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here at the out-of-door tables, ant hawkers, in the priests and enjoy the pageant of the with flapping soutane and pavement. For pageapt it is clumsy shoes, in the Breton of necessity. We are, admitted- maids with their starched caps, ly, foreigners. There must al- in the homeward hurrying ways be something extra charm- schoolboy with his satchel and ing, something extra delightful his mackintosh pinafore, in the in these habits and customs tripe and trotters cart, in the which are not ours by birth. grisette with gay bandbox, in If we were French, could we the argumentative agent de look at Seek Midday Street police with his ample cape. with the same eyes ! I doubt There is pageant, and yet it. There seems to be an ele- there is reality. There is the ment of make-believe in these reality of something which we baker's girls pushing their seem to need more in Engwicker bassinettes or carrying land, a sense of common huthe tubular baskets filled with manity, an unconsciousness of yard long loaves, in these hurry- class difference. ing housewives with their trellis I am not sure that, after all, panniers for wine bottles, in the the first step towards Utopia nuns with their strange and may not be found in Seek Midvaried headgear, in the itiner- day Street.
FROM THE BUSH.
I. THE SULTAN.
I FIRST met Sultan Isau in girl and her burden remained the summer of 1924. We were in front, contrary to the usual returning from a prolonged custom of the women retiring elephant trip when, late one well to the rear. I finished afternoon, we broke from the dressing and, fording the river bush into a trail that showed lower down, walked up the every sign of recent and heavy opposite bank towards the party
I called Selimani and who I guessed were awaiting asked him in which direction my arrival. As I approached I the village lay. He examined could see that the girl's burden the trail for some little while was alive, and in another and then pointed to the west, moment that it consisted of a and giving the word accord- very old man ! ingly, the safari took the west- “Jambo Bwana," said the erly direction and headed into girl as I came alongside, and the setting sun. Events soon from his awkward position the proved him to be right, for old man lifted a thin arm in after about two miles' going we greeting. passed some mizinga, and “Jambo," I returned. “Who several straight logs stripped are you ? clear of bark—both of which “The great Sultan Isau," signs we had come to recognise she announced, and as I stared as meaning “ village.” It is at her in amazement she from this inner bark that the hitched the old man forward natives make their clothes. across her shoulder by way of
We were soon in sight of the explanation. I looked at him, village, and I stopped at the and his fine old face told his river for a bathe before enter- rank and lineage. He had none ing. While I was dressing I of the coarseness of the African saw approaching through the native. His skin was brownoverhanging bushes a little cav- not black, his nose high and alcade, which resolved itself aquiline, his lips thin, though into a girl carrying an ungainly they sagged sadly over his sort of load upon her shoulders toothless gums. His whole face and followed by half a dozen was criss-crossed by a netmen. They halted at the river work of very fine lines, and the bank and I noticed that the little hair he had was quite
white. His features were much being considered infra dig. to too cleanly cut for a pure Yao reverse the procedure. native, and from this fact, That evening I walked across together with his colour, I to the Sultan's house. Big concluded that a good deal of wood fires were lit all round Arab blood ran in his veins. his compound, and I found
Despite his position he still my boys were being regaled maintained an air of great with food and beer at the dignity difficult to describe. Sultan's expense, with half the
“Greetings, wbite man—and village looking on. They rose welcome !” he croaked, as he as I came up, and the headman shook my hand native fashion stepped forward to ask my and looked into my face. “It wishes. I told him that I had is many moons since Isau come to talk with the Sultan, looked upon the face of a and he thereupon ordered a M’zungu,” i he added, as the woman to take me into the girl, obeying his order, turned house. I followed her in and led the way up the through a heavily-carved doortrail.
way, the doors of which, I After we had made camp, noticed, were hung on big and while I was sitting down wooden hinges—the first of to a cup of tea, Selimani came their kind I had ever seen in up to inform me that “this Africa. Though the hut was village is a good village," from a large one, its spaciousness which I deduced that he had was sadly diminished by the seen a pretty girl somewhere! innumerable sub-divisions into Selimani's landscape was en- which a native loves to separate tirely dominated by the pre- his house. A wood fire smoulsence, or otherwise, of pretty dered in the centre of the room, girls, and I use the word and its acrid smell pervaded “pretty” with diffidence, for the entire atmosphere. I Selimani's idea of prettiness stepped over the fire and was like the rest of his ideas followed the woman through mostly addled ! What was a low doorway into pitch darkmore to the point, however, he ness, where she left me, for told me that Sultan Isau was a I heard the pad of her naked very great man and that in feet as she went away. I days gone by his name had could see nothing, but at the been very greatly feared. same time I knew I was in
“It is no shame for the a room from the warm rather Bwana to go to his house," he fætid smell, and after standadded, referring to the fact ing for a moment undecided that it is the custom for a what to do, I called outwhite man to await the visit “Hódi ? of the chief at his tent, it “ Karibu!” 3 came a faint
invitation, the voice sounding my boys eat of the hospitality choked by the darkness, and of the Sultan Isan.” striking a match I stopped “Aie, it is so, white man, carefully in its direction. There but I remember when thouis a species of darkness 80 sands of fighting men ate the intense that the light from a food of the lion Isau, and match is utterly incapable of relished his salt." piercing it, and the darkness ' Of those days I would hear, of this room
of that 0 Sultan, for the white man variety.
