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- The Land of Midian, Vol. 2 - 1/49 -
Produced by JC Byers and proofread by MaryAnn Short
The Land of Midian (Revisited).
By Richard F. Burton.
In Two Volumes.
C. Kegan Paul & Co. London:
To the Memory of My Much Loved Niece, Maria Emily Harriet Stisted, Who Died at Dovercourt, November 12, 1878.
PART II. The March Through Central and Eastern Midian. (Continued)
Chapter XI. The Unknown Lands South of the Hismá--Ruins of Shuwák and Shaghab Chapter XII. From Shaghab to Zibá--Ruins of El-Khandakí and Umm Ámil--The Turquoise Mine--Return to El-Muwaylah Chapter XIII. A Week Around and Upon the Shárr Mountain--Résumé of the March Through Eastern or Central Midian Chapter XIV. Down South--To El-Wijh–Notes on the Quarantine-- The Hutaym Tribe. Chapter XV. The Southern Sulphur-Hill--The Cruise to El-Haurá- -Notes on the Baliyy Tribe and the Volcanic Centres of North-Western Arabia Chapter XVI. Our Last March--The Inland Fort--Ruins of the Gold-Mines at Umm El-Karáyát and Umm El-Haráb Chapter XVII. The March Continued to El-Badá--Description of the Plain Badais Chapter XVIII. Coal a "Myth"--March to Marwát--Arrival at the Wady Hamz Chapter XIX. The Wady Hamz--The Classical Ruin--Abá'l- Marú, The Mine of "Marwah"--Return to El- Wijh--Résumé of the Southern Journey Conclusion
Appendix I. Dates of the Three Journeys (Northern, Central, and Southern) made by the Second Khedivial Expedition Appendix II. EXpenses of the Expedition to Midian, Commanded by Captain R. F. Burton, H.B.M. Consul, Trieste Appendix III. Preserved Provisions and other Stores, Supplied by Messrs. Voltéra Bros., of the Ezbekiyyah, Cairo Appendix IV. Botany and List of Insects Appendix V. Meteorological Journal
PART II. The March Through Central and Eastern Midian. (Continued.)
Chapter XI. The Unknown Lands South of the Hismá–Ruins of Shuwák and Shaghab.
We have now left the region explored by Europeans; and our line to the south and the south-east will lie over ground wholly new. In front of us the land is no longer Arz Madyan: we are entering South Midian, which will extend to El-Hejáz. As the march might last longer than had been expected, I ordered fresh supplies from El-Muwaylah to meet us in the interior viâ Zibá. A very small boy acted dromedary-man; and on the next day he reached the fort, distant some thirty-five and a half direct geographical miles eastward with a trifling of northing.
We left the Jayb el-Khuraytah on a delicious morning (6.15 a.m., February 26th), startling the gazelles and the hares from their breakfast graze.
The former showed in troops of six; and the latter were still breeding, as frequent captures of the long-eared young proved. The track lay down the Wady Dahal and other influents of the great Wady Sa'lúwwah, a main feeder of the Dámah. We made a considerable détour between south-south-east and south-east to avoid the rocks and stones discharged by the valleys of the Shafah range on our left. To the right rose the Jibál el-Tihámah, over whose nearer brown heights appeared the pale blue peaks of Jebel Shárr and its southern neighbour, Jebel Sa'lúwwah.
At nine a.m. we turned abruptly eastward up the Wady el-Sulaysalah, whose head falls sharply from the Shafah range. The surface is still Hismá ground, red sand with blocks of ruddy grit, washed down from the plateau on the left; and, according to Furayj, it forms the south-western limit of the Harrah. The valley is honeycombed into man-traps by rats and lizards, causing many a tumble, and notably developing the mulish instinct. We then crossed a rough and rocky divide, Arabicč a Majrá, or, as the Bedawin here pronounce it, a "Magráh,"[EN#1] which takes its name from the tormented Ruways ridge on the right. After a hot, unlively march of four hours (= eleven miles), on mules worn out by want of water, we dismounted at a queer isolated lump on the left of the track. This Jebel el-Murayt'bah ("of the Little Step") is lumpy grey granite of the coarsest elements, whose false strata, tilted up till they have become quasi-vertical, and worn down to pillars and drums, crown the crest like gigantic columnar crystallizations. We shall see the same freak of nature far more grandly developed into the "Pins" of the Shárr. It has evidently upraised the trap, of which large and small blocks are here and there imbedded in it. The granite is cut in its turn by long horizontal dykes of the hardest quadrangular basalt, occasionally pudding'd with banded lumps of red jasper and oxydulated iron: from afar they look like water-lines, and in places they form walls, regular as if built. The rounded forms result from the granites flaking off in curved laminć, like onion-coats. Want of homogeneity in the texture causes the granite to degrade into caves and holes: the huge blocks which have fallen from the upper heights often show unexpected hollows in the under and lower sides. Above the water we found an immense natural dolmen, under which apparently the Bedawin take shelter. After El-Murayt'bah the regular granitic sequence disappears, nor will it again be visible till we reach Shaghab (March 2nd).
About noon we remounted and rounded the south of the block, disturbing by vain shots two fine black eagles. I had reckoned upon the "Water of El-Murayt'bah," in order to make an exceptional march after so many days of deadly slow going. But the cry arose that the rain-puddle was dry. We had not brought a sufficient supply with us, and twenty-two miles to and from the Wady Dahal was a long way for camels, to say nothing of their owners and the danger of prowling Ma'ázah. In front water lay still farther off, according to the guides, who, it will be seen, notably deceived us. So I ordered the camp to be pitched, after reconnoitering the locale of the water; and we all proceeded to work, with a detachment of soldiers and quarrymen. It was not a rain-puddle, but a spring rising slowly in the sand, which had filled up a fissure in the granite about four feet broad; of these crevices three were disposed parallel to one another, and at different heights. They wanted only clearing out; the produce was abundant, and though slightly flavoured with iron and sulphur, it was drinkable. The thirsty mules amused us not a little: they smelt water at once; hobbled as they were, all hopped like kangaroos over the plain, and with long ears well to the fore, they stood superintending the operation till it was their turn to be happy.
Our evening at the foot of El-Ruways was cheered, despite the flies, the earwigs, and the biting Ba'úzah beetle, which here first put in an appearance, by the weird and fascinating aspect of the southern Hismá-wall, standing opposite to us, and distant about a mile from the dull drab-coloured basin, El-Majrá. Based upon mighty massive foundations of brown and green trap, the undulating junction being perfectly defined by a horizontal white line, the capping of sandstone rises regular as if laid in courses, with a huge rampart falling perpendicular upon the natural slope of its glacis. This bounding curtain is called the Taur el-Shafah, the "inaccessible part of the Lip-range." Further eastward the continuity of the coping has been broken and weathered into the most remarkable castellations: you pass mile after mile of cathedrals, domes, spires, minarets, and pinnacles; of fortresses, dungeons, bulwarks, walls, and towers; of platforms, buttresses, and flying buttresses. These Girágir (Jirájir), as the Bedawin call them, change shape at every new point of view, and the eye never wearies of their infinite variety. Nor are the tints less remarkable than the forms. When the light of day warms them with its gorgeous glaze, the buildings wear the brightest hues of red concrete, like a certain house near Prince's Gate, set off by lambent lights of lively pink and balas-ruby, and by shades of deep transparent purple, while here and there a dwarf dome or a tumulus gleams sparkling
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