A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.

The women of this country are very pleasant and merry, especially the young ones, and delight in singing and dancing, taking this diversion only at night by moonlight; and their manner of dancing is very different from that of the Italians.  Many things in our ships seemed wonderful to the Negroes, particularly our cross-bows; but much more our artillery.  When some of them were on board my ship, I caused one of the guns to be fired off, which threw them into a dreadful panic; and their terror was much increased on being told that one cannon-shot could kill an hundred men.  On which account, they alleged that it must be something belonging to the devil.  They were likewise greatly astonished at a bag-pipe, which, one of our sailors played upon to divert them; and, on examining the several parts and ornaments of the instrument, they conceived that it was a living animal, which sung in different voices.  Observing their simplicity, I told them it was a musical instrument, and put it into their hand unblown to examine.  They then perceived that it was a work of art, but believed that it was something supernatural, and could only have been devised by a superior being, it sounded so sweetly, and in so many different tones, having never heard any thing which could be compared to it in their estimation.  The ship, also, and its various contrivances, as its anchors, masts, sails, and shrouds, afforded them great subjects for admiration and wonder.  They looked upon the port-holes in the stern as real eyes, by which the vessel was able to find her way in the sea; and observed, that travellers on land found difficulty to find the road from one place to another, while we were able to travel along the trackless ocean; and that the whites must therefore be the greatest of sorcerers, not inferior to the devil himself.  They shewed great admiration on seeing a lighted candle in a candlestick, having themselves no other artificial light but that proceeding from a fire.  They have honey-combs, but when they find these, they suck out the honey, and throw away the empty comb as useless.  At one time, I bought some honey-combs from a negro, and shewed him how to extract the honey; after which, on asking him if he knew what remained, he said it was good for nothing:  But he was greatly astonished on seeing it made into candles, and lighted in his presence; saying, that the Europeans knew every thing.  Their only musical instruments are two, one of which they have from the Moors, which is like a large drum[5]; the other is somewhat like a fiddle, having only two strings, which they play on with their fingers, but gives no sounds that can be called harmonious.

[1] This is almost certainly palm oil, the origin of which will appear in
    another division of this work.—­E.

[2] The text must be here erroneous, as two paces, or ten feet, will
    scarcely suffice in describing the boa constrictor, sometimes near
    thirty feet long.—­E.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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