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TRAVELLING IN AFRICA. TRAVELLING in South Africa is very difficult, and attended with great danger. Travellers go from place to place in waggons drawn by oxen. The way being over hills and rocks, horses would be unable to perform the task of ascent. In some of the mountainous countries of the world, such as Spain and others, mules are employed for the same purpose, but in Africa they are rarely to be met with, and so their services are rendered by oxen instead, who endure great fatigue, and often perish from attacks by wild beasts, such as lions, jackals, and wolves, which abound in that country. In the picture is represented the ascent over one of these rocks, or kloofs, as they are termed, by some twenty or thirty oxen, yoked to a huge, heavy waggon.
If you will look at the picture, you will find that the road is very steep, and is filled with projecting pieces of rock, over which the waggon has to be drawn, and which is very dangerous. It often happens that the oxen slip, and the waggon tumbles over the precipice and is dashed to pieces, and the poor oxen perish. A missionary, who spent many years and travelled much in Africa, tells us that travelling in that country is very fatiguing. He says, in one of his journeys;
“The road being hilly, rocky, and sandy, we had to walk the whole of the stage, and the waggons several times nearly overturned, I was often afraid lest the waggon would be dashed to pieces from the ruggedness of the road and the steep places it had to ascend; however, a slave-girl of seventeen years of age led the oxen cheer. fully forward through every difficulty, and thus we moved forward.
“ The ascent being so steep, the poor oxen were fre
TRAVELLING IN AFRICA.
quently on their knees while ascending the cliffs, in consequence of round, projecting rocks they had to surmount, and on which they could not stand; however, by lying down, the poor creatures kept their places, till their companions got the waggon to move a little forward, when they rose again upon their feet, moved on, and drew with all their might. After much noise by tongues and whips, many falls, and much hard pulling, we reached the summit without any accident. After travelling for some days they had to undergo the fatigue and trouble of ascending another of these difficult cliffs, and in the rock was a step which crossed the road, and must have been 24 feet high ; here, also, was a quick, dangerous turn, and the rock was as smooth as glass. At this place one of the waggons took a swing, and was within half a foot of being over the edge of the path. Had it gone over, it must have fallen several hundred feet, and been dashed to pieces, and the oxen all killed. At the bottom of these dangerous places were seen the remains of waggons, with skeletons of men and oxen, who had fallen and perished, and were there lying, a warning to all future trarellers along that road to be careful, or the consequences would be fatal.
"The oxen were very difficult to manage, and hence the danger, for, if they could be all got to pull exactly at the same time, many difficulties would be overcome ; but while some of the foremost are pulling, others behind are standing with their heads where their tails ought to be, and, while getting these to wheel about, the front ones get into disorder; and though twenty draw together, yet if the two nearest the waggon do not act their part properly, the labour of the others is in vain."
LETTER FROM THE REV. W. S.
SWANSON. To the Children of the Presbyterian Church in England.
Amoy, July 16th, 1860. MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, I know you will all be happy to hear of our safe arrival here, and of our welfare and prosperity since we left England. Our voyage has been long, but pleasant, and we have much praise to render our God for all his kindness by the way.
Our first landing on the Chinese shore was at Shanghai, on June 2nd, and then we were much refreshed by inter course and communion with dear Christian brethren there. The Chinese city of Shanghai is not larger than Amoy, the foreign community much larger. We met many missionaries, about an hundred, all apparently waiting with anxiety for the opening of China, as many of their number were then to remove to other localities, How different were all the sights here to our life for the previous four months! The quiet and stillness of our good ship contrasted with the bustle of this Chinese port. In that same ship the Lord had been very good to us, in giving us many opportunities of working for himself; and although we cannot point to any special work of grace, yet we know that God will not allow*« his own word to return unto him void.”
At Shanghai, when we were there, a great panic had taken possession of the Chinese, and they were all fleeing from the city. What they dreaded was a visit from the rebels, who had just taken the large and rich city of Soo-chor, with its millions of inhabitants. A day or two before I left, I walked round the city ; its busy hum was hushed, its crowded streets deserted, and its population almost all gone. At the gates were lying crowds of poor destitute refugees, who had fled from the rebels, and had come to Shanghai. It would have made you sorry and grieved to see them. There they all lay, the grey-haired old men and women, the helpless infant, the old and weak, the
young and strong, all in destitution, hundreds, yea, thousands of them. It was a sight well-fitted to stir up one's heart for the sons and daughters of China. It nade one long and pray for the day when wrong and oppression shall for ever cease, and Christ our king take his great power and reign.
We sailed for Amoy on June 15th, and arrived there on July 2nd. The native Christians speedily came to see us; and although we could not speak a word to them, yet their hearty clasp of our hands, and the happy smile of joy that lit up their faces, told us how glad they were to meet us. Day by day Mrs. Swanson and I have been so greeted.
And now, my dear friends, you must excuse my short communication this mail. I will try to write you frequently, and let you know all I can about Amoy, and the native churches in this country.
We ask your prayers for us, and specially for our speedy acquirement of this language. We ask not your sympathy or love-we believe we have these ; but we do ask from each one who reads this, the exercise of prayer for us and the Lord's work here. We do not yet know what our experience may be. We have all three begun with our teachers; we need faith, prayer, and perserer
My dear brother Mackenzie sends his Christian greetings.
Yours in love,
W. S. SWANSON.
BY OLD ALLAN GRAY.
ONE dark, cold night, a way down in Shropshire, a mother and her children were crouching together in a pigsty. They have turned out the pig from his straw bed and taken his place. Why are they there? Have they no