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Chapter XII
a Roving Commission

so the fair Greek disappears; and Stanley, free and heart-whole, is whirled away again by the “Herald's” swift and changing summons: to Athens, to witness a Royal Baptism, and describe the temples and ruins, with which he was enraptured; to Smyrna, Rhodes, Beyrout, and Alexandria; thence to Spain, where great events seemed impending. But he has barely inter-viewed General Prim, when he is ordered to London; there the “Herald's” agent, Colonel Finlay Anderson, gives him a surprising commission.

It is vaguely reported that Dr. Livingstone is on his way home-ward from Africa. On the chance of meeting him, and getting the first intelligence, Stanley is to go to Aden, and use his discretion as to going to Zanzibar. It looks like a wild-goose chase, but his, “not to make reply; his, not to reason why” ; and he is off to Aden, which he reaches November 21, 1868. Not a word can he learn of Livingstone. He writes enquiries to Consul Webb at Zanzibar, and, in the wretched and sun-scorched little town, sets himself to wait; but not in idleness. He works the Magdala campaign into book-form, designing in some indefinite future to publish it. (It came out five years later.) Then he falls upon “a pile of good books which my interesting visit to Greece and Asia Minor induced me to purchase — Josephus, Herodotus, Plutarch, Derby's “Iliad,” Dryden's “Virgil,” some few select classics of Bohn's Library, Wilkinson's and Lane's books on “Egypt,” hand-books to Greece, the Levant, and India, Kilpert's maps of Asia Minor, etc. Worse heat, worse dust, and still no word of Livingstone!”

New Year's Day, 1869. Many people have greeted me, and expressed their wish that it should be a happy one, and that I should see many more such days. They were no doubt sincere, but what avail their wishes, and what is happiness? What a curious custom it is, to take this day, above all others, to speak of happiness, when inwardly each must think in his soul that it admonishes him of the lapse of time, and what enormous arrears there still remain to make up the sum of his happiness!

As for me, I know not what I lack to make me happy. I [238] have health, youth, and a free spirit; but, what to-morrow may bring forth, I cannot tell. Therefore, take care to keep that health. The knowledge that every moment makes me older, the fluctuations to which the spirit is subject, hour by hour, for ever remind me that happiness is not to be secured in this world, except for brief periods; and, for a houseless, friendless fellow like myself, those periods when we cast off all thought which tends to vex the mind cannot, by any possibility, be frequent. But, if to be happy is to be without sorrow, fear, anxiety, doubt, I have been happy; and, if I could find an island in mid-ocean, remote from the presence or reach of man, with a few necessaries sufficient to sustain life, I might be happy yet; for then I could forget what reminds me of unhappiness, and, when death came, I should accept it as a long sleep and rest.

But, as this wish of mine cannot be gratified, I turn to what many will do to-day; meditate; think with regret of all the things left undone that ought to have been done; of words said that ought not to have been uttered; of vile thoughts that stained the mind; and resolve, with God's help, to be better, nobler, purer. May Heaven assist all who wish the same, and fill their hearts with goodness!

January 7th, 1869. Six days of this New Year are already gone, and one of the resolutions which I made on the first day I have been compelled to break. I had mentally resolved to smoke no more, from a belief that it was a vice, and that it was my duty to suppress it. For six days I strove against the hankering, though the desire surged up strongly. To-day I have yielded to it, as the effort to suppress it absorbed too much of my time, and now I promise myself that I shall be moderate, in order to soothe the resentment of my monitor.

Still no news of Livingstone, and scant hope of any! Stanley critically examines Aden; notes its unfortified condition, its importance when once the Suez Canal is finished; and sketches its future possibilities as a great distributing centre, and the case of a cheap railway into the heart of Arabia.

After ten weeks at Aden, February 1st, “I am relieved, at last!” And so he turns his back on Livingstone, who is still deep in the wilds of Africa. As he mixes with civilised men in his travels, he is sometimes struck by their triviality, sometimes by their malicious gossip.


