The Land of Midian, Vol. 1
Richard Burton

Part 2 out of 5

vainly applied at Cairo, would doubtless discover the prime
necessary in the Wadys, many of the latter being still damp and
muddy. Moreover, the crible continue ŕ grilles filtrantes, the
invention of MM. Huet and Geyler, introduced, we are told, into
the mechanical treatment of metals, a principle which greatly
economizes fluid. Founded upon the fact that sands of nearly the
same size, but of different densities, when mixed in liquid and
subjected to rapid vertical oscillation, range themselves by
order of weight, the heavier sinking and not allowing passage to
lighter matter, the new sieve offers the advantages of a single
and simple instrument, with increased facility for treating poor
"dirt." Finally, as I shall show, the country is prepared by
nature to receive a tramway; and the distance to the sea does not
exceed fourteen miles, liberally computed.[EN#27]

Either the rain-water affected the health of the party, or it
suffered from the excessive dryness and variations of the
atmosphere, eight to nine hundred feet above sea-level (aner.
29.10), ranging in the tents between 92 degrees by day and 45
degrees at night, a piercing, killing temperature in the Desert.
Moreover, the cold weather is mostly the unwholesome season in
hot lands, and vice versâ: hence the Arab proverb, Harárat
el-Jebel, wa lá Bard-há ("The heat of the hills and not their
cold"). Old Haji Wali lost his appetite, complained of
indigestion, and clamoured to return home; Ahmed Kaptán suffered
from Sulb ("lumbago") and bad headache; whilst Lieutenant Yusuf
was attacked by an ague and fever, which raised the mouth
thermometer to 102 degrees--103 degrees, calling loudly for
aconite. These ailments affected the party more or less the whole
way, but it was not pleasant to see them begin so soon. When our
work of collecting specimens--three tons from the Jebel el-Abyaz,
and three from the Filon Husayn--was finished, I resolved upon
returning to the coast and treating our loads at the Sharmá
water. We reached the valley mouth on December 30th, and we
greatly enjoyed the change from the harshness of the inland to
the mildness of the seaboard air.

We stayed at Sharmá, much disliking its remarkably monotonous
aspect, for another week, till January 7, 1878. Yule, "the
wheel," despite the glorious tree-logs and roaring fires, had
been a failure at the White Mountain. The Dragoman had killed our
last turkey, and had forgotten to bring the plum-pudding from
El-Muwaylah: there was champagne, but that is not the stuff
wherewithal to wash down tough mutton. New Year's Day, on the
other hand, had all the honours. Its birth was greeted with a
flow of whisky-punch, wherein wine had taken the place of water;
and we drank the health of his Highness, the Founder of the
Expedition, in a bottle of dry Mumm. The evening ended with music
and dancing, by way of "praying the Old Year out and the New Year
in." Mersál, the Boruji, performed a wild solo on his bugle; and
another negro, Ahmed el-Shinnáwi, played with the Nái or
reed-pipe one of those monotonous and charming minor-key airs--I
call them so for want of a word to express them--which extend
from Midian to Trafalgar, and which find their ultimate
expression in the lovely Iberian Zarzuela.[EN#28] The boy Husayn
Genínah, a small cyclops in a brown felt calotte and a huge
military overcoat cut short, caused roars of laughter by his
ultra-Gaditanian style of dancing. I have also reason to suspect
that a jig and a breakdown tested the solidity of the plank
table, while a Jew's harp represented Europe. In fact, throughout
the journey, reminiscences of Mabille and the Music Halls
contrasted strongly with the memories of majestic and mysterious
Midian. And, to make the shock more violent, some friend, malč
salsus, sent me copies of the cosmopolitan Spectator and the
courteous Mayfair, which at once became waste paper for Bedawi

Our Rosh há Shanah ("New Year's Day") was further distinguished
by the discovery of a vein and outcrop of metalliferous quartz,
about half an hour's walk, and bearing nearly east (80 degrees
mag.) from camp. We followed the Wady Sharmá, and found above its
"gate" the masonry-foundation of a square work; near it lay the
graves of the Wild Men, one with the normal awning of palm-fronds
honoris causâ. There were signs of stone-quarrying, and at one
place a road had been cut in the rock. Leaving on the north the
left side of the watercourse, with its rushes (Scirpus), and
huge-headed reeds (Arundo donax), its dates and Daums--the two
latter often scorched and killed by the careless Bedawi--we
struck into a parallel formation, the Wady el Wuday, bone-dry and
much trodden by camels. Arrived at the spot, we found that the
confused masses of hill subtending the regular cliff-line of the
old coast, are composed of grey granite, seamed with snowy
quartz, and cut by the usual bands of bottle-coloured porphyritic
trap, which here and there becomes red. Some of the heights are
of greenish-yellow chloritic felspar, well adapted for
brick-making. The surface of the land is scattered with fragments
of white silex and fine red jasper, banded with black oligistic
iron: this rock, close, hard, and fine enough to bear cutting,
appears everywhere in scatters and amongst the conglomerates.
Only one fossil was picked up, a mould so broken as to be quite

We also followed out M. Marie's find, to which he had been guided
by a patch of red matter, conspicuous on the road from Tiryam to
Sharmá. For forty minutes we skirted the seaward face of the old
cliff, a line broken by many deep water-gashes and buttressed by
Goz, or high heaps of loose white sand. We then turned eastwards
or inland, ascended a Nakb ("gorge"), and saw, as before, the
corallines and carbonates of lime altered, fused, scorified, and
blackened by heated injections; the grey granite scored with
quartz veins, running in all rhumbs; and the porphyritic trap
forming crests that projected from the sands. The cupriferous
stone struck east-west, with a dip to the south; the outcrops,
visible without digging, measured fifteen to twenty metres long,
by one to one and a half in breadth.

New Year's Day also restored to us the pup "Páijí." When quite a
babe, it had walked up to me in the streets of Cairo, evidently
claimed acquaintanceship, and straightway followed me into
Shepheard's, where; having a certain sneaking belief in
metempsychosis, I provided it with bed and board. During our
third march to the White Mountain, being given to violent yelps,
which startled both mules and camels, the small thing had been
left to walk, and had apparently made friends with an Arab
goatherd. After nine days' absence without leave, "Páijí"
reappeared, with dirty rags tied round its bony back and wasted
waist, showing an admirable skeleton, and making the most frantic
demonstrations of joy. The loss of the poor little brute had
affected all our spirits: we thought that the hyenas and the
ravens had seen the last of it; and it received a warm welcome

M. Lacaze, unlike the rest, took a violent fancy for the Wady
Sharmá: the water-scenery enchanted him. His sketches were almost
confined to the palm-growth, and to the greenery so unexpected in
arid Midian, where, according to the old and exploded opinion,
Moses wrote the Book of Job. The idea of Arabia is certainly not
associated with flowing rills, and waving trees, and rustling
zephyrs. Every morning I used to awake surprised by the song of
the Naiad, the little runnel whimpling down its bed of rushes,
stone, and sand; and the response of the palms making music in
the land-breeze.

Finally, on New Year's Day, Lieutenant Amir, guided by Shaykh
Furayj, and escorted by soldiers and miners, made a three days'
trip to the Wady 'Urnub. There he surveyed a large isolated
"Mará," or quartz-hill, some twenty-two to twenty-five direct
miles south-east of the main outcrop; thus giving a considerable
extent to the northern mining-focus. This feature is described as
being four or five times larger than the Jebel el-Abyaz (proper);
and the specimens of quartz and grey granite proved it to be of
the same formation. It showed a broken outline, with four great
steps or dykes, which had apparently been worked. In the basal
valleys, and spread over the land generally, was found a heavy
yellow sand, calcareous and full of silex: the guide called it
Awwal Hismá (the "Hismá frontier").

Our travellers returned by a parallel line, southerly and more
direct. In the Wady 'Urnub, the Ma'ázah of the Salímát clan
received them with apparent kindness, inwardly grumbling the
while at their land being "spied out;" and they especially
welcomed Furayj, who, being a brave soldier, is also noted as a
peacemaker. All the men were armed, and wore the same dress as
the Huwaytát; like these, they also breed camels and asses--that
is, they are not cow-Arabs. Certain travellers on the Upper Nile
have distributed the Bedawin into these two groups; add
horse-Arabs and ass-Arabs, and you have all the divisions of the
race as connected with the so-called "lower animals." About three
hours (= eleven miles) from Sharmá camp, some pyramids of sand
were pointed out in the Wady Rátiyah: the Bedawin call one of
them the Goz et-Hannán ("Moaning Sand-heap"). They declare that
when the Hajj-caravan passes, or rather used to pass, by that
way, before the early sixteenth century, when Sultán Selim laid
out his maritime high-road, a Naubah ("orchestra") was wont to
sound within its bowels. This tale, which, by-the-by, is told of
two other places in Midian, may have been suggested by the Jebel
el-Nákús ("Bell Mountain") in Sinai-land; but as the Arabs
perform visitation and sacrifice to the "Moaning-heap," the
superstition probably dates from ancient days. Ruins are also
reported to exist in the Jebel Fa's, the southern boundary of the
'Urnub valley; and, further south, in the Jebel el-Harb, I was
told by some one whose name has escaped me, of a dolmen mounted
upon three supports. Lieutenant Amir also brought copper ore from
the Wady 'Urnub, and from the Ras Wady el-Mukhbir specimens of a
metal which the Arabs use as a kohl or collyrium. It proved,
however, iron, not antimony; and the same mistake has been made
in the Sinaitic Peninsula.

At Wady Sharmá we rigged up, under the superintendence of M.
Philipin, a trough and a cradle for washing the black sands, the
pounded quartz of the Jebel el-Abyaz, and the red sands; these
latter had shown a trace of silver (1/10000) to the first
Expedition. We mixed it with mercury and amalgamed it in
goatskins; the men moved them to and fro; but, of course, the
water evaporated, and the mass speedily became dry. The upper or
superficial white yielded only, as far as our engineer could
judge, a little copper and bright knobs of pyrites. The Negros,
or iridized formations, of the "Filon Husayn" on a lower horizon,
gave the dubious result already alluded to. All the experiments
were conducted in the rudest way. Of course, a quantity of metal
may have escaped notice; and a fair proportion of the powdered
stone was reserved for scientific treatment in Europe.

During our first trip we had found, upon the right jaw of the
Wady Sharmá, a ruined village of workmen, probably slaves, whose
bothans measured some twelve feet by eight. They differ from the
Nawámis, or "mosquito-huts," as the word is generally translated,
only in shape--the latter are circular, with a diameter of ten
feet--and they perfectly resemble the small stone hovels in the
Wady Mukattab, which Professor Palmer ("Desert of the Exodus," p.
202) supposes to have been occupied by the captive miners and
their military guardians. This time we ascended the coralline
ridge which forms the left jamb. At its foot a rounded and half
degraded dorsum of stiff gravel, the nucleus of its former self,
showed a segment of foundation-wall, and the state of the stone
suggested the action of fire. Possibly here had been a furnace.
The summit also bears signs of human occupation. The southern
part of the buttress-crest still supports a double concentric
circle with a maximum diameter of about fifteen feet; the outside
is of earth, apparently thrown up for a rampart behind a moat,
and the inside is of rough stones. Going south along the dorsum,
we found remains of oval foundations; a trench apparently cut in
the rock, pottery often an inch and more thick, and broken
handmills made of the New Red Sandstone of the Hismá. Finally, at
the northernmost point, where the cliff-edge falls abruptly, with
a natural arch, towards the swamp, about one kilometre broad at
the Báb, we came upon another circle of rough stones. We were
doubtful whether these rude remains were habitations or old
graves; nor was the difficulty solved by digging into four of
them: the pick at once came upon the ground-rock. Hitherto these
ruins have proved remarkably sterile; the only products were
potsherds, fragments of hand-mills, and a fine lump of white
marble (Rukhám), supposed to come from the Jebel el-Lauz.

Amongst our followers was a "Kázi of the Arabs," one Jabr bin
'Abd el-Nabi, who is a manner of judge in civil, but not in
criminal matters. Before the suit begins the plaintiff, or his
surety, deposits a certain sum in coin, corn, or other valuables,
and lays his damages at so much. The defendant, if inclined to
contest the claim, pays into court the disputed amount, and the
question is settled after the traditional and immemorial customs
of the tribe. This man, covetous as any other disciple of
Justinian, was exceedingly anxious to obtain the honorarium of a
Shaykh, and he worked hard to deserve it. Shortly before our
departure from Sharmá, he brought in some scoriae and slag,
broken and streaked with copper--in fact, ekvolades. They are
thinly scattered over the seaward slope of the left jaw, where
the stone nowhere shows a trace of the mineral in situ. As,
however, the Expedition had found native copper in three places,
more or less near the Jebel el-Abyaz, it was decided that the ore
had been brought from the interior.

We were again much puzzled concerning the form of industry which
gave rise to such a large establishment as Sharmá. Agriculture
was suggested and rejected; and we finally resolved that it was a
branch-town that supplied ore to the great smelting-place and
workshop of the coast, 'Aynúnah, and possibly carbonate of lime
to serve for flux.

