I resolved upon hastening back with all speed to El–Muwaylah, finishing, by the way, our work of quartz-prospecting on the ‘Akabah Gulf. Thus far it had been a success; we heard of “Marú” in all directions. But all had not gone equally well. We had already on two occasions been prevented by circumstances from visiting the mysterious Hismá, and we now determined to devote all our energies to its exploration.
Two heavy showers having fallen during the dark hours, on February 8th Aurora looked as if she had passed a very bad night indeed. The mist-rack trailed along the rock slopes, and rested upon the Wady-sands; the mountains veiled their heads in clouds, and —
“Above them lightnings to and fro ran coursing evermore,
Till, like a red, bewildered map, the skies were
Meanwhile, in the north-west and south-west we saw — rare thing in Arabia! — Iris holding two perfect bows at the same time, not to speak of “wind dogs.” Zephyrus, the wester, here a noted bad character, rose from his rocky couch strong and rough, beating down the mercury to 56 degrees F.: after an hour he made way for Eurus; and the latter was presently greeted by Boreas in one of his most boisterous and blustering moods.
We steamed off, with only a single stoppage for half an hour to cool the engine-bearings, at 7.30 a.m.; and, after one mile we passed, on the Arabian side, a ruin called Kasr el-Bint —“the Girl’s Palace.” Beyond it lies the Kasr el-Bedawi, alias El–Burayj (“of the Little Tower or Bastion”), the traditional holding-pier of the great chain. When Wellsted (ii. 146) says, “Here (i.e. at the Kasr el-Bedawi), I am told, there is a chain extending from the shore to a pier built in the sea”— he evidently misunderstood the Arabs. The eastern coast of El-‘Akabah begins with an abrupt mountain-wall, like that which subtends the whole of the Sinai shore, till it trends south of the Mí‘nat el-Dahab. After three miles the heights fall into a stony, sandy plain, which rises regularly as a “rake,” or stage-slope, to the Shará’ (Seir) range, which closes the horizon. After two hours and forty five minutes we passed into the fine, open, treacherous Bay of “Hagul” (El–Hakl), distant thirteen knots from El-‘Akabah Fort, to which it is the nearest caravan-station. On the north-east, and stretching eastward, are the high “horse,” or dorsum, and the big buttresses of the long, broad Wady, which comes winding from the south-east. They appear to be a body of sand; but, as usual on this coast, the superficial sheet, the skin, hardly covers the syenite and porphyritic trap that form the charpente. Between west and south, a long spit, high inland, and falling low till where its sandstone blufflet meets the sea, proves to be the base of a large and formidable reef, which extends in verdigris patches over the blue waters of the bay. It is not mentioned by Wellsted (ii. 149), who describes “Ha’gool on the Arabian shore,” as “a small boat-harbour much exposed to the northerly winds.” The embouchure of the Wady nourishes four distinct clumps of date-trees, well walled round; a few charred and burnt, the most of them green and luxuriant. These lines are broken by the channels which drain the surface water; and between the two western sections appear the ragged frond-huts. Not a soul was seen on shore.
The wind blew great guns outside the bay, and the inside proved anything but calm. As the water was fifty-eight fathoms deep near the coast, our captain found no moorings for his ship, except to the dangerous reef; and we kept drifting about in a way which would have distracted sensitive nerves. I had been told of ruins and tumuli at El–Hakl, which denote, according to most authorities, the Mesogeian town [Greek](Ancale): Ptolemy (vi. 7, 27) places this oppidum Mediterraneum between Mákna or Maína (Madyan), and Madiáma (Magháir Shu’ayb), the old capital.
Unwilling, however, to risk the safety of the gunboat, where nothing was to be expected beyond what we had seen at El-‘Akabah, I resolved, after waiting half an hour, not to land. The Sambúk received a cargo of quarrymen and sacks, in order to ship at Makná the “argentiferous galena” and other rocks left by Lieutenant Yusuf and M. Philipin upon the shore; and, that done, she was directed to rejoin us at Tírán Island. As long as the norther coursed high, she beat us hollow; in the afternoon, however, when the gale, as usual, abated, she fell off, perhaps purposely, not wishing to pass a night in the open. By sunset her white sail had clean disappeared, having slipped into some snug cove.
