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native land, though many had to walk, together with their young children, a distance of two thousand miles. The following extract from our Author's journal, will convey some idea of the delights of travelling in the Desert.
April 10. At 7 A. M. cleared the pass, and proceeded to a small wadey, where, in spite of a strong Siroc, we succeeded in pitching our tents. The sand, however, flew about in such quantities, that we were unable to prepare any food, and we could not even see thirty yards from us. Mukni took shelter with us, and advised us to strip to our shirts as the best way of withstanding the sand-showers. In the afternoon, the wind having a little subsided, we cleared away the heaps of sand, which had collected round our goods. We found on examining some of our stores, that a large organ had been burst by the heat and excessive dryness of the wind.' P. 70.
Sockna stands on an immense plain of gravel. It is a walled town, containing about two thousand inhabitants. In its vicinity there grow, in a belt of sand, two hundred thousand date trees, which pay a duty, and, owing to their excellence, fetch a high price at Tripoli. All animals in the town are fed on them. The water here is brackish or bitter. The quantity of flies is so immense, that flappers of wild bulls' hair, tied to a short stick, are an indispensable appendage. The people of Sockna speak a language called Estaña, which our Author conjectures to be the original Breber tongue. Here Mukni was employed from day-light till dark in receiving tribute.
As soon as the business of one party is settled, a prayer is recited, and room is left for another set, who, though they dispute about paying, are never suffered by Mukni to carry their point; for, just as they appear most confident of having their complaints attended to, some one of Mukni's men cries out "The Fattha!" (or first chapter of the Koran,) every one joining in that prayer. This is the signal for the poor creatures to retire, and they are then obliged to consider their claims as settled.' p. 74.
A journey across the Desert, it may be easily imagined, is not very fertile in incident beyond the ordinary difficulties and privations of want of water and provisions. These our Travellers experienced in every shape. At length they entered the palm-groves and gardens of Mourzouk, in the suit of Mukni, who was anxious that his new Mamlukes should be as fine as his own people' on entering the capital of his dominions.
Wadey is a valley through which the rains form a temporary stream. But in Fezzan, where rain is almost unknown, they are merely smooth dells, not producing a single plant.
They had been thirty-nine days from Tripoli, and the road, with the exception of Sockna and its vicinity, had been a dreary desert, having but few wells, and those of salt water. Nothing could have been more fortunate, than their travelling with the Sultan; for, otherwise, their difficulties must, the Author says, have been insuperable.
At noon, if we could find a tree, we stopped under it; if not, we sat under the shadow of our horses. The Sultan was grand victualler, and generally produced a bag of bread or dates. Each one then had a portion enough only to break his fast; and after eating and drinking a few mouthfuls of water, stretched himself out, and slept until the camels came up. These rests were very refreshing to the men and the horses: but the loaded camels never made any stop; neither did the poor Negroes, who, with their wives and their little children, plodded on the whole day over a burning soil, often for sixteen hours, and sometimes for twenty, whenever want of water made a forced march necessary. One of our party, a poor old man totally blind, arrived safe at Mourzouk from Tripoli. He had walked all way, led by his wife, and was kept alive by the hope of once more hearing the voices of his countrymen. Our tents were pitched, when the ground was sufficiently soft to admit the pegs, and our bales and chests were so placed as to form a shelter for those who had no tents. The little resistance afforded by intervening objects to the winds of the desert, renders them very powerful. The camels are turned out to feed in the thin and scattered bushes; the horses are hobbled, watered from the skins, and then fed. Camels' dung is a substitute for wood, as it burns like peat, and forms a glowing fire. Cusscussou or Bazeen, is then prepared. The Sultanesses are no contemptible cooks, and they made excellent suppers for their master. In an evening we managed to make a little coffee, of which Mukni partook; and as soon as he went, his people generally succeeded him, wishing to taste some. A cup of it in the morning taken fasting, we found prevented thirst. If we abstained from eating in the early part of the day, we never required water; on the contrary, if any quantity of water is taken on an empty stomach, the person who takes it, suffers great thirst the rest of the day. A wet cloth applied to the back of the neck, relieves the fulness of the head, after being for many hours exposed to the sun.-Horses should not be brought near the wells till it is their turn to drink; if they are kept in sight of the water without being able to reach it, they become furious, and greedily devour the mud. Water is carried on camels, usually in about six gerbas or water skins, three on each side, one slung above the other. Horses occasion much trouble in a caravan. The quan. tity of water necessary to be taken for them, is averaged at one camel load for every horse.' pp. 91-3.
