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after death; that once every year he dips himself in the river on the festival of St. John the Baptist, and regularly every morning he wets the end of his toga with the moisture from his mouth and freshens up his eyes. Whenever he feels his hide harsh and uncomfortable, he anoints himself with mutton fat. Of a morning one may see the jeunesse dorée of a town stalking with body erect, and with about a pound of butter stuck on their heads, gradually melting under the increasing power of the sun. The men may look a shade cleaner occasionally, caused not by any act of their own, but through the accident of being for hours in a rain-storm, which at this season occurs daily; but even then the odor of rancid mutton fat impregnates the atmosphere wherever they may be.
In passing through the town of Godafallassi, a place of 350 houses, and boasting a market, we had some hopes of finding the inhabitants in better circumstances and condition. They were in even a worse state than the people of the villages we had passed through. They herded together in their huts with their cattle, fowls, dogs, cats, and a Noah's ark of insects, which they seem to foster with the greatest care, by not touching soap and using very little water. They were more or less civil, but show no particular courtesy to strangers. They preferred cloth or gaudily colored handkerchiefs to money for the coarse food they brought us.
Asmara, en route for the market of Massowah. On arriving on the edge of the plateau, a scene of great beauty presented itself. Our route lay down a wide gorge, opening on an ocean of little blue hills, looking with their purple hues like the wavelets of the Atlantic suddenly arrested in motion. Descending the precipitous sides of the plateau, a crowd of monkeys of all sizes and ages scampered away in great dismay, chattering and shrieking as some of our sportsmen fired in the air. The valley of Gundet, which we were now traversing, became famous by the utter rout of the Egyptians in their fight with the Abyssinians in November, 1876. Here the main body of the invaders, under the gallant young Dane, Colonel Arendrup Bey, was cut to pieces. Further on, toward the Mareb River, the vanguard under Count Zichy left their bones to rot in a forest of mimosa. As we passed this scene, their bleached remnants still lay scattered there, marking the spot where a rallying square had stood to stem the torrent of Abyssinian spearmen, who suddenly rushed down upon them from their rocky cover of enormous granite boulders that hemmed in the defile. Remaining a little in the rear of our party, one of our native guard described to me the manner of the attack: how the Ethiopians crept from their cover on hands and knees; the surprise of the enemy; the short struggle and sub
sequent flight of the Egyptians, and their utter annihilation. The natives acknowledge to this day that Arendrup's troops fought dearly for their lives. In those days the Egyptians had some mettle in them. The battle of Gundet is memorable, as it was the beginning of the decay of Egyptian power in Ethiopia and the Soudan. Disorder and misfortune have overwhelmed them ever since, and the Turk, who was once regarded with fear and respect, is now looked upon in that part of the world with loathing and contempt. In the valley of Gundet the foliage varies from the monotony of the prickly mimosa to sycamore, butternut, and wild fig of many kinds, and on the banks of the Mareb weeping willows overhang its rocky bed.
Leaving this historical valley, we once more ascended hill after hill covered with dense fo
ENGRAVED BY J. W. EVANS.
liage, and here and there on their slopes were clearings with patches of cultivated ground. Always ascending, we at last reached the great Dari Teelai plain, one day's march from Adowa, our objective point. After traversing a sandy track for six hours, we encamped, but spent the last night of our long march in sleeplessness, on account of the cries of hyenas and jackals, and were made miserable by the visitations of spiders and scorpions, two of the party being severely bitten. In the early dawn we marched for the capital of northern Abyssinia. This last day's journey was considered by some of us the most difficult and trying of all. A magnificent view of the valleys and hills we had passed over in the last six days lay before us. A more picturesque but wild, inhospitable, and rugged-looking country one could hardly im agine. In the far distance, forming the 1
rugged mountains reared themselves in volcanic confusion, their shapes so eccentric that they seemed to mingle with the thunder-clouds that were beginning to discharge their waters in a distant valley. Reluctantly turning our backs on this grand and impressive scene, we descended into the valley of Adowa. On one of the slopes far away to our left, from out the gray monotony of surrounding habitations, shone the golden Coptic cross on the haythatched cathedral of the city of Adowa.
