Newspaper Page Text
STRANGE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS BY PACIFIC COAST INDIANS.
THE CRESCENT IN THE EAST. PEOPLE who receive informa tion from certain of the metro politan press are of the opinion that the "Eastern question" is a modern, novel and unnecessary issue for which England is re sponsible and for which that empire should be punished. Among the many reasons given in and to the United States Senate for refus ing to ratify the arbitration treaty, was England's relations to the Eastern question. And we have Just witnessed the inspiring exhibition made by Senators who have for two years vocally deprecated the horrors of war in Cuba, the Philippine Islands, and Asia Minor, in rejecting a treaty intended to avert those same horrors between this country and England. We have seen this done largely at the instance of a member of the British Parliament, who opened anti-arbitra tion headquarters in Washington and ordered United States Senators to come and take instructions from him. His reason, revealed with considerable frankness, was that he desired the way left open to embroil England in war and cripple her, If possible. I don't think that the history of diplomacy discloses an equal case, of effrontery on one side, and supirie, demagogic cowardice on the other. Having then been ourselves touched by the use of the Eastern question, that issue takes on an interest for Americans. The Eastern question is not modern nor novel. Europe had an Eastern question when the Mode and Persian from the uttermost parts of the earth deployed their glittering legions on the plain of Marathon to punish Greece for delivering the Plataeans from Eastern tyranny. That was two thousand three hundred four score and six years ego, and the same question, most fre quently on the same geographical the ater, has recurred again and again. Under the same standards it was the question at Salamls, and again when these invasions were retaliated by the Greeks, who followed Alexander from Arbela to the Ganges. The Eastern question shook the world from Persia to the Pyrenees when the followers of Mahomet, cry ing "Allah akbar," God is great, plant ed Islam with the sword from Tabreez to Granada. It became a question In volving the survival of our civilization, when the hosts of the Prophet carried their conquests into France, where at Tours the crescent fell before the cross, and Martel, the grandslre of Charle magne, overcame Abderrahman and drove the Moors across the Spanish frontier. It has been said by the students of history that when the followers of the Son of Mary met that day at Tours the followers of the son of Abdallah, Christianity and Islamism met to ocn test for the mastery of Europe and therefore for the primacy of the world. Had Charles Martel failed, not only the continent of Europe, but the Brit ish Isles would to-day be Mahometan •md the Koran would be expounded from Oxford and Cambridge, and we, descended from those islands, would be kneeling toward Mecca when the tall to prayers rang from the minaret at the mosque. The Eastern question rose again like a shadow when Jengis Khan overran the world from the Dnieper to the Tang Tse Kiang, and his victorious standard was planted from the Yellow Sea to the Black Sea. His descendant, Tamerlane, two centuries later, fought from Delhi to Moscow, and precedea Charles XII and Bonaparte in threat ening that ancient capital of the tsars. The Eastern question arises In the characteristics of the swarming mil lions in that cradle of the human race. The careers of Jengis and Tamerlane had opportunity in the anarchy and disorder within and between the multi tude of petty nations in Asia. Each of these conquerors was a law giver, and gave a code to the empire he consoli dated. It was the boast of Tamerlane that whereas life nor property had se curity when he began, when his work was finished a child could travel in safety with a purse of gold from the Hoangho to the Don. But the institutions these men found ed by the sword fell apart like the empire of Alexander, and now only the influence of Europe in the East pre vents the condition in which another Jengis or Tamerlane may arise. What that Implies, let us consider. Three quarters of the fighting men of the world are in Asia and Africa. Give them modern arms and drill and fleets and a leader, and the stinging swarms that will rise from that hive will appall the world. The connection between the present complications in the Eastern Mediter ranean and the Eastern question is a religious bond. Turkey is the great- est independent Mahometan state. England has probably a hundred mil lions of Mahometan subjects. Russia has many. France has some in North Africa. Portugal has some in her Afri can provinces. Even Holland has ju risdiction over followers of the Pro phet. The Sultan Is not the official head of Islam, he is merely a pro moter of the faith. The Sheik-ul-Islam is the primate of the Mahometan world.