The Sheikh, who, as well as ourselves, has lost some little things during these days, gives the people of Mizdah a very bad character. In the scuffle, I noticed that they called him Fezzanee, which is used as a term of insult in these parts. “All the Fezzanees are bad people, and all their women courtezans,” says my chaouch.
There is a large leopard reported to be abroad near the oasis of Mizdah. He escaped from Abdel-Galeel, who brought him from Soudan, and creates great terror among the camel-drivers. They say, with unspeakable horror, “The nimr eats all the weak camels!” He has already devoured two. He drinks in the neighbouring wady, where there is water six months of the year. During the remainder he is capable, they say, of doing without drinking.
Leave Mizdah—Gloomy Country—Matrimonial Squabbles in the Caravan—“Playing at Powder”—Desert Geology—A Roman Mausoleum—Sport—A Bully tamed—Fatiguing March—Wady Taghijah—Our old Friend the Ethel-Tree—The Waled Bou Seif—Independent Arabs—A splendid Mausoleum—One of the Nagahs foals—Division of a Goat—March over a monotonous Country—Valley of Amjam—Two new Trees—Saluting the New Moon—Sight the Plateau of the Hamadah—Wady Tubooneeah—Travelling Flies—The Desert Hour—A secluded Oasis—Buying Barley—Ghareeah—Roman Remains—Oasian Cultivation—Taxation—Sand-Pillar—Arrangements for crossing the Hamadah—An Emeute in the Caravan—Are compelled to discharge the quarrelsome Ali.
We started for Mizdah, at length, towards noon, Sheikh Omer bringing us a little on our way, and, begging to be well spoken of in high quarters; and after passing the ruins of two Arab castles that frown over the southern side of Wady Esh-Shrab, got into a gloomy country, exactly resembling that on the other side of the oasis, except that the strata of the limestone rocks, instead of being horizontal are inclined. The whole desert, however, wears a more arid appearance. Yet there were some lote-trees here and there, and a few tholukhs. The, traces of the aoudad were noticed; and the blacks, picking up its dung, smelt it as musk, saying, “It is very good.” As I jogged on upon my camel, the oppressive heat caused me to sleep and dream in the saddle of things that had now become the province of memory.