THE AFRICAN HEAVENS
DEPARTURE FROM THE OTANDO COUNTRY.—TALK WITH MAYOLO.—LIVING ON MONKEY-MEAT.—ASTRONOMICAL
STUDIES.—LUNAR OBSERVATIONS.—INTENSE HEAT.
 THE day of my departure from the Otando country was approaching. Mayolo was getting better and better every
day. So, two days after the ceremony I have described in the preceding chapter, I summoned Mayolo and his
people, and received them in state. I was dressed for the occasion, as if ready to start, with my otaitai on
my back. I was surrounded by my body-guard, and they also were ready for the start, each man carrying his
otaitai. I spoke to the people in similitudes, in the African fashion:
"Mayolo, I have called you and your people, that you may have my mouth. You black people have a saying among
yourselves that a man does not stand alone—that he has friends. You Otando people have friends among the
Apono and Ishogo people." "We will take you there!" shouted the Otandos. "I come to ask you the road through
the Apono country. Come and show me the road. It is the one I like best; it is the shortest. I will make your
heart glad if you make my heart glad. I have nice things to give you all, and I want the news to spread that
Mayolo and I are two great friends, so
 that after I am gone people may say, 'Mayolo was the friend of the Oguizi.'" The last part of the speech was
received with tremendous shouts of applause, and cries of "Rovano! Rovano!"
Mayolo deferred his answer till the next day. I suppose he wanted to prepare himself for a great speech. The
following morning he came before my hut, surrounded by his people. Mayolo began:
"When a hunter goes into the forest in search of game, he is not glad until he returns home with meat; so
Chally's heart will not be glad until he finishes what he wishes to do." Then he continued to speak for more
than an hour, and ended by saying, "Chally, we shall soon be on the long road, and go toward where the
As soon as the recovery of Mayolo seemed certain, the people prepared to celebrate the event. Jar after jar of
native beer came in, and in the evening the people of the village had a grand time. Mayolo was the most
uproarious of all, dancing, slapping his chest, and shouting, "Here I am, alive! The Otando people said I
should die because the Spirit had come, but here I am! Here I am, Chally, well at last! I tell you I am well,
Oguizi!" and, to show me that he was well, he began to leap about, and to strike the ground with his feet,
saying, "Don't you see I am well? The Otando people said, the Apono said, as soon as they heard you had
arrived in my village, Mayolo is a dead man!' As soon as I fell ill, they said, 'Mayolo will never get up
again! Has not the Oguizi killed Remandji and Olenda?' But here I am, alive and well! Fire guns, that the
people of the villages around may know that. Mayolo is well!" As he went, he
shout-  ed, "I knew that the Oguizi did not like to see me ill. I am Mayolo! I will take him farther on!"
I never knew how good Mayolo was till I saw him in better health. He had a good, kind heart, though he was
a savage, and we had nice talks together. He asked me all sorts of questions. When I told him that him that in
my country we had more cattle than he, but that they remained on our plantations, just as his goats did, he
seemed incredulous. Then I told him that as I went inland I would meet tribes of blacks who kept tame cattle.
He said he had never heard of such people; he could not believe what I said. But when I told him that there
were countries where elephants were tamed, and that the people rode on their backs, the astonishment of Mayolo
and of his people became great. Then I showed him an illustrated paper. "Oh! oh! oh!" they shouted. In the
evening Mayolo presented me with a splendid fat monkey.
I should tell you that all this time I had really splendid food. The monkeys were delicious, and so plentiful
in the woods near Mayolo's village that we could have them whenever we pleased. It was in the season when were
fat. The nchègai, the nkago, the miengai, and the ndova were also abundant, and we enjoyed eating them, for
those creatures seemed, in the months of April and May, to be nothing but balls of fat. It was the time of the
year, too, when the forest trees bore most fruit, berries, and nuts. The miengai and the ndova were the
species of animals which I preferred for food. I defy any one to find nicer venison in any part of the world.
