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of verdant spots where both are found, which render them more easy to be traversed, for shade and water are the principal luxuvies in those hot and arid regions. The only means of carrying watev is in skins, made of the hides of sheep, goats, or oxen, hung over the backs of camels, which are filled at the different wells as they occur on the journey. These, however, are liable to burst, and the water soon becomes partially putrid, from the constant shaking and the action of the burning sun, so as to be almost undrinkable; whereby, if the distances between the wells are considerable, great inconvenience, and often danger of perishing from thirst, is incurred. The Nubian Desert from Daraou to Shigre, about sixteen days' march, is one with more agreeable features than most of its kind, although not free from the ordinary hazard of attacks by the roving tribes who inhabit it. It abounds in valleys, which contain trees and wells, yielding a copious supply of water; and over its whole extent is a broad beaten path, from which there is little risk of deviating. Yet even with these advantages the journey across it is irksome and laborious, especially to a solitary and unfriended traveller like Burekhardt. The want of a servant or associate was grievously feltiby him; for he could get no assistance from his fellow-travellers, who delighted, on the contrary, in witnessing and aggravating his distress and perplexities. He himself represents his situation in very striking colours, at the same time that he gives a graphic picture of the peculiarities of desert travelling. “When ever it was known beforehand,” he says, " that the chiefs intended to stop in a certain valley, the young men of the caravan pushed eagerly forwards, in order to select at the halting-place the largest tree, or some spot under an impending rock, where they secured shelter for themselves and their mess. Every day some dispute arose as to who arrived the first under some particular tree : as for myself, I was often driven from the coolest and most comfortable berth into the burning sun, and generally passed the mid-day hours in great distress; for besides the exposure to heat, I had to cook my dinner, a service which I could never prevail upon any of my companions, even the poorest servants, to perform for me, though I offered to let them share in my homely fare. In the evening the same labour occurred again, when fatigued by the day's journey, during which I always walked for four or five hours in order to spare my ass, and when I was in the utmost need of repose. Hunger, however, always prevailed over fatigue, and I was obliged to fetch and cut wood to light a fire, to cook, to feed the ass, and finally to make coffee, a cup of which, presented to my Daraou companions, who were extremely eager to obtain it, was the only means I possessed of keeping them in tolerable good humour.”
From Shigre southwards to Berber, where the route rejoins the Nile, the character of the Desert is completely altered. Although a five days' journey between the two places, there is but
one halting-place where water is to be had, and that in such scanty quantity that a caravan can seldom obtain an adequate supply. Consequently it is necessary to carry from Shigre, whose wells are famous throughout the Desert, as much as possible of the indispensable element; but seldom sufficient can be taken to last the whole way. Reliance, therefore, is always more or less placed on procuring some quantity at least from the wells of Nedjeym, the only intervening station, which are often choked up altogether with the drifting sand, as on the present occasion the Arab guides were warned was the case. They resolved, nevertheless, to push on; and filling all the water-skins, the caravan advanced from Shigre into the Desert, where all trace of a road was now utterly lost. At Nedjeym a small supply of water was secured, after great labour in clearing out the wells; but the appalling fact became evident that the caravan could not hope to reach Berber upon its existing stock. Nothing remained, however, but to hurry forwards with all speed; and, as always happens in such cases, many were unable to keep up with the main body, and were left straggling behind. The scene that ensued will be best trayed in Burckhardt's own words.
