an annual sum, even larger than that which the Dutch have contributed."
"I do not want money," the king said. "I have gold in plenty.
There are places in my dominions where ten men in a day can wash
a thousand ounces. I want Elmina, I want to trade with the coast."
"But the English will give your majesty every facility for trade."
"But suppose we quarrel," the king said, "they can stop powder and
guns from coming up. If Elmina were mine I could bring up guns and
powder at all times."
"Your majesty would be no better off," Mr. Goodenough said; "for
the English in case of war could stop supplies from entering."
"My people will drive them into the sea," the king said. "We have
been troubled with them too long. They can make guns, but they
cannot fight. My people will eat them up. We fought them before;
and see," he said pointing to a great drum, from the edge of which
hung a dozen human skulls, "the heads of the White men serve to
make a fetish for me."
He then waved his hand to signify that the audience was terminated.
"Things look bad, Frank," Mr. Goodenough said as they walked towards
their home. "I fear that the king is determined upon war, and if
so our lives are not worth a month's purchase."
"It can't be helped," Frank said as cheerfully as he could. "We
must make the best of it. Perhaps something may occur to improve
The next day the four German missionaries, who had so long been
kept captive, called upon them, and they obtained a full insight
into the position. This seemed more hopeful than the king's words
had given them to expect. The missionaries said that negotiations
were going on for their release, and that they expected very shortly
to be sent down to Cape Coast. So far as they knew everything was
being done by the English to satisfy the king, and they looked upon
the establishment of peace as certain. They described the horrible
rites and sacrifices which they had been compelled to witness, and
said that at least three thousand persons were slaughtered annually
"You noticed," one of them said, "the great tree in the marketplace
under which the king sat. That is the great fetish tree. A great
many victims are sacrificed in the palace itself, but the wholesale
slaughters take place there. The high brushwood comes up to within
twenty yards of it, and if you turn in there you will see thousands
of dead bodies or their remains putrefying together."
"I thought I felt a horribly offensive smell as I was talking to
the king," Frank said shuddering. "What monsters these people must
be! Who would have thought that all that show of gold and silver
and silks and bright colors covered such horrible barbarism!"
After chatting for some time longer, and offering to do anything
in their power to assist the captives, the Germans took their leave.
CHAPTER XVII: THE INVASION OF FANTI LAND
The following morning Mr. Goodenough and Frank were called to the
door by the noise of a passing crowd, and to their horror saw a
man being taken to sacrifice. He was preceded by men beating drums,
his hands were pinioned behind him. A sharp thin knife was passed
through his cheeks, to which his lips were noozed like the figure
8. One ear was cut off and carried before him, the other hung to
his head by a small piece of skin. There were several gashes in
his back, and a knife was thrust under each shoulder blade. He was
led by a cord passed through a hole bored in his nose. Frank ran
horror stricken back into the house, and sat for a while with his
hand over his eyes as if to shut out the ghastly spectacle.
"Mr. Goodenough," he said presently, "if we are to be killed, at
least let us die fighting to the last, and blow out our own brains
with the last shots we have left. I don't think I'm afraid of being
killed, but to be tortured like that would be horrible."
The next day a message was brought them that their retaining private
guards was an insult to the king, and that the Houssas must remove
to another part of the town. Resistance was evidently useless.
Mr. Goodenough called his four men together and told them what had
"I am sorry I have brought you into this plight, my poor fellows,"
he said. "There are now but two things open to you. You can either
volunteer to join the king's army and then try to make your escape
as an opportunity may offer, or slip away at once. You are accustomed
to the woods, and in native costume might pass without notice. You
can all swim, and it matters not where you strike the Prah. If you
travel at night and lie in the woods by day you should be able to
get through. At any rate you know that if you try to escape and are
caught you will be killed. If you stop here it is possible that no
harm may happen to you, but on the other hand you may at any moment
be led out to sacrifice. Do not tell me your decision; I shall be
questioned, and would rather be able to say that I was ignorant
that you intended to escape. There is one other thing to settle.
