Imatges de pÓgina
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ascend, animated by the deceitful or inflated reports of Buckar Sano concerning the city of gold. At the distance of a few days' journey he heard of Tombaconda, which he conjectured to be Timbuctoo. The conclusion was most erroneous, that city being distant nearly a thousand miles; but Europeans had formed as yet no adequate idea of the dimensions of Africa. At length the stream became so shallow that Jobson found it in vain to attempt ascending higher. He began his voyage downward on the 10th February, proposing to make a fresh attempt during the season when the periodical rains should have filled the channel. This purpose was never executed. Both he and the Company became involved in quarrels with the merchants, against whom he bitterly inveighs, as persons who entirely disregarded every object beyond their own immediate profit.

Jobson earlier, perhaps, than any other Englishman, had an opportunity of observing the manners and superstitions which are peculiar to native Africa. He found each prince or chief attended by bands of musical bards, whom he dignifies with the title of "juddies or fiddlers," and compares them to the Irish rhymesters. These are called, as we learn from other authors, Jelle, or Jillemen, and perform on several instruments rudely formed of wood, making a very loud noise. These minstrels, with the Greegree men, or musicians, most fantastically attired, often form singular groups, as exhibited in the accompanying plate. The two chief festivals were those of circumcision and of funeral. The former, performed in a very rough manner, attracted the whole country; the forest blazed with fires, while loud music, shouts, and dancing, resounded through

out the night. At the funeral of chiefs there was much crying and lamentation, conducted in a somewhat mechanical manner, which reminded him of the Irish howl. Flowers of the sweetest scent were buried along with the deceased, and much gold was deposited for his service in the other world; but there is no mention of those human sacrifices which form so foul a blot on some of the most civilized African nations. At all festivals a conspicuous place was acted by a personage called Horey, which name our author interprets "the Devil." This being took his station in the adjoining woods, whence he sent forth tremendous sounds, supposed to be of sinister portent to all within hearing. The only remedy was to deposite, as near to the spot as any one would venture, a large supply of "belly-timber," the speedy disappearance of which authenticated to the villagers both the existence of this supernatural being, and the fact of his having been appeased. To Jobson, on the contrary, this very circumstance, combined with the severe hoarseness with which sundry of the natives were afflicted, afforded a clue to the origin of this extraordinary roaring. Of this he had soon ocular demonstration. Happening, in company with a marabout, to hear the Horey in full cry from a neighbouring thicket, he seized a loaded musket, declaring aloud his resolution forthwith to discharge the contents at his infernal majesty. The marabout implored him to stop; the tremendous sound was changed into a low and fearful tone; and Jobson, on running to the spot, found this mighty demon in the shape of a huge negro, extended on the ground in such agonies of fear that he was unable even to ask for mercy.

The Company, amid the divisions already alluded to, do not appear to have prosecuted farther their designs of discovery. The next attempt was made, about 1660 or 1665, by Vermuyden, a rich merchant on the Gambia, who fitted out a boat well stored with beef, bacon, biscuit, rice, strong waters, and other comfortable supplies; which, however, when he arrived at the flats and shallows, were found materially to impede the movement of the vessel. He came first to a wide expanse, which he compares to Windermere Lake, where the only difficulty was to find the main branch amid several that opened from different quarters.

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Up the buffing stream," says he, "with sad labour we wrought;" and, when they ascended higher, it became necessary often to drag the boat over the flats; for which purpose they were frequently obliged to strip naked and walk through the water. They were rather rudely received by the only tenants of these upper tracts, the crocodiles and river-horses, "ill pleased or unacquainted with any companions in these watery regions." One of the latter struck a hole in the boat with his teeth, an accident which proved very inconvenient, from the absence of any one skilled in carpentry; but, by hanging a lantern at the stern, they induced these monsters, which are afraid of light shining in the dark, to maintain a respectful distance. On landing to search for gold, they were assailed by an incredible number of huge baboons, on which it is complained that no oratory except guns could produce any impression; and even after two or three of them had been killed, they attacked with increased and alarming fury, till successive discharges at length compelled them to retreat.

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