The Soldier Dismounted, And Crept
Rather Than Walked In The Sand To Reconnoitre The Dangerous Spot.
My Exhaustion Was So
Great that, although alone in this dark night
on the terrible desert, I began to doze upon the horse, and
wake up till the soldier returned with a cry of joy, and told us
that we had not fallen in with a horde of robbers, but with a
sheikh, who, in company with his followers, were going to Baghdad.
We set spurs to our horses, hastened after the troop, and joined
them. The chief greeted me by passing his hand over his forehead
towards his breast; and, as a sign of his good will, offered me his
arms, a club with an iron head, covered with a number of spikes.
Only a sheikh is allowed to carry such a weapon.
I remained in the sheikh's company until sunrise, and then quickened
my horse's pace, and at about 8 o'clock was again seated in my
chamber at Baghdad, after having, in the short space of three days
and a half, ridden 132 miles and walked about a great deal. The
distance from Baghdad to Hilla is considered to be sixty miles, and
from Hilla to Birs Nimroud six.
I had now seen everything in and around Baghdad, and was desirous of
starting on my journey towards Ispahan. Just at this time the
Persian prince, Il-Hany-Ala-Culy-Mirza, sent me a letter, informing
me that he had received very bad news from his native country; the
governor of Ispahan had been murdered, and the whole province was in
a state of revolt.
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