Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

























































 -  An
accident, however, prevented me from availing myself of this
opportunity.

The caravan being ready for departure on the 15th - Page 403
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An Accident, However, Prevented Me From Availing Myself Of This Opportunity.

The caravan being ready for departure on the 15th of December, I packed up my effects in the morning, and at noon a gun was fired, to announce that Soleyman Pasha had quitted the plain of Sheikh Mahmoud, where the caravan had been encamped; but still my Bedouin had not arrived.

I ran out towards Sheikh Mahmoud, when I understood that a rumour, whether false or true, having been spread, that Mohammed Aly was only waiting to see the camels all assembled in the morning upon the plain, that he might seize and send them to Tayf, several Bedouins had made their escape during the night: it was evident that those with whom I had bargained were among the number. In the hurry and bustle of departure no other camels could possibly be found; and I was therefore obliged to return to the town, together with several Mekkans, who had been disappointed in the same manner.

At the moment of starting, the leader of the Damascus caravan always distributes a certain quantity of provision to the poor. Soleyman Pasha had, for this purpose, heaped up two hundred camel-loads near his tent; and when he mounted his horse, at a given signal it was seized upon by those who were waiting, in the most outrageous and

[p.288] disorderly manner: a party of about forty negro pilgrims, armed with sticks, secured a considerable part of the heap to themselves.

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