All the Prisoners leave the Amba for Islamgee - Our Reception by Theodore - He harangues his Troops, and releases some of the Prisoners - He informs us of the Advance of the English - The Massacre - We are sent back to Magdala...

On the evening of the 7th of April we heard indirectly that the next morning all the prisoners, ourselves included, would be called before his Majesty, who was at the time encamped at the foot of Selassie, and that in all probability we should not return to the Amba. At day-dawn a messenger came from Theodore ordering us to go down, and take with, us our tents and anything else we might require. As was our wont on such occasions, we put on our uniforms, and proceeded to the Emperor's camp accompanied by the former captives. On approaching Selassie we perceived his Majesty, surrounded by many of his chiefs and soldiers, standing near his guns in conversation with some of his European workmen. He saluted us courteously, and told, us to advance and stand near him. Cameron was staggering from the effects of the sun, and could with difficulty keep himself from falling to the ground. On perceiving his condition his Majesty asked us what was the matter with him. We answered that Cameron was unwell, and begged permission for him to sit down, a request that was immediately granted. Theodore then greeted the other prisoners, asked them how they were, and on perceiving the Rev. Mr. Stern he said, smiling all the while, "O Kokab (Star), why have you plaited your hair?" [Footnote: Only soldiers plait the hair; peasants and priests shave the head about once a month.] Before he could answer Samuel told the Emperor, "Your Majesty, it is not plaited; it falls naturally on his shoulders."

Theodore then retired a little way from the crowd, and told us three and Cameron to follow him. Seating himself on a large stone, and telling us also to sit down, he said, "I have sent for you, as I desire to look after your safety. When your people come and fire upon me I will put you in a safe place; and should you even there be in danger I will remove you to somewhere else." He asked us if our tents had arrived, and on being informed that they had not, he ordered one of his own, of red flannel, to be pitched in the meanwhile. He remained with us about half an hour conversing on different topics; he narrated the anecdote of Damocles, asked us about our laws, quoted Scripture - in a word, jumped from one subject to the other, discoursing on topics quite foreign to his thoughts. He did his best to appear calm and amiable, but we soon detected that he was labouring under great excitement. When, in January, 1866, he received us at Zage, we were struck by the simplicity of his dress, in every respect the same as that of his common soldiers; of late, however, he had adopted a more gaudy attire, but nothing compared to the harlequin coat he wore that day.

After he had dismissed us, he ascended the hill under which our tent was pitched, and for two hours, at about fifty yards from us, surrounded by his army, he "fakered" (bragged) to his heart's content. He discoursed first on his former deeds, or what he intended to do when he should encounter the white men, speaking all the while in contemptuous terms of his advancing foe. Addressing the soldiers whom he was sending as an advanced post to Arogie, he told them, on the approach of the white men, to wait until they had fired, and before the enemy had time to reload, to fall upon them with their spears; and showing the gaudy dress he had put on for the occasion, he added: "Your valour will meet with its reward, and you will enrich yourselves with spoils, compared to which the rich dress I am wearing is but a mere trifle." When he had concluded his harangue he dismissed his troops, and sent for Mr. Rassam. He told him not to notice what had taken place, as it meant nothing; but that he was obliged to speak publicly in that manner to encourage his soldiers. He then mounted his mule and ascended to the top of Selassie to examine the road from Dalanta to the Bechelo, and ascertain the movements of the English army.

The next day, the 8th, we only saw his Majesty at a distance, seated on a stone in front of his tents, and talking quietly to those around him. In the afternoon he ascended to the top of Selassie, and on his return sent us word that he had seen nothing; but that our people could not be far off, as a woman had come to inform him that, the evening before, horses and mules had been taken down to the Bechelo to be watered.

As we came down from the Amba the day before, we had met on the road all the prisoners crawling along, many of them in hand and foot chains, having in that condition been obliged to walk down the irregular and steep descent. Their appearance was enough to inspire pity in the most callous heart; many had no other covering than a small piece of rag round the loins, and were living skeletons, covered with some loathsome skin disease. Chiefs, soldiers or beggars, all wore an anxious expression: they had but too much reason to fear that they had not been dragged out of the prison where they had spent years of misery for any good purpose. However, on that morning Theodore gave orders for about seventy-five to be released, all either former servants of his, or chiefs whom he had imprisoned, without cause, during his fits of madness, so frequent of late.

