He is wise!"
were the usual expressions we heard before we saw him.
He was much pleased with the proof of confidence we had shown
in bringing our children, and promised to take us to see his country,
so that we might choose a part in which to locate ourselves. Our plan was,
that I should remain in the pursuit of my objects as a missionary,
while Mr. Oswell explored the Zambesi to the east. Poor Sebituane, however,
just after realizing what he had so long ardently desired,
fell sick of inflammation of the lungs, which originated in and extended from
an old wound got at Melita. I saw his danger, but, being a stranger,
I feared to treat him medically, lest, in the event of his death,
I should be blamed by his people. I mentioned this to one of his doctors,
who said, "Your fear is prudent and wise; this people would blame you."
He had been cured of this complaint, during the year before,
by the Barotse making a large number of free incisions in the chest.
The Makololo doctors, on the other hand, now scarcely cut the skin.
On the Sunday afternoon in which he died, when our usual religious service
was over, I visited him with my little boy Robert. "Come near,"
said Sebituane, "and see if I am any longer a man. I am done."
He was thus sensible of the dangerous nature of his disease, so I ventured
to assent, and added a single sentence regarding hope after death.
"Why do you speak of death?" said one of a relay of fresh doctors;
"Sebituane will never die." If I had persisted, the impression
would have been produced that by speaking about it I wished him to die.
After sitting with him some time, and commending him to the mercy of God,
I rose to depart, when the dying chieftain, raising himself up a little
from his prone position, called a servant, and said, "Take Robert to Maunku
(one of his wives), and tell her to give him some milk."
These were the last words of Sebituane.
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