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Title: Through lands that were dark

Author: F. H. Hawkins

Release date: January 29, 2023 [eBook #69906]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: London Missionary Society, 1914

Credits: Peter Becker and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


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Khama, the Christian Chief of the Bamangwato Tribe

Khama, the Christian Chief of the Bamangwato Tribe.

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Being a Record of a Year’s Missionary Journey
in Africa and Madagascar


Foreign Secretary of the London Missionary Society for Africa, China
and Madagascar.

To the Darkness and the Sorrow of the Night
Came the Wonder and the Glory of the Light

16, New Bridge Street, London, E.C.

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This little Book is dedicated (without permission) to the Friend whose generosity made it possible for the journey herein recorded to be taken free of any expense to the London Missionary Society

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
A. South Africa:
I. Darkness and Light 13
II. The Light Spreading Northward 27
III. Tiger Kloof—“A Lamp Shining in a Dark Place” 62
B. Central Africa:
IV. The Heart of the Dark Continent 66
V. The Brightness of His Rising 79
C. Madagascar:
VI. Tananarive—“A City set on a Hill” 106
VII. Imerina Country Districts—“Fields White Unto Harvest” 126
VIII. Betsileo—“The Sombre Fringes of the Night” 139
IX. Glad and Golden Days 149

[Pg 7]

List of Illustrations

Chief Khama Frontispiece
1.Map of South Africa 15
2.Kuruman Mission House facing 34
3.The New Kuruman Waggon ”     34
4.Tiger Kloof ”     64
5.Map of Central Africa 67
6.Missionaries’ Children facing 70
7.Native with Fish Trap ”     82
8.Kafukula Mission House ”     95
9.Map of Madagascar 109
10.Malagasy Girls at Girls’ Home facing 121
11.Dr. and Mrs. Sibree ”     152

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I hear a clear voice calling, calling,
Calling out of the night,
O, you who live in the Light of Life,
Bring us the Light!

We are bound in the chains of darkness,
Our eyes received no sight,
O, you who have never been bound or blind,
Bring us the Light!

We live amid turmoil and horror,
Where might is the only right,
O, you to whom life is liberty,
Bring us the Light!

We stand in the ashes of ruins,
We are ready to fight the fight,
O, you whose feet are firm on the Rock,
Bring us the Light!

You cannot—you shall not forget us,
Out here in the darkest night,
We are drowning men, we are dying men,
Bring, O, bring us the Light!

John Oxenham.

[Pg 9]


This short record of a year’s missionary journey in Africa and Madagascar is written at the request of the Directors of the London Missionary Society, and is based upon a series of Journal Letters written to my family and friends while I have been on my travels. This fact must be my excuse for writing in the first person. This little book has been prepared in the midst of the pressure of Secretarial work.

My visit to South Africa was a Secretarial visit. In Central Africa and Madagascar I formed one of a Deputation from the London Missionary Society. My colleague in Central Africa was the Rev. W. S. Houghton of Birmingham, and in Madagascar the other members of the Deputation were Mr. Houghton and Mr. Talbot E. B. Wilson of Sheffield.

It is not my purpose to attempt to give any description of the three Mission Fields which it has been my privilege to visit during the journey. Details with regard to the countries and the peoples will be found in three Handbooks published by the Society.[1]

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Nor does the discussion of questions of missionary policy or any account of the details of the work in the various fields fall within the scope of this book. These matters have been dealt with in Reports prepared for the Directors of the Society. Further information with regard to all the fields can be obtained in the Society’s Annual Report. Some account of Madagascar and the missionary work there will be also found in a book just published, entitled “Madagascar for Christ,” being the Joint Report of the Simultaneous Deputations from the London Missionary Society, The Friends’ Foreign Mission Association, and the Paris Missionary Society, which have recently returned from Madagascar.[2]

The journey has been one of great fascination. From the point of view of the traveller it has been full of interest. From the point of view of a Secretary of a Missionary Society carrying on work in the lands visited, the outstanding impression has been that of the growing Christian Church. In Central Africa that Church is in its infancy, but it is an infancy full of promise. In South Africa and Madagascar the Native Church is nearly a century old. Its foundations have been well and truly laid, and it exhibits all the signs of healthy life and growth. As one travelled from station to station and came into contact with the Native Church in all stages of development and met the Native leaders of that Church, one looked into the future and saw a vision of a Church which would one day become not only self-supporting[Pg 11] and self-governing, but so possessed with the missionary spirit that it would be an instrument in God’s hands for evangelising the peoples amongst whom it is now set as a lamp in the night. One hundred years ago and less these lands were in gross darkness; to-day the curtains of the night are being lifted and long closed doors are wide open to the light. The darkness has turned to dawning and the growing Church is becoming “a burning and a shining light” in the lands which aforetime sat “in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

F. H. H.

31st January, 1914.

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[1] “South Africa”: Rev. W. A. Elliott (price 6d., post free 8d.); “Central Africa”: Mrs. John May, B.A. (price 6d., post free 7¹⁄₂d.); “Madagascar”: Rev. James Sibree, D.D., F.R.G.S. (price 6d., post free 8d.). I am much indebted to the “Ten Years’ Review” of the Madagascar Mission, edited by Dr. Sibree (L.M.S., price 2s. 6d. net), for much information embodied in the Madagascar section of the book.

[2] Copies can be obtained at the L.M.S., 6d. net, post free 8d.

[Pg 13]

Through Lands That Were Dark


Darkness and Light

A land of lights and shadows intervolved,
A land of blazing sun and blackest night.

John Oxenham.

South Africa exercises a great charm over those who visit it. It is a land of sunshine. An unkind critic has described it as “a land of trees without shade, rivers without water, flowers without scent, and birds without song.” It is a land of vast distances and sparse population. The portion of the African Continent which is popularly referred to as “South Africa” is that part which lies south of the Zambesi. This great expanse of country is as large as Europe without Russia, Scandinavia and the British Isles, but its entire population is less than that of greater London.

I left England in the late autumn and arrived at Cape Town seventeen days later in the early summer. London[Pg 14] fog was exchanged for a land of lovely flowers and luscious fruits. Cape Town has been so often described that I will not dwell upon its beauties or attempt to draw a picture of Table Mountain, The Devil’s Peak, The Lion’s Head, or The Twelve Apostles.

My first impression—and it is a lasting one—was of the abounding kindness and hospitality of the Colonials wherever I went. On the day of my arrival I was entertained by the Executive Committee of the Congregational Union of South Africa. On the following day I was the guest of the Archbishop of Cape Town at his lovely home at Bishopscourt, where I met fourteen South African Bishops in full canonicals gathered together for their Annual Synod. Bishopscourt is a beautiful old Dutch House with a far-famed garden which surpassed in luxuriance of colour anything I had ever seen except in Japan. All through South and Central Africa I was often the guest of Government officials and European residents, and everywhere received, as the representative of the Society, a warm welcome and the utmost hospitality and kindness.

Map of South Africa, showing L.M.S. Mission Stations.

Map of South Africa, showing L.M.S. Mission Stations.

My next impression was of the great contribution which the London Missionary Society has made to the public life and development of Cape Colony and South Africa generally, quite apart from the direct work which its missionaries have been able to accomplish. Evidences of the value of this contribution abounded everywhere I went. In Cape Town I had the pleasure of meeting the Hon. W. P. Schreiner, who was the Prime Minister of Cape Colony at the outbreak of the Boer War. Mr.[Pg 16] Schreiner is now a member of the Senate, specially chosen to represent the interests of the Native population. He is recognised as the leading lawyer in South Africa. I also met his brother, Mr. Theophilus Schreiner, who is also a member of the Legislature and is well-known as a leading Temperance advocate. Their sister, Olive Schreiner, the authoress of “The Story of an African Farm,” is known wherever English literature is read. This distinguished family are the children of an L. M. S. Missionary.

It is not often that three brothers receive the honour of knighthood for public services. Sir William Solomon, Sir Saul Solomon and the late Sir Richard Solomon (who was Agent-General for the Commonwealth of South Africa, and who died a few weeks ago) are sons of an L. M. S. Missionary. In its Review of the year 1913, the Times speaks of Sir Richard Solomon as “the most distinguished South African of his generation, a man who was loved by his intimates and respected by all for his ability and efficiency,” and of Sir William Solomon as “an eminent judge.”

Dr. Mackenzie, the leading physician in Kimberley; his brother, Dr. W. Douglas Mackenzie, the Principal of the Hartford Theological Seminary, U.S.A.; and another brother, at present Solicitor-General for Southern Rhodesia, are three sons of John Mackenzie, the missionary-statesman of South Africa and Lord Rosebery’s friend, who had so much to do with the making of history in South Africa thirty years ago. I need only mention other families whose names are household words in[Pg 17] South Africa, and whose representatives are to be found in many places—the Philips, the Moffats, the Kaysers, the Andersons, the Helms, the Rose-Innes, to show how large a part the L. M. S. has indirectly played in building up the Commonwealth of South Africa.

Throughout Cape Colony I found numerous Congregational Churches of coloured people at places which were formerly Mission Stations of the Society. Amongst others, Pacaltsdorp, Kruisfontein, Hankey, Port Elizabeth, King Williams Town, and Fort Beaufort were visited. The Society many years ago withdrew its missionaries and left these Churches to develop along their own lines into self-governing communities, supporting their own pastorate and carrying on their own work. Wherever one went, one found evidences of the great part which the Society had played in days gone by in planting churches which are now independent, thus contributing both to the civilisation and evangelization of the peoples of the land. Passing reference may be made to one of these Churches which I visited. In the Brownlee location at King Williams Town I found at work the Rev. John Harper, who nearly thirty years ago exchanged his position as a missionary of the Society for that of pastor of the Congregational Church. For forty-five years he has laboured there as the minister of the Kaffir Church in the Native Location and in charge of nineteen out-stations. This veteran not only ministers to the spiritual needs of a very large congregation, but acts both as doctor and lawyer to all the natives. In 1912 he treated 4,000 patients and[Pg 18] acted as guide, philosopher and friend to the members of his congregations, advising them in all their difficulties, drawing up their wills for them and ever looking after their temporal and spiritual interests. Many of these coloured Churches are now served by ministers of their own race, who have been trained for the pastorate.

From Cape Town I proceeded to Great Brak River and paid a short visit to Mr. Thomas Searle, who for some years has been the Society’s Agent for its properties at Hankey and Kruisfontein. The history of the Searle family at Great Brak River during the last fifty years affords a good example of the contribution to the development of the Colony which Christian families have been able to make.

On the 31st December, 1859, the late Mr. Charles Searle arrived at Great Brak River with his wife and four children to take up the position of toll-keeper at the Causeway carrying the main road over the river. The toll-house was the only habitation in the place. Mr. Searle erected a house for the accommodation of travellers, and afterwards a shop and a store. Four more children were born. He purchased a farm of 354 acres for £91, and spent some money in constructing water-furrows. A church was built. The business grew and subsequently a tannery and boot-and-shoe factory were started. Branch stores were afterwards established at George, Oudtshoorn, Heidelberg, Riversdale and a wholesale depot at Mossel Bay. Mr. Searle had three sons, Charles, William, and Thomas, who entered the business, and now direct the Limited Company, which[Pg 19] has been formed to carry it on. As the place grew the Searles successfully opposed all applications for a licence for the sale of intoxicating drinks, and to-day there is no licence between Mossel Bay, 16 miles to the west, and George, 18³⁄₄ miles to the east. The present population of Great Brak River exceeds 900, all of whom are in the employ of, or dependent on, the Searles, except the doctor, the post-master and the school-teacher. At first, all the employees were coloured people. Latterly, however, white people have also been employed, but they are treated exactly in the same way as the coloured people and receive the same wages as coloured people doing similar work. A very large new factory is now being built. Mr. Thomas Searle preaches regularly in the spacious church. Dutch is the language spoken. There is an excellent golf course. About six years ago old Mr. and Mrs. Charles Searle died. They and other members of the family are buried in the beautiful little private cemetery in Mr. Thomas Searle’s garden—the first of numerous garden burial places I saw in different places in the Colony. The three sons continue to reside in Great Brak River honoured and esteemed by the whole countryside.

While at Great Brak River I paid a visit to Pacaltsdorp, an old L. M. S. station founded 100 years ago, where the Rev. G. B. Anderson, whose father and grandfather were L. M. S. missionaries, is pastor. A massive stone Church was erected in 1824, and is a memorial to the Rev. Charles Pacalt, who devoted his salary to the building of the Church. In addition to being pastor,[Pg 20] Mr. Anderson is also schoolmaster, post-master, registrar of births, marriages and deaths and agent for the Society’s property known as Hansmoeskraal farm.

Mr. Searle kindly took me in his motor car to visit Kruisfontein and Hankey, where the Society still owns property. The South African roads are not constructed for motor car traffic. They defy description and I shall not soon forget this journey. The gradients are very bad, the surface execrable. The ruts, rocks, stones and especially the sand made rapid travel in a motor car a mixed pleasure. Rivers, and more often dry river-beds, had to be crossed. For the most part the roads were very narrow and were often over-hung with trees and prickly-pear, constantly blocked by great ox-waggons with teams of fourteen to eighteen oxen, or by goats, sheep, pigs, cows and more often than all by ostriches, which seemed to take a delight in trying to race the car. In spite of, or perhaps partly because of, these drawbacks, however, the journey was most enjoyable. Some parts were very wild and desolate, but others were scenes of sylvan beauty. There were mountain passes, ravines, funereal forests (in one of which wild elephants are still to be found), fairy glens and water-falls (often with very little water on account of the prolonged drought), and in turn one was reminded of the Pass of Glencoe, the Barmouth Estuary, the Precipice Walk, Dolgelley, the New Forest and the Highlands of Scotland.

Hankey is a name well known to all interested in the work of the L. M. S. in South Africa. Through the engineering skill of one of the missionaries applied to[Pg 21] the construction of a tunnel through a narrow mountain ridge, the waters of the Gamtoos River were made available for watering the Hankey valley, and ever since the desert has “blossomed as the rose.” Above this tunnel, near the top of the mountain, is a remarkable natural feature known as “The Window.” It is a large opening in the rocky ridge through which a beautiful landscape can be seen on both sides.

Another feature of Hankey which impresses a stranger from Europe is the frogs’ chorus every evening rising from an innumerable multitude of these amphibious reptiles which infest the fields and water-furrows. They are known as the canaries of South Africa, and reminded one of the music so characteristic of the rice fields of Central China.

At Hankey there is a large Church of coloured people, representing an old mission station of the Society, and an Institution for the training of teachers now under the control of the South African Congregational Union. Through the sale of the Society’s property a considerable population of Europeans has been attracted to Hankey, and I had the honour during my visit of opening the new European Church.

From Hankey I proceeded to Port Elizabeth, where I was again hospitably entertained. I had an opportunity of meeting the Congregational ministers and the leading laymen at a Reception, and learnt much of the contribution of the L. M. S. to the development of this part of South Africa. The coloured Church there for so many years ministered to by the Rev. William[Pg 22] Dower, formerly a missionary of the Society, is another instance of a strong self-supporting and self-governing Church which has grown out of the missionary work of years gone by. On the occasion of my visit it was crowded from floor to ceiling with a congregation of coloured people, who are under the pastoral care of a young and able coloured minister.

After leaving Port Elizabeth I had the privilege of paying a visit to two of the greatest Native Institutions in South Africa. At Healdtown, near Fort Beaufort, the Wesleyans are carrying on a great work in the training of Native Teachers. There are 185 boy and 84 girl boarders. The results obtained in the Government examinations are the best in the Colony. The students come from all parts; most of them are Kaffirs. The medium of instruction is English. This great work is mainly the result of the blessing of God upon the labours of one man, Principal R. F. Hornabrook, who is in supreme control. The Institution is nominally in charge of a Committee which, however, has not met for ten years. When he commenced work there twenty-two years ago there were thirty-three students. Mr. Hornabrook is his own architect and builder. He is also a farmer and a doctor. The fees charged are £12 a year, and there is a large Government grant. Some small help is given by the Wesleyans in South Africa. Not a penny comes from England. The buildings are quite unambitious in character, and for the most part have been erected from the profits made from carrying on the Institution. The whole enterprise is a triumph[Pg 23] of organisation. There are four white men teachers, three white lady teachers, two matrons and several coloured teachers. The course is three years, and the students must have passed the sixth standard before they enter. All have a little manual labour to do, but there is no industrial department except so far as it is necessary to teach woodwork. All sorts of difficulties have had to be surmounted, the chief physical one being the water-supply, which is now satisfactorily provided by a windmill. The whole Institution is a monument of what can be done by one man with comparatively small funds. Mr. Hornabrook is doing great things for South Africa.

From Healdtown I journeyed to Lovedale, the centre of the world-famed labours of Dr. James Stewart, who will always be known as “Stewart of Lovedale.” This is an Institution carried on by the Free Church of Scotland. There are 550 boarders from all parts of South Africa, and of these 155 are girls. There is also a “practising school” with 210 children. The fees range from £12 to £16 a year. Since the Institution was commenced considerably over £100,000 has been received in fees. Preachers and teachers for the South African Churches and schools are trained here. The industrial work is widely known. The Natives are taught carpentry, waggon-making, smith’s work, printing, book-binding, boot and shoe making, office work, needle and laundry work, horticulture and many other industrial pursuits.

The present Principal is the Rev. James Henderson, formerly of the Nyasaland Mission. The Warden of the[Pg 24] Boys’ department is Dr. Moore Anderson, a son of Sir Robert Anderson, at one time Chief of the Metropolitan Police Force. On the staff there is the famous South African astronomer, Dr. Roberts. It was good to find the daughter of one of our present South African missionaries occupying a responsible position in the Girls’ department. Words fail me to describe the great work which is being done. The Institution is an enduring memorial to the ability and devotion of Dr. Stewart. Over the grave of this great and good man, which I visited, is the simple inscription, “James Stewart, Missionary.” On the hill-top is a huge stone monument erected to his memory.

On leaving Lovedale I journeyed via King Williams Town, Blaney Junction, and De Aar to Kimberley. The railway meanders in and out amongst the hills through picturesque scenery. Great rocks are much in evidence. On the latter part of the journey I passed numerous block-houses and stretches of galvanised wire fencing reminiscent of the Boer war. Here as elsewhere the country has an unfinished look about it. Most of the buildings are of galvanised iron. Long distances were traversed without any signs of human habitation, and where such signs appeared they were not always pleasing. The wretched huts of “red-blanket kaffirs,” and the abject poverty in which they live, showed that there is still much to be done to raise the native inhabitants out of their degradation and to teach them to live decent lives.

In order to see at first-hand the conditions under[Pg 25] which so many of the Bechuanaland Natives live in the Compounds of the great De Beers’ Diamond Mines, I visited Kimberley. Dr. Mackenzie kindly took me over the diamond mine workings and one of the Compounds. From these mines the bulk of the world’s supply of diamonds comes. I was very pleased with what I saw in the Compound I visited, where 4,762 natives were quartered. The annual death rate is only eight per thousand, about half that of London. Every provision is made for the comfort, health and well-being of the native workers. There is an admirable hospital and a well-organised store, where the necessaries of life are to be obtained at cost price. The fact that the natives are well cared for is evidenced by the popularity of the work in the Kimberley mines all over South Africa. Natives who have worked there return again and again for a further period. There can be no doubt that the restraint upon their liberty, to which they voluntarily submit while at work in the mines, is greatly to their advantage, and the facilities which exist for the remitting of wages to their families obviate, to a great extent, the risks they would run if they left the Compound with large sums of money in their possession. Nor are their spiritual needs neglected.

While at Kimberley I paid a visit to Barkly West, formerly a mission station of the Society for many years, associated with the name of William Ashton. From Kimberley I proceeded to Tiger Kloof. I shall refer to the great work which is being carried on there later in this narrative.

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As one travelled through the Cape Province and visited many places, which were at one time stations of the Society in the charge of missionaries and entirely supported by funds from home, but are now independent Churches carrying on their own work, one realised the power of the growing Church in the lands which 100 years ago were in darkness. This province is still “A land of lights and shadows intervolved, a land of blazing sun and blackest night,” and some of its portals are still “barred against the light.” That light has for a century and more been beating up against “close-barred doors,” but the missionary traveller looking down “the future’s broadening way” sees many a sign that the time will surely come—

“When, like a swelling tide,
The Word shall leap the barriers, and The Light
Shall sweep the land; and Faith and Love and Hope
Shall win for Christ this stronghold of the night.”

[Pg 27]

The Light Spreading Northward

Kingdoms wide that sit in darkness,
Grant them, Lord, Thy glorious light;
And from eastern coast to western,
May the morning chase the night.

William Williams.

Up to this stage the narrative of travel has taken us through districts in which the London Missionary Society has laboured in days gone by. We shall now visit the stations where it is carrying on work at the present day.

Until quite recently the South Africa Mission of the L. M. S. might be described, from the point of view of means of locomotion, as “an Ox-waggon Mission.” The days of the Ox-waggon are rapidly passing. This slow cumbersome means of conveyance, which was formerly almost universal throughout South Africa, is giving place to the Cape cart and the Railway. The change is symptomatic of the progress in the methods of work. Greater facilities of communication have revolutionized the conditions under which Missionary work is carried on. Missionaries are no longer isolated from their fellows as they were in the days of old. Until recently they were obliged to spend a considerable portion of their time in actual travel in the ox-waggon. Now they[Pg 28] can get about rapidly and are able to cover much more ground and visit many more out-stations in a given period of time. I was enabled to visit the Society’s stations in Bechuanaland and Matebeleland in one-fifth of the time which would have been necessary for such a visitation thirty years ago.