Soon after his return from Selassie, his merciful mood being over, Theodore sent orders to have seven prisoners executed; amongst them the wife and child of Comfou (the storekeeper who had run away in September) - poor innocent beings on whom the despot vented his rage for the desertion of the husband: they were shot by the "brave Amharas," and their bodies hurled over the nearest precipice. Theodore sent me word to go and visit Bardel, who was lying dangerously ill in a tent close by. Having seen him and prescribed, I afterwards visited some of the Europeans and their families; I found them all exceedingly anxious and none could arrive at any conclusion as to the probable course Theodore would adopt.

Early on the morning of the 9th some of the European workmen informed us that Theodore was making roads to drag part of his artillery to Fahla, where it overlooks the Bechelo; they also told us that before parting he had given orders for the release of about one hundred prisoners, most of them women or poor people. Towards 2 P.M. the Emperor returned, and sent us word by Samuel that he had seen a quantity of baggage coming down from Dalanta to the Bechelo - four elephants, but very few men. He had also remarked, he said, some small white animals, with black heads, but he could not make out what they were. Did we know? We made a rough guess, and answered that they were probably Berbera sheep. He sent a last message, saying, "I am tired from looking out so long; I am going to rest awhile. Why are your people so slow?"

A severe storm then broke out; and it had hardly subsided when we saw soldiers rushing from all directions towards the side of the precipice - a couple of hundred yards from our tent. We soon heard that his Majesty, in a fearful passion, had left his tent, and had gone to Mr. Rassam's servants' houses, where the Magdala prisoners had been shut up since they had been taken down to Islamgee.

As I have said, that morning Theodore had released a large number of his prisoners. Those who remained, believing that they might avail themselves of the Emperor's good disposition, clamoured for bread and water, as for two days they had been deprived of both, all their servants having decamped and kept away since they had been removed from Magdala. At the cries of "abiet, abiet," [Footnote: "Abiet," master, lord. The usual expression used by beggars when asking alms.] Theodore, who was reposing after indulging in deep potations, asked his attendant, "What is it?" He was told that the prisoners begged for water and bread. Theodore, seizing his sword, and telling the man to follow him, exclaimed, "I will teach them to ask for food when my faithful soldiers are starving." Arrived at the place where the prisoners were confined, blind with rage and drink, he ordered the guards to bring them out. The two first he hacked to pieces with his own sword; the third was a young child; though it arrested his hand, it did not save the poor creature's life, and he was hurled alive over the precipice by Theodore's order. He seems to have been somewhat calmer after the two first murders, and something like order prevailed during the remainder of the executions. As every prisoner was brought out he inquired his name, his country, and his crime. The greater part were found guilty, hurled over the precipice, and shot below by musketeers sent there to despatch any one who still showed signs of animation, as many had escaped with life from the awful fall. Some 307 were put to death, and 91 reserved for another day. These last, strange to say, were all chiefs of note; many of whom had fought against the Emperor, and all, he knew, were his deadly enemies.

What our feelings were all this time can easily be surmised: we could see the deep line of soldiers standing behind the Emperor, and counted up to two hundred discharges of fire-arms, when we left off the agonizing calculation of how many victims were being slaughtered. A friendly chief came to us, and implored us to remain very quiet in our tents, as it would be very dangerous if Theodore remembered us in his present mood. At dusk he returned, followed by an admiring crowd. He, however, took no notice of us; and, after a while, seeing all quiet, we felt pretty confident that we were safe for that day at least.

There is no doubt that when Theodore sent for us and all the prisoners, he had made up his mind to kill every one. His apparent clemency was merely used as a blind to mask his intent and inspire hopes of freedom in the hearts of those whose death he had already determined upon.

