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MY TRIP TO AMERICA AND HAVANA
IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1884.
AMERICA AND HAVANA.
MANCHESTER: J. E. CORNISH, PICCADILLY.
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO.
Entered at Stationers' Hall.
All Rirhts Reserved. .
THE following pages, descriptive of my trip to the United States and Havana, are gathered from a diary jotted down on the voyage out, and during my visits to the many places of interest, the loose leaves of which were regularly sent home with my letters. On my return I found they had obtained an extensive circulation amongst my friends, at whose suggestion they now appear in print in, a more permanent form;- and if they should induce even a few others to cross the Atlantic to see their American cousins, they will not have been written in vain.
My departure for America was very sudden. I had occasion to consult a doctor, who insisted upon a six weeks' holiday, for change and rest." His prescription was, not physic, -but the invigorating breezes of the Atlantic Ocean. I pleaded, that at this time of year I could not possibly be spared from business;- but he was inflexible in his commands, and go I must.
Next morning I received a telegram from the son of my London cigar-broker, Going Havana via New York by 'City of Chicago' from Liverpool October :2nd; will
you go ?" The prospect of an agreeable companion, who has resided at Havana and speaks Spanish, fixed my resolution, and, without further hesitation, my portmanteau was packed, a passport procured, and I was away with little ceremony in leave-taking. Punctually at the time appointed we met at Liverpool, and proceeded on board that splendid steamship to share a stateroom on the voyage out.
A trip to the United States, either on business or pleasure, is made nowadays by hundreds of people every week, so it would be difficult to write much that is new, on the subject, and my notes are not intended to" be anything more than a sketch of personal experiences and observations on a very brief visit.
If, however,. it were more generally known how easy and pleasant the voyag-e can be made in the noble Atlantic liners, and what a friendly welcome the English people get everywhere in America, the number who go, there on pleasure would soon be largely increased by many who now for recreation repeat their visits to the continent.
St. Ann's' Square,
Manchester, March, 1885-
THE VOYAGE OUTI ARRIVAL AT NEW YORK ..is
NEW YORK ANI) BROOKLYN BRIDGE ..... 20
OUR HOTEL AT NEW YORK .* 23
THE HUDSON RIVER 27...
ALBANY To NIAGARA..... 29
NIAGARA FALLS AND RAPIDS.. ... ... 31
NIAGARA" To NEXY YORK ... .. 35
NEW YORK To HAVANA.. ... ... 37
HOTEL ... ... 40
CIGAR FACTORIES ...... 42
CIGAR MAKING *,44
AMUSEMENTS ...* ... ... 49
BULL-FIGHTS ....* 51
THE CASINO .. 1* 57
WATERWYORKS ... .. .. 58
HAVANA TO MATANZAS .. ...6o HAVANA, DESCRIPTION OF ... ..65 HAVANA To NEW YORK ... ... ... 73
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ... ... 74
NEW YORK To BALTIMORE ... ... 76
BALTIMORE, DRUIDS' PARK ... ... ... 78
WASHINGTON ... .. .. .. .. ..So
BALTIMORE CITY ... ... ... 83
PHILADELPHIA .* .. ... ... 85
NEW YORK, CITY AND PEOPLE .. ... go.. 9
NEW YORK To LIVERPOOL .. .. ..103 .HOME AGAIN ... .. .. 105
AMERICA AND HAVANA.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2ND, 1884
C AME on board the INMAN steamship "City of
Chicago" at four o'clock from the Liverpool landing stage on the Company's tender, crowded with passengers, a vast pile of baggage, and a great number of relatives and friends to see us off. After a short interval, chiefly spent in a hurried inspection of the saloons and our particular "stateroom," a signal was given for the shore, and at five o'clock the tender parted us from our friends, all waving good-byes as long as we could see each other.
In a few minutes we were steaming down the Mersey in fine weather, with a full complement of passengers, 1 50 saloon and about 5oo intermediate and steerage, of whoin, I have since ascertained, about 200 were Irish emigrants.
Before the tender left, I presented a letter to Mr. Cochrane, the Company's agent at Liverpool, who introduced me to Captain Watkins, the, "commodore"
MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
captain of the Inman line; he also endorsed my letter to Mr. Kirk, their agent at New York. For the first half hour it was* interesting to observe the promiscuous crowd of passengers separating into their respective quarters, and the sailors and stewards sorting the m mountain of baggage for the various cabins, and lowering into the hold the heavy trunks not wanted on the
After we had identified and arranged our own personal luggage, we were -ready for the dinner bell at seven O'clock, and were glad to find ourselves favoured with seats, and pleasant American companions, at the Purser's table, next to the saloon door an, airy and convenient situation,' in which we are smartly waited upon by Carey, the Purser's steward for the voyage.