A haunch grilled on a bright charcoal fire was simply delicious. "Horrible!" you will say, "the idea
 of eating monkeys! It is perfectly dreadful!" and at the same time I am sure you will make a face so ugly that
it would frighten you if you were to look at yourself in the glass. You may say, "Oh, a roast monkey must look
so much like a roasted little baby! Fy!" Never mind. I can only say that if you ever go into the forests of
Equatorial Africa, and taste of a monkey in the season when those animals are fat, you will exclaim with me,
"What delicious and delicate food! how exquisite!" As I am writing these lines, the recollection of those
meals makes me hungry. I wish I had a monkey here, ready for cooking. I would invite you to partake of it; and
I think you could eat the monkey without being accused of cannibalism.
The first time after my arrival at Mayolo's village that I took my photographic tent out of its japanned tin
box, I called him to look at it after I had fixed it ready for use, but it was not easy to get him to come. He
had a suspicion that there was witchcraft in it. Finally I succeeded in getting him to look at the apparatus.
I made him look at the prairie through the yellow window-glass by which the light came into the little tent
while I was working with the chemicals or the plates. As he looked, the trees, the grass, the sunlight, the
ant-hills, the people, the fowls, the goats, all appeared yellow to him. The good old fellow was frightened
out of his wits. He thought I was practicing witchcraft. I believe if he had gone into the tent he would have
died of fright. He stepped back, looked at me with fear and amazement, and went away, raising his hands, and
with his mouth wide open. After a while he said that I had turned the world to another color. The next day all
the people came to see the wonderful thing.
 I had so little to do that I gave my whole heart to the contemplation of the heavens. Many hours of the night
were spent by me looking at the stars. When every one had gone to sleep, I stood all alone on the prairie,
with a gun by my side, watching. There was no place upon our earth where one could get a grander view of the
heavens than that I now occupied, for I stood almost under the equator, and the months of April and May in
Mayolo were the months when the atmosphere is the purest; for after the storms the azure of the sky was so
intensely deep that it made the stars doubly bright in the blue vault 'of heaven.
At that period the finest constellations of the southern hemisphere were within view at the same
time—the constellations of the Ship, the Cross, the Centaur, the Scorpion, and the Belt of Orion, and
also the three brightest stars in the heavens, Sirius, Canopus, and α Centauri.
How fond I was of looking at the stars! I loved many of them; they were my great friends, for they were my
guides in their apparently ascending and descending course. How glad I was when one of these lovely, friends
again made its appearance after a few months' absence! how anxiously I watched toward the east for its return!
and at last, as it rose from the dim horizon, and became brighter and brighter in ascending the heavens, how
it delighted my heart. Do not wonder at it when I say I love the stars, for without them I would not have
known where to direct my steps. I watched them as a tottering child watches his mother.
"Oft the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
Would not know which way to go
If you did not twinkle so."
 Venus shone splendidly, and threw her radiance all around; red Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were in sight; the
Southern Cross (so named on account of the four bright stars which form a cross); not far from the cross were
the "Coal-sac," like two dark patches. No telescope powerful enough has ever been made to see any star there.
There is no other spot of the kind in the starry heavens.
The Magellanic clouds were also seen; they were like two white-looking patches—especially the larger
one—brightly illuminated as they revolve round the starless South Pole. Then, as if the scene was not
beautiful enough, there stood that part of the Milky Way between the 50th and the 80th parallel, so beautiful
and rich in crowded nebulae and stars that it seemed to be in a perfect blaze; between Sirius and the Centaur
the heavens appeared most brilliantly illuminated, and as if they were a blaze of light.
At the same time, looking northward, I could see the beautiful constellation of the Great Bear, which was
about the same altitude above the horizon as the constellation of the Cross and of the Centaur, some of the
stars in the two constellations passing the meridian within a short time of each other: γ Ursæ Majoris half
an hour before α Crucis, and Benetnasch eleven minutes before β Centauri.
TAKING AN OBSERVATION.
Where could any one have a grander view of the heavens at one glance? From α Ursæ Majoris to α Crucis there
was an arc of 125º; and, as if to give a still grander view of the almost enchanting scene, the zodiacal light
rose after the sun had set, increasing in brilliancy, of a bright yellow color, and rising in a pyramidal
 into the sky, often so bright that the contrast between the blue sky and this yellow glow was most beautiful.
