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The beauties of this Hormos Episalos-the open road of the Periplus-are the labours of the Lithophyte,
"Sea-girt isles, That like to rich and various gems inlay The unadorned bosom of the deep." These are five in number-Champany Island, Kibandiko, Changu, Bawy, and Chumby. I prefer their less barbarous European names. Northmost is French Island,-here, as at Canton, a cemetery for Europeans, more decently buried than at Maskat, where they have their choice of a dunghill or the Cove. Formerly this Death's Acre was frequented by turtle-fishers. Mahogo," however, has seen so many ghastly visions of yellow-faced ghosts rising from the growth of Christian graves, that he now abandons the green clump to naval and commercial sportsmen, who repair here to shoot the Sazzid's tame deer, and occasionally other brownish objects imperfectly seen through the bushes. Westward, and connected at low tides by a practicable reef, lies the Ponton-the hulk-a ledge of verdure. It is separated from Middle Island by a channel deep enough for a man-ofwar; and the neighbouring shoals
supply certain small rock-oysters of by no means despicable flavour. The most important is Bawy, or Turtle Island, a long coralline bank, covered with tall cocos, which are the Sazzid's property, governed by a peculiarly vicious baboon deported from Zanzibar, and used, as Colaba was of old, "to keep antelopes, goats, and other beasts of delight." Near it is the celebrated Harp-shell bank, so rich before its produce was spoiled for watch-dials. Furthest to the south is Isle la Passe, which, mistaken for Bawy, has caused many a shipwreck.
Far westward, across the blue expanse of ocean, lies a faint line of flat coast, broken by high and remarkable cones. Within the islands is an animated scene. Over the outer waters scuds a mosquito fleet of Galawa-canoes and monoxylescutting the waves like flying proas, and most skilfully handled by the sable fishermen. Some of these negroes, especially those of Brava, have retained the broad-brimmed straw-hat which they borrowed from their conquerors the Portuguese. The "pequenos batteis" of the Lusiad are still the same, except that a disproportioned sail of Ameri
can cotton, based upon a pair of outriggers ten or eleven feet square, in some cases now supplies the place of "velos d'huma folhas de palma bem tecidas." Many progress by means of a loin-cloth held up in the bow by a negro acting mast; others are propelled by a single paddle with a broad curved blade, shifted from right to left, and pulled, as amongst the Mandans, towards the paddler. They form a curious national contrast with the launches and lighters that unload European merchandise.
The north-east monsoon being the season at Zanzibar, the two bays present a busy scene. Over the square near the custom-house, a mob of "natives," dense as bees, swarm to feast their eyes upon an approaching ship of war. Slaves wash ivories in the sea, pile hides, and heap logwood upon the sands, amongst sleek Brahminy bulls, pushing and butting by way of excitement. The younger blacks of both sexes bathe and disport themselves in an absence of costume which would astonish even Ramsgate. During this season the number of craft in port may average from sixty to seventy. They are anchored close inland, and are sometimes bumped to pieces from the wondrous apathy of their crews. The eye is first struck by the picturesque form of the " Mtepe," a lineal descendant from the Ploairia Khapta of the Periplus, which floated upon the seas two thousand years ago. This Lamu craft, with a beam one-third of its length, a thin mast that carries any amount of square matting, with a swan-necked prow, upon whose red head, as in Chinese junks, and in the ark of Egyptian Osiris, is painted a white circular eye, and with cowhoop and other talismans depending from its curved throat, swims the tide buoyantly as a huge bird. The "mtepe" carries from fifteen to twenty tons, has not a nail in her, can go to windward of anything, never lies up for the monsoon, and by her breadth and elasticity can stand almost any amount of dancing upon sandbanks.
