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Aish, with me to the Tawárek, from whence I might continue my journey in the company of my former companion. Such, I think, was really his intention at the time, but circumstances, which I am soon to detail, were to change all these premature plans.
A Having returned to my quarters I sent my host his present, in which consisted of three bernúses, viz., one heláli, or white silk .., and cotton mixed, and two of the finest cloth, one of green and
the other of red color; two cloth kaftáns, one black and the other yellow; a carpet from Constantinople; four tobes, viz., one very rich, of the kind called “harír," and bought for 30,000 shells, or twelve dollars, one of the kind called filfil, and two best black stobes; twenty Spanish dollars in silver; three black shawls, and several smaller articles, the whole amounting to the value of about £30. He then sent a message to me, expressing his thanks for the liberality of the government in whose service I was visiting him, and stating that he did not want any thing more from me; but he begged that after my safe return home, I would not forget him, but would request her majesty's government to send him some good fire-arms and some Arabic books; and I considered myself authorized in assuring him that I had no doubt the Eng. lish government would not fail to acknowledge his services, if he acted in a straightforward manner throughout.
Pleasant and cheering as was this whole interview, nevertheless, in consequence of the considerable excitement which it caused me in my weak state, I felt my head greatly affected; and I was seized with a shivering fit about noon the following day, just as I was going to pay another visit to my friend. On the last day of September I entered into a rather warm dispute with A'lawáte, whom I met at his brother's house, and whose ungenerous conduct I could not forget. My protector not possessing sufficient energy, and, in his position, not feeling independent enough to rebuke his brother for the trouble which he had caused me, begged me repeatedly to bear patiently his importunities, though he was aware of my reasons for disliking him. On another occasion he made me fire off the six-barreled pistol in front of his house, before a numerous assemblage of people. This caused extraordinary excitement and astonishment among the people, and exercised a great influence upon my future safety, as it made them believe that I had arms all over my person, and could fire as many times as I liked.
Thus the month of September concluded satisfactorily and most auspiciously, as it seemed. For I had not only succeeded in reaching in safety this city, but I was also well received on the whole; and the only question seemed to be how I was to return home by the earliest opportunity and the safest route. But all my prospects changed with the first of the ensuing month, when the difficulties of my situation increased, and all hopes of a speedy departure appeared to be at an end. For in the afternoon of the first of October, a considerable troop of armed men, mustering about twenty muskets, arrived from Hamda-Allábi, the residence of the Shekho A'hmedu ben A'hmedu, to whose nominal sway the town of Timbúktu and the whole province has been subjected since the conquest of the town in the beginning of the year 1826. These people brought with them an order from the capital to drive me out of the town; and Hammádi, the nephew and rival of the Sheikh el Bakáy, feeling himself strengthened by the arrival of such a force, availed himself of so excellent an opportunity of enhancing his influence, and, in consequence, issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of the town, commanding them, in stringent terms, to attend to the orders of the emír, and, in the event of my offering resistance, not even to spare my life.
There can scarcely be any doubt that my protector, as far as a man of a rather weak character was capable of any firm resolution, had intended to send me off by the very first opportunity that should offer; but the order issued by the emír of HamdaAlláhi (to whose authority he was vehemently opposed), that I should be forthwith driven out of the town or slain, roused his spirit of opposition. He felt, too, that the difficulties of my leaving this place in safety were thus greatly augmented. All thoughts of my immediate departure were therefore set aside; partly, no doubt, from regard to my security, but much more from an anxious desire to show the Fullán, or Fulbe, that he was able to keep me here, notwithstanding their hostile disposition and their endeavors to the contrary. There were, besides, the intrigues of the Waláti, my guide on the journey from Yágha, who, finding that the sheikh did not approve of his dishonest conduct toward me, endeavored to get me out of his hands, in order that he might deal with me as he liked. My broker, too, 'Alí el A'geren, seeing the difficulties of my situation, gave me entirely up, making his own safety the only object of his thoughts.
The sheikh, when he had fully understood what I had told him
INTRIGUES SUCCESSFULLY OVERCOME.
with regard to the power and the political principles of the sovereign of Great Britain, had determined to write a letter with his own hand, expressing his satisfaction that I had come to pay him my compliments, and in order to endeavor to counteract the discouraging effects produced by the account of Major Laing's death, and if possible to obtain for himself a few presents. This letter, it was understood in the beginning, I myself should take with me; but in the evening of the third of October, I suddenly, to my great amazement, received the intelligence that I was to send my man, 'Alí el A'geren, to Ghadámes or Tripoli with this letter, accompanying it with a note from my own hand, while I myself remained behind, as a kind of hostage, in Timbúktu, until the articles which the Sheikh el Bakáy had written for were received. But I was not to be treated in this way by intrigues of my own people; and the following morning I sent a simple protest to the sheikh, stating that as for himself he might do just as he liked, and if he chose to keep me as a prisoner or hostage he might do so as long as he thought fit, but that he must not expect to receive so much as a needle from the government that had sent me until I myself should have returned in safety. My host, too, had just before intimated to me that it would be best to deliver my horse and my gun into his hands; but I sent him an answer that neither the one nor the other should leave my house until my head had left my shoulders. It was rather remarkable that a person of so mean a character as the Waláti should for a moment gain the upper hand of a man of such an excellent disposition as the sheikh; but it was quite natural that this clever rogue should continually incite Sídi A'lawáte to make new demands upon my small store of valuable articles.
