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KU'BO.—THE DISTRICT TOʻNDI.
houses are usually well built, and consist of clay, the greater part of them including a tolerably large court-yard. Our house also was spacious; but on account of my heavy luggage I was obliged to take up my quarters in the open segífa, or ante-chamber, which was greatly exposed to musquitoes. In front of my quarters there was a handsome square of tolerably regular shape, and toward the north a considerable tank spread out, along which led the path into the fields: for, the whole place being situated in a depression of the ground, all the moisture of the neighbourhood collects here.
The village is surrounded by a light stockade of two rows of bushes, and round about the place there are several ponds of water. Turtles are very common here, and the soil swarms with ants. The place was tolerably well provided with corn, and I bought here twenty mudd for one hundred dr'a of Gando cotton strips, equal in reality to nine hundred shells, but the mudd of Kúbo is smaller than that of Tínge, being about two thirds of its size, and in the form of a round dish, while that of Tínge is like a pitcher. The daily allowance of corn for a horse cost about one hundred shells.
A very heavy thunder-storm, accompanied with violent rain, broke out in the evening; and the clayey soil of the country which we had to traverse obliged me to stay here the following day. The delay caused me great disappointment, as the spreading of the news of my journey could not fail to increase its difficulties, and the more so as we heard here the unpleasant tidings that the Governor of Dalla himself was near, and that most probably we should fall in with him.
Meanwhile I was applied to by our host and a cousin of his to decide a dispute between them as to the chieftainship of their village; but of course I referred them to their own liege lord, and they started off to join him near the village of Dúna; but their absence did not expose us to inhospitality, as we were very lavishly treated with numerous dishes of Indian corn, which, however, were rendered less palatable by the use of the dodówabosso, or the adulterated dodówa; we also received a good supply of milk. I even bought a few fowls, though they were rather dear, selling for one hundred shells each—a price here reckoned equal to two darning-needles. being situated on or at the foot of a mountain ; and the third day, about nine o'clock in the morning, he arrives at Hómbori.
Friday, August 5th. There had been another heavy rain in the afternoon of the preceding day, but, fortunately, it had not been of sufficient duration to render the roads impassable. There was a great deal of indecision with my companion El Waláti as to the route which we should pursue; and while it almost seemed from our northerly direction as if up to this moment he had intended to take me to Hómbori, notwithstanding his former protestations against such a proceeding, he now pretended it was necessary that we should go to Dúna, and we accordingly changed our course to the west, or rather W.S.W., steering about like a vessel with contrary winds. There can be no doubt that all this time the crafty Arab himself was hesitating as to the course which he should take, and this was evidently the reason of his great delay, as he probably thought that he might have a chance of getting rid of me, and taking possession of my property ; but we did not become aware of this treacherous conduct till we arrived at the place of our destination, when we learned how providentially we had escaped all his wiles.
At the western end of the village of Kúbo there is a suburb of Fúlbe cattle-breeders, consisting of about sixty large huts of reed. As soon as we had left this place behind us, we were quite horrorstruck at observing all the paths full of those small red worms which I have mentioned before, marching in unbroken lines toward the village; even my servants were quite surprised at such a spectacle, having never before seen any thing like it, and they gave vent to their feelings of astonishment, and, at the same time, of commiseration for the natives, in reiterated exclamations of “Wolla, wolla !” I am not acquainted with the reason of this curious phenomenon, but it seems peculiar to this region. Yet the ground was not quite barren, and was even sprinkled with violets here and there, the surface being undulating, not unlike the sandy downs of Kánem, the parallel of which country, namely about 15° of northern latitude, we had here reached.
Proceeding thus we reached, after a march of about four miles, a higher point, from whence we had a view over a wide expanse of underwood, broken only now and then by a baobab-tree, while toward the north some of the detached cones of the Ilómbori range gave to the landscape a very singular feature, the isolated emi. nences of the range (if range it can be called) starting up from the plain in the most peculiar forms, as the accompanying wood-cut will show.
