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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/779

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LIFE AT THE CAMERQONS.

they pride themselves on the figures and tricks they can execute with it. The boatmen in these war-vessels delight in arraying themselves with warlike emblems—helmets of goat-skin, guns of all kinds except good ones, swords, and bush-knives. While the war vessels are highly adorned, the trading vessels and those in common use are plain.

On account of their lack of industry, the Cameroons people make very few articles beyond what are necessary for their own use; and it is therefore hard to obtain a satisfactory collection of their products. If they could be taught to apply themselves to anything, they would make most excellent wood-carvers. The figure-heads and models of their canoes, and their chairs, are very fine. They make handsome mats and bags of bast. Their fishing nets and lines do them credit. Carved canes of ebony and calabashes are harder to procure. An ivory-cutter drives a good business in making walking-sticks for persons of means. The gardens, in which banana-trees and yams are the most important plants, are taken care of by the women, who also look after the eggs, committing the sale of them to the young people. The youthful salesmen drive their trade at the factories and the ships. The buyer very carefully tests all the eggs, selecting the good ones, which are usually not in very large proportion to the whole number, and the seller takes his pay and goes with the rejected eggs to the next customer. He takes the best he can find out of the lot, and the seller goes on till he generally manages to dispose of most of his stock. Sometimes a chicken pecks through the egg-shell while the bargain is going on. This vexes the European, but is very enjoyable to the native; for are we not fond of teasing those we love? The egg-merchant uses his mouth for a porte-monnaie, and puts coin after coin into it; when he has to make change, he spits his fund into his hand, and picks out the needed six-and three-penny pieces.

The people also keep goats, which they eat and Europeans do not; swine, whose flesh Europeans reject; in the interior, very small cows, which furnish good meat; dogs; and in the way of pets, parrots, monkeys, chameleons, and crabs.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Das Ausland.

 


 
The report of the British Royal Education Commission assumes that if the object of elementary education be the fitting of pupils in general for those duties which they will most probably be called on to perform, instruction in science is only second in importance to instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The soundness of this view is illustrated by the fact, also declared in the report, that the preponderance of opinion among the teachers examined is that no subject is better calculated to awaken the interest and intelligence of the pupils than science.