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and prompted him! But there I had to stand in full view of several scores of wondering people of both sexes, doing nothing. But at last he came out, smiling.

we were fitted out in half an hour by the clock, with tussore silk suitings, shirtings, hosings, and footwear, neckwear, &c. We weren't too nice about make or shape. We blew

"To the taxi," he muttered generously at Staveley's note, hoarsely. strutted from Cheap Jack's, "To Cheap Jack," he shouted and pranced into a barber's. to the taxi-man.

Seated in the taxi and cooling off as we drove, Barshott with emotion told me that daylight had appeared: more he would not say. We were set down at Cheap Jack's. Here

From him we marched out in stately, almost processional fashion, and hit the road once more, for the hospital.

But Barshott would not tell me what sort of daylight he had seen.

An obliging subordinate received us at the hospital, and the thread of the conversation he had had with Barshott on the telephone was at once resumed.

"The tall officer," he said, "arrived here yesterday by the ambulance that we sent. But we had been warned to expect two cases, and were surprised at only one coming. The other officer, the short pale one, Mr Coffin, arrived in a taxi soon afterwards. At the time he seemed quite normal, but the orderly on duty at dinner-time reported Mr Coffin to be behaving very queer."

"And you clapped him into a strait-waistcoat at once?" asked Barshott eagerly.

"Oh no, sir. Not so bad as that, sir. He was only talking in a queer way, the orderly said, to his hand. He was


the Medical Officer is keeping him under observation."

We explained that all we wanted was a few minutes' conversation with Mr Coffin, in order to get our money and find out what he had done with our baggage. We then learnt that Mr Coffin had brought a lot of baggage with him, but had had most of it sent back to the station that afternoon for despatch somewhere. An interview with him was quite against orders, but he (the subordinate) would go in and find out what he could for us.

He was gone about half an hour, and when he came back handed us a lot of loose notes and cash, and an envelope. The latter was addressed "General Booth.” The note inside

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normal again this morning, but saw yesterday morning that

you and your friend were determined to leave us and to return to your great work amongst souls at P., I did what I could for you through the window, and the rest, bar your moneyi.e., the rest of your kit in the carriage, your heavy stuff which I collected for you at the station here, I sent back to P. this afternoon. I addressed the lot to General Booth, Salvation Army Barracks, and to that address I have also posted the railway receipt. You appear to have changed your mind and to have come on here. I fear there will be some difficulty and delay in getting your things again. Yours sincerely,


P.S.-Ha, ha! and yet again Ho, ho! I always humour them."

If ever two strong men were on the verge of tears it was ourselves. For consider our baggage might well be at the Victoria terminus still. On the other hand, it might have been already sent off to P., and by that very train we had seen that afternoon at the platform. On the whole, the chances were all against it having gone so promptly. But the railway receipt had, and we might just as well have expected to get the moon as our baggage without a railway receipt. getting back to P. ourselves we might conceivably wangle the railway receipt (addressed to General Booth, mark you) out of the Post or Dead-letter Office, and later possibly our stuff, if


it had arrived so quickly. Just possibly we might get back to Bombay and catch the next mail boat. To try and conduct this tangled affair by correspondence would mean several weeks' delay.

So far our bitter musings had proceeded, when that angel of a subordinate murmured

"But the post hasn't gone

yet. The letters are all in that bag there awaiting next despatch. Your friend" (our friend, Ha, ha!) "missed the afternoon's post."

Further, our angel was angelic enough not to mind opening the bag and extracting an envelope addressed to General Booth. It contained a flimsy buff-coloured paper, Barshott's and my own railway receipt. We were just about to hurry off, when Barshott, who is of a vindictive nature, bethought him.

"One good turn deserves another," he said to the subordinate. "Otherwise I would not dwell on our poor friend's afflictions. You have here a very violent case, but sly, artful, and malicious. Have you by any chance anything breakable in the observation ward?"

"Not much, sir. There's the basins and ewers and a mirror or two, and the crockery they feeds off."

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spoons and bowls. I dread to think of the damage he did coming down here. Windows broken, upholstery cut, our own things thrown out of the train, and so on. Perhaps you will mention what I have told you to the Medical Officer at his next visit? Above all, don't attempt to humour our friend. Stark force and straitwaistcoats are your only means -and hunger."

And with these words and many thanks, we hastened to our taxi.

"I wish I had added copious bleeding," remarked Barshott, stopping and preparing to go back and do so. But I bundled him in and called him a revengeful devil.

"If he's mad," remarked Barshott composedly, "he requires a strait-waistcoat and all the rest. And if he's badas I believe he is-he deserves the lot."

We returned to the Victoria terminus full of hope, full of anxiety. Fate had been very scurvy to us-would she now relent and let us find the baggage, or was she keeping yet one more bludgeoning for our bloody but unbowed heads, and should we find that the stuff had already left?

The bag

and around them. gage had not been sent off. We dined late that night. Reaction had not yet set in, for we had appetites. But to guard against nerve-storms, we drank large quantities of well-iced champagne, and so to delicious, cool, soft beds, and up betimes next morning to rebook on the next homeward mail.

