Next day, the 9th, we rose before sunrise and made a good day of nine hours, still over the same plain of Taeeta. About three hours before we reached the well of Tabea we crossed the real boundaries of the Fezzanee territory, although the Tuaricks seem to claim the pass on the mountains as their own. The weather was hot, there being no wind. On these occasions the afternoons are very oppressive, and the sun causes his power to be unpleasantly felt until an hour before sunset.
From the plain to-day we had a view of the Ghat mountains, which seem at a distance to present different forms and characters from the high lands on the edge of the plateau of Mourzuk. The bed of the undulating plain of Taeeta is covered with pebbles and blocks, of both sand and limestone. Yesterday I picked up some fossils of the star-fish—the fixed star-fish, having branches by which it holds to the bottom of the sea. Some fossils of vegetables were also found. Two or three hours before reaching the well we descended rapidly into a broad, deep wady, where were the recent marks of a waterflow. The camels all went well, ours faster than the Targhee; but these latter, not being allowed to stray, always make, as a rule, better and more regular journeys.
The Tuaricks themselves are getting more civil. Hateetah already enters into the idea of a treaty of amity and commerce: he says he will fix the amount the English merchants are to pay when they attend the mart of Ghat. The son of Shafou is always represented as a very good fellow; he is growing more and more civil and companionable. This evening I gave him a small pair of good scissors, which much delighted him. As for the other Tuaricks, Hateetah excepted, I make it a rule to refuse what they ask, otherwise I should be annoyed every day with their importunities. Hateetah says we must lodge at Ghat with Haj Ahmed, the governor, outside of the town, to be out of the way of the begging Tuaricks. He adds, “Always keep the door shut, and when any one calls out for permission to enter say ’Babo,’—(No one at home!)”
The Germans, like myself, find the fatigue too great to enable them to continue their observations and writings with regularity. We must not be extravagant of our health and strength at this early period of our expedition.
The valley of Tabea is a pleasant place, having herbage for the camels in abundance, as is the case wherever the ethel-tree is found. There are several wells with water near the surface, and others might no doubt be dug all over the wady. Our encampment looked picturesque this evening. It is the eve of Ramadhan, and our people fired shots here and there to celebrate the occasion.
10th.—A halt was arranged for this day. I took the opportunity to wash and change all my clothes, which I do every three or four days, if possible. Mr. Hateetah, however, would not allow me to carry on my domestic arrangements in peace. He came grumbling as usual, wanting scissors, razors, &c. I cannot fill this craving abyss to the brim. Our people fast to-day; but to-morrow, probably, they will not, as the law does not require them to do so when actually travelling.