There is a long arrear of pay due to you for your good and faithful
service. It would be useless for me to pay you now, as the money
might be found on you and taken away, and if you should be killed
it would be lost to your friends. I have written here four orders
on my banker in England, which the agents down at Cape Coast will
readily cash for you. Each order is for twice the sum due to you.
As you have come into such great danger in my service, and have
behaved so faithfully, it is right that you should be well rewarded.
Give me the names of your wives or relatives whom you wish to have
the money. Should any of you fall and escape, I will, on my arrival
at Cape Coast, send money, double the amount I have written here,
The men expressed themselves warmly grateful for Mr. Goodenough's
kindness, gave him the names and addresses of their wives, and
then, with tears in their eyes, took their leave.
"Now, Ostik, what do you say?" Mr. Goodenough asked, turning to
"I stay here, sar," Ostik said. "Houssas fighting men, creep through
wood, crawl on stomach. Dey get through sure enough. Ostik stay
with massa. If dey kill massa dey kill Ostik. Ostik take chance."
"Very well, Ostik, if we get through safe together you shall not
have reason to regret your fidelity. Now, Frank, I think it would
be a good thing if you were to spend some hours every day in trying
to pick up as much of the language here as you can. You are quick
at it, and were able to make yourself understood by our bearers
far better than I could do. You already know a great many words in
four or five of these dialects. They are all related to each other,
and with what you know you would in a couple of months be able to
get along very well in Ashanti. It will help to pass your time and
to occupy your mind. There will be no difficulty in finding men
here who have worked down on the coast and know a little English.
If we get away safely you will not regret that your time has been
employed. If we have trouble your knowledge of the language may
in some way or other be of real use to you. We can go round to
the Germans, who will, no doubt, be able to put you in the way of
getting a man."
The next day they were again sent for to the king, who was in a
high state of anger at having heard that the Houssas had escaped.
"I know nothing about it," Mr. Goodenough said. "They were contented
when they were with me, and had no wish to go. Your soldiers took
them away yesterday afternoon, and I suppose they were frightened.
It was foolish of them. They should have known that a great king
does not injure travelers who come peacefully into his country.
They should have known better. They were poor, ignorant men, who
did not know that the hospitality of a king is sacred, and that
when a king invites travelers to enter his country they are his
guests, and under his protection."
When the interpreter translated this speech the king was silent
for two or three minutes. Then he said, "My white friend is right,
They were foolish men. They could not know these things. If my
warriors overtake them no harm shall come to them."
Pleased with the impression that his words had evidently made Mr.
Goodenough returned to Frank, who had not been ordered to accompany
him to the palace. In the afternoon the king sent a sheep and a
present of five ounces of gold, and a message that he did not wish
his white friends to remain always in the town, but that they might
walk to any of the villages within a circle of three or four miles,
and that four of his guards would always accompany them to see that
no one interfered with or insulted them. They were much pleased with
this permission, as they were now enabled to renew their work of
collecting. It took them, too, away from the sight of the horrible
human sacrifices which went on daily. Through the German missionaries
they obtained a man who had worked for three years down at Cape
Coast. He accompanied them on their walks, and in the evening sat
and talked with Frank, who, from the knowledge of native words which
he had picked up in his nine months' residence in Africa, was able
to make rapid progress in Ashanti. He had one or two slight attacks
of fever, but the constant use of quinine enabled him to resist their
effect, and he was now to some degree acclimatized, and thought no
more of the attacks of fever than he would have done at home of a
violent bilious attack.
This was not the case with Mr. Goodenough. Frank observed with
concern that he lost strength rapidly, and was soon unable to
accompany him in his walks. One morning he appeared very ill.
"Have you a touch of fever, sir?"
"No, Frank, it is worse than fever, it is dysentery. I had an
attack last time I was on the coast, and know what to do with it.
Get the medicine chest and bring me the bottle of ipecacuanha.
Now, you must give me doses of this just strong enough not to act
as an emetic, every three hours."
