ON the morning of the 25th July, 1861, Abou Sinn arrived at our tent with a number of his followers, in their whitest apparel, accompanied by one of his grandsons, Sheik Ali, who was to command our escort and to accompany us to the frontier of the Dabaina tribe, at which spot we were to be handed over to the care of the sheik of those Arabs, Atalan Wat Said, who would conduct us to Sofi. There were two superb hygeens duly equipped for my wife and myself: they were snow-white, without speck or blemish, and as clean and silk-like as good grooming could accomplish. One of these beautiful creatures I subsequently measured, - seven feet three and a half inches to the top of the hump; this was much above the average. The baggage-camels were left to the charge of the servants, and we were requested to mount immediately, as the Sheik Abou Sinn was determined to accompany us for some distance as a mark of courtesy, although he was himself to march with his people on that day in the opposite direction towards Gozerajup. Escorted by our grand old host, with a great number of mounted attendants, we left the hospitable camp, and followed the margin of the Atbara valley towards the south, until, at the distance of about two miles, Abou Sinn took leave, and returned with his people.

We now enjoyed the contrast between the light active step of first-class hygeens, and the heavy swinging action of the camels we had hitherto ridden. Travelling was for the first time a pleasure; there was a delightful movement in the elasticity of the hygeens, who ambled at about five miles and a half an hour, as their natural pace; this they can continue for nine or ten hours without fatigue. Having no care for the luggage, and the coffee-pot being slung upon the saddle of an attendant, who also carried our carpet, we were perfectly independent, as we were prepared with the usual luxuries upon halting, - the carpet to recline upon beneath a shady tree, and a cup of good Turkish coffee. Thus we could afford to travel at a rapid rate, and await the arrival of the baggage-camels at the end of the day's journey. In this manner the march should be arranged in these wild countries, where there is no resting-place upon the path beyond the first inviting shade that suggests a halt. The day's journey should be about twenty-four miles. A loaded camel seldom exceeds two miles and a half per hour; at this rate nearly ten hours would be consumed upon the road daily, during which time the traveller would be exposed to the intense heat of the sun, and to the fatigue inseparable from a long and slow march. A servant mounted upon a good hygeen should accompany him with the coffee apparatus and a cold roast fowl and biscuits; the ever necessary carpet should form the cover to his saddle, to be ready when required; he then rides far in advance of the caravan. This simple arrangement insures comfort, and lessens the ennui of the journey; the baggage-camels are left in charge of responsible servants, to be brought forward at their usual pace, until they shall arrive at the place selected for the halt by the traveller. The usual hour of starting is about 5.30 A.M. The entire day's journey can be accomplished in something under five hours upon hygeens, instead of the ten hours dreary pace of the caravan; thus, the final halt would be made at about 10.30 A.M. at which time the traveller would be ready for breakfast. The carpet would be spread under a shady tree; upon a branch of this his water-skin should be suspended, and the day's work over, he can write up his journal and enjoy his pipe while coffee is being prepared. After breakfast he can take his gun or rifle and explore the neighbourhood, until the baggage-camels shall arrive in the evening, by which time, if he is a sportsman, he will have procured something for the dinner of the entire party. The servants will have collected firewood, and all will be ready for the arrival of the caravan, without the confusion and bustle of a general scramble, inseparable from the work to be suddenly performed, when camels must be unloaded, fuel collected, fires lighted, the meals prepared, beds made, &c. &c. all at the same moment, with the chance of little to eat. Nothing keeps the camel-drivers and attendants in such good humour as a successful rifle. While they are on their long and slow march, they speculate upon the good luck that may attend the master's gun, and upon arrival at the general bivouac in the evening they are always on the alert to skin and divide the antelopes, pluck the guinea-fowls, &c. &c. We now travelled in this delightful manner; there were great numbers of guinea-fowl throughout the country, which was the same everlasting flat and rich table land, extending for several hundred miles to the south, and dotted with green mimosas; while upon our left was the broken valley of the Atbara.

The only drawback to the journey was the rain. At about 2 P.M. daily we were subjected to a violent storm, which generally lasted until the evening; and although our guides invariably hurried forward on the march to the neighbourhood of some deserted huts, whose occupants had migrated north, our baggage and servants upon the road were exposed to the storm, and arrived late in the evening, wet and miserable. There could be no doubt that the season for travelling was past. Every day's journey south had proved by the increased vegetation that we were invading the rainy zone, and that, although the northern deserts possessed their horrors of sandy desolation, they at the same time afforded that great advantage to the traveller, a dry climate.

