What Led To The Discovery
Source Of The Nile
by John Hanning Speke Captain H.M. Indian Army
Author of 'Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile'
William Blackwood and Sons Edinburgh and London MDCCCLXIV
To The Memory of Lieutenant-General Sir Jas. Outram, Bart. G.C.B.
Who First Gave Me A Start In Africa, This History Is Respectfully Inscribed.
In offering this short connected history of my first two explorations in Africa, I must state that I have been urged to do so by friends desirous of knowing what led to the discovery of the source of the Nile. The greater part of it was originally published in 'Blackwood's Magazine;' but that lacked the connection which I have now given to the conclusion of my independent journey to and from the Victoria N'yanza, which is the great source or reservoir of the Nile. The manner in which I traced the Nile down from the Victoria N'yanza to Egypt is explained in my 'Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.'
J. H. Speke.
Contents. Journal of Adventures in Somali Land.
Introduction to the Journal.—Projects and hobbies—Life in India—Lord Clyde and Sir James Outram—The position and physical geography of the Somali country—The Nogal country, and historical sketches—Costume and Customs.
The voyage—An Akil—The Somali shore—Sultan (Gerad) Mahamed Ali—Hidden treasure—The Warsingali—A royal reception—Somali appetites—Difficulties and impediments—Sultan tries my Abban or protector.
Yafir Pass—Rhut Tug (River)—The ruins at Kin's city—Abban apprehends future consequences—Hyenas—The Dulbahantas—Camel drivers' tricks—Briny water—Antelope-shoooting—Elephant-hunting —Ostrich-hunting—Gazelles—Jealousy and suspicions of the people—Rapid decline of property.
Meditations among the tombs—A fracas—The return march—The north-east monsoon—Relief from persecution—Interesting animals—Gori again—Shooting a woman—Arrival at Aden—Fresh projects—Arrangements.
Aden—Departure—Kurrum—A conclave of sages—Arrangement of the expedition—The south-west monsoon—Medical practice—The camp besieged—Wounded and captive—A triumphal procession—Flight Return to Aden and to England—Fresh projects there.
Journal of a Cruise on the Tanganyika Lake.
The Royal Geographical Society—The strange lake on the map—Set off—Arrive at Zanzibar—A preliminary excursion—A sail along the coast—The Pangani river—A jemadar's trick—Journey to Fuga—Adventures—Return to Zanzibar—Scenes there—Objects of the expedition—Recruiting for followers—The Cafila Bashi—The start—Fevers—Discussions about the Mountains of the Moon and the Victoria N'yanza—The Tanganyika.
Canoes—The crews—The biography of Bombay—The voyage—Crocodiles—The lake scenery—Kivira island—Black beetles—An adventure with one of them—Kasenge island—African slavery.
Leave Tanganyika—Determine to visit the Ukerewe lake, alias Victoria N'yanza—Confusion about rivers running in and out—Idea that it is the source of the Nile—Arrangements for the journey—Difficulties—The march—Nature of the country—Formalities at the meeting of caravans—A pagazi strike—A sultana—Incidents—Pillars of granite.
First sight of the Victoria N'yanza—Its physical geography—Speculations on its being the source of the Nile—Sport on the lake—Sultans Machunda and Mahaya—Missionary accounts of the geography—Arab accounts—Regrets at inability to complete the discovery—The march resumed—History of the Watuta—Hippopotamus-hunting—Adventures—Kahama.
General character of the country traversed—The huts—The geology—Productions—Land of promise—Advice to missionaries—Leave Ulekampuri—Return of the expedition—Register of temperature.
Journal of Adventures in Somali Land.
Chapter I. Introduction to the Journal.
Projects and Hobbies—life in India—lord Clyde and Sir James Outram—the Position and Physical Geography of the Somali Country—the Nogal Country, and Historical Sketches—Costume and Customs.
It was in the year 1849, at the expiration of the Punjaub campaign, under Lord Gough, where I had been actively engaged as a subaltern officer in the (so-called) fighting brigade of General Sir Colin Campbell's division of the army, adding my mite to the four successive victorious actions—Ramnugger, Sadoolapore, Chillianwallah, and Guzerat—that I first conceived the idea of exploring Central Equatorial Africa. My plan was made with a view to strike the Nile at its head, and then to sail down that river to Egypt. It was conceived, however, not for geographical interest, so much as for a view I had in my mind of collecting the fauna of those regions, to complete and fully develop a museum in my father's house, a nucleus of which I had already formed from the rich menageries of India, the Himalaya Mountains, and Tibet. My idea in selecting the new field for my future researches was, that I should find within it various orders and species of animals hitherto unknown. Although Major Cornwallis Harris, Ruppell, and others had by this time well-nigh exhausted, by their assiduous investigations, all discoveries in animal life, both in the northern and southern extremities of Africa, in the lowlands of Kaffraria in the south, and the highlands of Ethiopia in the north, no one as yet had penetrated to the centre in the low latitudes near the equator; and by latitudinal differences I thought I should obtain new descriptions and varieties of animals. Further, I imagined the Mountains of the Moon were a vast range, stretching across Africa from east to west, which in all probability would harbour wild goats and sheep, as the Himalaya range does. There, too, I thought I should find the Nile rising in snow, as does the Ganges in the Himalayas.
The time I proposed to myself for carrying this scheme into operation was my furlough—a lease of three years' leave of absence, which I should become entitled to at the expiration of ten years' service in India; but I would not leave the reader to infer that I intended devoting the whole of my furlough to this one pursuit alone. Two of the three years were to be occupied in collecting animals, and descending by the valley of the Nile to Egypt and England, whilst the third year was to be spent in indulgent recreations at home after my labours should be over.
I had now served five years in the Indian army, and five years were left to serve ere I should become entitled to take my furlough. During this time I had to consider two important questions: How I should be able, out of my very limited pay as a subaltern officer, to meet the heavy expenditure which such a vast undertaking would necessarily involve? and how, before leaving India, I might best employ any local leave I could obtain, in completing my already commenced collections of the fauna of that country and its adjacent hill-ranges?
Previous experience had taught me that, in the prosecution of my chief hobby, I would also solve the problem of the most economical mode of living. In the backwoods and jungles no ceremony or etiquette provokes unnecessary expenditure; whilst the fewer men and material I took with me on my sporting excursions the better sport I always got, and the freer and more independent I was to carry on the chase. I need now only say I acted on this conviction, and I think, I may add, I managed it successfully; for there are now but few animals to be found in either India, Tibet, or the Himalaya Mountains, specimens of which have not fallen victims to my gun. Of this the paternal hall is an existing testimony. Every year after the war I obtained leave of absence, and every year I marched across the Himalayas, and penetrated into some unknown portions of Tibet, shooting, collecting, and mapping the country wherever I went. My mess-mates wondered how it was I succeeded in getting so much leave; but the reason was simply this, and I tell it that others may profit by it:—The Commander-in-Chief, Sir William Gomm, observing to what good account I always turned my leave, instead of idling my time away, or running into debt, took great pleasure in encouraging my hobby; and his Staff were even heard to say it would be a pity if I did not get leave, as so much good resulted from it.
The 3d September 1854 completed my tenth year's servitude in India, and on the succeeding day, the 4th, I embarked on board one of the P. and O. Company's steamers at Calcutta, and left the Indian shore for Aden; but previously to my departure I purchased various cheap articles of barter, all as tempting and seductive as I could find, for the simple-minded negroes of Africa. These consisted principally of cheap guns, revolving pistols, swords, cheap cutlery of all sorts, beads, cotton stuffs of a variety of kinds, and sewing material, &c. &c. &c., to the amount of L390 sterling. Arrived at Aden, my first step was to visit Colonel Outram, the political resident, to open my views to him with regard to penetrating Africa, and to solicit his assistance to my doing so, by granting introductory letters to the native chiefs on the coast, and in any other manner that he could. But to my utter astonishment and discomfiture, with the frank and characteristic ardour which has marked him through life, he at once said he would not only withhold his influence, but would prohibit my going there at all, as the countries opposite to Aden were so extremely dangerous for any foreigners to travel in, that he considered it his duty as a Christian to prevent, as far as he was able, anybody from hazarding his life there. This opposition, fortunately, only lasted for a time. After repeated supplications on my part, the generous kind nature of the Colonel overcame him, and he thought of a pretext by which, should anything serious happen to me, there would not remain any onus on his conscience.
The Bombay Government at that time had been induced to order an expedition to be organised for the purpose of investigating the Somali country—a large tract of land lying due south of Aden, and separated only from the Arabian coast by the Gulf of Aden—and had appointed three officers, Lieutenant Burton to command, and Lieutenants Stroyan and Herne to assist in its conduct. To this project Colonel Outram had ever been adverse, and he had remonstrated with the Government about it, declaring, as his opinion, the scheme to be quite unfeasible. The Somali, he said, were the most savage of all African savages, and were of such a wild and inhospitable nature that no stranger could possibly live amongst them. The Government, however, relying on the ability of one who made the pilgrimage of Mecca, were bent at least on giving the Lieutenant a chance of showing what he could do in this even darker land, and he was then occupied in Aden maturing his plans of procedure.
This, then, was the opportunity the Colonel took advantage of, advising me to ask Lieutenant Burton to incorporate me in his expedition, at the same time saying that, if it was found to be agreeable to Lieutenant Burton, he would back my application to the Indian Government, obtain a cancel of my furlough, and get me put on service-duty as a member of the expedition.
