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ONE of my fondest memories of Jamaica, and carrying me back to the closing days of the year 1906, has already been told in Whisperings of the Caribbean.

As you leave Falmouth, travelling east, and abandon the shore road, the ascent leads you up through the Trelawney Mountains, and if you are fortunate enough not to lose your way, you may come to a peaceful spot, far from the busy turmoil of the world, that is not inaptly named Refuge.

To the north, the undulating country, studded with palms and other tropical trees, with here and there areas of sugar cane and bananas, stretches far away to the purple Caribbean.

The little mission church with its red roof and simple bell cupola has been built upon a gently rising knoll, the whitewashed walls forming a pleasing contrast with the green of the surrounding shrubbery.

God's acre has found its place around the church, and even as we arrive, the bell in the cupola begins to toll. With mournful, resonant note, it breaks the peaceful silence of the hour to speak the prayerful

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remembrance for the passing of a soul. Up from the valley, a funeral procession is finding its tortuous way. Old John Ferreira is dead. Marse Marny he was always called in fond affection by the children of the "bush."

Only a few short months ago, a visiting missionary had written back to the States concerning this dear old man: "Old John Ferreira, who lives near the church is a Portuguese, seventy years old, who came to Jamaica in 1857, and has been in this one spot ever since. In spite of his years, he is still a good strong specimen of a man and his solid piety is refreshing when one meets it in such uncongenial surroundings. Somehow or other I could not help thinking of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez as I looked at him; whether it was his simplicity and earnestness combined with real old-world holiness, or the fact that he is a widower unaffectedly devoted to God, or perhaps the union of the two things in him, I can't tell; but such was the impression left on me. Looking up at the heavens this evening, after the usual night prayers and catechism instruction by the priest in the church, his eyes fell on the constellation of Orion. Whereupon turning to me and pointing to the line in it of three upper stars which was almost parallel to the horizon, he said: 'In my country we call those three Marys and the other three near them, we call the three Kings. And those two stars close by which shine together so as to seem almost to be one star, we call St. Lucy.' As he spoke, I could imagine the peace sanctified by religion which is afforded in a truly Catholic country, a

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peace, which in this case, this Madeira peasant had not lost with departure from the scenes of his faraway childhood."

So wrote the Reverend Patrick F. X. Mulry, S.J., under date of April 2, 1906. What he did not write, however, was the fact that for half a century good Marse Marny had endeared himself to the trustful children of the "bush" by his kindly words and endless little acts of charity. Thus he had become in course of time, in the esteem of all, not merely a generous benefactor but a gentle and truly sympathetic friend. So, at his death, there was on every side deep and heartfelt mourning. Throughout the "bush" each one regarded it as a personal loss, and at the funeral the entire countryside assembled to pay the last respects to one whom they felt as near to them as if he had belonged to the very household.

Like a cry of universal lamentation their wails swept up the hill. Even the crippled and the aged had gathered in groups along the path that the funeral was to follow. Little children, frightened at they knew not what, cast themselves prone and buried their kinky little heads in Nana's skirts, weeping through sympathy for the tears that coursed unchecked down the furrowed visage of the disconsolate old woman. And the aged Nana herself sat there in a huddled heap, with chin between her hands as with unseeing eyes she gazed off towards the distant Caribbean.

When the funeral cortège reached the foot of the hill, as if on a preconcerted signal, the groups of

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blacks spread out and formed two lines along the way. In every hand was held a tree-branch from the nearby shrubbery, and as the body was carried by, in solemn unison the branches waved, while the touching anthem of that multitude, with many sobs and lamentations passed down the breeze, "Goodbye, Marse Marny; Good-bye Marse Marny; Goodbye, Marse Marny." Then as the last rites were finished and the grave was filled, these children of the "bush" in mute affection placed the branches on the little mound and wandered disconsolate back through the fields to the sheltered nooks and hollows where in their humble homes for many a day they moaned the loss of their well-loved Marse Marny.

Many a funeral have I since attended in the "bush" but never have I seen this ceremony repeated anywhere. It was a spontaneous outburst of love and gratitude on the part of the simple and devoted people and it stirred me deeply as it brought home to me a fuller realization of the true spirit of the "bush."

There is the firm conviction that death is not the end of all things. Despite what the private life may be, whether members of a Church or not, all cling tenaciously to the hope of the life to come, and purport a reform in the not too distant future. But for the present, "Can't do better," and that is all there is about it. The carping visitor makes note of figures on one violation of the moral code, forgetting all the time that much of the seeming wrong in the Isle of Springs may be perhaps in the sight of God what

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theologians call material and not formal sin. Moreover, if one type of wrong-doing does stare you in the face, Jamaica is remarkably free from other and greater evils that are so rife to-day in the white man's country.

Herbert G. DeLisser, who knows his Jamaica so well, with good reason asserts: "Tropical man is not all vile. He is like man in almost every part of the world, a composition of good and bad, angelic and bestial, false and true. He has his virtues as well as his shortcomings, and we must take him as we find him and not expect perfection." (1)

The advent of the automobile has wrought great changes in Jamaica, bringing the Metropolis closer to every section of the "bush." New roads have opened up entire sections that were previously inaccessible to any except the sure of foot among men and beasts. As a consequence, old-time customs are rapidly dying out and even funerals in the "bush" have lost within the last decade or two many practices that could be traced not merely to the days of slavery but back to their origins in distant Africa.

M. Malte-Brun, speaking of the West African Negroes, stated in 1827: "In their funerals, which are attended with much howling and singing, a very singular piece of superstition prevails. The bearers of the body ask the deceased, if he has been poisoned or enchanted, and pretend to receive a reply by a motion of the coffin, which is no doubt produced by one of their boldest jugglers. The person whom the deceased accuses of having killed him by enchantment is at once condemned to be sold as a slave." (2)

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In December, 1855, the United States Sloop-of-War Jamestown, then flag-ship of the African Squadron, visited the Gold Coast, and the Chaplain of the Ship, the Reverend Charles W. Thomas, thus describes a wake at Elmina. "In our walk through the town, we entered a house in which there was a corpse, a wife of the tenant. The chief mourners, who were slaves, were painted all over in white mud, literally whitewashed, and the remaining wives of the landlord were seated on the dirt floor of the room entertaining the company. Near the deceased, and on the mat on which she lay, was a plate of boiled rice and fowl, and a bottle containing a little rum. These, they said, afforded her nourishment on her journey, and were very acceptable. Two old hags sat at the feet of the corpse, beating time on pieces of iron hoop, and to this music two women were dancing in a space near the bed . . . 'Why,' I asked through the interpreter, 'do you dance and laugh on such an occasion?' They replied, 'Because she is gone to a better place.' I felt very much like acquiescing in the conclusion, for a worse place than Elmina I can hardly imagine. But how strongly, deeply fixed in human nature, thought I, is the conviction of another state of existence. There are but few tribes, if any, in Africa, and none out of it, more debased and ignorant than this people, yet here, though vaguely, and without shadow of reason, is held and cherished one of the foundation truths of all religion." (3)

