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The diaries of James Chapin

Book 6: (December 10, 1914 to March 6, 1915)

Diaries List


Natives of the Congo consider the hippo about the best meat there is. Even the Bangwana, nominally Muhabedan eat it, tho they refuse pigs and elephant, and Kalonga justifies this course as follows. The hippo living in the water counts as a fish. Were one to be killed on land, it might be considered as the brother of the pig; but not otherwise. It seems to be a widespread superstition that rain must fall the day a hippo is cut up. Rain falls so often anyhow that it may just as well as not on that day too. The giant elephant-shrew, if Kuma is right, makes a round flattened nest of dry leaves, sunk in a slight hollow in the ground. If, the shrew, when away from home, is caught in a rain, according to the same authority, he then returns and tears the nest to pieces, angered by the fact that it did not follow him out and protect him from the rain. Our boys from the Uele had a very appropriate word to say when one of them yawned. "Ngonde!" (=crocodile).


Dec. 10, Stanleyville-Yanonge-Isangi. Dec. 11, Isangi, Basoko-Bamonbou-Wood post on N. bank. Dec. 12, Bumba-anchored in mid stream. Dec. 13, Lie-wood post. Dec. 14, N. Anvers, Ekaturaka. Dec. 15, Coquilhatville. Dec. 16, Coq.-Wangata-Wood post. Dec. 17, Irebu-Lukolela. Dec. 18, Lukolela-Bolobo. Dec. 19, Bolobo-Kwamouth-Kunzulu. Dec. 20, Kunzulu-Kinshassa.

DATE: Dec. 10, 1914
LOCALITY: Stanleyville-Yanonge-Isangi

Left Stanleyville about 7:30 this morning, on the steamer "Roi Albert". Stopped for a short time at Yanonge, the post that has so long been in the charge of a Negro, Badjoko. Mr. Bailleux, agronomy, in 1921, says Badjoko is still there. Arrived late in the afternoon at Isangi, where we spent the night. For a long way below Stanleyville the river is comparatively narrow, with high banks and rather few islands. The native villages, appearing as lines of huts running parallel to the stream, are numerous, and there seems to be no virgin forest left anywhere. The water is of course very high, few birds are noticed, especially water-birds, of which some of the very commonest species, such as the snake-bird, are lacking.

DATE: Dec. 11, 1914
LOCALITY: Isangi-Basoko-Bamonbou

Stopping for the night at a small wood-post. Shores covered for the most part with a dense tangled forest, but trees not particularly tall. At the wood post where we spent the night, in spite of the ground being nearly on a level with the river (now) the forest was of a good sort, with rather open undergrowth. Here we heard the call of the large bluish Halcyon (with black scapulars) and one of the passengers shot a very young example of the chestnut-headed Halcyon badius. Numbers of driver ant were crossing a path, and had attracted some birds, among them an Alethe (woosnami?) which I shot, as well as the Bleda with yellow-spotted tail. The rufous-tailed Bleda was heard in the vicinity, as well as one of the larger "ant-thrushes", that with white patches in the tail, I believe.

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DATE: Dec. 12, 1914
LOCALITY: Yambinga-Bumba

Stopped at Yambinga, and at Bumba (towards one o'clock) anchored for night in mid-stream. Shores generally forested, but sometimes extensive patches of grass, including elephant-grass, about villages and post. Below Bumba, on right bank, some flat, grassy patches, dotted with large termite mounds and oil-palms. The forest, too, contains quantities of oil-palms (raphia palms) and stout rattan palms, which add much to the attractiveness of the view from the steamer. Water-birds not numerous. No snake-birds or cormorants, nor even gray pratincoles seen. Some of the birds observed today are as follows: Butorides, rather common. Scopus, 2 (1 with nest). Hagedashia, several. Gypohierax, rather common. Actitis hypoleucus, common. Alcedo guentheri 2. Corythornis, rather common. Ceryle maxima, several. C. rudis, several. Halcyon senegalensis, heard. Merops (pink breast, dusky back), 15, 30. Melittophagus (small green back), several. Ceratogymna, 3. Bycanistes (small sp.), 15. Lophoceros (blackish), a few. Dark blue swallows, and gray riverside flycatcher, also noticed. The nest of Scopus seen this morning was in the fork of a large tree on an island. It was not yet complete, and entirely open on top; one of the birds standing on the rim. (See Illustration) A nest of Gypohierax was likewise observed; a large rough mass of sticks in a big cottonwood, with one of its owners standing on it, while numbers of weavers (Hyphantornis c. bobudorffi) had their nests in the branches all about. These rose-breasted bee-eaters were the same we collected on our trip up the river in 1909. The voice is rather loud, but hoarser than any other bee-eater I know. ("chick-k"). A little way above Bumba, the captain tells me, the river is 58 kilometers wide -this is the broadest part.