Early on the morning of the 10th his Majesty sent us word to get ready to return to Magdala. Shortly afterwards one of his servants brought us the following message: - "Who is that woman who sends her soldiers to fight against a king? Send no more messengers to your people: if a single servant of yours is missing, the covenant of friendship between you and myself is broken." A few minutes afterwards a boy whom I had some days previously sent to General Merewether, with a request that a letter should be sent to Theodore, who had on several occasions manifested great astonishment at not receiving any communication from the army, returned with a letter from his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief for the Emperor. The letter was perfect; just what we had wished for - firm, courteous; it contained no threats, no promises, except that Theodore would be honourably treated if he delivered the prisoners uninjured into his hands. We at once sent Samuel to inform the Emperor that a letter from Sir R. Napier had arrived for him. His Majesty declined to receive it. "It is of no use," he said; "I know what I have to do." However, shortly afterwards he sent for Samuel privately, and asked him its contents, and as Samuel had translated it, he informed him of the principal points. His Majesty listened attentively, but made no remarks. A mule from the Imperial stables was sent for Mr. Rassam's use to ride; Lieutenant Prideaux, Captain Cameron, and myself were told that we might ride our own mules; but this favour was denied to the other captives. On our return to Magdala we were hailed by our servants, and the few friends we had on the mountain, as men who had returned from the grave. We sent for our tents, bedding, &c., and awaited with anxiety the next move of the fickle despot.

About noon the whole of the garrison of the Amba were told to arm and proceed to the King's camp; a few old men only and the ordinary prisoners' guard remaining on the mountain. Between 3 and 4 P.M. a violent thunder-storm burst over the Amba. We thought now and then that we could distinguish amidst the peals of thunder distant guns, and some close at hand. At other times we were almost certain that the sound we had just heard was a volley; but we only laughed at the idea, and wondered how the echoes of the almost constant thunder could to our excited imagination bear such close resemblance to the welcome music of an attack by the army of rescue. Shortly after 4 P.M. the storm subsided, and then no mistake was possible; the deep, dull sound of guns, and the sharp reports of small arms, now reached us plainly and distinctly. But what was it? No one would or could say. Twice during the next hour the joyous elelta resounded from Islamgee to the Amba above, where it was responded to by the soldiers' families. Then all doubts vanished: evidently the King was only "fakering;" no fight could have taken place, as no elelta would be heard if Theodore had ventured to encounter the British troops.

We were fast asleep, quite unaware of the glorious battle that had taken place a few miles from our prison, when we were aroused by a servant, who told us to dress quickly, and come over to Mr. Rassam's house, as messengers had just arrived from his Majesty. We found on entering Mr. Rassam's room Messrs. Waldmeier and Flad, and several of the Emperor's chiefs, who had come up to deliver the Imperial message. Then for the first time we heard of the battle of Fahla; heard, indeed, that we were now safe; that the humbled despot had acknowledged the greatness of the power he had for years despised. The Imperial message was as follows: - "I thought that the people that are now coming were women; I now find that they are men. I have been conquered by the advance guard alone. All my musketeers are dead. Reconcile me with your people."

Mr. Rassam sent him back word that he had come to his country to make peace, and now, as well as formerly, he only wished to see that happy result obtained; he proposed, he said, sending Lieutenant Prideaux for himself, and that his Majesty should send Mr. Flad, or any other European whom he trusted, together with one of his noblemen, to the British camp to make terms; but that unless he was willing to deliver over to the Commander-in-Chief all the prisoners, the proposed steps would be quite useless. The two Europeans and the other messenger remained some time with us to rest and refresh themselves: they told us that his Majesty had mistaken a battery of artillery for Baggage, and seeing only a few men at Arogie, he had given in to the importunities of his chiefs, and allowed them to have their own way. On a cannon being fired, the Abyssinians, excited by the prospect of a large booty, rushed down the hill. His Majesty commanded the artillery, which was served by Abyssinian workmen, under the direction of a Copt, the former servant of the Bishop, and of Lij Engeddah Wark, the son of a converted Bengal Jew. At the first discharge the largest piece of ordnance, "Theodoros," burst, the Abyssinians by mistake having rammed in two cannon balls. Towards dusk he had sent to recall his troops, but messenger after messenger was despatched to no purpose: at last the broken-down remnants of his army were seen slowly climbing the steep ascent, and he heard for the first time the dismal tale of their disaster. Fitaurari [Footnote: Fitaurari, the commander of the advanced guard.] Gabrie, his long-attached friend, the bravest of the brave, lay dead on the battle-field; he inquired for others, but the answer was Dead, dead, dead!! Cast down, conquered at last, Theodore, without saying a word, walked back to his tent with no other thought but an appeal to the friendship of his captives and to the generosity of his foe.

