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come us, and to ask about the arrangements they should make for services, after settling which we went up into the town to get a meal and wash before the shell should be blown to assemble the people.
DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY. IHosy, a town of 220 houses,"stands in the centre of an extensive valley through which, from south to north, runs the River Ihosy, in its course to the Tsimandao. This plain is enclosed with high hills, especially those on the west, where we noted two or three of considerable height. In several places the river spreads out into large lakes or marshes, partially covered with rushes and reeds, and forming the homes of large flocks of wild ducks, and other water fowl. As far as the eye can reach (a journey of a day and a half) north and south is an inhabited country containing about sixteen villages (towns they are called here) with from twelve to fifty houses. A king lives in one, Ipapamena, to the south, and one at Ibetanimena, to the north. Beyond this district to the south is a desert uninhabited, between three and four days' journey in length. On the north is the same for between one and two days' journey, and on the west over three days' journey, whilst on the east, though not strictly a wilderness, there are but very few inhabitants. At about 2.30, we were summoned by the pastor and deacons to the church, built of rushes daubed with mud, about thirty feet long by twenty wide, and capable of accommodating from two to three hundred people. Whether the congregation
saw was the usual one or not I cannot say, but doubtless our arrival had caused some to come out of curiosity who do not usually attend. There were about 220 present; of those we found 136 were church members. But the less said about the disciplive exercised in the church the better for the credit of the pastor—a young man who has held the office for three years, but who feels himself very greatly hampered by the governor and officers. As has been found in other outlying places, the church work and the work of the kingdom are looked upon far too much as identical, and where there is a governor he is almost sure ex-officio to exercise an overpowering influence, even when, as in the present case, there are grave doubts whether he himself is living worthy of church member ship. We had some serious talk with the pastor on this subject, pointing out what his duty is, although we were quite ready to admit his difficulties, and exhorted him earnestly to uphold what is right according to his light, even in opposition to the powers that be in the government of the country.
As the afternoon was short, and the people desired us both to speak to them, Mr.Riordan spoke from Prov. iii. 6, and I from John ix. 4, earnestly impressing upon them their duty towards the tribes around. For although
the church has been established some years, not one Ibara has ever entered it, nor has any other church been founded for the Ibara to meet in. After service we went with the governor to the Rova, to explain to him the reasons for our coming, and we took the opportunity thus afforded us of driving home the advice we had been giving in the church; and if promises go for much, we shall, I hope, soon have a different state of things, both in Ihosy and in the Ibara. There has never been any school for the children of Ihosy, but the governor promised that one should certainly be established, and he would appoint some of those who could read and write, to instruct the children as far as they were able. He also promised to urge the people to build another church outside the town, and invite the Ibara living near to come to it for worship. Remembering that this town is entirely composed of Hovas, we were very astonished to find no pretence of teaching, considering that the word of the queen is so binding on this point.
In the evening we had a long chat with some of the deacons and preachers, and arranged our work for Monday.
INTERVIEW WITH IBARA Kings. Tuesday.--Having been told by the governor that some of the Ibara kings were coming in, we agreed to wait in the hope of being able to do something for their people in the way of providing instruction for them. We saw over thirty patients in the morning, some of whom were Ibara. In the afternoon two or three of the Ibara kings had arrived, and hearing that some vazaha were in the town, they came to visit us, bringing a large present of food. We took the opportunity of speaking to them about the ignorance in which they were living, and referred them to the condition of their neighbours, the Betsileo, as compared with them. They took our lecture in very good part, and agreed to what we said, and also expressed their willingness to do what they could to bring about a better state of things. These kings came from villages north and south of Ihosy, where the major part of the population under the governor lies. But as the largest town contains only fifty houses, and as we found on inquiry that four to a house was a high average, the total number of inhabitants in the district cannot be more than 2,000.
Wednesday.—After we were ready to start, the governor sent word to ask us to wait a little while as the king from Isaly, that part of the Bara-be west of the three-days' desert, and the part to which the Imerina IsanEnim-Bolana propose to send evangelists, was just about entering the town. Under such circumstances we felt it our duty as well as privilege to comply
with his request. He accordingly came down from the Rova with his officers, and a few soldiers as escort, and we formed into procession and marched out of the town to the martial music (1) of three side drums, Seated on the grass, outside the gate, were the Ibara, each with a couple of spears or a gun, and a spear standing in the ground in front of them, and we could not help contrasting them, in number about two hundred, with the half-dozen soldiers with us carrying the same weapons. After we had been introduced, our guide, the pastor of Ambohimandroso, spoke to him about the praying, admonishing him for not having done anything to introduce the custom among his people; that all those who were anxious to show themselves true subjects of Her Majesty were also desirous of following her in her search after wisdom; that the praying was not of the wisdom of man, but came direct from God (using Andrianjanahary, the Creator, recognised by all Malagasy tribes even in heathenism); and that the missionaries had come into the Bara for the purpose of seeing what could be done to help them in their ignorance. The governor then asked me to address them, which I did, trying to point out to them that, in urging them to adopt the praying and teaching followed by the Hovas, we did it both for their own good now and hereafter; and that if they were willing to do their part in using their influence to urge their people to learn, they would find that they have many friends who would be willing to help them in finding them teachers. In reply, the king said that they had only heard as it were faint whispering about the praying and teaching, but now they had really heard, and he
gave his word to us, and to our friends in the north, that there shonld be a church built in Isaly for worship in anticipation of the arrival of a teacher to use it and instruct them. We thanked him for his promise, telling him we should not forget what he had promised, and should hope the next time we heard of him to find that the church had been built with the full consent of his people, and with a true desire for more light and truer wisdom.
