told I am spending too much. Or again, Mtarika is a very powerful chief among the Yaos. I think for twenty minutes I walked through his town with houses on all sides, and great numbers of people. On the islands in the Lujenda, both above and below, are multitudes of people, all under Mtarika or friendly to him. He told me he wished very much for a teacher. Matola recognises Mtarika as his mkuu, a kind of suzerain. Why should not I send a teacher for all these people? Because Mtarika lives about nineteen days from Newala, and twelve from the lake. It would require great self-devotion for anyone to go and live there; but that is not the obstacle. I do not fear but that I could find men ready to go. It would be a very great expense to keep them supplied with necessaries, and I am told I must not incur it. I might mention other chiefs who have asked for teachers. May I look for enlarged support from home? If not, our position here will become an increasingly difficult one--the necessity for advance meeting us everywhere, the men to go ready, the means to send them wanting.

After a Confirmation at Kiungani, and a baptism of adults in the Cathedral, the Bishop left Zanzibar for Tanga on a visit to Magila and the surrounding country. In view of subsequent events it is interesting to note the Bishop's account of his reception at Tanga, the undoubted supremacy of the Sultan of Zanzibar over the coast towns, the popularity of Sir John Kirk, as representing England, amongst the Arabs, and the general feeling of friendliness towards the Mission quâ Mission, apart from nationality:

On landing at Tanga we found the Governor and all the Arabs drawn up on the beach to receive us. I presented my letters from the Sultan and Sir John Kirk, and the Governor did everything to show us honour, assigning to us a very good house, and himself with all his retinue visiting us four times, sending a goat, large bowls of milk, coffee, and fruit, and begging us to ask for everything we wanted. He also saved us much trouble by getting porters to carry all our loads from the beach, superintending the work himself.

The next day, Wednesday, we were up soon after 4 A.M., intending to start for Umba very early, so as to get a good part of our walk over before the sun grew hot; but, after waiting about for some time, it was found that the porters who had been sent to meet us had played us false and gone off in the night. It was therefore after nine o'clock before other porters could be found and we could set out on our journey.

This walk was saddened by the sudden death of Mr. Winckley, who had only lately arrived from England. The mournful story is given in the following letter:

I have very, very sad news to send you this time. It has pleased God that we should lose another of our company from His work here, and under circumstances which cannot but seem to us very sad.

After a great deal of tiring and harassing delay, we got off from Tanga with twenty-two men. It was, however, very fortunately as we thought, a very cloudy day, which made it easier to travel. We went on for about two hours, or two and a half hours, over a fairly level country. About eleven o'clock I was pretty well in front, with Winckley just behind me, when he spoke of being tired. I did not think much of it, as one often does feel tired on the first day's walk. I felt a little tired myself; but I knew we had a long day's walk, and we wanted very much to reach Umba without being obliged to camp out for a night. If we had stopped at eleven o'clock to rest it would have been impossible. I went just put of the way to look at a town of the Wadigo, and Winckley came with me, whereas I thought if he had been very tired he would not have diverged from the path. Soon after we saw Kerslake and two men who had passed us sitting down to rest. I went on, remarking that I did not like to stop, as it always made me more tired, and I found I could manage best by keeping straight on. Winckley had again spoken of being tired, and I noticed he gave a kind of sigh once or twice; still I did not think anything of it as the day was cloudy. We had hardly been walking two and a half hours, and he was a tall, strong-looking man. I said, rather jokingly, that he was feeling it because he had taken little exercise, and he said he had felt less able to do so the last few days. All these things came back to me afterwards, and I have felt very sorry I did not take more notice of them. I heard afterwards he had eaten very little at breakfast, which we had very early, but I had not noticed it. He seemed quite well and strong during the journey, except for the sea-sickness we all suffered from, and one is very apt to judge others by oneself. I have been feeling lax and wanting in energy during this hot weather in Zanzibar, and last year, when about this time I came here after my fever, I felt as if I hardly could get through my journey to Mkuzi; yet I did it, and began to be better at once. When I saw Kerslake sitting down, I quite thought Winckley would have rested with him, as we were in front of the caravan, and some of our party were a long way behind.

