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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 11 out of 15

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Leoguadda is almost surrounded by rugged hills, formed by loose
blocks of granite; these added to a number of tall trees, always
green and growing within the walls, render the town inconceivably
pleasant and romantic. Immense tracts of land are cultivated in the
vicinity of the town with corn, yams, &c., and abundance of swine,
poultry, goats, and sheep are bred by its inhabitants. Formerly, also
herds of cattle were to be seen in the meadows, but they belonged to
Fellatas, who, they were told, fled from Leoguadda some time since,
to join their countrymen at Alorie.

They left Leoguadda early in the morning of 11th May, and about the
middle of the forenoon reached a walled town of some extent called
Eetcho. This place is of importance on account of a large weekly
market which is held in it. Eetcho had recently been more than half
consumed by fire, and would not, it was supposed, regain its former
condition for some time. Like most large trading-towns, it is in as
unsettled and filthy a state as can be conceived. This day's journey
was highly agreeable, the path lay through a beautiful country,
varied in many places by hills of coarse granite, which were formed
by blocks heaped on each other. Trees and shrubs of a beautiful green
grew from their interstices, and almost hid the masses of stone from
the view.

The governor of Eetcho welcomed them to his town very civilly; yet
his kindness was not of any great extent, and although in all
probability, he was as opulent as most chiefs on the road, yet he did
not follow their example in giving them provisions, but left them to
procure what they wanted for themselves, in the best manner they were
able. It is the general custom here, when any stranger of consequence
approaches Katunga, to send a messenger before him, for the purpose
of informing the king of the circumstances; and as they were
considered to be personages of consequence, one of their Jenna guides
was deputed to set out on the morrow, and in the mean time they were
to remain at Eetcho until a guard of soldiers should be sent to
escort them to Katunga. They, however, having no inclination for the
honour, as it would expose them to a thousand little inconveniences,
determined to avoid them all by leaving the place by moonlight.

An extraordinary instance of mortality is here mentioned by Richard
Lander, who says, "that not less than one hundred and sixty governors
of towns and villages, between this place and the seacoast, all
belonging to Youriba, have died from natural causes, or have been
slain in war, since I was last here, and that of the inhabited places
through which we have passed, not more than half a dozen chiefs are
alive at this moment, who received and entertained me on my return to
Badagry three years ago."

On the night of the 12th, they were visited by a tornado, and in the
morning it rained so heavily, that even if they had not been obliged
to remain in Eetcho that day, it would have been next impossible to
have pursued their journey. The celebrated market of this place may
be said to commence about mid-day, at which time, thousands of buyers
and sellers were assembled in a large open space in the heart of the
town, presenting the most busy, bustling scene imaginable. To say
nothing of the hum and clatter of such a multitude of barbarians, the
incessant exertions of a horrid band of native musicians rendered
their own voices inaudible. People from Katunga and other towns of
less importance, flocked into Eetcho to attend the market held on
this day, which they were informed was not so well attended as on
former occasions; the rain that had fallen, and the alleged danger
which besets the path, having prevented many thousands from leaving
their own abodes. Country cloth, indigo, provision, &c., were offered
for sale, but they observed nothing in the market worthy of notice.
Orders were given by the governor that the town should be well
guarded during the night, for fear of its being attacked whilst the
travellers were in it, and it was given out that any one found
loitering outside the walls after sunset, would be seized without
ceremony, and his effects taken from him.

A very ungallant custom prevails at Eetcho, which is, that every
woman, who attends the market for the purpose of selling any article,
is obliged to pay a tax of ten kowries to the governor, whilst any
individual of the other sex is allowed to enter the town, and vend
commodities publicly without paying any duty whatever.

On Thursday May 13th, they arose at a very early hour to undertake
the journey to Katunga, which was rather long, and they hoped not
only to reach that city before the heat became oppressive, but also
to avoid, if possible the escort, which they had every reason to
suppose the king would send out to meet them. Notwithstanding,
however, their most strenuous exertions, it was six o'clock before
they were all ready to depart. The air was cooler than they had felt
it since landing from the Clinker, the thermometer being as low as
71 deg. in the shade. The natives appeared to feel this _severity_ of the
weather most keenly, for although they huddled themselves up in their
warmest cotton dresses, they were yet shivering with cold. Hundreds
of people, and it would perhaps not be overrating the number to say
thousands, preceded and followed them on the pathway; and as they
winded through thick forests, along narrow roads, their blue and
white clothing contrasted with the deep green of the ancient trees,
produced an eminently pleasing effect. After a hasty ride of two
hours, they came in sight of the town of Eetcholee, outside of which
were numerous trees, and underneath their widely spreading branches,
were observed various groups of people seated on the turf taking
refreshment. They joined the happy party, partook of a little corn
and water, which was their usual travelling fare, and then renewed
their journey in good spirits. They had not, however, proceeded a
great way, when the escort, about which they had been so uneasy, was
descried at a distance, and as they approached at a rapid pace, they
joined the party in a very few minutes. There was no great reason
after all, for their modesty to be offended either at the splendour
or numbers of their retinue, for happily it consisted only of a few
ragged individuals on foot, and eight on horseback; with the latter
was a single drummer, but the former could boast of having in their
train, men with whistles, drums and trumpets.

Richard Lander sounded his bugle, at which the natives were
astonished and pleased; but a black trumpeter jealous of the
performance, challenged a contest for the superiority of the
respective instruments, which terminated in an entire defeat of the
African, who was hooted and laughed at by his companions for his
presumption, and gave up the trial in despair. Amongst the
instruments used on this occasion, was a piece of iron, in shape
exactly resembling the bottom of a parlour fire shovel. It was played
on by a thick piece of wood and produced sounds infinitely less
harmonious than "marrow-bones and cleavers."

The leader of the escort was a strange looking, powerful fellow, and
might very well serve the writer of a romance as the hero of his
tale, in the character of keeper of an enchanted castle, when fierce,
scowling looks, terrific frowns, and a peculiarly wild expression of
countenance are intended to be _naturally_ described, for the man's
stature was gigantic; his eyes large, keen, piercing, and ever in
motion, his broad nose squatted over both cheeks; his lips immensely
large, exposing a fine set of teeth; the beard was thick, black and
gristly, and covering all the lower part of his face, reached to his
bosom; the famous Blue Beard was nothing to him; and in gazing on his
features, the observer might almost be inclined to believe, that all
the most iniquitous and depraved passions of human nature were
centered in his heart. Yet, with so unlovely and forbidding an
appearance, this man was in reality as innocent and docile as a lamb.
He wore on his head a small rush hat, in shape like a common
earthenware pan inverted, or like the hats, which are worn by the
lower class of the Chinese. His breast was enveloped in a coarse
piece of blue cloth; from his left shoulder hung a large quiver of
arrows, and in his right hand he held a bow, which he brandished like
a lance; a short pair of trousers covered his thighs, and leathern
boots, fantastically made, incased his feet and legs. His skin was of
jetty blackness, his forehead high, but his tremendous beard, which
was slightly tinged with grey, contributed, perhaps, more than any
thing else, to impart that wildness and fierceness to his looks,
which at first inspired the travellers with a kind of dread of their

Thus escorted they travelled onwards, and after a hasty ride of six
hours from Eetcho, they beheld from a little eminence, those black
naked hills of granite, at whose base lay the metropolis of Youriba.
About an hour afterwards, they entered the gates of that extensive
city. As being consistent with etiquette, they halted under a tree
just inside the walls, till the king and the eunuchs were informed of
their arrival, which having been done after a wearisome delay, they
rode to the residence of the chief eunuch Ebo, who, next to the king,
was the most influential man in the place. They found this personage
a great fat, round, oily man, airing himself under the verandah of
his dwelling. Other eunuchs of similar appearance were sitting on the
ground with him, and joining him in welcoming both of the travellers,
but particularly Richard, to Katunga, with every appearance of
sincerity, heartiness, and good-will. An uninteresting conversation
now took place, which lasted for some time, after which, they walked
altogether to the king's house, which was at the distance of half a
mile from that place.


Information of the approach of the travellers had been previously
sent to the monarch, but they were obliged to wait with much patience
for a considerable period, until he had put on his robes of state. In
the mean time to amuse his august visitors, the head drummer and his
assistants, with the most benevolent intention, commenced a concert
of the most bewitching melody; and long drums, kettle drums, and
horns were played with little intermission, till Mansolah, the king,
made his appearance, and the travellers were desired to draw nearer
to pay their respects to his majesty. They performed this ceremony
after the English manner, much to the entertainment and diversion of
the king, who endeavoured to imitate them, but it was easy to see
that he was but a novice in the European mode of salutation--bowing
and shaking hands; nor did he, like some other monarchs, stretch
forth his hand to be kissed, which, to a man possessing a particle of
spirit, must be degrading and humiliating. There is no doubt that it
was owing to the rusticity and awkwardness of their address, not
having been brought up amongst the fooleries and absurdities of a
court, that Mansolah's risible faculties were so strongly excited,
but he laughed so long and heartily, and his wives, and eunuchs, and
subjects of all sorts joined with him with such good will, and such
power of lungs, that at length the travellers were obliged to laugh
too, and were constrained to unite their voices to the general burst
of kindly feeling, although, if they had been asked the cause of such
jollity and obstreperous mirth, they would have been at a loss for an

Mansolah's headpiece was something like a bishop's mitre, profusely
ornamented with strings of coral, one of which answered the purpose
of a ribbon, for it was tied under the chin, to prevent the cap from
being blown off. His tobe was of green silk, crimson silk damask, and
green silk velvet, which were all sewn together, like pieces of
patchwork. He wore English cotton stockings, and neat leathern
sandals of native workmanship. A large piece of superfine light blue
cloth, given the chief by Captain Clapperton, was used as a carpet.
The eunuchs, and other individuals who were present at the interview,
prostrated themselves before their prince, agreeably to the custom of
the country, and rubbed their heads with earth two separate times,
retreating at some distance to perform this humiliating and degrading
ceremony, and then drawing near the royal person, to lie again with
their faces in the dust. They also saluted the ground near which he
was sitting, by kissing it fervently and repeatedly, and by placing
each cheek upon it. Then, and not till then, with their heads, and
faces, and lips, and breasts, stained with the red damp soil, which
still clung to them, they were allowed to seat themselves near their
monarch, and to join in the conversation. Two or three of the
inferior eunuchs, not satisfied with this servile prostration, began
to sport and roll themselves on the ground, but this could not be
effected without immense labour, and difficulty, and panting, and
puffing, and straining; for like that paragon of knighthood Sir John
Falstaff, they could not be compared to any thing so appropriately as
huge hummocks of flesh. There they lay wallowing in the mire, like
immense turtles floundering in the sea, till Ebo desired them to
rise. A very considerable number of bald-headed old men were observed
among the individuals present, their hair or rather wool, having been
most likely rubbed off by repeated applications of earth, sand,
gravel, filth, or whatever else might be at hand, when the prince
happened to make his appearance.

