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We shall be excused for not dwelling on the transactions at Massowa, which present very little variety from the usual detail of delays and extortions on the part of the Nayib and his people, to which we have been so accustomed by Bruce's and Mr. Salt's former narratives. In one respect, however, Mr. S. was more fortunate than the experience of prior occasions might have led him to hope; for the Nayib and his two sons, • laying aside their excessive rapacity in endeavouring to extort presents, were very obliging, and seemed to possess many valuable qualities, particularly the eldest, Hamed, whose conduct with regard to his family appeared to be very exemplary.' . On the 25th of February, with a pleasure somewhat similar to that expressed by Gil Blas, when he escaped from the robbers' cave,' Mr. S. quitted Arkeeko, and commenced his journey into the interior; in company with a party which he describes as being probably the largest that had ever left the coast since the time of the Portuguese expeditions in the 17th century. Of these, besides Mr. Salt himself and Messrs. Pearce and Coffin, only two were Englishmen, viz. Mr. Smith the surgeon, and a servant named Thomas Ingram; three were Arabs, and about a hundred were Abyssinians, mostly followers of the Ras. Fourteen only, of the whole company, were furnished with fire-arms and spears, the others carried merely slings, knives, and short heavy sticks.' It is not our intention to follow the author closely in this expedition : but, giving briefly the dates of his principal operations, for the sake of connection, we shall think that we are consulting both our own ease and our reader's pleasure by henceforwards abandoning the thread of our narrative, and selecting only such particulars from the remainder of the work as are either most curious in themselves or will best suit with the prescribed limits of our undertaking. Pursuing the road by Dixan and Adowa, Mr. Salt and his suite arrived on the 14th of March at Chelicut; the place which the Ras had appointed for the reception of his mission, and where he was found according to his engagement. Here Mr. Salt first became fully acquainted with the impossibility (as already mentioned) of his proceeding to Gondar; and between this place and Antalo he remained during the rest of March and the whole of April, with the exception of about ten days which were spent in an excursion to the banks of the river Tacazze. On the 2d of May, he took leave of the Ras at Antalo, and finally departed from Chelicut on the 5th ; whence, rejoining his former track after having visited Giralta and the pass of Atbara, he again reached Arkeeko on the 23d, embarked at Massowa on the 4th of June, and landed at Mocha on the roth of the same month. It is evident from this outline
of his expedition that he was not enabled to see much of the country that was absolutely new to him, except on his short excursion to the Tacazze : but he made the best of the opportunities which were afforded him for strengthening his former acquaintance with Abyssinia and its inhabitants; and, accordingly, his present work will tend more than any that has hitherto been published to familiarize the reader with that interesting portion of Africa.
It is not the least pleasing, nor (with a view to future intercourse) the least important part of the information here communicated to us, which arises from the renewal of our acquaintance with particular individuals noticed by the author on his former journey; and the first that occurs to us is the venerable Baharnegash Yasous, who, as ruler of the north-eastern districts of Abyssinia, is the personage, next to the Nayib himself, of most immediate consequence to the European traveller :
• At one o'clock we arrived near Dixan, and rode up immediately to my former habitation, situated at the bottom of the hill on which the town is built. Here the Baharnegash Yasous came out to receive us, and greeted us with the hearty welcome of an old acquaintance. The venerable aspect of this respectable chief, his mild and agreeable manners, and the remembrance of the services he had rendered us on a former occasion, added a peculiar gratification to our meeting, and the plentiful stock of maiz and other good cheer hospitably provided for our entertainment, after the hard fare we had been obliged to rest satisfied with on our journey, raised the whole party before evening into yery exhilarating spirits. .
• March 4. - At the break of day the well known sound of the Baharnegash's voice calling his family to prayers excited my attention, when I immediately arose and joined his party. At this moment, the interval of four years, which had elapsed since my former visit, appeared like a mere dream. --The prayers which he recited consisted of the same words, were pronounced in the same tone, and were offered up with the same fervour of devotion which I had before so often listened to with delight : and, when the ceremony was concluded, the good old man delivered out his orders for the day with a patriarchal simplicity and dignity of manner that was really affecting to contemplate.'
