CONCERNING WOMEN, SOLDIERS, AND CIVILIANS
OUR friend Bimbashi Simpkinson Bey has varied duties to perform in the Sudan, such as will not assuredly fall to his lot while he is with his regiment at home. In the Sudanese battalion these functions are more diverse and complex than in those composed of Egyptians. The fellah soldier, a conscript, and practically unpaid, lives in barracks as a bachelor; his wife, if he has one, stays behind in the village with her husband's family. But the blacks, who have enlisted as professional soldiers for long service, bring their women with them. There would be no reliance on them at all if they were separated from them: they would be useless for duty, and would probably desert. So the authorities make a virtue of necessity, and regard every married man as 'on the strength' of the regiment, so long as he is married in moderation. That is to say, each soldier may have a wife in the lines; if he avails himself of his privilege as a Mohammedan to have more than one, he must keep the supernumerary consorts at his own expense somewhere else. But the official partner is officially recognised; the soldier is granted quarters for her and an allowance towards her maintenance and that of her children.