Puslapio vaizdai

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Hewitt was compelled, therefore, to forward a letter to the King, stating that unless the prohibition of supplies was withdrawn, it would be impossible for us to move farther.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

of Zion.

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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

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 47° of a night, for after sundown the thermometer falls rapidly from 110° to 45°.


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

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

mutual agreement of bride and groom, if, after years of happiness together, they wish to cement the tie more closely, the pair simply attend the holy communion together in church, and the marriage is then looked upon as indissoluble.

There is a touch of the old Roman

the multitudes of flies and bees attracted by the honey-pots, made us think of moving. The chief of our escort, not seeing, as he expected, the pleasure depicted on our envoy's face, told him that there was a still better room above, where he could receive his friends in quietude and make a perfect little sanctum. We looked around in some surprise, for no signs of a stair- "Mark-Antony-over-the-body-of-Cæsar" cusway were visible. One of the servants smiled upon us with a certain touch of contempt, and, jumping on the dais, seemed to crawl up the wall like a cat, disappearing through a hole, out of which he eventually looked down upon us, expecting the envoy to follow. Whether the Queen's representative thought it, in virtue of his position, beneath his dignity to go through these gymnastics, or whether he thought his days of cadet-like agility had passed away, he did not accept the invitation to explore further the wonders of the place, but returned to his camp, leaving this abode of Abyssinian hospitality to the original occupants.

Abyssinia is a country where, if marriage is a failure, it can be easily dissolved. There is absolutely no legal or holy tie. When a man is desirous of marrying a girl he directly applies to her parents. The maidens, like those in many European countries, are seldom consulted on the question; the lover arranging with the father or male relatives regarding her dower, which generally means a few beeves, sheep, or pieces of cloth, and sometimes gold. On the marriage day the bridegroom presents himself with his best man at the house of his future father-in-law. Much feasting goes on till the bride is carried off by her husband, generally on his shoulders, while the male relatives closely follow, making a canopy of their togas to keep off the rays of the sun, or perhaps the effects of the evil eye. Behind come a crowd of young girls and boys, methodically lifting their arms above their heads, and clapping their hands to the measured beating of tom-toms carried by men running along the flanks of the procession, who also blow long trumpets. The happy couple that I saw married outstripped their followers, with the exception of their best man, and at last reached the town green, where the groomsmen formed a screen with their cloaks round the happy pair, when the deferred courtship began. It is a custom for the supporters of the groom, generally six in number, to be present on this occasion, and for many days afterward to go round visiting the houses of the mutual friends of the married pair, extolling the beauties of the bride and the accomplishments of the groom, generally finishing up with a grotesque dance, which is much enjoyed by the enthusiastic neighbors, crowding round the open doorway. Though this marriage can be annulled according to

tom about Abyssinian burials. The corpse is brought from the house of death to some prominent clearing in the town, where the women relatives and hired mourners sit around in a circle, lowly chanting some weird dirge. The chief mourner in the case that I saw, the mother of a child, stood upright over the little body, which with exposed face lay on a stretcher. With loud lamentations she beat her breast, tore her hair, bewailing her loss; presently in softer tones she extolled the perfections of her lost one. Then she raved again, growing more and more frantic every moment, till her slave entwined her arms about her mistress and led her sorrowing away. After that the men, who had been standing all the time at a respectful distance, came in and bore the body of the child to the burial-place, the women returning to the house to prepare a feast for the male mourners' return.

We found that in many parts of the town of Adowa we were looked upon with the greatest horror by the womankind. In passing down a narrow street the women would keep close to the walls, turning their backs on us and whispering, "O you creatures with pink skins!" Throughout Abyssinia, cloth, colored pieces of handkerchiefs, and bars of rock-salt ten inches long, serve as the ordinary medium of barter. The only coin in the country is the MarieThérèse silver dollar. Twenty-four bars of salt go to the dollar, therefore I always avoided changing dollars, and for small wants got on well by trading empty beer-bottles, of which we were always adding to our supply, getting for each two chickens and a dozen eggs. Worcestershire-sauce bottles ran higher because of their glass stoppers. If I had felt inclined to settle in that country, I could have taken a chief's daughter in marriage, in spite of my green eyes and pink skin, on account of a large cut-glass cologne bottle, with a bulbous. glass stopper, that I happened to have with me.

