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which hang from their branches down to the ground with tendrils of wonderful strength. These parasites are of various kinds, the fig being the most obdurate with its embraces. It frequently may be seen that the original tree has departed wholly from sight, and I should imagine almost wholly from existence; and then the very name is changed, and the cotton-tree is called a fig-tree. In others the process of destruction
may be observed, and the interior trunk may be seen to be stayed in its growth and stunted in its measure by the creepers which surround it. This pernicious embrace the natives describe as
The Scotchman hugging the Creole.” The metaphor is sufficiently satirical upon our northern friends, who are supposed not to have thriven badly in their visits to the Western islands.
But it often happens that the tree has reached its full growth before the parasites have fallen on it, and then, in place of being strangled, it is adorned. Every branch is covered with a wondrous growth—with plants of a thousand colors and a thousand sorts. Some droop with long and graceful tendrils from the boughs, and so touch the ground; while others hang in a ball of leaves and flowers, which swing for years, apparently without changing their position.
The growth of these parasite plants must be slow, though it is so very rich. A gentleman with whom I was staying, and in whose grounds I saw by far the most lovely tree of this description that met my sight, assured me that he had watched it closely for more than twenty years, and that he could trace no difference in the size or arrangement of the parasite plants by which it was surrounded.
We went across the island to a little village called Annotta Bay, traversing the Waag-water twenty-four times, as I have said ; and from thence, through the parishes of
Metcalf and St. George, to Port Antonio. “Fuit ilium et ingens gloria.” This may certainly be said of Port Antonio and the adjacent district. It was once a military station, and the empty barracks, standing so beautifully over the sea, on an extreme point of land, are now waiting till time shall reduce them to ruin. The place is utterly desolate, though not yet broken up in its desolation, as such buildings quickly become when left wholly untenanted. A
rusty cannon or two still stand at the embrasures, watching the entrance to the fort; and among the grass we found a few metal balls, the last remains of the last ordnance supplies.
But Port Antonio was once a goodly town, and the country round it, the parish of Portland, is as fertile as any in the island.
But now there is hardly a sugar estate in the whole parish. It is given up to the growth of yams, cocoas, and plantains. It has become a provisionground for negroes, and the palmy days of the town are of course gone.
Nevertheless, there was a decent little inn at Port Antonio, which will always be memorable to me on account of the love sorrows of a young maiden whom I chanced to meet there. The meeting was in this wise :
I was sitting in the parlor of the inn, after dinner, when a young lady walked in, dressed altogether in white. And she was well dressed, and not without the ordinary decoration of crinoline and ribbons. She was of the colored race; and her jet black, crisp, yet wavy hair was brushed back in a becoming fashion. Whence she came or who she was I did not know, and never learnt. That she was familiar in the house I presumed from her moving the books and little ornaments on the table, and arranging the cups and shells upon a shelf. “Heigh-ho!',
she ejaculated, when I had watched her for about a minute.
I hardly knew how to accost her, for I object to the word Miss, as standing alone ; and yet it was necessary that I should accost her. " Ah, well : heigh-ho!" she repeated. It was easy to perceive that she had a grief to tell.
Lady,” said I-I felt that the address was somewhat stilted, but in the lack of any introduction I knew not how else to begin—"Lady, I fear that you are in sorrow ?"
“ Sorrow enough !” said she. “ I'se in de deepest sorrow. Heigh-ho me! Well, de world will end some day,” and turning her face full upon me, she crossed her hands. I was seated on a sofa, and she came and sat beside me, crossing her hands upon her lap, and looking away to the opposite wall. I am not a very young man; and my friends have told me that I show strongly that steady married appearance of a paterfamilias which is so apt to lend assurance to maiden timidity. “ It will end some day for us all,” I replied.
" But with you, it has hardly yet had its beginning."
“ 'Tis a very bad world, and sooner over de better. To be treated so's enough to break any girl's heart-it is! My heart's clean broke, I know dat!" And as she put both her long, thin dark hands to her side, I saw that she had not forgotten her rings. " It is love then that ails
you 1 ?" “No!" She said this very sharply, turning full round upon me, and fixing her large dark eyes upon mine.
No, I don't love him one bit; not now, and never again. No, not if he were down dere begging.” And she stamped her little foot upon the ground as though she had an imaginary neck beneath her heel,
did love him ?'' “ Yes.” She spoke very softly now, and shook her head gently. “I did love him-oh, so much! He was so handsome, so nice! I shall never see such a man again : such eyes ; such a mouth! and then his nose ! He was a.Jew, you know."!
I had not known it before, and received the information perhaps with some little start of surprise.
“Served me right, didn't it? And I'se a Baptist, you know. They'd have read me out, I know dat. But I didn't seem to mind it den.” And then she gently struck one hand with the other, as she smiled sweetly in my face. The trick is customary with the colored women in the West Indies when they have entered upon a nice, familiar, pleasant bit of chat. At this period I felt myself to be sufficiently intimate with her to ask her name.
Josephine ; dat's my name. D’ye like dat name ?" “It's as pretty as its owner-nearly.
Pretty! no; I’se not pretty. If I was pretty, he'd not have left me so. He used to call me Feeny."
“What! the Jew did !" I thought it might be well to detract from the merit of the lost admirer. “A girl like you should have a Christian lover."
“Dat's what dey all says."
“I ain't though ; not a bit; though I do hate him so Oh, I hate him; I hate him! I hate him worse dan poi
And again her little foot went to work. I must confess that it was a pretty foot; and as for her waist, I never saw one better turned, or more deftly clothed. Her little foot went to work upon the floor, and then clenching her small right hand, she held it up before my face as though to show me that she knew how to menace.
I took her hand in mine, and told her that those fingers
had not been made for threats. “ You are a Christian,' said I, " and should forgive.'
“ I’se a Baptist,” she replied ; "and in course I does forgive him: I does forgive him : but! He'll be wretched in this life, I know; and she-she'll be wretcheder; and when he dies-oh-h-h-h!" In that prolonged expression there was a curse as deep
that Ernulphus ever gave. Alas ! such is the forgiveness of too many a Christian !
“ As for me, I wouldn't demean myself to touch de hem of her garment! Poor fellow! What a life he'll have ; for she's a virgo with a vengeance.” This at the moment astonished me; but from the whole tenor of the lady's speech I was at once convinced that no satirical allusion was intended. In the hurry of her fluttering thoughts she had merely omitted the letter “a.” her rival's temper, not her virtue, that she doubted.
“The Jew is going to be married then ?"
“He told her so; but p'raps he'll jilt her too, you know.” It was easy to see that the idea was not an unpleasant one. - And then he'll come back to
you ?" “Yes, yes; and I'll spit at him;" and in the fury of her mind she absolutely did perform the operation. “I wish he would ; I'd sit so, and listen to him ;” and she crossed her hands and assumed an air of dignified quiescence which well became her. “I'd listen every word he say; just so. Every word till he done; and I'd smile" —and she did smile_" and den when he offer me his hand”—and she put out her own—" I'd spit at him, and leave him so." And rising majestically from her seat she stalked out of the room.
As she fully closed the door behind her, I thought that the interview was over, and that I should see no