Caciques Funeral

Cacique* His hair is gathered in a bunch on the crown of his head, and decorated with feathers of gorgeous colouring. His shrivelled face is painted bright with scarlet roucou and rings of black and white paint, while through his nose a crimson feather has been thrust. His olive chest, almost covered with curious devices in brilliant colours, is further decorated with ghastly necklaces of human teeth, mingled with thin plates of purest gold, while in his hands are placed the spear and heavy wooden sword he wielded with such might but a short while ago.

Behind the mummied corpse stands the tall, handsome woman who had but a few moments before left the cave, and now her shrieks and lamentations make the vaulted roof resound. Her eyes seem to seek those of the Zemi priest, as if already looking for an answer to her prayer; but he, with frantic leaps and gleaming eyes, seems worked into a frenzy, and cuts and gashes his tawny skin with a sharp ivory instrument, until his blood drips from countless wounds.

The cave is filled with Carib warriors and women, while just behind the dead Cacique stands a group of young and handsome maidens, their long raven tresses have been severed from their heads, and are now laid as an offering on the bier of the Carib chief. Their shrieks and lamentations fill the air, and one amongst them, with a form of classic beauty and eyes of liquid purity, seems to tremble and shudder with convulsive starts, and appears unable to withdraw her glance from the cruel-faced idol enshrined on the altar. An old Carib woman, with mournful chant, recitcs the brave deeds of the dead Cacique, and after singing of all his acts of valour, finishes by imploring the Zemi to indicate by word or sign which one of the young maidens there assembled had been chosen by the dead Cacique for hie companion in the shadow world, A ghastly stillness now reigns through the silent cave, and the cluster of maidens round the bier convulsively clutch each other's arms, and tremble with deathly fear- "While every man and woman breathlessly awaits the answer of the Zemi, the stealthy priest has, unobserved, placed the end of the pliant tube between his teeth, and with a hissing sound the idol's lips seemed filled with life, and the sound of words seems flowing from them. Amid the deathly silence, the single word " Ariaxa99 falls from the ZemiV lips, and as the cavern rings with the warriors1 shouts and the women's cries, the hapless Carib maiden is seized by two stalwart savages and dragged before the altar. The Zemi's priest, with glistening eyes, for a moment poises his ivory dagger in the air; the lovely maiden's lips part in one long despairing shriek, and I open my eyes and stretch myself in my lazy hammock, and seem still to see the agony of the hapless victim, as I hear the piercing cry of a mountain hawk, planing in the still atmosphere just above me.

CHAPTER IX.

Marvellous occurrences—Miraculous shower of stones—Wonderful showers of water iu St. Lucia—The electrio girl— Medicine-men and rain-producers.

Not in the lower orders alone are people seen in these Western Isles possessing remarkable and mysterious powers, but many a wondrous tale have I heard from the mouths of intelligent people of marvellous events having occurred to their certain knowledge. The following wonderful incident I really believe to have happened, as there are still scores of witnesses who swear to its truth in every particular. I will give it in the words of a friend, a French Roman Catholic priest, from whom I first heard it.

" I was once in charge of a large and rather populous country district in Trinidad, and while there a remarkable event occurred which, being still unexplained, has quite shaken my ideas respecting the many stories of mystery one hears so often and laughs at. A friend of mine had bought a large but almost abandoned sugar estate, and the original dwelling-house having fallen to ruins, he was obliged to run up a small temporary wooden building until he could set about erecting a permanent dwelling* This little house was cnly composed of two good sized rooms, divided by a small wooden partition, and having no ceiling but the roof above them. The whole house was perhaps about thirty feet long by fourteen broad. It had been built and occupied by the planter and a brother of his for some weeks, when one evening I met them rushing towards me with the wonderful assertion that stones were falling In their houses end that theycould not explain how. They were in a state of great agitation, and by degrees I extracted from them that they had been sitting in the veranda while the sua was settings and had remained there until it had become quite dark One ofihem was just about to gp inside to light a lamp, when the noise of something heavy ftlling oh the floor of the inner room startled him* A moment after came another crash. Hastily lighting the lamp, he opened the door and advanced into the room; on the floor he perceived a couple of good sized stones lying near him. Thinking himself the victim of some trick, he looked towards the window, which, however, was firmly secured. At that instant ho heard another crash in the room he had just left. Hastily returning to it, he found on the floor another stone—Bang! Crash! again in the bedroom! Thoroughly alarmed, he rushed outside and called his brother, who, before he had time to speak, asked what he was kicking up all the row for! From outside they could hear distinctly the continual falling of the stones, and, unable to bear

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