Transcribe Ward, Henry A. Letter to Elizabeth D. Ward (1855-02-10)

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from the others, to see these poor savages, who had been at work together but for a few weeks, & who had so regularly quarrelled in the distribution of the accustomed “Backshesh” at each village, embrace & kiss each other over & over again like brothers parting for the last time. Most of of our new crew are Nubians, who are black as coal & as a consequence (one would be inclined to say) are quite tractable. Some of them are fine singers, and whenever the boat sails, & they are relieved from towing, they take their tarrabukha & give us a tune. Their singing is sometimes beautiful, especially at night. Most of them have no right finger, and some no right eye, and many no front teeth, their darling parents having deprived them of these when they were young, to unfit them for sighting a gun, pulling a trigger, or biting a cartridge in the army where they would otherwise be apt to be taken. One could write a good deal, which would be interesting, about these people, their customs, &c. had they time to spare. Syene Feb. 14th. Dear I am obliged to close this in haste although I wished to write much more. I will write you again very soon. Your affectionate brother Henry A. Ward