chapter  12
32 Pages

THE CHAINS

No messenger having met me at Qala't Salih, I pushed on to Turaba, and it was not until we were well into the marshes that I heard that the Haji and his tribe had moved to their summer quarters. This was disappointing. In the old days, journeys with Haji Rikkan had been frequent and easy to arrange, but of late I had found it increasingly difficult to get away; and now through the failure of his messenger I was to lose a whole day-or rather should have done had it not been for the good-nature of my two hired boatmen, who volunteered to travel all night while we returned on our tracks. This was pleasant enough for me, who during the warm

night could sleep where I lay in the mashhuJ, but less so for the men who towed, paddled and poled the boat through the long hours of darkness.