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faces of these white men. Black care seemed on every shoulder, and, indeed, murkily enthroned all along the Imperial river. I instinctively contrasted them with the jovial crowd far away beneath the palm-trees, and knew too late that I had come back to a region where life was a grimmer matter than it had been, and felt regret. That mood was not entirely of the moment. It lingered long, and there are some traces of it yet. For that queer form of Heimweh, I found. a melancholy reflection in those charming lines of Heine :
“ Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam
“ Er träumt von einer Palme,
Auf brennender Felsenwand.” At any rate, man looked infinitely more joyous, more free from cark. ing conjectures about to-morrow, where the palm-tree's plumes are ever tossing in the trade-winds, than he does in the shadow of St. Paul's.
And yet Quashie is not all frivolous. He is rarely a rogue, which is more than can safely be said of his relative of the mixed blood. I remember more than one West Indian negro who, for honesty, kindliness, and thorough good nature, would compare with the best “ buccra.” Though, when he is serious, he is so right down to the ground. He has all, and more than all, the dreadful dignity of the man, who neither smokes nor jokes. In this connection dear old Peter, our janitor—“we” were a Government institutionoccurs to me. He wore a dark blue uniform, ornamented with brass buttons, and he lived up to it. Decorous, demure, of unimpeachable gravity and solemnity, he did not even lose his balance when Mrs. Peter had her first baby. As soon, however, as the child and Mrs. Peter were able to receive visitors, Peter sent to each of us, his superiors in the Service, a card, on which was written: “Peter presents his compliments to you, and requests the pleasure of your company on Monday next, to see the little stranger.” I shall never forget that visit. It was the first time in my life that I had ever gune in company with four full grown men to inspect a recently born infant. A sense of ludicrous gravity made us preternaturally solemn, for an instant's relaxation of the facial muscles, the tiniest ripple of a smiie, would have been fatal, destroying the spirit of the function and wounding Peter's feelings. The janitor knew what was due to bimself and his heir, and that we might worthily welcome "the little stranger” to our midst, uncorked a bottle of champagne. Having filled all our glasses, he waited for us to raise them aloft. This we did, but to no one came the inspiration of appropriate utterance. So, something having to be done, we shook our heads at Peterkin and drank off the champagne. I ventured to observe, “How like he is to Peter,” intending a delicate compliment; but it was wasting sweetness on the desert air. I had lightly anticipated a possibly coming resemblance, and a general silence, almost unbroken, convicted me of flippancy. Then we all filed out in dignified dumbness, leaving Peter, his wife, and his heir placidly and gravely content with the honour done them. To make amends for my unlucky remark, I presented to“ the little stranger ” a copy of Martin Tupper's “ Proverbial Philosophy,” with an appropriate inscription.
Here and there in our colony there were other sable domestic interiors, equally respectable and proper, where everything was on a satisfactory legal basis. As a rule, the hymeneal ministrations of “the Reverend,” as Quashie dubs his spiritual pastor, are somewhat at a discount. Illegitimate births enormously exceed the legitimate ones. Nor is Quashie of the masculine gender too rashly to be burdened with all the responsibility for this state of things. I know an excellent lady who has pleaded over and over again, and in vain, with her cook, that the latter would seek the sanction of the Church for her union with Pompey. Cesarina has always sturdily resisted this entreaty, though not on the ground that a union of hearts was preferable to a mere paper union. As things were, she got on very comfortably with Pompey ; and she pointed out that, if the services of “the Reverend” were called in, and an indissoluble knot tied, her spouse might give himself airs. He might take a perverse view of his legal rights, and beat Cesarina. Now, if he misbehaved himself, he could be sent about his business, and, until he gave signs of satisfactory repentance, could be kept away from the place which he had regarded as his home.
Of course Quashie does marry from time to time, and such marriage legitimates any previous offspring of a couple. Into the wedding festivities he crowds all the materials, that he can lay his hands on, for “a single hour of glorious life.” The pair of lovers will not only spend all their available cash, but mortgage their future, that the day of marriage may be one of éclat. At a little distance off, the untechnical eye, during those auspicious hours, would find the bride as splendid in point of dress as a society beauty at her first drawing-room. How she tortures herself to get those large, honest hands of hers into white kid gloves, and the liberal expanse of each foot into a satin shoe. Her bridal wreath is a wonder of orange blossoms and gauze. And her manners rise at once to the level of
this butterfly brilliance of a day. The bridegroom also encases himself in broadcloth, adorns his woolly head with a sisk hat, and his feet with patent leather boots. He, too, moulds his deportment so that it may harmonise with his sartorial self. The male and female friends are bidden formally to the feast, and a card of invitation may run much in this wise :
“Mr. Cæsar Barkay and Miss Georgiana Van Groningen present their compliments to you, and request the pleasure of your company at the solemnities of their marriage. Wedding breakfast, dancing, and supper.” That is indeed a happy time. There are fowls and boiled ham galore, and crab-backs, and cakes, and fruit, and lemonade, and ginger beer-both admirably made in our colony-and some cheap wines and rum. The delightful gravity with which each individual of the party sets himself to mirror his favourite “buccra," the speeches, the jokes, and the nervousness and bashfulness of the bride, must be seen and heard before the humour of the whole can be appreciated. And as the gathering breaks up, the company and charming bridesmaids chant in chorus:
Mistah Bride and Mistress Bride,
Into dis yer world. A week after all this gaiety, joy, and pomp, Cæsar will be lounging about, barefooted, in a very indifferent shirt and trousers, with a fragmentary straw hat, perhaps, for head covering ; while, as for Georgiana, you will scarcely recognise her if you meet her, when the nuptials are seven days old, in the Brick Dam, the upper part of her head enveloped in a turban, which supports a heavily laden . tray, her wide-spreading feet both stockingless and shoeless. She and Cæsar are not one whit disconcerted, however, because of the contrast between now and then. It is the way of their world. Besides, that hymeneal attire will all be donned again on Sunday, when Cæsar, with a portly prayer-book under his arm, and Georgiana, blushing and toying with a fan, will move up the aisle of the cathedral, and take their places, the bride the happy cynosure of the eyes of most worshippers. They outshine then even some buccra couples. “It too troo, sah,” once observed an ebon verger to me, when this has happened ; "it too troo wha' de Bible say, “Dey are like de lilies, and Sol'mon!”-indicating the pews of the whites—“'in all his glory, not arrayed like dey are.'”
