MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
deemed expedient to appoint an English Consul, partly to watch and report on matters connected with the slave trade. Mr. Petherick, who had been an ivory dealer in the Soudan, was the first to hold that post. I often saw him after his return ; he was extremely cheery, and apparently frank in conversation, but very reticent on much that I wanted to hear. I could not discover what had been the end of my villainous acquaintances, nor how far the society of Khartum had become purified by the time he arrived there.
We had a few days still to spare, and Parkyns was glad to join us in a short cruise up the White Nile. His birthday and mine proved to be the same, and we had an appropriate jollification. Our house or hut looked over the swift and broad Blue Nile on to the waste beyond, where pillars of whirling sand were constantly forming at that time of year, February. Many of them careered simultaneously, but soon dissipated. I have never been caught in one ; it would no doubt be disagreeable, but I never saw one that behaved as if it were dangerous.
It was a strange sight on turning the corner where the two Niles meet, to change from the Blue Nile, which sparkled and rushed like a clear Highland river, into the stagnant and foul, but deep White Nile. We sailed through mournful scenery up a width of water visited by great flocks of pelicans. The river had few marked banks, but lapped upon grassy shores like a flooded mere. The water was so stagnant, that when we anchored for the night the offal thrown overboard by the cook hung about the boat, and a man had to be sent each morning with