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He was not the tallest man, nor the best looking, nor the sweetest-dispositioned man, I had met in all Africa; but if the completeness and perfection of the human figure, combining size with strength, and proportion of body, limbs, and head, with an expression of power in the face, be considered, he must have been at one time the grandest type of physical manhood to be found in Equatorial Africa. As he stood before us on this day, we thought of him as an ancient Milo, an aged Hercules, an old Samsona really grand looking old man. At his side were seven tall sons, by different mothers, and although they were stalwart men and boys, the whitened crown of Mata Bwyki's head rose by a couple of inches above the highest head."
Nearly two thousand persons assembled, at Iboko, to witness the "palaver" that must precede a decision to enter into "strong friendship." At the place of meeting, "mats of split rattan were spread in a large semicircle around a row of curved and box stools, for the principal chiefs. In the centre of the line, opposite this, was left a space for myself and people," continues Stanley. "We had first to undergo the process of steady and silent examination from nearly two thousand pairs of eyes. Then, after Yumbila, the guide, had detailed in his own manner, who we were, and what was our mission up the great river; how we had built towns
THE SEVered brANCH.
at many places, and made blood-brotherhood with the chiefs of great districts, such as Irebu, Ukuti, Usindi, Ngombé, Lukolela, Bolobo, Mswata, and Kintamo, he urged upon them the pleasure it would be to me to make a like compact, sealed with blood, with the great chiefs of populous Iboko. He pictured the benefits likely to accrue to Iboko, and Mata Bwyki in particular, if a bond of brotherhood was made between two chiefs like Mata Bwyki and Tandelay, [Stanley,] or as he was known, Bula Matari."
There was no prompt response to Stanley's request for strong friendship with the Bangala. There were prejudices to be removed, and old memories to be overborne; and Yumbila's eloquence and tact were put to their severest test, in the endeavor to bring about a state of feeling that would make the covenant of blood a possibility here. But the triumph was won. "A forked palm branch was brought," says Stanley. "Kokoro, the heir [of Mata Bwyki], came forward, seized it, and kneeled before me; as, drawing out his short falchion, he cried, 'Hold the other branch, Bula Matari!' I obeyed him, and lifting his hand he cleaved the branch in two. 'Thus,' he said, 'I declare my wish to be your brother.'
"Then a fetish-man came forward with his lancets, long pod, pinch of salt, and fresh green banana leaf. He held the staff of Kokoro's sword-bladed spear,
while one of my rifles was brought from the steamer. The shaft of the spear and the stock of the rifle were then scraped on the leaf, a pinch of salt was dropped on the wood, and finally a little dust from the long pod was scraped on the curious mixture. Then, our arms were crossed, the white arm over the brown arm, and an incision was made in each; and over the blood was dropped a few grains of the dusty compound; and the white arm was rubbed over the brown arm [in the intermingling of blood]."
"Now Mata Bwyki lifted his mighty form, and with his long giant's staff drove back the compressed crowd, clearing a wide circle, and then roaring out in his most magnificent style, leonine in its lung-force, kingly in its effect: 'People of Iboko! You by the river side, and you of inland. Men of the Bangala, listen to the words of Mata Bwyki. You see Tandelay before you. His other name is Bula Matari. He is the man with the many canoes, and has brought back strange smoke-boats. He has come to see Mata Bwyki. He has asked Mata Bwyki to be his friend. Mata Bwyki has taken him by the hand, and has become his blood-brother. Tandelay belongs to Iboko now. He has become this day one of the Bangala. O, Iboko! listen to the voice of Mata Bwyki.' thought they must have been incurably deaf, not to have heard that voice). 'Bula Matari and Mata Bwyki
THE FIFTIETH BROTHER.
are one to-day. We have joined hands. Hurt not Bula Matari's people; steal not from them; offend them not. Bring food and sell to him at a fair price, gently, kindly, and in peace; for he is my brother. Hear you, ye people of Iboko-you by the river side, and you of the interior?'
"We hear, Mata Bwyki!' shouted the multitude.”1 And the ceremony was ended.
A little later than this, Stanley, or Tandelay, or Bula Matari, as the natives called him, was at Bumba, and there again he exchanged blood in friendship. "Myombi, the chief," he says, "was easily persuaded by Yumbila to make blood-brotherhood with me; and for the fiftieth time my poor arm was scarified, and my blood shed for the cause of civilization. Probably one thousand people of both sexes looked on the scene, wonderingly and strangely. A young branch of a palm was cut, twisted, and a knot tied at each end; the knots were dipped in wood ashes, and then seized and held by each of us, while the medicineman practised his blood-letting art, and lanced us both, until Myombi winced with pain; after which the knotted branch was severed; and, in some incomprehensible manner, I had become united forever to my fiftieth brother; to whom I was under the obligation of defending [him] against all foes until death."2
1 The Congo, II., 79–90.
2 Ibid., II., 104 f.
The blood of a fair proportion of all the first families of Equatorial Africa now courses in Stanley's veins; and if ever there was an American citizen who could appropriate to himself pre-eminently the national motto, “E pluribus unum," Stanley is the man.
The root-idea of this rite of blood-friendship seems to include the belief, that the blood is the life of a living being; not merely that the blood is essential to life, but that, in a peculiar sense, it is life; that it actually vivifies by its presence; and that by its passing from one organism to another it carries and imparts life. The inter-commingling of the blood of two organisms is, therefore, according to this view, equivalent to the inter-commingling of the lives, of the personalities, of the natures, thus brought together; so that there is, thereby and thenceforward, one life in the two bodies, a common life between the two friends: a thought which Aristotle recognizes in his citation of the ancient "proverb": "One soul [in two bodies]," 1 a proverb which has not lost its currency in any of the centuries.
That the blood can retain its vivifying power whether passing into another by way of the lips or by way of the veins, is, on the face of it, no less plausible, than that
1 Aristotle's Ethics, IX., 8, 3. ment, by Aristotle, but as the "proverbs" of friendship.
This is not made as an original statecitation of one of the well-known