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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 08, 1911, Image 5

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1911-10-08/ed-1/seq-5/

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The San Francisco Sunday Call
• *■.■ - -■■*-■:■>■■■ -
. / clung and vaulted with. a speed , and
» abandon seldom equaled in any abo
.;• riginal medicine dance.
/ Ishi half rose and hung over the
edge of the box In his excitement. He
„ was breathing hard and his eyes were
glittering through their long, sweeping
/ lashes. Sam Batwee.-the one eyed old
interpreter, plucked him back to pro
priety and to his seat. Ishi knew all
'•""„ about that dance. He explained that" it
* illustrated an ancient tradition of his
='; people^the story of the Lying Coyote,
\ whose suit had been scorned by ; the
|"wonderful dancing maiden.
•. |° ."Wait," said the wily coyote. "A
'" :■ ".great chief will come. You will know
.;' him by his oiled and painted face.; If
* o j you dance well before him you may
win his love."
= *' The coyote then retired, painted and
„/ greased his .own face, and when he re
•J turned the maiden danced with him,
c Just as In this Brazilian dance? Thus
„ the adolescent dancing maiden • was
.!■ taken to wife by the lying coyote.
"This Is one of the legends, which
Ishi already had spoken into the pho
;•; nograph. And it Is identical, by the :
;'/° way, with the coyote legend recorded
, by. the early fathers at the old mission
'of. San Juan Capistrano 135 years ago.
, ' * When the Australian ■wood choppers
began throwing their , heavy : axes
..across the stage, tomahawk fashion,
/sinking the flung blades deep; into an
\ opposite tree, or cutting off limbs/with
•. unerring accuracy at a ; distance of 40
feet, Ishi sat up and chortled with
• shrill glee. Here was something he
could understand—a ' man could kill a
bear; that way. Batwee nudged him
"and asked him how he liked it. "Good
i work!" said Ishi. "I don't think I
, could 'do It."
Strangely enough the ruder horse
,. play of the succeeding comedians- got
• few" laughs from the primitive man.
It was the subtle wit of Edwin? Stevens
:} and the vocal nonsense of Harry Breen
c that made him smile. ? Apparently
.'. through some subtle telepathic connec
tion, the Indian was able to come in
with his laugh at > the right second,
often just a little ahead of the rest, of
" the audience, though, of course, he had
not understood a word. Possibly his
extraordinarily acute. perceptive pow
ers aided him in this, for not the slight
est motion or intonation: escaped him.
The onlysbad break he made;was at
the conclusion of Stevens' tragic col
loquy over.the telephone with an imag
'. binary wife who was supposed to be
burning to death in a hotel fire. /As \
, the actor flung" down ""■ the phone in
horror Isjil looked around at/me? and
laughed gleefully, as much as to say:
"He can't fool me. That 1 was a joke."
SO, perhaps, it wasn't such a bad break,
. after all. W&BO&SSE&* -'■? ' ' ?*S*gS"S
The beer drinking, act of Sam Mann
, jj-qiused him : . hugely. When -Mann/
""^"rained a large stein ■ holding appar- .
ently a gallon, Ishi's sharp. eyes de
tected the false bottom which took up ?
"most of the interior of the - stein? and
pointed at it. laughing In shrill fal
setto tones. He, saw the joke that
was being played on the audience.
By the time Harry Breen began Im
. provising his rapid \ fire songs i contain-.
° ing Impromptu jokes on individuals
in the audience, Ishi was In his ele
ment. No longer afraid, Ihe was ready
to' laugh with the most ? frivolous ? of
the pale faces. But when Breen in
troduced Ishi himself into? his topical
song, he failed to score a hit with the
aborigine. Breen. had caught.?sight
of the wild man, and without pausing *
to take breath he incorporated this
stanza Into; his song: ?"
"The Indian caveman next I see
With the professors from the universl
. tee, , .; /;'":■-•;?-
He smokes a bad cigar and he hasn't
o° ' any socks, --;?'-/ ?*-"-'?
