chapter  VII
19 Pages

Chapter VII

HEARTILY sick of Metemma, and longing to climb the high range so long a forbidden barrier to our hopes and wishes, we soon made our preparations, but were delayed a few days on account of the camels. Sheik Jumma, probably proud of his late achievements, seemed to take his orders pretty coolly, and, had we not been more anxious ourselves to penetrate into the tiger's den than the Sheik to comply with the King's request, we should no doubt have remained marlY a day 1011ger at the court of that negro potentate. By dint of courteous messages, promises, and threats, the required number of camels was at last forthcoming, so that, on the afternoon of the 28th December, 1865, we passed the Ethiopian Rubicon, and halted for the night on Abyssinian ground. On the morning of the 30th we arrived at Wochnee, and

pitched our tents under some sycamores at a short distance from the village. This, our first stage in Abyssinia, led us through woods of mimosas, acacias, and incense-trees; the undulating ground, waving like the ocean after a storm, was covered with high and still green grass. As we advanced, the ground became more irregular and broken, and we crossed several ravines, having each its small running rivulet of crystal water. By-and-by the rounded hillocks acquired a more abrupt and steep appearance; the grass was no longer tall and green, but fine and dry; the sycamore, the cedar, and large timber-trees began to appear. As we approached Wochnee, our route was a succession of ascents and descents more precipitous and very fatiguing, as we trudged through deep ravines and climbed the almost perpendicular sides of the first range of the Abyssinian mountains.