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"We have He began with an air that seemed rather serious; expected you here fome time ago, but thought you had changed your mind and was gone to India." Since failing from Jidda, I have been in Arabia Felix, the Gulf of Mocha, and croffed last from Loheia."-" Are you not afraid (faid he) fo thinly attended, to venture upon thefe long and dangerous voyages ?"" The countries where I have been are either subject to the emperor of Conflantinople, whofe firman I have now the honour to present you, or to the regency of Cairo, and port of Janiffaries—here are their letters-or to the fherriffe of Mecca. To you, Sir, I prefent the fherriffe's letters; and, befides these, one from Metical Aga, your friend, who, depending on your character, affured me this alone would be fufficient to preferve me from ill ufage fo long as I did no wrong: as for the dangers of the road from banditti and lawless perfons, my fervants are indeed few, but they are veteran foldiers, tried and exercifed from their infancy in arms, and I value not the fuperior number of cowardly and diforderly perfons."
He then returned Mr. Bruce the letters, faying, “you will give thefe to the Nay be to-morrow; I will keep Metical's letter, as it is to me, and will read it at home." He put it accordingly in his bofom; and their coffee being done, Mr. Bruce rose to take his leave, and was presently wet to the skin by deluges of orange flower-water thowered upon him from the right and left, by two of his attendants, from filver bottles.
A very decent houfe had been provided; and he had no fooner entered than a large dinner was fent them by Achmet, with a profufion of lemons, and good fresh water, now be. come one of the greatest delicacies in life; and, instantly after, their baggage was all fent unopened; with which he was very well pleased, being afraid they might break fomething in his clock, telescopes, or quadrant, by the violent manner in which they fatisfy their curiofity.
Late in the evening, Mr. Bruce had a vifit of Achmet, and another conversation paffed between them. Achmet wifhed to be more particularly informed concerning Mr. Bruce's character
character and views; Mr. Bruce anfwered his inquiries in a fatisfactory manner, and offered him a prefent of a pair of piftols. Achmet declined accepting them then, but promifed to fend a person with proper tokens to receive them.
On the 20th of September, a female flave came and brought with her the proper credentials, an Indian handkerchief full of dry dates, and a pot or bottle of unvarnished potter's earth, which keeps the water very cool.
On the 21ft, in the morning, the Naybe came from Arkeeko. The ufual way is by fea: it is about two leagues ftraight across the bay, but somewhat more by land. The paffage from the main is on the north fide of the island, which is not above a quarter of a mile broad; there is a large cistern for rain water on the land fide, where you embark across. He was poorly attended by three or four fervants, miferably mounted, and about forty naked favages on foot, armed with fhort lances and crooked knives. The drum beat be-fore him all the way from Arkeeko to Mafuah. Upon entering the boat, the drum on the land-fide ceased, and those in what is called the Caftle of Mafuah, began. The castle is a fmall clay hut, and in it one swivel-gun, which is not mounted, but lies upon the ground, and is fired always with great trepidation and fome danger. The drums are earthen jars, fuch as they fend butter in to Arabia, the mouths of which are covered with a fkin; fo that a ftranger, on feeing two or three of thefe together, would run a great risk of believing them to be jars of butter, or pickles, carefully covered with oiled parchment. All the proceffion was in the fame ftile. The Naybe was dreffed in an old fhabby Turkish habit, much too fhort for him, and feemed to have been made about the time of Sultan Selin. He wore also upon his head a Turkish cowke, or high cape, which scarcely admitted any part of his head. In this dress, which on him had a truly ridiculous appearance, he received the caftan, or investiture, of the island of Mafuah; and being thereby representative of the Grand Signior, confented that day to be called Oniar Aga, in honour of the commiffion.
In the afternoon, Mr. Bruce went to pay his refpects to the Naybe, and found him fitting on a large wooden elbow chair, at the head of two files of naked favages, who made an avenue from his chair to the door. He had nothing upon him but a coarse cotton fhirt, fo dirty, that it feemed all pains to clean it again would be thrown away, and fo fhort that it scarcely reached his knees. He was very tall and lean, his colour black, had a large mouth and nofe; in place of a beard, a very scanty tuft of grey hairs upon the point of his chin; large, dull and heavy eyes; a kind of malicious contemptuous finile on his countenance; he was altogether of a moft ftupid, and brutal appearance. His character perfectly corresponded with his figure, for he was a man of mean abilities, cruel to excefs, avaricious, and a great drunkard.
