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when their whole force is raised, which seldom happens, they can bring to the field 4000 horse, and a great number of foot: they were, however, once much more powerful ; several unsuccessful battles, and the perpetual inroads of the Galla, have much diminished their strength. The country, indeed, is still full of inhabitants; but from their history we learn, that one clan, called Zeegam, maintained singly a war against the king himself, from the time of Socinios to that of Yasous the Great, who, after all, overcame them by surprise and stratagem ; and that another clan, the Denguis, in like manner maintained the war against Facilidas, Hannes I. and Yasous II. all of them active princes. Their riches, however, are still greater than their power, for though their province in length is no where fixty miles, nor half that in breadth, yet Gondar, and all the neighbouring country, depend for the necessaries of life, cattle, honey, butter, wheat, hides, wax, and a number of such articles, upon the Agows, who come constantly in succesfion, a thousand and fifteen hundred at a time, loaded with these commodities, to the capital. As the dependence upon the Agows is for their produce ra. ther than on the forces of their country, it has been a maxim with wise princes, to compound with them for an additional tribute, instead of their military service ; the necessities of the times have sometimes altered these wise regulations, and between their attachment to Fasil, and afterwards to Ras Michael, they have been very much reduced, whereby the state hath suffered.

It may naturally be supposed, that in a long carriage, such as that of a hundred miles in such a climate, butter must melt, and be in a state of fusion, consequently very near putreface tion ; this is prevented by the root of an herb, called Mocmoco, yellow in colour, and in a Shape nearly resembling a carrot; this they bruise and mix with their butter, and a very small quantity preserves it frelh for a considerable time ; and this is a great saving and convenience, for, supposing salt wats employed, it is very doubtful if it would answer the intent-tion ; besides, falt is a money in this country, being circulated in the form of wedges, or bricks ; it serves the silver coin, and is the change of gold : so that this herb is of the utmost use in preventing the increase in price of this nec

essary

pose of

effary article, which is the principal food of all ranks of peo. ple in this country.

Besides the market of Gondar, the neighbouring black favages,' the woolly-headed Shangalla, purchase the greatest part of these commodities from them, and many others, which they bring from the capital when they return thence ; they receive in exchange elephants' teeth, rhinoceros' horns, gold in small pellets, and a quantity of very fine cotton, of which goods they might receive a much greater quantity, were they content to cultivate trade in a fair way, without making inroads upon these favages for the sake of Naves, and thereby disturbing them in their occupations of seeking for gold and hunting the elephant.

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The clothing of the Agows is all of hides, which they soften and manufacture in a method peculiar to theinselves, and this they wear in the rainy feason, when the weather is cold, for here the rainy seasons are of long duration and violent, which still increases the nearer you approach the Line. The younger fort are chiefly naked, the married women carrying their children about with them upon their backs; their clothing is like a shirt down to their feet, and girded with a belt or girdle about their middle ; the lower part of it resembles a large double petticoat, one ply of which they turn back over their shoulders, fastening it with a bro :h, or skewer, across their breast before, and carrying their children in it behind. The women are generally thin, and, like the men, below the middle size. There is no such thing as barrenness known among them. They begin to bear children before eleven ; they marry generally about that age, and are mare riageable two years before : they close child bearing before they are thirty, though there are several instances to the con. trary.

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Belides what they sell, and what they pay to the governor of Damot, the Agows have a particular tribute which they present to the king : one thousand dabra of honey, each dabra containing about fixty pounds weight, being a large earthen vessel. They pay, moreover, fifteen hundred oxen

and

and 1000 ounces of gold; formerly the number of jars of honey was four thousand, but several of these villages being daily given to private people by the king, the quantity is diminished by the quota fo alienated. The butter is all sold; and, since the fatal battle of Benja, the king's Mare comes only to about one thousand jars. The officer that keeps the accounts, and sees the rents paid, is called Agow Miziker; his post is worth one thousand ounces of gold; and by this it may be judged with what economy this revenue is collected.

