« PreviousContinue »
to avoid fly-belts and sleeping proach the ford, down a long siokness distriots, and it cannot slope, the scene is typically be said that the itinerary is an African. Thorny bush everyinteresting one. The natives, where, a circle of grass huts Bari for the most part, are in a clearing, a river dried up degraded-looking and sullen. in places, wandering to the There is little fine scenery, Nile between low banks set game is soaroe. It is a sad with palms and scrubby bauhicountry, soorched by bush. njas; an angry sun sinking fires, ravaged by disease, behind & distant hill-range, haunted by the spectre of and great bats flitting bither famine,
and thither in agile zig-zag And yet, beoause the road flight like so many evil spirite. which runs through it may In the rains the Assua must ere long be a great highway be a formidable obstacle. In with motors traversing it and the dry season it takes you to carrying heavy bags of coffee, the knees in places if you with flying ferries acroes the despise the crazy dug-out, rivers which obstruot it, with through the holes and cracks streams of people ooming and of which the water gashes. going along it, we must say The camp was well enough little about
it, though as little and moderately clean, but as possible. Onoe having plagued by mosquitoes. It gained the top of the leopard. was much too near the river. infested ridge about Nimule, In all probability representa the road, which is suitable for tions have caused its removal a bioyole, runs for many a to a better site. It is worth mile through stunted forest. noting that none of the camps Away on the left a long bush- on the Nimule-Rejaf road apcovered mountain-range in- pear to harbour the dreaded terposes its bulk between spirillum carrier, that loathus and the Nile, which beyond some, leathery, eight-legged it forms the famous Fola tiok which loves the darkness Rapids. To the right is a vast and the blood of man. stretoh of country, here and Soon the wood fires blazed, there kopjes cropping up from throwing the surroundings
op the plain, here and there the into a deeper darkness, the smoke spirals of native fires ping of the questing gnat wavering upwards against a shrilled in the ear, and it was blue sky. It is very hot, and a case of under mosquito-nets there is nothing to be seen with all celerity, if twelve of wild life save occasional days later on one did not wish traoks of dik-dik or other of to be shaking a thermometer. the smaller antelope. It takes From Assua to Aju is two three and a half hours to hours, and Aja is a good place reach the Assua river, a broad for breakfast. From Aju to stream, half empty, and full of Itu Gaffari takes one hour and sand-banks. The camp is on a quarter, and at Itu Gaffari the farther side. As we ap- it is well to have lunch. From Itu Gaffari to Kirippy two which is on a slope, and overhours must be allowed, and looks a fine wooded country there what remains of the day through which roam herds of and the whole of the second hartebeeste. It is still hartenight can be spent in fair oom- beeste country all the way fort, for Kirippy is a pleasant nearly to Vitia Ledju, which camp, with good buts and takes three and a half hours bandas and most beautiful to reach, and is a pleasant shade trees. The country place, for it is set upon a ridge about it is coltivated to some with a fine rocky ledge near extent, and patches of maize it and forest-clad Gebels hard and dura dot the land soape. by. These shelter lots of game,
Once more on the trail, a two from the rhinoceros to the hours' march to Andoga, a oribi, but the presence of pany place of two huts only, and natives prevents the animals then on again, a good three showing much of themselves. hours to Uma, orossing the Part of the way to this oamp Uma river on the way, beyond was very cheerful, for there which the road is merely a are olear streams in the open, track winding through an and many doves, and it is undergrowth reminiscent of a good to be out of stunted Surrey oopse. But no Surrey forest, which is an abominaoopse ever grew the rough- tion. barked lula-trees from which Another four hours through the ripe, yellow, plum-like fruit country with a better class of is falling-fruit which has wood and we reach Shoka, & pleasant acidity, and from crossing en route one deep but which quite an agreeable drink narrow river, Shoka proved can be made. The camp itself an untidy and uncomfortable lies off the track to the right, oamp, and we were glad to and is apt to be missed. There be afoot before dawn on the is & good view from it to the last trek for the Nile and for north, over miles of low forest, Rejaf. with here and there hills rising These early starts have a from the plain as the back of fascination of their own, after an elephant rises from the the inevitable groaning at jungle.
having to roll out of bed in It is four hours' tramp from the darkness and dress by the Uma to Musa, much of it feeble light of a candle in a through open and onltivated shamadan is over. country. Musa oamp is on a shawish is any good he has ridge, and possesses two good the porters well drilled, and trees. To the north the coun- so all goes smoothly, and after try is wild and broken, but & oup of steaming tea and a elsewhere there are a few vil- bisonit you take the road with lages, and as a result there is perohanoe & oresoent moon little game.