Captain Rattray in his description of Ashanti funerals, goes into considerable detail. After the

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body has been washed, dressed and laid out, food is prepared "for the journey upon which the deceased is supposed to have started. This food generally consists of a fowl, eggs and mashed plantains or yams and water, which are placed beside the body." (4)

"A 'wake' is now kept up, night and day, until the body is buried. The whole time is spent in firing guns, drumming, dancing and singing." (5)

"Grief and sorrow are very real where the clan (blood) relations are concerned, for the tears demanded by social custom are none the less a token of genuine grief. For others, not clansmen and women, such occasions are perhaps not so tragic, and on this account these rites may seem to the uninstructed to be somewhat heartless shows, as mirth and jollity are not altogether absent." (5)

Captain Rattray observes in passing: "The simple faith of the mourners that all that was said was heard by the dead was very touching." (6) I could not help noticing that the same was true at the funeral of Marse Marny in Jamaica.

"The offerings of food are arranged on low tables before the corpse, who is informed, as water is poured on the ground before it: 'Here is water, wash your hands and eat.'" (7)

"The body is generally buried on the third day. In olden times the actual interment took place at night, but daytime burials are now not uncommon." (8)

When the funeral is ready to start, a hole is knocked in the wall of the house, and the body is

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removed through this "improvised doorway, which later is closed up, in order to cheat the ghost if it wished to return to the house." (9)

As the body is about to be placed on the ground outside the house, the ceremony of the triple lowering and raising is performed in deference to Asase Ya, the earth goddess, (10) as was mentioned in our opening chapter.

In connexion with the Ashanti Proverb: "The corpse which is coming to knock against (some one) cares nothing for cries of sorrow," (11) Captain Rattray explains: "The custom of 'carrying the corpse' when the cause of death is supposed to be witchcraft is briefly as follows. An open stretcher is made of palm branches, and on this the corpse is laid, being surrounded by leaves . . . The stretcher is then placed on the heads of two men, who carry it out into the street. The whole people assemble. The chief, or head man of the village, advances cutlass in hand, and addresses the corpse saying, 'If I were the one who killed you by magic, advance on me and knock me.' And so on each in turn comes up till the guilty one's turn comes, when the corpse will urge the carriers forward to butt against him with the litter. A person so accused can appeal for a change of carriers." (11)

In a later volume, Captain Rattray returns to the subject, and tells us: "The custom of 'carrying the corpse' is well known; it is even still sometimes put in practice. The rite consists in imploring the spirit of the dead man or woman to assist the living in pointing out the 'bayifo (witch) who, by his or

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her black magic, has compassed the death. This the dead person does by causing those who are 'carrying the body' to push or knock against the guilty party." (12)

Captain Rattray then gives in detail the court record of a case that was tried before him in his capacity of magistrate, and observes: "The evidence which was given to the court on this occasion was remarkable. It seemed to point to the fact that the persons concerned, who appeared to have had every motive not to incriminate the accused, were not entirely free agents. In this modern example, typical of hundreds of such cases that once decimated whole villages, the tradition of centuries was so firmly instilled in the mind of the accused, that he seemed to have forgotten that he had only to appeal to the nearest European court to find redress." (13)

Briefly the case was this. A woman, when dying, had declared that her death was caused by someone at D. Her relatives accordingly decided to make the test of "carrying the body" despite the fact that such a process was forbidden by British Colonial Law. The body was tied in a cloth and two men carried it. Asked to show who killed her, the body forced the carriers to a certain house and knocked up against a man whom we may call A. In accordance with his right, A demanded a change in carriers and suggested his own two sons for the purpose. This was granted. But again the body came to his house and knocked him. That night he went to the "bush" and shot himself.

We need not repeat the story as told by the two

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first carriers who might easily have been guided by personal hostility towards A. But the evidence of his own sons is a different matter. The first son testified: "I carried the corpse at the head, my brother carried the feet; we carried the body from our yard on our heads into the street. When we got outside my father questioned the corpse . . . When my father spoke thus to the body, my whole body shook and I felt weak and as if a great weight was upon me. The body pulled me backwards and then suddenly pushed forward . . . My father tried a second and a third time." Asked by the Court, "Did you want to make the corpse rush at your father?", he replied: "He is my father and I could not want to do that . . . I knew I was going to knock my father, but I could not help myself, my whole body became weak." (4)

Captain Rattray adds: "The evidence of the second son who had carried at the feet, and had been taken out of court whilst the previous witness was giving his evidence, was somewhat similar to the above. He also said: 'I did try to stand firm on one place but could not help going forward. I knew if the body knocked my father, he would be killed. I could not prevent it. I tried to, but could not.'" (15)

We may now return to the general description of the Ashanti funeral as described by Captain Rattray.

"Before the grave is dug, a libation is poured on the spot with the words:

"Goddess of Earth, receive this wine and drink;
Your grandchild so-and-so has died.
We beg of you that we may here dig a hole." (16)

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"All the food that had been exposed in front of the body is collected . . . and taken with the body to the burying ground." (17) "Wine is poured on the grave, with the words: 'So-and-so, here is wine from your family, do not cause any of us who have carried you to fare ill.' All drink some of the wine. They then return home; when they arrive at the village, one of the clansmen brings water and all wash, not only their hands and feet, but the hoes or other tools used at the grave side. Dancing, drinking, and singing continue until sheer exhaustion sends every one home." (19)

On the sixth day "the ghost departs for the land of spirits." (19) On the eighth day there is further dancing, etc. as the funeral accounts are gone into and a final settlement is made. Other celebrations take place on the fifteenth, fortieth, eightieth days as well as on the anniversary. (20)

If one is astonished at all this dancing and drinking at a funeral, we must keep in mind that Captain Rattray calls our attention to the fact: "Dancing in Africa invariably has a religious significance. It forms an indispensable accompaniment of all funeral rites." (21)

We are further informed by J. B. Danquah in connexion with Akan funerals: "Nobody sings for a half-hour without drink. Both at home and at the burial grove drink is being blindly served." (22)

Now let us see how much of the funeral ceremonial was continued by the descendants of the Ashanti in Jamaica during the days of slavery.

