I have already made a good many casual allusions to our plans and arrangements; but it will be necessary here, before our departure from the last city that acknowledges the Ottoman authority, to make a brief statement of our position and prospects. Things that already appear clear to me may not be so to others. During my former visit to Ghat, when I travelled as a private individual, known as “Yak[=o]b,” I made acquaintance with Hateetah, a Tuarick Sheikh, who had assumed the title of Consul of the English. It is the custom in that country for every stranger on his arrival to put himself under the protection of one of the head men, to whom alone he makes presents, and who answers for his safety. Mr. Gagliuffi had written to him to come with an escort to protect our party as far as Ghat. It appears, however, that very grand accounts had circulated in the Sahara on the magnitude and importance of our mission; so that it was impossible for one Sheikh to monopolise us. Hateetah, therefore, had come, accompanied by two sons of Shafou, the nominal Sultan of all the Tuaricks of Ghat. Wataitee, the elder of the two, is very plausible, and undertakes to accompany us as far as Aheer. It is to be observed, that the Tuaricks of this place have hitherto never ventured to come to Mourzuk; and it is considered wonderful that they have come for the first time at the summons of infidels.
My first plan was, to proceed by the direct route to Aroukeen with the Germans and the Tanelkums, and from this place make an indispensable expedition to Ghat. But circumstances compel me to march direct to that place by the common road. Our escort is to cost us dear, but it will ensure our safety. These Ghat Tuaricks, however great they may talk in their own country, are really very poor; they subsist almost entirely on the custom-dues levied on caravans. Wataitee himself said, “I am the son of the Sultan, it is true; but I have nothing. If I stay in my country, I do not feel my necessities much; but if I must escort you to Aheer, then I must be well-clothed and fed, or else the people will say, ‘Behold the son of Shafou, how poor and miserable he is!’” Besides paying about two hundred Spanish dollars for the escort, I have had to feed all the people, and furnish them with tents. They had led me to expect much more reasonable treatment; but there is no help, and I feel that I am not yet at the end of my troubles of this description. With these prefatory remarks, I enter upon an account of my departure from Mourzuk for the oasis of Ghat.
Wars in the Interior—Anticipated Disputes—Mr. Boro of Aghadez—Our Treatment at Mourzuk—Mustapha Bey—Start for Ghat—Row with the Escort—Fine Weather—Leave Tesaoua—Sharaba—Travelling in the Heat—Hateetah and the Germans—The Camels—Snakes—Journey continued—Nature of the Country—Complete Desert—Rain—Overtake the Caravan—Interview with Boro—Pool of Ailouah—The Tanelkums—Halt—Birds—Bir Engleez—Wind in the Desert—Begging Escort—Brilliant Heavens—News from Ghat—The Pilgrims again—Bas-relief of Talazaghe—Moved over the Desert—Mountains—Extraordinary Pass—Central Table-land of Fezzan.