After a few days’ stay at Tiger Kloof, the first place I visited was Vryburg, where the Rev. A. J. Wookey, the missionary in charge of the numerous scattered Churches of the Baralong tribe, resides. Vryburg is not in a true sense a station of the Society, but the headquarters for an extensive out-station work. After a stay of two days there, I journeyed with Mr. Wookey in a Cape cart drawn by four horses to Ganyesa, forty miles to the north-west. The growth of the work in the lifetime of a single missionary is well illustrated by what has happened at this place. When Mr. Wookey first visited it, forty-three years ago, two or three people met with him for worship in a hut there. A man read the Scriptures, and a woman led in prayer and preached. Now there is a good stone Church with 120 Church members, and an Anglo-vernacular school with seventy children. Connected with it are three branch churches and schools.

A short description of the visit to Ganyesa will serve to illustrate one’s experience at many a country out-station in Bechuanaland and Matebeleland. I started from Vryburg at 7.10 and reached Ganyesa at 4.30, after out-spanning twice. We camped for the night on an open common, in the middle of a large Native Reserve, close to an ox-waggon which had brought two other[Pg 29] missionaries, Mr. Helm and Mr. Haydon Lewis, to the place. On all sides stretched the illimitable veldt. There were very few trees, but almost all around the sky-line was broken by the conical thatched roofs of the Native huts. Close at hand were to be seen emaciated oxen returning from the almost dry watering-places in charge of little black herd-boys, who were nearly naked, their bodies glistening like polished ebony, and having an appearance which suggested that they had recently been black-leaded, and presenting a great contrast with the white of their eyes and of their perfect teeth. After my arrival I was visited by the schoolmaster and the deacons, and afterwards attended a concert in the Church, organised to raise funds to help to send a teacher to Tiger Kloof. The price of a ticket for the concert was 6d. The night was hot, and the Church was packed. In spite of the almost overpowering heat the doors and windows were kept closed, in order that the crowd outside should not enjoy the music for which they had not paid! The atmosphere within was beyond description. Evening meetings are almost unknown in Bechuanaland. Some antique lamps had been requisitioned, and the air was laden with the pungent smell of the lamp oil. The “Bouquet d’Afrique” was also strongly in evidence. The audience afforded a picturesque scene in the dim lamp light. Most of the women wore highly coloured head-dresses, and with their numerous babies sat on the floor, which was made of a mixture of sand and cow-dung. The rest of their dress was remarkable for its colour and variety. Many[Pg 30] of the boys and men were in dilapidated European costume. There were 100 items on the programme, and the concert continued until the small hours of Sunday morning. I left before midnight, and slept on the ground underneath the bright penetrating stars. The darkness of the night was illuminated by flashes of summer lightning on the eastern horizon.

The following day, Sunday, will live in my memory. The service was announced to begin at eleven o’clock, but at ten o’clock the evangelist came to say that the chapel was already full, and forthwith the service commenced. The building was crowded to its utmost capacity, and there were large numbers of men, women and children sitting in the shade on the ground outside. I spoke to the people from a side-door in order that my words might be heard by the crowd inside and out. After the service I was visited by a large number of deacons and workers from the Churches for many miles round. Afterwards I went to see an old woman named Dipepeng in her kraal near by. She is over eighty years of age, and for a long time has not had the use of her legs. She sat in the entrance to her hut in the shadow of the over-hanging eaves, reading her Sechuana Bible. She told me she had been a servant to Dr. and Mrs. Moffat at Kuruman, and remembered David Livingstone courting Mary Moffat under the historic almond tree, and was present at their wedding. She described them, and spoke of an arbour in the garden where they used to sit. The old woman has been a Christian for sixty years, and is deeply interested in the Church at Ganyesa.

[Pg 31]

I visited the only European in the place, he being a store-keeper. In the afternoon there was a baptismal service, Sunday School, a sermon, and a crowded Communion Service conducted with great reverence. At the close the people all rose and sang, “God be with you till we meet again.” At day-break on the following morning there was a prayer meeting. This was followed by the wedding of five couples, and a visit to the school. Later in the morning Mr. Wookey and I started on our return journey to Vryburg in the Cape cart.

Later in the week I journeyed by rail and cart to Taungs where Mr. McGee is the resident missionary. The Society has carried on work there for forty-five years, and although the Church membership in connection with Taungs and its out-stations is the largest (1,184) connected with any L. M. S. Church in South Africa, the place was described quite recently by an experienced missionary as “a back-water of heathenism.” The signs of heathenism are certainly very apparent. The Native Chief is a bad specimen of a Bechuana. Some of his headmen make themselves particularly hideous by a plentiful application of the contents of the blue-bag to their faces and heads. There are many evidences of superstition and heathenism, and yet there is another side to the picture. On the Sunday the spacious Church—which has recently been built by the tribe, heathen and Christian alike contributing—was crowded both morning and afternoon. Twenty infants and thirty adults were baptised. The scene from[Pg 32] the platform was extremely picturesque. About half the congregation consisted of women, most of whom wore brilliantly coloured head-dresses, vivid yellows and startling pinks predominating. Many were clad in gaudy shawls. In the afternoon a solemn Communion Service was held, at which individual communion cups were used. The service was rendered the more impressive by the fact that a great thunderstorm broke before it closed. Looking through the great west doors of the Church at the beginning of the service one could see the wide-spreading veldt stretching away into the distance as far as the eye could reach, and looking dry and thirsty in the pitiless blaze of the afternoon sun. Then a kind of mist appeared on the horizon. It was a dust-storm approaching. The natives have a proverb which says that “God sweeps His land before He waters it.” The clouds of dust came nearer, until at last all the doors had to be shut. The Church became dark. Then came claps of thunder, which made speaking difficult, while the dim interior was from time to time lit up with brilliant flashes of lightning. Then followed a downpour of heavy rain upon the galvanised iron roof, making a terrific noise. The storm increased in intensity until there was a perfect artillery of thunder, while the lightning was continuous and most vivid. In spite of the storm the service was continued in an orderly fashion, and the crowded congregation seemed perfectly oblivious to the hurricane raging outside. The service concluded with thanksgiving for the rain, for which the people had long been praying.

[Pg 33]

Taungs is the centre of a widespread district, in which there are twenty-three outstations regularly visited by the missionary. I visited one of them, called Manthe, nine miles away. That visit was impressed upon my memory by one of the appalling contrasts which are so common in heathen lands. Under an extemporised roof at the back of the evangelist’s house I saw and talked with a bright Christian boy, the eldest son of the evangelist, by name Golekynie, who had been for seven years at Tiger Kloof. He was on the point of passing his third and final examination as a pupil-teacher, when, a month before, he had been compelled to return home in an advanced stage of consumption. He was lying on his bed in the open air. He spoke excellent English and had a refined face and manner, and was evidently an earnest Christian youth. He realised that he could not live long, and spoke with high appreciation of the happiness that had come into his life at Tiger Kloof. He told me that he was not afraid to die.

An hour afterwards I paid a visit to the Chief of the village, who was slowly dying of a loathsome disease in a wretched, evil-smelling native house. He lay on a dirty mattress with a coloured blanket over him. He was a heathen of a low type. Two of his wives and several children were on the verandah outside the open window. After Mr. McGee and I had left he sent to us to ask us to return to pray for him, the first time he had ever made a request for spiritual help.

From Taungs I proceeded to the historic station of Kuruman, accomplishing the journey of 143 miles by[Pg 34] cart, rail, motor-car and ox-waggon. The contrast in the modes of travel is illustrated by the fact that the first seventy-seven miles occupied five hours, and the remaining sixty-six miles—which were travelled by ox-waggon—occupied three nights and two days. This journey helped to bring home the sparseness of the population. On Christmas Eve I travelled from early morning till late at night in the ox-waggon without seeing a single human habitation, or a single human being, except those who were accompanying me, and this not in the recesses of Central Africa but in British Bechuanaland, which is part of the Cape Province. I travelled in a new waggon recently made by the boys at Lovedale for the Kuruman station. It was drawn by fourteen oxen, kindly provided by the Church at Kuruman, with two supernumeraries in reserve in case of accidents. As travelling by ox-waggon is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, it is worth while attempting a short description of the journey. The waggon in which I travelled, although a new one, had no springs. The road was of a most primitive description, although the main thoroughfare between two important centres of population. The jolting and bumping defy description. The speed is nearly two miles an hour if all goes well. The discomfort of travelling is somewhat mitigated by the “cartel”—a wooden frame hung within the waggon by very short chains of three links. Across the frame are stretched “rims” or strips of undressed ox-hide about a quarter of an inch broad. When the waggon is at rest this makes a very comfortable bed, far more so than some[Pg 35] of the beds of my experience in China, such as the boards of a Chinese chapel vestry, or the planks of a Chinese boat.

Kuruman Mission House, built by Moffat and Hamilton

Photo by]                      [Mrs. Hawkins.
Kuruman Mission House, built by Moffat and Hamilton.

The New Kuruman Waggon, with Mr. and Mrs. J. Tom Brown

Photo by]                        [Neville Jones.
The New Kuruman Waggon, with Mr. and Mrs. J. Tom Brown.

The oxen are outspanned about three times a day at places where there is water, or where they are likely to find some grass. No reins are used in driving, but the oxen are controlled by a very long whip which is used with great dexterity either by the driver from the front of the waggon or by his assistant walking alongside the oxen. These two men also act as cooks. A Christmas Day spent in these conditions will live in the memory.

The stay at Kuruman was a delightful experience. This place is a veritable oasis in the desert with a perennial water supply from the Kuruman river, which issues from a place called “The Fountain” in the Kuruman township three miles away from the Mission station. Thence in summer and winter, in flood and in drought, flows 4,000,000 gallons of water a day. By means of water-furrows, constructed by the early missionaries, the dry and thirsty land is converted into a paradise of green. The trees in the garden are a constant delight.

I stayed in the Mission House built by Robert Moffat and Robert Hamilton eighty years ago. The whole place is rich with associations. It was here that David Livingstone courted Mary Moffat. The almond tree in the garden under which he proposed to her is still flourishing. Close by is the great Church, built by Moffat, and rich with many a memory. Next to it is the house where William Ashton lived for many years, which is now occupied by Mrs. Bevan Wookey, who is in charge of the excellent Mission School at Kuruman. Behind is[Pg 36] the school and the old printing office. The garden is most fertile; oranges, lemons, quinces, mulberries, pears, apples, plums, apricots, peaches, pomegranates, walnuts, melons and richly-laden vines, abounding. For more than a quarter of a century the Rev. J. Tom Brown has carried on Missionary work at this station.

The great fact of the growing Christian Church in South Africa was abundantly emphasised on the Sunday of my stay at Kuruman. From outstations far and near the Christians came in for the Communion Service on the last Sunday of the year and for the New Year’s meetings. In the morning some 1,500 gathered together for public worship, and three services were carried on simultaneously. Moffat’s long, and somewhat dark Church, with its great wooden beams, was filled with a Sechuana-speaking congregation. The dimness of the Church was relieved by the orange, yellow, pink and blue of the dresses of the women. In the spacious school there was a crowded service for the Dutch-speaking natives and coloured people. In the yard of Mrs. Wookey’s house there was a service, conducted by an evangelist, for the Damaras, a stalwart tribe of blackest hue. These people are refugees from German South-West Africa. In the afternoon all the Church members gathered together in the Church at a solemn Communion Service. A stranger will not soon forget the impressive quietness and reverence of the service as the bare-footed deacons moved noiselessly along the serried ranks of the great black crowd that was present.

The meetings on the following day were further evidence[Pg 37] of the growing Church. A large gathering of Church members was held at which discussions took place on several subjects quite familiar to the Home Churches, many Natives joining in with great intelligence and earnestness. The Native Pastor at Kuruman, the Rev. Maphakela Lekalaka, an eloquent preacher, a capable minister, and a master of metaphor—known as the “Joseph Parker of Bechuanaland”—superintended the work of the station with ability and success during the absence of the Missionary on furlough.

The journey back to Vryburg was made in an old ox-waggon drawn by fourteen oxen kindly lent by the Church at one of the Kuruman outstations. I travelled back via Motito, which has pathetic associations. In a tiny grave-yard there are buried two or three missionary children. There is also a grave which recalls a grim tragedy,—that of Jean Fredoux, a son-in-law of Dr. Moffat, and a missionary of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, which was formerly at work there. It was in 1865 that he met his death. A “depraved European” (to quote from the inscription on the gravestone) attacked his wife in his absence. The Native Christians defended her and made him prisoner, intending to send him to Kuruman for trial. Next day they were afraid they might get into trouble for arresting a white man and they let him go. He escaped in his waggon to the place where Mr. Fredoux was, and the Natives followed and told the latter what had happened. Mr. Fredoux went to speak to the man, who retreated inside his waggon. Then followed an explosion of gunpowder,[Pg 38] which blew the waggon, the “depraved European,” Mr. Fredoux and all the Natives to pieces.

At the conclusion of the journey from Kuruman I paid a short visit to Tiger Kloof and then proceeded north to visit the Matebeleland stations, in what is now known as Southern Rhodesia, taking three days’ holiday to see the wonderful Victoria Falls and places of interest in Bulawayo and the neighbourhood. Every Britisher naturally associates Rhodesia with the name and work of Cecil Rhodes. His statue stands in a commanding position in Bulawayo. His grave in the rocky fastness of the Matopo Hills is an impressive monument to his memory. All round are immense blocks of granite piled up in fantastic shapes. Four groups of these granite boulders almost completely enclose a rocky surface about 30 yards square, in the centre of which there is a large untrimmed block of granite lying on the ground. On the top of this is a sheet of bronze about 10 feet by 4 feet and 2 inches thick, on which are deeply cut these words:—


There is no date. Close by on the slope of the hill there is a white marble rectangular monument, with bronze panels, commemorating Major Wilson and thirty-four men who laid down their lives in one of the Matebeleland wars. The inscription reads:


Few people, perhaps, realise what Rhodesia owes to[Pg 39] the lives and labours of L. M. S. Missionaries. When Cecil Rhodes was a youth of twenty Mr. Helm was establishing the Mission Station at Hope Fountain, 10 miles away from the present town of Bulawayo, which was then non-existent. Rhodes was always ready to acknowledge the value of the services rendered by Mr. Helm in his early pioneering days in the country which afterwards was named Southern Rhodesia. He was a constant visitor to Hope Fountain, and Mr. Helm often took part in his negotiations with Lobenguela, the blood-thirsty Matebele king. John Smith Moffat, the son of Dr. Moffat, at one time an L. M. S. Missionary, afterwards for many years a Government official, and always the friend of the Natives, played an important part in the establishment of British rule in Rhodesia. John Mackenzie, too, did a great work in this direction, and was ever a stalwart champion of the rights of the Natives.

Mr. Helm drove me from Bulawayo to Hope Fountain in a cart drawn by four mules, the two leaders rejoicing in the names of “Bella” and “Donna.” At Hope Fountain the Society holds for the benefit of the Natives a farm upon which some 500 people are living. In Southern Rhodesia, outside the towns, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to carry on missionary work except on such farms or in Native Reserves. Throughout the country farms are being rapidly taken up by white farmers, and the Natives are steadily and inevitably being driven off the lands which they previously occupied into the great Native Reserves provided for them by the Government.[Pg 40] Hope Fountain is the centre of some thirteen outstations, most of which are under the charge of resident evangelists. These men and many of the Native Christians came into the head-station to meet me. These small Churches form another example of the growing Native Christian Church of South Africa. The principles of self-support have been inculcated with such success that they raise for the support of their own Christian work a sum considerably in excess of that raised at any other station of the Society in the sub-continent.

At Hope Fountain, as in so many places in the Mission Field, one is reminded of the great and good men who have given their lives to the work in days gone by. In the cemetery there David Carnegie is buried, and his white stone tomb can be seen from the Mission House across the valley. His widow and family live at a house on the road between Hope Fountain and Bulawayo.

The next week of my travel was devoted to exploring one of the great Native Reserves above referred to. Mr. Helm drove me from Bulawayo to Inyati, the most northern station of the Society in South Africa, a journey of forty-five miles. Thence, accompanied by Mr. Cullen Reed and Mr. R. Lanning, the Native Commissioner, I paid a visit to the Shangani Reserve, which comprises a large tract of country situated about midway between Bulawayo and the Zambesi. This Reserve has been set apart by the authorities for the accommodation of Natives who have been driven off the land by the gradual settlement of white farmers. The expedition involved[Pg 41] a cart journey over rough country of some 220 miles, some of it through virgin tropical forest across which the road consisted of little more than a track. For seven nights I slept on the ground near the great fires which were necessary to keep off lions and other beasts of prey. The experience was a delightful one in spite of a too abundant insect life which often proved troublesome. Mr. Lanning has a unique knowledge of the country and his experience of travel on the veldt added greatly to the comfort and the pleasure of the journey. Moreover, he is a keen hunter and kept the larder well supplied with fresh meat. The cart was drawn by six mules and we were accompanied by another cart which conveyed the Native servants, the luggage and the camp equipment. The interest of the journey was enhanced by meetings with Native chiefs and headmen at different places. They may be typified in the person of Tjakalisa, Lobenguela’s third son, a fine specimen of the human race, standing over six feet high and every inch of him an aristocrat.

Clad in a vest and a short leather apron and some wire bracelets, he looked like the son of a king. Years ago he was nearly burnt to death in a tree in which he had taken refuge from a bush fire. David Carnegie treated him and saved his life. On another occasion he was out hunting with his father. His cartridges were several sizes too small for his gun. As fast as he put them in at the breech they fell out at the muzzle. Lobenguela insisted that he was bewitched, and this opinion was apparently confirmed when, on his shooting[Pg 42] expedition, his horse took fright and threw him, breaking his leg into splinters. Mr. Helm came to the rescue and effected a complete cure.

Nowadays Tjakalisa has settled down in the Shangani as a farmer on a large scale. He has been known to realise as much as £600 at one time on the sale of his produce. He came to discuss with us the question of the settlement of a resident missionary. He was accompanied by a fine old chief, Sivalo, who still wears one of the old Matebele iron circlets on the top of his head. I shall not soon forget the long morning spent in the blazing sun—in “the splendour, shadowless and broad,” of a South African midsummer. Tjakalisa and Sivalo were attended by a score of headmen. They were eloquent in praise of their new country, which had not suffered from the terrible drought which has been afflicting so much of the sub-continent. They realise the benefits of elementary education and promised to support a school and to build a house for a teacher. They were filled with enthusiasm for the future of this promised land.

Later on the same night I was lying on my bed, consisting of leaves and grass and a rug, under the stars which were soon to be extinguished by the brilliant light of a South African full moon. A few yards away our black servants were sitting around the camp-fire. One of these was a Basuto who had passed some of his life in prison and was now a servant in the mission. Another was a black, curly-headed herd-boy from one of our mission stations. With them were some naked Matebele.[Pg 43] Before I slept I heard the strains of a hymn in the native language, sung to a well-known tune. It was:

Jesus, still lead on,
Till our rest be won;
And, although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless;
Guide us by Thy hand
To our Fatherland.

I fell asleep to dream of the African church of the future in this new fatherland of their race.

Already under the steady pressure of white settlement large numbers of Natives have been driven into this Reserve and month after month there are fresh arrivals. In the old days the L. M. S. was ever to the front as the pioneer Society in the evangelization of South Africa. In these days it is looking forward to establishing a new mission station in this Reserve, unless prevented by the great deficiency and the lukewarmness of the Home Churches.

From Shangani I returned to Inyati, the station where Mr. Bowen Rees has laboured so long and faithfully. He was away on furlough at the time of my visit. During my stay there I was reminded of some of the minor inconveniences—not to say dangers—of a missionary’s life. One evening while we were sitting on the verandah a snake paid us a visit, while the next day a cobra was caught in the woodstack close at hand.

I inspected the school and attended a large gathering in the Church of Christians from Inyati and its outstations. Most of the adults squatted on the floor with[Pg 44] their families around them. The naked babies tumbled over each other in their playful frolics, or slept on their mothers’ backs while I was trying to speak to their parents.

From Inyati Mr. Helm drove me to Insiza, formerly a station of the Society. On the following morning I left at 4 a.m. by train for Bulawayo, where I proceeded to Marula Tank Siding en route for the new Arthington station at Tjimali, where our Missionary, Mr. Whiteside, met me. A drive of twenty miles in the mule cart brought us to the Mission House, which is beautifully situated in the midst of granite kopjes which form the western spur of the Matopo Hills. The view is magnificent. The garden terminates in a forbidding precipice some hundreds of feet deep. On one side of the house is a lofty rocky hill which commands a wide stretch of mountainous country in all directions with intervening valleys, and plains and hills. There are, however, drawbacks to Tjimali as a residence. The baboons are very numerous in the immediate neighbourhood and go about in herds of forty or fifty and rob the gardens in the day time. The wild cats steal the chickens at night. The eagles carry off the lambs, and the insect life is super-abundant. Tjimali is the Society’s newest station in Matebeleland and the work is in its early stages. There are ten outstations, at each of which there is a native teacher who conducts school during the week and acts as pastor-evangelist on Sundays, preaching and holding classes for inquirers. The work is bright with promise and is reaching the miners who are settling in the outskirts of the district.

[Pg 45]

From Tjimali I journeyed by cart to Dombodema, a long day’s drive of fifty-eight miles. My experience that day illustrates one of the disadvantages of the new mode of travel in South Africa. I had been driven to the Marula Siding to catch the train for Plumtree, the station for Dombodema. On arrival there I found that on the previous day the time for the starting of the train had been put forward four hours without any notice whatever to the public or even the station master, and hence there was nothing for it but to drive the whole distance. On the way I was met by Mr. Cullen Reed, the Dombodema missionary, who has been at work there since the foundation of the station in 1895. Mr. Reed has to carry on his work in three languages and has to itinerate a parish of 3,000 square miles inhabited by 15,000 people. On each side of the Mission station are low picturesque kopjes. The day before I arrived Mr. Reed had killed a snake fifteen feet long in the garden.

