CHAPTER XIV. THE ADVANCE SOUTH.

Military critics will condemn my arrangements for an advance south.

My original plans had been well laid. A line of fortified posts was to have been established throughout the country at intervals of three days' march. This would have assured an open communication with Gondokoro.

Unfortunately, my force had been 350 men short of the number stipulated; and the 1,200 men that had once been reviewed at Gondokoro had been reduced to 500.

I could not leave a smaller force at head-quarters than 340 men, including the 52 sailors; thus I was left with only 212 officers and men to commence a long and uncertain journey directly away from my base, without the power of communication in the event of unforeseen difficulty.

I had already experienced the treachery of natives, upon whom no reliance could be placed.

My intention was to leave the Englishmen, with the steamer sections, at a station to be formed at Ibrahimeyeh (Afuddo on the map) on the navigable Nile, N. lat. 3 degrees 32 minutes, together with a small garrison.

I should then endeavour to form an irregular corps of some of Abou Saood's men, who would be thrown out of employment at the expiration of the contract. This was near at hand.

An irregular corps of 600 men would, in addition to my 200, enable me to complete the annexation of the country, and to finish my work before the reinforcements should arrive from Khartoum.

On the other hand, the men of Abou Saood might refuse to enlist in government service. Already they had been rendered passively hostile by the influence of Abou Saood. They had secretly encouraged the Baris in their war against the government; they might repeat this conduct, and incite the tribes against us in the interior.

Should this occur, I should be placed in a dangerous position with so small a force, as it would be necessary to detach half the little body to march to Gondokoro for supports.

I could not defer my departure in the hope of receiving reinforcements from Khartoum, as their arrival would be quite uncertain, owing to the state of the river.

Should I delay at Gondokoro, the dry season would pass by; the ground, now baked hard by the sun, would become soft, and would render transport by carts impossible.

The torrents would become impassable during the rains, especially the river Asua, which in the wet season cuts off all communication with the south. This dangerous river was very important, as it would prevent a retreat should such a movement be necessary during the rainy season.

I was well aware of the difficulties of the position, but I had only the choice of two evils. If I remained at Gondokoro, my term of service would expire fruitlessly. I should simply have reduced the Baris, and have established the station. Abou Saood would remain in the interior among his numerous slave establishments, to ridicule my impotence, and to defy my orders that he should quit the country. He would thus continue in the heart of Africa until I should have returned helplessly to England. He would then have resumed his original work of spoliation. The expedition would have been a failure.

On the other hand, should my small force meet with defeat or destruction, both the military and the civil world would exclaim, "Serve him right! the expedition to the interior made under such circumstances showed a great want of judgment; a total ignorance of the first rules in military tactics. What could he expect, without an established communication, at a distance of three or four hundred miles from his base? Simple madness ! - not fit to command!"

I knew the risks and the responsibility; but if I remained passive, I should be beaten. I had often got through difficulties, and if risks are to be measured in Africa by ordinary calculations, there would be little hope of progress.

I determined to carry as large a supply of ammunition as could be transported, together with sufficient merchandise, carefully assorted, to establish a legitimate ivory trade in my old friend Kamrasi's country, Unyoro (The Unyoro country is called by the traders "Magungo.")

The Englishmen would be occupied in the construction of the steamer at Ibrahimeyeh, while I should accomplish my mission farther south.

I selected my officers and men, carefully avoiding Egyptian officers, with the exception of my true friends and aides-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel Abd-el-Kader, Captain Mohammed Deii of the "Forty Thieves," and the faithful Monsoor.

The Soudani officers that had served in Mexico under Marshal Bazaine were - Major Abdullah; Captain Morgian Sherriff; Captain Abdullah; Lieutenants Morgian and Ferritch; and several sergeants, corporals,

I also included three sailors belonging to my diahbeeah, as they would be useful in the event of boating excursions. These men were Jali, Mohammed, and Howarti; all of whom were armed, and fell into the line of rank and file as soldiers.