Returning to the Emperor's tent Messrs. Flad and Waldmeier informed him of their arrival by one of the eunuchs who had accompanied them for that purpose. It appears that in the meanwhile Theodore had been drinking hard; he came out of his tent very much excited, and asked the Europeans, "What do you want?" They told him that as he had commanded them, they had spoken on his behalf to Mr. Rassam, and that that gentleman had proposed sending Mr. Prideaux, &c. &c. The Emperor interrupted them, and in an angry tone exclaimed, "Mind your own business: go to your tents!" The two Europeans stood still, in the hope that his Majesty might change his mind; but seeing that they did not depart, he got into a rage, and in a high tone of voice ordered them to retire at once.

At about 4 A.M. a messenger was sent by his Majesty to call Messrs. Flad and Waldmeier before him. As soon as they arrived he asked, "Do you hear this wailing? There is not a soldier who has not lost a friend or a brother. What will it be when the whole English army comes? What shall I do? counsel me." Mr. Waldmeier told him: "Your Majesty, peace is the best." "And you, Flad, what do you say?" "Your Majesty," replied Mr. Flad, "ought to accept Mr. Rassam's proposal." Theodore remained a few minutes silent, his head between his hands, apparently in deep thought, and then said, "Well, go back to Magdala, and tell Mr. Rassam that I trust in his friendship to reconcile me with his people. I will do what he thinks best." Mr. Flad brought us this message, Mr. Waldmeier remaining with the Emperor.

On Lieutenant Prideaux and Mr. Flad reaching Islamgee they were conducted to the Emperor, whom they found sitting outside on a stone and dressed in his ordinary manner. He received them very graciously, and immediately ordered one of his best mules to be saddled for Prideaux's use. Noticing that he was rather exhausted from the rapid walk, he gave him a horn of tej to refresh himself with on the road. He then dismissed them with the following message: - "I had thought before this that I was a strong man, but I have now discovered that they are stronger; now reconcile me." They then left, and accompanied by Dejatch Alame, the Emperor's son-in-law, proceeded to the British camp at Arogie, where they arrived after a two hours' ride, and were warmly cheered and greeted by all. After a short stay in the camp, they returned to his Majesty bearing a letter from Sir Robert Napier, couched in firm but conciliatory terms, and assuring Theodore that, provided he submitted to the Queen of England and brought all the prisoners and other Europeans to the British camp, honourable treatment would be accorded to himself and his family.

Sir Robert Napier received Dejatch Alame with great courtesy (a fact that was immediately reported to Theodore by a special messenger), invited him into his tent, and spoke plainly to him. He told him that not only all the Europeans must at once be sent to the camp, but the Emperor himself must come in also and submit to the Queen of England. He told him that if he complied he would be honourably treated, but that if any one of the Europeans in his hands were injured, he could expect no pity; and that had he (Sir Robert Napier) to remain for five years in the country, he would not leave until the last murderer was punished, had he even to buy him from his mother. He then showed Alame some of the "toys" he had brought with him, and explained to him their effects.

On the return of Prideaux and his companions to Theodore's camp, they found him sitting on the brow of Selassie, overlooking the British camp, and in anything but a pleasant humour. They had been joined on their arrival by Mr. Waldmeier, and together they presented themselves before him, and delivered the letter into his hands. It was twice translated, and at the conclusion of the second reading he asked, in a deliberate manner, "What does honourable treatment mean? Does it mean that the English will help me to subdue my enemies, or does, it mean honourable treatment as a prisoner?" Prideaux replied, that on the first point the Commander-in-Chief had said nothing; that all his wishes were contained in his letter; and that the English army had simply come into the country to rescue their fellow-countrymen, and that object effected they would then return. This answer did not please him at all. Evidently his worst passions were aroused; but, controlling himself, he motioned them to stand a little distance from him, while he dictated a letter to his secretary, - a letter begun before the arrival of Prideaux, an incoherent epistle, not sealed, stating, amongst other things, that he had hitherto surrendered to no man, and was not prepared to do so now. He inclosed with his letter the one he had just received from Sir Robert Napier, handed it over to Prideaux, and bade them be off at once; not allowing Prideaux even to wait for a glass of water, telling him that there was no time to lose.