Preachers, teachers and Christian workers had come in from the outstations for the meeting. Three of them had travelled all the way from Nekati, a distance of 150 miles. At this place Segkome Khama lives. He is the eldest son of Khama, the famous Chief of the Bamangwato tribe. For the Sunday service the Church was crowded, the congregation sitting on the floor, and some scores more finding seats under the shadow of a great fig tree outside the door. The Service was conducted in two languages. In the afternoon an impressive Communion Service was held.

[Pg 46]

On leaving Dombodema I proceeded south to Serowe, spending two days on the way at the British Residency, Francistown, as the guest of Major Daniel, the Assistant Commissioner for the Northern half of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. My visit to Serowe was one of my most interesting experiences in South Africa. Leaving Phalapye Road railway station at 3.20 a.m. in the faint light of the waning moon I started on the cart ride of thirty-five miles to Serowe. The cart was drawn by eight fine mules kindly put at my disposal by the Government. It was the dustiest ride I have ever experienced, in many places the road being several inches deep in sand and dust. The dust of the Plain of Chihli in North China makes an impression on the memory which it is not easy to forget, but the drive to Serowe was a more trying experience, because eight galloping mules travel much faster than the sorry beasts which draw the Peking carts of North China. About three miles from Serowe we saw a cloud of dust ahead and there emerged from it a company of horsemen whom Khama had sent to escort me. A mile further on the whole veldt seemed to be enveloped in a mighty dust-storm. When it reached us we stopped. Khama had come in person with some hundreds of horsemen. The old Chief sprang from his saddle like a man of 26 rather than a man of 76. He joined me in the cart and we renewed our drive. The horsemen galloped before and behind and on either side. The drivers thrashed their mules with two whips to force them to keep pace with the horsemen. A regular stampede ensued. Fresh detachments of Natives, all[Pg 47] mounted on fine steeds, joined the cavalcade every two or three minutes. The Chief thoroughly enjoyed the fun and laughed heartily as the horses of the various members of our escort kept cannonading against one another in the mad rush.

Serowe, the largest Native town in South Africa, contains about 26,000 inhabitants, and is picturesquely situated. Mr. Jennings, the L. M. S. missionary, has carried on work there for upwards of ten years. It is a typical Bechuana town, having no streets but consisting of numerous collections of native huts within fenced kraals. The position of the Mission House is particularly striking, lying as it does between three great piles of rocks.

The town owes much of its importance to the fact that it is Khama’s capital. This old Chief—the Jubilee of whose baptism was celebrated two years ago—is the most distinguished Native of South Africa. He is undoubtedly one of the busiest men in the world. He spends laborious days in the Kgotla—the great open-air meeting place of the tribe—dealing with all sorts of questions affecting his people, and acting as judge. Nothing concerning the life of the tribe is too minute for his careful attention. He knows all that happens and rules his people with a firm hand, exercising a benevolent despotism.

In a very true sense Khama is head of the Church as well as head of the State. He is most regular in his attendance at Sunday services and religious meetings. Under his leadership his people have just built a[Pg 48] magnificent stone Church, on the foundation stone of which are inscribed these words:—

This Church was Erected to the Glory of God
by Chief Khama and the Bamangwato Tribe.

Two great meetings in the Kgotla will live in my memory. At day-break on the morning after my arrival I attended a prayer meeting for rain. These meetings had been held for weeks. About 800 men and women were present in almost equal proportions. Most of the women sat upon the ground and the men on low chairs or stools which they brought with them. Khama sat on a deck chair under the shadow of a tree in the middle of one of the sides of the oval into which the people had grouped themselves. His young wife sat on his left hand. There was singing, reading and prayer. The Chief himself led the meeting in the final prayer, which lasted about five minutes. I am told he compared his country to a wilderness where there was no river, and his people to a lonely dog in the desert crying for water.

Another memorable meeting in the Kgotla was the Sunday morning service. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people assembled at 7 a.m., most of the men sitting on the right and the women on the left. The scene was a most picturesque one. The coloured head-dresses of the women were brilliant in the morning sunshine. Khama and his wife were present. A deacon with a fine voice led the singing, which was very hearty, and was unaccompanied by any instrument.

[Pg 49]

Many other gatherings were held during my visit to Serowe. I met deacons, Church members, catechumens, inquirers, Sunday School teachers, and other Christian workers. In several conversations with the Chief I found him to be deeply interested in Christian work in other parts of the world. He has the high spirits of a boy and told many yarns of hunting experiences. He had some interesting reminiscences of his meetings with David Livingstone to narrate. He told me that he remembered Livingstone visiting his father, Segkome, on three occasions. On the first and second of these visits Livingstone was riding on a hornless ox. On the third occasion he was travelling in an ox-waggon and came to Shoshong. “After that,” Khama added, “he went beyond the Zambesi, and I never saw him again.” Of his own accord he told me of Livingstone’s encounter with the lion, and described the damage to the arm and told me he remembered hearing of the incident at the time.

Khama has two houses, one a spacious and well-built native hut, where he lives with his wife, Semane, who was trained at the L. M. S. School, and is a fine specimen of a Native Christian woman. She takes great interest in the work and often visits the schools and is a regular attendant at the services in the Kgotla. Khama’s other residence is a European house, brick-built, with a verandah in front and containing four rooms. I visited him there, and was received in his sitting-room, which is about 18 feet square. The floor was covered with linoleum upon which was a Turkey carpet. There[Pg 50] were two tables—one a large old-fashioned drawing-room table, on which stood a photograph of Earl Selborne in a silver frame and two other photographs, and the other a light folding table on which was a richly framed autograph photograph of Queen Victoria, which she had given to the Chief when he was in England in 1895. On this table also stood a very large blue enamel milk-pail full of milk and a bottle of vinegar. In the corner was an Address from the Serowe Chamber of Commerce on the occasion of the Jubilee of his baptism. On the walls were portraits of the late King Edward, Queen Alexandra, King George and other Royalties. He showed me a gold hunter watch he was wearing, which contained an inscription recording that it was presented to him by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. He was very interested in political matters and was most anxious about the future of his people, being apprehensive that the Protectorate might one day be incorporated in the South Africa Union, and keenly desirous of preventing the occurrence of anything in the nature of such a catastrophe, as he deems it would be.

Khama is a man of great physical strength. A week or two before I saw him he had ridden sixty miles to Shoshong on horse-back in a single day, and after a day or two’s stay had made the return journey in the same way. He exercises a tremendous influence over the tribe, and in recent years has put a stop to the manufacture and drinking of Native beer. The story is told of him that some time ago a man who had tried to bewitch him died of fright, when Khama reminded him[Pg 51] that he was the son of the greatest of witch doctors, Segkome, and that he could kill him if he wished to do so.

My week’s intercourse with Khama made two impressions on my mind. The first is that he is a Christian gentleman, and the second is that he is one of the most cautious and astute men I have ever met in my life. He has a remarkable mind, the working of which it is not always easy to understand, but of his desire to spread the light amongst the people over whom he rules with a rod of iron there cannot be a shadow of doubt.

Of the growing Church among the Bamangwato there are many manifest signs. Apart from the salaries of the missionaries and a small grant to keep the Mission House in repair, the work at Serowe is self-supporting. Moreover, the Church is a Missionary Church, and is seeking to pass on the light to others. For many years it has done much to sustain the work for God at Lake Ngami, which is the Mission field of the Bamangwato Church. It sends out its own missionaries. For twenty years Shomolekae has been the devoted and much loved evangelist of the far-away Lake Ngami district and has bravely held the fort in spite of loneliness and isolation and repeated attacks of fever. He has now been joined by Andrew Kgasi, who was trained at Tiger Kloof, and volunteered for service at the Lake.

From Serowe I travelled to Shoshong, being driven to Phalapye Road Station by the Acting-Magistrate in the Government mule cart. Proceeding south by railway to Mahalapye I was there met by Mr. Lloyd, the Shoshong[Pg 52] missionary, with his ox-waggon. We travelled all night and reached Shoshong at mid-day. This place in the old days was the capital of the Bamangwato tribe. It was here that Segkome, Khama’s father, ruled and Khama himself was baptised fifty-two years ago. Here David Livingstone preached and practised in the early forties, and later on John Mackenzie, Roger Price and J. D. Hepburn laboured. But its glory departed when in 1886 Khama moved his capital to Phalapye.

Shoshong is picturesquely situated in a wide plain with mountains on all sides, but there are few traces of its former greatness. The site of the old town is covered with bush. The present town consists of three large kraals under three local chiefs or head-men, one of whom is Khamane, Khama’s brother, and another Tshwene, Khama’s son-in-law. At the time of my visit Shoshong was experiencing the terrible effects of the prolonged drought. The only water supply was two miles away in the river bed, over one of the roughest paths I have ever traversed. Between the boulders over the stones and across the rocks the narrow serpentine track had been worn quite smooth by the long procession of women walking up and down day by day to fetch water from holes dug in the bed of the river. One of the vivid impressions of travel in these parts is that of a string of women carrying very heavy clay pots of water balanced on their heads, climbing over rocks and making their way through thorn bushes, and never spilling a drop of the water. These great pots are 18 inches across in the broadest part and one foot high, and when[Pg 53] filled are very heavy. I tried to lift one on to my head but entirely failed. The women help each other to hoist them and they do this very cleverly and quickly. A man attempted to help a woman to replace on her head the pot I had tried to lift. The woman said “No! you are no good, you are only a man! You cannot do it.” An old woman of sixty came to the rescue and between them they succeeded in replacing the pot upon the head of its bearer.

Shoshong is the centre of a large district comprising thirty-nine outstations, some of which, however, are little more than preaching stations. The missionary visits them from time to time. There are only seven schools in the district.

On my return journey to the railway I had an experience of travel which was much more common formerly, when the ox-waggon was the only means of conveyance, than to-day, when its place has been largely taken by carts and trains. We left Shoshong in the waggon at 10 p.m. The herd-boy had been unable to find two of the best oxen, and we started with a span of twelve, at least two of which were very poor specimens. In the first two miles we had to stop a score of times. Finally, one of the oxen laid down and refused to move. We left this creature and its fellow behind, and proceeded with ten oxen only. The heavy thunderstorm of the previous day had left water behind it on the road and our progress was slow. Between five and six on the following morning I was wakened by a tremendous banging and found one of the drivers standing[Pg 54] on the front seat of the waggon chopping off a branch of a tree which barred our way. Fifty yards further on, owing to careless driving and tired oxen, the wheels on one side of the waggon got lodged in a deep rut full of water and mud. I got up to find the waggon at an angle of forty-five degrees and in imminent danger of overturning. Dressing hurriedly and getting out of the waggon I found the boys had unyoked the oxen and fastened them on to the back in the vain hope that they might thus pull it out of the rut backwards. A futile effort was then made to dig out the two wheels, but it was impossible to move the waggon. The boy went off post-haste to Bonwapitse, two miles away, to borrow oxen and men from the Chief to extricate us. In two hours twenty men, including the Chief’s son, and ten of the most powerful oxen I have ever seen, came to our rescue. A chain was fastened round the back axle and in less time than it takes to describe the incident the waggon was dragged out of the rut. The new oxen, however, were not content with their performance, but rushed off, dragging the waggon backwards, and soon two considerable trees were levelled to the ground in the stampede. Fortunately, the oxen took a semi-circular course, and the great trees and dense bush checked them in their mad career, but not before some damage had been done and the interior of the waggon half-filled with broken branches of trees.

It was Sunday morning. On reaching Bonwapitse we held a Service under the trees, which was attended by the Chief and his wife and about 100 people. This was[Pg 55] one of the many open-air services which will live in the memory. The trees afforded little shade. The almost vertical rays of the South Africa summer sun beat down with merciless severity upon the people gathered together as they joined in singing their hymns and listened with great attention to the words spoken to them, and took part with great devoutness in the prayers which were offered.

I proceeded by railway to Gaberones, arriving there between two and three in the morning. Alighting from the train I waited in the darkness until two men appeared with a lantern to conduct me to the Government waggon which Mr. Ellenberger had kindly sent. We in-spanned early in the morning and I was taken to the Residency three miles away, where a warm welcome awaited me. Mr. Ellenberger is the Assistant Commissioner for the Southern portion of the Protectorate. He is the son of a missionary of the Paris Missionary Society who laboured in Basutoland, and his wife is the daughter of the well-known Dr. Casalis of the same Society. I experienced from them the same kindness which was always extended to me by the Government officials, and my two days’ stay at the Residency was altogether delightful. They kindly drove me in the Government cart to Khumakwane, where we found the waggon which had conveyed my luggage on the previous day, awaiting us. Mr. Haydon Lewis, the missionary from Molepolole, met us there with his waggon. Afterwards another open-air service was held under a great tree, in the course of which Mr. Ellenberger spoke to the[Pg 56] people in Sechuana, and a business interview followed with the neighbouring Chief, at whose village the Mission Chapel had been burnt some time before at the instigation of a “false prophet.”

Mr. Ellenberger drove us to Kolobeng, where we saw the ruins of the house which Livingstone had built seventy years before, and which was destroyed during his absence by the Boers. The outline of the house was quite distinct, and on one side the walls are still standing about 7 feet high. The bricks were of the roughest description, and the marvel is that they have stood the storms of seventy years without disappearing altogether. In Livingstone’s day there was a large town here, but now not a hut is to be seen owing to tribal migration. The Kolobeng river itself has almost disappeared, but its course is clearly marked by a great line of reeds and rushes.

I met two old men who remembered Livingstone, and gave me some details of his personal appearance. One of them as a boy was doctored by him, the other still cultivates Livingstone’s garden—a small patch near the ruins, where mealies are grown. Close by are the remains of an old Dispensary, and a little further off are two nameless graves. It was a scene of desolation, nature having completely re-asserted herself, and obliterated all traces of the former town. But from the site there was a fine view of undulating veldt and valley and mountain, and one thought with gratitude of the great man who had “passed like light across the darkened land”—

[Pg 57]

“To lift the sombre fringes of the Night
To open lands long darkened to the Light,
To heal grim wounds, to give the blind new sight,
Right mightily wrought he.”

Next day I left for Molepolole with Mr. Haydon Lewis. This town, where missionary work has been carried on since 1866, is the capital of the Bakwena tribe. In the afternoon there was a great gathering of school children for their annual sports. Just after I had distributed the prizes a youth galloped up on a bare-backed horse, scattering the children in all directions. He was the Chief’s son and has the reputation of being a graceless young rascal, constantly under the influence of drink and a veritable vagabond in the tribe. He rejoices in the name of Ralph Wardlaw Thompson Sebele, having been born about the time when Dr. Thompson was last in Molepolole, and receiving at baptism the honoured name to which he is anything but a credit.

During my visit I inspected the schools and met the Church members and congregation, and was present at a crowded lantern service in the Church. In spite of great difficulties the evangelistic work is being carried on with success by means of twenty-eight native preachers trained on the station. This tribe has set an example to the other Bechuanaland tribes by levying a school tax of 2/-per annum upon all tax-payers, thus providing ample funds for educational purposes. Except for the salary of the missionaries and an annual grant for itineration the work at this station is self-supporting, and the Church is realising the duties of providing for its[Pg 58] own work, of governing itself and of spreading the Gospel in the outlying parts. Its Mission field is the North central part of the Khalahari Desert which adjoins the territory of the tribe on the west. At Molepolole, as well as at other stations, the missionary is also the doctor. A considerable portion of each morning, when he is at home, is spent in examining patients and dispensing medicines. He is ably seconded by his wife, who was a trained nurse. Thus the light is spread not only by the preaching of the Gospel and the teaching in the schools, but also by the healing of the sick. So our missionaries are found following in the footsteps of the Great Physician.

From Molepolole I travelled south in the ox-waggon to Mahatelo on my way to Kanye. Early next morning I was met at Gamoshupa by a cart and four mules, kindly sent for me by Seapapico, the Chief of the Bangwaketsi tribe. After a drive through beautiful scenery I reached Kanye, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, and the capital of the tribe, in the afternoon. I spent the greater part of a week at this station, where missionary work has been carried on under the superintendence of a resident missionary for forty years, and where Mr. and Mrs. Howard Williams were labouring. While this book is passing through the press a cablegram has been received, conveying the sad news that Mr. Williams has been called to the higher service, after a devoted missionary life of well-nigh thirty years. The increasing activities of a growing Church of nearly 700 members were apparent in the town itself and in[Pg 59] the numerous outstations in the district. On the Sunday the spacious Church, which was provided by the tribe and cost £3,000 apart from the bricks, and contains a fine organ, the gift of the late Chief Bathoen, was packed to its utmost capacity, many having come in from the outstations. The women’s head-dresses, which were of all the colours of the rainbow, were in striking contrast to the black heads of the men. After the service thirty-four adults were baptised, and in the afternoon a Communion Service was held, at which 550 Church members gathered round the table of our Lord. On the following days I attended meetings of Church members and Christian workers and of women, inspected the schools, and had interviews with some of the leading men.

The present Chief, Seapapico, is a young man of twenty-six, and the son of Bathoen, who accompanied Khama to England in 1895. The young man was educated at Lovedale, and speaks English well, and was a great support to the missionary, Mr. Howard Williams. His mother, Bathoen’s widow, is a fine Christian woman and gives great assistance to Mrs. Williams in her work amongst the women of the tribe. She was the favourite daughter of Sechele, the old Chief of the Bakwena tribe. When she was a girl she had a quarrel with a friend and destroyed her eyesight with a thorn. Sechele had one of his daughter’s eyes put out, on the principle of “an eye for an eye,” and she bears the mark of this parental correction to this day.

From Kanye I was driven in the Chief’s cart to the railway at Lobatsi, whence on the following day I was[Pg 60] escorted by the native ordained minister, Roger K. Mokadi, to his station at Maanwane, over the Transvaal border. After a service in the Church and a visit to Roger’s kraal, a hot tramp under a fierce sun brought us at Mabotsa to the ruins of the old Mission house built by Livingstone and Edwards. Some of the walls were standing seven or eight feet high, but the interior was overgrown with bush. Close by is the hill where Livingstone had his famous encounter with the lion, and near at hand an old native Christian lives who was with Livingstone at the time. A drive through Linokani, where the German Lutherans are carrying on a fine piece of missionary work, brought me to Zeerust and next day by means of the train I reached Johannesburg. It does not fall within the scope of this book to describe this wonderful city, the creation of the last twenty-five years. It is by far the largest business town in South Africa and is the centre of the greatest gold producing mines in the world. Here I experienced the utmost kindness from members of the Congregational Church and met my colleague, Mr. Houghton, with whom I was to travel for the next nine months. Nor must I stay to refer to a deeply interesting visit to Pretoria. At these great centres the evidence of the appalling racial conflict, which constitutes the greatest problem confronting the Christian Church in South Africa to-day, was abundantly apparent.

A few days later I travelled to Mafeking, for ever immortalised for its heroic defence during the Boer war, to see Colonel Panzera, the Resident Commissioner for[Pg 61] the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and thence proceeded to Tiger Kloof to meet all the Society’s South African missionaries for consultation upon the work and its problems.

Throughout my journeys amongst the Churches in Bechuanaland and Matebeleland there were many signs of the growing power and promise of the Native South African Church. That Church, planted first by Moffat and his colleagues at Kuruman, and carried north by Livingstone and his successors until it has well-nigh reached the Zambesi, has had a chequered career, but its progress has been unmistakably onward and upward. It has been tried and purified by the struggles of the past, and to-day its “far-flung battle line” is making a steady advance against the forces of superstition and heathenism with which it is confronted.

“Climbing through darkness up to God,” the members of that Church are bravely carrying “the wonder and the glory of the light” into “the darkness and the sorrow of the night” in which so many of their fellow-countrymen are still enshrouded. Through the open doors “the true Light, which lighteth every man coming into the world,” is pouring its ever-brightening rays.

[Pg 62]

Tiger Kloof—“A Lamp Shining in a Dark Place”

From North, and South, and East, and West
They come.

John Oxenham.

The crown of the work of the L. M. S. in South Africa is the Tiger Kloof Native Institution. Ten years ago the site on which its buildings now stand was bare veldt. To-day it is a centre of light for all the L. M. S. work in South Africa. Situated on the Cape-to-Cairo Railway, 767 miles north of Cape Town, the Institution buildings, which challenge the attention of every passing traveller, are a monument to the princely munificence of that great missionary-hearted man Robert Arthington of Leeds, to the energy, ability, devotion and far-seeing statesmanship of the Rev. W. C. Willoughby, and to what can be accomplished by the South African boys trained in the Institution, who have erected most of the buildings which are now so notable a feature of the landscape.[3]

[Pg 63]

It is to Tiger Kloof that the brightest and best boys, who have received their early training at the Mission stations of the Society in South Africa, are sent to complete their education. It is from Tiger Kloof that the teachers and preachers, who are to be God’s instruments in building up the growing Native Church, proceed after receiving training to fit them for their work. Tiger Kloof is the strategic centre of the Society’s work in South Africa. In the coming days it will also be the training place for teachers and preachers connected with the Central Africa Mission.

Within the limits of this sketch it is impossible to describe the manifold activities of this great Institution. I visited it on three occasions, and altogether spent upwards of a month there, and I had many opportunities of seeing and learning to appreciate the great work which is carried on. At the present time there are nearly 200 students in residence.

On the 8th March, 1904, Mr. Willoughby and his wife outspanned their waggon, and that a borrowed one, on the veldt at the corner of a large farm which the Society had previously bought. The word “farm” conveys a false impression. It was an unfenced wilderness covered with stone and low bush. The foundation stone of the Institution was laid in 1905 by Earl Selborne, the Governor of Cape Colony. Year after year buildings have been added, and the Institution now comprises a fine dining-hall with a clock tower, six dormitories, commodious school and class rooms, carpenters’ and tailors’ shops and work-rooms, offices and residences[Pg 64] for the members of the staff, and a series of cottages for the theological students and their families.

