The route over the Desert from Suez to Gaza is not frequented by merchants, and is seldom passed by a traveller. This part of the country is less uniformly barren than the tracts of shifting sand that lie on the El Arish route. The shrubs yielding food for the camel are more frequent, and in many spots the sand is mingled with so much of productive soil as to admit the growth of corn. The Bedouins are driven out of this district during the summer by want of water, 240but before the time for their forced departure arrives, they succeed in raising little crops of barley from these comparatively fertile patches of ground; they bury the fruit of their labours, and take care so to mark the spot chosen, that when they return, they can easily find their hidden treasures. The warm dry sand stands them for a safe granary. The country, at the time I passed it (in the month of April), was pretty thickly sprinkled with Bedouins expecting their harvest; several times my tent was pitched alongside of their encampments; but I have already told you all I wanted to tell about the domestic—or rather the castral—life of the Arabs.