The conference being brought to a close, a kid, a calabash of caffas,
and two thousand kowries were presented to the Landers, and cheered
by a flourish of music, they laughed in concert as a mark of
politeness, and shook hands with the king, and walked away to their
own dwelling, which had been repaired, and thoroughly cleansed for
their use. The latter operation was particularly necessary, as
previously to their inhabiting it, it had been occupied by a
multitude of domestic animals, sheep, pigs, goats, fowls, guinea
fowls, bullocks, in fine, it had been a kind of stable, where Ebo,
the principal eunuch, kept his stock of animals. Here, however, they
were glad to lie down to repose their aching limbs, although the
stench arising from some parts of the hut was almost insupportable.
In the evening, the king returned their visit, and immediately took a
fancy to John Lander's bugle horn, which was very readily given him.
He appeared to be greatly pleased with the present, turning about and
inspecting every part of it, with the greatest curiosity. It appeared
to him, however, to be immaterial as to which end the mouth was to be
applied, for he put the lower part of the instrument to his mouth,
and drawing up his breath to its full extent, sent such a puff of
wind into it, as would have been sufficient for a diapason pipe of an
organ; not hearing, however, the accustomed sound, he delivered the
instrument to John Lander, who brought out of it the shrillest note
which he could, which set the king and his eunuchs into a violent
laugh, and he expressed his delight to the donors of so valuable a
present, assuring them that it made his heart glad to see them, and
hoped that they would make themselves quite comfortable whilst they
remained at Katunga. They now shook hands, made a bow, not one that
would have been deemed a very elegant one amongst the courtiers of
St. James', and the sovereign departed, followed by a suite of wives,
eunuchs, and other attendants. Ebo inquired if there were any thing
further that they wished to be done to their residence, to render
their stay as agreeable as possible. Their yard adjoined that of Ebo,
with which it communicated by a door way, without a door, so that it
enabled the travellers to have frequent opportunities of seeing his
numerous _unhappy wives_, and a number of little boys and girls, who
were his personal attendants. The circumstance of a eunuch keeping a
whole retinue of wives, appeared to the Landers rather an
extraordinary one, for he appeared to treat them with all the
jealousy of a Turkish pacha towards his mistresses in his seraglio.
Of their fidelity or continency, however, could be said, whenever an
opportunity presented itself; but do not require to travel as far as
Africa for the experience, when an opportunity of that kind is
wanted, it is not long before it is obtained. The eunuch sent them a
very fat sheep, as a further token of his good will. On Friday May
14th, Richard Lander accompanied by Ebo, and the other unwieldy
eunuchs, took a present to the king, which was pretty well received;
Mansolah, it was supposed out of compliment, remarked that if they
had not brought with them the value of a single kowrie, they should
have been favourably received at Katunga, and well entertained at his
own expense. They had, previously to presenting themselves before the
king, consulted their friend Ebo, on the subject of their journey to
the Niger, and he strongly advised them by no means even to hint at
such an intention to the king, whose suspicions, he assured them,
would immediately take the alarm, so that instead of being forwarded
on their way thither, they would either be detained in the town for
an indefinite time, or sent back again to the coast. They therefore
conceived it prudent to give him the following statement only:--"That
the king of England, anxious to procure the restoration of certain
papers which belonged to a countryman of theirs, who perished at
Boosa about twenty years ago, which papers were supposed to be in the
possession of the sultan of Yaoorie, they had been despatched hither
by their sovereign, in the hope that the king of Katunga would
forward them to the latter state, for the purpose of obtaining them
from the sultan of Yaoorie, and taking them back with them to

Mansolah, with the natural indifference of the uncultivated mind,
displayed neither eager curiosity as to their object in coming to his
country, nor surprise when they had informed him of it, but very
promptly observed, that in two days time, he would send a messenger
to Kiama, Wouwou, Boossa, and Yaoorie, for the purpose of acquainting
the rulers of those provinces of their intention to pay them a visit,
and that on the return of the messenger, they should have his
permission to depart. This was promised after Richard Lander's
repeated solicitations and importunities, that they should not be
detained here longer than necessary, as in a very short time, the
violent rains would render the roads to those countries impassable,
and, in consequence, they would not be able to travel till the return
of the dry season. Their speedy departure was also a matter of
importance to them on account of their health, which they found to be
far better when they were travelling, than when cooped up in a close
unwholesome hut, where ventilation appeared to be the object the
least attended to, or considered of no importance at all.

They were expressly and repeatedly informed that the monarch of this
empire was brother to the king of Benin; but notwithstanding this
near relationship of the two sovereigns, not the slightest
intercourse or communication is maintained between Yarriba and that
power, and the reason ascribed for it is, that the distance between
the two countries is too great. It must, however, be remarked, that
friends and acquaintance are often called brothers in Yarriba; and to
make a distinction in the above instance, they assert that Mansolah
and the king of Benin were of one father and one mother. They made
some inquiries of Ebo on this subject, but he soon silenced their
remarks by observing, that they were too inquisitive, or to use his
own words, "that they talked too much." It was the intention of the
Landers, after leaving Yaoorie to proceed direct to Guarie, the
prince of which country would no doubt send them to Funda, whence it
would be their endeavour to discover the termination of the Niger,
agreeably to their written instructions.

Instead of the jarring noise of women's tongues, which had hitherto
annoyed and followed them at every stage of their journey from
Badagry, they at length enjoyed as much of composure and
tranquillity, as they could well desire; for the wives of Ebo
residing at some distance from the part of the yard which they
occupied, the shrill sound of their voices was pleasant, contrasted
with the former loud, discordant, and perpetual din which rang in
their ears from morning to night. Their male visitors were, likewise,
few and select, and did not remain with them any very considerable
time together. An order was issued by the king, that if any
impertinent individual troubled them at any time with his company,
when it was not desired, Ebo was at liberty to behead him, and no one
according to the strict injunction of Mattsolah, should tax the
eunuch with injustice or cruelty in the performance of his duties.
This royal proclamation as it may be termed, had the desired effect,
for it was regarded with greater exactness and punctuality than some
royal proclamations are in Europe, the people having a great dread of
Ebo, who, independently of the high office which he held of chief
eunuch, somewhat similar to the office of Lord Chamberlain at the
court of St. James', was also the occupant of the delightful office
of public executioner, an occupation which, in that despotic country,
was frequently called into practice.

The king of Katunga, like other kings, has also his master of the
horse, who at the time of Lander's visit was an elderly person,
possessing no small degree of influence over his royal master. The
European and the African master of the horse, however, in some
respects bore a great similarity to each other, although contrary to
the opinion of the metaphysicians, the same cause produced a
different effect. The European master of the horse has a great number
of useless horses under his nominal care, and yet has nothing to do;
the African master of the horse has also nothing to do, for the very
best of all reasons, that he has no horses to take care of, the whole
African stud consisting of one or two half-starved, ragged ponies,
which would disgrace a costermonger's cart in the streets of London.
Katunga, however, is not the only place in which the sun shines,
where the office is made for the man, and not the man for the office;
but as they have no pension list in Katunga, nor any retired
allowances, nor any Chiltern Hundreds, to enable them to vacate their
offices, they are immediately sent about their business when age,
sickness, or other infirmity disables them from performing the duties
of their office. The age of the master of the horse of the king of
Katunga was about seventy, but he contrived, similar to the plan
adopted in some other countries, of keeping to himself all the
emoluments of his office, and getting a deputy to perform the labour;
thus for a mess of Indian corn, the stud of the king of Katunga could
be very ably looked after by some half-starved native, whilst the
holder of the office was comfortably reposing himself amongst his
twenty or thirty wives.

This important personage had been hitherto overlooked by the Landers,
that is, they had not as yet made him any present; in order, however,
to let them know that there was such a being in existence, he sent
them a sheep as a present, on the principle of the English adage, of
throwing a sprat to catch a mackerel. A present from an African
master of the horse is not a disinterested gift; he had seen the
presents delivered to the king, and he ardently longed for a slip of
the red cloth wherewith to decorate his person, and set off the jetty
blackness of his skin.

The pride of an African dignitary will not allow him to beg, and
therefore he conjectured that on the receipt of his present of the
sheep, common courtesy would instruct the Landers to return the
compliment, by a present of some European article of corresponding
value. Nor was the master of the horse wrong in his conjectures, for
a present was sent him, and to his great delight a strip of red cloth
was included in it. The unfortunate master of the horse, however,
discovered, that although he filled the high office of master of the
horse, he was not master of himself, nor was he master of that, which
he believed did in reality belong to him, for his master and king no
sooner heard that he had received a present of a piece of red cloth,
than his majesty discovered that it was a colour, which royalty alone
was entitled to wear. The master of the horse had scarcely exhibited
his valuable present to his admiring wives, all of whom begged for a
bit wherewith to enhance the charms of their unwieldy persons, than a
messenger from the king arrived, bearing the afflicting intelligence
to the master of the horse, to deliver up for the use of his majesty,
a certain piece of red cloth presented to him by the Europeans then
in the town, or submit to have his head cut off by the dexterity of
his chief eunuch. The master of the horse judged it better to lose
the cloth than his head, and with a very ill grace, and muttering
some expressions partaking strongly of the enormous crime of high
treason, the cloth was delivered up, and the master of the horse
returned to his wives to condole with them on the heavy loss which
they had sustained.

Speaking of the town of Katunga, Lander says, "All seems quiet and
peaceable in this large dull city, and one cannot help feeling rather
melancholy, in wandering through streets almost deserted, and over a
vast extent of fertile land, on which there is no human habitation,
and scarcely a living thing to animate or cheer the prevailing
solemnity." The walls of the town have been suffered to fall into
decay, and are now no better than a heap of dust and ruins, and such
unconcern and apathy pervade the minds of the monarch and his
ministry, that the wandering and ambitious Fellata has penetrated
into the very heart of the country, made himself master of two of its
most important and flourishing towns, with little, if any opposition,
and is gradually, but very perceptibly gaining on the lukewarm
natives of the soil, and sapping the foundations of the throne of
Yarriba. The people, surely, cannot be aware of their own danger, or
they never would be unconcerned spectators of the events, which are
rapidly tending to root out their religion, customs, and
institutions, and totally annihilate them as a nation. But since they
have neither foresight, nor wisdom, nor resolution to put themselves
in a posture of defence, and make at least a show of resistance, when
danger real or imaginary menaces them; since neither the love of
country, which stimulates all nations to heroic achievements in
defence of their just and natural rights, and all that is truly dear
to them in the world; and since neither affection for their
defenceless wives and unprotected offspring, nor love of self can
awaken a single spark of courage or patriotism in their bosoms, can
scare away that demon sloth from among them, or induce them to make a
solitary exertion to save themselves and posterity from a foreign
yoke; why then, they are surely unworthy to be called a people; they
deserve to be deprived of their effects, children, and personal
liberty, to have their habitual sloth and listlessness converted into
labour and usefulness, in tilling, improving, and beautifying for
strangers, that soil, which they have neither spirit nor inclination
to cultivate for themselves.

A market is held daily in different parts of Katunga, but there are
two days in the week, in which it is much larger and more numerously
attended than on any of the other days. One is styled the queen's
market, but in the evening, when it is held in another place, it is
called the king's market. To make a market profitable, the sellers
and buyers should be equal, for where either predominate, the
advantage cannot be mutual; if the buyers exceed the sellers, the
articles sold will rise in price, and on the other hand, if the
sellers exceed the buyers, a depreciation in the price will take
place. The latter case was observed to prevail in the markets of
Katunga, and which was in a degree a direct proof that the supply
surpassed the population. The articles chiefly exposed for sale were,
several different kinds of corn, beans, peas, and vegetables, in
great abundance and variety; the butter extracted from the mi-cadama
tree, country cotton cloths, red clay, ground or guinea nuts, salt,
indigo, and different kinds of pepper; snuff and tobacco, trona,
knives, barbs, hooks, and needles, the latter of the rudest native
manufacture. There were also finger rings of tin and lead, and iron
bracelets and armlets, old shells, old bones, and other venerable
things, which the members of the society of antiquaries would
estimate as articles of real _vertu_; a great variety of beads both
of native and European manufacture, among the former of which was
recognised the famous Agra bead, which at Cape Coast Castle, Accra,
and other places, is sold for its weight in gold, and which has been
in vain attempted to be imitated by the Italians and our own
countrymen. One most remarkable thing was offered for sale, and that
was a common blue English plate, the price of which was, however, too
high for the individuals who frequented the market, although many
there were, who cast a longing eye on so valuable a piece of
property. Some of the people were disposed to look upon it as a
fetish, and the seller was by no means disinclined to invest it with
that character, as he then knew, he could demand for it whatever
price he pleased. The owner of it, however, from the exorbitant price
which he put upon the piece of English crockery, carried it home with
him, and dearly did he repent that he did not accept of the highest
offer that was made him, for on its reaching the ears of his majesty,
the king considered that he had as good a right to the English plate,
especially as it was a fetish, as he had to the scarlet cloth of his
master of the horse, and therefore the owner of it had his option, to
deliver it up for the use of royalty, as an appendage to the crown of
Katunga, or to lose his own appendage of a head under the sword of
that skilful anatomist, Ebo. The owner of the plate adopted the same
line of policy as the master of the horse, and the English plate
became a part of the hereditary property of the kings of Katunga.