The Arabian shore is here of simpler construction than that of Sinai; consequently the chart has had a better chance. The Mukhbir resumed her way southwards in glorious weather, a fresh breath blowing from the north; and fleecy clouds variegating the sky, which was almost as blue as the waves After six miles and a half from El–Hakl and nearly twenty from El–Akabah, she ran to the west of El–Humayzah Island, the “Omasír” of Wellsted (ii. 149), between which and the mainland is a well sheltered berth. It is a great contrast with the “Hill of the Fort,” the Pharaohnic rock, this lump some eighty feet high, built of Secondary gypsum and yellow serpentine like the coast behind it. Gleaming deadly white, pale as a corpse in the gorgeous sunshine, and utterly bare, except for a single shrub, it is based upon a broad, dark-coloured barrier-reef. Local tradition here places the Kasr el-Bedawíyyah, “Palace of the Bedawi Woman (or Girl),” but we saw neither sign of building nor trace of population in the second island which the Gulf el-‘Akabah owns.
We then passed sundry uninteresting features, and night fell upon us off Jebel Tayyib Ism, where familiar scenes began to present themselves. The captain had already reduced speed from four and a half to three knots, his object being to reach the Bugház or “Gulf-mouth” after dawn. But as midnight drew near it became necessary to ride out the furious gale with the gunboat’s head turned northwards. M. Lacaze, a stout-hearted little man, worked half the night at the engine, assisting Mr. Duguid. About four a.m. (February 8th) a lull in the storm allowed her to resume her southerly course; but two hours afterwards, an attempt to make the Makná shore, placing her broadside on to the wind, created much confusion in the crockery and commotion among the men. Always a lively craft, she now showed a Vokes-like agility; for, as is ever the case, she had no ballast, and who would take the trouble to ship a few tons of sand? At such moments the engine was our sole stand-by: had it played one of its usual tricks, the Mukhbir, humanly speaking, was lost; that is, she would have been swamped and water-logged. As for setting sail, it was not till our narrow escape that I could get the canvas out of stowage in the hold.
As the morning wore on the Gulf became even rougher, with its deep and hollow waves; they seemed to come from below, as if bent upon hoisting us in the air. The surface-water shivered; and the upper spray was swept off by the north wind, which waxed colder and more biting as we steered sunwards. The Sinaitic side now showed its long slopes; and at 9.45 a.m. we passed the palms of the Nebíkí anchorage, some six miles from the “Gate.” On the shore of Midian, south of the dark Fahísát Mountains, four several buttresses of gypsum, decreasing in size as they followed one another eastwards, trended diagonally away from the sea. This part of the Arabian coast ends in a thin point: the maps call it “Ras Fartak;” and the pilots “Shaykh Hamí,”138 from a holy man’s tomb to which pious visitation is made. The other land-tongue, adjoining to the south, is known as the Umm Ruús, or “Mother of Heads.” I cannot find out whence Ruppell borrowed his “Omel Hassanie” (Umm el-Hassání?).
As we approached the ugly gape of the formidable Gulf, the waves increased in size, and coursed to all directions, as if distorted by the sunken reefs. The eastern jamb is formed by Tírán Island; the western by the sandy Ras Nasráni, whose glaring tawny slope is dotted with dark basaltic cones, detached and disposed like great ninepins. Beyond this cape the Sinaitic coast, as far as Ras Mohammed, the apex of the triangle, is fretted with little indentations; hence its name, El–Shurúm —“the Creeks.” Near one of these baylets, Wellsted chanced upon “volcanic rocks which are not found in any other part of the peninsula:” this sporadic outbreak gives credibility to the little “Harrah” reported to be found upon the bank of the Midianitish “Wady Sukk.” A hideous, horrid reef, dirty brown and muddy green, with white horses madly charging the black diabolitos, whose ugly heads form chevaux de frise, a stony tongue based upon Tírán Island, and apparently connected from the eastern coast behind, extends its tip to mid-channel. The clear way of the dreaded Bugház is easily found in the daytime: at night it would be almost impossible; and when Midian shall be “rehabilitated,” this reef will require a Pharos.
