Page:The food of the Gods - A Popular Account of Cocoa.djvu/76

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35
A CACAO ESTATE.

passed, orange or bread-fruit shading the little garden, and perhaps a mango towering over all. The proprietor is still at work on the plantation, but his wife is preparing the evening meal, while the children, almost naked, play in the sunshine.

The cacao-trees of neighbouring planters come right down to the ditch by the roadside, and beneath dense foliage, on the long rows of stems hang the bright glowing pods. Above all towers the bois immortelle, called by the Spaniards la madre del cacao, "the mother of the cacao." In January or February the immortelle sheds its leaves and bursts into a crown of flame-coloured blossom. As we reach the shoulder of the hill, and look down on the cacao-filled hollow, with the immortelle above all, it is a sea of golden glory, an indescribably beautiful scene. Now we note at the roadside a plant of dragon's blood, and if we peer among the trees there is another just within sight; this, therefore, is the boundary of two estates. At an opening in the trees a boy slides aside the long bamboos which form the gateway, and a short canter along