The No. 3 steamer had been packed with much care. The carts had been loaded with the heavy portions that could not be transported by carriers, and we had proved our capability of travelling provided the Baris of Bedden would remain faithful to their promise. Every cart had therefore been dismounted, and the material for the expedition was stowed on board six vessels.

Our servants had much improved. The negro boys who had been liberated had grown into most respectable lads, and had learned to wait at table and to do all the domestic work required. First of the boys in intelligence was the Abyssinian, Amarn. This delicate little fellow was perfectly civilized, and always looked forward to accompanying his mistress to England. The next was Saat, who had received that name in memory of my good boy who died during my former voyage. Saat was a very fine, powerful lad, who was exceedingly attached to me; but he was not quick at learning. Bellaal was a thick-set, sturdy boy of fourteen, with rather a savage disposition.

My favourite was Kinyon (the crocodile), the volunteer.

This was a very handsome negro boy of the Bari tribe, who, being an orphan, came to my station, and volunteered to serve me at the commencement of the Bari war.

Kinyon was tall and slight, with a pair of very large, expressive eyes. The name Kinyon, or crocodile in the Bari language, had been given him because he was long and thin. Both he and Amarn were thoroughly good boys, and never received either chastisement or even a scolding throughout a long expedition.

Jarvah was also a good lad, who went by the name of the "fat boy." I should like to have exhibited him at Exeter Hall as a specimen of physical comfort.

Jarvah had a good berth - he was cook's mate. His superior was a great character, who, from the low position of a slave presented by the King of the Shillooks, Quat Kare, had risen from cook's mate to the most important position of the household.

Abdullah was now the cook! He had studied the culinary art under my first-rate Arab cook, who, having received his discharge, left the management of our stomachs to his pupil. Abdullah was an excellent cook and a very good fellow; but he was dull at learning Arabic. He invariably distinguished cocks and hens as "bulls" and "women."

The last and the smallest boy of the household was little Cuckoo (or Kookoo).

Cuckoo was a sturdy child of about six years old: this boy had, I believe, run away from his parents in the Bari during the war, and had come to Morgian our interpreter, when food was scarce among the tribe. Following the dictates of his appetite, he had been attracted by the savoury smell of Abdullah's kitchen, and he had drawn nearer and nearer to our establishment, until at length by playing with the boys, and occasionally being invited to share in their meals, Cuckoo had become incorporated with the household.

Abdullah and the six boys formed the native domestic corps. My wife, who was their commanding officer, had them all dressed in uniform. They had various suits of short, loose trousers reaching half-way down the calf of the leg, with a shirt or blouse secured at the waist with a leather belt and buckle. These belts were made in England, and were about six feet long; thus they passed twice round the waist, and were very useful when travelling, in case of a strap and buckle being required suddenly.

Each boy wore the fez or tarboosh. The uniforms were very becoming. There was dark blue trimmed with red facings; pure white with red facings, for high days and holidays; scarlet flannel suits complete; and a strong cotton suit dyed brown for travelling and rough wear.

The boys were trained to change their clothes before they waited at the dinner table, and to return to their working dresses after dinner when washing up was necessary. In this habit they were rigidly particular, and every boy then tied his dinner suit in a parcel, and suspended it to the roof of his hut to be ready for the next meal.

There was a regular hour for every kind of work, and this domestic discipline had so far civilized the boys that they were of the greatest possible comfort to ourselves.

The washing up after dinner was not a very long operation, as half a dozen plates and the same number of knives and forks, with a couple of dishes, were divided among six servants.

Directly after this work, play was allowed. If the night were moonlight, the girls were summoned, and dancing commenced. During the day, their games were either playing at soldiers, or throwing lances at marks,

Thieving was quite unknown among the boys, all of whom were scrupulously honest. The sugar might be left among them, or even milk; but none of the boys I have mentioned would have condescended to steal. They had been so well instructed and cared for by my wife, that in many ways they might have been excellent examples for lads of their class in England.

