Where black rule white; A journey arross and about Hayti., by Hesketh Prichard, Westminster, 1900. (BCL-Williams Mem.Eth...

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Where black rule white; A journey arross and about Hayti., by Hesketh Prichard, Westminster, 1900. (BCL-Williams Mem.Eth.Col.Cat. #612)
Physical Description:
Mixed Material

Notes

General Note:
4-tr-Prichard

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
ILLMC
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
LLMC31700
System ID:
AA00001080:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
This volume was donated to LLMC to enrich its on-line offerings and for purposes of long-term preservation by
Google Books


WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE


WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE
A JOURNEY ACROSS AND ABOUT HAYTI
HESKETH, PRICHARD
Joint author of "A Modern Mercenary"
WESTMINSTER ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & Co., Ltd. 2 Whitehall Gardens 1900


AUTHOR'S NOTE
For the use of some of the illustrations in this volume I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Rauch of Port-au-Prince, Hayti. Owing to my departure on an expedition to Patagonia, organized by The Daily Express", I am unable to correct the final proof-sheets of this book, and must therefore beg my readers' indulgence should any inaccuracies have crept into the text.
H. P.


CONTENTS
Page
CHAPTER I. First Impressions of the Black Republic i
II. The High Road of Hayti...... 13
III. The Haytian General....... 39
IV. Vaudoux Worship and Sacrifice ... 74
V. The Haytian Navy......... 102
VI. Across Hayti'........... 111
VIL Into San Domingo......... 129
VIE. Haytian Police, Prisons and Hospitals 147
IX. A living city within a dead one ... 169
X. The Citadel of the Black Napoleon 183
XL Justice and the Status of the White 210
X1L The Haytian Press......... 225
XIII. The Haytian People as I knew them 232
XIV. Hayti the Puff-ball........ 267
XV. Can the Negro rule Himself? .... 277
Index...................... 285


ILLUSTRATIONS
Page
A Haytian Scene............{Frontispiece)
Bananar at Jacmel................ 3
A Funeral.................... 9
My Guide.................... 15
Market-place, Port-au-Prince............ 23
Six o'clock Reveille in the Streets of Port-au-Prince 29
Palms on the way to Bizotou............ 35
Some Generals.................. 41
A General's evening Ride............. 49
The March Past................. 57
On Parade.................... 65
About to be reviewed............... 71
The Wharf at Port-au-Prince............ 107
Street Scene in Petit Goave............ 113
Washerwomen.................. 119
A Haytian Highway................ 133
Native Hut on the way to San Domingo ....... 137
Natives..................... 141
Military Arrondissement............. 149
Ecole Centrale................. 165
Port-au-Prince.................. 175
The Town of Millot............Facing 185
Palace of Sans-Souci at Millot........ 190
Interior of the Castle of La Ferriere .... 195
Bel-air..................... 201
The Palace of the President............ 213
On a journey................... 235
Typical Peasantry................ 239
In a Haytian Forest............... 247
Logwood.................... 259


WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
CHAPTER I.
first impressions of the black republic.
The liner was hove to, awaiting daylight. Across the r I leaden swell Hayti lay hazy and of a soft grey, her deli- '
/ cate mountain crests cut sharply out against the brighten-1
\ 1 L ing sky. Soon the east was alive and glowing in deep -*
orange and deeper red patched with livid green, a bar of
angry colour shut in between the sea and a jagged lid of
cloud. Four bells rang forward, and upon the stroke we
were under way and steaming slowly past the dim dead
shores. Between us and the distant heights ran a low
bluff, bristling with scrub.
No villages were visible, but here and there, through
glasses, we could discern a brownish speck which might
have been a solitary hut, but these did not break the sense
of desolation. Nothings seemed alive save the dawn and


2
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
y a clean, sjgc^t^wincL that blew graciously cool after the sweltering heats of the night.
Thus it was that in November of last yeaij (1899) I saw Hayti for the second time. Eighteen months had elapsed since I first steamed along under the same shores, and Hayti had lost none of her mysterjTand fascination. Since the wholesale massacre of the whites by order of General Dessalines, which followed immediately upon the proclamation of the Act of Independence in 1804, Hayti has been a sealed land. Very little could be told about her; for very little was known. Threaded in the circle of a hundred civilised isles, she alone has drawn a veil between herself and the rest of mankind.
A few scores of white men live in her coast towns, but of the interior even they can tell you practically nothing. The Black Republic, set between her tropical seas and virgin mountain-peaks, keeps her secrets well.
In spite of endless inquiries, until I actually landed in the island, I could gather'no definite details. The ship I was travelling in passed seven times a year along the southern coast to drop the mails at the principal port of Jacmel, but although many people on board had lived half their lives on the neighbouring islands, I could glean no information respecting Hayti. I was vaguely told that the place was unhealthy, more unhealthy than Colon, and even more abnormally dirty, and that men were rather more apt to


FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BLACK REPUBLIC. 3
y die suddenly there than elsewhere in the tropics. Even ^ the steamer seemed to hold herself aloof. It is her custom to lie well out in the roadstead of Jacmel, and she only waits for the return of the mail boat before putting to sea again.
bananaS| at jacmel.
There were of course various strange rumours drifting ^ about, stories that had oozed out from the guarded silence shrouding those dark-green shores, stories of snake-worship, and poisonings, human sacrifice and cannibalism. Hayti appeared to be a stage with the curtain down,all the world knew that the dramas of life and death were being


4
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
played out over and over again behind that curtain, but with what curious or horrible variations from the ordinary tenor of human existence none could guess. I had read one or two books about the place, notably that by Sir Spencer St. John, who was British Minister in Hayti for a considerable period, but even his book was some years old.
Hayti the Mysterious! Her appeal to the imagination is inevitable. Ships from Europe and America move per-petually round and along her coasts and call at her open ports, ocean cables link her to the rest of the globe, but for all these things, five miles inland you lose touch jvith civilisation, with the world.
From the sea, her mountains, bearded with dark forests up to their wrinkled brows, scowl at you. To deny that she is picturesque is impossible; to do so would be to acknowledge a sheer lack of imagination.
Mile after mile we slid along the coast cliff, until the fjord-like bay turned in upon itself, and there was the town of Jacmel lying inside its belt of sand
Jacmel from the sea is not unlike towns in the Colombian Republic or on the Pacific coast. The same white houses, nestling in vivid foliage, give it the same false air of coolness.
Five minutes later the quarter-boat was shouldering her way shorewards across the swell which broke in foam almost at the foot of the palms.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BLACK. REPUBLIC. 5
We shot past the reefs, and I scrambled on to the dilapidated landing-stage among the crowd of negroes,a crowd which as to colour represented every shade of full-bodied black. As to dress, there were degrees from gold lace down to the simplicity of a cloth with a hole in the middle for the wearer's head, supplemented by ragged trousers. Most of them carried heavy jointed clubs. The boat that had landed me put off; I saw the rowers slide into their stroke; I waited till they reached the shadow of the steamer, the gangway was raised, the boat swung inboard, and the liner dived away over the glinting sea. Then I turned, stepped from the boarding, and was on Haytian earth.
I do not know precisely what I had expected, but I do y know that it was not^jitjdMj^ce^
Almost straight before me was a narrow street, lined with irregular buildings, something like a street of old London as you see it in pictures, save that the overhanging first floors were wooden piazzas.
I walked slowly along, taking the measure of things. It was a dirty street, albeit the chief one of the chief town of ^southern Hayti, and the sun was scalding. The place was also acrush with human beings of African race and their donkeys. A lean dog or two basked in the alleys. There were shops, open cavernous places, with the stock-in-trade of the proprietor depending from ropes round the walls. Pavement or foot-path there was none.


6
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
The piazzas, jutting from the upper floors of the ungainly houses, were supported by pillars of wood driven into the earth; but walking under them in the shadow was an athletic exercise of four-foot leaps up and down, for some of the domiciles possessed brick thresholds leading to the supports, while others had none. There were many empty houses with smashed shutters, fire-scarred shells which seemed all the emptier for the pitiless sunlight. In Hayti they always start a revolution by firing the town.
I turned on the thought to observe the negroes in their own preserve, where they may "revolute" as they like. Most of them had dropped their work or business to look at me. Through the dust and glare wizened donkeys trotted, laden with huge bundles of guinea-grass, negresses hawked about baskets of bananas and mangoes, the street was full of men and women, screaming, gesticulating, and shouting. A bareheaded negro was blowing a tin trumpet in long, ringing blasts. The din was incredible.
There were women carrying loads upon their heads; one was half-running with a bottle balanced on a yellow bandana tied round her brows. Most of them were dressed in white, short-kilted to the knee, and nearly all wore the turban handkerchief. As for the men, some had coats, some only trousers, and some, more ragged than the rest, affected kpis with red bands. These last I discovered later were policemen.
No carriages were to be seen, not even a broken-down


FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BLACK REPUBLIC. 7
West Indian buggy. It was my first impression of the land
iwhere Black rules White. The bawl and clatter of voices, the jostling crowd, the scream of an angry man in the hot! street, the few cool stores with their proprietors seated on| chairs in the doorways, the ungainly wooden houses with' ^ their sprawling side-posts, the sun, the smell, the dirt: / this was Hayti.
The British Consular Agent, to whom I had brought a letter of introduction, was most kind, and offered to put me up for the night, a proposal which I was only too glad to accept. Failing this hospitality I should have been obliged to bivouac in the open; for Jacmel, though the principal port in southern Hayti, does not boast either hotel or rest-house where one could hope for a night's shelter.
Half an hour later, as I sat at peace in the Consular office, near the door for the sake of air, a sudden clamour of voices arose outside. Then a thudding noise,the gathering of a bare-footed crowd. We turned out into the scorching sun to where, in the centre of the arid waterside space, a fight was in progress. A policeman, buttoned up in a blue linen uniform like a butcher-boy's coat, only double-breasted, was struggling with a big-headed negro. The captive had hold of his captor's cocomacaque club, and the pair swung to and fro in a heated struggle.
The big-headed negro was already wresting away the weapon when two other policemen raced up. Smash went


8
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
a cocomacaque on the big, stooping head, and a bubble of red blood rose through the short fuzz. A bellow of excitement went up from the bystanders. The prisoner turned like a dazed bull for a moment, then he broke free and fled down the street.
Experience soon taught me that similar scenes were by no means uncommon: I also learnt to sympathise with the frantic resistance of the prisoners.
The business in Jacmel is almost entirely in the hands of the small foreign element. The Republican Government distrusts and dislikes the outlander, but it cannot get on without him. On sufferance therefore he remains, but any projects as to opening up the country, prospecting or obtaining concessions, are blocked in one way or another. Either the Government plants its foot firmly and refuses permission point-blank, or if expediency suggests another course, negotiations are begun, which are later on so craftily manipulated that the white man finds himself finally left in the lurch, saddled with a hopelessly bad bargain.
Again no foreigner can legally own land in the island, but so far as private houses in the coast towns are concerned, this law has been circumvented at various times.
There are in the town and district about 500 potential soldiers, of whom no fewer than 200 are generals. A general, as he is known in Hayti, must be spelt with a big G. The general commanding this province is one of the


a funeral.




FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BLACK REPUBLIC, n
> strong men of the country. He can neither read nor write, ?
^ and belongs to the lowest strata, yet he was one of the
) great forces in the last revolution. General Johannis Meri- ^
> sier cannot sign documents, but by way of making his mark \ I / I he adds the impress of his signet ring. What one man
writes for him he gets another man to read, thus securing
himself against deception. In person he is of the ultra-1
negro type, and in his hands lies the power of life and death.
Towards evening I went for a ride about the surrounding
country; there were some pretty-looking villas half hidden
in green dotted about the outskirts of the town. Returning
I passed by the arsenal under the walls of which public
executions take place. Not so long ago two criminals, a
man and a boy of fourteen (the latter had split open the
paternal skull with a hatchet) were condemned to be shot.
Upon the moment of firing a Roman Catholic priest went
up to the boy and asked him if he repented of his crime.
The boy said "No" he would do it again if he had the
chance.
"If you repent you will be reprieved." "I do not repent."
The priest withdrew, and the twenty assorted firearms spoke. The man fell upon his knees, but the boy was untouched. The volley rang out again. No result. Another volley. The bleeding man pitched forward dead, but the boy stood in the aching sunlight, still unhurt.


12
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE
A general rode up, and borrowing a cocomacaque from a bystander, beat the soldiers over the head for their bungling. He swore that unless the next attempt took effect, the \ men themselves should be shot. A second later, the boy ] fell riddled with bullets. Then the drums beat, for the (
i
| justice of the Republic was satisfied. On this occasion it / ^ was said that the soldiers had pity on the youth of the I boy, and purposely shot wide, each man hoping that his ^ comrade's bullet might do the deed. But it was a cruel mercy.
Darkness had come on by the time I recrossed the market-place, j^he^s^ene was weird/ Among the ruinous wooden booths a few fluttering flames cut into the blackness of the night, and from the gloom around came the indescribable screeching babble of negro voices. Here and there in the dim light I saw pale-palmed hands twisting in gesticulation, or wide mouths that flashed white teeth over slips of sugar-cane. And so^ the busy unseen nighMife, ^hich^ the dark-skin loves, went on under the Jense jsky^


CHAPTER II.
THE HIGH ROAD of HAYTI.
liberty, equality, fraternity.
Permit to the Citizen Petit Sans-Nom (Little Nameless), mounted on a red mule bearing the brand S.S., to go to Port-au-Prince as guide to Monsieur Ilesketh Prichard, an English subject. Request to the Authorities, Civil and Military, to render to him any aid or protection of which he may stand in need.
Jacmel, 22 November, 1899.
This passport, (of which the original is in French) signed and stamped with the round blue stamp of the Communal Council of Jacmel, made me free of some seventy miles of the chief high road of Hayti, lying between the port of Jacmel and the capital. Along it mails and money pass every fortnight by the agency of couriers and mules. Outside of Hayti this road bears a sinister reputation. To quote from a letter written to me from a neighbouring


14 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
island: "Persons may travel with great danger by land over the hills from Jacmel to Port-au-Prince."
The country lying between is said to be a hotbed of / snake-worship, with its accompaniments of superstition and sacrifice, as, indeed, is all the mountain-land of the Republic. ^
On first sight, my guide, Petit Sans-Nom, was a puny Haytian of meek aspect. His duty in life was to clean out the Custom House, with interludes of acting as courier on the Port-au-Prince road. His face and head were curiously small, and he wore a scanty curling goatee. In his soiled white coat and ragged trousers he listened humbly while the General of the Custom House was good enough to say that if he misbehaved himself he should, on any complaint from me, be immediately cast into prison. I left him pursuing his vocation with a grass broom.
On the morrow we met again. His bearing was surprisingly altered; a heavy cutlass swung at his side, and he was fiercely urging a little mule to the appointed starting-place. Two grass bags were slung across the mule, into which he stowed my baggage, and while one wondered how so undersized an animal could be expected to carry it, Petit Sans-Nom, perceiving that the two sides did not balance, considerately added an enormous stone as a makeweight. He then mounted on top of all, and sat awaiting my convenience in the shade of a tamarind tree. Five minutes afterwards I had bidden good-bye to H.B.M.'s


my guide.




THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI.
17
Consular Agent, to whose kindness I owed so much, and was riding with my guide out of Jacmel.
I had been told that it would be necessary to ford the two rivers, the Grande Riviere and the Gosseleine, any number of times between a hundred and fifty and two hundred. Rain had also fallen recently, and the fords were deep. For a mile or so we threaded along the narrow track overhung by creepers and trees, and we were at the first ford.
The silver river, embedded in green and as clear as a trout stream, came suddenly across our way in one of its many bends. The water was about four feet deep, and the hour at which we crossed it was half-past three. Before the quarter to four I had counted nine fordages. By half-past five the number had swelled to eighty-one. After that counting became monotonous. The road was, in fact, the river-bed, with its loops and oval curvings, and we followed it glen by glen through hollows clothed in fresh, rain-flushed greenery. Sometimes we sagged up and down hillsides, with now and then a glimpse upwards of a treeless, conical slope covered with pointed grey stones, or an open valley massed with foliage of a dark potato-leaf tint, flecked with the broad pale blades of banana palms.
Dusk came upon us while we were still making our way through the thickly-wooded gorges; the river-bed, (considered as a high road) becoming worse every moment.


i8
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Fireflies came out and danced among the foliage overhead, and all the myriad crickets and frogs ticked and croaked about us, like an army of pigmies marking time. We had arranged to sleep at the foot of the mountains, and my guide had promised that we should arrive there before nightfall.
When darkness unmistakably settled down, I asked him how much farther we had to go. Petit Sans-Nom stooped to no subterfuge. "Far, far," he said, frankly. And far it was. Hour joined hour in the measureless past, and still we struggled on. At this stage of the journey we began to pass human habitations which in every particular | might have been borrowed wholesale from West Africa.lt Here and there red fires burned in the gloom of a stockade. Round them crouched figures clad in little, the children clad not at all, and in the heart of the glow were people dancing to the monotonous clap of hands. Outside the circle you could see the squat outlines and the humpy shoulders of thatch huts.
At last the small mule mutinied. She refused to face a ford, and tipped off the baggage and Petit Sans-Nom with one abrupt action. She submitted to the baggage being loaded on again, but allow her human burden to remount she would not. So the procession of two became a procession of three, the guide straining on the head-rope, the mule throwing off the baggage whenever possible, and


THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI. 19
the traveller and horse bringing up a weary and inglorious rear.
The prospect of sleep and food receded while the hours went by, but, as my horse gathered himself to scramble up a steep bank of more than usual slipperiness, Petit Sans-Nom encouraged him with the remark that it was the last ford, and rising above us in the gloom I made out the dim shoulder of a mountain. With renewed hope we climbed upwards into a sound of voices singing. A palm-thatched hut peeped through the foliage, and in it they were holding high festival. Petit Sans-Nom pulled down the gate of the enclosure, and led the way in, and by the starlight I saw two or three subsidiary huts beside the one where they were making merry. The guide shouted, and the noise ceased abruptly; the door opened, and questions were asked in Creole, to which we were able to give satisfactory replies. Forthwith they invited us inside.
There were six people in the central windowless room, which was lit by a flaming tin lamp that leaped in the draughts, and showed the earthen floor, wooden table, and red water-bottle, the ordinary furnishing of the peasant's home. A little girl was stirred to wakefulness, a tablecloth was produced, a mattress was laid upon the floor. I can remember eating something, and lying down. My next recollection is the being wakened some hours before daylight.
While it was still dark we ascended the lower spurs of


20
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
the mountain, which rises eastward to Prince's Peak, 5,000ft. high, and the dawn was not full when we could see both grey seas,to the south the Caribbean Sea, to the north the bay of Port-au-Prince, with its misty island.
The river road had been bad, but the mountain road was worse. When we met a cavalcade of donkeys we spent half an hour in edging across the top of a precipice, where the path only allowed of the passage of one at a time. When at last we reached the level, the track broadened out into a road some 30ft. wide, but horses and donkeys had passed over it when it was soft with the rains, and the sun had subsequently hardened the hollows and mouldings of mud into ridges. We followed this route across the plain through the forenoon until we came within sight of the sea which lay beyond a broad belt of swamp. A wind puffed lazily over the marsh, and the sun beat furiously down upon the road as we were swept up into a mile-long procession of negroes and negresses with laden donkeys and mules on their way to the morrow's market.
We came to a bridge after a while, and my guide said: "When you see a bridge always go round it." Later I discovered this to be a national proverb. It was sound advice, too, for the bridge had a 6ft. hole in the centre of it. Here the road, in spite of all its shortcomings, was a highway, with its dark stream of people flowing ahead of us into the capital.


THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI.
21
So with the sun still boring a hole in the small of my back, I at length jogged, wet and weary, into the heart of Port-au-Prince, where, after a little searching, I found a hotel.
They say that the first act of every nation in founding a new colony is typical. Spain builds a church, England founds a bank, and La Belle France opens and patronises a cafe\ For the moment, I preferred the French plan in that it administers to the primary necessities of the human frame.
France has evacuated Port-au-Prince for a hundred years; do her cafes survive? In a degenerate form they do, for Haytian life is negro life grafted upon French life, and the black man possesses among his faults or virtues a strong conservatism. The national impulse of the colonising Frenchman is to imitate Paris. The nearer his handiwork
1 can approach to the original ideal, the nearer he is to bliss. We have, therefore, in the town of Port-au-Prince an imitation of Paris made a hundred years ago by men who
\ had seen the original; and carried on and revised during the last century by a negro race, whothe enormous majority of them, at leasthave not.
The hotel to which I had come was an oblong building, rimmed below with narrow doors, and above with the usual wooden piazza. Mules and horses were hitched to the posts, and from the open doors an overpowering smell of


22
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
coffee greeted you. The bar was filled with Haytians, many in black frock-coats and straw hats, imbibing the brown "rhum" of the country.
They were lean men, bony-shouldered, with long faces pointed by fuzzy thin goatees, who greeted each other with an elaborate politeness, shaking hands indifferently with the right hand or the left.
The coloured barman manipulated a long drink, and the question of a room in which to sleep was mooted. Had they one? Had they not I a fine big room, would le blanc engage? No, le blanc would see first. Would le blanc come this way then, and they would show him ? He followed, and, passing through a dining-room of five or six tables, furnished with dirty cloths and picturesque red earthenware water-jugs, was once more in the street.
Turning to the left, we found an iron door on which the ancient red paint was blotched and faded. It opened upon a basement crowded with dogs and negroes; from this a wooden staircase climbed to the upper floor of the establishment. The building was two rooms thick. First came the ante-room and billiard-room, and here the afternoon heat hung palpable. A wine-splashed table gave the place an air of just awaking after a night of it, and the idea was not refuted by after-experience. Then on along a black passage to No. 9, and 1 was there.
The room had been but lately vacated, and the evidence


MARKET-PLACE, PORT-AtM*RiNE.




THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI. 25
of another presence spoke aloud from bed and basin. Two 7 windows gave upon the street, further ventilation was pro- : vided by jalousies opening into the sleeping rooms on each side, lack of privacy being a detail compared with the luxury of a thorough draught. A mosquito-net of bygone efficacy hung stagnant over the bed, and mosquitoes buzzed I round the dirty wooden walls in platoons.
This was the room, the waiter could not conceal his pride in ita fine room, as one could see; would not le blanc engage?
To whom did this hotel belong,to a Haytian? But yes, to a Haytian certainly. The rent of the room was two dollars per day. Monsieur would stay en pension? That would be two dollars more. Thus, for the sum of four dollars a day (Haytian value), drinks extra, the wanderer in Hayti had secured a resting-place and stokerage.
Outside the windows coursed an open drain which told plainly of its mission, and refuse of all indescribable sorts lay inches deep in the street. The view extended over^ the lower town, beyond which stood up the tail masts of ships; farther still, the green, nameless islands of Port-au-Prince Bay set against a background of blue tropic sea. j "How the heat danced! And the noises in the street,the > I uncouth yelling of negroes, the bark of dogs, and the grunt of scavenging pigs,came up in a babel.
What with the heat, the mosquitoes, and the noise there


26
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
arose a yearning for that primary necessitya bath. The heavy-footed negro came padding back into the room. The tin bath was at the service of le blanc. At once? He would see. And after that, something to eat. Very good I It was a first experience of the Haytian garcon, and things hung fire.
But to describe the first night in that room! No wind stirred the steaming air; it was like living at the bottom of a well of vapour. Cocks crowed throughout the livelong night, and poker was being played with vivacity atT the end of the passage from which one was only divided by mere wooden slats. Not fifty odd miles in the saddle could conquer these drawbacks and bring the welcome gift of sleep.
Next morning le blanc turned up to dijeuner weary and heavy-eyed after a late morning sleep.
" Slept well ?" asked an American, any mosquitoes ?" All visible skin-surfaces bore eloquent witness. Yes, by Josh I they've done you proud. Say, ever hear the story of the man who shot a mosquito up in that room of yours with an eight-bore duck gun, and only wounded it?"
For four days and nights I held the fort of No. 9, then I gave in, capitulated miserably, and left the mosquitoes and noises in possession. I departed towards evening, and the loose-treading, good-hearted nigger waiters, who sleep on three chairs, and don't know what a mosquito is, save


THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI. 27
by the sense of sight, came round and demanded "petits cadeaux."
After all, I left with some regret, for though the hotel was dirty, it must in fairness be said that one could meet with its equal in that respect in not a few places within the Spanish frontier. And, at least, the proprietors were amiably anxious to please, and spared no trouble.
I went up to the only other hotel in the town, which stands above the palace of the President on the Champ-de-Mars. There the arrangements accorded better with pre-1 \ judiced English notions, and there was a night wind thrown in. It is difficult to realise that in the whole State, containing, it is said, some million and three-quarters of inhabitants, there exist but three hotels.
Occasionally when I was feeling low I used to go down and have a meal at my old quarters, and the thought that it was no longer my fate to become mosquito-chop in No. 9 never failed to throw a fresh luminance of relief over my sojourn in the capital of the Black Republic.
So for some weeks I sojourned in Port-au-Prince and by\^ degrees acquired a knowledge of the Black Man's capital./
Within an arc of hazy blue mountains, threaded with clouds of a hundred delicate shades, Port-au-Prince lies upon its beaches like the white skeleton of a stranded whale, of which the rib-bones are the houses. The grass, that seems to gr^w^Between them, heads up into palm trees as you draw


28
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
/ nearer. Viewed from afar you would call it one of the (most beautiful spots on God's earth. But go down into k the squalid streets, and you find the town is a fester, a ^scj^ made by man, as it were of malice prepense, upon ] the natural loveliness of his environment.
It was good on quiet evenings and on certain cloudy dawns to ride away from this city of gutters and garbage, out of earshot of the multiloquous negro voices, and look down on the blue horse-shoe of the bay, where the island of Gonave floats in shadow, and to watch the soft southern greys and purples thrown on mountain, shore, and sea. ? At first sight Port-au-Prince looks fair enough to be worth ^travelling 5,000 miles to see; once enter it, and your next i impulse is to travel 5,000 miles to get away again. Passing through the streets, the life around seems a strange graft of Parisianism and savagery. Here is an idolatry of fashion,j an insistent militarism, and an exuberance of speech alV verging on the grotesquea distended caricature of thk orginal.
Here the white man, as opposed to the black, has no rights worthy of the name. Moreover, the town is under martial law. This condition of things is permanent, although the country has been for several years past at rest from internal dissensions. After nine you are challenged in the streets, and at no time of the day or night are you out of sight of a soldier.


6 o'clock reveille in the streets of port-au-prince.




THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI. 31
The chief boulevard is the Rue des Miracles, a broad street some three-quarters of a mile in length. Trees overhang the roadway, a wheezy steam-tram makes half-hourly journeys up and down from the quays to the Champ de Mars. There are no footways; road-mending appears to be a lost art, and the whole surface is as rough as the bed of a torrent.
At intervals of from 50 to 100 yards you find a post of soldiers. They live in ramshackle guardrooms made of wood turned rust-colour from lack of care and the corrosion of torrential rains, a longish hovel with the inevitable piazza raised some two feet above the street. Below flows an open drain. The heavy faces of the men are blotched with sleep. Some play dice on the bench by the wall, some lounge in hammocks slung from the trees over the sluggish sewer; two or three fires of boughs serve to cook their slender meals, which are not provided by the State. A collection of guns leans against the trees at various angles. The whole is more like a mid-forest bivouac of a few ragged blacks than a scene in the main thoroughfare of a capital.
The city has no architectural pretensions. The houses are mostly built of wood, and fires are of frequent occurrence, though it is now some time since they had a serious one. The finest buildings are the Cathedral, which stands at the head of the boulevard, and the white palace of the President When I passed the latter the President was sitting on the


32 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
balcony, playing draughts. He is a full-blooded negro, with ) 1 a heavy face and huge negro mouth set between a grey ^ 7 beard and grey hair brushed up from his forehead. He (must weigh close upon eighteen stone.
He is a superlative specimen of his race, and the black faction in Hayti have at least secured an admirably representative figurehead. To make this clear, it must be explained that Hayti for the black, as differentiated from the mulatto or coloured man, is the watchword of the great majority in the Republic.
The palace stands on the fringe of the Champ de Mars, where the reviews are held; an open space, on which the scanty grass breaks into patches of dusty baldness, and bloated bull-frogs hold nightly concerts in the intersecting ditches.
Turning back to the city, one passes by the steps of the Cathedral, which is open and tropical, the interior hung with dark curtains and supplied with a profusion of pictures and colour. The town possesses a peculiar picturesqueness / of its own, unlike anything one sees in any other quarter ) of the globe. But you walk through its cobbled streets with \ circumspection, for they are ankle-deep in refuse.
Even in the Place, which contains the Consulates and the chief shops, there is a heap of corruption five or six feet high and more than proportionately long. The waspish cab of the country, known as a 44 'bus," has just about


THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI.
33
room to pass between this gigantic rubbish-shootor, as it might more truthfully be called, dunghilland a black drain that skirts the beams supporting the piazzas of the houses. And this is the cleanest street in Port-au-Prince.
It is appalling to imagine what might happen were an > epidemic to break out here. The town has its foundations v; 5 jiterally set upon \decayj I have seen more than one of those unhealthy spots to which is attached the sobriquet of White Man's Grave," but none of them have the invitation to disease written so plainly across their faces as this city of Port-au-Prince. And yet disease in its largest sense seldom visits it.
At the corner of the Ruedu-Peuple I came upon a white man, clad in sea-going blue, moving cautiously with disgusted nostril.
"Hello!" he said; "would you be so good as to point out to me the shortest way to the quay?" I indicated the direction.
" I say," he continued, overlooking me with interest, "how long have you lived here?" "Four days," I said.
" I wish I had your constitution then 1 I've been ashore here an hour and three-quarters, and if I haven't a museum of the most virulent microbes inside me it isn't the fault of this town, that's all." And he passed on hurriedly.
It is about the fUttiies^place in the world; shut in by
3


34 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
mountains from the cool north winds, it stews on from year to year in stagnant heat. No smallest effort is made at sanitation; the street-drains with all their contaminations flow down and help to fill up the harbour. At times the rain flushes them, and this effort of Nature seems to be the sole force that tends to cleanliness. Under these circumstances you would expect Port-au-Prince to pay a heavy toll to the lords of disease. Surely this must be the most unhealthy spot in the world. But it is not so. Why? There you have a question no one can answer.
Of course the ordinary malarial fevers are by no means uncommon, but the absence of other and more serious diseases leaves one to speculate to what height Port-au-Prince might soar as a health resort if an enterprising and wholesome Government did away with the present-day horrors of the streets.
Among this accumulated dirt, black ladies, in all cases well-dressedmany of them in the handiwork of Parisian artistspick their perilous way or drive past in buggies atilt at impossible angles over the unevenness of the streets. Wherever you go the policeman, with his four-foot, ironshod club of cocomacaque, is a constant and conspicuous figure.
He demands a chapter to himself, but it is difficult to forego mention of him here, as his zeal is so significant a factor in the Haytian daily life. When he has fairly got his man down, and knocked most of the life out of him


