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It is, therefore, with a real sense of relief, a genuine pleasure of a deep kind, that we read an account like that which Mr. H. H. Johnston has just given to the Royal Geographical Society of his five months' expedition to Kilima-njaro. Mr. Johnston, an experienced African traveller, as bold as Stanley, and full of the quick perceptions and literary skill which most African travellers lack, was sent out by the British Association and the Royal Society in combination in a thoroughly sensible way, with a definite and limited, and therefore attainable object. He was to explore Kilimanjaro, the lofty but short range of mountains, ninety miles long by forty broad, which lie in eastern equatorial Africa, between the great Lake Victoria Nyanza and the northern portion of continental Zanzibar. The mountain range is not very far from the sea, and, therefore, accessible; it was known to rise in points to an altitude of eighteen thousand feet, and to be covered in its highest peaks with perpetual snow; and as it had hardly been visited, and must possess all climates, it was thought that wild beasts or flowers, or trees, or even human beings of interest, might be found in its recesses. It was, in fact, a kind of African Roraima, with this difference, that, unlike the wonderful Guiana mountain which mortal foot has probably never trod since the creation, and which is possibly inaccessible even to wild beasts, Kiliina-njaro was believed to be within human reach. It proved to be so in a
or less alike, and the people they have visited vary only in degrees either of detestableness or hopelessness. The area covered is so vast, the features of nature are so gigantic, and so constantly repeated, the want of moderation in everything is so manifest, the tribes are so many, so black, and usually so bloodthirsty and bad, that the imaginative hopefulness which narratives of exploration usually stir is entirely wanting. Interest flags, and the memory refuses to perform its office. Europe has been investigating Africa for two hundred years, but it has not found much; it has no clear notion of the continent, and does not feel as if, though the exploration is getting fairly complete, the huge mass had been permanently added to the general possessions of mankind. If anything turned away its attention for twenty years, Europe might forget Africa again. One reason of this is the small number of those who go. Scarcely any one who reads about either western or eastern Africa- that is, the bulk in area of the continent-feels, in consequence, a wish to go there, nor do we detect in any one an appreciation or even a definite idea of the special scenery to be observed. | Usually even those who have read much have only a confused notion of great districts, covered with rank grass; and tall mountains not to be ascended; and wide, unwholesome rivers, covered with a floating fever-giving malaria; and huge, swampy deltas, full of dense jungles, and wild beasts, and rare trees; and tribes, now untamably ferocious and now inex-rare degree. Mr. Johnston found it on plicably gentle, but without even rudimentary notions of order, or policy, or relation to the general world. If they do not kill the traveller, they forget him; do not care if he is killed, and open indifferently to let him pass as their own jungles might. Nobody thinks of a walk in equatorial Africa with a sense of desire, or hopes to see a great city grow there, or fancies that room for a kingdom might be found there, or believes that Africa will yield any of the great intellectual fascinations which have so often lured travellers into Asia. We have read most books on African travel; and after making all allowances, we find among them none with the attraction of, say, Mr. Atkinson's book on eastern Siberia that wonderful example of word-painting-or Mr. Gilmour's en chanting sketch of life among the Mongols, or Abbé Huc's account of China, or even the inexplicably dull but instructive books of which so many have been poured out about India, without one of them giving an idea of what India is like.