Nothing could have suited me better, as it brought me on service again, and so saved my furlough leave for a future exploration. Lieutenant Burton consented, and I was at once installed in the expedition. My travelling, mapping, and collecting propensities, it was thought would be of service to the ends of the expedition; and by my being incorporated in it, there would be no chance of my running counter to it, by travelling on its line of march, and possibly giving rise to disturbances with the natives.
Before proceeding further in the narrative of events as they occurred, it may be as well, perhaps, to anticipate a little, and give a general impression of the geography, ethnology, history, and other characteristics of the country under investigation—the Somali land—and the way in which it was intended that those investigations should be carried out. As will appear by the following pages, my experiences were mostly confined to the north central parts, in the highlands of the Warsingali and Dulbahanta tribes. The rest of my information is derived from conversations with the natives, or what I have read in some very interesting pages in vol. xix. of the 'Transactions of the Royal Geographical Society,' written by Lieutenant Cruttenden.
The Somali country is an elbow of land lying between the equator and the 11th degree of north latitude, which, from its peculiar form, might well be designated the Eastern Horn of Africa. The land is high in the north, and has a general declination, as may be seen by the river system, to the south and eastward, but with less easting as we come westward.
It is separated from the main body of Africa by the river Jub, a large and fertilising stream, which, rising in the mountains of southern Abyssinia, passes between the territories of the Gallas on the west and the Somali on the east, and debouches in the Indian Ocean at the northern extremity of the Zanzibar coast. According to Lieutenant Cruttenden's map, there are only two other rivers besides this of any consequence in the land,—the Webbe (river) Shebeli, or Haines river, which is of considerable importance, having a large flow of water, trending down a cultivable district of rich red soil, and another less important to the eastward of these two, called very unfortunately by him the Wadi Nogal. The proper specific name for this river has never, to my knowledge, been given; but the Jid Ali Tug is one of its head branches. It rises in some small hills close overhanging the north coast, and runs south-easterly into the Indian Ocean, dividing two large territories, called Ugahden, or Haud, on the west, and Nogal on the east, mouthing at Ras Ul Khyle. Ugahden is said to be a flat grassy country, of red soil, almost stoneless, and having water everywhere near the surface. It is considered by the pastoral Somali a famous place for keeping cattle, of which by report they possess a great abundance, such as camels, ponies, cows, and Dumba sheep—a fat-tailed animal, like the Persian breed. Game also abounds in this country, of which the gazelles and antelopes, I was assured, roamed about in vast herds like sheep.
The Nogal country is the opposite of this, containing nothing of any material value in it. The rock-formation is all lime, very pure and white like marble, which consequently makes the soil white, and, being very stony, it is almost barren. The Somali keep cattle here, but with much apparent difficulty, being, from the scarcity of springs and want of water, obliged to march about, following the last falls of rain, to obtain fresh herbage for their cattle. My first and greater journey gave me an insight into this portion of the interior of the country south of Bunder Gori. It was very interesting, though not profitable, from its never having been visited by any Europeans before. I observed here two distinct leading features in its physical geography. The first is a narrow hill-range, about 180 miles long and 20 or more broad, which is occupied by two large tribes—the Warsingali on the east, and a branch of the Habr Gerhajis on the west. It is situated at an average distance of from 200 yards to three or four miles from the sea-shore, separated from it by a sandy flat or maritime plain, and, like the line of coast, extends from east to west. Immediately due south of Bunder Gori, the sea-face, or northern slopes of this range, are very steep and irregular, being trenched down by deep ravines, which, during the rainy season, shed their water across the maritime plain into the Gulf of Aden.
The lower folds on this side of the range are composed of brown rocks and earth, having little or no vegetation upon them, and are just as uninviting in appearance as the light-brown hills which fringe the coast of Arabia, as seen by voyagers on the Red Sea. Further up the hill, in the central folds of the range, this great sterility changes for a warm rich clothing of bush-jungle and a little grass. Gum-trees, myrrh, and some varieties of the frankincense are found in great profusion, as well as a variety of the aloe plant, from which the Somali manufacture good strong cordage. The upper part of the range is very steep and precipitous, and on this face is well clad with trees and bush-jungle. The southern side of the range is exactly the opposite, in all its characteristics, of the northern. Instead of having a steep drop of from 6000 to 7000 feet, it falls by gentle slopes to successive terraces, like a giant staircase, to scarcely half that depth, where it rests at the head of the high plateau land of Nogal, and is almost barren. Nogal, as I have said before, is also very barren, only producing trees, such as the hardy acacia and jujube, in sheltered places, in the valleys or watercourses which drain that land to the south-east. I had no means of determining it, but should judge this second great geographical feature, the plateau of Nogal, by the directions its streams lie in, to have a gradual decreasing declination, like all the rest of the interior, from the north, where it averages an altitude of from 3000 to 4000 feet, down to the level of the sea on south and by east.
According to traditional histories furnished me by the natives who accompanied me on the journeys I undertook, it appears that the present Somali are of rather recent origin, not more than four and a half centuries old. About the year 1413, an Arab chieftain, Darud-bin-Ismail, who had been disputing with an elder brother for certain territorial rights at Mecca, was overpowered and driven from the Mussulman Holy Land, and marched southwards, accompanied by a large number of faithful followers,—amongst whom was an Asyri damsel, of gentle blood and interesting beauty, whom he subsequently married,—to Makallah, on the southern shores of Arabia. Once arrived there, this band of vanquished fugitives hired vessels, and, crossing the Gulf of Aden, came to Bunder Gori. Here they were hospitably received by the then governing people, who, for the most part, were Christians—probably Gallas and Abyssinians—who, judging from the few archaeological remains they subsequently left behind them, must have lived in a far more advanced state of civilisation than the present Somali enjoy. Those Christian people were governed by one man, Sultan Kin, who had a deputy called Wurrah, renowned alike for his ferocity of character and his ability to govern.
For some years Darud and his Arab followers led a quiet, peaceable life, gaining the confidence of his host, and inspiring Kin's subjects with reverence for their superior talents. In process of time, by intermarriage and proselytising, these Mussulmans increased in number, and gained such strength, that they began to covet, and finally determined to take the country from the race that had preceded them. This project, by various intrigues and machinations, was easily effected; and Kin, with all his Christians, was driven back to his native highlands in Ethiopia. Darud now was paramount in all this land, and reigned until he died, when an only son by his Asyri wife succeeded to him. This man's name was Kabl Ullah, who had a son called Harti. On succeeding his father, Harti had three sons, called respectively, in order of birth, Warsingali, Dulbahanta, and Mijjertaine. Amongst these three he divided his kingdom, which to this day retains the names. The Mijjertaine dispersed over the eastern portions of the land, the Warsingali held the central, and the Dulbahantas the western territories.
Subsequently to this period, an Arab called Ishak came across from Southern Arabia and established himself forcibly at Meit, and founded the three different nations who now occupy all the coast-line from Ras Galweni on the eastward to Zeyleh on the extreme west of the Somali country. Ishak, it appears, had three wives, who gave in issue three sons, and among these three men was divided the whole country which he subdued.
Forming themselves into tribes, the senior or Habr Gerhajis, by constant feuds and other causes, are much distributed about the country, but mostly occupy the hilly grounds to the southward of the coast-line; whilst the Habr Owel, or second in order of birth, possess all the coast of Berbera between Zeyleh and Kurrum; and the third, or Habr Teljala, hold all the rest thence eastwards to Heis.
The Somali have been chiefly known to us since the time of our taking occupation of Aden, whither many of them resort with their wives and families to carry on trade, or do the more menial services of porterage and donkey-driving. They are at once easily recognised by the overland traveller by their singular appearance and boisterous manner, as well as by their cheating and lying propensities, for which they are peculiarly notorious; indeed, success in fraud is more agreeable to them than any other mode of gaining a livelihood, and the narration of such acts is their greatest delight in conversation. They excel as donkey-boys even the Egyptians. As may be concluded from their history, they are a mixed Ham-Shemitic race, but differing considerably from both in their general appearance, though retaining certain characteristics of both these breeds. They are a tall, slender people, light and agile as deer; slightly darker than, though much the colour of Arabs, with thin lip, and noses rather Grecian when compared with those of blacks, but with woolly heads like the true negroes. Their natures are so boisterous and warlike, that at Aden it has been found necessary to disarm them. When they first arrived there, it was not an unusual sight to see the men of different tribes, on the hillsides that form the face of the "crater," fighting battles-royal with their spears and shields; and even to this day, they, without their arms, sometimes have hot contests, by pelting one another with sticks and stones. There is scarcely a man of them who does not show some scars of wounds received in these turmoils, some apparently so deep that it is marvellous how they ever recovered from them.
Their costume is very simple. The men, who despise trousers, wear a single sheet of long-cloth, eight cubits long, thrown over the shoulder, much after the fashion of the Scotsman's plaid. Some shave their head, leaving it bare; others wear the mane of a lion as a wig, which is supposed by them to give the character of ferocity and courage to the wearer, while those who affect the dandy allow their hair to grow, and jauntily place some sticks in it resembling the Chinaman's joss-sticks, which, when arranging their toilette, they use as a comb, and all carry as weapons of defence a spear and shield, a shillelagh, and a long two-edged knife. The women clothe more extensively, though not much so. Fastening a cloth tightly round the body immediately under their arms, they allow it to fall evenly down to the ground, and effectually cover their legs. The married ones encase their hair in a piece of blue cloth, gathering it up at the back of the head in the fashion of English women of the present day; this is a sign of wedlock. The virgins wear theirs loose, plaited in small plaits of three, which, being parted in the centre, allows the hair to fall evenly down all round the head like a well-arranged mop. On approaching these fairs, they seductively give their heads a cant backwards, with a half side-jerk, which parts the locks in front, and discloses a pretty little smiling face, with teeth as white as pearls, and lips as red as rubies. Pretty as they are when young, this beauty fades at once after bearing children, and all their fair proportions go with it. After that marked peculiarity of female negroes, they swell about the waist, and have that large development behind, which, in polite language, is called steatopyga. Although they are Mussulmans, none wear the yashmac. Beads are not so much in request here as in other parts of Africa, though some do wear necklaces of them, with large rings of amber. This description, however, applies to the Somali in his own land. When he comes over to Aden he takes shame at his nakedness, dons the Arab's gown and trousers, and becomes the merchant complete.