Some of the articles in the market were not of the most tempting
nature, at least to a European appetite; for instead of the dainties
of an English market, consisting of hares, rabbits, fowls, &c., the
natives of Katunga feasted their looks upon an immense number of
rats, mice, and lizards, some ready dressed for the immediate
satisfaction of the appetite, with the skins on, and some undressed
to be taken home, for the Glasses and the Kitcheners of Katunga to
try their culinary skill upon. Little balls of beef and mutton were
also to be had, weighing about two ounces, but the stomach must not
have been of the squeamish kind, which could relish them.

On the return of the Landers from the market, where they were more
gazed upon than any of the articles submitted for sale, they received
a visit from their friend Ebo, who was the bearer of the unwelcome
intelligence, that a body of Fellatas from Soccatoo had arrived at
the Moussa, a river which divides Yarriba from Borgoo, and that they
had attacked a town on its borders, through which their route would
lie. Therefore, continued Ebo, the Yaoorie messenger will of
necessity be compelled to wait here till authentic intelligence be
received of the truth or falsehood of the rumour, before he sets out
on his mission to Kiama. There was little doubt, Ebo said, but the
truth or falsity of the statement would be ascertained in about three
days, and the messenger then would be immediately despatched on his

This intelligence bore in the eyes of the Landers the character of a
complete fiction, but for what purpose it was so got up, they could
not divine. The king could gain little or nothing by their protracted
stay in his capital; he had received his presents, and therefore it
was conjectured, that it might be the etiquette of the court of
Katunga, not only for the king to receive some presents from
strangers on their arrival, and especially from travellers of the
character and importance which the Landers gave themselves out to be,
as the accredited ambassadors of the king of England, but also that
the departure was to be preceded by certain presents, as a kind of
passport or purchase of his leave to travel through his dominions.
It appeared also most strange to the Landers, that the very day after
their arrival, the Fellatas should so opportunely seize upon a town,
through which they were to pass, and that the information of the
inroad of so dreaded an enemy should not have reached Katunga at an
earlier period, when intelligence of no moment whatever flies through
the country with the swiftness of an arrow from the bow. There was
also another strong inducement, which operated upon the mind of the
Landers, to expedite their departure, and that was, that from some
circumstances which had occurred, it was not beyond the range of
probability, that the head of John Lander, if not of his brother
also, might be severed by the skill of Ebo, the executioner. Love is
certainly a most wondrous power, whether it shows itself in the bosom
of the fair English girl, or in that of the sooty African; nor is it
confined to times and places, to condition or to climate; for it
grows and flourishes in the wigwam of the American, the coozie of the
African, and the proud edifices of the Europeans. It, however,
sometimes happens, that although one party may be in love, the other
is as frigid, as if he were part and parcel of an iceberg, and so was
it situated with John Lander. It has been already stated, that the
communication between the yard which the Landers occupied, and that
which was tenanted by the wives of Ebo, was uninterrupted, and of
course in the absence of their husband, there was no impediment to
any of them whispering their tale of love into the ears of the
juvenile travellers, whenever they thought they were in a disposition
to hear it. Some of the wives indeed, instead of being the nourishers
and fosterers of love, were the veriest antidotes to it, that perhaps
human nature could produce; on the other hand, there were some in the
fullness and freshness of youth, who had just been selected or rather
purchased by Ebo, as very proper persons to soothe and comfort him in
his declining years. One of them in particular, had, by certain signs
and gestures, given John Lander to understand, that although they
might vary very much in colour, yet that a kind of sympathy might
exist between their hearts, which would lead to a mutual
communication of happiness, so much desired at so great a distance
from his native land. John, however, either did not or would not
understand the language, which the sable beauty spoke; still her
conduct was not unnoticed by several other ladies of the seraglio,
and particularly by the shrivelled and the wizened, who hesitated not
to convey the intelligence to Ebo, who immediately paid a visit to
the travellers, out of pure compliment and good-will, as he said, at
the same time expressing his fears that the curiosity of his women
might be troublesome to them, and as it was by no means his wish, nor
that of his lord and sovereign, the king, that they should be
subjected to any species of annoyance, he had given directions for
the door-way to be instantly blocked up with mortar, which would
effectually prevent any further unpleasant intrusion on the part of
the women.

The Landers could evidently see the lurking motive for this extreme
attention of Ebo, to promote their comfort, nor were they in reality
displeased at it, for the society of the women was certainly at times
very unpleasant and irksome, and as some of them evinced a strong
disposition for intriguing, it was considered fortunate that the
communication was closed, as the friendship and good-will of Ebo were
particularly necessary to them, not only to secure their good
treatment during their stay at Katunga, but also to expedite their
departure from it.

Ebo had scarcely taken his departure, and they were rejoicing at the
probability of not being again intruded upon, particularly as it was
the Sabbath day, when, to their great annoyance, they were favoured
with the company of several Houssa mallams, who, notwithstanding the
irksome restraint to which they are subjected by the jealousy of the
king and his people, are content to remain so far from their native
country, and reside amongst strangers and pagans as long as they
live. Whether the priests have taken this step purely from religious
motives, or, which is the more likely reason of the two, that they
have exiled themselves from their home and families for the mere
purpose of being enriched at the expense of the credulity and
ignorance of the inhabitants, were questions, which could not at the
time be solved. At all events, the institutions of these missionaries
are effectually concealed under a cloak of piety and devotion; and
thus they are tolerated by the common consent of the monarch and his

The practice of making presents is, in general, in the African
cities, not confined to the sovereign and his immediate ministers,
but it extends to every grade, in the least degree connected with the
court. Thus the Landers supposed that when they had made their
presents to the king and his chief eunuchs, no further demand would
be made upon them in the way of presents; in this, however, they
found themselves mistaken, for they now discovered that there were
certain gentlemen, styled head men, who are the confidential advisers
of the king, and lead his armies to battle. It was, however,
necessary previously to sending the presents to the head men, to
submit them to the inspection of the king, in order that nothing
might be given them, which had not his approbation and consent. This
was accordingly done, and the donors took particular care not to
include any red cloth amongst their presents. It was rather laughable
to see the presents undergoing the examination of Mansolah. Amongst
them were three large clasp knives, one for each of the head men,
but his majesty very unceremoniously delivered one of them, without
speaking a word, into the hands of Ebo, who as unceremoniously put it
into his belt, to be hereafter deposited amongst other valuables
belonging to the sovereignty. This occasioned Richard Lander to
return to his hut for another knife, for he easily foresaw that were
he to make any distinction in the value or the number of the articles
to the head men, it might be the cause of exciting jealousy and ill
blood, and be greatly detrimental to his own interests, for as they
were the advisers of the king, they were sure to make that one their
enemy, who might look upon his present as less valuable, than those
presented to their companions.

Towards evening, Richard Lander rode to the residence of the head
men, by each of whom he was received in the most friendly manner. The
presents were laid before them, and accepted with a profusion of
thanks. One of them attempted to make a speech, but if he acquitted
himself no better when giving his advice to his sovereign, than he
did in the expression of his thanks, he could not be said to be a
great acquisition to the councils of his king. The huts of the head
men were larger and more carefully built, and their yards more
commodious than even those of the king; all were kept in excellent
order, clean and neat. These ministers of the crown, like the
ministers of other countries, had contrived to appropriate to
themselves the good things of the country, for they were in far more
affluent circumstances than any of their neighbours; they had a wife
for almost every week in the year, and large flocks of sheep and
goats, in which the wealth of the natives principally consists. A
goat, and two large pots of country beer, were laid at the feet of
Richard Lander, and after expressing his acknowledgements, he
returned home.

The Landers were of opinion, that it would require a long residence
in this country, and a perfect acquaintance with its language to
enable a foreigner to form a correct judgment of its laws, manners,
customs, and institutions, as well as its religion and form of
government. So innumerable are the mistakes, which the smattering of
ignorant native interpreters never fails to occasion, that they
despaired of obtaining any accurate information on any of those
heads. Perhaps few despots sully their dignity, by condescending to
consult the inclination of their subjects, in personally
communicating to them their most private as well as public concerns.
Yet the sovereign of Youriba appeared to be so obliging, as to make
this a common practice. In return, however, the people are expected
and compelled to satisfy the curiosity of their prince, by adopting a
similar line of conduct towards him; and all the presents which they
receive from strangers, however trifling they may be, are in every
instance taken to his residence for inspection. Every thing, indeed,
which relates to their personal interests, and all their domestic
concerns, he listens to with the most patriarchal gravity. Thus, the
presents of the Landers to the king, were exhibited two or three
times. The presents to Ebo, and also to the head men, were also shown
to the people, having been first submitted to the inspection of the
king. The common people were all anxious to know, whether, amongst
the other things they had received, any coral had been given to the
king or his ministers; and their curiosity was immediately gratified
without hesitation or remark. If a stranger from a remote part of the
empire, wishes to visit Katunga, in order to pay his respects to the
sovereign, the chief or governor of every town through which he may
happen to pass, is obliged to furnish him with any number of carriers
he may require; and in this manner his goods are conveyed from
village to village, until he arrives at the capital. A similar
indulgence is likewise extended to any governor who may have the like
object in view.

The most laughable mistakes were frequently made here, by one of the
Badagrian messengers, who acted also as an interpreter, as regards
the gender and relationship of individuals, such as father for
mother, son for daughter, boy for girl, and _vice versa_. He informed
Richard Lander that a _brother_ of his, who was the friend of Ebo,
and resided with him, begged his permission to come and see them; of
course they expected to see a gentleman of some consequence enter
their yard, but to their surprise, the brother proved to be an old
shrivelled woman, neither more nor less than one of the eunuch's

Katunga by no means answered the expectations which the Landers had
been led to form of it, either as regards its prosperity, or the
number of its inhabitants. The vast plain also on which it stands,
although exceedingly fine, yields in verdure and fertility, and
simple beauty of appearance to the delightful country surrounding the
less celebrated city of Bohoo. Its market is tolerably well supplied
with provisions, which are, however, exceedingly dear, in so much so
that with the exception of disgusting insects, reptiles, and vermin,
the lower classes of people are almost unacquainted with the taste of
animal food.

Owing to the short time that the Landers had been in the country,
which had been chiefly employed in travelling from town to town, the
manners of the people had not sufficiently unfolded themelves their
observation, so that they were unable to speak Of them with
confidence, yet the few opportunities, which they had of studying
their characters and disposition, induced them to believe, that they
were a simple, honest, inoffensive, but a weak, timid, and cowardly
race. They seemed to have no social tenderness, very few of those
amiable private virtues, which could win their affection, and none of
those public qualities that claim respect or command admiration. The
love of country is not strong enough in their bosoms to invite them
to defend it against the irregular incursions of a despicable foe;
and of the active energy, noble sentiments, and contempt of danger,
which distinguish the North American tribes, and other savages, no
traces are to be found amongst this slothful people; regardless of
the past, as reckless of the future, the present alone influences
their actions. In this respect they approached nearer to the nature
of the brute creation, than perhaps any other people on the face of
the globe. Though the bare mention of an enemy makes the
pusillanimous Mansolah, and his unwarlike subjects tremble in every
limb, they take no measures to prevent whole bands of strangers from
locating in the finest provinces of the empire, much less do they
think of expelling them after they have made those provinces their
own. To this unpardonable indifference to the public interest, and
neglect of all the rules of prudence and common sense, is owing the
progress, which the Fellatas made in gaining over to themselves a
powerful party, consisting of individuals from various nations in the
interior, who had emigrated to this country, and the great and
uniform success which has attended all their ambitious projects. At
the time of the visit of the Landers, they were effectually in the
heart of the kingdom, they had entrenched themselves in strong walled
towns, and had recently forced from Mansolah a declaration of their
independence, whilst this negligent and imbecile monarch beheld them
gnawing away the very sinews of his strength, without making the
slightest exertion to apply a remedy for the evil, or prevent their
future aggrandizement. Independently of Raka, which is peopled wholly
by Fellatas, who have strengthened it amazingly, and rendered it
exceedingly populous, another town of prodigious size, had lately
sprung into being, which already surpassed Katunga in wealth,
population, and extent. It was at first resorted to by a party of
Fellatas, who named it Alorie, and encouraged all the slaves in the
country to fly from the oppression of their masters, and join their
standard. They reminded the slaves of the constraint tinder which
they laboured; and tempted them by an offer of freedom and
protection, and other promises of the most extravagant nature, to
declare themselves independent of Yarriba. Accordingly, the
discontented; many miles round, eagerly flocked to Alorie in
considerable numbers, where they were well received. This occurrence
took place about forty years ago, since which, other Fellatas have
joined their countrymen from Sockatoo and Rabba; and notwithstanding
the wars, if mutual kidnapping deserves the name, in which they have
been engaged, in the support and maintenance of their cause, Alorie
is become by far the largest and most flourishing city in Yarriba,
not even excepting the capital itself. It was said to be two days
journey, that is, forty or fifty miles in circumference, and to be
fortified by a strong clay wall, with moats. The inhabitants had vast
herds and flocks, and upwards of three thousand horses, which last
will appear a very considerable number, when it is considered that
Katunga does not contain more than as many hundreds. The population
of Alorie has never been estimated, but it must be immense. It has
lately been declared independent of Yarriba, and its inhabitants are
permitted to trade with the natives of the country, on condition that
no more Fellatas be suffered to enter its walls. It is governed by
twelve rulers, each of a different nation, and all of equal power;
the Fellata chief not having more influence or greater sway than the
other. Raka is but one day's journey north-east of Katunga, and
Alorie three days journey to the south-west. The party of Fellatas,
which were reported to have taken possession of a Yarriba town, on
the banks of the Moussa, were said to have abandoned it, and to have
joined their countrymen at Raka. This intelligence was brought to
Katunga by market people, no one having been sent by the king to
ascertain the number of the adventurers, or the object of their

