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CHAPTER VI.

Arrival at Teesee. Interview with Tiggity Sego, the King's Brother

-The Author's Detention at Teeseesome Account of that Place and its Inhabitants- Incidents which occurred there.Rapacious Conduct of Tiggity Sego toward the Author on his Departure.Sets out for Kooniakary, the Capital of the Kingdom.-- Incidents on the Road, and Arrival at Kooniakary.

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E no sooner found ourselves safe in Kasson, than Demba Sego told me that we were now in bis 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 by 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 Dec. 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 earnest

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ness, having never, he said, beheld but one white man before, whom by his description I immediately knew to be Major Houghton. I related to him, in answer to his inquiries, the motives that induced me to explore the country. But he seemed to doubt the truth of what I asserted; thinking, I believe, that I secretly meditated some project which I was afraid to avow. He told me, it would be necessary I should go to Kooniakary, the residence of the king, to pay my respects to that prince, but desired me to come to him again before I left Teesee.

In the afternoon one of his slaves eloped ; and a general alarm being given, every person that had a horse rode into the woods, in the hopes of apprehending him; and Demba Sego begged the use of my horse for the same purpose. I readily consented ; and in about an hour they all returned with the slave, who was severely flogged, and afterwards put, in irons. On the day following (Dec. 31.) Demba Sego was ordered to go with twenty horsemen to a town in Gedumah, to adjust some dispute with the Moors, a party of whom were supposed to have stolen three horses from Teesee. Demba begged, a second time, the use of my horse ; adding, that the sight of my bridle and saddle would give him consequence among the Moors. This request also I readily granted, and he promised to return at the end of three days. During his absence I amused myself with walking about the town, and conversing with the natives, who attended me every where with great kindness and curiosity, and supplied me with milk, eggs, and what other provisions I wanted, on very easy terms. Teesee is a large unwalled town, having no security against VOL. I.

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the attack of an enemy, except a sort of citadel, in which
Tiggity and his family constantly reside. This town, ac-
cording to the report of the natives, was formerly inhabited
only by a few Foulah shepherds, who lived in considerable
affluence by means of the excellent meadows in the neigh-
bourhood, in which they reared great herds of cattle. But
their prosperity attracting the envy of some Mandingoes, the
latter drove out the shepherds, and took possession of their
lands.

The present inhabitants, though they possess both cattle
and corn in abundance, are not over nice in articles of diet ;
rats, moles, squirrels, snakes, locusts, &c. are eaten without
scruple by the highest and lowest. My people were one
evening invited to a feast given by some of the townsmen,
where after making a hearty meal of what they thought fish
and kouskous, one of them found a piece of hard skin in the
dish, and brought it along with him, to shew me what sort of
fish they had been eating. On examining the skin, I found
they had been feasting on a large snake. Another custom
still more extraordinary is, that no woman is allowed to eat
an egg. This prohibition, whether arising from ancient
superstition, or from the craftiness of some old Bushreen who
loved eggs himself, is rigidly adhered to, and nothing will
more affront a woman of Teesee than to offer her an egg.
The custom is the more singular, as the men eat eggs without
scruple in the presence of their wives, and I never observed
the same prohibition in any other of the Mandingo countries.

The third day after his son's departure Tiggity Sego held a palaver on a very extraordinary occasion, which I attended; and the debates on both sides of the question displayed much

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ingenuity. The case was this: a young man, a Kafir, of considerable affluence, who had recently married a young and handsome wife, applied to a very devout Bushreen, or Mussulman priest of his acquaintance, to procure him saphies for bis protection during the approaching war. The Bushreen complied with the request; and in order, as he prefended, to render the saphies more efficacious, enjoined the young man to avoid any nuptial intercourse with his bride for the space of six weeks. Severe as the injunction was, the Kafir strictly obeyed; and without telling bis wife the real cause, absented himself from her company. In the mean time it began to be whispered at Teesee, that the Bushreen, who always performed his evening devotions at the door of the Kafir's hut, was more intimate with the young wife than he ought to be. At first, the good husband was unwilling to sospect the honour of his sanctified friend, and one whole month elapsed before any jea lousy rose in his mind; but hearing the charge repeated, he at lastinterrogated his wife on the subject, who frankly confessed that the Bushreen had seduced her. Hereupon the Kafir put her into confinement, and called a palaver upon the Bushreen's conduct. The fact was clearly proved against him; and he was sentenced to be sold into slavery, or to find two slaves for his redemption, according to the pleasure of the complainant. The injured husband, however, was unwilling to proceed against his friend to such extremity, and desired rather to have him publicly flogged before Tiggity Sego's gate. This Was agreed to, and the sentence was immediately executed. The culprit was tied by the hands to a strong stake; and a long black rod being brought forth, the executioner, after flourishing it round his head for some time, applied it with

such force and dexterity to the Bushreen's back, as to make him roar until the woods resounded with his screams. The surrounding multitude, by their hooting and laughing, manifested how much they enjoyed the punishment of this old gallant; and it is worthy of remark, that the number of stripes was precisely the same as are enjoined by the mosaic law, forty, save one.

As there appeared great probability that Teesee, from its being a frontier town, would be much exposed, during the war, to the predatory excursions of the Moors of Gedumah, Tiggity Sego had, before my arrival, sent round to the neighbouring villages to beg or to purchase as much provisions as would afford subsistence to the inhabitants for one whole year, independently of the crop on the ground, which the Moors might destroy. This project was well received by the country people, and they fixed a day on which to bring all the provisions they could spare to Teesee, and as my horse was not yet returned, I went in the afternoon of January 4th, 1796, to meet the escort with the provisions.

It was composed of about 400 men, marching in good order, with corn and ground nuts in large calabashes upon their heads. They were preceded by a strong guard of bowmen, and followed by eight musicians or singing men. As soon as they approached the town, the latter began a song, every verse of which was answered by the company, and succeeded by a few strokes on the large drums. In this manner they proceeded, amidst the acclamations of the populace, till they reached the house of Tiggity Sego, where the loads were deposited ; and in the evening they all assembled under the Bentang tree, and spent the night in dancing and merriment.

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