At his return to Massowa, this amiable old man insisted on accompanying our traveller to the limits of his jurisdiction on the summit of the frontier mountain Assauli; and Mr. Salt takes leave of him with the following eulogium :
Among all the men with whom I have ever been intimately acquainted, I consider this old man as one of the most perfect and blameless characters. His mind seemed to be formed
purest principles of the Christian religion ; his every thought and action appearing to be the result of its dictates. He would often, to ease his mule, walk more than half the day; and as he journeyed by my side,
continually recited prayers for our welfare and future prosperity. On all occasions he sought to repress in those around him every improper feeling of anger ; conciliated them by the kindest words, and excited them by his own example to an active performance of their several duties. If a man were weary, he would assist him in carrying his burthen; if he perceived any
of the mules' backs to be hurt, he would beg me to have them 'relieved; and constantly, when he saw me engaged in shooting partridges or other birds, he would call out to them to fly out of the way ; shaking his head and begging me in a mournful accent not to kill them. I have remarked in my foriner journal, that with all this refined feeling of humanity, he was far from being devoid of courage, and I had opportunity subsequently of witnessing several instances of his bravery, though he appeared on all occasions peculiarly anxious to avoid a quarrel. At the present time he was at variance with the Nayib of Massowa, and therefore did not think it right to venture farther towards the coast.
On bis going away I presented him with an hundred dollars, and a small piece of broad cloth to make a kaftan, and we parted, I believe, with mutual regret ; at least for my own part I can truly say, that I have seldom felt more respect for an individual than I did for this worthy man.' * In his progress from Adowa to Chelicut, Mr. Salt was induced, by the persuasion of Ayto Debib, the principal Abyssinian in his suite, to pay a visit to the Ozoro Asquall, the lady in command of the district, daughter of Ayto Manasseh, and wife of a certain chief of the country of Temben with whom the Ras had forced her into a second marriage. According to the custom which prevailed, she retained possession of her family-estates, together with her maiden name, notwithstanding her marriage. The description of this visit may serve as a pendant to Mr. Bruce's adventures with the court ladies at Koscam; and, from this account, it should seem that a traveller, with sufficient leisure and inclination, needs not despair of rendering himself equally agreable to the Ethiopian fair with the successful Yagoube :
« Though our arrival was quite unexpected, she received us with great attention ; and, on our entrance, introduced us to her husband, who happened at this time to be on a visit to her : he appeared to be a young man of mild and agreeable manners, but was said to possess no very extraordinary ability. The lady herself was tolerably handsome, but was seen to great disadvantage, owing to the family being in deep mourning, on account of the death of Ayto Manasseh ; it being usual on such occasions to disfigure the person as much as possible, in proof of the sincerity of their grief: in fact, it may be considered as a sort of scriptural mourning which is practised in this country, both men and women clothing themselves, literally, in " sackcloth and ashes.” Our hostess was, at the time of our introduction, engaged in giving a fast dinner' to some of her dependants, as is customary during the season of Lent, which the higher classes of Abyssmians ebserve with strict and scrupulous attention,
In the evening a second repast was prepared for our party, and the lady, as well as the husband, partook freely with us of the maiz. The former appeared to be of a remarkably gay and cheerful disposition, and not particularly reserved in her manners; frequently interchanging cups with her friend, Mr. Pearce, across the table, and evidently expressing regret at the restraint imposed by her husband's presence : the whole scene, indeed, though not uncommon in other countries, afforded a striking instance of the superiority which ladies of rank in Abyssinia are accustomed to assume over their husbands. A trilling circumstance that took place in the course of our conviviality contributed much to my amusement: I had given a ring to our hostess and another to her spouse, but the lady not being satisfied with the one she possessed, managed by artful endearments to coax her husband out of the other, telling him, among other reasons to induce him to comply, that, “ if he would not part with it, it would be plain he loved the ring better than herself !”,