One of the earliest accounts that has come down

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to us is that of Charles Leslie which was published in 1740. Of the funerals of the slaves, he writes: "When one is carried out to his grave, he is attended with a vast multitude, who conduct his corpse in something of a ludicrous manner. They sing all the way, and they who bear it on their shoulders, make a feint of stopping at every door they pass, pretending, that if the deceased person had received any injury, the corpse moves towards that house, and that they can't avoid letting it fall to the ground, when before the door. When they come to the grave, which is generally made in some savannah or plain, they lay down the coffin, or whatever the body happens to be wrapt up in; and if he be one whose circumstances could allow it, or if he be generally beloved, the Negroes sacrifice a hog, in honour of him; which they contribute to the expenses of, among themselves. The manner of the sacrifice is this. The nearest relation kills it, the entrails are buried, the four quarters are divided, and a kind of soup made, which is brought in a calabash or gourd, and, after waving it three times, it is set down; then the body is put in the ground; all the while they are covering it with earth, the attendants scream out in a terrible manner, which is not the effect of grief, but of joy; they beat on their wooden drums, and the women with their rattles make a hideous noise. After the grave is filled up, they place the soup which they had prepared at the head, and a bottle of rum at the feet. In the meantime cool drink (which is made of the Lignum Vitae bark, or whatever else they can afford) is distributed

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amongst those who are present; one half of the hog is burnt while they are drinking, and the other is left to any person who pleases to take it; they return to town, or the plantation, singing after their manner, and so the ceremony ends." (23)

When slavery was at its height in Jamaica, during the second half of the eighteenth century, the following account of slave customs was rendered by Edward Long: "Every funeral is a kind of festival; at which the greater part of the company assume an air of joy and unconcern; and, together with their singing, dancing, and musical instruments, conspire to drown all sense of affliction in the minds of the real mourners. The burthen of this merry dirge is filled with encomiums on the deceased, with hopes and wishes for his happiness in his new state. Sometimes the coffin-bearers, especially if they carry it on their heads, pretend that the corpse will not proceed to the grave, notwithstanding the exertion of their utmost strength to urge it forwards. They then move to different huts, till they come to one, the owner of which, they know, has done some injury to, or been much disliked by, the deceased in his lifetime. Here they express some words of indignation on behalf of the dead man; then knock at the coffin, and try to soothe and pacify the corpse; at length, after much persuasion, it begins to grow more passive, and suffers them to carry it on, without further struggle, to the place of repose. At other times, the corpse takes a sudden and obstinate aversion to be supported on the head, preferring the arms; nor does it peaceably give up the dispute,

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until the bearers think proper to comply with its humour. The corpse being interred, the grave is but slightly overspread with earth. Some scratch up the loose mould, with their backs turned to the grave, and cast it behind them between their legs, after the manner of cats which have just exonerated. 'This, they say, is done, to prevent the deceased person from following them home. When the deceased is a married woman, the husband lets his beard remain unshaved, and appears rather negligent in his attire, for the space of a month; at the expiration of which, a fowl is dressed at his house, with some messes of good broth, and he proceeds, accompanied by his friends, to the grave. Then begins a song, purporting, that the deceased is now in the enjoyment of complete felicity; and that they are assembled to rejoice at her state of bliss, and perform the last offices of duty and friendship. They then lay a considerable heap of earth over the grave, which is called covering it, and the meeting concludes with eating their collation, drinking, dancing, and vociferation. After this ceremony is over, the widow, or widower, is at liberty to take another spouse immediately; and the term of mourning is at an end." (24)

The Reverend William James Gardner in describing the manners and customs prevalent in Jamaica prior to the anti-slave struggle which began in 1782, has this to say on our subject: "The funeral ceremonies bare some resemblance to Irish wakes. A feast was provided, at which there was singing, drumming, and dancing. When at length it was time

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to carry the coffin to the grave, it was borne more frequently on the heads than on the shoulders of the bearers. After a little progress had been made a sudden stop was almost sure to take place: the corpse, it was said, was obstinate, and would not go on; something was surely the matter. Presently the cause would be explained. Perhaps, just by, a man lived who had been at variance with the dead: he must be visited and soundly scolded, and then the departed spirit would rest. Quietude seemed to come much quicker if the accused person was liberal in his offers of rum.

"Occasionally the corpse was displeased with the mode of conveyance, and this had to be changed. When at length the grave was reached and the coffin was lowered, cooked food, in which no salt had been put, was placed upon it; and in covering up the grave the attendants often turned their backs to it and threw the earth in from between their legs. This was an infallible way of preventing the spirit of the departed from returning with them to their homes. Sometimes the spirit was caught with many ceremonies in a box provided for that purpose, and then the box was carefully buried. The surviving widow of the departed was expected to go more careless in dress than usual for some few weeks; but when tired of the single state she cooked a fowl, and carried it, with the broth, to the grave, accompanied by friends who either sympathized with her or perhaps merely wished to spend a pleasant evening. A song was sung expressive of confidence in the happiness of the departed, fresh earth was piled

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upon the grave, some of the viands were cast upon it, and the rest eaten. More singing, and also dancing followed, and the party, returning home, left the bereaved one to select another companion. No propitiatory offerings could, however, keep the departed from occasionally breaking bounds. Hence every Negro trembled at the mention of duppies; these are the ghosts of northern climes. Even now, among the ignorant, when a corpse is prepared for the grave, dressed, as is not unusual, in a full suit of clothes, the pockets are often cut away, lest the duppy should fill them with stones and annoy the living on his return. For nine days the room in which death took place was undisturbed, and a light left burning at night; nor were little conveniences to which the departed was accustomed, as water to bathe the feet, etc., omitted. Food was often prepared, and if a bold-hearted but hungry member of the household consumed it in secret, the appetite of the duppy became the occasion of remark." (25)

Later, when he comes to consider the manners and customs of the period immediately preceding the emancipation of the slaves, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mr. Gardner states regarding the funerals of the slaves: "Some changes had taken place in the mode of conducting them as compared with those related in a former chapter on manners and customs. When a person of any kind of importance died, preparations were made for a wake. If the family were not able to bear the expense, plates enveloped in black crape were sent round from house to house, and the gifts of those

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kindly disposed collected. It was thought something extremely mean not to contribute for such a purpose. All who chose to come to the wake were freely welcomed. It was a grand time for gossip, feasting, and too often drunkenness. Similar customs to those described under the former period prevailed.

