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NEWS FROM MR. VOGEL.
Meanwhile I endeavored to pass my time as well as I could, studying the history of the empire of Bórnu, and entering occasionally into a longer conversation with some of the better instructed of my acquaintances, or making a short excursion; but altogether my usual energy was gone, and my health totally un. dermined, and the sole object which occupied my thoughts was to convey my feeble body in safety home. My reduced state of body and mind was aggravated by the weather, as it was extremely hot during this period, the thermometer in the latter part of the month of April, at half past two o'clock in the afternoon, rising as high as 1130* My exhausted condition had at least this effect upon the people, that it served to hasten my departure, by convincing them that I should not be able to stand this climate any longer. From the 20th of April, therefore, onward, I was made to hope that I should be allowed to proceed on my journey in the company of a Tebu merchant of the name of Kólo. A small caravan of Tebu, proceeding to Bilma to fetch salt, having gone in advance on the 25th, I went in the afternoon of the 28th to the sheikh in company with Abba A’hmed, who, on the whole, was extremely useful to me in my endeavors to get off, in order to make my final arrangement with Kólo. This day was certainly the happiest day or the only happy one which I passed in this place after the departure of Mr. Vogel; for, in the morning, on returning from an excursion to Dáwerghú, I found a messenger with letters from my companion, one dated from Gújeba, the other from Yákoba, wherein he informed me of the progress of his journey, and how he had safely reached the latter place, which had never before been visited by a European. He also informed me that he was just about to start for the camp or sansánne of the governor, who had been waging war for the last seven years against a tribe of idolaters whom he had sworn to subject. Greatly delighted at the prospect which opened to my fellow-traveler, whom I was to leave behind me, of filling up the blanks which I had left in my discoveries, I made the messenger a handsome present. Being thus considerably relieved in mind and full of hopes, I bore with patience and resignation some little disagree. able incidents which occurred before my final departure, especial. ly the loss of two of the camels which I had recently bought.
* It was rather remarkable that on the 15th of April we had a few drops of rain, accompanied by repeated thunder; and altogether, as the sequel showed, the rainy season that year appeared to set in at a rather unusual and early period for Kúkawa.
REAL START.—SMALL PARTY. At length, on the 4th of May, I left the town and encamped outside, close in front of the gate. The sheikh had also given me another camel, and a young and rather weak horse, which did not seem very fit for such a journey, and which, in the sequel, proved rather a burden than otherwise to me. In this spot I remained some days, waiting for my fellow-traveler Kólo, who was still detained in the town, so that I did not take leave of the sheikh until the 9th of the month, when he received me with great kindness, but was by no means backward in begging for several articles to be sent to him, especially a small cannon, which was rather out of comparison with the poor present which he had bestowed upon myself. However, he promised me that I should still receive another camel from him, of which I stood greatly in need, although I had made up for one which was lost during my stay before the gate of the town, through the carelessness of Abbega, by buying a fresh camel at the last moment of my departure. It was for this purpose that I took the sum of thirty dollars from the 1000 dollars brought by the caravan, and which I was anxious to leave behind for the use of Mr. Vogel. Altogether I was extremely unfortunate with my camels, and lost a third one before I had proceeded many miles from the town, so that I was obliged to throw away several things with which my people had overladen my animals.
Our move from Dáwerghú in the afternoon of the 10th was very inauspicious; and while a heavy thunder-storm was raging, enveloping every thing in impenetrable darkness, only occasion. ally illumined by the flashes of lightning, I lost my people, and had great difficulty in joining them again. Having then moved on by very short marches as far as Nghurútuwa, through a finely wooded valley called Henderi Galliram, we pitched our tents on the 14th of May near the town of Yó, where, to my utmost disappointment, we had to stay the five following days, during which the interesting character of the komádugu, which at present did not contain a drop of water, with its border of vegetation, afford.
ed me but insufficient entertainment. It would, however, have been curious for any European who had adhered to the theory of the great eastern branch of the Niger flowing along this bed from the Tsád, to see us encamped in the dry bottom of this valley. At all events, oppressed as I had been all the time by the apprehension that something might still occur to frustrate my departure, I deemed it one of the happiest moments of my life when, in the afternoon of Saturday the 19th, we at length left our station at this northern frontier of Bórnu, in the present reduced state of that kingdom, and I turned my back with great satisfaction upon these countries where I had spent full five years in incessant toil and exertion. On retracing my steps northward I was filled with the hope that a merciful Providence would allow me to reach home in safety, in order to give a full account of my labors and discoveries, and, if possible, to follow up the connections which I had established with the interior for opening regular intercourse with that continent.
