0Monday. 13th February [1911]—Khartoum
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13 February 1911 — Khartoum
Monday. 13th February [1911]. Eda & I started with Mr Acland, his niece Miss Acland, her friend Lady Vera Grimston for Omdurman at 8.30 a.m. in the steam launch lent them by the Sirdar. It was a fresh morning & a stiff breeze was blowing on the river raising a good deal of dust. We soon got to the junction of the White & Blue Nile & stopped on the other side of the river to go to the town. We were at once beset by 8 or 10 boys with their donkeys all clamouring to be engaged—each boys animal was extolled as “good donkey” or “strong donkey” or “clever donkey” but we were deaf to the insinuations & all preferred to walk followg our native guide “Mohammed” who seemed too feeble to keep off the donkey boys. They accompanied us all the way in the hope that we might change our minds—but the distance to the house of the Madhi was not great & we persisted in our determination. Mohammed’s knowledge of English was very limited but he managed to make us understand that we were among the ruins of the old town & that one was the house of the Madhi—another had been Slatin’s prison, others barracks &c &c. We looked into the Madhi & bath room & stood on the roof of the house whence we got a view of the scattered town—& then walked on always escorted by the donkey boys up a long sandy wide road till we came to a lot of low huts & suddenly found ourselves in the native bazaars—very narrow lanes lined with shops in wh sat their owners cross legged surrounded by their goods most of which are Manchester cottons & cheap tinsel & tin ware “made in Germany.” We were going along slowly when we came upon the Bishop of Khartoum who was conducting round Prof. Garstang the excavator of the Temples of Mero and the Bishop offered to pilot us thro’ the Bazaars & he helped Eda to bargain for a few trifles she wished to buy. He had lived 2 years in the town of Omdurman amongst the natives when he first came out to Nubia for the purpose of missionary work. He speaks Arabic well & knew personally many of the sellers in the Bazaars. He took us to that part where cooked food was being sold out of large cauldrons & some natives were being served in a back room. He led us by an inn and to the silversmith’s bazaar—& to where nothing but red slippers were to be bought. In one place there was an old man reclining against a wall & the Bishop said he was probably a medecin man—sure eno’ he was selling remedies against different poisonous bites. For 2 piasters I bought what is apparently a bit of wood about 2 inches long & the same in thickness wh he said will cure the bite of a snake if rubbed on the wound. I will give it to some clever Dr in Europe to examine. On leaving the Bazaars we went to the Tram station & got into the cars which took us down to the ferry—there we found our steam launch & the Bishop left us. We returned to Khartoum in time for 1 o’clock lunch after thanking Mr Acland for having promised us a very pleasant morning. We spent a quiet afternoon, had tea on the verandah of the Hotel & then took a walk round the big gardens wh belongs to it & then went on to the edge of the Nile, our favorite evening walk to see the sun set over the river at what is the junction of the White & Blue Niles. This evening we stood on a little promontory formed by a water machine for raising water called a Sakiya. We disturbed a big water rat who was drinking at the trough & then we had the place to ourselves & we stood a long time watching the brilliant colours on our left of the setting sun—bright orange—red—yellow blue & the softest greens—on the right the moon suddenly appeared on the horizon—very large—& brilliant & warm in colour almost red & the sky reflecting the hot colours of the sunset. We watched her rise & become more brilliant & she seemed to hasten upwards & sent a long gleam of light along the river—it was a beautiful & most striking scene—all was still around—& peace seemed to have fallen on the land & to make one feel nearer heaven– The only thing that seemed to be alive were the distant boats on the Nile with their stately big white sails looking like ghostly birds & then came the song of the boat man who chanted it as he went along, always answered by his companion rower by the refrain “Allah, [illegible words]. Allah [illegible words]”– At last it grew dark & we unwillingly turned away to return to the hotel. There had been a strong breeze blowing all the day wh raised up a lot of dust—but it fell at sunset & became quite still. After dinner there was a lecture given in the dining room of the hotel by Prof. Garstang who gave an interesting account of the excavations & discoveries he has made at Merse accompanied by magic lantern slide views. All the rank & fashion & the English officers & their wives assembled on the occasion & the lecture being in aid of the Funds for completing the Cathedral. The Bishop presided & made appropriate remarks. The Professor showed a fine bronze head more than life size wh looks like that of a Roman Emperor & was very striking. After the lecture the Professor asked to be specially presented to me on account of his admiration for my husband’s work at Nineveh & he was very cordial– The brilliant company soon dispersed & we went off to bed.

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