PALMS ON THE WAY TO BlZOTOtfi


I


THE HIGH ROAD OF HAYTI. 37
with his club, the picture he makes standing over the bleeding figure in the road, with the ancient litter about them, and the blazing sun over all, could scarcely find its V coujitej^art^out^f wild West Africa^
Passing under an arch bearing the name of a late President, "Hippolyte President, ProgressUnion," I entered the chief market, and it was market-day. The buyers and sellers spread themselves like an open camp into the streets around, the smell was appalling; and here, seated upon the leavings of bygone markets, the citizens of the Republic do a brisk tradeT^^
The meat market is well supplied; it is presided over by burly butchers and gorged bluebottles. In the various approaches you can trace unpleasantly the evolution of flesh-foods, the raw material of your future meals. Pigs and goats, with their legs tied together, raise their voices in expostulation as they lie in the sun. One has wriggled to a neighbouring drain, and is gulping the thick fluid. Women, with piles of vegetables and fruit, boast one against the other; over the vociferous babble rises the lilt of a monotonous song. Fires smoulder here and there, and the acrid blue smoke hangs between sun and scene.
The whole is unique, Haytian; politeness is mingled with brutality, raucousness with a strange grace of demeanour. ^1 / Picturesqu^^u>-eminently_ nasty, the spirit of neglect, one


38 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
inevitable accompaniment of a black Government, broods over all, till one sickens in the sunshine.
"We are polite always," said a man to me. He spoke in vindication of various evils. But one cannot justify one's destiny by raising one's hat to a stranger.
Port-au-Prince leaves you with three impressions more vivid than the rest: the puny beasts of burden, each surmounted by a negress; the blue pervasive soldier, and the black pervasive dirt. Through the human torrent old hooded cabs are driven recklessly, and the open market is the backwash of the stream.
Just outside the town, towards the triumphal arch of Hippolyte, is a building with a roof of corrugated iron. You go in. The rude painting of a snake, a few soiled flags, a few prints from illustrated papers, are almost its sole furniture and ornament. You would not think it, but here you are in a Vaudoux temple, clinging upon the very skirts of civilisation. The worship is carried on, if not openly, at least unrestrainedly.


CHAPTER III.
the haytian general.
Hayti is governed by Generals in all sizes. I wonder how many of them there are in the country. I wondered all the time I was there. I am still wondering. The General is so ubiquitous that it leads you to doubt whether it may not be possible that while to be a General is no compliment, not to be one is in the nature of a slap in the face.
I have been given the rank myself; given it by many, in the hot white street; given it by the drivers of wheezy, weedy fiacres, by goateed Haytian gentlemen General, Gnral. You could not, I am sure, walk along any of the main streets of Port-au-Prince without meeting ten Generals.
One day I tried to attract the attention of a small black boy who sometimes did odd jobs for me. His age I should put at ten years. A companion of his who saw my need


4o WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
shouted across to attract his attention. What did he shout? Why"General.''
I occupied myself for some time in looking up the numerical force of military Hayti. I could find no exact statistics of later data than 1867, when there were 6,500 Generals of Division, 7,000 regimental officers, and 6,500 privates. At this computation the troops commanded by each General of Division consisted of one private and one regimental officer, and one-thirteenth of a regimental officer.
I made a great many inquiries as to the army of the Republic, I tapped a hundred possible sources of information, but found no one able to supply me with hard, sure, and certain facts on the subject. Like Hadji Baba of immortal memory, when he was sent to discover the number of the enemy's guns, they were wont to make answer in the same illusory fashion, "Onetwothree fivesix hundred."
At length in a fortunate hour I purchased of an ancient man a book which purported to give a list of the regiments and some other details. I took it to one of the officials, who I supposed might be able to help me, and asked him if it was correct. He loosely said it was. Anyway, it was not hopelessly incorrect, and he added that if I secured the exact statistics for the moment I should probably find them considerably modified in six months. There is evidently no stagnation of this particular kind in Hayti.


SOiME GENERALS.




THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 43
As I have said, the country is governed by Generals. The biggest of all is President Tiresias Augustin Simon Sam. Directly under him are the Generals of Departments; below them are Generals of Arrondissements and of Communes. Lower again are Generals of subdivisions, Generals of Postes Militaires, and so it goes on. There is a General of the prison, and a General of the women's prison.
The man who kept the hotel I stayed at was not a General, but then he was not a Haytian. At last I found myself asking whether the waiter did not, on his evenings off, also flower into a lace-bound General. There have been waiters very much Generals, and one who made himself not only a General-President, but a General-Emperor.
It is beautiful, this militarism, but it has made me decide never to return to Hayti. Baptiste of the soda-water syphon, who nightly waged war with the little boys under the door-slats, might in the meantime have become a General, and who can say in what spirit he might remember the former exactions of the white man?
The General is prolific; not that I mean that all his sons are Generals "ipso facto," but from the forcing-ground of each revolution springs a new crop of honours. What could be cheaper for the exchequer or more gratifying to the individual than the bestowal broadcast of the rank of General 1


44
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
They say, but this I do not guarantee, that a certain President beat a man at a game of draughts, and in his delight immediately presented him with a General's commission. There is only one thing of which I am absolutely certain, which is, that they will not make me a General for writing all this about them.
Lesser titles are very small potatoes indeed" Aut General aut nullus." But when you look a little more closely, while still criticising in the friendliest spirit, you cannot help wondering if this elevation in the bulk to high military rank is not due to the same spirit as that which impels the savage to clothe himself in the rather quaint combination of a tall hat and a girdle of hearse feathers.
The same tendency towards display led in the year 1849 to the creation of a black nobility. At that time Soulouque was Emperor, calling himself Faustin the First, and he showered titles with a lavish hand among his supporters. Black dukes and barons strutted it through the Court. The Emperor gave the titles, but left it to the favoured ones to choose their own designations, which they apparently did more according to sound than to knowledge.
Of the four Princes one was Bobo, and it is almost tragic to learn that among the fifty-nine dukes were their Graces of Marmalade and Lemonade I But Mr. James Anthony Froude's allusion to dukes and marquises driving over the white man in the streets of Port-au-Prince as late


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 45
as 1887 is surely something of an anachronism, like certain other of the same gentleman's statements.
To-day their places are taken by Generals. The Haytian is tender upon the subject of their multiplicity. If you ask him questions concerning the swollen list he grows restless and prefers another topic. In Hayti they are always conjugating a compound verb. They begin youngin the future tense: I will be a General." Everyone hankers to be a General. It is the hall-mark of success. He to whom success comes vaunts himself, I am a General of the Republic"; and the conjugation has rather often been known to end abruptly in the past tense: 41 He was a General." The man who lives to say the last of himself says it from overseas, coupled with bitter reflections upon his native land.
An urban General is in most cases but a name, whereas his congener of the country is usually a living power. You find in the villages that the General of place and commune has a distinct position. He lives in a house a little larger and a little better than those of his neighbours I had almost said subjectswith an extra outbuilding in his stockade, a better horse, and, perhaps, an extra wife or two. Under his fierce rule the commune bows to the rigour of the law; the peasantry cannot be said to prosper, but at least they are inoffensive and polite.
The reason is not far to seek. The black man can no


46
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
more govern his black brother successfully without tyranny than you can reach a blind man's sense without touch or speech. No appeal is made to his reason; he is coerced by solid fear.
Hear him pray, and you will understand him better. He does not supplicate his God; he demands of his God; he essays to bargain. That is because his deity is far away out of sight; therefore, in relation to that unfelt power he begins to esteem himself and his desires, and to be puffed up out of all due proportion. Whereas the grip of his General's iron hand is unmistakably evident over all the hours of his daily life.
When I was at Thomazeau, the last Haytian town before one reaches the Dominican frontier, an incident very typical of the Spartan sway of these local pashas had occurred. A man stole a cow. He was caught and shot dead the next morning by orders of the General de la Place. The result of this measure of summary justice was that you might have left a handful of silver dollarsnay, more, your open rum flaskin the village street, nor would any man have dared to help himself to either. But these Generals, with substantive power, are conspicuously in the minority.
Regarded from the point of view of possible leaders of the Haytian army, it must be conceded that they have yet to prove their significance and to win their spurs. Since the war with San Domingo, in which no reputations were


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 47
made, the Haytian Generals have not led the troops down to alien battle. They have contented themselves with being up to the hilt in revolutions, and with sunning themselves at dusty reviews.
If, however, the State ever calls them to its service, it is unlikely that the troops will be left without a General. Hayti calculates to throw at any moment 8,000 men into the field, and of these only a smattering would not be full Generals.
It may be thought it is because of the emoluments that the Haytian likes to become a General, but the State is wiser than that; out of the numbers who are entitled to wear gold lace not one in ten ever sees the colour of State money. Each subsists as he can, yet clings to the nominal honour, although it brings many expenses in its train. A story goes that the Haytian, while quite content to leave his all of worldly wealth behind him, yet hopes to bear with him his rank of General across the lonely frontier, and still to cut a figure with it in another and a better world.
But let us proceed to consider the Soldier. My first speaking acquaintance with him occurred one night on the Champ-de-Mars near the President's Palace. I repeated the conversation with little variation on numerous occasions afterwards.
"Blanc, I am a soldier, give me ten centimes."


48
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
" You have your pay."
" My General has taken my pay. I am a poor man and a soldier. Give me ten centimes." "How long have you been a soldier?" "Three years."
"When did you have your pay last?" Very long ago, and I am hungry. Give me ten centimes. Merci, blanc"
He stood before me, with his chinless, thick-lipped black face under a blue cap banded with red. He wore dried grass slippers, shabby tweed trousers, and a faded light-blue coat. Over his shoulders by a rough hemp rope was slung a flintlock gun, and he was hurrying towards beat of drum to fall in for the evening parade. At half-past five p.m. the bugle-calls come trickling through the crowded streets, drums beat, and the army of Hayti arises from its benches and its dice. The guard at the houses of Ministers and the men at the police-stations gather together, shoulder arms, and line up by fours to twenties.
Their officer stands in front of them with a drawn rusty sword. The soldiers continue to be interested in their individual concerns. One is chewing a banana, another is wolfing sugar-cane, gnawing doglike at a piece two feet long. They stand there, very much at ease, for about twenty minutes, occasionally going through a slovenly series of movements, then the General takes himself off, and the


A GENERAL'S EVENING RIDE.




THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 51
Haytian army once more disposes itself on its benches and dozes if it is more than usually hungry.
Of course each regiment has a uniform of its own, but the soldiery, save on review daysof which more anon put on the trousers the good God sends them and are thankful. Of a score drawn up in line no two are dressed alike; their workaday uniform is limited to the red-banded kpi and rags. As to weapons, a broken bristle of bayonets sticks up along the file, but all the men have rifles. They are of different calibres and decadesalmost, one might say, of different centuries. In one group I found a decrepit magazine, a flintlock, and a self respecting Remington.
The State does not undertake any commissariat obligations, and the private's pay trickles down to him through more than one absorbent channel. Visible means of subsistence he has practically none; he seeks food to eke out existence much as a stray cat does in England. He purrs pitifully and pessimistically about the blanc' when he meets him, and pounces upon the weaker units of his own colour with a highly-developed instinct of plunder. When there happens to be a lack of such happy chances and he is more than usually hungry, he goes to sleep. So in the hot town the Haytian soldiery drowses unstirred by dreams of golden glory. Its attention is fully occupied in strenuous effort to keep its stomach full. At the worst it does odd jobs and carries coffee-sacks.