February 9th, 1869. At Alexandria. Dined with G. D. and his wife. Among the guests was one named J-----. This young man is a frequent diner here, and the gossips of Alexandria tell strange things. Truly the English, with all their Christianity, and morals, and good taste, and all that sort of thing, are to be dreaded for their propensity to gossip, for it is always malicious and vile. Oh, how I should like to discover my island, and be free of them!

Apropos of this, it reminds me of my journey to Suez last November. Two handsome young fellows, perhaps a year or so younger than myself, were fellow-passengers in the same coupe. They were inexperienced and shy. I was neither the one, nor, with the pride of age, was I the other. I had provided myself with a basket of oranges and a capacious cooler. They had not; and when we came abreast of the dazzling sands, and to the warm, smothering mirage, and the fine sand came flying stinging hot against the face, they were obliged to unbutton and mop their faces, and they looked exceedingly uncomfortable. Then it was that I conquered my reserve, and spoke, and offered oranges, water, sandwiches, etc.

Their shyness vanished, they ate and laughed and enjoyed themselves, and I with them. The pipes and cigars came next, and, being entertainer, as it were, I did my best for the sake of good fellowship, and I talked of Goshen, Pithom,1 and Rameses, Moses' Wells, and what not. We came at last to Suez, and, being known at the hotel, I was at once served with a room. While I was washing, I heard voices. I looked up; my room was separated from the next by an eight-foot partition. In the next room were my young friends of the journey, and they were speaking of me! Old is the saying that “listeners hear no good of themselves;” but, had I been a leper or a pariah, I could not have been more foully and slanderously abused.

This is the third time within fourteen months that I have known Englishmen, who, after being polite to my face, had slandered me behind my back. Yes, this soulless gossip is to be dreaded! I have learned that if they entertain me with gossip about someone else, they are likely enough to convey to somebody else similar tales about me. [240]

In the enforced leisure of a Mediterranean trip comes a piece of self-observation.

February 20th, 1869. At sea, under a divine heaven! There is a period which marks the transition from boy to man, when the boy discards his errors and his awkwardness, and puts on the man's mask, and adopts his ways. The duration of the period depends upon circumstances, and not upon any defined time. With me, it lasted some months; and, though I feel in ideas more manly than when I left the States, I am often reminded that I am still a boy in many things. In impulse I am boy-like, but in reflection a man; and then I condemn the boy-like action, and make a new resolve. How many of these resolutions will be required before they are capable of restraining, not only the impulse, but the desire, when every action will be the outcome of deliberation? I am still a boy when I obey my first thought; the man takes that thought and views it from many sides before action. I have not come to that yet; but after many a struggle I hope to succeed. “Days should speak, and a multitude of years should teach wisdom.”

It is well for me that I am not so rich as the young man I met at Cairo who has money enough to indulge every caprice. I thank Heaven for it, for if he be half as hot-blooded and impulsive as I am, surely his life will be short; but necessity has ordained that my strength and youth should be directed by others, and in a different sphere; and the more tasks I receive, the happier is my life. I want work, close, absorbing, and congenial work, only so that there will be no time for regrets, and vain desires, and morbid thoughts. In the interval, books come handy. I have picked up Helvetius and Zimmerman, in Alexandria, and, though there is much wisdom in them, they are ill-suited to young men with a craze for action.

And now he is back at headquarters in London, and gets his orders for Spain; and there he spends six months, March to September, 1869, describing various scenes of the revolution, and the general aspect of the country, in a graphic record. These letters are among the best of his descriptive writings. The Spanish scenery and people; the stirring events; the barricades and street-fighting; the leaders and the typical characters; the large issues at stake — all make a great and varied theme. [241]

On arriving in Spain, Stanley commenced studying Spanish, with such success, that, by June, he was able to make a speech in Spanish, and became occasional correspondent to a Spanish newspaper.

The insurrection of September, 1868, which drove Isabella from the Throne, led to a provisional Government under a Regency, General Prim acting as Minister of War.

On June 15, 1869, Stanley was present in the Plaza de Los Cortes when the Constitution was read to twenty thousand people, who roared their “vivas.”

