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December 1. The British Army is before Jerusalem! What an item of news, half dream-like in its remoteness, half romantic in its reality. What echoes it awakens in our hearts, evoking we know not how many memories of the old, high, holy legend of the world! Often captured, often destroyed, that gray old city still stands, like the faith of which it is the emblem, because it is founded upon a rock. If Rome is the Eternal City, Jerusalem is the City of the Eternal. Four cities may be said to stand out in the story of man as centres of the highest life of the race, and about them are gathered the vastest accumulations of history and of legend: Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London! But
no city can have the same place in the spiritual geography of mankind that Jerusalem has. For four thousand years it has been an altar and a confessional of the race. Religiously, it is the capital of the world, if only because Jesus walked in it and wept over it. O Jerusalem, if we forget thee, Athens fails, Rome fails, London fails! Without the faith and vision that burned in the city on Mount Moriah, our race will lose its way in the dim country of this world. Berlin does not mean much. Jerusalem means everything. If only we could agree that, hereafter, when we have disagreements, we will make our way to the ancient City of God, and arbitrate them!
BY HANS COUDENHOVE
OLD PRESIDENT KRÜGER is reported to have said that the white man who understands a native has not yet been born. C. J. Rhodes used to call the natives 'those poor children'; but he was not, like Krüger, born and brought up among them, and to him, on his towering height, they were, no doubt, only those poor children. To one who is in incessant contact with them, without being officially a master, they will, although often reminding him of children, appear vastly different in essence. Natives are often childlike, but much oftener childish, in the expression of merriment and in their entertainments; and sometimes they appear to bring into
their intercourse with the white man who has gained-or thinks he has gained their confidence the trustfulness of children. But these are about all the points of resemblance between the two.
There are, however, a great many points of resemblance between natives and Europeans, irrespective of age; and these are the more striking by contrast with the many points of difference, But it is in the character of the native himself that the greatest contrasts occur. As regards taste, for instance: one and the same individual will on one occasion show remarkable artistic instinct, and on another he will exhibit
the greatest delight in things which, to a white man, appear both inartistic and ugly. In many tribes men and women are fond of decorating their heads with flowers, and in doing so show a just appreciation of the effects of form and color. And yet the very men and women who display exquisite judgment when they adorn themselves with the means which Nature has put at their disposal, forfeit all their artistic sense the moment they come in touch with European wearing apparel, and walk about, objects of abject ridicule, with flayed tropical helmets, in torn coats and trousers either three times too large or three times too small for their size. I once tore off the worn black-cloth cover of my diary. When my cook appeared before me on the following morning, he was wearing it round his neck as an ornament.
Years ago, when I was living in Taveta, in British East Africa, Malikanoi, one of the two paramount chiefs of the Wataveta, wore a shock of unusually long, unkempt hair. He was supposed to be a magician, and his subjects believed that his occult powers, like those of Samson as an athlete, lay in his hair. As he dressed, besides, in nondescript old discolored European garments, his appearance could not be called either prepossessing or dignified. As the time came near when his son a splendid lad, who, at the age of sixteen, had killed a lion single-handed with his spear was to come of age, Malikanoi announced that, in honor of the occasion, he would shave off his hair.
I was invited to the festivities as a guest; and, in consequence, on the day appointed, I repaired to the Taveta forest, where the dances took place. There, sitting on an old deck-chair, I found the chief; and my surprise was as great as must have been, in Mr. Locke's novel, that of Ephraim's guests, when Clemen
tina Wing made her appearance in a hundred-guinea gown and diamonds. His head and face were clean-shaven, and I noticed for the first time the Cæsarean outline of his clear-cut profile. He was wrapped in the ample folds of a toga, dyed the color of amethyst, and he had wound round his bald head a single string of glass beads of the same color as the toga. He presented a perfect picture, and I said to myself that the mere imagining of such a combination as the toga and the glass beads of one and the same color indicated profound artistic feeling. Yet for years that man had walked about looking like a buffoon.
Another field where the contradictions in a negro's æsthetic notions are very apparent is that of the dances. Some are very beautiful, and others very ugly; yet the performers themselves do not appear to see any difference. The Wakinga of the Livingstone Range, for instance, have a dance with solos which might have been, and perhaps
who knows? was performed before the shrine of some Greek deity in the days of Pericles. Nothing more beautiful, from a choregraphic point of view, could be imagined. And yet these same people have another dance - I regret to say it is the more popular of the two-which, so far as ugliness goes, baffles description. After a time, I forbade it in my camp, where small groups were frequently performing it. My wish was respected, but, as a punishment, I suppose, for my want of taste, the other, the beautiful dance, was never again executed in my presence, although I repeatedly asked for it.