In a few rapid marches we arrived at Tomat, the commencement of the Dabainas and the principal head-quarters of the sheik of that tribe, Atalan Wat Said. This was a lovely spot, where the country appeared like green velvet, as the delicate young grass was about two inches above the ground. The Arab camp was situated upon a series of knolls about a hundred and fifty feet above the Atbara, upon the hard ground denuded by the rains, as this formed a portion of the valley. At this spot, the valley on the west bank of the river was about two miles broad, and exhibited the usual features of innumerable knolls, ravines, and landslips, in succession, like broken terraces from the high level table land, sloping down irregularly to the water's edge. On the opposite side of the river was the most important feature of the country; the land on the east bank was considerably higher than upon the west, and a long tongue formed a bluff cliff that divided the Atbara valley from the sister valley of the Settite, which, corresponding exactly in character and apparent dimensions, joined that of the Atbara from the S.E., forming an angle like the letter V, in a sudden bend of the river. Through the valley of the eastern bank flowed the grand river Settite, which here formed a junction with the Atbara.

Looking down upon the beautifully wooded banks of the two rivers at this interesting point, we rode leisurely across a ravine, and ascended a steep incline of bright green grass, upon the summit of which was a fine level space of several acres that formed the Arab head-quarters. This surface was nearly covered with the usual mat tents, and in a few moments our camels knelt before that of the sheik, at which we dismounted. A crowd of inquisitive Arabs surrounded us upon seeing so large a party of hygeens, and the firman having been delivered by our guide, Sheik Ali, we were almost immediately visited by Sheik Atalan Wat Said. He was a man in the prime of life, of an intelligent countenance, and he received us with much politeness, immediately ordering a fat sheep to be brought and slaughtered for our acceptance.

The usual welcome upon the arrival of a traveller, who is well received in an Arab camp, is the sacrifice of a fat sheep, that should be slaughtered at the door of his hut or tent, so that the blood flows to the threshold. This custom has evidently some connexion with the ancient rites of sacrifice. Should an important expedition be undertaken, a calf is slaughtered at the entrance of the camp, and every individual steps over the body as the party starts upon the enterprise.

Upon learning my plans, he begged us to remain through the rainy season at Tomat, as it was the head-quarters of a party of Egyptian irregular troops, who would assist me in every way. This was no great temptation, as they were the people whom I most wished to avoid; I therefore explained that I was bound to Sofi by the advice of Abou Sinn, from whence I could easily return if I thought proper, but I wished to proceed on the following morning. He promised to act as our guide, and that hygeens should be waiting at the tent-door at sunrise. After our interview, I strolled down to the river's side and shot some guinea-fowl.

The Settite is the river par excellence, as it is the principal stream of Abyssinia, in which country it bears the name of "Tacazzy." Above the junction, the Atbara does not exceed two hundred yards in width. Both rivers have scooped out deep and broad valleys throughout their course; this fact confirmed my first impression of the supply of soil having been brought down by the Atbara to the Nile. The country on the opposite or eastern bank of the Atbara is contested ground; in reality it forms the western frontier of Abyssinia, of which the Atbara river is the boundary, but since the annexation of the Nubian provinces to Egypt there has been no safety for life or property upon the line of frontier; thus a large tract of country actually forming a portion of Abyssinia is uninhabited.

Upon my return to the camp, I was informed by the Sheik Wat Said that a detachment of troops was stationed at Tomat expressly to protect the Egyptian frontier from the raids of Mek Nimmur, who was in the habit of crossing the Atbara and pillaging the Arab villages during the dry season, when the river was fordable. This Mek Nimmur was a son of the celebrated Mek Nimmur, the chief of Shendy, a district upon the west bank of the Nile between Berber and Khartoum. When the Egyptian forces, under the command of Ismael Pasha, the son of the Viceroy Mehemet Ali Pasha, arrived at Shendy, at the time of the conquest of Nubia, he called the great Sheik Mek (from Melek, signifying king) Nimmur before him, and demanded the following supplies for his army, as tribute for the Pasha: - 1,000 young girls as slaves; 1,000 oxen; and of camels, goats, sheep, each 1,000; also camel-loads of corn and straw each 1,000, with a variety of other demands expressed by the same figure. It is said that Mek Nimmur replied to these demands with much courtesy, "Your arithmetic exhibits a charming simplicity, as the only figure appears to be 1,000." In a short time the supplies began to arrive, strings of camels, laden with corn, assembled at Shendy in the Egyptian camp; cattle, goats, sheep, came in from all sides; fodder for the Egyptian cavalry, to the amount of 1,000 camel-loads, was brought to head-quarters, and piled in a huge wall that encircled the tent of the General Ismael Pasha. In the dead of night, while he slept, the crackling of fire was heard, and flames burst out upon all sides of the dry and combustible fodder; the Arabs had fired the straw in all directions, and a roar of flame in a fatal ring surrounded the Pasha's tent, which caught the fire. There was no escape! In the confusion, the Arabs fell upon the troops, and massacred a considerable number. After this success, Mek Nimmur succeeded in retiring with his people and herds to Sofi, on the Atbara, to which place we were bound; this was about twelve miles from Tomat. The body of Ismael Pasha was found beneath those of some of his women, all of whom that were within the inclosure having perished.

