Abbildungen der Seite



A little before sunset, the king sent to inform me that he was at leisure, and wished to see me. I followed the messenger throngh a number of courts surrounded with high walls, where I observed plenty of dry grass



like hay, to fodder the horses in case the town should be invested. On entering the court in which the king was sitting, I was astonished at the number of his attendants, and at the good order that seemed to prevail among them: they were all seated; the fighting men on the king's right hand, and the women and children on the left, leaving a space between them for my passage. The king, whose name was Daisy Koorabarri, was not to be distinguished from his subjects by any superiority in point of dress; a bank of earth, about two feet high, upon which was spread a leopard's skin, constituted the only mark of royal dignity.

When I had seated myself upon the ground before him, and related the various circumstances that had induced me to pass through his country, and my reasons for soliciting his protection, he appeared perfectly satisfied: but said it was not in his power at present to afford me much assistance; for that all sort of communication between Kaarta and Bambarra had been interrupted for some time past; and as Mansong, the King of Bambarra, with his army, had entered Fooladoo in his way to Kaarta, there was but little hope of my reaching Bambarra by any of the usual routes, inasmuch as, coming from an enemy's country, I should certainly be plundered, or taken for a spy. If his country had been at peace, he said, I might have remained with him until a more favourable opportunity offered ; but, as matters stood at present, he did not wish me to continue in Kaarta, for fear some accident should befal me,

in which case my countrymen might say, that he had murdered a white man. He would therefore advise me to return into Kasson, and remain there until the war should terminate, which would probably happen in the course of three or four months; after which, if he was alive, he said, he would be glad to see me, and if he was dead, his sons would take care

of me.

This advice was certainly well meant on the part of the king ; and perhaps I was to blame in not following it: but I reflected that the hot months were approaching; and I dreaded the thoughts of spending the rainy season in the interior of Africa. These considerations, and the aversion I felt at the idea of returning without having made a greater progress in discovery, made me determine to go forwards; and though the king could not give me a guide to Bambarra, I begged that he would allow a man to accompany me as near the frontiers of his kingdom as was consistent with safety. Finding that I was determined to proceed, the king told me that one route still remained, but that, he said, was by no means free from danger; which was to go from Kaarta into the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, from whence I might pass, by a circuitous route, into Bambarra. If I wished to follow this route, he would appoint people to conduct me to Jarra, the frontier town of Ludamar. He then inquired very particularly how I had been treated since I had left the Gambia, and asked in a jocular way how many slaves I expected to carry home with me on my return. He was about to proceed, when a man mounted on a fine Moorish horse, which was covered with sweat and foam, entered the court, and signifying that he had something of importance to

the enemy

communicate, the king immediately took up his sandals, which is the signal to strangers to retire. I accordingly took leave, but desired my boy to stay about the place, in order to learn something of the intelligence that this messenger

had brought. In about an hour the boy returned, and informed me that the Bambarra army had left Fooladoo, and was on its march towards Kaarta; that the man I had seen, who had brought this intelligence, was one of the scouts of watchmen employed by the king, each of whom has his particular station (commonly on some rising ground) from whence he has the best view of the country, and watches the motions of

. In the evening the king sent me a fine sheep; which was very acceptable, as none of us had tasted victuals during the day. Whilst we were employed in dressing supper, evening prayers were announced ; not by the call of the priest, as usual, but by beating on drums, and blowing through large elephant's teeth, hollowed out in such a manner as to resemble bugle horns ; the sound is melodious, and, in my opinion, comes nearer to the human voice than any other artificial sound. As the main body of Daisy's army was, at this juncture, at Kemmoo, the mosques were very much crowded; and I observed that the disciples of Mahomet composed nearly one half of the army of Kaarta.

Feb. 13th. At daylight I sent my horse-pistols and holsters as a present to the king, and being very desirous to get away from a place which was likely soon to become the seat of war, I begged the messenger to inform the king, that I wished to depart from Kemmoo as soon as he should find it convenient to appoint me a guide. In about an hour the king sent his messenger to thank me for the present, and eight horsemen to conduct me to Jarra. They told me that the king wished me to proceed to Jarra with all possible expedition, that they might return before any thing decisive should happen between the armies of Bambarra and Kaarta ; we accordingly departed forthwith from Kemmoo, accompanied by three of Daisy's sons, and about two hundred horsemen, who kindly undertook to see me a little way on my journey.


Journey from Kemmoo to Funing kedy. --Some account of the Lotus.

A Youth murdered by the Moors —interesting Scene at his Death.Author passes through Simbing.--Some particulars. concerning Major Houghton.Author reaches Jarra.-Situation of the surrounding States at the Period of his arrival there, and a brief Account of the War between Kaarta and Bambarra.

On the evening of the day of our departure from Kemmoo, (the king's eldest son and great part of the horsemen having returned) we reached a village called Marina, where we slept. During the night some thieves broke into the hut where I had deposited my baggage, and having cut open one of my bundles, stole a quantity of beads, part of my clothes, and some amber and gold, which happened to be in one of the pockets. I complained to my protectors, but without effect. The next day (Feb. 14,) was far advanced before we departed from Marina, and we travelled slowly, on account of the excessive beat, until four o'clock in the afterooon, when two Negroes were observed sitting among some thorny bushes at a little distance from the road. The king's people, taking it for granted that they were runaway slaves, cocked their musquets, and rode at full speed in different directions through the bushes, in order to surround them, and prevent their escaping. The Negroes, however, waited with great composure until we came within bowshot of them, when each of them took from his quiver a handful of arrows, and putting two between his

« ZurückWeiter »