Citation
Stories of adventure

Material Information

Title:
Stories of adventure
Added title page title:
Meridiana, the adventures of three Englishmen and three Russians in South Africa
Added title page title:
Journey to the centre of the earth
Creator:
Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Pannemaker, Adolphe François, b. 1822 ( Engraver )
Scribner, Armstrong, and Company ( Publisher )
John F. Trow & Son ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Scribner, Armstrong & Co.
Manufacturer:
John F. Trow & Son
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1874
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 232, 305, [8] p., [68] leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Crimean War, 1853-1856 -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Tour guides (Persons) -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Explorers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Surveyors -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Nephews -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Teachers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- South Africa ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1874 ( rbgenr )
Travelogue storybooks -- 1874 ( local )
Bldn -- 1874
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
Travelogue storybooks ( local )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Pannemaker.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note:
Pt. II is translated from "Voyage au centre de la terre."
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jules Verne ; with 68 full-page illustrations.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
ALH9752 ( NOTIS )
05215734 ( OCLC )
027005296 ( AlephBibNum )
01009780 ( LCCN )

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Full Text




TRATIONS.

ILLUS













a

Bg









THREE RUSSIANS

IN Zou Ee gees

PANWEMAKER,







> ORE S

Pdi) VE Nel UR Ee

JULES. VER NE:

WITH 68 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.

I.
MERIDIANA; THe ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE
RUSSIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA,

ie
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

NEW YORK:
SCRIBN ER, oA RIMS MReOiNG & CO
1874.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
3 3 Es

Joun F. Trow & Son,
Printers AND BoOKBINDERS,
205-213 Hast 12th St.,
NEW YORK.





VEER DEAN A :

THE ABVENTURES

OF

THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUsstAns

IN

SOUTH.ARRICA.

BY

JULES -VERNE.

Lranslated from the Irrench. With numerous Illustrations.

NEW YORK:
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO,
654 BROADWAY.

1874.



Works of Fules Verne,

PUBLISHED BY
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.

THE COMPLETE AND AUTHORIZED EDITIONS,

CAUTION.

The public are cautioned against any editions of the works named below
which do not bear the imprint of SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
Any edition of these particular works published under other imprints are
PIRATED, and cannot fail to be inferior én every particular. Editions
bearing our imprint are issued under a direct arrangement with the
French and English publishers of JULES VERNE, and are authorized
én text and complete in illusiration.



MERIDIANA:
THE ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THRRE Rus-
SIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA. By JULES VERNE. Translated from the
French. With 48 illustrations. One vol. 12mo, cloth, gilt side and
back. Price, 75 cents. The only edition authorized in text and
complete in illustrations.

FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON

In 97 HOURS AND 20 MINUTES AND A TRIP AROUND It. Eighty
full-page illustrations, beautifully bound in cloth, black and gilt.
Price, $3.00.

A JOURNEY to the CENTRE of the EARTH.

Translated from the French of JULES VERNE, author of ‘From the

Earth to the Moon Direct,” “‘ The Mysterious Island,” &c., &ce.

With fifty-two illustrations by Riou.

Popular edition, 20 illustrations, 75¢. Complete edition, 53 illustra
tions, on super-calendered paper, handsomely bound in cloth, black and
gilt, beveled boards, $3.00.

SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CoO.,
654 BROADWAY, NEW YORE



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

PAGE
ON THE BANKS OF THE ORANGE RIVER eit Se ° ° e « >a

CHAPTER II.
OFFICIAL PRESENTATIONS ° . ° ° ° ° e ° . 3
CHAPTER III.

THE LAND JOURNEY «© e oS ee 7 e oe e o 2

CHAPTER IV.

A Few Worps ABOUT THE “ METRE” - © © ee « » 31
CHAPTER V.
A HoTTENTOT VILLAGE on 8 oo eg MS ee eed Se EO

CHAPTER VI.

BETTER ACQUAINTANCE . ° ooh See eee ° 49

CHAPTER VIL

Tue BASE OF THE TRIANGLE - © © © © © ° 59

CHAPTER VIII.

THe TWENTY-FOURTH MERIDIAN .»« «© © © @© 6 e &



iv CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.
PAGE

THE KRAAL. e ° ° ° e e ° ° e e ° 76

CHAPTER X.

Tue RAPID. ° ° e e e e e ° 6 ° ° 89

CHAPTER XI,

A MISSING COMPANION oe oO Ge 6 ° o oe 96

CHAPTER XII,

A STaTIon To SiR JOHN’S LIKING . . sue 6 e 106

@1
e

CHAPTER XIIL

PACIFICATION BY FIRE e . e ° ° ° ° e o IIT

CHAPTER XIV.

Avs DECUARATIONS ORMVWAR ve Ure ae fe te 6) 60s (6) 6) 227,

CHAPTER XV.

A GEOMETRIC PROGRESSION Rio ee oegh cue a ee oreo 5130

CHAPTER XVI.

DANGER IN: DISGUISE ..*° 6 <0; 6 «0 10 fem 09-6 + 0 140

CHAPTER XVIL

AN UNEXPECTED BLIGHT . . ° oS Sehe ire Ve to centS4

CHAPTER XVIIL
167

e,
@
e

Tue DESERT ° ° ° ° ° e e °

CHAPTER XIX.

ScrgNCE UNDAUNTED. 6 oo et 6 erie ie e e ayy



STANDING A SIEGE

SUSPENSE °

HIDE AND SEEK .

HoMEWARD BounpD

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XX.

CHAPTER XXIL

CHAPTER XXIIL

° ° ° ®

PAGE

e 189

e 200

o 211

. 225







LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

FRONTISPIECE.

William Emery and the Bushman . ereate e260

At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat
Meeting of Members of the Exped-tion . . . .

“The Hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, presenting his

panion . . . . ° . . ° °
All these Objects were deposited on the Beach ° °
The Mission Home Establishment . re ° ° .
Chief Moulibahan . : . ‘ . . 4 .

William Emery and Michael Zorn in advance of the Expedition

The Bushman pointing to the Plain . . ° °

e

e

Commencement of the Geodesic Operations . e e
Measuring the Arc of the Meridian . ° ° e
Taking the Measurements. ° ° ° ° °
The Astronomers at Work . . ° ° ° .
Encampment under an immense Baobab e ° °
‘The Hunters . . ° ° ° e ° ° °
The Elephant and the Dog . ° ° ea uete °
** He is ours! he is ours!” . . . . ° .
The Hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but shook the Boat as a
would a Hare . . ° ° ° ° .
‘¢ There he is,” cried Mokoum . ° a ° .
A missing Companion . . . * . . .

It was a deep Grotto, strewn with Bones and stained with Blood

The Entrance to the Lion’s Den . 3 . ‘ .
A Ball from the Bushman arrested the Lioness . 5

** Well,” said Mokoum, ‘I hope you like our African Partridges”

PAGR

18
20

24
26

46
53
58
61
69
69
92
74
80
86

87

95
103
104
1i2
112
115
116.



Vill LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,

Sir John was soon asleep oe ee ee e e« ®
The Forest on Fire . ° . . < e e ° °
** War is declared between England and Russia” . .© ec

The Parting of Emery and Zorn. ° ° ° e ° °
** The Rhinoceros !” exclaimed SirJohn ° ° oa
The Advance of the Caravan . . . ° ° ° ° °

The Hunters glided through the Creepers and Brushwood ° .
The empty Oryx Skin. ° : ° . ° ° ° °
Emery and two Natives struck by Lightning . ° ° ° °
A strange Cloud . . ° e ° e ° ° ° °
Crossing the Desert ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° e
“‘ The Ngami! the Ngami!” ° . ° . oie 6

The English come to the relief of the Russians. ° ° °
On Guard on Mount Scorzef . . . . ° ° e °
An Attack on Mount Scorzef 6 O A . . . e
The Rice of the Bochjesmen . . . . . . ° °
Watching for the Signal from Mount Volquiria . oe eet te
The Steamboat leaving Mount Scorzef . ° e ° . °
Palander robbed by the Chacma . ° ° ° ° ° °
Palander’s Combat with the Chacma.. ° ° ° e °
Descending the Zambesi . ° ° ° ° . ° °
Adieu to Mokoum . : . 7 . : . ° .

The Natives regarded with superstitious admiration the smoking vessel

PAGE
2 124
2 125

© 135
e 14!
« 148
. I51
2 152
2 158
. 61
» 169
° 172
e 178
- 189
° 193

2 196

2 204
2 210

«217

2 224
- 229
= 2G0)
. 230



MERIDIANA:;

THE ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN
AND THREE RUSSIANS.



CHAPTER I

ON THE BANKS OF THE ORANGE RIVER.

ON the 27th of January, 1854, two men lay stretched at
the foot of an immense weeping willow, chatting, and at
the same time watching most attentively the waters of the
Orange River. This river, the Groote of the Dutch, and
the Gariep of the Hottentots, may well vie with the other
three great arteries of Africa—the Nile, the Niger, and the
Zambesi. Like those, it has its periodical risings, its rapids
and cataracts. Travellers whose names are known over
part of its course, Thompson, Alexander, and Burchell,
have each in their turn praised the clearness of its waters,
and the beauty of its shores.

At this point the river, as it approached the Duke of
I



2 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

York Mountains, offered a magnificent spectacle to the
view. Insurmountable rocks, imposing masses of stone,
and trunks of trees that had become mineralized by the
action of the weather, deep caverns, impenetrable forests,
not yet disturbed by the settler’s axe, all these, shut in by
a background formed by the mountains of the Gariep, made
up a scene matchless in its magnificence. There, too, the
waters of the river, on account of the extreme narrowness
of their bed, and the sudden falling away of the soil, rushed
down from a height of 400 feet. Above the fall there were
only surging sheets of water, broken here and there by
points of rock wreathed with green boughs; below, there
was only a dark whirlpool of tumultuous waters, crowned
with a thick cloud of damp vapour, and striped with all
the colours of the rainbow. From this gulf there arose a
deafening roar, increased and varied by the echoes of the
valley.

Of these two men, who had evidently been brought into
this part of South Africa by the chances of an exploration,
one lent only a vague attention to the beauties of nature
that were opened to his view. This indifferent traveller was
a hunting bushman, a fine type of that brave, bright-eyed,
rapidly-gesticulating race of men, who lead a wandering life
in the woods. Bushman, a word derived from the Dutch
“ Bochjesman,” is literally “a man of the bushes,” and is
applied to the wandering tribes that scour the country in



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 3



the N.wW. of Cape Colony. Nota family of these bushmen
is sedentary ; they pass their lives in roaming over the re-
gion lying between the Orange River and the mountains of
the East, in pillaging farms, and in destroying the crops of
the overbearing colonists, by whom they have been driven
back towards the interior of the country, where more rocks
than plants abound.

This bushman, a man of about forty years of age, was
very tall, and evidently possessed great muscular strength,
for even when at rest his body presented the attitude of
action. The clearness, ease, and freedom of his movements
stamped him as an energetic character, a man cast in the
same mould as the celebrated “ Leather-stocking,” the hero
of the Canadian prairies, though perhaps possessing less
calmness than Cooper’s favourite hunter, as could be seen
by the transient deepening of colour in his face, whenever he
was animated by any unusual emotion.

The bushman was no longer a savage like the rest of his
race, the ancient Laquas; for, born of an English father
and a Hottentot mother, the half-breed, through his associa-
tion with strangers, had gained more than he had lost, and
spoke the paternal tongue fluently. His costume, half-
Hottentot, half-European, consisted of a red flannel shirt,
a loose coat and breeches of antelope hide, and leggings
made of the skin of a wild cat ; from his neck hung a little
bag containing a knife, a pipe, and some tobacco; he wore

B2



4 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



on his head a kind of skull-cap of sheep-skin ; a belt, made
from the thick thong of some wild animal, encircled his
waist; and on his naked wrists were rings of ivory,
wrought with remarkable skill. From his shoulders flowed
a “kross,’ a kind of hanging mantle, cut out of a tiger’s
skin, and falling as low as the knees. A dog of native
breed was sleeping near him, while. he himself was smoking
a bone pipe in quick puffs, giving unequivocal signs of im-
patience.

“Come, let’s be calm, Mokoum,” said his interlocutor.
“You are truly the most impatient of mortals whenever
you are not hunting ; but do understand, my worthy com-
panion, that we can’t change what is. Those whom we
are expecting will come sooner or later—to-morrow, it
not to-day.”

The bushman’s companion was a young man, from twenty-
five to twenty-six years of age, and quite a contrast to him.
His calm temperament was shown in every action; and it
could be decided without a moment’s hesitation that he
was an Englishman. His much too homely costume proved
him to be unaccustomed to travelling. He gave one the
idea of a clerk who had wandered into a savage country,
and one looked involuntarily to see if he carried a pen
behind his ear, like a cashier, clerk, accountant, or some
other variety of the great family of the bureaucracy.

In truth, this young man was not a traveller, but a



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 5

distinguished savant, William Emery, an astronomer at-
tached to the Observatory at the Cape—a useful establish-
ment, which has for a long time rendered true services to
science,
_ The scholar, rather out of his element, perhaps, in this
uninhabited region of South Africa, several hundred miles
from Cape Town, could hardly manage to curb the im-
patience of his companion.

“Mr. Emery,” replied the hunter in good English,
‘here we have been for eight days at the place appointed
on the Orange, the cataract of Morgheda. It is indeed
a long time since it has befallen a member of my
family to remain eight days in one place: you forget
that we are rovers, and that our feet burn at lingering
here.”

“My friend Mokoum,” replied the astronomer, “ those
we are waiting for are coming from England, and surely
we can allow them eight days of grace: we must take into
account the length of the passage, and the hindrances
which a steam-vessel must meet with in ascending the
Orange; and, in short, the thousand difficulties belonging
to such an undertaking. We have been told to make every
preparation for a journey of exploration in South Africa,
and that being done, to come here to the Falls of Morgheda
and wait for my colleague, Colonel Everest, of the Cam-
bridge Observatory. Well, here are the Falls of Morgheda,



6 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



we are at the place appointed, and we are waiting: what
more do you want, my worthy bushman ?”

The hunter doubtless did want more, for his fingers
played feverishly with the lock of his rifle, an excellent
Manton, a weapon of precision with conical shot, and
which could bring down a wild cat or an antelope at a
distance of eight or nine hundred yards. Thus it may be
seen that the bushman had put aside the quiver of aloes
and the poisoned darts of his fellow-countrymen for the use
of European weapons.

“But are you not mistaken, Mr. Emery?” replied Mo-
koum. “Is it really at the Falls of Morgheda, and towards
the end of this month of January, that they have appointed
to meet you?”

“Yes, my friend,” quietly answered William Emery,
“and here is the letter from Mr. Airy, the director of the
Greenwich Observatory, which will show you that I am not
mistaken.”

The bushman took the letter that his companion gave
him. He turned it over and over like a man not very
familiar with the mysteries of penmanship; then giving it
back to William Emery, he said, “Tell me again what the
blotted piece of paper says.”

The young astronomer, endowed with a patience proof
against every thing, began again, for the twentieth time,
the story he had so often told to his friend the hunter At



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 7



the end of the foregoing year, William Emery had received
a letter telling him of the approaching arrival of Colonel
Everest, and an international scientific commission in South.
ern Africa. What the plans of the commission were, and
why it came to the extremity of the continent of Africa,
Emery could not say, Mr. Airy’s letter being silent on that
point; but following the instructions that he had received,
he hastened to Lattakoo, one of the most northern stations
in the Hottentot country, to prepare waggons, provisions,
and, in short, every thing that could be wanted for the vic-
tualling of a Bochjesman caravan. Then, as he knew the
reputation of the native hunter, Mokoum, who had accom-
panied Anderson in his hunting expeditions in Western
Africa, and the intrepid David Livingstone on his first
journey of exploration to Lake Ngami and the falls of
the Zambesi, he offered him the command of this same
caravan.

This done, it was arranged that the bushman, who knew
the country perfectly, should lead William Emery along
the banks of the Orange to the Morgheda Falls, the place
appointed for the scientific commission to join them. This
commission was to take its passage in the British frigate
“ Augusta,” to reach the mouth of the Orange on the
western coast of Africa, as high as Cape Voltas, and to
ascend the river as far as the cataracts. William Emery
and Mokoum had therefore brought a waggon, which they



8 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

had left at the bottom of the valley, to carry the strangers
and their baggage to Lattakoo, unless they preferred
getting there by the Orange and its affluents, after they
had avoided the Falls of Morgheda by a land journey of
some miles.

This story ended, and at length really impressed on the
bushman’s mind, he advanced to the edge of the gulf to
whose bottom the foaming river threw itself with a crash :
the astronomer followed, for there a projecting point com-
manded a view of the river, below the cataract, for a distance
of several miles. For some minutes Mokoum and his
companion gazed attentively at the part of the river where
it resumed its tranquillity about a quarter of a mile below
them, but not an object, either boat or pirogue, disturbed
its course. It was then three o'clock. The month of
January here corresponds to the July of northern countries,
and the sun, almost vertical in lat. 29°, heated the atmo-
sphere till the thermometer stood at 105° Fahrenheit in the
shade. If it had not been for the westerly breeze, which
moderated the heat a little, the temperature would have
been unbearable for any but a bushman. Still, the young
astronomer, with his cool temperament, all bone and all
nerves, did not feel it too much: the thick foliage of the
trees which overhung the abyss protected him from the
direct attacks of the sun’s rays. Not a bird enlivened the
solitude during these hot hours of the day; not an animal







William Emery and the Bushman,— [Page 8. ]}



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. g



left the cool shade of the bushes to trust itself along the
glades; not a sound would have been heard in this deserted
region, even if the cataract had not filled the whole air with
its roar.

After gazing for ten minutes, Mokoum turned to William
Emery, stamping impatiently with his large foot; his pene-
trating eyes had discovered nothing.

“Supposing your people don’t come?” he asked the
astronomer.

“They'll come, my brave hunter,” answered William
Emery: “they are men of their word, and punctual, like
all astronomers. Besides, what fault do you find with
them? The letter says they are to arrive at the end of
January ; this is the 27th, and these gentlemen have still a
right to four more days before they need to reach the
Morgheda Falls.”

“ And supposing they have not come at the end of those
four days?” asked the bushman.

“Well! then, master hunter, there will be a chance for
us to show our patience, for we will wait for them until I have
certain proof that they are not coming at all.”

“By our god Ko!” cried the bushman in a sonorous
voice, “you are a man who would wait until the Gariep had
emptied all its roaring waters into that abyss!”

“No, hunter, no,” replied Emery in his ever quiet tone;
“but we must let reason govern our actions ; and what does



10 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

reason tell us? This :—that if Colonel Everest and his com-
panions, wearied with a tiresome journey, in want perhaps,
and lost in this lonely country, were not to find us at the
place of rendezvous, we should be to blame in every way.
If any thing went wrong, the responsibility would rest on
us; we ought, therefore, to stay at our post as long as it is
our duty to do so. And besides, we want for nothing here:
our waggon is waiting for us at the bottom of the valley,
and gives us shelter at night ; we have plenty of provisions;
ature here is magnificent and worthy of our admiration ;
and it is quite a new pleasure to me to spend a few days in
these splendid forests on the banks of this matchless river.
As for you, Mokoum, what can you want more? Game,
both hairy and feathered, abounds in the forests, and your
rifle keeps us supplied with venison, Hunt, my brave hunter!
kill time by killing deer and buffaloes! Go, my good bush-
man; I’ll watch for the loiterers meanwhile, and your feet,
at any rate, will run no risk of taking root.”

The hunter thought the astronomer’s advice was good,
and decided that he would go for a few hours and beat the
neighbouring bushes and brushwood. Lions, hyenas, and
leopards would not disturb such a Nimrod as he, so well
accustomed to the African forests. He whistled to his dog
Top, an animal of the hyena breed from the desert of
Kalahari, and a descendant of that race of which the
Balabas formerly made pointers. The intelligent creature,



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, It

as impatient, seemingly, as his master, bounded up, and
showed by his joyous barking how much he was gratified
at the bushman’s intention. Soon both man and dog dis-
appeared among the thick masses of wood which crowned the
background of the cataract. William Emery, now alone,
again stretched himself at the foot of the willow, and while
he was waiting for the heat to send him to sleep, began to
think over his actual position. Here he was, far away from
any inhabited spot, on the banks of the Orange river,
a river as yet but little explored. He was waiting for
Europeans, fellow-countrymen who had left their homes to
run the risks of a distant expedition. But what was the
expedition for? What scientific problem could it want to
solve in the deserts of South Africa? What observation
could it be trying to take in lat. 30° S.? That was just
what Mr. Airy, the director of the Greenwich Observatory,
did not tell in his letter. As for Emery himself, they asked
for his co-operation as for that of a scientific man who was
familiar with the climate of those southern latitudes, and as
he was openly engaged in scientific labours, he was quite at
the disposal of his colleagues in the United Kingdom.

As the young astronomer lay musing over all these things,
and asking himself a thousand questions which he could not
answer, his eyelids became heavy, and at length he slept
soundly. When he awoke, the sun was already hidden
behind the western hills, whose picturesque outline stood



12 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

out sharply against the bright horizon. Some gnawings of
hunger told him that supper-time was near ; it was, in fact,
six o’clock, and just the hour for returning to the waggon
at the bottom of the valley. At that very moment a report
resounded from a grove of arborescent heaths, from twelve
to fifteen feet high, which was growing along the slope of
the hills on the right. Almost immediately the bushman
and Top made their appearance at the edge of the wood,
the former dragging behind him the animal that he had
just shot. “Come, come, master purveyor!” cried Emery,
“what have you got for supper?”

“A springbok, Mr. William,” replied the hunter, throwing
down an animal with horns curved like a lyre. It wasa
kind of antelope, more generally known by the name of
“leaping buck,” and which is to be met with in every part
of South Africa. It is a charming animal, with its cinna-
mon-coloured back, and its croup covered with tufts of silky
hair of a dazzling whiteness, whilst its under part is in
shades of chestnut brown ; its flesh, always excellent eating,
was on this occasion to form the evening repast.

The hunter and the astronomer, lifting the beast by
means of a pole placed across their shoulders, now left the _
head of the cataract, and in half an hour reached their
encampment in a narrow gorge of the valley, where the
waggon, guarded by two Bochjesman drivers, was waiting
for them.



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 13







CHAPTER II.

OFFICIAL PRESENTATIONS.

FOR the next three days, the 28th, 29th, and goth of
January, Mokoum and William Emery never left the place
of rendezvous. While the bushman, carried away by his
hunting instincts, pursued the game and deer in the wooded
district lying near the cataract, the young astronomer
watched the river. The sight of this grand, wild nature
enchanted him, and filled his soul with new emotions.
Accustomed as he was to bend over his figures and cata-
logues day and night, hardly ever leaving the eye-piece
of his telescope, watching the passage of stars across the
meridian and their occultations, he delighted in the open-
air life in the almost impenetrable woods which covered the
slope of the hills, and on the lonely peaks that were sprin-
kled by the spray from the Morgheda as with a damp dust.
It was joy to him to take in the poetry of these vast soli-
tudes, and to refresh his mind, so wearied with his mathe-



14 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



matical speculations; and so he beguiled the tediousness
of his waiting, and became a new man, both in mind and
body. Thus did the novelty of his situation explain his
unvarying patience, which the bushman could not share in
the least ; so there were continually on the part of Mokoum
the same recriminations, and on the part of Emery the
same quiet answers, which, however, did not quiet the
nervous hunter in the smallest degree.

And now the 31st of January had come, the last day
fixed in Airy’s letter. If the expected party did not then
arrive, Emery would be in a very embarrassing position ;
the delay might be indefinitely prolonged. How long,
then, ought he to wait ?

“Mr. William,” said the hunter, “why shouldn’t we go
to meet these strangers? We cannot miss them; there is
only one road, that by the river, and if they are coming up,
as your bit of paper says they are, we are sure to meet
them.”

“That is a capital idea of yours, Mokoum,” replied the
astronomer: “we will go on and look out below the falls.
We can get back to the encampment by the side valleys
in the south. But tell me, my good bushman, you know
nearly the whole course of the river, do you not?”

“Yes, sir,” answered the hunter, “I have ascended it
twice from Cape Voltas to its juncture with the Hart on
the frontier of the Transvaal Republic.”



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 15



“And it is navigable all the way, except at the Falls of
Morgheda ?”

“Just so, sir,” replied the bushman. “ But I should add
that at the end of the dry season the Orange has not much
water till within five or six miles of its mouth; there is then
a bar, where the swell from the west breaks very violently.”

“That doesn’t matter,” answered the astronomer, “ be-
cause at the time that our friends want to land it will be
all right. There is nothing then to keep them back, so
they will come.”

The bushman said nothing, but shouldering his gun, and
whistling to Top, he led the way down the narrow path
which met the river again 400 feet lower.

It was then nine o’clock in the morning, and the two
explorers (for such they might truly be called) followed the
river by its left bank. Their way did not offer the smooth
and easy surface of an embankment or towing-path, for
the river-banks were covered with brushwood, and quite
hidden in a bower of every variety of plants; and the fes-
toons of the “cynauchum filiform,” mentioned by Burchell,
hanging from tree to tree, formed quite a network of ver-
dure in their path; the bushman’s knife, however, did not
long remain inactive, and he cut down the obstructive
branches without mercy. William Emery drank in the
fragrant air, here especially impregnated with the camphor-
like odour of the countless blooms of the diosma. Happily



16 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

there were sometimes more open places along the bank
devoid of vegetation, where the river flowed quietly, and
abounded in fish, and these enabled the hunter and his
companion to make better progress westward, so that by
eleven o’clock they had gone about four miles. The wind
being in the west, the roar of the cataract could not be
heard at that distance, but on the other hand, all sounds
below the falls were very distinct. William Emery and the
hunter, as they stood, could see straight down the river for
three or four miles. Chalk cliffs, 200 feet high, overhung
and shut in its bed on either side.

“Let us stop and rest here,” said the astronomer; “I
haven’t your hunter’s legs, Mokoum, and am more used to
the starry paths of the heavens than to those on terra firma ;
so let us have a rest; we can see three or four miles down
the river from here, and if the steamer should turn that last
bend we are sure to See it.”

The young astronomer seated himself against a giant
euphorbia, forty feet high, and in that position looked down
the river, while the hunter, little used to sitting, continued
to walk along the bank, and Top roused up clouds of wild
birds, to which, however, his master gave no heed. They
had been here about half an hour, when William Emery
noticed that Mokoum, who was standing about Ico feet
below him, gave signs of a closer attention. Was it likely
that he had seen the long-expected boat? The astronomer,



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 17





leaving his mossy couch, started for the spot where the
hunter stood, and came up to him in a very few moments.

“Do you see any thing, Mokoum ?” he asked.

“T see nothing, Mr. William,” answered the bushman,
“but it seems to me that there is an unusual murmur down
the river, different to the natural sounds that are so familiar
to my ears.” And then, telling his companion to be quiet,
he lay down with his ear on the ground, and listened atten-
tively. In a few minutes he got up, and shaking his head,
said,—

“I was mistaken; the noise I thought I heard was

nothing but the breeze among the leaves or the murmur



of the water over the stones at the edge; and yet

The hunter listened again, but again heard nothing.

“Mokoum,” then said Mr. William Emery, “ if the noise
you thought you heard is caused by the machinery of a
steamboat, you would hear better by stooping to the level
of the river; water always conducts sound more clearly
and quickly than air.”

“You are right, Mr. William,” answered Mokoum, “for
more than once I have found out the passage of a hippo-
potamus across the river in that way.”

The bushman went nimbly down the bank, clinging to
the creepers and tufts of grass on his way. When he got
to the level of the river, he went in to his knees, and stoop-
ing down, laid his ear close to the water.

C



18 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

“Yes!” he exclaimed, in a few minutes, “I was not mis-
taken ; there is a sound, some miles down, as if the waters
were being violently beaten; it is a continual monotonous
splashing which is introduced into the current.”

“Ts it like a screw?” asked the astronomer.

“Perhaps it is, Mr. Emery; they are not far off.”

William Emery did not hesitate to believe his com-
panion’s assertion, for he knew that the hunter was en-
dowed with great delicacy of sense, whether he used his
eyes, nose, or ears. Mokoum climbed up the bank again,
and they determined to wait in that place, as they could
easily see down the river from there. Half an hour passed,
which to Emery, in spite of his calmness, appeared inter-
minable. Ever so many times he fancied he saw the dim
outline of a boat gliding along the water, but he was always
mistaken. At last an exclamation from the bushman made
his heart leap.

“Smoke !” cried Mokoum,

Looking in the direction indicated by the bushman,
Emery could just see a light streak rolling round the bend
of the river: there was no longer any doubt. The vessel
advanced rapidly, and he could soon make out the funnel
pouring forth a torrent of black smoke mingling with white
steam. They had evidently made up their fires to increase
their speed, so as to reach the appointed place on the exact
day. The vessel was still about seven miles from the Falls









At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat.—[Page 18. |



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 1g
of Morgheda. It was then twelve o’clock, and as it was not
a good place for landing, the astronomer determined to
return to the foot of the cataract: he told his plan to the
hunter, who only answered by turning back along the path
he had just cleared along the left bank of the stream.
Emery followed, and, turning round for the last time at a
bend in the river, saw the British flag floating from the
stern of the vessel. The return to the falls was soon ef-
fected, and in an hour’s time the bushman and the astro-
nomer halted a quarter of a mile below the cataract; for
there the shore, hollowed into a semicircle, formed a little
creek, and as the water was deep right up to the bank, the
steamboat could easily land its passengers. The vessel
could not be far off now, and it had certainly gained on the
two pedestrians, although they had walked so fast; it was
not yet in sight, for the lofty trees which hung quite
over the river-banks into the water, and the slope of the
banks themselves, did not allow of an extensive view. But
although they could not hear the sound made by the steam,
the shrill whistle of the machinery broke in distinctly on
the monotonous roar of the cataract; and as this whistling
continued, it was evident that it was a signal from the boat
to announce its arrival near the falls. The hunter replied
by letting off his gun, the report being repeated with a
crash by the echoes of the shore. At last the vessel was in
sight, and William Emery and his companion were seen by

C2



20 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF





those on board. At a sign from the astronomer the vessel
turned, and glided quietly alongside the bank; a rope was
thrown ashore, which the bushman seized and twisted round
the broken stump of a tree, and immediately a tall man
sprang lightly on to the bank, and went towards the astro-
nomer, whilst his companions landed in their turn. William
Emery also advanced to. meet the stranger, saying in-
quiringly, “Colonel Everest ?”

“Mr. William Emery?” answered the Colonel.

The astronomer bowed and shook hands.

“Gentlemen,” then said Colonel Everest, “let me intro-
duce you to Mr. William Emery, of the Cape Town Obser-
vatory, who has kindly come as far as the Morgheda Falls
to meet us.”

Four of the passengers who stood near Colonel Everest
bowed to the young astronomer, who did the same; and
then the Colonel, with his British self-possession, introduced
them officially, saying,—

“Mr. Emery, Sir John Murray, of the county of Devon,
your fellow-countryman ; Mr. Matthew Strux, of the Poul-
kowa Observatory ; Mr. Nicholas Palander, of the Helsing-
fors Observatory; and Mr. Michael Zorn, of the Kiew
Observatory, three scientific gentlemen who represent the

Russian government in our international commission.”













Meeting of Members of the Expedition, —[Page 20.]
2



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 21



CHAPTER III.

THE LAND JOURNEY.

THESE introductions over, William Emery put himself
at the disposal of the new arrivals, for in his position o
astronomer at the Cape, he was inferior in rank to Colonel
Everest, a delegate of the English Government, and, with
Matthew Strux, joint president of the commission. He
knew, as well, that he was a distinguished man of science,
famous for his reductions of the nebule and his calculations
of the occultations of the stars. He was a cold, methodical
man, of about fifty years of age, every hour of his life being
portioned out with mathematical accuracy. Nothing un-
foreseen ever happened to him, and his punctuality in every
thing was like that of the stars in passing the meridian, and
it might be said that all his doings were regulated by the
chronometer. William Emery knew all this, and had tkere-
fore never doubted that the commission would arrive on
the appointed day. During this time he was waiting for
the Colonel to tell him the object of this mission to South



22 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

Africa; but as he was still silent on the point, Emery
thought it better not to ask any questions, as very likely
the hour fixed in the Colonel’s mind for the subject had
not yet come,

Emery also knew by repute the wealthy Sir John Mur-
ray, who (almost a rival to Sir James Ross and Lord Elgin)
was, although without office, an honour to England by his
scientific labours. His pecuniary sacrifices to science were
likewise considerable, for he had devoted £20,000 to the
establishment of a giant reflector, a match for the telescope
at Parson Town, by whose means the elements of a number
of double stars had just been determined. He was a man
of about forty years of age, with an aristocratic bearing,
but whose character it was impossible to discover through
his imperturbable exterior.

As to the three Russians, Strux, Palander, and Zorn,
their names were also well known to William Emery,
although he was not personally acquainted with them.
Nicholas Palander and Michael Zorn paid a certain
amount of deference to Matthew Strux, as was due to
his position, if it had not been to his merit.

The only remark that Emery made was that they were
in equal numbers, three English and three Russians ; and
the crew of the “Queen and Czar” (for that was the name
of the steamboat) consisted of ten men, five English and
five Russians.



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 2y



“Mr. Emery,” said Colonel Everest, when the introduc-
tions were over, “we are now as well acquainted as if we
had travelled together from London to Cape Voltas. Be-
sides, your labours have already earned you a just renown,
and on that account I hold you in high esteem. It was at
my request that the English Government appointed you to
assist in our operations in South Africa.”

William Emery bowed in acknowledgment, and thought
that he was now going to hear the object of the scientific
commission to the southern hemisphere; but still Colonel
Everest did not explain it.

“Mr. Emery,” he went on, “are your preparations com-
plete?”

“ Quite, Colonel,” replied the astronomer. “ According
to the directions in Mr. Airy’s letter, I left Cape Town a
month ago, and went to the station at Lattakoo, and there
I collected all the materials for an expedition into the interior
of Africa, provisions, waggons, horses, and bushmen. There
is an escort of 100 armed men waiting for you at Lattakoo,
and they will be under the command of a clever and cele-
brated hunter, whom I now beg to present to you, the
bushman Mokoum.”

“The bushman Mokoum!” cried the Colonel (if his
usual cold tone could justify such a verb), “the bushman
Mokoum! I know his name perfectly well.”

“Tt is the name of a clever, brave African,” added Sir



24 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



John Murray, turning to the hunter, who was not at all
discomposed by the grand airs of the Europeans.

“The hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, as he intro-
duced his companion.

“Your name is well known in the United Kingdom,
bushman,” replied Colonel Everest. “ You were the friend
of Anderson and the guide of David Livingstone, whose
friend I have the honour of being. J thank you in the
name of England, and I congratulate Mr. Emery on having
chosen you as the chief of ourcaravan. Such a hunter as you
must be a connoisseur of fire-arms, and as we have a very fair
supply, I shall beg you to take your choice of the one which
will suit you the best ; we know that it will be in good hands.”

A smile of satisfaction played round the bushman’s lips,
for although he was no doubt gratified by the recognition
of his services in England, yet the Colonel’s offer touched
him the most: he then returned thanks in polite terms, and
stepped aside, while Emery and the Europeans continued
their conversation.

The young astronomer went through all the details of
the expedition he had prepared, and the Colonel seemed
delighted. He was anxious to reach Lattakoo as quickly
as possible, as the caravan ought to start at the beginning
of March, after the rainy season.

“Will you be kind enough to decide how you will get to
the town, Colonel Everest ?” said William Emery.





“The Hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, presenting his Companion.
[Page 24.]



’ THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 25





“ By the Orange River, and one of its affluents, the Kuru-
man, which flows close to Lattakoo.”

“True,” replied the astronomer, “ but however well your
vessel may travel, it cannot possibly ascend the cataract
of Morgheda !”

“We will go round the cataract, Mr. Emery,” replied the
Colonel, “and by making a land journey of a few miles, we
can re-embark above the falls ; and from there to Lattakoo,
if I am not mistaken, the rivers are navigable for a vessel
that does not draw much water.”

“No doubt, Colonel,” answered William Emery, “but
this steamboat is too heavy .. .”

“Mr. Emery,” interrupted the Colonel, “this vessel is a
masterpiece from Leard and Co’s manufactory in Liverpool.
It takes to pieces, and is put together again with the great-
est ease, a key and a few bolts being all that is required by
men used tothe work. You brought a waggon to the falls,
did you not?”

“Yes, Colonel,’ answered Emery, “our encampment is
not a mile away.”

“Well, I must beg the bushman to have the waggon
brought to the landing-place, and it will then, be loaded
with the portions of the vessel and its machinery, which
also takes to pieces; and we shall then get up to the spot
where the Orange becomes navigable.”

Colonel Everest’s orders were obeyed. The bushman



26 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



disappeared quickly in the underwood, promising to be
back in less than an hour, and while he was gone, the
steamboat was rapidly unloaded. The cargo was not very
considerable; it consisted of some cases of philosophical
instruments ; a fair collection of guns of Purdey Moore’s
manufacture, of Edinburgh; some kegs of brandy; some
canisters of preserved meat; cases of ammunition; port-
manteaus reduced to the smallest size; tent-cloths and all
their utensils, looking as if they had come out of a travelling-
bazaar; a carefully packed gutta-percha canoe, which took
up no more room than a well-folded counterpane ; some
materials for encamping, &c. &c.; and lastly, a fan-
shaped mitrailleuse, a machine not then brought to per-
fection, but formidable enough to terrify any enemy
who might come across their path. All these were
placed on the bank; and the engine, of 8-horse power, was
divided into three parts: the boiler and its tubes; the
mechanism, which was parted from the boiler by a turn
of a key; and the screw attached to the false stern-post.
When these had been successively carried away, the inside
of the vessel was left free. Besides the space reserved for
the machinery and the stores, it was divided into a fore-
cabin for the use of the crew, and an aft-cabin, occupied by
Colonel Everest and his companions. In the twinkling of
an eye the partitions vanished, all the chests and bedsteads
were lifted out, and now the vessel was reduced to a mere





All these Objects were deposited on the Beach.—[Page 26.]



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 29

shell, thirty-five feet long, and composed of three parts, like
the “ Ma-Robert,” the steam-vessel used by Dr. Livingstone
in his first voyage up the Zambesi. It was made of gal-
vanized steel, so that it was light, and at the same time
resisting. The bolts, which fastened the plates over a
framework of the same metal, kept them firm, and also
prevented the possibility of a leakage. William Emery
was truly astounded at the simplicity of the work and the
rapidity with which it was executed. The waggon, under
the guidance of Mokoum and the two Bochjesmen, had
only arrived an hour when they were ready to load it.
This waggon, rather a primitive vehicle, was mounted on
four massive wheels, each couple being about twenty feet
apart; it was a regular American “car” in length. This
clumsy machine, with its creaking axles projecting a good
foot beyond the wheels, was drawn by six tame buffaloes,
two and two, who were extremely sensitive to the long
goad carried by their driver. It required nothing less than
such beasts as these to move the vehicle when heavily laden,
for in spite of the adroitness of the “leader,” it stuck in the
mire more than once. The crew of the “Queen and Czar”
now proceeded to load the waggon so as to balance it well
every where. The dexterity of sailors is proverbial, and
the lading of the vehicle was like play to the brave men.
They laid the larger pieces of the boat on the strongest
part of the waggon, immediately over the axles of the



28 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

wheels, so that the cases, chests, barrels, and the lighter
and more fragile packages easily found room between
them. As to the travellers themselves, a four miles’ walk
was nothing to them. By three o’clock the loading was
finished, and Colonel Everest gave the signal for starting.
He and his companions, with William Emery as guide,
took the lead, while the bushman, the crew, and the drivers
of the waggon followed more slowly. They performed the
journey without fatigue, for the slopes that led to the upper
course of the Orange made their road easy, by making it
longer, and this was a happy thing for the heavily-laden
waggon, as it would thus reach its goal more surely, if
more slowly.

The different members of the commission clambered
lightly up the side of the hill, and the conversation became
general, but there was still no mention of the object of the
expedition. The Europeans were admiring the splendid
scenes that were opened to their view, for this grand nature,
so beautiful in its wildness, charmed them as it had charmed
the young astronomer, and their voyage had not yet sur-
feited them with the natural beauties of this African region,
' though they admired every thing with a quiet admiration,
and, English-like, would not do any thing that might seem
“improper.” However, the cataract drew forth some grace-
ful applause, and although they clapped perhaps with only
the tips of their fingers, yet it was enough to show that



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 29





“nil admirari” was not quite their motto. Besides, Wil-
liam Emery thought it his duty to do the honours of
South Africa to his guests; for he was at home, and like
certain over-enthusiastic citizens, he did not spare a detail
of his African park. Towards half-past four they had
passed the cataract of Morgheda, and being now on level
ground, the upper part of the river lay before them as far
as their eye could reach, and they encamped on the bank to
await the arrival of the waggon. It appeared at the top of
the hill about five o’clock, having accomplished the journey
in safety, and Colonel Everest ordered it to be unloaded
immediately, announcing that they were to start at day-
break the next morning. All the night was passed in
different occupations. The shell of the vessel was put
together again in less than an hour; then the machinery
of the screw was put into its place; the metal partitions
were fixed between the cabins; the store-rooms were re-
furnished, and the different packages neatly arranged on
board, and every thing done so quickly that it told a great
deal in favour of the crew of the “Queen and Czar.”
These Englishmen and Russians were picked men, clever
and well disciplined, and thoroughly to be depended on.
The next day, the ist of February, the boat’ was ready to
receive its passengers at daybreak. Already there was a
volume of black smoke pouring from the funnel, and the
engineer, to put the machinery in motion, was causing jets



30 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

of white steam to fly across the smoke. The machine being
at high pressure, without a condenser, the steam escaped at
every stroke of the piston, according to the system applied
to locomotives ; and as to the boiler, with its ingeniously
contrived tubes, presenting. a large surface to the furnace,
it only required half an hour to furnish a sufficient quantity
of steam. They had laid in a good stock of ebony and
guiacum, which were plentiful in the neighbourhood, and
they were now lighting the great fire with this valuable
wood,

At six o’clock Colonel Everest gave the signal for start-
ing, and passengers and crew went on board the “Queen
and Czar.” The hunter, who was acquainted with the
course of the river, followed, leaving the two Bochjesmen
to take the waggon back to Lattakoo. Just as the vessel
was slipping its cable, Colonel Everest turned to the astro-
nomer, and said,—

“ By-the-bye, Mr. Emery, you know why we have come
here?”

“T have not the least idea, Colonel.”

“Tt is very simple, Mr. Emery: we have come to mea-

sure an arc of meridian in South Africa.”



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 3t

—



CHAPTER IV.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE “ METRE.”

THE idea of an invariable and constant system of mea-
surement, of which nature herself should furnish the exact
value, may be said to have existed in the mind of man from
the earliest ages. It was of the highest importance, how-
ever, that this measurement should be accurately deter-
mined, whatever had been the cataclysms of which our
earth had been the scene, and it is certain that the ancients
felt the same, though they failed in methods and appliances
for carrying out the work with sufficient accuracy. The
best way of obtaining a constant measurement was to con-
nect it with the terrestrial sphere, whose circumference must
be considered as invariable, and then to measure the whole
or part of that circumference mathematically. The an-
cients had tried to do this, and Aristotle, according to some
contemporary philosophers, reckoned that the stadium, or
Egyptian cubit, formed the hundred-thousandth part of the
distance between the pole and the equator, and Eratos-



32 © MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



thenes, in the time of the Ptolemies, calculated the value
of a degree along the Nile, between Syene and Alex-
andria, pretty correctly; but Posidonius and Ptolemy
were not sufficiently accurate in the same kind of geo-
detic operations that they undertook; neither were their
successors.

Picard, for the first time in France, began to regulate the
methods that were used for measuring a degree, and in
1669, by measuring the celestial and terrestrial arcs be-
tween Paris and Amiens, found that a degree was equal to
57,060 toises, equivalent to 364,876 English feet, or about
69:1 miles. Picard’s measurement was continued either
way across the French territory as far as Dunkirk and
Collioure by Dominic Cassini and Lahire (1683—1718),
and it was verified in 1739, from Dunkirk to Perpignan,
by Francis Cassini and Lacaille; and at length Méchain
carried it as far as Barcelona in Spain; but after his death
(for he succumbed to the fatigue attending his operations)
the measurement of the meridian in France was interrupted
until it was subsequently taken up by Arago and Biot in
1807. These two men prolonged it as far as the Balearic Isles,
so that the arc now extended from Dunkirk to Formentera,
being equally divided by the parallel of lat. 45° N., half
way between the pole and the equator; and under these
conditions it was not necessary to take the depression of
the earth into account in order to find the value of the



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 33

quadrant of the meridian. This measurement gave 57,025
toises as the mean value of an arc of a degree in France.

It can be seen that up to that time Frenchmen especially
had undertaken to determine that delicate point, and it was
likewise the French Convention that, according to Talley-
rand’s proposition, passed a resolution in 1790, charging
the Academy of Sciences to invent an invariable system of
weights and measures. Just at that time the statement
signed by the illustrious names of Borda, Lagrange, La-
place, Monge, and Condorcet, proposed that the unit of
measure should be the meétre, the ten-millionth part of the
quadrant of the meridian; and that the unit of weight
should be the gramme, a cubic centimetre of distilled water
at the freezing-point ; and that the multiples and subdivi-
sions of every measure should be formed decimally.

Later, the determinations of the value of a terrestrial
degree were carried on in different parts of the world, for
the earth being not spherical, but elliptic, it required much
calculation to find the depression at the poles.

In 1736, Maupertuis, Clairaut, Camus, Lemonnier, Ou-
thier, and the Swedish Celsius measured a northern arc in
Lapland, and found the length of an arc of a degree to
be 57,419 toises. In 1745, La Condamine, Bouguer, and
Godin, set sail for Peru, where they were joined by the
Spanish officers Juan and Antonio Ulloa, and they then
found that the Peruvian arc contained 56,737 toises.

D



34 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



In 1752, Lacaille reported 57,037 toises as the length of
the arc he had measured at the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1754, Father Boscowitch and Father le Maire began
a survey of the Papal States, and in the course of their
operations found the arc between Rome and Rimini to be
56,973 toises.

In 1762 and 1763, Beccaria reckoned the degree in Pied-
mont at 57,468 toises, and in 1768, the astronomers Mason
and Dixon, in North America, on the confines of Maryland
and Pennsylvania, found that the value of the degree in
America was 56,888 toises.

Since the beginning of the 19th century numbers of other
arcs have been measured, in Bengal, the East Indies, Pied-
mont, Finland, Courland, East Prussia, Denmark, &c., but
the English and Russians were less active than other na-
tions in trying to decide this delicate point, their principal
geodetic operation being that undertaken by General Roy
in 1784, for the purpose of determining the difference of
longitude between Paris and Greenwich.

It may be concluded from all the above-mentioned mea-
surements that the mean value of a degree is 57,000 toises,
or 25 ancient French leagues, and by multiplying this mean
value by the 360 degrees contained in the circumference,
it is found that the earth measures gooo leagues round.
But, as may be seen from the figures above, the measure-
ments of the different arcs in different parts of the world do



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 35

not quite agree. Nevertheless, by taking this average of
57,000 toises for the value of a degree, the value of the
metre, that is to say, the ten-millionth part of the
quadrant of the meridian, may be deduced, and is found
to be 0.513074 of the whole line, or 39.37079 English
inches, In reality, this value is rather too small, for
later calculations (taking into account the depression of
the earth at the poles, which is 544; and not +44, as was
thought at first) now give nearly 10,000,856 métres instead
of 10,000,000 for the length of the quadrant of the meridian.
The difference of 856 métres is hardly noticeable in such
a long distance ; but nevertheless, mathematically speak-
ing, it cannot be said that the métre, as it is now used,
represents the ten-millionth part of the quadrant of the
terrestrial meridian exactly; there is an error of about
stoy Of a line, i.e. sg55 of the twelfth part of an inch.

The metre, thus determined, was still not adopted by all
the civilized nations. Belgium, Spain, Piedmont, Greece,
Holland, the old Spanish colonies, the republics of the
_Equator, New Granada, and Costa Rica, took a fancy to
it immediately ; but notwithstanding the evident supe-
riority of this metrical system to every other, England
had refused to use it. Perhaps if it had not been for the
political disturbances which arose at the close of the
18th century, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom
would have accepted the system, for when the Con-

D2



36 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

stituent Assembly issued its decree on the 8th of May,
1790, the members of the Royal Society in England were
invited to co-operate with the French Academicians. They
had to decide whether the measure of the métre should be
founded on the length of the pendulum that. beats the
sexagesimal second, or whether they should take a frac-
tion of one of the great circles of the earth for a unit of
length; but events prevented the proposed conference, and
so it was not until the year 1854 that England, having long
seen the advantage of the metrical system, and that scien-
tific and commercial societies were being founded to spread
the reform, resolved to adopt it. But still the English
Government wished to keep their resolution a secret until
the new geodetic operations that they had commenced
should enable them to assign a more correct value to the
terrestrial degree, and they thought they had better act in
concert with the Russian Government, who were also
hesitating about adopting the system. A Commission of
three Englishmen and three Russians was therefore chosen
from among the most eminent members of the scientific
societies, and we have seen that they were Colonel Everest,
Sir John Murray, and William Emery, for England; and
Matthew Strux, Nicholas Palander, and Michael Zorn, for
Russia. The international Commission having met in
London, decided first of all that the measure of an arc of
meridian should be taken in the Southern hemisphere, and



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 37
that another arc should subsequently be measured in the
Northern hemisphere, so that from the two operations
they might hope to deduce an exact value which should
satisfy all the conditions of the programme. It now re-
mained to choose between the different English possessions
in the Southern hemisphere, Cape Colony, Australia, and
New Zealand. The two last, lying quite at the antipodes
of Europe, would involve the Commission in a long
voyage, and, besides, the Maoris and Australians, who
were often at war with their invaders, might render the
proposed operation difficult; while Cape Colony, on the
contrary, offered real advantages. In the first place, it
was under the same meridian as parts of European Russia,
so that after measuring an arc of meridian in South Africa,
they could measure a second one in the empire of the
Czar, and still keep their operations a secret; secondly,
the voyage from England to South Africa was compara-
tively short; and thirdly, these English and Russian
philosophers would find an excellent opportunity there
of analyzing the labours of the French astronomer Lacaille,
who had worked in the same place, and of proving whether
he was correct in giving 57,037 toises as the measurement
of a degree of meridian at the Cape of Good Hope. It
was therefore decided that the geodetic operation should
be commenced at the Cape, and as the two Governments
approved of the decision, large credits were opened,



38 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

and two sets of all the instruments required in a trian.
gulation were manufactured. The astronomer William
Emery was asked to make preparations for an exploration
in the interior of South Africa, and the frigate “ Augusta,”
of the royal navy, received orders to convey the members
of the Commission and their suite to the mouth of the
Orange River.