Another couple of hours' ride brought Prideaux and Flad again to the British camp. Sir Robert Napier, however reluctant he must have felt, after allowing them time to rest, despatched them back to Theodore. It was, indeed, the proper way to deal with him: firmness alone could save our lives; as we had but too ample proofs that the kind of adoration for so long bestowed upon him resulted in nothing but a nonsensical correspondence, and no real advantage had ever been gained. No answer could possibly be given to the mad production Theodore had sent; a verbal message to the same purport as the first communication from the Commander-in-Chief was all that was required.

We were still in the power of Theodore; had not, as yet, tasted liberty; whatever, before long, would be our fate, we were passive, and ready to submit with as much good grace as possible to the sentence we every minute expected. Mr. Flad had left his wife and children on Islamgee, and could not well decline to go back; but for Prideaux the case was quite different: he returned, like a brave, gallant man, ready to sacrifice his own life in endeavouring to save ours, and going willingly to almost certain death in obedience to his duty. None of the brave soldiers who gallantly wear the Victoria Cross ever did a nobler deed. Fortunately, however, as they were nearing Selassie, they met Mr. Meyer, one of the European workmen, who communicated to them the welcome intelligence that we were all liberated and on our way to the camp. They gladly turned round the heads of their tired mules, and, together with Mr. Meyer, brought back the good news to our anxious countrymen.

But we must return to ourselves, still shut up in Magdala. We remained all day in great suspense, not knowing at any moment what course Theodore would adopt. I dressed several of the wounded and saw many of the soldiers who had taken part in the fight of the previous day. All were much cast down, and declared that they would not fight again. "Of what use is it," they said, "fighting against your people? When we fight with our countrymen each side has its turn; with you it is always your turn. See how many dead and wounded we have! We did not see any of your men fall: and then you never run away." The rockets terrified them greatly, and if their description of the shells is correct they must indeed be terrible weapons.

Shortly after receiving an answer from Sir Robert Napier, and despatching Prideaux and Flad for the second time, Theodore called his principal chiefs and some of his European workmen before him and held a kind of council; but he soon became so excited, so mad, that it was with difficulty he was restrained from committing suicide. The chiefs reproved him for his weakness, and proposed that we should all be killed, or kept in a hut in the camp and burnt alive on the approach of our soldiers. His Majesty took no notice of these suggestions, dismissed his chiefs, and told Messrs. Meyer and Saalmueller, two of his European workmen, to get ready to accompany us to the English camp. At the same time he sent two of his high officers, Bitwaddad Hassanie and Ras Bissawur, to us with the following message: - "Go at once to your people: you will send for your property to-morrow."

We did not like that message at all. The two chiefs were sullen and downcast, and Samuel was so excited that he would give us no explanation of this sudden decision. We called our servants to pack up a few things, and many of them bade us good-by with tears in their eyes. The best disposed of the guards looked sad and sorrowful: no doubt the general impression was the same as ours, that we were sent for, not to go to the English camp, but to certain death. There was no use in remonstrating or in complaining, so we dressed; glad that at all events the end of our captivity had arrived, whatever it might be; we bade good-by to our servants, and under a strong escort left the Amba. Whilst we had been dressing, Samuel had consulted with the two chiefs; they told him that Theodore was quite mad, and that anything which might delay our meeting should not be neglected, as time to allow him to cool down a little was of the utmost importance. They decided on sending a soldier in advance with a supposed message from us, to ask from his Majesty the favour of a last interview, as we could not depart without first bidding him good-by.

Arrived at the foot of the Amba, we found that the Emperor had sent no mules, as was his custom, and we had to have ours saddled, or borrow some from the European workmen. The place seemed almost deserted, and on our way to the Imperial tent we met only a few soldiers; but as we advanced we perceived that the heights of Selassie and Fahla were crowded with the remnants of the Imperial host.

At about a hundred yards from the King's tent we met the messenger whom Samuel and the chiefs had sent to request a last interview, coming back towards us. He said that the King was not in his tent, but between Fahla and Selassie, and that he would only see his beloved friend Rassam. Orders were then given by the chiefs who escorted us to conduct Mr. Rassam by one road, and the remainder of the captives by another. We had to follow a small pathway on the side of Selassie, and Mr. Rassam was conducted by a road some fifty yards above. We advanced in that manner for a couple of hundred yards, when we were ordered to stop. The soldiers told us that the Emperor was coming towards Mr. Rassam, and that we must wait until their interview was over.