I remember being rather surprised on turning my head and seeing Winckley and Kerslake both following. I have a sort of painful feeling now that I ought to have noticed the sigh he gave now and then as something unusual, and that I ought to have stopped. But it was quite cloudy, and we had got such a little way on our long day's journey. I remember thinking, if we come to water in about half an hour's time, we will stop for our midday meal and rest. It was only a very few minutes after we passed Kerslake, and he had come on with us, that he called out to me that the native behind was calling to us that Winckley had fallen. I turned back and could not see him; the man pointed to the grass and I found him lying there. I only then thought he was faint, as he was conscious. I asked if with our help he could reach the shade; he said he thought he could, and then at once, as I bent down to help him, he became unconscious. Still I hoped that it was only faintness. We undid his clothes, gave him brandy and water, supported his head on rugs, so that he could breathe more easily, and sponged his head and chest.

There were two native women with us, Kate, Francis Mabruki's wife, the teacher at Mbweni, who was going for a holiday to visit John Swedi and his wife, and a friend of hers. These women did all they could, with the kindness and tenderness of women, to help him. But we felt terribly helpless. All the time he was breathing hard, with a good deal of noise in the throat, and I felt that, unless something could be done to restore consciousness, there seemed to be no power of recovering it; and yet we knew of nothing else but to give him brandy and water every now and then. Fortunately some Bondeis came up, who were sent by Mr. Geldart to buy rice at Tanga; one we sent at once for the doctor. It is most unusual for a man to travel far alone, but this man went and reached Umba at 4 P.M., a most extraordinarily short time for such a distance.

After watching poor Winckley for two hours, we thought it best to try to carry him on. We made a bed for him with a cork mattress and waterproof sheet and some poles; but after carrying him perhaps half an hour the sheet gave way, and we again laid him on the ground, and the rest of us watched him while Allen went with his bearers to a town said to be near, to get a kitanda or native bedstead on which to put him. The town was much farther than we thought, and we had to wait a long while, perhaps even an hour. Long before they came back he had passed away without any return of consciousness.

The doctor said afterwards nothing could have been done. From the quantity of blood which came from him afterwards, and the general symptoms, he said it must have been apoplexy.

When the kitanda came we fastened the body upon it and began our long and painful walk here. I followed close behind all the time. First the men objected that we must get more carriers; we got one or two at the town; then they were always disputing as to who should carry and whose turn it was, and disputing among themselves and trying to get money out of our trouble. In one place we had to go through a thick forest, where the bearers had to crawl on their knees sometimes to keep the body clear of the boughs; then the night came on very dark, the road was often very bad and uneven, the grass was often above one's waist, impeding our walking; our rate of walking became slower till we seemed to creep along, the men were always stopping and wrangling, and we had to bribe and scold and implore to get them on at all, and all over the poor lifeless body. I felt so tired at times I thought I never should get to Umba. There had been nothing to break the terrible strain all day; we had not had time to cook a meal since 5.30 that morning. I knew we must push on if we wished to do all that we should like for the body of our friend--all we could do for him now. In this climate everything must be done quickly. If it please God, I hope we may be spared ever having such another day. At last, at 2 A.M., we reached Umba, utterly exhausted, but most thankful to have got there at last.

They dug a deep grave close by the graves of our other brothers who have died here. At about 7.30 in the morning all had been done that we could wish, and the body was in church covered with the violet altar-cloth for a pall. The doctor had arrived after us from Mkuzij and as there were so many English, we had the funeral service and celebration of the Holy Communion in English. Then we carried him through the town to the grave, and laid him by the side of those who had consecrated their lives to the same work and fallen in the same warfare.

Incessant activity characterised this visit of the Bishop's to the Usambara country; Umba, Mkuzi, Magila, Misozwe were visited, not once but several times each, and long exploratory walks were made in the mountainous districts. The whole country at that time was deserted on account of tribal wars, Kimweri still endeavouring to wrest the country from his cousin Kinyasi. The chief events at Magila were the ordination of Mr. Geldart to the priesthood (the first ordination that had ever been seen on the mainland), and the consecration of the Previous to the ordination a three days' Retreat was held. The new stone church was the largest building hitherto attempted. The Bishop writes of it:

On Lady Day I consecrated the really splendid church at Magila. It is quite a triumph to have built such a church under the difficulties which must beset all buildings in stone in that country.