The king of Katunga, since the arrival of the travellers in his
capital, had been very niggardly in his presents, as coming from a
monarch of a large and mighty kingdom. Nor in other respects was the
conduct of Mansolah, such as to impart to them much pleasure, nor
could they in any wise account for it, than by supposing that their
own present had fallen short of his expectations, and thereby failed
to awaken those good-natured qualities, which were displayed at sight
of the infinitely more valuable, as well as showy one of Captain
Clapperton. But whatever might have been the reason, certain it is
that Mansolah and his subjects had seen quite enough of white men,
and that the rapturous exultation which glowed in the cheeks of the
first European that visited this country, on being gazed at, admired,
caressed, and almost worshipped as a god; joined to the delightful
consciousness of his own immeasurable superiority, will in the
present, at least, never be experienced by any other. "Alas!" says
Richard Lander, "what a misfortune; the eager curiosity of the
natives has been glutted by satiety, a European is shamefully
considered no more than a man, and hereafter, he will no doubt be
treated entirely as such; so that on coming to this city, he must
make up his mind to sigh a bitter farewell to goats' flesh and
mutton, and familiarize his palate to greater delicacies, such a
lizards, rats, and locusts, caterpillars, and other dainties, which
the natives roast, grill, bake, and boil, and which he may wash down,
if he pleases, with draughts of milk white water, the only beverage
it will be in his power to obtain." On the morning of Wednesday the
19th of May, Richard Lander was desired by a messenger to visit the
king at his residence, and on his arrival there, he found a great
number of people assembled. The object of this summons was explained
by Ebo, who said that Lander had been sent for, that the present
which he, the eunuch had received, should be shown to the people
without any reservation whatever. It was accordingly spread out on
the floor, together with the presents made to the king. Even a bit of
English brown soap, which had been given to Ebo a short time before,
was exhibited along with the other things; for so great a degree of
jealousy exists among the eunuchs and others, arising from the
apprehension that one might have received more than another; that Ebo
himself, powerful as he is, would dread the effects of it on his own
person, should he have been found to have concealed a single thing.
They all in fact endeavour to disarm censure by an appearance of
openness and sincerity.

On the night of Thursday the 20th, to their infinite surprise and
pleasure, Ebo entered their yard in a great hurry, with the pleasant
information, that the king, as nothing more was to be got from them,
had consented to their departure on the following morning; and that
it was his wish they would get their things in readiness by that
time. So confident were they that they would be unable to start from
Katunga, for a month to come at the earliest, that they had not only
sowed cress and onion seed the day after their arrival, which were
already springing up, but they had actually made up their minds to
abide there during the continuance of the rains. But now they were in
hope of reaching Yaoorie in twelve or fourteen days, in which city
they intended to remain for a short time, before proceeding further
into the interior. The only drawback to their pleasure, was the
misfortune of having all their horses sick, which might seriously
inconvenience them in their progress. The old route to Kiama was
considered so dangerous, that it was understood they were to be sent
back to Atoopa, which was two long days' journey from Katunga, and
they were to proceed in a safer path. Although they now required but
five men besides their own to carry the luggage, the king scrupled
and hesitated to supply them with them, and the youngest of their
Jenna messengers was nominated to fill the place of one of them. They
were told that it was on account of the vast number of people that
have emigrated from Katunga to Raka and Alorie, that a sufficient
number of carriers could not be procured for them; but in so large a
place as Katunga, where two thirds of the population are slaves,
their reason seemed quite ridiculous, and they suspected the real one
to be the same original sin, viz. the humble character of their
present. The king, however, promised to take his farewell of them on
the following morning, and they being in good health, they hoped soon
to accomplish the object of their undertaking, and return in safety
to Old England.

On the following day, instead of the visit from the king, which they
were told on the preceding day he was to honor them with, they were
requested to repair to his residence. Accordingly, having first
saddled their horses, and packed up their luggage between six and
seven o'clock a.m., the two brothers walked to the royal residence.
On their arrival they were introduced without any ceremony into a
private yard, wherein the king had been patiently waiting their
coming for some time previously. He was rather plainly dressed in the
costume of the country, namely a tobe, trousers, and sandals, with a
cap very much resembling in shape those, which were worn by elderly
ladies in the time of queen Elizabeth, and which are still retained
by some in the more remote parts of England. On his right the eunuchs
were reposing their huge limbs on the ground, with several of the
elders of the people, and his left was graced by a circle of his
young wives, behind whom sat the widows of more than one of his
predecessors, many of whom appeared aged. A performer on the whistle
was the only musician present. So that during a very long interview,
a little whistling now and then was the only amusement which the
prince could afford them. A good deal of discussion ensued, and much
serious whispering between the monarch and his wives, in the course
of which both parties quitted the yard two or three times to hold a
secret conference; followed by the eunuchs with their hands clasped
on their breast. Mansolah at length scraped together two thousand
kowries, about three shillings and sixpence sterling, which he
presented to the four men that had accompanied the travellers from
Badagry and Jenna as guides, messengers, &c., to enable them to
purchase provisions on their journey homeward. This sum had been
collected from amongst the king's wives, each having contributed a
portion, because their lord and master did not happen to be in a
liberal mood. Poor souls! they possess scarcely the shadow of
royalty, much less the substance; the exterior forms of respect which
they receive from the male portion of the people alone distinguishing
them from their less illustrious countrywomen. They are compelled to
work in order to provide themselves with food and clothing, and
besides which, part of the earnings is applied to the king's use. To
effect these objects, they are necessitated to make long and painful
journeys to distant parts of the empire, for the purpose of trading.
They have, however, the privilege of travelling from town to town,
without being subjected to the usual duty, and can command the use of
the governor's house wherever they go. The boasted industry of
ancient queens and princesses in more classic regions, sinks into
nothing when compared to the laborious life, which is led by the
female branch of the royal family at Yarriba.

Mansolah, after some time beckoned to them to draw near him, for they
were sitting at some distance on a bundle of sticks, and with a
benevolent smile playing upon his wrinkled features, he slowly and
with great solemnity placed a goora nut in the right hand of each of
them, and then asked their names. Richard and John, they replied,
"Richard-_ee_ and John-_ee_," said the king, for he was unable to
pronounce their Christian names without affixing a vowel to the end
of them, "you may now sit down again." They did so, and remained in
that posture until they were both completely wearied, when they
desired Ebo to ask the king's permission for them to go home to
breakfast, which was granted without reluctance. Then, having shaken
hands with the good old man, and wishing a long and happy reign, they
bade him farewell for the last time, bowed to the ladies, and
returned with all haste to their hut.


Every thing was now ready for their departure from Katunga, but some
considerable time elapsed before the carriers were ready to take up
their loads, and much murmuring was occasioned by their size and
weight. They then left the city, and returned to Eetcho by the way
they had come. One of their horses became so weak on the road, that
he was unable to carry his rider, old Pascoe, so that they were
obliged to drive him along before them, which was a tiresome and
unpleasant occupation. The journey from Katunga was long, and owing
to the ruggedness of the path, was very fatiguing, and as they were
much in advance of the remainder of the party, they halted at
Eetcholee, until they joined them. Here they let their horses graze,
partook of some beer and other refreshment, and sat down on the turf
to enjoy themselves, for the day had been sultry, and the heat
oppressive, and their whole party were nearly exhausted.

On Saturday May 22nd, an unexpected obstacle presented itself to the
prosecution of their journey, as the Katunga carriers all complained
of pains in their limbs, and on reaching Leoguadda, which lies midway
between Eetcho and Atoopa, they placed their burdens on the ground,
and to a man, stoutly refused to take them any further until the
following day. Their own men also, who were still more heavily laden
than the Katunga men, had suffered so much from the long and irksome
journey of yesterday, particularly Jowdie, who was the strongest and
most athletic of them all, that they greatly feared that all of them
would have been taken seriously ill on the road. They, therefore,
lightened their burdens, and distributed a portion of what they had
taken out of them into the boxes, &c., of their already overladen
Katunga associates, without, however, permitting the latter to know
any thing of the circumstance. Among the carriers was a very little
man, called Gazherie, (small man,) on account of his diminutive
stature; he was notwithstanding very muscular, and possessed uncommon
strength, activity, and vigour of body, and bore a package containing
their tent, &c., which though very heavy, was yet by far the lightest
load of the whole. Conceiving that corporeal strength, rather than
bulk or height, should in this case be taken into the account, a bag
of shot weighing 28lbs, was extracted from Jowdie's burden, and
clandestinely added to his. The little man trudged along merrily,
without dreaming of the fraud that had been practised on him, till
they arrived within a short distance of Leoguadda, when imagining
that one end of the tent felt much heavier than the other, he was
induced to take it from his head, and presently discovered the
cheat, for the bag having been thrust simply inside the covering, it
could be seen without unlacing the package. He was much enraged at
being thus deceived, and called his companions around him to witness
the fact, and said he was resolved to proceed no further than
Leoguadda. He then succeeded in persuading them to follow his
example, and thus a kind of combination was instantly formed against
the travellers. As was usual with them on entering a village, they
rested a little while under a shady tree in Leoguadda, and here they
were presently surrounded by the murmuring carriers, with the little
man at their head. They were furious at first, and gave them to
understand that they would go no further, and were determined, let
the consequence be what it might, to remain in the town all night.
Leoguadda contained no accommodations whatever for them, and a storm
seemed now to be gathering over their heads. Atoopa was the town in
which the king of Katunga had advised them to spend the night; they
therefore resolved to go on to that town, and strenuously endeavoured
by gentle means to bring over the carriers to their views, but, these
failing, they resorted to their own mode of argument, namely, fierce
looks, violent action, vociferous bawling, and expressive gesture,
which intimidated so much, that they snatched up their burdens,
without saying a word, and ran away with alacrity and good humour.
These carriers Were to accompany them as far as the frontier town of
the kingdom.

It was market day at Atoopa, and at a distance of some miles from the
town, the hum of human voices could be distinctly heard. Just after
their arrival, a man of note, who was a public singer and dancer,
stood before the door of their hut to entertain them with a specimen
of his abilities, and he entered with so much warmth and agility into
the spirit of his profession, that his whimsical performance really
afforded them much diversion. The musician had two assistant drummers
in his train, whose instruments were far from being unmusical, and
likewise several other men, whose part was to keep time by clapping
with their hands. The dancing was excellent of its kind, and
resembled more the European style, than any they had before seen in
the country. The singing was equally good, the voices of the men
being clear and agreeable; they sang the responses, and likewise
accompanied the chanting of their master with their voices; in fact,
they performed their part of the entertainment to admiration. A
_Fatakie_, a smaller number than a coffle of merchants, left Atoopa
on the preceding day for Kiama, and it was most likely that they
would overtake them at the next town.

