« AnteriorContinuar »
to a regular irregularity in One can often see far into these Jamaican life—namely, a mid- deep quiet forestsin consequence; day siesta ; and let me notice at and the effect is sometimes the same time the difference in heightened by the herds of habit between the workers in cattle that pasture in their Southern Europe and in these shade, or stand to drink at tropical parts. For although the some pool that glistens, and sun beats far less fiercely in the diminishes, in the sun. former regions, yet work is Retrieve is a different sort generally slack towards noon, of property, situated on the and an after-dinner sleep is the heights overlooking Lucia (prorule. We have all noticed that nounced Lucie), where the culin Italy and Spain. But in tivations of logwood, cattle, and Jamaica, as soon as the work- pimento are all equally underman's dinner is done,- it lasts taken. It is hard to realise at generally from 11 to 11.30,-he this distance from the scene 1 goes on cheerfully with his work that one was driving but a week till five in the evening, when agone along the sea-shore, in the same bell bids him leave off groves of cocoanuts, for miles for the day.
at a time, the deep dark-blue Included in the Knockalva of the sea in lovely contrast to property are two other estates, the graceful green trees that named Bogue and Retrieve. fringe its coast; now passing The former is close to Montego vast fields of sugar-cane, whose Bay, and consists of about purple - feathered tops proseventeen islands in the sea, claimed that the time of harwhere some excellent shooting vest was near; now under great is to be had in winter - time. tree-ferns that vary the monFrom these islands the property otony of high hedges of sensitive stretches up to the hills inland, plant ; accompanied everywhere and abounds in logwood, which by gay butterflies and hummingis now being carefully culti- birds. And amid all this natural vated, as there is a considerable profusion live the negroes in their demand for it. To see a forest little log - huts, or, if in humof logwood in proper trim is a bler circumstances, in bothies very pretty sight for the built of leaves and
the built of leaves and grass. They silver - grey trunk of a good all seemed to be busy with tree looks like several birch- something or another. At the trees bound together, spreading doors women were sewing or at no great height into branches were cobbling; here, a bearing beautiful cool green little darkey girl combing out leaves, not unlike the English her sister's hair under a great thorn. The trees must not be Poinsettia-tree, whose red leaves close together, and the grass burned brilliant in the sun; beneath is rich both in colour there, little picaninnies in and in nutriment, bush and state of nature chasing chickens weed being conspicuously absent. and pigs; now, where a stream
1 Written during a snowstorm in New York.
crosses the road, groups of girls “Howdye,” when all the black washing linen with their sleeves residents and employees of rolled up well over their elbows, Knockalva marched up in their and their skirts well up to their hundreds with bands and banknees; and all along the road ners to bid me welcome to we passed men driving cattle Jamaica. And I wish I could or mule-trains laden with pro- describe in fitting language the duce to the nearest market. harvest festival, with its decFrom each and all we orations of palms, peppers, jam, certain of a “Marnin', massa”; pickles, loaves on the altar, and to which my brother (who is a coopful of hens at the vestry sub-agent at Knockalva) would door. But all these things, unalways answer, “How
you printed, remain as abiding memdo, missis?” and received the ories. Many a foggy winter's unvarying reply, “So so, tank night will pass uncursed, and massa,
which is the most re many an hour of Scottish estiassuring account that a negro mates will pass unnoticed, if, in ever gives of his health. a true spirit of self-detachment,
Would that there were time I can transport my mind back to tell of the many amusing to those
to those warm evenings at things that the natives said to Knockalva, when, after busy me, their phrases and their pro- days, we sat, Maurice and I, verbs, of the old-time retainers under the old brown verandah, who once were slaves and still and, amid a firmament of firecall a blessing as he passes upon flies, talked of home. “my owner”; ; of the great
A BIRTHDAY LETTER OF APOLOGY.
The Hill Bungalow, KLEDANG, terday. By the way, you will
be glad to hear that I am not DEAR 'MAGA,' - Yesterday all alone : there is another peryour letter was brought up son.
Thankful indeed were we here in “ladies' fingers.' It is when the last turn of the true that these were in a cook’s crooked six-foot path brought basket with other green food, us in sight of the little comnot to mention eggs and a pound on the ridge, with the chicken—still the omen was a zinc - roofed bungalow in the happy one, and presaged the centre. Our coolies, Klings good news. So your thou- from
thou- from Madras, and Chinese, sandth birthday is next Feb- must have been equally pleased; ruary. What can I do with and they did not fail to ask for the year's end coming, here something extra on account of perched alone upon a mountain the weather. The Chinese like Don Quixote in his shirt, boldly took their dollar a-head, and not a Chinaman or Malay and urgently demanded cents within reach, except Ah Tung for spirits, grinned and marched the caretaker and Haji Mat the off
. The Klings accepted their gardener, of whom I know half-dollar, acquiescing in the nothing worth relating? In- humiliating fact of being only vent I cannot, to plagiarise I half value; then lingered shivam ashamed.
ering obtrusively, smiling enticOh, I can't find anything to ingly, deprecatingly; twiddled write about in this dull place. their toes, and slipped away. For what does Maga' want to The tin roof was deafening with hear about but men and women ? the drumming of the rain ; and and to what will she turn a we watered the house as we deafer ear than to the “trite moved about and sadly gazed tropics” style of word-painting, upon the puddle that had been with its dazzling sunshine, its bread. impenetrable forests, its bird of This house has no fireplace, gorgeous plumage on every except of course the cookingbough? Who wants to read range in the outhouse behind. about a country farm, an ice- That is a pity, for two reasons : field, a semi-detached suburban first, because, unlike the weather residence? What is the good in the valley, it often rains here of forcing upon an indifferent in the morning as well as afterworld the little affairs of a noons,
and tea-planter, or an invalid in the where to dry your clothes at ; Canaries, or a Bishop in his and second, because the pleadiocese? What is life on sure of feeling uncomfortably ranche-in a mine-in a bank and unusually cold is marred --in a balloon—to people out by the absence of a wood fire of the trade ?
