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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 5 out of 15

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huddled together. Under this shed is a great chair of state, once
finely gilt and ornamented, with a patchwork quilt thrown over it,
and behind it are the remains of two large looking-glasses. In this
chair the sultan receives homage every Friday, before he ascends the
castle, after returning from the mosque. This place is the Mejlees,
and was the scene of all the cruelties practised by Mukni, when he
first took possession of the country.

The habitation in which Captain Lyon and his party were lodged, was a
very good one, and as all the houses are built upon nearly the same
plan, the following description will give an idea of all the rest. A
large door, sufficiently high to admit a camel, opened into a broad
passage or _skeefa,_ on one side of which was a tolerable stable for
five horses, and close to it, a small room for the slaves, whose duty
it might be to attend the house. A door opposite to that of the
stable opened into the _kowdi,_ a large square room, the roof of
which at the height of eighteen feet, was supported by four palm
trees as pillars. In the centre of the roof was a large open space,
about twelve feet by nine, from this, the house and rooms receive
light, not to mention dust and excessive heat in the afternoon. At
the end of the room facing the door, a large seat of mud was raised
about eighteen inches high, and twelve feet in length. Heaps of this
description, though higher, are found at the doors of most houses,
and are covered with loungers in the cool of the morning and evening.
The large room was fifty feet by thirty-nine. From the sides, doors
opened into smaller ones, which might be used as sleeping or store
rooms, but were generally preferred for their coolness. Their only
light was received from the door. Ascending a few steps, there was a
kind of gallery over the side rooms, and in it were two small
apartments, but so very hot as to be almost useless. From the large
room was a passage leading to a yard, having also small houses
attached to it in the same manner, and a well of comparatively good
water. The floors were of sand, and the walls of mud roughly
plastered, and showing every where the marks of the only trowel used
in the country--the fingers of the right hand. There are no windows
to any of the houses, but some rooms have a small hole in the
ceiling, or high up the wall.

Near the house was the principal mosque, to which the sultan and the
Christian party went every Friday, as a matter of course, and every
other day they found it necessary to appear there once or twice. It
is a low building, having a shed projecting over the door, which,
being raised on a platform, is entered by a few steps. A small
turret, intended to be square and perpendicular, is erected for the
Mouadden to call to prayers. One of the great lounges is on the seat
in front of the mosque, and every morning and evening they are full
of idle people, who converse on the state of the markets, and on
their own private affairs, or in a fearful whisper canvass the
sultan's conduct.

In Mourzouk there are sixteen mosques, which are covered in, but some
of them are very small. Each has an imaum, but the kadi is their
head, of which dignity he seems not a little proud. This man had
never, been beyond the boundaries of Fezzan, and could form no idea
of any thing superior to mud houses and palms; he always fancied the
Europeans to be great romancers, when they told him of their country,
and described it as being in the midst of the sea.

They had many opportunities of observing the fighi and their scholars
sitting on the sand. The children are taught their letters by having
them written on a flat board, of a hard wood, brought from Bornou and
Soudan, and repeating them after their master. When quite perfect in
their alphabet, they are allowed to trace over the letters already
made, they then learn to copy sentences, and to write small words
dictated to them. The master often repeats verses from the Koran, in
a loud voice, which the boys learn by saying them after him, and when
they begin to read a little, he sings aloud, and all the scholars
follow him from their books, as fast as they can. Practice at length
renders them perfect, and in three or four years their education is
considered complete. Thus it is, that many who can read the Koran
with great rapidity, cannot peruse a line of any other book.
Arithmetic is wholly put of the question. On breaking up for the day,
the master and all the scholars recite a prayer. The school-hours are
by no means regular, being only when the fighi has nothing else to
do. Morning early, or late in the evening, are the general times for
study. The punishments are beating with a stick on the hands or feet
and whipping, which is not unfrequently practised. Their pens are
reeds--their rubber sand. While learning their tasks, and perhaps
each boy has a different one, they all read aloud, so that the
harmony of even a dozen boys may be easily imagined.

In the time of the native sultans, it was the custom, on a fixed day,
annually, for the boys who had completed their education, to assemble
on horseback, in as fine clothes as their friends could procure for
them, on the sands to the westward of the town. On an eminence stood
the fighi, bearing in his hand a little flag rolled on a staff; the
boys were stationed at some distance, and on his unfurling the flag
and planting it in the ground, all started at full speed. He who
first arrived and seized it, was presented by the sultan with a fine
suit of clothes, and some money, and rode through the town at the
head of the others. These races ceased with the arrival of Mukni, and
parents now complain that their sons have no inducement to study.

All the houses are infested with multitudes of small ants, which
destroyed all the animals which the party had preserved, and even
penetrated into their boxes. Their bite was very painful, and they
were fond of coming into the blankets. One singularity is worthy of
remark in Fezzan, which is, that fleas are unknown there, and those
of the inhabitants, who have not been on the sea-coast, cannot
imagine what they are like. Bugs are very numerous, and it is
extraordinary that they are called by the same name as with us. There
is a species of them which is found in the sands, where the coffles
are in the habit of stopping; they bite very sharply, and fix in
numbers round the coronet of a horse; the animals thus tormented,
often become so outrageous as to break their tethers.

There are several pools of stagnant salt water in the town, which it
is conceived in a great measure promote the advance of the summer
fever and agues. The burying places are outside the walls, and are of
considerable extent. In lieu of stones, small mud embankments are
formed round the graves, which are ornamented with shreds of cloth
tied to small sticks, with broken pots, and sometimes ostrich eggs.
One of the burying places is for slaves, who are laid very little
below the surface, and in some places the sand has been so carried
away by the wind, as to expose their skeletons to view. Owing to the
want of wood, no coffins are used. The bodies are merely wrapped in a
mat, or linen cloth, and covered with palm branches, over which the
earth is thrown. When the branches decay, the earth falls in, and the
graves are easily known by being concave, instead of convex. The
place where the former sultans were buried, is a plain near the town;
their graves are only distinguished from those of other people, by
having a larger proportion of broken pots scattered about them. It is
a custom for the relations of the deceased to visit, and occasionally
to recite a prayer over the grave, or to repeat a verse of the Koran.
Children never pass within sight of the tombs of their parents,
without stopping to pay this grateful tribute of respect to their
memory. Animals are never buried, but thrown on mounds outside the
walls, and there left. The excessive heat soon dries up all their
moisture, and prevents their becoming offensive; the hair remains on
them, so that they appear like preserved skins.

The men of Mourzouk of the better sort, dress nearly like the people
of Tripoli. The lower orders wear a large shirt of white or blue
cotton, with long loose sleeves, trousers of the same, and sandals of
camel's hide. The shirts being long, many wear no other covering.
When leaving their houses, and walking to the market or gardens, a
_jereed_ or _aba_ is thrown round them, and a red cap, or a neatly
quilted cotton white one, completes the dress. On Fridays, they
perhaps add a turban, and appear in yellow slippers. In the gardens,
men and women wear large broad-brimmed straw hats, to defend their
eyes from the sun, and sandals made from the leaves and fibres of the
palm trees. Very young children go entirely naked, those who are
older have a shirt, many are quite bare-headed, and in that state
exposed all day to the sun and flies. The men have but little beard,
which they keep closely clipped. The dress of the women here, differs
materially from that of the moorish females, and their appearance and
smell are far from agreeable. They plait their hair in thick bobbins,
which hang over their foreheads, nearly as low down as the eye-brows,
and are there joined at the bottom, as far round to each side as the
temples. The hair is so profusely covered with oil, that it drops
down over the face and clothes. This is dried up, by sprinkling it
with plenty of a preparation made of a plant resembling wild
lavender, cloves, and one or two more species pounded into powder,
and called atria; it forms a brown dirty-looking paste, and combined
with perspiration and the flying sand, becomes in a few days far from
savoury. The back hair is less disgusting, as it is plaited into a
long tress on each side, and is brought to hang over the shoulders;
from these tresses, ornaments of silver or of coral are suspended.
Black wool is frequently worked in with their black locks, to make
them appear longer. In the centre of the forehead, an ornament of
coral or beads is placed, hanging down to the depth of an inch or
two. A woollen handkerchief is fastened on the back of the head; it
falls over behind, and is tied by a leathern strap under the chin.
Each ear is perforated for as many rings as the woman possesses, some
wearing even six on one side. The largest, which is about five inches
in diameter, hanging lowest, supported by a string from the head.
Round the neck, a tight flat collar of beads, arranged in fancy
patterns, is worn with coral necklaces, and sometimes a broad gold
plate immediately in front. A large blue shirt is generally worn, the
collar and breast ornamented with needle-work. The women also wear
white shirts, and striped silk ones called shami, which are brought
from Egypt; a jereed and red slippers complete their dress. They
generally have their wrappers of a darker colour than those of the
men. Some of the better class of women wear trousers, not fuller in
the leg than those worn in Europe; they are very prettily embroidered
with silk at the bottom of the leg, and form a handsome contrast to
the black skin of the wearer. Cornelians or agates, roughly shaped in
the form of hearts, are much worn as necklaces, and they have a
variety of rings for the thumbs and fingers. A band of silk cord
hanging round the body from one shoulder, is generally filled with
pendent leather or cloth bags, containing charms. Round the wrists
and above the elbows, armlets of silver, gold, glass, horn or ivory
are worn, according to the ability of the wearer to purchase them,
and on the ankles they have silver, brass, copper or iron shackles.
A pair of silver ones were seen, which weighed one hundred and
twenty-eight ounces, but these ponderous ornaments produce a callous
lump on the leg, and entirely deform the ankle. The poorest people
have only the jereed and sandals. Both men and women have a singular
custom of stuffing their nostrils with a twisted leaf of onions or
clover, which has a very disgusting appearance. The men, not using
oil, are much cleaner than the women, but the whole race of them,
high and low, apparently clean, are otherwise stocked with vermin,
and they make no secret of it. The sultan has been frequently
observed, when detecting an interloper, to moisten his thumb to
prevent its escape, and then demolish it with great composure and
dignity. Some of the neighbours, whom Captain Lyon visited, while
reposing on their carpets, would send for a slave to hunt for these
tormentors on their shirts, and it is a great recommendation to a
female slave on sale to say that she is well skilled in this art, and
in that of shampooing.

The natives have a variety of dances, of which two or three are
peculiar to the country. The parties assemble on the sands in the
dusk of the evening, when a number of young men and women range
themselves side by side, and dance to the sound of drums, to which
they keep good time. The men have a rude kind of iron cymbal in each
hand, which opens and shuts; this they beat in the manner of
castanets, both sexes singing at the same time in chorus. The
movements consist in stepping forward, the whole line at once, at a
particular turn of the tune, as if to catch something with their two
hands, which they hold out; they balance themselves a short time on
the advanced foot, and then step back, turning half round, first to
one side and then to the other, the whole line then moves slowly in a
circle round the musicians, who form the centre, and who all join in
the dance. There is nothing improper nor immodest in this exhibition,
but on the contrary, from its slowness and the regularity of its
movements, it is extremely pleasing and elegant. Another dance is
performed by women only, who form a circle round the drummers, and
occasionally sing a lively chorus; one advances, and with her arms
extended, foots it to and from the drummers, two or three times,
until a change of tune, when she runs quickly backwards and falls
flat down, the women behind are ready to receive her, and by a jerk
of their arms throw her again upright, on which she once more turns
round and resumes her place, leaving the one next in succession to
her, to go through the same movements, all of which are performed in
the most just time; the whole party occasionally enlivening the
music, by their skill and extraordinary shout of joy. The dancing in
the houses is not so pleasing as that in public, and as for decency,
it is quite out of the question. The male slaves have many dances, in
which great activity and exertion are requisite. One consists in
dancing in a circle, each man armed with a stick, they all move,
first half and then quite round, striking as they turn, the sticks of
those on each side of them, and then jumping off the ground as high
as they can. Another is performed by boys, and they have no drum, but
keep chorus by singing in a particular manner, _la ilia il alia,_
(there is no God, but God.)

