Both the present and the future
looked as gloomy as could be imagined; but I had always expected
extraordinary difficulties, and they were, if possible, to be
surmounted. It was useless to speculate upon chances. There was no hope
of success in inaction, and the only resource was to drive through all
obstacles without calculating the risk.
The day arrived for the departure of Koorshid's people. They commenced
firing their usual signals, the drums beat, the Turkish ensign led the
way, and they marched at 2 o'clock P.M., sending a polite message
"DARING" me to follow them.
I immediately ordered the tent to be struck, the luggage to be arranged,
the animals to be collected, and everything to be ready for the march.
Richarn and Saat were in high spirits; even my unwilling men were
obliged to work, and by 7 P.M. we were all ready.
We had neither guide nor interpreter. Not one native was procurable, all
being under the influence of the traders, who had determined to render
our advance utterly impossible by preventing the natives from assisting
us. All had been threatened, and we, perfectly helpless, commenced the
desperate journey in darkness about an hour after sunset.
"Where shall we go?" said the men, just as the order was given to start.
"Who can travel without a guide?