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Chap. LIX. GOVERNOR OP SAY.—NEW COUNTRY. 249
or G6g6, the ancient capital of Songhay, and collected tribute from the Fulbe or Fellani settled near that place, but that he had been prevented by the threatening attitude of the Tawarek from penetrating any further. In consequence of this expedition on the river, made in open boats which were continually filling with water, the governor was suffering very severely from rheumatism, and was scarcely able to move.
Having so many petty chiefs before me, and seeing that this officer did not possess much power, I did not choose to give him a large present; but on my return the following year, when I still had something left, I made him a more considerable present of a bernus.
Having entered a new country, where a language was spoken (the Songhay) with which neither I nor any of my servants was acquainted, and not being able to give much time to its study, as I had to apply myself to the Fulfulde, the language of the conquering tribe, I was extremely anxious to take into my service a native of the country, or to liberate a Songhay slave; but I did not succeed at this time, and, in consequence, felt not so much at home in my intercourse with the inhabitants of the country through which I had next to pass, as I had done formerly. For Gurma, although originally inhabited by quite a distinct race, has been conquered and peopled by the Songhay to a great extent.
THE HILLY COUNTRY OF GURMA.
· I now left the Great River behind me, which June 24th. formed the limit between the tolerably known regions of Central Negroland and the totally unexplored countries on the south-western side of its course; and with intense interest my thoughts were concentrated on the new region before me. However, this very day we had a sufficient specimen of what awaited us on our march during the rainy season ; for we had scarcely left the low island behind us, on which the town of Say, this hotbed of fever, is situated (with its dry prairie ground almost destitute of verdure, and covered only with a few scattered specimens of the Asclepiadec), and had ascended the steep rocky bank which borders the west side of the narrow, shallow, and irregular western branch of the river, which, being encompassed by granite boulders, was at present dry, when a dark array of thunder-clouds came, as it were, marching upon us from the south-east, and we had scarcely time to prepare for the serious assault, when a terrible thunder-storm broke out, beginning
Cuaf. LX. SAND-WIND AND THUNDER-STOKM. 251
with a most fearful sand-wind, which enveloped the whole district in the darkness of night, and made progress, for a moment, quite impossible. After a while it was followed by a violent rain, which relieved the sand-storm, but lasted for nearly three hours, filling our path with water to the depth of several inches, and soaking us through to the skin, so that our march could not fail to be very uncomfortable.
It was on this account that we took up our quarters about half an hour before noon in a farming; hamlet called SancheVgu, where the people were busily employed in sowing; the plentiful rain of today, which was the first of the season, having rendered the fields fit for cultivation. After some search, we obtained two huts of round shape, which were situated near a sheep-pen in front of the dwelling of the proprietor. This was a cheerful and wealthy old man, who both lodged us comfortably, and treated us hospitably. While my people were drying their clothes and luggage, I roved about a little, and observed, at a short distance west from the hamlet, a small rocky watercourse with pools of stagnant water, where the women were washing their clothes, while the slaves were busy in the labours of the field.
Having rewarded our hospitable host, Saturday, we started at an early hour to pursue our June 25lh' march, in order to reach in time the residence of Galaijo, a distinguished chief, of whom I had heard a great many flattering reports. It was a fine morning after yesterday's storm, and the country