"The ceremony of catching the shadow of the dead person was usually gone through with many strange antics; and when this wonderful feat was declared to have been accomplished, the shadow was put into a small coffin and carefully buried. After this there was no fear of the duppy, or ghost, giving any trouble.

"Still the dead man could not, as a rule, go quietly to his last resting-place, unless all outstanding matters were adjusted. The friends or relations who bore the coffin often received some hint, the nature of which was best known to themselves, and then placing their ears to the coffin, they professed to interpret the utterances of the departed, who it seems had not yet lost the gift of speech. Slanders spoken against him, or injuries not yet redressed, were now publicly proclaimed. More frequently the corpse was declared to proclaim the name of its debtors: the creditors were invariably forgotten. Woe to the man who owed anything to the estate of the departed. No matter what superhuman efforts the bearers seemed to make, the corpse was obstinate, and would not go past the residence of the delinquent. A living dun is usually a very inconvenient visitor, but what can a man do with a dead one? A coffin before one's door, which no power on earth

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can lift until the debt is paid, is perhaps one of the most unpleasant modes of enforcing payment that can be well imagined, and, as a rule, it was most successful. Yet it sometimes turned out that the corpse was not honest, that the alleged debt had been paid; and then it was wonderful how light the coffin of the claimant became, and how rapidly the bearers proceeded on their way.

"In 1831, night funerals were prohibited by law: owners permitting them were liable to a penalty of fifty pounds, and slaves attending them to a whipping of thirty-nine lashes. In the early part of the century they were very frequent. The scene presented on these occasions was wild in the extreme, though rarely witnessed by white people, and only then by stealth. One or more Negroes played upon the goomba, and another, at intervals, blew a horn made of a conch shell; another took the solo part of a recitative of a wild funeral wail, usually having reference to the return of the departed to Africa; while a party, sitting in a circle, gave the chorus. These melancholy dirges were often protracted through the night, the coffin not being laid in the grave till the morning star arose. Food, consisting of pork, yam, rum, etc., was placed in the coffin, for the use of the departed in his long journey across the blue water to the fatherland. In later years it became common to use more expedition at the grave, and when the funeral was over, and a few dirges sung, to return to the house and spend the night in feasting, often accompanied with dancing." (26)

However absurd many of these practices appear

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to us to-day, it must be kept in mind that they were all part of a complicated system of religious beliefs and that there was never any question of witchcraft in the whole process.

According to the animistic view of the Ashanti, in all animal and vegetable life there was a spiritual element that might conserve man's spirit after death just as the material part had been assimilated in the ordinary process of digestion during life. By an extension of this idea, it was thought that the departed spirit of man could draw sustenance from the food at the grave, as no substantial change, it was believed, had been effected in the process of cooking.

Until the interference of the white man put a stop to it, the funeral rites of the Ashanti kings had been elaborate in the extreme. (27) What has been commonly regarded as a "blood-lust" with its seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of victims, was in reality a natural consequence of the accepted doctrine concerning the hereafter. "It was incumbent on those left on earth to see that the king entered the spirit-world with a retinue befitting his high position. Such killings thus became a last pious homage and service to the dead," (28) as we are told by Captain Rattray.

In this way, some of the late king's wives were strangled so that they might attend "their husband on the journey upon which he had set out." (29)

With a like intent, animals were sacrificed at funerals so that their spirits might accompany the departed. (30) According to Ashanti belief even "trees and plants in general have their own particular

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souls which survive after 'death,'" (31) and it is this "spiritual" element which sustains the soul of man on its way to the land of ghosts.

Mr. Gardner then was in error when he facetiously stated: "Food was often prepared, and if a bold-hearted but hungry member of the household consumed it in secret, the appetite of the duppy became the occasion of remark." In the first place no living mortal could have been driven by the acutest hunger to appropriate to himself any portion of such food. He would have been haunted by the shadow of the deceased to his dying day. Secondly, any diminution of the material bulk of the food would have immediately aroused suspicion, as it was only the supposed spiritual element in the food that was available for the spiritual element in man which had departed this life, and the material element of the body was no longer able to assimilate the material element in the food. They were both dead, and subject alike to decay as their souls had left them.

During the century that has elapsed since the abolition of slavery, it is surprising how many of the old funeral customs have come down to us, at least in a modified form.

The outbreak of myalistic emotionalism which followed close on emancipation, generally yielded to an urgent desire on the part of the former slaves to identify themselves with some Church or other, and they hastened to "join" one or other of the established congregations. But if this were denied to them by reason of their mode of life, at least

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they "followed" or cast in their lot with one of the newly improvised native groups where ethical standards might not be so exacting.

But then, there were many who were still attracted to the old myalistic influences that were rapidly developing into modern revivalism. Even to-day, one easily distinguishes from all other religious groups in Jamaica these high-strung, emotional fanatics who are recognized by the peculiar tempo of their songs no less than by the grotesque hip movement that characterizes their sliding gait, as clothed in white and in single file, they parade the streets before they have aroused their spirits to the proper pitch of excitement in preparation for the "sarvice" which is to follow.

In the "bush," of course, all this preliminary excitation is unnecessary. There they simply live the life of their myalistic tendencies. As you meet them on the road you are apt to question their sanity, and if you watch them while they work, there is a peculiar exhilaration that shows itself in the glint of the eye and the nervous tension of their utterances. For such as these, it is an easy transition to the spiritual excesses of their formal assemblies. And it is in this myalistic exuberance of spirit that has come in direct descent from the proponents of old Ashanti belief and practice, that, naturally enough, the funeral customs of bygone days have been more or less preserved down to the present in Jamaica.

Out from these revivalistic centres in turn has spread a recrudescence of ancient funeral customs that has never failed to find adopters among the

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superstitious in the "bush" as a consequence of the persistent belief in duppies and shadows. Churches have done their utmost to stamp out what to them must needs appear as survivals of paganism. Church members openly condemn the practice in others, although I fear some of them may secretly participate in the "laying of a shadow." But among the great mass of those who professedly "follow you church but don' join yet," there is not the slightest qualm of conscience about taking part in any modern wake in the Jamaica "bush" no matter what superstitious practices may be introduced.