FIVANÓXANA. This part of the country, although Betsileo and under the government of the officers at Imahazony, is but very thinly populated, and appears to be a kind of border land, in which there is but little recognised authority, and to which the discontented ones of the Betsileo flee to escape their fanampoana. The country itself is very picturesque, being bordered on the west by the rugged range of volcanic rocks called Andringitra, some of the points of which are between 7,000 and 8,000 ieet above the level of
The northern extremity terminates very abruptly in Ivara varana,
a conical mountain, very easily distinguished from the hills near Ambohimaha. This we crossed on Thursday. Its composition is granite mixed with sandstone, and bearing unmistakable proofs of its volcanic origin. I found in one spot an extensive basin-shaped hollow, in which were four large and very deep holes, fourteen feet across, and the bottom undistinguishable. Into one I lowered myself with the help of the men, but after scrambling about the sides for some time, nothing could be discovered but the deep, apparently bottomless fissures now overgrown with brushwood. Some of the rocks about here bear every appearance of having been at some former time in a semi-liquid state, and having congealed in their gradual descent to the valley. No doubt if the rugged mass extending thirty or forty miles in a continuous chain south of this were explored, other marks of extinct craters would be found. The name given to this mountain, Iváravárana (the door), is most appropriate, as it is, like all gateways to the villages and towns here, most intricate. It is the gateway or entrance to the Ibara country on that side. Coming from between two enormous boulders on the west side of the pass, a glorious view of Isahanambo is gained, extending eight or nine miles north and the same to the south, with its river, the Sahanambo, wirding through it, lined with trees, presenting a pleasant relief to the general dull brown of the grass on the slopes of the hills. Here and there are three or four small villages, surrounded by the common protector of Malagasy towns, the prickly pear.
IvoHIBE. In this plain I found the best population I have seen in the Ibara. The town I slept in, Ivòhimàrina, has fifty houses and a fair population. The town is the market for the Hovas, beyond which they are not allowed to pass without special permission of the King of Iantsåntsana, the tribe inhabiting this part of the country.
There are six or eight other villages within half a day's journey, mostly on the banks of the river (the Menaràhaka). The Ibara country extends nearly three days' journey farther south, but there is only a sparse population: it is called a desert, having villages along the route south at distances of about half a day's journey apart. The general appearance of the country south is flat, with a few isolated hills here and there, but the general level is about the same as Betsileo, and the cause of the føver is the high hills on the eastern side preventing the regular admission of the south-east trade wind ; thus allowing the malaria to take full effect upon the people, dwelling, not like the Betsileo on the summits of hills, but in the valleys, at times scarcely above the level of the rice fields and marshes, the hot beds of the Malagasy fever.
There was a terrible excitement in the town as we arrived ; guns were fired, and the people came rushing out en masse to see the vazaha. Most of them, never having been out of their own province, had not seen a white man. They stopped us at the gate to ask the usual questions about the health of Her Majesty, and then told us we were as gods (for which we rebuked them), and that the town was ours, we could go and choose what house we liked, and take whatever we wanted; both of which permissions we declined. They found me a good house, and brought us a plentiful supply of provisions, in the shape of an ox, a pig, fowls, rice, and manioc, together with firewood.
Next morning the chiefs had assembled, and we informed them of the object of our coming, and told them that it was very easy for them to ask for teachers, but not so easy for us to supply their want from the far north. That what they ought to do is to appoint some of their own young men to bring their wives and come up to Fianarantsoa to learn, with the view of returning to teach. I undertook to supply such with all they needed in Fianarantsoa, as well as teach them; and I think, from their very enthusiastic reply, containing their thanks and conveying those of their king and people, that some will really come up to be taught. In fact, one young man came to me and said that if the king would allow him he should very much like to come north and learn under me, till he could return and teach his fellow-countrymen, who are in the darkness of heathenism. I thanked the chiefs for their favourable reply, and almost directly after turned my face towards Menàrahaka, where I had left Mr. Riordan. I had had over thirty sick people to attend to during the evening and early morning.
GENERAL SUMMARY. The Ibara country appears to be more extensive than the Betsileo, but with a very much smaller population. It lies farther west than we have hitherto thought, and extends to within a journey of a day and a half from the coast, where it joins the Mahafaly, a coast tribe extending from the south of the Ibara to the north. It here joins the Sakalava, on a parallel with Ikalamavony ; so that the Sakalava do not occupy the whole west coast, as has hitherto been thought; neither can any part of the Ibara be seen from the hills south and west of Ambohimandroso and Imahazony. It is divided into three populations, each with a desort more or less extensive between them : the eastern, of which Ivohibe is the chief town; the central, of which Ihosy is the most important place; and the western, having Isaly in its centre. I should estimate the total population es about 6,000 or 8,000, and it is fast becoming less.