Page images

by the aid of the Tawárek, in the government of Masina with the residence Hamda-Alláhi, of which he was to deprive the family of Lebbo. But even if it was true, as he said, that the Fúlbe themselves, as well as those settled between Fermagha and Gún. dam, as those inhabiting the provinces of Dalla, Dwenza, and Gilgoji, were opposed to the government of Lebbo, such a project appeared to me to require a greater share of perseverance and determination than, from all that I had seen, I could believe my noble friend possessed. However, he entertained no doubt at that time that Alkúttabu, the great chief of the Tawárek himself, would come to his aid without delay and conduct me, under his powerful protection, safely along the banks of the Niger.

However exaggerated the projects of my protector were, considering his mild disposition, and although by exasperating the Fúlbe more and more, he no doubt increased the difficulties of my situation, the moving of his encampment outside the town afforded me a great deal of relief, both in consequence of the change of air which it procured me, and of the varied scenery. I could also get here a little exercise, although the more open the country was, the greater care I had to take of my safety. In the morning, particularly, the camp presented a very animated sight. The two large white tents of cotton cloth, with their topcovering, or "sarámme," of checkered design, and their woolen curtains of various colors, were half opened to allow the morning air to pervade them. The other smaller ones were grouped picturesquely around on the slope, which was enlivened by camels, cattle, and goats that were just being driven out. All nature was awake and full of bustle, and the trees were swarming with white pigeons. In the evening, again, there were the cattle returning from their pasturage, the slaves bringing water on the backs of the asses, and the people grouped together in the simple place of devotion, laid out with thorny bushes, in order to say their prayers, guided by the melodious voice of their teacher, who never failed to join them. At this time a chapter of the Kurán was chanted by the best instructed of the pupils, and continued often till a late hour at night, the sound of these beautiful verses, in their melodious fall, reverberating from the downs around; at other times animated conversation ensued, and numerous groups gathered on the open ground by the side of the fire.

We returned into the town on the 13th. The first day had passed off rather quietly, save that a party of twelve Imóshagh,


317 of the tribe of the Igwádaren, partly mounted on camels, partly on horses, trespassed on the hospitality of the sheikh. I had an opportunity of inspecting their swords, and was not a little surprised at finding that they were all manufactured in the German town of Solingen, as indeed were almost all the swords of these Tawárek or Imóshagh.

The interests of the different members of the family now began to clash. The sheikh himself was firm in his opposition against the Fülbe, and requested me in future, when I visited him, to come to his house fully armed, in order to show our adversaries that I was ready to repulse any violence; and it was in vain that I protested that, as I came with peaceable intentions, nothing could be farther from my wish than to cause any disturbance in the town. Meanwhile, his brother, Sídi A'lawáte, suborned one of the sheikh's pupils to make another attempt to convert me to Islamism. This man, who was one of the most learned followers of the sheikh, having resided for nearly thirty years in the family, first with the Sheikh Sídi Mohammed, then with his eldest son, El Mukhtár, who succeeded him in the dignity of a sheikh during Major Laing's residence in A'zawád, and finally with the Sheikh el Bakáy himself, originally belonged to the Arab tribe of the Welád Rashid, whose settlements in Wádáy I have mentioned on a former occasion. Partly on this account, partly on account of his great religious knowledge, and his volubility of speech, he possessed great influence with all the people, although his pru. dence and forbearance were not conspicuous. But, finding that his usual arguments in favor of his creed did not avail with me, he soon desisted. This was the last time these people attempted to make me a proselyte to their religion, with the exception of some occasional serious advice from my friends under the temporary pressure of political difficulties.

The emír of the place, of the name of Kaúri, who was a good. natured man, and whose colleague, Belle, was absent at the time, having advised my protector to take me again out of the town for a few days, till the Kádhi Aʼhmed Weled F'aamme, who was going to Hamda-Alláhi, and who was especially hostilely disposed toward me, should have left, we again set out, on the morning of the 17th October ; but, having staid in the encampment that night and the following morning, we returned to the town the same afternoon, but left again on the morning of the 20th, when the kafla of the Tawátíye was ready to set out on their journey to the Dorth and sai siin teen during the heat of the day. They were encamped in about twenty sral leaiben tents round the wel where we had a few days previous' watered our horses, ad risered more than Efty rreskets, each of them beirg armed, moreover, with a spear and sword; but notwithstanding their Lurrbers, and the circumstance that a rather respectable man, of the name of Háj Ahmed, the weal:Liest person of lasála or 'Aín. Sára, was anong them, and was to accompany them as far as Namín, I felt so inclination to go with this caravan, and thus to deprive myself of the opportunity of surveying the river, nor did my protector himself seer to find in this northerly road any sufficent guarantee for my safe return home. I therefore only made use of this opportunity in order to send to Europe, by way of Ghadámes, a short report of my arrival in Timbúkta, and a general outline of the political circumstances connected with my stay in the city.

