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

















































 -  The whole riverside was
filled by a forest of masts. Crowds of gyassas, barges, and steamers were
moored closely together - Page 320
The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill - Page 320 of 476 - First - Home

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The Whole Riverside Was Filled By A Forest Of Masts.

Crowds of gyassas, barges, and steamers were moored closely together; and while looking at the furled sails, the tangled riggings, and the tall funnels it was easy for the spectator to imagine that this was the docks of some populous city in a well-developed and civilised land.

But the significance of the picture grew when the mind, outstripping the eye, passed beyond the long, low heights of the gorge and cataract of Shabluka and contemplated the ruins of Khartoum and the city of Omdurman. There were known to be at least 50,000 fighting men collected in their last stronghold. We might imagine the scene of excitement, rumour, and resolve in the threatened capital. The Khalifa declares that he will destroy the impudent invaders. The Mahdi has appeared to him in a dream. Countless angelic warriors will charge with those of Islam. The 'enemies of God' will perish and their bones will whiten the broad plain. Loud is the boasting, and many are the oaths which are taken, as to what treatment the infidel dogs shall have when they are come to the city walls. The streets swarm with men and resound with their voices. Everywhere is preparation and defiance. And yet over all hangs the dark shadow of fear. Nearer and nearer comes this great serpent of an army, moving so slowly and with such terrible deliberation, but always moving. A week ago it was sixty miles away, now it is but fifty.

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