Page:The food of the Gods - A Popular Account of Cocoa.djvu/73

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"THE FOOD OF THE GODS."

canes have to be hoed; then, when the time of "crop" arrives, the huge mills in the usine are set in motion, and for the longest possible hours of daylight the workers are in the field, loading mule-cart or light railway with massive canes. In the yard around the crushing-mills the shouting drivers bring their mule-teams to the mouth of the hopper, and the canes are bundled into the crushing rollers with lightning speed. The mills run on into the night, and the hours of sleep are only those demanded by stern necessity, until the crop is safely reaped and the last load of canes reduced to shredded megass and dripping syrup.

But upon the cocoa estate there is lasting peace. From the railway on the plain we climb the long valley, our strong-boned mule or lithe Spanish horse taking the long slopes at a pleasant amble, standing to cool in the ford of the river we cross and re-cross, or plucking the young shoots of the graceful bamboos so often fringing our path. Villages and stragglin cottages, with palm thatch and adobe walls, are