Archdeacon Farler's energy and enterprise overcame these difficulties, and the result is a lofty building with nave of five bays, two aisles, side chapel, and apsidal chancel, comparable, in point of size, height, and solidity, with many a church in England. [At Frere Town, in his own diocese, Bishop Hannington notes: 'I have constantly to regret the dissenterish kind of services they have here. ... I want to hear more about saving souls. ... I want to see far more Church order.'] The consecration took place on the Feast of the Annunciation, in the presence of a vast crowd.

This ceremony completed, the Bishop left Magila for Zanzibar, where, after a Retreat at Kiungani, he ordained Cecil Majaliwa Deacon in the Cathedral. The remainder of Lent was spent by the Bishop in Zanzibar, where he held a Confirmation on Passion Sunday, and another Retreat the week following. On Easter Eve he baptized thirty-one adults at Mbweni, and the same evening fourteen boys at Christ Church, and on Easter Day, after the usual Cathedral services, went on board an English man-of-war to hold a service. Few priests of the Mission would be equal to such a continual strain as this work implies in a tropical climate.

A second journey to Nyasa was now undertaken, and this time the Bishop decided to walk to the lake viâ Newala, instead of choosing the Zambezi route. One of his companions was Mr. Johnson, now returned from England with the sight of one eye partially restored, and anxious to press forward in order to begin work on the Charles Janson. The whole country round the lake was still suffering from the marauding Magwangwara tribe, and the Bishop determined to see whether his influence could not procure some cessation of hostilities. On reaching Newala a series of disasters overtook the party. Mr. Johnson became so seriously ill that the only hope of saving his life was to send him back to the coast. 'Dear Johnson was carried away yesterday terribly weak and ill, and we hardly dare to speak of his departure. It seems so doubtful whether we shall hear of his safe arrival at the coast." In consequence of this change it was decided that Mr. Maples should leave his work at Newala and accompany the Bishop to the lake. Scarcely had they started when news was brought that the Rev. J. S. C. Wood, whom they had left convalescent at Newala, was dead. This sad event determined the Bishop not to take Mr. Wathen (a young, not yet acclimatised member of the staff) on the remainder of the long journey. After proceeding about one hundred and fifty miles inland the party divided, Mr. Maples and the greater number of porters with bales of goods going direct to the lake, while the Bishop, with as few natives as possible, advanced on the perilous journey to the warlike Magwangwara. So fierce a character had this tribe that the sight of a valuable caravan would almost certainly have tempted them to attack and robbery. After some days' travel through mountainous country the Bishop writes:

The nights had become now exceedingly cold, so that my teeth chattered, and I could hardly keep myself warm. I regretted my second blanket, which I had sent the other way for fear of exciting the greed of the Magwangwara by anything superfluous. Our path was often difficult to find, as it was only marked sometimes by the cuts of an axe on the trees, and sometimes we had to wander about looking for it. The fires had not yet begun, as the grass was not dry enough. It was often very long and troublesome, and the pointed seeds apt to stick into one's feet and cause sores. We were more than a fortnight passing through this forest. We had, when we could reach water, as we generally could, to stop pretty early in the afternoon to let the men build a fence against the lions and hyaenas. For two nights we had rain, which I had not at all expected at this season, but the guide said that it was always so here.

On July 7 we got extensive views, and here the trees were bright in places with autumnal tints, especially the golden colour of the bamboos, which clothe the sides of deep valleys and the banks of streams. Once we lost the path for a long time, baffled by the numerous tracks of a herd of elephants. Now and then we saw traces of former villages and crossed old potato beds in the midst of the forest; but all is now desolate from fear of the Magwangwara. The dew in the morning was very heavy, so that I was often quite wet through soon after starting. During the night of July 9 I was awakened by the firing of guns, and found that two lions had been prowling round the camp, and one had at last torn at the boughs which formed the fence. This was rather unpleasantly near, within a few feet of the men's heads. There was only a semicircle of fence, with my tent opposite, with open passages on either side. The guns frightened the lions, but I heard them growling near again when I got up at five o'clock.

