CHAPTER XXIII. BUILD A STOCKADE AT FOWEERA.

MY losses from the 8th June to the 24th had been ten killed and eleven wounded. Every officer and soldier had thoroughly done his duty, having displayed admirable coolness and courage upon many trying occasions. None but black troops could have endured the march of about eighty miles with heavy weights upon their heads, in addition to their usual accoutrements.

I at once set to work to build a new station, and with the old wood that had formed the fence of Suleiman's zareeba, I commenced a defensive arrangement.

There was very little heavy timber that was adapted for a stockade. I therefore formed a protection by sinking deep in the ground, at intervals of three feet, two strong posts about seven feet above the surface. These upright timbers, standing opposite to each other at a distance of about ten inches, were filled with long poles laid one over the other horizontally. At two corners of the square fort were flanking works of the same construction, which would sweep each face of the defence.

In a few days my men had completed a strong and neat stockade around a number of small temporary huts which formed our new station.

Having thus housed my troops, it was necessary to prepare for the future. I fully expected that Major Abdullah had fallen into the snare prepared for him by Kabba Rega: thus I should have no other force to rely upon, except the few men that now formed my small but tough little party. If so terrible a calamity should have occurred as the destruction of Abdullah's detachment, I should not only have lost my men, but I should become short of ammunition; as my stores and arms would have fallen into the hands of the enemy. This doubt caused me much grave anxiety.

It was strange that we had not received some communication from Rionga, whose island was only fifteen or sixteen miles above stream from Foweera. Our side of the river appeared to be quite uninhabited, and simply consisted of the interminable groves of bananas, that had belonged to the inhabitants at a time when the district had been thickly populated.

The Victoria Nile, opposite the Foweera station, was about 500 yards wide. At this season the river was full. The huts that we had erected on the north side, upon our arrival from Fatiko, had been destroyed by the natives. This did not look as though much friendship existed.

Upon hearing our drums and bugles on the day of our arrival at Foweera, a few natives had come to the high rock opposite, and had commenced, bawling conversation, and that was only slightly understood by one of our women and Molodi the Madi.

Molodi knew Rionga, as he had visited him at a former time, together with a party of Abou Saood's people. His very slight knowledge of the language was sufficient to explain to the natives across the river that I wished to communicate with Rionga.

The people on the north happened to belong to Kabba Rega, and they were enemies of Rionga; thus we were addressing the wrong parties.

It was highly necessary to make some arrangements for crossing the river. There are no canoes on this side, and it would be dangerous to trust to rafts, as there were waterfalls about three or four hundred yards below upon our left. I determined to construct boats.

We felled three large dolape palms (Borassus ethriopicus), which were the only trees of that species in this neighbourhood. These palms are well adapted for canoes, as the bark, or rather the outside wood, is intensely hard for about an inch and a half, beneath which the tree is simply a pithy, stringy substance, that can be rapidly scooped out.

Two of the logs, when shaped, were each twenty-six feet in length; the third was smaller.

Throughout the march from Masindi we had managed to carry an adze, a hammer, and a cold chisel. The adze now came into play, together with the Bandy little axes of the "Forty Thieves".

Among my troops was a Baggara Arab, who was a "canoe-builder". This was one of the best men of "The Forty", and it was now for the first time that I heard of his abilities as a boat-builder. This man, Said Bagara, has since accompanied Colonel Long with great fidelity to the court of King M'Tese.

The men took an immense interest in the work; but as too many volunteers might interfere with the principal shipwright, I sent them all into the forest to collect plantains. I gave orders that every man should prepare 14 lbs of plantain flour for the journey, in case it should be necessary to march to Fatiko.

The canoes progressed, and a slice of about a foot wide having been taken off horizontally from stem to stern, the soft inside was scooped out with an adze, and with lance-heads bent to form a half circle.

In a few days the logs were neatly hollowed, and were then carried down and launched upon the river. The long, narrow canoes would have been very dangerous without outriggers, therefore I determined to adopt the plan that I had seen in Ceylon; and as Lieutenant Baker well represented the omniscience of naval men in everything that concerns boats, nautical stratagems, incomprehensible forms of knots, rigging, I left all the details of the canoes to his charge. In a short time we possessed three admirable vessels that it was quite impossible to upset. I now required a few rafts for the transport of baggage, as it would be awkward to cross the river by small sections should an enemy oppose our landing on the precipitous bank on the opposite shore. I therefore arranged that we should cross in two journeys. The party now consisted of 97 soldiers including officers, 5 natives, 3 sailors, 51 women, boys, and servants, and 3 Europeans; total, 158 persons.

