Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/63

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MADAGASCAR.

61

report that the English were in the habit of entraping chiefs on board their ships and carrying them off.

“Radama,” says Captain Moorsom, “is an extraordinary man. His intellect is as much expanded beyond that of his countrymen, as that of the nineteenth century is in advance of the sixteenth. But his penetration and straight-forward good sense would make him remarkable under any circumstances. With all the impatience of a despotic monarch, exacting the most prompt and implicit obedience to his will, jealous of his authority, and instant to punish, he is yet sagacious, and cautious in altering established customs. His power is founded on popular opinion: his game is to play the people against the chiefs, and he understands it well; for these fear, and those love him.”

During these interviews, in reply to a toast to his health, the King said—“When you drink my health, I am gratified and can thank you; but when you drink the happiness of my people, I feel as unable adequately to express my feelings as I am incapable of uttering the sound of all their voices.”

He then remarked, in reference to toasts, “that the sentiments were not expressed in order that wine might be drunk, but that, under pleasurable excitements, the heart dictated utterance to the mouth.”

Captain Moorsom presented him with two Bibles, one English, and the other French, and remarked that the covering of the books Avas not splendid, but the inside was valuable. To which the King replied, if the books contained what was straight and not crooked, he should be glad to have them; and with regard to the outside, he did not regard a man for the beauty of his countenance, but for the qualities of his heart. The captain then wrote the King's name in one of the Bibles; and it is remarkable that the same book, after being faithfully preserved during the King's life-time, was buried with him amongst other treasures in his splendid tomb.

On leaving Foule Point, Radama took advantage of the kind offer of Captain Moorsom to convey him round the Bay of Antongil. He took with him about two hundred soldiers, while the main body of the troops proceeded by land; and while on board, his mind seemed to be much impressed with the rapidity with which he was conveyed, and the consequent power that was imparted. As the vessel sailed out of port, the female singers on land saluted the magnificent object in their usual manner,—Soa, soa, Rabé, mairana. “Beautiful, beauti-