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now in possession of the country adjacent to the banks of the great river to a considerable extent, — one road leading in a more northerly direction to Láro, and the other in a north-westerly one to Bóne; and although the guide whom we had taken with us from Mundóro assured us that we should not find in Bóne either quarters or hospitality, my friend El Waláti, for some reason or other, preferred the latter route, and we had to make rather a long day's journey in the weakened state to which we ourselves and our animals were reduced. But the march was highly interesting, on account of the peculiar nature and the picturesque shape of the several detached cones of the Hóinbori mountains, through the midst of which our way led. It would have been impossible, from the information which I had gathered from the natives, to form a correct idea of the character of the chain, which I had thought far more elevated and continuous:— the highest elevation which some of the cones reach does not appear to be more than 800 feet above the plain.
In the beginning the appearance of the country was more uniform, while the mountains, covered by the rising ground on our right, looked like mere hills, our track itself lying through a more level country sometimes covered with underwood, and at others presenting a bleak open ground, or “néga;” but the interest of this scenery increased considerably when we reached the western foot of a broader mound which had already attracted our attention the day
before. On a sloping ground, consisting of rubbish and boulders, there rose a wall of steep cliffs like an artificial fortification, forining, as it seemed, a spa
cious terrace on the top, where there are said to be three hamlets, inhabited by a spirited race of natives who, in this rocky retreat, vindicate their independence against the overbearing intrusions of the Fúlbe. We even observed on the slope under the steep cliffs, where there are several caverns, some people pasturing their sheep, while fields of Negro corn and karás, or Corchorus olitorius, testified to the fact that the natives sometimes descend even into the very plain to satisfy their most necessary wants. Char. LXII.
After passing this mound, and following a more north-westerly direction, we approached another mound, rising from the plain like an isolated cone, and with its steep, narrow, and rugged crest, looking exactly like the ruin of a castle of the middle ages.
Leaving this mound, together with the path leading to the Songhay town of Láro on our right, we ap. proached the southern foot of another castellated mound, which stretched out to a greater length, but offered in its rugged and precipitous cliffs, exactly the spectacle of crenellated walls and towers. Where the foot of the mound juts out into the path on the top of the offshoots, the inhabitants of the mountain
had erected a small chapel, or rather a place for pagan worship, which presented a very peculiar appear. ance. Here we entered a sort of broad defile, formed between this castellated mound and another cone towards the west, which, although of considerable elevation, was not so rugged, and exhibited a less picturesque appearance.
Greatly fatigued by our long march, especially as a cool breeze in the morning was followed by an oppressive heat in the noonday hours, we reached, at about five o'clock in the afternoon, the Fülbe village of Bóne, situated at the foot of the eastern mound; but although I had sent two of my people in advance, we were unable to obtain quarters, and after some unavailing dispute we were obliged to encamp outside in the open grassy vale between the two mountains ; for the inhabitants of this village, who are exclusively Fúlbe, do not like strangers to enter their dwellings, at least not for a night's quarters. They however treated us in the evening with a good supply of milk, while they also informed us that a large encampment of that section of the Tawárek which is called Iregenáten was at a few miles' distance. El Waláti supposed, or rather pretended to suppose, that they were the clan of a powerful chief of the name of Soinki, and assured me that it would be necessary to make this chief a handsome present, in order that under his protection we might proceed safely from camp to camp till we reached the banks of the Niger; for although we might have travelled