On the top of the ruined arch beside the camp our Arab watchman, hired from the village of Latrûn as we passed, is still perched motionless, wrapped in his flowing rags, holding his long gun across his knees. "Salâm 'aleikum, yâ ghafîr!" I say, and though my Arabic is doubtless astonishingly bad, he knows my meaning; for he answers gravely, "'Aleikum essalâm! And with you be peace!"
Qatim the Ethiopian lifted the body of a woman from out the gutter, and the messenger from the Oasis of Khargegh strode through the gateway of the hotel and kicked the somnolent ghafir or watchman, who coughed discreetly behind the sleeping night-porter's back.
It is customary for travellers, before entering the Arabian wastes, to hire a Ghafir, that is, a guide and protector. Palmer, instead of securing a powerful chief, as the case required, selected a man of small account named Matr Nassar, and this petty shaykh and his nephew were the expedition's only defence. The doomed party left Suez on August 8th.
Those who kill with the Dankaleh, a poisonous juice rubbed upon meat, are always put to death by the members of their own tribe. The Abban or protector of the Somali country is the Mogasa of the Gallas, the Akh of El Hejaz, the Ghafir of the Sinaitic Peninsula, and the Rabia of Eastern Arabia.