The sultan had frequently requested Mr. Ritchie to visit his
children, and some of his negresses when they were indisposed, and he
had in consequence frequently attended them, but being himself
confined by illness, Captain Lyon was allowed to prescribe for them,
and had therefore frequent opportunities of observing the interior of
his family, which would not otherwise have been afforded him. He was
much struck with the appearance of his daughters, one of three, the
other of one year and a half old, who were dressed in the highest
style of barbarian magnificence, and were absolutely laden with gold.
From their necks were suspended large ornaments of the manufacture of
Timbuctoo; and they had massive gold armlets and anklets of two
inches in breadth, and half an inch in thickness, which, from their
immense weight had produced callous rings round the legs and arms of
the poor infants. They wore silk shirts composed of ribbons sewed
together, in stripes of various colours, which hung down over silk
trousers. An embroidered waistcoat and cap completed this
overwhelming costume. Their nails, the tips of their fingers, the
palms of their hands and soles of their feet were dyed dark-brown
with henna. Captain Lyon viewed with amazement and pity the dress of
these poor little girls, borne down as they were with finery; but
that of the youngest boy, a stupid looking child of four years old,
was even more preposterous than that of his sisters. In addition to
the ornaments worn by them, he was loaded with a number of charms,
enclosed in gold cases, slung round his body, while in his cap were
numerous jewels, heavily set in gold, in the form of open hands, to
keep off _the evil eye._ These talismans were sewn on the front of
his cap, which they entirely covered. His clothes were highly
embroidered, and consisted of three waistcoats, a shirt of white
silk, the women only wearing coloured ones, and loose cloth, silk, or
muslin trousers.

The costume of the sultan's court or hangers-on, is strictly
Tripoline, and as fine as lace or presents of cast off-clothes can
make them. It is the custom with Mukni, in imitation of the bashaw,
to bestow occasionally on his principal people some article of dress.
Those presents are made with much affected dignity, by throwing the
garment to the person intended to be honoured, and saying, "Wear
that," the dress is immediately put on in his presence, and the
receiver kneels and kisses his hand in token of gratitude. Captain
Lyon once saw the old kadi, who was very corpulent, receive as a gift
a kaftan, which was so small for him, that when he had squeezed
himself into it, he was unable to move his arms, and was in that
condition obliged to walk home.

Each of the sultan's sons has a large troop of slaves, who attend him
wherever he goes; they are generally about the same age as their
master, and are his playmates, though they are obliged to receive
from him many hearty cuffs, without daring to complain. The suite of
the youngest boy in particular, formed a very amusing groupe, few of
them exceeding five years of age. One bears his master's _bornouse,_
another holds one shoe, walking next to the boy who carries its
fellow. Some are in fine cast-off clothes, with tarnished embroidery,
whilst others are quite or nearly naked, without even a cap on their
heads, and the procession is closed by a boy, tottering under the
weight of his master's state gun, which is never allowed to be fired

In Mourzouk, the luxuries of life are very limited, the people
principally subsisting on dates. Many do not, for months together,
taste corn; when obtained, they make it into a paste called _asooda,_
which is a softer kind of _bazeen._ Fowls have now almost disappeared
in the country, owing to the sultan having appropriated all he could
find for the consumption of his own family. The sheep and goats are
driven from the mountains near Benioleed, a distance of four hundred
miles; they pass over one desert, which, at their rate of travelling,
occupies five days, without food or water. Numbers therefore die,
which in course raises the price of the survivors, They are valued at
three or four dollars each, when they arrive, being quite skeletons,
and are as high as ten and twelve, when fatted. Bread is badly made,
and is baked in ovens formed of clay in holes in the earth, and
heated by burning wood; the loaves, or rather flat cakes are struck
into the side, and are thus baked by the heat which rises from the
embers. Butter is brought in goat-skins from the Syrtis, and is very
dear. Tobacco is very generally chewed by the women, as well as by
the men. They use it with the _trona_ (soda). Smoking is the
amusement of a great man, rather than of the lower class, the mild
tobacco being very dear, and pipes not easily procured.

The revenues of the sultan of Fezzan arise from slaves, merchandise,
and dates. For every slave, great or small, he receives, on their
entering his kingdom, two Spanish dollars; in some years the number
of slaves amount to 4,000; for a camel's load of oil or butter, seven
dollars; for a load of beads, copper, or hardware, four dollars; and
of clothing, three dollars. All Arabs, who buy dates pay a dollar
duty on each load, equal at times to the price of the article, before
they are allowed to remove it. Above 3,000 loads are sold to them
annually. Date trees, except those of the kadi and mamlukes, are
taxed at the rate of one dollar for every two hundred; by this duty,
in the neighbourhood of Mourzouk, or more properly in the few
immediately neighbouring villages, the sultan receives yearly 10,000
dollars. Of all sheep or goats, he is entitled to a fifth. On the
sale of every slave, he has, in addition to the head-money, a dollar
and a half, which, at the rate of 4,000, gives another 6,000 dollars.
The captured slaves are sold by auction, at which the sultan's
brokers attend, bidding high only for the finest. The owner bids
against them until he has an offer equal to what he considers as the
value of the slave; he has then three-fourths of the money paid to
him, while one-fourth is paid by the purchaser to the sultan. Should
the owner not wish to part with his slaves, he buys them in, and the
sum which he last names, is considered as the price, from which he
has to pay the sultan's share. The trees, which are his private
property, produce about 6,000 camel loads of dates, each load 400
pounds weight, and which may be estimated at 18,000 dollars. Every
garden pays a _tenth_ of the corn produced. The gardens are very
small, and are watered, with great labour, from brackish wells. Rain
is unknown, and dews never fall. In these alone corn is raised, as
well as other esculents. Pomegranates and fig-trees are sometimes
planted in the water-channels. Presents of slaves are frequently
made, and fines levied. Each town pays a certain sum, which is small;
but as the towns are numerous, it may be averaged to produce 4,000
dollars. Add to this his annual excursions for slaves, sometimes
bringing 1,000 or 1,600, of which one-fourth are his, as well as the
same proportion of camels. He alone can sell horses, which he buys
for five or six dollars, when half starved, from the Arabs, who come
to trade, and cannot maintain them, and makes a great profit by
obtaining slaves in exchange for them. All his people are fed by the
public, and he has no money to pay, except to the bashaw, which is
about 15,000 dollars per annum. There are various other ways, in
which he extorts money. If a man dies childless, the sultan inherits
great part of his property; and if he thinks it necessary to kill a
man, he becomes his entire heir.

In Mourzouk, about a tenth part of the population are slaves, though
many of them have been brought away from their native country so
young as hardly to be considered in that light. With respect to the
household slaves, little or no difference is to be perceived between
them and freemen, and they are often entrusted with the affairs of
their master. These domestic slaves are rarely sold, and on the death
of any of the family to which they belong, one or more of them
receive their liberty; when, being accustomed to the country, and not
having any recollection of their own, they marry, settle, and are
consequently considered as naturalised. It was the custom, when the
people were more opulent, to liberate a male or female on the feast
of Bairam, after the fast of Rhamadan. This practice is not entirely
obsolete, but nearly so. In Mourzouk there are some white families,
who are called mamlukes, being descended from renegades, whom the
bashaw had presented to the former sultan. These families and their
descendants are considered noble, and, however poor and low their
situation may be, are not a little vain of their title.

The general appearance of the men of Fezzan is plain, and their
complexion black. The women are of the same colour, and ugly in the
extreme. Neither sex are remarkable for figure, weight, strength,
vigour, or activity. They have a very peculiar cast of countenance,
which distinguishes them from other blacks; their cheek-bones are
higher and more prominent, their faces flatter, and their noses less
depressed, and more peaked at the tip than those of the negroes.
Their eyes are generally small, and their mouths of an immense width;
but their teeth are frequently good; their hair is woolly, though not
completely frizzled. They are a cheerful people, fond of dancing and
music, and obliging to each other. The men almost all read and write
a little, but in every thing else they are very dull and heavy; their
affections are cold and selfish, and a kind of general indifference
to the common incidents of life, mark all their actions. They are
neither prone to sudden anger, nor at all revengeful. In Mourzouk the
men drink a great quantity of _lackbi,_ or a drink called _busa,_
which is prepared from the dates, and is very intoxicating. The men
are good-humoured drunkards, and when friends assemble in the
evening, the ordinary amusement is mere drinking; but sometimes a
_kadanka_ (singing girl) is sent for. The Arabs practise hospitality
generally; but among the Fezzaners that virtue does not exist, they
are, however, very attentive and obsequious to those in whose power
they are, or who can repay them tenfold for their pretended
disinterestedness. Their religion enjoins, that, should a stranger
enter while they are at their meals, he must be invited to partake,
but they generally contrive to evade this injunction by eating with
closed doors. The lower classes are from necessity very industrious,
women as well as men, as they draw water, work in the gardens, drive
the asses, make mats, baskets, &c. in addition to their other
domestic duties. People of the better class, or, more properly, those
who can afford to procure slaves to work for them, are, on the
contrary, very idle and lethargic; they do nothing but lounge or loll
about, inquiring what their neighbours have had for dinner, gossip
about slaves, dates, &c., or boast of some cunning cheat, which they
have practised on a Tibboo or Tuarick, who, though very knowing
fellows, are, comparatively with the Fezzaners, fair in their
dealings. Their moral character is on a par with that of the
Tripolines, though, if any thing, they are rather less insincere.
Falsehood is not considered odious, unless when detected; and when
employed in trading, they affirm that it is allowed by the Koran, for
the good of merchants. However this may be, Captain Lyon asserts,
that he never could find any one able to point out the passage
authorizing these commercial falsehoods.

The lower classes work neatly in leather; they weave a few coarse
barracans, and make iron-work in a solid, though clumsy manner. One
or two work in gold and silver with much skill, considering the
badness of their tools, and every man is capable of acting as a
carpenter or mason; the wood being that of the date tree, and the
houses being built of mud, very little elegance or skill is
necessary. Much deference is paid to the artists in leather or
metals, who are called, _par excellence, sta,_ or master, as
leather-master, iron-master, &c.

From the constant communication with Bornou and Soudan, the languages
of both these countries are generally spoken, and many of their words
are introduced into the Arabic. The family slaves and their children
by their masters, constantly speak the language of the country,
whence they originally come. Their writing is in the Mogrebyn
character, which is used, as is supposed by Captain Lyon, universally
in western Africa, and differs much from that of the east. The
pronunciation is also very different, the kaf being pronounced as a
G, and only marked with one nunnation, and F is pointed below; they
have no idea of arithmetic, but reckon every thing by dots on the
sand, ten in a line; many can hardly tell how much two and two amount
to. They expressed great surprise at the Europeans being able to add
numbers together without fingering. Though very fond of poetry, they
are incapable of composing it. The Arabs, however, invent a few
little songs, which the natives have much pleasure in learning, and
the women sing some of the negro airs very prettily, while grinding
their corn.

The songs of the kadankas (singing girls), who answer to the Egyptian
almehs, is Soudanic. Their musical instrument is called rhababe, or
erhab. It is an excavated hemisphere, made from the shell of a gourd
lime, and covered with leather; to this a long handle is fixed, on
which is stretched a string of horse hairs, longitudinally closed,
and compact as one cord, about the thickness of a quill. This is
played upon with a bow. Captain Lyon says, the women really produced
a very pleasing, though a wild melody; their songs were pretty and
plaintive, and generally in the Soudan language, which is very
musical. What is rather singular, he heard the same song sung by the
same woman that Horneman mentions, and she recollected having seen
that traveller at the castle.

The lower classes and the slaves, who, in point of colour and
appearance, are the same, labour together. The freeman has, however,
only one inducement to work, which is hunger; he has no notion of
laying by any thing for the advantage of his family, or as a reserve
for himself in his old age; but if by any chance he obtains money, he
remains idle until it is expended, and then returns unwillingly to
work. The females here are allowed greater liberty than those of
Tripoli, and are more kindly treated. Though so much better used than
those of Barbary, their life is still a state of slavery. A man never
ventures to speak of his women; is reproached, if he spends much time
in their company, never eats with them; but is waited upon at his
meals, and fanned by them while he sleeps. Yet these poor beings,
never having known the sweets of liberty, are, in spite of their
humiliation, comparatively happy.

The authority of parents over their children is very great; some
fathers of the better class do not allow their sons even to eat or
sit down in their presence, until they become men; the poorer orders
are less strict.

