But This Would Not Discourage Me If I Had To
Start, Only It Makes Me More Inclined To Walk Round The Obstacle,
Than To Become A Mere Blood Splotch Against It, If This Can Be Done
Without Losing Your Self-Respect, Which Is The Mainspring Of Your
Power In West Africa.
As for flourishing about a revolver and threatening to fire, I hold
it utter idiocy.
I have never tried it, however, so I speak from
prejudice which arises from the feeling that there is something
cowardly in it. Always have your revolver ready loaded in good
order, and have your hand on it when things are getting warm, and in
addition have an exceedingly good bowie knife, not a hinge knife,
because with a hinge knife you have got to get it open - hard work in
a country where all things go rusty in the joints - and hinge knives
are liable to close on your own fingers. The best form of knife is
the bowie, with a shallow half moon cut out of the back at the point
end, and this depression sharpened to a cutting edge. A knife is
essential, because after wading neck deep in a swamp your revolver
is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it.
But the chances are you may go across Africa, or live years in it,
and require neither. It is just the case of the gentleman who asked
if one required a revolver in Carolina and was answered, "You may be
here one year, and you may be here two and never want it; but when
you do want it you'll want it very bad."
The cannibalism of the Fans, although a prevalent habit, is no
danger, I think, to white people, except as regards the bother it
gives one in preventing one's black companions from getting eaten.
The Fan is not a cannibal from sacrificial motives like the negro.
He does it in his common sense way.
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