In the scholastic department the boys are taught the subjects prescribed by the Cape code. There is an excellent normal school for the training of teachers. Apprentices are taught masonry, carpentry, tailoring and office work, and there is a theological department where the students are trained for the ministry.

On arrival at Tiger Kloof the visitor to whom the Institution wishes to show honour is met by the boys in full-dress Sunday uniform and the Band. As such visitors are not infrequent the sight of the boys at the Siding, smartly attired in their blue uniforms, and the strains of the Band help to make known the Institution to the numerous travellers passing through by train.

Daily Prayers are held in the Hall at 6.45 a.m. precisely. The English language is employed and the Mill Hill School Service book is used. These gatherings for morning prayers are characterised by a quiet dignity and reverence which is very impressive. The singing is good and the musical responses are very effectively rendered. The singing of “Crown Him Lord of all,” to the tune “Diadem,” will not soon be forgotten by those who have listened to it. After prayers the boys march out of the Hall and form themselves into companies outside and proceed to the parade ground for drill. The discipline is perfect. The work of the Institution has constantly received high praise from the Government Inspectors, and large Government grants are earned.

Portion of Tiger Kloof Institution

Photo by]                        [W. C. Willoughby.
Portion of Tiger Kloof Institution.

The influence of the work there is already being felt throughout the South Africa Mission. Not only are ordained pastors and certificated teachers, who have received their training at Tiger Kloof, to be found at the various stations, but masons and carpenters who have learnt their trades there, after returning to their homes, occupy themselves with erecting Churches, schools and houses, and in many cases their life and example is a blessing to the people amongst whom they live. In this and other ways Tiger Kloof is making its contribution to the building up of a strong Christian Church in South Africa, and sending out Christian youths to spread the light in many a dark place.

An Institution on similar lines for girls is in course of erection at Tiger Kloof. When it gets to work the most promising girls from the different Mission stations will be sent there for higher training. Many of them will become the wives of the preachers and teachers, and thus it is hoped will help to build up Christian homes in South Africa, which will be centres of light in different parts of the field.


[3] The genesis and development of the great work at Tiger Kloof is admirably described in the Handbook by Mr. Willoughby, entitled “Tiger Kloof,” published by the L.M.S. Price, 1s. net; post free 1s. 2d.

[Pg 66]


The Heart of the Dark Continent

Watchman, what of the night?
The Watchman said, The morning cometh.


The night is far spent and the day is at hand.

St. Paul.

After four and a-half months spent in South Africa, where the Native Church has been planted for a century, I proceeded north to Central Africa, where missionary work is in its early stages and the Native Church in its infancy. Leaving Tiger Kloof towards the end of March, I travelled by the Cape-to-Cairo Railway through the Protectorate and Southern Rhodesia, and was joined by the other member of the Central African Deputation, Mr. Houghton, at the Victoria Falls. The Railway took us to Ndola, 1,373 miles north of Tiger Kloof. There we were met by Mr. Nutter, of Mbereshi, in our Central Africa Mission, and over 100 native carriers who were to be our companions for many a day to come. Before attempting any description of travel in Central Africa it will be well to say something about the country itself.

>Map of Central Africa, showing L. M. S. Mission Stations

Map of Central Africa, showing L. M. S. Mission Stations.
(Kambole should be west, and not south of Kafukula).

As late as the middle of last century maps of Africa[Pg 67] described the central regions of the Dark Continent as unexplored. The labours of Livingstone, his contemporaries and successors have revealed to the peoples of the West a vast area as extensive as Europe which is somewhat vaguely described as Central Africa. Towards the end of the century this great expanse of country had been parcelled out amongst the great Powers of Europe. Internal peace has taken the place of tribal warfare, and the land has been thrown open to Western colonization. Foremost amongst the pioneers of civilization has been the Christian Missionary, and one of the earliest Societies to enter the field was our own. A remarkable and immediate result of the travels[Pg 68] of Livingstone was the occupation of Central Africa by some of the missionary organizations of Britain. The work commenced by our own Society, the Church Missionary Society, the Universities’ Mission and the Presbyterian Missions was due directly or indirectly to the influence of that great Missionary explorer—David Livingstone.

Central Africa exercises a singular fascination on those who visit it. Its great lakes, its mighty rivers, its boundless forests, its glorious sunshine, the black races which inhabit it, all combine to make travel in that region a unique and delightful experience. In our case that travel was made the more pleasant by the company of one and another of our missionaries on our journeys, and the great privilege we enjoyed of fellowship with them and their families in their homes, and the opportunities afforded us of seeing something of the work which they are carrying on amongst the people of the land.

One of the first impressions a traveller receives is that of the vastness of the territory and the comparative sparseness of the population. These facts, together with the want of facilities for rapid travel, constitute serious difficulties in carrying on missionary work.

My colleague and I were the first Deputation from the Society to visit Central Africa. As long ago as 1879 the Directors accepted an offer from the Society’s Foreign Secretary, Dr. Mullens, to visit the Mission. He proceeded to Zanzibar and started on his journey to Lake Tanganyika, but died at Chakombe in July[Pg 69] of that year and was buried in the C. M. S. cemetery at Mpwapwa, between Tabora and Dar-es-Salaam. Since that day conditions of travel and of life in Northern Rhodesia (which is the part of Central Africa in which the L. M. S. carries on nearly all its work) have completely changed. No more striking evidence of the change can be afforded than a comparison between the experiences of the early missionaries and of their successors, twenty-five years later. The average term of service for the first ten missionaries who served in Central Africa was well under three years. The ten missionaries at present on the field have already to their credit an average term of service of thirteen years, and the majority of them are still under forty years of age. Moreover, in the first ten years of the Mission eleven missionaries died on the field, and six were invalided home, and (with one exception) did not return. During the last ten years not a single missionary has died on the field, and no missionary has retired on account of ill-health.

It was our good fortune to visit Central Africa during its winter, and our experience of the climate was altogether delightful. Even during the hot season the heat is not so extreme as might be expected from the geographical position of the country. At the Society’s stations the thermometer seldom, if ever, reaches 100° Fahrenheit during the hottest season—a point often exceeded further south. Nevertheless, Central Africa is still a trying place for many people. The liability to malarial fever, dysentery, and cognate diseases is[Pg 70] considerable. Nor must it be forgotten that all our stations are necessarily at a high altitude above sea level. The lowest of them—Kafukula—is nearly as high as the top of Snowdon, while all the remaining stations are between 4,700 and 5,600 feet up, except Mbereshi, the altitude of which is 3,900 feet. Life at this altitude is often trying to the nerves and heart, and the strain is all the more severe owing to the impossibility of securing a substantial change of altitude without great expenditure of time and money. The distance to the coast is so great, the travel is so trying, and the cost is so heavy that it is practically impossible for our missionaries and their families to obtain a complete change—either as a mid-term furlough or otherwise.

Perhaps the best indication of the changed conditions of life and the improved health of the Mission in these later days is afforded by the splendid health enjoyed by the missionaries’ children. The picture facing this page speaks for itself.

But there is an aspect of life in Central Africa which must not be over-looked, namely its isolation. At only one of our stations is any other white man in residence. There are less than a dozen white people—officials and a trader—at Kawambwa, the Government station twenty miles from Mbereshi, and about a dozen at Abercorn—the Metropolis, as it is called, of the white people in the Society’s area—ten miles from Kawimbe.

Healthy Missionary Children in Central Africa

Photo by]      [Bernard Turner.
Hilda. Gay. Kenneth. Ethel. Dennis. Sylvia. Hope. Monica. Marjorie. Franklin.
Healthy Missionary Children in Central Africa.

The exercise of a little imagination will enable the reader to realise something of the loneliness of men and women living in a country where there are so few people of their own race. Moreover, the Mission stations are widely separated from each other. Mbereshi is five days’ journey from Mpolokoso, eight days’ journey from Kambole, nine and a-half days’ journey from Kafukula, and eleven days’ journey from Kawimbe.

For the greater part of the three months following our departure from the railway at Ndola we lived in tents, and travelled through the great Central African forest, which in fact extended nearly all the way from Bulawayo, the capital of Southern Rhodesia, to Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of German East Africa, situated on the east coast of the Continent, 80 miles south of Zanzibar. Almost the whole of this country is a plateau from 4,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. The southern part of this forest is traversed by the Zambesi, and the western portion is bounded by the Congo, there known as the Luapula, while situated on the table-land there are the great lakes of Bangweolo, Mweru and Tanganyika, the two last of which we visited. In travelling through the forest one day’s journey is very like another, although each day abounds with a variety of incidents and new sights and new experiences for one who visits the country for the first time. A general description of the means and conditions of travel will suffice.

We were almost wholly dependent upon native carriers. With the exception of bicycles and single-wheeled bush-cars there is no wheeled traffic in Northern Rhodesia. There are practically no roads in our meaning of that[Pg 72] term. The travel-routes are native paths—often very narrow and overgrown. In the long grass, which is a remarkable feature of the country, the path often cannot be seen, but can only be felt by the feet. There are no inns or rest-houses. Tents, bedding, cooking utensils, food, etc., must all be carried everywhere. The minimum number of carriers required by one person on a short journey is about twelve if a bicycle is used, or eighteen to twenty if a machila is the means of conveyance. A machila is a chair slung between two poles and carried by four men. For longer journeys extra men are needed to carry supplies, or in case of sickness among the carriers. Should native food not be easily obtained—as at certain seasons is the case everywhere, and along many of the main travel-routes, more or less constantly all the year round—five more men are needed for each week that food has to be carried. Carriers cost about 1s. 6d. per man per week away from their homes. The general practice is to pay 1s. a week in cash on discharge, and the balance in calico, cash, salt or food, weekly in advance. The speed of travel is, of course, dependent on the ability of the carriers, and the nature of the country traversed, but it may be taken as about seventeen or eighteen miles a day, or three miles an hour, including rests. Sometimes over thirty miles is accomplished with loads, or even more with a letter only. Our average day’s travel from Ndola to Mbereshi was just under twenty miles, but on two days we covered over thirty miles.

Our experience of Central African travel was a[Pg 73] delightful one. We left the rail a week or two before the rainy season comes to an end in most years, and we had been warned that we should probably meet with a good deal of rain on our way to Mbereshi. We only had two or three showers the whole way, and with one trifling exception all these fell after we were in camp. We tasted some of the joys of crossing Central African swamps, but with the kindly assistance of our carriers, whose backs and shoulders were always at our service, we were none the worse. Numerous rivers and streams were crossed in dug-out canoes, on men’s backs and shoulders, and by means of tree trunks, stones, or bridges made of the branches of trees. The Luapula (Congo) was crossed in a steel boat.

On the recommendation of the missionaries on the spot we had provided ourselves with bush-cars as our means of conveyance after leaving the railway. A bush-car is a seat fixed over a motor-cycle wheel with steel tube shafts back and front. It is propelled by two men, whereas a machila requires four men, and thus a bush-car halves the cost of carriers. Moreover, it is a much quicker means of conveyance than a machila. The experiment was entirely justified. Some days we were enabled to travel upwards of thirty miles without undue fatigue.

It may be of interest to describe shortly a typical day’s programme on “ulendo”—as travel with carriers is universally called in Northern Rhodesia. We rose at six. Before we had finished dressing a number of carriers would be besieging our tents to snatch up our boxes[Pg 74] and other luggage in order to make an early start. Within a few minutes of vacating our tents they would be taken down and made into suitable loads and our beds and bedding would be packed and carried away. We breakfasted in the open air about 6.45, and generally by 7.15 or 7.30 we were under way. It was our custom to walk for the first hour or two in spite of the heavy dew, which during the first part of our trip covered the giant grass and the trees until the sun was well up. Fortunately for us the cavalcade of carriers who had gone on ahead acted as “dew-driers” by brushing the water off the grass as they passed along.

For the most part our journey lay through forest and bush and tall grass, along native paths or roads three or four feet wide, which had been made under the direction of the Government, but were often overgrown with grass and shrubs except for a narrow track a foot or eighteen inches in width, which had been kept clear by the constant passing of natives along it. The greater part of our travel was over the plateau, on which the paths were fairly level except at the depressions caused by the numerous streams which drain it. From time to time, however, there were steep, rocky hills to be surmounted, and there were occasional swamps. It was not often possible to ride more than a few miles in the bush-car without alighting and walking for some distance. A very uncomfortable experience is to travel by bush-car or on a bicycle along a path over which elephants have passed a short time before. The sensation of bumping over footprints fifteen inches across and[Pg 75] three or more inches deep, and occupying the whole width of the path, can be better imagined than described.

We generally took luncheon between twelve and one, at a place where water was to be found, either in a native village or in the forest. We often found the table spread and the meal awaiting us, but sometimes we had to wait long for it if our luncheon box happened to be far behind us on the road. Then came two or three hours’ further travel before we finished our journey for the day. Then came a cup of tea, and as soon as the tents were pitched a bath and change of clothing. We dined about sunset. Then followed what was to us the most delightful of the day’s experiences. The rule on “ulendo” is for every man, when he collects the firewood for his own watch fire, to bring a log for the white man’s fire. Night after night we had magnificent camp-fires. Often the missionary accompanying us would gather the men together for a service round the fire, and sometimes the villagers also came. Those camp-fire services will long live in my memory. The men would sit round the fire, most of them naked to the waist, with their faces lit up by the fitful flames or the light of the moon. They would listen with rapt attention to the reading of the Scriptures or the words of the missionary, or would join in prayer, often led by one of themselves, with the utmost devoutness. But the most impressive part to us of these services was the hearty and reverent singing of the hymns in the native language to tunes well-known at home. These people have wonderful verbal memories. Hymn books[Pg 76] seemed quite superfluous. Many of them knew by heart most of the hymns in their collection, and it was quite evident that they much enjoyed singing them. After the men had dispersed to their own camp-fires came an hour or two’s talk round our fire before we sought the shelter of our tents and our mosquito nets. It was our practice to join in English evening prayers immediately after dinner. But often long before we had left our chairs round the fire our native servants, and oft-times many of the carriers, would spread their mats, or, failing mats, lay some grass on the ground, as near the fire as possible, with their bare feet towards it, and wrap themselves in blanket or cloth and go to sleep under the stars, grateful for the genial warmth of the fire in the cold night of a Central African winter, and for the protection it afforded them against the beasts of prey who were often prowling near at hand.

Thus we travelled through Northern Rhodesia, visiting the stations of our Central Africa Mission, calling upon the European Magistrates and Native Commissioners, meeting Native Head-men and Chiefs, and passing through numbers of small native villages, at all of which we received a hearty welcome. When we entered a village, or met native carriers on the path through the forest, we were greeted with the salutation “Mutende,” which, being interpreted, means “Peace.” The carriers would take their loads off their heads or shoulders, squat down on their haunches, clap their hands and give us their salutation. On leaving a village we were often accompanied for a mile or two by a running crowd[Pg 77] of natives, consisting for the most part of women with babies tied upon their backs and laughing children, who would shout and sing as they ran behind and before the bush-cars or bicycle. We soon got accustomed to the sight of these natives, nearly all of them naked to the waist, and many of the children altogether naked. Most of those whom we saw were smiling, happy-looking people, but that there was another side to the picture was often painfully apparent. In many villages the faces of nearly all the adults were marked with small-pox. We frequently met cripples and lepers. Sore eyes, caused by the smoke of the wood fires in the huts, for which there is no escape but the door, were much in evidence, and we heard sad stories of the high rate of mortality amongst these children of nature. Certain forms of disease were very prevalent, and laid a heavy toll upon the people. Signs of the superstition which shadowed their lives, and which is the main feature of their animistic religions, were abundant. In many a village the rude “spirit-hut,” with offerings of food spread in front of it was to be seen, and we heard many sad stories of the influence wielded by sorcerer and witch-doctor upon the lives of the people.

Everywhere we experienced the good-will and hospitality of the inhabitants. On arrival at our camping places a dozen women would appear with brooms made of the twigs of the trees and brushes to sweep the site of the camp clean before the tents were pitched. Others would hasten off to the nearest watering-place to get a supply of water in very large rough clay vessels for[Pg 78] ourselves and our men. We often pitched our camp in the middle of a village, and on these occasions many of our men slept in the huts of the villagers which had been willingly vacated to afford this accommodation. Mealies, manioc, and native flour would be purchased by the missionary in charge of the expedition for the men, and fowls and eggs for our own larder. Portions of Scripture and hymn books would be sold by the missionary, and there were many applications for them. Wherever we went the people were always most grateful for any recognition of their efforts to show us hospitality. Their desire for books for themselves and schools for their children was everywhere apparent; while they were always willing to come to the open-air services round the camp-fires. In the parts of Northern Rhodesia through which our journey lay there were but small indications of the advance of Mohammedanism from the north, of which we had heard much. In the territory recognised as the Society’s field of operations we have the country almost to ourselves. But in the northern part of this territory there were not wanting indications that the followers of the “false prophet” were already at work. In the northern part of Central Africa Islam is advancing like a flood, and it was clear that unless our Society is able effectively to occupy this territory, we shall before many years be face to face with the growing forces of Mohammedanism in its most debased form. The light which is brightening the sky in Central Africa has this background of threatened cloud and storm.

[Pg 79]

The Brightness of His Rising

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.—Isaiah.

After fifteen days’ travel by bush-car, on bicycle, and on foot we had traversed the 286 miles between the railway and Mbereshi. We crossed a strip of the Congo-Belge territory shortly after leaving the railway. At Sakania, the first station over the boundary, all our men were examined by the doctor, and everyone who had not had small-pox was vaccinated. We heard a gruesome story of a native postman who had been arrested a fortnight before, in whose wallet a half-eaten human foot had been discovered. A day or two later we crossed the Congo back into Northern Rhodesia again. In the interval many rivers had to be crossed, sometimes on tree trunks, but more often on the shoulders of our carriers. The forest was magnificent, one of its most striking features, perhaps, being the large number of giant ant-hills, some 30 feet high, generally around some great tree, and always covered with bush and grass, flowers and trees. Butterflies were to be seen in myriads, exhibiting all the colours of the rainbow. The[Pg 80] crossing of the Congo was a new experience. Descending the hill from the last Belgian Post Office, Kalunga, the post-master of which was a young Belgian Count, we crossed a bit of swampy ground on men’s shoulders and then reached the landing-place, where pandemonium was raging. Our crowd of carriers were there struggling for the two or three dug-out canoes in which to transport themselves and their loads across the river, which at this place—although it is thousands of miles from the sea—is considerably wider than the Thames at London Bridge. It swarms with hippopotami and crocodiles. But my most vivid recollection of the Congo is that one of my bearers managed to drop an iron box containing my papers into the river. Unfortunately it leaked and considerable damage resulted.

The village on the other side, in which we encamped, was typical of many another village we passed through on our journey. Just behind our tents were three spirit-huts; all around us were native houses built of straw and mud, and then came an enormous growth of kaffir-corn about twelve feet high. Surrounding this was forest, save where the river wound its tortuous course. In the clear light of the evening the somewhat sparse foliage stood out with great distinctness against the blue of the sky, each twig and leaf being defined as if seen through a stereoscope. The neighbourhood abounds with lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, rhinoceros, zebras and hyenas.

Half-way on our journey we camped for one night at Fort Rosebery, the Government centre for the district.[Pg 81] There we were the guests of the Native Commissioner, Mr. Denton Thompson, one of the small band of young Cambridge men who are now being employed by the Chartered Company as Magistrates and Native Commissioners. It is satisfactory to be able to state that almost without exception the Government officials we came across in Northern Rhodesia were men really interested in the welfare of the natives and anxious to do their duty by them. Here as elsewhere we received the kindest hospitality. Whenever we visited the Government station we were invariably entertained by the officials, to whom no trouble seemed too great which ministered to our comfort.

During the following week we passed through country infested with lions. At Mupeta we saw the skin of an enormous lion which had been killed the day before. During the previous week this lion had killed five natives. The people in the village laid a trap for him by tying a goat in an empty hut, on each side of the door of which they had dug a pit and had covered them over with laths smeared with mud. At the bottom of the pits they had fixed spears pointing upwards. The lion fell into one of them and the natives, who were on the watch, speared him from above. There were at least a dozen holes in his skin. In this neighbourhood twenty-two natives had been killed by lions in a fortnight. We passed through one village where on the previous day a man had been carried off by a lion, and a day or two before a woman and a child, who were laying fish traps in the stream, had been killed and carried away.

[Pg 82]

On our arrival at Mbereshi we received a very warm welcome. About five miles from the station some fifty boys met us and ran with us along the broad road, which has been made by Mr. Nutter, for some distance into the forest. The men in charge of the bush-cars raced at full speed. Groups of people met us nearer the station, all of whom joined the racing cavalcade. Loud peals of thunder kept reverberating overhead and drowned the reports of the guns which were fired to welcome us. We arrived just as the first drops of a terrific thunderstorm fell. Mr. Nutter’s house was soon crowded with natives, and there was endless shouting and hand-shaking. Never had the natives had such a time in Mbereshi. The whole village rose to the occasion and turned out to give the representatives of the L. M. S. a hearty welcome. On the following day we were the recipients of numerous presents of fowl, flour, goats and eggs.

>Native with Fish Trap

Photo by]      [Bernard Turner.
Native with Fish Trap.