After this calamity the Egyptians recovered Shendy, and in revenge they collected a number of the inhabitants of all ages and both sexes. These were penned together like cattle in a zareeba or kraal, and were surrounded with dhurra-straw, which was fired in a similar manner to that which destroyed the Pasha. Thus were these unfortunate creatures destroyed en masse, while the remaining portion of the population fled to the new settlement of their chief at Sofi.

Within the last few years preceding my arrival, the Egyptians had attacked and utterly destroyed the old town of Sofi. Mek Nimmur had retired across the Atbara, and had taken refuge in Abyssinia, where he had been welcomed by the king of that country as the enemy of the Turks, and had been presented with a considerable territory at the western base of the high mountain range. When I arrived on the Atbara in 1861, the original Mek Nimnmur was dead, and his son, who also was called Mek Nimmur, reigned in his stead. "Nimmur" signifies in Arabic "leopard:" thus "Mek Nimmur" is the "Leopard King."

This man was constantly at war with the Egyptians, and such Arabs who were friendly to Egypt. His principal head-quarters were about seventy miles from Tomat, at a village named Mai Gubba, from which country he made successful razzias upon the Egyptian territory, which compelled a vigilant look-out during the dry season. During the rains there was no danger, as the river was immensely deep, and impassable from the total absence of boats.

The uninhabited country exactly opposite Tomat was said to abound with large game, such as elephants, giraffes, &c. as there were no enemies to disturb them.

At break of day, 29th July, the grandson of Abou Sinn, Sheik Ali, who had been our guide, paid us his parting visit, and returned with his people, while at the same time Atalan Wat Said arrived with a large retinue of his own Arabs and Egyptian soldiers to escort us to Sofi. Two splendid hygeens were already saddled for us, one of which was specially intended for my wife; this was the most thorough-bred looking animal I have ever seen; both were milk-white, but there was a delicacy in the latter that was unequalled. This was rather small, and although the ribs were so well covered that the animal appeared rather fleshy, it was in the hardiest condition, and was shaped in the depth of brisket and width of loins like a greyhound; the legs were remarkably fine, and as clean as ivory. The Sheik Atalan was charmed at our admiration of his much-prized hygeen, and to prove its speed and easy action we were no sooner mounted than he led the way at about ten miles an hour, down the steep slopes, across the rough watercourses, and up the hill-sides, assuring my wife that she might sip a cup of coffee on the back of the animal she rode, without spilling a drop: although an exaggeration, this is the usual figure of speech by which an Arab describes the easy action of a first-rate hygeen. It was a beautiful sight to watch the extraordinary ease with which the hygeen glided along over the numerous inequalities of the ground without the slightest discomfort to the rider; the numerous escort became a long and irregular line of stragglers, until at length they were lost in the distance, with the exception of three or four, who, well mounted, were proud of keeping their position. Emerging from the uneven valley of the Atbara, we arrived upon the high and level table land above; here the speed increased, and in the exhilaration of the pace in the cool morning air, with all nature glowing in the fresh green of a Nubian spring, we only regretted the shortness of the journey to Sofi, which we reached before the heat of the day had commenced. We were met by the sheik of the village, and by a German who had been a resident of Sofi for some years; he was delighted to see Europeans, especially those who were conversant with his own language, and he very politely insisted that we should dismount at his house. Accordingly our camels knelt at the door of a little circular stone building about twelve feet in diameter, with a roof thatched according to Arab fashion. This dwelling was the model of an Arab hut, but the walls were of masonry instead of mud and sticks, and two small windows formed an innovation upon the Arab style, which had much astonished the natives, who are contented with the light afforded by the doorway.

