Imatges de pÓgina

they merely exhibited themselves as ornaments, without making even a show of encountering the enemy.

With about 300 of this puissant chivalry before and around him, the sultan was himself seated near the garden-door in a sort of cane basket covered with silk, and his face entirely shaded beneath a


turban of more than the usual magnitude. The presents were silently deposited; nothing passed; and the courtiers, tottering beneath the weight of their turbans and their bellies, could not display that punctilious activity which had been so annoying at the palace of the sheik. This was all that was ever seen of the Sultan of Bornou. The party then set out for Kouka, passing, on their way, through Angornou, the largest city in the kingdom, containing at least 30,000 inhabitants.

During his residence at Kouka and Angornou, Major Denham frequently attended the markets,

where, besides the proper Bornouese, he saw the Shouaas, an Arab tribe, who are the chief breeders of cattle; the Kanemboos from the north, with their hair neatly and tastefully plaited; and the Musgow, a southern clan of the most savage aspect. A loose robe or shirt of the cotton cloth of the country, often fine and beautifully dyed, was the universal dress; and high rank was indicated by six or seven of these worn one above another. Ornament was studied chiefly in plaiting the hair, in attaching to it strings of brass or silver beads, in inserting large pieces of amber or coral into the nose, the ear, and the lip; and when to these was added a face streaming with oil, the Bornouese belle was fully equipped for conquest. Thus adorned, the wife or daughter of a rich Shouaa might be seen entering the market in full style, bestriding an ox, which she managed dexterously by a leathern thong passed through the nose, and whose unwieldy bulk she contrived even to torture into something like capering and curveting. Angornou is the chief market, and the crowd there is sometimes immense, amounting often to eighty or a hundred thousand individuals. All the produce of the country is bought and sold in open market; for shops and warehouses do not enter into the system of African traffic. There is displayed an abundance of their principal grain, called gussub, a good deal of wheat and rice, an ample store of bullocks, and no small number of sheep and fowls; but not a vegetable except a few onions, nor a single fruit of any kind, the Bornouese not having attained to the production of these elegant luxuries. The objects most prized and rare are pieces of amber, coral, and brass, to adorn the countenances of the females:

these are sold readily, and paid in money, while other articles are only exchanged for cloth. Among other rarities are sometimes offered young lions, to be kept as domestic favourites. The Major found one of them enclosed by a circle of spectators, and was invited to step up and stroke it on the mane. He was about to comply, though with sensations which he admits himself unable to describe, when the animal suddenly brushed past him, broke through the circle, and rushed to another station. The sheik was afterwards kind enough to send him a young lion as a pet, which the Major politely returned, expressing regret at not being able to find room for so fine a specimen of African zoology.

Bornou, taken altogether, forms an extensive plain, stretching 200 miles along the western shore of the immense lake already mentioned, and nearly the same distance inland. This sea periodically changes its bed in an extraordinary manner. During the rains, when its tributary rivers pour in thrice the usual quantity of water, it inundates an extensive tract of country, from which it retires in the dry season. This space, then overgrown with dense underwood, and with grass double the height of a man, contains a motley assemblage of wild beasts,-lions, panthers, hyenas, elephants, and serpents of extraordinary form and bulk. These monsters, while undisturbed in this mighty den, remain tranquil, or war only with each other; but when the lake swells, and its waters rush in, they of necessity seek refuge among the abodes of men, to whom they prove the most dreadful scourge. Not only the cattle, but the slaves tending the grain, often fall victims; they even rush in large bodies into the towns. The

rest of the country, placed beyond the reach of this annual inundation, is in many places very fertile ; and cultivation is so limited that land may always be had in any quantity by him who has slaves to employ upon it. This service is performed by female captives from Musgow, who, aiding their native ugliness by the insertion of a large piece of silver into the upper-lip, which throws it entirely out of shape, are coveted in no other view than for the quantity of hard work which they can execute. The processes of agriculture are extremely simple. Their only fine manufacture is that of tobes, or vestments of cotton skilfully woven and beautifully dyed, but still not equal to those of Soudan. In every other handicraft they are very inexpert, even in works of iron, which are of the greatest use to a martial people.

The Bornouese have, however, an ingenious mode, represented in the accompanying plate, of fishing


with a very simple apparatus. They take two large gourds, and fasten them at each end to a stem of bamboo. The fisherman seats himself upon this machine, floats with the current, and throws his net. On drawing it up, he lays it before him, stuns the fish with a species of mace, and piles them into the gourds. They are afterwards dried, and conveyed over the country to a considerable distance.

The Bornouese are complete negroes both in form and feature; they are ugly, simple, and good-natured, but destitute of all intellectual culture. Only a few of the great fighis, or doctors, of whom the sheik was one, can read the koran. A " great writer" indeed is held in still higher estimation than with us; but his compositions consist only of words written on scraps of paper, to be enclosed in cases, and worn as amulets. They are then supposed to defend their possessor against every danger, to act as charms to destroy his enemies, and to be the main instrument in the cure of all diseases. For this last purpose they are aided only by a few simple applications; yet the Bornou practice is said to be very successful, either through the power of imagination, or owing to their excellent constitutions. In the absence of all refined pleasures, various rude sports are pursued with eagerness, and almost with fury. The most favourite is wrestling, which the chiefs do not practise in person, but train their slaves to exhibit in it as our jockeys do game-cocks, taking the same pride in their prowess and victory. Nations are often pitched against each other, the Musgowy and the Begharmi being the most powerful. Many of them are extremely handsome and of gigantic size, and hence the contests be

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