On Sunday morning, though their horses were in a very weak condition,
and all looked extremely sorrowful, yet they quitted Atoopa at an
early hour and in good spirits, and journeying in a westerly
direction, in two hours time they entered a lively little walled
town, called Rumbum. Here they dismounted, and took a slight
refreshment of parched corn and water, on the trunk of a fallen tree.
Rumbum is a great thoroughfare for fatakies of merchants, trading
from Houssa, Borgoo, and other countries to Gonga; and consequently a
vast quantity of land is cultivated in its vicinity with corn and
yams, to supply them with provisions.

On quitting this town, their course altered to N.W., and continued so
till their arrival at the large and important town of Keeshee, which
is on the frontier of the kingdom, and distant from Atoopa only about
twelve miles. It is surrounded by a double strong clay wall, and is
an excellent situation as a place of security from the attacks of the
enemy. Before entering this place, and at the distance of a mile from
it, they passed through a clean, extensive, and highly-flourishing
Fellata village, called Acba, which, like most other places in
Yarriba inhabited by Fellatas, was well stocked with sheep and

The governor of Keeshee having died only ten days previously to their
arrival, they were well received by his successor, who was an elderly
and respectable-looking man. Shortly after their arrival, he sent
them a present of a fine young bullock, a quantity of yams, and more
than a gallon of excellent strong beer. In the centre of the town is
a high stony hill, almost covered with trees of stinted growth, to
which, in case of an invasion by the enemy, the inhabitants fly for
refuge. As soon as they have reached its summit, it is borne, they
say, by a supernatural power above the clouds, where it remains till
the danger is over. Some years have elapsed since this miracle last
took place, yet the story is told with a serious belief of its truth,
and with the most amusing gravity. About a quarter of a mile to the
north-east of this marvellous hill, rises another, which very much
resembles it in shape and appearance, but the latter is rather larger
and higher, and overlooks the country for many miles round.

A number of emigrants from different countries reside in this place;
there are not a few from Borgoo, Nouffie, Houssa and Bornoo, and two
or three Tuaricks from the borders of the Great Desert. To the west
of the town is a picturesque hill of a gentle ascent, on which are
several small hamlets; these hamlets have a rural and eminently
beautiful appearance. In no town through which they had hitherto
travelled, had they seen so many fine tall men, and good-looking
women, as at this place; yet several individuals of both sexes were
to be met with, who had lost the sight of one eye, and others who had
unseemly wens on their throats, as large as cocoa nuts. They saw a
cripple to-day for the first time, and a female dwarf, whose height
scarcely exceeded thirty inches, and whose appearance bespoke her to
be between thirty and forty years of age. Her head was
disproportionately large to the size of her body; her features, like
her voice, were harsh, masculine, and unpleasant in the extreme. It
would have been ridiculous to be afraid of such a diminutive thing,
but there was an expression in her countenance so peculiarly
repulsive, unwomanly, and hideous, that on approaching their hut,
they felt a very unusual and disagreeable sensation steal over them.
The descriptions of an elf or a black dwarf in the Arabian Nights
Entertainments, or modern romances, would serve well to portray the
form and lineaments of this singular little being.

It was market day, and Richard Lander took a walk in the evening to
the place where the market was held, but the crowd that gathered
round him was so great, as to compel him to return home much sooner,
than he had intended. If he happened to stand still even for a
moment, the people pressed by thousands to get close to him, and if
he attempted to go on, they tumbled over one another to get out of
his way, overturning standings and calabashes, throwing down their
owners, and scattering their property about in all directions. The
blacksmiths in particular, welcomed him by clashing their iron tools
against each other, and the drummers rejoiced by thumping violently
upon one end of their instruments. A few women and children ran from
him in a fright, but the majority less timid, approached as near as
they could, to catch a glimpse of the first white man they had ever
seen. His appearance seemed to interest them amazingly, for they
tittered and wished him well, and turned about to titter again. On
returning, the crowd became more dense than ever, and drove all
before them like a torrent, dogs, goats, sheep, and poultry were
borne along against their will, which terrified them so much, that
nothing could be heard but noises of the most lamentable description;
children screamed, dogs yelled, sheep and goats bleated most
piteously, and fowls cackled, and fluttered from among the crowd.
Never was such a hubbub made before in the interior of Africa, by the
appearance of a white man, and happy indeed was that white man to
shelter himself from all this uproar in his own yard, whither the
multitude dared not follow him.

The widows of the deceased chief of Keeshee, daily set apart a
portion of the twenty-four hours to cry for their bereavement, and
pray to their gods. On this evening, they began in the same sad,
mournful tone, which is commonly heard on similar occasions all over
the country. Richard Lander asked their interpreter, why the women
grieved so bitterly, he answered quickly, "What matter! they laugh
directly." So it was supposed, that they cried from habit, rather
than from feeling, and that they can shed tears and be merry in the
same breath, whenever they please. About seven o'clock this evening,
they heard a public crier, proclaiming with a loud voice, that should
any one be discovered straggling about the streets after that hour,
he would be seized and put to death. Many houses in the town had
lately been set on fire by incendiaries, and this most likely gave
rise to the above precautionary measure.

They were compelled to remain the whole of the following day, on
account of the inability of the governor to procure them carriers for
their luggage, The number of people who visited them to-day was so
great, and their company so irksome, that they were perplexed for
some time how to get rid of them without offence. One party in
particular was so unpleasant, and they so seriously incommoded them,
that they had recourse to the unusual expedient of smoking them off,
by kindling a fire at the door of their hut, before which they were
sitting. It succeeded agreeably to their wishes.

A company of women and girls from the Fellata village of Acba,
impelled by a curiosity so natural to their sex, came likewise to see
them in the afternoon, but their society, instead of being
disagreeable, as the company of all their other visitors proved to
be, was hailed by them with pleasure. For these females were so
modest and so retiring, and evinced so much native delicacy in their
whole behaviour, that they excited in the breast of the travellers
the highest respect: their personal attractions were no less winning;
they had fine sparkling jetty eyes, with eyelashes as dark and glossy
as the ravens' plume; their features were agreeable, although their
complexions were tawny; their general form was elegant; their hands
small and delicate, and the peculiar cleanliness of their persons,
and neatness of dress added to these, rendered their society
altogether as desirable as that of their neighbours was disagreeable.

The Fellatas inhabiting Acba were all born and bred in that town,
their ancestors settled in the country at so remote a period, that
although some inquiries were made respecting it, all their questions
were unavailing, and in fact, not even a tradition has been preserved
on the subject. These "children of the soil," lead a harmless,
tranquil, and sober life, which they never suffer passing events to
disturb; they have no ambition to join their more restless and
enterprising countrymen, who have made themselves masters of Alorie
and Raka, nor even to meddle in the private or public concerns of
their near neighbours of Keeshee. Indeed, they have kept themselves
apart and distinct from all; they have retained the language of their
fathers, and the simplicity of their manners, and their existence
glides serenely and happily away, in the enjoyment of domestic
pleasures and social tenderness, which are not always found in
civilized society, and which are unknown among their roving
countrymen. They are on the best possible terms with their neighbours
like the Fellatas at Bohoo and by them are held in great respect.

The governor of Keeshee was a Borgoo man, and boasted of being the
friend of Yarro, chief of Kiama, but as the old man told them many
wonderful stories of the number of towns under his sway, his amazing
great influence, and the entire subjection in which his own people
were kept by his own good government, all of which was listened to
with patience; they were inclined to believe that the pretensions of
the governor were as hollow as they were improbable. As to his
government, he gave them a specimen of it, by bawling to a group of
children that had followed their steps into the yard, ordering them
to go about their business. But every one in this country displayed
the same kind of ridiculous vanity, and in the majority of towns
which they visited, it was the first great care of their chiefs, to
impress on their minds an idea of their vast importance, which in
many instances was contradicted by their ragged tobes and squalid
appearance. Yet, if their own accounts were to be credited, their
affluence and power were unbounded. All truth is sacrificed to this
feeling of vanity and vain glory; and considering that in most cases
they hold truth in great reverence, they render themselves truly
ridiculous by their absurd practice of boasting; every circumstance
around them tending to contradict it. In the case of the Landers,
however, these toasters had to deal with strangers, and with white
men, and perhaps it may be considered as natural, amongst simple
barbarians, to court admiration and applause, even if no other means
were employed than falsehood and exaggeration. After a deal of
talking, tending to no particular subject, from which any useful
information could be obtained, the governor of Keeshee begged the
favour of a little rum and medicine to heal his foot, which was
inclined to swell and give him pain; and another request which he
made was, that they would repair a gun, which had been deprived of
its stock by fire. He then sung them a doleful ditty, not in praise
of female beauty, as is the practice with the songsters of England,
but it was in praise of elephants and their teeth, in which he was
assisted by his cane bearer, and afterwards took his leave. They
received little presents of goora nuts, salt, honey, mi-cadamia,
butter, &c., from several inhabitants of the place.

Some mallams and others, who wished to accompany the Landers to
Kiama, whither they were going for the purposes of trade, persuaded
the easy-minded governor on the preceding night, to defer getting
their carriers until the following day, because, forsooth, they were
not themselves wholly prepared to travel on that day. They were,
therefore, obliged to wait the further pleasure of these influential
merchants. Thus balked in their expectations, after their luggage had
all been packed up for starting, Richard Lander attempted to amuse
himself early in the morning, by scrambling to the top of the high
and steep hill, which stood in the middle of the town. In his
progress, he disturbed a tiger-cat from his retreat amongst the
rocks, but he was rewarded for his labour by an extensive and
agreeable prospect from the summit of the mountain, which he found to
consist of large blocks of white marble. The town with its double
wall, perforated with holes for the bowmen to shoot through, lay at
his feet, and several little rural villages studded the country on
every side. The governor of Keshee was so old and infirm, that it was
evident he had not many years to live. A lotion was given him for his
swollen foot, which greatly elated a few of his attendants, and their
animated looks and gestures bespoke hearts overflowing with
gratitude, so much so indeed, that it was remarked as a circumstance
of very rare occurrence. The cause of these grateful feelings was,
however, soon explained to them, for early in the morning, they were
visited by a young man, who had particularly distinguished himself in
his expressions of gratitude, but who now put on such a rueful
countenance, and spoke in a tone so low and melancholy, that his
whole appearance was completely altered, insomuch that it was
supposed some great calamity had befallen him. The cause of it was
soon explained, by his informing them that he would be doomed to die,
with two companions, as soon as their governor's dissolution should
take place; and as the old man had already one foot in the grave, the
sadness of the poor fellow was not to be wondered at. When this same
individual and his associates observed Richard Lander giving the
lotion to their master on the preceding day, they imagined it would
prolong his existence, and consequently lengthen their own, and hence
arose that burst of feeling which had attracted their attention. The
people here imagined that the Landers could do anything, but more
especially that they were acquainted with, and could cure all the
complaints and disorders to which man is liable.

During the day, the governor solicited from Richard Lander a charm to
protect his house from fire, and to enable him to amass riches, while
one of his elderly wives made a doleful complaint of having been
likely to become a mother for the last thirty years, and begged
piteously for medicine to promote and assist her accouchement. It was
easy enough to satisfy the old man; but it was conceived that the
hypochondriacal complaint of his wife, was too dangerous to be
meddled with by unprofessional hands. Poor woman! she was much to be
pitied, for the odd delusion under which she had been labouring for
some time, had given her considerable uneasiness, so that life itself
became a burden to her. All that Richard Lander, her medical adviser,
could do for her, was to soothe her mind, by telling her that her
distemper was very common, and not at all dangerous; and he promised
her that on their return to Keeshee, should nothing transpire in her
favour in the mean time, he would endeavour to remove the cause of
her complaint. This comforted the aged matron exceedingly, and in the
fulness of her heart, she burst into tears of joy, dropped on her
knees to express her acknowledgments, and pressed them to accept a
couple of goora nuts.