There was no ambatch wood, but I thought we might form rafts by cutting and then drying in the sun the long tough stems of the papyrus rush. These, if lashed together in small bundles, could be shaped into rafts similar to those used by the Shillook tribe.

Lieutenant Baker took the three sailors and a few intelligent soldiers, and set to work.

The 29th June had arrived without any news of Rionga. The country appeared to be quite devoid of inhabitants on the south banks, neither did the natives show themselves on the north. We were masters of the situation, but there was an uncomfortable feeling of loneliness in our position of outcasts. We were very hungry, as we had not tasted animal food since the 14th inst.; there was no game, neither were there any doves or birds of any kind, except occasional vultures, which, after sitting upon a dead tree and regarding us for some time, went off with a low opinion of our respectability.

We lived upon boiled plantains and red peppers, together with various wild plants that are wholesome, but not nice, when boiled as spinach. Unfortunately, our small supply of salt was exhausted, therefore we were obliged to burn grass and make potash from the ashes as a substitute.

We had a small quantity of brandy, but we reserved this in case of illness or other necessity.

My men generally made two journeys daily, together with the women, to collect green plantains, and they immediately commenced peeling and drying them in the sun upon their return to camp.

On the evening of the 29th they came home in great spirits, having captured a prisoner. They had tied his arms cruelly behind his lack, and had led him to camp by a cord secured to his neck.

This man had been discovered in company with two others who had escaped to the other side of the river in a canoe.

I ordered his arms to be released, and cross-examined him, Molodi acting as interpreter.

The prisoner seemed quite confident upon seeing my wife and myself. "Don't you remember me" he exclaimed; "was it not I who many years ago carried the travelling-bag for the lady on your journey to Fatiko? Was it not you that shot the antelopes on the march, and gave me meat to eat when I was hungry?"

Here was an extraordinary piece of good luck! My men had actually captured an old friend in the thickets, who had formerly marched with us in the reign of Kamrasi!

This fellow now gave us the news. Rionga wished to see me, but he had been so cheated and deceived by the slave-hunting companies of Abou Saood, that he was afraid to trust himself among us; he was friendly disposed, but he did not know my intentions concerning himself.

The prisoner declared that the treachery of Kabba Rega had been planned from the beginning. The 300 natives who had accompanied my party from Masindi, with the post to Fatiko, had attacked and killed some of my men, but he knew no particulars; only that they had not gone on to Fatiko with my people. This was a great relief to my anxiety, as in that case Abdullah must be safe with his detachment. I ordered the prisoner to be retained, but to be well treated.

We had rain nearly every day.

At daybreak on 1st July, after a heavy night's rain, a voice from the high wet grass, about a hundred yards distant, cried out to the sentries in Arabic, "Don't fire! I am a messenger from Rionga to Malegge!" (my former nick-name).

The man, cold and shivering, was brought before me. He had travelled by canoe during the night, but had been afraid to approach the sentries until daylight.

Being assured of my good-will, he informed me that a nephew of Rionga's was in the grass waiting for my reply. He immediately ran out, and soon returned to the camp with his companion.

As these people spoke Arabic, I now explained the whole affair, and assured them of my repeated refusal to attack Rionga, when I had been pressed to do so both by Kamrasi, and by his son, Kabba Rega. There could be little doubt that, had I allied with him against Rionga, the battle of Masindi would never have taken place; and the lives of some of my best men would have been spared.

I would now depose Kabba Rega, and appoint Rionga as the vakeel or representative of the Egyptian government, provided he would swear allegiance.

I sent a present to Rionga of entire pieces of Turkey red cloth, blue twill, and four handkerchiefs; at the same time I explained that we were very hungry, and required cattle and corn.

Before the messengers returned, I inspected the troops, who marched round the camp in their best scarlet uniforms, to the sound of the drums and bugles. This exhibition appeared to create quite an impression on Rionga's people, who would report us fit for service on their return to their chief.

Thirty of the men were suffering from ulcerated legs, caused by the sharp, poisonous edges of the high grass.

In a couple of days, two large canoes arrived from Rionga with presents of some corn, sweet potatoes, and a cow and sheep. We killed the beef immediately, as we were ravenously hungry.

On 16th July, we started, in nine canoes that had been supplied by Rionga, to visit him at his station. The troops marched by land on the south bank.

After paddling for about fifteen miles along the grand Victoria Nile, which in the narrowest part was at least 300 yards wide, we arrived at 5 P.M. at a desolate spot, exactly opposite to the tail of the large island upon which Rionga resided.

