Imágenes de páginas

reception thad I had experienced at Shrilla. In this I was not deceived; for one of the shepherds invited me to come into his tent, and partake of some dates. This was one of those low Foulah tents in which is just room sufficient to sit upright, and in which the family, the furniture, &c., seem huddled together like so many articles in a chest. When I had crept upon my hands and knees into this humble habitation, I found that it contained a woman and three children ; who, together with the shepherd and myself, completely occupied the floor. A dish of boiled corn and dates was produced, and the master of the family, as is customary in this part of the country, first tasted it himself, and then desired me to follow his example. Whilst I was eating, the children kept their eyes fixed upon me; and no sooner did the shepherd pronounce the word Nazarani, than they began to cry, and their mother crept slowly towards the door, out of which she sprang like a greyhound, and was instantly followed by her children. So frightened were they at the very name of Christian, that no entreaties could induce them to approach the tent. Here I purchased some corn for my horse, in exchange for some brass buttons; and having thanked the shepherd for his hospitality, struck again into the woods. At sunset I came to a road that took the direction for Bambarra, and resolved to follow it for the night; but about eight o'clock, hearing some people coming from the southward, I thought it prudent to hide myself among some thick bushes near the road. As these thickets are generally full of wild beasts, I found my situation rather unpleasant; sitting in the dark, holding my horse by the nose with both hands to prevent him from neighing, and equally afraid of the natives without and the wild beasts within. My fears, however, were soon dissipated; for the people, after looking round the thicket and

perceiving nothing, went away, and I hastened to the more open parts of the wood, where I pursued my journey E.S.E. until midnight, when the joyful cry of frogs induced me once more to deviate a little from my route, in order to quench my thirst. Having accomplished this from a large pool of rain water, I sought for an open spot with a single tree in the midst, under which I made my bed for the night. I was disturbed by some wolves towards morning, which induced me to set forward a little before day; and having passed a small village called Wassalita, I came about ten o'clock (July 5th) to a negro town.


Hearing that two negroes were going to Sego, I was happy to have their company, and we set out immediately. I was constantly taken for a Moor, and became the subject of much merriment to the Bambarrans, who seeing me drive my horse before me, laughed heartily at my appearance. “ He has been at Mecca,” says one; "you may see that by his clothes ;” another asked if my horse was sick; a third wished to purchase it, &c.; so that I believe the very slaves were ashamed to be seen in my company. Just before it was dark, we took up our lodgings for the night at a small village, where I procured some victuals for myself and some corn for my horse, at the moderate price of a button, and was told that I should see the Niger (which the negroes call Joliba, or the great water), early the next day. The lions are here very numerous; the gates are shut a little after sunset, and nobody allowed to go out. The thoughts of seeing the Niger in the morning, and the troublesome buzzing of musquitoes, prevented me from shutting my eyes during the night, and I had saddled my horse, and was in readiness before daylight; but on account of the wild beasts we were obliged to wait until the people were stirring and the gates opened. This happened to be a market day at Sego, and the roads were every where filled with people carrying different articles to sell. We passed four large villages, and at eight o'clock saw the smoke over Sego.

As we approached the town, I was fortunate enough to overtake the fugitive Kaartans, to whose kindness I had been so much indebted in my journey through Bambarra. They readily agreed to introduce me to their king; and we rode together through the marshy ground, where, as I was looking anxiously around for the river, one of them called out geo affilli (see the water); and looking forwards, I saw with infinite pleasure the great object of my mission, the long-sought for majestic Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. I hastened to the brink, and having drank of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer to the Great Ruler of all things, for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success.



I waited more than two hours without having an opportunity of crossing the river; during which time, the people who had crossed carried information to Mansong the king, that a white man was waiting for a passage, and was coming to see him.

He immediately sent over one of his chief who informed me that the king could not possibly see me until he knew what had brought me into this country; and that I must not presume to cross the river without the king's permission. He therefore advised me to lodge at a distant village, to which he pointed, for the night; and said, that in the morning he would give me further instructions how to conduct myself. This was very discouraging. However, as there was no remedy, I set off for the village, where I found, to my great mortification, that no person would admit me into his house. I was regarded with astonishment and fear, and was obliged to sit all day without victuals in the shade of a tree; and the night threatened to be very uncomfortable, for the wind rose, and there was great appearance of a heavy rain ; and the wild beasts are so very numerous in the neighbourhood, that I should have been under the necessity of climbing up the tree and resting among the branches. About sunset, however, as I was preparing to pass the night in this manner, and had turned my horse loose that he might graze at liberty, a woman, returning from the labours of the field, stopped to observe me, and perceiving that I was weary and dejected, inquired into my situation, which I briefly explained to her; whereupon, with looks of great compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle, and told me to follow her. Having conducted me into her hut, she lighted up a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told me I might remain there for the night. Finding that I was very hungry, she said she would procure me something to eat. She accordingly went out and returned in a short time with a very fine fish, which, having caused to be half broiled upon some embers, she


gave me for supper. The rites of hospitality being thus performed towards a stranger in distress, my worthy benefactress (pointing to the mat, and telling me that I might sleep there without apprehension) called to the female part of the family, who had stood gazing on me all the while in fixed astonishment, to resume their task of spinning cotton, in which they continued to employ themselves great part of the night. They lightened their labour by songs, one of which was composed extempore, for I was myself the subject of it.

It was sung by one of the young women, the rest joining in a sort of chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, literally translated, were these :-“The winds roared and the rains fell. The


faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring him milk; no wife to grind his corn. Chorus.Let us pity the white man; no mother has he, &c. &c. &c." Trilling as this recital may appear to the reader, to a per

my situation the circumstance was affecting in the highest degree; I was oppressed by such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled from my eyes. In the morning I presented my landlady with two of the four brass buttons which remained on my waistcoat, the only recompense I could make her.

son in


July 28th.—I departed from Nyara, and reached Nyamee about noon. This town is inhabited chiefly by Foulahs, from the kingdom of Masina. The dooty (the head man of the place), I know not why, would not receive me, but civilly sent his son on horseback to conduct me to Modiboo; which, he assured me, was at no great distance.

We rode nearly in a direct line through the woods, but in general went forwards with great circumspection. I observed that my guide frequently stopped and looked under the bushes. On inquiring the reason of this caution, he told me that lions were very numerous in that part of the country, and frequently attacked-travelling through the woods. While he was speaking my horse started ; looking round, I observed a large animal, of the cameleopard

« AnteriorContinuar »