The Midlands Advertiser (May 22, 1908)
That masterful monarch, the Emperor Menelik, ruler of Abyssinia
King of Kings, direct descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, has just experienced his first ride in a motor-car. Mr. Bentley, who is motoring to Khartoum, looked in en route at the Abyssinian capital and gave the dusky potentate a ride in his h.p. car. Seeing that Menelik has a perfect passion for machinery, his unbounded delight at this novel experience may be readily imagined. His Majesty went into ecstasies recently over a steamroller which arrived at his capital of Adis Abeda to work on the new roads he was constructing there: and if he got so much pleasure out of the ponderous evolutions of a steam-roller, his enjoyment of Mr. Bentley’s motor must have been rapturous indeed.
The incident recalls the first appearance in Abyssinia of another
modern mechanical marvel, the phonograph. Colonel Harrington was
the bearer of a phonograph message of high diplomatic importance
from the late Queen Victoria, and the Emperor and his court received him in full regalia. His Majesty first heard the message through the trumpet, and was so greatly impressed that he immediately ordered a military salute to be fired. He then heard the message through the ear-tubes, and ordered another salute. Afterwards he carried the machine and the record to the Empress, and heard the message again through the trumpet, and a third salute was fired.
The Emperor Menelik is the fifth husband of Queen Taitu, who was once a great beauty. She was originally wedded to one of King Theo’s generals, who was put in-
chains by that Monarch, a little inconvenience that seems at once to
have loosened the bonds of matrimony. From her second husband
she was divorced, and after the imprisonment of her third she retired
to a convent, intending to remain there for the rest of her natural life. Changing her mind, however, she emerged from her seclusion and married a fourth time. What became of this husband is not stated, but twenty-four years ago, all difficulties having been removed, she, for the fifth time, married the Emperor Menelik.
King Menelik is a most imposing-looking man—six feet high, of powerful physique, with a dark skin, short curly beard, and eyes beaming with intelligence. Think of Mr. Oscar Asche in one of his barbaric roles, and you have him to life.
His Queen, on the other hand, is famous for her white skin. Menelik’s earliest appearance as a maker of history was as a captive—one of the pages of Theodore, who proclaimed himself Negus Nagasti (King of Kings), and was finally routed by the British expedition of 1867.
Menelik grew up to be a man of overwhelming character, and 1889 he proclaimed himself emperor, and Fix this textburst upon the world as a new power, at the head of a well-equipped army of 150,000 men. An Italian expedition succumbed to his prowess, leaving Menelik undisputed monarch and the deliverer of his country. His career, in these commonplace times, may aptly be described as Napoleonic.




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