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Water cure.—Nearly killed by it.—Ordered to leave Shoa.—Pro
ceed to Angolahlah.—Courteous treatment of the officers of the Negoos.—Entertainment.—Remarks upon the character of Sahale Selassee.-The Mahomedan religion.
My illness increasing, each succeeding paroxysm of fever leaving me in a more weakened condition, my servant proposed a remedy, boasted never to fail in effecting a cure. I had but a scanty stock of medicines, that I had brought with me from Aden, and these seemed to have little or no effect upon my disease; so I determined to give Walderheros a chance of distinguishing himself by conferring health upon his “gaitah ” (master).
To do this properly, it was deemed necessary that some water should be fetched from a spring by a man, and as this is a species of labour always performed by women, Walderheros, not to be seen at such employment, undertook to take the water-jar for that purpose the next morning before daylight. I also learnt that the cure was to be effected by a kind of shower-bath, to which I was to submit, sitting down whilst the water was poured from a height
upon my head, during the attack of the rigors which preceded the hot stage of the ague fit.
The next day, accordingly, the water having been properly procured, on the first symptoms of the fit coming on, I sat down in the shade of a large ankor tree, a variety of the myrrh, that grows at an elevation of seven thousand feet above the sea, but yields no gum. Here, wrapt up in an Abyssinian tobe, which upon the first fall of the water I was to drop from my shoulders, I awaited the coming shower from above, for Walderheros had climbed into the tree, whilst some assistants lifted up to him the large jar which contained the water. The remedy, however, when it did come down, immediately laid me full length upon the earth, for what with the collapse of the system attendant upon the cold stage and the cold falling water, it certainly cut short the fever, but nearly at the expense of my life, for even when I recovered from the first shock, and was taken back to my bed, I was delirious for several hours after,-a circumstance that I have often had reason to be thankful for, had not been a very usual symptom of my disease.
After this experience, that white men required a very different medical treatment to the red Abyssinians (for in this manner Walderheros endeavoured to account for the failure of his hydropathic remedy), I was not asked again to submit to any more native means of cure for some time; as my recovery, however, was of the greatest importance
to me, I commenced a regular course of quinine and James's Powder, and had it not been for a most disagreeable interruption in the quiet and retired life I was leading in Aliu Amba, I might, perhaps, have been soon restored to health.
On the tenth day after my last visit to Ankobar, the Negoos and the members of the Embassy having, in the meantime, left that city for Angolahlah, a message was brought to Miriam's house for me to go immediately to the Governor of the town, who had just arrived from the Court on purpose to have me brought before him.
Feeling a little better than I had been for some time, and being curious to know what business the Governor could have with me, I followed his messenger, taking with me, as a present on being introduced, an old pocket telescope. It was fortunate that I recollected to do this, for on my giving it to him he was so highly pleased, that he told me, through an Islam Hadjji named Abdullah, that he was willing to serve me in any way he could in the very awkward position I now learned I was placed in, by the order he had received from the Negoos. For some reason or other, my presence in the kingdom had raised a jealous feeling somewhere, and, in consequence, a most arbitrary mandate, considering the then relations between Shoa and England, was issued, and I was directed to leave the country the very next day. Whilst we were speaking, two men were sent with
Walderheros for my boxes, to be brought at once to the Governor's house, previous to their being forwarded to Farree, where the Kafilah with which I had come up, and which was now on the eve of starting, afforded the opportunity of my proceeding to the sea-coast. Here was another practical proof of the value of the commercial treaty, and bitterly I commented, as may be supposed, upon the worthless parchment. I felt quite assured that it would be of no use applying to our Ambassador for redress, so considered it would be best to submit in peace, and made no objections, therefore, to my boxes being taken to the Governor's house.
Not having made up my mind though, for all that, to leave the country, I determined, after I had left Tinta (the name of the Governor) to go and consult with a sincere friend of mine, an Edjow Galla named Sheik Tigh, who had shown himself possessed of the kindest disposition by his disinterested and patient attendance upon my sick bed during the short period I had resided in Aliu Amba. He was a Mahomedan mollum, or scribe, for his occupation was writing copies of the Koran, which he used to sell to the slave merchants who came from the more barbarous countries around Shoa. Either on account of the trifling sum that these manuscript Korans can be purchased for in Abyssinia, or the excessive neatness with which Amhara Mahomedans write Arabic compared with even Arabs themselves, these Abyssinian copies are
CONSULTATION UPON MY
highly prized even along the sacred or eastern coast of the Red Sea, and in Jeddah will command an increased value of two hundred per cent. upon their original cost.
Sheik Tigh concurred immediately in my proposed plan, either of endeavouring to remain in Shoa by a personal request to be made to the Negoos; or of going away to Giddem, and from there to the court of Beroo Lobo, the Mahomedan chief of that portion of the Argobbah, or valley country that extends to the north of Efat, as far as the river Tahlahlac, one of the most northern tributaries of the Hawash. The state of my finances, however, I found would not admit of this latter alternative; for, excepting the thirteen dollars remaining of the Hy Soumaulee money, I had only seven dollars in the world.
It was at length determined amongst us, for Hadjji Abdullah had joined in our consultation, that I should take another present to Tinta, as a kind of bribe, and the real object of which Sheik Tigh was to explain to him. I accordingly packed up a damask table-cloth, and provided myself with three of the most favoured dollars I was possessed of, and thus armed, went again in the dusk of the evening to the house of the Governor. My offering was very quietly received and concealed, by which I perceived the business had been properly managed by Sheik Tigh, and that it was understood I was to have unmolested, three hours' start of him the next