My Great Grandfather’s Journal: On Safari
I recently came into possession of a journal kept by my great grandfather many years ago. I found certain passages detailing his experiences in Africa fascinating, and hope you will as well.
Tuesday, May 2, 1892
On safari in Africa now. The heat is oppressive and my feet are developing blisters from the endless walking. I can't help but think how funny it would be if animals could talk.
Thursday, May 4, 1892
Water rationing has begun, as predicted, and I've never felt so parched and exhausted. Captain Quincy, our guide, seems a decent enough chap though he lords over us with a certain arrogance, understandably born from his extensive knowledge of the region. He pushes us relentlessly into the wilderness. I've taken to saying, "Oh, yum," and "Hotterdeedoo" at intervals while marching behind Him. He invariably turns and asks me to repeat myself, to which I decline. I sense this irritates him, though I cannot stop.
Friday, May 5, 1892
I no longer remove my britches to relieve myself. All pretense of civilization has left me in this primeval world. Also, I thought it would be funny.
Saturday, May 6, 1892
Billingsly has taken ill with a jungle fever and must be dragged on a litter as he shakes and sweats. Quincy is noncommittal about his chances, but maintains the best treatment lies in a village ahead. The name "Billingsly" repeats itself endlessly in my mind like an echo, and I've made a rhyming game of it. Several of the rhymes are quite humorous, but I have been unsuccessful in explaining that to the others. The Captain speaks only in stern tones to me now, and the others have taken to whispering amongst one another, cupping their hands to one another's ears. I whisper to them in turn, too, though I often have nothing to say and choose rather just to breath or hum songs.
Sunday, May 7, 1892
Billingsly passed away today, a full day's march from our destination. I remarked that I should like to keep one of his fingers as a memento of our safari. The Captain struck me with his fist and barked an unintelligible stream of words at me. I think it would be funny if there were a baby along with us that we had to take turns carrying.
Monday, May8, 1892
This village on the river is a trading center, of sorts, and home to a handful of Europeans. The Captain has secured my passage down river on a steamboat toward some unknown destination. He and the others will continue to push Eastward. I feel apprehensive at the prospect of river travel with a group of strangers. I have begun composing an opera about my feelings which I hope to perform for these new companions on our journey through this, the darkest and most mysterious of continents.