I had taken the precaution of placing outposts to give us due warning of any attack, which I expected would take place, if it did come, early in the morning, just before daylight, this being the usual time for an attack, and for this reason the Kikuyu will not keep fowls, lest the crowing of the cocks towards dawn should betray their villages—which are always hidden away in the bush—to the enemy. This practice of delivering their attack just before dawn prevails among savage tribes pretty well all over the world, and I think that the chief reasons which lead to this time being chosen are, firstly, that the night offers the best opportunity of gradually bringing the force up into such a position that the enemy are surrounded before they can discover the movement which is in progress, and, secondly, that it is the hour at
which vitality is at the lowest point, and consequently, the desire for rest and sleep has greater power over the body, and the force attacked is likely to be less alert and less fitted for strenuous resistance.
One night an attack was actually made on us, though it did not turn out to be anything very serious, and was possibly simply a piece of bravado on the part of some of the young warriors who were anxious for war. They had not time to do much damage before we arrived on the scene and repulsed them, with the loss of a few killed.
Up to this time I had not really attached much importance to the rumours that an attack was to be made on us from that quarter, though I had taken all precautions against being caught napping; but this put me more on the alert than ever, while my people were absolutely terrified—especially as the latest rumour said that the people of Tato, who were coming down on us, had got the Masai to join them, as well as many of the Kikuyu who lived on the other side of the river which, as I explained before, was the boundary of the friendly district. This river was nearly two days’ march from the farther boundary of the Kikuyu country, and the inhabitants of the intervening district had made friends with the Masai to save themselves from being raided—indeed, those on the boundary
were half Masai themselves, having largely intermarried with that tribe. They would probably be able to muster a force of about two thousand fighting men; so having come to the conclusion that there was something in the rumour—after having made inquiries and carefully thought the matter out—I saw that it was necessary that we should be thoroughly prepared, and set to work to make my plans accordingly. Crossing the country through which the enemy would have to come was a deep ravine, with a river running through it. This river was crossed by a few bridges consisting simply of felled trees, which had been cut down so as to fall across the stream. I gave orders to destroy or remove these bridges at once, with the exception of one, against which I kept a guard night and day, to give us full warning of the enemy’s coming; my intention was to destroy the bridge as soon as the opposing force had crossed it, in the hope that I might be able to teach them such a lesson that they would leave us alone for the future.
At the top of the mountain overlooking the ravine I had built another house for myself, with a food station and trading store attached—as I made use of every opportunity of trading—and it was here that I decided to wait for the invaders. I had put a good guard there, which I visited every day myself, to see that things were all in order. The only path up the hill
from the bridge over the river zig-zagged up the mountain-side, and was very rough and steep, so that it was difficult for an enemy to approach in a body.
The people living near this station were in continual fear of an attack, as they had news from their spies that a considerable number of Masai were on the Kikuyu boundary, near Tato, and it had been the custom of this tribe to raid the country at least once a year, when the young braves would come out on the war-path after the circumcision ceremony to prove their fighting qualities. Their main object was loot, but they did not hesitate to kill all who opposed them, besides burning the villages and carrying off the cattle—and very often the women as well. I determined if possible to put an end to this raiding and wanton bloodshed.
A GROUP OF MASAI WARRIORS
The men guarding the bridge had been instructed to send two of their number to bring me word as soon as they saw the enemy approaching, while the remainder were to stay behind in hiding, and destroy the bridge as soon as the invaders had crossed, so as to cut off their retreat. The long expected attack came early one morning, and, following out their instructions, the watchers at the bridge gave me early warning that a large 杭州品茶的地方你懂的 body of warriors had crossed the river, and we were quite ready to give them a warm reception. They came boldly on, never
thinking that we were waiting for them, and no doubt expecting the same easy victory that they had had on previous raids. But a big surprise was in store for them. Owing to the narrowness of the path, they could only approach in single file, and we waited until they had almost reached the top before letting them know we were there. I had given strict orders that no man was to make a move, or utter a sound, until I gave the signal by firing my rifle. Coming steadily on, they had got close upon us when I fired, and my rifle-men opened on them at once, while the bowmen followed the volley up with a flight of poisoned arrows. The invaders were taken completely by surprise, and before they could recover 杭州水疗会所论坛 themselves the Kikuyu warriors swept down on them with swords and spears. Bolting in a mad panic, they were hotly pursued down the mountain-side, suffering severely in their flight. Arriving at the river, they found that the bridge was gone, and many of them jumped into the stream, of whom some got safely across, but a good many were drowned on the way. At least fifty had been killed, and many wounded, and these I gave orders were not to be killed, but brought in as prisoners, of whom, when all were collected, we had a very large number, so that the victory was altogether complete, while my force had suffered only very slight loss. The punishment we had administered was so severe
that the country was never again raided by these people during the time I was with the Kikuyu.
