First footsteps in East Africa
by Richard F. Burton
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The women, who, owing probably to the number of female slaves, are much the more numerous, appear beautiful by contrast with their lords. They have small heads, regular profiles, straight noses, large eyes, mouths approaching the Caucasian type, and light yellow complexions. Dress, however, here is a disguise to charms. A long, wide, cotton shirt, with short arms as in the Arab's Aba, indigo-dyed or chocolate-coloured, and ornamented with a triangle of scarlet before and behind—the base on the shoulder and the apex at the waist—is girt round the middle with a sash of white cotton crimson-edged. Women of the upper class, when leaving the house, throw a blue sheet over the head, which, however, is rarely veiled. The front and back hair parted in the centre is gathered into two large bunches below the ears, and covered with dark blue muslin or network, whose ends meet under the chin. This coiffure is bound round the head at the junction of scalp and skin by a black satin ribbon which varies in breadth according to the wearer's means: some adorn the gear with large gilt pins, others twine in it a Taj or thin wreath of sweet-smelling creeper. The virgins collect their locks, which are generally wavy not wiry, and grow long as well as thick, into a knot tied a la Diane behind the head: a curtain of short close plaits escaping from the bunch, falls upon the shoulders, not ungracefully. Silver ornaments are worn only by persons of rank. The ear is decorated with Somali rings or red coral beads, the neck with necklaces of the same material, and the fore-arms with six or seven of the broad circles of buffalo and other dark horns prepared in Western India. Finally, stars are tattooed upon the bosom, the eyebrows are lengthened with dyes, the eyes fringed with Kohl, and the hands and feet stained with henna.

The female voice is harsh and screaming, especially when heard after the delicate organs of the Somal. The fair sex is occupied at home spinning cotton thread for weaving Tobes, sashes, and turbans; carrying their progeny perched upon their backs, they bring water from the wells in large gourds borne on the head; work in the gardens, and—the men considering, like the Abyssinians, such work a disgrace—sit and sell in the long street which here represents the Eastern bazar. Chewing tobacco enables them to pass much of their time, and the rich diligently anoint themselves with ghee, whilst the poorer classes use remnants of fat from the lamps. Their freedom of manners renders a public flogging occasionally indispensable. Before the operation begins, a few gourds full of cold water are poured over their heads and shoulders, after which a single- thonged whip is applied with vigour. [25]

Both sexes are celebrated for laxity of morals. High and low indulge freely in intoxicating drinks, beer, and mead. The Amir has established strict patrols, who unmercifully bastinado those caught in the streets after a certain hour. They are extremely bigoted, especially against Christians, the effect of their Abyssinian wars, and are fond of "Jihading" with the Gallas, over whom they boast many a victory. I have seen a letter addressed by the late Amir to the Hajj Sharmarkay, in which he boasts of having slain a thousand infidels, and, by way of bathos, begs for a few pounds of English gunpowder. The Harari hold foreigners in especial hate and contempt, and divide them into two orders, Arabs and Somal. [26] The latter, though nearly one third of the population, or 2500 souls, are, to use their own phrase, cheap as dust: their natural timidity is increased by the show of pomp and power, whilst the word "prison" gives them the horrors.

The other inhabitants are about 3000 Bedouins, who "come and go." Up to the city gates the country is peopled by the Gallas. This unruly race requires to be propitiated by presents of cloth; as many as 600 Tobes are annually distributed amongst them by the Amir. Lately, when the smallpox, spreading from the city, destroyed many of their number, the relations of the deceased demanded and received blood-money: they might easily capture the place, but they preserve it for their own convenience. These Gallas are tolerably brave, avoid matchlock balls by throwing themselves upon the ground when they see the flash, ride well, use the spear skilfully, and although of a proverbially bad breed, are favourably spoken of by the citizens. The Somal find no difficulty in travelling amongst them. I repeatedly heard at Zayla and at Harar that traders had visited the far West, traversing for seven months a country of pagans wearing golden bracelets [27], till they reached the Salt Sea, upon which Franks sail in ships. [28] At Wilensi, one Mohammed, a Shaykhash, gave me his itinerary of fifteen stages to the sources of the Abbay or Blue Nile: he confirmed the vulgar Somali report that the Hawash and the Webbe Shebayli both take rise in the same range of well wooded mountains which gives birth to the river of Egypt.

The government of Harar is the Amir. These petty princes have a habit of killing and imprisoning all those who are suspected of aspiring to the throne. [29] Ahmed's greatgrandfather died in jail, and his father narrowly escaped the same fate. When the present Amir ascended the throne he was ordered, it is said, by the Makad or chief of the Nole Gallas, to release his prisoners, or to mount his horse and leave the city. Three of his cousins, however, were, when I visited Harar, in confinement: one of them since that time died, and has been buried in his fetters. The Somal declare that the state-dungeon of Harar is beneath the palace, and that he who once enters it, lives with unkempt beard and untrimmed nails until the day when death sets him free.

The Amir Ahmed's health is infirm. Some attribute his weakness to a fall from a horse, others declare him to have been poisoned by one of his wives. [30] I judged him consumptive. Shortly after my departure he was upon the point of death, and he afterwards sent for a physician to Aden. He has four wives. No. 1. is the daughter of the Gerad Hirsi; No. 2. a Sayyid woman of Harar; No. 3. an emancipated slave girl; and No. 4. a daughter of Gerad Abd el Majid, one of his nobles. He has two sons, who will probably never ascend the throne; one is an infant, the other is a boy now about five years old.

The Amir Ahmed succeeded his father about three years ago. His rule is severe if not just, and it has all the prestige of secresy. As the Amharas say, the "belly of the Master is not known:" even the Gerad Mohammed, though summoned to council at all times, in sickness as in health, dares not offer uncalled-for advice, and the queen dowager, the Gisti Fatimah, was threatened with fetters if she persisted in interference. Ahmed's principal occupations are spying his many stalwart cousins, indulging in vain fears of the English, the Turks, and the Hajj Sharmarkay, and amassing treasure by commerce and escheats. He judges civil and religious causes in person, but he allows them with little interference to be settled by the Kazi, Abd el Rahman bin Umar el Harari: the latter, though a highly respectable person, is seldom troubled; rapid decision being the general predilection. The punishments, when money forms no part of them, are mostly according to Koranic code. The murderer is placed in the market street, blindfolded, and bound hand and foot; the nearest of kin to the deceased then strikes his neck with a sharp and heavy butcher's knife, and the corpse is given over to the relations for Moslem burial. If the blow prove ineffectual a pardon is generally granted. When a citizen draws dagger upon another or commits any petty offence, he is bastinadoed in a peculiar manner: two men ply their horsewhips upon his back and breast, and the prince, in whose presence the punishment is carried out, gives the order to stop. Theft is visited with amputation of the hand. The prison is the award of state offenders: it is terrible, because the captive is heavily ironed, lies in a filthy dungeon, and receives no food but what he can obtain from his own family,—seldom liberal under such circumstances,—buy or beg from his guards. Fines and confiscations, as usual in the East, are favourite punishments with the ruler. I met at Wilensi an old Harari, whose gardens and property had all been escheated, because his son fled from justice, after slaying a man. The Amir is said to have large hoards of silver, coffee, and ivory: my attendant the Hammal was once admitted into the inner palace, where he saw huge boxes of ancient fashion supposed to contain dollars. The only specie current in Harar is a diminutive brass piece called Mahallak [31]—hand- worked and almost as artless a medium as a modern Italian coin. It bears on one side the words:

[Arabic] (Zaribat el Harar, the coinage of Harar.)

On the reverse is the date, A.H. 1248. The Amir pitilessly punishes all those who pass in the city any other coin.

The Amir Ahmed is alive to the fact that some state should hedge in a prince. Neither weapons nor rosaries are allowed in his presence; a chamberlain's robe acts as spittoon; whenever anything is given to or taken from him his hand must be kissed; even on horseback two attendants fan him with the hems of their garments. Except when engaged on the Haronic visits which he, like his father [32], pays to the streets and byways at night, he is always surrounded by a strong body guard. He rides to mosque escorted by a dozen horsemen, and a score of footmen with guns and whips precede him: by his side walks an officer shading him with a huge and heavily fringed red satin umbrella,—from India to Abyssinia the sign of princely dignity. Even at his prayers two or three chosen matchlockmen stand over him with lighted fusees. When he rides forth in public, he is escorted by a party of fifty men: the running footmen crack their whips and shout "Let! Let!" (Go! Go!) and the citizens avoid stripes by retreating into the nearest house, or running into another street.

The army of Harar is not imposing. There are between forty and fifty matchlockmen of Arab origin, long settled in the place, and commanded by a veteran Maghrebi. They receive for pay one dollar's worth of holcus per annum, a quantity sufficient to afford five or six loaves a day: the luxuries of life must be provided by the exercise of some peaceful craft. Including slaves, the total of armed men may be two hundred: of these one carries a Somali or Galla spear, another a dagger, and a third a sword, which is generally the old German cavalry blade. Cannon of small calibre is supposed to be concealed in the palace, but none probably knows their use. The city may contain thirty horses, of which a dozen are royal property: they are miserable ponies, but well trained to the rocks and hills. The Galla Bedouins would oppose an invader with a strong force of spearmen, the approaches to the city are difficult and dangerous, but it is commanded from the north and west, and the walls would crumble at the touch of a six-pounder. Three hundred Arabs and two gallopper guns would take Harar in an hour.

Harar is essentially a commercial town: its citizens live, like those of Zayla, by systematically defrauding the Galla Bedouins, and the Amir has made it a penal offence to buy by weight and scale. He receives, as octroi, from eight to fifteen cubits of Cutch canvass for every donkey- load passing the gates, consequently the beast is so burdened that it must be supported by the drivers. Cultivators are taxed ten per cent., the general and easy rate of this part of Africa, but they pay in kind, which considerably increases the Government share. The greatest merchant may bring to Harar 50l. worth of goods, and he who has 20l. of capital is considered a wealthy man. The citizens seem to have a more than Asiatic apathy, even in pursuit of gain. When we entered, a caravan was to set out for Zayla on the morrow; after ten days, hardly one half of its number had mustered. The four marches from the city eastward are rarely made under a fortnight, and the average rate of their Kafilahs is not so high even as that of the Somal.

