Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

ARTICLE I.-Loss of the American Brig Commerce, wrecked on the

Western Coast of Africa, in the month of du;ust 1815 ; with an Account of Tombucloo, and of the hitherto undiscovered Great City of Wassanah. By James Riley, Late Master and Supercargo.

THE

THE first inquiry respecting on that score are undoubted ; and every

work that relates extra- as exhibiting a picture of almost ordinary adventures, and gives in- unparalleled hardships, and extendformation on the subject of places ing our knowledge of the interior hitherto unknown or unexplored, is of Africa, it may be safely recomvery naturally directed to its au- mended, as possessing a high degree thenticity. The claims of this book of interest.

MR. RILEY's SUFFERINGS IN THE DESERT OP SAHAHR AH.

“ The Arabs had been much I was set on was only covered with amused in observing our difficulty skin, and as sharp as the edge of an in ascending the height, and kept oar's blade ; his belly distended up a laugh while they were whip with water, made him perfectly ing us forward. Their women and smooth, leaving no projection of children were on foot as well as the hips to keep me from sliding off themselves, and went up without behind, and his back or rump being the smallest difficulty or inconve. as steep as the roof of a house, nience, though it was extremely and so broad across as to keep my hard for the camels to mount; and legs extended to their utmost before they got to the top they were stretch. I was in this manner covered with sweat and froth. slipping down to his tail every Having now selected five cainels moment. I was forced however for the purpose, one for each of us, to keep on, while the camel, renthey put us on behind the humps, dered extremely restive at the sight to which we were obliged to cling of bis strange rider, was all the by grasping its long hair with both time running about among the drove, bands. The back bone of the one and making a most woeful bellow

[ocr errors]

ing, and as they have neither bridle, yet acting on our blistered skins, it halter, or any other thing whereby increased our pains beyond descripto guide or govern them, all I had tion. We begged to be permitted to to do was to stick on as well as I get off, but the women paid no atcould.

tention to our distress nor entreaties, “ The Arabs, both men and intent only on getting forward. We women, were very anxious to know designedly slipped off the camels where we bad been thrown on when going at a full trot, risking shore, whether to the eastward or to break our necks by the fall, and westward ; and being satisfied by tried to excite their compassion and me on that point, as soon as they get a drink of water, (which they had placed us on the camels, and call cherub,) but they paid no ai. given the women directions how to tention to our prayers, and kept the steer, they mounted each his camel, camels running faster than before. seated themselves on the small round “ This was the first time I had saddle, and then crossing their legs attempted to walk bare-footed since on the animal's shoulders, set off to I was a schoolboy : we were obliged the westward at a great trot, leaving to keep up with the camels, running us under the care of the women, over the stones, which were pearly some of whom were on foot, and as sharp as gun-flints, and cutting urged the camels forward as fast as our feet to the bone at every step. they could run. The heavy mo- It was here that my fortitude and tions of the camel, not unlike that philosophy failed to support me; I of a small vessel in a heavy head- cursed my fate aloud, and wished I beat sea, were so violent, aided by had rushed into the sea before I the sharp back-bone, as soon to gave myself up to these merciless excoriate certain parts of my naked beings in human forms—it was now body; the inside of my thighs and too late. I would have put an imlegs were also dreadfully chafed, so mediate end to my existence, but that the blood dripped from my had neither knife nor any other beels, while the intense heat of the weapon with which to perform the sun had scorched and blistered our deed. I searched for a stone, inbodies and the outside of our legs, tending if I could find a loose one so that we were covered with sores, sufficiently large, to knock out my and without any thing to admi. own brains with it; but searched in nister relief. Thus bleeding and vain. This paroxysm passed off in smarting under the most excruciat- a minute or iwo, when reason reing pain, we continued to advance turned, and I recollected that my in a s. E. direction on a plain fat life was in the hand of the Power hard surface of sand, gravel, and that gave it, and that “the Judge rock, covered with small sharp of all the earth would do right." stones. It seemed as if our bones Then running with all my remaiowould be dislocated at every step. ing might, I soon came up with the Hungry and thirsty, the night came camels, regardless of my feet and on, and no indication of stopping; of pain, and felt perfectly resigned the cold night wind began to blow, and willing to submit to the will chilling our blood, which ceased to of Providence and the fate that trickle down our lacerated legs; awaited me. but although it saved our blood, “ From that time forward,

