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DIVISION OF PROPERTY.
I passed the night, having received no answer to my note from Ankobar, wishing for the day, still hoping that I might be mistaken in my fears, and that some of the members of the embassy would come to congratulate me on my safe arrival, and free me from the anxiety, restraint, and espionage I was now annoyed with; for two sentinels were constantly on duty in the little enclosure, and always present in the house, when I received visits even from my Hy Soumaulee friends.
The next day came, but no news from Ankobar. I amused myself as well as I could, writing up my notes and settling small accounts with my escort and those of the Kafilah people, from whose importunities on the road I had relieved myself by promises of presents in Shoa, and who now came for paper, needles, buttons, scissors, and razors. Almost all that I possessed was divided among them as some little return for their continued kindness and fidelity to me on the road ; for I had little to complain of except the continual falsehoods and petty deceits practised invariably by the Tajourah people. Even Ohmed Medina was not altogether exempt from this failing; but it was from a motive of well-meant kindness, so that I should not be able to detect the number of instances that little attempts were made to impose upon me, and which he thought might lead to expostulation and angry discussions.
Detained at Farree.—No news from Ankobar.-Fear all is not right.—Escape from my confinement.—Reach Garcia Mulloo. -Followed by officers of Wallasmah.—Compromise matters.Return to Farree.—Brutality of Wallasmah.—Planning escape to the coast with Hy Soumaulee.- Arrival of Mr. Scott from Ankobar.–Chief cause of my detention.
I STAYED in Farree anxiously awaiting some news from the embassy, until the 25th ; but neither note nor messenger came to relieve the suspense I was in. The night before, Ohmed Medina, however, had called upon me, and told me that all was right as regarded their personal safety, but informed me that my note from the Dinnomalee had been intercepted by the Wallasmah, and that none of the English in Shoa knew that I was in the country. I made up my mind, on hearing this, to attempt getting to Ankobar the next morning, if it were possible; and accordingly, before it was light, opened the little wicket that served for the door, passed unobserved the two sentinels who lay wrapped up in their body cloths fast asleep, and was soon some distance on the wrong road; that is to say, the most circuitous one to Ankobar. I thought
that I was not exactly right, and meeting some labourers going into the fields to work, I asked the way, by repeating the word, Ankobar. They were too much surprised to speak, but pointed in the direction of the road, and I left them staring after me with a wondering look, as if to ask what would come next. Having reached a village about five miles to the north-west of Farree, I found it impossible to go on, it having been one continual ascent along the roughest and most winding path that can well be imagined. Oppressed with difficulty of breathing, fatigued, and foot-sore, I turned toward the door of the first house, and sitting down on a stone, made signs that I wanted some water. Hereupon such a screaming was set up by the only inmates, two naked children, that it could not have been exceeded if I had intimated that they were about to be devoured. Their cries brought two other little girls, who came running round the house, but seeing me, promptly turned back, tumbling over each other to get out of the way, contributing as they lay not a little to the frantic roaring of the children inside.
The noise soon brought all the disposable people, men and women of all ages, who had not left the village for their labours in the fields, who soon recognised in their visitor a Gypt or Egyptian, as the Abyssinians call all white men. I was glad to find that the character seemed to be a very respected one, although the first evidence I had of it, was the
numerous beggars for articles, the names of which I did not understand. They invited me into the house out of the sun, and a large wooden mortar was laid on its side for me to sit upon, whilst several women employed themselves scorching some coffee beans, in a coarse earthenware saucer over a little wood fire in the centre of a circular hearth, that occupied the middle of the room. The whole house consisted of this one apartment, the surrounding wall being composed of sticks placed close together, and about four feet high, upon which rested a straw thatched roof frame of light bamboo, well blackened with the smoke.
I had not long arrived at Garcia Mulloo, the name of the village, before I was followed by a large body of men armed with spears and staves, and dragging along with them, most unwillingly, my old grey mule. The misselannee of Farree, whom I knew, was at the head of the party, and appeared very well pleased to see me, addressing me with great politeness, though I could not understand a word that he said. I took care, however, in Arabic, to charge him and the Wallasmah with incivility, and want of hospitality, for detaining me so long in Farree against my will, and also with having, like a thief, stolen the note I had sent to Ankobar. As we had been now joined by a man named Brekka, who understood what I said, he interpreted for us, and afforded the misselannee an opportunity in reply, of throwing the whole blame
TREATY OF PEACE.
upon the Wallasmah, whose servant he was, at the same time begging me to return with him, for which purpose, and for my accommodation, he had brought my mule along with him. I positively refused, on the plea, that their King had promised mine, that Englishmen were to travel unmolested through the country, alluding to the treaty, and that, accordingly, if they now used force to take me back to Farree, it would bring the matter to an issue, and my people would then see the real value of the word of Sahale Selassee. Seeing I was determined not to return with them they agreed to compromise the matter, upon my promising to remain at Garcia Mulloo, and not attempt to proceed farther towards Ankobar, until the King's pleasure respecting me should be known. This I was induced to do by the misselannee's pacific appeal that I would not do anything which would occasion him to be imprisoned, and all his property confiscated.
Our interpreter, Brekka, was a scamp of a renegado, who had been a Christian, but was converted to the Islam faith, by the promise of a situation under the Wallasmah, whose district, the province of Efat, is inhabited chiefly by Mahomedans. The contiguity of the two faiths among a people of one origin, affords an interesting opportunity of examining the first effect
effect of differences in religious belief, and which leads, in the course of time, to the division of one family of man into two distinct nations, differing in