The ferryman then taking hold of the most steady of the horses by a rope, led him into the water, and paddled the canoe a little from the brink; upon which a general attack commenced upon the other horses, who, finding themselves pelted and kicked on all sides, unanimously plunged into the river, and followed their companion. A few boys swam in after them; and, by laving water upon them when they attempted to return, urged them onwards; and we had the satisfaction in about fifteen minutes to see them all safe on the other side. It was a matter of greater difficulty to manage the asses; their natural stubbornness of disposition made them endure a great deal of pelting and shoving before they would venture into the water; and when they had reached the middle of the stream, four of them turned back, in spite of every exertion to get them forwards. Two hours were spent in getting the whole of them over; an hour more was employed in transporting the baggage; and it was near sunset before the canoe returned, when Demba Sego and myself embarked in this dangerous passage-boat, which the least motion was like to overset. The king’s nephew thought this a proper time to have a peep into a tin box of mine that stood in the fore part of the canoe; and in stretching out his band for it, he unfortunately destroyed the equilibrium, and overset the canoe. Luckily we were not far advanced, and got back to the shore without much difficulty; from whence, after wringing the water from our clothes, we took a fresh departure, and were soon afterwards safely landed in Kasson.
CHAPTER VI—TIGGITY SEGO’S PALAVER
We no sooner found ourselves safe in Kasson than Demba Sego told me that we were now in his uncle’s dominions, and he hoped I would consider, being now out of danger, the obligation I owed to him, and make him a suitable return for the trouble he had taken on my account by a handsome present. This, as he knew how much had been pilfered from me at Joag, was rather an unexpected proposition, and I began to fear that I had not much improved my condition by crossing the water; but as it would have been folly to complain I made no observation upon his conduct, and gave him seven bars of amber and some tobacco, with which he seemed to be content.
After a long day’s journey, in the course of which I observed a number of large loose nodules of white granite, we arrived at Teesee on the evening of December 29th, and were accommodated in Demba Sego’s hut. The next morning he introduced me to his father, Tiggity Sego, brother to the king of Kasson, chief of Teesee. The old man viewed me with great earnestness, having never, he said, beheld but one white man before, whom by his description I immediately knew to be Major Houghton.