There are no written records of events amongst the Fezzaners, and
their traditions are so disfigured, and so strangely mingled with
religious and superstitious falsehoods, that no confidence can be
placed in them. Yet the natives themselves look with particular
respect on a man capable of talking of the people of the olden time.
Several scriptural traditions are selected and believed. The Psalms
of David, the Pentateuch, the Books of Solomon, and many extracts
from the inspired writers, are universally known, and most
reverentially considered. The New Testament, translated into the
Arabic, which Captain Lyon took with him, was eagerly read, and no
exception was made to it, but that of our Saviour being designated as
the son of God. St. Paul, or Baulus, bears all the blame of Mahomet's
name not being inserted in it, as they believe that his coming was
foretold by Christ, but that Paul erased it; he is therefore called a
kaffir, and his name is not used with much reverence.

Captain Lyon had not been more than ten days at Mourzouk, before he
was attacked with severe dysentery, which confined him to his bed
during twenty-two days, and reduced him to the last extremity. His
unadorned narrative conveys an affecting account of the sufferings to
which the party were exposed from the insalubrity of the climate; the
inadequate arrangements which had been made for their comfort, or
even subsistence, and the sordid and treacherous conduct of the
sultan. "Our little party," he says, "was at this time miserably
poor; for we had money only sufficient for the purchase of corn to
keep us alive, and never tasted meat, unless fortunate enough to kill
a pigeon in the gardens. My illness was the first break up in our
little community, and from that time, it rarely happened that one or
two of us were not confined to our beds. The extreme saltness of the
water, the poor quality of our food, together with the excessive heat
and dryness of the climate, long retarded my recovery, and when it
did take place, it was looked on as a miracle by those who had seen
me in my worst state, and who thought it impossible for me to
survive. I was no sooner convalescent than Mr. Ritchie fell ill, and
was confined to his bed with an attack of bilious fever, accompanied
with delirium, and great pain in his back and kidneys, for which he
required frequent cupping. When a little recovered, he got up for two
days, but his disorder soon returned with redoubled and alarming
violence. He rejected every thing but water, and, excepting about
three hours in the afternoon, remained either constantly asleep or in
a delirious state. Even had he been capable of taking food, we had
not the power of purchasing any which could nourish or refresh him.
Our money was now all expended, and the sultan's treacherous plans to
distress us, which daily became too apparent, were so well arranged,
that we could not find any one to buy our goods. For six entire weeks
we were without animal food, subsisting on a very scanty portion of
corn and dates. Our horses were mere skeletons, added to which,
Belford became totally deaf, and so emaciated as to be unable to
walk. My situation was now such as to create the most gloomy
apprehensions. My naturally sanguine mind, however, and above all, my
firm reliance on that Power which had so mercifully protected me on
so many trying occasions, prevented my giving way to despondency; and
Belford beginning soon to rally a little, we united, and took turns
in nursing and attending on our poor companion. At this time, having
no servant, we performed for Mr. Ritchie the most menial offices.
Two young men, brothers, whom we had treated with great kindness, and
whom we had engaged to attend on us, so far from commiserating our
forlorn condition, forsook us in our distress, and even carried off
our little store of rice and cuscoussou; laughing at our complaints,
and well knowing that our poverty prevented the redress which we
should otherwise have sought and obtained."

Rhamadan, the Mahommedan Lent, was announced on the 22nd June. The
strictest fast was immediately commenced, lasting from before day,
about three a.m., till sunset, seven p.m. In order to support their
assumed character as Moslem; they were now obliged, during the
sixteen hours, to eat only by stealth, their friend Mukni having
surrounded them with spies. Mr. Ritchie only, being confined to his
bed by illness, was privileged to take food or drink. The excessive
heat, which now raged, added to their sufferings. During the month of
June, the thermometer, at five o'clock a.m., stood at from 86 deg. to
93 deg., but at two o'clock p.m., it rose to 117 deg., 122 deg., 124 deg., and at
length, on the 19th and 20th, to 131 deg. and 133 deg. of Fahrenheit. In the
early part of July, the heat somewhat abated; the thermometer, at two
p.m., ranging between 110 deg. and 117 deg.. Towards the close of the month,
it again rose to 125 deg., in August to 130 deg. and 133 deg., in September it
ranged between 119 deg. and 133 deg., with little difference in the
temperature of the mornings; and in October, the average was about
110 deg.. The minimum, in December, was 51 deg. at five a.m., and 77 deg. in the

The close of the Rhamadan, on the 22d July, was attended, in the
city, with the most extravagant demonstrations of rejoicing.
Everybody was in motion, screaming, dancing, firing guns, eating and
drinking. Poor Mr. Ritchie, after having been confined to his bed for
fifty-eight days, was now able to sit up a little, and by the 20th
August had tolerably recovered. About the same time, Belford was
again attacked with giddiness and deafness, and fell into a very weak
state. Their rate of living was now reduced to a quart of corn _per
diem,_ with occasionally a few dates, divided amongst four persons.
No one would purchase their merchandize, owing, as it became apparent
to Mukni's treacherous orders. Mr. Ritchie, for reasons not
explained, did not think it right to draw for money on the treasury,
and they were reduced to the last extremity, when the sultan
graciously condescended to advance them eight dollars, and at this
time a neighbour repaid them ten dollars, which they had lent soon
after their arrival. They were now able to treat themselves with a
little meat. About the 20th September, Mr. Ritchie, who had never
recovered his spirits, but had latterly shunned the society even of
his companions, again relapsed, and was confined to his bed, and
Belford, though better in health, was entirely deaf; their condition
became every day more destitute. They had hired a woman to cook for
them at a dollar a month. She was required to come only once a day,
to bake their bread or make their cuscoussou; and it often happened,
that when she had stolen half the allowance to which they had
restricted themselves, they were obliged to fast till the morrow.
They were saved, when on the very brink of starvation, by a supply of
seven dollars, the munificent reward conferred upon Belford by the
sultan, for constructing a rude kind of carriage for him. Soon
afterwards, they sold a horse for seventy dollars. This seasonable
supply was carefully economized; but it had become much reduced when
Captain Lyon and Belford both fell ill again. The former rose from
his bed, after being confined to it for a week, a skeleton. Under
this exigency they met with a remarkable instance of disinterested
friendship on the part of a native, Yusuf el Lizari, who, as well as
his brother, had previously shown them much kindness. "One night,"
says Captain Lyon, "as we were all sitting pensively on our mat, our
friend Yusuf came in, and, addressing Mr. Ritchie, said, 'Yusuf, you,
and Said are my friends. Mukni has hopes you may die, that he may
secure to himself all your goods. You seem very melancholy; do you
want money?' Mr. Ritchie having acknowledged that he did, Yusuf
rejoined, 'I have none myself, but I will borrow some for you.'
Twenty dollars being the sum named, our kind friend went out, and
soon returned with thirty, an act of generosity so unlocked for, that
we were incapable of thanking him as he deserved. This seasonable
supply enabled us to buy some good food, and to make some amends for
our late privations. Our health soon improved, and Mr. Ritchie's
spirits began to brighten."

But this interval of hope was soon darkened. On the 8th of November,
poor Ritchie was again attacked by illness, and after lying for three
or four days in a state of torpor, without taking any refreshment, he
again became delirious, and on the 20th expired. The two survivors of
this ill-fated party were themselves reduce to the lowest state of
debility, and the only prospect before them, was that of probably
following, in a few days, their lamented companion. "And now, for the
first time in all our distresses," says Captain Lyon, "my hopes did
indeed fail me. Belford, as well as he was able, hastened to form a
rough coffin out of their chests, while the washers of the dead came
to perform their melancholy office. The protestant burial service was
read over the body, in secret, during the night, and on the next day,
the remains were committed to the grave. At the grave, it was deemed
necessary to keep up the farce of Mahommadism, by publicly reciting
the first chapter of the Koran, which the most serious Christian
would consider as a beautiful and applicable form on such an

Within an hour after the funeral, a courier arrived from Tripoli,
announcing that a further allowance of L1,000 had been made by the
British government towards the expenses of the expedition. Had this
welcome intelligence reached them a little sooner, many of their
distresses would have been prevented. The efforts and mental
exertions which the survivors of the party had undergone, proved,
however, too much for their strength, and, for ten days, both were
again confined to their beds. During this time, they were most
humanely attended by Yusuf and Haji Mahmoud, and by a little girl,
who was their principal nurse. At length, Captain Lyon sufficiently
recovered his health, to undertake, during the months of December and
January, two excursions to the east and south of Mourzouk,
preparatory to his return to England. On the 9th of February, he
finally left Mourzouk; and on the 25th March, exactly one year from
the day on which the party left Tripoli, the Captain and Belford, his
surviving companion, re-entered that capital.


Death had hitherto been the lot of the African adventurers, but
nothing could shake the determination of the British government, to
obtain, by some means or other, a competent degree of information
respecting the unknown countries of Africa. The great favour enjoyed
at the court of Tripoli, was still regarded as an advantageous
circumstance. It was chiefly due to the prudence and ability of Mr.
Warrington, without whose advice scarcely any thing of importance was
transacted. The bashaw was therefore disposed to renew his protection
to whatever mission Britain might send; nor could the support of any
sovereign have been more efficient, for the influence of this petty
prince, and the terror of his name, were almost unbounded in the
greatest kingdoms of central Africa. One weapon, the gun, in the
hands of his troops, gives him all this superiority; for the remoter
nations, from the Nile to the Atlantic, scarcely know any other arms
besides the spear, the bow, and the javelin. A musket among those
tribes is an object of almost supernatural dread; individuals have
been seen kneeling down before it, speaking to it in whispers, and
addressing to it earnest supplications. With troops thus armed, the
bashaw of Tripoli is esteemed, in northern Africa, the most potent
monarch on earth; and it is a matter of surprise amongst the natives,
that he has not ere now compelled all Europe to embrace the
Mahommedan faith. He could, therefore, assure the English, that for
any but physical obstacles, they might travel in safety from Tripoli
to Bornou, as from Edinburgh to London.

Under the confidence inspired by these circumstances, government
prepared another expedition, and without difficulty procured a fresh
band of adventurers, who undertook to brave all its perils. Major
Denham, Lieutenant Clapperton, of the navy, and Dr. Oudney, a naval
surgeon, possessing a considerable knowledge of natural history, were
appointed to the service. Without delay they proceeded to Tripoli,
where they arrived on the 18th November, 1821. They were immediately
introduced to the bashaw, whom they found sitting cross-legged on a
carpet, attended by armed negroes. After treating them to sherbet and
coffee, he invited them to a hawking party, where he appeared mounted
on a milk-white Arabian steed, superbly caparisoned, having a saddle
of crimson velvet, richly studded with gold nails and with
embroidered trappings. The hunt began on the borders of the desert,
where parties of six or eight Arabs dashed forward quick as
lightning, fired suddenly, and rushed back with loud cries. The
skill, with which they manoeuvred their steeds, whirling the long
muskets over their heads, as they rode at full gallop, appeared quite

On the 5th March, the party left Tripoli for Benioleed. Here the
consul and his son, who had accompanied them from Tripoli, took their
leave, with many hearty good wishes for their success and prosperity.

On the day previously to their approach to Sockna, the uniformity of
the journey was somewhat enlivened, by meeting with a kafila, or
coffle of slaves from Fezzan, in which were about seventy negresses,
much better looking and more healthy than any they had seen near the
sea coast. They were marching in parties of fifteen or twenty, and on
inquiring of one of these parties from whence they came, the poor
things divided themselves with the greatest simplicity, and answered,
"Soudan, Berghami and Kanem," pointing out the different parcels from
each country as they spoke. Those from Soudan had the most regular
features, and an expression of countenance particularly pleasing.

Passing a small wadey and plantation of date trees, they had soon a
view of Sockna, and were met on the plain on which it stands, by the
governor and principal inhabitants, accompanied by some hundreds of
the country people, who all crowded round their horses, kissing their
hands, and welcoming them with every appearance of sincerity and
satisfaction, and in this way they entered the town; the words
_Inglesi, Inglesi,_ were repeated by a hundred voices. This was to
them highly satisfactory, as they were the first English travellers
in Africa, who had resisted the persuasion that a disguise was
necessary, and who had determined to travel in their real character
as Britons and Christians, and to wear on all occasions their English
dresses; nor had they at any future period occasion to regret that
they had done so. There was here neither jealousy nor distrust of
them as Christians, on the contrary, Major Denham was perfectly
satisfied that their reception would have been less friendly, had
they assumed a character that would have been at the best but ill
supported. In trying to make themselves appear as Mussulmans, they
would have been set down as real impostors.