It should here be added, that besides the scientific
question, there was also a question of national vainglory
that excited these philosophers to join ina common labour;
for, in reality, they were anxious to out-do France in her
numerical calculations, and to surpass in precision the
labours of her most illustrious astronomers, and that in
the heart of a savage and almost unknown land. Thus
the members of the Anglo-Russian Commission had re-
solved to sacrifice every thing, even their lives, in order
to obtain a result that should be favourable to science,
and at the same time glorious for their country. And
this is how it came to pass that the astronomer William
Emery found himself at the Morgheda Falls, on the banks
of the Orange River, at the end of January, 1854.



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 39
LO OL LL LLC OT TES

CHAPTER V.

A HOTTENTOT VILLAGE.

THE voyage along the upper course of the river was soon
accomplished, and although the weather soon became rainy,
the passengers, comfortably installed in the ship’s cabin,
suffered no inconvenience from the torrents of rain which
usually fall at that season. The “Queen and Czar” shot
along rapidly, for there were neither rapids nor shallows,
and the current was not sufficiently strong to retard her
progress. Every aspect of the river-banks was enchanting ;
forest followed upon forest, and quite a world of birds dwell
among the leafy branches. Here and there were groups of
trees belonging to the family of the “proteacez,” and
especially the “wagenboom” with its reddish marbled-wood,
forming a curious contrast with its deep blue leaves and
large pale yellow flowers: then there were the “zwarte-
basts” with their black bark, and the “karrees” with dark
evergreen foliage. The banks were shaded every where by
weeping willows, while the underwood extended beyond
3



40 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



for several miles. Every now and then vast open tracks
presented themselves unexpectedly, large plains, covered
with innumerable colocynths, mingled with “sugar-bushes,”
out of which flew clouds of sweet-singing little birds, called
“suiker-vogels” by the Cape colonists. The winged world
offered many varieties, all of which were pointed out to Sir
John Murray by the bushman. Sir John was a great lover
of game, both hairy and feathered, and thus a sort of inti-
macy arose between him and Mokoum, to whom, according
to Colonel Everest’s promise, he had given an excellent long-
range rifle, made on the Pauly system. It would be useless
to attempt a description of the bushman’s delight when he
found himself in possession of such a splendid weapon.
The two hunters understood each other well, for though so
learned, Sir John Murray passed for one of the most
brilliant fox-hunters in old Caledonia, and he listened to
the bushman’s stories with an interest amounting to envy.
His eyes sparkled when Mokoum showed him the wild
ruminants in the woods; here a herd of fifteen to twenty
giraffes ; there, buffaloes six feet high, with towering black
horns: farther on, fierce gnus with horses’ tails; and again,
herds of “caamas,” a lurge kind of deer, with bright eyes,
and horns forming a threatening-looking triangle; and
every where, in the dense forests as well as in the open
plains, the innumerable varieties of antelopes which abound

in Southern Africa; the spurious chamois, the gems-bok,



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 41



the gazelle, the duiker-bok, and the spring-bok. Was not
all this something to tempt a hunter, and could the fox-
hunts of the Scottish lowlands vie with the exploits of a
Cumming, an Anderson, or a Baldwin? It must be con-
fessed that Sir John Murray’s companions were less excited
than himself at these magnificent specimens of wild game.
William Emery was watching his colleagues attentively,
and trying to discover their character under their cold
exterior. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux, men of
about the same age, were equally cold, reserved, and
tormal ; they always spoke with a measured slowness, and
from morning to night it seemed as if they had never met
before. That any intimacy should ever be established be-
tween two such important personages was a thing not to be
hoped for; two icebergs, placed side by side would join in
time, but two scientific men, each holding a high position,
never.

Nicholas Palander, a man of about fifty-five years of age,
was one of those who have never been young, and who will
never be old. The astronomer of Helsingfors, constantly
absorbed in his calculations, might be a very admirably
constructed machine, but still he was nothing but a machine,
a kind of abacus, or universal reckoner. He was the cal-
culator of the Anglo-Russian Commission, and one of those
prodigies who work out multiplications to five figures in
their head, like a fifty-year-old Mondeux.



42 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

Michael Zorn more nearly resembled William Emery in
age, enthusiasm; and good humour. His amiable qualities
did not prevent his being an astronomer of great merit,
having attained an early celebrity. The discoveries made
by him at the Kiew Observatory concerning the nebula of
Andromeda had attracted attention in scientific Europe,
and yet with this undoubted merit he had a great deal of
modesty, and was always in the background. William
Emery and Michael Zorn were becoming great friends,
united by the same tastes and aspirations; and most
generally they were talking together, while Colonel Everest
and Matthew Strux were coldly watching each other, and
Palander was mentally extracting cube roots without
noticing the lovely scenes on the banks, and Sir John
Murray and the bushman were forming plans for hunting
down whole hecatombs of victims.

No incident marked the voyage along the upper course
of the Orange. Sometimes the granite cliffs which shut in
the winding bed of the river seemed to forbid further pro-
gress, and often the wooded islands which dotted the cur-
rent seemed to render the route uncertain; but the bush-
man never hesitated, and the “Queen and Czar” always
chose the right route, and passed round the cliffs without
hindrance. The helmsman never had to repent of having
followed Mokoum’s directions.

In four days the steamboat had passed over the 240 miles



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. ‘43



ae

between the cataract of Morgheda and the Kuruman, an
affluent which flowed exactly past the town of Lattakoo,
whither Colonel Everest’s expedition was bound. About
thirty leagues above the falls the river bends from its
general direction, which is east and west, and flows south-
east as far as the acute angle which the territory of Cape
Colony makes in the north, and then turning to the north-
east, it loses itself in the wooded country of the Transvaal
Republic. It was early in the morning of the 5th of
February, in a driving rain, that the “Queen and Czar”
arrived at Klaarwater, a Hottentot village, close to the
meeting of the Orange and Kuruman. Colonel Everest,
unwilling to lose a moment, passed quickly by the few
Bochjesmen cabins that form the village, and under the
pressure of her screw, the vessel began to ascend the
affluent. The rapid current was to be attributed, as the
passengers remarked, to a peculiarity in the river, for the
Kuruman being wide at its source, was lessened as it
descended by the influence of the sun’s rays; but at this
season, swollen by the rains, and further increased by the
waters of a sub-affluent, the Moschona, it became very
deep and rapid. The fires were therefore made up, and the
vessel ascended the Kuruman at the rate of three miles an
hour.

During the voyage the bushman pointed out a good
many hippopotami in the water; but these great pachy-



44 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

derms, clumsy, thickset beasts, from eight to ten feet long,
which the Dutch at the Cape call “sea-cows,” were by no
means of an aggressive nature, and the hissing of the steam
and the panting of the screw quite frightened them, the
boat appearing to them like some great monster which
they ought to distrust, and in fact, the arsenal on board
would have rendered approach very difficult. Sir John
Murray would have very much liked to try his explosive
bullets on the fleshy masses, but the bushman assured him
that there would be no lack of hippopotami in the more
northerly rivers, so he determined to wait fora more favour-
able opportunity.

The 150 miles which separated the mouth of the Kuru-
man from the station of Lattakoo were traversed in fifty
hours, and on the 7th of February the travellers had reached
the end of their journey. As soon as the steamboat was
moored to the bank which served as a quay, a man of fifty
years of age, with a grave air but kind countenance, stepped
on board, and offered his hand to William Emery. The
astronomer introduced the new-comer to his travelling
companions, as—

“The Rev. Thomas Dale, of the London Missionary
Society, Governor of the station of Lattakoo.”

The Europeans bowed to Mr. Dale, who gave them
welcome, and put himself at their service.

The town of Lattakoo, or rather the village of that name,























































































































































































































































































The Mission Home Establishment.—[Page 44.]



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 45



is the most northerly of the Cape Missionary stations, and
is divided into Old and New. The first, which the “Queen
and Czar” now reached, had 12,000 inhabitants at the
beginning of the century, but they have since emigrated to_
the north-east, and the town, now fallen into decay, has
been replaced by New Lattakoo, which is built close by, on
a plain which was formerly covered with acacias, and
thither Mr. Dale conducted the Europeans. It consisted
of about forty groups of houses, and contained 5000 or
6000 inhabitants of the tribe of the Bechuanas, Dr. Living-
stone stayed in this town for three months before his first
voyage up the Zambesi in 1840, previously to crossing the
whole of Central Africa, from the bay of Loanda to the
port of Kilmana on the coast of Mozambique.

When they reached New Lattakoo, Colonel Everest
presented a letter from Dr. Livingstone, which commended
the Anglo-Russian Commission to his friends in South
Africa. Mr. Dale read it with much pleasure, and returned
it to the Colonel, saying that he might find it useful on his
journey, as the name of David Livingstone was known and
honoured throughout that part of Africa.

The members of the Commission were lodged in the
missionary establishment, a large house built on an eminence
and surrounded by an impenetrable hedge like a fortifica-
tion. The Europeans could be more comfortably lodged
here than with the Bechuanas; not that their dwellings



46 MERIDIANA, THE ADVENTURES OF

were not kept properly in order; on the contrary, the
smooth clay floors did not show a particle of dust,
and the long-thatched roofs were quite rain-proof; but
at best, their houses were little better than huts with
a round hole for a door, hardly large enough to admit
aman; moreover, they all lived in common, and close
contact with the Bechuanas would scarcely have been
agreeable.

The chief of the tribe, one Moulibahan, lived at Lattakoo,
and thought it right to come and pay his respects to the
Europeans. He was rather a fine man, without the thick
lips and flat nose of the negro, with a round face not so
shrunken in its lower part as that of the other Hottentots.
He was dressed in a cloak of skins, sewn together with
considerable art, and an apron called a “ pujoke.” Hewore
a leather skull-cap, and sandals of ox-hide: ivory rings
were wound round his arms, and from his ears hung brass
plates about four inches long—a kind of ear-ring—which is
also a charm; an antelope’s tail stood up in his skull-cap,
and his hunting-stick was surmounted by a tuft of small
black ostrich feathers. The natural colour of his body was
quite invisible through the thick coating of ochre with
which he was besmeared from head to foot, while some
ineffaceable incisions in his legs denoted the number of
enemies he had slain.

The chief, as grave as Matthew Strux himself, stepped





































TW) DA ill



Chief Moulibahan. —[Page 46. ]



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 47



up to the Europeans, and took them in turn by the nose.
Lhe Russians permitted this to be done quite gravely, the
English rather more reluctantly, but still it had to be done,
for according to African custom, it denoted a solemn
engagement to fulfil the duties of hospitality to the Euro-
peans. When the ceremony was over, Moulibahan retired
without having uttered a word.

“And now that we are naturalized Bechuanas,” said
Colonel Everest, “let us begin our operations without
losing a day or an hour.”

And indeed no time was lost; still, such is the variety of
detail required in the organization of an expedition of this
character, the Commission was not ready to start until
the beginning of March. That, however, was the time
appointed by Colonel Everest; because then the rainy
season just being over, the water, preserved in the fissures
of the earth, would furnish a valuable resource to travellers
in the desert.

On the 2nd of March, then, the whole caravan, under
Mokoum’s command, was ready. The Europeans took
farewell of the missionaries at Lattakoo, and left the village
at seven o'clock in the morning.

“Where are we going, Colonel?” asked William Emery,
as the caravan passed the last house in the town.

“Straight on, Mr. Emery,” answered the Colonel, “until

we reach a suitable place for establishing a base.”



48 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



At eight o’clock the caravan had passed over the low
shrubby hills which skirt the town, and soon the desert,
with its dangers, fatigues, and risks, lay unfolded before the
travellers,



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 49



CHAPTER VI.

BETTER ACQUAINTANCE,

THE escort under the bushman’s command was composed
of 100 men, all Bochjesmen—an industrious, good-tempered
people, capable of enduring great physical fatigue. In
former times, before the arrival of the missionaries, these
Bochjesmen were a lying, inhospitable race, thinking of
nothing but murder and pillage, and ever taking ad-
vantage of an enemy’s sleep to massacre him. To a great
extent the missionaries have modified these barbarous ©
habits, but the natives are still more or less farm-pillagers
and cattle-lifters.

Ten waggons, like the vehicle which Mokoum had taken
to the Morgheda Falls, formed the bulk of the expedition.
Two of these were like moving houses, fitted up as they
were with a certain amount of comfort, and served as an
encampment for the Europeans; so that Colonel Everest
and his companions were followed about by a wooden
habitation with dry flooring, and well tilted with water-

E



5° MERIDIANA;, THE ADVENTURES OF



proof cloth, and furnished with beds and toilet furniture
Thus, on arriving at each place of encampment, the tent
was always ready pitched. Of these waggons, one was
appropriated to Colonel Everest and his countrymen, Sir
John Murray and William Emery: the other was used by
the Russians, Matthew Strux, Nicholas Palander, and
Michael Zorn. Two more, arranged in the same way,
belonged, one to the five Englishmen and the other to the
five Russians who composed the crew of the “Queen and
Czar.”

The hull and machinery of the steamboat, taken to
pieces and laid on one of the waggons, followed the travel-
lers, in case the Commission might come across some of the
numerous lakes which are found in the interior of the
continent.

The remaining waggons carried the tools, provisions,
baggage, arms, and ammunition, as well as the instruments
required for the proposed triangular survey. The pro-
visions of the Bochjesmen consisted principally of antelope,
buffalo, or elephant meat, preserved in long strips, being
dried in the sun or by a slow fire: thus economizing the
use of salt, here very scarce.. In the place of bread, the
Bochjesmen depended on the earth-nuts of the arachis, the
bulbs of various species of mesembryanthemums, and other
native productions. Animal food would be provided by
the hunters of the party, who, adroitly employing theit



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 5t



bows and lances, would scour the plains and revictual the
caravan,

Six native oxen, long-legged, high-shouldered, and with
great horns, were attached to each waggon with harness
of buffalo hide. Thus the primitive vehicles moved slowly
though surely on their massive wheels, ready alike for
heights.or valleys. For the travellers to ride there were
provided small black or grey Spanish horses, good-
tempered, brave animals, imported from South America,
and much esteemed at the Cape. Among the troops of
quadrupeds were also half-a-dozen tame quaggas, a kind
of ass with plump bodies and slender legs, who make a
noise like the barking of a dog. They were to be used in
the smaller expeditions necessary to the geodetic opera-
tions, and were adapted to carry the instruments where the
waggons could not venture. The only exception to the
others was the bushman, who rode a splendid zebra with
remarkable grace and dexterity. This animal (the beauty
of whose coat with its brown stripes especially excited the
admiration of the connoisseur Sir John Murray) was
naturally defiant and suspicious, and would not have borne
any other rider than Mokoum, who had broken it in for his
own use. Some dogs of a half-savage breed, sometimes
wrongly called “hyena-hunters,” ran by the side of the
waggons, their shape and long ears reminding one of the
European brach-hound,

E2



52 - MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



Such was the caravan which was about to bury itself in
the deserts. The oxen advanced calmly under the guidance
of their drivers, ever and again pricking them in the flank

>

with their “jambox;” and it was strange to see the troop
winding along the hills in marching order. After leaving
Lattakoo, whither was the expedition going? Colonel
Everest had said, “Straight on ;” and indeed he and
Matthew Strux could not yet follow a.fixed course. What
they wanted, before commencing their trigonometrical
operations, was a vast level plain, on which to establish the
base of the first of the triangles, which, like a network, were
to cover for several degrees the southern part of Africa.
The Colonel explained to the bushman what he wanted,
and with the calmness of one to whom scientific language
is familiar, talked to him of triangles, adjacent angles,
bases, meridians, zenith distances, and the like. Mokoum
let him go on for a few moments, then interrupted him
with an impatient movement, saying, “Colonel, I don’t
know any thing about your angles, bases, and meridians.
I don’t understand even in the least what you are going to
do in the desert: but that is your business. You are
asking for a large level plain; oh well, I can find you
that.”

And at his orders, the caravan, having just ascended the
Lattakoo hills, turned down again towards the south-west.
This took them rather more to the south of the village,





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































William Emery and Michael Zorn in advance of the Expedition, —[Page 53.]



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 53

towards the plain watered by the Kuruman, and here the
bushman expected to find a suitable place for the Colonel’s
plans. From that day, he always took the head of the
caravan. Sir John Murray, well mounted, never left him,
and from time to time the report of a gun made his |
colleagues aware that he was making acquaintance with
the African game. The Colonel, quite absorbed in con-
templating the difficulties of the expedition, let his horse
carry him on. Matthew Strux, sometimes on horseback,
sometimes in the waggon, according to the nature of the
ground, seldom opened his lips. Nicholas Palander, as bad
a rider as could be, was generally on foot; at other times
he shut himself up in his vehicle, and there lost himself in
the profoundest mathematical abstractions.

. Although William Emery and Michael Zorn occupied
separate waggons at night, they were always together
when the caravan was on the march. Every day and
every incident of the journey bound them in a closer
friendship. From one stage to another they rode, talked,
and argued together. Sometimes they fell behind the
train, and sometimes rode on several miles ahead of it,
when the plain extended as far as they could see. They
were free here and lost amidst the wildness of nature.
How they forgot figures and problems, calculations and
observations, and chatted of every thing but science!
They were no longer astronomers contemplating the starry



54 MERIDIANA$; THE ADVENTURES OF



firmament, but were more like two youths escaped from
school, revelling in the dense forests and boundless plains.
They laughed like ordinary mortals. Both of them had
excellent dispositions, open, amiable, and devoted, forming
a strange contrast to Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux,
who were formal, not to say stiff. These two chiefs were
often the subject of their conversation, and Emery learnt
a good deal about them from his friend.

“Ves,” said Michael Zorn, that day, “I watched them
well on board the ‘ Augusta,’ and I profess I think they are
jealous of each other. And if Colonel Everest appears to
be at the head of things, Matthew Strux is not less than his
equal: the Russian Government has clearly established his
position. One chief is as imperious as the other; and be-
sides, I tell you again, there is the worst of all jealousy
between them, the jealousy of the learned.”

“ And that for which there is the least occasion,” answered
Emery, “ because in discoveries every thing has its value,
and each one derives equal benefit. But, my dear Zorn, if,
as I believe, your observations are correct, it is unfortunate
for our expedition: in such a work there ought to be a
perfect understanding.”

“No doubt,” replied Zorn, “and I fear that that under-
standing does not exist. Think of our confusion, if every
detail, the choice of a base, the method of calculating, the
position of the stations, the verification oi the figures, opens



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 55

a fresh discussion every time! Unless] am much mistaken
I forbode a vast deal of quibbling when we come to compare
our registers, and the observations we shall have made te
the minutest fraction.”

“You frighten me,” said Emery. “It would be sorrowful
to carry an enterprise of this kind so far, and then to fail for
want of concord. Let us hope that your fears may not be
realized.”

“T hope they may not,” answered the young Russian;
“but I say again, I assisted at certain scientific discussions
on the voyage, which showed me that both Colonel Everest
and his rival are undeniably obstinate, and that at heart
there is a miserable jealousy between them.”

“But these two gentlemen are never apart,” observed
Emery. “You never find one without the other; they are as

inseparable as ourselves.”

“True,” replied Zorn, “they are never apart all day long,
but then they never exchange ten words: they only keep
watch on each other, If one doesn’t manage to annihilate
the other, we shall indeed work under deplorable conditions.”

“ And for yourself,” asked William, ‘hesitatingly, “which
of the two would you wish——”

“My dear William,” replied Zorn with much ‘frankness,
“T shall loyally accept him as chief who can command
respect as such. This is a question of science, and I have
no prejudicein the matter. Matthew Strux and the Colonel



56 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



are both remarkable and worthy men: England and Russia
should profit equally from their labours; therefore it mat-
ters little whether the work is directed by an Englishman.
or a Russian. Are you not of my opinion?”

“Quite,” answered Emery; “therefore do not let us be
distracted by absurd prejudices, and let us as far as possible
use our efforts for the common good. Perhaps it will be
possible to ward off the blows of the two adversaries ;
and besides there is your fellow countryman, Nicholas
Palander. Hf

“He!” laughed Zorn, “he will neither see, hear, nor com-
prehend any thing! He would make calculations to any
extent ; but he is neither Russian, Prussian, English, or
Chinese; he is not even an inhabitant of this sublunary
sphere ; he is Nicholas Palander, that’s all.”



“JT cannot say the same for my countryman, Sir John
said Emery. “He is a thorough Englishman,
and a most determined hunter, and he would sooner follow

9

Murray,’

the traces of an elephant and giraffe than give himself: any
trouble about a scientific argument. We must therefore
depend upon ourselves, Zorn, to neutralize the antipathy
between our chiefs, Whatever happens, we must hold
together.”

“ Ay, whatever happens,” replied Zorn, holding out his
hand to his friend.

The bushman still continued to guide the caravan down



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 57
en aw a be OS en et IDE IY,
towards the south-west. At midday, on the 4th of March,
it reached the base of the long wooded hills which extend
from Lattakoo. Mokoum was not mistaken; he had led
the expedition towards the plain, but it was still undulated,
and therefore unfitted foran attempt at triangulation. The
march continued uninterrupted, and Mokoum rode at the
head of the riders and waggons, while Sir John Murray,
Emery, and Zorn pushed on in advance. Towards the end
of the day, they all arrived at a station occupied by one of
the wandering “boers,” or farmers, who are induced by the
richness of the pasture-land to make temporary abodes in
various parts of the country.

The colonist, a Dutchman, and head of a large family,
received the Colonel and his companions most hospitably,
and would take no remuneration in return. He was one of
those brave, industrious men, whose slender capital, intelli-
gently employed in the breeding of oxen, cows, and goats,
soon producesa fortune. When the pasturage is exhausted,
the farmer, like a patriarch of old, seeks for new springs
and fertile prairies, pitching his camp afresh where the
conditions seem favourable.

The farmer opportunely told Colonel Everest of a wide
plain, fifteen miles away, which would be found quite flat.
The caravan started next morning at daybreak. The only
incident that broke the monotony of the long morning

march, was Sir John Murray’s taking a shot, at a distance
4



58 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



of more than 1000 yards, at a gnu, a curious animal about
five feet high, with the muzzle of an ox, a long white tail,
and pointed horns. It fell with a heavy groan, much to
the astonishment of the bushman, who was surprised at
seeing the animal struck at such a distance. The gnu
generally affords a considerable quantity of excellent meat,
and was accordingly in high esteem among the hunters of
the caravan.

_ The site indicated by the farmer was reached about
midday. It was a boundless prairie stretching to the
north without the slightest undulation. No better spot for
measuring a base could be imagined, and the bushman,
after a short investigation, returned to Colonel Everest
with the announcement that they had reached the place
they were seeking,

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Bushman pointing to the Plain.—[Page 58.]



y THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 59

oe RR A i it RED

CHAPTER VII.
THE BASE OF THE TRIANGLE,

THE work undertaken by the Commission was a triangu-
lation for the purpose of measuring an arc of meridian.
Now the direct measurement of one or more degrees by
means of metal rods would be impracticable. In no part
of the world is there a region so vast and unbroken as to
admit of so delicate an operation. Happily, there is an
easier way of proceeding by dividing the region through
which the meridian passes into a number of imaginary
triangles, whose solution is comparatively easy.

These triangles are obtained by observing signals, either
natural or artificial, such as church-towers, posts, or rever-
beratory lamps, by means of the theodolite or repeating-
circle. Every signal is the vertex of a triangle, whose
angles are exactly determined by the instruments, so that
a good observer with a proper telescope can take the bear-
ings of any object whatever, a tower by day, or a lamp by
night. Sometimes the sides of the triangles are many
miles in length, and when Arago connected the coast of



60 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



Valencia in Spain with the Balearic Islands, one of the
sides measured 422,555 toises. When one side and two
angles of any triangle are known, the other sides and angle
may be found; by taking, therefore, a side of one of the
known triangles for a new base, and by measuring the
angles adjacent to the base, new triangles can be suc-
cessively formed along the whole length of the arc; and
since every straight line in the network of triangles is
known, the length of the arc can be easily determined.
The values of the sides and angles may be obtained by
the theodolite and repeating circle, but the jirs¢ side, the
base of the whole system, must be actually measured on the
ground, and this operation requires the utmost care.

When Delambre and Méchain measured the meridian of
France from Dunkirk to Barcelona, they took for their
base a straight line, 12,150 métres in length, in the road
from Melun to Lieusaint, and they were no less than 42
days in measuring it. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux
designed proceeding in the same way, and it will be seen
how much precision was necessary.

The work was begun on the 5th of March, much to the
astonishment of the Bochjesmen, who could not at all
understand it. Mokoum thought it strange for these learned
men to measure the earth with rods six feet leng; but any
way, he had done his duty ; they had asked him for a level
plain, and he had found it for them,





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Vi TAN im
CI eae
Ny
ie
Zp
; i
| NN t















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Geodesic Operations, —[Page 61. |

Commencement of the



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 61



The place was certainly well chosen. Covered with dry,
short grass, the plain was perfectly level as far as the
horizon. Behind lay a line of hills forming the southern
boundary of the Kalahari desert ; towards the north the
plain seemed boundless, To the east, the sides of the table-
land of Lattakoo disappeared in gentle slopes; and in the
west, where the ground was lower, the soil became marshy,
as it imbibed the stagnant water which fed the affluents of
the Kuruman.

“TI think, Colonel Everest,” said Strux, after he had
surveyed the grassy level, “that when our base is esta-
blished, we shall be able here also to fix the extremity of
our meridian.”

“ Likely enough,” replied the Colonel. “We must find
out too, whether the arc meets with any obstacles that may
impede the survey. Let us measure the base, and we will
decide afterwards whether it will be better to join it by a
series of auxiliary triangles to those which the arc must
cross.”

They thus resolved to proceed to the measurement of
the base. It would be a long operation, for they wanted
to obtain even more correct results than those obtained by
the French philosophers at Melun. This would be a matter
of some difficulty : since when a new base was measured
afterwards near Perpignan to verify the calculations, there

was only an error of 11 inches in a distance of 330,000 toises,



62 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

Orders were given for encamping, and a Bochjesman
village, a kind of kraal, was formed on the plain. The
waggons were arranged in a circle like the houses, the
English and Russian flags floating over their respective
quarters. The centre was common ground. The horses
and buffaloes, which by day grazed outside, were driven
in by night to the interior, to save them from attacks
of the wild beasts around.

Mokoum took upon himself to arrange the hunting
expedition for revictualling; and Sir John Murray, whose
presence was not indispensable in the measurement of the
base, looked after the provisions, and served out the rations
of preserved meat and fresh venison. Thanks to the skill
and experience of Mokoum and his companions, game was
never wanting. They scoured the district for miles round,
and the report of their guns resounded at all hours.

The survey began on the next day, Zorn and Emery
being charged with the preliminaries.

“Come along,” said Zorn, “and good luck be with us.”

The primary operation consisted in tracing a line on
the ground where it was especially level. This chanced to
be from S.E. to N.W., and pickets being placed at short
intervals to mark the direction, Zorn carefully verified the
correctness of their position by means of the thread-wires of
his telescope. For more than eight miles (the proposed
length of the base) was the measurement continued, and



«

THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 63



the young men performed their work with scrupulous
fidelity.

The next step was to adjust the rods for the actual
measurement, apparently a very simple operation, but
which, in fact, demands the most continuous caution, as
the success of a triangulation in a great measure is con-
tingent on its preciseness.

On the morning of the roth, twelve wooden pedestals
were planted along the line, securely fastened in their posi-
tion, and prepared to support the rods, . Colonel Everest and
Matthew Strux, assisted by their young coadjutors, placed
the rods in position, and Nicholas Palander stood ready,
pencil in hand, to write down in a double register the
figures transmitted to him.

The rods employed were six in number, and exactly two
toises in length. They were made of platinum, as being
(under ordinary circumstances) unaffected by any condi-
tion of the atmosphere. In order, however, to provide
against any change of temperature, each was covered with
a rod of copper somewhat shorter than itself, and a micro-
scopic vernier was attached, to indicate any contraction or
expansion that might occur. The rods were next placed
lengthwise, with a small interval between each, in order to
avoid the slight shock which might result from immediate
contact. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux with their
own hands placed the first rod. About a hurdred toises



@

64 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



farther on, they had marked a point of sight, and as the
rods were each provided with iron projections, it was not
difficult to place them exactly in the proper direction.
Emery and Zorn, lying on the ground, saw that the pro-
jections stood exactly in the middle of the sight.

“ Now,” said Colonel Everest, “we must define our exact
starting-point. We will drop a line from the end of our first
rod, and that will definitely mark the extremity of our base.”

“Yes,” answered Strux, “but we must take into ‘account
the radius of the line.

“ Of course,” said the Colonel.

The starting-point determined, the work went on. The
next proceeding was to determine the inclination of the
base with the horizon.

“We do not, I believe, pretend,” said Colonel Everest,
“to place the rod in a position which is perfectly horizontal.”

“No,” answered Strux, “it is enough to find the angle
which each rod makes with the horizon, and we can then
deduce the true inclination.”

Thus agreed, they proceeded with their observations,
employing their spirit-level, and testing every result by the
vernier. As Palander was about to inscribe the record, Strux
requested that the level should be reversed, in order that
by the division of the two registers a closer approxima-
tion to truth might be attained. This mode of double

observation was continued throughout the operations,



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 65



Two important points were now obtained: the direction
of the rod with regard to the base, and the angle which it
made with the horizon. The results were inscribed in two
registers, and signed by the members of the Commission.

There were still two further observations, no less impor-
tant, to be made: the variation of the rod caused by
differences of temperature, and the exact distance measured
by it. The former was easily determined by comparing
the difference in length between the platinum and copper
rods. The microscope gave the variation of the platinum,
and this was entered in the double register, to be after-
wards reduced to 16° Centigrade.

They had now to observe the distance actually measured.
To obtain this result, it was necessary to place the second
rod at the end of the first, leaving a small space between
them. When the second rod was adjusted with the same
care as the former, it only remained to measure the interval
between the two. A small tongue of platinum, known as
a slider, was attached to the end of the platinum bar that
was not covered by the copper, and this Colonel Everest
slipped gently along until it touched the next rod. The
slider was marked off into 10,ocoths of a toise, and as a
vernier with its microscope gave the 100,o00ths, the space
could be very accurately determined. The result was
immediately registered.

Michael Zorn, considering that the covered platinum

F



66 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



might be sooner affected by heat than the uncovered
copper, suggested another precaution: accordingly they
erected a small awning to protect the rod from the sun’s
rays.

For more than a month were these minutiz patiently
carried on. As soon as four bars were adjusted, and the
requisite observations complete, the last of the rods was
carried to the front. It was impossible to measure more
than 220 to 230 toises a day, and sometimes, when the
wind was violent, operations were altogether suspended.

Every evening, about three quarters of an hour before it
became too dark to read the verniers, they left off work,
after taking various anxious precautions. They brought
forward temporarily the rod “No. 1,” and marked the point
of its termination. Here they made a hole, and drove ina
stake with a leaden plate attached. They then replaced
“No. 1” in its original position, after observing the inclina-
tion, the thermometric variation, and the direction. They
noted the prolongation measured by rod “ No. 4,” and then
with a plumb-line touching the foremost end of rod
“No, 1,” they made a mark on the leaden plate. They
carefully traced through this point two lines at right angles,
one signifying the base, the other the perpendicular. The
plate was then covered with a wooden lid, the hole filled
in, and the stake left buried till the morning. Thus, if any
accident had happened to their apparatus during the night



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 67



they would not be obliged to begin afresh. The next day,
the plate was uncovered, and rod “No. 1” replaced in the
same position as on the evening before, by means of the
plumb-line, whose point ought to fall exactly on the point
intersected by the two straight lines,

These operations were carried on for thirty-eight days
along the plain, and every figure was registered doubly,
and verified, compared, and approved, by each member
of the Commission,

Few discussions arose between Colonel Everest and his
Russian colleague; and if sometimes the smallest fraction
of a toise gave occasion for some polite cavillings, they
always yielded to the opinion of the majority. One ques-
tion alone called for the intervention.of Sir John Murray.
This was about the length of the base. It was certain that
the longer the base, the easier would be the measurement
of the opposite angle. Colonel Everest proposed 6000
toises, nearly the same as the base measured at Melun;
but Matthew Strux wished that it should be 10,000 toises,
since the ground permitted. Colonel Everest, however,
remained firm, and Strux seemed equally determined not
to yield. After a few plausible arguments, personalities
began: they were no longer two astronomers, but an
Englishman and a Russian. Happily the debate was in-
terrupted by some days of bad weather, which allowed
their tempers to cool. It was subsequently decided by the

Fa



68 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

majority that they should “split the difference,” and assign
8000 toises as the measurement of the base. The work
was at length completed. Any error which occurred, in
spite of their extreme precision, might be afterwards cor-
rected by measuring a new base from the northern ex-
tremity of the meridian.

The base measured exactly 8037.75 toises, and upon this
they were now to place their series of triangles.

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































eimai































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Measuring the Arc of the Meridian,



[Page 69.]



































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Taking the Measurements,— [Page 69. |



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 69



CHAPTER VIII.
THE TWENTY-FOURTH MERIDIAN.

THE measurement of the base occupied thirty-eight days,
from the 6th of March to the 13th of April, and without
loss of time the chiefs decided to begin the triangles. The
first operation was to find the southern extremity of the arc,
and the same being done at the northern extremity, the
difference would give the number of degrees measured.

On the 14th they began to find their latitude. Emery
and Zorn had already on the preceding nights taken the
altitude of numerous stars, and their work was so accurate
that the greatest error was not more than 2”, and even this
was probably owing to the refraction caused by the changes
in the atmospheric strata. The latitude thus carefully
sought was found to be 27.951789°. They then found the
longitude, and marked the spot on an excellent large scale
map of South Africa, which showed the most recent geo-
graphical discoveries, and also the routes of travellers and
naturalists, such as Livingstone, Anderson, Magyar, Baldwin,



270 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



Burchell, and Lichtenstein. They then had to choose on
what meridian they would measure their arc. The longer
this arc is the less influence have the errors in the deter-
mination of latitude. Thearc from Dunkirk to Formentera,
on the meridian of Paris, was exactly 9° 56’. They had to
choose their meridian with great circumspection. Any
natural obstacles, such as mountains or large tracts of
water, would seriously impede their operations; but hap-
pily, this part of Africa seemed well suited to their purpose,
since the risings in the ground were inconsiderable, and the
few watercourses easily traversed. Only dangers, and not
obstacles, need check their labours.

This district is occupied by the Kalahari desert, a vast
region extending from the Orange River to Lake Ngami,
from lat. 20° S. to lat. 29°. In width, it extends from the
Atlantic on the west as far as long. 25° E. Dr. Livingstone
followed its extreme eastern boundary when he travelled as
far as Lake Ngami and the Zambesi Falls. Properly
speaking, it does not deserve the name of desert. It is not
like the sands of Sahara, which are devoid of vegetation,
and almost impassable on account of their aridity. The
Kalahari produces many plants; its soil is covered with
abundant grass; it contains dense groves and forests;
animals abound, wild game and beasts of prey; and it is
inhabited and traversed by sedentary and wandering tribes
of Bushmen and Bakalaharis, But the true obstacle to its



THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 7



exploration is the dearth of water which prevails through
"the greater part of the year, when the rivers are dried up.
However, at this time, just at the end of the rainy season,
they could depend upon considerable reservoirs o. stagnant
water, preserved in pools and rivu-
lets. Such-werethe particulars given
by Mokoum. He had often visited
the Kalahari, sometimes on his own
account as a hunter, and sometimes
as a guide to some geographical
exploration.

It had now to be actually con-
sidered whether the meridian should
be taken from one of the extremi-
ties of the base, thus avoiding a
series of auxiliary triangles’.

1 By the aid of the accompanying figure, the
work called a triangulation may be understood.
Let A B be the arc. Measure the base AC
very carefully from the extremity A to the first
station C. Take other stations, D, E, F, G, H, I,
&c., on alternate sides of the meridian, and
observe the angles of the triangles, A C D,
CDE, DEF, EFG, &c. Then in the
triangle A C D, the angles and the side A C ‘
being known, the side C D may be found. a
Likewise in the triangle C D E, C D and the
angles being known, the side D E may be

‘found ; and so on through all the triangles.
Now determine the direction of the meridian
in the ordinary way, and observe the angle
MAC which it makes with the base AC,



2¢



7% MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF °

After some discussion, it was decided that the southern
extremity of the base would serve for a starting-point. It
was the twenty-fourth meridian east from Greenwich, and
extended over seven degrees of latitude, from 20° to 27°,
without any apparent natural obstacle. Towards the north
it certainly crossed the eastern end of Lake Ngami, but
Arago had met with greater difficulties than this when he
applied his geodesy to connect the coast of Spain with the
Balearic Islands. It was accordingly decided that meridian
24° should be measured, since, if it were afterwards pro-
longed into Europe, a northern arc of the same meridian
might be measured on Russian territory.

The astronomers proceeded at once to choose a station
which should form the vertex of the first triangle. This
was a solitary tree to the right of the meridian, standing on
a mound about ten miles away. It was distinctly visible
from each extremity of the base, and its slender top facili-
tated the taking of its bearings. The angle made by the
tree with the south-east extremity of the base was first

Then in the triangle A C M, because A C and the adjacent angles are known,
A M, CM, and the angle A C M, may be found, and A M is the first por-
tion of the arc. Then in the triangle D M N, since the side DM = C D —
C M, and the adjacent angles are known, the sides M N, DN, and the angle
‘MN D may be found, and M N is the next portion of the arc. Again, in
the triangle N E P, because E N = D E — DN, and the adjacent angles are
known, N P, the third portion of the arc, may be fouad. By proceeding
thus through all the triangles, piece by piece, the whole length of the arc A B
may be determined.



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THREE RUSSIANS

IN Zou Ee gees

PANWEMAKER,




> ORE S

Pdi) VE Nel UR Ee

JULES. VER NE:

WITH 68 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.

I.
MERIDIANA; THe ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE
RUSSIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA,

ie
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

NEW YORK:
SCRIBN ER, oA RIMS MReOiNG & CO
1874.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
3 3 Es

Joun F. Trow & Son,
Printers AND BoOKBINDERS,
205-213 Hast 12th St.,
NEW YORK.


VEER DEAN A :

THE ABVENTURES

OF

THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUsstAns

IN

SOUTH.ARRICA.

BY

JULES -VERNE.

Lranslated from the Irrench. With numerous Illustrations.

NEW YORK:
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO,
654 BROADWAY.

1874.
Works of Fules Verne,

PUBLISHED BY
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.

THE COMPLETE AND AUTHORIZED EDITIONS,

CAUTION.

The public are cautioned against any editions of the works named below
which do not bear the imprint of SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
Any edition of these particular works published under other imprints are
PIRATED, and cannot fail to be inferior én every particular. Editions
bearing our imprint are issued under a direct arrangement with the
French and English publishers of JULES VERNE, and are authorized
én text and complete in illusiration.



MERIDIANA:
THE ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THRRE Rus-
SIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA. By JULES VERNE. Translated from the
French. With 48 illustrations. One vol. 12mo, cloth, gilt side and
back. Price, 75 cents. The only edition authorized in text and
complete in illustrations.

FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON

In 97 HOURS AND 20 MINUTES AND A TRIP AROUND It. Eighty
full-page illustrations, beautifully bound in cloth, black and gilt.
Price, $3.00.

A JOURNEY to the CENTRE of the EARTH.

Translated from the French of JULES VERNE, author of ‘From the

Earth to the Moon Direct,” “‘ The Mysterious Island,” &c., &ce.

With fifty-two illustrations by Riou.

Popular edition, 20 illustrations, 75¢. Complete edition, 53 illustra
tions, on super-calendered paper, handsomely bound in cloth, black and
gilt, beveled boards, $3.00.

SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CoO.,
654 BROADWAY, NEW YORE
CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

PAGE
ON THE BANKS OF THE ORANGE RIVER eit Se ° ° e « >a

CHAPTER II.
OFFICIAL PRESENTATIONS ° . ° ° ° ° e ° . 3
CHAPTER III.

THE LAND JOURNEY «© e oS ee 7 e oe e o 2

CHAPTER IV.

A Few Worps ABOUT THE “ METRE” - © © ee « » 31
CHAPTER V.
A HoTTENTOT VILLAGE on 8 oo eg MS ee eed Se EO

CHAPTER VI.

BETTER ACQUAINTANCE . ° ooh See eee ° 49

CHAPTER VIL

Tue BASE OF THE TRIANGLE - © © © © © ° 59

CHAPTER VIII.

THe TWENTY-FOURTH MERIDIAN .»« «© © © @© 6 e &
iv CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IX.
PAGE

THE KRAAL. e ° ° ° e e ° ° e e ° 76

CHAPTER X.

Tue RAPID. ° ° e e e e e ° 6 ° ° 89

CHAPTER XI,

A MISSING COMPANION oe oO Ge 6 ° o oe 96

CHAPTER XII,

A STaTIon To SiR JOHN’S LIKING . . sue 6 e 106

@1
e

CHAPTER XIIL

PACIFICATION BY FIRE e . e ° ° ° ° e o IIT

CHAPTER XIV.

Avs DECUARATIONS ORMVWAR ve Ure ae fe te 6) 60s (6) 6) 227,

CHAPTER XV.

A GEOMETRIC PROGRESSION Rio ee oegh cue a ee oreo 5130

CHAPTER XVI.

DANGER IN: DISGUISE ..*° 6 <0; 6 «0 10 fem 09-6 + 0 140

CHAPTER XVIL

AN UNEXPECTED BLIGHT . . ° oS Sehe ire Ve to centS4

CHAPTER XVIIL
167

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CHAPTER XIX.

ScrgNCE UNDAUNTED. 6 oo et 6 erie ie e e ayy
STANDING A SIEGE

SUSPENSE °

HIDE AND SEEK .

HoMEWARD BounpD

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XX.

CHAPTER XXIL

CHAPTER XXIIL

° ° ° ®

PAGE

e 189

e 200

o 211

. 225

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

FRONTISPIECE.

William Emery and the Bushman . ereate e260

At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat
Meeting of Members of the Exped-tion . . . .

“The Hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, presenting his

panion . . . . ° . . ° °
All these Objects were deposited on the Beach ° °
The Mission Home Establishment . re ° ° .
Chief Moulibahan . : . ‘ . . 4 .

William Emery and Michael Zorn in advance of the Expedition

The Bushman pointing to the Plain . . ° °

e

e

Commencement of the Geodesic Operations . e e
Measuring the Arc of the Meridian . ° ° e
Taking the Measurements. ° ° ° ° °
The Astronomers at Work . . ° ° ° .
Encampment under an immense Baobab e ° °
‘The Hunters . . ° ° ° e ° ° °
The Elephant and the Dog . ° ° ea uete °
** He is ours! he is ours!” . . . . ° .
The Hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but shook the Boat as a
would a Hare . . ° ° ° ° .
‘¢ There he is,” cried Mokoum . ° a ° .
A missing Companion . . . * . . .

It was a deep Grotto, strewn with Bones and stained with Blood

The Entrance to the Lion’s Den . 3 . ‘ .
A Ball from the Bushman arrested the Lioness . 5

** Well,” said Mokoum, ‘I hope you like our African Partridges”

PAGR

18
20

24
26

46
53
58
61
69
69
92
74
80
86

87

95
103
104
1i2
112
115
116.
Vill LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,

Sir John was soon asleep oe ee ee e e« ®
The Forest on Fire . ° . . < e e ° °
** War is declared between England and Russia” . .© ec

The Parting of Emery and Zorn. ° ° ° e ° °
** The Rhinoceros !” exclaimed SirJohn ° ° oa
The Advance of the Caravan . . . ° ° ° ° °

The Hunters glided through the Creepers and Brushwood ° .
The empty Oryx Skin. ° : ° . ° ° ° °
Emery and two Natives struck by Lightning . ° ° ° °
A strange Cloud . . ° e ° e ° ° ° °
Crossing the Desert ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° e
“‘ The Ngami! the Ngami!” ° . ° . oie 6

The English come to the relief of the Russians. ° ° °
On Guard on Mount Scorzef . . . . ° ° e °
An Attack on Mount Scorzef 6 O A . . . e
The Rice of the Bochjesmen . . . . . . ° °
Watching for the Signal from Mount Volquiria . oe eet te
The Steamboat leaving Mount Scorzef . ° e ° . °
Palander robbed by the Chacma . ° ° ° ° ° °
Palander’s Combat with the Chacma.. ° ° ° e °
Descending the Zambesi . ° ° ° ° . ° °
Adieu to Mokoum . : . 7 . : . ° .

The Natives regarded with superstitious admiration the smoking vessel

PAGE
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° 193

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2 210

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= 2G0)
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MERIDIANA:;

THE ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN
AND THREE RUSSIANS.



CHAPTER I

ON THE BANKS OF THE ORANGE RIVER.

ON the 27th of January, 1854, two men lay stretched at
the foot of an immense weeping willow, chatting, and at
the same time watching most attentively the waters of the
Orange River. This river, the Groote of the Dutch, and
the Gariep of the Hottentots, may well vie with the other
three great arteries of Africa—the Nile, the Niger, and the
Zambesi. Like those, it has its periodical risings, its rapids
and cataracts. Travellers whose names are known over
part of its course, Thompson, Alexander, and Burchell,
have each in their turn praised the clearness of its waters,
and the beauty of its shores.

At this point the river, as it approached the Duke of
I
2 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

York Mountains, offered a magnificent spectacle to the
view. Insurmountable rocks, imposing masses of stone,
and trunks of trees that had become mineralized by the
action of the weather, deep caverns, impenetrable forests,
not yet disturbed by the settler’s axe, all these, shut in by
a background formed by the mountains of the Gariep, made
up a scene matchless in its magnificence. There, too, the
waters of the river, on account of the extreme narrowness
of their bed, and the sudden falling away of the soil, rushed
down from a height of 400 feet. Above the fall there were
only surging sheets of water, broken here and there by
points of rock wreathed with green boughs; below, there
was only a dark whirlpool of tumultuous waters, crowned
with a thick cloud of damp vapour, and striped with all
the colours of the rainbow. From this gulf there arose a
deafening roar, increased and varied by the echoes of the
valley.

Of these two men, who had evidently been brought into
this part of South Africa by the chances of an exploration,
one lent only a vague attention to the beauties of nature
that were opened to his view. This indifferent traveller was
a hunting bushman, a fine type of that brave, bright-eyed,
rapidly-gesticulating race of men, who lead a wandering life
in the woods. Bushman, a word derived from the Dutch
“ Bochjesman,” is literally “a man of the bushes,” and is
applied to the wandering tribes that scour the country in
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 3



the N.wW. of Cape Colony. Nota family of these bushmen
is sedentary ; they pass their lives in roaming over the re-
gion lying between the Orange River and the mountains of
the East, in pillaging farms, and in destroying the crops of
the overbearing colonists, by whom they have been driven
back towards the interior of the country, where more rocks
than plants abound.

This bushman, a man of about forty years of age, was
very tall, and evidently possessed great muscular strength,
for even when at rest his body presented the attitude of
action. The clearness, ease, and freedom of his movements
stamped him as an energetic character, a man cast in the
same mould as the celebrated “ Leather-stocking,” the hero
of the Canadian prairies, though perhaps possessing less
calmness than Cooper’s favourite hunter, as could be seen
by the transient deepening of colour in his face, whenever he
was animated by any unusual emotion.

The bushman was no longer a savage like the rest of his
race, the ancient Laquas; for, born of an English father
and a Hottentot mother, the half-breed, through his associa-
tion with strangers, had gained more than he had lost, and
spoke the paternal tongue fluently. His costume, half-
Hottentot, half-European, consisted of a red flannel shirt,
a loose coat and breeches of antelope hide, and leggings
made of the skin of a wild cat ; from his neck hung a little
bag containing a knife, a pipe, and some tobacco; he wore

B2
4 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



on his head a kind of skull-cap of sheep-skin ; a belt, made
from the thick thong of some wild animal, encircled his
waist; and on his naked wrists were rings of ivory,
wrought with remarkable skill. From his shoulders flowed
a “kross,’ a kind of hanging mantle, cut out of a tiger’s
skin, and falling as low as the knees. A dog of native
breed was sleeping near him, while. he himself was smoking
a bone pipe in quick puffs, giving unequivocal signs of im-
patience.

“Come, let’s be calm, Mokoum,” said his interlocutor.
“You are truly the most impatient of mortals whenever
you are not hunting ; but do understand, my worthy com-
panion, that we can’t change what is. Those whom we
are expecting will come sooner or later—to-morrow, it
not to-day.”

The bushman’s companion was a young man, from twenty-
five to twenty-six years of age, and quite a contrast to him.
His calm temperament was shown in every action; and it
could be decided without a moment’s hesitation that he
was an Englishman. His much too homely costume proved
him to be unaccustomed to travelling. He gave one the
idea of a clerk who had wandered into a savage country,
and one looked involuntarily to see if he carried a pen
behind his ear, like a cashier, clerk, accountant, or some
other variety of the great family of the bureaucracy.

In truth, this young man was not a traveller, but a
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 5

distinguished savant, William Emery, an astronomer at-
tached to the Observatory at the Cape—a useful establish-
ment, which has for a long time rendered true services to
science,
_ The scholar, rather out of his element, perhaps, in this
uninhabited region of South Africa, several hundred miles
from Cape Town, could hardly manage to curb the im-
patience of his companion.