Mr. Bruce presented his firman. The greatest basha in the Turkish empire would have rifen upon feeing it, kissed it, and carried it to his forehead; but he did not even receive it into his hand, and pushed it back to our traveller again, faying," Do you read it all to me, word for word." Mr. Bruce told him it was Turkifh; and that he had never "Nor I neither," learned to read a word of that language. fays he;" and I believe I never fhall." Mr. Bruce then gave him the other letters he had brought with him. He took them all together in both his hands, and laid them unopened befide him, faying, "You fhould have brought a moullah along with you. Do you think I fhall read all thefe letters? Why, it would take me a month." He then glared upon our traveller with his mouth open, fo like an idiot, that it was with the utmost difficulty Mr. Bruce kept his gravity, only anfwering," Juft as you pleafe; you know beft."
A filence followed this fhort converfation, and Mr. Bruce took the opportunity to give him his prefent, with which he did not feem difpleafed, but rather that it was below hin to tell him fo. He then took his leave of the Naybe, very little pleafed with his reception, and the fmall account he feemed to make of his letters, or of himself.
The fmall-pox was raging with fuch violence at Mafuah, that it was feared the living would not be fufficient to bury the dead. The whole ifland was filled with fhrieks and lamentations both night and day. They at laft began to throw the bodies into the fea, which deprived our travellers of the fish, of which they had ate fome kinds that were excellent. Mr. Bruce had fuppreffed his character of physician, fearing he fhould be detained by reason of the multitude of fick.
The Naybe came to Mafuah on the 15th of October, difpatched the velfel that brought our travellers over; and as if he had only waited till this evidence was out of the way, he that very night, fent word, that Mr. Bruce was to prepare him a handfome prefent. He gave in a long lift of particulars to a great amount, which he defired might be divided into three parcels, and prefented three feveral days. One was to be given him as Nay be of Arkeeko; one as Omar Aga, representative of the Grand Signior; and one for having paffed their baggage gratis and unvifited, especially the large quadrant.
As the affurance of protection Mr. Bruce had received, gave him courage, he answered him, That having a firman of the Grand Signior, and letters from Metical Aga, it was mere generofity fhould he give him any prefent at all, either as Naybe or Omar Aga; that he was not a merchant that bought and fold, nor had merchandize on board, therefore had no cuftoms to pay. Upon this he fent for Mr. Bruce to his house, where he found him in a violent fury, and many useless words paffed on both fides. At laft he peremptorily told our traveller, That unless he had three hundred ounces of gold ready to pay him on Monday, upon his landing from Arkeeko, he would confine him in a dungeon, without light, air, or meat, till the bones came through his fkin for want. "
On the 29th of October, the Naybe came again from Årkeeko to Mafuah, and Mr. Bruce was told in a very ill humour with him. He foon received a meffage to attend him, and found him in a large wafte room like a barn, with about ́ fixty people with him. This was his divan, or grand council, with all his janiffaries and officers of state, all naked, affembled
in parliament. There was a comet that had appeared a few days after their arrival at Mafuah, which had been many days vifible in Arabia Felix, being then in its perihelion; and, after paffing its conjunction with the fun, it now appeared at Mafuah early in the evening, receding to its aphelion. Mr. Bruce had been obferved watching it with great attention, and the large tubes of the telescopes had given offence to ignorant people. The first question the Naybe asked him was, “ What that comet meant, and why it appeared?" And before he could answer him, he again faid, "The first time it was vifible, it brought the small-pox, which has killed above 1000 people at Mafuah and Arkeeko. It is known you conversed with it every night at Loheia; it has now followed you again, to finifh the few that remain, and then you are to carry it into Abyffinia. What have you to do with the comet ?"
Without giving Mr. Bruce leave to speak, his brother Emir Achmet then faid, "That he was informed our traveller was an engineer going to Michael, governor of Tigre, to teach the Abyffinians to make cannon and gun-powder: that the first attack was to be against Mafuah." Five or fix others fpoke much in the fame ftrain; and the Naybe concluded by faying, That he would fend Mr. Bruce in chains to Conftantinople, unless he went to Hamazen, with his brother Emir Achmet, to the hot-wells there, and that this was the refolution of all the janiffaries; for he had concealed his being a phyfician.
After much altercation between Mr. Bruce and the Naybe, the former turned his back, and Mr. Bruce went away exceedingly disturbed, as it was plain his affairs were coming to a crifis for good or for evil. He observed, or thought he obferved, all the people shunned him. He was, indeed, upon his guard, and did not wish them to come near him; but, turning down into his own gateway, a man paffed close by him, faying distinctly in his ear, though in a low voice, first in Tigre and then in Arabic," Fear nothing," or, "Be not afraid." This hint, short as it was, gave him no fmall courage.
Upon the 6th in the morning, while at breakfast, Mr. Bruce was told, that three fervants had arrived from Tigre ; one