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her husband had brought all this misfortune upon himself by his unjust and obstinate proceedings; and (said he) I have only followed his directions; I am come myself as he bid me, and have fetched away all my women; and I perceive, some of my own cattle, with a sufficient quantity of his, to pay me and my friends for our trouble. As for yourself, I will restore you to your liberty; go back to Rer Ambarroch and acquaint him, that if he be inclined to have his daughter and cattle again, he must come and fetch them. You see she is fallen into my white man's hands, and for my part, I will never take her from him. And, said I, I will lose all the blood in this white man's body, before he shall have her again.
After she had refreshed herself with some meat, which deaan Mevarrow presented her with, she came to me in order to take her last farewell of her daughter. They both wept heartily, not expecting ever to see each other more ; I pitied them, I confess, and would have dismissed the young one, had I not really been in love with her. To confess ingenuously, I never saw any woman before that time I liked so well; though I had been so many years in the island. I comforted the mother, however, as well as I could ; and desired her, not to be too much concerned for the loss of her daughter, since she should live as well as I did; nay, I assured her, that I would take more care of her than of myself; and though I was not of a sable hue, I had a heart as fond and indulgent as any black whatever ; and therefore, though she fell to my lot by the chance of war, yet it was my design to make her my wife, if she approved of it; if not, it was possible, I said, she might lead a less confortable life. Her mother asked her, what she thought of the motion? She answered, she was at my disposal, and not at her own; and desired her duty might be presented to her father. And present mine too, said Í, if you please, mother. So after some farther discourse for a short time, they parted. She took her leave of deaan Mevarrow, returning him many thanks for his courteous treatment,
and went away by herself; though she had not, I presume, far to go alone ; for her friends were, doubtless, as near as they durst come in the woods, to observe our motions. And though we never saw them more, yet we kept a strict guard all that day, and the following night. I was very fond and careful of my pretty prisoner, lying a rope about her middle, with the ends about myself, and laid her close to me, folding her fast within my arms; she only smiled and rallied me for it, but I was so fearful lest she should get away, that I could not sleep. We marched apace the next day, and when we halted, Rer Mimebolambo and deaan Mevarrow divided the cattle, each had two hundred and eleven; and then they parted, each taking the nearest way home.
Before we entered the town, we made another halt, in order to divide the cattle among ourselves ; the deaan had thirty, his brother ten, and each of the other principals one. He that had two slaves retained one of them, and delivered the other to his lord, and had a cow and calf in lieu of it. If two men got a slave between them, they had each of them a cow for it; even he who had taken no slave was to have a cow, provided the number would admit of it; if not, one was divided between two; and this is a general and an established law, with respect to the division of an enemy's spoils.
Deaan "Mevarrow told me I had but one slave, whereupon I alleged he had taken one away, and might have kept her, if he thought proper; but I perceived he was only in jest, for he gave me a cow and a calf as an equivalent for her; and generously enough offered me another cow and calf for my honey, but I modestly declined that favour; so he chose them for me himself out of the fattest of the herd. By this means I became rich at once, having two cows and two calves, and a handsome jorzerampeller ; that is to say, a handsome girl.
No sooner were we come to the town, than the shells were blown, and all the women ran out to see what
was the cause of it, not expecting our return in so short a time; but when they knew who we were, they ran back to their houses till we had made our triumphal entry, and deaan Mevarrow was seated; then his wife came out, and as it is the custom there, licked his feet, and after her, the rest of the women paid him the same homage ; and after that, each of them testified her duty to her own husband in the same submissive manner. I thought, indeed, I had now a wife, and as fine a one as the best of them all; and that the next time we returned from such an expedition with the like success, I should have homage done me too. My mistress sent and desired to see my young spouse; I went along with her accordingly, and she would make her sit down on the same mat with herself, and could not refrain from tears, it having been her own case; whereupon she charged me to use her tenderly. I did not intend, I told her, to make a slave of her, but a walley, that is, a wife.
