A Native of Bornoo

NICHOLAS SAID, at the time of his enlistment in the army of the Union, during the third year of the great Rebellion, was about twenty-eight years of age, of medium height, somewhat slenderly built, with pleasing features, not of the extreme negro type, complexion perfectly black, and quiet and unassuming address.

He became known to the writer while serving in one of our colored regiments ; and attention was first directed to his case by the tattooing on his face, and by the entry in the company descriptive book, which gave Africa ” as his birthplace.

Inquiry showed that he was more or less acquainted with seven different languages, in addition to his native tongue ; that he had travelled extensively in Africa and Europe, and that his life had been one of such varied experience as to render it interesting both on that account and also on account of the mystery which surrounds, notwithstanding recent explorations, the country of his birth.

At the request of those who had been from time to time entertained by the recital of portions of his history, he was induced to put it in writing. The narrative which follows is condensed from his manuscript, and his own language has been retained as far as possible.

Reader, you must excuse me for the mistakes which this article will contain, as you will bear in mind that this language in which I am now trying to write is not my mother tongue ; on the other hand, I never had a teacher, nor ever was at school for the purpose of acquiring the English. The only way I learned what little of the language I know was through French books.

I was born in the kingdom of Bornoo, in Soodan, in the problematic central part of Africa, so imperfectly known to the civilized nations ot Europe and America.

Soodan has several kingdoms, the country of the Fellatahs and Bornoo being the most powerful, — the territorial extent of the latter being some 810,000 square miles.

These nations are strict Mohammedans, having been converted some two or three centuries ago by the Bedouin Arabs and those from Morocco, who, pushed by want of riches, came to Soodan to acquire them. Different languages are found in each nation, some written and some not; but the Arabic is very much in use among the higher class of people, as the Latin is used by the Catholic priests. Especially the Koran is written in Arabic, and in my country no one is allowed to handle the Sacred Book unless he can read it and explain its contents.

Bornoo, my native country, is the most civilized part of Soodan, on account of the great commerce carried on between it and the Barbary States of Fezzan, Tunis, and Tripoli. They export all kinds of European articles to Central Africa, and take gold-dust, ivory, &C., in return.

Bornoo has had a romantic history for the last one hundred years. The whole of Soodan, more than two thousand miles in extent, was once under the Maïs of Bornoo ; but by dissensions and civil wars nearly all the tributaries north of Lake Tchad were lost. In 1809 a shepherd arose from the country of the Fellatahs and assumed the title of Prophet. He said to the ignorant portion of his countrymen, that Allah had given him orders to make war with the whole of Soodan, and had promised him victory. They believed his story, and the legitimate king was dethroned and the false prophet, Otman Danfodio, was proclaimed Emperor of the Fellatahs. The impostor went at once to work, and in less than two years conquered almost the whole of Soodan, excepting Kanem, a tributary to my country. Bornoo, after a manly effort, was compelled by force of arms to submit to the yoke of the Fellatahs.

In 1815 Bornoo arose from its humiliating position, to shake off the yoke of Danfodio. Mohammed el Anim el Kanemy, the Washington of Bornoo, was the man who undertook to liberate his country and restore her former prestige. This immortal hero could collect from the villages of Bornoo but a few hundreds of horsemen ; but in Kanem he got eight hundred men, and accepted an engagement with the enemy. He gained the first victory, and took such good advantage of his success, that in the space of two months he won forty battles, drove the enemy entirely out of Bornoo, and captured a great many places belonging to the Fellatahs.

