The best supporters of the good man are the young of both sexes, who employ him to write amu- lets to secure to them the affections of those most dear to them. From the bottom to a little above the water-level it was supported by long roots of the mimosa, of about an inch in thickness, and from twenty to thirty feet in length, which were wound round its sides, and formed a complete casing. But from a long residence of several years amongst them at a subsequent period, an intimate acquaintance with the habits of the Kordofanese has enabled me to judge more favourably of them, and to convince me that they are more industrious than at the time of my first visit they appeared. A whole flock, if the horsemen are numerous, may be destroyed in this way ; but if only one or two men are present, the majority of the birds generally escape while the first are being killed. After being cleaned, it is broken up in the bowl and soaked in milk. Before the caravan itself hove in sight, we were met by half-a-dozen men, probably the owners of the wheat, mounted on well-appointed dromedaries, headed by a guide, who, when they first caught sight of us, drew up.
An old hand with a stout stick will throw it at the bird's head from a short distance ; and this, if it does not bring it down, will stun it, when a second or third well-applied stroke will not fail in its object. In a comer is the murhakka, the crude stone on which, with plenty of elbow-grease, they grind their corn. Several groups of naked little urchins, on my appearance at the ex- tremity of their camp, scampered oflf in different direc- tions to their respective huts, doubtless to announce the unexpected arrival of strangers. While the meat was thus exposed, it attracted several vultures and eagles, some of which I shot, and obtained good specimens for my collection. Main Author: Language s : English Published: Edinburgh and London, 1861. The efiendi had already tucked up the sleeves of his right arm over the elbow, prepared to lose not an instant in the enjoyment of what to me at that time seemed an execrable dish ; and calling out at the top of his voice bismiUah in the name of God , plunged his hand into the reeking mess, which he conveyed to his mouth as a child would a ripe peach. Filling my water-vessels from the effendi's store, we parted, the guide leading through the bush.
Signs of cultivation— The baobab-tree— Costumes— Hospitable reception —The marara again— Dinner— Construction of the huts— Their ap- purtenances and furnishings — Fumigation, and its uses —Position of the females— Hospitality to strangers— Schools, schoolmasters, and school-fees— The village fakeer, and his occupations— Amulets, and their power — Exorcising the fiend — Runaway slaves — Their treat- ment if taken— Evening scene at the village— Arab and half-caste beauties,. To the above five Bedouin tribes may be added the Arabs attached to the convent, called the Djebelych : their origin is not Bedouin, and though now acknowledged to be Mussulmans, their forefathers appear to have been Christians. To search for them would be labour lost, as no tracks remained in the sand, owing to the action of the wind. The only troops are a regiment of Turkish irregular cavalry Bashi Bizooks , of 400 men, com- manded by a sunjack, holding the rank of colonel. Hussein told me that they formed part of a friendly tribe on the confines of Syria. There is a good bazaar, consisting of a row of small shops on each side of the principal streets.
Under- neath was the repository of grain, and all household and cooking utensils. Nimir, having in vain supplicated for a longer term to meet these demands, at last promised compliance, and retired from the presence of the obdurate Pacha. Ahmed now beckoned to me to stop ; and I then explained to him that, on seeing the antelopes, I would place myself in ambush, while he and Almas should endeavour to drive them towards me. Thanking him, I said that I preferred going to Tourra, my longer absence from which might create uneasiness, as I had not told the efiendi that I should be so long away. As it is of a much richer nature than the sand of the in- terior, dourra, cotton, beans, onions, red pepper, and water melons, are sown, of which the former is by far the principal crop.