The distance along the winding Wady, between the settlement and
the sea westward, where the watercourse ends in sand-heaps, is
seven to eight miles, and the coast shows no sign of harbour or
of houses. About three miles, however, to the northwest is the
admirable Bay of 'Aynu'nah, unknown to the charts. Defended on
both sides by sandspits, and open only between the west and the
north-west, where reefs and shoals allow but a narrow passage,
its breadth across the mouth from east to west measures at least
five thousand metres, and the length inland, useful for refuge,
is at least three thousand. At the bottom of this noble Límán,
the Kolpos so scandalously abused by the ancients, are three
sandy buttresses metalled with water rolled stones, and showing
traces of graves. Possibly here may have been the site of an
ancient settlement. The Arabs call the southern anchorage, marked
by a post and a pit of brackish water, El-Musaybah or Musaybat
Sharmá. Its only present use seems to be embarking bundles of
rushes for mat-making in Egypt. The north-eastern end of the
little gulf is the Gád (Jád), or Mersá of El-Khuraybah, before
described as the port of 'Aynu'nah.

At the Musaybah I stationed our tender, the Sambúk El-Musahhil,
which carried our heavy goods, specimens by the ton; rations and
stores; forge, planks, and crowbars. The sailors lost no time in
showing their rapacity. Every day they dunned us for tobacco; and
when we made a counter-demand for the excellent fish which was
caught in shoals, they simply asked, "What will you pay for it?"
I imprudently left my keg of specimen-spirits on board this
ignoble craft, and the consequence was that it speedily became
bone-dry. The Musaybah bight is a direct continuation of the Wady
el-Melláh, which, joining that of El-Maka'dah, runs straight up
to the Jebel el-Abyaz and to the Filon Husayn. These
metalliferous quartzes cannot be further from the coast than a
maximum distance of fourteen miles, and the broad, smooth
watercourse, with its easy gradients, points it out as the site
of the future tramway. I should prefer a simpler form of the
"Pioneer Steam Caravan or Saddleback-Railway System," patented by
Mr John L. Haddan, C.E., formerly of Damascus.[EN#29] He
recommends iron as the best material for the construction; and
the cost, delivered at Alexandria, would not exceed Ł1200,
instead of Ł3000 to Ł20,000 per kilometre, including the rolling
stock. As the distance from the port is nothing, Ł300 per
kilometre would be amply sufficient for "fixing up;" but I should
reduce the price to Ł500 for the transport of some 50 tons per
diem. By proper management of the rails or the main rail, it
would be easy for trained camels to draw the train up the Wady;
and the natural slope towards the sea would give work only to the
brake where derailments are not possible.

At Sharmá we saw the crescent, when the Englishmen turned their
money in their pockets, and the Egyptian offficers muttered a
blessing upon the coming moon. Every day we waxed more weary of
the place; possibly the memories of the first visit were not
pleasant. Many in camp still suffered; and an old Bedawi, uncle
to Shaykh 'Alayan, died and was buried at 'Aynúnah. The number of
servants also made us uncomfortable. The head Dragoman, whose
memory was confined to his carnet, forgot everything; and, had we
trusted to him, half the supplies would have returned to Suez,
probably for the benefit of his own shop at Zagázig. I soon found
his true use, and always left him behind as magazine-man,
storekeeper, and guardian of reserve provisions. He was also a
dangerous, mischief-making fellow; and such men always find
willing ears that ought to know better. Petros, the Zante man,
was the model of a tipotenios (an "anybody"), who seemed to have
been born limp, without bones or brains. He was sent back as soon
as possible to Cairo. The worst point of these worthies was, that
they prevented, for their own reasons, the natives working for
us; while they preferred eternal chatter and squabbles to working
themselves. So the Greek element was reduced to George the cook,
a short, squat, unwashed fellow, who looked like a fair-Hercules
out of luck; who worked like three, and who loudly clamoured for
a revolver and a bowie-knife. His main fault, professionally
speaking, was that he literally drenched us with oil till the
store happily ran out. His complexion was that of an animated
ripe olive, evidently the result of his own cookery. His surprise
when I imperatively ordered plain boiled rice, instead of a mess
dripping with grease; and when told to boil the fish in sea water
and to serve up the bouillon, was high comedy. Doubtless he has
often, since his return, astounded his "Hellenion" by describing
our Frankish freaks and mad eccentricities.

The stationary camp also retained Lieutenant Yusuf and MM. Duguid
and Philipin, with thirteen soldiers and sixteen miners. The six
camels were placed under Gabr, Kázi el-'Orbán; and all the
stay-behinds were charged with washing the several earths, with
scouring the country for specimens, and with transporting sundry
tons of the black sand before mentioned. Old Haji Wali, probably
frightened by the Arabs, and maddened by the idea that, during
his absence in the thick of the cotton season, the Fellahs of
Zagázig would neglect to pay their various debts, began to
"malinger" with such intensity of purpose, that I feared lest he
would kill himself to spite us. The venerable Shylock, who ever
pleaded poverty, had made some Ł300 by lending a napoleon, say,
on January 1st, which became a sovereign on February 1st; not to
speak of the presents and "benevolences" which the debtor would
be compelled to offer his creditor. So he departed for
El-Muwaylah, whence some correspondent had warned him that a
pilgrim boat was about to start; declaring that he was dying, and
trotting his mule as hard as it would go, the moment a safe
corner was turned. He stayed two days on board the gunboat, and
straightway returned to Egypt and the cotton season:--we had the
supreme satisfaction, however, to hear that he had gone through
the long quarantine at Tor. Yet after our return he reproached
me, with inimitable coolness and effrontery, for not having
behaved well to him.

On the morning of January 7th, a walk of two hours and twenty
minutes (= seven miles) northwards, and mostly along the shore of
the noble "Musaybat Sharmá," transferred us to well-remembered
'Aynúnah. The sea in places washed over slabs of the fine old
conglomerates which, in this country, line the banks and soles of
all the greater Wadys: these are the Cascalho of the Brazil, a
rock which is treated by rejecting the pebbles and by pounding
the silicious paste. The air was softer and less exciting than
that of Sharmá; and, although the vegetation was of the crapaud
mort d'amour hue--here a sickly green, there a duller brown than
April had showed--the scene was more picturesque, the "Gate" was
taller and narrower, and the recollection of a happy first visit
made me return to it with pleasure. Birds were more abundant:
long-shanked water-fowl with hazel eyes; red-legged rail; the
brown swallow of Egypt; green-blue fly-catchers; and a black
muscivor, with a snowy-white rump, of which I failed to secure a
specimen. We also saw the tern-coloured plover, known in Egypt as
Domenicain and red kingfishers. The game species were fine large
green mallard; dark pintail; quail, and red-beaked brown
partridge with the soft black eye.

New formations began to develop themselves, and the sickly hues
of the serpentines and the chlorites, so rich in the New World,
appeared more charming than brow of milk or cheek of rose.[EN#30]
There were few changes. A half-peasant Bedawi had planted a strip
of barley near the camping place; the late floods had shifted the
course of the waters; more date-trees had been wilfully burned; a
big block of quartz, brother to that which we had broken, had
been carried off; and where several of the old furnaces formerly
stood, deep holes, dug by the "money-hunter," now yawned. I again
examined the two large fragments of the broken barrage, and found
that they were of uncut stone, compacted with fine cement, which
contained palm-charcoal.

At 'Aynúnah we gave only one day to work. While M. Lacaze
sketched the views, we blasted with gunpowder more than half
charcoal the Ma'dan el-Fayrúz ("turquoise mine"), as the Arabs
called it, on the right side of the Wady. The colour and texture
were so unlike the true lapis Pharanitis that we began to
suspect, and presently we ascertained from the few remaining
fragments, it had been worked for copper,--the carbonates and the
silicates which characterize Cyprus. Presently good specimens of
the latter were brought to us from the Jebel el-Fará by a Bedawi
pauper, 'Ayd of the Tagaygát-Huwaytát tribe. These half-naked
shepherds and goatherds, who know every stone in the land, are
its best guides; not the Shaykhs, who, as a rule, see little or
nothing outside their tents. From our camp the direction, as
reported by Ahmed Kaptán, was 102 degrees (mag.), and the
distance three miles. I afterwards sent Lieutenant Yusuf from
El-Muwaylah to make a detailed plan.[EN#31]

We also dug in an old pit amongst the Christian graves to the
south-east of the camp, and below the left jamb of the "Gate."
Here also the Bedawin had been at work; and, when unable to work
deep enough, they told us wonderful tales of an alabaster slab,
which doubtless concealed vast treasures. In Arabia, as in
Africa, one must look out for what there is not, as well as for
what there is. After spending a morning in sinking a twelve-feet
shaft, we came upon a shapeless coralline-boulder, which in old
times had slipped from the sea-face of the cliff to the left of
the valley. I ascended this height, and saw some stones disposed
by the hand of man; but there were no signs of a large
slave-miner settlement like that on the other side of the Báb.

In the afternoon Mr. Clarke led a party of quarrymen across the
graveyards to El-Khuraybah, the seaport of 'Aynúnah, and applied
them to excavating the floor of a cistern and the foundations of
several houses; a little pottery was the only result. It was a
slow walk of forty minutes; and thus the total length of the
aqueducts would be three miles, not "between four and five
kilometres." I had much trouble and went to some expense in
sending camels to fetch a "written stone" which, placed at the
head of every newly buried corpse, is kept there till another
requires it. It proved to be a broken marble pillar with a modern
Arabic epitaph. In the Gád el-Khuraybah, the little inlet near
the Gumruk ("custom-house"), as we called in waggery the shed of
palm-fronds at the base of the eastern sandspit, lay five small
Sambúks, which have not yet begun fishing for mother-of-pearl.
Here we found sundry tents of the Tagaygát-Huwaytát, the half
Fellahs that own and spoil the once goodly land; the dogs barked
at us, but the men never thought of offering us hospitality. We
had an admirable view of the Tihámah Mountains--Zahd, with its
"nick;" the parrot-beak of Jebel el-Shátí; the three
perpendicular Pinnacles and flying Buttresses of Jebel 'Urnub;
the isolated lump of Jebel Fás; the single cupola of Jebel Harb;
the huge block of Dibbagh, with its tall truncated tower; the
little Umm Jedayl, here looking like a pyramid; and the four
mighty horns of Jebel Shárr.

I left 'Aynúnah under the conviction that it has been the great
Warshah ("workshop") and embarking-place of the coast-section
extending from El-Muwaylah to Makná; and that upon it depended
both Wady Tiryam and Sharmá, with their respective establishments
in the interior. Moreover, the condition of the slag convinced me
that iron and the baser metals have been worked here in modern
times, perhaps even in our own, but by whom I should not like to

Chapter III.
Breaking New Ground to Magháir Shu'ayb.

On January 9th we left 'Aynúnah by the Hajj-road, and passed
along the Quarry Hill visited during my first journey: the crest
has old cuttings and new cuttings, the latter still worked for
Bedawi headstones. The dwarf pillar with the mysterious cup is
reflected by the Nubians, who hollow out the upper part of the
stela to a depth of eight or ten inches without adding any
ornament. Hence, perhaps, the Sawahíli custom of the inserted

After issuing from the stony and sandy gorge which forms the
short cut, we regained the Hajj-road, and presently sighted a
scene readily recognized. Fronting us, the northern horizon was
formed by the azure wall of Tayyib Ism,[EN#32] the "Mountain of
the Good Name," backed by the far grander peaks of Jebel
Mazhafah: the latter rises abruptly from the bluer Gulf of
El-Akabah, and both trend to their culminating points inland or
eastward. On our right followed the unpicturesque metalliferous
heap of Jebel Zahd or 'Aynúnah Mountain, whose Brčche de Roland
seems to show from every angle; its chocolate-coloured heights
contain, they say, furnaces and "Mashghal," or ateliers, where
the Marú ("quartz") was worked for ore. In places it is backed by
the pale azure peaks of Jebel el-Lauz. This "Mountain of Almonds"
is said to take its name from the trees, probably bitter, which
flourish there as within the convent-walls of St. Catherine,
Sinai. They grow, I was told, high up in the clefts and valleys;
and here, also, are furnaces both above and below. Of its white,
sparkling, and crystallized marble, truly noble material, a
tombstone was shown to me; and I afterwards secured a slab with a
broken Arabic inscription, and a ball apparently used for rubbing
down meal. The Lauz appears to be the highest mountain in
Northern Midian-land; unfortunately, it is to be reached only viâ
Sharaf, two long stations ahead, and I could not afford time for
geographical research to the prejudice of mineralogical. Its
nearer foot-hill is the Jebel Khulayf; and this feature contains,
according to the Bedawin, seven wells or pits whose bottom cannot
be seen. Between the "Almond Block" and its northern
continuation, Jebel Munífah, we saw a gorge containing water, and
sheltering at times a few tents of the 'Amírát Arabs; in the same
block we also heard of a Sarbút or rock said to be written over.