In consequence of the poorness of their land, almost all the Somali are wandering pastorals, which of itself is enough to account for their turbulent natures. The system of government they maintain is purely patriarchal, and is succeeded to by order of birth generally in a regular and orderly manner, attributable, it would appear, to the reverence they feel for preserving their purity of blood. The head of each clan is called Gerad or Sultan, who would be powerless in himself were he not supported by the united influence of all the royal family. When any disturbances or great disputes arise, the sultan is consulted, who collects his elders in parliament to debate the matter over, and, through them, ascertain the people's feelings. Petty disputes are settled by the elders without any further reference. In most cases war arises from blood-feuds, when a member of one clan kills the subject of another, and will not pay the recognised valuation of the party injured, or allow himself to be given up to the vengeance of the family who has sustained the loss. In such cases as these, whole tribes voluntarily march out to revenge the deed by forcibly taking as many cattle from the aggressor as the market valuation may amount to.
Thus a war, once contracted, does not subside for years, as by repeated deaths among the contending parties the balance of blood-money never can be settled. Moreover, the inflicted punishment seldom falls on the party immediately concerned; added to which, in wars of tribes, everybody helps himself to his enemy's cattle in the best way he can, and men formerly poor now suddenly become rich, which gives a zest to the extension of the contest nothing else could produce. Indeed, the poorer orders of Somali are only too glad to have a good pretext for a fight, as a means of bettering their condition, by adding a few more head of cattle to their stock. Were this not the case, there would be no fighting whatever, as the sultan would be powerless to raise an army against the inclination of the people. War only ceases when both sides become exhausted, and withdraw as by mutual consent. The great object in these encounters is to steal away as many cattle as possible without risk of person, and such feats are boasted of with rapture by those returning home with any prize. In the administration of justice they consult the Mosaic law, as given in the Koran, taking life for life, and kind for kind.
The northern Somali have no permanent villages in the interior of the country, as the ground is not cultivated; but they scatter about, constantly moving with their flocks and herds to any place within their limited districts where water is to be found, and erect temporary huts of sticks, covered with grass mats; or, when favourable, they throw up loose stone walls like the dykes in Scotland. But on the sea-coast, wherever there are harbours for shipping, they build permanent villages on a very primitive scale. These are composed of square mat walls, supported by sticks, and all huddled together, and partitioned off for the accommodation of the various families, near which there are usually one or more square box-shaped stone buildings, the property of the chief of the place, which are designated forts, though there is nothing in their artless construction to deserve this name. They are all composed of blocks of coralline, cemented together with mortar extracted from the same material.
Like nearly all places within the tropics, beyond the equatorial rainy zone, this country is visited by regular monsoons, or seasons in which the winds prevail constantly in one direction; consequently vessels can only come into the harbours of the northern coast when the sun is in the south, or during five months of the year, from the 15th November to the 15th April, to trade with the people; and then the Somali bring the products of their country, such as sheep, cows, ghee, mats made by the women from certain grasses and the Daum palm, ostrich feathers, and hides, and settle on the coast to exchange them in barter with the outer merchants, such as Arabs and men from Cutch, who bring thither cloths, dates, rice, beads, and iron for that purpose.
Of all the trading places on the coast, the most important is Berbera; it is, in fact, the great emporium of Somali land, and we must call the reader's particular attention to it, since it forms the chief point of interest in these pages. It is on the same meridian as Aden, and only divided from it by the gulf of that name. Although it is of such great importance, it is only inhabited during the five months of the favourable monsoon, when great caravans come up from the rich provinces which lie to its south and south-west, the principal ones being those from Ugahden and Harar.
Having now given a general sketch of the country, we shall enter upon the objects of the expedition. It was obvious, by the lay of the land, that the richest and most interesting part of the country must be that which lies between the Jub and Webbe Shebeli rivers, and it was the most accessible to inspection, as large and powerful caravans, travelling southwards through Ugahden, much frequent it. Seeing this, Lieutenant Burton conceived the idea of waiting until the breaking up of the Berbera fair, when the caravans disperse to their homes, to travel by the ordinary caravan route, through the Ugahden country to the Webbe Shebeli, and on to Gananah, and then to proceed further by any favourable opportunity to the Zanzibar coast.
It was now, however, early October, and fully five months must elapse ere we could finally enter on our march. In the mean time, Lieutenant Burton, desirous of becoming acquainted as far as possible with the habits of the people we were destined to travel amongst, as well as the nature of the country and the modes of travelling in this terra incognita, determined on making an experimental tour to Harar, a place which had never been entered by any European, and was said to be inaccessible to them. Harar, as I have said before, sends caravans annually to the Berbera fair, and therefore comes within the influence of British power. Taking advantage of this, Lieutenant Burton ordered Herne to go to Berbera whilst he was on this expedition, to keep up a diversion in his favour, arming him with instructions, that in case he was detained in Harar by the Amir of that place, Herne might detain their caravan as a ransom for the release of his party.
Further, to obtain more accurate knowledge concerning the march of the Ugahden caravans, to gain an insight into the market transactions of Berbera, and to collect cattle for our final march, it was deemed advisable he should go there. Stroyan, as soon as he could manage it, was also to go to Berbera to assist him. Thus everybody had a duty to perform during this interregnum but myself.
Dreading the monotony of a station life, I now volunteered to travel in any direction my commandant might think proper to direct, and to any length of time he might consider it advisable for me to be away. This proposition had its effect, as affording an extra opportunity of obtaining the knowledge desired, and instructions were drawn up for my guidance. I was to proceed to Bunder Gori, on the Warsingali frontier, to penetrate the country southwards as far as possible, passing over the maritime hill-range, and, turning thence westwards, was to inspect the Wadi Nogal, and march direct on Berbera, to meet Stroyan and Herne, at a date not later than the 15th January 1855. Whilst travelling I was to remark upon the watershed of the country, plot the route I travelled, keep copious notes on everything I saw, and collect specimens of natural history in all its branches, as well as observe and register all meteorological phenomena, and buy camels and ponies for the great future expedition.
Funds for the expenses of this undertaking were not available at that time from the public purse, as the Indian Government had stipulated that the whole sum they would advance for this great expedition should not exceed L1000, and, for security's sake, had decided on paying it by instalments of L250 at a time. I therefore, desirous to render as much assistance as lay within my power to further the cause I had embarked upon, volunteered to advance the necessary sum from my own private resources, trusting to Lieutenant Burton's promises in the future for being repaid.
This project settled, I at once set to work, and commenced laying in such stores as were necessary for an outfit, whilst Lieutenant Burton, who had been long resident in Aden, engaged two men to assist me on the journey. The first was a man named Sumunter, who ranked highly in his country, who was to be my Abban or protector. The duty of abbanship is of the greatest importance, for it rests entirely on the Abban's honesty whether his client can succeed in doing anything in the country he takes him through. Arabs, when travelling under their protection, have to ask his permission for anything they may wish to do, and cannot even make a march, or purchase anything, without his sanction being first obtained. The Abban introduces the person under his protection to the chief of his clan, is answerable for all outrages committed on the way, and is the recognised go-between in all questions of dispute or barter, and in every other fashion. The second man was also a Warsingali, by name Ahmed, who knew a slight smattering of Hindustani, and acted as interpreter between us. I then engaged two other men, a Hindustani butler named Imam, and a Seedi called Farhan. This latter man was a perfect Hercules in stature, with huge arms and limbs, knit together with largely developed ropy-looking muscles. He had a large head, with small eyes, flabby squat nose, and prominent muzzle filled with sharp-pointed teeth, as if in imitation of a crocodile. Farhan told me that when very young he was kidnapped on the Zanzibar coast by the captain of a small Arab vessel. This captain one day seeing him engaged with many other little children playing on the sandy seashore, offered him a handful of fine fruity-looking dates, which proved so tempting to his juvenile taste that he could not resist the proffered bait, and he made a grab at them. The captain's powerful fingers then fell like a mighty trap on his little closed hand, and he was hurried off to the vessel, where he was employed in the capacity of "powder-monkey." In this position he remained serving until full grown, when, finding an opportunity, he ran away from his master, and has ever since lived the life of a "free-man."