Frank nursed his friend assiduously, and for the next three days
hoped that he was obtaining a mastery over the illness. On the
fourth day an attack of fever set in.
"You must stop the ipecacuanha, now," Mr. Goodenough said, "and
Frank, send Ostik round to the Germans, and say I wish them to come
here at once."
When these arrived Mr. Goodenough asked Frank to leave him alone
with them. A quarter of an hour later they went out, and Frank,
returning, found two sealed envelopes on the table beside him.
"My boy," he said, "I have been making my will. I fear that it is
all over with me. Fever and dysentery together are in nine cases
out of ten fatal. Don't cry, Frank," he said, as the lad burst into
tears. "I would gladly have lived, but if it is God's will that
it should be otherwise, so be it. I have no wife or near relatives
to regret my loss - none, my poor boy, who will mourn for me as
sincerely as I know that you will do. In the year that we have been
together I have come to look upon you as my son, and you will find
that I have not forgotten you in my will. I have written it in
duplicate. If you have an opportunity send one of these letters
down to the coast. Keep the other yourself, and I trust that you
will live to carry it to its destination. Should it not be so,
should the worst come to the worst, it will be a consolation to
you to know that I have not forgotten the little sister of whom
you have spoken to me so often, and that in case of your death she
will be provided for."
An hour later Mr. Goodenough was in a state of delirium, in which
he remained all night, falling towards morning into a dull coma,
gradually breathing his last, without any return of sensibility,
at eight in the morning.
Frank was utterly prostrated with grief, from which he roused
himself to send to the king to ask permission to bury his friend.
The king sent down to say how grieved he was to hear of the white
man's death. He had ordered many of his warriors to attend his
funeral. Frank had a grave dug on a rising spot of ground beyond
the marsh. In the evening a great number of the warriors gathered
round the house, and upon the shoulders of four of them Mr.
Goodenough was conveyed to his last resting place, Frank and the
German missionaries following with a great crowd of warriors. The
missionaries read the service over the grave, and Frank returned
heart broken to his house, with Ostik, who also felt terribly the
loss of his master.
Two days later a wooden cross was erected over the grave. Upon this
Frank carved the name of his friend. Hearing a week afterwards that
the king was sending down a messenger to Cape Coast, Frank asked
permission to send Mr. Goodenough's letter by him. The king sent
"I do not wish any more troubles," he said, "or that letters should
be sent to the governor. You are my guest. When the troubles are
settled I will send you down to the coast; but we have many things
to write about, and I do not want more subjects for talk."
Frank showed the letter and read the address, and told the king
that it was only a letter to the man of business of Mr. Goodenough
in England, giving directions for the disposal of his property
The king then consented that his messenger should take the letter.
At the end of December, when Frank had been nearly three months at
Coomassie, one of the Germans said to him:
"The king speaks fairly, and seems intent upon his negotiations;
but he is preparing secretly for war. An army is collecting on
the Prah. I hear that twelve thousand men are ordered to assemble
"I have noticed," Frank said, "that there have been fewer men about
than usual during the last few days. What will happen to us, do
The missionary shook his head.
"No one can say," he said. "It all depends upon the king's humor.
I think, however, that he is more likely to keep us as hostages,
and to obtain money for us at the end of the war, than to kill us.
If all goes well with his army we are probably safe; but if the
news comes of any defeat, he may in his rage order us to be executed."
"What do you think are the chances of defeat?" Frank asked.
"We know not," the missionary said; "but it seems probable that the
Ashantis will turn the English out of the coast. The Fantis are of
no use. They were a brave people once, and united might have made
a successful resistance to the Ashantis; but you English have made
women of them. You have forbidden them to fight among themselves,
you have discouraged them in any attempts to raise armies, you have
reduced the power of the chiefs, you have tried to turn them into
a race of cultivators and traders instead of warriors, and you can
expect no material aid from them now. They will melt away like snow
before the Ashantis. The king's spies tell him that there are only
a hundred and fifty black troops at Cape Coast. These are trained
and led by Englishmen, but, after all, they are only negroes, no
braver than the Ashantis. What chance have they of resisting an
army nearly a hundred to one stronger than themselves?"
