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- IN THE HEART OF AFRICA - 42/42 -


all those with whom I had been connected, had been accustomed to rely most implicitly upon all that I had promised, and the punishment of this man had been an expressed determination.

I went to the divan and demanded that he should be flogged. Omer Bey was then Governor of the Soudan, in the place of Moosa Pacha deceased. He sat upon the divan, in the large hall of justice by the river. Motioning me to take a seat by his side, and handing me his pipe, he called the officer in waiting, and gave the necessary orders. In a few minutes the prisoner was led into the hall, attended by eight soldiers. One man carried a strong pole about seven feet long, in the centre of which was a double chain, riveted through in a loop. The prisoner was immediately thrown down with his face to the ground, while two men stretched out his arms and sat upon them. His feet were then placed within the loop of the chain, and the pole being twisted round until firmly secured, it was raised from the ground sufficiently to expose the soles of the feet. Two men with powerful hippopotamus whips stood one on either side. The prisoner thus secured, the order was given. The whips were most scientifically applied, and after the first five dozen the slave-hunting scoundrel howled most lustily for mercy. How often had he flogged unfortunate slave women to excess, and what murders had that wretch committed, who now howled for mercy! I begged Omer Bey to stop the punishment at 150 lashes, and to explain to him publicly in the divan that he was thus punished for attempting to thwart the expedition of an English traveller, by instigating my escort to mutiny.

We stayed at Khartoum two months, waiting for the Nile to rise sufficiently to allow the passage of the cataracts. We started June 30th, and reached Berber, from which point, four years before, I had set out on my Atbara expedition.

I determined upon the Red Sea route to Egypt, instead of passing the horrible Korosko desert during the hot month of August. After some delay I procured camels, and started east for Souakim, where I hoped to procure a steamer to Suez.

There was no steamer upon our arrival. After waiting in intense heat for about a fortnight, the Egyptian thirty-two-gun steam frigate Ibrahimeya arrived with a regiment of Egyptian troops, under Giaffer Pacha, to quell the mutiny of the black troops at Kassala, twenty days' march in the interior. Giaffer Pacha most kindly placed the frigate at our disposal to convey us to Suez.

Orders for sailing had been received; but suddenly a steamer was signalled as arriving. This was a transport, with troops. As she was to return immediately to Suez, I preferred the dirty transport rather than incur a further delay. We started from Souakim, and after five days' voyage we arrived at Suez. Landing from the steamer, I once more found myself in an English hotel.

The hotel was thronged with passengers to India, with rosy, blooming English ladies and crowds of my own countrymen. I felt inclined to talk to everybody. Never was I so in love with my own countrymen and women; but they (I mean the ladies) all had large balls of hair at the backs of their heads! What an extraordinary change! I called Richarn, my pet savage from the heart of Africa, to admire them. "Now, Richarn, look at them!" I said. "What do you think of the English ladies? eh, Richarn? Are they not lovely?"

"Wah Illahi!" exclaimed the astonished Richarn, "they are beautiful! What hair! They are not like the negro savages, who work other people's hair into their own heads; theirs is all real--all their own--how beautiful!"

"Yes, Richarn," I replied, "ALL THEIR OWN!" This was my first introduction to the "chignon."

We arrived at Cairo, and I established Richarn and his wife in a comfortable situation as private servants to Mr. Zech, the master of Sheppard's Hotel. The character I gave him was one that I trust has done him service. He had shown an extraordinary amount of moral courage in totally reforming from his original habit of drinking. I left my old servant with a heart too full to say good-by, a warm squeeze of his rough but honest black hand, and the whistle of the train sounded-- we were off!

I had left Richarn, and none remained of my people. The past appeared like a dream; the rushing sound of the train renewed ideas of civilization. Had I really come from the Nile Sources? It was no dream. A witness sat before me--a face still young, but bronzed like an Arab by years of exposure to a burning sun, haggard and worn with toil and sickness, and shaded with cares happily now past, the devoted companion of my pilgrimage, to whom I owed success and life-- my wife.

I had received letters from England, that had been waiting at the British Consulate. The first I opened informed me that the Royal Geographical Society had awarded me the Victoria Gold Medal, at a time when they were unaware whether I was alive or dead, and when the success of my expedition was unknown. This appreciation of my exertions was the warmest welcome that I could have received on my first entrance into civilization after so many years of savagedom. It rendered the completion of the Nile Sources doubly grateful, as I had fulfilled the expectations that the Geographical Society had so generously expressed by the presentation of their medal BEFORE my task was done.


IN THE HEART OF AFRICA - 42/42

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