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These numerous queens are, however, in fact, nothing but servants, and valued only as an indication of power and wealth. Beside forming a military guard for the king, they labor in the fields, bring water, and carry heavy burdens on their heads, just like the wives of the poorest subject. The pagan Africans are formally married but to one wife; but they take as many mistresses as they can maintain, and send them away when they please. The lawful wife, provided she has children, has authority over all the female members of the household, and her children enjoy privileges superior to the rest; but if she is so unfortunate as not to be a mother, she is not considered as the head of the establishment. The women belonging to one household generally live very peaceably. Each one takes her turn in cooking and other domestic avocations; and the husband is expected to be equally kind, generous, and attentive to all. A slatee, with whom Mr. Park entered Kamalia, brought with him a young girl as his fourth wife, for whom he had given her parents three slaves. His other wives received her at the door very kindly, and conducted her into one of the best huts, which they had caused to be swept and whitewashed on purpose for her reception. . Dissensions, it is said, do sometimes occur, and the husband finds it necessary to administer a little chastisement before tranquillity is restored. |Unfaithfulness to the marriage vow is said to be very rare among the Mandingoes and the Kaffers. Thioughout Africa this crime in a woman is punished by being sold into slavery; but the punishment cannot be arbitrarily and immediately inflicted by the husband, as is the case in many Asiatic countries; it is necessary to call a public palaver, or discussion, upon the subject. The price of a woman condemned for this vice is divided between the king and his grandees; it is therefore probable that they keep rather a strict watch upon the morality of their female subjects. Sometimes the paramour is likewise sentenced to be sold into slavery; sometimes he receives a severe flogging, amid the shouts and laughter of the multitude; and not unfrequently he is murdered by the abused husband. In this latter case, unless the murderer can buy a pardon from his prince, he is obliged to seek refuge in some other kingdom, where he falls at the feet of some rich person, and voluntarily acknowledges himself a slave; but he can never be sold, and is in fact regarded as one of the family. It frequently happens that the whole family of the culprit are obliged to flee their country, to avoid being sold into slavery for the

crime of their relative. The marabouts always marry among each other; , and as the children follow the profession of their fathers, there are whole villages of these priests. They obtain great influence by being able to write verses of the Koran, and administer very simple medicinal remedies. They consider it a sacred obligation to ransom all persons of their own profession from slavery. The ties of domestic affection are said to be peculiarly strong among the Shouaa Arabs, who reside in tents near the central part of Africa. When their chief learned that major Denham had been three years absent from home, he said, “Are not your eyes dimmed with straining to the north, where all your thoughts must be 2 If my eyes do not see the wife and children of my heart for ten days, they are flowing with tears when they should be closed in sleep.” His parting salutation to the traveller was, “May you die at your own tents, and in the arms of your wife and family.”

In some cases wealthy Africans do not avail themselves of the universal custom of polygamy. Barrow thus describes the Kaffer prince, Gaika: “At the time I saw him, he was under twenty years of age, of an elegant form, and a graceful and manly deportment; his face of a deep bronze color, nearly approaching to black; his skin soft and smooth; his eyes dark brown, and full of animation; his teeth regular, well set, and pure as the whitest ivory. He had the appearance of possessing in an eminent degree a solid understanding, a clear head, and an amiable disposition. He seemed to be adored by his subjects; the name of Gaika was in every mouth, and it was seldom pronounced without symptoms of joy. He had only one wife, who was very young, and, setting aside the prejudice against color, very pretty.”

The French traveller Brue says the women on the banks of the Senegal appeared to consider the condition of European wives very enviable, and expressed great compassion for him in being separated from his only wife without the power of marrying another. When Dr. Lichtenstein visited Latakoo, the women were, as usual, very curious about the Christian custom of having but one wife. The queen approved the system, but she thought polygamy was necessary in Africa, because such numbers of the men were killed in war. Infants of a few hours old are washed in cold water and laid on a mat, with no other covering than a cotton cloth thrown loosely over them. In twelve or fifteen days the mothers carry them about, suspended at their backs, by means of the pagne or mantle, which they fasten around the hips, and over one shoulder. Infants are kept in this situation nearly the whole day, while the women are busy at their various avocations. They are nursed until they are able to walk; sometimes until three years old. A few tumbles, or similar trifling accidents, are not considered worthy of much anxiety or commiseration. Till ten or twelve years old, children wear no clothing, and do nothing but run

about and sport on the sands. Those who live near the sea-shore, are continually plunging into the

water; in consequence of which scarcely any disease

appears among them, except the small-pox. A child

receives its name when it is eight days old. A sort

of paste, called dega, is prepared for the occasion,

and the priest recites prayers over it. He takes the

babe in his arms, invokes the blessing of heaven upon VOL. I. 19

it, whispers, a few words in its ear, spits three times in its face, pronounces aloud the name that is given to it, and returns it to the mother. He then divides the consecrated dega among the guests, and if any person be sick, he sends them some of it. A similar custom prevails in the Barbary states. The moment an African ceases to breathe, his wife runs out of the hut, beating her breast, tearing her hair, and summoning her neighbors by loud cries. Friends and relatives soon assemble in the hut, and join in her lamentations, continually repeating, “Woe is me!” When the marabouts have rubbed the corpse with oil and covered it with cloths, each person goes up and addresses it, as if still living. In a few minutes they go away, saying, “He is dead;” the lamentations are renewed, and continue till the next day, when the burial takes place. Major Denham speaks of hearing the Dugganah women singing funeral dirges all night long in honor of their husbands, who had fallen in battle. These dirges were prepared for the occasion, and were so solemn and plaintive, that they could not be listened to without the deepest sympathy. The body is conveyed to the grave in straw mats. Women hired for the occasion follow it with loud shrieks, and the most extravagant demonstrations of sorrow. They return howling to the hut, where they pronounce an eulogium on the deceased. If they perform their parts well, they are complimented by relations, and are treated with palm wine, or

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