By Hassoldt Davis
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He had reached his Devil’s Island. It was pretty close to the dream of that lush, green, outlandish island you had in childhood, surrounded by the cold desks of the schoolroom and barren mathematics. We climbed the casual, gently winding road the convicts had built to the central ridge of the island, perhaps fifty feet above sea level, and looked the length of it across two rows of little stone prisons. It was a peaceful scene but for the square watchtower with its gun slots. ” Gouleau pointed.
She ruffled the feathers sensuously against their grain, to make them straight. “There is no help for us outside,” she said, “no subsidy now; so we live on our wits, which are God’s. We are island women,” she said, and her voice was like wind in a ravine. She pursed her old lips and blew a feather flower sunward. Vignon was tall and fresh, new to colonial administration, eager to make a name in it with the changes which the colony required as it discarded its penal past. There would be showers for the schools, vegetables for the schoolchildren grown by themselves, a huge Moorish hotel with patio, columns and swimming pool to attract tourists.
No criminals in all the world have been so spoiled and pampered as these nuisances on Devil’s Island! You have read the books, the newspaper articles. A stone wall surrounded it, and within was a generous house of two rooms, one for Dreyfus and one for his personal military guardian, who amicably philosophized with him on the trials of being outcast, played chess with him, and took him on walks to the other end of the island, to sit respectfully beside him while he cut images in the rock to baffle scientists of a hundred years from now.
The Jungle and the Damned by Hassoldt Davis