"Is the fort at Cape Coast strong?" Frank asked.
"Yes, against savages without cannon. Besides, the guns of the
ships of war would cover it."
"Well," Frank said, "if we can hold that, they will send out troops
"They may do so," the missionary asserted; "but what could white
troops do in the fever haunted forests, which extend from Coomassie
to the coast?"
"They will manage somehow," Frank replied confidently. "Besides,
after all, as I hear that the great portion of Ashanti lying beyond
this is plain and open country, the Ashantis themselves cannot be
all accustomed to bush fighting, and will suffer from fever in the
low, swamp land."
Three days later the king sent for Frank.
"The English are not true," he said angrily. "They promised the
people of Elmina that they should be allowed to retain all their
customs as under the Dutch. They have broken their word. They have
forbidden the customs. The people of Elmina have written to me to
ask me to deliver them. I am going to do so."
Frank afterwards learned that the king's words were true. Colonel
Harley, the military commandant, having, with almost incredible
fatuity, and in spite of the agreement which had been made with the
Elminas, summoned their king and chiefs to a council, and abruptly
told them that they would not be allowed henceforth to celebrate
their customs, which consisted of firing of guns, waving of flags,
dancing, and other harmless rites. The chiefs, greatly indignant
at this breach of the agreement, solemnly entered into with them,
at once, on leaving the council, wrote to the King of Ashanti,
begging him to cross the Prah and attack the English. Frank could
only say that he knew nothing of what was going on at the coast,
and could only think that his majesty must have been misinformed,
as the English wished to be friendly with the Ashantis.
"They do not wish it," the king said furiously; "they are liars."
A buzz of approval sounded among the cabooceers and captains
standing round. Frank thought that he was about to be ordered to
instant execution, and grasped a revolver, which he held in his
pocket, resolving to shoot the king first, and then to blow out his
own brains, rather than to be put to the horrible tortures which
in Ashanti always precede death.
Presently the king said suddenly to him:
"My people tell me that you can talk to them in their own tongue."
"I have learnt a little Ashanti," Frank said in that language. "I
cannot talk well, but I can make myself understood."
"Very well," the king said. "Then I shall send you down with my
general. You know the ways of English fighting, and will tell him
what is best to do against them. When the war is over and I have
driven the English away, I will send you away also. You are my
guest, and I do not wish to harm you. Tomorrow you will start. Your
goods will be of no more use to you. I have ordered my treasurer
to count the cloth, and the powder, and the other things which you
have, and to pay you for them in gold. You may go."
Frank retired, vowing in his heart that no information as to the
best way of attacking the English should be obtained from him. Upon
the whole he was much pleased at the order, for he thought that
some way of making his escape might present itself. Such was also
the opinion of Ostik when Frank told him what had taken place at
An hour later the king's treasurer arrived. The whole of the trade
goods were appraised at fair prices, and even the cases were paid
for, as the treasurer said that these would be good for keeping the
king's state robes. Frank only retained his own portmanteau with
clothes, his bed and rugs, and the journals of the expedition, a
supply of ammunition for his revolver, his medicine chest, tent,
and a case with chocolate, preserved milk, tea, biscuits, rice,
and a couple of bottles of brandy.
In the morning there was a great beating of drums.
Four carriers had been told off for Frank's service, and these came
in, took up his baggage, and joined the line. Frank waited till
the general, Ammon Quatia, whom he had several times met at the
palace, came along, carried in a hammock, with a paraphernalia
of attendants bearing chairs, umbrellas, and flags. Frank fell in
behind these accompanied by Ostik. The whole population of Coomassie
turned out and shouted their farewells.
There was a pause in the marketplace while a hundred victims were
sacrificed to the success of the expedition. Frank kept in the thick
of the warriors so as to avoid witnessing the horrible spectacle.