It is the same with their songs. Many natives, as is well known, have splendid voices, mostly baritone and tenor, rarely bass. Some of their choruses are a pleasure to listen to. But they will, in
the midst of their songs, no matter whether they are performing singly or with others, often change, all of a sudden, into an ear-rending falsetto, without apparently feeling conscious of any difference. They call it 'singing with the small voice,' and protests are received with surprise.
Nowhere, however, is the inconsequential behavior of the native more glaring than where his cleanliness is concerned. Except in the waterless plains, and where they are in the habit of coating themselves with oil and red ochre, the one, generally, coincides with the other, most natives are extremely fond of bathing. This is especially the case in hilly countries traversed by many streams. They do not appear to mind the cold in the least, and often bathe in midwinter before sunrise. Certain tribes, like that of the Wayao of Nyasaland, might be said to be fanatically fond of bathing. They bathe three and four times a day, and their bath is as great a necessity to them as food or drink.
A curious consequence of this admirable quality has been, on several occasions, the complete failure of attempts on my part to cure people of skin diseases or ulcers. Patients with diseases which necessitated the keeping on of an ointment for several consecutive days would persist in bathing at least once a day, heedless of the fact that they were getting rid, in the process, of all the stuff which was to bring them health or relief; while others could not be prevented from taking off, while bathing, bandages which had been carefully swathed round their limbs an hour or two before. And yet the garments of these very people some of whom will rather suffer disease than go, for a short period, without their daily bath
very often, particularly when they have adopted European garb, teem with lice, as their huts swarm with bugs and,
VOL. 128-NO. 2
too often, also, with the dangerous recurrent fever-ticks.
Besides being, to all appearance, quite indifferent to vermin, they lack the most rudimentary notions of hygiene and sanitation, even in countries long inhabited by white men, and do not seem to feel the slightest disgust when they come into contact with those nameless things which fill every European with horror. In this respect they are simply exasperating: to treat people with ulcers, a duty which, now and then, falls to the lot of every traveler in Tropical Africa, is a most thankless task. They will drop the soiled cotton-wool just detached from their sores anywhere near, and put their hands or their feet in it with the greatest unconcern. Once I actually found a man, a Ngoni, washing his soiled bandage in his cooking-pot, with the stream running past not a hundred yards away.
The mention of this incident reminds me of a native peculiarity against which every traveler and every settler in Tropical Africa has been fighting from time immemorial, and will probably go on fighting until the end of time. No matter how near to the camping-place or to the house the stream passes, the servants will never carry the cups, pots, and plates to it, in order to wash them in the running water: they will, instead, carry a bucket with water to the kitchen or to the cooking-place, and here wash everything in the same
The single inland tribe of my acquaintance that forms an exception to this general rule of indifference to the cleanliness of their surroundings is the Wasokiri to the north of Lake Nyasa. They might have been to school in Holland.
It is often mentioned, as a proof of the native's tacit admission of the white man's superiority, that he will always,
when he has the choice, come to the latter for cure of disease, in preference to his own doctors. But his ineradicable objection to hospitals, where such exist, does not support this opinion. It is a curious fact that many natives share with a considerable number of the poor classes among white people the idea that, in hospital, they are being experimented upon; while others are convinced that a stay in the hospital inevitably means the loss of a limb. I have known many cases of natives who, rather than agree to being taken into hospital, would resign themselves to the prospect of endless suffering or death; and many more where the patients, after being told that they would be sent to the hospital, simply vanished.
On closer examination, this apparent preference of the native for European remedies, where their use does not imply a visit to the hospital, reduces itself, like most native questions, to one of pounds, shillings, and pence. Europeans generally charge nothing at all, or only nominally, for their assistance, while native doctors are very expensive, comparatively speaking. The fees vary from three to fifteen shillings and more; or, where coin is not yet in general use, the equivalent in goods. In Nyasaland the fee for curing an ulcer is three shillings; for relieving an impaired digestion, six; for more dangerous diseases, fifteen. This fee is never paid in advance, and a detail which might be recommended for adoption in civilized communities - only when the cure has been a total success. When natives are asked what would happen if they did not pay up after being cured, they declare that the cured patient would immediately fall ill again, and, if he persisted in his refusal, die.