52 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Every third man you meet is a General; only every tenth General, as I have said before, gets paid, but every General tries to pay himself. The pay of these personages is nominally -140 per amum for a General of Division, and i?i05 for a Brigadier! The sums grow less in ratio to the rank: a Captain is given a competency of \2% and the Private wallows in the wild prodigality of about 2 1 os a yearand that not always forthcoming.
When you know how the Haytian soldier is paid, you know how Hayti is governed. The principle is one and indivisible. The paymaster takes toll of the 50 centimes and passes it on to the first General. The first General, who is a very big General indeed, hands it on in slimmer bulk to the second General. He in his turn transfers it, further diminished, to his next in command. The Captain lightens it lest it should be too heavy for the Lieutenant to carry, and the Lieutenant, not liking to break the chain takes his own discount; thus the soldier who receives five centimes is in luck; he who gets ten is a favourite of the gods. And when at last he has pocketed it, his Lieutenant comes along and wins it off him at the universal game of dice.
This sounds very grotesque, but it is none the less sober truth. Nor is it a matter of isolated instances; it happens every week as regularly as pay-day comes, and will in all probability go on happening every week as long as the Black Republic endures.


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 53
"Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em," so we say, but Hayti, as her custom is, twists the order round, for the smallest flea is the soldier, and upon him feed a whole series of larger fleas.
There are more ways than one of extracting sustenance out of him, as witness the following case which occurred quite recently. A countrywoman brought into market the best yield of her plantation. By sale and barter she accumulated a good store of provisions, and, being feeble, hired a sample of the ubiquitous soldier to carry her possessions to her mules some half-a-mile away. The soldier walked in front of her, and all went well until she met an acquaintance in the street and stopped to exchange gossip. The old lady was interested, and the soldier, for once finding himself able to nip a smaller flea than himself, seized the opportunity to decamp to his arrondissement with the loot.
On arrival he awoke his sleeping comrades, others left off gambling for the moment at the rare prospect of food, and the whole guard set to work to divide the spoil and to put the butter, the pork, and the rum beyond the reach of their original owner. But while they were engaged in tearing open the second tin of butter, the Lieutenant of the post hove in sight. Now when an officer sees a soldier with a sufficiency of provisions he naturally jumps to the conclusion that they must have been stolen; therefore the Lieutenant, having listened to two minutes of fluent lying,


54
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
went off post-haste to acquaint the General next above him with the condition of affairs.
This General was a prompt man. He lost no time in committing the Lieutenant to prison for not having appropriated the food and brought it at once to him. Then he got a horse, galloped down to the post, sent the guard off to jail in bulk, and carried the whole plunder to his own house. But, unluckily for that energetic individual, the story got abroad, and a certain still more highly placed black General despatched a message to say that the butter, rum and pork would be just as safe under his care as anywhere else. Such hints from a superior in Hayti are, like royal invitations, not to be refused.
The peasant woman returned home empty, the soldier gained a few mouthfuls of food and prison, the Lieutenant prison only; the first General gained the sense of complacency consequent on possession for the space of an hour, while the biggest flea of all pouched the booty that had come up the long military ladder to enrich one of the highest in the land. There can be no doubt if the old lady ever applies for her own (which is unlikely) she will also be put into prison for losing it.
There is no conscription, and the battalions are recruited, not by any regular enforcement of law, but by a system of press-gangs armed with the cocomacaque. A young English subject, black, about eighteen years old, was im-


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 55
pressed in this manner recently. He objected on the ground of his nationality, but the recruiting party cared not at all for that, and, after beating him, flung him into jail. He was of course released on the representations of his Consul.
There is another evil which pervades the army, and that is the influence of the Papaloi. At Vaudoux sacrifices the soldier class is always well represented. This statement is not upon hearsay evidence. I have seen a general in uniform kill a cock in honour of the sacred snake under the eyes of a large number of worshippers. If ever it should come to pass that the Papaloi were to order one thing and the authorities another, the average soldier would be extremely likely to disregard the wishes of the Government. He objects to a clubbing exceedingly, but he objects even more strongly to brave the wrath and vengeance of the unseen powers of darkness, whose representatives upon earth he believes the Vaudoux priests to be.
It is this prevalence of the Vaudoux sect which astonishes you. A priestess once boasted that if she beat the sacred drum in the centre of the town of Port-au-Prince, few even of the highest in the land would dare to disregard the summons. And you must own that when the third part of the spectators of the ceremonies is made up of negroes wearing the kepi, it is not unlikely that the boast of the priestess had good foundation as regards the army.


56
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
The tendency of the soldiery towards these horrible and grotesque superstitions is one of the safeguards of the votaries from punishment. You may set a thief to catch a thief if the first thief has any interest in so doing, but is it not absurd to expect to stamp out snake-worship by the agency of snake-worshippers, whom instinct inevitably throws back upon the primal religions?
Nevertheless, although the Haytian becomes a soldier in spite of himself, and is heavily handicapped by circumstances, he is astonishingly free of one serious fault. He may be on occasion a bully and a thief, but he is not a drunkard, although he could get cheaply and comfortably drunk on tafia for two centimes. With steady handling he could be turned out a first-class fighting man; as he is, however, he can hardly be deemed an effective. Yet the opinion in many Haytian circles is that it would be a bad day for any European force when it came in the way of the Republican troops.
"They would fight like heroes," said a General to me, 14 these brave ones! If any attacking army landed in this free Republic, they would without doubt instantly drive it into the sea."
On the first Sunday of each month a review is held on the Champ-de-Mars. On the particular Sunday when I had the luck to be present, it was to be an even grander review than usual, one of the events of the year. The earliest


THE MARCH PAST.




THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 59
intimation of the great doings came from the National Musical Company, whose martial strains drifted across in the glow of the morning, and I turned out to see what was going on.
The dusty Champ-de-Mars, with its fringe of white houses, its meandering drains, and its extensive prospect over calm waters, was just greeting the rising sun. The dew was yet wet upon the grass, the air was growing hotter with each moment. Beneath us the town was spread out in a chess-board of white and green, and afar off a few ships swung at anchor in the fjord-like bay.
Distant bugle calls tinkled like echoes from various points, a couple of Generals met together under a tree, and soon dark columns of soldiers began to crawl out from the town below. As they drew nearer I saw that they were changed from the men I knew. On week-days they lounge about the streets in ragged unkemptness, but on review days they blossom out into uniforms of gorgeous colours. Busy black Generals caracoled ostentatiously upon their flanks and in front of them, as they marched on to the field and formed into a hollow square. The town was now stirring like an ant-heap, and giving forth a broad stream of people on foot and in carriages.
Every scene has its dominant note, that aspect which first strikes the eye and afterwards lingers longest in the memory. Here it was struck by the negro Generals. There


6o
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
were three hundred of them at the least. Pink Generals, green Generals, blue Generals, and Generals clad in the paler Cambridge tint; the plain was stiff with generals, score upon score, important, imposing, each in a web of gold lace, each mounted upon a small, long-tailed but excellent horse, each riding well, though after the splayfooted fashion of his race, each aware that the eyes of the world were upon him, and each determined upon keeping them fixed there.
They galloped hither and thither across the open square, they ambled along the ranks, they impressed themselves obtrusively upon the attention. To be a General it is not necessary ever to have been a soldier or officer of lesser rank, the title being bestowed for political purposes or, as an article of the Haytian Constitution has it, for eminent services rendered to the State."
The assembled troops numbered perhaps 2,000, and I judged, from the diversity of equipment, that many of the thirty-eight regiments of the Republic were represented amongst them. There was a fine show of colour, although there were also deficiencies in the matter of foot-gear and rifles. Not a man of them all stood straight; they might have been galvanised figures jerked into position by some malignantly humorous intelligence. Yet you knew it was a great occasion, for not one individual was eating sugar cane, a height to which discipline rarely soars.


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL.
61
A bugle gave notice of developments. Generals smoothed down projecting angles with their horses as, riding swiftly, General St. Fort Colin, the Minister of War, curveted out into the golden sunshine. He galloped round, a word here, a sign there, and even as he finished his tour of inspection the music of the palace band heralded the approach of His Excellency General Tiresias Augustin Simon Sam, President of the Republic.
The palace band moved forward playing, and wonderfully well they played, and looked well, too, in red and blue and gold, with crested caps. After them came the President and his staff, sixty of them, Generals all.
They rode out into the Champ-de-Mars and cantered round, saluted and saluting. General Sam was in uniform, and his charger was caparisoned with a saddle-cloth of crimson and gold. He rides well, and has a soldierly bearing. He looked not only the head of the army, but the most soldierlike man in it, as he drew up under the shade of some trees and his staff wheeled into line behind him.
Then the march past began, led off by the National
Musical Company. First the infantry, men in red trousers
with black kits and red blankets, their band following;
squads with blue jackets and red-tasseled caps, contingents
more or less numerous in various blends of pink and green,
blue and red, with touches of yellow in stripe or cord or tassel.