Stanley was in the prime of his powers, and these powers were not, as afterwards in Africa, taxed by heavy responsibilities, and ceaseless executive work, but given solely to a faithful and vivid chronicle of what he saw. “I went to Spain,” he wrote, “the young man going to take possession of the boy's heritage, those dear dreams of wild romance, stolen from school-hours.”

When a Carlist rising threatened, hundreds of miles away, Stanley immediately hastened off to the scene. On one occasion, he hurried from Madrid in search of the rebellious Carlists, who were said to have risen at Santa Cruz de Campescu. “As soon as I reached the old town of Vittoria, I took my seat in the diligence for Santa Cruz de Campescu; our road lay westward towards the Atlantic through the valley of Zadora. If you have read Napier's “Battles of the Peninsula,” you can well imagine how interesting each spot, each foot of ground, was to me. This valley was a battle-field, where the armed legions of Portugal, Spain, and England, matched themselves against Joseph Buonaparte's French Army.”

At Santa Cruz, Stanley found the insurrectionists had fled to the mountains, leaving forty prisoners; he returned to Madrid, to join General Sickles and his suite, on a visit to the Palace of La Granja, called the “Cloud Palace of the King of Spain.”

He hears in Madrid, one evening, that several battalions and regiments had been despatched towards Saragossa. “Naturally I wanted to know what was going on there. What did the departure of all these troops to Saragossa mean? So one hour later, at 8.30 P. M., I took the train, and arrived at Saragossa the next morning at 6 A. M.”

And here Stanley witnessed a rising of the people, “proud and passionate, the Berber and Moorish blood coursing through their veins.” They resisted the order to give up Arms. Then, with their bayonets, they prise up the granite blocks, and, with the swiftness of magic, erect a barricade, formidable, wide, a granite and cobblestone fortification, breast-high. One, two, three, four, and five, aye, ten barricades are thrown up, almost as fast as tongue can count them. “My eye,” says Stanley, “finds enough to note; impossible to note the whole, for there are a hundred things and a thousand things taking place. Carts are thrown on the summit of the barricades; cabs caught unawares are launched on high, sofas and bureaux and the strangest kind of obstructions are piled above all.” [242]

Stanley himself was on a balcony, not within the barricade, but half a block outside. He saw a battery of mounted trained Artillery halt five hundred yards from where he stood. He watched them dismount the guns and prepare for action; and was present at the bursting and rending of shells and the ceaseless firing of musketry from the barricades.

“As the bullets flattened themselves with a dull thud against the balcony where I stood, I sought the shelter of the roof, and behind a friendly cornice, I observed the desperate fighting.”

Though the firing had been incessant for an hour, little damage had been done to the barricade. The soldiers, advancing at short range, were shot down; again the Artillery thundered, and, when the smoke dispersed, Stanley saw the soldiers had approached nearer. “The scene was one of desperation against courage allied with a certain cold enthusiasm; as fast as one soldier fell, another took his place. I witnessed personal instances of ferocity and courage which made me hold my breath. To me — who was, I really believe, the sole disinterested witness of that terrible battle — they appeared like characters suddenly called out to perform in some awful tragedy; and, so fascinated was I by the strange and dreadful spectacle, I could not look away.”

Night fell, and the bugles sounded retreat; the soldiers had lost heart after three hours persistent fighting, with nothing gained. The dead lay piled at the barricades. Stanley remained on the roof until he was chilled and exhausted; he had been awake thirty-nine hours. “ I retired for a couple of hours' rest, completely fatigued, yet with the determination to be up before daylight; and, by five in the morning, I was at my post of observation on the roof.”

Stanley graphically described the scene behind the barricade, before the battle recommenced. Fresh troops now arrived, former failure was to be avenged. Again they hurl themselves on the barricades; “but they are thrust back by protruding bayonets, they are beaten down by clubbed muskets, they are laid low by hundreds of deadly bullets, which are poured on them; but, with fearless audacity, the Regulars climb over their own dead and wounded, and throw themselves over the barricades into the smoke of battle, to be hewed to death for their temerity.”

