Page images

money. With these 'Were mixed people of the town in white turbans, some in large white or dark blue frocks, and others in sheepskin cloaks; Persians and Afghauns, in brown woollen tunics, or flowing mantles, and caps of black sheep-skin or coloured silk; Khyberees, with the straw sandals, and the wild dress and air of their mountains; Hindoos, uniting the peculiar features and manner of their own nation, to the long beard, and the dress of the country; and Hazaurehs, not more remarkable for their conical caps of skin, with the wool, appearing like a fringe round the edge, and for their broad faces, and little eyes, than for their want of the beard, which is the ornament of every other face in the city.— Among these, might be discovered, a few women, ■with long white veils, that reached their feet, and some of the King's retinue, in the grotesque caps, und fantastic habits, .which mark the class to which each belongs. Sometimes a troop of armed horsemen passed, and their appearance was announced by the clatter of their horses hoofs on the pavement, and by the jingling of their bridles. Sometimes, when the King was going out, the streets were choaked with horse and foot, and dromedaries bearing swivels, and large waving red and green flags; and, at all times, loaded dromedaries, or heavy Bactrian camels, covered with shaggy hair, made their way slowly through the streets; and mules, fastened together in circles of eight or ten, were seen off the road, going round and round to cool them after their labour, while their keepers were indulging at an

eating-house, or enjoying a imcks of a hired culleeaun in the street Amidst all this throng, we generally passed without any notice except a salaum alaikum from » passenger, accompanied by a bo». with the hands crossed in front, or an application from a beggar, who would call out for relief from the Feringee Khauns, admonkh us that life was short, and the benefit of charity immortal, or remind us that what was little to is was a great deal to them.

It sometimes happened, thzt we were descried by a boy from a window; and his shout of Oopfe Feringhee would bring all the women and children in the house to stare at us till we were out of sight.

The roads in the country were seldom very full of people, though they were sometimes enlivened bvi group of horsemen going out to forage, and listening to a Pushtoo or Persian song, which was shouted by one of their companions.— It was common in the country to meet a man of the lower order with a hawk on his fist, and a pointer at his heels; and we frequently saw fowlers catching quails imong the wheat, after the harvest was far enough advanced. A net was fastened at one corner of the field, two men held each an end of a roj>e stretched across the opposite corner, and dragged it forward, so as to shake all the wheat, and drive the quails before it into the net, which was dropped as soon as they entered. The numbers caught in this manner are almost incredible.

Nothing could exceed the civility of the country people. We were often invited into gardens, and we were welcomed in every village tillage by almost every man that saw us. They frequently entreat;d the gentlemen of the embassy to allow them the honour of ■ciiig their hosts; and sometimes Laid hold of their bridles, and Jid not permit them to pass till :bey had promised to breakfast with them on some future day, uid even confirmed the promise jy putting their hands between theirs.

From the nature of the country, the charms of which were heightened by novelty, and by the expectations we formed of the sights and incidents which we should meet with among so wild uul extraordinary a people, it may be supposed that these morning expeditions were pleasing and interesting. Our evening rides were not less delightful, when we went out among the gardens round the city, and admired the richness and repose of the landscape, contrasted with the gloomy magnificence of the surrounding mountains, which were often involved in clouds and tempests, while we enjoyed the quiet and sunshine of the plain. The gardens are usually embellished with buildings, among which the cupolas of MahoDHutifin tombs make a conspicuous figure. The chief objects of this nature are a lofty and spacious building, which ends in several high towers, and, at a distance, has an appearance of grandeur, which I believe it does not preserve on a nearer view ; a garden house, which has once been splendid, erected by Ali Mcrdaun Khaun, a Persian nobleman, who has filled the country from Meshhed to Dehli with monuments of his taste and magnificence: and

some considerable tombs and religious edifices, more remarkable from their effect in enlivening the prospects of the gloves, with which they are surrounded, than for any merit of their own.


