[ocr errors]

good of all creeds. I have looked at you a piteous manner, “ this is none of my work, with my eyes and have heard you with my See there, that old black fox hath practised ears. I find in your faces and behavior the this deceit. He is the dragoman of a Frank tokens of brotherhood, and in your words family now in the island, and it vexes him the sound of truth. If you promise to deal to behold a Frank conducting his own afwith me fairly as men and brothers, I am fairs without the help of his craft.” not afraid to trust your word.”

I looked further back, and recognized the “ By God we will deal with you right- grinning black face of an old Soudanee drageously!” they replied.

oman I had seen on the boat of some acSo it was agreed. My donkey was dis- quaintances at Assouan. I begged my promissed, and I went back to the island to fessor's pardon, and went to the merchants. gather up my goods, accompanied by two There was much talk. I told my story to dusky men, whom at first I conjectured to the merchants, and the beadsmen and camel be servants of the Moorish merchants, but I dealer expatiated on the imprudence of takafterwards found them to be mere casual ing me with them, to all the rabble of small fellow-passengers in the qangiah, over whom, passengers. The Moors, after some reflecby virtue of superior wealth and social po- tion, said that, though there was nothing in sition, the Moors exercised an influence. it, it was better not to overrule, but to meet One of them, Mohammed the Beadsman, the objection. was a dealer in large heavy glass beads “ The foolish persons have eaten fear, and about an inch in diameter, to form orna- their bowels are full of panic. Go thou ments for the necks and wrists and ankles therefore to the Hakem (Governor) at Asof the queens of Soudan ; for in Soudan, as souan, and request of him a letter to the the merchants afterwards told me," to every governors up the country, setting forth the hill there is a king, and to every king plenty circumstances of thy journey." of queens." The other, Mohammed El “But if a wind arise in the mean time, will Ghereyety, was a camel dealer going up ye not leave me and depart ? ' river to buy cheap. He was reported to be “ By Allah, what haste is there? Are we full of money, but very miserly, showing no not thy rafeeq. Let everything be done by outward signs of wealth, and sponging on the permission of God! Surely, we will the merchants, who got but little service out await thy return." of him in return. These men loitered about So I again demanded a donkey, and a while I packed my luggage; but when it was good donkey, that could really go on pain ready they declined to put it in the boat, of non-payment if unsatisfactory. Possibly saying the boat would not carry it. It was the boys thought me by this time a doubtful a bad little boat, and I suggested dividing customer. Certainly the donkey which came the baggage for two trips ; but they would was as I pointed out to his driver," an ass not take any. I got into the boat, and was of the exercrable, the feeble of body, the goirg to the merchants to report the mutiny, obdurate of disposition.” The events of when I saw my professor on the shore. I that sultry day had not tended to tranquillity cried out to him,

of temper. Stooping to pack my luggage “What is the cause of this impediment?” got the blood into my head. The dragoman, “ The men have taken fright,” he replied. camel-dealer, and beadsman difficulty had “ What, to upset the boat ?”

kept me on the boil some time. The sun “No; they fear lest, having a Frank in was now very hot upon me; and kicking the their company, they should be arrested by ribs of my lazy beast with bare heels and the governors up the river for kidnapping.

vast slippers very liable to slip off, caused “O) thou son of ingratitude and father me to continue in a slight simmer as I went. of treachery! Thou hast evidentiyim planted Going on a slow donkey, when one is in a this error in the skulls of those two asses in great hurry, is a trial of temper at the best order to retain thy miserable salary for of times; so after half a mile or so I jumped teaching me ungrammatical Arabic. Think- off the donkey and discharged him unreest thou after this I shall continue thy les- * Party is the nearest word to rafeeq-travelsons ? "

ling party especially. One man may be called Nay,” expostulated the learned man in pafeen of another man with whom he is travelling;

but it is usually a noun of number.