The principal exports from Harar are slaves, ivory, coffee, tobacco, Wars (safflower or bastard saffron), Tobes and woven cottons, mules, holcus, wheat, "Karanji," a kind of bread used by travellers, ghee, honey, gums (principally mastic and myrrh), and finally sheep's fat and tallows of all sorts. The imports are American sheeting, and other cottons, white and dyed, muslins, red shawls, silks, brass, sheet copper, cutlery (generally the cheap German), Birmingham trinkets, beads and coral, dates, rice, and loaf sugar, gunpowder, paper, and the various other wants of a city in the wild.

Harar is still, as of old [33], the great "half way house" for slaves from Zangaro, Gurague, and the Galla tribes, Alo and others [34]: Abyssinians and Amharas, the most valued [35], have become rare since the King of Shoa prohibited the exportation. Women vary in value from 100 to 400 Ashrafis, boys from 9 to 150: the worst are kept for domestic purposes, the best are driven and exported by the Western Arabs [36] or by the subjects of H. H. the Imam of Muscat, in exchange for rice and dates. I need scarcely say that commerce would thrive on the decline of slavery: whilst the Felateas or man-razzias are allowed to continue, it is vain to expect industry in the land.

Ivory at Harar amongst the Kafirs is a royal monopoly, and the Amir carries on the one-sided system of trade, common to African monarchs. Elephants abound in Jarjar, the Erar forest, and in the Harirah and other valleys, where they resort during the hot season, in cold descending to the lower regions. The Gallas hunt the animals and receive for the spoil a little cloth: the Amir sends his ivory to Berberah, and sells it by means of a Wakil or agent. The smallest kind is called "Ruba Aj"(Quarter Ivory), the better description "Nuss Aj"(Half Ivory), whilst" Aj," the best kind, fetches from thirty-two to forty dollars per Farasilah of 27 Arab pounds. [36]

The coffee of Harar is too well known in the markets of Europe to require description: it grows in the gardens about the town, in greater quantities amongst the Western Gallas, and in perfection at Jarjar, a district of about seven days' journey from Harar on the Efat road. It is said that the Amir withholds this valuable article, fearing to glut the Berberah market: he has also forbidden the Harash, or coffee cultivators, to travel lest the art of tending the tree be lost. When I visited Harar, the price per parcel of twenty-seven pounds was a quarter of a dollar, and the hire of a camel carrying twelve parcels to Berberah was five dollars: the profit did not repay labour and risk.

The tobacco of Harar is of a light yellow color, with good flavour, and might be advantageously mixed with Syrian and other growths. The Alo, or Western Gallas, the principal cultivators, plant it with the holcus, and reap it about five months afterwards. It is cocked for a fortnight, the woody part is removed, and the leaf is packed in sacks for transportation to Berberah. At Harar, men prefer it for chewing as well as smoking: women generally use Surat tobacco. It is bought, like all similar articles, by the eye, and about seventy pounds are to be had for a dollar.

The Wars or Safflower is cultivated in considerable quantities around the city: an abundance is grown in the lands of the Gallas. It is sown when the heavy rains have ceased, and is gathered about two months afterwards. This article, together with slaves, forms the staple commerce between Berberah and Muscat. In Arabia, men dye with it their cotton shirts, women and children use it to stain the skin a bright yellow; besides the purpose of a cosmetic, it also serves as a preservative against cold. When Wars is cheap at Harar, a pound may be bought for a quarter of a dollar.

The Tobes and sashes of Harar are considered equal to the celebrated cloths of Shoa: hand-woven, they as far surpass, in beauty and durability, the vapid produce of European manufactories, as the perfect hand of man excels the finest machinery. On the windward coast, one of these garments is considered a handsome present for a chief. The Harari Tobe consists of a double length of eleven cubits by two in breadth, with a border of bright scarlet, and the average value of a good article, even in the city, is eight dollars. They are made of the fine long-stapled cotton, which grows plentifully upon these hills, and are soft as silk, whilst their warmth admirably adapts them for winter wear. The thread is spun by women with two wooden pins: the loom is worked by both sexes.

Three caravans leave Harar every year for the Berberah market. The first starts early in January, laden with coffee, Tobes, Wars, ghee, gums, and other articles to be bartered for cottons, silks, shawls, and Surat tobacco. The second sets out in February. The principal caravan, conveying slaves, mules, and other valuable articles, enters Berberah a few days before the close of the season: it numbers about 3000 souls, and is commanded by one of the Amir's principal officers, who enjoys the title of Ebi or leader. Any or all of these kafilahs might be stopped by spending four or five hundred dollars amongst the Jibril Abokr tribe, or even by a sloop of war at the emporium. "He who commands at Berberah, holds the beard of Harar in his hand," is a saying which I heard even within the city walls.

The furniture of a house at Harar is simple,—a few skins, and in rare cases a Persian rug, stools, coarse mats, and Somali pillows, wooden spoons, and porringers shaped with a hatchet, finished with a knife, stained red, and brightly polished. The gourd is a conspicuous article; smoked inside and fitted with a cover of the same material, it serves as cup, bottle, pipe, and water-skin: a coarse and heavy kind of pottery, of black or brown clay, is used by some of the citizens.

The inhabitants of Harar live well. The best meat, as in Abyssinia, is beef: it rather resembled, however, in the dry season when I ate it, the lean and stringy sirloins of Old England in Hogarth's days. A hundred and twenty chickens, or sixty-six full-grown fowls, may be purchased for a dollar, and the citizens do not, like the Somal, consider them carrion. Goat's flesh is good, and the black-faced Berberah sheep, after the rains, is, here as elsewhere, delicious. The staff of life is holcus. Fruit grows almost wild, but it is not prized as an article of food; the plantains are coarse and bad, grapes seldom come to maturity; although the brab flourishes in every ravine, and the palm becomes a lofty tree, it has not been taught to fructify, and the citizens do not know how to dress, preserve, or pickle their limes and citrons. No vegetables but gourds are known. From the cane, which thrives upon these hills, a little sugar is made: the honey, of which, as the Abyssinians say, "the land stinks," is the general sweetener. The condiment of East Africa, is red pepper.

* * * * *

To resume, dear L., the thread of our adventures at Harar.

Immediately after arrival, we were called upon by the Arabs, a strange mixture. One, the Haji Mukhtar, was a Maghrebi from Fez: an expatriation of forty years had changed his hissing Arabic as little as his "rocky face." This worthy had a coffee-garden assigned to him, as commander of the Amir's body-guard: he introduced himself to us, however, as a merchant, which led us to look upon him as a spy. Another, Haji Hasan, was a thorough-bred Persian: he seemed to know everybody, and was on terms of bosom friendship with half the world from Cairo to Calcutta, Moslem, Christian and Pagan. Amongst the rest was a boy from Meccah, a Muscat man, a native of Suez, and a citizen of Damascus: the others were Arabs from Yemen. All were most civil to us at first; but, afterwards, when our interviews with the Amir ceased, they took alarm, and prudently cut us.

The Arabs were succeeded by the Somal, amongst whom the Hammal and Long Guled found relatives, friends, and acquaintances, who readily recognised them as government servants at Aden. These visitors at first came in fear and trembling with visions of the Harar jail: they desired my men to return the visit by night, and made frequent excuses for apparent want of hospitality. Their apprehensions, however, soon vanished: presently they began to prepare entertainments, and, as we were without money, they willingly supplied us with certain comforts of life. Our three Habr Awal enemies, seeing the tide of fortune settling in our favour, changed their tactics: they threw the past upon their two Harari companions, and proposed themselves as Abbans on our return to Berberah. This offer was politely staved off; in the first place we were already provided with protectors, and secondly these men belonged to the Ayyal Shirdon, a clan most hostile to the Habr Gerhajis. They did not fail to do us all the harm in their power, but again my good star triumphed.

After a day's repose, we were summoned by the Treasurer, early in the forenoon, to wait upon the Gerad Mohammed. Sword in hand, and followed by the Hammal and Long Guled, I walked to the "palace," and entering a little ground-floor-room on the right of and close to the audience-hall, found the minister sitting upon a large dais covered with Persian carpets. He was surrounded by six of his brother Gerads or councillors, two of them in turbans, the rest with bare and shaven heads: their Tobes, as is customary on such occasions of ceremony, were allowed to fall beneath the waist. The lower part of the hovel was covered with dependents, amongst whom my Somal took their seats: it seemed to be customs' time, for names were being registered, and money changed hands. The Grandees were eating Kat, or as it is here called "Jat." [37] One of the party prepared for the Prime Minister the tenderest twigs of the tree, plucking off the points of even the softest leaves. Another pounded the plant with a little water in a wooden mortar: of this paste, called "El Madkuk," a bit was handed to each person, who, rolling it into a ball, dropped it into his mouth. All at times, as is the custom, drank cold water from a smoked gourd, and seemed to dwell upon the sweet and pleasant draught. I could not but remark the fine flavour of the plant after the coarser quality grown in Yemen. Europeans perceive but little effect from it—friend S. and I once tried in vain a strong infusion—the Arabs, however, unaccustomed to stimulants and narcotics, declare that, like opium eaters, they cannot live without the excitement. It seems to produce in them a manner of dreamy enjoyment, which, exaggerated by time and distance, may have given rise to that splendid myth the Lotos, and the Lotophagi. It is held by the Ulema here as in Arabia, "Akl el Salikin," or the Food of the Pious, and literati remark that it has the singular properties of enlivening the imagination, clearing the ideas, cheering the heart, diminishing sleep, and taking the place of food. The people of Harar eat it every day from 9 A.M. till near noon, when they dine and afterwards indulge in something stronger,— millet-beer and mead.