Professor Martha Warren Beckwith of Vassar College recently made a critical study of the present conditions in Jamaica. As a result of four visits to the island between 1919 and 1924, she has come to some very definite conclusions. In her delightful little book, Black Roadways, with its sub-title, A Study of Jamaica Folk Life, she opens the chapter on "The Burial of the Dead" with the following words: "All the acts connected with the burial of the dead are based upon a belief in the contaminating power of death and particularly in the continued animation of the dead and his power to return and disturb the living, unless precautions are taken to inter him properly. Hence fear keeps alive to-day much of the folklore which surrounds the rites for the dead. To prepare the body, two men wash it, 'working one on each side from the head down to the feet and both keeping together.' . . . Care must be taken to cut out or sew up the pockets in a man's suit, lest the ghost come back with its pockets full

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of stones and harm the living. All buttons must be cut off and the clothes sewed or pinned together. After dressing the corpse, two or more persons take it up and lay it back three times before placing it in the coffin." (32 ) This last is dearly a variant of the custom still in, vogue in Jamaica of raising and lowering the coffin three times which has already been explained.

"To prevent the dead from returning to haunt the family or to, harm some member of it, no member of the family must neglect to bid the dead farewell, and friends flock to the house to perform the same office." (33) But, "Tears must not fall upon the body or the ghost will return to the mourner." (34)

Doctor Beckwith continues: "It is believed that the dead will return and 'ride' (as in a nightmare) one who has done him harm. 'No black man dies a natural death,' says an old resident of the island, and all the evidence to be gathered from the people themselves corroborates this statement. The Jamaica Negro is, firmly convinced that every death which occurs before the allotted span of life is completed is due not to natural causes but to the work of an evil spirit sent by some enemy. When the suspicion of foul play is strong, the family suggest to the corpse the names of this one and that one who may have injured him, and concealing a sharp knife, a razor, or a shilling in his clothing, will say, 'Go do your work!' Or they will wrap up a bit of broom-weed in a white cloth and say, 'Go sweep the yard clean!' a saying which is meant to include the whole

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household of the murderer in the ghastly vengeance." (35)

"The body must be carried out feet first 'just as a man walks,' and by the front door; 'if you take him out the back way you will never keep him out of the house.'" (36)

"A very old belief refers to the habit of collecting bad debts on the way to the grave, the coffin by its weight or by striking against something on the way indicating where these debts lie . . . If the murderer helps bear the coffin it will be impossible to move it. The same thing happens if the bearers attempt to take it for burial to a place where it does not wish to be laid. Wilfrid knew of a case in which a Manchester man did not want to be buried at his own place but at his sister's, and it took some hours to reach the grave." (37)

"When a dead man's ghost has come back to 'ride' the living and it is desirable to 'plant him' so that he cannot again return, certain expedients are used to 'keep the ghost down,' the most common of which is to plant 'pidgeon peas' on the grave, for as the roots grow downward this will prevent the ghost from taking the opposite direction. At the west end of the island they boil the peas because, as the peas cannot shoot out of the ground, so the ghost must remain in the ground: the peas 'keep him down.' In Manderville it is the cut-eye bean that is used to plant down the ghost . . . Other precautions are taken at the house to guard against the return of the spirit to his old home. As soon as the body is taken out of the house, the room must be thoroughly

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swept, an observance called 'sweeping out the dead.' The water in which the body was bathed, which has been placed under the bed while the body was in the room, must be carried and emptied with all refuse into the grave; some say it must be thrown after the coffin as it leaves the house. Any looking-glass in the room should be covered in order that the reflexion of no living person may be cast upon it, else the person will pine away. Some say that water and a light must be left in the room for nine nights and the room left unchanged, but the water must be carefully emptied each morning. Others say on no account leave any water in the room. Some place water and even food at the grave. After the proper interval, it is well to rearrange the room, putting the head of the bed in a different position, whitewashing the walls, and even changing the position of the door, so that when the ghost returns, it will think it has come to the wrong house." (38)

"The Jamaica Negroes believe that for nine nights after death the ghost rises out of the grave and returns to its familiar haunts . . . Others say that he 'rises on the third day after burial and returns to the house, which he finally leaves on the ninth night,' or that he rises in three days and 'will go about and take the shadow of all things he possessed during life.' 'After a person has been dead three days,' says another, 'it is believed that a cloud of smoke will rise out of the grave which becomes the duppy.' The idea of the three days' interval is evidently derived from Christian teaching, that of the 'nine nights' is not so clear. During this period

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every relative and friend gathers at the house of the dead to entertain the ghost, welcome his return, and speed him back to the grave. The idea seems to be that should the ghost mark one absentee he might later harm the recreant member. All 'nine nights' are celebrated to some extent in the eastern end of the island, the ninth night is that demanding principal vigilance. In the west the 'big wake' is held the day after the burial and is sometimes repeated for three days, the ninth night being the occasion merely of a 'big singing.' This festival of the wake or 'set-up' seems to have grown out of the burial ceremony at the grave, as it is described by old writers." (39)

"'To please the dead' is the object of the wake among the more intelligent who still keep up the practice, but many no doubt feel that the ghost would never rest easy in his grave unless certain traditional rites were performed . . . The manner of the wake differs in various localities. Instead of. the African dances there are Moody and Sankey hymns--not church hymns, because the English church frowns upon the wake on account of the licence to which the all-night revel is likely to lead, and reproves its members for attending such occasions. 'Roll, Jordan, Roll' and 'Clash the Cymbals' are good wake hymns. In a well conducted wake, these religious exercises will last until twelve o'clock. After this comes the supper, which takes the place of the African feast." (40)

"In leaving a wake a person should never announce his intention, lest the dead hear him and

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follow him home; he should merely touch on the sleeve those who are to accompany him. Martial dancing at the grave, as described by Edwards and Phillippo, is to-day represented by the games with which the men and boys exercise themselves during the latter part of the night . . . It is evident that in all these observances the ghost of the dead is supposed to be present and to be pleased and appeased by the honour done him. In some wake customs there. seems to be an explicit effort to cheat the ghost and send him back to the grave from which he came. If he finds the district merry he will think he has made a mistake, or if he finds himself regarded as dead he will himself accept the community verdict." (41 )

Herbert G. DeLisser, whose facile pen has drawn such charming sketches of the lights and shadows of his beloved Jamaica, combines a living realism in his descriptions with a sympathetic appreciation of the particular purpose or spirit usually underlying what the indiscriminating stranger might regard as sordid or banal. We may be pardoned, then, in quoting at some length from a graphic account of a "Ninth Night" celebration that came under his own observation.

Writing in October, 1912, Mr. DeLisser tells us: "I was living in Kingston when, one night, about five years ago, I was startled by hearing a long-drawn-out shriek. It fell away to silence, then rose again and again, a series of piercing sounds that stabbed through the darkness and waxed and waned with monotonous regularity. In a minute or two I was out in the street and endeavouring to locate the

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direction from which the sounds were coming; the only other living beings to be seen were two boys, whose peculiar attitude attracted my attention. They were kneeling with their heads held close to the ground, and listening intently. 'What is the matter?' I asked them. 'Nine-night, sah,' they replied laconically.


