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”.
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”.
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