At the close of the war, El Kanemy found himself at the head of twentyeight thousand horsemen, and the real ruler of Bornoo. Like all great men, he refused the sceptre, and, going to the legitimate heir of the throne, Maïs Barnoma, told him he was at his disposal. Barnoma, notwithstanding the noble actions of El Kanemy, was jealous of his fame, and tried a plan to dispose of him, which he thought would be best, and of which the public would not suspect him. Accordingly he wrote to the king of Begharmi, promising to pay the expenses of his troops, and some extra compensation beside, if he would make as though he were really at war with Bornoo. He agreed to the proposal, and crossed with his army the great river Shary, the natural frontier of the two kingdoms. El Kanemy was then in the city of Kooka, which he had built for himself. He heard finally of the war between Bornoo and Begharmi, and, hastily calling out his ancient veterans, he reported to Engornoo, where the king resided. The combined forces numbered some forty thousand men. El Kanemy knew nothing of the infamous act of the king ; but Allah, who protects the innocent and punishes the guilty, was smiling over him. The armies pitched their camps opposite to each other ; and the king of Begharmi sent a messenger with a letter to Maïs Barnoma, informing him that the heaviest assault would be made upon the left, and that, if he would give El Kanemy command there, the bravest of the assailants would surround and kill him at once. This letter the messenger carried to El Kanemy instead of the king, who, at once seeing the plot, immediately answered the important document, signing the name of Barnoma, and loading the messenger with presents of all descriptions for his master. The next morning El Kanemy went to the king and told him that the heaviest assault would be made on the right, and that he should not expose his precious life there. As Barnoma got no letter from the king of Begharmi, he thought El Kanemy was right, and acted accordingly.

The battle finally began, and the Sycaries of Begharmi, attacking the left where they thought El Kanemy was, surrounded Maïs Barnoma and killed him, supposing him El Kanemy. The battle, however, went on, and the king of Begharmi found out before long that he had killed the wrong lion. His army, in spite of their usual courage, were beaten, and obliged to recross the river Shary, at that place more than two miles wide, with a loss of half their number. The victorious army of El Kanemy also crossed the river, and, pursuing the retreating forces, captured Mesna, the capital of Begharmi, and drove the king into the country of Waday.

El Kanemy now found himself the absolute ruler of Bornoo, nor had that kingdom ever any greater ruler. Under his reign the nation prospered finely. He encouraged commerce with Northern and Eastern Africa, and, building a fleet of small vessels, sailed with a strong force against a tribe who inhabited the main islands of Lake Tchad, and who used to commit depredations upon the neighboring sections of Bornoo, and chastised them severely. These islanders are the finest type of the African race, possessing regular features, and large, expressive eyes, though they are the darkest of all Africans. El Kanemy also subdued many of the surrounding tribes and nations, until the population of Bornoo and its provinces amounted to nearly fifteen millions.

My father was the descendant of a very illustrious family. He was the first man who had a commission under El Kanemy when he went to Kanem to recruit his forces. He was made a Bagafuby, or captain of one hundred cavalry, and was in every engagement which El Kanemy went through. The name by which my father was known was Barca Gana.1 My great-grandfather was from Molgoi. He established himself in Bornoo many years ago, and was greatly favored by the monarchs of that country. My mother was a Mandara woman, the daughter of a chief. I was born in Kooka, a few years after the Waday war of 1831. We were in all nineteen children, twelve boys and seven girls. I was the ninth child of my mother. All my brothers were well educated in Arabic and Turkish. Two of them, Mustapha and Abderahman, were very rich, having acquired their wealth by trading in ivory and gold-dust. Both had been to Mecca as pilgrims. My father himself was rich, but when he was killed, our elder brother seized the greater part, and those who were not eighteen years of age had to leave their share in their mother’s hands. Five cleared farms and a considerable amount of gold fell to my share. I do not know how much the gold amounted to, but my mother used to tell me, that, when I got to be twenty years of age, I would have as much as either of my elder brothers.

After my father’s death I was given to a teacher to be instructed in my native tongue, and also in Arabic. In the space of three years I could read and write both languages. I was tried in my native tongue, and passed ; but I could not pass in Arabic, and my mother and uncle returned me to the teacher for eighteen months. I stayed the required time, and then was tried and passed.

I was then old enough to be circumcised. Three hundred boys went through the ceremony at once, and were then dressed in white clothes, and received according to custom a great many presents. Fifteen days we ate the best that Kooka had, the king himself giving us the best he had in his palace. This generally happens only to the sons of those who have distinguished themselves in the army, or, to explain myself better, to those of the military aristocracy. At the end of this time all of us went home. For my part, this was the first time I had slept in my father’s house for four years and seven months. I was very much welcomed by my mother, sisters, and brothers, and was a pet for some time.

