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I want to share with you this interesting and true account of the papaya:"That which makes womenbeautiful for ever; which renews the strength of man; which is a sweet and excellent food, and whichprovides medicine for various ills, cannot be said to lack many of the attributes of the elixir of life, and issurely entitled to a special paean in a land languishing for population.Distinctive and significant as the virtues possessed by the papaw are, yet because of its universality andbecause it yields its fruits with little labour, it gets but scant courtesy. It is tolerated merely; but if we had itnot, if it were as far as that vast shore washed by the farthest sea, men would adventure for suchmerchandise_and adventure at the bidding of women. How few there are who recognise in the everydaypapaw one of the most estimable gifts of kindly Nature?...Sometimes the seeds are eaten as a relish, or macerated in vinegar as acondiment, when they resemble capers. The pale yellow male flowers, immersed in a solution of commonsalt, are also used to give zest to the soiled appetite, the combination of flavour being olive-like, piquant andgrateful. The seeds used as a thirst-quencher form component parts of a drink welcome to fever patients. Thepapaw and the banana in conjunction form an absolutely perfect diet. What the one lacks in nutritive orassimilative qualities the other supplies.the fruit in some countries is cooked as a vegetable with meat, and insoups; it forms an ingredient in a popular sauce, and is preserved in a variety of ways as a sweetmeat. Syrupsand wines and cordials made from the ripe fruit are expectorant, sedative and tonic. Ropes are made from thebark of the tree. By its power of dissolving stains the papaw has acquired the name of the melon bleach; theleaves, and a portion of the fruit are steeped in water, and the treated water is used in washing colouredclothing, especially black, the colours being cleaned and held fast.The strange and beautiful races of the Antilles astonish the eyes of the traveller who sees them for the firsttime. It has been said that they have taken their black, brown, and olive and yellow skin tints from the satinyand bright-hued rinds of the fruit which surround them. If they are to be believed, the mystery of their clean,clear complexion and exquisite pulp-like flesh arises from the use of the papaw fruit as a cosmetic. A slice ofripe fruit is rubbed over the skin, and is said to dissolve spare flesh and remove every blemish. It is a toiletrequisite in use by the young and old, producing the most beautiful specimens of the human race."The Confessions of a BeachcomberE J Banfield
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