DATE: Dec. 13, 1914

Passed Lie, tied up for night at a wood-post. Birds seen: Ardea goliath, 2. Tantalus ibis, 1 ad. Lapwings (xiphidiopterus albiceps), 2. Small egret, 1. Rose-breasted Bee-eater, several small flocks.

ATE: Dec. 14, 1914
LOCALITY: Nouvelle Anvers-Ekaturaka

Passed Nouvelle Anvers, stopped for night at native village, Ekaturaka. Lapwings (xiphidopterus albiceps), 9. Dissoura, 1-2 and nest? Rose-breasted Bee-eaters. Ardea goliath, 3.

DATE: Dec. 15
LOCALITY: Coquilhatville

Arrived at Coquilhatville at 3pm, stopped there for night. Guyon reported in jail here, for shooting another white man with Albini rifle.

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DATE: Dec. 16
LOCALITY: Coquilhatville-Wangata

By canoe (about 3/4 hour). Saw 1 Pseudochelidon flying about with swallows. Here the steamer was loading copal. Stopped for night at a wood-post. Here at dusk we heard the loud calling of a few Lampribis rara!! Today we saw the first snake-bird (Anhinga) since leaving Stanleyville also some small gray Pratincoles (Glareola n. emini), which are not common at this season along the Congo.

DATE: Dec. 17
LOCALITY: Irebu-Lukolela

Stopped a short time at Irebu and another post a little further down, reached Lukolela at 5pm. Here I set off at once to look for the red Colobus monkeys we saw in 1909, and succeeded in shooting two, in forest just above station. This bit of forest has the same high trees and open undergrowth as that of the Ituri, etc. The raphia palm so common along the banks of Congo in the forest region differs from those of the Uele and Ituri in having a tall trunk like an oil palm, tho they may be recognized sometimes by their hanging bunch of fruit, like that of the wine-palm. The leaves, which are much used for roofing resemble those of the oil-palm in general proportions, and have not the long stout stem of the other species of Raphia I knew in Nepoko and Mangbetu country.

DATE: Dec. 18
LOCALITY: Lukolela-Bolobo

Today we begin to come out of the forest zone, seeing occasional patches of open grass country studded with bushes, a very pleasant view, but cut up by stretches of dark forest. Arrived at Bolobo very late in the afternoon, after a light shower, but I walked out with Dr. Girling a little way behind the Mission, and was struck by the general resemblance of the country with the open parts of the Uele. Many of the birds, too, were the same, and their familiar voices were most agreeable. Dr. Girling asked me to dinner, afterwards showing me thru the hospital, and made us a present of a number of flat skins of mammals from this region, including the small yellow Manis, and clawed Otter. There is a very wide stretch of water at Bolobo, it is one of the places surely where the Congo looks its broadest. Altho the color of the water at Stanleyville never struck me as unusual -simply the ordinary dirty green stuff, along the middle of its course, about Coquilhatville, etc, it is very brown, almost the color of weak coffee as one looks at it in the shallows. Some of the birds seen today from the steamer were: Least bittern (brownish sp.), 1 male. Egrets, 2. Snake-bird. Pink-breasted Bee-eater, 40.

DATE: Dec. 19
LOCALITY: Bolobo-Kwamouth-Kunzulu

Spent some time ashore at Kwamouth in early afternoon. The bushes are sparser and most stunted than is usual in the Uele, and the grass still short. But the birds are strikingly similar. The yellow-backed Coliuspasser macroura, a sort of widow-bird, is molting, it is evidently the early part of the rainy season here, corresponding to the month of May, perhaps, in the Uele. At Kunzulu, a new Italian agricultural colony, late in the afternoon I made an unsuccessful attempt to

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find partridges, a few of which could be heard calling. There were places here where the bush was higher, sometimes even small trees. Heard Scoptelus calling. Numbers of pink-breasted Bee-eaters flew over, but this was the last place we saw them. An egret and snake-birds were seen from the steamer.

DATE: Dec. 20
LOCALITY: Stanley Pool-Kinshassa

Steamed down the comparatively narrow part of the Congo known as the channel, still a mile or more wide, thru the Stanley Pool, and reached Kinshassa early in the afternoon. Tho there are patches of woods still, the high tropical forest is clearly finished. The low flat islands in the Pool have many fan-palms (Borassus) growing on them, but they are all short, no beautiful tall examples as one may see in parts of the Uele. In all this trip down from Stanleyville I did not catch sight of a single hippo or crocodile, nor did any of the other passengers. This was doubtless because of the very high water. Near Lie, N. Anvers, etc, where the banks are low, the native villages and wood-posts were often partially or even completely flooded, tho it did not seem to worry the inhabitants much. They could tie their canoes to their door-posts. No skimmers or pelicans were noticed on this voyage -likely for the same reason.

