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Coast history, because the light railroad is, after all, the civilizer of Africa.

Then there are more flat-topped heights, thundering beaches, and dangerous reefs, until, passing the Prah River, the lovely Bay of Elmina, earliest settlement on the coast, opens up. It is fringed by tall palms, and ridged by the steep heave of the Atlantic, while to the eastwards the hill of Cape Coast looms up. A claim by King Koffe Kalkali, founded on legendary history, to the possession of Elmina was one of the causes of the first Ashanti War. Elmina, when the writer visited it, was chiefly famous for the export of indifferent rubber-gatherers to the Lagos colony, who, after ruthlessly laying waste Gold Coast forests, were seeking fresh fields for their energy. The negro is not a foreseeing person, and destroys the producer to secure the largest immediate yield, so that already large areas are devastated.

Rubber is obtained from several different trees, but in West Africa the landolphia parasitic vines are one of the chief sources of supply. Under no circumstances is its gathering a pleasant process, for the half-congealed sap is wound off round a negro's arm dipped in strong brine, and often afflicts him with loathsome skin diseases. Its smell is also best described as disgusting, and the present price for the West African, which is inferior to the Brazilian product, fluctuates at about two shillings a pound. Still, the men who gather it in British territory are generally equitably paid, for if our West African commerce is carried on at a heavy cost, it is at the expense of white men's lives, and not, as in the Congo, by the oppression of helpless natives.

It was bright moonlight when we anchored off Cape Coast, and the whole heave of the Atlantic seemed piling itself upon the beach. From seaward the long undulations ran smooth as oil, until, meeting the shoals, they broke, and a parallel phalanx of white-crested breakers, with wide valleys between them, raced towards the sand. Partly

hidden in steam of spray, the old Dutch castle rose up between the spouting of the seas, and we wondered how we were going to get ashore. By sunrise, however, the rush of breakers had grown less furious, and when a big surf-boat came off, swung out by a crane over the steamer's rail, we descended into her. Then fourteen naked Kroo

boys dipped the three-tongued paddles, and, with a sable Hercules sculling astern, we drove in-shore. It was an exhilarating sensation-a swift, sliding rush on the back of a comber, alternating with a sudden swoop into the hollow, until the ridges grew steeper. Then the helmsman howled, and, amid a storm of hisses, the paddles whirled madly, while the boat hung poised half her length in the air before, with a rush that took one's breath away, she sank into a valley of white-streaked water. At such times it was better to look at the back of the sea ahead than the hollow breast of the one which, hissing horribly, raced up astern. Finally, shooting past the castle and a slightly sheltering reef, we were flung out on the sand, safe but dripping. The surf is not always equally bad, but, as all cargo landed in the Gold Coast must cross it in a similar fashion, the most casual observer can understand how the absence of harbours impedes commerce.

Cape Coast, like other West African settlements, is a chaotic mixture of somewhat degenerate civilization and native crudity. Rickety huts straggle Rickety huts straggle under scattered palms up the face of a bluff, and then one finds the usual combination of glaring white walls, iron roofs, some of them painted red, smells, dust, and cotton-clad native loungers. Its white traders are not a healthy class, and this is hardly to be wondered at. Work, for the sake of comparative coolness, commences soon after dawn, and continues, with an interlude at noon, when few white men can work at all, until dusk. If the temperature is trying under the open sky outside, it is almost worse in the partly darkened stores, where the stale air is heavy with the odours of superheated merchandise and the native customer. Each trader deals

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in everything-palm-oil, skins and kernels, cotton goods, paints, ironware, and kerosene—and the result is a bouquet which is almost indescribable. The negro is usually crafty and always exuberant, while an African bargain is an interminable affair, so that the average day's work is a wearying one. Then, when darkness comes, there is no healthy amusement possible, and the tired agent can only play cards for stakes beyond his means in a stifling hotel, or lounge on the veranda risking fever at the touch of the land breeze.

