This was a dreadfully exciting day. I confess, that as the afternoon wore on I had given up nearly all hope, and continued the search merely as a matter of duty. Few will be able to imagine the anguish of losing a friend under such circumstances in the wide desert, where you may for ever remain uncertain how he came by his death, whether by the spear of a bandit, the claws of a wild beast, or by that still more deadly enemy, thirst. Just before sunset I was preparing fresh fires as a last resort, when I saw one of our blacks, the little Mahadee, running eagerly towards the encampment. Good news was in his very step. I hastened to meet him. He brought the joyful intelligence that Dr. Barth had been found, still alive, and even able to speak! The Tuarick whom I had despatched, in scouring the country with his maharee, had found him about eight miles from the camp, lying on the ground, unable to move. For twenty-four hours he had remained in the same position, perfectly exhausted with heat and fatigue. Our fires had not been unmarked by him, but they only served to show that we were doing our best to find him. He could not move a step towards them. On seeing his deliverers, he could just muster strength to say, “Water, water!” He had finished the small supply he had taken with him the day before at noon, and had from that time suffered the most horrible tortures from thirst. He had even drunk his own blood! Twenty-eight hours, without water in the Sahara! Our people could scarcely at first credit that he was alive; for their saying is, that no one can live more than twelve hours when lost in the desert during the heats of summer.
Dr. Barth was now brought back to the camp. He had still a supply of biscuit and dates with him; but eating only aggravates the torture of thirst. Moist food is fitter to carry on such occasions. We found rum very useful in restoring his health.
17th.—The Doctor, being of robust constitution, was well enough this day to mount his camel, and proceed with the caravan. We advanced about seven hours, and then encamped. To-morrow, a ride of a couple of hours will take us into Ghat.
Approach Ghat—Description of the Town—The Oasis—Reminiscences of a former Visit—Azgher Tuaricks—The Governor—Political Authority—The Sheikhs—Protection of Strangers—The Litham—Business—Reception—Meetings of Sheikhs—Disputes—Tax on liberated Slaves—Extortion practised on us—Discussion on the Treaty—Scramble for Presents—Haj Ahmed disinterested—Hateetah plays double—More Presents and further Annoyances—Mahommed Kafa—Escort of Kailouees—A Visit from Ouweek and the Bandit of Ghadamez—Observations on the Treaty—Collection of Dialogues—The Great Exhibition.