The regular cone of El-Maklá' ends the prospect in the
north-eastern direction. Looking westward, we see the ghastly
bare and naked Secondary formation, the Rughám of the Bedawin,
not to be confounded with Rukhám ("alabaster or saccharine
marble"). We afterwards traced this main feature of the 'Akabah
Gulf as far south as the Wady Hamz. It is composed of the
sulphates of lime--alabaster, gypsum, and the plaster with which
the Tertiary basin of Paris supplies the world; and of the
carbonates of lime--marble, chalk, kalkspar, shells, and eggs.
The broken crests of the Jibál el-Hamrá, the red hills backing
Makná,[EN#33] and the jagged black peaks of their eastern
parallel, the Kalb el-Nakhlah, look like plutonic reefs or
island-chains emerging from the Secondary sea. The latter, whose
bleached and skeleton white is stained, here and there, by
greenish-yellow sands, chlorite and serpentine, stands boldly out
from the chaos of purpling mountains composing Sinai, and ending
southwards in the azure knobs of three-headed Tirán Island. The
country, in fact, altogether changed: quartz had disappeared, and
chlorite had taken its place.

We passed the night at El-'Usaylah, a Ghadir (or "hollow")
without drainage, which the sinking of water cakes with mud and
covers with an irregular circle of salsolaceous trees, a patch of
dark metallic green. This "'Usaylah" is eaten by camels, but
rejected by mules. Here our post reached us from Suez on the
seventh day, having started on the 2nd inst. A dollar was offered
to the Bedawi, who eyed the coin indignantly, declaring that it
ought to be a ginni (guinea). I had also given him some tobacco,
and repented, as usual, my generosity.

Next day we finished the last and larger part of the second
pilgrim-stage from El-Muwaylah. Our Arabs had been "dodging;"
and, much disappointed about converting a two days' into a three
days' march, they punished us by feeding their camels on the
road, and by not joining us till the evening. As before, there
was no game till we approached the springs; yet tufts and
scatters of tamarisks, Samur (Inga unguis) and Arák (Salvadora),
looked capable of sheltering it. And now, beyond the level and
monotonous Desert, we began to see our destination;--palms and
tufty trees at the mouth of a masked Wady. This watercourse runs
between a background of reddish-brown rock, the foot-hills and
sub-ranges of the grand block, "El-Zánah," to the north; and a
foreground of pale-yellow, stark-naked gypsum, apparently
tongue-shaped. Above the latter tower two sister-quoins of ruddy
material, the Shigdawayn, to which a tale hangs.

Presently we fell into and ascended the great Wady 'Afár, which
begins in the Hismá, or Red Region, east of the double
coast-range. After receiving a network of Secondary valleys that
enable it to flow a torrent, as in France, every ten to twelve
years, it falls into the Mínat el-'Ayánát, a little port for
native craft, which will presently be visited. We left this Wady
at a bend, some two hundred metres wide, called the "Broad of the
Jujube," from one of the splendid secular trees that characterize
North Midian. Near the camping-ground we shall find another
veteran Zizyphus, whose three huge stems, springing from a single
base, argue a green old age. Here both banks of the Fiumara are
lined with courses of rough stone, mostly rounded and rolled
boulders, evidently the ruins of the water-conduits which served
to feed the rich growth of the lower 'Afa'l. The vegetation of
the gorge-mouth developed itself to dates and Daums, tamarisks
and salsolaceć, out of which scuttled a troop of startled
gazelles. We turned the right-hand jamb of the "Gate," and found
ourselves at the water and camping-ground of Magháir Shu'ayb.

The general appearance of the station-basin is novel,
characteristic, and not without its charms, especially when the
sunset paints the plain with the red, red gold, and washes every
barren peak with the tenderest, loveliest rosy pink. Under an
intensely clear sapphire-coloured sky rises a distant rim of
broken and chocolate-coloured trap-hills, set off by pale
hillocks and white flats of gypsum, here and there crystallized
by contact with the plutonics. The formation mostly stands up
either in stiff cones or in long spines and ridges, whose
perpendicular wall-like crests are impossible to climb. The snowy
cliffs rest upon shoulders disposed at the "angle of rest," and
the prevailing dull drab-yellow of the base is mottled only where
accidental fracture or fall exposes the glittering salt-like
interior. The gashes in the flank made by wind and rain disclose
the core--grey granite or sandstone coloured by manganese. The
greater part of the old city was built of this
alabaster-like[EN#34] material. When new, it must have been a
scene in fairy-land; Time has now degraded it to the appearance
and the consistence of crumbling salt. The quoin-shaped hills of
the foreground, all uptilted and cliffing to the north, show the
curious mauve and red tints of the many-coloured clays called in
the Brazil Tauá. Even the palms are peculiar. Their tall, upright
crests of lively green fronds, their dead-brown hangings, and
their trunks charred black by the careless Bedawi, form a quaint
contrast with the genteel, nattily dressed, and cockneyfied
brooms of Egypt and the Hejaz. And that grandeur may not be
wanting to the view, on the east rise the peak and pinnacles of
the Almond Mountain (Jebel el-Lauz), whilst northwards the Jebel
el-Za'nah, a huge dome, forms the horizon.

This place, evidently the capital of Madyan Proper, is the word> which Ptolemy (vi. 7) places amongst his "Mesogeian
towns" in north lat. 28 degrees 15 minutes;[EN#35] and it
deserves more than the two pages of description which Ruppell
bestowed upon it.[EN#36] We will notice its natural features
before proceeding to the remains of man. Here the Wady 'Afár
takes the name of "El-Badá." Sweeping from west to east, it is
deflected to a north-south line, roughly speaking, by the gate of
the Shigdawayn, twin-hills standing nearly east and west of one
another. Now become a broad, well-defined, tree-dotted bed, with
stiff silt banks, here and there twenty to twenty-five feet high,
it runs on a meridian for about a mile, including the
palm-orchard and the camping-ground. It then turns the west end
of the Jebel el-Safrá, a mass of gypsum on the left bank, and it
bends to the east of south, having thus formed a figure of Z.
After escaping from the imprisoning hills, the Fiumara bed, now
about three-quarters of a mile broad, is bisected longitudinally
by a long and broken lump of chloritic or serpentine sandstone;
and rises in steps towards the right bank, upon which the
pilgrims camp. Reaching the plain, the Wady flares out wildly,
containing a number of riverine islands, temporary, but sometimes
of considerable size. It retains sufficient moisture to support a
clump of palms--that which we saw from afar;--it bends to the
south-east, and, lastly, it trends seaward.

The "Water of Bada'" springs from the base of the hill El-Safrá,
oozing out in trickling veins bedded in soft dark mud. It can be
greatly increased by opening the fountains, and economized by a
roofing of mat: we tried this plan, which only surprised the
unready Arab. After swinging to the left bank and running for a
few yards, it sinks in the sand; yet on both sides there are
signs of labour, showing that, even of late years, the valley has
seen better days. Long leats and watercourses have been cut in
the clay, and are still lined with the white-flowered "Rijlah,"
whose nutritive green leaf is eaten, raw or boiled, by the
Fellahs of Egypt: the wild growth, however, is mostly bitter. On
both sides are little square plots fenced against sheep and goats
by a rude abattis of stripped and dead boughs, Jujube and acacia.
Young dates have been planted in pits; some are burnt and others
are torn; for the Bedawi, mischievous and destructive as the
Cynocephalus, will neither work nor allow others to work. The
'Ushash or frond-and-reed huts, much like huge birds'-nests, are
scattered about in small groups everywhere except near the water.
Wherever a collection of bones shows a hyena's lair, the hunters
have built a screen of dry stone.

In fact, Magháir Shu'ayb was spoken of as an Arab "Happy Valley."
But its owners, the Masá'íd, a spiritless tribe numbering about
seventy tents, are protégés of the Tagaygát. This Huwayti clan is
on bad terms with Khizr and 'Brahim bin Makbúl; and the brother
Shaykhs of the 'Imrán, recognized by the Egyptian Government,
claim the land where they have only the right of transit. Bedawi
clans and sub-tribes always combine against stranger families;
but when there is no foreign "war," they amuse themselves with
pilling and plundering, sabring and shooting one another. I
believe that the palms were roasted to death by the 'Imrán,
although the Shaykhs assured me that the damage was done this
year, by a careless Mas'údi when cooking his food. The tribe
appears to be Egypto-Arab, like the Huwayta't and the Ma'ázah,
having congeners at Ghazzah (Gaze) and at Ras el-Wady, near
Egyptian Tell el-Kebir. Consequently Rüppell is in error when he
suspects that die Musaiti are ein Judenstamm. The unfortunates
fled towards the sea and left the valley desolate about seven
months ago. Their Shaykh is dead, and a certain Agíl bin
Muhaysin, a greedy, foolish kind of fellow, mentioned during my
First Journey, aspires to the dignity and the profit of
chieftainship. He worried me till I named a dog after him, and
then he disappeared.

The ruins, of large extent for North Midian, and equal to those
of all the towns we have seen put together, begin with the
palm-orchard on the left bank. The Jebel el-Safrá shows the
foundations of what may have been the arx. It is a double quoin,
the taller to the south, the lower to the north, and both bluff
in the latter direction. The dip is about 45 degrees; the upper
parts of the dorsa are scatters of white on brown-yellow stone;
and below it, where the surface has given way, appear
mauve-coloured strata, as if stained by manganese. Viewed in
profile from the west, the site of El-Muttali'[EN#37], as the
Arabs call the hauteville, becomes a tall, uptilted wedge;
continued northwards by the smaller feature, and backed by a long
sky-line, a high ridge of plaster, pale coloured with glittering

This isolated "Yellow Hill," a "horse" in Icelandic parlance,
rising about two hundred feet above the valley-sole, is separated
by a deep, narrow gorge from the adjacent eastern range. The
slopes, now water-torn and jagged, may formerly have declined in
regular lines, and evidently all were built over to the crest
like those of Syrian Safet. The foundations of walls and rock-cut
steps are still found even on the far side of the eastern
feature. The knifeback is covered with the foundations of what
appears to be a fortified Laura or Palace; a straight street
running north-south, with 5 degrees west (mag.). It serves as
base for walls one metre and a half thick, opening upon it like
rooms: of these we counted twenty on either side. At the northern
end of the "horse," which, like the southern, has been weathered
to a mere spur, is a work composed of two semicircles fronting to
the north and east. A bastion of well-built wall in three
straight lines overhangs the perpendicular face of the eastern
gorge: in two places there are signs of a similar defence to the
south, but time and weather have eaten most of it away. The
ground sounds hollow, and the feet sink in the crumbling heaps:
evidently the whole building was of Rughám (gypsum); and in the
process of decay it has become white as blocks of ice, here and
there powdered with snow.

On the narrow, flat ledge, between the western base of this Safrá
and the eastern side of the Bada' valley, lie masses of ruin now
become mere rubbish; bits of wall built with cut stone, and
water-conduits of fine mortar containing, like that of the
Pyramids, powdered brick and sometimes pebbles. We carried off a
lump of sandstone bearing unintelligible marks, possibly intended
for a man and a beast. We called it "St. George and the Dragon,"
but the former is afoot--possibly the Bedawin stole his steed.
There was a frustum or column-drum of fine white marble, hollowed
to act as a mortar; like the Moslem headstone of the same
material, it is attributed to the Jebel el-Lauz, where ancient
quarries are talked of. There were also Makrákah ("rub-stones")
of close-grained red syenite, and fragments of the basalt
handmills used for quartz-grinding. Part of a mortar was found,
made of exceedingly light and porous lava.

South-east of the hauteville falls in the now rugged ravine,
Khashm el-Muttalí, "Snout of the high" (town). It leads to the
apex of the coralline formations, scattered over with fragments
of gypsum, here amorphous, there crystalline or talc-like, and
all dazzling white as powdered sugar. Signs of tent foundations
and of buildings appear in impossible places; and the heights
bear two Burj or "watchtowers," one visible afar, and dominating
from its mamelon the whole land. The return to the main valley
descends by another narrow gorge further to the south-east,
called Sha'b el-Darak, or "Strait of the Shield:" the tall,
perpendicular, and overhanging walls, apparently threatening to
fall, would act testudo to an Indian file of warriors. High up
the right bank of this gut we saw a tree-trunk propped against a
rock by way of a ladder for the treasure-seeker. The Sha'b-sole
is flat, with occasional steps and overfalls of rock, polished
like mirrors by the rain-torrents; the mouth shows remains of a
masonry-dam some fourteen feet thick by twenty-one long; and
immediately below it are the bases of buildings and watercourses.

Walking down the left bank of the great Wady, and between these
secondary gorges that drain the "Yellow Hill," we came upon a
dwarf mound of dark earth and rubbish. This is the Siyághah
("mint and smiths' quarter"), a place always to be sought, as
Ba'lbak and Palmyra taught me. Remains of tall furnaces, now
level with the ground, were scattered about; and Mr. Clarke, long
trained to find antiques, brought back the first coins picked up
in ancient Midian. The total gathered, here and in other parts of
Magháir Shu'ayb, was 258, of which some two hundred were carried
home untouched; the rest, treated with chloritic and other acids,
came out well. One was a silver oval which may or may not have
been a token. Eleven were thick discs, differing from the normal
type; unfortunately the legends are illegible. The rest, inform
bits of green stuff, copper and bronze, were glued together by
decay, and apparently eaten out of all semblance of money until
the verdigris of ages is removed.