Mbereshi is a delightful station with a magnificent view to the westward from the front of the Mission Houses, rolling parkland and forest, with the Mofwe Lagoon four miles away on the horizon. Along the shores of this lake and beyond there are about thirty villages with a large population, which has settled there as a result of the regulations to combat the sleeping-sickness. These have had the effect of driving the Natives from the east and south shores of Lake Mweru to the Mofwe villages. All the missionary activities of a flourishing Mission station are in operation. There are Sunday services, schools, classes for hearers and catechumens, and prayer meetings. The Christians from the head-station go out to the villages on Sundays to conduct services. Industrial work is being carried on under the able superintendence of Mr. Bernard Turner. The fame of the cabinet-making and carpentry of the boys trained by him is spread far and wide over Northern Rhodesia. Much of the furniture in the houses of the Government officials was manufactured here or at Kambole. Medical work, too, has been carried on at this station, and for several years a doctor was in residence. Leprosy is common. In the district there are 147 registered cases, and probably not less than 200 people are suffering from the disease. Our Mission work was commenced here in 1900, and the early days were times of great trial. One of the first missionaries, Mr. Purvis, died there in 1901, a fortnight after Mr. Nutter’s arrival, and his grave is to be seen under a tree near the Mission houses. In 1903 a missionary and a missionary’s wife died on two successive days. God buries his workmen, but carries on His work.

During our stay at Mbereshi we visited Kazembe, the paramount Chief of the district, who nominally rules over 30,000 people. His town is some six miles away from Mbereshi, through the thick forest and the long grass. He received us outside his hut in the centre of the kraal, in which are a hundred huts for his hundred wives. He was seated on the ground, gorgeously and grotesquely adorned with beads and skins and gaily coloured skirts, and wore four large bells, gaiters of beads, and numerous heavy anklets above his bare feet.

[Pg 84]

We sat down on low stools and Mr. Nutter helped us to talk to him. He showed us his treasures. One was a bloodthirsty-looking dagger which had belonged to ten chiefs before him, and had often been used to kill men. He produced a large number of charms, which he believes keep the lions away, and played tunes on a wooden drum cut by himself out of a solid tree trunk and decorated with brass-headed nails. He uses this to call his servants when he wants them. The heads of the drum-sticks are made of raw rubber. He sent for another and much larger drum made in the same fashion, and carried by two men on a pole, and also showed us two dulcimers made of wood and calabash. He gave us some raw green mealies (Indian corn) to eat. Kazembe smoked cigarettes, and when a member of the party offered him one he wanted to keep the silver cigarette-case. Then he took us to the Mission School where there were 186 black boys and girls, many of whom were quite naked, and most of the rest were dressed in pieces of string!

A day or two afterwards Kazembe came to pay us a return visit, accompanied by hundreds of his followers. He was seated on a platform suspended between two tree trunks and carried by thirty men, a great umbrella being held over his head. He himself beat his wooden drum to tell us he was coming, and a man carrying great yellow and black flags walked in front of him, and when he got off the platform he strutted about like a peacock.

Twenty years ago the Chief was a great warrior, and[Pg 85] often led his tribe to battle; but the coming of the British Government and of the missionaries has changed all that. For fifteen years not a shot has been fired in anger in his country, and the nearest British soldier or policeman is stationed more than a thousand miles away at Bulawayo. Such is the influence of the Pax Britannica in Northern Rhodesia!

On another day we crossed the picturesque Mbereshi river by the ferry in two dug-out canoes, passing through masses of cream and mauve water-lilies, visiting a considerable number of the Mofwe villages, inspecting the schools and receiving the greetings of the Chiefs and Headmen, with whom we exchanged gifts. The villages consist of one wide street, and are almost continuous. The people live on fish and tapioca. At the farthest point at the north end of the Lagoon was a village, on the site of an older moated village, where Livingstone stayed for some weeks when he first visited the district. We interviewed one or two of the old inhabitants, who well remembered seeing him and were able to describe him to us.

After a stay of ten days at Mbereshi we plunged into the forest again and journeyed to Chiengi on the north-east shore of Lake Mweru, which was discovered by Livingstone in the late sixties. On the way we paid a visit to Kashiba, a proposed site for the new station for the Chiengi district. This visit brought home to us very clearly some of the discomforts of Central African travel. After leaving our camp we had to traverse some half-mile of bad swamp, being carried through[Pg 86] several stretches of water on the shoulders of our bearers. I used a bicycle, but before we had gone very far a tremendous storm broke and flooded the path. We sought shelter in a hut in one of the villages. There was a fire inside, the smoke from which filled the hut and only partially escaped through the thatch and the door. Except for the glow of the fire and the flashes of lightning seen through the doorway it was perfectly dark. The village street gradually became a raging torrent. After the storm had ceased we pushed on through the long grass, six to ten feet high and laden with water, arching over the narrow winding path. We passed through a succession of villages, and as we neared the site of the proposed station the people, who knew why we were coming and who are most anxious to have a missionary residing amongst them, gave us an ovation. The site overlooks the rapids of the great Kalungwishi river, and a mile away a column of spray indicated the presence of a great waterfall. Another deluge of rain descended as we turned back. I hastened in front on the bicycle and reached the swamp as it was getting dark. The heavy rain had converted it into a lake. I rode along the path until the water was up to the pedals, then I dismounted and pushed the machine. Soon both wheels were under water. It grew deeper and deeper until finally, when the water became breast high, I was obliged to lift the machine and carry it over my head. Such are the joys of travel in Central Africa!

Next day we entered the sleeping-sickness area and[Pg 87] crossed the great Game Reserve to get our first sight of Lake Mweru. The day afterwards we arrived at Chiengi, after experiencing the delights of travelling on a narrow path along which for miles elephants had been walking after the rain. Cycling under such conditions is a somewhat trying experience.

The view of Lake Mweru from the verandah of the Native Commissioner’s house at Chiengi is of surpassing loveliness. To the south the lake stretches away as far as the eye can see, bordered on the left side by the forest and on the right by the mountains of the Belgian Congo 25 miles away. Opposite, a little to the south, is Lunza, the beautiful home of Mr. Dan Crawford, the famous author of “Thinking Black.” At one’s feet the water broke in tiny wavelets on the golden sand. Its music was in our ears throughout our stay. The Central African sunset from Chiengi was a sight to be remembered. The sun went down behind a bar of cloud. A purple light, which rapidly turned to green, lit up the western shores of the lake. After the sun had sunk below the horizon there was a perfect blaze of colour over a large portion of the sky, and purple, green and golden light stretched in broad bands above the surface of the lake.

From Chiengi we journeyed to Mpolokoso, the newest of the stations of the L. M. S. in Central Africa, where Dr. McFarlane has a small hospital consisting of eight native huts. Our stay here was curtailed owing to a very serious outbreak of small-pox, nearly half the inhabitants of the village suffering from this scourge.[Pg 88] Most of those who were not isolated in the segregation camp had already had the disease. Mpolokoso himself, the Chief of the village, succumbed to it a few days later. The Government officials were using every effort to stay the spread of the disease; all infected huts were at once destroyed by fire, and no one was allowed to enter or leave the village. The thin columns of smoke ascending from the burning huts into the cloudless sky told a pathetic tale. On arrival our carriers were put into custody to prevent them mixing with the people, and every precaution was taken for the safety of ourselves and our men. One felt great sympathy with Mr. Cullen Gouldsbury, the Native Commissioner, upon whom great responsibility rested. Mr. Gouldsbury is a man of many parts. He is in the service of the British South Africa Company’s Administration, and we had many indications of the sympathetic way in which he carried out his duties in looking after the welfare of the natives. Moreover, he is a poet of no mean order, a constant contributor of verse to the columns of the Bulawayo Chronicle, has written a delightful book of poems, is the joint author of “The Great Plateau of Northern Rhodesia,” the most authoritative work on the country through which we were travelling, and last year published a book entitled “An African Year.” He has always been a friend of the Mission, and it will be of interest to quote his testimony from his latest book, as to one of our missionaries and his wife, which is rendered all the more valuable by the fact that Mr. Gouldsbury is himself a Roman Catholic.

[Pg 89]

“My views upon missionaries and their work, from the general point of view, stand recorded elsewhere. I have no intention of recapitulating them here. Let me rather dwell upon the personal standpoint, as exemplified in the festive little couple who are our neighbours at —— six miles away.

“Let us call them Saunders—since that is not their name, and quite sufficiently unlike it—Joseph Saunders and Jane his wife.

“All missionaries in this country, whether Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of England, or White Fathers, are hard-working, whatever else they may be. Saunders himself is a man hung upon wires, each of which would seem charged with a full circuit of electricity. He and his wife and the sun rise together—a most energetic trio. Before breakfast he has conducted service, taught for an hour or two in the school, visited the workshops and checked the labourers about the station. During the rest of the day he is occupied with blacksmithery, joinery and the like—laid in slabs between other chunks of teaching. As likely as not in the evening he will go out after a buck, for Joseph Saunders is that rara avis among missionaries, a keen hunter; and after dinner if there are people in the house he will play ping-pong till all is blue. Not the ordinary ping-pong, you may be sure; that does not afford sufficient outlet for his exuberant spirits. Kapembwa ping-pong has mysterious rules of its own, such as that the players must bound upon the table[Pg 90] between the strokes, or lie flat on the floor between serving and receiving the return. It is a curious game. I can generally stay out two sets, after that Beryl (the author’s wife) and I sit on the sofa and watch Saunders and his wife play.

“As for Mrs. Saunders, she is one of the nicest little women in Africa. Demure, placid, and the very antithesis of Joseph—an adorable touch of Lancashire in her soft drawling speech, and an utter freedom from affectation or pose of any kind—she is the ideal next-door neighbour in Central Africa.

“Saunders sent over the junga for Beryl, so that she was able to cover the six miles in comparative comfort, while I paddled furiously behind upon an antediluvian bicycle. For the benefit of the uninitiated I should perhaps explain that a junga is anything which moves upon wheels. Originally it meant a bicycle, but in this particular instance it refers to a marvellous construction, balanced upon one wheel, which has been built by Saunders himself in the Kapembwa workshop out of some old packing cases and gas piping, and which has to my mind solved the question of locomotion in this country.”

We stayed for two nights at the Mission house at Mpolokoso with Dr. McFarlane. On account of the small*pox it was impossible to visit the schools or to meet with the people, though on the Sunday night some[Pg 91] half-dozen of the Mission staff, who do not live in the village, met us and presented us with a generous offering to the L. M. S. of £4 12s. 6d., made by the infant Church, which consisted of nine members only, a welcome token of the missionary spirit of the newest and smallest of the Central African Churches.

Travelling eastward from Mpolokoso we reached Kambole, near the south end of Lake Tanganyika, after three days’ journey. On our way we had our first view of this great lonely lake, eight miles away through the trees, probably from the very spot where Livingstone saw it for the first time. As we approached the station the people ran beside the bicycle and bush-car shouting their salutations and showing their joy in welcoming us in many other ways.

Kambole is the centre of a very widely-scattered district, and is in an isolated position. The nearest village is an hour and a-half’s walk away from the station-village, and some out-stations lie three or four days’ journey distant. It takes the missionaries five weeks’ continuous travelling to make a circuit of the district.

Many branches of missionary work are carried on at this centre. We attended crowded services in the Church, and meetings with the classes for hearers, catechumens, teachers and women. Some ninety-six youths, who were teachers at the schools in the outstations, at which there are 1,800 scholars, gathered at Kambole during our visit to attend the school for the training of teachers, which is held twice a year at the head station and lasts for about two months. Mr. Stewart[Pg 92] Wright, one of the Kambole missionaries, carries on an extensive out-patient work at the dispensary near the wattle-and-daub church. Mr. Ross, the other missionary, is engaged in manifold activities and has charge of the industrial department which was established and carried on so successfully by Mr. Bernard Turner, who is now at Mbereshi. The prolific mission garden is another indication of the practical value of Mr. Turner’s work. It is excellently irrigated by the construction of water-furrows. Palms, limes, bamboos, bananas, yams, pineapples, guavas, grenadiloes, coffee, wheat, tapioca, rice, rubber, and many vegetables and flowers flourish abundantly.

Half-an-hour’s walk from the Mission House, along an eight-foot road cut through the forest for a mile and a-half, at a total cost of £2 10s. 0d., takes one to the edge of the Tanganyika Plateau, where there is a sheer fall of from 400 to 500 feet. On the right is the river, which descends in a series of beautiful waterfalls, arched over with foliage and rock, to the level of the lake below. In front the lake stretches away into the distance extending for 400 miles northward. It is bordered on the left by the mountains of the Belgian Congo and on the right by the hills of German East Africa. At the foot of the precipice is a fertile valley, once thickly populated but now uninhabited, owing to the sleeping sickness, and through this beautiful valley flows the river Lovu.

At Kambole we came across a cripple, by name Kalolo, whose history affords an illustration of the sort of[Pg 93] missionary work which is being carried on in our Central Africa Mission.

Mr. Ross found Kalolo at Katwe, near Kambole, in 1906, destitute and emaciated, cowering over a few embers of fire, his feet a mass of putrid ulcers, which had not been washed or dressed for many a long day. He seemed to have no relations. Mr. Ross brought him to the station at Kambole, and on his arrival prepared lotions for him, and put him in charge of another youth, also a cripple, whom he told to wash Kalolo’s sores. Cripple No. 2, by name Nundo, was afraid and demurred. Mr. Ross took him into the house and read to him the story of the Good Samaritan, and told him to go and help Kalolo. He then consented, and assisted the missionary to attend to Kalolo for a long time. Mr. Ross had taught Nundo to repair boots and shoes, and this work he did for some time, but ultimately disappeared while Mr. Ross was on furlough. Mr. and Mrs. Ross did their best for Kalolo for five years, thus bearing witness to the people of the compassionate spirit of the Gospel they had come to teach. The Mission doctors when visiting the station treated Kalolo, but at last (in 1910) Dr. Wareham, after vainly endeavouring to cure his tedious ulcers by palliative measures, amputated both feet. When Kalolo returned to consciousness he was so depressed that he tried to destroy himself. He still bears a scar on his forehead caused by dashing his head upon the ground in his despair. He was, however, brought through that crisis, and when he had recovered he was sent back to Kambole station. A[Pg 94] wooden waggon was made in the joiner’s shop to enable him to get about. Then he was taught boot and shoe repairing, as the Europeans in the neighbourhood all sent their boots and shoes to Kambole to be repaired. Kalolo was highly delighted to have a means of making a living, and became a most useful man at that station. Later, when Mr. Ross wished to find employment for two blind men who came seeking work, he put them with Kalolo to grind wheat. They proved to be a most successful trio at this work, and in sawing up timber with the cross-cut saw, at which employment they were engaged during my visit. Kalolo came to Mr. Ross long ago to say that he wished to join the Enquirers’ Class, and was enrolled. He afterwards came to the missionary and offered to help to dress the repulsive sores of another unfortunate occupant of the little station hospital. Thus the light of the Gospel is spreading in Darkest Africa, and the Native torch-bearers are lifting it high, and passing it on from hand to hand until “the beauty and the glory of the Light” shall illumine the people that are now sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Accompanied by a large crowd of people, who escorted us on our way for two or three miles, we left Kambole, still travelling eastward, for Kafukula, a mission station near the south-eastern corner of Lake Tanganyika, staying for a night at a village to which some of the people on the lake shore had been moved in consequence of the sleeping-sickness. It was amongst these people that Livingstone stayed for some weeks when he first[Pg 95] visited the lake. The exterior of many of the huts was decorated with charms in the shape of snail shells. Nearly all the women of the village had holes, about the size of five-shilling pieces, in the lobes of their ears, in which large discs of wood, decorated with grotesque specimens of native art, were placed.

Kafukula Mission House, which cost £40

Photo by]      [Ernest H. Clark.
Kafukula Mission House, which cost £40.

On the following day, escorted by Mr. Clark, the Kafukula missionary, we reached that station, having descended some 2,000 feet from the edge of the Plateau, enjoying on the way magnificent views of the lake, near the shores of which we could see the ruins of the old Mission station at Niamkolo, which we were to visit a few days later. The Kafukula Mission house is a wattle-and-daub erection, and one of the most picturesque residences in Central Africa, as will be seen from the picture on the opposite page. It was built by Mr. Clark in 1910 at a total cost of £40. The view from the verandah can never be forgotten. In front the valley shelves down to the lake shore some 300 feet below. A small island, which is the property of the Society, nestles in the lake close to the bank, while beyond away to the north stretch the crystal waters in their mysterious loneliness. The eastern shore is visible for some distance, but the western is hidden by the trees in the foreground. This exquisite picture is framed by the forest-crowned hills on either side.

We had a great reception. As soon as we were seen descending the hill the drums began to beat, the bugle sounded and a gun was discharged. The people showed their gladness by smacking their mouths with their[Pg 96] hands while emitting a clear bell-like sound. At the bottom of the hill the village Headman, a Christian, and a Church member of many years’ standing, met us, and we walked into the village between rows of people who, as we passed along, closed in behind and formed a long procession. Here and there were groups of children singing hymns, some of them in the native language and some in English. We passed through the village and down the slope to the beautiful river Lunzua, a rushing torrent, over which a primitive bridge of tree-trunks and mud in the shape of a crescent moon leads to the path to the Mission house, which is situated on a hill on the other side and is reached by a flight of forty-five steps.

Kafukula is the village to which many of the people from Niamkolo on the lake shore were moved in consequence of the sleeping-sickness regulations. During our stay we paid a visit to Niamkolo and the lake. The following description, written on the evening of the day of our visit, will speak for itself:—

“We were up early—as is usual in Central Africa. After breakfast we started for Niamkolo and the lake shore. On Mr. Clark’s advice I donned my ‘ulendo’ dress—a large white sun-helmet, a khaki flannel bush-shirt, khaki shorts, and stout boots and stockings and leather leggings. The Mission family accompanied us, Mrs. Clark travelling in a machila; the children—Dennis and Marjorie Clark—were accommodated in a box slung on a pole, carried by two men. My colleague travelled[Pg 97] in a chair suspended between two poles and carried by relays of four men. Mr. Clark and I walked. It was a glorious morning. We stayed for a few moments at two villages to see the schools, or rather to see the teacher and his scholars, for school is held in a kind of stockade open to the sky, but partially shaded by a tree. The children sang lustily some verses of Mambwe hymns. Like all Central Africans they have wonderful memories, and soon learn the hymn-book of nearly one hundred hymns by heart.

“The walk was somewhat arduous, as much of it was through very long, thick, bamboo-like grass. Beyond the second village the land is uninhabited, and is forbidden ground owing to the sleeping-sickness regulations. We had to obtain special passes from the officials at Abercorn to permit us to make the trip. Mr. Clark had gone down with thirty men a week before to clear the path as much as possible and to burn the grass where necessary and practicable. It was an eight-mile walk to the former Mission station at Niamkolo, and nearly two miles further to the shore. The old station was a pathetic sight. The brick house in which the Stewart Wrights and the Clarks had lived was in ruins, as it had been left after the fire seven years ago. The walls were standing to the first floor, and inside trees, shrubs and grasses were growing in wild profusion. It was on Saturday evening, the 29th June, 1906, that the detached[Pg 98] kitchen took fire in a great gale of wind. The sparks were carried on to the thatch of the dwelling house, and in two hours the place was burnt out—very little being saved. The Clarks were there to see their home destroyed before their eyes. This was the first time Mrs. Clark had visited the spot since the conflagration.

“Then came the walk down the hill past the site of the house in which Mr. and Mrs. Hemans, the black missionaries from Jamaica, used to live. Then we crossed the plain, once a great garden and rice field, now a swamp, to reach the Church and the shore. I was carried across the swamp by two men holding hands, on which I sat with my arms round their necks. We reached the ruins of the Church about mid-day. It is picturesquely situated on a hill overlooking the south end of the lake, and the island belonging to the Society. Its appearance suggests, on a smaller scale, the ruins of Iona Cathedral far more than those of a Church in Central Africa. The walls and gable end and the roofless bell-tower are still standing—and what walls they are!—all of light stone fashioned in large slabs, and a yard thick. We had lunch in the bell-tower in some trepidation, as the over-hanging stones threatened to fall, and then we made our way down to the stony beach, where we lingered long. The scene was beautiful beyond description. The lake stretched away to the north into the ‘glow and[Pg 99] glory of the distance,’ where water and sky met on the horizon. The hills on each side were clothed with sylvan loveliness. The sky was reflected on the bosom of the water. White cloud was piled on white cloud with many a glimpse of deepest blue, and the glorious sunshine dominated the scene. It was a dream of beauty.

“The beach is covered with the loveliest shells of all descriptions. As we sat on the shore the wind blew the spray from the waves into our faces. The children and I paddled, and though, doubtless, there were crocodiles in the bulrushes to our left, we did not see any. After tea we turned our faces towards Kafukula. Long before we arrived at our destination the shadows of departing day crept on, and by the time we reached the villages it was quite dark. The sunset was worthy of the beauty of the day. For some moments the western sky looked like the very gate of the eternal. Then the fireflies flitted about in thousands. Their light was, however, from time to time obliterated, as it were, by flashes of summer lightning. Then the moon came out, nearly at her fullest, and lit up the landscape with clear, cool, placid light, and in the solemn beauty of the scene we forgot all about the lions and puff-adders which infest the country after dark.

“We had a great reception in the villages. The people all turned out and greeted us, and bade us farewell with ear-splitting salutations, following[Pg 100] us for two miles and keeping up an unearthly noise all the time. Then all was peaceful again as Mr. Clark and I reached Kafukula, and crossed the arched bridge over the rushing river, and climbed up the steps to the Mission House. From the verandah we could see the great lake ten miles away peacefully asleep in the moonlight. It has been a glorious day, which will live in the memory as long as life lasts.”