We saw the marks of very large feet all around us in the morning, and in one place the earth was torn up where the lion had jumped when startled by the guns.

At last, four weeks after leaving Masasi, the Bishop reached the town of the Gwangwara chief Sonjela, a grasping, violent-tempered, unattractive man of intemperate habits, who accepted the two loads of handkerchiefs and calico offered to him, and, under protest, consented to receive a Christian teacher, and to desist from attacking the people of Masasi. The Bishop was well satisfied with the results of this visit, for he had scarcely hoped to receive even a grudging welcome from Sonjela; and to have secured a promise of peace for Masasi was more than he expected. He now wanted to visit Mhaluli, Sonjcla's superior chief, and after a week's stay asked permission to move on to him, but when Sonjela found that we wanted to visit Mhaluli he said he could not let us do so. He may have had several reasons for this. He wished, I think, to monopolise any good to be got out of us for himself. Then he probably was very doubtful as to whether Mhaluli would wish to see us. I saw he was determined that we should not go, so I asked for a guide to Mbampa Bay. This he readily granted.

.... On the night of Saturday, July 31, we slept near a hut on the top of the mountains, and, as I was told it was only a morning's walk to Mbampa Bay, I thought it best to go on after our early service on the Sunday. In half an hour we had crossed the top of the range, and a wide and splendid view burst upon us. Some 4,000 feet down, perhaps, lay the lake, stretching as far as we could see to north and south, with high mountains just visible on the opposite shore. In the foreground was a mass of varied colour and beauty; rocks and foliage mingled together in all directions. We found it a very steep climb down, and very much longer than we expected--a good six hours' walk to where our steamer lay. From time to time we had glimpses of the lake; then again we went down into some deep valley, and crossed cool, shaded streams with large creepers entwined above them, hiding the clear bright waters from the sun as they splashed over the great granite boulders. We had to climb again some steep rocky hills shortly before reaching the lake.

At last we reached our steamer anchored in the beautiful little blue bay sheltered by the peninsula called Mbampa. Our men came in by degrees, and I was glad to find our friends on board had a sheep ready to give them after their long, trying march. In the evening we had our service on the shore, and ended with a Te Deum in thankfulness to God for having prospered and preserved us, and brought us safe to our friends on the lake. The next day we reached Likoma, after steaming about three hours in the Charles Janson. We found Mr. Maples and his men had all safely arrived on the Thursday before, and he and the Likoma party were on the beach to receive us. ... All here seem fairly well, and believe in the healthiness of the island. I was surprised to find twenty-five boys living as boarders at the Mission and taught by the native teachers every day. These teachers came from among our boys at Zanzibar, and have been of the greatest help and most excellent in every way. Four of the boys have already asked to become Christians, and give proofs of being in earnest.

It may be well to insert here a letter from the Bishop, written somewhat earlier in the year, in reply to certain critics in England who had expressed an opinion that Likoma was not a suitable site for the head-quarters of the Nyasa work:

I have acted according to my own convictions in choosing Likoma, and I think it will be allowed to be reasonable that I should feel bound to regard the universal testimony of those I had an opportunity of speaking to who knew the lake, and my own judgment after having visited different parts of the lake, rather than the opinion of any who have never been there. Dr. Laws, as far as I can gather, is the one person who has experience who is doubtful about Likoma, but on no ground, I imagine, but theory. But what of his station? It is on a fine breezy promontory with a bay on either side--every condition of health, we would say. But those living there bear every mark of constant fever. I will give you Sir John Kirk's words to me this afternoon: he at least is a good authority. 'I wonder that anyone should decide on such a question without seeing the district. The fact is, there is a great deal of nonsense talked about the highlands of Africa. You cannot live anywhere without being liable to fever, unless you go to desert places where no one else lives. Wherever there is any cultivation, there is fever.' I entirely agree with him. Look at Newala. There is apparently every condition favourable to health, yet some men have constant fever there.