The Gerad, after polite inquiries, seated me by his right hand upon the Dais, where I ate Kat and fingered my rosary, whilst he transacted the business of the day. Then one of the elders took from a little recess in the wall a large book, and uncovering it, began to recite a long Dua or Blessing upon the Prophet: at the end of each period all present intoned the response, "Allah bless our Lord Mohammed with his Progeny and his Companions, one and all!" This exercise lasting half an hour afforded me the opportunity,—much desired,—of making an impression. The reader, misled by a marginal reference, happened to say, "angels, Men, and Genii:" the Gerad took the book and found written, "Men, Angels, and Genii." Opinions were divided as to the order of beings, when I explained that human nature, which amongst Moslems is not a little lower than the angelic, ranked highest, because of it were created prophets, apostles, and saints, whereas the other is but a "Wasitah" or connection between the Creator and his creatures. My theology won general approbation and a few kinder glances from the elders.

Prayer concluded, a chamberlain whispered the Gerad, who arose, deposited his black coral rosary, took up an inkstand, donned a white "Badan" or sleeveless Arab cloak over his cotton shirt, shuffled off the Dais into his slippers, and disappeared. Presently we were summoned to an interview with the Amir: this time I was allowed to approach the outer door with covered feet. Entering ceremoniously as before, I was motioned by the Prince to sit near the Gerad, who occupied a Persian rug on the ground to the right of the throne: my two attendants squatted upon the humbler mats in front and at a greater distance. After sundry inquiries about the changes that had taken place at Aden, the letter was suddenly produced by the Amir, who looked upon it suspiciously and bade me explain its contents. I was then asked by the Gerad whether it was my intention to buy and sell at Harar: the reply was, "We are no buyers nor sellers [38]; we have become your guests to pay our respects to the Amir—whom may Allah preserve!—and that the friendship between the two powers may endure." This appearing satisfactory, I added, in lively remembrance of the proverbial delays of Africa, where two or three months may elapse before a letter is answered or a verbal message delivered, that perhaps the Prince would be pleased to dismiss us soon, as the air of Harar was too dry for me, and my attendants were in danger of the small-pox, then raging in the town. The Amir, who was chary of words, bent towards the Gerad, who briefly ejaculated, "The reply will be vouchsafed:" with this unsatisfactory answer the interview ended.

Shortly after arrival, I sent my Salam to one of the Ulema, Shaykh Jami of the Berteri Somal: he accepted the excuse of ill health, and at once came to see me. This personage appeared in the form of a little black man aged about forty, deeply pitted by small-pox, with a protruding brow, a tufty beard and rather delicate features: his hands and feet were remarkably small. Married to a descendant of the Sherif Yunis, he had acquired great reputation as an Alim or Savan, a peace-policy-man, and an ardent Moslem. Though an imperfect Arabic scholar, he proved remarkably well read in the religious sciences, and even the Meccans had, it was said, paid him the respect of kissing his hand during his pilgrimage. In his second character, his success was not remarkable, the principal results being a spear-thrust in the head, and being generally told to read his books and leave men alone. Yet he is always doing good "lillah," that is to say, gratis and for Allah's sake: his pugnacity and bluntness—the prerogatives of the "peaceful"—gave him some authority over the Amir, and he has often been employed on political missions amongst the different chiefs. Nor has his ardour for propagandism been thoroughly gratified. He commenced his travels with an intention of winning the crown of glory without delay, by murdering the British Resident at Aden [39]: struck, however, with the order and justice of our rule, he changed his intentions and offered El Islam to the officer, who received it so urbanely, that the simple Eastern repenting having intended to cut the Kafir's throat, began to pray fervently for his conversion. Since that time he has made it a point of duty to attempt every infidel: I never heard, however, that he succeeded with a soul.

The Shaykh's first visit did not end well. He informed me that the old Usmanlis conquered Stamboul in the days of Umar. I imprudently objected to the date, and he revenged himself for the injury done to his fame by the favourite ecclesiastical process of privily damning me for a heretic, and a worse than heathen. Moreover he had sent me a kind of ritual which I had perused in an hour and returned to him: this prepossessed the Shaykh strongly against me, lightly "skimming" books being a form of idleness as yet unknown to the ponderous East. Our days at Harar were monotonous enough. In the morning we looked to the mules, drove out the cats—as great a nuisance here as at Aden—and ate for breakfast lumps of boiled beef with peppered holcus-scones. We were kindly looked upon by one Sultan, a sick and decrepid Eunuch, who having served five Amirs, was allowed to remain in the palace. To appearance he was mad: he wore upon his poll a motley scratch wig, half white and half black, like Day and Night in masquerades. But his conduct was sane. At dawn he sent us bad plantains, wheaten crusts, and cups of unpalatable coffee-tea [40], and, assisted by a crone more decrepid than himself, prepared for me his water- pipe, a gourd fitted with two reeds and a tile of baked clay by way of bowl: now he "knagged" at the slave girls, who were slow to work, then burst into a fury because some visitor ate Kat without offering it to him, or crossed the royal threshold in sandal or slipper. The other inmates of the house were Galla slave-girls, a great nuisance, especially one Berille, an unlovely maid, whose shrill voice and shameless manners were a sad scandal to pilgrims and pious Moslems.

About 8 A.M. the Somal sent us gifts of citrons, plantains, sugar-cane, limes, wheaten bread, and stewed fowls. At the same time the house became full of visitors, Harari and others, most of them pretexting inquiries after old Sultan's health. Noon was generally followed by a little solitude, the people retiring to dinner and siesta: we were then again provided with bread and beef from the Amir's kitchen. In the afternoon the house again filled, and the visitors dispersed only for supper. Before sunset we were careful to visit the mules tethered in the court-yard; being half starved they often attempted to desert. [41]

It was harvest home at Harar, a circumstance which worked us much annoy. In the mornings the Amir, attended by forty or fifty guards, rode to a hill north of the city, where he inspected his Galla reapers and threshers, and these men were feasted every evening at our quarters with flesh, beer, and mead. [42] The strong drinks caused many a wordy war, and we made a point of exhorting the pagans, with poor success I own, to purer lives.

We spent our soiree alternately bepreaching the Gallas, "chaffing" Mad Said, who, despite his seventy years, was a hale old Bedouin, with a salt and sullen repartee, and quarrelling with the slave-girls. Berille the loud-lunged, or Aminah the pert, would insist upon extinguishing the fat- fed lamp long ere bed-time, or would enter the room singing, laughing, dancing, and clapping a measure with their palms, when, stoutly aided by old Sultan, who shrieked like a hyaena on these occasions, we ejected her in extreme indignation. All then was silence without: not so—alas!— within. Mad Said snored fearfully, and Abtidon chatted half the night with some Bedouin friend, who had dropped in to supper. On our hard couches we did not enjoy either the noctes or the coenoe deorum.

The even tenor of such days was varied by a perpetual reference to the rosary, consulting soothsayers, and listening to reports and rumours brought to us by the Somal in such profusion that we all sighed for a discontinuance. The Gerad Mohammed, excited by the Habr Awal, was curious in his inquiries concerning me: the astute Senior had heard of our leaving the End of Time with the Gerad Adan, and his mind fell into the fancy that we were transacting some business for the Hajj Sharmarkay, the popular bugbear of Harar. Our fate was probably decided by the arrival of a youth of the Ayyal Gedid clan, who reported that three brothers had landed in the Somali country, that two of them were anxiously awaiting at Berberah the return of the third from Harar, and that, though dressed like Moslems, they were really Englishmen in government employ. Visions of cutting off caravans began to assume a hard and palpable form: the Habr Awal ceased intriguing, and the Gerad Mohammed resolved to adopt the suaviter in modo whilst dealing with his dangerous guest.

Some days after his first visit, the Shaykh Jami, sending for the Hammal, informed him of an intended trip from Harar: my follower suggested that we might well escort him. The good Shaykh at once offered to apply for leave from the Gerad Mohammed; not, however, finding the minister at home, he asked us to meet him at the palace on the morrow, about the time of Kat- eating.

We had so often been disappointed in our hopes of a final "lay-public," that on this occasion much was not expected. However, about 6 A.M., we were all summoned, and entering the Gerad's levee-room were, as usual, courteously received. I had distinguished his complaint,—chronic bronchitis,—and resolving to make a final impression, related to him all its symptoms, and promised, on reaching Aden, to send the different remedies employed by ourselves. He clung to the hope of escaping his sufferings, whilst the attendant courtiers looked on approvingly, and begged me to lose no time. Presently the Gerad was sent for by the Amir, and after a few minutes I followed him, on this occasion, alone. Ensued a long conversation about the state of Aden, of Zayla, of Berberah, and of Stamboul. The chief put a variety of questions about Arabia, and every object there: the answer was that the necessity of commerce confined us to the gloomy rock. He used some obliging expressions about desiring our friendship, and having considerable respect for a people who built, he understood, large ships. I took the opportunity of praising Harar in cautious phrase, and especially of regretting that its coffee was not better known amongst the Franks. The small wizen-faced man smiled, as Moslems say, the smile of Umar [43]: seeing his brow relax for the first time, I told him that, being now restored to health, we requested his commands for Aden. He signified consent with a nod, and the Gerad, with many compliments, gave me a letter addressed to the Political Resident, and requested me to take charge of a mule as a present. I then arose, recited a short prayer, the gist of which was that the Amir's days and reign might be long in the land, and that the faces of his foes might be blackened here and hereafter, bent over his hand and retired. Returning to the Gerad's levee-hut, I saw by the countenances of my two attendants that they were not a little anxious about the interview, and comforted them with the whispered word "Achha"—"all right!"

