Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 eBook

James Richardson (explorer of the Sahara)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1.

Suddenly a man, mounted on a maharee, brought us news, at first in a friendly way, that an immense number of Tuaricks were pursuing us; and then, throwing off the mask, in their name demanded of our escort that they should deliver us up to them.  This demand the Kailouees, of course, rejected with indignation; but the circumstance put our people on the qui vive, and we kept up a fire of musketry for two or three hours during the succeeding night.

At sunset, Waldee, the great merchant of Mourzuk, came to the encampment.  His caravan was stopping half an hour higher up.  He gave us much encouragement, and eloquently recommended us to the care of all our people, the camel-drivers and escort.  Waldee has travelled this route fourteen years.  He is just the man to do it,—­a small spare fellow with an expression of much intelligence, which he really possesses.  He is the most respected of all the merchants on this route.

When he left us, he sent us a present of Aheer dates, which were large and exceedingly well tasted.

22d.—­We stopped in the valley of Taghajeet all day, waiting for the Haghars, but they did not make their appearance.  In the morning early, I distributed powder and shot to about forty of our people.  Each had half a cupfull of powder and twelve shots.  It was an immense present for them, and they were all greatly rejoiced at the gift.  It is extremely difficult for people to obtain powder and shot in these countries.  We made a line of barricades with the boat.  Amongst our defenders appeared the three Azgher Tuaricks,[10] who followed us from Tajetterat, and overtook us above the well of Aisou.  We gave them powder and shot, and they swore they would die for us.

 [10] Those people are sometimes called Haghar, and sometimes
      Azgher, in the journal.  The latter appellation is probably
      the correct one in this case.—­ED.

In the evening two mounted men came up, and made the same demand of our escort that the single man had made the night before; namely, that they should give us Christians up to forty or fifty Tuaricks, collected from the various districts around.  This impudent demand was again rejected.

The opinion of all the caravan now seemed to be, that this was an idle threat of some dozen bandits, and that the people generally would not turn out inimical.

Merchant Waldee came again this evening, and gave us increased encouragement not to be afraid.

The more we saw of this man the better we liked him.  He brought for us, also, the favourable news that the Sheikh of Bornou was on good terms with his neighbours, the people of Wadai and Darfour.  I shall endeavour to return via these countries to the Mediterranean, if possible.  Our people fired again to-night.  In the evening I presented Boro of Aghadez with a fine burnouse, and his son with a shasheeah and a fateh.  I gave a fateh also to one of his relations, who is travelling with him.  He was highly pleased with the gift, and expressed his pleasure in many compliments.  Of giving gifts there is no end; but this is the time, or never, when they will be useful.

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Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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