All are cast like the Roman "as", before B.C. 217, and some show
the tail. The distinguishing feature is the human eye; not the
outa of Horus,[EN#38] so well known to those who know the
Pyramids, but the last trace of Athene's profile. Two are Roman:
a Nerva with S.C. on the reverse; and a Claudius Augustus,
bearing by way of countermark a depressed oblong, of 20/100 by
14/100 (of inch), with a raised figure, erect, draped, and
holding a sceptre or thyrsus. There is also a Constantius struck
at Antioch. The gem of the little collection was a copper coin,
thinly encrusted with silver, proving that even in those days the
Midianites produced "smashers": similarly, the Egyptian miners
"did" the Pharaoh by inserting lead into hollowed gold. The
obverse shows the owl in low relief, an animal rude as any
counterfeit presentment of the
ever found in Troy. It has the normal olive-branch, but without
the terminating crescent (which, however, is not invariably
present) on the proper right, whilst the left shows a poor
imitation of the legend (NH). The silvering of
the reverse has been so corroded that no signs of the goddess's
galeated head are visible. My friend, Mr. W. E. Hayns, of the
Numismatic Society, came to the conclusion that it is a barbaric
Midianitish imitation of the Greek tetradrachm, which in those
days had universal currency, like the shilling and the franc. The
curious bits of metal, which also bear the owl, may add to our
knowledge of the Nabathaean coins, first described, I believe, by
the learned Duc de Luynes.[EN#39]

Another interesting "find" was a flat-bottomed, thick-walled clay
crucible of small size (2 10/16 inches high by 2 4/16 inches
across the mouth), exactly resembling the article picked up at
Hamámát. The latter, however, contains a remnant of litharge,
possibly showing that the old Egyptians worked the silver, which
may have been supplied by the Colorado quartz.

I would here crave leave to make a short excursus to the ancient
Ophirs of Egypt Proper, where, we are told by an inscription in
the treasury of Ramses the Great (fourteen centuries before
Christ), the gold and silver mines yielded per annum a total of
32,000,000 minć = Ł90,000,000. Dr. H. Brugsch-Bey first drew
attention to Hamámát, where, as he had learned from Diodorus (i.
49--iii 12) and from the papyri, the precious metals had been
extensively worked. The "Wells of Hama'ma't" lie between Keneh on
the Nile and Kusayr (Cosseir) on the Red Sea; and the land is
held by the Abábdah Arabs, who have taken charge, from time
immemorial, of the rich commercial caravans. The formation of the
country much resembles that of Midian; and the metalliferous
veins run from northeast to south-west. In Arabia, however, the
filons are of unusual size; in Africa they are small, the
terminating fibrils, as it were, of the Asiatic focus; while the
Dark Continent lacks that wealth of iron which characterizes the
opposite coast.

By the courtesy of Generals Stone and Purdy I was enabled, after
return to Cairo in May, 1878, to inspect the collection.
Admirably arranged in order of place, and poor as well disposed,
it is, nevertheless, useful to students; and it was most
interesting to us. The only novelty is asbestos produced in the
schist: the raw material is now imported by the United States,
and used for a variety of purposes. It is said to exist in Mount
Sinai; we found none in Midian, where the schist formations are
of great extent, probably because we did not look for it. The
collection was made by Colonel Colston; and Mr. L. H. Mitchell, a
mining engineer attached to the Egyptian Staff, spent several
weeks spalling sundry tons of quartz. After finding a speck of
gold, the work was considered to be done. General Stone, however,
sensibly deprecated any attempt to exploit the minerals: the
country lacks wood and water, and the expense of camel-transport
from Hamámát to Kusayr, and thence in ships to Suez, would
swallow up all the profits.

That Egypt was immensely rich in old days we know from several
sources. Appian tells us that the treasury of Ptolemy
Philadelphus contained 740,000 talents; and assuming with
Ebers[EN#40] the Egyptian at half the Ćginetan, we have the
marvellous sum of Ł83,250,000. According to Diodorus (i. 62), the
treasury of Rhampsinit, concerning which Herodotus (ii. 121, 122)
heard a funny story from his interpreter, contained 4,000,000
talents, equal to at least Ł450,000,000. This rich king's
treasure-house has been found portrayed in the far-famed Temple
of Medinat Habú: the mass of wealth, gold, silver, copper, and
spices, is enormous; and, while the baser metals are in bars, the
precious are stored in heaps, sacks, and vases.

The gold-mines of the old Coptos-plain, the modern Kobt, south of
Keneh, are preserved to all time by the earliest known map. It
has survived; whilst those of the Milesian Anaximander (B.C. 610-
547), of Hekataeus (ob. B.C. 4 76), also from Miletus and called
the "Father of Geography" (Ebers), and of Ptolemy the Pelusian
are irretrievably lost. A papyrus in the Turin Museum contains a
plan of the mineral region spoken of in two stelś, those of
Radesiyyah and Kuban, describing the supply of drinking-water
introduced into the desert between Kuban and the Red Sea.
Chabas[EN#41] has published a coloured facsimile of this map: the
gold-containing mountains are tinted red, and the words "Tu en
nub" (Mons aureus) are written over them in hieratics.

The only modern gold-workings of Egypt are in the Mudíriyyat
(Nomos) of Famaka, the frontier town, better known as Fayzoghlú
from its adjacent heights. The washings were visited lately
(March, 1878) by my enterprising friend, Dr. P. Matteucci, and M.
Gessi. In old days this local Cayenne had a very bad name;
convicts were deported here with a frightful mortality. It is
still a station for galley-slaves, and it has a considerable
garrison, but we no longer hear of an abnormal fatality. The
surface was much turned over by the compulsory miners, and
European geologists and experts were sent to superintend them; at
last the diggings did not pay and were abandoned. But the natives
do by "rule of thumb," despite their ignorance of mineralogy,
without study of ground, and lacking co-ordination of labour,
what the Government failed to do. They have not struck the chief
vein' if any exist; but, during the heavy rains of the Kharif
("autumn") in the valley of the Túmát river, herds of slaves are
sent yearly to wash gold, and they find sufficient to supply the
only known coin--bars or ingots.

Beyond the Siyághah, the left bank is gashed by the ravines
draining the south-eastern prolongation of the "Yellow Hill."
Water cuts through this rotten formation of rubbish like a knife
into cheese; forming deep chasms, here narrow, there broad, with
walls built up, as it were, of fragments, and ready to be
levelled by the first rains. The lines of street and the outlines
of tenements can be dimly traced, while revetments of rounded
boulders show artificial watercourses and defences against the
now dried-up stream. The breadth of this, the eastern settlement,
varies with the extent of the ledge between the gypsum-hills and
the sandy Wady; the length may be a kilometre. The best preserved
traces of crowded building end with the south-eastern spur of the
Jebel el-Safrá. Beyond them is a huge cemetery. The ancient
graves are pits in the ground; a few still uncovered, the many
yawning wide, and all of them ignoring orientation. Those of the
moderns, on the contrary, front towards Meccah. The Bedawin of
this country seem ever to prefer for their last homes the most
ancient sites; they place the body in a pit, covered with a large
slab or a heap of stones, but they never fill in the hollow, as
is usual among Moslems, with earth. The arrangements suit equally
well the hyena and the skull-collector; and thus I was able to
make a fair collection of Bedawi crania.

At the south-eastern end of the outliers projected by the Jebel
el-Safrá, where a gentle slope of red earth falls towards the
valley-bank, is the only group of building of which any part is
still standing. The site may be old, but the present ruins are
distinctly medićval, dating probably from the days of the
Egyptian "Mameluke" Sultans. Beginning from below and to the
south-west is a Hauz, or "cistern," measuring twenty-six by
nineteen and a half metres, with a depth of nine to ten feet. The
material is cut sandstone, cemented outside with mortar
containing the normal brick-crumbs and pebbles, and inside mixed
with mud. At the north-eastern and south-western corners are
retaining buttresses in two steps, exactly like those in the
inland fort of El-Wijh; at the two other angles are flights of
stairs, and the sole is a sheet of dried silt. To the south-east
lies the remnant of a small circular furnace, and on the
north-north-east a broken wall shows where stood the Bayt
el-Saghir, or smaller reservoir. A narrow conduit of cut stone
leads, with elaborate zigzags, towards two Sakiyah ("draw-wells")
hollowed in the gypsum. The Southern, an oval of five metres ten
centimetres, is much dilapidated; and its crumbling throat is
spanned by a worn-out arch of the surrounding Secondary rock.
Close to the north-west is the other, revetted with cut stone,
and measuring six metres in diameter. It is an elaborate affair;
with a pointed arch and a regular keystone, circular Sadúd, or
"walls for supporting the hauling-apparatus," and minor
reservoirs numbering three. On a detached hillock, a few paces to
the north, stands the Fort which defended the establishment. The
short walls of the parallelogram measure fifteen metres forty
centimetres; and the long, eighteen metres sixty centimetres: the
gate, choked by ruins, leads to a small hall, with a masked
entrance opening to the right. There is a narrow room under the
stone steps to the west, and two others occupy the eastern side.
This Fort is to be restored for the better protection of
pilgrims; and shortly after our departure an Egyptian engineer,
Sulayman Effendi, came from Suez to inspect and report upon it.

According to local modern tradition this scatter of masonry was
the original site of the settlement, called after the builder Bir
el-Sa'idáni--"the Well of Sa'ídán." For watering each caravan the
proprietor demanded a camel by way of fee; at last a Maghribí,
that is, a magician, refused to "part;" betook himself to the
present camping ground, sank pits, and let loose the copious
springs. The old wells then dried up, and the new sources gave to
this section of the great Wady 'Afál its actual name, Wady
el-Badá--"of the innovation," so hateful to the conservative
savage. Hence Rüppell's "Beden," which would mean an ibex.

On the opposite or right bank of the broad and sandy bed, the
traces of ancient buildings extend to a far greater distance, at
least to two kilometres. They have been a continuous line of
forts, cisterns, and tenements, still marked out by the bases of
long thick walls; the material is mostly gypsum, leprous-white as
the skin of Gehazi. But here, and indeed generally throughout
Midian, the furious torrents, uncontrolled during long ages by
the hand of man, have swept large gaps in the masses of homestead
and public buildings. Again the ruins of this section are
distributable into two kinds--the City of the Living, and the
City of the Dead.

The former, of considerable extent, hugs the watercourse, and
crowns all the natural spurs that buttress the bed. Beginning
from the north lie two blocks of building considerable in extent:
the southern, called by the Arabs El-Malká, is a broken
parallelogram. Further down stream the bank is a vast strew of
broken pottery; and one place, covered with glass fragments, was
named by our soldiers El-Khammárah--"the tavern" or "the hotel."
As in ancient Etruria, so here, the people assemble after heavy
rains to pick up what luck throws in the way. It is said that
they often gather gold pieces, square as well as round, bearing
by way of inscription "prayers" to the Apostle of Allah. Some of
us, however, had a shrewd suspicion that the Tibr, or "pure
gold-dust," is still washed from the sands, and cast probably in
rude moulds.

Behind, inland or westward of this southern town, lies the City
of the Dead. Unlike the pitted graveyard to the north-east, the
cemetery is wholly composed of catacombs, which the Bedawin call
Magháir ("caves") or Bíbán ("doors"). The sites are the sides and
mouths of four little branch-valleys which cut through the
hillocks representing the Wady-bank. The northernmost is known as
Wady el-Khurayk, because it drains a height of that name: the
others bear the generic term Wady el-Safrá, so called, like the
hauteville hill, from the tawny-yellow colour of the rocks. The
catacombs, fronting in all directions, because the makers were
guided by convenience, not by ceremonial rule, are hollowed in
the soft new sandstone underlying the snowy gypsum; and most of
the façades show one or more horizontal lines of natural
bead-work, rolled pebbles disposed parallelly by the natural
action of water. In the most ruinous, the upper layer is a
cornice of hard sandstone, stained yellow with iron and much
creviced; the base, a soft conglomerate of the same material, is
easily corroded; and the supernal part caves in upon the
principle which is destroying Niagara. At each side of the
doorways is a Mastabah ("stone bench"), also rock-hewn, and with
triple steps. The door-jambs, which have hollowings for hinges
and holes for bars, are much worn and often broken; they are
rarely inclined inwards after the fashion of Egypt. A few have
windows, or rather port-holes, flanking the single entrance. The
peculiarities and the rare ornaments will be noticed when
describing each receptacle; taken as a whole, they are evidently
rude and barbarous forms of the artistic catacombs and
tower-tombs that characterize Petra and Palmyra.

