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Title: Sport in Abyssinia - The Mareb and Tackazzee
Author: Mayo, Dermot
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sport in Abyssinia - The Mareb and Tackazzee" ***

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal

  On page 124, "Che va piano va sano" should perhaps be "Chi va piano
  va sano".


  [Illustration: OUR PARTY.



     The Mareb and Tackazzee.





I present this book to the Public simply as an account of what I did
and saw; and the impressions the different events and scenes made upon
my mind.

I have written it from notes and my daily Journal. The stories that
are in it were told me, some by Natives, others by Europeans; either
over the camp fire, or to while away the tedium of a long march, or
the _ennui_ of life on board ship.

These tales must be taken as they are written; they amused me much at
the time, and if they only interest my readers I shall be content.

I hope to revisit Abyssinia, but under more favourable auspices; and
trust that better luck may attend me.

I have spelt the names of places as they are _pronounced_, having had
them repeated over several times to me by our excellent interpreter,
Peter Brou.

     _Victoria Street. London. 1876._




     DINNER-PARTY --  THE CORPS DE BALLET                            1


     "RAINS" -- THRASHING THE TENTS                                 20


     SHOWER BATH                                                    37


     LUGGAGE DIFFICULTIES -- A MOONLIGHT RACE                       55


     THROWING                                                       75


     SUMMARY JUSTICE                                                94


     REPUTATION AS A DOCTOR                                        114


     HARTEBEEST AND GIRAFFES -- JUNGLE FIRES                       134


     QUARTERS -- THE GAME OF "GALANIFT"                            152


     KITCHEN -- STRANGE VISITORS -- A THUNDERSTORM                 173




     CIVILIZATION AGAIN                                            214


     WEATHER -- VOYAGE TO SUEZ -- AND ARRIVAL                      243


     OUR PARTY                                           Frontispiece.

     A RACE FOR A SPEAR                                To face page 70

     NARROW ESCAPE OF GOUBASEE                          "      "    91

     OUR CAMP AT MASSOWAH                               "      "   118

     A WILY BARIA                                       "      "   147




     "In youth's wild days, it cannot but be pleasant
     This idle roaming, round and round the world."

Not to trouble the reader with an account of the route to India, viâ
Brindisi, I will commence the narrative of my adventures at Cairo,
where most of the party who were going to shoot in Abyssinia were

We had a very jolly time of it at Cairo, and amused ourselves in the
usual way, by riding donkeys through the bazaars and trying to win
money from the Greeks, who keep all the gambling-houses. Of course
most of the time was employed in making preparations for the journey
to, and for travelling in, Abyssinia.

We all went and paid our respects to the Khedive, being introduced by
Her Majesty's Consul, Major-General Staunton. His Highness the Khedive
was very civil and courteous, and said he would give us letters to the
different Governors of the Egyptian Provinces through which we were
likely to pass. He also provided all of us with firmans.

A day or two afterwards we received invitations to a _soirée
théâtrale_, given at the Palace of Kasr-el-Nil. This lordly "palace"
is simply a large wooden structure on the banks of the Nile, close to
the great barracks in which most of the troops of Cairo are quartered.

The entertainment was particularly dull, and the only thing that
enlivened us at all was the excessive crush of the company going up
the wooden stairs, which made the whole place shake. Just as we were
entering the room the floor creaked loudly, and the company parted as
if a shell had burst in the midst of them; I thought the whole place
was coming down. Luckily, there was no panic, or I do not know what
would have happened, as we were at the top of the house, having gone
up about six flights of stairs, and the room was full. There was an
elaborate supper afterwards, for which I did not stop. I was only too
glad during the first pause to leave so hot an entertainment.

One Sunday afternoon we drove out to the Pyramids, and ate lunch under
some trees, sitting on one of those broken Egyptian wheels which are
used for raising water. Afterwards we went inside the Pyramids; it was
very warm work, and we were forced to buy quantities of antiquities,
which, I believe, are manufactured in Birmingham.

I found I had to take off my boots in scrambling down a labyrinth of
narrow passages inside of the Pyramid to get to the King's Chamber,
for I had twice been thrown on my back through having nails in my

After having spent ten days at Cairo, I resolved to start for Suez in
order to make arrangements, and to gain information about Abyssinia.
By great luck I met an Abyssinian merchant, quite a young fellow, in
the bazaar at Suez, who said he would go to Abyssinia as my servant,
and he turned out to be very useful, as he could speak Amharic,
Arabic, and Hindustanee, as well as English. Petros, such was his
name, followed me through Abyssinia, and nursed me with great care
when I fell very ill on my return to the coast.

I arrived at Suez just before H., who was to go to Abyssinia with me;
he had come from Southampton by the P. and O. steamer, and I was
delighted to have arranged so nicely with him as to suit our mutual

I learnt that my provisions had all arrived safely by the P. and O.,
but not my heavy guns nor ammunition. What had become of them I could
not make out, as Rigby, of St. James's Street, had most distinct
orders in writing to send them to Suez. It turned out afterwards that
the P. and O. Company, through carelessness, had sent the guns on to
Pointe de Galle; they arrived in Abyssinia the day before we started
for the Tackazzee, where the big game is to be found. H. and I were
hard at work for two days shifting the provisions from the big boxes
in which they had come out into smaller ones, in order that these
might be carried on camels and mules. I bought a few necessary
articles at the P. and O. stores, such as a large frying-pan, a common
kettle, etc., for rough camping work; most of the other things I had
purchased in London, and I would recommend all other travellers to do
the same. I bought all my provisions from the Army and Navy
Co-operative Stores, Victoria Street; and I take this opportunity of
stating that, not only were they so well packed that nothing was
broken, but also that during the very great heat and exceedingly dry
cold winds in Abyssinia not one thing failed, and every article of
the provisions came out as fresh as if I had sent for and got it that
day from the stores. The boxes in which the stores were packed I had
made from an army pattern; it is the one used in the infantry to carry
the carpenters' tools.

A day or two after I had reached Suez, the rest of the party arrived
from Sheppard's Hotel, Cairo. The ship we had to go in to Massowah,
the seaport town of Abyssinia, was called the _Dessook_--a ship that
had been running from Alexandria to Constantinople. She possessed
plenty of accommodation, which is rather unusual for this line of
steamers. These vessels run every three weeks from Suez, taking and
bringing the Egyptian mails from and to Suez, Souakim, and Massowah.
It is an enterprise of the Khedive's, and is called the Posta Khedive
Company; scarcely, I should think, paying well, as the trade from all
ports of the Red Sea is very small. They also carry pilgrims during
the pilgrim season.

We were a party of eleven on board the _Dessook_. These vessels make
no arrangements for providing passengers with food; so we formed a
"mess" of our own, with a president and a committee. Of course, we had
a great many cooks, as the party was large and we were going to
separate; seven to disembark at Souakim, and the remaining four at
Massowah. Nothing could have been merrier than our little mess.

The only other passengers besides ourselves were some French Roman
Catholic priests with a French bishop, and a Frenchman belonging to a
house of business in Massowah. The bishop was very pleasant and
intelligent, and gave the rest of the party and myself a great deal of
useful information as to living and travelling in Abyssinia: he was
Bishop of Keren, in the Bogos country.

In about three days from Suez we arrived at Souakim, which is built
upon an island. The houses are white square structures, with a minaret
dotted about here and there. I went on shore with H. in the evening,
and we walked about that part of the town which is on the mainland.
The inhabitants of Souakim are Arabs; the men are very handsome,
well-made, likely fellows, and they walk about hand-in-hand, twirling
little crooked sticks and dressed in white turbans and white clothes.

I bought one of those crooked knives peculiar to Souakim with which
the young gentlemen of the place settle their little disputes. They
hold the knife dagger fashion, and hack away at each other till one of
the combatants faints from loss of blood. One could see, from the
shape of the knife, that it would be very hard to inflict a mortal
wound with such a weapon.

Here seven of the party landed, including Captain B., Mr. Marcopoli,
and Mr. Russell. They were going up to the White Nile, by Berber, to
join Colonel Gordon, of the White Nile exploration. The other four
were going to Kassala, across the Desert, and thence down to the
Hamaram village mentioned by Sir Samuel Baker in his 'Nile Tributaries
of Abyssinia,' to shoot all kinds of big game. The ship only remained
two days at Souakim, and then sailed for Massowah. The rest of the
journey was a little dull, as the separation broke up this very cheery
party, and only four of us were now remaining.

On the morning of the 29th December, 1874, H., Lord R., A., and myself
landed at Massowah, and here I begin my journal with an account of our
sport and adventures.

_Dec. 29, 1874._--The first thing we did was to pay our respects to
the Governor. I presented the letter which had been procured for me
from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Egypt, and, of course, we had
the usual accompaniment of coffee. Arrekel Bey, the Governor, was
exceedingly civil, and said he would do everything in his power to get
us mules, etc., for our journey to the interior.

Massowah is built on an island, in the same way as Souakim; but there
are two long causeways joining it with the mainland, whereas at Souakim
one goes from the mainland to the town in boats--coarse-shaped things,
which are also used at Massowah, and which I was told are not made in
the country, but are brought to Jidda by large steamers from India.

The boats, or rather rafts, that the people go out fishing in in the
harbour of Massowah are very primitive, being made of a few logs of
wood turned up at the ends. The paddler is always wet with the sea,
but as he wears no clothes, except a rag about his loins, it does not
matter so much, the sun soon dries him. These fishermen are more like
fishes than human beings, as they are in and out of the water every

All the export trade of Abyssinia comes to Massowah, and the goods are
mostly shipped by the Hindoo Banians, who have had a monopoly of the
trade of this place for many years. The merchandise is sent to Bombay,
by Aden, in native boats called sambouks. There is a pearl fishery off
the island of Dhalac, thirty-five miles from the coast of Massowah,
and the Banians make a good thing of it, paying for pearls in clothes
and those necessaries the natives of the island are likely to want,
and selling their purchases for rupees at Bombay.

_Dec. 30._--The first day in camp was certainly uncomfortable in all
respects, as was to have been expected, but we soon got straight, and
then had time to look about us. The hills of Abyssinia in the
distance, lying due west of our little camp, looked so lovely as the
sun set over them, one range rising over the other, that I was eager
to be off to see a country that so little is known about, and whose
people are the only black race of Christians existing.

We pitched our little camp outside the town on a small peninsula,
close to where the Egyptian Government is building a large house for
the Governor.

There is no shade whatever near Massowah, and the Governor very kindly
got the Egyptian soldiers who were told off to us as our guard, as
well as his servants, to put up a large mat "shemmianah,"[1] which
gave us a very pleasant shade during the heat of the day. We always
took our meals under its shelter while we stayed at Massowah.

As I said before, my heavy guns had not arrived at Suez, so my battery
was as follows:--

One 16-bore central-fire gun, by Purdey, carrying ball.

A muzzle-loading rifle, by Purdey, carrying 2¼ drachms of powder.

A 12-bore pin-fire shot gun, which I bought at Suez from Captain
Kellock of the P. and O., made by Crane, of the Royal Exchange. This
turned out to be a most serviceable gun and a very hard hitter.

These guns were rather weak to shoot the large game with, but H. had
brought his Rigby's "Express" with him, which, he said, I could use
whenever I wanted to do so.

_Dec. 31._--We had all four settled the evening before to go out
shooting, and accordingly, this morning, we started early for the
lowest range of hills to be seen in the distance. We expected to find
some small game, such as gazelles and small deer. I rode a camel, and
H. a donkey. Traversing the narrow causeway which joined the little
peninsula on which our camp was situate to the mainland, the first
thing that struck me was the beautiful colours of the fish in the
seawater at each side of the causeway. A. got off his camel and tried
to shoot one, but the water was rather deep.

On reaching the mainland we found ourselves in a large open plain
covered with stunted bushes, and in the distance could be seen the
village of Moncullu, where the residents of Massowah go during the
heat of summer, which is very great in this climate.

H. and I made for the hills as quickly as we could; my camel striding
ahead took the lead, and he followed on his donkey. The motion of the
camel is very pleasant; as I had bought a capital camel-saddle in the
bazaar at Cairo, so far from the motion being inconvenient, as some
travellers allege it to be, I found it very comfortable; it almost
made me fall asleep.

We saw no game on the plain we were crossing. When we had got over the
first range of small hills, the guide, a Shoho Arab, stopped in the
sandy bed of a small river where some Arabs were watering their flocks
of goats. The water is got at by grubbing a hole in the sandy bed of
the river, and then the Arabs scoop it up with a goatskin into a
wooden trough, or, failing that, into another hole made in the sand.

Here we stopped for a short time, watered our beasts, and asked the
natives if they had seen any game. They said there was something in
some bushes close by, whereupon we were both on the tiptoe of
expectation. I got my rifle ready, and H. his shotgun. We went towards
the spot indicated, and, almost among the herd of goats, I saw running
about a small brown-looking beast, like a very small deer. We tried to
stalk him, but he bolted past. H. fired at him and missed; I then
fired my rifle and missed also. We then kicked him out of another
bush, but H. did not see him, he having broken cover on the wrong

This animal turned out to be a little mouse-deer, or dik-dik. In
loading my rifle again, I rammed down the bullet without putting in
any powder, not being accustomed to use muzzle-loading weapons. This
put one barrel _hors de combat_; thus the reader will see that my
first attempt at African sport was not a success.

One of the natives then volunteered to show us some bigger deer. We
went on through a sandy, rocky valley in which mimosa-bushes were
dotted about. H. agreed to go to the ground to the right and I to the
left, so as to work it over thoroughly. The boy who was with me said
he saw some deer on the ridge of the high hill at the foot of which I
was; I went up the hill, and sent him round the other way. On coming
to the top I saw the deer feeding and wagging their tails just below
me, but they were too far off for the rifle I had. I longed for my
Express, which, at that time, was on its way to Pointe de Galle in
Ceylon, instead of being with me! The deer caught sight of me and
trotted away. I sent back the boy for H., as he had his Express with
him; when he joined me we tried to get at them again, but failed. We
saw another dik-dik, and then started for home, in a temperature that
was very hot indeed.

We were back in camp late in the afternoon, and, having had something
to eat, I determined to take my rifle on board the _Dessook_, to ask
the engineer, who was an Englishman, to extract the bullet. Arrekel
Bey, the Governor, sent a boat round to our camp, and the men rowed us
out to the ship, singing, as they were rowing, a wild Arab song which
sounded very prettily. It was a lovely moon-lit night, and every dip
of their oars in the water threw up waves of phosphorescent light;
which phenomenon everybody who has been in these latitudes must have
seen and admired.

The engineer put my gun right in about half an hour; he had to unscrew
the block at the breech of the gun. The Arabs rowed us home; they had
to carry us on their backs for a portion of the distance, as our boat
could not get near enough to the shore. The native who was carrying H.
managed to drop him, and he got a ducking; I very nearly tumbled off
my Arab sailor, on whom I was riding pick-a-back, from laughter, and I
was very glad to get to bed after a rather long day.

_Jan. 1, 1875._--This day we all four paid a visit to Arrekel Bey, who
said he had seven mules to carry our things, and camels for A. and
Lord R., who were not going to the hills, but to the province of
Bogos, which formerly belonged to the Abyssinians, and was taken from
them by the Egyptians.

A., who had been in this part of the world before, expected to find
plenty of big game, as it was a new country, and no English sportsman
had shot over it previously. I tried to buy a horse in Massowah;
Arrekel Bey's groom put him through his paces, showing him off up and
down the space in front of the Governor's house. It was very amusing
to see this Ethiopian sitting on the horse, with his toes well stuck
out, and displaying the points of the animal, much in the same way as
any London dealer would in his straw-yard.

Arrekel Bey very kindly invited us to dinner for the next day at
Moncullu; he has a sort of little summer retreat there. He said he was
going to take us to see the wells which supply Massowah with water.
The water is brought in earthenware pipes built up inside the wall of
the causeway, along which we had gone the day before, and the water is
pumped up from wells in the rock by convicts transported hither from
Egypt. Massowah, before the conduit was completed, was very badly
supplied with water; in fact, there was nothing but rain-water tanks,
and the inhabitants, even now, are charged for the water so much per
skin. We were to take all our luggage and baggage to Moncullu, and
then this party of four was to separate; A. and Lord R. going to
Bogos, and H. and myself to Adowa, the capital of Abyssinia, whence we
intended to go down to Tackazzee for the shooting. The reader will
see, later on, that we had to change our plans.

_Jan. 2._--This morning I prepared some fishing-tackle, intending in
the afternoon to try and catch some of the strange-coloured fish that
I had seen in the water the previous day. Fish of most beautiful
colours and extraordinary shapes and sizes abound in all parts of the
Red Sea.

A. had brought out some of the iron traps that are used by keepers for
catching rabbits in England. I set one of these on the top of a heap
of stones near the camp, with a bit of meat tied on the plate of it,
to try and catch one of those great vultures which are always seen
hovering about Eastern towns. In about half an hour one came swooping
down on it, made a "grab" at the meat and was caught by the legs. He
would have flown away with the trap as well, but for Fisk, H.'s
English servant, who caught and secured him. He was one of the common
bare-necked vultures that live on carrion.

In the afternoon I went out fishing, but did not find much sport; I
only caught a pipe-fish, which we ate. That evening some of our mules
and three camels, as also a string of camels for A. and Lord R.,
appeared. Arrekel Bey, the Governor, sent to ask if we were ready; I
said we were all ready, but that our promised transport animals had
not all come. In about half an hour the Governor arrived himself, when
I told him that I could not start without a proper supply of mules. He
stated they could not be got that day, but he would do his best the
next day; I very politely said I would not move without my luggage.
He then ordered all the donkeys that are used to carry the water into
Massowah from the conduit just outside the town to be brought. They
were a mixed lot; some were blind and some were lame, but our luggage
was carried into Moncullu some way or other. The great thing was that
we made a move in the right direction.

It was quite a sight to see this troop of animals, consisting of
camels, donkeys, and mules--the servants pushing along the narrow
causeway--one donkey lagging behind, and another trying to push
by--kettles tumbling off and straps coming undone. _C'est le premier
pas qui coûte._ I am certain that it cost the poor donkeys a great
deal of pain, as they were frequently belaboured with sticks and were
loudly cursed in Massowah Arabic.

Arrekel Bey took us to see the wells made in the rock in Moncullu,
where the most deliciously cool water is pumped up. The convicts
looked fine, strong, muscular fellows, but gentlemen that one would
not like to meet alone on a dark night. They had just left off work,
it being sunset, six o'clock.

We then adjourned to dinner, which was laid out in a large oblong hut
made of grass. This is the way that houses are made in Moncullu, as a
free current of air passes through the whole structure, and any other
material would be too hot.

We had a regular Turkish dinner, and not at all a bad one either. We
first began by drinking, as is the Turkish fashion, some excellent
liqueur which is called in these parts "araké." I believe it is made
in Smyrna, but it is very good. As some of my readers may know, a
Turkish dinner consists of a great number of dishes, which are handed
about to the guests in quick succession. I managed to get through most
of them, and I think I could have succeeded in doing more, but for the
circumstance that the champagne had not been iced; in fact, ice in
those parts is an unknown luxury. It is only in India that Europeans
can really _live_ in a hot country.

After dinner we were taken to a large marquee. The ground outside was
surrounded by a circle of torches held in braziers, somewhat like a
beacon, burning wood which was replenished by the Egyptian soldiers, a
large number of whom had been "told off" for this purpose.

There were divans in the marquee, on which we reclined. We had waited
about a quarter of an hour, when some musicians appeared with tom-toms
and rude guitars, on which they began strumming, and making a hideous
noise. Then some dancing girls were brought in, and their
extraordinary performance surpassed anything I had ever seen either in
India or at Covent Garden.

The natives of Moncullu were ranged round the open part of the
marquee, singing to the music and keeping time by clapping their
hands. All the dancing girls did was to sway their bodies about in an
affected manner, stamp with their feet on the ground, and wag their
heads backward and forward, making their long plaited hair swing
across their faces. They were highly scented with musk, etc., _à la
mode Arabe_. Like all Arab women, they were very small but beautifully
made, with tiny hands and feet.

This entertainment lasted about three hours, and, between the heat of
the hut and the smell of the negroes, I very nearly went to sleep. At
last the performance came to a close, and we retired to our respective
tents. The soldiers put out the lights, but I could see Arrekel Bey's
native servants, after we were gone, regaling themselves on the
remains of the liqueur and brandy left upon the table in the marquee.
My head, the next morning, was not quite so clear as it might have
been. It must have been the Turkish sweetmeats that caused it, I

_Jan. 3._--To-day we were all up at sunrise. Our mules were loaded,
and also our three camels. Two more mules had arrived the evening
before. H. bought one, of a grey colour, for his English servant to
ride, and I was to ride a small brown mule. She turned out a capital
animal and very sure-footed over the rocks in the hills. We ate some
breakfast and started for Sahatee at eight o'clock, having said
good-bye to A. and Lord R.[2] I little thought on that bright morning
when we shook hands and wished each other luck, that I should never
see his cheery face again. His death was indeed a sad, sad ending to
an expedition which began so pleasantly and well!


[1] An Indian word for a large square tent.

[2] Earl of Ranfurly, Captain Grenadier Guards, who died at Souakim,
on the Red Sea, May 10, 1875, on board the steamer which was that day
leaving for Suez.



Before taking the reader any farther into Abyssinia I must say
something about our equipment; what tents we had, and what description
of provisions.

We took with us two tents; a three-poled tent made by Edgington, and
called by him the Punjâb Hill tent. I should advise everybody to take
this description of tent for rough work in any country. Head room is
what is wanted for comfort; and this is the only strong, portable, and
shapely tent that combines those advantages. Mr. Galton, in his most
useful little book, the 'Art of Travel,' says very nearly the same
thing. We had a little Union Jack to fly at the top of it, and _iron_
tent pegs. Of course these tents can be made of any reasonable size.
The other--a _tente d'abri_--was for Fisk, H.'s English servant, and
was for him to sit in while he skinned the birds we shot, of which we
intended to make a good collection, as they are very beautiful in
these parts.

Ours was rather smaller than usual; our two beds were on each side of
a person entering the door, which left a space at the head of the beds
for a box for brushes and dressing-things, etc.

We slept on iron camp-beds, and I was provided with a blanket lined
with silk, which is a device I should recommend to everybody else,
only advising them to take care that the blanket is long and wide
enough to fall over the side as well as to hang over the foot of the
bed. The sleeper lies in the fold of this blanket, so that if the
sides were tacked together it would make a complete bag; this is good
both for hot and cold climates. The lining should be of red or blue
silk, which is easily cleaned with a sponge or piece of rag, and some
warm water. White, of Aldershot, made mine for the Cannock Chase
autumn manœuvres. It is almost waterproof, and can be slept in with
as much comfort as in the best sheets.

Our provisions were calculated to last three Europeans for four
months. I had the list overlooked by the head purser of the P. and O.
Company in London, who gave me some very useful hints with regard to
preserving provisions. I cut down the amount of stores as much as
possible in order to save transport, as, from what little experience I
had had of India and coolie work in that country, I knew that the
lighter one travels, the more comfortable one is, and the farther one
goes. The following is an exact list of the provisions:--

     1½ doz. tins of cabin biscuits (Peek and Frean).
     1½  "    "   of German rusks.
     6   " small tins of cocoa and milk, from Lion brand.
     ½ doz. small bottles of currie-powder.
     1½ "   pots of marmalade.
     ½  "   tins of plum-pudding.
     One middle piece of bacon, cut up, and hermetically sealed in tins.
     1 doz. tins of ox-tail soup.
     ½  "    "   of _paté de foie gras_.
     3  "    "   of Cambridge sausages.
     1½ "    "   of sardines.
     Two tin-opening knives.
     14 lbs. of yellow soap, called "primrose soap."
     8½ pint bottles of Worcester sauce.
     6½  "      "    of Harvey's sauce.
     28 lbs. of preserved potatoes.
     3 bottles of best French vinegar.
     12 lbs. of tea, done up in 1 lb. tins.
      1 doz. bottles of mixed pickles.
     18 2-oz. pots of Liebig's extract of meat.

The cocoa and milk in tins was one of the most useful of the
provisions we had, as it only required the addition of hot water to
make a most delicious cup of cocoa. This was very useful when starting
early in the morning and things were wanted in a hurry, and it was
quite a meal by itself. German rusks I would also recommend, as they
are very good eating, and do not dry up the mouth so much as biscuits.
Of course these provisions were helped out a great deal by fresh meat,
milk, eggs, bread, etc., which we found in the country. Besides all
this, we took a large sack of onions, about two donkey-loads of rice,
some potatoes, some salt for table use in bottles, and some black
pepper and mustard. Coffee of the very best sort can be got at
Massowah. We took a little sugar with us, but it was not properly
packed, and all melted together in one compact mass. The best way to
take sugar would be to have pounded loaf-sugar done up in pickle
bottles or tins.

With regard to the cooking, H. had a large tin box which contained a
canteen made by Thornhill, of Bond Street; into this all the boiling
cans and a small kettle fitted, the one into the other. I would not
recommend this arrangement for _rough work_, as if a can gets bent it
does not fit into the other, which is a disadvantage, as it then has
to be carried separately, and eventually ends by being knocked to
pieces. The best kinds of things for the cook are a common gridiron, a
large frying-pan, three sizes of pots made of _strong_ tin in the
shape of milk-pails for boiling in; a good tin kettle, a soup-ladle,
and a couple of butcher's knives. With those one may go anywhere.

With regard to knives and forks, the best sorts are those that are
made by Thornhill, of Bond Street, for skinning animals, but they
answer other purposes as well. All steel things, in a hot, dry
climate, can be very well cleaned and polished by the natives with the
wood ashes out of the camp-fire, and there is no reason why they
should look dirty, for dirty things always take away the appetite,
especially if you have sometimes to eat rather strange food. The forks
I had made from my own pattern, and two of them can be converted into
a fish spear on an emergency. It is a great thing to try and manage to
have such implements as may be made to serve more than one purpose; as
the reader will understand, this saves a great deal of carriage.

H. brought out two English hunting-saddles; they did very well for the
mules we rode in Abyssinia. He also brought snaffle-bridles; these
were a great deal better than the bridles of the country, which are
dreadfully severe and pull any animal back on his haunches with the
least touch. This is rather dangerous on a narrow path over a
precipice, as sometimes, going uphill, by mistake a rider is apt to
hang on by the bridle instead of catching hold of either the mane or
the pommel. The mules took to the snaffle very kindly; in fact, it
seemed quite a relief to them to have this description of bit in their

As so much has been written upon mules lately, with regard to their
use as draught animals for farm purposes and in other ways, I copy
from my notes made on my way home some memoranda of the way these
animals are treated and looked after in Abyssinia.

Everybody in Abyssinia rides a mule; even the king rides a mule, and
has his charger led in front of him. This custom is followed by all
the nobles and "swells" in the country.

The saddles used on Abyssinian mules are made with high cantels and
pommels, and are well padded; a good sheep-skin Numbdah, or one made
of old cotton cloth, folded into many folds--the older and the more
ragged the better, as it is then softer--is put under the saddle. On
the march, when the halting-place for the day is arrived at, they take
off the saddle but not the numbdah, tying up the mule in the shade
for about half-an-hour to let the animal get cool. They then remove
the numbdah and lead the mule to roll. The best place for this purpose
is in the ashes of an old camp-fire. In fact, in Abyssinia there are
regular rolling-places for the mules and donkeys at most of the
camping grounds; the animals seem to know them by instinct, especially
the patient ass, which latter is used merely for carrying baggage.
Anybody riding an ass in Abyssinia would be hooted through the
country. This is rather extraordinary, as these animals, among the
Arabs, and also in Egypt, are considered quite the thing, and large
donkeys of good breed fetch very high prices in Cairo. I myself saw
one at Suez that had cost at Cairo 40_l._, but he was made like a

After the mule has rolled they take him to water; they next hobble
him, and let him go out to graze. The best sort of hobble I have ever
seen, and one used in Abyssinia, is one by which the near fore leg is
tied up with a leather thong, about three-quarters of an inch wide, to
the off hind leg, or _vice versâ_. The thong must be so tied that the
mule can walk pretty easily, and yet it should not be too loose.

These remarks apply to donkeys as well as to mules; but, of course,
the former animals do not require so much care as mules. They need not
be hobbled when let out to graze, but should always have a man to
look after them in case of attacks by wild beasts.

In travelling with these beasts the great thing, of course, is to
avoid sore backs in this country, where the temperature varies so much
in different parts; as, for instance, I was out duck-shooting one
morning at 5.30 in a white frost, and at the next camping ground, at a
less altitude, at the same hour of the morning, I could not bear a
thick coat on at all when walking out shooting.

This change of temperature occurring very often, day by day, while
travelling with these animals through Abyssinia, must have, I think,
some effect on the backs of mules and donkeys. The origin of the
swelling under the skin, I am persuaded, must depend on the sudden
check to the perspiration. Of course, if the saddle or packing had at
all bruised the back of the animal, this would accelerate the

The back having become sore or swollen up, matter is formed
underneath.[3] To cure this the natives of Abyssinia cast the donkey
or mule, and with a hot iron score the back. In two days the wound
begins to discharge matter; after a few days more, the sore should be
washed once or twice every twenty-four hours and dressed with _fresh
butter_. The back becomes much harder after these wounds have healed
up, but it requires at least a month or more to do so, and the animal
should be kept within doors or in any enclosed space, and fed on corn
and green food, as the discharge from the wound is exceedingly

Some merchants of Abyssinia, who travel daily for months down to the
coast from distant parts, much prefer mules and donkeys whose backs
have been burnt, as, they say, the animals are hardier, and the
soreness and swelling are not likely to recur.

As to our camels, they were with us only a short time, for they left
us at the foot of the hills; my experience of camels, therefore, is
not very great. All that I observed was, that it is best to leave them
to the cameleers; but to see that the cameleers, when loading up at
starting, are not trying to shirk their loads and put the things told
off to _them_ on their neighbours' camels. This is a favourite
expedient, and they will tell any lies and swear any oaths to get rid
of a pound or two of baggage, especially if the camel is a favourite
one with them.

With regard to the mode of packing mules and donkeys, it would take
up too much space to give an account here. All I would recommend to
the traveller is to follow the custom of the country in which he finds
himself. He should not interfere with the natives in loading, as, most
likely, he will thereby only display his ignorance, and they will get
annoyed and sulky at being interfered with. Sir Samuel Baker, in his
'Nile Tributaries in Abyssinia,' gives an interesting account of the
mode in which he loaded his donkeys for starting to Central Africa.

Now, to continue our journey. The plain on which we had been encamped
soon ended, and then we began to ascend the hills. The ground was very
rocky and arid, only stunted bushes growing here and there. We then
came upon a small valley which reached to the bank of a sandy
river-bed, with rather thick jungle on each side. One of the servants
said we should be likely to find some game here. I got off my mule and
walked up the bed of the river, telling the man with my mule to go
straight on with the rest of the party, and that I would rejoin them
after making a slight détour. After I had gone a little way a dik-dik
crossed the dry river-bed in front of me; I fired at him, but it was
too long a shot. I then tried to circumvent some guinea-fowl, with
which the jungle fringing the banks of the watercourse abounded; they
made the whole place alive with their calling to each other. They are
exactly like the guinea-fowl one sees at home, and make precisely the
same noise. They did not let me approach them within shooting range,
being very shy. I successfully stalked a hare and knocked him over, he
was of that description of animals which our American cousins call the
jackass rabbit; I leave it to naturalists to give his Latin name. We
ate him for dinner, and he was capital food.

I then trotted on in front of H., and arrived at Sahatee, the place we
were to camp at for the night, about one o'clock in the afternoon. My
first thought was to get something to drink, as I was very thirsty;
therefore, obtaining some oranges from a native, of these I sucked
some, and squeezed the juice of others into my little silver bowl;
they were very bitter, but greatly refreshing.

Before I go on, let me recommend travellers to take these small silver
bowls with them; it is wonderful how useful they will be found. The
bowl can be applied to many purposes, and is easily cleaned with fine
wood ashes. One makes one's tea in it, covering it over with a plate
to make it draw; one drinks one's soup out of it, or coffee or cocoa,
as the case may be; and one mixes one's medicine in it. Silver is a
very good metal for things to be made of, as if it is bent it is
easily brought into shape again. One of the gun-bearers should always
carry the bowl, so that the traveller may have it at hand to dip into
the stream and drink from; the brightness of the silver shows whether
the water is fit to drink. In Abyssinia the natives do not understand
silver vessels, and set no value on them, thinking they are tin; but
in other countries they might easily be stolen.