As a soldier, he had been tried in warfare, and was proved valorous and cunning in the art, and promised to be a very efficient guard for me. The next thing of most importance to be considered was the dress I should wear. I first consulted the Colonel (Outram), who said he was averse to our going in disguise, thinking that lowering ourselves in this manner would operate against me in the estimation of the natives. But this did not suit Lieutenant Burton's plans, who, not wishing to be conspicuous whilst travelling to Harar, determined on going there disguised as an Arab merchant, and thought it better we should appear as his disciples, in accordance with which Herne had already purchased his dress, and now I bought mine. It was anything but pleasant to the feel. I had a huge hot turban, a long close-fitting gown, baggy loose drawers, drawn in at the ankles, sandals on my naked feet, and a silk girdle decorated with pistol and dirk. As an outfit for this especial journey, I bought at Aden L120 worth of miscellaneous articles, consisting chiefly of English and American sheeting, some coarse fabrics of indigo-dyed Indian manufacture, several sacks of dates and rice, and a large quantity of salt, with a few coloured stuffs of greater value than the other cloths, to give away as presents to the native chiefs. As defensible and other useful implements for the scientific portion of the expedition, I took rifles, guns, muskets, pistols, sabres, ammunition in great quantity, large commodious camel-boxes for carrying specimens of natural history, one sextant and artificial horizon, three boiling-point and common atmospheric thermometers, and one primitive kind of camera obscure, which I had made at Aden under the ingenious supervision of Herne.
The Voyage—An Akil—The Somali Shore—Sultan (Gerad) Mahamed Ali—Hidden Treasure—The Warsingali—A Royal Reception—Somali Appetites—Difficulties and Impediments—Sultan Tries My Abban or Protector.
On the 18th October 1854, having got all my preparations completed, I embarked in an Arab vessel, attired in my Oriental costume, with my retinue and kit complete, and set sail that same evening at 6 P.M.
The voyage, owing to light and varying breezes, was very slow and tedious. Instead of performing the whole voyage in three days, the ordinary time, it took us nine. According to the method of Arab navigation, instead of going from port to port direct, we first tracked eastward along the Arabian shore three successive days, setting sail at sunrise, and anchoring regularly at sundown. By this time we were supposed to be opposite Bunder Heis, on the Somali coast, and the Nahkoda (captain) thought it time for crossing over the Gulf. We therefore put out to sea at sunrise on the morning of the 21st, and arrived the same evening, by mistake, assisted with a stiffish easterly breeze, at a small place called Rakodah, which, by report, contained a small fort, three mat huts, and many burnt ones, a little to the westward of Bunder Heis. My Abban accounted for the destruction of this place by saying it had been occupied surreptitiously for a long period by a people called Rheer Dud, who sprang from a man called Sambur-bin-Ishak; but about four years ago, the Musa Abokr—a sub-tribe of the Habr Teljala, who were the former and rightful owners of the place—suddenly returned, took the usurpers by surprise, and drove them off by setting fire to the village. The next day, by hard work, tacking up the wind, which still continued easterly, we succeeded in reaching Bunder Heis, which, like the last place, was occupied by the Musa Abokr. There were four small craft lying here, waiting for cargoes, under lee of a spur of low hills which constituted the harbour; in which, fortunately, there was very good fishing to be obtained. We were detained here by adverse and light winds two days, during which time I went on shore and paid my respects to the Akil (chief) of the place, who lived in a small box-shaped stone fort, on the west flank of the village of Heis, which was very small, composed, as usual, of square mat huts, all built together, and occupied only by a few women, who made mats, collected gums, and stored the produce of the interior, as sheep, cows, and ghee, which their men constantly brought down to them, for shipping off to Arabia. The Akil's reception was very warm and polite. He offered me everything at his disposal, and gave as an honorary present a Dumba sheep and a bowl of sour camel's milk, which I thought at the time the most delicious thing I ever drank. It is sharp and rough, like labourers' cider, and, drunk in the heat of the day, is most refreshing. When first taken, and until the stomach becomes accustomed to it, it operates like medicine, and I on this occasion was fairly taken in. The fish we caught were not very good, but comical in appearance, and of a great variety of the most beautiful prismatic colours, changing in tint as different lights and shades struck upon them.
We left Heis on the 25th, with very light and unfavourable winds, and tracked along shore to the eastward, making very little way. The weather continuing the same, on the 26th I forced the Nahkoda, much against his will, on at night, as during the darker hours the winds were much stronger, and by this means we arrived at our destination, Bunder Gori on the Warsingali frontier, at sundown on the 27th of October. I had now seen the Somali shore, and must confess I was much disappointed. All that was visible, besides the village mentioned, was a sandy tract of ground, the maritime plain, which extended in breadth from the sea-shore to some brown-looking hills in the background, from a few hundred yards to one or two miles distant; and hills and plains—for I could, by my close approximation to them, only see the brown folds of the hills near the base—were alike almost destitute of any vegetation; whilst not one animal or any other living creature could be seen.
28th October.—The Abban would not allow anybody to go on shore until certain parties came off to welcome us and invite us to land, such being the etiquette of the country when any big-wigs arrive. After the sun rose we were duly honoured by the arrival of many half-naked dignitaries, who tenderly inquired after the state of our health, the prosperity or otherwise of our voyage, the purpose of our coming there, and a variety of other such interesting matters. Then again they were questioned by our people as to the state of the country, whether in peace or war; how and where the Sultan Gerad Mahamed Ali was residing; if rain had lately fallen, and where; if the cattle were well in milk;—to which it was responded that everything was in the most promising order; the cattle were flourishing in the hills, where rain had lately fallen, about twenty miles distant from that place; and the sultan, with all the royal family, were there, revelling on milk, under the shade of favouring trees, or reposedly basking in the warm morning sun—the height of Somali bliss. The order was now given to go ashore, and we all moved off to a fort which the Abban said was his own property, in Goriat (little Bunder Gori), three miles to the westward of Bunder Gori. There were two of these little forts near, and a small collection of mat huts, like those already described, and of the same material as all Somali forts and huts. The kit was now brought across and placed within the fort I occupied, all except the salt, which afterwards proved a bone of contention between me and the Abban, and the sultan was at once sent for. No one could move a yard inland, or purchase anything, without his sanction being first obtained.
Although Gerad Mahamed Ali was living only twenty miles distant from Goriat, it was not until repeated messages had been sent to him, and eleven days had elapsed, that he answered the summons by his presence. In the meanwhile, having nothing better to do during this tedious interval, as no people would bring cattle or anything for sale, I took walks about the plain, shooting, and killed a new variety of gazelle, called Dera by the Somali, and Salt's antelopes, here called Sagaro, which fortunately were very abundant, though rather wild; catching fish, drawing with the camera, bathing in the sea, luxuriating on milk, dates, and rice, or talking and gossiping with the natives.
On one occasion my interpreter came to me with a mysterious air, and whispered in my ear that he knew of some hidden treasures of vast amount, which had been buried not far off, under rocky ground, in such a way that nobody had been able to dig them up, and he wished that I, being an Englishman, and consequently knowing secret arts, as well as hikmat (scientific dodges), would direct how to search for these treasures. By inquiring farther into the matter, it appeared that an old man, a miser, who had been hoarding all his life, was suddenly taken ill about forty years ago, and feared he would die. Seeing this, his relatives assembled round him to ask his blessing; and the old man, then fearing all his worldly exertions would end to no good purpose, asked them to draw near that he might tell them where his riches were hidden; but even then he would not disclose the secret, until he was in the last dying gasp, when he said, "Go to a pathway lying between two trees, and stretch out a walking-stick to the full length of your arm, and the place where the end of your wand touches is that in which my treasures are hidden." The wretched man then gave up the ghost, and his family commenced the search; but though they toiled hard for many days and weeks, turning up the stones in every direction, they never succeeded in finding the treasure, and had now given up the search in despair. The fact was, they omitted to ask their parent on which side of the path it was concealed, and hence their discomfiture. At my request the said family came to me, corroborated the statements of the interpreter, and begged imploringly I would direct them how to search for the money; saying at the same time they would work again, if I thought it of any use; and, moreover, they would give me half if the search proved successful. I lent them some English pick-axes, and went to see the place, which certainly showed traces of very severe exertions; but the strong nature of the soil was too much for them, even when armed with tools, unless they were fortunate enough to hit upon the exact spot, which they did not, and therefore toiled in vain again.
The Warsingali complained to me sadly of their decline in power since the English had interfered in their fights with the Habr Teljala, which took place near Aden about seven years ago, and had deprived them of their vessels for creating a disturbance, which interfered with the ordinary routine of traffic. They said that on that occasion they had not only beaten the Habr Teljala, but had seized one of their vessels; and that prior to this rupture they had enjoyed paramount superiority over all the tribes of the Somali; but now that they were forbidden to transport soldiers or make reprisals on the sea, every tribe was on an equality with them.
They further spoke of the decline of their tribe's morals since the time when the English took possession of Aden and brought in civilisation with them. This they in most part attributed to our weak manner in prosecuting crime, by requiring too accurate evidence before inflicting punishment; saying that many a dishonest person escaped the vengeance of law from the simple fact of there being no eyewitnesses to his crime, although there existed such strong presumptive evidence as to render the accusation proved. When speaking against our laws, and about their insufficiency to carry out all governmental points with a strong and spirited hand, they never forget to laud their own sultan's despotic powers and equity in justice.
Of course no mortal man was like their Gerad Mahamed Ali. In leading them to war he was like the English French, and in settling disputes he required no writing office, but, sitting on the woolsack, he listened to the narration of prosecution and defence with his head buried in his hands, and never uttering a word until the trial was over, when he gave his final decision in one word only, ay or nay, without comment of any sort. In confirmation of their statements, they gave the description of a recent trial, when a boy was accused of having attempted to steal some rice from a granary; the lad had put his hand through a chink in the door of it, and had succeeded in getting one finger, up to the second joint, in the grain; this, during the trial, he frankly acknowledged having done, and the sultan appointed that much of his finger exactly to be cut off, and no more—punishing the deed exactly according to its deserts. This, to Somali notions, seemed a punctiliousness in strict equity of judicial administration which nothing could excel, and they bragged of it accordingly.