--°. And he's laughing,/although he's sure
°.in? a box." ■
That got a laugh from? all -the/rest
of the house and everybody ?stood?tip?
to* see.» Instantly the Indian;, collapsed
Into the inscrutable, suspicious bar
barian. Fear again /.sat/, upon him.
That battery -of ] 2,000 -/eyes '. turned/upon^
him was ; too? much/even j for ; his; stoi
cism. * The * professors / patted; his ; back
" and endeavored ; to | convince I him i that
"■ he was not" chosen ;; for Immediate
slaughter,? but it? was/ a long while
before his trepidation : gave way to
■" • smiles again. "- . - ■/..'-. ■ »X.
„ o Then came the stunt wherein Lily •
Lena, in, half a dozen changes of
spangled and'? glittering i raiment, did
things which convinced the?: Indian 7;
Crusoe that* he 1 had blundered into the
abode of the gods. ?I»had been watch
° ing? Ichl's face while the "goddess"
did her turn in the spotlight. The
look of pleased '/curiosity? j and a the?
fJ>road smiles with which, ~ and had*
broad smiles with which he had
evinced his appreciation of ;the?humor;
0 of "(Edwin Stevens and of the red head
ed college kid, who?/ was able to ; ; play
two 'tunes at "once lon i the piano while
standing on his i head, slowly/? gave
place -_. to an ?express!on?.; of /*profound;,
awe s^nd reverence j)«T, Lily Lena ap
. - - ;-.-?»-..-.•>-:.v-v.. - •-•.-..-. '■ •- .;■■>■: ;--'-V-.:.
Sketch of the Meeting of
Ishi and tHy Una. He
X"i-,: '•."'"'' ' ' ' '" ' *"' '
Is Shown in the
'Costume He tikes Best
-/?' , /.. * "
* And She in the Costume
the Audience tikes -fesr
peered /and 1 went /through ( her; kaleid
oscopic - changes of 'costumes and of
up -to date""? songs. Slowly rosa to
his 'l feet. He s fixed on the lady an un
winking gaze of such intensity as to
draw her attention away from a row ?
of /; Johnnies to whom she had been
warbling. Her eyes; met those of the
wild/man^ She faced him bravely and
with dazzling white arms held out
toward the thunderstruck worship
er, sang to him the .words ■ of. "Have
? You 4 Ever ? Loved Another LlttlflGJrlT'i
The cold sweat was standing out
on Ishi's forehead. His face was
drawn. His fingers, grasping ..the
crimson hangings, .trembled visibly
and i his i first cigar, which he had been
? puffing with pre tended I sangfroid, now
slowly grew cold and dropped from
between his teeth. Profelssors Kroe-
and Waterman, studying these un
usual emotions In the interests of
psychology, now leaned" toward him,
ready to grab »the. wild man before
he could ] leap .to the * stage. . '•';■-.- v ;■'
The little song' bird; from /London'
was no longer the /leading ? attraction.
A thousand people/ were craning J
necks, not ; toward? -the stage, but
; toward the- broad ?; shouldered ?"■ Indian,
who was leaning out of * the box above
it, half crouching, as If for a spring.
It was clear that % Ishi, for the mo
; ment, was the headline attraction. ■'
The tense situation was broken by,
the actress i herself. She finished her
melodious admonition to fascinated
wild man to "Take It Nice and Easy,"
and | skipped i blithely away behind the
scenes. Ishi awoke from the spell,
• looked furtively about, found every
eye in i the house again fixed on him
and subsided | hastily^ into his scat. He
was so evidently laboring under strong
excitement that I asked the
Interpreter, to question htm.
"He says," explained Batwee, "that
.":,? *-**;■*. : -.**■■'.. ; .; *-.— ? ";? ".;' '■'■...■■•■■■.■:'"-"■■■ \ _*.-■-. --v. ■■■•■
s this must be the : great :medicine woman,
the dancing goddess of the' other world.