"They bent their heads still nearer to the ground, were silent for a moment, then pointed positively in a north-eastern direction. . . .

"I handed the elder of the two youths a shilling: could I go to this 'ninth night'? He looked at me doubtfully, but agreed. 'I will teck y'u, sah,' he said; 'but a nine-night is a funny ting. Y'u must be sarrawful until it come to be about two o'clock; for if y'u laugh before dat time dere is some man dat will teck stick an' lick y'u. Yu can't meck fun as y'u like.' . . .

"As we walked on they explained to me that all that it was necessary to do at a 'ninth night' was to enter boldly, take a seat if one were vacant, look 'sarrawful', and, for the rest, behave as every one else did. It was also prudent for a stranger to sit near the gate, for many persons had been known to experience a desire to escape hurriedly from the scene of a too enthusiastic 'ninth night.' We walked for about a quarter of a mile, the sound of the incessant singing guiding us, and then I found myself in one of the poorest and most wretched of the slum-suburbs of Kingston. Inhabited by a heterogeneous population whose means of existence has been a

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problem to those who interest themselves in the condition of the Jamaica poor, it combines the characteristics of a village and a slum. . . .

"As we entered the village the singing, which had ceased for a moment or two, burst forth again with increased violence, and the air was filled with sound. I heard the words,--

Know that the Lord is God alone,
He hath created and can destroy,

thundered out by the sonorous voices of the men, and sent to pierce the darkness and the sky above by the shrill ear-splitting crescendo of the women. My guides paused before an open gate; this was the place we were seeking.

"Let me describe the scene exactly as I saw it. A great booth of dirty white canvas, and under this booth a crowd of persons of all ages and of both sexes. This was what first caught and held one's attention. The crowd was assembled in the centre of a large yard, and at some distance from the gate; and above the booth towered a giant tree. There must have been at least a hundred persons huddled under the frail canvas covering, some sitting on chairs and benches, others squatting on blocks of wood. In the midst of them was a table, on which were drinking-glasses and mugs and Bibles and hymn-books; and I noticed a smaller table covered with a white cloth, at the head of which sat a coal-black elderly man, who apparently presided over the proceedings.

"On either side of the booth, and along the whole length of the yard, ran a range of rooms, not more

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than nine feet in height from floor to roof. At the thresholds of some of these rooms sat women and children, and on nails driven into the poles which supported the booth a few storm-lanterns hung. Kerosene lamps placed on the tables gave forth a brilliant light. The heat was intense, for it was August. Everything stood out distinctly: the sable faces shining with perspiration, the glistening white teeth, the swaying bodies of the hymn-intoxicated people. There was something weird and wild and garish about that midnight gathering of men and women shouting under the calm star-lighted sky, vociferating that the Lord is God alone, while the rest of the city was hushed in the silence of sleep.

"I entered the place with some hesitation, and as I did so all eyes were turned upon me, though the singing did not cease. One man rose and courteously offered me a chair a little apart from the singers; some of the younger women stared and giggled; a few withered dames glared at me suspiciously. Remembering my young guide had said that the religious men present would probably resent anything on my part which smacked of levity or contempt, I looked at the old women with so serious a countenance that they probably decided that I appreciated the importance of the function. While the singing continued I had time to glance curiously round.

"One of the little rooms which I faced stood with its door and windows wide open, and from where I sat I could easily see into it. A large iron bed, covered with a clean white spread, was conspicuous; the rest of the furniture consisted of two small

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tables; evidently the chairs belonging to the room were being utilized in the yard. The room I observed, and it looked as though it had been garnished for some particular purpose. Seeing me gaze into it, one of my guides came over to me with the explanation, 'In there, sah, the woman dead.' Afterwards I discovered what he meant, and what the meaning of this peculiar 'ninth night' function was.

"Nine days after some one had died in that room, a woman whose children and relatives and friends were now, on the ninth night since her decease, holding a ceremony for the purpose of taking a last leave of her spirit. It is believed by the peasant people of the West Indies that if this leave-taking should be neglected, the wraith of the dead person would constantly hover near her last earthly residence, and be a source of discomfort and even serious danger to its living occupants. The custom, of course, was brought over from West Africa, where, even to-day, it may be witnessed in all its pristine elaboration. On the West Coast, eight days after the death of a husband, the widow proceeds to the seashore, attended by a great concourse of howling people, beating drums and blowing shells. The noise is made for the purpose of scaring away the ghost; arrived at the sea, the woman plunges into the water, throws away the clothes she has been wearing since the death of her husband, puts on a new garment, and returns home. During the interval food and drink have been placed in the but for the use of the dead one, and be is spoken of just as if he were alive. But when the ceremony of ghost-laying has taken place,

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it is assumed that, if no hitch has occurred in the proceedings, the ghost will have been deprived of all power of working harm to the widow or her next husband. In the West Indies the 'ninth night' ceremony is held not only for men, but for women and children as well. Very rarely a night passes in any large West Indian town but you will hear the sound of vociferous singing, which indicates either a wake or a 'ninth night.' And at some time or other during the proceedings the singers will loudly proclaim that the Lord is God alone, that being the one item which seems never to be omitted.

"On this night of which I write, the hymns were given out verse by verse, so that all should have a chance to sing. The man at the head of the smaller table reads with stentorian voice, and with a sublime disregard of all the rules of pronunciation. He pauses as he ends a verse, then leads the singing, the assembled guests valiantly following in his wake. Jealous of his authority, one or two old women suggest that he is 'taking a note too high,' and endeavour to create a diversion by singing the hymn in an entirely different key. But jealousy does not prevail over vested authority; consequently the hymn, in spite of occasional cacophony, goes on to the last word.

"Another hymn followed, and another; then the leader suggested that 'p'rhaps one of de sisters would like to offer a word of pr'yer.' There was nothing that the sisters would have liked better. Prayer came naturally and fluently from their lips; they embraced the whole world in their supplications,

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and so vehemently protested their belief that what they asked for would be granted, that they led at least one of their listeners to suspect that they had serious misgivings on that score.