Being now settled at Mourzouk, Mukni behaved at first with apparent kindness to his guests. He repaid Mr. Ritchie the three hundred dollars, and having received from that gentleman several costly presents, made hin many flattering promises of
future aid. Mourzouk is a walled town, containing about two thousand, five hundred inhabitants, who are blacks. The walls and houses are built of clay, formed into balls dried in the sun and cemented with mud; for, in those parts of the desert, there are no stones. The streets are narrow; the houses mean and of only one story. The castle where the Sultan resides, is an immense irregular mud building, eighty feet high. The rooms occupied by the Sultan, are the best, the walls being smooth and white-washed. His couch is spread on the ground, and his visiters squat down at a respectful distance. The most airy part of the castle is occupied by the women, who are called Kibere, or great ladies; the title given to the mothers of the Sultan's children. There are about fifty young women, all black and comely, guarded by five eunuchs, who keep up their authority by beating them.
Our Travellers were now miserably poor, and were compelled to practise the most rigid economy, living entirely on corn, and never tasting meat, unless fortunate enough to kill a pigeon. A severe dysentery confined Captain Lyon to his bed for twentytwo days; and when he became convalescent, Mr. Ritchie fell sick, and was seized with delirium. Their money was by this time exhausted; and the Sultan's treacherous plans to distress them, were so well arranged, that no one would buy their goods.
For six weeks,' says Captain Lyon, we were without animal food, subsisting on a scanty portion of corn and dates. Our horses were mere skeletons, added to which, Belford became totally deaf, and so emaciated as to be unable to walk. My situation now created the most gloomy apprehensions. If my two companions died, I had no money to bury them, or to support myself. My naturally sanguine mind, however, and above all, my firm reliance on that Power which had so mercifully protected me hitherto, prevented me from from desponding. On Belford's beginning a little to rally, we took turns in nursing our poor companion; and having no servant, we performed for Mr. Ritchie the most menial offices. Rhamadan was announced on the 23rd of June. The strictest fast was immediately commenced before day about 3 o'clock, till sun-set at 7 P.M. During this time, no one eats or drinks, smokes or chews tobacco; and even smelling perfumes is considered as wicked, as is swallowing the saliva. The heat was excessive. (128 Farenheit.) p. 102.
At this time they were obliged to eat by stealth; for their friend Mukni had surrounded them with spies. In this wretched state of destitution, they met with a remarkable instance of disinterested friendship, in the conduct of Mohammed el Lizari and his brother Yussuf, who shewed them the greatest kindness. It is most cheering to find among mankind in their most degraded and abject condition, virtuous exceptions, which, like the oases of the deserts, refresh and gladden the mind, wearied with the monotonous and sombre picture of the baseness and
malignity exhibited among tribes so ferocious as those of this wretched country.
