'Hey!' cried the lady of the caravan, scooping the crumbs out of her lap and swallowing the same before wiping her lips.
'Don't know!' repeated the lady of the caravan; 'why, you were there.
'And very sorry I was,' said the lady of the caravan, 'to see you in company with a Punch; a low, practical, wulgar wretch, that people should scorn to look at.'
'Know 'em, child!' cried the lady of the caravan in a sort of shriek.
The lady of the caravan was in the act of gathering her tea equipage together preparatory to clearing the table, but noting the child's anxious manner she hesitated and stopped.
The three hundred soldiers from Naum marched in our front, the two hundred in our rear, and our men on each side of our camels, with our baggage and the whole caravan in the centre; in this order, and well prepared for battle, we thought ourselves a match for the whole ten thousand Mogul Tartars, if they had appeared; but the next day, when they did appear, it was quite another thing.
The company was very great, and, as near as I can remember, made between three and four hundred horses, and upwards of one hundred and twenty men, very well armed and provided for all events; for as the Eastern caravans are subject to be attacked by the Arabs, so are these by the Tartars.
When we were come to one of these towns (about two days and a half's journey before we came to the city of Naum), I wanted to buy a camel, of which there are plenty to be sold all the way upon that road, and horses also, such as they are, because, so many caravans coming that way, they are often wanted.
We wanted, as I have said, above two days' journey of this city when messengers were sent express to every part of the road to tell all travellers and caravans to halt till they had a guard sent for them; for that an unusual body of Tartars, making ten thousand in all, had appeared in the way, about thirty miles beyond the city.
And very fatiguing, too; for we had tried hard, along at first, to catch up with the guide, but had only fagged ourselves, in vain; for although he was traveling slowly he was yet able to go faster than the hampered caravan over such ground.
I ordered the caravan to 'bout face and form in marching order; I then made the tow-rope fast to the rear mule, and gave the command:
The moment the travellers were fairly on the march, and the camp was abandoned, these starving hangers-on would hasten to the deserted fires, to seize upon the half-picked bones, the offal and garbage that lay about; and, having made a hasty meal, with many a snap and snarl and growl, would follow leisurely on the trail of the caravan
. Many attempts were made to coax or catch them, but in vain.