The camping-place of Sahatee is surrounded by rocks. There are two
trees on a little knoll in the centre, and it was under one of these I
was lying when H. appeared with the camels, the tents and baggage. We
pitched the little tent in the bed of the dried-up river, whence,
during the rains, the water dashes over the rocks and flows away to
the sea. After we had had something to eat, H. said he was going out
shooting, one of the Arabs in charge of the camels telling him that
wild pigs abounded here. He had not long gone out of camp before I
heard the crack of his rifle. He had wounded a boar in the hind
quarter, as it was coming to drink; but the boar trotted away, leaving
blood tracks, which H. and the Arab tried to follow up, but soon lost
them in the dust and the hard-baked ground of the jungle. When I heard
the shots I started off also to try and find a boar, but was not so
lucky. I got back about an hour before dusk, and saw several of the
Francolin partridges pecking about the camping ground; I killed one
and wounded another. H. had just come in, and as the wounded bird
rocketed over his head he knocked it down. H. also shot a small brown
duck. I had tried to get some of the little sand-grouse as they came
down to drink; but these little birds only come down just as it is
getting dusk, and settle quickly on the ground, uttering their
peculiar plaintive cry. It was almost impossible to discern them in
the fading light, and as I wanted to get a pot shot into the "brown"
of them as they were on the ground, for the cook to prepare for our
breakfast next morning, I waited too long, the light failed, and I had
to give up my intention.

We were camped on the shingle of the river, which, although it is
always a very dry, clean spot, and free from insects, has this
disadvantage, that the iron legs of the camp-beds sink rather far into
the ground; and sometimes one wakes up finding oneself in a slanting
position, with the head lower than the legs.

_Jan. 4._--This morning we were on the move early, having left at 6.45
for Ailet. It was a lovely, cloudy day, which is a thing that one
knows how to appreciate in an Eastern climate. The country became much
greener as we approached Ailet; this village lies in a valley which is
exceedingly fertile--that is to say, as far as it is cultivated by
the Shoho Arabs who dwell in the village. Elephants are found here
after the rains, but the place is rather unhealthy at that time, and
most of the natives, who are miserable creatures, suffer from fever.

I should state that the Governor had provided us with a guard of six
irregular Egyptian soldiers and a non-commissioned officer. In the
middle of the night at Sahatee, we had heard the loud report of the
Egyptian corporal's carbine. We thought we were going to be attacked;
but it turned out, next morning, that he had fired at a pig, in hopes
of securing some fresh meat.

These poor soldiers' pay is four dollars a month; they find themselves
in clothes and food, but are provided with arms, and all military
service is compulsory with the Egyptians.

Our cameleers and Naib Abdul Kerim--the man whom Arrekel Bey, the
Governor, had given us to guide us through the country and manage our
transport as far as Adowa, the capital of Abyssinia--wanted us to camp
near a large tree just outside the house of the Sheik of the village
of Ailet. H. and I, however, agreed to go on, so as to get to the hot
springs of Ailet, as it was early in the day and we should be a little
farther on our journey; we should also be farther away from the
village and more likely to get shooting. After some little palaver
and remonstrances from the cameleers, who thought they had come to the
end of their day's march, we moved on.

The scene now changed from an open valley into a thorny jungle, and
the road was frequently crossed by dried-up river-courses. H., who had
already acquired a fine collection of birds in Ceylon and Australia,
was very anxious to secure specimens here. This jungle was alive with
all varieties of parti-coloured warblers, and he shot several
specimens, including a sort of jay with a hooked bill, which utters a
strange cry--one that everybody travelling in Abyssinia will soon get
accustomed to. It is not unlike the noise of the English jay.

We shortly afterwards came to a little stream which flows from the hot
spring; and we saw a white house in the distance perched on the top of
a high hill, for which we made. The little stream narrowed as we
advanced, and we found ourselves in a rocky pass. Our Arabs told us
that the camels could go no farther. The white house, as we learnt,
belonged to some Swedish missionaries. We pitched our camp just at the
foot of the hill which rose straight above us, the little white house
looking very picturesque at its top; the hot spring was about ten
minutes' walk from our camp. One of the missionaries came down to
speak to us; he said that they had only just finished building their
house, and he hospitably invited us to stay there, but we declined,
with thanks.

H. said he would go out shooting, but I stopped in camp to settle
things, and before dinner I went up and bathed in the hot spring. My
readers must know that this is the fashionable Spa of Abyssinia,
whither invalids afflicted with scrofulous and other complaints come
to bathe. It is held in great repute all through the country, and I
believe with good reason.

The spring was almost too hot to sit in, but I had taken up my big
sponge, and douched myself well; the bath was very soothing after the
heat and march of the day.

This evening it began to rain; this will give the date of the
beginning of the rains in the hills lying between the sea and Asmarra,
the first table-land in Abyssinia that one comes to on this road.
These rains must not be confused with the rains that pour down in
Abyssinia, supplying the Nile tributaries that Sir Samuel Baker has
explored, and which begin in the month of May.

Directly the rain began the servants and myself busied ourselves in
making a little trench around the tent; this is a precaution everybody
ought to take where there is the least chance of rain. I also got my
_courbatch_[4] and thrashed the tent well all round. The reader will,
doubtless, wonder why I did this, but it is an old soldier's dodge,
and the reason for it is that it makes the threads of the
canvas--which, in hot countries, become shrunken and open--to close
together, so that, after the application of the _courbatch_, the tent,
instead of getting leaky with the rain, becomes more waterproof than
before; a large pliable bundle of twigs will do just as well. H. came
in, having shot a small bird or two for his collection, and having
seen some pig down the watercourse.


[3] It is not a necessary coincidence that if the back becomes sore
the swelling should come on, as I have seen several cases where there
were no outward signs of soreness, but still where large swellings
were forming.

[4] The _courbatch_ is a whip made of hippopotamus hide, and used in
Egypt and in the provinces belonging to that country. It is with this
whip that malefactors and offenders against the law are chastised.
Every stroke of it, if well laid on, will cut into the flesh.



I had heard at Massowah that General Kirkham, commander-in-chief of
the King of Abyssinia's army, was at Gindar, about half-a-day's march
from Ailet. I had written to the General from Massowah, and, this
evening, a servant of the missionaries brought me a note from him,
saying that he would come and see us next morning. I was very much
interested in seeing General Kirkham, who had lived so long in
Abyssinia away from his own country.[5]

_Jan. 5._--We got up rather late the next morning, and H. went out
shooting. I said I would stay in camp and receive Kirkham when he
came, but he did not arrive after all till the afternoon; so, having
waited for him until twelve, I decided to go out shooting. I proceeded
down to the watercourse, and had not gone far before I came to a pool,
at which some pigs were about to drink; I tried to stalk them, but
they trotted away. I then turned sharp to the left into the jungle,
and wandered about some little time. One could not well imagine a more
likely place for wild game, and I expected every moment to see some
strange animal dart out of the bushes.

The air was very hot. I had walked about an hour and a half, and I
determined to rest and eat some sardines and a crust of bread which I
had brought with me. I got on the top of a little mound, and was
discussing my luncheon, when I heard a sort of sneezing noise behind
me. This made me prick up my ears; I looked round and saw walking
quietly out a beautiful little male dik-dik. I rolled him over with my
shot gun, pulled out my knife and rushed after him. He was struggling
and bounding about on the ground when I got up to him, when I made
several vigorous stabs at him with my knife, but, to my great chagrin,
he scampered away. I ran after him, getting well torn by the bushes,
and found him lying dead just at the foot of a thorny bush. This was
the first African animal I shot, and, although he was so small, I felt
as proud of him as a cat would with her first mouse.

At the time the dik-dik came out I heard pigs grunting in a little
dell below me, but I could not see them at all. I went back to camp,
and hearing that Kirkham was up in the missionaries' house I sent word
to him that I had come in. I was sitting in the tent when suddenly I
saw a fair, rather good-looking, slim man walking up to me; he was
dressed in a frock-coat and forage cap--a sort of undress general's
uniform. It had a very strange effect to see this man walk up to one
in an African jungle--his dress, too, not such as one would expect to
see in those parts.

We soon became the best of friends. He told me he would do everything
in his power to get us shooting, and forward us through the country.
We had a very pleasant little dinner in the tent, talking over our
prospects; Kirkham said he would breakfast with us next morning, and
then go on to Gindar. At this place he has built a sort of wooden
shanty; he had also brought his tent with him to make arrangements for
us. He was attended by an Abyssinian servant, named Peter Brou, a man
who had been educated at Malta; this man spoke English very well, and
could also speak Amharic, all the Abyssinian dialects, and Arabic.
Kirkham recommended us to take him as our servant, which we did; he
turned out very useful, and was one of the best interpreters I ever

_Jan. 6._--After breakfast, and when Kirkham had left us, the weather
having cleared up, I went out shooting, and walked through the jungle
down to the village of Ailet. The boy who was with me was an
Abyssinian Mussulman, living at Massowah, but he seemed to know all
the Shoho Arabs in the village. I went into a house to look at the
interior and see what it was like; it was an oblong structure built of
grass, divided by a grass screen into two chambers, the door of the
screen being covered by an Arab cloth. The Arab women, who were
grinding corn, amused themselves by peeping at me through the ragged
holes in the cloth; they were very civil, and brought me a cup of
coffee. I ate my lunch and then started with two of the boys of the
village, sent by their father to show me the place where I might find
"pig." I did not see anything, but my Massowah boy annoyed me very
much by coolly firing at some guinea-fowl with my 16-bore gun loaded
with ball, so I told him that the next time he did that I should give
him a good thrashing.

I then walked on towards the little stream running from the hot
springs, rather disappointed and tired. Going through the jungle I put
up a dik-dik hind; this animal trotted away out of shot range, and
then stopped and looked at me. I had read in some book of African
sport that the curiosity of deer is extraordinary, so I squatted down
and twirled my gun about much in the same way as signallers do with a
signal flag. To my great astonishment the little dik-dik pricked up
her ears, and gradually making little circuits approached within
range; it seemed almost a pity to shoot so pretty a little animal, but
I fired and rolled her over.

On my way towards home I heard in the jungle some people chattering;
they were the women of the village of Ailet, gathering and cutting
firewood. I was walking on when two very pretty and gracefully-shaped
girls stepped out from the bushes; they were stripped to their waists
in order to work more easily. Mahomed, the Massowah boy, seemed to
know them, for both of them came smiling up to him, saying, "Ah,
Mahomed, how are you?" and he kissed them both. This young gentleman
seems to be quite a Lothario, and knows all the girls about here. When
the ceremony of kissing was over the girls saw me for the first time,
and retreated like two startled gazelles.

Dik-dik flesh is very good eating; it tastes better roasted when one
has bacon to add to it. The best way to cook the haunch is to lard it
well with bacon fat and then roast it in Turkish fashion, skewered
through with a stick.

The above applies to gazelles as well, as these animals have no fat
except round their kidneys. This is also the best way to cook all
birds, but the larding may be omitted.

_Jan. 7._--This morning, having bade adieu to the missionaries, we
started for Gindar by a short cut across the hills. The missionaries
are making this road, but the jungle is not all cut yet. Our guide was
Brou, the interpreter that Kirkham had given us as a servant.

Having travelled up the gorge, we passed the hot spring. Here the
missionaries have built a little house for the poor sick who come to
bathe. Pushing our way through thick thorny jungle we came suddenly on
a beautiful valley, green and fresh-looking, with high hills in the
background, one of which we were to cross to reach Gindar. In the
distance, on the side of a hill, might be seen the station of
Sabargouma, where three or four Egyptian soldiers are stationed to
look after the customs and Egyptian interests.

On descending the valley I resolved to try to shoot, as it looked a
likely place for game, so I got my rifle and gun and started with
Mahomed, the Massowah boy. Kirkham had given us a black, fat-tailed
sheep of the Asmarra breed, a celebrated one in Abyssinia; this animal
followed me and assisted at the death of another dik-dik. We never
killed this black sheep for eating, and he accompanied us all through
Abyssinia and became a great pet in camp. I found H. at Sabargouma,
where we had a little gin and water. Fisk said he saw a large hyena,
but the cunning brute soon slipped out of sight. He shot a specimen or
two for his collection. We then started to ascend the steep hill in
front of us; this was a lovely ride, and it reminded me very much of
the Himalayas without the beautiful rhododendrons that grow there. The
latter part of the ride was through an olive grove. The air on the top
of these hills is most exhilarating; I felt able to do anything, and
my mind was busy imagining all kinds of sport and adventures in such a
lovely country. About one in the afternoon we entered the small valley
of Gindar.

Before I go on with the journey I wish to say a little concerning
Gindar, and what General Kirkham proposes doing there. Gindar is a
fertile valley enclosed by hills; south-south-west lies Debra Bizen,
which rears its head high above the rest of the hills. There is a
monastery on the top, and the monks are said to be rich and in great
favour with King Johannes. The grass in the valley is very good; at
the time I speak of, the Shoho Arabs had driven their flocks here to
graze; and their cattle-stations are found dotted about in the little
vales between the hills. The grass of the valley is intermixed with
numerous sweet-smelling herbs, such as wild peppermint, thyme, etc.;
the castor-oil plant also grows wild here.

The sides of the hills are covered with wild olive groves, and in
places we came across velvety lawns which reminded us of a well-kept
English pleasure ground rather than the wilds of Abyssinia. Game is
abundant, and elephants were in the neighbourhood, as the hunters from
Adowa had been here. One of them having broken his clumsy matchlock,
was obliged to return to get it mended. Koodoo, gazelle, dik-dik, and
other antelopes abound, as well as many large pigs, and, as the
Irishman is made to say, guinea-fowl and partridges here "jostle each
other." This was, of all others, the place for us, so we determined to
stay for two or three days.

Gindar has been given by the king to General Kirkham, who has built a
house, and has also allowed the missionaries to build one. He intends
trying to start a bazaar and small town to supply travellers going and
coming to Massowah; and also to supply the Abyssinian merchants with
the little European necessaries they require there without having to
go into Egyptian territory to buy them, which at present they have to
do at Massowah.

I thought I would take a turn with my gun; it was a misty evening, and
too late to go out shooting. I wandered over the hills, and, the light
failing, I was "making tracks" for home; it got darker and darker, and
the mist got thicker. The little Galla boy that Kirkham had sent with
me to show me the way, was a stranger to these hills; he never lost
heart once nor spoke a word: at last he uttered a sort of whine; I
then knew I had better trust to myself. I had seen, about a quarter of
an hour before, the light of the fires of an Arab cattle station; I
resolved to try and see the light again; so I fired my gun off twice
to attract the attention of those in camp, but I was between hills,
and they did not hear. I was pushing through the wet bushes when down
I slipped, head over heels, on some creeper-covered rocks, but I
picked myself up, with no harm beyond a fright. I was determined to
find the light again; and, forcing my way through the jungle, as it
was getting intensely dark, all of a sudden I again fell. This time I
fell about twenty feet. The Galla boy was more careful, and, seeing me
fall, crept along on his hands and knees, feeling his way as he went.
I clutched hold of the creepers that grew on the rocks, and picked
myself up. I heard water gurgling beneath, and I thought to myself it
was lucky I did not fall farther, for I might have fared worse this
time. I lost my felt hat, but the most extraordinary result of these
false steps was that my little 16-bore gun, which I had with me, was
not the least hurt, although it received several serious blows against
the stones. At last I caught a glimpse of the welcome light. The
cattle station was in a little vale: the smell of the cattle now
guided me, and I soon found myself alongside of the thorny hedge that
surrounded these camps. The women were preparing the evening meal, and
when they saw me without any hat, and looking rather scared, began to
laugh. This I thought unkind, so I pushed through the thorn hedge and
went straight to one of the little fires. An old Arab was squatting by
it. I was streaming with perspiration, and very thirsty. I asked him
for a drink, and he brought me some water in a wooden bowl; no iced
champagne ever tasted so good, and I swallowed it all; then I took off
my coat to dry, having made up my mind that I was to stop here for
the night. At least here was a fire and a chance of some food--better
than the wet jungle in any case.

The old Arab seemed to understand I was going to make myself
comfortable for the night, and he went and fetched two others, younger
ones, and by signs and saying the word Gindar, I made them understand
that I was lost. They said they would show me the way home if I gave
backsheesh. I showed them the empty lining of my pockets; one does not
generally take out small change when going shooting in Africa, but
this only shows how useful it is. At last they agreed to show me the
way for a dollar, and the Galla boy and myself started for home; about
half-way we met a Greek that Kirkham had sent out to look for me,
carrying a lantern, accompanied by some native servants. I soon
reached home, and Kirkham congratulated me that my first adventure in
Abyssinia had not ended worse.

Our little dinner was a pleasant one, as it was increased in number by
the presence of an ex-French navy captain who had joined the Commune
and now was an exile in Abyssinia. He was a wild-looking old fellow,
but a wonderful talker; and he and I chatted away gaily. He had come
from Adowa, and, having very little money, was nearly starved on the
road. He looked very pinched, and certainly disposed of a wonderful
amount of our preserved provisions with great gusto.

_Jan. 8._--This morning I went out to look for pigs. I was wandering
about the jungle, when I saw an animal on some rising ground, quite
the size of a donkey. Whether it was the position of the ground or
that the old boar--for such it turned out to be--was very large, I do
not know; at all events I mistook him for a donkey, and did not fire.
He whisked up his little curly tail and trotted off, followed by his
spouses and some squeakers. I ran up, but they were soon lost in the
thick bushes. Naturally, I was dreadfully annoyed, and resolved to let
fly at everything in future.

I saw no end of guinea-fowl, but did not fire, being on the look-out
for larger game. After wandering about for an hour or so, I came to
the little vale in which the cattle station was, the scene of my
adventure of the night before.

An old sow and two squeakers were there, enjoying the green grass. I
came on them rather suddenly, and the squeakers trotted off, but as
the old sow moved after them, I broke her back with a ball from my
little 16-bore Purdey; she was a very old lady, with good tusks. Both
the boars and sows in this part of the world have fine tusks; the
boars' tusks only differing by being larger. She died very game; and
as I twice drove my knife into her throat, she was very quick with
her tusks and once nearly caught my shin. I lost the rest of the
afternoon's shooting, having to send back the only boy I had with me
to camp, to ask for people to carry the game home. We had liver and
bacon for breakfast the next morning, and it was excellent; also pork

_Jan. 9._--This morning, after breakfast, I went out shooting,
accompanied by Brou, and saw some dik-dik, but did not fire at them,
as I had already killed three specimens. We came to a large hole in a
bank, not unlike a fox-earth, and I heard some beasts running about
inside, which Brou said were pigs. I never heard of pigs going to
ground before, but he assured me they did so in Abyssinia.

He and I set to work to stop the hole, and we put a boy over it to
watch. I retired to a shady spot, and told Brou to go home and send me
out some lunch, and bring people (some of our bullock-drivers and
donkey-men) to try to dig out and unearth the pigs, or whatever they
were. In due course of time the lunch appeared, and, shortly after,
Brou, with some Shoho Arabs, our drivers. We tried very hard to get at
the animals, but they beat us; the earth was too deep, and ran in
among roots; the soil also was very hard for digging with such
wretched tools as the Arabs brought. I longed for an English ferreter
with his spade.

A Greek, named Aristides, who is engaged here for cutting wild olives
for the Khedive of Egypt, came to see Kirkham. This Greek employs
Abyssinians to cut the wood and send it to Egypt, where, I am told,
his Highness uses it for parquet floors. I induced him to mount a
spear-head I had brought out with me, on a stout stick, and it looked
very well and serviceable. He said he would go out shooting with me
next morning; and, as he knew every inch of the ground round Gindar, I
was delighted.

The following morning we both started off at cock-crow, while the dew
was on the ground, for a hill lying behind Kirkham's shanty, which he
had built here. It was rather steep walking, but a lovely morning and
as fresh as possible.

The Greek was in front of me tracking up a herd of Hagazin or Koodoo,
when he suddenly stopped and aimed at something with my rifle that he
was carrying for me. I stepped up as gently and quickly as I could,
took the rifle and fired at a red-looking deer; the animal dropped
like a stone. I rushed down the steep bank, and found the bullet had
gone right through its head between the horns. I could not account for
this, as I had aimed behind the shoulder. The Greek said that at the
moment I fired, the deer turned its head round and looked at me; as
the animal was standing a good deal below me, this must have been the

It was a wonderfully lucky shot; as, if the deer had bounded a few
yards away wounded, the bushes in this part were so dense that it
would have been rather hard to find the game. This antelope turned out
to be a bush-buck, called in Abyssinia Doucoula.

The Greek and I then went to the top of the hill, having cut up and
skinned the deer and sent a boy home with it; it was a heavy load for
him. My companion showed me a little bird, the honey-bird, that kept
flying backwards and forwards in front of us, seemingly to lead us on.
Aristides explained to me that this little bird not only leads on
sportsmen to the nest of the wild bee, but also to the lairs of wild
animals. Shortly afterwards the Greek stopped, and I noticed he had
seen something; they were the koodoo we had been tracking up, though I
did not see them myself.

When we got to the top of the hill the view was lovely. The valley of
Sabargouma lay in the distance, and beyond it the low hills between us
and the sea-coast. We then returned to camp, and on the way back I
took a shot at a pig with my little 16-bore gun. We had a haunch of
the venison for dinner; it was very good, but without fat.

The rain poured down the best part of the night; and, unluckily, we
had put our beds at that end of the shanty which was most leaky. I
woke up and found myself enjoying a shower-bath from the roof. H. was
much in the same plight, and we were both glad when morning broke.

_Jan. 12._--A good breakfast and some hot cocoa soon warmed us up, and
we started for Beatmohar, the place where General Kirkham has a house.
This is the first table-land of Abyssinia that one comes to,
travelling by this route. Our luggage was now carried by mules,
donkeys, and bullocks, driven by Shoho Arabs. It rained the whole day,
so the view of the hills was spoilt, which I regretted very much. At
the sides of the hills at the feet of which the path wound, it was
covered with a gigantic Euphorbia, called Qualqual in Abyssinia; it is
a sort of cactus, or grows like cactus, to the height of forty feet or
more. When its branches are wounded, a milky juice oozes out, which is
highly poisonous; if the least drop gets into one's eye it nearly
blinds one. In India, in 1870, when shooting in the Himalayas, I was
amusing myself with my hunting-knife by slashing at a plant, very much
like this one; a drop of the juice squirted into my eye. One of the
hunters, a native, brought me a sort of creeper with a leaf much like
a vine. He screwed up the stalk of it, and catching the juice in the
palm of his hand, offered me some, and told me to put it in my eye;
it afforded instantaneous relief. I do not think this cure is known to
the Abyssinians, as their woodcutters sometimes lose their eyesight.
Later in the day, as we reached a higher altitude, we saw no more of
this poisonous plant. We travelled on slowly through the mist and
rain, the bullocks slipping about over the rocks, and frequently
having to be reloaded, or the leather thongs which bound their baggage
tightened up.

At last we came to an open dell in the hills, one of the
camping-places on this road, called Mehdet. Kirkham and myself with
great difficulty, and after wasting a number of matches, managed to
light a fire, and we warmed up some cold venison, frying it in oil
that Kirkham produced. H. did not like the dish, saying that it tasted
like hair grease; he preferred the venison _au naturel_: we ate a box
of sardines, and then started again. The road became very steep; at
four in the afternoon we reached the top of the pass, a narrow gully
between high rocks: there would be just room for two men to walk

The road after this for a short way was very good, like a good
hill-road in the Himalayas. At the bottom of this road was a small
valley, called Maihenzee: this was to be our camping-place for the
night, and one of the stages between Asmarra and Gindar. This was the
place where merchants from the interior generally stop on their way to

There was good water in the valley; we pitched our tents, but
everything was wet and miserable. Kirkham told us that to-morrow we
should be out of these rains, which I was very thankful to hear.

The cook Ali, a Cairo man, who, like all his species, did not relish
this sort of life, but wished himself on board a comfortable _diabeha_
navigating the Nile and smoking cigarettes in the sun, made a bad
fire, and I saw very little prospect of dinner. I had to take his
place; and I concocted some soup with the help of Liebig's extract,
and I made a venison stew. We ate this and then turned in as quickly
as we could, before our blankets got wet with the mist.


[5] General Kirkham was formerly a steward in the P. and O. service.
He left the P. and O. ship in China, to join the British contingent
which Colonel Gordon at that time was raising for the war in China.
General Kirkham was terribly wounded both in the head and shoulder in
this war; he came home, and Sir William Fergusson, the surgeon, cured
him. He afterwards went to Annesley Bay, and, at the time of the
Abyssinian expedition, he was employed by Lord Napier of Magdala to
buy bullocks for commissariat purposes; when the expedition was over
he received leave from Lord Napier to go into Abyssinia. He tendered
his services to the king, and was made a colonel of the Abyssinian
army. Having drilled some Abyssinian soldiers in the English fashion
for the king, in the battle which the king fought against the rebel
Goubasse he gained a well-won reputation, for it was owing entirely to
those men that Johannes the king won this battle. After this he was
made commander-in-chief, which he is now. It may be remembered by some
of my readers that General Kirkham came home to England on a mission
from King Johannes, to claim protection for Abyssinia from the English
Government. This mission failed, and he returned to Abyssinia.



_Jan. 13._--We made an early start this morning, as it was a lovely
day, and left the tents behind to stand and dry, as they would have
been very heavy to pack wet. The General accompanied us; he would have
looked a queer figure on an Aldershot field day. He wore an undress
general's uniform, with a large sword clanking by his side, sitting on
an Abyssinian saddle with rather faded trappings; he rode a mule, the
sword clanking against every rock on the narrow path. We saw some
partridges on the road, and I had a crack at one and wounded it, but
it soon made away. Kirkham jumped off his mule and rushed after the
bird, sword and all, to finish it off or catch it; but these birds run
like hares, and the game was soon lost in the thick bushes.

We went on ascending, and as we did the vegetation became thinner and
thinner. At the top stunted yew-trees grew, so it must be cold here at
most seasons of the year. We then went over some low hills, and at
length found ourselves on a large plain, with cultivated land here and
there. A flock of large cranes were flying round and round; at last
they settled on a bit of ploughed land not far from the road.

I rode towards them and tried to stalk them, but they would not let me
come very close. I fired my 16-bore gun into the "brown" as they rose,
but it had no effect. I would recommend all future sportsmen to take
out wire cartridges with them: one never knows what one may come
across in a wild country, and a wire cartridge at close quarters would
act like a bullet, and for long shots of course they are capital.

In the distance might be seen the village of Asmarra; the houses
flat-roofed and built into the side of the low hill on which the
village stands. About ten or twelve of the natives came out to meet
us; they saluted us respectfully, and we touched our hats. They had
come out not only to meet us but also to stop our baggage-bullocks
from coming any farther than the top of the hills, as there was cattle
disease among the herds of the Shoho Arabs, and an order had been
issued all through Abyssinia that no cattle were to travel, or be
allowed to go to or from infected districts: this is worthy the notice
of our sanitary commissioners at home. Kirkham had trotted on, to make
arrangements at his house for us. We left the village of Asmarra, and
on our left the ground fell; as we rode on we passed several pools. In
the distance flocks of fat-tailed sheep might be seen cropping the
short grass, they were of the breed spoken of before, and celebrated
throughout Abyssinia. One fat sheep costs a Maria Theresa dollar;[6]
but two small ones can be bought for the same money.

We saw Kirkham's little house, with a roof like an extinguisher, in
front of us; it was perched on a high cliff that overlooked the plain,
which was dotted about with water-pools. Kirkham had told us they were
famous places for ducks, and sometimes snipe.

We soon arrived at the house; it was surrounded by the usual hedge to
be seen round all Abyssinian houses; this hedge is not growing, but
made of thorn-branches and stakes. The few houses which composed the
village of Beatmohar were close by. Kirkham at once produced some
honey-wine, called "tej" in Abyssinia; it was excellent, and proved
very refreshing after our ride. "Tej" is made in the following way: to
one part of honey are added seven parts of water, and well mixed; then
some leaves of a plant called "geshoo" are put into the mixture, to
make it ferment; it is put outside in the shade and left for a day or
two. A piece of cotton cloth is strained over the mouth of the large
earthenware jar, or "gumbo," and through this the "tej" is poured; the
servant tapping the cloth with his fingers to make the liquid run
freely. If one wants to make it stronger, the first brew is used
instead of the water; adding honey and geshoo leaves in the same way.
In the time of King Theodore that monarch had tej five years old,
which made any one drunk in a very short time; but those were the
"good old times" which we read of.

We ate some lunch, and I took out my gun and went for a stroll; I shot
a large blue crane, and saw some ducks. I went out again with H. in
the evening to look out for ducks; a flock of teal just as it was
getting dark came whistling over my head, but I was not quick enough
for them. On my way home I shot an owl, which I presented to Fisk for
stuffing. He informed me it was identically the same as the barn owl
at home. I was rather disgusted, as I thought an Abyssinian owl must
be different from the home species; but he insisted that he had shot
lots of them in Norfolk, and said the skin of it was not worth the
carriage home. Over this I got rather "chaffed," so I resolved not to
shoot any more Abyssinian owls. I believe it is considered very
unlucky to shoot an owl!

_Jan. 14._--This night we were very comfortable, sleeping in a sort of
divan that Kirkham had put up, round the inner room of his house. It
was a great relief to know before turning into it that the sleeper
would not be the unwilling victim of a leaky roof.

We had settled, H. and I, and Fisk, to go at dawn of day to try and
get some duck in a pool just at the foot of the high rock on which the
house stood, so next morning off we started. It was bitterly cold and
a white frost on the ground. We crept down to the pool and let fly all
six barrels into the middle of the flock. Sad to relate, only three
fell, which were not picked up; one of Kirkham's Galla boys was sent
down later in the day and discovered two.

We then proceeded up the pools; I flushed a snipe and knocked him
down, he was rather a lean specimen of his kind. On our way home I saw
those large cranes again coming towards me, so I squatted down as
close to the ground as I could and waited; the flock kept coming on,
making a great noise and screeching, but they saw me and wheeled away.
One old gentleman, rather in advance of the others, wheeled rather
close to me; I let fly my 16-bore No. 1 shot: it did not seem to
affect him in the least, when after going a little way, all of a
sudden he fell like a stone. I ran as hard as I could and found him
quite dead, with his backbone cut right through by the shot; how he
could possibly have kept flying in this state I do not know. His
shank-bones will make excellent pipe stems.

The rest of this day we were engaged in again shifting our provisions,
etc., into skin bags; as boxes are very bad things to carry either by
coolies, mules, or donkeys. It is the custom in Abyssinia to have all
one's baggage, as far as possible, packed in these bags, and then the
coolies do not mind carrying them so much. A box is so hard it hurts a
man's shoulder when he carries it, and as for mules and donkeys it
means sore backs at once; besides, the leather thongs that bind the
box on to the mule are always slipping. We paid a Maria Theresa for
two of these bags, and found it rather difficult to get them. Kirkham
had gone to Asmarra to make arrangements for coolies, and when he came
back, he said everything was completed, and that we should start
to-morrow at sunrise. Vain hope, as the reader will see; for, instead
of starting at sunrise, we started at sunset. The people who dwell in
the gorgeous East have no idea of time, and always think that
Europeans are in a hurry, and that to-morrow will do as well as

We had sent a message to Belata Keda Kedan, the chief of this
province: he lives at a town called Tzazega, about half a day's
journey from Beatmohar.

_Jan. 15._--In the morning no coolies appeared: one of the "chickers,"
or tax collectors, or head-men of the village, was very insolent; he
brought three coolies, and asked an exorbitant price. I said I would
not give it; he then walked away laughing, followed by the coolies,
saying, "Well, you won't get them at all now." I thought to myself,
"My friend, you shall pay for this." I then politely asked him to walk
into our enclosure, shut the door, and made a prisoner of him; put a
guard over him, and told him he should wait.

Kirkham's and the Galla boys were delighted; they thought, the young
rascals, there was a chance of a fight. We waited till the afternoon,
when, coming across the plain, we saw the chief, followed by a large
retinue, some on mules, some with shields, spears, and guns, holding
little plaited straw umbrellas over their heads. I made arrangement
that only the chief himself and a few of his followers should be
allowed inside our little enclosure. When he arrived I met him at the
door, and escorted him inside the house. We then told him all that had
happened, and had the prisoner brought in. The chief questioned him,
and then ordered him outside to be thrashed; but he was not punished,
as he implored to be let off, and said he would use his best
endeavours to get people of the village to carry our baggage. We gave
our Egyptian soldiers a present, and they went back to Massowah.

We here changed our plans, as K. said it was only a waste of time
going to Adowa on our way to the shooting on the Mareb and Tackazzee,
and we might do it coming back. Eventually, after the chief's soldiers
and followers had hunted up the villagers, and dragged them, kicked
them, and beat them, they were made to carry our baggage. We started
about one hour before sunset, the coolies having gone in front. The
reason that the soldiers treated the villagers in this way was, that
the king, who was far away, had heard there were some Englishmen
coming into the country, and had given orders to the chiefs or
governors that we were to be treated with respect, and everything that
we wanted done for us.