Presently appeared the Gerad, accompanied by two men, who brought my servants' arms, and the revolver which I had sent to the prince. This was a contretemps. It was clearly impossible to take back the present, besides which, I suspected some finesse to discover my feelings towards him: the other course would ensure delay. I told the Gerad that the weapon was intended especially to preserve the Amir's life, and for further effect, snapped caps in rapid succession to the infinite terror of the august company. The minister returned to his master, and soon brought back the information that after a day or two another mule should be given to me. With suitable acknowledgments we arose, blessed the Gerad, bade adieu to the assembly, and departed joyful, the Hammal in his glee speaking broken English, even in the Amir's courtyard.

Returning home, we found the good Shaykh Jami, to whom we communicated the news with many thanks for his friendly aid. I did my best to smooth his temper about Turkish history, and succeeded. Becoming communicative, he informed me that the original object, of his visit was the offer of good offices, he having been informed that, in the town was a man who brought down the birds from heaven, and the citizens having been thrown into great excitement by the probable intentions of such a personage. Whilst he sat with us, Kabir Khalil, one of the principal Ulema, and one Haji Abdullah, a Shaykh of distinguished fame who had been dreaming dreams in our favour, sent their salams. This is one of the many occasions in which, during a long residence in the East, I have had reason to be grateful to the learned, whose influence over the people when unbiassed by bigotry is decidedly for good. That evening there was great joy amongst the Somal, who had been alarmed for the safety of my companions: they brought them presents of Harari Tobes, and a feast of fowls, limes, and wheaten bread for the stranger.

On the 11th of January I was sent for by the Gerad and received the second mule. At noon we were visited by the Shaykh Jami, who, after a long discourse upon the subject of Sufiism [44], invited me to inspect his books. When midday prayer was concluded we walked to his house, which occupies the very centre of the city: in its courtyard is "Gay Humburti," the historic rock upon which Saint Nur held converse with the Prophet Khizr. The Shaykh, after seating us in a room about ten feet square, and lined with scholars and dusty tomes, began reading out a treatise upon the genealogies of the Grand Masters, and showed me in half a dozen tracts the tenets of the different schools. The only valuable MS. in the place was a fine old copy of the Koran; the Kamus and the Sihah were there [45], but by no means remarkable for beauty or correctness. Books at Harar are mostly antiques, copyists being exceedingly rare, and the square massive character is more like Cufic with diacritical points, than the graceful modern Naskhi. I could not, however, but admire the bindings: no Eastern country save Persia surpasses them in strength and appearance. After some desultory conversation the Shaykh ushered us into an inner room, or rather a dark closet partitioned off from the study, and ranged us around the usual dish of boiled beef, holcus bread, and red pepper. After returning to the study we sat for a few minutes,—Easterns rarely remain long after dinner,—and took leave, saying that we must call upon the Gerad Mohammed.

Nothing worthy of mention occurred during our final visit to the minister. He begged me not to forget his remedies when we reached Aden: I told him that without further loss of time we would start on the morrow, Friday, after prayers, and he simply ejaculated, "It is well, if Allah please!" Scarcely had we returned home, when the clouds, which had been gathering since noon, began to discharge heavy showers, and a few loud thunder-claps to reverberate amongst the hills. We passed that evening surrounded by the Somal, who charged us with letters and many messages to Berberah. Our intention was to mount early on Friday morning. When we awoke, however, a mule had strayed and was not brought back for some hours. Before noon Shaykh Jami called upon us, informed us that he would travel on the most auspicious day—Monday—and exhorted us to patience, deprecating departure upon Friday, the Sabbath. Then he arose to take leave, blessed us at some length, prayed that we might be borne upon the wings of safety, again advised Monday, and promised at all events to meet us at Wilensi.

I fear that the Shaykh's counsel was on this occasion likely to be disregarded. We had been absent from our goods and chattels a whole fortnight: the people of Harar are famously fickle; we knew not what the morrow might bring forth from the Amir's mind—in fact, all these African cities are prisons on a large scale, into which you enter by your own will, and, as the significant proverb says, you leave by another's. However, when the mosque prayers ended, a heavy shower and the stormy aspect of the sky preached patience more effectually than did the divine: we carefully tethered our mules, and unwillingly deferred our departure till next morning.


[1] The Ashantees at customs' time run across the royal threshold to escape being seized and sacrificed; possibly the trace of the pagan rite is still preserved by Moslem Harar, where it is now held a mark of respect and always exacted from the citizens.

[2] I afterwards learned that when a man neglects a summons his door is removed to the royal court-yard on the first day; on the second, it is confiscated. The door is a valuable and venerable article in this part of Africa. According to Bruce, Ptolemy Euergetes engraved it upon the Axum Obelisk for the benefit of his newly conquered AEthiopian subjects, to whom it had been unknown.

[3] In Abyssinia, according to the Lord of Geesh, this is a mark of royal familiarity and confidence.

[4] About seven years ago the Hajj Sharmarkay of Zayla chose as his agent at Harar, one of the Amir's officers, a certain Hajj Jamitay. When this man died Sharmarkay demanded an account from his sons; at Berberah they promised to give it, but returning to Harar they were persuaded, it is believed, by the Gerad Mohammed, to forget their word. Upon this Sharmarkay's friends and relations, incited by one Husayn, a Somali who had lived many years at Harar in the Amir's favour, wrote an insulting letter to the Gerad, beginning with, "No peace be upon thee, and no blessings of Allah, thou butcher! son of a butcher &c. &c.!" and concluding with a threat to pinion him in the market-place as a warning to men. Husayn carried the letter, which at first excited general terror; when, however, the attack did not take place, the Amir Abubakr imprisoned the imprudent Somali till he died. Sharmarkay by way of reprisals persuaded Alu, son of Sahlah Salaseh, king of Shoa, to seize about three hundred Harari citizens living in his dominions and to keep them two years in durance.

The Amir Abubakr is said on his deathbed to have warned his son against the Gerad. When Ahmad reported his father's decease to Zayla, the Hajj Sharmarkay ordered a grand Maulid or Mass in honour of the departed. Since that time, however, there has been little intercourse and no cordiality between them.

[5] Thus M. Isenberg (Preface to Ambaric Grammar, p. iv.) calls the city Harrar or Ararge.

[6] "Harar," is not an uncommon name in this part of Eastern Africa: according to some, the city is so called from a kind of tree, according to others, from the valley below it.

[7] I say about: we were compelled to boil our thermometers at Wilensi, not venturing upon such operation within the city.

[8] The other six were Efat, Arabini, Duaro, Sharka, Bali and Darah.

[9] A circumstantial account of the Jihad or Moslem crusades is, I am told, given in the Fath el Habashah, unfortunately a rare work. The Amir of Harar had but one volume, and the other is to be found at Mocha or Hudaydah.

[10] This prince built "Debra Berhan," the "Hill of glory," a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Gondar.

[11] A prince of many titles: he is generally called Wanag Suggad, "feared amongst the lions," because he spent the latter years of his life in the wild.

[12] Yemen submitted to Sulayman Pasha in A.D. 1538.

[13] "Gragne," or in the Somali dialect "Guray," means a left-handed man; Father Lobo errs in translating it "the Lame."

[14] This exploit has been erroneously attributed to Nur, the successor of Mohammed.

[15] This reverend Jesuit was commissioned in A.D. 1622, by the Count de Vidigueira, Viceroy of the Indies, to discover where his relative Don Christopher was buried, and to procure some of the relics. Assisted by the son in law of the Abyssinian Emperor, Lobo marched with an army through the Gallas, found the martyr's teeth and lower jaw, his arms and a picture of the Holy Virgin which he always carried about him. The precious remains were forwarded to Goa.

I love the style of this old father, so unjustly depreciated by our writers, and called ignorant peasant and liar by Bruce, because he claimed for his fellow countrymen the honor of having discovered the Coy Fountains. The Nemesis who never sleeps punished Bruce by the justest of retributions. His pompous and inflated style, his uncommon arrogance, and over-weening vanity, his affectation of pedantry, his many errors and misrepresentations, aroused against him a spirit which embittered the last years of his life. It is now the fashion to laud Bruce, and to pity his misfortunes. I cannot but think that he deserved them.

[16] Bruce, followed by most of our modern authors, relates a circumstantial and romantic story of the betrayal of Don Christopher by his mistress, a Turkish lady of uncommon beauty, who had been made prisoner.

The more truth-like pages of Father Lobo record no such silly scandal against the memory of the "brave and holy Portuguese." Those who are well read in the works of the earlier eastern travellers will remember their horror of "handling heathens after that fashion." And amongst those who fought for the faith an affaire de coeur with a pretty pagan was held to be a sin as deadly as heresy or magic.

[17] Romantic writers relate that Mohammed decapitated the Christian with his left hand.

[18] Others assert, in direct contradiction to Father Lobo, that the body was sent to different parts of Arabia, and the head to Constantinople.

[19] Bruce, followed by later authorities, writes this name Del Wumbarea.

[20] Talwambara, according to the Christians, after her husband's death, and her army's defeat, threw herself into the wilds of Atbara, and recovered her son Ali Gerad by releasing Prince Menas, the brother of the Abyssinian emperor, who in David's reign had been carried prisoner to Adel.

The historian will admire these two widely different accounts of the left- handed hero's death. Upon the whole he will prefer the Moslem's tradition from the air of truth pervading it, and the various improbabilities which appear in the more detailed story of the Christians.

[21] Formerly the Waraba, creeping through the holes in the wall, rendered the streets dangerous at night. They are now destroyed by opening the gates in the evening, enticing in the animals by slaughtering cattle, and closing the doors upon them, when they are safely speared.

[22] The following are the names of the gates in Harari and Somali:

Eastward. Argob Bari (Bar in Amharic is a gate, e.g. Ankobar, the gate of Anko, a Galla Queen, and Argob is the name of a Galla clan living in this quarter), by the Somal called Erar.

North. Asum Bari (the gate of Axum), in Somali, Faldano or the Zayla entrance.