“ In nine hours," he says, we reached the valley of Abou Sellam, which abounds with Sellam trees. Here we stopped, for the beasts were much fatigued, and there were many stragglers behind, whom we might have lost in proceeding farther. In order to spare my stock of water, I had lived since quitting Shigre entirely upon biscuits, and had never cooked any victuals. I now made another dinner of the same kind, after which I allayed my thirst by a copious draught of water, having in my skins as much as would serve me for another draught on the
We were all in the greatest dejection, foreseeing that all the asses must die the ensuing day if not properly watered, and none of the traders had more than a few draughts for himself. After a long deliberation, they at last came to the only determination that could save us, and which the Arab chief had been for several days recommending. Ten or twelve of the strongest camels being selected, were mounted by as many men, who hastened forward to fetch a supply of water from the nearest part of the Nile. We were only five or six hours distant from it; but its banks being here inhabited by Arabs inimical to the traders, the whole caravan could not venture to take that road. The camels set out at about four P.m., and would reach the river at night. Their conductors were ordered to choose an uninhabited spot for filling the skins, and forthwith to return. We passed the evening, meanwhile, in the greatest anxiety; for if the camels should not return, we had little hopes of escape, either from thirst or from the sword of our enemies, who, if they had once got sight of the camels, would have followed their footsteps through the Desert, and have certainly discovered us. After sunset several stragglers arrived; but two still remained behind, of whom one joined us early next morning, but the other was not heard of any more. He was servant to a Daraou trader, who showed not the least concern about his fate. Many of my companions came, in the course of the evening, to beg some water of me; but I had well hidden my treasure, and answered them by showing my empty skins. We remained the greater part of the night in gloomy and silent expectation of the result of our desperate mission. At length, about three o'clock in the morning, we heard the distant hallooings of our watermen, and soon after refreshed ourselves with copious draughts of the delicious water of the Nile. The caravan passed suddenly from demonstrations of the deepest distress to those of unbounded joy and mirth. A plentiful supper was dressed, and the Arabs kept up their songs till daybreak, without bestowing a thought on the unhappy man who had remained behind.”
Thus happily rescued from the most dreadful of disasters, the caravan arrived at Berber two days afterwards. This is a cluster of four villages standing on the banks of the Nile, each village being divided into about a dozen quarters, standing separate from one another at short distances. These are inhabited by a tribe of Arabs called Meyrefab, who are under the government of a Mek, holding authority, at the time of Burckhardt's visit, under the king of Sennaar. The caravan halted here å whole month before proceeding to Shendy, a place of much greater importance a few days' journey to the south, likewise seated on the banks of the Nile. "This delay, and his subsequent sojourn at Shendy, enabled Burckhardt to make close observations on the character, manners, and customs of the Nubian Arabs, who, from his descriptions, appear to be a very depraved race of people. Shendy is governed in the same manner as Berber, but is peopled by different tribes of Arabs, all of whom, however, are, or claim to be, descended from the original Arabian stock, and are distinguished in all respects by the same features. The account given by Burckhardt of the people of Berber being the most minute and animated, it may therefore be taken as applying to the whole country as far as Sennaar and Darfour.
"The native colour," he says, seems to be a dark-red brown; which, if the mother is a slave from Abyssinia, becomes a lightbrown in the children, and if from the negro countries, extremely dark. Their features are not at all those of the negro, the face being oval, the nose often perfectly Grecian, and the cheek-bones not prominent. The upper lip is, however, generally somewhat thicker than is considered beautiful among northern nations, though it is still far from the negro lip. Their legs and feet are well-formed, which is seldom the case with the negroes. They have a short beard below the chin, but seldom any hair upon their cheeks. Their hair is bushy and strong, but not woolly. “We are Arabs, not negroes,' they often say; and indeed
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they can only be classed among the latter by persons who judge froin colour alone.
24091 501 fio elementit The Meyrefab, like the other Arab in these parts of Africa, are careful in maintaining the purity of their race. free-born Meyrefab never marries a slave, whether Abyssinian or black, but always an Arab girl, of his or some neighbouring tribe; and if he has any children oton on the
his slave contubines, they are looked upon as fit matches only for slaves or their descendants. This custom they have in common the towns of Arabia and Egypt are in the daily habit of taking the eastern Bedouins, while, on the contrary, the intents, of, in wedlock Abyssinian as well as negro slaves.
jo Few men have more than one wife, but every one afford it keeps a slave or mistress, either in his own Who cans separate house. Drunkenness is the constant accompaniment of this debauchery; and it would seem as if the men in these coun tries had no other objects in life. The intoxicating liquor which they drink is called bouza. The effects which the universal practice of drunkenness and debauchery has on the morals of the people may easily be conceived. In the pursuit of gain they know no bounds, forgetting every divine and human law, and breaking the most solemn ties and engagements. Cheating, thieving, and the blackest ingratitude, are found in every man's character; and I am perfectly convinced that there were few men among them, or among my fellow-travellers from Egypt, who would have given a dollar to save a man's life, or who would not have .consented to a man's death in order to gain one.