We are not all obliged to marry, but we must all die. Perhaps the cruellest thing about death for Quashie is, that he cannot share in his own funeral festivities. He may derive a certain amount of " It was beautiful, sir. One young lord 'e preached, another young lord 'e prayed, and another young lord 'e sang ; it were trewly 'eavingly." Quashie would, I think, have been more impressed by three “Reverends.” He invests the lowest of low clerics, whether that gentleman will or no, with mysterious attributes. He has inherited from his African ancestors an intense conviction of the existence of malignant demons, who take an uncanny interest in the affairs of individuals. He is never sorry to obtain assistance from any quarter in combating them. But neither “the Reverend ”nor the "gubnah self” can keep Quashie out of the grip of the Obeahman. The witch-doctor, despite the cat.o’-nine tails, still plies his unpleasant trade. The basis of his power is the negro tendency to ascribe every indisposition to the evil eye. “Somebody put a wish upon me," says Cesarina, if ever so slightly afflicted. Pompey suffers from a bad swelling, and he sneaks away to the Obeahman, who makes his incantations over the sufferer, and to the latter's horrified amazement extracts, apparently from the inflamed spot, a frog or an old tooth, and then gravely assures his patient that he will soon be all right now. But Pompey does not doubt that the evil was done him by an enemy.
Grave scandal arose during one portion of my term of residence in our sunland city, because of riotous proceedings that went on nightly round a certain cottage. A Mapushi woman had left her friends in their“ benabs” in a lonely forest glade of the Essequibo, to live in the colonial capital with a negro. He was not a good specimen of his name and race. He ill-used and beat the slender and shapely daughter of the woods and streams. She endured it all for awhile and then fled to the “bush” and her friends. But when once more in her father's home, she bethought her of revenge. Perhaps she went to the Quiaha, the nymph of the creek source. At any rate, she secured the assistance of some spook of power. Almost immediately Quashie, generally, in our city was aware of the fact. It came about in this wise. Cries, ear-piercing, and in other respects terrible, began to issue in the evening from the cottage of the bad black man. No believer in Obeah ever fails to put two and two together pretty quickly in such a case. That a diabolic spectre was in that humble dwelling was clear, and the spiritually weatherwise hastened to make it votive offerings. They brought it, therefore, gifts of rum and of schiedam, of whisky a:d of beer. They laid vessels full of more or less generous liquor on the window sills, and then respectfully retired. The curious thing was that the spirit from the backwoods consumed these gifts as rapidly as they were presented to
him, his shrieks growing distinctly more appalling with every act of homage, till, at last, a dead silence within the cottage proclaimed the fact that for that night, at least, he was appeased. This dramatic perforinance was kept up for some time. The nuisance, however, became so great that the police were at last obliged to interfere, with this result, that the bad black man was ignominiously carried off to durance vile.
Above all, as I have in some sort indicated, Quashie is imitative. If you walked behind the sable bucks of our city, when they were taking their walks abroad on Sunday, dressed as smartly, as any London tradesman on his way to meeting, you would find no variety of “side” wanting, from the strictly dignified gait to the more selfassertive swagger. You will feel sure that you have met those young people before farther north, that is to say, before you note their faces. My black servant Pluto mimicked myself to perfection. I was for a long while unaware of this lèse-majesté, till one day a friend pointed him out to me with the remark : “There you go," and then I had an answer to the Burnsian prayer as far as the outer man was con. cerned :
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as others see us. . It was exquisitely comic, the more so that Pluto appeared most blissfully unconscious of holding the mirror up to nature. It was a very close likeness, with just a soupçon of the caricature about it.
Quashie, by the way, is by no means so indisposed for activity as he is for steady continuous work. The latter he is inclined to regard as no very great advance on old-time slavery ; but he is ready enough to bestir himself in games. He is addicted to cricket, and revels in football; he does not grow easily wearied in the dance. Cook going for a holiday in the country, will beg her mistress to make her a cap that she may worthily disport herself at lawn tennis. With a cheery refrain, such as “ Fanderanderango,” making vocal the river reaches, and waking distant echoes in the recesses of the forest. Quashie will bend right lustily to the labouring oar, and send the boat spinning along.
Then our sable friend of the sunlands is not without pluck. See him in the handsome and striking uniform of the West India regiments, and you will think him fit to go anywhere. Heaven alone knows what would become of the Portuguese of our city were it not for the Pax Britannica ; they would be smitten hip and thigh. Quashie in his wrath is too much for the immigrants from Madeira. As to the coolies, that is another matter. They come to the Crown