After returning from school to my father’s house, I judge about four or five years afterwards, I was invited, in company with three of my brothers, by the eldest son of the governor of the province of Yaoori and Laree, who lived in the town of the latter name, to visit him. This part of the province is very charming. The forests are full of delicious game, and the lake of fish and beautiful aquatic birds : while in the dry seasons the woods and uncultivated plains are worthy to be called the garden of Eden. In my childhood I had quite a passion for hunting, one of my father’s great passions also. In spite of the efforts of my elder brothers to check me in it, I would persuade the other boys to follow me into the thick woods, to the danger of their lives and mine. My worthy mother declared several times that I would be captured by the Kindils, a wandering tribe of the desert. Her prophecy was fulfilled after all, unhappily for myself, and perhaps more so for those I had persuaded with me. While on the visit just spoken of, one day, —it was a Ramadan day, anniversary of the Prophet’s day,—I persuaded a great number of boys, and we went into the woods a great way from any village. We came across nests of Guinea fowl, and gathered plenty of eggs, and killed several of the fowl. We made fire by rubbing two pieces of dry stick together, and broiled the chickens and eggs. Then we proceeded farther, and came across a tree called Agoua, bearing a delicious kind of fruit. We all went up the tree, eating fruit and making a great deal of noise. We frolicked on that tree for many hours. Presently several of the boys told me they heard the neighing of horses. We then all agreed not to make so much noise, but we were just too late. In about a quarter of an hour we were startled by the cry, Kindil ! Kindil ! ” The boys who were nearest to the ground contrived to hide themselves in the thicket. It happened that I was higher than any one, and while coming down with haste, I missed my hold and fell, and lay senseless. When I opened my eyes, I found myself on horseback behind a man, and tied to him with a rope. Out of fortyboys, eighteen of us were taken captive. I wished then that it was a dream rather than a reality, and the warnings of my mother passed through my mind. Tears began to flow down my cheeks ; I not only lamented for myself, but for those also whom I persuaded into those wild woods. Meanwhile, our inhuman captors were laughing and talking merrily, but I could not understand them. About six hours’ ride, as I suppose, brought us to their camp. The tents were then immediately taken down, the camels loaded, and we started again, travelling night, and day for three long days, until we came to a temporary village where their chief was. After we got there we were all chained together, except four, who were taken pity upon, on account of their age and birth. It was then night, and nearly all the camp was under the influence of hashish, an intoxicating mixture made of hempseed and other ingredients, which when too much is eaten will intoxicate worse than whiskey, or even spirits of wine. While the robbers were drunk, we boys were consulting and plotting to run away. We succeeded in breaking the chains, and four of the oldest boys took their captors’ arms, cut their throats, jumped on their horses, and succeeded in making their escape. When it was found out, they gave each of us fifteen strokes in the hollows of our feet, because we did not inform them.

A little while after our comrades’ escape we started on again. This time we had to go on foot for five days, until we reached a town called Kashna, belonging to the Emperor of the Fellatahs, but situated in the country of Houssa, where we were all dispersed to see each other no more. Fortunately, none of my brothers were with me in the woods.

My lot was that of an Arab slave, for I was bought by a man named Abdel-Kader, a merchant of Tripoli and Fezzan. He was not an Arabian, however, but a brown-skinned man, and undoubtedly had African blood in his veins. He had at this time a large load of ivory and other goods waiting for the caravan from Kano and Saccatoo. This caravan soon came, and with it we started for Moorzook, capital of the pachalic of Fezzan. Although we numbered about five hundred, all armed except slaves who could not be trusted, a lion whom we met after starting, lying in our path, would not derange himself on our account, and we had to attack him. Twelve men fired into him. Four men he killed, and wounded five or six, and then escaped. He was hit somewhere, as they found blood where he lay, but it was not known where. When he roared, he scared all the horses and camels composing the caravan. Abd-el-Kader was one of those who attacked the lion, but he was not hurt.