through

[ocr errors]

through all my succeeding trials

cceeding trialstered and mangled, the stones piercand sufferings, I never once mur- ing through the sore naked flesh to mured in my heart, but at all times the ribs and other bones. These kept my spirits up, doing the utmost distresses, and our sad and despondto obey and please those whom ing reflections, rendered this one of fortune, fate, or an overruling Pro- the longest and most dismal nights vidence had placed over me, and ever passed by any human beings. to persuade, both by precept and We kept shifting births, striving to practice, my unhappy comrades to keep off some of the cold during do the same. I had, with my com- the night, while sleep, that had panions, cried aloud with pain, and hitherto relieved our distresses and begged our savage drivers for mercy, fatigues, fled from us in spite of all and when we had ceased to make our efforts and solicitude to embrace a noise, fearing, as it were, to lose it; nor were we able to close our us in the dark, they stopped the eyes. camels, and again placing us on them “ The morning of the 11th came as. before, drove them on at full on at last, and our industrious misspeed until about midnight, when tresses, having milked a little from we entered a small dell or valley, the camels, and allowed the young excavated by the land of nature, a ones to suck, gave us about half a little below the surface of the desert, pint of milk among four of us, about from fifteen to twenty feet being just enough to wet our deep. Here they stopped the mouths, and then made us go forcamels, and made them lie down, ward on foot and drive the camels. bidding us to do the same. I judge The situation of our feet was hor. we must have travelled forty miles rible beyond description, and the tbis day to the S. E.: the place was very recollection of it, even at this hard and rocky, not even sand to moment, makes my nerves thrill lie on, nor any covering to shelter and quiver. We proceeded forward, us or keep off the cold damp wind having gained the level desert for a that blew strong from the sea. considerable time, when entering, a

They soon set about milking, small valley, we discovered three and then gave us each about a pint or four tents made of coarse cloth, of pure milk, warm from the near which we were met by our camels, taking great care to divide masters and a number of men whom it for us; it warmed our stomachs, we had not before seen, all armed quenched our thirst in some mea- with either a double-barrelled sure, and allayed in a small degree musket, a scimitar, or dagger. They the cravings of hunger. Mr. Savage were all of the same nation and bad been separated from us, and I tribe, for they shook bands at meetlearned from him afterwards that ing, and seemed very friendly to he fared better than we did, having each other, though they stopped had a larger allowance of milk. and examined us, as if disposed to Clark, Horace, and Dick the cook, question the right of property. were still with me. We lay down “ It now appeared there was still on the ground as close to each other some difficulty in deciding to whom as we could, on the sharp stones, each one of us belonged ; for seizwithout any lee to fend off the wind ing hold of us, some dragged one from us; our bodies all over blis. way and some another, disputing

a

(172)

LITERARY SELECTIONS. very loudly, and frequently drawing déullah, Abdallah, &c. so that by their weapons.

It' was however these and the female names, Fa. decided at last, after making us go tima, Ezimah, Sarah, &c. I knew different ways for the space of two them to be Arabs or Moors. or three hours with different men, • The council were deliberating that myself and the cook should about us ; and having talked the remain, for the present, in the hands matter over a long time, seated on of our first master, They gave the ground, with their legs crossed Clark to another, and Horace to a under them, in circles of from ten third. We had come near a couple to twenty each, they afterwards of tents, and were certainly dis- arose and came to us. One of the gusting objects, being naked and old men then addressed me; he almost skinless; this was some time seemed to be very intelligent, and about noon, when three women though he spoke a language which came out who had not before seen I was unacquainted with, yet he us, and having satisfied their curio- explained himself in such a plain sity by gazing at us, they expressed and distinct manner, sounding every their disgust and contempt by letter full like the Spaniards, tbat spitting at us as we went along,' with the help of signs I was able making their faces still more horrid to understand his meaning. He by every possible contortion of their wanted to know what country we frightful features ; this we after. belonged to; I told him we were wards found to be their constant English; and as I perceived the practice wherever we went until Spanish language was in sound more after we got off the desert.