This completed the fourth defeat the Government troops experienced, and in the greatest disorder they ran towards the Corso; while the ‘Vivas’ to the Republic were deafening. “The Artillery re-open fire with grape, shell, and solid shot, and once more the old city of Saragossa quivers to its foundations. Another battalion has been added, and nearly six hundred men are found before the breast-works.”

The rear ranks were impelled electrically forward, and bodily heaved over the front ranks, quite into the barricades; others crowded on, a multitude bounded over, as if swept on by a hurricane, and the first barricade was taken, the insurgents threw down [243] their arms, fell down on their knees, and cried for “quarter.” Thus was Saragossa quelled and a thousand prisoners taken. “The valour and heroism of the insurgents, will, I fancy, have been chronicled solely by me, because the Government won the day, as they were bound to do.”

Stanley now hastened to Valencia, “from whence came reports of fierce cannonading; it was not in my nature to sit with folded arms, and let an important event, like that, pass without personal investigation.”

He was told he could not go, the trains did not run, miles of rail-way had been destroyed. “Can I telegraph?--No — Why?--No telegrams are allowed to pass by order of the Minister of War.--Heigh-ho! to Alicante, then!--Thence by sea to Valencia. I'll circumnavigate Spain! but I shall get to Valencia! I exclude all words like “fail,” “can't,” from my vocabulary.”

Stanley had great difficulty, and many adventures, before he got, by sea, into Valencia, and found himself amid the roar of guns and the whiz of bullets.

He wandered from street to street, always confronted by soldiers with fixed bayonets, until, at last, he saw a chance of getting into an hotel; but he had to run the gauntlet of twenty feet of murderous firing. Officers remonstrated against the folly. “But twenty feet! Count three and jump! I jumped, took one peep at the barricade in my mid-air flight, and was in the hotel portico, safe, with a chorus of “bravos” in my rear, and a welcome in front.”

But how can I give samples of Stanley's vivid word-painting; it is like snipping off a corner of a great historical picture. The fore-going passages, however, will suffice to show how Stanley's whole being throbbed with energy, and with the desire to excel.

Sometimes he rides all night, in order to reach betimes a remote place, where fighting is reported; he watches the stirring scenes all day, and reports his observations before taking rest.

Extracts from one or two private letters are given here. One was written to a friend who pressed him to take a holiday.

Madrid, June 27, 1869.
You know my peculiar position, you know who, what, and where I am; you know that I am not master of my own actions, that I am at the beck and call of a chief whose will is imperious law. The slightest inattention to business, the slightest forgetfulness of duty, the slightest laggardness, is punished severely; that is, you are sent about your business. But I do not mean to be sent about my business. I do not mean to be discharged from my position. I mean by attention to my business, by self-denial, by indefatigable energy, [244] to become, by this very business, my own master, and that of others. Hitherto, so well have I performed my duty, surpassing all my contemporaries, that the greatest confidence is placed in me.

I have carte blanche at the bankers'; I can go to any part of Spain I please, that I think best; I can employ a man in my absence. This I have done in the short space of eighteen months, when others have languished on at their business for fifteen years, and got no higher than the step where they entered upon duty. How have I done this? By intense application to duty, by self-denial, which means I have denied myself all pleasures, so that I might do my duty thoroughly, and exceed it. Such has been my ambition. I am fulfilling it. Pleasure cannot blind me, it cannot lead me astray from the path I have chalked out. I am so much my own master, that I am master over my own passions. It is also my interest to do my duty well. It is my interest not to throw up my position. My whole life hangs upon it — my future would be almost blank, if I threw up my place. You do not — cannot suppose that I have accepted this position merely for money. I can make plenty of money anywhere — it is that my future promotion to distinction hangs upon it. Even now, if I applied for it, I could get a consulship, but I do not want a consulship — I look further up, beyond a consulship.