ever loves a fighter, and a Stumbling over the rough- fighting story is as music to ness of the floor, I at last his ears." banged against an obstruction, For a while there was silence and, feeling down, my hands in the room. Faintly from came in contact with the rough- outside came the talk of my ness of native bark blankets, tanga-tanga boys as they disand I knew I was against a patched the evening meal and bed.
bandied words with the vil“Jambo, Sultan," I ven- lagers. I wished I had a lamp tured.
so that I could see what the “Jambo Bwana came old man was doing, when sudthe cracked voice of the old denly, man, using my native name, Know you of the Sultan and feeling about, I lowered Malingalili!” he asked in a myself carefully on to the musing voice. rickety string bed.
“I have heard of him," I " This is a great honour,” answered. went on the old man as I “Good ! A great man was settled myself down. “Why Sultan Malingalili.
He was does the white man come to truly a lion, afraid of nothing. see the worn-out lion ?
No! not even of the 'Shield “A lion is a lion always, men 'Land I was a brother to O Sultan," I answered senten- Malingalili. His people and tiously,
and age but brings mine fought together," and him a greater magnificence.” there was a note of pride in
“Aie-perhaps so !” he an- his voice. swered, and I could tell from “I did not always live here,” the sound of his voice that he he went on. “Long before was pleased. “But it is poor this, when I was a young man work for a lion, even an old and my father the Sultan, our one, to lie here in the darkness villages were close to Malingalili, all day."
and our people friendly. I “But the word of the Sultan remember one day as I was still goes out to his people," I sitting in front of my father's said, soothingly. “Even now house—and in those days, white
Angoni tribe, so called from the big shields they carried, Zulu fashion.
upon us !
man, armed men stood at the away from their posts with a doorways, not women,-a man hole in their bodies, from which came running in from the the red blood flowed. My gardens, and throwing himself father saw that this was no on his knees at the door
good, and ordered the men to “Sultan, 0 Sultan !' he stand back amongst the houses shouted, 'the Waarabu 1 be for greater protection.
did this, and the Waarabu My blood leapt as I heard thought we had run away, and this, and springing to my feet, with loud laughter ran quickly I rushed past the guards into to the barricade. the house, shouting out the “A shower of our arrows news. The women ran crying fell among them, and many from before me ; but my father were killed, but always more and his men seized their bows seemed to come forward. We and arrows and rushed out went on shooting until we had through the doors. The big nearly finished our arrows, and war-drum was beaten, and the then we fell back again across fighting men assembled in the the square. My father shouted square as fast as they could to the women to run away run. In a few minutes the into the bush, which they did, people from the outlying vil- being greatly afraid, but they lages came crowding into our had not gone many moments stockade, as was their custom before shrieks and shots came whenever we were attacked, and to our ears, and we knew that as the last stragglers hurried something else had happened up to the gate, the dreaded out there where they had gone. sound of guns came echoing Hearing this, the young maracross the bush.
ried men became very angry, “Quickly we mustered our and, deserting their posts, ran men and closed the stockade, after the women. My father awaiting the aarabu from shouted to me to go with them behind our defences. Before and help in the rescue. We long we saw them coming on ran as fast as we could, but up the wide trail. Every man when we got there it was too wore plenty of clothes, and late. The Waarabu had capnearly every man carried a tured our women, and were gun. They spread themselves killing the old ones, while the into a long line, and started young ones already had their shooting at the barricade. We necks in the goree. Among replied with our arrows, but the old ones was my mother, we could not shoot as far as and I saw her die as becomes a they could, and soon one and Sultan's chief wife. White then another of our men fell man, I swore to kill the man
1 Arabs. 2 The forked stick used by the Arabs to fasten slaves together-by their necks.