“Mr. Emery,” replied the hunter in good English,
‘here we have been for eight days at the place appointed
on the Orange, the cataract of Morgheda. It is indeed
a long time since it has befallen a member of my
family to remain eight days in one place: you forget
that we are rovers, and that our feet burn at lingering
here.”

“My friend Mokoum,” replied the astronomer, “ those
we are waiting for are coming from England, and surely
we can allow them eight days of grace: we must take into
account the length of the passage, and the hindrances
which a steam-vessel must meet with in ascending the
Orange; and, in short, the thousand difficulties belonging
to such an undertaking. We have been told to make every
preparation for a journey of exploration in South Africa,
and that being done, to come here to the Falls of Morgheda
and wait for my colleague, Colonel Everest, of the Cam-
bridge Observatory. Well, here are the Falls of Morgheda,
6 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



we are at the place appointed, and we are waiting: what
more do you want, my worthy bushman ?”

The hunter doubtless did want more, for his fingers
played feverishly with the lock of his rifle, an excellent
Manton, a weapon of precision with conical shot, and
which could bring down a wild cat or an antelope at a
distance of eight or nine hundred yards. Thus it may be
seen that the bushman had put aside the quiver of aloes
and the poisoned darts of his fellow-countrymen for the use
of European weapons.

“But are you not mistaken, Mr. Emery?” replied Mo-
koum. “Is it really at the Falls of Morgheda, and towards
the end of this month of January, that they have appointed
to meet you?”

“Yes, my friend,” quietly answered William Emery,
“and here is the letter from Mr. Airy, the director of the
Greenwich Observatory, which will show you that I am not
mistaken.”

The bushman took the letter that his companion gave
him. He turned it over and over like a man not very
familiar with the mysteries of penmanship; then giving it
back to William Emery, he said, “Tell me again what the
blotted piece of paper says.”

The young astronomer, endowed with a patience proof
against every thing, began again, for the twentieth time,
the story he had so often told to his friend the hunter At
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 7



the end of the foregoing year, William Emery had received
a letter telling him of the approaching arrival of Colonel
Everest, and an international scientific commission in South.
ern Africa. What the plans of the commission were, and
why it came to the extremity of the continent of Africa,
Emery could not say, Mr. Airy’s letter being silent on that
point; but following the instructions that he had received,
he hastened to Lattakoo, one of the most northern stations
in the Hottentot country, to prepare waggons, provisions,
and, in short, every thing that could be wanted for the vic-
tualling of a Bochjesman caravan. Then, as he knew the
reputation of the native hunter, Mokoum, who had accom-
panied Anderson in his hunting expeditions in Western
Africa, and the intrepid David Livingstone on his first
journey of exploration to Lake Ngami and the falls of
the Zambesi, he offered him the command of this same
caravan.

This done, it was arranged that the bushman, who knew
the country perfectly, should lead William Emery along
the banks of the Orange to the Morgheda Falls, the place
appointed for the scientific commission to join them. This
commission was to take its passage in the British frigate
“ Augusta,” to reach the mouth of the Orange on the
western coast of Africa, as high as Cape Voltas, and to
ascend the river as far as the cataracts. William Emery
and Mokoum had therefore brought a waggon, which they
8 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

had left at the bottom of the valley, to carry the strangers
and their baggage to Lattakoo, unless they preferred
getting there by the Orange and its affluents, after they
had avoided the Falls of Morgheda by a land journey of
some miles.

This story ended, and at length really impressed on the
bushman’s mind, he advanced to the edge of the gulf to
whose bottom the foaming river threw itself with a crash :
the astronomer followed, for there a projecting point com-
manded a view of the river, below the cataract, for a distance
of several miles. For some minutes Mokoum and his
companion gazed attentively at the part of the river where
it resumed its tranquillity about a quarter of a mile below
them, but not an object, either boat or pirogue, disturbed
its course. It was then three o'clock. The month of
January here corresponds to the July of northern countries,
and the sun, almost vertical in lat. 29°, heated the atmo-
sphere till the thermometer stood at 105° Fahrenheit in the
shade. If it had not been for the westerly breeze, which
moderated the heat a little, the temperature would have
been unbearable for any but a bushman. Still, the young
astronomer, with his cool temperament, all bone and all
nerves, did not feel it too much: the thick foliage of the
trees which overhung the abyss protected him from the
direct attacks of the sun’s rays. Not a bird enlivened the
solitude during these hot hours of the day; not an animal




William Emery and the Bushman,— [Page 8. ]}
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. g



left the cool shade of the bushes to trust itself along the
glades; not a sound would have been heard in this deserted
region, even if the cataract had not filled the whole air with
its roar.

After gazing for ten minutes, Mokoum turned to William
Emery, stamping impatiently with his large foot; his pene-
trating eyes had discovered nothing.

“Supposing your people don’t come?” he asked the
astronomer.

“They'll come, my brave hunter,” answered William
Emery: “they are men of their word, and punctual, like
all astronomers. Besides, what fault do you find with
them? The letter says they are to arrive at the end of
January ; this is the 27th, and these gentlemen have still a
right to four more days before they need to reach the
Morgheda Falls.”

“ And supposing they have not come at the end of those
four days?” asked the bushman.

“Well! then, master hunter, there will be a chance for
us to show our patience, for we will wait for them until I have
certain proof that they are not coming at all.”

“By our god Ko!” cried the bushman in a sonorous
voice, “you are a man who would wait until the Gariep had
emptied all its roaring waters into that abyss!”

“No, hunter, no,” replied Emery in his ever quiet tone;
“but we must let reason govern our actions ; and what does
10 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

reason tell us? This :—that if Colonel Everest and his com-
panions, wearied with a tiresome journey, in want perhaps,
and lost in this lonely country, were not to find us at the
place of rendezvous, we should be to blame in every way.
If any thing went wrong, the responsibility would rest on
us; we ought, therefore, to stay at our post as long as it is
our duty to do so. And besides, we want for nothing here:
our waggon is waiting for us at the bottom of the valley,
and gives us shelter at night ; we have plenty of provisions;
ature here is magnificent and worthy of our admiration ;
and it is quite a new pleasure to me to spend a few days in
these splendid forests on the banks of this matchless river.
As for you, Mokoum, what can you want more? Game,
both hairy and feathered, abounds in the forests, and your
rifle keeps us supplied with venison, Hunt, my brave hunter!
kill time by killing deer and buffaloes! Go, my good bush-
man; I’ll watch for the loiterers meanwhile, and your feet,
at any rate, will run no risk of taking root.”

The hunter thought the astronomer’s advice was good,
and decided that he would go for a few hours and beat the
neighbouring bushes and brushwood. Lions, hyenas, and
leopards would not disturb such a Nimrod as he, so well
accustomed to the African forests. He whistled to his dog
Top, an animal of the hyena breed from the desert of
Kalahari, and a descendant of that race of which the
Balabas formerly made pointers. The intelligent creature,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, It

as impatient, seemingly, as his master, bounded up, and
showed by his joyous barking how much he was gratified
at the bushman’s intention. Soon both man and dog dis-
appeared among the thick masses of wood which crowned the
background of the cataract. William Emery, now alone,
again stretched himself at the foot of the willow, and while
he was waiting for the heat to send him to sleep, began to
think over his actual position. Here he was, far away from
any inhabited spot, on the banks of the Orange river,
a river as yet but little explored. He was waiting for
Europeans, fellow-countrymen who had left their homes to
run the risks of a distant expedition. But what was the
expedition for? What scientific problem could it want to
solve in the deserts of South Africa? What observation
could it be trying to take in lat. 30° S.? That was just
what Mr. Airy, the director of the Greenwich Observatory,
did not tell in his letter. As for Emery himself, they asked
for his co-operation as for that of a scientific man who was
familiar with the climate of those southern latitudes, and as
he was openly engaged in scientific labours, he was quite at
the disposal of his colleagues in the United Kingdom.

As the young astronomer lay musing over all these things,
and asking himself a thousand questions which he could not
answer, his eyelids became heavy, and at length he slept
soundly. When he awoke, the sun was already hidden
behind the western hills, whose picturesque outline stood
12 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

out sharply against the bright horizon. Some gnawings of
hunger told him that supper-time was near ; it was, in fact,
six o’clock, and just the hour for returning to the waggon
at the bottom of the valley. At that very moment a report
resounded from a grove of arborescent heaths, from twelve
to fifteen feet high, which was growing along the slope of
the hills on the right. Almost immediately the bushman
and Top made their appearance at the edge of the wood,
the former dragging behind him the animal that he had
just shot. “Come, come, master purveyor!” cried Emery,
“what have you got for supper?”

“A springbok, Mr. William,” replied the hunter, throwing
down an animal with horns curved like a lyre. It wasa
kind of antelope, more generally known by the name of
“leaping buck,” and which is to be met with in every part
of South Africa. It is a charming animal, with its cinna-
mon-coloured back, and its croup covered with tufts of silky
hair of a dazzling whiteness, whilst its under part is in
shades of chestnut brown ; its flesh, always excellent eating,
was on this occasion to form the evening repast.

The hunter and the astronomer, lifting the beast by
means of a pole placed across their shoulders, now left the _
head of the cataract, and in half an hour reached their
encampment in a narrow gorge of the valley, where the
waggon, guarded by two Bochjesman drivers, was waiting
for them.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 13







CHAPTER II.

OFFICIAL PRESENTATIONS.

FOR the next three days, the 28th, 29th, and goth of
January, Mokoum and William Emery never left the place
of rendezvous. While the bushman, carried away by his
hunting instincts, pursued the game and deer in the wooded
district lying near the cataract, the young astronomer
watched the river. The sight of this grand, wild nature
enchanted him, and filled his soul with new emotions.
Accustomed as he was to bend over his figures and cata-
logues day and night, hardly ever leaving the eye-piece
of his telescope, watching the passage of stars across the
meridian and their occultations, he delighted in the open-
air life in the almost impenetrable woods which covered the
slope of the hills, and on the lonely peaks that were sprin-
kled by the spray from the Morgheda as with a damp dust.
It was joy to him to take in the poetry of these vast soli-
tudes, and to refresh his mind, so wearied with his mathe-
14 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



matical speculations; and so he beguiled the tediousness
of his waiting, and became a new man, both in mind and
body. Thus did the novelty of his situation explain his
unvarying patience, which the bushman could not share in
the least ; so there were continually on the part of Mokoum
the same recriminations, and on the part of Emery the
same quiet answers, which, however, did not quiet the
nervous hunter in the smallest degree.

And now the 31st of January had come, the last day
fixed in Airy’s letter. If the expected party did not then
arrive, Emery would be in a very embarrassing position ;
the delay might be indefinitely prolonged. How long,
then, ought he to wait ?

“Mr. William,” said the hunter, “why shouldn’t we go
to meet these strangers? We cannot miss them; there is
only one road, that by the river, and if they are coming up,
as your bit of paper says they are, we are sure to meet
them.”

“That is a capital idea of yours, Mokoum,” replied the
astronomer: “we will go on and look out below the falls.
We can get back to the encampment by the side valleys
in the south. But tell me, my good bushman, you know
nearly the whole course of the river, do you not?”

“Yes, sir,” answered the hunter, “I have ascended it
twice from Cape Voltas to its juncture with the Hart on
the frontier of the Transvaal Republic.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 15



“And it is navigable all the way, except at the Falls of
Morgheda ?”

“Just so, sir,” replied the bushman. “ But I should add
that at the end of the dry season the Orange has not much
water till within five or six miles of its mouth; there is then
a bar, where the swell from the west breaks very violently.”

“That doesn’t matter,” answered the astronomer, “ be-
cause at the time that our friends want to land it will be
all right. There is nothing then to keep them back, so
they will come.”

The bushman said nothing, but shouldering his gun, and
whistling to Top, he led the way down the narrow path
which met the river again 400 feet lower.

It was then nine o’clock in the morning, and the two
explorers (for such they might truly be called) followed the
river by its left bank. Their way did not offer the smooth
and easy surface of an embankment or towing-path, for
the river-banks were covered with brushwood, and quite
hidden in a bower of every variety of plants; and the fes-
toons of the “cynauchum filiform,” mentioned by Burchell,
hanging from tree to tree, formed quite a network of ver-
dure in their path; the bushman’s knife, however, did not
long remain inactive, and he cut down the obstructive
branches without mercy. William Emery drank in the
fragrant air, here especially impregnated with the camphor-
like odour of the countless blooms of the diosma. Happily
16 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

there were sometimes more open places along the bank
devoid of vegetation, where the river flowed quietly, and
abounded in fish, and these enabled the hunter and his
companion to make better progress westward, so that by
eleven o’clock they had gone about four miles. The wind
being in the west, the roar of the cataract could not be
heard at that distance, but on the other hand, all sounds
below the falls were very distinct. William Emery and the
hunter, as they stood, could see straight down the river for
three or four miles. Chalk cliffs, 200 feet high, overhung
and shut in its bed on either side.

“Let us stop and rest here,” said the astronomer; “I
haven’t your hunter’s legs, Mokoum, and am more used to
the starry paths of the heavens than to those on terra firma ;
so let us have a rest; we can see three or four miles down
the river from here, and if the steamer should turn that last
bend we are sure to See it.”

The young astronomer seated himself against a giant
euphorbia, forty feet high, and in that position looked down
the river, while the hunter, little used to sitting, continued
to walk along the bank, and Top roused up clouds of wild
birds, to which, however, his master gave no heed. They
had been here about half an hour, when William Emery
noticed that Mokoum, who was standing about Ico feet
below him, gave signs of a closer attention. Was it likely
that he had seen the long-expected boat? The astronomer,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 17





leaving his mossy couch, started for the spot where the
hunter stood, and came up to him in a very few moments.

“Do you see any thing, Mokoum ?” he asked.

“T see nothing, Mr. William,” answered the bushman,
“but it seems to me that there is an unusual murmur down
the river, different to the natural sounds that are so familiar
to my ears.” And then, telling his companion to be quiet,
he lay down with his ear on the ground, and listened atten-
tively. In a few minutes he got up, and shaking his head,
said,—

“I was mistaken; the noise I thought I heard was

nothing but the breeze among the leaves or the murmur



of the water over the stones at the edge; and yet

The hunter listened again, but again heard nothing.

“Mokoum,” then said Mr. William Emery, “ if the noise
you thought you heard is caused by the machinery of a
steamboat, you would hear better by stooping to the level
of the river; water always conducts sound more clearly
and quickly than air.”

“You are right, Mr. William,” answered Mokoum, “for
more than once I have found out the passage of a hippo-
potamus across the river in that way.”

The bushman went nimbly down the bank, clinging to
the creepers and tufts of grass on his way. When he got
to the level of the river, he went in to his knees, and stoop-
ing down, laid his ear close to the water.

C
18 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

“Yes!” he exclaimed, in a few minutes, “I was not mis-
taken ; there is a sound, some miles down, as if the waters
were being violently beaten; it is a continual monotonous
splashing which is introduced into the current.”

“Ts it like a screw?” asked the astronomer.

“Perhaps it is, Mr. Emery; they are not far off.”

William Emery did not hesitate to believe his com-
panion’s assertion, for he knew that the hunter was en-
dowed with great delicacy of sense, whether he used his
eyes, nose, or ears. Mokoum climbed up the bank again,
and they determined to wait in that place, as they could
easily see down the river from there. Half an hour passed,
which to Emery, in spite of his calmness, appeared inter-
minable. Ever so many times he fancied he saw the dim
outline of a boat gliding along the water, but he was always
mistaken. At last an exclamation from the bushman made
his heart leap.

“Smoke !” cried Mokoum,

Looking in the direction indicated by the bushman,
Emery could just see a light streak rolling round the bend
of the river: there was no longer any doubt. The vessel
advanced rapidly, and he could soon make out the funnel
pouring forth a torrent of black smoke mingling with white
steam. They had evidently made up their fires to increase
their speed, so as to reach the appointed place on the exact
day. The vessel was still about seven miles from the Falls






At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat.—[Page 18. |
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 1g
of Morgheda. It was then twelve o’clock, and as it was not
a good place for landing, the astronomer determined to
return to the foot of the cataract: he told his plan to the
hunter, who only answered by turning back along the path
he had just cleared along the left bank of the stream.
Emery followed, and, turning round for the last time at a
bend in the river, saw the British flag floating from the
stern of the vessel. The return to the falls was soon ef-
fected, and in an hour’s time the bushman and the astro-
nomer halted a quarter of a mile below the cataract; for
there the shore, hollowed into a semicircle, formed a little
creek, and as the water was deep right up to the bank, the
steamboat could easily land its passengers. The vessel
could not be far off now, and it had certainly gained on the
two pedestrians, although they had walked so fast; it was
not yet in sight, for the lofty trees which hung quite
over the river-banks into the water, and the slope of the
banks themselves, did not allow of an extensive view. But
although they could not hear the sound made by the steam,
the shrill whistle of the machinery broke in distinctly on
the monotonous roar of the cataract; and as this whistling
continued, it was evident that it was a signal from the boat
to announce its arrival near the falls. The hunter replied
by letting off his gun, the report being repeated with a
crash by the echoes of the shore. At last the vessel was in
sight, and William Emery and his companion were seen by

C2
20 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF





those on board. At a sign from the astronomer the vessel
turned, and glided quietly alongside the bank; a rope was
thrown ashore, which the bushman seized and twisted round
the broken stump of a tree, and immediately a tall man
sprang lightly on to the bank, and went towards the astro-
nomer, whilst his companions landed in their turn. William
Emery also advanced to. meet the stranger, saying in-
quiringly, “Colonel Everest ?”

“Mr. William Emery?” answered the Colonel.

The astronomer bowed and shook hands.

“Gentlemen,” then said Colonel Everest, “let me intro-
duce you to Mr. William Emery, of the Cape Town Obser-
vatory, who has kindly come as far as the Morgheda Falls
to meet us.”

Four of the passengers who stood near Colonel Everest
bowed to the young astronomer, who did the same; and
then the Colonel, with his British self-possession, introduced
them officially, saying,—

“Mr. Emery, Sir John Murray, of the county of Devon,
your fellow-countryman ; Mr. Matthew Strux, of the Poul-
kowa Observatory ; Mr. Nicholas Palander, of the Helsing-
fors Observatory; and Mr. Michael Zorn, of the Kiew
Observatory, three scientific gentlemen who represent the

Russian government in our international commission.”










Meeting of Members of the Expedition, —[Page 20.]
2
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 21



CHAPTER III.

THE LAND JOURNEY.

THESE introductions over, William Emery put himself
at the disposal of the new arrivals, for in his position o
astronomer at the Cape, he was inferior in rank to Colonel
Everest, a delegate of the English Government, and, with
Matthew Strux, joint president of the commission. He
knew, as well, that he was a distinguished man of science,
famous for his reductions of the nebule and his calculations
of the occultations of the stars. He was a cold, methodical
man, of about fifty years of age, every hour of his life being
portioned out with mathematical accuracy. Nothing un-
foreseen ever happened to him, and his punctuality in every
thing was like that of the stars in passing the meridian, and
it might be said that all his doings were regulated by the
chronometer. William Emery knew all this, and had tkere-
fore never doubted that the commission would arrive on
the appointed day. During this time he was waiting for
the Colonel to tell him the object of this mission to South
22 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

Africa; but as he was still silent on the point, Emery
thought it better not to ask any questions, as very likely
the hour fixed in the Colonel’s mind for the subject had
not yet come,

Emery also knew by repute the wealthy Sir John Mur-
ray, who (almost a rival to Sir James Ross and Lord Elgin)
was, although without office, an honour to England by his
scientific labours. His pecuniary sacrifices to science were
likewise considerable, for he had devoted £20,000 to the
establishment of a giant reflector, a match for the telescope
at Parson Town, by whose means the elements of a number
of double stars had just been determined. He was a man
of about forty years of age, with an aristocratic bearing,
but whose character it was impossible to discover through
his imperturbable exterior.

As to the three Russians, Strux, Palander, and Zorn,
their names were also well known to William Emery,
although he was not personally acquainted with them.
Nicholas Palander and Michael Zorn paid a certain
amount of deference to Matthew Strux, as was due to
his position, if it had not been to his merit.

The only remark that Emery made was that they were
in equal numbers, three English and three Russians ; and
the crew of the “Queen and Czar” (for that was the name
of the steamboat) consisted of ten men, five English and
five Russians.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 2y



“Mr. Emery,” said Colonel Everest, when the introduc-
tions were over, “we are now as well acquainted as if we
had travelled together from London to Cape Voltas. Be-
sides, your labours have already earned you a just renown,
and on that account I hold you in high esteem. It was at
my request that the English Government appointed you to
assist in our operations in South Africa.”

William Emery bowed in acknowledgment, and thought
that he was now going to hear the object of the scientific
commission to the southern hemisphere; but still Colonel
Everest did not explain it.

“Mr. Emery,” he went on, “are your preparations com-
plete?”

“ Quite, Colonel,” replied the astronomer. “ According
to the directions in Mr. Airy’s letter, I left Cape Town a
month ago, and went to the station at Lattakoo, and there
I collected all the materials for an expedition into the interior
of Africa, provisions, waggons, horses, and bushmen. There
is an escort of 100 armed men waiting for you at Lattakoo,
and they will be under the command of a clever and cele-
brated hunter, whom I now beg to present to you, the
bushman Mokoum.”

“The bushman Mokoum!” cried the Colonel (if his
usual cold tone could justify such a verb), “the bushman
Mokoum! I know his name perfectly well.”

“Tt is the name of a clever, brave African,” added Sir
24 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



John Murray, turning to the hunter, who was not at all
discomposed by the grand airs of the Europeans.

“The hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, as he intro-
duced his companion.

“Your name is well known in the United Kingdom,
bushman,” replied Colonel Everest. “ You were the friend
of Anderson and the guide of David Livingstone, whose
friend I have the honour of being. J thank you in the
name of England, and I congratulate Mr. Emery on having
chosen you as the chief of ourcaravan. Such a hunter as you
must be a connoisseur of fire-arms, and as we have a very fair
supply, I shall beg you to take your choice of the one which
will suit you the best ; we know that it will be in good hands.”

A smile of satisfaction played round the bushman’s lips,
for although he was no doubt gratified by the recognition
of his services in England, yet the Colonel’s offer touched
him the most: he then returned thanks in polite terms, and
stepped aside, while Emery and the Europeans continued
their conversation.

The young astronomer went through all the details of
the expedition he had prepared, and the Colonel seemed
delighted. He was anxious to reach Lattakoo as quickly
as possible, as the caravan ought to start at the beginning
of March, after the rainy season.

“Will you be kind enough to decide how you will get to
the town, Colonel Everest ?” said William Emery.


“The Hunter Mokoum,” said William Emery, presenting his Companion.
[Page 24.]
’ THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 25





“ By the Orange River, and one of its affluents, the Kuru-
man, which flows close to Lattakoo.”

“True,” replied the astronomer, “ but however well your
vessel may travel, it cannot possibly ascend the cataract
of Morgheda !”

“We will go round the cataract, Mr. Emery,” replied the
Colonel, “and by making a land journey of a few miles, we
can re-embark above the falls ; and from there to Lattakoo,
if I am not mistaken, the rivers are navigable for a vessel
that does not draw much water.”

“No doubt, Colonel,” answered William Emery, “but
this steamboat is too heavy .. .”

“Mr. Emery,” interrupted the Colonel, “this vessel is a
masterpiece from Leard and Co’s manufactory in Liverpool.
It takes to pieces, and is put together again with the great-
est ease, a key and a few bolts being all that is required by
men used tothe work. You brought a waggon to the falls,
did you not?”

“Yes, Colonel,’ answered Emery, “our encampment is
not a mile away.”

“Well, I must beg the bushman to have the waggon
brought to the landing-place, and it will then, be loaded
with the portions of the vessel and its machinery, which
also takes to pieces; and we shall then get up to the spot
where the Orange becomes navigable.”

Colonel Everest’s orders were obeyed. The bushman
26 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



disappeared quickly in the underwood, promising to be
back in less than an hour, and while he was gone, the
steamboat was rapidly unloaded. The cargo was not very
considerable; it consisted of some cases of philosophical
instruments ; a fair collection of guns of Purdey Moore’s
manufacture, of Edinburgh; some kegs of brandy; some
canisters of preserved meat; cases of ammunition; port-
manteaus reduced to the smallest size; tent-cloths and all
their utensils, looking as if they had come out of a travelling-
bazaar; a carefully packed gutta-percha canoe, which took
up no more room than a well-folded counterpane ; some
materials for encamping, &c. &c.; and lastly, a fan-
shaped mitrailleuse, a machine not then brought to per-
fection, but formidable enough to terrify any enemy
who might come across their path. All these were
placed on the bank; and the engine, of 8-horse power, was
divided into three parts: the boiler and its tubes; the
mechanism, which was parted from the boiler by a turn
of a key; and the screw attached to the false stern-post.
When these had been successively carried away, the inside
of the vessel was left free. Besides the space reserved for
the machinery and the stores, it was divided into a fore-
cabin for the use of the crew, and an aft-cabin, occupied by
Colonel Everest and his companions. In the twinkling of
an eye the partitions vanished, all the chests and bedsteads
were lifted out, and now the vessel was reduced to a mere


All these Objects were deposited on the Beach.—[Page 26.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 29

shell, thirty-five feet long, and composed of three parts, like
the “ Ma-Robert,” the steam-vessel used by Dr. Livingstone
in his first voyage up the Zambesi. It was made of gal-
vanized steel, so that it was light, and at the same time
resisting. The bolts, which fastened the plates over a
framework of the same metal, kept them firm, and also
prevented the possibility of a leakage. William Emery
was truly astounded at the simplicity of the work and the
rapidity with which it was executed. The waggon, under
the guidance of Mokoum and the two Bochjesmen, had
only arrived an hour when they were ready to load it.
This waggon, rather a primitive vehicle, was mounted on
four massive wheels, each couple being about twenty feet
apart; it was a regular American “car” in length. This
clumsy machine, with its creaking axles projecting a good
foot beyond the wheels, was drawn by six tame buffaloes,
two and two, who were extremely sensitive to the long
goad carried by their driver. It required nothing less than
such beasts as these to move the vehicle when heavily laden,
for in spite of the adroitness of the “leader,” it stuck in the
mire more than once. The crew of the “Queen and Czar”
now proceeded to load the waggon so as to balance it well
every where. The dexterity of sailors is proverbial, and
the lading of the vehicle was like play to the brave men.
They laid the larger pieces of the boat on the strongest
part of the waggon, immediately over the axles of the
28 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

wheels, so that the cases, chests, barrels, and the lighter
and more fragile packages easily found room between
them. As to the travellers themselves, a four miles’ walk
was nothing to them. By three o’clock the loading was
finished, and Colonel Everest gave the signal for starting.
He and his companions, with William Emery as guide,
took the lead, while the bushman, the crew, and the drivers
of the waggon followed more slowly. They performed the
journey without fatigue, for the slopes that led to the upper
course of the Orange made their road easy, by making it
longer, and this was a happy thing for the heavily-laden
waggon, as it would thus reach its goal more surely, if
more slowly.

The different members of the commission clambered
lightly up the side of the hill, and the conversation became
general, but there was still no mention of the object of the
expedition. The Europeans were admiring the splendid
scenes that were opened to their view, for this grand nature,
so beautiful in its wildness, charmed them as it had charmed
the young astronomer, and their voyage had not yet sur-
feited them with the natural beauties of this African region,
' though they admired every thing with a quiet admiration,
and, English-like, would not do any thing that might seem
“improper.” However, the cataract drew forth some grace-
ful applause, and although they clapped perhaps with only
the tips of their fingers, yet it was enough to show that
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 29





“nil admirari” was not quite their motto. Besides, Wil-
liam Emery thought it his duty to do the honours of
South Africa to his guests; for he was at home, and like
certain over-enthusiastic citizens, he did not spare a detail
of his African park. Towards half-past four they had
passed the cataract of Morgheda, and being now on level
ground, the upper part of the river lay before them as far
as their eye could reach, and they encamped on the bank to
await the arrival of the waggon. It appeared at the top of
the hill about five o’clock, having accomplished the journey
in safety, and Colonel Everest ordered it to be unloaded
immediately, announcing that they were to start at day-
break the next morning. All the night was passed in
different occupations. The shell of the vessel was put
together again in less than an hour; then the machinery
of the screw was put into its place; the metal partitions
were fixed between the cabins; the store-rooms were re-
furnished, and the different packages neatly arranged on
board, and every thing done so quickly that it told a great
deal in favour of the crew of the “Queen and Czar.”
These Englishmen and Russians were picked men, clever
and well disciplined, and thoroughly to be depended on.
The next day, the ist of February, the boat’ was ready to
receive its passengers at daybreak. Already there was a
volume of black smoke pouring from the funnel, and the
engineer, to put the machinery in motion, was causing jets
30 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

of white steam to fly across the smoke. The machine being
at high pressure, without a condenser, the steam escaped at
every stroke of the piston, according to the system applied
to locomotives ; and as to the boiler, with its ingeniously
contrived tubes, presenting. a large surface to the furnace,
it only required half an hour to furnish a sufficient quantity
of steam. They had laid in a good stock of ebony and
guiacum, which were plentiful in the neighbourhood, and
they were now lighting the great fire with this valuable
wood,

At six o’clock Colonel Everest gave the signal for start-
ing, and passengers and crew went on board the “Queen
and Czar.” The hunter, who was acquainted with the
course of the river, followed, leaving the two Bochjesmen
to take the waggon back to Lattakoo. Just as the vessel
was slipping its cable, Colonel Everest turned to the astro-
nomer, and said,—

“ By-the-bye, Mr. Emery, you know why we have come
here?”

“T have not the least idea, Colonel.”

“Tt is very simple, Mr. Emery: we have come to mea-

sure an arc of meridian in South Africa.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 3t

—



CHAPTER IV.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE “ METRE.”

THE idea of an invariable and constant system of mea-
surement, of which nature herself should furnish the exact
value, may be said to have existed in the mind of man from
the earliest ages. It was of the highest importance, how-
ever, that this measurement should be accurately deter-
mined, whatever had been the cataclysms of which our
earth had been the scene, and it is certain that the ancients
felt the same, though they failed in methods and appliances
for carrying out the work with sufficient accuracy. The
best way of obtaining a constant measurement was to con-
nect it with the terrestrial sphere, whose circumference must
be considered as invariable, and then to measure the whole
or part of that circumference mathematically. The an-
cients had tried to do this, and Aristotle, according to some
contemporary philosophers, reckoned that the stadium, or
Egyptian cubit, formed the hundred-thousandth part of the
distance between the pole and the equator, and Eratos-
32 © MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



thenes, in the time of the Ptolemies, calculated the value
of a degree along the Nile, between Syene and Alex-
andria, pretty correctly; but Posidonius and Ptolemy
were not sufficiently accurate in the same kind of geo-
detic operations that they undertook; neither were their
successors.

Picard, for the first time in France, began to regulate the
methods that were used for measuring a degree, and in
1669, by measuring the celestial and terrestrial arcs be-
tween Paris and Amiens, found that a degree was equal to
57,060 toises, equivalent to 364,876 English feet, or about
69:1 miles. Picard’s measurement was continued either
way across the French territory as far as Dunkirk and
Collioure by Dominic Cassini and Lahire (1683—1718),
and it was verified in 1739, from Dunkirk to Perpignan,
by Francis Cassini and Lacaille; and at length Méchain
carried it as far as Barcelona in Spain; but after his death
(for he succumbed to the fatigue attending his operations)
the measurement of the meridian in France was interrupted
until it was subsequently taken up by Arago and Biot in
1807. These two men prolonged it as far as the Balearic Isles,
so that the arc now extended from Dunkirk to Formentera,
being equally divided by the parallel of lat. 45° N., half
way between the pole and the equator; and under these
conditions it was not necessary to take the depression of
the earth into account in order to find the value of the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 33

quadrant of the meridian. This measurement gave 57,025
toises as the mean value of an arc of a degree in France.

It can be seen that up to that time Frenchmen especially
had undertaken to determine that delicate point, and it was
likewise the French Convention that, according to Talley-
rand’s proposition, passed a resolution in 1790, charging
the Academy of Sciences to invent an invariable system of
weights and measures. Just at that time the statement
signed by the illustrious names of Borda, Lagrange, La-
place, Monge, and Condorcet, proposed that the unit of
measure should be the meétre, the ten-millionth part of the
quadrant of the meridian; and that the unit of weight
should be the gramme, a cubic centimetre of distilled water
at the freezing-point ; and that the multiples and subdivi-
sions of every measure should be formed decimally.

Later, the determinations of the value of a terrestrial
degree were carried on in different parts of the world, for
the earth being not spherical, but elliptic, it required much
calculation to find the depression at the poles.

In 1736, Maupertuis, Clairaut, Camus, Lemonnier, Ou-
thier, and the Swedish Celsius measured a northern arc in
Lapland, and found the length of an arc of a degree to
be 57,419 toises. In 1745, La Condamine, Bouguer, and
Godin, set sail for Peru, where they were joined by the
Spanish officers Juan and Antonio Ulloa, and they then
found that the Peruvian arc contained 56,737 toises.

D
34 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



In 1752, Lacaille reported 57,037 toises as the length of
the arc he had measured at the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1754, Father Boscowitch and Father le Maire began
a survey of the Papal States, and in the course of their
operations found the arc between Rome and Rimini to be
56,973 toises.

In 1762 and 1763, Beccaria reckoned the degree in Pied-
mont at 57,468 toises, and in 1768, the astronomers Mason
and Dixon, in North America, on the confines of Maryland
and Pennsylvania, found that the value of the degree in
America was 56,888 toises.

Since the beginning of the 19th century numbers of other
arcs have been measured, in Bengal, the East Indies, Pied-
mont, Finland, Courland, East Prussia, Denmark, &c., but
the English and Russians were less active than other na-
tions in trying to decide this delicate point, their principal
geodetic operation being that undertaken by General Roy
in 1784, for the purpose of determining the difference of
longitude between Paris and Greenwich.

It may be concluded from all the above-mentioned mea-
surements that the mean value of a degree is 57,000 toises,
or 25 ancient French leagues, and by multiplying this mean
value by the 360 degrees contained in the circumference,
it is found that the earth measures gooo leagues round.
But, as may be seen from the figures above, the measure-
ments of the different arcs in different parts of the world do
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 35

not quite agree. Nevertheless, by taking this average of
57,000 toises for the value of a degree, the value of the
metre, that is to say, the ten-millionth part of the
quadrant of the meridian, may be deduced, and is found
to be 0.513074 of the whole line, or 39.37079 English
inches, In reality, this value is rather too small, for
later calculations (taking into account the depression of
the earth at the poles, which is 544; and not +44, as was
thought at first) now give nearly 10,000,856 métres instead
of 10,000,000 for the length of the quadrant of the meridian.
The difference of 856 métres is hardly noticeable in such
a long distance ; but nevertheless, mathematically speak-
ing, it cannot be said that the métre, as it is now used,
represents the ten-millionth part of the quadrant of the
terrestrial meridian exactly; there is an error of about
stoy Of a line, i.e. sg55 of the twelfth part of an inch.

The metre, thus determined, was still not adopted by all
the civilized nations. Belgium, Spain, Piedmont, Greece,
Holland, the old Spanish colonies, the republics of the
_Equator, New Granada, and Costa Rica, took a fancy to
it immediately ; but notwithstanding the evident supe-
riority of this metrical system to every other, England
had refused to use it. Perhaps if it had not been for the
political disturbances which arose at the close of the
18th century, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom
would have accepted the system, for when the Con-

D2
36 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

stituent Assembly issued its decree on the 8th of May,
1790, the members of the Royal Society in England were
invited to co-operate with the French Academicians. They
had to decide whether the measure of the métre should be
founded on the length of the pendulum that. beats the
sexagesimal second, or whether they should take a frac-
tion of one of the great circles of the earth for a unit of
length; but events prevented the proposed conference, and
so it was not until the year 1854 that England, having long
seen the advantage of the metrical system, and that scien-
tific and commercial societies were being founded to spread
the reform, resolved to adopt it. But still the English
Government wished to keep their resolution a secret until
the new geodetic operations that they had commenced
should enable them to assign a more correct value to the
terrestrial degree, and they thought they had better act in
concert with the Russian Government, who were also
hesitating about adopting the system. A Commission of
three Englishmen and three Russians was therefore chosen
from among the most eminent members of the scientific
societies, and we have seen that they were Colonel Everest,
Sir John Murray, and William Emery, for England; and
Matthew Strux, Nicholas Palander, and Michael Zorn, for
Russia. The international Commission having met in
London, decided first of all that the measure of an arc of
meridian should be taken in the Southern hemisphere, and
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 37
that another arc should subsequently be measured in the
Northern hemisphere, so that from the two operations
they might hope to deduce an exact value which should
satisfy all the conditions of the programme. It now re-
mained to choose between the different English possessions
in the Southern hemisphere, Cape Colony, Australia, and
New Zealand. The two last, lying quite at the antipodes
of Europe, would involve the Commission in a long
voyage, and, besides, the Maoris and Australians, who
were often at war with their invaders, might render the
proposed operation difficult; while Cape Colony, on the
contrary, offered real advantages. In the first place, it
was under the same meridian as parts of European Russia,
so that after measuring an arc of meridian in South Africa,
they could measure a second one in the empire of the
Czar, and still keep their operations a secret; secondly,
the voyage from England to South Africa was compara-
tively short; and thirdly, these English and Russian
philosophers would find an excellent opportunity there
of analyzing the labours of the French astronomer Lacaille,
who had worked in the same place, and of proving whether
he was correct in giving 57,037 toises as the measurement
of a degree of meridian at the Cape of Good Hope. It
was therefore decided that the geodetic operation should
be commenced at the Cape, and as the two Governments
approved of the decision, large credits were opened,
38 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

and two sets of all the instruments required in a trian.
gulation were manufactured. The astronomer William
Emery was asked to make preparations for an exploration
in the interior of South Africa, and the frigate “ Augusta,”
of the royal navy, received orders to convey the members
of the Commission and their suite to the mouth of the
Orange River.

It should here be added, that besides the scientific
question, there was also a question of national vainglory
that excited these philosophers to join ina common labour;
for, in reality, they were anxious to out-do France in her
numerical calculations, and to surpass in precision the
labours of her most illustrious astronomers, and that in
the heart of a savage and almost unknown land. Thus
the members of the Anglo-Russian Commission had re-
solved to sacrifice every thing, even their lives, in order
to obtain a result that should be favourable to science,
and at the same time glorious for their country. And
this is how it came to pass that the astronomer William
Emery found himself at the Morgheda Falls, on the banks
of the Orange River, at the end of January, 1854.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 39
LO OL LL LLC OT TES

CHAPTER V.

A HOTTENTOT VILLAGE.

THE voyage along the upper course of the river was soon
accomplished, and although the weather soon became rainy,
the passengers, comfortably installed in the ship’s cabin,
suffered no inconvenience from the torrents of rain which
usually fall at that season. The “Queen and Czar” shot
along rapidly, for there were neither rapids nor shallows,
and the current was not sufficiently strong to retard her
progress. Every aspect of the river-banks was enchanting ;
forest followed upon forest, and quite a world of birds dwell
among the leafy branches. Here and there were groups of
trees belonging to the family of the “proteacez,” and
especially the “wagenboom” with its reddish marbled-wood,
forming a curious contrast with its deep blue leaves and
large pale yellow flowers: then there were the “zwarte-
basts” with their black bark, and the “karrees” with dark
evergreen foliage. The banks were shaded every where by
weeping willows, while the underwood extended beyond
3
40 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



for several miles. Every now and then vast open tracks
presented themselves unexpectedly, large plains, covered
with innumerable colocynths, mingled with “sugar-bushes,”
out of which flew clouds of sweet-singing little birds, called
“suiker-vogels” by the Cape colonists. The winged world
offered many varieties, all of which were pointed out to Sir
John Murray by the bushman. Sir John was a great lover
of game, both hairy and feathered, and thus a sort of inti-
macy arose between him and Mokoum, to whom, according
to Colonel Everest’s promise, he had given an excellent long-
range rifle, made on the Pauly system. It would be useless
to attempt a description of the bushman’s delight when he
found himself in possession of such a splendid weapon.
The two hunters understood each other well, for though so
learned, Sir John Murray passed for one of the most
brilliant fox-hunters in old Caledonia, and he listened to
the bushman’s stories with an interest amounting to envy.
His eyes sparkled when Mokoum showed him the wild
ruminants in the woods; here a herd of fifteen to twenty
giraffes ; there, buffaloes six feet high, with towering black
horns: farther on, fierce gnus with horses’ tails; and again,
herds of “caamas,” a lurge kind of deer, with bright eyes,
and horns forming a threatening-looking triangle; and
every where, in the dense forests as well as in the open
plains, the innumerable varieties of antelopes which abound

in Southern Africa; the spurious chamois, the gems-bok,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 41



the gazelle, the duiker-bok, and the spring-bok. Was not
all this something to tempt a hunter, and could the fox-
hunts of the Scottish lowlands vie with the exploits of a
Cumming, an Anderson, or a Baldwin? It must be con-
fessed that Sir John Murray’s companions were less excited
than himself at these magnificent specimens of wild game.
William Emery was watching his colleagues attentively,
and trying to discover their character under their cold
exterior. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux, men of
about the same age, were equally cold, reserved, and
tormal ; they always spoke with a measured slowness, and
from morning to night it seemed as if they had never met
before. That any intimacy should ever be established be-
tween two such important personages was a thing not to be
hoped for; two icebergs, placed side by side would join in
time, but two scientific men, each holding a high position,
never.

Nicholas Palander, a man of about fifty-five years of age,
was one of those who have never been young, and who will
never be old. The astronomer of Helsingfors, constantly
absorbed in his calculations, might be a very admirably
constructed machine, but still he was nothing but a machine,
a kind of abacus, or universal reckoner. He was the cal-
culator of the Anglo-Russian Commission, and one of those
prodigies who work out multiplications to five figures in
their head, like a fifty-year-old Mondeux.
42 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

Michael Zorn more nearly resembled William Emery in
age, enthusiasm; and good humour. His amiable qualities
did not prevent his being an astronomer of great merit,
having attained an early celebrity. The discoveries made
by him at the Kiew Observatory concerning the nebula of
Andromeda had attracted attention in scientific Europe,
and yet with this undoubted merit he had a great deal of
modesty, and was always in the background. William
Emery and Michael Zorn were becoming great friends,
united by the same tastes and aspirations; and most
generally they were talking together, while Colonel Everest
and Matthew Strux were coldly watching each other, and
Palander was mentally extracting cube roots without
noticing the lovely scenes on the banks, and Sir John
Murray and the bushman were forming plans for hunting
down whole hecatombs of victims.

No incident marked the voyage along the upper course
of the Orange. Sometimes the granite cliffs which shut in
the winding bed of the river seemed to forbid further pro-
gress, and often the wooded islands which dotted the cur-
rent seemed to render the route uncertain; but the bush-
man never hesitated, and the “Queen and Czar” always
chose the right route, and passed round the cliffs without
hindrance. The helmsman never had to repent of having
followed Mokoum’s directions.

In four days the steamboat had passed over the 240 miles
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. ‘43



ae

between the cataract of Morgheda and the Kuruman, an
affluent which flowed exactly past the town of Lattakoo,
whither Colonel Everest’s expedition was bound. About
thirty leagues above the falls the river bends from its
general direction, which is east and west, and flows south-
east as far as the acute angle which the territory of Cape
Colony makes in the north, and then turning to the north-
east, it loses itself in the wooded country of the Transvaal
Republic. It was early in the morning of the 5th of
February, in a driving rain, that the “Queen and Czar”
arrived at Klaarwater, a Hottentot village, close to the
meeting of the Orange and Kuruman. Colonel Everest,
unwilling to lose a moment, passed quickly by the few
Bochjesmen cabins that form the village, and under the
pressure of her screw, the vessel began to ascend the
affluent. The rapid current was to be attributed, as the
passengers remarked, to a peculiarity in the river, for the
Kuruman being wide at its source, was lessened as it
descended by the influence of the sun’s rays; but at this
season, swollen by the rains, and further increased by the
waters of a sub-affluent, the Moschona, it became very
deep and rapid. The fires were therefore made up, and the
vessel ascended the Kuruman at the rate of three miles an
hour.

During the voyage the bushman pointed out a good
many hippopotami in the water; but these great pachy-
44 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

derms, clumsy, thickset beasts, from eight to ten feet long,
which the Dutch at the Cape call “sea-cows,” were by no
means of an aggressive nature, and the hissing of the steam
and the panting of the screw quite frightened them, the
boat appearing to them like some great monster which
they ought to distrust, and in fact, the arsenal on board
would have rendered approach very difficult. Sir John
Murray would have very much liked to try his explosive
bullets on the fleshy masses, but the bushman assured him
that there would be no lack of hippopotami in the more
northerly rivers, so he determined to wait fora more favour-
able opportunity.

The 150 miles which separated the mouth of the Kuru-
man from the station of Lattakoo were traversed in fifty
hours, and on the 7th of February the travellers had reached
the end of their journey. As soon as the steamboat was
moored to the bank which served as a quay, a man of fifty
years of age, with a grave air but kind countenance, stepped
on board, and offered his hand to William Emery. The
astronomer introduced the new-comer to his travelling
companions, as—

“The Rev. Thomas Dale, of the London Missionary
Society, Governor of the station of Lattakoo.”

The Europeans bowed to Mr. Dale, who gave them
welcome, and put himself at their service.

The town of Lattakoo, or rather the village of that name,




















































































































































































































































































The Mission Home Establishment.—[Page 44.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 45



is the most northerly of the Cape Missionary stations, and
is divided into Old and New. The first, which the “Queen
and Czar” now reached, had 12,000 inhabitants at the
beginning of the century, but they have since emigrated to_
the north-east, and the town, now fallen into decay, has
been replaced by New Lattakoo, which is built close by, on
a plain which was formerly covered with acacias, and
thither Mr. Dale conducted the Europeans. It consisted
of about forty groups of houses, and contained 5000 or
6000 inhabitants of the tribe of the Bechuanas, Dr. Living-
stone stayed in this town for three months before his first
voyage up the Zambesi in 1840, previously to crossing the
whole of Central Africa, from the bay of Loanda to the
port of Kilmana on the coast of Mozambique.

When they reached New Lattakoo, Colonel Everest
presented a letter from Dr. Livingstone, which commended
the Anglo-Russian Commission to his friends in South
Africa. Mr. Dale read it with much pleasure, and returned
it to the Colonel, saying that he might find it useful on his
journey, as the name of David Livingstone was known and
honoured throughout that part of Africa.

The members of the Commission were lodged in the
missionary establishment, a large house built on an eminence
and surrounded by an impenetrable hedge like a fortifica-
tion. The Europeans could be more comfortably lodged
here than with the Bechuanas; not that their dwellings
46 MERIDIANA, THE ADVENTURES OF

were not kept properly in order; on the contrary, the
smooth clay floors did not show a particle of dust,
and the long-thatched roofs were quite rain-proof; but
at best, their houses were little better than huts with
a round hole for a door, hardly large enough to admit
aman; moreover, they all lived in common, and close
contact with the Bechuanas would scarcely have been
agreeable.

The chief of the tribe, one Moulibahan, lived at Lattakoo,
and thought it right to come and pay his respects to the
Europeans. He was rather a fine man, without the thick
lips and flat nose of the negro, with a round face not so
shrunken in its lower part as that of the other Hottentots.
He was dressed in a cloak of skins, sewn together with
considerable art, and an apron called a “ pujoke.” Hewore
a leather skull-cap, and sandals of ox-hide: ivory rings
were wound round his arms, and from his ears hung brass
plates about four inches long—a kind of ear-ring—which is
also a charm; an antelope’s tail stood up in his skull-cap,
and his hunting-stick was surmounted by a tuft of small
black ostrich feathers. The natural colour of his body was
quite invisible through the thick coating of ochre with
which he was besmeared from head to foot, while some
ineffaceable incisions in his legs denoted the number of
enemies he had slain.

The chief, as grave as Matthew Strux himself, stepped


































TW) DA ill



Chief Moulibahan. —[Page 46. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 47



up to the Europeans, and took them in turn by the nose.
Lhe Russians permitted this to be done quite gravely, the
English rather more reluctantly, but still it had to be done,
for according to African custom, it denoted a solemn
engagement to fulfil the duties of hospitality to the Euro-
peans. When the ceremony was over, Moulibahan retired
without having uttered a word.

“And now that we are naturalized Bechuanas,” said
Colonel Everest, “let us begin our operations without
losing a day or an hour.”

And indeed no time was lost; still, such is the variety of
detail required in the organization of an expedition of this
character, the Commission was not ready to start until
the beginning of March. That, however, was the time
appointed by Colonel Everest; because then the rainy
season just being over, the water, preserved in the fissures
of the earth, would furnish a valuable resource to travellers
in the desert.

On the 2nd of March, then, the whole caravan, under
Mokoum’s command, was ready. The Europeans took
farewell of the missionaries at Lattakoo, and left the village
at seven o'clock in the morning.

“Where are we going, Colonel?” asked William Emery,
as the caravan passed the last house in the town.

“Straight on, Mr. Emery,” answered the Colonel, “until

we reach a suitable place for establishing a base.”
48 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



At eight o’clock the caravan had passed over the low
shrubby hills which skirt the town, and soon the desert,
with its dangers, fatigues, and risks, lay unfolded before the
travellers,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 49



CHAPTER VI.

BETTER ACQUAINTANCE,

THE escort under the bushman’s command was composed
of 100 men, all Bochjesmen—an industrious, good-tempered
people, capable of enduring great physical fatigue. In
former times, before the arrival of the missionaries, these
Bochjesmen were a lying, inhospitable race, thinking of
nothing but murder and pillage, and ever taking ad-
vantage of an enemy’s sleep to massacre him. To a great
extent the missionaries have modified these barbarous ©
habits, but the natives are still more or less farm-pillagers
and cattle-lifters.

