THE SOURCE OF THE NILE. 253
till I was going away, when the youngeft of the Agas in- quired, with a feeming degree of diffidence, Whether Ma- homet Bey Abou Dahab, was ready to march? As I knew well what this queftion meant, I anfwered, I know not if he is ready, he has made great preparations. The other Aga faid, I hope you will be a meffenger of peace ? I anfwered, I intreat you to afk me no queftions ; I hope, by the grace of God, all will go well. Every perfon prefent applauded the fpeech ; agreed to refpeet my fecret, as they fuppofed I had one, and they all were inclined to believe, that I was a man in the confidence of Ali Bey, and that his hoftile defigns againft Mecca were laid afide: this was juft what I wifhed them to fuppofe ; for it fecured me againft ill-ufage all the time I chofe to ftay there ; and of this I had a proof in the inftant, for a very good houfe was provided for me by the Aga, and a man of his fent to fhew me to it.
I wondered the Rais had not come home with me; who, in about half an hour after I had got into my houfe, came and told me, that, when the captain of the boat came on board the firft time with the two foldiers, he had put a note, which they call tijkcra, into his hand, preffing him into the Sherriffe's fervice, to carry wheat to Jidda, and, with the wheat, a number of poor pilgrims that were going to Mecca at the Sherriffe's expence. Finding us, however, out of the harbour, and, fufpecfting from our manners and carriage towards the janiflaries, that we were people who knew what we had to truft to, he had taken the two foldiers a-fhore with him, who were by no means fond of their reception, or inclined to ftay in fuch company ; and, indeed, our drefTes and appearances in the boat were fully as likely to make ftrangers believe we mould rob them, as theirs were to im-