There was some dispute this evening with the servants about pitching our tent. I always find them ready to escape this trouble when they can. However, it appears that En-Noor recommended us not to pitch our tents that we may not be known during the night, in the event of these three Haghars having comrades skulking after them, seeking an opportunity to attack us.
21st.—We rose an hour before daylight, and journeyed eight hours, passing through a country resembling that of yesterday, and a pleasant valley called Wady Jeenanee, until we arrived at the wells of the same name. They are scooped out of the sand in a stony bed, and amidst rocks. The water is very palatable. It has no natural source, but there is an abundant supply for several months, and even years, after great rains.
To-day we noticed, for the first time on our journey from Tripoli, the recent marks of the fall of a great quantity of rain. It had left after it exactly the same forms on the sandy valley which we see at all times, quite dry, in the more desolated regions of the Sahara. There cannot be a doubt that occasionally an immense quantity of rain falls in every region of this great desert.
The senna plant was picked up again to-day, and the tree called aborah appeared in great numbers in the wady, in a corner of which we encamped.
Although our friends, the three Haghars, promised to leave us for ever if they had a supper, yesterday they appeared again en route to chat with their Tanelkum acquaintances. God knows, they may be honest men—in reality, poor devils obliged to beg their way to Aheer. They wander about here and there. (I have not seen them this evening, five P.M.)
Notwithstanding that the blacks of our caravan (mostly slaves) walked on foot fourteen long, long hours yesterday, they still danced, and sang, and played games in the evening, and kept it up till midnight! How capable are these Africans of bearing up against fatigue and toil! Could we Europeans do as they do? Not even in our own country, and under our own climate.
They afterwards made a collection of small articles of clothing, and other little things. I gave them a handkerchief, with which they were greatly delighted.
We had a perfect Soudan atmosphere to-day. The heavens were surcharged with clouds, and when the sun appeared through them for a few minutes, it was burning, scorching hot. The abundance of herbage and trees in Wady Jeenanee combined with these circumstances to show that we had entered the gates of a new climate.
21st.—We started late, seven A.M., and journeyed about six hours, the camels eating nearly all the way, which gave our Tuarick caravan the appearance of a company of Arabs. To-day the herbage and trees increased, in abundance and variety, and we saw several pretty wild flowers. We observed many Soudan trees, or trees with tropical aspects. Our route lay through rocky valleys, over a bed of fine granite sand. The rocks were all blackened, forming a gloomy landscape, especially as all the morning the heavens were one impenetrable mass of clouds. The atmosphere felt, at first, damp and suffocating; but at length the wind got up, and we breathed more freely.