It often became visible half an hour after the sun had disappeared, and was very brilliant, like a second
sunset; it still increased in brilliancy, and often attained a bright orange-color at the base, gradually
becoming fainter and fainter at the top. It could be seen almost every night during the months of April and
May. So if, under the equator, I had not the splendid Aurora Borealis to behold, I had the soft zodiacal light
I would take astronomical observations whenever I could, so that I might know my latitude and longitude, and I
took a great many at Mayolo. In the evening I would bring out my sextant, my policeman's lantern, my
artificial horizon, my thermometer, and would work for hours.
I will explain to you the use of the artificial horizon. It is so called on account of being an imitation of
the natural horizon. Quicksilver is the best material. The heavenly bodies are reflected upon it, and you must
lay your artificial horizon in such a way that the object you are watching is reflected on it, and then, with
your sextant, you bring the direct object to its reflected image on the quicksilver, and the reading of the
sextant gives you the number of degrees, minutes, and seconds of altitude.
It is always good to take two stars, one north and the other south of the zenith of the place. While at Mayolo
I would often take one of the stars of the constellation of the Great Bear and one of the constellation of the
Cross the same evening. You have to watch carefully when the star has reached its highest altitude, that is to
say, when it appears neither to ascend or descend.
 But the most difficult observations were those of the lunar distances for longitude. In those observations I
generally used three sextants, one for the altitude of the moon, another for the altitude of a star, and
another for the distance between the moon and the star. My watch, my slate, my pencil, and my policeman's
lantern were also placed near me. The two artificial horizons were in front of me, and when every thing was
ready I would take an altitude of the moon, then that of the star, then look at, my watch, and note down the
exact time of each observation; then take four distances, and note the exact time each distance was taken, and
then again the altitude of the star and moon in the reverse order of the first portion of the observation.
The following example will show you how a lunar distance tame is taken with a sextant:
OBSERVATIONS FOR LUNAR DISTANCES.
| || || || ||Distance||Error|| ||Longitude|
|1865 || ||H. M. S.|| ||º ' "|| ' "||Fehr.||º ' "|
|May 6||Mayolo||11 1 30|| * Alt. ||121 12 40 ||on 6 30|| 77º||11 7 15|
| " || " ||11 4 30||Jup. Alt.|| 62 44 20 ||on 5 20|| " ||" " "|
| || ||11 7 25||Distance|| 85 48 40 ||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 9 42||Distance|| 85 42 50 ||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 11 53||Distance|| 85 42 20 ||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 13 2||Distance|| 85 42 2 ||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 15 10||Jup. Alt.|| 67 81 0||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 18 2 ||* Alt. ||113 5 10|| || ||Planet E. of Moon.|
| " || " ||11 19 44||* Alt. ||112 16 0||on 8 50||77º||11 11 15|
| || ||11 22 7 ||Jup. Alt.|| 70 87 40||on 5 20|| "||" " " |
| || ||11 24 24||Distance|| 85 88 0||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 26 18||Distance|| 85 37 50||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 81 43||Distance|| 85 87 0||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 83 10||Distance|| 85 86 0||on 0 40|| || |
| || ||11 35 8 ||Jup. Alt|| 76 22 0|| || || |
| || ||11 36 40||* Alt. ||108 59 30|| || ||Planet E. of Moon.|
Take as many lunar observations as you can east and west of the moon—the more the better—and you
will be able to know your exact longitude with more
certain-  ty. It would be here too complicated to tell you how to make the calculations, but I am sure that after a
while many of you would be able to make them.
By lunar observations, if sickness or some other cause has made you forget the day of the month, or even the
year, you can find it again. Several times I lost my days while traveling.
The heat was intense at Mayolo. The rays of the sun were very powerful, and raised the mercury nearly to 150 º.
Just think of it! In order to know the heat of the sun, the thermometer was only a glass tube supported by
two little sticks. I had to take care that the rays of the sun fell always perpendicularly on the mercury.