When King Johannes eventually came to meet us, for many hours before the advanceguard of his army appeared on the hills overlooking Adowa the forty royal speaking-drums were sounding his advent in measured beatings, which could be heard for miles. Throughout Africa the drum has been the long-distance telephone of the natives from time immemorial, for they literally speak with their drums

Mr. Glave, who has recently returned from the tributaries of the Upper Congo, tells remarkable stories of what this drumming can do in that part of the country.

In Abyssinia taxes are collected by the sound of the drum, and woe betide the tardy husbandman if his beeves, sheep, or bread are not forthcoming. "Slay-spare not!" roll the distant thunder of the king's drums, and the cavalry collectors swoop down on the village. The low, deep sound of the tom-tom has a weirdness about its tone which is highly effective, certainly to those not subjects of the King; and in the morning in the silent darkness the drums signaled the coming of Johannes. It was an exceedingly grateful sound to us, for we had been virtually prisoners, anxiously awaiting his arrival. The morning light was well on the hills as the advance-guard of the King descended into our valley. First came irregular cavalry, who scattered over the uneven ground without any particular order or formation. Then in a compact body came the Abuna and other church dignitaries, with a choir of boys in their front, chanting. At an interval of a few yards rode the King, dressed in a black silk gabardine, bareheaded and barefooted, mounted on a mule richly caparisoned with silver and red leather. A large magenta silk umbrella was held over his head by a page running by his side. At a respectful distance, to prevent the pressure of his unruly subjects, were footmen marching in Indian file at short intervals. The King's son rode beside his royal father, also mounted on a mule. The rear was brought up by the army, infantry and cavalry all huddled together, fighting their way to the front so that they could get a better view of the arrival at the palace. The palace-if the three huts which constitute the king's residence can be called one-is perched in a walled compound on one of the highest hills looking down on Adowa. The courtyard is entered by one narrow gateway, with a signal-tower above it. On each side of it two seven-pounders, presented by the Admiral to the King, had been placed the night before. At the last moment Ras Alula was struck with the brilliant idea of firing a salute in honor of his monarch's entrance into Adowa, so he hurriedly sent down to our camp for the necessary men and blank charges. When our scratch crew arrived the people were too excited to pay any attention to the order to stand clear of the guns, and with great difficulty six rounds at very varied intervals were got off, to the astonishment of the crowd, who rushed about after each round in great wonderment, some warriors riding up flourishing their spears at the mouth of the ordnance. What these intrepid warriors could not understand was the

sponging out of the guns after each discharge. They thought this part of the function unnecessary delay. It was lucky, after all, that Ras Alula sent for our men to work the pieces.

The camp-followers with the baggage now made their appearance in large numbers, and tents of all descriptions were soon pitched up hill and down dale, the beasts of burden making for the fields and eating up the grass like locusts. The inhabitants of Adowa had been brewing tedge and making bread for the last three weeks, but how they were to provide for this inroad of 7000 warriors and their animals was quite a puzzle. The King's hospitality toward us began that evening, much to the delight of our servants, for two oxen, several sheep, 500 loaves of bread, many jars of tedge and honey, and a few horns of red pepper were brought into camp by the royal slaves. This quantity became our daily allowance while we were guests of Adowa.