We passed the site of a former place, but at present there were only nomadic encampments of Fúlbe cattle-breeders, with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and only little cultivation was to be seen. The dwellings in a hamlet which we passed a little farther'on were of a very irregular description, corresponding to the corn-stacks which we had left on one side a little before, as represented in the accompanying wood-cut. All the children here, even those of the
Fúlbe, were quite naked. My companion, El Waláti, wanted to obtain quarters in this place; but fortunately the huts proved too bad, and we moved on, another hamlet, which we passed a little farther on, being of a still worse description.
On passing several parties of Fúlbe travelers on our road, I was surprised at the change in the form of compliments, the mode of saluting having been the last few days "baráijo,” but to-day we met some parties who saluted us with the well-known compliment “fófo," a word which, although probably of western origin, has been even admitted into the Hausa language, with the meaning of general well-wishing. Thus we proceeded cheerfully onward, hav. ing crossed a very difficult boggy ground, where I almost lost one of my camels, till, a little after two o'clock in the afternoon, we reached the poor village of Dúna, consisting of three detached groups of huts, one of which, with its high tower-like granaries with a pointed roof of thatch, presented a very remarkable spectacle. As for myself, I obtained quarters in an isolated hut of rather indifferent description.
The first news which I learned here, and which was far from being agreeable, was that the governor of Dalla with his camp was at a short distance, and in the very road which we had to pursue the following day; and as, in consequence, it would have been highly imprudent to endeavor to pass him unnoticed, I determined to send two of my men to him with a present, while I pursued my journey with the rest of my people. But as this governor was a vassal of the chief of Hamda-Allahi, who, if he had heard that I was a Christian, would probably have thrown great difficulties in my way, and perhaps not allowed me to proceed at all, I was not without great anxiety, and passed a sleepless night; and the crowd of people who had come out from the camp on the news of a distinguished stranger having arrived, and who completely surrounded me on my setting out, was far from agreeable. At length we started, traversing a district of red sandy soil, and overgrown with scanty herbage, while a considerable extent of ground was under cultivation, without, however, promising a rich harvest, the crops being rather thin and of poor quality; and we had only proceeded a short distance when we observed such enormous quantities of the red worm as we had never seen before, not
even near Kúbo, forming large heaps, from which long and unbroken lines were seen moving eastward.
After a march of two miles, we reached the half-decayed and deserted village called Nyanga Segga, where the governor of Dalla was encamped. But, as if he had expected my coming, he and all his people had mounted. I had sent El Waláti and 'Alí to present my compliments to him; but when I was pursuing the right track, all the horsemen came up to me requesting me to give them my blessing; and they so urgently entreated me at the same time to pay my respects personally to their chief, that I could not resist their request. But it almost seemed as if El Waláti had in some way or other compromised himself by his ambiguous conduct; and when I approached the emír, who was very simply dressed, the former quite forgot the part which he had to play, and casting a wild look at me, requested me to withdraw in such a manner as greatly to increase the danger of my situation. Deeming it better not to enter into a dispute with this man under such circumstances, I retreated as soon as I had complimented the chief, pursuing my track, but I was followed by several horsemen who were rather troublesome than otherwise.
The governor of Dalla is said to be more powerful than even that of Gilgoji, with whom he is in an almost continual state of feud, as is the case with nearly all these petty chiefs, although they are all the vassals of one and the same liege lord. This man, however, was to become of remarkable interest to me; for I was soon to meet him again under very altered circumstances, when, from being an object of fear to myself he was obliged to sue for my protection, as will be seen in the sequel.
The country hereabout presented a sandy level mostly clad with acacias, and especially with a kind called érria. About eight miles beyond Nyanga Segga the ground became swampy; and after a march of about two miles more we reached the fields of Mundóro, or rather their site, for in the present desolate state of the country they were not under cultivation at the time. Here the soil consisted of deep white sand adorned with large baobab-trees, while parallel on our right at the distance of about 500 yards a range of sand-hills stretched along, overtopped in the distance by an imposing cone belonging to the Hómbori mountains. Thus reaching at last cultivated ground, where the crops, however, were still very scanty and in a neglected state, we entered a little after two o'clock the deserted village of Mundóro, which till recently had been a