Travels in Nubia, by John Lewis Burckhardt

Description of a Journey from Upper Egypt through the Deserts of Nubia to Berber and Suakin, and from thence to Djidda in Arabia.

Performed in the Year 1814.

AFTER my return from a journey along the banks of the Nile towards Dóngola, in the spring of the year 1813, I remained in Upper Egypt, waiting for an opportunity to start with a caravan of slave traders, towards the interior parts of Nubia in a more easterly direction. A numerous caravan had set out from the neighbourhood of Assouan, only a few days before my return there from Mahass; and it was the last which performed that journey in the year 1813.

About this time, a robber named Naÿm, Shikh of the Arabs Rebatat, who inhabit the country of Mograt, (ﺕﺁﺮﻘﻣ ﺩﻼﺑ ﻲﻓ ﻦﻴﻤﻘﻣﻠﺍ ﺕﺎﻃﺎﺑﺮﻠﺍ ﺏﺮﻋ ﺦﻴﺷ ﻢﻴﻌﻧ) on the banks of the Nile, three days N.W. from Goz, had begun to infest the caravan route; several parties of traders had already been plundered by him, and the abovementioned caravan shared the same fate on its return to Egypt in October 1813. Naÿm was killed in December by a numerous armed caravan from Sennaar; and the roads then became safe. The traders, however, still delayed their departure. They were apprized that the southern countries on the borders of the Nile, were severely suffering from famine; the crops of Dhourra had failed from a scanty inundation, and such was said to be the effect of famine, that the poor Negroes had killed each other, for a few measures of Dhourra. The merchants foresaw that the expense to be incurred in feeding their slaves would eat up all their profits, and therefore determined to wait till the next harvest.

During this time I had established my principal quarters at Esne, which is three days journey from Daraou, the place from whence the caravan takes its departure. Not wishing to be much known, I kept as little company as possible, dressed myself in the poorest dress of an inhabitant of Egypt, and spent as little money as I possibly could, the daily expense, of myself, servant, dromedary, and ass, being about one shilling and sixpence; my horse cost me sixteen-pence per month. Yet, with all this I could not help creating some suspicion of my being a rich man, or of my having had the good luck to find a treasure. I was fearful of engaging in any traffic because it would have obliged me to mix with the merchants, and my person would then have become generally known. But in Egypt, there is no such condition as that of a man who lives upon his income without employment. Every body is either a cultivator or a merchant, or in some public service; and to be able to live without begging, and without belonging to any of those classes appears very strange, and exposes the individual to the suspicion of having chests full of dollars.

I had been several times at Daraou to look after the caravan, and to become acquainted with the leading people. About the middle of February my correspondent at that place sent a messenger to Esne, to acquaint me that every thing was ready for departure. I went there, but the traders still delayed; and it was not until a fortnight afterwards that the signal of departure from Daraou was given.

Daraou is a considerable village, about ten hours north of Assouan, on the east bank of the Nile. Its inhabitants are partly Fellahs of Egypt, and partly Arabs Ababde, many of whom have become settlers in the villages south of Goft, as far as Assouan; but who still keep a part of their families in the mountains; living there like Bedouins, during the season, when their agricultural pursuits do not require their attendance on the banks of the Nile, and during the remainder of the year inhabiting villages like the peasants of Egypt.

The two principal chiefs have their settlements, one at Kolétt (ﻂﻴﻠﻗ), about four hours north of Daraou, on the east bank of the river, and the other at the latter place.

From time immemorial the Ababde have been the guides of the caravans through the Nubian desert; many of them are great speculators in the slave trade, and their chiefs exact a tribute upon every slave, and upon every loaded camel passing through the desert, which does not belong to one of their own tribes.

The other part of the inhabitants of Daraou, are Fellahs, intermarried with Ababde women, who for the greater part, likewise engage in the same trade. These I have found, from sad experience, to be a worthless set of vagabonds; notwithstanding the profits arising from that traffic, they are all poor; spending their gains in drunkenness and debauchery.

I had equipped myself at Esne for my journey: but soon found on my arrival at Daraou the necessity of making some alteration in my plans. I had brought with me a camel and an ass; the former I had intended to load with baggage, provisions, and water: the latter to mount myself, according to the custom of the Nubian traders, who generally perform their travels towards the Negro countries on these animals, which they sell there and return on their camels. I had no servant. The Fellah who had faithfully served me during my whole stay in Upper Egypt I had sent, on my departure from Esne, with a packet of letters to Cairo; for I was determined to try my luck in this country alone, unaccompanied by any servant. Experience had taught me that in difficult and dangerous travels, those who have no other motive in performing them, but that of gaining their monthly pay, are averse to incur any perils, and stagger at the smallest difficulties; thus they become more troublesome than serviceable to their master: whom moreover their imprudence or treachery may expose to danger. I was in full health, and therefore not afraid of undertaking the additional fatigue, which otherwise would have been borne by my servant. Arrived at Daraou, I had an opportunity of seeing the preparations of my fellow travellers, and of observing that mine were not regulated by that strict economy which served as a rule to the others. My baggage and provisions weighed about two hundred weight. The camel however was capable of carrying six hundred weight. The water for my use on the road was to be contained in two small skins slung across the saddle of the ass. My camel therefore could carry four hundred weight more, the freight of which at five dollars per hundred weight, was worth twenty dollars. Had I slighted such a sum, I might have exposed myself to the animadversions of my companions, who would probably have thought me possessed of great wealth. I soon had an offer of a freight of four hundred weight, to convey across the desert as far as Goz, at the above price: but I considered that the loading and unloading of the camel would occasion me a great deal of trouble: I therefore thought it best to sell him, and soon found a purchaser at twenty-eight dollars in ready money, camels being at that time very scarce in Upper Egypt; it was part of the bargain, that the purchaser should carry my baggage across the Desert.

I appeared at Daraou in the garb of a poor trader, the only character in which I believe I could possibly have succeeded. It may not be superfluous that I should inform the reader in detail of the contents of my baggage, and of my provisions: at least, it had always been, with me, a great desideratum in reading books of travels, to collect such information for my own use.

I was dressed in a brown loose woollen cloak, such as is worn by the peasants of Upper Egypt, called Thabout, with a coarse white linen shirt and trowsers, a Lebde, or white woollen cap, tied round with a common handkerchief, as a turban, and with sandals on my feet. I carried in the pocket of my Thabout, a small journal-book, a pencil, pocket-compass, pen-knife, tobacco purse, and a steel for striking a light. The provisions I took with me were as follows: forty pounds of flour, twenty of biscuit, fifteen of dates, ten of lentils, six of butter, five of salt, three of rice, two of coffee beans, four of tobacco, one of pepper, some onions, and eighty pounds of Dhourra for my ass. Besides these I had a copper boiler, a copper plate, a coffee roaster, an earthen mortar to pound the coffee beans, two coffee cups, a knife and spoon, a wooden bowl for drinking and for filling the water-skins, an axe, ten yards of rope, needles and thread, a large packing needle (ﻪﻠﺴﻣ), one spare shirt, a comb, a coarse carpet, a woollen cloth (Heram) of Mogrebin manufactory for a night covering, a small parcel of medicines, and three spare water skins.

I had also a small pocket Coran, bought at Damascus, which I lost afterwards on the day of the pilgrimage, 10th of November 1814, among the crowds of Mount Arafat — a spare journal book and an inkstand, together with some loose sheets of paper, for writing amulets for the Negroes. My watch had been broken in Upper Egypt, where I had no means of getting another. The hours of march noted down in the journal, are therefore merely by computation, and by observing the course of the sun.

The little merchandize I took with me consisted of twenty pounds of sugar, fifteen of soap, two of nutmegs, twelve razors, twelve steels, two red caps, and several dozen of wooden beads, which are an excellent substitute for coin in the southern countries. I had a gun, with three dozen of cartridges and some small shot, a pistol, and a large stick, called nabbout, strengthened with iron at either end, and serving either as a weapon, or to pound the coffee, beans, and which, according to the custom of the country, was my constant companion. My purse, worn in a girdle under the Thabout, contained fifty Spanish dollars, including the twenty-five, the price of my camel, and I had besides sewed a couple of sequins in a small leathern amulet, tied round my elbow, thinking this to be the safest place for secreting them. Had my departure from Egypt not been too long delayed, I should have carried a larger sum of money with me: although I much doubt, after the experience I have since had, whether I should have been the better for it. I had originally destined two hundred dollars for this purpose, which I had carried with me from Siout to Esne, in September 1813, expecting to be able to start immediately with the caravan I was afterwards obliged to encroach upon that sum, to defray my daily expenses, to purchase my camel, &c. &c.; and a fresh supply of money which I had written for, had not arrived when the caravan started.

Having already waited so long, I was unwilling to give up so eligible an opportunity, merely on account of the low state of my funds: and the information I had collected on the state of the Negro countries, made me think it probable that if I did not make a prolonged stay there, I might succeed in my journey, even with the trifling sum then at my command. Besides I was ready to supply the want of money by an increase of bodily privations and exertions, to elude which is the principal motive for spending money in travels of this sort.

All my baggage and provisions were packed up in five leather bags, or djerab, much in use among the slave traders; those articles of which I stood in daily need, I put up in a small saddle bag on my ass.

The most substantial merchants of our caravan were fitted out in the same style as to provisions for the journey: the only dainties which some of them carried, were dried flesh, honey, and cheese; the latter, although certainly agreeable in travelling, is not a proper article of food in the desert: where the traveller should abstain from whatever excites thirst. Several of our people had among their camels she-camels in full milk, which gave them a daily supply of this agreeable beverage.

On the 1st of March, all the traders had assembled at Daraou, and early in the morning of the 2d the different goods, for loading the camels, were carried to a public place, in front of the village called Barzet el Gellabe (ﻪﺒﻼﺠﻟﺍ ﺕﺯﺭﺑ).

At noon, the camels were watered, and knelt down by the side of their respective loads. Just before the lading commenced, the Ababde women appeared with earthen vessels in their hands, filled with burning coals. They set them before the several loads, and threw salt upon them. At the rising of the bluish flame, produced by the burning of the salt, they exclaimed, “may you be blessed in going and in coming.” The devil and every evil genius are thus, they say, removed.

We were accompanied for about half an hour beyond the village by all the women and children. My principal friend at Daraou, Hadji Hosseyn el Aloüan (ﻥﺍﻮﻠﻌﻟﺍ ﻦﻴﺳﺣ ﺝﺎﺤﻟﺍ), at whose house I had lived, and who had obtained from me a variety of presents, in making me believe that he intended to undertake the journey in person, in which case he might have proved to me a most useful companion on the road, had declared the day before, that he should remain at Daraou; but his brother and his son Aly joined the caravan, and their party formed the largest and most wealthy party of the Fellah traders among us. The old man followed us with his women to a distance from the village, and at parting, recommended me to his relations; “he is your brother,” he said to his son, “and there,” opening his son­’s waistcoat, and putting his hand upon his bosom, “there let him be placed:” a way of recommendation much in use in the Arabian desert likewise, where it has some meaning, but among these miserable Egyptians it has become a mere form of speech. We then proceeded upon a sandy plain, in great disorder, as it always happens upon the first setting out of a journey. Many loads were badly laid on, several were thrown off by the camels who had for some time been unused to them, and we were obliged to encamp for the night in a small valley, with shrubs in it, about two hours and a half to the S.S.E. of Daraou, where we feasted upon the dainties which had been prepared by the ladies of Daraou; large fires were lighted, and the whole night was passed in singing and noise.

3d March. We departed early from our resting place, and entered Wady Om Rokbe (ﻪﺒﻛﺭ ﻡﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), a broad valley with good pasture, which we followed for upwards of two hours; we then ascended a steep hill, and after several ascents and descents, encamped in a valley near the source of water called Abou Kebeyr (ﺮﻴﺒﻛ ﻮﺑﺃ), having proceeded to day about six hours, very slow march. There are a few trees in this valley; and water is found every where by digging pits in the sand. The source of Abou Kebeyr which yields a very scanty supply, had attracted some Ababde Bedouins from whom we bought some sheep. The mountains we had traversed to day, were all composed of flint.

4th. March. Our route this morning lay through sandy valleys until we arrived, after about four hours march, at a steep ascent, or Akaba, where the sand and flint hills terminate. After crossing over the Akaba which is composed of granite schistus, we arrived, at the end of six hours, at a fine natural reservoir of rain water, among the granite rocks called Abou Adjadj (ﺝﺎﺠﻋ ﻮﺑﺃ); our route was in a S.S.W. direction. From hence to Assouan the distance is six hours. Just beyond the bason of rain water, begins a narrow pass among the rocks, where loaded camels proceed with difficulty. In here turning round a corner of the mountain we found our advanced men, loudly quarreling with a strong party of armed Bedouins, and before I could inform myself of the particulars, the Ababde belonging to our caravan had armed themselves, and proceeded to attack the enemy. The latter were likewise Ababde, but of a different tribe. Having been informed of our departure from Daraou, they had left their homes at Khattar (ﺭﺎﻄﺧ),a village near Assouan, to way-lay us in this narrow pass, and to levy a contribution upon us as passage money. They were about thirty, and our Ababdes as many. The individuals of both parties were naked, for it is a rule among them never to fight with any incumbrance upon their bodies, and merely to wrap a rag or napkin round their waists. They were armed with long two-edged swords, and short lances and targets, which latter were particularly useful to them in warding off the shower of stones with which the attack commenced. When I saw them thus attack each other, and then under the most horrible clamour come to close action with swords believing that we were attacked by robbers, I was about to join our people, and had already levelled my musquet at the principal man of the assailants, when one of our Ababdes cried out to me, for God’s sake not to fire, as he hoped there should be no blood between them. By the advice of our guides, the Egyptian merchants, who were armed with swords, (for nobody had a gun but myself, and few had pistols) willingly took charge of the defence of our baggage in the rear, for the Ababde were anxious to fight out the quarrel amongst themselves. After about twenty minutes’ rather shy fighting, the battle ceased by the interference of the chiefs on both sides, and both parties claimed the victory. The whole damage amounted to three men slightly wounded and one shield cleft in two. Our people however gained their point, for we passed with out paying any tribute, and I was somewhat gratified in seeing how far our Arabs might be depended upon in any future attack in the course of the journey. As for the Egyptians they had given evident proofs of the most cowardly disposition, notwithstanding their boasting language. Several Shikhs of the Ababde have a right to claim a tribute from the caravan. Others set up unfounded pretensions of the same kind, and it is the duty of the guides (Khobara plur. of Khabir, ﺮﻴﺒﺧ) to protect the caravan from such extortions. No caravan can cross the desert in safety without being accompanied by some of the Ababde, and although many of the Fellah merchants perfectly know the road, they never venture to perform it alone.

Our assailants retreated after a long parley, which succeeded the fight; and although we had at first intended to remain at Abou Adjadj for the night, our guides now thought it adviseable to push further on, because they were afraid that the opposite party might send during the night for a reinforcement of men from their village. We therefore rode three hours farther over a rocky ground until we arrived in a wide valley called Wady Houd (ﺩﻮﻫ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), where we halted. During the whole of this afternoon’s march we had observed among the barren granite rocks, great quantities of locusts.

March 5th. Wady Houd is a broad valley full of shrubs and pasturage, bordered on both sides by rocks of fine granite, similar to those of Assouan and the Cataract. We pursued our road for two hours along the valley; and at the end of three hours march came to sandrocks intersected by layers of quartz. We then ascended a slightly sloping plain, and at the end of four hours entered a wide sandy valley, in which we continued in a direction, S.W. by S. for several hours, until we reached, after about seven hours march, a narrow Wady called Om el Hebal (ﻝﺎﺒﺤﻟﺍ ﻡﺃ), or the mother of ropes; so called from its numerous windings. Here we halted after a day’s march of about seven hours and a half. The Wady is full of thorny trees of the acacia species, the dark-green leaves of which are in singular unison with the surrounding granite rocks, the surface of which is smooth and shining, and of the deepest black. The valley is in few places more than sixty yards across; the highest summits of the rocks, which are every where steep cliffs, may be about two or three hundred feet above the level ground. This evening we lighted our fires with the dried dung of the camels that had rested here before; indeed we seldom halted in the evening without finding fuel of this kind, for the traders rarely go out of the accustomed track, nor can they choose their resting places at random, being fixed to those spots where there is some pasturage of herbs and shrubs, or at least some acacia trees, upon the leaves and branches of which their camels may feed for a few hours in the evening. I found much less order at the encamping of this caravan, than I had observed among other caravans in the Eastern Desert. Our party consisted of thirty nine loaded camels, thirty five asses, and about eighty men, and it was divided into a dozen different families or messes, each of which on the halting ground formed a separate bivouac. We had two men from Assouan, the others were from Daraou, Klit, and Esne, and a few from Gous, and Farshiout. People from Siout seldom travel this road. Although the chief of the Ababde was the acknowledged head of the caravan, yet the Fellah merchants generally followed their own humour in moving and halting; and there was every evening some quarrelling about the place of halting. None of the traders had any tent; we all slept in the open air, but none ever shut his eyes without placing his baggage in such a manner as to render it difficult for thieves to attempt it without awaking him. We were not afraid of robbers from without, but it was too well known that many of our own people were of a pilfering disposition, and notwithstanding every precaution, they repeatedly indulged themselves in it in the course of the journey.

6th March. We continued in Wady el Hebal for about three hours, when we stopped near an inlet in the western chain of hills, where we found among the rocks a large natural reservoir of rain water, delightfully clear, sweet, and cool. The place is called Damhit (ﺖﻴﺤﻤﺩ), and is much praised by the Arabs, because the water is very seldom dried up. It is situated in a cleft of the mountain, which has the appearance of having been rent asunder by a violent earthquake. Large blocks of granite are heaped up at the entrance; these masses increase in quantity, in ascending through the cliff, and rise to a considerable height, among them are two other reservoirs of water of equal size with the lower, but of difficult access. The Wady itself is not without its natural beauties. It is about forty yards across, overgrown with acacia or (ﻂﻨﺳ) Sant trees, and bordered on both sides by steep shattered granite cliffs, of grotesque shapes. During heavy rains, which often happen here, the water descending from the western chain collects in a large torrent, which, as I was informed, empties itself into the Nile, near the village of Dehmyt, eight hours south of Assouan. About four hours distant from Damhit, in a S.W. direction, is a spring of good water called El Moeleh (ﺢﻠﻳﻮﻤﻟﺍ); it is resorted to by the caravans, which set out from Assouan. We remained here the whole day, for it is a general rule among caravans in the east, to make slow marches during the three or four first days of a long journey, in order to accustom the cattle, which are generally allowed several months of rest before the journey, to fatigue by degrees; and this is particularly the case when the ground affords good pasturage. Loss of time is seldom taken into consideration by eastern merchants, and least of all by Arabs, and thus I have heard it related at Damascus that the caravans from thence to Bagdad are, in the spring, sometimes three months in crossing the desert. We again met great numbers of locusts. These rapacious insects had spread sometimes in such quantities over the mountain as to eat up every green vegetable: the cattle of the Bedouins are some times reduced by these animals to the greatest distress.

7th March. After two hours we issued from the Wady and met several Bisharein Arabs. These Bedouins, whom I have already mentioned in my journey towards Dóngola, remain in winter time in the mountains near the Red Sea, where the rains produce plenty of pasture; but there being very few wells and springs in that quarter, they are obliged to approach in summer nearer to the Nile, where wells are more numerous. We were now upon an open sandy plain, without any vegetation, bordered on the east by high mountains, and towards the west, at a shorter distance, by lower hills. The whole valley of Om el Hebal is of granite, but here in the plain I again found sandstone with quartz. We were about five hours in crossing this plain, which bears the name of Birket Zokhan (ﻥﺎﺧﺯ ﺖﻜﺮﺑ), and then after seven hours slow march (in the direction S. 1° ½ E.) we stopped at the entrance of a chain of low mountains, where we found very luxuriant pasture. The herb called Towyle (ﻪﻠﻳﻮﻃ) grows here in abundance, and is an excellent food for the camels. From my first setting out from Daraou, I had been involved in continual disputes with the man, to whom I had sold my camel, and who carried my baggage. He had undertaken to take more baggage than the camel was able to bear, and in order to lighten it, he was constantly endeavouring to transfer my baggage, for the carriage of which I paid him, to my ass. This evening the camel broke down, when he accused me of having cheated him, in selling him an unsound animal, insisting at the same time upon having his money returned, a demand which was however soon over-ruled. According to justice, and to the customs even of the traders themselves, he would have been obliged to pay the further freight of my baggage out of his own pocket; but he was so loud in his oaths and lamentations, exclaiming that he was a ruined man, and besmearing his face with dirt and dust, in, sign of excessive grief, that he brought the chiefs of the caravan all over to his side, and I was obliged to contract a second time for the freight of my goods and provisions, with one of the Bedouins Ababde. As we had already been six days on our journey, our provisions were considerably diminished, and the camel’s load became every day lighter. Upon this the traders always reckon, never taking any spare camels from Egypt with them, as other desert caravans usually do, and if camels break down, their loads are distributed among the others, and the carriage is paid for according to a fair calculation. No man can ever refuse to charge his camel with part of such load, if necessity demands it, and his own camel is strong enough. We again set out after sunset, and marched about three hours farther, through several vallies, until we came to the low mountains called Om Hereyzel (ﻝﺬﻳﺮﺣ ﻡﺃ), where we stopped.

8th March. The mountain of Om Hereyzel is of a dark gray granite. We passed it, and then crossed a deep sandy plain entirely barren, direction S. 1º ½E. The road was strewn with carcases and bones of camels. Few caravans perform the journey without loosing some of their beasts, and this happens more frequently in rocky districts, of difficult passage, or in the neighbourhood of wells, where the already weakened camels surfeit themselves with water, which has the effect of rendering them incapable of resisting fatigue, and the weight of their loads. We passed many low insulated granite hillocks, and granite blocks in the midst of the sands. We halted about midday at the entrance of a chain of mountains, running S.E. and N.W., called Djebel Heyzorba (ﻪﺑﺭﺰﻫ ﻞﺒﺟ). It is a custom with caravans always to rest during the mid-day hours, when they dine, and sleep afterwards for a couple of hours. At the return from the black countries, when camels are always plentiful, and every body is mounted, the caravan travels in forced marches; but two-thirds of our people were at present on foot. Towards two o’clock we usually set out again, and alighted just before sunset. In the afternoon of this day we passed Heyzorba, and continuing in the same direction as before, halted near some rocks called Beiban (ﻥﺎﺒﻴﺑ); a day’s march of about nine hours, I had seen neither trees nor verdure during the whole day. The rocks where we rested, were of granite mixed with large masses of feldspath.

9th March. Being in want of water, we set out soon after midnight, and reached, after five hours march, the Wady Nakeyb (ﺐﻴﻘﻧ), with wells of the same name. The Wady is full of Sant trees, and has near its extremity two deep wells of tolerable water.

From the first day of our departure from Daraou, my companions had treated me with neglect, and even contempt; they certainly had no idea of my being a Frank, but they took me to be of Turkish origin, either from European Turkey or Asia Minor, an opinion sufficient of itself to excite the ill treatment of Arabs, who all bear the most inveterate hatred to the Osmanlis. I had with me a Firman of Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mohammed Aly Pasha, and governor of Upper Egypt, together with a letter of recommendation from him, addressed to all the black kings on the Sennaar route, and wherein I was called Hadji, or Shikh Ibrahim el Shamy, or the Syrian. For obvious reasons I had never let this be known amongst my companions, and all that I gave them to understand was, that I was by birth an Aleppine; they knew that I was much befriended by Hassan Beg, the Governor of Esne, under whose jurisdiction Daraou is included, as well as by the great commercial house El Habater of Esne, who had recommended me to his correspondent at Daraou. Seeing that I had brought a very small quantity of goods with me, they thought I had been forced to leave Egypt on account of debts, but I gave out that I was in search of a lost cousin, who several years ago had departed from Siout to Darfour, and Sennaar, upon a mercantile expedition, in which my whole property had been engaged. This was a pretext for my undertaking, quite suited to the notions of these people. The smallness of my adventure in goods would hardly have justified any man in his senses in attempting such a journey with mere commercial views, for after paying all the passage duties in the road, the most sanguine person could not hope for any greater success, than that of returning with the full capital. I was obliged therefore to allege some reasons for undertaking the journey. I often repeated my hopes of finding my lost cousin, and at all events of conducting my expenses in such a manner as not to be a loser on my return. My companions were not disinclined to believe my story, and thought it not at all improbable, that I might also be avoiding my creditors; but I could easily perceive at the same time that they could not divest themselves of some commercial jealousy, thinking it not improbable that I might find the means of attempting a second expedition into these countries with a large capital, in case I should return from the present with a conviction of the profitable nature of the trade. It was probably for this reason that they thought it necessary to ill treat me, in order to prevent my making any further attempt. Several Turks from Asia Minor or from European Turkey had within the last ten years endeavoured to engage in the trade, but the Daraou people had always found means to disgust them so much, as to make them abandon any second enterprize. When in addition to other motives for ill treating me, the traders saw in me every appearance of a poor man, that I cut wood, and cooked for myself, and filled my own water-skins, they thought me hardly upon an equality with the servants who are hired by the merchants, at the rate of ten dollars for the journey from Daraou to Guz, or Shendy, and back again. I had always endeavoured to keep upon good terms with the family of Alowein, who were the principal Fellah merchants, and whose good offices I thought might be useful to me in the black countries; but when they saw that I was so poor that they could have but little hopes of obtaining much from me in presents, they soon forgot what I had already given them before we set out, and no longer observed the least civility in their behaviour towards me. They began by using opprobrious language in speaking of Hassan Beg, of Esne, observing that now we were in the desert, they cared little for all the Begs and Pashas in the world; seeing that this did not seriously affect me, they began to address me in the most vulgar and contemptuous language, never calling me any thing better than Weled, “boy.” Though they became every day more insulting, I restrained my anger, and never proceeded to that retaliation to which they evidently wished to provoke me, in order to have sufficient reasons for coming to blows with me. In the beginning of the journey I had joined the party of the Alowein in our evening encampment, although I always cooked by myself; I was soon, however, driven away from them, and obliged to remain alone, the people of Daraou giving out that several things had been purloined from their baggage, and that they suspected me of having taken them. Not to enter into any further details, it is sufficient to say, that not an hour passed without my receiving some insult, even from the meanest servants of these people, who very soon imitated and surpassed their masters. When we arrived at the well of Nakeyb, and the camels

and asses went to be watered, and the water-skins were carried to be filled, some people of the caravan descended according to custom into the wells to fill the Delou or leather bucket, while others drew up the water. Having no friend to go down for me, I was obliged to wait near the well the whole afternoon, until near sunset, to the great amusement of my companions, and I should have remained unsupplied had not one of the guides at last assisted in drawing up the water from above, while I descended into the well to fill the Delou.

We were joined at Nakeyb by a small party of traders, who being in great haste to depart, had left Daraou three days before us, but afterwards thinking it imprudent to venture alone through the desert, had been waiting here for us, for several days.

10th March. After a march of three hours, over a rocky and mountainous country, along a road thickly covered with loose stones, we arrived at El Haimar (ﺮﻤﻴﺣ), a collection of wells of great repute in this desert. Just before we reached it we passed by the tomb of a distinguished person belonging to the Mamelouks, who died on this spot. His companions having inclosed the naked corpse within low walls of loose stones, had covered it over with a large block. The dryness of the air had preserved the corpse in the most perfect state. Looking at it through the interstices of the stones which enveloped it, it appeared to me a more perfect mummy than any I had seen in Egypt. The month was wide open, and our guide related that the man had died for want of water, although so near the wells. When the remnant of the Mamelouks under the command of Ibrahim Beg el Kebir, and Osman Beg Hassan, left the shores of the Nile, near Ibrim, in the year 1810, to escape from the eager pursuit of the Pasha’s troops, they retired to these mountains, and claimed the hospitality of the Ababde Bedouins, who received them in their encampments, but left no means untried of getting possession of all the property they had brought with them. Provisions were sold to them at enormous prices, and as one well or source could not afford water to so large a party for any length of time, the Mamelouks were obliged to trust to their Ababde guides to carry them from one watering place to another. During these wanderings the Ababde often carried their guests through circuitous routes in order to create a momentary distress for water, and sell their skins of water (which they secretly filled at some neighbouring spring), at the most exorbitant prices. It was a want of water, caused by these contrivances, that proved fatal to the above mentioned Mamelouk, and to others, who lie buried in the neighbourhood. Their whole corps remained several weeks at Haimar, and it was from thence that they ordered all their unnecessary servants and followers to depart: among these were several dashing Egyptian dancing girls, the price of whose charms had increased in the mountains, in the same proportion as other commodities, and who had thus been enabled to acquire large sums of money in a very short time. The dismissed followers of the Mamelouk camp formed a caravan, which was proceeding towards Assouan under the guidance of several Ababde, when, the night before they expected to reach the Nile, their guides absconded, and the next morning they found themselves attacked by a large body of Ababde, by whom they were robbed and stripped naked, and in this condition permitted to pursue their journey towards Egypt. The Ababde, as an excuse for their abominable treachery upon this and other occasions when many of the Mamelouk stragglers were robbed and killed by them, allege that the Mamelouks were the first to prove themselves unworthy of good faith and the rights of hospitality, by slaughtering the cattle of the Bedouins, and taking liberties with their women. Some such instances may have happened, but they were certainly not sufficient to exculpate the Ababde, whose treacherous character is too well known. The wells of Haimar are formed in a small sandy plain, in the midst of craggy hills. In one or two of them the water is drinkable, but in the greater part, it is of a bitterish and very disagreeable taste, though in great plenty. A nitrous crust is seen on the borders of the wells: the ground around them was still covered with the dung of camels and horses which had remained there since the time of the Mamelouk encampment. Old boots and shoes, with rags of tents and clothing covered the ground. The plain of Haimar is often frequented by large encampments of Bisharein Bedouins, who pasture here their cattle, but as the wells are within the dominion of the Ababde, they are obliged to pay a certain yearly tribute to the Ababde chiefs. This is often the cause of wars, but at present the Ababde have become more formidable than the Bisharein, and their intercourse with Egypt renders them much the wealthier of the two. It is only the northern Bisharein, who ever come in contact with the Ababde. We found only a few families of Bisharein encamped at Haimar, and passed through the plain without stopping, having filled our water skins with the comparatively sweet water of the Nakeyb. Beyond Haimar begins a wild, stony district, through which our camels had difficulty in passing. We ascended amidst granite and sand-stone rocks, for about one hour, and then descended again into the plain, about five hours and a half after our setting out in the morning. Our direction was S. 1° E. The mountains we passed are called Akabet Haimar (ﺮﻤﻴﺣ ﺔﺒﻘﻋ) and are visible at a considerable distance. The plain beyond the Akabe is sandy, with many insulated granite rocks. I could see no where any regular strata, but the rocks were all in shattered, sharpedged masses, bearing the marks of some violent commotion of the earth. In one hour we entered a fine valley called Wady Nehdyr, or Ghedeyr (the Arabic name in my journal is not quite clear ﺮﻳﺪﻏ or ﺮﻳﺪﺤﻧ), with plenty of acacia trees. We had hoped to find some rain water here, in a large basin formed by nature, but it was dry, and the quantity of camel’s dung round it, proved that it had lately been exhausted by an Arab encampment. We therefore rode on, and alighted, after eight hours and a half, at the extremity of the Wady.

11th March. Our road lay over stony hills and rocky passages, for three hours, to the well called el Morra (ﻩﺮﻤﻟﺍ), meaning “the bitter,” a name which it justly bears when compared to the sweet waters of the Nile; but the eastern Arabs, who are more accustomed to bad water than Nubians and Egyptians, would hardly perceive its disagreeable taste. It is a very large well, upwards of forty feet in depth, and I was told that it never dries up. Wady Morra extends for two or three hours, in an eastern direction. Having here taken in a small provision of water, we immediately continued our road, for five hours, to Wady Olaky (ﻲﻗﻼﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) a fine valley extending from east to west, and having its extremities (as I was told) on one side near the Red Sea, and on the other near the Nile. In time of rain considerable torrents collect in the Wady, and empty themselves into the Nile. There is excellent pasturage and many trees in the valley, for which rare advantages it is held by the Bedouins in great veneration. Our guides in approaching the Wady saluted it with great solemnity, and thanked heaven for having permitted them to arrive so far in safety (ﺔﻣﻼﺴﻟﺎﺑ ﻙﺎﻨﻴﺟ ﻱﺬﻟﺃ ﷲ ﺪﻤﺤﻟﺃ ﻲﻗﻼﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ ﺎﻳ ﻚﻴﻠﻋ ﻡﻼﺴﻟﺃ). In crossing the valley, which is about one hundred and fifty yards across, each person took a handful of Dhourra and threw it on the ground, a kind of pious offering to the good genius who is supposed to preside over the Wady. At the end of six hours we entered Wady Om-gat (ﻂﺎﻗ ﻡﺃ). It has a reservoir of rain water, which renders it a resting place for caravans; but we found it dry. No valley we had hitherto passed was so thickly overgrown with acacia trees. Swarms of locusts were feeding upon the young sprigs and leaves. The ground was covered with the coloquintida, a plant very common in every part of this desert. The people of the caravan amused themselves with throwing these round gourds at each other, and warding them off with their targets, in which they shewed great dexterity. Unfortunately I had no target, and my Daraou friends so often aimed at my head, that I was at last obliged to apply seriously to the chief of the caravan for protection, a measure which saved me from a bloody nose, but procured for me the title of a “cowardly boy,” which lasted for several days, until it was exchanged for an appellation still more insulting Our direction was this day S. by W. The ground of the Wady Omgat is all sandy; the hills lose their wild, grotesque shape, and are disposed in more regular chains. Most of the trees were entirely dried up, there having been no rain for nearly three years. I was suprised not to see the footsteps of any wild animals in the sand, and no birds, except a few crows. We met several Bisharein, accompanying camels loaded with Senna-mekke, which they were carrying to Derr for sale, or to barter for Dhourra. We continued the whole evening in the Wady, and halted after about nine hour’s march.

12th March. We set out before sunrise, and in three hours arrived at the extremity of Wady Omgat, the hills of which are throughout composed of granite. We entered here upon a wide sandy plain, and beyond it crossed, for two hours, a chain of mountains composed of grunstein. At six hours we descended into Wady el Towashy (ﻲﺷﺍﻮﻄﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), or the Valley of the Eunuch. It is so called from an eunuch belonging to the great temple of Mekka, who was here killed and robbed of the presents which he had received from the kings of Darfour and Sennaar . I could not gain exact information, as to the year when this murder was committed; but one of our guides told me that his father remembered it perfectly well. I have no doubt, therefore, that this eunuch was the same called Mahomet Towash, by Bruce, and whose body was found by the traveller, exactly in this situation, three days after he had taken prisoner a Bisharye Bedouin, one of the murderers; a story which appears to be made up in all its details, although true in its principal facts. The people who killed the Towashy however were not Bisharein, but the Towashy’s own guides, a party of Ababde of the tribe of Asheybab, called Hameydab, whose chief seat is at Beyheyra, a village not far from Edfou, on the eastern bank of the Nile (ﺓﺮﻴﺤﺑ ﻲﻓ ﺏﺎﺒﻴﺸﻋ ﺔﻠﻴﺒﻗ ﻦﻣ ﺏﺍﺪﻴﻤﺣ). They were much blamed for that action by their friends, and it is observed that ever since, the Hameydab have fallen into disrespect and weakness. The tomb of the Towashy is near the foot of the mountain, on the spot where he fell, and is looked upon as that of a saint or martyr. The tomb is of stone, and was erected by another tribe of Arabs. We found it covered with a few loose mats. All our people went up to it, and many of them prayed near it. In parting, they strewed some Dhourra and other offerings upon it, and filled with water a jar, which some other traveller had left there. Coloured rags had been tied upon poles near the tomb, according to a custom common among the Arabs. Several camel saddles lay about, which travellers had dedicated to the saint. We passed the hours of noon near the tomb, in the broad valley, to which it has given name. After mid-day we again started, and traversed an uneven ground of sand and stones. Our way for the whole day was S. 1° E. After about ten hours march, we halted in Wady Abou Borshe (ﻪﺷﺮﺑ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ); a chain of mountains runs here in a N.W. direction. Some Sellam trees grow in the barren sands of this Wady: this tree is a species of acacia; the Arabs value the wood for its great hardness; they use it for the shafts of their lances, and cut the thin branches into sticks of about the thickness of the thumb, and three feet in length, the top of which they bend in the fire, while the wood is yet green, and rubbing it frequently with grease, it acquires greater weight and strength. Every man carries in his hand such a stick, which is called Sélame. There is an other tree of the same species, called by the Bisharein El Dodda, which is preferred to the Sellam, for making these sticks. It grows nearer to the Red Sea. In the Wady Abou Borshe we met with some gazelles, the first we had seen since leaving Daraou; where water is only found in deep wells, it cannot be supposed that game much abounds.

13th March. We set out before sun rise, and reached, after three hours, Wady el Berd (ﺩﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), a fine wide valley overgrown with trees. Large flocks of white birds, of the size of geese, passed over our heads, on their way northwards. The Arabs have given this valley the name of Berd (cold), because they find that even in summer, a cold breeze always reigns here; it is open to the Nile, from whence the winds at that time generally blow. We found it at the early hour of the morning in which we passed it so extremely cold, that during a short halt we set fire to several dead trees, of which there are many in the Wady. Having continued our way along it for about two hours, and then crossed a chain of hills, we halted again during the mid-day hours, in another valley. The halting at noon always gave rise to disputes. Whenever it was known before hand that the chiefs intended to stop in a certain valley, the young men of the caravan pushed eagerly forwards, in order to select at the halting place the largest tree, or some spot under an impending rock, where they secured shelter from the sun for themselves and their mess. Every day some dispute arose as to who arrived the first, under some particular tree: as for myself I was often driven from the coolest and most comfortable berth, into the burning sun, and generally passed the mid-day hours in great distress: for besides the exposure to heat, I had to cook my dinner, a service which I could never prevail upon any of my companions, even the poorest servants, to perform for me, though I offered to let them share in my homely fare. In the evening, the same labour occurred again, when fatigued by the day’s journey, during which I always walked for four or five hours, in order to spare my ass, and when I was in the utmost need of repose. Hunger however always prevailed over fatigue, and I was obliged to fetch and cut wood to light a fire, to cook, to feed the ass, and finally to make coffee, a cup of which, presented to my Daraou companions, who were extremely eager to obtain it, was the only means I possessed of keeping them in tolerable good humour. A good night’s rest, however, always repaired my strength, and I was never in better health and spirits than during this journey, although its fatigues were certainly very great, and much beyond my expectation. The common dish of all the travellers at noon was Fetyre (ﺓﺮﻴﻄﻓ), which is flour mixed up with water into a liquid paste, and then baked upon the sadj, or iron plate; butter is then poured over it, or honey, or sometimes a sauce is made of butter and dried Bamyé. In the evening some lentils are boiled, or some bread is baked with salt, either upon the sadj or in ashes, and a sauce of Bamyé, or onion poured over lentils, or upon the bread, after it has been crumbled into small pieces. Early in the morning every one eats a piece of dry biscuit with some raw onion or dates. In the afternoon we again crossed a mountainous country, and then a sandy plain, terminated by a valley, where some Doum trees afford a delightful prospect to the traveller. After a day’s march of about nine hours, we halted in that valley, near the wells called el Nabeh (ﺢﺑﺎﻨﻟﺃ). While we were crossing the before mentioned plain, we met a small caravan of eight Ababdes; coming from Berber, and bound for Daraou. They had about thirty slaves and several loaded camels with them, which they intended to sell in Upper Egypt. The intelligence they gave us was extremely discouraging. Two wells which lay before us, on our road to Berber, they had found almost dried up. In one, that of Shigre, they said, we might still find some water, but in the farther one at “Nedjeym” we must reckon upon very little or no supply. Some of our people, alarmed at this intelligence, thought of returning with the Ababde caravan, but they were dissuaded by the others. The Daraou people bought a strong camel from the other caravan, for the purpose of loading it with water, and we passed the whole night in consulting what was to be done. In Wady el Nabeh there are five or six wells, close together, three of which are brackish, and two drinkable, but the latter contain very little water, and this little was immediately consumed in filling the water-skins. On the next morning disputes arose about the water that had flowed out of the wells during the night, each party wishing to appropriate it for its own use.

14th March. The fine shade afforded by the numerous Doum trees, and the copious wells, render the Wady el Nabeh next to Haimar, and Shigre, the most important position upon this route. Small caravans generally stop here a few days, in going to Berber, in order to give their camels a little time to repair their strength. It is supposed, that the water of the Nabeh is peculiarly refreshing to them. It certainly has strong purgative qualities. Large caravans however find it impossible to remain here for more than one night, because the drinkable water is but scanty. Our chiefs were the whole morning consulting, what to do; we had a two days march to Shigre, and from thence five days to the Nile at Berber. It was impossible to load the animals with a quantity of water, sufficient for the whole journey, yet we had no water to expect south of Shigre, and very little at Shigre. There is another source called Nawarik (ﻖﻳﺭﺍﻮﻧ) in the mountains to the S.E., four days and a half journey from El Nabeh, and as many from Berber, which would have been an eligible route to take. But none of our party were acquainted with the road, excepting a Bisharye Arab, and the others were not willing to trust themselves to his guidance. A third route was pointed out to me from Nabeh, leading in a S.S.W. direction, to the Nile in three long days and a half, but that part of the Nile is inhabited by the Arabs of Mograt, who were enemies of our caravan, and whose chief, Naym, had lately been killed by a Shikh of the Ababde. Upon such occasions as these, every man gives his opinion, and mine was, that we should kill our thirty-five asses, which required a daily supply of, at least, fifteen water skins, that we should load the camels to the utmost of their strength with water, and strike out a straightway through the desert towards Berber, without touching at Shigre; in this manner we might perform the journey in five forced marches. But the Arabs can seldom be brought to take manly resolutions, upon such occasions, generally consoling themselves with the hope of Allah Kerim, or God’s bounty; so that the result of our deliberation was, that we should follow the usual track. We repaired our water skins and our sandals, refreshed ourselves with bathing in the cool wells, and then set out. It was not without great apprehension that I departed from this place. Our camels and asses carried water for three or four days only, and I saw no possibility of escaping from the dreadful effects of a want of water. In order to keep my ass in good spirits, I took off the two small water skins with which I had hitherto loaded him, and paid one of the Ababdes four dollars to carry four small water skins as far as Berber; for I thought that if the ass could carry me, I might bear thirst for two days at least, but that if he should break down, I should certainly not be able to walk one whole day without water in this hot season of the year. This evening, for about one hour, we passed along the valley, and then for two hours across a stony country (direction S. by E.), when we stopped for the night in a narrow valley. I was overcome by fatigue, my eyes had for several days been sore, and my reflections on our melancholy situation kept me long awake. A camel overloaded with water fell down this evening and broke its leg, by which accident several water skins were burst. The camel was killed in the legal way, by turning its head towards Mekka, and cutting its throat. Some of our people remained behind, and overtook us at night with some choice morsels of flesh, which they had cut from the carcass.

15th March. We set out before day break, were about one hour and a half in crossing over a rocky district, and then reached a wide sandy plain, called Gob el Kheyl (ﻞﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﺐﻗ), which has many insulated granite rocks, similar in shape to those described on the 6th. After four hours march we halted at the entrance of Wady Tarfawy (ﻱﻭﺎﻓﺮﻃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), so called from the Tarfa or tamarisk tree, that grows there. The ground was covered also with the fine Senna shrub, the verdure of which was quite a novel sight. The pulse or fruit of the Senna had now come to its full maturity, and supplied food to swarms of locusts. Many thorny tamarisks, and a few Doum trees, also, grow here, and render the valley the most pleasant of the whole route.

In general, I found the dreaded Nubian deserts, as far as Shigre at least, of much less dreary appearance than the great Syrian desert, and still less so than the desert of Suez and Tyh. We seldom passed a day without meeting with trees and water, as far at least as Shigre; they are much more frequent than on the caravan route from Aleppo to Bagdad, or from Damascus to Medina. The flatness of the Syrian desert may appear less horrid than the barren shaggy rocks of the Nubian desert; but the latter has at least the advantage of variety. As we arrived very early at our halting place in the Wady Tarfawy, the camels were sent to a side valley, at the distance of more than one hour and a half, to get some water from a pool, the slight brackish taste of which makes it probable that, besides the rain water collected in it, there is a spring at the bottom. They returned soon after mid-day. Another camel, which was pronounced unable to continue the journey, was killed to day, and many of the eagles, called Quakham, quickly assembled to have their share of the meat. Our Ababde guides had a quarrel to day with the men from Daraou, from whom they endeavoured to extort some additional payment. I was not sorry to see this dispute, hoping that it might lead to a greater cordiality between me and the Ababde, who might perhaps join their interests with mine against the common adversary. The caravan set out again about four P.M. At the moment of departure, the Arab who carried my water, brought me the largest of the four skins, and told me that his camel was unable to carry it any further. Before I had arranged two smaller skins, had filled them with the water of the large one, had tied ropes to them, and had loaded them upon my ass, the caravan had gained a great distance ahead, so that following their footsteps in the sand, I could not rejoin them till late after sunset. It is in such cases that the want of a servant or companion is chiefly felt; for slave traders show no sort of compassion for the embarrassments of their fellow creatures. We marched this evening about six hours, over stony ground, and encamped late at night in Wady Kowa, (ﻉﻮﻜ ﻲﺪﺍﻭ), a valley full of pasturage. The direction during the day was S. by E.

16th March. After a few hours rest we again started. Our road lay over a sandy flat. High mountains appeared far in the east. At the end of three hours we halted in Wady Safyha (ﻪﺣﻳﻔﺼ ﻱﺩﺍﻮ), which cannot properly be called a valley, being a strip of lower land, running across the plain, where the rain water collects, and produces some trees and shrubs. Such spots in the Arabian deserts are called Ghadyr (ﺮﻳﺪﻏ). After mid-day we continued over the plain. During the whole day’s march we were surrounded on all sides by lakes of mirage, called by the Arabs Serab. Its colour was of the purest azure, and so clear that the shadows of the mountains which bordered the horizon were reflected on it with the greatest precision, and the delusion of its being a sheet of water was thus rendered still more perfect. I had often seen the mirage in Syria and Egypt, but always found it of a whitish colour, rather resembling a morning mist, seldom lying steady on the plain, but in continual vibration; but here it was very different, and had the most perfect resemblance to water. The great dryness of the air and earth in this desert may be the cause of the difference. The appearance of water approached also much nearer, than in Syria and Egypt, being often not more than two hundred paces from us, whereas I had never seen it before at a distance of less than half a mile. There were at one time about a dozen of these false lakes round us, each separated from the other, and for the most part in the low grounds. After about eight hours march we stopped at Wady Om Doum (ﻡﻭﺩ ﻡﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The name indicates the existence of Doum trees, but I could see no trees of any kind. I have observed that the vallies south of Omgat run generally from east to west, while those to the north of that place were parallel to our route. Our direction was still S. by E.

17th March. We set out at daylight and approached the high mountains of Shigre, which we had had in view the whole of the preceding day. After two hours march, we entered among these mountains, and then turning east, came to a fine Wady full of Doum trees, and bordered on either side by steep, and almost inaccessible cliffs. In following the windings of the valley, we arrived, after four hours march, near the water of Shigre, (ﺮﻘﺷ) where we encamped. The surrounding mountains are all of granite, and consist of blocks of various sizes, heaped upon one another in the wildest disorder. Near the opening of the mountain, where the water is found, at some distance below the highest summit, I found the rock to be porphyry of a light reddish colour, close grained, with small veins of feldspath, much resembling the porphyry I saw last year, in Wady Lamoule, beyond the Second Cataract of the Nile. The approach to the spring is somewhat difficult, being at the extremity of a very narrow passage, in a cavern or cleft of the rock, where, besides the spring, there is also a collection of rain water. The water is excellent, and very cool, but unfortunately not very copious; at least, we found only a small supply. Some pigeons were flying about the spring. The well of Shigre is famous throughout this desert. The Bisharein frequently encamp in the neighbouring Wadys, and one of their principal Shikhs or Saints is buried near the well. Travellers often make pious offerings at the tomb, and if any Bedouins happen to be encamped in the neighbourhood, some sheep are purchased from them, and killed in honour of the Saint. One of our party found behind a rock, near the tomb, an empty chest, of Egyptian workmanship, quite new, which had probably been deposited there by some trader, whose camel could not carry it further, and who expected to take it up again on his return. The Ababde guides claimed it of the person who found it, alleging that they are the masters of the desert, and that all treasures found in it belong to them. We encamped at about half a mile from the well, and our first care was to fill our water skins. The Ababde kindly permitted the Fellah traders to fill their skins first, but the latter abused the permission, by watering likewise their camels; so that after they had retired from the well, very little water was left in it. The Ababde then declared that they should be obliged to stop here until the well should fill again. We remained therefore the whole night, the Ababde sleeping at the mouth of the cavern, to prevent any body from stealing water during the night.

On the morning of the 18th March, about twenty skins were filled, but the Ababde were not yet satisfied, and the merchants, rather than protract their stay, and see their store of water diminished by the hourly waste, preferred ceding some of their skins to the guides, upon the condition of departing immediately. After much patience and labour, I had succeeded in filling two large skins, and having still some water left, I should thus have been at least as well provided as any other individual in the caravan; but I was not to be so fortunate. Having taken one of the skins upon my shoulder to the camp, I had left the other near the well, with the intention of coming back with the ass to take it away. When I returned, I found it empty. My Daraou friends had poured its contents into one of their own skins; and although they excused themselves by saying it was done by mistake, I could not by any means prevail upon them to refill it; indeed the water, now left in the well was rendered so muddy by the blueish clay which covers the bottom, that it was quite unserviceable. It was in vain that I offered two dollars for a full skin. My companions only laughed at me, saying that the price was indeed enormous, but that no one would part with his provision of water, and that they had never been in the habit of doing so. I was thus obliged to retreat from the well with the melancholy reflection that my stock of water was at the utmost sufficient for myself and ass for two days. It may here be remarked that it is of little use in travelling through deserts, to have a very large stock of water: for if the other travellers are in want of water they will take it by force; the rule being that water and bread are common to all, that is to say, that the stronger takes it from the weaker. The eastern Arabs allow the poor traveller to partake of their stock of water even when it is scarce, but the Africans are not so liberal, and all that an individual can do among them, is to lay in such a stock of water as will last as long as that of the great merchants; for he will find no supply from others, while he must give up all he can spare, and sometimes, even his whole stock, to meet the necessities of his more powerful companions. I searched about the well for some traces of ancient works, in the supposition that the place was as well known and frequented in the time when the trade of Meroe flourished as it is at present. But I could find nothing, although the situation is well suited to the construction of a fortress. The road leading up to the cavern which contains the well is almost blocked up by large masses of stones. And near it is another source, which has lately been entirely choaked up by the falling down of a projection of the mountain.

The Ababde chief of the caravan being acquainted with my misfortunes, sent for me just as we were on the point of departure, and having made some severe reflections upon the cruelty of the Egyptians towards me, made me a present of a sufficient quantity of water to fill one of the smaller skins. I was of course very sincere in my protestations of thanks and of gratitude, although I well saw that his anxiety for my welfare was not so great as his wish to mortify the Egyptians. We left Shigre in the course of the morning; it took us four hours to cross the chain of mountains, which bear the name of Djebel Shigre (ﺮﻘﺷ ﻝﺎﺒﺟ). They appeared to me the highest points of Western Nubia, but their most elevated summit is not more than eight hundred or one thousand feet above the plain. All these mountains are of granite, and are every where as wild in their shape as those about the well. After four hours march, we issued from the mountains, and by a slight descent reached a sandy plain, covered with sharp stones. Our road S. 1º W. At five hours, passed Wady Kabkaba (ﻪﺒﻘﺒﻗ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ); at seven hours, passed Wady Zeynatyb (ﺐﻴﺗﺎﻨﻳﺯ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). Trees are very scarce in these Wadys, which are nothing but low grounds with some shrubs. We marched until late at night, and halted in the plain, after a day’s journey of about eleven hours. The country we passed over, after quitting the mountains of Shigre, is one great sandy flat, occasionally interrupted by gravelly ground, with small pebbles of quartz. We likewise passed several districts of moving sands. From Daraou as far as Shigre we had constantly followed a broad beaten path, where it is almost impossible for any one who has once performed the journey to go astray. The road seldom varies in its direction, and the prominent features of the mountains on both sides serve to the traveller as a guide at the few places where the sandy ground prevents any lasting impression of the footsteps of former caravans. From Shigre southward we found no beaten path, and there being no longer any mountains in view, it requires the eye and experience of a Bedouin to keep the caravan in a proper direction, especially during the day time.

19th March. Our road was S. by W. over an immense plain, bordered by low hills in the distant horizon. After about one hour we passed Wady Dimoka-yb (a Bishary name) (ﺐﻳﺎﻛﻮﻤﻳﺩ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), full of dry shrubs. The day was intensely hot. I thought I could perceive a considerable alteration in the climate, to the south of Shigre, it being much warmer than to the north of that place. Eight hours and a half passed Wady Abou Daey (ﻲﺿ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). All these Wadys extend from east to west. Eleven hours arrived at the wells of Nedjeym (ﻡﻴﺠﻨﻟﺃ ﺭﺎﻴﺑﺃ) in approaching which, we passed, long after sunset, by several tomb-stones, called Gobour Adjouad el Arey-ab (ﺏﺎﻳﺮﻻﺃ ﺩﻮﺟﺃ ﺭﻮﺒﻗ); “the bravest men of Are-ab lie buried here,” said one of our chiefs; “their companions carry them from many days journies to this spot, that they may repose in the cool neighbourhood of the wells, and their deeds be remembered by those who pass here.” The Are-ab are a tribe of Bisharein. We had already sent some men to the wells early in the morning, to clear them of the sand, for notwithstanding the report of the caravan travellers which we received at Nabeh, our people still believed that some water might be procured here. But we found them sitting with melancholy countenances near the well, where they had been digging for several hours, without finding any thing but wet sand. Even the Bedouins now became alarmed, and nothing was left for us but to endeavour to reach the Nile by forced marches; each of us had some water left, though not more than sufficient for a single day. Nedjeym is a collection of three or four wells, where the water oozes from the ground, and collects in sand pits of twenty or thirty feet in depth. The winds often choak these pits with sand, and almost every caravan that passes must be at the trouble of digging them out. We only found one accessible, the others being filled with sand to the brim. In times of dryness, such as occurred this year, the wells are exhausted, but when the rains are not deficient they produce excellent water, in sufficient quantity to supply a caravan of middling size. The low insulated rocky hills which surround the Nedjeym are composed of chlorite and petrosilex.

20th March. Some of our people continued at work at the well the whole night, and at length by great assiduity filled the water skins. We left the place soon after midnight. Issuing from the hills which surround the wells, and diverging from the straight road that leads to Berber, we took our route over a barren plain covered with moving sands, in a S.S.W. direction. At four hours we passed Wady Holhob (ﺐﻬﻠﺣ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). All the Wadys south of Shigre empty themselves in large torrents into the Nile whenever rain falls in the eastern chain. The ground now became gravelly, covered with small black flints and petrosilex, a dark expanse of waste much resembling some parts of the desert of Tyh. No mountains or hills are any where seen. Here and there only small rocks of granite, quartz or sienite interrupt the dreary uniformity of the plain. Fortunately for us we had northerly winds, but we suffered nevertheless considerably from the heat. We drank only twice to day, and our asses were put upon half allowance. At eleven hours we halted in a Wady. I had a quarrel to day with a man of Daraou, who accused me of having opened his water skin in the night, in order to give my ass some water; he called me by the most insulting names, pelted me with stones, and seemed to have succeeded in persuading the whole caravan that I was guilty.

21st March. We set out after midnight, and marched over a sandy ground. At three hours passed Wady Amour (ﺭﻮﻣﺎﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). It was a chilly night, and the heat of the preceding day had rendered us still more sensible to the cold. Wady Amour is full of Sellam trees and acacias, many of which were quite dried up: our people, to warm themselves, set several of them on fire in passing along, and the flames spreading over the valley, beautifully illuminated the travellers and their frightened beasts. Issuing from the Wady we again met with a gravelly plain, and some low grounds. In seven hours passed a Wady of Sant trees. The heat was very great, and the wind southerly; half a dozen asses had already broken down, and their riders were obliged to walk over the burning plain. I had not drank the whole day, but still gave my ass every now and then a little water to keep up his spirits. At nine hours (direction S.S.W.), reached Wady Abou Sellam (ﻢﻠﺳ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) which abounds with Sellam trees. Here we stopped; for the beasts were much fatigued, and there were many stragglers behind, whom we might have lost in proceeding further. In order to spare my stock of water, I had lived since quitting Shigre entirely upon biscuits, and had never cooked any victuals; I now made another dinner of the same kind, after which I allayed my thirst by a copious draught of water, having in my skins as much as would serve me for another draught on the morrow. We were all in the greatest dejection, foreseeing that all the asses must die the ensuing day if not properly watered, and none of the traders had more than a few draughts for himself. After a long deliberation they at last came to the only determination that could save us, and which the Ababde chief had been for several days recommending. Ten or twelve of the strongest camels being selected, were mounted by as many men, who hastened forward to fetch a supply of water from the nearest part of the Nile. We were only five or six hours distant from it, but its banks being here inhabited by Arabs inimical to the traders, the whole caravan could not venture to take that road. The camels set out at about four P.M., and would reach the river at night. They were ordered to choose an uninhabited spot for filling the skins, and forthwith to return. We passed the evening meanwhile in the greatest anxiety, for if the camels should not return, we had little hopes of escape either from thirst or from the sword of our enemies, who, if they had once got sight of the camels, would have followed their footsteps through the desert, and would certainly have discovered us. After sunset several stragglers arrived, but two still remained behind, of whom one joined us early next morning, but the other was not heard of any more. He was servant to a Daraou trader, who showed not the least concern about his fate. Many of my companions came in the course of the evening to beg some water of me, but I had well hidden my treasure, and answered them by showing my empty skins. We remained the greater part of the night in sullen and silent expectation of the result of our desperate mission. At length, about three o’clock in the morning, we heard the distant hollowings of our watermen, and soon after refreshed ourselves with copious draughts of the delicious water of the Nile. The caravan passed suddenly from demonstrations of the deepest distress, to those of unbounded joy and mirth. A plentiful supper was dressed, and the Arabs kept up their songs till day break without bestowing a thought on the fate of the unhappy man who had remained behind. It rarely happens that persons perish by thirst on this road, and if the Nedjeym has water, it is almost impossible that such an accident should happen. Last year, however, an instance occurred, the particulars of which were related to me by a man who had himself suffered all the pangs of death. In the month of August, a small caravan prepared to set out from Berber to Daraou. They consisted of five merchants, and about thirty slaves, with a proportionate number of camels. Afraid of the robber Naym, who at that time was in the habit of waylaying travellers about the well of Nedjeym, and who had constant intelligence of the departure of every caravan from Berber, they determined to take a more eastern road, by the well Owareyk. They had hired an Ababde guide, who conducted them in safety to that place, but who lost his way from thence northward, the route being very unfrequented. After five days march in the mountains, their stock of water was exhausted, nor did they know where they were. They resolved therefore to direct their course towards the setting sun, hoping thus to reach the Nile. After two days thirst, fifteen slaves and one of the merchants died. Another of them, an Ababde, who had ten camels with him, thinking that the camels might know better than their masters where water was to be found, desired his comrades to tie him fast upon the saddle of his strongest camel, that he might not fall down from weakness; and thus he parted from them, permitting his camels to take their own way: but neither the man nor his camels were ever heard of afterwards. On the eighth day after leaving Owareyk, the survivors came in sight of the mountains of Shigre, which they immediately recognized, but their strength was quite exhausted, and neither men nor beasts were able to move any further. Lying down under a rock, they sent two of their servants with the two strongest remaining camels, in search of water. Before these two men could reach the mountain, one of them dropped off his camel, deprived of speech, and able only to wave his hands to his comrade as a signal that he desired to be left to his fate. The survivor then continued his route, but such was the effect of thirst upon him, that his eyes grew dim and he lost the road, though he had often travelled over it before, and had been perfectly acquainted with it. Having wandered about for along time, he alighted under the shade of a tree, and tied the camel to one of its branches; the beast however smelt the water, (as the Arabs express it,) and wearied as it was, broke its halter, and set off gallopping furiously in the direction of the spring, which as it afterwards appeared, was at half an hour’s distance. The man well understanding the camel’s action, endeavoured to follow its footsteps, but could only move a few yards; he fell exhausted on the ground, and was about to breathe his last, when Providence led that way from a neighbouring encampment a Bisharye Bedouin, who by throwing water upon the man’s face restored him to his senses. They then went hastily together to the water, filled the skins, and returning to the caravan, had the good fortune to find the sufferers still alive. The Bisharye received a slave for his trouble. My informer, a native of Yembo in Arabia, was the man whose camel discovered the spring, and he added the remarkable circumstance that the youngest slaves bore the thirst better than the rest, and that while the grown up boys all died, the children reached Egypt in safety.

In 1813 a large caravan arrived at Siout from Darfour. As they had undertaken their journey in the latter end of the hot season, many of their camels perished on the road, and they found themselves under the necessity of leaving a considerable part of their goods, together with many young slaves who could not march on foot, at the well of Sheb, with all the provisions that could be spared. Having hired several hundred camels, they returned to Sheb; but in the meanwhile, the thoughtless slaves had been too prodigal of their provisions, and several had died from hunger.

Such accidents as these may sometimes happen either from want of proper guides, from the necessity of taking circuitous roads, or from not having a sufficient quantity of camels loaded with water; but they must in general arise from a want of proper precaution, and I cannot help thinking that those which my predecessor Mr. Bruce describes himself to have suffered in this desert, have been much overstated. But while I think it my duty to make this remark, I must at the same time declare that acquainted as I am with the character of the Nubians, I cannot but sincerely admire the wonderful knowledge of men, firmness of character, and promptitude of mind which furnished Bruce with the means of making his way through these savage inhospitable nations as an European. To travel as a native has its inconveniences and difficulties, but I take those which Bruce encountered to be of a nature much more intricate and serious, and such as a mind at once courageous, patient, and fertile in expedients could alone have surmounted.

March 22. After partaking of a hearty breakfast, we proceeded, late in the morning, over an extensive gravelly plain, intersected by several Wadys or low grounds, running towards the river, and in general bearing few trees. Our road was S. by W. At the end of five hours we halted in one of the Wadys called Netyle (ﻪﻠﻴﺘﻧ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The foliage of the acacia trees under which we encamped during the noon hours, is too scanty to give much shade, and the Arabs with justice compare the traveller’s endeavours to shelter himself from the burning sun under a Sant tree, to the folly of placing full confidence in the promises of the great; “Confide in his words as you do in the acacia’s shade;” has become a proverbial saying (ﻃﻨﺴﻟﺃ ﻞﻇ ﻞﺜﻣ ﻪﻣﻼﻛ). Ostriches are very numerous in this plain in several places, and we saw this morning many broken pieces of their eggs. I observed also some very large lizards, at least a foot in length from head to tail. The wind was still southerly. I again enquired, as I had often done before, whether my companions had often experienced the Semoum (which we translate by the poisonous blast of the desert, but which is nothing more than a violent south-east wind). They answered in the affirmative, but none had ever known an instance of its having proved fatal. Its worst effect is that it dries up the water in the skins, and so far it endangers the traveller’s safety. In these southern countries, however, water skins are made of very thick cowleather, which are almost impenetrable to the Semoum. In Arabia and Egypt on the contrary the skins of sheep or goats are used for this purpose, and I witnessed the effect of a Semoum upon them, in going from Tor to Suez over land in June 1815, when in one morning a third of the contents of a full water skin was evaporated. I have repeatedly been exposed to the hot wind, in the Syrian and Arabian deserts, in Upper Egypt and Nubia. The hottest and most violent I ever experienced was at Suakin, yet even there I felt no particular inconvenience from it, although exposed to all its fury in the open plain. For my own part I am perfectly convinced that all the stories which travellers or the inhabitants of the towns of Egypt and Syria relate of the Semoum of the desert, are greatly exaggerated, and I never could hear of a single well authenticated instance of its having proved mortal either to man or beast. The fact is that the Bedouins when questioned on the subject, often frighten the townspeople with tales of men, and even of whole caravans having perished by the effects of the wind, when upon closer enquiry made by some person, whom they find not ignorant of the desert, they will state the plain truth. I never observed that the Semoum blows close to the ground, as commonly supposed, but always observed the whole atmosphere appear as if in a state of combustion; the dust and sand are carried high into the air, which assumes a reddish, or blueish, or yellowish tint, according to the nature and colour of the ground, from which the dust arises. The yellow however always, more or less, predominates. In looking through a glass of a light yellow colour, one may form a pretty correct idea of the appearance of the air, as I observed it during a stormy Semoum at Esne, in Upper Egypt, in May 1813. The Semoum is not always accompanied by whirlwinds; in its less violent degree it will blow for hours with little force, although with oppressive heat; when the whirlwind raises the dust it then encreases several degrees in heat. In the Semoum at Esne the thermometer mounted to 121° in the shade, but the air seldom remains longer than a quarter of an hour in that state, or longer than the whirlwind lasts. The most disagreeable effect of the Semoum on man is, that it stops perspiration, dries up the palate, and produces great restlessness. I never saw any person lie down flat upon his face to escape its pernicious blast, as Bruce describes himself to have done in crossing this desert; but during the whirlwinds the Arabs often hide their faces with their cloaks, and kneel down near their camels to prevent the sand or dust from hurting their eyes. Camels are always much distressed, not by the heat but by the dust blowing into their large, prominent, eyes. They turn round and endeavour to screen themselves by holding down their heads, but this I never saw them do except in case of a whirlwind, however intense the heat of the atmosphere might be. In June 1813, going from Esne to Siout, a violent Semoum overtook me upon the plain between Farshiout and Berdys. I was quite alone, mounted upon a light-footed Hedjin. When the whirlwind arose neither house nor tree was in sight, and while I was endeavouring to cover my face with my handkerchief, the beast was made unruly, by the quantity of dust blown into its eyes, and the terrible noise of the wind, and set off at a furious gallop; I lost the reins and received a heavy fall, and not being able to see ten yards before me, I remained wrapped up in my cloak on the spot where I fell, until the wind abated, when pursuing my dromedary, I found it at a great distance, quietly standing near a low shrub, the branches of which afforded some shelter to its eyes.

Bruce has mentioned the moving pillars of sands in this desert, but although none such occurred during my passage, I do not presume to question his veracity on this head. The Arabs told me that there are often whirlwinds of sand, and I have repeatedly passed through districts of moving sands, which the slightest wind can raise; I remember to have seen columns of sands moving about like water spouts in the desert on the banks of the Euphrates, and have seen at Jaka terrible effects from a sudden wind; I therefore very easily credit their occasional appearance in the Nubian desert, although I doubt of their endangering the safety of travellers.

The plain which we crossed this morning was in some places covered with granite rocks, and large blocks of gneiss. We marched in a S. by W. direction, nearly parallel to the course of the river, which was about four hours on our right. We saw some low sand hills on the western banks of the Nile. At eight hours we reached Wady el Homar (ﺭﺎﻤﺤﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), i. e. the asses valley, where we halted. It is said that wild asses are sometimes seen in the neighbouring desert called Homar Elwaheish (ﺶﺣﻮﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The Wady el Homar contains a few trees.

March 23d. We continued to traverse in a S. by W. direction, the same level country, where no mountains are in sight. The plain is covered with black stones, Egyptian pebbles, and quartz. I have not observed any specimens of jasper during the whole route from Daraou. We passed several Wadys, and saw some hares. At four hours we halted in Wady Belem (ﻢﻠﺑ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), perhaps (ﻢﻠﺳ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) full of trees. The Ababde guides obliged the caravan traders to pay them here one half of what was due to them, and several people started for Berber to carry the news of our arrival. We set out again late in the afternoon. The plain was sandy, with a slight slope towards the Nile. In approaching the river we met with large flocks of the Katta (a bird of the partridge kind). We felt the approach of the river at more than two hours distance from it, by a greater moisture in the air. The Arabs exclaimed “God be praised we smell again the Nile.” At the end of nine hours we reached about ten o’clock at night the village of Ankheyre (ﻩﺮﻴﺨﻨﺃ), the principal place in the district of Berber (ﺮﺑﺮﺑ). The caravans always make it a rule to arrive here in the night, in order that their loads may be less exposed to public examination, and that they may be able to secrete some trifles from the vigilance of the custom officers.

The road, which we had travelled is the only one that leads from Berber to Egypt, and is the general route of the Shendy and Sennaar caravans. There is a more western route from Berber to Seboua, a village on the Nile in the Berbera country, not far from Derr, the inhabitants of which actively engage in the slave trade. On that road the traveller finds only a single well, which is situated midway, four long days distant from Berber, and as many from Seboua. It is called el Morrat (ﺓﺮﻤﻟﺁ), and is very copious, but the water is ill-tasted. A great inconvenience on that road is that neither trees nor shrubs are any where found, whence the camels are much distressed for food, and passengers are obliged to carry wood with them to dress their meals, and to warm themselves in winter. The journey from Daraou to Berber had taken us twenty-two days. But it is to be observed that until we reached Haimar, and even as far as Naby, we made very short journies. The mountains to the east of Assouan and Haimar, three days journies towards the Red Sea, are said to be much higher than any we have seen. They are called the mountains of Otaby (ﻲﺑﺎﺘﻋ), which appellation is extended sometimes to the whole chain as far as Kosseir, meaning always those mountains distant from the Nile and not far from the sea. The Djebel Otaby is the exclusive patrimony of the Ababde, and is most peopled in summer time, when the Ababde settlers of Upper Egypt send there their cattle. There is much intercourse between the Ababdes of Otaby and the Bisharein of Olba. , Haimar is reckoned five days from Daraou, and we were nine days on the road. The distance from Daraou to Berber is generally computed by the traders at sixteen or seventeen days. In returning from Berber, the journey is performed more rapidly, because they are abundantly furnished with camels, are all mounted themselves, and the camels are relieved every day of their loads. They then sleep three or four hours during the day, and travel the greater part of the night, thus often performing the journey in twelve days. Messengers on dromedaries have often gone in eight days from Daraou to Berber. When the rains fall abundantly and the water collects every where on the road, in ponds or low grounds producing pasturage in the valleys, the caravans generally remain a month on their passage. We had reckoned upon eighteen days only, and had taken provisions accordingly, which was the reason why we were in so much distress for provisions and water towards the end of the journey, particularly for the beasts; my own ass fed for two days upon nothing but lentils. The traders give their camels every two or three days about twelve pounds of Dhourra; but to the most heavy loaded camel, which bears from six to seven hundred-weight, they give a daily allowance. All our animals were very much fatigued; the greater part of the camels had their backs horribly wounded, in consequence of the pressure of the loads, and of the avarice and negligence of the owners, who, in order to save a few piastres for a good and well stuffed saddle, exposed the poor beasts to the greatest sufferings. Many camels however are able to perform this journey three times, backwards and forwards, in the year.

On our arrival at Ankheyre, each merchant repaired to the house of his friend, for there are no public Khans here, and traders always lodge at private houses. The Alowein from Daraou established themselves in the house of Edris el Temsah, a man related to the chief of the place, and as I still thought that these people might be of some service to me, and wished therefore not openly to break with them, I joined their party. We were that night hospitably entertained by Edris, and the next morning crowds of visitors poured in.

The village belongs to the district of Berber, which comprises also three other large villages to the south of it: Goz el Souk (ﻕﻮﺳﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), or Goz the market place, Goz el Funnye (ﻪﻴﻨﻔﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), and to the north el Hassa (ﻪﺼﺤﻟﺃ), about three quarters of an hour distant from Ankheyre. It is a mode of division prevalent all over Upper Egypt and Nubia, to divide the country into Wadys, or vallies, each of which is composed of several villages. The name of the district is frequently applied to the principal village, and thus the word Berber is often used in speaking only of Ankheyre. The name of Berber has probably given rise to the appellation by which the Nubians are generally designated in Egypt, where they are called Berábera (plural of Bérbery); but this name is not in use in their own country, for, as I have already mentioned, in my former Journal, they are known among themselves by the names of Nouba and Kenous. The Egyptians seeing traders of the same complexion coming both from Berber and from the district of Ibrim, have applied the same name to both nations; and for a similar reason, the people of Berber are often confounded with those of Sennaar, and called Senhry.

The inhabitants of Berber are Arabs of the tribe of Meyrefab (ﺏﺎﻔﻳﺮﻴﻣ). In common with all the different Arab tribes who inhabit the Nile valley, from Upper Egypt to Sennaar, they report that their origin is from the Sherk, or east (ﻕﺮﺸﻟﺃ ﻦﻣ), meaning Arabia. The name of Meyrefab however does not appear to be from an Arabic root, and bears more resemblance to the Bisharein language. None of the tribes who live on the banks of the Nile are large, and each district is seldom more than one day’s march in length. The territory of the Arabs Sheygya is the largest. The settlements of the Meyrefab extend only for six or eight hours along the river, but many of them inhabit the neighbouring districts, as foreign settlers. They say that the Meyrefab can arm a body of one thousand free Arabs, and five hundred slaves, but in their wars with their neighbours, they seldom appear with more than four or five hundred men. Their chief is a man of their own tribe, who assumes the title of Mek (an abbreviation of Melek, king), which is common to all the petty chieftains of these countries, as far as Darfour and Sennaar. The authority of the Mek is confined to the reigning family, but is not hereditary from father to eldest son; for the king of Sennaar, who, since the succession of the royal family of Funnye has extended his authority along the Nile as far north as the southern limits of Wady Mahass, nominates to the governorship of this place any member of the family of Temsah whom he pleases, or rather he sells it to the highest bidder, after the Mek’s decease. With the exception of this nomination, the king of Sennaar exercises no authority over Berber, but he sends every four or five years one of his people to collect, in the way of tribute, some presents, consisting of gold, horses, and camels; about twenty horses and thirty camels. The kings of Dóngola, until the invasion of the Mamlouks, had always paid a similar tribute to Sennaar, and the Sheygya were bound to the same, but the latter having of late become powerful, have refused to pay it any longer. A similar tribute is exacted of the petty tribes between the Sheygya and Berber, and the king of Sennaar names their chiefs in the same manner as he does that of Berber. Many strangers beside the Meyrefab have settled at Berber, particularly natives of Dóngola and Ababde Arabs from Upper Egypt; many of these have taken up their constant residence here, others are married at Berber, and have another family in Egypt.

The Mek exercises only a feeble authority over the Arabs of his tribe, especially those who belong to powerful families; nor does he exact any taxes from the fields or their produce, but he is oppressive to strangers, the taxes and other exactions from whom make up the best part of his income. The tribute which he pays to Sennaar is collected from the whole tribe, and he takes care not to be a loser by the contribution. The sums paid to Sennaar for recognizing him in his office, after the decease of his predecessor, are generally made up by a forced loan from any caravan that may then be passing; and whichever individual of the reigning family possesses the greatest influence, and most friends and money to secure his election at Sennaar, easily places himself at the head of the government.

The four villages of Berber are all at about half an hour’s walk from the river situated in the sandy desert, on the borders of the arable soil. Each village is composed of about a dozen of quarters, Nezle (ﻪﻟﺰﻧ), standing separate from one another, at short distances. The houses are generally divided from each other by large court-yards, thus forming no where any regular streets. They are tolerably well built, either of mud or of sun-baked bricks, and their appearance is at least as good as those of Upper Egypt. Each habitation consists of a large yard divided into an inner and outer court. Round this yard are the rooms for the family, which are all on the ground floor; I have never seen in any of these countries a second story, or staircase. To form the roof, beams are laid across the walls; these are covered with mats, upon which reeds are placed, and a layer of mud is spread over the whole. The roof has a slope to let the rain water run off, which in most houses is conducted by a canal to the court-yard, thus rendering the latter in time of rain a dirty pond. Two of the apartments are generally inhabited by the family, a third serves as a store room, a fourth for the reception of strangers, and a fifth is often occupied by public women. The rooms have seldom more than one very small window, so that to have their well lighted the door must be kept open. The doors are of wood, and have the same wooden locks and keys (Dabbé) which are used in Syria and Egypt, but of still coarser workmanship. I have seldom seen any furniture in the rooms, excepting a sofa or bedstead, which is an oblong wooden frame, with four legs, having a seat made either of reeds, and then called Serír, or of thin stripes of ox-leather drawn across each other, and then called Angareyg (a Bishary word). The best of the latter kind are brought from Sennaar; many of them are exported to Upper Egypt, and Arabia, and they are used all over the black countries. The honoured stranger always has an Angareyg brought to him upon his arrival, which serves as a bed for the night, and a sofa in the day, and it is said that the peculiar smell of the leather keeps it free from vermin. Mats made of reeds are spread in the inner part of the rooms where the women sleep, as well as in other rooms, where the men take a nap during the mid-day hours, a luxury never dispensed with in these countries. When they sleep they generally spread a carpet made of pieces of leather sown together, stretching themselves out upon this, and preferring, according to the general custom of the Arabs, to sleep without any pillow, and with the head lying upon the same level with the rest of the body. In the store-room Dhourra is kept, either in heaps upon the floor, or in large receptacles formed of mud, to preserve it from rats and mice. Swarms of these animals nevertheless abound, and they run about the court-yards in such quantities that the boys exercise themselves in throwing lances at them, and kill them every day by dozens.

Besides the Dhourra, the store rooms generally contain a few sheep-skins full of butter, some jars of honey, some water-skins for travellers, and if the proprietor be a man in easy circumstances, some dried flesh. The inner court is generally destined for the cattle, camels, cows and sheep, and it has a subdivision, where are preserved the dry Dhourra stalks, which become the usual food of the cattle, when the summer heats have dried up all the verdure which the inundation had produced. The outer court in the generality of houses, contains a well of brackish water, fit only for cattle; here the male-inhabitants of the house and strangers sleep, during the hot season, either upon mud benches adjoining the rooms, or upon Angareygs, or upon the ground; here the master’s favourite horse is fed, and here all business is transacted in the open air. I have already mentioned a room of public women, often met with in these habitations. Indeed there are very few houses of people called here respectable, where such women are not lodged, either in the court-yard itself, or in a small room adjoining the yard, but without its gate; in the house where I lodged, we had four of these girls, one of whom was living within the precincts, the three others in contiguous apartments. They are female slaves, whom their masters, upon marrying or being tired of them, have set at liberty, and who have no other livelihood but prostitution, and the preparation of the intoxicating drink called Bouza. Female slaves are often permitted to make a traffic of their charms before they are at liberty, in order that they may acquire a sufficient sum of money to purchase it. When at liberty their former owners take care to make them pay house rent; some masters are said to participate in their gains, and generally afford them protection in the quarrels which frequently happen.

The night of our arrival at Berber, after we had supped, and that the neighbours who had come to greet us had retired, three or four of these damsels made their appearance, and were saluted with loud shouts by my companions, who were all their old acquaintance. Some Angareygs were brought into the open courtyard, which the principal people of our party having taken possession of, the women proceeded to give them “the welcome,” as they call it. The men having undressed to their loins, and stretched themselves at full length upon the Angareygs, were rubbed by the women with a kind of perfumed grease, much in the same manner as is used after coming out of the bath. This operation lasted for about half an hour, but the parties remained together for the whole night, without being in the least annoyed by the neighbourhood of those who were lying about in the courtyard. During the whole of our stay at Berber we had these damsels almost every evening at our quarters, and the same was the case in the other houses occupied by travellers. The rooms of the women were scarcely for a moment free from visitors. They prepare, as I have already stated, the Bouza, and as it is difficult for any person to indulge in the drinking of this liquor in his own house, where he would be immediately surrounded by a great number of acquaintance, it is generally thought preferable to go to the women’s apartment, where there is no intrusion. Many of these women are Abyssinians by birth, but the greater part of them are born at Berber of slave parents (ﻦﻳﺪﻟﻮﻣ). They are in general handsome, and many of them might even pass for beauties in any country.

The women of Berber, even those of the highest rank, always go unveiled, and young girls are often seen without any covering whatever, except a girdle of short leathern tassels about their waists. Many, both men and women, blacken their eyelids with Kohel or antimony, but the custom is not so general as in Egypt. The women of the higher classes, and the most elegant of the public women, throw over their shirts, white cloaks with red linings of Egyptian manufacture, made at Mehalla el Kebir, in the Delta. Both sexes are in the almost daily habit of rubbing their skins with fresh butter. They pretend that it is refreshing, prevents cutaneous complaints, and renders the surface of the skin smoother; the men, in reference to their frequent quarrels, add, that it renders the skin tougher and firmer, and more difficult to be cut through with a knife. I can say from my own experience that I have found great relief during the mid-day heats, from rubbing my breast, arms, and legs with butter, or my feet, if I was fatigued with walking. The cutaneous eruption called the prickly heat, which is so common in Egypt, is never seen here, and I had often occasion to admire the smooth and delicate appearance of the skin, even in men who were very much exposed to the sun. It is by the nature of their skin that these Arabs distinguish themselves from the Negroes; though very dark coloured, their skin is as fine as that of a white person, while that of the Negroes is much thicker and coarser. The hands of the latter are as hard as a board, while the touch of the Arabs, who are not of the labouring class, is as soft as that of the northern nations. The perfumed grease, which is made use of only upon extraordinary occasions, is a preparation of sheep’s fat mixed with soap, musk, pulverized sandalwood, senbal, and mahleb. It has an agreeable odour, and the men pretend that it is a powerful stimulant; but the truth seems to be, that they generally use it before they visit their mistresses.

The people of Berber are a very handsome race. The native colour seems to be a dark red-brown, which if the mother is a slave from Abyssinia becomes a light brown in the children, and if from the Negro countries, extremely dark. The men are somewhat taller than the Egyptians, and are much stronger and larger limbed. Their features are not at all those of the Negro, the face being oval, the nose often perfectly Grecian, and the cheek bones not prominent. The upper lip however is generally somewhat thicker than is considered beautiful among northern nations, though it is still far from the Negro lip. Their legs and feet are well formed, which is seldom the case with the Negroes. They have a short beard below the chin, but seldom any hair upon their cheeks. Their mustachios are thin, and they keep them cut very short. Their hair is bushy and strong, but not woolly; it lies in close curls, when short, and when permitted to grow, forms itself into broad high tufts “We are Arabs, not Negroes,” they often say; and indeed they can only be classed among the latter by persons who judge from colour alone.

The Meyrefab, like the other Arab tribes of these parts of Africa, are careful in maintaining the purity of their race. A free born Meyrefab never marries a slave, whether Abyssinian or black, but always an Arab girl of his own or some neighbouring tribe, and if he has any children from his slave concubines, they are looked upon only as fit matches for slaves or their descendants. This custom they have in common with all the eastern Bedouins, while, on the contrary, the inhabitants of the towns of Arabia and Egypt are in the daily habit of taking in wedlock Abyssinian as well as Negroe slaves.

In marrying, the bride’s father receives, according to the Mussulman custom, a certain sum of money from the bride-groom, for his daughter, and this sum is higher than is customary in other parts inhabited by Arabs. The daughters of the Mek are paid as much as three or four hundred dollars, which the father keeps for them as a dowry. Few men have more than one wife, but every one who can afford it keeps a slave or mistress either in his own or in a separate house. Kept mistresses are called companions (ﻪﻘﻴﻓ), and are more numerous than in the politest capitals of Europe. Few traders pass through Berber without taking a mistress, if it be only for a fortnight. Drunkenness is the constant companion of this debauchery, and it would seem as if the men in these countries had no other objects in life. The intoxicating liquor which they drink is called Bouza (ﻩﺯﻮﺑ). Strongly leavened bread made from Dhourra is broken into crumbs, and mixed with water, and the mixture is kept for several hours over a slow fire. Being then removed, water is poured over it, and it is left for two nights to ferment. This liquor, according to its greater or smaller degree of fermentation, takes the name of Merin, Bouza, or Om Belbel (ﻞﺒﻠﺑ ﻡﺃ), the mother of nightingales, so called because it makes the drunkard sing. Unlike the other two, which being fermented together with the crumbs of bread, are never free from them, the Om Belbel is drained through a cloth, and is consequently pure and liquid. I have tasted of all three. The Om Belbel has a pleasant prickly taste, something like Champagne turned sour. They are served up in large roundish gourds open at the top, upon which are engraved with a knife a great variety of ornaments. A gourd (Bourma ﻪﻣﺮﺑ) contains about four pints, and whenever a party meet over the gourd, it is reckoned that each person will drink at least one Bourma. The gourd being placed on the ground, a smaller gourd cut in half, and of the size of a tea-cup, is placed near it, and in this the liquor is served round, to each in turn, an interval of six or eight minutes being left between each revolution of the little gourd. At the beginning of the sitting, some roasted meat, strongly peppered, is generally circulated, but the Bouza itself (they say) is sufficiently nourishing, and, indeed, the common sort looks more like soup or porridge, than a liquor to be taken at a draught. The Fakirs or religious men, are the only persons who do not indulge (publicly at least) in this luxury; the women are as fond of it, and as much in the habit of drinking it, as the men. A Bourma of Bouza is given for one measure of Dhourra, three-fourths of the measure of Dhourra being required to make the Bourma, and the remainder paying for the labour.

In other respects the people of Berber are abstemious, and they often fast the whole day, for the sake of being able to revel in the evening. The chief article of food is Dhourra bread. As they have no mills, not even hand-mills, they grind the Dhourra by strewing it upon a smooth stone, about two feet in length and one foot in breadth, which is placed in a sloping position before the person employed to grind. At the lower extremity of the stone, a hole is made in the ground to contain a broken earthen jar, wooden bowl, or some such vessel, which receives the Dhourra flower. The grinding is effected by means of a small stone flat at the bottom; this is held in both hands and moved backwards and forwards on the sloping stone by the grinder, who kneels to perform the operation. If the bread is to be of superior quality, the Dhourra is well washed and then dried in the sun; but generally they put it under the grinding stone without taking the trouble of washing it. In grinding, the grain is kept continually wet by sprinkling some water upon it from a bason placed near, and thus the meal which falls into the pot, resembles a liquid paste of the coarsest kind, mixed with chaff and dirt. With this paste an earthen jar is filled, containing as much as is necessary for the day’s consumption. It is left there from twenty-four to thirty-six hours, during which time it slightly ferments and acquires a sourish taste. No leaven is used; the sour liquid is poured in small quantities upon an iron plate placed over the fire, or when no iron is at hand, upon a thin well smoothed stone: and if the iron or stone is thoroughly heated, the cake is baked in three or four minutes. As each cake is small, and must be baked separately, it requires a long time to prepare a sufficient quantity; for it is the custom to bring several dozen to table while hot, in a large wooden bowl; some onion sauce, or broth, or milk, is then poured upon them, the sauce is called Mallah (ﺡﻼﻣ). The bread is never salted, but salt is mixed with the sauce. This dish is the common and daily food both at dinner and supper. Although very coarse it is not disagreeable, and the sourish taste, renders it peculiarly palatable during the heat of the mid-day hours. It is of easy digestion, and I always found it agree with me; but if left to stand for a day it becomes ill tasted, for which reason it is made immediately before dinner or supper. Cakes of this kind, but still thinner, and formed of a paste left for two or three days to turn quite sour, are made for travelling provision. After being well toasted over the fire, they are left to dry thoroughly in the sun, they are then crumbled into small pieces and put into leather bags, called Abra (ﻩﺮﺑﺃ). They thus keep for many months, and serve to the traders upon occasions, when it is impossible to prepare a supper with fire. Some melted butter is poured over a few handfuls of this food, and appetite is seldom wanting to make it palatable. Sometimes the crumbs are soaked in water, and when the water has acquired a sourish taste it is drank off; this is called by the traders “the caravan beverage, Sharbet el Jellabe (ﻪﺑﻼﺠﻟﺃ ﺔﺑﺮﺵ).”

Meat is often brought upon the table boiled or roasted, and milk is a principal food of the people. Dates are a great dainty; they are imported by the Dongola merchants from Mahass, and are used only upon extraordinary occasions. They are often boiled together with bread, meat, and milk. Coffee is drank only by the merchants and the very first people, and even by them it is not in daily use. The coffee is not the Arabian or Mokha coffee, but that which grows wild in the south-western mountains of Abyssinia, from whence it is imported by the Sennaar merchants. It is sold thirty per cent. cheaper than the Mokha coffee in Egypt, but its shape and taste appear to be the same.

The effects which the universal practice of drunkenness and debauchery has on the morals of the people may easily be conceived. Indeed every thing discreditable to humanity is found in their character, but treachery and avidity predominate over their other bad qualities. In the pursuit of gain they know no bounds, forgetting every divine and human law, and breaking the most solemn ties and engagements. Cheating, thieving, and the blackest ingratitude, are found in almost every man’s character, and I am perfectly convinced that there were few men among them or among my fellow travellers from Egypt who would have given a dollar to save a man’s life, or who would not have consented to a man’s death in order to gain one. Especial care must be taken not to be misled by their polite protestations, and fine professions, especially when they come to Egypt: where they represent their own country as a land inhabited by a race of superior virtue, and excellence. On the contrary, infamous as the eastern nations are in general, I have never met with so bad a people, excepting perhaps those of Suakin. In transactions among themselves the Meyrefab regulate every matter in dispute by the laws of the strongest. Nothing is safe when once out of the owner’s hands, for if he happens to be the weaker party, he is sure of losing his property. The Mek’s authority is slighted by the wealthier inhabitants; the strength of whose connections counterbalances the influence of the chief. Hence it may well be supposed that family feuds very frequently occur, and the more so, as the effects of drunkenness are dreadful upon these people. During the fortnight I remained at Berber, I heard of half a dozen quarrels occurring in drinking parties, all of which finished in knife or sword wounds. Nobody goes to a Bouza but without taking his sword with him; and the girls are often the first sufferers in the affray. I was told of a distant relation of the present chief, who was for several years the dread of Berber. He killed many people with his own hands upon the slightest provocation, and his strength was such, that nobody dared to meet him in the open field. He was at last taken by surprise in the house of a public woman, and slain while he was drunk. He once stript a whole caravan, coming from Daraou, and appropriated the plunder to his women. In such a country, it is of course looked upon as very imprudent to walk out unarmed, after sunset; examples often happen of persons, more particularly traders, being stripped or robbed at night in the village itself. In every country the general topics of conversation furnish a tolerable criterion of the state of society; and that which passed at our house at Ankheyre gave the most hateful idea of the character of these people. The house was generally filled with young men who took a pride in confessing the perpetration of every kind of infamy. One of their favourite tricks is to bully unexperienced strangers, by enticing them to women who are the next day owned as relations by some Meyrefab, who vows vengeance for the dishonor offered to his family; the affair is then settled by large presents, in which all those concerned have a share. The envoy whom Ibrahim Pasha sent in 1812 to the king of Sennaar was made to suffer from a plot of this kind. Upon his return from Sennaar to Berber, he was introduced one evening to a female, at whose quarters he passed the night. The Mek of Berber himself claimed her the next morning as his distant relation. “Thou hast corrupted my own blood.” (ﻲﻣﺩ ﻲﻓ ﺔﻠﺴﻓ ﺕﻨﺃ) said he to the envoy, and the frightened Turk paid him upwards of six hundred dollars, besides giving up to him the best articles of his arms and baggage. I had repeated invitations to go in the evening to Bouza parties, but constantly refused. Indeed a stranger, and especially an unprotected one, as I was, must measure all his steps with caution, and cannot be too prudent.

Upon our first arrival the people appeared to me very hospitable. Every morning and evening large dishes of bread and meat and milk, often much more than we could eat, were sent to us from different quarters. This lasted for five or six days, when those who had sent the dishes came to ask for presents, as tokens of friendship; this was well understood to be a demand of repayment; and we found ourselves obliged to give ten times the value of what we had eaten. In general foreign merchants are considered as “good morsels” (ﺔﻤﻘﻟ as the Arabs say), of which every body bites off as much as he can; we were the whole day beset by people who came to ask for presents, but our companions were old traders; they well knew to whom it would have been imprudent to deny a favour, but never made the smallest present, except when necessary. I have had people running after me the whole day praying to have a piece of soap to wash their shirt. Had I listened to them I should have had ten demands of the same kind the next day. It may be taken as a general rule in these countries never to make any presents unasked, or to give more than half of what is requested, for a traveller will find it more useful to his purposes to have the reputation of parsimony, than that of generosity. The same advice would not be suitable in Syria or Egypt, and it may here be remarked, that of all the duties which belong to the traveller, that of knowing the proper seasons for making or withholding presents is the most troublesome and difficult, not only in the Negroe countries, but in every part of the East known to me.

Among the plagues that await the traveller in Berber the insolence of the slaves is the most intolerable. Being considered as members of the family in which they reside, they assume airs of importance superior even to those of their masters. The latter are afraid to punish or even seriously to reprimand them for their offences, as they can easily find opportunities of running away, and by going to the Bedouins or the Sheygya they are safe from any further pursuit. One of the slaves of Edris, to whom I had already made some little presents, tore my shirt into pieces because I refused to give it him, and when I applied to Edris for redress, he recommended patience to me, for that no insult was meant. The grown up slaves are always armed; they hold themselves upon a par with the best Arabs, and feel humbled only by the conviction that they cannot marry the Arab girls. The insolence of the slaves, as well as of the people in general, is in nothing more displayed than their behaviour with regard to smoking; if they see a stranger with a pipe in his mouth, they often take it from him without saying a word, and are unwilling to return it before they have smoked it out. To a smoker, as all the orientals are, nothing can be more disagreeable. The people of Berber are themselves immoderately fond of tobacco, but they smoke only at home when they expect no visitors, and scarcely ever carry their pipes abroad, because tobacco is a very dear commodity, and they fear lest the best whiff should fall to the lot of others. I have often seen the Egyptian traders, men who would rather give up their dinner than their pipe, reduced to desperation by the impudence of their Berber visitors.

In a small treatise on physiognomy by Ali Ben Mohammed El Ghazali, wherein he paints the characters of the different Mohammedan nations, he thus describes the Nubians: “They are a people of frolic, folly and levity, avaricious, treacherous and malicious, ignorant and base, and full of wickedness and lechery.” This picture is true in every part, applied to the people of Berber; for besides what I have already said of them, they are of a very merry facetious temper, continually joking, laughing, and singing. Even the elderly men are the same, and they have at least retained one good quality of their Arabian ancestors; they are not proud. The Mek of Berber is satisfied with common civility, and assumes no distinction of rank; the slaves of his family, shew much more haughtiness than himself.

The people of Berber, can be very polite when they think proper. In receiving strangers and in offering them hospitality, they assume an air of goodness of heart, and patriarchal simplicity, which might dupe the most practised traveller, but consummate hypocrites as they are, they seldom deceive those, who have been at Berber before. Their language is full of complimentary phrases, and they ask after your health and welfare in a dozen different forms of speech. After a long absence they kiss and shake hands with eagerness. Women are saluted by men in a very respectful manner, by touching their foreheads with the right hand, and then kissing the part of the fingers which touched the woman’s head. A common question asked in saluting is Shedid? (strong?). A still more curious expression, and one which I never heard before, is ﺐﻴﻃ ﻚﻠﻌﻧ Naalak Tayeb, “is your sole well?” meaning, “are you strong enough to walk about as much as you like?” On meeting a person for the first time after the death of a near relation, they kneel down upon one knee by his side, and repeat in a howling tone of voice, as a lamentation, “Fi’Sabil Allah, fi’Sabil Allah” (ﷲ ﻞﻴﺒﺳ ﻲﻓ), literally, “in the road of God,” but signifying that the deceased went through the right way of God and may hope to obtain the divine protection. Then they lift up the person, either man or woman, by the hand, and the common salutation passes between them.

With some surprise, I observed that in an avowed Mussulman country, the usual salute of “Salamun aleykum,” is quite out of use. The general expression of salute is only the word Tayeb? (well); repeated several times. The religious men only say sometimes, “Salam Salam,” without any other word; but they never are answered, as usual among Mussulmen, with Aleykum essalam, the common reply being “Tayeb, ent tayeb?” well, are you well? The members of the Mek’s family are saluted by the appellation of “Ya Arbab” (ﺏﺎﺑﺭﺁ ﺎﻳ), plur. of “Rab,” (lord). They have the title of “Ras,” meaning head, as Ras Edris, Ras Mohammed, &c. which is used all over these countries; and from hence the same title seems to have been introduced into Abyssinia. Government is called with the pompous title of Es Saltane (ﻪﻨﻄﻠﺴﻟﺃ), which is not applied to the existing chief, but to the government in general.

I lived too short a time at Berber to be able to witness their peculiar customs in wedding, burying, circumcising, &c. &c. which are no doubt different from the true Mohammedan customs, as prescribed by the law. Upon the death of a person, they usually kill either a sheep, or, if the relations are wealthy, a cow or camel. During our stay at the house of Edris, he killed a cow for a relation of his, who died several months before, in the time of famine, when it was impossible to find a cow to slaughter for that purpose. Almost all the religious men of Ankheyre were sent for to read some passages of the Koran in a separate room. A great number of women assembled in another room, singing to the tambourine, and howling horribly during the greater part of the night. Many poor people were treated in the court yard, with broth and the roasted flesh of the cow, while the choice morsels were presented to the friends of Edris.

I have more than once mentioned the Fakirs, or religious men. They are likewise known by the appellation of Fakih (ﻪﻴﻘﻓ), i. e. a man learned in the law. There are few respectable families who have not a son or relation that dedicates his youth to the study of the law. At the age of twelve or fourteen he is sent to some of the neighbouring schools, of which those of Damer, on the road to Shendy, of Mograt, and of the Sheygya are at present the most celebrated. There they are taught to read and write, and to learn by heart as much of the Koran and of some other prayer books, as their memory can retain. They are taught the secret of writing amulets or charms; and at the age of twenty they return to their homes, where they live, affecting great uprightness of conduct and strictness of morals, which amount however to little more than not to smoke tobacco, or drink Bouza in public, and not to frequent the resorts of debauchery.

Sometimes they write amulets upon a piece of paper, which if the unhappy lover swallows, it will force the object of his love to listen to his intreaties. There are particular Fakirs famous for love receipts; others for febrifuges, &c. The following are two amulets, one of which was given to me at Berber, and the other at Damer. If to the former, the proper name is added, no female is capable of withstanding the charm, at least such was the assurance given to me by the Fakir Mansur, from whom I bought the secret for a string of wooden beads, but I never yet had an opportunity of trying its efficacy.


The following is an amulet which protects the owner from being wounded.


The people of Berber appear to be a healthy race. There seemed to be few invalids, and the place being situated on the skirts of the desert, the air is certainly wholesome. I was told of a fever called wardé (ﻩﺩﺭﻭ) from wo[r]id (rose), which seems to be epidemic, and often proves mortal; the people of Dóngola are very subject to it; it exists during the time of high water, but does not make its appearance every year. The plague is unknown, and from what I heard during my former journey in Nubia, I have reason to believe that it never passes the cataract of Assouan. The small-pox is very destructive whenever it gains ground. Last year it was added to famine, and deaths were very numerous. It had been brought to Berber by the people of Taka, who had received it from the Souakin traders; it spread over all the country up the Nile. Grown people were attacked as well as children; it was observed even, that the latter suffered less and that more of them escaped. About one-third of those who were attacked recovered, but they bore the marks on their skin, especially on the arms and face, which were covered with innumerable spots and scars; very few instances happen where the disease is of a mild kind, or where it leaves but few marks. Inoculation, Dak-el-Jedri (ﻱﺭﺪﺠﻟﺃ ﻕﺩ), is known, but not much practised; little benefit being supposed to arise from it. The incision is usually made in the leg. Of the large family of Temsah (our landlord’s), fifty-two persons died within a few months, and while I am writing this (at Cairo, December 1815), I hear from some traders, that the same disease has again broken out, and that almost the whole family, including Edris, have perished. Their only cure for the small pox is to rub the whole body with butter three or four times a day, and to keep themselves closely shut up. The disease generally visits them every eight or ten years. They are infinitely more afraid of it than the Levantines are of the plague: and great numbers of the inhabitants emigrate to the mountains, to fly from the infection. I have heard it said in Egypt, that the small pox is rendered more dangerous in the negroe countries than elsewhere, by the thickness of the negroe skin, the fever being increased by the resistance of such a skin, to the efforts of the poison to break through it. This may be true with respect to the negroe slaves, but is not probable at Berber, where the people’s skin is quite as soft as ours. I saw few instances of opthalmia. Venereal complaints are said to be common, but if it be so, their consequences appear to be less fatal than in Egypt, for I never saw any of those ulcered faces, or mangled noses, which are so common in the northern valley of the Nile.

The Meyrefab are partly shepherds, and partly cultivators. After the inundation, they sow all the ground which has been inundated, with Dhourra, and a little barley. Just before they sow, they turn up the ground with the spade. The plough is not in use among them; last year an Egyptian employed one for the first time. They have very few water wheels, not more than four or five in the districts of Ankheyre and Hassa. They sow only once a year, and as the banks of the Nile are very high, higher in general than in Upper Egypt, many spots of arable soil remain without being inundated. The deficiency is not often supplied, as in Upper Egypt, by artificial irrigation, for the purpose of procuring several crops from the same land, so that it may easily be conceived, that famine often visits them. Thus it happened the year before my arrival, when one moud of Dhourra was sold for half a Spanish dollar. The country, however, appears, at no very remote period, to have enjoyed a more flourishing state of culture than it does at present; for I observed in the fields vestiges of deep canals, which are at present entirely neglected, although by their help, even part of the adjoining desert plain might be rendered cultivable. Dhourra is the principal produce of the ground, and the chief food both of man and beast. Wheat is not sown at Berber, and very little is found in any of the adjoining countries. The Dhourra is of the same species as that of Upper Egypt, but the stalks are much higher and stronger, rising often to the height of sixteen or twenty feet. No vegetables are grown except onions, kidney beans (Loubieh), the esculent mallow, or Bahmieh, and the Melukhyeh (ﻪﻴﺧﻮﻠﻣ), all of which are common in Egypt. No fruits whatever are cultivated, and if I am rightly informed, the lotus nebek, which grows wild, is the only one known.

The Berberys rear a large quantity of cattle, of the best kind, which in winter and spring time, after the rains, is pastured in the mountains of the Bisharein, where the keepers live like Bedouins in huts and tents. During the latter part of the spring, the cattle feed upon the wild herbs, which grow among the Dhourra stubble as thickly as grass in a meadow. In summer time, when the herbs are dried up, and there is scarcely any pasture upon the mountains, they are fed at home with the dry stalks, and leaves of the Dhourra. The principal riches of the shepherds consist in their cows and camels. They have sheep and goats, but the greater part having been consumed during the last famine, they are at present not numerous. The cows are of a middling size, and not strongly built they have small horns, and upon the back, near the fore shoulder, there is a hump of fat. This breed is unknown in Egypt; it begins in Dóngola, and all along the Nile, as far as Sennaar, no others are seen. The cows represented in the battle-pieces on the walls of several ancient temples in Upper Egypt, have the same excrescence. I saw the same species in the Hedjaz. Cows are kept for their milk, but principally for their meat, and there are a few for the purpose of turning the water-wheels.

The camels are of the best breed, much stronger, and more endured to fatigue even than the celebrated breeds of Upper Egypt: their dromedaries surpass all that I saw in the Syrian and Arabian deserts. The camels have very short hair, and have no tufts on any part of their body. The Hedjin or dromedary, is not of a different species from the camel of burthen, but they are very careful of the breed, and an Arab will undertake a journey of several days to have his dromedary covered by a celebrated male. At present there is a great demand for camels for the Egyptian market; they are bought up by the Pasha to be sent to Arabia, for the transport of army provisions, and every month three or four hundred are marched off through the desert; yet a camel is worth here only from eight to twelve dollars, though sold at Daraou for thirty or forty, and at Cairo for fifty or sixty dollars.

The sheep of these southern countries have no wool, but are covered with a thin short hair, resembling that of goats; hence the inhabitants set little value upon them, and rear them for the table only. Almost every family keeps two asses; they are of a strong breed, and are employed chiefly to bring home the produce of the fields, and transport the nitrous earth called Sabakha (ﻪﺨﺒﺳ), which is procured in the mountain: the inhabitants cover their fields with this earth, previously to sowing their seed, but whether as manure, or as a corrective to the fatness of the soil, I could not learn. Egyptian asses are much in demand, because they run faster than the native; they are rode by the great people, and are eagerly purchased on the arrival of every caravan. Horses are numerous; every family of respectability keeping at least one, and many two or three. The Arabs in the Nubian countries ride stallions only. In their wars with their neighbours, the Meyrefab bring into the field a considerable number of horsemen, who generally decide the battle. The horses are of the Dóngola breed, which, as I have already stated in my journey towards that country, is one of the finest races in the world. They are fed upon Dhourra, and its dried leaves serve instead of straw or hay: for several weeks in the spring they are pastured in the green barley. A horse costs from fifteen to forty dollars. They are not called Hoszan, as in Egypt, but Hafer (ﺮﻓﺎﺣ). The saddles, which are of the same form as those used in Dóngola, Sennaar, and Abyssinia, somewhat resemble those of the European cavalry, having a high pommel in front, bending forward on the horse’s neck. When entering on a campaign, the back, sides, neck, and breast of the horses are covered with pieces of woollen stuff, thickly quilted with cotton, which are said to be impenetrable by the lance and sword; they are called Lebs (ﺲﺒﻟ), the name given to a similar covering used by the Eastern Bedouins, but which the Meyrefab work in a neater manner, and lighter, though stronger.

Almost all the people of Berber, who are cultivators, employ the time not required by their fields, in commercial transactions; the place has thus become a principal mart for the southern trade, and the more so, as all the caravans from Sennaar and Shendy to Egypt necessarily pass here. Berber itself carries on trade with Egypt, and many small caravans load and depart from hence, without waiting for supplies from the southern markets. Almost every article of the Negro trade, including slaves, may be purchased at Berber, from fifteen to twenty per cent. dearer than at Shendy. Berber has a public market; but the late famine, and the great mortality caused by the small pox, had occasioned a momentary suspension, which had not been removed at the period of our arrival.

The common currency of the country at Berber, and all the way from thence to Sennaar, is Dhourra, and Spanish Dollars; every thing of minor value has its price fixed in Dhourra, which is measured by Selgas (ﺎﻘﻠﺳ), or handfuls. Eighteen Selgas make one Moud, or measure: one Selga is as much as can be heaped upon the flat extended hand of a full-grown man. It may easily be conceived that disputes frequently arise between buyers and sellers, from the unequal size of their hands; in such case a third person is usually called in to measure the Dhourra: ten Mouds are now given for one dollar. If a considerable quantity of Dhourra is to be measured out, the contents of a wooden bowl, or other vessel, is previously ascertained in handfuls, and this vessel is then used. They have, it is true, Mouds, or measures of wood, but nobody trusts to them, the hand-measure being always preferred. Besides the Dhourra, another substitute for currency is the Dammour (ﺭﻮﻣﺩ), a coarse cotton cloth, which is fabricated in the neighbourhood of Sennaar, and principally used by the people of this country for their shirts: one piece of Dammour is exactly sufficient to make one shirt for a full grown man; this is called Tob, or Thob Dammour (ﺭﻮﻣﺩ ﺏﻮﺗ, plural ﺏﺎﻴﺗ). When I was at Berber, one dollar was paid for two Tob. The Tob Dammour is divided into two Ferde Dammour; the Ferde (ﻩﺩﺮﻓ) makes a long napkin, used by the slaves to wrap round their waists. The Ferde contains two Fittige, (ﻪﻘﺘﻓ) which serve for nothing else than a currency; thus I remember to have bought some tobacco with a Fittige. Dhourra is generally the most acceptable medium, as sellers will not always take the Dammour at the real market price, which, moreover, varies on the arrival of every caravan from the south. Slaves, camels, horses, or any other articles of large amount, are paid for in dollars, or Tob Dammour; but the broker takes his commission in Dhourra, which he readily converts into dollars. In commerce, two reals, or dollars, are called Kesme (ﻪﻤﺴﻗ); four are termed Mithkal (ﻝﺎﻘﺜﻣ); eight, or half an ounce, Nosfwokye (ﻪﻴﻗﻭ ﻒﺼﻧ), and sixteen are called Puma, or Wokye. These denominations were taken originally from the gold weights, one ounce of gold being generally worth about sixteen dollars; but they have now become fixed appellations, and sixteen dollars are called Wokye, even though the ounce of gold should be worth eighteen or twenty dollars, as was the case during my stay at Berber.

In Cordofan, besides Dhourra and Dokhen, the usual currency is small pieces of iron, which are wrought into lances, knives, axes, &c.; besides these pieces of iron, cows are used as a representative of money in large bargains, and are thus continually transferred from one person to another.

I shall enter more into detail on the different articles of Negro trade, when I come to speak of the Shendy market; both places deal in the same commodities; there is much less trade, however, at Berber, than at Shendy, from its having no direct intercourse with any southern state, except Shendy, while the latter is visited by slave caravans from all quarters, and is at present the first commercial town, perhaps, of Africa, south of Egypt, and east of Darfour. All the slaves, and every other article for sale in the Berber market, come from Shendy; yet the Egyptian merchants often prefer this market to the more southern ones, notwithstanding the increased charges; because they can finish their business more quickly, and profit by the first opportunity to return through the desert. During my stay at Berber, a caravan set out for Daraou, consisting of about two hundred and fifty camels, and twenty slaves; several of my companions having disposed of their merchandize, returned with it. Still, however, the Berber market contains but a small quantity of goods, and is fit only for the Egyptian traders with small capitals.

In Upper Egypt the caravans from Berber are commonly called Sennaar caravans; for the Egyptians having little knowledge of the southern countries, all the caravans which arrive from thence are classed under the two heads of Darfour and Sennaar, according as they enter Egypt from the western or the eastern desert: the latter comprise the caravans from Sennaar, Shendy, Berber, Mahass, and Seboua. Every caravan arriving at Berber from the south remains there for some time, in order to engage proper guides, and make other preparations for the journey across the desert. Many of the Ababde are settled here, and are always ready to undertake the journey; for twenty dollars none will refuse to accompany a caravan, and they serve both for guides and protectors. Many traders are well acquainted with the route, but if unaccompanied by an Ababde, they would be stripped by any Bedouin of the same tribe whom they might happen to meet on the road. The caravans must pay at Berber a transit duty to the Mek, the collection of which, from every individual, requires several days. The Mek exacts from each person coming from Egypt, without reference to the number of loads or camels he may have, or whether he be a master or a servant, five Tob Dammour; his officers must be paid one Tob, his slaves one Tob; and whenever the chiefs of the Bisharein of the tribes of Are-ab and Ali-ab, or their relations, meet a caravan here, they demand one Tob more; this demand is made because the Bisharein are masters of the desert from hence to the wells of Naby: to the north of Naby the country is reckoned to be in the dominions of the Ababde, and may thus be said to form part of Egypt, the Ababde being tributary to the government of Egypt. The seven Tobs are collected by the Mek, who distributes to his people their portion; the Bisharein collect their Tob themselves; and if none of them happen to be present, the caravan does not pay any thing on their account. The Mek takes his payment either in dollars or in Dammour, or if the people of the caravan have no ready cash upon their arrival, which frequently happens, their last farthing being often invested in goods previously to their quitting Egypt, he then takes merchandize, but at a value fixed by himself. The Ababde are exempted from this transit duty, because they are themselves, as is said, “Ahl Soltane,” or independent people, in their own mountains; and it is held that one chief cannot with honour take any thing as duty from another. But the fact is, that the people of Berber are afraid of them, because, when any quarrels happen between them and the Ababde, the latter descend from their mountains and make plundering incursions towards Berber, carrying off cattle and slaves in the night. The Bisharein traders also pass duty free, but their numbers are very small; only three or four merchants of their tribe frequent this route.

The Mek exacts no fixed toll from the caravans arriving from the south, and here entering the desert, because these traders come from the capital of his sovereign; but he receives some trifling presents from each trader, proportionate to the number of his camel-loads and slaves.

The above are not the only duties exacted by the Mek and his party. They enquire after the particular merchandize brought by every merchant from Egypt, and then ask for presents beyond what is due to them: the Mek is assisted in this enquiry by the traders themselves, who inform against each other, in order to ingratiate themselves in his favour. The first week of our stay at Berber was passed in continual endeavours on the part of the Mek to obtain various presents, and corresponding efforts in the traders to elude them. Having been always represented as a very poor man in the caravan, the Mek took only three dollars from me at first; but being afterwards informed that I had some dollars in my girdle, he obliged me to give him a fourth. Were it not for his apprehensions of the more powerful chief of Shendy, and of a total interruption of the transport trade by way of Berber, he would certainly prove still more vexatious to traders by his demands. I calculate his yearly income from the caravans at about three or four thousand Spanish dollars; he spends this sum in keeping a large establishment of male and female slaves, of horses, and fine dromedaries; and in feeding daily about fifty people belonging to his household, as well as strangers. He must likewise make frequent presents to his relatives, and his party, to strengthen his influence over them; thus he has never been able to accumulate any considerable capital.

The most wealthy man of Berber, next to the Mek, was pointed out to me, with the observation that he possessed about two thousand dollars, which he gained last year, during the famine, by happening to have a full-stocked granary. The generality of the people styled respectable possess from three to six hundred dollars each, including the value of their cattle, household furniture, &c.

Berber has few channels of commercial intercourse, except Daraou and Shendy. I was told that caravans used formerly to go from hence to Dóngola, not along the Nile, because they would then be stopped at every village for toll, but across the mountains on the western bank of the river. Since the Arabs Rebatat have been at war with all their neighbours, that road has been continually infested by them, and has therefore been discontinued. At present the intercourse with Dóngola is carried on by way of Shendy only, from whence the caravans depart in a straight direction across the mountains. Many merchants from Dóngola are settled here; they trade principally in dates and tobacco; and their wives and slaves have the reputation of making the best Bouza. The Bisharein Bedouins, and the husbandmen on the banks of the river Mogren (the Mareb of Bruce), repair to Berber to buy Dammour; and they purchase from the Egyptian traders beads, antimony, nutmegs, and the various ingredients used in the preparation of the perfumed grease already mentioned. Caravans also arrive occasionally from Taka, across the eastern mountains, a journey of ten or twelve days, to buy the same articles, or to exchange ox hides and camels for them. Small caravans, composed principally of Bisharein, come also from Souakin, a journey of ten days, with spices and India piece goods, chiefly cambrics. This route is not frequented by foreign traders, from apprehension of the treachery of the Bisharein; but if any pilgrims happen to be at Berber, in their way to Mekka, when one of these caravans sets out on its return, they often take the same route, in which water is found in plenty. The usual route of the Negro pilgrims, however, is either along the banks of the Nile, or by way of Taka, of which I shall speak hereafter. I had myself some idea of trying the journey to Taka, from whence I had reason to hope that I might reach the northern frontiers of Abyssinia, in the direction of Massouah. As there were many people at Berber who had come from Sennaar, and as these, upon being questioned, by my companions, about my pretended lost relation, all agreed that no white man was then in Sennaar, I was obliged to resort to the supposition that he had quitted it, and gone on towards Abyssinia; I was thus enabled to make enquiries concerning the route across the desert to Taka, and towards Souakin, without creating suspicion; and my companions pressed me much to travel in the latter direction, and to wait at Berber till a favourable opportunity should offer for setting out. They would, no doubt, have been glad to see me undertake a journey of evident peril, thinking that if I perished, they would be entirely rid of me, for they could not divest themselves of some secret apprehensions that, if I ever returned to Egypt, I should find means of being revenged upon them for their behaviour towards me. Upon closer enquiry, however, I found that this route is quite impracticable for strangers; the people of Berber, even, are afraid to trust themselves, except in large numbers, with the Bisharein, who will kill their companions if they have a prospect of the smallest gain; and persons recommended by the Mek himself are not more secure. The traveller must always carry with him some little merchandize and baggage, in order to barter on the road for provisions, and this is more than sufficient to excite the cupidity of the Bisharein, and render him the victim of their treachery. In the course of my enquiries on this occasion, I was informed that, about five or six years before, a man had reached Berber from Egypt, who was supposed to be a Christian, because he made notes of his journey in writing. It was said that he made considerable presents to the Mek, who strongly recommended him to a small party of Bisharein; he set out for Souakin in their company, but was murdered by them in the road, and on their return, a small present purchased their peace with the Mek.

I heard afterwards that, about eight or ten years since, an avowed Christian, who spoke very little Arabic, and passed Sennaar, in his way from the north (I suppose from Egypt), was murdered by the Arabs in the mountains between Sennaar and Abyssinia, but not in the caravan route. When at Shendy, I enquired after such a traveller, but nobody knew any thing of him. Had he come by the western caravan route from Darfour and Kordofan, I think I must have heard of him, because white people (and this person was said to be white) are much more noticed in that quarter, than in the route from Egypt; and he must have been seen by some of the Kordofan travellers, with several of whom I became acquainted at Shendy. I did not hear that he was seen writing a journal.

The success of a traveller, in this part of the world, depends greatly, I may say wholly, upon his guides and fellow travellers, and their being well disposed towards him. If he is not thoroughly acquainted with the language of the country it will be very difficult for him to select proper persons for his guides or companions, or to elude the snares laid for him by villainy or treachery; it is in vain to suppose that fortune will throw in his way honest or friendly people, who are too scarce ever to be calculated upon, in preparing for a journey through these countries. The traveller must consider himself as surrounded by some of the most worthless of the human race, among whom he must think himself fortunate, if he can discover any less depraved than the rest, whom he can place some degree of confidence in, and make subservient to his views; and which can only be done by identifying their interest with his own safety. Above all, he must never be seen taking notes. I am fully convinced, that if I had ever been detected by my companions with my journal in my hand, it would have given rise to the most injurious reports, and blasted all my hopes of success. While travelling through the desert I took my notes with much more ease than during my stay at Berber. Being mounted on a good ass, I used to push on ahead of the caravan, and then alight under some tree, or rock, where I remained, unobserved, apparently occupied only in smoking my pipe, until the caravan came up; but at Berber, and at Shendy also, I was often at a great loss how to withdraw from the persons who surrounded me in the house where we lodged; and it was unsafe to walk so far from the village into the fields, as not to be observed. The having persons thus continually hanging about me, was the most disagreeable circumstance attending my stay in these countries. I might have escaped it in some measure, perhaps, by taking a lodging for myself, which I could have readily procured, but then I should have been entirely unprotected in the house of a stranger, who might have proved worse even than my companions; I should also have been unmercifully annoyed the whole day by visitors begging presents, and the little baggage I had would have been much less secure. On the contrary, by continuing to live with my old companions from Daraou, my person was far less noticed than if I had resided alone, my expenses were not so great, I acquired a good deal of information as to the mode of carrying on the trade, and found myself in some degree secure, by the respectability of my companions, however little disposed they might be to protect or favour me.

Merchants always prefer taking up their abode in some respectable house, and if possible in that of a relation of the chief, because they are then protected by the authority of their landlord, who would resent any serious insult offered to his guests. Our Ababde guides, who were in no fear of any importunities, or insolence from the Meyrefab, took up their quarters in the house of a poor Fakir, where they were much more comfortable, and more at their ease than ourselves. My companions made me contribute two dollars for my share of the landlord’s bill; I paid, besides, one dollar for my quota of the presents given to those who had sent us some dishes of meat at different times; one dollar I exchanged for Dhourra to feed my ass, and for a little tobacco: these, together with four dollars to the chief at Berber, and three to the chief of the caravan, who had a right to exact five; five dollars paid for the carriage of my baggage, and four for that of my water-skins through the desert, amounted to so considerable a sum, when compared with the state of my purse, that I could not help entertaining some melancholy thoughts on my future prospects.

When the day was at length fixed for our departure for Shendy, whither the greater part of the merchants intended to carry their goods, some presents were made up amongst our party for our landlord Edris: he was not easily satisfied; his old wife too had some claims; but after much quarrelling, he at last accepted merchandize to the value of twenty dollars, as a recompense for having entertained us in his house fourteen days. We were about a dozen in number, but the daily expense did not, certainly, amount to more than one-third, or half a dollar; for, except on the first day, when he killed a lamb for us, we never partook of any other dish from his kitchen than Dhourra bread, with butter, one large dish of which was served up at mid-day, and another late at night As we were only passengers, and had no slaves with us, our meals were provided by the master of the house; but when traders return hither, on their way to Egypt, accompanied, as they usually are, by a number of female slaves, the latter dress their masters victuals, and the owner of the house is then paid only for his lodgings.

The preceding details respecting Berber are for the greater part applicable to Shendy, and, as far as I could learn, to all the petty Mekdoms from thence to Sennaar.

The country on the western side of the Nile, opposite to Berber, is not cultivated, but I was told that, in following the course of the river, on that side, considerable settlements of Arabs are met with, especially in the country of Mograt, which is inhabited by the Arabs Rebatat, an independent tribe like the Meyrefab, extending two or three clays journey along the Nile. One of its principal places is Bedjem (ﻢﺠﺑ), three long days from Berber; it is at present the residence of Hedjel, the chief of Mograt, who succeeded his relation Naym, the famous robber, already mentioned The latter had accumulated great riches by robbing the Egyptian caravans; he expended the greater part in purchasing young female slaves, and was fond of boasting of the enjoyments of his Harem. He generally waylaid the caravans between Berber and the wells of Nedjeym, but sometimes he followed them as far as Shigré. He had frequently been fired at, but his strong coat of mail being proof against a distant musket shot, he had acquired the reputation of being a sorcerer, furnished with amulets to render him invulnerable to mortals. Some Faky having told the merchants that, as his amulets were written in defence of leaden bullets only, he might be killed with silver ones, several of the traders melted Spanish dollars into large slugs, with which they loaded their guns. Naym’s true amulet, however, was the distant firing and bad aim of his assailants. Whenever he apprehended that the strength of a caravan might be superior to his own, he used to halt at some distance from the travellers, and having ordered some particular party to withdraw from the rest, assured them that it was not against them that his intentions were directed; having thus succeeded in separating a part, he easily dispersed the remainder. He always kept his word with those who thus retired, and allowed their loaded camels to proceed untouched, although, on some other occasion, perhaps, they might be comprised amongst the number attacked. His success is the strongest proof of the cowardice and bad faith of the traders who were capable of thus abandoning their companions; such conduct, in the Arabian deserts, would consign a tribe to everlasting infamy.

Naym shewed less cruelty towards the helpless travellers than might be expected from an African robber. After stripping the caravan, he generally permitted them to take as many camels, and as much provision as would carry them to Egypt, or back to Berber; and as he knew the greater part of the merchants personally, he often returned them a slave or two at parting. Several Ababdes having been killed in one of his attacks, the whole tribe was inspired with the desire of revenge, and it was not long before they found an opportunity of exercising it. The large caravan which left Sennaar for Egypt in 1812, in company with the envoys of the Pasha, was escorted by several hundred armed Ababdes. They halted for many days at Berber, in order to prepare for their journey through the desert. During this time the Ababde chief of the caravan received secret intelligence that Naym had taken a new bride, and had fixed a certain day for his nuptials. The caravan was ordered to leave Berber on the preceding day, and the chief, accompanied by about one hundred armed camel-riders, set out the night before, for the purpose, as he said, of dividing the number of camels, and thus watering the animals with more ease at Shigré. When he had proceeded some distance into the desert, instead of following the direct road, he turned westwards, and hastened across the mountains towards Mograt. Reaching the residence of Naym, he surrounded the house and set fire to it, when Naym sallied forth and was killed, with about half a dozen of his companions. His head was carried to Egypt, and his ears sent to Mohammed Aly Pasha, then in the Hedjaz. The unfortunate bride was obliged to marry one of her husband’s murderers, who brought her to Egypt, from whence she afterwards found means to escape to Dóngola, and is now again with her family at Mograt. The fate of Naym, however, has not prevented another robber from succeeding him in these mountains, his name is Kerar, and he is chief of the Ababdes of the tribe of Asheybab. In 1814, he plundered several caravans, composed mostly of people of Berber, and retreated with his booty to his tents in the mountains of Ottaby. The Pasha of Egypt has made many attempts to seize him, but hitherto without success.

At present, as may well be conceived, there is very little intercourse between Berber and Mograt, or the more distant country of the Sheygya, except by Negro pilgrims, who follow the inhabited banks of the Nile to Egypt. The war now carried on between the Sheygya, and the Mamelouks in Dóngola is unfavourable to mercantile speculations. Several battles have been fought, in which about one hundred and fifty of the Sheygya, and fifty of the Mamelouks, have been killed. The latter captured some horses and slaves, but being unable to subdue their adversaries, and tired of a fruitless and harassing warfare, they have withdrawn their forces from the southern limits of Dóngola, and concentrated themselves in its northern provinces towards Argo, where they still remain. Their principal chief, Ibrahim Beg el Kebir, died of old age in 1815, and Abdurrahman Beg el Manfoukh is now considered as the head man amongst them. Several of the Begs, instead of going to Dóngola, came from Egypt across the desert to Berber, and Selim Beg el Towyl (ﻞﻳﻮﻄﻟﺃ ﻚﺑ ﻢﻠﻴﺳ) lived for several months in the same house we occupied. The chief of Berber being afraid of the Mamelouks, behaved to the Beg with the greatest appearance of kindness and generosity. Many persons at Berber believed that I belonged to the Mamelouks, and that I had made my escape from Upper Egypt in order to join them. Though I disliked this report, yet I preferred it to being supposed to belong to the household or army of the Pasha of Egypt. The circumstance of his having sent an envoy to Sennaar, had made people suspect that he had some design upon these countries; the chiefs every where viewed his increasing strength in Egypt with great jealousy, and he was much disliked by all merchants, on account of the heavy duties he had laid on the imports from the south; I therefore took great care to avoid exciting any suspicion that I was in his interest, and concealed the letters of recommendation I had with me, which I intended to make use of only in case of the utmost necessity.

The distance from Berber to the southern limits of the country of the Arabs Sheygya is four long days journey across the mountains on the western side of the Nile. A district called Djohfe (ﻪﻔﻬﺟ), where trees and springs are met with, forms a part of these mountains. The former king of Kordofan, El Hashemy (ﻲﻤﺷﺎﻬﻟﺃ), retired to these mountains after having been dispossessed of his territory by the present chief, called Metsellim, an officer of the King of Darfour, and he remained encamped there for several years, with a troop of followers; but he was at last so hard pressed by the Sheygya, as to be obliged to retire to Shendy, and to put himself under the protection of Nimr, the Mek of that place, by whom he was afterwards killed, having engaged, with the Mek’s brothers, in a conspiracy against him.

Journey from Berber to Shendy.

AFTER having settled all our accounts at Berber, our caravan, reduced to about two-thirds of its original number, set out again on the afternoon of the 7th of April. Several of the merchants had returned to Egypt, others remained at Berber to sell their goods, as did also many Ababdes, who had their families there, and who intended to remain till the return of the caravan from Shendy. I was not sorry to leave Berber; for the character of the inhabitants is such, that a stranger can never consider himself safe for a moment amongst them. Several of the first people of the town advised me strongly to remain, and wait for the opportunity of proceeding with a Taka caravan; but alone, I should have been entirely at the mercy of the Meyrefab, who, no doubt, intended to plunder me; I therefore resolved to proceed as far as Shendy, where I thought I should be more likely to meet with a safe conveyance towards the Red Sea.

We proceeded this evening about two miles through the sands, and stopped at the village of Goz el Funnye (ﻪﻴﻨﻔﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), belonging to Berber. Here we alighted in the court-yard of the house of a Fakir, a trader well known in Egypt, who entertained us hospitably, and asked for no presents. Whenever he visits Egypt, he quarters himself in like manner upon his acquaintance at Daraou. Late in the evening our host Edris paid us a last farewell visit, and insisted upon some further presents. After much disputing, he wrested from the Daraou traders a fine shield, worth eight dollars, the value of which we were obliged to pay him by a general contribution, in order to recover it.

April 8th. There are many ruins of modern buildings at Goz, which is now in decay; formerly, it was the chief place in Berber, and it is so mentioned by Bruce. In several places are public wells or pits of brackish water, where travellers water their beasts, the banks of the river being steep, and the descent to it very difficult. We pursued our way along the skirts of the desert, over a perfectly level plain or arable track of land, about two miles in breadth, which lay between us and the Nile. The ground was every where overgrown with the Oshour tree (ﺭﻮﺸﻋ), so often mentioned in my journey along the Nile towards Dóngola, and in the previous one through Arabia Petræa. Our path was well trodden, and might be called a high road; numerous paths diverged from it in every direction into the eastern desert. After about two hours march, we reached a woody tract, where Sant and Sellam trees grow. The country on the western side of the Nile was, as far as I could see, perfectly flat, without any mountains or hills; but a white line, indicating the sands of the desert, was every where discernible beyond the narrow stripe of arable land which borders the course of the stream. We met many travellers, on horseback and on dromedaries, and women and children either riding alone on asses, or driving loaded asses before them. This road appears to be perfectly safe for the inhabitants of the country, though it would not be so for strangers, without a proper guide. We had taken two men from Ankheyre to escort us to the limits of the Wady Berber. At the end of three hours and a half, we entered the district of Ras el Wady; and at the end of four hours reached the village of that name (ﻱﺩﺍﻮﻟﺃ ﺱﺃﺭ), where we were obliged to stop, as a transit duty is here levied upon merchants. Ras el Wady is a considerable village, larger than Ankheyre, but not so well built, and containing many huts made of mats. We went straight to the Mek’s dwelling, and encamped on the open ground before it. This Mek, whose name is Hamze, is a relation of Noureddyn, the Mek of Berber (ﺮﺑﺮﺑ ﻲﻓ ﻦﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺭﻮﻧ ﻚﻤﻟﺃ ﻢﻋ ﻦﺑﺇ ﻩﺰﻤﺣ ﻚﻣ), but is quite independent of him Ras el Wady being a principality of itself, although I think that most of its inhabitants are Meyrefabs, and of the same tribe with those who people Berber. Like the latter place, however, it is subject to the king of Sennaar, by whom the Mek is appointed. Hamze is much dreaded by the caravan travellers, especially the Egyptians. The Daraou traders supposing that they might, perhaps, on my account, experience some ill treatment from this chief, and convinced, at all events, that my society could no longer be of any advantage to them, as they saw that I fought for every handful of Dhourra, determined to abandon me entirely. We had halted for some minutes in the plain, near a pond of water, before the village. On starting again, they ordered me, in a contemptuous manner, to keep off, and not to come near their party any more. The boys accompanied these orders with a shouting similar to that which is made in driving dogs away, and then beating my ass with the but-end of their lances, they drove him into the desert.

I had always endeavoured to keep on good terms with our Ababde companions, who, bad as they were, were still better than the Daraou people; I now asked them whether they intended to leave me to the mercy of the Meyrefab robbers, or would permit me to make one of their party. They immediately consented to my joining them, and my situation became thus materially bettered. During the whole of our stay at Berber, no dirty villainous trick or joke was left untried by my companions from Daraou to hurt my feelings and render me contemptible; at last, well assured that my bodily strength was superior to that of any of their party (for I had several times thrown the strongest of them in wrestling), the boys attempted to tire my patience by an incessant teazing, which I could not easily resent upon them, and which I thought it necessary to put up with, because I was afraid, that if I should leave the party abruptly I might expose myself to some more deliberate mischief, which I could not estimate, and had not the means of preventing.

The Mek Hamze gave us a very cold reception. We remained from morning, till late in the evening, before he sent us any food; and my companions said, that if he should hear of any of us having eaten in the meanwhile of our own provisions, he would consider it as a great affront, because we were now his guests. Two of our merchants went up to the Mek, to negotiate with him, about the sum to be paid, while the rest were all busily engaged in defending the baggage from the rapacity of the inhabitants, who had at first collected round it in great numbers, and inquiring, with apparent friendly concern, about our welfare, had soon after placed themselves in the midst of it. There was no open quarrel, but many things were found missing, and amongst the rest I lost my pipe. Late at night we were informed that the Mek would not be satisfied with less than ten dollars for each camel’s load, and four dollars from each trader; I was comprised among the latter, and the sum was paid down, partly in cash, and partly in goods. The Ababdes paid nothing, and for some presents given to them, they even secured several Egyptian camel loads from taxation, by claiming them as their own. I had reason to be afraid that the Mek would take my gun, for I had heard that he is in the habit of seizing upon all the fire-arms he can; in the preceding night, therefore, I made a pretended bargain for it with the Ababde chief, in the presence of the caravan, well knowing that my companions themselves would otherwise have betrayed me. The Ababde chief now declared to the Mek’s people that the gun was his, which nobody could deny. It was thus saved, but the Ababde took a dollar for his trouble.

The Mek remained in his house the whole night, without our seeing him; but his son came down to ask for some presents for himself, which were flatly refused. He then inquired if there was any jolly fellow amongst us, who would keep him company at the Bouza shop. One of the Egyptians stepped forward, and had the honour of being led by him to a common brothel just by, where they sat drinking and singing the whole of the night.

April 9th. This morning Mek Hamze made his appearance; on quitting his house, he walked across the plain, and set himself down on a stone bench, near a house, in front of our baggage. It being a hot day, he was quite naked, with the exception of a towel tied round his loins, and his hair had just been smeared with grease. He was attended by six or eight slaves, one of whom carried a small water-flask, very prettily made of leather, of Sennaar manufacture; another his sword, and a third his shield; so that his Mekship had altogether a most proud and commanding appearance. The merchants, who had expected to be permitted to depart early in the morning, were alarmed, and apprehended the levy of a new contribution. We all went up to him, kissed his hand, and stood before him in the most humble posture. He said he was glad to see us, that he was a great friend to traders, but that of late they had become very niggardly; he then insisted upon a present for his son, and seeing a fine ass in the caravan, told him to mount it. The owner of the ass offered in vain six dollars, as a ransom; the animal was carried to the Mek’s stable, and we were then permitted to depart. This ass happened to be the very one which had carried me through the desert. Understanding, while on the road, that Egyptian asses were in great demand in the southern countries, especially among the great people, and mine having become famous in the caravan, for his great strength and activity, I foresaw that it would be difficult for me to preserve him from the avidity of the Meks, and I therefore exchanged him on the night preceding our arrival at Berber, for one of a smaller size, and of inferior strength, belonging to one of the traders from Daraou, who gave me a dollar into the bargain; he undoubtedly flattered himself that he had over-reached me, little thinking that any body would take the ass from him, and reckoning upon selling it afterwards for ten or twelve dollars. At Berber he contrived to save the animal from the clutches of Mek Noureddyn; but Mek Hamze’s rapacity was of a more determined kind, and made him sorely repent of his bargain with me. He pretended to insist upon taking back the ass he had exchanged with me; but the Ababdes took my part, and even secretly praised me for having led him into the scrape.

A large party of Bisharein was encamped near Ras el Wady; they had come to purchase Dhourra for their summer provision. The brother of Mek Hamze had lately gone to Souakin, on his way to Arabia, with several slaves and fine horses, which he meant to offer as a present to the Sherif Hamoud, the chief of Yemen, expecting, of course, some suitable presents in return. Speculations of this sort are often made in these countries. Some of the dromedaries belonging to Mek Hamze were very fine animals, and their bridles and saddles were very fantastically ornamented. Every chief keeps a couple of dromedaries of the best race, for show, and, whenever he rides out, he is followed by them, mounted by two of his slaves.

We departed from Ras el Wady in the course of the morning. The Mek sent two of his relations, to accompany us to the limits of his jurisdiction. Our road lay partly through barren sands, and partly through thin woods of acacia trees. In two hours we passed several hamlets, where Doum trees were numerous, and in the neighbourhood of which a large island is formed in the river. The inhabitants of these hamlets are said to be great robbers, and this was, probably, the reason why our two guides made us halt here, and demanded ten dollars for having accompanied us so far. Fond as the traders are of their money, they thought that circumstances required them to submit to the imposition, and the money was paid. At this time our caravan was reduced to about twenty camels; many of the lesser traders, in order to elude the payment of passage-money, having already preceded us, and passed during the night through the desert to the east of Ras el Wady; others, who had no camels to mount, had engaged a man of Goz to conduct them by night along a perilous path by the side of the river, and they joined us again beyond the territory of Mek Hamze.

At a short distance from the hamlets, we came to a great number of new tombstones, in the desert, the melancholy proofs of the terrible ravages of the small-pox. According to the Nubian custom, and which I had already observed in the Berábera country, every tomb was covered with white pebbles, and pieces of quartz. The plain of the eastern desert is here interrupted by several sandy and gravelly hillocks. At the end of four hours, after passing through a wood of acacia trees, we reached the river Mogren (ﻥﺮﻘﻣ), not Mareb, as Bruce writes it, a name quite unknown here. After descending a high bank, we passed for at least a mile, over deep sands in the bed of the river, and then came to a pool of stagnant water, about twenty paces broad, where the water reached up to the ankle: in many places there were similar pools, but no where any running stream. I estimated the height of the banks at thirty feet, and I observed the high-water marks to be about twenty feet from the bottom, from whence it is evident that this river can never inundate the adjacent country; indeed this fact was confirmed by my companions, who told me that during the time of high-water they pass the river in a boat brought from Damer for the purpose, and that they had never seen the country on either side of the river inundated, except by the waters of the Nile. The verdant banks of the Mogren, covered with fresh herbage and tamarisk bushes, afforded a delightful scene, which I was permitted to enjoy for a full hour, as many of the camels, in ascending the steep banks on the south side of the river, stumbled, and threw their loads, thus occasioning a delay.

The Mogren forms the boundary between the territories of Ras el Wady and Damer. On its southern banks several water-wheels were at work, drawing up the water from some of the pools. The regular distribution of the fields, and the small channels for irrigation, showed that agriculture is here more attended to than in the districts we had passed. The banks of the Mogren, for about two days journey above its confluence with the Nile, are inhabited by the Arabs, or Bedouins Djaalein (ﻦﻴﻠﻋﺎﺟ); they are quite independent, and their tribes are widely spread over these countries as high as Sennaar. They are the strongest Arab tribe in this neighbourhood; they cultivate some Dhourra fields on the banks of the river, and feed many cattle.

After passing the Mogren, we rode across a sandy barren plain, overgrown with Oshour, of which I saw trees twenty feet high, and then re-entered upon the arable soil, where we were met by some of the Shikhs of Damer, whom our advanced party had despatched to meet us, and to serve as an escort against the robberies of the Djaaleins, several of whose horsemen were seen hovering about, at a little distance from the caravan, with evidently bad intentions. At the end of six hours, and after sun-set, we entered Damer (ﺮﻣﺍﺩ), a place of considerable note and reputation in this part of the world, and whose inhabitants, I was glad to find, are of a much better disposition than their neighbours of Berber. Having now joined the Ababdes of our caravan, I accompanied them to the house where they took up their quarters. We entered the dwelling of a Dóngola merchant, an old friend of my companions; he happened to be absent, but his wife gave us a kind reception, and cleaned two rooms in her court-yard, where the goods and baggage were deposited. We found here some Kordofan merchants, who had just come from Dóngola, by way of Shendy, and who gave us the latest news concerning the Mamelouks.

At Damer, from 10th to 15th April. Damer is a large village or town, containing about five hundred houses. It is clean, and much neater than Berber, having many new buildings, and no ruins. The houses are built with some uniformity, in regular streets, and shady trees are met with in several places. It is inhabited by the Arab tribe of Medja-ydin (ﻦﻳﺪﻳﺎﺠﻣ), who trace their origin from Arabia; the greater part of them are Fokara, or religious men. They have no Shikh, but a high pontiff, called El Faky el Kebir (the great Faky), who is their real chief, and decides all matters in dispute. The family of Medjdoule, in whom this office is established, has the reputation of producing necromancers, or persons endowed with supernatural powers, from whom nothing remains hidden, and whose spells nothing can withstand. Innumerable stories are related of their magic powers, of which the following is a specimen: Abdallah, the father of the present Faky, caused a lamb to bleat in the stomach of the thief who had stolen, and afterwards eaten it. The Faky is resorted to in all cases where property is stolen, and as every body entertains the greatest terror of his supposed omniscience, it is generally an easy task with hint to perform wonders. If I am not mistaken, the office of the great Faky is hereditary; of course it is essential that the successor should be a shrewd man, and well instructed in the Mussulman law, these being absolutely necessary to enable him to act his part. The great Shikh, however, is not the only person in the place who possesses magical powers; there are many Fakys of less note, who enjoy a similar credit, in proportion always to their sanctity and learning, and thus the whole town of Damer has acquired great reputation. Here are several schools, to which young men repair from Darfour, Sennaar, Kordofan, and other parts of Soudan, in order to acquire a proficiency in the law, sufficient to enable them to make a figure as great Fakys in their own countries. The learned men of Damer have many books, but they treat exclusively of religious and judicial subjects. Amongst others, I saw a copy of the Koran worth at least four hundred piasters, and a complete copy of Bochari’s Commentaries upon the Koran, worth double that sum, at the Cairo book-market. These books are brought from Cairo by the young Fakys of Damer themselves, many of whom go to study there in the mosque El Azher, or in the great mosque at Mekka, where they remain for three or four years, living during that time principally upon alms and stipends. In the schools at Damer they teach the true reading of the Koran, and deliver lectures on the Tefsyr (explanations of the Koran), and on the Touhyd, or the nature of God, and his divine attributes. They have a large well built mosque, but without a minaret; it rests upon arches built of bricks, and the floor is covered with fine sand. This is the coolest spot in Damer, and much resorted to by strangers to pass a few hours in sleep after the mid-day prayers. Around an open place adjoining the mosque are a number of school-rooms. Many Fakys have small chapels near their own houses, but the Friday’s prayers are always performed in the great mosque. The chief Fakys live with great ostentation of sanctity, and the Faky el Kebír leads the life of a hermit; he occupies a small building in the midst of a large square in the town. One part of this building is a chapel, and the other a room about twelve feet square, in which he constantly resides day and night, without any attendants, and separated from his own family. He lives upon what his friends or disciples send him for breakfast and supper. About three o’clock in the afternoon he quits his chamber, after having been shut up all the morning, occupied in reading, and takes his seat upon a large stone bench before the building. He is here joined by all his fraternity, and business is then transacted until long after sun-set. I went once to kiss his hands, and found him a venerable figure, entirely wrapped up in a white cloke. He asked me from whence I came, in what school I had learnt to read, and what books I had read; and he seemed satisfied with my answers. Near him sat a Moggrebyn Shikh, a native of Mekinéz, who had come from Mekka, to serve as his scribe, and who transacted all the public business. I was told that this person had found means to amass a large sum of money.

The affairs of this little hierarchical state appear to be conducted with great prudence. All its neighbours testify much respect for the Fakys; the treacherous Bisharein even, are so completely kept in awe by them, that they have never been known to hurt any of the people of Damer when travelling from thence across the mountains to Souakin. They particularly fear the power of the Fakys to deprive them of rain, and thus to cause the death of their flocks. Caravans pass occasionally from Damer to Souakin, for many of the Fakys are traders. On the outside of the town we found encampments of Bisharein, and Djaalein, who had come to sell their sheep. There are several public wells in the town, as well as at some distance along the roads leading to it. The principal trade of Damer is with Dóngola and Shendy; with Berber there is little intercourse, except by means of the Egyptian caravans passing that way. There is a manufacture of coarse cotton stuffs in imitation of the Dammour of Sennaar, and most of the articles of the Egyptian trade are found in the warehouses of the Damer merchants. There is no Souk, or daily market, but there is a weekly one, in which every merchant exposes his goods; the sales of cattle are said to be considerable, and the Damer mats, made of Doum leaves, are greatly in demand throughout the neighbouring country. In places like Damer, where there is no daily market, and where nothing whatever is sold publicly except on the weekly market day, the traveller finds it very troublesome to buy the articles of small value which he may be in need of. I wanted a few measures of Dhourra for my ass, but there being no metal currency less than a dollar, which would have purchased a larger quantity than I could have carried with me, I was under the necessity of imitating my companions, and went from house to house with some strings of beads in my hands, offering them for sale at about four handfuls of Dhourra for each bead. I gained at this rate about sixty per cent. above the prime cost, and had at the same time an opportunity of entering many private houses. I was somewhat surprised to find that, notwithstanding the austerity of the Fakys, a great number of Bouza shops, and houses of debauchery, were established all over the town. I repeated these walks every day during our stay at Damer. One afternoon, while crying my beads for sale, I was accosted by a Faky, who asked me if I could read. On answering in the affirmative, he desired me to follow him to a place where, he said, I might expect to get a good dinner. He then led me to a house where I found a great number of people collected to celebrate the memory of some relative lately deceased. Several Fakys were reading the Koran in a low tone of voice. A great Faky afterwards came in, whose arrival was the signal for reciting the Koran in loud songs, in the manner customary in the east, in which I joined them. This was continued for about half an hour, until dinner was brought in, which was very plentiful, as a cow had been killed upon the occasion. After a hearty meal, we recommenced our reading. One of the Shikhs produced a basket full of white pebbles, over which several prayers were read. These pebbles were destined to be strewed over the tomb of the deceased in the manner which I had often observed upon tombs freshly made. Upon my enquiries concerning this custom, which I confessed to have never before seen practised in any Mohammedan country, the Faky answered that it was a mere meritorious action, that there was no absolute necessity for it, but that it was thought that the soul of the deceased, when hereafter visiting the tomb, might be glad to find these pebbles, in order to use them as beads in addressing its prayers to the Creator. When the reading was over, the women began to sing and howl. I then left the room, and on taking my departure my kind host put some bones of roasted meat in my hand, to serve for my supper.

The ladies of Damer adorn their sitting rooms with a number of large wooden bowls or dishes hung against the walls like so many pictures. The floor is covered with fine mats of various designs and colours, for the art of dying the Doum leaves appears to be known here. I have likewise seen ostrich eggs, and black ostrich feathers put up as ornaments on the wall, over the door.

On the west bank of the river, opposite the town, is a small village, called Damer el Gharby (ﻲﺑﺮﻐﻟﺃ ﺮﻣﺍﺩ), or the Western Damer. The communication between the two places is kept up by ferryboats, of the rudest workmanship, consisting merely of the excavated trunk of a large Nebek tree.

The cultivation of the soil is much more attended to at Damer, than in any other place from Dóngola to Shendy. Artificial irrigation is carried on by numerous water-wheels, turned by cows, like those used in Egypt; this custom enables the cultivators to obtain two crops every year. Damer suffered less during the last famine than any of the neighbouring countries; but great numbers died of the small-pox. The principal produce of the soil is Dhourra; some wheat is sown, but not for exportation; it serves only for the private consumption of the great Fakys, who have learnt the use of this luxury in Egypt. Some Bamyes are cultivated, and a considerable quantity of red pepper (Sheteyta ﻪﻄﻴﻄﺷ). Of the latter a part is exported, and the people are immoderately fond of it for the seasoning of their dishes. The district produces cotton plentifully, and a little tobacco of the worst kind, for the Bisharye market. The Fakys themselves never smoke. I thought the cattle looked finer and better fed than those of Berber. Few horses are kept, but asses are numerous. Our traders bought some camels, and disposed of some of their merchandize. No passage duties are paid to the Fakys, whose principal income arises from agriculture and trade. This is the reason why Damer flourishes, caravans being never averse from staying here a few days. Our landlord was very reasonable in his demands, and our whole party, myself included, left the town well satisfied with its inhabitants. The Ababde sent some loaves of sugar to the Faky el Kebír, but quite as a voluntary donation.

April 15th. We set out early in the morning, being accompanied by two Fakys, who were to serve as guards as far as the limits of the country of Shendy. The road is dangerous, and the inhabitants upon it are robbers; but such is the fear entertained of the Fakys of Damer, that the mere sight of them marching unarmed at the head of the caravan was sufficient to inspire the country people with the greatest respect; they often came, as we passed along, to kiss the Fakys hands, and then retired. It would require an armed force to pass here, without the aid of some of these religious men. Caravans from the south halt on the northern frontier of Shendy, until a Faky arrives from Damer to accompany them.

Our companions were all under great apprehensions, in setting out from Damer, notwithstanding the presence of our guides. We kept close together, lest any stragglers should be cut off in the woods through which the road lies. I carried my gun in my hand, which I knew would frighten a host of robbers, but, according to my constant practice in travelling, I did not think it necessary to load it. The principal of the Daraou traders rode up to me, and knowing the gun to be unloaded, ordered me, in a very peremptory tone, to put in a ball; upon my refusing a sharp dispute arose; he called me at last a cowardly rascal (ﻑﺍﻮﺧ ﺹﺮﻌﻤ), who was unworthy of wearing arms; “that may be true,” I replied, “but I am at least accustomed to wear them, while you peasants find a stick or a scithe more suited to your hands than a sword.” His pride was so much hurt by this reply, that he struck me a blow with his stick across the shoulders which almost levelled me to the ground; I warded off a second blow with my gun, and was going to return it with the butt end, when our companions leapt in between us, and wrested the gun from me, which, after a moment’s reflection, I was glad of, for if I had struck the man, I should have wounded him, and it would then have become a serious business. I vented my anger in heavy curses upon my aggressor, who was blamed by every body, and especially by the Ababdes, who declared that they would resent any further insult offered to me. The bustle which this affair occasioned, together with our fears of robbers, which did not permit me to quit the caravan, prevented me from taking my notes as fully as usual. On leaving Damer we entered a wood of Sellam trees, and continued our route at a little distance from the arable ground. Near the river we saw several small villages and hamlets, among clusters of Doum trees; they are inhabited by the Arabs Mekaberab (ﺏﺍﺮﺑﺎﻜﻣ), who were formerly tributary to the chiefs of Shendy, but who have long since asserted their freedom, and now live partly upon the produce of their fields, and partly by robbery; they are at war with all their neighbours, and having acquired a reputation for superior valour, are much dreaded by them. travellers unaccompanied by one or more Fakys from Damer, are sure of being stripped by them.

At the end of six hours from Damer we quitted the valley of the Nile, and made a short cut over sand hills, which brought us, after a march of nine hours, to Hawaya (ﻪﻳﺍﻮﺣ), a village which forms at present the northern frontier of the territory of Shendy. Shendy extends de jure as far as the river Mogren, including Damer; but we have already seen that the Fokaha of Damer are quite independent. It was a beautiful evening, after a very hot day; and we all went to bathe in the river, the bed of which, near the shore, I found covered with pebbles. We encamped in an open square in the midst of the village, and understanding it to be a safe place, I took some beads to exchange for bread in the village. After a long and fruitless search, I was met by some men who invited me to go home with them, saying that their wives would take the beads. I followed them, until we reached a narrow unfrequented lane, when they turned short upon me, snatched away the beads, tore off my cap, and then finding that unarmed as I was I still made some resistance, they drew their swords. I now took to my heels, and rejoined my companions, who laughed at my misfortunes. They advised me to go to the Shikh of the village, who, they said, would find out the robbers. I met with the Shikh late at night in a Bouza hut, surrounded by a drunken party. Having described the persons of the thieves, the beads and cap were soon discovered, and returned to me. The Shikh then insisted upon my taking a merry cup with him, and, upon my refusal, he accompanied me back to our people, when I was at last obliged to pay him, as a compliment, twice the value of the stolen goods. I mention this anecdote to show how small a chance a single traveller has of passing through this country without being stripped.

April 16th. After a march of four hours from Hawaya we came to the village of Gabaty (ﻲﺗﺎﺒﻗ). Here, as in the higher parts of Upper Egypt, all the larger villages are built on the declivity of the hills of the desert, and at some distance from the soil cultivated by their inhabitants. At Gabaty I saw a very uncommon building, which covered the tomb of a saint; it is in the form of a well rounded cone, about thirty feet in height, resting upon a square substructure five or six feet high, in which is a low door. The whole is built of sun-burnt bricks. I found the entrance shut, and was told that it was opened on Fridays only. At a distance this tomb had the exact appearance of a pyramid, and I could not help thinking that such buildings might have been used as sepulchres from the earliest times by the Ethiopians, and might have given origin to the stupendous tombs of Memphis. I observed a similar but smaller structure at Shendy, but I met with them nowhere else, although every village of note has some tombs of revered saints or Shikhs.

Beyond Gabaty we rode alternately through the arable plain, and the sandy hills. The former, where it is broadest, appears to be about four miles in breadth, from the hills to the river. The harvest had long been collected, but we saw the whole plain still full of Dhourra stalks, not thickly crowded together as in Egypt, but at wide intervals asunder, evidently shewing a great neglect of cultivation. In the fields are many Nebek trees, and the borders of the desert are everywhere overgrown with Oshour. We passed several hamlets in the hills on our left; and at the end of ten hours, late in the evening, reached Djebail (ﻞﻴﺒﺟ), a large village in the hills, with several small mosques, and good buildings. It is governed by a relative of the Mek of Shendy, whose district extends as far as Hawaya. We encamped upon a piece of open ground at the back of the village. After we had retired to rest we were awakened by the servants of the principal Faky of the place, who sent us a plentiful supper. During this day’s march we often met passengers on the road, riding, for the most part, upon asses, and also a small caravan from Shendy, on its way to Berber. I observed several ancient dikes of earth, without any appearance of stone or brick in them, and many canals for the purpose of irrigating the plain, which were almost filled up with earth, and of little or no use. Near Djebail begins a chain of mountains of sandstone, running southwards, parallel with the river.

April 17th. At the end of two hours from Djebail, in crossing the arable soil, we passed low mounds consisting of rubbish, and red burnt bricks; they were about eighty paces in length, and extended quite across the arable soil, for at least one mile eastwards, turning, as I thought, towards their extremity, a little more to the south. The bricks are of a very rude make, much coarser than those now in use in Egypt. The mounds have the appearance of having served as a wall, although but little remains by which to form a judgment. Both on the northern and southern side we passed some foundations of buildings, of moderate size, constructed of hewn stones. These were the only remains of antiquity I could discover; nor could I see any stones scattered amongst the mounds of rubbish, as far, at least, as my sight could reach. A closer examination might, perhaps, have led to some more interesting discoveries, but I was in the company of the caravan, and had the wonders of Thebes been placed on the road, I should not have been able to examine them. At the end of three hours we came to Dawa (ﻩﻭﺍﺩ), a small village. The hills here take a direction more to the east, and leave a plain of at least ten miles in breadth, luxuriantly covered with wild plants, mixed with all the species of the thorny acacias, and where are a great number of dispersed huts and hamlets. The Arabs Djaalein here pasture their numerous herds of cows, camels, and sheep. They have also a few water-wheels, and grow considerable quantities of onions, with which they supply the Shendy market. Their huts are made of mats; I entered several of them, but could not get a drop of milk without paying for it in Dhourra. The road across the plain was much entangled with weeds, and overhanging branches of acacia, which rendered the passage somewhat troublesome to our loaded camels.

We rode for two or three hours in this fertile district, and then entered again upon a sandy plain overgrown with large Syale trees, where we stopped during the noontide hours, on the high banks of the river, and watered our camels. Large flocks of storks passed over our heads to the northward. At the end of seven hours from our setting out in the morning we reached the extremity of the sandy plain, where commences a tract called Boeydha (ﻪﻀﻳﻮﺑ), less extensive, but equally fertile with the plain preceding. It contains many small hamlets, in which the houses consist generally of one room only, serving for all purposes. Here are the salt-works which supply the whole country as far as Sennaar with salt. The earth, which for several miles round is strongly impregnated with salt, is collected by the Arabs in heaps upon the side of the road. The salt is separated from the earth by boiling in large earthen vessels, and the saline part is then boiled a second time, in smaller vessels. The salt is afterwards formed into small round cakes about a foot in diameter, and three inches in thickness; it is perfectly white, and has much the appearance of rock salt. About a dozen cakes are packed together in a basket; four baskets make a camel’s load. This salt constitutes a considerable branch of the Shendy trade. The Sennaar merchants buy it in great quantities for the Abyssinian markets, and exchange it in the mountains about Ras el Fil, for slaves and gold. The works are the property of the Mek of Shendy: there were about twenty boilers on the fire when I passed.

Just beyond the plain of Boeydha, where the road again enters a barren sandy desert, stands a tall date-tree, the only one of its species met with hereabouts, for no dates are grown anywhere from Dóngola to Sennaar. The merchants hail this tree as a beacon which marks the successful termination of their journey. Several people of Shendy were waiting for us, to salute their acquaintances, and take a look at the loads. As traders never enter Shendy in the day time, we halted till sun-set, and then proceeded slowly towards the town, which we reached after about nine hours march from our departure from Djebail.

At Shendy from April 17th to May 17th. We entered a large house belonging to the friends of the Ababdes, situated on the skirts of the town, towards the desert; but the next morning the Mek sent one of his slaves to tell us, that he wanted that house himself for one of his Abyssinian female slaves, who was to be inoculated with the small-pox, and whom he wished to pass the time of her illness in an open, airy, and insulated place. He ordered a house to be prepared for us in the middle of the town, and we took possession of it the next day; the owner was absent, but his wife gave us a civil reception.

Next to Sennaar, and Cobbé (in Darfour), Shendy is the largest town in eastern Soudan, and larger, according to the report of the merchants, than the capitals of Dóngola and of Kordofan. It consists of several quarters, divided from each other by public places, or markets, and it contains altogether from eight hundred to a thousand houses. It is built upon the sandy plain, at about half an hour’s walk from the river; its houses are similar to those of Berber; but it contains a greater number of large buildings, and fewer ruins. The houses seldom form any regular street, but are spread over the plain in great disorder. I nowhere saw any walls of burnt bricks. The houses of the chief, and those of his relatives, contain court-yards twenty feet square, inclosed by high walls, and this is the general description of the habitations of Shendy. The government is in the hands of the Mek; the name of the present chief is Nimr (ﺮﻤﻧ), i. e. Tiger. The reigning family is of the same tribe as that which now occupies the throne of Sennaar, namely the Wold Adjib (ﺐﻴﺠﻋ ﺪﻟﻭ), which, as far as I could understand, is a branch of the Bunnye. The father of Nimr was an Arab of the tribe of Djaalein, but his mother was of the royal blood of Wold Adjib; and thus it appears that women have a right to the succession. This agrees with the narrative of Bruce, who found at Shendy a woman upon the throne, whom he calls Sittina (an Arabic word meaning our Lady). The Mek of Shendy, like the Mek of Berber, is subject to Sennaar; but, excepting the purchase money paid for his government, on his accession, and occasional presents to the king and vizier of Sennaar, he is entirely independent, and governs his district, which extends about two days journeys farther to the south, quite at his own pleasure.

Before the arrival of the Mamelouks in Dóngola Mek Nimr had been for many years in continual warfare with the Arabs Sheygya, who had killed several of his relatives in battle, and, by making inroads into his dominions with large parties of horsemen, had repeatedly laid waste the whole western bank of the river. The Sheygya made peace with him, in order more effectually to oppose the Mamelouks, when his own brother, to whom the command of the western bank had been entrusted, declared against him, and they have now carried on war for several years, with little success or loss on either side, as they are separated from each other by the river, and can never pass it but in small parties.

The government of Shendy is much to be preferred to that of Berber: the full authority of the Mek is not thwarted by the influence of powerful families, which in these countries tends only to insecurity, nor has he adopted that system of rapacity which makes Berber so justly dreaded by strangers. His absolute power is owing to the diversity of Arab tribes inhabiting Shendy, none of which is strong enough to cope with his own family and its numerous branches. The largest of these tribes are the Nimrab, Nayfab, and Djaalein, the greater part of whom still lead the Bedouin life. The most respectable class of the inhabitants of Shendy are the merchants, amongst whom are great numbers of foreign settlers from Sennaar, Kordofan, Darfour, and Dóngola: the last are the most numerous, and they occupy an entire quarter of the town, but their nation is less esteemed than any other. They are reproached with inhospitality, and their avarice has become proverbial; the broker business, which is almost exclusively in their hands, has added to the odium of their name, so that an Arab of Shendy considers it as an insult to be called a Dongoláwy, a name here considered as equivalent to that of Jew in Europe.

Commerce flourishes at Shendy because the Mek does not extort any taxes from the merchants, which many people assured me he dared not do from his fear of the vizier of Sennaar. I am not able to judge how far this may be true; but the fact is, that caravans pay nothing whatever by way of duty; they generally make up a small present to the Mek, in order to enjoy his particular protection, and add something further for one of his brothers, who is a principal man in the place. Our party of Ababdes sent him a small parcel of soap and sugar, of which my quota amounted to half a dollar. I did not hear of any subordinate offices in the government of Shendy, and the Mek seems to unite all the branches of authority in his own person. His relatives are the governors of villages; and his court consists of half a dozen police officers, a writer, an Imam, a treasurer, and a body guard, formed principally of slaves. The character of the people is much the same as that of the inhabitants of Berber. They are kept in some order, it is true, by the Mek; but wickedness and injustice govern all their conduct, for they know that the law can do little more than endeavour to prevent crimes, and that it very seldom punishes them. Nightly robbers, drunken people who have assaulted strangers, thieves detected in the market, &c. &c. are often carried before the Mek, but he is generally satisfied with imprisoning them for two or three days; and I did not hear a single instance of his having ordered any person to be put to death, or even flogged, although such crimes as I have mentioned were committed daily during my stay at Shendy. The delinquents were permitted to return quietly to their homes, on paying a small fine to the Mek and his people. I was told that at Kordofan thieves are always punished with death.

Debauchery and drunkenness are as fashionable here as at Berber; the latter, I think, is even more common. No night passed without my hearing the loud songs of some Bouza meeting, though our quarter, that of the Dongoláwy, who are too avaricious to be addicted to these vices, was one of the quietest. At Berber public women were constantly seen in the street; at Shendy I very seldom met any of them, though within the inclosures of the houses they are almost as numerous as at Berber.

The dress, habits, and manners of the inhabitants of Shendy are the same as those of the places last described, and appear to prevail as far as Darfour, and Sennaar. I observed more well dressed people at Shendy than at Berber, and clean linen was much oftener seen.

Gold being a very current article in the Shendy market, the women have more frequently golden rings at their noses and ears than those of Berber; the people also possess more wealth. It is not uncommon to see a family possessed of a dozen slaves, acting as servants in the house, and labourers in the field.

The people of Shendy, like those of Berber, are shepherds, traders, and husbandmen. Agriculture, however, seems to be little thought of by the inhabitants themselves, being chiefly left to the Arab peasants of the vicinity; the cultivable soil in the neighbourhood of the city is narrow; but to the north and south of it are some fine arable plains. Water-wheels are common; they are erected generally on those parts of the high banks, which the most copious inundations of the river cannot overflow; by means of them the cultivators raise one winter crop; but they are too lazy to bestow the labour necessary for watering the soil a second or third time, as is done in the most elevated parts of Upper, Egypt, where also the river very seldom rises high enough to overflow the banks. Dhourra is the chief produce; Dokhen and wheat are sown in small quantities, the former for the consumption of the western traders who visit Shendy, the latter almost exclusively for the families of the great. Large quantities of onions, some red pepper (brought from Kordofan), Bamyes, chick-peas (ﺺﻤﺣ), Meloukhye, and Tormos, are always found in the market either green or dried. During the inundation some water-melons and cucumbers are sown, but for the use only of the Harem of the Mek.

The cattle is very fine; and the inhabitants say that their size and quality continue to increase, in proportion as you ascend the river. I saw no domestic animals that are not common in Egypt. Elephants are first met with at Abou Heraze, two or three days to the north of Sennaar; and they have never been known to pass to the northward of that district, which is bounded by a chain of mountains six or eight hours in breadth, reaching close to the river. I was told that tigers are frequently seen in the Wadys east of Shendy. In the mountains of Dender, a district towards the Atbara, and six or eight journies south-east of Shendy, the giraffa is found (Arabic, Zerafa, ﻪﻓﺍﺮﻇ, i. e. the elegant). It is hunted by the Arabs Shukorein and Kowahel, and is highly prized for its skin, of which the strongest bucklers are made. I frequently saw mountain-goats of the largest size brought to the market of Shendy; they have long horns bending to the middle of the back; their flesh is esteemed a great dainty. They call them Areal (ﻞﻳﺭﺁ), a name given in Syria to the red deer. In Upper Egypt they are called Teytal (ﻞﺘﻴﺛ), and in Syria Beden (ﻥﺪﺑ). They are caught by the Djaalein Bedouins in nooses, in the same manner as they catch ostriches, which are also very common in this neighbourhood. The ostrich-feathers however are inferior to those of the western deserts. Those most esteemed in Egypt are from Kordofan and Darfour, which the caravans from the latter place bring to Siout. The Djaalein peasants bring the feathers to the market in bundles, good and bad together, and exchange them for Dhourra. Their price, when I was at Shendy, was about one-tenth of what they would bring at Cairo, where the best kinds, in 1812, sold at two hundred and eighty piastres per pound. The Pasha of Egypt has lately included them among the articles monopolised by him.

The hippopotamus (in Arabic Farass el Bahhr, ﺮﺤﺒﻟﺃ ﺹﺮﻓ, or Barnick, ﻖﻴﻧﺮﺑ), is not common at Shendy, though it occasionally makes its appearance there; during my stay there was one in the river in the vicinity of Boeydha, which made great ravages in the fields. It never rose above water in the day-time, but calve on shore in the night, and destroyed as much by the treading of its enormous feet, as it did by its voracity; the people have no means of killing them. At Sennaar, where hippopotami are numerous, they are caught in trenches, slightly covered with reeds, in to which they fall during their nightly excursions. It is generally said that no musket ball can bring them to the ground, unless they are hit in the vulnerable spot, which is over the ear. The whips called Korbadj (ﺝﺎﺑﺮﻛ), which are formed of their skins, are made at Sennaar, and on the Nile, above that place, immediately after being taken off, the skin is cut into narrow strips, about five or six feet in length, gradually tapering to a point: each strip is then rolled up, so that the edges unite, and form a pipe, in which state it is tied fast and left to dry in the sun. In order to render these whips pliable, they must be rubbed with butter or grease. At Shendy they are sold at the rate of twelve or sixteen for a Spanish dollar; in Egypt, where they are in general use, and the dread of every servant and peasant, they are worth from half a dollar, to a dollar each. In colder climates, even in Syria, they become brittle, crack, and lose their elasticity.

Crocodiles are very numerous about Shendy. I have generally remarked that these animals inhabit particular parts of the Nile, from whence they seldom appear to move; thus, in Lower Egypt, they have entirely disappeared, although no reasonable cause can be assigned for their not descending the river. In Upper Egypt, the neighbourhood of Akhmim, Dendera, Orment, and Edfou, are at present the favourite haunts of the crocodile, while few are ever seen in the intermediate parts of the river. The same is the case in different parts of Nubia towards Dóngola. At Berber nobody is afraid of encountering crocodiles in the river, and we bathed there very often, swimming out into the midst of the stream. At Shendy, on the contrary, they are greatly dreaded; the Arabs and the slaves and females, who repair to the shore of the river near the town every morning and evening to wash their linen, and fill their water-skins for the supply of the town, are obliged to be continually on the alert, and such as bathe take care not to proceed to any great distance into the river. I was several times present when a crocodile made its appearance, and witnessed the terror it inspired; the crowd all quickly retiring up the beach. During my stay at Shendy a man who had been advised to bathe in the river, after having escaped the small-pox, was seized and killed by one of these animals. At Sennaar crocodiles are often brought to market, and their flesh is publicly sold there. I once tasted some of the meat at Esne, in Upper Egypt; it is of a dirty white colour, not unlike young veal, with a slight fishy smell; the animal had been caught by some fishermen in a strong net, and was above twelve feet in length. The Governor of Esne ordered it to be brought into his court yard, where more than an hundred balls were fired against it without effect, till it was thrown upon its back, and the contents of a small swivel discharged at its belly, the skin of which is much softer than that of the back. Fish are very seldom caught by the Arabs of Shendy. Nets appear to be unknown, but children often amuse themselves in angling with hooked nails.

The produce of the fields of Shendy and its neighbourhood is not sufficient for the supply of the population, the wants of which are much increased by the continual arrival of caravans. Dhourra is imported principally from Abou Heraze, in the route to Sennaar. A caravan of more than three hundred camels arrived from thence with Dhourra during my stay at Shendy, and the price, which, on our arrival, was at the rate of one dollar for twelve measures, fell to twenty measures per dollar. The price of grain varies almost daily, the market being affected by the arrival of every caravan of traders, who always buy up a considerable quantity for the food of the slaves and camels. The Mek also monopolizes the corn-trade as much as he can. At Abou Heraze and Sennaar, Dhourra is said to be in great plenty; forty measures being sold for a dollar. This grain is of the same shape and size as that of Shendy and Upper Egypt; but it is of an ash gray colour; it is said to be less nourishing, and of course is less esteemed than the other.

