Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Meridiana; the adventures of three...
 A journey to the centre of the...
 Back Cover

Title: Stories of adventure
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027893/00001
 Material Information
Title: Stories of adventure
Alternate Title: Meridiana, the adventures of three Englishmen and three Russians in South Africa
Journey to the centre of the earth
Physical Description: viii, 232, 305, 8 p., 68 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Pannemaker, Adolphe François, b. 1822 ( Engraver )
Scribner, Armstrong, and Company ( Publisher )
John F. Trow & Son ( Printer )
Publisher: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: John F. Trow & Son
Publication Date: 1874
Copyright Date: 1874
Subject: 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
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
Bibliographic ID: UF00027893
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH9752
oclc - 05215734
alephbibnum - 002239226
lccn - 01009780

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Front Matter 4
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Meridiana; the adventures of three Englishmen and three Russians
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
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    A journey to the centre of the earth
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Full Text


I ," R N .

The Baldwin LUbary
f Fm6 3a
Sdn^B n

rc-~ lb ( ( -











Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by


In lle Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

205-213 East 12t/1 St.,







2Translated from the French. With numerous Illustrations.


Works of yules Verne,



"The public are cautioned against any editions of the works named below
which do not bear the imprint of SORIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
Any edition of these particular works published under other imprints are
PIRATED, and cannot fail to be inferior in every particular. 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.

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.

full-page illustrations, beautifully bound in cloth, black and gilt.
Price, $3.00.
Translated from the French of JULES VERNE, author of "From the
Earth to the Moon Direct," The AMysterious Island," &c., &c.
With fifty-two illustrations by Riou.
Popular edition, 2o illustrations, 75c. Complete edition, 53 illustra.
tions, on super-calendered paper, handsomely bound in cloth, black and
tilt, beveled boards, $3.00.



































HIDE AND SEEK . 0 * 211




William Emery and the Bushman 8
At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat . 18
Meeting of Members of the Exped-tion . 20
" The Hunter Mokoum," said William Emery, presenting his Com-
panion 24
All these Objects were deposited on the Beach . 26
The Mission Home Establishment 44
Chief Moulibahan .. 46
William Emery and Michael Zorn in advance of the Expedition 53
The Bushman pointing to the Plain 58
Commencement of the Geodesic Operations .. 61
Measuring the Arc of the Meridian 69
Taking the Measurements 69
The Astronomers at Work 72
Encampment under an immense Baobab .... 74
The Hunters 80
The Elephant and the Dog. 86
" He is ours I he is ours !" . 87
The Hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but shook the Boat as a Dog
would a Hare .. 95
"There he is," cried Mokoum . 103
A missing Companion 104
It was a deep Grotto, strewn with Bones and stained with Blood 112
The Entrance to the Lion's Den . 112
A Ball from the Bushman arrested the Lioness 115
" Well," said Mokoum, I hope you like our African Partridges" 116


Sir John was soon asleep 124
The Forest on Fire 125
" War is declared between England and Russia" . 133
The Parting of Emery and Zorn. 135
" The Rhinoceros I" exclaimed Sir John . 141
The Advance of the Caravan . 148
The Hunters glided through the Creepers and Brushwood 151
The empty Oryx Skin. 152
Emery and two Natives struck by Lightning . . 158
A strange Cloud 161
Crossing the Desert 169
"The Ngami I the Ngami! .172
The English come to the relief of the Russians . . 178
On Guard on Mount Scorzef . 189
An Attack on Mount Scorzef 193
The Rice of the Bochjesmen . 196
Watching for the Signal from Mount Volquiria . . 204
The Steamboat leaving Mount Scorzef . 210
Palander robbed by the Chacma. 217
Palander's Combat with the Chacma . 224
Descending the Zambesi 229
Adieu to Mokoum. 230
The Natives regarded with superstitious admiration the smoking vessel 230





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


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
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


the N.W. of Cape Colony. Not a 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
B 2


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-
"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


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
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
"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,


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
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


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
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


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. 290, heated the atmo-
sphere till the thermometer stood at o15 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.


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
"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


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;
., ture 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
neighboring 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,


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. 300 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


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 was a
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.




FOR the next three days, the 28th, 29th, and 3oth 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-


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
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."


"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


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 loo feet
below him, gave signs of a closer attention. Was it likely
that he had seen the long-expected boat ? The astronomer,


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.
"I 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,
"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.