(From Mr. Salt's Voyage to

Abyssinia J

The Makooa, or Makooana, as they are often called, comprise a people consisting of a number of very powerful tribes lying belaud Mosambique, which extend northward as far as Melinda, and southward to the mouth of the river Zambezi, while hordes of the same nation are to be found in a south-west direction, perhaps almost to the neighbourhood of the Kaffers bordering on the Cape of Good Hope. A late traveller in that settlement mentions them as a tribe of Kaffers, and says the name is derived from the Arabic language, signifying— "workers in iron." In this he is surely mistaken, as the Makooa are Negroes, which the Kaffers are not, and as there is no word in Arabic bearing such a signification. Still his notice of the name is satisfactory, as it tends to prove that such a people has been heard of by the Kaffers, which thus establishes the link of connection between the tribes of the Cape and the Mosambique.

The Makooa are a strong ath-letic race of people, very formidable, and constantly in the habit of making incursions into the small tract of territory which the Portuguese possess on- the coast. Their enmity is inveterate, and is confessed to have arisen from the shameful practices of the traders who have gone among them to purchase slaves. They fight chiefly with spears, darts, and poisoned arrows; but they also possess no inconsiderable number of musquets, which they procure in the northern districts from the Arabs, and very frequently, as the !Go« vernor assured me, from the Portuguese dealers themselves; who, in the eager pursuit of wealth, are thus content to barter their own security for the gold, slaves, and ivory, which they get in return.

These obnoxious neighbours have latterly been quiet, but in their last incursion they advanced with such a force into the peninsula of Cabaceiro, as actually to oblige the Portuguese to quit the field. In their progress they destroyed the plantations, burnt the slave-huts, and killed or carried off every person who fell into their hands. They penetrated even into the fort of Mesuril and threw down the image of St. John which was in the chapel, plundered the one adjoining the Governmenthouse, and converted the priest's dress in which he celebrates mass into a habit of ceremony for their chief. This occurred about three years ago, and most clearly evinces the very weak and precarious state of this settlement.

The only force on an adequate scale which the Portuguese have to oppose these marauders, is derived from the .alliance of certain tribes on the coast, who speak the same language as the Makooa, but who early fell under the jurisdic. tion of the Arabs. These were

[ocr errors]

conquered by the Portuguese soon after the settlement of the colour, and were bound to render military service, besides the payment of a tribute in kind, which is now often commuted by the trifling present of a few limes. These tribes are ruled by chiefs, styled Sheiks, whose appointment depends on the Governor of Mowtabique. Several of them are very powerful, and have, extensive jurisdiction, but their support is not much to be relied upon, from their rarely acting in unison.

The principal chiefs amoic these are the Sheiks of Quintaogone, St. Cul, and the Sovereign of Sereima. The latter was at this time a queen, and much attached to the Portuguese, being' then on a visit at Mosambique: she commands a large district, and can bring fifteen hundred men into the field. The Sheik of Quintangone is still more powerful: his district lies north of Mosambiqus, and he is said to command four at five thousand men capable of bearing arms. His predecessor was for a long time at enmity with the Portuguese, and frequently committed great ravages in the peninsula of Caba<jeiro, which b entered by way of Saue Sou.'u At length he fell into the hands of a Portuguese detachment, and was. by the order of the ruling governor, shot off from the mouth of a cannon, an example which was thought necessary to strike the neighbouring chieftains with awe. To the south of Mosambique lies the district of St. Cul, which supplies about three thousand fighting men. The Sheik of this district died about a month befort I arrived at Mosambique, and a successor

lessor had not been appointed, as he Governor did not feel himself lufficiently acquainted with the •tote of affairs to sanction the person who had assumed that situaiou without farther inquiry.— 3ven the united force of these hief's id scarcely adequate to resist he furious attacks of theMakooa.

