The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

















































 -  The atmosphere is rank
with memories of waste and failure. The scenes that meet the eye intensify
these impressions. The - Page 150
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The Atmosphere Is Rank With Memories Of Waste And Failure.

The scenes that meet the eye intensify these impressions.

The traveller who lands on Quarantine Island is first confronted with the debris of the projected Suakin-Berber Railway. Two or three locomotives that have neither felt the pressure of steam nor tasted oil for a decade lie rusting in the ruined workshops. Huge piles of railway material rot, unguarded and neglected, on the shore. Rolling stock of all kinds - carriages, trucks, vans, and ballast waggons - are strewn or heaped near the sheds. The Christian cemetery alone shows a decided progress, and the long lines of white crosses which mark the graves of British soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in action or by disease during the various campaigns, no less than the large and newly enclosed areas to meet future demands, increase the depression of the visitor. The numerous graves of Greek traders - a study of whose epitaphs may conveniently refresh a classical education - protest that the climate of the island is pestilential. The high loopholed walls declare that the desolate scrub of the mainland is inhabited only by fierce and valiant savages who love their liberty.

For eleven years all trade had been practically stopped, and the only merchants remaining were those who carried on an illicit traffic with the Arabs or, with Eastern apathy, were content to wait for better days. Being utterly unproductive, Suakin had been wisely starved by the Egyptian Government, and the gloom of the situation was matched by the poverty of its inhabitants.

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