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as notice is given by the Gong Gong, or bellman, of his intended nocturnal visit, it is but seldom any person loses his life. Europeans receive notice, and are requested not to leave their houses on the evening of his appearance, as the devil in Lagos is no respecter of persons. The fellow who performs the part comes from one of the villages on the opposite side of the lake; and the inhabitants of Lagos are certainly much alarmed at his visits, and inquire from their neighbours, the following morning, in whispers, how they fared during the night.
Besides the public warning usually given on such occasions, the devil always makes his appearance at full moon; so that if the King should be out raking, he may not mistake his royal master for a subject, although it would be a favourable opportunity to rid the people of a tyrant.
CRADOO LAKE is a fine piece of water, and of great extent; but the country surrounding it being very low, and but little ele
vated above its surface, renders it tame and uninteresting. In the midst of mountain scenery, it would rank in size, and perhaps in beauty, among lakes of the first class. The colour of its water during the wet season, is that of clay, but when dry weather prevails, it is deeply tinged with decomposed vegetable matter. Fish is very abundant in it, particularly mullet, of a large size and fine flavour; but the atmosphere so quickly decomposes animal matter after life has become extinct, that in four hours after fish has been taken from the lake, it becomes putrid; so that to render it available, as food for Europeans, it must be taken very near the hour of dinner. As for the Africans, they are as great epicures in fish, as our gourmands are in game; for the nearer it attains the true epicurean flavour in smell, taste, and consistency (which is that of well digested food), the more suitable it is to their palates.
During the rainy season, hippopotami
frequent some marshy islands nearly opposite to Lagos; but they are seldom, if ever, taken by the natives, although the teeth of these animals are sometimes offered for sale, but which are brought from the towns of Cradoo and Kosi, on the north-east margin of the lake. Alligators are numerous, and infest the ponds from which water is taken for the use of the shipping. A very large one, which appeared as the monarch of the pond, the sailors called Old Tom, and which some of my men employed in the watering boat determined to destroy. They accordingly obtained a three pounder, and placed it so as to point immediately to the bank on which Old Tom was in the constant practice of basking in the sun. This they loaded with a heavy charge of grape shot, and, watching a proper opportunity, discharged it, and killed the alligator, which had really become a source of terror to some of the boats' crews. It measured thirty feet. Its skin, which had been taken
off and stuffed, the rats devoured on board the ship.
Cowries are the medium of exchange and calculations are made in ounces and arkies, as on the Gold Coast; 16,000 cowries make an ounce, being the same mode of calculation as that practised at Ardrah, Wydah, and Popo.
The Jaboos inhabit a country situated between Hio and Benin, are a fine looking people, and always seem as if they came from a land of plenty, being stout, healthy, and full of vigour. They are a very industrious people, and manufacture for sale an immense number of common Guinea cloths besides raising cattle, sheep, poultry, corn, and calavancies, with which they supply their neighbours.
Benin-Gatto creek-The capital of Benin; interview with the king; dancing women; customs of the natives; population; affinity to the Heebos; their national mark―The Creek, or Jo people: salt-New Town-Warre; journey there; manufactures; population; audience with the king, his dress; relics of catholicism; a peep into the king's seraglio; houses -Bonny; great market for slaves-Heeboos; number exported; fairs where they are sold; their character-King Pepple-New Calabar-Fetiche, or Jew Jeu-John Africa-Old Calabar-CamaroonsGaboon-Climate-Smokes-The island of Fernandipo-Princes-St. Thomas-Annabona-Majumba; singular appearance of the natives-King Cole-Malemba; the town; comparative salubrity of its climate: local advantages for colonizing-Natives; their character.
THE Country called BENIN is of considerable extent, and situated principally to the north and west of the river Formosa, from which a wide and deep creek branches, that leads