Every one believes that every
malady under the sun is produced by fetish, and that some enemy is
casting spells upon them."
"There is more in it than you think," the doctor joined in; "although
it is not spells, but poison, which they use against each other.
The use of poison is carried to an incredible extent here. I have
not been much on shore; but the medical men, both civilian and
military, who have been here any time are convinced that a vast
number of the deaths that take place are due to poison. The fetish
men and women who are the vendors of these drugs keep as a profound
secret their origin and nature, but it is certain that many of them
are in point of secrecy and celerity equal to those of the middle
"I wonder that the doctors have never discovered what plants they
get them from," Frank said.
"Some of them have tried to do so," the doctor replied; "but have
invariably died shortly after commencing their experiments; it
is believed they have been poisoned by the fetish men in order to
prevent their secrets being discovered."
The hours passed pleasurably. The beautiful neatness and order
prevailing on board a man of war were specially delightful to
Frank after the rough life he had so long led, and the silence and
discipline of the men presented an equally strong contrast to the
incessant chattering and noise kept up by the niggers.