The "Magháir" may roughly be divided into four topical groups.
These are--the northern outliers; the "Tombs of the Kings," so
called by ourselves because they distinguish themselves from all
the others; the "buttressed caves" (two sets); and the southern
outliers. The first mentioned begin with a ruin on the right jaw
of the Khurayk gorge: it is dug in strata dipping, as usual, from
north-west to south-east; it faces eastward, and the entrance
declines to the south. All external appearance of a catacomb has
disappeared; a rude porch, a frame of sticks and boughs, like the
thatched eaves of a Bulgarian hut, stands outside, while inside
signs of occupation appear in hearths and goat-dung, in smoky
roof, and in rubbish-strewn floor. Over another ruin to the west
are graffiti, of which copies from squeezes and photographs are
here given: there are two loculi in the southern wall; and in the
south-eastern corner is a pit, also sunk for a sarcophagus. A
hill-side to the south of this cave shows another, dug in the
Tauá or coloured sandstone, and apparently unfinished: part of it
is sanded up, and its only yield, an Egyptian oil-jar of modern
make, probably belonged to some pilgrim. Crossing the second
dwarf gorge we find, on the right bank, a third large ruin of at
least fourteen loculi; the hard upper reef, dipping at an angle
of 30 degrees, and striking from north-west to southeast, fell in
when the soft base was washed away by weather, and the anatomy of
the graves is completely laid bare. Higher up the same Wady is a
fourth Maghárah, also broken down: the stucco-coating still shows
remnants of red paint; and the characters **--possibly Arab
"Wasm," or tribe-marks--are cut into an upright entrance-stone.

The precipitous left bank of the third gorge contains the three
finest specimens, which deserve to be entitled the "Tombs of the
Kings." Of these, the two facing eastward are figured by Rüppell
(p. 220) in the antiquated style of his day, with fanciful
foreground and background.[EN#42] His sketch also places solid
rock where the third and very dilapidated catacomb of this group,
disposed at right angles, fronts southwards. Possibly the façades
may once have been stuccoed and coloured; now they show the bare
and pebble-banded sandstone.

The southernmost, which may be assumed as the type, has an
upright door, flanked by a stone bench of three steps. Over the
entrance is a defaced ornament which may have been the bust of a
man: in Rüppell it is a kind of geometrical design. The frontage
has two parallel horizontal lines, raised to represent cornices.
Each bears a decoration resembling crenelles or Oriental ramparts
broken into three steps; the lower set numbers eight, including
the half ornaments at the corners, and the higher seven. The
interior is a mixture of upright recesses, probably intended for
the gods or demons; and of horizontal loculi, whose grooves show
that they had lids. There is no symmetry in the niches, in the
sarcophagi, or in the paths and passages threading the graves.
The disposition will best be understood from the ground-plans
drawn by the young Egyptian officers: their sketches of the
façades are too careless and incorrect for use; but the want is
supplied by the photographs of M. Lacaze.

Above these three "Tombs of the Kings" are many rock-cavities
which may or may not have been sepulchral. Time has done his
worst with them. We mounted the background of a quoin-shaped hill
by a well-trodden path, leading to the remnants of a rude Burj
("watch-tower"), and to a semicircle of dry wall, garnished with
a few sticks for hanging rags and tatters. The latter denotes the
Musallat Shu'ayb, or praying-place of (prophet) Jethro; and here
our Sayyid and our Shaykh took the opportunity of applying for
temporal and eternal blessings. The height at the edge of the
precipice which, cliffing to the north, showed a view of our camp
and of Yubú and Shu'shú' Islands, was in round numbers 450 feet
(aner. 29.40--28.94). From this vantage-ground we could
distinctly trace the line of the Wady Makná, beginning in a round
basin at the western foot of the northern Shigd Mountain and its
sub-range; while low rolling hills, along which we were to
travel, separated it from the Wady Bada'-‘Afál to the south.

Two other important sets of catacombs, which I will call the
"buttressed caves," are pierced in the right flank of the same
gorge, at the base of a little conical hill, quaintly capped with
a finial of weathered rock. The material is the normal silicious
gravel-grit, traversed and cloisonné by dykes of harder stone.
Beginning at the south, we find a range of three, facing eastward
and separated from one another by flying buttresses of natural
rock. No. 1 has a window as well as a door. Next to it is a
square with six open loculi ranged from north to south. No. 3
shows a peculiarity--two small pilasters of the rudest
(Egyptian?) Doric, the only sign of ornamentation found inside
the tombs; a small break in the south-western wall connects it
with the northernmost loculus of No. 2. Furthest north are three
bevel-holes, noting the beginning of a catacomb; and round the
northern flank of the detached cone are six separate caves, all
laid waste by the furious northern gales.

The second set is carved in the bluff eastern end of an adjoining
reef that runs away from the Wady; it consists of four sepulchres
with the normal buttresses. They somewhat resemble those of the
Kings, but there are various differences. No. 2 from the south is
flanked by pilasters with ram's-horn capitals, barbarous forms of
Ionic connected by three sets of triglyphs: the pavement is of
slabs; there is an inner niche, and one of the corners has
apparently been used as an oven. On a higher plane lies a sunken
tomb, with a deep drop and foot-holes by way of ladder; outside
it the rocky platform is hollowed, apparently for graves. The
other three facades bear the crenelle ornaments; the two to the
north show double lines of seven holes drilled deep into the
plain surface above the door, as if a casing had been nailed on;
while the northernmost yielded a fragmentary inscription on the
southern wall. These are doubtless the "inscribed tablets on
which the names of kings are engraved," alluded to in the
Jihan-numá of Haji Khahífah.[EN#43] Rounding the reef to the
north, we found three catacombs in the worst condition: one of
them showed holes drilled in the façade.

The southern outliers lie far down the Wady 'Afál, facing east,
and hewn in the left flank of a dwarf gulley which falls into the
right bank not far from the site called by our men "the tavern."
The group numbers three, all cut in the normal sandstone, with
the harder dykes which here stand up like ears. The principal
item is the upper cave, small, square, and apparently still used
by the Arabs: in the middle of the lintel is a lump looking like
the mutilated capital of a column. The two lower caves show only

There is a tradition that some years ago a Frank (Rüppell?),
after removing his Arab guides, dug into the tombs, and found
nothing but human hair. Several of the horizontal loculi
contained the bones of men and beasts: I did not disturb them, as
all appeared to be modern. The floors sounding hollow, gave my
companions hopes of "finds;" but I had learned, after many a
disappointment, how carefully the Bedawi ransack such places. We
dug into four sepulchres, including the sunken catacomb and the
(southern) inscribed tomb. Usually six inches of flooring led to
the ground-rock; in the sarcophagi about eight inches of tamped
earth was based upon nine feet of sand that ended at the bottom.
The only results were mouldering bones, bits of marble and
pottery, and dry seeds of the Kaff Maryam, the Rose of Jericho
(Anastatica), which here feeds the partridges, and which in Egypt
supplies children with medicine, and expectant mothers with a
charm. As the plant is bibulous, opening to water and even to the
breath, it is placed by the couch, and its movement shows what is
to happen. The cave also yielded specimens of bats (Rhinopoma
macrophyllum), with fat at the root of their spiky tails.

I have described at considerable length this ruined Madiáma,
which is evidently the capital of Madyan Proper, ranking after
Petra. In one point it is still what it was, a chief station upon
the highway, then Nabatí, now Moslem, which led to the Ghor or
Wady el-'Arabah. But in all others how changed! "The traveller
shall come; he that saw me in my beauty shall come: his eyes
shall search the field; they shall not find me."

Chapter IV.
Notices of Precious Metals in Midian--the Papyri and the Medićval
Arab Geographers.

In my volume on "The Gold-Mines of Midian," the popular Hebrew
sources of information--the Old Testament and the Talmud--were
ransacked for the benefit of the reader. It now remains to
consult the Egyptian papyri and the pages of the medićval Arab
geographers: extracts from the latter were made for me, in my
absence from England, by the well-known Arabist, the Rev. G.
Percy Badger.[EN#44] I will begin with the beginning.

Dr. Heinrich Brugsch-Bey, whose "History of Egypt"[EN#45] is the
latest and best gift to Egyptologists, kindly drew my attention
to an interesting passage in his work, and was good enough to
copy for me the source of his information, tile Harris Papyrus
(No. 1) in the British Museum.

The first king of the twentieth Dynasty, born about B.C. 1200,
and residing at Thebes, was Rameses III., whose title, Ramessu
pa-Nuter (or Nuti), "Ramses the god," became in the hands of the
Greeks Rhampsinitos. This great prince, ascending the throne in
evil days, applied himself at once to the internal and external
economy of his realm; he restored the caste-divisions, and
carried fire and sword into the lands of his enemies. He
transported many captives to Egypt; fortified his eastern
frontier; and built, in the Gulf of Suez, a fleet of large and
small ships, in order to traffic with Pun and the "Holy
Land,"[EN#46] and to open communication with the
"Incense-country" and with the wealthy shores of the Indian

"Not less important," says our author (p. 594), "for Egypt, which
required before all things the copper applied to every branch of
her industry, was the sending of commissioners, by land (on
donkey back!) and by sea, to explore and exploit the rich
cupriferous deposits of 'Atháka (in the neighbourhood of the
'Akabah Gulf?). This metal, with the glance of gold, was there
cast in brick-shape, and was transported by sea to the capital.

"The king also restored his attention to the treasures of the
Sinaitic Peninsula, which had excited the concupiscence of the
Egyptians since the days of King Senoferu[EN#47] (B.C. 3700).
Loaded with rich presents for the sanctuary of the goddess
Hathor, the protectress of Mafka-land, chosen employés were
despatched on a royal commission to the peninsula, for the
purpose of supplying the Pharaoh's treasury with the highly
prized blue-green copper-stones (Mafka, Turkisen?[EN#48])."

These lines were published by Dr. Brugsch-Bey before he had heard
of my discoveries of metals and of a modern turquoise-digging in
the Land of Midian. He had decided that "'Atháka" lay to the east
of Suez, chiefly from the insistence laid upon the shipping;
sea-going craft would certainly not be required for a sail of
three or four hours. Moreover, as I have elsewhere shown, Jebel
'Atakáh, the "Mountain of Deliverance," at the mouth of the Wady
Musá, was referred to the Jews at some time after the Christian
era, and probably during the fourth and fifth centuries, when
pilgrimages to the apocryphal Mounts Sinai became the fashion.

During the summer of 1877, Dr. Brugsch-Bey was kind enough to
copy and to translate the original document, upon which he
founded his short account of the "'Atháka" copper-mines. I offer
it to the reader in full.

The order of the alphabet is that adopted by Dr. Brugsch-Bey. It
relies for the first letter upon the authority of Plutarch, who
asserts that the Egyptian abecedarium numbered the square of five
(twenty-five); and that it opened with ----, which also
expresses the god Thoth;--this is the case with ----
the leaf of some water-plant. The sequence of the letters has been
suggested by a number of minor considerations: we begin with the
vowels, and proceed to the labial, the liquids, and so

The sense of the highly interesting inscription, in its English
order, would be:--

"I have sent my commissioners to the land 'Atháka; to the (those)[EN#50]
great mines of copper (or coppers)[EN#51] which are in this place
('Atháka); and their (i.e. the commissioners') ships[EN#52] were loaded,
carrying them (the metals); while other (commissioners were sent and)
marched on their asses. No! one never (ter-tot) had heard, since the
(days of the olden) kings, that these (copper) mines had been
found.[EN#53] The loads (i.e. of the ships and the asses) carried copper;
the loads were by myriads for their ships, which went thence (i.e. from
the mines) to Egypt. (After) happily arriving, the loads were landed,
according to royal order, under the Pavilion,[EN#54] in form of copper-
bricks;[EN#55] they were numerous as frogs (in the marsh),[EN#56] and in
quality they were gold (Nub) of the third degree.[EN#57] I made them
admired (by) all the world as marvellous things."

The following lines upon the subject of Midian are from the notes
(p. 143) of Jacob Golius in "Alferganum" (small 4to. Amsterdam,
1669), a valuable translation with geographical explanations.
Ahmad ibn Mohammed ibn Kathír el-Fargháni derived his "lakab" or
cognomen from the province of Farghán (Khokand), to the
north-east of the Oxus; he wrote a work upon astronomy, and he
flourished about A.H. 184 (= A.D. 800).

"Ibidem ( Madyan) Medjan sive Midjan, Antiqui nominis oppidum in
Maris Rubri littore, sub 29 degrees grad. latitudine; ad ortum brumalem
deflectens ŕ montis Sinć extremitate: ubi feré site Ptolemći Modiana,
haud dubié eadem cum Midjan. A Geographorum Orientalium quibusdam ad
Ćgyptum refertur; ŕ plerisq; omnibus ad Higiazam: quod merito et recté
factum. Nullus enim est, qui Arabibus non annumeret Madianitas; et Sinam,
quć Madjane borealior, montem Arabić facit D. Paulus Gal. iv. Midjan
autem fuit Abrahami ex Kethura filius: unde tribus illa et ab hac urbs
nomen habent. Quam quidem tribum coaluisse, sedibus ut puto et affinitate
in unam cum Ismaëlitis, innuere videntur Geneseos verba. Nam
conspirantibus in Josephi exitium fratribus dicuntur supervenisse
Ismaëlitae; transivisse Midjanite; ipse v ditus ab Ismaëlitis. Ceterum
urbem Midjan Arabes pro ea habent, quć in Corano vocatur (
Madínat Kúsh): Xaib[EN#58] enim illis idem est, qui Jethro dicitur Exod.
iii. cujus filiam Sipporam Moses uxor duxit, cum ex Ćgpto profugisset in
terram Midjan; ubi Jethro princeps erat et Sacerdos. Autonomosia illa
Arabibus familiaris. Ita Hanoch ( Aknúkh) appelatus, Abraham (El-
Khalíl), Rex Saul ( Tálút), etc., licet eorundem propria etiam
usurpentur nomina. Et in ipsis Sacris Libris non uno nomine hic Jethro
designatur. Loci illius puteum[EN#59] Scriptores memorant fano circum
extructo Arabibus sacrum, persuasis Mosem ibi Sipporam et sorores ŕ
pastorum injuriis vindicasse; prout Exod., cap. ii., res describitur. Sed
primis Muhammedici regni bellis universa fere, quae rune extabat, urbs
vastata fuit."