Their engaging female friends, the Fellatas, paid them a second visit
this morning, with bowls of milk and foorah; and in the evening, a
few of their male companions also came, and remained with them a
considerable time. Both sexes displayed the same timid reserve in
their presence, and deported themselves in the same respectful manner
as they did on the preceding day. It appeared that the Fellatas
inhabiting Acba, though very numerous, are but one family, for the
Landers were informed, that their ancestor separated himself from
his friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and exiling himself for
ever from his native country, he travelled hither with his wives and
children, his flocks and herds. The sons and daughters of his
descendants intermarry only among their own kindred, and they are
betrothed to each other in infancy and childhood. The little that
they saw of the Fellatas in Yarriba, soon convinced them that in all
things they were much, very much superior to the loveless and
unsocial proprietors of the soil. Their countenances bespoke more
intelligence, and their manners displayed less roughness and
barbarism. The domestic virtues of the Fellatas are also more
affectionate and endearing, and their family regulations more chaste
and binding.

On Wednesday the 26th May, they rose before sunset, and having little
to do in the way of preparation for setting out, they took a hasty
breakfast, and afterwards went to pay their respects to the governor,
and thank him for his hospitality and kindness to them. The parting
with the interesting female natives, shall be related in Lander's own
words. "On returning to our lodgings, we had the pleasure of
receiving the morning salutation of our fair friends, the Fellatas,
on bended knee. Resolved to have another and a last chat with the
white strangers, these females had come for the purpose of offering
us two calabashes of new milk. This, and former little acts of
kindness, which we have received from these dark-eyed maidens, have
effectually won our regard, because we know they were
disinterestedly given, and the few minutes which we have had the
happiness of spending in their company, and that of their countrymen,
have redeemed many hours of listlessness and melancholy, which
absence from our native country, and thoughts of home and friends but
too often excite in our breasts. It was not, therefore, without a
feeling of sorrow that we bade them adieu. For my own part, when they
blessed me in the name of Allah and their prophet, and implored
blessings on my head, and when I gazed upon the faces of the
simple-hearted and innocent females, who had so piously and fervently
invoked the benediction, with the consciousness of beholding them no
more in this life, my heart was touched with sorrow, for of all
reflections, this is certainly the most melancholy and dispiriting."

"Ye, who have known what 'tis to dote upon
A few dear objects, will in sadness feel
Such partings break the heart they fondly hoped to heal."

There was far less feeling and tenderness, though more words and much
greater noise in taking their farewell of the two old messengers that
had accompanied them from Badagry, and who, with their Jenna guides,
were to return home on the following day. They had behaved throughout
the whole of the journey to the entire satisfaction of the Landers,
and because they had been their companions on a long and painful
journey, and because their faces had become familiarized to them,
that they left them behind with sincere regret.

Although they left Keeshee between six and seven in the morning, they
were obliged to seat themselves on a green turf in the outskirts of
the town, and wait there till a quarter after nine before the
carriers with the luggage made their appearance. Here they were
joined by a Borgoo fatakie, and their ears were saluted with the
hoarse, dull sounds of their drum, which was played by a ragged young
Yarribean, long after they were on their journey. A company of
merchants travelling through the country has always a drummer in
their pay, who walks at the head of the party, and performs on his
instrument continually, be the journey ever so long, for the purpose
of animating the slaves to quicken their steps.

Their route lay through a vast and lonely forest, infested by a band
of robbers and in which there is not a single human habitation. John
Lander went unarmed before the fatakie, and travelled alone, whilst
Richard remained behind to defend the carriers, in case of necessity.
He had already ridden some distance in advance of them, when about
twenty very suspicious-looking fellows, armed with lances, bows, and
arrows, suddenly made their appearance from behind the trees, where
they had concealed themselves, and stood in the middle of the path,
before the men with the luggage, who were so terrified that they were
prepared to drop their burdens and run away. His gun being loaded,
Richard Lander levelled it at them, and had nearly discharged it at
their leader, which intimidated them all so much, that they retreated
again into the heart of the forest. When the people of Yarriba
observe any one approaching them on the road, whose appearance
inspires them with apprehension as to the honesty of their
intentions, they fling off their loads without waiting the result of
the meeting, and take to their heels without venturing to look behind
them. The robbers, therefore, when they saw the fatakie, no doubt
expected to obtain an easy booty, not anticipating to find a white
man amongst them, nor thinking that their carriers would have made
a stand.

They journeyed fifteen miles through this dreaded forest, which
occupied them five hours and three quarters, owing to the weakness of
their horses, and want of water, but above all to the oppressive heat
of the weather, from which they all suffered more or less. They then
arrived at the Moussa, which is a rivulet, separating the kingdom of
Yarriba from Borgoo. Having satisfied their thirst and bathed, they
crossed the stream, and entered a little village on the northern
bank, where they halted for the day.

When travelling in the bush, several men in the train of a fatakie
wear a large iron ring on the thumb and middle finger; to the latter
a piece of plate iron is attached, with which they make signals to
each other, and the fatakie, when apart, by clinking the rings. This
method of communication is very significant, and it is understood as
well, and is as promptly answered or obeyed, as the boatswain's
whistle on board a ship. The collision of the rings produces a harsh,
grating noise, loud enough to be heard at a considerable distance.

The mere crossing of a little stream, which a person might almost
have jumped over, introduced them into a country very different from
Yarriba, which was inhabited by a different people, speaking a
different language, professing a different religion, and whose
manners, customs, amusements, and pursuits were altogether different.

The village in which they halted was called Moussa, after the river,
and is distant from Keeshee, in a northerly direction, as nearly as
they could guess, about sixteen miles. The Landers occupied a large
round hut, called by the natives of that country _catamba_, in the
Houssa language _sowley_, and in the Bornou _coozie_. In the centre
of it is the trunk of a large tree, which supports the roof; it has
two apertures for doors, which are opposite each other, and directly
over them, suspended from the wall, are a couple of charms, written
in the Arabic character on bits of paper, which are to preserve the
premises from being destroyed by fire.

It was now eleven o'clock at night; their attendants were reposing on
mats and skins in various parts of the hut. Bows and arrows and
quivers ornamented with cows' tails, together with muskets, pistols,
swords, lances, and other weapons, were either hanging on the wall or
resting against it. The scene was wild and singular, and quite
bordering on, if not really romantic. Outside the hut it was still
more striking: there, though it rained and thundered, the remainder
of the fatakie, consisting of men, women, and children, were sitting
on the ground in groups, or sleeping near several large fires, which
were burning almost close to the hut, whilst others were lying under
the shelter of large spreading trees in its immediate vicinity. The
only apparel which they wear, was drawn over their half-naked
persons, their weapons were at their sides, and their horses were
grazing near them. Most of the people retired to rest without food,
yet they slept soundly, and appeared quite happy and comfortable
after their day's exertion and fatigue. One of the men fainted on the
road from exhaustion, and remained very feverish and unwell.

At day break on the following day, the travellers pursued their
course, and as Lander expresses himself, there wore a sweetness in
the mountain air, and a freshness in the morning, which they
experienced with considerable pleasure, on ascending the hills, which
bordered the northern side of the pretty little Moussa. When wild
beasts tired with their nightly prowling, seek retirement and repose
in the lonely depths of these primeval forests, and when birds
perched in the branches of the trees over their heads, warbled forth
their morning song, it is the time, that makes up for the languid,
wearisome hours in the heat of the day, when nothing could amuse or
interest them. It is in the earlier part of the morning too, or in
the cool of the evening, that nature can be leisurely contemplated
and admired in the simple loveliness of a verdant plain, a
sequestered grotto, or a rippling brook, or in the wilder and more
mysterious features of her beauty in the height of a craggy
precipice, the silence and gloom of vast shady woods, or when those
woods are gracefully bending to the passing gale.

An hour's ride brought them near to the site of a town, which was
formerly peopled only by robbers. It was, however destroyed some
years ago, and its inhabitants either slain or dispersed, by order of
the spirited ruler of Kiama, since which time the road has been less
dreaded by travellers. Their path lay through a rich country covered
with luxuriant grasses and fine trees, but very little underwood
could be seen. It abounded with deer and antelopes, and other wild
animals of a more ferocious nature; such as the lion, the leopard,
the elephant, the wild ass, &c., but the solitary lowing of the
buffalo was the only sound that was distinguished in the forest,
although they had not the pleasure of meeting even with that animal.

At eleven o'clock, they entered a very small, cleanly-looking
village, where they halted for the day. Unfortunately the governor
with most of his people were at work in the fields at some distance,
so that they could not get any thing to eat till rather late in the
evening. It appeared that these poor villagers were forced to supply
the soldiers of their sovereign with provisions, gratis, whenever
business led them so far that way from the capital; and that in order
to avoid the rapacity of these men, they built for themselves another
hamlet in the woods, far out of the way of the path, whither they
carry their goats, &c. and the corn of which they may not be in
immediate want.

On their arrival they were introduced into a small grass hut, which
the smoke had changed into the most glossy black, which could
possibly be seen; the interior of the roof was also ingeniously
decorated with large festoons of cobwebs and dust, which must have
been allowed to accumulate for a number of years. Its fetish was a
dried grasshopper, which was preserved in a little calabash, but upon
the supposition that this was insufficient to protect it from all the
danger to which huts in that country are constantly exposed,
auxiliary charms of blood and feathers are likewise stuck inside of
the wall. At sun-set, not having any thing to eat, Richard Lander
went out with his gun into the woods, and was fortunate enough to
shoot a few doves, and Pascoe, who went in a different direction,
shot a guinea hen, which made them an excellent supper. Hunger had
driven back their Keeshee carriers, who were to have accompanied them
to Kiama, and therefore they were obliged to send a messenger to
Yarro for men to supply their place. Late in the evening, the
governor of the village returned from his labour in the fields, and
presented them with corn and honey.

On the forenoon of Friday the 28th, the musical jingling of little
bells announced the approach of a body of horsemen, who in less than
a minute galloped up to their hut, and saluted them one after another
with a martial air, by brandishing their spears, to their great
discomfiture, within a few feet of their faces. To display their
horsemanship more effectually, they caused their spirited steeds to
prance and rear in their presence, and when they imagined they were
convinced of their abilities, they dismounted to prostrate themselves
before them, and acquainted them of the welfare of their prince. The
carriers who had arrived from Kiama, had preceded them on the road,
and the whole of the men then sat down to partake of a little
refreshment. It was twelve o'clock exactly when they set out on their
journey, and the day being so far advanced, they wished to make all
the haste possible, but the weather was extremely warm, and their
horses were hardly strong enough to carry their riders, so that they
were obliged after all to travel very slowly. At five o'clock in the
afternoon, they reached the ruins of a small town. The path was
through the same forest as they had travelled through on the
preceding day, but this part of it was less thickly wooded. At one
place they remarked two immensely large trees, springing up almost
close together, their mighty trunks and branches were twisted, and
firmly clasped round each other, like giants in the act of embracing,
and presented an appearance highly novel and singular. Ant hills were
numerous on the road; and a few paces from it, they observed, as they
rode along, little cone-shaped mud buildings, erected by the natives
for the purpose of smelting iron ore, which is found in abundance in
different parts of the country.