Five days after we left Kashna, we came to the first oasis. Here the plains were all barren and sandy, but full of gazelles, antelopes, and ostriches. The principal tree growing here was the date-palm, and the water was very bad, tasting salty.

As the caravan travelled toward the east, the ground rose by degrees. If I am not mistaken, we passed five oases before we came into the country of Tibboo, a mountainous region between Bornoo and Fezzan, the inhabitants of which suffer considerably from the Kindils, though they are also robbers themselves. The capital of Tibboo is Boolma, built on a high mountain. I was disappointed when I saw the city, for I had heard that it was quite a large place. Laree, the smallest town in Bornoo, is a place of more importance. The people of Tibboo are of dark-brown complexion, and are noted in Soodan for their shrewdness. The day that the caravan happened to be at Boolma, two parties were in a warlike attitude about a fair maid whom each wished their chief to have for a wife. We did not stay long enough to see the issue of the fight, and two days’ journey took us out of the kingdom of Tibboo.

As soon as the oasis of Tibboo was left, the country became very rocky, — the rock being a kind of black granite ; and the Arabs had to make shoes for both their camels and slaves, for the rocks were very sharp, and if this precaution had not been taken, in a few hours their feet would have been so cut that they could not have proceeded farther. Some Arabs would rather lose four or five slaves than a single camel. They rode very seldom. In a journey of ten or twelve weeks I saw Abd-el-Kader ride but once, and the majority never rode at all.

In these rocky regions of the desert a great amount of salt is found also, — what is called in our language Kalboo, and I believe, in English, carbonate of soda. Soodan is supplied by the Moors and Kindils with salt from the desert. Sea-shells are also occasionally found in this region. After we left Tibboo fire was never allowed, even in the oases, but I do not know for what reason.

The mountainous regions of the desert passed, we came to a more level country, but it was not long before we saw other mountains ahead. As we passed over the last of them, we found them very dangerous from their steepness, and a few camels were lost by falling into the ravines. After passing this dangerous place, a sign of vegetation was seen, oases were more frequent, and at last forests of date-palm, the fruit of which forms the principal food of both the inhabitants of Fezzan and their camels, became abundant.

El Kaheni is the first town or human habitation seen after leaving Tibboo. It is a small walled town, like all other places in Fezzan. Here I first saw the curious way in which the Fezzaneers cultivate their land by irrigation. Each farm has a large well, wide at the top and sloping toward the bottom, out of which water is drawn by donkeys, and poured into a trough, from which it runs into small ditches. This process is renewed every few days until the crop no longer needs watering.

The people of El Kaheni were very courteous. I had a long talk with a young man, who gave me a description of the capital, Moorzook, but his story did not agree with that which Abd-elKader told me. I afterwards found that the young man’s story was correct. We left El Kaheni the next day, taking a large load of dates, superior to those of Soodan in size and sweetness. After three days’ journey we could see in the distance a large flag on a long pole, on the top of the English Consulate, the largest house in the metropolis of Fezzan. We passed several villages of trifling importance, and at about noon arrived within the walls of Moorzook. There the caravan dissolved, and each man went to his own house.

I found Moorzook to be not larger than a quarter of my native town of Kooka ; but the buildings were in general better, every house being of stone, though of course very poorly built in comparison with European dwellings. The city has four gates, one toward each cardinal point of the compass. The northern is the one by which the caravan entered ; the eastern is a ruin ; the southern, which is behind the Pacha’s palace, has mounted by it two guns of large calibre ; while the western, and the best of all, is situated near the barracks, which are fine buildings, larger even than the Pacha’s palace. The pachalic of Fezzan is a tributary of the Ottoman Porte, and the Pacha, a Turk, is very much hated by the Bedouins.