This victory having ensured the people security from 杭州水磨会所排行 any further raids—for a time, at any rate—I had now the opportunity for which I had been looking, of taking the food I had collected into the British settlement. I had bought a lot of flour, which I took into the Government station at Naivasha, and very pleased they were to get it, as I found that they were practically starving for want of food. Not only was this the case at Naivasha, but they were no better off at the Ravine; and so thankful were the Government to get these supplies that they made a contract with me to keep them provisioned, and I heard no more about my going into the Kikuyu country without permission!
It was on this visit to Naivasha that I was able to renew my acquaintance with two most interesting people, whom I had met on some of my journeys with food for the troops in Uganda. They were Mr. and Mrs. 杭州桑拿介绍 Walsh, who, at the time I first met them, were engaged, like myself, in taking up food in donkey-wagons for the troops. They had, I found, established the first store in Naivasha. This was what I had wished to do some time previously, but had been forbidden by the official in charge—who, as I now have reason to believe, far exceeded his legal powers in doing so; but I was only a settler,
and he was one of the officials who had his knife into me.
This couple had come to East Africa from Mashonaland, where Mrs. Walsh had been the first white woman to enter the country, and had started by taking up the transport business, in which they had both had considerable experience, and in which Mrs. Walsh took a man’s share of the work, being the only white woman who ever ran transport in British East Africa. In spite of their many 杭州桑拿论坛龙凤 successful ventures, they are not numbered among the wealthy, their open-handed hospitality and careless, happy-go-lucky Irish temperament being against them in the race to accumulate riches; but there is hardly any one who has been in British East Africa who does not know them, and few who have not, at one time or another, shared their generous hospitality, which was as freely extended to the trader or settler temporarily down on his luck as to the Government official or missionary travelling in luxury.
I gave the authorities a full report on the country, telling them of the continual fighting and the trouble I had had right through. They said that they were quite aware of it, and that I could expect nothing else, but that they could give me no assistance, as they had quite enough troubles of their own, with the natives near at 杭州桑拿网 hand.
It appeared that during my absence from the
Kikuyu country my old partner Gibbons had returned from Uganda and gone into partnership with a man named Findlay to make a trading expedition to the Kikuyu country; but I had somehow missed him while transacting my business in Naivasha, as his route had lain farther to the east. I found that as soon as the two had entered the country they had had trouble with the natives, and some of their men had been killed. They had taken with them forty or fifty men, armed with rifles, and about one hundred porters, intending to trade for ivory. So far as I could gather, a chief had come to them and told them that he had a tusk to sell. When the Kikuyu come to sell ivory they do not show you the tusk but give you the measurement, from which you have to guess the weight; then, after the 杭州桑拿哪里好 bargain is struck, you pay for the ivory, and the seller is supposed to bring it in. Gibbons bought a tusk, and sent ten armed men back with the chief to bring it in. These men were Swahili, who were terribly afraid of the Kikuyu. They had received the ivory, and were bringing it back to camp, when they were all ambushed and murdered. The rest of the safari lost heart at the murder of their companions and had scarcely courage to defend themselves, and Gibbons saw that his only chance was to build a boma, as the natives were coming in force to attack him. They had barely completed the
boma when they were attacked, and throughout the night the improvised fort was surrounded by a yelling horde of savages, bombarding them with spears and arrows and trying by every means to get through the defences. Gibbons and Findlay kept 杭州桑拿足浴 up a plucky defence, and by spurring on their men managed to beat off the attack. Things, however, looked even worse in the morning, when the natives were reinforced, and hemmed them in on every side. It was impossible to remain in the boma, as they could not hope to hold it for long against the hundreds of black fiends who surrounded them, and it was decided to
make a sortie and, if possible, cut their way through and get out of the country. The attempt was made, and a fierce hand-to-hand fight ensued, in which Findlay received two bad spear thrusts, and would have been killed outright had not one of his boys come to the rescue, firing his rifle so close to Findlay’s assailant that he blew his arm clean off. Findlay was carried back into the boma, to which Gibbons and the few survivors also returned, and managed to strengthen 杭州桑拿按摩好去处 their defences sufficiently to enable them to hold the savages at bay until a messenger could get through to the nearest Government station, from which a relief force of the King’s African Rifles was sent out, and after a week of terrible hardship Gibbons and his few remaining followers were rescued. Findlay, however, died later of his wounds.
