Eothen By A. W. Kingslake


Night came upon us whilst labouring across gullies and sandy
mounds, and we were obliged to come to a stand - Page 140
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Night Came Upon Us Whilst Labouring Across Gullies And Sandy Mounds, And We Were Obliged To Come To A Stand-Still Quite Suddenly Upon The Very Edge Of A Precipitous Descent.

Every step towards the Dead Sea had brought us into a country more and more dreary; and this sand-hill, which we were forced to choose for our resting- place, was dismal enough.

A few slender blades of grass, which here and there singly pierced the sand, mocked bitterly the hunger of our jaded beasts, and with our small remaining fragment of goat's-milk rock by way of supper, we were not much better off than our horses. We wanted, too, the great requisite of a cheery bivouac - fire. Moreover, the spot on which we had been so suddenly brought to a standstill was relatively high and unsheltered, and the night wind blew swiftly and cold.

The next morning I reached the debouchure of the Jordan, where I had hoped to find a bar of sand that might render its passage possible. The river, however, rolled its eddying waters fast down to the "sea" in a strong, deep stream that shut out all hope of crossing.

It now seemed necessary either to construct a raft of some kind, or else to retrace my steps and remount the banks of the Jordan. I had once happened to give some attention to the subject of military bridges - a branch of military science which includes the construction of rafts and contrivances of the like sort - and I should have been very proud indeed if I could have carried my party and my baggage across by dint of any idea gathered from Sir Howard Douglas or Robinson Crusoe.

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