Cape Coast is in the Fanti country, and the Fanti are, for negroes, an intelligent people. The phrase is used advisedly, because the inland races, with a mixed descent from Moor and Arab, are superior in many ways to the pure negro. Indeed, roughly speaking, the one partial civilization of Africa came from the east, and barbarism deepens through gradations as one approaches the west coast. Still, the Fanti, as well as their neighbours, the Accra, produce skilled carpenters, coopers, and gold-workers, while a few have taken a leading place in commerce and the learned professions. The whole question of negro advancement is full of surprises, for there are, perhaps, few races which learn more readily, while their weakness is rather instability of purpose than stupidity. Steady, continuous labour they cannot understand, and the construction of the Sekondi railway has been hindered by this difficulty, while there is but one seaboard tribe, the Liberian Kroomen, whose powers of endurance may be depended on. These sturdy, good-humoured savages are everywhere in demand, and have played a leading part in the development of West Africa.

The Fanti are fine in physique, some, especially the women, even handsome and curiously light in colour. Once, so they tell, they dwelt inland, and the more enterprising Shanti on the less fruitful coast, until the latter drove them out, and now, seeing the advantage of trade, desire to go back again. They attire themselves chiefly in

a "piece of cotton "-white, blue, red, or yellow; but instead of draping it over their shoulder, as those from the north do, fasten it with a twist-knot across the breast. The fine indigo-dyed country cloth from the Lagos hinterland, however, commands a higher price than any "blue-baft" made in Manchester.

Eastwards from Cape Coast, there is still the same succession of surf and bluff, tall palms and cotton-woods, until one reaches Accra, he capital. Accra stands on a low bluff above a long, straight beach, littered with surf-boats and Kroo cargo-men, while landing there is not always safe. There are the usual factories, heat, dust, and close-packed native dwellings, and the inevitable well-filled cemetery, but Accra bears the stamp of the metropolis, and its Customs regulations, as enforced by black clerks, are a terror to all comers. Generally speaking, the coloured official is a difficult person to deal with, and possesses a fine skill in Accra is the home of the

the collection of small perquisites. native gold industry, which was known to Europeans centuries ago. Alluvial dust seems scattered throughout the colony, in the bed of the muddy rivers, yellow beaches, and even the streets of the towns, where, after torrential deluge or heavy surf, one may see the natives washing it. The percentage of metal is, however, small, though the total yield appears considerable. Accra craftsmen are famous for the production of artistic trinkets in virgin gold. The price used to be their weight in sovereigns, while how the native made a living did not appear. There are, however, trinkets which he will rarely sell the mysterious aggri beads of a substance partly resembling amber dug out of the earth. No one knows how the aggri came there, and in spite of attempts to counterfeit them, they remain almost priceless.

Somewhere between the coast and the Kong reefs of surprising richness must lie hidden to account for the widespread alluvial; and when the light locomotive reaches Kumasi we may expect developments. The Shanti have long been



rumoured to possess hoards of the precious metal, but if they know the secret of the reefs, they have guarded it well. At least a score of commercial companies are engaged in prospecting and regular mining, and though some are more or less successful with stock at a premium, none appear to have made their shareholders' fortune. Others have failed miserably. At present they struggle against the enormous transport difficulty, all machinery passing inland in small pieces, on the carrier's head, which it is said costs one company £50 a ton. Neither do all the small

pieces invariably get through.

One of the most striking sights in Accra is a detachment of the Houssa constabulary, muscular Mahommedans from the Nigerian hinterland in crimson fez and blue serge uniform. All our troops in West Africa, with the exception of the West Indians, who are either Methodists or obiworshippers, are northern Moslem, for the seaboard peoples fall short in the matter of obedience, courage, and endurance. Hitherto there has never been a doubt of the Houssas' fighting qualities, and as their home once formed part of the Sokotan Sultanate, it is scarcely necessary to state that, in spite of their colour, they are not in the strict sense of the word negroes. Africa possesses an ancient history, and the Soudan has been invaded so many times from the north and east that they may spring from a combination of races, Phoenician, Roman, Moor, and Eastern Arab.

As seen from the sea, the Gold Coast is strikingly picturesque, but West African beauty partakes of the nature of the whited sepulchre. There can be no doubt that, though some Europeans actually thrive in it, the most part drag out sickly lives or die suddenly; for, besides the ever-present fevers, there is a bewildering list of other climatic ills. Of all our West African possessions, the Gold Coast seaboard should apparently be the most salubrious, but it has never proved itself so. In fact, proximity to the sea seems worse than an environment of steaming swamps. There are also There are also many poisonous insect pests, red

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