The Desert of the Exodus: Journeys on Foot in the Wilderness of the Forty Years' Wanderings; Undertaken in Connection with the Ordnance Survey of Sinai and the Palestine Exploration Fund

By E. H. Palmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII.
BÁDIET ET TÍH.

Arrival at Nakhl. — Reception by the Governor. — Bargaining with the Teyáhah. — Signing the Contract. — We start for the Scene of our Explorations. — Our Escort. — Wády el 'Aggáb. — More Stone Remains. — Wády el 'Arísh. — Wády Fahdí. — Arab Battle-field. — A Bedawí Ballad. — Conteller Garaiyeh. — Remains of an ancient Fort. — Ascent of Jebel 'Araif. — Wády Ma'ín. — Wády Lussán. — Ancient Road and Remains. — Lussán identical with the Roman Station of Lysa.

WE arrived at Nakhl, accompanied by the Teyáhah family and some goats, perhaps as disreputable a caravan as ever entered the place. Nakhl is a wretched square fort in the midst of a glaring desert plain, the picture being backed up with some rather pretty limestone mountains. Here a few miserable soldiers are maintained by the Egyptian Government, for the protection of the caravan of pilgrims which annually passes by that road on the way to Mecca. We were received by the captain of the guard, a dark noseless Arab, and presently the effendi himself, the názir, or governor of the station, joined us, and we drank coffee with him and smoked pipes on the great divan at the end of the hall. None of the soldiers were in uniform, and they were as scoundrelly a set as one could well conceive.

When we had pitched our tent and prepared our dinner, the effendi sent us word that he would not be responsible for our safety unless we allowed him to send down a guard of at least ten men to watch our tent at night. This number, after some wrangling with the military authorities, we reduced to four, with the understanding that the question of remuneration should be left to ourselves, and be contingent upon their good behavior.

It was soon clear that all hope of peace or quietness

-264-

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