A Few Soldiers Succeeded In Reaching The Bank Of The River.
But The Captain Of The Steamer Would Run No Risks, And Those Who
Could Not Swim Out To The Vessel Were Left To Their Fate.
tidings the expedition returned to Khartoum.
Mohammed Ahmed had been himself wounded in the attack, but the faithful
Abdullah bound up the injury, so that none might know that God's Prophet
had been pierced by carnal weapons. The effect of the success was
electrical. The news spread throughout the Soudan. Men with sticks
had slain men with rifles. A priest had destroyed the soldiers of the
Government. Surely this was the Expected One. The Mahdi, however,
profited by his victory only to accomplish a retreat without loss of
prestige. Abdullah had no illusions. More troops would be sent.
They were too near to Khartoum. Prudence counselled flight to regions
more remote. But before this new Hegira the Mahdi appointed his four
Khalifas, in accordance with prophecy and precedent. The first was
Abdullah. Of the others it is only necessary at this moment to notice
Ali-Wad-Helu, the chief of one of the local tribes, and among the first
to rally to the standard of revolt.
Then the retreat began; but it was more like a triumphal progress.
Attended by a considerable following, and preceded by tales of the most
wonderful miracles and prodigies, the Mahdi retired to a mountain in
Kordofan to which he gave the name of Jebel Masa, that being the
mountain whence 'the expected Guide' is declared in the Koran sooner or
later to appear.
Enter page number
Page 40 of 476
Words from 10399 to 10665