Horses are more numerous here than at Berber. The Mek, it is said, can raise within Shendy itself from two to three hundred horsemen. According to the custom of the Eastern Arabs, the Djaalein Bedouins ride mares in preference to stallions; but the latter are preferred by the inhabitants of the town. The Mek’s brother, Ras Saad ed Dyn (ﻦﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺪﻌﺳ), had a horse for which he had given in the southern districts thirteen slaves; it surpassed in beauty any other horse I ever remember to have seen. At a public festival on the occasion of the circumcision of one of Mek Nimr’s sons, all the horsemen of Shendy met, and accompanied the family of the chief through the town, their horses prancing about. They appeared to me but very indifferent horsemen; none attempted any of the manoeuvres for which the Mamelouks are so famous; they contented themselves with gallopping backwards and forwards; nor did I see one bold rider amongst them. It is in this cavalry, however, that the Mek places his chief strength, and it decides the fate of all the battles he is obliged to fight with his enemies. The saddles, and bridles, as well as the stirrups, in which they place the great toe only, are the same as those used at Berber and by the Arabs Sheygya, who appear to be as celebrated for their horsemanship in this country as the Mamelouks once were in Turkey. Mek Nimr has about twenty firelocks, which he has either bought or taken from Egyptian traders; with these he arms his favourite slaves, but few of them have courage sufficient to fire them off, and there are none who dare take an aim by placing the gun against the shoulder. The sight of it alone generally frightens the enemy, and so far it fully answers their purpose, for it is always the wish of both parties to finish the battle with as little bloodshed as possible, because the law of retaliation is in full force amongst these Arabs. Several of Mek Nimr’s musquets are either broken, or so much rusted, as to make them unserviceable, and nobody could be found to clean and mend them. Having been seen one day cleaning my gun, I was supposed to be skilful in this art, and serious proposals were made to me, to enter into the Mek’s service as gunsmith. He offered me one male and two female slaves, and as much Dhourra as I might want for their maintenance; and it was with difficulty that I could persuade the slaves who made me the proposal in the name of their master, that I knew nothing of the business of a gunsmith. Travellers in these countries ought to avoid shewing their capacity in the most trifling things that may be of use or afford pleasure to the chiefs, who will endeavour to force them into their service. Not having succeeded in prevailing upon me to remain, the Mek wished at least to have my gun. He sent for it, and kept it for several days; and upon my urgent entreaties to have it returned to me, he sent me four Spanish dollars, ordering his slaves at the same time to carry me several dishes of bread and meat from his own kitchen. Upon complaining to some of the inhabitants of this treatment, they replied, that having now eaten of the Mek’s food I had become his friend, and that it would therefore be a disgrace to me to make any difficulty in parting with my gun. I was very sorry to lose it, especially when I considered in what countries I still intended to travel; but in my present circumstances four dollars were not to be despised. Seeing no chance therefore of either getting back my gun, or obtaining a higher price for it, I accepted the Mek’s four dollars with many professions of thanks.

It will appear very singular that fire-arms are not more frequently met with here, as they may so easily be imported. But the fact is, that traders are afraid to carry them, lest they should excite the cupidity of some or other of the chiefs; and it is not to be supposed, that until they are more numerous, they can be taken to market like other goods, or be paid for at a regular price. To the country people, who seldom visit the towns where traders make any stay, a musquet is an object of the greatest terror, and will frighten away dozens of them. A Djaalein Arab, who had some ostrich feathers to sell, came one day to the house where I lodged, to barter with my companions for his feathers. The moment he espied my gun standing in the corner of the room, he got up, and desired it might be removed, for that he did not like to remain near so deadly an instrument.

The envoy whom the Pasha of Egypt sent to Sennaar, related, upon his return, that the king exhibited one day a review of cavalry before him, when the envoy desired to be permitted to shew the Turkish artillery exercise, he having with him two small field-pieces mounted on camels, and three soldiers. When they began to fire, the greater part of the people fled, and many threw themselves on the ground, crying out for help. I never saw a man of these countries who dared touch my gun, unless he had been either in Egypt or Arabia; and the young men belonging to our caravan frequently got rid of troublesome visitors by laying hold of it, and saying that they were going to fire it off. If such is the case in this part of the continent, which has so much intercourse with the Turkish dominions, what must be the degree of surprise and terror upon first witnessing the effect of fire-arms among the people farther removed in the interior, where such instruments have never been seen, and scarcely heard of. This is one of the reasons which lead me to believe that with prudence and perseverance a very small body of European soldiers might make their way across these countries without opposition. Three hundred, for instance, well inured to a tropical climate, might, I am persuaded, penetrate very far into Eastern Africa. From Assouan to Sennaar they certainly would have little to apprehend. If 250 miserable Mamelouks conquered and kept possession of Dóngola, against the joint efforts of the Dongoláwy and the Sheygya, a body of experienced Europeans could not have much to fear from these Africans, divided as they are into small principalities, which possess no union among one another. The difficulties arising from fatigue, privation, and climate, might be obviated by patience and prudence; by following the banks of the rivers, where provisions and camels may be always procured, and, by selecting salubrious and elevated spots, wherein to pass the rainy season, which moreover has none of those dreadful effects experienced in the western countries of Africa. Single individuals attempting to make discoveries in the interior of this continent, through districts unfrequented by northern traders, will, I fear, always fall victims to their zeal and honourable ambition; and if the sources of the Bahr el Abyadh are ever to be discovered, it must be by an armed force. England has, by her different voyages of discovery, and her missions to explore distant countries, far surpassed all the nations of Europe: and a successful expedition through the interior of the African continent is alone wanting to render her triumph complete.

Shendy has a daily, and one large weekly market, which is frequented by all the surrounding Arabs. The common currency is the same as that at Berber, viz. Dhourra and Dammour. Slaves and camels are generally bought with dollars, or whole parties of slaves are bartered for Egyptian and Souakin merchandize. Of dollars those only are current that are coined in Spain. They are called Abou Medfaa (ﻊﻓﺪﻣ ﻮﺑﺃ), from having the supposed figure of a gun on the reverse, or Abou Amoud (ﺩﻮﻤﻋ ﻮﺑﺃ), from the columns none pass current but those with the inscription Carolus IIII., which they term Reyal Abou Areyaa (ﻊﻳﺭﺃ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻝﺎﻳﺭ), and these numerals, or lines, must be visible upon the dollar to make it pass at its full value. They say that the dollars with Carolus III. must be of less value, because they have only three lines, whence they are estimated at one-sixth below the real value. Those coined under the Ferdinands lose one-third. Austrian dollars are not taken at all. During my stay at Shendy, I found a blacksmith secretly employed in adding an I to the dollars of Charles III., for which he received two measures of Dhourra per dollar. This distinction of the numerals, it is said, was first made by the Bedouins; as it is now known amongst the merchants, little inconvenience arises from it. Gold coins have no currency; but pure gold, in small pieces, or lumps, or ear-rings, can always be procured from the Sennaar merchants at the market price. I never saw any gold dust in the possession of the traders during the whole of my journeys. The Mamelouks had sent one of their servants to Shendy with Venetian zecchins, and Turkish gold coins, in order to exchange them for dollars; the Egyptians bought them up at half their value, but they afterwards repented of it, when they recollected that they might have employed their dollars in other purchases, which would have returned them more than fifty per cent. profit in Egypt.

The market of Shendy is held upon a wide open space between the two principal quarters of the town. Three rows of small shops built of mud, one behind the other, in the shape of niches, about six feet in length by four feet in depth, and covered by mats, are occupied by the more opulent tradesmen, who carry their goods to their respective shops every morning, and back to their houses in the evening, as these shops have no door by which they can be secured. The other merchants sit upon the ground, under a kind of shed or awning of mats supported by three long poles, which can be turned in all directions, to keep off the sun, so as to afford sufficient shade to the seller and his customers at all times of the day. Similar awnings are in common use in the Hedjaz. The articles usually offered for sale in the daily market are the following:

Butchers Meat. Cows and camels are slaughtered daily for this supply, but sheep very seldom. I did not hear that they were in the habit of emasculating the animals destined for the shambles. The tallow is sold by particular merchants, who wash and cleanse it, in order to make it fit for anointing the hair and skin. Close by the butchers shops are sold pieces of roasted fat, upon which and a little Bouza, the Bedouins of the desert usually dine when they come to the town. The flesh is not weighed, but sold in lots of about two or three pounds weight. Weights, in general, are only met with in the merchants own houses; in the market they use for this purpose stones, by means of which the sellers have often an opportunity of cheating. The pound or rotolo is equal to that of Cairo.

Milk. In the morning both fresh and sour milk is brought in by Bedouin girls, and exchanged for Dhourra; they carry with them small wooden bowls, one of which the buyer fills with the grain, and receives in return three measures of milk; these girls also sell boiled chich-pease and boiled Tormous, both of which are a favourite breakfast, and called Belileh (ﻪﻠﻴﻠﺑ). Bread is never sold in the market; but there are many women living in poor huts in different parts of the town, who, for a trifling recompense, immediately grind the Dhourra, and make it into bread. It is an established custom not to eat in the market-place, nor any where in public; it is even considered very indecorous for a person to be seen chewing any food beyond the threshold of his own house: the reason of this is a superstitious notion that a hungry man may observe the eater and may envy the morsels he puts into his mouth; for there is no blessing, they say, or nutriment in food upon which another has cast an envious eye (ﺔﻛﺮﺑ ﻪﻴﻓ ﺎﻣ ﺩﻮﺴﺤﻤﻟﺃ ﻡﺎﻌﻄﻟﺃ). It is for the same reason that in the Levant, the meanest peasant never eats his dinner of bread and onions without exclaiming (ﻪﻠﻠﻤﺴﺑ) Besmillé, and inviting every one who passes by to partake with him; and he considers it a great favour if a small portion of his loaf is accepted, and as great an insult if his offer is silently refused; he expects, according to the custom of the country, that the person invited should answer him at least with the word Hannyan (ﺎﻴﻨﻫ prosit), if he does not choose to eat with him. In Turkey, this custom is not observed; and people may often be seen eating in the market places, and before their own houses. I often bought milk early in the morning in the market at Shendy, and then retired into a neighbouring hut, to drink it; but I was obliged to give the woman of the hut a handful of Dhourra for permission to do so.

Tobacco. Retail dealers in tobacco are met with in every corner of the market; the people are immoderately addicted to the use of it, and esteem it a luxury; they have not, however, the insolent custom of taking the pipes of others, like the people of Berber. The Fokara never smoke. The best tobacco comes from Sennaar, and is called Taba; when dry, it is of a dark green colour, and has much the same taste and appearance as that cultivated in the mountains of Arabia Petræa. Pipes, and pipe-heads of clay, are also imported from Sennaar. Many persons mix natron with the tobacco before they chew it. Snuff is much in use; it is made by reducing the tobacco to a fine powder, and mixing about one-third of natron to given quantities of it. They use for snuff boxes small cocoa nut shells brought from Sennaar, or very small gourds; like the inhabitants of the Hedjaz, they lay the snuff upon the thumb-nail, and never take it between the finger and thumb. The Souakin merchants take off several camel loads of the tobacco, for the Djedda and Yemen markets. Unlike the Arabs and Turks, the people of these countries spit at every whiff; and they say that he who does not, will never be a hardy bouza drinker. They squirt the spittle through the fore-teeth, a custom I should not have thought worth noticing here, had it not been a habit so totally different from that of all the Musulman smokers I ever saw.

The dealers in tobacco also sell natron, which is brought from Kordofan, whither it is imported from Darfour; and salt, from the salt mines of Boyedha; but this salt is dear, and the poor use as a substitute for it a brine, which they procure by dissolving in hot water lumps of a reddish coloured saline earth, of a bitterish, disagreeable taste, which they purchase from the Bedouins of the eastern desert; it seems to contain ochre and allum. Some of the poorer merchants sell dried Bamyes, red pepper, onions, and Meloukhye.

The grocers and druggists shops are the most frequented of any; there are always half a dozen of them opened, in which are sold cloves (ﻞﻔﻧﺮﻗ), pepper, cardamoms, (ﻝﺎﺤﻟﺃ ﺐﺣ), and tamarinds, called here Erdeyb (ﺐﻳﺩﺮﻋ), which are brought from Kordofan, in small cakes. The tamarinds are prepared by exposing the pulse together with the beans to the sun until they approach putrefaction, in which state they are kneaded into cakes. The best sort grows to the N.W. and W. of Darfour, between that country and Dar Saleht; but they abound also in the neighbourhood of Kordofan. The people of Shendy dissolve the cakes in hot water, which they drink as a refreshing beverage. Many camel loads of this excellent fruit are carried to Egypt; it is called Tamerhindy (ﻱﺪﻨﻫ ﺮﻤﺗ), the date of India, at Cairo, where it is in part imported from the East-Indies. I have seen considerable quantities of it in the hands of the Indian merchants, at Djidda, where it is called Homar (ﺮﻤﺣ); but this sort is much cheaper than the other, being loose, not made into cakes, and of an inferior quality. The Tamerhindy tree grows at Mekka and in different parts of the Hedjaz.

Sandal wood is imported from India, in considerable quantities; it forms one of the ingredients of the perfumed paste with which they rub the skin; and in cases of sickness the patient’s room is perfumed with it by strewing chips of the wood upon burning charcoal. It is sold in pieces about six inches in length. Much of it is carried to Sennaar.

Fenugreek (Helbeh, ﻪﺒﻠﺣ) is brought from Egypt, and used by the medical practitioners in this part of the country as a tonic.

The Liban (ﻥﺎﺒﻟ) is a species of gum, collected by the Bedouin Arabs who inhabit the deserts between Kordofan and Shilluk, on the road to Sennaar. It is said to exude from the stem of a tree in the same manner as gum arabic. It is sold in small thin cakes, is of a dull gray colour, very brittle, and has a strong smell. The country people use it as a perfume, but it is dear. It is much in demand for the inhabitants of Taka, and all the tribes between the Nile and the Red Sea. It is exported to Souakin; the Cairo merchants receive it from Djidda. At Cairo it is considered as the frankincense, and is called Incenso. There are two sorts, one of which is much coarser than the other. It is also imported into Djidda from Souahal, on the eastern coast of Africa, beyond Cape Gardafui; and from Abyssinia, by the way of Massouah; but this last is of an inferior quality.

Gum arahic is sold in small quantities in the markets of Shendy; but loads of it may always be had of the Sennaar or Kordofan merchants; that of which the fine white colour causes it to be most esteemed comes from Kordofan, from the districts inhabited by the Bedouins Fadhel. The trade in gum arabic by this route has of late been of little consequence, as the profits arising from it are much less than those on slaves and camels; but the Darfour caravan continues to import it. It is now, however, become scarce and dear in Egypt, and will therefore, probably, be again imported in large quantities.

Shishm (ﻢﺸﺷ), a small grain of the size and shape of the smallest lentils, of a deep black, shining colour, is imported from Darfour. It is pulverised and rubbed into the eyelids for complaints of the eyes. The Darfour caravans carry large quantities of this grain to Egypt, where it is much more in request than in the southern countries; there it is in general use amongst all classes, rather as a preserver of the eyes, than as a remedy for ophthalmia. It certainly communicates a refreshing coolness to the eye. I did not understand that any of it was exported from Egypt.

Antimony is sold in large quantities to people from all parts, and of all descriptions, to blacken the eyelids. In the open country, small pieces of antimony (Kohhel) often answer the purpose of a currency, as the peasants wives will always readily barter for it any thing that their house can afford.

A drug called Kerfé (ﻪﻓﺮﻗ), i. e. bark, is imported by the western merchants; it is a yellow-coloured bark, of considerable thickness, of a fibrous texture, and apparently belonging to a shrub, or the smaller branches of a tree, being about an inch in diameter. A decoction of it is used as an astringent in fever and dysentry; it has a very bitter taste. I was told that the tree or shrub from which this bark is procured, grows also in the mountains towards Abyssinia, in the country of the Shukorye.

I had collected small specimens of the articles above enumerated; but I unfortunately lost them through the negligence of my companions during the voyage from Souakin to Djidda. Amongst them was some of the fruit Allobé, brought from Sennaar and Kordofan. In its dry state it is of the size of a pigeon’s egg, of a brownish yellow colour, with a large kernel, inveloped in a thin fleshy substance, which has a sub-acid, and rather agreeable taste. It is eaten as a dainty; and is believed to be a remedy for flatulency, of which many people here complain. It is likewise called Tamr el berr (ﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﺮﻤﺗ), or the date of Soudan. The Allobé is said to grow on a large tree. The people of Kordofan are extremely fond of it. I have seen at Cairo a specimen of a fruit called Zakkoum, from the plains of Ramle, in Palestine, which appeared to me to be the same as the Allobé.

On the great market days, which are every Friday and Saturday, several thousands of people resort to Shendy from the distance of three or four days; the greater part of whom bring cattle for sale. Judging from the individuals I saw in the market, all these Arabs appear to be entirely of the same race, excepting only that the true Djaalein Bedouins who come from the eastern desert are much fairer-skinned than the inhabitants of the banks of the Nile, which arises probably from their taking greater care not to mix in concubinage with the negro race. I was much struck with the physiognomy of many of these Djaaleins, who had exactly the countenance and expression of features of the Bedouins of eastern Arabia; their beards are even shorter, and thinner. Some individuals of a tribe of Djaalein who border, to the south, upon the Shukorye, appeared at the market with hats on their heads, made of reeds; they were high and pointed, with broad brims, and were tied under the chin with a leather thong. They are worn both by men and women.

About four or five hundred camels, as many cows, a hundred asses, and twenty or thirty horses, were on sale on the great market-days. Every merchant then takes his stand in one of the open shops, or in the open market, and exposes part of his merchandize; for even the richest traders are not ashamed of trafficking in the minutest detail. The Egyptian, Souakin, Sennaar, and Kordofan merchants form separate corps, in the midst of which is great circle of slaves, thus exposed for sale. The country people bring to market mats, baskets, ox hides, and other skins, coarse pottery, camel saddles, wooden dishes, and other articles of their own manufacture, &c. About a dozen shoe-makers, or rather sandal-makers, from the country, work for these two days in the market, and will make a pair of sandals at an hour’s notice. The works in leather are very prettily done. The leather is tanned with the Garadh (ﺽﺮﻗ) or pulse of the acacia (Sant ﺖﻨﺳ ); the Bedouins about Sennaar are said to be the most skilful in its preparation. Leather sacks (Djerab ﺏﺍﺮﺟ, plur. ﻥﺎﺑﺮﺟ) are likewise sold here; they serve for the transport of every kind of baggage and merchandize, excepting Dhourra, gum arabic, and salt, which are carried in baskets. Many blacksmiths repair to Shendy from the country; they make and sell the small knives generally worn among these people. These knives are about eight inches long, and are worn in a leathern scabbard tied over the left elbow: they are two-edged, like those worn by the Berábera, and are of the shape here represented. [not included]

The market is so crowded, and the dust and heat are so great, during the mid-day hours, which is the favourite time for transacting business, that I was unable to remain in the market-place many hours together, and always left one of my companions in charge of the little I had to sell. In different parts of the place are stationed peasants with jars of water, which they sell to the thirsty, at the rate of a handful of Dhourra for as much water as two persons can drink. Several of the Fakys have water cisterns in the courtyards of their houses, which are always kept full, and at which every one may drink gratis. Many of them have likewise small chapels annexed to their dwellings. There is no mosque in the whole place.

The only artizans I saw at Shendy were blacksmiths, silversmiths, who work very coarse ornaments for the women, tanners, potters, and carpenters. If a house is to be built, the owner, his relatives, and slaves, with a few labourers, execute the masonry, and the carpenter is only called in to lay the roof and make the doors. Like the Bedouins of the desert, these Arabs are their own artizans upon all ordinary occasions.

There are no weavers at Shendy, but all the women and grown up children, and many of the men, are seen with a distaff constantly in their hands, spinning cotton yarn, which they sell to the people of Berber. The distaff, Mugzil (ﻝﺰﻐﻣ), resembles that used in Egypt and Syria. Cotton is cultivated in this neighbourhood, and is a general produce of all the countries on the banks of the Nile, although nowhere in any great quantity, except at Damer and about Sennaar.

The wholesale trade at Shendy is principally conducted through the agency of brokers. Most of these are Dongoláwy, who seem, in general, to be the most acute and intelligent traders of this part of the country. A caravan no sooner arrives, than every merchant’s house is crowded with brokers; but the avidity and parsimony of all parties are too great to allow them to bring their transactions to a speedy conclusion. Even after the bargain is made, each party endeavours to cheat the other before the goods are delivered and the money paid. In addition to this, every attempt to enter into an engagement of any importance becomes known all over the place, and the jealousy of the traders often prevents its taking place. No merchandize has its fixed price; there is no such thing as a price current; every one sells according to the prospect he has of cheating the buyer and bribing the broker. The purchase money, or in cases of barter, its equivalent in merchandize, is almost always immediately paid down; the longest credit I have witnessed is a couple of days; and it is evident, on the termination of every commercial transaction, that the buyer and seller reciprocally entertain suspicions of each others honesty. To oblige a debtor to settle his accounts, recourse is generally had to the slaves of the Mek, who act as police officers; but a man who is unprotected, and without friends, is sure to lose the greater part of his goods, if he allows them to go out of his hands without immediate payment.

I shall now briefly mention the different articles of the trade of Shendy with Egypt, Kordofan, Sennaar, and Souakin; premising, however, that I remained too short a time to collect the fullest and most correct information on that subject.

The principal articles imported from Egypt are the Sembil (ﻞﺒﻨﺳ), and Mehleb (ﺐﻠﺤﻣ), both of which are in great request in Soudan; the former as a perfume and medicine, the latter as a condiment, and occasionally as a medicine also. The traders usually sell them together, in the proportion of about three parts of Sembil to one of Mehleb. Thus, in general, each camel load contains about 350 pounds of the former, and 120 pounds of the latter; but sometimes it consists of equal quantities of each. The loads of these articles are termed exclusively Zamele (ﻪﻠﻣﺍﺯ), i. e. the full, or great load. Every respectable merchant coming from Egypt brings with him two Zameles. In the caravan with which I came there were eight, distributed amongst thirty-nine camels, the whole number of the beasts of transport. The Zamele is easily disposed of, in wholesale, to the Sennaar merchants, who give, in exchange, dollars, Dammour, and slaves.

There is much less demand for these drugs in the west than in the south of Africa. In the countries to the north of Abyssinia, in those south of Sennaar, and in Abyssinia itself, they are in constant use, and besides what passes by land, considerable quantities are shipped from Djidda to Massouah, for the Abyssinian market. They are here at least 250 per cent. dearer than at Cairo. The Egyptians sometimes push on as far as Sennaar, if they cannot find a ready sale for their Zamele at Shendy.

Soap. The soap which supplies all Egypt and Arabia, is manufactured at Gazé, Yaffa, Hebron, and Jerusalem. No good soap has hitherto been made in Egypt itself; there are several manufactories of it at Siout, but it is of a very inferior kind, the oil which they employ being made from the lettuce, instead of the olive. The Pasha of Egypt, however, has lately established, under the direction of an able Italian, a soap manufactory in the Delta. The oil is brought from the Archipelago, and the natron lakes furnish the alkali. Soap is a very profitable article, and in great demand in all parts of the southern countries, but it exposes the merchant to the importunities of numerous beggars of all classes, whose commonest intreaty is for a piece of soap to wash their shirt, and whom it is not always advisable to send away unsatisfied. Soap is sold at Shendy by the piece, without examining into its greater or smaller size. This is likewise the case with sugar. The loaf, weighing about four pounds, and the prime cost of which in the sugar works of Upper Egypt is one-sixth of a dollar, is sold for a dollar at Shendy. Its dearness is owing to the great risks incurred in transporting it, as a sudden fall of rain on the road might ruin a whole cargo.

Sugar is much in demand in all parts, for presents to the great people, and to the women. It is always eaten by itself, never entering into any dish of sweetmeats, or cookery.

The other chief imports of Egyptian manufacture are Takas, a sort of coarse cambric, died blue, with which the women, especially the Bedouin women, line their best clokes. It is sold in small pieces, one of which, when I was at Shendy, was worth a dollar; it is the most current article of merchandize in small bargains, and is principally bought up by the Kordofan merchants. It is everywhere very acceptable, as it serves to pay the local authorities, when dollars are not at hand. White cotton stufs, with red borders, made at Mehalla, in the Delta; they are worn by the great people, especially at Sennaar. Melayes, a blue striped cotton cloth, in which the women of distinction wrap themselves up when they sleep. The Darfour caravans also take from Egypt, as presents to kings and other great persons, scarlet cloth, and some velvet, satin, and gold-embroidered stuffs, of the lighter kind, from Lyons and Florence, together with a variety of English calicoes and cambrics. Linen made at Siout and Monfalout is in great request for shirts, but is too dear to be commonly worn. Egyptian Sheep-skins, dressed with the wool on, form also a considerable article of importation. They are used as saddlecloths for the horses, dromedaries, and asses, of the natives, and as carpets to sit upon in their women’s apartments. They are often died blue or red, and find their way to the farthest parts of the west and south. No chief of a tribe, or head of a village, is without one of these skins. The sheep of the southern countries bear no wool.

Beads. I have already mentioned the use of beads in these countries, as a kind of currency. The most common are small wooden beads, made by the turners of Upper Egypt, which are bought up chiefly by the Bedouin and other peasants. Others, of which the chief manufactory is at Déndera in Upper Egypt, are made of the kernels of the Doum, and are worn by all those who wish to distinguish themselves by an appearance of sanctity. A variety of beads, of a red and black colour, are imported from Jerusalem. There is hardly a man, woman, or, child, without a string or two of beads round the neck, or arm, or in their hands. Glass beads (Kherraz ﺯﺮﺧ) have not the same currency here as they have in Abyssinia and Darfour, though they are constantly seen in the market. The better sort are of Venetian manufacture, but the greater part are made at El Khalil (or Hebron, near Jerusalem), which furnishes the whole of southern Syria, and the greatest part of Egypt, and of Arabia, with glass ware. The white glass beads of Bohemia, called by the Italians Contaria d’Olanda, go to Darfour. Of Venetian glass beads, from four to five hundred chests, of ten cwt. each, are sold annually at Cairo, at from fifty to one hundred patacks per cwt., or from 4l. to 8l. I had an opportunity, when at Djidda, of seeing the beads destined for the Abyssinian market, of which I counted at least a dozen varieties, each known by its name, as, Om Shaher (ﺮﻬﺷ ﻡﺃ, the renowned), Serdj el Melouk (ﻙﻮﻠﻤﻟﺃ ﺝﺮﺳ, the king’s saddle), Ayn el Kahba (ﻪﺒﺤﻘﻟﺃ ﻦﻴﻋ, the whore’s eye), Alowan (ﻥﺍﻮﻟﺃ, the many-coloured), Khams djenous (ﺱﻮﻨﺟ ﺲﻤﺧ, the five sorts), Hassan Beg (ﻚﺑ ﻦﺴﺣ), Othman Beg (ﻚﺑ ﻦﻤﺜﻋ), all different species. Every district there has its particular glass bead, which is not in fashion in the neighbouring districts. The Souakin merchants import into Shendy a species of beads called Reysh (ﺶﻳﺭ), which are bought up exclusively by the Kordofan merchants, and which form the principal article of exchange for slaves, in their own country: they are likewise in demand at Darfour, Dar Saleh, and Bergho, to the west of Darfour. The Reysh come from the East Indies, principally from Surat; they are perforated balls of coloured agate, of the size of a small cherry, much resembling the marbles with which the children in Europe play. One thousand of these Reysh were worth, at Djidda, fifteen Spanish dollars. At Shendy they are sold at three Wokyes, or forty-eight dollars; and I was told that at Kordofan one thousand of them would purchase six female slaves, who, on being carried to Shendy, are there worth one hundred and twenty dollars. The Reysh are worn as necklaces by the women. The trade in this article is considered as one of the most profitable, because the beads are easily transported, and may escape the notice of the chiefs of the country.

Coral (Merdjan ﻥﺎﺟﺮﻣ) of a bad kind is brought in small quantities; the tribes of the chiefs adorn their necks with it, and also with amber. False coral (Merdjan kudab ﺏﺍﺪﻛ ﻥﺎﺟﺮﻣ) comes from Venice, and goes principally to the western countries. Of amber the transparent kind only is in request.

Paper (Papier de trois limes, from Genoa and Leghorn), is rather a heavy article here; it is more in demand in the western countries, to which it is carried by the Darfour caravans: it is, however, always found in the warehouses of the Egyptians. Pewter (Gasdir ﺮﻳﺪﺼﻗ) in thin bars, in small quantity. Old copper, principally large boilers, and pots, which are bought up by the slave traders, for their own use. Yellow brass wire (Selk Asfar ﺮﻔﺻﺃ ﻚﻠﺳ), for which there is a great demand throughout all these countries, for ornamenting the lances, by twisting it round different parts of the shaft.

Of hardware, the most current articles are razors, of that quality which, in Germany, from whence they come, may be worth three pence each; at Cairo, they are sold wholesale for twelve paras apiece. Files, almost all of which are transformed into knives, in order to obtain a good steel blade. Thimbles, scissars, needles, all of the coarsest kind, of Nuremberg manufacture; Nails, steels to strike fire; Sword-blades, of the kind, which I have already described, and which are in common use all over the Black countries to the east of the Fezzan trade. They come from Sohlingen in Germany; about three thousand of them are annually sold at Cairo to the southern traders. Antimony, in small lumps. Tar (Gitran ﻥﺍﺮﻄﻗ), with which water-skins are rubbed, to make them water-tight, and the backs of camels, to preserve them from the scab, or to cure them of that disease. Silver trinkets for female ornaments, as bracelets, ear-rings, &c.; of these the Darfour caravans take off considerable quantities from Egypt. Very small bells (sonaglii), with which they ornament, in Sennaar and Darfour, the camel’s bridle and halter. Marcasite (Roh toutiya ﻪﻴﺗﻮﺗ ﺡﻭﺭ) goes likewise to Sennaar and Darfour. Looking-glasses of Venetian and Trieste manufacture, with gilt covers, constitute a distinguished article of the Egyptian trade; the most common kinds are about four inches square; others are round, of about the same size, with a long handle, made at Cairo. No woman marries here without decorating her room with such a looking-glass.

Since the Mamelouks have established themselves in Dóngola, every Egyptian caravan brings to Shendy some articles of Mamelouk dress, as cloths, shoes, &c., which are purchased by the Dóngola merchants. Until lately the direct trade between Upper Egypt and Dóngola was prohibited by the Pasha of Egypt, and the merchants preferred this circuitous route to the danger of having their goods confiscated. During the warfare between the Mamelouks and the Sheygya, the former sent the greater part of their women to Shendy, as a place less exposed to the casualties of desultory warfare; they afterwards recalled them, but some were still there when I arrived, making themselves ridiculous by their arrogance and pretensions.

The Egyptian trade is, in general, carried on with very small capitals. I do not believe that there is a single merchant, the whole amount of whose stock exceeds fifteen hundred Spanish dollars. The family of the Alowein, with whom I came from Daraou, and who formed of themselves a party of about a dozen people, had no more than a thousand dollars embarked in their adventure. The common class of merchants have from two to three hundred dollars; even this money is seldom their own property; in general it is either borrowed by them in Upper Egypt, at high interest, or their merchandize is bought at Esne, Kenne, or even at Cairo, upon credit: the reason is, that no truly respectable merchant of Egypt ever engages in such enterprizes. A journey to Soudan is looked upon, even in Egypt, as a desperate undertaking, in which those only embark who have little or nothing to lose; and in general, the traffic in slaves, or, as it is often called in Egypt, the trade in human flesh (ﻡﺩﺃ ﻦﺑ ﻢﺣﻟ ﻲﻓ ﺏﺒﺴﺘﻟﺃ) is by no means thought creditable. The people of Daraou, however, find credit, and might easily accumulate riches, if they were not so incorrigibly vicious and dissipated, spending the best part of their profits in drinking and debauchery. The money which they borrow in Upper Egypt, and for which they generally pledge their houses or landed property, as security, is lent to them at an interest of fifty per cent. for the journey, whatever length of time they may remain absent; and the goods which are bought upon credit in Egypt, on condition of payment upon their return, are sold to them at a price raised in the same proportion. The Daraou merchants train their children, at a very early age, to this commerce. Several boys, hardly ten years of age, followed their fathers in the caravan with which I travelled from Daraou; and when once embarked in this traffic, they perform at least two journeys annually until their latest years. I have seen people at Daraou, who boasted that their great, great grandfathers (ﻱﺪﺟ ﺪﺟ) had been Sennaar merchants.

The Darfour merchants have at Cairo the reputation of being much better paymasters than those of the eastern route; they have also much larger capitals embarked in their trade, and are entrusted with more considerable sums upon credit, especially at Siout, where many of them make their purchases. It may easily be conceived, from what I have already said of the prices of several articles of trade, that the profits of the Egyptians are very great. In fact there is not a single article of Egyptian or European manufacture, which is not sold at Shendy at double or triple its prime cost in Egypt, and the products of the southern countries yield as great a profit when sold in Egypt. The rapacity of the chiefs through whose territories the caravans pass, the expense of transport across the desert, the feeding of the slaves, the tribute paid to the Ababdes, and the duties laid upon the trade by the Pasha of Egypt, are indeed heavy drawbacks, but still the profits are very considerable; and I am certain that a well chosen assortment of goods carried from Daraou to Shendy, leaves, after the sale of the return-cargo at Daraou, a clear gain of one hundred and fifty per cent., according to the most moderate calculation. I have heard of Zameles, or camel loads of Sembil and Mehleb, which, after having been exchanged at Shendy for slaves, produced at Cairo a profit of almost five hundred per cent. Of late, the Egyptian merchants have found dollars the most beneficial article of importation from Europe, because with dollars camels can be immediately procured in any quantity; but this preference will last only as long as camels continue to be in great demand in Egypt, for the transport between Kenne and Kosseir, and for the supply of the Turkish army in the Hedjaz.

There are a few instances of wealthy merchants from Egypt having come to Shendy with large capitals, as Bakim Aga, a Smyrniote by birth, who, eight or ten years ago, left Egypt with about twenty loaded camels, but who died at Shendy: his property fell a prey to the Mek, and no one has since made a similar attempt. The entire amount of the capital invested by the Egyptian merchants in the Soudan trade, I calculate to be from sixty to eighty thousand dollars, but as this sum produces a profit twice, and sometimes thrice in one year, according to the number of journeys, the whole value of the imports into these countries from Egypt, may be computed at about fifteen hundred, or two thousand dollars per annum. No dollars are re-exported from the Negro countries; they are dispersed or hoarded by the chiefs and other persons, and thus Soudan becomes a continual drain for a part of the silver of Europe.

The trade might be much improved, either by regularity in the departure of the caravans (they might quit Daraou, for instance, every two months), or by establishing factories at Berber and Shendy; for at present, caravans from all parts are often kept waiting for months for the arrival of others, to which alone they can dispose of their goods. The Nubian desert is indeed crossed almost every fortnight by small parties of adventurers; but they trade at every place on the road, and Egyptian goods can seldom be found in any quantity at Shendy (and I suppose it is the same at Sennaar), except after the arrival of the large caravans, the departure of which from Daraou is at present quite irregular. The Sennaar caravan sets out from Upper Egypt generally once a year, and returns the next year. It rests at Berber, Damer, and Shendy, and is often from two to three months on its way from Daraou to Sennaar. This caravan consists of three or four hundred men, and several hundred camels, and it is joined on its return by many Sennaar traders, chiefly agents of the king of Sennaar and his vizier, who are the principal merchants at that place. It was with this caravan that the Pasha of Egypt sent last year an envoy to Sennaar, for the purpose, as it was said, of exciting the king against the Mamelouks, and at the same time of informing himself of the practicability of invading the country with a Turkish army. Notwithstanding the contrary assertions of the government of Egypt, it is certain that the ambassador was much slighted, and narrowly escaped ill treatment in the road. He carried to the king of Sennaar presents of shawls, muslins, arms, &c. to the amount of three or four thousand dollars; in return for which the king sent to Mohammed Aly three or four ugly female slaves, some leopard skins, a civet cat, two monkeys, and a young lion, which died in its passage through the desert; the whole present was worth, at Sennaar, about eighty dollars. During my stay in Arabia I was informed that an embassy sent by Mohammed Aly to Abyssinia, had had a still less agreeable issue. Mohammed having taken possession of the town and harbour of Massouah, where, until that time, the Sherif of Mekka had kept his collector of customs, and having thus become a neighbour of the Abyssinians, thought it necessary to place himself upon good terms with the king of Gondar, preferring, by these means, to counteract any efforts which the Mamelouks might make in that direction, while he gratified his vanity in causing it to be said that the celebrity of his name had reached even the most inaccessible parts of Africa. The ambassador, however, was stopped at Axum by Ras Weled Selase, in the same manner as Mr. Salt had been, some years before. Selase took the presents destined for the king, and sent the Pasha, in return, a white linen shirt (the dress of the country), and one hundred Spanish dollars, as a subsidy for his expenses in the Wahabi campaign.

Caravans from Sennaar arrive at Shendy every six weeks, or two months. Whenever they bring Dhourra, the number of their loaded camels amounts to five or six hundred; but if they have only goods and slaves, they seldom have one hundred camels with them. The principal import from Sennaar is the Dammour, or cotton stuff, which is in use not only along the banks of the Nile, as far as Dóngola, but in Kordofan, in a great part of Darfour, and Abyssinia, and throughout the whole of Nubia east of the Nile, as far as the Red Sea. This article is always in great demand, and is therefore taken in exchange for almost every article of trade. The cotton manufactories of Sennaar, and those of Bagerme, to the west of Darfour, furnish the greater part of northeastern Africa with articles of dress.

Gold is the second article in the Sennaar trade. It is purchased by the merchants of Sennaar from the Abyssinian traders; but I have not been able exactly to ascertain in what province of western Abyssinia it is found. The principal market for gold appears to be Ras el Fil, a station in the caravan route from Sennaar to Gondar, four days journeys from the former. This route is at present much frequented by Sennaar traders, as well as by that class of Abyssinian merchants called Djebert (ﺕﺮﺒﺟ), who appear to be the chief slave and gold traders of that country. I have never heard of a single Egyptian merchant who ever pushed on as far as Ras el Fil; for although the road is not unsafe, yet every body seems to be afraid in these countries of undertaking distant journeys unaccompanied by a large party of his own countrymen. The jealousy of all classes of merchants is very great, and their known treachery prevents single adventurers from trusting themselves to their mercy, or good faith.

The Djebert above mentioned often repair to Sennaar, chiefly in search of Negro slaves; and I have reason to believe that the route from Sennaar through Ras el Fil to Gondar, and from thence to the coast, may be safely travelled in time of internal peace. The gold imported from Sennaar is principally bought up by the Souakin traders, who carry it to Djidda, where it is given in payment for India goods. It is seldom purchased by the Egyptian merchants, as it is not very profitable. At Sennaar the ounce of pure gold is worth twelve dollars; at Shendy, sixteen; at Souakin, twenty; at Djidda, twenty-two. Although the Souakin merchants might purchase at Shendy many articles more profitable than gold, they often prefer it on account of its easy transport, and the facility with which they can secrete it, and avoid paying any duty on the road.

Slaves are also brought to Shendy by the merchants of Sennaar. Since the direct caravan route from Sennaar to Kordofan has been interrupted, principally by the robberies and the rapacity of the Arabs of Shilluk, at the passage of the Bahr el Abyadh, this is the only route open to them. The slaves are chiefly either Abyssinians or of the race called Nouba (sing. Nebowy, ﻩﻮﺒﻧ). The former consist principally of females of the Gala nations, and of a few Amaaras. Upon the whole, the number of Abyssinians sent to the northward by Shendy is small. The best female Abyssinians are always purchased by the chiefs for their own harems; and in Arabia and Egypt Abyssinian slaves may be had cheaper by the Djebert traders from Massouah, who sell them at Djidda. I think that not more than one hundred female Abyssinian slaves are annually exported from Sennaar either to Souakin or to Egypt. Latterly the Mamelouks have bought up many of them, the Abyssinians being remarked above all other black women for their beauty, and for the warmth and constancy of their affection to the master who has once taught them to love him.

The name of Nouba is given to all the Blacks coming from the slave countries to the south of Sennaar. The territory of Sennaar extends, as far as I could learn from the merchants of the country, ten days journey beyond the city, in a south and south-east direction, and is inhabited exclusively by free Arab tribes, who make incursions into the more southern mountains, and carry off the children of the idolaters. These Nouba slaves (among whom must also be reckoned those who are born in the neighbourhood of Sennaar, of male Negroes and female Abyssinians; and who are afterwards sold by the masters of the parents) form a middle class between the true Blacks and the Abyssinians; their colour is less dark than that of the Negroe, and has a copper tinge, but it is darker than that of the free Arabs of Sennaar and Shendy. Their features, though they retain evident signs of Negroe origin, have still something of what is called regular; their noses, though smaller than those of the Europeans, are less flat than those of the Negroes; their lips are less thick, and the cheek-bones not so prominent. The hair of some is woolly; but among the greater part it is similar to the hair of Europeans, but stronger, and always curled. The palm of their hands is soft, a circumstance by which they particularly distinguish themselves from the true Negroe, whose hands, when touched feel like wood.

The male Noubas in Egypt, as well as in Arabia, are preferred to all others, for labour: they bear a good character, and sell at Shendy and in Egypt twenty per cent. dearer than the Negroes. The male Abyssinians, on the contrary, are known to be little fit for bodily work, but they are esteemed for their fidelity, and make excellent house servants, and often clerks, their intellects being certainly much superior to those of the Blacks. The Noubas are said to be of a healthier constitution, and to suffer less from disease than the Abyssinians. The greatest part of them are exported to Egypt; but some are sent to Souakin.

Ivory. Elephants teeth are bought up by the Egyptian merchants, but in small quantities. This branch of commerce seems to have been formerly much more flourishing; but at present there is little demand for ivory in Egypt, probably because Europe draws its supplies cheaper from Barbary and the East Indies. The importation of ivory, however, from Darfour into Egypt is still of some importance, though ivory often fails entirely in the market of Cairo.

The Negroes seem never to have known the art of taming the elephant; they catch him in pits, or kill him by discharging a shower of javelins from the trees under which he passes. The flesh is said to be eaten near Sennaar.

Rhinoceros horns; in Egyptian Arabic called Khartit (ﺖﻴﺗﺮﺧ). The rhinoceros is called in the Negroe countries Om Korn (ﻥﺮﻗ ﻡﺃ), or, the mother (i. e. the owner) of the one horn; it is evidently from this animal that the imaginary unicorn has had its origin. The Arabs have often described to me the rhinoceros as an animal like a large cow, with thick legs, and a short tail, with one long horn on its forehead, and having a skin like large scales, as hard as iron. Whenever I described the unicorn, and asked them whether such an animal, with a long horn existed, they never failed to point out the Om Korn, as the animal I meant. The rhinoceros inhabits the neighbourhood of Sennaar, but never the countries of the Nile to the north of that place. Its northern boundary, like that of the elephant, seems to be the mountain to the north of the village of Abou Heraze, two days journeys from Sennaar, which advances close to the river, and thus intercepts the passage along its banks. Neither of these animals is known at Shendy, or at Halfaya, which is two days to the south of the former place. The Khartit, or horn of the rhinoceros, is worked at Cairo into ornaments for the handles of swords and poniards, to be mounted in the Mamelouk fashion. It is dear; I have seen pieces about four inches long, and one inch thick, sold for four or five Spanish dollars each.

The Musk of the civet-cat is not sold at Shendy; but the Souakin merchants who visit Sennaar bring with them small quantities of it, which they sell again at Djidda. The principal markets for this article are Massouah, and Mekka, during the Hadj. It is brought to Cairo by the Djidda merchants.

The Whips above mentioned, called Korbadj, are imported from Sennaar only.

Ebony is brought in small pieces; the largest I saw were about one foot in length. The wood is said to grow to the south of Sennaar; but, I suspect, at a great distance, as it is very dear. Knife handles, neatly worked in ebony, are brought from Sennaar; the knives, which are worn tied over the elbow by the Arabs of those countries, are afterwards fitted into them. The Djellabs, or slave merchants, do not carry any ebony into Egypt, Cairo being supplied with it from Djidda; but I understand that it grows in the deserts adjoining to Darfour on the west.

Coffee-beans, in small quantity, the growth of Abyssinia and the Gala country. None of these are carried from Massouah to Djidda, as the coffee plant grows in the most western parts of Abyssinia only. Coffee is not commonly drank here; it is a luxury in which the chiefs alone indulge.

Leather. The best manufactories of leather, between Darfour and the Red Sea, are at Sennaar. The manufacturers exercise their skill chiefly in making camel saddles ﺔﻌﺼﻗ Gassaat), leathern sacks, and sandals. The first are exported to Egypt for the dromedaries, or riding-camels, and are sold there as high as twenty dollars. They are ornamented with many pretty leathern tassels, and are of workmanship equally elegant and durable. The leathern sacks are bought up by the Souakin merchants, and sold by them to the inhabitants of Yemen, who use them for carrying provisions in travelling; they are extremely well sewed; some of them are secured with a padlock: great numbers of them were formerly sold at Mekka to the Wahabi by the Souakin people. The leather is of the best quality, much superior to that made in Egypt and Syria, and almost as good as the Russia leather. The Sennaar sandals are worn by all the well-dressed men and women throughout Nubia; a young woman had rather wear a torn shirt than ugly sandals. They are sown with a precision and nicety little to be expected from the rude Arabs. At Shendy the best sandals cost two dollars a pair. Every place in these countries has a peculiar fashion in the form of the sandals worn by its inhabitants; so that, with a little experience, the residence of every man may be ascertained by looking at his feet. The same custom prevails in Arabia; and I remember, that when I first arrived at Djidda, wearing a pair of sandals which I had bought at Souakin, many persons, who knew nothing of me, pointed to my sandals, and asked what business I had had at Souakin.

Small water flasks (ﻩﺮﻬﻄﻣ Mattharah, or ﻪﻴﻣﺰﻣﺯ Zamzamieh), made of leather, which are much esteemed in Egypt.

To the imports of Sennaar belong likewise the Shields made of the skins of the rhinoceros and giraffa; they are made by the Bedouin Arabs, who sell them at Sennaar, and they are used all along the Nile, and across the mountains, as far as Kosseir and Kenne, in Upper Egypt.

The fruit of the Nebek, the fleshy part of which is separated from the stone, and dried in the sun; it is put up in small leathern bags and carried as far as Souakin; it affords a very agreeable provision during a journey.

The most important articles of the Sennaar trade at Shendy are camels and Dhourra, without the continual importation of which Shendy would soon be in danger of famine. The Dhourra caravans usually perform the journey by themselves, the merchants seldom joining them, but forming caravans of their own. They are more wealthy people than the Egyptian traders; and it is not rare to see a man possessing ten camel loads of Dammour, and a whole party of slaves. I was told the name of a Sennaar merchant who bought at Shendy the entire loads of an Egyptian caravan, consisting of thirty camels.

Honey, in considerable quantity, is also imported from Sennaar. As far as I could understand, the Arabs about Sennaar collect wild honey in great quantity, but do not trouble themselves with keeping beehives near their own houses.

I did not learn that any passage duties, or customs, are exacted at Sennaar; the only obstacle thrown in the way of trade is that the king always forces his own merchandize upon the buyer, before the private adventurers can enter into any bargains. The Sennaar merchants take in return from the Egyptian traders Sembil and Mehleb, in large quantities, sugar, soap, and almost every article of the Egyptian and Souakin markets. Since the interruption of the direct communication between Sennaar and Kordofan, the inhabitants of the former place have been known to buy at Shendy Negro slaves brought from Kordofan, which they can obtain here at lower prices than their own Nouba slaves at Sennaar. During my residence at Shendy, the route along the Nile to Sennaar was rendered dangerous, from the disputes that had arisen between the Meks of Halfaya and Herbadjy; the caravans therefore preferred taking the desert route, which lies parallel with the river, at about one day’s journey inland, as far as Abou Heraze, where they again join the river; a single well is met with in this route, at about three days from Shendy, and this even is sometimes not taken into the road, on account of the visits of the Bedouins Shukorye, of whom the Sennaar people entertain great fears.

The arrival of the Kordofan caravans at Shendy is quite uncertain, and depends upon the caprice of the governor of Kordofan, who often prevents the departure of merchants, in order to increase his own commercial profits. Three months sometimes elapse without any arrival, after which they come in rapid succession. The road from Obeydh (ﺾﻴﺑﺃ) (not Ibeit, as Browne writes it), the capital of Kordofan, to Shendy, is quite safe; it is performed in about fourteen days, of which the five last are through a desert without water. With the Kordofan caravans arrive also merchants from Darfour; and the intercourse between Kobé, the capital of Darfour, and Obeydh, is said to be at present very brisk, and quite safe. Kordofan has no other slaves than those brought from Darfour; its own people, it seems, do not traffic with the southern Negro countries; but since the arrival of the Mamelouks in Dóngola, a direct trade has been opened between that country and Kordofan, the northern limits of which are said to be only six days distance from the frontiers of Dóngola.

The arrival of every Kordofan caravan at Shendy fills the market with slaves, who constitute the principal import from thence. The Kordofan merchants bring likewise gum arabic, of the best quality known in the Negro countries; Erdeyb, or Tamarinds; the gum Leban; Natron from Darfour; Sheshme, the seed used in Egypt for diseases of the eye; Shooshe, a small pea of Kordofan and Darfour growth; the latter are of a fine pink colour, with a small black spot at one end, and are worn in strings as necklaces. They sell also ropes of leather. The inhabitants of the countries on the Nile make their ropes and cords of the fibrous inner bark of the palm date-tree, called Lif (ﻒﻴﻟ), or of reeds which grow on the banks of river; but all the western nations, where no date-trees grow, use for their packages twisted leathern thongs, which are of great solidity and strength, a very important advantage in travelling through the deserts with heavily loaded camels. These ropes are sold to the Egyptian and Souakin merchants, as are likewise large leathern sacks made of very thick ox-leather in Kordofan and Darfour. These sacks are used for the transport of Dhourra meal through the desert for the food of the slaves. Large water-skins (Rey ﻱﺭ) made of ox-hides, in which traders who have many slaves transport water through the desert: two of these Reys make a camel’s load; they keep the water much better than the smaller goats skins, and the thickness of the leather prevents it from evaporating so readily. Reys are a considerable article of commerce between Darfour and Egypt; they are used in all the towns of Egypt, and particularly at Cairo, to transport the water from the river to the town, for the daily use of the inhabitants. The Kordofan merchants bring likewise water-skins made of sheep-skins, in the manufacture of which great skill is shown, because the skins are preserved entire. The animals are killed by cutting off the head; and those who slaughter them possess an art, unknown to the Arabian Bedouins, of taking off the skin without cutting it, by introducing the hand at the aperture in the throat, armed with a small knife, and thus separating it entirely from the carcase. A Kordofan water-skin has thus no seams but where the legs are cut off, while the common ones are sewed up on three sides. Another import from Kordofan are large wooden dishes, or bowls, carved, as it is said, out of the root of some tree; they are rubbed with butter, and then held over the fire, to give them a black colour. These bowls often supply the place of the China ware, vessels, dishes, cups, &c. which in the more polite parts of the East are placed upon shelves along the walls of the sitting-room, as ornaments. Some of these bowls are large enough to contain sufficient food for twelve persons; they are very nicely worked; not the smallest trace of the instruments with which they are formed can be observed.

Ostrich feathers brought by the Kordofan merchants are also in great request. These merchants are people of moderate property; the greater part of them have wives at Shendy and at Darfour, as well as at Obeydh; they buy up slaves at Darfour, remain awhile with their families at Obeydh, and then bring their slaves to Shendy. They have a better character for honesty than the people of Sennaar, but the favourable opinion entertained of them does not induce any one to trust them with goods upon credit. They take in return from Shendy, a little Sembil and Mehleb, some antimony and beads, a good deal of spices, especially cloves, which are in great demand all over the western countries; a little hardware; Dammour from Sennaar; Egyptian linen; Indian cotton stuffs imported from Souakin; a few silk and cloth dresses from the Hedjaz, which are worn by the chiefs, who seem to be extremely fond of gaudy showy dresses, as a mark of distinction; some coffee-beans; but above all, Reysh, or Indian agate beads. The common currency of Kordofan, besides Dhourra, is said to be small pieces of iron, with which milk, flesh, and Dhoken bread, are bought in the market. These pieces of iron are collected and worked into axes and spear-heads. Cows are likewise taken as a medium of exchange. Slaves are often bought for so many cows; wild herbage for their food is so abundant, that nobody objects to keeping large numbers of those animals in their court-yards.

The most substantial of all the traders who at present frequent the Shendy market are the people from Souakin, or as they are more commonly called in this part of Africa, the Hadharebe, or Hadharame, that is, people of Hadremaut, in South Arabia, from whence they draw their origin. Some of these traders are always found at Shendy: during my stay there two caravans took their departure for Souakin, and one large party arrived; and no month passes without some arrivals from that quarter. The Hadhareb also visit the Sennaar market; their caravans to that place either take the road by Shendy, or the nearer one by Goz Radjeb, on the Atbara, from whence they proceed straight across the desert to Sennaar. Some of the Hadharebe also frequent Obeydh in Kordofan, but not in sufficient numbers to form a caravan of their own, and they therefore join the native traders. Their caravans are hailed at Shendy by the Sennaar and Kordofan people, as the promptest purchasers of their goods; but they create great jealousy among the Egyptians, whose rivals they are in various articles of import. The Souakin trade supplies Shendy principally with India goods. Different sorts of cambric (ﺖﻔﺑ Baft, and another sort called ﻩﻮﻨﺑ Benoueh) from Madras and Surat; and coarse muslins from Bengal are partly wanted for the use of the Shendy and Sennaar inhabitants themselves; but the greater part is given in exchange to the Kordofan merchants for slaves. They bring also spices, especially cloves, ginger (Zandjebil ﻞﻴﺒﺠﻧﺯ), India sugar, Mokha beads, as they are called, though none are made at Mokha; sandal wood, which is an article of consequence, and finds its way from hence to the countries west of Darfour, as far as Bagermé; and all the articles of hardware imported by the Egyptians, in which, however, the latter can afford to undersell them. They also bring the Dhofer, which is taken by the Sennaar and Darfour merchants. It is the shell of an animal found in the Red Sea, cut into small pieces, and used as a perfume, emitting a pleasant odour when held over the fire. The pieces of the Dhofer, cut like beads, are much esteemed in the Hedjaz and Egypt, where the ladies wear them as necklaces; they are of a black, or dark blue colour, with veins of a lighter hue. The people of Souakin export them likewise to Djidda.

The Hadharebe take in return gold, slaves (Abyssinians in preference), and all the other articles of the Negro trade, except gum arabic; though they sometimes take this article also, and sell it at Mokha, to English and American traders. Every Souakin caravan purchases at Shendy a number of horses of the Dóngola breed, which they sell to great advantage in Yemen, at Hodeyda, Loheya, and as far south as Mokha. The cavalry of the Sherif Hamoud, the present chief of Yemen, are mounted almost entirely upon horses from Dóngola, for the good breed of native Arab horses is very scarce in Yemen.

The Souakin caravans, that go as far as Sennaar, bring from thence a large quantity of tobacco, which they sell in the Yemen. These merchants enjoy more credit at Shendy than any others, because they are the richest and most numerous, all free Arabs themselves, not peasants, like those of Upper Egypt, or Blacks, like those of Kordofan; but composed chiefly of the best families of Souakin, and who are prompt to revenge an insult offered to any individual amongst them. They are always treated very politely by the Mek, to whom they make larger presents than any other traders. But I shall recur to this subject hereafter, under the head of Souakin, which at present is, next to Massouah and Cairo, the most important slave-trading place in north-eastern Africa, beyond the limits of Soudan.

The Dóngola trade is of little consequence at Shendy. The Dongoláwy bring dates, which they buy up in Mahass, and tobacco, the growth of their own country. Dates are sent to Sennaar and to Kordofan as presents to the chiefs, and are there considered, next to sugar, the most exquisite dainty they have.

The female slaves who have served an apprenticeship in the houses at Dóngola are eagerly sought for by all traders, as expert cooks, and good servants.

