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versaries were so busy, that, in the night of the 9th, owing to the arrival of a party of Tawárek, who were well known not to be friendly disposed towards him, he was so intimidated, that at two o'clock in the morning he himself came to my house, rousing us from our sleep and requesting us most urgently to keep watch, as he was afraid that something was going on against me. We therefore kept a constant look out the whole night on our terrace, and seeing that the rear of our house was in a partial state of decay, facilitating an attack in that quarter, we set to work early in the morning repairing the wall and barricading it with thorny bushes. The artisans of the town were so afraid of the party hostile to me, who were the nominal rulers, that no one would undertake the task of repairing my house. However, the more intelligent natives of the place did all in their power to prevent my learned friend from leaving the town, as they felt sure that such a proceeding would be the commencement of troubles. The consequence was, that we did not get off on the 10th, although the Sheikh had sent his wife and part of his effects away the preceding night, and it was not till a little before noon the following day that we actually left the town.
FIRST RESIDENCE IN TIIE DESERT, — POLITICAL COMBINATIONS. --
GREAT MOSQUE. — GROUND-PLAN OF THE TOWN.
This was an important moment for myself,
October 11th. as, with the exception of an occasional visit to the Sheikh, who lived only a few yards across the street, and an almost daily promenade on my terrace, I had not moved about since my arrival. With a deep consciousness of the critical position in which I was placed, I followed my protector, who, mounted on his favourite white mare, led the way through the streets of the town, along which the assembled natives were thronging in order to get a glance at me. Leaving the high mounds of rubbish which constitute the groundwork of the northern part of the town on our left, and pursuing a north-north-easterly direction over a sandy tract covered with stunted bushes, and making only a short halt near a well five miles from the town, for the purpose of watering our horses, after a march of two miles more we reached the camp, which could easily be recognised at a great distance by two large white cotton tents, whose size and situation made them conspicuous above some
smaller leathern dwellings. It was just about sunset ; and the open country with its rich mimosas, and with the camp on the rising ground, the white sandy soil of which was illumined by the last rays of the setting sun, presented an interesting spectacle. The younger inhabitants of the camp, including Bábá Ahmed and Abidin, two favourite boys of the Sheikh, one five, the other four years of age, came out to meet us; and I soon afterwards found myself lodged in an indigenous tent of camel's hair, which was pitched at the foot of the hill, belonging to Mohammed el Khalil, a relative of the Sheikh, who had come from his native home in Tíris, on the shores of the Atlantic, in order to share his uncle's blessing.
In this encampment we passed several days in the most quiet and retired manner, when my friend revealed to me his course of action. It was his intention, he said, to bring the old chief Galaijo, from the place of his exile in Champagóre, back to this part of Negroland, which he had formerly ruled, and to reinstate him, by the aid of the Tawárek, in the government of Másina with the residence HamdaAlláhi, of which he was to deprive the family of Lebbo. But even if it was true, as he said, that the Fúlbe themselves, as well those settled between Fermagha and Gundam, as those inhabiting the provinces of Dalla, Dwenza, and Gilgoji, were opposed to the government of Lebbo, such a project appeared to me to require a greater share of perseverance and determination than, from all that I had
seen, I could believe my noble friend possessed. However, he entertained no doubt at that time that Alkúttabu, the great chief of the Tawárek himself, would come to his aid without delay and conduct me, under his powerful protection, safely along the banks of the Niger.
However exaggerated the projects of my protector were, considering his mild disposition, and although by exasperating the Fúlbe more and more he no doubt increased the difficulties of my situation, the moving of his encampment outside the town afforded me a great deal of relief, both in consequence of the change of air which it procured me, and of the varied scenery. I could also get here a little exercise, although the more open the country was, the greater care I had to take of my safety. In the morning, particularly, the camp presented a very animated sight. The two large white tents of cotton cloth, with their top-covering, or “sarámme,” of chequered design, and their woollen curtains of various colours, were half opened to allow the morning air to pervade them. The other smaller ones were grouped picturesquely around on the slope, which was enlivened by camels, cattle, and goats, that were just being driven out. All nature was awake and full of bustle, and the trees were swarming with white pigeons. In the evening, again, there were the cattle returning from their pasturage, the slaves bringing water on the backs of the asses, and the people grouped together in the simple place of devotion, laid out with thorny bushes, in order to say VOL. IV.
their prayers, guided by the melodious voice of their teacher, who never failed to join them. At this time a chapter of the Kurán was chanted by the best instructed of the pupils, and continued often till a late hour at night, the sound of these beautiful verses, in their melodious fall, reverberating from the downs around; at other times animated conversation ensued, and numerous groups gathered on the open ground by the side of the fire.
We returned into the town on the 13th. The first day had passed off rather quietly, save that a party of twelve Imóshagh, of the tribe of the Igwádaren, partly mounted on camels, partly on horses, trespassed on the hospitality of the Sheikh. I had an opportunity of inspecting their swords, and was not a little surprised at finding that they were all manufactured in the German town of Solingen, as indeed were almost all the swords of these Tawárek, or Imóshagh.
The interests of the different members of the family now began to clash. The Sheikh himself was firm in his opposition against the Fúlbe, and requested me in future, when I visited him, to come to his house fully armed, in order to show our adversaries that I was ready to repulse any violence; and it was in vain that I protested that, as I came with peaceable intentions, nothing could be farther from my wish than to cause any disturbance in the town. Meanwhile his brother, Sidi Alawáte, suborned one of the Sheikh's pupils to make another attempt to convert me to Islamism. This inan, who was one of the most