Lander's Travels eBook

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

A few of the women on the ground by the side of the king wore large white dresses, which covered their persons like a winding sheet.  Young virgins, according to custom, appeared in a state of nudity; many of them had wild flowers stuck behind their ears, and strings of beads, &c., round their loins; but want of clothing did not seem to damp their pleasure in the entertainment, for they entered with as much zest as any of their companions.  Of the different coloured tobes worn by the men, none looked so well as those of a deep crimson colour on some of the horsemen; but the clear white tobes of the mahommedan priests, of whom not less than a hundred were present on the occasion, were extremely neat and becoming.  The sport terminated without the slightest accident, and the king dismounting was a signal for the people to disperse.

CHAPTER XXXV.

The travellers left Kiama on Saturday June 5th, and arrived at Kakafungi, the halting place, shortly after ten o’clock in the morning.  The distance from Kiama was about ten miles.  It was a straggling, but extensive and populous town, and was delightfully situated on an even piece of ground.  The inhabitants were so clean and well behaved, and their dwellings so neat and comfortable, that before the Landers had spoken many words to one of them, they were prepossessed in their favour.  Nor was this opinion in any degree lessened, when after they had been introduced into a commodious and excellent hut, they received the congratulations of the principal people.  They came to them in a body, followed by boys and girls carrying a present of two kids, with milk and an abundance of pounded corn, and remained with them the greater part of the day.

John Lander was here taken seriously ill, and his fever was so severe that he was obliged to lie on his mat till the carriers were ready to depart, which took place at two p.m., their path lying through a perfect wilderness, and presenting a greater degree of barrenness, than any thing which they had hitherto met with.  The length of the journey, the insufferable heat of the sun, combined with the speed with which they were obliged to travel, greatly increased the malady of John Lander.  He was occasionally obliged to dismount, and lie on the ground for relief, being lifted off and replaced on his horse by their attendants.  The two Landers were far behind the rest of the party, on account of the inability of John Lander to keep pace, and they discharged a pistol every now and then as a signal to the carriers of their approach.  As each report echoed through the forest, it was answered by the increased howlings of wild animals, till at length, they gladly saw the gleam of a large fire, and arrived at the encampment, which had been prepared for them.  Here they took possession for the night, of a few deserted huts, which were falling to decay.

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