- When he raises the green ban ner Islam girds up for a holy war. Tamerlane closed his slaughter in the fifteenth century, and Immediately there began the increase of European influence and power in the East which has prevented renewal of such wide spread destruction of human life. Turkey stands as the torch ready to light a conflagration. When the revolt of Arab! Pasha was put down by Eng land's bombardment of Alexandria and the battle of Tel el Kebir, the hun dreds of millions of Mahometans were spurred almost to action. We criticise England and the powers for their attitude at Crete and in the recent Greek fiasco. It is true that that attitude may have permitted the sacrifice of some lives, but It has prob ably prevented the slaughter of four score for every one it has lost- In our Christian pride we may sneer at the Mahometans- but they have for more than a thousand years shown an unfailing fighting quality which must be considered and respected. Mahomet revolted against "bits of black wood pretending to be God. You rub them with oil and wax and the flies stick to them," and taught, as Carlyle phrases it, "that God alone is: THE SAX ERAJSTCISCO CAI_T_, SI T XDAT, DECEMBER 10, 1897. I "c *..-<-•_■= «_u*_ eitn Km US or . Keep US | alive. However sore to flesh and blood, his will is the wisest; you are bound to take it so; in* this world and the next you have no other thing that you can do. God is the reality, we and all things are but his shadow, a transit ory garment veiling the eternal splen dor." Islam means that we "submit to God," and Goethe says: "Do we not all live in Islam?" , If you. will consider the. effect, upon hundreds of millions of believers, of sincere trust in such a faith, as cheer fully dying as living for it, you will appreciate the- size of the powder mag azine over which Greece has just smoked her brief pipe. Turkey is the sick man of Europe; yes, but swarms of fighting men from ; Tripoli to the sources of the Nile, in' Africa, Syria, Persia, in the Khanates and China, who pray toward Mecca, watch for the raising of the green banner of the Prophet, and are ready to cry "Islam" and take up arms. - It is said that the Shelk-ul-Islam has announced that it is the will of God that Thessaly be taken from Greece and given to the Sultan, and if this be sent around the Mahometan world it may start a slaughter that will redden every river from the Brahma pootra to the Danube. The first effect would be an assault upon England throughout the East. In hither and farther India and in Egypt, wherever she has planted her stand ard. It would be attacked with that va lor and fanaticism which have always characterized Mahometan warfare for Islam. Every garrisoned town would be invested and every unprotected compound and plantation destroyed. The further effects, if England were fought into a withdrawal of all she gained at the battle of Plassy and the Investment of Mandalay, would in clude the Mahometan conquest of all India, and an impulse to the spirit of conquest which might renew in the twentieth century the military enter prise of the East on a field even more extensive 'than it covered in the fif teenth century. The calmest judges of the situation in India are the Parsees of Bombay. They are the ancient Persians, who after the Mahometan conquest nearly twelve centuries ago, refused to ex change Zoroaster for Mahomet, the worship of fire for Islam, and went In to exile in Hindostan, finally reaching Bombay, which they have made a great commercial city. They say thai England appeared in India just in time to prevent a renewal of religious con tention by arms. India is called a mu seum of races. On no similar area are as many radical diversities gathered, and their religions are as numerous. The Parsees say that the moment Eng lish power is withdrawn the Mahomet _-___ and the Hindoos proper will fall upon each other with fire and sworcr and the weaker will be destroyed. The victor will then turn upon the Par sees, the Jains, the Buddhists and all the weaker sects and wipe them off the face of the earth. It must be plain then that conse quences of the greatest Importance to the human race hang upon every movement that Is made in the Eastern Mediterranean. Not alone ls the Eu ropean balance of power Involved in any possible division of Turkey, but the interests of more than seven hun dred millions of people of many races and many creeds are at stake. It is a superficial view of the matter to say that what England is compelled to drop in the East Russia will pick up. What interest have we and what has humanity in extending the power of the Cossack? In what respect has Russia treated better her conquests than England? • Is the record of Rus sian Poland so attractive to American thought as to lead to a preference for it over the comparatively tolerant course of England? You will gather from the foregoing merely an index to the many compli cations, racial, religious, national, financial and commercial, which make up the Eastern question, and you will appreciate the lucky accident which enabled a diplomat to explain it to a dinner party. The story goes that a British diplomat, at dinner, was in duced to talk of the Eastern question. He had shown