We were shortly sitting in the only stone building in the country, among a crowd of Arabs, who, according to their annoying custom, had thronged to the hut upon our arrival, and not only had filled the room, but were sitting in a mob at the doorway, while masses of mop-like heads were peering over the shoulders of the front rank, excluding both light and air; even the windows were blocked with highly frizzled heads, while all were talking at the same time.

Coffee having been handed to the principal people while our tents were being pitched outside the village, we at length silenced the crowd; our new acquaintance explained in Arabic the object of our arrival, and our intention of passing the rainy season at Sofi, and of exploring the various rivers of Abyssinia at the earliest opportunity. Atalan Wat Said promised every assistance when the time should arrive; he described the country as abounding with large game of all kinds, and he agreed to furnish me with guides and hunters at the commencement of the hunting season; in the meantime he ordered the sheik of the village, Hassan bel Kader, to pay us every attention.

After the departure of Atalan and his people, and the usual yelling of the women, we had time to examine Sofi, and accompanied by the German, Florian, we strolled through the village. At this position the slope of the valley towards the river was exceedingly gradual upon the west bank, until within a hundred and fifty yards of the Atbara, when the ground rapidly fell, and terminated in an abrupt cliff of white sandstone.

The miserable little village of modern Sofi comprised about thirty straw huts, but the situation was worthy of a more important settlement. A plateau of hard sandy soil of about twenty acres was bordered upon either side by two deep ravines that formed a natural protection, while below the steep cliff, within two hundred paces in front of the village, flowed the river Atbara; for mounted men there was only one approach, that which we had taken from the main land. There could not have been a more inviting spot adopted for a resting-place during the rains. Although the soil was thoroughly denuded of loam, and nothing remained but the original substratum of sandstone and pebbles, the grass was at this season about three inches high throughout the entire valley of the Atbara, the trees were in full leaf, and the vivid green, contrasting with the snow-white sandstone rocks, produced the effect of an ornamental park. My tents were pitched upon a level piece of ground, outside the village, about a hundred paces from the river, where the grass had been so closely nibbled by the goats that it formed a natural lawn, and was perfection for a camp; drains were dug around the tent walls, and everything was arranged for a permanency. I agreed with the sheik for the erection of a comfortabie hut for ourselves, a kitchen adjoining, and a hut for the servants, as the heavy storms were too severe for a life under canvas; in the meantime we sat in our tent, and had a quiet chat with Florian, the German.

He was a sallow, sickly-looking man, who with a large bony frame had been reduced from constant hard work and frequent sickness to little but skin and sinew; he was a mason, who had left Germany with the Austrian Mission to Khartoum, but finding the work too laborious in such a climate, he and a friend, who was a carpenter, had declared for independence, and they had left the Mission.

They were both enterprising fellows, and sportsmen; therefore they had purchased rifles and ammunition, and had commenced life as hunters; at the same time they employed their leisure hours in earning money by the work of their hands in various ways. Florian, being a stonemason, had of course built his hut of stone; he was a fair blacksmith and carpenter, and was well provided with tools; but his principal occupation was whipmaking, from the hides of hippopotami. As coorbatches were required throughout the country there was an extensive demand for his camel-whips, which were far superior to those of native manufacture; these he sold to the Arabs at about two shillings each. He had lately met with a serious accident by the bursting of one of the wretched guns that formed his sporting battery; this had blown away his thumb from the wrist joint, and had so shattered his hand that it would most likely have suffered amputation had he enjoyed the advantage of European surgical assistance; but with the simple aid of his young black lad, Richarn, who cut off the dangling thumb and flesh with his knife, he had preserved his hand, minus one portion.

Florian had had considerable experience in some parts of the country that I was about to visit, and he gave me much valuable information that was of great assistance in directing my first operations. The close of the rainy season would be about the middle of September, but travelling would be impossible until November, as the fly would not quit the country until the grass should become dry; therefore the Arabs would not return with their camels until that period.

