Regarding Native marriage, I should mention that a female child is betrothed, in her infancy, to some native of another family, necessarily very many years older than herself. He watches over her jealously, and she goes to live with him as soon as she feels inclined. If she possesses personal charms she has anything but a happy young womanhood, for even if she gives no sort of encouragement whatever to her admirers, attempts are pretty nearly sure to be made to carry her off. Encounters resulting, she is in considerable peril, for each
combatant orders her to follow him and throws a spear at her if she refuses. The youth of a woman of any pretensions to good looks is thus often full of wanderings and captures and wounds, not the least of which latter are dealt her by the jealous wives of her abductors, who possibly find little difficulty in persuading themselves that she must have given their lords some encouragement. Lovely woman is given to this sort of thing, both in the hovels of the poor and the palaces of kings.
To use the words of the author quoted above--"Rarely do you see a form of unusual grace and elegance but it is marked and scarred by the furrows of old wounds, and many a female wanders several hundred miles from the home of her infancy."
From the nature of its food a black child needs very strong teeth; hence the mother suckles them for two or even three years, and families seldom exceed four or five in number.
Polygamy is general, and women are so highly valued to be very frequently stolen. This is, however, chiefly because they perform all the laborious work, and collect a great portion of the food.
Alas! woman's rights are shamefully neglected, and no one takes her part whether innocent or guilty--the general principle being, "If I beat your mother, then you beat mine; if I beat your wife, then you beat mine," and, so forth. Yet these poor wild creatures are not devoid of modesty. Their rules as to seclusion correspond remarkably with the law of Moses, as written in
Leviticus (Chapters XII. and XV.), while another Mosaic law--that of circumcision--is observed by the men.