Many writers on African affairs, and the majority of settlers, are of opinion that the marked changes that appear in the general behavior of male African
negroes when they first start courting are of a pathological nature; and for many years I shared this view. But of late I have come to ask myself whether these changes are not simply the effect of various drugs, to the use of which, at that particular period of their existence, natives are much addicted, and of which they partake with that absence of moderation which characterizes them whenever it is a question of gratifying the
Several of these elixirs are in use in that country; the one reputed to have the most effect is made by boiling the inner bark of a tree which is conspicuous, where it occurs, by the dark color of its small leaves, in contrast with the lighter green of the Myombo forest in general.
I have had occasion to observe the effects of this drug, almost day by day, on a young fellow in my service, a Yao, who had resolved to marry, native fashion, a pretty young widow, who was somewhat older than he. Arvad would, of course, never have told me that he was drugging himself, but he was betrayed to me by the man who was providing him with the stuff. The effects of the drug on the lad were remarkable indeed. For several days he appeared to be in a kind of waking trance, like Mrs. Gamp, walking about with a stiff, extended neck, a fixed stare, and uttering a kind of sotto-voce recitativo. This state was interrupted from time to time by intermezzos of buoyant gayety! After about a week, he completely lost his memory: when I sent him to deliver a message, he sat down in front of the house; and, when I followed him there about half an hour later, he had delivered no message, totally unconscious of the fact that the person to whom the message was sent sat not five yards away from him. He had forgotten all about it. Shortly afterward we parted company, by mutual consent.
The native pharmacopoeia, though mixed with superstitious practices, comprises many efficacious remedies for all kinds of diseases; and when the time comes for it to be investigated thoroughly and extensively, it will probably add some invaluable and quite unforeseen data to our own store of medical knowledge. Native doctors are notoriously reticent. For years, in German East Africa, Europeans have tried in vain to find out the cure of the Wahehe tribe against syphilis - a cure which, at least as far as all outward symptoms are concerned, is wonderfully effective. Doubtless there exist, among native tribes, secret medicines about which we know nothing at all. Occasionally, and by chance, one hears hints which give much food for speculation.
One striking instance may be mentioned. Speaking about the spirillum fever-tick, the authors of The Great Plateau of Northern Rhodesia say: 'An interesting point though, unfortunately, one that cannot be vouched for-is that some of the Angoni have, by repeated attacks in generation after generation, become immune. To preserve this immunity when traveling, and with the idea of imparting immunity to their friends, they are said to carry these home-bred ticks with them, from place to place.' This statement, to which the writers themselves do not appear to give too much credit, apart from sounding fantastic, is also, so far as the tame tick's action is concerned, rather obscure. But the fact of domesticated ticks being taken along like household pets by people going on a journey finds an interesting confirmation, unknown, I think, to the authors just quoted, in a book which was written in the Reign of Queen Anne, the Journal of Robert Drury, the Madagascar slave, attributed by some to Defoe. He tells ex
actly the same story about one of the Madagascar tribes and their ticks or bugs, which must have been the identical spirillum ticks.
The expression 'cowardly native' is a household word among Europeans in Africa, and yet, instances of courageous actions of natives, such as, to my knowledge, no white man ever performed, are innumerable. The reason for this entirely unmerited reputation probably lies in the fact that, as a rule, they are not in the least ashamed to admit that they are, or that they have been, afraid, while a white man, unless he is a recognized hero, will die rather than make such an avowal. Another reason, no doubt, lies in their many idiosyncrasies and the superstitious awe with which perfectly harmless things inspire them. Almost all the natives, for instance, from the Indian Ocean to the lakes, fear chameleons much more than they fear snakes.
It is very common to hear travelers complain about the cowardice of native followers, who, when the caravan was charged by a rhino, threw down their loads and fled. I should like to know what else, in the name of common sense, they ought to have done - sat down and awaited developments? Native experience of wild animals and their ways is far more extensive and thorough than ours, and, as a rule, they behave, in an emergency brought about by an encounter with wild animals, in a perfectly rational manner, based on a knowledge of that particular creature's habits. They will run away from a rhino and jump aside, well aware that its impetus will carry it past. But they know better than to run away from elephants. I have seen natives, under a charge of these, lie down and remain motionless on the ground, knowing that the shortsighted giants would mistake them for logs and step over them. I have seen Wataweta killing elephants with bows