Nothing had been prepared for our reception, therefore we landed in the forest, and my men set to work to collect firewood for the night. The troops who had marched overland had not arrived. Fortunately we had some flour and a bottle of curry-powder; therefore we dined off dhurra-porridge and curry, and lay down on our camp-sheets to sleep.

This was a thorough negro welcome; nothing to eat!

The next morning, at about 7 A.M., the troops with Colonel Abd-el-Kader arrived; they had suffered much from high grass and thorns, as they had been obliged to break their way through the jungle, in the total absence of a path.

A number of Rionga's natives now arrived to assist in making our camp. All hands set vigorously to work building huts, in an excellent position that I had selected on the river's bank.

On 18th July, messengers came early to inform me that Rionga would arrive that morning to give me a warm welcome.

I had already sent him, from Foweera, a beautiful cloak of gold brocade, together with a new tarboosh and sky-blue turban.

At about 8 A.M., drums were beating on the island, and horns were blowing in all directions; these were signals that the renowned Rionga was on the move. We shortly perceived numerous large canoes pushing off from the island, and making for our landing place, which I had already cleared.

A cow, sheep, and a load of corn were first delivered as a present. These were followed by Rionga, and a large staff of his principal headmen.

He was a handsome man of about fifty, with exceedingly good manners. He had none of the stiffness of Kamrasi, nor the gauche bearing of Kabba Rega, but he was perfectly at his ease. He at once thanked me for the handsome suit in which he was dressed, without which, he assured me that it would have been difficult for him to have appeared before me in a becoming manner. The troops were drawn out to receive him, and the conversation at once turned upon Kabba Rega and Abou Saood.

He had an intimate knowledge of all that had taken place; which had been reported to him by his spies; and he declared that Abou Saood had long ago arranged a plan with Kabba Rega for our destruction should we arrive from Gondokoro.

Rionga was well aware how often I had refused to attack him, and he confessed that I had been his saviour by the arrest of Suleiman, who would have joined the forces of Kabba Rega to have crushed him.

I took a great fancy to Rionga, as he was so perfectly free and easy in his manner. He told me several anecdotes of the escapes he had had from snares laid for him by Kamrasi; and he seemed quite rejoiced that I, who had always declined to molest him before I had known him personally, should now have taken him by the hand.

He declared that he would always remain the faithful representative of the Khedive's government, but at the same time we must IMMEDIATELY EXCHANGE BLOOD; without which ceremony, the people would not rise in his favour. He said, "If the natives of this country, and also the Langgos and the Umiros, shall hear that I have exchanged blood with the Pacha, they will have thorough confidence, as they will know that he will always be true to me, and I to him; but without this irrevocable contract, they will always suspect some intrigue, either upon your side or mine."

Rionga proposed that we should drink blood on the following morning, as no time should be lost; he revelled with childish delight in the despair that would seize Kabba Rega and his chiefs when they should hear the news that the Pacha, and his friend Rionga had exchanged blood.

The preparation for the ceremony was to commence that evening. We were to drink a large quantity of plaintain cider. "Not such stuff as Kabba Rega gave you," exclaimed Rionga; "but a drink such as a friend will partake with you." I was not to eat anything on the morrow, until the sun should be in a certain position in the heavens, at which time he would call upon me. I was to exchange blood with Rionga; Colonel Abd-el-Kader and Lieutenant Baker were to go through the same interesting ceremony with his minister and his son at the same time.

I recommended him at once to summon the chiefs of the Langgos and the Umiros, as I should wish to secure their alliance and allegiance without loss of time.

Many large jars of the best quality of plantain cider were now brought from the island.

The night passed in nothing but singing and dancing as Rionga gave an entertainment in honour of our arrival, and as a preliminary to the ceremony of exchanging blood on the following morning.

At about 9 A.M. the unpleasant task was to be performed. Rionga arrived and begged me to accompany him within a tent, together with Lieutenant Baker, Colonel Abd-el-Kader, Karmissua, and Majobi.

Several of his first-class people were admitted as witnesses; these were Inqui, Kimata, Ulendu, Singoma, Kibera, and some others.

Fortunately I had a small lancet in the handle of my knife; therefore I made a slight incision on my left fore-arm, from which a few drops of blood flowed. Rionga immediately seized my arm and greedily sucked the scratch. I had to perform upon his arm, and I took care to make so slight a puncture that only a drop of blood appeared; this was quite enough for my share of the ceremony. We were now friends for ever, and no suspicion of foul play could possibly be entertained. Lieutenant Baker and Abd-el-Kader went through the same operation with their respective partners, and cemented an indissoluble friendship.

