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against the Góberáwa and Mariyadáwa, rendered it essential that it should be strong enough by its own resources to offer a long resistance; and it has in consequence become a walled town of considerable importance, so that travellers generally take this roundabout way, with a strong northerly deviation. Here also the wall is surrounded with a dense forest, affording a sort of natural fortification.
Having entered the town and convinced myself of its confined and cheerless character, I resolved even here to encamp outside, though at considerable risk; and I went to the well, which was about half a mile distant to the south, and, being five fathoms in depth, contained a rich supply of excellent water. Here a small caravan of people from A'dar, laden with corn and about to return to their native home, were encamped; and I pitched my tent on an open spot, close to some light cottages of Itísan settlers, who immediately brought me a little fresh cheese as a specimen of their industry, and were well satisfied with a present which I made them in return, of a few razors and looking-glasses. These Tawárek are scattered over the whole of Western Súdán, not only frequenting those localities occasionally as traders, but even sometimes settled with their wives and children. Their women also did not fail to pay us a visit in the afternoon ; for t extremely curious and fond of strangers.
When I had made myself comfortable, I received a visit from the ghaladíma of the town; he brought
me the compliments of the governor, who was a man of rather noble birth, being nobody else but ‘Ali Káramí, the eldest son and presumed successor of 'Aliyu the einir el Múmenín. He bears the pompous title of serki-n-Góber, “ lord of Góber," although almost the whole of that country is in the hands of the enemy. Having taken his leave, the messenger soon returned accompanied by Alháttu, the younger brother of the ghaladíma of Sókoto, who was anxious to show his importance, bringing me a fat sheep as a present, which I acknowledged by the gift of a fine heláli bernús, besides a red cap and turban; and the governor expressed his satisfaction at my present by sending me also corn for my horses, and half a dozen fowls. In the evening we had a short but violent tornado, which usually indicates the approach of the rainy season ; but no rain fell, and we passed the night very comfortably in our open encampment, without any accident. Thursday, We had a very difficult day's march beMarch 31st. fore us, – the passage of the wilderness of Gúndumi,—which can only be traversed by a forced march, and which, even upon a man of Captain Clapperton's energies, had left the impression of the most wearisome journey he had ever performed in his life. But before returning into our westerly direction, we had first to follow a north-westerly path leading to a large pond or tebki, in order to provide ourselves with water for the journey. It was still a good-sized sheet of water, though torn up and
agitated by numbers of men and animals that had preceded our party from the town; and we were therefore very fortunate in having provided ourselves with some excellent clear water from the well close to our place of encampment. The pond was in the midst of the forest, which towards its outskirts presented a cheerful aspect, enlivened by a great number of sycamore trees and even a few deleb palms, but which here assumed the more inonotonous and cheerless character which seems to be common to all the extensive forests of Negroland.
The beginning of our march, after we had watered our animals and filled our water-skins, was rather inauspicious, our companions missing their way and with their bugles calling me and my people, who were pursuing the right track, far to the south, till, after endeavouring in vain to make our way through an impervious thicket, and after a considerable loss of time, anything but agreeable at the beginning of a desperate march of nearly thirty hours, we at length with the assistance of a Púllo shepherd regained the right track. We then pursued our march, travelling without any halt the whole day and the whole night through the dense forest, leaving the pond called tebki-n-Gúndumi at some distance on our left, and not meeting with any signs of cultivation till a quarter before eleven the next morning, when, wearied in the extreme and scarcely able to keep up, we were met by some horsemen, who had been sent out from the camp at Gáwasú to meet us, pro
vided with water-skins in order to bring up the stragglers who had lagged behind from fatigue and thirst. And there were many who needed their assistance one woman had even succumbed to exhaustion in the course of the night; for such a forced march is the more fatiguing and exhausting as the dangers from a lurking enemy make the greatest possible silence and quiet indispensable, instead of the spirits being kept up with cheerful songs as is usually the case. But having once reached the cultivated grounds, after a march of two miles and a half more we arrived at the first gáwasú trees which surround the village which is named after them, “Gáwasú.” In the fields or “kárkará” adjoining this village, ‘Aliyu the emir el Múmenín had taken up his camping-ground, and was preparing himself for setting out upon an expedition against the Góber people.
It was well that we had arrived-having been incessantly marching for the last twenty-six hours, without taking into account the first part of the journey from the town to the pond; for I had never seen my horse in such a state of total exhaustion, while my people also fell down immediately they arrived. As for myself, kept up by the excitement of my situation, I did not feel much fatigued, but on the contrary felt strong enough to search without delay through the whole of my luggage, in order to select the choicest presents for the great prince of Sókoto, who was to set out the following morning, and upon whose reception depended a good deal of the suc
Chap. LVI. FIRST MEETING WITH ALI'YU.
cess of my undertaking. The afternoon wore on without my being called into the presence of the sultan, and I scarcely expected that I should see him that day; but suddenly, after the evening prayer, Alháttu made his appearance with some messengers of the chief, not in order to hasten my present, but first to give me a proof of their own hospitality, and bringing me a very respectable present consisting of an ox, four fat sheep, and two large straw sacks or tákrufa containing about four hundred pounds weight of rice, with an intimation at the same time that ‘Aliyu wished to see me, but that I was not now to take my present with me. I therefore prepared myself immediately; and on going to the sultan's we passed by the .ghaladíma, who had been lodged in a courtyard of the village, and who accompanied us.
We found ‘Aliyu in the northern part of the village, sitting under a tree in front of his quarters, on a raised platform of clay. He received me with the utmost kindness and good humour, shaking hands with me and begging me to take a seat just in front of him. Having paid my compliments to him on behalf of the Queen of England, I told him that it had been my intention to have paid him a visit two years previously, but that the losses which we had met with in the first part of our journey had prevented me from carrying out my design. I had scarcely finished my speech, when he himself assured me that at the right time he had received the letter which I had addressed to himn through the sultan of