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Brave Men and Women

Brave Men and Women

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Publicado porDharmsen Soni

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Published by: Dharmsen Soni on Jan 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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soil under cultivation rarely extends beyond the distance of a mile into the
interior, while to eastward and westward is one vast, uninhabited waste, the
camping-ground of the Bedouins, who roam from river to sea in predatory
bands, leading otherwise aimless lives. Thinly populated, and now without
the means of subsisting large communities, Upper Egypt can never become
what it was when, as we are taught, the walls of Thebes inclosed 4,000,000
of people, and the Nile was bridged from shore to shore. Turning from this
strange land, I encamped on the border of the Nubian Desert, and prepared
to set out on camel-back toward the sources of the Nile.

In conjunction with the local officials I began the necessary preparations,
which involved the selection of forty-two camels, three donkeys, and
nineteen servants. My ample provision and preparation consisted of the
camels' feed--durah and barley, stowed in plaited saddle-bags; filling the
goatskins with water, each containing an average of five gallons. Eighty
were required for the journey. Three sheep, a coup-full of chickens, a desert
range, a wall-tent, with the other supplies, made up over 10,000 pounds of
baggage as our caravan, entering the northern door of the barren and dreary
steppe, felt its way through a deep ravine paved with boulders, shifting
sands, and dead camels. We soon left the bluffs and crags which form the
barrier between the Nile and the desolate land beyond, and then indeed the
real journey began.

Our camp apparatus was quite simple, consisting of a few plates, knives
and forks, blankets and rugs, a kitchen-tent, and a pine table; and this outfit
formed the nucleus of our nomadic village, not omitting the rough
cooking-utensils. I recall now one of these strange scenes in that distant
region, under the cloudless sky, beneath the Southern Cross. A few feet
distant from my canvas chateau was my aged Arab cook, manipulating his
coals, his tongs, and preparing the hissing mutton, the savory pigeons and
potatoes. The cook is the most popular man on such an expedition, and is
neither to be coaxed nor driven. The baggage-camels were disposed upon
the ground, a few yards distant, eating their grain and uttering those loud,
yelping, beseeching sounds--a compound of an elephant's trumpet and a
lion's roar--which were taken up, repeated by the chorus, and re-echoed by
the hills. These patient animals, denuded of their loads and water, the latter

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