I am having all our letters of recommendation for the interior copied, to be sent home to Government, so that if anything happen to us they may know what kind of support we have received. If anything happen! The presence of that doubt gives a solemnity and an importance to the most trifling thing we do. A soldier is allowed to indulge in serious thought before going into battle, and the chances in his favour are greater than those in ours. We, too, may have to do battle with men; but the dangers of the desert are also arrayed against us, and when they are passed, the miasmas of Central Africa fill the air beyond.
The marabout, with his camel and burden, has not yet come up; he left us to visit his country. We are likewise still without news of three camel-loads left behind at Mizdah. There is always a train of stragglers behind every caravan that is not huddled together by fear. We should never have procured beasts enough on the road, and did well to take them direct from Tripoli. The Pasha’s circular letter was of little or no use in this respect; and, indeed, we could not expect it to cause camels to start out of the ground.
8th.—I paid a visit to the commandant of the troops, Runthar Aga, Bim Bashaw, quite a Christian Moor; and got information on military affairs whilst tasting the soup in the kitchen. Also called upon our old friend the Doctor, and inspected the hospital, which certainly holds out no temptation to a man to be ill. The patients are few: two have strong fevers; five or six are convalescent; the sick-list contains no other cases; but it will be different when summer comes on.
9th.—Received a visit from the acting Governor, and presented him with a bottle of snuff. Like other great men, this Pasha makes a great consumption of rappee, and empties nearly a box a-day.
10th.—The military seem to have taken a fancy to us. Here comes the Commandant, to return our call, with all the officers of the garrison. Smiles and courtesy are the order of the day. Dr. Overweg brings out some of his scientific instruments, and the knowing ones have an opportunity of showing their ignorance. All passes off well. Mr. Gagliuffi observes: “You would not have had so much attention paid to you in Tripoli.” Possibly; but this may partly be accounted for by the rarity of Europeans at Mourzuk. Familiarity has not had time to breed contempt.
11th.—There is excitement in the town. What news? The new acting Governor, my old acquaintance of Ghadamez, Rais Mustapha, is in sight, hull above the horizon. We all go out to meet him, and soon see his cortege breaking between the groves. This is the gayest and most spirited scene I have witnessed since leaving Tripoli. Mustapha brings his staff and 200 Arab cavaliers with him, to relieve the Fezzan irregulars. They make a gallant-looking body of men as they come swiftly on. All the authorities of the town, with whatever