Adieu, small spitfire of a Gulf! The change from the inside to the outside of the Birkat el-Akabah was magical. We at once glided into summer seas, a mosaic of turquoise and amethyst, fanned by the softest of breezes, the thermometer showing on deck 63 deg F. Perhaps the natural joy at our lucky escape from “making a hole in the water” caused the beauties of the weather and the glories of the scenery to appear doubly charming. Our captain might have saved fifteen miles by taking the short cut north of Tírán Island, under whose shelter we required a day for boiler-tinkering. His pilot, however, would not risk it, and we were compelled, nothing loth and little knowing what we did, to round for a second time the western and southern shores.
The “Hill of Birds,” which some have identified with the classical Island of Isis,139 shows a triune profile, what the Brazilians call a Moela or “gizzard.” Of its three peaks the lowest is the eastern; and the central is the highest, reaching seven hundred, not a thousand, feet. Viewed from within the Gulf, it is a slope of sand which has been blown in sheets up the backing hills. The ground plan, as seen from a balloon, would represent a round head to the north, a thin neck, and a body rudely triangular, the whole measuring a maximum of five miles in length: the sandy northern circlet, connected by the narrowest of isthmuses, sweeping eastward, forms the noted port. The material is the normal Secondary formation, sulphates and carbonates of lime supporting modern corallines and conglomerates of shell. Horizontal lines of harder stone are disposed in huge steps or roads that number three to six on the flank of the western peak: the manganese-coloured strata which appeared at Magháir Shu’ayb, and in the rent bowels of the Rughámat Makná, are conspicuous from the south. The whole has been upheaved by syenite, which, again, has been cut by dykes of plutonic stone, trap and porphyry.
At two p.m. we anchored in a roadstead to the south-east of the island, open to every wind except the norther. I had sent Lieutenant Amir and sundry quarrymen ashore, to inspect what looked like a vein of sulphur. They delayed two hours, instead of a few minutes; the boiler was grumbling for rest, and, not wishing to leave them adrift in an open boat, I imprudently consented to await them in a roadstead where the coast was dangerous, instead of proceeding, as had been intended, to the fine land-locked port, nature-hollowed in the eastern side of the island. The old captain pitifully represented to me that his crew could not row; and this I found to be generally the case: ten miles with the oar would be considered a terrible corvée by the Egyptian man-o’-war’s man.
After blowing off steam, we at once went a-fishing. The only remarkable result was the discovery that this corner of the Red Sea is a breeding-ground for sharks: we had not seen one in the Gulf of El-‘Akabah, where last April they swarmed. Here, however, the school contained all sizes and every age, and they regarded us curiously with their cat’s eyes, large, dark, and yellow-striped down the middle. A small specimen, that had just cut its teeth, was handed over to the cook, despite his loudly expressed disgust. The meat was somewhat mealy and shortfibred; but we pronounced in committee the seadog to be thoroughly eatable when corrected by pepper, garlic, and Worcester sauce. The corallines near the shore were finely developed: each bunch, like a tropical tree, formed a small zoological museum; and they supplied a variety of animalculae, including a tiny shrimp. The evening saw a well-defined halo encircling the moon at a considerable distance; and Mr. Duguid quoted the Scotch saw —
“A far-awa’ bruch’s a near-awa’ blast.”
The blast was nearer than we expected; and, during the rest of the journey, the “bruch” rarely if ever deceived us. Yet the night was not much disturbed by the furious northerly gusts, showing that the storm which we had escaped was raging in the still-vexed ‘Akabah.
