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pointed ambition, mistrustful by betrayed confidence, despairing by unassuageable sorrow, let me repeat the motto which heads this chapter. Central Africa.
VISIT TO THE SHILLOOK NEGROES.
We sailed nearly all night with a steady north wind, which towards morning became so strong that the men were obliged to take in sail and let us scud under bare poles. We had passed the frontier of Egyptian Soudan soon after sunset, and were then deep in the negro kingdom of the Shillooks. The scenery had changed considerably since the evening. The forests were taller and more dense, and the river more thickly studded with islands, the soil of which was entirely concealed by the luxuriant girdle of shrubs and water-plants in which they lay imbedded.
All the rich animal world of this region was awake and stirring before the sun. The wild fowls left their roosts; the zikzaks flew twittering over the waves, calling up their mates, the sleepy crocodiles; the herons stretched their wings against the wind; the monkeys leaped and chattered in the woods, and at last whole herds of hippopotami, sporting near the shore, came up spouting water from their nostrils, in a manner precisely similar to the grampus. Soon after sunrise, the rais observed some Shillooks in the distance, who were sinking their canoes in the river, after which they hastily retreated into the woods. We ran along beside the embowering shores, till we reached the place. The canoes were carefully concealed, and some pieces of drift-wood thrown over the spot, as if left there by the river. The rais climbed to the mast-head and called to the people, assuring them that there was no danger; but, though we peered sharply into the thickets, we could find no signs of any human being. The river here turned to the south, disclosing other and richer groups of islands, stretching beyond oue another far into the distance. Directly on our left was the northern point of the island of Aba, our destination. As the island is six or eight miles in length, I determined to make the most of my bargain, and so told the rais that he must take me to its farther end, and to the villages of the Shillooks, whom I had come to see. * * *
At last, on rounding one of the coves of Aba, we came upon a flock of sheep, feeding along the shore. The rais finally descried the huts of the village at a distance, near the extremity of the island. We returned to the vessel, and were about putting off in order to proceed thither, when a large body of men, armed with spears, appeared in the forest, coming towards us at a quick pace The rais, who had already had some intercourse with these people and knew something of their habits, advanced alone to meet them. I could see, through the trees, that a consultation was held; and shortly, though with some signs of doubt and hesitation, about a dozen of the savages advanced to within a short distance of the vessel, while the others sat down on the ground, still holding the spears in their hands. The rais now returned to the water's edge, and said that the Shillooks had come with the intention of fighting, but he had informed them that this was a visit from the sultan's son, who came to see them as a friend, and would then return to his father's country. Thereupon they consented to speak with me, and I might venture to go on shore. I landed again, with Achmet, and walked up with the rais to the spot where the men were seated. The shekh of the island, a tall, handsome man, rose to greet me, by touching the palm of his right hand to mine and then raising it to his forehead. I made a like salutation, after which he sat down. The vizier, (as he called himself) an old man excessively black in complexion, then advanced, and the other warriors in succession, till all had saluted me * * * While these things were transpiring, a number of other Shillooks had arrived, so that there were now upwards of fifty. All were armed,—the most of them with iron-pointed spears, some with clubs, and some with long poles having knobs of hard wood on the end. They were all tall, strong, stately people, not more than two or three under six feet in height, while the most of them were three or four inches over that standard. * * * The Shillooks have not the appearance of men who are naturally malicious. The selfish impudence with which they demand presents is common to all savage tribes. But the Turks, and even the European merchants who take part in the annual trading expeditions up the river, have dealt with them in such a shameful manner that they are now mistrustful of all strangers, and hence it is unsafe to venture among them. I attribute the friendly character of my interview with them as much to good luck as to good management. The rais afterwards informed me that if the shekh had not been satisfied with the dress I gave him, he would certainly have attempted to plunder the vessel. He stated that the Shillooks are in the habit of going down the river as far as the country of the Hassaniyehs, sinking their boats and concealing themselves in the woods in the daytime, while by night they venture into the villages and rob the people of their dourra, for which they have a great fondness. They cultivate nothing themselves, and their only employment is the chase of the elephant, hippopotamus, and other wild beasts. All the region east of the river abounds with herds of elephants and giraffes; but I was not for. tunate enough to get sight of them. Here is the true land of the lotus; and the Shillooks, if not the *Joi of the Greeks, are, with the exception of the Chinese, the only modern eaters of the plant. I was too late to see it in blossom, and there were but few specimens of it among these islands; but not far beyond Aba it appears in great profusion, and both the seeds and roots are eaten by the natives. Dr. Knoblecher, who ate it frequently during his voyage, informed me that the root resembles the potato in consistence and taste, with a strong flavor of celery. These islands are inhabited only by the hunters and fishers of the tribe, who abandon them in summer, when they are completely covered by the inundation. At lat. 12°, or about thirty miles south of Aba, both banks of the river are cultivated, and thence, for upwards of two hundred miles, the villages are crowded so close to each other all along the shores, that they almost form two continuous towns, fronting each other. This part of the White Nile is the most thickly populated region in Africa, and perhaps in the world, China alone excepted. The number of the Shillooks is estimated at between two and three millions, or equal to the population of all Egypt. Ibid.
