Travels in the Interior of Africa — Volume 01 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about Travels in the Interior of Africa Volume 01.
whom they had so basely deserted, offered to treat with Ali for two hundred Moorish horsemen, to co-operate with them in an effort to expel Daisy from Gedingooma; for until Daisy should be vanquished or humbled they considered that they could neither return to their native towns nor live in security in any of the neighbouring kingdoms.  With a view to extort money from these people by means of this treaty, Ali despatched his son to Jarra, and prepared to follow him in the course of a few days.  This was an opportunity of too great consequence to me to be neglected.  I immediately applied to Fatima, who, I found, had the chief direction in all affairs of state, and begged her interest with Ali to give me permission to accompany him to Jarra.  This request, after some hesitation, was favourably received.  Fatima looked kindly on me, and, I believe, was at length moved with compassion towards me.  My bundles were brought from the large cow-skin bag that stood in the corner of Ali’s tent, and I was ordered to explain the use of the different articles, and show the method of putting on the boots, stockings, &c.—­with all which I cheerfully complied, and was told that in the course of a few days I should be at liberty to depart.

Believing, therefore, that I should certainly find the means of escaping from Jarra, if I should once get thither, I now freely indulged the pleasing hope that my captivity would soon terminate; and happily not having been disappointed in this idea, I shall pause in this place to collect and bring into one point of view such observations on the Moorish character and country as I had no fair opportunity of introducing into the preceding narrative.

CHAPTER XII—­OBSERVATIONS ON THE CHARACTER AND COUNTRY OF THE MOORS

The Moors of this part of Africa are divided into many separate tribes, of which the most formidable, according to what was reported to me, are those of Trasart and Il Braken, which inhabit the northern bank of the Senegal river.  The tribes of Gedumah, Jaffnoo, and Ludamar, though not so numerous as the former, are nevertheless very powerful and warlike, and are each governed by a chief, or king, who exercises absolute jurisdiction over his own horde, without acknowledging allegiance to a common sovereign.  In time of peace the employment of the people is pasturage.  The Moors, indeed, subsist chiefly on the flesh of their cattle, and are always in the extreme of either gluttony or abstinence.  In consequence of the frequent and severe fasts which their religion enjoins, and the toilsome journeys which they sometimes undertake across the desert, they are enabled to bear both hunger and thirst with surprising fortitude; but whenever opportunities occur of satisfying their appetite they generally devour more at one meal than would serve a European for three.  They pay but little attention to agriculture, purchasing their corn, cotton, cloth, and other necessaries from the negroes, in exchange for salt, which they dig from the pits in the Great Desert.

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Travels in the Interior of Africa — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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