The Magic Island

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

Chapter III
"THE TRUTH IS A BEAUTIFUL THING"

"You will be entertained this afternoon," said my white friend Ash Pay Davis, "for I've invited Ernest Chauvet to call and meet you. We'll loosen up with a few rum cocktails and weep together over Haiti's tragic fate."

"Who is Ernest Chauvet?" I asked, and Ash Pay sketched Chauvet's background quickly.

Chauvet was the chief thorn in the flesh of the American occupation, owner and editor of the Nouvelliste, violently anti-American and consequently anti-Borno. Every little while President Borno threw him in jail, where he enjoyed himself hugely, devoured whole roast turkeys, drank champagne, and thumbed his nose at the wide world outside. But even his bitterest political enemies, including some of the American treaty officials whom he belabored and traduced outrageously in his editorial column, liked him as an individual because of his wit, gay amiability, and cynical candor. Most of the little Americans feared and despised him, but it seemed that he was on terms of curious intimacy with some of the big chiefs, as for instance with my present host Ash Pay, active head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti, who, though in no way connected with the official administration, was a close personal friend of Borno and at that time an ardent advocate of the American-Borno régime.

Ash Pay told me that Ernest Chauvet's father, now dead, founder of the Nouvelliste, a distinguished editor and publicist, planning to bequeath the journal to his son, had sent young Ernest first to Paris for university education, and

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