Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/135

This page needs to be proofread.


five pounds of baggage, including tent, guns, ammunition, etc. The Aruwimi District, we had heard, was rich in plantains, as well as game, and we needed both, and the fighting men served for protection in case we were attacked, and as food carriers if we were not.

“The first day’s march brought us to a small river, a branch of the larger tributaries of the Upper Congo, which we crossed. Then followed a three days’ march which led us to a hilly country where the villages were few and far between, and although the natives we met on the trail were most friendly—indeed some of their men had helped make up my gangs, two of them joining my escort—no food was to be had, and so I was obliged to push on until I struck a stretch that looked as if the plantains and manioc could be raised. Still further on I discovered traces of antelope and zebra and some elephants’ tracks. Although the villages we passed were deserted, the character of the country proved that at some time in the past both plantains and a sort of yam had been raised in abundance, which led me to believe we could get what we wanted.

“In this new country, too, we met a new kind of native, different from those to whom I