Ever anxious to make peace between hostile chiefs, Bishop Smythies lost no time in visiting Mataka, who was threatening war with Chitesi, the chief who had influence over Likoma. Arbitration was again successful here, and the Bishop returned to the island, passing on next day to visit the grave of Charles Janson, and proceeding in the steamer to the southern end of Lake Nyasa and down the Shiré to Pimbi, whence the party walked to Zomba and Blantyre, and back to the steamer at Matopé:

From Pimbi we started by moonlight and walked for three hours, slept, and went on over the mountainous spurs of Zomba on Saturday, reaching Mr. Buchanan's settlement in the afternoon. It is a beautiful place, up under the mountain rising about 3,000 feet, and very precipitous on all sides. We were received most hospitably by Mr. Buchanan and his three brothers. I was glad to find the Consul there too. He is building a large house. I was very much pleased with what I saw of the Consul. He seems much interested in the country and its welfare. He has had a most successful journey to the troublesome tribe of the Angoni, which I hope will really do good. They are the Magwangwara of this side of the lake. Mr. Buchanan has gardens full of English vegetables, fields of corn, coffee plantations, streams of water flowing through them in all directions. We had a full Sunday, August 15. First of all Swahili service with our six men, then Mr. Buchanan's Yao service, at which Maples spoke in Yao, then an English service and sermon to which the Consul came. In the afternoon Maples and I climbed Zomba and enjoyed it, but the weather was too hazy from the grass fires to see far. There were fields of wild flowers on the top of the mountain, and I saw Michaelmas daisies, St. John's wort, and blackberries.

On Monday, August 16, we left for this (Blantyre), a walk of over forty miles. We passed about ten miles from Magomero, where Bishop Mackenzie and the first members of the Mission settled. At the end of the day we thought we had not come halfway, so we got up in the night and walked three hours by the bright moonlight. We got in here, after a long tiring walk, on Tuesday afternoon, August 17, and were warmly welcomed. Everyone is most kind. We are staying at the house of Mr. Hetherwick, the minister in charge.

On returning to Likoma the Bishop appointed Mr. Maples Archdeacon, and before leaving the lake he had the satisfaction of knowing that Mr. Johnson, who had been carried away so ill from Newala, and had been obliged to undergo an operation at Mozambique, had so far recovered that on reaching the Cape he felt himself ready to return for work on the lake. This return the Bishop joyfully sanctioned, little thinking then that this faithful servant of the Mission would be destined to labour on with good health and undaunted courage for twelve consecutive years without leaving his post. [The Rev. W. P. Johnson did not return to England on furlough till 1898.] After holding a Retreat at Likoma and visiting all the villages on the island, and seeing the first church building nearly finished, the Bishop left the lake, to return by the River Lujenda route, as in the previous year. Some account of his experiences on this journey now follows:

I thought you might like to have an account of the sort of Sunday one has sometimes to spend in Africa. I will take yesterday as a specimen. The day before, we had arrived at a large town on the shore of the lake. When we had settled ourselves in the town, I was at once the centre of attraction. The chief gave me a house; but we found it so infested with the most disagreeable kinds of disagreeable insects that I told the men to find a place for my tent, as I knew I could not sleep there. As the town is built on a narrow strip of land between a marsh and the lake, there were not many spaces available. However, they found me a common open beach where there was a break in the reeds, where people came down to wash and get their water--not very private, as you may suppose. I told the six Christians of our party that I would celebrate the Holy Communion as early as possible so as to avoid interruption. It gets light before six o'clock now, and I suppose we began soon after, but when one's tent has to serve as bed-room, dressing-room, and church, it takes some time to make it ready, especially for the highest act of worship. I find, too, that there is a great deal of preparation which I must do myself, however willing my native Reader, Charlie Sulemani, may be to help me. I put a man outside the tent to ask any people who came to look to wait and be quiet, as we were at prayers. The men are always devout and attentive, and I carry with me everything that is necessary to make the service as much as possible as I am accustomed to have it in church. It was in Swahili, of course, for the sake of the men. Notwithstanding my precautions, I had not finished putting away the vessels, &c., when the chief suddenly entered with a present of a substantial breakfast, consisting of a large bowl, or rather closely woven basket, of ugali, the stiff porridge which is the staple food of the country, and a basin of stewed buffalo. He caught sight of a handsome embroidered red stole and asked to look at it. He was much struck with the work, and asked if he could buy anything like it. My purple cassock was also an object of great admiration. He left us to our breakfast, saying he would come again. I had already had breakfast prepared, so I was able to entertain my six Christian people in my tent on what had been so amply provided. The ugali was excellently cooked, very white and fine. I have taken to eating it on my journeys, and like it very much. It is always to be got, and I find it a good substitute for bread, which I cannot often have. The chiefs present was very acceptable, as giving me an opportunity, which I am always glad to take, of making the men feel the union of Christians, black and white, with one another.

