Page:Thirty-five years in the East.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

( when in my native country it is deep winter ), I saw two men coming up the river, armed cap-a-pie. They passed by without saluting me with their Selam, which surprised me, and they went straight to the boat, inquiring for my companion. They then loaded me with abuse, asking who had brought us from Constantinople to cure the wounds of the Agha at Hit, and adding that they would punish me immediately for having done so, if it were not for the Khater ( favor ) and for their regard for their friend, the Sheikh Dendal, and they finished, by assuring me that we must not expect to escape from the grasp of their brethren, as one hundred and fifty Agelis were hunting after us.

After this menace, they left the boat and crossed the river, at the same spot where my friend had crossed on horseback, with as much ease as if they had been walking, on land, carrying their clothes and their weapons on their heads. When I lost sight of them, the owner of the boat came up to me, asking whether I understood what they had said to me. " But too well," replied I ; then I asked him, what was now the best to be done ? He advised me, first of all, to put off my new richly decorated and gold embroidered cloak ( Aba ), and to take his old worn-out striped one. He concealed mine, and led me to a neighbouring field, covered with high Indian corn ( maize ), and desired me to sit down and remain quiet, until he should come to me. I followed his advice, and after an hour had elapsed he came back, with a smiling and contented countenance, telling me that the man of Quoise, to whom I had given my purse, and who remained the previous evening on the opposite bank, had arrived, and reported that all the stolen luggage had been restored to my companion, and that he had administered some medicine to the sick sheikh ; so that we might now safely go over the river to fetch him, and then continue our journey. He added that the sheikh, although dropsical, and dangerously ill, after some consoling words from my companion, entertained hopes of being again restored to health, and