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Two Years in the French West Indies Part 40

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[Footnote 48: According to the Martinique "Annuaire" for 1887, there were even then, out of a total population of 173,182, no less than 12,366 able to read and write.]

[Footnote 49: There is record of an attempt to manufacture bread with one part manioc flour to three of wheat flour. The result was excellent; but no serious effort was ever made to put the manioc bread on the market.]

[Footnote 50: I must mention a surrept.i.tious dish, _chatt_;--needless to say the cats are not sold, but stolen. It is true that only a small cla.s.s of poor people eat cats; but they eat so many cats that cats have become quite rare in St. Pierre. The custom is purely superst.i.tious: it is alleged that if you eat cat seven times, or if you eat seven cats, no witch, wizard, or _quimboiseur_ can ever do you any harm; and the cat ought to be eaten on Christmas Eve in order that the meal be perfectly efficacious.... The mystic number "seven", enters into another and a better creole superst.i.tion;--if you kill a serpent, seven great sins are forgiven to you: _ou ke ni sept grands peches efface_.]

 

[Footnote 51: Rufz remarks that the first effect of this climate of the Antilles is a sort of general physical excitement, an exaltation, a sense of unaccustomed strength,--which begets the desire of immediate action to discharge the surplus of nervous force. "Then all distances seem brief;--the greatest fatigues are braved without hesitation."-- _etudes_.]

[Footnote 52: In the patois, "_yon rafale yche_,"--a "whirlwind of children."]

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Two Years in the French West Indies Part 40 summary

You're reading Two Years in the French West Indies. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Lafcadio Hearn. Already has 259 views.

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