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.

2d.—­We made a long day of twelve hours, at first between granite rocks for four hours, and then over a sandy plain.  This plain was at first scattered with pebbles of granite, but finally it became all sand.  The granite rocks were mostly conic in form, and on our right rose one peak at least six hundred feet high.  Further off on the same side, at a distance, the rocks continued in a range, instead of being scattered about like so many sugar-loaves placed upon a plane, as mountains are represented to children.  To-day the granite became stratified, or gneiss; there were also some fine specimens of hornblend.

One of our Kailouee friends amused himself on the road by giving a good beating to his female slave.  These people transact their domestic affairs in public with the utmost simplicity.  They seem to think they are showing themselves in a favourable light by this brutal conduct, for I detect glances of pride thrown towards us.  Whenever these beatings occur—­which they do at no distant intervals—­there is always another servant, or some one, who attempts to separate the enraged master from the object of his wrath.  In the present instance, interference took place in time to prevent any very serious consequences; otherwise, I have no doubt the ruffians would go on exciting themselves, and beating harder and harder, even until death ensued.  We noticed the common black bird I have already mentioned, with white head and tail.  It is indeed seen everywhere, and may emphatically be called “The Bird of the Desert!”

Next day, the 3d, we started at daybreak, and made another long day of nearly twelve hours.  It is necessary to hurry over these inhospitable tracts.  After two hours we got among some sand-hills, and continued all day over the same kind of ground—­hill and valley alternating, with here and there a huge, isolated, granite, rock rising up like an island.  Pebbles strewed the surface of the sandy valleys.  I scarcely remember to have beheld so desolate a region.  For two days there has been no water, and the camels have stretched out their necks in vain for herbage.  A little grass, it is true, was plucked among the sand-hills to-day, and mixed with the dates, which we are compelled to give to the camels.  These poor beasts are becoming thin and gaunt, from the effects of heat, fatigue, and especially from the lack of sufficient herbage.  Luckily, cool winds from the south supply the place of the gheblee.

This evening one of the Kailouees challenged me to have a run with him; I accepted the challenge, and we ran a short distance, to the great amusement of the people.

Our guides are sociable companions enough.  They pointed out to day on the sand the footsteps of the caravan which we met a few days ago going to Ghat; and likewise their own footsteps, left when they passed by that way a month and a half since.


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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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