We travelled across a large table-land with not a vestige of foliage
to be seen, and no sound to be heard but now and then the bleating of
the sheep as they were driven to their pens near the villages for the
night. The moon rose, and we very soon found ourselves near a village
called Adouguada. All our coolies had stopped; the lazy fellows had
scarcely been travelling for two hours; they had handed our baggage
over to the head-man of the village. This is a usual mode of
proceeding in Abyssinia; one is passed on from village to village, and
if the villages happen to be close together the day is spent in
quarrelling and in looking over and counting the baggage. When I rode
up they were all talking at once and making a horrid noise, as is
usual on such occasions. I asked for a hearing, and informed the
villagers of Adouguada that if they did not carry our baggage I should
take two cows and two sheep from the village, and stop there all that
night with my servants; under these circumstances they would have to
provide us with bread, etc. Brou, the interpreter, advised me to do
this; he said, "It is the only way to get on, and you are travelling
in the king's name, and can have what you want." H. then came up with
K., and we procured something to eat and some coffee. The villagers
made much noise and gesticulation, and then at last picked up _half_
our things and went off.

We then started for Sellaadarou, the place we were going to camp at
that night. It was bright moonlight, and the moon in the East, as some
of my readers probably know, appears very different from our moon at
home. It was a beautiful ride, but a little cold. We arrived at
Sellaadarou about nine P.M., or perhaps a little later. K., like an
old soldier as he was, pitched the camp just outside the village, in
a sort of little garden that the villagers had made to grow their
capsicums in; it was surrounded by a thick thorn hedge, made of boughs
cut from the thorny acacia. This hedge provided us with wood without
any trouble; so we made two large bonfires to warm ourselves, ate some
supper, and turned in after a long worrying day. The other half of the
baggage had not come up when we retired to our tents.

_Jan. 16: Sellaadarou._--After breakfast this morning I went out
shooting, taking with me a native of the village to show me the way. I
"put up" some partridges, among them a young florican, which I shot,
much to the astonishment of the Abyssinian. They never can make out
how birds can be shot while on the wing, as their plan is to get as
near as possible, and then "pot" the birds on the ground--a very good
one too, if the sportsman is hungry. I never knew before that there
were floricans in Abyssinia; there are plenty in some parts of India.
The bird was delicious eating. I saw two dark mouse-brown deer, but
could not get at them, and, of course, for a long shot I wanted my
Express rifle. When I came into camp I found that some of the
villagers of Sellaadarou had carried on a few of our things. H. had
been round the village with some of our servants to beat up the
natives; he said it was great fun running from house to house trying
to catch the men, the women swearing that their husbands or sons were
away. Abyssinian servants, on occasions like these, always filch any
little things they can quietly lay their hands on, and bring them to
their master afterwards; I had on several occasions to punish servants
for this, and make them take the things back. H. started in the
afternoon with a little more of the baggage. I told him we must force
our way on, and, as he was now on the move, to go as far as he could.
It will be seen afterwards he did a capital march.

Chickut was the name of the village K. told us we could camp at. It
was rather a short march, and I knew H. would go farther, for we had
been very much annoyed by these continual delays, so we agreed that he
should go on to the next village beyond Chickut. K. then went back to
Adouguada to fetch up the other half of our baggage left behind; I
said I would wait for him. Time went on, and it got later and later.
Fisk, who had stayed with me, said he would go out and try to get
something good for dinner, in case we should have to stop the night
here. Just at sunset I saw K. in the distance, kicking his old mule
along as fast as he could; he rode up and said Maria Theresa had won
the day--meaning the dollars. "All right," said I; "let us have
something to eat--then we must start and make a night march of it."
Fisk then came in and we made some soup.

There was nobody to carry the few things that remained here, so we
determined to use our mules as pack animals and walk; and a nice walk
it was, too. Fisk's white mule, bought at Massowah, declined to keep
the baggage on her back, and twice kicked all the things off,
scattering them right and left. Among them was the spirit case and
medicine chest; thank goodness, neither were broken. I had them made
after my own fashion, so this was a severe test for them. The white
mule had to be ridden after all, and poor K. had to give up his
riding-mule to carry the things. We started an hour and a half after
sunset,[7] and walked well right into Chickut, where we arrived about
eight P.M. The whole village was in a deep sleep, and we were only
greeted by a few barking dogs.

The road from Sellaadarou to Chickut is very rugged, and is a steep
descent, but it was a lovely moonlight night, and what we could see of
the view was glorious. Euphorbia, and the wild olive, formed a great
feature in the magnificent scenery. Poor K. stuck to the walking well,
but he had on a thin pair of button boots, which were rather trying
to his poor feet over the rocks. He would insist that H. had stopped
at Chickut, but I knew very well that he had gone on. I then told him
what I had said to him before we started. We had some cold soup we
brought with us, and shared a small biscuit between us. H. had taken
all the provisions on in front with him.

The road descended more or less steeply from Chickut to Deevaroua, and
at last we came to the Mareb. Here it is a small stream, and rises in
a high mountain about four miles from this place. K. told me that the
ground at the foot of the mountain was swampy, and that there were
springs as well all the year round. This river Mareb is the Gash of
the country in and near Kassala. In its course across the desert to
Kassala its waters are absorbed by the desert sands, but it is a
foaming, muddy torrent during the rains. This is one of the Nile
tributaries of Abyssinia, mentioned in Sir Samuel Baker's book. I wish
I had been able to fix the source of this river exactly, but I had no
instruments or other appliances with which to work; I hope to do this

The village of Deevaroua, where we were to stop for the rest of the
night, was on the top of the gorge through which the little stream of
the Mareb runs. A large and most beautiful tree, of the species
_Ficus Indica_, spread its branches near the stream. From this we
drank excellent water, and then went up to the village. After a little
wandering about we found where H. had pitched K.'s tent, which he had
taken on with him; all were asleep and snoring. I had a good mind to
"draw" H., but it was a quarter to eleven, so I let him repose in
peace. K. roused up his Abyssinian cook, Blanche[8] by name, and she
made us some coffee. The servants pitched our tent, and I turned in,
very tired but not exhausted. It has been shrewdly observed of the air
on these hills, that it is "like champagne, minus the headache."

_Jan. 17._--We all took a "long lie" this Sunday morning, it being a
day of rest, and when we did get up we found ourselves encamped near
the village, and close to a little Coptic church. The view was
extensive, while across the table-land, which was intersected by
watercourses that looked like broken ditches, might be seen three
pointed rocky hills which rose up out of this bare plain and formed a
marked feature in the landscape. On the side of one of these hills
nestled the village of Terramnee,[9] which was to be our next halt.
After breakfast we agreed to go and see the Coptic church, so we sent
to the priests to say we were coming to pay them a visit. They replied
in a short time, saying they were ready to receive us, and met us at
the gate of the enclosure which surrounds each of these churches; we
then walked up a narrow path to the church door. The priest and his
two attendants all bowed down and touched the threshold of the church
with their heads before entering; it was a round edifice, with the
usual "extinguisher" roof. A narrow passage runs round the inside of
it between the outer wall and the "holy of holies," the entrance to
which was covered by a sort of ragged curtain. The outside wall of the
"holy of holies" was covered with rude frescoes--St. George and the
Dragon, the Virgin Mary, etc. The Virgin was portrayed with very large
eyes like saucers; St. George was a meek-looking creature, sticking
his spear into the dragon, but looking in an exactly opposite
direction. Rude frescoes, very similar in style, may be seen at the
parish church of Chaldon, near Caterham, in Surrey. As we were coming
away I saw some long stones hung up by grass ropes on a pole,
supported by two short sticks; I asked what they were. They said these
were used instead of church bells. They were musical stones, in fact,
which, when struck, gave out a very pretty sound; they were chosen so
as to make a scale of three notes. We gave the priest a dollar for
the good of the church, at which he seemed pleased and astonished.

At Deevaroua I bought a large cured cowskin, to make sandals for our
servants when we got into the jungle. This I would recommend
travellers to do, as the sharp grass and thorns are too much for even
the horny feet of the Abyssinians, and the cowskin proved of great use

  [Illustration: A RACE FOR A SPEAR.
   To face page 70.]

About mid-day I started alone with Brou, who was to show me the way to
Terramnee, and to get coolies there to carry on our things to
Koudoofellassie, when we should be out of this province, which we have
had so much difficulty in getting through. I saw a ballaga[10] coming
towards me, the mule he was riding kicking and plunging about as
viciously as ever I saw any animal do. I said to myself, "I must make
the acquaintance of this gentleman;" so I rode up to him and said,
"How d'ye do?" and asked him to let me look at his spear. While I was
looking at it I edged away, then, giving my mule a good kick, galloped
off as hard as I could, spear and all. He was quite taken aback at
first, but soon began chasing me. We had a nice little spurt, but, as
bad luck would have it, one of these watercourses was in front of me,
and the way across it lay to my left, which would bring us almost
together. He saw his chance, and whipped up his mule, who had the legs
of mine, and caught me; I then pulled up, and he asked for his spear.
I delayed a minute or two, and then began laughing. He seemed to
understand the joke, and I gave him back his spear; he told Brou, who
was following after me, that he really thought I meant to take it away
from him. I heard them laughing a little way behind me. Abyssinians
are very cheery fellows, always ready for a joke, provided it does not
touch their pockets.

When we reached Terramnee I sent for the chicker, or head-man of the
village, and they said they would go and fetch him. There was an
assembly of natives in the village, all jabbering at once. I asked
Brou what it was all about, and he said it was a dispute between a man
and his wife; one party takes the wife's part, and another the
husband's; judges are appointed, and they "jaw" away as hard as they
can. Several natives had come in from neighbouring villages about
this. At length, when it was over, they had the civility to attend to
me: the old story--the chicker could not be found; he was in the
fields; they had sent for him, etc. I asked, "Where's his house?" They
showed it me, and I went up to it. The old gentleman was at the bottom
of the hill which I had gone up, and in a friend's house. I told him
I wanted men to carry our things to Koudoofellassie, and he said he
would do his best, but he was not chicker over all the village, and
would send round to the others. H. and K., with luggage and servants,
came up, and then we had a nice row; the chickers vowed they would
have our things carried, but the natives would scarcely obey the
chickers. I called my old friend, whom I had first seen, and told him
that if we did not go on that day I should take him a prisoner to the
chief at Koudoofellassie, in whose province the village of Terramnee
was. Bit by bit our luggage was picked up and carried on; only the
heaviest part of it remained.

The day wore on, and we got more and more impatient. At last the
chicker said, "The people will not obey us; you must go round the
village and beat them up with your servants." The natives were hiding
away in any available corner. H. and I went into one house where we
had been told there was a man; the house was quite dark inside, having
no windows or openings of any sort. We struck a lucifer--I do not
suppose they had ever seen one before. H. descried a man in a corner
and pulled him out, but he turned out to be an aged priest, exempt
from doing coolie work. The old fellow was much disturbed, but we
apologised and said we were very sorry, and he retired to his corner
quietly but grumpily. Such visits as these to the houses of the
natives reminded me very much of what is stated of the English
soldiers hunting for rebels in 1798. We managed to get a good number
of the natives unearthed. Directly one was caught he was sent off
under care of one of our servants to where our after baggage was
lying; a package was given him, and he was started for Koudoofellassie
immediately. The only thing that now remained was H.'s large tin case.
Tuckloo, one of the chickers, said there was not a young man left in
the village. I said, "It must be carried, or I tie you to my mule and
take you into Koudoofellassie to the chief." He considered a moment,
and then another man and himself slung it on a pole and carried it
off. H., Fisk, and myself now started "by moonlight alone" for
Koudoofellassie. The road lay across a plain almost all the way, so we
galloped our mules along at a great pace: the old fellow, Belata Keda
Kedan, sent with us to guide us safely through his province, shouting
at us and telling us to take care of the holes as we rode. We raced
into camp about ten P.M., yelling and shouting, being guided by the
light of our fires.

We found the camp pitched and dinner ready; K. had gone in front and
done all this. Borum Braswouldeselassie, the chief of this province,
was waiting by the camp fire for us; a pleasant-looking, middle-aged
man, who had seen good service with the king. He said anything we
wanted we were to ask him for, and he would come the first thing in
the morning and see us again.


[6] Value about 4_s._ 2_d._

[7] Sunset is at six P.M.

[8] Her Abyssinian name was Desta, which means "happy."

[9] Terramnee means "stones in a row." This is a Tigré word, the name
of one of the large divisions or provinces of Abyssinia.

[10] _Ballaga_ is the Amharic for a farmer, or one who cultivates land
The other three classes in Abyssinia are chiefs, soldiers or followers
of chiefs, and merchants.



_Jan. 18._--To-day, after breakfast, I overhauled most of my things,
guns, fishing-tackle, etc., and put them in good order. The old
soldier that Belata Keda Kedan had sent with us was much interested in
all he saw. I asked him if he would like to go to England. He replied,
"I would go to your country if you would give me lots of tej and
araké, and nothing to do." It was very amusing to see him admiring his
face in a little toy looking-glass that H. had given him. He was to
leave us here (Koudoofellassie), so we gave him a present of ten Maria
Theresa dollars, and he went his way rejoicing.

Borum Braswouldeselassie had come to see us before breakfast; he did
not stop long, as he said he had to go with his soldiers and
followers to attend the feast of Baptism. On this day all the
population of the town go down to the river and bathe; the priests
pray, and I believe bathe also. After we had taken breakfast Brou told
us that if we went a little way out of camp into the town we should
see the priests and procession returning from the river. We stood on
the top of a high mound, and very soon heard a most discordant braying
of horns in the distance. The procession now approached, the priests
bearing the sacred image of the Virgin, with a canopy held over it;
little boys were walking in front with incense. They were singing a
monotonous chant alternately, the women all taking it up at one time
and the men at another. Borum Braswouldeselassie and his horsemen were
in front of the procession, galloping about with their horses and
firing off their guns. The whole thing, except for the horsemen,
looked very much like a Roman Catholic procession. They marched past
us up to the church, and we saw them no more. K. said that on occasions
of this sort the Abyssinian horsemen play a game called _goux_, so I
begged of him to send a message to Borum Braswouldeselassie, asking
him to send some of his soldiers to play the game, in order that we
might see it. About three or four came out on a flat piece of ground,
which was the market-place, and commenced galloping their horses at
full speed and throwing their sticks at each other like spears,
receiving them on their shields. I believe there is a Turkish game,
called Jerrid, which is much the same thing. Their horses were
wretched specimens--thin, bony screws, that could not gallop as fast
as a person could kick his hat. I asked one of them if he would let me
get up and try the game. So one of my servants asked, "Will you lend
the Feringee your horse?" He said, "The Feringee! oh no," and
galloped away as hard as he could. When we had seen this, we
determined to go and pay a visit to Borum Braswouldeselassie. We found
him just about to sit down to his dinner, and he asked us to join him.
My readers must not imagine a table and chairs at this entertainment,
as the dinner was held in a stable; Borum Braswouldeselassie and his
family sitting on the ground. The first thing they began to eat was
some "tef"--a sort of spongy, sour bread, made in large thin cakes.
This they dipped into a paste of red pepper, and ate it with their
fingers. Borum Bras. had some very good "tej," of which we drank.
There was also some stewed meat, which was broken up in bits by the
servants with their fingers, and then the dish was given to the lady
of the house, who divided the portions equally and handed them to each
member of the family as well as to the guests. The enormous quantity
of bread and red pepper of the most pungent kind which Abyssinians
manage to get through is something extraordinary; they wash it down
with plenty of "tej," which is a capital thing to take away the fiery
heat the red pepper creates in the mouth. The correct thing to do at
an Abyssinian dinner is to take a large bit of bread or meat in your
hand and stuff it into your neighbour's mouth; this is considered the
acme of good manners; also, your first glass of "tej" is generally
handed to you by the master of the house.

In the evening H. and myself went out shooting, K. having told us that
there were some grouse in the low hills near camp, and I shot at a
young bird, but missed. The old cocks were calling just in the same
way they do on a Scotch moor--the same note, but not quite so strong.
I tried to approach some more, but it was very steep walking in some
places, and the birds were exceedingly wild.

_Jan. 19._--To-day was market-day at Koudoofellassie, and Brou and
myself, on our way to our next camp, stopped under the shade of a
small tree round which the market was held. The people were coming in
fast with honey and butter, corn of different sorts, sulphur for
making powder, etc. etc. The country folks directly they arrived
squatted down in a line. I tried to buy a jar of honey, but of course
they stuck on the price for the Feringee. About eleven A.M., or
perhaps a little before, I started with Brou for Adgousmou, the next
village we were to stop at. Goubasee, who was my gun-bearer, walked
the whole time in front of my mule; I stopped under a tree for about
fifteen minutes and then went on. This was a long march, and we were
going fast. Goubasee eventually turned out to be, as I had thought he
was, a wonderful walker, always in front of everybody in the longest
march, and never shirking any difficulty that came in his way; in
fact, he was a most faithful and useful servant, the only Abyssinian
among our crew whom I could really depend upon. The country we were
going through was table-land intersected by broad ravines.

My servants pointed me out two large trees in the distance; near these
they said was the village of Adgousmou. Abyssinian servants have quite
an original way of provisioning as they march along. If they pass any
cornfields, particularly the Indian _gram_, they run into the corn and
take as much as they want, not only for their own eating, but for
their master's mules. This is done regardless of the shouts and
imprecations of the boys who are sent out from the villages to watch
the corn, perched in some places on a high heap of stones, in others
on a rude platform supported on forked poles. This same _gram_, if the
pods when quite green are well-boiled, makes an excellent substitute
for peas. Before going up to the village of Adgousmou we crossed a
stream, where I shot a spurwing and a pigeon very like our common
wood-pigeon, only not quite so large. I killed these birds in case H.
should not turn up after my arrival with the tents, provisions, etc. I
then rode into the village and asked for the chicker. He soon came,
and was a fine-looking old man. I asked him for some bread for my
servants; he said he had none--a reply that was plainly untrue. He
then sent for a bowl of sour milk, which was very nasty. I gave it to
Goubasee, who soon polished it off and seemed to enjoy it immensely.
The old chicker and I sat in silence for some little time enjoying the
view, at least I did, and at length I arose and went away, as I saw no
prospect of getting anything out of the old niggard. I settled the
camp should be near some trees outside the village; a ruined village
also, probably the old village of Adgousmou, was close by. I made the
servants light a fire, and I sat down to consider; but I soon began to
feel very hungry. What was to be done? I had nothing to eat, when I
suddenly bethought myself of my two birds. But how to cook them? I
adopted the old poacher's plan of spitting them on the ramrod of my
rifle, and made Mahomed, the Massowah boy, roast me some corn I had
taken with me for my mule. With these victuals I made a tolerably
fair lunch, washed down with water--_fames optimum condimentum_, as
the Latin grammar says. It was getting late in the day and I was
becoming bored, so I said to Brou, who had been loitering behind on
the road and had not long come up, "We had better go to the village to
forage, as perhaps there has been a difficulty about getting our
baggage carried on from Koudoofellassie, and the things will not come
up to-night." He answered, "Very well." So we all started to the

I went up to the old chicker's house and asked for bread, or, in fact,
anything that he had. His wife--who was as big a liar as himself--told
me that she had nothing. So I went straight in and took a large jug of
beer and a jar of honey, gave them to my servants to carry, and walked
back towards our future camping-place. The old lady now began to yell,
and the other women of the village joined in chorus. The men in the
village all turned out with spears, shields, guns, sticks, etc., and
surrounded us, making a horrid noise. They managed to get the beer
away from us, but we stuck to the honey, and one of the servants and
myself brought it to the tree where I had been sitting. The natives
continued yelling, and Brou tried to pacify them. Some of the young
fellows said, "We will die! we will die! but you shall not keep the
honey"--Brou having told them I would shoot if they tried to molest
me. The noise went on, and I thought it was likely to get serious,
when suddenly there was a lull, and a priest stepped out from the
crowd and requested a parley with me. I went up to him, and he made me
a bow and said something in Amharic, which it is needless to say I did
not understand. The Abyssinians are Coptic Christians, and I thought I
would try him with a text from the Bible; so I said, "I asked for
bread, and they gave me a stone." I never before saw a man's face
change so completely; Brou had interpreted the sentence exactly. The
priest then said, "You speak like a king; these people are only dirt
in comparison with you," etc. Well, it all ended by my keeping the
honey, and the villagers returning to their houses. We made up a good
fire. Brou produced some bread, which I ate with the honey; it was
excellent--stolen fruit is always the sweetest. I piled the arms near
the fire, rolled myself up in a _shama_ of Brou's, and lay down on a
sheepskin to go to sleep. I had almost dozed off when H. arrived with
all the baggage. The reason he was so late was that the men at
Koudoofellassie demanded exorbitant prices. We have now twenty coolies
and three donkeys to carry into Adiaboo. K. made this arrangement: so
we shall have no more trouble for some little time. Borum Bras.
brought with him a man chained to one of his soldiers; this
individual, who was, I believe, a murderer, was going to the king to
be tried. The law in Abyssinia is the old Mosaic one--"an eye for an
eye, and a tooth for a tooth."

_Jan. 20._--We started about half-past nine in the morning,
accompanied by Borum Bras., the chief, and all his followers. He was
to go with us as far as the boundary of his province, and there leave
us. He rode a very fine mule, with his horse led in front of him. The
mule turned out to be a fencer; Borum Bras. popping over a thorn hedge
in very good form as we went along. We stopped for a short rest at
Adwahla, a village, and Borum Bras. made his followers bring us some
beer, which is made from the Dargousa grain. I thought it very nasty,
but my servants soon drank it all. I saw a rather curious phenomenon
here: there was a sudden rush of wind, then in a moment we were
enveloped in a cloud of dust. It was one of those whirlwinds which
very often occur in the East, especially on broad plains. There is not
a breath of wind stirring, but, all of a sudden, you see a little curl
of dust coming towards you; and it gets larger and larger as it
proceeds. All the dust of the village was carried up in a column
towards the skies. One of Borum Bras.'s servants, on seeing this,
immediately covered me up in the cotton cloth he was wearing; and I
scarcely know which was worse, the smell of the Abyssinian's garment
or that of the dust.

All the country we had been travelling through was highly cultivated,
and the ballagas were, as far as I could see, breaking up fresh land
every day for sowing; in fact, I should say that the whole province of
Tigré was in a very prosperous condition. It is a great pity such a
country as this, which to all intents and purposes is close to Europe,
should not be made use of in some way or other. Cotton would grow in
most parts with great luxuriance; it is grown in the province of
Walkait, and brought into the rest of Abyssinia by large caravans, who
exchange it for grain, salt, etc. In the valleys among the hills I
believe all sorts of things would grow, and in a short time I hope to
send out seeds of all the English vegetables, to make a trial of them
at Gindar. There is one plant which would return very high profits to
the growers, and that is _cinchona_, for quinine. Where plenty of
water is to be had I am sure this plant would do well. Of course the
great drawback to all commerce in Abyssinia is the badness of the
roads; in fact, there are no roads, merely paths across the
table-lands, and as a rule among the hills the roads follow the dry

When Borum Bras. and his servants had had enough beer we started
again. He accompanied us to the verge of this large table-land we had
been going over, and seemed very particular about the exact boundary
of his province and the spot where to leave us. We got off our mules
and said, "Good-bye," shaking hands with him. He wished us a pleasant
journey and abundant sport; and so we parted with the most civil
Abyssinian I had yet met. The ground fell very suddenly here, and we
began to descend a rocky road. If I could only make the reader
appreciate the beautiful scenery that now lay spread before us! but I
am afraid that words would convey but a poor idea of its grandeur and
beauty; so we must continue on our road. Some parts of the descent
were so steep that I had to get off my mule and walk. We had
thoughtlessly omitted to bring cruppers for our saddles, so we often
found ourselves nearly astride of the mule's head instead of his back;
the only way to remedy this was to get off and shift the saddle, which
was tiresome work. K. told me that this was a fearful hill to ascend
during the rains, the mules slipping about and tumbling down. We got
to our camping-place about two hours before sunset--a pretty spot with
plenty of grass, and the water came from deep pools close by. I took
my gun and went for a stroll but saw nothing, and I only heard an old
cock grouse calling. H. had gone in an opposite direction, but he too
had seen nothing to provide sport.

_Jan. 21._--This morning we had time to look about us before starting;
the township of Gundet lay scattered over the little hills which rose
out of this valley. I resolved to go up to the village and procure a
goat and some bread. K. had provided us with a document which was
stamped with the king's seal; this, when the Abyssinians saw it, had
the effect of making them give what was wanted. The king seldom if
ever gives his seal to any one; and the seal itself, from which the
impression is taken, is carried about hung round the neck of one of
his page boys. I started with Goubasee and Brou for one of the cluster
of huts I saw on the top of the hill; the servants said it was there
the chief of the village resided. The ascent was steep, but we caught
the old gentleman sitting outside his house basking in the morning
sun; no doubt he would have bolted if he had had any intimation of our
coming. We said, "How d'ye do?" and then I showed him the king's seal,
and said we wanted a young fat goat, of which there are large herds
here. The cattle of Gundet are also very fine. He said if we would
come into his house he would talk about it. Well-to-do Abyssinians
always have a large round hut set apart for the reception of visitors.
His son produced some "tej," which was very good, and turning round
to his father just before pouring it out he said laughingly, "I don't
know whether we ought to be drinking this tej, which is made for my
marriage feast." I asked him if his future wife was pretty; he said,
"Oh, yes, and she has plenty of cattle." This is the usual dowry in
Abyssinia, especially among the ballagas; so my readers will see that
people in that country marry for a fortune as much as ours do at home.

H. and K. now came up to the house. The fat goat was brought and given
to one of the servants to drive before him; and we started for the
Mareb, where we were going to stay a little time to shoot. There was a
difficulty about finding our way, so we took a guide from one of the
villages as we passed. This man did not seem to understand where we
wanted to go to, and took us to another village, rather out of our
road. Here we had a dispute, as a man from this village refused to go
with us as guide; we tied him by his _shama_ to our first guide, and
sent them on in front of our mules. All the women and some of the men
in the village remonstrated and made a great noise, chattering and
yelling to the top of their voices; when I ran in among them and
pushed them right and left. This effectually stopped the noise, and we
continued our journey in peace, while K. was much amused at my

We passed by Aila Mareb, a village on the side of the hill. This is
the last village before entering the desert, as the Abyssinians call
all wild jungle; that is to say, parts of the country that are not
inhabited. On the right of the path we were travelling along rose a
large hill, with a table-land at the top. The peculiar shape of it
struck me very much; as another ridge rose on the table-land, it
looked in the distance like a vast breastwork. This hill overlooks a
large jungled plain through which the Mareb runs--celebrated at one
time as the abode of a noted "shifter," or robber, who defied the
king's troops for some time and used to ravage the villages lying near
the plain. He was caught at last; and the king said he would not kill
him, as it was a pity to send him out of the world without giving him
time to repent. So his eyes were put out with a hot iron, and he was
allowed to live among his family and friends. This is a good instance
of Abyssinian subtlety and cruelty.

Our road now lay through thick jungle, and in some parts high grass.
The hills soon ceased, and we found ourselves in the valley of the
Mareb. All of a sudden, on emerging from the thick jungle, we came on
a fallow field; the crop had been reaped, and was stacked close by.
The ballagas living near the valley of the Mareb very often sow crops
after the rains, as the soil by the side of the river is very fertile
indeed. This crop is watched by small boys of the village, to protect
it from birds, deer, elephants, etc., but in many cases the best part
of it is destroyed. The crop, or rather crops--for sometimes they reap
two or three--are so heavy that it does not greatly matter if a little
is eaten. The dry bed of the Mareb was at the bottom of this field,
and thick, impenetrable jungle rose up on all sides, so we agreed to
camp in the open field by the bank of the river.

I said the river was dry; by this I mean that the water runs under the
sand, and is got at by making a hole, when it gradually filters
through. The water is excellent for drinking, and deliciously cool. I
ordered my servants to make a large hole in the sand, and the water
here I arranged should be kept apart for our own drinking; no one was
either to wash in it or foul it in any way. It is a very good plan
when near a stream to make your servants do all their washing, etc.,
down the stream, so as to keep the water as pure as possible for your
own drinking. The time we spent on the Mareb I shall always look back
to with great pleasure. Our little camp was very conveniently fixed.
The jungle here teemed with all sorts of most beautiful birds,
including partridges and guinea-fowl in abundance. The little
sandgrouse used to come in flocks every evening to drink from the
scattered pools along the river-bed. The jungle also gave us most
delicious wild tomatos, and as it was the dry season it had up to this
time been almost impossible to procure any green vegetables, except
the _gram_ before mentioned. These tomatos were very acceptable, they
were the sweetest I ever ate, far better in flavour than our own
cultivated ones; we used to make excellent salads with them, and also
get them stewed. I had felt the want of green vegetables very much,
and I am persuaded that, in a hot country, eating largely of
provisions preserved in tins is not at all good.

The ballaga to whom the field belonged in which we were camped said a
lion used frequently to come and bask in the sun and look at him while
he was at his work, not taking the smallest notice. There must have
been some of these animals about, as we used to see fresh tracks
almost every day; but, alas! not one single one did we catch sight of
the whole time; and as all sportsmen know who have been in Africa,
there is no animal so hard to discover or get near when seen. The lion
is scarcely the noble beast which is seen represented in pictures, or
read of in nursery books and fables; on the contrary, he feeds on
carrion when he can get it, and sneaks away at the approach of man.
The tiger in India is a much finer animal. In the evening I went a few
hundred yards out of camp down the river, and shot an old cock
guinea-fowl and a brace of small sandgrouse. These latter were most
lovely little birds, and Fisk preserved one for H.'s collection.

   To face page 91.]

_Jan. 22._--I find, according to my journal, that the events of this
day were most unlucky. I went up the river with Goubasee and the
elephant-hunter that Brou had with him as a sort of servant. I only
saw a deer cross the dry bed of the river in front of me, but out of
shot. I had gone up some little way, and was resting, sitting on some
large granite rocks. The force of the water during the rains must be
tremendous, as these rocks were scooped and hollowed out as if by the
hand of man. A large pool of water was just below me; the hot weather
had not yet dried it up, and the basin of rock prevented it filtering
away through the sand. My rifle lay close by me, and wishing to put it
at half-cock, I touched the trigger without taking it up. By mistake I
fingered the wrong one: it went off, and as nearly as possible shot
Goubasee, who was reclining close beside me. He took it very well, and
the elephant-hunter only laughed, and made a movement as if digging in
the sand with his stick; meaning, if the ball had hit him it would
have been all up with poor Goubasee, and we should have had to bury
him. I got up very much disgusted with myself, and walked over the
rocks on the way back to camp, but on the way I slipped and fell,
denting both the barrels of my little 16-bore. "It seldom rains but it
pours:" these two accidents occurred in the space of about five
minutes. The gun was rendered quite useless by this accident; so I
returned home dejected, and on the way I amused myself by throwing a
spear at a mark on a tree. The two Abyssinians who were with me made
very good practice. It is extraordinary how hard it is to make sure of
hitting anything with this weapon, though the mode of throwing it is
simple enough. The spear is held in the right hand, not over the head,
but about in a line with the shoulder; lightly balancing it one takes
three steps, starting with the left foot, and delivers the spear as
the right foot comes to the ground. King Theodore was a celebrated
spear thrower; it is said he could make sure of a man at thirty yards
or more. On my way home I was puzzling in my mind how to get the
dented barrels of my little gun straight again. I had some hardened
bullets with me for my rifle, which fitted this gun exactly, and I
thought if one of these bullets was introduced into the barrel and
gently and gradually tapped with one of our wooden tent-mallets it
might straighten it. When I got to camp I told Fisk what I thought of
it; he said he would try, and being a very handy fellow and
understanding guns well, the experiment proved a complete success,
and the gun shot just as well as it did before. Of course the dents
were not completely obliterated, but sufficiently for all practical
purposes. I must not forget to say the barrels had been injured about
half-way down from the muzzle.



_Jan. 23._--I started very early this morning, before sunrise--or with
the "morning star," as the Abyssinians say--and went down the river to
see what sport I could find. It was so cold that I rode out of camp on
my mule, wrapped up in an Ulster. Directly the sun rose it got warm,
but up to that time the air was very piercing. After going down the
river some little way we came to a large field of Dargousa corn: here
I stopped, and leaving my mule in care of one of the servants,
determined to walk over some of the hills on the right bank of the
river and see what I could find. Goubasee, my gun-bearer, was very
anxious to stop and warm himself at a fire which two of the ballagas
had made in a sort of hut, which was built to live in during the time
that the corn was ripening and that they were thrashing it out. These
natives slept in the hut, and guarded the corn at night from the
inroads of wild beasts. I told Goubasee to come on and not lag
behind--as after it gets hot in this country one never sees any game,
for all retire to the thick jungle. I walked up a steep hill, and soon
came, at the top, on a broad level plateau. Part of this plateau was
cultivated; the rest of it was short, dry grass, which reached up to
the knees. It looked a very likely place for game, especially pigs or
deer. I made Goubasee and another man I had with me spread out and
walk through the grass, in the hopes of "putting up" something; but we
saw nothing there. Where the grass ceased there was a rocky, stony
piece of ground, with short, stunted trees growing on it. All of a
sudden, by the side of one of these little trees, I saw a fine old
boar standing. He looked steadily at me, and I looked at him--we were
both very much taken by surprise, as I almost came on the top of him.
The colour of this animal is so much like the dried-up ground that it
is very hard at first to discern. H. had lent me his Express this
morning, so I fired and hit him behind the shoulder. He galloped off,
and was circling round towards me, when I gave him the left barrel,
which caught him just behind the ear; he rolled over like a rabbit,
and lay with his legs kicking in the air. He turned out to be a
wart-hog. We skinned him and took off his head, which I have kept.
Goubasee, while the operation of skinning was going on, cut off large
lumps of the quivering flesh and stuffed them into his mouth; he
seemed to enjoy it very much. Nearly all Abyssinians eat _brundo_,
which is their name for raw meat, and in consequence of this they are
all affected with _tænia_, or tapeworm, and have periodically (I
believe once a month) to take a very strong purgative medicine, which
they call _coussou_. This destroys the worm for a time, but it always
reappears again. By reason of this, nearly all Abyssinian men are very
hollow-cheeked, and some of them exceedingly thin; but,
notwithstanding this, their powers of marching long distances over
their hills with very little food is something marvellous.