West. Asmadim Bari or Hamaraisa.

South. Badro Bari or Bab Bida.

South East. Sukutal Bari or Bisidimo.

At all times these gates are carefully guarded; in the evening the keys are taken to the Amir, after which no one can leave the city till dawn.

[23] Kabir in Arabic means great, and is usually applied to the Almighty; here it is a title given to the principal professors of religious science.

[24] This is equivalent to saying that the language of the Basque provinces is French with an affinity to English.

[25] When ladies are bastinadoed in more modest Persia, their hands are passed through a hole in a tent wall, and fastened for the infliction to a Falakah or pole outside.

[26] The hate dates from old times. Abd el Karim, uncle to the late Amir Abubakr, sent for sixty or seventy Arab mercenaries under Haydar Assal the Auliki, to save him against the Gallas. The matchlockmen failing in ammunition, lost twenty of their number in battle and retired to the town, where the Gallas, after capturing Abd el Karim, and his brother Abd el Rahman, seized the throne, and, aided by the citizens, attempted to massacre the strangers. These, however, defended themselves gallantly, and would have crowned the son of Abd el Rahman, had he not in fear declined the dignity; they then drew their pay, and marched with all the honors of war to Zayla.

Shortly before our arrival, the dozen of petty Arab pedlars at Harar, treacherous intriguers, like all their dangerous race, had been plotting against the Amir. One morning when they least expected it, their chief was thrown into a prison which proved his grave, and the rest were informed that any stranger found in the city should lose his head. After wandering some months among the neighbouring villages, they were allowed to return and live under surveillance. No one at Harar dared to speak of this event, and we were cautioned not to indulge our curiosity.

[27] This agrees with the Hon. R. Curzon's belief in Central African "diggings." The traveller once saw an individual descending the Nile with a store of nuggets, bracelets, and gold rings similar to those used as money by the ancient Egyptians.

[28] M. Krapf relates a tale current in Abyssinia; namely, that there is a remnant of the slave trade between Guineh (the Guinea coast) and Shoa. Connexion between the east and west formerly existed: in the time of John the Second, the Portuguese on the river Zaire in Congo learned the existence of the Abyssinian church. Travellers in Western Africa assert that Fakihs or priests, when performing the pilgrimage pass from the Fellatah country through Abyssinia to the coast of the Red Sea. And it has lately been proved that a caravan line is open from the Zanzibar coast to Benguela.

[29] All male collaterals of the royal family, however, are not imprisoned by law, as was formerly the case at Shoa.

[30] This is a mere superstition; none but the most credulous can believe that a man ever lives after an Eastern dose.

[31] The name and coin are Abyssinian. According to Bruce,

20 Mahallaks are worth 1 Grush. 12 Grush " " 1 Miskal. 4 Miskal " " 1 Wakiyah (ounce).

At Harar twenty-two plantains (the only small change) = one Mahallak, twenty-two Mahallaks = one Ashrafi (now a nominal coin,) and three Ashrafi = one dollar.

Lieut. Cruttenden remarks, "The Ashrafi stamped at the Harar mint is a coin peculiar to the place. It is of silver and the twenty-second part of a dollar. The only specimen I have been able to procure bore the date of 910 of the Hagira, with the name of the Amir on one side, and, on its reverse, 'La Ilaha ill 'Allah.'" This traveller adds in a note, "the value of the Ashrafi changes with each successive ruler. In the reign of Emir Abd el Shukoor, some 200 years ago, it was of gold." At present the Ashrafi, as I have said above, is a fictitious medium used in accounts.

[32] An old story is told of the Amir Abubakr, that during one of his nocturnal excursions, he heard three of his subjects talking treason, and coveting his food, his wife, and his throne. He sent for them next morning, filled the first with good things, and bastinadoed him for not eating more, flogged the second severely for being unable to describe the difference between his own wife and the princess, and put the third to death.

[33] El Makrizi informs us that in his day Hadiyah supplied the East with black Eunuchs, although the infamous trade was expressly forbidden by the Emperor of Abyssinia.

[33] The Arusi Gallas are generally driven direct from Ugadayn to Berberah.

[34] "If you want a brother (in arms)," says the Eastern proverb, "buy a Nubian, if you would be rich, an Abyssinian, and if you require an ass, a Sawahili (negro)." Formerly a small load of salt bought a boy in Southern Abyssinia, many of them, however, died on their way to the coast.

[35] The Firman lately issued by the Sultan and forwarded to the Pasha of Jeddah for the Kaimakan and the Kazi of Mecca, has lately caused a kind of revolution in Western Arabia. The Ulema and the inhabitants denounced the rescript as opposed to the Koran, and forced the magistrate to take sanctuary. The Kaimakan came to his assistance with Turkish troops, the latter, however, were soon pressed back into their fort. At this time, the Sherif Abd el Muttalib arrived at Meccah, from Taif, and almost simultaneously Reshid Pasha came from Constantinople with orders to seize him, send him to the capital, and appoint the Sherif Nazir to act until the nomination of a successor, the state prisoner Mohammed bin Aun.

The tumult redoubled. The people attributing the rescript to the English and French Consuls of Jeddah, insisted upon pulling down their flags. The Pasha took them under his protection, and on the 14th January, 1856, the "Queen" steamer was despatched from Bombay, with orders to assist the government and to suppress the contest.

[36] This weight, as usual in the East, varies at every port. At Aden the Farasilah is 27 lbs., at Zayla 20 lbs., and at Berberah 35 lbs.

[37] See Chap. iii. El Makrizi, describing the kingdom of Zayla, uses the Harari not the Arabic term; he remarks that it is unknown to Egypt and Syria, and compares its leaf to that of the orange.

[38] In conversational Arabic "we" is used without affectation for "I."

[39] The Shaykh himself gave me this information. As a rule it is most imprudent for Europeans holding high official positions in these barbarous regions, to live as they do, unarmed and unattended. The appearance of utter security may impose, where strong motives for assassination are wanting. At the same time the practice has occasioned many losses which singly, to use an Indian statesman's phrase, would have "dimmed a victory."

[40] In the best coffee countries, Harar and Yemen, the berry is reserved for exportation. The Southern Arabs use for economy and health—the bean being considered heating—the Kishr or follicle. This in Harar is a woman's drink. The men considering the berry too dry and heating for their arid atmosphere, toast the leaf on a girdle, pound it and prepare an infusion which they declare to be most wholesome, but which certainly suggests weak senna. The boiled coffee-leaf has been tried and approved of in England; we omit, however, to toast it.

[41] In Harar a horse or a mule is never lost, whereas an ass straying from home is rarely seen again.

[42] This is the Abyssinian "Tej," a word so strange to European organs, that some authors write it "Zatsh." At Harar it is made of honey dissolved in about fifteen parts of hot water, strained and fermented for seven days with the bark of a tree called Kudidah; when the operation is to be hurried, the vessel is placed near the fire. Ignorant Africa can ferment, not distil, yet it must be owned she is skilful in her rude art. Every traveller has praised the honey-wine of the Highlands, and some have not scrupled to prefer it to champagne. It exhilarates, excites and acts as an aphrodisiac; the consequence is, that at Harar all men, pagans and sages, priests and rulers, drink it.

[43] The Caliph Umar is said to have smiled once and wept once. The smile was caused by the recollection of his having eaten his paste-gods in the days of ignorance. The tear was shed in remembrance of having buried alive, as was customary amongst the Pagan Arabs, his infant daughter, who, whilst he placed her in the grave, with her little hands beat the dust off his beard and garment.

[44] The Eastern parent of Free-Masonry.

[45] Two celebrated Arabic dictionaries.



Long before dawn on Saturday, the 13th January, the mules were saddled, bridled, and charged with our scanty luggage. After a hasty breakfast we shook hands with old Sultan the Eunuch, mounted and pricked through the desert streets. Suddenly my weakness and sickness left me—so potent a drug is joy!—and, as we passed the gates loudly salaming to the warders, who were crouching over the fire inside, a weight of care and anxiety fell from me like a cloak of lead.

Yet, dear L., I had time, on the top of my mule for musing upon how melancholy a thing is success. Whilst failure inspirits a man, attainment reads the sad prosy lesson that all our glories

"Are shadows, not substantial things."

Truly said the sayer, "disappointment is the salt of life"—a salutary bitter which strengthens the mind for fresh exertion, and gives a double value to the prize.

This shade of melancholy soon passed away. The morning was beautiful. A cloudless sky, then untarnished by sun, tinged with reflected blue the mist-crowns of the distant peaks and the smoke wreaths hanging round the sleeping villages, and the air was a cordial after the rank atmosphere of the town. The dew hung in large diamonds from the coffee trees, the spur- fowl crew blithely in the bushes by the way-side:—briefly, never did the face of Nature appear to me so truly lovely.

We hurried forwards, unwilling to lose time and fearing the sun of the Erar valley. With arms cocked, a precaution against the possibility of Galla spears in ambuscade, we crossed the river, entered the yawning chasm and ascended the steep path. My companions were in the highest spirits, nothing interfered with the general joy, but the villain Abtidon, who loudly boasted in a road crowded with market people, that the mule which he was riding had been given to us by the Amir as a Jizyah or tribute. The Hammal, direfully wrath, threatened to shoot him upon the spot, and it was not without difficulty that I calmed the storm.