At sunset they arrived at a village called Benikenny, which means in
the language of the people, (a cunning man;) and they found there
three women waiting their arrival, with corn and milk from the king
of Kiama: this was very acceptable, for they had been without food
for thirteen hours. They rested at Benikenny a little while, and
fully expected to have slept there, for the afternoon had been
excessively warm, and they were all much fatigued. It appears,
however, that their armed escort were not in the same way of thinking
as themselves, and they encouraged them to proceed to another
village, which they said was at no great distance. They, therefore,
quitted Benikenny, yet no village could be seen, and then the escort
confessed that they had deceived them, in order that they might
arrive at Kiama before night. The sun had gone down on their quitting
the halting place, but the moon and stars supplied them with a cooler
and more agreeable light, and they journeyed on through the forest
more slowly than before. In spite of their fatigue, they could not
help admiring the serenity and beauty of the evening, nor be
insensible to the delicious fragrance shed around from trees and
shrubs. The appearance of their warlike and romantic escort, was also
highly amusing. They were clad in the fashion of the east, and sought
their way between the trees on their right and left; but sometimes
they fell in their rear, and then again dashed suddenly by them with
astonishing swiftness, looking as wild as the scenery through which
their chargers bounded. The effect was rendered more imposing by the
reflection of the moon-beams from their polished spears, and the
pieces of silver which were affixed to their caps; while the luminous
firefly appeared in the air like rising and falling particles of

John Lander's horse was unable from weakness and exhaustion to carry
him further than Benikenny, so that he was obliged to walk the
remainder of the journey to Kiama, which was full six miles. About
eight o'clock, Kiama appeared before them, and in a few minutes they
entered the city, and rode directly to the king's house. He came out
to receive them, after having waited outside a very short time, and
welcomed them with much satisfaction and good will. He was an elderly
man, almost toothless, and had a beard as white as wool. Nothing
remarkable was observed in his dress or appearance. His first
question was respecting the health of their sovereign, and his second
and last respecting their own welfare. He seemed to be exceedingly
well pleased at seeing Richard Lander again. They then took their
leave, and were conducted by one of his slaves to a hut, or rather an
assemblage of huts, adjoining his own residence. The huts, however,
were not entirely to their satisfaction, for many of them had only
one aperture in each, which was scarcely three feet square, so that
they could not get into them excepting on their hands and knees. They
were, besides, so very warm and close, that they found great
difficulty in breathing, and in consequence they preferred a hut
which was cooler and better ventilated, though it had the
inconvenience of a thoroughfare. No sooner were they securely housed,
than half a dozen of the king's wives introduced themselves with huge
calabashes of sour milk, fried pancakes, and beef stewed in rice, the
first they had yet seen. Variously coloured mats, of excellent
workmanship, were afterwards brought for their use, and with thankful
hearts and comfortable feelings, they laid themselves down to rest.


Fatigued with the journey of the preceding day, the travellers lay on
their mats rather later than usual, and before they had risen, the
king's messengers and others entered their hut to give them the
salutations of the morning. Richard Lander returned Yarro's
compliment, by calling to see him at his own house, while his brother
remained at home to take care of the goods. The natives of the
country having a very indifferent reputation for honesty, compelled
them to keep a watchful eye over all their actions. A number of
mallams from Houssa paid them a visit about the middle of the day,
but a body of more ignorant Mahommedans, it was supposed, could no
where be found, for not one of them, even to their chief, who had a
youthful appearance, understood a word of Arabic.

Just before sunset, John Lander selected a present, consisting of the
following articles for the king: viz. six yards of red cloth, a
quantity of printed cottons, a pair of silver bracelets, a
looking-glass, two pair of scissors, a knife, two combs, and a
tobacco pipe. The goods having been properly secured, they repaired
with this present to the king, who received it with much apparent

Yarro professed the mahommedan faith, yet it was easy to perceive the
very slender acquaintance he had obtained of the precepts of the
Koran, by the confidence which he placed in the religion of his
fathers, in placing fetishes to guard the entrance of his houses, and
adorn their half-naked walls. In one of these huts, they observed a
stool of very curious workmanship. The form of it was nearly square;
the two principal figures were each supported by four little wooden
figures of men, and another of large dimensions, seated on a clumsy
representation of a hippopotamus, was placed between them. These
images were subsequently presented to the Landers by Yarro; and they
learnt that the natives, before undertaking any water excursion,
applied for protection to the hippopotami, and other dangerous
objects of the river, to the principal figure, which was mounted on
one of those creatures. This important personage was attended by his
musicians, and guarded by soldiers, some armed with muskets, and
others with bows and arrows, who formed the legs of the stool.

In the inner apartment they discovered Yarro sitting alone, on
buffalo hides, and they were desired to place themselves near him.
The walls of this apartment were adorned with very good prints of
George IV., the Duke of York, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington on
horseback, together with an officer of the light dragoons, in company
with a smartly dressed and happy looking English lady. Opposite to
them were hung horse accoutrements, and on each side were dirty
scraps of paper, containing select sentences from the Koran. On the
floor lay muskets, several handsomely ornamented lances, and other
weapons, all confusedly heaped together, by the side of a large
granite stone used for pounding pepper. These were the most striking
objects they observed in the king's hut, adjoining which were others,
through whose diminutive doors, the wives of Yarro were straining
their eyes to catch a glimpse of the white men.

When Lander spoke of proceeding to Yaoorie by way of Wowow and
Boussa, the king objected to their visiting, the former state, under
any condition whatever; alleging that three of the slaves who carried
the goods for Captain Clapperton, had never returned to him again,
but had remained at Wowow, where they were protected by the governor
Mahommed, and that if he should send others with them to that place,
they might do the same thing. He, therefore, promised to send them to
Boosa in four days by another road. Independently of the above
considerations, the king was highly incensed against the ruler of
Wowow for his harsh treatment of the widow Zuma, who was his friend
and relative, and who had lately fled to Boosa for the purpose of
claiming the protection of the king of that country.

It was reported that Yarro's father, the late king of Kiama, during
his life time had enjoyed the friendship of an Arab from the desert,
which was returned with equal warmth and sincerity. A similarity of
dispositions and pursuits produced a mutual interchange of kind
actions; their friendship became so great that the king was never
happy except when in the Arab's company, and as a proof of his esteem
and confidence, he gave him his favourite daughter in marriage. The
fruit of this alliance was the restless widow Zuma, and hence her
relationship to the then reigning monarch of Kiama. The friendship of
his father and the Arab lasted until the death of the latter. The
king, however, was inconsolable for his loss, and looked round him in
vain for some one to supply the place of his friend, but the ardour
of his affection was too strong, and held by the hope of following
his friend to another world, he committed suicide. This was the most
affecting instance of genuine friendship, and indeed the only one,
that came to the hearing of the travellers since they had been in the
country. Yarro was much attached to the widow Zuma, and she would
have fled to Kiama, instead of going to Boosa, if her intentions had
not been suspected, and her actions narrowly watched by the ruler of

Unwilling as the Landers always were to infringe upon the observance
of the Sabbath, they were nevertheless compelled on Sunday, May 30th,
to submit to the mortification of cleaning and polishing a sword and
pistol, which were sent them for that purpose by the king, against
the approaching mahommedan festival. Yarro shortly afterwards sent
them a turkey, and one of his women presented them with a roasted
badger, a quantity of yams, &c. for the use of one of their people.
On this evening, the wives of the king unanimously bestowed a severe
reprimand on their royal husband for neglecting to offer them a
portion of a bottle of rum, which was given to him on the preceding
day. The ladies scolded so lustily, that the noise was heard outside
the wall surrounding their huts, which led them to make the
discovery. To appease the indignation of the irascible ladies, and to
reconcile them to the loss of so great a dainty as a glass of rum,
they were presented with a few beads, and some other trifles, but
still it was evident that these fancy articles bore no comparison in
the eyes of the ladies with the exquisite relish of the spirituous

It was generally supposed that the ruler of Wowow would make war on
this state, as soon as he should be made acquainted with the fact of
the Landers being at Borgoo, without having paid him a visit.
Although it was within the dominions of the king of Boossa, who was
acknowledged to be the greatest of the sovereigns of Borgoo, Wowow
was reported to have lately received a body of Nouffie horse
soldiers, consisting of eight hundred men, which rendered its chief
more powerful than either of his neighbours. These soldiers were the
remnant of the army of Ederisa, (the Edrisi of Clapperton) who was
the rightful heir to the throne of Nouffie; they deserted him in his
misfortunes, and sought a refuge in Wowow from the fury of their
successful countrymen, leaving their leader to his fate. Shortly
after the return of Richard Lander to England from his expedition
with Captain Clapperton, it was reported that Magia, who was a
younger son of the late king of Nouffie, was reinforced by the
soldiers from Soccatoo; that he took immediate advantage of the panic
into which this intelligence had thrown his brother, by attacking and
routing his army, and expelling both him, and them from their native
country. Ederisa was for some time after a wanderer, but at length he
was said to have found an asylum with one of the chiefs of a state
near the kingdom of Benin where he continued to reside in
tranquillity and retirement.

They received visits almost every hour of the day from a number of
mahommedan mallams residing at Kiama, as well as from those
merchants, who formed part of the fatakie that accompanied them
through the forest from Keeshee. The former sent two boys to pray for
them, in the expectation, it was supposed, of obtaining something
more substantial than thanks, for the good that might result to them
from their charitable remembrance of the frailty of their nature. The
boys dropped on their knees, and recited the lesson that they had
been taught, without committing a single blunder. A few needles were,
however, the only recompense it was thought proper to make them, so
that it was not likely their masters would desire any more prayers to
be offered up at the shrine of their prophet, for Christians so
illiberal and irreligious. Of all the vices of which these mahommedan
priests were guilty, and by all accounts they were not a few, slander
and defamation appeared to be by far the most general. Never did they
hear a mallam speak of his neighbours in terms of common respect.
According to his account they were all the vilest creatures under the
sun, not one escaping the lash of his censure. "Avoid that man," said
a complaisant and comfortable looking old Mahommedan, pointing to
one of his companions, as he quitted the hut, after having just
blessed him in the name of Allah, "for believe me, he will take every
opportunity of deceiving you, and if you go so far as to trust him
with any of your property, he will cheat you of every kowrie."

The venerable speaker had a number of gilt buttons, nearly new, in
his possession, which they had given him to sell, for they were
frequently obliged to make such shifts for a meal, and when his
invective was finished, he arose to take his leave, but the
self-righteous priest had neglected, in the hurry of discourse, to
secure a few buttons which he had purloined, for as he stood up they
dropped from the folds of his garment on the floor. The man's
confusion was immediately apparent, but they did not wish to punish
him further by increasing his shame, and they suffered him to go
about his business, in the belief that the circumstance had wholly
escaped their observation. Gilt buttons fetch a high price at Kiama,
from two to three hundred kowries each, and as they had a great
number of them, it was likely that from henceforth they would be of
infinite service to them. Women use buttons to ornament their
fingers, necks, and wrists, and they imagine that the brightest of
them are made of gold.

A messenger arrived this day at the king's house with the
information, that Doncasson, the ex-king of Houssa, had recently
taken no less than twelve towns in that empire from the Fellatas, in
which he had been greatly assisted by the sheik of Bornou. The
Fellatas have a tradition, that when Danfodio, Bello's father, and
the first king of Soccatoo, was a simple shepherd, he made a vow to
the great author of evil, that if he would assist him in the
subjugating the kingdom of Houssa, he would be his slave for ever
after. The request of Danfodio, it is reported, was complied with on
his own conditions, but for no longer than thirty years, after which
the aborigines of the country were to regain their liberty, and
re-establish their ancient laws and institutions. The term was now
nearly expired, and the Fellatas began already, said the Houssa men,
to tremble with apprehensions at the prospect of this tradition being

June 1st, was the eve of the Bebun Salah, or great prayer day, and
which is generally employed by the Mussulmans in Kiama, in making
preparations for a festival which was to commence on the following
day, and to be continued till the evening of the ensuing day. Every
one in the town, who is in possession of the means, is obliged to
slaughter either a bullock or a sheep on the anniversary of this day,
and those who are not in possession of money sufficient to procure a
whole bullock or sheep, are compelled to purchase a portion of the
latter, at least, for the purpose of showing respect and reverence
for the "Bebun Salah." The Mahommedans make a practice on this
occasion of slaughtering the sheep, which may have been their
companion in their peregrinations during the past year, and as soon
as the holidays are over, they procure another to supply its place,
and at the return of the festival, to undergo a similar fate. The
company of one of these animals is preferred by the natives to that
of a dog.

On the following morning a company of eight or ten drummers awoke
them by the dismal noise of their drums, and by the exclamation of
"_turawa au, azhie_," signifying, "white men, we wish you fortune,"
which was repeated in a high shrill tone every minute.

