"Fine lot these government chaps -- are they not?" he went on, speaking English with great precision and considerable bitterness.
"It is funny what some people will do for a few francs a month. I wonder what becomes of that kind when it goes upcountry?"
I said to him I expected to see that soon.
"So-o-o!" he exclaimed. He shuffled athwart, keeping one eye ahead vigilantly. "Don't be too sure," he continued. "The other day I took up a man who hanged himself on the road. He was a Swede, too."
"Hanged himself! Why, in God's name?" I cried.
He kept on looking out watchfully. "Who knows? The sun too much for him, or the country perhaps."
At last we opened a reach. A rocky cliff appeared, mounds of turned-up earth by the shore, houses on a hill, others with iron roofs, amongst a waste of excavations, or hanging to the declivity.
A continuous noise of the rapids above hovered over this scene of inhabited devastation. A lot of people, mostly black and naked, moved about like ants. A jetty projected into the river. A blinding sunlight drowned all this at times in a sudden recrudescence of glare.