GEOGRAPHY AND EAST AFRICA 207
I should have an ungrateful task if I had to speak at length of Stanley's travels down the Congo. His journey was first described at Brighton at a large meeting of the Geographical Section of the British Association, of which I was the President. The ex-Emperor and Empress of the French were among the audience. So much mystery had been preserved beforehand about it that none of us had a conception of what was coming, which is quite contrary to usual procedure. Mr. Stanley had other interests than geography. He was essentially a journalist aiming at producing sensational articles, and it was feared from the newspaper letters he had already written that he might utilise the opportunity in ways inappropriate to the British Association. However, the meeting went off without more misadventure than a single interference on my part, but under some tension. I will not enter further into this.
It is highly necessary to the credit of a Society that its Council should, as a rule, and always when there is any misgiving, exact that the papers about to be read should be referred to experts and favourably reported on. The Society gives a pulpit, as it were, to the speaker, and in its turn has a right to exact precautions that these advantages should not be abused. I cannot understand to this day how that strange individual, Rougemont, obtained permission to read his fantastic, perhaps half-hallucinatory paper about the coral reefs and treasures in Australia before the British Association. Putting every other improbability for the moment to one side, the " Artof-Travel " impossibilities in his story, as in the construction of his raft, would have made me