After a while we were told to advance, as Mr. Rassam had left the King and was moving on.

I was walking in front of our party, and great was my surprise, after a few steps, on arriving at a sudden turn in the road, to find myself face to face with Theodore. I at once perceived that he was in a fearful passion. Behind him stood about twenty men in a line, all armed with muskets. The spot on which he was standing is a small platform, so narrow that I would have almost to touch him on my way onwards. Below the platform the precipice was abrupt and deep; above, the rocks rose like a huge wall: evidently he could not have chosen a better place if he had any evil intentions against us.

He could not have seen me at first, as his face was half turned; he whispered something to the soldier nearest to him, and stretched out his hand to take the man's musket. I was quite prepared for the worst, and, at the moment, had no doubt in my mind that our last hour had come.

Theodore, his hand still on his musket, turned round; he then perceived me, looked at me for a second or two, dropped his hand, and in a low sad voice asked me how I was, and bade me good-by.

The chief on the following day told me that, at the time, Theodore was undecided as to whether he would kill us all or not; only allowing Mr. Rassam to go on account of his personal friendship for him, and that we owed our lives to the mere accident that his eye first fell upon me, against whom he had no animosity; but that the result would have been quite different had his anger been roused by the sight of those he hated.

A few minutes later we rejoined Mr. Rassam, and moved on as fast as our mules could amble. Mr. Rassam told me that Theodore had said to him, "It is getting dark; it is perhaps better if you remained here until to-morrow." Mr. Rassam said, "Just as your Majesty likes." Theodore then said, "Never mind; go." He shook hands with Mr. Rassam, both crying at the idea of parting, and Mr. Rassam promising to return early the next morning.

We had nearly reached the outposts of the Imperial camp when some soldiers shouted for us to stop. Had Theodore again changed his mind? So near liberty, were we again doomed to captivity or death? Such thoughts immediately crossed our minds; but our suspense was short, as we perceived running towards us one of the Emperor's servants, carrying Prideaux's sword, as well as my own, which his Majesty had seized at Debra Tabor some twenty-one months before. We sent back our thanks to his Majesty by the servant, and resumed our march.

Little did we know at the time the narrow escape we had just had. It appears that, after our departure, Theodore sat down on a stone, and, putting his head between his hands, began to cry. Ras Engeddah said to him, "Are you a woman, to cry? Let us bring back these white men, kill them, and run away; or fight and die." Theodore rebuked him in these words: - "You donkey! have I not killed enough these two last days? Do you want me to kill these white men, and cover Abyssinia with blood?"

Though now fairly out of the Imperial camp, and in sight almost of our pickets, we could hardly credit that we were not the victims of some delusion. Involuntarily, we would look back, fearful that, regretting his clemency, Theodore might follow and overtake us before we reached our camp. But God, who had almost by a miracle delivered us that day, still protected us; and shortly afterwards, with grateful and joyful hearts, we entered the British lines; and heard the gladdening sound of English voices, the hearty cheers of our countrymen, and shook hands with the dear friends who had laboured so zealously for our release.


On the morning of the 12th, the day following our deliverance, Theodore sent a letter of apology, expressing his regret for having written the impertinent missive of the day before. He at the same time requested the Commander-in-Chief to accept a present of 1,000 cows; this, according to Abyssinian custom, implying a peace-offering, which once accepted, removed all apprehension of hostilities.

The five captives who had joined us in January, 1868 (Mr. Staiger and his party), Mrs. Flad and her children, several of the Europeans, and the families of all of them, were still in Theodore's power. The Europeans who had accompanied us the evening before, and who had spent the night at the camp, were early that morning sent back to Theodore; and Samuel, who was one of the party, was instructed to demand that the whole of the Europeans and their families should be allowed to depart at once. A dhoolee and bearers were also sent at the same time for Mrs. Flad, whose state of health did not allow her to ride. Before starting, Samuel was told by Mr. Rassam that the Commander-in-Chief had accepted the cows: an unfortunate mistake, as it misled and deceived Theodore, but so far opportune, that it probably saved the lives of the Europeans still in his power.