Of the inhabitants of Sockna, we have already given a full account in
the foregoing travels of Captain Lyon, nor does the history given by
Major Denham differ in any of the essential points. Of the affability
of the females, the travellers had however many proofs, and whilst
only two of them were walking through the town one morning, with a
little army of ragged boys following them, two of rather the better
order quickly dispersed them, and invited the English to enter a
house, saying that a _mara zene,_ a beautiful woman, wished to see
them. They put themselves under their guidance, and entering a better
sort of dwelling house, were quickly surrounded by half a dozen
ladies, most of them aged, but who asked them a thousand questions,
and when satisfied that their visitors were not dangerous people,
called several younger ones, who appeared to be but waiting for
permission to show themselves. The dresses of the visitors were
then minutely examined; the yellow buttons on their waistcoats, and
their watches created the greatest astonishment. Major Denham wore a
pair of loose white trousers, into the pockets of which he
accidentally put his hands, which raised the curiosity of the ladies
to a wonderful degree; the major's hands were pulled out, and those
of three or four of the ladies thrust in, in their stead; these were
replaced by others, all demanding their use so violently and loudly,
that he had considerable difficulty in extricating himself, and was
glad to make his escape.

The remaining half of their journey to Mourzouk was pretty nearly the
same kind of surface as they had passed before, but in some places
worse. Sometimes two, and once three days, they were without finding
a supply of water, which was generally muddy, bitter, or brackish.
Nor is this the worst which sometimes befals the traveller; the
overpowering effect of a sudden sand-wind, when nearly at the close
of the desert, often destroys a whole kafila, already weakened by
fatigue, and the spot was pointed out to them strewed with bones and
dried carcasses, where the year before, fifty sheep, two camels, and
two men perished from thirst and fatigue, when within eight hours
march of the well, for which they were then anxiously looking.

Indeed the sand storm they had the misfortune to encounter in
crossing the desert, gave them a pretty correct idea of the dreaded
effects of these hurricanes. The wind raised the fine sand, with
which the extensive desert was covered, so as to fill the atmosphere,
and render the immense space before them impenetrable to the eye
beyond a few yards. The sun and clouds were entirely obscured, and a
suffocating and oppressive weight accompanied the flakes and masses
of sand, which it might be said they had to penetrate at every step.
At times they completely lost sight of the camels, though only a few
yards before them. The horses hung their tongues out of their mouths,
and refused to face the torrents of sand. A sheep that accompanied
the kafila, the last of their stock, lay down in the road, and they
were obliged to kill him and throw the carcass on a camel; a parching
thirst oppressed them, which nothing alleviated. They had made but
little way by three o'clock in the afternoon, when the wind got round
to the eastward, and imparted to them a little refreshment. With this
change they moved on until about five, when they halted, protected a
little by three several ranges of irregular hills, some conical, and
some table-topped. As they had but little wood, their fare was
confined to tea, and they hoped to find relieve from their fatigues
by a sound sleep. That, however, was denied them; the tent had been
imprudently pitched, and was exposed to the east wind, which blew a
hurricane during the night: the tent was blown down, and the whole
detachment were employed a full hour in getting it up again; their
bedding and everything within it was during that time completely
buried, by the constant driving of the sand. Major Denham was obliged
three times during the night, to get up for the purpose of
strengthening the pegs, and when he awoke in the morning, two
hillocks of sand were formed on each side of his head, some inches
high. On the 7th April, they arrived at a village in the midst of a
vast multitude of palm trees, just one day's journey short of
Mourzouk. As it was to be the last day's march, they were all in good
spirits at the prospect of rest, and had they made their arrangements
with judgment, every thing would have gone on well. They had,
however, neglected sending _an axant courier,_ to advise the sultan
of their arrival, a practice which ought particularly to have been
attended to, and consequently their reception was not what it ought
to have been. They arrived at D'leem, a small plantation of date
trees, at noon, and finding no water in the well, were obliged to
proceed, and it was three in the afternoon before they arrived at the
wells near Mourzouk. Here they were obliged to wait till the camels
came up, in order that they might advance in form. They might,
however, have saved themselves the trouble. No one came out to meet
them, except some naked boys, and a mixture of Tibboos, Tuaricks, and
Fezzanese, who gazed at them with astonishment, and no very pleasant

They determined on not entering the town, in a manner so little
flattering to those whom they represented, and retiring to a rising
ground, a little distance from the gates of the town, waited the
return of a _chaoush,_ who had been despatched to announce their
arrival. After half an hour's delay, the Shiek el Blad, the governor
of the town came out, and in the sultan's name requested they would
accompany him to the house, which had been prepared for them, and he
added, to their great surprise, the English consul is there already.
The fact was, a very ill-looking Jew servant of Major Denham's,
mounted on a white mule, with a pair of small canteens under him, had
preceded the camels and entered the town by himself. He was received
with great respect by all the inhabitants, conducted through the
streets to the house which was destined to receive the party, and
from the circumstance of the canteens being all covered with small
brass shining nails, a very high idea, of his consequence was formed.
He very sensibly received ail their attentions in silence, and drank
the cool water and milk which were handed to him, and they always had
the laugh against them afterwards, for having shown so much civility
to an Israelite, a race which are heartily despised. "We thought the
English," said they, "were better looking than Jews--death to their
race! but the God made us all, though not all handsome like
Mussulmans, so who could tell?"

As they were all this time exposed to a burning sun, they were well
inclined to compromise a little of their dignity, and determined on
entering the town, which they did by the principal gate. Their
interview with the sultan of Mourzouk was anything but encouraging;
he told them that there was no intention, as they had been led to
expect, of any expedition to proceed to the southward for some time
to come; that an army could only move in the spring of the year; that
the arrangements for moving a body of men through a country, where
every necessary must be carried on camels, both for men and horses,
were go numerous, that before the following spring it was scarcely
possible to complete them, that two camels were required for every
man and horse, and one for every two men on foot. And as to their
proceeding to Bornou, it would be necessary had the bashaw instructed
him to forward them, that they should be accompanied by an escort of
two hundred men. He said, he would read to them the bashaw's letter,
and they should see the extent to which he could forward their
wishes. The letter was then handed to his fighi, or secretary, and
they found that they were entrusted to the protection of the sultan
of Fezzan, who was to charge himself with their safety, and to ensure
their being treated with respect and attention by all his subjects.
That they were to reside at Sebha or Mourzouk, or wherever they chose
in the kingdom of Fezzan, and to await his return from Tripoli. With
this their audience ended, and they returned to their habitation.

It is quite impossible to express the disheartening feelings, with
which they left the castle. The heat was intense; the thermometer
standing at 97 deg. in the coolest spot in the house during the of the
day; and the nights were scarcely less oppressive; the flies were in
such myriads, that darkness was the only refuge from their annoyance.

They received visits from all the principal people of Mourzouk, the
day after their arrival, and remarking a very tall Turiack, with a
pair of expressive, large, benevolent looking eyes, above the black
mask, with which they always cover the lower part of their face,
hovering about the door, Major Denham made signs to him to come near,
and inquired after Hateeta, the chief, of whom Captain Lyon had
spoken so highly, and for whom at his request, he was the bearer of a
sword. To the great surprise of Major Denham, striking his breast, he
exclaimed, "I am Hateeta, Are you a countryman of Said? (Captain
Lyon's travelling name,) How is he? I have often longed to hear of
him." Major Denham found that Hateeta had been but once in Mourzouk,
since the departure of Captain Lyon, and was to remain only a few
days. On the following morning, he came to the house, and the sword
was presented to him. It would be difficult to describe his delight,
he drew the sword and returned it repeatedly, pressed it to his
breast, exclaimed, Allah! Allah! took the hand of Major Denham, and
pressing it, said, _katar heyrick yassur yassur,_ (thank you very,
very much,) nearly all the Arabic he could speak. It was shortly
reported all over the town, that Hateeta had received a present from
Said, worth one hundred dollars.

They had been several times visited, and their hopes and spirits
raised by a person called Boo Bucker, Boo Khaloom. He said that it
was in the sultan's power to send them on to Bornou, if he pleased,
he even hinted that a bribe for himself might induce him to do so;
this, however, was found not to be the case. Boo Khaloom was
represented to them, and truly, as a merchant of very considerable
riches and affluence in the interior. He was on the eve of starting
for Tripoli, with really superb presents for the bashaw. He had five
hundred slaves, the handsomest that could be procured, besides other
things. He stated in secret, that his principal object in going to
Tripoli, was to obtain the removal of the sultan of Fezzan, and he
wished that they should make application to the bashaw, for him to
accompany them further into the interior; they were not, however, to
hint that the proposition had come from him. Boo Khaloom said, that
he should be instantly joined by upwards of one hundred merchants,
who waited for his going, and no further escort would be necessary;
that he should merely remain a few weeks in Tripoli, and on his
return they should instantly move on.

Boo Khaloom left Mourzouk for Tripoli with his slaves and presents,
loading upwards of thirty camels, apparently reconciled to, and upon
good terms with the sultan. It was, however, very well known, that
Sultan Mustapha had set every engine at work to have Boo Khaloom's
head taken off, on his arrival at Tripoli, and that the other was
willing to sacrifice all that he was worth to displace and ruin
Mustapha in the bashaw's favour.

It was not until the 18th, that the sultan, after attending the
mosque, started for Tripoli; all his camels and suite had marched in
divisions for three days previously; in slaves he had alone more than
1,500. He was attended by about ten horsemen, his particular
favourites, and four flags were carried before him, through the town.
The inhabitants complained dreadfully of his avarice, and declared
that he had not left a dollar, or an animal worth one, in all Fezzan.

Nothing was now to be done but to make their arrangements for a
favourable start the following spring. By the sultan's departure,
every necessary for their proceeding was withdrawn from the spot
where they were. Not a camel was to be procured, and every dollar,
that he could by any means force from his subjects, was forwarded to
Tripoli. To that place, therefore, were they to look for supplies of
every kind, and it was unanimously decided, that the departure of
Major Denham for Tripoli should follow that of the sultan or as soon
as possible.

In pursuance of this determination to represent to the bashaw of
Tripoli, how necessary it was that something more than promises
should be given them for their sterling money, on Monday, the 20th
May, Major Denham left Mourzouk, with only his own negro servant,
three camels, and two Arabs, and after a most dreary journey of
twenty days, over the same uninteresting country which he had already
traversed, the more dreary for want of his former companions, he
arrived at Tripoli on the 12th June, where he was received by the
consul, with his usual hospitality and kindness, and he assigned him
apartments in the consulate.

Major Denham requested an immediate audience of the bashaw, which, in
consequence of the Rhamadan, was not granted him until the following
evening. The consul, Captain Smyth of the navy, and Major Denham,
attended. The latter represented, in the strongest terms, how greatly
they were disappointed at the unexpected and ruinous delay, which
they had experienced at Mourzouk, and requested a specific time being
fixed for their proceeding to Bornou, stating also, that were the
answer not satisfactory, he should proceed forthwith to England, and
represent to the government how grievously they had been deceived.
The I bashaw denied having intentionally broken his word, and
solemnly declared that the will of God, in visiting the sultan of
Fezzan with sickness, had alone prevented their being now on the road
to Bornou.

Not receiving the full satisfaction which was expected, Major Denham
lost no time in setting sail for England, to lodge a complaint with
his own court. This news was painfully felt by the bashaw, who sent
vessel after vessel, one of which at last overtook Major Denham,
while performing quarantine at Marseilles, and announced to him, that
arrangements were actually made with Boo Khaloom, for escorting him
to the capital of Bornou. Major Denham immediately re-embarked, and a
seven days' passage brought him once more to the shores of Barbary.
Boo Khaloom and part of the escort were already at the entrance of
the desert; and on the 17th September, they re-entered the pass of
Melghri in the Tarhona Mountains.

Hope and confidence had now taken possession of the mind of Major
Denham, in the place of anxiety and disappointment; there was now an
air of assurance and success in all their arrangements, and, with
this conviction, Major Denham felt his health and spirits increase.
But little beyond the casualties attendant on desert travelling,
occurred previously to their arriving again at Sockna, which took
place on the 2nd October.

