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


I should enjoy holding what one of my justly irritated expurgators
used to call one of my little thanksgiving services - Page 7
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I Should Enjoy Holding What One Of My Justly Irritated Expurgators Used To Call One Of My Little Thanksgiving Services

Here, but I will not; for, after all, it would be impossible for me to satisfactorily thank those people who,

Since my publication of this book, have given me help and information on the subject of West Africa. Chief amongst them have been Mr. A. L. Jones, Sir. R. B. N. Walker, Mr. Irvine, and Mr. John Holt. I have not added to this book any information I have received since I wrote it, as it does not seem to me fair to do so. My only regret regarding it is that I have not dwelt sufficiently on the charm of West Africa; it is so difficult to explain such things; but I am sure there are amongst my readers people who know by experience the charm some countries exercise over men - countries very different from each other and from West Africa. The charm of West Africa is a painful one: it gives you pleasure when you are out there, but when you are back here it gives you pain by calling you. It sends up before your eyes a vision of a wall of dancing white, rainbow-gemmed surf playing on a shore of yellow sand before an audience of stately coco palms; or of a great mangrove- watered bronze river; or of a vast aisle in some forest cathedral: and you hear, nearer to you than the voices of the people round, nearer than the roar of the city traffic, the sound of the surf that is breaking on the shore down there, and the sound of the wind talking on the hard palm leaves and the thump of the natives' tom- toms; or the cry of the parrots passing over the mangrove swamps in the evening time; or the sweet, long, mellow whistle of the plantain warblers calling up the dawn; and everything that is round you grows poor and thin in the face of the vision, and you want to go back to the Coast that is calling you, saying, as the African says to the departing soul of his dying friend, "Come back, come back, this is your home."

M. H. KINGSLEY. October, 1897.

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