When the Europeans who had returned to Selassi to bring down their families, and Samuel, approached the Emperor, his first question was, "Have the cows been accepted?" Samuel, bowing respectfully before him, said: "The English Ras says to you, 'I have accepted your present: may God give it back to you.'" On that Theodore drew a long breath, as if relieved of a deep anxiety, and told the Europeans, "Take your families and go." To Mr. Waldmeier he said, "You also want to leave me; well, go: now that I have friendship with the English, if I want ten Waldmeiers I have only to ask for them." In the afternoon the European workmen and their families, Mr. Staiger and his party, Mrs. Flad and children, Samuel, and our servants, all came into the British camp. They had been allowed to take away their property, and on their departure Theodore, in good spirits, bade them good-by.

On Saturday, the 11th, Sir Robert Napier had clearly pointed out to Dejatch Alame, the course he had adopted, and that not only the captives, but Theodore also, must come into the British camp before twenty-four hours, otherwise hostilities would begin anew; but at the urgent request of Dejatch Alame, who knew how difficult it would be for Theodore to comply with that part of the order which referred to himself, he promised to extend to forty-eight hours the term he had fixed upon for his ultimatum to be acceded to.

On the morning of the 18th, the Emperor having not as yet made his submission, it became necessary to compel him to obey, and steps were being taken to complete the work so ably begun, when several of the greatest chiefs of Theodore's army made their appearance, stating that they came in their own name and in that of the soldiers of the garrison, to lay down their arms and surrender the fortress; they added that, Theodore, accompanied by about fifty followers, had made his escape during the night.

It appears that the evening before, Theodore, on hearing that the cows had not been accepted, but were still outside the English pickets, believed that he had been deceived, and that, if he fell into the hands of the English, he would either be doomed to chains or to a cruel death. All night he walked about Selassie anxious and cast down, and towards early morn called upon his people to follow him. But instead of obeying they retired to another part of the plain. Theodore shot the two nearest to him; but this daring act did not quell the mutinous disposition of the soldiery: on the contrary, they only retreated further back.

With the few men who followed him, he passed through the Kafir Ber, but had not gone far before he saw the Gallas advancing from all sides in order to surround him and his party. He then said to his few faithful followers, "Leave me: I will die alone." They refused; on that he said to them, "You are right; but let us return to the mountain: it is better to die by the hands of Christians."

The surrender of the army, the storming of Magdala, the self-inflicted death of Theodore, are too well-known facts for me to enlarge upon them I entered the place shortly after it had been occupied by our troops. One of the first objects that attracted my attention was the dead body of Theodore. There was a smile on his lip - that happy smile he so seldom wore of late: it gave an air of calm grandeur to the features of one whose career had been so remarkable, whose cruelties are almost unparalleled in history; but who at the last hour seemed to have recalled the days of his youth, fought like a brave man, and killed himself rather than surrender.

I remained that night in Magdala. It seemed passing strange to spend a night as a free man in the same hut where I had been so long confined a prisoner. English soldiers now guarded our former gaolers, the queen was our guest, the dead body of Theodore lay in one of our huts: in the short span of forty-eight hours our position had so completely changed that it was difficult to realize it: at times I was apprehensive of being the victim of a delusion. I was too excited to sleep.

General Wilby, his aide-de-camp Captain Cappel, and his brigade-major Major Hicks, shared my hut; hungry and tired they enjoyed quite as much as I did, the simple Abyssinian dish of teps, the peppery sauce, and some tej, which we ourselves went to fetch from the cellars in the royal buildings. The next day we returned to Arogie, and during my stay there I received the kind hospitality of General Merewether. On the 16th, some of the released captives and myself started for Dalanta, where we waited a few days until all had joined; and on the 21st, after Sir Robert Napier had presented us to our deliverers, we proceeded on our way to the coast, and reached Zulla on the 28th of May.

Looking back now, a free man in a free country, the past appears to me like a horrible dream, a kind of missing link in my life; and when I remember that our deliverance was followed so shortly afterwards by the self-destruction of the passionate despot who held us in his power, I can find no truer solution to this difficult problem, than the words inscribed by the warm-hearted countrymen of Kerans, on the banner that floated at Ahascragh to welcome his return, "God is good, who set you free."