It was rather a disgusting performance, but at the same time it was absolutely necessary for the success of the expedition. I had now really secured a trustworthy man, who would act as my vakeel.

When we emerged from the hut, a minstrel appeared, who played upon a species of harp, and sang praises of myself and Rionga; and, of course, abused Kabba Rega with true poetical licence.

I gave the minstrel a considerable present of beads, and he went away rejoicing, singing and twanging his instrument to the discomfiture of all our enemies.

It was fortunate that I had been able to carry so much as 300 lbs. of beads. The soldiers could now purchase fish and potatoes.

On the 23rd July, two great sheiks were introduced by Rionga: "Gonah", the chief of a Langgo district, and "Okooloo", a renowned warrior of the Umiros.

The naked body of Okooloo was covered with small tattoo marks, each of which I was assured represented a victim to his lance.

If he had really killed half that enormous number of men, he must have considerably reduced the population, and he could have been doing little else during his life. Samson's feat of killing 1,000 men was hardly to be compared to the slaughter that had been accomplished by Okooloo.

The prospect of a general attack upon Kabba Rega with fire and lance was delightful to the taste of this warlike old chief, who would, at the end of the campaign, have no more room on his own skin, and would have to keep the list of his game either upon the back of a son or a favourite wife.

I soon made friends with these tribes. A few red and yellow handkerchiefs, and two or three pounds of red and white beads, were sufficient to gain their alliance. I proclaimed Rionga as the vakeel of the government, who would rule Unyoro in the place of Kabba Rega, deposed. Rionga was accepted by acclamation; and if the young traitor, Kabba Rega, could have witnessed this little projet de traite, he would have shivered in his shoes.

Rionga was a general favourite, and the natives were sincerely glad to see him at length supported by the government. Throughout his life he had striven bravely against every species of treachery and persecution; the day of his revenge had arrived.

I did not wish to overrun Unyoro until the grass should be fit to burn; this would not be until the end of November.

I therefore arranged that I would leave Abd-el-Kader with sixty-five men in a powerful stockade that I had constructed on the edge of the river in this spot, N. lat. 2 degrees 6' 17", to support Rionga, and to organize the native forces, while I would take forty men (sniders) and march to Fatiko, to inquire into all that had happened during my absence. It would be necessary to form a corps of irregulars under the command of Wat-el-Mek, which I should immediately send to occupy Unyoro.

Rionga told me that he should attack M'rooli in company with the Langgos and Umiros, who would quickly overrun the country now that Kabba Rega was unsupported by the slave-hunters.

He at once collected fifty natives to carry our loads to Fatiko.

On 27th July, having left all beads, with Colonel Abd-el-Kader for the purchase of provisions, we took a cordial leave of Rionga, and started, in six canoes, at 12.30 P.M.; paddling down the stream, we arrived at our deserted zareeba at 3.12 P.M. We found the camp quite undisturbed; no one appeared to have entered it since we had left it some days ago. The palm outrigger canoes were lying in the same spot, secured to the rushes; and all that had belonged to us was rigidly respected.

Rionga had given us a sheep to eat during our march of seventy-nine miles from Foweera to Fatiko. This did not seem very generous, but his cattle had been mostly carried off by the slave-hunters under Suleiman.

Fortunately, just as we entered our old station, I shot a guinea-fowl, which made a good curry, and saved our store of dried fish for the uninhabited wilderness before us.

The best fish (as I before mentioned in "The Albert N'yanza") is the Lepidosiren annectens, and this fat and delicate meat is excellent when smoked and dried.

We slept in our old camp, and early on the following morning we prepared to cross the river.

Rionga's people did not quite trust the inhabitants on the other side; I accordingly sent a strong party of rifles across first to occupy the high rocky landing-place.

On the return of the canoes, we were just preparing to cross with the remainder of the party, when I observed eight natives walking very fast along the forest-covered cliff on the other side. We immediately gave the alarm to our men who occupied the rocks. The telescope now discovered that the arrangement of the hair of these natives was the fashion of Shooli and Fatiko.

The eight strangers, who had not before observed us, now halted in astonishment, and presently they shouted in good Arabic -

"Are you the Pacha's soldiers? We are sent by Abdullah to look for the Pacha!"

This was great good fortune; then Abdullah was alive, and I hoped my detachment was all right!

We crossed the broad river, and upon close arrival, we discovered that two of the messengers were well known to us, one of whom was Iarro, the interpreter of the great sheik, Rot Jarma.

