Hashish: A Smuggler's Tale (Penguin Classics)

Hashish: A Smuggler's Tale (Penguin Classics)

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0141442107

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Nobleman, writer, adventurer and inspiration for the swashbuckling gun runner in the Adventures of Tintin, Henri de Monfried lived by his own account ‘a rich, restless, magnificent life’ as one of the great travellers of his or any age. Infamous as well as famous, his name is inextricably linked to the Red Sea and the raffish ports between Suez and Aden in the early years of the twentieth century. This is a compelling account of how de Monfried seeks his fortune by becoming a collector and merchant of the fabled Gulf pearls, then is drawn into the shadowy world of arms trading, slavery, smuggling and drugs. Hashish was the drug of choice, and de Monfried writes of sailing to Suez with illegal cargos, dodging blockades and pirates.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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caused by that cumbersome, unpacked, dirty and exacting merchandise – passengers. We called at Malta, a curious town where there is nothing but churches, and the only sound of life is the ringing of church bells. The whole place reminded me of the strange towns one often sees in the nightmares of delirium. As soon as the ship anchored, a regular battle began between the boatmen for possession of the passengers. These unhappy creatures were hustled hither and thither, and finally one, waving his

during these moments; I was in a sort of half-delirious, nightmarish state, a sort of fantastic madness; perhaps I was simply afraid. Suddenly the wind dropped dead and the sail abruptly sagged. Instinctively I realized we must be in those dangerous eddies produced by the gusts of wind in the mountains which overhung us. We had gone too near the coast. In the brief silence of this unexpected lull, which had fallen on us like a threat, we could hear all round us the sea growling on invisible

nature caused him to make enthusiastic exclamations on every occasion, and it needed a resounding box on the ear to silence him. The anchor was cautiously lowered, it dipped under water, found the sand, and there we were motionless, in the midst of a dead calm. We were towing the houri after us. I had had it lowered that afternoon, as it is practically impossible to lower a boat silently. In it I embarked with Abdi and Ali Omar, the only two on whose coolness and courage I could absolutely rely.

have been just a ripple, but for our slender pirogue, overloaded as she was, it was worse than really bad weather. The Dankali in front of me had to stop paddling to help me to bale. In spite of our efforts, the houri was half-full of water, and of course the heavier she got the more water she shipped. We should never arrive, I thought despairingly. Twice a wave broke over the prow and filled the pirogue. We all jumped into the sea in order to empty it by swinging it to and fro. The india-rubber

windows was an imposing array of coffins of all sorts. Some were daintily padded, and open like jewellers’ boxes, showing an attractive lining of pastel-coloured silk. Two or three of the finest were laid on trestles, to show off to full advantage their gilded carvings, wrought-metal handles and ornamental nails. In the midst of this macabre scene some people were sitting round a little table, drinking coffee and chatting gaily. Right at the back was an immense desk at which sat a man of about

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