When we came on deck again we were surprised to find that a fine evening in the Mersey had changed to a strong head wind in the Channel, with rain and spray, which was anything but pleasant. At nine o'clock we passed the Holyhead lights, and at eleven we turned
1 n for the night tired and sleepy.
The -novelty of pyjamas for night attire and the feat of getting into a narrow shelf-like bed over an upright board requires a little practice the 'bedclothes being tightly tucked under, one has to insert oneself into them as it were into a horizontal sack, and in this operation it is rather difficult to get the ample legs of the divided skirt to go below the knees. However, we were soon asleep, but both aroused at four o'clock by noises very distracting to a landsman, such as rattling doors and creaking timbers, chains, pulleys, and donkey engine winching
TH~E VOYAGE OUT. 3
cinders and ashes up'out of the stoke-hole and shooting them into the sea down a sheet-iron spout. This discharge has to be repeated every four hours, and at night seems to require much shouting and strong adjectives to make the men below understand' the men above.
The steering gear, which runs, all along both sides of the upper deck, from the wheelhouse to the stern, also makes a constant rubbing and bumping noise overhead. Sometimes when suddenly reversed the heavy chain portions lift half an inch and drop on the deck again with sharp thuds.'
The City of Chicago is beautifully fitted and very .steady at sea. So far the movement has-been slight, and no mal-de-mer victims were visible. The brilliant electric light, in all saloons and cabins, has decided ad-, vantages over gas and oil lamps for purity of atmosphere. But electricity, like all novel agencies, is apt to play tricks. This evening, just* as we had all got seated at dinner, the lights went out, and as suddenly came in again, when the stewards where hurrying about in the dark to produce reliable modest candles. This momentary eclipse created great laughter amongst the passengers.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3RD.
A' splendid, sunny morning, and when we awoke, about seven o'clock, the houses on the coast of Ireland were. plainly visible. A salt-water bath was very refre hing, and a brisk walk on deck soon suggested breakfast, which was served with a liberal variety
4 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
of nice things, as will be seen by the following menu:
Breakfast, 8 to 9-30 a.m.
Fried soles, kippered herrings, Finnan haddie, red herrings:, ASSORTED.
Oatmeal porridge and hominy.
Broiled beef-steak and onions, veal cutlets, ham and eggs.
Broiled kidneys and bacon, mutton chops, plain omelettes, boiled eggs.
Calves' liver and bacon, Irish. stew, jacket and chip potatoes.
Indian meal cakes with syrup, soda scones, Graham bread.
Ham, tongue, and potted meats.
Marmalade, honey and jam, tomatoes, and melons.
Coffee, cocoa, and chocolate, tea (breakfast. and oolong).
After breakfast we wrote letters, ready for letter-box in saloon, to be cleared at twelve; the tender with mails and a few more passengers being expected at 12-35 ; but instead of this only the luggage tender. came alongside with a large quantity of ship's provisions, consisting of vegetables, fowls, ducks, geese, and all such things as are cheaper and more plentiful in Ireland.
News also came that the Holyhead boat was late and the mails could not be down before four o'clock, so Mr. Wilson, the company's well-known agent at Manchester, introduced some of us to Mr. Campbell, the chief engineer, and we went with him to see the engines and boilers.
The engi nes were made by Charles Connell and Co., of Glasgow, and are considered very fine work; one high
THE VOYAGE OUT. 5
pressure cylinder 4ft. Sin. in diameter, and two lower pressure each 6ft. 8in. diameter.. The stroke of pistons Is 5ft., and they are 900-horse power.
The screw shaft is enormous, 11i5ft. long and igin. diameter, turning a screw propeller with blades measuring 2Oft. over all. The boiler furnaces consist of three rows of four each, all alike, and the consumption of coal averages about 100 tons a day, which is considered a small quantity. The steamers of this line are not driven at a great speed as compared with those of the Cunard line, on which the "Oregon" burns about 340 tons of coal a day.
The steering gear is worked by ingenious machinery, .made by Harrison, of Manchester, and can be turned w ith ease by one hand.