62
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
The artillery passed, a battery of five guns and a Nordenfeldt, each drawn by a single mule. Occasionally an aide-de-camp received an order and galloped away with it. Three or four times a standard-bearer was manoeuvred into place by a vociferous General. Once a woman with a basket of linen on her head was hunted off the ground by another General in light green.
Two regiments of cavalry belonging to the bodyguard filed by, each perhaps 200 strong, the first in gleaming brass helmets, the second chasseurs in blue. So it went on, colour after colour, General after General.
Little can be said as to the deportment of the troops. They marched in step to a certain degree, but the files lolloped past in a loose-backed zigzag that would have broken the heart of a drill sergeant. Yet, untrained and unstiffened as it was, there could be no doubt but that the right material was there, if it could be put into efficient hands.
The populace was, however, pleased with the performance, and greeted the appearance of the different regiments with that singular O-ho which is the Haytian exclamation of approval; with it he welcomes everything, from a lady who is fortunate enough to please his critical eye, to a cab accident in the street.
Few of the regiments exhibited their nominal strength of 250. This is no new failing. For many a day after


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 63
the last war they were engaged in against San Domingo, the President of the period was wont to say to any stranger who remarked upon these depleted battalions: "AhI they suffered much in the last war!" in a tone which gave the hearer to understand that he was looking upon the survivors of a later Balaclava, fought out desperately among the wooded tropic hills.
But tradition has it that the only people those heroes shot in any number were their own officers, at the orders of the then Emperor Soulouque, who, to excuse himself when vanquished by the Dominicans, accused his staff in bulk of having betrayed him, the army, and their country.
Hayti supposes herself to have modelled her army upon that of France, only in this, as in all other things she is a caricature rather than a copy of the original. She overdoes all her effects; she is like the nouveau riche who bought an old oak balustrade and had it overlaid with gold-leaf.
At length the last General of all the Generals had saluted, and the columns filed away into smallness down the road; the President and his staff trotted back to the palace near by; the grand review was over; and I was left to reflect upon the fact that Hayti is the most unconditionally military State in the world, and that she makes no account of anything beneath the rank of General.
The Haytian, in spite of his huge pretensions, is, however, not naturally a soldier. Drill and discipline and the art of


64
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
war are mere empty sounds to his ear. From his point of view they are entirely beside the question. What he cares for is to play at being a soldier; he loves the accoutrement, the uniforms, the gold laceespecially the gold lace. He has a passion for military titles, military bombast, military display. Even on his postage stamp a cannon sprawls menacingly in front of his crossed flags; but there it ends.
He brags perpetually of his patriotic determination to defend the last inch of his native land from the usurpation of the alien, yet he allows his neighbour, San Domingo, to push the frontier between the States farther and farther to the westward without offering the smallest effective objection.
The following is an attempt to reproduce a conversation between an Englishman and a trio of generals after the review.
Scene. The piazza of a palm-thatched hut in the hot tropic evening. The open space in front represents the village street. It breaks up at once beyond the huts into a straggling, loose-edged bridle path, which glints in the oblique light of the rising moon until it disappears into the forest.
Dark figures move to and fro in the half-dusk outside, and crowing cocks, the sound of horses making a meal off guinea-grass, the patter of donkeys, disturb the silence of the night. Three consequential Haytians in blue, green,


ON PARADE.




THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 67
and pink, thickly netted over with gold lace, are seated smoking. Also an Englishman. Mosquitoes, dust, sandflies, and a smell of coffee mixed with rank tobacco smoke temper the sweetness of the air.
Haytian (in blue uniform): "Gn6ral."
The other two: "Qui, mon Gne>al."
Blue General (stretching): "I am tired. But the review of to-daywhat a great spectacle I "
Pink General: "Ohol Assuredly, a great spectacle!"
Green General; "Without question the most magnificent spectacle that one can see."
Englishman: "I was much interested."
Blue G : Our army is composed of brave men. The troops are the finest in the world! Do you not think so, monsieur?"
E. (choosing his words): I have seen none like it."
Pink G. (who is fat, with streaks of yellow on the bulging whites of his eyes): "The tenue, the discipline of the men was admirable I "
Green G.: "The army of Hayti is one which reflects credit upon its officers. An army without officerswhat is it ?"
Blue G.: "Nothing, absolutely nothing!"
Pink G.: The army of Hayti has never been conquered! The French were here: we drove them out! The English fought with us; where are they? But wewewe are here always! We have never been conquered!"


68
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Blue G.: It would be impossible. We could not survive it."
Chorus: "It is true, my General, for in that case we should be dead! "
Blue G.: But the Boers will conquer the English."
Pink and Green G's. (together): Yes, yes, Ladysmith has fallen. The Boers have captured the town."
E.: "Indeed? When?"
Blue G.: To-day or to-morrowit goes without saying." E. (with relief): "Quite so."
Blue General (puffing out his chest): "The Boers and we Haytians are brothers. We also have fought for the independence of our country. They are a bad people, these English."
Pink G. (looking at the E.): The blanc is perhaps an Englishman."
Green G.: "The blanc is an American."
Blue G.: Yes, yes, an American. I have always said so."
E.: "Pardon, Generals, English."
Blue G. (with assurance): "Yes, yes, English, have I not said so?"
E.: "I am sorry to find, General, that you are on the side of the Boers."
Blue G. (shaking his fat black cheeks in vehement declamation): "What would you, monsieur? They are our


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 69
brothers, these Bo-o-ers! If I were fighting for theml But, no, I am here. The white English, they would crush the Bo-o-ers I"
Chorus: But they cannot 1 Vive les brave Bo-o-ers 1"
E : "The Boers are white also, messieurs."
Blue G. (not to be taken in): No, no, they are not white."
E.: "I assure you"
Blue G.: 11 The Boers live in Africa. All who live in Africa, excepting the English, are black men." (The General who made this astounding statement was an ex-Minister of War.)
Chorus: "It is true."
E.: "On the contrary, if you will pardon my presumption in mentioning the fact, the Boers are, undoubtedly, white. They came from Europe in the first place, and took the land from the Africans. Now the English are taking the land from the Boers."
Blue General: "The English are brave men. I say sol They are the bravest men in the world. The Haytians conquered them. My regiment" (At this moment a bugle call resounds in the village street, a commotion is to be observed in the military arrondissement opposite. A short score of ragged negroes in light-blue coats, and trousers the worse for wear, tumble lazily out and form up in irregular line before a short, goateed black with a little sword.)


70 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Pink G.: 44 Monsieur, see, the soldiers of the Republic." E.: 14 How many men such as these could his Excellency the President put into the field at a week's notice?" Pink G.: 44 Twenty-five thousand I"
E.: 44 An army indeed! How many troops were present today at the review on the Champ de Mars?"
Blue G. (not to be behindhand): 44Ten thousand." (At the outside there were hardly i,8oo.)
Pink G.: 441 was there."
E.: 441 observed you there, General. Your horse "
Pink G.: 44 My horse ? Oho! that is a horse I He can go a hundred miles a day."
Blue G. (cutting in): "President Sam is the father of the army. He is undertaking reforms which will make our army the equal of the first armies in Europe. Such men as oursas you saw to-day, monsieurcan do anything. When all is ready we will drive the Dominicans into the sea, and the whole island shall be ours!"
Chorus: 44Vive la Rejmblique."
Blue G.: 44 When all is ready we will send officers to Europe to show the French, the Germans, and the English what an officer can attain to."
Pink G.: 441 will then go to Europe."
Blue G. (with excitement): 44 Oho 1 It is I who will gol I have already been chosen. I am of the cavalry."
E. (hurriedly in the uproar): 44 During the last revolution"


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 71
Pink G. (asserting himself): If a revolution were to break out I would proceed at once to the place and put a stop to it."
Blue G. (with quivering cheeks) : I also am not afraid of a revolution."
All (clapping their hands to their swords): "Who is afraid?"

ABOUT TO BE REVIEWED.
Blue G.: "Fear? I do not know what it isl"
Pink G.: "I have never been afraid. And you, monsieur?"
E.: "I have been afraid very often."
Green G.: "If you feel afraid, talk I It will do you good."
E.: Having seen the Grand Review to-day, I should like to hear more about the Haytian forces. Will you be good enough to tell me something of interest?"


72 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Pink G. (after a moment's deep thought): 441 am General of Division."
E. (who has heard it rumoured that Generals outnumber privates in the Haytian army, wishes to set the question at rest): 44 How many men are in your command?"
Pink G. (shrugging his shoulders complacently): 441 do not know. But what matters it? Two or three thousand, at the least."
E., opening up a fresh subject, speaks of Hayti as a nation.
Blue G. (aggressively): 44France a republic, Hayti a republic, and America a republic"(triumphantly shaking three fingers in E.'s face)44 three republics 1"
E.: 44You have been to Paris?"
Blue G.: 441 will go next month. I will see the Exposition. I will review the troops."
(The Pink and Green Generals join in. To deepen the impression already made upon the Englishman they also, it seems, are going to Paris probably next month, and all three launch into a chaos of conversation.)
Blue G. (surviving the chorus): 14 Return here in two years' time, my friend. You will see changes. Railways will intersect the land. The army, already numerous, will be enormous. And I shall be again a Minister!"
As this seems to place a cap upon the future, the Englishman disengages himself from his companions and goes out into the stockade, where, beneath a tamarind tree, he


THE HAYTIAN GENERAL. 73
finds his horse making frantic efforts to fight the puissant steed of the Pink General. He on-saddles and rides round by way of the piazza. The Pink General has fallen asleep open-mouthed, the voice of the Blue General rumbles on in continuous argument. He and the Green General are taking a friendly "Rhum" together. They call out their adieux as the Englishman passes, then a bend of the track shuts them out from his life for ever.


CHAPTER IV.
vaudoux worship and sacrifice.
Although much of the information incorporated in the following chapter was only gradually gained during the whole period of my stay in Hayti, I am giving it an early place in this volume, because some slight knowledge of what Vaudoux really is and its influence upon its votaries is indispensable to the understanding of the condition and character of the inhabitants of the Republic.
For Vaudoux is so inextricably woven in with every side of the Haytian's life, his politics, his religion, his outlook upon the world, his social and family relations, his prejudices and peculiarities that he cannot be judged apart from it.
The underpart of Black life is full of strange beliefs. In Hayti the nominal religion is Roman Catholicism, but it is no more than a thin veneer; beneath you find, not traces


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 75
merely, but a solid groundwork of West African superstition, serpent-worship, and child-sacrifice.
This last assertion may seem almost incredible, made in connection with a nation, not only living in the midst of other civilised communities, but which was itself started a century ago on the double lines of European laws and a Christian creed. Nevertheless, all those who know anything of Hayti by personal experience and residence there, know too that the fact has been amply proved over and over again.
Little is known of the Black Republic outside of her own shores, and even at home her policy is a policy of keeping dark everything humiliating to her pretensions. The national method is not to suppress these infamous crimes, but simply to deny their existence.
The evil of Vaudoux worship is widespread. The Government has, at all times, been too unstable to care to take the risk of seriously opposing so powerful a combination. The sect is universally feared, hence they carry on their rites and their orgies with practical impunity.
At the root of this outgrowth of superstition are the Papalois and Mamalois, the priests and priestesses, who minister to the naturally credulous mind of the negro. Papaloi, Mamaloi, are corruptions of "Papa le roi" and Mama le roi," the titles themselves showing the estimation in which these people are held. They dwell chiefly in the mountains. A famous priest lives on the road (save the