Next morning we landed to the south-west of Tírán’s easternmost peak, with a view of prospecting and adding to our collections. On the shore, about three hundred feet from the sea, is a bank of dead shells which are not found on the northern or sandy end of the island: near the water most of them are tenanted by paguri (“hermits”). We caught a number of crabs and small fish, and we carried off a single rock-oyster: as yet we had not found out that the Ustrída — the vulgar form of the Hellenic and classical “Istiridiyá”— abounds in these seas. After thirty minutes’ walk up the southern plane of the prism, composed of gypseous and coralline rocks, veins of white petrosilex resembling broken columels, streaks of magnetic black sand, and scatters of grit and harder stones, we reached the summit of the little ridge. It afforded a fine bird’s-eye view of the splendid middle port; of the false harbour; of the real shoal to its south-east, and of the basin which seems to form Sináfir Island.
We now bent to the south-west. Here the surface is much cut and broken by sandy Wadys, dotted with a few straggling plants: to our right was a Goz or inclined arenaceous bank, where the south wind had sifted the sand from the gravel, disposing the former in the hollows, and the latter on the crest of the ripples. Presently we reached a strange formation which, seen from the east, appears a huge vein, red and rusty, beginning close to the sea, and crossing the body of the island from south to north, while a black cone is so disposed that its southern front simulates a crater. A narrow gorge opens upon a semicircular hollow lined with ochraceous or ferruginous matter; in fact, part of the filon, which sends off fibrils in all directions. The confusion of formations was startling. The floor was here of white petrosilex, there of grey granite, variegated with squares and lozenges, drops and pineapples, red, green, neutral tinted, and disposed by oxides of iron and copper in natural designs that looked artificial. Scattered over the bed of the upper ravine beyond the hollow, were carbonates of lime, ruddy brown and chocolate-hued, here a pudding-stone, there porous like basalt: the calcareous sulphates were both amorphous and crystalline, the latter affected by contact with plutonic matter. The walls of the gash showed a medley of clay breccias, disposed in every imaginable way; and divided by horizontal veins of heat-altered quartz. A few paces further led to the head of the ravine, where a tumble of huge rocks, choking the bed, showed that the rain-torrents must at times be violent.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clarke and Lieutenant Amir had walked to the large central harbour, hoping there to hit upon sweet water and some stray Hutaym fishermen, who would show us what we wanted. They did not find even the vestige of a hut. The two exploring parties saw only three birds in the “Isle of Birds,” and not one of the venomous snakes mentioned at “Tehran” by Wellsted (II. ix.), and described as “measuring about thirty inches, of a slender form, with black and white spots.” We also utterly failed to discover the sulphur which was once abundant and the naphtha which, according to the same authority, was produced here in considerable quantities, and was used “by the Arab mariners to pay their boats.”
The evening was exceptionally fine and calm; and we expected on the morrow (February 11th) a quiet return to El–Muwaylah. Yet a manner of presentiment induced me to summon the engineer and his native assistants, and to promise the latter a liberal “bakhshísh,” if by hard work at the boiler all night, and by rigging up the ship’s pump instead of a donkey-engine, they could steam off at dawn.
