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To turn over the leaves of a journal on one's return from distant travels and arduous occupations is always a penitential exercise. There is so much that should have been recorded on the spot, but then the spot was one that was not conducive to quiet jottings and descriptive accuracy. Perhaps Africa must, and always will suffer at the hands of her explorers more than any other country in this respect. In a land where a good day's work depends upon being ready to start at daylight, and in which for the most part the mosquito has it all his own way as soon as the sun goes down, there is little time to fill up the pages of diaries. of diaries. When a few moments are snatched for the purpose, it occurs to one to write down the hard facts of the daily life, which are not always as interesting as one would anticipate from the adventurous point of view. I am led, however, to hope that these
pages which I offer to the reader may at all events serve a good purpose at the present moment. Our exploration of Lake Nyassa enables me to treat fully upon some of those extraordinary features which appear to be peculiar to these great inland seas, and which are now exciting so much curiosity. It also becomes a positive duty to set forth the slow but steady desire on the part of the native tribes to have Europeans amongst them; and then, again, it may stimulate future ventures if I recount the manner in which it was proved possible to carry a steam-vessel over very great natural obstacles, up mountainous passes and through break-neck gorges. To attempt this latter feat was the main reason of my setting out once more for Africa, and it is with deep thankfulness to Him who granted success to us that I enter upon the details of the enterprise.
I must be still more venturesome in making excuses for personal shortcomings when I state that once in our little vessel steaming swiftly on Lake, Nyassa, and with time to look round, I came to the conclusion that if there was one thing less conducive than another to diligent penmanship, surely it was to be found in the
daily routine of my life afloat. Fortune seemed to have a fresh stalk of grass for me every morning, whether afloat or ashore. If I was alternately "tinker, tailor, soldier and sailor,” one day, I had to be "apothecary and ploughboy" by turns at a pinch; and to complete the list, must fain be "thief," and steal moments to write in, if I did so at all! However, I am thus the better able to thank those to whom I am very much indebted for their kindness in rendering me great assistance in the present undertaking. On Dr. Laws I could always reckon for the most obliging and painstaking observations and notes whilst he accompanied me in the voyage to the north end of the Lake, and at times when the serious responsibility of navigating our vessel absorbed all my thoughts.
I am exceedingly obliged to Mrs. Bruce for the loan of one of her father's (Dr. Livingstone's) maps to illustrate the country between the East Coast of Africa and the eastern shore of the Lake. This map has a very peculiar interest, apart from its great value now that numerous endeavours are being made to turn almost every mile passed over by the great traveller to some practical use in opening up Africa.
When amongst his journals, pocket-books, and diaries, a complete history was found of every day spent during his last series of travels, it was at once apparent that the section of his map to which I allude was missing. Captain Cameron very fortunately discovered it at Ujiji after the publication of the 'Last Journals,' and by him it was restored to Mrs. Bruce. I take this opportunity to record my thanks to the Lords of the Admiralty, and to the Committee of the Free Church of Scotland, for enabling me in the first instance to mature plans upon the lines of previous experience, and to develop them unhampered by any restrictions whatever. If kindly forethought was present at every turn before starting, on my return a sincere welcome met me everywhere from my own countrymen. A friendship begun whilst amongst some of the scenes I treat upon is available too, and I gladly accept its promptings. The Rev. Horace Waller's acquaintance with the rivers and tribes of East Africa fitted him to do me a service in preparing my notes for publication, and I must record the obligation
I am aware that it is almost necessary to