warded. The soil is very sandy, and I found | broken granite ridges and sand-hills of the walking in loose sand, with loose slippers on desert. Probably he had time to whisper stockingless feet, a trial of temper too ; es- to the old man, “ This is a madman of the pecially when a slipper fell off, for then the ungodly. Heaven deliver thee from his hands scorching heat of the sand made me hop and pipe-stick.” For the camel taken also frantically. I was now in the village of into the conspiracy, continued to groan withShelaal, and a man came fadging nimbly out attempting to stir a peg, and the old after me on a fresh ass. I made him an man feigned a blank imbecility. His age offer of sixpence to Assouan and back, prevented me from applying the pipe-stick, which was above the real price, but not half so I slid down from the camel's hump, and what would be charged to an inexperienced trudged on through the desert. Frank. The rider did not prudently take It would be tedious to relate all my adinto consideration that I had spoken to him ventures on this short journey, but before I in Arabic. He had the impudence to ask reached Assouan (a distance of about four me no less than fourteen pence. I had no miles and a half,) I had mounted three sepawords to express my accumulated indigna- rate donkeys and two different camels. I tion, so I went at him headlong, without got my letter written by the governor, minding my slippers, and so belabored him returned to Philæ on a single donkey, and about the head and shoulders with my pipe- got my baggage on board the merchant's stick that he fell neck and crop off his boat. I was too much exhausted to cook beast, and scrambled away in great alarm. anything, but soaked some rusks in brandy The ass stood perfectly still in the midst of and water for supper, and fell asleep on the way. This was so unforeseen a result of board the qangiah soon after sunset. I had my frautic onslaught that I could not help taken the precaution of sending the names laughing in spite of my rage as I mounted and address of the merchants, and the date my captured animal, and his rider followed of my joining them, to the consul-general me at a respectful distance as I rode away. at Cairo, on a slip of paper, which I comBy degrees the man accepted his destiny, mitted to the gentleman whose dragoman and drove his donkey as if he had been had caused me so much trouble ; so that in bired in the most regular way. The don- case I never turned up again, inquiries key went well, and my anger was mollified. might be instituted for the satisfaction of my But we had scarcely got into the reach of family. I find in an old letter to my father, desert which divides Shelaal from Assouan, dated" from aboard the barge of Mohamwhen the man desisted from driving and med of Tarabboloos,” these expressions of the ass from going cheerfully. I remon- the frame of mind and considerations unstrated.

der which I resolved on joining the mer“The ass is weary, 0 sir; and if thou chants' party :wouldst reach Assouan with celerity behold “It will perhaps seem to you an imprua camel.” Effectively, as the French say, dent step; but you must take into considera camel and an old man did appear at this ation that it is an adventure. One travels juncture. “Will you ride the camel ?” on purpose to meet with adventures, and in said he (the beaten of the pipe-stick). nine cases out of ten, when an opening for " Whose camel ? " said I.

an adventure offers, one passes it by because “ Mine !” said he. “The old man is my there is a little risk or inconvenience in the Bervant."

way. One might just as well slide upon dry I confess with shame that I was foolish ground, or learn to swim before going into enough to accept the proposition. To mount the water, as try to find adventures which a camel is a thing that requires time and are not inaugurated with risk and attended attention. The gaunt beast groaned as if with inconvenience. All the stereotyped his heart would break. He knelt down. Iconventionalities of discretion and indolence got on his back. Then with a couple of rose up in my weaker will to warn me against severe jerks I was hoisted half-way between the expedition. But I said, in reply to these the desert and the sky. Meanwhile the ass suggestions, This is not a time to argue the and bis master had scudded swiftly away case, while cowardice has a barrier of obfrom the track and disappeared behind the structions on her side. I must act on my


antecedent determination, that adventures pion ; he said I had entered the company on are worth looking for; and at any rate be the express understanding that I was to be able to feel that I have done my best to re-treated as one if them and taking due regard move the impediment. The retarding influ- as to the bulk of my baggage and my berth ence of friction on inert bodies is at its high- in the boat, twenty piastres was ample. est pitch in the moment preceding motion. Much and stormy debating arose; and it And so it is with all the stumbling-blocks ended in settling thirty piastres * as the sum. of commonplace which hamper the feet of I was about to pay on the spot, but Aali bade independent action. Set your shoulder me put up my purse till the journey was peragainst these di termini worshipped by the formed. I had every reason to be satisfied stick-in-the-mud multitude, their foundations with my terms; for I had a place under the soon loosen, and when once rooted up, a kick matting awning, side by side with the elder or two will roll them away into the limbo of Moor. A narrow gangway divided us. I discredited idols. If I had failed to move fear the younger brother, Hajji Aali, had my obstacle, I should not have cared much. turned out of this berth in my favor. His But if I had given up without an effort, I couch was made on a couple of large chests, should have felt I had missed my destiny. outside the awning, so that he had to rig up I should have dragomanized myself into the a carpet with string and palm branches, to * reglar.' I shall, no doubt have many more shade himself from the sun. I found the difficulties, and the adventure may turn out qangiah more comfortable than the dahaless picturesque than it seems to promise. bieh ; for the awning being open at both Adventures usually do. I remember feeling ends, was a cooler shelter in the day than very much ashamed of myself, among the the close wooden cabin had been ; and at windy spray, of an unnecessary stock of night it was at least no colder than the open valor I had mustered in order to go beneath deck of the dahabieh, to which I retreated the thundering veil of Niagara's waters. And after my first night in the cabin, from a so, Forsitan hæc olim meminisse pudebit. In bloodthirsty swarm of brown, broad-backed the mean time, don't be alarmed about me. multipeds, which on acquaintance with both, I am a tolerable hand at taking care of my- I can safely say are much more to be dreaded self. I have medicines with me which, if by those they love than the “creature friendly not required in my own case, will increase to man." There were none of these familiar my consideration among the natives. Love vampires on board the merchants' boat, and to all. Farewell. Just as I have finished, I slept in peace. our boat has sailed, and we are moving up One morning, while we were lying along the Nile towards the second cataract.” shore, I saw the dignified figure of Hajji