"The singing and praying had been going on from about ten o'clock, and now it was nearly one. I began to hear murmurs. I detected a note of discontent. One man, in a loud whisper, expressed the opinion that though spiritual food was admirable in its way, something more material was required if one was competently to go through with the business of the night. Another guest remarked to a relative of the deceased, 'See here, I come to sing for y'u to-night, an' look how y'u treat me!' The tone was reproachful, the suggestion being that reward sweetens labour, and that the man who sings ought to be strengthened with food and drink for the singing.

"Suddenly I heard a shout-'Fry fish and bread advance!' It came from one of the guests who had so far forgotten personal dignity in his hunger that he had undertaken to solicit refreshments publicly and without shame. The appeal was not ignored. The hymn-book fell from the leader's hands, and a movement on the outskirts of the crowd caused every one to glance with a look of expectance in that direction. Satisfaction was visibly expressed on the faces of most of the people when three or four women were seen approaching with trays, for every one then realised that the religious part of the 'ninth night' was at an end, and that the time for feasting and speech-making and rejoicing had come.

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"Small sprats fried in cotton-seed oil, large slices of bread, fritters made of a mixture of flour and picked salt fish and pepper, coloured anatto and fried in oil; bananas and oranges; cups of coffee sweetened with cocoa-nut milk, were handed round. Then there was rum for the men, and a little ginger-wine for the older women, some of whom murmured gently that St. Paul had strongly advised the taking of a little wine for the stomach's sake; and in the midst of a buzz of conversation the feasting began. . . ."

After going into detail regarding this more jovial part of the function, Mr. DeLisser concludes: "Tales are told, games played, wrestling matches between adventurous youths and ardent damsels take place. The 'ninth night' becomes a picnic under the morning stars.

"More refreshments are handed round, the laughter is now as loud as the singing was before. Clearly the period of mourning is over.

"And then the skies begin to lighten and the shrill crowing of a thousand cocks is heard. The air becomes fresh, and the stars grow pale. And soon it is 'good-bye' and 'good-bye,' and yet again 'good-bye.' All the mourners are going home; most of them will have to be at their work an hour or two hence. As they depart, I notice that the dead woman's sister goes into the clean unoccupied room, and, taking up a covered jar pours the water it contains into the yard.

"'Well,' she remarks, 'we done wid Cecilia now,' and those who hear her heartily agree. Thus good

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bye is said to Cecilia also, and the hope is that she will never return to earth to frighten her friends and relatives.

"And why should Cecilia return, since her life, at best, must have been a hard one." (42)

When the World War broke out in 1914, I had charge of the missions at the western end of Jamaica with headquarters at Montego Bay. The Bugler in the Salvation Army Corps there was a young English lad of sterling, upright character, who had won the respect and friendship of all. When he died he was honestly mourned by the community at large without regard to creed or colour. The day of the funeral business shops were generally closed, and every civic honour was paid to his memory, while the town band escorted the procession to the cemetery. Being a church funeral, everything was conducted with decorum on the way to the grave. But as soon as the service there was finished, the whole order of the procession was changed, as the black population took charge of the band to conduct it back to town. A lively tune was called for, and the response was the stirring strains of Tipperary, then the marching song of every recruiting party and departing contingent in Jamaica.

Lines were quickly formed, with joined arms and tossing heads, men, women and children, prancing and dancing, in mob formation they came pouring back to town, seemingly desirous that they might keep right on not to Montego Bay but all the way to Tipperary.

As I looked down from a little eminence and

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watched the singing, dancing throng as it jostled by, I realized what I have often repeated since, that there was no disrespect for the dead intended, nor was any given. It was merely a light-hearted people turning back from sorrow to the ordinary cares of life which they habitually meet with laughter and song.

One really has to live close to the "bush" to hope to understand its spirit and its creed. Many a time, drawn by the witchery of a tropical evening, I have stood out under the stars, and listened to the gentle rustle of the palm fronds, at peace with all the world, when from a distance came the pulsing throbs of that peculiar syncopation of myal dance or revival gathering, to forcibly remind one of witch-bound Africa. Or, again, I have been aroused at the most unearthly hours of the night, by wake or ninth night in the neighbourhood, and forced to rise from bed and sally forth and watch proceedings from afar.

There is invariably a leader with a "selfish voice," that is one who physically and vocally can carry the refrain above the contending claims of rival vocalizers. The self-composed but determined leader proceeds to "raise a hymn." In solemn recitative he repeats a couplet, then sets the note by starting off in strident tones. The entire assembly at once joins in. The couplet finished, the leader recites another line or two, and so they continue through the night until the dawn of day. No matter if the words are known by heart or taken from some popular hymn, this recitative must never be omitted. No end of effort is expended on each and every hymn, and as

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a necessary consequence rum and refreshments are freely served to all throughout the night. Then at the funeral itself, it was still no uncommon thing to see a black fellow turn his back upon the passing corpse so that the duppy would not recognize him and perhaps later return to annoy him. Moreover, even during my days in Jamaica, the "catching of the shadow" at a "bush" funeral was far from being a thing of the past.

As stated in Voodoos and Obeahs, (43) I have more than once watched the process from a short distance, near enough, in fact, to be able to hear all that was said, and to watch carefully most that was done, as the actors, for such I must call them, scrambled and grasped at empty nothingness, with such realism of pretence, that I found myself actually rubbing my eyes, almost convinced against myself that there must be an elusive something that escaped my vision.

When sufficient rum had been imbibed, and the singing had keyed up the assembly to the proper pitch, someone would excitedly cry out: "See 'im yere!" Immediately two or three or even more rival hunters would start after that shadow at one and the same time. From outside where I stood, it looked as if a general scramble had started in the hovel and I could see forms falling over one another and hear the imprecations and exclamations. After a time, one more "forward" than the rest would claim to have caught the prey, only to be greeted with cries of scorn: "'Im get away! See 'im dah!" Whereupon the scuffle would start anew.

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Eventually, when all of them were breathless, dripping with perspiration, their clothes soiled or at times actually torn, and eyes almost popping out of their heads with excitement, while a general condition of hysteria had taken possession of the entire gathering, the fact would be accomplished by some belligerent individual, who would clasp- his hands and let out a veritable scream of defiance: "Me got 'im! Me got 'im!" with such vehemence that he would literally shout down all protests to the contrary, with perhaps just a little hint of possible physical violence that might follow as a support to the power of his vociferation. Then a box or at times a small coffin would be produced and with much ado, not perhaps without a final effort to escape, the poor shadow would be securely fastened in and properly "laid" to be buried later at the funeral.

I have further listened to two disputants on the following morning, while the rum fumes were still assertive, almost coming to blows as to which one of them had actually accomplished the feat of catching the shadow, and yet when I questioned them individually a few days later, despite the fact that I knew them intimately, both of them in perfect scorn, asserted, almost in the same identical words: "Me no belieb in shadow, sah! 'Im all nonsense, sah!"