Becoming dreadfully impatient at so much loss of precious time whilst waiting here, unable to prepare in any way for the journey, I sent repeated messages to the sultan, demanding his immediate attendance; but it was not until the 6th of November that I heard definitely of his approach, and then it was that he was coming down the hill.
On the 7th he came with a host of Akils to Bunder Gori, and put up in a Nahkoda's hut. This indignity he was obliged to submit to, as he had not cautioned the merchants who occupied his forts of his intended approach, and now no one would turn out for him. Finding him so near me, I longed to walk over to him and settle matters personally at once; but dignity forbade it; and as he had come with such cautious trepidation, I feared any over-hastiness might frighten him away again. He seemed to observe the same punctiliousness towards me, so I split the difference by sending an embassy by my Abban, assisted by other powerful Akils, early the following morning, when they held durbar, and my intentions of travelling were fully discussed in open court. For a long time the elders on the sultan's side were highly adverse to my seeing their country, considering no good could possibly arise from it, and much harm might follow; I might covet their country, and eventually take it from them, whereas they could gain nothing. Hearing this, the Abban waxed very wroth, and indignantly retorted he would never allow such a slur to be cast upon his honour, or the office which he held. He argued he had come there as my adviser and Abban; his parentage was of such high order, his patriotism could not be doubted. Had he not fought battles by their side, of which his scars bore living testimony? and now they wished to stigmatise him as a traitor to his country! The sultan must decide it. How could jungle-folk like them know anything of the English and their intentions?
The sultan listened silently during this discourse, which, though written in a few lines, took many hours of hot debating, by their turning and turning every little particular over and over again; and finally decided it in his usual curt and conclusive manner, by saying, "The Warsingali were on the most friendly and amicable relations with the English; and as he was desirous of maintaining it, he would give me leave to travel anywhere I liked within his dominions, and to see and examine anything I chose. But out of fear for the consequences, as the English would hold him answerable should any disasters befall me, he could not sanction my crossing over his frontier in any direction, and more especially into the Dulbahanta country, where wars were raging, and the country so unsafe that even Warsingali dare not venture there." This announcement was brought back in high exultation by Sumunter, who thought his success complete, and at the same time announced to me the sultan's intention of honouring me with a visit in the evening, which was duly done.
He came a little before sunset, with his bare head shaven, a dirty coloured tobe thrown over his shoulders, and hanging loosely down to his sandaled feet. He looked for all the world like a patriarch of the olden times, and passed me, marching in martial order in the centre of a double line of men sloping their spears in bristling array over their shoulders, all keeping step in slow marching order, a scene evidently got up in imitation of our soldiers. Not a word was spoken, and the deepest solemnity prevailed. On his arrival in front of the fort, I drew up my men, and fired a salute to give him welcome. This was done in right good earnest, by every man cramming his gun with powder, to excel his neighbour in a loud report, to show the superiority of his weapon; for such is the black man's notions of excellence in a fowling-piece. The march concluded, the sultan with his followers all huddled together and squatted on the ground outside the second fort, deeply agitated, and not knowing what to do, as they evidently dreaded what might follow. To dissipate their fears, I approached his royalty, salaamed, and tried to beguile the time by engaging them in conversation.
Finding that this had rather the opposite effect, I then retired, and soon found them all intently wrapped up in prayer, prostrating and rising by turns, with uplifted hands, and muttering for hours together without cessation. I then ordered a regal repast to be served them of rice swimming in ghee, and dates ad libitum. This, notwithstanding their alarm, was despatched with the most marvellous rapacity, to such an alarming extent, that I required to know how many men were engaged in eating it. The Abban replied that there were only a few: he would not allow many to come over here out of a spirit of economy, knowing I had not much property to spare, though all the rest had wished to come, and were greatly disappointed. But these men, as is usual amongst Somali, had prepared themselves for a feast by several days' previous fasting, and each man would, if I allowed it, swallow at one meal as much as a sheep's skin could contain. As a gun is known by the loudness of its report, and ability to stand a large discharge of powder, to be of good quality, so is a man's power gauged by his capacity of devouring food; it is considered a feat of superiority to surpass another in eating.
I have seen a Somali myself, when half-starved by long fasting, and his stomach drawn in, sit down to a large skinful of milk, and drink away without drawing breath until it was quite empty, and it was easy to observe his stomach swelling out in exact proportion as the skin of liquor decreased. They are perfect dogs in this fashion. I may here add, that although the Abban in this speech seemed to show so much consideration for my property, by several recent tricks of his I entertained much suspicion of his honesty; and this little address, though uttered plausibly, was too common and transparent a trick in the East to beguile me. All Orientals have a proverbial habit of saving their master's property to leave greater pickings for themselves, and such I considered was Sumunter's dodge now.
8th November.—This morning the sultan, having now recovered, came to return my salaam of the previous evening, when I opened to him the purport of my expedition in minute detail: how I wished to visit the Southern Dulbahantas, cross and inspect the Wadi Nogal, and thence proceed west to meet my friends, Stroyan and Herne, at Berbera. He listened very attentively and politely, but at the conclusion repeated the words I had already heard; adding that the Dulbahantas had intestine wars; they had been fighting many years, and were now in hot strife, dividing the government of their country. Not many days since a report had arrived that the southern portion of them, who occupied the countries about one hundred miles due south of Bunder Heis, had had a fight with the northern ones, who were living on the same meridian, immediately to their northward, and had succeeded in capturing 2000 horses, 400 camels, a great number of sheep and goats, and had wounded one man severely: it was therefore impossible I could go from the northern division to the southern, for I should be treated as an enemy; and that was the only line on which water could be found during this, the dry season. Had I come here during the monsoon, I might have travelled directly in a diagonal line, from the south of the mountain-range to the rear of this place, into their, the southerners', country, who were the older branch, and were now governed by the hereditary and rightful chief, Gerad Mahamed Ali, who was on the most friendly terms with the Warsingali, and who, being an old chief, and well respected by his adherent subjects, might have granted me a hospitable reception.
On the other hand, the northern Dulbahantas, who were also friendly with the Warsingali, were under no control: the Gerad, by name Mahamed Ali also, was recently installed in government, and was consequently very little respected. He (the Warsingali chief) could not, therefore, give his sanction to my going amongst them, by which my life would be endangered, and he, for permitting it, would be held responsible by the English. No arguments of mine would alter the decision of the inflexible chief; I therefore changed the subject by asking him to assist me in procuring camels, by which I might go into the interior, and feel my way thereafter. This he readily agreed to, and begged permission to return to Bunder Gori to give the necessary orders to his subjects. His escort then demanded a cloth apiece from me, to be given them for their trouble in coming over here; arguing that, had I not required the sultan's attendance, they would not have had to come;—a plausible, but truly Somali notion of justice; they knew their proper master would give them nothing for coming to support his dignity, but thought I might be softer.
10th.—The sultan, not able to do business hurriedly with his rabble subjects, did not appear again until this morning, and then, instead of proceeding at once to work, hinted he should like to have the presents I had brought from Aden for him, as the best method of showing our feelings to one another. This was not so easily concluded. I portioned out the things that were intended for him, and wished he would take them at once away and clear the room, thinking, in my inexperience of savages, I had only to give, and it would be received with a hearty Bism-illah; but I was soon undeceived: the things were taken with a grunt of discontentment; all looked over one by one. If a cloth was soiled, it must be changed; and then the measurements began by cubits = 18 inches, or from the point of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, just as Noah must have done when he built the ark. But as all forearms are not of equal length, much delay was occasioned by the sultan trying the length of his forearm against everybody's in the room, and then by measuring every cloth by turn, and remeasuring them again for fear of mistake; then they were divided into lots, to be disposed of to his wives, and children and Akils and servants, and, of course, found insufficient to meet everybody's expectations, and I must give more.
Tedious hours passed in this way; as a final petition, the sultan said I must give him for himself a gun and my silk turban, as I had given up wearing anything on my head, and did not require it: these were, after a certain amount of haggling, surrendered, on condition that the sultan would exert himself a little more energetically on my account. The way he handled the musket was very amusing: he had never had one in his hands before, and could not get it to sit against his shoulder; and when his people placed it for him, he persisted in always cocking the wrong eye, which tickled Farhan's fancy so much, that he burst into loud roars of laughter. Nevertheless, the sultan took things quietly, and would not allow himself to be discomposed, but coolly said the gun would be of no use unless I gave him some powder to feed it with. This last straw broke the camel's back; all things must have an end, and I promised I would give him some after he procured enough camels for my wants, but not before. This settled the matter, and he walked off, with all the things I had given him, as sulkily as if he had been injured.
Camels were then brought for sale, and purchasing commenced. When the sultan was present, he had to determine if the prices asked by the sellers were reasonable or not, and took for his office as mediator a tithe on all purchases; but in his absence, Akils were appointed to officiate on the same conditions. This system of robbing, I was assured, was the custom of the country, and if I wanted to buy at all I must abide by it. Cloth was at a great discount on the coast, for the men there had, by their dealings with Aden, become accustomed to handle dollars, and were in consequence inspired with that superior innate love for the precious metal over all other materials, with which all men, and especially those newly acquainted with it, become unaccountably possessed. No one would believe that my boxes could be made for any other purpose than for locking up money; and I was obliged to leave them open to inspection before they would sell anything for cloth.
The sultan now lived at Bunder Gori, and seldom showed himself, promising to come to me every day, without the least intention of doing so; and only at last, after three days' absence, when I threatened to invade his dwelling, did he appear, bringing several camels with him: of these I purchased some good ones, and sent the rest away: this was the 15th November. He then returned home again, and promised faithfully he would bring on the morrow a sufficient number of camels to carry all my kit.