Unexpectedly, about four a.m., a violent sandy and misty wester began to blow; and all fancied that we had set sail to the south. Quite the contrary! The engine was still under repair. The Mukhbir was being tossed and rolled by the inshore set, and the sequel is quickest told by an extract from my “Penny”:—
“Written in sight of Death. Wind roaring furiously for victims: waves worse. No chain can stand these sledge-hammer shocks. Chain parts,140 and best sheet-anchor with it. Bower and kedge anchors thrown out and drag. Fast stranding broadside on: sharp coralline reef to leeward, distant 150 yards. Sharks! Packed up necessaries. Sambúk has bolted, and quite right too! Engine starts some ten minutes before the bump. Engineer admirably cool; never left his post for a moment, even to look at the sea. Giorgi (cook) skinning a sheep: he has been wrecked four times, and don’t care. Deck-pump acting poorly. Off in very nick of time, 9.15 a.m. General joy, damped by broadside turned to huge billows. Lashed down boxes of specimens on deck, and wore round safely. Made for Sináfir, followed by waves threatening to poop us. Howling wind tears mist to shreds. Second danger worse than first. Run into green water: fangs of naked rock on both sides within biscuit-throw; stumps show when the waves yawn. Nice position for a band-box of old iron! With much difficulty slipped into blue water. Rounded south end of spit, and turned north into glorious Sináfir Bay. Safe anchorage in eight fathoms. Anchor down at 10:15 a.m., after one hour of cold sweat. Distance seven miles on chart, nine by course: Mukhbir never went so fast; blown like chaff before wind. Faces cleared up. All-round shaking of hands; ‘El–Hamdu li’lláhi,’ followed by a drink. Some wept for joy.”
The engine, or rather the engineer, had saved us: as the saying is, it was touch and go — the nearest thing I ever did see. Had the rotten old boiler struck work for five minutes when we were clearing out of Tírán, or steaming along Sináfir shore, nothing could have kept the ship afloat. Those who behaved best, a fireman, a boy who crept into the combustion-chamber to clear it, and helmsman who, having been at Liverpool, spoke a little English, were duly “bakhshísh’d.” The same reward was given by mistake to the boilermaker, Mohammed Sa’íd Haddád, who had malingered, instead of working, through the night. At Suez he had the impudence to ask me for a Shahádah (“testimony”) to his good character. On the whole the conduct of the crew was worthy of all praise.
In a decently equipped English steamer we should have laughed at this storm, and whistled for more wind; but the condition of the Mukhbir quite changed the case. The masts might have rolled out, or she might have sprung a leak at any moment. And supposing that we had escaped the crash upon the reef, the huge waves, and the schools of sharks, our situation would have been anything but pleasant. The Island of Tírán, as has been shown, is a grisly scrap of desert: it has no sweet water; and its three birds would not long have satisfied thirty hungry men. It is far from the mainland; the storm, which lasted through two days, was too violent for raft or boat to live, and at so early a season native craft are never seen on these seas. Briefly, a week might have elapsed before our friends at El–Muwaylah, who were startled by the wildness of the wind, could have learned our plight, or could have taken measures to relieve the castaways.
Sináfir Island, which we have to thank for giving us hospitality on two occasions, consists mainly of a bay. Viewed by the norma verticalis, it is shaped like an ugly duckling, with an oval (Wellsted says a circular) body of high ground disposed north-east to south-west; and with head and neck drooping westward so as to form a mighty pier or breakwater. The watery plain within is out of all proportion to the amount of terra firma. The body-profile shows straight-backed heaps of gypsum, some two hundred feet high, which become quoin-shaped about the middle of the isle: these hillocks are connected by low strips of sand growing the usual vegetation, especially the pink Statice pruinosa.
Presently our Sambúk, which had also lost chain and anchor before she could run out of the storm, appeared to the north-west of the bay; and a pilgrim-craft, bound for Suez, was our companion in good fortune. A party landed to examine Sináfir, which still shows signs of a junction with Tírán. In days when the Secondary formation was an unbroken street, the whole segment of a circle, extending from Sharm Yáhárr to northern Sinai, must have been dry land; these reefs and islands are now the only remnants. The islet itself seems lately to have been two: the neck and head are one, and the body is another; an evident sea-cliff marks the junction, and what appears like a Wady below it, is the upraised sea-bed of coralline. To the north-west, and outside this strip, lies the little port defended by a network of reefs, in which our Sambúk had first taken refuge. The bay-shore bears traces of more than one wreck; and in the graveyard used by the native sailor, an open awning of flotsam and jetsam looks from afar like a tumble-down log-hut. The number of reefs and shoals shown by stripes of vivid green water promised excellent fishing, and failed to keep its promise.
