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
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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