Evangelistic and educational work is carried on in Kafukula itself and in the district of which it is the centre. Services and classes for inquirers and catechumens are regularly held, and the missionary visits the whole district three times a year, conducting services, inspecting schools, interviewing inquirers and carrying on the usual missionary activities. There are seventy-nine teachers connected with the station whose wages range from £1 (one senior teacher alone gets this; the next gets 9s. 6d.), to 1s. 6d. a month, and these wages are only paid during the six or seven months that teaching in the schools is carried on. If the teacher is placed far from his home he gets in addition 1s. a month for food. There is also an evangelist, paid at the rate of 6s. a month, who visits and preaches in the villages. There are 1,300 scholars in thirty-two schools, and their education consists of reading, writing, very elementary arithmetic and the memorising of the Lord’s Prayer, the Commandments, the Beatitudes and other passages of Scripture and hymns. Valuable medical work is also carried on. Some of the teachers acquire a little knowledge of the[Pg 101] English language, which they are proud to show off on occasion. After our meeting with the teachers we received a letter in English, signed by some seventy of them and addressed to the Directors, from which the following extracts may be given as specimens of their English scholarship. The opening sentence is as follows:

“We are exceedingly glad to write you this little note to give you a hearty greeting to you all in this district, so that the old men, women childrens, boys and girls and whose tribes of this country are anxiously to send you a good compliments as they couldn’t reach there to see your faces or to gathered in the same Church.”

It goes on: “But we were very glad to receipt those representatives who came from their long journey as far as when they came from and we had a very good general service and Mr. Horlick was one who had held the service in our Church and it was interests wonderful to hear from him about his describes preaching he told us many things about jesus christ our saviour and how a man would follow the secularity of the kingdom of God.”

The letter concluded as follows: “We thanks you very much for sending us these Deputation to visit us and to hear many things from them how do you loved us. We haven’t more information to tell you about. farewell, Sirs with lots of salutation to all. We hope you are whole in good health we should like to hear if you are better.”

[Pg 102]

Mr. Horlick” requires some explanation. The natives were not familiar with the names of the strangers who had come amongst them, but seeing on the walls of the verandah a glazed sheet, which had arrived a few days before, advertising the merits of “Horlick’s Malted Milk,” they assumed that this “banner with a strange device” had some reference to their visitors. Hence the mistake.

From Kafukula we continued our journey eastward to Kawimbe, the oldest of the Society’s Mission stations in Central Africa. On the road, which was hilly and very beautiful, we were met by Dr. Wareham. At Abercorn, the Government centre for the northern part of Northern Rhodesia, we were hospitably entertained by the Magistrate, and then we continued our journey to Kawimbe, ten miles away, where another great welcome awaited us. Hundreds came out to meet us, many of the women and girls being decorated for the occasion with yellow and red flowers in their black woolly hair. They escorted us, laughing, singing and dancing all the way to the Mission station, which is 5,600 feet above the level of the sea, and picturesquely situated in a shallow basin. The native village is built on the hillside half-a-mile away, and is well laid out. Four miles off to the west is Fwambo, the original site of the first Mission station on the Tanganyika Plateau. A few miles to the east is the boundary between Northern Rhodesia and German East Africa. To the south-east is the fertile and populous Saise Valley, forty miles along which the sphere of the Society’s work abuts[Pg 103] upon the field of the great Livingstonia Mission of the Free Church of Scotland. It may be mentioned that the river Congo takes its rise a few miles south of the Mission station. We remained at Kawimbe for nearly three weeks. The Annual Meetings of the Central Africa District Committee were held there during our stay. The first week was spent in seeing the work, visiting parts of the district and interviewing the missionaries and preparing for the meetings of the District Committee. One day, under the guidance of Mr. Govan Robertson, we spent over twelve hours in visiting several of the villages of the district, and accomplished the latter part of the journey in the dark. We shall long remember the struggle in the dusk through the almost impenetrable undergrowth of a picturesque mountain pass, and afterwards through the long grass.

The three Sundays spent at Kawimbe were days of great interest. On the first two large numbers of people came in to meet us from the neighbouring villages. On the second a crowded harvest-thanksgiving service was held at which offerings in kind were contributed, including sheep, goats, fowl, eggs, nuts, maize, beans, flour, cloth, bracelets, cash, etc. On the third Sunday I visited one of the adjacent villages with Mr. Robertson. Communion Services for the Native Christians and the Missionaries were held. An interesting incident during our stay was the unveiling of a brass tablet in the Church commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the commencement of the work on the Plateau.

[Pg 104]

The work at Kawimbe is divided amongst the three missionaries by mutual arrangement. We had not the pleasure of meeting the senior missionary, Mr. Draper, who was away on furlough.

An early morning prayer meeting, a morning service and an afternoon class are held every Sunday. The number of Church members has been steadily increasing in later years and has now reached forty-seven. There are in addition fifty Catechumens (Christians under probation). The Church work, as far as the men are concerned, has been affected by the attraction of better pay offered elsewhere at the mines, in the stores and in German East Africa. Most, however, of the Christian men who have remained at Kawimbe have gone out regularly to preach, and some have conducted Bible classes in the villages in the neighbourhood. Besides the station classes and Sunday schools there have been during last year classes in fifty-three villages, attended by over 900 persons. There is a branch of the International Bible Reading Association. The Educational work makes steady progress, and schools are held in every village in the extensive district. At the close of 1912 there were 2,408 children on the school rolls, with an average attendance of 1,691. For the most part the school buildings are provided by the people themselves. Dr. Wareham carries on a much valued medical work, connected with which is a small hospital admirably adapted for its purpose.

Our visit to Kawimbe completed our tour of the Society’s Central Africa stations.

[Pg 105]

Northern Rhodesia can still be described as a land that is dark, but at the mission stations we visited, and at many a little outstation, the light of the Gospel is being kindled, and everywhere there is promise that the darkness is turning to dawning. The Church is in its infancy, but it is a growing Church; and, under the blessing of God, will in the days that are coming be His instrument in spreading the light where now the darkness reigns.

[Pg 106]


Tananarive—“A City Set on a Hill”

Earth has not anything to show more fair;
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning.


We travelled from Kawimbe in Northern Rhodesia to Madagascar by way of German East Africa and Zanzibar. Owing to unavoidable delays at the ports the journey occupied ten weeks. For the first three we travelled by chair and bicycle and on foot, northward to Tabora, along a road almost parallel with the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. On the first night we encamped at a village near the Kalambo river, the boundary between Northern Rhodesia and German East Africa, close to the wonderful Kalambo Falls. The river, which is deep and about thirty yards wide, plunges over a perpendicular wall of rock 900 feet high into an awful chasm in one sheer drop. The rocky walls on each side of the gorge are vertical. Looking westward one has a lovely view of Lake Tanganyika, vignetted[Pg 107] between cloudless blue sky and the purple-breasted mountains in which the gorge terminates, lying calm and peaceful in the “splendour shadowless and broad.”

A week-end was spent at Kasanga, now known as Bismarckburg, the administrative centre of the southern part of German East Africa, where we met some educated and courteous German officials, who have always done what they could to facilitate the missionary work of the Society in the small section of their territory in which it is being carried on, and gave us some interesting information with regard to native customs and superstitions. We learnt that the natives offer sacrifices of goats, sheep and fowls at the Kalambo Falls to propitiate the gods who are supposed to dwell in the chasm, and to bring them luck. They have a superstition that the land at the bottom of the Falls would belong to the posterity of any person who threw himself over. A woman recently sacrificed herself in this way, and the Chief gave the land at the foot of the Falls to her family. When twins are born it is the custom to do away with one of them. Children who cut the upper teeth first are killed. Cannibalism amongst the natives is by no means extinct, and as late as six years ago a European was killed and eaten. There are well authenticated recent cases of the widow of a Chief being buried alive in the grave of her dead husband. This part of German East Africa is certainly a land that is dark.

But I must not linger over the journey. Towards the end of June we reached Tabora, a large native town of some 30,000 inhabitants, whence we took train to[Pg 108] Dar-es-Salaam on the east coast of the Continent—the capital of the German colony. This place is beautifully situated on the shores of a land-locked harbour, and the streets are bordered with stately cocoanut palms and shady acacias. It was formerly the centre of the Arab slave trade, but, to-day, except for the tropical vegetation, it reminds one of a modern European town. A few hours on a steamer brought us to Zanzibar, one of the most fascinating places we visited in our travels. After a stay of some days there we embarked on the Messageries Maritimes boat for Tamatave, on the east coast of Madagascar. On the boat we joined our colleague in the Deputation work in Madagascar, Mr. Talbot Wilson, and with him were the three members of the Deputation from the Friends’ Foreign Mission Association, and one of the Deputation from the Paris Missionary Society. A voyage of seven days, calling on the way at ports on the north-west and northern coast of Madagascar, brought us to the Port of Tamatave, some 1,500 miles south of Zanzibar. From Tamatave we travelled by the splendidly engineered new French railway to Tananarive, a distance of 239 miles, passing on the way great lagoons near the sea coast, crossing picturesque rivers, traversing belts of beautiful forest, and rising by circular curves on the railway up the mountain side to the Central Plateau of Madagascar, some 4,000 feet above the level of the sea. As the train neared the capital it was joined by various missionaries who had come part way to meet us. At the terminus—a great modern station lit with arc lamps—nearly all[Pg 110] the missionaries at work in the city and around it, and thousands of Malagasy Native Christians in their straw hats and white lambas, met us, and gave us a great welcome.

Map of Madagascar, showing L. M. S. Stations

Map of Madagascar, showing L. M. S. Stations.
Madagascar is nearly 1,000 miles in length. Its area exceeds that of France, Belgium and Holland put together, but its population is less than one-fourteenth of that of these countries.

Tananarive is built upon a very narrow lofty ridge in the middle of far-spreading rice fields, bordered by ranges of hills and mountains. The ridge, which rises rapidly from the north, runs due south, and is crowned at its highest point by the Palace of the former kings and queens of the Island, which can be seen from a great distance around. The crest consists of a steeply-rising thoroughfare, from many points of which both horizons, east and west, can be seen. In the northern portion, known as Faravohitra, are several of the Society’s mission houses, and at the top is the Faravohitra Memorial Church. Continuing southward, and still rising for the greater part of the way, the British Consulate is passed on the right, and a short way beyond this on the left is the massive building, now known as the Palais de Justice, which was formerly the L. M. S. Theological College. After a slight depression the road winds steeply upwards, until, leaving the Palace of the Prime Minister on the left, and catching sight of the Memorial Church of Ampamarinana on the right, we arrive at the Queen’s Palace. The ridge then falls and rises again until its southern extremity is reached at Ambohipotsy, where stand another of the Memorial Churches and the present United Theological College of the L. M. S. and F. F. M. A., and some Mission houses. The view is one of great grandeur, especially looking to the west and to the[Pg 111] south-west towards the rugged ridges of the Ankaratra mountains. Looking northwards one sees the wooded slopes of Ambohimanga, the ancient capital of Imerina, like a crouching lion dark against the distant hills. On the west, at the foot of the northern part of the ridge, is the great Analakely market, which on Fridays is visited by thousands of people, and adjoining the market is our handsome Analakely Church, while beyond are the Residency, the railway station and the shops and offices of the modern French town. A little above this the spire of the Ambatonakanga Memorial Church and the two large school buildings adjoining can be seen standing at the junction of two main roads, where the traffic is at its busiest. One of the features of the landscape in Tananarive is the large number of Church spires and towers which can be seen on the plains below. It is said that there are some 150 of them in sight, by far the greater number of them being now, or formerly, Churches connected with the London Missionary Society.

We had come to Madagascar from Central Africa, where missionary work was in its earliest stages. In the “great African Island” the contrast was very striking. There is only one brick Church in the Central Africa Mission, the rest being wattle-and-daub. In Madagascar there are many hundreds of spacious well-built brick Churches, and some handsome stone ones. In Central Africa the Church is in its infancy, and comprises less than 150 Church members. In Madagascar there are over 30,000 Church members, and nearly five times as many other native adherents. The magnificent[Pg 112] results which have followed the work of the Society’s missionaries, under the blessing of God, are everywhere apparent. Wherever we went great crowds of Christian people gathered together to meet us as the representatives of the L. M. S. The Churches were nearly always full and often crowded to overflowing.

The congregations find great enjoyment in the singing of hymns, and very large numbers read their Bibles, while Sunday School work is splendidly organized. A considerable proportion of the Church members take part in Christian work. There are more than seven times as many ordained native agents at work in connection with the Society in Madagascar as in all the other Mission fields of the Society combined, except Polynesia. In addition, there are over 2,500 preachers, a number largely in excess of the number of preachers in all the other fields of the Society put together. Moreover, the number of Church members and of other native adherents in Madagascar connected with the Society is far more than those in any other Mission field, and the same remark applies to the number of Sunday Schools and Sunday School scholars.

One cannot fail to be much impressed by the great capacity of the Native leaders of the Christian Church in Madagascar. It would be difficult to find a more capable set of men in any Mission field. They are doing splendid work, and if this “apostolic succession” can be maintained, the Malagasy Church of the coming days will not lack for competent native leadership.

Moreover, as the work of our Missionaries in Madagascar[Pg 113] is examined, it becomes clear that the Mission is admirably organized. The men and women who have served the Society in Madagascar in the past have, under the guidance of God, laid the foundations of the work wisely and well. Their successors are worthy of their great heritage. It was a cause for rejoicing to find that the Native Church built upon those foundations is a strong and living Church—full of promise for the future. If the present Missionary work can be continued, and possibly slightly increased, for a few more years, there is every reason to hope that the Native Church will, in the not distant future, become a self-supporting, self-governing, as it is already, to a limited extent, a self-propagating Church, and strong enough to carry on its own work of evangelizing the whole island.

This growing Native Church is largely composed of Hovas, the most advanced tribe among the Malagasy, and is to a great extent concentrated in the Central Province of Imerina round Tananarive. This is not an accident. It is believed that the best way to bring about the coming of the Kingdom in the Island is to build up a strong Church in the centre. As that Church increases in numbers and in spiritual power it will be able to extend its own Missionary efforts, which are already not inconsiderable, and to dispense, as time goes on, with the help of the white Missionary to an ever-increasing degree, thus freeing him for any work that remains to be done in the outlying parts, and ultimately making it possible for him to withdraw[Pg 114] altogether—having finished his work. To weaken our efforts at the present time would be to delay and imperil this consummation. To maintain them will be the surest and most speedy way of hastening on the day when the Missionary force can be withdrawn and the Native Church left to bring each successive generation into the Kingdom.

There were many indications that the Native Church is itself steadily keeping in view this ideal. I may quote a paragraph from the translation of an Address presented to us by the Pastors of the Commune of Tananarive the day after our arrival:

“We want you to know that we earnestly desire our Churches to become independent, i.e. self-supporting. It is natural for young people to want to set up housekeeping for themselves, and it is the same with the Church. The near approach of the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Missionaries amongst us makes our hearts all aglow with the desire for the independence of our Churches. There is no day which we should more like to see than that on which we shall go with the last Missionary to the railway station. On that day we shall overflow with joy and sorrow, and our laughter will mingle with our tears.”

The inner circle of Churches in Imerina is associated with seven Churches in the capital known as “the Mother Churches.” Four of these are the Memorial Churches erected in the years following the re-opening[Pg 115] of the Mission in 1862, after the twenty-five years of the great persecution. The oldest and most famous is the Church of Ambatonakanga, which was opened in 1867. It is the Mother Church of all Madagascar. On its site the Bible was first printed in Malagasy in the thirties of the nineteenth century, here the first converts made their public profession of Christianity, and here stood one of the two first places of Christian worship in the Island. The simple chapel erected in 1831 was afterwards turned into a gaol during the persecution, and here many Christians suffered imprisonment. Adjoining it is the grave-yard, where rest the remains of several British missionaries who have given their lives to the service of Christ in Madagascar. This Church, which has long been self-supporting, has associated with it twenty-seven country Churches, and for some years has been under the pastoral care of the Rev. William Evans, one of the noble succession of Welshmen who have done so much to advance the coming of the Kingdom in the Island.

Mr. Evans has also charge of the Martyr Memorial Church of Ampamarinana—“the place of Hurling”—which is situated on the south-west of the ridge on which the city is built. To the west of the Church is the top of a rocky precipice, where in earlier years sorcerers were executed by being hurled down the cliff to the plain, 400 feet below. During the persecution, as Christians were supposed to possess some powerful charms enabling them to defy their persecutors, fourteen of the noble army of martyrs were in 1849 thus put to death. The[Pg 116] present Native pastor of the Church is Andriamifidy, who was at one time Foreign Secretary in the old Malagasy Government, and from this Church several of the present leading Native Pastors have come. Associated with it in the district to the west of the city are twenty-seven country Churches.

The third Martyr Memorial Church is that of Ambohipotsy, situated in a commanding position at the extreme south of the city ridge with a magnificent view on all sides. This beautiful stone building was erected to commemorate the first Christian martyrdom—that of the brave Christian woman Rasalama, who was speared to death near the spot in 1837, in a place where other Christians subsequently met their doom in like fashion. The work of this Church and district, comprising some forty-six country outstations to the south of the city, is now superintended by Mrs. Thorne, who is bravely and successfully carrying on the work of her late husband.

The fourth Memorial Church is that of Faravohitra, erected on the northern ridge of the capital by the contributions of the children of Great Britain to commemorate the burning alive of four martyrs in 1849. The work at Faravohitra and in its extensive district to the north, comprising fifty country Churches, is under the charge of the Rev. Robert Griffith, another of the Welsh missionaries who have devoted themselves to the service of Christ in Madagascar.

Not far from Ambatonakanga, at the western foot of the ridge, is the spacious Church of Amparibe, built of[Pg 117] brick and stone. This is the third Church on the same site. The work there and amongst the twenty-four country Churches lying to the north-west of the capital, has during the last two years been under the care of the Rev. F. W. Dennis.

The sixth Mother Church is that of Analakely, a short distance to the north of Ambatonakanga, and adjoining the great market place. This Church also is the third building erected on the present site. It was opened in 1895, a few months before the French occupation, the ex-Queen Ranavalona III. and her Court being present on the occasion. For thirty years the veteran Missionary, Dr. Sibree, has been the missionary in charge, and has superintended the work there and at the fourteen country churches connected with it.

The remaining Mother Church is that of Isotry, another large building in the populous western district of the capital. It is only recently that the Church at Isotry has been reckoned as one of the Mother Churches of the capital. Mr. Stowell Ashwell has had charge of the work there for some years.

The Institutional work of the Imerina Mission is centred in Tananarive. Of these Institutions the most important is the United Theological College, where pastors and evangelists for the work of the Mission receive their training. For upwards of forty years the L. M. S. Theological College in Tananarive has rendered great service by preparing hundreds of young men for their work as evangelists and pastors. After the French conquest the conspicuous College building on the[Pg 118] northern part of the ridge was appropriated by the French Government and, as already mentioned, converted into Law Courts. The work of the College was removed to a smaller building a little further to the north, adjoining the Faravohitra Church. In 1910 a union in Theological training was entered into with the F. F. M. A., and the College was removed to a large house at Ambohipotsy and became a residential Institution. A notable feature of the present work is the training of the students’ wives.

A number of cottages, named after Missionary Tutors of past days, have been erected on land adjoining the College, and this department has been superintended with great energy and devotion by Mrs. Sharman, the wife of the present Principal, the Rev. James Sharman. The College course extends over four years. Upon the staff are missionaries of both Societies and four competent Native teachers, Pastors Rabary, Rabetageka, Rakotovao, and Ravelo. The College at present contains thirty-two students, and is doing a great work in making more adequate provision for a well-trained and consecrated native ministry. In a very true sense the College is the key to the missionary situation in Imerina. If the Native Church is to maintain and extend its position, it is necessary that a constant succession of well-educated and devoted Christian men should go forth from the College to act as pastors of the Churches and to be the leaders of the people in all their Christian activities.

Reference has already been made to the two conspicuous[Pg 119] buildings in the centre of the city, adjoining the Ambatonakanga Memorial Church, in which are carried on the Boys’ High School and a Girls’ School. After the French occupation, Mr. Sharman started the Boys’ School in 1897. It grew rapidly, and the present building was erected and opened in 1901 by Governor-General Galieni, when there were 500 pupils on the books. This number increased to 720, but was subsequently reduced to 530 owing to Government regulations. It is at present conducted by our Missionary, M. Henri Noyer, with the help of a staff of Malagasy Assistant Masters. The average attendance at the School is 91 per cent. of the number upon the books. In addition to the ordinary curriculum of a school of this character, which directs great attention to the French language, there are industrial departments for carpentry, woodwork, and metal work in which a high standard of efficiency is reached.

Adjoining the Boys’ High School is the Girls’ School, founded by Dr. T. T. Matthews, where for many years some of the brightest girls from the Churches of Imerina have received a good education. The Missionary in charge of it is Miss Ysabel Du Commun, who, however, at the time of our visit, was absent on furlough, Miss Craven taking her place as Superintendent. The Government regulations only allow 230 girls in the School, although there is ample accommodation for a much larger number, and there are many girls now waiting admission when there are vacancies. There are seven classes, with three men and four women teachers and two sewing mistresses. In addition to the ordinary[Pg 120] curriculum for such a School, training is given in hygiene, cookery, dressmaking and fancy work.

In another part of the town, at Andohalo, stands the Girls’ Central School, where for upwards of forty years a fine educational work has been carried on. There are now 400 girls on the books, and many more are waiting for admission. The average attendance is 380. Amongst the special subjects taught in the School are straw-plaiting, hatmaking, lacemaking, first-aid and ambulance work. The staff consists of Miss Elsie Sibree, the devoted head-mistress, two masters and eight women teachers. The French Government regulations do not at present admit of the employment of women teachers, except those who were appointed before the present rules came into force. The present buildings, which were erected twenty years ago, comprise a large and lofty central hall, with a spacious gallery and six class-rooms. The sight of the crowded school at morning prayers is a most impressive one. The girls, bare-footed, dressed in their white lambas, with “shining morning face,” and with that happy, placid expression, which is so characteristic of the Christian girls and women of Madagascar, file into the central hall and take their places with order and reverence and join with heartiness and devotion in the singing and in the prayers. It is a very rare thing for more than one or two to be late. The tone of the school is of the highest, and the head-mistress always strives, by prayer-meetings for the staff and in many other ways, to impress the teachers with the missionary character of their work.

Malagasy Girls at Miss Craven’s Girls’ Home

Malagasy Girls at Miss Craven’s Girls’ Home.

