Image from page 54 of "A voice from the Congo : comprising stories, anecdotes, and descriptive notes" (1910)
Authors: Ward, Herbert, 1863-1919
Publisher: New York : Charles Scribner's Sons
Contributing Library: University of Connecticut Libraries
Digitizing Sponsor: University of Connecticut Libraries
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howls.An ugly mob of armed natives rushed to the river sideand manned several war-canoes, whilst others linedthe river-bank with their spears poised at us. In view of this reception, our prospects of elephant-hunting seemed remote; and my Bangala com-panions, well versed in savage ways, counselled ahasty retreat. At the critical moment, however,when escape seemed hopeless, owing to a number oflarge canoes heading us off, the chief suddenly madehis appearance upon the bank. Raising his voicehigh above the uproar, he shouted: Benu bokuling undi? (What do you want?)Itumba, ekh? (Do you come to fight?) Explanations followed, and the crowd gazed at ussuspiciously. We come as friends, said the headman of myBangala companions, speaking in the Mobunga dia-lect. We come to visit your country because theytell us that there are many elephants. If you willbelieve that we are friends coming in peace andallow us to land, our white man will show you thestrange weapon he has brought, which will kill
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w AN ELEPHANT HUNT 21 elephants. We have ourselves seen the power of theweapon, and it is strong. Let the white man comeamong you and kill elephants, you will have the meatfor food. Think, O people of Mobunga! think ofyour stomachs all large with good elephant meat. This tactful speech told greatly in our favour.The mere mention of the word meat had in factan immediate effect, and the loud voices of distrustsoon changed their tone into a low, rumbling note ofeagerness. Upon landing, we were at once surrounded by asurging crowd of evil-smelling ruffians, to the ex-clusion of all fresh air. I paid a heavy penaltyindeed for the unique position of being their firstwhite visitor; I was buffeted to and fro, whilstlarge grimy hands mauled me over as if to prove,by sense of touch, the reality of my strange appear-ance. My patience was sorely exercised, and theclimax of my misery was reached when, after blandand eloquent speeches on the part of the chief andhis henchmen, I submitted to the cer
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