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

















































 -  Gradually the flood begins. The
Bahr-el-Ghazal from a channel of stagnant pools and marshes becomes a
broad and - Page 7
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Gradually The Flood Begins.

The Bahr-el-Ghazal from a channel of stagnant pools and marshes becomes a broad and navigable stream.

The Sobat and the Atbara from dry watercourses with occasional pools, in which the fish and crocodiles are crowded, turn to rushing rivers. But all this is remote from Egypt. After its confluence with the Atbara no drop of water reaches the Nile, and it flows for seven hundred miles through the sands or rushes in cataracts among the rocks of the Nubian desert. Nevertheless, in spite of the tremendous diminution in volume caused by the dryness of the earth and air and the heat of the sun - all of which drink greedily - the river below Assuan is sufficiently great to supply nine millions of people with as much water as their utmost science and energies can draw, and yet to pour into the Mediterranean a low-water surplus current of 61,500 cubic feet per second. Nor is its water its only gift. As the Nile rises its complexion is changed. The clear blue river becomes thick and red, laden with the magic mud that can raise cities from the desert sand and make the wilderness a garden. The geographer may still in the arrogance of science describe the Nile as 'a great, steady-flowing river, fed by the rains of the tropics, controlled by the existence of a vast head reservoir and several areas of repose, and annually flooded by the accession of a great body of water with which its eastern tributaries are flushed' [ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA]; but all who have drunk deeply of its soft yet fateful waters - fateful, since they give both life and death - will understand why the old Egyptians worshipped the river, nor will they even in modern days easily dissociate from their minds a feeling of mystic reverence.

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