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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 10: The origins of the Manes, the fertility of the land, and the character of these heathen,   pp. 1-9

Page 9

They say that the tongue reveals the man.   They therefore esteem
greatly those who say little, and they say that much speech hinders
counsel.  They think more highly of a kind word than of a large gift,
'and they say : "What is the use of my receiving a great deal from you
I do not gain your goodwill /f.79/ and your satisfaction, ?".    They
this 'seeking harmony', a thing very necessary in Guinea, where the
savages see everything in terms of Yes or No, so that you often have to
face them with an appearance of goodwill and a smile on your lips - even-V
when you are laughing at them inwardly. Those who are prodigal with
words, and therefore give little thought to what they say, they esteem
little.l)   They especially dislike chatterboxes, and similarly they
dislike those who are given to drinking more than is necessary. As
collectors of alms for brotherhoods, there are no better, although this
done-by the humbler among them.   No collector will miss an opportunity,
once he has overcome his timidity, whether he be high-born or humble.
Such are all those who only remember you when you benefit them or when
they seek something from you. So much for their character. Other aspec1l
may be found in the chapter which discusses the same subject in relation
to the (native) heathen of this Province, etc.
(1)  But they are fluent in our way of speech, for they lie copiously
and pride themselves on legacies of vice; yet when we mention our
(religious) truths, they call them lies.


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