His people had a tradition about heir.'/
(Now he sees her. He thinks maybe
this Is the heaven of the white folks." "
v Poor,-simple'-. minded wild man! ? 'He :
could \ not ' know - that ! the heaven 3 of the
; white people is never •likely.to be so
crowded ras their vaudeville houses, nor
that so far there never has been half
the scramble to get through the pearly
,' gates | that there ils /every/ night to "get
;a* front /seat.-' in the Orpheum's top gal
,leryr-/?- . . . \'.' *, , .- v -
- ■■; After all, this > man, the most lone
some man ;In the/ world. Inasmuch as he
'has/never-told; a lie, <was excusable for.
suspecting that he had been suddenly"
r transported into a section of "the happy
hunting grounds surpassing his?^ most;
? ecstatic dreams of music and glitter
I and f glory. The only wonder is {that •he .
> was not driven/mad,-/ yet he held him
> self; l ink check . like J a"S Spartan V? hero.
Doubtless as he ? sat facing the strange'
! creatures, the blazing colored lights
and the weird music, he felt like a
toad that had fallen into fairyland. Yet
for the most part this savage, who for
40 ■ years had ? s crept on hands ;and; knees
- under \ the/ chaparral, fearing /to/make
?a* trail {lest; the white people followand.
slay him, sat like a dignified trust
magnate "*- at •'*£ an investigation, /; only?
v quaking, but : with head erect and smil- ..
ing in the face ;of possible destruction. ?,
There was '■■■ courage,/ for • you—and -i for
} titude and self-control. As Professor ?
Kroeber put :■ it:,.;. /-/--'//?-://.;-/ :i ■'■ . -.- -
?. "This /'ls ??the'? most wonderful : ; thing
Ishi has ever seen.'jilt* is as much of a ?
voyage -? Into"? the ? unknown, which =to l a
/ primitive ft man is always ;. full of pit
falls and terrors, as would /be"', the com
ing to earth of a man from Mars. He
has :never/* seen a crowd before,;;never.."
saw at:theater,; and "he is not yet fully -
assured j that his life !is not to be sac
rificed rat any moment. When he en- ?
-: tered the theater;and! faced ; th* crowd
r and • the ; calcium * lights Ihe ; shook with
: terror, but 1 in""? a/? few minutes }, he??had
? perfect control :: of ; his > motions {and sat
/through the?ordeallwith as much com
posure and;smiled* and smoked as com
placently as; any blase' theater goer. It
■ was ? heroic. And/ his belief that Miss\/?
i Lena ' was /, the ' sacred } medicine woman -
was the most interesting development
of this experiment." ?? ''XXX
*'/.?. As % for Miss Lena, she * did what ? she
could to reassure her humble adorer
as ?.to 3 her strictly human A' origin, but
I with ? indifferent,": success. When Ii In
: formed her that the last man/of his
? race .*"■ desired':; to prostrate himself ?at
' her feet i she .-; promptly/entered \ the 1* box
and sat down by him.*. . ??•?••" ?'?'.
He made f sort of obeisance. What
other : expression he might ? have , given
■'' :. •, :'■ .*»>-.- ■•.:,....- -..•'• : - ;*-' .-" tr" ■' :-"-.. ■■:■■::-'- ' 4:
--■ j ..-- ' • . . •* - . '■-'-" :V' '' - -
to- bis ? reverence will never/ be known,
for with the word*, "God help him—God
i help the 5 poor man!" she i j seised ?? is
\ hand, shook lit and % patted him reas
. suringly !on the shoulder. He i tried i t<*
' smile back ¥at I her, but f succeeded 1 only
• in 4 convulsing | his J features into a pain
ful ;" expression ££ of awe and I wonder.
