3d. They refused to conduct us to the frontier of Aheer, according to their agreement at Mourzuk.
4th. They demanded seventy reals for the passage of our free blacks.
5th. They insisted on having the presents for Berka, Khanouhen, and Jabour, before the treaty was signed.
The first two demands I successfully resisted, as also the third at Ghat. The fourth was compromised; we paid twenty-eight reals instead of seventy. The last I yielded, on the condition that I should only give three burnouses.
13th.—The water of Esalan is, likewise, nothing but a deposit of rain. Several holes are scooped out in the sand, down to the rocky bed of the valley.
News of Sidi Jafel—Disputes with Wataitee—His violent Conduct and strange Language—The Desert—Scarcity of Money—Proceed through a rocky Country—Soudan Weather—Approach the Frontiers of Aheer—Storm—Hard Day’s Travelling—The Seven Wells of Aisou—“The Haghar are coming”—Suspicious Characters—Alarm—The Three Strangers—Our Hospitality—Heat of the Weather—Hard Travelling—Account of the Kailouee Guides—Women of the Caravan—Their Treatment—Youthful Concubines—Another long Day—A Rock-Altar—Demonstrations of the Haghar—Wells of Jeenanee—Marks of Rain—Sprightly Blacks—New Climate—Change in the Vegetation and the Atmosphere.
We have at length heard what appears to be a fair account of the rumour respecting that terrible Sidi Jafel. He did leave Janet as if bound for Tajetterat; but it was for the purpose of giving his camels a feeding of herbage in that direction. He took his family and tents with him, and has been seen with his son by the huntsman of Wady Aroukeen. He is not a sheikh, but a spirited old man; and, from what I can understand, is a Haghar belonging to Ghemama, and not an Azgher of Ghat. They now assure us that he had never any intention of attacking us; but as there is rarely smoke without a fire, it is possible he may have indulged in a little threatening talk, just to impress an idea of his importance on the people of Janet. This is Waled Shafou’s view of the case.
We moved on from the well of Esalan in the evening, but only for an hour and a half, to a place in the same wady; where there was abundant herbage for the camels. Here we had another Tuarick dispute. Wataitee pretended to fix at a very high rate his services in answering to our call, and proceeding with us as far as this well. At first I refused to give anything at all, since he had stipulated to conduct us as far as the frontiers of Aheer. I then offered him a burnouse (a small white one), and a shasheeah (or fez), both which he obstinately rejected in my teeth, but did not state what he wanted—except muttering, “Money, money, money!”
Fearing some violence from his threatening manner, I was obliged to load my guns and pistols. Whilst declaring he would not take anything by force, he used very threatening language. He was to have left us at the well, but followed us this evening; and when we decamped I determined, therefore, if possible, to come to some arrangement with him through En-Noor, as he might prove a dangerous enemy.