Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary

A Multispectral Critical Edition

Additional Textual Elements
In addition to diary entries and notes, Livingstone’s manuscript contains five unique features: sketches, maps, calculations, extraneous foreign text, and pen flourishes to correct ink flow. The number of each of these items is limited, especially when compared to other Livingstone field diaries and notebooks.
Livingstone includes a number of sketches on two pages of the Nyangwe Diary. The first, of a fish, appears on 297c/123 and accompanies Livingstone’s note that he "[s]aw pieces of a remarkable spotted fish with scales and tail prolonged above" (30 Apr. 1871). It appears that, prior to sending the newspaper to Livingstone, Horace Waller circled a portion of the newspaper undertext on this page that reports the arrival of a Livingstone letter (which no longer survives) in Bombay. When Livingstone turned this page 90 degrees clockwise to write his diary entries, he inadvertently (or perhaps deliberately) drew part of his fish over the same area that Waller has circled. The result is an amalgamation of two distinct figures that, at least under multispectral light, looks distinctly like a hammer.
Figures 1, 2, 3. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297c/123, detail. Top left: color. Top right: spectral ratio. Bottom: color, rotated 90 degrees clockwise. The portion of text that refers to Livingstone has been circled in red pencil, probably by Horace Waller who sent the newspaper to Livingstone.
297b/160 contains several additional sketches. The first three, of the heads of three African individuals, appear in a vertical column along the upper right-hand side of the page. The first two heads are in profile, the third looks straight ahead. Livingstone makes no textual reference to these sketches, but it appears that he is trying to illustrate two to three distinct local hairstyles. The last sketch on this page, which appears in the middle of the left-hand side of the page, represents a local foundry, as the accompanying text indicates: "about thirty smithies or rather foundries in the villages we passed" (2 Aug. 1871).
Figure 4. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297b/160, detail. On the right Livingstone has sketched three heads of Africans. In the lower left-hand corner, he has drawn a local foundry in Manyema.
Maps appear on two leaves covered by the present critical edition. The first, which illustrates a portion of the supposed drainage of the Lufira and Lualaba Rivers into the Kamolondo Lake, occupies the center of 297c/121. As the accompanying text indicates, Livingstone uses the map to both illustrate and critique a bit of oral geography collected from Hassani, an Arab trader at Nyangwe.
Figure 5. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297c/121, detail, spectral ratio. Livingstone has drawn a map of a portion of the river system in eastern
Congo based on information collected from the Arab trader Hassani.
The second map occupies a small portion of the right hand side of 10703/037r. This map illustrates the course of the Lombonda and Loelo Rivers near a range of mountains, as observed by Livingstone. The map also indicates the location of the village of a local chief, Monandenda, where Livingstone briefly stayed. The adjacent diary entries chronicle Livingstone’s journey through the region sketched in the map.
Figure 6. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary. Livingstone has
illustrated a stretch of the Lombonda and Loelo Rivers.
Livingstone includes a variety of calculations among his diary pages, none of which have been transcribed for the current edition. In most cases, Livingstone seems to have first made the calculations on the page, then written his diary entries around them. The calculations can be divided into three general types:
  1. Calculations of distance or time that relate to the surrounding text: 297b/151, 297b/152
  2. Calculations of unclear purpose and indeterminate relation to the surrounding text: 297c/112, 297c/115, 297b/162, 16-1/172bv
  3. Astronomical observations with indeterminate relation to the surrounding text: 1120b/v, 16-1/172av, 16-1/172br
In addition, Livingstone has covered the leaves taking the file prefix NLS10703 with a series of figures recording "Total Rainfall in Manyema 1870-71" as well as astronomical observations made at the Islet of Kasenge in Lake Tanganyika, Kasongo’s village, and Nyangwe.
Figure 7. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 10703/36r, detail, spectral ratio.
The calculation at right shows "Total Rainfall in Manyema 1870-71."
Although Livingstone usually kept separate notebooks for astronomical observations (see Clendennen 1979:280), he eventually copied over the NLS10703 observations into another copy-book relating to the same period (see Clendennen 1979:276, Field Diary 33).
Extraneous Foreign Text
The 1871 Field Diary sometimes includes foreign words and phrases among the diary entries and notes. However, on three occasions the diary pages contain extraneous foreign text that bears no obvious relation to the adjacent diary entries.
The first example runs perpendicular to the diary text and appears in the lower left-hand corner of 297c/111. Here Livingstone has written a single line of Hebrew text (which has yet to be deciphered) as well as all the letters of the Arabic alphabet spread over three lines. In addition, Livingstone makes a second, abortive attempt to write the alphabet on a fourth line, but gets no further than the second letter.
Figures 8, 9. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297c/111 (left) and 297c/114 (right), details, spectral ratio. 297c/111 contains an undeciphered line of Hebrew followed by two attempts to write the Arabic alphabet. 297c/114 shows one Arabic and two Hebrew characters, all representing the sound "sh."
The second example appears at the center of the right-hand side of 297c/114 of the Nyangwe Diary. In this case, Livingstone has written two Hebrew characters and one Arabic character, all of which represent the sound "sh." It appears that Livingstone first wrote the diary entry on this page, then wrote these three characters over that text.
The final example appears on the right-hand side of 10703/038v. There are five lines of text here, three in Arabic and two in Nagari (the conventional script for Sanskrit as well as Hindi and Marathi). The Arabic corresponds to the English undertext on this page ("Dr David Livingstone HRM Consul Ujiji & Elsewhere") and the first two lines can be translated thus: "This is to the most honorable Doctor Livingstone, consul of the Glorious [or Great] Queen, in Ujiji." The last Arabic line reads simply, "Amen." However, this is not an absolute translation. "This is to" can also be read as "the one who writes this informs," while "most honorable" can also be read as "may his glory be eternal." The Nagari has yet to be translated.
Figure 10. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 10703/38v, spectral ratio. The right-hand side of the folio contains five lines of text, three in Arabic and two in Nagari. The quality of the calligraphy and the Arabic text indicate that Livingstone did not write these lines. The Nagari has not yet been translated.
Flourishes to Correct Ink Flow
Livingstone’s manuscript includes a series of randomly placed flourishes. The flourishes have no semantic value and appear to be Livingstone’s means of correcting the ink flow of his pen. Livingstone has drawn these flourishes on 297c/105, 297c/112, 16-1/172av, 16-1/172br, 16-1/172bv. Curiously, although Livingstone usually limits himself to no more than a few flourishes at one time, he has covered nearly all the available space on 16-1/172bv with them.
Figure 11. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 16-1/172bv. A reused
envelope that Livingstone has covered in flourishes to correct ink flow.
Livingstone-Stanley Meeting