After the song woman had spoken'
many gentle words \of ' sympathy to the
wild man a look of intense happiness
spread over his face. If there had 1
been any lingering doubt in his mind
as to her place In the pantheon of " the \
gods the talisman which she gave him
dispelled it. Now he was sure she was
the goddess. He rolled the little gift
into a small wad and placed it rever
ently In his shirt pocket over his
I heart, explaining to Batwee that it
was the great medicine ball that would
ward off « all aril. And yet what thai
little singer from London had given
the wild man of Tehama was only a
stick of "chewing'gum. ;■
It's All Too Much for Ishi, Says the Scientist
By A. L. Kroeber
Professor of Anthropology, Uni
versity of California.
THAT, which made the first impression
upon Ishi at the vaudeville per
vi formance lin the Orpheum theater
il was the crowd. The j performance itself '
I am sure he did not appreciate. He
I* laughed •when the f crowd "f laughed, but I
not because he understood 8. the humor of
any of the acts. It was the f greatest ?
crowd. 1,600 or 2,000 people packed into
one place, which excited and! impressed \
him most and for some time he did not
even seem conscious of the stage or
the players. If a similar gathering had
cried and shrieked he would have done
the same: as it was he laughed. It was
| simply 1 the | physiological ¥ effect % of | the ,
crowd upon him. ;V His hjlgh unnatural
1 giggle is like that of a young ' girl f and |
does not necessarily signify that any
appeal tis made /to j his I sense of J humor.
IHe | laughs, when |he is embarrassed, as <
a great many people do, and It is a
simple matter to make him blush.
,' >• Even the woodchoppers' act i| meant
little to him. He had probably used
? some f form of hatchet lin | his | time, but •
that the Australians |f|w«r«|o doing
anything better, or, anything re
quiring greater* skill- than his
own j „-?■ I lido?/? not / think he - realized.
??.;/Ystfc there Is nothing undeveloped
? about him; he has the mind ;of I a man
land* is_a man in every sense. With the
excepwpn of the habits which he has
| acquired by his ; manner; of ; living ?he is
thoroughly normal. He Imitates readily
; and seems to adapt himself '' to '"■-' the
usages iof * civilization very .< quickly, but
: he has not the least/ Initiative. -.-.;- .\
Nine-tenths of that which goes ?on
around him he does not understand, for
all the conditions /of? his new manner
of living are so totally different that
he accepts everything at its face value
? and never thinks/of questioning any
thing. He Is no' longer bewildered, he
= Just accepts. It is as though we were
to visit the moon. We would get used
to the novelty of it in a short time
and then when the surprise had worn
i off, while we understood % nothing S of j
what was going on about us we should
learn to take it all for granted.
. I have -tried to teach him English.
but he will not learn It. .He repeats
| the words after me readily enough;?
but when he is told to use them he >
refuses. It is embarrassment, self
! consciousness or timidity, but it Is not
j inaptitude. I try to { teach him to count
and he understands the meaning «of I
the words, but he refuses to us* them.
I thonght at first that if he were
thrown upon /his own resources he \
would learn rto take care of himself; but
he has been alone so long; that-? It? does
/ not ; seem to; mat to; him whether any
one understands him or not. When he»
/talks to me, although Sam; Batwee may/
? not be present, he uses his own tongue '-...
and appears to be just as happy, al-';
though he knows I can not understand, %
* as]though) I ? understood it all. „ \* y
It is ; probable, too, that If were ;
turned out to shift for himself ,; he
would attach himself to the /first, per
? son who came along. He /does' not con- :
sider himself a part of the •civiliza
tion ;about him, and makes no effopt to
become a part;? of /it.'- While he has
learned to wear 'clothes, ? to wash his
;face/and seems perfectly happy? in ; his
surroundings, he is no more «fit? to/go >
?outi into the world no Wf than |he was; a ;
'• month His attitude toward every
thing about him is just like that of a
puppy. He is interested in everything,
but he never questions /orders? He
comes: running when you call him, and
If you were to tell him to stand in the
corner or stand on "his head,/If;he? were -
able he would do It without hesitation. /
For ,a . time I believed that .*he/j was ?
unhappy, but when Batwee asked him
If he would rather live with the white
men or the Indians he' said he preferred X
to stay where he was.

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