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   Chapter 89 April 5th.

Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1371

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

-"Toutt bel bois ka allé," says Manm-Robert. (All the beautiful trees are going.)... I do not understand.

-"Toutt bel bois-toutt bel moune ka alle," she adds, interpretatively. (All the "beautiful trees,"-all the handsome people,-are passing away.)... As in the speech of the world's primitive poets, so in the creole patois is a beautiful woman compared with a comely tree: nay, more than this, the name of the object is actually substituted for that of the living being. Yon bel bois may mean a fine tree: it more generally signifies a graceful woman: this is the very comparison made by Ulysses looking upon Nausicaa, though more naively expressed. ... And now there comes to me t

he recollection of a creole ballad illustrating the use of the phrase,-a ballad about a youth of Fort-de-France sent to St. Pierre by his father to purchase a stock of dobannes, [24] who, falling in love with a handsome colored girl, spent all his father's money in buying her presents and a wedding outfit:-

"Moin descenne Saint-Piè Acheté dobannes Auliè ces dobannes C'est yon bel-bois moin mennein monté!"

("I went down to Saint-Pierre to buy dobannes: instead of the dobannes, 'tis a pretty tree-a charming girl-that I bring back with me")

-"Why, who is dead now, Manm-Robert?"

-"It is little Marie, the porteuse, who has got the verette. She is gone to the lazaretto."

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