My whole future is risked. Stern duty commands me to stay. It is only by railway celerity that I can live. Away from work, my conscience accuses me of forgetting duty, of wasting time, of forgetting my God. I cannot help that feeling. It makes me feel as though the world were sliding from under my feet. Even if I had a month's holiday, I could not take it; I would be restless, dissatisfied, gloomy, morose. To the with a vacation! I don't want it.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

I have nothing to fall back upon but energy, and much hopefulness. But so long as my life lasts, I feel myself so much master of my own future, that I can well understand Caesar's saying to the sailors, “Nay, be not afraid, for you carry Caesar and his fortunes!” I could say the same: “My body carries Stanley and his fortunes.” With God's help, I shall succeed! [245]

A telegram called him to Paris, to meet Mr. Bennett in person; and there, October 16, 1869, he received a commission of startling proportions. He was to search for Livingstone in earnest,--not for an interview, but to discover, and, if necessary, extricate him, wherever he might be in the heart of Africa. But this was to be only the climax of a series of preliminary expeditions. Briefly, these consisted of a report of the opening of the Suez Canal; some observations of Upper Egypt, and Baker's expedition; the underground explorations in Jerusalem; Syrian politics; Turkish politics at Stamboul; archaeological explorations in the Crimea; politics and progress in the Caucasus; projects of Russia in that region; Trans-Caspian affairs; Persian politics, geography, and present conditions; a glance at India; and, finally,--a search for Livingstone in Equatorial Africa!

Into this many-branched search for knowledge Stanley now threw himself. He carried out the whole programme, up to its last article, within the next twelve-month, with as much thoroughness as circumstances permitted in each case. The record, as put into final shape twenty-five years later, makes a book of 400 pages, the second volume of “ My Early Travels and Adventures.” It is impossible even to epitomise briefly here the crowded and stirring narrative. The observer saw the brilliant pageant of the great flotilla moving for the first time in history from the Mediterranean Sea, through the Suez Canal, to the Indian Ocean.

Stanley was present at the ceremony of blessing the Suez Canal. On the following day, the 17th November, 1869, he was to see “a new route to commerce opened.” The Empress Eugenie, the Emperor of Austria, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and many notabilities had arrived.

“A beautiful morning ushered in the greatest drama ever witnessed or enacted in Egypt. It is the greatest and last, so far, of all the magnificent periods which Egypt has witnessed.”

At eight o'clock in the morning, the Empress's yacht led the procession through the Canal, and Stanley followed, in the steamer “Europe.”

He next went up the Nile, to Upper Egypt, as one of a party of seventy invited guests of the Khedive; “twenty-three days of most exquisite pleasure, unmarred by a single adverse incident.”

The next part of his programme was to visit Jerusalem, where he saw the unearthing of her antique grandeurs, sixty feet underground.

Stanley proceeded thence to Constantinople, where he wrote a long letter for the “New York Herald,” on the Crimea; and here he met, once more, his kind friend, the American Minister, Mr. Joy Morris, who presented him with a beautiful Winchester rifle, and gave him letters of introduction to General Ignatieff, General Stoletoff, and various Governors and Ministers in Persia.

Stanley now travelled through the Caucasus, where he found unexpected [246] civilisation. He rated highly the advantages which Russia's much-censured conquest of the Caucasus had brought in its train: warring tribes brought to peace, feuds and mutual slaughter stopped, local religions and customs respected, and an end put to barbarism and feudality, “which terms are almost synonymous, as witness the mountain towers and fortresses, once the terror of the country, now silent and crumbling.”

Tiflis affords as much amusement and comfort as any second-rate town or city in Europe. From his Journal are here given one or two passages, to illustrate how Stanley observed and judged the individuals of his own race and civilisation.

February 5th, 1870. Reached the Dardanelles at noon. One of my fellow-voyagers is the Rev. Dr. Harman, of Maryland, an elderly and large man, who is a marvel of theological erudition, a mixture of Jonathan Edwards and the Vicar of Wakefield. Most of the morning we had passed classic ground, and, as he is a Greek scholar of some repute, his delight was so infectious that we soon became warm friends. He also has been to Jerusalem, Damascus, and Ephesus, and many other places of biblical and classical interest; and, in a short time, with a face shining with enthusiasm, he communicated to me many of his impressions and thoughts upon what he had seen, as my sympathy was so evident. St. Paul is his favourite; the Seven Churches of Asia, and the inwardness of the Revelations, are topics dear to him; and, perceiving that I was a good listener, the dear old gentleman simply “let himself go,” uttering deep and weighty things with a warmth that was unexpected.