The girls and women did not appear to so much advantage. These comprised old Karka, young Dam Zeneb, Sallaamto, Fad-el-Kereem, Marrasilla, and Faddeela. They had learnt to wash, but could never properly fold the linen. Ironing and starching were quite out of the question, and would have been as impossible to them as algebra. Some of these girls were rather pretty, and they knew it. In moral character Dam Zeneb and Sallaamto were the best. Fad-el-Kereem was the most intelligent, but she was a young woman of strong passions, either for love or war, and required peculiar management.

They were all dressed in similar uniforms to the boys, with only a slight difference in the length of their blouses.

We had sent little Mostoora to the care of Djiaffer Pacha at Khartoum to be educated, before we left Tewfikeeyah. That clever little creature had learnt English and Arabic sufficiently to converse, and although not far removed from infancy, she was more intelligent than any of the adults. She was much too young for a long voyage . . . Everything was ready for the start. I left written instructions with the colonel, Raouf Bey, also with Mr. Higginbotham, respecting the conduct of the works during my absence. I also gave the necessary orders to Mr. Marcopolo; thus all heads of departments knew their positions.

I sent off a detachment of 150 men to drive a herd of several thousand cattle and sheep to a well-known rocky ravine, about six miles south, which was to be the rendezvous.

Before leaving, I made rather a pretty shot with the "Dutchman" from the poop-deck of my diahbeeah at a crocodile basking on a sand-bank. The first shot through the shoulder completely paralyzed it. A second bullet from the left-hand barrel struck only three inches from the first. Lieutenant Baker determined to measure the distance; thus he took the boat with the end of a long line, and we found it exactly 176 yards.

The "Dutchman" was the best rifle I ever shot with, and was quite invaluable throughout the expedition.

I had served out a month's rations to the men, and my last instructions to Raouf Bey were to look well after Livingstone, and provide for his comfort should he appear during my absence.

On 22nd January, 1872, we started at 8 a.m., when I took leave of my good friend and excellent engineer-in-chief, Mr. Edwin Higginbotham. I little thought that we should never meet again.

The wind was light and variable, and my diahbeeah soon overtook the heavier vessels. In the evening we all joined and concentrated our forces at the rocky ravine, with the detachment that protected the cattle.

On the following day, the 23rd January, we all started in excellent spirits. The soldiers knew the country, and every one appeared to share the enjoyment of adventure. The people had learnt to depend upon my guidance, and although the interior of the country was unknown to them, they were quite contented that I had had a personal experience of the far south, and they were safe in my hands.

The stream was very powerful, and the wind was so variable that it was necessary to tow the vessels. This would have been easy work if the river had been deep in all parts, but unfortunately the water was rather low, and many extensive sandbanks necessitated long detours.

The men were then obliged to wade hip-deep, and to tow the vessels round the banks.

I never saw the people in such high spirits. They were not contented with a walking pace, but they raced with each other, splashing through the water, and hurrying round the points of the sand-banks, until they once more reached dry ground. Then even the women and boys jumped ashore, and laying hold of the tow-rope, joined the men in singing; and running forward along the hard bank they made the diahbeeah surge through the water.

This fun had continued for some hours, and I rejoiced that all hearts seemed to have at length united in the work. I had no fanatics with me. The black officers were excellent fellows now that they were relieved from a certain influence at head-quarters. Abd-el-Kader was as true as gold. Monsoor was a Christian, - and my "Forty Thieves" were stanch, brave fellows who would go through fire.

Ali Nedjar was, as usual, revelling in strength and activity, and was now foremost in the work of towing the diahbeeah.

A sudden bend in the river had caused a small sand-bank. It was necessary to descend from the high shore to tow the vessel round the promontory.

Men, women, and children, jumped down and waded along the edge of the bank.

As the diahbeeah turned the sharp point, I noticed that the water was exceedingly deep close to the sand-bank, and the stream was running like a mill race.