Mohammed seated on the bank. He had CHAPTER III.

just performed his ablutions and prayers s TWO-AND-TWENTY DAYS' TRAVEL WITH THE but now he appeared to be investigating the

ample convolutions of his white woollen ONE of the main topics which occupied robes. I approached him, and inquired what the attention of our boat's company during he was in search of. He replied without vur first day's sail, was the adjustment of my circumlocution in the simple generic word, passage money. I then discovered that the “Qaml.” I said, “Show it to me, for I know Moors had not the sole occupancy of the not its appearance.” He continued his search, boat, but were only the principal charter- and soon directed my attention to an infinit parties of a public passenger boat, not run- tesimal scarlet bead, less than the head of a ning regularly, but when a sufficient number minikin pin, a nice, cleanly-looking insect. of passengers made it worth while. I took I now remembered that for day or two I no part in the matter ; my interests being had occasionally felt a slight irritation of the amply defended by the merchants. The dis- skin, much too mild for the ravages of the tance was a trifle-between two and three domestic fica. I retired precipitately to the hundred miles. The Reis (captain) was of boat, examined my own drapery, and found opinion that the least that could be decently the Dragoman's warning was fulfilled ; I had charged to a Frank was a hundred Egyptian taken him." I was a little shocked, but piastres. Hajji Aali was my main cham

* Six shillings.


[ocr errors]

One day

not dismayed. He did not infest my head As we use rice in our broth, they used what or beard, and I found him a friendly crea- they called " Aaddas,” a small lentile, which ture. Our course of life on board the qan- has a taste something like buckwheat. All giah was of a desultory complexion. About hands were now called, and we gathered dawn we awoke gradually. The earliest round the bowl. Everybody said grace for wakers gathered bits of dry bulrush on the himself—“Bismillah” (In God's name)bank, and kindled a fire. The fireplace was and fell to. When any one was satisfied, he a heap of wood-ashes and stones in the midst cried, “Eh hamdolillah " (God be praised), of the vessel. It may or may not bave had and desisted. It was not by any means a an iron bottom for safety, but as it was no- bad mess when we were not muttonless. But body's business to clear the grate, the ashes muttonless we sometimes were, and I was in increased and multiplied; and the vessel a manner the cause of dearth. never took fire. I often made the coffee in Hajji Aali came and addressed me gravely, my own little tenekeh * with my own boonn, and thus, served the merchants with a little cup apiece. “ As thou art our companion, is it not They liked my brew better than their own; better to be clad as we ? I have in my chest and besides, when they made coffee, they had wearing apparel of suitable quality, of which to give some to the captain and steersman, I will sell thee a change without profit." and sometimes to the dealer in beads. So “Wherefore is this? Why should I disthat when I was up first and made the fire, guise that I am a Frank ? " there was often no other coffee made. Then “For this cause. When we arrive in vilsmoking began, and hunger was fenced with lages, information spreads. Behold a boat at pipe's length while we sat enjoying the with a gentleman of the Franks. And the glorious golden sunrise flashing on the still villagers of the river are accustomed to deexpanse of water. (We had a great defi- mand a price out of reason for meat to the ciency of wind during the earlier part of Frank boats: and they, being brutally igthose three weeks.) At last, when some one norant, will not believe that thou art our of the party was prompted by his stomach, companion merely, nor will, while they see cooking began in earnest. Sometimes it you thus attired, desist from exorbitantly was the captain, sometimes Hajji Aali, or the enhancing the price of mutton." beadsman, or the camel dealer, anybody, in I at once acquiesced. And from that time short, who was hungriest, volunteered as forward, till I quitted the East, wore Orienchef; while the next hungriest assisted as tal costume. marmiton. The principal cook mixed bat- During the day our boat was tracked ter in a wicker-work jar, which previous mix- along tediously by the crew. They were ings had smeared inwardly so as to render not numerous, to begin with, and I suspect the vessel impervious. When mixed, some were chiefly working out their passage of it was poured on a round hearth-plate of money; for as they came to their respective sheet iron, previously greased, and supported homes they deserted us, so that we were rehorizontally on stones over the embers. A duced at length to the captain,--who fell minute or two baked the first cake, which sick,-the steersman, and two little boys. was laid in the bottom of a large wooden Under these adverse circumstances no one bowl, called the ghadaah. A great number except myself showed any impatience. of broad thin cakes were thus baked and de- “ Everything is by the permission of God," posited in succession. When the batter jar the elder Moor used to observe when I com. was exhausted, an earthen pot, which had plained. The younger Moor, though he meanwhile been simmering with whatever showed no anxiety or hurry, was always esculent vegetation happened to grow near ready to lend his brawny arm to help us forthe towing-path—and if we were lucky, a ward. While there were hands enough to piece of mutton—was overturned into the track a little, he volunteered at the cable, cavity in the midst of the cake-lined bowl. and threw more strength and good-will into It has a small body and a long handle, thint you Hajji Aali was a downright good fellow. A