his arrival the Lakeland of Africa, the one solitary morsel of this detestable continent yet discovered to which the epithet of "delightful" can fairly be applied, the one place which, when the continent has been subdued, and the blacks have been elevated, say, to the level of Bengalees or Peruvians, and cities have been built, and Europeans are clustering everywhere, as they do in Asia, in little, energetic, over-vitalized groups, doing everything, claiming everything, and generally overperceptible, ought to be claimed as the International Park or huge general sanitarium for eastern Africa. The range is as healthy as if it were in Europe, and as ascendable as if it were in England. Mr. Johnston ascended up to the perpetual snow, to within two thousand feet of the top of Kebo, eighteen thousand feet high; and at sixteen thousand feet found it scarcely freezing, and only felt once the beginning of mountain sickness. He, though not especially a powerful man, had walked up alone, "without a stick,” and
ently lying in utter confusion, and without any definite direction. They were not very difficult to climb over, and even seemed to act as irregular stone steps upwards. In their interstices heaths of the size of large shrubs grew with a certain luxuriance. About thirteen thousand seven hundred feet he saw the last resident bird, a kind of stonechat apparently. It went in little cheery flocks, and showed such absence of fear that he had to walk away from it before shooting, to avoid shattering his specimen." Mr. Johnston's
apparently without much effort, and with- | with boulders, more or less big, appar out an obstacle, except that arising from a cold mist which a Cockney going up Snowdon would, he says, have despised. He found the buffaloes' footprints fourteen thousand feet above the sea, saw elephants thirteen thousand feet in air, and knows that great antelopes wander right up to the snow-line. In ascending, his party "crossed the cultivated zone, which ended at about fifty-five hundred feet in that part, entered a healthy district with pleasant grassy knolls and many streams of running water, and camped beside a lovely fern-choked brook at six-followers left him near the top, oppressed ty-five hundred feet, the whole ascent with superstitious fears; but he still wanbeing very gradual. The following day dered upwards, as he says, with "stupid they passed through stunted forest, not perseverance, but really with that deterunlike an English woodland, where the mination not to fail which sometimes overtrees, however, were hung with unfamiliar masters English men, until, at a height of ferns and creepers, and where deliciously sixteen thousand feet, he caught through scented parasitic begonias trailed their a rift in the mist a glimpse of the snowpink flower-bells from branch to branch. covered cone of Kebo, apparently quite The dracena, which is cultivated by the near, and only two thousand feet above Wa-Chagga to form hedges, here grew him. He turned at last, driven back by wild. Tree-ferns were abundant and the damp cold, and the loneliness, and the handsome. Above seven thousand feet, fear of losing himself utterly, and at fifteen the orchilla moss draped the forest trees thousand feet re-entered the region of in long grey festoons. Tracks of ele- vegetation. He found his settlement unphants were very numerous. The other touched; and on October 18th began his noticeable inhabitants of the forest were descent on a new line, meeting some dark-blue touracoes and tree hyraxes. reward in "scenery of great beauty. On Wart-hogs were occasionally met with up one day they travelled for hours through to eight thousand feet. At nine thousand a delightful country, made for a European feet they camped for the night by a small settlement, and singularly English in look, spring of water in the midst of a grand bit with open grassy spaces, which seemed in of forest, not of that stunted character the distance ruddy cornfields, and shady which marked the lower woods. He woods and copses full of fine timber. caught a chameleon and many beetles Plenty of running streams of clear water here, and also shot touracoes and pigeons." intersected this gently sloping, almost At eleven thousand feet, where Mr. level plateau, which, although such a Johnston built a village, and found him- tempting idyllic land, was entirely uninself eating beefsteaks, brought in by the habited, save by buffaloes and elephants. natives, "with a furious appetite," he left The average elevation of this country his followers and, with only three men, was between eight and seven thousand advanced upwards to the snow-line, feet, and the temperature consequently through a country which only in places almost cool, ranging from 43° at night to lost its green, the barren belts having 70° in the midday warmth. After some been burnt up by human agency, probably four hours' walking from their camp, they with some notion of culture. "Small pink crossed the long ridge that marked the gladioli studded the grounds in numbers. southern flank of Kimawenzi, and began At an altitude of nearly thirteen thousand to descend the eastern slope of the mounfeet bees