During the night, Kiama was visited by a thunder storm, which
continued with dreadful violence for many hours, and the torrents of
rain which fell, threatened to overwhelm them in their huts. Before
they were aware of it, the water had rushed in at the door, and had
completely soaked their mats and bedclothes, setting every light
article in the room afloat. After much trouble they succeeded in
draining it off, and prevented its further ingress, when they lit a
large fire in the centre of the hut, and laid themselves down by the
side of it to sleep. Towards morning it also rained heavily again,
and to all appearances the wet season had at length fairly set in.
Under those circumstances, it would be found almost next to
impossible to travel much further, and if they were fortunate to
reach Yaoorie, they would be obliged to remain there some time, till
the roads should have become sufficiently hard and dry for their
future progress. Their chief hope was, that the rains might not be so
incessant at their commencement, so as to render the path to Yaoorie

On Wednesday June 2nd, the threatening appearance of the weather
prevented the Mahommedans from repairing to the spot, which they had
selected for the purposes of devotion, so early in the morning as
they, could have wished, but the clouds having dispersed, they had
all assembled there between the hours of nine and ten.

The worshippers arranged themselves in six lines or rows, the women
forming the last, and sat down on as many ridges of earth, which had
apparently been thrown up for the purpose. The chief mallam no sooner
began a prayer, than the talking and noise of the multitude ceased,
and the deepest attention seemed to be paid by every one, though the
substance of what he said could only be guessed at, because it was in
Arabic, which none of them understood a word of. The ceremony much
resembled that which was performed at Badagry; and the forms, which
are generally practised, it is supposed, on all public religious
meetings in mahommedan countries, such as ablution, prostration, &c.,
were observed on this occasion. The king, however, did not rise, as
he should have done, when the worshippers stood up, but satisfied
himself with uttering the name of Allah, and by simple prostration
only. When the usual form of prayer had been gone through, the chief
mallam placed himself on a hillock, and for about five minutes read
to the people a few loose pages of the Koran, which he held in his
hand. While thus engaged, two priests of inferior order knelt beside
him to hold the hem of his tobe, and a third, in the same position,
held the skirts from behind. After he had finished reading, the
priest descended from the hillock, and with the help of his
assistants, slaughtered a sheep which had been bound and brought to
him for sacrifice. The blood of the animal was caught in a calabash,
and the king and the more devoted of his subjects washed their hands
in it, and sprinkled some of it on the ground. The conclusion of the
ceremony was announced by the discharge of a few old muskets, and
with drums beating and fifes playing, the people returned to their
respective homes. The majority of them were smartly dressed in all
the finery they could procure. About a hundred of the men rode on
horseback, with lances and other weapons in their hands, which, with
the gay trappings of the horses, gave them a respectable appearance.

In the afternoon, all the inhabitants of the town, and many from the
little villages in the neighbourhood, assembled to witness the horse
racing, which always takes place on the anniversary of the Belun
Salah, and to which every one had been looking forward with the
greatest impatience. Previously to its commencement, the king with
his principal attendants rode slowly on round the town, more for the
purpose of receiving the admiration and plaudits of his people, than
to observe where distress more particularly prevailed, which was his
avowed intention. In this respect we do not see that the African
kings are a jot worse than the Europeans; it is true, indeed, that
the African monarch has in some measure the advantage over the
European, for we have never heard that any European king,
particularly an English one, ever even conceived the idea of parading
the town in which he might reside, for the purpose of finding and
relieving the distressed, but when he does condescend to show himself
amongst the people, to whom he is indebted for the victuals which he
eats, it is for the purpose of attending some state mummery, or
seeing a number of human beings standing in a row, with the weapons
of murder in their hands, but which, when called into action to
gratify the senseless ambition of the said king, is called privileged
homicide. An inspection of these human machines is called a review;
were some kings to institute a review of their own actions, it would
be better for themselves, and better for the people, to whom a blind
and stupid fortune has given him as their log.

The kings of Africa, like other kings, attach a great importance to a
great noise, called a salute, and, therefore, a hint was given to the
Landers to bring their pistols with them to the race course, that
they might salute the king as he rode by them; a salute is the same
thing, whether it be from a pop-gun or a two and thirty pounder, for
all salutes generally end in smoke, which shows their folly and
insignificance. The Landers felt a strong inclination to witness the
amusements of the day, and they arrived at the course rather sooner
than was necessary, which, however, afforded them a fairer
opportunity of observing the various groups of people, which were
flocking to the scene of amusement.

The race course was bounded on the north by low granite hills, on the
south by a forest, and on the east and west by tall shady trees;
amongst which, were habitations of the people. Under the shadow of
these magnificent trees, the spectators were assembled, and testified
their happiness by their noisy mirth and animated gestures. When the
Landers arrived, the king had not yet made his appearance on the
course, but his absence was fully compensated by the pleasure they
derived from watching the anxious and animated countenances of the
multitude, and in passing their opinions on the taste of the women in
the choice and adjustment of their fanciful and many coloured
dresses. The wives and younger children of the chief, sat near them
in a group by themselves, and were distinguished from their
companions by their superior dress. Manchester cloths of an inferior
quality, but of the most showy patterns, and dresses made of common
English bed-furniture, were fastened round the waist of several sooty
maidens, who, for the sake of fluttering a short hour in the gaze of
their countrymen, had sacrificed in clothes the earnings of a twelve
months labour. All the women had ornamented their necks with strings
of beads, and their wrists with bracelets of various patterns, some
made of glass beads, some of brass, and others of copper, and some
again of a mixture of both metals; their ankles were also adorned
with different sorts of rings, of neat workmanship.

The distant sound of drums gave notice of the king's approach, and
every eye was immediately directed to the quarter whence he was
expected. The cavalcade shortly appeared, and four horsemen first
drew up in front of the chiefs house, which was near the centre of
the course, and close to the spot where his wives and children, and
themselves were sitting. Several men bearing on their heads an
immense number of arrows in large quivers of leopard's skin, came
next, followed by two persons, who, by their extraordinary antics and
gestures, were concluded to be buffoons. These two last were employed
in throwing sticks into the air as they went on, and adroitly
catching them in falling, besides performing many whimsical and
ridiculous feats. Behind them, and immediately preceding the king, a
group of little boys nearly naked, came dancing merrily along,
flourishing cows' tails over their heads in all directions.

The king rode onwards, followed by a number of fine-looking men, on
handsome steeds, and the motley cavalcade all drew up in front of his
house, where they awaited his further orders without dismounting.
This the Landers thought was the proper time to give the first
salute, so they accordingly fired three rounds, and their example was
immediately followed by two soldiers with muskets, which were made at
least a century and a half ago, nevertheless, they yielded fire,
smoke, noise, and a stink, which are in general the component parts
of all royal salutes.

Preparations in the mean time had been going on for the race, and the
horses with their riders made their appearance. The men were dressed
in caps, and loose tobes and trousers of every colour; boots of red
morocco leather, and turbans of white and blue cotton. Their horses
were gaily caparisoned; strings of little brass bells covered their
heads; their breasts were ornamented with bright red cloth and
tassels of silk and cotton, a large guilted pad of neatly embroidered
patchwork was placed under the saddle of each; and little charms,
inclosed in red and yellow cloth were attached to the bridle with
bits of tinsel. The Arab saddle and stirrup were in common use, and
the whole group presented an imposing appearance.

The signal for starting was made, and the impatient animals sprung
forward, and set off at a full gallop. The riders brandished their
spears, the little boys flourished their cow's tail; the buffoons
performed their antics, muskets were discharged, and the chief
himself, mounted on the finest horse on the ground, watched the
progress of the race, while tears of delight were starting from his
eyes. The sun shone gloriously on the tobes of green, white, yellow,
blue, and crimson, as they fluttered in the breeze; and with the
fanciful caps, the glittering spears, the jingling of the horses'
bells, the animated looks and warlike bearing of their riders,
presented one of the most extraordinary and pleasing sights that they
had ever witnessed. The race was well contested, and terminated only
by the horses being fatigued and out of breath; but though every one
was emulous to outstrip his companion, honour and fame were the only
reward of the competitors.

The king maintained his seat on horseback during these amusements,
without even once dismounting to converse with his wives and
children, who were sitting on the ground on each side of him. His
dress was showy rather than rich, consisting of a red cap, enveloped
in the large folds of a white muslin turban; two under tobes of blue
and scarlet cloth, and an outer one of white muslin; red trousers,
and boots of scarlet and yellow leather. His horse seemed distressed
by the weight of his rider, and the various ornaments and trappings
with which his head, breast, and body were bedecked. The chief's
eldest and youngest sons were near his women and other children,
mounted on two noble-looking horses. The eldest of these youths was
about eleven years of age. The youngest being not more than three,
was held on the back of his animal by a male attendant, as he was
unable to sit upright on the saddle without this assistance. The
child's dress was ill suited to his age. He wore on his head a light
cap of Manchester cotton, but it overhung the upper part of his face,
and together with its ends, which flapped over each cheek, hid nearly
the whole of his countenance from view; his tobe and trousers were
made exactly in the same fashion as those of a man, and two large
belts of blue cotton, which crossed each other, confined the tobe to
his body. The little legs of the child were swallowed up in clumsy
yellow boots, big enough for his father, and though he was rather
pretty, his whimsical dress gave him altogether so odd an appearance,
that he might have been taken for any thing but what he really was.

A few of the women on the ground by the side of the king wore large
white dresses, which covered their persons like a winding sheet.
Young virgins, according to custom, appeared in a state of nudity;
many of them had wild flowers stuck behind their ears, and strings of
beads, &c., round their loins; but want of clothing did not seem to
damp their pleasure in the entertainment, for they entered with as
much zest as any of their companions. Of the different coloured tobes
worn by the men, none looked so well as those of a deep crimson
colour on some of the horsemen; but the clear white tobes of the
mahommedan priests, of whom not less than a hundred were present on
the occasion, were extremely neat and becoming. The sport terminated
without the slightest accident, and the king dismounting was a signal
for the people to disperse.


The travellers left Kiama on Saturday June 5th, and arrived at
Kakafungi, the halting place, shortly after ten o'clock in the
morning. The distance from Kiama was about ten miles. It was a
straggling, but extensive and populous town, and was delightfully
situated on an even piece of ground. The inhabitants were so clean
and well behaved, and their dwellings so neat and comfortable, that
before the Landers had spoken many words to one of them, they were
prepossessed in their favour. Nor was this opinion in any degree
lessened, when after they had been introduced into a commodious and
excellent hut, they received the congratulations of the principal
people. They came to them in a body, followed by boys and girls
carrying a present of two kids, with milk and an abundance of pounded
corn, and remained with them the greater part of the day.

John Lander was here taken seriously ill, and his fever was so severe
that he was obliged to lie on his mat till the carriers were ready to
depart, which took place at two p.m., their path lying through a
perfect wilderness, and presenting a greater degree of barrenness,
than any thing which they had hitherto met with. The length of the
journey, the insufferable heat of the sun, combined with the speed
with which they were obliged to travel, greatly increased the malady
of John Lander. He was occasionally obliged to dismount, and lie on
the ground for relief, being lifted off and replaced on his horse by
their attendants. The two Landers were far behind the rest of the
party, on account of the inability of John Lander to keep pace, and
they discharged a pistol every now and then as a signal to the
carriers of their approach. As each report echoed through the forest,
it was answered by the increased howlings of wild animals, till at
length, they gladly saw the gleam of a large fire, and arrived at the
encampment, which had been prepared for them. Here they took
possession for the night, of a few deserted huts, which were falling
to decay.

The rest which John Lander had obtained during the night, appeared to
have revived him, and he seemed in better spirits, with an abatement
of his fever. They accordingly proceeded on their journey, and after
bathing, crossed the Oly in a canoe, which they found tied to a tree.
During the whole of the day, they travelled under a burning sun, and
in the evening pitched their tent near a small stream. John Lander
was very ill, his fever having returned with increased violence. A
storm gathered over their heads a few minutes after the tent had been
fixed, and presently burst with increased violence. While it lasted,
they were occupied with the thoughts of their forlorn condition. The
deafening noise of the thunder, as it echoed among the hills, the
overpowering glare of the lightning, the torrents of rain, and the
violence of the wind were truly awful. The whole of their party were
collected in the tent for shelter from the storm, and in spite of the

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