Imatges de pÓgina
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not permit him to leave their party until after they had stripped him of every article in his possession. He wandered about for some time through the Desert without food or shelter, till, at length, quite exhausted, he sat down under a tree and expired. Mr Park was shown the very spot where his remains were abandoned to the fowls of the air.

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CHAPTER VIII.

Park's First Journey.

As soon as the Association were informed of the fate of Major Houghton, they accepted the offered services of Mr Mungo Park, a native of Scotland, regularly bred to the medical profession, and just returned from a voyage to India. The committee

were satisfied that Mr Park possessed the requisite qualifications, though they could not yet be aware of the full extent of his courage and perseverance, nor of the unrivalled eminence to which, as a traveller, he was destined to rise under their auspices.

He set sail from Portsmouth on the 22d May, 1795, and on the 21st June arrived at Jillifree on the Gambia. He then proceeded to Pisania, in the fertile kingdom of Yani, where he was detained five months by illness under the hospitable roof of Dr Laidley. While suffering from the fever of the climate, he acquired the Mandingo language, and obtained considerable information from the negro-traders respecting the interior countries. The Gambia at this station was deep and muddy, overshadowed with impenetrable thickets of mangrove, and the stream filled with crocodiles and riverhorses.

On the second of December, Mr Park took his

departure, attended only by a few negro servants. On the 5th, he arrived at Medina, where the good old king received him with the same hospitality he had so liberally shown to Major Houghton; but earnestly exhorted him to take warning from the fate of that too adventurous traveller, and go no farther. Mr Park was not to be thus discouraged; but immediately proceeded to enter the great forest or wilderness which separates this country from Bondou. He conformed to the example of his companions in hanging a charm or shred of cloth upon a tree at its entrance, which was completely covered with those guardian symbols. In two days he had passed the wood, and found Bondou a fine champaign country, watered by the Faleme. He had soon, however, to encounter the perils which cannot but await every single and defenceless traveller who, loaded with valuable goods, passes through a succession of petty kingdoms where law is unknown. At Fatteconda, which he reached on the 21st December, he was obliged to wait upon Almami the king, who had already disgraced himself by the plunder of Major Houghton. Being desirous to preserve a good new blue coat, Mr Park deemed it the wisest plan to wear it on his person, fondly hoping that it would not be actually stripped off his back. However, after the introductory ceremonial, the king began a warm panegyric on the wealth and generosity of the whites, whence he proceeded to the praises of the coat and its yellow buttons, concluding with expressing the delight with which he should wear it for the sake of his guest. He did not add, that if these hints were disregarded, it would be seized by force; but our traveller, being thoroughly convinced

that such was his intention, pulled off the coat, of which he humbly requested his majesty's acceptance. The king then abstained from farther spoil, and introduced him as a curiosity to his female circle. The ladies, after a careful survey, approved of his external appearance, with the exception of the two deformities of a white skin and a high nose; but for these they made ample allowance, being blemishes produced by the false taste of his mother, who had bathed him in milk when young, and, by pinching his nose, elevated it into its present absurd height. Park flattered them on their jet-black skins and beautifully-flattened noses; but was modestly warned that honey-mouth was not esteemed in Bondou.

Another forest intervened between that kingdom and Kajaaga, which he crossed by moonlight, when the deep silence of the woods was interrupted only by the howling of wolves and hyenas, which glided like shadows through the thickets. Scarcely was he arrived at Joag in Kajaaga, when a party from Bacheri the king surrounded him, and declared his property forfeited, in consequence of having entered the country without payment of the duties. Thus he was stripped of all his goods, except a small portion which he contrived to hide. Unable to procure a meal, he was sitting disconsolate under a bentang tree, when an aged female slave came up and asked if he had dined. Being told that he had not, and had been robbed of every thing, she presented several handfuls of nuts, and went off before he could return thanks. Demba Sego, nephew to the King of Kasson, and who happened to be then at Joag endeavouring to negotiate a peace between his uncle and Bacheri, who were at

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