His exact words I have already forgotten; but the picture that he made, as he sat clad in sober black on his deck-chair, the skirts of his frock-coat touching the deck, his spectacled eyes thoughtfully fixed on the distant horizon, while his lips expressed the learned lore he had gathered from reading and reflection, will be ineffaceable. If I were rich enough, this is the type of man whom I should choose for my mentor, until the unfixedness of youth had become set in a firm mould. On two points only was he inclined to be severe. His Presbyterianism could not endure the Pope; and, had he the power, he would like to drive the Padishah and his Turks far away into inner Asia, where they belonged. Otherwise, he is one of the largest-hearted Christians I have ever met. [247]

Many-sided in his sensitiveness to the attractions and charms of life, there were some aspects against which he was proof. At Odessa he fell in with highly congenial English society, and, at the close of his visit, he touches on one aspect that repelled, and one that attracted him; the twofold attitude is not unrelated to the state of mind the final sentence portrays.

March 6th. The Carnival was a novel sight to me. It is the first I have ever seen, and I thank my stars that it is not my fate to see many more such. The mad jollity and abandon wherein both sexes seemed agreed to think of nothing but their youth and opportunities, positively abashed me! To decline being drawn within the whirl of dissipation, and to discountenance fair gauzy nymphs who insidiously tempt one to relax austere virtue, is not easy; but the shame of it, more than any morality, prevented me from availing myself of the licence.

At the Cathedral I heard the most glorious vocal music it has ever been my lot to hear. There was one voice — a priest's — that rang like a clarion through the building, so flawless in its rich tones that every heart, I should fancy, was filled with admiration; and when the choir joined in the anthem, and filled the entire concave with their burst of harmony, and the organ rolled its streams of tremulous sound in unison, I became weak as a child, with pure rapture and unstrung nerve! That half-hour in the Cathedral is unforgettable. Whether it is due to the air of Odessa, the perfect health I enjoyed, the warm hospitality I received, or what, I am inclined to think that for once I have known a brief period of ideal pleasure, unmarred by a single hour of unhappiness.

Stanley now travelled along the Russian, Persian, and Turkestan coasts, observing the people and noting manners, customs, and events. Towards the end of May, 1870, he reached Teheran; his description of the Palaces and Bazaars, the Shah and his people, are wonderful reading. From Teheran he rode to Ispahan.

My friends among the English colony at Teheran gave me several wise admonitions, among which were, that I was never to travel during the day on account of the heat, but to start just at sunset, by which I might make two stations before I halted; I was also to look out for myself, as there were numerous brigands on the road, who would not scruple to strip me of everything I possessed. [248]

I followed their advice for the first few stages; but, as the rocks retain the heat, I think the discomfort of night-travel is greater than that of day. Besides, the drowsiness was over-powering, and I was constantly in danger of falling from my horse. The landscape had no interest; the mountains appeared but shapeless masses, and the plains were vague and oppressively silent. I reached the salt desert of Persia, after a ride over country which steadily became more sterile and waterless.

The fervour of that tract was intense. My thermometer indicated 129° Fahr. Yet this terrible tract, with its fervid glow and its expanse of pale yellow sand almost at white heat, was far more bearable by day than a night ride through it would have been — for, though I could distinguish nothing but a quivering vapour, the strange forms of the mirage were more agreeable than the monotonous darkness.

Then follows a graphic picture of Ispahan, where he spent a week, and then onwards, ever onwards, riding through oven heat.

At Kumishah, I invited myself to pass the night in the telegraph station, for there was nobody at home.

When evening came, I made my bed on the house-top, whence I had a good view of the town and of the myriad of mud towers, of acres of tomb-stones, and lion sphynxes. And there I dropped to sleep with the clear heaven for my canopy.