“The women of Berber, even those of the highest rank, always go unveiled; and young girls are often seen without any covering whatever, except a girdle of short leathern tassels about their loins. Many, both men and women, blacken their eyelids with kohel or antimony, but the custom is not so general as in Egypt. The women of the higher classes, and the most elegant of the public women, throw over their shirts white cloaks with red linings of Egyptian manufacture. Both sexes are in the daily habit of rubbing their skins with fresh butter. They pretend that it is refreshing, prevents cutaneous complaints, and renders the surface of the skin smoother; the men, in reference to their frequent quarrels, add that it renders the skin tougher, and more difficult to be cut through with a knife. It is certain that the cutaneous eruption, called the prickly heat, which is so common in Egypt, is never seen here; and I had often occasion to admire the smooth and delicate appearance of the skin, even in men who were very much exposed to the sun. It is by the nature of their skin that these Arabs distinguish themselves from the negroes : though very dark-coloured, their skin is as fine as that of a white person, while that of the negroes is much thicker and coarser. But the small-pox is very prevalent, and very destructive. Only about one-third of those who are attacked recover, and they bear
LIFE AND TRAVELS OF BURCKHARDT. 18,9 240-19h frightful marks of the disease on their arms and faces. Inoculation is known, but not much practised; little benefit being supposed to arise from it. The incision is usually made in the lege Their only cure for the small-pox is to rub the whole body with butter three
or four times a-day, and to keep themselves closely shut up. The plague is unknown, and from what I heard during, my former journey in Nubia, I have reason to believe that it never passes farther south than the cataract of Assouan.
• The houses in the towns are generally divided from each other by large courtyards, thus forming nowhere any regular streets. They are tolerably well-built, either of mud or of sun-baked bricks, and their appearance is at least as good as those of Upper Eşypt. Each habitation consists of a large yard, divided into an inner and outer court. Round this court are the rooms for the family, which are all, on the ground floor; I have never seen in any of these countries a second storey or staircase. To form the roof, beams are laid across the walls; these are covered with mats, upon which reeds are placed, and a layer of mud is spread over the whole. The roof has a slope to let the rain-water run off, which, in most houses, is conducted by a canal to the courtyard, thus rendering the latter, in time of rain, a dirty pond. Two of the apartments are generally inhabited by the family, a third serves as a store-room, a fourth for the reception of strangers, and a fifth is often occupied by public women. I have seldom seen any furniture in the rooms excepting a sofa or bedsteadan oblong wooden frame with four legs, having a seat made either of reeds, or of thin strips of ox-leather drawn across each other.”
The people of the various towns and villages are engaged as husbandmen, shepherds, and traders. At Shendy, a very extensive slave trade is carried on, and it is likewise the entrepôt for other considerable traffic between Egypt, Arabia, and the interior of Africa. Burckhardt estimates that five thousand slaves are : annually sold at Shendy, the greater part of whom are purchased for the Egyptian and Arabian markets, and are brought from the idolatrous countries to the south and south-west of Darfour. Few are imported above the age of fifteen, those between eleven and that age being in most request; males commanding fifteen or sixteen dollars, if bearing marks of having had the small-pox, without which a boy was not worth twothirds of that price, and females from twenty to twenty-five dollars. Burckhardt himself, having disposed of his merchandise, bought a slave, fourteen years old, for sixteen dollars, and also a camel, intending to proceed no farther south, but to cross the country stretching from Shendy to the shore of the Red Sea. This he preferred to penetrating into Abyssinia—which he might, perhaps, have easily accomplished, as the roads were considered safe in times of peace for two reasons : first, because the country, between Shendy and the Red Sea had been unexplored, and was