From the concurrence of all these traders, Shendy has become the first commercial town in the Black countries for the Egyptian and Arabian slave trade. These two trades, and the Abyssinian, are closely allied to each other, and merchants of all the three countries occasionally meet each other upon the most distant limits of their respective trades: and the imports into Africa from the north and east are much the same. The farthest limit of the trade appears to be Dar Saley, or perhaps Bagermé, to the west and northwest of Darfour. Although the countries, to a considerable distance beyond those provinces, keep up an intercourse with Darfour, for the purpose of receiving Arabian and Egyptian merchandize, they are not accessible to commercial enterprize; and merchants, with goods of any value, would in vain attempt to pass through the hostile tribes of Arabs and Bedouins who people the Bahr el Ghazal, and the idolatrous African nations between Bagermé and Afnou. Beyond Bahr el Ghazal, towards the frontiers of Bournou, the Fezzan, or Zeyla trade, as it is here termed, begins to exercise its influence, and spreads from thence far westward across Soudan. Notwithstanding my repeated questions on this head (and such questions may be put to the Black traders without fear of exciting jealousy or suspicion), I never could trace any regular intercourse, by means of caravans, between eastern and western Soudan; nor have I ever seen any merchants who came from the countries beyond Bagermé. Those persons who wish to engage in that direction join the Fezzan caravans at Bornou. The few Bornou people who come by the direct route through Bahr el Ghazal to Darfour are pilgrims who live by charity. The greater part of the slaves met with at Shendy are from the idolatrous countries in the vicinity of Darfour, Borgho, and Dar Saley. Those from Bornou, who are easily distinguished by their tattooed skin, never find their way to Shendy; such of them as are seen in Egypt, came by the way of Fezzan. Few foreign traders, except Egyptians, visit Shendy. A few Yembawy, or Arabians from Yembo, arrive occasionally by the Souakin caravans, and there are others of the same people, who accompany the Egyptian caravans, for there are considerable settlements of Yembawy at Kenne and Gous, in Upper Egypt. When I was at Shendy, there were at Kordofan, two Yembawy and one Turk from Mohil; the latter had gone thither with a small adventure from Egypt, but had spent his money in debauchery, and could not raise enough to carry him back to the northern countries. Turkish merchants going from Egypt to Darfour, and Sherifs from the Hedjaz, whose object it is to importune the chiefs for presents, occasionally come this way. While I was at Shendy an Arabian came from Souakin, who was of the tribe of Refaay (ﻲﻋﺎﻓﺭ), which is related to the great tribe of Djeheyne (ﻪﻨﻴﻬﺟ), near Yembo; he told me that he had heard that there were descendants of his own tribe of Refaay settled to the south of Sennaar, and that he intended to visit them, in the hope of obtaining some presents from them, as they had always manifested kindness to their relatives in the Hedjaz, especially to such as had undertaken the journey for the purpose of saluting them. He knew the name, and the place of residence of one of the chiefs of these Refaay on the river, about six days above Sennaar, and he left Shendy with the Sennaar caravan, on his way thither.

Persons from the Hedjaz and from Egypt sometimes pass by Shendy on their way to Sennaar, in search of young monkeys, which they teach to perform the tricks so amusing to the populace in the towns of Arabia, Syria, and Egypt. I was repeatedly asked whether I had not come in search of monkeys, for that my equipments appeared too shabby for those of a merchant. These monkey-hunters are held in great contempt, because, as the Negroes say, they pass their whole lives in making others laugh at them.

I have extended my remarks upon commerce to so great a length because it is the very life of society in these countries. There is not a single family which is not connected, more or less, with some branch of traffic, either wholesale or retail, and the people of Berber and Shendy appear to be a nation of traders in the strictest sense of the word. I have a few remarks to add upon the most important branch of their commerce, the slave-trade.

I calculate the number of slaves sold annually in the market of Shendy at about five thousand, of whom about two thousand five hundred are carried off by the Souakin merchants, and fifteen hundred by those of Egypt; the remainder go to Dóngola, and to the Bedouins who live to the east of Shendy, towards the Atbara and the Red Sea. I have already made some mention of the places from whence these slaves come. Those brought from Kordofan to Darfour, are, for the greater part, from the idolatrous countries of Benda, Baadja, Fetigo, and Fertit, to the south and south-west of Darfour, from twenty to forty days from Kobbe; each of these countries speaks a separate language. The Darfour merchants trade with Fertit, which lies about twenty days distant from Kobbe, in a southerly direction: the country is mountainous, and its inhabitants are wholly ignorant of agriculture; but they have tasted the luxury of Dhourra and Dokhen; and are said, in cases of a dearth of these grains, to sell even their own children to procure them.

Far the largest proportion of the slaves imported into Shendy are below the age of fifteen. All of them, both male and female, are divided by the traders, with reference to age, into three classes: namely, Khomasy (ﻲﺳﺎﻤﺧ), comprising those apparently below ten or eleven years; Sedasy (ﻲﺳﺍﺪﺳ), those above eleven and below fourteen or fifteen; and Balegh (ﻎﻟﺎﺑ), or grown up, those of fifteen and upwards. The Sedasy are the most esteemed; when I was at Shendy a male of this class was worth fifteen or sixteen dollars, provided he bore the marks of the small pox, without which a boy is not worth more than two-thirds of that price; a female was worth from twenty to twenty-five Spanish dollars. The price of the male Khomasy was twelve, of the female fifteen dollars. The male Balegh seldom sells for more than eight or ten dollars; and there is but a small proportion of this class, because it is thought both in Egypt and Arabia, that no great dependence can be placed upon any slave, who has not been brought up in the owner’s family from an early age. Hence there is a great, reluctance to the purchasing of grown up slaves for domestic purposes, or even for labourers. The Baleghs are chiefly bought by the Bedouins, who employ them as shepherds. The Bisharein have many of them in all their encampments. Grown up female slaves, although past the age of beauty, sometimes sell for as much as thirty dollars, if they are known to be skilful in working, sewing, cooking, &c. In Syria few slaves are kept; those which I have seen there are, for the greater part, imported by the caravans from Bagdad, and come from Souahel on the Mozambik coast.

Few slaves are imported into Egypt, without changing masters several times, before they are finally settled in a family; for instance, those from Fertit are first collected on the borders of that country by petty merchants who deal in Dhourra. These sell them to the traders of Kobbe, who repair to Fertit in small caravans for that purpose. At Kobbe they are bought up by the Darfour, or Kordofan traders, who transport them to Obeydh in Kordofan. Here they generally pass into the hands of other Kordofan dealers, who carry them to Shendy, for the Soudan merchants commonly limit their speculations to a single market; thus the Kordofan people who trade to Darfour are different from those who visit Shendy, while, on the other hand, the Egyptians who trade to Shendy only, are different from those who proceed forward to Sennaar; and, in like manner, the Souakin traders are divided into Shendy and Sennaar merchants. At Shendy the slave is bought by some Egyptian or Abadbe. Upon his arrival in Upper Egypt he is disposed of either at Esne, Siout, or Cairo. In the two first places, entire lots of slaves are taken off by merchants, who sell them in retail at Cairo, or in the small towns of Upper Egypt, in each of which they stop for a few days, in their passage down the river. Even at Cairo they are not always finally disposed of in the first instance. The Khan of the slave-traders, called Okal-ed-djelabe, which is near the mosque El Azher, is crowded with pedlars and petty traders, who often bargain with the merchants of Upper Egypt for slaves immediately after their arrival, and content themselves with a small profit for the re-sale. Again, there are merchants from Smyrna and Constantinople residing constantly at Cairo, who deal in nothing but slaves; these persons export them from Alexandria, and it often happens that they pass through three or four hands, between Alexandria and their final destination in the northern provinces of Turkey. Such is the common lot of the unfortunate slave, but many instances happen of a still more rapid change of masters. At Shendy and Esne I have seen slaves bought and sold two or three times before they were finally removed from the market; after which, perhaps, if the master at the end of a few days trial did not find them answer his expectations, he would again put them up for sale, or exchange them for others. In fact, slaves are considered on the same level with any other kind of merchandize, and as such are continually passing from one merchant to another. The word Ras (head) is applied to them as to the brute species; and a man is said to possess ten Ras Raghig (ﻖﻴﻏﺭ), or ten head of slaves, in the same manner as he would be said to possess fifty Ras Ghanam, or head of sheep. When the buyer is desired to take the slave away, it is usual to say, Soughe, (ﻪﻗﻮﺳ), drive him out, an expression which is applied only to cattle, as Soug el ghanam go damek (ﻚﻣﺍﺪﻗ ﻢﻨﻐﻟﺃ ﻕﻮﺳ).

I have seen among the young slaves on sale at Shendy, many children of four or five years old without their parents; others of the same age are met with in the market, with their mothers; and the traders so far shew humanity, that they seldom sell them separately; when such a thing is done, the vender is in general reproached with being guilty of an act of cruelty.

The traders, in buying slaves, are very attentive to their origin, because long experience has proved to them that there is little variety of character amongst individuals of the same nation. Thus the Noubas who come from Sennaar are said to have the best dispositions next to the Abyssinians and Gallas, and to be the most attached to their masters. Of the Abyssinians, those from the northern provinces, called Kostanis, are said to be treacherous and malicious, while the Amaaras are noted for their amiable tempers. Of the western Negroes those from Benda are the most esteemed, and next to them those imported into Darfour from Borgho, a Mohammedan country, whose inhabitants carry off their pagan neighbours. The slaves from Fertit are said to be ferocious and vindictive, and stand the lowest on the list.

Few slaves arrive at Shendy who have not already passed a considerable time in a state of slavery. The strongest proof of this fact is, that I never saw any who could not make themselves understood in Arabic; and the greater part of those imported from Darfour and Kordofan, besides their own native tongue, and Arabic, have some acquaintance with the idioms of those countries.

As soon as a slave boy becomes the property of a Mussulman master he is circumcised, and has an Arabic name given to him. They are seldom honoured with a true Mussulman name; such as Hassan, Mohammed, Selim, Mustapha, &c. Most of them bear such names as these: ﷲ ﺮﻴﺧ Kheyr el illah; ﷲ ﻞﻀﻓFadil ’lilah; ﻊﺳﺍﻮﻟﺃ ﻞﻀﻓFadil Elwasia; ﺪﺟﺍﻭ ﺮﺒﺟ Jaber Wadjed; ﺮﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﻡﺃ Om Elkheyr, and the like. Sometimes the names are more extraordinary, as ﺮﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﺡﺎﺒﺻ Sabah el Kheyr (good morning), ﺏﺍﺮﺟ Djerab (leather sack), &c. &c. It very rarely happens that any uncircumcised boys come from the west; and I never knew any instance of a Negroe boy following the pagan worship of his father, and refusing to become Mussulman; though I have heard it related of many Abyssinian slaves, who, after having been converted from idolatry to the Christian religion by the Abyssinian Copts, were sold by them to the Mussulman traders. I have been told of several of these slaves, particularly females, so steadily refusing to abjure their faith, when in the harem of a Mohammedan, that their masters were finally obliged to sell them, in the dread of having children born of a Christian mother, which would have been a perpetual reproach to the father and his offspring. In Soudan, the slaves, though made Mussulmans by the act of circumcision, are never taught to read or to pray: and even in Egypt and Arabia this instruction is seldom given to any but those for whom their masters take a particular liking. It may be observed, nevertheless, that they are greater fanatics than the proudest Olemas, and that Christians and Franks are more liable to be insulted by slaves than by any other class of Mussulmans.

I enquired at Shendy whether any of the slaves were eunuchs, but I was informed that no eunuchs were imported into that place during my stay, and that Borgho, to the west of Darfour, is the only country in eastern Soudan where slaves are thus mutilated for exportation. Their number, however, is very small; a few are carried to Egypt from Darfour, and the remainder are sent as presents by the Negroe sovereigns to the great mosques at Mekka and Medina, by the way of Souakin. The great manufactory which supplies all European, and the greater part of Asiatic Turkey with these guardians of female virtue, is at Zawyet ed-deyr (ﺮﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺖﻳﻭﺯ), a village near Siout in Upper Egypt, chiefly inhabited by Christians. The operators, during my stay in that part of the country, were two Coptic monks, who were said to excel all their predecessors in dexterity, and who had a house in which the victims were received. Their profession is held in contempt even by the vilest Egyptians; but they are protected by the government, to which they pay an annual tax; and the great profits which accrue to the owners of the slaves in consequence of their undergoing this cruel operation, tempts them to consent to an act which many of them in their hearts abhor. The operation itself, however extraordinary it may appear, very seldom proves fatal. I know certainly, that of sixty boys upon whom it was performed in the autumn of 1813, two only died; and every person whom I questioned on the subject in Siout assured me that even this was above the usual proportion, the deaths being seldom more than two in a hundred. As the greater number undergo the operation immediately after the arrival of the Darfour and Sennaar caravans at Siout, I had no opportunity of witnessing it, but it has been described to me by several persons who have often seen it performed. The boys chosen, are between the age of eight and twelve years, for at a more advanced age, there is great risk of its proving fatal. — Puer, corpore depresso, a robustis quibusdam hominibus, super mensâ continetur. Tunc emasculator, vinculis sericis sapone illitis, genitalia comprimit, et cum cultro tonsorio (dum puer pro dolore animo deficit) quam celerrime rescindit. Ad hemorhagiam sistendam plagam pulvere et arenâ calidâ adurunt, et post aliquot dies calido oleo inungunt. Dein vulnus cum emplastro aliquo, quod inter Coptos arcanum est, per quadraginta spatium dierum donec glutinetur curatur. Nunquam de celotomia sub hoc cœlo audivi. — The operation is always performed upon the strongest and best looking boys; but it has a visible effect upon their features when they arrive at full age. The faces of the eunuchs whom I saw in the Hedjaz, appeared almost destitute of flesh, the eye hollow, the cheek bones prominent, and the whole physiognomy having a skeleton-like appearance, by which the eunuch may generally be recognised at first sight.

A youth on whom this operation has been successfully performed is worth one thousand piastres at Siout; he had probably cost his master, a few weeks before, about three hundred; and the Copt is paid from forty-five to sixty for his operation. This enormous profit stifles every sentiment of mercy which the traders might otherwise entertain. About one hundred and fifty eunuchs are made annually. Two years ago, Mohammed Aly Pasha caused two hundred young Darfour slaves to be mutilated, whom he sent as a present to the Grand Signor. The custom of keeping eunuchs has greatly diminished in Egypt, as well as in Syria. In the former country, except in the harems of the Pasha and his sons, I do not think that more than three hundred could be found; and they are still more uncommon in Syria. In these countries there is great danger in the display of wealth, and the individual who keeps so many female slaves as to require an eunuch for their guardian, becomes a tempting object to the rapacity of the government. White eunuchs are extremely rare in the Turkish dominions. In Arabia I have seen several Indian eunuchs of a sallow or cadaverous complexion, and I was informed that slaves are often mutilated in Hindostan. Almost all the eunuchs of Siout are sent to Constantinople and Asia Minor.

Among the slave girls who arrive at Shendy and Siout, there are several who are called ﻂﻴﺨﻣ Mukhaeyt (consutæ), from an operation which has been described by Mr. Browne. I am unable to state whether it is performed by their parents in their native country, or by the merchants, but I have reason to believe by the latter. Girls in this state are worth more than others; they are usually given to the favourite mistress or slave of the purchaser, and are often suffered to remain in this state during the whole of their life.

The daughters of the Arabs Ababde, and Djaafere, who are of Arabian origin, and inhabit the western bank of the Nile from Thebes, as high as the cataracts, and generally those of all the people to the south of Kenne and Esne as far as Sennaar, undergo circumcision, or rather excision, at the age of from three to six years. Girls thus treated are also called Mukhaeyt (ﻂﻴﺨﻣ), but their state is quite different from that of the Negroe slave-girls, just mentioned.

The treatment which the slaves experience from the traders is rather kind than otherwise. The slaves are generally taught to call their masters Abouy (ﻱﻮﺑﺃ, my father, and to consider themselves as their children. They are seldom flogged, are well fed, are not over-worked, and are spoken to in a kind manner; all this, however, results not from humanity in the traders, but from an apprehension that under different treatment the slave would abscond; and they are aware that any attempt to prevent his flight by close confinement would injure his health; for the newly imported slaves delight in the open air, and reluctantly enter houses, which they look upon as prisons. But when they are once in the desert, on the way to their final destination, this treatment is entirely changed; the traders knowing that the slaves have no longer any means of escaping, give a loose to their savage temper. At Shendy I often overheard my companions, who, although savage enough, were certainly not of the worst class of slave-merchants, say to each other, when a slave had behaved ill, and they were afraid of punishing him, “Let him only pass Berber, and the Korbadj will soon teach him obedience.” The Souakin traders with whom I afterwards travelled, shewed as little humanity, after we had passed Taka. The health of the slave, however, is always attended to; he is regularly fed, and receives his share of water on the road at the same time that his master drinks; and the youngest and most delicate of the females are permitted to ride upon camels, while all the others perform the journey on foot, whether it be to Egypt or to Souakin, as they had done from Darfour to Shendy. The hardiness of the young slaves is very extraordinary; after several successive days march at the rate of ten or twelve hours a day, I have seen them, in the evening, after supper, playing together as if they had enjoyed a long rest. Females with children on their backs follow the caravan on foot; and if a camel breaks down the owner generally loads his slaves with the packages. If a boy can only obtain in the evening a little butter with his Dhourra bread, and some grease every two or three days, to smear his body and hair, he is contented, and never complains of fatigue. Another cause which induces the merchants to treat the slaves well, is their anxiety to dissipate that horror which the Negroes all entertain of Egypt and of the white people. It is a common opinion in the black slave countries that the Oulad er-Rif (ﻒﻳﺮﻟﺁ ﺪﻟﻭ), or children of Rif, as the Egyptians are there called, devour the slaves, who are transferred thither for that purpose. Of course the traders do every thing in their power to destroy this belief, but notwithstanding all their endeavours, it is never eradicated from the minds of the slaves. Another terrible apprehension which they have is of a small jumping animal, which they are told will live upon their skin, suck their blood, and leave them not a moment’s rest. By this description they mean fleas, which are entirely unknown in the interior parts of Soudan, and of which the most curious stories are told by the people of the country, in enumerating the superior advantages of their own country over those of Egypt. Other vermin however, more to be dreaded than fleas, are too common among them. The fear of being mutilated on their arrival in Egypt operates powerfully also upon the minds of the young slaves.

Slave boys are always allowed complete liberty within the yard of the house; but the grown up males, whose characters cannot be depended upon, or whose dispositions are unknown, are kept in close confinement, well watched, and often chained. On the journey they are tied to a long pole, one end of which is fastened to a camel’s saddle, and the other, which is forked, is passed on each side of the slave’s neck, and tied behind with a strong cord, so as to prevent him from drawing out his head; in addition to this, his right hand is also fastened to the pole at a short distance from the head, thus leaving only his legs and left arm at liberty; in this manner he marches the whole day behind the camel; at night he is taken from the pole and put in irons. While on my route to Souakin I saw several slaves carried along in this way. Their owners were afraid of their escaping, or of becoming themselves the objects of their vengeance: and in this manner they would continue to be confined until sold to a master, who, intending to keep them, would endeavour to attach them to his person. In general the traders seem greatly to dread the effects of sudden resentment in their slaves; and if a grown up boy is only to be whipped, his master first puts him in irons.

It is not uncommon to hear of a slave-dealer selling his own children born of Negroe women; and instances occur daily of their disposing of female slaves who are pregnant by them; in such cases the future child of course becomes the property of the purchaser. Most of the traders have old slaves who have been for many years in their service; these are placed over the young slaves bought in trade, and become very useful in travelling; but even these too I have seen their masters sell, after they had become members as it were of the family, merely because a high price was offered for them. It is in vain to expect in a slave trader any trace of friendship, gratitude, or compassion.

Slave girls are every where thirty per cent. dearer than males of the same age. They are called in these countries Khademe (ﻪﻣﺩﺎﺧ), and not Djarye (ﻪﻳﺭﺎﺟ), as in Egypt. The finest of them are kept by the traders themselves, and are called Serrye (ﻪﻳﺮﺳ); their masters allow these girls great liberty, which they often abuse. It is falsely asserted by the caravan traders in Egypt, that it is a custom among them to respect the chastity of the handsomest female slaves; on the contrary, the traders do not observe the slightest decorum in their intercourse with the slave-girls. During our journey to Souakin, where the caravan often encamped, on account of the apprehension of danger, in one large circle, I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state (whatever may be the opinion at Cairo), that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity. The grandees, and rich people of those countries, take care never to buy grown up females from the traders, except for servants; but they often purchase very young girls, whom they educate among their women.

Young slaves are bought upon trial; at Shendy one day’s trial is allowed, in Egypt three days are usually granted. Girls are often delivered in this manner for Tadjrebat leilat (ﺔﻠﻴﻟ ﺔﺑﺮﺠﺗ), as it is called, and the purchaser may return a girl without alleging any other reason than that he dislikes her, so little do these savages care about cherishing a sense of shame or honour in their female slaves, who, of course, whenever they remain any length of time in a trader’s hands, acquire the most depraved habits. Sometimes young slaves are sold under the express condition that they shall not be returned.

There are certain defects (ﺏﻮﻴﻋ Aayoub), which if met with in the male slave authorize the purchaser to return him, even so long as a fortnight after he has bought him, unless, in making the bargain, he has renounced this right. Of these defects the principal are; 1. snoring at night, which is considered as a capital defect; 2. si mingit dormiens; 3. grinding and rubbing the teeth upon each other during sleep; this is much disliked, from an idea that the boy who does so will never become attached to his master; 4. any disease which has not been completely cured, or recurs while in the hands of the purchaser, as intermittent fever, itch, &c. &c. In buying a slave it is carefully observed, and enquired, whether or not he has had the small-pox; those who have not had it sell for less than the others. Traders have told me, that in Darfour and Kórdofan, one-fifth upon an average of the young slaves die of the small-pox.

Many of the traders engage their female slaves to turn their beauty to profit, which they afterwards share with them. In our caravan one of my companions openly sold the favours of one of his females for two measures of Dhourra, of which he always received one. This man also, when a favourite little slave girl died during our stay at Shendy, with the utmost indifference ordered the body, after stripping it of every rag of Dammour, to be laid on an ass and carried to the Nile to be thrown in. It is true, indeed, that slaves are very seldom buried, the corpse being usually thrown into the river.

The merchants take great care to prevent any improper intercourse between the slaves themselves, always separating the boys from the girls at night; this is not so much done from jealousy, as because the pregnancy of the females diminishes their value. It frequently occurs however, notwithstanding all their vigilance and it is generally found that every female has some favourite among her master’s slaves. It is a received opinion also in all the countries where the slave-trade prevails, that a female black conceives more readily from her intercourse with a black male, than with a stranger. If a female proves pregnant under these circumstances, no means are left untried by the trader who owns her, to procure abortion. She is compelled to swallow certain potions, which are supposed to have this effect; and I have several times even seen masters beating pregnant women in a manner, that evidently shewed that it was for this purpose. It is a general observation in the East, that a female slave, when pregnant, easily acknowledges the true father; and several instances have come within my own knowledge, where such an avowal, which they might easily have avoided, has subjected them to great hardship. In Egypt, where almost every family keeps a couple of slave servants, abortion is still more common, and is considered as being far from a criminal act. The favourite females are often admitted by their masters to the Bouza, or drinking parties, where the great joke is to intoxicate the girls.

What I have seen and heard of the Negroes has made me conceive a very indifferent opinion of their general character; but I ought to add that I have not yet seen them in their native countries, before they fell into the hands of these vile traders, who would spoil the mildest and most amiable dispositions. I have found, however, very few instances of slaves being sincerely attached to their masters, even when well treated by them. Their general vice is an incorrigible stubbornness and haughtiness of temper, and many of them betray a deadly rancour and spirit of revenge; but in general the treacherous disposition discernible in the children even of the free Arabs of the Nile and of Nubia, is certainly not to be found among them. They are lazy and slovenly, and will not work but when forced to do so. They seem to be almost entirely devoid of every feeling but that of gratifying their appetites; and provided the slave is well fed, and receives a regular allowance of butter and meat, and of grease to besmear his body, he cares little for the stripes or curses he receives. The merchants say: “Never trust a black slave; whip him well, and feed him well, and the work will be done” (ﻪﻴﻀﻘﻣ ﻪﺟﺎﺤﻟﺃ ﻑﻮﺸﺘﻓ ﻪﻤﻌﻄﺃﻭ ﻪﺑﺮﺿﺃ ﺪﺒﻌﻟﺃ ﻦﻣﺎﺗ ﻻ). I know not whether the maxim is founded in truth or not, but it is certainly that by which the merchants are guided, when they are no longer afraid of their slaves escaping. The slaves, nevertheless, whether from strength of mind, or from a brutal apathy, manifest the same propensity to mirth and frolic. In intellect, I think they are much upon a level with the Negroe Arabs, and little lower than the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria; nor should I much blame their obstinacy, if it were not too often accompanied by malignity. I have already observed that different characters are assigned to different countries, and all that I observed of them has not diminished my belief, that with proper education the Black nations might be taught to approach, and, perhaps, to equal the white.

Though the slaves endure the greatest fatigue, they are not of a hardier constitution than Europeans; indeed, I have reason to believe that, upon the whole, they are more frequently attacked by diseases; when ill, they certainly endure them much less patiently. It is a saying among the traders that “a blow (i. e. illness) which scarcely makes an Arab stagger, knocks down a slave.” The most common disease among them is inflammatory fever, to which the people of Shendy also are very subject. The remedies applied by them are cupping on the legs, and a drink made of infusion of tamarinds, but the disorder carries off great numbers of the slaves, and especially those who have endured a fatiguing journey, which is, perhaps, chiefly owing to their exposing themselves to currents of air while perspiring, and to their sleeping the whole night quite naked. I heard many people complain of bile, which is occasioned, perhaps, by their immoderate use of the ill-fermented Bouza. Piles (Bouassir, ﺮﻴﺳﺍﻮﺑ) are very common among the country people, less among the slaves. The only remedy they know or practise for it is cauterising, by the application of a red-hot iron to the parts. I first saw here the Fertit, or genuine Guinea worm, although it is not unknown among the slaves, and Soudan merchants who come to Upper Egypt. It seems very common in Soudan, and I also saw it in Arabia. The worm does not attach itself exclusively to the leg; I have seen it issuing from the arm, the breast, and the knees, though its favourite place seems to be the calf of the leg. Persons are more rarely attacked with it in Shendy than in Kordofan and Darfour; and great numbers of the slaves and traders coming from the two latter places are affected by it. Though it occasions great pain, it does not prevent the sufferer from walking until the very approach of death. I have been shown persons who had been repeatedly attacked by it, but who had always had the good fortune to descry the worm breaking through the skin, when they were able, with patience, to draw it entirely out; for it proves mortal only when it does not issue through the skin, or when, having issued, it is afterwards broken off in the act of drawing out. Even in the latter case many persons are cured. In Kordofan and Darfour the attack of the Fertit is universally ascribed to the animal matter contained in the water which is drank after the first rains.

In Soudan it is rare that male slaves are emancipated (Maatoug ﻕﻮﺘﻌﻣ), but we find many females who have obtained their liberty. It is different in Arabia and in Egypt, where a slave very seldom remains in a respectable family for a series of years without being made free; and then he is either married to a female slave of the family, or remains voluntarily as a servant, and receives wages. It is a general custom in these latter countries to emancipate every female slave who has borne a child to her master. It is then considered discreditable, especially if the child is a male, not to present the mother with the Tezkeret el Nekah (ﺡﺎﻜﻨﻟﺃ ﺓﺮﻛﺰﺗ), or the marriage contract, signed by the Kadhi, which is the only marriage ceremony used on those occasions. If the child dies after this marriage, it is not considered improper to divorce such a wife, but provision must in that case be made for her. As the number of wives is limited by the Mussulman law to four, it sometimes happens that the rich people keep, besides their four wives, several of these emancipated female slaves, who live with them as mistresses.

Slavery, in the East, has little dreadful in it but the name; male slaves are every where treated much like the children of the family, and always better than the free servants. It is thought a mean action to sell a slave after he has been long resident in a family. If a slave behaves ill, he is generally sent into the country to work as a labourer in the fields of his master. Female slaves who are servants in families, are not so well off as males, because they generally suffer much from the jealousy of their mistresses. It is only by the Turkish soldiers that slaves are ill-treated. They purchase, in Upper Egypt, slave boys, whom they rear in their service, and who, after they have come to a certain age, and learned the Turkish language, are clothed and armed as soldiers, and enlisted into the company or corps of which their master is the chief. He then draws the monthly pay of his slave from the governor, as he does that of every other soldier; for, according to the regulations of the Turkish army, the captain, or Binbashy, receives the pay for the number of men whom he has under his command, and distributes it among them. It thus becomes a source of emolument to him to enrol slaves, to whose services the government never objects, and whose pay goes into his own pocket, as he is subject only to the obligation of feeding and clothing them. Great numbers of Black soldiers have, in this manner, been introduced into the Turkish army in Egypt; it was even thought that Mohammed Aly Pasha had formed the plan of organizing a body of Black troops, and so drilling them according to the European manner; but the great dislike to this innovation expressed by his principal officers, appears to have made him abandon it. At present, from six to eight hundred slaves are bought up annually by the Turkish officers in Egypt.

In the southern countries a slave brought up in the family (I do not here speak of the traders) thinks himself superior to every other person in it except the master: he is admitted to all the family councils, is allowed to trade, or to engage in any other business on his own account, and to do just as he pleases, provided he proves a bold fellow, and in case of emergency can wield a sword in his master’s defence; he may then misbehave at pleasure, without the fear of punishment. If a slave kills a free man his master is obliged to pay the price of blood, otherwise his own family becomes exposed to the retaliation of the relations of the slain; for the death of a slave who commits murder is not deemed a sufficient atonement for the blood of a free man.

In Arabia and Egypt the law gives to the slaves one great advantage; if they are discontented with their master, and decidedly determined not to remain with him, they have the right of insisting upon being sent to the public slave market, (Beaeni fi Souk el Sultaun, ﻥﺎﻄﻠﺴﻟﺃ ﻕﻮﺳ ﻲﻓ ﻲﻨﻌﻴﺑ), to be resold. The owner may at first refuse to part with his slave, but if, having overcome the fear of exposing himself to the effects of his master’s rage, the slave finds an opportunity of making his demand, in presence of respectable witnesses, and perseveres in this conduct, he must at last effect his purpose. Some slaves are less able to take advantage of this privilege, which the law grants to all, from being shut up in the harem, where no one hears their complaints except those who are the cause of them. According to the most moderate calculation, the number of slaves actually in Egypt is forty thousand, two-thirds of which number are males, and the rest females. There is hardly a village in which several of them are not found, and every person of property keeps at least one. During the plague in the spring of 1815, upwards of eight thousand slaves were reported to the government to have died in Cairo alone. I have reason to believe, however, that the numbers exported from Soudan to Egypt and Arabia, bears only a small proportion to those kept by the Mussulmans of the southern countries themselves, or in other words to the whole number yearly derived by purchase, or by force, from the nations in the interior of Africa. At Berber and Shendy there is scarcely a house which does not possess one or two slaves, and five or six are frequently seen in the same family, occupied in the labours of the field, tending cattle, &c. &c.; the great people and chief’s keep them by dozens. As high up the Nile as Sennaar the same system prevails, as well as westwards to Kordofan, Darfour, and thence towards Bournou. All the Bedouin tribes also who surround those countries are well stocked with slaves. If we may judge of their numbers by those kept on the borders of the Nile, (and I was assured by the traders, that slaves were more numerous in those distant countries than even at Shendy,) it is evident that the number exported towards Egypt, Arabia, and Barbary, is very greatly below what remains within the limits of Soudan. From what fell under my own observation at Berber and Shendy, I believe that the slaves of both sexes on the borders of the Nile from Berber to Sennaar, amount to not less than twelve thousand. As the population of Darfour, according to Mr. Browne, is two hundred thousand, there are probably twenty thousand slaves in that kingdom; and every account agrees in proving that as we proceed farther westward into the populous countries of Dar Saley, Bournou, Bagermé, and the kingdoms of Afnou and Haoussa, the proportion of the slave population does not diminish.

The laudable efforts made in Europe, and particularly by England, to abolish the slave trade, will, no doubt, in time, extend a beneficial influence over the Negroe countries of Western and Southwestern Africa, from whence slaves have hitherto been drawn for the supply of the European traders; but there does not appear to be the smallest hope of the abolition of slavery in Africa itself. Were all the outlets of Soudan closed to the slave trade, and the caravans which now carry on the traffic with Barbary, Egypt, and Arabia, prevented from procuring further supplies, still slavery would universally prevail in Soudan itself; for as long as those countries are possessed by Mussulmans, whose religion induces them to make war upon the idolatrous Negroes, whose domestic wants require a constant supply of servants and shepherds, and who considering slaves as a medium of exchange in lieu of money, are as eager to obtain them as other nations might be to explore the African mines, slavery must continue to exist in the heart of Africa; nor can it cease until the Negroes shall become possessed of the means of repelling the attacks and resisting the oppression of their Mussulman neighbours. It is not from foreign nations that the Blacks can hope for deliverance; this great work must be effected by themselves, and can be the result only of successful resistance. The European governments, who have settlements on the coasts of Africa, may contribute to it by commerce, and by the introduction among the Negroes of arts and industry, which must ultimately lead them to a superiority over the Mussulmans in war. Europe, therefore, will have done but little for the Blacks, if the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, which is trifling, when compared with the slavery of the interior, is not followed up by some wise and grand plan, tending to the civilization of the continent None presents a fairer prospect than the education of the sons of Africa in their own country, and by their own countrymen, previously educated by Europeans. Faint hopes, however, can be entertained that the attention of European governments will be turned towards the remote and despised Negroes, while selfishness and a mistaken policy have prevented them from attending to the instruction of their own poor.

What I have said on the manners of Berber is applicable, in every respect, to Shendy, where the habits of the people are equally dissolute. The chief of Shendy, however, possesses much more power than the Mek of Berber, and keeps the violence and rapacity of his subjects in check. The inhabitants of the district are all free Arabs; of these the Djaalein are the most numerous, and next to them the following: 1. Ababde, who pretend to be descended from the same Djidd (ﺪﺟ) or forefather as those of Egypt; namely, Selman, an Arab of the Beni Helal, the great eastern tribe which emigrated into the northern parts of Africa, as far as Tunis, after the Mohammedan conquest; 2. Battakhein (ﻦﻴﺨﻄﺑ); 3. El Hamdeh (ﻩﺪﻣﺎﺤﻟﺃ); these, I understand, are acknowledged as relations by the Arabs of the same name who inhabit the neighbourhood of Luxor and Karnak, in Upper Egypt; Luxor has hence received the name of El Hamdye, and is more generally known in Upper Egypt by that appellation. The several tribes are constantly quarrelling with each other, chiefly respecting the retaliation of blood, to which, among the eastern Bedouins, the near relations are liable; but it appears to me that those nice distinctions which I have detailed in my description of the Bedouins, are not here attended to. Among the Djaalein the price of blood is one thousand Tob Dammour, equivalent, at the present time, to three or four hundred Spanish dollars. If the relations of the slain agree to take it, which seems to expose them to less obloquy than a similar action does in Arabia, the murderer pays the sum by instalments; a regular account is kept, and credit given for the smallest sum paid to the family of the deceased by the murderer or his family, even if it be no more than a little bread, or a few handfuls of Dhourra. Many years may pass before the whole sum is paid, and during this time the parties keep the peace.

The Djaalein have the character of being treacherous, but this is common to all the Arabs of these countries; and they have not yet so much degenerated from their forefathers, as not to know that good faith is held the first of Arab virtues: I have often heard the Djaalein boast of their sincerity to those to whom they have pledged their word as friends or companions; but this character, which they give of themselves, is not confirmed by the general opinion.

All these Arabs have two tribes of mortal enemies, the Shukorye (ﻪﻳﺮﻜﺷ) and the Kouahel (ﻞﺣﺍﻮﻗ), names which are both Arabic in their formation. They inhabit to the south and south-west of the others, and make frequent inroads upon the Djaalein, plundering the country, and driving off the cattle. Some of the Shukorye live on the banks of the Nile near Abou Heraze, but the greater part of them lead a pastoral life in the Eastern desert. The Kouahel are said to extend as far as the country of Dender, and some of them are found on the Atbara. Both tribes speak the Arabic language. During my stay at Shendy the Djaalein returned from a successful expedition against them, bringing back a booty of two hundred camels taken from the hostile encampment which was then about four days distant from Shendy. In the Syrian and Arabian deserts in like manner, there is scarcely an Arab tribe of any importance which has not a national enemy in some equally powerful tribe; the warlike spirit and rivalship of the young men of both parties being kept up by continual expeditions against each other. These, however, seldom occur between tribes who are immediate neighbours: among whom although war often happens, it is generally soon succeeded by peace and alliance.

All the Arabs of the southern countries, excepting those who inhabit the valley of the Nile, besides their daily movements from one spot to another, make two general movements in the year. In the summer they retire towards the mountains, where springs and pasturage are more abundant than in the parched plains; during the rains they spread themselves, with their flocks, over the wide expanse between the Atbara and the Nile, which in that season is clothed with abundant pasturage. The Kouahel are said to be less numerous but more powerful than the Shukorye; they are both, nominally at least, Mohammedans; it is said that their cattle is admirable.

Though I remained only a month at Shendy, and in a situation not at all favourable for such inquiries, some geographical information respecting the surrounding countries may reasonably be expected from me. In the Appendix will be found some details of this kind respecting the western countries, which, however, are the less interesting as Mr. Browne has already elucidated the geography of those parts. Of the countries to the south I was unfortunately unable to obtain any information, nor of those between Shendy and Habbesh, to the eastward. This was not owing to indolence or indifference; but to my situation with the caravan, which rendered it extremely difficult for me to take any notes whatever. Surrounded on all sides by curious observers of my conduct, and having no other protection than that which poverty gives, I knew that if suspicion was once excited, it would end in my ruin. Accurate and detailed statements of positions and distances could only have been acquired by expressly questioning the traders on this head; but nobody showed any inclination so far to oblige a person from whom no profit was to be derived, and to have paid for information would have rendered me a subject of conversation and enquiry through the whole town, where I was already but too conspicuous an object. I often indeed attempted to entice people from Sennaar into familiar conversation, by sitting down near them, and filling their pipes with my own tobacco; but they soon got tired of my questions concerning the southern countries, and put the strangest constructions upon them. Such information, therefore, I could only have derived from casual conversations during a long stay. Had I been known as a Frank traveller, like Bruce in Abyssinia, and Browne in Darfour, I might have made the best use of my leisure time, without thereby indangering my person much more than it would otherwise have been. But my case was different: I had succeeded in keeping my secret: I had still a very dangerous road before me, nor could I ever have hoped to reach the sea, had any suspicions been excited concerning my travelling projects; at least such was my firm belief. In asserting that I was unknown, I do not mean to claim the merit of extraordinary prudence, but merely to inform the reader upon what depended my success. I must be allowed to add, that if future travellers should hear me described, in these countries, as a Frank, they will have no right to disbelieve on that account the other parts of my personal history during this journey. For although the people of Daraou will undoubtedly at last discover who the poor man was who travelled with them, I was certainly unknown during the journey.

Mr. Browne, in the course of his two years residence at Darfour, collected highly valuable information concerning the Negroe countries surrounding that kingdom, but I have little doubt, that the bad opinion which the Darfour people entertained of him, was owing in great part to such enquiries. The same thing would have happened to him in any other part of Soudan, had he been permitted to quit Darfour, and it must ultimately have frustrated all his views. This remark is not made for the purpose of detracting from the merits of Mr. Browne, whose talent and perseverance were such as will seldom be found united in the same person, whose friendship for me I can never forget, and to whose excellent advice I owe much of my success. It is for the sake of those who may succeed me, that I make these observations. When Mr. Browne undertook his journey to Darfour he was not possessed of that knowledge of Arabic, and of Arab manners, which he afterwards acquired; unable therefore to attempt to pass for a native of the Levant, he never assumed any other name than that of a Frank, justly thinking that it would be more to his advantage to maintain his native character, however little it might be respected in those parts, than by an awkward imitation of native dress and manners, to expose himself to still worse consequences, and to the hourly dread of being discovered. But even as a Frank he would have been more secure in the character of a mercantile adventurer, than in that of a physician, which is a profession quite unknown in these countries. During my stay at Siout, in Upper Egypt, I became acquainted with a man who had seen Mr. Browne in Darfour, and in whose brother’s house Mr. Browne had spent a considerable part of his time. He told me that Mr. Browne, during his journey from Siout to Darfour, was busily occupied in writing down the daily occurrences, and in inquiring after the names of all the hills and valleys met with on the road; that he had a piece of lead, with which he wrote, and which never failed him. The Soltan of the English (the man observed) had undoubtedly sent him to inquire after these countries; and the king of Darfour prevented him from travelling about the country, as knowing that his sole motive was curiosity. The same person confirmed Mr. Browne’s statements respecting himself while in Darfour, of the veracity of which, indeed, no one, acquainted with that gentleman’s integrity, would ever entertain any doubt. My departed friend, who has fallen a noble sacrifice in the cause of truth and science, felt at last, that the circumstance of his taking notes had prevented him from succeeding to the full extent of his wishes; and he repeatedly advised me to use the greatest precaution in this respect. To an European reader such a maxim may look like pusillanimity, or at least excess of prudence, for it can be fully appreciated only by those persons who embark in such expeditions.

There is no communication by water between Sennaar, Shendy, and Berber; boats are used only as ferries, but even these are extremely scarce, and the usual mode of passing the river is upon the Ramous, or small raft of reeds. It is usual with the native Arabs to call the branch of the river on which Sennaar lies, and which rises in Abyssinia, by the name of Nil, as well as by that of Bahr el Azrek (Blue-River.) Thus every one says that Sennaar is situated on the Nile, (ﻞﻴﻨﻟﺃ ﻪﻴﻓﺎﺣ ﻲﻠﻋ ﻪﻴﻨﺒﻣ ﺭﺎﻨﺳ ﺪﻠﺑ); so far therefore Bruce is justified in styling himself the discoverer of the sources of the Nile. But I have often heard the Sennaar merchants declare, that the Bahr el Abyadh (White-River), which is the name invariably given to the more western branch, is considerably larger than the Nile. I was credibly informed, that between Shendy and Damour, there is a cataract in the river, similar to that of Assouan, and another of greater size and rapidity in the country of the Arabs Rebatat, below Berber.

At Shendy the river, owing to the height of the banks, often fails to inundate the adjacent lands; and the husbandmen are too lazy to aid nature by digging canals. I have already said that Shendy depends, for its Dhourra, principally upon importations from the south; but during the famine last year, part of the supply was drawn from Taka. The rains generally begin about the middle of June; their season, however, seems to be less settled than in the western countries of Soudan. In the last days of April, some slight showers fell at Shendy, and in the evening much lightning was seen to the east. So early as the 10th of May, we were informed that the bed of the Mogren was filled with water, and that its stream, then several feet deep, emptied itself into the Nile; it was therefore evident that heavy rains must have fallen either towards the Bisharye mountains, where the Mogren rises, or towards the source of the Atbara, in Abyssinia; the latter is the more probable, as we afterwards found no traces of rains in the Bisharye desert. They do not appear to be very abundant, never continuing for weeks together without intermission, as is said to be the case in Kordofan, but falling at intervals, though in heavy torrents. In the northern desert, between Berber and Egypt, but more particularly in the mountainous country north of the well of Shigre, there appears to be no fixed rainy season: all the Egyptians and Ababdes whom I questioned on the subject, agreed in stating that rain falls in those mountains both in winter and summer, but never in great quantity. The caravans are always under some apprehensions of having their bales spoiled in crossing the desert, by an occasional shower of rain, whatever may be the time of year. The same information as to the nature of the rains was given to me during my journey up the Nile towards Dóngola. In the chain of mountains extending from Assouan to Kosseir, between the river and the Red Sea, the rain falls in like manner at all seasons, while to the north of the Kosseir route, and from thence to Suez, in the mountains of the Arabs Maazy, it is much more confined to the winter season. It is well known that showers rarely fall in the valley of the Nile, but the Delta has its months when the rain falls occasionally. Upper Egypt is almost entirely deprived of rain near the river, and thus exhibits the singular spectacle of continual dryness of atmosphere in the fertile valley, while the barren mountains, at a few hours distance, have their regular falls of rain. During my stay at Esne, in Upper Egypt, there occurred in the month of September a most violent shower, which lasted for two hours; the inhabitants did not remember having ever experienced any thing like it.

The inhabitants of Shendy, in common with the Egyptians, distinguish the time of the Khamsein (ﻦﻴﺴﻤﺧ), or hot wind. The word is derived from Khamsyn (fifty), because the winds are computed to last fifty days, from the 29th or 30th of April, to the 18th or 19th of June, which is the period of the Nokhta, or dew, when the river first begins to rise in Egypt. During my stay at Esne the Khamsein began on the 1st of May, with a suffocating hot wind. I passed the early part of the same period at Shendy, where we had several days of hot winds, but whether it was in consequence of my temperate habits, which (I have reason to believe) tend greatly to weaken the effect of immoderate heat, as well as cold, or whether it was owing to the climate itself, the heat appeared much less oppressive than during the Khamsein in Upper Egypt, although at Shendy I was, day and night, exposed to the open air, without ever entering a cool room, and having seldom any thing but a shed to shelter me from the mid-day heat. It must be recollected, however, that Shendy is upon a level considerably higher than that of Upper Egypt.

The people of the countries on the Nile from Dóngola to Sennaar, and all the other true Arab tribes, as far as Bornou, speak no other language than the Arabic; and they look with disdain upon their western and eastern neighbours, whom they designate by the same epithet of Adjem, which the Koran bestows upon all nations who are strangers to the Arabic language. There exist, however, among them as many dialects, and as much difference in pronunciation and phraseology, as are found among the Arabian Bedouins. The eastern nations on the Atbara, towards Taka and the Red Sea, speak the Bisharye language, of which I have given a short vocabulary, and to the west the nearest foreign language is that of Kordofan, a dialect differing in pronunciation only from that of Four. The Arabic is well spoken in these countries, and the black Arabs appeared to me to possess a greater command of it, and to be more eloquent than their Egyptian brethren. The pronunciation is similar to that of Upper Egypt, which differs considerably from the pronunciation of Cairo and the Delta. The inhabitants of Upper Egypt, to the south of Siout, are in fact ancient Bedouin tribes, and their idiom appears to me the purest, next to that of Arabia proper. The pronunciation indeed is Egyptian, but the terms and phraseology are, for the most part, borrowed from the language of the Hedjaz, and Yemen, as I fully convinced myself afterwards, during my stay at Djidda and Mekka. The southern Arabs use many expressions foreign to the language, and which have been introduced perhaps by their intimate connexion with the Negroes. They have a great number of technical terms, which seem to be derived from the Abyssinian, and others from the Bisharye and Negroe languages.

The Djaalein particularly value themselves upon speaking their language well. I have heard Arabs of the tribe of Beni Hassan, who pasture their flocks in the Bahr el Ghazal, speaking much the same dialect as the Djaalein, and, as I particularly observed, without any tincture of the Moggrebyn. This circumstance makes it very probable, that they are of eastern, and not western origin. In the same manner there are numerous tribes of Arabs in Darfour and Kordofan, who still retain the language of their forefathers, although they speak also the idiom of the country. Few persons among the Arab tribes know how to write and read, but all express themselves with great neatness, and often very eloquently; and poets are not rare among them. Like the eastern Arabs, they celebrate the praises of their warriors in the Kaszyde (ﻩﺪﻴﺼﻗ); these are not written down, but are transmitted orally from one to another; and although they may often fail in grammatical accuracy, the measure of the verse is always scrupulously attended to. The melodies of their songs appear not to be national, for the songs of the Arabs (I do not mean the Bedouins), whether in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia or Egypt, retain amidst their varieties a common character, whereas the melodies of the Moggrebyns as well as of the Negroe Arabs are quite different. Those of the latter seem to originate with the Bisharye Bedouins, whose national airs approach much nearer to them than those of the Egyptians. The Ababde Bedouins have borrowed the melodies of their songs entirely from the Bisharein, and they sing in Upper Egypt the same airs, which I heard again at Shendy from the Sennaar merchants, over their Bouza. There is however, one species of song common to all these nations; I mean the Hedou (ﻭﺪﺣ), or song with which they animate their camels on the march, especially during the night; it is the favourite air of all the Bedouins in the Arabian deserts, and I have heard it on the banks of the Euphrates as well as on those of the Atbara. Among the peculiarities of all these people, is a very common practice of smacking with the tongue, when denying, or refusing any thing, and the same, but in a sharper or higher tone, as a sign of affirmation or approbation. In Turkey and Arabia this is considered as an affront, or at least as a most vulgar habit; they also snap the fingers at the person of whom they demand any thing, as equivalent to saying “Give me.”

The people of Shendy know little of musical instruments, however fond they may be of songs. The lyre (Tamboura) and a kind of fife with a dismal sound, made of the hollow Dhourra stalk, are the only instruments I saw, except the kettle-drum. This appears to be all over Soudan an appendage of royalty; and when the natives wish to designate a man of power, they often say the Nogára (ﻩﺭﺎﻘﻧ) beats before his house. At Shendy the Mek’s kettledrums were beaten regularly every afternoon before his house. A favourite pastime of the Negroe Arabs, and which is also known among the Arabs of Upper Egypt, is the Syredje (ﻪﺟﺮﻴﺳ), a kind of draughts; it is played upon sandy ground, on which they trace with the finger chequers of forty-nine squares; the pieces, on one side, are round balls of camel’s dung, picked up in the street, and on the other those of goats. It is an intricate game, and requires great attention; the object is to take all the antagonist’s pieces, but the rules are very different from those of Polish draughts. The people are uncommonly fond of the game, two persons seldom sitting down together without immediately beginning to draw squares in the sand. The Mek himself will play with the lowest slave, if the latter is reputed a good player. If a bye-stander assists one of the parties with his advice, it gives no offence to the other; sometimes they play for a gourd of Bouza, but not usually. Chess is not quite unknown here, but I never met with any one who played it.

Nothing unpleasant occurred to me during my stay at Shendy. The Ababdes with whom I lodged, although they did not shew me great kindness, yet forbore to treat me with rudeness; this was all I demanded. Their society served as a protection, for my person soon became conspicuous throughout the town, and I took care to let every one know that I belonged to the respected party of Ababde guides. Our house and court-yard were soon filled with slaves and camels: we separated into different messes, and every one delivered a daily ration of Dhourra to the female slaves, who cooked for the mess; we defrayed all our common expenses with Dhourra. Every evening some of my companions had a Bouza party; the day was spent in commercial pursuits. Soon after our arrival, in order to conciliate the Ababdes, I bought a young sheep, and had it killed for their entertainment, and I always kept my tobacco pouch well supplied for their use. I attended the market regularly, and courted the acquaintance of some Fakys, whose protection I thought might prove useful to me against the ill-will which my former companions from Daraou never failed to manifest towards me whenever we met. The son of my old friend of Daraou, to whom I had been most particularly recommended by his father, went so far as once to spit in my face in the public market-place, because I pressed him for the payment of a small sum which I had lent him, and which he denied with a solemn oath having ever received from me; indeed I never met any of these Egyptians in the streets without receiving some insulting language from them, of which, had I taken notice, they would, no doubt, have carried me before the Mek, where their superior influence might have been attended with the worst consequences to me. It was to them, as I afterwards learnt, that I was indebted for the loss of my gun; and I do not know what they might have attempted further, had I not fallen upon an expedient which was attended with the happiest effects. They had always thought that I intended to proceed straight to Sennaar, for I had never informed any one that I was bound direct to the Red Sea. They became anxious, in consequence of their own behaviour to me, that I should never return to Egypt, where I might be able to call them to an account, and where, though they certainly did not know it, a word from me to Ibrahim Pasha, who then governed Upper Egypt, would have been of the most serious consequences to them. They endeavoured therefore to prepare my ruin, by spreading the most injurious reports of me among the Sennaar merchants, whom they supposed that I should accompany; they represented me to be possessed of wealth, which I had fraudulently acquired in Egypt; and they urged that it would be an act of justice towards those whom I had cheated, to deprive me of my baggage. I had now been about three weeks at Shendy; my companions the Ababde having purchased a considerable number of slaves and camels, were preparing to return home; a Souakin caravan was also about to depart. Under these circumstances, I gave out that I had abandoned all idea of proceeding farther southward, as foreseeing that I should not have more than enough to defray my expenses beyond Sennaar. Accordingly, with the remainder of my funds, I bought a slave boy, and a camel, and declared that I intended to return to Egypt with my friends the Ababde, a course which they had often endeavoured to persuade me to adopt. This proceeding completely thwarted the plans of the Daraou people, and caused them suddenly to change their behaviour towards me; the principal man amongst them, he who struck me at Damer, repeatedly visited me, sent me several times a choice dish for my supper, and expressed his wishes that we might again meet, as good friends, in Egypt, for which country (he added) his party intended to set out soon after the Ababde, and to take guides for the journey across the desert from among the Ababde at Berber. In the meanwhile I made every preparation for my journey. I had secretly informed myself respecting the Souakin caravan, and on the eve of its departure, which happened to be two days previous to the time fixed by the Ababde for their return, I communicated my design to the chief of the latter, and by making him a small present, prevailed on him to accompany me to the chief of the Souakin caravan, and to recommend me to him, as his friend. Much ceremony is not necessary on such occasions; every person has his own beast of burthen, and joins at pleasure, whatever caravan he chooses. An increase of numbers is always desirable by the chief, as it both adds to the amount of his duties, and to the means of general defence.

It was not from any apprehensions of the consequences likely to result from the representations of the Egyptian traders, that I was induced to take the route to the Red Sea. Situated as I was, there seemed to be no great obstacle in my way to Sennaar, nor from thence to Gondar and Massouah; for I knew that the Abyssinian traders go constantly backwards and forwards between Gondar and Ras el Fil, where they are met by the Sennaar merchants; and once at Gondar, and in the fertile valleys of Abyssinia, I should, at all events, have been able to beg my way to the coast. But in this case I should have followed the footsteps of Poncet and Bruce; and am persuaded that it will not be long before Abyssinia, from its comparatively easy access by sea, will be thoroughly explored. On the other hand I thought that a journey through the country between Shendy and the Red Sea would add new information to our knowledge of Ethiopia, and being full of difficulty and danger, could only be undertaken by a traveller who had already served a hard apprenticeship; I preferred therefore traversing this comparatively small tract of ground, which might otherwise still remain for a long course of years unknown. The wish to be at Mekka in the month of November, at the time of the pilgrimage, was another consideration that had a strong effect upon me. It had indeed been a principal object with me during all the time that I was in Upper Egypt, and a motive in determining me to this second journey into Nubia. I was then, as I still am, fully convinced, that the title of Hadji would afford me the most powerful recommendation and protection in any future journey through the interior countries of Africa. From Suez or Kosseir I should have found it extremely difficult to carry my designs into effect; in going through Abyssinia, I might perhaps have been detained too long on the way by land or sea to reach Mekka at the above-mentioned period, and I knew that if I should reach Mekka without being present at the ceremonies of the Hadj, I could not hope to pass afterwards as a true Hadji, without exposing myself to daily detection.

I sold at Shendy the whole of my adventure of merchandize, and after paying my share of the expenses of our stay there, including a suitable present in money to our landlord, I bought a slave boy about fourteen years of age, partly for the sake of having a useful and constant companion, and partly to afford me an ostensible reason for going in the direction of the Red Sea, where I might sell him with profit. I still pretended to be in search of a relation, but added, that having experienced the difficulties of journeys by land through these countries, I intended to embark at Souakin for Massouah, and by that route to enter Abyssinia, where I affected to have every reason to believe that I should find my relation. I knew that the Souakin caravan consisted of two parties, one of which was bound direct to Souakin, while the other intended to take the route by Taka. It was with the latter that I resolved to proceed, and to take the chance of finding a favourable conveyance from Taka to Massouah.

I chose my slave, who cost me sixteen dollars, from among a great number, and he proved to be a very good and serviceable boy. I also purchased a camel, for which I gave eleven dollars; and as my safety entirely depended upon it, I took care to make choice of one of the strongest. I laid in a provision of Abré, or dried bread, Dhourra, Dhourra meal, and butter, and purchased several pieces of Dammour, which I knew was much in demand on the way to Taka. After all my accounts were settled, I had four dollars left; but the smallness of this sum occasioned me no uneasiness, for I calculated on selling my camel on the coast for as much as would defray the expenses of my voyage to Djidda, and I had a letter of credit on that place for a considerable sum, which I had procured at Cairo.