Beden," from Sur, Sohar, and Maskat, discharges a load of Arab loafers. Having a boarded cabin, and being a fast sailer-she has ac
complished eleven knots--this craft is preferred by passengers, and can carry, as Arabs travel, from eighty to one hundred men; on short trips, one per ton. At a distance, in hazy weather, her sail has often caused the Zanzibarites to fly their flags in hopes of news from home nearer, the stern-post, rising above its overall, and the powerful rudder, like a shark's caudal-fin, suggest the idea of a vast fish. The "Grab," a kind of overgrown "Dow," rigged barkfashion, is, to appearance, wondrous couthless. Baghlas and Ganjas from Cutch, with low projecting bows, elevated and elaborately carved and painted sterns, some with masts struck, others ready to weigh anchor, split like giant's wedges the opposing waves. This stumbling craft, so dangerous in head-seas, is perpetuated only by popular prejudice for the antique. Add to these a variety of "dows," with immense outriggers on the stern, Battelas with poop cabinets, open Matumbis and Machuas-gentle reader, I am not forwarding a report on Moslem naval architectureand you have the outlines of the outlandish craft, withal interesting, that bethrongs the harbour of Zanzibar.
Outside these "country ships" lie some half-a-dozen French, Hamburg, and American square- rigged merchantmen, awaiting cargoes of copal and ivory, cowries and hides. oft-puffed squadron of the late Sazzid flanks these peaceful traders, with its single and double banks of guns. There is a frigate, a jackass frigate, a corvette, a bark, and a brig; the number is imposing. But the masts are struck, and stripped for economy of rigging; the yards are fore and aft upon the booms; the crews consist of half-a-dozen thievish slaves, the live stock rats and cockroaches, the exterior dingy, and the internals foul. A single screw-steamer would have been more efficient in war, and far more useful in peace. It is difficult, however, to convince an Arab that number is not strength.
Our error in dealing with Orientals is always one and the same. If a man evinces signs of superiority, we push him hopelessly before and beyond his age. The late ruler of
Zanzibar was probably as shrewd and enlightened a prince as Arabia ever produced, yet we overrated his powers. A beautiful model of a steam-engine was sent out from England; it was allowed to rust unopened in his stores. Like all Orientals, he was ever surrounded by an odious entourage, whom he consulted, trusted, and apparently preferred to his friends and well-wishers. He believed firmly in the African fetiss, and in the Arabian Sahin's power of metamorphosis; *he would never flog a Mganga, or medicine-man, nor cut down a devil's tree." He sent for a Shaykh whose characts were celebrated, and fastened the paper with a silver nail to the doorway of Colonel Hamerton's sick-room, thereby excluding evil spirits and the ghost of Mr Napier, who had died in the Consulate. He refused to sit for his portrait; even Colonel Smyth's History of Knight-errantry and Chivalrous Characters failed to tempt him-for the European peasant's reason, it would take away part of his life. When chivalry was explained to him, he remarked that only the Siflah (low fellows) interfere between husband and wife. His favourite axiom-a fair test of man's mind-was, that "Mullahs,
women, and horses, never
On the 20th of December, riding through the surf, we landed, regretting that wealthy Zanzibar had not
I have alluded to this subject in a previous work (An Exploration of Harar, chap. ii.); a few more details may not be uninteresting. Strong-headed Pliny believes metamorphosis to be a "fabulous opinion," and remarks of Greek trustworthiness, "there is no falsehood, however impudent, that wants its testimony among them." Petronius gives an account of the "fact." Pomponius Mela accuses the Druidesses of assuming bestial shapes. Suidas mentions a city where men changed their forms. Simon Magus could produce a double of himself. Saxo Grammaticus declares that the priest of Odin assumed various appearances. Our ancestry had their were-wolf (homo-lupus), and the Bretons their Bisclavaret. John of Salisbury asserts that Mercury taught mankind the damnable art of fascinating the eyes. Joseph Acosta instances fellow-countrymen in the West Indies who were shot during transformation. Mr Coffin, the Abyssinian traveller, all but saw his Buda change himself into a hyena. Mr Mansfield Parkyns heard of a human horse. In Shoa and Bornou men became leopards; in Persia, bears; in Simali-land, cyn-hyenas; Krumen in West Africa, elephants and sharks; and among the Namaquas, according to Mr Anderssen, lions. In Maskat, transformation is fearfully frequent; and Shiahs believe the good Caliph Abubekr to be trotting through the deserts of Oman in the semblance of a she-hyena. Even in Europe, after an age of scepticism, the old natural superstition is returning, despite the pitchfork, under another shape. The learned authoress of the Night-side of Nature objects to "illusionists," reasons lycanthropy to be the effect of magico-magnetic influence, and instances certain hysterical and nervous phenomena of eyes paralysed by their own weakness.