When we had skinned the wart-hog and taken away what we wanted for
food, we hung up the carcase in a tree. Before going any farther I
wish to recommend all sportsmen who go out to wild countries to learn
a little butchering before leaving home; it is most useful not only to
know how to cut up a beast, but also to know the different parts of
the animal, their names, and what to reject and what to keep for
food, and how to remove the parts from the carcase. Almost any
afternoon at the slaughtering-houses of the live meat market near the
Great Northern Railway, London, the butchers may be seen killing,
skinning, and dressing for the dead meat market, both mutton and beef,
and for a small gratuity they are very ready to give any information.

I sent home one of the servants with the skin and the head, and went
on to look for more game with Goubasee. I saw in the distance a rather
curiously-forked stick, as I thought; it was just over the top of the
grass. I never suspected for an instant that this was an animal, so
did not attempt to stalk in any way, but walked straight on. To my
great surprise, however, I saw a beautiful, light red-coloured deer
lying just at the edge of the dry grass near an open space. Of course
when the animal saw me it jumped up and bounded away at full speed; I
took a snap shot--and missed. This is a good instance of how difficult
it is when one first goes into a strange country to distinguish game,
for it is some little time before the eye gets accustomed to the
strange scenery, and the ear to the unfamiliar noises and sounds that
are heard in a wild jungle. The forked stick, as I thought it, was the
two little pointed ears of the deer. I now walked round this small
plateau, and determined to make for my mule and go home to breakfast,
as it was getting hot. H. as well had been out in the morning, and had
seen a large herd of Hagazin or koodoo, but could not get near them.
There was a very beautiful bird to be seen in this jungle near the
Mareb, in shape like an English cuckoo, but of a very lovely light
blue; as most of my readers will know the tint of Eton blue, it was
almost exactly that colour. We shot several specimens, which Fisk
preserved. I had seen, the evening before, a pair of wild geese in a
pool down the river, so I went out to try and get a shot at them. I
told K. that I was going to shoot them both at one shot if I could; he
said, "They are a great deal too shy, you won't get near them." I went
down the river, when, lo, I saw my two friends swimming about in a
small pool. I fired at them with my 16-bore No. 1 shot, killing the
gander outright. The goose flapped on a little way, and I thought I
had not got her, when Goubasee, who was with me, rushed off down the
river, having heard a faint cackle in the distance, and came back with
the goose in his hand. It was very lucky that the bird made any sound
at all, as it was nearly pitch dark. I came back to camp triumphantly
with my two geese, and the next evening we had them roasted and
stuffed with onions--they were excellent, and were among the few
things in Abyssinia that I had tasted really good.

_Jan. 24._--I started very early indeed this morning--in fact, by
moonlight--in order to get on the ground where I thought I should find
game, before the heat arose. The day before, I had seen a
conically-shaped mountain lying north of where I had been shooting.
Instead of leaving my mule in the cultivated ground near the river, I
turned up a path on the right bank of the river, and rode some little
way into the hills. I left my mule on a little eminence just below the
edge of the table-land which I had shot over the day before, and
walked on towards the mountain. I saw nothing but tracks of deer till
I got nearly to the top, and it was a very steep climb indeed. On a
little open space just below the summit of the mountain I saw some
jungle fowl pecking; they were not in the least like the Indian jungle
fowl but brown-looking birds; in fact, they had the same colour
throughout, and exactly the shape of little bantam hens. Unluckily, I
had not my shot gun with me, as I would have given much to have shot
one of these little creatures; but they ran away into the jungle in a
long file, and I did not see them again. I now made for the summit of
the mountain. There was a small, thickly-wooded hollow just below
where I was climbing, and I thought very likely there might be
something lying in it, so I picked up a stone and rolled it down, when
out leaped two of those mouse-brown deer that I had seen at
Sellaadarou; they rushed away through the jungle, and I could only get
a snap shot at them, but managed to hit one of them. I then climbed to
the top of the mountain, on my way towards which, I had heard a great
number of baboons chattering among the rocks, but when they saw me
they all scampered away.

At the top, to my great astonishment, I found a small level plateau
and the ruins of a village; the circular walls of the huts were still
standing, and broken pottery was lying about in all directions. This,
most likely, was one of the villages that the robber of the Mareb
devastated, of whom I have spoken before. What struck me most was how
and where the villagers got their water, as the country round here was
particularly dry; they must have gone to the Mareb for it, which was
at some distance. I searched all about the mountain in hopes of
finding a spring, as I was very thirsty myself, but there was no such
thing to be seen. I was a little tired with the climbing, so, getting
under the shade of one of the ruined walls, I curled myself up and
went to sleep for nearly an hour, Goubasee squatting close by,
watching me like a dog. When I awoke the sun was high, so I thought I
had better go home to breakfast, and went down the opposite side of
the mountain to that I had come up. I saw my mule like a speck in the
distance, and made straight across country for it, much to the chagrin
of my gun-bearer, who wished to go by a path which lay rather out of
the straight line. It was a heavy walk, as the jungle was very thick;
in fact, in one patch of thorns I found myself completely suspended.
My face and hands were torn, but at length I reached my mule, feeling
very fatigued, as the walk had been a long one. When back in camp I
arranged that K., together with Cassa, one of our head servants who
had charge of our transport arrangements, should go on to Adiaboo with
our heavy baggage, and that we should change our camp some little way
down the river in order to shoot over fresh ground. I went out of camp
in the evening, and a little way down the river I heard a great rush
in the jungle on the bank. My gun-bearer said it was a lion, when I
sat down and waited for some little time, but I could hear no sound,
nor could I see anything, so I went home to dinner.

K. and I after dinner, over the camp-fire, were talking of the
Abyssinians and their religion. He said that their version of the
"fall of man" was rather curious. It was this: Adam and Eve, who lived
in a beautiful garden, were happy and contented, till one day the
serpent came and said to Eve, "Where is Adam?" She answered, "He is in
another part of the garden." So the serpent sneeringly said, "Oh,
indeed, do you think so?" Eve rejoined, "For what reason do you
sneer?" The serpent replied, "You think yourself the only woman in the
world?" and she said, "Yes, and a most beautiful woman." The serpent
then said, "Adam often stays away from you, does he not, now? I will
show you another woman;" on which he produced a looking-glass. Eve saw
her image reflected in it and immediately became jealous. The serpent
then said, "If you wish to secure Adam's love for ever and ever, you
must eat of the fruit which I will point out to you." So came about
the fall of man, according to Abyssinians. This is quite consistent
with Abyssinian character and ideas, as probably no people are more
vain or conceited than they; jealousy in all things is one of their
chief failings. Abyssinians, in their religion, are great bigots, and
the whole country is very much at the present time under the influence
of the priests. The king himself is very particular about his
religious observances, and priests and monasteries are very often
richly endowed. The Abyssinians' hatred of the Mussulman is extreme.
They have always looked upon the Egyptians with great abhorrence as
well as terror, for already part of their country called Bogos has
been annexed by them. They think that the Mussulman will try and
overrun the whole of Abyssinia, and, according to events that are now
taking place, this does not seem at all improbable.

An Abyssinian is thought a great deal of if he goes to Jerusalem, and
they always think that the Turk is going to destroy the holy places
and sweep away the relics that are kept there.

It may not be known to some of my readers that the Queen of Sheba is
supposed to have ruled over Abyssinia, and at that time the country
was evidently a great deal more prosperous and civilised than it is
now. Elephants are said to have been used as beasts of burden;
nowadays, the natives have not the smallest idea of taming this most
useful animal. There exist large ruins of palaces both at Goujam and
at Gindar, which testify to the wealth and magnificence the country
originally boasted of. It seems to me a great pity that a country
which is comparatively so near Europe, and with a good seaboard,
should be so completely lost to the world. What few Abyssinian chiefs
I saw always impressed upon me that we, the English, ought to come and
live in the country. They had formed, I am sure, a great opinion of
England's wealth and power from what they saw and also heard of the
Abyssinian expedition. I was told at Massowah that an enormous
quantity of material of different sorts, that had been left behind
after the war, quite made the fortune of a tribe that lived on the
coast; for they sold all these materials at Massowah to the Egyptian
government. It forcibly struck me, while travelling over these fertile
lands, what an extensive field there is for British industry and
enterprise. Abyssinia contains considerable mineral wealth; but
whether it is sufficiently localised to make its working remunerative
remains to be discovered. I tried to get some information on this
point from the French bishop of Keren, who came down to Massowah with
us, and he told me he thought that minerals were not to be profitably
worked with the present means of transport. K. often assured me that
he had seen unmistakable evidences of gold. If once there was a gold
rush to this country, it would certainly open it up in a way; but the
experience of other countries makes one doubt whether such would prove
a desirable commencement to civilisation.

Very often on riding into the village I was greeted by the Mussulman
salutation of "_Salaam_," and they always asked my servants if I was a
Mussulman. It was explained to them I was really a Christian, at which
they were much astonished. All the priests in Abyssinia that I
happened to meet I found to be very sensible fellows; in fact, they
are the only educated members of the community. They dislike European
missionaries for the reason that the missionaries educate the people,
which education the priests endeavour to check as much as possible.
There is a country much nearer home than Abyssinia which was, up to a
short time since, much in the same state; in fact, that expression of
"priest-ridden country" may be applied to Abyssinia with as much force
as it used to be applied to the Sister Isle.

Before I go farther, I must mention that at this camp we killed a cow
for the benefit of our coolies and servants, who ate it raw. K. had
done this while we were out of camp, so I did not see the squabble
which ensued. The bits were shared out equally, but one of the men
complained, said his quantity was short, and he threw it at the man's
head who was dividing the portions. Then a general row ensued, and
they might be seen running about the camp tearing lumps of raw flesh
out of each other's hands and cramming them into their mouths to get
rid of them as quickly as possible, much in the same way as a pack of
hounds would break up a fox. When an Abyssinian sees or scents raw
flesh he becomes a perfectly wild savage; and the women eat _brundo_
as well as the men.

_Jan. 25._--In the afternoon, H. and I started down the Mareb,
intending to go a short way and then pitch our camp. We followed the
bank of the river, but it was very deep walking, as the damp sand
gave way under the mules. I very nearly got bogged, only just
slipping off my mule in time, and directly the weight was off his back
he recovered himself. The banks of the river, on both sides, were
fringed with tamarisk bushes, which form a thick cover, a favourite
one in India for tigers. We fixed our camp at the place where the
Zareena joins the Mareb; at this time of the year--that is to say, the
hot weather--the Zareena is a beautiful running stream, and the water,
the servants told us, was considered excellent. We pitched our tent on
the shingly bed of the Mareb, and I amused myself, with the help of my
gun-bearers, by getting firewood for the night, as Fisk and the
luggage had not come up yet. On the way here we passed some
Abyssinians sitting in a small bower, made of branches, which was
constructed over a water pool. They had come down from the villages to
hunt--that is to say, to squat over the pool watching in turns, night
and day, for any animal that might chance to come and drink. I do not
think they killed much game, and they seemed to spend most of their
time smoking a pipe, a rude sort of hookah, with a cocoanut as the
receptacle for the water that the smoke passed through.

This evening I assembled our servants and coolies and induced them to
give us a dance and song in their own fashion, I accompanying them on
my banjo which I had brought with me. The dancing was rather curious:
all stood round in a circle singing a monotonous chant and clapping
their hands; one stood out in the circle and went through
extraordinary contortions, throwing his body backwards as far as
possible and then twisting quickly round. In one part of the dance
they all squatted down and wriggled their bodies about, making a sort
of hissing noise with their teeth. I requested Brou to translate the
words of the song, which were, "Plough, ploughman, plough, nor turn
your attention to merchandise;" this meant, of course, stay at home,
till your land, and lead a quiet life; do not seek other riches in far
countries. It was repeated over and over again, like most Eastern
songs; and they would have gone on all night, I believe, if we had
allowed them.

_Jan. 26._--I went out in the morning at daybreak and saw literally
nothing but a dik-dik. There are vast quantities of partridges amongst
the tamarisk bushes, which Fisk shoots for the pot with great success.
I always regret not having brought out a dog of some sort or other, as
dogs are always useful for retrieving birds. I frequently came across
the tracks of koodoo, but never saw one. H. told me, when he came back
to camp, that he had "rolled over" a deer, and, on running up to
secure him, the animal staggered away amongst the high grass and
jungle and was lost. This was very bad luck, as it was the first deer
he had hit. I went down the river in the evening, a very beautiful
walk; the Mareb wound in some places among rocks, in others through
thick jungle. I stopped to rest for a short time; a little gazelle ran
out and crossed the river bed a little way off. I shot with my
muzzle-loading rifle, and missed. This was another chance gone for the
Express. I found when I got back to camp that some natives had been
in; in fact, they were the sportsmen whom we saw in their hut beside
the pool. They told us that a lion, a month ago, had killed a man and
eight cows, but this was not of much use to us now. Why is it in all
sport, whether hunting, shooting, or fishing, you hear that you ought
to have been there the other day, or else it is too early--you ought
to have come later; the ground is very hard, or the scent bad; the
birds are still wild; or else, when you go fishing, the water is
thick, or the fish are not on the feed, etc., etc.?

_Jan. 27._--I went out this morning with two of the native hunters who
had come into camp the day before. We wandered over the hills, but I
did not succeed in shooting anything, and only saw two gazelles
scouring away in the distance. On the table-land, where I found these
gazelles, there was a very singular cavity in the rocks, just on the
edge of a cliff; it was almost as if it had been hollowed out by the
hand of man; it was oblong-shaped, and it could easily have held two
or three hundred people. The day was very hot, and the sun beat down
on the dry rocks, so I made the best of my way down the steep side of
the hill into the bed of the Mareb, which ran underneath. On the way
home I fired at a white eagle with my rifle, and picked him off the
top of the tree he was perched on, but the bullet had so injured the
bird that he was not worth preserving. This was really a bad morning's
sport. H. had done no better than myself; and it was a good deal owing
to this that we determined to move off the next day. This afternoon I
presented the hunters, who had been out with me, with three common
cotton pocket-handkerchiefs, of which I had bought a good many at
Bologna, in Italy, on my way out. They seemed to be delighted with
them, and grinned and laughed, and passed them round for each other to

After luncheon, H. and I determined to ride down the Mareb and explore
that line of country. We had not gone very far before we saw our
friends the hunters sitting round a small pool of water, then tying
the handkerchiefs round their heads and admiring themselves, using the
water as a looking-glass. They looked very ridiculous, and seemed
highly delighted with their personal appearance, which they evidently
felt was greatly improved by the red cotton handkerchiefs. We rode a
good way down the river, and the farther we went the fewer the little
pools of water became: at last there was no water to be seen, the sand
had gradually absorbed it; and we should have to dig four or five feet
in order to get water here, so it would be of very little use to go
down into the jungle by this route. H. and I amused ourselves by setting
fire to the jungle, in hopes of starting some animal, but we saw
nothing and so turned our mules' heads towards home. It is interesting
in this country to see, while jungle is burning; this it is always doing
during the dry weather--the number of birds--insect-catchers--hovering
over the flames and catching any flies, beetles, or butterflies, that
happen to be driven out of the grass and bushes by the smoke and heat.

_Jan. 28._--To-day we started at 8.30 for Adiaboo. We went up the bed
of the Zareena for a short way and then turned off sharp to the right;
this will be better understood by my readers when I say that, after
turning to the right, we began travelling very nearly due west. The
road was merely a jungle path, and the bushes were in some places very
thick, which scratched our knees as we pushed through them. Sometimes
we rode up the dry bed of a watercourse, at other times we struck
right into the thorny forest of mimosa bushes. At last we came to a
more civilised part of the country, and halted in the bed of a small
river called Maitumloo, where at some deep pools the cattle were being
watered by the boys of the village, who were minding them. Here we
stopped for about half an hour, watering our mules and resting
ourselves; we then made for the village of Zadawalka. We did not
actually go straight up to the village, but camped in the usual
camping-place for travellers who go by this route, that is to say,
close to the water, of which there was a large pool here. We pitched
our tent on a little ledge just over the pool, where there was barely
room for the tent and the camp fire. We had got in early this
afternoon, having come along at a pretty good pace; Petros and Hadji
Mahomet had happened to lose their way in the jungle, and did not come
at all that evening.

Our coolies that we had brought from Koudoofellassie, had, as is usual
with most blacks when they travel, brought very little food with them,
for when natives go a journey it is usually a succession of forced
marches, which they manage to do with wonderfully little nourishment.
They were all seated at the pool, having washed off the dust of the
journey, talking and chattering, when there appeared in sight some
villagers, who Brou, the interpreter, told me were returning from a
funeral feast. Of course the coolies understood very well the state
of affairs. The natives at feasts in this country not only eat as much
as they can, but also contrive to take away with them what they cannot
manage to cram down their throats; so here was a prospect of a good
meal for our coolies. A rush was made at a batch of small boys and men
who were returning, their clothes were almost torn off their backs,
and the bread and "tef" which they had concealed about their persons
were seized and devoured by our hungry men. This was the first batch
of visitors, and our men were in anticipation of more coming. At last
some more appeared, this time bearing a large earthenware jar, which
was thought to contain beer, but, alas! it was empty. There were other
natives that our men thought had some bread with them, and they
accordingly hustled them, but found none. During the struggle, a
coolie was pushed backwards into the muddy pool, and was rather
astonished to find himself seated in the water, much to the amusement
of ourselves and all the servants but himself: he sneaked back and sat
down by the fire to dry the few rags he had on him as best he could.
Three or four more villagers came by, among them two young
Abyssinians, who said, "You have been robbing our people--you will see
what we will do to you to-morrow!" I think they were a little the
worse for the "tej" and beer they had been drinking, as they boasted
and were very impudent. At last they got a little too "cheeky,"
saying, "You are a Rass" (which means a lord, in Abyssinia), "and
ought to know better than let your servants do this." This rather
annoyed me, so I jumped across the stream, snatched one of the sticks
out of their hands, and gave them two or three cuts across the back,
as hard as I could, and told the interpreter to tell them that was the
way a Rass was accustomed to treat people who were impudent; so they
went away rather frightened, amid the jeers of the servants and

My readers may think this was rather a summary proceeding, especially
as our servants had been robbing the people of their bread; but it is
a thing always taken for granted, as people are supposed to be hungry
when they are travelling, and those that were robbed took it as a very
good joke, and laughed and chaffed, especially when they were searched
and found to have no victuals of any description concealed on their
persons. My grey mule, which K. gave me at Gindar, had a sore back,
and I was afraid he would only just be able to take me into Adiaboo,
where I should have to give him up and get another.



_Jan. 29._--To-day we made a very long march, in fact, the longest we
had made since we had been in the country. We started at 7 o'clock in
the morning, leaving the village of Zadawalka on our right, and we
struck across the table-land in front of us, which was intersected by
a large ravine. The scenery on the table-land was lovely, and the
streams became more frequent. Towards the middle of the day we reached
a very extensive plain; in the distance might be seen the high-peaked
hill which marks Adiaboo. It is just below this, and in the shade of a
large tree, that the market of Adiaboo is held every Saturday. The
principal village on the plain was one called Sememmar. We got off our
mules and went to forage among the houses for some honey; and the
natives sold us a large gumbo, or jar, full of honey, for a dollar.
They were very civil, but, as usual, our servants amused themselves by
purloining as many little things and eatables as they could lay their
hands on. We agreed to camp by a stream which was a little way on, and
where the table-land ended, called Maihumloo. The descent down into
the little valley, or ravine, was very pretty, and when we got down to
the bottom the country was almost like a pleasure-ground, rills of
trickling water ran across our path, and various shrubs bearing
sweet-smelling flowers grew in every direction; it only wanted neat
gravel walks to make it the most perfect of gardens. We fixed our camp
by the side of the stream. Any future traveller would know the spot
very well, as a white-faced rock rises up from the stream, with bushes
growing over it.

An old lady in the village had asked me if I should like to buy some
Dargousa spirit; I told her if she liked to bring it down to our camp
that I would purchase it. Accordingly she followed us down and
produced two bottles of this native spirit, which I thought would be a
good thing to give to our coolies, as they had had an exceedingly long
march and were completely done up, and when we halted they most of
them lay down unable to move. One of them was utterly exhausted, and
said he was dying. I imagined it would be a good idea to serve them
all with honey, of which they are very fond, and accordingly I made
them come forward, and gave them each a large handful of honey.
Directly the dying coolie heard that this honey was being given he
appeared to get wonderfully better, and jumped up and came for his
share. He had given a good deal of trouble on the march and always
lagged behind, calling on the other coolies to carry his load; so I
said he was not to have any, and I did not give him any. These natives
have to be treated like children in every respect. I had arrived at
the place where I fixed the camp a little before H., and, hearing some
wild geese cackling up the stream, I took my gun and went to try to
bag one of them for dinner. I fired at them and missed. Not many
seconds after firing H. appeared from behind some bushes, and we
discovered we had both been stalking the same geese. It is very lucky
I did not pepper him. He seemed a little annoyed; but this sort of
thing very often occurs when two fellows are shooting together in a
wild country. I went out by myself afterwards to try and get some
partridges, as I heard a few calling to each other near camp. I
managed to kill a brace, and they proved very acceptable food after
our long and tedious march.

Half-way on our journey here we came to the market-place of Sememmar;
the market is held in a sort of hollow dell by the side of the path
that we travelled along. It was a very picturesque sight looking down
on the market, the people seated round the sides of a hill like an
amphitheatre. Of course we got down to inspect the wares offered for
sale: beads, needles, buttons, were among the articles, as well as
antimony for blacking the eyebrows and eyelashes of Abyssinian ladies.
There was also a good deal of cotton and grain for sale. The only
thing I purchased was a native sword, which cost a dollar, and which I
handed over to Goubasee, my gun-bearer, to carry for me. This sword
was made, like some of the Indian tulwars, of very soft iron, but
sharpened like a razor. Its shape was well adapted for cutting,
slightly curved, and the back of the broad blade was heavy and thick.
The worst part of an Abyssinian sword is its handle, which is made of
wood, with no guard whatsoever. Generally, when a native goes into
battle, he ties the handle of his sword round his wrist with a piece
of rag or handkerchief. There is also another description of sword
which they carry. This is a much lighter one, and very much curved,
even more so than a Turkish scimitar. I had no opportunity of seeing a
native use the sword. What they seemed to excel in most was throwing
the spear.

_Jan. 30._--This morning we did not start till much later, as the
whole of the party were rather knocked up by the march of the day
before. The country was very lovely that we travelled through. The
path rose until we found ourselves on a very extensive plain: as we
travelled over it, one of my gun-bearers pointed out a place, south of
the route we pursued, where the king of Abyssinia had had a great
battle with the Gallas, on which occasion three hundred of the Galla
horsemen rode over a sheer precipice, nearly every one of them being
killed. I trotted on across the plain towards Adiaboo, and the large
peaked hill appeared nearer and nearer. I forgot to say that, before
we started this morning, I managed to bag one of the wild geese which
we had seen, and stalked unsuccessfully, the night before. These birds
are most excellent eating, and they and the partridges are nearly the
best food in the shape of game that is found in Abyssinia, but the
guinea-fowl are nearly always tough.

  [Illustration: OUR CAMP AT MASSOWAH.
   To face page 118.]

It was market-day at Adiaboo, a much larger affair than at Sememmar
the day before, and a considerable gathering of people were here, all
chattering and making a great noise, it being the busiest time. I
asked some of the bystanders where K. was, and where our camp was
pitched. They pointed a little farther on, and I soon saw K.'s tent
and a "das" built close by. A das is a sort of bower made of boughs
which Abyssinian servants in a very short time put up. It is made of
four tall forked poles; over these are laid boughs which are again
interlaced with other boughs. It makes a delightfully cool shade for
the middle of the day, and we always used to live in one when we were
in camp during the day, but of course we slept in our tent at night. A
"das" was very necessary here, as there was no shade to be found for
some distance round. K. was very pleased to see us. He had come a
shorter route, and his party had almost lost their way and been very
hard pressed for water. He said he had been very ill on the journey,
and scarcely able to ride his mule. The black sheep that, my readers
will remember, we had made a pet of was completely worn out, and was
carried, the greater part of the journey, by one of the servants.

K. had told me that Rass Barea, the chief of Tigré, had written to the
chief of Adiaboo to say that hunters were to be placed at our
disposal, and that men were to accompany us down into the country
where elephants and other large game were to be found. Adik, the chief
of Adiaboo, was in camp ready to pay his compliments and to ask us
what we wanted. He and his followers all sat on the ground a short way
off, with their shamas thrown across their shoulders and covering
their mouths; this is always considered, in Abyssinia, a most
dignified position. Here we found letters from home waiting for us,
which of course we were very pleased to get. Any scrap of news from
his own country and friends, to a traveller quite out of the march of
civilisation, is a great luxury. H. had not come in when I arrived, as
I had gone on rather fast in front of him: there were also letters for
him, so I took them and walked a little way out of the camp to meet
him with them, and never saw anybody so delighted; in fact, we were
both in the best of spirits. After I had read the letters, I asked K.
to come round the market of Adiaboo with me to see the people, and
also to look if there was anything worth buying.

The large tree, mentioned before, was the centre of attraction, and
those who brought horses with them had them tied up under the shade of
the tree. The tree was hung all round with shields, some for sale and
others belonging to the owners of the horses; as every Abyssinian,
whenever he goes even the shortest way from home, always takes with
him his shield and his spear--just in the same way as an Irishman
carries his stick. I bought two shields for five dollars; one I gave
to Goubasee, my gun-bearer, and the other to Guyndem, my second
gun-bearer: they both seemed mightily pleased and proud, and said they
would take the greatest care of them. The shields were made of the
skin of a species of large deer; they were thick and tough. The old
merchant from whom I bought them was a very communicative person; he
had a large silver ring on his finger which I admired; he very kindly
took it off, and said he would give it to me. I, of course, said no;
but, as he still pressed, I said, well, I would pay him a little more
for the shields--which arrangement he seemed to agree to. The rest of
the day we spent in reading our letters and discussing the contents of
all of them, and also in writing others in return, as there would be
no chance of sending messengers to the post after we left Adiaboo.

A man named John--at least that was the name he went by--had come into
our camp from Adowa; he was said to be the son of an Englishman who
had been in the country some time before. He stood about six feet two,
and would have been rather good-looking but that he was marked with
small-pox. He brought a very welcome present to us, and that was some
potatoes. These vegetables are only grown near Adowa, as it is only
within a few years that they have been introduced into the country, to
which they were brought by a Frenchman, whose name, we hope, will be
as immortal as that of Sir Walter Raleigh. The potatoes were very
small, in fact, wretched-looking things, but were excellent eating;
and we were very glad to get them, as we had been excessively hard up
for vegetables; in fact, we had had scarcely any since leaving
Gindar. John said he would go down into the jungle with us. The only
words of English he knew were, "How do you do?" and "Good morning,"
which he uttered whenever one addressed him. His trade was that of a
silversmith, in Adowa, which I am told is a very lucrative one, as
dollars are given to make into silver ornaments, such as the
decorations of a shield, etc., and then as the dollars, which are
already of rather base metal, are mixed with a good amount of tin, by
the time the ornaments are made there is not much original metal left
in them. Mansfield Parkyns, in his very entertaining book on
Abyssinia, gives an account of the silversmiths at Adowa. One of the
young chiefs at Adiaboo, a relation of Adik the old chief, also said
he would go down into the jungle with us and help us to hunt. This
young man was about eighteen or nineteen, and was accompanied by a
sort of bear-leader, a much older Abyssinian, who, in fact, had been
his tutor all his life--a man named Barrakee. This old fellow was
chief of a small village on the frontiers of Abyssinia, and close to
the Baria tribe. Some part of the Baria country is supposed to belong
to Abyssinia; and Barrakee told us that he actually received tribute
of wild honey and other small things from the Baria. This man played a
very important part during the rest of our journey; and, when the
young chief left us while we were on the Tackazzee, he chose to stay
behind to help in the hunting and to guide us through this part of the
country, which he knew very well.

_Jan. 31._--To-day we killed a young cow in camp, and also paid our
coolies who had come from Koudoofellassie. The coolies, after they had
been paid, could not agree upon the division of some extra money that
had been given them--in fact, the man who gave the most trouble about
it was my old friend who had shammed ill while travelling up to our
last camp. They all came to me to settle the dispute; and, after one
party had arranged themselves on one side, and the other party on the
other--the latter consisting of only one--I heard the cause of
dispute. It was very clear that the coolie who had shammed ill wanted
to get the best of his friends; so, as most of the rest were against
him, I said, "Two heads are better than one--and you must give up your
claim." The men in whose favour the decision had been given went away
shouting, laughing, and dancing about; the beaten party retired rather
crestfallen. I asked if any of them would volunteer to come down into
the jungle with us. There was one young fellow among them who had
always been first on the march, and when in camp always singing and
laughing. I particularly wanted to get him as a servant; but he said
he had a wife and family and could not manage to come. After a deal
of persuasion I got one of them to stay, a man named Philookus. I
think most of them thought that they had had enough of marching, and,
if the marches in future were to be anything like the two former ones,
they were quite right in turning back.

It is a great mistake, during travelling in rough countries, to force
your marches; it not only tires yourself and harasses your coolies,
but also wears out your beasts of burden, a most important
consideration. The Italian proverb, _Che va piano va sano_, is daily
exemplified when you are away from civilisation and railways. The best
method is to start early in the morning, make a short march, and then
rest during the heat of the day. After everybody and all the beasts
are well rested start again, and get into camp in good time before the
sun goes down, so as to get everything comfortable and snug for the
night. By the bye, one is very much struck, on first arriving in the
East, by the astonishment with which the natives receive an
Englishman's protestations that he is in a hurry--that he must go on
at once. I believe Arabs have a saying, in the spirit of which they
certainly act, that "haste is devilish."

A number of little sand-grouse, early in the morning, had come
circling round the tent and settling on some ploughed ground close to
us; I went out and killed a brace and a half. These little birds are
very good eating, one part of their flesh being white and the other
brown. We agreed to-day that here at Adiaboo we should buy donkeys to
carry our things down to the Tackazzee, so we told the chief to get us
as many as he could. He said that to-morrow he would tell the people
round to bring in what donkeys they had for sale. I went out in the
evening into the marshy ground which lay below our camp, to try to get
some snipe; I only saw one, but he was too far off for a shot. We had
a very good dinner to-night, for we had killed fresh meat, which we
were very glad to get, as the two days that we had been travelling we
had had very little with us, although K. had made every preparation
for us, and boiled down some excellent jelly, which he had corked up
in a few empty gin-bottles and carefully placed in H.'s tin-case among
his clothes; but, whether it was the heat or the shaking that the
tin-case got on the journey I do not know: when we opened it, in order
to take some jelly for soup, we found that the corks had flown out of
the bottles, and a sort of mayonnaise had been made of H.'s socks,
boots, and trousers. Such are the pleasures of rough travelling!

_Feb. 1._--To-day we began buying donkeys, and a more disagreeable
task I had never had to do; such haggling and bargaining as had to be
undergone was enough to drive one mad. They brought up the donkeys
sometimes singly and sometimes in pairs; we had on an average to pay
six dollars a-piece for them, which was a great deal too much. This
included the pads on which the package was strapped, and also the
"mechanias," or leather thongs which strap the baggage on. The only
thing to be assured of in buying donkeys is that they are not
suffering from recent sores on their backs; and a very good way of
testing their strength is to put both hands in the small of their back
and to press down with all your weight: a good donkey's back will
yield very little, but a bad one cannot bear it at all. Cassa, the man
who had charge of our transport arrangements, helped me greatly in
buying the donkeys. The very minute I bought one and paid for it I
marked it by clipping a square patch on its rump with a pair of nail
scissors: this was quite enough for all present purposes. The great
difficulty was to make the natives bring the pads and straps, as
without them of course the donkeys were perfectly useless. We here
employed some servants in making sandals for themselves out of
cow-skin that I had bought at Deevaroua; in fact, most of them asked
me to allow them to make some, as the paths through the jungle are
very thorny and stony, and not like travelling through the cultivated
fields of Tigré. Plowden Gubrihote, H.'s gun-bearer, was shoe--or
rather sandal--maker to the rest; he had been, when a little boy,
servant to Consul Plowden, who was murdered in South Abyssinia, and he
was a capital servant, but rather cowardly.

