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repeated three times, after which the Negroes proceeded with the greatest confidence; every one being firmly persuaded that the stone (like the scape goat) had carried with it every thing that could induce superior powers to visit us with misfortune.
We continued our journey without stopping any more until noon, when we came to a large tree, called by the natives Neema Taba. It had a very singular appearance, being decorated with innumerable rags or scraps of cloth, which persons travelling across the wilderness had, at different times, tied to the branches; probably, at first, to inform the traveller that water was to be found near it; but the custom has been so greatly sanctioned by time, that nobody now presumes to pass without hanging up something. I followed the example, and suspended a handsome piece of cloth on one of the boughs; and being told that either a well, or pool of water, was at no great distance, I ordered the Negroes to unload the asses, that we might give them corn, and regale ourselves with the provisions we had brought. In the mean time I sent one of the elephant hunters to look for the well, intending if water was to be obtained, to rest here for the night. A pool was found, but the water was thick and muddy, and the Negro discovered near it the remains of a fire recently extinguished, and the fragments of provisions ; which afforded a proof that it had been lately visited, either by travellers or banditti. The fears of my attendants supposed the latter ; and believing that robbers lurked near us, I was persuaded to change my resolution of resting here all night, and proceed to another watering place, which I was assured we might reach early in the evening.
We departed accordingly, but it was eight o'clock at night before we came to the watering place; and being now sufficiently fatigued with so long a day's journey, we kindled a large fire, and lay down, surrounded by our cattle, on the bare ground, more than a gun-shot from any bush ; the Negroes agreeing to keep watch by turns to prevent surprise.
I know not indeed that any danger was justly to be dreaded, but the Negroes were unaccountably apprehensive of banditti during the whole of the journey. As soon therefore as daylight appeared, we filled our soofroos (skins) and calabashes at the pool, and set out for Tallika, the first town in Bondou, which we reached about eleven o'clock in the forenoon (the 13th of December.) I cannot, however, take leave of Woolli, without observing that I was every where well received by the natives ; and that the fatigues of the day were generally alleviated by a hearty welcome at night; and although the African mode of living was at first unpleasant to me, yet I found, at length, that custom surmounted trifling inconveniences, and made every thing palatable and easy.
Some Account of the Inhabitants of Tallika. - The Author proceeds for Fatteconda— Incidents on the Road.-Crosses the Neriko, arrives at Koorkarany--reaches the River Fulemé-Fishery on that River-proceeds along its Bank to Naye or Nayemow—crosses the Falemé, and arrives at Fatteconda.- Has an Interview with Almami, the Sovereign of Bondou.--Description of the King's Dwelling—has a second Interview with the King, who begs the Author's Coat.-
Author visits the King's Wives—is permitted to depart on friendly Terms.-Journey by Night-arrives at Joag.--Some Account of Bondou and its Inhabitants the Foulahs.
TALLIKA, the frontier town of Bondou towards Woolli, is inhabited chiefly by Foulahs of the Mahomedan religion, who live in considerable aflluence, partly by furnishing provisions to the coffles, or caravans, that pass through the town, and partly by the sale of ivory, obtained by hunting elephants ; in which employment the young men are generally very successful. Here, an officer belonging to the King of Bondou constantly resides, whose business it is to give timely information of the arrival of the caravans; which are taxed according to the number of loaded asses that arrive at Tallika.
I took up my residence at this officer's house, and agreed with him to accompany me to Fatteconda, the residence of the king, for which he was to receive five bars; and before my departure I wrote a few lines to Dr. Laidley, and gave my letter to the master of a caravan bound for the Gambia. This caravan consisted of nine or ten people with five asses loaded with ivory. The large teeth are conveyed in nets, two on each side of the ass ; the small ones are wrapped up in skins, and secured with ropes.
December 14ih. We left Tallika, and rode on very peaceably for about two miles, when a violent quarrel arose between two of my fellow-travellers, one of whom was the blacksmith, in the course of which they bestowed some opprobrious terms upon each other; and it is worthy of remark, that an African will sooner forgive a blow, than a term of reproach applied to his ancestors; “ Strike me, but do not curse my mother,” is a common expression even among the slaves. This sort of abuse, therefore, so enraged one of the disputants, that he drew his cutlass upon the blacksmith, and would certainly have ended the dispute in a very serious manner, if the others had not laid hold of him, and wrested the cutlass from him. I was obliged to interfere, and put an end to this disagreeable business, by desiring the blacksmith to be silent, and telling the other, who I thought was in the wrong, that if he attempted in future to draw his cutlass, or molest attendants, I should look upon him as a robber, and shoot him without further ceremony. This threat had the desired effect, and we marched sullenly along till the afternoon, when we arrived at a number of small villages scattered over an open and fertile plain ; at one of these, called Ganado, we took up our residence for the night: here an exchange of presents and a good supper terminated all animosities among my attendants; and the night was far advanced before any of us thought of going to sleep. We were amused by an
of my itinerant singing man, * who told a number of diverting stories, and played some sweet airs, by blowing his breath upon a bowstring, and striking it at the same time with a stick.
December 15th. At daybreak my fellow travellers, the Serawoollies, took leave of me, with many prayers for iny safety. About a mile from Ganado, we crossed a considerable branch of the Gambia called Neriko. The banks were steep, and covered with mimosas; and I observed in the mud a number of large muscles, but the natives do not eat them. About noon, the sun being exceedingly hot, we rested two hours in the shade of a tree, and purchased some milk and pounded corn from some Foulah herdsmen, and at sunset reached a town called Koorkarany, where the blacksmith had some relations; and here we rested two days.
Koorkarany is a Mahomedan town, surrounded by a high wall, and is provided with a mosque.
Here I was shown a number of Arabic manuscripts, particularly a copy of the book before mentioned called Al Sharra. The Maraboo, or priest, in whose possession it was, read and explained to me in Mandingo, many of the most remarkable passages; and in return I showed him Richardson's Arabic grammar, which he very
much admired. On the evening of the second day (Dec. 17th) we departed from Koorkarany. We were joined by a young man who was travelling to Fatteconda for salt; and as night set in we reached Dooggi, a small village about three miles from Koorkarany
* These are a sort of travelling bards and musicians, who sing extempore songs in praise of those who employ them. A fuller account of them will be given hereafter.