DATE: Dec. 21
LOCALITY: Leopoldville

Walked over to Leopoldville about noon. Saw Mr. Howell on the way, and visited Commdt. Moulaert at Leo. Coming back toward dark, we heard the low wailing call, several times repeated, of the small brown-spotted rail (Sarothrura elegans), which shows that its range is fairly wide. Stayed tonight on the steamer but moved next morning to the Congo Trading Co., a Belgian concern in spite of its name. Since we passed in 1909, Kinshassa has grown amazingly. Where formerly there was almost nothing but a state post and a depot of the SAB there is now a large and important town, with hotels, a bank, quantities of magazines, steamboats, and a European barber. To the north side are the very extensive installations of the "Compagnie Mbila" (Lever Bros) and back inland, a little further away, the wireless station. Leopoldville shows but slight signs of growth in comparison.

DATE: Dec. 22
LOCALITY: Thysville

Left this morning by the railroad for Thysville. The old first-class cars are now run as 2nd class. In the new 1st class wagons there are double seats, facing each other in pairs, but the slight difference in comfort is not worth the difference in price, between 200 and 70 francs. Our locomotive burned oil, so the travelling was decidedly clean compared to what it used to be, and traveling in 3rd class, as some missionaries do, and other white passengers for short distances, has lost its terrors save for rain, which is apt to blow into the open car. Stops for water of course were frequent, but what a pleasant sort of travel this seems when one is coming out of the Congo and utterly unused to such conveniences. We arrived at Thysville in the middle of the afternoon, so after getting a place at the hotel I had time to take a good walk with Wawe, the boy who is going down with me. A little climbing up and down hill here is sufficient to make one realize at once the difficulties of building a railroad thru such a country; and what a poor country it seems

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compared to the Eastern parts of the Congo we knew. Grass and bush country, usually occupying elevated situations alternates with thick but low wooded tracts. Natives seem few and uninteresting. A pipe line for crude-oil, lying on the surface of the ground, follow the line of the rails.

DATE: Dec. 24

Reached Matadi in the latter part of the afternoon, in a rain, cloudy and showery weather during these two days made our journey not unpleasant for we were fairly cool and comfortable all the way. During the second day the country becomes more barren and open, with the bare red earth showing in spots all over many of the hills. A few rocky cliffs were seen, but conical or rounded dirt covered elevations were the rule. Near Matadi there is a conspicuous high conical rocky eminence known as the "Pic Cambier", called by natives "Mongo", and near it some other high rocky hills with more rounded tops, one of which I visited later. Put up with most of the other passengers from the train at Schadde's Hotel.

DATE: Dec. 25

It was a most interesting sight this morning -the black population of Matadi going to the church, diagonally across the street from our hotel. Never in the Congo had I seen such dress. The men, I suppose they were mostly clerks and the like, with well creased clothes, white collars, glistening shoes, and hats and everything else to match, and their consorts in gowns and often high-heeled shoes, but seldom with hats, generally brilliant cloths covering the hair. All this recalled vividly Mr. Lang's description of what he had seen outside a Negro church in New York. Fashion is undoubtedly invading the Congo, and has already conquered Boma and Matadi, but progress on the upper river is slow, and I am glad to remember seeing but one pair of high-heeled shoes at Stanleyville. Went out this afternoon to a small hill close to town, where there were white-rumped swifts and streak-breasted swallows flying about, and found under a rocky ledge excrement of hyrax, within 100 yards of the railway track.

DATE: Dec. 26

Went out late in afternoon to some hills E. of Matadi. Saw a hoopoe.

DATE: Dec. 27

Left Matadi at 2 in the afternoon, visited the hill called "Loadi" about 2 hrs. walk S., and not far from the so-called Pic Cambier. On the rocks on tho summit two hyraxes were found and shot (an adult and an immature female) but I was rather disappointed in finding practically no hill birds as one would have seen in the Uele in such a favorable place. There were apparently no rock-thrushes, or warblers, or larks, etc, peculiar to the spot. The rock was some sort of dark granite,

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but covered in exposed places with a light gray lichen, which was matched pretty well by the light pelage of the hyraxes. There were a few aloes, in places, and a spiky vertical plant which I am told is Sanseveira and contains a useful fibre. (Has been planted at Kalamu - near Boma). Much of the soil on the lower hills is red and ferruginous, with pebbles of lenfonite and blocks of white quartz are often very plentiful -whence no doubt the name of Crystal Mts. The grass grows in tussocks, and fortunately for me is not yet high, there are scattered bushes, and along gullies very dense scrub, while down along brooks there are woods whence come the voices of some common forest birds. Towards evening the partridges call loudly and a Cossypha raises its beautiful voice, often imitating -like its congeners- the notes of its feathered neighbors. We came back in the twilight fortunately -for on our way out the sun had been burning hot, and beating on my back took all the starch out so that after reaching the top of the hill, after many short halts, I had to sit down for a while almost exhausted.

DATE: Dec. 28

Late in the afternoon we took a walk on some of the lower nearby hills, where a male bush-buck was seen running off; and after sundown a bat-catching hawk (Machaerorhamphus) flew over.

