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and too far to say that he Is In the least degree inclined to accept the organization with which Lord Kitchener would, no doubt, he happy to equip him. He must be left to work out his salvation in his own way, and slower and less direct means will have to be discovered if we are to render him useful co-operation.
It may not be inopportune to remind the reader that the Afghan race is as brave and high-spirited as any on the earth. With a good rifle in his hand, the Afghan, individually, would be more than a match for any soldier of the Czar. But wars are no longer decided by the individual strength, courage, and activity of the combatants. Those qualities provide the best material of a fighting force, but it is for those in authority to supply the organization and cohesive power without which courage counts for little. How little has been accomplished in this direction in Afghanistan may be judged from the fact that no attempt has been made to create a body of regimental officers. The private soldier possesses a great many good points, but the officer and non-commissioned officer are practically worthless in the military sense. Afghan organization is thus totally lacking in almost its first essential. An army without officers of some slight degree of capacity is foredoomed to defeat, and that appears to be the true state of the Afghan army. This radical defect is put in the foreground of our comments because it appears to be the one that the Government of India could most easily cooperate in removing, without committing itself too far in the direction of interference in Afghanistan, and without compromising the Ameer's own position. There appears to be no objection to a certain number of officers of the Afghan army being trained with Indian regiments. In this way the formation of a nucleus of efficient of
ficers would be commenced. The spread of education by the establishment of a college for the sons of chiefs, as projected by the Ameer, and of military schools, would surely bring about the creation of the class of which Afghanistan has need. The Ameer's plan of conferring commissions on chiefs who bring in a certain number of recruits will also be of some avail, but only if the educational machinery in the State is at the same time improved and modernized.
The questions of greatest interest to the Indian Government, in regard to Afghanistan, are, however, not of the military order. They are divisible under two main heads, trade and communications. But they are matters affecting the prosperity and security of Afghanistan, as closely as any detail of military organization. The late Ameer Abdurrahman imposed import duties on Indian trade that virtually killed it. His policy was rigidly conservative, and may be judged by one of his favorite sayings: "Pack-horses, and not railways, are all that the Afghans require for their commerce." As the necessary consequence, Afghan commerce did not expand, and the State revenue has continued to be of a comparatively low total. In the course of years the demands on the Exchequer have grown heavier, while its own resources have proved cramped and unelastic. The present ruler has displayed a more just view of the situation. He has not gone so far as to reverse the policy he inherited, but he has of late removed some of the more severe and arbitrary restrictions on trade, and he has shown interest in the affairs of the Oabul merchants, and more especially of the Povindahs, who are the great carriers between his country and India. As the consequence of this slight diminution of rigor, the returns of trade across the borders show a considerable increase, so that both
the merchants and the Government of Afghanistan have benefited. The facts thus favor a more enlightened policy, and they may even have made it clear to Habibullah that his father's policy was mistaken.
At any rate, there is enough to justify the belief that whenever the Indian Government takes up the discussion of a tariff with Afghanistan it will find Habibullah far more willing to listen to reasonable suggestions than in the past. It may be well to fix with precision exactly what the Indian Government want him most to do. The principal Indian produce for which we wish to obtain a market in Afghanistan and Central Asia is tea. There was a period when it seemed as if Indian tea might command those markets, but these hopes were killed by the late Ameer's policy. If Habibullah can be induced to place only a light import duty on it they will revive, and very satisfactory results must follow for both parties. It Is true that Russia's custom houses come down to the Oxus, and that the Russian import duty is even higher than the Afghan. But it may be observed that the markets south of the Oxus are extensive and profitable, and also that the Russian customs line may not prove so impenetrable as is assumed. A diminution of the duty on tea can also be bought by some concessions on our side in favor of Afghan produce.
An improvement in the tariff will not suffice by itself to cause any large augmentation in the volume of IndoAfghan trade. It must be accompanied by an improvement in communications. The argument that pack-horses are good enough can no longer be taken seriously. We have reason to believe that the Ameer is disposed to concede a good deal about the tariff, but we are absolutely in the dark as to his views about railways, and yet without railways there can never be any true
awakening of Afghanistan. For nearly twenty years we have had a line of railway to Chaman, on the southern side of the great plain of Candahar, but owing to the Afghan prohibition to continue it, this railway has remained for all commercial purposes absolutely useless and unprofitable. To make the absurdity of the situation more glaring, we are now constructing through nonAfghan territory, but along the Afghan border, another railway, in order to reach the Persian province of Seistan. There is nothing to be said against this Nushki route, which was adopted as a pis alter, but it is undeniable that if we and the Ameer could come to terms, it would appear of little importance in comparison with trunk lines through Candahar to Herat in one direction, and Cabul in the other.
