VII. ALONG THE EAST COAST
The Kanzlar could not cross the bar to go to Chinde, so the Adjutant, which belongs to the same line and which was created for these shallow waters, came to the Kanzlar, bringing Chinde with her. She brought every white man in the port, and those who could not come on board our ship remained contentedly on the Adjutant, clinging to her rail as she alternately sank below, or was tossed high above us. For three hours they smiled with satisfaction as though they felt that to have escaped from Chinde, for even that brief time, was sufficient recompense for a thorough ducking and the pains of sea-sickness. On the bridge of the Adjutant, in white duck and pith helmets, were the only respectable members of Chinde society. We knew that they were the only respectable members of Chinde society, because they told us so themselves. On her lower deck she brought two French explorers, fully dressed for the part as Tartarin of Tarascon might have dressed it in white havelocks and gaiters buckled up to the thighs, and clasping express rifles in new leather cases. From her engine-room came stokers from Egypt, and from her forward deck Malays in fresh white linen, Mohammedans in fez and turban, Portuguese officials, chiefly in decorations, Indian coolies and Zanzibari boys, very black and very beautiful, who wound and unwound long blue strips of cotton about their shoulders, or ears, or thighs as the heat, or the nature of the work of unloading required. Among these strange peoples were goats, as delicately colored as a meerschaum pipe, and with the horns of our red deer, strange white oxen with humps behind the shoulders, those that are exhibited in cages at home as "sacred buffalo," but which here are only patient beasts of burden, and gray monkeys, wildcats, snakes and crocodiles in cages addressed to "Hagenbeck, Hamburg." The freight was no less curious; assegais in bundles, horns stretching for three feet from point to point, or rising straight, like poignards; skins, ground-nuts, rubber, and heavy blocks of bees-wax wrapped in coarse brown sacking, and which in time will burn before the altars of Roman Catholic churches in Italy, Spain, and France.
People of the "Bromide" class who run across a friend from their own city in Paris will say, "Well, to think of meeting you here. How small the world is after all!" If they wish a better proof of how really small it is, how closely it is knit together, how the existence of one canning-house in Chicago supports twenty stores in Durban, they must follow, not the missionary or the explorers, not the punitive expeditions, but the man who wishes to buy, and the man who brings something to sell. Trade is what has brought the latitudes together and made the world the small department store it is, and forced one part of it to know and to depend upon the other.
The explorer tells you, "I was the first man to climb Kilamajaro." "I was the first to cut a path from the shores of Lake Nyassa into the Congo Basin." He even lectures about it, in front of a wet sheet in the light of a stereopticon, and because he has added some miles of territory to the known world, people buy his books and learned societies place initials after his distinguished name. But before his grandfather was born and long before he ever disturbed the waters of Nyassa the Phoenicians and Arabs and Portuguese and men of his own time and race had been there before him to buy ivory, both white and black, to exchange beads and brass bars and shaving-mirrors for the tusks of elephants, raw gold, copra, rubber, and the feathers of the ostrich. Statesmen will modestly say that a study of the map showed them how the course of empire must take its way into this or that undiscovered wilderness, and that in consequence, at their direction, armies marched to open these tracts which but for their prescience would have remained a desert. But that was not the real reason. A woman wanted three feathers to wear at Buckingham Palace, and to oblige her a few unimaginative traders, backed by a man who owned a tramp steamer, opened up the East Coast of Africa; another wanted a sealskin sacque, and fleets of ships faced floating ice under the Northern Lights. The bees of the Shire Riverway help to illuminate the cathedrals of St. Peters and Notre Dame, and back of Mozambique thousands of rubber-trees are being planted to-day, because, at the other end of the globe, people want tires for their automobiles; and because the fashionable ornament of the natives of Swaziland is, for no reason, no longer blue-glass beads, manufacturers of beads in Switzerland and Italy find themselves out of pocket by some thousands and thousands of pounds.