THE MIDNIGHT SUN."
As we crossed the mouth of the Ulvsfjord” that evening, we had an open sea horizon toward the north, a clear sky, and so much sunshine at eleven o'clock that it was evident the Polar day had dawned upon us at last. The illumination of the shores was unearthly in its glory, and the wonderful effects of the orange sunlight, playing upon the dark hues of the island cliffs, can neither be told nor painted. The sun hung low between Fuglöe,” rising
Mr. Taylor is now in the province of Finnmark, the northernmost province of Norway, crossed in about the centre by lat. 70° North, and long. 22° East. 2 Fjord, or much better Fiord, (pronounced Fe-ord,) is a Norwegian word, signifying “bay or estuary,” and forms a part of numerous names in the North of Europe. Ulvs-fiord is a bay to the east of the island of Tromsöe, (lat. 70°, long. 19° East,) which has on its western side a seaport also of the same name. * Fuglöe, or Fugelöe, and Arnóe, are small islands to the north of the island of Tromsöe. Two defects in most of Mr. Taylor's books of travels are, want of sufficient dates, that we may know when he was at the places mentioned ; and of careful topography, that we may know exactly where to locate him. And here I would speak in high commendation of the Gazetteer, by J. Thomas, M.D., and T. Baldwin, published by J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, of 2182 royal octavo pages. It is an honor to our country; and I have seldom consulted it but with entire satisfaction. I am also here reminded of another valuable work, the first volume of which has just been published by Childs & Peterson, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, and British and American Authors, Liring and Deceased, from the Earliest Accounts to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century, containing Thirty Thousand Biographies and Literary Notices, with Forty Indeces of Subjects, by S. Austin Allibone. It is a royal octavo volume of 1005 pages, in double columns, and a marvel of industry and research; and when the second volume is published, it will be altogether the most complete work of the kind known in our language, and almost indispensable in every household where literature is loved and cultivated.
like a double dome from the sea, and the tall mountains of Arnóe, both of which islands resembled immense masses of transparent purple glass, gradually melting into crimson fire at their bases. The glassy, leaden-colored sea was powdered with a golden bloom, and the tremendous precipices at the mouth of the Lyngen Fjord, behind us, were steeped in a dark-red, mellow flush, and touched with pencillings of pure, rose-colored light, until their naked ribs seemed to be clothed in imperial velvet. As we turned into the Fjord and ran southward along their bases, a waterfall, struck by the sun, fell in fiery orange foam down the red walls, and the blue ice-pillars of a beautiful glacier filled up the ravine beyond it. We were all on deck; and all faces, excited by the divine splendor of the scene and tinged by the same wonderful aureole, shone as if transfigured. In my whole life I have never seen a spectacle so unearthly beautiful.
Our course brought the sun rapidly toward the ruby cliffs of Arnóe, and it was evident that he would soon be hidden from sight. It was not yet half-past eleven, and an enthusiastic passenger begged the captain to stop the vessel until midnight. “Why,” said the latter, “it is midnight now, or very near it: you have Drontheim time, which is almost forty minutes in arrears.” True enough, the real time lacked but five minutes of midnight, and those of us who had sharp eyes and strong imaginations saw the sun make his last dip and rise a little, before he vanished in a blaze of glory behind Arnóe. I turned away with my eyes full of dazzling spheres of crimson and gold, which danced before me wherever I looked; and it was a long time before they were blotted out by the semi-oblivion of a daylight sleep.
INDEX TO SUBJECTS,
NAMES INCIDENTALLY MENTIONED IN THE VOLUME.
[For the Authors in the Wonk, see Alphabetical List, on the Twenty-second Page.]
Alsop, Richand..................................... 94