[Pg 121]

Another branch of the work amongst girls is the Girls’ Home, successfully carried on by Miss Craven for twenty years. Here is a home provided for the daughters of evangelists and pastors and other Christian workers who come to Tananarive for their education. The girls attend the Central School and live in Miss Craven’s house, where they are taught domestic duties, lacemaking, embroidery, and other needlework at very small expense to the Society. Thirty girls are in residence, and there are always more waiting for admission. Miss Craven describes the work being carried on as follows:

“Now for a picture of the Home itself. There are one sitting and two bed rooms, all large and airy; the former has tables and benches, but, except for meals and preparation, the matted floor is just as much used. Books and small possessions are kept in covered baskets, one to each girl, and their clothes are in a cupboard or tin boxes. The girls sleep on mattresses laid on the floor, besides which there is no other furniture in the dormitories. They bring their own clothes, plates, spoons, mattresses and coverings, but as there is more ventilation than in their rooms at home, I keep a supply of blankets to lend to them when the nights are cold; an outside building provides kitchen, rice-house, bath-house, etc.

“The days’ occupations vary little; the girls are up at daylight, say 5.30 in the summer and 6.0 in winter, and, after a wash in the bath-house, come back to their household duties, sweeping[Pg 122] and dusting their own rooms and some of ours, and preparing their breakfast of rice and milk, which is ready before seven o’clock. After that all the household assembles for morning prayers, and then there is the bustle of final preparation for school before they form in line and march off, two by two, looking a clean, tidy, and intelligent family, of which we may well feel proud. They all go to the Girls’ Central School, under the care of Miss Sibree, school hours being from 8 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. One hour every afternoon is given to school preparation, the remainder of the time being filled up with different kinds of needlework, while the little ones divide their time between work and play. One afternoon most of them are away at the C. E. weekly meeting at Analakely. The evening meal is ready at 6.30, we have prayers at 7 o’clock, and then they say ‘good-night,’ and troop off to bed, a few of the elder ones staying a little longer to do more lessons, or finish some piece of needlework. Saturday brings a change of work, for most of the girls go to do their weekly washing, not getting home until about 3 p.m. After dinner they are busy until bedtime ironing their clothes and getting ready for Sunday.

“At different times they have attended Faravohitra, Ampamarinana, Ambohipotsy, and Analakely Churches, and the Sunday Schools connected with them. Sunday evening is spent with me singing hymns, discussing Sunday School lessons and sermons,[Pg 123] and other matters of interest. It is a happy time, and one to which we all look forward. The Sunday School has a great attraction for them, especially the yearly examination, for which they prepare several weeks beforehand, and from which they carry off some of the best prizes.

“Quarrels and troubles have not been frequent, and during the last two or three years have been increasingly rare. Severe discipline has been needed in very few cases, one being that of a girl who was sent away for continuing a clandestine correspondence; she has been carefully watched at home, and is turning out well. About three years ago we were very grieved when one, who had been with us for many years, took the law into her own hands and ran away to be married. We do not, however, give up hope that she will become a Christian woman and train her children well. The health of the girls has always been a great responsibility, and malarial fever has been very much more frequent during the latter half of the decade. We have not lost any by death, except one who died at home during holidays. We generally find that the girls improve in health while under our care, and we do not often need to call for the help of a doctor. Occasionally we have to regret that girls are removed by their parents while still young, but as a rule they remain with us until about to be married, or get married soon after leaving.

“As to the spiritual results, we may speak with[Pg 124] some confidence. Three have joined the Church, and one has been baptised on profession of faith while still in the Home, and others have become Church members soon after marriage. The Spirit of Christ is clearly working in the hearts and lives of many who are still with us. Of one dear girl, who died very happily after the birth of her first child, her husband said to me: ‘I rejoice over the months we have lived together; she has done me good.’”

Another department of Institutional work is the L. M. S. Printing Press in Tananarive, which stands for much more than its name implies. It is true that a prosperous business in printing and book-binding is carried on, seventy men being constantly employed. But the Printing Press is a kind of “Universal Provider,” and anything, from a harmonium to a needle, can be purchased there. Under the able superintendence of Mr. Ashwell, a considerable annual profit is made. The magnitude of its operations is surprising. In the ten years ending in 1910, 1,833,243 books and pamphlets were issued from the office, including over 40,000 Bibles, 60,000 New Testaments (printed in England), nearly 350,000 lesson books, over 131,000 hymn books, and a large number of commentaries and other religious works.

No sketch of the Institutional work in Tananarive would be complete without a reference to the Medical Mission, which for many years has been carried on jointly by the F. F. M. A. and the L. M. S., the doctor being a missionary of the former Society. For the last sixteen[Pg 125] years Dr. Moss has been the medical missionary in charge, and in his own person illustrates the close union between the two Societies in this work. He has been a missionary of the F. F. M. A., and is the son of an L. M. S. missionary, and his wife, a trained nurse, is the daughter of an L. M. S. missionary, the saintly Joseph Pearse. No department of missionary work in the capital suffered more from the advent of the French than the Medical Mission. A fine commodious hospital, opened in 1891 by the ex-Queen, was appropriated by the French Government in 1896, and since then the hospital work has been on a much smaller scale, and in fact there was no hospital at all between 1897 and 1903, although a large out-patient work was carried on. In the latter year a small Cottage Hospital was erected, round which the work has since centred under the devoted superintendence of Dr. and Mrs. Moss.

In barest outline some account has been given of the Institutional work of the Imerina Mission, which is centred in Tananarive. In this work the European missionary and the Native agent, working together side by side and in closest co-operation, are contributing to the building up of a strong Native Church, which in the future is to be God’s instrument in spreading the light into the dark places of the Island. This Church is as “a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.”

[Pg 126]

Imerina Country Districts—“Fields White Unto Harvest”

Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain;
Far back, through creeks, and inlets making,
Comes, silent, flooding in the main.


It was not until 1870 that the L. M. S. established its first country station in Madagascar. In that year Dr. Sibree founded a residential station at Ambohimanga, the ancient capital of the Hovas, and one of the three towns in Madagascar which, until the French occupation, no European was permitted to enter. Ambohimanga lies about eleven miles north of Tananarive, whence its wooded heights can be clearly seen.

At the top of the hill is the old royal palace, built for King Andrianampoinimerina, who reigned from 1788 to 1810, and was the first king who had any claim to be regarded as monarch of the whole Island. He was the father of Radama I., who moved the capital to Tananarive. After its removal the old royal palace[Pg 127] was visited by the sovereign at least once a year. The building is at all sorts of levels, and there are great trees growing in most unexpected places. When the walls which supported the wooden palace were last plastered the white of eggs was used to make the plaster, so as to give it a glazed appearance. It is said that millions of eggs were used in the process. At the very top of the hill are some rocks, from which there is a most magnificent view nearly all round the horizon. On these rocks superstitious practices are still observed, indications of which were very apparent to us at the time of our visit. To the north is a precipice, and at its foot rice fields stretch away into the distance to the hills and mountains which bound the horizon. The present Native Governor of the town is an old L. M. S. boy from Betsileo, trained by Mr. Rowlands. He showed to us with great pride a silver watch which his former missionary had given to him.

Ambohimanga is reached by pousse-pousse (rickshaw), the journey occupying two hours. Its first three missionaries were Dr. Sibree, Mr. Wills, and Mr. Peill, all of whom have had the honour of giving children to the Mission field in Madagascar and in other parts of the world. The Ambohimanga Mission house must be the centre of happy memories for missionaries now at work in China, India, and Samoa. The contribution which the Madagascar missionaries have made to the Society’s staff, especially in China, is remarkable. Dr. Sibree has given a daughter to the Medical Mission at Hong Kong, and a son to the South Sea Mission, in[Pg 128] addition to two daughters to the Madagascar Mission. Mr. Wills was the father of a medical missionary carrying on work in Central China, and another son is at work in India. Mr. Peill has given four sons to the North China Mission, three of them being doctors. A son of Mr. Peake’s is also a medical missionary in North China. Mr. Rowlands has two sons and a daughter missionaries in China. A daughter of Mr. Pearse is the wife of a medical missionary in North China; and a second daughter is the wife of a medical missionary in Madagascar. A son of Mr. Huckett was for a short time a medical missionary in India. Three children of Mr. George Cousins have become missionaries in China. And so the Apostolic succession is continued.

Since Mr. Peill left Ambohimanga the Mission there has been in charge of two Welshmen, Mr. Griffith, and the present missionary, Mr. Owen Jones, thus carrying on the tradition that Madagascar is pre-eminently the Mission Field of the Welsh Churches.

On the occasion of the visit of the Deputation a great gathering was held in the largest of the three L. M. S. Churches at Ambohimanga, all outside the city walls, on account of the old law, above referred to, excluding Europeans from the town itself. Thirty-five Churches were represented in the crowded congregation from the Ambohimanga district which gathered together to meet us. There were all the indications of a strong and growing Christian work, which was further evidenced by the efficient school work, and the work amongst[Pg 129] women which is being carried on, and by the long and earnest discussion we had with the native pastors and preachers.

Twelve miles east of the capital is the country station of Isoavina, where for nearly forty years the Rev. P. G. Peake carried on his vigorous and varied missionary labours. The Mission house is beautifully situated in the hills amidst fine trees planted by Mr. Peake in a beautiful garden, intersected by two perennial streams of water. There are school buildings, workshops, and a row of cottages bearing testimony to the work of this earnest missionary. He established an industrial school at the station and taught carpentry, iron-work, tinsmith’s work, and other industrial pursuits. The industrial department was, however, suppressed by the French officials in 1896, but was afterwards resumed on a smaller scale in 1907. But perhaps the missionary activity by which Mr. Peake will be best remembered is the founding of the leper settlement at Imanankavaly, an hour’s walk away from Isoavina, which has since grown to such large proportions under the French Government. Mr. Peake has himself told the story of the genesis of this great work in the “Ten Years’ Review.”

In 1900 the French authorities purchased the Leper Settlement, and have since carried on and developed the work there to an amazing extent. There are now 1,500 lepers in residence. The Settlement is a large village, consisting for the most part of rows of detached huts in which the lepers live, and is a model of cleanliness[Pg 130] and order. I visited the Institution and was greatly impressed with what I saw. Nearly all the inmates bear the awful marks of leprosy upon them. Many have bandages round their feet, legs and arms. Many have lost feet and hands and are horribly mutilated or deformed. Many have terribly distorted faces. Some hid themselves away as they saw visitors approaching. Others lay in the sunshine huddled up in dark blankets. Many, however, were able to work, and were engaged in building new huts or in agricultural pursuits. There were men and women, boys and girls, a most pathetic multitude. Yet smiling faces were quite common as the lepers saluted us as we passed along between the rows of cottages. It was Saturday, the weekly cleaning day, and all the meagre furniture, pots and pans, were turned out of doors. The staple article of food is rice, of which over five tons a week are consumed. Twice a week meat is supplied, and the Government also provide soap, candles and salt. The whole Institution is a wonderful example of method and organization. But the most remarkable fact in connection with the work is that it is entirely directed by a woman of sixty-five years of age, Mlle. Sapino. This lady came to Madagascar some eighteen years ago as a missionary of the Paris Missionary Society. On severing her connection with that Society she took up this work amongst the lepers. She controls the whole of the Institution down to the minutest details. She superintends the buildings. She buys all the stores, and I saw her weighing out the rice for distribution to the Lepers. She examines every[Pg 131] case as it comes in, and puts all the particulars down on a chart. She personally dresses the wounds in the worst cases, and was engaged in doing this Christ-like work when we arrived. For all her services she receives the munificent stipend of £80 per annum and a house. Out of this at the present time she is keeping some forty untainted children of lepers born in the Institution. The Government will not make her any grant because these children are not lepers. Some months ago she sold her drawing-room furniture to get money to keep the children. She is a remarkable-looking woman—tall, with prominent features and iron grey hair. She reminded me more than any other woman I ever saw of the pictures of George Eliot. She told me that the Government respected her, but did not love her. They know she is indispensable. A week or two previous to my visit they sent her an unsatisfactory Frenchman to be an assistant. She objected and resigned. In a few hours a high official’s wife came out to tell her that the Government would do anything she asked with regard to the Frenchman. She demanded his immediate removal, and in twenty-four hours he was gone. She has no European assistant, but seven untainted Malagasy, including a doctor. All the rest of the work is done by lepers—except that the Government have sent recently five Malagasy soldiers as a guard. I was told that Mademoiselle always carries a loaded revolver about with her for fear of trouble. At the time of my visit she had no servant in her house, and did all her own cooking and housework. She is[Pg 132] one of the most remarkable women I have ever met, and carries on a wonderful piece of work. She is a strong Protestant. There is a school and a Protestant and Catholic Church in the Institution. The cost is very small—less than 35s. per inmate per annum, which seems almost incredible.

But to return to Isoavina. During our visit a great united meeting of the Isan-Efa-Bolana (four-monthly meeting) for the whole district was held in the Church. The schools were inspected and interviews held with the leading Christian workers. At this place, as at nearly every other place in Madagascar which we visited, presentations were made to us by the Native Christians in order to express their gratitude to the Society for sending us to visit them and their pleasure at seeing us. At various places we were the recipients of numberless turkeys, fowls and eggs. Offerings of other kinds of food were made, and we received more permanent reminders of our visit in the shape of lambas, walking sticks, lace, rafia work, embroideries, scarf pins, serviette rings, photographs, hats, addresses, etc. In their joy at seeing representatives of the Society in their midst it seemed that our friends could not do enough to express their appreciation and gratitude.

Some half-hour’s walk from Isoavina, the “Rest-House,” or Sanatorium belonging to the Mission is situated at Ambatovory in the midst of lovely country commanding fine views. It is here that many of the Imerina missionaries spend their hard-earned holidays.

[Pg 133]

During my stay at Isoavina I paid a surprise Sunday morning visit to a small outstation called Fararina. Every precaution was taken to conceal the fact that a visit was going to be made, so that the visitor might have an opportunity of seeing a country outstation under normal conditions. The Church was a small and primitive wattle-and-daub building, with a brick pulpit, covered with the commonest and most gaudy wallpaper. The earth floor was covered with matting. I was delighted to find that the chapel was practically full. Afterwards a Communion Service was held. The “bread” was nearly black. It was made of manioc root and coarse black sugar almost like treacle. The “wine” was pine-apple juice. The cups and plates were tin painted red. Although the visit was a complete surprise, the people would not let me go without making the customary gifts. As I descended the steep hill after the service some of the Church members overtook me bringing a fowl, and as I reached the foot others came running after me with eggs.

Ten miles north-west of Tananarive is Ambohidratrimo, where the late Mr. Baron lived for two years in the seventies. In 1901 Ambohidratrimo was re-opened as a residential station under the care of the Rev. F. W. Dennis, and it is now in charge of the Rev. H. A. Ridgwell. In past days it was the capital of one of the four small kingdoms into which the present province of Imerina was divided, and it still retains marks of its former importance. At the top of a lofty hill behind the Mission house the royal village once stood, where[Pg 134] a century ago the Malagasy king ruled over his petty kingdom. There are still several royal tombs to be seen. Towards three-quarters of the horizon a great plain stretches out into the distance. In the middle of it towards the south-east amidst the rice-fields is Tananarive. All around are mountains. The country looked like a gigantic relief map, and the view must be similar to that to be seen from an aeroplane.

Ambohidratrimo is reached by a two hours’ ride in a pousse-pousse through rice fields and pine-apple gardens. In passing along the road I could see the women very busy in the rice fields, transplanting the young rice and working in water half up their legs. Pine-apples are very plentiful in the district, and three large ones can be bought for a penny. During our visit we attended two great meetings, one in the Mission Church consisting only of men, representing some sixty-eight Churches in the district, while the other, for women only, was held at an outstation in a large village Church with very few seats. The Church was crowded, most of the women being seated on the floor looking very clean, happy and bright in their white lambas. Many of them had walked for several hours to attend the meeting. The wife of the evangelist made an admirable president, and several women took part in the meeting.

Fourteen miles north-west of Ambohidratrimo is Vangaina, which became the residence of a missionary in 1903. It is the centre of fifty outstations, which are superintended by the Vangaina missionary, the Rev. Thomas Tester. The beautifully situated Mission[Pg 135] house has been built on the hillside some distance off the main motor-car road from Tananarive to the Port of Majunga on the north-west coast. At the station there is a Church and a school. A united meeting for the Churches of the district was held at the outstation, Ampanotokana, at which forty-four Churches were represented, crowding the building to its utmost capacity.

Our journeys to these country stations afforded many opportunities of seeing various sides of native life. On the way to Vangaina we visited the large native market at Mahitsy on market day. We went up and down between the stalls in the market place. The vendors must have numbered many hundreds, and the people attending the market some thousands from all over the countryside. Amongst the articles for sale were straw hats and mats, spades and hatchets, great heaps of fine pineapples, sugar cane, pigs, cattle, rice, meat, great piles of a small kind of dried fish, salt, tinware, calico, black soap (like the soap our missionary, Mr. Cameron, taught the natives to make eighty years ago), buttons, biscuits, ducks, vegetables—all in the greatest profusion. Perhaps the most interesting feature was the space set apart for the blacksmiths, who were repairing spades, tinware, cart-wheels, etc., with the help of primitive forges. The blast was created by two upright cylinders of wood with pipes from the bottom of them to convey the wind to the charcoal fire. The air was driven into these pipes by means of plates of wood, which were forced up and down the[Pg 136] cylinders by poles attached to the upper surface and worked by men’s hands. They formed very effective bellows.

Vangaina itself is a small village with two moats, each about twenty feet deep, in which banana trees were growing. An interesting feature in the village is a great tree in which I saw three enormous nests of the crested-umber built in the forks of the tree and made of hay, straw, grass, and twigs, each one being about six feet long by six feet wide. The bird is about the size of the domestic fowl with longer wings, and is called the Taketra. It is a bird of ill-omen, and in the old days when the ex-Queen used to come out to Ambohimanga she would turn back again to Tananarive if one of these birds crossed her path. The old Malagasy believe that these birds bring leprosy.

The most distant country station in Imerina from Tananarive is that of Anjozorobe, between sixty and seventy miles north-east of the Capital. On the way one passes through the town of Ambohitrolomahitsy, for some years the residential station for the district, at which the late Rev. Percy Milledge, and after him the Rev. W. Kendal Gale, carried on work. We attended three large meetings at this place. The journey thither to Anjozorobe led us over a range of mountains, one of which bears a Malagasy name meaning “The mountain which cannot be climbed.” Anjozorobe, which is beautifully situated, became a residential station in 1910, when Mr. Gale moved there from Ambohitrolomahitsy. He and his family live in a newly-erected Mission house[Pg 137] bearing a Malagasy name, which being interpreted means “The house of sweet breezes,” now quite familiar to readers of the Society’s magazines. His missionary colleague, Mrs. Milledge, formerly Miss May Sibree, lives some distance away in the centre of the native village in a Malagasy house. Anjozorobe is the centre of a very extensive district, in which there are forty large outstations, and includes the northern part of the Bezanozano country, the southern portion of which is connected with the Isoavina Station. It was not my privilege to visit the Bezanozano, but one of my colleagues, Mr. Talbot Wilson, spent nine days in a tour in this country.

During our visit to Anjozorobe a large united meeting for the whole district was held at the Church. Visits were also paid to some of the nearer outstations. The schools were inspected, and a gathering held for the native workers. Much of Mr. Gale’s time is spent away from home, his itinerating work through a widespread district necessitating his absence for many days at a time. Mrs. Milledge, too, spends much of her life travelling between outstations, living in native houses, and holding classes for women and girls in both the Anjozorobe and Ambohitrolomahitsy districts.

The journey back to the capital took us through Ankazandandy and Ambohibao, where crowded and enthusiastic meetings were held.

By the work of our missionaries at these country stations, and of hundreds of native pastors and preachers, the light is being spread through the central province[Pg 138] of Imerina. Before the French occupation the L. M. S. work was much more extensive than it is at present. It became necessary to hand over some of the work to the Paris Missionary Society, whose missionaries, with those of the F. F. M. A. and the S. P. G. and their native workers, have now for many years past been engaged in passing on the light from place to place. The Church is steadily growing and extending into the dark places beyond.

[Pg 139]

Betsileo—“The Sombre Fringes of the Night”

The glad Dawn sets his fires upon the hills,
Then floods the valley with his golden light,
And, triumphing o’er all the hosts of night,
The waiting world with new-born rapture fills.

L. C. Moulton.

The scene now changes to the province of Betsileo, in the south of the Island, where the work is carried on amongst a backward people, whose territory abuts upon the districts occupied by tribes more benighted still—the Sakalava, the Bara, and the Tanala.

Until quite recently the work in Betsileo was separated from the work in Imerina by a journey in a filanjana (palanquin) occupying from eight to ten days. Now the 264 miles which separate Tananarive from Fianarantsoa are covered in two days in comfortable automobiles, along a magnificent road which has been constructed by the French. For almost the whole of the distance the country is very hilly, the road rising to 4,500 feet above the sea level, and being carried over mountains in a continuous series of curves with easy gradients.

We were travelling in the middle of the Malagasy winter. The mornings were cold and misty, but before long the sun broke out and we enjoyed a changing[Pg 140] panorama of hill and mountain, waterfall and river, and far-spreading distant views. Peaks sixty miles away appeared to be quite near. Time after time the road traversed amphitheatres in the mountains, and I was often reminded of stretches of country in the province of Hunan in Central China.

Fianarantsoa is the capital of the Betsileo province, the inhabitants of which are a curly-haired, dark-skinned people of a somewhat low type, except in the large towns where most of the population is Hova. Work is also carried on at outstations amongst the Bara and Tanala tribes in the south. The L. M. S. first sent resident missionaries to settle in Betsileo in 1870, and the Paris Missionary Society and the Norwegian Society are also at work there.

