Livingstone and Stanley
[ Issue 12 ]

Livingstone and Stanley are a particular interest of Emily Bronto

Bikwil is proud to feature Livingstone and Stanley

Livingstone and Stanley

Here Fizzgig explains what was really behind Stanley's famous unemotional greeting "Dr. Livingstone, I presume". 

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From the Back Verandah — Fizzgig


Many of you will remember from school how New York Herald journalist Henry Morton Stanley found lost explorer David Livingstone in “darkest Africa”. But did you ever wonder what gave rise to Stanley’s famous restrained greeting? Here’s an account, also restrained, courtesy of Nature (Vol. 6, No. 184, 1872).

From 1866 little had been heard from Livingstone, who had been searching for further sources of the Nile. His welfare became a matter of international concern, and Stanley was sent by his editor to look for him. On 10 November 1871 he entered the town of Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika, and observed “a pale-looking, grey-bearded, white man, whose fair skin contrasted with the sunburnt visages of those by whom he was surrounded”.

In an instant he recognised the European as none other than Dr. Livingstone himself; and he was about to rush forward and embrace him, when the thought occurred he was in the presence of Arabs, who, being accustomed to conceal their feelings, were very likely to found their estimate of a man upon the manner in which he conceals his own. A dignified Arab chieftain, moreover, stood by, and this confirmed Mr. Stanley in his resolution to show no symptoms of rejoicing or excitement. Slowly advancing towards the great traveller, he bowed and said, Dr. Livingstone, I presume?", to which address the latter, who was fully equal to the occasion, simply smiled and replied "Yes”.

It was not till some hours afterwards, when alone together, seated on a goat skin, that the two white men exchanged those congratulations which both were eager to express, and recounted their respective difficulties and adventures.

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