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Two Letters to the Editor of the Port-of-Spain Gazette, from Sarah Ann Onymous, 1907
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Collected Transcriptions by Lise Winer
Winer, Lise
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Port of Spain, Trinidad
Port-of-Spain Gazette
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Caribbean Area ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage:
Trinidad and Tobago

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University of Florida
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Two Letters to the Editor of the Portof Spain Gazette, from Sarah Ann Onymous, 1907 Introductory Note The great global cholera epidemic of 1853 had killed thousands in Trinidad, within living memory in 1907. Sanitation was of crucial importance, particularly in the densely populated urban areas. The letter writer is quite right to criticize a particular sanitation inspector who m the writer suspects of not checking properly because his mind is on romance rather than sanitation. This second text clearly follows from the previous one by the same author. Now Sarah says that because of her reporting the lax inspector, he is taking revenge by reporting her for, apparently, an untaxed garden tap. Note that nigger is used as a pejorative term for bad behavior, rather than only colour or race. Port of Spain Gazette June 11 1907, p. 3 To the Editor of the Portof Spain Gazette. Sir 1Now, I aint findin no fault wid de Sudgen Genral bout dem drections fo killin rats to stop de Bucholera Plague. 2Says Priscilla, after Bonaparte Napoleon don finish a perusin de Gazette on Sunday. 3But wat I figgers out is de question of how dos de rats excommunicate de disease? 4All dem long words bout bein noticefied pon de bes way to mortalise de rats and bout de knockyou able, an oderwise communicatchable diseases, is very pressionable 5Shore, whosumever rote [in tans] suttenly a had a mity fine college edjikation! 6But, as we inst all had de same vantages, my idee wud be to splain tings, sos people kin understan. 7Spresify pon dem in plane langwidge dat dey mus scrub dey house, and de bed clos, and deir puss ons, with plenty a Carbolic soap 8Doan to tro saltfish water in de canal befo de do to tract dey wi[?] scratch off on back sill on us. 9But shore, sponds Bonaparte Napoleon, de toritees is suttinly doin deir bes. 10I inst a denying it, sclaims Maria Priscilla, but some of dem spectors contents deirselfs, wid jeas a putting deir noses roun de gates of de wussest barrak yads, and goin no fudder in de daytime. 11Only yesterday mornin one of dem ogles in an Ginger Janes nex do, an sez e, Well dear, every ting al rite? 12Yes, darlin, sponds she, wid a Alligator smile. 13While de duck pon in de corner of de yard, dos tun me stomik wen ever she tros on de fresh water pon a morning. 14Coarse, says Bonaparte Napoleon, it mus be mity discomfortin to a man to hav to haul up to de Coart, a pusson as hes ben a makin ships eyes to de night befo. 15Well, ansers Maria Priscilla, My advice pon de subjec wud be, fer sum great wut has no pu ssonal feelins to be conglomerated what de barrak yards is consarned, to tek a wak round while de sun is up 16Ef one kin be foun as will undertek de job! 17Feurdermo, he bes pervide hisself wid a good Cologne handkerchief. SARAH ANN ONYMOUS. English Version Sir 1Now, Im not finding fault with the Surgeon General about those directions for killing rats to stop the Bucholera Plague. 2Said Priscilla, after Bonaparte Napoleon had finished perusing the Gazette on Sunday. 3But what I [c ant] figure out is the question of how do the rats communicate the disease? 4All those long words about being noticefied on the best way to mortalise the rats and about the innoculations, and otherwise communicatchable diseases, is very impressive 5Sure, whosoever wrote [?] certainly had a might fine college education! 6But, as we havent all had the same advantages, my idea would be to explain things, so as


people can understand. 7Express to them in plain language that they must scrub their hos ues and the bed clothes, and their persons, with plenty of Carbolic soap 8Dont throw saltfish water in the ditch before the door to attract [?] scratch off on bacillus. 9But surely, responds Bonaparte Napoleon, the authorities are certainly doing their best. 10Im not denying it, exclaims Maria Priscilla, but some of those inspectors content themselves with just putting their noses round the gates of the worst barrack yards, and going no further in the daytime. 11Only yesterday morning one of them ogles in on Ginger Janes next door, and says he, Well dear, everything all right? 12Yes, darling, responds she, with an alligator smile. 13While the duck pond in the corner of the yard, turns my stomach whenever she throws on the fresh water i n the morning. 14Course, says Bonaparte Napoleon, it must be mighty discomforting to a man to have to haul up to the Courts, a person that hes been making sheeps eyes to the night before. 15Well, answers Maria Priscilla, My advice upon the su bject would be, for some [person] who has no personal feelings to be complicated where the barrack yards are concerned, to take a walk round while the sun is up 16If one can be found as will undertake the job! 17Furthermore, he had best provide himself with a good cologned handkerchief. SARAH ANONYMOUS. Port of Spain Gazette 15 December 1907, p. 6 1Dear Mr. Eddy Torr I hasnt rote sense axing yo advice bout mixing de mecures [?] to swap up de flo while pon de subjec, I isnt fine no mo flees in de bed clos after follering yo drections. 2I wants now to consult you bout anudder matter. 3De m an wat was use to be inspector at Ginger Janes yad, is goin to repot me to pay 1 fo a garden tap. 4Is true sa I has me little clection o bitters aloes, an serio, an sich like as we po peeples dos use for remedys. 5Two yaller crotons grows each si de de steps, an a hansum ram horn be de gate. 6It wood breke me hart fer to bolish dem, but de tacks pon de house pervents me to set down an res in me old age. 7Dat nager man (me skin is black sa, but I aint no nigger!) is rampagi us cause I report de duck pon at Ginger Jane, an deys put a daylight inspector pon de beat, so he don get pay for his night visits no mo. 8Pleese tell de posman to tek de anser to Ramhorn Cottage. 9Praps I will be bliged to altar de name soon. SARAH ANN ONYMOUS. P.S. 10I jus remembers I dos raise goats, so to save de expense I kind change de h, r, n, in ramhorn, to g, a, t, instid. English Version 1Dear Mr. Eddy Torr I havent written since asking your advice about mixing the mecures [?] to sweep up the floor while on the subject, I havent found any more fleas in the bed clothes after following your directions. 2I want now to consult you about another matter. 3The man who used to be inspector at Ginger Janes yard, is going to report me to pay 1 for a garden tap. 4Its true sir I have my little collection of bitter aloes, and serio, and such like as we poor people use for remedies. 5Two yellow cro tons grow on each side of the steps, and a handsome rams horn is the gate. 6It would break my heart to abolish them, but the tax on the house prevents me from sitting


down and resting in my old age. 7That nigger man (my skin is black sir, but Im not a ni gger!) is rampaging against us because I reported the duck pond at Ginger Janes, and they put a daylight inspector on the beat, so he doesnt get paid for his night visits any more. 8Please tell the postman to take the answer to Ramhorn Cottage. 9Perha ps I will be obliged to alter the name soon. SARAH ANN ONYMOUS. P.S. 10I just remembered I dont raise goats, so to save the expense I can [?] change the h, r, n, in ramhorn, to g, a, t, instead [i.e. ramgate].