The Magic Island

By B. Seabrook; Alexander King | Go to book overview

Chapter VI
THE GOD INCARNATE

IF Maman Célie treated me as one of her own sons, no more, no less, mending my clothes, wrapping up my head in a mess of herbs and soapsuds (whether I would or no) when she thought I had caught danghi fever, scolding me on some occasions -- but loving me -- and showing me respect, thank God, on none, the attitude of the other members of this patriarchal family group at my adopted home in the mountains was slightly different. It was not that I was a blanc, a white man; they had come to care nothing about that; it was rather that after all our intimacy they deemed me still gros moon, important "company," an honored guest. The big peristyle, an open straw-roofed pavilion, inclosed only by a waist-high lattice fence to keep out the pigs and dogs that roved by night, was my guest chamber. I slept on a cot with sheets and the children made my bed. Marie- Céleste, an unmarried daughter, spied upon my awakenings, brought me black coffee. The grown sons generally insisted on helping saddle and unsaddle my horse. The young naked brats who toddled and crawled about regarded me still with a slight awe because of my boots and because they were forbidden to enter the peristyle. A table with a checkered cloth, knives, forks, and china plates was laid for me in the peristyle. Usually Maman Célie and Papa Théodore dined with me, but sometimes I dined alone.

Thus accustomed by habitude to all these little considerations, I was roundly surprised one evening, and, I am afraid, ungraciously annoyed at the outset, when the following thing occurred.

-70-

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