and wasps were still to be seen, tain. Soon they emerged on a kind of and bright little sunbirds darted from heath-like country, and then looked forth bush to bush, gleaning their repast of on a splendid view stretching from Mwika honey. A little higher they found warm to the mountains of Bura and Ukambani springs, the thermometer showing the (the Kiulu range) with Jipe on one hand, temperature of the trickling mud to be 91° and the River Tzavo on the other. At Fahr. Mounting high above the rivulet their feet lay the banana groves of the the scenery became much harsher. Vege- inhabited belt of Useri and Rombo." tation only grew in dwarfed patches as The complete exploration which Mr. Johnthey passed the altitude of thirteen thouston had intended could not be made for sand feet, and the ground was covered want of funds, but he declares his willing
ness to go back; and if he is willing, he tries, but it is seldom that they create so has only to lift his hand, and any amount much stir in the world as the mysterious of needful cash will be instantly forthcom- fanatic who believes, and has inspired his ing. Here at last is a true wild land un- followers with the belief, that he possesses known to Europeans, and within reason- a mission to regenerate Islam. Not long able distance, and with everything which ago a personage with similar pretensions makes exploration attractive, - a fine appeared in Tripoli, but local circumclimate, glorious scenery, peaks higher stances did not come to his aid, as in the than Mont Blanc up to which women case of the Mahdi of the Soudan. Mr. could walk, endless game, rare orchids. Wilfrid Blunt was the first to foresee and rare birds, new peoples, and plenty of beef- foretell the danger to be incurred in the steaks. Kilima-njaro must be a sports existing state of affairs in equatorial Afman's paradise. We venture to say there rica from the advent of this visionary. It are forty men in England willing to ac- happened that the native mind had becompany Mr. Johnston, and to pay £5,000 come, in a measure, prepared for the apfor the privilege of doing it; and that he pearance of a Messiah, or prophet, who, may take his next trip accompanied by a according to tradition, had been foretold full train of geologists, naturalists, photog- by Mohammed himself as likely to appear raphers, and huntsmen, till all Kilima- about the year 1300 of the Hegira. The njaro is astir. Indeed, if Mr. Johnston turn of the century, according to this calis not quick he will be too late, for his endar, happened about three years ago, account has been before the world a whole almost simultaneously with the appear. week; and by this time Lord Dunravenance of the new saviour of Islam. As ought, in the regular course of things, to have bought the mountain -we suppose the Zanzibar man has some real or imaginary rights there the Duke of Sutherland ought to have organized a prospect ing expedition for gold, and twenty German savants, with promises from Bismarck in their pockets, ought to be crowding to Zanzibar. There may even be a scramble, as Lord Aberdare smil ingly said, to annex Kilimanjaro; and we should not be surprised if Mr. Ashmead Bartlett, who is nothing if not geographi cal, in his next speech at Eye, furiously denounced Mr. Gladstone for not having sent so much as a gunboat to the top of Kebo. Seriously, Mr. Johnston has discovered a wonderful thing, an unknown tract of equatorial Africa, where Europeans can live and explore with health and pleasure, amid scenery as beautiful as the Alps, and entirely new. His book upon it, if he writes one, should be a grand success; but it is a pity that he should throw away his time on books. There are plenty of them in the world; but there are not many persons with the right to regard a lofty African range as "those hills, you know, where last summer I had such an enjoyable time. Splendid scenery, elephants and wild buffaloes, glorious orchids, and oh, the beefsteaks!"
From The Daily Telegraph.
66 PROPHETS," whether true or false, are by no means rare in Mohammedan coun
Mr. Blunt has pointed out, the condition of the natives in the Soudan and the wide region nominally under the sway of the pashas had become intolerable from oppression, and they were ripe for revolt. Along with this, extraordinary success had for some years attended the spread of the Mohammedan creed in central Africa, and high authorities estimate the number of converts at from eight to twelve millions. One writer remarks: "The idea of the regeneration of Islam by force of arms has gained a strong hold over the enthusiasm of these new converts, and on the appearance of the false prophet in August, 1881, thousands flocked to his standard." The Mahdi had thus an enormous advantage over all rival pretenders, and quickly overshadowed all others, who have long since sunk back into their orig inal obscurity. Like most of them, Mohammed Ahmed — for such is the Mahdi's real name was of origin obscure but traceable. It is to the unfortunate Colonel Stewart, another victim of Arab treachery, that we are indebted for most of our knowledge of the prophet's early days, for when the gallant colonel visited El Obeid nearly three years ago the impostor was only beginning to rally round him a ragged following, and to make some noise in the country. From what could then be gathered about him, Colonel Stewart informs us that the Mahdi was the son of a carpenter and a native of Dongola. In 1852 the father migrated to Shendy, the town on the Nile on the bank opposite Metem. meh, his family consisting of three sons and one daughter, and here a fourth son was born to him. While a boy the future
