Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 909 pages of information about Lander's Travels.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Fatigued with the journey of the preceding day, the travellers lay on their mats rather later than usual, and before they had risen, the king’s messengers and others entered their hut to give them the salutations of the morning.  Richard Lander returned Yarro’s compliment, by calling to see him at his own house, while his brother remained at home to take care of the goods.  The natives of the country having a very indifferent reputation for honesty, compelled them to keep a watchful eye over all their actions.  A number of mallams from Houssa paid them a visit about the middle of the day, but a body of more ignorant Mahommedans, it was supposed, could no where be found, for not one of them, even to their chief, who had a youthful appearance, understood a word of Arabic.

Just before sunset, John Lander selected a present, consisting of the following articles for the king:  viz. six yards of red cloth, a quantity of printed cottons, a pair of silver bracelets, a looking-glass, two pair of scissors, a knife, two combs, and a tobacco pipe.  The goods having been properly secured, they repaired with this present to the king, who received it with much apparent satisfaction.

Yarro professed the mahommedan faith, yet it was easy to perceive the very slender acquaintance he had obtained of the precepts of the Koran, by the confidence which he placed in the religion of his fathers, in placing fetishes to guard the entrance of his houses, and adorn their half-naked walls.  In one of these huts, they observed a stool of very curious workmanship.  The form of it was nearly square; the two principal figures were each supported by four little wooden figures of men, and another of large dimensions, seated on a clumsy representation of a hippopotamus, was placed between them.  These images were subsequently presented to the Landers by Yarro; and they learnt that the natives, before undertaking any water excursion, applied for protection to the hippopotami, and other dangerous objects of the river, to the principal figure, which was mounted on one of those creatures.  This important personage was attended by his musicians, and guarded by soldiers, some armed with muskets, and others with bows and arrows, who formed the legs of the stool.

In the inner apartment they discovered Yarro sitting alone, on buffalo hides, and they were desired to place themselves near him.  The walls of this apartment were adorned with very good prints of George IV., the Duke of York, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington on horseback, together with an officer of the light dragoons, in company with a smartly dressed and happy looking English lady.  Opposite to them were hung horse accoutrements, and on each side were dirty scraps of paper, containing select sentences from the Koran.  On the floor lay muskets, several handsomely ornamented lances, and other weapons, all confusedly heaped together, by the side of a large granite stone used for pounding pepper.  These were the most striking objects they observed in the king’s hut, adjoining which were others, through whose diminutive doors, the wives of Yarro were straining their eyes to catch a glimpse of the white men.

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Lander's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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