Ten waggons, like the vehicle which Mokoum had taken
to the Morgheda Falls, formed the bulk of the expedition.
Two of these were like moving houses, fitted up as they
were with a certain amount of comfort, and served as an
encampment for the Europeans; so that Colonel Everest
and his companions were followed about by a wooden
habitation with dry flooring, and well tilted with water-

E
5° MERIDIANA;, THE ADVENTURES OF



proof cloth, and furnished with beds and toilet furniture
Thus, on arriving at each place of encampment, the tent
was always ready pitched. Of these waggons, one was
appropriated to Colonel Everest and his countrymen, Sir
John Murray and William Emery: the other was used by
the Russians, Matthew Strux, Nicholas Palander, and
Michael Zorn. Two more, arranged in the same way,
belonged, one to the five Englishmen and the other to the
five Russians who composed the crew of the “Queen and
Czar.”

The hull and machinery of the steamboat, taken to
pieces and laid on one of the waggons, followed the travel-
lers, in case the Commission might come across some of the
numerous lakes which are found in the interior of the
continent.

The remaining waggons carried the tools, provisions,
baggage, arms, and ammunition, as well as the instruments
required for the proposed triangular survey. The pro-
visions of the Bochjesmen consisted principally of antelope,
buffalo, or elephant meat, preserved in long strips, being
dried in the sun or by a slow fire: thus economizing the
use of salt, here very scarce.. In the place of bread, the
Bochjesmen depended on the earth-nuts of the arachis, the
bulbs of various species of mesembryanthemums, and other
native productions. Animal food would be provided by
the hunters of the party, who, adroitly employing theit
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 5t



bows and lances, would scour the plains and revictual the
caravan,

Six native oxen, long-legged, high-shouldered, and with
great horns, were attached to each waggon with harness
of buffalo hide. Thus the primitive vehicles moved slowly
though surely on their massive wheels, ready alike for
heights.or valleys. For the travellers to ride there were
provided small black or grey Spanish horses, good-
tempered, brave animals, imported from South America,
and much esteemed at the Cape. Among the troops of
quadrupeds were also half-a-dozen tame quaggas, a kind
of ass with plump bodies and slender legs, who make a
noise like the barking of a dog. They were to be used in
the smaller expeditions necessary to the geodetic opera-
tions, and were adapted to carry the instruments where the
waggons could not venture. The only exception to the
others was the bushman, who rode a splendid zebra with
remarkable grace and dexterity. This animal (the beauty
of whose coat with its brown stripes especially excited the
admiration of the connoisseur Sir John Murray) was
naturally defiant and suspicious, and would not have borne
any other rider than Mokoum, who had broken it in for his
own use. Some dogs of a half-savage breed, sometimes
wrongly called “hyena-hunters,” ran by the side of the
waggons, their shape and long ears reminding one of the
European brach-hound,

E2
52 - MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



Such was the caravan which was about to bury itself in
the deserts. The oxen advanced calmly under the guidance
of their drivers, ever and again pricking them in the flank

>

with their “jambox;” and it was strange to see the troop
winding along the hills in marching order. After leaving
Lattakoo, whither was the expedition going? Colonel
Everest had said, “Straight on ;” and indeed he and
Matthew Strux could not yet follow a.fixed course. What
they wanted, before commencing their trigonometrical
operations, was a vast level plain, on which to establish the
base of the first of the triangles, which, like a network, were
to cover for several degrees the southern part of Africa.
The Colonel explained to the bushman what he wanted,
and with the calmness of one to whom scientific language
is familiar, talked to him of triangles, adjacent angles,
bases, meridians, zenith distances, and the like. Mokoum
let him go on for a few moments, then interrupted him
with an impatient movement, saying, “Colonel, I don’t
know any thing about your angles, bases, and meridians.
I don’t understand even in the least what you are going to
do in the desert: but that is your business. You are
asking for a large level plain; oh well, I can find you
that.”

And at his orders, the caravan, having just ascended the
Lattakoo hills, turned down again towards the south-west.
This took them rather more to the south of the village,


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































William Emery and Michael Zorn in advance of the Expedition, —[Page 53.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 53

towards the plain watered by the Kuruman, and here the
bushman expected to find a suitable place for the Colonel’s
plans. From that day, he always took the head of the
caravan. Sir John Murray, well mounted, never left him,
and from time to time the report of a gun made his |
colleagues aware that he was making acquaintance with
the African game. The Colonel, quite absorbed in con-
templating the difficulties of the expedition, let his horse
carry him on. Matthew Strux, sometimes on horseback,
sometimes in the waggon, according to the nature of the
ground, seldom opened his lips. Nicholas Palander, as bad
a rider as could be, was generally on foot; at other times
he shut himself up in his vehicle, and there lost himself in
the profoundest mathematical abstractions.

. Although William Emery and Michael Zorn occupied
separate waggons at night, they were always together
when the caravan was on the march. Every day and
every incident of the journey bound them in a closer
friendship. From one stage to another they rode, talked,
and argued together. Sometimes they fell behind the
train, and sometimes rode on several miles ahead of it,
when the plain extended as far as they could see. They
were free here and lost amidst the wildness of nature.
How they forgot figures and problems, calculations and
observations, and chatted of every thing but science!
They were no longer astronomers contemplating the starry
54 MERIDIANA$; THE ADVENTURES OF



firmament, but were more like two youths escaped from
school, revelling in the dense forests and boundless plains.
They laughed like ordinary mortals. Both of them had
excellent dispositions, open, amiable, and devoted, forming
a strange contrast to Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux,
who were formal, not to say stiff. These two chiefs were
often the subject of their conversation, and Emery learnt
a good deal about them from his friend.

“Ves,” said Michael Zorn, that day, “I watched them
well on board the ‘ Augusta,’ and I profess I think they are
jealous of each other. And if Colonel Everest appears to
be at the head of things, Matthew Strux is not less than his
equal: the Russian Government has clearly established his
position. One chief is as imperious as the other; and be-
sides, I tell you again, there is the worst of all jealousy
between them, the jealousy of the learned.”

“ And that for which there is the least occasion,” answered
Emery, “ because in discoveries every thing has its value,
and each one derives equal benefit. But, my dear Zorn, if,
as I believe, your observations are correct, it is unfortunate
for our expedition: in such a work there ought to be a
perfect understanding.”

“No doubt,” replied Zorn, “and I fear that that under-
standing does not exist. Think of our confusion, if every
detail, the choice of a base, the method of calculating, the
position of the stations, the verification oi the figures, opens
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 55

a fresh discussion every time! Unless] am much mistaken
I forbode a vast deal of quibbling when we come to compare
our registers, and the observations we shall have made te
the minutest fraction.”

“You frighten me,” said Emery. “It would be sorrowful
to carry an enterprise of this kind so far, and then to fail for
want of concord. Let us hope that your fears may not be
realized.”

“T hope they may not,” answered the young Russian;
“but I say again, I assisted at certain scientific discussions
on the voyage, which showed me that both Colonel Everest
and his rival are undeniably obstinate, and that at heart
there is a miserable jealousy between them.”

“But these two gentlemen are never apart,” observed
Emery. “You never find one without the other; they are as

inseparable as ourselves.”

“True,” replied Zorn, “they are never apart all day long,
but then they never exchange ten words: they only keep
watch on each other, If one doesn’t manage to annihilate
the other, we shall indeed work under deplorable conditions.”

“ And for yourself,” asked William, ‘hesitatingly, “which
of the two would you wish——”

“My dear William,” replied Zorn with much ‘frankness,
“T shall loyally accept him as chief who can command
respect as such. This is a question of science, and I have
no prejudicein the matter. Matthew Strux and the Colonel
56 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



are both remarkable and worthy men: England and Russia
should profit equally from their labours; therefore it mat-
ters little whether the work is directed by an Englishman.
or a Russian. Are you not of my opinion?”

“Quite,” answered Emery; “therefore do not let us be
distracted by absurd prejudices, and let us as far as possible
use our efforts for the common good. Perhaps it will be
possible to ward off the blows of the two adversaries ;
and besides there is your fellow countryman, Nicholas
Palander. Hf

“He!” laughed Zorn, “he will neither see, hear, nor com-
prehend any thing! He would make calculations to any
extent ; but he is neither Russian, Prussian, English, or
Chinese; he is not even an inhabitant of this sublunary
sphere ; he is Nicholas Palander, that’s all.”



“JT cannot say the same for my countryman, Sir John
said Emery. “He is a thorough Englishman,
and a most determined hunter, and he would sooner follow

9

Murray,’

the traces of an elephant and giraffe than give himself: any
trouble about a scientific argument. We must therefore
depend upon ourselves, Zorn, to neutralize the antipathy
between our chiefs, Whatever happens, we must hold
together.”

“ Ay, whatever happens,” replied Zorn, holding out his
hand to his friend.

The bushman still continued to guide the caravan down
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 57
en aw a be OS en et IDE IY,
towards the south-west. At midday, on the 4th of March,
it reached the base of the long wooded hills which extend
from Lattakoo. Mokoum was not mistaken; he had led
the expedition towards the plain, but it was still undulated,
and therefore unfitted foran attempt at triangulation. The
march continued uninterrupted, and Mokoum rode at the
head of the riders and waggons, while Sir John Murray,
Emery, and Zorn pushed on in advance. Towards the end
of the day, they all arrived at a station occupied by one of
the wandering “boers,” or farmers, who are induced by the
richness of the pasture-land to make temporary abodes in
various parts of the country.

The colonist, a Dutchman, and head of a large family,
received the Colonel and his companions most hospitably,
and would take no remuneration in return. He was one of
those brave, industrious men, whose slender capital, intelli-
gently employed in the breeding of oxen, cows, and goats,
soon producesa fortune. When the pasturage is exhausted,
the farmer, like a patriarch of old, seeks for new springs
and fertile prairies, pitching his camp afresh where the
conditions seem favourable.

The farmer opportunely told Colonel Everest of a wide
plain, fifteen miles away, which would be found quite flat.
The caravan started next morning at daybreak. The only
incident that broke the monotony of the long morning

march, was Sir John Murray’s taking a shot, at a distance
4
58 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



of more than 1000 yards, at a gnu, a curious animal about
five feet high, with the muzzle of an ox, a long white tail,
and pointed horns. It fell with a heavy groan, much to
the astonishment of the bushman, who was surprised at
seeing the animal struck at such a distance. The gnu
generally affords a considerable quantity of excellent meat,
and was accordingly in high esteem among the hunters of
the caravan.

_ The site indicated by the farmer was reached about
midday. It was a boundless prairie stretching to the
north without the slightest undulation. No better spot for
measuring a base could be imagined, and the bushman,
after a short investigation, returned to Colonel Everest
with the announcement that they had reached the place
they were seeking,














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Bushman pointing to the Plain.—[Page 58.]
y THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 59

oe RR A i it RED

CHAPTER VII.
THE BASE OF THE TRIANGLE,

THE work undertaken by the Commission was a triangu-
lation for the purpose of measuring an arc of meridian.
Now the direct measurement of one or more degrees by
means of metal rods would be impracticable. In no part
of the world is there a region so vast and unbroken as to
admit of so delicate an operation. Happily, there is an
easier way of proceeding by dividing the region through
which the meridian passes into a number of imaginary
triangles, whose solution is comparatively easy.

These triangles are obtained by observing signals, either
natural or artificial, such as church-towers, posts, or rever-
beratory lamps, by means of the theodolite or repeating-
circle. Every signal is the vertex of a triangle, whose
angles are exactly determined by the instruments, so that
a good observer with a proper telescope can take the bear-
ings of any object whatever, a tower by day, or a lamp by
night. Sometimes the sides of the triangles are many
miles in length, and when Arago connected the coast of
60 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



Valencia in Spain with the Balearic Islands, one of the
sides measured 422,555 toises. When one side and two
angles of any triangle are known, the other sides and angle
may be found; by taking, therefore, a side of one of the
known triangles for a new base, and by measuring the
angles adjacent to the base, new triangles can be suc-
cessively formed along the whole length of the arc; and
since every straight line in the network of triangles is
known, the length of the arc can be easily determined.
The values of the sides and angles may be obtained by
the theodolite and repeating circle, but the jirs¢ side, the
base of the whole system, must be actually measured on the
ground, and this operation requires the utmost care.

When Delambre and Méchain measured the meridian of
France from Dunkirk to Barcelona, they took for their
base a straight line, 12,150 métres in length, in the road
from Melun to Lieusaint, and they were no less than 42
days in measuring it. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux
designed proceeding in the same way, and it will be seen
how much precision was necessary.

The work was begun on the 5th of March, much to the
astonishment of the Bochjesmen, who could not at all
understand it. Mokoum thought it strange for these learned
men to measure the earth with rods six feet leng; but any
way, he had done his duty ; they had asked him for a level
plain, and he had found it for them,


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Vi TAN im
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| NN t















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Geodesic Operations, —[Page 61. |

Commencement of the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 61



The place was certainly well chosen. Covered with dry,
short grass, the plain was perfectly level as far as the
horizon. Behind lay a line of hills forming the southern
boundary of the Kalahari desert ; towards the north the
plain seemed boundless, To the east, the sides of the table-
land of Lattakoo disappeared in gentle slopes; and in the
west, where the ground was lower, the soil became marshy,
as it imbibed the stagnant water which fed the affluents of
the Kuruman.

“TI think, Colonel Everest,” said Strux, after he had
surveyed the grassy level, “that when our base is esta-
blished, we shall be able here also to fix the extremity of
our meridian.”

“ Likely enough,” replied the Colonel. “We must find
out too, whether the arc meets with any obstacles that may
impede the survey. Let us measure the base, and we will
decide afterwards whether it will be better to join it by a
series of auxiliary triangles to those which the arc must
cross.”

They thus resolved to proceed to the measurement of
the base. It would be a long operation, for they wanted
to obtain even more correct results than those obtained by
the French philosophers at Melun. This would be a matter
of some difficulty : since when a new base was measured
afterwards near Perpignan to verify the calculations, there

was only an error of 11 inches in a distance of 330,000 toises,
62 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

Orders were given for encamping, and a Bochjesman
village, a kind of kraal, was formed on the plain. The
waggons were arranged in a circle like the houses, the
English and Russian flags floating over their respective
quarters. The centre was common ground. The horses
and buffaloes, which by day grazed outside, were driven
in by night to the interior, to save them from attacks
of the wild beasts around.

Mokoum took upon himself to arrange the hunting
expedition for revictualling; and Sir John Murray, whose
presence was not indispensable in the measurement of the
base, looked after the provisions, and served out the rations
of preserved meat and fresh venison. Thanks to the skill
and experience of Mokoum and his companions, game was
never wanting. They scoured the district for miles round,
and the report of their guns resounded at all hours.

The survey began on the next day, Zorn and Emery
being charged with the preliminaries.

“Come along,” said Zorn, “and good luck be with us.”

The primary operation consisted in tracing a line on
the ground where it was especially level. This chanced to
be from S.E. to N.W., and pickets being placed at short
intervals to mark the direction, Zorn carefully verified the
correctness of their position by means of the thread-wires of
his telescope. For more than eight miles (the proposed
length of the base) was the measurement continued, and
«

THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 63



the young men performed their work with scrupulous
fidelity.

The next step was to adjust the rods for the actual
measurement, apparently a very simple operation, but
which, in fact, demands the most continuous caution, as
the success of a triangulation in a great measure is con-
tingent on its preciseness.

On the morning of the roth, twelve wooden pedestals
were planted along the line, securely fastened in their posi-
tion, and prepared to support the rods, . Colonel Everest and
Matthew Strux, assisted by their young coadjutors, placed
the rods in position, and Nicholas Palander stood ready,
pencil in hand, to write down in a double register the
figures transmitted to him.

The rods employed were six in number, and exactly two
toises in length. They were made of platinum, as being
(under ordinary circumstances) unaffected by any condi-
tion of the atmosphere. In order, however, to provide
against any change of temperature, each was covered with
a rod of copper somewhat shorter than itself, and a micro-
scopic vernier was attached, to indicate any contraction or
expansion that might occur. The rods were next placed
lengthwise, with a small interval between each, in order to
avoid the slight shock which might result from immediate
contact. Colonel Everest and Matthew Strux with their
own hands placed the first rod. About a hurdred toises
@

64 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



farther on, they had marked a point of sight, and as the
rods were each provided with iron projections, it was not
difficult to place them exactly in the proper direction.
Emery and Zorn, lying on the ground, saw that the pro-
jections stood exactly in the middle of the sight.

“ Now,” said Colonel Everest, “we must define our exact
starting-point. We will drop a line from the end of our first
rod, and that will definitely mark the extremity of our base.”

“Yes,” answered Strux, “but we must take into ‘account
the radius of the line.

“ Of course,” said the Colonel.

The starting-point determined, the work went on. The
next proceeding was to determine the inclination of the
base with the horizon.

“We do not, I believe, pretend,” said Colonel Everest,
“to place the rod in a position which is perfectly horizontal.”

“No,” answered Strux, “it is enough to find the angle
which each rod makes with the horizon, and we can then
deduce the true inclination.”

Thus agreed, they proceeded with their observations,
employing their spirit-level, and testing every result by the
vernier. As Palander was about to inscribe the record, Strux
requested that the level should be reversed, in order that
by the division of the two registers a closer approxima-
tion to truth might be attained. This mode of double

observation was continued throughout the operations,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 65



Two important points were now obtained: the direction
of the rod with regard to the base, and the angle which it
made with the horizon. The results were inscribed in two
registers, and signed by the members of the Commission.

There were still two further observations, no less impor-
tant, to be made: the variation of the rod caused by
differences of temperature, and the exact distance measured
by it. The former was easily determined by comparing
the difference in length between the platinum and copper
rods. The microscope gave the variation of the platinum,
and this was entered in the double register, to be after-
wards reduced to 16° Centigrade.

They had now to observe the distance actually measured.
To obtain this result, it was necessary to place the second
rod at the end of the first, leaving a small space between
them. When the second rod was adjusted with the same
care as the former, it only remained to measure the interval
between the two. A small tongue of platinum, known as
a slider, was attached to the end of the platinum bar that
was not covered by the copper, and this Colonel Everest
slipped gently along until it touched the next rod. The
slider was marked off into 10,ocoths of a toise, and as a
vernier with its microscope gave the 100,o00ths, the space
could be very accurately determined. The result was
immediately registered.

Michael Zorn, considering that the covered platinum

F
66 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



might be sooner affected by heat than the uncovered
copper, suggested another precaution: accordingly they
erected a small awning to protect the rod from the sun’s
rays.

For more than a month were these minutiz patiently
carried on. As soon as four bars were adjusted, and the
requisite observations complete, the last of the rods was
carried to the front. It was impossible to measure more
than 220 to 230 toises a day, and sometimes, when the
wind was violent, operations were altogether suspended.

Every evening, about three quarters of an hour before it
became too dark to read the verniers, they left off work,
after taking various anxious precautions. They brought
forward temporarily the rod “No. 1,” and marked the point
of its termination. Here they made a hole, and drove ina
stake with a leaden plate attached. They then replaced
“No. 1” in its original position, after observing the inclina-
tion, the thermometric variation, and the direction. They
noted the prolongation measured by rod “ No. 4,” and then
with a plumb-line touching the foremost end of rod
“No, 1,” they made a mark on the leaden plate. They
carefully traced through this point two lines at right angles,
one signifying the base, the other the perpendicular. The
plate was then covered with a wooden lid, the hole filled
in, and the stake left buried till the morning. Thus, if any
accident had happened to their apparatus during the night
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 67



they would not be obliged to begin afresh. The next day,
the plate was uncovered, and rod “No. 1” replaced in the
same position as on the evening before, by means of the
plumb-line, whose point ought to fall exactly on the point
intersected by the two straight lines,

These operations were carried on for thirty-eight days
along the plain, and every figure was registered doubly,
and verified, compared, and approved, by each member
of the Commission,

Few discussions arose between Colonel Everest and his
Russian colleague; and if sometimes the smallest fraction
of a toise gave occasion for some polite cavillings, they
always yielded to the opinion of the majority. One ques-
tion alone called for the intervention.of Sir John Murray.
This was about the length of the base. It was certain that
the longer the base, the easier would be the measurement
of the opposite angle. Colonel Everest proposed 6000
toises, nearly the same as the base measured at Melun;
but Matthew Strux wished that it should be 10,000 toises,
since the ground permitted. Colonel Everest, however,
remained firm, and Strux seemed equally determined not
to yield. After a few plausible arguments, personalities
began: they were no longer two astronomers, but an
Englishman and a Russian. Happily the debate was in-
terrupted by some days of bad weather, which allowed
their tempers to cool. It was subsequently decided by the

Fa
68 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

majority that they should “split the difference,” and assign
8000 toises as the measurement of the base. The work
was at length completed. Any error which occurred, in
spite of their extreme precision, might be afterwards cor-
rected by measuring a new base from the northern ex-
tremity of the meridian.

The base measured exactly 8037.75 toises, and upon this
they were now to place their series of triangles.














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































eimai































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Measuring the Arc of the Meridian,



[Page 69.]
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Taking the Measurements,— [Page 69. |
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 69



CHAPTER VIII.
THE TWENTY-FOURTH MERIDIAN.

THE measurement of the base occupied thirty-eight days,
from the 6th of March to the 13th of April, and without
loss of time the chiefs decided to begin the triangles. The
first operation was to find the southern extremity of the arc,
and the same being done at the northern extremity, the
difference would give the number of degrees measured.

On the 14th they began to find their latitude. Emery
and Zorn had already on the preceding nights taken the
altitude of numerous stars, and their work was so accurate
that the greatest error was not more than 2”, and even this
was probably owing to the refraction caused by the changes
in the atmospheric strata. The latitude thus carefully
sought was found to be 27.951789°. They then found the
longitude, and marked the spot on an excellent large scale
map of South Africa, which showed the most recent geo-
graphical discoveries, and also the routes of travellers and
naturalists, such as Livingstone, Anderson, Magyar, Baldwin,
270 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



Burchell, and Lichtenstein. They then had to choose on
what meridian they would measure their arc. The longer
this arc is the less influence have the errors in the deter-
mination of latitude. Thearc from Dunkirk to Formentera,
on the meridian of Paris, was exactly 9° 56’. They had to
choose their meridian with great circumspection. Any
natural obstacles, such as mountains or large tracts of
water, would seriously impede their operations; but hap-
pily, this part of Africa seemed well suited to their purpose,
since the risings in the ground were inconsiderable, and the
few watercourses easily traversed. Only dangers, and not
obstacles, need check their labours.

This district is occupied by the Kalahari desert, a vast
region extending from the Orange River to Lake Ngami,
from lat. 20° S. to lat. 29°. In width, it extends from the
Atlantic on the west as far as long. 25° E. Dr. Livingstone
followed its extreme eastern boundary when he travelled as
far as Lake Ngami and the Zambesi Falls. Properly
speaking, it does not deserve the name of desert. It is not
like the sands of Sahara, which are devoid of vegetation,
and almost impassable on account of their aridity. The
Kalahari produces many plants; its soil is covered with
abundant grass; it contains dense groves and forests;
animals abound, wild game and beasts of prey; and it is
inhabited and traversed by sedentary and wandering tribes
of Bushmen and Bakalaharis, But the true obstacle to its
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 7



exploration is the dearth of water which prevails through
"the greater part of the year, when the rivers are dried up.
However, at this time, just at the end of the rainy season,
they could depend upon considerable reservoirs o. stagnant
water, preserved in pools and rivu-
lets. Such-werethe particulars given
by Mokoum. He had often visited
the Kalahari, sometimes on his own
account as a hunter, and sometimes
as a guide to some geographical
exploration.

It had now to be actually con-
sidered whether the meridian should
be taken from one of the extremi-
ties of the base, thus avoiding a
series of auxiliary triangles’.

1 By the aid of the accompanying figure, the
work called a triangulation may be understood.
Let A B be the arc. Measure the base AC
very carefully from the extremity A to the first
station C. Take other stations, D, E, F, G, H, I,
&c., on alternate sides of the meridian, and
observe the angles of the triangles, A C D,
CDE, DEF, EFG, &c. Then in the
triangle A C D, the angles and the side A C ‘
being known, the side C D may be found. a
Likewise in the triangle C D E, C D and the
angles being known, the side D E may be

‘found ; and so on through all the triangles.
Now determine the direction of the meridian
in the ordinary way, and observe the angle
MAC which it makes with the base AC,



2¢
7% MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF °

After some discussion, it was decided that the southern
extremity of the base would serve for a starting-point. It
was the twenty-fourth meridian east from Greenwich, and
extended over seven degrees of latitude, from 20° to 27°,
without any apparent natural obstacle. Towards the north
it certainly crossed the eastern end of Lake Ngami, but
Arago had met with greater difficulties than this when he
applied his geodesy to connect the coast of Spain with the
Balearic Islands. It was accordingly decided that meridian
24° should be measured, since, if it were afterwards pro-
longed into Europe, a northern arc of the same meridian
might be measured on Russian territory.

The astronomers proceeded at once to choose a station
which should form the vertex of the first triangle. This
was a solitary tree to the right of the meridian, standing on
a mound about ten miles away. It was distinctly visible
from each extremity of the base, and its slender top facili-
tated the taking of its bearings. The angle made by the
tree with the south-east extremity of the base was first

Then in the triangle A C M, because A C and the adjacent angles are known,
A M, CM, and the angle A C M, may be found, and A M is the first por-
tion of the arc. Then in the triangle D M N, since the side DM = C D —
C M, and the adjacent angles are known, the sides M N, DN, and the angle
‘MN D may be found, and M N is the next portion of the arc. Again, in
the triangle N E P, because E N = D E — DN, and the adjacent angles are
known, N P, the third portion of the arc, may be fouad. By proceeding
thus through all the triangles, piece by piece, the whole length of the arc A B
may be determined.














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Astronomers at Work.— [Page 72.]
5
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 73



observed, with the help of one of Borda’s repeating
circles.

The two telescopes were adjusted so that their axes were
exactly in the plane of the circle, in such a way that their
position represented the angular distance between the tree
and the north-west extremity of the base. This admirably-
constructed instrument corrects nearly all the errors of ob-
servation, and indeed, if the repetitions are numerous, the
errors tend to counterbalance and correct each other.

The Commission had four repeating circles: two for
measuring angles, and two more with vertical circles for
obtaining zenith distances, and so calculating in a single
night, to the smallest fraction of a second, the latitude of
any station. And indeed, in this important survey, it was
not only necessary to obtain the value of the angles of the
triangles, but also to measure the meridian altitude of the
stars, that being equal to the latitude of each station.

The work began on the 14th of April. Colonel Everest,
Zorn, and Palander observed the angle at the south-east
extremity of the base, while Strux, Emery, and Sir John
Murray observed that at the north-west extremity.

Meantime the camp was raised, and the bullocks har-
nessed, and Mokoum conducted the caravan to the first
station as ahalting-place. Two caravans, with their drivers,
accompanied the observers, to carry the instruments. The
weather was bright, but had the atmosphere been unfavour-
74 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



able by day, the observations would have been made by
night by means of reverberators or electric lamps.

On the first day, the two angles were measured, and the
result inscribed on the double register ; and the astronomers
all met in the evening at the camp which had been formed
round the tree which had served for their point of sight. It
was an immense baobab, more than 80 feet in circumference.
Its syenite-coloured bark gave it a peculiar appearance.
The whole caravan found room beneath its wide branches,
which were inhabited by crowds of squirrels, which greedily
devoured the white pulp of its egg-shaped fruit.

Supper was prepared for the Europeans. by the ship’s
cook. There was no lack of venison, for the hunters had
scoured the neighbourhood, and killed some antelopes ;
and soon the air was filled with an odour of broiled meat,
which still further aroused the appetite of the hungry
savants,

After the comforting repast, the astronomers retired to
their respective waggons, whilst Mokoum placed sentinels
round the camp. Large fires of the dead branches of the
baobab burnt throughout the night, and kept at a respectful
distance the tawny beasts, who were attracted by the odour
of the reeking flesh.

After two hours’ sleep, however, Emery and Zorn got up,
their observations not yet finished. They must find the
altitudes of some stars to determine the latitude of the


]

.— [Page 74

Baobab.

immense

t under an

pment

Encam
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 75
station, and both, regardless of the day’s fatigues, stood at
their telescopes, and rigorously determined the change of
zenith caused by the removal from the first station to the
second, while the laugh of the hyena and the roar of the
lion resounded over the sombre plain.
96 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



CHAPTER IX.

THE KRAAL.

THE next day operations were continued. The angle
made by the baobab with the extremities of the base was
measured, and the first triangle solved. Two more stations
were chosen to the right and left of the meridian ; one formed
by a distinct mound, six miles away ; the other, marked out
by a post about seven miles distant.

The triangulation went on uninterruptedly for a month,
and by the 15th of May the observers had advanced north-
wards 1°, having formed seven triangles. During this first
series of operations, the Colonel and Strux were rarely to-
gether, The division of labour separated them, and the
circumstance of their daily work being several miles apart
was a guarantee against any dispute. Each evening they
returned to their several abodes, and although at intervals
discussions arose about the choice of stations, there was no
serious altercation. Hence Zorn and his friend were in
hopes that the survey would proceed without any open
rupture.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND TIIREE RUSSIANS. 7?

After advancing 1° from the south, the observers found
themselves in the same parallel with Lattakoo, from which
they were distant 35 miles to the west.

Here a large kraal had lately been formed, and as it was"
a marked halting-place, Sir John Murray proposed that
they should stay for several days. Zorn and Emery could
take advantage of the rest, to take the altitude of the sun ;
and Palander would employ himself in reducing the mea-
surements made at different points of sight to the uniform
level of the sea. Sir John himself wanted to be free from
scientific observations, that he might divert himself with his
gun among the fauna of the country. A kraal, as it is
termed by the natives of South Africa, is a kind of moving
village, wandering from one pasturage to another, It isan
enclosure composed ordinarily of about thirty habitations,
and containing several hundred inhabitants. The kraal
now reached was formed by a group of more than sixty huts,
enclosed for protection from wild animals by a palisade of
prickly aloes, and situated on the banks of a small affluent
of the Kuruman. The huts, made of water-proof rush mats
fastened to wooden beams, were like low hives. The door-
way, protected by a skin, was so small that it could only
be entered on hands and knees, and from this, the only
aperture, issued such dense wreaths of smoke as would
make existence in these abodes problematical to any but a
Bochjesman or a Hottentot.
5§ MERIDIANA;, THE ADVENTURES OF

The whole population was roused by the arrival of the
caravan. The dogs, of which there was one for the protec-
tion of each cabin, barked furiously, and about 200 warriors,
armed with assagais, knives, and clubs, and protected by
their leathern shields, marched forward.

A few words from Mokoum to one of the chiefs soon
dispelled all hostile feeling, and the caravan obtained per-
mission to encamp on the very banks of the stream. The
Bochjesmen did not even refuse to share the pastures,
which extended for miles away.

Mokoum having first given orders for the waggons to be
placed in a circle as usual, mounted his zebra, and set off
in company with Sir John Murray, who rode his accustomed
horse. The hunters took their dogs and rifles, showing
their intention of attacking the wild beasts, and went
towards the woods.

“T hope, Mokoum,” said Sir John, “that you are going
to keep the promise you made at the Morgheda Falls, that
you would bring me into the best sporting country in the
world. But understand, I have not come here for hares or
foxes; I can get them athome. Before another hour——”

“Hour!” replied the bushman. “You are rather too
fast. A little patience, please. For myself, I am never
patient except when hunting, and then I make amends for
all my impatience at other times. Don’t you know, Sir
John, that the chase of large beasts is quite a science.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 79

Here you must wait and watch. You must not step or
even look too quickly. For my part, I have laid in wait
for days together for a buffalo or gemsbok, and if I have
had success at last, I have not considered my trouble in
vain.”

“Very good,” replied Sir John, “I can show you as much
patience as you can wish; but mind, the halt only lasts for
three or four days, and we must lose no time.”

“There is something in that,” said the bushman, so
calmly that Emery would not have recognized his com-
panion of the Orange River; “we will just kill that which
comes first, Sir John, antelope or deer, gnu or gazelle, any
thing must do for hunters in a hurry.”

“Antelope or gazelle!” cried Sir John, “why, what
more could I ask, my good fellow ?”

“ As long as your honour is satisfied I have nothing more
to say,” said the bushman, somewhat ironically. “I thought
that you would not let me off with any thing less than a
rhinoceros or two, or at least an elephant.”

“ Any thing and any where,” said Sir John, “we only
waste time in talking.”

The horses were put to a hand-gallop, and the hunters
advanced quickly towards the forest. The plain rose with
a gentle slope towards the north-east. It was dotted here
and there with shrubs in full bloom, from which issued a
viscous resin, transparent and odorous, of which the colonists
80 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

make a balm for wounds. In picturesque groups rose the
“nwanas,” a kind of sycamore fig, whose trunks, leafless to
the height of 30 or 40 feet, supported a spreading parasol
of verdure. Among the foliage chattered swarms of scream-
ing parrots, eagerly pecking the sour figs. Farther on were
mimosas with their yellow clusters, “silver trees,” shaking
their silky tufts, and aloes with spikes so red that they
might pass for coral plants torn from the depths of the sea.
The ground, enamelled with amaryllis with their bluish
foliage, was smooth and easy for the horses, and in less
than an hour after leaving the kraal, the sportsmen reached
the wood. For several miles extended a forest of acacias,
the entangled branches scarcely allowing a ray of sunlight
to penetrate to the ground below, which was encumbered
by brambles and long grass.

The hunters had little difficulty, however, in urging on
both horse and zebra, in spite of every obstacle, resting at
the recurring glades to examine the thickets around them.
The first day was not very favourable. In vain was the
forest scoured; not a single beast stirred, and Sir John’s
thoughts turned more than once to the plains of Scotland,
where a shot is rarely long delayed. Mokoum evinced
neither surprise nor vexation; to him it was not a hunt, but
merely a rush across the forest.

Towards six in the evening they had to think about
returning. Sir John was more vexed than he would allow.




The Hunters, — [Page 80. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 81



Rather than that he, the renowned hunter, should return
empty-handed, he resolved to shoot whatever first came
within range, and fortune seemed to favour him.

They were not more than three miles from the kraal
when a hare (of the species called “lepus rupestris”) darted
from a bush about r50 paces in front of them. Sir John
did not hesitate a moment, and sent his explosive ball after
the poor little animal.

The bushman gave a cry of indignation at such a ball
being employed for such an aim; but the Englishman,
eager for his prey, galloped to the spot where the victim
fell. In vain! the only vestiges of the hare were the bloody
morsels on the ground. Whilst the dogs rummaged in the
brushwood, Sir John looked keenly about, and cried,—

“Tam sure I hit it!”

“Rather too well,” replied the bushman quietly.

And sure enough, the hare had been blown into countless
fragments.

Sir John, greatly mortified, remounted his horse, and
returned to camp, without uttering another word.

The next day the bushman waited for Sir John Murray
to propose another expedition ; but the Englishman applied
himself for a time to his scientific instruments. For pastime
he watched the occupants of the kraal as they practised
with their bows, or played on the “gorah,” an instrument
composed of a piece of catgut stretched on a bow, and kept

G
82 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



in vibration by blowing through an ostrich feather. He
remarked that the women, while occupied in their domestic
duties, smoked “matokouané,” that is, the unwholesome
hemp-plant, a practice indulged in by most of the natives.
According to some travellers, this inhaling of hemp increases
physical strength to the damage of mental energy; and,
indeed, many of the Bochjesmen appeared stupefied from
its effects.

At dawn, however, the following day, Sir John Murray
was aroused by the appearance of Mokoum, who said, “I
think, sir, we may be fortunate enough to-day to find some-
thing better than a hare.”

Sir John, not heeding the satire, declared himself ready ;
and the two hunters, accordingly, were off betimes, This
time, Sir John, instead of his formidable rifle, carried a
simple gun of Goldwin’s, as being a more suitable weapon.
True, there was a chance of meeting some prowling beast
from the forest ; but he had the hare on his mind, and would
sooner use small shot against a lion than repeat an incident
unprecedented in the annals of sport.

Fortune, to-day, was more favourable to the hunters.
They brought down a couple of harrisbucks, a rare kind of
black antelope, very difficult to shoot. These were charm-
ing animals, four feet high, with long diverging horns shaped
like scimitars. The tips of their noses were narrow; they
had black hoofs, close soft hair, and pointed ears. Their
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 83



face and belly, white as snow, contrasted well with their
black back, over which fell a wavy mane. Hunters may
well be proud of such shots, for the harrisbuck has
always been the desideratum of the Delegorgues, Vahlbergs,
Cummings, and Baldwins, and it is one of the finest speci-
mens of the southern fauna.

But what made the Englishman’s heart beat fastest, was
Mokoum’s showing him certain marks on the edge of the
thick underwood, not far from a deep pool, surrounded by
giant euphorbias, and whose surface was dotted with sky-
blue water-lilies.

“Come and lie in ambush here to-morrow, sir,” said
Mokoum, “and thistime you may bring your rifle. Look at
these fresh footprints.”

“What are they ? Can they be an elephant’s?” asked
Sir John.

“Yes,” replied Mokoum, “and, unless Iam mistaken, of
a male full-grown.”

Eagerly, then, was the engagement made for the following
day. Sir John’s horse, as they returned, carried the harris-
bucks. These fine creatures, so rarely captured, excited
the admiration of the whole caravan, and all congratulated
Sir John, except perhaps Matthew Strux, who knew little
of animals, except the Great Bear, the Centaur, Pegasus,
and other celestial fauna.

At four o’clock the next morning, the hunters, attended

G2
84 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



by their dogs, were already hidden in the underwood. They
had discovered by new footmarks that the elephants came
in a troop to drink at the pool. Their grooved rifles carried
explosive bullets. Silent and still, they watched for about
half-an-hour, when they observed a movement in the grove,
about fifty paces from the pool. Sir John seized his gun,
but the bushman made him a sign to restrain his impatience.
Soon large shadows appeared: the thickets rustled under
the violence of some pressure; the brushwood snapped and
crackled, and the sound of a loud breathing was perceptible
through the branches. It was the herd of elephants. Half-
a-dozen gigantic creatures, almost as large as those of India,
advanced slowly towards the pool. The increasing daylight
allowed Sir John, struck with admiration, to notice espe-
cially a male of enormous size. His colossal proportions
appeared in the partial light even greater than they really
were. While his trunk was extended above the underwood,
with his curved tusks he struck the great stems, which
groaned under the shock. The bushman leant down close
to Sir John’s ear, and whispered,—

“Will he suit you ?”

Sir John made a sign of affirmation.

“Then,” said Mokoum, “we will separate him from the
rest.”

At this instant, the elephants reached the edge of the
pool, and their spongy feet sank into the soft mud. They
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 85

pumped up the water with their trunks, and poured it into
their throats with a loud gurgling. The great male looked
uneasily about him, and seemed to scent some approaching
danger.

Suddenly the bushman gave a peculiar cry. The dogs,
barking furiously, darted from concealment, and rushed to-
wards the herd. At the same moment, Mokoum, charging
his companion to remain where he was, went off on his
zebra to intercept the elephant’s retreat. The animal made
no attempt to take flight, and Sir John, with his finger on
the lock of his rifle, watched him closely. The brute beat
the trees, and lashed his tail furiously, showing signs not of
uneasiness, but of anger. Now, for the first time, catching
sight of his enemy, he rushed upon him at once.

Sir John was about sixty paces distant; and waiting till
the elephant came within forty paces, he aimed at his flank
and fired. But a movement of the horse made his aim
unsteady, and the ball only entered the soft flesh without
meeting any obstacle sufficient to make it explode.

The enraged beast increased its pace, which was rather a
rapid walk than a run, and would have soon distanced the
horse. Sir John’s horse reared, and rushed from the thicket,
his master unable to hold him in. The elephant followed,
ears erect, and bellowing like a trumpet. Sir John, thus
carried away, held on to his horse tightly with his knees,

and endeavoured to slip a cartridge into the chamber of his
86 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

rifle. Still the elephant gained on him, They were soon
beyond the wood, and out on the plain. Sir John vigo-
rously used his spurs, and the two dogs rushed panting in
the rear. The elephant was not two lengths behind. Sir
John could hear the hissing of his trunk, and almost feel
his strong breath. Every moment he expected to be
dragged from his saddle by the living lasso. All at once
the horse sunk on his hind-quarters, struck by the elephant
on his haunches. He neighed, and sprung to one side, thus
saving Sir John. The elephant, unable to check his course,
passed on, and sweeping the ground with his trunk, caught
up one of the dogs, and shook it in the air with tremendous
violence. No resource remained except to re-enter the
wood, and the horse’s instinct carried him thither. The
elephant continued to give chase, brandishing the unlucky
dog, whose head he smashed against a sycamore as he
rushed into the forest. The horse darted into a dense
thicket entangled with prickly creepers, and stopped.

Sir John, torn and bleeding, but not for an instant dis-
composed, turned round, and shouldering his rifle, took aim
at the elephant close to the shoulder, through the net-work
of creepers. The ball exploded as it struck the bone.
The animal staggered, and almost at the same moment
a second shot from the edge of the wood struck his left
flank, He fell on his knees near a little pool, half-hidden
in the grass. There, pumping up the water with his






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































J

age 86.

[P

oo,
>

and the Do

lephant

i.

The I












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































** Ife is ours! he is ours !’’—[Page 87.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 87

trunk, he began to wash his wounds, uttering plaintive
cries. The bushman now appeared, shouting, “ He is ours,
he is ours!”

And in truth the animal was mortally wounded. He
groaned piteously, and breathed hard. His tail moved
feebly, and his trunk, fed from the pool of his blood, poured
back a crimson stream on the surrounding brushwood.
Gradually failed his strength, and the great beast was
dead.

Sir John Murray now emerged from the grove. He was
half naked, little of his hunting costume remaining but
rags. But he felt as though he could have given his very
skin for this triumph.

“A glorious fellow!” he exclaimed, as he examined the
carcase; “but rather too big to carry home.”

“True, sir,” answered Mokoum ; “we will cut him up
on the spot, and carry off the choice parts. Look at his
magnificent tusks! Twenty-five pounds a-piece at least!
And ivory at five shillings a-pound will mount up.”

Thus talking, the hunter proceeded to cut up the animal.
He took off the tusks with his hatchet, and contented him-
self with the feet and trunk, as choice morsels with
which to regale the members of the Commission. This
operation took some time, and he and his companion did
not get back to camp before midday. The bushman had

the elephant’s feet cooked according to the African method,
6
88 MERIDIANA , THE ADVENTURES OF



that is, by burying them ina hole previously heated, like
an oven, with hot coals.

The delicacy was fully appreciated by all, not excepting
the phlegmatic Palander, and Sir John Murray received a
hearty round of compliments,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. &9

CSR EPR oP

CHAPTER X.
THE RAPID.

DURING their sojourn by the kraal, Colonel Everest and
Matthew Strux had been absolutely strangers. On the
eve of their departure for their divided labours, they had
ceremoniously taken leave one of the other, and had not
since met. The caravan continued its northward route,
and the weather being favourable, during the next ten
days two fresh triangles were measured. The vast verdant
wilderness was intersected by streams flowing between rows
of the willow-like “karree-hout,” from which the Bochjesmen
make their bows. Large tracts of desert land occurred,
where every trace of moisture disappeared, leaving the soil
utterly bare but for the cropping-up occasionally of those
mucilaginous plants which no aridity can kill. For miles
there was no natural object that could be used for a station,
and consequently the astronomers were obliged to employ
natural objects for their point of sight. This caused con-

siderable loss of time, but was not attended with much real
go MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF





difficulty. The crew of the “Queen and Czar” were em-
ployed in this part of the work, and performed their task
well and rapidly ; but the same jealousy that divided their
chiefs crept in sometimes among the seamen. Zorn and
Emery did all they could to neutralize any unpleasantness,
but the discussions sometimes took a serious character.
The Colonel and Strux continually interfered in behalf of
their countrymen, whether they were right or wrong, but
they only succeeded in making matters worse. After a
while Zorn and Emery were the only members of the party
who had preserved a perfect concord. Even Sir John
Murray and Nicholas Palander (generally absorbed as they
were, the one in his calculations, the other in his hunting),
began to join the fray.

One day the dispute went so far that Strux said to the
Colonel, “You must please to moderate your tone with
astronomers from Poulkowa: remember it was their tcele-
scope that showed that the disc of Uranus is circular.”

“Yes,” replied the Colonel; “but ours at Cambridge
enabled us to classify the nebula of Andromeda.”

The irritation was evident, and at times seemed to imperil
the fate of the triangulation. Hitherto the discussions had
had no injurious effect, but perhaps rather served to keep
every operation more scrupulously exact.

On the goth the weather suddenly changed. In any

_other region a storm and torrents of rain might have been
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 91



expected: angry-looking clouds covered the sky, and
lightning, unaccompanied by thunder, gleamed through the
mass of vapour. But condensation did not ensue—not a
drop of rain fell on to the thirsty soil. The sky remained
overcast for some days, and the fog rendered the points of
sight invisible at the distance of a mile. The astronomers,
however, would not lose time, and determined to set up
lighted signals and work at night. The bushman prudently
advised caution, lest the electric lights should attract the
wild beasts too closely to their quarters ; and in fact, during
the night, the yelp of the jackal and the hoarse laugh of
the hyena, like that of a drunken negro, could plainly be
heard,

In the midst of this clamour, in which the roar of a lion
could sometimes be distinguished, the astronomers felt rather
distracted, and the measurements were taken at least less
rapidly, if not less accurately. To take zenith distances while
gleaming eyes might be gazing at them through the darkness,
required imperturbable composure and the utmost sazg-
froid. But these qualities were not wanting in the members
of the Commission, and after a few days they regained their
presence of mind, and worked away in the midst of the
beasts as calmly as if they were in their own observatories.
Armed hunters attended them at every station, and no
inconsiderable number of hyenas fell by their balls. Sir
John thought this way of surveying delightful, and whilst
gz MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF





his eye was at his telescope his hand was on his gun, and
more than once he made a shot in the interval between two
observations.

Nothing occurred to check the steady progress of the
survey, so that the astronomers hoped before the end of
June to measure a second degree of the meridian. On the
17th they found that their path was crossed by an affluent
of the Kuruman. The Europeans could easily take their
instruments across in their india-rubber canoe ; but Mokoum
would have to take the caravan to a ford which he remem-
bered some miles below. The river was about half-a-mile
wide, and its rapid current, broken here and there by rocks
and stems of trees embedded in the mud, offered consider-
able danger to any light craft. Matthew Strux did not fail
“to represent this, but finding that his companions did not
recoil from the attempt he gave way.

Nicholas Palander alone was to accompany the caravan
in its déour. He was too much absorbed in his calculations
to give any thought to danger; but his presence was not
indispensable to his companions, and the boat would only
hold a limited number of passengers. Accordingly, he
gave up his place to an Englishman of the crew of the
“Queen and Czar,” who would be more useful under the
circumstances.

After making an arrangement to meet to the north of the
sapid, the caravan disappeared down the left bank of the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 93





stream, leaving Colonel Everest, Strux, Emery, Zorn, Sir
John, two sailors, and a Bochjesman, who was the pioneer
of the caravan, and had been recommended by Mokoum as
having much experience in African rapids.

“A pretty river,” observed Zorn to his friend, as the
sailors were preparing the boat.

“Very so, but hard to cross,” answered Emery. “These
rapids have not long to live, and therefore enjoy life. With
a few weeks of this dry season there will hardly remain
enough of this swollen torrent to water a caravan. It is
soon exhausted; such is the law of nature, moral and
physical. But we must not waste timein moralizing. See,
the boat is equipped, and I am all anxiety to see her per-
formances.”

In a few minutes the boat was launched beside a sloping
bank of red granite. Here, sheltered by a projecting rock,
the water quietly bathed the reeds and creepers. The
instruments and provisions were put in the boat, and the
passengers seated themselves so as not to interfere with the
action of the oars. The Bochjesman took the helm; he
spoke but a few words of English, and advised the travellers
to keep a profound silence while they were crossing. The
boat soon felt the influence of the current. The sailors
carefully obeyed every order of the Bochjesman. Some-
times they had to raise their oars to avoid some half- '

emerged stump; sometimes to row hard across a whirlpool,
94 « MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



When the current became too strong they could only guide
the light boat as it drifted with the stream. The native,
tiller in hand, sat watchful and motionless, prepared for
every danger. The Europeans were half uneasy at their
novel situation ; they seemed carried away by an irresistible
force. The Colonel and Strux gazed at each other without
a word; Sir John, with his rifle between his knees, watched
the numerous birds that skimmed the water; and the two
younger astronomers gazed with admiration at the banks,
past which they flew with dizzy speed. The light boat soon
reached the true rapid, which it was necessary to cross
obliquely. At a word from the Bochjesman, the sailors
put forth their strength; but, despite all their efforts, they
were carried down parallel to the banks. The tiller and
oars had no longer any effect, and the situation became
really perilous ; a rock or stump of a tree would inevitably
‘have overturned the boat. In spite of the manifest peril,
no one uttered a word. The Bochjesman half rose, and
watched the direction which he could not control. Two
hundred yards distant rose an islet of stones and trees,
which it was impossible to avoid. In a few seconds the
boat apparently must be lost; but the shock came with less
violence than had seemed inevitable. The boat lurched
and shipped a little water, but the passengers kept their
places. They were astonished to observe that what they
had presumed to be rock had moved, and was plunging


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but shook the Boat as a Dog would
a Hare. —[Page 95. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 95

about in the rush of the waters. It was an immense hippo-
potamus, ten feet long, which had been carried by the
current against the islet, and dared not venture out again
into the rapid. Feeling the shock, he raised and shook his
head, looking about him with his little dull eyes, and with
his mouth wide open, showing his great canine teeth. He
rushed furiously on the boat, which he threatened to bite to
pieces.

But Sir John Murray’s presence of mind did not forsake
him. Quietly shouldering his rifle, he fired at the animal
near the ear. The hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but
shook the boat as a dog would a hare. A second shot was
soon lodged in his head. The blow was mortal. After
pushing the boat with a last effort off the islet, the fleshy
mass sankin the deep water. Before the dismayed voyagers
could collect their thoughts, they were whirled obliquely
into the rapid. A hundred yards below, a sharp bend in the
river broke the current ; thither was the boat carried, and
was arrested by a violent shock. Safe and sound the whole
party leapt to the bank. They were about two miles below
the spot where they had embarked.
96 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



CHAPTER’ XE
A MISSING COMPANION.