the Involved situation, the bearing of Greece and Turkey, the relation of Africa and of far China to the subject, when the negro servant appeared bearing the roast turkey on a china platter, full'of gravy, and slip ping on the floor, fell, smashed the platter and spilled the contents. "Now," said the diplomat, "the East ern question is settled. We have be held the downfall of Turkey, the dis tribution of Greece, the breaking up of China and the humiliation of Africa." JOHN P. IRISH. HOW TO GET TO SLEEP. At the recent meeting of the British Medical Association, Dr. J. B. Learned, of Northampton, Mass., gave his expe rience with the many methods of invit ing sleep without taking drugs. He said the cause of delay in sleep coming is generally the brain running automatically without our consent, af ter we go to bed. He sets to work at once on retiring to direct the respira tory process. He counts his respira tions to see that they are fewer in number, regular, deep, and somewhat protracted. In addition, certain groups of muscles are employed in routine or der in silent contraction. By constant change other groups are brought into use. He has completed a system atized routine of contraction and relax ation. A slight elevation of the head from the pillow for a definite time by count of respiration Is one of the many changes of position. All this is with out any commotion, and need not be recognized by a sleeping companion. Brain and muscle and all parts of the body soon come Into the normal state that precedes and invites sleep. A sense of fatigue soon overtakes one while thus employed, and before he is aware, the brain has forgotten its duty to regulate the breathing process, the muscles have ceased to expand to the call made upon them ln the beginning, and sleep Is in control of all the forces and all the organs. '"AND A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM." The following Incident is told by Ell Perkins: They used to be a loving couple. They were really lovers yet in their hearts, but incompatible tempers had frozen their affection. So they resolved to separate. It was a sad day. the day they separated. [ There was little Eva, five years old, and which parent was to take her? It was decided by the court that little Eva should choose whom she would live with. "Eva," said the kind-hearted Judge, as he took the child from Its weeping mother, "your papa and mamma are not going to live together any more. They are going to separate and go far away from each other. They can't be happy in the same house. Now, my child, you must choose whom you will live with. You must decide between papa and mamma." "Oh, I can't give up either one," said Eva," her eyes filling with tears. "I love papa and mamma Just alike; I want both of them," and then she looked pleadingly at her father, who sat with bowed head, while passionate sobs came from her mother. "Papa, don't you love little Eva any more?" and then the child put her arms around his neck. "Yes, baby," sobbed the father, clasping her in his arms and kising her convulsively, "and you will come with me?" The mother covered her face and wept as If her heart would break. Then, with tears in her eyes, the lit tle child took her father's hand and led him with a tender force, which he could not resist, to the mother's chair. "Papa and mamma," she said, as she held the hand of each, "I want to live with both of you. I must have you both." The weeping mother looked up*. The eyes of the father met them, and he threw his arms around her neck. Folded in each other's arms, the whole three were in tears, which smiles of Joy soon banished. "There, there, now," said the Judge, as he wiped his eyes; "whom God has Joined together, let no man put asun der." WHfIT IS THE MAGIC NUMBER? They were gathered together on the piazza of the summer hotel. "I often hear of the magic number," said one. "What number is it?" "Why, nine, of course," replied some one else. "There are nine Muses, you know, and you talk of a nine days' wonder. Then you bowl at ninepins, and a cat has nine lives." "Tomfoolery!" broke In another. "Seven is the magic number. Seventh heaven, don't you know, and all that- Seven colors in the rainbow; seven days in the week; seventh son of a sev enth — great fellow; and — "Tush, tush!" remarked a third. "Five's the number you mean. A man has five fingers on his hand and five toes on his foot, and he has* Aye senses. A nickel is five cents and . "Three is undoubtedly the magic number," interrupted another, "be cause people give three cheers, and Jonah was inside a whale three days and three nights, and if at first you don't succeed try, try, again— three times, you see!" This was received with some con tempt by the company, and a soulful youth gushed out: . "Two, oh, two is the magic number! One's self and one other! The adored one! Just us two!" A hard-featured Individual, who had been listening to the conversation hith erto unmoved, here remarked, in a harsh voice: "The magic number ls No. 1 In this world, and don't forget it." An interval of deep thought on the part of all