Here is a day repeated in the journal;
but as it is not of
much moment, I have made no alteration.—ED.
Enter the inhabited Districts of Aheer—Hostile Tuaricks—An impudent Demand—The Merchant Waldee—Prepare for Defence—Threatening Appearances—Making Friends with Presents—March—Leave Waldee—Doubtful Visitors—The Camels stolen—The Troop of Assailants draws nigh—Parley—Their Proposition—We are compelled to a Compromise—Character of our Enemies—Sinister Rumours again—Proceed toward Tidek—Wady of Kaltadak—Picturesque Scenery—A Friend from Seloufeeat—Fresh Mob collects to attack us—Conferences—We are to be let go scot-free if we become Muslims—We repose—Another Compromise for Money—Incidents during the Night—Quarrel over the Booty—Enter the Valley of Seloufeeat—Its Soudan Appearance—Nephew of Sultan En-Noor—Haj Bashaw of Seloufeeat—We are still uneasy.
As we advanced, on the 21st, along the plain between the granite rocks—trees and flowers starting up thicker and thicker from the ground to greet our approach—our guides told us that we were at length entering the inhabited districts of the kingdom of Aheer, or Asben, as it is indifferently called. This announcement at once substituted pleasurable for uneasy sensations. We thought no more at all of pursuing robbers, and gave ourselves up to the delight which always attends upon difficulties vanquished. The name of the first district is Taghajeet. We expected to behold groups of inhabitants coming joyfully to welcome us. Our imaginations had adorned this country almost with the colours of home. It was about one that we crossed the unmarked frontier. Still there were rocks around, their angles softened away by trees; still wild flowers mingled with the herbage on every side; the heavens were clearing overhead, and the sun shed down a warm mantle of rays upon the land; yet there were no signs of life. The silence that reigned, I know not why, introduced ideas of terror into our minds, and we began to gaze anxiously to the right and to the left. We remembered that this region, likewise, was inhabited by Tuaricks, though not of the Haghar tribe. They might be inhospitable, perhaps hostile. All the caravan, by degrees, seemed to join in our uneasiness; and when at length, just before we pitched our tent, the cry arose of “The Tuaricks! the Tuaricks are coming!” it rose as a cry of warning and alarm. Every one snatched up his weapons as a small group approached; and all waited with impatience to learn whether they came as friends or enemies.
Our uneasiness was soon quieted. The newcomers were known to some of our people, the Tanelkums, and soon scraped acquaintance with us. They paid a visit to my tent, and I gave them a number of little things, with which they were very much gratified. There was reason, then, to hope that our first impressions of security were well-founded, and I began writing my journal as if we had really arrived in a land of peace.