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In February 1864 as Sir Samuel and Lady Florence
Baker travelled from M’Rooli (near Masindi) southwards along
the river Kafu, they must have passed close to the site of the
present town of Hoima. They were weakened by fever but still determined
to search for the source of the Nile. Samuel Baker describes their
progress “The marsh, although deep, was so covered with
thickly matted water-grass, that a natural floating bridge was
It was impossible to ride or to be carried over
this treacherous surface; thus I led the way, and begged Mrs.
Baker to follow me on foot. I looked back to see if my wife followed
close to me, when I was horrified to see her standing in one spot,
and sinking gradually through the weeds, while her face was distorted
and perfectly purple. Almost as soon as I saw her, she fell, as
though shot dead. In an instant I was by her side; and with the
assistance of eight or ten of my men, I dragged her like a corpse
through the yielding vegetation, and up to our waists we scrambled
across to the other side, just keeping her head above the water.
She was laid gently upon her litter, and we started
forward on our funeral course. I was ill and broken-hearted, and
I followed by her side through the long day's march over wild
parklands and streams, with thick forest and deep marshy bottoms;
over undulating hills, and through valleys of tall papyrus rushes,
which waved over the litter like the black plumes of a hearse.
In her drawn and distorted features I could hardly trace the same
face that for years had been my comfort through all the difficulties
and dangers of my path. Was she to die? Was so terrible a sacrifice
to be the result of my selfish exile?......
I was watching the first red streak that heralded
the rising sun, when I was startled by the words, "Thank
God," faintly uttered behind me. Suddenly she had awoke from
her torpor, and with a heart overflowing I went to her bedside.”
Florence was still delirious and weak but did not die. Incredibly
they did not turn back but struggled on to the point where they
finally saw the sight of the great Lake Albert, lying like a mirror
before them. What courage and iron determination they had.