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and the same evening the bride is conveyed to the bridegroom's hut, by a troop of relations and friends. On these occasions she always wears a white veil of her own weaving. The rejoicings continue for eight days, during which the guests are abundantly supplied with palm wine and other liquors. Among the Sereres, when a lover has formally obtained the consent of relations, he summons his friends to assist him in carrying off the object of his choice. The bride shuts herself up in a hut with her companions, where they maintain an obstinate siege before they surrender to the assailants. In Bambuk, the bride is escorted to the hut of her future husband. When she arrives at the door, she takes off her sandals, and a calabash of water is placed in her hand. She knocks, and the door is opened by the relations of the bridegroom, who remains seated in the midst of the hut. The bride kneels before him, pours the water over his feet, and wipes them with her mantle, in token of submission. Mr. Park speaks of seeing a betrothed girl at Bamiseribe, who knelt before her lover, and presenting a calabash of water, desired him to wash his hands; when he had done so, she drank the water, apparently with delight; this being considered a great proof of fidelity and love. In Madagascar, wives salute their husbands just returned from war, by passing the tongue over his feet, in the most respectful manIsles. Among the Mandingoes, when the lover has settled the bargain with the girl's parents, she is covered with the bridal veil of white cotton, and seated on a mat, with all the elderly women of the neighborhood ranged in a circle round her. They give her sage instructions concerning the performance of her duties and the propriety of her deportment as a matron. A band of female guiriots come in and disturb their . serious lessons with music, singing, and dancing. The bridegroom in the mean time entertains his friends without doors. A plentiful supper is provided, and the evening is devoted to mirth. Before midnight the bride is privately conducted by her female relatives to the hut which is to be her future residence. The bridal party generally continue dancing and singing until broad daylight. At the island of St. Louis, the native women often contract a sort of limited marriage with Europeans, and their vows are said to be generally observed with exemplary fidelity. They take the Portuguese title of Signora, and the children receive the name of their father. The bridal ceremonies are similar to the Wolofs. When the European husband leaves the country, he provides for his family according to his wealth, and the generosity of his character; and his wife is at liberty to marry again when she pleases. In Congo, marriage is sometimes consecrated with Catholic ceremonies, by the converts to Christianity; but the . pagan natives preserve the simplicity of their ancient forms. When a young man has selected a damsel that pleases him, he sends presents to her relatives, accompanied by a cup of palm wine. If the presents are accepted, and the wine drank, it is
considered a sign of approbation. He visits the pa. rents, and having received his bride from their hands, conducts her to his own house. Here she remains, till he is satisfied with regard to her temper, industry, and general propriety of deportment. Sometimes this season of probation lasts one year, and sometimes two or three. If either party becomes dissatisfied with the other, they separate, without any loss of reputation ; but if mutually pleased, they signify it publicly to friends and relations, and the event is celebrated by a feast. The Portuguese missionaries made a strong effort to abolish this custom; but the people were much attached to it; and mothers universally declared they would not subject themselves to the reproaches of their daughters, by urging them to an indissoluble union with individuals, whose tempers and dispositions they had never seen tried. In Abyssinia there is no form of marriage, except what consists in a mutual consent to live together as long as they please each other. This connection is dissolved and renewed as often as the parties think proper. From the highest to the lowest rank, no distinction is made between legitimate and illegitimate children. The women, though Mohammedans, appear freely in public; and the master of a family considers it a point of civility to offer his wife or sister to a guest. The celebrated queen of Sheba is supposed to have been an Abyssinian; and the monarchs now claim descent from Menilek, who they say was her son by Solomon, king of the Jews. In Caffraria, the bridal ceremonies are so simple as scarcely to deserve the name. When young people wish to live together, opposition from parents is almost an unheard-of circumstance. A feast is prepared to give publicity to the event, and they eat, drink, and dance, for days or weeks in succession, according to the wealth of the parties. If a Caffer girl marries during the lifetime of her father, she receives for dowry as many cattle as he can afford to give; but after his death, she is dependent on the generosity of her brothers. As a wife costs an ox, or two cows, it is rare for any but wealthy Caffers to have more than one. Twins are said to be more common than in any other country, and three children at a birth is a frequent occurrence. An African dowry is sometimes furnished in a manner painful to think upon. When the sultan of Mandara married his daughter to an Arab sheik, “the nuptials were celebrated by a great slave hunt among the mountains, when, after a dreadful struggle, three thousand captives, by their tears and bondage, furnished out the materials of a magnificent marriage festival.” In Dahomey, all the unmarried females, throughout the kingdom, are considered the property of the despotic sovereign. Once a year they are all brought before him; he selects the most engaging for himself, and sells the others at high prices to his subjects. No choice is allowed the purchaser. He pays twenty thousand cowries, and receives such a wife as the king pleases to appoint; being obliged to appear satisfied with the selection, whatever may be her aspect or condition. It is said that some have, in mockery, been presented with their own mothers. This brutal and bloody sovereign usually keeps as many as three thousand wives, who serve him in various capacities. No person is allowed to sit even on the floor in the royal presence, except his women; and they must kiss the ground whenever they receive or deliver a message from the king. These women are watched with the most savage jealousy. Mr. M'Leod, who visited Dahomey in 1803, had his compassion much excited by the sudden disappearance of Sally Abson, daughter of the late English governor by a native female. This girl, who had been educated in the European manner, was accomplished, and had a most winning simplicity of manner. Mr. M'Leod could obtain no tidings of her for a long time. But at last an old domestic ventured to tell him that she had been carried off by an armed band, in the night-time, to be enrolled among the king's women. The king of Ashantee has three thousand three hundred and thirty-three wives; a mystical number, on which the prosperity of the nation is supposed to depend. The king of Yarriba boasted to captain Clapperton, that his wives linked hand in hand would reach entirely across his kingdom. The first question asked by the chiefs was, how many wives the king of England had ; and when told that he had but one, they would burst into loud peals of laughter, accompanied by expressions of surprise and pity.