Passing Gafra we ascertained from the Midgans that the Gerad Adan had sent for my books and stored them in his own cottage. We made in a direct line for Kondura. At one P.M. we safely threaded the Galla's pass, and about an hour afterwards we exclaimed "Alhamdulillah" at the sight of Sagharrah and the distant Marar Prairie. Entering the village we discharged our fire- arms: the women received us with the Masharrad or joy-cry, and as I passed the enclosure the Geradah Khayrah performed the "Fola" by throwing over me some handfuls of toasted grain. [1] The men gave cordial poignees de mains, some danced with joy to see us return alive; they had heard of our being imprisoned, bastinadoed, slaughtered; they swore that the Gerad was raising an army to rescue or revenge us—in fact, had we been their kinsmen more excitement could not have been displayed. Lastly, in true humility, crept forward the End of Time, who, as he kissed my hand, was upon the point of tears: he had been half-starved, despite his dignity as Sharmarkay's Mercury, and had spent his weary nights and days reciting the chapter Y.S. and fumbling the rosary for omens. The Gerad, he declared, would have given him a sheep and one of his daughters to wife, temporarily, but Sherwa had interfered, he had hindered the course of his sire's generosity: "Cursed be he," exclaimed the End of Time, "who with dirty feet defiles the pure water of the stream!"

We entered the smoky cottage. The Gerad and his sons were at Wilensi settling the weighty matter of a caravan which had been plundered by the Usbayhan tribe—in their absence the good Khayrah and her daughters did the duties of hospitality by cooking rice and a couple of fowls. A pleasant evening was spent in recounting our perils as travellers will do, and complimenting one another upon the power of our star.

At eight the next morning we rode to Wilensi. As we approached it all the wayfarers and villagers inquired Hibernically if we were the party that had been put to death by the Amir of Harar. Loud congratulations and shouts of joy awaited our arrival. The Kalendar was in a paroxysm of delight: both Shehrazade and Deenarzade were affected with giggling and what might be blushing. We reviewed our property and found that the One- eyed had been a faithful steward, so faithful indeed, that he had well nigh starved the two women. Presently appeared the Gerad and his sons bringing with them my books; the former was at once invested with a gaudy Abyssinian Tobe of many colours, in which he sallied forth from the cottage the admired of all admirers. The pretty wife Sudiyah and the good Khayrah were made happy by sundry gifts of huge Birmingham ear-rings, brooches and bracelets, scissors, needles, and thread. The evening as usual ended in a feast.

"We halted a week at Wilensi to feed,—in truth my companions had been faring lentenly at Harar,—and to lay in stock and strength for the long desert march before us. A Somali was despatched to the city under orders to load an ass with onions, tobacco, spices, wooden platters, and Karanji [2], which our penniless condition had prevented our purchasing. I spent the time collecting a vocabulary of the Harari tongue under the auspices of Mad Said and All the poet, a Somali educated at the Alma Mater. He was a small black man, long-headed and long-backed, with remarkably prominent eyes, a bulging brow, nose pertly turned up, and lean jaws almost unconscious of beard. He knew the Arabic, Somali, Galla, and Harari languages, and his acuteness was such, that I found no difficulty in what usually proves the hardest task,—extracting the grammatical forms. "A poet, the son of a Poet," to use his own phrase, he evinced a Horatian respect for the beverage which bards love, and his discourse, whenever it strayed from the line of grammar, savoured of over reverence for the goddess whom Pagans associated with Bacchus and Ceres. He was also a patriot and a Tyrtaeus. No clan ever attacked his Girhis without smarting under terrible sarcasms, and his sneers at the young warriors for want of ardour in resisting Gudabirsi encroachments, were quoted as models of the "withering." Stimulated by the present of a Tobe, he composed a song in honor of the pilgrim: I will offer a literal translation of the exordium, though sentient of the fact that modesty shrinks from such quotations.

"Formerly, my sire and self held ourselves songsters: Only to day, however, I really begin to sing. At the order of Abdullah, Allah sent, my tongue is loosed, The son of the Kuraysh by a thousand generations, He hath visited Audal, and Sahil and Adari [3]; A hundred of his ships float on the sea; His intellect," &c. &c. &c.

When not engaged with Ali the Poet I amused myself by consoling Mad Said, who was deeply afflicted, his son having received an ugly stab in the shoulder. Thinking, perhaps, that the Senior anticipated some evil results from the wound, I attempted to remove the impression. "Alas, 0 Hajj!" groaned the old man, "it is not that!—how can the boy be my boy, I who have ever given instead of receiving stabs?" nor would he be comforted, on account of the youth's progeniture. At other times we summoned the heads of the clans and proceeded to write down their genealogies. This always led to a scene beginning with piano, but rapidly rising to the strepitoso. Each tribe and clan wished to rank first, none would be even second,—what was to be done? When excitement was at its height, the paper and pencil were torn out of my hand, stubby beards were pitilessly pulled, and daggers half started from their sheaths. These quarrels were, however, easily composed, and always passed off in storms of abuse, laughter, and derision.

With the end of the week's repose came Shaykh Jami, the Berteri, equipped as a traveller with sword, praying-skin, and water-bottle. This bustling little divine, whose hobby it was to make every man's business his own, was accompanied by his brother, in nowise so prayerful a person, and by four burly, black-looking Widads, of whose birth, learning, piety, and virtues he spoke in terms eloquent. I gave them a supper of rice, ghee, and dates in my hut, and with much difficulty excused myself on plea of ill health from a Samrah or night's entertainment—the chaunting some serious book from evening even to the small hours. The Shaykh informed me that his peaceful errand on that occasion was to determine a claim of blood-money amongst the neighbouring Bedouins. The case was rich in Somali manners. One man gave medicine to another who happened to die about a month afterwards: the father of the deceased at once charged the mediciner with poisoning, and demanded the customary fine. Mad Said grumbled certain disrespectful expressions about the propriety of divines confining themselves to prayers and the Koran, whilst the Gerad Adan, after listening to the Shaykh's violent denunciation of the Somali doctrine, "Fire, but not shame!" [4] conducted his head-scratcher, and with sly sarcasm declared that he had been Islamized afresh that day.

On Sunday, the 21st of January, our messenger returned from Harar, bringing with him supplies for the road: my vocabulary was finished, and as nothing delayed us at Wilensi, I determined to set out the next day. When the rumour went abroad every inhabitant of the village flocked to our hut, with the view of seeing what he could beg or borrow: we were soon obliged to close it, with peremptory orders that none be admitted but the Shaykh Jami. The divine appeared in the afternoon accompanied by all the incurables of the country side: after hearing the tale of the blood-money, I determined that talismans were the best and safest of medicines in those mountains. The Shaykh at first doubted their efficacy. But when my diploma as a master Sufi was exhibited, a new light broke upon him and his attendant Widads. "Verily he hath declared himself this day!" whispered each to his neighbour, still sorely mystified. Shaykh Jami carefully inspected the document, raised it reverently to his forehead, and muttered some prayers: he then in humble phrase begged a copy, and required from me "Ijazah" or permission to act as master. The former request was granted without hesitation, about the latter I preferred to temporize: he then owned himself my pupil, and received, as a well-merited acknowledgment of his services, a pencil and a silk turban.

The morning fixed for our departure came; no one, however, seemed ready to move. The Hammal, who but the night before had been full of ardour and activity, now hung back; we had no coffee, no water-bags, and Deenarzade had gone to buy gourds in some distant village. This was truly African: twenty-six days had not sufficed to do the work of a single watch! No servants had been procured for us by the Gerad, although he had promised a hundred whenever required. Long Guled had imprudently lent his dagger to the smooth-tongued Yusuf Dera, who hearing of the departure, naturally absconded. And, at the last moment, one Abdy Aman, who had engaged himself at Harar as guide to Berberah for the sum of ten dollars, asked a score.

A display of energy was clearly necessary. I sent the Gerad with directions to bring the camels at once, and ordered the Hammal to pull down the huts. Abdy Aman was told to go to Harar—or the other place—Long Guled was promised another dagger at Berberah; a message was left directing Deenarzade to follow, and the word was given to load.

By dint of shouting and rough language, the caravan was ready at 9 A.M. The Gerad Adan and his ragged tail leading, we skirted the eastern side of Wilensi, and our heavily laden camels descended with pain the rough and stony slope of the wide Kloof dividing it from the Marar Prairie. At 1 P.M. the chief summoned us to halt: we pushed on, however, without regarding him. Presently, Long Guled and the End of Time were missing; contrary to express orders they had returned to seek the dagger. To ensure discipline, on this occasion I must have blown out the long youth's brains, which were, he declared, addled by the loss of his weapon: the remedy appeared worse than the disease.

Attended only by the Hammal, I entered with pleasure the Marar Prairie. In vain the Gerad entreated us not to venture upon a place swarming with lions; vainly he promised to kill sheep and oxen for a feast;—we took abrupt leave of him, and drove away the camels.

Journeying slowly over the skirt of the plain, when rejoined by the truants, we met a party of travellers, who, as usual, stopped to inquire the news. Their chief, mounted upon an old mule, proved to be Madar Farih, a Somali well known at Aden. He consented to accompany us as far as the halting place, expressed astonishment at our escaping Harar, and gave us intelligence which my companions judged grave. The Gerad Hirsi of the Berteri, amongst whom Madar had been living, was incensed with us for leaving the direct road. Report informed him, moreover, that we had given 600 dollars and various valuables to the Gerad Adan,—Why then had he been neglected? Madar sensibly advised us to push forward that night, and to 'ware the bush, whence Midgans might use their poisoned arrows.

We alighted at the village formerly beneath Gurays, now shifted to a short distance from those hills. Presently appeared Deenarzade, hung round with gourds and swelling with hurt feelings: she was accompanied by Dahabo, sister of the valiant Beuh, who, having for ever parted from her graceless husband, the Gerad, was returning under our escort to the Gurgi of her family. Then came Yusuf Dera with a smiling countenance and smooth manners, bringing the stolen dagger and many excuses for the mistake; he was accompanied by a knot of kinsmen deputed by the Gerad as usual for no good purpose. That worthy had been informed that his Berteri rival offered a hundred cows for our persons, dead or alive: he pathetically asked my attendants "Do you love your pilgrim?" and suggested that if they did so, they might as well send him a little more cloth, upon the receipt of which he would escort us with fifty horsemen.

