Chita: A Memory of Last Island - Lafcadio Hearn - Страница 1 из 104


CHITA: A Memory of Last Island
by
Lafcadio Hearn
"But Nature whistled with all her winds,
Did as she pleased, and went her way."
--Emerson
To my friend
Dr. Rodolfo Matas of New Orleans
Contents
The Legend of L'Ile Derniere
Out of the Sea's Strength
The Shadow of the Tide
The Legend of L'Ile Derniere
I.
Travelling south from New Orleans to the Islands, you pass through a
strange land into a strange sea, by various winding waterways. You can
journey to the Gulf by lugger if you please; but the trip may be made
much more rapidly and agreeably on some one of those light, narrow
steamers, built especially for bayou-travel, which usually receive
passengers at a point not far from the foot of old Saint-Louis Street,
hard by the sugar-landing, where there is ever a pushing and flocking
of steam craft--all striving for place to rest their white breasts
against the levee, side by side,--like great weary swans. But the
miniature steamboat on which you engage passage to the Gulf never
lingers long in the Mississippi: she crosses the river, slips into
some canal-mouth, labors along the artificial channel awhile, and then
leaves it with a scream of joy, to puff her free way down many a league
of heavily shadowed bayou. Perhaps thereafter she may bear you through
the immense silence of drenched rice-fields, where the yellow-green
level is broken at long intervals by the black silhouette of some
irrigating machine;--but, whichever of the five different routes be
pursued, you will find yourself more than once floating through sombre


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