Fearing some accident to the children, I ordered all who could not swim to come on board the diahbeeah. At that time the bow of the vessel was actually touching the sand, but the stern, having swung out in the stream, might have been about fifteen feet from the edge of the bank in very deep water.

When the order was given to come on board, many of the people, in the ebullition of spirits, leapt heedlessly into the water amidships, instead of boarding the vessel by the fore part, which touched the sand. These were dragged on board with considerable difficulty.

The boy Saat would have been drowned had not Monsoor saved him. In the confusion, when several were struggling in the water, I noticed Ali Nedjar, who could not swim, battling frantically with his hands in such a manner that I saw the poor fellow had lost his head. He was not three feet from the vessel's side.

My four life-buoys were hung on open hooks at the four corners of the poop-deck; thus, without one moment's delay, I dropped a buoy almost into his hands. This he immediately seized with both arms, and I, of course, thought he was safe: the buoy naturally canted up as he first clutched it, and, instead of holding on, to my astonishment he relinquished his grasp!

The next moment the strong current had hurried the buoyant safeguard far away. A red tarboosh followed the life-buoy, floating near it on the surface. . . . . . Ali Nedjar was gone! - drowned! He never rose again. . . .

I was dreadfully shocked at the loss of my good soldier - he had been much beloved by us all. We could hardly believe that he was really gone for ever. Who would now lead the song in the moonlight nights? or be the first in every race?

I had quickly thrown every life-buoy into the river, as Howarti, Mohammed, and others of the best swimmers had vainly plunged after Ali, and were now searching fruitlessly for his body, carried away by the powerful current. The boat was sent after them immediately, and they were brought on board.

The mirth of the diahbeeah had vanished; the general favourite had so suddenly disappeared from among us, that no one spoke, The women sat down and cried.

His knapsack and rifle were brought to me, and a list having been taken of his clothes and ammunition, I cut his name, "Ali," upon the stock of his snider, which I reserved for the best man I should be able to select. There was no better epitaph for so good a soldier than his name engraved on his trusty rifle.

That evening every one was sad, and my people all refused their food. . . .

On the following day, the wind and stream being adverse, we had much trouble in avoiding the sand-banks, and our progress was so slow that we only reached the base of the rocky hill Regiaf. Here I resolved to wait for the heavier vessels, which were far behind.

The natives were now friendly, and on the 25th January, Lieutenant Baker accompanied me to the summit of Regiaf to take observations of compass bearings of all the various mountains and prominent points of the country.

At the western base of Regiaf there is a very curious rock supported upon a pedestal, that forms a gigantic table.

This great slab of syenite is one of many that have detached and fallen as the original mountain decomposed.

I obtained my measuring tape from the diahbeeah, which gave the following results: -

                                    Feet.    Inches.
Length of slab . . . . . . . . . 45 4
Breadth of slab . . . . . . . . 45 8
Thickness of slab . . . . . . . 4 9
Height from ground . . . . . . . 10 5
Circumference of clay pedestal . 69 0

This rock must have chanced to fall upon a mass of extremely hard clay. The denudation of the sloping surface, caused by the heavy rains of many centuries, must be equal to the present height of the clay pedestal, as all the exterior has been washed away and the level reduced. The clay pedestal is the original earth, which, having been protected from the weather by the stone roof, remains intact.

The Baris seemed to have some reverence for this stone, and we were told that it was dangerous to sleep beneath it, as many people who had tried the experiment had died.

I believe this superstition is simply the result of some old legends concerning the death of a person who may have been killed in his sleep, by a stone that probably detached and fell from the under surface of the slab.

I examined the rock carefully, and found many pieces that gave warning of scaling off. Several large flakes, each weighing some hundredweight, lay beneath the table rock,-upon the under surface of which could be distinctly traced the mould of the detached slab.

On 27th January, we arrived with all the vessels at the foot of the cataracts, in N. lat. 4 degrees 38'. This is a very lovely spot, as the rocky islands are covered with rich, green forest; the verdure being perpetual, as the roots of the trees are well nourished by water.