Though Mr. Bruce had with him two large tents sufficient for his people, he was advised to take possession of the houses to secure their mules and horses from thieves in the night, as also from the assaults of wild beasts, of which the country is full. Almost every small collection of houses has behind it a large cave, or subterraneous dwelling, dug in the rock, of a prodigious capacity, and which must have been a work of great labour. It is not poffible at this diitance of time, to say whether these caverns were the ancient habitation of the Agows when they were Troglodytes, or whether they were intended for retreats upon any alarm of an irruption of the Galla into their country,

On the oth of November, Mr. Bruce having finished his memorandum relating to these remarkable places, traced again on foot the whole course of this river from its source to the plain of Goutto. He was unattended by any one, having with him only two hunting dogs, and his gun in his hand. The quantity of game of all sorts, especially the deer kind, was, indeed, surprising ; but though he was, as usual, a very fuccessful sportsman, he was obliged, for want of help, to leave each deer where he fell. They feep in the wild oats, and do not rise till you are about to tread upon them, and then stare at you for half a minute before they attempt to

run off,

Our travellers having now finifhed their business, nothing remained but to depart. They had passed their time in perfect harmony ; the address of Woldo, and the great attachment of their friend Irepone, had kept their house in a cheer

ful

ful abundance. They had lived, it is true, too magnificently for philosophers, but neither idly nor riotously ; and he believes never will any sovereign of Geesh be again so popular, or reign over his subjects with greater mildness. Mr. Bruce had practised medicine gratis, and killed, for three days fuccessively, a cow each day for the poor and the neighbours. He had clothed the high priest of the Nile from head to foot. as also his two sons, and decorated two of his daughters with beads of all the colours of the rainbow, adding every other little present they seemed fond of, or that our travellers thought would be agreeable. As for their amiable Irepone, they had reserved for her the choicest of their presents, the most valuable of every article they had with them, and a large proportion of every one of them ; they also gave her fome' gold ; but she, more generous and nobler in her sentiments than they, seemed to pay little attention to these that announced to her the separation from her friends ; she tore her fine hair, which she had every day before braided in a newer and more graceful manner ; she threw herself upon the ground in the house, and refused to see our travellers mount on horseback, or take their leave, and came not to the door till they were already set out, then followed them with her good wishes and her eyes as far as Me could see or be beard.

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Mr. Bruce, took his Teave of Kefla Abay, the venerable priest of the most famous river in the world, who recommended him with great earneftness to the care of his God, which, as one of our travellers humouroufly ennugh observed, meant nothing less than he hoped the devil would take him. All the young men in the village, with lances and fields, at. tended them to Saint Michael Sacala, that is, to the borders. of their country, and end of Mr. Bruce's little sovereignty..

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Dda

TRAVELS

TRAVELS

TO DISCOVER THE

SOURCE OF THE NILE.

BOOK VII.

RETURN FROM THE SOURCE OF THE NILE TO GONDAR :

MR. BRUCE PREPARES TO LEAVE ABYSSINIA.

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in their return to Gondar, and paffed the Abay, under the church of St. Michael Sacala. The next day, they continued their journey in their former road, and in the after noon they halted at the house of Shalaka Welled Amlac, with whom Mr. Bruce was well acquainted at Gondar ; his house is called Welled Abea Abbo, from a church of Abbo about an eighth part of a mile distant,

Here Mr. Bruce settled with his former guide Woldo, to his perfect satisfaction, and cancelled entirely the memory of fome disagreeable things that had pafted. He then configned our travellers very folemnly to Ayto Aylo's servant, in prefence of Welled Amlac, and then took his leave.

On the 12th of November, having settled their account with their host they set out from the hospitable house of Shalaka Welled Amlac. At the house of Welled Amlac Mr. Bruce was made acquainted with a peculiar custom which prevails through all Maitsha and the country. A stranger, to establith a relationship in every family where he is hospitably en

tertained

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