Journey from Shendy to Taka

Early in the morning of the 17th of May, the Souakin caravan took its departure; it had passed the precincts of the town before I had completely loaded my camel; while I was thus employed several of the Daraou people, who had just been informed of my intended departure, came to vent their rage at my having foiled them in their rancorous projects against me; it was, however, too late; I was beyond the reach of their malice. The Ababde accompanied me to a short distance beyond the town, where I took an affectionate leave of them, for I could not but consider that almost from the time of my quitting Egypt, I owed my safety entirely to their protection or interference; I was still to owe them farther obligations; for in quitting the town one of the Mek’s slaves had followed me, and, after I had taken leave of the Ababde, the caravan being then about half a mile in advance, in the plain, he continued to keep alongside of me. One of the Ababde seeing this, and observing that the slave was armed, entertained some suspicion of him. He therefore immediately turned back, and came up just in time to extricate me from the slave, who, although he had, during our stay at Shendy, partaken almost daily of our meals, had followed me for the purpose of obliging me to give up to him my pistol. He probably thought I should part with it, rather than expose myself to delay, and the consequent danger of joining the caravan alone. He had taken hold of the camel’s halter, and had already demanded the pistol, when the Ababde came up, and severely reprimanded him for his conduct. In the afternoon we arrived at El Hassa (ﺎﺴﺤﻠﺃ), a hamlet situated beyond the salt works and plain of Boeydha, not far from the place where we encamped at noon on the day of our arrival at Shendy.

March 18th. — We remained encamped at El Hassa the whole day, and were joined in the afternoon by several Souakin and Shendy merchants, who came to take leave of their friends. The Djaalein Arabs hovered about us, and endeavoured to carry off several camels while brouzing on the acacia leaves, under the guard of the slaves: this obliged me to take great care of my own camel. While driving it to the thickest groves of acacias, I met with some remains of ancient buildings close to the river, the banks of which are here very high. These remains consist of stone foundations of houses, and some brick walls; the former appear to have belonged to private buildings of moderate size, and consist of blocks of sandstone three or four feet in length, very rudely worked, and much decayed. The stones bear a small proportion to the brickwork; the bricks are of the same description as those I saw near Dawah, and form the walls of private dwellings. I saw no remains of any town wall, nor of any thing like a large edifice; the whole of what I observed seemed to have belonged to a small open city. The circumference of these ruins is eight or ten minutes walk at most; I could trace no regularity in their plan; they seemed to consist of small insulated oblong squares irregularly dispersed among the trees. Of the brick walls there were no where more than two feet standing above ground, and even this is matter for astonishment when we consider the effect which the annual rains must have upon such deserted and loosely combined structures. I could discover no other remains of any kind in the vicinity. There is a ford over the river near this place, which the Djaalein use for three or four months before the rise of the waters.

May 19th. — We set out this morning, and travelled along the eastern limits of the cultivated plain, till we reached the village of Kaboushye (ﻪﻴﺷﻮﺒﻛ), the residence of a relation of the Mek of Shendy, about three hours from El Hassa. As we had three long days march to the Atbara, we filled our water-skins at the river, which is half an hour from the village. Just as we were starting, an accident happened to me, which frequently occasions great distress to the traveller in the desert; when I had tied the water-skins to my camel’s saddle, one of the largest of them sprung a leak, out of which the water issued as from a fountain. In such cases the Arabs generally stop the hole with a peg made of the green twig of a tree, wrapped with a bit of linen; but the best substance for the purpose is the pith of the Dhourra cane, which swells in the water, and thus fits very tight. We crossed a flat district, intersected by many low grounds and Wadys, in which were shrubs and wild grass (ﺶﻗ) Gish. We passed a large encampment of Djaalein, distant four hours from the river, from which, nevertheless, they bring their daily supply of water; we encamped late at night, after a march of seven or eight hours from Kaboushye.

May 10th. — We set out before sunrise, in a N.E. b. E. direction. The caravan consisted of at least two hundred loaded camels, twenty or thirty dromedaries, carrying the richest traders, without any other loads; about one hundred and fifty traders, three hundred slaves, and about thirty horses, destined for the Yemen market; they were led the whole way by the slaves. The greater part of the loads consisted of tobacco, which the Souakin people had themselves brought from Sennaar, and of Dammour, from the same place. The caravan was under good care. Its chief was one of the principal men among the Arabs of Souakin, connected by marriage with the first tribes of the Bisharye and Hadendoa Bedouins, through whose territory our road lay; but notwithstanding this, I clearly perceived that there was a constant dread of the Bisharein. The people yielded without reluctance to the orders of the chief in every thing that related to the march of the caravan. The only strangers who had joined the Souakin merchants were a party of Tekayrne (sing. Tekroury), or black traders, consisting of five masters, ten camels, and about thirty slaves. I joined this party, as we were all strangers, and glad of each other’s assistance; I encamped near them during the whole of the journey to the coast, separating myself from the Souakin traders, who were also divided into many different parties. I soon became tolerably familiar with my companions; they rendered me many little services, of which no one stands more in need than a caravan traveller, and I was never backward in returning them; so that we continued to be upon good terms: I cannot say a friendly footing, for nobody, even in the Negroe countries, is inclined to form an intimacy with a poor man.

Of these Tekayrne one was from Darfour, another from Kordofan, and three had come originally from Bornou, from whence, many years ago, they had travelled with the caravan to Fezzan, and from thence to Cairo. The principal among them, and who became the head of our mess, Hadji Aly el Bornaway (ﻱﻭﺎﻧﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﻲﻠﻋ ﺝﺎﺣ), had travelled as a slave-trader in many parts of Turkey, had been at Constantinople, had lived a long time at Damascus, (where many Tekayrne serve as labourers in the gardens of the great), and had three times performed the Hadj: he was now established at Kordofan, and spent his time in trading between that place and Djidda. His travels, and the apparent sanctity of his conduct, had procured him great reputation, and he was well received by the Meks and other chiefs, to whom he never failed to bring some small presents from Djidda. Although almost constantly occupied, (whether sitting under a temporary shed of mats, or riding upon his camel on the march,) in reading the Koran, yet this man was a complete bon vivant, whose sole object was sensual enjoyment. The profits on his small capital, which were continually renewed by his travelling, were spent entirely in the gratification of his desires. He carried with him a favourite Borgho slave, as his concubine; she had lived with him three years, and had her own camel, while his other slaves performed the whole journey on foot. His leathern sacks were filled with all the choice provisions which the Shendy market could afford, particularly with sugar and dates, and his dinners were the best in the caravan. To hear him talk of morals and religion, one might have supposed that he knew vice only by name; yet Hadji Aly, who had spent half his life in devotion, sold last year, in the slave market of Medinah, his own cousin, whom he had recently married at Mekka. She had gone thither on a pilgrimage from Bornou by the way of Cairo, when Aly unexpectedly meeting with her, claimed her as his cousin, and married her: at Medinah being in want of money, he sold her to some Egyptian merchants; and as the poor woman was unable to prove her free origin, she was obliged to submit to her fate. The circumstance was well known in the caravan, but the Hadji nevertheless still continued to enjoy all his wonted reputation.

The Tekayrne treated me in the same manner as they would have treated any other traveller; and as travellers are always treated in these countries, where, except assisting their neighbour occasionally in lifting a camel’s load, no one thinks of any thing but his own comforts; but this was all I wished for; I was in no real need of any one’s help; and I never experienced any thing like ill treatment from the Souakin merchants that was not equally shared by the Tekayrne themselves. I was much upon my guard, behaved civilly to every body, shunned all intimacy with the slaves, with whom I was considered nearly upon a level; and shewed a proper spirit of resistance against any attempt to cheat or wheedle me out of a part of my baggage or provisions. By this conduct I have reason to believe, that I acquired the character of a hardy, active man, very selfish, stingy, and attentive to his own interests.

We travelled the whole morning across a plain composed chiefly of petrosilex. To the right we had a number of Wadys, or low grounds.

After a march of ten or eleven hours we rested; it is the custom to set out about sun-rise, to halt during the mid-day hours, or from ten o’clock A.M. till three or four P.M., and then to continue the march till late at night, and often till after midnight.

May 21st. Our road continued to traverse the plain. We this day experienced a violent Semoum. The camels of the Souakin merchants being heavily loaded with goods, had taken but a small supply of water, in proportion to the number of the slaves and horses. Towards noon, most of their skins were empty, and the chief of the caravan coming to our mess, almost forcibly took from every one of us a fourth part of the water which was left. We passed the mid-day hours upon a black gravelly plain, near some acacia trees; and after a long day’s march of ten or eleven hours, in a N.E. b. E. direction, we slept in a Wady full of shrubs and deep sands. The whole caravan went thirsty to rest. We found, almost the whole way across the desert, a well trodden path, much frequented by the people of Atbara, who carry their cattle to the Shendy market: we met several of them on the road, on their way to Shendy with mats made at Atbara of the leaves of the Doum tree.

May 22nd. — After a march of three hours among sandy plains, we came in sight of the river Atbara, and entered the groves of trees which line its banks. The luxuriant vegetation which now surrounded us filled with pleasure even the stony hearts of the slavetraders; one of whom, alluding to the dreary tract we had passed, exclaimed: (ﻪﻨﺠﻟﺃ ﺕﻮﻤﻟﺃ ﺪﻌﺑ Baad el mout el djenna), “After death comes paradise.” We marched for about a quarter of an hour among high trees, from the boughs of which we had much difficulty in disentangling the camels’ loads. There was a greater variety of natural vegetation here than I had seen any where on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. I observed different species of the mimosa, Doum trees of the largest size, whose luxuriant clusters of fruit excited the wishes of the slaves; the Nebek tree, with its fruit ripe; the Allobé, of the size of the Nebek, besides a great number of others, unknown to me; to these must be added an abundance of wild herbage, growing on a rich fat soil, similar to that of Egypt. The trees were inhabited by great numbers of the feathered tribe, whose song travellers in Egypt very rarely hear. I saw no birds with rich plumage, but observed small ones of several different kinds. Some sweet notes struck my ears, which I had never before heard, and the amorous cooings of the turtle doves were unceasing We hastened to the river, and eagerly descended its low banks to allay our thirst. Several camels, at the sight of the water, broke the halters by which they were led, and in rushing or stumbling down the banks, threw off their loads, and occasioned great clamour and disorder.

We remained but a short time at this place, and then continued our route along the banks of the river for about an hour, for the most part among the date trees, which line the borders of the desert. These trees were larger than any I had seen in Egypt. At the end of one hour we forded the river, without any difficulty, as the water hardly reached above the knees of the camels. In less than half an hour from the opposite bank, we came to the village of Atbara, so named from its vicinity to the river. As the caravan was to remain here some days, the first care of every one was to choose a proper halting-place. The Souakin merchants alighted on an open ground in front of the village, where they formed several parties among themselves. The Tekayrne and myself took possession of some thick thorny bushes on one side of the village, within which, after a few hours labour with the axe, each cut a small birth, just large enough to contain himself and his baggage, while the slaves were ordered to sleep before the entrance. We thus secured our goods from pilferers, and by spreading a few mats over the bushes, procured a comfortable shade.

The village, or more properly encampment, of Atbara, consisted of several long irregular rows of tents, formed of mats made of the leaves of the Doum tree, and containing about two hundred families of Bisharein. This is the general mode of dwelling throughout the tract of desert country lying between Egypt and Abyssinia. The bare skins of the Nubian sheep and goats not furnishing the inhabitants with the necessary materials for making tent-coverings of wool or goats’ hair, like the eastern Bedouins, their place is supplied with mats. They fix a row of poles, about twelve or fifteen feet high, into the ground, opposite to each other, and converging at the top; over these they fasten others horizontally; upon which mats are thrown in such a way as to present every where an inclined plane for the rain to run off. Every tent is furnished with two or three Angareygs, which take up nearly the whole of the interior, so that a very small part remains for any one to stand in; nor is this very necessary, as the Bisharein pass the greater part of their time reclined upon the Angareyg. In the smaller tents both sexes live together; but in the larger there is a partition across the tent, behind the Angareygs, which divides it into a front and back apartment; the latter is occupied by the women, and serves also as the kitchen; though the women never think of concealing themselves from strangers. All persons of quality have separate tents for their women, to which they sometimes add an open shed, for the reception of strangers. Whenever the Bedouins remove, the tents are struck, and the poles, mats, &c. are loaded upon camels.

Atbara is the residence of the chief of the tribe Hammadab (ﺏﺍﺪﻣﺎﻫ); which must not be confounded with the Hameydab (ﺏﺍﺪﻴﻤﺣ), a tribe of Ababde. The Hammadab are one of the strongest tribes of the Bisharye nation: the chief had travelled with us from Shendy, where he had purchased some slaves and horses. There are always a few inhabitants in this place who trade with Shendy, and wait here for the arrival of the Souakin caravans. As soon as it was known in the neighbourhood that a caravan had arrived, and intended to stop a few days, a great number of Bisharein came with Dhourra, sheep, butter, and milk, in order to barter these articles for Dammour and drugs, especially Mehleb, cloves, and incense, or Libban, from the west. Scarcely any of these people understand the Arabic language, except those who trade to Berber and Shendy; but it is understood by almost all their slaves, the greater part of whom are educated among the inhabitants on the Nile. Their dress, or rather undress, was every where the same, consisting only of a Dammour shirt, worn by both men and women; I thought the latter remarkably handsome; they were of a dark brown complexion, with beautiful eyes, and fine teeth; their persons were slender and elegant. They seemed to be under no fear of jealousy in their husbands or fathers, as they came laughing and joking quite close to our tents, and those who could not speak Arabic endeavoured to make themselves understood by signs. The beauties seemed to be fully conscious of their charms; but it was easy to perceive that they flirted with us for no other purpose than to make a better bargain for their Dhourra and milk, than the less handsome ones could obtain; and they all betrayed bad faith in their dealings with us. I had already heard in Egypt, that the Bisharein are not jealous of their women; it is with them a law of honour never to suspect their wives till they have the most unequivocal proofs of their incontinency. A Bisharye seeing a stranger kiss his wife, would laugh it off, but death would inevitably ensue if he caught her in adultery.

The Bisharein of Atbara, like all their brethren, are a handsome and bold race of people; they go constantly armed, and are seldom free from quarrels. Drunkenness is as common among them as it is among the Arabs of Shendy, and we heard every night some loud dispute in the Bouza huts. They are much addicted to pilfering, and notwithstanding all our precautions, every person in the caravan lost some small articles of baggage; several camels were also stolen, but they were afterwards returned through the interference of the chief, who exacted a handsome present for his trouble. Their propensity to theft is not the worst part of their character; they appear to be treacherous, cruel, avaricious, and revengeful, and are restrained in the indulgence of these passions by no laws either divine or human. One of the people of this village, who had come with us from Shendy, found on his arrival, that two of his best camels had been stolen. Suspecting one of his neighbours to be the thief, he came to the Tekayrne, to know whether they would, by charms, inform him if his suspicions were well founded; but they refused to give him any distinct answer, or to meddle in the business. The man then swore that if he ever ascertained who the thief was, he would cut the throats of all his children, maim his camels, and reduce him to such poverty, as would oblige him to feed with the cattle in the woods. The Bisharein are all Mussulmans, but they observe none of the rites prescribed by that religion, thus forming a remarkable contrast to the Negroe Hadjis who pass this way, and who never omit any of the exterior duties of the Musselman faith. The inhospitable character of the Bisharein would alone prove them to be a true African race, were it not put beyond all doubt by their language. Not a drop of milk could be had without purchasing it, and the women obliged us to pay for the use of some old earthen pots which we were in need of during our stay; no one would even interpret between us and such of the people as were ignorant of Arabic, without exacting at least a handful of Dhourra for his trouble; this avaricious spirit is conspicuous in all their actions, and it is not merely caravan passengers, from whom it is natural for them to extort some profit, that are thus treated; the poor Negroe pilgrims who pass this place in their way to Taka complain bitterly of the pitiless inhabitants of the banks of the Atbara.

Dhourra, and a small quantity of Loubye, or kidney-beans, are sown in the woods close to the river, without any previous preparation of the ground. Water-wheels are unknown. The extent of fertile soil is equal on both sides of the river; but nothing is cultivated on the left bank, on account of the depredations of the Djaalein on that side. In years when the river does not overflow the banks, they draw all their supplies from Taka. The same trees grow near the village which I saw on the west bank; the Nebek was the most common; its fruit is so abundant that the camels are sometimes fed upon it. The Oshour occupies the intervals between the larger trees, and leaves but little space for the growth of the Dhourra. A great number of turtle-doves and pigeons flew about; they have numerous enemies in a species of eagle, which is very little larger than the eagle Rakham of Egypt; the body is quite black, the head bald, and of a deep purple red, like that of the turkey. The Bisharein say that tigers abound in the woods, and that very large serpents are sometimes seen; but though I crossed the woods every day to bring water from the river, I never saw any quadrupeds, except innumerable hosts of rats, of the largest size, running among the Dhourra stubble, great numbers of which the slaves killed, and were delighted to eat. The large ants, which are said to be extremely obnoxious in Kordofan and Darfour, are never seen any where to the east of the Nile. During high water crocodiles are found in the river, but no hippopotami. The rhinoceros is unknown here.

The cattle of the Bisharein are very fine, and in great abundance. Their camels had just been sent to the nearest mountains, where some rains had fallen, to feed upon the fresh herbage, while those in our caravan were driven every morning into the woods to feed upon the twigs of the acacias. The flocks of sheep and goats were following the camels to the mountains; we bought two large sheep for one dollar’s worth of Dammour. The chief and some of his relatives keep horses, and wear coats of mail; there are a couple of asses belonging to every tent.

The river Atbara joins the Mogren at about two days from this village, beyond which the united stream bears the latter name. The Mogren is said to rise in the Bisharye mountains, but it is almost dry in summer; and even in the rainy season, appears to be nothing but a collection of torrents. The direct road from hence to Souakin does not cross it, whence it is evident that its course must be much more from the northward than is generally laid down in the maps. I have already stated that we found very little water in the Atbara; a few weeks before, it must have been almost dried up; for in the bed of the united stream, where we crossed it near Damer, we found nothing but some stagnant pools. During our stay at Atbara we had several light showers at night, and the days were cloudy, often with foggy mornings. On the 3d and 4th of June the river fell suddenly, leaving the greater part of the bed quite dry I afterwards observed in our way to Taka, that the fall must have been at least one foot. The banks are not more than twenty-five feet high; I did not measure the river’s breadth, but from a clear impression left on my mind, I conjecture the banks to be distant from each other at most from four to five hundred paces. The current of the stream was so slow as hardly to be perceptible.

The women of Atbara shave their heads on the death of their nearest relatives; a custom prevalent also among several of the peasant tribes of Arabs in Upper Egypt. The law of retaliation is said to exist among the Bisharein in all its force; their tribes are in continual war with each other; their national enemies are the Shukorye on one side, and the Hadendoa on the other. The Hammadab who live at Atbara have for neighbours, up the river, towards Goz Radjeb, the Beni Kurb, and in the desert the Baterab, both of the Bisharye race. The Hammadab cultivate the banks of the Atbara as low as its junction with the Mogren, below which commence the territories of the Djaalein. From thence to Berber is four long journeys, but the road is very little frequented, and the only places these people communicate with are Shendy, Goz Radjeb, and Taka, and with the Bisharein of the mountains to the northward.

After remaining three or four days at Atbara the chief of the village collected passage duty from every individual, according to the number of his slaves. Each slave pays one Tob Dammour, and the same is levied upon every camel’s load, whatever it may consist of. Those merchants who are supposed, or known to carry gold, are taxed arbitrarily, which, as may readily be conceived, gives rise to many disputes. I paid on the whole one Tob and a half; but the Souakin merchants were extremely dissatisfied with the chief on account of his extortions, and told him that they would never again return by this route. It is, however, the safest road to Souakin, the desert on this side being inhabited by tribes friendly to the Hadherebe, and to Souakin; and I was informed that the chief of Atbara is obliged to divide with several of those tribes the sums which he derives from the caravan. The road, on the contrary, from Souakin to Damer, lies through the pasturing-places of some potent Bisharye tribes inimical to Souakin, and cannot be passed but by caravans sufficiently strong to repel any attack. The day after we had paid the duties, the chief sent to every party of traders a large dish of Dhourra made into a liquid paste, and some Bouza for the use of the caravan.

The caravan, on quitting Atbara, was to divide into two parties, the one taking the direct road through the desert to Souakin, the other proceeding by Taka. The former route, for the three first days, takes a direction more easterly than Souakin, to the well of Gengerab, when it passes in a direct line to Souakin, by three watering-places, situated two days from each other. The entire journey is of ten or twelve days; the road abounds with pasturage and many encampments of Bedouins are met with in the fertile valleys, which are watered by winter torrents, giving birth to luxuriant crops of wild herbage. The part of the caravan proceeding to Taka, intended to sell there the Dammour and tobacco which they had brought from Sennaar; some of them purposed returning immediately afterwards to Shendy, while others intended to go on to Souakin. I determined to take the Taka road, and had the pleasure of seeing the Negroe merchants in whose company I travelled, follow my example. They had many slaves; their camels were weak, and on the Taka road they knew that water was to be met with daily.

May 31st. — The merchants destined for Souakin had left us on the preceding night. We departed ourselves in the morning, following the banks of the Atbara, and passing over a plain about two miles in breadth, overgrown with Doum trees and Oshour, among which the Dhourra stubble was still standing. I observed several hamlets in the thick groves of acacia trees near the river. At the end of three hours we halted upon a sandy beach near the river, where I saw several skeletons of crocodiles of moderate length lying on the ground. There appeared not the smallest elevation of ground; as far as the eye could reach, the horizon was unbroken in every direction, and the country on both sides of the river was an uninterrupted flat. A great number of rats ran, at every step, among the legs of the camels, and the slaves amused themselves the whole day with hunting them. From this place we took a short cut, leaving the river at some distance to the right, and proceeded over a gravelly and sandy plain, in a direction south. After a day’s march of about ten hours we again reached the river, and encamped for the night.

June 1st. — We continued to follow the bed of the river; the banks on both sides are overgrown with trees. This district belongs to the Beni Kurb. The soil is fertile, but bears no traces whatever of cultivation; the inhabitants of several hamlets or encampments appear to be exclusively shepherds. At a spot, where we came close to the bed of the river, I calculated its breadth at about ten minutes walk. At the end of four hours we passed Om Daoud, a large encampment of the tribe of Nefidjab of the Bisharein; this is the most southern boundary of the Bisharye dominions, and the beginning of the territory of the Hadendoa, a very powerful tribe, of which I shall again have occasion to speak; the son of their Shikh had come with us from Shendy, and we had therefore little to fear, except from their pilfering habits. The caravan halted near the village, and I walked up to the huts to look about me. My appearance on this occasion, as on many others, excited an universal shriek of surprise and horror, especially among the women, who were not a little terrified at seeing such an outcast of nature as they consider a white man to be, peeping into their huts, and asking for a little water or milk. The chief feeling which my appearance inspired I could easily perceive to be disgust, for the Negroes are all firmly persuaded that the whiteness of the skin is the effect of disease, and a sign of weakness; and there is not the least doubt, that a white man is looked upon by them as a being greatly inferior to themselves. At Shendy the inhabitants were more accustomed to the sight if not of white men, at least of the light-brown natives of Arabia; and as my skin was much sunburnt, I there excited little surprise. On the market days, however, I often terrified people, by turning short upon them, when their exclamation generally was: Owez billahi min es-sheyttan erradjim (ﻢﻴﺟﺮﻟﺃ ﻥﺎﻄﺸﻟﺃ ﻦﻣ ﻪﻠﻟﺎﺑ ﺯﻮﻋﺃ), “God preserve us from the devil!” One day, after bargaining for some onions with a country girl in the market at Shendy, she told me, that if I would take off my turban and shew her my head, she would give me five more onions; I insisted upon having eight, which she gave me; when I removed my turban she started back at the sight of my white closely shaven crown, and when I jocularly asked her whether she should like to have a husband with such a head, she expressed the greatest surprise and disgust, and swore that she would rather live with the ugliest Darfour slave.

On the side of the desert near the village of Om Daoud, were a number of tombstones; the small-pox made great ravages here last year. According to the Nubian custom, the graves were covered with pebbles of white quartz, and a pole was stuck down at each end. We here fell in with a large caravan of Bisharein, who were travelling the same road with us as far as Goz Radjeb, where they intended to purchase Dhourra. The Souakin traders entertained great suspicions of them, as they belonged to a tribe which was not altogether friendly, and we therefore kept carefully separated from them, and upon the watch.

From Om Daoud we continued along the Atbara, making occasionally short cuts across the desert. Our general direction was S.E. b. S. After a march of nine hours and a half, having seen that the Bisharein caravan had alighted at some distance from us, we halted; our chief was afraid to continue our route and halt farther on, lest we should be surprised; he thought it more prudent to have the enemy in view, than behind us, and we kept under arms the whole of the night. We lighted afire, and placed our baggage in such a manner as to serve as a protection to us, in case of an attack. The Bisharein, however, were probably in as much fear of us as we were of them; for they remained the next morning on their halting place, while we continued our journey.

June 2d. — We travelled this morning about four hours, in a south-east direction, over a plain of cultivable soil, though distant several miles from the river. No mountains were any where visible. We rested during the mid-day hours in a grove of Nebek, Syale, and Allobe trees. I here observed several unknown birds; one was of the size and shape of a black-bird, with a long tail striped with white. I saw some large crows with a white neck. The Bisharein seemed to have no names in their language for these different birds; amongst them it is a great scandal to eat the flesh of birds, and I several times heard them sneeringly call the Egyptians “bird-eaters.” On resuming our journey we entered the sandy desert in the direction of S.E. b. E. In the afternoon the Souakin traders chased with their swiftest dromedaries a wild beast which they descried at a distance; they called it in Arabic Homar el Wahsh (ﺶﺣﻮﻟﺃ ﺭﺎﻤﺣ), which means the wild ass. It did not come near enough to be distinctly seen; but they say it is of the size of a hyæna, with a head and tail much resembling those of an ass: it has no horns. In the Arabian deserts they speak of an animal to which they give the same name; whether it is really the same animal I am not certain. The ground was covered in every direction with innumerable footsteps of the Gazelle species, some of which appeared to belong to animals of a much larger size than any I had yet seen. At the end of four hours, we halted in a Wady with trees. The heat during the day was very oppressive; at night we had a shower of rain. Along the whole route I observed in the form of the sand-hills, and in the shape of the trees, evident proofs of the prevalence of strong easterly winds. A high insulated mountain in the plain bore east, four hours distant.

June 3d. — We saw this morning, while travelling in the plain, a mirage of the brightest azure, as pure and clear as those I had witnessed in the desert between Egypt and Berber. After a march of four hours (direction south), we again reached the river, nearly opposite the large village of Goz Radjeb (ﺐﺟﺭ ﺯﻮﻗ), an Arabic name. The banks on both sides were quite barren. We encamped under some Oshour trees, large enough to afford shade to the whole party. It was our intention to remain here a few days, as the Hadherebe thought the market of Goz Radjeb a fit place for disposing of a part of their merchandize. In approaching the river I saw at a distance two insulated hills close to each other in the plain, and at a short distance from the river; and when we drew nearer to them, I was extremely surprised to see upon the summit of the largest a huge fabric of ancient times. Being naturally short-sighted, and my vision having been further impaired by two attacks of ophthalmia while I was in Upper Egypt, I could not trust any eyes, and therefore asked my companions what it was that appeared like a building upon the hill. “Don’t you see,” they replied, “that it is a church?” (Kenise, ﻪﺴﻴﻨﻛ, a name often applied by the Egyptians to their ancient temples, which they ascribe to the Christians) “and no doubt the work of infidels.” We continued to approach the hill, and encamped at about half an hour’s distance from it. As soon as we had alighted, and placed our baggage in order, I started for the hills, in great eagerness to examine these Ethiopian remains: but a loud cry from the Souakin people brought me back. “The whole country,” they said, “is infested by the peasants of Goz Radjeb; you will not be able to move a hundred paces alone, without being attacked.” Indeed several suspicious looking persons were seen lurking among the trees that lined the banks of the river farther on. My companions added, that the hill was inhabited by Hadendoa robbers, who lived in caverns in it, and were at war with all their neighbours. As they could have no interest in deceiving me, I readily believed them, and returned, not with the intention of abandoning my design, but in the hope of being able the next day to concert measures with some of the country people who might come to barter with us, for their accompanying me to the ruins, which I was then fully determined to visit, whatever might be the consequences. Unfortunately I was deceived in my expectations; and I shall never forgive myself for the momentary irresolution which prevented me from examining the most interesting object which occurred during my journey.

A party of our people had crossed the river to Goz Radjeb to inquire after the state of the market. About two hours after sunset, when we were retiring to sleep, they returned, and soon after the chief of the caravan came to us, crying: “Make haste, the caravan is in fear; if we remain here we shall be attacked. Fill your water-skins, and load your camels, for we shall depart immediately.” In such cases, every feeling gives way to that of self-preservation. Forgetting for a moment the temple, I ran with two skins to the river, while my slave got the camel ready, and by the time I returned with my filled skins, the chief had set off. The people who went to Goz Radjeb had been there secretly informed that a large party of Bisharein intended to surprise us, and the immediate departure of the caravan became in consequence advisable, as it would have been very difficult to pass the river during the night, in order to take refuge at Goz, where we might have been moreover besieged for a long while. We proceeded in silence along the bank of the river; I passed the foot of the hill, but the night was cloudy, and its darkness prevented me from catching the smallest glimpse of the ruins. The barking of dogs proved to me that our people had told me the truth in saying that the rocks were inhabited. Our merchants seemed much frightened, the greatest silence was observed, no pipes were permitted to be lighted, lest the burning ashes might indicate the direction of our march, and nothing was heard but the groans of a few infirm female slaves, and the whips of their cruel masters, who obliged them to follow the caravan on foot, having lent the camels upon which they rode to some people of Goz, for the transport of goods to Taka. I cast a last look towards the object of my curiosity, and lamented the ill fortune, which last year, when at the most southern point which I reached on the Nile, had prevented me from seeing the temple of Soleb in Mahass, and now again, when I had gained the farthest term of my journey southwards, had equally thwarted my desires, and had deprived the public of what many persons might perhaps have thought the most valuable fruit of this difficult journey. May a more fortunate or a more courageous traveller be hereafter able to examine what I have thus merely pointed out.

The rock of these hills is granite; while passing them in the night, I picked up several stones, which I found the next morning to be red coarse-grained granite. The hill upon which the ruin stands appears to be the highest, being about three or four hundred feet above the river, with sloping sides covered with large irregular blocks, and masses of rock. It is perpendicular on the side towards the river, between which and the hill is a space of about thirty yards, where the road passes. The building appears to be just over the precipice, and to face the river. What I could distinguish of it were two high and extremely massive walls, with an equally massive flat roof; on the roof was a sort of cupola, the sides of which appeared to be perpendicular. I could perceive no columns, or any other building. The ruin itself is enclosed on all sides by high rocks, which hide the greater part of it from view; and in the day time I was unable to get a sight of it in front. As far as I could judge its walls must be between thirty and forty feet in height, and I suppose them to be built of granite, as they were of the same hue as the surrounding rocks. I had no telescope with me, and can therefore give no accurate details respecting these remains; but the whole building, with the exception of the pointed roof, appeared to me to be of the rudest construction, and of the remotest antiquity. I asked the Souakin merchants if they had ever seen any similar ruins in this neighbourhood, but they had never gone higher up the river, and could therefore give me no positive information, and no natives appeared whom I could question on the subject.

The village of Goz Radjeb stands in the sandy plain, at a distance of about a quarter of a mile from the left bank of the river. It is named Goz from its situation among sands. Its inhabitants are said to be a mixture of all sorts of Arabs, Bisharein, Hadendoa, Djaalein, and Shukorye, who have settled here principally for the purposes of trade. As far as I could judge, agriculture forms no part of their occupation, and I understood that they draw all their Dhourra front the neighbouring district of Taka. They possess cattle, which feed in the summer on the bank of the river, and in winter in the interior of the desert. Goz is under the dominion of Sennaar, and its chief, like that of Shendy, is of the reigning family of Wold Adjib (ﺐﻴﺠﻋ ﺪﻟﻭ). The inhabitants carry on a brisk trade with Sennaar and Shendy, and sometimes visit the market of Damer, where, as at Shendy, they sell their cattle. Slaves are always to be found in the market of Goz, which is frequented sometimes by Souakin traders, but more usually by the Bisharye and Hadendoa Bedouins, for, although they are enemies, yet, in these countries, as among the Arabian Bedouins, a free passage is allowed through a hostile territory, under certain restrictions. The caravans from Souakin to Sennaar, which do not wish to pass by Atbara or Shendy, take the route by Goz, from whence they proceed straight across the desert to Sennaar. In the winter pools of water abound in the sands; but in summer the caravans are obliged to carry water with them for the whole journey of six days this desert is said also to be destitute of trees. The route is only attempted during the hot season, because the Bedouins Shukorye encamp there during the winter, and render the road dangerous. Although the barrenness which prevails in this route in the summer often proves fatal to the slaves, the traders nevertheless prefer it to incurring the expenses which attend a stay at Shendy, and the payment of passage duties at Atbara. We marched about four hours during the night, and then rested upon deep sandy ground near some thorny trees and tamarisks.

June 4th. — We set out before sun-rise. Our road lay over an immense plain, without the smallest elevation, except the above-mentioned hills to our left, which, in the morning, bore N.N.E. and at mid-day, when we halted, N.W. The soil of the plain consists of clay, with very few stones, and is almost as fertile as that on the banks of the Nile; it is over-grown with many different species of wild herbs, and what appeared to me remarkable, each species occupied a separate spot, seldom mixing with those adjoining it, so that the whole plain had the appearance of an immense sheet of patterns. Many of the herbs were now withered.

Our direction was E.N.E.; during the morning a part of our companions quitted the caravan, and took a more southerly route towards the southern parts of the country of Taka. About noon we descried some trees at a distance, and as the heat of the sun was extremely great, every one hastened in search of a shady place. The surface of the ground, as well as the trees, afforded proofs of the prevalence of strong easterly winds. In the afternoon we entered upon a completely barren, gravelly plain, without trees or the slightest vegetation of any kind, and without any elevation, or other land marks to guide the traveller. In the evening there were some vivid flashes of lightning, which served as a direction for the march, as the people of the caravan knew the quarter from whence they came; the horizon was cloudy, and threatened rain. After a march of about eleven hours we encamped, much tired, in a Wady of trees, a part of the caravan having gone astray during the night.

June 5th. — It appeared that we had all missed our road yesterday, owing to the extreme flatness and barrenness of the plain; for we started to-day in the direction of E.S.E. After about an hour’s march we reached the boundaries of the province of Taka; where we found a rich soil as fine as that near the Nile, and much like it in colour; the march of the camels was obstructed by thick groves of Oshour and acacias. A most violent gust of wind arose, and blew about the dust and sand in such a manner, that we were unable to see ten yards before us; we in consequence lost our way among the trees, and after wandering about for some time, during which we frightened several shepherds, who mistook us for Bisharye enemies, and hastily drove away their flocks, we reached, after a three hours march, an encampment of. Hadendoa Bedouins, where we rested. One of our chief guides or Khobara (ﺍﺮﺒﺧ) was married to a relative of the chief of this encampment. We alighted in the open area surrounded by the tents, which, as in Arabia, were pitched in a Douar or circle (ﺭﺍﻭﺩ). Towards evening we were visited by another hurricane, the most tremendous I ever remember to have witnessed. A dark blue cloud first appeared, extending to about 25º above the horizon; as it approached nearer, and increased in height, it assumed an ash gray colour with a tinge of yellow, striking every person in the caravan, who had not been accustomed to such phænomena, with amazement at its magnificent and terrific appearance; as the cloud approached still nearer, the yellow tinge became more general, while the horizon presented the brightest azure. At last, it burst upon us in its rapid course, and involved us in darkness and confusion; nothing could be distinguished at the distance of five or six feet; our eyes were filled with dust; our temporary sheds were blown down at the first gust, and many of the more firmly fixed tents of the Hadendoa followed; the largest withstood for a time the force of the blast, but were at last obliged to yield, and the whole camp was levelled with the ground. In the mean time the terrified camels arose, broke the cords by which they were fastened; and endeavoured to escape from the destruction which appeared to threaten them, thus adding not a little to our own embarrassment. After blowing about half an hour with incessant violence, the wind suddenly abated, and when the atmosphere became clear, the tremendous cloud was seen continuing its havoc to the northwest. Similar hurricanes frequently happen at this time of the year, their consequences, however, are never more disastrous than what I have just detailed; in a few minutes the tents were raised, and every thing was again put in order.

The Hadendoa showed us little hospitality; we encamped in the very midst of them, that we might not be exposed to any hostile attacks in the night, during the whole of which we kept watch to preserve our baggage from their pilfering propensities. The wells were at some distance from the encampment, and as the road to them, which lay through the wood, was unsafe for strangers, the Hadendoa made us pay for the water they supplied us with. The guide and his relations feasted upon a sheep that had been slaughtered in honour of him; a few pounds of the roasted meat were sent from their board to the party of black merchants to which I belonged, and presently afterwards the Shikh of the Douar sent a slave to beg some cloves, which could not be refused, as they were evidently considered as a return due for the meat. In the Arabian deserts, such meanness would disgrace a Bedouin and the whole tribe to which he belongs.

June 6th. — Our people did not like to remain longer with the Hadendoa, because the smallness of their encampment, and its distance from any market, left our people little hopes of disposing of their goods; we therefore, against the opinion of our chief, moved on this morning in a S.S.E. direction, over the fertile grounds of Taka, which consist every where of a rich soil, but uncultivated, with trees, and wild herbs in great abundance. After a winding march of three hours through the woods, we came to a large encampment called Filik, where we intended to stop. We entered through one of the openings made in the high thick enclosure formed of the thorny branches of trees, with which all these encampments are surrounded, and we pitched our huts in the square area within. Many of the merchants had friends here, in whose tents they took up their quarters. The black traders kept close together, and as I knew that we should, at all events, remain here for several days, I hired a Bedouin, for a handful of tobacco, to construct for me a small tent of mats, which might at least afford me shelter from the sun.

Taka (ﺎﻛﺎﺘﻟﺍ ﺩﻼﺑ Bellad el Taka). The country of Taka, or as it is also called by its inhabitants, El Gash (ﺵﺎﻗﻟﺃ), is famous all over these countries for its extreme fertility. It extends in a S.E. direction for about three long days journeys in length, and one in breadth, and is peopled entirely by tribes who are part settlers and part Bedouins. One day’s journey, in a S.E. direction from Filik, which is an encampment of Hadendoa, begin the encampments of the Bedouins called Melikinab; further on live the Bedouins Segollo; one day’s journey from the Melikinab, begin the tribe of Hallenga, which is divided into the Upper and Lower, the former dwelling about one day’s journey beyond the latter. Taka forms part of the country of Bedja, which includes the course of the river Atbara from Goz Radjeb, and continues, as I was informed, to the south, as far as the mountains (of Abyssinia, I suppose), while, to the north, the chain of mountains called Langay marks the boundary of Bedja, thus including many deserts, and several hilly districts. Taka itself, however, is an entirely flat country, or rather low ground, bounded on the N. and W. by deserts, and on the S.E. by a chain of mountains called Negeyb, which, from what I learnt, runs parallel with the Red Sea. Of the nature of its frontiers to the south I cannot speak with certainty, but I believe it to be a country interspersed with mountains and fertile valleys.

The reason why Taka is so fertile, and has become so populous, is its regular inundation, a fact of which not a doubt can be entertained, although I found it impossible to obtain exact information of the causes of this inundation, or of the circumstances attending it. About the latter end of June, or sometimes not till July, for the period does not seem to be so fixed as that of the rise of the Nile, large torrents coming from the S. and S.E. pour over the country, and in the space of a few weeks (or according to some, in eight days), cover the whole surface with a sheet of water, varying in depth from two to three feet; these torrents are said to lose themselves in the eastern plain, after inundating the country, but the waters remain upwards of a month in Taka; and if I am to believe the reports of several persons who had seen the Nile, and could draw a comparison, the waters, on subsiding, leave a thick slime, or mud, upon the surface, similar to that left by the Nile. It is certain that immediately after the inundation is imbibed, the Bedouins sow the seed upon the alluvial mud, without any previous preparation whatever. The inundation is usually accompanied by heavy rains, which set in a short time before the inundation, and become most copious during its height. I was informed that the rains are ushered in by hurricanes of incredible violence, blowing from the south every evening after sun-set. The rains last several weeks longer than the inundation; but they are not incessant, falling in heavy showers at short intervals. In the winter and spring, the people of Taka obtain their water from deep wells, extremely copious, dispersed all over the country, but at a considerable distance from each other; they are in groups of half a dozen together, with large mud basins round them for the cattle to drink from, and as they supply the adjacent country to the distance of four or five miles, they are crowded the whole day with shepherds and their flocks. The water of most of these wells is brackish; but it is said that there is always found one in each group of which the contents are sweeter than the rest. They are dug to the depth of from twenty-five to forty feet, and are not lined on the sides with either brick or stones.

The produce of Taka is very disproportioned to what it might be in such a fine soil, every part of which is inundated, and where the inundation rarely fails. The people appear to be ignorant of tillage. They have no regular fields; and the Dhourra, their only grain, is sown among the thorny trees, and Ushour, by dibbling large holes in the ground, into each of which a handful of the seed is thrown. After the harvest is gathered, the peasants return to their pastoral occupations; they seem never to have thought of irrigating the ground for a second crop with the water which might every where be found by digging wells. Not less than four-fifths of the ground remain unsown; but as the quantity of Dhourra produced is, generally, sufficient not only for their own consumption, but also for the supply of others, they never think of making any provisions for increasing it, notwithstanding that when the inundation is not copious, or only partial (no one remembers its ever failing entirely), they suffer all the miseries of want. Twenty-four Mouds of Dhourra were bought here with one piece of Tob Dammour; at Shendy the same price is given for seven Mouds. Calculating the price by dollars, nearly the same quantity of Dhourra is obtained here for one Spanish dollar, as in Upper Egypt, which is the cheapest corn-market in the East. The Dhourra is of the best quality, and of the same species as that of Upper Egypt, and the countries on the Nile, but it is much larger grained, whiter, and better flavoured; it is therefore in great request, and when I was at Souakin, in the house of the Turkish officer of the customs, I eat of loaves made of this Dhourra, which were little inferior to wheaten bread. In the Djidda market the Taka Dhourra is sold twenty per cent. dearer than that grown in Egypt. I believe nothing else is cultivated except a few Bamyes and Loubyes. The people are extremely fond of onions, which have become a kind of currency between them and the Souakin traders; but no one has ever tried to grow them in Taka.

Taka is as celebrated for its herds of cattle as for its Dhourra; they are very numerous; the cows are particularly handsome, and have all humps on the back, like those on the Nile; they serve, as in Darfour and Kordofan, for a medium of exchange. The price of a large fat cow was four pieces of Dammour, or ninety-six Mouds of Dhourra, which is equivalent to about two Erdeybs, or thirty bushels. The price of a strong camel is one-fourth more. As it was now the hottest part of the year, just before the period of the rains, when the ground is quite parched up, I saw few cattle. According to the annual custom, the herds had been sent several months before to the Eastern desert, where they feed in the mountains and fertile valleys, and where springs of water are found. After the inundation, they are brought back to the plain. The camels of Taka are highly prized, from an idea that the young shoots of the acacia trees, on which they feed in the woods, render them stronger than camels fed with other food. The people use the skin of the long neck of the camel, sowed up on one side, and left open on the other, as sacks to transport their grain in, when travelling; their form is very convenient for loading. The quantity of cattle would be even greater than it is, were it not for the wild beasts which inhabit the forests, and destroy great numbers of them; the most common of these are lions, and what they call tigers, but which I suppose to be leopards or panthers. I never saw any of these animals, but I heard their howlings every night. The flocks of the encampment, near which a few sheep are always kept, are driven in the evening into the area within the circle of tents, and the openings in the thorny enclosure already described are filled up with a heap of thorns. No one dares stir out of this entrenchment during the night; it is sufficiently strong to be impenetrable to the wild beasts, which prowl about it the whole of the night, filling the air with their dismal howls, which are answered by the incessant barking of the dogs within. It rarely happens that either lions or tigers are killed in these countries; when such an occurrence happens, it is in self-defence; for the inhabitants having no other weapons than swords and lances, have little chance of conquering the king of the forest, of which this district appears to be a favourite haunt. Some of the Shikhs, but very few, have lion skins in their tents; they appeared to be of middling size; but if the testimony of the Hadendoa may be credited, a lion here sometimes reaches the size of a cow. Persons are frequently killed by them. In the woods wolves (ﺐﻳﺫ), Gazelles, and hares abound; and the Bedouins relate stories of serpents of immense size, which often devour a sheep entire. The fiercest animals, however, that inhabit these woods are the Bedjawy, or inhabitants of Bedja, themselves. Great numbers of asses are kept by all these Bedouins. In the mountains of Negeyb, the Giraffa is said to be very numerous; I saw a piece of the skin of one in the tent of a Hadendoa. Locusts are always seen in Taka, which seems to be their breeding-place, from whence they spread over other parts of Nubia. However innumerable their hosts may be, they appear to be incapable of destroying the verdure of this country, as sometimes happens in Egypt and Syria. Those I saw were of the largest size, with the upper wings of a red, and the lower of a yellow colour. The trees are full of pigeons, and crows in large flocks. I do not remember having seen any birds remarkable for their plumage. From the acacia trees gum arabic is collected, which is sold at Souakin to the Djidda merchants; from Djidda it finds its way to Egypt; but it is of an indifferent quality, owing, probably, to the moisture of the soil; for the best gum is produced in the driest deserts.

The Hadendoa Bedouins, the only inhabitants of Taka seen by me, evidently belong to the same nation as the Bisharein, and all the Eastern Nubians, with whom they have the same features, language, character, and manners. They are the strongest of the four tribes who people Taka; the Melikinab are the weakest. All these people are partly cultivators and partly Bedouins. Each tribe has a couple of large villages built in the desert, on the border of the cultivable soil, where some inhabitants are always to be found, and to which the whole population, excepting those who tend the cattle in the interior of the desert, repairs during the rainy season. When the waters subside the Bedouins then spread over the whole district, pitching their Douars or camps in those places where they hope for the best pasturage, and moving about from month to month, until the sun parches up the herbage; the settlers in the village meantime sow the ground adjoining the neighbouring desert. The camps consist of huts formed of mats, like those of Atbara. There are also a few huts with mud walls, resembling those in the countries on the Nile, but smaller: even of the settlers, however, the greater part prefer living in the open country, under sheds, to inhabiting close dwellings. Besides the villages just described, there are others within the fertile districts which are built upon insulated sandy spots, like islands, somewhat elevated above the general level. I enquired whether there were any marshes, or large ponds of stagnant water in Taka, but was answered in the negative.

The encampment where we remained consisted of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred tents, divided into four Douars, or circles; these were separated from each other by fences lower than the general thorny enclosure, by which the whole were surrounded. In every settlement in Taka, as at Shendy and Atbara, there are several Bouza huts, and many public women, with some of whom even the most respectable of the Souakin merchants took up their quarters. These women seemed to me to be more decent in their behaviour than those of the same description in the countries on the Nile; at least they seldom appeared abroad during the day, whereas the others were seen walking about at all hours. Both sexes wear the common Nubian dress, a Dammour shirt, and a cloke of the same stuff thrown over the shoulders. I observed one peculiarity amongst the women, that of wearing brass or silver rings on their toes; many of them wear leathern aprons, instead of the Dammour cloth which the Nubian women generally wrap round the middle; the same custom prevails amongst the Bedouins of the Hedjaz. In their tents they suspend various ornaments of white shells, Woda (ﻊﺿﻭ), from the Red Sea, intermixed with black ostrich feathers. All the women go unveiled, and the most respectable think it no shame whatever to receive a man in their tent, and to be seen chatting with him during the husband’s absence. This, however, never happened to me, for whenever I presented myself before a tent, the ladies greeted me with loud screams, and waved with their hands for me to depart instantly. Nothing astonished them more than my beard and mustachios; for the beards of the Bedouins never grow long or thick, and they cut their mustachios very short, it being a disgrace amongst them to wear them long, and considered as great a mark of slovenliness as an unshorn beard among Europeans.

In almost every village we found one or two individuals who had been on the Hadj, and who exercised the functions of Fakys. They are the only persons who trouble themselves about religious ceremonies, the people generally being entirely ignorant of the Mohammedan law and religion. In some instances they act directly contrary to the dictates of Mohammed, as for example, in eating the blood of slaughtered animals, which is prepared by placing it over the fire till it coagulates, when some salt is mixed with it, and butter poured upon it. Cows blood is most esteemed for this dish, which is equally common in Darfour, as I was informed by the Negroe slaves from that country. They eat no flesh raw excepting the liver, or kidneys; these the Arabian Bedouins, and the inhabitants of Syria, also eat raw with salt. The raw marrow of cows is considered a great dainty. When their cattle is near the encampment they live almost wholly upon milk, particularly that of the camel. When a company is collected, a large bowl of milk is set on the ground in the midst of them, and is handed round at intervals of about five minutes, for every one to sip a little; when emptied the bowl is filled again, and thus continues as long as the guests remain.

The Hadendoa are very indolent; the business of the house is left to the wives and slaves, while the men pass the day either in paying an idle visit to some neighbouring encampment, or at home reclined upon the Angareyg, smoking their pipes, and generally going drunk to bed in the evening. To each other they shew great hospitality, but towards strangers I never saw a more pitiless race of people, which is the more remarkable from its being so contrary to the general disposition of the Bedouins, one of whose first considerations is how to supply the wants of the stranger. Inhospitality to strangers seems to be a marked characteristic both of this people and of those of Souakin. In the market village near our encampment I could never obtain a drop of water without paying for it in Dhourra; and in our own encampment I was obliged to pay for the hire of a mat for a few minutes, to spread a little Dhourra meal upon in order to dry it in the sun. The poor Negroe pilgrims who pass through Taka in their way to Mekka, complain bitterly of this want of hospitality. Several of them were here during our stay, and lived in the encampment; they used to go round in the evening with their wooden bowls to beg for a little bread, when they knew that the people were at supper; but from two hundred tents they never could collect enough to make a meal sufficient for themselves; and myself and companions were obliged to entertain two of them every evening at supper. Where no feelings of generosity exist, the baser passions easily find access. The people of Taka are as noted for their bad faith as for their inhospitality; they live in continual broils with each other, which are not terminated by open hostility, but by a warfare of treachery, wherein each man endeavours to surprise and destroy his enemy by secret contrivances. Even in their own encampments they are armed with a spear, sword, and shield; and when they go to any distance it is generally in parties. During my stay two men were murdered in the woods by some persons unknown. The people of the caravan never ventured out of the encampment except in large parties; in the evening it was our practice to form a small caravan to proceed to the wells to fill our water-skins, taking care to keep as close together as possible. Treachery is not considered here as criminal or disgraceful, and the Hadendoa is not ashamed to boast of his bad faith, whenever it has led to the attainment of his object. The Souakin people assured me that no oath can bind a man of Taka; that which alone they hesitate to break is when they swear, “By my own health” (ﻲﺘﻴﻓﺎﻋ ﺓﺎﻴﺣﻭ). A Hadendoa seldom scruples to kill his companion on the road in order to possess himself of the most trifling article of value, if he entertains a hope of doing it with impunity; but the retaliation of blood exists in full force. Among the Hallenga, who draw their origin from Abyssinia, a horrible custom is said to attend the revenge of blood; when the slayer has been seized by the relatives of the deceased, a family feast is proclaimed, at which the murderer is brought into the midst of them, bound upon an Angareyg, and while his throat is slowly cut with a razor, the blood is caught in a bowl, and handed round amongst the guests, every one of whom is bound to drink of it, at the moment the victim breathes his last. I cannot vouch for the truth of this, although several persons asserted it to be a fact, and I heard no one contradict it. I might, perhaps, have come to the knowledge of several other strange customs amongst these savages, had I understood their language, or met with many of them who spoke Arabic; it was not sufficient to have found one or two who were acquainted with that language, for they will not endure to be plagued with questions, when no advantage is to be gained by answering them, and a traveller circumstanced as I was, can only obtain information of this kind by listening to general conversation, or by endeavouring to draw it insensibly to the subject upon which he wishes to be informed.

To treachery the people of Taka add a great propensity to theft. We had all occasion to complain of their pilfering habits, but particularly a Sowakiny, who lodged in the tent of one of the principal Bedouins of the encampment: his leathern sack was cut open during the night, and one hundred ounces of gold taken out of it. We missed every morning some trifles; but our precautions were such, that nothing of value could be taken away without awakening

us. One day when I was in the market-place measuring some Dhourra, the Ferdes (or quarter of a piece) of Dammour, which I had thrown over my shoulder to expose it for sale, was taken off without my immediately missing it, although all the bye-standers saw the thief walking off with it. As soon as I discovered the robbery I pursued him, but as I found him armed, and more than a match for me, and as others interfered in his favour, I thought myself fortunate in recovering two-thirds of the value of the Dammour in Dhourra, the thief keeping the remainder to himself for the trouble he had had in stealing the whole.

Their own quarrels, and their national enmity to the Bisharein, with whom they are never known to be at peace, have rendered the people of Taka a warlike nation. They use the same weapons as the inhabitants of the Nile countries; bows and arrows are unknown amongst them. Their chiefs keep horses, and arm them selves with coats of mail. They are said to be brave, but I never saw scars on any part of their bodies except the back. The same remark applies to all the people of Nubia, where I have never seen any individuals with scars upon their breasts, while the backs of most of the men bear the marks of large wounds, in which they seem to pride themselves. The shield is said to protect the sides from blows. I found a custom here, which in my journey towards Dóngola I had been told of, as existing among the Bisharein; when a young man boasts of his superior prowess, in the presence of another, the latter draws his knife and inflicts several flesh wounds in his own arms, shoulders, and sides; he then gives the knife to the boaster, who is bound in honour to inflict still deeper wounds upon his own body, or yield for ever in reputation to his antagonist. They are certainly a strong and hardy race of men; and are more robust and muscular than any Bedouins I ever saw. During winter they live almost wholly upon flesh and milk, tasting very little bread; and it is to this they attribute their strength. The only disease which they dread is the small-pox, which made great ravages among them last year, and had not yet entirely disappeared; a neighbouring encampment was still infected, and all communication had in consequence been cut off between it and the surrounding encampments. The disease was first brought here by the Souakin merchants, from whence it has spread over all the countries on the Nile.

On the skirts of the desert, at a quarter of an hour from our encampment, was a village called Souk Hadendoa, or the marketplace of Hadendoa (the Arabic word Souk ﻕﻮﺳ being used in the native idiom), the residence of the great chief of the Taka Hadendoas. On the sands behind the village a market is held once a week, which is frequented by great numbers of Bedouins and countrypeople; I visited it twice, and occasioned no little amusement and astonishment among the strangers, to whom I was an object of the greatest curiosity; but I always excited much more contempt and disgust amongst the women than amongst the men. The Black traders with whom I lived accompanied me to this market, where we sold various articles brought from Shendy, for Dhourra, which is the common currency here. Bedouins who take dollars are seldom found at Taka, but Dammour is in great demand. The following were the articles brought to market by the country people, besides cattle. A variety of mats and baskets made of reeds, and of the leaves of the Doum tree, which is common in the valleys of the desert to the N. and E. Earthen pots for cooking, and for ablution (Ibareik alloudhou ﻮﺿﻮﻠﻟﺃ ﻖﻳﺭﺎﺑﺃ); the latter are of the annexed form, and are bought by the Souakin people and carried to the Hedjaz; all the Negroes, and other poor Hadjis carry one of them for their daily ablutions. — Camel saddles; ropes, made of reeds; hides; water-skins; a few fowls, which are met with all over Nubia; dried camels flesh (butter was no where to be procured, the flocks being at a distance); the Allobe and Nebek fruits; of the latter they make here a sort of viscid jelly, which has an agreeable taste. Tama, the bark of a tree similar to that which I observed at Shendy under the name of Gyrfe, of like taste, and used for the same purposes; in the mountains south of Hallenga it is called Basinya. Gum arabic. Gharab, the pulse of the acacia, with which leather is tanned. Salt, brought from Souakin, which forms a considerable article. Black Ostrich feathers; these are the feathers of the female ostrich; the white feathers are sold privately to the Souakin traders. Some blacksmiths attend the market; a slave works the bellows, while the master is employed in mending knives, lance heads, or the iron chains which are used for tying the fore legs of the camels during the night.

