It Was Highly Exciting,
And I Tried To Find Out About Them.
It seemed, even in this centre
of enterprise, unlikely that they had been brought just "for dandy"
from the Australasian region, and I had never yet come across them
in my wanderings save on Fernando Po.
Unfortunately, my friends
thought I wanted them to keep, and shouted for men to bring things
and dig them up; so I had a brisk little engagement with the men,
driving them from their prey with the point of my umbrella,
ejaculating Kor Kor, like an agitated crow. When at last they
understood that my interest in the ferns was scientific, not
piratical, they called the men off and explained that the ferns had
been found among the bush, when it was being cleared for the
Ultimately, with many bows and most sincere thanks from me, we
parted, providentially beyond the geese, and I returned down the
road to Njole, where I find Mr. Cockshut waiting outside his
factory. He insists on taking me to the Post to see the
Administrator, and from there he says I can go on to the Eclaireur
from the Post beach, as she will be up there from Dumas'. Off we go
up the road which skirts the river bank, a dwarf clay cliff,
overgrown with vegetation, save where it is cleared for beaches.
The road is short, but exceedingly pretty; on the other side from
the river is a steep bank on which is growing a plantation of cacao.
Lying out in the centre of the river you see Njole Island, a low,
sandy one, timbered not only with bush, but with orange and other
fruit trees; for formerly the Post and factories used to be situated
on the island - now only their trees remain for various reasons, one
being that in the wet season it is a good deal under water.
Everything is now situated on the mainland north bank, in a
straggling but picturesque line; first comes Woermann's factory,
then Hatton and Cookson's, and John Holt's, close together with a
beach in common in a sweetly amicable style for factories, who as a
rule firmly stockade themselves off from their next door neighbours.
Then Dumas' beach, a little native village, the cacao patch and the
Post at the up river end of things European, an end of things
European, I am told, for a matter of 500 miles.
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