The measurement of the "City of Chicago" is 5,202 tons burthen, and I understand she is often loaded with the largest cargoes that cross the Atlantic.
As soon as we dropped anchor in the beautiful harbour of Queenstown, a number of big boats came alongside full of men, women, and girls, with baskets and boxes of fruit, sweets, lace, bog-oak ornaments, walking-sticks, and the national shillelaghs.! Thick ropes with loops at the end were lowered to them;, these they slipped over their heads and bodies, and sat down upon, facing the ship. In this position they were one by one hauled up the sidie at least twenty-five feet, and tipping the side with .t heir toes. At the top many of the poor creatures had their hands badly pinched between the rope and the top-rail, as they were jerked up several feet at once by a lot of sailors and passengers, who could not see or know when"i to stop until their heads appeared, above the
6 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
bulwarks. Their eager faces and energy in pushing about among the crowd to sell their wares was very remarkable, and as the mails did not come till four O'clock they had about as many hours as they expected minutes for business, and only cleared off in the .last tender.
In the meantime we had been ashore in the first tender and had a drive round Queenstown in a jaunting car. Of these, where we landed at a small pier, there were about eighteen all in a row. The first solicited us to "take the grey horse for a noice droive round," for which he condescendingly asked six shillings for an hour; the next wanted four shillings, another three, and finally gauging our limited means, offered to take us for two.. This liberal offer we accepted, and told him if he didn't drive us well we should mention him in a book, as we believed his legal fare was only a shilling an hour; so we took the difference out, in asking. numerous questions for local information.
The view of the harbour from the higher terraces is very fine, and I am told (not by the carmen) it is the finest harbour in the world, excepting one or two in Australia; it has three islands including Spike Island, which was the site of a convict prison until lately, and is now being converted into a military station and naval dep6t.
We 'returned to the ship on the tender with the mails, consisting Of 280 large bags of letters and newspapers; these were carried on board by porters one by one, and ticked off in tallies of ten each by two of the ship's officers, and then lowered into the hold. During this process we were slowly steaming out of the, harbour,
THE VOYAGE OUT. .7
the tender being lashed alongside by a thick hawser; after a few minutes' warning by steam whistles and bells there was a general clearance for the shore, and we cast the tender adrift and in lovely weather proceeded on our way.
On these voyages the steamers are in charge of the Company's own Liverpool pilot over the bar in the Mersey; then the captain takes command to the entrance of Queenstown harbour, where another pilot is taken on board out of a small boat, and the ship is then under his care both in and out of the harbour, and the Liverpool pilot waits .at Queenstown for their homeward bound steamer from New York and returns in her to Liverpool, taking charge of her from reaching the bar to anchorage in the Mersey. The evening was simply delightful as we steamed out of Queenstown harbour, and the ship so smooth and steady that it seemed for the first hundred miles as though we were going to glide across the Atlantic with no more inconvenience than riding in a saloon railway carriage. There is no appearance of sickness yet, but a few here and there were apparently thinking seriously about it, and took no interest at the dinner table.
This afternoon we began a game with my indiarubber deck quoits, and were soon joined by two others and quite a small crowd of spectators. I had heard that on board ship they played with rope quoits, and thought flat indiarubber rings would be an improvement, so provided myself with four pairs, six inches in diameter and three-eighths of an, inch thick, marked In pairs by red rings; and they are pronounced to be a great novelty and success in deck quoits.
8 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
Tennis shoes and indiarubber tennis soles on ordinary boots I can also recommend as a great comfort for safety in walking on wet or slippery decks.
The chief promenade deck is kept very clean by the deck-steward, who is always going about sweeping away cinder-ashes that fall from the funnels, attending to deck chairs, and keeping all trim.
The chairs are always- arranged on the sheltered or leeward side in rows, with scarcely room to pass between them in single file, so when they are fully occupied promenaders have to betake themselves to the weather side to get a free board.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4TH.
As we get further out into the ocean the wind, and waves increase, and the shi p pitches fore and aft, and so do many of the passengers, some of whom have already joined the army of marine, martyrs. At the dinner tables 'there were many vacant chairs, and some who ventured down left the table in a hurry, without ceremony, and did not return to apologise, but they had our sympathy and ready forgiveness. We have on board many young children, most of them still very merry and playing about all over the deck.
