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It was an open level tract, at present without many signs of vegetation; but that part nearest the town was agreeably enlivened by a thriving suburb extending as far as the kófa-n-Tarámnia, and buried in a thicket of shady trees and hedges, thus presenting altogether a more animated spectacle than the interior of the town itself. Keeping along the machicolated wall, here only about twelve feet high and surrounded by a ditch, and following the path between it and the suburb, we entered the town, and turned our steps to the house of the gedádo, where Captain Clapperton closed his meritorious career as an African explorer.'
The house is still in tolerable repair, ‘Abdú, the son of the gedádo, who, although not very energetic, and still less warlike, is a man of cheerful disposition and good principles, having too great a veneration for his father, who did so much toward embellishing and adorning this town, to allow his residence to go to ruin. The old gedádo had long outlived his master Bello, and if I had proceeded to Sókoto directly from A'gades, I should still have found him alive, for he only died during my presence in Kanó in February, 1851. I will here only mention that it was believed for a moment in England that Clapperton died from the effects of poison ; but the amount of fatigue, privations, and sickness to which this most eminent of African travelers was exposed on his circuitous journey, by way of Núpe and Kanó, from the coast as far as this place, explains fully how he was unable to withstand the effects of the shock which mental disappointment exercised upon him; nay, it is wonderful how he bore up so long, if his own hints with regard to the state of his health are taken into account.
In the evening, my old friend Módibo 'Alí, and the mother of A bú, the elder and more warlike brother of the present ghaladíma, who was slain by the Góberáwa two years before my visit to this place, treated me hospitably, and I sent a present to Saídu, a younger son of Bello, who resides in Sókoto, and is considered as a sort of mayor.
Friday, April 22d. It was the great market-day, which was of some importance to me, as I had to buy a good many things, so that I was obliged to send there a sum of 70,000 shells; but the market did not become well-frequented or well-stocked till between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, when I myself proceeded thither. I had taken a ride in the morning through the southeastern quarter of the town, proceeding through the kófa-n-Atiku, thence along the wall, toward the west, and re-entered the town by the kófa-n-'Alí Jédu, where the whole quarter is very desolate, even the wall being in a state of decay, and the fine mosque, built by the gedádo during Clapperton's stay here, fallen entirely to ruins. But, even in the present reduced condition of the place, the market still presented a very interesting sight, the numerous groups of people, buyers as well as sellers, and the animals of various descriptions, being picturesquely scattered over the rocky slope, as I have endeavored to represent in the plate opposite. The market was tolerably well attended, and well supplied, there being about thirty horses, three hundred head of cattle for slaughtering, fifty takérkere, or oxen of burden, and a great quantity of leather articles (this being the most celebrated branch of manufacture in Sókoto), especially leather bags, cushions, and similar articles, the leather dressed and prepared here being very soft and beautiful. There were more than a hundred bridles for sale, the workmanship of which is very famous throughout all this part of Negroland; but especially a large quantity of iron was exposed for sale, the iron of Sókoto being of excellent quality and much sought for, while that of Kanó is of bad quality. A good many slaves were exhibited, and fetched a higher price than might be supposed, a lad of very indifferent appearance being sold for 33,000 shells; I myself bought a pony for 30,000. It being just about the period when the salt-caravan visits these parts, dates also, which usually form a small addition to the principal merchandise of those traders of the desert, were to be had; and I filled a leather bag for some 2000 shells, in order to give a little more variety to my food on the long road which lay before me.
April 23d. I took another interesting ride through the kófa-nDúnday not following the direct road to that village, which lies close to the junction of the gulbi-n-Ríma with the gulbi-n-Rába, but not far from the decayed northern wall, and thus crossed a considerable channel, a branch of the river, full of water, being even at the present time about fifteen yards wide, and a foot and a half in depth, and then, keeping away from the village, reached the other branch, which was narrower, but more richly bordered by bushes, and, following it up in an easterly direction, reached the point of junction, or “megan-gámu.”
The whole valley here formed one uninterrupted rice-field; and how different was the aspect of the country from what it exhib. ited on my home journey, at the end of the rainy season of the
THE VALLEY OF SOʻKOTO.
135 following year! A number of small boats were lying here, at the side of the narrow channel, but all of them separated into two halves, which had to be sewn together when their services were required for the rainy season. From this point I crossed over to the road leading to the village of Koré, where, two days later, a party of Kélgeres made a foray; and, returning along this road toward the town, at a distance of about five hundred yards from the wall, we crossed another small arm of the river, which, during the rainy season, forms an extensive swamp. Leaving then the kófa-n-Koré on our right, we turned round the northeastern corner of the wall, and ascended toward the kófa-n-Marké, which has received this name from a tree of the marké kind, although at present none are to be seen here. Annexed is a sketch of a ground-plan of the town.
SO'KOTO. 1. Market-place.
2. House of Gedádo, at present 'Abdú. 3. House of Bello, now of 'Aliyu, very much in decay. 4. House of 'Atiku, at present Hámedu, and close to it the mosqae built by Gedádo, now in ruins. 5. Kófa-1-Koré. 6. Kófa-n-Dúnday.
7. Kófa-n-Kadé. 8. Kófa-n-'Ali Jédu. 9. Kófa-n-'Atiku.
10. Kófa-n-Tarámnia. 11. K6fa-D-Rimi. 12. Kófa-n-Marké.
Altogether my visit to Sókoto formed a most interesting intermezzo' to my involuntary stay in the capital, although it could not fail to give me a farther insight into the frail character of the dominion of the Fülbe over these regions; and during my stay here I certainly had no cause to complain of inhospitable treatment, as my friend Módibo 'Alí sent me every day a large basin of furá, the favorite drink of ghussub water, two dishes of hasty pudding, and two bowls of milk. Having given, by this excursion to the former capital, fresh energy to my spirits, I returned to my quar: