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Kúkawa to Zínder, with a few exceptions, it had been my custom to proceed far in advance of the camels, with my horsemen, so that I used to arrive at the camping-ground before the greatest heat of the day had set in ; but, on account of the greater insecurity of the country, it now became necessary for me to pursue my march slowly, in company with my luggage train.
The ground along our track, as we proceeded from Zínder, was undulating, with ledges or small ridges and isolated masses of granite boulders starting forth here and there; but the country gradually improved, especially after we had passed a pond at the distance of about seven miles froin the town, filling out a concavity or hollow, and fringed with wide-spreading trees and a fine plantation of cotton and tobacco, which were shaded by a few dúm palms. Thus we reached the village of Týrmení, lying at the border of a shallow vale and surrounded with a strong stockade. Here we fell in with a numerous body of Ikázkezan, mustering, besides a great many on foot, twelve or thirteen men well mounted on horseback, and thinking themselves strong enough, in their independent spirit, to pursue a contraband road along the border district between Dáura and Kátsena, in order to avoid paying any customs to the potentates of either. But the restless governor of Dáura keeps a sharp look-out, and sometimes overtakes these daring smugglers.
Near the village of Dámbedá also, which we reached after a march of two miles from Týrmení
through a more hilly country, several divisions of the salt-caravan were encamped ; and we chose our camping ground near a troop of native traders, or fatáki. While we were pitching the tent, a Tárki or Amóshagh, mounted on horseback, came slowly up to us, apparently astonished at the peculiar character of the tent, which he seemed to recognise as an old acquaintance. But he was still more surprised when he recognised myself; for he was no other than Agha Batúre the son of Ibrahim, from Selúfiyet, the chief instigator of the foray made against us at the time of our entering A'ír or A'sben, by the border tribes of that country.
In the depression of the plain towards the south from our encampment, where all the moisture of the district collected, cotton was cultivated to a great extent, while adjoining the village, which lay close to a ridge of granite, a small field of tobacco was to be seen. A petty market, which was held here, enabled us to provide ourselves with grain, poultry, and red pepper, as we had forgotten to lay in a store of the latter article, which is indispensable to travellers in hot countries.
The district through which we passed Monday, was densely inhabited, but it was rather January 31st. scantily timbered, the ground being clad only with short underwood; detached hills were seen now and then; but after a march of about seven miles, the character of the country changed, kálgo appearing more frequently, while the soil consisted of deep sand. Towards the south the vegetation was richer, several
Tawárek hamlets appearing in the distance. Thus we reached a large well, about thirteen fathoms deep and richly provided with water, where a large herd of cattle and a number of Búzawe, or Tawárek halfcastes, of both sexes, were assembled ; and I was agreeably surprised at the greater proof of ingenuity which I here observed — a young bull being employed in drawing up the water in a large leather bag containing a supply sufficient for two horses,—this being the only time during my travels in Negroland that I observed such a method of drawing up the water, which in general, even from the deepest wells, is procured by the labour of man alone. The young bull was led by a very pretty Amóshagh girl, to whom I made a present of a tin box with a lookingglass in it, as a reward for her trouble, when she did not fail to thank me by a courtesy, and the expression of an amiable "agaishéka,” “my best thanks.” In the whole of this country a custom still prevails, dating from the period of the strength of the Bórnu empire, to the effect that the horses of travellers must be watered, at any well, in precedence to the wants of the natives themselves.
The whole spectacle which this well exhibited was one of life and activity; and the interest of the scenery was further increased by a dense grove of fine tamarind trees which spread out on the south side of the path. I learned, on inquiry, that this district belongs to the territory of Tumtúmma, the governor of which is a vassal of Zinder. Close to Tumtúmma, on the west, lies the considerable town of Gorgom.
CHAP. LV. UNUSUAL MODE OF DRAWING WATER. 89
Leaving the principal road on our right, and following a more southerly one, we encamped near the village of Gúmda, which consisted of two hamlets inhabited exclusively by Tawárek slaves. But the territory belongs likewise to the province of Tum. túmma. A troop of fatáki, or native traders, were encamped near us.
The surface of the country through Tuesday, which our road lay was broken by depres. February 1st. sions of larger or smaller extent, where the dúm palm flourished in great numbers — a tree which is very common in the territory of Tasáwa, which we entered a short time before we reached the village of Káso. We had here descended altogether, most probably, a couple of hundred feet, although the descent was not regular, and was broken by an occasional ascent. The road was well frequented by people coming from the west with cotton, which they sell to advantage in Zínder.
We made a long stretch, on account of the scarcity of water, passing the large village of Shabáre, which attracted our attention from the distance by the beating of drums, but could not supply us with a sufficient quantity of water, — its well measuring twenty-five fathoms in depth, and nevertheless being almost dry; and thus we proceeded till we reached Maijirgí, after a march of almost twenty-five miles. The village is named from a troughlike * depression, on the slope of which it is situated, and which, towards
* “ Jirgí” means boat, as well as a large trough for watering the cattle.
the south, contains a considerable grove of dúm palms. We encamped close to the well, which is fourteen fathoms deep, at some distance from the village, which has a tolerably comfortable appearance, although it had been ransacked two years before by the governor of Katsena; but, in these regions, dwelling-places are as easily restored as they are destroyed. The inhabitants are notorious for their thievish propensities; and we had to take precautions accordingly. The whole of this country is rich in beans; and we bought plenty of dried bean-tressels, which are made up in small bundles, and called “ haráwa" by the Arabs, affording most excellent food for the camels. Wednesday. Several native travellers had attached February 2nd. themselves to my troop. Amongst them was an abominable slave-dealer who was continually beating his poor victims. I was extremely glad to get rid of this man here, he, as well as the other people, being bound for Tasáwa, which I was to leave at some distance on my right. While my people were loading the camels, I roved about, making a very pleasant promenade along the vale, which was richly adorned with dúm palms. Having set out at length, keeping a little too much towards the west, and crossing the great highroad which comes from Tasáwa, we passed several villages on our road, while dúm palms and tamarind trees enlivened the country where the , ground was not cultivated, but especially the many small and irregular hollows which we traversed.