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202   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

him, held his own unscathed in this blackguard Bqhemia, not a bit sullied by it and much amused. We arranged with our Captain to take us all together a little way up the Nile. We could not spare time for more than a very few days. So up we went. The mournful character of the big, slow, marsh-like expanse of river was very depressing. The air was heavy and seemed to be pestiferous and I was heartily glad to get away from it. The hippopotami were in great numbers, I blazed at 40 different ones (at absurd distances though) in one day. Boulton went out one night with Parkyns and shot a poor cow by mistake for one. There was no perceptible current in the river, the offal and cook's messes that were thrown overboard each night when the boat anchored, hung about her all night and were still there in the morning, so that we had to send a man wading to a distance to fetch clean water. The river lapped over the sloping banks like a flood over a meadow. There were vast flights of flamingoes, &c. and the aspect of the river was weird and strangely melancholy. We turned back short of the Shilluk country, and returning to Khartoum, where we dropped Parkyns, sailed on to Metemneh. There we engaged camels to cross the Bayuda desert. It hardly ranks as a desert as there are many watering places, we only took 2 or 3 days rations of water with us and travelled 14 and even 16 hours a day. I started equipped in native dress, just a white cloth wrapped round with arm and shoulder bare. The effect was I got fearfully blistered by the sun, all my back and arm was covered with minute blisters side by side. It was fearfully painful at night for some days. We• travelled late into the night and the tail of the great bear was the index of our 24 hour clock. We met Prince Pukler Muskaw (I spellinL) by the way. I saw nothing of any wells, for we camped at night` away from them and the camel men fetched the water. The ground had not at all the utter desert look of the Korosko. Rain falls there periodically

and there are plenty of shabby mimosa trees. We were 6 days in getting to Meraweh. There we stopped a few days wondering at the white ants. Everything had to be laid on "angarebi," frames with

strips of hide across, and on legs, otherwise the white ants got at them. I went up Jebel Barkal bare-footed as a bravado, and the sharp edges of the schist like rocks severely punished my feet. There I got the vase, with what I now know was the representative of the God Bess upon it (given to the British Museum). From Meraweh we went a short 3 days ride across the desert to New Dongola where the Pasha was a much grander person than any hitherto seen. He had a review in our honor and mounted us on thoroughbred ponies with their queer Arab seats with the cruel curbs. We all made a great mess of our riding with so unusual a seat, and if we touched the curb up went the plaguy ponies' heads, who were always at a gallop or a sudden stop. The Pasha gave a monkey, to add to the two I had got at Berber and which were my constant companions in travel sitting on the camel with me or if not, with someone else. From Dongola we rode along the left bank of the Nile to Wadi Haifa, passing that wonderful Semneh. The Nile was then low and ran in a sluice between two low rocky banks that are under water at other times. It was so narrow that we thought we might throw a stone across it and tried hard to do so, but failed, some


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