Fianarantsoa is picturesquely situated in a mountainous region. It stands considerably higher than the top of Snowdon, and commands a wonderful view on all sides—of mountains and moorland, forest and river in infinite variety. During our visit, in the early mornings great seas of mist lay in the valleys, but later in the day the whole landscape was flooded with brilliant sunshine.

The work in the Capital itself and at seventy-four outstations is in charge of Mr. Huckett and Mr. Johnson, who have borne the burden and heat of the day for upwards of thirty years, while Miss Hare has been in charge of the Girls’ School for the last seventeen years. The Mission Compound is extensive and contains the Girls’ School, three Mission houses, the Theological College, which[Pg 141] was once a hospital, and cottage accommodation for the students at work in the College and the boys from the L. M. S. country stations attending the Boys’ School of the Paris Missionary Society. In Fianarantsoa there were all the evidences of extensive missionary activities and of a successful work. The numerous meetings that were held during our visit were crowded. During our stay the annual gatherings of the Betsileo Isan-Kerin-Taona (yearly meeting) were held.

They were the first gatherings of the kind at which I had been present in Madagascar. As I attended meeting after meeting the impression made upon me as a visitor was that of “fields white unto harvest.” To my unaccustomed eyes the white lambas, which seemed to fill the Churches, suggested the white fields referred to in the Gospels. And then came the thought which gave rise to glad thanksgiving, that in Madagascar the harvest indeed had been plenteous, though the labourers had been few. Then came a vision of the great harvest-home when from the north and south, the east and west of this island men and women, boys and girls would all be gathered into the Kingdom, and those who sowed and those who reaped would rejoice together.

Three meetings stand out in my memory. On the Wednesday there was a representative gathering of the delegates from the L. M. S. and P. M. S. Churches in Antranobiriky Church. M. Couve, of the Paris Society, addressed some burning words to the delegates, which went to their hearts. I spoke of the United[Pg 142] Malagasy Church of the future, and rejoiced to find so hearty a response to the idea of union. Next day at the Assembly M. Couve spoke with great earnestness on the duty of self-support, and Mr. Houghton gave an eloquent address on self-government.

The third meeting was a memorable one. It was a united Communion Service held on Thursday afternoon in the Church of the French Protestant Mission. The spacious church was crowded to its utmost limits. The aisles and stairs were thronged with devout worshippers. A native pastor conducted the service. Missionaries and evangelists, pastors and preachers joined with some 800 Christians and the Deputations from the two societies round the table of our Lord. Men and women, brown and white, were all as one in that sacred service of commemoration and consecration. The solemnity of the gathering was emphasised by the thunderstorm which broke over the town while the service was proceeding. The church became dark. The wind howled. The lightning flashed. The thunder rolled. The rain fell. And then came the brilliant sunshine—a prophetic vision of the history of the Church of Christ in Madagascar. Persecution, trouble, and anxiety have beset that Church in the past. Even now there are clouds upon the horizon. But the day is surely coming when the glorious shining of the Sun of Righteousness will flood this great island with light and love, and all who live in it “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and ... as the stars for ever and ever.”

Mr. Huckett has long carried on a fine piece of work[Pg 143] in the Theological Seminary. Here pastors and evangelists receive a three years’ course of training, and there is a two years’ course for catechists and itinerating preachers. Mr. Huckett also superintends the boys and youths from the country mission stations, who come up to Fianarantsoa to complete their education, living in the cottages above referred to, which are supported by the Glasgow Foundry Boys’ Religious Association. Another branch of Mr. Huckett’s manifold labours is the secretaryship of the local agency of the British and Foreign Bible Society. From the Bible and Book Room in the Compound the Scriptures are distributed to the whole of the South of Madagascar, and five colporteurs are at work.

At the Girls’ High School, conducted by Miss Hare, there are one hundred girls on the books, of whom on the occasion of our visit ninety-six were present. There is ample accommodation for more scholars, but the Government regulations prevent it being utilised. Some of the girls at the school come from the country stations and live in the Mission house with Miss Hare. It would be a very great help to the work if a Boarding Home for Girls could be established in Fianarantsoa. In addition to her duties in the School, Miss Hare also has the oversight of the wives of the students at the Theological Seminary. The Paris Mission carries on the Boys’ High School and a Normal School, to which the L. M. S. students go.

About an hour’s journey from Fianarantsoa another fine example of missionary activity is to be seen at the Leper Home, at a place pathetically called “The Village[Pg 144] of Hope.” This work was started by Mrs. Huckett twenty years ago. My visit was a sad experience, and will be an abiding memory. No leper who enters this home, in which there are forty-three inmates, ever comes out again. The sufferers die, and are buried in the grounds. My thoughts naturally carried me back to Dr. Fowler’s Leper Home in Central China at Siao Kan. “The Village of Hope” might well be called the “Village of Despair,” for maimed and missing hands and feet told their tale only too plainly, and pitiable sores on the legs and face were common. But without exception all the patients seemed bright and happy, and one could not doubt the joy that had come into the lives of the poor afflicted creatures, thirty-three of whom were Church members, while others were enquirers. We visited the rooms in which they live, and afterwards attended a pathetic and yet happy meeting in the Chapel at which we all spoke. The lepers were genuinely glad to see us and gave us a hearty welcome. After we left we could see the whole community, standing in their white lambas just outside the gate on the top of the hill, waving farewells to us for fully half an hour.

Thirty-two miles south of Fianarantsoa is the growing Government town of Ambalavao, which is reached by pousse-pousse along another well-engineered road through the mountains. As we approached the town we were met by streams of natives, many gaily decorated, returning from the annual three days’ fair. For many years Ambalavao was worked from Ambohimandroso, but it has been a residential station since 1903 under the[Pg 145] care of the Rev. D. M. Rees, whose untiring efforts are ably seconded by those of his wife, who has the great advantage of an excellent knowledge of French. The Mission house is an old Malagasy residence which has been enlarged. The Station Church is one of the most handsome and best built churches in Madagascar. On the occasion of our visit it was crowded to its utmost capacity by a gathering representing the forty-four outstations in the district.

Six miles south of Ambalavao is situated Ambohimandroso, the most southerly station of the L. M. S., where the Rev. Thomas and Mrs. Rowlands (who, like Mr. and Mrs. Rees, keep up the connection between Wales and Madagascar) have faithfully carried on work for the last thirty-four years. At the bottom of the valley between the two stations is a river which is crossed by a ferry, where I was met by a crowd of school children who escorted me up the steep hill to the Mission house, the boys assisting in propelling the pousse-pousse. Here again a crowded and enthusiastic united meeting was held, with representatives from most of the fifty-one out-stations connected with this Mission. Schools were inspected, visits paid to some of the Native workers, and other gatherings held. Mr. and Mrs. Rowlands find house-room for a dozen girls from country districts who are attending school. Each evening these girls file into the drawing-room for singing and prayer. On the occasion of my visit they sang “Nearer my God to Thee” in English. Then followed their salutation, “Good-night, Mr. Hawkins,” with a curtsey. I replied,[Pg 146] “Good-night, girls; God bless you.” Then came their answer, “Thank you, Mr. Hawkins.” The same formula is gone through with “Madame” and “Sir.”

The morning I left, the girls were up early to see me off, and stood in a row alongside the filanjana. In a frivolous moment as I was leaving I pretended to weep to express my sorrow at parting from them, and off I went. Mrs. Rowlands told me a week or two afterwards that at my departure all the girls had burst into tears and cried bitterly, saying, “What a tender-hearted gentleman to cry when he leaves us. He must be thinking of his own daughter in England who has dark hair and dark eyes like us!”

From Ambohimandroso I proceeded to the Society’s newest station in Betsileo at Alakamisy Itenina, where since 1905 the Rev. D. D. Green, another Welshman, has resided and superintended the work of the thirty-seven outstations, of which this place is the centre. The journey occupied all day, and the road lay amongst the mountains, the views of the hills and clouds being magnificent. Several crowded meetings were held at the station and at outstations. At one place the crowd that had gathered together was three times as large as the Church could contain, and the meeting was held in the open-air, in defiance, I am afraid, of the French law. I stood under the shadow of the Church. In the immediate foreground was the great congregation, some on the seats which had been taken out of the Church, and some on the ground—a very picturesque crowd in white and gaily-coloured lambas. Beyond the worshippers[Pg 147] stretched a glorious vista of mountain and valley, rolling away into “the purple distance fair,” with the brilliant sunshine bathing all in a flood of golden light.

The only residential station in Madagascar which I was unable to visit was that at Ambohimahasoa, a town of growing importance, where the Rev. Charles Collins has laboured for the last eleven years, superintending from that centre thirty-eight outstations. Both my colleagues, however, were able to visit it, and attended a large number of meetings there.

The Society’s work in Betsileo is well organised, and has been carried on for the last forty-three years with great and growing success. From the centre at Fianarantsoa, over a wide-spreading district comprising 244 outstations, the Gospel has been faithfully preached, schools have been conducted, Christian Endeavour Societies, Dorcas meetings, and many other missionary activities have been carried on, and this manifold work has been accomplished by means of a small European staff which has never exceeded ten missionaries. Their efforts have been seconded by a native staff of about fifty ordained pastors and 500 preachers. The Church is a growing one, but much yet remains to be done to complete the evangelization of the large territory in which the Society is at work. Beyond to the south, as already mentioned, are the unevangelized tribes of the Bara and Tanala districts, amongst whom up to the present very little work has been done. But the future is rich with promise, and if the existing work can be maintained and somewhat extended, the Society[Pg 148] will have a rich reward in building up a Native Church so strong and so missionary, that before many years have passed it will be able to carry the light into the dark places around.

[Pg 149]

Glad and Golden Days

Spread the Light! Spread the Light!
Till earth’s remotest bounds have heard
The glory of the Living Word;
Till those that see not have their sight;
Till all the fringes of the night
Are lifted, and the long-closed doors
Are wide for ever to the Light.
Spread the Light!

O then shall dawn the golden days,
To which true hearts are pressing;
When earth’s discordant strains shall blend—
The one true God confessing;
When Christly thought and Christly deed
Shall bind each heart and nation,
In one Grand Brotherhood of Men,
And one high consecration.

John Oxenham.

After our return from Betsileo and our visitation of the Imerina country stations, we spent three weeks in Tananarive to meet with the missionaries in their District Committee, in order to consult together as to the present position and future work. We also took part in a Conference with the representatives of all the Protestant Missionary Societies at work in the island, and attended the great half-yearly meeting of the native Christians known as the Isan-Enim-Bolana.[Pg 150] It is not the purpose of this record of travel to discuss questions of missionary politics, or to deal with matters considered at the Joint Conference. Suffice it to say that the intercourse with the missionaries of our own and other Societies during those closing weeks of our stay was a time of happy fellowship. In the interludes between more serious work delightful social receptions and garden parties were organised by several of the Missions, and we enjoyed the hospitality of the Bishop of Madagascar and of our French and Norwegian friends.

There was one gathering, however, of very special interest to us, as representatives of the L. M. S. On September 30th it was our privilege to take part in the celebration of the jubilee of the landing at Tamatave of our honoured veteran missionary, Dr. James Sibree. Mr. Sibree, as he was then, went out to Madagascar as architect of the Memorial Churches to be erected in Tananarive in commemoration of the martyrs “faithful unto death,” who lost their lives during the time of persecution. These Churches remain until this day, not only as memorials to the martyrs, but as monuments to the taste and skill of Mr. Sibree as an architect. But his services in this direction have not been confined to the Memorial Churches. In after years to the present time he has prepared the plans of upwards of 40 Churches in different parts of Madagascar.

But Dr. Sibree will leave behind him, when the time comes for him to bid farewell to Madagascar, a more enduring memorial than churches of brick and stone.[Pg 151] When he had completed the task which originally took him to the island he returned to England, and, after taking his theological course at Spring Hill, went back to Madagascar as a clerical missionary, and from that day to this, with ceaseless energy and devotion, he has been engaged in building the Invisible Church, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

The epitaph upon the tomb of another architect, Sir Christopher Wren, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, “Si monumentum requiris circumspice,” is equally applicable to Dr. Sibree, for no missionary has left behind him in Madagascar a more enduring memorial of his life and work than will Dr. Sibree. His energies, too, have found an outlet in other directions. His most conspicuous service to the Mission has been rendered in connection with the training of preachers and pastors. For upwards of thirty years he has been associated with the Society’s Theological College in Tananarive, and during that period several hundred students have received the benefit of his instruction and influence. As a writer of books and articles he has given to the world much information, not only with regard to Madagascar, but also with regard to the Cathedrals of the Homeland. The articles on Madagascar in the last two editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica have come from his pen, and he is a recognised authority on all matters relating to the island. He has rendered invaluable service as a translator, and especially in the revision of the Malagasy Scriptures. He does not know what it is to be idle. In his seventy-seventh year he is an[Pg 152] example and a rebuke to men of half his age; from early morning until late at night he is always at work.

Dr. Sibree has, throughout his missionary life, been ably seconded and supported in all his “works of faith and labours of love” by his devoted wife, to whom the women and girls of Ambohimanga, and, in later years, of Tananarive, owe so much. As I have already mentioned, Dr. and Mrs. Sibree have given four children to missionary work. Two of their daughters, Mrs. Milledge and Miss Elsie Sibree are to-day rendering fine service to the kingdom in Madagascar.

On the Jubilee day a great gathering of missionaries was held in Faravohitra Church in honour of Dr. and Mrs. Sibree. Several presentations were made to them from the Directors of our Society, from their fellow missionaries and from the missionaries of other Societies, in recognition of the services they have rendered, and of the respect, esteem and affection in which they are held. It is said that never before in the history of Madagascar has such a large gathering of missionaries taken place. Later in the same day a reception and garden party were held, at which even a larger number of the missionary community were present to celebrate the occasion. A few days afterwards a great gathering of past and present students of the Theological College met to offer their tribute of gratitude and esteem to the missionary who had trained so many of the preachers, pastors, and evangelists, now engaged in the evangelization of the island.

Dr. and Mrs. Sibree

Dr. and Mrs. Sibree.

Only a passing reference can be made to the meetings[Pg 153] of the Joint Conference. This gathering was unique, for it is believed that never before in the history of the Christian Church have all the Protestant Missionary Societies at work in a mission field appointed simultaneous deputations to unite with the missionaries on the spot to study in common the problems and needs of the field, and to plan together for its evangelization. Many matters of common interest to all the Societies were considered, and important discussions were held with the Malagasy Christian leaders. The subjects of the evangelization of the island, the work of delimitation, education, the social and moral condition of the people, the recrudescence of heathenism, the growth of atheism and agnosticism, and many other questions vitally affecting the life of the people and the growth of the Church came up for discussion. The meetings were held in the beautiful French Protestant Church in Tananarive in the early days of October. The tone and spirit which prevailed throughout the deliberations were of the highest. The Conference owed much to its Chairman, M. le Pasteur Couve, who presided throughout with wisdom, tact, patience and good humour. The holding of such a Conference in which High Anglican, Lutheran, Quaker and Congregationalist, British, French, Norwegian, and American took an equal part, was a remarkable evidence of the growth of the spirit of comity and co-operation in the mission field.

But amongst the many vivid experiences of those crowded closing days in Tananarive, the most lasting impression was that made by the great meetings of the[Pg 154] Isan-Enim-Bolana. This institution is a federation of the Imerina Churches of the L. M. S., F. F. M. A., and P. M. S., and it holds a warm place in the regard and affection of the Malagasy Christians. Moreover, it is a Missionary Society and sends its own native missionaries into the outlying districts in the North where, but for its efforts, there would be no Christian work carried on. It is the child of the London Missionary Society, and came into being in the year 1868. Since then it has met every half-year in the Capital, and its gatherings are always marked with a spirit of great earnestness and enthusiasm. It met in October, and high as our expectations were from what we had heard, the gatherings surpassed all that our imagination had pictured. On Wednesday afternoon, October 8th, five preaching services were held at the same hour in five of the largest Churches in the Capital, and these were followed by two great meetings in connection with the Christian Endeavour Societies. Perhaps a short account of my own experiences at the Isan-Enim-Bolana, which were similar to those of my fellow-delegates, will convey some impression of the character of these Meetings. I was taking lunch with a party of French Missionaries, when M. Pierre de Seynes came to tell me that the French Church in which I was to speak was already crowded to its utmost limits, although it was nearly two hours before the time for the commencement of the service. On reaching the Church an hour and a half later I had the greatest difficulty in effecting an entrance. There was a dense crowd round the door of those who could not find room.[Pg 155] It required great care to walk up the aisle without treading upon the women, who were sitting on the ground two abreast. The great congregation occupied every foot of available space; the floor of the chancel was packed, and men were sitting on the communion rails, on the top of the harmonium, and on the pulpit steps. Moreover, there were groups of people round the numerous open windows on the ground floor, and the gallery and the steps leading to it were likewise crowded. The scene from the pulpit can never be forgotten. The contrast between the black hair, brown faces and white lambas of the worshippers formed a striking picture. Pastor Rabary, the Chairman of the Isan-Enim-Bolana, translated for me. The vigorous action and fine declamation of the interpreter, combined with the inspiration which one receives from the enthusiasm and devoutness of a great audience, had their effect upon the quieter methods of the more phlegmatic Englishman, and I found myself moved to speak with a force and earnestness rarely experienced before. My address was followed by what I am told was an eloquent sermon by one of the ablest of the younger Malagasy leaders, Pastor Rakotonirainy, who is also a successful master in one of the F. F. M. A. Schools. As soon as the service was over the congregation hurried away to a great Christian Endeavour meeting at Ampamarinana, where the Church was already packed. An overflow meeting was arranged to be held in the Church which we had just left, and in a few moments that building was again filled to overflowing, and I was called upon to give another address, which was translated[Pg 156] by Pastor Razafimahefa, who interprets from both French or English into Malagasy with wonderful force and fluency.

But the greatest gatherings took place on the following morning. At 6 o’clock seven of the most spacious Churches were thronged to their utmost capacity, some having arrived at 4 a.m. to secure a seat for the meetings, which were not to commence till four hours later. I was appointed to speak at the great meeting for men in the spacious Ampamarinana Church, which had for hours been filled to overflowing. As soon as I had spoken I was hurried away in a chair to an overflow meeting in a neighbouring Church, and, having spoken there, went on to Faravohitra Church, which was crowded with women, where my address was translated by Mrs. Milledge, who speaks Malagasy like a native. The service at this Church was concluded by eleven o’clock. Then came one of the characteristic features of the meetings of the Isan-Enim-Bolana. It is the practice for the Mother Churches in the Capital to entertain the delegates from the various Daughter Churches in the country. I went to Analakely, where some 1,400 people sat down in five relays to abundant meals of rice and meat prepared by their hosts. The same gracious hospitality was shown in each of the Mother Churches of Tananarive. After attending such gatherings one wonders whether there is any place in the world, unless it is Korea, where such great crowds gather for Christian worship.

The hearts of sympathetic visitors to Madagascar[Pg 157] are often thrilled at these manifest signs of the Divine blessing upon the work of the Missionaries, but very little investigation shows that there is another side to the picture, and that the young Malagasy Church needs all its zeal and courage to face the difficulties and dangers with which it is surrounded. Apart from the experience which unfortunately is common in all Christian communities, that practice does not always correspond with profession, the Malagasy Christians have special difficulties of their own which confront the growing Church. They have to face the temptations which beset a backward race living in the tropics, and the struggle with sensualism and immorality is a severe one.

Moreover, in recent years materialism and agnosticism have come into the land like a flood, and tax to the uttermost the wisdom and consecration of the Christian workers in the island. Again, it must be remembered that the activities of the Church are being carried on in an unsympathetic environment, for apart from the deadening influence of the native heathenism amidst which the Church is at work, the unfriendly attitude towards religion of the French official class is felt on every hand. Again, on the north-east and north-west coasts the menace of the advance of Islam is increasingly felt, and already there are at least 75,000 Moslems in the country, professing a degraded type of Mohammedanism and introducing many vices, especially drunkenness and immorality. It will be a surprise to many to know that during the recent Balkan war a[Pg 158] collection was made in Madagascar to help the Turks to fight “the vile Christians.”

With these and other difficulties confronting the young Malagasy Church, it will be readily understood that the battle is by no means won. Moreover, much of the field has, up to the present, not been occupied by the Christian army, and great is the work remaining to be accomplished.

If one stands on the verandah of “the House of Sweet Breezes” at Anjozorobe, the Society’s most northern station, and turn one’s eyes to the north, there is a stretch of country extending well-nigh 500 miles to Diego Suarez. In this vast district, the area of which exceeds that of England and Wales, there is at the present time but one white missionary. It is true that some dozen native missionaries, sent out by the Isan-Enim-Bolana of Imerina, are at work in this territory, and many of these men are carrying on their missionary labours with energy and devotion, but without any European supervision. The Native Missionary organisation which sent them forth would welcome such supervision, and would be prepared to send more labourers into the vineyard, if well-trained men were available for service. In the near future the main work of the European missionary must be the training of the Native missionary. As the Church at the centre grows and multiplies, and becomes stronger and more efficient, the need of the presence of a large number of European missionaries will gradually diminish. The test of the success of their work will be that they[Pg 159] have made themselves unnecessary. As the College in Tananarive attracts and trains and sets to work Christian Natives of good education and apostolic fervour, so the work now carried on by the European missionaries will steadily pass into the hands of the Native Pastors, and, under the blessing of God, the day will come in the not distant future when the foreign worker will be able to withdraw, having completed his task.

“And lo! already on the hills
The flags of dawn appear;
Gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
Proclaim the day is near;

The day in whose clear-shining light
All wrong shall stand revealed,
When justice shall be clothed with might,
And every hurt be healed:

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
Shall walk the earth abroad,—
The day of perfect righteousness,
The promised day of God.”