BLTC Press Titles

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Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

The Bhagavad Gita


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

Life in the Niger

by William Cole (of Liverpool.)


Before my factory runs the ever tepid river, and right before my chamber-window the following events took place. For two days previously I had heard, from private sources, that a skirmish was to take place, and that the brothers, Tschukerma, Ajie, and Akia (but more of them anon), were to assemble and meet together, with their united forces, upon the beach, and there to display their tactics for the, edification of a revolutionary prince, one Bama Pier, who lives within the precincts of Abo the less.

Towards five o'clock this present Sabbath morning, I was suddenly aroused, not by the cheering sounds of chanticleer, but by the yellings of the excited Abohnites, who, all eager for glory and renown, had rushed to the play-grounds (excuse the term). In a few moments I was up and at my door ; upon this, a shout was raised, by the mob, a party of whom came forth and saluted me. A shaking of hands ensued (of which I retain a feeling remembrance), and I left them outside to discuss the probable results of the contest.

As my watch proclaimed the hour of nine, another shout was raised to welcome the arrival of his highness Prince Akia, who appeared in his state canoe, propelled by fifty athletic paddlers. On this occasion a homoeopathic dose of grog was, by the prince's command, bestowed upon each and every one of his followers. ToAvards the tenth hour, old Tschukerma appeared before the factory, at the head of some sixty Amazons, all ready for the coming conflict. Upon every head was carried a huge bundle of bludgeons; in either hand

J they bore the sinews of Nizerian warfare, in the shape of pikes, javelins, assaigais, and muskets. Tschukerma then formed his company into a presentable position, and there left them standing at ease, whilst he betook himself to my factory. Here he most cordially greeted me, and sate himself down to await the coming of Ajie, who came at eleven o'clock. Although not booted and spurred, he looked eager to give vent to his almost proverbial bloodthirsty propensities. His retinue consisted of a judicious coupling of Amazons and gladiators, each and every one of them bearing a disjointed member of defunct mortality in their left hand; javelins and matchets were carried in their right. Presently he entered my house, accompanied by Akia. Here they seated themselves, and began discussing matters, whilst ever and anon their opinions were •washed down with mia oebo, or rum. Leaving our heroes to enjoy themselves, we will view their costumes.

Akia, the opulent, was robed in skyblue velvet. His breastplate of leather was studded with cowries and other symbols of paganism. Upon his occiput he wore a low-crowned broad-brimmed hat, with a golden band and buckle. Of course he wore the white hawk's feather. In his hand he carried a small baton of lignum vitae, covered over with tinsel and cowries.

Tschukerma, the eldest, and their chief, wore a petticoat of fancy cloth. Round his waist was girt a band of leather, profusely ornamented with cowries. Upon one of his shoulders was affixed an epaulette. His well-formed head was covered with a worsted cap of divers colours, in which was inserted the white hawk's feather, and worked over with many little trinkets of paganism. In his right hand he majestically wielded a large parti-patterned umbrella.

Ajie, the brutal (his looks told me so), wore his usual war petticoat of red baize, covered over with cowries and brass buttons. Over his shoulders was thrown, though not ungracefully, a native tibric, or cloth. Upon his head was reared a huge hat, colour red, in which was inserted two white hawk's feathers. Whether this hat was made of beaver, sheep or goat's-skin, deponent knoweth not; but this I will say, that I have never seen its fellow. Well, let me add, that around this hat were fastened some twenty brass mirror cases, and I can assure you it formed a very conspicuous helmet. I have since offered to purchase this hat, but as he wants the devil and all for it, I leave it in his hands. In his hand he carried a small ruler (which he had stolen from me upon his introduction), and with which he would playfully tap the "nuts" of his adherents. To complete his make-up, his eyes were tastefully set off with a chalk outline.

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