76 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
mark!) between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel; another towards Furcy; but the old iniquity who is more especially in my mind's eye sojourns in the sierras not so far from the capital itself.
Vaudoux, according to its more elect disciples, is an all-powerful deity, but the idea of the masses does not rise above the serpent, which represents to them their god and which presides, in its box, over all their services. These usually take place at night and in pseudo-secrecy. They consist of dancing, sacrificing, feasting, invocations, and a Delphic delirium on the part of the Mamaloi, winding up with scenes of an indescribable nature.
There are said to be two sects of Vaudoux; one which sacrifices only fruits, white cocks, and white goats to the serpent-god; the other, that sinister cult above referred to, whose lesser ceremonies call for the blood of a black goat, but whose advanced orgies cannot be fully carried out without the sacrifice of "the goat without horns"the human child.
White is supposed to be the sacred colour of the former, red of the latter, but on one occasion I was lucky enough to witness a Vaudoux function where the flags and handkerchiefs were red and white, pointing to an intermingling of the two forms; the cocks sacrificed were both black and white, again bearing evidence in the same direction.
Testimony as to the order of the ceremonies used in


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 77
Vaudoux worship differs, but this is not be wondered at, being the natural result of an unwritten ritual, practised by an utterly ignorant people. Each writer on Hayti gives the order at secondhand as described by native witnesses, and probably all are equally right as regards the instance referred to.
For my own satisfaction I noted down on my cuff the sequence of the rites as they took place before me. Of these I will give a detailed description later.
The serpent used by these fetish sectaries is generally believed to be the Macajuel, a species allied to the harmless boa. When riding in a remote country district, I met a man with a snake of this kind that he had caught. I offered him five dollars for it, which he refused. The Haytian peasant is very poor, and five dollars is for him not merely a windfall, but absolute wealth, and he would hardly have declined it without strong reason for doing so.
Sir Richard Burton speaks of the 41 small green snake of the Haytian negroes, so well known by the abominable orgies enacted before the Vaudoux King and Queen.'' Today the green snake is extinct in the island. More than that, no white man I met would allow it ever existed, and I was almost beginning to think that Burton had for once made a mistake, when a certain old native, whom I may describe as up to the neck in Vaudoux, told me certain


78 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
facts which modified my conclusion. I was subsequently shown a green snake preserved in spirits.
Whether the snake enclosed in its box on the Haytian altars of to-day during a child-sacrifice is of that species or a harmless boa it is impossible to say, as no white man has ever been allowed to set eyes upon one.
Vaudoux, Juju, Obi, or some analogous superstition seems to belong to the bottom stratum of black nature. Vaudoux is a religion of old, old time. When William the Norman came to England it was no doubt flourishing amongst the African tribes of the West Coast.
With the captured slaves, whose descendants the Haytians are, it was brought to this distant island, and here it is rampant still. It raises an unshamed head in all quarters. The last President was even said to be a votary. A large place like a casino, just outside of Port-au-Prince, is devoted to its observances.
But Southern Hayti is its strongest rallying-point, and Jacmel the hot-bed of its power. All along the road between the town and Port-au-Prince I know it thrives exceedingly. In the north, at Cap Haytien, on the contrary, the traces of it are slighter.
Vaudoux is cannibalism in the second stage. In the first instance a savage eats human flesh as an extreme form of triumph over an enemy; so the appetite grows until this food is preferred to any other. The next stage follows


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 79
naturally. The man, wishing to propitiate his god, offers him that which he himself most prizes. Add to this sacrifice the mysteries and traditions of the ages, and you have the Vaudoux of to-day.
Cannibalism has been brought as a very general accusation against the Haytians, but although there is no doubt that the child sacrificed in the worst Vaudoux rites is afterwards dismembered, cooked, and eaten, I do not think that of recent years the practice of cannibalism, unconnected with sacrifice, is in any degree prevalent, although it is equally certain that scattered instances do still come to light. The Government have been known to make feeble and spasmodic efforts to punish the culprits, but as a rule this iniquity, as well as most others, is allowed to run its course unchecked.
To quote a case or two of these judicial attempts at punishment:A woman and her daughter, convicted red-handed at Jacmel of killing and eating a child, were mounted on asses and beaten round the town by the police with cocomacaque clubs. Afterwards they were released. Two years ago, in the northern part of the island, a party of men and women were imprisoned for a few days only for the same crime, which they indulged in as a conclusion to a Vaudoux sacrifice. But this crime is, I both believe and hope, on the decrease and may in time die out.
Not the least prominent feature of Vaudoux is the drum


8o
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
that calls the worshippers together. One which I saw and examined was four feet high. Its frame was made of some jointed wood like bamboo, in girth it was as large as a man's trunk. The upper surface was of black goatskin, thinned by the thrumming of many fingers, with hair still adhering to the edges where it was pegged to the frame.
This instrument is so singularly constructed that although at a distance of a mile or more it sounds loudly, near at hand its throbbing note is indistinct and low.
Where the negro picked up this secret in acoustics it is hard to imagine. But the peculiarity has an important use. A sect with rites like the Vaudoux have naturally strong reasons for desiring that none but the initiated should be present at their gatherings: hence the low, misleading sound that mutters about you when the drum is played close at hand, whereas the initiated, who have warning of a sacrifice, hear the call at really wonderful distances, and at once proceed to the appointed spot.
The difficulty of following up the dull throb at close quarters is extraordinary. On several occasions I have tried to trace from the ear alone the unmistakable vibration, and have failed. There is some thrilling quality in the muffled and mysterious beat which cannot be described, but which stirs the pulse in spite of familiarity.
Hayti is the sole country with any pretence to civilisation


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 81
where a superstition contaminated by such active horrors exists. It would seem that the perpetuation of a cult so degrading must have its source deep in the character of the race. Yet you find that these undoubted cannibals can on occasion be both kind-hearted and hospitable. Perhaps the root of all lies in their squalid ignorance. Then whose is the fault?
The answer must be given unhesitatingly. It is the fault of the Government. Instead of rare and futile demonstrations directed against some outlying evildoer, they should strike at the Papalois, who are the heart and mainspring of Vaudouxism. Let them destroy the Papalois, and the whole edifice of horror will crumble to pieces of natural decay.
I made it a special point while in the island to learn as much of the sect as possible, to get at the truth concerning them by personal experience, and to glean actual facts at firsthand. With this object in view, I more than once gained intelligence of the time and place appointed for the performance of Vaudoux ceremonies and sacrifices. I wanted to see for myself the mysteries of snake-worship, and by good luck I succeeded to a certain extent.
On the first of these occasions, I understood that I must
find my way to a low part of the town after night had
fallen. It was getting on towards midnight when the
muffled reverberation of a drum beating a swift measure
6


82
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
came up out of the hot darkness; no wind stirred, and the candle-flame by the open window stood up straight and unwavering.
I descended into the evil odours of the street. I had heard it before, that droning drum music, with a scream or two at intervals, which in Hayti often beats upon the overladen pulses of the night. The town was under martial law, but passing steps were stirring up the ineffable rubbish under foot. At the corner, "Qui vive?" from a soldier in the gloom, but a small coin settled the matter and I passed on.
At last the challenges died away behind me; the carpet of dirt and garbage seemed to have grown thicker below the tread: the streets were unlit even in the best quarters of the town, and therefore to keep clear of drains and arbitrary pools of slime was almost an impossibility.
Under a roof a concertina was playing to a crowd who oscillated and turned in dance measure, but the drum was calling from somewhere in the dark twist of streets beyond. Above shone the serene stars; beneath them the negro and negress followed out their scheme of life. Past booths crowded with talkers, past the vending-places of rich, unwholesome sweetmeats and drink in coloured bottles, pausing occasionally to catch the vibration of the drum, across an open market-place frilled with an edging of empty sheds, and at length I was at the spot described to me.


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 83
There was a crowd round the house, peering through a window at the doings inside. A big negro stood at the door with a cocomacaque club. There was some demur as to admittance, then the door opened and a stream of muffled drum-music and a monotonous hum of voices broke out on the ear. A hand beckoned me, and I found myself within. The shutters were closed, and it was difficult through the obscurity to make out one's surroundings, but I felt the presence of a crowd. The song they were singing their forefathers sang two hundred years ago in the riverland of Africa.
Suddenly a negro set light to a candle, and at once the scene leapt out to meet the eye. The song ceased, but all mouths still hung upon its final note. There must have been upwards of two hundred people in two small rooms. They were ranged round the walls, those in front sitting on their haunches, leaving only a narrow passage open in the middle of the earthen floor. The faces were glistening with heat, and all eyes were turned towards the Mamaloi.
The silence was broken by an abrupt bark of the drum and the chant began again, the sitting figures swaying their shoulders to its roll. It was led by an enormous negress, wrapped in a white and purple print, who held a living cock in her spatulate black fingersyou could see the shining of her uncut nails. She sat and swayed and sang in what at last became an insistent drone of sound. It


84
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
was like something heard through a delirium of fever, you could not forget or escape it for an instant, and the drum drove it through the brain with blows. It neither waxed nor waned; it was merely the same, and endless.
Meantime the Mamaloi danced, back and forth, forth and back, between the knees of the worshippers. She was about forty years of age, small-faced, snub-nosed, round-eyed. She gazed past you with a rapt stare, a streak of foam lay across her chin. For covering she wore a thin white robe, tied with a red sash, and a string of gold beads gleamed round her neck. There were two candles alight now, set in pots and decked with the pink flowers of the melon. Beneath them, on the floor, was spread the feast; bottles of coloured intoxicants, Congo beans, ground rice, and red melon. At intervals the Mamaloi stopped to sprinkle water over them, and as she did so the song rose a little higher; but would it never end, never end? I had time to notice that the walls were ornamented with prints from the French illustrated papers. Upon how many strange scenes do those pictures lookl You find them everywhere in Hayti; in the drawing-rooms of the rich and in the huts of the peasantry, and now in a place used for Vaudoux rites.
The song rose suddenly in volume, a candle flickered and burnt up. Still the Mamaloi danced between the rows of knees with stealthy, menacing, tigerish steps. Her excite-


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 85
merit was intensifying, her eyes seemed to grow larger, but they never met yours. As she danced she cleared her throat and spat with a noise like artillery coming into action. The huge black woman in the centre droned on, and to the drum-beat was added the chink of a key on metal. The Mamaloi quickened in her sinuous dancing. The heat was terrific; humanity sweltered there. And over all presided a portrait of the German Emperor, whose eye I seemed to catch at this juncture.
The Papaloi, a small and filthy old man, crouched at one side, as the Mamaloi caught the cock from the hands of the big woman, and, holding it by the neck, flung it over her head and shoulder. Her face was distorted with frenzy; round and round she twisted, accompanied by a swifter measure of the same dead song. She laid the cock upon the heads of the worshippers and began to whirl more and more rapidly to the hurrying, maddening drumming. Suddenly she straightened her arm, spun the cock round and round, its flapping wings beating impotently upon the air. A snowstorm of feathers floated up as she stood with rapt eyes and bared teeth, twirling; then she flung up her hand, and the headless body flew over her shoulder.
Her excitement was horrible; she pressed the bleeding neck to her lips, and, when she slowly withdrew her hand, stood for an instant fixed and immovable, her lips and teeth stained red. Then she began to run up and down