Major Denham found that the great failing of his friend, Boo Khaloom,
was pomp and show; and feeling that he was on this occasion the
representative of the bashaw, he was evidently unwilling that any
sultan of Fezzan should exceed him in magnificence. On entering
Sockna, his six principal followers, handsomely attired in turbans
and fine barracans, and mounted on his best horses, kept near his
person, whilst the others at a little distance, formed the flanks.
Major Denham rode on his right hand, dressed in his British uniform,
with loose Turkish trousers, a red turban, red boots, with a white
bornouse over all, as a shade from the sun, and this, though not
strictly according to orders, was by no means an unbecoming dress.
Boo Khaloom was mounted on a beautiful white Tunisian horse, a
present from the bashaw, the peak and rear of the saddle covered with
gold, and his housings were of scarlet cloth, with a border of gold
six inches broad. His dress consisted of red boots, richly
embroidered with gold, yellow silk trousers, a crimson velvet caftan
with gold buttons, a silk benise of sky blue, and a silk sidria
underneath. A transparent white silk barraca was thrown lightly over
this, and on his shoulder hung a scarlet bornouse with wide gold
lace, a present also from the bashaw, which had cost at least four
hundred dollars, and a cashmere shawl turban crowned the whole. In
this splendid array they moved on, until, as they approached the
gates of the town, the dancing and singing men and women met them,
and amidst these, the shouts and firing of the men, who skirmished
before them, and the loo! loo! of the women, they entered Sockna.

They found that houses were provided for them in the town, but the
kafila bivouacked outside the gates. It had always been their
intention to halt at Sockna for three or four days, and here they
expected to be joined by a party of Megarha Arabs, whom their sheik,
Abdi Smud ben Erhoma, had left them for the purpose of collecting
together. Hoon and Wadan were also to furnish them with another

The house of Major Denham consisted of a court yard eighteen feet
square, and a small dark room, leading out of it by two steps. The
court, however, was the greater part of the day shaded, and here on a
carpet, the major received his visitors. The Arabs, as they arrived,
were all sent to him by Boo Khaloom, and their presentation has a
form in it, not much in character with their accustomed rudeness:
they all come armed with their long guns, and the same girdle which
confines their barracan, contains also two long pistols; the chief
enters, and salutes, dropping on one knee, and touching the
stranger's right hand with his, which he carries afterwards to his
lips; he then says, "Here are my men, who are come to say health to
you." On receiving permission, they approached Major Denham one by
one, saluting in the same manner as their chief, who continued to
remain at his side; they then sat down, forming a sort of semi-circle
round the major, with their guns upright between their knees, and
after a little time, on the sheik's making a signal, they all quitted
the presence.

Boo Khaloom at this time became so alarmingly ill, that their
departure was of necessity postponed. He requested Major Denham to
prescribe for him. All the fighis' (writers,) and marabouts in
Sockna, were employed on this occasion by the friends of Boo Khaloom;
and one night the tassels of his cap were literally loaded with their
charms. Boo Khaloom assured Major Denham, when alone, that he had no
faith in such things, and smiled when he said his friends would think
ill of him, were he to refuse; his faith was, however, stronger than
he chose to acknowledge; for entering one morning unexpectedly, the
major found him with a dove, that had just been killed and cut open,
lying on his head, which, as he assured him, was, because a very
great marabout had come from Wadan on purpose to perform the
operation. Major Denham was nevertheless still more surprised to find
him seated on a carpet, in the centre of the little court yard of his
house, in the middle of the day, with five of his hordes round him,
which had been brought from the tents by his order. The major was
convinced, that this was some superstitious idea of the mystic
influence which his horses were supposed to have upon his fate, and
on expressing his surprise, he made him sit down and told him the
following story.

"Sidi Mohammed, praise be to his name!" said he, "was once applied to
by a poor man, whose speculations in trade always turned out
disadvantageously; his children died, and nothing flourished with
him. Mohammed told him, that horses were nearly connected with his
fate, and that he must buy horses before he would be fortunate. 'If I
cannot afford to keep myself,' said the man, 'how can I feed
horses?'--'No matter,' said the prophet; alive or dead, no good
fortune will come upon your house until you have them.' The poor man
went and purchased the head of a dead horse, which was all his means
enabled him to do, and this he placed over his house, little dreaming
of the good fortune, which by this means he was to enjoy. Before the
first day passed, to his extreme surprise and joy, he saw a bird,
with a chain attached to its neck, entangled with the horse's head;
and, on mounting to the housetop to extricate the bird, he found it
one of the greatest beauty, and that the chain was of diamonds. He
was not long in discovering the bird had escaped from the window of
the favourite of a certain sultan, who, on its being restored, gave
the poor man the chain as his reward, and by means of which he became
rich and happy. Now," said Boo Khaloom, "I dreamt of this story last
night, and that I was the poor man."

During their stay at Sockna, the marriage of the son of one of the
richest inhabitants, Haji Mohammed-el-Hair-Trigge, was celebrated in
the true Arab style. There is something so rudely chivalric in their
ceremonies, so very superior to the dull monotony of a Tripolitan
wedding, where from one to five hundred guests, all males assemble,
covered with gold lace, and look at one another from the evening of
one day until daylight the next, that we cannot refrain from
transcribing it.

The morning of the marriage-day, (for the ceremony is always
performed in the evening, that is, the final ceremony, for they are
generally betrothed, and the fatah read a year before,) is ushered in
by the music of the town or tribe, consisting of a bagpipe and two
small drums, serenading the bride first, and then the bridegroom, who
generally walks through the streets, very finely dressed, with all
the town at his heels; during which all the women assemble at the
bride's house, dressed in their finest clothes, and place themselves
at the different holes in the walls, which serve as windows, and look
into the court-yard. When they are so placed, and the bride is in
front of one of the windows, with her face entirely covered with her
barracan, the bridal clothes, consisting of silk shifts, shawls, silk
trousers, and fine barracans, to show her riches, are hung from the
top of the house, quite reaching to the ground. The young Arab chiefs
are permitted to pay their respects; they are preceded from the
skiffa, or entrance, by their music, and a dancing woman or two
advance with great form, and with slow steps, to the centre of the
court, under the bride's window; here the ladies salute their
visitors with "loo! loo! loo!" which they return by laying their
right hand on their breasts, as they are conducted quite round the
circle. Ample time is afforded them to survey the surrounding
beauties, and there are but few who on those occasions are so cruel
as to keep the veil quite closed. Such an assemblage of bright black
eyes, large ear-rings, and white teeth, are but rarely seen in any
country. After having made the circuit, the largess is given, and
exposed to view by the chief _danseuse,_ and according to its amount,
is the donor hailed and greeted by the spectators. Previously to
their departure, all visitors discharge their pistols, and then again
the ladies salute with the loo! loo!

So far from being displeased at Major Denham asking permission to pay
his respects, it was considered as a favour conferred, and the
bridegroom, although he could not himself be admitted, attended him
to and from the house of his mistress. This ceremony being ended, a
little before sunset, the bride prepares to leave her father's house;
a camel is sent for her, with a jaafa or sedan chair of basket work
on its back, covered with skins of animals, shawls from Soudan,
Cairo, and Timbuctoo; she steps into this, and so places herself as
to see what is going forward, and yet to lie entirely hidden from the
view of others. She is now conducted outside the town, where all the
horsemen and footmen, who have arms are assembled. The escort of the
travellers on this occasion added to the effect, as they were all by
Boo Khaloom's order in the field, consisting of sixty mounted Arabs,
and when they all charged and fired at the foot of the bride's camel,
Major Denham says, he really felt for the virgin's situation, but it
was thought a great honour, and that, he supposes, consoled her for
the fright. They commenced by skirmishing by twos and fours, and
charging in sections at full speed, always firing close under the
bride's jaafa; in this manner they proceeded three times round the
town, the scene occasionally relieved by a little interlude of the
bridegroom; approaching the camel, which was surrounded by the
negresses, who instantly commenced a cry, and drove him away, to the
great amusement of the bystanders, exclaiming, _"burra! Burra!"_ (be
off! be off!) _mazal shouia,_ (a little yet.) With discharges of
musketry, and the train of horsemen, &c., she is then conveyed to the
bridegroom's house, upon which it is necessary for her to appear
greatly surprised, and refuse to dismount; the women scream, and the
men shout, and she is at length persuaded to enter, when after
receiving a bit of sugar in her mouth, from the bridegroom's hand,
and placing another bit in his, with her own fair fingers, the
ceremony is finished, and they are declared man and wife.

They had now to pass the Gibel Assoud, or Black Mountains; the
northernmost part of this basaltic chain commences on leaving Sockna.
They halted at Melaghi the place of meeting; immediately at the foot
of the mountain is the well of Agutifa, and from hence probably the
most imposing view of these heights will be seen. To the south, the
mountain path of Niffdah presents its black, overhanging peaks, the
deep chasm round which, the path winds, bearing a most cavern-like
appearance; a little to the west, the camel path, called El Nishka,
appears scarcely less difficult and precipitous; the more southern
crags close in the landscape, while the foreground is occupied by the
dingy and barren wadey of Agutifa, with the well immediately overhung
by red ridges of limestone and clay; the whole presenting a picture
of barrenness not to be perfectly described either by poet or

The first four days of their journey after leaving Agutifa, were all
dreariness and misery. This was the third time that they had passed
these deserts, but no familiarity with the scenery at all relieves
the sense of wretchedness which the dread barrenness of the place
inspires. They marched from dawn until dark, for the sake of getting
over them as soon as possible, and as scarcely sufficient fuel was to
be found to boil a little water, a mass of cold tumuta was usually
their supper.

On leaving Tingazeer they had the blessing of a rainy day, for such
it was to all, but particularly to the poor negroes who accompanied
the kafila; although Boo Khaloom always gave something to drink from
his skins once a day, an unusual kindness; yet, marching as they were
for twelve and fourteen hours, a single draught was scarcely
sufficient to satisfy nature. In consequence of the rain, they found
water fresh and pure during almost every day's march, and arrived at
Zeghren with the loss of only one camel. On the last day, previously
to arriving at the well, Omhul Abeed, a skeleton of a man, with some
flesh still hanging about him, lay close to the road, but it was
passed by the whole kafila with scarcely a remark.

After these dreary wastes, it was no small pleasure to rest a day at
Zeghren, the native town of a considerable merchant, who accompanied
the kafila. When they first left Sockna for Mourzouk, Abdi Zeleel had
before taken Major Denham to his house, and presented him to his
mother and sister, and he now insisted upon his taking up his
quarters there altogether. Almost the first person who presented
herself, was his friend the merchant's sister, he had almost said,
the fair Omhal Henna, (the mother of peace.) We shall allow Major
Denham to relate this African amour in his own words:--

"She had a wooden bowl of haleb (fresh milk) in her hand, the
greatest rarity she could offer, and holding out the milk, with some
confusion, towards me, with both her hands, the hood, which should
have concealed her beautiful features, had fallen back. As my taking
my milk from her, would have prevented the amicable salutation we
both seemed prepared for, and which consisted of four or five gentle
pressures of the hand, with as many _aish harleks,_ and _tiels,_ and
_ham-dulillahs,_ she placed the bowl upon the ground, while the
ceremonies of greeting, which take up a much longer time in an
African village, than in an English drawing room, were by mutual
consent most cordially performed. I really could not help looking at
her with astonishment, and I heartily wish I had the power of
conveying an idea of her portrait. It was the jemma (Friday,) the
sabbath, and she was covered, for I cannot call it dressed, with only
a blue linen barracan, which passed under one arm, and was fastened
on the top of the opposite shoulder, with a silver pin, the remaining
part thrown round the body behind, and brought over her head as a
sort of hood, which, as I have before remarked, had fallen off, and
my having taken her hand, when she set down the milk, had prevented
its being replaced. This accident displayed her jet black hair, in
numberless plaits, all round her expressive face and neck, and her
large sparkling eyes and little mouth, filled with the whitest teeth
imaginable. She had various figures burnt on her chin, with
gunpowder; her complexion was a deep brown, and round her neck were
eight or ten necklaces, of coral and different coloured beads. So
interesting a person I had not seen in the country, and on my
remaining some moments with my eyes fixed on her, she recommenced the
salutation. How is your health? &c., and smiling, asked with great
naivete, whether I had not learned, during the last two months, a
little more Arabic? I assured her that I had. Looking round to see if
any body heard her, and having brought the hood over her face, she
said, 'I first heard of your coming last night, and desired the slave
to mention it to my brother. I have always looked for your coming,
and at night, _because at night I have sometimes seen you._ You were
the first man whose hand I ever touched, but they all said it did not
signify with you, an Insara (a Christian.) God turn your heart! But
my brother says you will never become Moslem--won't you, to please
Abdi Zeleel's sister? my mother says, God would never have allowed
you to come, but for your conversion.' By this time again the hood
had fallen back, and I had again taken her hand, when the unexpected
appearance of Abdi Zeleel, accompanied by the governor of the town,
who came to visit me, was a most unwelcome interruption. Omhal Henna
quickly escaped; she had overstepped the line, and I saw her no

