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Such was the battle of Argin. sion when he saw them was, that The check given to Wad-el-Na- it would be wise to withdraw a jůmi, who had confidently expected little ; but he almost immediately to out-general and defeat his op- noticed the Southern general withponent, made a profound impres- drawing his men. From that day, sion on the dervishes. It prob- he added, he had assumed, not only ably accounted for the serious re- on the battlefield, but in every duction in the number of men relation of life, that when he was which eventually followed Makin- afraid of an opponent, his opponel-Nur and Ali-Wad-Saâd to Bel. ent was more or less afraid of lâna, as rumours of this defeat him. By putting on a bold front must have dispirited all but the and appearing perfectly indifferent, most determined. It made the he had frequently, won his point name of Wodehouse a familiar without the necessity of a trial of word in the Soudan. To have strength. baffled the man who had hitherto During the fight at Argin the overcome every opponent, was in Egyptian soldiers in the cavalry their eyes a deed of great signifi- and camel corps showed the same
The dervish cavalry from spirit as the Sudanese of the that day ceased to be of any use 9th, 10th, and 13th battalions, as an offensive arm. The der- and elicited universal admiration, vishes no longer had confidence in Much of the fighting was hand-totheir artillery, and having lost hand, and reminded one of some one gun, they buried the rest. of the old Homeric battles, where Abd-el-Halîm, the second in com- the immortal gods often interfered mand, was seriously wounded. and overthrew all calculations. In Well might a Shagia Bashi-Bazouk, the modern parallel the Henryone of Gordon's old soldiers, re- Martini, in the hands of the mark, on revisiting the battlefields, Egyptian soldiers, took the place that one had to go to Abu Klea to of the immortal gods of old, and witness a greater carnage. Wad- threw the advantage always on el-Najûmi, however, was as un- the Egyptian side. They were daunted as ever. He pitched his more effective than Mars in comcamp behind the first range of plete armour. Instances of
perhills, about 23 miles from the sonal bravery on the part of the river, and halted on the 3d and Egyptians are not wanting. A 4th July. By the night of the camel-corps man, finding that his 4th his camp had become a great company had gone on to assist in graveyard for the burial of those clearing the village, followed on who were seriously wounded on his camel along the outside of the the 2d, and he was compelled to village. On being charged by two move about three miles farther horsemen, he dismounted from his north, where he pitched his second camel when they were quite close camp at Argin.
up to him, shot them both, and In corroboration of what has returned to camp with their spoils. been said of the bold advance of Another man, when on foot, enWodehouse on the field of Argin, gaged in clearing the village, ran may be brought the following im- out in front of his men-just as the pressive incident from General picked men of the corvée rush with Grant's biography. On the first a shout into some difficult bit of occasion that Grant commanded work engaged one of the enemy an army, he was sent against a in single combat, and ran his Southern force, and his first impres- bayonet through him: by a miracle
he returned with his life. Again, enemy, who did not wish to live a sergeant-major of the cavalry, provided he could send an infidel seeing an English officer attacked into the next world immediately by two spearmen, came readily to before he went there himself. In his assistance, killing one of the the second place, the English men, and receiving a very severe
officers of the Egyptian army sword-cut on his bridle arm. All were in no temper to be very the above were not Sudanese, but lenient to an enemy of whom such Egyptian fellaheen.
in human deeds were reported by The dervishes themselves were the women and children forming fearless to a fault, but could do the camp-followers, and who were nothing against riflemen. Again deserting in large numbers. To and again they rushed on certain save these last every reasonable death with a kind of fascination. effort made. They were In one instance, while a company encouraged in every possible way of infantry were advancing, an to leave Wad-el-Najûmi's camp, Arab horseman rode out from be- and surrender themselves to the hind a wall and charged straight Egyptian troops. They were into the men.
Horse and rider treated considerately, as only fell dead on the bayonets of the Englishmen know how to treat front rank, pierced by a score of captives similarly situated. The bullets. His saddle, which is pre- Pasha himself is a man who errs served at Halfa, was pierced by if anything on the side of
bullets. On witnessing humanity, and whose purse was scenes like these, one understands and has since then been fully at how formidable must have been the disposal of the wretched destithe Arab invaders of Southern tutes who have crowded round Europe and Northern Africa dur him. When the refugees from ing the early days of Mohammedan- the country between Dongola and ism, when firearms were unknown. Halfa began pouring into Egyptian The fearlessness of the dervishes territory, he insisted that it was was equalled only by their fanati- the duty of a civilised government cism. Towards the end of the day to provide somehow for these at Argin, when a number of Arabs people, and prevent them from had taken refuge in a house and dying on its soil. He personally could not be turned out, the roof superintended their settlement on was set on fire: after a short in- lands where work could be proterval an old man, reading out of vided them, and invented means an open Koran, walked quietly out of finding occupation for them. of the door, followed by a dozen In all these measures he was spearmen.
