National Geographic : 1934 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE BLACK MOSLEMS PICK COTTON AT KHARTOUM TO EARN EXPENSES ON THE HADJ This highly modernized and prosperous city is vividly remembered in the history of British rule in Egypt. Here, in 1885, General Gordon was slain during the Mahdist uprising, two days before the arrival of a British relief force. At that time the Mahdists destroyed Khartoum and made near-by Omdurman their headquarters. over their shoulders, marched carefully and evenly into the desert while the skin slowly rose to earth. It was beautiful drill, per fected from long practice down the ages. Kassala, cowering under its extraordinary domed mountains,whose smoothness has de feated so many mountaineers,was very com plicated (see illustration, page 766). The only available motor belonged, of course, to the local Greek. He was not "bearing gifts," while I refused to be fleeced. But just as I was beginning to feel desperate, a pre-war Model T Ford, driven and owned by a woolly-pated Negro in a nightgown, arrived in very staccato fashion from over the Eritrean border. As the owner-driver had to return, I made a fine bargain with him. He would take me the 200 miles, as far as the terminus of the Eritrean mountain railway, for $20, pro vided I gave him extra money to buy two new tires in Kassala. This provision immediately appealed to me, as two of his tires were already irremediably flat. So I gave him $15 on account and a day's grace, and he stood to his bond. TWO PASSENGERS AND A LAMB But my departure was not dignified. My luggage filled the back seat so high that the top had to be pulled over to hold the cargo in place; and then, just as we were ready to start, there arrived a youth in half a night gown with a very noisy lamb hung around his neck, much as a woman wears a fur. They were also for the road, and to my fury, without so much as a "by your leave," they settled themselves in the driver's seat. "In the name of Allah!" I screamed at the owner. "Am I to pay you for carrying a lamb and a boy in the front seat while I cower among my own baggage like a serv ant? By Mohammed, I am very angry!" And I clapped my hands loudly. The lamb and the boy were out in one and the proprietor seized my sleeve to pro pitiate me. "But both are young," he pleaded. "Nevertheless, they are passengers-my passengers, too, not yours-as I have paid for the car."