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   Chapter 76 February 23d.

Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1427

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


A Coffin passes, balanced on the heads of black men. It holds the body of Pascaline Z--, covered with quick-lime.

She was the prettiest, assuredly, among the pretty shopgirls of the Grande Rue,-a rare type of sang-mêlée. So oddly pleasing, the young face, that once seen, you could never again dissociate the recollection of it from the memory of the street. But one who saw it last night before they poured quick-lime upon it could discern no features,-only a dark brown mass, like a fungus, too frightful to think about.

... And they are all going thus, the beautiful women of color. In the opinion of physicians, the whole generation is doomed.... Yet a curious fact is that the young children of octoroon

s are suffering least: these women have their children vaccinated,-though they will not be vaccinated themselves. I see many brightly colored children, too, recovering from the disorder: the skin is not pitted, like that of the darker classes; and the rose-colored patches finally disappear altogether, leaving no trace.

... Here the sick are wrapped in banana leaves, after having been smeared with a certain unguent.... There is an immense demand for banana leaves. In ordinary times these leaves-especially the younger ones, still unrolled, and tender and soft beyond any fabric possible for man to make-are used for poultices of all kinds, and sell from one to two sous each, according to size and quality.

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