Mrs Stevens

Name ID 1724

See also

Crile, Grace Skyways to a Jungle Laboratory: An African Adventure
Page Number: 192
Extract Date: 5 January 1936

Arusha to Moshi

CAPTAIN Hewlett called for us at nine. After a short stop at the hospital we were off for Moshi, seeing plenty of game on the way, and stopping at the Two Bridges Inn, near Moshi, for lunch. This is a most successful and attractive inn, run by Mrs. Stevens, who, however, feels that the estate is rather too much of a care for her alone, and at once sought out the Chief and me, actually wondering if we might not like to buy it, as she knew that "Americans often have two or three homes."

Orange and lemon trees, grapefruit trees and pawpaws, the most fragrant flowering bushes, beautiful stretches of lawn, and a its mouth, not its trunk which secured short and not particularly flexible, although the two sensitive little finger-like processes from the trunk reminded me of antennae forever quivering and reaching for something. Captain Hewlett says an elephant's trunk is short and stunted-looking when the elephant is born.

Just as the long hairs that the baby elephant bears when it is born carry the history of its evolution from a hairy species to a hairless species, so in the growth of the trunk of each individual elephant is carried the story of the vicissitudes that the nose has undergone in becoming a trunk. As I counted the enormous indented rings on our elephant's trunk, I could not but wonder if, like the rings of an ancient tree, these deep indentations might not carry some significance.

The eyes of the mtoto elephant seemed almost uselessly small, and its ears ridiculously large. It seemed as if the mere effort of flapping the ears so vigorously and so continuously would be exhausting. At least I was glad that phylogeny played no such trick on us as making us brush away flies with our ears.

When we arrived at the airport, the report was "engine trouble." "There will be no chance of leaving tonight." Reluctantly we said goodbye to Captain Hewlett who, with keen intelligence, skill, and expert knowledge of animal behavior, has so perfectly served the needs of our expedition. Then we settled down in the colorless hotel in Moshi.

Extract ID: 4531

See also

Crile, Grace Skyways to a Jungle Laboratory: An African Adventure
Page Number: 197
Extract Date: 6 January 1936

Moshi to Juba

WHEN we were called this morning, at five, I felt that the night had but begun, so heavily had I slept. It was still dark. The sun had not even begun to break. The electricity had not been turned on. The candlestick held half a candle but there were no matches. When finally we emerged from the black night of our room, there stood Kilimanjaro, towering into the sky, her mantle of clouds lightly tossed to one side, her snowy peak purple in the early dawn.

At the airport we learned that the Empire passengers had luckily been domiciled at Mrs. Stevens' lovely Two Bridges Inn for the night.

For some time we stood watching the four engines warm. They did not seem to be working uniformly. A few more adjustments, however, a cheery "Right-o," and we climbed into the plane and were off on such an early start that I think we caught all of Africa out on its early morning graze. I soon realized that when there was something interesting to see, our Captain was nodding our plane to the left or to the right, and the more important the sight, the more important the nod. We saw three groups of rhino, two lovely tawny lions, herds of eland-blue in the early morning light, keen-eyed hartebeests serving as sentinels-one from the top of a giant ant-hill, capering wildebeests, beautiful Grant's and Thomson's gazelles, herds of leaping impala, and no end of scampering wart-hogs-whole families of them, walking one behind the other, like so many little pigs going to market.

We flew so low and could see so clearly that it seemed as if we could hear not only the patterings of the hoofs but also the excited panting of hundreds of antelope as they leaped from under our plane and scattered to both sides of us as we winged our way. I felt a bit of sadness in looking down upon this beautiful Rift Valley in which we had now been twice. There on one side was Meru towering into the early morning haze, and on the other, Kilimanjaro and its eternal snows. There they were; there they ever have been; there they ever will be. It is that inalienable right to live that granite possesses that is so baffling.

As we passed over the high plateau of the velvety green escarpment I wished that, like the circus lady who jumps into the net, I might jump onto those soft, spreading branches and once again trek those jungles of tangled vines. I know they are shining in this early morning dew. I know that the fresh high grass is tied together with sparkling cobwebs, and that Madonna lilies, purple verbenas and scarlet foxglove still grow riotously in those grassy fields.

"See-there is Oldonyo-lengai," the Sacred Mountain of God. A mountain of silver it was in this early morning light, a dazzling pyramid of changing color, whose fine ash is ever being blown by the winds. Spellbound, half dreaming, I turned to the Chief and said, "Do you suppose we shall ever see this again?" Then I remembered the lure of Africa, how she ever calls one to trek again her limitless veldt, to see again the red-hot sun fall off the edge of the world, to feel again the chill of an African night, to hear again the chorus of lions and the answering laugh of the hyenas, and to experience again the beginning of a new day.

We reached Nairobi in time for breakfast, and by nine-fifteen were off for Kisumu at the extremity of the blue Victoria Nyanza, where we taxied in on a long run, changed planes, and stopped for an eleven thirty tea and sandwiches, served in a small room off the huge aerodrome.

Extract ID: 4532