Page 4, 4th June 1937

4th June 1937
Page 4
Page 4, 4th June 1937 — Two Tramps H umour And Humanity In Africa

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Locations: London


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Two Tramps H umour And Humanity In Africa

Keywords: Carlin

Gulla the Tramp. By John Carlin. (Cape, 12s. 6d.) Footprints of a Wanderer. By Robert H. Davies. (Hale, 12s. 6d.) Reviewed by DONALD ATTWATER Gulla is a German woman ethnologist. John Carlin is the Englishman who accompanied her on a year's wandering in the French-mandated part of the Cameroonsnot one of those slap-up expeditions where everything is made as convenient as possible by the money of some learned society but an informal affair where they had to make-and-pay--their own way. The Fulbc who live in villages and the Bororo who are nomads were what they were after and it is with these people, and Gulla and Mr. Carlin's experiences among them, that the book is chiefly concerned-not scientifically but simply humanly. Indeed, humanity is the characteristic of this lively and most readable book: Mr. Carlin goes in neither for the "Latin civilisation for barbarous Dattakils" stuff on the one hand nor for "noble savagery" on the other : Fulbe and Bororo are just fellow human beings.

The book is remarkably objective in its account of people, places and incidents. but when there is passing comment it is at the same time good-humoured and sharp, as, for example. on the effect of European contacts on Africa provoked by a black wench at Tibati with a long cigaretteholder and the manners of a gin-palace: "Tentacles . . . ribbon development . . . towns traders Syrians cigaretteholders-horrible! " Mr. Carlin shows the Fulbe and Bororo as in general contented and cheerful folk, more estimable than their European colonial officials-yet does not make that a pretext for abusing missionaries, of whom, indeed, he seems to have seen little. His final parting from Gulla makes a sympathetic echo in the reader as the end of the book is reluctantly reached.

Footprints of a Wanderer is a quite different kettle of fish. The publishers allege that Mr. Robert H. Davis is "the world's most widely travelled newspaper-man." and well he may be. His book consists of 69 "chapters," of three or four pages each, reporting incidents, interviews, places, and what not, from Skye to Mazatlan and from the Loire to Nova Scotia via Saint Helena, including Bernard Shaw. Mrs. Mahaney (mother of quadruplets). Dorothy Dix ("inside low-down on the love-lorn"), Pauline Bonaparte, Red Lopez, Sarah Maenabb, midwife in North Carolina, Sax Rohmer. Jerome the unknown man without feet, bull-fighting, big-game hunting, curling, over-eating on the high seas, white sauce (My Kitchen History of England). and goodness knows what else. All very -but not tooAmerican, breathless and surprising: ideal reading for those who cannot concentrate for more than a few pages at a time.

London, by H. V. Morton. (Methuen. 5s.) Here is one of the well-known " Little Guide " series in a new dress. Mr. Morton has revised his A.B.C. of the capital and has brought it up-to-date. There is still room for a corrective scrutiny: Lauderdale House at Highgate. for instance, is not a fabric that has passed. And "Decimer " Burton will have to change his name. But slight blemishes do not impair the usefulness of a hook which our many visitors in Coronation year should welcome.

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