* The tenekeh is the simplest form of coffee-pot. the work than two or three of the rest. may hold it while making without scorching your devout Moslem without intolerance, and enhands.

Boonn is the material, cabwela the pre-ergetic without fidgety impatience. He was pared beverage.



[ocr errors]

ready to cook, gather firewood, chant the should truth be revealed to a liar? If I
Coran of an evening to his fellow-passengers, testify thus without a firm faith, I should re-
or pole our heavy craft off a sand-bank; main as one stultified."
anything that was wanted. He had rather May God give thee faith, O


friend! a gloomy, undemonstrative manner, and had If thou canst embrace Islam in thy heart, bee much less ready to welcome me in we will adopt thee into our family in the the first instance than Mohammed. But he place of our brother Abd-Allah, who is dead. was more of a friend to me when we became Allah be merciful to bim! Under his name better acquainted. He had a genuine con- thou shalt sojourn with us, and journey science, and a most gentleman-like sense of with us. And one of us will accompany honor. He was simple-hearted, and most thee on thy pilgrimage to the holy places. singularly free from vanity and pretence of so that thou be Hajji Abd-Allah.” any sort. He stood over six feet two, was I felt certain promptings of a dishonest lank and sinewy in frame, rather ungainly but adventurous devil within me to accept in his movements. He had lost an eye, this offer, and turn a base literary penny by which spoilt his good looks. But his man- narrating in print what might come of it. ner and presence, though neither comely nor But Paley's Evidences, and the shame of graceful, had a rough, honest sort of dignity. dealing falsely with an open-hearted, friendly The elder was portly and picturesque in his fellow-creature, stuck in my throat ; so I outward man; sententious in his talk; much thanked him kindly, and said my faith, such less genuinely earnest in his devotions, and as it was, could not change. Neverthelesa, much more careful of his ease and comforts, so much influence had Moslem contagion than the younger brother. Still, Hajji Mo- upon me, that I began to feel seriously hammed was a fine old fellow; shrewd and ashamed of the undemonstrative character liberal minded. He had been a soldier in of my religion. Nay, one Sunday morning the sultan's forces, and had fought the I had thoughts of standing up on deck and Wahabees in the Hejaz. He had seen the going through all I could remember of the world ; and knew one word of Italian, of Church service as audibly as the pious Aali which he was very proud— Mezzogiorno. was in the habit of proclaiming that “Allah He took great pleasure in conversing with was great.” However, I reflected that as it me on European science-railways, steam- had never before been my habit, it would be boats, manufactures, and politics. But re- a pharisaical performance. And moreover ligious discussion occupied a good deal of I had before my eyes a methodistical Nileour leisure. I had to translate all I remem- bank peddling merchant on a small scale bered of my “Littlego” Paley into the best who had joined our party I forget how soon extemporaneous Arabic I could command, after leaving Philæ. But he evidently laid to combat his polemic efforts to disabuse me on his religion thick and unctuous to take of the errors of Christianity. Aali, on the the tone of the aristocracy of the party, other hand, did not argue, nor use many whom he toadied in a manner perfectly recwords; but he seemed much more earnestly ognizable by the light of European analogies. to desire my conversion. He would some- At length a fair wind came blowing times exhort me in a Catholic spirit - briskly up the river, and we bowled away

" These reasonings are not for me. If merrily before it. My delight at this change there were present a learned Ullema, he to rapid motion did not last very long; for would confute them. It suffices me to the sheet gave way, and our rotten old sail know that my creed is the truth. And if began to Aick itself into shreds and tatters: thou wouldst but testify and confess that The captain was lying sick. The steersman there is no God but Allah, and that Ma- left the helm to one of the boys, and went homet is his prophet, the darkness of error aloft, but had not strength enough to gather that is before thine eyes would dispart itself in the flapping canvas. Then Hajji Aali as it were the curtain of a tent, and thou climbed the mast, and managed the business wouldst behold the truth manifestly. Where- quickly. But enough damage had been done fore wilt thou not thus testify ? "

to oblige us to stop and refit, so we belayed “Before I testify I must be convinced. on the western bank, spread our sail, and sat If I testify without conviction, I lie. How down to stitch at the tatters. It very soon

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »