And In Addition It Must Be Remembered
That The Natives With Whom These Trading Vessels Dealt, First For
Slaves, Afterwards For Palm-Oil, Were Not, And Are Not Now, Members
Of The Lo Family Of Savages.
Far from it:
They do not go in for
"gentle smiles," but for murdering any unprotected boat's crew they
happen to come across, not only for a love of sport but to keep
white traders from penetrating to the trade-producing interior, and
spoiling prices. And the region is practically foodless.
The rivers of the great mangrove-swamp from the Sombreiro to the Rio
del Rey are now known pretty surely not to be branches of the Niger,
but the upper regions of this part of the Bight are much neglected
by English explorers. I believe the great swamp region of the Bight
of Biafra is the greatest in the world, and that in its immensity
and gloom it has a grandeur equal to that of the Himalayas.
Take any man, educated or not, and place him on Bonny or Forcados
River in the wet season on a Sunday - Bonny for choice. Forcados is
good. You'll keep Forcados scenery "indelibly limned on the tablets
of your mind when a yesterday has faded from its page," after you
have spent even a week waiting for the Lagos branch-boat on its inky
waters. But Bonny! Well, come inside the bar and anchor off the
factories: seaward there is the foam of the bar gleaming and wicked
white against a leaden sky and what there is left of Breaker Island.
In every other direction you will see the apparently endless walls
of mangrove, unvarying in colour, unvarying in form, unvarying in
height, save from perspective.
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