CHAPTER XVIII—DESPAIRING THOUGHTS—ARRIVAL AT SIBIDOOLOO
On my arrival at Taffara I inquired for the dooty, but was informed that he had died a few days before my arrival, and that there was at that moment a meeting of the chief men for electing another, there being some dispute about the succession. It was probably owing to this unsettled state of the town that I experienced such a want of hospitality in it, for though I informed the inhabitants that I should only remain with them for one night, and assured them that Mansong had given me some kowries to pay for my lodging, yet no person invited me to come in, and I was forced to sit alone under the bentang-tree, exposed to the rain and wind of a tornado, which lasted with great violence until midnight. At this time the stranger who had assisted me in crossing the river paid me a visit, and observing that I had not found a lodging, invited me to take part of his supper, which he had brought to the door of his hut; for, being a guest himself, he could not, without his landlord’s consent, invite me to come in. After this I slept upon some wet grass in the corner of a court. My horse fared still worse than myself, the corn I purchased being all expended, and I could not procure a supply.
August 20.—I passed the town of Jaba, and stopped a few minutes at a village called Somino, where I begged and obtained some coarse food, which the natives prepare from the husks of corn, and call boo. About two o’clock I came to the village of Sooha, and endeavoured to purchase some corn from the dooty, who was sitting by the gate, but without success. I then requested a little food by way of charity, but was told he had none to spare. Whilst I was examining the countenance of this inhospitable old man, and endeavouring to find out the cause of the sullen discontent which was visible in his eye, he called to a slave who was working in the cornfield at a little distance, and ordered him to bring his hoe along with him. The dooty then told him to dig a hole in the ground, pointing to a spot at no great distance. The slave, with his hoe, began to dig a pit in the earth, and the dooty, who appeared to be a man of very fretful disposition, kept muttering and talking to himself until the pit was