The first gleam of pleasure with which I had welcomed these messengers quickly changed to considerable anxiety.

I was now informed that the attempt to destroy us by poison, and subsequently by a treacherous attack at Masindi, was mainly due to the intrigues of Abou Saood, who had originally advised Kabba Rega to resist me should I arrive in his country. This traitor Abou Saood had considered that we should be certainly massacred when once in the heart of Unyoro. He had therefore assumed a despotic command of Fatiko and all the neighbouring countries shortly after my departure; and he had given orders ` to the natives and to the sheik, Rot Jarma, that "no supplies of corn should be provided for Major Abdullah's troops."

Rot Jarma had been faithful to the government, and his people had carried corn to Major Abdullah. Abou Saood had therefore ordered his men to attack Rot Jarma. They had accordingly surprised him while believing in the protection of the government, and had captured his cattle, together with a number of slaves. In that attack the brigands had lost five men, whose guns had been subsequently taken to Kabba Rega for sale by the natives we had seen at Masindi.

Abou Saood then, enraged at the loss of five men, together with their guns, had sent for Wat-el-Mek from Faloro, and had given him the command above the well-known Ali Hussein, with orders to carry fire and sword through the country.

Major Abdullah had vainly expostulated. Abou Saood had personally threatened him; and Ali Hussein and an officer named Lazim, with some others, had gone armed into the government camp, and had actually seized natives who had taken refuge with Abdullah, from whose house they were thus dragged by force in defiance of authority.

When the news arrived from Foweera that I had punished Suleiman for the murder of the prisoner, both Abou Saood and his people had declared, that they "would secure Major Abdullah in a forked pole, or sheba, and treat hiin in a similar manner." They had also threatened to attack the government camp.

Major Abdullah had written to me at Masindi requesting instructions; he had intrusted the letter to a native of Faieera. This man had most unfortunately arrived at Masindi late in the evening upon which the troops had been poisoned. On the following morning he was a witness to the murder of poor Monsoor and Ferritch Bagara; and when the general action commenced, he climbed up a tree at no great distance from the station, and cried out that "he was the bearer of a letter from Abdullah."

The bullets whizzed so thickly about him that he descended from his post, and then, being alarmed lest he might be killed by the natives should his mission be discovered, he had run away as fast as possible, and returned 160 miles to Fatiko. Thus I never received Major Abdullah's letter.

The letter-carrier having seen our handful of men surrounded by many thousands of the enemy in Masindi, and knowing that the perfect organization of Unyoro would bring countless enemies upon us, who would occupy the routes by ambuscades, had considered our position hopeless.

The report was spread "that we were all destroyed:" thus Abou Saood was delighted.

Some days later, my party arrived at Fatiko that had left Masindi on the 23rd May with the post, together with the prisoner Suleiman.

These people had suffered terribly, and had lost eleven men killed, exclusive of one who had died on the way from fatigue.

The treacherous plan arranged by Kabba Rega had failed, and the natives had attacked them before the time appointed. This will be described hereafter.

Suleiman was no longer a prisoner, but he commanded the Fabbo station for Abou Saood.

Wat-el-Mek had received my letter, and he wished to serve the government; but Abou Saood had prevented him; and now that I was supposed to be dead, it would be impossible.

This man, Wat-el-Mek, had nevertheless behaved well, as he had immediately demanded 100 men from Abou Saood, and fifty men from Abdullah, in order to march to Unyoro, join Rionga, and with a native army he would have searched for us throughout the country.

Abou Saood had refused to give the 100 men, therefore we had been left to our fate.

The result of the story was that I must hurry on to Fatiko; Rot Jarma had sent his messengers to discover me whether dead or alive, and should I not march quickly, Abdullah might be attacked and overpowered, and the slave-hunters would possess themselves of all the ammunition and stores.

. . . This was not very refreshing news, after all the troubles we had gone through.

Had I received this important intelligence during my stay with Rionga, I should not have left Colonel Abd-el-Kader with sixty men behind me. It would not do to waste time by halting: and should I send to recall Abd-el-Kader immediately after my departure, the effect upon Rionga would create suspicion. The withdrawal of the troops would destroy all confidence on the part of his native allies.

I gave the order to march forward at once.

My horse, Jamoos, now the only survivor of all those that I brought from Cairo, was in good condition, but he suffered from a woeful sore back, occasioned by the heavy load that he had carried from Masindi. My wife was therefore obliged to walk, as the mud was too deep for the solitary donkey, who was weak and ill.

