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    Chapter 65

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    Chapter 66
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    In statesmanship get the formalities right, never mind about the
    --Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar.


    Royal Hotel. Comfortable, good table, good service of natives and
    Madrasis. Curious jumble of modern and ancient city and village,
    primitiveness and the other thing. Electric bells, but they don't ring.
    Asked why they didn't, the watchman in the office said he thought they
    must be out of order; he thought so because some of them rang, but most
    of them didn't. Wouldn't it be a good idea to put them in order? He
    hesitated--like one who isn't quite sure--then conceded the point.

    May 7. A bang on the door at 6. Did I want my boots cleaned? Fifteen
    minutes later another bang. Did we want coffee? Fifteen later, bang
    again, my wife's bath ready; 15 later, my bath ready. Two other bangs;
    I forget what they were about. Then lots of shouting back and forth,
    among the servants just as in an Indian hotel.

    Evening. At 4 P.M. it was unpleasantly warm. Half-hour after sunset
    one needed a spring overcoat; by 8 a winter one.

    Durban is a neat and clean town. One notices that without having his
    attention called to it.

    Rickshaws drawn by splendidly built black Zulus, so overflowing with
    strength, seemingly, that it is a pleasure, not a pain, to see them
    snatch a rickshaw along. They smile and laugh and show their teeth--a
    good-natured lot. Not allowed to drink; 2s per hour for one person; 3s
    for two; 3d for a course--one person.

    The chameleon in the hotel court. He is fat and indolent and
    contemplative; but is business-like and capable when a fly comes about
    --reaches out a tongue like a teaspoon and takes him in. He gums his
    tongue first. He is always pious, in his looks. And pious and thankful
    both, when Providence or one of us sends him a fly. He has a froggy
    head, and a back like a new grave--for shape; and hands like a bird's
    toes that have been frostbitten. But his eyes are his exhibition
    feature. A couple of skinny cones project from the sides of his head,
    with a wee shiny bead of an eye set in the apex of each; and these cones
    turn bodily like pivot-guns and point every-which-way, and they are
    independent of each other; each has its own exclusive machinery. When I
    am behind him and C. in front of him, he whirls one eye rearwards and the
    other forwards--which gives him a most Congressional expression (one eye
    on the constituency and one on the swag); and then if something happens
    above and below him he shoots out one eye upward like a telescope and the
    other downward--and this changes his expression, but does not improve it.

    Natives must not be out after the curfew bell without a pass. In Natal
    there are ten blacks to one white.

    Sturdy plump creatures are the women. They comb their wool up to a peak
    and keep it in position by stiffening it with brown-red clay--half of
    this tower colored, denotes engagement; the whole of it colored denotes

    None but heathen Zulus on the police; Christian ones not allowed.

    May 9. A drive yesterday with friends over the Berea. Very fine roads
    and lofty, overlooking the whole town, the harbor, and the sea-beautiful
    views. Residences all along, set in the midst of green lawns with shrubs
    and generally one or two intensely red outbursts of poinsettia--the
    flaming splotch of blinding red a stunning contrast with the world of
    surrounding green. The cactus tree--candelabrum-like; and one twisted
    like gray writhing serpents. The "flat-crown" (should be flat-roof)
    --half a dozen naked branches full of elbows, slant upward like artificial
    supports, and fling a roof of delicate foliage out in a horizontal
    platform as flat as a floor; and you look up through this thin floor as
    through a green cobweb or veil. The branches are japanesich. All about
    you is a bewildering variety of unfamiliar and beautiful trees; one sort
    wonderfully dense foliage and very dark green--so dark that you notice it
    at once, notwithstanding there are so many orange trees. The
    "flamboyant"--not in flower, now, but when in flower lives up to its
    name, we are told. Another tree with a lovely upright tassel scattered
    among its rich greenery, red and glowing as a firecoal. Here and there a
    gum-tree; half a dozen lofty Norfolk Island pines lifting their fronded
    arms skyward. Groups of tall bamboo.

    Saw one bird. Not many birds here, and they have no music--and the
    flowers not much smell, they grow so fast.

    Everything neat and trim and clean like the town. The loveliest trees
    and the greatest variety I have ever seen anywhere, except approaching
    Darjeeling. Have not heard anyone call Natal the garden of South Africa,
    but that is what it probably is.

    It was when Bishop of Natal that Colenso raised such a storm in the
    religious world. The concerns of religion are a vital matter here yet.
    A vigilant eye is kept upon Sunday. Museums and other dangerous resorts
    are not allowed to be open. You may sail on the Bay, but it is wicked to
    play cricket. For a while a Sunday concert was tolerated, upon condition
    that it must be admission free and the money taken by collection. But
    the collection was alarmingly large and that stopped the matter. They
    are particular about babies. A clergyman would not bury a child
    according to the sacred rites because it had not been baptized. The
    Hindoo is more liberal. He burns no child under three, holding that it
    does not need purifying.

    The King of the Zulus, a fine fellow of 30, was banished six years ago
    for a term of seven years. He is occupying Napoleon's old stand--St.
    Helena. The people are a little nervous about having him come back, and
    they may well be, for Zulu kings have been terrible people sometimes
    --like Tchaka, Dingaan, and Cetewayo.

    There is a large Trappist monastery two hours from Durban, over the
    country roads, and in company with Mr. Milligan and Mr. Hunter, general
    manager of the Natal government railways, who knew the heads of it, we
    went out to see it.

