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Tropic Days   By: (1852-1923)

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First Page:

TROPIC DAYS (1918)

BY

E. J. BANFIELD

AUTHOR OF "THE CONFESSIONS OF A BEACHCOMBER" AND "MY TROPIC ISLE"

"Peace and silence. . . combined with the large liberties of nature."

De Quincey

TO

MY BROTHER BEACHCOMBERS; Professing, Practising

AUTHOR'S NOTE

In my previous books the endeavour was to give exact if prosaic details of life on an island off the coast of North Queensland on which a few of the original inhabitants preserved their uncontaminated ways. Here is presented another instalment of sketches of a quiet scene. Again an attempt is made to describe not as ethnological specimens, but as men and women types of a crude race in ordinary habit as they live, though not without a tint of imagination to embolden the better truths.

I thankfully acknowledge indebtedness to my friends Mr. Charles Hedley, of the Australian Museum (Sydney); Dr. R. Hamlyn Harris, Director of the Queensland Museum; and Mr. Dodd S. Clarke, of Townsville, N.Q., for valuable aid in the preparation of my notes for publication.

DUNK ISLAND.

CONTENTS

PART I SUN DAYS.

IN IDLE MOMENT ETERNAL SUNSHINE FRAGRANCE AND FRUIT THE SCENE SHIFTER BRACE PLANTS SHADOWS "SMILING MORN" ANCESTRAL SHADE QUIET WATERS "THE LOWING HERD" BABBLING BEACHES THE LOST ISLE

PART II THE PASSING RACE.

THE CORROBOREE THE CANOE MAKER TWO LADIES NELLY, THE SHREW; MARIA DANCES SOOSIE BLUE SHIRT THE FORGOTTEN DEAD EAGLE'S NEST FLOAT NATURE IN RETALIATION "STAR RUN ABOUT" BLACKS AS FISHERMEN HOOKS NARCOTICS AND POISONS FLY FISHING

PART III MISCELLANEA.

PEARLS WHAT IS A PEARL? A PEARL IN THE MAKING STRANGE PEARLS PEARLS AND HIGH TRAGEDY SNAKE AND FROG PRATTLE THE BUSH TRACK THE LITTLE BROWN MAN UP AND AWAY "PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING" TIME'S FINGER THE SOUL WITHIN THE STONE

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

AT HOME ON THE TROPIC STRAND "DEBIL DEBIL" NATURE'S PUZZLE: FIND THE BIRD ORCHID (PHAIUS GRANDIFOLIUS) ORCHID (BULBOPHYLLUM BAILEYI) A SPIDER CRAB A SPIDER CRAB DISGUISED CASUARINAS TOURNEFORTIA ARGENTA MACARANGA TANARIUS UMBRELLA TREE SHADOWS SUN SALUTED TREE FERNS "THE LOWING HERD" PERFECT HAPPINESS GIGANTIC OYSTER (OSTREA CRISTA GALLI) SANDSPIT SWIRL GLOOM AND GLEAM COWRIES "SOOSIE'S" TYPE TAPES LEAF VARIATIONS (FICUS OPPOSITA) TYPICAL FORM RIGHT HAND TOP CORNER TELLINA A SHELL COLLECTION TRITON DOMESTIC DUTIES PEARL ENTOMBED FISH AND RACEMOSE PEARL CATTIERS PEARL IMPRISONED CHITON TWO STRANGE PEARLS TWO BUBBLE SHELLS PEARL JOSSES WHITE APPLE (EUGENIA CORMIFLORA) CYCADS DESERTED CYCAD AND PALMS WIND TORMENTED FIG TREE THE IDLE OCEAN

PART I SUN DAYS

IN IDLE MOMENT

"'Are you not frequently idle?' 'Never, brother. When we are not engaged in our traffic we are engaged in our relaxations.'" BORROW.

On the smooth beaches and in the silent bush, where time is not regulated by formalities or shackled by conventions, there delicious lapses fag ends of the day to be utilised in a dreamy mood which observes and accepts the happenings of Nature without disturbing the shyest of her manifestations or permitting 'the mind to dwell on any but the vaguest speculations.

Such idle moments are mine. Let these pages tell of their occupation.

As the years pass it is proved that the administration of the affairs of an island, the settled population of which is limited to three, involves pleasant though exacting duties. It is a gainful government not gainful in the accepted sense, but in all that vitally matters personal freedom, absence of irksome regulations remindful of the street, liberty to enjoy the mood of the moment and to commune with Nature in her most fascinating aspects. Those who are out of touch with great and dusty events may, by way of compensation, be the more sensitive to the processes of the universe, which, though incessantly repeated, are blessed with recurrent freshness... Continue reading book >>




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