On Wednesday the 30th October, they made their entree into Mourzouk,
with all the parade and show that they could muster. By Boo Khaloom's
presents to the bashaw, but chiefly on account of his having
undertaken to conduct the travellers to Bornou, he had not only
gained the bashaw's favour, but had left Tripoli with strong proofs
of his master's consideration. The inhabitants came out to meet them,
and they entered the gates amidst the shouts of the people, preceded
by singing and dancing women. And the Arabs who formed their escort,
made such repeated charges, upon their jaded and tired animals, that
Major Denham expected some of them would "fall to rise no more." No
living creatures can be treated worse than an Arab's wife and his
horse, and if plurality could be transferred from the marriage bed to
the stable, both wives and horses would be much benefited by the

Major Denham could not quite resist a sensation of disappointment,
that no friends came out to meet him, but as the sun was insufferably
powerful, and as he had received a message by Boo Khaloom's brother,
from Dr. Oudney, that he was unwell, and that Lieutenant Clapperton
had the ague, he did not much expect to see them. He was, however, by
no means prepared to see either of them so much reduced as they were.
He found that both his companions and Hillman, had been confined to
their beds with _hemma,_ (fever and ague,) had been delirious, and
the doctor and Hillman only a little recovered. Clapperton was still
on his bed, which for fifteen days he had not quitted. Doctor Oudney
was suffering also from a severe complaint in his chest, arising from
a cold caught during his excursion to Ghraat, and nothing could be
more disheartening than their appearance. The opinion of every body,
Arabs, Tripolines, and Ritchie, and Lyon, their predecessors, were
all unanimous as to the insalubrity of the air. Every one belonging
to the present expedition had been seriously disordered, and amongst
the inhabitants themselves, any thing like a healthy-looking person
was a rarity.

Notwithstanding Boo Khaloom made every exertion in his power to get
away from Mourzouk, as early as possible, yet, from the numerous
arrangements, which it was necessary for him to make, for the
provisioning of so many persons, during a journey through a country
possessing no resources, it was the 29th November before those
arrangements were complete. Dr. Oudney and Mr. Clapperton, from a
most praiseworthy impatience to proceed on their journey, and at the
same time thinking their health might be benefited by the change of
air, preceded him to Gatrone by ten days. Major Denham remained
behind to urge Boo Khaloom, and expedite his departure, as it was
considered, by those means, that any wish might be obviated, which he
might have to delay, on account of his private affairs, even for a
day. Their caution was, however, needless, no man could be more
anxious to obey the orders he had received, and forward their views
than himself; indeed so peremptory had been the commands of the
bashaw, in consequence of the representation of our consul general,
when complaining of former procrastinations, that Boo Khaloom's
personal safety depended on his expedition, and of this he was well

The following is a correct account of the strength of the party, as
it proceeded from Mourzouk. Major Denham had succeeded in engaging,
on his return to Tripoli, as an attendant to accompany him to Bornou,
a native of the island of St. Vincent, whose real name was Adolphus
Sympkins, but who, in consequence of his having run away from home,
and as a merchant traversed hall the world over, had acquired the
name of Columbus. He had been several years in the service of the
bashaw, spoke three European languages, and perfect Arabic. [*] They
had besides, three free negroes, who had been hired in Tripoli as
private servants. Jacob, a Gibraltar Jew, who was a sort of
store-keeper, four men to look after the camels, and these, with Mr.
Hillman and the remainder of the Europeans, made up the number of
their household to thirteen persons. They were also accompanied by
several merchants from Mesurata, Tripoli, Sockna, and Mourzouk, who
gladly embraced the protection of their escort, to proceed to the
interior with their merchandize.

[Footnote: This person afterwards accompanied Captain Clapperton on
his second journey.]

The Arabs in the service of the bashaw of Tripoli, by whom they were
to be escorted to Bornou, and on whose good conduct their success
almost wholly depended, were now nearly all assembled, and had been
chosen from amongst the most convenient tribes. They gained
considerably in the good opinion of the travellers, each day as they
became better acquainted with them; they were not only a great and
most necessary protection to them, breaking the ground, as they were,
for any Europeans who might follow their steps, but enlivened them
greatly on their dreary desert way, by their infinite wit and
sagacity, as well as by their poetry, extempore and traditional.
There were several amongst the party, who shone as orators in verse,
to use the idiom of their own expressive language, particularly one
of the tribe of Boo Saiff Marabooteens, or gifted persons, who would
sing for an hour together, faithfully describing the whole of their
journey for the preceding fortnight, relating the most trifling
occurrence that had happened, even to the name of the well, and the
colour and taste of the water, with astonishing rapidity and humour,
and in very tolerable poetry, while some of his traditional ballads
were beautiful.

The Arabs are generally thin, meagre figures, though possessing
expressive and sometimes handsome features; great violence of gesture
and muscular action; irritable and fiery, they are unlike the
dwellers in towns and cities; noisy and loud, their common
conversational intercourse appears to be a continual strife and
quarrel. They are, however, brave, eloquent, and deeply sensible of
shame. Major Denham once knew an Arab of the lower class refuse his
food for days together, because in a skirmish his gun had missed
fire; to use his own words, _"Gulbi wahr,_ (my heart aches,)
_Bin-dikti kadip hashimtui gedam el naz._ (my gun lied, and shamed me
before the people.)" Much has been said of their want of cleanliness;
they may, however, be pronounced to be much more cleanly than the
lower orders of people in any European country. Circumcision, and the
shaving the hair from the head, and every other part of the body; the
frequent ablutions, which their religion compels them to perform; all
tend to enforce practices of cleanliness. Vermin, from the climate of
their country, they, as well as every other person, must be annoyed
with; and although the lower ranks have not the means of frequently
changing their covering, for it can be scarcely called apparel, yet
they endeavour to free themselves as much as possible from the
persecuting vermin. Their mode of dress has undergone no change for
centuries back, and the words of Fenelon will at this day apply with
equal truth to their present appearance. "Leurs habits sont aises a
faire, car en ce doux climat on ne porte qu'une piece d'etoffe fine
et legere, qui n'est point taillee et que chacun met a long plis
autour de son corps pour la modestie; lui donnant la forme qu'il


During the time that Major Denham had been occupied with transacting
his business with the bashaw of Tripoli, Dr. Oudney and Lieutenant
Clapperton had determined to make an excursion to the westward of
Mourzouk, for the purpose of ascertaining the course of the rivers,
and the local curiosities of the country. Accordingly on the 8th June
1822, Dr. Oudney, Lieutenant Clapperton, and Mr. Hillman, departed
from Mourzouk, accompanied by Hadje Ali, brother of Ben Bucher, Ben
Khalloom, Mahommed Neapolitan Mamelouk, and Mahomet, son of their
neighbour Hadje Mahmud. It was their intention to have proceeded
direct to Ghraat, and laboured hard to accomplish their object;
obstacle after obstacle was, however, thrown in their way by some
individuals in Mourzouk. Several came begging them not to go, as the
road was dangerous, and the people not all under the bashaw's
control. They at length hired camels from a Targee, Hadge Said, but
only to accompany them as far as the wadey Ghrurby.

This course was over sands skirted with date trees, the ground
strewed with fragments of calcareous crust, with a vitreous surface
from exposure to the weather. About mid-day, after an exhausting
journey from oppressive heat, they arrived at El Hummum, a straggling
village, the houses of which were mostly constructed of palm leaves.
They remained until the sun was well down and then proceeded on their
course. The country had the same character. At eight they arrived at

The greater number of inhabitants were Turiacks. They had a warlike
appearance, a physiognomy and costume different from the Fezzaners.
More than a dozen muffled-up faces were seated near their tents, with
every one's spear stuck forcibly in the ground before him. This
struck them forcibly, from being very different from that which they
had been accustomed to see. The Arab is always armed in his journey,
with his long gun and pistols, but there is something more imposing
in the spear, dagger, and broad straight sword.

Their course now lay over an extensive high plain, with a long range
of hills, running nearly east and west. They entered them by a pass,
in which were numerous recesses, evidently leading to more extensive
wadeys. This pass led to another, the finest they had yet seen, and
the only part approaching to the sublime, which they had beheld in
Fezzan. It was rugged and narrow; its sides high, and overhanging in
some places near the end of the pass, the wady Ghrarby opens, with
groves of date palms, and high sandy hills. The change was sudden and
striking, and instead of taking away, added to the effect of the pass
they were descending.

Having travelled up the valley for about four miles, they halted at a
small town, called Kharaik, having passed two in their course. The
number of date trees in the eastern and western division of the
valley, is said to be 340,000. The first division, or wadey Shirgi,
extends from near Siba to within a few miles of Thirtiba, the other
from the termination of Shirgi to Aubari.

In the evening, they saw some of the preparatory steps for a
marriage. The woman belonged to Kharaik, and the man to the next
town. A band of musicians, accompanied by all the women of the
village, with every now and then a volley of musketry, formed the
chief part of the procession. One woman carried a basket on her head,
for the purpose of collecting gomah to form a feast, and pay the
musicians. They came from the village of the bridegroom, which was
about a mile distant.

The sheik of this town, whose name was Ali, was a good-natured
Tibboo, exceedingly poor, but very attentive, and always in good
humour. The place was so poor that they had sometimes to wait half a
day before they could get a couple of fowls, or a feed of dates or
barley for their horses. They were in hourly expectation of the
arrival of camels from the friends of Hateeta, for the purpose of
conveying them to Ghraat; no camels, however, arrived, and they were
obliged to remain, much against their inclination. On Hateeta
conversing with Dr. Oudney, on the difficulty they experienced in
getting away from Mourzouk, on account of the obstacles thrown in the
way by the people, he said, that the dread, which they had of the
Turiacks, was unfounded, and that they should soon be convinced of
it. He further added, that he could by his influence alone conduct
them in perfect safety to Timbuctoo, and would answer with his head.
He was indignant at the feelings, which the people of Mourzouk had
against the Turiacks, who, he said, pride themselves on having but
one word, and performing whatever they promise.

The promised camels not having arrived, they hired two of Mahomet el
Buin, and with these they proceeded on to Gorma, which they found to
be a larger town than any in the wadey, but both walls and houses
have the marks of time. The sheik, Mustapha Ben Ussuf, soon visited
them. He was an old man, a Fezzaner. His ancestors were natives of
the place, and his features might be considered as characteristic of
the natives of Fezzan.

They had many accounts of inscriptions being in this place, which the
people could not read. They were conducted by sheik Mustapha to
examine a building, different, as he stated, from any in the country.
When they arrived, they found to their satisfaction, it was a
structure which had been erected by the Romans.

There were no inscriptions to be found, although they carefully
turned up a number of the stones strewed about, but a few figures and
letters rudely hewn out, and evidently of recent date. They imagined
they could trace some resemblance to the letters of Europe, and
conjectured that they had been hewn out by some European traveller at
no very distant period. Their thoughts naturally went back to
Horneman, but again they had no intelligence of his having been
there, "In short," as Dr. Oudney says, "to confess the truth, we did
not know what to make of them, till we afterwards made the discovery
of the Targee writing."

This building is about twelve feet high, and eight broad. It is built
of sandstone well finished, and dug from the neighbouring hills. Its
interior is solid, and of small stones, cemented by mortar. It stands
about three miles from Gorma, and a quarter of a mile from the foot
of the mountain. It is either a tomb or an altar; those well
acquainted with Roman architecture will easily determine which. The
finding a structure of these people proves, without doubt, their
intercourse here. It is probable they had no extensive establishment,
otherwise they would have seen more remains as they went along; they
passed by, and saw to the westward, the remains of ancient Gorma. It
appeared to occupy a space more extensive than the present town. They
were not able to learn from the old sheik, whether any antique coins
were ever found, or any building similar to this in the vicinity. Was
this the tract of the Romans merely into the interior, or did they
come to the valley for dates?