The capital of Tigré, or northern Abyssinia, appears to have been once a city of much greater importance than it is at the present day. It consists of 800 or 900 habitations, covering the spurs of three hills on the southeast end of the valley, around which are scattered nu
and disjointed appearance for a representative city. As soon as we crossed the Mareb we found that the peasantry treated our advent with great indifference, and were very reluctant, in spite of excellent pay, to bring in supplies to our camp. This was owing, we discovered, to our arrival in the district belonging to the King's son-our powerful protector, Ras Alula, having no control out of his own country, though he was one of the most powerful of the Abyssinian chiefs, and the warden of the marches. The country is split up into petty chieftainships, the ruler of each district receiving all revenues from whatever sources, and having complete power of life and death over his people. His only obligation to the King is to follow him to war with all his available fight
ing-men. Next to the King, Alula had the largest following, so Johannes had a wholesome respect for him, for his weight thrown in with any one of the pretenders to the throne would be a serious matter for the reigning house. The young heir apparent, jealous of the power of this great chief, resented it by showing to us that he alone had control in his own-district, and made us suffer by withholding the necessary supplies. So far was this jealousy carried, that on our arrival in Adowa the governor of the city delayed calling upon us, and when he condescended to do so was so drunk and stupid that he had to be supported by his interpreter on the road home. He forbade his people to bring us any supplies. This was, indeed, a very serious thing, for travelers in Abyssinia are dependent in this matter upon the pleasure of the governor or chiefs. In Adowa there are no shops or hostelries of any description, the people getting their provisions from the market held once a week. Tedge and beer are brewed, corn is converted into flour, and all cooking prepared in each household. Therefore, unless people are allowed to sell or give hospitality, the traveler's chance of escape from starvation is a small one. We had supplies of a certain kind with us, and could have held out a few days, but such food would have been rejected by our native followers, who would have suffered great privations. Sir William Hewitt was compelled, therefore, to forward a letter to the King, stating that unless the prohibition of supplies was withdrawn, it would be impossible for us to move farther. In a few days a reply was brought back by Alula, who had been summoned by the King, which showed the pride and arrogance of the Ethiopian Christian monarch. The translation is as follows:
Message of King John, by the Almighty King
out any apparent shame, and if the amount of the gift did not come up to his expectations, he would politely say, "I require nothing but your friendship," which meant that he would be as unfriendly as possible until the required sum was forthcoming. The King might have put a stop to it at once, for no monarch is more absolute or despotic in the world. His word, proclaimed in the market-place with a prelude of tom-toms, is the only law, and he has absolute power of death and mutilation. Political offenders and obstructionists are arrested, chained, and placed on the small table-land of Abba Salama, a high, rocky, and precipitous mountain about thirty miles from Adowa. So sheer and steep are its sides that the prisoners are drawn up by ropes. Their chance of escaping is impossible, unless they run the risk of dashing themselves into eternity on the rocks below. On this lonely height there is soil on which they may grow grain, and there are wells with good water. There is no speaker to keep order, and they may, if they choose, abuse the prime ministers and crowned heads to their hearts' content, but they return no more to the ways of the world.
The King of the Ethiopians, although absolute in power, and doing pretty much as he pleases, has an ear for the Church, and superstitiously follows the fiats of the high priests. Within a stone's-throw of Adowa is a village called the Abuna's. It is here that the Archbishop, or Abuna, resides. This ecclesiastical dignitary is always a foreigner. The Abuna is simply a prisoner in the country, and, unless followed by his brother churchmen, he may not leave the precincts of his village, a jealous eye being kept on all his movements. He has the sole power of consecrating churches, and of ordaining priests and deacons, and holds over munication, which is looked upon by all with the heads of the people the sentence of excomthe greatest dread. By these means, in many crooked ways, he can amass money, and perhaps eventually return to his native monastery should the vigilance of his guards be slackened. The Tchege comes next, and is the native head of the church. He and the Abuna should lead a life of rigid celibacy. The priests are allowed to marry if they choose, but the majority lead a life of gross immorality. The confessional affords an easy means for gratifying their desires, and also for obtaining the liquor that cheers. The Church in this country is almost as profitable a profession as that of the soldier. There is no regular pay attached to either, but the followers of both live upon the people. There is no encouragement to ambition or advancement, for as soon as a man begins to grow rich, he is robbed spiritually by one and materially by the other.
