Travels In The Interior Of Africa - Volume 2 of 2 - By Mungo Park

 -   Some women, however, by long practice, become so well
acquainted with the nature of the sand, and the mode of - Page 100
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Some Women, However, By Long Practice, Become So Well Acquainted With The Nature Of The Sand, And The Mode Of Washing It, That They Will Collect Gold Where Others Cannot Find A Single Particle.

The gold dust is kept in quills stopped up with cotton; and the washers are fond of displaying a number of these quills in their hair.

Generally speaking, if a person uses common diligence in a proper soil, it is supposed that as much gold may be collected by him in the course of the dry season as is equal to the value of two slaves.

Thus simple is the process by which the negroes obtain gold in Manding; and it is evident from this account that the country contains a considerable portion of this precious metal, for many of the smaller particles must necessarily escape the observation of the naked eye; and as the natives generally search the sands of streams at a considerable distance from the hills, and consequently far removed from the mines where the gold was originally produced, the labourers are sometimes but ill-paid for their trouble. Minute particles only of this heavy metal can be carried by the current to any considerable distance; the larger must remain deposited near the original source from whence they came. Were the gold-bearing streams to be traced to their fountains, and the hills from whence they spring properly examined, the sand in which the gold is there deposited would no doubt be found to contain particles of a much larger size; and even the small grains might be collected to considerable advantage by the use of quicksilver and other improvements, with which the natives are at present unacquainted.

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