prophet was apprenticed to a boatbuilder, the Feast of Ramadan, and some small but after receiving a beating from his parties of troops were sent against him, uncle one day, he fled to Khartoum, where but failed to catch him. It is more than he entered a free school kept by a dervish probable that their sympathies were with of great sanctity and an alleged descend him. Colonel Stewart certainly held ant of the founder of Islamism. "Here," doubts on the subject. The Mahdi soon says Colonel Stewart, "he remained for afterwards showed himself at the head of some time studying religion, the tenets of his followers near Sennaar, finally taking his sheikh, etc., but did not make much up a position at Jebel Gadir, about one progress in the more worldly accomplish- hundred and fifty miles north west of Kaments of reading and writing." His reli- ka, on the White Nile. Here he was atgious education was completed at another tacked by a body of regulars under Resschool to which he afterwards went near chid Bey, who was defeated with heavy Berber. Thence he settled in a village loss. This success inspired the prophet south of Kana, and enrolled himself as a and his adherents with fresh courage and disciple of a fakir or holy man, delighting ambition. Their ranks rapidly increased, in the name of Nur-el-Daim. Having re- and early in the following spring the whole ceived from this worthy the distinction of province of Kordofan was threatened. sheikh, Mohammed Ahmed took up his Raouf Pasha having been recalled, Abdabode on the island of Abba, near Kana el-Kader was appointed to the command on the White Nile. "Here," adds Colonel at Khartoum, and a more strenuous atStewart, "he began by making a subter- tempt was made to suppress the new faranean excavation (khaliva = retreat) into natical rising, whose spread began seriwhich he made a practice of retiring to ously to alarm the Egyptians. In April repeat for hours one of the names of the about three thousand men were collected Deity, this being accompanied by fasting, in the neighborhood of Kaka at the cost incense-burning, and prayers. His fame of reducing the neighboring garrisons. and sanctity by degrees spread far and Taking advantage of this "the rebels," as wide, and Mohammed Ahmed became the Mahdi's followers began to be called, wealthy, collected disciples, and married attacked Sennaar, but after some minor several wives, all of whom he was careful successes they were dispersed by Giegler to select from among the daughters of the Pasha. They were not, however, dismost influential Baggara sheikhs (Bagga- heartened, and at length, when they again ratribes owning cattle and horses) and met the Egyptians face to face on June 7, other notables. To keep within the legal- 1882, they obtained a signal victory. The ized number (four) he was in the habit of Egyptians came upon the rebels in a divorcing the surplus and taking them on densely wooded country; a zereba or again according to his fancy." In these stockade was commenced, and the troops marital responsibilities he was only sur- were formed up in hollow square, but they passed by his secretary or factotum, who were unable to withstand the furious onespoused no fewer than twenty-four ladies slaught of the Arab host, inspired by reof the neighborhood. But the Mahdi's ligious zeal. Once the square was broken time was not wholly occupied with the all discipline was lost, and the whole force attractions of the harem. The increase was simply annihilated. Naturally an exof his influence only incited him to fresh traordinary impetus was thus given to the efforts. Gradually he acquired a great insurrection, and many minor engagereputation for holiness, and by and-by as- ments took place, resulting generally in sembled a number of other dervishes favor of the Mahdi. At Shakka, for inaround him, and by his powers and tact stance, on June 20, another Egyptian desucceeded in uniting the various tribes tachment of one thousand men was cut to under his banner. The principles of his pieces, only a few escaping with their teaching are described as "universal equal- lives. On August 23 Duaim was attacked, ity, universal law and religion, with a com- but here the rebels were defeated with munity of goods. All who refuse to credit the loss of forty-five hundred men. Shorthis mission are to be destroyed, whether ly afterwards the Mahdi took the field in Christian, Mohammedan, or Pagan." It person, and advanced on El Obeid. "On was not until the end of 1881 that Raouf three successive days," it is recorded, “he Pasha, the then governor of the Soudan, made desperate assaults on the garrison, had his attention directed to the Mahdi's but on each occasion he was repulsed with pretensions. The latter at this time was great slaughter. The rebels are said to living at Merabieh, near the island of have had ten thousand men killed, while Abba. In August, as already stated, he the Egyptian loss is put down at two hunpublicly proclaimed his "mission" during | dred and eighty-eight." These disasters