In the evening Barrakee, the young chief's tutor, proposed that we
should go up to the top of a high-peaked hill close by, and see the
country we were approaching. We rode up some distance, and at last had
to get off our mules as the way became very steep. Certainly a more
glorious view I never saw. To the north-west we could see the plains
through which the Mareb runs, and to the south-west were the mountains
among whose gorges that splendid river the Tackazzee flows; beyond the
Tackazzee to the west, in fact in front of us, might be seen two
mountains, one of which is of a very peculiar shape--these mark the
province of Walkait. On the top of one of these mountains is a fort or
stronghold which cannot be reached except by ropes--no human being can
climb up to it. Due south of where we were standing lay crowded
together that mass of mountains called the Siemien range, the tops of
which, the natives informed us, were covered with snow the whole year
round. This I cannot vouch for, as I certainly did not see any at that
time; and I almost think, if there had been snow, it would have caught
the rays of the setting sun, and it could have been seen quite
distinctly. The Tackazzee rises in the Siemien from springs; at
least, this I think and believe is the case, on the authority of an
old servant we had with us, called Hadji Mahomet, who came from that
part of the world. As we looked below us we could see the inmates of
some huts that were clustered round the mountain engaged in
celebrating a marriage. All the company were assembled in a large
"das," or leafy bower, drinking and dancing, and every now and then a
shot would be fired off in the air in celebration of the auspicious
event. As I looked towards the distant view which lay before us I
little thought that on my return journey I should be as anxious to get
home as I was then to explore those regions. We waited till the sun
set behind the mountains of Walkait, and then came down the hill and
made for camp.

H. and I very much wished, before leaving the country, to try and get
some black leopard skin, and some of the silver-mounted shields which
are made at Adowa, and which are carried by the great chiefs of the
country. K. said that if we wrote out an order and sent it to Adowa it
would be attended to. I wrote out a couple of orders, one for the
black leopard skins and the other for the shields, and we both signed
them and got John to transcribe them into Amharic. While I was writing
them he remarked that English writing was very quick and very
different from writing Amharic, in which every letter has to be formed
separately, in the same way as when we "print" with a pen in English.

Whenever we were in camp for two or three days in one place it was
invariably the custom of the natives to bring their sick to be healed
by the white men, or else to beg for medicines. They even on one
occasion brought a cripple, carried in a sort of frame: I suppose they
expected me to perform a miracle. On the present occasion a man came
into camp with a large sore, about the size of the palm of one's hand,
on his shin; he had evidently had it for some time, and the wound was
covered with cow-dung, for what reason I do not know. I told him to go
away and wash his leg and come back to me with it clean. I then
consulted with Brou what was best to be done in the case. I had no
caustic with me, so I determined to cauterize it with boiling grease.
We had saved some fat from the cow we had killed; I took a portion of
this, put it into a pan on the fire to boil, and I informed the man
what I was going to do, and that it would hurt him a great deal, but
that if he liked to let it be done he might. He said, "Do what you
like; I do not care." The grease was very soon melted and bubbling; I
took it off the fire and was going to apply it, when the servants, who
were looking on with interest, thought it was too hot, and that I
should hurt the man too much, so I let it get cold a little and
poured it on to his leg. He did not seem to feel it, nor did he wince
at all; so I said that would not do, and that next time I should give
it him boiling hot. I put the pan on the fire again, and when next I
poured the grease on, it fizzed and crackled in the same way that
bacon does; but the most curious part of the operation was that the
man, who a person would have supposed would have almost fainted with
pain, only winced, much in the same way as people may be seen to do
when they have had a tooth drawn.

It is difficult to explain this; but it is the case, that all the
black races will endure many surgical operations of the roughest sort,
but directly strong medicine is given them it seems to kill them at
once. I made the man pour a little milk over the wound, gave him five
rhubarb pills to take, and told him to go and lie down in the shade. I
did not hear afterwards that he had died, so I think he must have
recovered. I may as well tell the reader that I had a most excellent
medicine-chest with me, and was very well provided with almost
everything that was necessary. These are the different descriptions of
drugs the chest contained:--A good quantity of quinine in two-grain
pills, rhubarb pills, chlorodyne, a sedative solution of opium for
diarrhœa, Warburg's fever tincture, spermaceti ointment, lint
bandages, scissors, needles and silk for sewing up cuts, &c. But,
notwithstanding all this provision of remedies I managed to get most
terribly ill; indeed one might have a whole chemist's shop in one's
possession, but, without proper food and comforts, all would be of
little use.

Barrakee, who I believe was somewhat of a musician, was very anxious
to hear me play on the banjo I had with me, so I got it and began
playing: he and the young chief listened for some time, and then
remarked that it was very like Shangalla music. The Shangalla, or
Baria, are the nearest tribe of negroes to Abyssinia. Barrakee then
sent for a sort of Abyssinian guitar, on which he commenced making a
monotonous noise, and thus ended this rather eventful day.

_Feb. 2._--All to-day I was engaged in quarrelling over the prices of
different donkeys which were brought in. In the morning H.
successfully stalked a flock of pigeons that had settled on the
ploughed ground close by, and managed to bag five of them with two
barrels. All game is very acceptable, as it always makes an addition
and variation to what provisions are in hand. We calculated that we
should have to buy twenty donkeys; we had very nearly succeeded in
getting that number, but two more were wanted to complete the set, and
these could not be got either for love or money. At last a priest
appeared who was with great difficulty persuaded to lend us his two
donkeys until we could manage to buy from the neighbouring villages
two for ourselves.

This afternoon I thought I would show the young chief the use of the
sword which I had bought in the market at Semmemar, and so, asking him
to let me look at his own, I showed him the common one I had
purchased, at which he seemed rather to sneer. We had got the best
part of a goat in camp, and I hung up the hind quarters, with part of
the back attached, on to a rope stretched between the two "dasses"
which had been built for us. The sword was very sharp, and I managed
to cut this piece of the carcass right in half. I then asked him if he
would do the same, but he said he could not. I rather suspect he would
not, as he was very proud of his sword, and probably thought that
cutting a goat in half would not be a deed worthy of such a weapon. I
then cut off another piece for his edification, and also to try to
induce him to show off, which, however, he refused to do, and
eventually retired to his followers and Barrakee, no doubt to talk
over what the Feringee had done, and wonder why he had done it, and
what was the use of the feat.

He came to me again in the evening--this was another instance of
native imagination of the power of the white men to heal and
cure--and informed me, in a mysterious tone, that his mother had been
mad for some years, and he wanted some medicine to cure her. I with
great difficulty explained to him, through the interpreter, that it
was impossible for us to cure madness, and that in our country we had
asylums, or houses for mad people, set apart. I said that anything I
could do to alleviate suffering I should be most happy to attempt. He
seemed a nice young fellow, for in the evening he brought us some
thick cakes made of maize, which he said his mother had sent us. These
were very good and excellent eating, as we had been living on "damper"
and Peek and Frean's biscuits, which are very dry.



_Feb. 3._--I find I began my rough journal to-day with these words:
"At last we leave this beastly place, where all has been quarrelling
and bargaining." I certainly was heartily sick of it, and glad to get
away, and so I think were most of us. To make matters worse, before we
started, the servants came and told us that four of our donkeys were
missing, two that the priest had lent us and two that we had bought.
At this we were furious. H. and I both agreed that we would not stand
this sort of nonsense, and we went to K. and told him that we thought
it was disgraceful conduct on the part of the chief, and vowed
vengeance on the old sinner. K. tried to pacify us, and said the
donkeys would turn up in time.

Certainly, to say the least of it, it was very annoying, especially on
the point of departure. We called our servants together and went up to
the ballaga's house where the donkeys had been put for the night. The
young chief evidently thought we had hostile intentions, as his
followers might be seen running in front of him taking the sheaths off
the points of their long spears. When we got to the house we took up
our position just outside the low wall which surrounded it.

The young chief was close to a house not many yards off. I sent word
to say that, if the donkeys were not immediately forthcoming, we
should burn down the man's house and take what goods and chattels he
had there. I went in and took a large jar of honey and an enormous
pumpkin as a sort of security till the donkeys came. At length the two
donkeys we had bought turned up. We then demanded the other two which
the priest had lent us. The Abyssinians said, "They are not paid for;"
to which we replied that he would not sell them to us, but that he
promised to lend them, and that, if they would not give them up, we
should do what we had threatened.

Before going on I may say that we had letters to send to the post, and
it was important they should start that day, so as to catch the
steamer which runs every three weeks. As we were now at loggerheads
with the chief, it would have been difficult to get him to give us a
messenger for so long a journey; but Brou helped me out of this
difficulty. He had a friend among some Mahomedans who lived not far
off, and he told me that if I gave him the letters they would be given
to the head-man of the Mahomedan village, and that he would insure
their being sent to the coast. Brou made all the arrangements, and I
did not, as usual, see the messenger myself and make him swear that he
would carry the letters safely. It eventually transpired that they
reached their destination all right; and in fact we found, all through
our journey, that the Mahomedans were a great deal easier to deal with
in business, bargaining, and arrangements, than the Abyssinians.

I went down into our camp to get the letters and send them off by
Brou, and when I came back I found K. and H. were rather bored with
sitting there and waiting. K. had been inclined to take the
Abyssinians' part; he said it was one of the usual events of
travelling in such a country, and we should not make a great fuss;
this annoyed us still more. At last the donkeys were brought and all
was made right. I returned the jar of honey that I had taken from the
house, and I was going to return the pumpkin, but K. said, "I think we
had better keep this," a remark that amused us very much, as he had
previously been all for the Abyssinians, and now he was quite ready to
take the native's pumpkin. These pumpkins make a very good dish,
boiled in water with a little sugar. It is wonderful on occasions of
this sort how "'cute" one gets at foraging for food. To-day was the
only time, during our whole journey, that I saw a snake. I just caught
a glimpse of the reptile as he wriggled away among some corn sheaves;
he was yellow, and almost of the colour of the corn.

In consequence of the "row" about the donkeys, we could not start
until next day. The old chief, Adik, came to say good-bye to us. He
had never, all through the time of our stay at Adiaboo, been half so
civil as the younger native, and the servants felt unanimously that it
was owing to him that the donkeys had been taken; so I intimated that
I would not say good-bye or take any notice of him unless he
apologised for all the trouble he had given us. I had put it very
strongly to his relative, the young man, and told him, in so many
words, I did not think he had behaved as an Abyssinian chief ought to
behave to Englishmen, when they came to pay a visit to his country. He
said at first that he would not apologise, but at length, towards the
evening, he came up and said he was very sorry for what had happened,
and he hoped we should have a pleasant journey and lots of sport.

_Feb. 4._--This morning we really did make a start, although we had
great difficulty in getting away, as we had fresh servants to look
after the donkeys, the new men did not know the nature of the
packages, and every donkey-load had to be made out separately by
Cassa. We did not go very far this march, but camped near a little
village called Adikai. The people were very civil, and directly the
young chief, who was with us, told them to put up a "das," they did so
at once. The only little event which rather disturbed the harmony of
the scene was one of the natives attempting to snatch away one of our
mechanias. I happened to see this, and, running up to him, gave him a
push that sent him clean head over heels, and I told him to let our
things alone; the people who were looking on all said that it served
him perfectly right.

There was a wedding going on at this village--in fact, I believe this
was the time of year during which most of the weddings in Abyssinia
take place--and the arkees, or groomsmen, who during the week the
wedding is held go about the villages stealing what they can lay hands
on in order to give to the bridegroom, came and danced before us. It
was the same sort of dance that our coolies had entertained us with on
the Mareb: one stepped forward and went through various contortions,
and then, at one part of the dance, they all sat down and clapped
their hands, making a hissing noise. The young chief said if we would
give them a dollar they would be very pleased; so we presented them
with one, and they went away delighted. We had bought a quantity of
corn at Adiaboo for food for our servants in the jungle, but we could
not manage to get it ground at Adiaboo; the young chief, however, said
we should be able to do so in the villages as we went on. He came to
us in the middle of the day and said, "I cannot make the ballagas
grind your corn; you must go through the villages and make them give
you an equal weight of flour in exchange for your corn." The reason
why he could not make the ballagas of the nearest village grind the
corn was that the village belonged to the Monastery of Debra Bizen,
which my readers will remember was situated on a high mountain that
overlooked the little valley of Gindar. The priest of the village said
that the young chief had no power over these people, who paid tribute
to the monastery. We went into the village and said that we must have
some flour, and that we had brought corn to exchange for it. We sent
our servants round to the different houses to fetch the flour, while a
priest, a nice-looking old fellow in a green turban, looked on to see
that we did not take more than was right. From one of the little
hamlets, to which I went to look for some flour, all the inhabitants
ran away, and clustered on a hill close by, looking at Brou and
myself, who had walked up to the houses. We ascertained the folks had
just been at their meals, and Brou, who declared that he had eaten no
breakfast that morning, sat down and demolished the remaining victuals
which he found in the hut. We took what flour we wanted and left corn
in exchange. One of the servants who accompanied me to carry the corn,
wanted as usual to steal something, but I said I would not allow that,
and he must leave the things just as he found them.

As we came back with the flour that we had exchanged for corn we met
the arkees, and Brou said to them, "Do not go up to those houses and
steal the things while the people are away, and then say that we did
it!" This was quite right, as these gentlemen were hanging about, and
they would most likely have made a clean sweep of everything they had
found, and then have said that the Feringee had taken them. Let me
recommend to travellers, when camping near a native village, to watch
for a long string of women, who generally bring up the water from the
nearest stream. Usually your servants have plenty to do without going
to fetch water: the best way is to take the water from the women,
empty it into your own vessels, and let them go back and get more for
themselves. This we did with great success at Adikai, and none of our
men had to go and draw any water at all. Some trifling present soon
put the women in the best of tempers, but I really do not think they
minded the water being taken from them, only they were terribly afraid
lest their jars should be broken. Most of them, when robbed, began
laughing and chaffing our servants.

The next day we went on to the village of Azho, and camped in the dry
bed of a stream, in a field where the Dargousa corn had just been cut.
Our camp was below a high plateau on which this large village was
built. It is the frontier village, and after this you meet no more
habitations till you come to the province of Walkait, which would be
from this point about eight days' travelling on a mule. I had gone on
in front to fix the camp, and found some of our donkeys, which we had
sent on early in the morning, waiting for us there; by-and-by the
whole caravan came up, after which we enjoyed a very pleasant swim in
a little pool in the river. This is a luxury which anybody travelling
in a hot country will thoroughly appreciate, as it is impossible to
take a bath with you while travelling in this sort of way; and we had
to do most of our washing in a chillumchee.[11] The young chief and
some of his followers came and begged some powder and bullets: we gave
them some bullets but very little powder; as it is always dangerous
to give natives powder when they are likely to be with you, because
they might turn your enemies, and it would be adding insult to injury
to be shot with your own ammunition.

The messenger who had brought our letters from home to Adiaboo
informed us that he had passed some men on the road who, he believed,
were bringing some guns and ammunition to us. Here at length was some
news of my long-looked-for Express rifle, and also my heavy rifle. I
had intrusted the carriage of the gun for us to the missionaries who
live at Ailet, and Mr. Lager, the head missionary, said he would
arrange that everything should be forwarded just as it was passed into
his hands from the authorities at Massowah. Sure enough, about noon
the next day, when we were lounging about camp and doing nothing--in
fact, waiting for the guns--I heard a shot on the other side of the
river, and very soon a short little Abyssinian appeared, dressed in
European costume, followed by some natives carrying a box and also
some other cases. I was very much amused at his firing the shot, as he
strutted into camp with an air of great importance, and feeling, no
doubt, that he had accomplished a great task. The shot was to give
notice of his presence as he came along. I never was more pleased in
my life; the guns had arrived just at the right moment, and all were
uninjured and in as good order as when they had left the gun-maker's
shop in St. James's Street. The little fellow who had brought them all
this long way was an Abyssinian that the missionaries had reared and
educated. He said he had had great difficulty in getting along, and
one of the coolies, having fallen sick, had stayed at a village on the
road. The first thing we did was to give them plenty to eat and drink,
such as we had; we then squared accounts with them, and they were to
go back home the next day. Most of this day was spent in unpacking the
ammunition and guns; they seemed to be all right. To-morrow we were to
start for the Tackazzee, and to leave all traces of civilisation, of
any sort, behind us; while we were in the highest possible spirits and
our prospects were of the brightest.

That evening I walked out and went up to the village of Azho to see
what it was like: on my way there I "put up" some quail, but I did not
fire at them. Azho is a large straggling village built on a high
plateau, without any shade in or near it. Some of the natives showed
me the way up a steep hill, where I had another view of the country we
were going to, and I came back when it was quite dark, having seen a
most beautiful sunset over the hills. H. thought I was lost, and was
very nearly sending out to look for me. The country we had been
travelling through from Adiaboo to Azho was very lovely, and the sides
of the low undulating hills were highly cultivated. I have no doubt,
in the valleys, the natives reaped a rich harvest. The village of Azho
itself was a good specimen of Abyssinian dwellings; the people seemed
well-to-do, and the houses carefully and neatly built. There was a
custom-house here, where cotton from Walkait and other distant
provinces paid tribute. Before I go on, I must say that the transport
of my guns from the village of Ailet to where we were at Azho cost 46
dollars, and the coolies considered themselves well paid.

_Feb. 6._--I started off, before H., with a guide to show me the way,
but we chanced, somehow or other, to lose our road, and I was greatly
annoyed. This march I did on foot, as my grey mule, which had a very
sore back, had to be left behind at Adiaboo. K. procured me another,
but it was a sorry brute, and always kicked when being mounted, so I
got rid of it. After wandering about some little time in the jungle,
trying to find our way, we at length hit upon the path, and saw some
of our own donkeys, under the care of Hadji Mahomet, travelling along.
We were to camp at a place called Maidarou, the usual camping-place on
this road for all caravans. There were two very large trees close to
the pools which supplied us with water, and we were very glad of
their shade after the march of the day. For myself, I was rather
tired, and was not in very good working condition, having through most
of our marching been riding a mule. After having lunched we pitched
our tents on the flat top of a little rocky hill which just overlooked
the two large trees that formed the great feature in this
camping-place. On my road here I shot at a gazelle, but, unluckily,
the man who was carrying my Express rifle was some distance behind,
and so I could only fire at it with my little 16-bore gun with a
bullet. The next day we were to come to a place called Coom-Coom-Dema.

This is the head-quarters of those Abyssinians who come down to hunt
elephants, for the young Abyssinians, that is to say the gentlemen of
the country, think it part of their education to come here to shoot
elephants. There are regular ivory hunters, who live at Azho and the
villages near, and these go down to assist. The young Abyssinians who
seek to distinguish themselves shoot at the elephant with small shot
or slugs, just enough to draw blood, and then it is left to the
Neftenias, or hunters, to finish him off with bullets. Their mode of
hunting is rather curious. When they see the elephant, of course they
stalk him with great care: two lines are made; the first line, on
coming up to the elephant, fire and take to their heels as quickly as
possible. If the elephant is wounded, he very often charges, and then
meets the second line, who receive him with a greater number of shots;
they then follow him up, if badly wounded, and despatch him at their
leisure. The Abyssinians are, as a rule, bad sportsmen, and seem to me
to be totally unacquainted with the commonest rules of wood-craft. I
would recommend all sportsmen who hunt in a wild country to adapt
their dress as much as possible to the colour of the landscape in
which they find themselves. I always shot in brown cord breeches and
flax gaiters, with a good cumberbund[12] round my waist, and a
short-tailed coat, which was made of strong cotton stuff that I bought
in India.

All the servants with us, as well as the followers of the young chief,
were in a tremendous fright because of the Baria, the negro tribe of
which I spoke before, and who came up to this part of the country to
hunt the elephant, and also to kill whatever Abyssinians they could
find. I myself never saw one of these redoubtable natives, nor do I
believe they would attempt to attack a well-armed party; but in the
evening, over the camp fire, many terrible stories were told of how
So-and-so was murdered, and how cunning and treacherous the Baria
were. Brou, the interpreter, was not behindhand in telling us all
sorts of terrible things about them. One story he told us was this:
There was a man who lived in a village close to the frontier, and who
had to pay tribute to the chief of his province in ivory. He had gone
down to the desert, or jungle, to hunt the elephant alone; a wily
Baria following him most of the time. It should be stated that this
tribe of natives have no fire-arms, and only hunt and destroy with
spears and knives. The elephant-hunter was stalking an elephant, and
had come up to him; at the moment he fired, the Baria, who had been
sneaking after him, jumped up from behind, drove his knife into him,
and killed him. This is a good example of their treachery; but the
Abyssinians are just as much to blame in regard to the Baria or
Shangallas, for whenever the Abyssinians catch them in much smaller
numbers than themselves they generally kill them.

  [Illustration: A WILY BARIA.
   To face page 147.]

_Feb. 7._--H. went on in front to Coom-Coom-Dema: I said that as it
was early I should shoot over part of the country and join him later.
I went away into the jungle, which lay south of our camp, and came
upon some old elephant tracks. I had not gone very much farther before
I saw some gazelles; I managed to get near one of them, and, as it was
racing away on the side of a little hill, I rolled it over with my
Express. My gun-bearers very soon skinned it, and they having
succeeded in lighting a fire, I said they might eat some of it. The
way an Abyssinian hunter makes a fire in the jungle is this: he takes
some of his powder and rubs it on a bit of cotton cloth which he tears
off the clothes he is wearing, and then wraps up a percussion cap in
the cloth and hammers the cap between two stones till it explodes;
this ignites the dry cloth, and with the help of some twigs and grass,
and by blowing very hard on the smouldering cotton, he manages to
light a fire. It is wonderful how natives under the most trying
circumstances will kindle a flame where no European would think such a
thing possible.

My gun-bearers were soon roasting the hind-quarters of the gazelle on
the ashes, and also eating some parts of it raw. I was sitting down
under the shade of a tree, and heard Goubasee behind me munching
something; I turned round, and was much disgusted at seeing him eating
the stomach of a gazelle, which was not in the least washed, and in
fact was a filthy sight. This is considered a great delicacy by
Abyssinians, especially when the stomach is covered with the green
undigested food of the animal. After we had all rested, and they had
eaten sufficient, we tracked back on our old path, and soon struck the
regular caravan road. I thought it would have been a long walk, but,
to my astonishment, the hills opened and I saw in front of me a large
plain--this was the plain of Coom-Coom-Dema. H. had pitched the tents,
and everything was ready and comfortable. Just after we had lunched,
one of the servants said that he could see on the plain some large
deer, which he called _tora_; they were in reality hartebeest. They
were going down to drink from the pool where we got our water, but
directly they saw us they trotted off. Some gazelles got up as we were
walking along, and I fired and missed, so did H. There were tracks of
buffalo all about our camp, but they were very old, having been made
during the rains. Barrakee, who had undertaken the sporting
arrangements of the party, said this was a very good place for game,
but we determined not to stop here, but to press on to the Tackazzee,
the goal of my ambition.

_Feb. 8._--This morning we were almost awakened by the noise the
little sand-grouse made in circling round and round our tents. I got
up and brought down two brace of them, as they wheeled round
attempting to settle on some ground close to our camp. It was rather
pretty shooting, as the birds came very fast, and I only wished that I
could have had some more of it, but the rest of the pack soon got
frightened and went away. After this we packed up our traps and left
Coom-Coom-Dema. On the road, Barrakee, who was riding a large white
horse, pointed me out a herd of giraffes about half a mile off. I
attempted to stalk them, but did not succeed in getting near them.
They went off at a slight ambling pace, and when once they had crossed
the little hill, on the near side of which they were feeding, I could
not see them again. Fisk had come with me, and we were both very
anxious to kill something. I shot at some sort of deer, but missed,
and on my way back saw a gazelle, at which I did not fire.

When I came back to the road, completely parched with thirst, as it
was very hot, I found that all our donkeys had stopped: this was very
vexing, as my great object was to get on now as quickly as possible.
Brou said the donkeys were very heavily loaded, that the day was hot,
and that there was no prospect of getting water between where we were
and the Tackazzee. This was simply untrue; for when I found Barrakee
and talked to him upon the subject, it turned out that there was water
farther on; so I immediately made them reload the donkeys and push on.
Barrakee fixed our camp by the edge of a dry river-bed, in which there
was left a large pool of water, and there were tracks of elephants
having drunk here some time previously. We cleared the high grass from
the jungle and pitched our tents, after which H. went out shooting,
but did not get anything. When it was dark we saw jungle fires in the
distance, which our servants all said had been kindled by the Baria to
burn us out. This, of course, was all humbug, or they had nothing
better to talk about. The place we camped at was called Kourasa, or
the house of the long-tailed monkey, and this water-hole which we were
camped by, Barrakee told us, is a regular drinking-place for
elephants; he added, with much mystery and fear, that perhaps they
might come in the night and trample on our camp. I only hoped they
would! The natives assured me that we should find the Tackazzee next
day; and, accordingly, in the morning we started, H. having gone on in
front with the young chief.


[11] _Chillumchee_ is an Indian word for a flat-bottomed tin basin.

[12] _Cumberbund_ is an Indian word for a thick scarf which is wound
round and round the waist; it is a great preventive against sunstroke
and chills.



_Feb. 9._--To-day I was to take charge of the heavy baggage and
donkeys; this we generally took it in turns to do. I caught H. up at a
river, where I found them all drinking. He went on directly, and I
stopped for an hour to rest our twenty-one donkeys and their drivers,
and to let them have something to drink. The country we were
travelling through had changed; we were at a much lower level than we
had been before, and dome-palms grew in every direction, the shorter
and younger ones of which made a thick jungle which we pushed our way
through, the leaves causing a great rattling as we went on. This was
much more my idea of an African forest than anything I had ever seen
before. I saw a hagazin on the side of a hill near me, and tried to
stalk it. I got so close to the animal that I could hear him making a
peculiar grunting noise close to me, but for the life of me, in the
thick jungle, I could not make out where he was. I moved on a little
farther, and then I saw him trotting away in the distance. Elephant
tracks were to be seen in all directions crossing the main path along
which we travelled, and fresh elephant dung was here in quantities.

I travelled on through the forest and came upon the party of the young
chief, who was waiting for me by some water, H. having come across
elephants and gone after them. I asked the little chief why he had not
gone with him to hunt elephants; he said, in the most polite way, that
he was staying behind to wait for me. I thanked him, and determined to
push on again and make the Tackazzee that day. Mahomet, one of the
coolies, or rather donkey-drivers, that we had brought with us from
Adiaboo, volunteered to act as guide. I pushed on as quickly as
possible, and, about half-past four in the afternoon, the servants
pointed out the Tackazzee. There, sure enough, was a broad river below
me, running between high rocky hills, with its waters gleaming in the
setting sun. I was standing several hundred feet above it, and on the
left of me, on the same side on which I was, was a green jungle of
grass and tamarisk bushes fringing the bank of the river. A large
herd of hagazin had just been drinking, and they were moving quietly
away, the males leading and the hinds following with the little fawns
trotting at their feet. The whole scene was really a beautiful one,
and I stopped for some little time to admire the view which lay before
me. The natives had pointed out the antelope to me, but I was too
excited to take any notice, so I gave them a view-halloo, and told the
guide to lead me to the bottom of the hill where the river ran. When
we got down into the green jungle which fringed the bank of the river
it was so high we could not see over it, and pushing on through it, we
soon found ourselves on the shingly bed of the river. The water was
beautifully clear, and I gladly drank a draught of it. We then forded
the river with some of the more lightly-laden donkeys, which had
managed to keep up and follow me. Goubasee, on his arrival at the
other side, held up his hands and exclaimed, "God has brought us
safely here!" I was so pleased to see a large river again that I took
off my boots and paddled about in the water, for almost the last
fresh-water stream of a good size I had seen was the one on which the
Citizen penny steamers glide.

We had brought down two cows from Adiaboo with us, and these animals
were very nearly swept away by the stream, where they would have been
devoured by crocodiles. The man who had charge of them lost his head,
and became very nearly as frightened as were the beasts themselves; at
last some of the servants rushed into the water, got below the cows,
and drove them back to the bank they started from. They then attempted
again, and crossed in safety. I fixed the camp amidst a large grove of
dome-palms; a prettier place could not well be imagined. The ground
was perfectly flat; in fact, as if it had been thoroughly stamped
down. There was a beautiful shade of a large leafy tree close by, but
unluckily, as is often the case in Eastern climes, where the scene is
of the loveliest the place is most unwholesome; and, as proved
afterwards, most of us, myself included, fell ill, which I believe was
a great deal owing to our not having fixed our camp on one of the high
hills that overlooked the river, instead of down in the river-bed.
_Experientia docet_, and, as my readers will see afterwards, I paid
dearly for what little experience I gained in rough travel in this

I heard, in a pool below the ford where we had crossed, some animals
making an unusual noise, grunting and blowing. I went down with my
gun-bearers to the edge of the river, and, behold! there were eight
fine hippopotami disporting themselves in the river, much in the same
way as the old river-horse at the Zoo may be seen swimming about his
tank. They reared themselves out of the water and exposed their heads
and part of their necks, sometimes opening their enormous jaws so that
I could see their white tusks. I fired at the nearest of the herd, and
hit him behind the ear. He began bleeding profusely, and waltzed round
and round in the water, causing tremendous waves. At last in about
half an hour he sank, and we saw him no more. I shot at several more
and, I believe, killed another, but we saw no traces of them again;
and I think it is a great chance, in a large rapid river of this sort,
if their carcases are found at all. I sent servants during the
following days up and down the river, but they were quite unsuccessful
in finding any trace of the beasts. H. did not come in till late,
having gone after an elephant he had wounded. He told me they had
found large clots of blood on the animal's track, but that he had to
give up as they were getting far away from our line of march and from
any water-pools. Cassa arrived very late with the rest of the donkeys.
He assured us that one of the Baria had fired the jungle in a circle,
and so had tried to surround him and some of the more heavily-laden
donkeys which had lagged behind. This was quite believed by all our
servants, and it made a great impression on some of them.

_Feb. 10._--To-day we rested most of the morning. In the afternoon I
went down to the pool where the hippopotami were, but they had got
much more shy, and showed only just the tops of their heads and their
wicked-looking little ears above water. As one opened his jaws I hit
him smack in the mouth; this sounded just as if a bullet had gone into
a stack of faggots. He sank immediately, and I could not in the least
tell whether I had killed him or not. As these hippopotami had got so
shy, I commenced to-day, with the help of Brou, to make a raft on
which to try and go down the river to them. Some of the dome-palms had
fallen down from old age and from the effects of the floods that sweep
by during the rainy season; I proposed to lash these together with raw
hide, but I had nothing except a hand-saw to cut the logs the proper
length, and the palm wood was very hard and the weather very hot.