At length, after a third wasted day, we managed, despite a new hole in the old boiler, to steam out of hospitable Sináfir at 6:30 a.m. on the auspicious Wednesday, February 13. The appearance of the Mukhbir must have been originale enough: her canvas had been fished out of the hold, but in the place of a mainsail she had hoisted a topsail. We passed as close as possible to the islet-line of Secondary formation, beginning with Shu’shu’, the wedge bluff-faced to south: the Palinurus anchored here in a small bight on the north-east side, between two reefs, and narrowly escaped being wrecked by a northerly gale. At 10:45 a.m. we were alongside of Baráhkán, a double feature, lumpy and cliffy, connected by a low sandy isthmus: the eastern flank gives good shelter to native crafts. Lastly came Yubá’, the compound quoin, the loftiest of the group, upwards of 350 feet high, with its low-lying neighbour Wálih. These islets have classical names, as I have before mentioned,141 and appear once to have been inhabited: even at Yubú’, the least likely of all, we heard from several authorities of a deep rock-cut well, covered with a stone which the Arabs could not raise.
And now we were able to cast an intelligent glance in review of the scenes made familiar by our first or northern march. The surpassing purity of the transparent atmosphere, especially at this season, causes the land to look as near at twenty as at ten miles; and thus both distances, showing the horizon with the utmost distinctness, appear equally close to the ship. Beginning towards El-‘Akabah, the Jebel el-Zánah behind Magháir Shu’ayb, and its mighty neighbour, the Jebel el-Lauz, form the horizon of mountains which are not the least amongst the giants. Southwards appear the Jibál el-Tihámah, the noble forms of the seaboard, the parallel chains noting the eastern boundary of Madyan (Proper); while behind them the Jibál el-Shafah, reduced to blue heads and fragments of purple wall, are evidently disposed on a far more distant plane.
As regards the Jibál el-Tihámah, I have registered ad nauseam the names of the eight several blocks into which, between El–Zahd north and El–Shárr south, the curtain, rising from a sea-horizon, seems to divide itself. Every one consulted gave me a new or a different term; and apparently seamen and landsmen have their separate nomenclature. Thus, the pilots call the Fás, Harb and Dibbagh blocks, Jibál el-Musaybah, Tiryam, and Dámah, after the Wadys and main valleys that drain them. The Bedawin, again, will name the whole block after the part most interesting to them: thus the tower-like formation characterizing Jebel Dibbagh was often called “Jebel el-Jimm,” and even this, as will afterwards appear, was not quite exact.142
We fired a gun off El–Muwaylah, where our camp, ranged in long line, looked clean and natty. At five p.m. we were once more at home in our old quarters, the Sharm Yáhárr: the day’s work had numbered fifty direct geographical miles between Sina’fir and El–Muwaylah, with five more to our dock.
Our journey through Madyan Proper (North Midian) had lasted fifty-four days (December 19, 1877, to February 13, 1878). During nearly two months the Expedition had covered only 105 to 107 miles of ground: this, however, does not include the various by-trips made by the members, which would more than double the total; nor the cruise of two hundred miles round the Gulf of ‘Akabah, ending at El–Muwaylah. The total of camels employed varied from 106 to 61, and their hire, including “bakhshísh” and all minor charges, amounted, according to Mr. Clarke, to £316 14s. 3d.
This section of North Midian may be described as essentially a mining country, which, strange to say of a province so near Egypt, has been little worked by the Ancients. The first Khedivial Expedition brought back specimens of free gold found in basalt, apparently eruptive, and in corundophyllite, which the engineer called greenstone porphyry: silver appeared in the red sands, in the chloritic quartz, and in the titaniferous iron of the Jebel el-Abayz; the value being 265 to 300 francs per ton, with traces in the scoriæ. The second Expedition failed to find gold, but brought back argentiferous galena in copper-stained quartz, and possibly in the ochraceous red veins seaming the Secondary gypsum; with silicates and carbonates of copper: select specimens of the latter yielding the enormous proportion of forty per cent. In this northern region the great focus of metallic deposit appears to lie between north lat. 28° 40’ and 27° 50’; that is, from the Jebel Tayyib Ism, north of Makná, to the southern basin which contains the Jebel el-Abyaz or “White Mountain.” Its characteristics are the argentiferous and cupriferous ores, whereas in South Midian gold and silver were worked; and the parallelogram whose limits are assigned above, might be converted into a Northern Grant. Concerning the immense abundance of gypsum, and the sulphur which is suspected to be diffused throughout the Secondary formation, ample details have been given in the preceding pages.