Next morning, still in the sky and stars two and a half hours'good going twinkling in company. There brings one to Gadein Morbi, is a great silence at this early
hour, and all is dim and mys- wide road to a plain, through tioal. Then certain birds with which the Bahr-el-Jebel, comharsh notes ory out that day ing from Fort Berkeley and is at hand, a faint breeze the rapids, courses as a huge stirs the branches and lines deep waterway, making fast of sickly light stretch over to the north, for Gondokoro the hill - tops in the east. and Mongalla, and Bor and Almost imperceptibly the day Kenissa, and those sudd rebrightens, and the smell of gions which must make it the night, that curious wild think that it has somehow odour, is gone. Then comes a got back to Lake Choga. gleam in the sky, and almost at The Kit river is almost dry, once the sun mounts upwards its bed a broad bed of sand, as though he had stayed too with water triokling through long abed and had to hurry it, and soon we are pushing to his work. The moon and over the plain, passing through the stars vanish, birds call olamps of dura 10 feet high, and twitter, an early beetle and past miserable dwellings blanders across the path, a smothered in vegetation, On
. flight of doves swings past and on at quickened pace, as seeking water-and another is always the way when a day in Africa, another hot, journey is ending, till at last fieroe, fatiguing day, has be- we reach the landing place for gun its maroh from sunrise the ferry, and, amidst a jumble to sunset.
of grass shelters, stand and But it is only some three look across the mighty river hours to the Nile, and long from whose source we have
we reach the river the come, and which, still tirequaint conical hill of Rejaf less and magnificent in its has come into sight away be- strength, is speeding onwards yond the immediate forest in a stately fashion to make slopes. Ere long we break the Sudan an habitation and into the open and descend & to fulfil its destiny in Egypt.
SUBADAR SHER ALI KHAN.
TWENTY years or more ago had first joined his regiment I was in charge of a big as a young reoruit of between reserve centre situated in a seventeen and eighteen years. cantonment in the north of of age, and had seen sotive India whilst the reservists service against almost every were up for training. Prim. tribe the North - West arily it was the centre for Frontier of India, three Sikh and three Dogra Jewish type of faoe, with a regiments, but, in addition to prominent hooked nose, these, nearly twelve hundred somewhat soanty beard dyed men of other regiments, re- red, and with piercing slateoruited from distriots more or blue eyes, in body he was tall less adjacent to the canton- and very spare. ment, were attached to the indeed, he looked little more eentre for administrative and than skin and bone, but he training purposes. These last was inoredibly tough and wiry, were ohiefly Panjabi Mahome. and could walk all day with. dans, with a large admixture of out turning a hair, whilst on Euzufzai Pathans. Under the a hillside it took a good man system then in force the train- to keep near him. He oame of ing staff for this large body of good stook and was a warm men had to be found by the man in his
country, regiment stationed at the more than one village owning centre, which at the time his sway. happened to be a olags regi- Thoroughly independent and ment of Sikhs; but sinoe, during self-reliant, he was quite willing the previous year's training, to take responsibility, as he there had been a good deal proved on one occasion when of serious trouble between the ho had a difference of opinion Sikh training staff and the with a young political officer. Pathan reservists, the G.O.C. The Subadar was in oommand had detailed another regiment of a small fort at the mouth of in the brigade to furnish & a valloy which led ap into inparty of Pathan N.O.'s and dependent tribal country. One N.C.O.'s, who were attached day a jirgah, bristling with for daty during the month jezails, pistols, knives, &o., the
reserves were up for arrived at the fort gate to training.
interview the politioal officer. In command of the party Now it was a standing military was an old Euzufzai Pathan order on the frontier that, with -Subadar Sher Ali Khan,-. the exception of the garrison, splendid specimen of the best no man bearing arms was pertype of native officer. The old mitted to enter any post, and man had pat in close on forty that all lethal weapons must years of good work since he be deposited with the quarter
guard, where the owners were the young politioal was sent at liberty to resume them on on special urgent duty to departure. In accordance with Lahore, and was subsequently these orders the sentry on duty transferred to another sphere at the fort gate stopped the of usefulness. jirgah. They protested, and One thing the old man had the politioal offioer (that he was no use for wag a horse-at all very young and puffed up with events for riding purposes, — a sense of his own importanoe thoroughly agreeing with is the only exouse which oan David Haram's opinion that, be offsred for what coourred), if he had to make his choice hearing the altercation, sent between riding and being out to know what was the kicked, he would say, “Kick matter. On hearing that the away; it amounts to about jirgah had been provented from the same thing as fur as oomentering, he dashed out and fort goes, and it's & dum'd ordered the sontry to admit sight safer.” It so happened them at once. The sentry that when his regiment was at quoted his orders, and referred Parachinar, in the Kurram the officer to the Havildar in valley, some of the officers command of the quarter-guard. went out one day to shoot He, like a wise man, deolined chikhor, and the Subadar, who to disouss the matter, and sent was
a bit of a sportsman, for Subadar Sher Ali Khan. wished to accompany them, The young officer, who had by The valley in which the party this time unluckily lost his proposed to shoot was about temper oompletely, turned on five miles away from the fron. the Subadar and again im- tier post, and one of the officers periously ordered the imme- offered Sher Ali Khan the loan diate admission of the jirgah. of a pony. The offer was firmly The old man regretted that, as declined, the old man remarkhe was responsible for the safety ing gravely that he had served of the fort, he was unable to the Sirkar for over thirty comply unless the jirgah first years, and had earned bis deposited their arms in accord- pension, so he wasn't going ance with standing orders,— to risk the loss of it by getting from which decision nothing outside a horse. He tramped would move him. The jirgah out to the valley, and did his was not admitted, and the full share of walking and political offiser, boiling with sorambling over the rocky rage, wrote to the commis. hills that chikhor love, being sioner of the distriot to report most useful in keeping the the Subadar for disobedience beaters—mostly wild Pathan of orders. Sher Ali Khan, villagers—well in hand, and however, was no fool, he also came baok in the evening as wrote in his version, and re- fresh as paint, though most ported the case for the infor- of the rest of the party had mation of his commanding had quite enough. offioer; the net result being that He certainly had his some