Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

industrious landlady, the couch and even the dishes having been taken away. But suspended from the roof was the “ pílgure,” or basket for smaller luggage, which contained at the time, besides the komcha, the pittorke, or small stick for weaving, and the fabáru, a small leather portfolio for writing. The accompanying view, though it exhibits the hut rather in an inverted manner, will give the reader a fair idea of its character.

[graphic]

The clay being excellently polished, and the hut of recent construction, left a very pleasant impression; but, as is so often the case in human life, all this finery covered nothing but misery, and I discovered the next day, to my utter amazement, that this beautiful hut was one entire nest of ants, which had in one day made great havoc with the whole of my luggage.

me S

vas

In the afternoon I went to pay my respects to the governor, who is not without power, so that I thought it better to sacrifice to him a bernús of inferior quality, besides some smaller articles. He was a fine-grown man, with large features, which at once indicated his origin from the black stock of the Fúlbe or the Tórobe. Sitting at the door of his palace, he received me kindly, and promised me that I should have no difficulty in my further progress. Considering the scarcity of provisions, he treated me hospitably on the whole, sending me the next day a young heifer, besides a great many dishes of prepared food.

The name of the principality is Yágha *, dating from the time which preceded the conquest of the Fúlbe; but the governor's private name is Sájo ben Ibrahima.

Notwithstanding the power of the ruler, the place is in a miserable condition, and resembles rather a wilderness than a town; but it is extremely picturesque, having a thick covert of beautiful trees nourished by a large sheet of water. The place con. tains scarcely 200 huts, and nothing like a market is to be found. The difficulty of our obtaining supplies was the greater, as, contrary to our expectation and the information we had received, nothing but shells bad currency in the place; and it was with a

IN

[ocr errors]

Chap. LX. ADVICE TO TRAVELLERS.-HOLIDAY. 279

.

great deal of trouble that, by means of the cotton strips with which we had provided ourselves, we obtained a small supply of butter and corn, four drá being reckoned here the same as in Gando, while in the town of Say there was thirty per cent profit upon the cotton strips. The most abundant article I found here was milk, which was the best I had ever yet tasted in Negroland ; and it gave me a fair but rather exaggerated idea of what I might expect to find amongst the Fúlbe further west. We also bought a small quantity of corn from the women, in exchange for some looking-glasses and cloves. All the corn here consists of sorghum ; and seventy shells, at the time, would just buy sufficient corn for a horse for one day, which is a very high price indeed for Negroland.

Notwithstanding the poor character of the place. I was obliged to stay here two whole days, exclusive of the day of my arrival, in order to give the camels some rest, as they were suffering greatly from the effects of the rainy season, and on account of the holiday of the “fotr,” which fell on the 8th. If I had known the character of the province of Libtáko better, I should have deemed it prudent to make even a longer stay here: and I would advise any future traveller to do so, taking care, however, to have a sufficient supply of shells with him, which will enable him to make himself quite comfortable in Yágha. Music having announced the arrival of the important and joyful day, soon after midnight, almost the whole of the men went out in the morning in order to say their prayers at about a mile's distance from the town. All the Fülbe were dressed in snow-white shirts, as a symbol of the purity of their creed; but some of them wore dark-blue trousers. There were about forty horses with the party, which probably was all that the townspeople could muster.

Having had to sustain here a slight religious attack from the kádbi, who wanted to represent me as a sorcerer, I thought it prudent to make a small present to each of the holiday people, as a kind of séddega, or alms. The holiday also disturbed me in compiling a small vocabulary of the Gurma language, called by the Fúlbe Gurman-kóbe, which I had begun, but was obliged to leave unfinished.

CHAP. LXI.

PROVINCE OF LIBTÁKO.- SOUTH-EASTERN LIMIT OF THE RANGE

OF THE COMMERCE OF TIMBÚKTU.

We left Sebba the capital of the wilderness — Saturday, bírni-n-dáji, as I called it,- passing through a July 9th. district where forest and cultivated ground alternated. The slaves were busy in the fields rooting up the weeds from among the crops; but, after a march of about four miles, we had to cross a very considerable water, which is here called Yáli, and about whose course I am not able to give distinct information. It is said to come from Mósi, and to join the river Sirba not far from Bosebángo; but the latter statement is incredible. The water being not less than four feet and a half in depth, with a breadth of at least four hundred yards, most of our luggage became wetted.

The country then assumed a more rocky appearance - mica slate, granite, and gneiss alternating, the granite sometimes appearing in large boulders.• The vegetation also assumed here a more varied aspect, besides tamarind trees, mádachi and kadé predomi

« PreviousContinue »