chapter  IX
Pages 16

THE grey streaks 011 the eastern horizon were just dispersing the dusky mists of dawn; the hyenas were hurrying to their thickets and dells to enjoy repose, after their saturnalia amongst piles of bones and offal, provided by a feasting arlny; the shepherds and priests, usually so annoying with their grating and tedious inquiries about one or another belonging to their flocks, were either silently pursuing their respective vocations, or, ill deference to Royalty, indulging in an extra hour of slurnber; everything, in fact, the coolness of the atmosphere, the stillness of the scene, the heavy weights 011 the eyelids, all conspired to make me hug the greasy coverlet and hard couch, when suddenly piercing shrieks and yells, from the direction of the Imperial residence, broke startlingly on nlY ears. I listened for some time; but, as every minute the groans and cries of agony rung more and more dismally from rock and hill, I 80011 left the tent

and proceeded towards the spot from whence the screams proceeded. '!'he cracking of the formidable giraffe,* and the supplications for mercy, which I could no\\7 distinctly hear, warned me that the monarch was up and administering justice. Actuated by curiosity, I stealthily took my position behind a prickly shrub, and from this unobserved retreat I saw about a dozen figures, each with his arms so tightly pinioned that the blood almost spirted out of the trembling fingers, whilst on each side stood a soldier to support the hapless culprit during the executioner's ruthless task. At every stroke of the lash, the poor wretches uttered the most heartrending moans; but neither the wail of distress, nor the lacerated and bleeding backs of the victims, inspired any commiseration, or mitigated the severity of their punishment, My eyes involuntarily turned from this appalling sight, whilst my heart breathed the fervid prayer that the G-ospel of love might ere long reform the cruel laws which at present rule the inhabitants of this country.