_Feb. 11._--We had arranged with Barrakee to go for three days and
sleep out, or bivouac, and hunt elephants; we accordingly started
straight inland towards the mountains of Walkait. After we had crossed
the hills, under which the Tackazzee ran, we came upon a sort of open
plain with little hills cropping up here and there, and we had been
following fresh elephant tracks the whole time. I must not forget to
mention that during the night a large herd of elephants had passed
close to our camp, and that all the jungle round was trampled and
broken in every direction. I just remember, in a half-sleepy state,
hearing strange noises, but I thought at the time that it was only the
"hippos" disporting themselves in the pool below. At last Barrakee,
who was going in front, said that we were getting very close to the
elephants, and that we must leave our mules behind us, and follow them
up the rest of the way on foot. Not long afterwards we saw two
elephants in the distance moving slowly along. We tried to stalk them,
but we did not succeed. Barrakee took us to some water, where we
drank, and close by which, as we came up to it, were some pigs lying
asleep under a tree. An Abyssinian tried to knock one over with the
butt of his gun, for we did not like to fire, being so close to the

After we had halted for a little time and rested ourselves, Barrakee
said we should move on, and he took us to the top of a steep little
hill, where he said we were to pass the night, and from whence we
could see the whole country round us. Brou, and a couple of men that
Barrakee had with him, built us a "das." We ate some luncheon, and
then we sat down to watch for any elephant that might perchance be
about. We had thus waited for about an hour when Barrakee leaped up
and said he saw two elephants in the distance, so we got our guns and
went off to stalk them. The elephants were walking towards the south,
following the main body of the herd which had passed very early in the
morning. Our object was to cut them off on their way, and Barrakee led
us sometimes over the low hills, and sometimes round the sides of
them, and we gradually approached nearer the two elephants, who were
moving along swinging their trunks about, and sometimes stopping to
pick off a bit of a shrub which looked more dainty than the rest. At
last there was only one little hill for us to go over, and to cross it
would bring us right across the path of the two elephants. We were
creeping along very quietly when, as we came to a few rocks, where, in
the rainy season, a torrent evidently poured down, Barrakee stopped
suddenly and said, "Ambasa!" which is Amharic for lion. I snatched
hold of my Express, rushed up and saw a fine male lion moving slowly
away among the rocks. At the moment I was going to fire, H. came up
and fired his heavy rifle close behind me; both barrels went off at
once, and I thought at first I was shot, as nine drams of powder is
rather a large charge to be let off close to one's ear. I missed the
lion; so did H. I loaded again and ran after him and fired, and
missed. The elephants, which were not more than forty or fifty yards
off, went off in another direction, and the lion, passing through
some trees, "put up" a herd of large deer which went also in a
different direction. It was a sight grand enough, but we had made a
terrible mess of the whole thing: we ought not to have fired at the
lion, and, as the servants said, "If you had killed the elephants,
plenty of lions would have come to pick the bones." I may tell my
readers that the lions in Abyssinia are not like the familiar picture
that is everywhere to be seen of animals with enormous manes, as the
species in this country have no mane at all. We then walked back to
the little hill whereon we were to camp that night, all of us
disappointed and crestfallen. The whole of the top of this hill was
covered with the most beautiful sweet-smelling grass, and of this we
gathered a large quantity to make our beds. I had arranged with one of
our servants to bring out my little camp bed and blankets, but, as we
went away from camp rather quickly, following up the tracks of the
elephant, the native lost his way, and I had nothing to cover me but
some sacking, which the medicine case was wrapped up in. That night we
slept very comfortably and warmly, as the grass made a capital bed.

_Feb. 12._--This day we moved away on the track of the herd of
elephants. The jungle became denser, and Barrakee halted us by a
beautiful stream of water, and pointed out a hill close by, where he
said we should camp that night. A little river that we were near was
full of small fish, and I amused myself by trying to catch some of
them by damming up a part of the river, but I did not succeed. After
luncheon I went up the stream, and found Barrakee and H. seated on a
rock engaged in trying to catch some fish; one of them with a crooked
pin, and the other with the only hook we had in camp. Amongst us we
managed to lift three out of the water; these I cleaned and brought
them back into camp for dinner. After catching the fish we took a most
delicious swim in the pool. That night, unluckily for me, there was no
grass to be found, and I borrowed a blanket from Brou, but, foolishly,
instead of covering myself up with it, I rolled it up and used it as a
pillow. I caught a chill in the night, and in consequence, found
myself suffering from severe diarrhœa in the morning. From this day
date all my troubles, illness, and misfortunes. It certainly was very
unfortunate, as we had only just got into the country where the game
was really to be found.

This only shows how particularly careful one ought to be when leading
a life of this sort, and especially when sleeping out in the open air.
A good thick flannel belt should always be worn next the skin. What I
really believe gave me this chill was that I took off the cumberbund,
which had been wound tightly round my waist, in order to sleep more
comfortably. This proceeding was a terrible mistake, as it is in the
night time and the early dawn that these chills are acquired, which
prove at all times most deadly, especially in a hot climate.

On the whole, I should consider Abyssinia to be a very healthy
country. The only two complaints which Europeans seem to suffer from
are intermittent fevers--which are not, as a rule, of a very dangerous
nature--and dysentery, which, of course, if proper remedies and
suitable food are at hand, is not serious, but under other
circumstances may prove very dangerous. Let me urge upon all
travellers who go to seek adventure and sport in Africa to remember to
keep their heads well protected from the sun, and their loins well
girded with either a thick cumberbund, worn outside, or, better still,
a flannel belt worn next the skin. Every one will notice that the
natives are dressed in this way, especially the Arabs who live at
Massowah, where the climate is very hot. It would be useless for me to
go into the different diseases the natives of the country are subject
to. There is one which I have already mentioned, that is the tænia, or
tapeworm. They are also subject to intermittent fevers during the
rains, and suffer from a complaint caused by a parasite called the
Guinea worm, which is a worm that forms in the flesh, very often the
thigh, and has to be gradually twisted out. If during the operation
the worm breaks, a horrible ulcer forms. As to scrofula and its
origin, I saw very little of it, the natives seeming, on the whole,
pretty free from this terrible scourge. When a person among them is
afflicted with very bad rheumatism they have rather an original way of
effecting a cure, which is by putting bits of cotton on the parts
affected, and igniting them, making them burn fiercely by blowing upon
the cotton. This is even sometimes done for the purpose of creating
beauty marks, as they are considered--a young man showing his
fortitude by allowing one of the fair sex to light one of these bits
of cotton, and blow on it to create as much heat as possible. If by
any chance he flinches, or shows any indication of pain, he is thought
to be a coward, and not worthy of the lady's notice. Concerning this
mode of curing rheumatism, I believe there is some similar custom
among country people in England, the _modus operandi_ being a heated
flat iron with which the affected limb is treated.

_Feb. 13._--I rode out this morning on my mule through a green, thorny
jungle which lay opposite the hill on which we were camped. I was on
the lookout for big game, and so did not fire at a large flock of
guinea-fowl which I put up: there must have been at least two or three
hundred of them, and they all rose at once, making a tremendous row.
It was a very pretty sight, and one quite peculiar to the country
which I was in. I felt very seedy, and disinclined to do anything; and
so having gone straight through this patch of jungle I came to the
little stream again, where I sat down by a pool, and waited there for
most of the day, in hopes of some animal coming down to drink.
Barrakee, who had been out in a different direction with H., not long
after I had been here, came up, and H. went on down the stream, while
Barrakee and myself watched over the pool. A little gazelle came to
drink: instead of my waiting in order to get a broadside shot, I fired
at it while it was looking at me, and the result was to break one of
its fore-legs. Barrakee rushed after it, but we saw no more of it. I
then mounted my mule, which had been grazing close by, and rode home
into camp. Our three days were over, our provisions finished, and we
resolved the next day, which was Sunday, to start for home.

_Feb. 14._--I was worse to-day, and we started early for our camp on
the Tackazzee. The servants, while we had been absent, had, according
to arrangement, moved the camp away from the river; Fisk had been left
in charge. The reason of this move was they were all very much
frightened of the Baria, and thought, as we should be absent with our
guns, that it would be better if they got away from the river, by
whose banks the Baria are supposed to be always lurking. I rode
towards camp feeling very desponding, and on the way H. fired at some
pig, and wounded one badly, but the beast managed to get away, leaving
large tracks of blood on its path. We also saw some strange-looking
deer, of a colour resembling that usual with donkeys, but with short
horns curving back from their foreheads like those of goats: they
stood, I should think, very nearly fourteen hands from the ground. On
our way back we passed the spot which had been the scene of our
unlucky exploit with the lion, and, curiously enough, two gazelles
came bounding past at the time, but we succeeded in missing them; we
were fated to kill no game in this place. When I rode into camp, Hadji
Mahomet, the old native we had brought from Massowah, came up to
welcome us back, and said, in Arabic, "Allah has brought you safely
back." I felt very much inclined to reply, and I believe I did at the
time, "No, my mule has brought me back," as I felt very disappointed,
and looked upon the expedition we had made as a total failure. I was
very glad to get into a comfortable bed, as the coolie, who had lost
his way, had succeeded in finding the camp the servants had pitched a
little way off from the Tackazzee.

_Feb. 15._--I was still bad with this horrid complaint, and so I
stayed in camp reading the few books we had with us, and took
medicine; I also amused myself by making a small model of the raft
that I proposed to use when hunting the hippopotami, in order that
Brou might understand how to go on working at it. H. and Fisk went out
shooting partridges to make broth for me. There were not nearly so
many partridges here on the Tackazzee as we found on the Mareb; for
the tamarisk bushes which fringe the banks of the Mareb were, as a
rule, full of them. With a couple of dogs we might really have had
some very good shooting, and made big bags; but without dogs it was
almost impossible to get the birds up, as they ran so tremendously;
but when they did get up they were not hard to shoot, as they did not
seem to fly nearly so strongly as the English birds, which they very
much resembled, with one exception, which was that their bills and
legs were red, the plumage being exactly the same. We tried to keep
some of the birds, in order to give them that gamy flavour which is
esteemed in England; but the weather was too hot, and the flesh got
bad too quickly. The rapid setting-in of decomposition was a great
drawback when a beast was killed in camp, as the meat had to be eaten
almost immediately; but, both in its raw and cooked state, it is
surprising what a quantity the natives will manage to consume.

_Feb. 16._--To-day I was very much better, the medicine seemed to have
done me good; but, instead of staying in camp and perfecting my cure,
I stupidly went out and did a hard day's work, standing up to my
middle under water in a hot sun, to complete the raft. The raft when
finished was, to speak fairly, a great success. It was made in the
following way: Six logs of the dome-palm tree were lashed with raw
hide, cut from the skin of one of the cows which we had killed in
camp; the logs were lashed to two cross pieces, and from one cross
piece to the other I fixed two thin pliable boughs, under which I
jammed a lot of dry "hippopotamus grass" (the long grass growing by
the side of the river), which had been cut a day or two before and put
out in the sun on the shingly bank of the river to dry. The grass was
jammed in under these thin sticks, so that it went across the logs and
made a place for any one to stand in, and also assisted in promoting
the buoyancy of the raft.

A caravan of about three or four hundred people came across the river
to-day on their way to Walkait. These caravans generally assemble in
Tigré, in order to make up a large number, so that their goods may be
properly cared for in case of any attack by the Baria. One man among
them had a couple of very good-looking donkeys; he must have procured
them from some of the Arab tribes who live on the borders of the
country; I tried to buy one of the donkeys, but the man wanted a
great deal too much for it. The caravan only stayed close to our camp
during the heat of the day, and in the afternoon they moved on. They
were bringing back grain and salt, having taken out cotton to the
different towns in the province of Tigré.

_Feb. 17._--I am better to-day, and I worked at the raft to put the
finishing touches to it. In the afternoon I went out fishing, and I
had put on a hook with a piece of raw meat as bait, having made a rod
of two bamboo sticks spliced together. I caught nothing, nor did I
even get a bite. I was sitting in camp towards the evening when one of
the coolies rushed in to say that he had seen some elephants on the
other side of the river, a little way down, looking very much as if
they were going to cross the river. Barrakee was in camp. I took my
guns, and he, with two of his men and my gun-bearers, went out to look
for the elephants. We crept along the bank of the river, and on the
other side Barrakee pointed out two fine bull elephants; they were
standing amongst the dense jungle which bordered the river, evidently
undecided whether to cross or not. H. and Fisk were out shooting
partridges for our dinner, and just as we saw the elephants we heard
two shots. This was very unlucky, but H. had no idea that there were
elephants near. It must have startled them, as very shortly afterwards
we saw them crashing away through the forest. It was a very pretty
picture to see these huge animals standing amongst the thick trees and
jungle, the rays of the setting sun, at the time, just lighting up the
broad and sparkling river as it ran below us--the whole being a
thoroughly wild African scene, and one which any lover of sport would
have appreciated. I should say that whilst fishing that afternoon I
left a hand-line in charge of a native, who afterwards assured me,
when I asked him if he had had a bite, that some big fish had taken
hold of it and pulled him on to his knees; certainly one of his knees
was a little bit bruised by the stones. The thermometer here ranged
from 109° to 115° in the tent, in the middle of the day; so my readers
may imagine it was pretty hot.

_Feb. 18._--To-day Brou got the raft ready for launching, and a large
caravan of nearly four hundred people came across the river, most of
whom camped close by. One of our messengers, whom we had employed to
carry letters for us to the coast, had taken this opportunity of
joining the caravan in order to bring the letters down to us. Arrekel
Bey, the Governor of Massowah, had sent me some French newspapers, so
we were well posted up in all the news. The chief of the caravan had
been very kind to our coolie, who was named Givra Michael, and had
given him food during the journey. We sent for the chief and talked
some time with him: he told me he was taking his people, and cows, and
belongings, back to his home in Walkait, the country then being at
peace. There are very often feuds and disputes going on among the
petty chiefs, especially in this part of Abyssinia. I amused the
Abyssinian by showing him my guns and revolvers, and, for his
edification, fired at a mark with one of my revolvers: he was much
astonished at the rapidity with which the revolver went off. I made
him a present of a pocket-handkerchief and two hanks of beads, with
which he was very much delighted. I had with me at the time Rassam's
book, called 'British Mission to Abyssinia;' in the frontispiece of
the first volume is a picture of King Theodore, and this I showed to
the chief and most of his followers. They were intensely interested
with it, and said the likeness was very good. It was very amusing to
hear their remarks and to see the expression on their faces as the
picture was handed round. I went out fishing in the evening, but some
monster of the deep ran out about seventy yards of my line so fast
that I could scarcely hold it. I am rather better to-day, having taken
some opium.

_Feb. 19._--Brou came to me this morning to tell me that Barrakee was
suffering from diarrhœa, and begged I would give him a little
brandy and water. I also discovered that others of the servants were
suffering from the same complaint; indeed none of them looked very
well. I consulted with H., and it was agreed that we should move camp
to-night, there being a full moon at the time, which afforded plenty
of light to travel by. I launched the raft in the afternoon, and got
it safely over the rapids that we had forded, and moored it on the
left bank of the river, a little above the hippopotamus pool. I
thought at the time that perhaps a change up into the more bracing air
of the hills would do myself, as well as the rest of the party, some
good, and that we might before leaving the country return here; but my
wishes were never realized. That evening we dined early and left camp
about eight o'clock, having burned all our "dasses" (or leaf-houses),
which made a tremendous blaze, and the scene certainly was a wild one.
Before coming down to the Tackazzee I had presented all the servants
with a piece of red cloth, which they put round their heads, and by
the light of the blazing sticks they looked more like so many devils
than human beings. They were scantily clothed, and the red
handkerchiefs gave them a fierce and wild appearance. We crossed the
river, bathed in the light of a full tropical moon, then marched up
along the road that we had come by, and we pitched camp near some
water in the jungle at 10.45. I was a little better, but the ride up
from the river tired me a good deal.

_Feb. 20._--My complaint is about the same, but I do not suffer so
much pain from it. I took three doses of opium, but this medicine
makes one feel very weak. I amused myself in the afternoon learning an
Abyssinian game called Galanift, which is played in the following way:
twelve small holes are dug in the ground, six in a row opposite each
other; four pellets, or bullets, are put into each hole; A takes one
row, and B the other. They sit down opposite each other, and the
object of the game is to take the adversary's bullets by certain
moves, which are all made from left to right. It is something like the
game called Solitaire, but is very complicated, and requires the
exertion of your powers of mental arithmetic to understand it.



_Feb. 21._--I have nothing of great importance to tell about this day.
I lost my pencil, that I used to write my diary with, and I was
obliged to use as a substitute the sad remains of the only quill pen
left me, and which I managed to render serviceable by tying it on to a
bit of stick. As I have so little to say, I will give you a sketch of
our day in camp. It begins mostly at sunrise. The first thing that
happens is that the donkeys and mules are untethered and led out to
grass. Our water-barrel is taken down to the stream or pool which we
are camped by, to be filled; it takes about three men to carry it up
again full. When the water is brought up the kettles are put on to
boil, and Mahomet, who is my servant, and Fisk, H.'s servant, get
ready our things for dressing. We get up and generally perform our
ablutions in the open air, with our little basin either propped upon
the stump of a tree or else on a heap of stones close to the tent. We
breakfast about eight, and then go out shooting--that is to say, I
used to do so when I was well. Fisk serves out the servants' rations
for the day about ten o'clock, and a very few minutes after this all
hands are hard at work making their bread, which is accomplished by
mixing flour and water and making the whole mass into a
plaster-of-Paris-like paste.

Most of our servants have divided themselves into messes of three or
four, and the way in which they bake their bread is both original and
primitive. Well-to-do travellers in Abyssinia, generally carry an iron
pan, exactly the shape of one of the copper scale pans that grocers
weigh tea in, but the poorer natives have to content themselves with a
flat stone, numbers of which are to be seen, propped up on other
stones, at all the camping-places on the road, with the ashes of
recent fires beneath them. While they are making their paste the stone
is being heated over a fire, and directly it is hot enough they pour
on to it the liquid dough and let it bake; when it is done on one side
they turn it over like a pancake. When sufficiently cooked it is a
hot doughy sort of flat cake; and those people who are lucky enough to
have a little red pepper eat it with the bread. There is nothing of
which an Abyssinian is so fond as red pepper, and the quantity he
manages to pass down his throat is something surprising. We had a good
deal of rice with us, and had found that by grinding the rice between
two smooth flat stones, which we got from the bed of the Tackazzee, it
made excellent flour; and we had hot rice cakes, baked in Brou's iron
pan, every morning for breakfast. After breakfast, if I did not go out
shooting, there was generally something to do in camp, either to mend
or put the men to work at making ropes, out of the fibre of a certain
tree, for lashing our things together, or else sending them to cut
grass for our "das," or leaf-house, which we live in during the day,
as these bowers are always much cooler when they are well thatched
with grass. Sometimes we have tiffin, and sometimes not. It is usually
hottest between one and three in the afternoon, and then it is always
best to be in camp. In the evening we generally went out shooting till
dark. The donkeys and mules, having been taken to water, are brought
in about five o'clock and tethered; they are left to stand till dark,
when the grass that has been cut is given them for the night. We dined
between seven and eight, and after dinner the flour was served out to
the servants for their evening meal. Any arrangements were now made
for the day following. H. and I sat by the camp fire, generally played
a tune upon my banjo, and then, after enjoying a smoke, we turned in
to rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

After dinner is one of the pleasantest times in this beautiful
climate; the stars shine brightly, and from the place where we were
now encamped the constellations, both of the Great Bear and the
Southern Cross, could be seen. For the last week I had been so unwell
that I had not written up my journal. Symptoms of dysentery had
appeared, and I was afraid I should be laid up. During this week H.
had been out shooting, and he and Barrakee had the luck between them
to kill a large koodoo. Of course all hands in camp were delighted,
and a great portion of the meat was "jerked," that is to say, hung up
in the sun and dried. We found, at first, this jerked meat was very
hard to eat, but by grinding it between two stones, mixing it with a
little rice, fat, and onions, and then making it into a sort of
rissole and frying it, it did not make at all a bad meal.

One day during this week H. went out after elephants, and saw a very
large herd; he said there must have been about eighty of them, but
when the herd winded the hunters, they trumpeted and separated about
the country. Two of them were making down a little ravine, close to
where H., Barrakee, and the gun-bearer, were standing. H. told me that
Plowden Gubrihote, his gun-bearer, was in a dreadful "funk," and
assured him that these elephants were the man-killing elephants, well
known in this part of the world; that they would surely kill them if
they did not immediately take to their heels and run away. H. told him
to sit still, or else he would "lick" him. The elephants came nearer
and nearer, and one of Barrakee's men put up his gun to fire. This
would have been ridiculous, as they were nearly eighty yards off. H.
knocked the gun out of his hand, and told him to sit quiet. The
elephants were now fast approaching, when Barrakee and his man both
fired. This was exceedingly annoying, as from all accounts the
elephants would have passed by close to where the party were
concealed, and H. would have had a capital shot.

We stopped in the jungle here rather more than a week. I thought
perhaps another change of air would do me good, and we moved up to
Kourasa, where we had been camped before. I did not know at the time
that I was so ill, nor did H., or else I should not have made the
proposal I did when we got here. I told H. that our time was short in
the country, and it was of very little use his stopping with me; I
thought he had better move on with Barrakee, who assured us that, in
the country near his village on the frontier, we should find very good
shooting, even much better than we had had before. H. left me a few
servants behind, and four or five donkeys. We were getting short of
flour, and we agreed that he should go on to Barrakee's village, send
me back flour for the servants, and that I, on the day after he left,
would move up to Coom-Coom-Dema and stop there till the flour arrived.
Accordingly the next day he started away in the morning. Just as he
left, luckily I said to him, "I think you had better leave me five
dollars of our money, in case of accidents." This was literally all
the coin I had with me when I started to go to the coast.

I started the next day for Coom-Coom-Dema, and very nearly lost my
way; my gun-bearers did not seem to remember it, and it was only by
chance that I recollected some trees and a low hill which guided me
across the plain to where we had been encamped before. When I arrived
I felt very bad indeed, and I was really exceedingly ill. The flour
had run out, and I had to serve out some rice that evening to my
servants; for myself I had some biscuits to eat. I hoped by the
morning of the next day to receive flour from H., but it never came,
and the servants had no food nearly all that day, except some scraps
that they had managed to save. The next morning I had nothing to give
them, but they seemed to bear it all without complaint. I went out to
try and kill some of the little sand-grouse for myself, but I did not
succeed. When I came into camp Petros informed me the donkey-boy had
broken down; and when he had brought in the animals to tie them up for
the night, that he had begun to cry and had said, "Where's master? for
I want something to eat." I was at my wit's-end what to do, as it was
two long days' march to the nearest village, which was Azho, and I had
only just enough rice for one meal.

Things looked very bad; the evening closed in, and, just before it got
dark, Petros shouted out, "Oh, here is the flour!" It was not our own
flour, it was a leading party of a caravan which was going through to
Walkait. This was indeed a God-send! I saw there was no time to be
lost, so I called for my rifle, and the first donkey I saw that looked
as if it was loaded with flour I seized, led to the camp, unloaded it,
and poured out the flour on the tarpaulin sheet which generally formed
the floor of our tent. The owner of the donkey, as well as some of the
rest of the caravan, were, I believe, going to expostulate; but I told
one of my servants to tell them if they moved I would shoot them, and
that we were starving and we must have food. At that moment the chief
of the caravan--or rather the man who is generally appointed to lead
these people through the country, and arrange all payments to the
customs--appeared. He made everything all right, and we kept the
flour; and, as he rode away to the place where they were going to stop
that night, he sent me back, by one of my servants, some bread of his

_Feb. 26._--I find in my journal this day that I was very ill, and
went out in the morning and shot two brace of little sand-grouse, as I
had not had fresh meat for some little time. I did not take any more
medicine, as I found it made me so weak. I caused the servants to make
me a large "das," long and narrow; in one end I used to sit most of
the day, and in the other my guns and what few provisions I had were
hung up. They watered the ground all round, and also the grass walls
of the "das," so that it made me pretty cool during the heat of the
day, whilst the darkness kept the flies out: certainly it was rather
miserable work feeling and being ill all alone in the jungle; indeed
long before this I ought to have started for home, as, when once
dysentery gets hold of you, nothing but complete change of air, good
food, and medicine, is likely to effect a cure. I still hung on to the
thought that I should get better, but, if I had known what was really
the matter, I should never have hesitated.

_Feb. 27._--Our own flour did not appear till the afternoon of to-day,
and I never felt more pleased than when I got it. They gave me a note
from H., which was written in pencil on an envelope, and ran as

     "Barrakee's Village, _Friday, 26th_, 1 P.M.

"Thank Heaven we have just this moment arrived! You never saw such a
journey: it was sixty, if not seventy, miles. We waited for two hours
in the heat of the day to rest the donkeys, and then went on as hard
as we could, and arrived at the river that Barrakee had spoken about
at 6 P.M. The rest of the donkeys came up about an hour after. We
stayed till the moon got up about 11 or 12 P.M. We had to leave the
donkeys behind; they will, I hope, be here some time to-night. I have
been marching ever since, and have just this moment arrived. The mules
are regularly done up: mine and Fisk's cannot move. I shall keep the
things _here_ till you _come up_. You will find it two good days'
march from Coom-Coom-Dema to this place. The river B. spoke about is a
beastly place; the water is bad, but you will be able to catch fish.
We caught some. Three of Barrakee's villagers are to take the flour. I
brought one of ours on, intending to send him back, but it is
impossible, for he is dead beat and has been walking for twenty-four
hours straight off; he could never walk back sixty miles, for I quite
think it is that from Coom-Coom-Dema. You will see when you come. They
will show you the way here. How is your complaint, old man? I do trust
it is all right now. I cannot move from here, for I know when the
baggage comes up the donkeys will be completely done. They are bound
to come on account of the food.

     "_Friday, Feb. 26_, 1.30 P.M.

"They have just finished grinding and collecting the flour. Our coolie
is going after all. He is anxious to make a dollar. If they are not
with you before sunset to-morrow (Saturday), they forfeit a dollar.
The money is with their Shum.[13] There is enough for one hundred and
sixty bread" (rations), "also ten eggs. One of the bags that the flour
is in does not belong to us. We shall soon be all straight. Barrakee
is getting the rest of the flour."

Never was letter more acceptable, and especially as with it had come
the long-desired and looked-for flour. Although H. had not long been
away from me, in the short time I had experienced a feeling of
loneliness as well as utter helplessness; but it was no good giving
way to thoughts like these, as if my servants once saw any inclination
on my part to despond, I should never have been able to get anything
done, and they would have found out too soon that even the
much-dreaded white man is at times dependent upon help, even if it be
from a nigger. On the whole, I cannot complain of my servants, as they
had much to put up with. When one is ill, little annoyances are hard
to bear, and I dare say at times I was thought rather tyrannical; but
it is very little use regretting these things now, as there is not the
remotest chance of any of my natives reading what I have here written.

_Feb. 28._--This was an uneventful day, and I felt exceedingly weak
and ill. It had become very much cooler than it was in the two camps
nearer the Tackazzee, as the north wind blows towards the evening and
the mornings are quite cool.

_March 1._--I find written in my journal: "Am, I think, getting really
better. I have shot one and a half brace of little sand-grouse as they
flew near the tent in the morning. I went after the herd of hartebeest
that I had seen very often near the tent, on the plain at the head of
which I was encamped, but I could not get near them. I succeeded
to-day in very nearly poisoning myself by mistaking one medicine for
another, for I took opium in mistake for some other stuff. After I had
discovered my error I swallowed some brandy, went out for a walk, and
told my servants if they found me going to sleep to wake me up."

_March 2._--The opium seems to have done me good, as I find written
in the journal that "I am decidedly better, the symptoms of dysentery
having partly gone away." To-day I had great fun shooting a fine bull
hartebeest. This animal is about the size of an Alderney cow. I was
going out of my tent very early in the morning when I saw the herd
grazing not far off on the plain. I tried to stalk a bull which was
feeding behind the herd and on the nearest side to me, but I failed. I
then tried to stalk another, which was more on the left of the herd,
and which looked a very big gentleman, and, I think, an old friend of
mine, as I had fired at him before. As I was creeping along, the herd
had closed up and passed not far off on my right. The bull that I had
first tried to stalk was following. I missed him with both barrels of
my Express, and then I ran to the top of an ant-hill and took aim at
him with my heavy 12-bore rifle. It was a very long shot; the left
barrel broke his hind-leg just at the hock; and now the hunt began.

I had come out of my tent with only my slippers on, and in walking
through the burnt grass of the plain the short hard stubs were rather
trying to my feet with nothing but stockings on. The bull hartebeest
managed to go very nearly two miles; he stopped on several occasions
and let me come close up to him. I fired at him with my Express, and,
as I thought, missed him; he then limped away again, but went a good
deal faster than one would suppose was possible. It was getting very
hot, but I was determined the brute should not beat me. I lost sight
of him for a little time among some trees; when I got through them I
found he was trying to ascend a small hill. I had two more cartridges
of my heavy rifle, and these I fired at him, and as he was waddling up
the hill the shot broke the fetlock-joint of his other hind-leg. This
stopped him, and Goubasee and myself found him sitting up like a dog,
close to a white-ant hill. I had no knife with me and no cartridges,
and I did not know on earth what to do; so Goubasee got big stones and
handed them up the ant-hill to me, as I stood on the top and tried to
smash his head in by throwing them at him. He charged at me in a
clumsy way twice, when I was not on the ant-hill, and very nearly
caught me with his horns as I half tripped-up in stepping back. I
thought I would look in the cartridge-bag to see if I had completely
run out of ammunition: to my great joy I found one Express cartridge;
so I put the beast out of his misery with a shot behind the ear.

Guyndem, my other gunbearer, soon came up with knives. The carcase was
soon skinned and cut up, and I sent back for two donkeys to carry the
flesh into camp; it made two heavy loads for the donkeys, and the head
and skin taxed the strength of the donkey-driver as he carried it
home. I found that the animal had been hit by three bullets; one of
these was a very curious shot: when I had fired at him with the
Express, and thought it was a miss, the bullet had entered and exactly
divided the hartebeest's tail as he was galloping straight away from
me. This shot must have entered his entrails and stopped him
considerably; the two other bullets were the shots that broke the hock
of one of his hind-legs and the fetlock-joint of the other. There was
great rejoicing amongst the servants and donkey-drivers, who had
abundance to eat; and three long strings of jerked meat might be seen
festooning the trees near camp. They dried the meat on the leather
thongs with which the baggage was tied on the donkeys; these thongs
were stretched from tree to tree.

I returned to camp completely done up; and I do not think the chase
after the deer, under the hot sun, did me very much good; but still a
little sport, when you have been ill for some time, cheers you very
much. I had been trying to make little snares to catch small birds
with, and especially the doves, that came down in great quantities to
drink at the water-pools. It was rather amusing to watch them on these
occasions, but they were far too wary to be caught by such clumsy

_March 3._--Went out this morning to look for some gazelles, of which
there are generally two or three in a little patch of very high grass
that escaped the fire at the time the rest of the dry grass was burnt.
I saw a buck gazelle and fired both barrels of the Express, and
missed. I then went and stood on an ant-hill in the middle of the
patch of high grass; two does got up close under my feet and rushed
away. I fired both barrels, and missed. The gazelle is by no means an
easy thing to hit with a rifle when it is going fast, as it is very
small. I was rather disgusted with this bad shooting, and was walking
back to camp when up rose another buck. I fired one barrel, and
missed; this shot seemed to turn him, and he went away parallel to the
direction I was going in, offering a shoulder shot. I rolled him over
with my left barrel as he was cantering along; he gave two or three
convulsive bounds, and, when I got up to him, he was quite dead; there
is nothing like an Express bullet for deadliness. Goubasee made a bag
of the skin, and I kept the head.

When I got back to camp I found that H. had sent me some more
provisions, and I also got a letter from him, written on an

     "Barrakee's Village, _Sunday, February 28th_.

"The coolies have just come back. I am very glad you got the flour
from the caravan--that was first-rate; but I am sorry you are not
coming on yet. As for this village, it is a horrid place, and there is
nothing to shoot within miles of it. It is up on a hill, but is on the
way to the Mareb; and so to-morrow I am going to start with Fisk,
Barrakee, Brou, and three or four coolies. I shall leave some behind
for you, and they will bring you on; Barrakee is going to leave a man
to show you the way. I hope I shall have better luck than on the
Tackazzee. As for flour, I cannot send you as much as I would, but
still send a good lot. We have hardly any empty bags. We sent you
three the other day; but when you get here have them filled up, and
come down. I send a bundle of letters down, addressed to the consul at
Suez--will you see that one coolie, if not two, takes them down to
Massowah, to catch the steamer on the 24th of March, as it only takes
nine days at the outside to get from Coom-Coom-Dema to Massowah. Do
send them for me to Arrekel Bey, and ask him to post them. I send them
to you, as I know you will have some letters to send too. I have no
ink or paper left. This is the last--and I am writing to you now with
gunpowder and milk, which does capitally. I am fearfully sorry about
you, and should come back if I thought I could do any good; but I know
I really could not. But I trust, old fellow, you will be all right by
the time you receive this. I shall not send the flour off from here
till daylight on Tuesday morning, or if I can I will arrange for it to
leave on Monday (to-morrow) evening. They are working hard now,
grinding a dollar's worth for us to take; and I am sending you some
honey, one bottle of brandy, potatoes, onions, and some eggs. One
donkey takes the flour and two of our coolies.

     "_Monday morning, March 1st._

"Your flour will leave this afternoon. Cassa here, in charge of the
baggage left behind. Shall be back to-day fortnight; but they will
show you the way down when they come.

     "Ever yours,

I must explain to my readers that the Mareb which H. talks of in this
letter is the same river that we were on before, he being many miles
lower down its course, in fact, much nearer the plains than where we
had been.

       *       *       *       *       *

A large caravan with cotton from Walkait came by to-day. The chief of
the caravan came up to me as I was seated outside my "das" loading
some cartridges, and paid his respects, commencing by making two very
low bows--nearly touching the ground with his head. I gave him some
powder which he begged for, and asked him if he would give me a
_machet_, which is a Tigré word for a little sickle, which the natives
use to cut grass for their beasts; and my servants were always
complaining that they had not one, and so they could not manage to cut
grass well for the donkeys. He was exceedingly civil and good-natured,
and took one of my coolies on with him some little way on the road, to
the place where they were going to camp, and sent him back with the
machet. The chief told me they had seen elephants as they had come up
from the Tackazzee, and also three or four of the Baria tribe. His
people, very bravely--as they were ten to one--offered to fight the
Baria; but these niggers were wise in their generation, and took to
their heels on seeing so large a party. The tail of the caravan did
not come up till nearly dark, and so camped for the night about 150
yards from my tent. Just after sunset, when I was going to eat my
dinner, they began a low-toned chant in which they all joined; it was
rather pretty and mournful. I asked Hadji Mahomet, who was a
Mahomedan, what it meant; he said it was "church;" at least that was
the interpretation that Petros, my bearer, put upon his answer. All
these men who were singing were Abyssinian Copts. I was much better in
health this day.