The steerage passengers are getting ill, and lying about in promiscuous heaps all over the hatches of their deck, many of them looking very miserable indeed.
"The Russian Hairy Boy," in charge of a lady and gentleman, is one of the passengers. He is going to be
THlE VOYAGE OUT. 9
exhibited in America by Barnum, as, I understand, he has been in Paris and London. He is fifteen or sixteen years old, and covered'all over with long hair of very light colour; he is very lively, and plays about with the other children. His face is always covered with a thick brown veil, and he wears long gloves and Wellington boots. A gentleman who has seen his face describes it as resembling that of a Yorkshire terrier, with small sharp eyes.
.SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5TH.
Weather much worse, and walking about on deck scarcely possible; many passengers now 'very ill and unable to leave their cabins, the music-room couches and every available quiet corner occupied by people stretched out and covered with shawls and rugs.
At 10-30 the bells rang for Church of England service in the saloon, all on board being at liberty to attend. The captain read the prayers, lessons, and litany in very good voice and style, and altogether the service was very nicely conducted, but only a few cabin passengers attended, in addition to the ship's officers and some of the crew, who, marching into the saloon in regular file, took- their places on the right and left of the centre table,.at the head of which sat the captain. The 166th hymn,. 'All people that on earth do dwell," was sung before the exhortation, and the other hymns sung were the 277th, "Nearer, my God, to Thee," and the 370th, "Eternal Father, strong to save." In the prayer for the Queen the President of the United States was included.
10 MY TRIP'TO AMERICA.
The Service lasted about an hour, and during the whole time everybody, because of the rolling of the ship, remained' seated, and for the same reaso n perhaps there was no collection.
This afternoon the wind increased to an Atlantic gale, the ship rolling and pitching very much, and frequently crests of waves broke over the bows, so that walking on deck was difficult and uncomfortable. I have just seen a tall young man violently thrown down on his face on deck, and he has 'gone below severely stunned.
It is a strange sight to see a big steamer tossed about like a small boat, yet all the while forging mightily ahead.
A chart of the Atlantic Ocean is ,placed in a frame on the stairs and the ship's run marked on it at noon daily. The distance from Queenstown, from 4-10 on Friday to noon on Saturday, was 274 miles, and from noon yesterday until noon to-day 317 miles.
The sailors have been at the sails from -eight to eleven p.m., and an awkward job it is up aloft in such a gale of wind and drenching rain. In their mackintoshes and sou'-wester hats they look like large black beetles up in the shrouds. I have asked the captain not 'to send me_ up, and "he thinks I shall not be wanted."
The poor people in the steerage have all crept into their berths or other shelter, and there is not one to be seen. Including the crew of 160 hands, we number about 8oo, and one wonders where they have all gone.
THE VOYAGE OUT. II
The saloon tables at all meals are liberally supplied with a great variety of courses, and to-.day we had extra dessert, including hothouse grapes.
Copy of Dinner Menu.
Gumbo and oxtail.
Boiled turbot and lobster sauce, cucumber.
Stewed pigeons and mushrooms, game pie, oxtail a la jardiniere, fricassee calves' feet.
Roast beef and baked potatoes, forced shoulder mutton, rollard de veau, corned pig's cheek and cabbage, roast lamb and mint sauce.
Roast duckling and green peas, roast fowls, boiled turkey and oyster sauce, grouse on toast.
Vegetable marrows, stewed tomatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes.
Cabinet pudding and wine sauce, Victoria cakes, raspberry open tart,
jelly roll, rice and custard, lemon pie, cocoanut pudding.
Cheddar, Stilton, and Gorgonzola.
From the foregoing it will be seen that no saloon passenger need suffer hunger on the Inman steamers.
I am feeling very well, and my, claim to being an
invalid is discredited by a chorus of laughter; but the
12 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
gentlemen at our table are much surprised that L. am not ill on my first voyage.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 6TH.
The weather still windy, but not so rough as yesterday; many passengers continue ill and are wrapped up like mummies on their deck chairs.
.In the afternoon things were, better, but in the evening again very. unpleasant outside; so the smoking-room was crowded, and the music-room more lively than any time before with music and singing; several ladies and gentlemen sang or played well, especially Miss Stevens, of Philadelphia, on the piano, and Mr. Lanehan, a young Irish gentleman, who has a fine tenor voice.
The saloon passengers are getting very well acquainted, and freely enter into conversation and amusements..