IN continuing the survey the astronomers had to be on
their guard against the serpents that infested the region,
venomous mambas, ten to twelve feet long, whose bite would
have been fatal.

Four days after the passage of the rapid, the observers
found themselves in a wooded country. The trees, how-
ever, were not so high as to interfere with their labours, and
at all points rose eminences which afforded excellent sites
for the posts and electric lamps. The district, lying consi-
derably lower than the rest of the plain, was moist and fer-
tile. Emery noticed thousands of Hottentot fig-trees, whose
sour fruit is much relished by the Bochjesmen. From the
ground arose a soft odour from the “kucumakranti,” a
yellow fruit two or three inches long, growing from bulbous
roots like the colchicum, and eagerly devoured by the
native children. Here, too, in this more watered country,

reappeared the fields of colocynths and borders of the mint
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 97



so successfully naturalized in England. Notwithstanding
its fertility, the country appeared little frequented by the
wandering tribes, and not a kraal or a camp-fire was to be
seen ; yet water was abundant, forming some considerable
streams and lagoons.

The astronomers halted to await the caravan. The time
fixed by Mokoum had just expired, and if he had reckoned
well, he would join them to-day. The day, however, passed
on, and no Bochjesman appeared. Sir John conjectured
that the hunter had probably been obliged to ford farther
south than he had expected, since the river was unusually
swollen. Another day passed and the caravan had not
appeared. The Colonel became uneasy; he could not
go on,.and the delay might affect the success of the
operations, Matthew Strux said that it had-always been his
wish to accompany the caravan, and that if his advice
had been followed they would not have found themselves
in this predicament; but he would not admit that the
responsibility rested on the Russians. Colonel Everest
began to protest against these insinuations, but Sir John
interposed, saying that what was done could not be undone,
and that all the recriminations in the world would make no
difference.

It was then decided that if the caravan did not appear on
the following day, Emery and Zorn, under the guidance of
the Bochjesman, should start to ascertain the reason of the

H
98 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



delay. For the rest of the day the rivals kept apart, and
Sir John passed his time in beating the surrounding woods.
lle failed in finding any game, but from a naturalist’s point of
view he ought to have been satisfied, since he brought down
two fine specimens of African birds. One was a kind of
partridge, a francolin, thirteen inches long, with short legs,
dark grey back, red beak and claws, and elegant wings,
shaded with brown. The other bird, with a red throat and
white tail, was aspecies of falcon. The Bochjesman pioneer
cleverly took off the skins, in order that they should be
preserved entire.

The next day was half over, and the two young men
were just about to start on their search, when a distant bark
arrested them. Soon Mokoum, on his zebra, emerged at
full speed from the thicket of aloes on the left, and advanced
towards the camp.

“Welcome,” cried Sir John joyfully, “we had almost
given you up, and apart from you I should be inconsolable.
I am only successful when you are with me. We will
celebrate your return in a glass of usquebaugh.”

Mokoum made no answer, but anxiously scanned and
counted the Europeans. Colonel Everest perceived his
perplexity, and as he was dismounting, said,—

“For whom are you looking, Mokoum ?”

“For Mr. Palander,” replied the bushman.

“Ts he not with you?” said the Colonel.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 99°

“Not now,” answered Mokoum. “TI thought I should
find him with you. He is lost!”

At these words, Matthew Strux stepped forward.

“Lost!” he cried. “He was confided to your care.
You are responsible for his safety, and it is not enough to
say he is lost.”

Mokoum’s face flushed, and he answered impatiently,—

“Why should you expect me to take care of one who
can’t take care of himself? Why blame me? If Mr.
Palander is lost, it is by his own folly. Twenty times I
have found him absorbed in his figures, and have brought
him back to the caravan. But the evening before last he
disappeared, and I have not seen him since. Perhaps if
you are so clever, you can spy him out with your telescope.”

The bushman would doubtless have become more irri-
table still, if Sir John had not pacified him. Matthew
Strux had not been able to get in a word, but now turned
round unexpectedly to the Colonel, saying,—

“T shall not abandon my countryman. I suppose that
if Sir John Murray or Mr. Emery were lost, you would
suspend operations ; and I don’t see why you should do
less for a Russian than for an Englishman.”

“Mr. Strux,” cried the Colonel, folding his arms, and
fixing his eyes on his adversary, “do you wish to insult
me? Why should you suppose that we will not seek this
blundering calculator ?”

H 2
100 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

“Sir!” said Strux.

“Yes, blundering,” repeated the Colonel. “And to return
to what you said, I maintain that any embarrassment to
the progress of the-operations from this circumstance would
be due to the Russians alone.”

“Colonel,” cried Strux, with gleaming eyes, “ your words
are hasty.”

“My words, on the contrary, are well weighed. Let it
be understood that operations are suspended until Mr.
Palander is found. Are you ready to start?”

“T was ready before you spoke a word,” answered Strux
sharply.

The caravan having now arrived, the disputants each
went to his waggon. On the way Sir John could not help
saying,—

“Tt is lucky that the stupid fellow has not carried off the
double register.”

“Just what I was thinking,” said the Colonel.

The Englishmen proceeded more strictly to interrogate
Mokoum. He told them that Palander had been missing
for two days, and had last been seen alongside of the cara-
van about twelve miles from the encampment; that after
missing him, he at once set out to seek for him, but being
unsuccessful in all his search, had concluded that he must
have made his way to his companions.

Mokoum proposed that they should now explore the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 1014

woods to the north-east, adding that they must not lose an
hour if they wanted to find him alive, knowing that no one
could wander with impunity for two days in a country
infested like that with wild beasts. Where any one else
could find a subsistence, Palander, ever engrossed by his
figures, would inevitably die of starvation. At one o'clock,
guided by the hunter, they mounted and left the camp.
The grotesque attitudes of Strux, as he clung uneasily to
his steed, caused considerable diversion to his companions,
who, however, were polite enough to pass no remark,

Before leaving the camp, Mokoum asked the pioneer to
lend him his keen-scented dog. The sagacious animal,
after scenting a hat belonging to Palander, darted off ina
north-easterly direction, whilst his master urged him on by
a peculiar whistle. The little troop followed, and soon dis-
appeared in the underwood.

All the day the Colonel and his companions followed
the dog, who seemed instinctively to know what was re-
quired of him. They shouted, they fired their guns, but
night came on when they had scoured the woods for five
miles round, and they were at length obliged to rest until
the following day. They spent the night in a grove, before
which the bushman had prudently kindled a wood fire.
Some wild howls were heard, by no means reassuring.
Hours passed in arguing about Palander, and discussing

plans for his assistance. The English showed as much
102 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



devotion as Strux could desire; and it was decided that all
work should be adjourned till the Russian was found, alive
or dead.

After a weary night the day dawned. The horses
were saddled, and the little troop again followed the dog.
Towards the north-east they arrived at a district almost
swampy initscharacter. The small water-courses increased
in number, but they were easily forded, care being taken to
avoid the crocodiles, of which Sir John, for the first time in
his life, now saw some specimens. The bushman would
not permit that time should be wasted in any attack upon
the reptiles, and restrained Sir John, who was always on the
gui-vive to discharge a ball. Whenever a crocodile, snap-
ping its prey with its formidable jaw, put its head out of
water, the horses sct off at a gallop to escape.

The troop of riders went on over woods, plains, and
marshes, noting the most insignificant tokens: here a broken
bough ; there a freshly-trodden tuft of grass; or farther
on some inexplicable mark ; but no trace of Palander.

When they had advanced ten miles north of the last en-
campment, and were about to turn south-east, the dog
suddenly gave signs of agitation. He barked, and in an
excited way wageed his tail. Sniffing the dry grass, he ran
on a few steps, and returned to the same spot.

“The dog scents something,” exclaimed the bushman.

“It seems,” said Sir John, “he is on a right track,












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































ez = S
SSS PUTER

‘There he is,’? cried Mokoum.—[Page 103.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 103



Listen to his yelping: he seems to be talking to him-
self. He will be an invaluable creature if he scents out
Palander.”

Strux did not quite relish the way in which his country-
man was treated as a head of game; but the important
thing now was to find him, and they all waited to follow
the dog, as soon as he should be sure of the scent.

Very soon the animal, with a loud yelp, bounded over
the thicket and disappeared. The horses could not follow
through the dense forest, but were obliged to take a cir-
cuitous path. The dog was certainly on the right track
now, the only question was whether Palander was alive or
dead.

In a few minutes the yelping ceased, and the bushman
and Sir John, who were in advance, were becoming uneasy,
when suddenly. the barking began again outside the forest,
about half a mile away. The horses were spurred in that
direction, and soon reached the confines of the marsh. The
dog could distinctly be heard, but, on account of the lofty
reeds, could not be seen. The riders dismounted, and tied
their horses to a tree. With difficulty they made their way
through the reeds, and reached a large space covered with
water and aquatic plants. In the lowest part lay the
brown waters ‘of a lagoon half a mile square. The dog
stopped at the muddy edge, and barked furiously.

“ There he is!” cried Mokoum,
104 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

And sure enough, on a stump at the extremity of a sort
of peninsula, sat Nicholas Palander, pencil in hand, and a
note-book on his knees, wrapt in calculations. His friends
could not suppress a cry. About twenty paces off a num-
ber of crocodiles, quite unknown to him, lay watching, and
evidently designing an attack.

“Make haste,” said Mokoum, in a low voice; “I don’t
understand why these animals don’t rush on him.”

“They are waiting till he is gamey,” said Sir John,
alluding to the idea common among the natives that these
reptiles never touch fresh meat.

The bushman and Sir John, telling their companions to
wait for them, passed round the lagoon, and reached the
narrow isthmus by which alone they could get near Palander.
They had not gone two hundred steps, when the crocodiles,
leaving the water, made straight towards their prey. Palan-
der saw nothing, but went on writing.

“Be quick and calm,” whispered Mokoum, “or all is
lost.”

Both, kneeling down, aimed at the nearest reptiles, and
fired. Two monsters rolled into the water with broken
backs, and the rest simultaneously disappeared beneath the
surface.

At the sound of the guns Palander raised his head. He.

recognized his companions, and ran towards them waving


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































A missing Companion,—[Page 104. |
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 105

his note-book, and like the philosopher of old exclaiming
“Eureka!” he cried, “I have found it!”

“What have you found ?” asked Sir John.

“An error in the last decimal of a logarithm of James
Wolston’s.”

It was a fact. The worthy man had discovered the error,
and had secured a right to the prize offered by Wolston’s
editor. For four days had the astronomer wandered in
solitude. Truly Ampére, with his unrivalled gift of ab-

straction, could not have done better!
7
106 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

CHAPTER XII.
A STATION TO SIR JOHN’S LIKING.

So the Russian mathematician was found! When they
asked him how he had passed those four days, he could not
tell; he thought the whole story of the crocodiles was a
joke, and did not believe it. He had not been hungry; he
had lived upon figures. Matthew Strux would not reproach
his countryman before his colleagues, but there was every
reason to believe that in private he gave him a severe
reprimand,

The geodetic operations were now resumed, and went on
as usual till the 28th of June, when they had measured the
base of the 15th triangle, which would conclude the second
and commence the third degree of the meridian. Herea
physical difficulty arose. The country was so thickly
covered with underwood, that although the artificial signals
could be erected, they could not be discerned at any dis-
tance. One station was recognized as available for an
electric lamp. This was a mountain 1200 feet high, about
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 107

thirty miles to the north-west. The choice of this would
make the sides of this triangle considerably longer than any
of the former, but it was at length determined to adopt it.
Colonel Everest, Emery, Zorn, three sailors, and two Boch-
jesmen, were appointed to establish the lighted signal, the
distance being too great to work otherwise than at night.

The little troop, accompanied by mules laden with the
instruments and provisions, set off in the morning. The
Colonel did not expect to reach the base of the mountain
till the following day, and however few might be the diffi-
culties of the ascent, the observers in the camp would not
see the lighted signal till the night of the 29th or 30th.

In the interval of waiting, Strux and Palander went to
their usual occupations, while Sir John and the bushman
shot antelopes. They found opportunity of hunting a
giraffe, which is considered fine sport. Coming across a
herd of twenty, but so wild that they could not approach
within 500 yards, they succeeded in detaching a female
from the herd. The animal set off at first at a slow trot,
allowing the horsemen to gain upon her; but when she
found them near, she twisted her tail, and started at full
speed. The hunters followed for about two miles, when a
ball from Sir John’s rifle threw her on to her side, and made
her an easy victim.

In the course of the next night the two Russians took
some altitudes of the stars, which enabled them to deter-
108 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



mine the latitude of the encampment. The following night
was clear and dry, without moon and stars, and the
observers impatiently watched for the appearance of the
electric light. Strux, Palander, and Sir John relieved
guard at the telescope, but no light appeared. They con-
cluded that the ascent of the mountain had offered serious
difficulty, and again postponed their observations till the
next night. Great, however, was their surprise, when,
about two o'clock in the afternoon, Colonel Everest and
his companions suddenly reappeared in camp.

In answer to inquiries whether he had found the moun-
tain inaccessible, Colonel Everest replied that although in
itself the mountain was entirely accessible, it was so guarded
that they had found it necessary to come back for rein-
forcements,

“Do you mean,” said Sir John, “that the natives were
assembled in force ?”

“Yes, natives with four paws and black manes, who have
eaten up one of our horses.”

The Colonel went on to say that the mountain was only
_to be approached bya spur on the south-west side. In the
narrow defile leading to the spur a troop of lions had taken
up their abode. These he had endeavoured to dislodge,
but, insufficiently armed, he was compelled to beat a retreat,
after losing one of his horses by a single blow of a lion’s paw.

The recital kindled the interest of Sir John and the bush-
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 109

man. Clearly it was a station worth conquering, and an
expedition wasat once arranged. All the Europeans, with-
out exception, were eager to join, but it was necessary that
some should remain at the camp to measure the angles at
the base of the triangle, therefore the Colonel resolved to
stay behind with Strux and Palander, while Sir John,
Emery, and Zorn (to whose entreaties their chiefs had been
obliged to yield), Mokoum, and three natives on whose
courage he could rely, made up the party for the attack.

They started at four in the afternoon, and by nine were
within two miles of the mountain. Here they dismounted,
and made their arrangements for the night. No fire was
kindled, Mokoum being unwilling to provoke a nocturnal
attack from the animals, which he wished to meet by day-
light.

Throughout the night the roar of the lions could almost
incessantly be heard. Not one of the hunters slept for so
much as an hour, and Mokoum took advantage of their
wakefulness to give them some advice from his own expe-
rience.

“From what Colonel Everest tells us,” he said calmly,
“these are black-maned lions, the fiercest and most danger-
ous species of any. They leap for a distance of sixteen to
twenty paces, and I should advise you to avoid their first
bound. Should the first fail, they rarely take a second.
We will attack them as they re-enter their den at day-
£10 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



break; they are always less fierce when they are well
filled. But they will defend themselves well, for here,
in this uninhabited district, they are unusually ferocious.
Measure your distance well before you fire; let the animal
approach, and take a sure aim near the shoulder. We
must leave our horses behind; the sight of a lion terrifies
them, and therefore the safety of their rider is imperilled.
We must fight on foot, and I rely on your calmness.”

All listened with silent attention: Mokoum was now the
patient hunter. Although the lion seldom attacks a man
without provocation, yet his fury, when once aroused, is
terrible; and therefore the bushman enjoined composure
on his companions, especially on Sir John, who was often
carried away by his boldness.

“Shoot at a lion,” said Mokoum, “as calmly as if you
were shooting a partridge.”

At four o’clock, only a few red streaks being visible in
the far east, the hunters tied up their horses securely and
left their halting-place.

“Examine your guys, and be careful that your car-
tridges are in good trim,” continued Mokoum, to those who
catried rifles; for the three natives were armed otherwise,
satisfied with their bows of aloe, which already had
rendered them good service.

The party, in a compact group, turned towards the defile,
which had been partially reconnoitred the evening before,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 11



They crept, like Red Indians, silently between the trees,
and soon reached the narrow gorge which formed the
entrance. Here, winding between piles of granite, began
the path leading to the first slopes of the spur. Midway
the path had been widened by a landslip, and here was the
cave tenanted by the lions.

It was then arranged that Sir John, one of the natives,
and Mokoum, should creep along the upper edge of the
defile, with the intention of driving out the animals to the
lower extremity of the gorge. There the two young
Europeans and the other two Bochjesmen should be in
ambush to receive the fugitive beasts with shot and
arrows.

No spot could be better adapted for the manceuvres.
The forked branches of a gigantic sycamore afforded a safe
position, since lions do not climb; and the hunters, perched
at a considerable height, could escape their bounds and
aim at them under favourable conditions.

William Emery objected to the plan as being dangerous
for Sir John and the bushman, but the latter would hear
of no modification, and Emery reluctantly acquiesced.

Day now began to dawn, and the mountain-top was
glowing in the sun. Mokoum, after seeing his four com-
panions installed in the sycamore, started off with Sir
John and the Bochjesman, and soon mounted the devious
path which lay on the right edge of the defile. Cautiously
II2 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



examining their path, they continued to advance. In the
event of the lions having returned to their den and being
at repose, it would be possible to make short work of
them.

After about a quarter of an hour the hunters, reaching
the landslip before the cave to which Zorn had directed
them, crouched down and examined the spot. It seemed
a wide excavation, though at present they could hardly
estimate the size. The entrance was marked by piles of
bones and remains of animals, demonstrating, beyond
doubt, that it was the lions’ retreat.

Contrary to the hunter’s expectation, the cave seemed
deserted. He crept to the entrance and satisfied himself
that it was really empty. Calling his companions, who
joined him immediately, he said,—

“Our game has not returned, Sir John, but it will not be
long: I think we had better install ourselves in its place.
Better to be besieged than besiegers, especially as we have
an armed succour at hand. What do you think?”

“YT am at your orders, Mokoum,” replied Sir John.

All three accordingly entered. It was a deep grotto,
strewn with bones and stained with blood. Repeating their
scrutiny, lest they should be mistaken as to the cave being
empty, they hastened to barricade the entrance by piling
up stones, the intervening spaces being filled with
boughs and dry brushwood. This only occupied a few






It was a deep Grotto, strewn with Bones and stained with Blood.—[Page 112.]












The Entrance to the Lion’s Den.—[Page 112.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 113



minutes, the mouth of the cave being comparatively nar-
row. They then went behind their loop-holes, and awaited
their prey, which was not long in coming. A lion and two
lionesses approached within a hundred yards of the cave.
The lion, tossing his mane and sweeping the ground with
his tail, carried in his teeth an entire antelope, which he
shook with as much ease as acat would a mouse. The two
lionesses frisked along at his side.

Sir John afterwards confessed that it was a moment of
no little trepidation ; he felt his pulses beat fast, and was
conscious of something like fear; but he was soon himself
again. His two companions retained their composure
undisturbed.

At the sight of the barricade, the beasts paused. They
were within sixty paces. With a harsh roar from the lion,
they all three rushed into a thicket on the right, a little
below the spot where the hunters had first stopped. Their
tawny backs and gleaming eyes were distinctly visible
through the foliage.

“The partridges are there,” whispered Sir John ; “let us
each take one.”

“No,” answered Mokoum softly, “the brood is not all
here, and the report of a gun would frighten the rest.
Bochjesman, are you sure of your arrow at this dis-
tance ?”

“Yes, Mokoum,” said the native.
t14 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



“Then aim at the male’s left flank, and pierce his heart.”

The Bochjesman bent his bow, and the arrow whistled
through the brushwood. With a loud roar, the lion made
a bound and fell. He lay motionless, and his sharp teeth
stood out in strong relief against his blood-stained lips.

“Well done, Bochjesman!” said Mokoum.

At this moment the lionesses, leaving the thicket, flung
themselves on the lion’s body. Attracted by their roar,
two other lions and a third lioness appeared round the
corner of the defile. Bristling with anger, they looked
twice their ordinary size, and bounded forward with terrific
roars.

“ Now for the rifles,” cried the bushman, “we must
shoot them on the wing, since they will not perch.”

The bushman took deliberate aim, and one lion fell, as it
were paralyzed. The other, his paw broken by Sir John’s
bullet, rushed towards the barricade, followed by the infu-
riated lionesses. Unless the rifles could now be brought
successfully to bear, the three animals would succeed in
entering their den. The hunters retired; their guns were
quickly reloaded ; two or three lucky shots, and all would
be well; but an unforeseen circumstance occurred which
rendered the hunters’ situation to the last degree alarming.

All at once a dense smoke filled the cave. One of the
wads, falling on the dry brushwood, had set it alight, and
soon a sheet of flames, fanned by the wind, lay between the






































































































































AY
\ \







































































































\
\\





































































































































A Ball from the Bushman arrested the Lioness, —[Page 115. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, I15
men and the beasts. The lions recoiled, but the hunters
would be suffocated if they remained where they were. It
was a terrible moment, but they dared not hesitate.

“Come out! come out!” cried Mokoum.

They pushed aside the brushwood with the butt ends of
their guns, knocked down the stones, and, half choked,
leaped out of the cloud of smoke.

The native and Sir John had hardly time to collect their
senses when they were both knocked over. The African,
struck on the chest by one of the lionesses, lay motionless
on the ground ; Sir John, who received a blow from the tail
of the other, thought his leg was broken, and fell on his
knees. But just as the animal turned upon him, a ball
from the bushman arrested her, and, meeting a bone,
exploded in her body. At this instant Zorn, Emery, and
the two Bochjesmen appeared opportunely, although un-
summoned, hastening up the defile. Two lions and one
lioness were dead; but two lionesses and the lion with the
broken paw were still sufficiently formidable. The rifles,
however, performed their duty. A second lioness fell,
struck in both head and flank. The third lioness and the
wounded lion bounded over the young men’s heads, and
amid a last salute of balls and arrows disappeared round
the corner of the defile.

Sir John uttered a loud hurrah. The lions were con-
quered, four carcasses measured the ground.

Led,
116 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

With his friend’s assistance, Sir John was soon on his
feet again ; his leg was not broken. The native soon reco-
vered his consciousness, being merely stunned by the blow
from the animal’s head. An hour later, the little troop,
without further trace of the fugitive couple, regained the
thicket where they had left their horses.

“Well,” said Mokoum to Sir John, “I hope you like our
African partridges.”

“Delightful! delightful!” said Sir John, rubbing his
leg, “but what tails they have, to be sure!”




= Si —= = cS

STA ERA ==



“Well,” said Mokoum, ‘*I hope you like our African Partridges.’’—[Page 116.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 117

CHAPTER XIII.
PACIFICATION BY FIRE.

AT the camp Colonel Everest and his colleagues, with a
natural impatience, anxiously abided the result of the lion-
hunt. If the chase proved successful, the light would
appear in the course of the night. The Colonel and Strux
passed the day uneasily; Palander, always engrossed,
forgot that any danger menaced his friends. It might be
said of him, as of the mathematician Bouvard, “He will
continue to calculate while he continues to live;” for
apart from his calculations life for him would have lost its
purpose.

The two chiefs certainly thought quite as much of the
accomplishment of their survey as of any danger incurred
by their companions ; they would themselves have braved
any peril rather than have a physical obstacle to arrest
their operations.

At length, after a day that seemed interminable, the
night arrived. Punctually every half-hour the Colonel and
118 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

Matthew Strux silently relieved guard at the telescope,
each desiring to be the first to discover the light. But
hours passed on, and no light appeared. At last, ata
quarter to three, Colonel Everest arose, and calmly said.
“ The signal !”

The Russian, although he did not utter a word, could
scarcely conceal the chagrin which he felt at chance favour-
ing the Colonel.

The angle was then carefully measured, and was found
to be exactly 73° 58’ 42”.413.

Colonel Everest being anxious to join his companions as
soon as possible, the camp was raised at dawn, and by mid-
day all the members of the Commission had met once more.
The incidents of the lion-hunt were recounted, and the
victors heartily congratulated.

During the morning Sir John, Emery, and Zorn had
proceeded to the summit of the mountain, and had thence
measured the angular distance of a new station situated a
few miles to the west of the meridian. Palander also an-
nounced that the measurement of the second degree was
now complete.

For five weeks all went on well. The weather was fine,
and the country, being only slightly undulated, offered fair
sites for the stations. Provisions were abundant, and Sir
John’s revictualling expeditions provided full many a va-
riety of antelopes and buffaloes. The general health was
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. IIg

Ss



good, and water could always be found. Even the discus-
sions between the Colonel and Strux were less violent, and
each seemed to vie with the other in zeal for success, when
a local difficulty occurred which for a while hindered the
work and revived hostilities.

It was the 11th of August. During the night the
caravan had passed through a wooded country, and in the
morning halted before an immense forest extending beyond
the horizon. Imposing masses of foliage formed a verdant
curtain which was of indescribable beauty. There were the
“gounda,” the “mosokoso,” and the “mokoumdon,” a
wood much sought for ship-building; great ebony trees,
their bark covering a perfectly black wood ; “ bauhinias,”
with fibre of iron ; “ buchneras,” with their orange-coloured
flowers; magnificent “ roodeblatts,” with whitish trunks,
crowned with crimson foliage, and thousands of “guaia-
cums,” measuring fifteen feet in circumference. There
was ever a murmur like that of the surf on a sandy coast ;
it was the wind, which, passing across the branches, was
calmed on the skirts of the forest. In answer to a question
from the Colonel, Mokoum said,—

“Tt is the forest of Rovouma.”

“What is its size?”

“Tt is about forty-five miles wide, and ten long.”

“ How shall we cross it ?”

“Cross it we cannot,” said Mokoum, “There is but
120 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



one resource: we must go round either to the east or to
the west.”

At this intelligence the chiefs were much perplexed. In
the forest they could not establish stations; to pass round
would involve them in an additional series of perhaps ten
auxiliary triangles.

Here was a difficulty of no little magnitude. Encamping
in the shade of a magnificent grove about half a mile from
the forest, the astronomers assembled in council. The
question of surveying across the mass of trees was at once
set aside, and it now remained to determine whether they
should make the circuit to the east or the west, since the
meridian passed as nearly as possible through the centre of
the forest. On this point arose a violent discussion be-
tween the Colonel and Strux. The two rivals recovered
their old animosity, and the discussion ended in a serious
altercation. Their colleagues attempted to interfere, but to
no purpose. The Englishman wished to turn to the right,
since that direction approached the route taken by Dr.
Livingstone in his expedition to the Zambesi Falls, and
the country would on that account be more known and
frequented. The Russian, on the contrary, insisted on
going to the left, but apparently for no other reason than
to thwart the Colonel. The quarrel went so far that a
separation between the members of the Commission seemed
imminent. Zorn, Emery, Sir John, and Palander with-
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 121

drew and left their chiefs to themselves. Such was their
obstinacy that it seemed as if the survey must continue
from this point in two oblique series of triangles.

The day passed away without any reconciliation, and the
next morning Sir John, finding matters still in the same
condition, proposed to Mokoum to beat the neighbourhood.
Perhaps meanwhile the astronomers would come to an
understanding: any way, some fresh venison would not be
despised.

Mokoum, always ready, whistled to his dog Top, and the
two hunters ventured several miles from the encampment.
The conversation naturally turned on the subject of the
difficulty.

“T expect,” said the bushman, “we shall be encamped
some time here. Our two chiefs are like ill-paired oxen,
one pulls one way and the other another, and the conse-
quence is that the waggon makes no headway.”

“Tt is all very sad,’ answered Sir John, “and looks like
a separation. The interests of science are compromised,
otherwise I should be indifferent to it all. I should amuse
myself with my gun until the rivals made it up.”

“Do you think they w7z// make it up? For my part, I
am almost afraid that our halt will be indefinitely pro-
longed.”

“T fear so, Mokoum,” replied Sir John. “The matter is

so trivial, and it is no question of science. Our chiefs would
8
122 MERIDIANA;, THE ADVENTURES OF

doubtless have yielded to a scientific argument, but they
will never make concession in a pure matter of opinion.
How unfortunate that the meridian happens to cross this
forest |”

“ Hang the forests!” exclaimed the bushman, “ don’t let
them stop your measuring, if you want to measure. But I
can’t see the good of your getting at the length and breadth
of the earth? Who will be any better off when every thing
is reduced to feet and inches? I should just like to think
of the globe as infinite; to measure it is to make it small.
No, Sir John, if I were to live for ever, I could never under-
stand the use of your operations.”

Sir John could not help smiling. They had often debated
the subject, and the ignorant child of nature could evidently
not enter into the interest attached to the survey. When-
ever Sir John attempted to convince him, he answered
eloquently with arguments stamped with a genuine natural-
ness, of which Sir John, half-savaxt and half-hunter, could
fully appreciate the charm.

Thus conversing, the hunters pursued the rock-hares, the
shrill-toned plovers, the partridges (with brown, yellow, and
black plumage), and other small game. But Sir John had
all the sport to himself. The bushman seldom fired; he
was pre-occupied. The quarrel between the two astro-
nomers seemed to trouble him more than it did his com-
panion, and the variety of game hardly attracted his notice.
TIIREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 123



In truth there was an idea floating through his brain,
which, little by little, took more definite form. Sir John
heard him talking to himself, and watched him as he quietly
let the game pass by, as engrossed as Palander himself.
Two or three times in the course of the day he drew near
Sir John and said,—

“So you really think that Colonel Everest and Mr.
Strux will not come to terms?”

Sir John invariably replied that agreement seemed un-
likely, and that he feared there would be a separation
between Englishmen and Russians. The last time Mokoum
received this answer he added,—

“Well, you may be easy; I have found a means
to satisfy both the chiefs. Before to-morrow, if the
wind is favourable, they will have nothing to quarrel
about.”

“What do you mean to do, Mokoum ?”

“Never mind, Sir John.”

“Very well, I will leave it to you. You deserve to have
your name preserved in the annals of science.”

“That would be too great an honour for-me, Sir John,”
answered the bushman, and then continued silently to

' ponder over his project. Sir John made no further inquiries,
but could not at all guess how the bushman proposed to
re-unite the two adversaries.

Towards evening the hunters returned to camp, and
124 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



found matters even worse than before, The oft-repeated
intervention of Zorn and Emery had been of no avail, and
the quarrel had now reached such a height that reconcilia-
tion seemed impossible. It appeared only too probable
that the survey would be continued in two separate direc-
tions. The thought of this was sorrowful to Emery and
Zorn, who were now so nearly bound by mutual sympathy.
Sir John guessed their thoughts, and was eager to reassure
them ; but however much he was secretly disposed to trust
to the bushman, he abstained from raising any hopes which
might be fallacious.

Throughout the evening Mokoum did not leave his
ordinary occupations. He arranged the sentinels, and took
the usual precautions. Sir John began to think that he
had forgotten his promise. Before going to rest he tried
to sound Colonel Everest, whom he found immovably re-
solved that, unless Strux yielded, the English and Russians
must part. “There are things,” added the Colonel, in
a tone of decision, “that cannot be borne, even from a
colleague.”

Sir John, very uneasy, retired to his bed, and being
fatigued with his day’s sport, was soon asleep. Towards
eleven o’clock he was suddenly aroused by the natives
running to and fro in the camp. He quickly rose, and
found every one on their feet. The forest was on fire. In
the dark night, against the black sky, the curtain of flame
\\

vy
‘

ANY



















ir John was soon asleep,— [Page 124.]

x












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Forest on Fire.— (Page 125.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 125





seemed to rise to the zenith; and in this incredibly short
time the fire had extended for several miles.

Sir John looked at Mokoum, who, standing near, made
no answer to his glance; but he at once understood. The
fire was designed to open a road through that forest which
had stood impervious for ages. The wind, from the south,
was favourable. The air, rushing as from .a ventilator,
accelerated the conflagration, and furnished an ever fresh
supply of oxygen. It animated the flames, and kept the
kindled branches burning like a myriad brands. The scat-
tered fragments became new centres for fresh outbreaks of
flame; the scene of the fire became larger, and the heat
grew intense. The dead wood piled under the dark foliage
crackled, and ever and anon louder reports and a brighter
light told that the resinous trees were burning like torches.
Then followed explosions like cannonades, as the great
trunks of ironwood burst asunder with a reverberation as
‘of bombs. The sky reflected the glow, and the clouds
carried the rosy glare high aloft. Showers of sparks
emitted from the wreaths of smoke studded the heavens
like red-hot stars.

Then, on every side, were heard the howls, shrieks, and
bellowings of herds of bewildered hyenas, buffaloes, and
lions; elephants rushed in every direction, like huge dark
spectres, and disappeared beyond the horizon,

The fire continued throughout the following day and
126 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF a
night; and when day broke on the 14th a vast space,
several miles wide, had been opened across the forest. A
passage was now free for the meridian. The daring genius
of Mokoum had arrested the disaster which threatened the’

survey,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 127



CHAPTER XIV.
A DECLARATION OF WAR.

ALL pretext for quarrelling being now removed, the
Colonel and Strux, somewhat rancorous at heart, recom-
menced their joint labours. About five miles to the left of
the gap made by the conflagration, rose an eminence which
would serve as the vertex of a new triangle. When the
requisite observations were complete, the caravan set off
across the burnt forest.

The road was paved with embers. The soil was still
burning, and here and there smouldered stumps of trees,
while a hot steam rose around. In many places lay the
blackened carcases of animals which had been unable to
make their escape. Wreaths of smoke gave evidence that
the fire was not yet extinct, and might still be rekindled
by the wind. Had the flames burst out again the cara-
van must inevitably have been destroyed. Towards the
middle of the day, however, it was safely encamped at the
foot of the hill. Here was a mass of rock which seemed to
128 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



have been arranged by the hand of man. It was a kind of
cromlech—a surprising erection to find in that locality—
resembling the structures attributed to the Druids, and
which ever furnish fresh interest to the archzologist. The
most credible suggestion was that it must be the remains
of some primitive African altar.

The two young astronomers and Sir John Murray wished
to visit the fantastic construction, and, accompanied by the
bushman, they ascended the slope. They were not above
twenty paces from the cromlech when a man, hitherto
concealed behind one of the massy stones at the base,
appeared for a moment, and, descending the hill, stole quickly
away into a thicket that had been untouched by the fire.
The momentary glance was enough for the bushman. “A
Makololo!” he cried, and rushed after the native. Sir
John followed, and both in vain searched the wood. The
native, knowing the short paths, had escaped where the
most experienced hunter could not have traced him.
When the incident was related to Colonel Everest he sent
for Mokoum, and asked him who the man was? what he
was doing? and why he had followed him ?

“He is a Makololo, Colonel,” replied Mokoum. “He
belongs to one of the northern tribes that haunt the
affluents of the Zambesi. Not only is he an enemy of us
Bochjesmen, but he is a plunderer of all who venture into

the country; he was spying us, and we shall be lucky.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 129





if we have not cause to regret that we couldn’t get hold of
him.”

“But what have we to fear from a band of robbers ?”
asked the Colonel; “are not our numbers sufficient to
resist them ?”

“At present, yes,” replied the bushman; “but in the
north these tribes are more frequent, and it is difficult to
avoid them. If this Makololo is a spy, as I suspect, he will
not fail in putting several hundred of these robbers on our
track, and then, Colonel, I would not give a farthing for all
your triangles.”

The Colonel was vexed. He knew that the bushman
was not the man to exaggerate danger, and that all he said
ought to be duly weighed. The intentions of the native
were certainly suspicious; his sudden appearance and
immediate flight showed that he was caught deliberately
spying. No doubt he would announce the approach of the
Commission to the tribes of the north. There was, how-
ever, no help for it now; the caravan must continue its
march with extra precautions.

On the 17th of August the astronomers completed their
twenty-second triangle, and with it the third degree of the
meridian. Finding by the map that the village of
Kolobeng was about too miles to the north-east, they
resolved to turn thither for a few days’ rest. For nearly
six months they had had no communication with the

K
130 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



civilized world, and at Kolobeng, an important village and
missionary station, they would probably hear news from
Europe, besides being able to re-provision the caravan.

The remarkable cromlech was at once chosen as the
landmark whence subsequent operations should com:
mence, and the Colonel gave the signal for departure.
With no further incident the caravan reached Kolobeng on
the 22nd. The village was merely a mass of native huts,
the uniformity of which was relieved by the depét of the
missionaries who had settled there. Formerly called
Lepelolé, it is marked on some maps Litoubarouka. Here
Dr. Livingstone stayed for some months in 1843, to learn
the habits of the Bechuanas, or Bakouins, as they are more
generally termed in this part of the country.

With all hospitality the missionaries received the
Europeans, and put every available resource at their
disposal. Livingstone’s house was still to be seen, sacked
and ruined, as when visited by Baldwin; the Boérs had not
spared it in their incursion of 1852.

All eagerly asked for news from Europe; but their
curiosity could not be immediately satisfied, as no courier
had reached the mission in the last six months; but in
about a week the principal said they expected journals and
despatches, since they had already heard of the arrival of a
carrier on the banks of the Upper Zambesi. A week was
just the period that the astror>mers desired for their rest,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 131

and all except Palander, who constantly revised his calcu-
lations, passed the time in a complete far niente. The
stern Matthew Strux held himself aloof from his English
colleagues, and Emery and Zorn took many walks in the
neighbourhood. The firmest friendship united these two,
and they believed that nothing could break the closeness of
their sympathy.

On the goth the eagerly-expected messenger arrived. He
was a native of Kilmaine, a town by the delta of the
Zambesi. A merchantman from the Mauritius, trading in
gum and ivory, had landed on that coast early in July, and
delivered the despatches for the missionaries. The papers
were dated two months back, for the native had taken
four weeks to ascend the Zambesi.

On the arrival of the messenger, the principal of the
mission had handed to Colonel Everest a bundle of
European newspapers, chiefly the Z7mes, the Daily News,
and the Yournal des Débats. The intelligence they con-
tained had, under the circumstances, a special importance,
and produced an unexpected emotion among the entire
party.

The members of the Commission were altogether in the
chief room of the mission. Colonel Everest drew out the
Daily News for the 13th of May, with the intention of
reading aloud to his colleagues. Scarcely had he glanced
at the first leading article, when his brow contracted, and

K 2
E32 MERIDIANA;, THE ADVENTURES OF



the paper trembled in his hand. In a few moments he
recovered his usual composure.

“What does the paper say, Colonel?” asked Sir John.

“Tt is grave news, gentlemen,” said the Colonel, “that
I have to communicate.”

He kept the paper in his hand, and his colleagues waited
eagerly for him to speak. To the surprise of all he rose,
and, advancing to Matthew Strux, said,—

“Before communicating the intelligence conveyed in
this paper, I should wish to make an observation to you.”

“Iam ready to hear any thing you may say,” said
Strux, much astonished.

The Colonel then said solemnly,—

“Mr. Strux, hitherto there has been between us a rivalry
more personal than scientific, which has rendered our co-
operation in the common cause somewhat difficult. This,
I believe, is to be attributed to the fact of there being zwo
of us at the head of this expedition. Toavoid antagonism,
there should be only one chief to every enterprise. You
agree with me, do you not?”

Strux bowed in assent. The Colonel went on,—

“This position, unpleasant for each of us, must, through
recent circumstances, now be changed. First, sir, let me
say that I esteem you highly, as your position in the
scientific world demands. I beg you to believe that I
regret all that has passed between us.”










































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































= = = = = =





‘¢ War is declared between England and Russia.’’—[Page 133.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 133

« a

These words were uttered with great dignity, even with
pride. There was no humiliation in the voluntary apology,
so nobly expressed, and neither Strux nor his colleagues
could guess his motive. Perhaps the Russian, not having
the same incentive, was not equally disposed to forget any
personal resentment. However, mastering his ill-feeling,
he replied,—

“With you, Colonel, I think that no rivalry on our part
should be permitted to injure the scientific work with
which we are entrusted. I likewise hold you in the esteem
that your talents deserve, and in future I will do all in my
power to efface any personality from our relations. But
you spoke of a change; I do not understand——”

“Vou will soon be made to understand, Mr. Strux,”
replied the Colonel, with a touch of sadness in his tone,
“but first give me your hand.”

“Here it is,” rejoined Strux, with a slight hesitation.
Without another word the astronomers joined hands,

“Now you are friends,” cried Sir John.

“ Alas! no,” said the Colonel, dropping the Russian’s
hand ; “henceforth we are enemies, separated by an abyss
which must keep us apart even on the territory of science.”

Then turning to his colleagues, he added,—

“Gentlemen, war is declared between England and
Russia. See, the news is conveyed by these English,
French, and Russian newspapers.
334 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



And, in truth, the war of 1854 had begun. The English,
with their allies the French and Turks, were fighting before
Sebastopol, and the Eastern question was being submitted
to the ordeal of a naval conflict on the Black Sea.

The Colonel’s words fell like a thunderbolt. The English
and Russians, with their strong sentiment of nationality,
started to their feet. Those three words, “ War is declared,”
were enough. They were no longer companions united in
a common labour, but already eyed one another as avowed
antagonists. Such is the influence of these national duels
on the heart of man. An instinctive impulse had divided
the Europeans—Nicholas Palander himself yielding to the
feeling: Emery and Zorn alone regarded each other with
more of sadness than animosity, and regretted that they
had not shaken hands before Colonel Everest’s commu-
nication, No further conversation ensued; exchanging
bows, English and Russians retired.

This novel situation, although it would not interrupt the
survey, would render its continuation more difficult. For
the interest of its country, each party desired to pursue
the operations; but the measurements must be carried
along two different meridians. In a formal interview sub-
sequently arranged between the chiefs, it was decided by
lot that the Russians should continue the meridian already
begun, while the English should choose an arc 60 or 80
miles to the west, and unite it to the first by a series of




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































Ht

al













































The Parting of Emery and Zorn, —[ Page 135.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND TIIREE RUSSIANS. 135

auxiliary triangles ; they would then continue their survey
as far as lat. 20°.

All these arrangements were made without any out-
break: personal rivalry was swallowed up by national
feeling, and the Colonel and Strux did not exchange an
uncivil word, but kept within the strictest limits of
politeness.

The caravan was equally divided, each party preserving
its own stores. The steam-boat fell by lot to the Russians.

Mokoum, especially attached to Sir John, followed the
English caravan. The pioneer, equally experienced,
headed the Russians. Each party retained its instru-
ments and one of the registers.

On the 31st of August the Commission divided. The
English cordially thanked the missionaries for their kind
hospitality, and started first to connect their last station
with their new meridian.

If, before their departure, any one had entered the
privacy of the inner room, he would have seen Emery
grasping the hand of Zorn, once his fricnd, but now, by
the will of their Majesties the Queen of England and the
Czar of Russia, no longer friend, but foe,
636 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF





a ees

CHAPTER XV.
A GEOMETRIC PROGRESSION,

AFTER the separation the English astronomers continued
their labours with the same care and precision as hitherto.
Three had now to do the work of six, and consequently
the survey advanced more slowly, and was attended with
more fatigue; but they were not the men to spare them-
selves; the desire that the Russians should not surpass
them in any way sustained them in their task, to which
they gave all their time and thoughts. Emery had to
indulge in fewer reveries, and Sir John could not so often
spare his time for hunting. A new programme was drawn
up, assigning to each astronomer his proper share of the
labour. Sir John and the Colonel undertook all obser-
vations both in the sky and in the field; while Emery
replaced Palander as calculator. All questions were
decided in common, and there was no longer any fear
that disagreement should arise. Mokoum was still the
guide and hunter to the caravan. _The English sailors,
who formed half the crew of the “Queen and Czar,” had,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 137



of course, followed their countrymen; and although the
Russians were in possession of the steam-vessel, the India-
rubber boat, which was large enough for ordinary purposes,
was the property of the English. The provision-waggons
were divided, thus impartially ensuring the revictualling of
each caravan. The natives likewise had to be severed into
two equal troops, not without some natural signs of dis-
pleasure on their part; far from their own pasturages and
water-courses, in a region inhabited by wandering tribes
hostile to the tribes of the south, they could scarcely be
reconciled to the prospect of separation. But at length,
by the help of the bushman and the pioneer, who told
them that the two detachments would be comparatively
a short distance apart, they consented to the arrange-
ment.

On leaving Kolobeng the English caravan re-entered
the burnt forest and arrived at the cromlech which had
served for their last station. Operations were resumed,
and a large triangle carried the observers at once ten or
twelve miles to the west of the old meridian.

Six days later the auxiliary series of triangles was
finished, and Colonel Everest and his colleagues, after
consulting the maps, chose the new arc one degree west of
the other, being 23° east of the meridian of Greenwich.
They were not more than sixty miles from the Russians,

but this distance put any collision between the two parties
5 :
138 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



out of the question, as it was improbable that their
triangles would cross.

All through September the weather was fine and clear.
The country was fertile and varied, but scantily populated.
The forests, which were few, being broken by wide, open
tracts, and with occasional mounds occurring in the prairies,
made the district extremely favourable for the observations.
The region was well provided with natural productions.
The sweet scent of many of the flowers attracted swarms
of scarabzxi, and more especially a kind of bee as nearly
as possible like the European, depositing in clefts of rocks
and holes of trees a white liquid honey with a delicious
flavour. Occasionally at night large animals ventured near
the camp; there were giraffes, varieties of antelopes,
hyenas, rhinoceroses, and elephants. But Sir John would
not be distracted, he resolutely discarded his rifle for his
telescope.

Under these circumstances, Mokoum and some of the
natives became purveyors to the caravan, and Sir John had
some difficulty in restraining his excitement when he heard
the report of their guns. The bushman shot three prairie-
bufialoes, the Bokolokolos of the Bechuanas, formidable
animals, with glossy black skins, short strong legs, fierce
eyes, and small heads crowned with thick black horns,
They were a welcome addition to the fresh venison which
formed the ordinary fare.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 136



The natives prepared the buffalo-meat as the Indians of
the north do their pemmican. The Europeans watched
their proceedings with interest, though at first with some
repugnance. The flesh, after being cut into thin slices and
dried in the sun, was wrapped in a tanned skin, and beaten
with flails till it was reduced to a powder. It was then
pressed tightly into leathern sacks, and moistened with
boiling tallowy suet collected from the animal itself. To
this they added some marrow and berries, whose saccharine
matter modified the nitrous elements of the meat. This
compound, after being mixed and beaten, formed, when
cold, a cake as hard as a stone. Mokoum, who considered
his pemmican a national delicacy, begged the astronomers
to taste the preparation. At first they found it extremely
unpalatable, but, becoming accustomed to the flavour, they
soon learnt to partake of it with great relish. Highly
nourishing, and not at all likely to be tainted, containing,
moreover, its nutritive elements closely compacted, this
pemmican was exactly suited to meet the wants of a cara-
van travelling in an unknown country. The bushman soon
had several hundred pounds in reserve, and they were thus
secure from any immediate want.

Days and nights passed away in observations. Emery
was always thinking of his friend, and deploring the fate
which had so suddenly severed the bond of their friend-
ship. He had no one to sympathize with his admiration
140 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



of the wild characteristics of the scenery, and, with some-
thing of Palander’s enthusiasm, found refuge in his calcu.
lations. Colonel Everest was cold and calm as ever,
exhibiting no interest in any thing beyond his professional
pursuits. As for Sir John, he suppressed his murmurs, but
sighed over the loss of his freedom. Fortune, however,
sometimes made amends; for although he had no leisure
for hunting, the wild beasts occasionally took the initiative,
and came near, interrupting his observations. He then
considered defence legitimate, and rejoiced to be able to
make the duties of the astronomer and of the hunter to be
compatible.

One day he had a serious rencontre with an old rhino-
ceros, which cost him “rather dear.” For some time the
animal had been prowling about the flanks of the caravan.
By the blackness of his skin Mokoum had recognized the
“chucuroo” (such is the native for this animal) as a
dangerous beast, and one which, more agile than the white
species, often attacks man and beast without any provoca-
tion.

On this day Sir John and Mokoum had set off to
reconnoitre a hill six miles away, on which the Colonel
wished to establish an indicating-post. With a certain
foreboding, Sir John had brought his rifle with conical shot
instead of his ordinary gun; for although the rhinoceros
had not been seen for two days, yet he did not consider it


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































6‘ The Rhinoceros!” exclaimed Sir John.—[Page 141.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. I41

advisable to traverse unarmed an unknown country.
Mokoum and his companions had already unsuccessfully
chased the beast, which probably now had abandoned its
designs. There was no reason to regret the. precaution.
The adventurers had reached the summit of the hill, when
at the base, close to a thicket, of no large extent, appeared
the chucuroo. He was a formidable animal; his small
eyes sparkled, and his horns, planted firmly one over the
other on his bony nose, furnished a most powerful weapon
of attack.

The bushman caught sight of him first, as he crouched
about half a mile distant in a grove of lentisk.

“Sir John,” he cried, “fortune favours you: here is your
chucuroo !”

“The rhinoceros!” exclaimed Sir John, with kindling
eyes, for he had never before been so near the animal.

“Yes ; a magnificent beast, and he seems inclined to cut
off our retreat,” said the bushman. “Why he should
attack us, I can hardly say; his tribe is not carnivorous:
but any way, there he is, and we must hunt him out.”

“Ts it possible for him to get up here to us ?” asked Sir
John.

“No; his legs are too short and thick, but he will wait.”

“Well, let him wait,” said Sir John ; “and when we have -
examined this station, we will try and get him out.”

They then proceeded with their reconnoitring, and chose
1423 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



a spot on which to erect the indicating-post. They also
noticed other eminences to the north-west which would be
of use in constructing a subsequent triangle.

Their work ended, Sir John turned to the bushman,
saying, “When you like, Mokoum.”

“T am at your orders, Sir John: the rhinoceros is still
waiting.”

“Well, let us go down, a ball from my rifle will soon
settle matters.”

“A ball!” cried Mokoum; “you don’t know a rhino-

eros. He won't fall with one ball, however well it may be |
z.imed.”

“Nonsense!” began Sir John, “that is because people
don’t use conical shot.”

“ Conical or round,” rejoined the bushman, “ the first will
not bring down such an animal as that.”

“Well,” said Sir John, carried away by his self-confi-
dence, “as you have your doubts, I will show you what our
European weapons can do.”

And he loaded his rifle, to be ready to take aim as soon
as he should be at a convenient distance.