After reaching Abd-el-Kader’s house, I found that he was a poor man. The reader can form some idea from his living in the capital, and having but one wife, all his property consisting of a piece of land about two and a halt miles from the city, a few donkeys, ten camels, old and young, an Arab slave, and myself. While I was yet with him he bought also a young Fellatah girl. As soon as we arrived, he sent me with Hassan, his slave, to the farm, where I worked some fifteen days. I told him then that I was not used to such work, and prayed him to sell me to some Turk or Egyptian. He asked me what my father used to do, and I told him that he was a warrior and also traded in gold-dust and ivory. On hearing my father’s name he opened his eyes wide, and asked me why I did not tell him that in Soodan. He had known my father well, but had not seen him for fifteen rainy seasons. From that day Abd-el-Kader was very kind to me, and said he had a great notion to take me back. He, however, sold me after all to a young Turkish officer named Abdy Agra, an excellent young man, full of life and fun. This officer was always with the Pacha, and I believe was one of his aides. His wife was a Kanowry woman. He used to bring home money every night and often gave me some. After he had dressed me up, I accompanied him to the Pacha’s every day. He spoke my language very correctly, only with an accent, like all strangers trying to speak Kanowry, and he began to teach me Turkish. Strange to say, in Fezzan the Bornoo tongue is in great vogue, rich and poor speaking Kanowry. I stayed with Abdy Agra more than three months ; but one day he told me that he had to send me to his father in Tripoli. So long as I had to be a slave, I hated to leave so excellent a man, but I had to go. Accordingly, when the caravan was to start, he sent me in charge of Abd-el-Kader, the man from whom he had bought me. Before leaving the city we went to a house that I had never seen before, and had our names registered in a book by a very benevolent-looking man, who wore spectacles on his eyes, something I had never seen before, and which made me afraid of him. As we passed out of the city gate we were counted one by one by an officer.

On our arrival at Tripoli, Abd-elKader took me to an old house in a street narrow and dirty beyond description, where we passed the night. The next morning he went with me to my new master, Hadji Daoud, the father of Abdy Agra. When we found him he was sitting on a divan of velvet, smoking his narghile. He looked at that time to be about forty-five years old, and. was of very fine appearance, having a long beard, white as snow. Abd-el-Kader seemed well acquainted with him, for they shook hands and drank coffee together. After this we proceeded to the Turkish Bazaar, where I found that he was a merchant of tobacco, and had an extensive shop, his own property. Hadji Daoud had three wives ; the principal one was an Arabian, one was a native of my country, and one, and, to do her justice, the best looking of them all, was a Houssa girl. He believed in keeping a comfortable table, and we had mutton almost daily, and sometimes fowls. He had but one son, and he was far away. He told me that he intended to treat me as a son, and every day I went to the shop with him. He treated me always kindly, but madam was a cross and overbearing woman.

About this time my master started on his third pilgrimage to Mecca, leaving a friend in charge of his store, and taking me with him. We went by sail from Tripoli to Alexandria, touching at Bengazi. From Alexandria we went by cars to Ben Hadad, thence to Saida and Cairo, the capital of Egypt. From Cairo we travelled to Kartoom, at the forks of the Nile, and thence to Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia, where we stayed only twenty-four hours, my master being in continual fear of his life from the natives, who differed from him in belief, and then started for Zela, a port on the Red Sea. From Zela we sailed to Muscat, and thence proceeded to Mecca. I had not come of my own free will and for the express purpose of a pilgrimage, and therefore I was not permitted to go with Daoud to the grave of the Prophet, and was obliged to content myself without the title of Hadji, which is one much respected among the Mohammedans. We had returned as far as Alexandria on our way home, when my master was informed that his store and a great deal of property, in fact, all his goods and money, had been destroyed by fire. This made the good man almost crazy. He did not hesitate to tell me that he should have to sell me ; but said that he would take care that I should have a rich and good master, a promise which he kept. The next day, with the present of a good suit of clothes, I was put on board a vessel bound for Smyrna and Constantinople. I was to be landed at the former city. On this vessel was a young man of eighteen, one of the crew, who spoke my own language. I have heard it only twice, I think, since that time.

