Odd People

Odd People
Catalog # SKU3540
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Captain Mayne Reid
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Odd People

Being a Popular Description
Singular Races of Man

Captain Mayne Reid

Perhaps no race of people has more piqued the curiosity of the civilised world than those little yellow savages of South Africa, known as the Bushmen. From the first hour in which European nations became acquainted with their existence, a keen interest was excited by the stories told of their peculiar character and habits.



At first the tales related of them were supposed to be filled with wilful exaggerations, and the early travellers were accused of dealing too much in the marvellous. This is a very common accusation brought against the early travellers; and in some instances it is a just one. But in regard to the accounts given of the Bushmen and their habits there has been far less exaggeration than might be supposed; and the more insight we obtain into their peculiar customs and modes of subsistence, the more do we become satisfied that almost everything alleged of them is true. In fact, it would be difficult for the most inventive genius to contrive a fanciful account, that would be much more curious or interesting than the real and bonâ fide truth that can be told about this most peculiar people.

Where do the Bushmen dwell? what is their country? These are questions not so easily answered, as in reality they are not supposed to possess any country at all, any more than the wild animals amidst which they roam, and upon whom they prey. There is no Bushman's country upon the map, though several spots in Southern Africa have at times received this designation. It is not possible, therefore, to delineate the boundaries of their country, since it has no boundaries, any more than that of the wandering Gypsies of Europe.

If the Bushmen, however, have no country in the proper sense of the word, they have a "range," and one of the most extensive character-since it covers the whole southern portion of the African continent, from the Cape of Good Hope to the twentieth degree of south latitude, extending east and west from the country of the Cafires to the Atlantic Ocean. Until lately it was believed that the Bushman-range did not extend far to the north of the Orange river; but this has proved an erroneous idea. They have recently "turned up" in the land of the Dammaras, and also in the great Kalahari desert, hundreds of miles north from the Orange river and it is not certain that they do not range still nearer to the equatorial line-though it may be remarked that the country in that direction does not favour the supposition, not being of the peculiar nature of a Bushman's country.

The Bushman requires a desert for his dwelling-place. It is an absolute necessity of his nature, as it is to the ostrich and many species of animals; and north of the twentieth degree of latitude, South Africa does not appear to be of this character. The heroic Livingstone has dispelled the long-cherished illusion of the Geography about the "Great-sanded level" of these interior regions; and, instead, disclosed to the world a fertile land, well watered, and covered with a profuse and luxuriant vegetation. In such a land there will be no Bushmen.

The limits we have allowed them, however, are sufficiently large,-fifteen degrees of latitude, and an equally extensive range from east to west. It must not be supposed, however, that they populate this vast territory. On the contrary, they are only distributed over it in spots, in little communities, that have no relationship or connection with one another, but are separated by wide intervals, sometimes of hundreds of miles in extent. It is only in the desert tracts of South Africa that the Bushmen exist,-in the karoos, and treeless, waterless plains-among the barren ridges and rocky defiles-in the ravines formed by the beds of dried-up rivers-in situations so sterile, so remote, so wild and inhospitable as to offer a home to no other human being save the Bushman himself.

335 pages - 8½ x11; softcover

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