I could never quite make up my mind whether it was all a self-conscious display of dramatic power, or merely a passing delusion in consequence of the generous potions of rum that had been imbibed. In

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either case, the entire séance was based on a generally accepted superstition and the participants were utterly reticent about the whole matter when dealing with the white man who questioned them about their having taken part in it.

Some years ago I wrote the following paragraph: "The present day 'bush' funeral is often characterized by many of the old-time superstitions and practices. The Jamaican peasant is a born actor, and the earnestness with which the shadow is duly chased and finally caught makes the onlooker fancy that his dusky friend is really seeing things and surely what he eventually grasps in his hand must be more than an airy nothing. On the way to the grave, too, the wrestling with the coffin, to drag it past some hovel or other, frequently passes beyond description. The carriers, dripping with perspiration from the effort they are apparently making, struggle heroically to urge the burden forward. They even plead with it and 'argify.' Finding the task, however, beyond their combined effort, they lay the coffin down and pull and strain to no avail, while a perfect pandemonium breaks out in the assembled throng that clusters around ready with advice and suggestions of every kind. Finally, the chief spirit in the farce kneels down, and puts his ear against the coffin. His faculty of hearing must be extraordinary, for despite the din and noise, he receives full instructions from the late lamented. The owner of the hovel off the path, who perhaps is standing in his doorway taking in the scene has done the dead man wrong. The entire multitude, abandoning the

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coffin in the road, troops up to give the unfortunate aggrievor of the dead an unpleasant outpouring of vituperation and abuse, until the price of rum is forth-coming, whereupon all throng back again to the road, pick up the coffin and continue on their way without more ado." (44)

Now with increased experience and study, I find myself in doubt how far I should revise my former judgment in the matter. How much of it is acting? How much of it is self-delusion? How much is hallucination? How much is a reality?

Certainly, I do not believe in ghosts in the ordinary acceptation of the word. Scriptural apparitions of spirits is an entirely different matter. But the Ashanti did believe in ghosts and their funeral customs like their other rites of passage, which really consisted in spirit control, formed an integral part in their system of religion. The Ashanti slaves in turn imposed this religious complex with its placating of spirits on the slave population of Jamaica so that it passed through the stage of myalism to its present form, revivalism.

Moreover, the revivalist to-day, as his prototype in Ashanti of old, in all these funeral customs as well as in his other emotional outbreaks, regards what he is doing as distinctively a religious ceremony. It is the only form of religion to which he wholeheartedly subscribes. He does believe in a Supreme Being, but his principal concern is with the subordinate entities, call them what we will, which play such a major part in his daily life, just as they have done in the case of the Ashanti from time immemorial. {p. 216} Consequently, in principle, revivalism differs little from the ancient Ashanti paganism and is necessarily antagonistic to every form of Christianity.

Furthermore, while duppies and shadows are to the revivalist mere natural phenomena of the human soul, their presumed control by the obeah-man brings them from the natural to the supernatural order where through their association with obeah they become tools of witchcraft and accordingly their manipulation must be included as part of the obeah-man's trade under the aegis of the Devil.

Would it be surprising, then, if on rare occasions, his Satanic Majesty made some external manifestation of the influence that he is exercising on the spiritual life of his devotees? If any man surrenders himself, either explicitly or even implicitly, to an evil control, he must expect to pay the price, and find that control at times exacting subserviency. Thus, in the material order, for example, the victim of drink who had allowed the habit to gradually assert the mastery over him, may lose in time all self-restraint and reach the stage where physically he can no longer resist, until he actually becomes the slave of drink. So, in the spiritual order, may not an unfortunate so surrender himself to the service of the Devil, that he becomes docile to every urge and suggestion of the Evil One? Absolutely he has the power to resist, but he does not choose to exercise his prerogative.

I do not say that all the uncanny knockings of the coffin or the reported annoyances of duppy and

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shadow are the work of the Devil. Far from it. I still contend that they are in great part delusions or human manipulations. But I cannot help feeling that at least on rare occasions there is something more than human ingenuity back of individual cases. Possibly even then the Devil may not physically direct the séance but what is to prevent his spiritual control over these minions who have gradually yielded to him the mastery over their actions? Such a course of influence would only tend to strengthen them and their brother-revivalists in their self-contained religion and its antagonism to Christianity in any form.

This may explain the fact that in Jamaica the habitual practice of the weird and bizarre is becoming more and more restricted to the revivalists in the "bush" as centres of activity.

Church members of every denomination regularly conduct their wakes in a decorous manner. Still even here occasionally time-honoured superstitions will creep in despite all the clergymen can do or say.

As a general rule, however, the church member professes to despise all this "nonsense" as he calls it, even if he deigns to admit that it does go on at all. And this, although he may be only a "follower" since he has not yet been able to "join." To him, the all-important point is, to have a minister of religion officiate at the funeral of his dear one. Of course, the rum and other refreshments must be provided first of all, and if he cannot afford the price himself, a plate decorated with a piece of crape is still sent round the neighbourhood.

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This essential attended to, he approaches the minister of his choice, whom he hopes to cajole into giving as much as possible for nothing, taking care, however, to make a modest beginning in his request, which is apt to run something after this fashion, as I have recorded elsewhere from an actual experience.

"Parson, please, me beg y'u one hole, sah!"' This means, in every-day parlance, that the petitioner wants a free grave, or hole, as they call it, which usually costs a few shillings. The request granted, the wily suppliant takes courage and begins afresh. "Parson, please, me beg y'u one heading, sah!" In other words, he asks that the minister of the Gospel should come free of charge to the hovel where the funeral is to start, and lead the procession to the cemetery. For this added splendor and pomp, the ordinary charge is about double the price of the grave, or hole. This granted, too, the self-appointed Committee of Claims now comes to the real purpose of his quest. "Parson, please, me beg y'u one churching, sah!" He asks nothing less, than that the Reverend Gentleman should not only conduct a service at the house, but that he should then lead the procession to the church, where a more prolonged and elaborate ceremony may be held, with all the singing of hymns that patience will permit, and possibly too a little panegyric on the departed-one's real or fancied virtues, and then again lead the procession to the cemetery. For such a ceremony, it is customary to charge a really substantial fee. (45)

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To be perfectly honest, I never had the heart to refuse such an appeal, although I knew full well that in all probability the price was already in hand, and that its holder hoped to conserve it for the "necessary" expenses of the funeral.

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