FOR many years good fortune has granted to my sister and myself the happiness of living amid scenes of indescribable beauty and peoples of peculiar interest. The novelty of being the first white women to visit any particular spot has indeed long worn off by reason of the frequency of the experience, but the thrill of penetrating to places as yet unvisited by any European is still a matter of unmixed joy. Time and again our little party has been so fortunate as to happen upon peoples never studied before, who have been induced to confide to us traditions, beliefs, and legends of unexpected charm. That all this came into our lives, a golden gift from the gods, without hardship worth the name, is due to the fact that, unlike Mary Kingsley and the small band of women travellers who followed in her footsteps, my sister and I were not alone. A never-failing watchful care has always surrounded us, smoothing each difficulty, and, as far as is humanly possible, providing against every discomfort and danger – at what cost of personal sacrifice one hardly dares to think. During this time we were naturally anxious to do something in return for all that was done for us, and soon discovered that the chief way in which we could be of use was by making clear copies of rough notes jotted down in spare moments by my husband, and by writing out information which there was no time to collect save orally, thus putting upon paper page after page of description, incident or legend, which pressure of official work must otherwise have kept unrecorded.
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