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Two Years in the French West Indies By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1812

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


While Cyrillia is busy with her canari, she talks to herself or sings. She has a low rich voice,-sings strange things, things that have been forgotten by this generation,-creole songs of the old days, having a weird rhythm and fractions of tones that are surely African. But more generally she talks to herself, as all the Martiniquaises do: it is a continual murmur as of a stream. At first I used to think she was talking to somebody else, and would call out:-

-"épi quiless moune ?a ou ka pàlé-à?"

But she would always answer:-"Moin ka pàlé anni cò moin" (I am only talking to my own body), which is the creole expression for talking to oneself.

-"And what are you talking so much to your own body about, Cyrillia?"

-"I am talking about my own little affairs" (ti zaffai-moin).... That is all that I could ever draw from her.

But when not working, she will sit for hours looking out of th

e window. In this she resembles the kitten: both seem to find the same silent pleasure in watching the street, or the green heights that rise above its roofs,-the Morne d'Orange. Occasionally at such times she will break the silence in the strangest way, if she thinks I am not too busy with my papers to answer a question:-

-"Missié?"-timidly.

-"Eh?"

-"Di moin, chè, ti manmaille dans pays ou, toutt piti, piti,-ess ?a pàlé Anglais?" (Do the little children in my country-the very, very little children-talk English?)

-"Why, certainly, Cyrillia."

-"Toutt piti, piti?"-with growing surprise.

-"Why, of course!"

-"C'est dr?le, ?a" (It is queer, that!) She cannot understand it.

-"And the little manmaille in Martinique, Cyrillia-toutt piti, piti,-don't they talk creole?"

-"'Oui; mais toutt moune ka palé nègue: ?a facile." (Yes; but anybody can talk negro-that is easy to learn.)

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