Lander's Travels eBook

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

The king himself went in quest of a dwelling house, and conducted them to one of the best which the island afforded; it was, however, miserably bad, for as the town was built on a marsh, every hut in it had the disadvantage, during the whole of the rainy season, of soft damp floors, and uncomfortable roofs.  Their own hut had positively pools of water springing up out of the ground.  The walls of the hut were built of mud from the river, strengthened and supported by wooden pillars, and ribs of the same materials; however, these do not prevent them from cracking in a hundred different places, and large chinks, admitting wind and rain, may be observed in the walls of every hut.  They have all a very dirty and wretched appearance, although their inmates, generally speaking, were understood to be clean, opulent, and respectable.  Having conducted them to the hut, the chief of the island shook hands with them very heartily, and assured them they should want for nothing.  He soon provided them with doors of bamboo for their hut, and a number of mats to spread on the floor, which made it tolerably comfortable.  In the evening, four large calabashes of stewed rice with fowls, and no less than ten gallons of petto or country beer were sent them.

About seven in the evening, messengers arrived from Rabba, to inform them that they should come early in the morning for the presents intended for their chief.  They said that the king would not put them to the trouble of going to see him, as the town was full of Arabs, whose begging propensities would be very inconvenient to them.  The Landers were much pleased with this intelligence, knowing very well the character of the Arabs, and they sent back word, that they would be still more obliged to him, if he would dispense with their going to the sansan, or camp, at a short distance from the town, to visit the king of Nouffie.

Rabba stands in an opposite direction to Zagozhi, and appears at the distance of about two miles, to be an immensely large, populous, and flourishing town.  It is built on the slope of a gentle hill, and on a spot almost entirely bare of trees; the Niger here flowed in a direction to the south of east.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

According to their announcement on the preceding day, the messengers from the chiefs arrived, bringing with them two fine sheep and a great quantity of rice, and it appeared that they would be required to give presents to nine people, before they should be able to get away from the place.

Having prepared the presents, the messengers were collected, and Richard Lander laid before each of them those that were intended for their masters, and in order to make them some reward, and secure their good will, he gave something to each of them, and dismissed them.

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