At Smyrna I was sold to a Turkish officer, Yousouf Effendi, a very wealthy man, and brother-in-law to the celebrated Reschid Pacha, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He had a great many houses in Smyrna, as well as Constantinople. We sailed the next day for the latter city in a man-of-war steamer, the Abdul Medjid. My duty was that of a Tchidboudji, which consists in filling and cleaning the pipes and narghiles. This was all that I had to do, while I was well dressed in cloths and silks, and had plenty of leisure time. After a service of eighteen months with Yousouf Effendi, he gave me to his younger brother, Yousouf Kavass, less wealthy than himself. This brother was, however, a very kind-hearted man, and treated his slaves, a Nubian, a native of Sennar, and myself, very kindly. While in this service I became known to Prince Mentchikoff, the Envoy Extraordinary of Russia at Constantinople, and was finally sold to him by my master. At the declaration of the Crimean war, after sending his things on board the Russian steamer Vladimir, the Prince started with despatches for his august master, via Corfu, Athens, Zara, Trieste, Vienna, Cracow, and Warsaw, to St. Petersburg. I accompanied him on the journey, and, as the despatches were of the utmost importance, we travelled with the greatest speed.

The house of my master, to which we went, in St. Petersburg, was situated on the Nevskoi Prospekt, the Broadway of the city, and was built of granite, in the Doric style, and very spacious. His family consisted of his wife, one son, and three daughters, while his servants numbered about thirty. The Prince, however, was not so immensely rich as some Russian aristocrats of his standing. Shortly after his arrival at St. Petersburg, Prince Mentchikoff was assigned to command in the army of the Crimea, and he hastened there, leaving me in St. Petersburg. After his departure, not being satisfied with the way in which the head servant treated me, I engaged service with Prince Nicholas Troubetzkoy.

This family, better known as Le Grand Troubetzkoy, are descendants of the Grand Duke of Lithuania. The Prince’s father was noted for skill and bravery in the war of 1828. The Troubetzkoys claim relationship with the Emperor of France, the Due de Morny, the half-brother of the Emperor, having married the daughter of Prince Serges Troubetzkoy.

Prince Nicholas was the youngest of five sons, and lived with his brother André, not far from the Italian theatre, both of them being single.

While in this service, I was baptized in St. Petersburg, November 12, 1855, into the Greek Church, my name being changed from Mohammed-Ali-Ben-Said to Nicholas Said. Prince Nicholas was my godfather. I shall always feel grateful, so long as I live, for Prince Nicholas’s kindness to me ; but I cannot help thinking that the way I was baptized was not right, for I think that I ought to have known perfectly well the nature of the thing beforehand. Still, it was a good intention the Prince had toward my moral welfare. After I was baptized he was very kind to me, and he bought me a solid gold cross to wear on my breast, after the Russian fashion. I was the Prince’s personal servant, going always in the carriage with him.

As the Czar Nicholas was godfather to the Prince, he had free access to the palace. Though he had several chances to become minister at some European court, he always refused, preferring to live a life of inaction. His health, however, was not very good, and he was very nervous. I have seen him faint scores of time in Russia ; but when he left Russia, his health began to improve very much.

Everybody acquainted with Russia knows that Czar Nicholas used to make all the aristocracy tremble at his feet. No nobleman, to whatever rank he might belong, could leave the country without his consent, and paying a certain sum of money for the privilege. This measure of the Czar was not very well liked by the nobility, but his will was law, and had to be executed without grumbling.

Prince Troubetzkoy had several times made application for permission to travel, but without success, so long as Czar Nicholas lived ; for he hated liberal ideas, and feared some of his subjects might, in the course of time, introduce those ideas from foreign countries into Russia.

The Prince passed the summer season outside of the city, a distance of about twenty-five versts, at a splendid residence of his own, a marble house about the size of the Fifth Avenue Hotel of New York City. Adjoining it was a small theatre, or glass house, containing tropical fruits, and a menagerie, where I first saw a llama, and the interior of the palace was lined with pictures and statues. It was a magnificent building, but was getting to be quite old, and the Prince used to talk of repairing it, though he remarked it would cost many thousand roubles. This estate contained many thousand acres, and four good-sized villages, and was about eight miles square. I had here some of the happiest days of my life.

