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with our chiefs should meet them in mid-stream, and make blood-brotherhood; and that on that condition some of their canoes should be restored, and we would purchase the rest." The natives took time for the considering of this proposition, and then accepted it. "On the 22nd of December, the ceremony of bloodbrotherhood having been formally concluded, in midriver, between Safeni and the chief of Vinya-Njara," continues Stanley, “our captive, and fifteen canoes, were returned, and twenty-three canoes were retained by us for a satisfactory equivalent; and thus our desperate struggle terminated." 1
On the Livingstone, just below the Equator, in February, 1877, Stanley's party was facing starvation, having been for some time "unable to purchase food, or indeed [to] approach a settlement for any amicable purpose." The explorers came to look at "each other as fated victims of protracted famine, or [of] the rage of savages, like those of Mangala." "We continued our journey," goes on the record, "though grievously hungry, past Bwena and Inguba, doing our utmost to induce the staring fishermen to communicate with us; without any success. They became at once officiously busy with guns, and dangerously active. We arrived at Ikengo, and as we were almost despairing, we proceeded to a small island opposite this settlement, and
1 Thro. Dark Cont., II., 188.
BLOOD FOR BLOOD.
prepared to encamp. Soon a canoe with seven men came dashing across, and we prepared our moneys for exhibition. They unhesitatingly advanced, and ran their canoe alongside of us. We were rapturously joyful, and returned them a most cordial welcome, as the act was a most auspicious sign of confidence. We were liberal, and the natives fearlessly accepted our presents; and from this giving of gifts we proceeded to seal this incipient friendship with our blood, with all due ceremony." And by this transfusion of blood. the starving were re-vivified, and the despairing were given hope.
Twice, again, within a few weeks after this experience, there was a call on Stanley of blood for blood, in friendship's compact. The people of Chumbiri wel"They readily subscribed to
comed the travelers.
all the requirements of friendship, blood-brotherhood, and an exchange of a few small gifts." Itsi, the king of Ntamo, with several of his elders and a showy escort, came out to meet Stanley; and there was a friendly greeting on both sides. "They then broached the subject of blood-brotherhood. We were willing," says Stanley, "but they wished to defer the ceremony until they had first shown their friendly feelings to us." Thereupon gifts were exchanged, and the king indicated his preference for a "big goat" of Stanley's, 1 Thro. Dark Cont., II., 305 f. 2 Ibid., II., 315.
as his benefaction-which, after some parleying, was transferred to him. Then came the covenant-rite. "The treaty with Itsi," says Stanley, "was exceedingly ceremonious, and involved the exchange of charms. Itsi transferred to me for my protection through life, a small gourdful of a curious powder, which had rather a saline taste; and I delivered over to him, as the white man's charm against all evil, a half-ounce vial of magnesia; further, a small scratch in Frank's arm, and another in Itsi's arm, supplied blood sufficient to unite us in one, and [by an] indivisible bond of fraternity."1
Four years after this experience of blood-covenanting, by proxy, with young Itsi, Stanley found himself again at Ntamo, or across the river from it; this time in the interest of the International Association of the Congo. Being short of food, he had sent out a party of foragers, and was waiting their return with interest. "During the absence of the food-hunters," he says, "we heard the drums of Ntamo, and [we] followed with interested eyes the departure of two large canoes from the landing-place, their ascent to the place opposite, and their final crossing over towards us. Then we knew that Ngalyema of Ntamo had condescended to come and visit us. As soon as he arrived I recognized him as the Itsi with whom, in 1877, I
1 Thro. Dark Cont., II., 330–332.
A LONG LOST BROTHER.
had made blood-brotherhood [by proxy]. During the four years that had elapsed, he had become a great man. He was now about thirty-four years old, of well-built form, proud in his bearing, covetous and grasping in disposition, and, like all other lawless barbarians, prone to be cruel and sanguinary whenever he might safely vent his evil humor. Superstition had found in him an apt and docile pupil, and fetishism held him as one of its most abject slaves. This was the man in whose hands the destinies of the Association Internationale du Congo were held, and upon whose graciousness depended our only hope of being able to effect a peaceful lodgment on the Upper Congo." A pagan African was an African pagan, even while the blood-brother of a European Christian. Yet, the tie of blood-covenanting was the strongest tie known in Central Africa. Frank Pocock, whose covenant-blood flowed in Itsi's veins, was dead; yet for his sake his master, Stanley, was welcomed by Itsi as a brother; and in true Eastern. fashion he was invited to prove anew his continuing faith by a fresh series of love-showing gifts. "My brother being the supreme lord of Ntamo, as well as the deepest-voiced and most arrogant rogue among the whole tribe," says Stanley, "first demanded the two asses [which Stanley had with him], then a large 1 Thro. Dark Cont., II., 402-408.
mirror, which was succeeded by a splendid gold-embroidered coat, jewelry, glass clasps, long brass chains, a figured table-cloth, fifteen other pieces of fine cloth, and a japanned tin box with a 'Chubb' lock. Finally, gratified by such liberality, Ngalyema surrendered to me his sceptre, which consisted of a long staff, banded profusely with brass, and decorated with coils of brass wire, which was to be carried by me and shown to all men that I was the brother of Ngalyema [or, Itsi] of Ntamo!" Some time after this, when trouble arose between Stanley and Ngalyema, the former suggested that perhaps it would be better to cancel their brotherhood. "No, no, no,' cried Ngalyema, anxiously; ‘our brotherhood cannot be broken; our blood is now one."" Yet at this time Stanley's brotherhood with Ngalyema was only by the blood of his deceased retainer, Frank Pocock.
More commonly, the rite of blood-friendship among the African tribes seems to be by the inter-transfusion of blood; but the ancient Syrian method is by no means unknown on that continent. Stanley tells of one crisis of hunger, among the cannibals of Rubunga, when the hostility of the natives on the river bank was averted by a shrewd display of proffered trinkets from the boats of the expedition. "We raised our anchor," he says, "and with two strokes of the oars 1 The Congo, I., 304-312.