El-Fargháni is followed by the Imám Abú 'Abbás Ahmed bin Yáhyá
bin Jábir, surnamed and popularly known as El-Balázurí, who
flourished between A.H. 232 and 247 (= A.D. 846 to 861), and
wrote the Futú'h el-Buldán, or the "Conquests of Countries." His
words are (pp. 13-14, M. J. de Goeje's edition; Lugduni
Batavorum, 1866)--"It was related to me by Abú Abíd el-Kásim bin
Sallám; who said he was told by Ishák bin Isa, from Malík ibn
Anas and from Rabíat, who heard from a number of the learned,
that the Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace!) gave in feoff
(Iktá'at) to Bilál bin el-Háris el-Muzni, mines (Ma'ádin, i.e. of
gold) in the district of Furú' (variant, Kurú'). Moreover, it was
related to me by Amrú el-Nákid, and by Ibn Saham el-Antáki (of
Antioch), who both declared to have heard from El-Haytham bin
Jamíl el-Antáki, through Hammád bin Salmah, that Abú Makín,
through Abú Ikrimah Maulá Bilál bin el-Háris el-Muzni, had
averred 'The Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace!) enfeoffed the
said Bilál with (a bit of) ground containing a mountain and a
(gold) mine; that the sons of Bilál sold part of the grant to one
'Umar bin 'Abd el-'Azíz, when a (gold) mine or, according, to
others, two (gold) mines were found in it; that they said to the
buyer, Verily we sold to thee land for cultivation, and we did
not sell thee (gold) mining-ground; that they brought the letter
of the Apostle (upon whom be peace!) in a (bound) volume: that
'Umar kissed it and rubbed it upon his eyes, and said, Of a truth
let me see what hath come out of it (the mine) and what I have
laid out upon it.' Then he deducted from them the expenses of
working and returned to them the surplus. . . . And I was told by
Musa'b el-Zubayri, from Malik ibn Anas, that the Apostle of Allah
(upon whom be peace!) gave in feoff to Bilál bin Háris mines in
the district of Fara' (sic). There is no difference of opinion
among our learned men on this subject, nor do I know any of our
companions who contradicts (the statement) that the (gold) mine
paid one-fourth per ten (= 2 1/2 per cent.) royalty (to the Bayt
el-Mál, or Public Treasury). Musa'b further relates, from
El-Zahri, that the (gold) mine defrayed the Zakát or poor-rate:
he also said that the proportion was one-fifth (= 2 per cent.);
like that which the people of El-Irák (Mesopotamia) take to this
day from the (gold) mines of El-Fara' (sic), and of Nejrán, and
of Zúl-Marwah, and of Wady El-Kura[EN#60] and others. Moreover,
the fifth is also mentioned by Safáin el-Thauri, and by Abú
Hanífah and Abú Yúsuf, as well as by the people of El-'Irák."

Follows on my list the celebrated Murúj el-Dahab, or "Meads of
Gold," by El-Mas'údi, who died in A.H. 346 (= A.D. 957), and
whose book extends to A.H. 332 (= A.D. 943). Unable to find the
translation of my friend Sprenger, I am compelled to quote from
"Maçoudi. Les Prairies d'Or," texte et traduction par C. Barbier
de Meynard et Pavet de Courteille. Société Asiatique, Paris,
1864, vol. iii. pp. 301-305.

"Les théologians ne sont pas d'accord sur la question de savoir ŕ
quel peuple appartenait Choâďb (Shu'ayb), fils de Nawil, fils de
Rawaďl, fils de Mour, fils d'Anka, fils de Madian, fils
d'Abraham, l'ami de Dieu, quoiqu'il soit certain que sa langue
était l'arabe. Les uns pensent qu'il appartenait aux races arabes
éteintes, aux nations qui ont disparu, ŕ quelque une de ces
générations passées dont nous avons parlé. Suivant d'autres, il
s'agirait ici des descendants d'el-Mahd, fils de Djandal, fils de
Yâssob, fils de Madian, fils d'Abraham, dont Choâďb etait frére
par la naissance. De cette race sortit un grand nombre de rods
qui s'étaient dispersés dans des royaumes contigus les uns aux
autres ou sépare's. Parmi ces rods il faut distinguer ceux qui
étaient nommés Aboudjed, Hawaz, Houti, Kalamoun, Çafas et
Kourichat,[EN#61] tous, comme nous venons de le dire, fils
d'el-Mahd, fils de Djandal. Les lettres de l'alphabet sont
représentées précisément par les noms de ces rois, oú l'on
retrouve les vingt-quatre lettres sur lesquelles roule
l'Aboudjed.[EN#62] Il a e'te' dit beaucoup d'autres choses ŕ
propos de ces lettres, comme nous l'avons fait remarquer dans cet
ouvrage; mais il n'entre pas dans notre sujet de rapporter ici
tous les systčmes contradictoires imaginés pour l'expliquer la
signification des lettres.[EN#63] Aboudjed fut roi de la Mecque
et de la partie du Hédjaz qui y confine. Hawaz et Houti régnérent
conjointement dans le pays de Weddj (El-Wijh), qui est le
territoire de Tayif, et la portion du Nedjd qui lui est contigue.
Kalamoun exerçait la suzeraineté sur le royaume de Madian; il y a
męme des auteurs qui pensent que son autorité s'étendait
conjointement sur tous les princes et les pays que nous venons de
nommer. Le châtiment du jour de la nuée (Koran, xxvi. 189) eut
lieu sous le re'gne de Kalamoun. Choâďb appelant ces impies ŕ la
pénitence, ils le traitčrent de menteur. Alors il les mena,ca du
châtiment du jour de la nuée, ŕ la suite de quoi une porte du feu
du ciel fut ouverte sur eux. Choâďb se retire, avec ceux qui
avaient cru, dans l'endroit connu sous le nom d'el Aďkah, qui est
un fourré dans la direction de Madian. Cependant, lorsque lcs
incrédules sentirent les effets de la vengeance céleste, et que,
consumés par une chaleur terrible, ils comprirent enfin la
vérité, ils se mirent ŕ la recherche de Choâďb et de ceux qui
avaient cru en lui. Ils les trouvérent abrités sous un nuage
blanc, doucement rafraichi par le zéphire, et ne ressentant en
rien les atteintes de la douleur. Ils les chassčrent de cet
asile, s'imaginant qu'ils y trouveraient eux-męmes un refuge
contre le fléau qui les poursuivait. Mais Dieu changea cette nuée
en un feu qui se précipita sur leurs tętes. Mountassir, fils
d'el-Moundir el-Médéni, a parlé de ce peuple et a déploré son
triste sort dans des vers oů il dit:

"Les rois des enfants de Houti et de Çafas, qui vivaient dans
l'opulence, et ceux de Hawaz, qui possédaient des palais et des
appartements somptueux,

"Régnaient sur la contrée du Hédjaz, et leur beauté était
semblable ŕ celle des rayons du soleil ou ŕ l'éclat de la rune;

"Ils habitaient l'emplacement de la maison sainte, ils
adoucissaient les moeurs de leurs compatriotes et gouvernaient
avec illustration et honneur....

"Rien de plus curieux que l'histoire de ces rois, le ré'cit de
leurs guerres, de leurs actes, de la maničre dont ils
s'emparčrent de ces contrées et établirent leur domination, apres
en avoir exterminé les premičres possesseurs. Ceux-ci étaient des
peuples dont nous avons parlé dans nos précédents ouvrages, en
traitant ce sujet; nous appelons l'attention dans ce livre sur
nous premiers écrits, et nous engageons le lecteur ŕ les

The next in order of seniority is the well-known Idrísí (A.H. 531
= A.D. 1136). Dr. Badger's Arabic copy not being paged, he has
forwarded to me extracts from the French translation by M. P.
Amadée Jaubert (Paris, 1836), having first compared them with the

Tome 1 p. 5: "De cette mer de la Chine dérive encore le golfe de
Colzoum (Kulzum), qui commence ŕ Bab el-Mandeb,[EN#64] au point
ou se termine la mer des Indes. Il s'étend au nord, en inclinant
un peu vers l'occident, en longeant les rivages occidentales de
l'Iemen, le Téháma, l'Hédjaz, jusqu'au pays de Madian, d'Aila
(El-'Akabah), et de Faran; et se termine ŕ la ville de Colzoum,
dont il tire son nom."

P. 142: "Les districts fortifiés, dependents de la Mecque, sont .
. . Ceux qui sont sous la dépendance de Médine sont . . .

P. 328: "Pour aller de Misr (Cairo) ŕ' Yetrib (sic pro Yathrib),
on passe par les lieux suivants, Aďlah (Aylah) Madian," etc.

P. 333: "Sur les bords de la mer Colzoum est la ville de Madian
(in orig. Madiyan) plus grande qui Tabouk (Tabúk), et le puits ou
Moďse (sur qui soit le salut!) abreuva le troupeau de Jethro
(E1Shu'ayb). On dit que ce puits est (maintenant) ŕ sec [Note at
foot: Je lis Mu'attilah comme porte le MS. B., et non
Mu'azzamah,[EN#65] leçon donnee par le MS. A.]; et qu'on a élevé
audessus une construction. L'eau nécéssaire aux habitants
provient de sources. Le nom de Madiyan (sic) de'rive de celui de
la tribu ŕ laquelle Jethro appartenait. Cette ville offre trés
peu de ressources et le commerce y est misérable."

The following notice of Madyan is taken from the Kitáb el-Buldán
("Book of Countries"),[EN#66] by Ahmed ibn Abí Ya'kúb bin Wádhih,
surnamed El-Ya'kúbí and El-Kátib (the writer); according to the
Arabic colophon it was completed on the morning of Saturday,
Shawwál 21, A.H. 607 (= A.D. 1210). The author gives (p. 129, T.
G. J. Juynboll, Lugduni Batavorum, 1861) a description of the
route from Misr (Egypt, here Cairo) to Meccah. The first ten
stages are--1. Jubb el-'Umayrah; 2. El-Kerkirah (variant,
Karkírah); 3. 'Ajrúd, the well-known fort on the direct
Suez-Cairo line; 4. Jisr el-Kulzum, where the Gulf was crossed;
and, lastly, six Desert marches (Maráhil) to Aylah.[EN#67] The
latter station is described as a fine city upon the shore of the
Salt Sea, the meeting-place of the pilgrim-caravans from
Syria,[EN#68] Egypt, and the Maghrib (West Africa). It has
merchandise in plenty, and its people are a mixed race (Akhlát
min el-Nás).[EN#69] Here also are sold the fine cloaks called
Burdu habaratin, and also known as the Burd of the Apostle of
Allah[EN#70] (upon whom be peace!). He resumes, "And from Aylah
you march to Sharaf el-Baghl, and from the latter to Madyan,
which is a large and populous city, with abundant springs and
far-flowing streams of wholesome water; and gardens of
flower-beds. Its inhabitants are a mixed race (Akhlát min
el-Nás).[EN#71] The traveller making Meccah from Aylah takes the
shore of the Salt Sea, to a place called 'Aynúná (variant, 'Uyún,
plural of 'Ayn, an eye of water, a fountain): here are buildings
and palm clumps, and seeking-places (Matalib: see Lane for the
authorities), in which men search for gold." Dr. Badger draws my
attention to the last sentence, which seems also to have been
noticed by Sprenger (Alt. Geog. p. 32).[EN#72]

The following is from the Kitáb Asár el-Bitad ("Book of the
Geographical Traditions of Countries"), by the far-famed
Zakariyyá bin Mohammed bin Mahmúd, surnamed El-Kazwíní, who died
A.H. 653 = A.D. 1255:--"Madyan" (p. 173, edidit. F. Wustenfeld,
Göttingen, 1848) "is a city of the tribe (Kaum) of Shu'ayb upon
whom be peace!): it was founded by Madyan, son of Ibrahim, the
Friend (of Allah), the grandfather of Shu'ayb. It exports the
merchandise of Tabúk between El-Medinah and El-Shám (Damascus).
In it is the well whence Musá (upon whom be peace!) watered the
flocks of Shu'áyb, and it is said that the well is of great
depth; and that over it is a building visited by (pious) men.
This settlement Madyan is subject to the district of Tabaríyyah
(Tiberias); and near it is the well, and at it a rock which Moses
uprooted,[EN#73] and which remains there to the present day."

