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er beads decorate the ankles. In Bornou, they frequently wear a piece of coral, ivory, or polished oyster-shell thrust through the nose. African teeth are universally very white and regular. They are continually rubbed with a small stick of tamarindwood, which they hold between their lips like a toothpick. Some tribes on the banks of the Gambia file their teeth to a sharp point. Mollien is, I believe, the only writer who speaks of veils worn by any except the Moorish ladies. He thus describes the sister and niece of a marabout,” who was his guide: “They had oval faces, fine features, elegant figures, and a skin as black as jet. I was charmed with the modesty of these women; whenever I looked at them they cast down their eyes, and covered their faces with their muslin veils.” The inhabitants of Madagascar are tall, well proportioned, and of a very dark olive complexion. The women wear long robes reaching to the feet, over which is a straight tunic, that covers the upper part of the person. The African women make butter by stirring the cream violently in a large calabash, or shaking it in skins, after the Arab fashion. In the forests of Bambarra is a tree called shea, from the kernel of which, when boiled in water, a species of vegetable butter is produced. The women put it down in earthen pots, and preserve it for a long time. Mungo Park says: “Besides the advantage of keeping a whole year without salt, it is whiter, firmer, and to my palate of a richer flavor, than the best butter I ever tasted made of cow's milk.” Cheese is never made in the interior of Africa. They give as a reason for it, the heat of the climate, and the great scarcity of salt. When the planting season arrives, women dig small holes.in the ground, into each of which they drop three grains of millet, and cover it with their feet. This simple process is sufficient in a country where the soil yields almost spontaneously. When the grain is nearly ripe, they erect tall platforms on poles, where the women and children are stationed by turns to frighten away the birds, by uttering loud cries. If the birds become so much accustomed to the noise as to disregard it, they bind a handful of leaves or straw around each ear of millet, to prevent their depredations. Grain, instead of being threshed, is pounded in a mortar, and the chaff blown away. Mortars are used to prepare it for cooking, except in Abyssinia, where a daily supply of corn is ground in small hand-mills. The African women separate the seeds from cotton by rolling it with a thick iron spindle; and instead of carding it, beat it violently on a close mat. In spinning, they use the distaff in preference to the wheel. Throughout the country they may be seen seated on a mat in front of their huts, engaged in this old-fashioned employment. Weaving is generally done by men. The women make nets and sails for their husbands, and cut and sew their garments WOL. I. 17
* A black Mohammedan priest.
with needles of native manufacture. They likewise dye cloth of a rich and permanent blue, with a fine purple gloss; these cloths are beautifully glazed. In the manufacture of common earthen vessels for domestic use, the women are as skilful as the men. A good deal of care is required to prepare the manioc, which forms a great article of food. This root is ground in a mill, and dried in small furnaces, before it can be used as flour. Mats, both for the table and for seats, are woven very firmly and neatly; hats and baskets are likewise very tastefully made of rushes stained with different colors; and the gourds from which they drink are often prettily ornamented with a sort of bamboo work, dyed in a similar manner.
The Kaffer women make baskets of a strong reedy grass, the workmanship of which is so clever that they will contain water. At Sackatoo, Mr. Clapperton met a troop of African girls drawing water from the gushing rocks. He says: “I asked them for drink. Bending gracefully on one knee, and displaying at the same time teeth of pearly whiteness, and eyes of the blackest lustre, they presented a gourd, and appeared highly delighted when I thanked them for their civility; remarking to one another, ‘Did you hear the white man thank me !'” . Here, as in Asia, the women generally act as porters, carrying large burdens on the head. Sometimes they may be seen sitting on mats by the roadside, selling potatoes, beans, and small bits of roasted meat, to travellers.
Men and women are both employed in digging and washing gold for the Moorish markets. Small shells, called cowries, constitute the general currency of Africa. All payments from the king's household are made in branches containing two thousand cowries each. The women pierce and string these, deducting one-fortieth part as their own perquisite. Four hundred and eighty of these shells are equivalent to a shilling. The Africans are said to manifest a most extraordinary facility in reckoning the large sums exchanged for articles of merchandise. Europeans have been much surprised at this, being themselves unable to calculate so rapidly without the use of figures. The wives of the king of Dahomey, generally to the number of three thousand, are formed into a regiment, part of which act as his body-guard, equipped with bows, arrows, drums, and sometimes muskets. They are regularly trained to the use of arms, and go through their evolutions with as much expertness as any other of his majesty's soldiers.
Captain Clapperton thus describes a visit he received from the king of Kiama: “Six young girls, without any apparel, except a fillet on the forehead, and a string of beads round the waist, carrying each three light spears, ran by the side of his horse, keeping pace with it at full gallop. Their light forms, the vivacity of their eyes, and the ease with which they seemed to fly over the ground, made them appear something more than mortal. On the king's entrance they laid down their spears, wrapped themselves in blue mantles, and attended on his majesty. On his taking leave, they discarded their attire; he mounted his horse, and away went the most extraordinary cavalcade I ever saw in my life.” In time of battle the African women encourage the troops, supply them with fresh arrows, and hurl stones at their enemies. In some tribes it, is common for them to unite with the men in hunting the lion and the leopard. Mr. Campbell attended a palaver, or council, in Southern Africa. He says, “The speeches were replete with frankness, courage, often with good sense, and even with a rude species of eloquence. The women stood behind and took an eager interest in the debate—cheering those whose sentiments they approved, or bursting into loud laughter at any thing they considered ridiculous.” If the king of Congo dies without sons, his daughter, if she be marriageble, becomes absolute mistress of the kingdom. She visits various towns and villages, where she causes the men to appear before her, that she may select a husband from among them. When her choice is made, she resigns all authority into his hands, and he becomes the king. Every great man has bands of minstrels, of both sexes, who sing his praises in extempore poetry, while they play upon drums, or guitars with three strings. : Some of these guiriots, or minstrels, travel about the country with their families, dancing and singing at every village where their services are required. The Africans are so partial to these wandering musi