and seeking a more auspicious market for them. Ahamed regretted that he had not sold them before he foolishly strayed into the clutches of the accursed Moorish governor of Agadir. More than likely there would be no ransom forthcoming at Mogador.
In the nick of time another Moorish gentleman strolled into the little walled mountain town where they tarried for the night, and demanded to know what was going on. To him Ahamed sourly vouchsafed:
"These be Christians whom God in His goodness cast upon our coast. We bought them on the edge of the great desert from a tribe which had taken them from the wreck. We had intended to carry them on to Mogador, but to-day we have heard that the consul has no money to buy Christians with."
The Moor suggested that Captain Paddock dictate a letter to the British consul at Mogador, naming a ransom price of four hundred dollars each, which message could be sent on ahead of Ahamed, who might then await a reply before venturing into the city. The messenger galloped away on a spirited steed, but, alas! he soon came galloping back, having met a friend on the road who read the letter and swore that it would not do at all.
Captain Paddock was in the depths of despair