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.

Hateetah has brought stirring intelligence:  the Sultan of Bornou is at war with his brother.  Ten thousand Tuaricks of Aheer have gone against the Walad Suleiman; and, taking advantage of the opportunity, the Tuaricks of Timbuctoo are marching from the other direction to fall upon their brethren of Aheer.  Quarrels of kites and crows!—­Yes, to those at a distance; but it is too much to hope that our caravan will prove a lark’s nest in some Saharan battle-field.  We must pray that a general peace shall be proclaimed in Central Africa during our march across the desert.

However, we must not be frightened by rumours, and, indeed, are not.  We pass from discussion of this warlike intelligence to bargain with Hateetah, who, as I have hinted, seems inclined to play the Jew, or rather—­to speak in character—­the Tibboo with us.  It will cost a large sum to pass through Ghat, and obtain an escort to Aheer.  As a consolation, we learn that we are to be persecuted by Boro Sakontaroua, sheikh of Aghadez, who is displeased that he has received no presents from us.  It would appear that the letters of Hassan Pasha rather compromised us to employ him as our escort; but I am not responsible for this, having never deviated from the original plan of procuring an escort from Ghat.  Indeed, I wrote to that effect immediately on my arrival in Tripoli; and it would not do, after keeping my friends in the oasis in a turmoil all this while, to disappoint them.  The desert has its etiquette as well as the drawing-room, and infringements might be rather more dangerous here.

The new acting Pasha has made the Tuaricks a present of some burnouses.  This, whilst lessening perhaps the comparative value of what we have given, at any rate lays the chief under some obligations to the Turks, and assists in making up a good round sum in payment for the trouble of coming all the way from Ghat to Mourzuk to escort us.

By the way, Mr. Boro of Aghadez has been fetched back from his encampment at Tesaoua by a man on horseback.  The business was of some consequence, according to the notions of these people.  He had sold a female slave, and the poor woman was now found to be enceinte by Boro’s son, with whom she had been living as concubine.  The law soon despatched the affair, and compelled the Sheikh to restore the purchase-money and take back his slave.

A last observation on Mourzuk, before leaving it behind in this Saharan navigation.  All the Ottoman authorities have treated us with attention and respect.  Mr. Gagliuffi has been hospitable, and the people generally have proved courteous in their behaviour.  It is rare to remain so long in a place and have so few causes of complaint.  Justice, however, compels me to say, that the British Consul sometimes remembered too vividly that he was also a merchant, and a Levantine merchant to boot.  I am afraid he is not quite satisfied even with the profits he has already made out of the expedition.  Is it possible, however,

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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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