“One moment, Sir John,” said the bushman, rather
piqued, “ will you bet with me?”

“ Certainly,” said Sir John,

“T am only a poor man,” continued -Mokoum, “but I
will willingly bet you half-a-crown against your first ball.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 143

“Done!” replied Sir John instantly. “ Half-a-crown to
you if the rhinoceros doesn’t fall to my first shot.”

The hunters descended the steep slope, and were soon
posted within range of the rhinoceros. The beast was
perfectly motionless, and on that account presented an
easy aim.

Sir John thought his chance so good, that at the last
moment he turned to Mokoum and said,

“Do you keep to your bargain 2?”

“Yes,” replied the bushman.

The rhinoceros still being as motionless as a target, Sir
John could aim wherever he thought the blow would be
mortal. He chose the muzzle, and, his pride being roused,
he aimed with the utmost care, and fired. The ball failed
in reaching the flesh ; it had merely shattered to fragments
the extremity of one of the horns. The animal did not
appear to experience the slightest shock.

“That counts nothing,” said the bushman, “you didn’t
touch the flesh.”

“Yes, it counts,” replied Sir John, rather vexed ; “I have
lost my wager. But come now, double or quits?”

“ As you please, Sir John, but you will lose.”

“We shall see.”

The rifle was carefully re-loaded, and Sir John, taking
rather a random aim, fired a second time ; but meeting the
horny skin of the haunch, the ball, notwithstanding its
144 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



force, fell to the ground. The rhinoceros moved a few
steps.

“ A crown to me,” said Mokoum.

“Will you stake it again?” asked Sir John, “double or
quits.”

“ By all means,” said Mokoum.

This time Sir John, who had begun to get angry, re-
gained his composure, and aimed at the animal’s forehead.
The ball rebounded, as if it had struck a metal plate.

“ Half-a-sovereign,” said the bushman calmly.

“Yes, and another,” cried Sir John, exasperated.

The shot penetrated the skin, and the rhinoceros made
a tremendous bound; but instead of falling, he rushed
furiously upon the bushes, which he tore and crushed
violently.

“ T think he still moves,” said the bushman quietly.

Sir John was beside himself; his composure again
deserted him, and he risked the sovereign he owed the
bushman on a fifth ball. He continued to lose again and
again, but persisted in doubling the stake at every shot.
At length the animal, pierced to the heart, fell, impotent to
rise to its feet.

Sir John uttered a loud hurrah; he had killed his
rhinoceros. He had forgotten his disappointment, but he
did not forget his bets. It was startling to find that’ the
perpetually redoubled stakes had mounted at the ninth
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 145

a



shot to 324. Sir John congratulated himself on his escape
from such a debt of honour; but in his enthusiasm he pre-
sented Mokoum with several gold pieces which the bush-
man received with his usual equanimity.
146 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



CHAPTER XVI.
DANGER IN DISGUISE.

By the end of September the astronomers had accom-
plished half their task. Their diminished numbers added
to their fatigue, so that, notwithstanding their zeal, they
occasionally had to recruit themselves byresting for several
days. The heat was very overpowering. October in lat.
24° S. corresponds to April in Algeria, and for some
hours after mid-day work was impossible. The bushman
was alone uneasy at the delay, for he was aware that the
arc was about to pass through a singular region called a
“karroo,” similar to that at the foot of the Roggeveld
mountains in Cape Colony. In the damp season this dis-
trict presents signs of the greatest fertility ; after a few
days of rain the soil is covered with a dense verdure ; in a
very short time flowers and plants spring up every where ;
pasturage increases, and water-courses are formed ; troops
of antelopes descend from the heights and take possession
of these unexpected prairies. But this strange effort of
mature is of short duration. In a month, or six weeks
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 147





at most, all the moisture is absorbed by the sun; the soil
becomes hardened, and chokes the fresh germs ; vegetation
disappears in a few days; the animals fly the region; and
where for a while there was a rich fertility, the desert again
asserts its dominion.

This karroo had to be crossed before reaching the perma-
nent desert bordering on Lake Ngami. The bushman was
naturally eager to traverse this region before the extreme
aridity should have exhausted the springs. He explained
his reasons to the Colonel, who perfectly understood, and
promised to hurry on the work, without suffering its pre-
cision to be affected. Since, on account of the state of the
atmosphere, measuring was not always practicable, the
operations were not unfrequently retarded, and the bush-
man became seriously concerned lest when they reached
the karroo its character of fertility should have dis-
appeared.

Meanwhile the astronomers could not fail to appreciate
the magnificence around. Never had they been in finer
country. In spite of the high temperature, the streams
kept up a constant freshness, and thousands ot flocks would
have found inexhaustible pasturage. Clumps of luxuriant
trees rose here and there, giving the prospect at times the
appearance of an English park.

Colonel Everest was comparatively indifferent to these
beauties, but the others were fully alive to the romantic

L 2
148 MERIDIANA}; THE ADVENTURES OF

aspect of this temporary relief to the African deserts,
Emery now especially regretted the alienation of his friend
Zorn, and often thought how they would have mutually
delighted in the charming scenery around them.

The advance of the caravan was enlivened by the movee
ments as well as by the song-notes of a variety of birds,
Some of these were edible, and the hunters shot some
brace of “korans,’a sort of bustard peculiar to the South
African plains, and some “dikkops,” whose flesh is very
delicate eating. They were frequently followed by vora-
cious crows, instinctively seeking to avert attention from
their eggs in their nests of sand. In addition to these,
blue cranes with white throats, red flamingoes, like flames
in the thinly scattered brushwood, herons, curlews, snipes,
“kalas,” often perching on a buffalo’s neck, plovers, ibises,
which might have flown from some hieroglyphic obelisk,
hundreds of enormous pelicans marching in file,—all were
observed to find congenial habitats in this district, where
man alone is the stranger, But of all the varieties of the
feathered race, the most noticeable was the ingenious
weaver-bird, whose green nests, woven with rushes and
blades of grass, hung like immense pears from the branches
of the willows. Emery, taking them for a new species of
fruit, gathered one or two, and was much surprised to hear
them twitter like sparrows. There seemed some excuse

for the ancient travellers in Africa, who reported that














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































ge 148 ]

The Advance of the Caravan.—-'Pa
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 149

Py



certain trees in the country bore fruit producing living
birds.

The karroo was reached while still it was lovely in its
verdure. Gnus, with their pointed hoofs, caamas, elks,
chamois, and gazelles abounded. Sir John could not resist
the temptation to obtain two days’ leave from the Colonel,
which he devoted with all his energy to his favourite
pastime. Under the guidance of the bushman, while
Emery accompanied as an amateur, he obtained many a
success to inscribe in his journal, and many a trophy to
carry back to his Highland home. His hand, skilful with
the delicate instruments of the survey, was at home still
more on his gun ; and his eye, keen to discern the remotest
of stars, was quick to detect the merest movement of a
gazelle. It was ever with something of self-denial that he
laid aside the character of the hunter to resume the duties
of the astronomer. The bushman’s uneasiness was ere
long renewed. On the second day of Sir John’s interval of
recreation, Mokoum had espied, nearly two miles to the
right, a herd of about twenty of the species of antelope
known as the oryx. He told Sir John at once, and advised
him to take advantage of the fortune that awaited him,
adding that the oryx was extremely difficult to capture,
and could outstrip the fleetest horse, and that Cumming
himself had not brought down more than four.

This was more than enough to arouse the Englishman,
150 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

He chose his best gun, his best horse, and his best dogs,
and, in his impatience preceding the bushman, he turned
towards the copse bordering the plain where the antelopes
had been seen. In an hour they reined in their horses,
and Mokoum, concealed by a grove of sycamores, pointed
out to his companion the herd grazing several hundred
paces to leeward. He remarked that one oryx kept
apart.

“He is a sentinel,” he said, “and doubtless cunning
enough. At the slightest danger, he will give his signal,
and the whole troop will make their escape. We must fire
from a long distance, and hit at the first shot.”

Sir John nodded in reply, and sought for a favourable
position,

The oryxes continued quietly grazing. The sentinel, as
though the breeze had brought suspicions of danger, often
raised his head, and looked warily around. But he was
too far away for the hunters to fire at him with success,
and to chase the herd over the plain was out of the ques-
tion. The only hope of a lucky issue was that the herd
might approach the copse.

Fortune seemed propitious. Gradually following the lead
of the sentinel male, the herd drew near the wood, their in-
stinct, perchance, making them aware that it was safer than
the plain. When their direction was seen, the bushman
asked his companion to dismount. The horses were tied


















The Hunters glided through the Creepers and Brushwood,—[Page 151.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 151



to a sycamore, and their heads covered to secure them
from taking alarm.

Followed by the dogs, the hunters glided through the
creepers and brushwood till they were within three hundred
paces of the troop. Then, crouching in ambush, and wait-
ing with loaded guns, they could admire the beauty of the
animals. By a strange freak of nature, the females were
armed with horns more formidable than those of the males.
The whole herd approached the wood, and awhile remained
stationary. The sentinel oryx, as it seemed, was urging
them to leave the plain; he appeared to be driving them,
something like a sheep-collie congregates a flock, into a
compact mass. The herd seemed strangely indifferent, and
indisposed to submit to the guidance of their leader. The
bushman was perplexed; he could not understand the
relative movements of the sentinel and the herd.

Sir John began to get impatient. He fidgeted with his
rifle, sometimes wanting to fire, sometimes to advance ; and
the bushman had some trouble to restrain him. An hour
passed away in this manner, when suddenly one of the dogs
gave a loud bark, and rushed towards the plain. ‘The bush-
man felt angry enough to send a ball into the excited brute
The oryxes fled, and Sir John saw at once that pursuit was
useless; in a few seconds they were no more than black
specks in the grass. But to the bushman’s astonishment it
was not the old male which had given the signal for flight.

ond
W52 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

The oryx remained in its place, without attempting to fol-
low, and only tried to hide in the grass.

“Strange,” said the bushman; “what ails the creature?
Is he hurt, or crippled with age?”

“We shall soon see,” said Sir John, advancing towards
the animal.

The oryx crouched more and more in the grass; only the
tips of his long horns were visible above the surface; but
as he did not try to escape, Sir John could easily get near
him. When within a hundred paces he took aim, and fired.
The ball had struck the head, for the horns sunk into the
grass. The hunters ran hastily to the spot. The bushman
held in his hand his hunting-knife, in case the animal
should still live. This precaution was unnecessary; the
oryx was so dead, that when Sir John took hold of the
horns, he pulled nothing but an empty flabby skin, contain-
ing not so much as a bone.

“By St. Andrew! these things happen to no one but
me,” he cried, in a tone so comical that any one but the
immovable Mokoum would have laughed outright. But
Mokoum did not even smile. His compressed lips and
contracted brow showed him to be utterly bewildered.
With his arms crossed, he looked quickly right and left.

Suddenly he caught sight of a little red leather bag,
ornamented with arabesques, on the ground, which he

picked up and examined carefully.






















































































































































































































































































































‘The empty Oryx Skin. — [Page 152.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 153



“What's that ?” asked Sir John.

“A Makololo’s pouch,” replied Mokoum.

“ How did it get there?”

“ The owner let it fall as he fled.”

“What do you mean ?”

“T mean,” said Mokoum, clenching his fists, “that the
Makololo was in the oryx skin, and you have missed him.”

Sir John had not time to express his astonishment, when
Mokoum, observing a movement in the distance, with all
speed seized his gun and fired.

He and Sir John hastened to the suspected spot. But the
place was empty : they could perceive by the trampled grass
that some one had just been there; but the Makololo was
gone, and it was useless to think of pursuit across the prairie.

The two hunters returned, much discomposed. The
presence of a Makololo at the cromlech, together with his
disguise, not unfrequently adopted by oryx hunters, showed
that he had systematically followed the caravan. It was
not without design that he was keeping watch upon the
Europeans and their escort. The more they advanced to
the north, the greater danger there would be of being
attacked by the plunderers.

Emery was inclined to banter Sir John on his return
from his holiday without booty ; but Sir John replied,—

“T hadn’t a chance, William ; the first oryx I hunted was

dead before I shot at him.”
Io
154 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF





CHAPTER XVII.
AN UNEXPECTED BLIGHT.

AFTER the oryx hunt the bushman had a long conversa-
tion with the Colonel. He felt sure, he said, that they were
watched and followed, and that the only reason why they
had not been attacked before was because the Makololos
wished to get them farther north, where their hordes were
larger. The question thus arose whether, in presence of
this danger, they should retrace their steps; but they were
reluctant to suffer that which nature had favoured to be
interrupted by the attacks of a few African savages. The
Colonel, aware of the importance of ‘the question, asked
the bushman to tell him all he knew about the Makololos.
Mokoum explained that they were the most northerly
branch ot the great tribe of the Bechuanas. In 1850 Dr,
Livingstone, during his first journey to the Zambesi, was
received at Sesheki, the usual residence of Sebitouani, the
chief of the Makololos. This native was a man of remark-
able intelligence, and a formidable warrior. In 1824 he
‘had menaced the Cape frontier, and, little by little, had
a a

a

THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 155



gained an ascendency over the tribes of Central Africa,
and had united them in a compact group. In the year
before the arrival of the Anglo-Russian expedition the
chief had died in Livingstone’s arms, and his son Sekeleton
succeeded him.

At first Sekeleton was very friendly towards the Euro-
peans who visited the Zambesi, and Dr. Livingstone had no
complaint to make. But after the departure of the famous
traveller, not only strangers but the neighbouring tribes
were harassed by Sekeleton and his warriors. To these
vexations succeeded pillage on a large scale, and the
Makololos scoured the district between Lake Ngami and
the Upper Zambesi. Consequently nothing was more
dangerous than for a caravan to venture across this region
without a considerable escort, especially when its progress
had been previously known.

Such was the history given by Mokoum. He said that
he thought: it right to tell the Colonel the whole truth,
adding, that for his own part (if the Colonel so wished) he
should not hesitate to continue the march.

Colonel Everest consulted with his colleagues, and it was
settled that the work, at all risks, should be continued.
Something more than half of the project was now accom-
plished,and, whatever happened, the English owed itto them-
selves and their country not to abandon their undertaking,
The series of triangles was resumed, On the 27th the tropic
156 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



of Capricorn was passed, and on the 3rd of November, with
the completion of the forty-first triangle, a fifth degree was
added to the meridian.

For a month the survey went on rapidly, without meeting
a single natural obstacle. Mokoum, always on the alert,
kept a constant look-out at the head and flanks of the
caravan, and forbade the hunters to venture too great a
distance away. No immediate danger, however, seemed
to threaten the little troop, and they were sanguine that the
bushman’s fears might prove groundless. There was no
further trace of the native who, after eluding them at the
cromlech, had taken so strange a part in the oryx chase:
nor did any other aggressor appear. Still, at various inter-
vals, the bushman observed signs of trepidation among the
Bochjesmen under his command. The incidents of the
flight from the old cromlech, and the stratagem of the oryx
hunt, could not be concealed from them, and they were
perpetually expecting an attack. A deadly antipathy
existed between tribe and tribe, and, in the event ofa colli-
sion, the defeated party could entertain no hope of mercy.
The Bochjesmen were already 300 miles from their home,
and there was every prospect of their being carried 200
more. It is true that, before engaging them, Mokoum had
been careful to inform them of the length and difficulties
of the journey, and they were not men to shrink from
fatigue ; but now, when to these was added the danger of
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 157

a conflict with implacable enemies, regret was mingled
with murmuring, and dissatisfaction was exhibited with
ill-humour, and although Mokoum pretended neither to
hear nor to see, he was silently conscious ot an increasing
anxiety.

On the 2nd of December a circumstance occurred which
still further increased the spirit of complaint amongst this
superstitious people, and provoked them to a kind of rebel-
lion. Since the previous evening the weather had become
dull. The atmosphere, saturated with vapour, gave signs of
being heavily charged with electric fluid. There was every
prospect of the recurrence of one of the storms which in this
tropical district are seldom otherwise than violent. During
the morning the sky became covered with sinister-looking
clouds, piled together like bales of down of contrasted colours,
the yellowish hue distinctly relieving the masses of dark
grey. The sun was wan, the heat was overpowering, and
the barometer fell rapidly ; the air was so still that nota
leaf fluttered.

Although the astronomers had not been unconscious of
the change of weather, they had not thought it necessary
to suspend their labours, Emery, attended by two sailors
and four natives in charge of a waggon, was sent two miles
east of the meridian to establish a post for the vertex of
the next triangle. He was occupied in securing his point of
sight, when a current of cold air caused a rapid condensa-
158 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF





tion, which appeared to contribute immediately to a deve-
lopment of electric matter. Instantly there fell a violent
shower of hail, and by a rare phenomenon the hailstones
were luminous, so that it seemed to be raining drops of
boiling silver. The storm increased; sparks flashed from
the ground, and jets of light gleamed from the iron settings
of the waggon. Dr. Livingstone relates that he has seen
tiles broken, and horses and antelopes killed, by the
violence of these hail-storms.

Without losing a moment, Emery left his work for the
purpose of calling his men to the waggon, which would
afford better shelter than a tree. But he had hardly left
the top of the hill, when a dazzling flash, instantly followed
by a peal of thunder, inflamed the air.

Emery was thrown down, and lay prostrate, as though
he were actually dead. The two sailors, dazzled for a
moment, were not long in rushing towards him, and were
relieved to find that the thunderbolt had spared him. He
had been enveloped by the fluid, which, collected by the
compass which he held in his hand, had been diverted in
its course, so as to leave him not seriously injured. Raised
by the sailors, he soon came to himself; but he had nar-
rowly escaped. Two natives, twenty paces apart, lay life-
less at the foot of the post. One had been struck by the
full force of the thunderbolt, and was a black and shattered
corpse, while his clothes remained entire; the other had




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Emery and two Natives struck by Lightning.—[Page 158.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. I59



been locally struck on the skull by the destructive fluid,
and had been killed at once. The three men had been
undeniably struck by a single flash. This trisection of a
flash of lightning is an unusual but not unknown occur-
rence, and the angular division was very large. The Boch-
jesmen were at first overwhelmed by the sudden death of
their comrades, but soon, in spite of the cries of the sailors
and at the risk of being struck themselves, they rushed back
tothe camp. The two sailors, having first provided for the
protection of Emery, conveyed the two dead bodies to the
waggon, and then found shelter for themselves, being sorely
bruised by the hailstones, which fell like a shower of
marbles. For three quarters of an hour the storm con-
tinued to rage; the hail then abated so as to allow the
waggon to return to camp.

The news of the death of the natives had preceded them,
and had produced a deplorable effect on the minds of the
Bochjesmen, who already looked upon the trigonometrical
operations with the terror of superstition. They assembled
in secret council, and some more timid than the rest
declared they would go no farther. The rebellious dis-
position began to look serious, and it took all the bushman’s
influence to arrest an actual revolt. Colonel Everest offered
the poor men an increase of pay ; but contentment was not
to be restored without much trouble. It was a matter of
emergency ; had the natives deserted, the position of the
160 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

caravan, without escort and without drivers, would have been
perilous in the extreme. At length, however, the difficulty
was overcome, and after the burial of the natives, the camp
was raised, and the little troop proceeded to the hill where
the two had met their death.

Emery felt the shock for some days: his left hand, which
had held the compass, was almost paralyzed; but after a
time it recovered, and he was able to resume his work.

For eighteen days no special incident occurred. The
Makololos did not appear, and Mokoum, though still dis-
trustful, exhibited fewer indications of alarm. They were
not more than fifty miles from the desert; and the karroo
was still verdant, and enriched by abundant water. They
thought that neither man nor beast could want for any
thing in this region so rich in game and pasturage; but
they had reckoned without the locusts, against whose
appearance there is no security in the agricultural districts
of South Africa,

On the evening of the goth, about an hour before sunset
the camp was arranged for the night. A light northerly
breeze refreshed the atmosphere. The three Englishmen
and Mokoum, resting at the foot of a tree, discussed their
plans for the future. It was arranged that during the night
the astronomers should take the altitude of some stars, in
order accurately to find their latitude. Every thing seemed
favourable for the operations; in a cloudless sky the moon
























































































































































































































































A strange Cloud,—[Page 161.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 161

was nearly new, and the constellations might be expected
to beclear and resplendent. Great was the disappointment,
therefore, when Emery, rising and pointing to the north,
said,—

“The horizon is overcast: I begin to fear our antici-
pations of a fine night will hardly be verified.”

“Yes,” replied Sir John, “I see a cloud is rising,
and if the wind should freshen, it might overspread the
sky.”

“There is not another storm coming, I hope,” interposed
the Colonel.

“We are in the tropics,” said Emery, “and it would not
be surprising ; for to-night I begin to have misgivings about
our observations.”

“What is your opinion, Mokoum ?” asked the Colonel of
the bushman.

Mokoum looked attentively towards the north, The
cloud was bounded by a long clear curve, as definite as
though traced by a pair of compasses. It marked off a
section of some miles on the horizon, and its appearance,
black as smoke, seemed to excite the apprehensions of the
bushman. At times it reflected a reddish light from the
setting sun, as though it were rather a solid mass than any
collection of vapour. Without direct reply to the Colonel's
appeal, Mokoum simply said that it was strange.

In a few minutes one of the Bochjesmen announced that

M
162 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

the horses and cattle showed signs of agitation, and would
not be driven to the interior of the camp.

“Well, let them stay outside,” said Mokoum; and in
answer to the suggestion that there would be danger from
the wild beasts around, he added significantly, “Oh, the
wild beasts will be too much occupied to pay any attention
to them.”

After the native had gone back, Colonel Everest turned
to ask what the bushman meant; but he had moved away,
and was absorbed in watching the advance of the cloud, of
which, too accurately, he was aware of the origin.

The dark mass approached. It hung low and appeared
to be but a few hundred feet from the ground. Mingling
with the sound of the wind was heard a peculiar rustling,
which seemed to proceed from the cloud itself. At this
moment, above the cloud against the sky, appeared thou-
sands of black specks, fluttering up and down, plunging in
and out, and breaking the distinctness of the outline.

“What are those moving specks of black?” asked Sir
John.

“They are vultures, eagles, falcons, and kites,” answered
Mokoum, “from afar they have followed the cloud, and will
never leave it until it is destroyed or dispersed.”

“ But the cloud ?”

“Is not a cloud at all,” answered the bushman, extending
his hand towards the sombre mass, which by this time had
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 163



spread over a quarter of the sky. “It is a living host; to
say the truth, it is a swarm of locusts.”

The hunter was not mistaken. The Europeans were
about to witness one of those terrible invasions of grass-
hoppers which are unhappily too frequent, and in one night
change the most fertile country into an arid desert. These
locusts, now arriving by millions, were the “grylli devas-
torii” of the naturalists, and travellers have seen for a
distance of fifty miles the beach covered with piles of these
insects to the height of four feet.

“Yes,” continued the bushman, “these living clouds are
a true scourge to the country, and it will be lucky if we
escape without harm.”

“But we have no crops and pasturages of our own,” said
the Colonel; “what have we to fear?”

“Nothing, if they merely pass over our heads; every
thing, if they settle on the country over which we must
travel. They will not leave a leaf on the trees, nor a blade
of grass on the ground ; and you forget, Colonel,that if our
own sustenance is secure, that of our animals is not. What
do you suppose will become of us in the middle of a devas-
tated district ?”

The astronomers were silent for a time, and contemplated
the animated mass before them. The cries of the eagles
and falcons, who were devouring the insects by thousands,
sounded above the redoubled murmur.

M 2
164 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



“Do you think they will settle here?” said Emery.

“T fear so,” answered Mokoum, “the wind carries them
here direct. The sun is setting, and the fresh evening
breeze will bear them down; should they settle on the
trees, bushes, and prairies, why, then I tell you abit
the bushman could not finish his sentence. In an instant
the enormous cloud which overshadowed them settled on
the ground. Nothing could be seen as far as the horizon
but the thickening mass. The camp was bestrewed ; wag-
gons and tents alike were veiled beneath the living hail.
The Englishmen, moving knee-deep in the insects, crushed
them by hundreds at every step.



Although there was no lack of agencies at work for their
destruction, their aggregate defied all check. The birds,
with hoarse cries, darted down from above, and devoured
them greedily ; from below, the snakes consumed them in
enormous quantities; the horses, buffaloes, mules, and dogs
fed on them with great relish; and lions and hyenas,
elephants and rhinoceroses, swallowed them down by
bushels. The very Bochjesmen welcomed these “shrimps
of the air” like celestial manna; the insects even preyed on
each other, but their numbers still resisted all sources of
destruction.

The bushman entreated the English to taste the dainty.
Thousands of young locusts, of a green colour, an inch toan

inch and a half long, and about as thick as a quill, were
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 165



caught. Before they have deposited their eggs, they are
considered a great delicacy by connoisseurs, and are more
tender than the old insects, which are of a yellowish tinge,
and sometimes measure four inchesinlength. After half an
hour’s boiling and seasoning with salt, pepper, and vinegar,
the bushman served up a tempting dish to the three English-
men. The insects, dismembered of head, legs, and skin,
were eaten just like shrimps, and were found extremely
savoury. Sir John, who ate some hundreds, recommended
his people to take advantage of the opportunity to make a
large provision.

At night they were all about to seek their usual beds ;
but the interior of the waggons had not escaped the invasion.
It was impossible to enter without crushing the locusts, and
to sleep under such conditions was not an agreeable prospect.
Accordingly, as the night was clear and the stars bright,
the astronomers were rejoiced to pursue their contemplated
operations, and deemed it more pleasant than burying
themselves to the neck in a coverlet of locusts. Moreover,
they would not have had a moment’s sleep, on account of
the howling of the beasts which were attracted by their
unusual prey.

The next day the sun rose in a clear horizon, and
commenced its course over a brilliant sky foreboding heat.
A dull rustling of scales among the locusts showed that

they were about to carry their devastations elsewhere; and
166 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



towards eight o’clock the mass rose like the unfurling of
an immense veil, and obscured the sun. It grew dusk as if
night were returning, and with the freshening of the wind
the whole mass was in motion. For two hours, with a
deafening noise, the cloud passed over the darkened camp,
and disappeared beyond the western horizon.

After their departure the bushman’s predictions were
found to be entirely realized. All was demolished, and the
soil was brown and bare. Every branch was stripped to
utter nakedness. It was like a sudden winter settling in
the height of summer, or like the dropping of a desert into
the midst of a land of plenty. The Oriental proverb which
describes the devastating fury of the Osmanlis might justly
be applied to these locusts, “Where the Turk has passed,

the grass springs up no more.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 167

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE DESERT.

Ir was indeed no better than a desert which now lay
before the travellers. When, on the 25th of December,
they completed the measurement of another degree, and
reached the northern boundary of the karroo, they found
no difference between the district they had been traversing
and the new country, the real desert, arid and scorching,
over which they were now about to pass. The animals
belonging to the caravan suffered greatly from the dearth
alike of pasturage and water. The last drops of rain in
the pools had dried up, and it was an acrid soil, a mixture
of clay and sand, very unfavourable to vegetation. The
waters of the rainy season filtered quickly through the
sandy strata, so that the region was incapable of preserving
for any length of time a particle of moisture. More than
once has Dr. Livingstone carried his adventurous explora-
tions across one of these barren districts. The very atmo-

sphere was so dry, that iron left in the open air did not rust,
168 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

and the distinguished traveller relates that the leaves hung
weak and shrivelled ; that the mimosas remained closed by
day as well as by night; that the scarabzi, laid on the
ground, expired in a few seconds; and that the mercury in
the ball of a thermometer buried three inches in the soil
rose at midday to 134° Fahrenheit.

These records which Livingstone had made were now
verified by the astronomers between the karroo and Lake
Ngami. The suffering and fatigue, especially of the animals,
continually increased, and the dry dusty grass afforded
them but little nourishment. Nothing ventured on the
desert ; the birds had flown beyond the Zambesi for fruit
and flowers, and the wild beasts shunned the plain which
offered them no prey. During the first fortnight in January
the hunters caught sight of a few couples of those antelopes
which are able to exist without water for several weeks.
There were some oryxes like those in whose pursuit Sir
John had sustained so great a disappointment, and there
were besides, some dappled, soft-eyed caamas, which venture
beyond the green pasturages, and which are much esteemed
for the quality of their flesh.

To travel under that burning sun through the stifling
atmosphere, to work for days and nights in the oppressive
sultriness, was fatiguing in the extreme. The reserve of
water evaporated continuously, so they were obliged to
ration themselves to a painfully limited allowance. Howe


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Crossing the Desert. —[Page 169.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 169



ever, such were their zeal and courage that they mastered
all their troubles, and not a single detail of their task was
neglected. On the 25th of January they completed their
seventh degree, the number of triangles constructed having
amounted to fifty-seven.

Only a comparatively small portion of the desert had
now to be traversed, and the bushman thought that they
would be able to reach Lake Ngami before their provision
was exhausted. The Colonel and his companions thus had
definite hopes, and were inspirited to persevere. But the
hired Bochjesmen, who knew nothing of any scientific
ardour, and who had been long ago reluctant to pursue their
journey, could hardly be encouraged to hold out: unques-
tionably they suffered greatly, and were objects for com-
miseration. Already, too, some beasts of burden, overcome
by hard work and scanty food, had been left behind, and
it was to be feared that more would fall into the same
helpless condition, Mokoum had a difficult task to perform,
and as murmurs and recriminations increased, his influence
more and more lost its weight. It became evident that the
want of water would be a serious obstacle, and that the
expedition must either retrace its steps, or, at the risk of
meeting the Russians, turn to the right of the meridian, to
seek some of the villages which were known to be scattered
along Livingstone’s route.

It was not long, however, before the bushman one morn-
170 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



ing came to the Colonel, and declared himself powerless
against the increasing difficulties. The drivers, he said,
refused to obey him; and there were continued scenes of
insubordination, in which all the natives joined. The
Colonel perfectly well understood the situation; but stern.
to himself, he was stern to others. He refused to suspend
his operations, and declared that although he went alone,
he would continue to advance. His two companions of
course agreed, and professed themselves ready to follow
him. Renewed efforts of Mokoum persuaded the natives
to venture a little farther: he felt sure that the caravan
could not be more than five or six days’ march from Lake
Ngami, and once there, the animals could find pasturage
and shade, and the men an abundance of fresh water. All
these considerations he laid before the principal Bochjes-
men. He showed them that it was really best to advance
northwards. If they turned to the west, their march would
be perilous, and to turn back was only to find the karroo
desolate and dry. The natives at length yielded to his
solicitations, and the almost exhausted caravan continued
its course.

Happily this vast plain was in itself favourable to all
astronomical observations, so that no delay arose from any
natural obstruction. On one occasion there sprang up a
sudden hope that nature was about to restore to them a
supply of the water of which she had been so niggardly. A
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 171



lagoon, a mile or two in extent, was discovered on the
horizon. The reflection was indubitably of water, proving
that what they saw was no mirage, due to the unequal
density of the atmospheric strata. The caravan speedily
turned in that direction, and the lagoon was reached towards
five in the evening. Some of the horses broke away from
their drivers, and galloped to the longed-for water. Having
smelt it, they plunged in to their chests, but almost imme-
diately returned to the bank. They had not drunk, and
when the Bochjesmen arrived they found themselves by
the side of a lagoon so impregnated with salt that its water
could not be touched. Disappointment was keen, it was
little short of despair. Mokoum thought that he should
never induce the natives to proceed; but fortunately the
only hope was in advancing, and even the natives were alive
to the conviction that Lake Ngami was the nearest point
where water could be procured. In four days, unless
retarded by its labours, the expedition must reach the
shores of the lake,

Every day was momentous. To economize time, Colonel
Everest formed larger triangles and established fewer posts,
No efforts were spared to hurry on the progress of the
survey. Notwithstanding the application of every energy,
the painful sojourn in the desert was prolonged, and it was
not until the 21st of February that the level ground began

to be rough and undulating. A mountain 500 or 600 feet

Il
»
172 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF





high was descried about fifteen miles to the north-west,
The bushman recognized it as Mount Scorzef, and, pointing
to the north, said,—

“Lake Ngami is there.”

“ The Ngami! the Ngami!” echoed the natives, with noisy
demonstration. They wished to hurry on in advance over the
fifteen miles, but Mokoum restrained them, asserting that the
country was infested by Makololos, and that it was important
to keep together. Colonel Everest, himself eager to reach
the lake, resolved to connect by a single triangle the station
he was now occupying with Mount Scorzef. Theinstruments
were therefore arranged, and the angle of the last triangle
which had been already measured from the south was
measured again from the station. Mokoum, in his impa-
tience, only established a temporary camp; he hoped to
reach the lake before night; but he neglected none of his
usual precautions, and prudently sent out horsemen right
and left to explore the underwood. Since the oryx-chase
the Makololos seemed indeed tohave abandoned their watch,
still he would not incur any risk of being taken by surprise.

Thus carefully guarded by the bushman, the astronomers
constructed their triangle. According to Emery’s calcula-
tions it would carry them nearly to the twentieth parallel,
the proposed limit of their arc. A few more triangles on
the other side of Lake Ngami would complete their eighth

degree; to verify the calculations, a new base would

































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 173

subsequently be measured directly on the ground, and the
great enterprise would be ended. The ardour of the
astronomers increased as they approached the fulfilment of
their task,

Meanwhile there was considerable curiosity as to what
the Russians on their side had accomplished. For six
months the members of the commission had been separated,
and it seemed probable to the English that the Russians
had not suffered so much from heat and thirst, since their
course had lain nearer Livingstone’s route, and therefore in
less arid regions. After leaving Kolobeng they would come
across various villages to the right of their meridian, where
they could easily revictual their caravan. But still it was
not unlikely that in this less arid, though more frequented
country, Matthew Strux’s little band had been more exposed
to the attacks of the plundering Makololos, and this was
the more probable, since they seemed to have abandoned
the pursuit of the English caravan.

Although the Colonel, ever engrossed, had no thought
to bestow on these things, Sir John and Emery had often
discussed the doings of their former comrades. They
wondered whether they would come across them again,
and whether they would find that they had obtained the
same mathematical result as themselves, and whether the
two computations of a degree in South Africa would be

identical. Emery did not cease to entertain kind memories
174 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF
of his friend, knowing well that Zorn, for his part, would
never forget him.

The measurement of the angles was now resumed. To
obtain the angle at the station they now occupied, they had
to observe two points of sight. One of these was formed
by the conical summit of Mount Scorzef, and the other by
a sharp peak three or four miles to the left of the meridian,
whose direction was easily obtained by one of the telescopes
of the repeating circle. Mount Scorzef was much more
distant ; its position would compel the observers to diverge
considerably to the right of the meridian, but on examination
they found they had no other choice. The station was
therefore observed with the second telescope of the repeating
circle, and the angular distance between Mount Scorzef
and the smaller peak was obtained.

Notwithstanding the impatience of the natives, Colonel
Everest, as calmly as though he were in his own ob-
servatory, made many successive registries from the
graduated circle of his telescope, and then, by taking the
average of all his readings, he obtained a result rigorously
exact.

The day glided on, and it was not until the darkness
prevented the reading of the instruments, that the Colonel
brought his observations to an end, saying,—

“T am at your orders, Mokoum ; we will start as soon as

you like.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 175





« And none too soon,” replied Mokoum ; “better had we
accomplished our journey by daylight.”

The proposal to start met with unanimous approval, and
by seven o’clock the thirsty party were once more on the
march,

Some strange foreboding seemed weighing on the mind
of Mokoum, and he urged the three Europeans to look
carefully to their rifles and to be well provided with ammu-
nition. The night grew dark, the moon and stars’ were
repeatedly veiled in mist, but the atmosphere near the
ground was clear. The bushman’s keen vision was ever
watching the flanks and front of the caravan, and his
unwonted disquictude could not fail to be noticed by Sir
John, who was likewise on the watch, They toiled through
the weary evening, occasionally stopping to gather together
the loiterers, and at ten o’clock they were still six miles
from the lake. The animals gasped for breath in an atmo-
sphere so dry that the hygrometer could not have detected
a trace of moisture.

Mokoum was indefatigable in his endeavours to keep the
disorganized party close together; but, in spite of his
remonstrances, the caravan no longer presented a compact
nucleus. Men and beasts stretched out into a long file,
and some oxen had sunk exhausted to the ground. The
dismounted horsemen could hardly drag themselves along,
and any stragglers could have been easily carried off by
176 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



the smallest band of natives. Mokoum went in evident
anxiety from one to another, and with word and gestures
tried to rally the troop; but his success was far from
complete, and already, without his knowledge, some of his
men were missing.

By eleven o'clock the foremost waggons were hardly
more than three miles from their destination. Inthe gloom

of night Mount Scorzef stood out distinctly in its solitary

height, like an enormous pyramid, and the obscurity made
its dimensions appear greater than they actually were.
Unless Mokoum were mistaken, Lake Ngami lay just
behind Mount Scorzef, so that the caravan must pass
round its base in order to reach the tract of fresh water by
the shortest route.

The bushman, in company with the three Europeans,
took the lead, and prepared to turn to the left, when suddenly
some distinct, though distant reports, arrested their atten-
tion. They reined in their horses, and listened with a
natural anxiety. Ina country where the natives use only
lances and arrows the report of European fire-arms was
rather startling. The Colonel and Sir John simultaneously
asked the bushman from whence the sound could proceed.
Mokoum asserted that he could perceive a light in the
shadow at the summit of Mount Scorzef, and that he had
no doubt that the Makololos were attacking a party of
Europeans,
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 177



4

“ Europeans!” cried Emery.

“Yes,” replied Mokoum; “these reports can only be
produced by European weapons.”

“ But what Europeans could they be?” began Sir John.

“ Be who they may,” broke in the Colonel, “we must go
to their assistance.”

“Yes ; come on,” said Emery, with no little excitement.

Before setting off for the mountain, Mokoum, for the
last time, tried to rally the small band. But when the
bushman turned round the caravan was dispersed, the
horses unyoked, the waggons forsaken, and a few scattered
shadows were flying along the plain towards the south.

“The cowards!” he cried ; then turning to the English,
he said, “ Well, we must go on.”

The Englishmen and the bushman, gathering up all the
remaining strength of their horses, darted on to the north.
After a while they could plainly distinguish the war-cry
of the Makololos. Whatever was their number, it was
evident they were making an attack on Mount Scorze,
from the summit of which the flashes of fire continued
Groups of men could be faintly distinguished ascending
the sides. Soon the Colonel and his companions were on
the rear of the besiegers. Abandoning their worn-out
steeds, and shouting loud enough to be heard by the
besieged, they fired at the mass of natives. The rapidity
with which they re-loaded caused the Makololos to imagine
178 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

themselves assailed by a large troop. The sudden attack
surprised them, and, letting fly a shower of arrows and
assagais, they retreated. Without losing a moment, the
Colonel, Sir John, Emery, the bushman, and the sailors,
never desisting from firing, darted among the group of
natives, of whose bodies no less than fifteen soon strewed
the ground.

The Makololos divided. The Europeans rushed into the
gap, and, overpowering the foremost, ascended the slope
backwards. Ina few minutes they had reached the summit,
which was now entirely in darkness, the besieged having
suspended their fire for fear of injuring those who had
come so opportunely to their aid.

They were the Russian astronomers. Strux, Palander,
Zorn, and their five sailors, all were there: but of all the
natives belonging to their caravan there remained but the
faithful pioneer. The Bochjesmen had been as faithless to
them as they had been to the English.

The instant the Colonel appeared, Strux darted from
the top of a low wall that crowned the summit.

“The English !” he cried.

“Yes,” replied the Colonel gravely; “but now neither
Russian nor English. Nationalities be forgotten; for
mutual defence we are kinsmen, in that we are one and all
Europeans |”














































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The English come to the relief of the Russians, —[Page 173.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 179

Seaeneeeeeeenneneemnenmennmemeemeeneemeecaee een Een

CHAPTER XIX,
SCIENCE UNDAUNTED.

NOBLE words were those just uttered by the Colonel. In
the face of the Makololos it was no time for hesitation or
discussion, and English and Russians, forgetting their
national quarrel, were now re-united for mutual defence
more firmly than ever. Emery and Zorn had warmly
greeted each other, and the others had sealed their new
alliance with a grasp of the hand.

The first care of the English was to quench their thirst.
Water, drawn from the lake, was plentiful in the Russian
camp. Then, as soon as the Makololos were quiet enough
to afford some respite, the astronomers, sheltered by a sort
of casemate forming part of a deserted fortress, talked of
all that had happened since their separation at Kolobeng.

It appeared that the same reason had brought the
Russians so far to the left of their meridian as had caused
the English to turn to the right of theirs. Mount Scorzef,

halfway between the two arcs, was the only height in that
180 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



district which would serve as a station on the banks of
Lake Ngami. Each of the meridians crossed the lake,
whose opposite shores it was necessary to unite trigono-
metrically by alargetriangle. Naturally, therefore, the two
rival expeditions met on the only mountain which could
serve their purpose.

Matthew Strux then gave some details of his operations.
After leaving Kolobeng, the Russian party had continued
without irregularity. The old meridian, which had fallen
by lot to the Russians, fell across a fertile and slightly
undulated country, which offered every facility for the
formation of the triangles. Like the English, they had
suffered from the heat, but they had experienced no hardship
from the want of water. Streams were abundant, and kept
up a wholesome moisture. The horses and oxen had
roamed over an immense pasturage, across verdant prairies
broken by forests and underwood. The wild animals by
night had been safely kept at a distance by sentinels and
fires, nor had any natives been seen except those stationary
in the villages in which Dr. Livingstone had always found
a hospitable reception. All through the journey the Bochjes-
men of the caravan had given no cause for complaint, nor
was it until the previous day, when the Makololos to the
number of 200 or goo had appeared on the plain, that they
had shown themselves faithless, and deserted. For thirty-
six hours the expedition had now occupied the little fortress.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 181

The Makololos had attacked them in the evening, after
plundering the waggons left at the foot of the hill. The
instruments fortunately, having been carried into the fort,
were secure, The steamboat had also escaped the ravages
of the natives ; it had been immediately put together by the
sailors, and was now at anchor in a little creek of Lake
Ngami, behind the enormous rocks that formed the base
of the mountain. Mount Scorzef sloped with sudden
abruptness down to the lake, and there was no danger of
an attack from that side.

Such was Matthew Strux’s account. Colonel Everest,
in his turn, related the incidents of his march, the fatigues
and difficulties, and the revolt of the Bochjesmen, and it
was found by comparison that the Russians had had a less
harassing journey than their rivals,

The night of the 21st passed quietly. The bushman and
sailors kept watch under the walls of the fort; the Makololos
on their part did not renew any attack, but the bivouac-fires
at the foot of the mountain proved that they had not
relinquished their project. At daybreak the Europeans
left their casemate for the purpose of reconnoitring the
plain. The early morning light illumined the vast extent
of country as far as the horizon. Vowards the south lay
the desert, with its burnt brown grass and barren aspect.
Close under the mountain was the circular camp, containing

a swarm of 400 to 500 natives. The fires were still alight,
182 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



and some pieces of venison broiling on the hot embers.
The encampment was something more than temporary ;
the Makololos were evidently determined not to abandon
their prey. Either vengeance or an instinctive thirst for
blood appeared to be prompting them, since all the valuables
of both caravans, the waggons, horses, oxen, and provisions,
had fallen into their power; or perhaps it might be that
they coveted the fire-arms which the Europeans carried, and
of which they made such terrible use. The united English
and Russians held a long consultation with the bushman,
and it was felt that they could not relax their watch until
they should arrive at a definite decision. This decision
must depend on a variety of circumstances, and first of all
it was necessary to understand exactly the position of
Mount Scorzef.

The mountain overlooked to the south, east, and west the
vast desert which the astronomers, having traversed it,
knew extended southwards to the karroo. In the west
could be discerned the faint outlines of the hills bordering
the fertile country of the Makololos, one of whose capitals,
Maketo, lies about a hundred miles north-west of Lake
Ngami. To the north the mountain commanded a country
which was a great contrast to the arid steppes of the south.
There were water, trees, and pasturage. For a hundred
miles east and west lay the wide Lake Ngami, while from
north to south its length was not more than 30 to 40 miles.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 183



Beyond appeared a gentle, undulated country, enriched
with forests and watered by the affluents of the Zambesi,
and shut in to the extreme north by a low chain of moun-
tains. This wide oasis was caused by the great artery, the
Zambesi, which is to South Africa what the Danube is to
Europe, or the Amazon to South America,

The side of the mountain towards the lake, steep as it
was, was not so steep but that the sailors could accomplish
an ascent and descent by a narrow way which passed from
point to point. They thus contrived to reach the spot
where the “Queen and Czar” lay hid, and, obtaining a
supply of water, enabled the little garrison to hold out in
the deserted fort as long as their provisions lasted.

The astronomers wondered why this little fort had been
placed on the top of the mountain. Mokoum, who had
visited the country as Livingstone’s guide, explained that
formerly the neighbourhood of Lake Ngami was frequented
by traders in ivory and ebony. The ivory was furnished
by the elephants and rhinoceroses; but the ebony trade
was but too often another name for that traffic in human
beings which is still carried on by the slave-traders in the
region of the Zambesi. A great numberof prisoners are made
in the wars and pillages in the interior of the country, and
these prisoners are sold as slaves. Mount Scorzef had been
a centre of encampment for the ivory-traders, and it was

there that they had been accustomed to rest before descend-
184 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



ing the Zambesi. They had fortified their position, to
protect themselves and their slaves from depredations, since
it was not an uncommon occurrence for the prisoners to be
recaptured for fresh sale by the very men who had recently _
sold them. The route of the traders was now changed; |
they no longer passed the shores of the lake, and the little
fort was falling into ruins. All that remained was an
enclosure in the form of the sector of a circle, from the
centre of which rose a small casemated redoubt, pierced
with loop-holes, and surmounted by a small wooden
turret.

But notwithstanding the condition of ruin into which it
had fallen, the fortress offered the Europeans a welcome
retreat. Behind the thick sandstone walls, and armed with
their rapidly-loading guns, they were confident that they
could keep back an army of Makololos, and, unless their
provisions and ammunition failed, they would be able to
complete their observations. At present they had plenty
of ammunition; the coffer in which it was contained had
been placed on the same waggon which carried the steam-
boat, and had therefore escaped the rapacity of the natives.
The great difficulty would be the possible failure of provisions.
The Colonel and Strux made a careful inspection of the
store, and found that there was only enough to last the
eighteen men for two days. After a short breakfast, the
astronomers and the bushman, leaving the sailors still te
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 185

keep watch round the walls, assembled in the redoubt to
discuss their situation.

“JT cannot understand,” said Mokoum, “why you are so
uneasy. You say that we have only provisions for two
days; but why stay here? Let us leave to-morrow, or
even to-day. The Makololos need not hinder us; they
could not cross the lake, and in the steamboat we may
reach the northern shore in a few hours.”

The astronomers looked at each other ; the idea, natural
as it was, had not struck them before. Sir John was the
first to speak.

“But we have not yet completed the measurement of our
meridian.”

“ Will the Makololos have any regard for your meridian ?”
asked the hunter.

“Very likely not,” answered Sir John; “but ze have a
regard for it, and will not leave our undertaking incomplete.
I am sure my colleagues agree with me.”

“Yes,” said the Colonel, speaking for all; “as long
as one of us survives, and is able to put his eye to
his telescope, the survey shall go on. If necessary,
we will take our observations with our instrument in
one hand and our gun in the other, even to the last
extremity.”

The energetic philosophers shouted out their resolution
to proceed at every hazard.
186 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



When it was thus decided that the survey should at all
risks be continued, the question arose as to the choice of
the next station.

“ Although there will bea difficulty,” said Strux, “in
joining Mount Scorzef trigonometrically to a station to the
notth of the lake, it is not impracticable. I have fixed ona
peak in the extreme north-east, so that the side of the
triangle will cross the lake obliquely.”

“ Well,” said the Colonel, “if the peak exists, I do not
see any difficulty.”

“The only difficulty,” replied Strux, “consists in the
distance.”

“ What is the distance ?”

“Over a hundred miles, and a lighted signal must be
carried to the top of the peak.”

“ Assuredly that can be done,” said the Colonel.

“And all that time, how are we to defend ourselves
against the Makololos?” asked the bushman.

“We will manage that too.”

Mokoum said that he would obey the Colonel’s orders,
and the conversation ended. The whole party left the
casemate, and Strux pointed out the peak he had chosen.
It was the conical peak of Volquiria, 300 feet high, and
just visible in the horizon. Notwithstanding the distance,
a powerful reflector could thence be discerned by means
of a magnifying telescope, and the curvature of the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 187



earth’s surface, which Strux had taken into account,
would not be any obstacle. The real difficulty was how
the lamp should be hoisted to the top of the moun-
tain. The angle made at Mount Scorzef with Mount
Volquiria and the preceding station would probably
complete the measurement of the meridian, so that the
operation was all important. Zorn and Emery offered
to take this journey of a hundred miles in an unknown
country, and, accompanied by the pioneer, prepared to
start.

One of the canoes of birch-bark, which are manufactured
by the natives with great dexterity, would be sufficient to
carry them over the lake. Mokoum and the pioneer
descended to the shore, where were growing some dwarf
birches, and in a very short time had accomplished their
task, and prepared the canoe.

At cight o'clock in the evening the newly-constructed
craft was loaded with instruments, the apparatus for the
reverberator, provisions, arms, and ammunition. It was
arranged that the astronomers should meet again in a small
creek known to both Mokoum and the pioneer ; it was also
agreed that as soon as the reverberator on Mount Volquiria
should be perceived, Colonel Everest should light a signal
on Mount Scorzef, so that Emery and Zorn, in their turn,
might take the direction.

The young men took leave of their colleagues, and
188 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

descended the mountain in the obscurity of night, having
been preceded by the pioneer and two sailors, one English
and one Russian. The mooring was loosened, and the

frail boat turned quietly across the lake,






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































On Guard on Mount Scorzef,—[Page 189. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS, 189

CHAPTER XX.
STANDING A SIEGE.

Not without anxiety had the astronomers witnessed the
departure of their young colleagues: they could not tell
what dangers awaited them in that unknown country.
Mokoum tried to reassure them by praising the courage of
the pioneer, and besides, he said, the Makololos were too
much occupied around Mount Scorzef to beat the country
to the north of Lake Ngami. He instinctively felt that
the Colonel and his party were in a more dangerous
position than the two young astronomers.