like that which they spoke than any Towards evening a great num- other I knew, I used the phrase ber of the men having collected in Inglesis ; this seemed to please him, a little valley, we were made to and he said “ O Fransab, O Spa

stop, and as our bodies were blis- niah;” meaning “or Frenchmen tered and burnt to such a degree as or Spaniards ;" I repeated we were to excite pity in the breasts of some English. He next wanted to know of the men, they used means to have which point of the horizon we came a tent cleared out for us to sit from, and I pointed to the North. under. They then allowed all those They had seen our boat, which of our crew present to sit under it; they called Zooerga, and wanted to but Porter and Burns had been se- know if we bad come all the way parated from me shortly after our in that boat: I told them no, capture, and, as may well be sup- and making a kind of coast, by posed, we were glad to meet one heaping up sand, and forming the another again, miserable as we all shape of a vessel, into which I stuck were. A council was now held by sticks for masts and bowsprit, &c. the natives near the tent; they I gave him to understand that we were about one hundred and fifty had been in a large vessel, and men, some very old, some middle wrecked on the coast by a strong aged, and some quite young. I wind; then by tearing down the soon found they were Mohamedans, mast and covering up the vessel's and the proper names by which form with sand, 1 signified to him they frequently called each other that she was totally lost. Thirty or were Mohamed, Hamet, Seid, Si. forty of the other Arabs were sitting

around

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

E

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

around us, paying the strictest at- selves, except by a cluck with the
tention to every one of my words tongue.
and gestures, and assisting the old *They wanted me to tell his
man to comprehend me. He wished name, Soo Mook, but I could not
to know where we were going, and understand them until they men-
what cargo the vessel (which I now tioned Moolay Solimaan; this I
found they called Sfenab) had on remembered to be the name of the
board. I satisfied them in the best present emperor of Morocco, as
way I could, on this point, telling pronounced in Spanish, nearly. I
them that I had on board, among gave them to understand that I
other things, dollars: they wanted knew him; had seen him with my

,
to know how many, and gave me eyes, and that he was a friend to
a bowl to imitate the measure of me and to my nation. They next
them; this I did by filling it with made me point out the direction
stones and emptying it three times towards his dominions, and having

. They were much surprised at the satisfied them that I knew which quantity, and seemed to be dissatis. way his dominions lay from us, I fied that they had not got a share of tried to intimate to them, that if them. They then wanted to know they would carry me there, I should which way the vessel lay from us, be able to pay them for my ransom, and if we had seen any of the na- and that of my crew. They shook tives, whom they called Moslemin. their heads—it was a great distance,

" This I took to be what we call and nothing for camels to eat or Mussulmen, or followers of the drink on the way. My shipmates, Mohamedan doctrine, and in this I who were with me, could not unwas not mistaken. I then explained derstand one syllable of what they to them in what manner we had said, or of their signs, and did not been treated by the inhabitants; believe that I was able to commu. that they had got all our clothing, nicate at all with them. Having except what we had on when they finished their council, and talked found us; all our money and pro- the matter over among themselves, visions ; massacred of our they separated, and our masters, number, and drove us out to sea. taking each bis slave, made off, They told me that they heard of every one bis own way. Although the shipwreck of a vessel a great from the conference I derived hopes way North, and of the money, &c. of our getting ransomed, and imbut that the crew were drowned in parted the same to my mates and the el M Bahar; this was so near crew, yet they all seemed to think the Spanish (La Mar) for the sea, I was deluding them with false exthat I could not misunderstand it. pectations ; nor could I convince Thus having obtained what infor- them of the contrary. We took mation they wanted on those points, another leave of each other, when they next desired to know if I knew we parted for the night, having any thing about Marocksh; this travelled this day, I should guess, sounded something like Morocco: I about fifteen miles S. E. answered yes: next of the Sooltaan, « I had been so fully occupied (the Sultan,) to which instead of since noon, that no thoughts of saying yes, I made signs of assent, victuals or drink had occurred to for I found they did no more them- mind. We had none of us eat or

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

one

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

drunk

09.4

r

« PredošláPokračovať »