The Imám Abú'l-Abbás Ahmed ibn 'Ali Takiyy el-Dín, better known
as "El-Makrízi," wrote his book El-Mawáiz w'el-I'tibár fi' Zikr
el-Khitat w'el-'Asár ("The Admonition and Examples in
Commemorating Habitations and Traditions") in A.H. 825 (= A.D.
1421), during the latter part of the second Mamlúk dynasty; and
he brings down the history to the reign of Kansu Ghori, whose
fort we shall see at El-'Akabah. He tells us (edition of
Gottingen, 1848, Sahífah 48), "The loftiest mountain in Madyan
is called Zubayr.[EN#74] . . . It is also related that amongst
the settlements of the (Madyanite) tribe are the villages of
Petrća (), namely, the Kúrat (circuit) of El-Tor, and
Fárán (Pharan), and Ráyeh, and Kulzum, and Aylah (El-'Akabah)
with its surroundings; Madyan with its surroundings; and Awíd and
Haurá (Leukč-Kóme) with their surroundings, and Badá[EN#75] and
Shaghab."[EN#76] He speaks of many ruined cities whose
inhabitants had disappeared: forty, however, remained; some with,
and others without, names. Between El-Hejaz and Egypt-Syria were
sixteen cities, ten of them lying towards Palestine. The most
important were El-Khalasah,[EN#77] with its idol-temple destroyed
by Mohammed, and El-Sani'tah, whose stones had been removed to
build Ghazzah (Gaza). The others were El-Mederah, El-Minyah,
El-A'waj, El-Khuwayrak, El-Bírayn, El-Máayn, El-Sebá, and

The Marásid el-Ittílá 'alá Asmá el-Amkanat w'el-Buká'
("Observations of Information on the Names of Places and
Countries"), which contains two dates in the body of the work,
viz. A.H. 997 ( = A.D. 1589) and A.H. 1168 (A.D. = 1755), and
which is probably compiled from El-Kazwíní, says sub voce Madyan,
after giving the "movement" of the word: "It is a city of the
tribe of Shu'ayb, opposite Tabúk, and upon the sea of El-Kulzum,
six stages (Maráhil) separating the two. It is larger than Tabúk,
and in it is the well whence Moses watered the flocks of
Shu'ayb." Finally, it repeats that Madyan is under the district
of "Tabariyyá" or Tiberias[EN#79] (vol. iii. p. 64, edidit. T. G.
J. Juynboll, Lugduni Batavorum, 1854, e duobus Codd. MSS.).

I conclude this unpopular chapter with some remarks by Dr. Badger
concerning the apparent connection of Jethro and
El-Medínah:[EN#80] "It struck me when studying 'Madyan,' which is
the name of a place as well as of a man,[EN#81] that 'Yáthrib,'
the ancient term of al-Madínah, might have served the same double
purpose. At all events, it was singular to find a Yáthrib
somewhere near Madyan, and that the word was not far removed from
the (Yithro), the name given in Hebrew to Moses'
Midianite father-in-law. I also note that the Septuagint renders
the Hebrew Yithro by Peshito by (Yathrűn),
which the new Arabic version of the Bible, published at Bairu't
(Syria), follows; making it (Yáthrűn). The name in
Hebrew (Exod. iv. 18) is also written (Yether).

"My theory is this. Firstly, there is no dependence to be placed
on the Masoretic points, especially when affixed to names of
places. Secondly, we have no certain knowledge of the language
used by the Midianites in those ancient times. Their territory
extended northwards towards Palestine, and from their very
intimate relations with the Israelites, as friends and as
enemies, both nations appear to have understood each other
perfectly. May not their language, then, have been a dialect of
the Aramean?[EN#82] If so, the (Yithro) of the Bible
might have been (Yithrab, Yathrib, etc.). Instances of
the apocopated (b) are common in the Chaldean or
Syro-Chaldaic at the present day; e.g. (Yáheb Alaha) is
pronounced Yáu-Alaha; (Yashuá'-yaheb) becomes
Yashuá-yau, etc., the final Beth (b) or the
(heb) being converted into a (w). Hence why may not
(Yithro) have been originally (Yithrab or
Yathrib)? Of course, this is only a conjecture of mine."

Mr. E. Stanley Poole (loc. cit.) says that the Arabs dispute
whether the name "Medyen" be foreign or Arabic; and whether
"Medyen" spoke Arabic. He considers the absurd enumeration of the
alphabetical kings (El-Mas'údi, quoted above) to be curious, as
possibly containing some vague reference to the language of
Midian. When these kings are said contemporaneously to have ruled
over Meccah, Western Nejd, Yemen, "Medyen," Egypt, etc., it is
extremely improbable that Midian ever penetrated into Yemen,
notwithstanding the hints of Arab authors to the contrary. Yákút
el-Hamawi (born A.H. 574 or 575 = A.D. 1178-79, and died A.H. 626
= A.D. 1228), in the Mu'jam el-Buldán (cited in the Journ. of the
Deutsch. Morgen. Gesellschaft), declares that a South Arabic
dialect is of Midian, and El-Mas'údi (apud Schultens, pp.
158-159) inserts a Midianite king among the rulers of Yemen. The
latter, however, is more probable than the former; it may be an
accidental and individual, not a material occurrence.

The following list of ruins, some cities, others towns, were all,
with two exceptions (Nos. 2 and 18), visited or explored by the
second Khedivial Expedition. The Mashghal, ateliers or subsidiary
workshops, were in cases learned only by hearsay:--

1. Old 'Akabah (Aylah) Mashghal, up Valley el-Yitm. 3.

2. El-Hakl (pronounced "Hagul"), the of Ptolemy: it
was seen from the sea, and notes were taken of its ruins and

3. Nakhil Tayyib Ism, in mountain of the same name: its ruined
dam (?) and buildings were surveyed by Lieutenant Amir.

4. Makná. Twice visited.

5. Magháir Shu'ayb. Two ateliers inspected, and one heard of on
the Jebel el-Lauz: total, 3.

6. 'Aynúnah. In Jebel Zahd (ruins and furnaces). 1.

7. Sharmá. An atelier on the Jebel Fás, and another on the Jebel
Harb, both high up: total, 2.

8. Tiryam. An atelier in the Wady Urnub. 1.

9. Abu Hawáwít, near El-Muwaylah. Scorić found about the fort of
El-Muwaylah and near Sharm Yáhárr. 2.

10. Zibayyib in Wady Surr. Atelier Sayl Umm Laban (Wady Sadr). 1.

11. Khulasah.[EN#83] Saw specimens of worked metal from Wady
Kh'shabríyyah, and the upper Wady Surr; also ruins in the Sayl
Abú Sha'r, south-west and seawards of the Shárr block.

12. Ma' el-Badá, alias Diyár el-Nasárá, in the upper Wady Dámah.

13. Shuwák, the of Ptolemy. Atelier in Jebel
el-Sání. 1.

14. Shaghab, another large city mentioned by El-Makrízi.

15. Ruins of El-Khandakí. Broken quartz, and made road at
El-Kutayyifah; two other ateliers in Wady Ruways to the west:
total, 3.

16. Umm Amil. Near it an atelier still called El-Dayr, or the
Convent. 1.

17. Ziba', old town; Umm Jirmah to the north. 1.

18. Majirmah (pronounced M'jirmah), one day's march south of
Zibá. Large ruins, supposed to have been the classical

Thus, besides a total of eighteen ruins, more or less extensive,
twenty ateliers were seen or heard of; making up a total of
thirty-eight--not far removed from the forty traditional
settlements of the medićval Arab geographers.

In the plateau of New Red Sandstone called El-Hismá, ruins and
inscriptions are said to be found at the Jebel Rawiyán, whose
Wady is mentioned by Wallin (p. 308); at Ruáfá, between the two
hills El-Rakhamatayn; and at sundry other places, which we were
unable to visit. Beyond the Hisma' I also collected notices of
El-Karáyyá, large ruins first alluded to by Wallin (p.

During our exploration of the region below El-Muwaylah (my
Southern Midian), and our cruise to El-Haura', the following
sites were either seen or reported:--

1. Ruins in the Wady Dukhán, south of the Wady el-Azlam: north of

2. El-Nabaghah, in the Wady el-Marrah: north of El-Wijh.

3. Ruins, furnaces and quartz-strews, in the Fara't Lebayyiz.

4. El-Wijh, the port of Strabo's "Egra" (?).

5. Inland fort of El-Wijh; an old metal-working ground.

6. The great mine and ruins, Umm el-Karayya't, everywhere
surrounded by ateliers.

7. El-Kubbah, a small isolated ruin to the east of No. 6.

8. El-Khaur, a working-place to the west of No. 6.

9. The large works called Umm el-Hara'b, with two ruined ateliers
near them.

10. Aba'l-Gezáz, a working-place in the watercourse of the same
name, an upper branch of the Wady Salbah.

11. The fine plain of Bada', with the Mashghal el-'Arayfát heard
of to the north.

12. Marwát, ruins on a ridge near Badá, and signs of a settlement
in the valley. In the Wady Laylah, remains also spoken of.

13. Aba'l-Marú, probably the Zu'l-Marwah of Bilázurí; extensive
remains of buildings; a huge reef of quartz, carefully worked,
and smaller ruins further down the valley.

14. The classical temple or tomb on the left bank of the great
Wady Hamz, dividing Southern Midian from El-Hejaz in the Turkish

15. Large remains, in two divisions, at El-Haurá.[EN#85]

Concerning the ateliers, details will be found in the following
pages. Many of them suggest a kind of compromise between the
camps and settlements of the Stone Age, where, e.g. at Pressigny
and Grimes' Graves, the only remnant of man is a vast strew of
worked silexes; and the wandering fraternity of Freemasons who
hutted themselves near the work in hand. And I would here lay
special stress upon my suspicion that the ancestors of the
despised Hutaym may have been the Gypsy-caste that worked the
metals in Midian.

For the date of the many ruins which stud the country, I will
assume empirically that their destruction is coeval with that of
the Christian Churches in Negeb, or the South Country,[EN#86]
that adjoins Midian Proper on the north-west. It may date from
either the invasion of Khusrau Anúshírawán, the conquering
Sassanian King Chosroes (A.D. 531-579); or from the expedition,
sent by the Caliph Omar and his successors, beginning in A.D.
651. But, as will appear in the course of these pages, there was
a second destruction; and that evidently dates from the early
sixteenth century, when Sultán Selim laid out his maritime road
for the Hajj-caravan. Before that time the Egyptian caravans, as
will be seen, marched inland, and often passed from Midian to

Chapter V.
Work At, and Excursions From, Magháir Shu'Ayb.

By the blessing of Nebi Shu'ayb and a glance from his eyrie, I at
once suspected that the western Shigd was the "Mountain on a
mountain" alluded to by Haji Wali;[EN#87] and, on January 12,
1878, I ascertained that such was the case. The old man had given
me a hand-sketch of the most artless, showing a gorge between two
rocks, a hill of two stages to the left or west, and a couple of
Wadys draining it to the sea; one (Wady Makná) trending
northwest, and the other (Wady 'Afál) south-west. The word
"Ishmah," affixed to the northern part of the route, is evidently
the Hismá plateau, and not, as I had supposed it to be, the Jebel
Tayyib Ism.

Nor had we any difficulty in discovering Haji Wali's tree, a
solitary Mimosa to the right of the caravan-track, springing from
the sands of the Shigdawayn gorge. The latter is formed by the
sister-blocks before alluded to. The western Shigd, on the right
of the Wady 'Afál, is composed of carbonate of lime and
sandstones dyed with manganese, the whole resting upon a core of
grey granite; the formation is the same as the eastern feature,
but the lines of the latter are gentler, and the culminating
tower is wanting.

The western Shigd, indeed, is sufficiently peculiar. It is the
southern apex of a short range, numbering some four heads: the
eastern flank discharges the Wady Kizáz, which feeds the 'Afál;
and the western the Wady Makná. The summit of the broken and
spiny cone is a huge perpendicular block, apparently inaccessible
as a tower, and composed of the dull yellow ferruginous
conglomerate called "El-Safrá:" the tint contrasts strongly with
a long line of bright white Rugham (gypsum), bisecting the head
of the Wady Makná. Below the apex is a thick stratum of
manganese-stained rock: the upper line, with a dip of 15 deg.
towards the main valley, looks much like a row of bulwarks which
had slipped from the horizontal, while still bluff between the
north-east and east. Indeed, the shape is so regular that M.
Lacaze, at first sight, asked if it was une construction.