For more than a mile and a half we had to wade through flooded marshes nearly hip deep; the heavy rains had made the country boggy and unpleasant.

We had one sheep for the journey of seventy-nine miles, but this was missing upon the second day's march, and we subsequently discovered that it had been stolen and eaten by our guide and the carriers supplied by Rionga. We were thus reduced to dried fish in the place of our lost mutton, for which we felt inclined to go into mourning.

Although we had been badly fed of late, and for twenty-three days had been without solid animal food (since the march from Masindi), we were nevertheless in excellent health; and always hungry.

We marched well through the uninhabited wilderness of forest, high grass, and swamps, and arrived at the village of Sharga, ten miles from Fatiko, on August 1st, 1872.

The people had collected in considerable numbers to receive us, and we were presented with a fat ox for the troops, thirteen large jars of merissa, and a very plump sheep for ourselves.

The soldiers were delighted, poor fellows; and we likewise looked forward with no small pleasure to a good stew.

Numerous sheiks had collected to receive us, and a formal complaint and protest was made against Abou Saood and his people.

An attack had been planned by the slavers, and Abdullah and his small detachment of 100 men would be overpowered. They were already disheartened, as they believed that we were dead, and they had been daily taunted with this fact by the brigands, who asked them, "what they were going to do now that the Pacha was killed."

Abou Saood, having given his orders to Wat-el-Mek, and to the ruffian Ali Hussein, had withdrawn to the station of Fabbo, twenty-two miles west of Fatiko, to which place he had carried all the ivory. He was not fond of fighting, PERSONALLY.

The natives corroborated the information I had received from Rot Jarma's messengers. They declared that not only had women and children been carried off, but that the slave-hunters under Ali Hussein had cut the throats of many of their women before their eyes, and had dashed the brains of the young children upon the rocks in derision of my power; saying, "Now see if the Nuzzerani (Christian) can protect you!"

They declared that Wat-el-Mek really wished to join the government, but that when he got drunk, both Abou Saood and others could induce him to behave badly.

There were several hundred people present at this meeting; and the sheiks wound up in a cool and temperate manner, by advising me "not to judge from what they had told me, but simply to march early on the following morning to Fatiko, and to receive the report direct from my own commandant, Major Abdullah.

"If he contradicts us, you may say that we are liars; then never believe us again."

This was the conclusion of the palaver.

The morning of 2nd August arrived, and we started at 6.20 A.M., and marched fast over a beautiful country of dells, woods, and open park-like lands, until we ascended the hill that rose towards the high plateau at Fatiko.

As we passed the numerous villages we were joined by curious bands of natives, who by degrees swelled our party to nearly a thousand persons. There was no doubt that these people expected to witness a row, as they knew that Abdullah had been threatened. It was therefore highly probable that we might be attacked, as the slave-hunters would imagine that my small force of forty men was the last remnant of my detachment.

No one at Fatiko had an idea of my existence: thus we should arrive as though risen from the dead.

I halted the men on a large flat rock about a mile and a half south of Fatiko. Here they changed their clothes, and dressed in their best scarlet uniforms and white linen trousers.

We again marched forward, until, upon gaining the racecourse - like plateau, we perceived the station in the distance.

The bugles now sounded the "assembly", to apprise Major Abdullah of our approach. We then marched, while the natives, who delight in music, struck up an accompaniment on their whistles. My wife was riding the horse, as his back was nearly recovered.

With the telescope, I now perceived a great stir in Major Abdullah's camp. The men were running to and fro; presently red clots appeared; these rapidly increased, until a thin line of scarlet showed me that his troops were drawn up outside the camp to receive us.

We arrived at 9.30 A.M. The first formalities having been gone through, the troops embraced their friends; and I shook Major Abdullah warmly by the hand, and asked him for immediate news. He merely replied: "Thank God, sir, you are safe and arrived here; all will go well now that you are alive again. I have kept a journal, and when you have rested, I will hand you my report in writing."

My old dragoman, Mohammed, had burst out crying with joy at our arrival; and he assured me that it was most fortunate that I had appeared, as affairs had become worse than ever.

The natives that had accompanied us had ascended the large flat rock which commanded the station (and which now forms the citadel), upon which they had squatted down like a flock of cormorants, to observe all that passed.

No one had come to salute me from Abou Saood's station, which was almost a portion of that belonging to the government, as it was only separated by a level turf ninety yards across.

The absence of the vakeel and his people was a studied insult, as it was his duty to have at once appeared, with his men in line to receive us.