could warm your It poured as we came up yes- toes and roast jack-fruit seeds
(something like Spanish chest- tumbler you can find, but before nuts if flavoured with imagina- these flowers are withered the tion), declaring it is just like place of them is rosy with their Home. Still, to be able honest- sisters. And then there ly and truthfully to shiver is a white dwarf roses lower down. great deal.
are only 3000 feet The house, which is of wood, above sea-level: another 1500 is raised on posts a few feet feet will bring you to the zone above the ground. A broad of white and purple violets. verandah runs along its whole The terraced garden falls frontage, and the bedrooms steeply away below us. With open upon the verandah. The the
other plants, verandah is closed in with lovely in their way, but tropical, panes of glass all round, which and therefore half repugnant to is also a delightful novelty. the European spirit of the hour. When the lamps are lighted Gardenias, which shine like and the wind comes drenched stars from out their dark-green with rain and beats against foliage, are importunate of perthese panes, and shakes the fume. Oh that I could sell window - frames and whistles them for button-holes at sixthrough the chinks, then you pence apiece! Then there are may shut your eyes and sneeze, huge shrubs aflame with flowers and dream of an English night like hollyhocks. We call them in November. The gusts fly the shoe-flower, because, when down sobbing through the wet your boy has finished the blacktree-tops, and in the lulls clouds ing for your brown shoes, as of dense white mist
close an alternative to cleaning and against the windows. “Oh the ruining them with lemon, he poor sailors !” says the other brings them to an equally illperson involuntarily. But all gotten lustre by rubbing them the while our friends in the with these red flowers. Lower valley are blessing it for a down there are magenta sprays cooler, fresher night.
of bougainvillea, and a wonderThe porch in front of the ful creeper with huge golden house is hung with creeping bells, which, just because it boughs of honeysuckle, covered loves to break loose and climb with perennial blossom, and squirrel - fashion among
among the always throwing out long ten- branches, therefore Haji Mat drils which grapple in vain must, after his kind, crib into with the smooth surface of the a sort of geni's-bottle framecorrugated roof. But honey- work of sticks, daily cutting off suckle grows over our orchid- its head to keep it in its place. houses in the valley, so here, Is it merely a matter of asthough good, it is not the best. sociated memories, or are the Roses—big, loose, pink roses names we give to flowers singugrow in great bushes on both larly suited to them? Could sides of the porch, a mass of Cowslip, Ragged Robin, colour that never fades. You Primrose belong to any other may strip the bushes to-day, than plants born to live in cool and load every finger-glass and damp fields and hedgerows ?
And so with the names of these mist of brilliant whiteness. flowers of the East, they seem There, from behind the last to glow like the flowers them- steel-blue buttress of the mounselves or the skies above them : tains, we saw
a sudden ray Bougainvillea, Flame of the thrust like a spear across the Forest, Hibiscus, Alamander. silver level : brighter than croThe last only lacks an S to cuses in snow the sun had risen. prove my theory conclusively. And then the mist that ebbs
This morning by unparalleled and flows about our own hillexertions we were up by five side came rolling up through o'clock, and had walked as far the tree-tops like a mirage of as the trigonometrical station, a the flood-tide among the rocks, sort of gigantic beehive thatched leaving us stranded on an islet with palms on the tip-top of in grey ocean, in unutterable the mountain. The ground has solitude. been cleared—over an acre -of Have you ever had the desire all but bracken, and gives an to be for once so isolated and uninterrupted view of the two untrammelled as to be able to great mountain-ranges to East shout and sing your loudest and West; ours being but a and none to hear ? It is best stepping - stone between the for dignity, I find, to make sure Kinta valley we live in to the the isolation is real before graeast, and the empty Western tifying this harmless fancy valley with its grey waste of which we did not. Out of the tree - tops, and reaches of the encircling gloom came a patterSilver River shining ten miles ing of naked footsteps and anaway. Over these there hangs swering cries of assistance. We a perfect rainbow in a perfect saw the shadowy forms of the semicircle, beginning and end- coolies who keep up the bridleing in the clouds high above path, and fled from our gallant the faint blue distances. The rescuers. The glory had deKinta valley lies between us parted: breakfast-time was at and the dawn. It has been hand. bearing half the world's output After breakfast there of tin for several years, and its many things to while away the smooth denuded surface is pitted time,-early lunch, lunch, tea, with flooded mine-holes. There late tea, and finally dinner, for is also an artificial Serpentine to the mountain air is appetising. irrigate the rice-fields, and loops In the intervals you can smoke of the winding river are visible. cigarettes and sit about listenAll these patches of water are ing to the orchestra of the as silver in the dark-blue haze jungle. From a dozen direcwith a pink flush round their tions in the greenwood sea margins, when the grey clouds below there floats a sound most overhead turn quickly to rose- strange, most musical. Now it madder. Away south the sea is the deepest resonant note lies narrow as a ribbon; and of an organ; now a repetition where the Eastern range de- of high clear whoops; then it scends abruptly towards the is the two sounds alternating coast its base is washed by a rapidly; then bursting sud