land is tilled: the landowner gives a small plot of ground

rain and cloudmusic2023-12-07 12:11:26 44 8459

__'Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; the branch of the Terrible Ones shall be brought low.

land is tilled: the landowner gives a small plot of ground

__'And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow.

land is tilled: the landowner gives a small plot of ground

__'And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is brought over all nations. __'And the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.'_

land is tilled: the landowner gives a small plot of ground

I listened spellbound as he prayed. I heard the phrases familiar to me in my schooldays at Kirkcaple. He had some of the tones of my father's voice, and when I shut my eyes I could have believed myself a child again. So much he had got from his apprenticeship to the ministry. I wondered vaguely what the good folks who had listened to him in churches and halls at home would think of him now. But there was in the prayer more than the supplications of the quondam preacher. There was a tone of arrogant pride, the pride of the man to whom the Almighty is only another and greater Lord of Hosts. He prayed less as a suppliant than as an ally. A strange emotion tingled in my blood, half awe, half sympathy. As I have said, I understood that there are men born to kingship.

He ceased with a benediction. Then he put on his leopard- skin cloak and kilt, and received from the kneeling chief a spear and shield. Now he was more king than priest, more barbarian than Christian. It was as a king that he now spoke.

I had heard him on board the liner, and had thought his voice the most wonderful I had ever met with. But now in that great resonant hall the magic of it was doubled. He played upon the souls of his hearers as on a musical instrument. At will he struck the chords of pride, fury, hate, and mad joy. Now they would be hushed in breathless quiet, and now the place would echo with savage assent. I remember noticing that the face of my neighbour, 'Mwanga, was running with tears.

He spoke of the great days of Prester John, and a hundred names I had never heard of. He pictured the heroic age of his nation, when every man was a warrior and hunter, and rich kraals stood in the spots now desecrated by the white man, and cattle wandered on a thousand hills. Then he told tales of white infamy, lands snatched from their rightful possessors, unjust laws which forced the Ethiopian to the bondage of a despised caste, the finger of scorn everywhere, and the mocking word. If it be the part of an orator to rouse the passion of his hearers, Laputa was the greatest on earth. 'What have ye gained from the white man?' he cried. 'A bastard civilization which has sapped your manhood; a false religion which would rivet on you the chains of the slave. Ye, the old masters of the land, are now the servants of the oppressor. And yet the oppressors are few, and the fear of you is in their hearts. They feast in their great cities, but they see the writing on the wall, and their eyes are anxiously turning lest the enemy be at their gates.' I cannot hope in my prosaic words to reproduce that amazing discourse. Phrases which the hearers had heard at mission schools now suddenly appeared, not as the white man's learning, but as God's message to His own. Laputa fitted the key to the cipher, and the meaning was clear. He concluded, I remember, with a picture of the overthrow of the alien, and the golden age which would dawn for the oppressed. Another Ethiopian empire would arise, so majestic that the white man everywhere would dread its name, so righteous that all men under it would live in ease and peace.

By rights, I suppose, my blood should have been boiling at this treason. I am ashamed to confess that it did nothing of the sort. My mind was mesmerized by this amazing man. I could not refrain from shouting with the rest. Indeed I was a convert, if there can be conversion when the emotions are dominant and there is no assent from the brain. I had a mad desire to be of Laputa's party. Or rather, I longed for a leader who should master me and make my soul his own, as this man mastered his followers. I have already said that I might have made a good subaltern soldier, and the proof is that I longed for such a general.



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