16th.—For the first time the sultan kept his promise by returning, but the animals he brought were weak and useless, and I could plainly see I was being trifled with, and detained here for the mere purpose of being robbed in an indirect manner, so that no accusation could be laid against any one. Nothing, I may say, in all my experiences, vexes the mind so much as feeling one's self injured in a way that cannot be prevented or avenged. Some might take such matters quietly, but I confess I could not. Indeed, I stormed and expostulated with the sultan until he agreed to assist me in a move. I had now eleven camels, and wanted some five more, but thought it better not to wait; for as long as I remained in a comfortable dwelling, I knew my men would not exert themselves. That day, then, packing up what I most required, I started for Bunder Gori, and unloaded, after a three miles' march, at an old well in rear of the village, selecting as a camping-ground the least comfortable place I could find, and not allowing the tent to be pitched, though the sun-heat was 112 degrees, and the sand was blowing in perfect clouds. Some days previous to my leaving Goriat, Sumunter induced me to give him twenty rupees to hire donkeys for conveying the heavier things over the hills, and repeatedly assured me he had got them, but they never came; and now I asked him to return the money, as I had brought it with me as a reserve fund, to provide against any possible difficulty, and not to be parted with for any ordinary purpose. This commenced a series of rows between Sumunter and myself: he had made away with the money, and could not produce it. The salt also was never forthcoming.
17th.—I could not succeed in making up my complement of camels. The sultan said he and his men must be fed before they could do work, and sat upon the date-bags so resolutely I was fain to open them that some business might be done. After feasting they all dispersed, under pretence of bringing other camels, and I went into the town to inspect the place. There were five small forts, occupied by merchants, of whom one was a Hindi from Cutch, and a large collection of mat huts, mostly occupied by women. Instead of finding a harbour (Bunder), as the name of the village implied, the shore was a gradual shelving open roadstead, in which two buggaloes were lying at anchor, waiting for cargoes, and four small sailing-boats were preparing, with harpoon and tackle, to go porpoise-hunting for oil.
18th.—Having made everybody as uncomfortable as I could wish, sitting in the sandy open plain, all the men were equally desirous with myself for a move on the journey; but still I was five camels short, and saw no hopes of getting them. The plan then settled was to move southwards half-way up the hill, leaving the few things still in the fort as they were, until I arrived at the camping-place, and could send the animals I was taking with me back to fetch them. Having now desired the sultan, Sumunter, and Farhan to return to Goriat, and leave the rear property in safe custody with the fort-keeper, I commenced the march across the maritime plain with Ahmed, Imam, a number of Somali camel-tenders armed with spear and bow, and the sultan's youngest son, Abdullah, to direct the way until his father and the other two should arrive, which they promised they would do by the evening. The track first led us across the maritime plain, here about two miles broad, and composed of sand overlying limestone, with boulders in the dry shallow watercourses, and with no vegetable life save a few scrub acacias and certain salsola. This traversed, we next wound along a deep ravine called Tug (river) Tura, lying between the lower spurs of the mountain-range, and commenced a slight ascent up its cracked, uneven passage, until we reached a halting-place called Iskodubuk. The distance we had made was only about five miles from Bunder Gori, but the camels were so fatigued by travelling over boulders, that we were obliged to unload and stop there for the day. The sultan and Abban now overtook us to say that the rear things were in safe custody in the fort; and, leaving instructions with the young Prince Abdullah about the road we should follow on the morrow, returned nolens volens back to Bunder Gori, saying, as they went away, we might expect them at the next camping-ground as soon even as we could get there with the camels. A little after sunset, some interesting rock-pigeons—very similar to the Indian painted bird, which I found there frequenting ground much of the same nature—lit at some pools in the bed of the ravine, and enabled me to shoot and stuff several of them.
19th.—We got under way in the early morning, and commenced ascending the same ravine, when a messenger from the sultan arrived, and desired we would stop until he came. We had scarcely accomplished two miles, and the morning was yet young and cool, and I strove with every effort in my power to induce the men to go a little further forward, but without the slightest effect; they were as obstinate as mules, and just as unruly. This was a fair specimen of Somali travelling; any pretext to save the trouble of moving is accounted too precious to be lost. The ground here was a little more wooded; tall slender trees, with thick green foliage, grew in the bed of the ravine, in which there were some occasional pools of stagnant rain-water, and the brown rocky hill-sides were decorated with budding bush acacias, which afforded a good repast for the weary camels, whose journey over the boulders must have been very fatiguing to them.
20th.—As the sultan did not arrive, and the young prince would not allow my men to load, I ordered the interpreter and Imam to remain where they were, whilst I returned to Bunder Gori to see what was the matter, and on no account were they to issue any food until I came back again. As soon as I had gone two or three miles, I found the young prince and all the camel-men hastening after me, and entreating me to return; they said the sultan was on his way, and would arrive in camp in the evening. I complied, conditionally that they bound themselves to march in the morning whether he came or not. Once again in camp, I had my food prepared, and sat savagely watching the effect its odour had upon my starving men, who, fearing they would get none, formed in a body, and came petitioning me to forgive them, as they consented to do my bidding for ever after. They were then fed.
21st.—After loading in the morning, with a great deal of beating and thumping, all the camels, save two or three weakly ones, were whipped up a winding steep ridge, one of the buttresses of the mountain, to a camping-ground, six miles farther on, called Adhai. Here we were at the station originally assigned for the first day's march, and, for the first and last time during the whole journey, I pitched the tent. The higher we ascended the hill the more abundant became the wooding, and green grass for the first time was visible amongst the stones. This freshness was attributed to a recent fall of rain. Altitude, by boiling thermometer, 4577 feet.
22d.—I sent all the freshest camels off to Goriat for the remaining property, with orders that everybody should return on the following day. At this height the temperature of the air was very delightful, the range at noon being only 79o. I spent the whole day specimen-hunting, and found the rocks were full of fossil shells. I killed a new snake or variety of Psammophis sibilans, and shot an interesting little antelope, Oreotragus saltatrix, the "klip-springer" of the Cape Colonist, as well as hyraxes and various small birds, which we duly preserved. My collections in this country were sent by Lieutenant Burton to the Asiatic Society's Museum, Calcutta, and have been described in their journals by Mr E. Blyth, the Curator.
23d and 24th.—Passed without anybody appearing, and I was becoming much alarmed at repeated stories I heard of the Abban's dishonesty. It then transpired that Sumunter was heavily in debt, and one of his principal creditors was at Bunder Gori detaining him there. A pony had been hired for my riding, and on this animal I wished to send Imam back, to find out the truth of everything, and to return to me the following day; but the wicked young prince, Abdullah, got wind of my intention, and had the pony driven away, so that the unfortunate Imam had to walk.
25th.—Still nobody came. I now despatched the interpreter on the same mission, and was left alone with the young prince and two or three camel-drivers. After a little while had elapsed, a number of savage hungry-looking men came up the hill and settled themselves in my encampment, squatting on the date-bags and clamouring for food. The prince and camel-drivers joined them, and became so importunate, I was obliged to rebuke them with angry demonstration. No sooner did they see me vexed than they began hovering tauntingly around me, jeering and vociferating in savage delight at the impunity they enjoyed in irritating me when all alone and helpless. However, I stood by the date and rice bags with my gun, and prevented anybody coming near me. The prince and camel-men now seeing me determined, and no farther discomposed by their manoeuvres, came supplicating for their daily rations. I gave it them at once, but could not satisfy them; they must have some more for all their brothers (meaning the blackguards who had just arrived), or they would strike work. This stirred my blood; I took back what I had given, and resolutely declined to be passively cajoled out of anything, let happen what may. They saw I was determined not to submit to them; and suddenly, as if the same thought struck every one of them at the same instant, they dashed down the hill, flying over the bushes and stones in their way, with yells and shouts, and, seizing a goat from a neighbouring flock, killed and quartered it without a moment's hesitation. At this juncture, just as the robbed shepherd came crying to me for the price of his goat, Imam arrived from Goriat, and tried to reason with him that it was no business of mine, and I could not be expected to pay it. The injured man then swore he would have justice done him at the sultan's hands, and all yelled again for dates and rice. As they could not get it, the young prince, ever full of boyish tricks, now seized up a mussack (water-skin), and said I should have no more water until I complied with their demands. The others, following his example, picked up as many more as they could find, and left but one mussack remaining. This one I immediately captured, and requested Imam to fill from a spring farther down the hill; but the men, thus far outdone, rather than allow it, said they would kill him if he dared attempt to go now. As Imam showed alarm at their wild threats, I took the water-skin myself and walked off to fill it, upon which the savages threw themselves out in line, flourishing their spears and bows, and declared they would kill me if I persisted in going. On I went, however, and had just passed through their line, when the sultan's eldest son, Mohamed Aul, fortunately arrived, and rebuked them, together with his brother, for allowing me to be ill-treated. Finding Mohamed Aul very reasonable and obliging, I begged him to send Abdullah away as a nuisance, for I could never permit him to eat any more salt of mine.