I n addition to the bodily strength if the Makooa, may be added the leformity of their visage, which rreafly augments the ferocity of heir aspect. They are very fond )f tattooing their skhis, and they practise it so rudely, that they ometimes raise the marks an eighth of an inch above the surface. The fashion most in vogue s to make a stripe down the forehead along the nose to the chin, iiid another in a direct angle aToss from ear to car, indented in i peculiar way, so as to give the "ace the appearance of its having aeen sewed together in four parts. 1'hey file their teeth to a point, in i manner that gives the whole set .he appearance of a coarse saw, ind this operation, tomy surprise, Iocs not injure either their whiteless or durability. They are. likevise extremely fantastic in the node of dressing their hair; some have only one side of the head, <thers both sides, leaving a kind if crest extending from the top o the nape of the neck, while a ew are content to wear simply a uiot on the top of their foreheads. They bore the gristle of the nose, mil suspend to it ornaments made >f copper or of bone. The profusion of their upper lip is more conspicuous than in any other ■ace of men I have seen, and the •vomen in particular consider it as >o necessary a feature to beauty,


that .they take especial cave to elongate it by introducing into the .centre a small circular piece of ivory, wood, or iron, as an additional ornament. The form cf the females approximates to that of the Hottentot women, the spine being curved and the hinder parts protruding; and indeed, to: say the truth, it is scarcely possible to conceive a mine disagreeable object to look at than a middle-aged woman belongin^.to a tribe ofthe Makooa.

Wild as the Makooa are in their savage state, it is astonishing to observe how docile and serviceable they become as slaves, and when partially admitted to freedom, by being enrolled as soldiers, how quickly their improvement advances, and how thoroughly their fidelity may be relied on.— Among other inquiries, I was anxious to learn whether they en-» tertained any notion of a Deity j if they do, it must be an extremes ly obscure one, as they have no other word in their language to express the idea but "wherimb," which signifies also the sky. This remark is equally applicable to the Monjou, who in the same way apply the word "molungo,'' sky, to their imperfect apprehension of the Deity.

The Makooa are fond of music and dancing, and are easily made happy with the sound of the tomtom, yet, like all savages, their unvaried tones and motions soon fatigue European attention. They have a favourite instrument called 'Ambira,' the notes of which are. very simple yet harmonious, sound' ing to the ear, when skilfully managed, like the changes upon bells. It is formed by a. number. 8 M of of thin bars of iron of different lengths, highly tempered, and set in a row on a hollow case of wood, about five inches square, closed on three sides, and is generally played upon with a piece of quill. One of these instrument! which I brought to England has twenty of these bars. There is another described in Purchas that had only nine, which also diners in some other respects from the one I have just mentioned. As the description of this in old English is characteristic, I shall here give it to the reader.—" Another instrument they have called also ' Ambira,' all of iron wedges, flat and narrow, a span long, tempered in the fire to differing sounds. They are but nine set in a row, with the ends in a piece of wood as in the necke of a viole, and hollow, on which they play with their thumbe nailes, which they wearc long therefore, as lightly as men with us on the virginals, and is bettej musicke."



(From the tame.J

From the preceding narrative Of affairs it will appear, that, on my former journey I had entertained an erroneous opinion respecting the character of the Ras, As, at that time, I conceived that he owed his elevation more "to his cunning than to his strength of character." In this I was undoubtedly mistaken; since he is

distinguished still more for his in trepidity and firmness than by ti f policy with which he has uniformly ruled the country under his command} having been successfully engaged in upwards of forty battles, and having evinced on these occasions even too great t disregard of his own personal safety in action.

At the time of Mr. Bruce's arrival in the country, in 1770, R** Welled Selasse was a young man of some consequence about the court, so that, considering him n that time to have been three or four and twenty, his age must, at the period of my last > isit :o the country, have amounted to about sixty-four; a point somewhat difficult of proof from tie extreme delicacy which existed of making any inquiries of this description among his followers.— The first situation he held of any importance, and which undoubtedly led to his greatness, was that of Balgudda, or protector of the salt caravans, which come up from the plains of Assa Durwa; an office always conferring considerable consequence on its possessor, owing to his being entitled to a duty on every load of salt imported into the country, and from the power which it gives him of withholding this very necessary article of consumption as well as of barter, from the interior province*. This situation he received during the short government of his father, Kefla Yasous, over the province of Tigre\ On the return of Ras Michael* to the command, tie


• Tke following anecdotes respecting thia ectraordinary mu nay prom accepuaW t» Ctctt reader, who admires thai try ably draws, character giren of ami bv Mr. Brwt.—

« PreviousContinue »