Historic Conversations 2

“Two years, hundreds of miles, through desert and jungle, suffering heat exhaustion and in the constant dread of dangerous insects and wild animals, but still I kept searching for that most famous explorer and missionary, the man whose discoveries have illuminated this dark continent and now, at last, I believe I have found him: you are sir, Dr Livingstone I presume.”

“Indeed, I am sir. Welcome to Ujiji.”

“I thank God, Doctor, I have been permitted to see you.”

“I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you. Now tell me, are you Ant or Dec?”

“Neither sir, I am Stanley.”

“Ahh, of course. Ant, Dec and Stan. What a trio!”

“Well, er, they have sent me to find you sir. You were believed dead. It has been six years since the world heard of Dr Livingstone, the man who discovered the Victoria Falls and crossed his great continent from coast to coast.”

“It was nothing.”

“Nothing you say, why at home you are a celebrity.”

“In that case Stan, get me out of here.”

“In time Doctor. We need your inspiration. But let us recount a little.”

“Yes, what did happen to our little group?”

“All gone, sir.”

“What, all?”

“All, Doctor. Not one left. They have crossed the bridge, so to speak. They were reliant upon on you, Doctor.”

“I just did what they would have had they been chosen.”

“Come now, Doctor. How can you be so modest? It was you who faced the first challenge and converted 1,000 natives to Christianity and released hundreds more from slavery. ”

“I had expertise and experience. That fellow, Mr Tarbuck was hopeless, I remember.”

“True, true. He taught them golf, but he was the first to go.”

“God rest his soul.”

“Indeed. But when you were asked to fight and kill a lion singled handedly you earned many essentials for the camp.”

“It was only a small lion.”

“But excellent bushtucker.”

“I recall, Stan, how unfair it would have been to ask the same of that most gracious and delicate of campmates. What was her name?

“Miss June Whitfield?”

“That’s it! She was appalled at the very thought.”

“But not you Doctor. That is why you were chosen for the final task: to find the source of the Nile.”

“Ahh, now then…”

“That was six years ago Doctor.”

“Yes, well, erm…”

“The world awaits, Doctor.”

“Yes, you see, Stan…”

“You didn’t do it, did you Doctor?”

“No. No, I’m afraid I failed.”

“I have to tell you, after two years we thought you might not return and the same task was undertaken…”

“That camp. It went on for two years?”

“Sometimes it seems much longer, Doctor, much much longer… anyway, the same task was asked of someone else”

“My God! And they succeeded?

“Yes,”

“The source of the Nile is known, you say. By whom was it discovered?”

“Miss Judith Chalmers.”

“Miss Chalmers! But she didn’t even wear any, er…”

“True, Doctor. But…”

“In that case I cannot return with you Stan. It is the shame. I shall die here. It is best. I have dysentery and malaria.”

“My God! That’s it, Doctor. Truly inspired.”

“What do you mean?”

“The idea we have been looking for – Celebrity Diseases. Ant and Dec will love it.”

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