My Somal lent a willing ear to a speech which smelt of falsehood a mile off: they sat down to debate; the subject was important, and for three mortal hours did that palaver endure. I proposed proceeding at once. They declared that the camels could not walk, and that the cold of the prairie was death to man. Pointing to a caravan of grain-carriers that awaited our escort, I then spoke of starting next morning. Still they hesitated. At length darkness came on, and knowing it to be a mere waste of time to debate over night about dangers to be faced next day, I ate my dates and drank my milk, and lay down to enjoy tranquil sleep in the deep silence of the desert.

The morning of the 23rd of January found my companions as usual in a state of faint-heartedness. The Hammal was deputed to obtain permission for fetching the Gerad and all the Gerad's men. This was positively refused. I could not, however, object to sending sundry Tobes to the cunning idiot, in order to back up a verbal request for the escort. Thereupon Yusuf Dera, Madar Farih, and the other worthies took leave, promising to despatch the troop before noon: I saw them depart with pleasure, feeling that we had bade adieu to the Girhis. The greatest danger we had run was from the Gerad Adan, a fact of which I was not aware till some time after my return to Berberah: he had always been plotting an avanie which, if attempted, would have cost him dear, but at the same time would certainly have proved fatal to us.

Noon arrived, but no cavalry. My companions had promised that if disappointed they would start before nightfall and march till morning. But when the camels were sent for, one, as usual if delay was judged advisable, had strayed: they went in search of him, so as to give time for preparation to the caravan. I then had a sharp explanation with my men, and told them in conclusion that it was my determination to cross the Prairie alone, if necessary, on the morrow.

That night heavy clouds rolled down from the Gurays Hills, and veiled the sky with a deeper gloom. Presently came a thin streak of blue lightning and a roar of thunder, which dispersed like flies the mob of gazers from around my Gurgi; then rain streamed through our hut as though we had been dwelling under a system of cullenders. Deenarzade declared herself too ill to move; Shehrazade swore that she would not work: briefly, that night was by no means pleasantly spent.

At dawn, on the 24th, we started across the Marar Prairie with a caravan of about twenty men and thirty women, driving camels, carrying grain, asses, and a few sheep. The long straggling line gave a "wide berth" to the doughty Hirsi and his Berteris, whose camp-fires were clearly visible in the morning grey. The air was raw; piles of purple cloud settled upon the hills, whence cold and damp gusts swept the plain; sometimes we had a shower, at others a Scotch mist, which did not fail to penetrate our thin raiment. My people trembled, and their teeth chattered as though they were walking upon ice. In our slow course we passed herds of quagga and gazelles, but the animals were wild, and both men and mules were unequal to the task of stalking them. About midday we closed up, for our path wound through the valley wooded with Acacia,—fittest place for an ambuscade of archers. We dined in the saddle on huge lumps of sun-dried beef, and bits of gum gathered from the trees.

Having at length crossed the prairie without accident, the caravan people shook our hands, congratulated one another, and declared that they owed their lives to us. About an hour after sunset we arrived at Abtidon's home, a large kraal at the foot of the Konti cone: fear of lions drove my people into the enclosure, where we passed a night of scratching. I was now haunted by the dread of a certain complaint for which sulphur is said to be a specific. This is the pest of the inner parts of Somali-land; the people declare it to arise from flies and fleas: the European would derive it from the deficiency, or rather the impossibility, of ablutions.

"Allah help the Goer, but the Return is Rolling:" this adage was ever upon the End of Time's tongue, yet my fate was apparently an exception to the general rule. On the 25th January, we were delayed by the weakness of the camels, which had been half starved in the Girhi mountains. And as we were about to enter the lands of the Habr Awal [5], then at blood feud with my men, all Habr Gerhajis, probably a week would elapse before we could provide ourselves with a fit and proper protector. Already I had been delayed ten days after the appointed time, my comrades at Berberah would be apprehensive of accidents, and although starting from Wilensi we had resolved to reach the coast within the fortnight, a month's march was in clear prospect.

Whilst thus chewing the cud of bitter thought where thought was of scant avail, suddenly appeared the valiant Beuh, sent to visit us by Dahabo his gay sister. He informed us that a guide was in the neighbourhood, and the news gave me an idea. I proposed that he should escort the women, camels, and baggage under command of the Kalendar to Zayla, whilst we, mounting our mules and carrying only our arms and provisions for four days, might push through the lands of the Habr Awal. After some demur all consented.

It was not without apprehension that I pocketed all my remaining provisions, five biscuits, a few limes, and sundry lumps of sugar. Any delay or accident to our mules would starve us; in the first place, we were about to traverse a desert, and secondly where Habr Awal were, they would not sell meat or milk to Habr Gerhajis. My attendants provided themselves with a small provision of sun-dried beef, grain, and sweetmeats: only one water-bottle, however, was found amongst the whole party. We arose at dawn after a wet night on the 26th January, but we did not start till 7 A.M., the reason being that all the party, the Kalendar, Shehrazade and Deenarzade, claimed and would have his and her several and distinct palaver.

Having taken leave of our friends and property [6], we spurred our mules, and guided by Beuh, rode through cloud and mist towards Koralay the Saddle-back hill. After an hour's trot over rugged ground falling into the Harawwah valley, we came to a Gudabirsi village, where my companions halted to inquire the news, also to distend their stomachs with milk. Thence we advanced slowly, as the broken path required, through thickets of wild henna to the kraal occupied by Beuh's family. At a distance we were descried by an old acquaintance, Fahi, who straightways began to dance like a little Polyphemus, his shock-wig waving in the air: plentiful potations of milk again delayed my companions, who were now laying in a four days' stock.

Remounting, we resumed our journey over a mass of rock and thicket, watered our mules at holes in a Fiumara, and made our way to a village belonging to the Ugaz or chief of the Gudabirsi tribe. He was a middle- aged man of ordinary presence, and he did not neglect to hold out his hand for a gift which we could not but refuse. Halting for about an hour, we persuaded a guide, by the offer of five dollars and a pair of cloths, to accompany us. "Dubayr"—the Donkey—who belonged to the Bahgobo clan of the Habr Awal, was a "long Lankin," unable, like all these Bedouins, to endure fatigue. He could not ride, the saddle cut him, and he found his mule restive; lately married, he was incapacitated for walking, and he suffered sadly from thirst. The Donkey little knew, when he promised to show Berberah on the third day, what he had bound himself to perform: after the second march he was induced, only by the promise of a large present, and one continual talk of food, to proceed, and often he threw his lengthy form upon the ground, groaning that his supreme hour was at hand. In the land which we were to traverse every man's spear would be against us. By way of precaution, we ordered our protector to choose desert roads and carefully to avoid all kraals. At first, not understanding our reasons, and ever hankering after milk, he could not pass a thorn fence without eyeing it wistfully. On the next day, however, he became more tractable, and before reaching Berberah he showed himself, in consequence of some old blood feud, more anxious even than ourselves to avoid villages.

Remounting, under the guidance of the Donkey, we resumed our east-ward course. He was communicative even for a Somali, and began by pointing out, on the right of the road, the ruins of a stone-building, called, as customary in these countries, a fort. Beyond it we came to a kraal, whence all the inhabitants issued with shouts and cries for tobacco. Three o'clock P.M. brought us to a broad Fiumara choked with the thickest and most tangled vegetation: we were shown some curious old Galla wells, deep holes about twenty feet in diameter, excavated in the rock; some were dry, others overgrown with huge creepers, and one only supplied us with tolerable water. The Gudabirsi tribe received them from the Girhi in lieu of blood-money: beyond this watercourse, the ground belongs to the Rer Yunis Jibril, a powerful clan of the Habr Awal, and the hills are thickly studded with thorn-fence and kraal.

Without returning the salutations of the Bedouins, who loudly summoned us to stop and give them the news, we trotted forwards in search of a deserted sheep-fold. At sunset we passed, upon an eminence on our left, the ruins of an ancient settlement, called after its patron Saint, Ao Barhe: and both sides of the mountain road were flanked by tracts of prairie-land, beautifully purpling in the evening air. After a ride of thirty-five miles, we arrived at a large fold, where, by removing the inner thorn-fences, we found fresh grass for our starving beasts. The night was raw and windy, and thick mists deepened into a drizzle, which did not quench our thirst, but easily drenched the saddle cloths, our only bedding. In one sense, however, the foul weather was propitious to us. Our track might easily have been followed by some enterprising son of Yunis Jibril; these tracts of thorny bush are favourite places for cattle lifting; moreover the fire was kept blazing all night, yet our mules were not stolen.

We shook off our slumbers before dawn on the 27th. I remarked near our resting-place, one of those detached heaps of rock, common enough in the Somali country: at one extremity a huge block projects upwards, and suggests the idea of a gigantic canine tooth. The Donkey declared that the summit still bears traces of building, and related the legend connected with Moga Medir. [7] There, in times of old, dwelt a Galla maiden whose eye could distinguish a plundering party at the distance of five days' march. The enemies of her tribe, after sustaining heavy losses, hit upon the expedient of an attack, not en chemise, but with their heads muffled in bundles of hay. When Moga, the maiden, informed her sire and clan that a prairie was on its way towards the hill, they deemed her mad; the manoeuvre succeeded, and the unhappy seer lost her life. The legend interested me by its wide diffusion. The history of Zarka, the blue-eyed witch of the Jadis tribe, who seized Yemamah by her gramarye, and our Scotch tale of Birnam wood's march, are Asiatic and European facsimiles of African "Moga's Tooth."

At 7 A.M. we started through the mist, and trotted eastwards in search of a well. The guide had deceived us: the day before he had promised water at every half mile; he afterwards owned with groans that we should not drink before nightfall. These people seem to lie involuntarily: the habit of untruth with them becomes a second nature. They deceive without object for deceit, and the only way of obtaining from them correct information is to inquire, receive the answer, and determine it to be diametrically opposed to fact.

