[…] instructed in the use of fire-arms, hit the target at a distance of sixty paces, nine times out of ten. I attributed their success to the quick sight and strong nerve they have, which is peculiar to the blacks in almost all parts of the African continent.
5th.- My co-partner Mr. Fynn set off this morning, accompanied by a body of armed natives, with a quantity of goods to barter with the Botwas, who had arrived at the river Umcamas expressly to meet him, and had invited him thither.
In the afternoon we had a grand display of a marriage festival or ceremony, at which had congregated an innumerable body of natives of either sex, and of all ages. It commenced by the bride exhibiting herself, attended by a numerous train of females dancing up and down the kraal. She was attired in a short habiliment reaching from the waist to the knee. Her hair was decorated with feathers in imitation of a coronet. Her skin shone with brilliant lustre from having been greasefully prepared for the purpose. On her sable breast, she had hung, in rows tastefully arranged, beads of various hues to adorn a bust of more than graceful shape and symmetry. From her neck she had suspended a selalo, or ornament, forming a cross,
That Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
There was, altogether, something so engaging in the bride, that she seemed like a black fairy, or something superhuman. Though black she was lovely, and though of a savage race she was as meek, gentle, and tender, as any reasonable savage could desire. Had she but been attired in costume of our European beauties,
she might have been thought elegant, though it could not be said that
Angels were painted fair to look like her.
The old females who had assembled sang their croaking strains, in admiration of her grace and attitudes during her dancing.
After this preparatory ceremony, the bride approached carelessly the feet of the anxious bridegroom, to whom she threw, with great nonchalance, a few strings of beads, and, with graceful indifference, danced away to the middle of the kraal, when her attendants distributed a few beads to all the friends of the happy husband; the old females made congratulatory speeches, and, with occasional significant glances towards a fat cow that was near, intended for the wedding repast, indicated that their minds were more occupied about the beast than the bride, and that they anticipated more solid pleasure from the cow than from the bridegroom. The cow was then killed; the bride and her female friends, with great formality, approached the bleeding animal which they touched and retired. The mother, or queen of the kraal, now concluded the marriage ceremony by placing a piece of cloth on her breast, indicating that the matrimonial ties were designed to cover all their youthful follies, and that they had to enter into a state of indissoluble friendship, which could not be cut asunder as the cloth could be rent. The bride and her friends now divided the flesh of the cow, which was soon consumed, and as it is not the custom of the Zoolas to cohabit on the bridal-night, the bride passed the evening with her female friends in singing and dancing; while the bridegroom, somewhat sullen, entertained his male friends, of whom I was considered one […]