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In your voyage down the west coast of Africa, after passing the southern extremity of Morocco, you sail for days and nights together past the shores of a never-ending land of desolation. It is the Sahara, “the great sea without water,” to which the Moors have given also the name of “Bled-el-Ateuch,” the land of thirst.
These desert shores stretch for five hundred leagues without one port of call for the passing vessel, without one blade of grass, one sign of life.
Solitude succeeds solitude with mournful monotony; shifting sandhills, vague horizons—and the heat grows each day more intense.
At last there comes in sight over the sands an old city, white, with yellow palm trees set here and there—it is St Louis on the Senegal, the capital of Senegambia.
A church, a mosque, a tower, houses built in Moorish style—the whole seems asleep under the burning sun, like those Portuguese towns, St Paul and St Philip of Benguela, that once flourished on the banks of the Congo.
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