Our old friend Bedden met us with a number of his people, and came on board the diahbeeah. He professed to be quite ready to convey our baggage to the south, and I proposed that his people should go as far as Lobore, about sixty miles from this spot, where I knew we could procure carriers, as during my former journey the natives of Lobore were the only people who could be depended upon.

Bedden seemed determined to help us, and I really believed that our luck had arrived at last, and that I should be able to convey the carts, together with the steamer, to the navigable portion of the Nile in N. lat. 3 degrees 32'.

I determined to be very civil to the great sheik, Bedden; I therefore arranged with him that the work should be entirely in his hands, and that he should represent the government as my vakeel. At the same time, I gave him a grand cloak of purple and silver tissue, together with a tin helmet, and turban of cobalt-blue serge; also a looking-glass, and a quantity of beads of various colours.

The country was dried up, and there was only scant herbage for my large herd of cattle, the half of which I promised to give Bedden if he would carry our baggage to Lobore.

The sheik returned to his village to make arrangements with his people for the journey.

Somehow or other, as he took leave and marched off in his grand cloak of silver and purple, I had certain misgivings of his sincerity.

Although great numbers of natives thronged the country, and came down to the vessels, there was not one woman or child. The absence of women and children is a sure sign of evil intentions. My wife, whose experience was equal to my own, at once expressed her suspicions. Had the natives been honest and sincere, their women would assuredly have come to visit her from simple curiosity.

Not only was there an absence of women and children, but the cattle had been driven from the country. There were several small cattle zareebas within half a mile of the vessels, situated upon the high ground. I went to visit them, as though simply strolling for my amusement; the dung of cattle was fresh, showing that the zareebas had been occupied during the past night, but the herd had evidently been driven far away.

Bedden's people had never been attacked by the slave-traders, as his tribe was considered too powerful; he had therefore no cause for suspicion.

Unfortunately, my past experience of the Bari natives had proved that kindness was thrown away upon them, and that nothing could be done with them until their inferiority had been proved by force of arms.

Bedden had never suffered. He had promised to assist; but no promise of a native is worth more than the breath of his mouth. If he failed me now, the object of my enterprise would be lost. I should not be able to move.

All my care and trouble would have been thrown away.

I was very anxious; but, without mentioning my suspicions, I ordered all the heavy vessels to cross over to the east side of the river, to prepare for disembarking the carts and general effects.

On the following morning the sheik, Bedden, arrived to visit me, with many of his people. I had erected a tent on shore in which I could receive him.

I was struck with a peculiar change in his manner, and after a short conversation he asked me, "Why I had sent the vessels to the east side?"

I replied that they would begin to unload and prepare for the journey.

"Who is going to carry all your baggage?" continued Bedden, as though the idea had occurred to him for the first time.

I was perfectly aghast at this cool and prostrating question. My suspicions had been well founded.

I explained to Bedden that I had arrived according to his express invitation, given some time before, when he had promised that his men should convey my things as far as Lobore. I pretended that his question had now been asked simply to amuse me, and I begged him in earnest to lose no time in collecting his people, as I should require at least 2,000 carriers.

Bedden continued in a cold, stoical manner, and declared that his people were determined not to work for me; they had never before carried for "The Turks," and nothing would induce them to engage in such a labour.

I begged him to remember the importance of his promise, upon which I had depended when making all my arrangements for the journey. If he failed me now, I should be entirely ruined; whereas if he assisted me, as I had relied upon his honour, we should always remain the firmest friends, and he would be benefited by a grand herd of cattle, and would receive most valuable presents.

He now declared "that his people had taken the matter into consideration, and they were quite determined. They would not listen to him, or be persuaded to anything they disliked. They never had carried, and they never would."

I had the two natives with me who had resided for some time in our station at Gondokoro. One of these men, named Pittia, endeavoured to persuade Bedden to beat his nogara (big drum) and to summon his tribe; he might then, in my presence, explain the work proposed, and his people would see the cows which they would receive as payment for their labour.