Before I could have our Swahili matins, to which all our men came, the chief paid me another visit, and asked me if some of his people might see the stole and cassock. I showed them the stoles I had, and put on the cassock, explaining to him that it was God's day, and I wanted to worship God according to our custom with the men. Just then there was a great noise, and we went outside to see the cause of it. It happened that all the town was en fête, so far as that can ever be said of a town in this country. There are certain tribal customs which are made an occasion of festivities. A large circle of booths is built, outside the town in this case, sometimes in the woods near, and all the women or men, as the case may be, turn out for a sort of picnic, with a good deal of dancing and noise. In this case the festivities were being carried on by the women, and now a large company came by, mostly dressed in their husbands' clothes and carrying their guns, bows and arrows, belts, &c., making believe to be going to war. They danced about on the beach with these things. Some had coloured their faces as a sort of parody of beards and whiskers. The chief took off his belt and girded it on to a middle-aged woman, probably his wife. After a little while they went on through the town and out at the other end, and the chief and most of the people followed them, so we were left in peace to have our service. Only a few of the men could be in the tent; the rest stood and knelt on the shore outside. A few of the young men of the town remained looking on. After service my tent door, and indeed every available opening, was crowded with visitors all through the middle of the day. I had the sides lifted up to let a current of air pass through underneath, as a tent gets very hot in the sun, so that I was really surrounded with men and boys, the women keeping more outside and looking on from a distance. I tried to entertain my visitors by showing them anything I had, and giving them sugar plums, kindly sent me by my friends at home, which are greatly appreciated.

This does not sound a very profitable or evangelical way of spending Sunday, as I am painfully conscious. But I find it very difficult to say anything serious to a crowd, mostly of young men like this, full of curiosity, and without the most elementary ideas of the real seriousness of life. I think others might do better. I feel sure St. Francis Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi would. It is, of course, a great difficulty not to be able to speak their language (Yao). All I find, generally, that I am able to do, especially where there are large numbers coming and going, is to speak to the chief about the objects of our coming, and our wish to do good to the people, which I always try to do, and then to be patient with all inquisitiveness, and try to give confidence and be as friendly as possible, to lay the foundation for any visits of missionaries or anything that may be done to help the people in the future. Bishop Patteson, I see, felt the same difficulty as to dealing with people religiously on a first visit. Still, I am not satisfied. It is easy to point out the great difference as to intellect and culture between these people and most of those with whom St. Paul had to do, to point to miraculous gifts as a great help in the cases of those who were more barbarous; but the question is, whether something more of St. Paul's supernatural life and St. Paul's burning zeal might not make what seems so difficult to become easy. A very moderate amount of zeal and work readily gain credit for missionaries from their friends at home; they very much need their prayers that they may not so readily take credit to themselves.

To return to our Sunday. When dinner came, there was still an admiring crowd making remarks on each article of food and each gesture, interested in tasting a crumb of bread or a fragment of biscuit. At last, about five o'clock, I escaped into the fields to get a little quiet, and think over my evening sermon to my men. As soon as I got back there came an uncomfortable altercation with our guides, who asked an extortionate price. I appealed to the chief, and told him I knew the custom of the country, and mentioned what I had paid in many cases. His people had been spoilt, as I told him, by a Portuguese traveller, who, coming but once, paid what was asked. This he acknowledged, but all the same he confessed to having told the men to ask double what the Portuguese gave. I spoke very strongly, as it is probable we may have future relations with this man, who is of the same family as our most friendly chiefs, Matola and Mtarika, who last year treated me with kindness, and whom I am now going to visit again. It ended in our gaining more favourable terms. At last with darkness I was left alone, and we were able to have our evening service quietly on the shore.