About this time I went with the Prince to Georgia, — his brother-in-law, a general in that department, having been wounded by the Circassians under Schamyl. We reached Tiflis, the capital of Georgia, in January, and remained there until after the capture of Kars by the English and Turks. While in the Caucasus, the Prince visited some of the neighboring parts of Persia, including Teheran and some smaller towns, and he returned to Russia by way of Novgorod.

After the death of Czar Nicholas, Alexander, his successor, gave the Prince permission to travel where he chose, without limit of time, and on the 24th of February he started, goingfirst to Warsaw, and thence, via Cracow, to Vienna. Here I remained for two months, in charge of his effects, while he visited a sister in Pesth, in Hungary. On his return we went to Prague, and thence to Dresden. At this place, I was greatly bothered by the children. They said that they had never seen a black man before. But the thing which most attracted them was my Turkish dress, which I wore all the time in Europe. Every day, for the three weeks we remained in Dresden, whenever I went to take my walk I was surrounded by them to the number of several hundred. To keep myself from them, I used to ride in a carriage or on horseback, but this was too expensive. I thought the way I could do best was to be friendly with them. So I used to sit in the garden and speak with them, — that is, those who could understand French. They took a great liking to me, for I used sometimes to buy them fruits, candies, and other things, spending in this way a large amount. Prince Troubetzkoy had a brother, Prince Vladimir, living in Dresden, a very handsome and a very excellent man, but suffering from consumption. He treated me very kindly, and when we left gave me several very interesting books, both religious and secular.

From Dresden we went to Munich, thence to Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Coblenz, Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, Brussels, and Ostende; then, returning to Brussels, visited the field of Waterloo, and proceeded to Switzerland, passing through Berne, Interlachen, over the Jura and St. Gothard’s, to Zurich. From Zurich we went to Como in Lombardy, where the Prince’s eldest brother, Alexander, had a villa on the borders of the lake. After a short stay here, we went on to Verona, and then to Milan, where I was left while the Prince made a short visit to Venice. Here, while left alone, I did not behave as well as I might have done, sometimes drinking too much, and spending my money foolishly. Here also I saw, for the first time since leaving Africa, a countryman. He was named Mirza, and was born about thirty-five miles from Kooka, my native place. He was considerably older than I, and had been away from Africa some fifteen years. He was waiting on a Venetian Marquis whose name I have forgotten.

After a stay of four weeks in Milan, we started, via Genoa, Leghorn, and Pisa, for Florence. Here I attended my master at two levees, — one at the palace of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, where I believe I had a better time than the Prince, and the other at Prince Demidoff’s. This latter gentleman is a very wealthy Russian, and is very widely known. He is not a nobleman in Russia, however, but has his title from the Grand Duke. He is well known for the disagreeable propensity he has for beating his servants. While he was in Vienna he was worsted in an attempt to chastise a Hungarian footman, but he would not quit the practice, and has paid several fines imposed by law in consequence.

Our next stopping-place was Rome, where the Prince remained for the winter, making meanwhile a short visit to Naples, and leaving in the spring for Paris. We were in Paris when the Prince Imperial was born, and stayed until his christening, which was a very important day there. I remember well the wonder of a young Russian servant-girl, that France should have still so many soldiers as appeared in the procession, — a fraction only, of course, of her army,—after losing so many in the Crimea. The Prince always took a great pride in dress, both for himself and his servants, and particularly here. I was always dressed in Turkish costume, embroidered with gold, and never costing less than two or three hundred dollars.

After a three months’ stay in Paris we went to London, where the Prince took rooms at a first-class boardinghouse ; but he was invited almost all the time to different country seats, where I had very gay times, for the English servants live better than any in Europe.

