Women On Adventure is a blog by K.L. Webber exploring our rich shared history of women's adventure writing. This curated collection of quotations showcases the opinions and experiences of influential female travellers in their own words.

"The much-looked-for spy has come in from Sinkat."

The much-looked-for spy has come in from Sinkat. He had got his letter doubled up inside a leather amulet, of which these people have always two or three on their arms, containing usually a verse of the Koran. I at once took possession of it, and keep it as a great curiosity. He says that when approaching Sinkat at night he had to hide for several hours behind a big stone, while just on the other side of it, and within four or five paces, were a circle of the enemy, whose conversation was by no means reassuring, as they declared their intention of chaining and then cutting the throat of anybody who was coming to help the beleaguered garrison. He dared not move for a long time, but at last, creeping away, keeping the stone between them, he took refuge some distance off in a small cave. There he lay until the next night, when, making a wide circuit, he managed to pierce the enemy's lines on the other side. Early in the morning, approaching the fort, he called out "Tewfik, Tewfik!" Tewfik Bey happened to be close by, and ordered him to be allowed in. On his return, he was actually caught. By good luck, Tewfik Bey's letter was not found, but, suspicion being strong, he was tied up and got a severe beating. He no doubt had a narrow shave, but, luckily for him, some of his relations were amongst the rebels, and at night they secretly untied him and let him go. Such was the cause of his long delay, and in proof he showed the very visible marks of his beating.


Ernestine Sartorius

Suakin, Sudan, 1883


Source: Ernestine Sartorius, Three Months in the Soudan, London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1885

Further links:


Mary F. McVicker, Women Adventurers, 1750-1900: A Biographical Dictionary, with Excerpts from Selected Travel Writings, McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2008, Pge. 204


WOA Image: Hotakadake, Japan

WOA Image: Hotakadake, Japan

"Bang goes off the gun,... singeing my hair and the side of my face"