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of puttering water. he paused

      “Oh, it’s you,” she exclaimed, and smiled wanly.
      He was sourly sweeping dishes, forks, egg-stained things into a mossy wooden basket which he hoisted and dropped into a cesspool of puttering water.
      He paused, blinking uncomprehendingly.
      “You,” she was catching at mementoes, “you remember — you helped me — my trunk —”

ex Eric Walrond, “The Yellow One” in collection of his stories Tropic Death (1926) : 61-85 (74)
U Michigan copy/scan, via google : link
UC Berkeley copy/scan, via hathitrust : link
beautiful endpaper art partially visible in UC scan; see below.

a complicated (racially and otherwise) and violent story; interesting language — both that capturing “dialect,” and (more interesting to me) in the narration —
mounds of ash debris of an exotic kind (72-73)
pummeled, by some ornate instinct (75)
The tension subsided, and Jota once more fed the hardware to the dish machine (78)
The rest of the galley was a foetic blur to her (81)
It was a roaming mouth. (259)
It was there that Gerald was to take on the color of life. (260)

Dedicated to Casper Holstein (1876-1944), “Gambler, philanthropist, and Virgin Islands activist” —
wikipedia : link
see link therein to Sara Smollett, “Harlem’s Virgin Islanders” (2005), from which Holstein’s description is taken

Eric Derwent Walrond (1898-1966), Afro-Caribbean Harlem Renaissance writer and journalist wikipedia : link

as scanned by google (including digital weirdness at lower right)

James C Davis devotes a chapter to Tropic Death — with sharp attention to its language — in his Eric Walrond : A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean (2015)
borrowable at archive.org : link

19 September 2023