The long walk from the lake to Newala contained incidents unchronicled by himself, but noted by Charles Sulemani, the native Reader who accompanied the Bishop on many of his long walks. This simple statement of the sort of experiences such a journey entails speaks for itself:

We arrived at Nangwale and left on Monday, and Tuesday we travelled in the same way. On Wednesday afternoon we lost our way; we slept; there was not a thing of food. Thursday we travelled on our way till the third hour, 9 A.M., and presently we got to know that it was not the way to our place. We split the wood (i.e. they left the path they were on); we were very thirsty; the great master (the Bishop) was not able to direct us for hunger and thirst. But God gave us necessaries, for we killed a small animal, and we were saved until we got water on Friday. God helping us to find the way, we reached the River Lujenda in the afternoon and drank water. We arose, and directly after we arose there met us our people. We rejoiced to see them again, and to get food for the Bishop, for we had fear for the life of the Lord Bishop from hunger. We said, 'We are able to eat creatures of the forest, but he will not be able to eat and to live on bad things.' Afterwards there was food, and we were very thankful, and we said, 'Now he will get strength again.'

On reaching Newala the Bishop received the budget of letters to which he had been eagerly looking forward, but the news was sad and discouraging. Two priests were dead, Mr. Riddell and Mr. Pollard:

I suppose no one who has not travelled on week after week, as I have been doing, without seeing the face of a fellow-countryman, can realise the eagerness with which I looked forward to the warm welcome I knew I should have from my dear friends here at Newala, and only those who have been in a distant country like this can understand the pleasure with which I opened my home letters--the accumulation of five months. Then without any warning or preparation came the sad news. ... I think all who knew him would say that of those who have joined the Mission since I became Bishop there was no one who had shown such wonderful missionary power as my dear friend Mr. Riddell. His was a rare and beautiful life, which we may thank God that we have been privileged to witness. He seemed to have grasped the highest ideal of missionary work, and to pursue it consistently and unremittingly.

I was full of delight at getting to talk to white people again, and to see my sons at Newala, when I opened my letters and found my dear friend had been dead five months. Riddell was one of my dearest friends, and one of the holiest, most devoted men I ever met. . . . He had all the charm of holiness united to culture and refinement, truly one of those of whom the world was et not worthy. . . . God's will be done! For me it has been a hard, hard year, and this is the heaviest blow of all. ... It is a great blessing to have seen his life. . . . Pollard was full of great zeal; I did what I could. . . . He wished to come here; he wished for independent work. I gave it to him, with Cecil, our very best native and his great friend, to be with him. But it all soon ended, as you know.

It may be fitting to insert here some passages of a letter from the Bishop in answer to certain friends in England who had suggested that the sad losses on the Mission staff might be due to lack of proper precautions as to food, housing, and work, in order to show that the Bishop was keenly alive to the need of such precautions, and had in fact continually urged them; but that the conditions of climate and country are such that, if the work is to be done at all, it must be at a certain cost of health, and even of life:

I do not myself think that at any station there can be said to be insufficient food and nourishment. ... I have repeatedly made known my opinion that I think there ought to be a competent native cook at every station. ... I do not think insufficient nourishment had anything to do with our losses. ... I do not see how anyone in England can say what such a devoted priest as Riddell was might think necessary; probably one thing which he thought really necessary was that the Christians in the district should receive the Holy Communion, and it was in his journeys for that end that he was often obliged to get wet. . . . The house at Umba has been removed from a very unhealthy site to the healthiest in the district. No one has taken a long journey in the rainy season; great care has been taken in the case of all sites; I have continually urged prudence. . . . There are certain things which do affect health, and against them, both by precept and example, I do my best to warn people: such are exposure to the sun and sitting in wet things. ... I have hardly given a Retreat without speaking about prudence.