Imam now disclosed to me the results of his investigations at Goriat and Bunder Gori. The Abban, as I had heard before, was detained there by a creditor to whom he had contracted debts in Aden, and now, in part liquidation of them, he had given away all my salt, the twenty rupees he took for hiring donkeys, several pieces of cloth, and he had changed my good rice for bad; and, knowing Farhan to be cognisant of all his villanies, had tried by bribes to induce him to desert. The sultan now arrived, and excused his long absence, saying that he had lost the time in fruitless endeavours to induce Sumunter to come with him. He said he had been remonstrating with Sumunter, and thought him very culpable in not obeying me. Hoping the sultan was in earnest in what he said, I now told him of all I had seen and heard about Sumunter, and begged he would assist me in sending him back to Aden, for no reliance could possibly be placed on a man who had proved himself so dishonest and unprincipled as he was. The interpreter also thought this would be a good plan, and advised my employing the sultan's brother Hasan as abban or protector in his stead. However, the sultan said he could not undo what the English had done in Aden, but said if I wished he would send for Sumunter and rebuke him in my presence. I replied that I thought he could not get Sumunter to leave Bunder Gori, or he should have done so ere this. This touched his pride, and he raised his body indignantly, and said, "If I command, he must obey." "Then, for goodness' sake," said I, "order him with all—all my things at once, and lose no more time."
The following day they all arrived, and Sumunter with them, riding on a pony. I felt much incensed as the Abban came cringing up to me, and proclaimed him in presence of the sultan and all my men a traitor and robber, mentioning all his villanies in detail, and begging he would leave my camp at once, for I could not travel with him. He appeared very humble, and denied flatly all the accusations I brought against him. Upon this I begged the sultan, flattering him with his great renown for administering justice, that he would do me justice as his guest. He said he was willing to do anything for me if I would direct the way in which I wished him to proceed; he did not understand the English law, and I must submit to Somali methods. This was agreed to, and we all assembled in my tent, and arranged the court as follows:—I sat at the gable end of the tent with Imam, Ahmed, and Farhan, with Sumunter facing us. The sultan mounted on the bales of cloth, and all his retainers and princes, and my camel-drivers, sat in a group on the ground at his feet.
In opening the proceedings of the prosecution, I first said to Sumunter—
P. Speke.—"Where is the salt which you confess came with us to Goriat, and which you have told me daily you would give; but as yet, though everything, you say, is in the camp, it has not arrived?"
D. Sumunter.—"I did not bring it because it was so heavy, and thought you would not want it."
P.—"Then why did you not land it at Goriat, and give it me there, or why did you even buy it at all at Aden if it was of no use?"
D.—"Because the Nahkoda took it to Bunder Gori."
After a few more questions and answers, and the subject was exhausted, the sultan (judge), who had been sitting in silence with his head buried in his hands, now gave a grunt and motioned us to continue.
P.—"Where are the bales of cloth which by my account and Imam's are missing?"
D.—"I did not take them; somebody else must have."
P.—" They were in your charge, and you are answerable for them; besides which, Farhan here knows you gave them away."
Judge.—"Ahem!" and the prosecution continued.
P.—"Where are the twenty rupees I gave you for hiring donkeys, and which I particularly ordered should not be expended for any other purpose?"
Sumunter, putting his hand fixedly in his breast, said, "I've got them; they are all right. I will give them to you presently."
Speke.—"No! give them to me now; I want them this instant."
Sumunter, confused, and fumbling at his pocket, much to the delight of all the court, who burst with laughter, said, "No! I've left them at home in Bunder Gori, and will give them by-and-by."
Judge.—"Ahem!" and the prosecution continued.
P.—"Why did you change my good rice for bad?" (opening and showing the contents of the nearest sack).
D.—"I thought it would not signify: bad rice is good enough for the camel-drivers, and I have left enough good for your consumption. An old friend asked me for it, and I did it to oblige him."
Judge.—"Ahem!" and the prosecution continued.
P.—"Why did you attempt to bribe Farhan to leave my service, and say nothing to me about it?"
D.—"Farhan is a bad man; and I was afraid he would steal your things."
Thus ended the prosecution and defence. The sultan raised his head, and in answer to my appeal as to what judgment he would give, calmly said, he could see no harm in what had been done—Sumunter was my Abban, and, in virtue of the ship he commanded, was at liberty to do whatever he pleased either with or to my property. Words, in fact, equivalent to saying I had come into a land of robbers, and therefore must submit to being robbed; and this I plainly told him. Further, I even threatened the sultan with a pretended determination to return to Aden, where I said the matter would be settled at our police court without bias or favour. I then desired the interpreter to look out for any vessel that would give me a passage to Aden, as it was obvious to me Sumunter had more power in the land than the sultan. This took them all by surprise, abashed the old sultan and his family—for they were proud of their strength—and induced them to say I need not fear anything on that score;—was the sultan of the Warsingali, indeed, not the greatest chief in the land, and, moreover, a great ally of the English? This, of course, was only a feint on my part to bring them to a proper sense of their duty towards me; for I had brought letters of recommendation from the Government at Aden to their chief, and knew they would rather do anything than let me go back in a huff.
29th.—I had been now nine days waiting here, and had taken many walks about the hill-sides, investigating the place, and making sundry collections. The most interesting amongst these was a small lizard, a new species, afterwards named by Mr E. Blyth, the Curator of the Asiatic Society, Tiloqua Burtoni, after my commandant. The Somali brought a leopard into camp, which they said they had destroyed in a cave by beating it to death with sticks and stones. They have a mortal antipathy to these animals, as they sometimes kill defenceless men, and are very destructive to their flocks. Besides the little antelope described, I only saw the Saltiana antelope, and the tracks of two other species which were said to be very scarce. Rhinoceroses were formerly very abundant here, but have been nearly all killed down with spear and bow (they do not use firearms) by the Somali hunters, in consequence of the great demand for their skins for making shields. Amongst the bush and trees there were several gum-producing ones, of which the frankincense, I think, ranked first. These gums are usually plucked by the women and transported to Aden. The barks of various other trees are also very useful; for instance, they strip down the bark of the acacia in long slips, and chew it until only fibres remain, which, when twisted in the hand, make strong cordage. The acacia bark also makes a good tan for preserving leather; but of far greater account than this is the bark of a squat stunted tree, like the "elephant's foot," called by the Somali mohur, which has a smooth skin, with knotty-looking warts upon it like a huge turnip, reddish inside, with a yellowish-green exterior. It has a highly aromatic flavour, and is a powerful astringent. When making mussacks, the Somali pull a sheep or goat out of his skin; tie its legs and tail, where incisions had been made, to make it a waterproof bag, and then fill it with bits of this bark, chopped up and mixed with water. They then suspend it in a tree to dry, and afterwards render it soft and pliable by a severe course of manipulation. The taste of the bark is considered very wholesome, and a corrective to bad and fetid water. Besides possessing this quality, the mohur is useful as a poultice-when mashed and mixed with water; and the Somali always have recourse to it when badly wounded.
During my peregrinations at this place, I often dropped bits of paper about the jungle, little suspecting what would become of them; and, to my surprise, one day the interpreter came to me in some alarm, to say that several Dulbahantas had arrived at Bunder Gori, and were sharply canvassing amongst themselves the probable objects of my visit. I could not be travelling without a purpose, at so much expense; and they thought these bits of paper, which they had carefully picked up, conclusive evidence I was marking out some spots for future purposes. They abused the Warsingali for being such fools as to let me travel in their country, and said I should never cross over to them. This little incident of dropping paper, though fully explained to them, was ever afterwards brought up in accusation against me, and proved very perplexing.
30th.—Camp Habal Ishawale. Altitude 5052 feet.—We were now all together, and I thought ready to march; but the men had first to be paid their hire in advance—a monthly stipend of five tobes each. When that was settled, many other men, and amongst them the sultan's second brother Hassan, coveting my clothes, wished to be engaged. Some tedious hours were wasted on this subject. The sultan, at the instigation of these advocates for service, would have it, if I wished to travel according to the custom of the country, I must take more men with me as a guard. I, on the other hand, neither wanted them nor could afford to pay them, as I had been so extensively plundered—but wished to exchange Sumunter for his brother, and promised high rewards if he would take me through the journey. To put an end to the discussion, I struck my tent, never to be pitched again, and waited patiently until the camels came. It was not until near sundown that the camels were ready and the march commenced. The sultan then ordered Hassan and the naughty boy Abdullah, against my wish, to accompany me on the journey; and we set off, leaving two or three loads behind to be brought up on the morrow. The march was a short one, made to relieve the one beyond; for the spring of water we were now drinking from was the last on this side the range. It led us up a gradual but tortuous ascent, very thickly clad with strong bushes, to a kraal or ring-fence of prickly acacias, which was evidently made to protect the Somali's sheep from lions, leopards, hyenas, and freebooters suddenly pouncing on them.
We remained here three days, sending the things I had brought in relays across the mountain, and fetching up the rear ones. The sultan could not lose the opportunity afforded by my detention to come again and beg for presents, and I gave him a razor to shave his head with and make a clean Mussulman of him. On finding he could get nothing further from me gratis, he demanded that a cloth should be paid to the man whom my camel-drivers had robbed of the goat at Adhai, and, before retiring, wished me urgently to take a letter for him to Aden, petitioning the English to allow him to form an expedition by sea, and take retribution on the Musa Abokr at Heis, who had recently killed one of his subjects.
Yafir Pass—Rhut Tug—The Ruins at Kin's City—Abban Apprehends Future Consequences—Hyenas—The Dulbahantas—Camel Drivers' Tricks—Briny Water—Antelope-shooting—Elephant-hunting—Ostrich-hunting —Gazelles—Jealousy and Suspicions of the People—Troubles from Forty Thieves—Rapid Decline of Property.
