I4 8 TRAVELS TO DISCOVER
told you Shekh already, fays he, Curfed be the man who lifts his hand againft you, or even does not defend and be- friend you, to his own lofs, were it Ibrahim my own fon."
I then told him I was bound to Coffeir, and that if I found myfelf in any difficulty, I hoped, upon applying to his people, they would proted me, and that he would give them the word, that I was yagoube, a phyfician, feeking no harm, but doing good ; bound by a vow, for a certain time, to wander through deferts, from fear of God, and that they mould not have it in their power to do me harm.
The old man muttered fomething to his fons in a dialect I did not then underftand ; it was that of the Shepherds of Suakem. As that was the firft word he fpoke, which I did not comprehend, I took no notice, but mixed fome lime- water in a large Venetian bottle that was given me when at Cairo full of liqueur, and which would hold about four quarts ; and a little after I had done this the whole hut was filled with people.
There were priefis and monks of their religion, and the heads of families, fo that the houfe could not contain hair of them. The great people among them came, and, after joining hands, repeated a kind of * prayer, of about two minutes long, by which they declared themfclves, and their children, accurfed, if ever they lifted their hands againit me in the Tell, or Field in the defeet, or on the river; or,, in cafe that I, or mine mould fly
- This kir.d of oath was la ufe among the Arabs, or Slepherds, ea.ly as the time of AbnJus^
(Ken. xxi. 2 2, 23. xxvi. 25,.