The sailors and Mokoum kept watch in turns through the
night. But “the reptiles,’ as the bushman termed the
Makololos, did not venture another attack. They seemed to
be waiting for reinforcements, in order to invade the
* mountain from all sides, and overcome by their numbers
the resistance of the besieged.

The hunter was not mistaken in his conjectures; and
when daylight appeared Colonel Everest perceived a
190 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

sensible increase in the number of the natives. Their camp,
carefully arranged round the base of the mountain, shut off
escape on every side except that towards the lake. This
side could not be invested, so that unless unforeseen cir-
cumstances occurred, retreat to the water was always prac-
ticable. But the Europeans had no thought of escaping:
they occupied a post of honour, and were all agreed
that it must not be abandoned. No allusion was ever
made to the war between England and Russia, and both
parties strove together to accomplish their scientific
labour.

The interval of waiting for the signal on Mount Volquiria
was employed in completing the measurement of the
preceding triangle and in finding the exact latitude of
Mount Scorzef by means of the altitudes of the stars.

Mokoum was called upon to say what wouid be the
shortest possible space of time that must elapse before
Emery and Zorn could reach Mount Volquiria. He replied
that as the journey was to be performed on foot, and the
country was continually crossed by rivers, he did not think
that they could arrive in less than five days atleast. They
therefore adopted a maximum of six days, and portioned
out their supplies to serve for that period. Their reserve
was very limited, consisting only of a few pounds of biscuit,
preserved meat, and pemmican, and had already been dimi-
nished by the portion furnished to the pioneer’s little troop.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. Ig1

Colonel Everest and his companions, anxiously anticipating
the sixth day, decided that the daily ration must be reduced
to a third of their previous allowance. The thirteen men
would doubtless suffer much from this small amount of
nourishment, but there was an unflinching determination to
bear up bravely.

“Besides,” said Sir John, “we have room enough to
hunt.”

Mokoum shook his head doubtfully: he thought
that game would be rare on the mountain. However,
his gun need not be idle, and leaving the astronomers
to examine and correct their registers, he set off with Sir
John.

The Makololos were quietly encamped, and apparently
patient in their intention of reducing the besieged by famine.
The two hunters reconnoitred the mountain. The fort
occupied a space of ground measuring not more than a
quarter of a mile in its widest part. The soil was covered
with flints and grass, dotted here and there with low shrubs,
and bright with gladioli. Red heaths, silvery-leaved proteas,
and erica with wavy fronds, formed the flora of the moun-
tain, and beneath the angles formed by the projections of
rock sprung up thorny bushes ten feet high, with bunches
of a sweet-smelling white flower. The bushman was igno-
rant of its name, but it was doubtless the Arduina bispinosa,
which bears fruit like the barberry,
192 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



After an hour’s search Sir John had seen no trace of
game. Some little birds with dark wings and red beaks
flew out of the bushes, but at the first shot they disappeared,
no more to return, It was evident that the garrison must
not depend on the products of the chase for sustenance.

“ We can fish in the lake,” said Sir John, standing and
contemplating the fine extent of water.

“To fish without net or line,” replied the bushman, “is as
difficult as to lay hands on birds on the wing. But we
will not despair ; chance has hitherto favoured us.”

“Chance! nay, not chance, but Providence,” said Sir
John. “That does not forsake us; it has brought us to
the Russians, and will no doubt carry us on to our goal.”

“And will Providence feed us, Sir John?” asked the
bushman,

“No doubt, Mokoum,” said Sir John encouragingly ;
and the bushman thought to himself that no blind trust in
Providence should prevent him from using his own best
exertions.

The 25th brought no change in the relative positions of
besiegers and besieged. The Makololos, having brought
in the plundered waggons, remained in their camp. Herds
and flocks were grazing in the pasturages at the foot of the
mountain, and some women and children, who had joined
the tribe, went about and pursued their ordinary occu-
pations. From time to time, some chief, recognizable by
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































An Attack on Mount Scorzef,—[Page 193.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 193



the richness of the skins which he wore, ascended the slope
of the mountain and tried to examine the approaches to
the summit; but the report of a rifle always took him
speedily back to the plain. The Makololos then raised
their war-cry, brandished their assagais, and all became
quiet.

The following day the natives made a more serious
attempt, and about fifty of them at once scaled three sides
of the mountain, The whole garrison turned out to the
foot of the enclosure, and the European arms caused
considerable ravage among the Makololos. Five or six
were killed, and the rest abandoned their project, but it
was quite evident that if several hundred were to assault
the mountain simultaneously, the besieged would find it
difficult to face them on all sides. Sir John now thought
of the mitrailleuse, which was the principal weapon of the
“Queen and Czar,” and proposed that it should be brought
up to defend the front of the fortress. It was a difficult
task to hoist the machine up the rocks, which in some
parts were almost perpendicular; but the sailors showed
themselves so agile and daring, that in the course of the
day the mitrailleuse was installed in the embrasure of the
embattled enclosure. Thence, its twenty-five muzzles,
arranged in the shape of a fan, would cover the front of
the fort, and the natives would thus early make acquaint-
ance with the engine of death which in after-years was to
194. MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

effect such devastation amongst the civilized armies of the
European continent.

The dry air and clear sky had enabled the astronomers
each night to pursue their observations. They had found
the latitude of Mount Scorzef to be 19°, 37’, which result
confirmed their opinion that they were less than half a
degree from the northern extremity of their meridian, and
that consequently the next triangle would complete the
series.

The night passed without any fresh alarm. If circum-
stances had favoured the pioneer, he and his companions
would reach Mount Volquiria the following day, so that the
astronomers kept unflagging watch through the next night
for the appearance of the light. Strux and the Colonel
had already pointed the telescope to the peak, so that it
was continuously embraced in the field of the object-glass,
otherwise it would have been difficult to discern on a dark
night; as it was, the light would doubtless be perceived
immediately on its appearance.

All day Sir John beat fruitlessly the bushes and long
grass. He could not unearth a single animal that was fit
to eat. The very birds, disturbed from their retreats, had
gone to the underwood on the shore for shelter. Sir John
was extremely vexed, inasmuch as he was not hunting
merely for personal gratification, but to supply the neces-
sities of the party. Perhaps he himself suffered from
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. I95



hunger more than his three colleagues, whose attention
was more riveted by their application to science. The
sailors and Mokoum suffered equally with Sir John. One
more day and their scanty reserve would be at an end, and
if the pioneer’s expedition were delayed, they would soon
be exposed to a severe extremity of hunger,

The dark, calm night was passed in watching; but the
horizon remained wrapped in shade, and no light appeared
in the object-glass of the telescope. The minimum of time,
however, allowed to the expedition had hardly expired,
and they felt that they were bound to exhibit patience for
a while.

The next day the garrison ate their last morsel of meat
and biscuit; but their courage did not fail, and, though
they should be obliged to feed on what herbs they could
gather, they were resolved to hold out.

The succeeding night passed without any result. More
than once the astronomers believed that they had seen the
light, but it was always proved to be a star in the misty
horizon.

On the 1st of March they were compelled absolutely to
fast. Having been for some time accustomed to meagre
and inadequate nourishment, they passed the first day
without much acute suffering, but on the morrow they
began to experience the pangs of craving. Sir John and
Mokoum, haggard-eyed, and sensitive to the gnawings of
196 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



hunger, wandered over the top of the mountain; but no
game whatever was to be seen. They began to think that,
as the Colonel had said, they should literally have to feed
on grass. If they only had the stomachs of ruminants,
thought poor Sir John, as he eyed the abundant pasturage,
they would be able to hold out; but still no game, still not
even a bird! He gazed intently over the lake, in which
the sailors had fished in vain ; and it was impossible to get
near the wary aquatic birds that skimmed the tranquil
waters.

At last, worn out with fatigue, Sir John and his companion
lay down on the grass at the foot of a mound of earth some
five or six feet high. Here they fell, not precisely into a
sleep, but into a heavy torpor, which for a while benumbed
their sufferings. How longthis drowsiness would have lasted
neither of them could have said ; but in about an hour Sir
John was aroused by a disagreeable pricking. He tried to
slumber again, but the pricking continued, and at last
impatiently he opened his cyes.

He was entirely covered, face, hands, and clothes, with
swarms of white ants. He started to his feet, and his sudden
movement aroused the bushman, who was covered in the
same way. But to Sir John’s great surprise, the bushman,
instead of shaking off the insects, carried them by handfuls
to his mouth, and devoured them greedily. Sir John’s

first sensation was disgust at his voracity.
























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Rice of the Bochjesmen.—|[Page 196.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 197

“Come, eat, do as I do!” said the bushman; “it is the
rice of the Bochjesmen.”

And that was, in truth, the native term for these insects.
The Bochjesmen feed on both the black and white species,
but they consider the white to be of superior quality. The
only drawback is, that they must be swallowed in large
quantities to satisfy any longing for food. The Africans
generally mix them with the gum of the mimosa, thus ren-
dering them capable of affording a less unsubstantial meal ;
but as the mimosa did not grow on Mount Scorzef, the bush-
man had to content himself with his rice au naturel,

Sir John, in spite of his repugnance, resolved to imitate
him. The insects poured forth by thousands from their
enormous ant-hill, which was none other than the mound of
earth by which the weary sufferers had reclined. Sir John
took them by handfuls, and carried them to his lips; he did
not dislike the flavour, which was a grateful acid; and
gradually he felt his hunger moderated.

Mokoum did not forget his companions in misfortune.
He ran to the fort, and brought out the garrison. The
sailors were without difficulty induced to attack the singular
food, and although the astronomers hesitated a moment,
yet, encouraged by Sir John’s example, and half dead with
inanition, they soon at least assuaged the intenseness of
their hunger by devouring considerable quantities of these
ants.
198 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

But an unexpected incident procured for the starving
men a more solid meal. In order to lay in a provision of
the insects, Mokoum resolved to destroy one side of the
enormous ant-hill. It consisted of a central conical mound,
with smaller cones arranged at intervals round its base.
The hunter had already made several blows with his hatchet,
when a singular grunting sound from the centre attracted
his attention: he paused in his work of destruction, and
listened, while his companions watched him insilence. He
struck a few more blows, and the groan was repeated more
audibly than before. The bushman rubbed his hands,
whilst his eyes evidently sparkled. Once more attacking
the ant-hill, he opened a cavity about a foot wide. The
ants were escaping on every side; but of them he took
no heed, leaving the sailors to collect them in sacks.
All at once a strange animal appeared at the mouth
of the hole. It was a quadruped with a long snout,
small mouth, and flexible tongue, which protruded to
a great length; its ears were straight, its legs short, and
its tail long and pointed. Long grey bristles with a
reddish tinge covered its lank body, and its feet were
armed with enormous claws. Mokoum killed it at once
with a sharp blow on the snout. “There is our supper,”
he said. “It has been some time coming, but it will not
taste the worse for that. Now fora fire, and a ramrod for

a spit, and we will feast as we have never feasted in our lives.”
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND TITREE RUSSIANS. 199



The bushman speedily began to skin the animal, which
was a species of octeropus or ant-eater, very common
in South Africa, and known to the Dutch at the Cape under
the name of “earth-pig.” Swarms of ants are devoured
by this creature, which catches them by means of its long
glutinous tongue.

The meal was soon cooked ; perhaps it would have been
better for a few more turns of the spit, but the hungry men
were impatient. The firm, wholesome flesh was declared
to be excellent, although slightly impregnated with the
acid of the ants

After the repast the Europeans felt re-invigorated, and
animated with more steadfast purpose to persevere ; and
in truth there was need of encouragement. All through
the following night no light appeared on Mount Volquiria.
200 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

CHAPTER XXI.
SUSPENSE,

IT was now the ninth day since Zorn and Emery had
started on their expedition. Their colleagues, detained on
the summit of Mount Scorzef, began to give way to the
fear that they had fallen into some irretrievable misfortune.
They were all well aware that the young astronomers would
omit nothing that lay in their power to ensure the success of
their enterprise, and they dreaded lest their courageous spirit
should have exposed them to danger, or betrayed them into
the hands of the wandering tribes. They waited always
impatiently for the moment when the sun sank behind the
horizon, that they might begin their nightly watch, and
then all their hopes seemed concentrated on the field of
their telescope.

All through the grd of March, wandering up and down
the slopes, hardly exchanging a word, they suffered as they
had never suffered before; not even the heat and fatigues
of the desert, nor the tortures of thirst, had equalled the

pain that arose from their apprehensions. The last morsel
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 201

of the ant-eater had been devoured, and nothing now
remained but the insufficient nourishment afforded by the
ants.

Night came, dark and calm, and extremely favourable
to their operations ; but although the Colonel and Strux
watched alternately with the utmost perseverance, no light
appeared, and the sun's rays soon rendered any longer
observations futile.

There was still nothing immediate to fear from the
Makololos; they seemed resolved to reduce the besieged
by famine, and it seemed hardly likely that they would
desist from their project. The unhappy Europeans were
tortured afresh with hunger, and could only diminish their
sufferings by devouring the bulbs of the gladioli that sprang
up between the rocks.

Yet they were hardly prisoners; their detention was
voluntary. At any moment the steamboat would have
carried them to a fertile land, where game and fruitabounded.
Several times they discussed the propriety of sending
Mokoum to the northern shore to hunt for the little garrison;
but this manceuvre might be discovered by the natives;
and there would be a risk to the steam-vessel, and conse-
quently to the whole party, in the event of finding other
hostile tribes to the north of the lake: accordingly the
proposal was rejected, and it was decided that they must
abide in company, and that all or none must depart. To
202 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



leave Mount Scorzef before the observations were complete
was an idea that was not entertained for a moment; the
astronomers were determined to wait patiently until the
faintest hope of success should be extinguished.

“We are no worse off,” remarked the Colonel in the
course of the day to his assembled companions, “than
Arago, Biot, and Rodriguez were when they were measuring
the arc from Dunkirk to Ivica: they were uniting the
Spanish coast and the island by a triangle of which the
sides were more than eighty miles long. Rodriguez was
installed on an isolated peak, and kept up lighted lamps
at night, while the French astronomers lived in tents a
hundred miles away in the desert of Las Palmas. For
sixty nights Arago and Biot watched for the signal, and,
discouraged at last, were about to renounce their labour,
when, on the sixty-first night, appeared a light, which it was
impossible to confound with a star. Surely, gentlemen, if
those French astronomers could watch for sixty-one nights
in the interests of science, we English and Russians must
not give up at the end of nine.”

The Colonel’s companions most heartily approved the
sentiment ; but they could have said that Arago and Biot
did not endure the tortures of hunger during their long
vigil.

In the course of the day Mokoum perceived an unusual
agitation in the Makololo camp. He thought at first that
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 203



they were about to raise the siege, but, after some contem-
plation, he discovered that their intentions were evidently
hostile, and that they would probably assault the mountain
in the course of the night. All the women and children,
under the protection of a few men, left the encampment,
and turned eastward to the shores of the lake. It was
probable that the natives were about to make a last attack
on the fortress before retiring finally to Maketo. The
bushman communicated his opinion to the Europeans. They
resolved to keep a closer watch all night, and to have their
guns in readiness, ‘The enclosure of the fort was broken in
several places, and as the number of the natives was now
largely increased they would find no difficulty in forcing
their way through the gaps, Colonel Everest therefore
thought it prudent to have the steamboat in readiness for a
retreat. The engineer received orders to light the fire, but
not until sunset, lest the smoke should reveal the presence of
the vessel to the natives ; and to keep up the steam, in order
to start at the first signal. The evening repast was com-
posed of white ants and gladiolus bulbs—a meagre supper
for men about to fight with several hundred savages; but
they were resolute, and staunchly awaited the engagement
which appeared imminent.

Towards six o'clock, when night was coming on with its
tropical celerity, the engineer descended the mountain,
and proceeded to light the fire of the steamboat. It was
204. MERIDIANA } THE ADVENTURES OF

still the Colonel’s intention not to effect an escape until
the last extremity : moreover, he was firm in his determina-
tion to abide until the night was advanced, that he might
give himself the last chance of observing the signal from
Mount Volquiria. The sailors were placed at the foot of
the rampart, with orders to defend the breaches to the last.
All arms were ready, and the mitrailleuse, armed with the
heaviest ammunition that they had in store, spread its
formidable mouth across the embrasure.

For several hours the Colonel and Strux, posted in thenar-
row donjon, kept a constant watch on the peak of Volquiria.
The horizon was dark, while the finest of the southern con-
stellations were resplendent in the zenith. There was no
wind, and not a sound broke the imposing stillness of
nature. The bushman, however, posted on a projection of
rock, heard sounds which gradually became more distinct.
He was not mistaken ; the Makololos were at length com-
mencing their assault on the mountain.

Until ten o’clock the assailants did not move; their fires
were extinguished, and camp and plain were alike wrapped
in obscurity. Suddenly Mokoum saw shadows moving up
the mountain, till the besiegers seemed but a few hundred
feet from the plateau on which stood the fort.

“ Now then, quick and ready!” cried Mokoum.

The garrison immediately advanced to the south side of
the fort, and opened a running fire on the assailants. The




Watching for the Signal from Mount Volquiria,—[Page 204.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 205

Makololos answered by a war-cry, and, in spite of the firing,
continued to advance. Inthe light caused by the flash of the
guns, the Europeans perceived such swarms of natives that
resistance seemed impossible. But still they trusted that
their well-directed balls were doing considerable execution,
and they discerned that not a few of the natives were rolling
down the sides of the mountain. Hitherto, however, no-
thing arrested them: withsavagecries they continued to press
on in compacted order, without even waiting to hurl a single
dart. Colonel Everest put himself at the head of his little
troop, who seconded him admirably, not excepting Palander,
who probably was handling a gun for almost the first time.
Sir John, now on one rock now on another, sometimes kneel-
ing sometimes lying, did wonders, and his gun, heated with
the rapidity of the repeated loading, began to burn his
hands. Mokoum, as ever, was patient, bold, and undaunted
in his confidence.

But the valour and precision of the besieged could avail
nothing against the torrent of numbers. Where one native
fell, he was replaced by twenty more, and, after a some-
what prolonged opposition, Colonel Everest felt that he
must be overpowered. Not only did the natives swarm
up the south slope of the mountain, but they made an ascent
also by the side slopes. ‘They did not hesitate to use the
dead bodies of the fallen as stepping-stones, and they even
lifted them up, and sheltered themselves behind them,
206 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



as they mounted. The scene revealed by the flash of the
fire-arms-was appalling, and the Europeans saw enough to
make them fully aware that they could expect no quarter,
and that they were being assaulted by barbarians as savage
as tigers.

At half-past ten the foremost natives had reached the
plateau. The besieged, who were still uninjured (the natives
not yet having employed their arrows and assagais), were
thoroughly conscious they were impotent to carry on a
combat hand to hand. The Colonel, in a calm, clear voice
that could be heard above the tumult, gave the order to
retire. With a last discharge the little band withdrew
behind the walls. Loud cries greeted their retreat, and the
natives immediately made a nearer approach in their
attempt to scale the central breach.

A strange and unlooked for reception awaited them.
Suddenly at first, and subsequently repeated at intervals
but of a few minutes, there was a growling reverberation
as of rolling thunder. The sinister sound was the report of
the exploding mitrailleuse, which Sir John had been
prepared to employ, and now worked with all his energy.
Its twenty-five muzzles spread over a wide range, and the
balls, continually supplied by a self-adjusting arrangement,
fell like hail among the assailants. The natives, swept
down at each discharge, responded at first with a howl and
then with a harmless shower of arrows.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 207



“She plays well,” said the bushman, approaching Sir
John. “When you have played your tune, let me play
mine.”

But there was no need for Sir John to be relieved; the
mitrailleuse was soon silent. The Makololos were struck
with consternation, and had sought shelter from the torrent
of grape-shot, having retired under the flanks of the fort,
leaving the plateau strewn with numbers of their dead.

In this instant of respite the Colonel and Strux regained
the donjon, and there, collecting themselves to a composure
as complete as if they were under the dome of an obser-
vatory, they kept a constant eye upon their telescope, and
scanned the peak of Volquiria. When, after a short period
of rest, the yells of the Makololos made them aware that
the combat was renewed, they only persevered in their
determination, and resolved that they would alternately
remain to guard their invaluable instrument.

The combat, in truth, had been renewed, The range of
the mitrailleuse was inadequate to reach all the natives,
who, uttering their cries of mortal vengeance, rallied again,
and swarmed up every opening. The besieged, protected
by their fire-arms, defended the breaches foot by foot ; they
had only received a few scratches from the points of the
assagais, and were able to continue the fight for half an hour
with unabated ardour.

Towards half-past eleven, while the Colonel was in the
T3
208 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF

thick of the fray, in the middle of an angry fusillade, Matthew
Strux appeared at his side. His eye was wild and
radiant: an arrow had just pierced his hat and quivered
above his head.

“ The signal ! the signal!” he cried.

The Colonel was incredulous, but ascertaining the cor-
rectness of the welcome announcement, discharged his
rifle for the last time, and with an exuberant shout of
rejoicing, rushed towards the donjon, followed by his intrepid
colleague. There, kneeling down, he placed-_his eye to the
telescope, and perceived with the utmost delight the signal,
so long delayed and yet so patiently expected.

It was truly a marvellous sight to see these two astro-
nomers work during the tumult ofthe conflict. The natives
had by their numbers forced the enclosure, and Sir John
and the bushman were contending for every step. The
Europeans fought with their balls and hatchets, while the
Makololos responded with their arrows and assagais.

Meanwhile the Colonel and Strux intently continued
their observations, and Palander, equally composed, noted
down their oft-repeated readings. More than once an arrow
grazed their head, and broke against the inner wall of the
donjon. But their eye was ever fixed on the signal, and
reading the indications of the vernier, they incessantly
verified each other’s calculations,

“Only once more,” said Strux, sliding the telescope along
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND TITREE RUSSIANS. 209



the graduated scale. An instant later, and it would have
been too late for any observations, but the direction of the
light was calculated to the minutest fraction of. a second ;
and at that very instant an enormous stone, hurled by a
native, sent the register flying from Palander’s hands, and
smashed the repeating-circle.

They must now fly in order to save the result which they
had obtained at the cost of such continuous labour. The
natives had already penetrated the casemate, and might at
any moment appear in the donjon. The Colonel and his
colleagues caught up their guns, and Palander his precious
register, and all escaped through one of the breaches. Their
companions, some slightly wounded, were ready to cover
their retreat, but just as they were about to descend the
north side of the mountain, Strux remembered that they had
failed to kindle the signal. In fact, for the completion ot
the survey, it was necessary that the two astronomers on
Mount Volquiria should in their turn observe the summit
of Mount Scorzef, and were doubtless anxiously expecting
the answering light.

The Colonel recognized the imperative necessity for yet
one more effort, and whilst his companions, with almost
superhuman energy, repulsed the natives, he re-entered the
donjon, This donjon was formed of an intricate framework
of dry wood, which would readily ignite by the application
of aflame. The Colonel set it alight with the powder from
210 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



the priming of his gun, and, rushing out, rejoined his
companions. In a few moments, rolling their mitrailleuse
before them, the Europeans, under a shower of arrows and
various missiles, were descending the mountain, and, in theis
turn, driving back the natives with a deadly fire, reached the
steamboat. The engineer, according to orders, had kept
up the steam. The mooring was loosened, the screw set in
motion, and the “ Queen and Czar” advanced rapidly over
the dark waters. They were shortly far enough out to see
the summit of the mountain. The donjon was blazing like
a beacon, and its light would be easily discerned from the
peak of Volquiria. A resounding cheer of triumph from
English and Russians greeted the bonfire they had left
behind.

Emery and Zorn would have no cause for complaint ;
they had exhibited the twinkling of a star, and had been
answered by the glowing of a sun.
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Steamboat leaving Mount Scorzef.—[Page 210.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 211

CHAPTER XXIL
HIDE AND SEEK.

WHEN daylight re-appeared, the vessel was nearing the
northern shore of the lake. There was no trace of natives,
consequently the Colonel and his companions, who had
been ready armed, laid aside their guns as the “Queen and
Czar” drew up in a little bay hollowed in the rocks. The
bushman, Sir John, and one of the sailors set out at once
to reconnoitre the neighbourhood. They could perceive no
sign of Makololos, and fortunately they found game in
abundance. Troops of antelopes grazed in the long grass
and in the shelter of the thickets, and a number of aquatic
birds frequented the shores of the lake. The hunters
returned with ample provision, and the whole party could
enjoy the savoury venison, a supply of which was now
unlikely to fail them again. :
The camp was arranged under the great willows near the
lake, on the banks of a small river. The Colonel and Strux
had arranged to meet on the northern shore with the
pioneer’s little party, and the rest afforded by the few days
212 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



of expectation was gratefully enjoyed by all. Palander
employed himself in rectifying and adjusting the results of
the latest observations, while Mokoum and Sir John hunted
most vigorously over the fertile, well-watered country,
abounding in game, of which the Englishman would have
been delighted, had it been in his power, to complete a
purchase on behalf of the British government. Three days
after, on the 8th of March, some gun-shots announced the
arrival of the remainder of the party for whom they
tarried. Emery, Zorn, the two sailors, and the pioneer,
were all in perfect health. Their theodolite, the only
instrument remaining to the Commission, was safe. The
young astronomers and their companions were received
with joyous congratulations. In afew words they related
that their journey had not been devoid of difficulty. For
two days they had lost their way in the forests that skirted
the mountainous district, and with only the vague indica-
tions of the compass they would never have reached Mount
Volquiria, if it had not been for the shrewd intelligence of the
pioneer. The ascent of the mountain was rough, and the
delay had caused the young astronomers as much impa-
tience as it had their colleagues on Mount Scorzef. They
had carefully, by barometrical observations, calculated that
the summit of Volquiria was 3200 feet above the level of
the sea The light, increased by a strong reflector, was first
lighted on the night of the 4th; thus the observers on
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 213



Mount Scorzef had perceived it as soon as it appeared.
Emery and Zorn had easily discerned the intense fire caused
by the burning fortress, and with the theodolite had com-
pleted the measurement of the triangle.

“ And did you determine the latitude of the peak?” said
the Colonel to Emery.

“Yes, most accurately,” replied Emery; “we found it to
be 19° 37’ 35.337”.”

“Well, gentlemen,” said the Colonel, “we may say that
our task is ended. We have measured, by means of sixty-
three triangles, an arc of more than eight degrees in length ;
and when we have rigidly corrected our results, we shall
know the exact value of the degree, and consequently of
the mzétre, in this part of the globe.”

A cheer of satisfaction could not be repressed amongst
the others.

“ And now,” added the Colonel, “we have only to descend
the Zambesi in order to reach the Indian Ocean: is it not
so, Mr Strux ?”

“Tt is so,” answered Strux; “but I think we ought still to
adopt some means of testing our previous operations. Let
us continue our triangles until we find a place suitable
for the direct measurement of a base. The agreement
between the lengths of the base, obtained by the calculations
and by the direct measurement, will alone tell what degree
of accuracy we ought to attribute to our observations.”
214 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



Strux’s proposition was unanimously adopted. It was
agreed to construct a series of subsidiary triangles until a
side could be measured with the platinum rods. The steam-
boat, descending the affluents of the Zambesi, was to await
the travellers below the celebrated Victoria Falls. Every
thing being arranged, the little troop, with the exception of
four sailors on board the “Queen and Czar,” started the next
day at sunrise. Some stations had been chosen to the east
and the angles measured, and along this favourable country,
they hoped easily to accomplish their auxiliary series. The
bushman had adroitly caught a quagga, of which, willing or
unwilling, he made a beast of burden to carry the theodo-
lite, the measuring-rods, and some other luggage of the
caravan.

The journey proceeded rapidly. The undulated country
afforded many points of sight for the small accessory trian-
gles. The weather was fine, and it was not needful to
have recourse to nocturnal observations, The travellers
could nearly always find shelter in the woods, and, besides,
the heat was not insufferable, since some vapours arose
from the pools and streams which tempered the sun’s rays.
Every want was supplied by the hunters, and there was no
longer any thing to be feared from the natives, who seemed
to be more to the south of Lake Ngami.

Matthew Strux and the Colonel seemed to have forgotten
all their personal rivalry, and although there was no close
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 215



intimacy between them, they were on the most perfect
terms of courtesy.

Day after day, during a period of three weeks, the
observations steadily proceeded. For the measurement of
a base the astronomers required a tract of land that should
be level for several miles, and the very undulations of the
soil that were desirable for the establishment of the points
of sight were unfavourable for that observation. They
proceeded to the north-east, sometimes following the right
bank of the Cnobi, one of the principal tributaries of the
Upper Zambesi, in order to avoid Maketo, the chief settle-
ment of the Makololos. They had now every reason to
anticipate that their return would be happily accomplished,
and that no further natural obstacle would occur, and they
hoped that their difficulties were allat an end. The country
which they were traversing was comparatively well known
and they could not be far from the villages of the Zambesi
which Livingstone had lately visited. They thus thought
with reason that all the most arduous part of their task was
over, when an incident, of which the consequences might
have been serious, almost compromised the result of the
whole expedition.

Nicholas Palander was the hero, or rather was nearly
being the victim, of the adventure.

The intrepid but thoughtless calculator, unwarred by his

escape from the crocodiles, had still the habit of withdraw-
216 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



ing himself from his companions. In an open country
there was no great danger in this, but in woods Palander’s
abstraction might lead to serious consequences. Strux and
the bushman gave him many warnings, and Palander,
though much astonished at what he considered an excess of
prudence, promised to conform to their wishes.

On the 27th, some hours had passed since Strux and
Mokoum had seen any thing of Palander. The little
troop were travelling through thickets of low trees and
shrubs, extending as far as the horizon. It was important
to keep together, as it would be difficult to discover the
track of any one lost in the wood. But seeing and fearing
nothing, Palander, who had been posted, pencil in one hand,
the register in the other, on the left flank of the troop, was
not long in disappearing.

When, towards four o’clock, Strux and his companions
found that Palander was no longer with them, they became
extremely anxious. His former aberrations were still fresh
in their remembrance, and it was probably the abstracted
calculator alone by whom they had been forgotten. The
march was stopped, and they all shouted in vain. The
bushman and the sailors dispersed for a quarter of a mile
in each direction, beating the bushes, trampling through
the woods and. long grass, firing off their guns, but yet
without success. They became still more uneasy, especially
Matthew Strux, to whose anxiety was joined an extreme


















































































































































































































































Palander robbed by the Chacma.—[Page 217.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 217





irritation against his unlucky colleague. This was not the
first time that Palander had served them thus, and if the
Colonel had laid any blame on him, Strux would not have
known what to say. Under the circumstances, the only
thing to be done was to encamp in the wood, and begin
a more careful search,

The Colonel and his companions had just arranged to
place their camp near a glade of considerable extent, when
acry, unlike any thing human, resounded at some distance
to the left. Almost immediately, running at full speed,
appeared Palander. His head was bare, his hair dishevelled,
and his clothes torn in some parts almost to rags. His
companions plied him with questions; but the unhappy
man, with haggard and distended eye, whose compressed
nostrils still further hindered his short jerking respiration,
could not bring out a word.

What had happened ? why had he wandered away? and
why did he appear so terrified? At last, to their repeated
questions, he gasped out, in almost unintelligible accents,
something about the registers.

The astronomers shuddered ; the registers, on which was
inscribed every result of their operations, and which the
calculator had never allowed out of his possession, even when
asleep, these registers were missing. No matter whether
Palander had lost them, or whether they had been stolen

from him ; they were gone, and all their labour was in vain |
218 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



While his companions, mutely terrified, only looked at
each other, Matthew Strux could no longer restrain his
anger. He burst forth into all manner of invective against
the miserable man, threatening him with the displeasure of
the Russian government, and adding, that if he did not
suffer under the knout he should linger out his life in
Siberia.

To all this Palander answered but by a movement of the
head: he seemed to acquiesce in all these condemnations,
and even thought the judgment would be too lenient.

“But perhaps he has been robbed,” said the Colonel at
last.

“What matters?” cried Strux, beside himself; “what
business had he so far away from us, after our continual
warning ?”

“True,” replied Sir John, “ but we ought to know whether
he has lost the registers or been robbed of them. Has any
one robbed you, Palander ?” continued he, turning to the
poor man, who had sunk down with fatigue.

Palander made a sign of affirmation.

“Who ?” continued Sir John.” Natives? Makololos?”

Palander shook his head.

“Well, then, Europeans?” asked Sir John,

“No,” answered Palander in a stifled voice.

“Who then ?” shouted Strux, shaking his clenched fists
in Palander’s face.
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 219

ee ate el ee ee

“They were neither: natives—nor white men—but
monkeys,” stammered out Palander at last.

It was a fact that the unhappy man had been robbed by
a monkey, and if the consequences of the incident had been
less serious, the whole party would have broken out into
laughter. Mokoum explained that what had just happened
was of frequent occurrence. Many times, to his knowledge,
had travellers been rifled by these pig-headed chacmas, a
species of baboon very common in South African forests.
The calculator had been plundered by these animals, though
not without a struggle, as his ragged garments testified.
Still, in the judgment of his companions, there was no
excuse to be made: if he had remained in his proper place
this irreparable loss would not have occurred.

“We did not take the trouble,” began Colonel Everest,
“to measure an arc of meridian in South Africa for a
blunderer like you—”

He did not finish his sentence, conscious that it was
useless to continue to abuse the unhappy man, whom
Strux had not ceased to load with every variety of vitupera-
tion. The Europeans were, without exception, quite over-
powered by emotion ; but Mokoum, who was less sensitive
to the importance of the loss, retained his self-possession.

“ Perhaps even yet,” he said, “something may be done
to assist you in your perplexity. These chacmas are always
careful of their stolen goods, and if we find the robber we
220 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF





shall find the registers with him. But time is precious, and
none must be lost.”

The bushman had opened a ray of hope. Palander
revived at the suggestion: he arranged his tattered clothes
as best he could, and having accepted the jacket of one
sailor and the hat of another, declared himself ready to
lead his companions to the scene of his adventure.

They ali started off towards the west, and passed the
night and the ensuing day without any favourable result.
In many places, by traces on the ground and the bark of
the trees, the bushman and the pioneer recognized unmis-
takable vestiges of the baboons, of which Palander affirmed
that he was sure he had seen no less than ten. The party
was soon on their track, and advanced with the utmost
precaution, the bushman affirming that he could only count
on success in his search by taking the chacmas by surprise,
since they were sagacious animals, such as could only be
approached by some device of secrecy.

Early the following morning one of the Russian sailors,
who was somewhat in front, perceived, if not the actual
thief, yet one of its associates. He prudently returned to
the little troop, who came at once to a halt. The Euro-
peans, who had resolved to obey Mokoum in every thing,
awaited his instructions. The bushman begged them to
remain in quietness where they were, and, taking Sir John

and the pioneer, turned towards the part of the wood
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 221



already visited by the sailor, carefully keeping under shelter
of the trees and bushwood.

In a short time the bushman and his two companions
caught sight of one chacma, and almost immediately of
nine or ten more, gambolling among the branches. Crouch-
ing behind a tree, they attentively watched the animals,
Their long tails were continually sweeping the ground, and
their powerful muscles, sharp teeth, and pointed claws,
rendered them formidable even to the beasts of prey.
These chacmas are the terror of the Boers, whose fields of
corn and maize, and occasionally whose habitations, are
plundered by them.

Not one of the animals had as yet espied the hunters.
but they all continued their sport, yelping and barking as
though they were great ill-favoured dogs. The important
point for determination was, whether the actual purloiner
of the missing documents was there. All doubt was put
aside when the pioneer pointed out a chacma wrapped in a
rag of Palander’s coat. Sir John felt that this creature
must be secured at any price, but he was obliged to act
with great circumspection, aware as he was that a single
false movement would cause the whole herd to decamp at
once.

“Stay here,” said Mokoum to the pioneer; “Sir John
and I will return to our companions, and set about surround-

ing the animals; but meanwhile do not lose sight of them.
222 MERIDIANA ; THE ADVENTURES OF



The pioneer remained at his post, while Sir John and
the bushman returned to Colonel Everest. The only
means of securing the suspected culprit was to surround
the whole troop. To accomplish this, the Europeans
divided into separate detachments ; one composed of Strux,
Emery, Zorn, and three sailors, was to join the pioneer,
and to form a semicircle around him; and the other,
comprising the Colonel, Mokoum, Sir John, Palander, and
the other three sailors, made a déour to the left, in order
to fall back upon the herd from the other side

Implicitly following the bushman’s advice, they all ad-
vanced with the utmost caution. Their guns were ready,
and it was agreed that the chacma with the rags should
be. the aim for every shot.

Mokoum kept a watchful eye upon Palander, and insisted
upon his marching close to himself, lest his unguardedness
should betray him into some fresh folly. The worthy
astronomer was almost beside himself in consternation at
his loss, and evidently thought it a question of life or death.

After marching with the frequent halts which the policy
of being unobserved suggested, and continuing to diverge
for half an hour, the bushman considered that they might
now fall back. He and his companions, each about twenty
paces apart, advanced like a troop of Pawnies ona war-trail,
without a word or gesture, avoiding even the least rustling
in the branches. Suddenly the bushman stopped ; the rest
instantly followed his example, and standing with their
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 223



finger on the lock of their guns, were ready to raise them to
their shoulder. The band of chacmas was in sight, they
were already sensible of some danger, and seemed on the
look-out. The great animal which had stolen the regis-
ters had, to their fancy, an appearance of being espe-
cially agitated. It had been already recognized by
Palander, who muttered something like an imprecation
between his teeth.

The chacma looked as if it was making signs to its com-
panions : some females, with their young ones on their shoul-
ders, had collected in a group, and the males went to and
fro around them. The hunters still drew on, one and all
keeping a steady eye direct towards the ostensible thief.
All at once, by an involuntary movement, Palander’s gur
went off in his hands. Sir John broke out into an exclama-
tion of disgust, and instantly afterwards fired. Ten reports
followed: three chacmas lay dead on the ground, and the
rest, with a prodigious bound, passed over the hunters’ heads.

The robber baboon alone remained : it darted at the trunk
of a sycamore, which it climbed with an amazing agility,
and disappeared among the branches. The bushman, having
keenly ‘surveyed the spot, asserted that the registers were
there concealed, and fearing lest the chacma should escape
across the trees, he calmly aimed and fired. The animal,
wounded in the leg, fell from branch to branch. In one of
its fore-claws it was seen to clutch the registers, which it
had taken from a fork of the tree.
224. MERIDIANA ; THE :ADVENTURES OF



At the sight, Palander, with a leap like a chamois, darted
at the chacma, and a tremendous struggle ensued. The
cries of both man and beast mingled in harsh and discordant
strain, and the hunters dared not take aim at the chacma for
fear of wounding their comrade. Strux, beside himself with
rage, shouted again and again that they should fire, and in
his furious agitation he would probably have done so, if it
had not been that he was accidentally without a cartridge
for his gun, which had been already discharged.

The combat continued ; sometimes Palander, sometimes
the chacma, wasuppermost. The astronomer, his shoulders
lacerated by the creature’s claws, tried to strangle his
adversary. At last the bushman, seizing a favourable
moment, made a sudden dash, and killed the ape with one
blow of his hatchet.

Nicholas Palander, bleeding, exhausted, and insensible,
was picked up by his colleagues: in his last effort he had
recaptured his registers, which he was found unconsciously
grasping to his bosom.

The carcase of the chacma was conveyed with glee to
the camp. At the evening repast it furnished a delicious
meal to the hunters. To all of them, but especially to
Palander, not only had the excitement of the chase quick-
ened their appetite for the palatable dish, but the relish was
heightened by the gratifying knowledge that vengeance was

satisfied.




Palander’s Combat with the Chacma,—[Page 224. ]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 225

CHAPTER XXIII.
HOMEWARD BOUND.

PALANDER’S wounds were not serious : the bushman dressed
the contused limbs with herbs, and the worthy astronomer,
sustained by his triumph, was soon able to travel. Any
exuberance on his part, however, was of short duration, and
he quickly became again engrossed in his world of figures.
He only now retained one of the registers, because it had
been thought prudent that Emery should take possession of
the other. Under the circumstances, Palander made the
surrender with entire good-humour.

The operation of seeking a plain suitable for a base was
now resumed. On the rst of April the march was some-
what retarded by wide marshes; to these succeeded
numerous pools, whose waters spread a pestilential odour ;
but, by forming larger triangles, Colonel Everest and his
companions soon escaped the unhealthy region.

Thewhole party were in excellent spirits. Zorn and Emery

14
226 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF

often congratulated themselves on the apparent concord
that existed between their chiefs. Zorn one day expressed
his hope to his friend that when they returned to Europe
they would find that peace had been concluded between
England and Russia, so that they might remain as good
friends as they had been in Africa.

Emery replied that he acquiesced entirely in the hope:
in days when war is seldom long protracted they might be
sanguine all would be terminated by the date of their
return.

Zorn had already understood from Emery that it was
not his intention to return immediately to the Cape, and
expressed his hope that he might introduce him to the
observatory at Kiew. This proposal Emery expressed his
desire to embrace, and added that he should indulge the
expectation that Zorn would at some future time visit the
Cape.

With these mutual assignations they made their plans
for future astronomical researches, ever reiterating their
hopes that the war would be at an end.

“ Anyhow,” observed Emery, “Russia and England will
be at peace before the Colonel and Strux; I have no trust
in any reconciliation of theirs.

For themselves, they could only repeat their pledges of
mutual good-will, — tas fe

Eleven days after the adventure with the chacmas, the
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 227



little troop, not far from the Zambesi Falls, arrived at a
level plain several miles in extent, and perfectly adapted
for the establishment of a base. On the edge of the plain
rose a native village, composed of a few huts containing a
small number of inhabitants, who kindly received the
Europeans. Colonel Everest found the proximity of the
natives very opportune, since the measurement of the base
would occupy a month, and being without waggons, or any
materials for an encampment, he would have had no resource
but to pass the time in the open air, with no other shelter
than that afforded by the foliage.

The astronomers took up their abode in the huts, which
were quickly appropriated for the use of their new occupants.
Their requirements were but small; their one thought was
directed towards verifying their calculations by measuring
the last side of their last triangle.

The astronomers at once proceeded to their work. The
trestles and platinum rods were arranged with all the care
that had been applied to the earliest base. Nothing was
neglected ; all the conditions of the atmosphere, and the
variations of the thermometer, were taken into account, and
the Commission, without flagging, brought every energy to
bear upon their final operation.

The work, which lasted for five weeks, was completed on
the 15th of May. When the lengths obtained had been
estimated and reduced to the mean level of the sea at the
228 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF



temperature of 61° Fahrenheit, Palander and Emery pre-
sented to their colleagues the following numbers :—

Toises.
New base actually measured. 7 . . » 5075-25

The same base deduced trigonometrically from
the entire series. . ; : i » 5075.11

Difference between the calculation and the obser-
vation . P . . ° ° ° . 14

Thus there was only a difference of less than 4 of a toise
that is to say, less than ten inches; yet the first base and
the last were six hundred miles apart.

When the meridian of France was measured from Dunkirk
to Perpignan, the difference between the base at Melun and
that at Perpignan was eleven inches. The agreement
obtained by the Anglo-Russian Commission was still more
remarkable, and thus made the work accomplished in the
deserts of Africa, amid dangers of every kind, more perfect
than any previous geodetic operation.

The accuracy of this unprecedented result was greeted
by the astronomers with repeated cheers.

According to Palander’s reductions, the value of a
degree in this part of the world was 57037 toises. This
was within a toise, the same as was found by Lacaille at
the Cape in 1752: thus, at the interval of a century, the
French astronomer and the members of the Anglo-Russian
Commission had arrived at almost exactly the same result,




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Descending the Zambesi. —[Page 2209, |
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 229

To deduce the value of the métre, they would have to wait
the issue of the operations which were to be afterwards
undertaken in the northern hemisphere. This value was
to be the z+osalsuu— Of the quadrant of the terrestrial
meridian. According to previous calculations, the quadrant, |



taking the depression of the earth into account, comprised
10,000,856 metres, which brought the exact length of the
métre to .013074 of a toise, or 3 feet o inches 11.296 lines.
Whether this was correct the subsequent labours of the
' Commission would have to decide.

* & * & &

The astronomers had now entirely finished their task,
and it only remained for them to reach the mouth of the
Zambesi, by following inversely the route afterwards taken
by Dr. Livingstone in his second voyage from 1858 to
1864.

On the 25th of May, after a somewhat laborious journey
across a country intersected with rivers, they reached the
Victoria Falls. These fine cataracts fully justified their
native name, which signifies “sounding smoke.” Sheets of
water a mile wide, crowned with a double rainbow, rushed
from a height twice that of Niagara. Across the deep basalt
chasm the enormous torrent produced a roar like peal
after peal of thunder.

Below the cataract, where the river regained its calmness,
the steamboat, which had arrived a fortnight previously by
239 MERIDIANA; THE ADVENTURES OF
an inferior affluent of the Zambesi, awaited the astronomers,
who soon took their places on board.

There.were two to be left behind. Mokoum and the
pioneer stood on the bank. In Mokoum the English were
leaving, not only a devoted guide, but one whom they
might call a friend. Sir John was especially sorry to part
from him, and had offered to take him to Europe, and
there entertain him as long as he pleased to remain. But
Mokoum had previous engagements; in fact, he was to
accompany Livingstone on the second voyage which the
brave traveller was about to undertake up the Zambesi, and
Mokoum was not a man to depart from his word. He was
presented with a substantial recompense, and, what he prized
still more, the kind assurances of regard of the Europeans,
who acknowledged how much they owed to him. As the
steamer left the shore to take the current in the middle
of the river, Sir John’s last gesture was to wave an adieu to
his associate.

The descent of the great river, whose banks were dotted
with numerous villages, was soon accomplished. The
natives, regarding with superstitious admiration the smoking
vessel as it moved by mysterious mechanism, made no
attempt to obstruct its progress,

On the 15th of June the Colonel and his companions
arrived at Quilimane, one of the principal towns at the
mouth of the Zambesi. Their first thought was to ask for


















































Adieu to Mokoum. —[Page 230.]
THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE RUSSIANS. 231

news of the war. They found that it had not yet come to
a termination, and that Sebastopol was still holding out
against the allied armies. This was a disappointment to
the Europeans, now so united in one scientific object ;
but they received the intelligence in silence, and prepared
to start. An Austrian merchant-vessel, “La Novara,” was
just setting out for Suez; in that they resolved to take their
passage.

Three days after, as they were on the point of embarking,
the Colonel assembled his colleagues, and in a calm voice
reminded them how in the last eighteen months they had
together experienced many trials, and how they had been
rewarded by accomplishing a work which would call forth
the admiration of all scientific Europe. He could not
refrain from giving expression to his trust that they would
feel themselves bound in the common fellowship of a true
alliance.

Strux bowed slightly, but did not interrupt the Colonel,
who proceeded to deplore the tidings of the continuation of
warfare. When he referred to the expected capitulation
of Sebastopol, Strux indignantly rejected the possibility of

such an event, which no union of France and England, he
| maintained, could ever effect.

There was, however, it was admitted on all hands, a pro-
priety in the Russians and English submitting to the national
status of hostility. The necessities of their position were thus
232 MERIDIANA.



clearly defined, and under these conditions they embarked
in company on board “La Novara.”

In a few days they arrived at Suez. At the moment of
separation Emery grasped Zorn’s hand, and said,—

“We are always friends, Michael !”

“Always and every where, William!” ejaculated Zorn;
and with this sentiment of mutual devotion they parted.

The Commission was dissolved,

THE ENB,


















> \

A HURRICANE IN THE CENTRE OF THE EAPTH. AN ELECTRIC STORM.

T
A JOURNEHY

TO THE

CENTRE OF THE EARTH,

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF

JULES VERNE,
AUTHOR OF “FROM THR EARTH TO THE MOON,” ‘‘THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND,”
EIC., ETC.













NEW YORK:
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.,
654 BROADWAY,
Works of Fules Verne,

PUBLISHED BY
SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.

THE COMPLETE AND AUTHORIZED EDITIONS.

CAUTION.

The public are cautioned against any editions of the works named below
which do not bear the imprint of SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
Any edition of these particular works published under other imprints are
PInaTED, and cannot fail to be é#fertor in every pariteular. Editions
bearing our imprint are issued under a direct arrangement with the
French and English publishers of JULES VERNE, and are authorized
in text and complete in illustration.



MERIDIANA:

THE ADVENTURES OF THREE ENGLISHMEN AND THREE Rus-
SIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA. By JULES VERNE. Translated from the
French. With 48 illustrations. One vol. r2mo, cloth, gilt side and
back. Price, 75 cents. The only edition authorized in text and
complete in illustrations. .

FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON

IN 97 HOURS AND 20 MINUTES AND A Trip ArouND It. Eighty
full-page illustrations, beautifully bound in cloth, black and gilt.
Price, $3.00.

A JOURNEY to the CENTRE of the EARTH.

Translated from the French of JULES VERNE, author of ‘from the

Farth to the Moon Direct,” ‘The Mysterious Island,” &c., &c.

With fifty-two illustrations by Riou.

Popular edition, 20 illustrations, 75c. Complete edition, 53 illustra-
tions, on super-calendered paper, handsomely bound in cloth, black and
gilt, bevelel boards, $3.00.

SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.,
654 BROADWAY, NEW YORK
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE.