The interior of the royal residence had nothing to recommend it above other native interiors. The walls were of plain mud, and of stone unevenly fitted, and without any attempt at decorative art, and not even draped with cotton cloth, as some are. The earthen floor was bare, with the exception of a few well-worn pieces of Brussels carpet, leading from the entrance up to the foot of what served for a throne. There was no attempt at state; a few domestics lolled against the walls, and on the left side of the throne stood a priest, whose seeming occupation was to keep the flies from his own nose with the aid of a piece of cow's tail, but in reality, and in conjunction with a servant swaying a horse-hair switch, was keeping those little torments from feeding off the butter on the royal head; for his Majesty indulged in grease as well as his lowly subjects. The Negus squatted in the middle of his throne, his body totally covered from tip of nose downward, to show his dignity, pride, and exalted position, and the utter indifference he felt to everything and everybody else. And thus he remained till our numerous presents were brought in and placed at his feet, when he even condescended to smile his thanks, which lighted up his otherwise gloomy face and made it rather pleasant. It is lean and wan, broad just over the brows, which are perfectly arched; his large black eyes are deepset; his nose is slightly Jewish, but small; and his mouth and chin-for he now gradually dropped his toga, which fell slowly down over his knees, discovering the order of Solomon in gold, attached to a chain around his neck, glittering on a gown of black silk — showed a weakness that belied the upper part of the face. His color is almost negro in its blackness. There appeared to be no one in

particular to keep the door or to lift the cloth as one entered or passed out. When we did the latter, after asking permission to depart, which the King cheerfully responded to by saying, "Echee," which means in plain English "All right,"-we had to move the cloth for ourselves. Once out of the royal presence, an unruly mob of soldiers and servants jostled us wherever we walked. Sometimes an indignant chief would lay about him with a stiff bamboo, clearing our way for a time, but the people were like flies; their appetite for curiosity seemed all the more sharpened, and they swarmed around in large numbers. In a corner of the compound I noticed that a large bower had been erected to cover with its leafy shade at least 500 men. This was where the warriors, chiefs, and courtiers of the King feasted. We were none of us invited during our stay to these entertainments, Johannes knowing full well that Europeans are not accustomed to the luxuries of an Abyssinian banquet; and for one, I was heartily glad we were not honored with this mark of his favor. The food was, as usual, warm raw flesh, with a sort of haggis of

intestines of the animal, flavored with ox-gall and red pepper, to make it more piquant.

The Abyssinian soldier is generally a frugal creature; on the war-path he has to put up with rations of jerked beef and a little flour, which he carries slung over his shoulders tied up in an end of his toga. A slab of stone will serve whereon to mix the flour with a little water, the quality of which he is not particular about. He will then make a paste; a fairly round stone is sought for and heated in the camp-fire, and is then used as a center around which the dough is built. This stone dumpling is then placed in hot ashes, and in a few moments is cooked sufficiently to serve as bread. Red pepper made into a paste with grease is carried in a small horn attached to his girdle. Of luxuries the Abyssinian soldiers have few. Smoking is not allowed, and the breaker of this rule is liable to lose his nose and lips in punishment. Each man carries his little pot of snuff in his belt. A short time after the coming of the King we returned to the coast, and our mission was ended.

Frederic Villiers.



HRISTIE was very small, even for his tender years, and he had red hair and the freckles that always go with it. As far back as Christie could remember he had sold newspapers on the streets. The experience he had gained in this line was a very extensive one, and had completely destroyed any ideas he might otherwise have had of a domestic life. For the last few summers he had given up the paper business, and blackened boots on a ferry-boat. He might have done very well at this, but he preferred to sit on the deck and listen to the three Italians who played popular airs on a harp and two violins. On the last few trips Christie would generally find that he had no money to pay for his supper and lodging, so he would get down to work and try to make enough to keep him until the following day.

He was a very improvident character, was Christie, but he had no one depending on him,

so it really did not make very much difference. It frequently happened that when night came on he found himself without any money at all. On these occasions he would spend the night at a shed on a pier in the East River.

Christie was a great favorite with the watchman at the pier, and the old man was always rather glad when the boy had had a bad day and was forced to spend the night in the shed, for Christie was very good company, and sat up until late at night telling the old man of his day's adventures, and making plans, and getting advice for the future. Young as he was, Christie had seen more of New York than most men of forty. He knew the Bowery and the East Side, every bit of it. As for the other side of the town, he did not care for it; his ambitions did not lie in that direction. He had already tired of New York, and wanted to get out in the world and travel from place to place. He was an enthusiastic admirer of the country and the water; and the little green parks of the metropolis, and even the waters of the bay, did not afford him sufficient of either. He was a

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