A hut having been swept out, I entered to change my dress, as I wished to inspect the troops. I never wore a uniform in this country, except upon state occasions; but a simple Norfolk shirt of thick white cotton, and trousers of the same material. This, with an Egyptian silk coffeeah arranged over my own old helmet hat was sufficient for Central Africa.

I ordered Major Abdullah to form the troops in line, as I wished to inspect them.

At the sound of the bugle, they formed two deep on the beautiful turf outside the slight fence which surrounded the camp. My horse, having been rubbed down and quickly saddled, was led through the narrow wicket; having mounted, I rode down the line and made a short inspection of the troops, who appeared to be in excellent health.

I was just returning to the camp, and was about to dismount, as I could not ride through the extremely narrow wicket, when I was begged by Major Abdullah to wait a little longer, as the people of Wat-el-Mek were now approaching with their numerous flags, to salute me according to the usual custom.

Seven large silk crimson flags upon tall staffs headed with lance points, and ornamented with balls of black ostrich feathers, marked the intervals of the advancing line of ruffians.

They were about 270 strong, and, they formed a line in very open order, exactly facing the government troops, at about forty yards' distance. Two principal officers, Wat-el-Mek and the celebrated Ali Hussein, were exceedingly busy running up and down the line, and forming their men, so as to make the greatest display of force. Wat-el-Mek was dressed in bright yellow with loose flowing trousers. Ali Hussein was in a snow-white long robe with black trousers. The officers were distinguished by clean clothes, but the men were clad in various costumes, generally formed of tanned leather.

By way of complimenting me, they had brought out two LARGE CASES OF AMMUNITION - each a load for a native!

These boxes were placed with a guard beneath a tree. My wife, who had as usual come to watch the proceedings, now begged me to dismount, as she had noticed the cases of cartridges, and she feared I might be treacherously shot.

Of course I remained on horseback until the company had completed their arrangements. They now stood in position with their officers in their respective places, but no one moved forward.

I could not believe that they would have the audacity to attack the government troops; but having waited for some time face to face, without the slightest "salaam" having been made by the officers of Abou Saood, I ordered Major Abdullah to retire to the camp with his troops, and to disperse.

I then requested him to send for Wat-el-Mek, as I wished to speak with him immediately.

With much patience, I waited within the station for about half an hour; during which time, five different officers had gone to call Wat-el-Mek, and each had returned with a message that "he would come presently."

At length, two of his people, who had in my absence insulted and threatened to attack Major Abdullah, arrived in the camp with a message "that both the vakeels WERE SICK." I ordered these men to be detained.

I could no longer stand this insolence, as I at once understood that they refused to appear. Accordingly, I instructed Major Abdullah to go himself with a few soldiers, and should Wat-el-Mek refuse to obey my order to accompany him, he should put him under arrest.

The bugle summoned the men who had dispersed, and they immediately formed two deep in a small open space within the camp, to receive instructions. At this time, Lieutenant Baker volunteered to go and speak to Wal-el-Mek, who would (he thought) be more likely to listen to him than to Major Abdullah, who had so frequently been insulted by the slave-hunters during my absence.

I agreed that it would be advisable; at the same time he must be accompanied by some troops. I therefore began to address the men who were standing before me, and I instructed them to obey Lieutenant Baker implicitly, and upon no account to -

My instructions were interrupted by a volley of musketry concentrated upon the mass of scarlet uniforms!

Without the slightest provocation we were thus treacherously attacked, and heavy file-firing continued upon the station. The bullets were whistling through the straw huts, and seven of my men, including Molodi, were struck within a few seconds.

My wife, who was always ready in any emergency, rushed out of her hut with my rifle and belt.

The soldiers had already commenced firing by the time that I was armed and had reached the front, by the edge of the light fence of wattles.

I now observed the enemy about ninety yards distant; many of them were kneeling on the ground and firing, but immediately after taking a shot, they retired behind the huts to reload. In this manner they were keeping up a hot fire.

I perceived a man in white upper garments, but with black trousers: this fellow knelt and fired. I immediately took a shot at him with the "Dutchman."

We should have lost many men if this hiding behind huts and popping from cover had been allowed to continue. I therefore called my "Forty Thieves" together, and ordered the bugler to sound the charge with the bayonet.

Pushing through the narrow wicket gateway, I formed some thirty or forty men in line and led them at full speed with fixed bayonets against the enemy.

Although the slave-hunters had primed themselves well with araki and merissa before they had screwed up courage to attack the troops, they were not quite up to standing before a bayonet charge. The "Forty Thieves" were awkward customers, and in a quarter of a minute they were amongst them.