The principal article sold by the foreign merchants is tobacco, as well the produce of Sennaar as of Persia and the Yemen; that which comes from the latter countries is called here Suratty, and is the yellow leaved sort called Tombac in the Hedjaz and Egypt, and which is smoked in the East in the Persian pipe or Nargyle; being much stronger than the Sennaar tobacco, it is preferred in Taka principally for the manufacture of snuff, of which the people are very fond; the snuff is prepared by mixing natron or salt with the pulverised tobacco. No man or woman is seen without a small gourd, the size of a goose’s egg, in which they carry their snuff. The Souakin traders sell here also natron, which they bring from Shendy; all kinds of spices, especially cloves, which are in great demand among the Hallenga; incense, beads, and hardware; but the chief articles are tobacco, Dammour, and cloves. Dhourra is taken in exchange for all these articles, and is the main object with the merchants from Souakin, because that place depends solely upon Taka for its supply of this necessary of life, none, or very little, being cultivated in its neighbourhood. The Dhourra of Taka is imported into Souakin in such quantities that many shiploads of it can at any time be sent from thence to Djidda, where it is always to be purchased in the markets. I need hardly add, that the intercourse between Taka and Souakin is in consequence extremely brisk; a fortnight seldom passes without some arrivals from the latter place; and as camels are very cheap, the expense of transport is proportionally small; nevertheless the Dhourra at Souakin was just four times dearer than at Taka, twelve measures being sold for one dollar; but it was still sufficiently cheap to enable the dealers to transport it to Djidda, and there sell it to advantage. During the last famine Taka supplied the whole valley of the Nile from Shendy to Mograt with Dhourra. There are several market places in the district similar to the one I have described; that of the Hallenga is said to be the largest, and Dhourra is even cheaper there than it is in this part of Taka. The Tob Dammour was there worth from thirty-two to thirty-six Mouds. Several of our people rode thither to sell their tobacco.

The direct road from Taka to Shendy is rendered unsafe by the incursions of the Shukorye, which obliges the Taka people bound for that place to go by Goz Radjeb and Atbara. Small caravans sometimes go straight from Taka to Sennaar for Dammour and tobacco; from the most southern limits of the Hallenga they travel half a day to the village of Menan; from thence three days across a sandy desert, without water, to the river Atbara, where its banks are inhabited by the Arabs Omran, who speak Arabic. From the Atbara they reach, after two days desert journey, the Arabs Dhebdayle (ﻪﻠﻳﺍﺪﺒﺿ), who possess considerable herds of cows and camels. From thence a journey of one day among woods and cultivated spots, to the village of Dender, and two days more, across a desert bring them to Sennaar, making in the whole a journey of eight or nine days, slow march, but not in a straight line. This route is much frequented by the Negroe pilgrims. The above distances were given to me by a man from Dar Saley, who performed the journey with a boy, and without a guide. He was well treated by the Arabs Omran, from whose tents he performed the journey to Menan across the desert, without a guide, directing his course by the stars. The accuracy of his statements I believe may be depended on. The following is the account which I received of the route towards Ras el Fil, but I am not so well convinced of its correctness as of that of the preceding.

From the last settlements of the Hallengas, one long journey to the Arabs Fohara (ﻩﺭﺎﺤﻓ); from thence to Wady Omran (ﻥﺮﻣﺃ), one day and a half. To Ayaye (ﻪﻳﺎﻴﻋ) one day; and from thence in two days to Ras el Fil (ﻞﻴﻔﻠﺃ ﺱﺃﺭ), on the route from Sennaar to Gondar. Three days below the Arabs Omran, towards Goz on the Atbara, is a large settlement of Shukorye, called Gabaryb (ﺐﻳﺭﺎﺒﻗ), which was stated to be as large as Shendy; its name often occurred in the conversations of the people of Taka.

Great animosity seems to prevail between the Hallengas and the Abyssinians, the latter never being mentioned by them without some opprobrious epithet, the mildest of which is Kafer. I had heard in Upper Egypt, and at Berber, that caravans sometimes depart from the Hallengas for Massouah; and I was afterwards told at Djidda, by some Massouah merchants, that Hallengas were sometimes seen at that place with cows for sale; but I could hear of no such intercourse during my stay at Taka. The Hallengas have a slight commercial intercourse with the Abyssinians of the province called Walkayt. Had I seen the least probability of making my way towards Massouah, I should have attempted it, for that part of the country appeared to me to be very interesting; it would have led me through the dwellings of many tribes who form the links of the chain by which the Abyssinians are connected with the Arabs, and whose manners, no doubt, present striking originalities; but after what I observed of the character of the people of Taka, I did not think that I should have the smallest chance of being able to protect my little property after quitting my companions the Souakin merchants; and from what I saw of the hospitality of these people, I was certain that if once stripped I should perish of want. To have engaged one of these savages as a guide would have been of little avail, had he even proved faithful, as he could not have ensured my safety for more than one day’s journey, or as far as the limits of his own tribe. I should then have fallen among strangers, all intent upon plundering me of whatever I possessed, while I should have had nothing to offer in my defence, and could hardly have made myself understood, very few people in those parts speaking Arabic. I hope, therefore, I shall not be blamed for abandoning this project, while, on the other hand, I had reasonable hopes of reaching Souakin in safety. I heard at Taka that Souakin and Massouah were at equal distances from the Hallengas.

I was not molested during my stay at Taka, and nothing particularly disagreeable happened to me; but I learnt afterwards, that I had nearly been reduced to a most distressing situation, a grown up slave of one of my companions having formed the design of stealing my camel, and selling it at a neighbouring encampment, in which case I should probably never have recovered it. Our camels were driven into the woods every morning to feed, under the care of the slaves; mine was entrusted to my own slave-boy; during the mid-day heat, when the slaves sometimes indulged in sleep, camels belonging to the caravan were occasionally lost, and mine would certainly have shared the same fate, had not the man who intended to steal it communicated his intention to another, who informed me of it. I complained to his master, who reprimanded him severely, and from that day I never permitted my camel to pasture abroad, but kept it in the camp, and fed it with Dhourra. To prevent their best camels from being stolen, the merchants are in the habit of fastening their fore legs with heavy iron chains, which being locked on, and not removable without a key, prevent at least any attempt to drive off the animal suddenly. The day after our arrival the chief of the encampment treated the whole party with a breakfast and supper of Dhourra, in a state of thin paste, sent round to each mess. Two days after, he ordered a couple of cows to be slaughtered, in honour of our arrival; a part of the flesh was intended for my companions the Tekayrne and myself, but the slaves of the Souakin merchants got hold of it, and it disappeared in an instant. In return for this hospitality we were obliged to make a present to the chief, of a Ferde Dammour, equivalent to about twelve measures of Dhourra, for each slave in the caravan, which amounted in all to nearly twenty times the value of the bread and meat he had given us. No direct duties are paid here, neither do the Taka people pay any at Souakin.

By the 14th the merchants of the caravan had sold all their cotton stuffs and tobacco; and some of them had already set off with a small party on their return to Goz Radjeb. We had learnt that, on the morning of our departure from opposite that place, the Bisharein arrived there in superior force, but that they retired again when they found, by the extinguished fires of the caravan and the cold ashes, that we had got a long start of them. On the eve of our departure from Taka the caravan was joined by several people of the place with loads of Dhourra. Our own merchants had converted all their goods into Dhourra, and had loaded their camels to the utmost they could bear. A large party of Negroe pilgrims also joined, and we formed in all a caravan of about three hundred camels. Our departure was extremely irregular; the principal chief had set out on the 14th, and we thought that we should remain several days longer, when the second chief broke up suddenly, and began to load. One of my companions was thus obliged to abandon an outstanding debt, which made him a loser to the amount of twenty measures of Dhourra; he hesitated long whether or not he should stay behind, in order to recover it, and repair to Souakin with some future caravan; but prudence got the better of avarice, and we marched off early on the morning of the 15th of June. Before our final departure we were beset by all the people of the Douar endeavouring to obtain some small presents from us before we left them; they had plagued us during the whole of our stay, especially the women, who left no arts of coquetry untried, in order to possess themselves of the objects of their wishes. One of the cousins of the chief, who had just been married, was particularly importunate. Knowing that she looked on me with disdain and derision, I could not help admiring her subtilty and address in persuading me by signs, that she had conceived a great affection for me, giving me plainly to understand that for a handful of cloves she would refuse me nothing. Her own people probably knew that the whole was a trick to get from me something of value; it was some satisfaction to me, therefore, that all her arts were ineffectual, and that she did not succeed in obtaining the smallest present from me.

During the whole of my stay in this encampment, as well as at Shendy, I affected the greatest sanctity of manners, imitating, as far as possible, the Fakys, whose character is the more respected in these countries from their enjoying the reputation of great learning, and of exemplary private conduct. This is the character of the whole body, but it is well known how unworthy many individuals are of it, and that all their actions are governed by hypocrisy. Superstitious prejudices, and respect for a religion which appears more awful from the great bulk of the people being ignorant of its tenets; fear, perhaps, of incantations, and the great respect shewn towards each other, still tend to keep up the popular belief that a Hadji must be a being superior in virtue and sanctity; and if he ever proves the contrary, no one is bold enough to accuse him, as the whole body would then become the enemy of the accuser. It is much the same with the Olemas in Turkey and Arabia; their real character is well known; but they continue to enjoy great credit, because no one likes to be the first to raise his hand against them; and they are protected by the government, which finds them useful in enslaving the multitude, and in directing public opinion.

During the two last days of our stay at Taka, we were greatly alarmed by intelligence from Souakin that a man of Taka had been killed there by a Hadherebe. The Hadendoa deliberated whether they should not detain all the individuals of the caravan till they knew the result of the affair, and they would probably have done it had not another Bedouin arrived soon after, with information that the business had been settled by the Souakiny paying the price of blood.

Journey from Taka to Souakin.

June 15th. — Just as we started a violent wind rose and continued the whole of the morning; the sand flew about in every direction, and caused us to miss our way. Our general direction was N.E. by N. We passed alternately sandy and fertile ground, the latter, which traverses the desert in narrow strips, is regularly inundated by the waters of Taka. At the end of about four hours we reached the extremity of this cultivable tract, where high acacias were growing. Here we found the principal chief of the caravan, waiting for us. In the afternoon we continued in the same direction, over the desert plain, and halted after a day’s march of nine or ten hours. After sunset we were involved in a violent whirlwind, during which the camels became unruly, and we were obliged to remain on the spot till it ceased.

June 16th. — We continued in the direction of N.E. by N. We had now with us eighteen or twenty of the Tekayrne, or Negroe pilgrims. Tekroury, the singular of this name, is not derived from a country called Tekrour, as is generally supposed in the East, and which has misled all the Arabian geographers, but from the verb Takorror (ﺭﺮﻜﺗ), to multiply, renew, to sift, to purify, to invigorate; i. e. their religious sentiments, by the study of the sacred book, and by pilgrimage. The appellation is bestowed on all Negroes who come from the west, in search of learning (Taleb Olm, ﻢﻠﻋ ﺐﻟﺎﻂ — or simply Taleb), or for the Hadj, of whatever country they may be. They do not call themselves by this name of Tekroury, which many assured me they had never heard till they reached the limits of Darfour. All these pilgrims can read and write a little; and they all belong to the class styled Faky (plur. Fakiha). I never found any of them quite illiterate. After making some progress in the schools of their country, (schools being met with in all the Mohammedan countries of Africa,) they proceed to Mekka for the Hadj, or in order to study the Koran and the commentaries upon it, in that place and Medinah; or to Cairo, for the same purpose, but the greater part go for the Hadj; at present there are not more than twelve in the mosque El Azhar at Cairo, and I did not find above double that number in the great mosque at Mekka, where they are occupied chiefly in learning the Koran by heart, in the belief, that they can never forget a chapter which they have once learnt in the Beit ullah (house of God). The greater part of the Tekayrne who visit Mekka come from the schools of Darfour, the principal of which are at Kondjara, in the neighbourhood of Kobbe. Those from the most western countries who pass this road are from Bahr el Ghazal and Bagerme. All the Black Hadjis from the countries to the west of Bagerme, from Bournou as far as Timbuctou, either travel with the Fezzan, or great Moggrebyn pilgrim caravan, or proceed by sea from the coast of Barbary. Their motives for undertaking the journey are, partly a sincere desire to fulfil the precepts of their religion, and partly the ambition of enjoying afterwards the credit which the Hadj confers in their own country upon those who have performed it, and which is of course in proportion to the difficulty of the journey.

Some of the Tekayrne of Darfour and Kordofan are possessed of considerable property, and trade during their journey. At Djidda I met with a man from Darfour with three or four female attendants, and half a dozen female slaves, which formed his household, besides the slaves he carried with him for sale; but the greater part of them are quite destitute, and find their way to Mekka, and back to their own country, by begging, and by what they can earn by their manual labour on the road. The equipments of all these pilgrims are exactly alike, and consist of a few rags tied round the waist, a white woollen bonnet, a leathern provision sack, carried on a long stick over the shoulder, a leathern pouch containing a book of prayers, or a copy of a few chapters of the Koran, a wooden tablet, one foot in length, by six inches in breadth, upon which they write charms, or prayers, for themselves or others to learn by heart, an inkstand formed of a small gourd, a bowl to drink out of, or to collect victuals in from the charitable, a small earthen pot for ablution, and a long string of beads hanging in many turns round the neck. The Tekayrne seldom travel alone, at least they never set out alone upon their journey; they generally form parties of about half a dozen, and as opportunity offers, join some caravan on the road, or proceed by themselves. Their usual route to Mekka is by Siout, by Sennaar, or by Shendy. Those from the most western countries meet at Darfour; after which, such only as can afford to travel with the Darfour caravan, (which requires capital sufficient to buy camels and provisions for the journey through the desert), repair to Siout, from whence they proceed to Djidda, by the way of Kosseir. The pilgrims who go by Sennaar curve from Kordofan, and pursue their journey by three different routes; viz. 1, through the interior of Abyssinia, by Gondar and Axum, to Massouah; 2, along the Nile from Sennaar to Shendy; and, 3, from Sennaar to Taka, by the way of Ras el Fil, and from thence to Hallenga, by which they escape the journey through the desert. Those who travel by the first route complain of being ill-treated by the Christians of Abyssinia, of never being allowed to enter any house, or even court-yard, and of being fed like dogs (as they express it) before the threshold. They, however, always obtain a copious evening meal. At Massouah they remain a few weeks, till they earn by their labour sufficient to pay their passage-money by sea either to the nearest coast of Yemen, which is one dollar, or to Djidda, which is two dollars. Their usual rendezvous is Hodeyda, the sea-port of Yemen, from whence they proceed to Mekka, by land, passing through the hospitable tribes of Bedouins in the mountains of the Hedjaz. I estimate the number of Negroe pilgrims who pass by this route annually to Mekka at about one hundred and fifty, or two hundred. Many Tekayrne are settled in the sea-ports of Yemen, as well as at Djidda and Mekka. The third route is preferred by all pilgrims who are able to make a common purse in order to buy a camel for the transport of water and provisions; and they are sure of finding at Taka, after a short stay, some merchants from Souakin, in whose company they can proceed to that place.

The route most frequented by them is that from Darfour or Kordofan straight to Shendy. The latter part only of this route presents any difficulty; in the inhabited districts they everywhere find hospitable people, who pride themselves in giving alms to the poor Fakiha. But from the limits of the dominions of Kordofan to Shendy is a journey of five days through a desert, without water, the dread of which often induces them to take either the circuitous route by Sennaar, or to wait at Kordofan for the rainy season, when water is found in plenty in the barren tract. At Shendy they generally remain some time to recruit their strength, visiting every evening the residence of the foreign merchants, and sitting down without ceremony to their supper. In general, the Tekroury is under little anxiety; wherever he finds himself comfortably situated there he will remain for weeks together; and he prefers taking a circuitous road of fourteen days through a country where he knows that he will find charitable inhabitants, to passing a desert or inhospitable tract of only two days. From Shendy they all proceed to Damer, and this road is never unfrequented by parties, consisting of half a dozen or a dozen of them. On arriving at a village they disperse among its families, and re-assemble again in the evening to partake in common of the victuals which the charity of the inhabitants has provided for them.

At Damer the two principal pilgrim routes separate, and they either proceed along the Nile towards Egypt, or ascend the banks of the Mogren and Atbara, as far as Goz Radjeb, from whence they cross over to Taka and to Souakin. The former is a long but a less fatiguing journey; and the nearer they approach Egypt the more charity they find among the inhabitants on the Nile. The Arabs Sheygya pique themselves on their bounty to the Tekayrne, in return for which the pilgrim is sure to be stripped of every thing of value that he may possess. Their little property is tolerably secure on the road from Darfour to Shendy, where they are protected by the government; but from thence they are in a very different predicament. At Shendy they usually exchange whatever they possess for gold, as they can secrete it with greater facility than any other article of value; but as this is known to be their practice, they are frequently ill-treated on the road, in consequence of it. I have been assured by many, that among the Bedouins of Atbara and Taka, as well as among the Sheygya, they are often stripped to the skin, in search of their gold, and that all their books, and even their inkstands, are examined, no means being left untried to rob them of the little cash or gold they may have about them. The Sheygya compensate, in some degree, for their rapacity, by their otherwise hospitable conduct; but the Bedouins on the Atbara and at Taka are as uncharitable as they are greedy of booty, and subject the poor travellers to great hardships.

The pilgrims who follow the course of the Nile, stop a short time in the villages of Upper Egypt, in many of which are foundations annexed to the revenues of the mosques, for the entertainment of the passing Tekayrne during three days. At Esne every one receives one piaster from the mosque, at parting. If they are entirely destitute of money they endeavour, by manual labour, or by writing charms, to collect as much as will pay, at the time of the Hadj their passage from Kosseir to Djidda, otherwise they rely on the charity of some Turkish Hadji, to pay it for them. The Kosseir route is most usually followed by them; few visit Cairo, although there is a public foundation in the mosque El Azhar, in which a small number of them, not exceeding, I think, forty (for more than that number seldom unite together, except in the time of the Hadj), are fed daily with bread and broth. Those who pass Cairo follow the great pilgrim caravan to Mekka, and the Emir el Hadj has strict orders from the Sultan, to furnish with food and water all the Negroes who have no beasts of burthen of their own.

The route most frequented by the Negroe pilgrims is that from Damer along the Mogren to Taka, and from thence to Souakin; I do not over-rate the number who pass this way at five hundred annually; as I have before said, they never travel in large parties; but a few are seen almost daily passing along the banks of the river. At Damer, such as can possibly afford it, buy asses, and load them with Dhourra meal for their provisions on the road; these proceed in parties of twenty, and make with their sticks a determined resistance when assailed by robbers in the open country; in the villages or encampments they are certain of protection from the chief, at least that they shall not be robbed of their beasts and provision. From Taka they proceed with the caravans to Souakin, where they wait till they find a ship to convey them to Djidda. The usual fare is from one to two dollars. While I was at Souakin, a party of at least fifty returned to Taka, because the masters of the vessels, then lying in the harbour, refused to take less than two dollars for each passenger; they offered one dollar, and this being refused, they quitted Souakin with the intention, after reaching Taka, of proceeding to Massouah, where they were certain that one dollar, which was all they could afford, would provide them a conveyance to the coast of the Yemen; for the sake of this advantage they entered upon a journey of at least thirty days, and reckoned that on so well frequented a road they should be able to defray their expenses by labour or by begging. Distance is scarcely ever taken into consideration by these pilgrims, nor indeed by any Bedouins or traders in those countries; fatigue they care little about; loss of time still less; one object only occupies their attention, under the two forms of a direct gain and the saving of expense. When I come to speak of Souakin, I shall have an opportunity of adding some further remarks on the conveyance of these pilgrims by sea; and in my description of my journey in the Hedjaz, I shall have occasion to recur to the subject, and to describe the proceedings of the Tekayrne after their arrival in Arabia.

It will readily be conceived that the danger and fatigue incident to the journey prove fatal to great numbers of the pilgrims; perhaps one-sixth fall victims to their zeal; the greater part of the diseases by which they are attacked on the road arise from their being almost destitute of clothing; many perish in the deserts through want and fatigue, and others are murdered; but as all who die on the road are looked upon as martyrs, these contingencies have little effect in diminishing the annual numbers, or in diverting others from their purpose. Although the greater number of the pilgrims are stout young men, yet it is not rare to see women following their husbands to the Hadj; and almost incredible as it may seem, one of the men who joined our caravan at Taka was blind. He had come from Borgho, to the west of Darfour, in company with three others, and was continually led by a stick, which one of his companions held in his hands as he marched before him; I saw this man afterwards begging in the mosque at Mekka, and again at Medina, sitting on the threshold of the temple, exclaiming, as he appealed to the charity of the Hadjis, “I am blind, but the light of the word of God, and the love of his prophet, illumine my soul, and have been my guide from Soudan to this tomb!” He received very liberal alms, and would probably return to his home richer than he left it.

Some of the Tekayrne are men of power and wealth in their own country, but travel as paupers, in order to escape the dangers attendant on riches in the journey. During our encampment in the plain near Souakin, I saw a young Tekroury sleeping in a lonely spot, while another, kneeling by him, kept off the flies from his face. On enquiry, I learnt from the other Negroes, that he was the son of a great chief in Dar Saley, who had been educated with the Fakys, and had set out upon this journey, with a camel, and one servant only. At Shendy he had exchanged the camel for an ass; the servant had become his friend and companion, and both mixed in the crowds of the poorest pilgrims. It is principally owing to a few examples such as these, that the generality of the inhabitants of the countries through which the pilgrims pass are so uncharitable and cruel to them; they think that every Tekroury is a king of Soudan in disguise, with abundance of gold about him. During the Mamelouk government in Egypt, the Begs were very liberal in their donations to the Tekayrne; but the present government shows little compassion to them, and no Tekroury is permitted to embark at Kosseir, without first paying a fixed rate for his passage to the masters of the ships, which almost all belong to the government. In Africa, as well as in Arabia, the country people, wherever the black Fakys pass, are eager to procure amulets of their writing, which are supposed to possess greater virtue than those of any other class of pilgrims. There lives at present, in Cairo, near the Kara-meydan, a Tekroury, who has been for many years famous for his amulets, and who makes large sums of money by writing them. In general the Negroe pilgrims are industrious, and rarely ask for charity where they can procure a subsistence by their own labour.

The routes of the Negroe caravans from Kordofan to Dongola or Berber, laid down in the Maps of Africa, are at present quite unfrequented. There is no direct communication whatever between Kordofan and Berber, and that between Kordofan and Dongola has only been established since the arrival of the Mamelouks in those parts. The route from Berber to Souakin is seldom chosen by the Hadjis, from their dread of the merciless Bisharein, and from the little chance they have of joining caravans of traders, who very seldom pass this way.

To return to our march, we crossed this morning a tract of flat country. At the end of two hours we came to a small pool of water, the effect of the rain that had fallen here occasionally for the last fortnight, and of which we had several showers during our stay at Taka. At about four hours distance on our right was a chain of mountains extending in a S.E. direction, and as I computed, from two to three thousand feet in height; I was told that they are all inhabited by Hadendoas, and that they abound in pasturage. We here met a caravan from Souakin, loaded with salt, one of the principal articles in the Taka trade; it is brought from Souakin and exported by the merchants of Taka towards the Atbara, and among the Bedouin tribes in the neighbourhood, where no salt whatever is found. After a march of four hours we came to a Wady full of trees and shrubs; further on we crossed several other valleys that bore traces of violent torrents rushing through them during the rainy season. At the end of five hours we stopped in one of the Wadys during the mid-day hours. The soil is in general sandy; a species of low oak tree, very much resembling the Balout of Syria, grows here; the Oshour also abounds. In the afternoon we entered upon rocky uneven ground, where I found fine rose-coloured quartz in thick layers among the sand-stone. The chain of mountains seen in the morning was no longer visible. At the end of eight hours we halted at Wady Lado, a low ground extending in a westerly direction. Here are a great many Doum trees, and the valley is full of excellent pasturage; it is inhabited by the Bedouins Hadendoa. In summer, they procure their water from several wells; but when we passed plenty of rain water was found among the clusters of rocks which are dispersed through the Wady. A chain of hills runs from hence eastward. We alighted early in the evening, that our cattle might enjoy the pasture.

June 17th. — In riding along a gravelly plain, thickly covered with thorny trees, we started several female ostriches, which are known from the males by the darker colour of their plumage; they at first ran off, without appearing to be much frightened; but followed the caravan for upwards of an hour, at the distance of about two gun-shots. High mountains were seen far to our right. At the end of two hours we came to a large pond of rain water. In five hours we reached Wady Ody, where are wells and rain water, with thorny shrubs and Doum trees in great plenty. Here was a large encampment of Hadendoa, just breaking up in order to retire to the eastern mountains, on account of the incursions of the Bisharein. We continued our march in this Wady the whole evening; it is three or four miles in breadth, the soil very fertile, and well irrigated by winter torrents. It is not enclosed by hills, but is called a Wady from the flatness of the ground, which in winter becomes the bed of a torrent. Our course was N.N.E. The Hadendoa here cultivate Dhourra, and a little cotton, the latter apparently with more care, than I had any where witnessed since quitting the banks of the Nile. The verdure was richer than I had seen it even at Atbara; the ground was covered with Senna Mekke. The black merchants told me that this shrub is very common in Kordofan, where it grows to the height of four or five feet. A large hedge-hog was found here, which the Tekayrne skinned, and ate in the evening. We halted late at night, near the extremity of the Wady, by a pond of water, after a long day’s march of ten hours.

June 18th. — Some disputes arose this morning between the chief of the caravan, and the Souakin merchants, about the route to be taken from hence; and after a march of two hours over generally level ground, but not without trees, we stopped in a wood of Syale trees, to settle the matter. There were two routes towards Souakin; the nearest branches off in a N.E. direction, and lies over steep mountains, inhabited by Bedouins; where are many wells, but the road is bad, and difficult from the number of ascents and descents. The other is more easy, but two days longer; the chief insisted upon taking the latter route in order to spare the camels, which were heavily laden, while the merchants wished to pursue the former. Not being able to agree, the parties separated; the black traders and myself remained with the chief; and in the evening we were joined by the others, who upon mature consideration, and finding the chief determined not to yield to them, thought it would be a folly to endanger their safety, in order to accelerate their arrival by two days only. In the place where we halted there grew many wide spreading trees of moderate height, which had a vast number of branches issuing in every direction out of the trunk, from the root to the top, and reaching down to the ground; the leaves much resembled those of the laurel; I found them to be very bitter, and the camels refused to eat them: the Negroes eat of them, in order, as they said, to strengthen their stomach (ﻦﻄﺒﻟﺃ ﻦﻜﻤﻳ Yemakken el battn). The Oshour is common here. After marching three hours farther, or five hours from our starting (direction N.E. ½ E.), we halted in a Wady of Doum trees, where our slaves killed and ate a quantity of locusts. An herb was here collected, the leaves of which resemble those of the Meloukhye; when boiled they were thrown into the broth with which the Assyde is seasoned. The Assyde is the principal dish of the Black traders, and appears to be in general use in every part of North Africa; it consists of a thick pap of Dhourra or Dhoken meal, over which a sauce made of butter and onions, or Bamye, is poured: it is prepared with more care than the Fetyre, formerly described, and when the meal is fine, it is far from being disagreeable. The Kordofan merchants carried Dhoken in their leathern sacks, which is more common with them than Dhourra. Most of the traders carried also the stones with which the Dhourra is ground, and their slaves were obliged by turns to pass the greater part of the night in grinding meal for the provision of the following day. Others, and among them myself, had during their stay at Taka filled their sacks with Dhourra flour, prepared as already described, which is also made into Assyde; it is esteemed more wholesome than the other. The slaves eat the Dhourra pap for dinner without any sauce or seasoning, except salt; for supper they generally boil the grain till it bursts, some salt is then strewed over it, and it is eaten by handfuls without butter or sauce. My slave was envied by all the others, because he always got his dinner and supper with butter, as I did. The Souakin merchants have their own dishes better seasoned than those of the slaves, which is not the case with the Egyptian traders. Among the former, if a slave is much fatigued, or suffers from severe head-ache, of which they often complain, he receives a small allowance of butter. Some of the merchants had dried flesh with them, which they boiled in the sauce of the Assyde. Whenever a camel was killed the flesh was cut into strips, and hung exposed for two days in the sun, round the camels saddles until it was sufficiently dried not to putrify; after which it was put into sacks. The heat was intense the whole of this day; after sunset we had loud thunder with lightning, followed by a heavy shower of rain, which set us all afloat. I had a mat which afforded me some shelter, but before the night was passed the water came through, and I was completely drenched, like the rest; this is no trifling inconvenience, when one is unprovided with a change of clothes, and when the body is still affected by the heat of the preceding day.

June 19th. — The morning was fine, and the birds sang so sweetly, at sunrise, that even slaves and slave-traders expressed their delight. After marching an hour, we entered the mountains; this is one of the principal chains in this part of Nubia, extending, as far as I could understand, in the direction from N.W. to S.E. for four or five days, on each side of the point at which we entered it. A branch of it runs to the north, near the coast, all the way to Kosseir. We ascended through a Wady, with steep rocks on each side, and we met with several difficult ascents and descents. The whole mountain is intersected by Wadys, in all of which trees and pasturage are met with. The path was well trodden, and tolerably free from stones. At the end of three hours we halted in a narrow elevated plain, where acacia trees grew in a soil of sand and gravel; it is called Wady Aréwad; some colossal Doum trees afforded us a shade, and we had hoped to find water in a small well near them; but it was choaked up with gravel, and we were unable, after long digging, to obtain a sufficiency for ourselves and camels. We in consequence took off the loads, mounted our beasts, and rode about three quarters of an hour to the westward up the rocky slope of the mountain, when we came to a large and deep basin of rain water which had been filled since last year. This morning I had a narrow escape from a Souakiny, who joined me while I was in advance of the caravan, and succeeded in leading me astray into a side valley about half a mile from the road. He was armed with a lance, while I had nothing but a small stick. Luckily for me, at the moment when I perceived his intention, I found a thick branch of a tree. He laughed when I took it up; but as I could not mistake his object in following me, I ordered him to stand off, threatening to become the assailant; by this means I made good my retreat, and rejoined the caravan. Had this man murdered me and taken the few dollars I had, which he probably supposed to be more than they really were, there would have been no danger in his returning to the caravan; no body on my being missed would have thought it worth his while to make any particular enquiries about me, still less to revenge my death. This proved an unlucky day to me, for about noon, while I was filling my water-skin at the basin, the camel, which I had left tied to a tree in the valley below, broke loose, without my knowledge, and returned to the resting place, in company of many others that were loaded with water. When I carried my waterskin down the cliff, I found the camel was gone as well as my companions the black traders; no one present would permit me to place the skin upon his camel, and as it was too heavy to be carried any distance on the shoulder, I was obliged to return to the caravan for my camel. By the time I had rejoined the caravan with the water, they had began to load; so that after having toiled during the heat of the morning and noon, I was obliged immediately to resume the march without either food or repose. The merchants who have several slaves, are very comfortably situated; cooking, carrying water, and loading are left to them, and the master merely adjusts the loads, and takes care that nothing be left behind. During the mid-day hours he sleeps soundly under a shed of mats erected for him by his slaves, and is only awakened when every thing is ready for departure. My little slave became useful to me in this route, in bringing wood and tending the fire; but cooking, and fetching water, when it was at any distance, fell entirely to my care, as well as the loading of the camel.

There are some poor families of Hadendoa in this Wady, who are afraid of descending into the plain, on account of the incursions of the Bisharein. The rains not having yet set in, there was little verdure in this elevated valley; but the lower plain had been several times irrigated.

We continued our route in the afternoon, along the narrow plain, in a northern direction, for about an hour and a half, when we met a small caravan coming from Souakin, and bound to Taka. This was the seventh day of their march. On reaching the extremity of the plain, we began again to ascend through a narrow sandy valley, thickly overgrown with the Seder (ﺭﺪﺳ) tree, a small space in the middle only being open for the road. The valley winds very much: it is generally about four hundred yards across, but in many places only one hundred, with steep cliffs on both sides worn into deep channels by the rains; we passed several pools of water; I might therefore have saved all the labour I had had in filling my water-skins; but thus it often happens in the desert with travellers who are ignorant of the road; those who know where the wells or pools are situated, generally keep their knowledge secret, and urge the necessity of taking as copious a supply as possible, for they have this saying, “We would transport the Nile itself, if the camels could but carry it.” Sometimes it becomes necessary to load water, even if a well is known to be at a short distance, because the caravan is not to halt there, and no one ever thinks of stopping alone to fill his waterskins. The Oshour and tamarisk trees grow in many parts of the valley, but the Seder predominated quite to the upper extremity. On looking back towards the plain we had quitted, a vast rocky wilderness presented itself with the green strip of the Wady serpentizing through it; there was in many parts of the Wady cultivable soil, for wherever in these countries water abounds, the most barren sands become fertile. The valley every where bore traces of the devastation occasioned by the torrents, and the sides of the mountain had been so much undermined by them, that the upper layer of rocks had been displaced, and was lying about shattered to pieces.

After a march of nine hours, (the general direction N.N.E.) four of which had been occupied in ascending, we came to a spot where the valley, having reached the summit, becomes level for about five hundred yards; here we encamped. We had met with several Hadendoa families near the pools of water, and as they are reputed to be great thieves, we determined to continue our march thus far, as we thought they would follow us no farther in the woods. One of the men asserted that in coming up the valley he had seen a monkey among the trees, and I was informed that these animals are not unfrequently met with in this place, and that they are very common on the western road to Souakin, which leads over the same chain of mountains. We saw many Gazelles, and several hares. The heat of the day, which had become particularly oppressive in the lower plain between the high mountains, was here succeded by a chilling cold. We lighted many fires, and the fear of robbers kept us awake the greater part of the night. I killed a scorpion just by my fire.

June 20th. — The highest summit of the mountain was about three hundred feet higher than the elevation on which we were encamped. It is from its steep and almost perpendicular cliffs that the torrents in the rainy season are precipitated through innumerable clefts in the rocks, into this plain, where they divide, part rushing towards the northern, and part towards the southern plain. We followed, this morning, the bed of the northern torrent, in our descent, which was not so steep as the ascent had been. The climate of this mountain recalled to my feelings, that of the valleys of Mount Lebanon; the fresh morning air breathed a vigour through my frame which I had not felt since I quitted Syria. Trees were met with during the whole of the descent. At the end of four hours we halted where the valley widens considerably; here we found fine pasturage among the barren rocks; there were also many Doum trees, and some water in shallow pools. The whole aspect of the valley was extremely picturesque, at least to a traveller who, after passing a desert, hails every spot of verdure as an Eden. A small caravan, six days from Souakin, bound for Taka with salt here passed us. Several side valleys, all equally full of trees, join the main bed of the torrent. After again starting we continued descending very slowly for two hours, and then issued where the Wady is lost in the open plain; our road then lay over uneven, gravelly ground, (direction N.E. ½ N.) and after a day’s march of nine hours and a half we halted for the night; the chain of mountains extended to the right and left; on the right appearing to take a S.E. direction; and on the left dividing into two branches, one of which runs to the westward, and loses itself in the desert, and the other northwards parallel with the sea shore. Having met several straggling parties during the day, we kept close together the whole night, for fear of robbers.

The route over the mountain which we had just crossed presents no difficulties whatever; the mountain is called by the inhabitants Orbay Langay, or the mountain of Langay, and is one of the principal features in the topography of Eastern Nubia. It is full of pasturage in every direction, but more particularly to the west, where many wells and springs are found. I think it probable that in the most western point of this mountain the river, or rather great torrent, Mogren has its rise, for as I have already said, its course does not intersect the caravan route from Atbara to Souakin. The mountain Langay is inhabited by Hadendoa Arabs only, and serves them as an asylum against the depredations of the Bisharein. The Hadendoa who live at several days distance, and the people of Souakin also, send their cattle in the summer to this mountain, where they are certain of finding pasturage. The Langay forms a separation of climates in Eastern Nubia; to the south of it the rains had set in for a fortnight, while to the north no rain had yet fallen, as appeared both by the dusty ground, and the testimony of the Bedouins. At Souakin, I was told that the rains were not expected there till the middle of July. In the plains of the Bedja, easterly winds had generally prevailed; but in this northern plain we had usually northerly breezes. On the south of the mountains, since quitting the Atbara, we had never felt any dew during the night, whereas heavy dews now fell every night, and continued during our stay at Souakin. The whole of this chain consists of primitive calcareous rock. I could no where find any petrifactions, nor any granite.

June 21st. — We rode this morning over uneven and generally stony ground; direction N.E. ½ N.; the rocks were quartz and grünstein, which latter is met with in every part of Nubia. Many low grounds, the beds of torrents, intersected the road. At the end of three hours we halted in Wady Osouyt, near a pool of water. These collections of rain water amongst the rocks are often of considerable depth; those on the level plain are shallow and of greater extent. From Wady Osouyt we continued N.W. by N. over a plain having exactly the appearance of the Syrian deserts. Low shrubs were growing everywhere in a soil that might easily be rendered productive. We travelled parallel with the chain on our left, and from four to six miles distant from it. This chain is called Dyaab, and extends along the coast, I conjecture, as far as Kosseir: at first sight it appears barren, but the sheep and goats find plenty of herbage in its clefts. We met another caravan of about thirty camels, returning unloaded, to Taka. We also passed a small encampment of Hadendoa, who had large herds of camels. We halted in the plain after a day’s march of ten hours.

June 22d. — We travelled over stony ground; direction N.N.W. After three hours march we entered Wady Moez, full of large fragments of rocks, among which we rode westward towards the mountain, till we reached a well, close to which was a pool of rain water; here we found flocks of sheep and many camels, which the Hadendoa shepherds had been watering. Notwithstanding the steepness of the mountain there are trees to its very summit, exhibiting an interesting and novel sight to me, who had seen nothing like it since I quitted Syria. There are numberless ravines through which the torrents are precipitated into the plain during the rains, when they must form so many cascades boiling over the rocks, and presenting altogether a grand spectacle. Many Seder trees grow in the plain. Here again the slaves caught locusts, which they roasted over the fire, after taking out the entrails. From Wady Moez we continued over even but rocky ground, four hours farther, when we halted.

June 23d. — The country before us presented a valley (called Wady Osyr) of at least four hours in breadth, bordered on the east side by low hills. We continued our route close to the high western chain; the whole plain is full of trees and shrubs, and in every low ground was herbage, now parched up. We passed another encampment of Hadendoa, with large herds of camels; they appear to live here in perfect security from any surprise by their enemies. We also met a travelling party of Hadendoa, with their women and tents; the women were seated upon the camels, on high saddles fantastically decorated, with three or four poles sticking out in front, beyond the animal’s head, having the extremities ornamented with large bunches of black ostrich feathers. The African, like the Arabian Bedouins, seem to display elegance of equipment in the decorations of their women only: leathern tassels of different sizes, small bells, and white shells, from the Red Sea, contributed to the ornament of the harness and saddles of the camels. None of the women passed me without uttering a loud shriek, and then laughing. After marching two hours and a half, we halted under a thick cover of acacia trees, in low ground, called Wady Shenkera. The slaves had to bring water from an hour’s distance in the mountain. We here collected the same herb which I have already mentioned, to season our Asyde. A few poor women came to sell us milk and to beg a little Dhourra, which is scarce among these Bedouins; they draw their supplies from Taka, but they live generally upon milk and flesh only. We continued travelling in Wady Osyr during the evening, N.E. b E. and halted for the night after a day’s journey of eight hours and a half.

June 24th. — During the night the chief of the caravan and several of the principal merchants left us, and being well mounted upon dromedaries, expected to reach Souakin the next day. We started before sunrise. The eastern hills terminate in this latitude; and the sun was just rising beyond them, when we descried its reflection at an immense distance in the sea, affording a pleasing sight to every individual in the caravan, but most of all to me. The slaves asked whether it was the Nile, for they had never heard of any other great water or sea, and the Arabs apply the same word Bahr (ﺮﺤﺑ) both to the sea and to the Nile. A plain which lay between us and the sea appeared to consist of barren sand, covered towards the sea with a superstratum of salt. Our road continued among trees and the beds of torrents which empty themselves into the sands. After a march of three hours and a half we reached Wady Shinterab in which is a copious spring, but the water has a brackish taste; it collects in a basin, and can only be drank by man when sweetened by rain water. Around this well are some rocks of gray granite, the only granite I had seen since quitting the hills of Goz Radjeb. A good deal of Senna Mekke grows here. A very wild rocky valley branches off into the chain on the left. The Wady Shinterab forms a very large torrent during the rainy season; it is at least three hundred yards broad, and about twelve feet deep. Farther on the ground was uneven, and the road so very rocky, that the camels proceeded along it with difficulty. There was a beaten path the whole of the way we had come from the Langay, and it continued as far as Souakin. After a journey of six hours and a half, direction N.E. by N. we halted in a Wady full of verdure, where our cattle were driven to pasture.

A camel belonging to one of the Kordofan traders fell and was killed during this day’s march. The Souakin merchants, who proved themselves on every occasion to be destitute of every feeling of compassion or charity, passed on without shewing the least disposition to aid the owner in his distress. My camel was the strongest in the party. I therefore volunteered my services, and transferred the greater part of the dead camel’s load to mine, which obliged me to perform the remainder of the journey to Souakin on foot. The merchant to whom the camel belonged had several times ordered his slaves to cook my supper and bring me water, when he had seen me exhausted by fatigue, and it thus became my duty to repay his kindness.

June 25th. — We set out soon after midnight, and travelled over a rocky plain. When the sun rose, we saw the sea about five hours distant. The soil now began to be strongly impregnated with salt; a bitter saline crust covering its surface in many places to the depth of several inches. The atmosphere arising from this soil, rendered still more saline by the sea breezes, had made the branches of all the trees as black as if they had been charred; and it was with difficulty that the herds of camels of forty or fifty together, could find out a few green leaves. I had never seen the camel so nearly approaching to a wild state. Whole herds are here left to pasture without the care of either men or dogs; the Hadendoa keep them almost entirely for their milk and flesh, very few being employed as beasts of burthen; they appeared to be frightened at the approach of men and of loaded camels, a circumstance I had never witnessed before. In the Arabian and Syrian deserts, the camels when grazing come running and frisking towards any strange camel which they perceive at a distance, and they easily obey even the call of strangers, provided they are Bedouins like their own masters. The herds of camels which we saw this day were, like those of Nubia, in general of a white colour. The acacia trees in this plain are stunted, owing to the violent winds to which they are exposed. I observed a parasitic species of cactus growing upon all of them, and completely covering some of them like a net.

After marching about four hours, we took the direction of N. by E. and approached a mountain branching into the plain, from the main chain of Dyaab. It is called the mountain of Gangerab, and is inhabited by families of Hadendoa, who supply Souakin with butter and milk during the summer, when no cattle is to be found near that place. We encamped during the mid-day hours at some distance from the mountain, and were much distressed for water, having taken a very small supply on the 23d. The Souakin merchants, who knew the country well, hired without our knowledge, an Arab who brought them several camel loads of water from the mountain, which we in vain intreated them to share with ourselves and slaves. No idea can be formed by Europeans of the quantity of water necessary for drinking, cooking, and washing during a journey through these countries, but more particularly to allay the thirst of the traveller, whose palate is continually parched by the effects of the fiery ground and air, who has been confined perhaps for several days to a short allowance of water, and who lives upon food which, consisting of farinaceous preparations and butter, is calculated to excite thirst in the greatest degree. It is a general custom in the caravans in these parts, as well as in the Arabian deserts, never to drink, except when the whole caravan halts for a few minutes for that purpose; the time of doing this is, in the slave caravans, about nine o’clock in the morning, and twice during the afternoon’s march, namely about four and six o’clock. In the forenoon also every one drinks at the halting of the caravan, and again after the meal; and the same rule is observed in the evening. To drink while others do not, exposes a man to be considered effeminate, and to the opprobrious saying, that “his mouth is tied to that of the water-skin.” (ﻪﺑﺮﻗﻟﺃ ﻢﺸﺧ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻁﻮﺑﺮﻣ ﻪﻤﻓ— Fomoh marboutt alá kháshm el gerbé), and it is otherwise imprudent, as the opening of his water-skin at an unusual time subjects the traveller to importunities which it is not always prudent to reject; but none thinks of asking such a favour when the whole caravan halts to drink. Those who have many slaves fill the large wooden bowl in which dinner is served up, and place it upon the ground, when the slaves kneel down and drink out of it half a dozen times, as cattle do out of a trough; this is done to prevent the waste of water that would be occasioned by each having a separate allowance. Travellers in these journeys drink a great quantity of water when it is plentiful; I do not exaggerate when I say that I have often drank in the afternoon, at one draught, as much as would fill two common water-bottles. To drink three or four times a day is considered short allowance; few Blacks and Arabs, when water is abundant, drink less than six or seven times daily; but when the S.E. wind blows no quantity is sufficient to keep the mouth moist, and one wishes to drink every quarter of an hour. The stories related by the Bedouins to the town’s-people, of their remaining often two or three days in the desert without drinking, are mere fables. In all parts of Nubia, at least in the caravan routes, travellers can never be in very great distress from want of water, if the wells are not dried up. The only portions of the road, of any length, without water, are from Goz Radjeb to Sennaar, and from the frontiers of Kordofan to Shendy. Yet the Black traders often suffer from want of water, even where the wells are near, because their avarice leads them to load their camels so heavily with merchandize, that they have no room for a plentiful supply of water. The usual computation is that a middling sized skin or Gerbé (ﻪﺑﺮﻗ) holding about fifty or sixty pounds of water, will serve a man for three days, if he is alone, or four men for one day, if they mess together.

The Arabs call the halt at noon, el Keyale (ﻪﻠﻴﻘﻟﺃ). They say, “Nahun kayalna fi el mattrah el fulani” (ﻲﻧﻼﻔﻟﺃ ﺡﺮﻄﻤﻟﺃ ﻲﻓ ﺎﻨﻠﻴﻗ ﻦﺤﻧ). “We halted in such a place.” The chief, in giving orders to alight, cries out: “Keyaloua ikhouatna” (ﺎﻨﺗﺍﻮﺧﺇ ﺎﻳ ﻮﻠﻴﻗ) Brothers, let us alight. When the caravan is to set out again, he exclaims, Esshedeid, Esshedeid (ﺪﻳﺪﺸﻟﺃ, from ﺪﺷ to tie fast the ropes of the loads.) In the evening he gives the word Hottoué, (ﺍﻮﻄﺣ), to rest. Thus an Arab, when relating the history of his day’s march, says, “Komna fi el fadjer, wa keyalna alá el ma’a, wa shaddeyna wa ed-dhal bettoul es-shaksz, wa baad el nizoul hatteyna, wa beitna fi mattrah el fulani.” (ﻲﻧﻼﻔﻟﺃ ﺡﺮﻄﻤﻟﺃ ﻲﻓ ﺎﻨﺘﻴﺑﻭ ﺎﻨﻴﻄﺣ ﻝﻭﺰﻨﻟﺃ ﺪﻌﺑﻭ ﺺﺨﺸﻟﺃ ﻝﻮﻄﺑ ﻞﻈﻟﺃﻭ ﺎﻨﻳﺪﺷﻭ ﺀﺎﻤﻟﺃ ﻰﻠﻋ ﺎﻨﻠﻴﻗﻭ ﺮﺠﻔﻟﺃ ﻲﻓ ﺎﻨﻤﻗ). We started at day break, we rested at noon near the water, we set out again, when a man’s shadow was equal to his length, and after sunset we alighted and slept, in such and such a place.

The Souakin caravans, like those of the Hedjaz, are accustomed to travel in one long file; the Egyptians, on the contrary, march with a wide extended front; but the former method is preferable, because if any of the loads get out of order, they can be adjusted by leading the camel out of the line, before those behind have come up; in the latter case, the whole caravan must stop, when any accident happens to a single camel. The caravans from Bagdad to Aleppo and Damascus, consisting sometimes of two thousand camels, marching abreast of each other, extend over a space of more than a mile. Our Souakin traders obliged their slaves to lead each of the camels by a halter, and upon every false step made by the animal they applied the whip to the leader.

I was much amused by a circumstance which took place to day, during our halt at noon: the black merchants had bought a sheep, and after it was killed a part of the meat was distributed among the slaves; some of it was offered to me, but I refused it, because meat always made me very thirsty; it had this effect upon the slaves who ate it, and unfortunately for them, their masters had no water left in the Gerbes. A boy came to me with a bone he had just been gnawing, and offered it to me, remarking that the best part of the meat was still remaining on it, if I would give him a drink of water for it; ‘my master,’ he added, ‘has sent to Gangerab with the Souakin people, and if his water-skins return filled, I faithfully promise to repay you the draught.’ The greediness of this little fellow in devouring his allowance of meat, together with his attempt to cheat me, by offering me the bone, and promising what he knew he could not perform, presented as complete a picture of the Oriental character in low life, as could be drawn: he failed however in his artifice, for I drank with my slave the last drop of water left in the skin.

We had a long afternoon’s march over the saline plain. I saw a Gazelle of the largest size, almost as tall as a stag, with long pointed horns. A Souakiny approached it near enough to throw his lance at it, but missed it. Towards sun-set we came in sight of Souakin, and halted near a small village, or rather encampment, after a day’s march of ten or eleven hours. The greater part of the merchants proceeded immediately to the town; but myself and companions thought it more prudent to enter it in the day time.

June 26th. — We reached the invirons of Souakin at the end of two hours, and pitched our little sheds at about twenty minutes walk from the town.

Souakin (سواكن) is situated at the extremity of a narrow bay, about twelve miles in depth and two in breadth. Towards the bottom of the bay are several islands, upon one of which the town itself is built, separated from its suburb, called El Geyf (ألقيف), which stands on the main land, by an arm of the sea about five hundred yards wide. The harbour is on the east side of the town, and is formed by a prominent part of the continent. The arm of the sea on the west side affords no anchorage for ships of any size. The islands, as well as the whole of the surrounding country, are sandy, and produce nothing but a few shrubs, or low acacias. The town upon the island is built in the same manner as Djidda; the houses have one, or two stories, are constructed of blocks of madrepores, and have a neat appearance; but the greater part of them are falling to decay; the suburb El Geyf, on the contrary, is rapidly increasing in size and population, and is now larger than the town itself. On the south-east side of the town, near the harbour, some ancient walls indicate the former existence of fortifications. It is within the precincts of these walls that the Aga resides, and the ships generally anchor just under the windows of his house. Two or three rusty iron guns lie dismounted upon the rubbish of the ruined walls, which at present afford not the slightest protection to the town. The Aga’s house is a mean building, but commands a fine view over the bay towards the sea; near it are some wharehouses, and a wharf, at which were lying the shattered hulls of several small ships, for no body has here the means or skill to repair vessels when once damaged.

The number of houses in Souakin is about six hundred, of which two-thirds are in ruins, for the madrepore with which they are built soon decays, unless constantly kept in repair. The only public buildings in the town are three mosques. In the suburb El Geyf are a few houses of stone, built rather in the Soudan than Arabian style, having large courtyards; the other dwellings are formed of mats, like those of the Nubian Bedouins. El Geyf contains one mosque.

At half an hour’s distance from El Geyf are the wells which supply Souakin, the suburbs, and the shipping, with water; they are about a dozen in number, and within fifty yards of each other; near them stand a few Nebek trees. One of the wells is lined with stone, the others are mere holes dug in the ground. The water of a few of them is tolerable, but in none of them is it good. In the town are cisterns for holding rain water; but they are in ruins, and nobody will incur the expense of repairing them.

All those concerned in the maritime trade, and about the shipping, and those connected with the government, reside upon the island, while the native Arabs and the Soudan traders live in the Geyf, where the market is kept.

The inhabitants of Souakin, like those of all the harbours in the Red Sea, are a motley race; one principal class, however, is conspicuous; the forefathers of the chief families of the Arabs of Souakin were natives of Hadramout, and principally of the town of Shahher, the harbour of that country in the Indian ocean. They came hither, according to some, about a century ago; others state that they arrived soon after the promulgation of the Islam; it is from them that the collective population of the town has obtained the name of Hadherebe with foreigners; but the inhabitants themselves draw a strict line of distinction between the true Hadherebe, or descendants of the natives of Hadramout, and the other settlers, whom they term Souakiny (سواكني). To the latter belong many individuals of the Bedouin tribes of Aadendoa, Amarer, the Bisharein, and others of Arabian and of Turkish origin. The former are intimately mixed with the Hadherebe, and retain their Bedouin names even in the town. Those of Turkish origin are, for the most part, descendants of Turkish soldiers, who, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, during the reign of Selim the Great, were sent here, after that emperor had conquered Egypt, to garrison Souakin, in the same manner as those who occupied Assouan, Ibrim, and Say. Many of them assert that their forefathers were natives of Diarbekr and Mosul; but the present race have the African features and manners, and are in no respect to be distinguished from the Hadherebe. There are at Souakin also a few Turkish merchants, masters of ships, refugees, &c. &c. descended from later settlers; but these have long forgotten the Turkish language, and are now connected both by interest and consanguinity with the descendants of the people from the towns of Arabia, who are numerous here, and who wear the dress of the inhabitants of the towns in the Hedjaz, and have all the customs and manners of that country. Thus two principal races of people are conspicuous in Souakin: 1. the Bedouins, who comprise the Hadherebe, Hadendoa, &c. &c., including the descendants of the ancient Turks: 2. the towns-people, who are either Arabs of the opposite coast, or Turks of modern extraction. The Bedouins intermarry among themselves; but it is difficult for a townsman to obtain a Bedouin girl; the daughters of the principal families are given to none but Bedouins. The latter inhabit the suburbs El Geyf; the townspeople live upon the island.

The government of Souakin is in the hands of the Emir el Hadherebe, who is chosen from among the first families of the tribe; these are five in number, and are distinguished from the others by the Bisharye word Orteyga, which means Patricians. The jurisdiction of El Geyf is in the hands of the Emir, but his authority over the Bedouins is trifling, though he presides in their councils. He is nominally dependent upon the Pasha of Djidda, but his conduct is regulated by the strength or weakness of his superior. When the Sherif Ghaleb held Djidda, and was hard pressed on all sides by the Wahabi, the Emir was quite independent of the Sherif; since the conquest of the Hedjaz by Mohammed Aly, Pasha of Egypt, he has entered into terms with the Pasha. He is confirmed annually in his office by whoever happens to be governor of Djidda, and is generally invested with the power of collecting in the Geyf the customs which the Hadherebe levy upon the caravans from the interior. For several years he had paid nothing for this privilege to the Sherif; at present his fear of Aly Pasha leads him to purchase the collectorship annually at the rate of about forty ounces of gold, or eight hundred Spanish dollars.

The Emir has no insignia of royalty about him, except his yellow Turkish slippers, which, according to ancient custom, he is obliged to wear, and the small Takye, or Arabian bonnet; these form a singular contrast with his Bedouin dress; and as it is not thought decorous to wear the bushy Bedouin hair with the bonnet, he is obliged also to shave his head. He has two or three men attached to his establishment, as officers, or spies to find out the exact number of slaves and merchandize imported by every caravan. He resides in the Geyf, and is altogether different from the Shikh of the Hadherebe, who has nothing whatever to do with the Turkish government, being chosen merely for the administration of their internal affairs.

The Turkish government is represented in Souakin by a custom house officer, who lives on the island, and who bears the title of Aga. He commands the town, but his influence is greatly circumscribed by the power of the Hadherebe; it is at present even insignificant, and before the conquest of Arabia by Mohammed Aly it must have been held in great contempt. The Pasha of Djidda is also Waly (والي) or governor of Souakin, and has therefore the right to send a representative here; a right which has never been disputed by the Souakinese, although they preserve the tradition that Souakin, before it was annexed to Djidda, had its own Pasha, sent from Constantinople. The Aga has no other means of maintaining the little authority he possesses, than by living on good terms with the Emir, whom he either permits, or aids to extort sums from weak individuals in the Geyf, in order that he may receive the Emir’s assistance in the collection of the customs on the island. During late years the Aga has farmed the customs of the maritime commerce of Souakin, and has paid annually into the treasury at Djidda three thousand two hundred dollars for this privilege; it is supposed that he gains two or three thousand dollars a year by it, and that this sum might be doubled if the customs were strictly paid; but very little can ever be obtained from the Hadherebe, who are the richest individuals. The customs are levied upon all merchandize imported, principally India goods and spices destined for the Soudan markets, and upon all the imports from Soudan which are shipped at Djidda for other countries, consisting chiefly of slaves, horses, and tobacco; two dollars are paid on every slave, and three on every horse. Dhourra passes duty free, as do the articles which remain in Souakin.