As I had a stock of honey in a neighbour's hands, as also some carravances, and a sufficient quantity of milk, I made a very tolerable repast for my bride and myself; and mimicked matrimony so far as to take her by the hand, and assure her that I was willing to make ber a constant and tender husband; and asked her, if she was equally willing to be a faithful and loving wife? to which she cheerfully consented. So we lay down together, and though we had no bride-men or bride-maids, or throwing of stockings, yet we were as happy as our circumstances.would well admit of.
Some of my readers, perhaps, may wonder how I could be so passionately in love with a black woman; but as I had been several years in the country, and they were become natural to me, I think the wonder
Besides, she was extremely handsome, of a middle stature, very straight, and exactly shaped ; her features were regular, and her skin as soft, fine, and delicate as any lady's in Great Britain. And to do the women there justice, all who are of any rank and well brought up, have the last good quality to boast of. There are uncleanly, coarse-skinned creatures, indeed, amongst the vulgar, as well as in Europe ; but the women do not go naked as some of the Guinea negroes. Their dress is a larnber, much longer than that of the men's, and reaches to their feet from their middle; above and under the lamber, they wear a kind of shift, which covers all the body to the neck, and short sleeves. This, for the generality, is made of cotton, and is of a dark colour; those of the better sort embellish it with beads, in a very neat manner, more especially on the back, where they are ranged in rows and cross one another; and as they are of different colours, they form a large double cross so like a union-flag, that one would imagine they copied after it.
Thus much as to a general detail of the person and habits of these women, though I shall not, indeed, give them the preference to our Europeans ; yet I must ingenuously confess, that it is with pleasure I reflect on mine, and remember our parting with the utmost reluctance and concern. For as to their fidelity, duty, and submissive deportment to their husbands, goodnature, and agreeable conversation, so far as their little knowledge extends, I think the Europeans come far short of them. We white people entertain a very contemptible and mean idea of these blacks, and a high and partial one of ourselves : they, on the other hand, have an exalted opinion of our merit; and modestly imagine, that we are far superior to them in point of knowledge, arts, and sciences : and therein, doubtless, they are right; but if an impartial comparison were to be made of their good qualities, the black heathens would, in my opinion, excel the white christians. I presume the reader will readily allow, that the best character I could give myself, in order to recommend me to my wife's mother, was, to assure her, as I did, that I had as tender a heart as any black whatever ; for it must be acknowledged, though to our shame, that they treat one another with more humanity than we do. There are none miserable amongst them, if it be in the power of their neighbours to assist then, There love, tenderness, generosity, and moral honesty, too, are very conspicuous; and that not only just in this one country of Anterndroea, but throughout the whole island, and even in other places more than here. My master, deaan Mevarrow, indeed, may be produced as an exception to this general rule, on account of his stealing his neighbour's cattle, I grant it; but it must be considered, that there are some men of bad principles in every country; he did it, it is true, against conscience, and stood self-convicted : for he knew what justice was, as well as any one, as appeared by his paying me my cow and calf in return for my honey ; and in many other particulars. There is a wide distance between the capacities and virtues of some men; though it is with regret that I mention deaan Murnanzack's name in the same page with Mevarrow's; yet the peculiar vices of the latter are no objection to the national virtues of his country.
My reader will excuse this digression, I hope, when he recollects the only pleasure that alleviated the weight of my slavery while in Anterndroea. I looked after my master's cattle indeed, as I did before; but then I had a few of my own, and an agreeable companion to spend my leisure hours with, who took care of my house; and as I had plenty of honey, I never was without toake, for my wife and I to enjoy ourselves with, and entertain a friend upon occasior.. So that I lived as well as the best of my neighbours, and being now much less fatigued than formerly, I was capable of taking more notice of the religion and laws of the country : and as I propose to amuse the reader with a particular detail of one of their circumcision-feasts, it will not be improper to give first an account of that little religion which they professed.
They acknowledge, indeed, and adore the only one supreme God, whom they call deaan Unghorray, which signifies the Lord above. There are, according to their notion, four other sovereign lords, and that each superintends one quarter of the world. The northern lord is styled deaan Antemoor; the southern, deaan Megud.