Tuesday. Traveled about 7 miles. In the afternoon, boarded two cangias of slaves merchants going down to Cairo - bought belts and amulets.
Slave merchants boats. The first master was a big man with black sideburns; we climb in the chamber - he offers us bunches of ostrich feathers.
The masts have been felt - the boat goes downstream rowing. The black women are crammed in different postures; a few of them crush flour on stones, with a stone, and their hair hangs over them like the long mane of a horse grazing on the ground. In the gesture of grinding, their breasts rocks forward along with the leather headband they wear on their back and their braided hair. A mother with her small child; one was having her headdress done; little girl from the Gondar plateau with piastres on her forehead - she stayed still and composed when Maxime gave her a necklace of mercury balls. - They are all very quiet; no anger in their look - the normality of the brute.
To have a few more necklaces, the master, when we were going out, had two or three of the best looking, or nearest to the door, come out - one Abyssinian, tall, haughty, was standing leaning on the gunwale, fist on the hip, and was looking at us departing.
Second boat - the master is in a white turban - we seat on a divan under a canopy. Headdress of a woman, with a porcupine quill; the small braids are unmade one by one, and then remade. The masters are proposing beautiful bags, squashes; the master of the second boat offers a sort of water pot made of leather, with two holes, which can be carried with a belt.
These women are scarred and tattooed. In the second boat, one had markings from the top to the bottom of her back - all along her back, lines of folds, scars of cuts cauterized with a hot iron. On all these boats are old black women who make the journey again and again. They are here to comfort and encourage the new slaves, they teach them resignation and are used as interpreters between the women and the Merchant, who is an Arab.