DATE: Dec. 29

Went down to Boma on the "Wall", a slow little steamer, built on the lines of an ocean -going vessel, but of small size, and old, dating from 1889. She is said to have belonged to a Portuguese company, to have been sunk and abandoned, then raised for the Congo State by an engineer named Wall. All along both sides of the stream, down as far as Boma there are everywhere high hills, but few cliffs or peaks. Natives are scarce, and we saw only one or two small native canoes. Large water-birds few or absent, Gypohierax of course much in evidence. Arriving at Boma towards 3 o'clock I found Mr. Gremot an old friend from the Uele, applied to the Adjoin Superieur for lodgings, and was shown to a house on the eastern edge of the town (Avenue de la Colonie -in reality a railway track). Just in front of it was a broad papyrus swamp, now flooded by the water from the river, and on some flat-topped hills beyond the lodgings of the police, small brick houses, and the village of the workmen, constructed as usual in the lower Congo, mainly of old packing boxes, their tin linings, and cast off bits of galvanized corrugated roofing. Back of the house rose the elevation known as the "plateau" where are situated the Governor's residence and the dwellings of all the important functionaries of Boma.

DATE: Dec. 30 to Jan. 30

From Dec. 30 to Jan. 30 I stayed at Boma, waiting for the S.S. Bomu, expected at first early in the month, then the 12th, later the 16, and arriving eventually on the 18th. After this she spent 10 days unloading cargo at Matadi, came down to Boma again on the 29th and left the following day. She was due back in Liverpool on Feb. 26! Mr. H.D. Campbell, an American Missionary we met in 1909, is U.S. Deputy Consul in the absence of Mr. H. MacBride, M. Fucks, Gouverneur General, was at Boma, and granted me an audience on Jan. 6. M. Drousie, with whom we came out on the "Leopoldville" in 1909 is Directeur de l'Agriculture, and has now 2 boys, one 4 1/2 yrs. and the baby only a few months old. During the month of January, then, I spent my spare time collecting

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birds, having brought my old shotgun with me in case of such an enforced delay. Notes on the birds will be found in the Bird Catalogue. The number of specimens was increased to 6240, and the number of species to about 600. A few interesting birds escaped me, including a guinea fowl, a hornbill, resembling Lophoceros faciatus but brawnier above and with red? bill (L. melanoleucos), a large red and black barbet, and a gray-horned owl. The guinea fowl was rare, I only saw a single flock of 5 or 6 in the hills NE of Boma; they were spotted, evidently of the genus Numida, and seemed to have considerable blue about the side of the head. The hawk Machaerorhamphus was seen on 4 or 5 different evenings flying about over the "plateau". To the NE of Boma I did not get beyond the "plaine de Lokandu" about 8 miles, supposed to be a good place for antelopes, a wide flat grassy plain, evidently very swampy at the end of the rainy season, but now quite dry; encircled by hills. To the northward of Boma I used to go to the reservoir of the River Kalamu, which supplies water to Boma (4 miles) and sometimes a little farther up in the hills. Along the road one passed the agricultural station of "Kalamu", where extensive groves of rubber trees, Hevea and Manihot, as well as some leguminous mimosa-like tree have been planted, and give attractive shelter to not a few birds. Still I found the variety of birds rather unsatisfactory. Birds of prey were very few, Bustards unknown, Pigeons, doves, and plantain-eaters anything but numerous, Hornbillsreduced to a single species, Woodpeckers scarce, and the number of species of passerine birds decidedly limited as compared with the regions where we had previously collected. For example, I did not see a single Cuckoo-shrike, Drongo, Oriole, Titmouse, or White-eye. The general barren monotony and dryness of the country accounts for a great deal. Tho it was now supposed to be the rainy season we had only 2 or 3 light rains all the time I was at Boma, and all the smaller brooks as a rule were quite dry and grass in places still dry enough to burn, and yet the whole region was infested with the most voracious mosquitoes, which would attack even in the middle of the day, out on the hills, far from any water. At night, about the house, I can only compare it with the very worst parts of New Jersey, and had not a part of the verandah been screened off with wire netting, I should have had to take refuge in bed. Fortunately the majority of these mosquitoes seem not to carry fever. Boma and Matadi have a well-deserved reputation among the Congolese for intolerable heat. While up-country I used to wonder if it was true but now I have no longer the slightest doubt, at least as far as the present season is concerned, tho the weather is said to be cooler towards July. The sun beats down unmercifully, there is seldom any shade worth speaking of, and I sweated as never before. The hilly nature of the country, where one is always climbing up or down, increases the discomfort. The ground is usually red and stony, often strewn with quartz, sometimes even large boulders, but the bed-rock is a dark granite, showing frequently on the hills. As I have said the vegetation is far from luxuriant, usually coarse grass growing in tussocks, with scattered bushes and some trees, but generally far more open than in the Uele. At times there are woods in the hollows, but open grassy lowlands are also very common I saw a few patches of elephant-grass, but found extensive papyrus, swamps only near the river Baobabs are numerous -I do not remember seeing any, by the way, above Kinshassa "Faux dattiers" are rather common along streams, their yellow fruit, when thornily ripe having a taste very like a true date. They are tapped here by the blacks and give what is considered good palm-wine. Antelopes are more common than I would have expected, bush-buck and reed-buck at least. Roan antelope are said to be fairly common along the railway, near Thysville and Kimpese for example, and water-buck are said to occur even near Boma. The nearest place where elephant are found is north of the river higher up, towards Matadi. Runways of Thrynomys with little heaps of thick grass stalks cut diagonally are found everywhere in the high grass, this animal being called "Zibizi" in Fiote, and "Simbiliki" in Bangala of the Middle Congo. It is of course hunted by the Negroes, but a fresh specimen in good condition is difficult to obtain. The only monkey I saw, and I only saw them once, 4 or 5 together, was a small gray one like that of Faradje, etc. It runs off in the grass in the very same fashion, climbing up on a bush perhaps to have a lookback, and then vanishing for good. In the Mayumbe of course, where there is forest, monkeys are said to be more common. In all the time I was at Boma I never saw a single squirrel of any kind, tho I should have expected at least a ground-squirrel. Neither did I see a burrow of an Orycteropus, nor any sign of Hyena or

