THE START FOR THE UNKNOWN
Having decided upon this new objective, I
encountered great difficulty in persuading the man from whom I had hired
the camels to let me have my way. The hostile faction at Kufra, however,
was anxious to have us take this route because the last caravan of
Bedouins to make the journey, eight years previously, had been massacred
when just within the boundary of Darfur. If the same fate should
overtake us, as seemed to these inimical ones altogether likely, the
dwellers in Kufra would be spared the pleasure of a third visit from
their unwelcome guest!
After leaving Kufra, the chief adventure of the
expedition began. Here at last I was plunging into the untraversed and
What lay ahead?
It was not the possible dangers of the journey
which made my nerves tingle and caused my spirits to mount with
exhilaration—dangers are merely a part of the day's work in the desert.
It was the realization that I was to explore hidden places; that I
should go through a region hitherto untrodden by one of my own kind, and
make, perhaps, some contribution, small though it might be, to the sum
of human knowledge.
Sayed el Abed sent three representatives to see us
off at 4:30 in the afternoon of April 18. Our caravan was still making
daylight treks, though the unbearable heat of early summer was soon to