At the conclusion of his English visit, the Prince returned to Baden-Baden, this time renting a house. While there Napoleon III. passed through the place on his way to meet the Czar Alexander; and Prince Troubetzkoy was summoned to Frankfort-on-the-Main to attend on the latter. Here I was one day told by the Prince to dress myself in my best, and go to the Russian Ambassador’s to wait on the Emperor at dinner. There were present beside the two Emperors, the King of Wurtemberg, the Grand Dukes of Baden, Hesse Darmstadt, and Nassau, the Ministers of France and Belgium, the Burgomaster of Frankfort, Messrs, Rothschild, and many others. A splendid dinner was served at six o’clock, the usual Russian dinner-hour, and was followed by a ball, which continued until two in the morning. A day previous to the monarch’s departure Prince GortchakofF handed my master thirty thalers as a present for me.

About this time I began to think of the condition of Africa, my native country, how European encroachments might be stopped, and her nationalities united. I thought how powerful the United States had become since 1776, and I wondered if I were capable of persuading the kings of Soodan to send several hundred boys to learn the arts and sciences existing in civilized countries. I thought that I would willingly sacrifice my life, if need be, m realizing my dreams. I cried many times at the ignorance of my people, exposed to foreign ambition, who, however good warriors they might be, could not contend against superior weapons and tactics in the field. I prayed earnestly to be enabled to do some good to my race. The Prince could not but see that I was very sober, but I never told him my thoughts.

We stayed at Baden-Baden all summer and part of the fall, and then left for Paris. The Prince made this journey to visit his niece, who had just been married to the Duc de Morny, formerly the French Ambassador to Russia. She was a most beautiful person, only seventeen years of age. I was taken to see her, and kiss her hand, according to custom. She at first hesitated to give me her hand, undoubtedly being afraid. I had never seen her in Russia, as she was at the Imperial University, studying. After two weeks we again left Paris for Rome, via Switzerland, again passed the summer at Baden-Baden, again visited Paris, and various other points, until the year 1859 found the Prince again in London.

My desire to return to my native country had now become so strong, that I here told the Prince I must go home to my people. He tried to persuade me to the contrary, but I was inflexible in my determination. After he found that I was not to be persuaded, he got up with tears in his eyes, and said: “Said, I wish you good luck ; you have served me honestly and faithfully, and if ever misfortune happens to you, remember I shall always be, as I always have been, interested in you.” I, with many tears, replied that I was exceedingly thankful for all he had bestowed on me and done in my behalf, and that I should pray for him while I lived. I felt truly sorry to leave this most excellent Prince. As I was leaving, he gave me as a present two fifty-pound bills. It was many days before I overcame my regret. Often I could hardly eat for grief.

I now went to board at the Strangers’ Home, at the West India Dock, five miles from where the Prince stopped. Here I waited for a steamer for Africa. Hardly had I been there two weeks, when a gentleman from Holland proposed to me a situation to travel with him in the United States and West India Islands. I had read much about these countries, and my desire to see them caused me to consent, and we left Liverpool soon after New Year’s, 1860.

With this gentleman I went via Boston and New York to New Providence, Long Keys, Inagua, Kingston, Les Gonaives, St. Marc, Demerara, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and then back to New Providence, and from there by steamer to New York. We remained in New York two months, and then visited Niagara, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec, and Ottawa, until, finally, at a small village called Elmer, my employer’s funds gave out, and I lent him five hundred dollars of my own money. Of this five hundred I received back only three hundred and eighty, and this failure compelled me to remain in this country and earn my living bywork to which I was unaccustomed.

At this point the written narrative of Nicholas ends, at some date during the year 1861. He afterward went to Detroit, and taught a school for those of his own color, meeting there, I believe, a clergyman whom he had seen years before in Constantinople, while a servant to Prince Mentchikoff. At Detroit he enlisted in a colored regiment in the summer of 1863. He served faithfully and bravely with his regiment as corporal and sergeant in the Department of the South, and near the close of the war was attached, at his own request, to the hospital department, to acquire some knowledge of medicine. He was mustered out with the company in which he served, in the fall of 1865. But, alas for his plans of service to his countrymen in his native land ! like many a warrior before him, he fell captive to woman, married at the South, and for some time past the writer, amidst the changes of business, has entirely lost sight of him.

  1. Barca Gana is alluded to in the Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. V. p. 54) as the general of the Scheik of Bornoo. — EDS.