Imatges de pÓgina
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mained for the inhabitants but to abandon it, and escape from slaughter or slavery, the dreadful alternatives of African conquest. The scene was affecting. The local attachments of the African are strong; and the view of this disconsolate crowd quitting perhaps for ever their native spot, the scene of their early life, and where they had fixed all their hopes and desires, presented a striking picture of human calamity. Park would now very gladly have presented himself before his friend Daisy; but, being afraid that in the confusion he would be mistaken for a Moor, and killed as such, he thought it a safer course to join the retreat. He found more difficulty in escaping than he had expected, being seized by three Mohammedans, who threatened to carry him back to Ali, but finally contented themselves with robbing him of his cloak. In flying from savage man, he soon found himself involved in a danger still more alarming. He was in the midst of an immense desert, in which was neither food nor a drop of water. Having ascended the loftiest tree within his reach, he could see no boundary to the scene of desolation. The pangs of thirst became intolerable, a dimness spread over his eyes, and he felt as if this life with all its mingled joys and miseries was about to close, as if all the hopes of glory by which he had been impelled to this adventurous career had vanished, and he was to perish at the moment, when a few days more would have brought him to the Niger. Suddenly he saw a flash of lightning, and eagerly hailed it as a portent of rain; the wind then began to blow among the bushes; but it was a sand-wind, which continued for an hour to fill the air. At last

there burst forth a brighter flash, followed by a refreshing shower, which being received upon his clothes, and the moisture wrung out, gave him new life. He travelled onwards, passing, but carefully shunning, a village of the Moors; when thirst, imperfectly satisfied, began again to torment him. Then he heard a heavenly sound, the croaking of frogs, and soon reached the muddy pools which they inhabited, when the thirst both of himself and his horse was thoroughly quenched. He came to a Foulah village called Sherilla, where the dooty, or chief magistrate, shut the door in his face, and refused him a handful of corn; however, in passing the suburbs, a poor woman, who was spinning cotton in front of her hut, invited him to enter, and set before him a dish of kouskous. Next day he was hospitably received by a negro shepherd, who regaled him with dates and boiled corn ; but, happening to pronounce the word Nazarani, (Christian,) the wife and children screamed and ran out of the house, to which nothing could induce them to return.

At Wawra, Park considered himself beyond the reach of the Moors; and, being kindly received, determined to rest two or three days. When he was known to be on his way to Sego, the capital, several women came and besought him to ask the king about their sons, who had been taken away to the army. One had neither seen nor heard of hers for several years; she declared he was no heathen, but said his prayers daily, and that he was often the subject of her dreams. Leaving this place, he came to Dingyee, where he seemed invested with a sacred character,-a man earnestly entreating a lock of his hair to be used as a saphie or charm;

and receiving permission to cut it off, he contrived to crop completely one side of the head. Proceeding towards Sego, he joined on the road several small negro parties; but, as the country became more populous, hospitality was less common. In Moorja, however, though mostly peopled by Mohammedans, he found gaiety and abundance. He next passed through several towns and villages, which, in the late war, had been systematically destroyed; the large bentang tree, under which the inhabitants used to meet, had been cut down, the wells were filled up, and everything done which could render the neighbourhood uninhabitable. He passed also a coffie, or caravan, of about seventy slaves tied together by the neck with thongs of bullocks' hide, seven slaves upon each thong. His horse was now so completely worn out, that, instead of attempting to ride, he was content to drive it before him. Being also barefooted, and in the most miserable plight, he afforded a subject of merriment to the natives, who asked if he had been travelling to Mecca, and made ironical proposals for the purchase of his horse; even the slaves were ashamed to be seen in his company.

At length the near approach to Sego was indicated by crowds hastening to its market; and Mr Park was told that on the following day, the 21st July, that primary object of his search, the Joliba or Great Water, would appear before him. He passed a sleepless night, but, starting before daybreak, he had the satisfaction, at eight o'clock, to see the smoke rising over Sego. He overtook some former fellow-travellers, and, in riding through a piece of marshy ground, one of them called out, geo affilli, (see the water,) and looking forwards, "I saw,"

says he, "with infinite pleasure, the great object of my mission, the long-sought-for majestic Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. I hastened to the brink, and having drunk of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer to the Great Ruler of all things, for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success."

Mr Park now saw before him Sego, the capital of the kingdom of Bambarra. It consisted of four separate towns, two on each side of the river, surrounded with high mud-walls,-the houses, though only of clay, neatly white-washed,—the streets commodious, with mosques rising in every quarter. The place was estimated to contain about thirty thousand inhabitants. The numerous canoes on the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding country, presented altogether an appearance of civilization and magnificence little expected in the bosom of Africa. The traveller sought a passage to Sego-see-Korro, the quarter where the king resided; but, owing to the crowd of passengers, he was detained two hours; during which time his majesty was apprised that a white man, poorly equipped, was about to pass the river to seek an audience. A chief was immediately sent, with an express order that the traveller should not cross without his majesty's permission, and pointed to a village at some distance, where it was recommended that the stranger should pass the night. Park, not a little disconcerted, repaired to the village; but as the order had not been accompanied with any provision for his reception, he found every door shut. Turning his horse loose to graze, he was preparing,

as a security from wild beasts, to climb a tree and sleep among the branches, when a beautiful and affecting incident occurred, which gives a most pleasing view of the negro character. An old woman, returning from the labours of the field, cast on him a look of compassion, and desired him to follow her. She led him to an apartment in her hut, procured a fine fish, which she broiled for his supper, and spread a mat for him to sleep upon. She then desired her maidens, who had been gazing in fixed astonishment at the white man, to resume their tasks, which they continued to ply through a great part of the night. They cheered their labours with a song, which must have been composed extempore, since Mr Park, with deep emotion, discovered that he himself was the subject of it. It said, in a strain of affecting simplicity," The winds roared, and the rains fell. The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring him milk, no wife to grind his corn.-Chorus-Let us pity the white man, no mother has he," &c. Our traveller was much affected, and next morning could not depart without requesting his landlady's acceptance of the only gift he had left, two out of the four brass buttons that still remained on his waistcoat.

He remained two days in this village, during which he understood that he was the subject of much deliberation at court, the Moors and slave-merchants giving the most unfavourable reports of his character and purposes. A messenger came and asked if he had any present, and seemed much disappointed on being told that the Moors had robbed him of every thing. On the second day appeared another envoy,

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