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, and given very plainly to understand that white men, whether travellers or

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hunters, were by no means welcome. They were not wanted, he told me, under any circumstances,

  • yed the night there. T
  • he next mornin
  • g I found th
  • at the dhow ha
  • d continued her jo
  • urney, and, as Mom
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and he advised me to leave the country at once. 38 chapter iii 1898: Dete

  • basa was only thirty m
  • iles from Shimoni, I
  • walked the re
  • st of the way. Mo
  • mbasa is the sta
  • rting-point of the U
  • ganda Railway, of
  • which so much has al
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rmine to organize a transport caravan on the Uganda Railway route, to convey provision

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s for the coolies working on the railway—Man-eating lions at railway co

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nstruction camps—Reach the bord

erland of the Masai and Kikuyu tribes—Desertion of my men—Return to railhead—Start out again with convoys for Uganda—Loss of my transport animals—Decide to ent




er the Kikuyu country I own I was a little discouraged by this re

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ception, but it did not alter

my determination to remain—in spite of the veiled threat of the official to prevent my going up-country; so I set out to make a few inquiries for myself. I found that there



were a number of caravans going up to Uganda, the main

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road to which place was

protected by a line of forts, placed about a hundred miles apart. North and south of this caravan road the country was practically unknown, being under no administratio




n, and chiefly inhabited by hostile tribes. A mutiny had recent

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ly broken out among the troops in Uganda, on account of wh

  • ready be en written. At the time of my arrival th
    • e railway was only in the initial st
    • ages of its construction, and just begin
    • ning to stretch its track through the
    • almost unknown interior of British Eas
    • t Africa. So far it
    • had only advanced a co
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  • mparativel y short distance into the Protectorate,
    • and from the very start the engineers
    • were faced at every step with some of the nu
    • merous difficulties which lie in the w
    • ay of railway building in a new and sa
    • vage country, from m
    • en and animals, as wel
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  • l as from the climate and tropical vegetation. The los
    • s of life from wild animals, as well a
    • s from the climate, was very heavy. 37 In
    • those days the European quarter of Mom
    • basa was only a small cluster of buildings
    • —chiefly Government
    • offices—with one hot
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  • el, which was kept by a Greek. Two or three European
    • s trading in the interior had stores her
    • e, and the British Government was represente
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    • ning Isle of War—is of great interest to
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ich the whole country was in disorder, and a lot of transport 39 was required in the disaffected district. Here, again, I thought I saw my opportunity. At that time everything had to be carried upon the heads of native porte

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rs, so that each load, averaging about sixty pounds in weight, was

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costing from sixty to one hundred rupees—very often a lot more than the value of the goods carried—before it reached its destination. I

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was convinced that this state of things could be improved on; and chancing to meet a man named Gibbons—a white trader—as I l

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eft the Commissioner, I talked over the question of cheapening the cost of transport with him, and we finally decided that it could be done by using donkeys and wagons in the

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place of porters; so we decided to try the scheme in partnership. Having settled the bargain, we set to work to prepare the expedition. Altogether we purchased about thirty donke

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ys, which cost us about a hundred rupees each, and got as many wagons as we thought sufficient. In the meantim

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e I set to work to make the harness, as we could not get any in Mombasa, and by using rope and sacking I managed to turn out a sufficient number of ve

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ry creditable sets. We also decided to take a hundred porters with us in case of accident, as our contract provided for a heavy fine if we did not

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