Bedden looked very ill at his ease; but after some delay, he rose from his seat, and declared his intention of immediately beating his nogara. He took leave and departed with his people.

From my experience of Baris, I felt sure that I should never see Bedden again.

He had hardly left the tent, when Pittia exclaimed, "I will follow him and listen to what he says to his people. I believe he will tell them NOT to carry the loads." Pittia immediately disappeared.

Many natives had collected on the east side of the river, where my vessels had now formed a line alone the bank; I therefore crossed over in the dingy to converse with them in the faint hope of securing carriers.

The natives were squatting about in small groups, and they listened coldly to all I had to say. The only answer I could obtain was, "that they belonged to Bedden, and if he told them to carry our things, they would obey; but without his order they could do nothing."

This is the regular African diplomacy when work is required. The people say, "We must receive orders from our sheik." The sheik says, "I am willing, but my people will not obey me." It is this passive resistance that may ruin an expedition.

My first exploration in Africa must necessarily have failed had I not been provided with transport animals. The readers of "The Albert N'yanza" may remember that I could not obtain a single native, and that I started from Gondokoro by moonlight without even an interpreter or guide.

The horrible state of the White Nile had prevented all possibility of conveying camels from Khartoum. My carts and camel harness were prepared, but the invaluable animals could not be transported. I was thus dependent upon such rotten reeds as native promises.

No one who is inexperienced in African travel can realize the hopeless position of being left with a mass of material without any possibility of transporting it.

The traveller may sit upon his box until he stiffens into a monument of patience and despair, but the box will not move without a carrier. There is only one method of travelling successfully, and this necessitates the introduction of transport animals, where the baggage is heavy and upon an extensive scale.

I felt perfectly helpless. My colonel, Abd-el-Kader, advised me to seize the sheik, Bedden, and to tie him up until his people should have delivered all the effects at Lobore.

This I might have done, but it might also have occasioned war, which would prevent the possibility of securing carriers. I should also incur the responsibility of having provoked the war by an act which, although necessary, could hardly be justified according to civilized ideas.

I had very little hope, but I had so frequently seen a sudden ray of good fortune when all had looked dark and cloudy, that I went to bed at night trusting that something might turn up in our favour to-morrow.

On 29th January, 1872, Pittia returned with bad news. Bedden had sent me a laconic message that "he should not call again, and that his people declined to carry the baggage."

Pittia explained that the natives had all left the neighbourhood together with their sheik, therefore it would be well not to allow the soldiers to stray far from camp.

This was the gross ingratitude exhibited by Bedden and his people. Not only had I scrupulously respected all their property, but I had even placed sentries over their tobacco gardens to prevent the possibility of theft.

The absence of the women and children had been a certain sign of ill-will.

It was necessary to consider what should be done. We were perfectly helpless.

I had about 2,500 head of cattle and 1,800 sheep. These animals were driven every evening to the margin of the river, and were only protected at night by a line of soldiers who slept around them.

The conduct of the natives filled me with suspicions. The sight of so large a herd without protection might have excited their cupidity. They had expected my arrival with this grand supply of cattle, and instead of finding their villages occupied, I had observed that their own herds had been driven off for concealment; not a woman or child was to be seen in the country; the natives had refused to carry; and, lastly, their sheik and his people had absolutely absconded.

In the mean time my cattle were unprotected at night, thus, should the natives make a sudden attack in the darkness, there would be a regular stampede, as the large herd would be seized with a panic at the red flashes of the muskets during the attack, and they would scatter all over the country, and never be seen again.

The natives had probably considered that, instead of carrying our loads, and thereby earning a cow per man, it might save them much trouble should they possess themselves of our cattle without the necessity of carrying the baggage.

From my knowledge of the brutal character of all Baris, I arrived at the above conclusion.

I at once gave orders to secure the cattle. At a distance of about half a mile, there were three small villages on the high sloping ground, situated about eighty yards apart, and forming a triangle. I instructed my men to make an inclosure, by connecting each village with a strong hedge of thorns.

