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29. CHAPTER TWENTY-NINTH.
Signs of Vegetation.--The Fantastic Notion of a French Author.--A Magnificent Country.--The Kingdom of Adamova.--The Explorations of Speke and Burton connected with those of Dr. Barth.--The Atlantika Mountains.--The River Benoue.--The City of Yola.--The Bagele.--Mount Mendif.
From the moment of their departure, the travellers moved with great velocity. They longed to leave behind them the desert, which had so nearly been fatal to them.
About a quarter-past nine in the morning, they caught a glimpse of some signs of vegetation: herbage floating on that sea of sand, and announcing, as the weeds upon the ocean did to Christopher Columbus, the nearness of the shore--green shoots peeping up timidly between pebbles that were, in their turn, to be the rocks of that vast expanse.
Hills, but of trifling height, were seen in wavy lines upon the horizon. Their profile, muffled by the heavy mist, was defined but vaguely. The monotony, however, was beginning to disappear.
The doctor hailed with joy the new country thus disclosed, and, like a seaman on lookout at the mast-head, he was ready to shout aloud:
"Land, ho! land!"
An hour later the continent spread broadly before their gaze, still wild in aspect, but less flat, less denuded, and with a few trees standing out against the gray sky.
"We are in a civilized country at last!" said the hunter.
"Civilized? Well, that's one way of speaking; but there are no people to be seen yet."
"It will not be long before we see them," said Ferguson, "at our present rate of travel."
"Are we still in the negro country, doctor?"
"Yes, and on our way to the country of the Arabs."
"What! real Arabs, sir, with their camels?"
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