As they passed the king he said to the general, "Bring me back the
head of the governor. I will place it on my drum by the side of
that of Macarthy."
Then the army passed the swamp knee deep in water, and started on
their way down to the Prah. Three miles further they crossed the
river Dah at Agogo, where the water was up to their necks. The road
was little more than a track through the forest, and many small
streams had to be crossed.
It was well that Frank had not had an attack of fever for some time,
for they marched without a stop to Fomanse, a distance of nearly
thirty miles. Fomanse was a large town. Many of the houses were built
in the same style as those at Coomassie, and the king's palace was
a stone building. That night Frank slept in a native house which
the general allotted to him close to the palace. The army slept on
The next morning they crossed a lofty hill, and then descending
again kept along through the forest until, late in the afternoon,
they arrived on the Prah. This river was about sixty yards wide,
and here, in roughly made huts of boughs, were encamped the main
army, who had preceded them. Here there was a pause for a week
while large numbers of carriers came down with provisions. Then
on the 22d of January the army crossed the Prah in great canoes of
cottonwood tree, which the troops who first arrived had prepared.
Had the Ashanti army now pushed forward at full speed, Cape Coast
and Elmina must have fallen into their hands, for there were no
preparations whatever for their defence. The Assims, whose territory
was first invaded, sent down for assistance, but Mr. Hennessey
refused to believe that there was any invasion at all, and when
the King of Akim, the most powerful of the Fanti potentates, sent
down to ask for arms and ammunition, Mr. Hennessey refused so
curtly that the King of Akim was grievously offended, and sent at
once to the Ashantis to say that he should remain neutral in the
About this time Mr. Hennessey, whose repeated blunders had in
no slight degree contributed to the invasion, was relieved by Mr.
Keate, who at once wholly alienated the Fantis by telling them
that they must defend themselves, as the English had nothing more
to do with the affair than to defend their forts. Considering that
the English had taken the natives under their protection, and that
the war was caused entirely by the taking over of Elmina by the
English and by their breach of faith to the natives there, this
treatment of the Fantis was as unjust as it was impolitic.
Ammon Quatia, however, seemed to be impressed with a spirit of
prudence as soon as he crossed the river. Parties were sent out,
indeed, who attacked and plundered the Assim villages near the
Prah, but the main body moved forward with the greatest caution,
sometimes halting for weeks.
The Ashanti general directed Frank always to pitch his tent next to
the hut occupied by himself. Four guards were appointed, nominally
to do him honor, but really, as Frank saw, to prevent him from
making his escape. These men kept guard, two at a time, night and
day over the tent, and if he moved out all followed him. He never
attempted to leave the camp. The forest was extremely dense with
thick underwood and innumerable creepers, through which it would
be almost impossible to make a way. The majority of the trees were
of only moderate height, but above them towered the cotton trees
and other giants, rising with straight stems to from two hundred
and fifty to three hundred feet high. Many of the trees had shed
their foliage, and some of these were completely covered with
brilliant flowers of different colors. The woods resounded with the
cries of various birds, but butterflies, except in the clearings,
The army depended for food partly upon the cultivated patches
around the Assim villages, partly on supplies brought up from the
rear. In the forest, too, they found many edible roots and fruits.
In spite of the efforts to supply them with food, Frank saw ere
many weeks had passed that the Ashantis were suffering much from
hunger. They fell away in flesh. Many were shaking with fever, and
the enthusiasm, which was manifest at the passage of the Prah, had
The first morning after crossing the river Frank sent Ostik into
the hut of the general with a cup of hot chocolate, with which
Ammon Quatia expressed himself so much gratified that henceforth
Frank sent in a cup every morning, having still a large supply of
tins of preserved chocolate and milk, the very best food which a
traveler can take with him. In return the Ashanti general showed
Frank many little kindnesses, sending him in birds or animals when
any were shot by his men, and keeping him as well provided with
food as was possible under the circumstances.
It was not until the 8th of April that any absolute hostilities took
place. Then the Fantis, supported by fifty Houssas under Lieutenant