4th December 1854.—At dawn of day the last of the camels was loaded, and we set out to clamber up to the top of the mountain-range and descend on the other side to the first watering-place in the interior of the country. It was a double march, and a very stiff one for the camels. Directly in our front lay an easy, flattish ground, with moderate undulations, densely wooded with such trees as I had already seen; but beyond it, about three miles from camp, the face of the mountain-top, towering to a great height, stood frowning over us like a huge bluff wall, which at first sight it appeared quite impossible any camel could surmount. At 9 A.M. we reached this steep, and commenced the stiffest and last ascent up a winding, narrow goat-path, having sharp turns at the extremity of every zigzag, and with huge projecting stones, which seemed to bid defiance to the passage of the camels' bodies. Indeed, it was very marvellous, with their long spindle-shanks and great splay feet, and the awkward boxes on their backs striking constantly against every little projection in the hill, that they did not tumble headlong over the pathway; for many times, at the corners, they fell upon their chests, with their hind-legs dangling over the side, and were only pulled into the path again by the combined exertions of all the men. Like Tibet ponies, when they felt their bodies slipping helplessly over the precipices—down which, had they fallen, they would have met instantaneous and certain death—they invariably seized hold of anything and everything with their teeth to save their equilibrium. The ascent was at length completed after an infinity of trouble, and our view from the top of the mountain repaid me fully for everything of the past. It was a glorious place! In one glance round I had a complete survey of all the country I was now destined to travel over, and what I had already gone over.
The pass was called Yafir, and, by the boiling thermometer, showed an altitude of 6704 feet. It was almost the highest point on this range. From a cedar tree I cooked my breakfast under, on facing to the north I saw at once the vast waters of the Gulf, all smooth and glassy as a mill-pond, the village of Bunder Gori, and the two buggaloes lying in its anchorage-ground, like little dots of nut-shells, immediately below the steep face of the mountain. So deep and perpendicular was it, that it had almost the effect of looking down a vast precipice. But how different was the view on turning to the south! Instead of this enormous grandeur—a deep rugged hill, green and fresh in verdure, with the sea like a large lake below—it was tame in the extreme; the land dropped gently to scarcely more than half its depth, with barely a tree visible on its surface; and at the foot of the hill, stretched out as far as the eye could reach, was a howling, blank-looking desert, all hot and arid, and very wretched to look upon. It was the more disappointing, as the Somali had pictured this to me as a land of promise, literally flowing with milk and honey, where, they said, I should see boundless prairies of grass, large roomy trees, beautiful valleys with deep brooks running down them, and cattle, wild animals, and bees in abundance. Perhaps this was true to them, who had seen nothing finer in creation; who thought ponies fine horses, a few weeds grass, and a puny little brook a fine large stream. At noon we reloaded, and proceeded to join the camels and men sent forward on the previous day. The track first led us a mile or two across the hill-top, where I remarked several heaps of stones piled up, much after the fashion of those monuments the Tibet Tartars erect in commemoration of their Lahma saints. These, the Somali said, were left here by their predecessors, and, they thought, were Christian tombs. Once over the brow of the hill, we descended the slopes on the south, which fell gently in terraces, and travelled until dark, when we reached a deep nullah, here called Mukur, in which we found our vanguard safely encamped in a strong ring-fence of thorn bushes.
The distance accomplished was seventeen miles; the altitude 3660 feet. The two following days (5th and 6th) we halted to rest the cattle, whilst I went shooting and collecting. There were a great number of gazelles and antelopes, some bustard, many florikan and partridges, as well as other very interesting birds and reptiles. These were mostly found in ravines at the foot of the hills, or amongst acacia and jujube trees, with patches of heather in places. We now held durbar, to consult on the plan of proceeding. It was obviously impossible to march across the plateau directly upon the southern Dulbahantas, as there was not a blade of grass to be seen nor any water on the way beyond the first ten miles from the foot of the hills. To go to Berbera, then, I must perforce pass through the territories of the northern Dulbahantas; and this was fixed upon. But hearing of some "ancient Christian ruins" (left by Sultan Kin) only a day's march to the south-eastward, I resolved to see them first, and on the 7th made a move five miles in that direction to a kraal, called Karrah, where we found a deep pool of stagnant water.
8th.—My kit was now so much diminished that we all marched together down a broad shallow valley south-eastward, in which meandered a nullah, called Rhut Tug, the first wadi I came upon in Nogal. The distance accomplished was eight miles when we put up in the Kraal of Rhut; for, as I have said before, there were no villages or permanent habitations in the interior of the Nogal country. All the little wooding there is, is found in depressions like this, near the base of hill-ranges, where water is moderately near the surface, and the trees are sheltered from the winds that blow over the higher grounds of the general plateau. Rhut is the most favoured spot in the Warsingali dominions, and had been loudly lauded by my followers; but all I could find were a few trees larger than the ordinary acacias, a symptom of grass having grown there in more favoured times when rain had fallen, a few puddles of water in the bed of the nullah, and one flock of sheep to keep the place alive. Gazelles were numerous, and many small birds in gaudy plumage flitted about the trees, amongst which the most beautiful was the Lamprotornis superba, a kind of Maina, called by the Somali Lhimber-load (the cowbird), because it follows after cows to feed.
9th.—Halt. Kin's City, or rather the ruins of it, I was told, lay to the northward of my camp, in the direction of the hills, at a distance of about two miles; so I proceeded at once to see it, hoping by this means I should be able to advance westward on the following day. After an hour's walk I came upon those remains of which I had heard so much at first on landing in the country, as indicative of the great advancement in architectural art of Kin's Christian legion over the present Somali inhabitants; but I was as much disappointed in this matter as in all others of Somali fabrication. There were five objects of attraction here:—1. The ruins of a (said to be) Christian church; 2. The site and remains of a village; 3. A hole in the ground, denoting a lime-kiln; 4. A cemetery; and, 5. The ground-lines of a fort. This certainly showed a degree of advancement beyond what the Somali now enjoy, inasmuch as they have no buildings in the interior, though that does not say much for the ancients. The plan of the church is an oblong square, 48 by 27 feet, its length lying N.E. and S.W., whilst its breadth was directed N.W. and S.E., which latter may be considered its front and rear. In the centre of the N.W. wall there was a niche, which evidently, if built by Christians, was intended to point to Jerusalem; and this might have been conclusive evidence of its having been a Christian house of worship, and consequently of great antiquity, did it not unfortunately point likewise in the direction of Mecca, to which place all Mohammedans turn when saying their prayers. Again, I entertained some suspicion that the walls, which were in some parts ten feet high, had not sufficient decay to warrant their being four and a half or more centuries old. But one thing was remarkable at this present time—there were no springs or any water nearer than my camping place, which could not have been the case when this place was occupied; but it denoted a certain amount of antiquity, without any doubt. The walls of the church were composed of limestone rocks, cemented together with a very pure white lime.
The entrance fronted the niche, and was led up to by a street of round pebbles, protected on each side by semicircular loosely-thrown-up stone walls. There was nothing left of the village but its foundation outlines, which at once showed simplicity of construction, as well as economy of labour in building. It lay about 50 yards to the east of the church. One straight wall ran down the centre, from which, as supports, ran out a number of lateral chambers lying at right angles to it.
To the northward of the church was the cemetery, in which, strange to say, if the Somali believe their own story, they even at the present time bury their dead, and erect crosses at the head of the tombs, in the same manner as we Christians do. The kiln was an artless hole in the ground, in which there was a large collection of cinders, and other debris not worth mentioning. Lastly, the fort, or rather remains of what the Somali said had been one, was situated on an eminence overlooking the village, and about 70 yards to the S.W. of the church. Now, having completed my investigations of the ruins, I returned to camp, where I was met by the Abban, looking as sulky as a bear with a sore head, and frowning diabolically. He had been brooding over my late censures, and reflecting on the consequences his bad conduct would finally have upon him, if he could not obtain a pardon from me. And should he not be able to elicit it by fair means, he thought at any rate he would extract it by foul, then and there, without condition or any clause whatever. This was preposterous. I frankly told him exactly what I thought of him, saying I could not forget what had happened; that he had abused the trust reposed in him by the English, and I was bound in duty to report the whole matter in every detail to the Government; but should he discontinue his evil ways, and take me safely to my journey's end, I would promise him a full pardon as soon as I arrived at Berbera. This would not answer his purpose—bygones must be bygones without any condition whatever, and he went to his bed as wrathful as he rose.
10th.—I rose early and ordered the men to load, but not a soul would stir. The Abban had ordered otherwise, and they all preferred to stick, like brother villains, to him. And then began a battle-royal; as obstinately as I insisted, so obstinately did he persist; then, to show his superior authority, and thinking to touch me on a tender point, forbade my shooting any more. This was too much for my now heated blood to stand, so I immediately killed a partridge running on the ground before his face. Seeing this, he wheeled about, prepared his pony, and, mounting it, with his arms agitated and ready for action, said to the people standing by that he would kill me if I dared shoot again. I was all this while standing prepared to shoot, without understanding a word of what was said, when the interpreter rushed towards me pale and trembling, and implored me not to shoot, but to arrange matters quietly. He would not tell me, however, what had occasioned the great anxiety his excited manner showed. I of course was ready at any time to do anything I could to help me on the journey, and again stated the terms on which I would grant the man a pardon. At this juncture, Hassan, the sultan's brother, who had been absent a few days, came and interceded between us. I told him everything that had happened, how the Abban had even superseded the sultan's order, by forbidding me to do what I wished in his country, and again begged him to be my Abban in Sumunter's stead. This he said he could not do, but gave Sumunter a wigging, and desired me to go and shoot anywhere I liked. Thus ended this valuable day.