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Jackal. Buffalo are said to be numerous in the "Bas Congo" where they are called "Pakaspa". At Leopoldville I saw a boy carrying a large bundle of yellow-necked fruit-bats (Eidolon helvum), dead and dying, but at Boma I never saw or heard any fruit bats. A small species of Chaerephon cristatus, Allen. with a tuft of hair on the membrane running across the forehead between the ears, spent the day in cracks about the ceilings of the verandahs, and at twilight numbers of small bats were in the habit of feeding about open places in the papyrus swamp. I shot a few and found that they were very similar to the "papyrus-bat" of Faradje (Nycteris). They surely spent the day in the papyrus too. The large lizard (Agama colonorum) of which the males become rusty orange-red on the head and base of tail, and blue-black on body and limbs, was of course very common at Boma, as at Matadi. There was also a striped, brown Mabuia, and another large striped ground-lizard, which we found at Leopoldville in 1909. Gray geckos climbed the walls of my house at night, hiding in cracks ordinarily during the day, tho I have seen them out too, and once even sitting in the sun -without having been disturbed. Quantities of ill-smelling dried fish are brought into the Congo by the Wall and other steamers, for the natives about Boma catch comparatively few fish, mostly cat-fish (of various genera) and minnows. There are said to be important fisheries at Mossamedes, the product of which goes as far north as Loango.

DATE: Jan. 30, 1915 (To Feb. 19)
LOCALITY: Left Boma, 11am, on the Elder Dempster SS Bornu, Capt. Nelson.

3200 tons, maximum speed about 9 1/2 knots, 4 first-class cabins and only 1 or2 second class, also to be occupied by "chief cabin" passengers. Of black deck-passengers we had a number about 20 for Accra, and a few for Sierra Leone, "mundele ndombe" and the like, a few with wives and children. Their trunks and other baggage, with those of the Gold-Coast men who worked cargo littered the forward deck. The distance down to Banana was covered in about 3 1/2 hours. After living Boma the country quickly becomes more level, with many borassus palms, there are flat islands, and farther on (from Katalla down) the shores are wooded (ie. with mangrove). We saw many cormorants, some snake-birds, a flock of pelicans (on a sandy part of an island), some herons, cattle herons, a large egret, and some large ducks or geese. After lying a couple of hours inside Banana point, a low sandy spit, covered with houses and coconut palms, we streamed out of the mouth of the Congo, and the next morning found ourselves off Landana, where we rolled at anchor in a slight bay, nearly half a mile from the beach. (Jan. 31) The Portuguese post, where there was a Resident (Da Gama), Commissaire Maritime and a Doctor was built on a hill which sloped down toward the southerly side of the bay and then broke off in a steep bluff of half hardened gray sand and clay, hardening below into gray rocks which run out to a point. Here it is that fossils of mollusks, fish, reptiles, and even mammals are to be found. Behind this hill on the next slope was situated a Catholic Mission, and off to the left, as we looked shoreward, behind a sandy beach, were the white buildings of English, Portuguese and (1) German trading-companies. There too ran the dirty little River Shiloango, bordered with mud and mangroves, up which small steamers run towards the Mayumbe. (Feb. 1) Here the Bornu stayed 3 days, loading palm-oil and palm-kernels. The palm kernels, in burlap-sacs, were brought off in the ship's surf boats, manned by the ship's men from Tabu and S. Leone, and the oil, in hogsheads tied to a long cable, was towed off by the launch, and hoisted up from the water. Few oars were used in the boats; they were mostly propelled with wide 3 pointed paddles, which come from the gold-coast (Accra, Schundi, Tabu). [See drawing]. Except for the tallying everything is done by blacks. They run even the launch, tie the slings, run the steam-winches, and stow away below. But we only loaded from 60 to 80 tons a day. Until we left Fernando Po -I may say- the rumble of steam-winches was almost continuous save for the middle of the night. We awoke in the morning, damp with perspiration, amid the commotion of lowering surf-boats and launch (with derrick) and getting off hatches, and the loading often went on by electric light until 9 o'clock, after which there were hatches to be put on again. Even at sea, on our way to the

