Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,054 pages of information about Lander's Travels.
been placed a fetish figure, to preserve the chief from any danger or mischief, which their presence might otherwise have entailed upon him.  A portion of the spirit was poured into one of the glasses, and from it emptied into each of the others, and then drunk by the attendant that had fetched it from the house.  This is an old custom, introduced no doubt to prevent masters from being poisoned by the treachery of their slaves.  As soon as the decanters had been emptied of their contents, other ardent spirits were introduced, but as Richard Lander imagined that fetish water had been mingled with it, they simply took a tea-spoonful into their mouths, and privately ejected it on the ground.  The old chief promised to return their visit on the morrow, and lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, like a child in the attitude of prayer, he invoked the Almighty to preserve and bless them; they then saluted him in the usual manner, and returned well pleased to their own habitation.


They were now most anxious to proceed on their journey, out the chief, Adooley, evaded their solicitations to depart, under the most frivolous and absurd pretences.  He asserted that his principal reason for detaining them against their inclinations, was the apprehension he entertained for their safety, the road not being considered in a good state.  Under this impression, he despatched a messenger to Jenna, to ascertain if the affairs of that country warranted him sending them thither.  The old king of Jenna, who, it will be recollected, behaved so kindly to Captain Clapperton, was dead; his successor had been appointed, but he had not at that time arrived from Katunga.  That being the case, there would not be any one at Jenna to receive them.  Meantime, the rainy season was fast approaching, as was sufficiently announced by repeated showers and occasional tornadoes.  They were also the more anxious to leave this abominable place, as they were informed that a sacrifice of no less than three hundred human beings, of both sexes and all ages, was shortly to take place, such as has been described in the second journey of Clapperton.  They often heard the cries of many of these poor wretches, and the heart sickened with horror at the bare contemplation of such a scene as awaited them, should they remain much longer at Badagry.

Early on the morning of the 25th March, the house of the travellers was filled with visitors, and from that time to the evening they resigned themselves to a species of punishment, which cannot be characterized by any other terms than an earthly purgatory.  After cracking fingers a hundred times, and grinning as often, they were informed, that the chief’s messenger had returned from Jenna, but for some reason, which Lander could not define, the man was almost immediately sent back again, and they were told that they could not quit Badagry until he again made his appearance.  It is the custom in this place, that when a man cannot pay his respects in person to another, he sends a servant with a sword or cane, in the same manner as a gentleman delivers his card in England.  They this day received a number of compliments in this fashion, and it is almost superfluous to say that a cane or a sword was at all times a more welcome and agreeable visitor than its owner would have been.

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Lander's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.