The Aga is either re-appointed, or a new one sent, annually. The present Aga is a man of the name of Yemak (يمك), a native of Djidda, whose father was a Hadji from Mosul, settled in the Hedjaz. In the time of the Sherif, Yemak was the buffoon of the court, and a broker in the market of Djidda. When Mohammed Aly arrived, he ingratiated himself with the Osmanlis by means of his scanty knowledge of their language, and after having served the Turks as a mediator with, and spy upon the Sherif, he was appointed to his present situation. He is a man of the meanest disposition, and has rendered himself ridiculous by affecting to adopt the Osmanli customs in such a place as Souakin; the titles of Khaznadar, Selehdar, Kahwedji Bashy, Bash Keteb, &c. which are those of a Pasha’s officers of treasurer, sword-bearer, cup-bearer, chief secretary, &c.; are bestowed by him upon his miserable servants; young slaves wait on him, in imitation of Mamelouk boys, and he talks with as much consequence as a Pasha of three tails, intermixing his broad vulgar Arabic dialect with a few Turkish expressions. The Aga has five or six soldiers of the mercenaries of Yemen, such as are found in the service of the Sherif of Mekka and of all the chiefs of Arabia; they are paid by the Aga out of his own revenues; and they form the only garrison of Souakin, whence it may easily be conceived that the Turkish authority is little respected here. These soldiers hardly dare stir out of the island, for fear of being insulted; and the Aga himself, for obvious reasons, never enters the Geyf. When any disputes happen, the Hadherebe generally interfere, and the Aga is obliged to waive his authority. The Bedouins pay only half the customs levied upon other traders; and I have often heard them plainly tell the Aga that they had no money to pay more. The soldiers who, during the night, are put into the ships anchored under the Aga’s windows to watch for smugglers, frequently get a beating or a ducking: even the Aga is insulted in his own house; yet he bears it all with complacency, and tells the people that if he were not so much their friend, he would write thundering letters to the Pasha, and draw a terrible storm upon their heads. When the Bedouin who has insulted him is gone, he curses him behind his back in Turkish, and vents his rage upon his own servants: he one day said to me, when a Bedouin, who in the heat of dispute had called him a liar (انت كذاب), had just left the room, “You see me put up with these people; but they will at last learn to know the resentment of the Turkish government, for the vengeance of the Turks when once exerted is terrible. I continue to ward off the arm of vengeance from them, because if the Pasha were to send an expedition, the whole place would be ruined, and many innocent individuals would perish.” In fact, were it not for their secret apprehensions of such an expedition from Djidda, which might with the greatest ease suddenly fall upon them and destroy both towns, this people would, no doubt, throw off all submission, and publicly assert their independence. But the smallest brig of war might compel the place to surrender. About twenty or thirty years since a Pasha of Djidda sent hither a corps of about two hundred soldiers, who plundered the Geyf; they were afterwards besieged for some time by the Bedouins, in the governor’s house, and adjoining buildings, but they contrived at last to get off with their booty. The Wahabi, after the conquest of Mekka, sent two commissioners to Souakin, to exhort the people to embrace the doctrines of their chief; but they were not permitted to proceed to Geyf, and were obliged soon to re-embark. During the power of the Wahabi the people of Souakin were allowed to trade with Djidda; but Saoud, the Wahabi chief, who had seen several of them at Mekka, with their bushy hair white with grease, obliged them to cover their heads with a handkerchief, like the Arabian Bedouins.

The Hadherebe, and the Bedouins of Souakin, have exactly the same features, language, and dress, as the Nubian Bedouins. They are clothed chiefly in the Dammour imported from Sennaar; but the better classes of both sexes wear the Nubian shirt, made of Indian cambric; they have, however, one dress, which is seldom seen in other parts of Nubia; it consists of a long piece of cambric, one end of which is wrapped round the loins, while the other, thrown across the breast and left shoulder, hangs loosely down over the back, leaving the legs, and the greater part of the upper body, entirely naked: this is the favourite negligé of the Hadherebe; and if to it be added a handsome pair of sandals, three or four large amulets hanging over the left elbow, like those worn in the countries on the Nile, a sword and Korbadj in the hands, the thick and bushy hair white with grease, and a long wooden skewer sticking in it, to scratch the head with, the whole will afford a tolerable picture of a Souakin Bedouin. In general they have handsome and expressive features, with thin and very short beards. Their colour is of the darkest brown, approaching to black, but they have nothing of the Negroe character of countenance. They are a remarkably stout and muscular race.

The inhabitants of Souakin have no other pursuit than that of commerce, either by sea, or with Soudan. They export the commodities which they receive from the African continent, to all the harbours of the Hedjaz and Yemen, down to Mokha, but chiefly to Djidda and Hodeyda. In Djidda they have a quarter of the town allotted exclusively to themselves, where they live in huts made of rushes, like those of El Geyf. Many of the Hadherebe Bedouins, after visiting Sennaar, perform the journey to the Arabian coast, but others sell their African merchandize to the traders in Souakin, by whom they are exported to Arabia. Besides the articles of trade from Shendy and Sennaar; namely, slaves, gold, tobacco, incense, and ostrich feathers, no ship leaves Souakin for any part of the Arabian coast, without having its hold filled with Dhourra from Taka; and they furnish nearly the whole of the Hedjaz with water-skins, leathern sacks, and leather in hides; the water-skins are bought up in the five principal towns of the Hedjaz, as well as in the open country; the sacks are bought by the Bedouins only, who use them to carry their provisions in. These articles form a very profitable branch of trade, for as cattle in general is very scarce in the Hedjaz, from the want of pasturage, and as great numbers of water-skins are wanted for the pilgrims to Mekka, the skin sowed up is worth as much at Djidda as the sheep is worth at Souakin. They are also exported, but in smaller quantities, to the Yemen; and I have seen them in the market of Suez; they are preferred to all other water-skins, on account of the well-tanned leather and the excellence of the sewing. The hides are tanned as in Upper Egypt, and along the Nile with the pulse of the acacia, which I have frequently had occasion to mention (الجلود مدبوغين بالقرض El djeloud madboughin b’el karad.). All the Bedouins in the vicinity of Souakin, sell their hides in the market there, and take Dhourra in return. The leather and cow-hides which are exported to Djidda, are used in Arabia to make sandals; but the best hides imported into the Hedjaz come from Massouah. Souakin also exports butter to Djidda. During the Hadj, both Mekka and Djidda principally depend upon Souakin and Massouah for this article; its consumption is very great in those places, where it is used by all ranks, and where the poorest man will expend half his daily income in order to have plenty of butter to his dinner, and that he may drink at least a quarter of a pound of it every morning for his breakfast. While I resided at Djidda butter rose to one half above its usual price, because two ships loaded with it from Massouah had sold their cargoes in the Yemen, instead of proceeding to Djidda. Mats made of Doum-leaves, of which every ship takes a quantity; they are in general use throughout the Hedjaz and Yemen, where Doum trees are scarce, and where few people condescend to earn a livelihood by manual labour. The floors of the mosques at Mekka and Medina are covered with these mats, which are renewed almost annually by the donations of the pilgrims; and few Hadjis quit Mekka without taking with them a very small neatly made Souakin mat, in the shape of a carpet, for the purpose of kneeling upon when they pray. The mats are manufactured by the Bedouins in the mountains near Souakin. A small shellfish, very common on the African coast, is also exported to Djidda. It is eaten chiefly by children and poor people; it is called Sorúmbak (سرمباق), and is supposed, from its astringent properties, to be a remedy for the dysentery. Dhourra, water-skins, and mats are exported also to Hodeyda, in the Yemen, which is the principal market for the horses brought by the Souakin merchants from the Nile countries. I have already mentioned that the Sherif of Yemen eagerly purchases African stallions to remount his cavalry; a horse worth about twenty-five dollars at Shendy, is sold at Hodeyda at one hundred or one hundred and fifty; but the risks are great, and many of the horses die during the passage from want of proper care on board the small country ships. Dromedaries of the Bisharye race, which is the finest in existence, are put on board the larger ships, and carried to Djidda. If they arrive safe, they are sold at from sixty to eighty dollars each, or about eight times the sum paid for them at Souakin; but half at least of those embarked die on the passage; the freight for each is ten dollars.

At Djidda the Souakin merchants purchase all the Indian goods wanted for the African markets, together with those articles of luxury which are in demand in Souakin; such as dresses and ornaments for the women, household utensils, and several kinds of provision for the table, such as Indian sugar, coffee beans, onions, and particularly dates, which are not produced in any part of Eastern Nubia. A good deal of iron is likewise imported from Djidda, for lances and knives; they are manufactured by common smiths, who are the only artisans I saw in Souakin, except masons and carpenters, and who furnish these weapons to all the Bedouins in a circuit of fifteen days journey.

Few foreign vessels, as I was informed, ever enter the harbour of Souakin except from stress of weather. The trade by sea is carried on principally with ships belonging to people of Souakin and Djidda, who are almost entirely occupied in sailing between the two coasts. No week passes without some vessel arriving from Djidda, or sailing for that port. During my stay only one ship sailed for Hodeyda, and another for Mokha, and nine for Djidda; the ship for Mokha was laden with a considerable part of the slaves who had come with us in the caravan from Shendy, for natives of Souakin are settled in most of the towns of the Yemen, where they act as agents for their countrymen. One ship arrived from Djidda, and a small boat from Loheya; there were besides four or five vessels in the harbour, bound for the Arabian coast. These ships are often manned by Bedouins, who are as expert in handling the rigging, as they are in tying the ropes of their camels loads; but the greater part of the sailors are Somaulys from the African coast lying between Abyssinia and Cape Guardafui, and who are the most active mariners in the Red Sea. The pilot is usually a man from Djidda or Yemen. The people of Souakin are active fishermen, and have a dozen small fishing boats constantly at sea. Fish is always found in the market, but very few Bedouins will touch it. Pearls are sometimes found in the neighbourhood by the fishermen. Souakin, upon the whole, may be considered as one of the first slave-trade markets in Eastern Africa; it imports annually from Shendy and Sennaar from two to three thousand slaves, equalling nearly in this respect Esne and Siout in Egypt, and Massouah in Abyssinia, where, as I afterwards learnt at Djidda, there is an annual transit from the interior of about three thousand five hundred slaves. From these four points, from the southern harbours of Abyssinia, and from the Somauly and Mozambik coast, it may be computed that Egypt and Arabia draw an annual supply of fifteen or twenty thousand slaves brought from the interior of Africa.

The market of Souakin is held in the Geyf, in an open space surrounded by huts, where almost the same articles are exposed for sale as at Shendy. All the surrounding Bedouins take from hence their supplies of Dhourra and Dammour, in exchange for hides; the selling of Dhourra to the northern Bedouins is very advantageous to the Hadherebe and Hadendoa, who have an exclusive intercourse with Taka. At the market of El Geyf I saw for the first time after four months, Dhourra loaves for sale; these with butter form the only food of the poor classes in the town. In all small concerns, the currency is Dhourra, which is measured by handfuls or with the same sized Moud as at Shendy: for greater bargains dollars are used. Neither the piastre, nor the para, nor the gold coins of Turkey are taken: but they have old paras cut into four parts, which are paid for articles of little value. Sales to a large amount are paid by Wokye, or the ounce of gold, which has its fixed value in dollars.

The manners of the people of Souakin are the same as those I have already described in the interior, and I have reason to believe that they are common to the whole of Eastern Africa, including Abyssinia, where the character of the inhabitants, as drawn by Bruce, seems little different from that of these Nubians. I regret that I am compelled to represent all the nations of Africa which I have yet seen, in so bad a light. Had I viewed them superficially I might have been scrupulous in giving so decided an opinion, but having travelled in a manner which afforded me an intimate acquaintance with them, I must express my conviction that they are all tainted more or less deeply with ill faith, avarice, drunkenness, and debauchery. The people of Souakin partake of these vices with their neighbours of the desert, and in cruelty surpass them. My not being ill treated by the Souakin merchants in the caravan must not be adduced as a proof of their kindness of disposition. The secret fears of the Turks, which the entrance of Mohammed Aly into the Hedjaz had generally inspired, together with the apprehension of being brought to an account, if it should be known at Souakin and Djidda, that an Osmanly had been ill-treated by them, were probably a powerful protection to me, although not a motive sufficient to induce them to shew me the smallest kindness on the route. I do not recollect a single instance of their condescending to assist me in loading my camel, or filling my water skin, of interpreting for me, or of rendering me any of those little services which travellers are in the habit of interchanging: on the contrary, they obliged me, on different occasions, to furnish them with provisions and water; and in the evening their slaves were often sent to me to ask for a part of my supper for their masters, or to demand permission for the slave to eat with mine, under pretence that he had not had time to cook his supper. The intimacy of the people of Souakin with the Nubian Bedouins, and the unsettled state of their own government, have been the principal causes of their degenerating from the character of their Arabian ancestors. They have everywhere on the coast of the Red Sea, the character of avarice and ingratitude, or, to use the expression of an Arab of Yembo: “Though you give them water from the holy well of Zemzem to drink when they are thirsty, yet they will suffer you to choke with thirst even when their own wells are full” (حتى اذا سقيتهم من ماء زمزم فليخلوك تموت من الظما ولو كان بيرهم ملين); and this character is confirmed by the testimony of all those who have had an opportunity of observing them in their houses. At Souakin, the law of the strongest alone is respected, and it is impossible to carry on business without purchasing the protection of some powerful Hadherebe. Every day some bloody quarrel takes place among them. Their bodies, principally their backs, are covered with scars; and a man, far from being reproached as a murderer, prides himself in the number of persons he has slain in private quarrels, and the sums he has paid as the price of blood. Three or four years ago a slave belonging to one of the chiefs of the Hadherebe spread terror through the whole town. He was superior to every body in strength, as well as in courage and enterprise; and after committing the most horrible crimes, and murdering upwards of twenty persons, he quitted his master, who through fear still continued to protect him. He was at last killed by a youth, whose mother he had attempted to ravish. While I was sitting one day with the Aga, a poor sailor entered with a fresh sword-wound in his side, begging the Aga to protect him from a Hadherebe, who was attempting his life. The Aga advised him to make up the matter amicably, and gave him two measures of Dhourra to console him. Hospitality is as little known here as at Taka. Bouza huts and public women are as common as in any part of Nubia; but I do not believe that any Hadherebe woman dares openly to prostitute herself. The druggists shops in the market are kept exclusively by public women, who are Abbyssinian slaves restored by their masters to liberty. All the women in El Geyf go unveiled; those who reside on the island are veiled, and clothed like the women of Arabia.

There is one coffee-house on the island, where all matters of importance are settled among the towns-people and the Hadherebe. The coffee is paid for in Dhourra. The communication between the Geyf and the island is by rafts; a handful of Dhoura is paid to the man who manages the raft; but even this trifling fare the Souakin people are seldom willing to pay; they strip, and fastening their cloak, sandals, and sword upon their head, they swim across the channel, in the same manner as the Egyptians cross the Nile. They are the most expert swimmers I ever saw, and are particularly skilful in keeping the body, as high as the top of the shoulder, in an upright posture in the water, while they work their way with their lower extremities, as if they were walking on firm ground, and almost as fast.

The Bisharye language is generally spoken at Souakin; the Arabic, though understood by every one in the Geyf, is spoken there with a bad accent, but the inhabitants of the town speak it as their native language, and with the Djidda pronunciation. Among the neighbouring Hadendoas, who bring butter and sheep to the market of El Geyf, I saw many individuals entirely ignorant of Arabic.

The people on the island have a Kadhi, a Mufti, a public school, and two or three persons belonging to the corps of Olemas. The chief and richest man amongst them had filled the office of Aga during the time of the Sherif; he was now at the head of an opposition against the actual Aga, who was of Mohammed Aly’s appointment, and whose official acts his opponent had sufficient cause to censure. Before I left Souakin the Kadhi secretly called me to his house, and gave me a letter, which he entreated me to carry to the Hedjaz, and to deliver into Mohammed Aly’s own hands; it contained a statement of complaints against Yemak, and the Hadherebe; wherein the latter were described as rebels, and as having proved themselves to be such by not permitting the coin of Mohammed Aly and the piastres of Cairo to pass current in the place, and by not attending the Friday’s devotions, when public prayers were added for the Sultan and the Pasha. The complaints against Yemak were, that he made the Turkish name ridiculous, that he stood in too much fear of the Bedouins, and that he disgraced his office by his unnatural propensities. The letter was altogether a curious composition; the most ridiculous titles were given in it to the Pasha; among others, he was styled Asad el barr wa fil el bahr (اسد البر وفيل البحر), the lion of the earth and the elephant of the sea. It was signed and sealed by a dozen supplicants; and although I did not deliver it myself in the Hedjaz, I took care that it was duly forwarded to the Pasha.

The inhabitants of Souakin use very few fire-arms, and few individuals in the Geyf dare fire a gun. They carry the same weapons as the Nubians, a sword, a lance, a target, and a knife. About a dozen horses are kept in the town; in war, the bravest men mount upon dromedaries and surprise the enemy. Almost every house in the Geyf possesses a dromedary. The Bedouins of the Geyf are as indifferent about religion as those of the desert; very few of them would be found, upon inquiry, to know how to pray in the Mohammedan form; and I was told that even the fast of Ramadhan is little attended to. In the town the inhabitants are as strict in their religious duties as sea-faring people usually are.

I calculate the whole population of Souakin at about eight thousand souls, of whom three thousand live upon the island, and the rest in the Geyf.

The cattle of the Souakin Bedouins are extremely numerous; they are kept in the neighbourhood only during the months immediately following the rainy season, when the surrounding plains produce some pasture; during the rest of the year they are pastured, under the care of shepherds, in the encampments of the Hadendoa, in the mountains of Dyaab, or Langay. An active and daily intercourse is kept up between the town and all these neighbouring Bedouins.

About three hours from Souakin is a Wady, in the mountain of Dyaab; it is watered by a rivulet, and is full of date trees, which are all of the male species, and produce no fruit: a few Hadendoa live there at present. A report is current at Souakin, that when that place was the residence of a Pasha, a town stood in this Wady, which was much frequented by the Souakin people, and where the Pasha himself passed a part of the hot season, in cool retirement.

Some of the Hadendoa inhabitants of the Geyf cultivate, after the rains, a fertile plain called Tokar, situated about two days south of the town, and not far from the sea; it is spacious, fertile, surrounded by mountains, and watered by torrents; but its produce bears a very small proportion to the consumption of the town.

About five hours north of Souakin, the chain of the Dyaab, already mentioned, advances considerably towards the sea; and the projecting part forms the northern boundary of the territories of the Bedouins Hadendoa; beyond it begins the tribe of Amarer, an independent nation, unconnected with any of the former, whose encampments are met with on the whole of the coast as far as the island called Djebel Mekowar. These Amarer are friendly to the Hadendoa, but upon bad terms with the Bisharein; though it is said that they are descended from the same progenitors.

Upon enquiry whether the road along the coast to Massouah was ever followed, I was told that nobody attempts it, and that the only communication southwards is through Taka. From Souakin to Assouan is said to be from twenty to twenty-four days journey, but the road is not frequented. Last year, when the robber Naym interrupted the regular route between Shendy and Upper Egypt, some enterprising Souakin merchants planned a journey to Egypt, through the country of the Bisharein, expecting to get a good price for their camels, slaves, and various articles of Indian produce. Although at war with the Bisharein, they procured a couple of guides of that nation, to ensure their safety, and to point out the roads, and they settled at the same time the passage duties that were to be paid to the Bisharye chiefs. In Arabia traders travel safely in this manner through the territories of hostile tribes, who dare not molest them, when accompanied by some of their own people. But the Africans are less scrupulous: at about halfway, the whole of the Souakin caravan was completely destroyed, and not a single individual escaped. It is not likely, therefore, that this route will ever be again attempted. The Hadherebe have no intercourse whatever at present with those Bisharye tribes who people the desert to the east of the Amarer and Hadendoa, and northward of the former as high as the territories of the Ababde. The Amarer and Hadendoa, although at war with the Bisharein, do not cherish the same deadly hatred towards them as towards the Hadherebe, and some little traffic is carried on between them. The Amarer buy at Souakin their Dhourra, Dammour, and tobacco, which they barter with the Bisharein for cattle and hides. The principal settlement of the latter appears to be Olba (علبه), a high mountain close to the sea, with a small harbour, at about ten or twelve days from Souakin, and about fifteen days from Daraou in Upper Egypt. Their principal chiefs encamp in the valleys of this mountain, which is said to be extremely rich in pasturage, and to be always inhabited by several powerful tribes. Its name is well known in Upper Egypt, and the Bedouins Ababde often repair thither with Dhourra, and cotton stuffs of Egyptian manufacture. It is also visited by the chiefs of the Ababde, for the purpose of collecting a certain tribute paid to them by these mountaineers for the permission of pasturing their cattle in the rainy season in that part of the northern Nubian mountains which the Ababde claim as their own patrimony; but as the two tribes are often at war, the tribute is not regularly paid.

I was told repeatedly, both in Upper Egypt and at Souakin, that in the rocks near the shore in the vicinity of Djebel Olba there are excavated habitations, which appear to have been the work of the infidels. According to the testimony of several sea-faring people, Olba is the only tolerable harbour on the African coast, between Kosseir and Souakin. The Bisharein have a regular market there, which is supplied from Upper Egypt, Berber, and indirectly from Souakin. Sometimes, but very rarely, small boats arrive there from Arabia for hides and butter; but masters of vessels are afraid of the treachery of the Bisharein, and are seldom willing to encounter this hazard, in addition to that of the voyage, although it affords the chance of great profits. It is said that camels are very numerous there, and that the Bisharein live almost entirely on their milk and flesh. They cultivate no part of their valleys, though rivulets are said to be met with in several of them; Dhourra is in consequence dear, being all carried to them from a great distance; the quantity which costs two dollars in Upper Egypt will purchase a fine camel at Olba. It would be highly gratifying to visit this harbour, which I suspect has remained unknown to all modern travellers and navigators, and which, if examined, might perhaps at once settle the disputed points in the geography of this coast.

When we arrived, on the morning of the 26th of June, in the neighbourhood of the Geyf, I expected that we should immediately enter the place; but this was not the established custom. The Souakin merchants repaired to their homes, while the party of foreign traders alighted at about twenty minutes walk from the town, near the wells which supply it with water; and where we found a great number of Negroe Hadjis, who had been waiting several weeks for a conveyance to Djidda. As we were to remain here till our affairs should be settled with the chief of Souakin, who levies duties on all the caravans, every one formed a small tent by means of a few poles, over which we tied mats. The brother of the chief paid us a visit in the afternoon; and the next day the Emir himself came. We paid him half a dollar for each slave, which is the regular imposition. As the black merchants had some loads with them for which no regular duty is fixed, and were suspected also to have gold in their sacks, it was amicably agreed that the Emir, who was an old acquaintance of theirs, should take two of their camels. The chief of the caravan takes besides, from every merchant who is not a Hadherebe, one dollar. With respect to myself, my camel had become so famous in the caravan for his strength and agility, that the Emir wished to make it his own; he told me that all camels brought from Soudan by foreign traders belonged to him by right, and therefore insisted upon taking mine. As I had calculated upon selling it here to defray my passage to Djidda, and felt confident that no such law existed, I refused to comply with the chief’s demand and insisted upon having our differences referred to the Turkish custom-house officer. I was now in a place where I thought I might turn to account the Firmaan I had received from Ibrahim Pasha, as well as an old one given me by his father Mohammed Aly, when I left Cairo eighteen months ago, and before the latter had gone to the Hedjaz. Yet as I was not quite sure of the dispositions of these Bedouins and their obedience to the Pasha’s authority, I said nothing of the Firmaans, but demanded to be carried before the Aga, to whose commands I declared I should immediately comply, if he ordered me to deliver up the camel. The Emir from the first day of our arrival had interdicted me from passing over to the island; he now thought he might concert his measures with the Aga himself to strip such an unprotected person as I appeared to be; he acquainted the Aga with my arrival, and soon after carried me himself to the Aga’s house on the island. When we entered, the Aga was sitting listening to some sailors; I made him a low bow, when he addressed one in the Turkish language in such phrases as would be used in speaking to servants. Finding that I did not answer him in the same idiom, he exclaimed in Arabic, “Look at that scoundrel! he comes from his brethren the Mamelouks at Dóngola, and pretends not to know any thing of Turkish.” It was true indeed, that in my face and beard I resembled more a Mamelouk than any other eastern native; but every person in the caravan knew that I had come from Egypt to Shendy, and that I did not belong to the Mamelouks. Dóngola being only from ten to sixteen days distant from Souakin some apprehensions had long been entertained lest the Mamelouks should endeavour to effect their retreat to this harbour, and attempt to join the Wahabi in Arabia against their common enemy, Mohammed Aly Pasha. Hassan Djouhar (حسن جوهر كاشف), one of their Kashefs, had passed through Souakin in his way to Mekka, in 1812, while Sherif Ghalib was master of Djidda, and it was well known that he had had several conferences with Saoud, the Wahabi chief. The Aga therefore thought, by pretending to consider me either as a Mamelouk spy, or refugee, though he must have been convinced that I was neither, and by apprehending me as such, he might seize my property with impunity, and also merit the thanks of his superiors at Jidda, for his vigilance. I coolly told him that I had come to him for the purpose of knowing from his own mouth, whether the Emir was entitled to my camel. “Not only thy camel,” he replied, “but the whole of thy baggage must be taken and searched. We shall render a good account of them to the Pasha, depend upon it; for you shall not impose upon us, you rascal, and you may be thankful if we do not cut off your head.” I protested that I was nothing but an unfortunate merchant, and begged that he would not add to the sufferings I had already experienced. It was my wish, for obvious reasons, to pacify him, if possible, without shewing my Firmaans, but Yemak soon obliged me to give up this idea; he began cursing and swearing in Turkish, and then calling an old cripple, to whom he had given the title of Waly, or police-officer, he ordered him to tie my hands, to put me in prison, and to bring my slave and baggage into his presence. I now thought it high time to produce my Firmaans, which I drew from a secret pocket in my Thabout; one of them was written in Turkish, upon a piece of paper two feet and a half in length, and one foot in breadth, and was sealed with the great seal of Mohammed Aly; the other, a smaller one, was written in Arabic, and bore the seal of Ibrahim Pasha, his son, in which Ibrahim termed me “our man, Ibrahim, the Syrian” (رجلنا ابرهيم الشامي Radjilna Ibrahim es-Shamy.)

When Yemak saw the Firmaans unfolded, he became completely stupified and the persons present looked at me with amazement. The Aga could read the Arabic only, but he kissed them both, put them to his forehead, and then protested to me, in the most submissive terms, that it was the good of the public service alone, that had led him to treat me as he had done, and for which he begged me a thousand pardons. Nothing more was said about the Emir’s right to my camel, and he declared that I should pay no duty for my slave, though he was entitled to it. He very naturally asked me the cause of my appearance; for by this time my dress, which had not been very splendid when I set out on my journey, was literally in rags. I replied that Mohammed Aly Pasha had sent me as a spy upon the Mamelouks, and to enquire into the state of the Negroe countries, and that I had assumed the garb of a beggar, in order to pass unmolested. Yemak now began to consider me a great personage, and the natural consequence was, that he became afraid of me, and of the reports I might hereafter make to the Pasha concerning his conduct and his government in Souakin. His behaviour became most servile; and he offered me a slave girl, and a new dress of his own, as a present, both of which I refused. During my stay at Souakin, I repaired daily to his house to partake of a good dinner, of which I stood in great need, and to indulge myself in smoaking Yemak’s Persian pipe. The people of the town laughed at seeing this man’s pride humbled by the attentions he thought it incumbent on him to shew to a beggar like me. My object was to find protection in his company, to recruit my strength by his good fare, and to save expense, for by this time I had only two dollars in my purse.

Among the persons whom I frequently met at Yemak’s table was a Sherif, who during the reign of the Sherif Ghalib had been his officer of customs and Aga at Massouah, in which he had at first been confirmed by Mohammed Aly Pasha; but was soon after dismissed on account of several fradulent transactions, and had taken refuge at Souakin. This man had known Mr. Salt during his second visit to Abyssinia, and he told me that his master Ghalib had given him strict orders to prevent, by every means in his power, any Franks, and English especially, from entering Abyssinia. As he had no knowledge who I really was, I had not the smallest reason for doubting what he said. Lord Valentia’s short stay at Souakin was remembered, and often spoken of as a singular event.

I continued during the whole of my stay here to live with the Black merchants outside the Geyf, notwithstanding the pressing invitations of the Aga to take up my abode in his house. I assisted them in smuggling several of their slaves into the town, a service which they repaid by ordering their slaves to prepare some dried meat for my voyage across the Red Sea. We lived surrounded by several hundred Tekayrne, who were waiting for a passage, and who in the mean while earned their livelihood partly by acting as porters (for the Souakin people are too proud to act as such), and partly in making earthen pots for the kitchens of the town. I sold my camel for four dollars only, for the Shikh of the Hadherebe having declared that he wished to buy him, no other purchaser ventured to offer, and he was thus enabled to fix his own price. Worn down as it was with fatigue, it was still worth double that sum, for camels are of much the same value here, as on the Nile countries of Soudan. My camel had sometimes carried not only my baggage and water, but also myself and slave, at times when we were both over-fatigued. In general I permitted the boy to ride four or five hours in the early part of the day, and then succeeded him myself for the remainder. The Souakin merchants were astonished at my condescension, in which, I must confess, that although humanity had some share, self-interest had still more; for I knew that if the slave had been exhausted by fatigue, I should probably have soon shared his fate. During my stay at Souakin the hottest and most violent Simoum occurred that I ever remember to have experienced. The whole atmosphere appeared to be in a blaze, and we escaped with some difficulty from being suffocated by the clouds of sand that were blown about in every direction.

A small ship, one of those called Say in the Red Sea, had begun to load, and I informed the Aga of my intention to take my passage on board of it. At any other time, and under other circumstances, I should probably have gone from hence to Mokha; for previous to my leaving Cairo, Colonel Missett, his Britannic Majesty’s Resident in Egypt, among numberless kindnesses towards me, had done me the favour to write to the East India Company’s agent at Mokha, apprising him that a traveller of my description might perhaps arrive there from the opposite coast, and desiring him to furnish me with money for my future travelling expenses. It had been for some time a favourite project with me to visit the interior of the Yemen mountains, where the origin of most of the Bedouin tribes of Arabia is to be found, and where their ancient manners are said to subsist in all their original purity. In departing therefore from Upper Egypt I had intended to proceed from Massouah or Souakin, whichever of the two places I should reach, to Mokha, and from thence to Sana, the capital of the Yemen, where I might hope to join the Yemen pilgrims in their annual route over the mountains to Mekka. The performance of this journey would have been of considerable advantage to Arabian geography, and it might, perhaps, have led to interesting facts respecting Arabian history. But the information I collected at Souakin respecting the war in the Hedjaz soon made me abandon this project; the head quarters of Mohammed Aly were then at Tayf, and his advanced corps was several days journey to the south of that place, in the very mountains where I should have passed, and where the greatest body of the Wahabi forces was collected. There was not the smallest chance of my passing through these fanatics, who would have certainly taken me for a Turkish spy, and sacrificed me to their vengeance.

The Aga ordered the master of the ship to give me a free passage, and to put on board some provisions for me, consisting of dates and sugar, the best articles of his own store-room. We embarked in the evening of the 6th of July. When I saw the great number of people assembled on board, I repented having taken my passage in this ship; but I soon understood that from this time till the month of the Hadj (November) every vessel that sailed from Souakin would be equally crowded with passengers. My old companions the Black merchants were too numerous including their slaves, to find room in this vessel, they therefore determined to wait till another opportunity; they arrived at Djidda about three weeks after me. Our ship, or rather boat, for it was not more than between thirty and forty feet long, and nine feet broad in the widest part, had only one sail, and was quite open, without either deck or awning. It had taken in Dhourra as ballast; the baskets were covered with several layers of mats and hides, upon which one hundred and four persons, including the crew, were to be accommodated; of these fifty were Tekayrne men and women, and fifty were slaves, belonging either to Black or to Souakin merchants, who were on board. During the night, about fifteen persons were sent on shore, to whom the Reis returned their fare, which they had paid in advance, but there were still eighty-nine persons in the ship when we sailed the next morning. The avidity of the masters in thus overloading their vessels often causes their ruin; about six months ago, two ships on their way from Djidda to Souakin, with a number of Negroe pilgrims on board, were wrecked on the coast at a short distance to the north of Souakin; a few lives only were saved, and the cargoes were entirely lost. No year passes without accidents of this sort happening; but the Arab sailor says —“Allah is great!”— and follows the practice of his predecessors.

Passage from Souakin to Djidda.

July 7th. — We remained in port the whole of the morning, waiting for a supply of water. The Tekayrne and their slaves pay one dollar a head for their passage; each of them has his water skin suspended over the side of the vessel. Provisions of water for the master and crew, and for the Souakin merchants, for three days, are kept in a few large jars standing on the prow. The sailors and Souakin people dealt heavy blows among the blacks, who were fighting with each other for room in the vessel. We sailed in the evening, and anchored after midnight, at the mouth of the bay of Souakin, where a small ruined bastion or watch tower stands. Here the pilot who had brought us out of the channel left us, to return by land to El Geyf.

July 8th. — We sailed after sun-rise, with a good wind; the course was northward along the coast, at the distance of four or five miles, amongst rocks and coral-reefs. At three o’clock P.M. we entered a very narrow creek, of dangerous access, called Dagoratag; the breadth, at the entrance, was hardly sufficient to allow a ship of any size to veer round, but the depth of water was considerable, except close in-shore. The beach is sandy and gravelly, with some trees and shrubs growing upon it. The Bedouin inhabitants, who are of the tribe of Amarer, soon ran down to demand their harbour dues, which consist of about one dollar’s worth of Dhourra, and must be paid by all ships touching at this harbour. They sold us at the same time, some milk. All these anchorages are called by the Arabs, Merasy (مراسي).

July 9th. We sailed after sunrise; it is the practice in all parts of the Red Sea to sail at this hour, and to anchor in a port in the afternoon; the mariners never depart from this custom till they are obliged to stand over to the opposite coast. The ignorance of the Arabians in navigation obliges them to proceed with great caution in this dangerous sea. Conscious of their want of skill, and of the insufficiency of their vessels, they avoid encountering an open sea or an adverse wind. The smaller ships have neither logs nor compasses on board, or if they have, never make much use of them. Our captain’s plan was to proceed along shore as far as Djebel Mekouar. This is the common route of the Souakin vessels during the prevalence of the northerly breezes, as the wind from thence is usually fair for stretching across to Djidda. Ships bound from Souakin to Mokha generally proceed southward along the African coast, anchoring in some port every evening, till they reach Massouah, from whence they cross over to the Arabian shore. In the northern part of the Red Sea, the vessels bound from Kosseir to Djidda cross over to the nearest point of the opposite coast, and then proceed along shore to Djidda. On the contrary, those from Djidda to Kosseir follow the coast as high as the latitude of Moyla, or Ras Mohammed, and cross from thence, by the help of the northerly winds. These coasting voyages are still more necessary to the Souakin slave vessels, because they are generally so full of passengers and slaves as to be obliged to take in a daily supply of water.

We had a fair westerly wind this morning. The Blacks were all sick, no person had room sufficient to stretch out his limbs, and we were confined the whole day in the same position, exposed to the heat of the sun; the sailors were obliged to walk over the passengers to do their work, and the whole vessel was a scene of confusion and quarrelling. In the course of the morning we passed the tomb of a Shikh named Berghout (شيخ برغوت), with a cupola over it, built upon the beach by Souakin sailors, who revere him as the protector of mariners. We saw a great number of dolphins, of the same size and shape as those seen on the coast of Egypt, near the mouths of the Nile; the sailors would not allow me to throw a lance at them; to wound one of them they think will be attended with disaster to the voyage. Soon after mid-day we anchored in the bay of Gayayá; we had sailed almost the whole morning among rocks just appearing above water. In sailing into the bay we ran ashore, an accident which often happens; the sailors are in the habit of entering these creeks in full sail; when at a certain distance from the beach, they suddenly furl the sail, and let the vessel run up to the anchorage; but they often mistake the distance, and as they have no anchor in these small vessels, she is aground before she can veer round. The moment the sail is lowered three or four men jump overboard, with ropes fastened to grappling-irons, which they make fast to some coral rock or tree on shore. The passengers go on shore every evening, and often pass the night there. As we had no boat, and the vessel could not always be brought close in shore, we were sometimes obliged to wade or swim to the beach. The Negroes encamped every afternoon in the same manner as they had done when crossing the desert. This evening I observed the whole beach to be covered with shells, and in the water among the coral rocks were numberless fishes of various shapes and colours. I was shewn the shell of the Sorombak, the fish of which is eaten by the Arabs all along the coasts of the Red Sea, and particularly in this part. Among the calcined shells, I saw those of the lobster. A party of Amarer Bedouins came to the beach to sell water, sheep (three fat sheep for a dollar’s worth of Dhourra), shell-fish, boiled fish, and some hares, and to receive the usual presents from the master of the vessel. These people were entirely ignorant of the Arabic language, and although we were in much greater numbers than themselves, they appeared to think very lightly of us, and behaved with little ceremony or civility. The bay of Gayayá is one of the best anchorages on this coast; even large ships might find shelter here in stress of weather.

July 10th. A good wind carried us before mid-day to the bay of Deroura, where we anchored, knowing that there is a copious well in the neighbourhood. We passed yesterday, as well as today, several other bays frequented by country ships. Every pilot (ربان Robban) knows their situation, but long practice is wanted not to mistake the entrance, which is always through a labyrinth of shoals. The Tekayrne went and filled their water-skins at the well, and after their return the captain obliged them to go a second time, to bring a sufficient quantity for the ship’s company. These poor people were, on all occasions, extremely ill-treated, although not one of them owed his passage to the captain’s charity; the Souakin people and sailors cursed and beat them repeatedly in the course of the day, and obliged them to do the ship’s work, while they themselves sat at their ease smoaking their pipes: the water and provisions of the poor pilgrims were constantly pilfered by the crew, and they were crowded into as narrow a space as three persons would be in the seat of a carriage intended to carry but two. The ship’s company and the merchants had every morning and evening fresh Dhourra bread, baked in a small oven on the prow, while the Negroes, who were never allowed to make use of the oven, fasted the whole day, till they could cook their supper on shore. If any of them attempted to take out a leaf of his papers, or to read or write his prayers, some Souakiny was sure to throw water over him, and spoil his book. At Souakin the Tekayrne, before they embark, are exposed to another inconvenience: instances having been known of black traders dressing their slaves like pilgrims in order to elude the duties levied upon them, the Aga has made it a pretext for exacting duties upon free-born pilgrims, by insisting that they are slaves in disguise, and thus taking two dollars from each, though they may be able to prove the contrary. For three or four months previous to the time of the Hadj Souakin is always full of Tekayrne, and they would be much more numerous were it not for the ill treatment they meet with from the people of Souakin, and the dangers of the passage across the Red Sea; the dread of which, more than of the journey to the coast, discourages great numbers from coming.

July 11th. The wind was adverse, and we found ourselves greatly entangled among rocks. We passed a ruined castle, or large tower, situated two miles in-land. The Souakin people told me that it had been built by an ancient Pasha of Souakin, near a well, and that it was a halting-place on the road, once frequented, between Kosseir and Souakin. The former existence of such a route through the mountains of Nubia had already been mentioned to me by the people of Upper Egypt, and the Pasha of Souakin, it was said, always travelled by this route from Egypt to his government. The Souakin people farther informed me, that at every halting place a similar tower was found; but this they knew only by report, none of them having ever travelled the road.

In the mountains to the eastward of Daraou in Upper Egypt, three journeys from that village towards the Red Sea, is a plain with wells of sweet water, which is called Shikh Shadely (شيخ شادلي) from the tomb of a holy man, who is said to have died there, on the road from Kosseir to Souakin; which passes by the wells. The tomb is held in great veneration by the Egyptians; one of the Mamelouk Begs built a cupola over it, and people frequently make vows to visit the Shikh’s tomb, and there sacrifice a sheep in his honour. The surrounding valleys are full of trees; and according to the statements of my informants there are some remains of buildings, and caverns cut in the rocks. The mountain has long had the reputation of containing emeralds, and most of the Arabian geographers confirm the opinion by their writings. Mohammed Aly Pasha having been informed of the tradition, sent in 1812 a party of soldiers to Shikh Shadely, accompanied by a Greek jeweller of Cairo, who was supposed to understand some thing of precious stones. They carried several hundred peasants with them, and after digging in the rocky ground, and in the plain near the tomb, in a place were a Mamelouk Beg had been reported to have found a stone of inestimable value, they happened, by a singular accident, to dig up a piece of green opaque glass, about eight cubic inches in size, with something of an emerald hue; this was immediately declared to be the true stone, and carried as such in triumph to Cairo. When the jeweller passed through Esne, I had just arrived there, and saw the supposed treasure at the governor’s house; but I took care not to damp the joy of the officer of the detachment, who no doubt considered that his fortune was made. I heard afterwards that the news of the lucky discovery reached Cairo before the arrival of the treasure; that the discoverers received a handsome present from the Pasha; and that it was not till long afterwards that some connoisseur had the courage to assure his highness that the supposed emerald was nothing but a piece of glass. It had been dug out of a thick bed of gypsum, between ancient walls; and I have little doubt that a glass manufactory was anciently established on the spot. The surrounding mountains are very well wooded, and the Ababde Arabs burn there a large quantity of charcoal from the acacia trees, which they carry to the Nile, from whence it is shipped by the merchants to Cairo. The herbs Shieh (شيح), and Rothe (روثه), from which the best Kelhy or soda is made are common in the same mountain, and sand is found in plenty in the valleys; this, therefore, was a most convenient spot to establish a manufactory of glass. No doubt can be entertained that the ancient Egyptians made use of glass vessels; fragments of which, of the most varied shapes and colours, are found in the ruins of all their towns. It is even evident that they must have attained to considerable skill in this art, and that they had attempted to imitate precious stones in glass; for during my stay at Esne, several small pieces of glass were dug up amongst the ruins of Edfou (Apollinopolis Magna), which were perfect imitations of the amethyst and topaz.

Before mid-day we entered the bay of Fedja (فجع); its entrance is easy, and the anchorage spacious. The ship’s yard was injured this morning through the unskilfulness of the sailors in tacking; nothing, indeed, can be more awkward than the manner in which these country ships are navigated; none of the crew has any particular duty assigned to him, and every manoeuvre creates general confusion. The captain has no real command over his men, who generally do only what they like, without attending either to his or the pilot’s orders; but as they are great cowards, the consequences of their ignorance prove less frequently fatal to the vessel than might be supposed. Whenever a fresh breeze springs up, the Arabian sailor instantly furls his sails, and runs his vessel ashore, where he remains till it abates; if the ship reaches the neighbourhood of a bay before noon, and doubts are entertained from the state of the wind, of the possibility of reaching the next bay before sun-set, the first is at once entered, and the whole afternoon is passed in idleness; for after the ship is made fast, there they remain, however favourable the wind may prove.

El Fedja is a noted anchorage on this coast. We soon opened a market with some Bedouins, who brought us excellent water. The mountains continue all along the coast at about four or five miles distant from the shore, which rises gradually to their base. The beach is sandy, with layers of chalk, formed by calcined conchylias; great numbers of shells are everywhere found, and it appeared to me that each species was generally confined to a particular spot on the coast. There were however various sorts in the bay of El Fedja. I particularly noticed the Sorombak, and the small white shell called at Cairo Woda (ودع), with which the Gipsey women tell fortunes, by tossing them up, as they pronounce the person’s name, and by observing the position in which they fall on the ground.

July 12th. We had a good wind, but want of water obliged us to run into the bay of Arakyá long before noon. It was our practice not to sail in the morning till the sun was sufficiently high to render shallow water and reefs visible at a good distance, for in most of these intricate channels the pilot’s eye is his only guide. Late this evening, the Arabs brought a large supply of water upon camels and asses, which they had drawn from a reservoir of rain-water three or four hours distant in the mountains. The bay is composed entirely of calcined shells, and affords a safe anchorage for large ships. I fought here a hard battle with some of the Souakin merchants, who continued to ill treat, by every means in their power, the poor Negroes, and would listen to none of my representations in their behalf. They had conceived a contemptible opinion of myself, notwithstanding the respect they saw paid to me at Souakin, because I had not got a new dress, and because they thought that I had made myself too familiar with the Black wretches, as they termed them. I was seconded in my endeavours for the benefit of the Tekayrne by a Greek Christian, who had come with us from Souakin, and who afforded me much entertainment during the voyage. His name was Stafa, a native of Negropont, and he was a sailor by profession. He had visited England some years ago on board a brig of war sent there by Mohammed Aly Pasha, to solicit permission to sail to the Red Sea by the way of the Cape of Good Hope. Having remained in England a whole year, he had learned a little English; after his return the Pasha had given him the command of a Dow in the Red Sea. He had been to Souakin to recover a debt of some hundred dollars, from a Souakiny, and was now returning to Djidda. Like all the other persons on board, he took me for a Syrian, and conversed with me in broken Arabic. I was exceedingly amused with the account of his travels in Europe, and the palpable falsehoods and absurdities which he uttered respecting what he had seen in England, and the manners of the inhabitants. Comparatively speaking, I had no reason to complain of my treatment on board the vessel; the Reis, an inhabitant of Djidda, was the more willing to accommodate me, as I had given him a dollar as a present, notwithstanding my being a free passenger: the merchants paid two dollars each.

July 13th. — We had a tolerable wind, and by the help of the oars, which we often had recourse to, we reached at two o’clock A.M. the bay of Tahde. As there was a settlement of Amarer close to the beach, and as these Bedouins are not in much reputation for good faith, we remained at a considerable distance from the shore. Some of the sailors swam to the beach to settle with the chief the amount of duty to be paid; and the Greek captain and I were obliged to pay each half a measure of Dhourra above the stipulated sum, under the pretence that we were in the service of the Pasha, and not Arabs, like the others. We then landed upon a small raft towed alongside the vessel from the shore, and were well treated, or at least were unmolested by the Bedouins who assembled around us. They are of the tribe of Coubad, a principal branch of the Amarer, and they live here in tents made of black goats hair, like those of the Arabian Arabs. There were about thirty or forty tents. That of the Shikh was pitched close by the side of the tomb of his grandfather, a man who had been much respected among his tribe, and to whom a sepulchre of stone had been erected. In the evening immense herds of camels, sheep, and goats, came running down to the beach to drink at about half a dozen springs among some trees close to the sea. The water of all these springs, except one, is brackish. The sheep have short bad wool; but the hair of the goats is long. In the mountains are reservoirs of rain water; but the Bedouins seem to be accustomed to the water of the springs, and do not take the trouble of bringing sweet water from such a distance. Not far from the wells the beach becomes very rocky, is covered with loose stones of great size, and rises rapidly towards the mountains; as far as I could observe, these rocks are entirely of gray granite. The whole of the morning was spent in bargaining for milk; after the camels had drank water, their owners milked them; and the milk was placed before the camels in large vessels made of reeds, closely interwoven, exactly like those made by the Barábera above Assouan. We had all brought with us a quantity of Dhourra and tobacco, which are the best medium of traffic on this coast. We put down near each vessel as much of the one or the other, as we thought fit to give; but until we made up the exact quantity which the Bedouin was determined to have, he continued to order us very coolly to “go away” (Kak); they would not admit of any sort of bargaining, but repeated the word Kak. Several of the Souakin merchants and sailors found here some female friends of old acquaintance, and although the captain had given orders that every body should return on board after sun-set, they remained on shore, and we heard their boisterous songs the whole night. The women here went unveiled, and behaved with great freedom. The dress of the men is the usual Dammour shirt; they carry lances, and targets, and a few have swords; their principal enjoyment seems to be, as in other parts of Nubia, to get drunk with Bouza. The great numbers of their cattle expose them sometimes to the inroads of foreign enemies. The people of Yembo occasionally come here in small ships, well armed with firelocks, and plunder the whole neighbourhood of the cattle, alleging as an excuse, that the Amarer formerly killed several of their countrymen, who had been shipwrecked on this coast.

July 14th. — As we stood out of the bay a ship from Djidda was entering: vessels bound from that port to Souakin usually cross over here, and then coast along southward to their destination. Unless the wind is particularly favourable, they rarely cross the sea direct to Souakin. Had the wind been favourable for us, we should have stood across from this bay; but it was southerly, and we therefore steered for a small island, a few miles to the north of Tebade, where we entered a fine bay, with the intention of waiting there for a northerly wind. This island bears the name of Djebel Mekouar; Djebel, because it consists almost entirely of a single low rocky mountain; and Mekouar, from يكور وكور, which in the dialect of the Yemen sailors means to cross over, or to start in order to cross over. The passage across the sea is usually begun at this island, as well from its being in a more northern latitude than Djidda, and thus affording the full advantage of the northerly winds, as from the passage across being quite free from hidden shoals or reefs, which otherwise might render the navigation dangerous during the night. It requires generally two days and one night to perform the passage.

We dispersed among the low trees and shrubs with which the shores of the island are thickly lined, and some of which even grow in the water; in foliage the trees resemble the aloe; the wood is very brittle. The island, as far as I could judge, is about eight miles in circumference; on its north-east side, and close to it, is a much smaller one. I wished to visit the interior of the island; but we were kept ready to sail at a moment’s notice, in case the wind should come round to the northward. The island is of secondary formation, with chalk, and entirely barren, except the beach, where the trees grow. On its western side is another anchorage, but less spacious than that on the south side, in which our vessel moored. It is inhabited by about twenty Bisharye families, who are complete ichthyophagi: they have very few sheep and goats, the mountain scarcely affording any pasture. On the north side of the island are some wells, but the water is so brackish that even the inhabitants cannot drink it. During the winter they find rain water among the rocks; in the summer they cross over weekly upon the rafts used by them in fishing, to the continent, which is only one or two miles distant, and where they obtain a supply from some wells to the north of Tebade. They appear to live almost entirely upon fish, shell-fish, and eggs; they obtain a little milk from their sheep, which are not more than thirty in number. They fish with nets and hooks, which they buy from the Souakin ships. Of the thick skin of some large fish, unknown to me, they make targets of a round and square form, about a foot and a half in diameter, and sufficiently strong to resist a spear-thrust. In the mountains they collect at this season vast numbers of the eggs of a species of sea-gull, which is very common here. About a dozen men and women came to the bay, with some sheep and a little milk and eggs for sale. The boiled yolks of the eggs were piled up on their targets, and carried on their heads, and I was told that they preserve them in this state for many weeks. Both the men and women had a very emaciated appearance; none of them spoke Arabic. I wished to barter for some milk, but the women had conceived such horror on seeing me, that they absolutely refused to have any dealings whatever with me. They all seemed extremely desirous of Dhourra, which they have no other means of obtaining than from ships touching here; but their sheep were still more valuable to them, for they would not part with any of them, though we offered a good price.

From the adjacent point of the main land begin the territories of the Bedouins Bisharein, which extend northwards eight days journey to the limits of the dominions of the Bedouins Ababde. The inhabitants of Mekouar are exposed to the attacks of the Amarer from Tebade, when the two tribes are at war; they then usually retire to the main land; their principal object in coming here seems to be to barter with the ships which touch at the island in their passage to or from Djidda and Souakin. I was told that they consider the island as their own property, and that no other Bisharein are permitted to settle on it. It has been supposed to be the Emerald Island; but the Arabian sailors give that name to some islands further northward, between this and Kosseir.

I was informed here, that one days sail farther north, or from twenty to twenty-five miles, which is the usual rate of these vessels, there is a large bay extending considerably inland, called Mersa Dongola (مرسى دنقله), or the harbour of Dóngola, with an island at its entrance: it is well known for its rich pearl fishery. The captain of our boat, Seid Mustafa ed-Djedáwy (سيد مصطفى الجداوي), had once been there, and brought home a considerable quantity of pearls of middling quality, which the Sherif Ghalib afterwards took from him at Djidda. He told me that the bottom of the sea in the bay was full of pearl-oysters, and that they may easily be fished, as the water is not very deep. It is not however frequented at present for pearl-fishing, partly because the treacherous character of the Bisharein, who inhabit the harbour, is much dreaded; but chiefly because the ship-owners are fearful of its being said that they have found treasures of pearls, which would immediately attract the attention of the government of Djidda. I was repeatedly assured that the coast northwards from Djebel Mekouar towards Kosseir is entirely unknown to the Souakin and Kosseir pilots; and that of the Djidda pilots very few only, of the tribe of the Zebeyde Arabs, have even a slight knowledge of it. No commerce, nor direct intercourse is carried on between Kossier and Souakin; and the navigation of this part of the coast, as well as northward from Kosseir to Suez, is scarcely ever performed by natives of the Red Sea. The Zebeyde Arabs alone sometimes touch at the harbour of Olba, which is four days sail beyond the harbour of Dóngola, and five from Djebel Mekouar. Pearls are said to be found all along this coast, as far south as Massouah, but no where in such plenty as at Mersa Dóngola.

We had to repair a leak in the vessel, occasioned by her striking on a coral reef the preceding day; proper arrangements were also made in the distribution of the cargo and passengers, in order to leave room sufficient for the sailors to work the vessel in the passage across the sea, which the Arabians never undertake without evident signs of fear, and without recommending themselves to the protection of the Prophet and all the saints.

July 15th. — A favourable wind sprung up this morning, and we steered for the open sea. A compass was brought from amongst the ship’s lumber, but merely for form’s sake, for the captain and pilot quarrelled which was the due north. Towards evening the wind increased, when the sailors exchanged the large sail for a smaller. When night set in, the brilliant light on the surface of the water, wherever it was agitated, greatly astonished the Negroes, who endeavoured in vain to obtain an explanation of the phænomenon from the sailors. We passed a cold uncomfortable night, no one having room enough to sleep in. The bold travellers of the desert betrayed great fear in the open sea, to the great amusement of the people from Souakin.

July 16th. Early in the morning we descried the coast of Arabia; the ignorance of the pilot now became evident, for instead of finding ourselves off Djidda, as we might have been, had he steered by compass, we were at least fifty miles to the south of it. We entered a small bay in full sail, and had nearly foundered by a whirlwind that sprung up at the moment. We found the beach to be entirely barren, and without wells or springs to a considerable distance; no Bedouins were any where visible. We were now in great distress for water; the last supply we had taken in at Arakyá was nearly consumed; and the water-skins of the Tekayrne were all empty; the wind was foul, and we had no reasonable hope of reaching Djidda in less than two days. In the evening the greater part of the Tekayrne left the ship, to proceed by land to Djidda; the sailors represented this place to them as being much nearer than it really was, and pointed to a mountain, about twelve miles distant from our anchorage, where they said a well would be found; but where, as I afterwards understood, no such well existed, their design being merely to get rid of the pilgrims in the fear that necessity might at last force them to fall upon the crew’s stock of water. The Souakin ships seldom arrive at Djidda with pilgrims, without their having suffered from a want of water; the number of pilgrims on board being always so great, that it is impossible for them to carry a supply for more than three days, without a sacrifice of other conveniences, which they are never willing to make; and Djebel Mekouar, from whence the ship takes her departure for the opposite coast, furnishes no water at all. I afterwards saw Negroes at Djidda who had not drank water during this passage for four whole days. We were obliged to remain at anchor here till the following day. There are fewer shells on this coast than on the other.

July 17th. About noon we sailed with a southerly breeze, and at sunset the vessel was moored to a coral reef at some distance from the shore. There was an almost total eclipse of the sun this morning; the sailors and the Tekayrne who remained on board were all equally terrified at the unusual darkness which surrounded them. According to the Mohammedan law, every Mussulman repeated two Rekats ( صلاة الكسفهSalat el-kassfé, i. e. Prayers of the eclipse), which done, kettles, swords, shields, and spoons were beaten against each other while the eclipse continued.

July 18th. It was a calm this morning, and the sailors were employed at the oars; but they became so fatigued with rowing, that we entered about mid-day a harbour opposite to the tomb of a Shikh, with a cupola upon it; it was called Shikh Amer (شيخ عمر) There was now not a drop of water in the vessel; a well was said to be in the mountain behind the shore, but no one on board knew exactly in what part; and though we were so near Djidda as to hear the report of some guns in the evening, yet there was a probability of our still remaining on board several days, and thus suffering all the pangs of thirst. I desired therefore to be set on shore upon a raft which the captain had purchased at Tebade. The Greek passenger, and two Souakin men, with their slaves also followed. We walked the whole night along the barren beach, which was covered with a saline crust, till we fell in with the high road leading along shore towards Yemen; about an hour from Djidda we reached a Bedouin encampment, where we refreshed ourselves, and safely entered the town in good health. In the course of the morning of the 19th, we smuggled the slaves who had walked with us, into Djidda; those landed from the ships pay a duty of a dollar a head. The vessel arrived the day following, the 20th July, 1814.

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