Half a mile to the southward, on the opposite bank of the river,
among the groves of palm-trees ran a long and continuous line of shelter
trenches and loopholed walls.
The flanks of this new position rested on the
deep morasses which extend from the river both on the north and south sides
of Hafir. A small steamer, a fleet of large gyassas and other sailing
vessels moored to the further shore explained what had happened. Conscious
of his weakness, the prudent Emir had adroitly transported himself across
the river, and had thus placed that broad flood between his troops and
Meanwhile the three gunboats - all that now remained of the armed flotilla,
for the Teb had run on a rock in the Hannek Cataract - were steaming
gradually nearer the enemy, and the army swung to the right, and, forming
along the river bank, became spectators of a scene of fascinating interest.
At half-past six the Horse battery unlimbered at the water's edge,
and began to fire obliquely up and across the river. As soon as the first
few shells had reached the Arab entrenchment the whole line of shelter
trenches was edged with smoke, and the Dervishes replied with a heavy
rifle fire. The distance was, however, too great for their bad rifles and
inferior ammunition, and their bullets, although they occasionally struck
the ground on which the infantry were drawn up, did not during the day
cause any loss to the watching army.
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