86
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
screaming; at last she staggered and fell, and, with the torn neck of the sacrifice still in her hand, rolled in under the feet of the worshippers, while the song boiled over her.
In the interval various fetishes were brought out of a box, uncouth wooden images, stones and bones, old and over-handled, which must have come over with the ancestors of these people from their original home.
After this the rites, dancing, sacrifice, sprinkling of blood and of some pungent fluid, which was certainly not perfume, followed one another in changing order. Six cocks were slain, all in like manner to the first, with like monotony and brutishness. One of them, however, was the chief sacrifice, and its blood was set apart in a basin by itself. With this blood the Mamaloi went outside and sprinkled the doors and gates, putting marks upon them.
Then she returned, and with the remainder sealed the foreheads of those present with the sign of the Cross 1
This intermingling of the ancient Jewish and Christian symbolisms with their own nauseous ceremonies springs, of course, from their acquaintance with Roman Catholic teaching. The ignorant are always ready to incorporate the worship of any other god with their own: from their point of view it can do no harm, and may do some good.
After a time the frenzy grew, and the dancing became universal. The whole crowd were moving and swaying and jostling together, chattering out the unvarying, monotonous


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 87
measure. The chink of the old key quickened riotously, the drum thrummed out under the falling thumb-joints with stimulating haste, the mental atmosphere fermented and rose to high pressure. They swung and whirled, they writhed and danced in an intoxication of excitement.
A woman was contorting herself and hissing in an ill-lighted corner. Near the end of the room another with a child at her breast was carried away by the seething hysteria about her, and began to shuffle to and fro, with eyes distended in a sort of sightless stare. There was hardly room for all, and the drums beat faster. The child at the breast began to stretch its arms and wail, but the mother danced blindly on.
Still the tumult and the music grew. The atmosphere was suffocating, but there was no symptom of tiring or cessation. On and on and on, the scene with its savagery and blood and senselessness sickened you. When at last I got out into the clear starshine once more I felt I could not have endured another five minutes of it. Yet what I had witnessed was only the beginning of an orgie which was to go on for a couple of days longer.
The belief of a people is the skeleton on which its character is moulded. Here in Hayti they have this gigantic cult, superstition, call it what you will, possessing unbounded influence, and in active existence, as I have personally seen, all over the island. The tremendous hold it has gained


88
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
over the people is proved by the fact, well known and amply verified on many an occasion, that a mother will, under the orders of the Papaloi, give up her own offspring to be sacrificed. When reproached with inhumanity, the reply has more than once been given: Who had a better right to eat them than I who brought them forth?"
No picture of Hayti will remain longer in my memory than the remembrance of a mean old man in grass slippers, heel-less, showing a long half-foot of veiny black ankle under the faded trouser, the upper half of him almost bare, the whole topped by a vinegar-coloured face graven by time and wickedness into exaggerated wrinklings. He had wide-open, far-away eyes, and sparse grey hair scattered on chin and lip and head.
He was a Papaloi, or Vaudoux priest, otherwise a Haytian witch-doctor and medicine-man. His home was far away up in the mountains, where he dwelt as a patriarch. He owned four palm-thatched huts within an enclosure of raw stakes, where, hidden away among the potato-green foliage of the bush, tamarinds, bananas, and mangoes ripened. All day long he sat in the shade, and his wives waited upon him. There were four of them, and their ages ranged from sixty to sixteen. He was said to have other wives elsewhere, but, then, he could afford it, for he was a man of substance, and his fame was great in the land.
In Hayti the Papaloi is a living force. He is at once a


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 89
high priest and a consulting physician. He will cure the body, and, for a consideration, touch the hidden springs of life. People are very much afraid of him. They travel up on foot, on donkey-back and pony-back, according to their stations in life, from the plains to consult him; and, for payment, he will use his hereditary knowledge on their behalf. He can cure, and he can kill, and the two are often curiously allied in his practice.
A man has a revenge to accomplish; he seeks a Papaloi. He is the victim of an unrequited affection, he seeks the Papaloi. He is sick, he seeks the Papaloi. The Papaloi is, in fact, the pivot on which moves much of Haytian life. All these powers over mind and body he lays claim to, and in the matter of love some of his cures are nasty enough, but there is one thing he can assuredly dohe can give you a revenge for twenty dollars that would satisfy the vindictiveness of a Corsican and leave him a balance of remorse. The Papaloi can take away your reason, with or without pain, at will. His ancient subtleties of poisoning are unapproached. Of course, he winds into his woof much useless mystery and ceremony of time and place and circumstance. This is natural, as well as useful and politic, for a mere dose would seem of poor value to a sickness-smitten negro compared with a remedy to be swallowed when the moon is at her full, with mystic rites and incantations and the bones of the dead thrown in.


9
WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
Nor is the white man outside the powers of the Papaloi. Consider the simplicity of being poisoned. You unwittingly offend a negro and he takes away with him the sense of deadly injury. You eat and drink three times a day, and on one occasion or another he seizes his chance, and puts the Papaloi's prescription into your food or drink. Then sickness grips you, ghastly sickness, and you are far beyond the aid of doctors of your own colour. Some poison, old as the world, is at your vitals. You must infallibly seek a Papaloi or die. Being the local practitioner, he may be the very man who has poisoned you. For twenty dollars, or perhaps for as many centimes, he has brought this evil upon you, and he asks a liberal advance on the first sum to cure you. It is a mere matter of antidote. No man but shudders at the grasp of these grim powers, they are so potent and so hopelessly irresistible. You pay the Papaloi fifty dollars; you would pay him a thousand as readily for no more than the feeling of relief.
- To his credit be it said, he usually keeps his side of the contract; though he occasionally uses delay to extort a little more. The real wonder of it is that he does not spread his poisons broadcast, but it would appear that he uses his power not for play, but for pay, or to carry out some personal resentment. Once an attenipt of this kind was made under my own close observation,a little something in a little water-and-rum,but it came to no serious issue.


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 91
During my travels in the interior I carried a water-bottle of military pattern topped by a cup of black vulcanite, which was padlocked securely over the neck. In this I usually carried some Haytian rum and water. On one occasion I left the bottle at a hut, where I had bought corn for my horse, while I went down to the river to bathe. On my return I started with my guide and a pair of villagers. After a time it occurred to me that a drink all round would be acceptable. I offered it. To my surprise it was somewhat furtively refused. My suspicions were aroused, and I also went thirsty. I afterwards discovered that some vegetable poison had been put into the bottle; the leathern strap padlocked over the cup had been stretched, the cup turned, and the poison inserted. I could not imagine any reason for the attempt. It seemed quite gratuitous. Not till long after did a possible solution flash upon me. I had petted a little plump child at the hut, which, I believe, is in certain cases considered unlucky. Perhaps they thought I had the evil eye. Certainly, as the Zulus say, my snake stood up beside me that day. I do not care to think over the incident, for Haytian poisons do not kill painlessly, and I was alone in the heart of the mountainous interior, miles away from a white face.
In a word, secret poisoning pervades the scheme of Haytian life exactly as it pervades that of West Africa.
There was an English engineer at Petit Goavehe has


92 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
now left Hayti, so I am free to tell the storywho discharged a workman for a serious fault, and shortly after left the place for Port-au-Prince. Arrived in the capital, his legs began to swell with all the symptoms of the well-known African disease beri-beri. He consulted doctors, but they could do nothing for him. Making a pretty accurate guess at the true state of the case, he at length sent a messenger to the Papaloi at Petit Goave.
The Papaloi demanded fifty dollars, and promised for that sum to effect a certain cure. The Englishman agreed to pay, and the Papaloi, with many incantations, prepared a bath of leaves, a thick brown bath. Into this the sick man was plunged, and after three days was well enough to return to Petit Goave. But the beri-beri returned, and he was obliged to consult the Papaloi once more, who said that he had again been poisoned, and that for a second payment of fifty dollars he would again cure him, at the same time warning him that if he were poisoned a third time he would probably die. The white man took the hint, and, as soon as he was cured, left the country.
The Papaloi is descended straight from the African witchdoctor. Seven generations ago he was a secret king among the slaves of French Hayti; further back still he lived in a wattle hut by the Congo and made Juju. And he makes it in Hayti to this day. Here and there in talk with him you stumble across some older African superstition, some-


VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE. 93
thing from which you could, without other evidence, deduce the origin of his race.
There is another operation to which the Papaloisor more often the Mamaloisturn their power. They can produce a sleep which is death's twin brother. For instance, a child marked for the Vaudoux sacrifice is given a certain drug, shivers and in some hours sinks into a stillness beyond the stillness of sleep. It is buried in due course, and later, by the orders of the Papalois, is dug up and brought to consciousness; of what occurs then I have written in another place. It is ghoulish and horrible, but beyond all question human sacrifice is offered up to a considerable extent in the Black Republic at the present time.
Everywhere in Hayti you find charms against evil, sold by Papalois and Mamalois. They assume all shapes sticks, stones, rags, and bags of leaves. I remember seeing a 'bus, as they call the local cab, overturn in Port-au-Prince. The first thing that the driver scrambled for was a nameless bundle which had fallen from under the seat. It was his charm against being upset 1
Putting Vaudoux upon their enemies is another variation of the priests' accomplishments. A bundle of garbage is placed at your door, and if you pass over it you are sure, the negroes say, to fall ill. So far the thing is absurd, but it becomes less so when the action of the rotten egg on your doorstep is aided by a sprinkling of powdered


94 WHERE BLACK RULES WHITE.
glass in your rice. No priestcraft gains so firm a grip of the savage mind as that which lends solid temporal aid to the passions of its devotees. There is a deep desire ingrained in the black to get a pinch on the man above him; to be given this obscurely and surely is sufficient to rivet his adhesion to any faith. Few whites in the island have altogether escaped the far-off touch of the Papaloi directed against them for some inscrutable offence by those who are most probably of their own household.
In considering the character and influence of the Papaloi, one fact should be borne in mind; that he is the sacrificial priest when the most culpable and hideous of the Vaudoux rites is practised. He is also the guiding and dominant intelligence amongst the bulk of his countrymen, the result of which must be a continuous falling back deeper and deeper into the savage state. But as long as Hayti retains an entirely negro Government, at least so long will the shadow of the Papaloi loom large in the land, for Africa transplanted is Africa still, and she is so conservative that the passage of uncounted years finds her ever the same.
The Papaloi is the rain-maker, the witch-doctor of West Africa under another name. He is a kind of fortunate vagabond battening upon the ignorance and credulity of this New World negro. He is dirtier than an Indian fakir, without that excuse which emanates from the religion of the fakir, to whose mind our precept assumes an