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reader no longer with introductory matter, but proceed, in the next Chapter, to a regular detail of the incidents which happened, and the reflections which arose in my mind, in the course of my painful and perilous journey, from its commencement, until my return to the Gambia.
The Author sets out from Pisania—his Attendants-reaches Jindey.
Story related by a Mandingo Negro. Proceeds to Medina, the Capital of Woolli.— Interview with the King.–Saphies or Charms. -Proceeds to Kolor.- Description of Mumbo Jumbo —arrives at Koojar-wrestling Match - Crosses the Wilderness, and arrives at Tallika, in the Kingdom of Bondou.
On the 2d of December, 1795, I took my departure from the hospitable mansion of Dr. Laidley. I was fortunately provided with a Negro servant, who spoke both the English and Mandingo tongues. His name was Johnson. He was a native of this part of Africa; and having in his youth been conveyed to Jamaica as a slave, he had been made free, and taken to England by his master, where he had resided many years; and at length found his way back to his native country. As he was known to Dr. Laidley, the Doctor recommended him to me, and I hired him as my interpreter, at the rate of ten bars monthly, to be paid to himself, and five bars a month to be paid to his wife during his absence. Dr. Laidley furthermore provided me with a Negro boy of his own, named Demba; a sprightly youth, who besides Mandingo, spoke the language of the Serawoollies, an inland people (of whom mention will hereafter be made), residing on the banks of the Senegal; and to induce him to behave well, the Doctor promised him his freedom on his return, in case I should report favourably of his fidelity and services. I was furnished with a horse for myself, (a small, but very hardy and spirited beast, which cost me to the value of £7..10s. and two asses for my interpreter and servant. My baggage was light, consisting chiefly of provisions for two days; a small assortment of beads, amber, and tobacco, for the purchase of a fresh supply, as I proceeded : a few changes of linen, and other necessary apparel, an umbrella, a pocket sextant, a magnetic compass, and a thermometer; together with two fowling pieces, two pair of pistols, and some other small articles.
A freeman (a Bushreen or Mahomedan), named Madiboo, who was travelling to the kingdom of Baubarra, and two Slatees, or slave merchants of the Serawoolli nation, and of the same sect, who were going to Bondou, offered their services as far as they intended respectively to proceed ; as did likewise a Negro named Tami, (also a Mahomedan,) a native of Kasson, who had been employed some years by Dr. Laidley as a blacksmith, and was returning to his native country with the savings of his labours. All these men travelled on foot, driving their asses before them.
Thus I had no less than six attendants, all of whom had been taught to regard me with great respect; and to consider that their safe return hereafter, to the countries on the Gambia, would depend on my preservation.
Dr. Laidley himself, and Messrs. Ainsley, with a number of their domestics, kindly determined to accompany me the two first days; and, I believe, they secretly thought they should never see me afterwards.
We reached Jindey the same day, having crossed the Walli creek, a branch of the Gambia, and rested at the house of a black woman, who had formerly been the chere amie of a white trader named Hewett; and who, in consequence thereof, was called, by way of distinction, Seniora. In the evening we walked out to see an adjoining village, belonging to a Slatee named Jemaffoo Mamadoo, the richest of all the Gambia traders. We found him at home; and he thought so highly of the honour done him by this visit, that he presented us with a fine bullock, which was immediately killed, and part of it dressed for our evening's repast.
The Negroes do not go to supper till late, and in order to amuse ourselves while our beef was preparing, a Mandingo was desired to relate some diverting stories ; in listening to which, and smoking tobacco, we spent three hours. These stories bear some resemblance to those in the Arabian Nights Entertainments; but, in general, are of a more ludicrous cast. I shall here abridge one of them for the reader's amusement.
Many years ago (said the relator), the people of Doomasansa (a town on the Gambia), were much annoyed by a lion, that came every night, and took away some of their cattle. By continuing his depredations, the people were at length so much enraged, that a party of them resolved to go and hunt the monster. They accordingly proceeded in search of the common enemy, which they found concealed in a thicket; and immediately firing at him, were lucky enough to wound him in such a manner, that, in springing from the thicket towards the people, he was thrown among
grass, and was unable to rise. The animal, however, manifested such appearance of vigour, that nobody cared to approach him singly; and a consultation was held, concerning the properest means of taking him alive; a circumstance, it was said, which, while it furnished undeniable proof of their prowess, would turn out to great advantage, it being resolved to convey him to the Coast, and sell him to the Europeans. While some persons proposed one plan, and some another, an old man offered a scheme. This was, to strip the roof of a house of its thatch, and to carry the bamboo frame (the pieces of which are well secured together by thongs), and throw it over the lion. If, in approaching him, he should attempt to spring upon them, they had nothing to do but to let down the roof upon themselves, and fire at the lion through the rafters.
“ This proposition was approved and adopted. The thatch was taken from the roof of a hut, and the lion-hunters, supporting the fabric, marched courageously to the field of battle; each person carrying a gun in one hand, and bearing his share of the roof on the opposite shoulder. In this manner they approached the enemy; but the beast had by this time recovered his strength ; and such was the fierceness of his countenance, that the hunters, instead of proceeding any further, thought it prudent to provide for their own safety, by covering themselves with the roof. Unfortunately, the lion was too nimble for them ; for, making a spring while the roof was setting down, both the beast and his pursuers were caught in the same cage, and the lion devoured them at his leisure, to the great astonishment and mortification of the people of Doomasansa ; at which place it is dangerous even at this day to tell the story; for it is become the subject of laughter and derision in the neighbouring countries, and