Anecdotes of our late adventures are still in circulation amongst us, and I have learned some new ones to-day. The naivete of one of them is extreme; but I can do more than allude to it. One of our party transgressed a custom which the Mahommedans have absurdly made obligatory. Great indignation was excited, even amongst the escort sent for our protection by En-Noor; and one of them exclaimed: “If he do the same thing again, and do not follow the way of us Muslims, I will send an arrow through him.”
During the night of the second affair, Oud-el-Khair used this nice argument: “What will be gained if you do kill these three Christians? There are plenty more in the English country!” Many topics of a similar character were resorted to.
Some of the Tanelkums leave us to-day. We have to pay them two reals a camel-load for bringing us from Tintaghoda to Tintalous. We have hired of them eleven camels in all. The original agreement was to carry our goods and baggage from Mourzuk to Tintaghoda, for which we paid dear.
Having heard that the great En-Noor would receive me to-day or to-morrow, as I pleased, I determined at once to see him, and made ready the presents for his highness. We had some difficulty in making the selection. At length we amassed a variety of things, of the value of one hundred and twenty-two mahboubs prime cost, or about fifty-two reals value here.
At the Asar (or 3 P.M.) I dressed, and went off to see the great man, accompanied by my German colleagues. On entering the village, I at once recognised in a long mud-shed the Sultan’s palace. It seemed, indeed, a palace compared with the circular hasheesh huts by which it was surrounded; and in that direction, accordingly, we bent our steps. On gaining admission, we found the mighty potentate half-dozing on his couch. He woke up as we entered, and sitting upon his hams, politely excused himself for being found en deshabille. To remedy this state of things as much as possible, he immediately wound round his head a black band or turban; and having thus improved his toilet, bade us sit down. I took my place very near him, and observed his appearance with some interest. He was a venerable-looking black, but, like most of the Kailouees, had something of an European cast of features. They say he is about seventy-eight years old, and manifestly suffers the infirmities of that great age.
The dialogue was begun by the Sultan asking us how we were in health, and whether we had not now more quiet than down on the road? Then he added, that he was himself very poorly, but that at this season of the year this was nothing uncommon. Being in a garrulous mood, he allowed us little time to reply, and went on with a string of compliments. Of the state of his own country he said, “There is now a general fermentation throughout all the districts of Aheer. The people have thrown off the yoke of their sultans or magistrates, and the roads are infested with bands of robbers.” In fact, it would appear that the inhabitants of this out-of-the way kingdom have just fallen into the crisis of a revolution. What grievances brought about this state of things we have not yet learned; but, unfortunately for us, we have arrived at a most insecure season.