Saturday, November 05, 2005

Vot's a Conch?

He is invariably a" Conch" or native of the Bahame, Islands, attracted to this country by its better prices for sponge, and has been familiar with similar surroundings from infancy. Thus while his eye is always turned upon the water, it is not to note with delight its rich coloring, nor the exquisite forms that inhabit its depths; but in search of certain black, shapeless objects that lie beneath it, and which represent his livelihood. Yet he passes over acres and miles of these, ranging in size from that of a cocoanut to the bigness of a hogshead, and all of a symmetrical roundness, before pausing. Apparently he is throwing away the chance of a lifetime; but if you suggest this to him he will laugh in scorn at your ignorance, and answer: "Them's honly logger'eads, vot hain't no good. Hi could load a fleet o'wessels vith them an' not go hout hof sight hof Key Vest."

A Conch is as reckless of his h's as a Cockney, and invariably supplants a w with a v, or vice versa.

From Scribner's Magazine, 1892, as reproduced at Floripedia.

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