chapter  XXI
Pages 13

IN visiting a remote country, the appearance of the inhabitants produces the most striking impressions, The idea that the dress, features, and bearings of a people tolerably well indicate their intellectual acquirements, and comparative progress in the arts of civilized life, lTIay perhaps account for this interest. Thus, on entering Abyssinia, the traveller at once perceives that he is in the midst of a race superior in every respect to all the other tribes of Central Africa. The negro cast of countenance-the stamp of Ham's oppressed descendants, almost disappears on the Alpine heights of Ethiopia, and, instead of it, the men and women one sees possess features and symmetry of form that nlay justly be termed handsome. To give a full delineation of their person is an easy task, since in every respect a genuine Abyssinian resembles a bronze statue, which the greatest sculptor might safely take for his model. In size the true medium is between five and six feet. Corpulent persons I have never seen amongst them, which lTIay be accounted for by their continual exposure to the open air, and their

inartificial mode of existence. Erect and slender, they are still not devoid of muscular strength, nor of that symmetrical roundness which so much contributes to the beauty of the human frame. Their complexion, unlike that of other dark races, is very varied. The light olive-brown certainly predominates; but it is not unusual to meet in a single town or village individuals "rho exhibit every shade of colour, fro III the pale Egyptian on the Nile at Cairo to the dark Negro ill the malarious jungles near the equator. 'I'his peculiarity is, however, not so notable amongst the highlanders as amongst those who dwell near the low border districts, where a free intermixture with the black Shankgallas produces a marked change in the tint of the skin, and the expression of the countenance.