Continuous work filled up the Bishop's time during this sojourn in the Rovuma country. A Retreat, the ordination of Mr. Wathen, long talks with the chief Matola, long walks over the country, a visit to Masasi and the new station Chitangali, mountain climbing and exploring, preaching, peace-making--so the weeks passed until it was time to return to the coast in order to reach Zanzibar for Christmas. On one of his walks he passed near the ruined remains of the first Mission station at Masasi, which had been abandoned in 1883 on account of war, and writes of it as follows:

This beautiful avenue of mangoes will long remain as a memorial of the station and village which once seemed soprosperous and flourishing. We may hope by God's goodness that a far better memorial may always remain in the district in the Christian lives of those who first came under the influence of the Gospel when those trees were being planted. I may mention, as a sign of what Christian teaching has effected here, that eight of my porters who went with us to Lake Nyasa and back this year were men from Masasi, and of these one was a Christian, and all the rest are under Christian instruction, either as catechumens or preparing to be so. Certainly all behaved admirably, and I had no fault to find with them throughout the journey. It is pleasant to think that some of them helped to build the first real church at Likoma, on Lake Nyasa.

The influence of Christian teaching on those people, who had hitherto known no other life than terror of marauding tribes and slave-raiding Arabs, was further shown by the readiness with which they trusted their boys to the Bishop's care, allowing them to be taken away hundreds of miles to the distant unknown--to Zanzibar of all places, that notorious island which had until quite recently been the largest and cruellest slave-market in the world. Seventeen free boys from Newala and Masasi now accompanied the Bishop, going of their own desire and with their parents' consent, to face the long absence, strict discipline, and hard work of higher education at Kiungani College, and enduring with a newly learnt fortitude the pain of home-sickness which the clinging family affection of the African races makes a real suffering to them.

The Bishop writes:

It shows very great confidence on the part of the people to let their boys come with me. It is something so entirely new to see a number of boys going to the coast for such a purpose. It must be most difficult for people who do not know us to believe they are not slaves, which a caravan full of boys would ordinarily mean. At one well where we stopped, a Makonde woman came down to get water and fled in alarm at seeing me. Presently several men came running down very excited, as the woman told them I was carrying off a number of boys. They were, however, very soon pacified.

On reaching Zanzibar, after this second journey to Nyasa, the Bishop stayed at Kiungani, where the steady progress of the school again filled' him with thankfulness. School work, athletics, and moral tone were alike improving, as the following letter testifies:

I hope the boys here are making real progress and developing into real theological students. One great difficulty is to get the teachers to act on the side of right for themselves. But they really have begun to do so under the able guidance of the principal, Mr. Jones-Bateman. As an example, the other day at football one of the biggest boys said something they thought insulting to a gentleman who was playing. These young teachers of their own motion had all the boys in line, explained to them what a disgrace they thought it to the school, and then gave the boy, as big as themselves, a caning. This is an extraordinary recognition of responsibility for Africans. The boys play football wonderfully . . . you would be surprised how they kick with their naked feet, and they are not afraid to play against the booted Europeans. And, what is better, there are some who are really hoping and trying to train to be missionaries.

The development of football, the one game which, it may here be mentioned, is compulsory in all the Mission schools, often strikes strangers with astonishment. ['There is something very suggestive of the English public school about the Anglican missionaries. Athletics bulk largely and wholesomely in their curriculum. Their boy pupils are soon taught to play football and cricket and lo use the oar rather than the paddle.'--Sir Harry Johnston (British Central Africa, p. 201).] Football matches between the Kiungani boys and the men of Her Majesty's warships stationed at Zanzibar take place several times a year, and almost invariably end in a victory for the boys. Indeed, when in 1896 the College was defeated in one of these matches, the boys found considerable difficulty in bearing the novel experience with becoming equanimity; for an unbroken tradition of victory had led them to believe that in football, if in nothing else, the African is superior to the European.

The connection with the C.M.S. Mission was further strengthened by a visit from Bishop Parker in Zanzibar, of whom Bishop Smythies writes:

I was very pleased to have a visit from the new Bishop of East Equatorial Africa, who has succeeded our much lamented and valued friend Bishop Hannington. . . . Anything which manifests the unity which there ought to be amongst missionaries and draws us closer together must be pleasing to our Lord, and a help to the work which He has sent us out to do for Him.

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