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 242 pages of information about Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1.

CHAPTER XV.

Leave Seloufeeat—­“City of Marabouts”—­Fair Promises—­People of Aheer—­Aspect of the Country—­Extraordinary Reports—­A Flying Saint—­Prophecies—­A Present—­Expense of our forced Passage—­Hopes—­Fears—­The Marabouts—­Geology—­The coming down of the Wady—­Inundation—­Restoration of our Camels—­Maharees from En-Noor—­El-Fadeea—­Arab Tuaricks—­Maghata—­Picturesque Wady—­Rainy Season—­Another Flood—­Dangerous Position—­Kailouees and Blacks—­The Escort arrives—­The Marabout Population—­Reported Brigands—­The Walad Suleiman—­Pleasant Valley—­Escort leave us—­Difficulty of satisfying them—­Robbery—­Proceed to Tintalous—­Encampment—­The Sultan—­A Speech—­We wait in vain for Supper—­Want of Food.

Aug. 29th.—­I rose early, and heard the good news that the camels missing in the first affair were found and brought to our people.  This filled everybody with good spirits, and we got off as soon as we could from Seloufeeat.  We were obliged to leave the boat in the charge of a faithful inhabitant, to fetch as soon, as we arrived at Tintaghoda.  Before starting, Haj Bashaw made Yusuf write a letter in his name to Mourzuk, to the Bashaw Mustapha and Makersee, declaring that he had not had any news of us or our coming, but that now we should be conducted safely up to the country of En-Noor.  This is the only man who seems to have any authority in Seloufeeat:  the marabouts could do little before he came forward; the people live in the wildest state of lawless independence.

In the morning before starting, the Sfaxee and Yusuf came up to me and said, “All up to now was lies; but henceforth all is truth.  You have nothing more to fear—­there is nothing now but good.”  This speech I most devoutly devoured, and things certainly wore a brighter aspect this morning.  But we now anxiously wait news from En-Noor.

We moved up the valley of Seloufeeat, our spirits buoyant and mounting high, whilst the air of the morning was soft and fresh, not unlike that of Italy.  After two hours we arrived at the City of Marabouts, or Tintaghoda.

There is considerable variety in the physiognomy of the people of Aheer, whom we have already seen; but in general, they have agreeable countenances:  and as to stature, many of them are very tall, though apparently not very robust.  Some are of light olive complexion, with straight noses and thin lips; but others, indeed the great number, approximate to the negro in feature.

This portion of Aheer is still poor in provisions.  Indeed, all these districts are strictly Saharan.  There are fine fertile valleys, but between them are rocks and complete deserts; the trees, which somewhat change from the aspect of those in Central Sahara, are the immensely large tholukhs, some of them covered with parasitical plants; the doom palm, and the souak tree.  I have also seen the ethel hereabouts.

The houses of Seloufeeat and Tintaghoda have, however, a true African aspect, being thatched with leaves of the doom palm.  Some of them are sheds, with a roof supported by four poles, under which the people repose in the shade by day and by night shelter themselves from noxious vapours.

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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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