At Yezdikhast I had to spend the day; there were no horses, but, at 4 A. M., the relay arrived and away I sped, to the ruins of Pasargadae. Inclining a little towards the right, I came to a group of low and greyish hills, on the most southward of which I caught a glimpse of a whitish stone wall. Riding up to it, I found it to be a marble platform, or, rather, a marble wall, which encased the hill.

The natives call it Solomon's Throne, and on it once stood the Castle of Pasargadae. To commemorate the overthrow of the Babylonian Empire, Cyrus the Great, in the year 557 B. C., caused to be erected on it a fort, or castle, containing a Holy Place, whither he went to worship, and where his successors were wont to be inaugurated as Kings of Persia. [249]

From Pasargadae Stanley rides to Persepolis, and here he lingers amid the ruins, for he loves to dream of and reconstruct the mighty Past.

I slept in the first portal of Persepolis, all night. The only food I could get was wafer bread and plenty of milk.

Early the next morning, July 1st, Stanley rode away, after cutting his name deep on the Temple. Away, away to Shiraz, where he visits the graves of Saadi, Hafiz, and one of the many graves given to Bathsheba!

At last Stanley reaches Bushire, where he took steamer and entered the Persian Gulf; he visits Bunder-Abbas, and then continues his journey to Muscat, Arabia; thence to Kurrachi, arriving at Bombay, on August 1, 1870, his long programme carried through, up to the verge of its last supreme undertaking, the search for Livingstone. First, he brings his story up to date, for the “Herald,” writing seventeen long letters about the Caucasus and Persian experiences; then he plunges deep into books on African Geography, “for I feel very ignorant about most things concerning Africa.”

And here on the verge of the great venture, we may see how he reviewed and estimated the long preparatory stage, reckoning it not as a twelve-month, but as six years, when he looked back on it, toward the end.

As may be imagined, these six years formed a most important period of my life; I had seen about fifteen fair battles with the military service, and three naval bombardments. Twice I had been shipwrecked, and I had been spectator of mighty events; I had seen many sovereign-monarchs, princes, ministers, and generals; I had explored many large cities, and rubbed against thousands of men of vast nations; and, having been compelled to write of what I had seen in a daily paper, it can be understood how invaluable such a career and such a training, with its compulsory lessons, was to me, preparing me for the great work which awaited me. To this training I owed increasing powers of observation, and judgement; the long railway journeys taught me, while watching and meditating upon the characters I met, how to observe most keenly and guide myself; by which I was enabled, I think, to achieve a certain mastery of those infirmities which, I was only too conscious, had cropped up since I had entered the Army [i. e., during the Civil War]. [250]

And now, at last,--for Africa and Livingstone! Zanzibar is to be his starting-point; there is no direct communication from Bombay; so he must creep and zig-zag, by irregular sailing-ship. He starts, October 12, 1870, in the barque “Polly,” a six weeks voyage to Mauritius. Off again, in the brigantine “Romp” ; and, in seventeen days, to St. Anne's Island, Seychelles group. Thence, in the little brigantine whaler, “Falcon,” to creep along for nineteen days more.

Still at sea, light breezes every day. Oh! how I suffer from ennui! Oh, torment of an impatient soul! What is the use of a sailing-boat in the tropics? My back aches with pain, my mind becomes old, and all because of these dispiriting calms.

December 31st, 1870. Eighty days from Bombay, and Zanzibar, at last!

But to find what? No letters from Bennett, nor his agent; so, of course, no money. No news of Livingstone since his departure, years before; and of him, then, this cheerful gossip:--

“----gave me a very bad opinion of Livingstone; he says that he is hard to get along with, is cross and narrow-minded; that Livingstone ought to come home, and allow a younger man to take his place; that he takes no notes nor keeps his Journal methodically; and that he would run away, if he heard any traveller was going to him.”

This was the man, to find whom Stanley is to plunge into an unknown tropical Continent; he, who in all his travellings has had either a beaten road, or guides who knew the country; who has no experience with Africans, nor in organising and leading an expedition; who can find funds for his search only from a friendly loan of Captain F. R. Webb, and who is thrown on his own resources, almost as if he were entering a new world! But — forward!

1 A city of Egypt mentioned in Exodus i, 11, along with Rameses.

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