There is another matter to which the Ameer is not unlikely to lend a willing ear, and this may pave the way to the introduction of railways into his country later on. He can have no misgivings about facilitating the transmission of news.- If he had acquiesced some time ago in the establishment of wireless telegraphy between the Khyber and his capital, he would have got his daily bulletin about the war more rapidly and at less cost. Habibullah has a good deal of mechanical knowledge. He was once a constant visitor to the Cabul workshops, and he is quite convinced of the advantages of electricity for lighting purposes. There is no apparent reason why he should demur to the employment of the same agency for the receipt of Intelligence. It Is most essential in his own interests that he should be able to know at once what is happening at both Herat and on the Oxus. Some remissness has surely been shown in not impressing on him the prime importance of this question. His suspicions might have been dispelled if he had been exhorted in the first place to lay the wires only from his capital to his frontier towns, leaving the completion of the link with India for the future.
It will thus be seen that there are grounds for believing that the imminent meeting between the Ameer's son and Lord Curzon, and the immediate despatch of a British mission to Cabul under the charge of Mr. Louis Dane, the Indian Foreign Secretary, will be attended by good results. There are some practical points to be arranged. They do not present any serious difficulty. The railway question may not be settled, but it will be brought nearer to settlement On the other points
The Fortnightly Review.
enumerated, definite and tangible conclusions and arrangements will be come to. The Ameer is not merely in an amiable mood; he has been brought by current events to see the necessity of making some change in his policy in order to provide against the perils of a near future. He has shown himself alive to the signs of the times, and at last it looks as if the Government of India were going to reap the reward of the patience and forbearance that it has displayed in all its dealings with Afghanistan during the last quarter of a century.
Demetrius C. Boulgcr.
FISHES ON THEIR DEFENCE.
The world of waters has ever been the scene of a strife without beginning and without end. The lives of fishes are a game of all against all, the weaker terrorized by the stronger and having recourse to all manner of tricks to escape destruction. Sometimes they stay out of reach, but this is not always possible. Alice's lobster talked in contemptuous tones of the shark when the sands were dry:
But when the tide rises and sharks are around His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.
With the methods of self-defence adopted by fishes struggling on the hook or in the net anglers and fishermen have made us familiar. The Australian leatherjacket will swim up with the hook in its lip and with its sharp teeth sever the slack line above. The pollack will plunge headlong to the rocks and fray the cast against some handy shell of mussel or oyster. The blue shark twists in the water with
such rapidity as to test the bravest gear. The gray mullet, enclosed in the toils of the seine, will follow an enterprising leader over the edge of the net as sheep follow a leader through a hedge. Yet it is but yesterday, so to speak, that man invented his piscatus hamatilis et saxatilis, and thus added himself to the already long list of the enemies of fishes. More interesting, therefore, to the student of that class is the consideration of some modes of defence against natural enemies, such as have served fishes since the days when the weaker of them gave up the struggle and repose on the coprolitie deposits of the Rheetlc beds.
The natural enemies of the fish are so many and so varied that, like Islimael, it knows well how to take care of itself when danger threatens. In its own class, often enough, indeed, in its own species, in a number of aquatic mammals and waterfowl, in snakes and amphibians, in insects and crustaceans, indeed in almost the lowest realms of life, the fishes have so
many foes that the wonder is that they are able to survive as a class. Indeed, great fecundity must be regarded as Nature's provision for the defence of the species, though it is with the defence of the individual that these notes concern themselves.
Anyone who would compare the defensive methods of fishes with those of terrestrial animals should first form some idea of the different physical conditions and the peculiar environment in which they pass their lives. These include the dim light, diffused only from above, the aids to ambush in the shape of gloomy rock-pools, parti-colored ground, clouds of sand and curtains of seaweed, and the operation of tides, currents, and, in shallow water, sudden squalls, helpful or hindering according to the point of view. Then, as regards the fishes themselves, there are the gregarious and the solitary, the stationary and the migratory, those which burrow in the sand and those which hide among the rocks. Not one of these conditions, physical or biological, but has its direct influence on the animal's choice of defensive weapons when hard pressed.
