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   Chapter 92 April 10th.

Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 2077

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


Manm-Robert is much annoyed and puzzled because the American steamer-the bom-mangé, as she calls does not come. It used to bring regularly so many barrels of potatoes and beans, so much lard and cheese garlic and dried pease-everything, almost, of which she keeps a stock. It is now nearly eight weeks since the cannon of a New York steamer aroused the echoes the harbor. Every morning Manm-Robert has been sending out her little servant Louis to see if there is any sign of the American packet:-"Allé ouè Batterie d' Esnotz si bom-mangé-à pas vini." But Louis always returns with same rueful answer:-

-"Manm-Robert, pa ni piess bom-mangé" (there is not so much as a bit of a bom-mangé).

... "No more American steamers for Martinique:" that is the news received by telegraph! The disease has broken out among the shipping; the harbors have been delared infected. United States mail-packets drop their Martinique mails at St. Kitt's or Dominica, and pass us by. There will be suffering now among the canotiers, the caboteurs, all tho

se who live by stowing or unloading cargo;-great warehouses are being closed up, and strong men discharged, because there will be nothing for them to do.

... They are burying twenty-five verettiers per day in city.

But never was this tropic sky more beautiful;-never was this circling sea more marvellously blue;-never were the mornes more richly robed in luminous green, under a more golden day.... And it seems strange that Nature should remain so lovely....

... Suddenly it occurs to me that I have not seen Yzore nor her children for some days; and I wonder if they have moved away.... Towards evening, passing by Manm-Robert's, I ask about them. The old woman answers me very gravely:-

-"Atò, mon chè, c'est Yzore qui ni laverette!"

The mother has been seized by the plague at last. But Manm-Robert will look after her; and Manm-Robert has taken charge of the three little ones, who are not now allowed to leave the house, for fear some one should tell them what it were best they should not know.... Pauv ti manmaille!

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