Fallow Years, 1844-1849 203
throws (not mine for I can't throw a bit) nearly succeeding. The river whenever we looked down upon it during our journey seemed totally unnavigable, seething among jutting rocks that were thickly set in its bed. At Wadi Halfa to our joy, we found our boat all right and Bob lording it with undisputed sway. He had actually ordered the Captain to be flogged for some offence, and the men obeyed Bob and flogged the Captain accordingly. Such a difference between the Berbers and the Egyptians. You can not strike a Berber but may flog as many Egyptians and beat them with sticks as much as you like, they are thoroughly slavish.
The voyage back, though March, became unpleasant from the Khamsin wind. It was uneventful except in the usual Nile experiences, at Cairo we hired a house in one of the quarters of the town with a big wooden key and lived there a week, conforming of course to the native ways of being in-doors by a specified and not late hour. Finally we separated-Barclay returned straight to England, Boulton by the short desert to Syria and I not being particularly well, by steamer to Beyrout. The awakening in the early morning when sailing along the shores of Syria and seeing the Holy Land for the first time, is one of the living pictures in my memory. Here my memory fails me. I was somehow in quarantine at Akka and made great friends with the Pasha there.-On the other hand I fancy I went straight to Beyrout. Such a change from Egypt. The people seemed so much less sedate and disagreeably go-ahead, and the verdure and hill slopes were so great a novelty to the eye. I lived rather stylishly, bought 2 good horses and a pony and jobbed a native groom, Ali remaining as my personal servant. Furnished with introductions from my Akka friend, I stayed a night with the great Druse chief in his stronghold, who feted me with distinction believing evidently that I was a much greater personage than I was, which rendered the stay embarrassing. I went to Damascus and boarded in the house of the English Doctor (Thompson) thence as the heat was increasing I moved to Salahieh, when I took a house and set up an establishment in which figured my two Soudan monkeys and a pet ichneumon. I lived a very oriental life and became a fairly fluent talker in common Arabic, though nothing of a scholar; in fact, I am ashamed to say, I never read it or even deciphered it fluently. It was before I went to Salahieh and while still in Dr Thompson's house that faithful Ali was seized with dysentery. After an evening of parched skin and low delirium he died with my money belt, that was under his charge still round his body. We had the washers in and all the Moslem ceremonial duly attended to and I followed him to his grave, standing of course far off so as not to pollute. It was a great and serious loss. I was sincerely attached to him and condoned willingly heaps of small faults in regard to his great merits. One cold night in the desert when he and I were both chilled through, he pushed over me his rug. I did not know it till morning. I got many rides from Salahieh and spent many pleasant afternoon hours in Arab caffees sitting by the flowing waters. Colonel Churchill lived with much display near by, with his Syrian wife and I had a pleasant stay there. Finally, when the summer heats had passed I went to Lebanon and stayed a week with the Sheikh of Aden, a right good fellow. The first morning I counted 97 flea bites on the right lower arm and up a little way above the elbow. There were Druse rows going on while I was there and we had to stand a brief attack, shots being fired and the house temporarily barricaded. Going thence to Tripoli I saw the most beautiful view on which my eyes have ever rested. It was of the