Hateeta arrived during the night of the 18th June; their departure
was, however, delayed on account of his illness. On the following
morning, they struck their tents by daylight, and commenced their
journey. They sent their horses home, that is, to Mourzouk, by their
servant, Adam, and set out on foot. They intended mounting the
camels, but the loads were so ill arranged that they dared not
venture. Their course lay through groves of date trees, growing in
the salt plains. These extended about four miles, and two miles
further west, was a small Arab town. They halted about an hour under
the shade of the date trees, waiting for the coming up of the camels.
They then mounted, and in the afternoon entered the date groves of
Oubari, where they halted. Hateeta joined them in the evening. They
had numerous Tuarick visitors, some residents of the town, and others
belonging to a kafila about to depart for the Tuarick country. They
are an independent-looking race. They examine with care every thing
they see, and are not scrupulous in asking for different articles,
such as tobacco, powder, and flints.

The camel men not coming forward with their camels, the party took
the advantage of their detention to visit the neighbouring hills. One
part appeared at a distance as an artificial excavation, which,
however, disappeared as they approached, and they found it to be a
smooth surface, with a portion so removed as to give rise to the

In ascending this by the track of a mountain torrent, they fell in
with numerous inscriptions, in characters similar to those on the
Roman building. Some were evidently done centuries ago, others very
recently. To the southward there was another portion of the same
range. When they got to the top, they were perspiring copiously, and
had to take care that the perspiration was not checked too suddenly,
as a strong cool breeze was blowing on the top. Many places were
cleared away for prayer, in the same manner as they had observed in
places on all the roads, on which they had travelled. The form in
general is an oblong square, with a small recess in one of the longer
sides, looking to the rising sun, or it is semicircular, with a
similar recess. On the top of a steep precipice, "God save the king"
was sung with great energy and taste by Hillman.

The new moon was seen on this evening, to the great joy of all the
followers of Mahomet. Muskets and pistols were discharged, and all
the musicians began their labours. This sport was continued until
night. A party of musicians came out to visit them, but several of
them were so drunk that they could scarcely walk. The fast was kept
by all with a bad grace, and scarcely one was to be seen who had not
a long visage. It was even laughable to see some young men going
about the streets, with long walking-sticks, leaning forward like men
bent with age. As soon as the maraboot calls, not a person was to be
seen in the streets; all commence, as soon as he pronounces "Allah
Akber!" All pretend to keep it, and if they do not, they take care
that no one shall know it; but from the wry faces and pharasaical
shows, the rigidity may be called in question. None of the European
party kept the fast, except for a day now and then; for all
travellers, after the first day, are allowed exemption, but they have
to make it up at some other time.

They were greatly amused with stories of the great powers of eating
of the Tuaricks. They were told that two men have consumed three
sheep at one meal, another eating a kail of bruised dates, and a
corresponding quantity of milk, and another eating about a hundred
loaves, about the size of an English penny loaf. They had many
inquiries respecting the English females; for a notion prevailed,
that they always bore more than one child at a time, and that they
went longer than nine calendar months. On being told that they were
the same in that respect as other women, they appeared pleased.
They were also asked, how the women were kept; if they were locked up
as the moorish women, or allowed to go freely abroad. The Tuarick
women are allowed great liberties that way, and are not a little
pleased at having such an advantage. The customs and manners of
Europe, which they related to their friends, were so similar to some
of theirs, that an old Targee exclaimed, in a forcible manner, "that
he was sure they had the same origin as us." The Tuarick women have
full round faces, black curling hair, and, from a negro mixture,
inclined to be crispy; eyebrows a little arched, eyes black and
large, nose plain and well formed. The dress a barracan, neatly
wrapped round, with a cover of dark blue cloth for the head,
sometimes coming over the lower part of the face, as in the men.
They are not very fond of beads, but often have shells suspended to
the ears as ear-drops.

Being obliged to postpone their departure for ten days, in
consequence of the indisposition of Hateeta, Dr. Oudney determined in
the mean time to visit Wady Shiati, whilst Mr. Hillman was sent back
to Mourzouk, to send down supplies, and to take charge of the
property. They arranged about the fare for their camels, and made
every preparation for their immediate departure. Before, however,
they could set out, a guide for the sands was necessary; and for that
purpose they engaged an old Targee, who professed to know every part
of the track. They travelled by moonlight, over a sandy soil, with
numerous tufts of grass, and mound hillocks covered with shrubs, the
surface in many places hard and crusty, from saline incrustations.
The old men told them, that the mounds of earth were formed by water,
as the wadey, at the times of great rains, was covered with water.

At daylight they resumed their journey, and a little after sunrise
entered among the sand-hills, which were here two or three hundred
feet high. The ascent and descent of these proved very fatiguing to
both their camels and themselves. The precipitous sides obliged them
often to make a circuitous route, and rendered it necessary to form
with their hands a track, by which the camels might ascend. Beyond
this boundary there was an extensive sandy plain, with here and there
tufts of grass.

In the afternoon, their track was on the same plain; and near sunset
they began ascending high sand-hills, one appearing as if heaped upon
the other. The guide ran before, to endeavour to find out the easiest
track, with all the agility of a boy. The presence of nothing but
deep sandy valleys and high sand-hills strikes the mind most
forcibly. There is something of the sublime mixed with the
melancholy; who can contemplate without admiration masses of loose
sand, fully four hundred feet high, ready to be tossed about by every
breeze, and not shudder with horror at the idea of the unfortunate
traveller being entombed in a moment by one of those fatal blasts,
which sometimes occur. They halted for the night on the top of one of
these sand-hills.

For three or four days their course still lay among the sand-hills;
their guide, whom they now styled Mahomet Ben Kami, or son of the
sand, was almost always on before, endeavouring to find out the best
way. They could detect in the sand numerous footmarks of the jackal
and the fox, and here and there a solitary antelope. In some of the
wadeys there were a great many fragments of the ostrich egg. About
mid-day, they halted in a valley, and remained under the shade of
some date trees for a few hours. The heat was oppressive, and their
travelling was difficult They next came to an extensive level plain,
which was some refreshment, for they were completely tired of
ascending and descending sand-hills. The servants strayed, proceeding
on a track, which was pointed out to them as the right one, and,
before they were aware of their error, they went so far that they
were not able to send after them. They, as well as themselves,
thought the town was near, and they went forwards, with the intention
of getting in before the remainder of the party could come up. They
felt exceedingly uneasy respecting them, as they might so easily lose
themselves in such intricate travelling. They halted in low spirits,
and, after a little refreshment, went to sleep with heavy hearts.

During the night, some strong breezes sprang up, by which their
trunks and bed-clothes were all covered with sand in the morning.
They heard nothing of their servants, and consoled themselves that
they had perhaps found some place of shelter or rest. They commenced
their journey early, and in a short time the hills of Wadey Shiati
were seen stretching east and west, and the date-palms in several
groves; but some high sand-hills were seen between them. They wished
their old guide to take them a more direct course, but
notwithstanding their desire, and even threats, he persevered in
having his way; and, to do the old man justice, they afterwards found
it would almost have been impossible for the camels to have gone the
way they wished. After passing the base of some high sand-hills, they
came to a strong pass, of gentle descent, covered with loose
fragments of quartz rock, a yellowish feldspar, and iron ore, very
similar to the rocks in the Sebah district. From this place the town
opened to their view, erected on a hill about three hundred feet
high, standing in the middle of the valley, and has the appearance,
at a distance, of a hill studded over with basaltic columns. They had
no idea that the town was built on the hill, and consequently that
the deception was produced by it.

The majority of the inhabitants soon visited them, and all appeared
pleased at their arrival. The kadi of the two neighbouring towns paid
them many compliments, and pressed them much to spend a few days in
his towns. They could not take advantage of this offer, which was no
doubt of a selfish nature, for Dr. Oudney had not conversed long with
him, before he began to beg a shirt. The doctor told him that his
could be of no use to him, as it was very different from those of the
country. On being told that, he asked for a dollar to buy one, which
Dr. Oudney took care to refuse, saying that he only gave presents of
money to the poor. The people made numerous urgent demands for
medicines, and in a very short time, their large tent was surrounded
with sick, the female part forming the majority. Some beautiful faces
and forms were clothed in rags; the plaited hair and necks of these
even were loaded with ornaments. The females were rather under the
middle stature, strongly built, and possess considerable vivacity,
and liveliness. The complexion of those not much exposed to the sun
was of a dirty white.

Dr. Oudney was also applied to in a new capacity, that of a
charm-writer. A man came and offered him two fowls, if he would give
him a charm for a disease of the stomach; he was, however, obliged to
decline the office of charm-writer, and confine himself to the cure
of diseases by medicine. A buxom widow applied for a medicine to
obtain her a husband, but the doctor told her he had no such medicine
along with him. The same worthy personage took Lieutenant Clapperton
for an old man, on account of his light-coloured beard and
mustachios; but although this afforded some amusement to the party,
Clapperton felt some chagrin at it, for he had prided himself on the
strength and bushiness of his beard, and was not a little hurt that
light colour should be taken as a mark of old age. None of them had
ever seen a light-coloured beard before, and all the old men dye
their grey beards with henna, which gives them a colour approaching
to that of Lieutenant Clapperton.

They now proceeded to visit the interior of the town. The houses were
built of mud, and erected on the sides of the hill, appearing as if
one were pulled on the other. The passages or streets between them
are narrow, and in two or three instances, some excavations were made
through the rocks. The ascent was steep in some places, and they had
to pass through the mosque before they arrived at the highest
portion. From this they had a line view of Wadey Shiati in every
direction, running nearly east and west; in the former direction it
was well inhabited as far as Oml' Abeed, which is the westernmost
town. Many houses were in ruins, and many more were approaching to
that state, still it was called the new town, although its appearance
little entitles it to that appellation; but the ancient inhabitants
lived in excavations in the rocks, the remains of which are very
distinct. At the bottom of the hill, they entered several, not much
decayed by time. At a hundred yards, however, from the base of the
hill, and now used as a burying-ground, there is a subterranean
house, of large dimensions, and probably the residence of the great
personage. Dr. Oudney and Clapperton entered this excavation, and
found three extensive galleries, which communicated only by small
openings, on passing through which, they had to stoop considerably.
The galleries were, however, high, and of considerable length, about
one hundred and fifty feet, and each had several small recesses, like
sleeping rooms. The whole had neatness about it, and showed a taste
in the excavation. There are no traces of similar abodes in Fezzan.
The people are so afraid, and so superstitious, that scarcely one of
the town had ever entered it. They were astonished when the Europeans
entered it without ceremony, and two, encouraged by their example,
brought them a light, by which they were enabled to look into the
different recesses.

On the 6th July, they started, with a beautiful moonlight, over a
sandy plain, with a great many small hillocks. They stopped at
Dalhoon, a well nearly filled up with sand, and containing water so
brackish that they were unable to drink it. They started again, and
got in amongst the sand-hills. Their new guide proved neither such an
active man, nor so experienced a pilot, as their old Tuarick, as they
had several times to retrace their steps.

After visiting several places of no particular note, they arrived at
Ghraat, and were soon visited by a number of Hateeta's relations, one
of whom was his sister; some were much affected, and wept at the
sufferings that had detained him so long from them. A number of his
male relations soon came, and many of the inhabitants of the town.
The ladies were a free and lively set. They were not a little pleased
with the grave manner in which their visitors uttered the various
complimentary expressions. Hateeta was not well pleased with
something he had heard, but he told them not to be afraid, as he had
numerous relations. They informed him that fear never entered their
breasts, and begged him not to be uneasy on their account.

Early on the following morning, numerous visitors paid their respects
to Hateeta, and were introduced in due form to the Europeans, who
felt the length of time spent in salutations quite fatiguing, and so
absurd in their eyes, that they could scarcely at times retain their
gravity. The visitors were mostly residents of the city, and all were
decorated in their best. There were also a sedateness and gravity in
the appearance of all, which the dress tended greatly to augment.

In the afternoon, they visited the sultan. Mats had been spread in
the castle in a small anti-chamber. The old man was seated, but rose
up to receive them, and welcomed them to his city. He apologized for
not waiting on them, but said he was sick, and had been very little
out for some time. He had guinea-worm, and cataract was forming in
his eyes. He was dressed in a nearly worn-out robe, and trousers of
the same colour, and round his head was wrapped an old piece of
yellow coarse cloth for a turban. Notwithstanding the meanness of the
dress, there was something pleasing and prepossessing in his
countenance, and such as made them quite as much at home, as if in
their tents. They presented him with a sword, with which he was
highly pleased. Hateeta wished it had been a Bornouse; but they had
none with them which they considered sufficiently good. They were led
away by the title sultan, having no idea that the Tuaricks were so
vain; for they used to fill them with high notions of the wealth and
greatness of the people of Ghraat.