"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."
Is 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

-_ ---- -
'I 41h

p -

i ..., :-

At length an exclamation of the Bushman made his heart beat.-[Page iS.]


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
C 2


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.]




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 nebula 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 there-
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


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 2o,ooo 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.


"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 ioo 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 I know his name perfectly well."
"It is the name of a clever, brave African," added Sir


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. I thank you in the
name of England, and I congratulate Mr. Emery on having
chosen you as the chief of our caravan. 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.]


"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 to the 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


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.]


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


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


" 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


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
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 ?"
"I have not the least idea, Colonel."
"It is very simple, Mr. Emery: we have come to mea-
sure an arc of meridian in South Africa."




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-


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
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 M6chain
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. 450 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


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 mitre, 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.


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 I9th 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 9000 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


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 g., and not -, as was
thought at first) now give nearly 10,000,856 metres instead
of io,ooo,ooo for the length of the quadrant of the meridian.
The difference of 856 metres is hardly noticeable in such
a long distance; but nevertheless, mathematically speak-
ing, it cannot be said that the m6tre, as it is now used,
represents the ten-millionth part of the quadrant of the
terrestrial meridian exactly; there is an error of about
-o of a line, i. e. -OVo 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
I8th century, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom
would have accepted the system, for when the Con-


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 metre 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


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,


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 in a 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.




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 "proteacexe," 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


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 large 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,


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
formal; 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,
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.


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


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


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 for a more favour-
able opportunity.
The 15o 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 4 ---


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,ooo 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 5oo0 or
6o0o 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 th ,n with the Bechuanas; not that their dwellings


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
a man; moreover, they all lived in common, and close
contact with the Bechuanas would scarcely have been
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." He wore
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

Chief Moulibahan.-[Page 46.]


up to the Europeans, and took them in turn by the nose.
fhe 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."


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




THE escort under the bushman's command was composed
of ioo 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-


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
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
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 their


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


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
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,

~-=---=---i--~---A -


Wiliar. E eryandMicae Zon i adanc ofth Exediion -Pge 3.


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


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.
"Yes," 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 of the figures, opens


a fresh discussion every time! Unless I am much mistaken
I forbode a vast deal of quibbling when we come to compare
our registers, and the observations we shall have made to
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
"I 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,
"I shall loyally accept him as chief who can command
respect as such. This is a question of science, and I have
no prejudice in the matter. Matthew Strux and the Colonel


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
"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."
I cannot say the same for my countryman, Sir John
Murray," said Emery. "He is a thorough Englishman,
and a most determined hunter, and he would sooner follow
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
"Ay, whatever happens," replied Zorn, holding out his
hand to his friend.
The bushman still continued to guide the caravan down


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 for an 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 produces a 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


of more than iooo 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 Bshma pontn to_ the Pan-[Pg 5




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


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 first side, the
base of the whole system, must be actually measured on the
ground, and this operation requires the utmost care.
When Delambre and Mechain measured the meridian of
France from Dunkirk to Barcelona, they took for their
base a straight line, 12,150 metres 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 long; but any
way, he had done his duty; they had asked him for a level
plain, and he had found it for them.

Commencement of the Geodesic Operations.-[Page 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.
I 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
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.


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


the young men performed their work with scrupulous
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 ioth, 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 hundred toises


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.

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 160 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 lo,oooths of a toise, and as a
vernier with its microscope gave the ioo,oooths, the space
could be very accurately determined. The result was
immediately registered.
Michael Zorn, considering that the covered platinum


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
For more than a month were these minute 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. I," and marked the point
of its termination. Here they made a hole, and drove in a
stake with a leaden plate attached. They then replaced
" No. I 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. i," 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


they would not be obliged to begin afresh. The next day,
the plate was uncovered, and rod "No. I 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
F 2


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.

Measuring the Arc of the Meridian.- [Page 69.]

Taking the Measurements.- [Page 69.




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 x4th 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 27.9517890. 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,


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. The arc from Dunkirk to Formentera,
on the meridian of Paris, was exactly 90 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. 290. In width, it extends from the
Atlantic on the west as far as long. 250 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


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- a
lets. Suchwerethe 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
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'.
I 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 C
very carefully from the extremity A to the first C
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
M A C which it makes with the base A C.


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 200 to 270
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
240 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, C M, 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 D M = C D -
C M, and the adjacent angles are known, the sides M N, D N, and the angle
M N D may be found, and M N is the next portion of the are. Again, in
the triangle N E P, because E N = D E D N, 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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