|Publication Date||December 19, 2008|
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1874 Excerpt: ...and by farming villages, to which the citizens repair at the harvest time to superintend the labor of their slaves. But such cities, with their villeggiatura, their municipal government, their agora, or forum, their fortified houses, their feuds and street frays of Capulet and Montague, are not indigenous in Africa; their existence is comparatively modern, and is due to the influence of Religion. An African village (old style) is usually a street of huts, with walls like hurdles, and the thatch projecting so that its owner may sit beneath it in sun or rain. The door is low; one has to crawl in order to go in. There are no windows, the house is a single room. In its midst burns a fire which is never suffered to go out, for it is a light in darkness, a servant, a companion, and a guardian angel; it puriflies the miasmatic air. The roof and walls are smoke-dried, but clean; in one corner is a pile of wood neatly cut up into billets, and in another is a large earthen jar filled with water, on which floats a gourd or calabash, a vegetable bowl. Spears, bows, quivers, and nets hang from pegs upon the walls. Let us suppose that it is night: four or five black forms are lying in a circle with their feet toward the fire, and two dogs with pricked-up ears creep close to the ashes, which are becoming gray and cold. The day dawns; a dim light appears through the crevices and crannies of the walls. The sleepers rise and roll up their mats, which are their beds, and place on one side the round logs of wood which are their pillows. The man takes down his bow and arrows from the wall, fastens wooden rattles round his dogs' necks, and goes out into the bush. The women replenish the fire, and lift up an inverted basket whence sally forth a hen and her chickens, which make at...