We found the walls of the churches in Abyssinia covered with pictures of scriptural history, and the walls of the cathedral with the exploits of Johannes. His victories over the Egyptians at Gorra, and in the valley of Gundet, are fully represented in tones as florid as those of advertising posters at home. The native artist does not make up for crudeness of color by the accuracy of his drawing, and if these pictures have any merit it is in their originality of treatment. For instance, in the cathedral of Gundet, in a picture representing the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Pharaoh carries in his right hand the latest specimen in six-shooters, and in his left he holds a pair of operaglasses, while the Egyptian host sport Remington rifles. All movement of figures is from right to left, and in all pictures heads are full-faced, with the exception of Satan and the hated Egyptians, who are painted in acute profile, to show their lack of honesty and good faith, and their inability to look you straight in the face. It is a deplorable fact, and one which, ladies will say at once, only proves the ignorance and barbarity of the Ethiopians, that the evil spirits in these compositions are always represented by the softer sex, generally showing their naughtiness by exhibiting their tongues. The church painter goes so far as to question the gallantry of St. George, the Abyssinian patron saint, by depicting that warrior, instead of doing battle with the dragon, as spearing the graceful, undulating form of a long-tongued
The Abyssinian has a singular superstition regarding eating in the open. To him a fit of indigestion from over-feeding would mean the evil eye. He would feel assured that some part of the performance of appeasing his appetite had been observed. In walking along a highway in this country, I came across what appeared to be a large bundle of washing just a little off the road. On approaching it, the movement going on within was plainly discernible. Covered up in their shemas, or cloths, were three men eating their midday meal. So much in fear are the people of the evil eye, that they carry amulets containing prayers, and rolls of parchment several yards long; and pictures illustrative of the triumphs of the good spirit over that ocular absurdity are kept in their houses for protection. If an Abyssinian sells you anything, and is well inclined, he will caution you to keep it indoors or covered up; for if an evil eye should fall on your purchase it may spoil or disappear, which latter contingency is much more probable in Abyssinia. I had some experiences of the kind of evil eye that caused goods and chattels to disappear. It gleamed for an instance in the head of an Ethiopian whom I caught walking off with
some dollars from a pile in our paymaster's tent; the corner of the evil eye smiled innocently when detected, but the smile faded away under the influence of the paymaster's boot.
On the return of Ras Alula from his visit to the King, we certainly fared a little better, and our envoy was offered a house, with a compound wherein to pitch his tents. We had already settled down comfortably about a quarter of a mile from the city, in a southeasterly direction. Our encampment numbered twenty tents, and Mason Bey, with his equatorial experience, erected several excellent grass huts, so that we were in comparative comfort and protected from the sun, the rays of which at this early period of the season were quite hot enough. The huts brought the temperature during the day down to 870, and kept it up to 470 of a night, for after sundown the thermometer falls rapidly from 1100 to 45°.
Rather interested to learn how far Abyssinian hospitality would go in the way of a house, we rode into the town one afternoon to view the King's gift. After threading our way through several narrow streets, we arrived at the outer wall of the mansion. Passing through the gateway, we crossed the compound, which had the appearance of a scattered dunghill, and reached a tall, quadrangular-shaped building, composed of thick walls of mud and stones, with an extinguisher-shaped thatched roof. Three doors, one on each face of three of the walls, opened into a hall. Entering through the center, we discovered on each side of the gangway the head of a mule protruding from two narrow stables let into the wall. The animals were so close that they rubbed their noses on our coat-sleeves and sniffed our pockets for grain. In a recess fronting the entrance was a dais a few feet high, built of mud, covered with a carpet and some straw, with a dirty curtain stretching across the recess and overhanging the dais. This is where the lord of the house would place himself to receive visitors, or to recline after a feast. There was also a native bedstead, a low four-post affair, with strips of rawhide stretching from side to side. This, with the exception of a stool, was the only other article of furniture in the place. The floor was very much like that of an ill-kept stable, covered with muck and frowzy straw. Besides a woman and her little baby, both lately greased and fragrant in the extreme, there were a goat and a few fat-tailed sheep. From numerous holes and open cupboards in the walls fowls cackled and pigeons fluttered, disturbing the cobwebs, and spattering the occupants below with lime. Scattered here and there in corners were tedgehorns, broken honey-pots, and debris of all descriptions. The scene was indeed novel, but not entertaining, for the stench of the animals, and