The rear of the tenement—built up with successive ranges of cocoa-nut boughs bound one upon another, with their leaflets cunningly woven together—inclined a little from the vertical, and extended from the extreme edge of the “pi-pi” to about twenty feet from its surface; whence the shelving roof—thatched with the long tapering leaves of the palmetto—sloped steeply off to within about five feet of the floor; leaving the eaves drooping with tassel-like appendages over the front of the habitation.
They were brought from the neighborhood of Say, on the middle Niger, by the Togo Hinterland expedition. The ram has beautiful horns, and the ewe is distinguished by two strange, tassel-like pendants of skin that hang from her neck. This zoological garden also possesses a fine ram from the interior of Tunis, which is similar in shape to the Haussa ram, but has shorter horns and a heavier mane.
We will gather a good bunch of these pretty pendent tassel-like clusters; and see! as we break off the stems, what a shower of gold-dust is scattered over us, and flies in all directions through the air!
Joseph, promoted to the post of honour, forged ahead; and either Fanny and Souris insisted upon following Finois, or else Innocentina felt called upon to continue the process of conversion even in adverse circumstances; at all events, the Boy and I almost immediately found ourselves in the background, all that we could see of our companions being a tassel-like grey tail quivering above a moving blur of little legs, scarcely thicker than toothpicks.
A pair of humming-birds darted into the stillness in a little tempest of shrill-voiced contention, and the mule, aroused from dejected abstraction by the intruders, shook his tassel-like tail and yawned humanly.
The rear of the tenement built up with successive ranges of cocoanut boughs bound one upon another, with their leaflets cunningly woven together inclined a little from the vertical, and extended from the extreme edge of the 'pi-pi' to about twenty feet from its surface; whence the shelving roof thatched with the long tapering leaves of the palmetto sloped steeply off to within about five feet of the floor; leaving the eaves drooping with tassel-like appendages over the front of the habitation.
It had a bright red-and-green square of carpeting in the centre, with edges of fine India matting; a large cabinet of seashells and other marine curiosities occupied one end; a parrot was chained to a high perch near an open Franklin stove at the other, and the walls between were decorated with queer plates and platters of dragon-china, while great bunches of tassel-like grasses and wings of brilliant feathered fowl filled the odd spaces.
Several of these fine trees stood almost at the water's edge, springing from a bed of sand, mingled with black basaltic pebbles, and coarse fragments of shells and coral, where their roots were washed by every rising tide: yet their appearance was thrifty and flourishing, and they were thickly covered with close-packed bunches of tassel-like, straw-coloured blossoms, and loaded with fruit in various stages of growth.
"Yes, they are," said his uncle; "but not worth much, either for timber, ornament, or shade. You wouldn't get much relief from the heat under the poor shadow of their tassel-like foliage." "What a very strange noise!" exclaimed Frank; "it seems as if a number of stocking-looms were at work in the air." "See now," said Mr Oliphant, "the force of habit.