caused a diminution in the Mahdi's prestige, who had never hitherto been defeated while personally leading his troops, so that he was said to be invincible. But, nothing daunted, the prophet laid siege to the town, and after much bloodshed both El Obeid, Bara, and other fortified posts fell into his hands. Compelled by these reverses to make a more gigantic effort to regain possession of the Soudan, the Egyptian government despatched Hicks Pasha's expedition, numbering upwards of six thousand men. This army, the most completely organized and equipped ever assembled in the Soudan, was deemed sufficient for its object, but its overthrow after a desperate three days' engagement in the desert between the Nile and El Obeid proved that the strength of the Mahdi had been vastly underrated. Since that crowning victory the Soudan, save such garrison towns as Khartoum, Sennaar, and Kassala, has been at his mercy, and the fame of his conquering career has spread not only through all northern Africa, but over the whole Mohammedan world. Personally, the Mahdi is described by Colonel Stewart as "tall, slim, with a black beard and light brown complexion. Like most Dongolawis, he reads and writes with difficulty. He is local head of the Gheelan or Kadrigé order of dervishes, a school originated by Abdul Kaderel-Ghulami, whose tomb is at Bagdad. Judging from his conduct of affairs and policy, I should say he had considerable natural ability. The manner in which he has managed to merge the usually dis. cordant tribes together denotes great tact. He had probably been preparing the movement for some time back."
it did honestly value age, it would hardly make that value felt by overwhelming with new burdens those on whose power to bear the necessary burdens of their position it is congratulating itself. If the senders of these messages had asked themselves, in Sir Moses Montefiore's case, "Will this telegram add to his hap piness?" or in Mr. Gladstone's case, "Will this telegram add to his power or usefulness?" most of the senders must have replied to themselves in the negative. But as probably many of them only thought of asking themselves, "Will it look well for us to send this telegram?" they snowed their unmerciful orange envelopes upon both the veterans without hesitation or pity. If they had really set the true value upon age and understood what it means, they would not have prepared a disturbing, and therefore inappropriate, sensation for a centenarian, or wasted the valuable time and energy of a prime minister in receiving and acknowl edging a deluge of empty felicitations. For what exactly is the advantage of old age; for what qualities do we value it? Chiefly, we suppose, for its serenity, when it has achieved serenity; chiefly for that triumph over egotism and vanity, and the profuse illusions of youth, which hardly anything else brings. Yet it is precisely this serenity, this freedom from illusion, which popular demonstrations of overexpressed delight endeavor, however fruitlessly, to dispel. If the senders of these messages really said to themselves, "No one will know better how little this is worth than the man to whom I send it," would they ever send it at all? We believe that they would not. It is because they expect to excite a little agitation, to create a faint illusion, that they pelt with congratulations the serenity and impar tiality of judgment in which, if they really understand the best qualities which age brings with it, they profess to rejoice.
And yet is it not true that wise age is admirable chiefly because it deprives us of so much which is not the strength but the weakness of youth? Wordsworth does not go far enough when he says, — So fares it still in our decay, And yet the wiser mind Mourns less for what age takes away, Than what it leaves behind.
From The Spectator. AGE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. THE world is thoughtless even in its most amiable aspects. It congratulated Sir Moses Montefiore on attaining the age of one hundred after a fashion that very nearly ensured his not living a week beyond the century; and it telegraphs congratulations to Mr. Gladstone on the completion of his seventy-fifth year, as if it had not already given the prime minis ter enough to do without acknowledging Age does something, no doubt, in taking compliments sufficiently laborious and away energy, and energy, if rightly di sufficiently effusive to make him long for rected, is enviable; it weakens the tenaca world where compliments are not. "Per-ity of memory, and memory, if it can haps the reason of the fuss is that the only manage to drop what is not worth world rather plumes itself upon valuing keeping, is also enviable; and it diminage than values it as it ought to do; for if ishes the vivacity and spring of the imag