The enemy were regularly crumpled up! and had they not taken to flight, they would have been bayoneted to a man.

I now saw Wat-el-Mek in his unmistakable yellow suit; he was marching alone across a road about 180 yards distant.

He was crossing to my right; and I imagined, as he was alone, that he intended to screen himself behind the houses, and then surrender.

To my surprise, I observed that when he recognized me, he at once raised his gun and took a steady aim.

I was at that moment reloading; but I was ready the instant that he had fired and missed me.

He now walked towards a hut across to my right. I allowed about half a foot before him for his pace, and the "Dutchman" had a word to say.

The bullet struck his right hand, taking the middle finger off at the root, and then striking the gun in the middle of the lock plate, it cut it completely in halves as though it had been divided by a blow with an axe. He was almost immediately taken prisoner. One of "The Forty" (Seroor) was so enraged that he was with difficulty prevented from finishing Wat-el-Mek with a bayonet thrust.

I now ordered a general advance at the double; and the troops spread out through the extensive town of huts, which occupied about thirty acres.

As we ran through the town, I observed about 150 of the enemy had rallied around their flags, and were retreating quickly, but steadily, in the direction of the Shooa hill. They continued to turn and fire from the rear of their party.

Having reduced the distance to about 150 yards, the crimson silk banners afforded excellent marks for rifle practice. They fell to the right and left, as the shots were directed a little low so as to hit the bearers. In a few minutes not a flag was to be seen! The fatal sniders poured bullets into the dense body of men, who, after waving two and fro as the shots thinned their number, at length ran off without any further effort to maintain a formation.

For upwards of four miles Lieutenant Baker and I chased these ruffians with the "Forty Thieves". Many were killed in the pursuit; and upon our return to the camp at Fatiko at 2 P.M., we had captured a herd of 306 cattle, 130 slaves, 15 donkeys, 43 prisoners, 7 flags, together with the entire station.

The enemy had suffered the loss of more than half their party killed.

The actual fighting had been done by the "Forty Thieves"; and the men of Abdullah's detachment had behaved disgracefully. Instead of following the enemy in the retreat, they had fraternized with a crowd of natives in pillaging the extensive station.

I now had to clear all these fellows out. The officers appeared to have quite lost their heads; and the natives had carried off all the guns and ammunition from the dead men, and had sacked and plundered the powder magazine.

My wife had placed sentries on the high rocks which commanded a view of the entire country; she also had the cattle driven within the fence; and had secured the prisoners, including Wat-el-Mek, in two large huts, over which she had placed a guard. The officers bad been so completely bewildered by the suddenness of the affair, that their wits had been exercised in an extraordinary direction. They had commenced firing Hale's rockets while we were in advance pursuing the enemy, and a couple of these screeching projectiles had actually passed over my head.

We had neither eaten nor drunk since the preceding evening, with the exception of some water that we had procured from a stream at the extreme limit of the pursuit; where we had lost the enemy, who had scattered in the forest.

With her usual forethought, my wife had ordered the cook to have breakfast ready; and having washed hands and faces, we sat down to a good curry of mutton, and excellent cafe-au-lait, the milk having been obtained from the captured cows.

We had worked fairly that morning, having marched ten miles from Sharga, then fought the rebels and run four miles in pursuit, and four miles on our return, through an exceedingly rough country.

My old friends, Gimoro and Shooli, were delighted to see us again. The native sheiks thronged round the entrance of our hut to congratulate us on the defeat of the rebels; and messengers had been already sent off to Rot Jarma and all the principal headmen of the country.

Wat-el-Mek was safe. I knew that most of the principal officers were either killed or wounded; but I was anxious to be assured of the fate of the arch-ruffian, Ali Hussein.

"Where is Ali Hussein?" I asked the natives.

"DEAD!" cried a number of voices.

"Are you certain?" I asked.

"We will bring you his head, for he is not far off," they replied; and several men started immediately.

We were very hungry; and as curry is quickly eaten, we were not long at breakfast; this was hardly concluded when some natives rushed to the open door, and throwing something heavy on the floor of the hut, I saw at my feet the bloody head of Ali Hussein!

There was no mistake in the person. The villainous expression was as strongly marked upon the features in death as it had been in life.

The natives had appropriated his clothes, which they described as "a long white robe and black trousers." Ali Hussein had been struck by two bullets; one had broken his arm, and the other had passed through his thigh. He was alive when the natives discovered him; but as he had been the scourge of the country, he, of course, received no mercy from them.