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Cuar. LV. APPROACH OF THE RAINY SEASON.
— the independent pagans as well as the conquering Fúlbe, — having in their pay numbers of spies in the towns of their enemies. Only two days before the Góberáwa left their home, they killed Bú-Bakr the chief spy whom 'Aliyu, the sultan of Sókoto, entertained in their town.
In the company of the ghaladíma there was a younger brother of his, of the name of Al-háttu, who had lost the better portion of the character of a free man by a mixture of slave-blood, and behaved, at times, like the most intolerable beggar; but he proved of great service to me in my endeavour to become acquainted with all the characteristic features of the country and its inhabitants.
Besides this man, my principal acquaintance during my stay in Kátsena this time was a Tawati of the name of ‘Abd e' Rahmán, a very amiable and social man, and, as a fáki, possessing a certain degree of learning. He had been a great friend of the sultan Bello, and expatiated with the greatest enthusiasm on the qualities and achievements of this distinguished ruler of Negroland. He also gave me the first hints of some of the most important subjects relating to the geography and history of Western Negroland, and called my attention particularly to a man whom he represented as the most learned of the present generation of the inhabitants of Sokoto, and from whom, he assured me, I should not fail to obtain what information I wanted. This man was 'Abd el Kader
dan Taffa (meaning, the son of Mustapha), on whose stores of knowledge I drew largely. My intercourse with 'Abd e' Rahmán was occasionally interrupted by an amicable tilt at our respective creeds. On one occasion, when my learned friend was endeavouring to convince me of the propriety of polygamy, he adduced as an illustration, that in matters of the table we did not confine ourselves to a single dish, but took a little fowl, a little fish, and a little roast beef; and how absurd, he argued, was it, to restrict our. selves, in the intercourse with the other sex, to only one wife. It was during my second stay in Kátsena that I collected most of the information which I have communicated on a former occasion with regard to the history of Háusa.
Besides this kind of occupation, my dealings with the governor, and an occasional ride which I took through and outside the town, I had a great deal to do in order to satisfy the claims of the inhabitants upon my very small stock of medicinal knowledge, especially at the commencement of my residence, when I was severely pestered with applications, having generally from 100 to 200 patients in my courtyard every morning. The people even brought me sometimes animals to cure; and I was not a little amused when they once brought me a horse totally blind, which they thought I was able to restore to its former power of vision.
Living in Kátsena is not so cheap as in most other places of Negroland — at least we thought so at the
time, but we afterwards found Sókoto, and many places between that and Timbúktu, much dearer ; but the character of dearth in Kátsena is increased by the scarcity of shells in the market, which form the standard currency, and, especially after I had circulated a couple of hundred dollars, I was often obliged to change a dollar for 2300 shells instead of 2500.
I had here a disagreeable business to arrange; for suddenly, on the 18th of March, there arrived our old creditor Mohammed e' Sfáksí, whose claims upon us I thought I had settled long ago by giving him a bill upon Fezzán, besides the sum of two hundred dollars which I had paid him on the spot*: but, to my great astonishment, he produced a letter, in which Mr. Gagliuffi, Her Majesty's agent in Múrzuk, informed him that I was to pay him in Sudán.
Such is the trouble to which a European traveller is exposed in these countries, by the injudicious arrangements of those very people whose chief object ought to be to assist him, while at the same time all his friends in Europe think that he is well provided, and that he can proceed on his difficult errand without obstacle.
On the 19th of March we received information that the army of the Góberáwa had encamped on the site of the former town of Róma, or Rúma; and I was given to understand that I must hold myself in readiness to march at an hour's notice.
* See Vol. III. p. 473.
Meanwhile the governor of Kátsena, who had received exaggerated accounts of the riches which I was carrying with me, was endeavouring, by every means at his disposal, to separate me from the ghaladíma, in order to have me in his own power; and his measures were attended with a good deal of success, at least in the case of my Arab companion 'Alí el A'geren, who, although a man of some energy, allowed himself too often to be frightened by the misrepresentations of the people. On his attempting to keep me back, I told him that, if he chose, he might stay behind, but that I had made up my mind to proceed at once, in company with the ghaladíma, whatever might happen. I had the more reason to beware of the governor, as just at the period of this my second stay here, when : he knew that I was going to his liege lord, I had had another opportunity of becoming fully aware of the flagrant injustice exercised by him and his ministers. For the sheríf, who, as I have said, had attached himself to my party in Zinder, having died here of dysentery soon after our arrival, he seized upon what little property he had left, notwithstanding that person had placed himself, in some respects, under my protection; and although he pretended he would send it to his relatives, there is no doubt that he or his people kept it back. The safety of the property of any European who should die in these regions ought to be taken into account in any treaty to be concluded with a native chief; but no such contingency was provided for in draughts of the treaties which we took with us.