Travels Of Richard And John Lander Travels in West Africa (Congo Francais, Corisco and Cameroons) by Mary H. Kingsley




















 -   Firstly, all
trade in West Africa follows definite routes, even in the wildest
parts of it; and so a village - Page 330
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Firstly, All Trade In West Africa Follows Definite Routes, Even In The Wildest Parts Of It; And So A Village Far Away In The Forest, But On The Trade Route, Knows That As A General Rule Twice A Year, A Trader Will Appear To Purchase Its Rubber And Ivory.

If he does not appear somewhere about the expected time, that village gets uneasy.

The ladies are impatient for their new clothes; the gentlemen half wild for want of tobacco; and things coming to a crisis, they make inquiries for the trader down the road, one village to another, and then, if it is found that a village has killed the trader, and stolen all his goods, there is naturally a big palaver, and things are made extremely hot, even for equatorial Africa, for that village by the tobaccoless husbands of the clothesless wives. Herein lies the trader's chief safety, the village not being an atom afraid, or disinclined to kill him, but afraid of their neighbouring villages, and disinclined to be killed by them. But the trader is not yet safe. There is still a hole in his armour, and this is only to be stopped up in one way, namely, by wives; for you see although the village cannot safely kill him, and take all his goods, they can still let him die safely of a disease, and take part of them, passing on sufficient stuff to the other villages to keep them quiet. Now the most prevalent disease in the African bush comes out of the cooking pot, and so to make what goes into the cooking pot - which is the important point, for earthen pots do not in themselves breed poison - safe and wholesome, you have got to have some one who is devoted to your health to attend to the cooking affairs, and who can do this like a wife?

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