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happened to have a fancy for a fort, and felt it to
be worth his while to bestow bread and
honey and good will upon a man who might,
perchance, assist him in obtaining what he
wanted. He could give no escort into Harar,
because with the emir there he was on border
terms not altogether friendly.

At the foot of a round bastion outside one
of the gates of Harar the pilgrims sat at
three o'clock in the afternoon, on the third of
January, one thousand eight hundred and
fifty-five. There, surrounded by a curious
and mocking crowd, they awaited the
permission of the Prince to cross his threshold.
This arrived, the town was entered, and
approach was made to the gate of holcus
stalks, which opens on the courtyard of the
palace. Ordered to dismount when within a
hundred yards of this gate, the strangers
were led into the yard itself, and placed
under a tree in one corner, close to a low
building, from within which there came
ominous sounds of the clank of fetters. The
courtyard was full of Gallas, lounging and
squatting, the chiefs with their zinc armlets
almost covering the forearm, privileged to
wear their sandals in the royal precincts and
to carry spears. The palace itself proved to
be a mere long windowless shed of rough
stone and clay, its dignity being expressed by
a thin dab of whitewash set up as a sign over
the door. For, to the edification of our
English cotters in their white-washed
kitchens, be it said that at Harar a coat of
whitewash means more than with usa coat
of arms; it is a distinction only granted to
the king and vizier. The most valuable part;
of a house at Harar is the door, and when a
subject, summoned to appear before his
prince, neglects to obey the summons, his
door is removed on the first day of his
disobedience and on the second day is
confiscated. Divers unhinged doors propped
against a block of masonry in the centre of
the courtyard, proved that the Emir kept
this law in force.

With slippers doffed, the pilgrims, ordered
next to pass a curtain, stood in a dark room,
with whitewashed walls hung with old
matchlocks and polished fetters. There they
were in the presence of the emir, or the
Sultan Ahmad bin Sultan Abibakr, a yellow
stunted youth of twenty-four or five, with
sickly form and bony kite claws, sitting
cross-legged in a red robe and a conical cap
and turban, on a throne that much resembled
a green garden seat. As an invalid he rested
one arm on a pillow, under which appeared
the hilt of a Cutch sabre.

The general expectation was, that from the
mighty presence, the intruders of whom evil
accounts had been brought already to Harar
by unfriendly witnesses, would depart only
to be conveyed into those filthy state
dungeons which lie under and about the royal
premises. There, prisoners die in their fetters of
starvation and disease, being allowed no food
except such as their friends will bring them,
or as they are themselves able to purchase from
their guards. Captain Burton happily
succeeded in obtaining credit in the character of
an ambassador with a congratulatory message
from the English chief at Aden, and a
gracious smile taking the place of a frown,
assured him (and his companions) of their
safety. They were removed into the emir's
second palace, bidden to consider it their
home, and hospitably regaled from his own
kitchen with a feast of holcus-cakes soaked in
sour milk, and thickly seasoned with red

When they had eaten, they were ordered
to present themselves before the vizier. Him
they found to be a genial old man, living in
a small room royally whitewashed and
adorned with wooden porringers, like an old
kitchen. He sat on a carpeted masonry
bench, and had before him his official reeds
and inkstands. In those savage parts of the
world there is no red tape, and whitewashed
boards are employed as the substitute for

Auspicious as this beginning was, yet after
all the English traveller would perhaps
never have escaped to tell what he had seen
in Harar, had not a native youth come to the
town with news that three brothers (Captain
Burton and the two civilised associates in
his enterprise) had landed in the Somali
country, that two of them were anxiously
waiting at Berberah the return of the third
from Harar, and that, although dressed like
moslems, they were really Englishmen in
government employ. English at Berberah
can ruin Harar by the cutting off of caravans,
and so our adventurer had his permission to
depart granted one morning at about the
time of kat-eating. Having it, he lost no
time in using it, but of his subsequent
adventures and misadventures, and of all that
he saw at Harar, let it be enough that his
book tells. We have cared only to suggest
what sort of life he found among the noble
savages on ground that has been, until now,
untrodden by English feet.



IT has been my fortune in life to pass a
good deal of time on the foot-plate of a
locomotive engine; and, although not a driver,
to be pretty well initiated into the mysteries
of engine-driving. As the result of this
experience, I have arrived at the conclusion
that the life of an engine-driver is a
very responsible, a very hazardous, and a
very hard life, and that anything we can do
to lesson the hazard or ameliorate its
hardships will gain for us the thanks of an
intelligent, vigilant, and courageous class of

It is only lately that is has been thought

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