A similar lining was continued to the surface in one piece ; this was formed of straw, about an inch and a half thick, bound tightly together by slips of bark, at which, during its fabrication, the whole com- munity were employed — some providing the materials, whilst others completed the rope-like casing. At first he could not utter a word dis- tinctly from thirst ; but, having drunk, he was soon able to explain that, while assisting one of his comrades, his own camel had strayed ; on recovering which, he was obliged to unload it, and lay down by its side until morning, He now wanted a couple of men to go back with him to assist in reloading. Then taking the gall-bladder, as a substitute for lemon, and squeezing it over the whole, and adding a copious supply of the hot red pepper of the country, he served it up, still warm, by placing it on the ground before us, looking like a man well pleased with the feat he had performed. In preference to occupying the rooms oflFered me, I chose to inhabit my tent in the garden of the convent. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
Passing through thick bush, I observed a buck within fifty yards to my left, staring wildly at me, and apparently ready for a bound. The Sheikh, who on approaching Cairo had changed the confident and independent manner habitual to him in his own wilds, now became thoughtful and submissive. After a pipe and coffee — the materials for which the effendi had brought with him, as no such luxury is to be found in an Arab encampment — a siesta, as a matter of course, followed; and, judging from my companion, the narcotic effects of the home-brewed beverage of the Hassanyeh must have been powerful, as hour after hour, until late in the afternoon, he slept soundly. The boat, but a few yards ahead of our own, had scarcely left the shore, when, by some mismanage- ment, it capsized. I made ineffectual remonstrances ; and at last, in a fit of desperation, bounded out of bed.
Between the huts some good-looking horses were picketed together by the front and hind near legs, which were attached together by a stout rope of scarcely sufficient length to enable the animals to stand with ease. For all the ills that flesh is heir to he is supposed to have a remedy ; and, if success does not always crown his efforts, his character or abihty does not suffer. The girls then, until married, cover their loins with a rachaty or leather fringe, tied round them ; and when out of doors, usually add a white muslin scarf, with red border, similar to the one already described; the boys also wear a scarf of the same kind, only of some- what stronger material. When they had all been discovered, the Defterdar entered into a minute investigation of the crime ; and the finding that he had been the object of burlesque perhaps biased him in his verdict. Many fled to Darfour and amongst the negro tribes of the south, where they were irrevocably be- yond the reach of the Egyptian government.
On my insisting on giving them what assistance I could, he implored me to remain quiet, as he knew neither the aggressors nor the attacked, nor what might be their respective strength, as the fight must then be going on at some distance ; but said that if I would pro- mise to be prudent, and remain with the caravan, the best place of safety, as he was held responsible to the Egyptian government for my safe conduct, he would reconnoitre, and, if possible, disperse the belli- gerents. The corpse was soon discovered in the garden of the Pacha, where the game had taken place ; and the absence of the companions of the deceased throwing suspicion on them, the bereaved father stated the case to the Pacha, who immediately despatched scouts in search of the young delinquents. This compound is served on the ground to the male part of the family, who sit round in a circle ; and is eaten with the fingers, each morsel of the paste being dipped in the sauce. It is worthy of remark that I do not recollect to have seen a single broken -kneed horse in the country; it must, however, be borne in mind that horses are much less worked in the East than in Europe. The care which Arabs take of their horses is pro- verbial. Away we went at a slashing pace, my dromedary, a spirited animal, stepping out in gallant style.
Before the hut and rakuba of the village chief, to which the guide con- ducted me, I found my companion effendi reclining on a couch under the shade of a magnificent haraza in full leaf ; in the vicinity were several picturesque Dom or Theban palms, which gave the name to the group of villages. The construction of the town — a general fault in the Soudan — is most irregular ; there are but few commodious thoroughfares, the generality of the streets being tortuous and narrow. Jebel-il-Deir — a conspicuous mountain, plainly visible from 11 Obeid, situated to the north-east of it, and distant about twenty miles, inhabited by some thousand Nuba negroes — alone successfully resisted the Defterdar, and has maintained its independence to the present day. The cloth is stretched ove. This however, in hopes of better sport, I resisted ; though, when they had passed, and I had become im- patient, I regretted having done so.