chapter  XI
18 Pages

Chapter XI

IT was already dark when we had arrived the evening before. Our first thought in the morning was to examine our new abode. It consisted of two circular huts, surrounded by a strong thorny fence, adjoining the Emperor's inclosure. The largest hut was in a bad state of repair; and as the roof, instead of being supported by a central pole, had about a dozen of lateral ones forming as many separate divisions, we made it over to our servants and to our balderaba Samuel. The one we kept for ourselves had been built by Ras Hailo, at one time a great favourite of Theodore, but who had unfortunately fallen under his displeasure. Ras Hailo was not chained during the time he remained in that house: for a time he was even "pardoned," and made chief of the mountain. But Theodore, after

a while, again deprived him of his command and confidence, and sent him to the common gaol, chained like the other prisoners. For an Abyssinian house it was well built; the roof was almost the best I saw in the country, being made with small bamboos closely arranged and bound with rings of the same material. After Ras Hailo had been sent to the gaol, his house had been made over to the favourite of the day, Ras Engeddah; but, according to custom, Theodore took it away from him to lodge his English guests.