    There it all was, just as one reads about it in books and cannot believe
    that it is so--I mean the rough, hard work, the impossible hours, the
    scanty food, the coarse raiment, the Maryborough beds, the tabu of human
    speech, of social intercourse, of relaxation, of amusement, of
    entertainment, of the presence of woman in the men's establishment.
    There it all was. It was not a dream, it was not a lie. And yet with
    the fact before one's face it was still incredible. It is such a
    sweeping suppression of human instincts, such an extinction of the man as
    an individual.

    La Trappe must have known the human race well. The scheme which he
    invented hunts out everything that a man wants and values--and withholds
    it from him. Apparently there is no detail that can help make life worth
    living that has not been carefully ascertained and placed out of the
    Trappist's reach. La Trappe must have known that there were men who
    would enjoy this kind of misery, but how did he find it out?

    If he had consulted you or me he would have been told that his scheme
    lacked too many attractions; that it was impossible; that it could never
    be floated. But there in the monastery was proof that he knew the human
    race better than it knew itself. He set his foot upon every desire that
    a man has--yet he floated his project, and it has prospered for two
    hundred years, and will go on prospering forever, no doubt.

    Man likes personal distinction--there in the monastery it is obliterated.
    He likes delicious food--there he gets beans and bread and tea, and not
    enough of it. He likes to lie softly--there he lies on a sand mattress,
    and has a pillow and a blanket, but no sheet. When he is dining, in a
    great company of friends, he likes to laugh and chat--there a monk reads
    a holy book aloud during meals, and nobody speaks or laughs. When a man
    has a hundred friends about him, evenings, he likes to have a good time
    and run late--there he and the rest go silently to bed at 8; and in the
    dark, too; there is but a loose brown robe to discard, there are no
    night-clothes to put on, a light is not needed. Man likes to lie abed
    late there he gets up once or twice in the night to perform some
    religious office, and gets up finally for the day at two in the morning.
    Man likes light work or none at all--there he labors all day in the
    field, or in the blacksmith shop or the other shops devoted to the
    mechanical trades, such as shoemaking, saddlery, carpentry, and so on.
    Man likes the society of girls and women--there he never has it. He
    likes to have his children about him, and pet them and play with them
    --there he has none. He likes billiards--there is no table there. He
    likes outdoor sports and indoor dramatic and musical and social
    entertainments--there are none there. He likes to bet on things--I was
    told that betting is forbidden there. When a man's temper is up he likes
    to pour it out upon somebody there this is not allowed. A man likes
    animals--pets; there are none there. He likes to smoke--there he cannot
    do it. He likes to read the news--no papers or magazines come there. A
    man likes to know how his parents and brothers and sisters are getting
    along when he is away, and if they miss him--there he cannot know. A man
    likes a pretty house, and pretty furniture, and pretty things, and pretty
    colors--there he has nothing but naked aridity and sombre colors. A man
    likes--name it yourself: whatever it is, it is absent from that place.

    From what I could learn, all that a man gets for this is merely the
    saving of his soul.

    It all seems strange, incredible, impossible. But La Trappe knew the
    race. He knew the powerful attraction of unattractiveness; he knew that
    no life could be imagined, howsoever comfortless and forbidding, but
    somebody would want to try it.

    This parent establishment of Germans began its work fifteen years ago,
    strangers, poor, and unencouraged; it owns 15,000 acres of land now, and
    raises grain and fruit, and makes wines, and manufactures all manner of
    things, and has native apprentices in its shops, and sends them forth
    able to read and write, and also well equipped to earn their living by
    their trades. And this young establishment has set up eleven branches in
    South Africa, and in them they are christianizing and educating and
    teaching wage-yielding mechanical trades to 1,200 boys and girls.
    Protestant Missionary work is coldly regarded by the commercial white
    colonist all over the heathen world, as a rule, and its product is
    nicknamed "rice-Christians" (occupationless incapables who join the
    church for revenue only), but I think it would be difficult to pick a
    flaw in the work of these Catholic monks, and I believe that the
    disposition to attempt it has not shown itself.

    Tuesday, May 12. Transvaal politics in a confused condition. First the
    sentencing of the Johannesburg Reformers startled England by its
    severity; on the top of this came Kruger's exposure of the cipher
    correspondence, which showed that the invasion of the Transvaal, with the
    design of seizing that country and adding it to the British Empire, was
    planned by Cecil Rhodes and Beit--which made a revulsion in English
    feeling, and brought out a storm against Rhodes and the Chartered Company
    for degrading British honor. For a good while I couldn't seem to get at
    a clear comprehension of it, it was so tangled. But at last by patient
    study I have managed it, I believe. As I understand it, the Uitlanders
    and other Dutchmen were dissatisfied because the English would not allow
    them to take any part in the government except to pay taxes. Next, as I
    understand it, Dr. Kruger and Dr. Jameson, not having been able to make
    the medical business pay, made a raid into Matabeleland with the
    intention of capturing the capital, Johannesburg, and holding the women
    and children to ransom until the Uitlanders and the other Boers should
    grant to them and the Chartered Company the political rights which had
    been withheld from them. They would have succeeded in this great scheme,
    as I understand it, but for the interference of Cecil Rhodes and Mr.
    Beit, and other Chiefs of the Matabele, who persuaded their countrymen to
    revolt and throw off their allegiance to Germany. This, in turn, as I
    understand it, provoked the King of Abyssinia to destroy the Italian army
    and fall back upon Johannesburg; this at the instigation of Rhodes, to
    bull the stock market.
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