Chita: A Memory of Last Island

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He sailed west and changed his name into a Japanese one.

It was a transformation so complete that it was he virtually re-invented himself as made in Japan. His works became sort of folklores in Japan and the rest of the world. What happen to St Malo could be answered in this novel, Lost Island. So the hurricane passed,--tearing off the heads of the prodigious waves, to hurl them a hundred feet in air,--heaping up the ocean against the land,--upturning the woods. Bays and passes were swollen to abysses; rivers regorged; the sea-marshes were changed to raging wastes of water.

Before New Orleans the flood of the mile-broad Mississippi rose six feet above highest water-mark. One hundred and ten miles away, Donaldsonville trembled at the towering tide of the Lafourche. Lakes strove to burst their boundaries.

Far-off river steamers tugged wildly at their cables,--shivering like tethered creatures that hear by. In the last killer storm of the century swept all the houses in Saint Malo. The location Saint Malo could be best described in the opening of the novel. Travelling south from New Orleans to the Islands, you pass through a strange land into a strange sea, by various winding waterways.


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You can journey to the Gulf by lugger if you please; but the trip may be made much more rapidly and agreeably on someone 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.

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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 mazes of swamp-forest,--past assemblages of cypresses all hoary with the parasitic tillandsia, and grotesque as gatherings of fetich-gods.

Ever from river or from lakelet the steamer glides again into canal or bayou,--from bayou or canal once more into lake or bay; and sometimes the swamp-forest visibly thins away from these shores into wastes of reedy morass where, even of breathless nights, the quaggy soil trembles to a sound like thunder of breakers on a coast: the storm-roar of billions of reptile voices chanting in cadence,--rhythmically surging in stupendous crescendo and diminuendo,--a monstrous and appalling chorus of frogs!

There are no telegraph lines, no telephones: the mail-packet is the only trustworthy medium of communication with the outer world, bringing friends, news, letters. And even during the deepest sleep of waves and winds there will come betimes to sojourners in this unfamiliar archipelago After the demise of St Malo the Manila men moved couple of miles west to create a man made island. Called the Manila Village or simply Platform. Some queer camp of wooden dwellings clustering around a vast platform clustering around a vast platform that stands above the water upon a thousand piles; --over the miniature wharf you can scarcely fail to observe a white sign-board painted with crimson ideographs.

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