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cians, that they often make them quite rich by their liberality. The female singers are covered with various colored, beads, and not unfrequently with ornaments of the precious metals. But though the guiriots are always welcome at weddings and festivals, though their songs kindle the soldier's courage as he goes to battle, and enliven the dreariness of journeys through the desert, yet they are regarded with even more contempt than falls upon similar classes in other parts of the world. Not even a slave would consent to marry into a family that had followed this profession; and when they die, their bodies are placed in hollow trees, from the idea that crops of millet would certainly fail if they were buried in the earth. The guiriots dance in the same immodest style that characterizes the Asiatic performers. Their dances are always accompanied by drums and other musical instruments. Among the Wolofs none but public singers play on any instrument, it being considered disrespectable for others to practise this amusement. The African women are so passionately fond of dancing, that wherever the itinerant minstrels appear, they flock around them, and encourage them by songs, while they beat time by clapping their hands. Indeed with this mirth-loving race every thing furnishes occasion for festivity and frolic. Their marriages and funerals conclude with dances; all their festivals are commemorated with songs and dances; every moonlight night the men and women meet in great numbers to enjoy this favorite exercise; and if the moon be wanting, they dance by the light of large fires. The young girls often unite together to buy palm wine, and after an entertainment at the hut of one of their companions, they go together through the village, singing in chorus a variety of charming airs, marking time by clapping their hands; these strains, though simple, and often repeated, are by no means monotonous. The Fulah songs are said to have a melancholy sweetness which is exceedingly captivating; and some of the Wolof airs are gracefully pathetic, while the measures in which they are composed indicates skill in music somewhat remarkable in a people so little civilized. On the banks of rivers and on the sea-coast, the inhabitants of villages one or two miles distant may be heard singing the same song, and alternately answering each other. Drums are their most common musical instruments; beside which they have a guitar of three strings, made of half a calabash covered with leather; a species of castanets, made of small gourd shells, filled with pebbles, or Guinea peas, which the dancers shake in a lively manner; and an instrument resembling a spinnet, called the balafo, in which the notes are struck by small sticks, terminated by knobs covered with leather. These instruments are generally of rude construction, and produce dull, heavy tones; but the voices of the people are peculiarly soft and melodious, and they are said to keep time with great exactness. Music is never mute in Africa. Whether the inhabitants are weaving at their doors, laboring in the fields, rowing their boats, or wandering in the desert, songs may be heard resounding through the air. Even the poor slaves dragged to distant markets, suffering with hunger, and thirst, and cruel laceration, will begin to sing as soon as they have a few moments rest; particularly if the assurance is given them that after they pass a certain boundary, they shall be free and dressed in red. Thus does the God of love console his guileless children even under circumstances of the greatest external misery ! and man, in the wantonness of his pride, makes this blessed influence of Divine Providence an excuse for continued cruelty The Africans at their convivial meetings are extremely fond of listening to stories of wild and ludicrous adventures, and the wonderful effects of magic and enchantments. They have likewise a species of pantomime or puppet-shows. The women are extravagantly fond of a game called ouri, which they learned from the Arabs. A box with twelve square holes contains a quantity of round seeds, generally from the baobab tree. Each player has twenty-one seeds to dispose of; they play alternately, and draw lots who shall begin. The combinations are said to be more numerous and complicated than those of chess; yet girls of ten or twelve years old may often be seen sitting under the shade of a tree intently studying this difficult game. Some of the African tribes have become Mohammedans in consequence of their connection with the Moors; but in general they are pagans. The belief in one Supreme Being and a future state of rewards and punishments is, however, universal, and without exception; they likewise believe that the Almighty has intrusted the government of the world to subordinate spirits, with whom they suppose certain magical ceremonies have great influence. When questioned upon these subjects, they always endeavor to wave the conversation, by answering reverently that such matters are far above the understanding of man. At the return of the new moon, (which they suppose to be each time newly created,) every individual offers a short whispered prayer of thanksgiving; but they pray at no other time ; saying it is presumptuous for mortals to ask the Deity to change decrees of unerring wisdom. When asked why they observe a festival at the new moon, they simply answer that their fathers did so before them. Phillis Wheatly, a black female child brought from the interior of Africa, and sold as a slave in Boston, New England, afterward gained great celebrity by her poetical writings, which, considering the period in which she lived, and the limited advantages of her own education, are certainly very remarkable. This intelligent woman could remember very little about the customs of her native land, excepting that her mother always poured out water before the rising sun. Hornemann says it was the custom in Bornou annually to throw a richly decorated maiden into the Niger, according to the ancient custom in Egypt. The Africans, like all uneducated people, are extremely superstitious. They never go to battle, or commence a journey, without being loaded with certain protecting charms, of which the most valuable are written sentences sewed up in little bags. The marabouts or priests sell an immense number of verses from the Koran, for this purpose. When major Denham was in Houssa, the women, having seen him write, came to him in crowds to obtain amulets to restore their beauty, preserve the affections of their lovers, and sometimes to destroy a rival. When the Portuguese first attempted to establish their empire in Congo, they found women of rank, who went about with dishevelled hair, beating drums, and pretending to perform magical cures; and the women of Loggum, who are said to be very intelligent, are still quite celebrated for their skill in witchcraft.
The Africans are generally prejudiced against undertaking any thing on Friday; if they are pursuing a journey, they will halt under a tree and wait till that day is over. There are likewise certain animals and objects, which if met unexpectedly are considered bad omens. An annual festival, called the tampcara, is distinguished by a strange superstitious custom.
At this period a personage appears on the banks of the Gambia, to whom they give the name of Tamp
cara. The natives believe him to be a demon, and bestow without resistance whatever he pleases to demand. He appears only in the night, but his door is at all hours open to the women. Husbands dare not betray the slightest symptoms of jealousy, for fear of incurring the awful displeasure of Tampcara.