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next port, there seemed to be always something in or around 1 of our 5 hatches that needed mechanical aid. At Landana we went ashore twice, and the resident amused us with some most audacious lies about elephant-hunting and guns -a 16 bore shotgun that carried 120yds and a 22 automatic that would kill at 1200! These people on the coast take everybody for greenhorns. (Feb. 2, 3) We left Landana on the night of the second, and arrived al Loango the next morning, anchoring about a mile and a half from shore. During the night, besides the single phosphorescent animals that are commonly seen close to the side of the ship, there were large round or crescentic phosphorescent patches on the water, 5 to 10 yards in diameter, often very numerous, say at every 30 or 50 yards. This we did not see again. Tho there was little cargo for us, some oil and kernels, we waited till the afternoon of the 4th for clearance papers (Feb. 4, 5, 6). The next day was spent steaming northward, with the low coastline always in sight, and on the morning of the 6th we came into the harbor of Cape Lopez, a wide bay, into one side of which flows the Ogowe River. The land here is all low and flat, largely forested, and the trading-houses, and a few government buildings scattered along near the beach, where there are numerous coconut palms. There is no surf, and the beach is littered with logs, for lumber is the principal export. These logs, of a light red wood, some 20 feet long, are floated down the river, roughly squared on the beach here, and fastened on a long iron cable running thru a ring on a spike driven into the middle of our side. [See drawing]. Long rafts of them are towed alongside by our launch, the spikes are puled out, and the logs, sometimes 2 at a time, hoisted aboard and lowered into the hold. Many of these logs seem badly split and weathered. Ebony in smaller pieces, 3 or 4 ft long, is brought off in the surf-boats. This does not float, and if it drops out of the sling, is lost. In some of the groves of coconut palms there were numbers of large fruit-bats hanging in half dozens from the mid-ribs of the leaves, and not in the least shy. In one place I suppose there were 40 or 50, and I was able to shoot one with a Flobert rifle a Frenchman loaned me. It was an adult male, with shoulder pouches; these were drawn in so that the white hair did not show at all. The brown hair about them was moist, but had practically no odor. the larynx was rather small. There were 3 small Norwegian whaling steamers anchored in the harbor, but the larger vessels where they boiled down and stored the oil had gone home, and no hunting was being done for the present. A few other small vessels, including a river sternwheeler, an ancient dismantled gunboat, and some launches were lying about, and a small English coasting steamer came in before we left. One afternoon the ship's passengers and some officers went ashore and played a game of football against the residents (i.e. traders), winning by 2 to 1. At 11 o'clock on the night of the 11th we left C. Lopez, and next morning were in the Gabim River, off Libreville. A little cargo was taken on, including kernels and piassava; and we went ashore and walked thru part of the town, up to the Post-Office to read the latest news of the German submarines, who had got busy since our departure from the Congo, sinking 2 steamers only 18 miles from Liverpool. At the market, where quantities of plantains kwang as palm nuts and other produce, and fish both dried and fresh were on sale, I bought a pelican (P. rufescens) for 2 francs. Mr. Millington, a passenger who came aboard here, recited a verse about the pelican: "A very strange bird is the pelican, His mouth'll hold more than his belly can, He can take in his beak, Enough fish for a week, But I don't understand how the h-he can". Early next morning we moved a little up-river to Owenda Point, to load logs, as at C. Lopez. The tide here ran extremely strong, 4 to 5 miles an hour. We stayed 2 days, went ashore and visited the small French post on a hill, where they were building some very fine houses of a sort of limonite or bog iron-ore, and went in swimming. All along the coast, even up to Dakar, the natives go far out in their canoes, which frequently carry large sails. Here we went ashore in one (without the sail), and it was a fine canoe, but hardly to be called steady. One morning a Frenchman on his way to Libreville in a small boat came alongside and offered to sell us a live female brush-buck. He only wanted 30 francs! He had also pieces of an "Ibis rose", which he insisted was a flamingo, and the skin of the back of an egret with its long plumes. Egrets seem to be common in the middle and lower Congo -in certain places- and all along the west coast, Landana, Gaboon, etc; and many plumes were for sale even at Dakar. Everybody is anxious to get them, and their supposed protection in the Congo is absolutely imaginary I have never heard anybody express the slightest feeling