Exposed as the class is, speaking generally, to the attacks of many and varied enemies, not all fishes have the same risks to run in life. The sharks and rays have obviously less to fear than the herring and the mackerel. The fishes which live on the bottom can clearly disregard the attacks of such marauding fowl as the gull and gannet, while even the cormorant and diver do not as a rule seek their prey far beneath the surface water. The typical ground-dwellers of our seas, moreover, the flatfish, are so formed that, save when extremely small, they would in all probability choke any fowl so ill-advised as to try to swallow them whole. Yet these sand-dwelling flatfish have enemies of their own which the surface-dwellers can afford
to overlook, and these are the rays, which dig them out of their burrows with their pointed snouts and snap them up in their sharp teeth before they have time to alight again. The only chance of safety for a plaice or dab thus dislodged would be to swim above its enemy until the latter tired of the chase, much as an educated old rook will sometimes avoid a falcon by soaring higher and higher above it in the blue sky, the hawk being unable to strike its enemy except from above. The simplest equipment for defence that we know exists in some form of protective armor. Both in stern warfare and at play man has adopted such aids to safety, and the helmet of the fencer, the pad and glove of the cricketer, or the more complete investment of the American foothaller, are but the modern travesty of the old armor worn by knights on the field or in the tourney. Among fishes such armor is not common. In the mammals we find familiar examples in the spines of the hedgehog, in the quills of the porcupine, in the bucklers of the armadillo, or in the skin of the rhinoceros. The feathers of birds and the scales of some reptiles may also be regarded as armor. The scales of fishes, however, are in many cases too soft to afford much protection against the teeth of a determined foe, and we must, as regards living fishes, confine our admission of efficient armor to the sturgeons and some of the rays and sharks. The extinct buckler-heads, which were better armored than any recent forms, are considered to have been of low organization, and it is strange that so well-protected a group should comparatively early have given up the struggle. In a lesser degree, it is true, any equipment of spinous fins may be regarded as armor, and the dorsal fin in the bass and perch and spur-dog, as well as the sharp spines on the gillcovers of the weever and plaice and dab, must undoubtedly serve to fend off attacks from above and on the flanks. Still, the possession of such isolated points of defence is to be compared rather to the handling of a sword or spear than to the wearing of armor such as, for instance, we find perfected in the Crustacea. The cuirass of the lobster, the corselet of the prawn, the hauberk of the crab, all afford protection against the many teeth that appreciate the good things within. Nor would such "shellfish" easily die from any natural cause other than old age, were it not that Nature has imposed on them the necessity of periodically changing their suit of armor. It Is while growing the new that they are in their time of greatest danger.
These spines on fishes may be merely defensive, or they may be capable of active employment in inflicting serious wounds. The combination occurs in our weevers, which have a protruding black dorsal fin, doubtless of terrifying aspect as its owner lies motionless in the sand, and equally sharp spines behind the gill-covers, the latter furnished with grooved channels, along which is apparently conveyed a venomous secretion. The mechanism of the weever's spines has been erroneously likened to that of the adder's fang, but the poison bag and duct are wanting in the fish, nor, indeed, is its volition in the act of wounding quite satisfactorily established beyond all question. It is said to throw itself sideways and backwards, even when out of water, with such accuracy as instantly to stab the incautious finger that touches it. I do not cite against this the fact that of the many scores of living weevers that I have tested in this way with my boot not one displayed any such accuracy of marksmanship. Yet surely, if such a power is vouchsafed, it is for use in the water only under natural conditions. No one is going to make me believe either that Nature original
ly designed the weever to aim its stab out of water, or that inherited experience of handling by man has been sufficiently cumulative for the fish to acquire any such instinct in self-defence. The actual venom-sac, like that of snakes, though absent in the weever, occurs in a deadly little fish found in Sydney Harbor, and there known as the "fortescue." It is difficult to conceive of either the fortescue or weever as having many natural enemies, but the latter, at any rate, sufficiently resembles the dragonet and bullhead, both of them favorite articles of food with some larger fishes, to benefit considerably by its defensive weapons.
After all, however, the simplest form of self-defence is retreat. Protective armor is very well as far as it goes. Bluff, as the Americans call the art of imposing on the enemy's credulity, is at times even better. But best of all for the weaker—and defence, after all, belongs to the weaker—is a judicious and timely retreat—the sooner the better:
He who fights and runs away
but he who runs away first, without stopping to strike a blow, has a still better chance for the future. Such is the method adopted with some success by the launce and sand-eel, the rabbits of the sea, which burrow in the sand with great expedition on the approach of danger. Even when the fisherman is hungry for the best bait that swims, it takes a strong fork and a quick hand to dislodge these little cavedwellers from their lair. I doubt whether any of the larger fishes which prey on the sand-eels when they catch them would be able to dig fast enough, the rays alone, which hunt, as a matter of fact, after larger fish, having shovelshaped snouts sufficiently pointed for the purpose. The flatfish also find safety in the sand, though they ratvly