I will not trouble you, dear L., with descriptions of the uniform and uninteresting scenery through which we rode,—horrid hills upon which withered aloes brandished their spears, plains apparently rained upon by a shower of stones, and rolling ground abounding only with thorns like the "wait-a-bits" of Kafir land, created to tear man's skin or clothes. Our toil was rendered doubly toilsome by the Eastern travellers' dread—the demon of Thirst rode like Care behind us. For twenty-four hours we did not taste water, the sun parched our brains, the mirage mocked us at every turn, and the effect was a species of monomania. As I jogged along with eyes closed against the fiery air, no image unconnected with the want suggested itself. Water ever lay before me—water lying deep in the shady well—water in streams bubbling icy from the rock—water in pellucid lakes inviting me to plunge and revel in their treasures. Now an Indian cloud was showering upon me fluid more precious than molten pearl, then an invisible hand offered a bowl for which the mortal part would gladly have bartered years of life. Then—drear contrast!—I opened my eyes to a heat- reeking plain, and a sky of that eternal metallic blue so lovely to painter and poet, so blank and deathlike to us, whose [Greek kalon] was tempest, rain-storm, and the huge purple nimbus. I tried to talk—it was in vain, to sing in vain, vainly to think; every idea was bound up in one subject, water. [8]

As the sun sank into the East we descended the wide Gogaysa valley. With unspeakable delight we saw in the distance a patch of lively green: our animals scented the blessing from afar, they raised their drooping ears, and started with us at a canter, till, turning a corner, we suddenly sighted sundry little wells. To spring from the saddle, to race with our mules, who now feared not the crumbling sides of the pits, to throw ourselves into the muddy pools, to drink a long slow draught, and to dash the water over our burning faces, took less time to do than to recount. A calmer inspection showed a necessity for caution;—the surface was alive with tadpoles and insects: prudence, however, had little power at that time, we drank, and drank, and then drank again. As our mules had fallen with avidity upon the grass, I proposed to pass a few hours near the well. My companions, however, pleading the old fear of lions, led the way to a deserted kraal upon a neighbouring hill. We had marched about thirty miles eastward, and had entered a safe country belonging to the Bahgoba, our guide's clan.

At sunrise on the 28th of January, the Donkey, whose limbs refused to work, was lifted into the saddle, declaring that the white man must have been sent from heaven, as a special curse upon the children of Ishak. We started, after filling the water-bottle, down the Gogaysa valley. Our mules were becoming foot-sore, and the saddles had already galled their backs; we were therefore compelled to the additional mortification of travelling at snail's pace over the dreary hills, and through the uninteresting bush.

About noon we entered Wady Danan, or "The Sour," a deep chasm in the rocks; the centre is a winding sandy watercourse, here and there grassy with tall rushes, and affording at every half mile a plentiful supply of sweet water. The walls of the ravine are steep and rugged, and the thorny jungle clustering at the sides gives a wild appearance to the scene. Traces of animals, quagga and gazelle, every where abounded: not being however, in "Dianic humour," and unwilling to apprise Bedouins of our vicinity, I did not fire a shot. As we advanced large trees freshly barked and more tender plants torn up by the roots, showed the late passage of a herd of elephants: my mule, though the bravest of our beasts, was in a state of terror all the way. The little grey honey-bird [9] tempted us to wander with all his art: now he sat upon the nearest tree chirping his invitation to a feast, then he preceded us with short jerking flights to point out the path. My people, however, despite the fondness for honey inherent in the Somali palate [10], would not follow him, deciding that on, this occasion his motives for inviting us were not of the purest.

Emerging from the valley, we urged on our animals over comparatively level ground, in the fallacious hope of seeing the sea that night. The trees became rarer as we advanced and the surface metallic. In spots the path led over ironstone that resembled slag. In other places the soil was ochre-coloured [11]: the cattle lick it, probably on account of the aluminous matter with which it is mixed. Everywhere the surface was burnt up by the sun, and withered from want of rain. Towards evening we entered a broad slope called by the Somal Dihh Murodi, or Murodilay, the Elephants' Valley. Crossing its breadth from west to east, we traversed two Fiumaras, the nearer "Hamar," the further "Las Dorhhay," or the Tamarisk waterholes. They were similar in appearance, the usual Wady about 100 yards wide, pearly sand lined with borders of leek green, pitted with dry wells around which lay heaps of withered thorns and a herd of gazelles tripping gracefully over the quartz carpet.

After spanning the valley we began to ascend the lower slopes of a high range, whose folds formed like a curtain the bold background of the view. This is the landward face of the Ghauts, over which we were to pass before sighting the sea. Masses of cold grey cloud rolled from the table-formed summit, we were presently shrouded in mist, and as we advanced, rain began to fall. The light of day vanishing, we again descended into a Fiumara with a tortuous and rocky bed, the main drain of the landward mountain side. My companions, now half-starved,—they had lived through three days on a handful of dates and sweetmeats,—devoured with avidity the wild Jujube berries that strewed the stones. The guide had preceded us: when we came up with him, he was found seated upon a grassy bank on the edge of the rugged torrent bed. We sprang in pleased astonishment from the saddle, dire had been the anticipations that our mules,—one of them already required driving with the spear,—would, after another night of starvation, leave us to carry their loads upon our own hacks. The cause of the phenomenon soon revealed itself. In the rock was a hole about two feet wide, whence a crystal sheet welled over the Fiumara bank, forming a paradise for frog and tadpole. This "Ga'angal" is considered by the Somal a "fairies' well:" all, however, that the Donkey could inform me was, that when the Nomads settle in the valley, the water sinks deep below the earth—a knot which methinks might be unravelled without the interposition of a god. The same authority declared it to be the work of the "old ancient" Arabs.

The mules fell hungrily upon the succulent grass, and we, with the most frugal of suppers, prepared to pass the rainy night. Presently, however, the doves and Katas [12], the only birds here requiring water, approached in flights, and fearing to drink, fluttered around us with shrill cries. They suggested to my companions the possibility of being visited in sleep by more formidable beasts, and even man: after a short halt, an advance was proposed; and this was an offer which, on principle, I never refused. We remounted our mules, now refreshed and in good spirits, and began to ascend the stony face of the Eastern hill through a thick mist, deepening the darkness. As we reached the bleak summit, a heavy shower gave my companions a pretext to stop: they readily found a deserted thorn fence, in which we passed a wet night. That day we had travelled at least thirty- five miles without seeing the face of man: the country was parched to a cinder for want of water, and all the Nomads had migrated to the plains.

The morning of the 29th January was unusually fine: the last night's rain hung in masses of mist about the hill-sides, and the rapid evaporation clothed the clear background with deep blue. We began the day by ascending a steep goat-track: it led to a sandy Fiumara, overgrown with Jujubes and other thorns, abounding in water, and showing in the rocky sides, caverns fit for a race of Troglodytes. Pursuing the path over a stony valley lying between parallel ranges of hill, we halted at about 10 A.M. in a large patch of grass-land, the produce of the rain, which for some days past had been fertilising the hill-tops. Whilst our beasts grazed greedily, we sat under a bush, and saw far beneath us the low country which separates the Ghauts from the sea. Through an avenue in the rolling nimbus, we could trace the long courses of Fiumaras, and below, where mist did not obstruct the sight, the tawny plains, cut with watercourses glistening white, shone in their eternal summer.

Shortly after 10 A.M., we resumed our march, and began the descent of the Ghauts by a ravine to which the guide gave the name of 'Kadar.' No sandy watercourse, the 'Pass' of this barbarous land, here facilitates the travellers' advance: the rapid slope of the hill presents a succession of blocks and boulders piled one upon the other in rugged steps, apparently impossible to a laden camel. This ravine, the Splugen of Somaliland, led us, after an hour's ride, to the Wady Duntu, a gigantic mountain-cleft formed by the violent action of torrents. The chasm winds abruptly between lofty walls of syenite and pink granite, glittering with flaky mica, and streaked with dykes and veins of snowy quartz: the strata of the sandstones that here and there projected into the bed were wonderfully twisted around a central nucleus, as green boughs might be bent about a tree. Above, the hill-tops towered in the air, here denuded of vegetable soil by the heavy monsoon, there clothed from base to brow with gum trees, whose verdure was delicious to behold. The channel was now sandy, then flagged with limestone in slippery sheets, or horrid with rough boulders: at times the path was clear and easy; at others, a precipice of twenty or thirty feet, which must be a little cataract after rain, forced us to fight our way through the obstinate thorns that defended some spur of ragged hill. As the noontide heat, concentrated in this funnel, began to affect man and beast, we found a granite block, under whose shady brow clear water, oozing from the sand, formed a natural bath, and sat there for a while to enjoy the spectacle and the atmosphere, perfumed, as in part of Persia and Northern Arabia, by the aromatic shrubs of the desert.

After a short half-hour, we remounted and pursued our way down the Duntu chasm. As we advanced, the hills shrank in size, the bed became more level, and the walls of rock, gradually widening out, sank into the plain. Brisk and elastic above, the air, here soft, damp, and tepid, and the sun burning with a more malignant heat, convinced us that we stood once more below the Ghauts. For two hours we urged our mules in a south-east direction down the broad and winding Fiumara, taking care to inspect every well, but finding them all full of dry sand. Then turning eastwards, we crossed a plain called by the Donkey "Battaladayti Taranay"—the Flats of Taranay—an exact representation of the maritime regions about Zayla. Herds of camels and flocks of milky sheep browsing amongst thorny Acacia and the tufted Kulan, suggested pleasing visions to starving travellers, and for the first time after three days of hard riding, we saw the face of man. The shepherds, Mikahil of the Habr Awal tribe, all fled as we approached: at last one was bold enough to stand and deliver the news. My companions were refreshed by good reports: there had been few murders, and the sea-board was tolerably clear of our doughty enemies, the Ayyal Ahmed. We pricked over the undulating growth of parched grass, shaping our course for Jebel Almis, to sailors the chief landmark of this coast, and for a certain thin blue stripe on the far horizon, upon which we gazed with gladdened eyes.

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