The principal ruins of ancient settlements, and the ateliers, all of them showing vestiges of metal-working, numbered eight: these are, beginning from the south, Tiryam, Sharmá, ‘Aynúnah, the Jebel el-Abyaz, Magháir Shu’ayb, Makná’, Tayyib Ism, and El-‘Akabah. Magháir Shu’ayb, the Madiáma of Ptolemy, is evidently the ancient capital of the district. It was the only place which supplied Midianitish (Nabathæan) coins. Moreover, it yielded graffiti from the catacombs; fragments of bronze which it will be interesting to compare by assay with the metal of the European prehistoric age; and, finally, stone implements, worked as well as rude.
I will end with a few words concerning the future industry of North Midian.
For the success of these mines the greatest economy will be necessary. The poorest ore can be treated on the spot by crushing and washing, where no expenditure of fuel is required. The richer stone, that wants roasting and smelting, would be shipped, when worth the while, from North Midian to Suez: there coal is abundant, and the deserted premises of Dussaud–Bey, belonging to the Egyptian Government, would form an excellent site for a great usine centrale. Finally, the richest specimens — especially those containing, as many do, a medley of metals — would be treated with the least expenditure, and the greatest advantage, at Swansea or in other parts of England, where there are large establishments which make such work their specialty.
The following analyses of the specimens brought home by the first Khedivial Expedition, were made at the Citadel, Cairo, by the well-known chemist, Gastinel–Bey, in conjunction with M. George Marie, the engineer attached to the Expedition:—
Analyses (Mm. Gastinel-bey and George Marie of Cairo) of Rocks
Brought Home by the First Khedivial Expedition.
(All by Voie Sèche.)
Gold (assay on 100 grammes)—
1. In basalt (lava?).
2. In serpentine.
(None in white quartz.)
1. In Filon Husayn, 1/1000 = 265 to 300 francs per ton (very
2. In red sands, 1/10,000 (= 20 francs per ton).
3. In scoriæ, traces.
(None in white quartz or in the black sands.)
1. In ‘Aynúnah quartz, 4 1/2 per 100.
2. In Filon Husayn, 2 1/2 to 3.40 per cent.
Filon Husayn = Titaniferous iron, 86.50
3. In chloritic slate, 1.40 per cent.
(Chloritic slate of Makná’ =
Carbonate of lime, 5.60
Oxide of iron, 2.30
Sulphur (Jebel el-Kibri’t of El–Muwaylah)—
4 per cent. above. 9 ditto below.
Calamine (zinc) very rich.
138 Not Hámid, as some mispronounce the word.
139 “The Gold–Mines of Midian,” Chap. XII.
140 The chain did not part. The anchor was afterwards fished up by divers from El–Muwaylah, and its shank was found broken clean across like a carrot. Yet there was no sign of a flaw. Mr. Duguid calculated the transverse breaking strain of average anchor-iron (8 1/2 inches x 4 = 22 square inches), at 83 1/10 tons; and the tensile breaking strain at 484 tons, or 22 tons to the square inch; while the stud-length cable of 1 1/8 inch chain, 150 fathoms long, would carry, if proof, 24 tons. Captain Mohammed was persevering enough, after the divers had failed, to recover his chain when on his cruise homewards; and the Rais of the Sambúk was equally lucky.
141 “The Gold–Mines of Midian,” Ch. XII. p. 317.
142 See Chap. X.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48