supported by the Sirdar of the Very little mercy was shown Egyptian army, while their princito any of the fighting men of the pal opponents were humanitarian enemy, for reasons easy to under- civilians at Cairo who denounced stand. In the first place, they the brutality of the army during never asked for nor wanted to be the campaign. For the first two treated with mercy, neither could or three days of the campaign their word be trusted for an strenuous efforts were made to instant: again and again officers, prevent the enemy's force from more humane than their fellows, watering, but it was soon recogwere put in considerable danger nised that the enemy had a far while trying to safe the life of an more formidable foe in famine than in the failure of their water Bellâna, 80 between Bellâna and supply. The gunboats were then Toski, 100 off the steamers, 50 used as patrols, more to prevent between the Nile and the different communications between the two camps, and some 150 at Argin, sides of the Nile and put a stop to Bellâna, and Toski-making a all sale of food to the dervishes
, total of 425. Most of these were than to keep the enemy away from wretched Berabra from between the water. The low sand-hills, Dongola and Halfa, who had nothwhich run right up to the river's ing whatever to do with either edge, provided excellent shelter force, but had been dragged along for the watering parties, while the by Wad-el-Najůmi on his northsmoke from the steamers' chimneys ward march. always disclosed the position of On visiting Wad-el - Najûmi's the steamers themselves when they first camp at Argin after it had were miles off. Possibly not 100 been evacuated, the first thing men were shot from off the steamers which struck one was the enorfrom the beginning to the end of mous amount of equipage of every the campaign. It is difficult for kind which had been left behind. an ordinary rifleman to hit a small This suggested great diminution object a long way off when he is in the means of transport. There on terra firma, while it is practi- were scores of dead bodies lying cally impossible for him when he usburied in the middle of the himself is proceeding quickly down camp. Among these latter was a river and the object is concealed the headless trunk of a black solbehind sand-hills. All testify to dier, with a pool of blood lying the small execution done off the near the neck. The head was a steamers, while the sand-hills them- short distance away.
This was selves contain very few dead. The evidently the man responsible for river, however, was perfectly pa- the loss of the gun on the field of trolled, and supplies were prevent- Argin. He had been publicly ed from reaching Wad-el-Najûmi's executed on his return to the force, which was of infinitely more camp. Finding his artillery diffiimportance than the killing of a cult to transport, and not of much small number of the enemy. The use when in action, the dervish number of the camp-followers who leader buried the remaining guns died between the camp and the at the different encamping grounds. river's edge on their way to and At the second camp of Argin, from watering was perfectly insig- which Najûmi formed on the 5th nificant, while between the different July, there were very few dead camps themselves it was not so bodies. A little to one side of appalling as would at first be the camp lay the body of a imagined. Between Matûka and woman, and
woman, and a few yards off that Bellâna (a distance of 45 miles) of her infant son. Their backs there was one death per mile, were turned to each other. “And while between Bellâpa and Toski Hagar cast the child under one of (a distance of 20 miles) there were the shrubs. And she went, and four deaths per mile. To obtain sat her down over against him a approximately the number of those good way off, as it were a bowwho died in the desert from wounds, shot; for she said, Let me not see hunger, and exhaustion, one has the death of the child.” There to add together the following num- the parallel ended. No angel bers: 45 between Matûka and from heaven moistened the lips
of mother or child on the desert and all his followers their lives. sands of Argin. On the 6th July A soldier was sent into Najûmi's Wad-el-Najůmi marched north- camp with the letter.
He was wards to 'Serra (5 miles), and taken into Najůmi's tent, where pitched his camp about 3 miles all the emirs were assembled, and from the river ; this camp he left the Sirdar's letter was read to on the 7th, and moved to Faras them. On Najůmi then asking (5 miles). He occupied the old them if they would consent to a ruined fort of Faras on the bank surrender, they all sprang to their of the Nile, and placed there a few feet, brandished their spears, and riflemen ; but as he could not get a replied that they would far rather site for his camp, owing to the die on the field of battle. They formation of the desert, out of laughed at the idea of reinforcereach of Wodehouse's artillery on ments affecting the issues one way the opposite bank of the river, he or another, since God could give had reluctantly to abandon the the victory to whom He chose. fort on the 10th July, and moved He dismissed the soldier, and sent his camp to Bellana (12 miles). him back to the Sirdar's camp He preserved his distance of about with his reply. Wad-el-Najú mi's 3 miles from the river's edge, and reply ran as follows : “ He thanked in a strong position, protected by the Sirdar for his courtesy, but hills on three sides, he formed his added that on two previous occacamp at Bellâna, where he halted sions he had received similar lettill the 28th July. This camp ters from previous English genwas shelled for many days with erals, once from Hicks Pasha, and effect. It is amusing at times to the other time from Gordon. He compare the written description of had refused to surrender, and an action with what actually took events had justified the course he place. These Krupp shells, which had followed. He reminded the were fired with effect, were picked Sirdar of the chances of war, and up unexploded in numbers, and asked him to consider his own used by the dervishes to mark out situation. He ended his letter by the different sections of some of saying that he could not accept the emirs in their camp. While any conditions offered to men who Wad-el-Najůmi waited for Makîn- were the servants of the Khalifa el-Nur and Ali-Wad-Saâd's rein- and not of himself, nor had he any forcements in his camp at Bellâna, right to keep the Khalîfa ignorant Wodehouse Pasha occupied Bel- of the terms offered. He had lâna village some 3 miles off, and therefore forwarded the letter to continued his plan of campaign Khartoum.”. Reading this letter, without intermission.
one is reminded of the answer sent plies of any kind were allowed to by Henry V. to the French king reach the dervish camp, and his on the eve of Agincourt. The camp-followers were encouraged disparity in numbers was even to desert in numbers. On the greater at Agincourt than on the 15th July, the Sirdar of the Nile, so that Wad-el-Najůmi's letEgyptian army, Sir Francis Gren- ter may be taken to represent the fell, arrived, and expressed his real thoughts of a brave man, approbation of the tactics hitherto whom past successes had endowed employed. On the 16th he sent a with a perfect confidence in himletter to Wad-el-Najůmi calling on self. To visit the camp at Bellana him to surrender, and offering him and see the site of Najûmi's tent,