Captain Lyon describes a singular tribe of Arabs, of whom he frequently saw detached parties at Mourzouk. They are a fine race, comparatively white. They cover the face half way up the bridge of the nose; the covering, which extends below the chin to the breast, is of glazed cotton, of different colours : the beard is kept close clipped so as not to interfere with it. They wear turbans of different colours, and their common dress is a large loose shirt (the sleeves of the same size as the body) of blue cotton. From the left wrist hangs a dagger, the bilt towards the hand. No Tuarick (this is the name of the tribe) is ever seen without this appendage, together with a light spear of iron inlaid with brass, about six feet in length, which is thrown to a great distance. They are extremely superstitious, and are for the most part covered with charms against disorders and accidents. Their language is the Breber tongue, which is spoken in the mountains behind Tunis, and in some parts of Morocco. They have a strong aversion to washing their clothes, and indeed to ablutions in general. Our Travellers made many attempts to discover the reason of this singular hydrophobia; but to all their inquiries, this was the answer: 'God never intended that man should injure his health water having been given to man to drink, it does not agree with the skin of a Tuarick, who always falls sick after much washing.' They inhabit the immense track of country called in maps Sahara or the Great Desert, wandering like other Arab tribes, and subsisting by plunder. They have a singular manner of riding on swift, tall dromedaries, called Maberry, (the Heire of travellers,) with which they perform extraordinary journeys. The saddle, which is very small, is placed on the withers, and confined by a band under the belly; and the seat is maintained by balancing the body against the neck of the animal. They manage them with great dexterity. The full speed of the Maherry is a long trot at about nine miles an hour.
During our Author's residence at Mourzouk, there arrived a large kufflé of Arabs, Tripolines, and Tibboo, (a tribe inhabiting the country on the road to Bornou,) bringing about fourteen hundred slaves of both sexes, and of all ages. We have been accustomed to the most horrible recitals in connexion with the Slave Trade; but the following passage can scarcely be read without shuddering.
We rode out to meet the great kafflé, and it was indeed a piteous spectacle! These poor oppressed beings were, many of them, so exhausted as scarcely to be able to walk; their legs and feet were swelled, forming a contrast with their emaciated bodies. They were all borne down with loads of fire-wood; and even poor little children,
worn to skeletons by fatigue and hardships, were obliged to bear their burdens, while their inhuman masters rode on camels enforcing from time to time obedience with the whip. Care was taken, however, that the hair of the females should be nicely arranged, and their bodies well oiled, whilst the males were closely shaven, to give them a good appearance on entering the town. Their dresses were simply cotton wrappers, sometimes so torn as scarcely to cover them. We observed one girl whose back and shoulders were burned in little sprigs, so as to resemble figured silk, which had a very pretty appearance. All the traders speak of slaves as farmers do of cattle. Those recently bought from the interior were fattening, that they might be able to go on to Tripoli, or Egypt. Thus a distance of sixteen or eighteen hundred miles is to be traversed, from the time these poor creatures are taken from their homes; whilst, in the Interior, they may probably pass through the hands of eight or ten masters. These devoted victims, fondly hoping that each new purchaser may be the last, find perhaps that they have again to commence a journey equally long and dreary with the one they have just finished, under a burning sun, with new companions, but with the same miseries.'
Although Captain Lyon had no opportunity of following the course of the Niger, he was indefatigable in collecting notices of the interior from the Bornou traders. Bornou is a large tract, seven hundred miles south of Fezzan. The river Tsad, called also Nil, runs through it. Its course is from S. W. to N. E.; it is of great breadth, and is crossed by heavy goods carried on rafts, floated on large gourds, which are impelled forward by swimmers. It is a curious circumstance, that this river is said by the natives to run into Egypt. Tombuctoo is about ninety days journey from Mourzouk. Adams's artless narrative had already dissipated the delusion which so long prevailed respecting the supposed magnificence of this negro capital. Our Author, who was diligent in his inquiries on the subject, thinks that the exaggerated accounts of its extent, may be thus accounted for. Many of the kafflés from Morocco, Tripoli, and the Negro states along the banks of the Nil, remain there during the rainy season, or until their goods are sold. During their stay, they build huts or houses to shelter themselves and their merchandise; and thus ten or fifteen thousand inhabitants may, in the course of a month, be added to the population. From this circumstance, strangers who happen to be there at the time, are impressed with an exaggerated notion of the extent and importance of the place. Captain Lyon adds nothing to the information supplied by Adams relative to this far famed city.
Our Author could obtain no information respecting Park; but all the persons of whom he made inquiry, agreed that it was quite impossible that he should have been confined in the town