It appeared that this peculiar fly, which tortured all domestic animals, invaded the country shortly after the commencement of the rains, when the grass was about two feet high; a few had already been seen, but Sofi was a favoured spot that was generally exempt from this plague, which clung more particularly to the flat and rich table lands, where the quality of grass was totally different to that produced upon the pebbly and denuded soil of the sandstone slopes of the valley. The grass of the slopes was exceedingly fine, and would not exceed a height of about two feet, while that of the table lands would exceed nine feet, and become impassable, until sufficiently dry to be cleared by fire. In November, the entire country would become a vast prairie of dried straw, the burning of which would then render travelling and hunting possible.

Florian had hunted for some distance along the Settite river with his companions, and had killed fifty-three hippopotami during the last season. I therefore agreed that he should accompany me until I should have sufficiently explored that river, after which I proposed to examine the rivers Salaam and Angrab, of which great tributaries of the Atbara nothing definite was known, except that they joined that river about fifty miles south of Sofi.

Florian described the country as very healthy during the dry season, but extremely dangerous during the rains, especially in the month of October, when, on the cessation of rain, the sun evaporated the moisture from the sodden ground and rank vegetation. I accordingly determined to arrange our winter quarters as comfortably as possible at Sofi for three months, during which holiday I should have ample time for gaining information and completing my arrangements for the future. Violent storms were now of daily occurrence; they had first commenced at about 2 P.M., but they had gradually altered the hour of their arrival to between 3 and 4. This night, 29th July, we were visited at about 11 P.M. with the most tremendous tempest that we had yet experienced, which lasted until the morning. Fortunately the tent was well secured with four powerful storm-ropes fastened from the top of the pole, and pinned about twenty-five yards from the base to iron bars driven deep into the hard ground; but the night was passed in the discomforts of a deluge that, driven by the hurricane, swept through the tent, which threatened every minute to desert us in shreds. On the following morning the storm had passed away, and the small tent had done likewise, having been blown down and carried many yards from the spot where it had been pitched. Mahomet, who was the occupant, had found himself suddenly enveloped in wet canvas, from which he had emerged like a frog in the storm. There was no time to be lost in completing my permanent camp; I therefore sent for the sheik of the village, and proceeded to purchase a house. I accompanied him through the narrow lanes of Sofi, and was quickly shown a remarkably neat house, which I succeeded in purchasing from the owner for the sum of ten piastres (two shillings). This did not seem an extravagant outlay for a neat dwelling with a sound roof; neither were there any legal expenses in the form of conveyance, as in that happy and practical land the simple form of conveyance is the transportation of the house (the roof) upon the shoulders of about thirty men, and thus it is conveyed to any spot that the purchaser may consider desirable. Accordingly, our mansion was at once seized by a crowd of Arabs, and carried off in triumph, while the sticks that formed the wall were quickly arranged upon the site I had chosen for our camp. In the short space of about three hours I found myself the proprietor of an eligible freehold residence, situated upon an eminence in park-like grounds, commanding extensive and romantic views of the beautifully-wooded valley of the Atbara, within a minute's walk of the neighbouring village of Sofi, perfect immunity from all poor-rates, tithes, taxes, and other public burthens, not more than 2,000 miles from a church, with the advantage of a post-town at the easy distance of seventy leagues. The manor comprised the right of shooting throughout the parishes of Ahyssinia and Soudan, plentifully stocked with elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, giraffes, buffaloes, hippopotami, leopards, and a great variety of antelopes; while the right of fishing extended throughout the Atbara and neighbouring rivers, that were well stocked with fish ranging from five to a hundred and fifty pounds; also with turtles and crocodiles.

The mansion comprised entrance-hall, dining-room, drawing-roomn, lady's boudoir, library, breakfast-room, bed-room and dressing-room (with the great advantage of their combination in one circular room fourteen feet in diameter). The architecture was of an ancient style, from the original design of a pill-box surmounted by a candle extinguisher.

Thus might my estate have been described by an English estate agent and auctioneer, with a better foundation of fact than many newspaper advertisements.

I purchased two additional huts, one of which was erected at the back (if a circle has a back) of our mansion, as the kitchen, while the other at a greater distance formed the "servants' hall." We all worked hard for several days in beautifying our house and grounds. In the lovely short grass that resembled green velvet, we cut walks to the edge of a declivity, and surrounded the house with a path of snow-white sand, resembling coarsely pounded sugar; this we obtained from some decomposed sandstone rock which crumbled upon the slightest pressure. We collected curiously-shaped blocks of rock, and masses of fossil wood that were imbedded in the sandstone; these we formed into borders for our walks, and opposite to our front door (there was no back door) we arranged a half-circle or "carriage-drive," of white sand, to the extreme edge of the declivity, which we bordered with large rocks; one of which I believe may remain to this day, as I carried it to the spot to form a seat, and my vanity was touched by the fact that it required two Arabs to raise it from the ground. I made a rustic table of split bamboos, and two garden seats opposite the entrance of the house, and we collected a number of wild plants and bulbs which we planted in little beds; we also sowed the seeds of different gourds that were to climb up on our roof.