On the whole, their interview was highly pleasing, and every one
seemed much pleased with their visitors. The old sultan showed them
every kindness, and they had every reason to believe him sincere in
his wishes. After their visit, they called at the house of Lameens,
son of the kadi. He was a young man of excellent character, and
universally respected. His father was then in Ghadames, arranging,
with some of the other principal inhabitants, the affairs of the
community. He had left directions with his son, to show the strangers
every attention. His house was neatly fitted up, and carpets spread
on a high bed, on which the visitors seated themselves. Several of
the people who were in the castle came along with them, and by the
assistance of those, who could speak Arabic, they were able to keep
up a tolerably good conversation. On inquiring about the Tuarick
letters, they found the same sounds given them as they had before
heard from others. They were here at the fountain-head, but were
disappointed at not being able to find a book in the Tuarick
language; they were informed, that there was not one extant.

In the evening Hateeta's kinswomen returned. They were greatly
amused, and laughed heartily at their visitors blundering out a few
Tuarick words. It may be well supposed they were very unfit
companions for the ladies, as they spoke no other language than their
own, and the strangers knew very little of it. Still, however, they
got on very well, and were mutually pleased. Dr. Oudney could
scarcely refrain laughing several times, at the grave manner which
Clapperton assumed. He had been tutored by Hateeta, and fully acted
up to his instructions; no Tuarick could have done it better. Their
friend Hateeta was anxious that they should shine, if not make an
impression on the hearts of the ladies, and therefore read a number
of lectures to Clapperton, as to the manner in which he should deport
himself. He was directed not to laugh nor sing, but to look as grave
as possible, which Hateeta said would be sure to please the grave
Tuaricks. The liveliness of the women, their freeness with the men,
and the marked attention the latter paid them, formed a striking
contrast with other Mahommedan states.

They now proceeded to take a circuit of the town, and during their
walk they fell in with a number of females, who had come out to see
them. All were free and lively, and riot at all deferred by the
presence of the men. Several of them had fine features, but only one
or two could be called beautiful. Many of the natives came out of
their houses as they passed along, and cordially welcomed them to
their town. It was done with so much sincerity and good heartedness,
that they could not but be pleased and highly flattered.

In the evening they heard a numerous band of females, singing at a
distance, which was continued till near midnight. The women were
principally those of the country. This custom is very common among
the people, and is one of the principal amusements in the mountain
recesses. Hateeta said they go out when their work is finished, in
the evening, and remain till near midnight, singing and telling
stories; return home, take supper, and go to bed.


Dr. Oudney and his companions now determined to return to Mourzouk,
where they arrived in November, and on the 29th of the same month,
they again departed, accompanied by nearly all those of the town, who
could muster horses; the camels had moved early in the day, and at
Zerzow, they found the tents pitched. From Zerzow to Traghan there is
a good high road, with frequent incrustations of salt. A marabout of
great sanctity, is the principal person in Traghan, as his father was
before him. After being crammed as it were by the hospitality of this
marabout, they left Traghan for Maefen, an assemblage of date huts,
with but one house. The road to this place lies over a mixture of
sand and salt, having a curious and uncommon appearance. The path, by
which all the animals move for some miles, is a narrow space, or
strip, worn smooth, bearing a resemblance both in appearance and
hardness to ice.

Quitting Maefen, they quickly entered on a desert plain, and after a
dreary fourteen hours march for camels, they arrived at Mestoota, a
maten or resting place, where the camels found some little grazing,
from a plant called ahgul. Starting at sunrise, they had another
fatiguing day, over the same kind of desert, without seeing one
living thing that did not belong to the kafila, not a bird, nor even
an insect; the sand is beautifully fine, round, and red. It is
difficult to give the most distant idea of the stillness and beauty
of a night scene, on a desert of this description. The distance
between the resting places is not sufficiently great, for the dread
of want of water to be alarmingly felt, and the track, though a sandy
one, is well known to the guides. The burning heat of the day is
succeeded by cool and refreshing breezes, and the sky ever illumined
by large and brilliant stars, or an unclouded moon. By removing the
loose and pearl-like sand, to the depth of a few inches, the effects
of the sunbeams of the day are not perceptible, and a most soft and
refreshing couch is easily formed. The ripple of the driving sand
resembles that of a slow and murmuring stream, and after escaping
from the myriads of fleas, which day and night persecute you, in the
date-bound valley in which Mourzouk stands, the luxury of an evening
of this description is an indescribable relief. Added to the solemn
stillness, so peculiarly striking and impressive, there is an
extraordinary echo in all deserts, arising probably from the
closeness and solidity of a sandy soil, which does not absorb the
sound. They now arrived at Gabrone. The Arabs watch for a sight of
the high date trees, which surround this town, as sailors look for
land, and after discovering these land marks, they shape their course

Here Major Denham joined his companions, whom he found in a state of
health but ill calculated for undertaking a long and tedious journey.
During the stay of the major at Mourzouk, he had suffered from a
severe attack of fever, which had kept him for ten days in his bed,
and although considerably debilitated, yet he was strong in
comparison with his associates. Dr. Oudney was suffering much from
his cough, and still complaining of his chest. Mr. Clapperton's ague
had not left him, and Hillman had been twice attacked so violently,
as to be given over by the doctor. They all, however, looked forward
anxiously to proceeding on their journey, and fancied that change of
scene and warmer weather, would bring them all round.

Gabrone is not unpleasantly situated; it is surrounded by sandhills
and mounds of earth, covered with a small tree, called _athali._ The
person of the greatest importance at Gabrone, is one Hagi el Raschid,
a large proprietor, and a marabout. He was a man of very clear
understanding and amiable manners, and as he uses the superstition of
the people as the means of making them happy, and turning them from
vicious pursuits, we become, as it were, almost reconciled to an

They departed from Gabrone at 11 o'clock, a.m. The marabout
accompanied Boo Khaloom outside the town, and having drawn, not a
magic circle, but a parallelogram on the sand, with his wand, he
wrote in it certain words of great import, from the Koran; the crowd
looked on him in silent astonishment, while he assumed a manner both
graceful and imposing, so as to make it impossible for any one to
feel at all inclined to ridicule his motions. When he had finished
repeating the fatah aloud, he invited the party singly to ride
through the spot he had consecrated, and having obeyed him, they
silently proceeded on their journey, without repeating even an idea.

They passed a small nest of huts in the road, prettily situated,
called El Bahhi, from whence the women of the place followed them
with songs for several miles. Having halted at Medroosa, they moved
on the next morning, and leaving an Arab castle to the south-east,
and some table-top hills, they arrived at Kasrowa by three in the

On the 9th December, they were to arrive at Tegerhy. The Arabs
commenced skirmishing as soon as they came within sight of it, and
kept it up in front of the town for half an hour after their arrival.
They were to halt here for a day or two, for the purpose of taking in
the remainder of their dates and provisions, and never was halt more
acceptable. Almost the whole of the party were afflicted with
illness; the servants were all so ill, that one of the negro women
made them a mess of kouscasou, with some preserved fat, which had
been prepared in Mourzouk, it was a sorry meal, for the fat was
rancid, and although tired and not very strong, Major Denham could
not refuse an invitation about nine at night, after he had laid down
to sleep, to eat camels' heart with Boo Khaloom; it was woefully hard
and tough, and the major suffered the next morning from indulging too
much at the feast.

The Tibboos and Arabs kept them awake half the night with their
singing and dancing, in consequence of the bousafer or feast, on
entering the Tibboo country. Boo Khaloom gave two camels, and the
major and his party gave one. The sick seemed to gain a little
strength; they had succeeded in purchasing a sheep, and a little soup
seemed to revive them much, but they feared that Hillman and one of
the servants must be left behind. However distressing such an event
would have been, it was impossible for men, who could not sit upright
on a mule, to commence a journey of fifteen days over a desert,
during which travellers are obliged to march from sunrise until dark.

The morning of the 12th December was beautifully mild. After
breakfast, all seemed revived, but it was with great pain that Major
Denham observed the exceeding weakness of Dr. Oudney and Hillman; he
fancied that he already saw in them, two more victims to the noxious
climate of central Africa.

Almost every town in Africa has its charm or wonder, and Tegerhy is
not without one. There is a well just outside the castle gates, the
water of which, they were told most gravely, always rose when a
kafila was coming near the town; that the inhabitants always prepared
what they had to sell, on seeing this water increase in bulk, for it
never deceived them. In proof of this assertion, they pointed out to
Major Denham, how much higher the water had been previously to their
arrival, than it was at the moment, when they were standing on the
brink. This Major Denham could have explained, by the number of
camels that had drunk at it, but he saw it was better policy to
believe what every body allowed to be true, even Boo Khaloom
exclaimed, "Allah! God is great, powerful, and wise. How wonderful!
Oh!" Over the inner gate of the castle, there is a large hole through
to the gateway underneath, and they tell a story, of a woman dropping
from thence a stone on the head of some leader, who had gained the
outer wall, giving him by that means the death of Abimelech in sacred

The natives of Tegerhy are quite black, but have not the negro face;
the men are slim, very plain, with high cheek bones, the negro nose,
large mouth, teeth much stained by the quantity of tobacco, and
_trona_ or carbonate of soda, which they eat, and even snuff, when
given to them, goes directly into their mouths.

The young girls are most of them pretty, but less so than those of
Gabrone. The men always carry two daggers, one about eighteen inches,
and the other six inches; the latter of which is attached to a ring,
and worn on the arm or wrist. A Tibboo once told Major Denham,
pointing to the long one, "This is my gun, and this" showing the
smaller of the two, "is my pistol."

On the 13th they left Tegerhy and proceeded on the desert. After
travelling six miles they arrived at a well called Omah, where their
tents were pitched, and here they halted three days. Near these
wells, numbers of human skeletons, or parts of them, lay scattered on
the sands. Hillman, who had suffered dreadfully since leaving
Tegerhy, was greatly shocked at these whitened skulls, and unhallowed
remains, so much so as to stand in need of all the encouragement
which Major Denham could administer to him.

On the 17th they continued their course over a stony plain, without
the least appearance of vegetation. About sunset, they halted near a
well, within half a mile of Meshroo. Round this spot were lying more
than a hundred skeletons, some of them with the skin still remaining
attached to the bones, not even a little sand thrown over them. The
Arabs laughed heartily at the expression which Major Denham evinced,
and said, "they were only blacks, _nam boo!_ (d--n their fathers,)"
and began knocking about the limbs with the butt end of their
firelocks, saying, "this was a woman: this was a youngster," and such
like unfeeling expressions. The greater part of the unhappy people,
of whom these were the remains, had formed the spoils of the sultan
of Fezzan the year before. Major Denham was assured, that they had
left Bornou, with not above a quarter's allowance for each; and that
more died from want than fatigue; they were marched off with chains
round their necks and legs; the most robust only arrived in Fezzan in
a very debilitated state, and were there fattened for the Tripoli
slave market.

Their camels did not come up until it was quite dark, and they
bivouacked in the midst of these unearthed remains of the victims of
persecution and avarice, after a long day's journey of twenty-six
miles, in the course of which, one of the party counted one hundred
and seven of these skeletons.

Their road now lay over a long plain with a slight ridge. A fine naga
(she camel), lay down on the road, as it was supposed from fatigue.
The Arabs crowded round and commenced unloading her, when, upon
inquiry, it was found that she was suddenly taken in labour; about
five minutes completed the operation; a very fine little animal was
literally dragged into light. It was then thrown across another
camel, and the mother, after being reloaded, followed quietly after
her offspring.

One of the skeletons which they passed this day, had a very fresh
appearance, the beard was still hanging to the skin of the face, and
the features were still discernible. A merchant, travelling with the
kafila, suddenly exclaimed, "That was my slave I left behind four
months ago, near this spot." "Make haste! take him to the _fsug_
(market)," said an Arab wag, "for fear any body else should claim

On the 20th December, they arrived at the Hormut el Wahr, which were
the highest hills they had seen since leaving Fezzan; the highest
peak being from five to six hundred feet. They had a bold black
appearance, and were a relief to the eye, after the long level they

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