followed, after which they went in silently to supper. THE CROSS IN THE WEST. "7" I"* LTHOUGH the American In / » dians who have been converted ALTHOUGH the American In dians who have been converted to Christianity are not what / n would be called highly religious, a they, nevertheless, have great fondness for anything that seems to savor of a feast. In the pueblos of Isleta and Laguna in New Mexico, the priests have no easy task at times in trying to keep their flocks In the church. The priests may be at a certain church for months at a time and hold services regularly, but sometimes when they absent them selves for even a few days the Indians seem to forget all they have been taught. This fact was most forcibly illustrated in the village of Acoma a short time ago. Owing to the scarcity of priests in New Mexico it was neces sary to leave Acoma unprovided with spiritual counselors for a short time in order to devote some attention to other villages. Before the priests went away every Indian in Acoma was a regular at tendant at church. Instructions were left so that certain devotions could be performed In spite of the fact of the priests' absence, and the good padres departed feeling sure that all would be well on their return. The priests were absent for two months and then returned suddenly. To their surprise they found the church turned into a sheep corral, all the al tar furnishings appropriated for house hold utensils and the Indians doing pretty much as they pleased about their religious devotions. And yet these same Indians are most enthusi astic In their observance of Christmas. But they celebrate it in their own ways as well as the way they have been taught by the priests. These celebra tions must be considered to be the most unique Christmas festivals in the world. One strange aspect of these celebra tions is the fact that no two villages have the same ceremonies. The gourd dance Is the feature of the Christmas celebration In a little vil lage about fifteen miles from Albu querque. Just why this should be the case 'is not clear, but the gourd dance never takes place except on Christmas night. In every house in the village this dance goes on for hours, 'every man, woman and child taking part in it. To an outsider it seems as if each family had its own individual gourd dance. At about sunset of Christmas day fires are built in the centers of the huts and plenty of wood left handy" to keep them going far into the night. The crowd then gathers around and the dance commences. The feature of the dance is a string of gourds. Taking each end of the string in his hands the oldest man in the house begins the dance by skipping around the fire and moaning a weird song. When he has exhausted himself he hands the string of gourds to the oldest woman and so the dance goes on until the youngest toddler in the family has gone through the ceremony! As the dancers go through the cere mony the heat in the hut becomes in tense. The flames from the fire rise so high that the bodies of the dancers are frequently scorched. As the shadowy dancers move round and round the seeds in the dried gourds rattle in the liveliest manner, and this sound mingling with the weird moan ing produces a most uncanny effect. After they have danced themselves al most Into insensibility, the Indians fall to the floor and go to sleep all in a heap. The penltentes of New Mexico, as 'a sect, are well known, but their meth ods of observing Christmas are most obscure. It is almost impossible for an outsider to get into their church while the ceremony is going on. Travelers have done so, however, and have seen part of the mystic rites. These con sist largely of the customary flagella tions, dousing with cold water, weep ing, moaning and self-infliction of pain. - ; *: The Pima Indians of Arizona have a ceremony that is as unique and beau tiful as that of any nation. On Christ mas eve the young men of the village gather in the church attired in the short garments of the tribe that were worn before they were taught habits of civilization. These young men all have good voices. They form in a cir cle in front of the crucifix and sing a song that for mystery and weirdness equals the incantation of some of the hill tribes of India. While the singing is going on the church is in total dark ness and the old men and women hud dled together on the floor maintain a perfect silence. When the singing is over all go home without exchanging a word. It is customary among the Laguna Indians for the young girls to take the crucifix out of the house, and, after nailing it to a wall, to throw hand fuls of corn at it. The corn is allowed to fall to the ground and is generally eaten by birds. Various interpreta tions have been given to this cere mony. It Is very likely that it did mean something in the old pagan days, but just what has been forgotten, What relation it has to Christmas" is a mystery. Still they go through the ceremony only at Chrlstmastlde. There are numerous other ceremo nies equally as strange to be found in any of the converted Indian villages of Arizona or New Mexico. 23