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against killing them, altho the fact that the feathers are excluded from the U.S. is becoming known. On the 15th we were back at Libreville, and left the following morning. Loaded more piassava, and small logs of ebony and camwood. Ashore at the market we saw a very large soft-shelled turtle (20 inches length of carapace) dark grayish green above, whitish below. On the evening of the 16th we were stopped by the British gunboat Dwarf, who inquired where we came from, were going, and who was aboard. At 11 at night the French gunboat Surprise fired a blank shot to tell us to stop, played her search-light on us for at least 20 minutes and finally sent an officer aboard to tell us to go ahead. This was off the coast of Spanish Guinea, where they were of course watching for Spanish vessels from Ferando Po, etc, that might be carrying cargo for the Germans in the Kamerun. The Surprise was the ship that bombarded and took Coco Beach, sinking one or two German gunboats, and not escaping, herself, without a loss of several men, from the guns on shore. Surprise later sunk in harbor of Funchal, I believe, by a German submarine. The next morning, Feb. 17, we entered the mouth of the Kamerun River where there were anchored a couple of British passenger ships, 2 colliers, and a French cruiser. Up the river we could make out various other craft lugged in raising the ships sunk by the Germans in a vain attempt to block the channel. But Duala was bombarded and captured by a British cruiser, and while we were at anchor one of the prizes, the Haus Woermann, came down. There being no cargo for us up at Duala we left at one o'clock, and before six were in the harbor of Santa Isabel, Fernando Po. The weather was hazy, and Kamerun Mount not to be seen; the outlines of Clarence Peak, on the island showed nevertheless. Strangely enough, Fernando Po is said to be more unhealthy than Duala; yet as we shirted the coast it seemed to mount steeply from the water, clothed with tall forest-groups of houses in their clearings appearing as small white spots. The small round harbor of Sta. Isabel, protected on one side by a steep rock cliff, elsewhere by steep sloping banks and rocky islands, with the clean white administrative buildings overlooking it, and the great mountain behind, as one looks from the steamer, present a most inviting appearance, and the next morning we were able to spend an hour ashore. Queer gray crabs flattened themselves on the upright walls of the quay like spiders, and the water there was so clear that one could look right down to the bottom and watch the schools of minnows, flashing with silver now and again, as one or more turned and showed their sides. An inclined road, with a track for a small locomotive led up to the town, a level well-made road running round the harbor-front, but the town extending much farther back than we had time to go. But green bulbuls (Andropadus) were gushing with continued chatter from some second-growth, and scores of swifts flying about a house where they were nesting beneath the balcony. Negroes, soldiers and workmen, seemed over-fond of walking on the narrow sidewalk; and would barely get out of one's way, but the market building was deserted save for a single butcher's stall. There were two small German merchant steamers anchored in the bay, as well as a couple of small Spanish craft, and a few other steamers occupied at sheltered cove not far off. At 11 o'clock we left Fernando Po, and today for the first time saw the deep blue of the real ocean, for which of course a sunny sky is quite as necessary as great depth. Up to this time the sea had always looked dull greenish, being of course relatively shallow, with many rivers emptying into it. We also noticed a few flying fish, the first of the voyage, and but very few were noticed afterwards either. Feb. 19 was passed at sea, one "Portuguese Man-of-War" all I saw during the voyage being observed. Late in the afternoon, after following the coast a short distance, we anchored off Accra, where almost all our black deck-passengers took their departure, arrayed in their finest new clothes, really well-dressed, no top-hats, nor many white clothes either, sun-hats being the only useless object noticeable. Numerous surf-boats came out to take them off, propelled by the curious short, broad, 3-pointed paddles our own crew were using, and which seem to come from the Gold Coast, not being used for example in the Gaboon. [See drawing]. The blade is often painted white and time is kept with a very peculiar low grunting chant, "iiiiiiiii, ya ha!; iiiiiiii, ya ha!" Our passengers finally got all their boxes, parrots and other baggage into the boats, only one rolled-up mattress getting into the water, where it floated buoyantly; and then they followed too. We bid good-bye to this town so productive of Negro talent in carpentry, clerking, and other useful pursuits.

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[Loose note]:

Aug. 29. Uele comes to me with a 50 centime piece. "Give me a different one", he says. "This Mungwana wants one with the woman's head (King Albert), not that with the whiskers (K. Leopold)". When the new pieces with King Albert's head were first introduced many natives began to refuse the old ones. "The Old Bula Matadi is dead, his money is no more good". At Medje I was once surprised to see a soldier promenading in white clothes, wearing black spectacles; but the other day a most serious looking friend of Joseph's from Stanleyville appeared here, dressed all in white, and wearing in addition to assuredly superfluous sun helmet a pair of spectacles with colorless lenses. "Why do you wear glasses?" I asked, surprised that the natives of Stanleyville could already enjoy the benefit of the oculist's skill; "Have you trouble with your eyes?". "No", he replied calmly, "my eyes are alright, that’s for the sun!" At Niangara Consul Ernst gave an exhibition of moving pictures. One of the films showed trained elephants. Naturally each time an elephant came into the foreground he suddenly increased tremendously in size, and this was always greeted with resounding cheers by the large audience of natives. Especially was this true of an elephant that emerged from a tank after a dive; so the next day I questioned one of our workmen as to why the elephant suddenly grew to such enormous proportion. The answer was quickly given, "They put medicine into the water". Another film showed the agonies of a young man on smoking his first cigar. At the beginning he was shown puffing out voluminous clouds of white smoke. Afterwards a Negro woman was recommitting the experience. "Yes", she said, "I could smell the smoke, and it was very bad tobacco". Boyr courrier, arriving at Arebi says "Musungu aji kubia, na Zambi na sanduku na mbele". Both lightening and rainbows are considered as animals by Negroes, the latter being identified by natives about Niangara in the Kilima, a terrible beast that lives in the waters of rivers. As a joke, we once asked Malle, a rather young Logo chief what the skins of these two animals looked like, and how we might procure them, as we had already most of the other animals of the region. To our surprise he turned to an elderly counselor, and after a grave inquiry, replied in a most serious tone that they had never yet seen any skins. The hematite axes found in the Uele are universally held by natives to be the axes of the thunder-animal, which come down to earth when the lightning strikes. As the vast majority are slightly chipped or broken, they often explain that if not broken the ax. returns on high, but injured ones stay in the ground. Pere Britzen tells a native legend exactly like "the Hare and the Tortoise". The Great Blue Plantain-eater (Kulukulu, wabali name) and the Tortoise (Kulu) agree to run a race; at each stage of the journey the Plantain-eater calls loudly kulu, kulu-kulu, and is always greeted by a tortoise. (Other side of loose page): A porter from Vankerckhovenville on the road to Faradje was curiously examining the long-handled farming tool of the Logo, when some Logo women passed by, wearing nothing but the usual belt and cord. Asked his opinion, he replied that this was not good, for if a woman wears no clothes, "njala na ye asala yo te". A story often heard in the Uele is that of the native who was asked how he could eat such stinking meat. The reply was short "we don't eat the smell". Profanity being the most common portion of the European languages addressed to the blacks, it is not surprising that they should add few of these words to their vocabulary. Still one is a little struck, when a boy in a native village trying to spin a top, gives vent to his feelings in a vehement "Gott verdumme!" Once while working in a Logo village 2 days from Faradje, a printed sheet of paper, that served to wrap my bird-skins fell to the ground, 2 young natives were standing by, and one of them picking up the paper, pretended to read it to his companion. Of course he managed to hold it upside down, and this is what he read "Nom de Dieu, Sale Bete!" Kapinda=carpenter, Fai (=file) Ama (=hammer) Saw Neli (=nail) Palangi (=plank) {Rabu} Pileni=plane. Native description of giant elephant-shrew, "body of a red pig, nose of an elephant, tail of a giant rat; not a mouse, but a real animal". Baranga, admiring a gecko he had just caught, remarked "His eyes are just like gilt tacks". Schweinfurth's name in the Bomokandi was "Badekbwe", the last syllable meaning leaves, and Ba father. ="the great cutter of leaves". Mr. Lang, while trying to photograph rhinos, with Matari, and some other natives, was once approached to within 4 paces by 3 rhinos. the unburned stalks of grass prevented him from getting the picture and Matari finally grew so nervous that he shot at the beasts, sending them thundering off to one side. A porter who had bravely stood behind Mr. Lang now asked "why didn't you kill them with that?", pointing to the

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camera. when Mr. Lang explained that this was only a machine for taking pictures, the native replied with evident agitation. "ah, if I had known it, I wouldn't have stood like that!" Kasongo, describing the crowds of people that assembled at Stanleyville to greet Prince Albert, emphasized graphically their numbers "There wasn't even room to spit!". In spite of the superstition of the Negro, it is often remarkable how little interest he shows in some of nature's most imposing phenomena. thus the comet of 1910, at Medje, aroused scarcely any interest and certainly no fear; while an earthquake (Garamba July 9, 1912) was scarcely even spoken about a day later.

[NY World Telegram, Mar. 31, 1941]:

News article: 12 Perish at Sea Fleeing 'Raider'. British Ship Mistaken for Nazi by Crew. By the Associated Press. BOSTON, March 31. - Her flag at half mast and one lifeboat missing, the Belgian freighter Ville de Liege reached Boston today with a story of the death of 12 crew members who mistook a British patrol ship for a German raider, launched the lifeboat and perished when their craft was swamped. Members of the crew and officers told how their vessel was halted in mid-Atlantic at 4am last Monday by a warning shot from a British warship. A dozen of the crew, panic-stricken and expecting further shots from the craft they thought to be an enemy, piled into a lifeboat, lowered it and cut loose. The warship, using the blinker system of communication, established the Ville de Liege's identity, ordered her on her way and departed, unaware of the panic that had driven 12 of her crew over-side. [incomplete article].

Diaries List