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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.

The rain incommoded us as we advanced.  However, in two hours we arrived at the little village of Asara, where half-a-dozen inhabitants greeted us with a stare; and an hour afterwards entered the broad and spacious valley of Tintalous, firing a salute as we did so, in compliment to the inhabitants.

We had heard much of the great city of Tintalous; and I confess that, though accustomed to desert exaggerations, my mind had dwelt upon this place so long, that I expected a much more imposing sight than that which presented itself.  This mighty capital consisted of a mass of houses and huts, which we calculated to be no more than a hundred and fifty in number, situated in the middle of the valley, with trees here and there interspersed.  It was nothing but a large village.  Still, as the termination of our journey for the present, and its bearing a name which has been hitherto thrown down at haphazard anywhere towards the centre of the southern Sahara, we hailed it with delight.  Both huts and houses wore a truly Soudan character, and I felt that to a certain extent the object of the Mission was already accomplished.

Mohammed En-Noor chose us out a good place for an encampment, upon some sand-hills overlooking the entire country.  When we had pitched tent, Mr. Yusuf Moknee was despatched to carry our compliments to the great man of the town, Sultan En-Noor.  This distinguished personage he found laid up with rheumatism, and unable to receive us as we desired.  However, he expressed a wish to see Dr. Overweg in his character of medical man, and made a long harangue to Yusuf, the substance of which was, that inasmuch as we had come from Constantinople,[13] from Tripoli, from Fezzan, from Ghat, in peace and safety, why should he think of eating us up and destroying us, like the people of Taghajeet and others?—­“No; let the Christians rest in peace.  I will now protect them—­let them not fear.  If I had not been ill, I would have come myself, and fetched them from Taghajeet, and no one should have touched them.  Now, I will take them myself to Zinder, or send my sons with them.  They shall be protected on their journey to Bornou and Soudan.”

 [13] Where he got this news I cannot tell.

I shall only observe on this, that I do not think Sultan En-Noor could have brought us clear through the countries of Taghajeet and Tidek.  We might have paid something less, but we must have paid.  However, we felt glad on hearing the report of this speech, and waited patiently for the evening supper of the great man; but it did not come, to our great disappointment.  The Tanelkums said that this was a kind of home for them, and that En-Noor always sent them a supper on the evening of their arrival.  When I saw these good people supperless, I considered that En-Noor would not give one supper without the other, and was not prepared for both.

We felt our case to be rather hard, especially the Germans; for they had nothing of their own to eat but dry kuskusou and onions.  I was a little better off.  We could get nothing from the town during the day, not even a fowl or eggs, nor even a bit of cheese.

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