_March 4._--Instead of staying quietly at Coom-Coom-Dema I thought
that a change of air to the other side of the plain would do me good.
I had seen a spring of water on my way here, and so in the morning I
sent out one of my servants to look for it. He came back and said he
had found it; and so, in the evening, just before sunset, I started
for my new camp. The servants were very annoying and they would do
nothing they were told. I fired much of the dry grass of the plain, in
hopes of burning the rest of it bare in order that I might see more
game, and I had a long shot at a "tora," or hartebeest, on my way
across. When we got rather near the water where I was to camp we
happened to lose our way, and we were wandering about for some time.
Ali the cook possessed a mule, on which the tin-pots and kettle were
strapped; the animal got frightened at the rattling of the things on
its back, and galloped away kicking and plunging, sending the utensils
flying in different directions, including my two plates and a large
boiling-pot that I used to make soup in, and also Ali's bedding; this,
I am sure, he regretted a good deal more than any of my things. He had
bought this wretched mule for 12 dollars at Adiaboo. This trip across
made me very ill, as all my arrangements went wrong, and I did not get
comfortably to bed until rather late.

Before I left Coom-Coom-Dema three wild-looking men came into camp:
they said they had come down into the jungle to look for wild honey.
They had a small gourd filled with this stuff, for which they wanted a
dollar, and they were evidently very poor. They gave me as a present
two large pear-shaped fruit with a green velvety shell; the inside was
filled with seeds, covered with a sort of white spongy pulp, which was
deliciously acid. The servants called this fruit Habbaboo. I find
Mansfield Parkyns says that this fruit is called Dema, the scientific
name being _Adansonia digitata_. I gave these honey-hunters two hanks
of beads, with which they seemed very well pleased.

_March 5._--I was not nearly so well this morning, having drunk some
brandy and water the night before. The rice-water which I had been
drinking during my illness had been made at Coom-Coom-Dema before I
started, but it was in one of the tin-pots that galloped off on the
back of Ali's mule. The servants again put me up a capital "das," and
it was very dark and cool. The cook's mule was found to-day, but minus
the stock-pot and some plates. I informed him I would shoot the brute
if he did not go out and find the plates, etc., and wonderful to
relate, they appeared in the evening all right, but rather battered.
The mule had gone back to Coom-Coom-Dema, and was found close to where
we had before camped, cropping the grass by the side of the water. I
went out in the evening and shot one of the little sand-grouse for
dinner as it came down to drink. I felt very poorly, and almost too
weak to walk about.

_March 6._--Worse to-day. This horrid complaint sticks to me, symptoms
of dysentery having returned. I am afraid I must make up my mind to
start for home--a bad ending to a sporting expedition. I shall have
been ill now three weeks to-morrow. I took some chlorodyne last night,
and I think it only made me worse.

_March 7._--I am much better this morning, having taken three doses of
opium, which acted instantaneously, thank goodness! There was a
thunder-storm last night with two very heavy showers, and the most
beautiful sunset I ever saw; great masses of clouds coming up from the
south-east, and vivid lightning, and the thunder rolling and echoing
through the mountains; it was a very grand sight. I was kept awake
part of last night by the howling of a hyena, about ten yards from the
tent. I thought at first it was a lion, but the servants assured me it
was a _gib_, which is their word for hyena. He stopped about a quarter
of an hour, making a hideous noise, and at last retired. There was a
new moon to-day, so I was in hopes there might be a change in the
weather, which would have done me much good: it was a great deal
cooler this morning, after the thunder-storm. I made Goubasee
administer a slight castigation to Ali, the cook, who had neglected to
boil my rice-water the night before, and, as it was the only thing I
had to drink, this was very disagreeable, as it was brought to me for
my breakfast almost boiling hot and excessively nasty. It is needless
to say this mistake never occurred again. This was not his first
offence, and Ali, who was a Cairo man, was rather inclined at times to
be sulky, and not to do anything; but on the whole he was not a bad


[13] _Shum_ is Amharic for a chief of several villages.



_March 8._--I was very bad all last night; I think I had eaten too
much meat at dinner. I am writing my journal with a pen made out of a
guinea-fowl quill, and with ink composed of some gunpowder, preserved
milk and water, mixed up together--rather a curious combination. My
little camp bed is so small that I asked Mahomet, my bearer, if he
could make me any sort of bed rather bigger. He said, "I make bed
Abyssinian fashion?" and I replied "Yes." He set to work, with the
help of Goubasee and Guyndem, to make an _inchat algar_, which is
their word for a wooden bed. They cut four short forked poles and
stuck them upright in the ground; the holes they put them into were
grubbed out with the iron tent pegs. They then tied sticks on to the
four posts, so as to make a sort of hollow oblong. These sticks were
tied with plaited bark or fibre. Inside, these oblong sticks were
lashed both to the foot and head of the bed. Of course such a bed can
be made of any height and any length. They then cut a quantity of dry
grass and laid it across the frame, and my rugs spread over the dry
grass made an excellent, comfortable, springy couch. I should think
such beds would be very good for impromptu hospitals on a campaign,
using hay or straw instead of grass; they are exceedingly warm and
well ventilated. It took about two hours and a half for four servants
to do the whole thing; that is, for cutting the wood and grass,
grubbing the holes, tying the sticks, and completing it.

I have determined to start for home, as I get no better here. I am
indeed an unlucky sportsman, and I always was. Perhaps it is all for
the best. I do not know what H. will say to this. I went out for a
little walk on the plain yesterday, and saw the herd of hartebeest in
the distance, but I did not feel up to stalking them.

_March 9._--I am a little better to-day, and the provisions I sent for
to Barrakee's village have arrived all safe; so I start for Azho, a
large frontier village, to-day. I hope to catch the steamer which I
believe leaves Massowah for Suez about the 24th of March. To-day I
shot a large bare-necked vulture, which was hovering over the camp
last evening, and I am writing my journal with one of its quills, as
Petros, in sweeping out my "das," chanced to lose my guinea-fowl pen.
The vulture I thought to be a bird of ill-omen, and so knocked him
down. In the evening I went out close to the water and shot one of the
sand-grouse which came to drink, but it was so dark I could not find
the bird. No one can have any idea how miserable it is to be sick in
the bush, away from everybody and everything--no one to speak to but
your servant, who generally talks the vilest of negro English.
However, I was homeward-bound to-day, my servants having made me a
rough sort of palanquin, in which I intended to be carried, as I meant
to try and avoid either walking or riding. I hoped to get fresh eggs,
milk, and chickens at the village of Azho, which might improve me; as
in reality it was good food that I wanted. I had sent on some of my
baggage with Guyndem and another servant, and with orders to build me
a "das" at Azho, and let the people know that I was coming. I proposed
to stop half-way on the road at Maidarou.

_March 10._--I had an awful journey on the previous night. I started
from the other side of the plain of Coom-Coom-Dema at five o'clock by
my little sundial, and got to Maidarou, our old camping-place, about 9
P.M. Of course I could not say if this time was correct; it struck me
as being a good deal later. Taiou, one of our coolies--a man who had
been with an Englishman named Flood that had lived in the country some
time before--lost the donkey on which my bed was strapped, just before
we came into camp. It was very dark when we came to Maidarou, and
Goubasee, who was carrying my palanquin, and who was in front, tumbled
into a hole and shot me and my gun and books on to the ground. This
was rather unpleasant, considering the state of health I was in, but
there was no alternative but to get up and laugh and go on. At last I
saw the twinkling light of a fire, and I soon found myself at the top
of the little rocky hill where we had camped before. But although I
had arrived at the halting-place there was no bed for me to sleep on;
so I bade them put all the skin bags I had with me down at the end of
the tent, then I put some big stones alongside, and covered the whole
with some dry cut grass. This made a capital bed, and I slept better
than I had done for the last two weeks, as I was completely tired and
done up. Curiously enough, the caravan that afforded me some flour
when my servants were almost starving had just arrived, on their way
back to Adiaboo with cotton from Walkait. Zaroo, the man who behaved
so kindly to me before and gave me some bread of his own, said, as I
was so ill, he would induce some of the people of the caravan to
carry me in my palanquin. I here wrote my journal lying on my bags and
straw under the shade of two beautiful trees, a luxury one appreciates
in this hot climate. I am much better, I think, to-day.

That afternoon I started for Azho; the chief of the caravan, by
threats and persuasions, making his people carry me. I was jolted
along somehow or other; and the journey was not eventful, with one
exception. One old gentleman declined the honour of carrying me, and
made a great row. I found myself and my palanquin placed on the
ground, with every prospect of being left there. I said, if they would
not take me on to the next camping-place I would shoot them, and I let
off my revolver in the air, but still the old native refused to take
up the burden, and told the other people not to carry me. I here
leaped up and knocked him backwards with "one in the eye;" he tripped
up over his load of cotton, that he had placed down beside him, and
turned a complete summersault. The rest, seeing what had become of
him, and being rather astonished at a sick man getting well enough to
do this, picked up me and my palanquin and carried me off. It was
getting late, and the men carrying me were going very slow, so I rode
the mule belonging to Ali the cook, for a little way, but found I
should not be able to get to Azho that night, and I stopped at some
water half-way. I was better, so I told the chief I would not bother
him or his people to carry me any farther; and he came the last thing
in the evening to say good-bye to me, as they were going to start at

Last night Ali and Mahomet had a difference of opinion about an order
I had given with regard to some food. One of them had told a lie, and
they both accused each other of lying. I said I could not allow this,
as nothing would be done if things went on in this sort of way; so, in
the morning, after the caravan had gone on, I said they were to settle
their dispute with two sticks. I made Goubasee cut two long sticks,
and the scene which ensued beat anything I ever saw. They were so
frightened of each other that neither of them dared at first to hit
very hard, but at length, when either of them did so, the other
flinched most dreadfully and then returned the blow with compound
interest. When one blow was harder than another a yell in proportion
followed its infliction. I made myself quite ill with laughing at
them, and the servants were in convulsions too. At last they begged of
me to let them off; and so I said they ought to be satisfied with each
other now.

_March 11._--Started for Azho in the afternoon, riding Ali's mule,
and, after a tiring march, I came in sight of the village at sunset.
Some of the villagers, who had heard I was coming up, came out to
meet me and say "How do you do?" I found that Guyndem, whom I had sent
on, had not built a "das," as the people would not lend him any tools
for making it, or give him any assistance. I went straight up to a
cluster of houses, and said I should pitch my tent inside the hedge
which surrounded them. The people were very civil at first, and
brought some milk. I asked them to give me some dry grass, which they
used for thatching their houses, to put on an _angareb_ which they had
lent me.[14] I was in great pain at the time, and was very much
annoyed at their not bringing this grass, so I sprang up with my
revolver in my hand. Before going any farther I must tell the reader
that the adventure which followed nearly cost me my life, and it was
all owing to my own foolishness. It is a great mistake to flash your
weapons if you really do not mean to use them. I ran down among some
houses where my servants were talking trying to persuade the people to
give me some dried grass, and said if they did not give me some I
would shoot them. It was getting rather dark, and I fired my revolver
off in the air. The women screamed, and in a minute the whole village
was up in arms. Some of the men had spears, and the others guns: they
completely surrounded me, and one seized me by the wrist and tried to
drag me off. I snatched myself out of his grasp and backed against a
straw hut. Another man kept pointing at me with a loaded gun about a
foot off my head, calling me _shifter_--which means robber. At this
moment a very tall Abyssinian pushed his way through the crowd and
came up to me, putting his hand over his mouth, which was to give me
to understand that I was to hold my tongue and not make a noise. He
took me by the hand and led me away, the crowd hooting and shouting at
me. One fellow ran in front and aimed his spear at me, but the tall
Abyssinian, who seemed to be my friend, raised his spear, and the
fellow took to his heels. As is very often the case with most of these
disputes, it all ended in smoke. I got the straw for my bed after all,
and went to sleep. They came to me and told me I must take my tent
outside their village, but I replied that I would not move it, and
that it did no harm there; so it stopped there for the night.

_March 12._--To-day I made Petros sit outside the door of the big
round Abyssinian hut that I had taken possession of during the heat of
the day and "make bazaar," as he calls it; that is to say, he took my
handkerchiefs and beads and red cloth which I had with me, and
exchanged them for chickens and eggs, of which I was in great need.
It may interest some of my readers to know what the rate of exchange
was: one Manchester cotton pocket-handkerchief for one chicken and six
eggs. The haggling and bargaining over these important mercantile
transactions was very amusing, but Petros seemed up to everything; in
fact, his usual occupation was that of a merchant in the bazaar at
Suez. In the afternoon the man who had pointed the gun at me and
called me a robber came to pay me a visit. I asked why he had called
me a robber. He said that when he heard the shot fired, the people
told him I had shot his brother. He had brought me half a large
pumpkin as a sort of peace-offering. I said to him, if he would bring
me a whole one I would give him a red pocket-handkerchief. He went
away and fetched a large pumpkin, and I gave him a red handkerchief,
and then told him I was not accustomed to be called a robber, and
that, although I was very sick, if he would get two thick sticks I
would go outside the village with him and give him an excellent
thrashing. My friend sneaked off at this, and another Abyssinian, who
was standing by, seemed much amused. I had not got rid of the horrid
complaint that troubled me, and I was afraid that dysentery had set in
in earnest. I sent back a coolie from here to H., with a letter to say
that I had really started for the coast. I heard no more of him till I
got to England; the account of the sport he had I give hereafter.

Towards the evening I started for Adikai, a village we had camped in
before. The man who had accused me of shooting his brother and called
me a robber came to say good-bye to me, and we parted the best of
friends. I tried to find out who the tall Abyssinian was who had
helped me out of the scrape and had taken me by the hand and led me
through the crowd, but he had disappeared, and no one knew who or
where he was; I believe he was a king's soldier who was stationed here
to collect the customs. I had an easy march to Adikai, and when I got
to the village my servants told me that Zaroo, my old friend the chief
of the caravan, who had made his people carry my palanquin, lived
close by. Shortly afterwards he came to see me, and brought me some
Dargousa beer, which had been kept for some time and which was pretty
good. I was kept awake half the night by the barking of the village
curs: at last, at my entreaties, some ballagas turned out and tried to
stop them, but it was of no use. A crying baby in a hut close by also
enlivened the night by its yells; so I sent to the mother of the child
and told her to give it some milk, which seemed to quiet it.

_March 13._--The people of this village were much more civil to me,
and one of two men who had behaved very well at Azho, and who had come
up with me, sent off to a village close by and got me twelve eggs. The
Abyssinians, curiously enough, do not care for eggs; they sometimes
make a sort of curry of them with red pepper. After this man brought
me the eggs, which was early in the morning, he went on to Adiaboo,
where it was market-day. Zaroo came to me this morning, and I talked
with him over my journey to the coast, as he knew the road very well.
He told me he was acquainted with a much nearer way to Koudoofellassie
than that I had come by, and I asked him if he would come with me to
show it: at first he said he would, and then he asked me what I would
give him. I only had five dollars with me, so it was of very little
use offering him that. I said I would give him a revolver; but he told
me this would be of no use to him. What he really wanted was one of my
muzzle-loading pistols, of which I had a pair of very good ones, which
I had bought of Rigby in St. James's Street, and which I particularly
did not want to part with. After haggling with him a long time I was
quite disappointed, as he had at first assured me he did not want
anything for showing me the way. I then told him I would trust to
myself and go back the same way I had come, and thanked him for his
former kindness.

I sent on the donkeys with the tent to Maihumloo, a little river where
we had camped before, at the end of the Sememmar Plain, meaning to go
on in the afternoon. I tried at this village to get two men to carry
some of my things, but they asked a great deal too much, and so we
could not come to terms. On my way to Adiaboo, Goubasee stopped an old
man, and his wife and daughter, and asked the old gentleman if he
would help to carry the load Goubasee had with him. The old patriarch
asked where we were going to; Goubasee replied Sememmar, and that he
would get a dollar if he carried the load; upon which, without a
moment's hesitation, notwithstanding the entreaties of his wife and
daughter, he picked up the load and carried it along. His daughter
then began to cry, and said she would not leave him, so they both
joined our little party. This was a great piece of luck for me, as it
relieved Goubasee of a large part of his load.

The market was just over as I passed through Adiaboo. I tried to find
some man to guide me the short way of which Zaroo had told me, but
none of them would go, as they said it was a bad road, the stages were
long, and there was very little water. While I was talking to these
people a young man came up and said that he had letters for Rass Mayo,
which was the name I went by in Abyssinia; upon which my servants
told him he was to give them to me immediately. This was the man that
the head of the Mahomedan village had sent off with my letters. He had
sent them by the steamer and had brought me back letters from home. I
was delighted to get them, and for the rest of my march across the
large plain which lies between Adiaboo and Sememmar I occupied myself
in reading the good news from home. I had miscalculated the distance
from Adiaboo to Maihumloo; it was a great deal too far, and we had
started late, having been delayed in the market-place. I was getting
more and more exhausted, and it was rapidly becoming dark. Just as
night closed in a thunder-storm came on, Goubasee, who had been our
guide, completely lost his way, and I was dreadfully ill and weary, so
we had to stop in the middle of the jungle. I managed with great
difficulty to light a fire, and make a little soup out of Liebig's
extract of meat. The poor girl that had accompanied her father, who
was carrying some of my baggage, had sprained her ankle, or sustained
a similar injury, and it was a miserable sight to see her sitting
shivering over the fire and crying piteously with pain. I also
suffered very much from illness all night.

_March 14._--At last morning came, and I determined to move on to
Maihumloo the first thing, in hopes of finding the donkeys with the
tent and some food. Some travellers came by, whom my servants rushed
at and despoiled of some of the bread they had with them; thus at any
rate my retinue ate some breakfast. I stopped at some houses, which
were only a very short way from the place where we had lain out for
the night, but during and after the thunder-storm it had been so dark
that we could not see around us. The inhabitants of these huts gave me
some eggs, which provided material for my breakfast. When I got to
Maihumloo there was no sign of either tent or donkeys, which had gone
on before us, so I stayed in the dry bed of a watercourse that was
very pleasantly shaded over. I succeeded in making a fire and cooking
my eggs for breakfast, and sent Goubasee off to look for the donkeys.
He seemed to think that they had gone on in front of us to the village
of Sememmar, so he went up there to look for them, and returned
without having found them; but shortly afterwards they all appeared.
Hadji Mahomet, who had charge of them, had taken good care not to
sleep out in the jungle like ourselves, but had halted in a village
not far off and stayed there for the night. I sent them on, in the
afternoon, to Sememmar, and from thence they were to go on to

After the heat of the day, and when I had rested myself by lying in
the shade, I started after the tent and donkeys. I called at the
house of the chicker of the village of Sememmar, told him who I was,
and said that I wanted some chickens and eggs; he was very civil, and
gave them to me at once without any palaver. I asked him if he knew of
any news in the country, and I was told that they had heard that
Mimleck, the king of Shoa, with whom the king of Abyssinia was at war,
had fought and beaten Johannes, the king: I heard afterwards there was
no truth in this. Again I travelled on, and, after having passed the
place where the market of Sememmar is held, I came upon Hadji Mahomet
and the donkeys, with the tent pitched and everything ready. He told
me it would be impossible to go on to Zadawalka that day, so I
resolved to stop here, as everything was comfortable and there was
plenty to eat. Our encampment was just below a pretty little
Abyssinian church, which was surrounded by large Qualqual trees. Most
of the churches here are built in little groves of these queer-shaped

_March 15._--I went to bed shortly after I got into camp last night,
and this morning I found myself better, yet still very ill. I think I
must have lost at least a stone in weight, having become dreadfully
thin. It was very pleasant to wake up and find oneself in a
comfortable little camp-bed, instead of being chilled and cold lying
by the half-consumed sticks of a small camp fire, my experience of
the previous day. Two donkeys were completely worn out, so the
servants recommended me to sell them here for what I could get. Some
of the villagers standing near were informed that I had donkeys for
sale; we had a short bargain over the matter, and at last the two went
for four dollars. My fortune, that was to last me until I got to
Massowah, where 100_l._ was awaiting me, now consisted of seven
dollars, and, as my readers will see later, I experienced great
inconvenience in consequence of not having more money with me.

In the afternoon, having first started the remaining donkeys in front,
I went up to the village of Zadawalka. It was a long march, but very
pleasant and cool, the day being cloudy, and the country we were
travelling through furnished a succession of beautiful scenes. There
was a heavy thunder-shower in the middle of the day, which soaked us
through. On the way I had a shot with my Express at a jackal which
crossed the path, but I could not succeed in hitting so small an
animal with a bullet. Just after the rain had ceased, we crossed a
small stream; Goubasee, who was in front of me, suddenly stopped, and
I saw swimming slowly up the little river two fine geese. I jumped off
my mule, got my 16-bore gun, fired, and killed the gander. A cartridge
which had some time previously stuck in one of the barrels of my gun
obliged me to load again, and after my first shot the goose only flew
a short way up the river and dropped, when I bagged her too. These
were two lucky shots, as they provided me with fresh meat, of which I
stood in great need. Not long before I arrived at the village of
Zadawalka I saw five enormous hornbills feeding in a field close to
the path. They are called in Abyssinia Aba Gouma. They were an unusual
sight stalking about in different directions, and picking up what
insects and beetles they could find.

When I got to Zadawalka I rode up at once to the Shum's house. I went
in and introduced myself, and said I wanted bread and lodging for our
party that night. By way of putting ourselves on a pleasant footing
with our new hosts, my followers, who I am sorry to say had now become
rather a rough set, seeing a jar of beer standing close by,
immediately seized it, handed it round, and the thirsty souls
swallowed the beverage almost before the rightful owner had time to
look about. The people of the house assured me I could not stop there
that night, but said they would provide me with a house a little way
off. I made them swear by the king's death, Johannesee Mut, which is
the form of oath in Abyssinia, that they would do what they promised.
The donkeys and tent did not appear, so I had to sleep in an
Abyssinian hut, where I could see the moon shining through the roof,
and insects and creeping things paid me unwelcome visits. The door of
this hut was so low that entrance had to be effected on the hands and
knees. Notwithstanding all these little inconveniences, I managed to
sleep pretty well, after a good dinner made of the two geese's livers,
which were both large and excellent, and brought to mind _pâté de foie
gras_--without truffles.

_March 16._--This morning I was not troubled with the very violent
pain which I usually experienced, and altogether I felt in better
condition. I asked the chief of the village if he could give me two
coolies to guide our party as far as Gundet, as I proposed adopting a
new and shorter route, which would save a day's march. He at length
found two men, who for two dollars each were to go with me; one dollar
each I had to pay before they started, and the balance was to be given
them on arrival. The villagers brought up plenty of fresh eggs for
breakfast--they were the only things which really seemed to agree with
me. A great crowd of Abyssinians watched me as I got up in the morning
and performed my toilet: what seemed to excite their attention most
was the operation of washing my teeth with a tooth-brush and some
charcoal. They could not make out what I could possibly be doing, as
their mode of cleaning their teeth is by chewing a stick and rubbing
their grinders with the frayed end. About eleven o'clock I started for
Adavartee. This village is only one day's march from Adowa; in fact,
from Adavartee you can see the peculiarly-shaped conical-pointed hill
which marks the neighbourhood of the Abyssinian capital. Before
reaching Adavartee I stopped at a house on the road which was tenanted
by very civil people, who brought my servants beer to drink. Petros
cooked some eggs and bacon for my lunch, after which we rested a
little while and then went on. We were unable to reach Adavartee at
all, but were obliged to stop at a village called Adoqual. The
donkeys, with the tent, came up just before it was dark, and, instead
of my having to sleep in the village, I moved to the tent outside, and
slept comfortably there. The geese were roasted for dinner, and proved
capital food.


[14] _Angareb_ is an Arabic word for an oblong framework raised on
legs; a network of raw hide is stretched on the frame, and the whole
forms the sort of bed that is used nearly all over the East.



_March 17._--I occupied myself this morning in cleaning up my guns and
pistols, which had not been looked at for the last three or four days.
This was a long, tiring affair, but I recommend all who are similarly
circumstanced to look to their fire-arms themselves, unless they have
a trustworthy European servant with them, as natives always manage to
do everything contrariwise, and spoil the very best weapons. I was now
much better in health, but still I suffered from bad diarrhœa. I
started for Gundet late in the afternoon; the consequence being that,
as it was a long march, we lost our way. Petros and Guyndem, whom I
had sent up to some villages to try to get eggs or chickens for my
dinner that night, happened to lose us completely, as we were
crossing the valley of the Mareb through a thick jungle. We crossed
the dry bed of the river near which, only much lower down, we had
previously encamped; darkness came on as we pushed through the jungle,
and we were overtaken by a thunder-storm in the same way we had been
before, and we were compelled to halt, as it had become pitch dark. We
succeeded in lighting a fire, but I had literally nothing to eat, as
Petros was carrying the few provisions of which I was possessed; the
only thing in the shape of food that I had was a bag of corn for my
mule. I made Goubasee roast some corn in the camp fire; this he picked
out of the ashes, and it constituted my dinner. These hardships would
have been bad enough to bear if I had been well, but in my weak state
of health they were very trying. I was terribly ill all night, and
very cold, as I had nothing to cover me but a cotton shama which I had
bought for a dollar at the village of Zadawalka, and, in the morning,
I was scarcely able to move. Another night like this would, I think,
have finished me, and my tale would have been unwritten.

_March 18._--When daylight dawned my servants went up to some houses,
which, although close by, in the darkness we had not been able to see.
Petros and Guyndem appeared the first thing this morning, having
passed the night in the valley of the Mareb, in the jungle; Petros
assured me he slept very little, as he was afraid the lions would eat
him. The natives, who had heard I was ill, very kindly brought some
milk and eggs. We were close to a village called Aila Mareb, and I
determined, after about an hour or so, to push on to Gundet, so as to
complete the march that I had intended to do the day before. I was so
bad I could scarcely sit on my mule, but at length we arrived at
Gundet. I lay here under a tree for most of the day, completely
exhausted and worn out, and I managed to get a little sleep. During
most of the day the tree which I was under was surrounded by great
numbers of cattle, which seemed to think I was occupying their
favourite resting-place: there was water close by. They were
remarkably fine beasts for this part of the world, and I should think
at least a thousand head passed by the place where I was lying. A
little short Abyssinian came and squatted down close by me; he seemed
inclined to converse, so I sent for Petros, and we held a long
conversation on different subjects, which ended by my inducing him to
go for some preparation which is called Shirou, and is made from a
bean pounded up with red pepper. The Abyssinians eat this as a sort of
relish with their bread or meat. I do not suppose it was the best
thing I could have eaten, but still I had a fancy for it, as in
illness one often has for some questionable dainty.

While I was lying under the tree a rather nicely-dressed Abyssinian
came up, followed by a couple of loaded mules and two servants. Petros
rushed up to him and embraced him. I asked who he was, and Petros
replied, "It is my brother, whom I have not seen for many years." I
believe, in reality, it was his step-brother. He was a merchant, who
had come from the Shoa country, and was going down to Massowah with
musk and gold.

Since writing the above there has taken place in this very spot,
Gundet, a very severe battle between the Egyptians and Abyssinians,
and I cannot help thinking that it was owing to the nature and
conformation of the ground that the forces of Egypt, 2000 in number,
were so completely overwhelmed and destroyed by their enemies. Before
reaching Gundet, that is to say, on the road from Massowah, the
country is all flat table-land, when suddenly the ground drops, and
Gundet lies in a narrow valley, with high cliffs on each side of it.
An army marching right down into this defile would easily be
surrounded, and its retreat cut off. Probably the Abyssinians let the
Egyptians descend the steep hill, and then encountered them, when the
only thing remaining for the invaders to do was to fight it out to the
last. But it seems incredible to me that a force of 2000 should march
right into the jaws of an enemy without seemingly having the least
intimation of their being near. The Abyssinians are stated to have
mustered 30,000 strong, and I am sure my old friend Kirkham would have
taken every advantage of the locality and the ground. The hatred of
the Abyssinians to the Turk, as they call the Egyptians, was in this
case very well exemplified, as nearly every one of the latter was
killed, and among them Arrekel Bey, whose loss, as a kind friend, I
very much deplore and lament, for nobody could have been more civil
and courteous than he was when we were at Massowah.

I cannot help here quoting a letter of mine, dated May 7th, 1875,
published in the 'Pall Mall Gazette' shortly after my arrival in
England. At the end of the letter I state what I thought would happen
if Egyptians and Abyssinians came in conflict in the country of the
latter, and it turns out my prognostication has not been falsified by

"Having only just returned to England from travelling in Abyssinia, I
happened to see a letter copied from the 'Cologne Gazette,' and
commented on in your paper of the 13th of April last. The
correspondent of the 'Cologne Gazette' must be misinformed, I think,
on some of the subjects he writes about. First, the writer designates
King Johannes, the king of Abyssinia, 'as but a poor actor by the side
of a real hero,' i.e., comparing him with Theodore, the late king.
King Johannes has totally subjugated his country and the rebels that
were in it. The people cultivate their land in peace, and tranquillity
prevails. As for his subjects being in a state of chronic rebellion,
it is not the case; let any one who doubts this travel through the
country, and judge for himself. Secondly, the 'Cologne Gazette' says,
with regard to Colonel Kirkham, 'that all his attempts to improve the
country have failed.' Now, as every one knows, with nothing, nothing
can be done. Colonel Kirkham was living with me for a month, and has
often told me the first thing to be done in Abyssinia is to make and
improve the roads. He has often tried to persuade King Johannes to do
this, but the king will not spend a farthing and keeps his money
hoarded up. Thirdly, with regard to the missionaries at Gindar, it is
so far true that General Kirkham, to whom Gindar has been given by the
king, allowed the missionaries to build a house there. I never heard
anything of the Abyssinians threatening to kill the missionaries and
burn their houses. I passed through Gindar myself on the 25th of March
last; the missionaries' house was standing still, but the missionaries
had left, one of their number having died of fever after the rains, so
they moved to a healthier place. Fourthly, the article now ends by
saying that 'a struggle of the undisciplined and badly-armed
Abyssinians with Egyptian troops would be hopeless.' Now, the
Egyptians would have to fight through mountain passes and hills--a
warfare well suited to Abyssinian tactics, and not one that Egyptian
troops would either appreciate or well understand. The Abyssinians are
just as well armed as the Afghans were when we fought against them on
the frontiers of India. The name of the Turk is hated in Abyssinia,
and used as an epithet of opprobrium."

In the afternoon I started on the road to Adgousmou, and climbed the
abruptly steep hill at the top of which, if my readers remember, Borum
Braswouldeselassie took leave of us. The table-land on which I found
myself is called Serai, and is celebrated for its fertility. I
travelled on, and stopped by some water, a little way beyond the
village of Adwahla. The servants were rather annoyed at stopping away
from the village, as there was not any shelter near, and I had only
just erected the tent when a fearful thunder-storm came down on us;
luckily, my bed and things were inside, and so everything was all dry,
but the wretched servants got wet through and through, and it was with
great difficulty that Ali kindled a fire with cattle-dung for fuel, as
no sticks or wood could be got anywhere near.

_March 19._--This morning Goubasee was laid up with a bad leg, which I
thought proceeded from rheumatism combined with hard work. I hoped he
would not break down altogether, as he was an excellent servant, and
he had been of the greatest use to me. I sent Guyndem, my other
gun-bearer, up to the neighbouring village, and some villagers very
kindly brought brown bread and milk, for myself and my followers. This
was very hospitable of them, as, on most occasions, villagers took no
notice of messages brought by one's Abyssinian servants, and it was
very often with great difficulty we got provisions even by applying in
person. To-day several caravans passed the camp on their way down to
the coast. These caravans are just beginning to travel; but it is
during the rains that most of them go through the country, so as to
arrive at Massowah in June or July, at the time it is hottest on the
coast, and when most of the business is transacted.