A HURRICANE IN THE CENTRE OF THE EartH. AN ELEC-
TRIC STORM.......... are Sis boo @atonatietece ere . Frontispiece.
WHE MUSEUM soe o's0c0si0's 20 24 5's acd wiwisle wise e004 orca Bee hed iors eee 6
PROFESSOR VON HARDWIGG..........0ceeceeeee ear Sdigice a 10
HARRY IN A BRowN STUDY..... Shere ened Stel austineciei es sets a ee 16
TRACING OUR ROUTE..... eiatoum ovecte. tate Are site eoste Saree 21
Hans BJELKE, THE GUIDE... 1... . eee cece cere e eens . 44
En Rovute!...... He seaies yl seaeoae one eae eee tees 50
Tur ASCENT OF SNEFFELS........... Sesh cae eee eae 3 . 68
THE DESCENT OF THE CRATER.........cccc cece eeccceees 88
THe Last “DROP ‘OF WATER. cli. occ oth ls wake eceeiceee 118
Tr BOILING JET........ Sadie ecldte wretch haaltacd are Micheee eave oleret 181
THE WHISPER HEARD......... cc cece cece ec cece te ceeneees 154
THE CENTRAL SEA...... Siaferetds soeaeaee uetthal a oigtaraius cule’ Ste 4 ats . 168
Tur ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD.........c.cece cee ceceeeeeee 192

A MagsEstic GEYSER. THE GEYSER OF THE CENTRAL SEA. 206

DHE BALL OF FIRE. 6.00. cee Cl cease cd cele ees es epule ed 218
GIGANTIC INHABITANTS. ........ 0c cc cece seen cece eee ences 246
THE FEARFUL EXPLOSION. ...... 0.00 cc cec cece cece eeeeeee 258
THE TORCH-LIGHT PASSAGE... .... ccc cece cece eee e cece - 266

’ OUR CONDITION AT THE END OF THE JOURNEY..... seeee 806
A JOURNEY

TO THE

CENTRE OF THE EARTH.



CHAPTER I.
MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY.

Looxrne back to all that has occurred to me since that
eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality
of my adventures. They were truly so wonderful that
even now I am bewildered when I think of them.

My uncle was a German, having married my mother’s
sister, an Englishwoman. Being very much attached to
his fatherless nephew, he invited me to study under him in
his home in the fatherland. This home was ina large
town, and my uncle a Professor of philosophy, chemistry,
geology, mineralogy, and many other ologies.

One day, after passing some hours in the laboratory—
my uncle being absent at the time—I suddenly felt the
necessity of renovating the tissues—i. ¢., I was hungry, and
was about to rouse up our old French cook, when my
uncle, Professor Von Hardwigg, suddenly opened the
street door, and came rushing up stairs.

Now Professor Hardwigg, my worthy uncle, is by no

means a bad sort of man; he is, however, choleric and
1
2 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

original. To bear with him means to obey; and scarcely
had his heavy feet resounded within our joint domicile
than he shouted for me to attend upon him.

“ Harry—Harry—Harry 2

I hastened to obey, but before I could reach his room,
jumping three steps at a time, he was stamping his right
foot upon the landing.

“Harry!” he cried, in a frantic tone, “are you coming
up?”

Now to tell the truth, at that moment I was far more
interested in the question as to what was to constitute our
dinner than in any problem of science; to me soup was
more interesting than soda, an omelette more tempting
than arithmetic, and an artichoke of ten.times more value
than any amount of asbestos.

But my uncle was not a man to be kept waiting; so
adjourning therefore all minor questions, I presented my-
self before him.

He was a very learned man. Now most. persons in this
category supply themselves with information, as peddlers do
with goods, for the benefit of others, and lay up stores in
order to diffuse them abroad for the benefit of society in
general. Not so my excellent uncle, Professor Hardwigg ;
he studied, he consumed the midnight oil, he pored over
heavy tomes, and digested huge quartos and folios in order
to keep the knowledge acquired to himself.

There was a reason, and it may be regarded aga good
one, why my uncle objected to display his learning more
than was absolutely necessary; he stammered; and when
intent upon explaining the phenomena of the heavens, was
apt to find himself at fault, and allude in such a vague
way to sun, moon, and stars, that few were able to compre-
hend his meaning. To tell the honest truth, when the
right word would not come, it was generally replaced by a
very powerful adjective.


A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 3

In connection with the sciences there are many almost
unpronounceable names—names very much resembling
those of Welsh villages; and my uncle being very fond of
using them, his habit of stammering was not thereby im-
proved. In fact, there were periods in his discourse when
he would finally give up and swallow his discomfiture—in
a glass of water.

As I said, my uncle, Professor Hardwigg, was a very
learned man; and I now add a most kind relative. I was
bound to him by the double ties of affection and interest.
I took deep interest in all his doings, and hoped some day
to be almost as learned myself. It was a rare thing for me
to be absent from his lectures. Like him, I preferred
mineralogy to all the other sciences. My anxiety was to
gain real knowledge of the earth. Geology and mineralogy
were to us the sole objects of life, and in connection with
these studies many a fair specimen of stone, chalk, or metal
did we break with our hammers.

Steel rods, loadstone, glass pipes, and bottles of various
acids were oftener before us than our meals. My uacle
Hardwige was once known to classify six hundred different
geological specimens by their weight, hardness, fusibility,
sound, taste, and smell.

He corresponded with all the great, learned, and’ scien-
tific men of the age. I was, therefore, in constant com-
munication with, at all events the letters of, Sir Humphrey
Davy, Captain Franklin, and other great men.

But before I state the subject on which my uncle wished
to confer with me, I must say a word about his personal
appearance. Alas! my readers will see a very different
portrait of him at a future time, after he has gone through
the fearful adventures yet to be related.

My uncle was fifty years old; tall, thin, and wiry.
Large spectacles hid, to a certain extent, his vast, round
and goggle eyes, while his nose was irreverently compared
4 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

to a thin file. So much indeed did it resemble that useful
article, that a compass was said in his presence to have
made considerable N* deviation.

The truth being told, however, the only seriele really
attracted to my uncle’s nose was tobacco.

Another peculiarity of his was, that he always stepped a
yard at a time, clenched his fists as if he were going to hit
you, and was, when in one of his peculiar humors, very
far from a pleasant companion.

It is further necessary to observe, that he lived ina very
nice house, in that very nice street, the Kénigstrasse at
Hamburg. Though lying in the centre of a town, it was
perfectly rural in its aspect—half wood, half bricks, with
old-fashioned gables—one of the few old houses spared by
the great fire of 1842.

When I say a nice house, I mean a handsome house—
old, tottering, and not exactly comfortable to English
notions: a house a little off the perpendicular and inclined
to fall into the neighboring canal; exactly the house for a
wandering artist to depict; all the more that you could
scarcely see it for ivy and a magnificent old tree which
grew over the door.

My uncle was rich; his house was his own property,
while he had a considerable private income. To my notion
the best part of his possessions was his god-daughter,
Gretchen. And the old cook, the young lady, the Pro-
fessor and I were the sole inhabitants.

T loved ulereloey: I loved geology. To me there was
a little
less of a fury, we shpat have been the janhient of families.
To prove the excellent Hardwigg’s impatience, I solemnly
declare that when the flowers in the drawing-room pots be-
gan to grow, he rose every morning at four o’clock to make
them grow quicker by pulling the leaves!

* (?) Nasal.


A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 5

Having described my uncle, I will now give an account °
of our interview.

_ He received me in his study; a perfect museum, con-
taining every natural curiosity that can well be imagined

_—minerals, however, predominating. Every one was
familiar to me, having been catalogued by my own hand.
My unele, apparently oblivious of the fact that he had
summoned me to his presence, was absorbed in a book. He
was particularly fond of early editions, tall copies, and
unique works.

“ Wonderful!” he cried, tapping his forehead. “ Won-
derful—wonderful ! ”

It was one of those yellow-leaved volumes now rarely
found on stalls, and to me it appeared to possess but little
value. My uncle, however, was in raptures.

He admired its binding, the clearness of its characters,
the ease with which it opened in his hand, and repeated
aloud, halfa-dozen times, that it was very, very old.

To my fancy he was making a great fuss about nothing,
but it was not my province to say so. On the contrary,
I professed considerable interest in the subject, and asked
him what it was about.

“Tt is the Heims-Kringla of Snorre Tarleson,” he said,
“the celebrated Icelandic author of the twelfth century—
it is a true and correct account of the Norwegian princes
who reigned in Iceland.”

My next question related to the language in which it
was written. I hoped at all events it was translated into
German. My uncle was indignant at the very thought,
and declared he wouldn’t give a penny for a translation.
His delight was to have found the original work in the
Icelandic tongue, which he declared to be one of the most
magnificent and yet simple idioms in the world—while at
the same time its grammatical combinations were the most
varied known to students.
6 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

“ About as easy as German?” was my insidious remark.

My uncle shrugged his shoulders.

“ The letters at all events,” I said, “ are rather difficult
of comprehension.”

“Tt is a Runic manuscript, the language of the original
population of Iceland, invented by Odin himself,” cried
my uncle, angry at my ignorance.

I was about to venture upon some qamlaeed joke on the
subject, when a small scrap of parchment fell out of the
leaves. Like a hungry man snatching at a morsel of bread
the Professor seized it. It was about five inches by three
and was scrawled over in the most extraordinary fashion.

The lines on page 12 are an exact facsimile of what
was written on the venerable piece of parchment—and
have wonderful importance, as they induced my uncle to
undertake the most wonderful series of adventures which
ever fell to the lot of human beings.

My uncle looked keenly at the document for some mo-
ments and then declared that it was Runic. The letters
were similar to those in the book, but then what did they
mean? This was exactly what I wanted to know,

Now as I had a strong conviction that the Runic
alphabet and dialect were simply an invention to mystify
poor human nature, I was delighted to find that my uncle
knew as much about the matter as I did—which was
nothing. At all events, the tremulous motion of his fingers
made me think so.

“ And yet,” he muttered to himself, “ it is old Icelandic,
Iam sure of it.”

And my uncle ought to have known, for he was a per-
fect polyglot dictionary in himself. He did not pretend,
like a certain learned pundit, to speak the two thousand
languages and four thousand idioms made use of in dif
ferent parts of the globe, but he did know all the more
important ones.














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A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. q

It is a matter of great doubt to me now, to what violent
measures my uncle’s impetuosity. might have led him,
had not the clock struck two, and our old French cook
called out to let us know that dinner was on the table.

“ Bother the dinner!” cried my uncle.

But as I was hungry, I sallied forth to the dining-room,
where I took up my usual quarters. Out of politeness I
waited three minutes, but no sign of my uncle, the Pro-
fessor. I was surprised. He was not usually so blind to
the pleasure of a good dinner. It was the acme of German
luxury—parsley soup, a ham omelette with sorrel trim-
mings, an oyster of veal stewed with prunes, delicious fruit,
and sparkling Moselle. For the sake of poring over this
musty old piece of parchment, my uncle forbore to share
our meal. To satisfy my conscience, I ate for both.

The old cook and housekeeper was nearly out of her
mind. After taking so much trouble, to find her master
not appear at dinner was to her a sad disappointment—
which, as she occasionally watched the havoe I was
making on the viands, became also alarm. If my uncle
were to come to table after all?

Suddenly, just as I had consumed the last apple and
drank the last glass of wine, a terrible voice was heard at
no great distance. It was my uncle roaring for me to
come to him. I made very nearly one leap of it—so loud,
80 fierce was his tone.
8 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

CHAPTER IT.

THE MYSTERIOUS PARCHMENT.

KARMA XUATNTD beeET bh.
HIUTHHYE NAKATTIFE KIDDATY
CRAAYK. ATA1T+H ad RRAARK

AYOMAL ANAL ER AAT DA
AMNWN1A CKAVKAY 1+11B4
YY bAY! 4F4NTND FAIMON
bt? i4r butiBk Ferbuil

“T DECLARE,” cried my uncle, striking the table fiercely
with his fist, “I declare to you it is Runic—and contains
some wonderful secret, which I must get at, at any price.”

I was about to reply when he stopped me.

“Sit down,” he said, quite fiercely, “and write to my
dictation.”

I obeyed.

“T will substitute,” he said, “a letter of our alphabet
for that of the Runic: we will then see what that will pro-
duce. Now, begin and make no mistakes.”

The dictation commenced with the following incompre-
hensible result :—

mrnlls esruel seecd de
sgissmf untetef miedrke
kt,samn atrateS Saodrrn
emtnael nuaect rritSa
Atvaar nscre teaabs
codrmi ecutul frantu

dt,iac oseibo Keduil
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 9

Scareely giving me time to finish, my uncle snatched
the document from my hands and examined it with the
most rapt and deep attention.

“ T should like to know what it means,” he said, after a
long period.

I certainly could not tell him, nor did he expect me
to—his conversation being uniformly answered by him-
self.

“T declare it puts me in mind of a eryptograph,” he
cried, “unless, indeed, the letters have been written with-
out any real meaning; and yet why take so much
trouble? Who knows but I may be on the verge of some
great discovery?” ;

My candid opinion was that it was all rubbish! But
this opinion I kept carefully to myself, as my uncle’s
choler was not pleasant to bear. All this time he was
comparing the book with the parchment.

“The manuscript volume and the smaller document
‘are written in different hands,” he said, “the cryptograph
is of much later date than the book; there is an undoubt-
ed proof of the correctness of my surmise. [An irre-
fragable proof I took it to be] The first letter is a
double M, which was only added to the Icelandic lan-
guage in the twelfth century—this makes the parchment
two hundred years posterior to the volume.”

The circumstances appeared very probable and very
logical, but it was all surmise to me.

“To me it appears probable that this sentence was
written by some owner of the book. Now who was the
owner, is the next important question. Perhaps by great
good luck it may be written somewhere in the volume.”

With these words Professor Hardwigg took off his spec-
tacles, and, taking a powerful magnifying glass, examined
the book carefully.

On the fiy leaf was what appeared to be a blot of ink,

1*
10 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

but on examination proved to be a line of writing almost
effaced by time. This was what he sought; and, after
some considerable time, he made out these letters :

ALM HIPKN4SEX

“ Arne Saknussemm!” he eried in a joyous and tri-
umphant tone, “that is not only an Icelandic name, but
of a learned professor of the sixteenth century, a celebrated
alchemist.”

I bowed as a sign of respect.

“These alchemists,” he continued, “ Avicena, Bacon,
Lully, Paracelsus, were the true, the only learned men of
the day. They made surprising discoveries. May not this
Saknussemm, nephew mine, have hidden on this bit of
parchment some astounding invention? I believe the
eryptograph to have a profound meaning—which I must
make out.”

My uncle walked about the room in a state of excite-
ment almost impossible to describe.

“Tt may be so, sir,” I timidly observed, “but why con-
ceal it from posterity, if it be a useful, a worthy dis-
covery ?”

“ Why—how should I know? Did not Galileo make a
secret of his discoveries in connection with Saturn? But
we shall see. Until I discover the meaning of this sentence
I will neither eat nor sleep.”

“ My dear uncle ” T began. .

“Nor you neither,” he added.

Tt was lucky I had taken double allowance that day.

“Tn the first place,” he continued, “ there must be a clue
to the meaning. If we could find that, the rest would be
easy enough.”

I began seriously to reflect. The prospect of going




PROFESSOR VON HARDWIGG,
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 11

without food and sleep was not a promising one, so I de-
termined to do my best to solve the mystery. My uncle,
meanwhile, went on with his soliloquy.

“The way to discover it is easy enough. In this docu-
ment there are one hundred and thirty-two letters, giving
seventy-nine consonants to fifty-three vowels. This is.about
the proportion found in most southern languages, the
idioms of the north being much more rich in consonants.
We may confidently predict, therefore, that we have to deal
with a southern dialect.”

Nothing could be more logical.

“ Now,” said Professor Hardwigg, “to trace the parti-
cular language.”

“ As Shakspeare says, ‘that is the question,” was my
rather satirical reply.

“This man Saknussemm,” he continued, “ was a very
learned man: now as he did not write in the language of
his birth-place, he probably, like most learned men of the
sixteenth century, wrote in Latin. If, however, I prove
wrong in this guess, we must try Spanish, French, Italian,
Greek, and even Hebrew. My own opinion, though, is
decidedly in favor of Latin” _

This proposition startled me. Latin was my favorite
study, and it seemed sacrilege to believe this gibberish to
belong to the country of Virgil.

“Barbarous Latin, in all probability,’ continued my
uncle, “but still Latin.”

“Very probably,” I replied, not to contradict him.

“Let us see into the matter,’ continued my uncle;
“here you see we have a series of one hundred and thirty-
two letters, apparently thrown pell-mell upon paper, with-
out method or organization. There are words which are
composed wholly of consonants, such as m.rnils, others
which are nearly all vowels, the fifth, for instance, which
is wnteief, and one of the last oseibo. This appears an
1Z A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

extraordinary combination. Probably we shall find that
the phrase is arranged according to some mathematical
plan. No doubt a certain sentence has been written out
and then jumbled up—some plan to which some figure is
the clue. Now, Harry, to show your English wit—what
is that figure?”

I could give him no hint. My thoughts were indeed
far away. While he was speaking I had caught sight of
the portrait of my cousin Gretchen, and was wondering
when she would return.

‘We were affianced, and loved one another very sincerely.
But my uncle, who never thought even of such sublunary
matters, knew nothing of this. Without noticing my ab-
straction, the Professor began reading the puzzling cryp-
tograph all sorts of ways, according to some theory of his
own. Presently, rousing my wandering attention, he dic-
tated one precious attempt to me.

I mildly handed it over to him. It read as follows :—

mmessunkaSenr A .icefdoK.segnittamurin
ecertserrette,rotaivsadua,ednecsedsadne
lacariniiluS siratracSarbmutabiledmek
meretaresilucoIsleffenSnL.

I could scarcely keep from laughing, while my uncle,
on the contrary, got in a towering passion, struck the table
with his fist, darted out of the room, out of the house, and
then taking to his heels was presently lost to sight.
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 13

CHAPTER III.

AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY.

“Wuar is the matter?” cried the cook, entering the
room; “when will master have his dinner ? ”

“Never.”

“ And, his supper?”

“T don’t know. He says he will eat no more, neither
shall I. My uncle has determined to fast and make me
fast until he makes out this abominable inscription,” I
replied.

“You will be starved to death,” she said.

I was very much of the same opinion, but not liking to
say so, sent her away, and began some of my usual work
of classification. But boy as I made myself, nothing
could keep me from thinking alternately of the stupid
manuscript and of the pretty Gretchen.

Several times I thought of going out, but my uncle
would have been angry at my absence. At the end of an
hour, my allotted task was done. How to pass the time?
I began by lighting my pipe. Like all other students, I
delighted in tobacco; and, seating myself in the great
arm-chair, I began to think.

Where was my uncle? I could easily imagine him
tearing along some solitary road, gesticulating, talking to
himself, cutting the air with his cane, and still thinking
of the absurd bit of hieroglyphics. Would he hit upon
some clue? Would he come home in better humor?
While these thoughts were passing through my brain, I
mechanically took up the execrable puzzle and tried every
imaginable way of grouping the letters. I put them to-
gether by twos, by threes, fours, and fives—in vain.
14
Nothing intelligible came out, except that the fourteenth,
fifteenth and sixteenth made tee in English; the eighty-
fourth, eighty-fifth and eighty-sixth, the word sir; then at
last I seemed to find the Latin words rota, mutabile, ira,
nec, atra.

“Ha! there seems to be some truth in my uncle’s no-
tion,” thought I.

Then again I seemed to find the word lueo, which means
sacred wood. Then in the third line I appeared to make
out labiled, a perfect Hebrew word, and at the last the
syllables mere, are, mer, which were French.

It was enough to drive one mad. Four different idioms
in this absurd phrase. What connection could there be
between ice, sir, anger, cruel, sacred wood, changing,
mother, are and sea? The first and the last might, in a
sentence connected with Iceland, mean sea of ice. But
what of the rest of this monstrous cryptograph ?

I was, in fact, fighting against an insurmountable diffi-
culty ; my brain was almost on fire ; my eyes were strained
with staring at the parchment; the whole absurd collec-
tion of letters appeared to dance before my vision in a
number of black little groups. My mind was possessed
with temporary hallucination—I was stifling. I wanted
air. Mechanically I fanned myself with the document,
of which now I saw the back and then the front.

Imagine my surprise when glancing at the back of the
wearisome puzzle, the ink having gone through, I clearly
made out Latin words, and among others craterem and
terrestre.

I had discovered the secret !

It came upon me like a flash of lightning. Thad got the
clue. All you had to do to understand the document was
to read it backwards. All the ingenious ideas of the Pro-
fessor were realized; he had dictated it rightly to me; by a
mere accident I had discovered what he so much desired.
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 15

My delight, my emotion may be imagined, my eyes
were dazzled and I trembled so that at first I could make
nothing of it. One look, however, would tell me all I
wished to know.

“ Let me read,” I said to myself, after drawing a long
breath.

I spread it before me on the table, I passed my finger
over each letter, I spelt it through; in my excitement I
read it out. ;

What horror and stupefaction took possession of my
soul. I was like a man who had received a knock-down
blow. Was it possible that I really read the terrible
secret, and it had really been accomplished! A man had
dared to do—what ?

No living being should ever know.

“ Never!” cried I, jumping up; “ Never shall my uncle
be made aware of the dread secret. He would be quite
capable of undertaking the terrible journey. Nothing
would check him, nothing stop him. Worse, he would
compel me to accompany him, and we should be lost for-
ever. But no; such follyand madness cannot be allowed.”

I was almost beside myself with rage and fury.

“My worthy uncle is already nearly mad,” I cried
aloud. “This would finish him. By some accident he
may make the discovery; in which case, we are both lost.
Perish the fearful secret—let the flames forever bury it in
oblivion.”

I snatched up book and parchment, and was about to
cast them into the fire, when the door opened and my
uncle entered.

I had scarcely time to put down the wretched docu-
ments before my uncle was by my side. He was pro-
foundly absorbed. His thoughts were evidently bent on
the terrible parchment. Some new combination had pro-
bably struck him while taking his walk.

2
16 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

He seated himself in his arm-chair, and with a pen began
to make an algebraical calculation. I watched him with
anxious eyes. My flesh crawled as it became probable
that he would discover the secret.

His combinations I knew now were useless, I having
discovered the one only clue. For three mortal hours he
continued without speaking a word, without raising his
head, scratching, re-writing, calculating over and over
again. I knew that in time he must hit upon the right
phrase. The letters of every alphabet have only a certain
number of combinations. But then years might elapse be-
fore he would arrive at the correct solution.

Still time went on; night came, the sounds in the streets
ceased—and still my uncle went on, not even answering
our worthy cook when she called us to supper.

I did not dare to leave him, so waved her away, and
at last fell asleep on the sofa.

When I awoke my uncle was still at work. His red
eyes, his pallid countenance, his matted hair, his feverish
hands, his hecticly flushed cheeks, showed how terrible
had been his struggle with the impossible, and what fear-
ful fatigue he had undergone during that long sleepless
night. It made me quite ill to look at him. Though he
was rather severe with me, I loved him, and my heart
ached at his sufferings. He was so overcome by one idea
that he could not even get in a passion! All his energies
were focussed on one point. And I knew that by speaking
one little word all this suffering would cease. I could not
speak it.

My heart was, neverthless, inclining towards him. Why,
then, did I remain silent? In the interest of my uncle
himself.

“Nothing shall make me speak,” I muttered. “He
will want to follow in the footsteps of the other! I know
him well. His imagination is a perfect volcano, and to


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































BROWN sTuUDY,.

IN A
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 17

make discoveries in the interests of geology he would,
sacrifice his life. I will therefore be silent and strictly
keep the secret I have discovered. To reveal it would be
suicidal. He would not only rush, himself, to destruction,
but drag me with him.”

I crossed my arms, looked another way and smoked—
resolved never to speak.

When our cook wanted to go out to market, or on any
other errand, she found the front door locked and the
key taken away. Was this done purposely or not?
Surely Professor Hardwigg did not intend the old woman
and myself to become martyrs to his obstinate will. Were
we to be starved to death? A frightful recollection came
to my mind. Once we had fed on bits and scraps for a
week while he sorted some curiosities. It gave me the
cramp even to think of it!

I wanted my breakfast, and I saw no way of getting it.
Still my resolution held good. I would starve rather than
yield. But the cook began to take me seriously to task.
What was to be done? She could not go out; and I
dared not.

My uncle continued counting and writing; his imagi-
nation seemed to have translated him to the skies. He
neither thought of eating nor drinking. In this way
twelve o’clock came round. I was hungry, and there was
nothing in the house. The cook had eaten the last bit of
bread. This could not go on. It did, however, until two,
when my sensations were terrible. Afterall, I began to
think the document very absurd. Perhaps it might only
be a gigantic hoax. Besides, some means would surely be
found to keep my uncle back from attempting any such
absurd expedition. On the other hand, if he did attempt
anything so Quixotic, I should not be compelled to ac-
company him. Another line of reasoning partially de-
cided me. Very likely he would make the discovery him-
18 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

-self when I should have suffered starvation for nothing.
Under the influence of hunger this reasoning appeared
admirable. I determined to tell all. ;

The question now arose as to how it was to be done. I
was still dwelling on the thought, when he rose and put
on his hat.

What! go out and lock us in? Never!

“Uncle,” I began.

He did not appear even to hear me.

“ Professor Hardwigg,” I cried.

“ What,” he retorted, “did you speak?”

“ How about the key?”

“What key—the key of the door?”

“ No—of these horrible hieroglyphics ?”

He looked at me from under his spectacles, and started
at the odd expression of my face. Rushing forward, he
clutched me by the arm and keenly examined my counte-
nance. His very look was an interrogation.

I simply nodded.

With an incredulous shrug of the shoulders, he turned
upon his heel. Undoubtedly he thought I had gone mad.

“T have made a very important discovery.”

His eyes flashed with excitement. His hand was lifted
in a menacing attitude. For a moment neither of us
spoke. It is hard to say which was most excited.

“You don’t mean to say that you have any idea of the
meaning of the scrawl?”

“T do,’ was my desperate reply. “ Look at the sentence
as dictated by you.”

“Well, but it means nothing,” was the angry answer.

“Nothing if you read from left to right, but mark, if
from right to left iy

“Backwards!” cried my uncle, in wild amazement.
“Oh most cunning Saknussemm; and I to be such a
blockhead!”


A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 19

He snatched up the document, gazed at it with haggard
eye, and read it out as I had done.

It read as follows :—

In Sneffels yooulis craterem kem delebat

Umbra Scartaris Julit intra calendas descende.

Audas viator, et terrestre centrum attinges,

Kod fect. Arne Saknussemm.

Which dog-Latin being translated, reads as follows:—

“Descend into the crater of Yocul of Sneffels, which
the shade of Scartaris caresses, before the kalends of July,
audacious traveller, and you will reach the centre of the
earth. I did it. ARNE SAKNUSSEMM.”

My uncle leaped three feet from the ground with joy.
He looked radiant and handsome. He rushed about the
room wild with delight and satisfaction. He knocked over
tables and chairs. He threw his books about until at last,
utterly exhausted, he fell into his arm-chair.

“What’s o’clock?” he asked.

* About three.”

“ My dinner does not seem to have done me much good,”
he observed, “ Let me have something to eat. We can
then start at once. Get my portmanteau ready.”

“What for?”

“ And your own,” he continued. “ We start at once.”

My horror may be conceived. I resolved however to
show no fear. Scientific reasons were the only ones likely
to influence my uncle. Now, there were many against
this terrible journey. The very idea of going down to the
centre of the earth was simply absurd. I determined
therefore to argue the point after dinner.

My uncle’s rage was now directed against the cook for
having no dinner ready. My explanation however satis-
fied him, and giving her the key she soon contrived to get
sufficient to satisfy our voracious appetites.

During the repast my uncle was rather gay than other-
90 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

wise. He made some of those peculiar jokes which belong
exclusively to the learned. As soon however as dessert
was over, he called me to his study. We each took a
chair on opposite sides of the table.

“Henry,” he said, in a soft and winning voice; “I have
always believed you ingénious, and you have rendered me
a service never to be forgotten. Without you, this great,
this wondrous discovery would never have been made. It
is my duty, therefore, to insist on your sharing the glory.”

“Fe is in-a good humor,” thought I; “TIL soon let him
know my opinion of glory.”

“Tn the first place,’ he continued, “you must keep the
whole affair a profound secret. There is no more envious
race of men than scientific discoverers. Many would
start on the same journey. At all events, we will be the
first in the field.”

“T doubt your having many competitors,” was my reply.

“A man of real scientific acquirements would be de-
lighted at the chance. We should find a perfect stream
of pilgrims on the traces of Arne Saknussemm, if this
document were once made public.

“ But my dear sir, is not this paper very likely to be a
hoax ?” I urged.

“The book in which we find it is sufficient proof of its
authenticity,” he replied.

“T thoroughly allow that the celebrated Professor wrote
the lines, but only, I helieve, as a kind of mystification,”
was my answer.

Scarcely were the words out of my mouth, when I was
sorry 1 had uttered them. My uncle looked at me with a
dark and gloomy scowl, and I began to be alarmed for the
results of our conversation. His mood soon changed, how-
ever, and a smile took the place of a frown.

“We shall see,” he remarked, with decisive emphasis.

“ But see, what is all this about Yocul, and Sneffels,


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TRACING OUR ROUTE.
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 21
and this Scartaris? I have never heard anything about
them.”

“The very point to which I am coming. I lately re
ceived from my friend, Augustus Peterman, of Leipzig, a
map. Take down the third atlas from the second shelf,
series Z, plate 4.

T rose, went to the shelf, and presently returned with the
volume indicated.

“'This,” said my unele, “is one of the best maps of Ice-
land. I believe it will settle all your doubts, difficulties
and objections.”

With a grim hope to the contrary, I stooped over the
map.
22 =A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

CHAPTER IV.
WE START ON THE JOURNEY.

“You see, the whole island is composed of volcanoes,”
said the Professor, “and remark carefully that they all
bear the name of Yokul. The word is Icelandic, and
means a glacier. In most of the lofty mountains of that
region the volcanic eruptions come forth from ice-bound
caverns. Hence the name applied to every volcano on
this extraordinary island.”

“ But what does this word Sneffels mean ?”

To this question I expected no rational answer. I was
mistaken.

“Follow my finger to the western coast of Iceland,
there you sce Reykjawik, its capital. Follow the direction
of one of its innumerable fjords or arms of the sea, and
what do you see below the sixty-fifth degree of latitude?”

“A peninsula—very like a thigh-bone in shape.”

“ And in the centre of it 2”

“ A mountain.”

“ Well, that’s Sneffels.”

I had nothing to say.

“That is Snefiels—a mountain about five thousand feet
in height, one of the most remarkable in the whole island,
and certainly doomed to be the most celebrated in the
world, for through its crater we shall reach the Centre of
the Harth.”

“Tmpossible!” cried I, startled and shocked at the
thought.

“Why impossible?” said Professor Hardwigg in his
severest tones.


A JOURNEY TO TIE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 23

“Because its crater is choked with lava, by burning
rocks—by infinite dangers.”

“ Bub if it be extinct?”

“That would make a difference.”

“Of course it would. There are about three hundred
volcanoes on the whole surface of the globe—but the
greater number are extinct. Of these Sneflels is one. No
eruption has occurred since 1219—in fact it has ceased to
be a volcano at all.”

After this what more could I say? Yes—I thought of
another objection.

“ But what is all this about Scartaris and the kalends
of July (eas

My uncle reflected deeply. Presently he gave forth the
result of his reflections in a sententious tone.

“ What appears obscure to you, to me is light. This
very phrase shows how particular Saknussemm is in his
directions. The Sneffels’ mountain has many craters. He
is careful therefore to point the exact one which is the
highway into the Interior of the Harth. THe lets us know,
for this purpose, that about the end of the month of June,
the shadow of Mount Scartaris falls upon the one crater.
‘There can be no doubt about the matter.”

My unele had an answer for everything.

“T accept all your explanations,” I said, “and Saknus-
semm is right. He found out the entrance to the bowels
of the earth, he has indicated correctly, but that he or any
one else ever followed up the discovery, is madness to
suppose.”

“Why so, young man?”

“ All scientific teaching, theoretical and practical, shows
it to be impossible.”

“T care nothing for theories,” retorted my uncle.

“ But is it not well-known that heat increases one degree
for every seventy fect you descend into the earth? which


24 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

gives a fine idea of the central heat. All the matters
which compose the globe are in a state of incandescence ;
even gold, platinum, and the hardest rocks are in a state
of fusion. What would become of us?”

“ Don’t be alarmed at the heat, my boy.”

_“ How so?”

“Neither you nor anybody else know anything about
the real state of the earth’s interior. AH modern experi-
ments tend to explode the older theories. Were any such
heat to exist, the upper crust of the earth would be
shattered to atoms, and the world would be at an end.”

A long, learned and not uninteresting discussion followed,
which ended in this wise :—

“T do not believe in the dangers and difficulties which
you, Henry, seem to multiply ; and the only way to learn,
is like Arne Saknussemm, to go and see.”

“Well,” cried I, overcome at last, “let us go and see.
Though how we can do that in the dark is another
mystery.”

“Fear nothing. We shall overcome these, and many
other difficulties. Besides, as we approach the Centre, I
expect to find it luminous—”

“ Nothing is impossible.”

“ And now that we have come to a thorough under-
standing, not a word to any living soul. Our success
depends on. secrecy and despatch.”

Thus ended owr memorable conference, which roused a
perfect fever inme. Leaving my uncle, I went forth like
one possessed. Reaching the banks of the Elbe, I began to
think. Was all I had heard really and truly possible? Was
my uncle in his sober senses, and could the interior of the
earth be reached? Was I the victim of a madman, or was
he a discoverer of rare courage and grandeur of conception?

To a certain extent I was anxious to be off I was
afraid my enthusiasm would cool. I determined to pack
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 25
up at once. At the end of an hour, however, on my way
home, I found that my feelings had very much changed.

“Ym all abroad,” I cried; “’tis a nightmare—{ must
have dreamed it.”

At this moment I came face to face with Gretcher
whom I warmly embraced.

“So you have come to meet me,” she said; “ how good
of you. But what is the matter?”

Well, it was no use mincing the matter, I told her all.
She listened with awe, and 6 some minutes she could
not speak.

“Well?” I at last said, rather anxiously.

“What a magnificent journey. If I were only a man!
A journey worthy of the nephew of Professor Hardwigg.
LE should look upon it as an honor to accompany him.”

“My dear Gretchen, I thought you would be the first
to ery out against this mad enterprise.”

“No; on the contrary, I glory init. It is magnificent,
splendid—an. idea worthy of my father. Henry Lawson,
I envy you.”

This was, as it were, conclusive. The final blow of all.

When we entered the house we found my uncle sur-
rounded by workmen and porters, who were packing up.
He was pulling and hauling at a bell.

“Where have you been wasting your time? Your
papers are not in order—



portmanteau is not packed
the precious tailor has not brought my clothes, nor my
gaiters—the key of my carpet bag is gone!”

I looked at him stupefied. And still he tugged away
at the bell.

“We are really off, then?” I said.

“Yes--of course, and yet you go out for a stroll, unfor-
tunate boy!”
“ And when do we go?”

“'The day after to-morrow, at daybreak,”
26 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

I heard no more; but darted off to my little bed.
chamber and locked myself in. There was no doubt about
itnow. My uncle had been hard ai work all the after-
noon. The garden was full of ropes, rope-ladders, torches,
gourds, iron clamps, crow-bars, alpenstocks, and pickaxes
—enough to load ten men.

I passed a terrible night. I was called early the next
day to learn that the resolution of my uncle was un-
changed and irrevocable. I also found my cousin and
affianced wife as warm on the subject as was her father.

Next day, at five o’clock in the morning, the post-chaise
was at the door. Gretchen and the old cook received the
keys of the house; and, scarcely pausing to wish any one
good-bye, we started on our adventurous journey into the
Centre of the Earth.
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 27

CHAPTER V.
FIRST LESSONS IN CLIMBING.

Ar Altona, a suburb of Hamburg, is the Chief Station
of the Kiel railway, which was to take us to the shores of
the Belt. In twenty minutes from the moment of our
departure we were in Holstein, and our carriage entered
the station. Our heavy luggage was taken out, weighed,
labelled, and placed in a huge van. We then tock our
tickets, and exactly at seven o’clock were seated opposite
each other in a first-class railway carriage.

My uncle said nothing. He was too busy examining
his papers, among which of course was the famous parch-
ment, and some letters of introduction from the Danish
consul, which were to pave the way to an introduction to
the Governor of Iceland. My only amusement was look-
ing out of the window. But as we passed through a flat
though fertile country, this occupation was slightly mo-
notonous. In three hours we reached Kiel, and our
baggage was at once transferred to the steamer.

We had now a day before us, a delay of about ten
hours. Which fact put my uncle in a towering passion.
We had nothing to do but to walk about the pretty town
and bay. At length, however, we went on board, and at
half past ten were steaming down the Great Belt. It was
a dark night, with a strong breeze and a rough sea, nothing
being visible but the occasional fires on shore, with here
and there a lighthouse. At seven in the morning we left
Korsér, a little town on the western side of Seeland.

Here we took another railway, which in three hours
brought us to the capital, Copenhagen, where, scarcely,
taking time for refreshment, my uncle hurried out to pre-
28 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

sent one of his letters of introduction. It was to the
director of the Museum of Antiquities, who having been
informed that we were tourists bound for Iceland, did all
he could to assist us. One wretched hope sustained me
now. Perhaps no vessel was bound for such distant parts.

Alas! a little Danish schooner, the Valkyrie, was to
sail on the second of June for Reykjawik. The captain,



M. Bjarne, was on board, and was rather surprised at the
energy and cordiality with which his future passenger
shook him by the hand. To him a voyage to Iceland
was merely a matter of course. My unele, on the other
hand, considered the event of sublime importance. The
honest sailor took advantage of the Professor’s enthusiasm
to double the fare.

“On Tuesday morning at seven o’clock be on board,”
said M. Bjarne, handing us our receipts.

“¥xcellent! Capital! Glorious!” remarked my uncle
as we sat down to a late breakfast ; “refresh piles self, my
boy, and we will take a run through the town.”

Our meal concluded, we went to the Kongens-Nye-Torw;
to the king’s magnificent palace; to the beautiful bridge
over the canal near the Museum; to the immense ceno-
taph of Thorwaldsen with its hideous naval groups; to
the castle of Rosenberg; and to all the other lions of the
place——none of which my uncle even saw, so absorbed
was he in his anticipated triumphs.

But one thing struck his fancy, and that was a certain
singular steeple situated on the Island of Amak, which is
the south-east quarter of the city of Copenhagen. My
uncle at once ordered me to turn my steps that way, and
accordingly we went on board the steam ferry boat which
does duty on the canal, and very soon reached the noted
dockyard quay.

In the first instance we crossed some narrow streets,
where we mef numerous groups of galley slaves, with parti-
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 29

colored trousers, grey and yellow, working under the orders
and the sticks of severe task-masters, and finally reached
the Vor-Frelser’s-Kirk.

This church exhibited nothing remarkable in itself; in
fact, the worthy Professor had only been attracted to it by
one circumstance, which was, that its rather elevated. stee-
ple started from a circular platform, after which there was
an exterior staircase, which wound round to the very summit.

“Let us ascend,” said my uncle.

“ But I never could climb church towers,’ I cried, “I
am subject to dizziness in my head.”

“'The very reason why you should go up. I want to
cure you of a bad habit.”

“ But my good sir %

“T tell you to come. What is the use of wasting so
much valuable time?”



It was impossible to dispute the dictatorial commands of
my uncle. I yielded with a groan. On payment of a
fee, a verger gave us the key. He, for one, was not partial
to the ascent. My uncle at once showed me the way, run-
ning up the steps like a school-boy. I followed as well as
I could, though no sooner was I outside the tower, than
my head began to swim. There was nothing of the cagle
about me. The earth was enough for me, and no ambi-
tious desire to soar ever entered my mind. Still things
did not go badly until I had ascended 150 steps, and was
near the platform, when I began to feel the rush of cold
air. I could scarcely stand, when clutching the railings,
I looked upwards. The railing was frail enough, but no-
thing to those which skirted the terrible winding staircase,
that appeared, from where I stood, to ascend to the skies.

“Now then, Henry.”

“T can’t do it!” I cried, in accents of despair.

“ Are you, after all, a coward, sir?” said my uncle in a
pitiless tone. “Go up, I say!”
30) A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

To this there was no reply possible. And yet the keen
air acted violently on my nervous system; sky, earth, all
seemed to swim round; while the steeple rocked like a
ship. My legs gave way like those of a drunken man. I
crawled upon my hands and knees; I hauled myself up
slowly, crawling like a snake. Presently I closed my eyes,
and allowed myself to be dragged upwards.

“Took around you,” said my uncle, in a stern voice,
“heaven knows what profound abysses you may have to
look down. This is excellent practice.”

Slowly, and shivering all the while with cold, I opened
my eyes. What then did I see? My first glance was up-
wards at the cold fleecy clouds, which as by some optical
delusion appeared to stand still, while the steeple, the
weathercock, and our two selves were carried swiftly along.
Far away on one side could be seen the grassy plain, while
on the other lay the sea bathed in translucent light. The
Sund, or Sound as we call it, could be discovered beyond
the point of Elsinore, crowded with white sails, which, at
that distance, looked like the wings of sea-gulls; while to
the east could be made out the far-off coast of Sweden.
The whole appeared a magic panorama.

But faint and bewildered as I was, there was no remedy
for it. Rise and stand up I must. Despite my protes-
tations my first lesson lasted quite an hour. When, nearly
two hours later, I reached the bosom of mother earth, |
was like a rheumatic old man bent double with pain.

“Enough for one day,” said my uncle, rubbing his
hands, “we will begin again to-morrow.”

There was no remedy. My lessons lasted five days, and
at the end of that period, I ascended blithely enough, and
found myself able to look Gown into the depths below
without even winking, and with some degree of pleasure.
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 31

CHAPTER VI.
OUR VOYAGE TO ICELAND.

Tur hour of departure came at last. The night before,
the worthy Mr. Thompson brought us the most cordial let-
ters of introduction for Count Trampe, Governor of Ice-
land, for M. Pictursson, coadjutor to the bishop, and. for
M. Finsen, mayor of the town of Reykjawik. In return,
my uncle nearly crushed his hands, so warmly did he
shake them.

On the second of the month, at two in the morning, our
precious cargo of luggage was taken on board the good
ship Valkyrie. We followed, and were very politely in-
troduced by the captain to a small cabin with two stand-
ing bed places, neither very well ventilated nor very com-
fortable. But in the cause of science men are expected to
suffer.

“Well, and have we a fair wind?” cried my uncle, in
his most mellifluous accents.

“An excellent wind!” replied Captain Bjarne; “we
shall leave the Sound, going free with all sails set.”

A few minutes afterwards, the schooner started before
the wind, under all the canvas she could carry, and en-
tered the channel. An hour later, the capital of Denmark
seemed to sink into the waves, and we were at no great dis-
tance from the coast of Elsinore. My uncle was delighted;
for myself, moody and dissatisfied, I appeared almost to
expect a glimpse of the ghost of Hamlet.

“Sublime madman,” thought I, “you doubtless, would
approve our proceedings. You might perbaps even follow
us to the centre of the earth, there to resolve your eternal
doubts.”
82 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

But no ghost, or anything clse appeared upon the an-
cient walls. The fact is, the castle is much later than the
time of the heroic prince of Denmark. It is now the re-
sidence of the keeper of the Strait of the Sound, and
through that Sound more than fifteen thousand vessels of
all nations pass every year.

The castle of Kronborg soon disappeared in the murky
atmosphere, as well as the tower of Helsinborg, which
raises its head on the Swedish Bank, And here the
schooner began to feel in earnest the breezes of the Catte-
gat. The Valkyrie was swift enough, but with all sailing
boats there is the same uncertainty. Her cargo was coal,
furniture, pottery, woolen clothing, and a load of corn.
As usual, the crew was small, five Danes doing the whole
of the work.

“ How long will the voyage last?” asked my uncle.

“Well, I should think about ten days,’ replied the
skipper, “unless, indeed, we meet with some north-east
gales among the Faroe Islands.

“At all events, there will be no very considerable de-
lay,” eried the impatient Professor.

“No, Mr. Hardwigg,” said the captain, “no fear of that.
At all events, we shall get there some day.”

Towards evening the schooner doubled Cape Skagen,
the northernmost part of Denmark, crossed the Skager-
Rak during the night—skirted the extreme point of Nor-
way through the gut of Cape Lindness, and then reached
the Northern Seas. Two days later we were not far from
the coast of Scotland, somewhere near what Danish sailors
call Peterhead, and then the Valkyrie stretched out direct
for the Faroe Islands, between Orkney and Shetland. Our
vessel now felt the full force of the ocean waves, and the
wind shifting, we with great difficulty made the Faroe
Isles. On the eighth day, the captain made out Mygan-
ness, the westernmost of the Isles, and from that moment
A JOURNEY TO THN CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 33
headed direct for Portland, a cape on the southern shores
of the singular island for which we were bound.

The voyage offered no incident worthy of record. I bore
it very well, but my uncle to his great annoyance, and
even shame, was remarkably sea-sick! This mal de mer
troubled him the more, that it prevented him from ques-
tioning Captain Bjarne as to the subject of Sneffels, as to
the means of communication, and the facilities of transport.
All these explanations he had to adjourn to the period of
his arrival. His time meanwhile, was spent lying in bed
groaning, and dwelling anxiously on the hoped-for termi-
nation of the voyage. I didn’t pity him.

On the eleventh day we sighted Cape Portland, over
which towered Mount Myrdals Yokul, which, the weather
being clear, we made out very readily. The cape itself is
nothing but a hvge mount of granite standing naked and
alone to meet the Atlantic waves. The Valkyrie kept off
the coast, steering to the westward. On all sides were to
be seen whole “schools” of whales and sharks. After
some hours we came in sight of a solitary rock in the
ocean, forming a mighty vault, through which the foam-
ing waves poured with intense fury. The islets of West-
man appeared to leap from the ocean, being so low in the
water as scarcely to be seen until you were right upon
them. From that moment the schooner was steered to
the westward in order to round Cape Reykjaness, the
western point of Iceland.

My uncle, to his great disgust, was unable even to crawl
on deck, so heavy a sea was on, and thus lost the first
view of the Land of Promise. Forty-eight hours later,
after a storm which drove us far to sea under bare poles,
we came once more in sight of land, and were boarded by
a pilot, who, after three hours of dangerous navigation,
brought the schooner safely to an anchor in the bay of
Faxa before Reykjawik.
384 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

My uncle came out of his cabin pale, haggard, thin,
but full of enthusiasm, his eyes dilated with pleasure and
satisfuction. Nearly the whole population of the town
was on foot to see us land. The fact was, that scarcely
any one of them but expected some goods by the periodi-
cal vessel.

Professor Hardwigg was in haste to leave his prison, or
rather as he called it, his hospital; but before he at-
tempted to do so, he caught hold of my hand, led me to
the quarter-deck of the schooner, took my arm with his
left, hand, and pointed inland with his right, over the
northern part of the bay, to where rose a high two-peaked
mountain—a double cone covered with eternal snow.

“ Behold,” he whispered in an awe-stricken voice, “ be-
hold—Mount Sneffels !”

Then without further remark, he put his finger to his
lips, frowned darkly, and descended into the small boat
which awaited us. I followed, and in a few minutes we
stood upon the soil of mysterious Iceland!

Searcely were we fairly on shore when there appeared
before us a man of excellent appearance, wearing the cos-
tume of a military officer. He was, however, but a civil
servant, a magistrate, the governor of the island—Baron
Trampe. The Professor knew whom he had to deal with.
He therefore handed him the letters from Copenhagen,
and a brief conversation in Danish followed, to which I
of course was a stranger, and for a very good reason, for I
did not know the language in which they conversed. I af-
terwards heard, however, that Baron Trampe placed him-
self entirely at the beck and call of Professor Hardwigg.

My uncle was most graciously received by M. Finsen,
the mayor, who as far as costume went, was quite as
military as the governor, but also from character and oc-
cupation quite as pacific. As for his coadjutor, M. Pic-
tursson, he was absent on an episcopal visit to the
A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. 35

northern portion of the diocese. We were therefore com-
pelled to defer the pleasure of being presented to him.
His absence was, however, more than compensated by the
presence of M. Fridriksson, Professor of natural science in
the college of Reykjawik, a man of invaluable ability.
This modest scholar spoke no languages save Icelandic
and Latin. When, therefore, he addressed himself to me
in the language of Horace, we at once came to understand.
one another. He was, in fact, the only person that I did
thoroughly understand during the whole period of my
residence in this benighted island.

Out of three rooms of which his house was composed,
two was placed at our service, and in a few hours we were
installed with all our baggage, the amount of which
rather astonished the simple inhabitants of Reykjawik.

“Now, Harry,” said my unele, rubbing his hands, “all
goes well, the worse difficulty is now over.”

“ Flow the worse difficulty over?” I cried in fresh amaze-
ment.

“Doubtless. Here we are in Iceland. Nothing more
remains but to descend into the bowels of the earth.”

“Well, sir, to a certain extent you are right. We have
only to go down
not the question. I want to know how we are to get up



but, as far as I am concerned, that is

again.”

“That is the least part of the business, and does not in
any way trouble me. In the meantime, there is not an
hour to lose. I am about to visit the public library. Very
likely I may find there some manuscripts from the hand
of Saknussemm. I shall be glad to consult them.”

“Tn the meanwhile,” I replied, “I will take a walk
through the town. Will you not likewise do so?”

“T feel no interest in the subject,” said my uncle. “What
for me is curious in this island, is not what is above the
surface, but what is below.”
36 A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

I bowed by way of reply, put on my hat and furred
cloak, and went out.

Tt was not an easy matter to lose oneself in the two streets
of Reykjawik; I bad therefore no need to ask my way.
The town Hes on a flat and marshy plain, between two
hills. A vast field of lava skirts it on one side, falling away
in terraces towards the sea. On the other hand is the
large bay of Faxa, bordered on the north by the enormous
glacier of Sneffels, and in which bay the Valkyrie was then
the only vessel at anchor. Generally there was one or two
English or French gunboats, to watch and protect the
fisheries in the offing. They were now, however, absent on
duty.

The longest of the streets of Reykjawik runs parallel to
the shore. In this street the merchants and traders live in
wooden huts made with beams of wood, painted red,—mere
log huts, such as you find in the wilds of America. The
other street, situated more to the west, runs towards a little
lake between the residences of the bishop and the other
personages not engaged in commerce.

I had goon seen all I wanted of these weary and dismal
thoroughfares. Here and there was a strip of discolored
turf, like an old worn-out