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“In all my wanderings and wretchedness,” says this enlightened traveller, “I found women uniformly kind and compassionate; and I can truly say, as my predecessor, Mr. Ledyard, has said before me: “To a woman I never addressed myself in the language of decency and friendship without receiving a decent and friendly answer. If I was hungry or thirsty, wet, or sick, they did not hesitate, like the men, to perform a generous action. In so free and so kind a manner did they contribute to my relief, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest draught, and if hungry, I ate the coarsest morsel, with a double relish.’”
An Arab widow at Houssa became very much enamored with captain Clapperton, and he found some difficulty in ridding himself of her suit. According to Moorish custom, her eyebrows were dyed black, her hair blue, her hands and feet red, and her huge person was loaded with necklaces, girdles, and bracelets. In order still farther to tempt the European, she displayed to him an additional store of finery, and carried him through several rooms, one of which was ornamented with pewter dishes and bright brass pans. After these preliminaries, she proposed to send forthwith for a priest to unite their destinies. The captain stammered out the best apology he could, and hurried away. She followed him to a neighboring village, sitting astride on a very fine horse, with scarlet housings trimmed with lace. She wore a red silk mantle and morocco boots, and a multitude of spells sewed in various colored leather were hung around her. Her drummer was decorated in ostrich feathers, and a train of armed attendants followed her. It was rumored that she intended to make herself queen, and invite captain Clapperton to share the throne of Wawa. Her wealth and the influence she might enable him to obtain, for a moment tempted him; and as the widow had induced his servant Pascoe to take a wife from among her slaves, she had, according to African ideas, acquired some right to himself; but he soon directed Pascoe to return his wife, and thus destroy her remaining hopes. “It would indeed have been a fine end of my journey,” says he, “if I had deposed old Mohammed, and set up for myself, with this walking tun butt for a queen.” One of Bonaparte's officers, named Duranton, expatriated himself at the time France was conquered by foreign arms, and entered into commercial relations in Africa. He finally went as far into the interior as Kasso, where he adopted the language and habits of the natives. By his bravery and knowledge he soon gained unbounded influence. The king had an only daughter, about sixteen, whom her countrymen esteemed beautiful. Duranton, notwithstanding the prejudice against his complexion, was pleasing to the young damsel. He married her, and was soon after elected king of Kasso. He has extended the commerce of the tribe, but attempted no innovation upon their ancient customs. He eats, dresses, and sits after the manner of the natives, and observes precisely the same sort of etiquette that was maintained by his father-in-law.
On the coasts of Africa, where the natives have frequent intercourse with European sailors, they are exceedingly licentious and depraved. According to Bruce's description, the Abyssinian women are grossly familiar in their manners; at a village on the banks of the Gambia, the women were likewise guilty of very rude freedoms. They troubled Mr. Park exceedingly, begging for amber, beads, &c., and boldly proceeding to tear his clothes, in order to secure the buttons. He mounted his horse and rode off; but they followed him for more than a mile, trying to renew their outrages. The women of Loggum are described by major Denham as intelligent, handsome, and lively; but their freedoms were not of the most delicate character, and they tried to pilfer every thing they could lay hands on. When detected they laughed, and called out to each other how sharp the traveller was in finding out their tricks. Captain Clapperton makes great complaints of the loquacity of the women. He says they convinced him that no power, not even African despotism, can silence a woman's tongue. According to his own testimony, however, their love of talk originated in mere childish curiosity, and was indulged with the kindest intentions. In Walo, the crown is hereditary, but always descends to the eldest son of the king's sister; and among several other tribes a man's property is always inherited by the offspring of his sister, according to the custom of the Nairs of Hindostan. This circumstance does not indicate any great cdnfidence In the character of women. It has been said that the Africans are generally indolent; and when compared with the busy, restless sons of ambition and avarice, this is no doubt true. The soil is prolific and easy of cultivation; their wants are very few and simple; and they have not the slightest desire for the accumulation of wealth. During the few months which it is necessary to devote to agricultural pursuits, they are so busy that they scarcely allow themselves time for sleep; and the rest of the year they give up to childlike merriment. The African race, as distinguished from the Arabs or Moors, are faithful, affectionate, sensitive in their feelings, and liable to almost instantaneous changes from gloom to gayety, according to the circumstances in which they are placed. When in the greatest misery, a kind look or word will animate them, as it does the heart of a little child; but when their cup of suffering is full, the “drop too much” which tyranny seeks to add to the bitter measure, often arouses them to fierce and desperate fury. In a state of freedom they are almost universally gentle, inquisitive, credulous, and fond of flattery. $ Barrow speaks thus of the Kaffers: “A party of women were the first who advanced to salute us, laughing and dancing round the wagons, and putting on all the coaxing manners they could invent, in order to procure from us tobacco and brass buttons. Good temper, animation, and a cheerful turn of mind,
beamed in all their countenances. We found them