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In April 1863 Sir Samuel and Lady Florence travelled eastwards route from Ellyria to Tarrangolle. Sir Samuel writes “The town of Tarrangolle contained about three thousand houses, and was not only surrounded by iron-wood palisades, but every house was individually fortified by a little stockaded courtyard. The cattle were most carefully attended to, fires being lit every night to protect them from flies; and high platforms, in three tiers, were erected in many places, upon which sentinels watched both day and night. The cattle are the wealth of the country, and so rich are the Latookas in oxen, that ten or twelve thousand head are housed in every large town. The houses of the Latookas are generally bell-shaped, while others are precisely like huge candle-extinguishers, about twenty-five feet high. The roofs are neatly thatched, at an angle of about 75 degrees, resting upon a circular wall about four feet high; thus the roof forms a cap descending to within two feet and a half of the ground. The doorway is only two feet and two inches high, thus an entrance must be effected upon all-fours.

The Latookas have neither bows nor arrows, their weapons consisting of the lance, a powerful iron-headed mace, a long-bladed knife or sword, and an iron bracelet, armed with knife-blades about four inches long by half an inch broad. Their shields are either of buffaloes' hide or of giraffes', the latter being highly prized as excessively tough although light, and thus combining the two requisite qualities of a good shield; they are usually about four feet six inches long by two feet wide, and are the largest I have seen.”

A chief of the Latookas, Chief Commoro, was a most impressive and intelligent man. He and Sir Samuel had deep conversations on death and resurrection and the comparative intelligence of man and beast. They also talked about the search for the source of the Nile. About this Chief Commoro said to Sir Samuel “"Suppose you get to the great lake; what will you do with it? What will be the good of it? If you find that the large river does flow from it, what then?” He thus won his point, but Sir Samuel and Lady Florence continued on in their arduous search for the source of the Nile !


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Julian Monroe Fisher FRGS FI'00


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