This incident gives a good idea of the treacherous and bloodthirsty nature of the people among whom I was now spending my life.
On returning to Karuri’s I found myself on better terms than ever with the natives, and many other chiefs came in to profess their friendship. By this time I could speak Swahili well, and had mastered the Kikuyu language sufficiently to understand what they were saying, although I still spoke to them through an interpreter, as I thus had time to consider my replies. My thorough defeat of their sworn enemies, the Masai, had given me a great reputation among them, which was increased by their belief that it was impossible to kill me, a belief which had been strengthened by my defying the witch doctors to poison me and swallowing, in their presence, samples of what they considered their most deadly poisons without any ill effects. In consequence of the reputation I had thus gained my word was law, and I advised them that it would be greatly to their advantage to stop quarrelling and fighting among themselves, which advice I backed by severely punishing any one I caught quarrelling. With regard to my singular immunity from the effects of the poisons of the native witch doctors, it is, perhaps, difficult to find a satisfactory explanation. Whenever I met a witch doctor I always insisted on sampling any poisons he might have with him, which were
always prepared with honey, and appeared to me to be a mixture of honey and the ashes of burnt herbs—a black, sticky mess—and though not, perhaps, the most appetising morsel one could choose, yet not so unpleasant to the taste as to be objectionable. But, in spite of the opportunities thus offered them to get rid of the one man in the country whom they both hated and feared, I never felt the slightest ill-effects from these experiments. On the other hand, it must not be supposed that I ordinarily took any undue risks of death by poison. I never accepted any drink offered by my savage acquaintances or hosts without first seeing that the person who brought it carried out the usual custom of sampling it himself before I touched it, while I took all necessary precautions to ensure that my food was not interfered with.
Several theories occur to my mind to account for my immunity. One is that the concoctions which I took, in spite of the witch doctors’ assurances that they were deadly, were not poisons at all. I think it quite likely that they never carried their real poisons on them, but specially prepared them, in the secrecy of their own huts, for each individual, and that they were merely trying to frighten me.
8. It is the Wakamba who deal in poisons and sell them to the neighbouring tribes. They pretend to have a monopoly of them in East Africa.
Another is that the Kikuyu had no poisons at all. It must be remembered that the African native is one of the most superstitious beings in the world, and there is no doubt that many of the deaths attributed to the action of the witch doctors were really due to pure funk. The natives are so oppressed with a belief in the occult powers of the medicine man that it is well known that it is generally quite sufficient for him to curse an individual and assure him that his death will take place on or before a certain time to ensure that the man will simply give up the ghost according to the prophecy. Instances of this sort of thing can be quoted in connexion with most primitive races, either in Africa or India. I know very well that some of the native races of British East Africa have deadly poisons, and do not hesitate to use them, as two white men of my acquaintance met with horrible deaths from poison administered by some Wakamba, while I know of more than one similar instance occurring among white men on the West Coast. But with the native the ingrained superstitious fear of the medicine man is generally quite sufficient to cause death under the influence of his curse. So deeply rooted in the native mind is this belief in the power of these quacks that I