A senior clerk, well known to us, at the agents' took us in hand. His first words in answer to our request for berths on the next mail boat gave us the clean knock-out, and sent us staggering to the ropes, where metaphorically we fell and lay awaiting the count out. The next steamer was booked right up, said the clerk, had been for several weeks-not a berth to be had for love or money.

The leave season being in full blast, we might have realised this.

But as we lay there awaiting the call of "Time," the clerk's next words came floating like balm, if balm is a floating material, to our ears.

"But I suppose you know there's a supplementary boat due to sail this afternoon? Oh, don't you? Well, there is." To this he added two lines from a vulgar ballad :

"The monkey-house is nearly full, But there's lots of room for-us."

The situation was too tense for words. We drove in silence, we arrived and passed up the platform in silence, and we handed in our receipt in silence. Ten minutes later two exhausted but inconceivably berths. Medical examination happy men drove away with their belongings piled upon

"I'm sailing on her myself, and so can you the two last

at the usual place at 2 P.M. See you again, what?"




ABOUT the end of November 1899, that fine officer, Major Malcolm Peake,1 then manding the artillery of the Egyptian Army, and under whom I was serving, received instructions from Lord Kitchener to organise an expedition at Omdurman, and proceed up the White Nile for some 600 miles to Lake No, with the object of opening up one of the river channels running through the Sudd," or swamp area, for steamer communication to the falls at Gondokero in the Uganda Province.

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Very little was then known about the sudd country. But Peake had accompanied the force which had gone to Fashoda the previous year to meet Major Marchand's expedition, and while there had been as far as Lake No in a gunboat. This lake was a considerable sheet of open water, surrounded by a vast extent of sudd vegetation, and impassable barriers of it had been found to block farther progress up any of the branches of the Upper Nile. This vegetation was formed of the papyrus cane, which grew luxuriantly all over this region, in and out of the water. canes were about twenty feet long, triangular in section, one and a half inches of a side, and


very tough; at the end of each stalk grew one large tuft or umbel of long fine leaves. Other canes and reeds also mixed up with the papyrus.

The actual area under sudd was not known, but was believed to be very large, roughly 200 miles square, south of Lake No. It was generally thought that the more solid matter out of which the plants grew floated, and rose and fell with the river level. Sir Samuel Baker had traversed the sudd, and passages were supposed to have existed through it. it was imagined that during High Nile bits of the floating banks had broken away and blocked these passages. Peake's task was to remove or penetrate these barriers. The word "sudd" is of Arabic origin, denoting a "dam."


Peake's task was not likely to be an easy one; but it was one of Lord Kitchener's maxims that his officers must be prepared to undertake and carry through any work assigned to them without asking questions, and at a minimum of expense and means. Peake asked me to accompany him, and we sat down and worked out essentials, which included four gunboats, half a dozen naval and military officers,

1 Lieut.-Colonel M. Peake, R.A., C.M.G., D.S.O., killed in action in France.

fifteen hundred men to work, a company of Sudanese as escort, a large supply of tools, and supplies for six months. The White Nile was falling rapidly, and navigation for steamers would become closed any time in December about 200 miles south of Khartoum, where there was a so-called cataract just above Goz Abu Guma, so it was necessary to start without delay.

The Sirdar concurred in all Peake's demands, and told him he could apply to Gorringe,1 who was in charge of all building works in progress at Khartoum, "for any of the last lot of Dervish prisoners he (Gorringe) did not want." These prisoners had been taken about a month or so previously, when the Khalifah had been accounted for out in the Kordofan desert near the scene of Hicks Pasha's disaster.

Gorringe, on being informed, said he could not spare more than five hundred men; and Peake, knowing Gorringe was the last man to surrender a single able-bodied man, wisely insisted on an immediate inspection of them. As expected, they turned out to be chiefly those who were the weakest, still not recovered from privations suffered while wandering round for a year in the desert prior to their capture, and in their then condition quite unfit to wield an axe for fuelling steamers; they would obviously require weeks of proper

food before they would be fit for hard work.

Peake of necessity had to return to the Sirdar, report his lack of success with Gorringe, and inquire where he should obtain the balance of his men for working parties. The building of Khartoum was a very pet project of Lord Kitchener's. Gorringe had been given a free hand, and he would not interfere with him. Touching an electric bell on his office table in the new palace at Khartoum, an immaculate Egyptian A.D.C. entered and saluted.

"Telephone over to the Governor of Omdurman (at that time a senior Egyptian officer) and tell him to hand over to Peake Bey any one he has in the jails in Omdurman ! " That was considered to have settled the matter, and Peake was asked to stay to lunch.

We took over 500 criminals of every description undergoing all sorts of punishments for any kind of crime, mostly a very tough lot, including blacks, Egyptians, Arabs, with an odd Levantine, the greatest scoundrels of all, thrown in, and shipped them away up the river at once with a suitable guard. But Peake was still another 500 men short, and again had to seek out the Sirdar and report that as so many were temporarily ineffective, he could not carry on unless he got the quota agreed to. Lord Kitchener was becoming a little

1 Now Major-General Sir G. F. Gorringe, K.C.B., K.C. M.G.

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