Miss Sarah Jack of Spanish Town, Jamaica by Anthony Trollope Page 1 of 34
There is nothing so melancholy as a country in its decadence, unless it be a people in their decadence. I am not aware that the latter misfortune can be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon race in any part of the world; but there is reason to fear that it has fallen on an English colony in the island of Jamaica.
Jamaica was one of those spots on which fortune shone with the full warmth of all her noonday splendour. That sun has set;-whether for ever or no none but a prophet can tell; but as far as a plain man may see, there are at present but few signs of a coming morrow, or of another summer.
It is not just or proper that one should grieve over the misfortunes of Jamaica with a stronger grief because her savannahs are so lovely, her forests so rich, her mountains so green, and he rivers so rapid; but it is so. It is piteous that a land so beautiful should be one which fate has marked for misfortune.
Had Guiana, with its flat, level, unlovely soil, become poverty-stricken, one would hardly sorrow over it as one does sorrow for Jamaica.
As regards scenery she is the gem of the western tropics.
It is impossible to conceive spots on the earth's surface more gracious to the eye than those steep green valleys which stretch down to the south-west from the Blue Mountain peak towards the sea; and but little behind these in beauty are the rich wooded hills which in the western part of the island divide the counties of Hanover and Westmoreland.
The hero of the tale which I am going to tell was a sugar-grower in the latter district, and the heroine was a girl who lived under that Blue Mountain peak.