The country was generally bare of trees, but fortunately there was a grove of heglik not far distant; and the troops at once began to fell these trees, and to form fences by laying the prickly branches in the position I had selected.

The "Forty Thieves" were all provided with small and sharp Canada axes, which they carried under the strap of their knapsacks; thus forty-eight axes were at work, in addition to the heavier instruments belonging to the expedition.

All the officers and men shared my suspicions, and they worked with great alacrity.

It was just dark by the time that the three fences were completed, and the herd of cattle were driven and secured within the inclosure.

I arranged a guard of sixty men: twenty upon each side of the triangle. They were to remain outside the fence, and to keep a vigilant look-out.

This work being over, I returned at night to the diahbeeah together with Lieutenant Baker. We found dinner ready on the poop-deck, where my wife had been rather anxiously expecting us. I sent for Colonel Abd-el-Kader, and gave him the necessary orders for the night.

My diahbeeah was a charming vessel, that had originally been sent from Cairo to Khartoum, when the former Viceroy of Egypt, Said Pacha, visited the Soudan.

The poop-deck was lofty and very spacious. This comfortable boat had been my home for two years, and she was kept in admirable order.

There were no mosquitoes during this season in Bedden's country, although they were very numerous at all seasons at Gondokoro, therefore, being relieved from these pests, the enjoyment of the evening was delightful.

The night was calm, as usual in these latitudes. Dinner was concluded. I was enjoying my evening chibouque with the best Ghebbelli tobacco, that soothes many anxieties. The troops were for the most part asleep, and all was quiet. My wife was sitting on the sofa or divan, and Lieutenant Baker had been recalling some reminiscence of the navy, when several musket shots in the direction of the cattle kraal suddenly startled every soldier from his sleep.

The shots were almost immediately succeeded by heavy firing from the whole force stationed at the cattle zareeba. The bugles sounded the alarm, and every man was quickly under arms.

Having arranged the men in position to defend the vessels in case of a general attack, I took twenty men of the "Forty Thieves," together with a supply of rockets. I was accompanied by Lieutenant Baker and most of the Englishmen, and we pushed rapidly forward towards the cattle zareeba, where the flashes of muskets were distinctly visible.

As we approached the position, I ordered my bugler to sound "cease firing," as I expected to receive a few bullets intended for the enemy.

We were quickly challenged upon arrival at the zareeba. We found the cattle all safe; only a few sheep had been killed by the heavy attempt at a stampede when the cows took fright at the musketry.

I was informed that the natives in considerable force had made a sudden rush upon the zareeba, and had thrown showers of stones in order to create a panic among the cattle, which they expected would break through the fence and scatter over the country.

It was fortunate that I had taken the precaution of securing them.

I was determined to clear the neighbourhood before the attack should be renewed. The night was dark. I was provided with matches and port-fires, and I quickly made an excursion and sent several rockets into the nearest villages. The Hale's rockets, as usual, rushed through the houses without igniting them; but a few of the powerful Egyptian rockets that are used as fireworks, rapidly lighted up the scene, as the descending fire-balls ignited the thatched roofs.

These rockets were fired from an inclined rest of a soldier's fixed bayonet.

Having cleared the neighbourhood, I returned to the diahbeeah at midnight.

I find this entry in my journal:-

"January 29, 1872.-All the googoos or granaries abound with corn. The natives are so rich, both in dhurra and cattle, that they will not work, but they are only ready to sleep or steal. After all my kindness, they have wantonly attacked my cattle without the plea either of hunger or provocation.

"What can be accomplished with such people? I shall be obliged to return the steamer to Ismailia (Gondokoro). It is heartbreaking work after all my trouble in having brought her to this distant point.

"Nothing can be done without camels, and these animals cannot be brought from Khartoum in the closed state of the river.

"My original plan included 200 camels, 200 cavalry, and fifteen large decked sloops. None of these necessary items have been sent from Khartoum, thus I am paralyzed."