Mr. Salt's reception by the Ras was, as we have already intimated, of the most flattering kind :
• All the chiefs who were present stood up uncovered on our en. trance. The old man himself, who was seated on his couch, rose up with eagerness to receive me, like a man suddenly meeting with a long lost friend, and, when I made niy salutation, joy seemed to glisten in his eyes, while he welcomed me with an honest warmth and cordiality that nothing but genuine and undiguised feeling could inspire. A seat was immediately pointed out for me on his left hand, which is considered as the second place of distinction; the one on his right hand being occupied by Kasimaj Yasous, a brother of the reigning Einperor. This prince was fairer than the generality of his countrymen, the features of his face were very regular and handsome, and he appeared to be extremely courteous in his manners. The Ras himself did not seem to have been much altered during my absence, and the pleasure which he evidently manifested at our meeting was exceedingly gratifying to the whole of our party. He inquired with great anxiety respecting my health, and declared, that he had always felt a kind of presentiment that he should see me once again before he died. After a few more compliments, customary on a first meeting, had been interchanged, a repast was set before us, which had been prepared for the occasion ; and we were then conducted to a house fitted
for my reception, which had for some time before been inhabited by Mr. Pearce, and possessed better accommodations than are generally to be met with in an Abyssinian habitation.'
In the journal of his former expedition, Mr. Salt had described the Ras, according to his then conception of that prince’scharacter, as owing his elevation more to his cunning than to his strength of character.' He now recants that opinion, and candidly acknowleges that this chief is distinguished still more for his intrepidity and firmness than by the 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 a disregard of his own personal safety in action.?
At the time of Mr. Bruce's arrival, in 1770, Ras Welled Selassé was a young man of some consequence about the court;' whence the author concludes that, at the period of his last
visit, the Ras could not be less than 64 years old. His father, Kefla Yasous, governed the province of Tigréfor a short time previous to the return of Ras Michael into that district; when the son withdrew to the fastnesses, and continued to carry on a predatory warfare till the death of the old lion, as the former is emphatically styled in the country.'
• During this period, while Ras Michael was seeking his life, he challenged any two chiefs in the army opposed to him to fight on horseback; and two men of distinguished bravery having been made choice of for the purpose, he went down into the plain to meet them, and killed both with his own hand ; possessing, notwithstanding his small and delicate form, such peculiar skill in the management of two spears on horseback, that it was said in the country to be unequalled. This unexampled exploit raised his character as a warrior to the highest pitch.
On the succession of Degusmati Gabriel to the government of Tigré, Walled Selassé was treacherously made a prisoner at Adowa, but shortly afterward escaped from the place of his confinement and sought refuge with the Galla, who received him with open arms.
After the death of Gabriel, he again entered Tigré, in opposition to a rival claimant, whom he defeated in several battles, and declared himself “ Governor of all the provinces eastward of the Tacazze." In this high situation, he successively espoused the cause of three of the ephemeral sovereigns of Abyssinia, whose names are recorded in Mr. Salt's former relation, and received from them in return the confirmation of his assumed dignities; and, finally, he agreed with Guxo, the governor of Gojam, to place on the throne the present emperor, Ayto Egwala Sion, who still remains (or did at the time of Mr. So's last visit at Antalo) neglected at Gondar, with a very small retinue of servants, and an income by no means adequate to the support of his dignity; so that, as he possesses neither wealth, power, nor influence in the state, royalty may be considered for a time as almost eclipsed in the country.'
The duties of the Ras's office, and the competency of Welled Selassé to the faithful discharge of them, are thus summed up by the traveller :
* Mr. Salt has given, in a note, two or three interesting characteristic anecdotes of the old lion, for which we regret our inability to make room.