I started after breakfast for Koudoofellassie, and arrived at
nightfall at the door of Borum Bras.'s house; I found himself and
household all at dinner. This was a time of fasting with the
Abyssinians, when they do not eat during the day, but only after
sunset. I had sent on word by a native, who said he was going to
Koudoofellassie, to tell Borum Bras. that I was coming, but evidently
the man had not delivered the message, and I was not in the least
expected. But it seemed that I was no unwelcome guest, for directly
one of the servants saw me he went in and told Borum Bras. I had
arrived. I was led in by the hand, and was truly glad to see this
Abyssinian chief, as he had been very kind and hospitable to us on our
way to the Tackazzee, and I hoped he might help me to get to the
coast. After they had finished their dinner, he sent away his
household, and had a fire lighted for me inside the hut. I was wet
through, cold as well as ill, and was very glad of the warmth. I told
Borum Bras. all that happened, how unlucky I had been, and that now I
was on my way home on account of illness. He was exceedingly civil and
kind, and asked what he could prepare for me for my dinner. Out of
beans his wife made me a sort of cake, which was very good, and he
also gave me some "tej." My donkeys, with the tent, etc., came up
later, but I resolved to sleep in the hut in which I was. I
accordingly turned in, but it was of no use trying to get any rest, as
the hut in which I reposed was, as a rule, not only used as a
dining-room but also as a stable, and the horses munching their food
during the night kept me awake. Sundry small animals of the insect
tribe seemed to like the taste of the blood of a white man; it might
have been a change for them; it certainly was a change for me, and, in
my already weak state, unbearable; so, about one o'clock in the
morning, I made my servants get up and pitch my tent, and there I went
to bed, and slept well the rest of the night.

_March 20._--This morning Borum Bras. got me a messenger, and I sent
down letters to the French Consul, as well as to the Governor of
Massowah, telling the latter that I was ill, very likely to be a day
or two late for the steamer, and begging of him to keep the boat
waiting for me, if possible. Whilst I was taking my breakfast, and
whilst Borum Bras. was talking to me and inquiring after my general
health, there was suddenly a shout, the chief started up and rushed
off to his house close by. All the people of the town ran to their
houses and armed themselves, and the women stood on the tops of the
houses screeching their peculiar cry to call out the men. The cause of
the commotion was that a robber, who lived near this district, had
attacked an outlying village, and had carried off some cows and killed
a man. All the inhabitants turned out and formed themselves in battle
array in two lines outside the town. The mode in which Abyssinians go
to fight is rather a curious one: the men that are lucky enough to
possess guns are placed in the front rank in one long line, and behind
them are those that have only spears and shields--this line is
generally three or four deep. I caused my mule to be saddled, took my
gun, and rode out to see if there was any chance of a fight taking
place. It was very amusing to see a little fellow strutting up and
down opposite this armed rabble and haranguing them, calling upon them
to fight well and to follow Borum Bras. their chief; telling them, in
so many words, they were the bravest of the brave, and there were no
heroes in the world like them. Then something like a word of command
was given, and the whole of the men moved forward a little, shouting
and yelling, then they squatted down again. I asked if there was any
chance of seeing this robber, or of his coming here. An old Mahomedan,
who seemed wiser than the rest, informed me that there was not the
slightest likelihood of his coming to attack Koudoofellassie, as the
people were much too numerous. I went back to camp and got my things
packed up, as I intended to march to Terramnee that day.

When all was ready I started off, and found that the army of
Koudoofellassie had moved some little way outside the town. Borum
Bras. and his attendants, on horseback, might be seen in the distance
going through a variety of extraordinary evolutions, galloping hither
and thither, making a pretence of spearing people. When I came up to
the crowd I found the women of the village were going about with large
jars of water to quench the thirst of their husbands and relatives,
and some of them had brought out food; they were evidently going to
make a day of it. I took leave of Borum Bras. with much regret; he
rode a little way on the road with me, and then we parted. I arrived
at Terramnee shortly before sunset, sent for Tuckloo, a former
acquaintance of mine and the chicker of the village, and asked for
some eggs for my dinner. He brought me a few rotten eggs, which I had
much pleasure in smashing on the stones before him to prove their
condition; he then went back and obtained some fresh ones. I made
myself an omelette; and my donkeys, with the bedding, etc., having
come up, I had my tent pitched a little distance outside the village.

_March 21._--This morning I received a visit from one of Borum Bras.'s
servants, whom he had started off very early to inquire after me and
see how I was getting on. This was very kind of him; and this man also
ordered the chicker to give me what eggs, etc., I wanted, and then
left the village. After he had gone, this same chicker seemed to think
it quite unnecessary to take any notice of me, and I received no
provisions; so, as a flock of goats was passing by my tent, I took the
liberty of catching a kid, tender and young, and handed it over to Ali
to cook, who soon cut its throat, and kid cutlets were very shortly
frying in the pan for my breakfast. I had hardly eaten the last of
them when the owner of the goats came up and made a great noise,
saying he must be paid. I told him I had not the slightest intention
of paying him anything, as he had been ordered to supply me with food,
and a young kid was very little out of a large flock. Eventually the
affair was settled, and it was agreed the villagers should bear the
loss of the kid between them. The meat was a great change for me, as I
had been living mostly on eggs and chickens for the last week. I
started about mid-day for Deevaroua. It was very hot crossing the
plain which lay between this village and Terramnee. I went past
Deevaroua and halted for a short time below it, under the shade of a
large tree that grew by the bank of the Mareb, which is here quite a
little stream. I tried to get two natives to carry some of my things
down to Massowah, but they refused to do so unless they were paid in
advance. I assured them I had plenty money at Massowah, but they would
not believe me, and I had not enough coin with me to pay them.

I do not think I was ever so much annoyed in my life as I was on this
occasion with these two men. I felt inclined to give them both a
thrashing; but it is very lucky I restrained my temper as, otherwise,
it is very likely I should have had the whole village down upon me,
and perhaps would not have got so well out of it as I did out of my
last scrape. One certainly does feel very helpless without money, no
matter where one finds oneself, and this fact, combined with my
prostrate condition (of which, no doubt, these men knew as well as I
did), rendered me incapable of much exertion. So I had to make up my
mind to get my already rather weary servants to carry the things; and
the proverb, "Money makes the mare to go," came bitterly home to me.

After resting myself, I rode towards the village of Chickut, which
was, my readers will remember, the scene of my night march on our way
to the Tackazzee. The country through which I passed presented a
beautiful appearance--one continual grove of wild olive-trees, and
great Qualquals dotted here and there. This part was not at all
cultivated, yet I should think that these olives, if properly trained
and cared-for, would make a valuable property; but the natives of
Abyssinia have no idea of making oil from the berries. This place is
only four days from the coast, and transport of the oil, when made,
would not be very expensive. I was very ill all the day, and in the
afternoon was so bad that I had to get off my mule and rest under a
tree. When I arrived at Chickut I pitched my tent close to a little
Coptic church. The village is built on a high hill, and the houses are
not like those in the other part of Abyssinia through which I had been
travelling; they were flat-roofed, and the walls were built with
stones, whereas the ordinary form of huts was a round wall with an
extinguisher-shaped roof. It was very cold here, and directly the tent
was pitched and my bed made ready I turned into it, and caused my
dinner to be brought to me as I lay between the blankets. I find this
entry in my journal: "I am not worse, but still very ill. Thank God, I
am getting near the end of this awful journey! The chicker here was
very kind, and gave my servants abundance of bread for themselves and
a chicken for me."

_March 22_: _Chickut._--The people here are all busy putting a roof on
the little Coptic church, close by which I had encamped, and the work
is done amidst much chattering and talking. I heard from some
merchants yesterday that Arrekel Bey, the Governor, had come back to
Massowah; so I hope, if this is true, he will keep the steamer for me
if I am late. I sent on some of my servants to Beatmohar, K.'s house,
to-day, to let his boy Waldemariam know that I was coming, so as to
make everything ready for me. Hadji Mahomet was behind with the rest
of my donkeys, and I was afraid they would not arrive at Massowah in
time to catch the steamer. I started in the afternoon and climbed the
steep hill which lies between Chickut and the table-land of Asmarra.
It was a lovely view as we ascended, and looked even more charming in
the daytime than it had looked in the light of a tropical moon, the
condition under which we last saw it. I passed by Sellaadarou, the
place where we had encamped, and saw the remaining marks of the two
large bonfires we had made. After leaving this place I met some
natives on the road; one of them was carrying in his hand a club made
of the wild olive wood: it was a beautifully-shaped weapon, and I
induced him, after great persuasion, to sell it to me for a dollar. He
would not hear of parting with it at first, but some of his companions
told him he was a great fool not to sell it, as he could get many
others, and a dollar was a good price for the stick.

Travelling on, I found myself on the large plain of Asmarra.
Notwithstanding the precautions the people had taken the cattle
disease had got among their beasts, and I saw several lying down,
stretched out, dying by the side of the pools. The wind blew cold as I
crossed the plain, and I wrapped the cotton shama that I had tightly
round me. We were a small and wretched-looking party, as we wound our
way slowly across this bare tableland; the hardships and long journeys
had told pretty severely upon all of us. I thought the plain would
never cease, and K.'s little house, with the extinguisher-shaped roof,
rose up in the distance, but seemed to get farther from me. To my
astonishment, among some stunted bushes I saw two gazelles grazing. I
alighted and successfully stalked one, but missed him as he bounded
away. I was too weak and ill for shooting, so I mounted my mule again
and soon found myself under the welcome shelter of K.'s little house.
Waldemariam had got everything ready for me, and some fresh baked
bread, which was a great luxury. We had left a box of provisions
behind here, which I immediately broke into, and to my great joy I
found two bottles of claret and other provisions which we had brought
up here. I made my dinner of fresh bread, fried sardines, and a bottle
of claret--just about the very worst diet I could have taken under the
circumstances; the consequence being that I was terribly ill all

_March 23._--About four in the morning I heard a cry outside in the
village, and then a wailing and lamentation, mixed up with donkeys
braying and cocks crowing. It transpired that an old man, who had been
ill for some time, had just died. This was an unpleasant thing to
happen, and was not calculated to raise my spirits under the
circumstances in which I was placed. Later in the morning a brother of
Naib Abdul Kerim came to see me. The Naib was the man who brought us
up here, and who arranged for the transport of our luggage on
bullocks and mules. His brother asked me if he could be of any use, as
he had heard I was ill; it was very kind of him, and he proved of
great service. I told him that I should be very much obliged if he
could get me men from the village to carry me down to the coast, for I
was now becoming so extremely weak that I really thought another two
days' riding would have polished me off. Accordingly he went into the
village and obtained twelve or fourteen men. I borrowed a large
angareb from one of the villagers, and caused them to fix two long
poles to it, so that it could be carried on men's shoulders. I had no
money with me, but luckily K. had left behind a sum of money, and I
took the liberty of borrowing some dollars from him to pay the
coolies, as these people always insist upon half the agreed sum being
paid in advance. I sent forward letters to the French Consul and the
Governor, again asking them, in case I should be late, to keep the
steamer waiting for me.

On Saturday, about four o'clock in the morning, I was carried very
comfortably down to Maihenzee, our old camping-place, where we had
passed such a wet night on our way up here; I now passed a comfortable
night and felt better. Naib Abdul Kerim's brother brought some coffee
with him, of which he gave me a portion, which I think improved me.

The manner of making coffee is rather peculiar, and merits
description. When on the march, and travelling in Abyssinia, the
natives carry a bag of unroasted berries; taking a few of the grains
out of the bag, they put them on a little mat, and then scrape some
hot wood-ashes out of the fire; these they mix with the coffee-grains,
and then shaking the mat up and down, much in the same way as one sees
a groom shaking a sieve of oats to get the dust from them, the coffee
becomes gradually roasted. I believe that they know when it is
sufficiently done by the smell. Then the coffee is put between two
stones and ground to powder; or, if they happen to have a small pestle
and mortar, that is used. The ground coffee is then put into a little
earthenware vase--one can hardly call it a jar as it has a long
neck--water is poured into the vessel, which is put to boil on the
fire. When sufficiently heated, some fibre is crammed in the mouth of
it to prevent the coffee-grounds from coming out into the cup; then
some of those little Turkish cups are produced, and the coffee poured
out and drunk. Drinking coffee in these regions is quite a little
ceremony, and is generally the time when the most important affairs
are discussed, and compliments are exchanged. I may as well say that
some of the best coffee I have ever tasted was made in the way
described. Why is it so hard to get good coffee in England? One great
secret, I am sure, is that every time it is made the berries ought to
be fresh roasted and fresh ground.

_March 24._--This morning I enjoyed the luxury of a really good wash
in hot water, in my little tin basin, having found some soap in K.'s
house. I had been without soap for several days, and I was disgusted
to find that specimens of the entomology which infests Abyssinians and
their houses had transferred their attentions to myself. I hope that
none of my readers will ever have to experience, especially in a hot
country, the total inability of washing oneself properly.

If there is one thing that is pleasant, and I may say almost a luxury,
it is the power of having a really good wash. When one is leading a
rough life, one misses the morning tub of civilized life. Even on
reaching the Tackazzee, the waters of the river looked inviting for a
swim; an indulgence in this pastime would be made in the face of the
fact of there being a chance, and indeed a very good one, of being
snapped up by a crocodile, which would have been an unpleasant and
abrupt termination to a trip undertaken from motives of pleasure and
sport. The only place where bathing was practicable was the shallow
ford, and during most of the day our native servants might have been
seen paddling and splashing about in the shallow water, much to their
delight and amusement. I am sure it did them all a great deal of
good, Abyssinians, as a rule, not being fond of water applied
externally. The not very delicious odour experienced on going amongst
them is a sufficient guarantee of this statement.

Whilst I was sitting outside my tent an Armenian merchant, who, my
servants told me, went by the name of Bogos, passed by with several
mule loads of ivory; he had come from the Shoa country, and he was one
of the best-looking men whom I had ever seen; very fair, at least in
comparison with Abyssinians, and dressed in the costume of the
country. He informed me that the steamer was expected to-day, which
was its proper day; and I hoped to arrive in time for it, as, if I
could stand the journey, I should be at Massowah to-morrow. I had
found an old copy of Milton in K.'s house, and so I passed the morning
in reading 'Comus,' which I enjoyed very much.

I left Maihenzee about mid-day. It was very curious to observe the
change in the vegetation at the top of the pass; the coast rains had
ceased on the side nearest Massowah, and everything on that side was
green and beautiful, whilst in the part I had just traversed the
ground was completely dried up, and bushes and trees were bare. I
stopped at Mehdet and procured something to eat, then I travelled on
and got to Gindar about 8 P.M., feeling very tired and ill, although
the men had carried me well. I sent for Aristides, the Greek, who was
still here building a house. He was very glad to see me, and he told
me in broken French that I looked very ill, and that he would
accompany me next day into Massowah. K., to whom Gindar belongs, had
presented me with some land--the whole side of a mountain, and a small
hill in the valley; and I engaged Aristides to build me a small house,
so if I should go to Abyssinia again I shall have a place to live in.
In exchange for this land which K. gave me, I promised to send him out
a box-full of the seeds of all our English vegetables.

_March 25_: _Gindar._--This little valley is looking very beautiful,
all the vegetation green and sprouting, and the grass up to one's
knees; the whole air is alive with bees and insects in quest of honey
from the flowers.

How changed was everything since the last time I was here! In my
former visits I was full of hopeful expectation, looking forward to
pleasant adventures and good sport; and now I was returning completely
knocked down by illness, and counting the hours which would elapse
before my arrival at the coast. The scene was even brighter and more
glorious than when I had left it; but, alas! I scarcely possessed the
power to appreciate it, and certainly I could not enjoy it. Aristides
breakfasted with me this morning, and I killed a sheep and presented
him with the meat. He promised me that, after I had left the country,
he would look after things at Gindar. I proposed that he should take
the eggs from the guinea-fowl, which abound here, and put them under
hens, so as to bring them up tame; as, if they were fattened and kept
in a civilised state, they would be excellent eating. I should also
like to try the experiment of introducing rabbits, which I am sure
would do very well, yet perhaps too well, so as to eat up every green

I started in the afternoon for Massowah, having arranged that I should
be carried to a place called Maital, on a different road from that
which we had come by, but the usual one for merchants. I reached
Maital about dark, halted for an hour, obtained something to eat, and
slept for awhile; then I lay on my angareb, and I was carried off
again all through the night. I thought the darkness would never come
to an end, and, towards morning, quite exhausted, notwithstanding the
jolting of the angareb, I fell asleep, and woke up just at dawn: we
were close to the village of Moncullu. The cocks were crowing, and
some of the people might be seen moving about. When we arrived here my
coolies actually began running along with me, and singing and
laughing. These men had been marching for more than fourteen hours,
and during that time had eaten scarcely anything at all! As I
approached Massowah I saw in the distance a steamer lying in the
harbour; this was indeed a great joy to me, as now I should speedily
get home. I was carried into Massowah more dead than alive. I went
first to the Divan, and found that Arrekel Bey was away, but the
acting governor knew I was coming, and put me into some rooms over the
telegraph office. M. de Sarzec, the French Consul, came to see me,
after I had eaten some breakfast; he was very civil and kind, but he
said it was very lucky I had arrived at the time that I did as the
steamer was a day late, and, in the absence of the Governor, the man
who was acting for him would not have dared to keep the boat waiting.
I dined in the evening with the French Company, a mercantile house of
which M. de Lanfrey is the manager. They keep all kinds of stores,
such as beads, cotton cloth, silk, sugar, etc., which are sold to the
Abyssinian merchants, who take them up the country. The dinner was
very pleasant, and it was agreeable to have the opportunity of talking
to white men again, after having led the life of a savage for some
little time.

Before finishing the account of my journey up the Red Sea, I must beg
my readers to go back into Abyssinia with me, and try to follow the
sort of sport my friend H. had been having, and did have, since we
parted. He wrote me a letter, saying that directly he had received my
note from Azho, dated the 12th of March, and found that I was so ill,
he came straight up from the Mareb, and started off with Fisk and Brou
for Adiaboo. He arrived there on the 15th, hoping to meet me; but they
told him--which he was very sorry to hear--that I was two days in
front of him, and also making long marches in order to reach Massowah
in time for the steamer. He saw it was useless going on, and so
returned that same evening to Adaajerra, which was better known to us
by the name of Barrakee's village. On his way back he met with a most
unpleasant adventure. It may be remembered by my readers that, on our
former visit, Zardic, the old chief of Adiaboo, was excessively rude
to us, and we believed it was owing to him that our donkeys were
stolen, and also that so large a price was charged for the ones that
we bought. H. was travelling quietly along with Fisk and three
servants, when suddenly he heard a yelling and shouting, and three or
four hundred Abyssinians, with Zardic at their head, rushed down upon
them, pulled them off their mules, and began beating them with sticks
and spears, and poking their guns into their ribs. This was far from
pleasant, and, after it was all over, H. and his party were more dead
than alive. I am afraid that I was unjustly the cause of this little
_contretemps_, as Zardic swore that I had knocked down a man at Azho,
and then shot at him, and, as they could not catch me, because I
passed so quickly through Adiaboo, they thought they would assail H.,
as they considered he was just as bad. A few days after the assault by
Zardic and his men, H. wrote to Rass Baria, the chief of Tigré, a
letter of complaint, and, later on, wrote to the King himself about
it. He subsequently heard there was a tremendous "row" about all this,
and that Zardic was going to be chained, and the governorship of the
province taken away from him. I think the punishment very just, and
well merited by this chief.

During H.'s first excursion to the Mareb he shot 4 buffaloes, 1
leopard, 1 wadembie (which is a much larger kind of deer than either
hagazin or hartebeest), also 1 very large turtle, and 2 crocodiles.
This was certainly very good sport, and how I afterwards regretted I
was not able to be with him to swell the bag! This was before he came
up to try and join me at Adiaboo; when he left Adiaboo, he went to the
Cassoua and Sherraro plains. There he shot 8 tora (hartebeest), 3 of
them being very large and fine animals, 1 hagazin, and 2 pigs. Also,
he says in his letter to me, that he killed "any number" of small
game, partridges, &c. These plains, according to his account, swarm
with all varieties of antelope, and, in fact, he seems to have seen a
great deal more game than we did in any other part of Abyssinia. He
stayed there twelve days, and then went back to Barrakee's village for
a day and a half to get flour and provisions for himself and servants;
after which he again went down to the Mareb, and stayed there till the
11th of April, and would have remained longer, but the rains had just
begun, and he was afraid of fever. Of course his great object was to
get a lion, and for six successive nights he sat up watching over an
old bullock--a beast that we had brought down to the Tackazzee with
us, and one of those which was so nearly drowned in crossing over that
river. On the sixth night a lion pounced upon the buffalo, and H. shot
it as dead as a door-nail. Naturally he was very pleased, as he very
truly said that he would not have liked to leave Africa without having
shot either a lion or an elephant. There was great rejoicing in camp
next morning among his servants, as Abyssinians think a great deal of
shooting a lion, although the king of beasts does not stand so high in
scale with them as the elephant. He said Barrakee stayed with him the
whole time, and turned out a first-rate guide that knew every inch of
the country, and I am sure H. never regretted having kept him. He
gave him Fisk's gun as a present on leaving, which delighted him very
much. H. had on one occasion saved his life. Barrakee got knocked down
by a wounded buffalo, and the beast was just going to trample him to
pieces, when H. came up and shot it dead; the consequence being that
Barrakee was only laid up for a couple of days with a stiff neck,
instead of being gored to death. This man was, on the whole, the best
specimen of an Abyssinian we had anything to do with while we were in
the country. He had been taught a good deal by the missionaries, and
he remembered the Powell who, some of my readers may remember, was
murdered by the Shangalla tribe some time ago. Altogether Barrakee
turned out a most useful and faithful servant to us. In addition to
the lion H. shot 8 more buffaloes, 1 wadembie, 12 tora, and some
gazelles. On the 11th of April he started for Adowa. Alas! when he got
there he found that no attention had been paid to the orders we had
given for shields and black leopard skins. He tried all over the town
to get them, but could not procure one. Rass Baria, who lived at
Adowa, had left, with most of the population of the town, to join the
king, who was fighting a _shifter_, or robber, near Dembellas; so
nothing could be done, and the man to whom we had sent the order said
he could not make the shields without the money. When H. went to try
and see him he found that, like all the rest, he had gone with Rass
Baria to the king. H. stopped a day at Adowa, and then went straight
on to Massowah.

His bag on the whole, that is to say, of large game, was as follows: 1
lion, 12 buffaloes, 20 hartebeest, 2 hagazin, 2 wadembie, 1 leopard, 1
large deer with straight horns, 36 gazelles, 1 very large crocodile, 2
pigs, and an enormous turtle; of course any amount of guinea fowl and
partridges. He says, "As for hartebeest and buffalo, at Sherraro and
on the Mareb, you can go out and shoot as many as ever you like; upon
my word, they are more like cows than anything else. I saved all the
best heads and skins, and shall send them home from Suez. I cannot
tell you how glad I am that I went down to the Mareb. Day after day I
watched for elephant and rhinoceros, but I never even got a shot at
one, and as for rhinoceros I never even saw a track of one." This
information as regards the rhinoceros is rather curious, and only
shows that they must be much farther west, in fact, in the country
which was explored by Sir Samuel Baker.



_March 27_: _Massowah_.--I was very ill all night, and this morning I
went to the French Company to get myself some clothes, as what I had
on were rather curious garments after the journey. I also bought some
stores for the voyage, and two fine elephants' tusks, which were
evidently not Abyssinian ivory, as they were much too large. The
Abyssinian elephants have very small tusks, and the ivory does not
command a very high price. I was afraid my donkeys would not come up
till after the steamer had sailed, but M. de Sarzec promised me to
have all my things packed up and sent on. I may as well tell my
readers that eventually everything arrived safe in England, in as good
condition as I left it when last I saw it in Abyssinia. I lunched with
the French Consul, who entertained us most liberally and produced some
very good "tej," which he makes himself. I went to the French
Company's house in the afternoon; it overlooked the sea, and observing
a boat coming up alongside, I hailed it. An Englishman was sitting in
the stern, who turned out to be Mr. Cordock, the engineer of the S.S.
_Massowah_. I asked him to come into the house and speak to me, told
him that I was going away by the steamer to Suez, and that I had been
very ill. The boat was to sail the next day, so that evening he dined
with me at the French Company's, and we went off to the ship together.
He gave up his cabin to me, and he was altogether most kind and

My only fellow-passenger was an ex-French naval captain, who had been
sent out by a mercantile house in Paris to look for guano amongst the
islands in the Red Sea. He had been cruising about for ten days in an
open native boat, called a sambouk, from island to island, but had not
succeeded in finding what he wanted, and was now returning to Paris.
He happened to have a servant who was an excellent cook. This man was
half a Syrian and half a Frenchman, and on the voyage up to Suez he
cooked all our meals for us.

_March 28, Sunday._--The ship was to sail to-day, but there was an
additional quantity of hides to take in. They were gradually crowding
up the deck with this stinking cargo, which had been accumulating at
Massowah for some time, the government in Egypt not allowing merchants
to ship these hides to Suez, as there was cattle disease at the time
in Abyssinia. I sat on the deck most of the day, enjoying the cool and
pleasant breeze of the harbour. Just before dinner M. de Sarzec came
to see me, and I persuaded him to stay and dine with us; he was very
entertaining, and he told us a long story of how he had very nearly
been murdered by the natives at Fogera, in the south of Abyssinia.
This is the place where Consul Plowden, some time before, had been
killed. I wrote letters to K., and gave them to Goubasee to take to
Adowa. I likewise left some money behind with the French Consul for
H., on his return to Massowah.

_March 29._--At daybreak the steamer sailed for Suez. I was better
to-day, as an Arab doctor of Massowah had given me some opium and
ipecacuanha. This had improved me, as also, probably, the change to
sea air had a great deal to do with it. The engineer's cabin was on
deck, and so I was as comfortable as I well could be on the dirty
little steamer. I had laid in a stock of provisions at Massowah, and
had also brought down two small sheep from Asmarra; so with the help
of the Syrian cook we promised not to fare badly.

_March 30._--I was a little better this morning, and during the day,
but in the evening after dinner I was taken dreadfully ill, in fact, I
believed I was at the point of death. The ship anchored for the night,
as is generally the custom with these steamers, the day after leaving
Massowah, for they are cruising about amongst coral reefs, which are
exceedingly dangerous. Whenever we anchored, the sailors all set to
work fishing, catching numbers of peculiar-shaped and strange-coloured

_March 31._--I am better to-day, and we all dined on the upper deck as
it was very hot below. We had a most unusual fish for dinner; he was
like a perch, only perfectly red, and the spiky fin on his back was of
a very beautiful scarlet colour. To-day the French captain showed me
the charts of his voyages amongst the islands of the Red Sea, which he
had made in an Arab boat with a crew of three men and his servant.
There is a very heavy dew at night here, but we all three sat talking
till late, Cordock, the engineer, produced some rum, which I am sorry
to say I am not allowed to drink, but the French captain seemed to
enjoy it very much. The second officer of the ship, an Egyptian of the
name of Hassain, is a very intelligent man; he has been with ships
several times to London, and he talks a little English.

_April 1._--We arrived at Souakim about 9 o'clock in the morning,
having anchored, for the night before, inside a reef. I sent for the
doctor, Achmet Effendi, who came to see me. He was a very intelligent
and clever young man, and he spoke French very well, having been seven
years in Paris studying his profession. Ali Effendi, the agent of the
steamship company, came off to see me; he is a great friend of A.'s,
and seemed a capital good fellow. I gave them all a little dinner in
the evening. The table was laid on the forecastle, and was lighted up
with about twenty little lamps, which Ali Effendi kindly provided. Our
party consisted of Ali Effendi, the company's agent; Achmet Effendi,
the young doctor; Mustapha, the captain of the ship; Hassain, the
second officer; the French captain; Mr. Cordock, the engineer; and
myself. Dinner went off capitally, and our party all seemed to enjoy
themselves very much. They drank all the coffee in the ship that was
ready ground, and ate a large quantity of sweet things. I sent into
the town of Souakim to try and get a minstrel to enliven us, but the
musical instrument on which he played was broken, the minstrel was
asleep, and the ship's stoker, a Copt, whom I had sent to fetch him,
came back quite drunk. After my unsuccessful attempt to entertain the
company I went to bed, and I believe the party still went on drinking
coffee and smoking cigars _ad libitum_. We here took on board a
number of gazelles and ariels. This is a speculation of an American,
named Philipo, who hopes to sell them for large prices in Egypt. The
animals are housed in pens on the fore part of the ship and covered
over with mats, as what they suffer from most at sea is cold. I am
picking up Arabic very fast, and I think, in a short time I should be
able to talk like a native. The engineer nurses me and takes the
greatest care of me; in fact, I do not know what I should do without

_April 2._--We left Souakim at eight o'clock in the morning; nothing
of importance occurred to-day; we had head winds and a strong sea.

_April 3._--It blew rather hard, and the ship swayed about. We dined
in the engineer's little cabin amidships, where the motion has not so
much effect. Our cook is prostrated with sea-sickness, as well as most
of the crew; in fact, all these Arab sailors are generally sick when
it comes on to blow. The engineer, the French captain, and myself were
the only people who had not succumbed to this malady.

_April 4._--At sea to-day it blew very hard, and we made but little
way, it was resolved, therefore, that if it should continue to blow
to-morrow we would anchor inside Ras Benas, a large headland on the
west side of the Red Sea. Here may be seen the ruins of the old
Egyptian town of Berenice.

_April 5._--We were at anchor south of Ras Benas, and sheltered by the
headland, but the captain would not go near the mainland, as the pilot
did not know that the entrance into the small harbour is here. This
was a great disappointment to me, as I should much have liked to land
and see the ruins of Berenice. The country is inhabited, and further
inland gazelles and deer are found; there is also some vegetation,
including mimosa bushes. Cordock and I went out in the evening in the
captain's gig to try to catch some fish, but we only got a good
tossing among the reefs, yet I think the fresh breeze was beneficial
to me.

_April 6._--We are still at anchor under Ras Benas, it is blowing so
hard. The captain gave us and his officers a breakfast in Egyptian
fashion: it was very good, some of the dishes being quite original to

_April 7._--We weighed anchor at seven o'clock in the morning, it was
blowing very hard, and the captain wished to stay here till the wind
dropped, but Cordock induced him to go on, as he knew I was ill and
wanted to get home as quickly as possible. The Arabs are dreadful
cowards in a storm, and when they find themselves in one they
generally begin praying, and doing nothing else. I was a little
stronger, but still very ill with a bad diarrhœa.

_April 8._--We had no chutney to eat with our curry and rice, so I
amused myself to-day by making some. It resulted in a complete
success, and proved very good. The principal ingredients were some
tomatos which the cook had bought for me at Souakim. At two o'clock
to-day we were abreast of the Brothers, two low coral islands, and
quite chief features of the Red Sea; the P. & O. Company have put a
flag-staff on the larger one. A gale was blowing very hard, and
Cordock hoped to make Shadwan that night, which is a large island at
the mouth of the Gulf of Suez, with a high mountain on it that can be
seen for thirty miles. I hope to arrive at Suez on the 10th. It blew
so hard, however, that we could not get on at all, so on the morning
of the 9th we anchored at Tur, after having passed a very stormy
night. When Cordock came to me in the morning, he informed me that the
ship had very nearly been lost off the island of Shadwan; it was
blowing tremendously hard at the time, and we were on a lee-shore; the
steering-gear gave way, and the ship went round before the wind. All
the Arabs lost their heads, but Cordock, with the help of his
assistant-engineer and the Syrian cook, put things right. During all
this commotion I was sleeping in utter unconsciousness in my cabin,
and in the morning I was very glad they had not woke me up. Tur is a
little place on the east side of the Red Sea; it is here that
pilgrims and travellers disembark, and get their camels to start for
Mount Sinai.

I went on shore in the afternoon and bought some provisions at a Greek
store there, and by a most unexpected chance found some of Fortnum and
Mason's preserved soups at this out-of-the-way place; they had been
part of the cargo of a ship that had been wrecked in the Gulf of Suez.
The goods had been bought by some Greeks of the Suez Bazaar, then sent
down to Tur. I went to see the old Russian gentleman who makes
arrangements for all travellers to Mount Sinai. I bought some
tortoiseshell from him, and also purchased a pretty good collection of
coral and Red Sea shells from a Greek who was hanging about, and who
also sold me three beautiful little sponges. Cordock, the French
captain, and I walked out to a grove of date-palm trees not far off;
the mountains in the distance were covered with a strange purple haze,
peculiar to the Red Sea, and afforded a magnificent appearance. These
hills reminded me very much of the scenery of the background of some
of Gustave Doré's illustrations.

_April 10._--We weighed anchor at seven o'clock in the morning; but it
was still very rough. The P. & O. ship passed us about five P.M. We
had just enough coal to last us thirty hours, and we had to run one
hundred and twenty-five miles. Thank God! the wind dropped, or I
cannot guess where we should have been. We heard at Tur that an
English ship was on the Zafarina reef. They also told us that it was
blowing so hard that ships' boats could not get ashore from the
vessels lying in the roads at Suez.

_April 11._--At last I have arrived at the end of my journey, but more
by good luck than good management. We dropped our anchor at eight
o'clock in the Suez roads, having just got four tons of coal left. If
these had run out we should have had to go back to Jidda for coal, or
else gone ashore in a boat and trudged up to Suez.

Here my Journal ends. And I hope no other unhappy mortal who may go
travelling in search of sport will ever have such a journey home as
mine has been.

     _January, 1876._



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