March to Magdala
Excerpt: ...a party of three or four officers of the 33d enjoying the delightful shade and the charming fragrance, the priest with several natives came up to us, and taking seats, or rather squatting-I do not think an Abyssinian knows how to sit down-beside us, they entered into a species of conversation with us, inquiring particularly, as do all the natives, if we were Christians. Presently they made signs they would like to see some sketches I had been taking; but when they took them in their hands they were completely puzzled, turned them upside down and sideways, and even looked behind at the back of the paper: they could evidently make nothing of them. Presently the priest, with an air of great self-satisfaction, made signs that he could write, and demanded if I could do so. I had no writing at hand, but in my sketch-book I had a column of your paper which I had cut out for purposes of reference; this I gravely handed over, and it was received with a perfect shout, first of astonishment, then of delight. They had never seen such even and perfect manuscript in their lives. The priest evidently thought I must be a priest of high grade, and he at once offered to show us the church, which he did without demanding the usual dollar from any one of the party. It was so similar to those I have previously described that I need not say anything about it, except that in the holy of holies, in place of a frame like a painter's easel, the shrine was composed of pg 217 three poles, seven or eight feet long, inclining towards each other, and meeting at the top like a tripod: a piece of cloth was wrapped round the upper part of this frame. I cannot say whether it concealed anything, but it did not appear to me to do so. Below this a skin was stretched between the three legs, so as to make a sort of shelf, and upon this were placed a number of withered flowers. I should mention that, in the inner chamber of most of these churches, those who have entered with me have...
- 189 x 246 x 7mm | 240g
- 13 Sep 2013
- Illustrations, black and white