The caravan having started the followirg morning, we staid two days longer in the camp, and then once more returned into the town, without any farther discu!:y, in the company of Sídi A lawáte, who had come out to join us with a body of armed fol. lowers, and who behaved now, on the whole, much more amiably toward me. He even gave me some interesting particulars with respect to Ségo,* which place he had visited some time before, levying upon Dembo, then king of Bambara, a heavy contribution of gold. This king, who was sprung from a Púllo mother, had succeeded his father Farma, the son of the king mentioned by Vungo Park under the name of Vansong, two years previously.t

The Fúbe, however, did not give up their point, and, as they did not find themselves strong enough to proceed to open vio

• The chief information related to the circumstance that all the four quarters of that town, togetber with two other quarters which in a wider sense are included in the place, are situated on the south side of the river, as has been stated already in Recueil des Voyages, tom. ii., p. 53. Jungo Park, who states (First Journey, p. 193) the contrary, was evidently mistaken; and from the circumstances under which he passed by Sézo, as a despised and suspected person, his mistake is easily intelligible. The two quarters which in a wider sense still belong to Ségo are called Benánkoró and Bammabuigh, in the former of which a well-frequented market is held. There is, besides, a village close by called Bebára.

+ My information as to the succession of the kings of Bambara does not agree with that received by M. Faidherbe, the present Governor of Senegal, published in the "Revue Coloniale," 1857, p. 279. I shall refer to this subject in another place.


319 lence, made an indirect attack upon me by putting in irons on the 27th some Arabs or Moors, on the pretext of having neglected their prayers, thereby protesting strongly enough against a person of an entirely different creed staying in the town. The Emír Kaúri himself, who, on the whole, seemed to be a man of good sense, was in a most awkward position; and when the kádhi informed him that, if he was not able to execute the order which he had received from his liege lord, he should solicit the assistance of the people of Timbúktu, he refused to have recourse to violence till he had received stricter orders to that effect and more effectual aid; for, in the event of his having driven me out, and any thing having befallen me, the whole blame would be thrown upon him, as had been the case with Sídi Bú-Bakr the governor, who, obeying the orders of Mohammed Lebbo, had obliged the Ráís (Major Laing) to leave the town, and thus, in some measure, was the cause of his death, that distinguished traveler having thrown himself in despair into the arms of Hámed Weled 'Abéda, the chief of the Berabísh, who murdered him in the desert.

But, on the other hand, the emír endeavored to dissuade my protector, who was about to send a messenger to Alkúttabu,* the great chief of the Awelímmiden, to summon him to his assistance, from carrying out his intention, fearing lest the result of this proceeding might be a serious conflict between the Tawárek and the Fúlbe. However, from all that I saw, I became aware that the chance of my departure was more remote than ever, and that, at least this year, there was very little prospect of my leaving this place; for the messenger whom the sheikh was to send to the Tárki chief, and of whose departure there had been much talk for so long a time, had not yet left, and the chief's residence was several hundred miles off. I therefore again protested to my friend that it was my earnest desire to set out on my home journey as soon as possible, and that I felt not a little annoyed at the continual procrastination.

Several circumstances concurred at this time to make me feel the delay the more deeply, so that notwithstanding my sincere esteem for my protector, I thought it better, when he again left the town in the evening of the 27th, to remain where I was; for after my

* I will here remark, although I have to speak repeatedly of this chief, that the name seems to be an abbreviation, meaning probably VI Lbs, that is, “ pillar of the faith.”

return from our last excursion, in consequence of the severe cold during the night, I had been visited by a serious attack of rheumatism, which had rendered me quite lame for a day or two.

With regard to the means of my departure, the Waláti, whom I had sent out at a great expense to bring my horses and camels from the other side of the river, had brought back my horses in the most emaciated condition. As for the camels, he had intend. ed to appropriate them to his own use; but I defeated his scheme by making a present of them to the sheikh. This brought all the Waláti's other intrigues to light, especially the circumstance of his having presented a small pistol (which I had given to himself) to Hammádi, the sheikh's rival, intimating that it came from me, and thus endangering my whole position, by making the sheikh believe that I was giving presents to his rivals and his enemies. But my protector acted nobly on this occasion; for he not only warned me against the intrigues of the Waláti, and would not lend an ear to his numerous calumnies against me, but he even preferred me, the Christian, to my Mohammedan companion, the Méjebrí, 'Alí el A'geren, who was sometimes led, through fear, to take the part of the Waláti; and the Méjebri, who thought himself almost a sherif, and was murmuring his prayers the whole evening long, felt not a little hurt and excited when he found that the sheikh placed infinitely more reliance upon me than upon himself.

In order to convince the sheikh how sensible I was of the confidence which he placed in me, I made a present of a blue cloth kaftan to Mohammed Boy, the son of the chief Galaijo, who had studied with him for a year or two, and was now about to return home by way of Hamda-Allahi. But, unluckily, I had not many such presents to offer, and a nobleman of the name of Muláy 'Abd e Salám, who had sent me a hospitable present of wheat and rice, was greatly offended at not receiving from me a bernús in return.

Meanwhile, the Fúlbe or Fullán sent orders to Dár e' Salám, the capital of the district of Zánkara, that their countrymen inhabiting that province should enter Timbuktu as soon as the sheikh should leave it. The latter, in order to show these people the influence he possessed, decided upon taking me with him on an excursion to Kábara, which is the harbor on the river, where the Fúlbe were generally acknowledged to possess greater power than in Timbuktu, on account of the distance of the latter from the water. I followed him gladly, that I might have an opportu.

« PreviousContinue »