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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And much concerned at the chudder having got torn


She,

being a city girl, was a bundle of clothing and we could not see her face, but she seemed a nice meek little thing, with pretty hands and feet. On being asked whether she was tired, a thread of voice from under her _chudder_ said she was, and on being invited to ride one of my camels on the top of a load, there was a giggle which meant "yes."

The selected camel was brought down on his knees, and Sadek and Ali Murat hauled her up in the most approved style; she having an evident joke at her selfish husband for having a better mount than he after all. Unfortunately, the poor child was so exhausted that after she had gone some distance, with the swaying of the camel she became fast asleep, lost her balance and fell on her head. Nobody delighted in the misfortune more than her lord and master, who did not fail to impress upon her that this was evidently Allah's punishment for her vanity in trying to be superior to her better half! Rubbing her aching skull, and much concerned at the _chudder_ having got torn, the bride thought she had better resign herself to walk after all.

Here, too, as in other parts of the desert, near mountainous regions we found the usual deep, cut channels carrying into the desert the overflow of rain water from the Naiband Mountain, and the many little hills at its foot; otherwise in the thirty-six miles which we covered during the night there was absolutely nothing of interest.

justify;">When we had gone some ten miles from Naiband the camel men, tired of carrying their matchlocks, slung them to the saddles and professed the danger of an attack over. We were in the open again. I was much troubled by my fever, which had seized me violently and brought on aches all over my body.

We camped at 3,480 feet, having descended 330 feet in thirty-six miles, an almost perfectly flat stretch except a hillock or undulation here and there. My fever continued so fierce the whole day that I had not the strength to stand up nor the inclination to eat, the exhaustion caused by the very high temperature being indescribable.

We left at 7 p.m., meaning to make another long march. The night was intensely cold, with a terrific wind sweeping from the north-east. Several times during the night, when we came across a tamarisk shrub or two, we halted for a few minutes to make a bonfire and warm our frozen hands and toes. We actually came across a stream of brackish water--four feet broad, and about two to three inches deep--the largest stream we had seen since entering the desert, and having been twelve hours on the saddle to cover only twenty-four miles, camels and men shivering pitifully from the cold, and the latter also from fever, we made camp in a spot where there was an abundance of tamarisks and a deep well, the water of which was fully twenty feet below the earth's surface.

A small basin had been excavated next to the well. We filled it with water by means of a bucket, and it was a real pleasure to see the camels crowding round it and satisfying their thirst of two days. We did not allow them to drink the water of the brackish stream.

The elevation of this camp was 3,890 feet.


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