Imatges de pÓgina

he could return thanks. Demba Sego, nephew to the king of Kasson, and who happened to be then at Joag endea vouring to negotiate a peace between his uncle and Bacheri, who were at variance, now undertook to guide him into that country, and did so; but exacted so many duties and presents, that Mr. Park was stripped of half his remaining stock. Kasson was found a level, fertile, and beautiful country. At Kooniakary, the capital, our traveller was well received by the king, and forwarded to Kemmoo, the principal town of Kaarta. Daisy, the sovereign of this last, likewise received him with the utmost kindness; but on learning his intention of taking the route to Timbuctoo through Bambarra, he stated this to be impossible, as he himself was then at war with the latter kingdom, and assured him that he would at once be killed if he attempted to enter it from Kaarta. There remained, therefore, no alternative but to go by way of the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, a perilous and fatal route, in which Major Houghton had already perished. Mr. Park, however, hoped, by proceeding along the southern frontier, to reach Bambarra without coming much into contact with the barbarous and bigoted Moors by whom it was peopled.

On his arrival at Jarra, a large town chiefly inhabited by negroes, but entirely under the power of the Moors, he sent to Benowm, the capital, a messenger loaded with presents to negotiate with Ali, their chief, for a passage through his territories. After waiting a fortnight in great anxiety, he received a safe-conduct to Goombo, a place on the frontier of Bambarra. He first proceeded to Deena, a town in the possession of the Moors, who insulted and plundered him in the grossest manner, so that he was happy to escape by setting out at two in the morning of 3d March. He passed next through Sampaka and Dalli, where he was received by the negro inhabitants with the usual kindness and hospitality of that race; he was even induced to stop a day at Dalli under promise of an escort; but this was a fatal pause. At Sami, on the 7th March, a party of Moorish horsemen appeared, for the purpose of telling him that Fatima, the favourite wife of Ali, had been struck with curi osity to see what kind of creature a Christian was; that he must therefore come and show himself; but was assured

that he would be well treated, and on satisfying her ma jesty's wish, would even be forwarded on his journey.

Benowm, the Moorish capital, to which Park was then conveyed, proved to be a mere camp composed of a number of dirty tents, intermingled with herds of camels, horses, and oxen. He was surrounded by crowds actuated partly by curiosity and partly by that malignant feeling which always inflames the Moors against Christians. They snatched off his hat, made him unbutton his clothes to show the whiteness of his skin, and counted his fingers and toes to see if he were really of the same nature with themselves. After being kept for some time in the sun, he was lodged in a hut made of cornstalks, supported by posts, to one of which was tied a wild hog, evidently in derision, and to intimate that they were fit associates for each other. The hog, indeed, would have been the most harmless part of the affair, had not idle boys taken delight in tormenting and working up the animal to a constant state of fury. Crowds of men and women incessantly poured in to see the white man, and he was obliged to continue the whole day buttoning and unbuttoning his clothes, to show his skin, the European manner of dressing and undressing. When curiosity was satisfied, the next amusement was to plague the Christian, and he became the sport of the meanest and most vulgar members of this rude community. The Moorish horsemen took him out and galloped round him, baiting him as if he had been a wild beast, twirling their swords in his face to show their skill in horsemanship. Repeated attempts were made to compel him to work. One of Ali's sons desired him to mend the lock of a double-barrelled gun, and could scarcely be persuaded that all Europeans did not ply the trade of a smith. He was also installed as barber, and directed to shave the head of a young prince; but not relishing this function, he contrived to give his highness such a cut that Ali took the alarm and discharged him as incapable. That chief, under pretence of securing him against depredation, seized for himself all that remained of the traveller's property. Having examined the instruments, he was greatly astonished at the compass, and particularly at its always pointing towards the Great Desert. Park, thinking it vain to attempt any scientific exposition

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said that its direction was always to the place where his mother dwelt; whereupon Ali, struck with superstitious dread, desired it to be taken away.

Amid these insults, Park's sufferings were the more severe from the very scanty measure of food with which he was supplied. At midnight only he received a small mess of kouskous, not nearly enough to satisfy nature. He had been invited, indeed, to kill and dress his companion the hog; but this he considered as a snare laid for him, believing that the Mohammedans, had they seen him feasting on this impure and hated flesh, would have killed him on the spot. As the dry season advanced, water became scarce and precious, and only a very limited quantity was allowed to reach the infidel, who thus endured the pangs of the most tormenting thirst. On one occasion, a Moor who was drawing water for his cows, yielded to his earnest entreaty that he might put the bucket to his mouth; then, struck with sudden alarm at such a profanation of the vessel, seized it, and poured the liquid into the trough, desiring him to share with the cattle. Park overcame the risings of pride, plunged his head into the water, and enjoyed a delicious draught.

During this dreadful period he contrived, nevertheless, to obtain some information. Even the rudest of his tormentors took pleasure in teaching him the Arabic characters, by tracing them upon the sand. Two Mohammedan travellers came to Benowm, from whom he obtained routes to Morocco, Walet, and Timbuctoo; but they gave the most discouraging_report as to the prospects of reaching the latter city. He was told it would not do; the Moors were there entirely masters, and viewed all Christians as children of the Devil and enemies of the prophet.

Fatima, the wife of Ali, whose curiosity to see a Christian he had been brought hither to gratify, was absent all this time and not like to arrive, while the rancour of the Moors, by whom Park was surrounded, became always more imbittered. A party even proposed that he should be condemned to death, though Ali's sons only recommended to put out his eyes, alleging that they resembled those of a cat. Hereupon he began seriously to consider the possibi lity of escape; but besides his being closely watched, the Desert was now so entirely destitute of water, that he must

have perished on the road with thirst. He was therefore obliged to await the rainy season, however unfavourable for travelling through the negro territories.

Ali, on the 30th April, having occasion to move his quarters, came to Bubaker, the residence of Fatima, and Park was introduced to that favourite princess. The beauty of a Moorish female is measured entirely by her circumference; and to bestow this grace on their daughters, the mothers stuff them with enormous quantities of milk and kouskous, the swallowing of which is enforced even with blows, till they attain that acme of beauty which renders them a load for a camel. The dimensions by which Fatima had captivated her royal lover were very enormous; she added to them Arab features and long black hair. This queen at first shrunk back with horror at seeing before her that monster, a Christian; but after putting various questions, began to see in him nothing so wholly different from the rest of mankind. She presented to him a bowl of milk, and continued to show him the only kindness he met with during this dreadful captivity. At length her powerful intercession induced Ali to take Park with him to Jarra, where our traveller hoped to find the means of proceeding on his journey.

At Jarra a striking scene occurred. Ali, through avarice, had involved himself in the quarrel between the monarchs of Kaarta and Bambarra, and news arrived that Daisy was in full march to attack the town. The troops, who ought to have defended the place, fled at the first onset, and nothing remained 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

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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 Sherillah, 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

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