In the center of the troops following the imperial elephant marched a great caravan of slaves. The old street sweeper at my elbow told me that these were the gifts brought in from the far outlying districts by the commanding officers of the frontier posts. The majority of them were women, destined, I was told, for the harems of the emperor and his favorites. It made my old companion clench his fists to see those poor white women marching past to their horrid fates, and, though I shared his sentiments, I was as powerless to alter their destinies as he.
For a week the troops kept pouring in and out of New Gondar-- in, always, from the south and west, but always toward the east. Each new contingent brought its gifts to the emperor. From the south they brought rugs and ornaments and jewels; from the west, slaves; for the commanding officers of the western frontier posts had naught else to bring. adult shower toys
From the number of women they brought, I judged that they knew the weakness of their imperial master.
And then soldiers commenced coming in from the east, but not with the gay assurance of those who came from the south and west--no, these others came in covered wagons, blood-soaked and suffering. They came at first in little parties of eight or ten, and then they came in fifties, in hundreds, and one day a thousand maimed and dying men were carted into New Gondar.
It was then that Menelek XIV became uneasy. For fifty years his armies had conquered wherever they had marched. At first he had led them in person, lately his presence within a hundred miles of the battle line had been sufficient for large engagements--for minor ones only the knowledge that they were fighting for the glory of their sovereign was necessary to win victories. finger vibraters
One morning, New Gondar was awakened by the booming of cannon. It was the first intimation that the townspeople had received that the enemy was forcing the imperial troops back upon the city. Dust covered couriers galloped in from the front. Fresh troops hastened from the city, and about noon Menelek rode out surrounded by his staff.
For three days thereafter we could hear the cannonading and the spitting of the small arms, for the battle line was scarce two leagues from New Gondar. The city was filled with wounded. Just outside, soldiers were engaged in throwing up earthworks. It was evident to the least enlightened that Menelek expected further reverses.
And then the imperial troops fell back upon these new defenses, or, rather, they were forced back by the enemy. Shells commenced to fall within the city. Menelek returned and took up his headquarters in the stone building that was called the palace. That night came a lull in the hostilities--a truce had been arranged.