As soon as the washing-trough was brought up from Sharmá, we
opened operations by digging a trench, at least twelve feet deep,
in the re-entering angle of the bed close to the Mimosa tree. The
sand, pink above and chloritic yellow below, ended in a thick bed
of water-rolled pebbles, not in ground-rock; nor did it show the
couch of excellent clay which usually underlies the surface, and
which, I have said, is extracted through pits to make sun-dried
brick, swish, and other building materials. We also secured some
of the blood-red earth from the eastern tail of the northern
"Shigh," the manganese-stained Tauá and the gravelly sand washed
out of the Cascalho-gravel, the latter very promising. The result
of our careless working, however, was not successful; the normal
ilmenite, black sand of magnetic iron, took the place of
gold-dust. And this unlooked-for end again made us suspicious of
my old friend's proceedings: the first occasion was that of his
notable "malingering." Had he bought a pinch of "Tibr" (pure
gold) from the Bedawin, and mixed it with the handful of surface
stuff ? Had the assayer at Alexandria played him a trick ? Or had
an exceptionally heavy torrent really washed down auriferous
"tailings"? I willingly believe the latter to have been the case;
and we shall presently see it is within the range of possibility.
Traces of gold were found by Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Ross,
through his pyrological process, in the sandy clays brought from
the mouth of Wady Makná.

Meanwhile, despite our magnificent offers, the Arabs managed to
keep inviolate their secret--if they had one. An old man, now a
rich merchant and householder at Suez, had repeatedly declared to
Mr. A. G. K. Levick, that in his young days the Bedawin washed
gold in Midian, till the industry fell into disrepute. During my
last visit he was unfortunately absent upon a pilgrimage; after
our return he asserted that he had sent for specimens of the
sand, but that it paid too little even for transport. This 'Abd
el-Hámid el-Shámi, interviewed, after our return, by Mr. Clarke,
declared more than once, and still declares, that many years ago
he obtained from the Wady Zibá, behind the settlement, a certain
quantity of reddish sand which appeared auriferous. He roasted
and washed the contents of three small baskets called
"Coffas"[EN#88] by Europeans; and this yielded a pinch of "what
looked like pure gold."

In camp our men spoke freely of Tibr stored in quills, carried
behind the ear, and sold at Suez--not at Cairo for fear of
consequences. Yet neither promises nor bribes would persuade the
poorest to break through the rule of silence. The whole might
have been a canard: on the other hand, there was also a valid
reason for reticence; the open mouth would not long have led to a
sound throat. So our many informants contented themselves with
telling us frequent tales of gold ornaments picked up after rain;
they showed us a ring made from a bit found on the Tabúk road,
and they invariably assure us that we shall find wondrous
things--about the next station.

At Magháir Shu'ayb we wasted a whole fortnight (January 11-24,
1878) in vain works; and I afterwards bitterly repented that the
time had not been given to South Midian. Yet the delay was
pleasant enough, after the month which is required to acquire, or
to recover, the habit of tent-life. The halting-day was mostly
spent as follows: At six a.m., and somewhat later on cold
mornings, the Boruji sounds his réveillé--Kum, yá Habíbí, sáh
el-Naum ("Rise, friend! sleep is done"), as the Egyptian officers
interpret the call. A curious business he makes of it, when his
fingers are half frozen; yet Bugler Mersál Abú Dunya is a man of
ambition, who persistently, and despite the coarse laughter of
Europeans, repairs for quiet practicing to the bush. We drink tea
or coffee made by Engineer Ali Marie, or by Quartermaster Yusuf,
not by Europeans; two camels supply us with sweet milk; butter we
have brought; and nothing is wanted for complete comfort but

We then separate to our work, after telling off the quarrymen to
their several tasks. Inveterate idlers and ne'er-do-weels, their
only object in life is not to labour; a dozen of them will pass a
day in breaking ten pounds' weight of stone. They pound in the
style of the Eastern tobacconist, with a very short stroke and a
very long stay. At last they burst the sieves in order to enjoy a
quieter life. They will do nothing without superintendence;
whilst the officer is absent they sit and chat, smoke, or lie
down to rest; and they are never to be entrusted with a
water-skin or a bottle of spirits. The fellows will station one
of their number on the nearest hill, whilst their comrades enjoy
a sounder sleep; they are the greatest of cowards, and yet none
would thus have acted sentinel even in the presence of the enemy.
These useful articles all expect a liberal "bakhshísh" when the
journey is done, with the usual Asiatic feeling: they know that
they deserve nothing, but my "dignity" obliges me to largess. On
this occasion it did not.

Those told off to dig prefer to make a deep pit, because fewer
can work together at it, rather than scrape off and sift the two
feet of surface which yield "antíka's." They rob what they can:
every scrap of metal stylus, manilla, or ring is carefully
tested, scraped, broken or filed, in order to see whether it be
gold. Punishment is plentifully administered, but in vain; we
cannot even cure their unclean habits of washing in and polluting
the fountain source. Three Europeans would easily do the work of
these thirty poor devils.

Mr. Clarke is our camp-manager in general: he is also our jäger;
he shoots the wild poultry, duck and partridge, sand-grouse, and
"Bob White" the quail, for half our dinners; and the Arabs call
him the "Angel of Death belonging to the Birds." He failed to
secure a noble eagle in the Wady 'Afál, whose nest was built upon
an inaccessible cliff: he described the bird as standing as high
as our table, and with a width of six to seven feet from wing to
wing. He also brought tidings of a large (horned?) owl, possibly
the same species as the fine bird noted at Sinai. The Arabs call
it classically Búmah, and vulgarly Umm Kuwayk ("Mother of
Squeaking"): the Fellahin believe that it sucks out children's
eyes, and hence their name, "Massásah." Here, as in the Sinaitic
Peninsula, "the owl and the hyena are used as charms; and the
burnt feathers of the former, and the boiled flesh of the latter
(superior filth!), are considered as infallible specifics for
numerous disorders." In other parts of Arabia the hooting of the
owl portends death; and the cry, Fát--fát, is interpreted, "He is
gone, gone."

The two Staff-officers make plans and sketches of the new places,
or they protract their field-books, working very hard and very
slowly. I have but little confidence in their route-surveys:
sights are taken from mule-back, and distances are judged by the
eye. True, the protractions come out well, but this is all the
worse, suggesting the process commonly called "doctoring." For
the style of thing, however, "dead reckoning" did well enough.

M. Lacaze is the most ardent. Accompanied by his favourite
orderly, Salámat el-Nahhás, an intelligent negro from Dár-For, he
sets out after breakfast with a bit of bread, a flagon of water,
a tent-umbrella, and his tools, which he loses with remarkable
punctuality, to spend the whole day sketching, painting, and
photographing. M. Philipin is our useful man: he superintends the
washing-cradle; he wanders far and wide, gun in hand, bringing us
specimens of everything that strikes the eye; and he is great at
his forge: the Bedawin sit for hours, gazing attentively as he
converts a file into a knife, and illustrating the reverence with
which, in early days, men regarded Vulcan and Wayland Smith.

At eleven a.m. the bugle sounds Tijrí taakul! ("Run and feed"), a
signal for déjeuner ŕ la fourchette. It is a soup, a stew, and a
Puláo ("pilaff") of rice and meat, sheep or goat, the only
provisions that poor Midian can afford, accompanied by onions and
garlic, which are eaten like apples, washed down with bon
ordinaire; followed by cheese when we have it, and ending with
tea or coffee. George the cook proves himself an excellent man
when deprived of oil and undemoralized by contact with his fellow
Greeks. After feeding, the idlers, who have slumbered, or rather
have remained in bed, between eight p.m. and six to seven a.m.,
generally manage a couple of hours' siesta, loudly declaring that
they have been wide awake. One of the party seems to live by the
blessing of him who invented sleep, and he is always good for
half of the twenty-four hours--how they must envy him whose
unhappy brains can be stupefied only by poisonous chloral!

At two p.m., after drinking tea or coffee once more, we proceed
to another four hours' spell of work. As sunset and the cold
hours draw near, all assemble about the fire, generally two or
three huge palm trunks, whose blaze gladdens the soul of the
lonely night-sentinel; and, assembling the Shaykhs of the Arabs,
we gather from them information geographical, historical, and
ethnological. The amount of invention, of pure fancy, of airy
lying, is truly sensational; while at the same time they conceal
from us everything they can; and, more especially, everything we
most wish to know. Firstly, they do not want us to spy out the
secrets of the land; and, secondly, they count upon fleecing us
through another season. During the whole day, but notably at this
hour, we have the normal distractions of the Arabian journey. One
man brings, and expects "bakhshísh" for, a bit of broken metal or
some ridiculous stone; another grumbles for meat; and a third
wants tobacco, medicine, or something to be had for the asking. I
am careful to pay liberally, as by so doing the country is well

Dinner, at seven p.m., is a copy of what was served before noon.
It is followed by another sitting round the fire, which is built
inside the mess tent when cold compels. At times the conversation
lasts till midnight; and, when cognac or whisky is plentiful, I
have heard it abut upon the Battle of Waterloo and the
Immortality of the Soul. Piquet and écarté are reserved for life
on board ship. Our only reading consists of newspapers, which
come by camel post every three weeks; and a few "Tauchnitz,"
often odd volumes. I marvel, as much as Hamlet ever did, to see
the passionate influence of the storyteller upon those full-grown
children, bearded men; to find them, in the midst of this wild
new nature, so utterly absorbed by the fictitious weal and woe of
some poor creature of the author's brain, that they neglect even
what they call their "meals ;" allow their "teas" to cool, and
strain their eyesight poring over page after page in the dim
light of a rusty lantern. Thus also the Egyptian, after sitting
in his café with all his ears and eyes opened their widest,
whilst the story-teller drones out the old tale of Abú Zayd, will
dispute till midnight, and walk home disputing about what, under
such and such circumstances, they themselves would have done. To
me the main use of "Tauchnitz" was to make Arabia appear the
happier, by viewing, from the calm vantage-ground of the Desert,
the meanness and the littlenesses of civilized life--in novels.

The marching-day is only the halting-day in movement. By seven
a.m. in winter and four a.m. in spring, we have breakfasted and
are ready to mount mule or dromedary; more generally, however, we
set out, accompanied by the Sayyid and the Shaykhs, for a morning
walk. The tents and, most important of all, the tent-table are
left to follow under the charge of the Egyptian officers, who
allow no dawdling. With us are the cook and the two
body-servants, riding of course: they carry meat, drink, and
tobacco in my big tin cylinder intended to collect plants; and
they prefer to give us cold whilst we fight for hot breakfasts.
After resting between ten a.m. and noon in some shady spot,
generally under a thorn, we ride on to the camping-ground, which
we reach between two and three p.m. This is the worst part of the
day for man and beast, especially for the mules--hence the
necessity of early rising.

The average work rarely exceeds six hours (= eighteen to twenty
miles). Even this, if kept up day after day, is hard labour for
our montures, venerable animals whose chests, galled by the
breast-straps, show that they have not been broken to the saddle.
Accustomed through life to ply in a state of semi-somnolence,
between Cairo and the Citadel, they begin by proving how
unintelligent want of education can make one of the most
intelligent of beasts. They trip over every pebble, and are
almost useless on rough and broken ground; they start and swerve
at a man, a tree, a rock, a distant view or a glimpse of the sea;
they will not leave one another, and they indulge their pet
dislikes: this shies at a camel, that kicks at a dog. Presently
Tamaddun, as the Arabs say, "urbanity," or, more literally, being
"citified," asserts itself, as in the human cockney; and at last
they become cleverer and more knowing than any country-bred. They
climb up the ladders of stone with marvellous caution, and slip
down the slopes of sand on their haunches; they round every
rat-hole which would admit a hoof; and they know better than we
do where water is. They are not always well treated; the
"galloping griff" is amongst us, who enjoys "lambing" and
"bucketing" even a half-donkey. Of course, the more sensible
animal of the two is knocked up; whilst the rider assumes the
airs of one versed in the haute école. The only difficulty, by no
fault of the mules, was the matter of irons: shoeless they could
travel only in sand; and, as has been said, the farrier was

Amongst our recreant Shaykhs I must not include Furayj bin Rafí'a
el-Huwaytí, a man of whom any tribe might be proud, and a living
proof that the Bedawi may still be a true gentleman. A short
figure, meagre of course, as becomes the denizen of the Desert,
but "hard as nails," he has straight comely features, a clean
dark skin, and a comparatively full beard, already, like his
hair, waxing white, although he cannot be forty-five. A bullet in
the back, and both hands distorted by sabre-cuts, attempts at
assassination due to his own kin, do not prevent his using sword,
gun, and pistol. He is the 'Agíd of the tribe, the African
"Captain of War;" as opposed to the civil authority, the Shayhk,
and to the judicial, the Kázi. At first it is somewhat startling
to hear him prescribe a slit weasand as a cure for lying; yet he
seems to be known, loved, and respected by all around him,
including his hereditary foes, the Ma'ázah. He is the only Bedawi
in camp who prays. Naturally he is a genealogist, rich in local
lore. He counteracts all the intrigues by which that rat-faced
little rascal, Shaykh Hasan el-'Ukbi, tries to breed mischief
between friends. He is a walking map; it would be easy to draw up
a rude plan of the country from his information. He does not know
hours and miles, but he can tell to a nicety the comparative
length of a march; and, when ignorant, he has the courage to say
M'adri, "don't know." He never asked me for anything, nor told a
lie, nor even hid a water-hole. Willing and ready to undertake
the longest march, the hardest work, his word is Házir--"I'm
here"--and he will even walk to mount a tired man. Seated upon


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