In the course of a week we had formed as pretty a camp as Robinson Crusoe himself could have coveted; but he, poor unfortunate, had only his man Friday to assist him, while in our arrangements there were many charms and indescribable little comforts that could only be effected by a lady's hand. Not only were our walks covered with snow-white sand and the borders ornamented with beautiful agates that we had collected in the neighbourhood, but the interior of our house was the perfection of neatness: the floor was covered with white sand beaten firmly together to the depth of about six inches; the surface was swept and replaced with fresh material daily; the travelling bedsteads, with their bright green mosquito curtains, stood by either side, affording a clear space in the centre of the circle, while exactly opposite the door stood the gun-rack, with as goodly an array of weapons as the heart of a sportsman could desire: -

My little Fletcher double rifle, No. 24.

One double rifle, No. 10, by Tatham.

Two double rifles, No. 10, by Reilly.

One double rifle, No. 10, by Beattie (one of my old Ceylon tools).

One double gun, No. 10, by Beattie.

One double gun, No. 10, by Purdey, belonging to Mr. Oswell, of South African celebrity.

One single rifle, No. 8, by Manton.

One single rifle, No. 14, by Beattie.

One single rifle that carried a half-pouud explosive shell, by Holland of Bond Street; this was nicknamed by the Arabs "Jenna el Mootfah" (child of a cannon), and for the sake of brevity I called it the "Baby."

My revolver and a brace of double-barrelled pistols hung upon the wall, which, although the exterior of the house was straw, we had lined with the bright coloured canvas of the tent. Suspended by loops were little ornamental baskets worked by the Arabs, that contained a host of useful articles, such as needles, thread, &c. &c., and the remaining surface was hung with hunting knives, fishing lines, and a variety of instruments belonging to the chase. A travelling table, with maps and a few books, stood against the wall, and one more article completed our furniture, - an exceedingly neat toilet table, the base of which was a flat-topped portmanteau, concealed by a cunning device of chintz and muslin; this, covered with the usual arrangement of brushes, mirror, scent-bottles, &c. threw an air of civilization over the establishment, which was increased by the presence of an immense sponging-bath, that, being flat and circular, could be fitted underneath a bed. In the draught of air next the door stood our filter in a wooden frame, beneath which was a porous jar that received and cooled the clear water as it fell.

Our camp was a perfect model; we had a view of about five miles in extent along the valley of the Atbara, and it was my daily amusement to scan with my telescope the uninhabited country upon the opposite side of the river, and watch the wild animals as they grazed in perfect security. I regret that at that time I did not smoke; in the cool of the evening we used to sit by the bamboo table outside the door of our house, and drink our coffee in perfect contentment amidst the beautiful scene of a tropical sunset and the deep shadows in the valley; but a pipe! - the long "chibbook" of the Turk would have made our home a Paradise! Nevertheless we were thoroughly happy at Sofi; - there was a delightful calm, and a sense of rest; a total estrangement from the cares of the world, and an enchanting contrast in the soft green verdure of the landscape before us to the many hundred weary miles of burning desert through which we had toiled from Lower Egypt. In those barren tracts, the eye had become so accustomed to sterility and yellow sand, that it had appeared impossible to change the scene, and Africa afforded no prospect beyond the blank hitherto shown upon the chart of the interior; we were now in a land of rich pastures, and apparently in another world, after the toil of a hard life; - it was the haven of a pilgrim, rest!

While we were enjoying a few months' repose, the elements were hard at work. Every day, without exception, and generally for several hours of the night, the lightning flashed and thunder roared with little intermission, while the rain poured in such torrents that the entire country became perfectly impassable, with the exception of the hard ground of the Atbara valley. The rich loam of the table land had risen like leavened dough, and was knee-deep in adhesive mud; the grass upon this surface grew with such rapidity that in a few weeks it reached a height of nine or ten feet. The mud rushed in torrents down the countless watercourses, which were now in their greatest activity in hurrying away the fertile soil of Egypt; and the glorious Atbara was at its maximum.