Our first day's march from here, however, was far from being auspicious; for, having met with frequent delays and stoppages, such as are common at the commencement of a journey, and darkness having set in, the three monkeys which I wished to take with me, by their noise and cries, frightened the camels so much that they started off at a gallop, breaking several things, and, among others, a strong musket. I saw, therefore, that nothing was to be done but to let loose these malicious little creatures, which, instead of remaining quiet, continually amused themselves with loosening all the ropes with which the luggage was tied on the backs of the animals. Having encamped this night at a late hour, we reached, the following morning, the town of Bárruwa, and remained here the whole day, in order to provide ourselves with the dried fish which is here prepared in large quantities, and which constitutes the most useful article for procuring the necessary supplies in the Tebu country. The Dáza, or Búlguda, who were to join us on the march, had been encamped in this spot since the previous day. From here we pursued our road to Ngégimi; but the aspect of the country had greatly changed since I last traversed it on my return from Kánem, the whole of the road which I at that time followed being now covered with water, the great inundation of the Tsád not having yet retired within its ordinary boundaries. The whole shore seemed to have given way and sunk a few feet. Besides this changed aspect of
the country, several hamlets of Kánembú cattle-breeders, such as represented in the accompanying wood-cut, caused great relief and animation.
It was also interesting to observe the Búdduma, the pirate inhabitants of the islands of the lagune, busily employed in their pe. culiar occupation of obtaining salt from the ashes of the “siwák," or the Capparis sodata. Having rested during the hot hours of the day, we took up our quarters in the evening just beyond a temporary hamlet of these islanders; for although watchfulness, even here, was very necessary in order to guard against any thievish attempt, yet, in general, the Búdduma seem to be on good terms with the Tebu, with whom they appear to have stood in intimate political connection from ancient times.
Tuesday, May 22d. At the distance of only a mile from our encampment we passed, close on our left, the site of Wúdi, enliv. ened by a few date palms, the whole open grassy plain to the right, over which our former road to Kánem had lain, being en. veloped in a wider or narrower strip of water. Having halted again, at the beginning of the hot hours, in a well-wooded tract, we observed in the afternoon a herd of elephants, which passed the heat of the day comfortably in the midst of the water, and among the number a female with her young. Farther on we
were met by a troop of five buffaloes, an animal which, during my former journey, I had not observed near the lake.
Thus we reached the new village of Ngégimi, which was built on the slope of the hills, the former town having been entirely swept away by the inundation. Here we remained the forenoon of the following day, the encampment being enlivened by a great number of women from the village, offering for sale fish in a fresh and dried state, besides a few. fowls, milk, and “témmari,” the seeds of the cotton-plant; but, with the exception of a few beads for adorning their own sable persons, they were scarcely willing to receive any thing besides corn. I was glad to see, instead of the ugly Bórnu females, these more symmetrical figures of the Kánembú ladies, the glossy blackness of whose skin was agreeably relieved by their white teeth as well as by their beads of the same color. Our friends the Dáza, who five weeks previously had been driven back by the Tawárek, had recovered here their luggage, which on that occasion they had hastily deposited with the villagers when making an attempt to cross the desert. They were here to separate from us for a time, as, for some reason or other, they wanted to pursue a more westerly track, leading by the Bír el Hammám, or Metémmi, which is mentioned by the former expedition, while our friend Kólo was bent upon keeping nearer the shores of the lagune, by way of Kibbo.
After a short conversation with the chief of the place, the May. Ngégimibe, we set out in the afternoon, and, proceeding at a slow rate, as the camels were very heavily laden, we passed, after a march of about eight miles, along a large open creek of the lagune, and, having met some solitary travelers coming from Kánem, encamped, about eight in the evening, on rather uneven ground, and kept alternate watch during the night.
Thursday, May 24th. Starting at a very early hour, we soon ascended hilly ground, but, after we had proceeded some miles, were greatly frightened by the sight of people on our right, when we three horsemen pursued them till we had driven them to the border of the lake; for this whole tract is so very unsafe that a traveler may feel certain that the few people whom he meets on the road, unless they bear distinctly the character of travelers like himself, will betray bim to some predatory band. Having proceeded about nine miles, we halted near an outlying creek of the lake, the water of which was fresh, although most of these creeks contain brackish water. When we continued our march in the