Ten years I have carefully sifted every reported case in Oriental lands, and have come to the conclusion with which most men begin. No amount of evidence can justify belief in impossibilities. Such evidence comes from the ignorant and the deceitful. Moreover, as knowledge increases, objective miracles diminish in inverse ratio, and supernaturalisms gradually dwindle to nil.
afforded herself the luxury of a Tshaped stone-pier. We were received by Colonel Hamerton with a true Irishman's welcome; and when the small mountain of luggage had been duly housed, we addressed ourselves seriously to the difficulties of our position. The report of our coming had preceded us. The Arabs were alarmed, and busy in conjecturing the objects with which the Frank was about to visit their copal coast, and explore their ivory lands: they knew that Europeans have coveted a possession upon the sea-board, and remembered nothing but evil results from the missionary visits to Fuga. The unworthy merchants at Zanzibar, American and European, did their best to secure for us the fate of M. Maizan, both on this and on a subsequent occasion, by spreading all manner of reports amongst the Banyans, Arabs, and Sawahilis. The Consul, warned of this commotion by Kazi Muhiy el Din, the "celestial doctor" of the Sawahili, did not hesitate, when pressed by the Arab chiefs, to swear by the "Kalamat Ullah," that the expedition was wholly composed of English officers, and should have nothing in common with missionaries or Dutchmen, as these gentlemen from Germany are called by the Zanzibaris. Had Colonel Hamerton refused to gratify them, the course of events is clear to all who know this race. The surface of Arab civility would have been to appearance unruffled, but the undercurrent would have carried us off our legs. Considering the unfitness of the season, we were strongly advised to defer exploration of the interior until we had learned something of the coast, and for that purpose to set out at once for a two or three months' cruise. Persuaded by the Consul's earnestness, Sazzid Sulayman bin Hamid, popularly known as the "Bahary Mziry," or Sea of Milk the Ethiopic equivalent for "soft sawder"-came forward in our favour. This old chief was governor of Zanzibar during the minority of Sazzid Khalid, the heir-apparent, who died in 1854, and his good word was
strong upon the sea-board. He gave us circulars, to which the young Prince Majid added one, addressed to Sultan Kimwere of Usumbara, and another to the Diwans, or Sawahili Headmen, and to the Beloch Yemadars commanding the several garrisons. On the other hand, Ladha Damha of Mandavie, the Banyan Collector of Customs, provided us with orders upon the Hindu merchants to advance requisite moneys: without these, our reception would have been of the coolest.
If we, travellers in transit, had reason to be proud of our countryman's influence at Zanzibar, the European and American merchants should be truly thankful for it. Appointed in 1840 H. B. M.'s consul and H. E. I. Co.'s agent at the court of H. H. Sazzid Said, and directed to make this island his headquarters, Colonel Hamerton found that for nine years not a British cruiser had visited it, and that report declared us to be no longer masters of the Indian seas. Slavery was rampant. Wretches were thrown overboard, when sick, to prevent paying duty; and the sea-beach before the town, as well as the plantations, presented horrible spectacles of dogs devouring human flesh. The consul's representations were accepted by Sazzid Said; certain dry floggings and confiscations of property instilled into slave-owners the semblance of humanity. The insolence of the negro was as summarily dealt with. The Arabs had persuaded the Sawahilis and blacks that a white man is a being below contempt, and the "poor African" carried out the theory. Only seventeen years have elapsed since an American trader-consul, in consular cocked hat and sword, was horsed upon a slave's back, and solemnly "bakured" in his own consular house, under his own consular flag. Sawahili would at any time enter the merchant's bureau, dispose his sandalled feet upon the table, call for cognac, and if refused, draw his dagger. Negro fishermen would anchor their craft close to a window, and, clinging to the mast, enjoy the novel
This occurrence was afterwards denied by the best of all authorities,-the gentleman who told the tale. I have, however, every reason to believe it.
