Reach Falezlez—Dates left in the Desert—Road-marks—Disputes with the Kailouees—News from Tidek—Scarcity of Food in Aheer—Similitudes and Signs of the Tuaricks—Fine Climate—Arrival of Wataitee—His Boasting—Saharan travelling—My Umbrella—Grasping Son of Shafou—Geology of the Desert—The “Person who gives”—Another Caravan—Tuarick Sportsmen—Wady Aroukeen—Fine Scene—New Trees—Kailouee Camels—Fine Nights—Well—New Moon—Passing a Caravan in the Desert—Origin of the Kailouee Tuaricks—Arrive at Tajetterat—No Robbers—An Alarm—Well of Esalan—Senna—Birds—Graves of Slave Children—Our Grievances against the Tuaricks.
4th.—We might have reached the well of Falezlez last night; but as we did not know who might be waiting for us there, preferred halting three-quarters of an hour from it, and advanced only in the morning, in broad daylight.
Here we found our dates, left by the Tanelkums in the side of a mound of sand, with a piece of rotten wood stuck up to mark the place. Had they been, however, exposed by the side of the well, and a hundred caravans had passed, no one would have touched them. It is a point of honour to steal nothing thus confided in the desert. Mutual interest suggests mutual forbearance. The Tanelkums left these dates, because we had only hired the camels to bring them thus far, and they knew we should not probably come up with them. This increase of our provisions turns out to be opportune. Without it, some of our animals might have fallen down.
Round and near Ghat we found the stones which are set up at certain intervals to mark the direction of the roads, frequently arranged in circular heaps. An usual form is pyramidal, but the most common practice of all is to set up one stone end-ways upon one or two others. Sometimes a hundred of these will be seen together.
We have had some trouble in satisfying the Kailouees for the protection they afford us. At Ghat the agreement made was for one hundred reals, half in goods and half in money, and a trifling present when they arrived at their journey’s end. This was arranged by Haj Ibrahim and Mohammed Kafa, a merchant of Ghat, and consul or wakeel of the Kailouees, whom I have before mentioned. Immediately that they became a little familiar with us, they began to say that they had not received all the hundred reals; but on hearing that we should write to Ghat about it, they dropped this plea, and asked for another hundred reals as the present promised them, as they pretended, through Haj Ibrahim. When the news came respecting Sidi Jafel—taking advantage of our supposed fears—they boldly demanded a sword, some burnouses, and one hundred reals in money.
All these demands I firmly resisted as long as I could; but at length, when a compromise seemed necessary, we arranged for a hundred reals more in goods. A part we have given here, and the rest we have promised on our arrival at Aheer. Nothing is now said of Zinder, although the first arrangement was from Aheer to Zinder. Such are the people we have to deal with in Africa. But could we not find similar extortion amongst the innkeepers and the conductors of carriages on the highways of Europe?