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ATTACK OF THE ARABS.
Arabs, mixed with black people, all of our own religion. They do not attack the caravans, unless the caravans attempt to rob them.
“After having refreshed our camels, for ten days, in a beautiful valley, and filled the sacks with coals, we mounted up to the Desert, and steered on the flat level away to the north. As we went along, we came to some small valleys, where the Arabs feed their camels, and live upon their milk, and think themselves the most learned, virtuous, and religious people in the world, and the most happy too, though they have neither bread, nor meat, nor honey, nor any clothing, except a rag tied round their waist. We steered about north for eighteen days, when we came to the usual watering place called Weydlah. There was a great deal of water in the pond, for it is in a deep pit never known to be dry; but it was black and salt, and almost covered with a thick green scum: we could see the tracks of lions and tigers near the water.
“Our caravan consisted of about 1500 men, most of us armed with double-barrelled guns and scymi. tars, and we had about 4,000 camels. It was a long journey to the next well, and we rested six days in a valley at a little distance from the pond. We always made the camels lie down in a circle, placing the goods in the centre, and the men between the camels and the goods; we had 200 men always on guard. In the night of the sixth day, we were attacked by a very large body of wandering Arabs. They had got within a few yards of us before they were discovered, and having fired their muskets among us, they ran in like hungry tigers, with spears and scymitars in their hands.
They threw the whole caravan into confusion'; but our guards kept them off, till we seized our arms, and rallied. The fight continued for about two hours, hand to hand, and breast to breast, without any light but the blaze of the powder ; at this time the assailants gave way, and ran off. wounded in my thigh, with a ball, and Seid on his breast, with a dagger.
“ In the morning we numbered our men, and found that 230 were killed, and about 100 wounded. 300 camels were either slain, or so badly wounded that they could not walk, so we killed them. We found 700 of our enemies lying on the ground, either dead or wounded; those that were badly wounded we killed, to put them out of pain'; and those that could walk, which were about a hundred, we took with us as slaves. We picked up 220 good double-barrelled guns, and about 400 scymitars, or long knives. We were told by our prisoners that the company which attacked us was upwards of 4,000 men, and that they had been preparing for the attack three
“ We were afraid of another attack, and therefore steered to the north-east, out of the course the caravans usually take, and after twenty-three days journey, we came to a place called the Eightwells, where we found plenty of good water. Fifty of our men had died, and twenty-one of the slaves. We remained near these good wells eleven days, our camels feeding on the bushes in the valleys near them; when we travelled north-westward ten days to Twati, a good watering place; for the last two days, we had waded through deep sands. We rested here two days, and then went
down north into the country of dates, and came to the town of Gujelah, a little strong place belonging to Tunis.
This is the Aujelah I passed through in my way from Cairo to Fezzan. Seedy Hamed's journey from Timbuctoo to this place had occupied 80 days; 51 of which had been days of travelling, and 29 days of rest.
“ At Gujelah,” continued Hamed, “ we found fruit and water, meat and milk, and here the caravan for Tripoli left us. We stayed here ten days, and then went on north-easterly twelve days to Tuggurtah, where the caravan for Tunis left us. Tuggurtah is a very large city, with high thick walls, and has a great many people in it, all of the true religion, and a vast number of black slaves, and a few white ones. We then travelled ten days to the high mountains, where the caravan for Algiers parted from us, and we remained with about 200 camels and 80 men, going to Fas. We then travelled over a great mountain which we were told belongs to the same ridge we see close to Marocco and in Suse, and in two moons more we arrived at Fas, having been gone more than two years."
Thus ended Hamed's narration of his travels; in which there are three things to be remarked respecting the country. First, that, in a northeast course from Timbuctoo, twenty days journey of fertile land intervene between that city and the Desert. Second, that the Desert is uniformly spoken of as being more elevated than the fertile districts to the north and south of it. Third, that there is no mention made of those islands in the sandy ocean called oases by the Greeks, and wahs
by the Arabians, which are said to contain pasture lands and fixed habitations ; the resting places of Hamed being only hollows, affording wells and bushes, and resorted to only for the purpose of temporary refreshment. That such wahs do exist, cannot be denied; because the Arabs of Ludamar and the Senegal, who inhabit the Desert after the rains, have numerous herds of oxen; but they appear to be out of the track of the caravans; and those of Ludamar, at least, are incapable of supporting the cattle during the dry season.
ARABS OF THE SAHARA, SUSE, AND MAROCCO.
THE general surface of that part of the Sahara seen in my travels was smooth, hard, and of a light reddish brown; the mountains of loose sand were within a short distance of Cape Bojador. The valleys, or dells, I saw, were from five to thirty feet below the surface of the plain; they were mostly scooped out in the form of a bowl, and contained from one to five acres. They seemed to serve as receptacles for the little rain that falls there; and the thorn bush, on which the camels feed, was thinly scattered over them. These hollows were ten, fifteen, and twenty miles apart.
The Bedouin Arabs of the Sahara are the descendants of the ancient Arabians; and their bold
ARABS OF THE SAHARA.
and figurative language is the same that was spoken in Arabia in the time of Muhamed, twelve centuries ago; it is distinguished by its powerful emphasis and elegant cadence. When the Arabs converse peaceably, it strikes on the ear like soft wind music; and when they speak in anger, it is like the roaring of an irritated beast of prey.
Most of the Arabs who inhabit this vast desert live entirely on the milk of their camels, and wander from valley to valley, as the produce of each is consumed. They live in tents woven from the hair of these animals; those I saw were in the form of an oblong umbrella, and reached within two feet of the ground. One of these tents is the habitation of a whole family, and the same mat serves as a bed for all. They lie down, wrapped in their hayks, the children between the grown persons, and close together, to keep off the cold winds that blow under the tent in the night; their bushy hair, which resembles a thrum mop, serves them for a pillow. The family consists of the husband, the wife, or, sometimes, more than one wife, and the children that are unmarried; these are generally about four, but sometimes six or eight. The rich Arabs have one, two, or three negro slaves, who are allowed to sleep on the same mat with themselves.
The father of the family is its absolute chief. He deals out the milk to each individual with his own hand, and none dares touch it till it be thus divided. He always assists in milking the camels, puts the milk into a large wooden bowl, and if it do not reach the mark proper for the consumption of the family, he raises it with water, if there be any; then gives each his portion, and takes his