Meanwhile, while I was thus kept in a constant state of excitement, I was not free from anxiety in other respects. A thunderstorm, accompanied by the most plentiful rain which I had experienced during my stay in this place, had in the afternoon of the 3d October inundated my house, and, breaking through the wall of my store-room, had damaged the whole of my luggage, my books, and medicines, as well as my presents and articles of exchange. But my situation was soon to improve, as the sheikh became aware of the faithless and despicable character of my former companion and guide; and while he ordered the latter to fetch my camels from A'ribínda, which it was now but too apparent he had sold on his own account instead of having them taken
care of for me, he informed me of what had come to his knowledge of the Waláti's previous character and disreputable habits.
The Emír of Hamda-Alláhi's sending a force to Timbúktu in order to dispose of me, with the assistance of the inhabitants of that town, without paying the slightest regard to the opinion of my protector, had caused a considerable reaction in the whole relation of the sheikh to the townspeople, and he had made up his mind to pitch his camp outside the city, in order to convince the inhabitants, and the Fullán in particular, that he did not depend upon them, but had mightier friends and a more powerful spell upon which he could safely rely. He had even, while still absent in Gúndam, opened communication with A'wáb, the chief of the Tademékket, to this effect.
But all these proceedings required more energy and a more warlike character than, I am sorry to say, my friend and protector actually possessed; and our adversaries were so busy, that, in the night of the 9th, owing to the arrival of a party of Tawárek, who were well known not to be friendly disposed toward him, he was so intimidated that at two o'clock in the morning he himself came to my house, rousing us from our sleep and requesting us most urgently to keep watch, as he was afraid that something was going on against me. We therefore kept a constant look-out the whole night on our terrace, and seeing that the rear of our house was in a partial state of decay, facilitating an attack in that quarter, we set to work early in the morning repairing the wall and barricading it with thorny bushes. The artisans of the town were so afraid of the party hostile to me, who were the nominal rulers, that no one would undertake the task of repairing my house. However, the more intelligent natives of the place did all in their power to prevent my learned friend from leaving the town, as they felt sure that such a proceeding would be the commencement of troubles. The consequence was that we did not get off on the 10th, although the sheikh had sent his wife and part of his effects away the preceding night, and it was not till a little before noon the following day that we actually left the town.
Login Ccedino heikh
ENCAMPMENT IN THE DESERT.
FIRST RESIDENCE IN THE DESERT.- POLITICAL COMBINATIONS.
GREAT MOSQUE.—GROUND-PLAN OF THE TOWN. October 11th. This was an important moment for myself, as, with the exception of an occasional visit to the sheikh, who lived only a few yards across the street, and an almost daily promenade on my terrace, I had not moved about since my arrival. With a deep consciousness of the critical position in which I was placed, I followed my protector, who, mounted on his favorite white mare, led the way through the streets of the town, along which the assembled natives were thronging in order to get a glance at me. Leaving the high mounds of rubbish which constitute the ground-work of the northern part of the town on our left, and pursuing a north-northeasterly direction over a sandy tract covered with stunted bushes, and making only a short halt near a well five miles from the town, for the purpose of watering our horses, after a march of two miles more we reached the camp, which could easily be recognized at a great distance by two large white cotton tents, whose size and situation made them conspicuous above some smaller leathern dwellings. It was just about sunset; and the open country with its rich mimosas, and with the camp on the rising ground, the white sandy soil of which was illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun, presented an interesting spectacle. The younger inhabitants of the camp, including Bábá Ahmed and 'Abidín, two favorite boys of the sheikh, one five, the other four years of age, came out to meet us; and I soon afterward found myself lodged in an indigenous tent of camel's hair, which was pitched at the foot of the hill, belonging to Mohammed el Khalil, a relative of the sheikh, who had come from his native home in Tíris, on the shores of the Atlantic, in order to share his uncle's blessing.
In this encampment we passed several days in the most quiet and retired manner, when my friend revealed to me his course of action. It was his intention, he said, to bring the old chief Galaijo, from the place of his exile in Champagóre, back to this part of Negroland, which he had formerly ruled, and to reinstate him,