NOTES BY THE WAY
Too Long; Didn't ReadThe storm of the preceding evening had now passed away, but the sky was still cloudy and the weather far from settled. It was the 19th of April, the time of the masika, or second period of the rainy season, so that for the next two or three weeks the nights might be expected to be wet.
On leaving the banks of the Coanza the caravan proceeded due east. Soldiers marched at the head and in the rear, as well as upon the flanks of the troop; any escape of the prisoners, therefore, even if they had not been loaded with their fetters, would have been utterly impossible. They were all driven along without any attempt at order, the havildars using their whips unsparingly upon them whenever they showed signs of flagging. Some poor mothers could be seen carrying two infants, one on each arm, whilst others led by the hand naked children, whose feet were sorely cut by the rough ground over which they had trod.
Ibn Hamish, the Arab who had interfered between Dick and the havildar, acted as commander to the caravan, and was here, there, and everywhere; not moved in the least by the sufferings of the captives, but obliged to be attentive to the importunities of the soldiers and porters, who were perpetually clamouring for extra rations, or demanding an immediate halt. Loud were the discussions that arose, and the uproar became positively deafening when the quarrelsome voices rose above the shrieks of the slaves,
[Illustration: If ever the havildar strolled a few yards away, Bat took the opportunity of murmuring a few words of encouragement to this poor old father.]
many of whom found themselves treading upon soil already stained by the blood of the ranks in front.