spectacle of Kafirs feeding. The Arabs jostled strangers in the streets, drove them from the centre, and forced them to pass by the left hand. At night none dared to carry a lantern, which would inevitably be broken; and a promenade in the dark usually caused insults, sometimes a bastinado. To such a pitch rose contempt for the white face, that even the "mild Hindoo"-our fellow-subjects from Cutch and other parts of Western India-would not preserve with a European the appearance of civility. It required some time to uproot an evil made inveterate by mercantile tameness; patience and the Sazzid's goodwill, however, succeeded; and now an Englishman here is even more civilly treated than at one of our presidencies. This change is the work of Colonel Hamerton, who, in the strenuous and unremitting discharge of his duties, has lost youth, strength, and health. The iron constitution of this valuable public servant-I have quoted merely a specimen of his worth -has been undermined by the terrible fever, and at fifty his head bears the "blossoms of the grave," as though it had seen its seventieth summer.
Before we could set out a guide was requisite this necessary was provided for us by the Sea of Milk. Said bin Salim el Lamki, the companion of our way for many a weary mile, well deserves the honour of a sketch. He is a diminutive Arab, short, thin, and delicate, a kind of man for the pocket, forty years old, with a yellow skin, weak and prominent eyes, and a long nose like a young bird, loose lips, regular teeth, dyed by betel to the crimson of chessmen, almost beardless, and scantily mustachioed. Of noble family, the Beni Lamk of the Hinawi, his father Salim had been governor of Kilwa (Quiloa), and he himself commanded at the little port Saadan. Yet had dignity not invested him with the externals of authority. He says "Karrib," (draw nigh!) to simple and gentle. He cannot beat his naughty bondsmen, though he perpetually quotes
"Buy thou not the slave but with staff in hand,
"Or the lord will slave, and the slave command;"
and though I have heard him address with "rotund mouth" the small boy Faraj, he is mostly ashamed to scold. This results from extreme nervousness and timidity. Though he never appears without a dagger, and a twohandled blade fit for the Richard of England, he will sleep in an oven rather than open the door after hearing of a leopard. On board ship he groans like a colicky patient at every blast, and a sea shipped brings the squeak of mortal agony involuntarily from his lips. In the hour of safety he has a certain mild valour, which is exceeding likely to impose. He cannot bear fatigue, hunger, or thirst, and until fate threw him in our way, probably never walked one consecutive mile. Though owner of a wife and three assistant wives, he was refused by Allah the gift of increase and multiplication. Possibly the glad tidings that a slave-girl was likely to make him a father, suddenly communicated on his return from the cruise, made him judge our companionship canny, and resolve once more to link his destiny with the Frank.
Said bin Salim is a Bayazi of the Kharijite schism; he prays regularly, fasts uncompromisingly, chews, but will not smoke tobacco, never casts away a date-stone, and sips water," but "swills milk," as the Arab proverb directs. His mother-tongue is the Lingua Franca called Ki-Sawahili; he speaks the vile Arabic of Oman, but sometimes, to display the humanities, he mixes up hashed Koran and terminating vowels with Maskat "baragouinage"-Paradise Lost and thieves' Latin. He has read Syntax, writes a pretty hand, is great at epistles, and loves to garnish discourse with saw and song. When in the "doldrums" he will exclaim :
"The grave's the gate all flesh must pass,Ah! would I knew what lies behind !"
I have heard him crooning for long hours,
"The knowledge of this nether world,
Say, friend, what is it?-false or true? The false what mortal cares to know?— The truth what mortal ever knew?" Sometimes he will break out into rather a "fast" strain