A halt for water the great necessity food, and rest was ordered. Parties were instantly detailed to fill water-bottles and fantasses, iron tanks. The cooks, too, got to work, and fires were kindled with wood torn from neighbouring huts, and a meal was prepared. Under the burning sunshine, down upon the loose dirt and gravel, officers and men sprawled to rest themselves.
The hours of a day, peculiarly hot, even for the country and season, dragged wearily away. The sandy ridge beat back the rays till the air above was like the breath of a furnace and the pebbly ground burned. The water in the fantasses and bottles was hot and scarce. The pool of the Atbara was foul and tainted.