Descending to the water, a halt was made to drink, and fill the water-skin, which the negro took on his shoulder. On further there was another ancient site strewn with fragments indicative of a cemetery. Hewn stones were frequent, and mixed with them were occasional entablatures and vases from which the ages had not yet entirely worn the fine chiselling.
Colonel Olcott tells us how H.P.B. on one occasion drank some lukewarm water which a Master drew from a water-skin on a camel, and magnetised, and made her believe it to be coffee. On his removing the magnetism before she had finished drinking, she found to her disgust that she had been drinking this lukewarm water.
As Imam showed alarm at their wild threats, I took the water-skin myself and walked off to fill it, upon which the savages threw themselves out in line, flourishing their spears and bows, and declared they would kill me if I persisted in going.
We two start on at once for the oasis of Zama. We can make it in thirteen hours. Give us a small water-skin and some dates. I leave everything else with you. Load, and follow us. We will wait for you at Zama. I go to counsel with the Man who Keeps Goats." In five minutes the black racer and the dun leader were saddled. "Come, beloved," said Abdullah, and without a word she followed him.
"I could procure only one water-skin, and none of my old stock were serviceable; I therefore arranged to water all the animals, and push on throughout the night, by which plan I hoped to arrive by a forced march at the Rahad on the following morning, without exhausting both men and beasts by a long journey through an unknown distance in the heat of the sun.
He had a thick lance with which to support his injured leg, and this murderous crutch combined with his peaceful appearance to give him a most incongruous aspect as of a sheep which has suddenly developed claws. Behind him were two negroes with a basket and a water-skin. "Not a word! Not a word!" he cried, as he stumped up to them. "I know exactly how you feel. I've been there myself.
One man in his desperation attempted to lick the bodies of the mules, hoping to obtain relief from the exudations of their skins, but the dust on them rendered this unavailing. Suddenly Bradling darted at the water-skin hanging by the side of the guide's mule, and swore he would have it or die. "You'll die, then," observed the guide quietly, cocking a pistol and presenting it at his head.
As soon as we had finished our breakfast next day, a message came to say our horses were ready, and we were to go and drink coffee at a little tower the sultan has in the plain. Most of the party walked. There were only horses for five; a donkey carried a water-skin, and our donkey, Mahsoud, carried halters for every animal.
I was interested to know the outcome of that doomed drifting of our forty great wagons across a desolate and hostile land, and I was not at all interested in what came of the mangy hermit with his rock-roweled ribs and stinking water-skin. And I gained back, neither to Nephi nor the Nile, but to
So was I tormented and deceived during the whole of that dreadful day, which still haunts me in my dreams. At last the night closed in, and the stars as they lighted up warned me that I might continue my journey. I drank plentifully from my water-skin, and recommenced my solitary way.