The ship's run for the day is marked on the chart,
3 39 miles.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7TH.
Forenoon very windy, with heavy rain, which made promenading and games on deck unpleasant, all passengers crowded into the rooms and staircases till one could hardly get up or down.
We had some amusing anecdotes, and lively political discussions in the smoking-room, and there was great laughter and merriment among the young ladies'and gentlemen on the stairs.
Many passengers yet too ill. to leave their rooms, whilst others, on their chairs on deck, are fed at intervals
THE VOYAGE OUT. 13'
by their friends and stewards, who bring them appropriate nourishment.
The amount of food sent away from the tables and thrown away to the sea gulls following the ship is a great waste, much of which would be avoided if passengers had to give their orders on a hotel a la carte tariff.
The air is now much warmer, and the ship is getting hot and close below; our cabin was so stuffy in the morning that I awoke with headache, but a bath and a few turns in the fresh air on deck'soon made me right.
There has been no gambling* to object to, and only very little whist, playing for cigars, &c. It is also remarkable that there should be so little drinking in the smoking-room, the majority bein g content with a book, a talk, and a smoke.
I have had some interesting conversations in deck promenades with Professor Cossar Ewart, of Edinburgh University, and a Wesleyan minister, from Brooklyn, and also with a gentleman from Baltimore, who had been a trip to Europe and as far East as Jerusalem, for eight months, with his handsome young bride. They have given me a most kind invitation to visit them at their home in Baltimore City, and he will then go with me to see Washington.
The minister is a thin, lean little man, of about thirtyfive, deeply interested in English history, cathedrals, colleges, poets, &c. With a set purpose and programme he has seen an amazing lot of interesting places in England, 'Scotland, and Ireland, and is going home with a book full of notes and information for a course of lectures. He is a very able man in discussions, uses excellent language, and is very subtle and 'logical 'in
14 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
reasoning out his arguments and propositions. He tells me he has mostly travelled third class on our railways, mixing freely with the people to enter into conversation, asking questions for information on everything that came under his observation.
Yesterday we passed a small steamer going eastward., and to-day there is a full-rigged "Sailing ship in sight, the only ones we have seen since we left Queenstown.
We are meetings or passing through a heavy sea, which, the ship's officers say, indicates that a much stronger wind than we are in has been blowing lately.
At noon the sky cleared, and, the sun shone out again, making all bright and warm.
The ship is going along finely, and the run to-day was 340 miles.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8TH.
The morning again gloomy and windy, which made it unpleasant on deck, but the afternoon fine again, s o that promenading, quoits, shuffleboard, tug of war, &c., were general on deck. Passengers, are. getting more lively, and preparations are going forward for a concert on Friday evening, the .proceeds to be divided between Seamen's Institutions at Liverpool and New York.
It is very remarkable what a number of fresh faces have appeared to-day, particularly ladies, who must have been ill in their cabins since we left Liverpool.
We have seen a large ship in full sail and met an American steamer; a whale has also been seen "(spouting" off the coast of Newfoundland.
THE VOYAGE OUT. 15
All the tickets have been collected to-day, and particulars taken of the agre, nationality, calling, destination, &c., of every passenger.
The ship's run to-day is recorded 323 miles.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9TH.
The morning opened with a thick fog, so that we could not see more than about 200 yards ahead, and the fog-horn had to be sounded every minute; it was very disagreeable, and we were all glad when the weather cleared up about noon and the horn ceased. The ship was kept going at full -speed all the time, and all day there has been nothing else unusual to mention.
The distance run to-day was 321 miles.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10TH.
Finer weather, and spirits of passengers rising, as we are now only 500 miles from New York.
In the afternoon we had -an unpleasant hubbub, and. I am sorry to say some strong angry feeling was exhibited about a very unfortunate oversight in omitting from the concert programme God save the Queen," whilst the Star-spangled Banner" was included; and Also as to the division of the proceeds between the Liverpool and New York charities. After a deputation to see the captain, of which I was one of the three appointed, it was at last amicably settled.
In point of merit the concert was rather a poor affair, but still very agreeable; the sum collected in the saloon, and realised1 by sale of programmes at a shilling each, amounted to k"14. 6s. od.
16 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
I o mitted to mention that a day or two ago' I saw two swallows flying about on mid-ocean, and am told a hedge sparrow (?) settled on the ship.
Distance run to-day, 334 miles.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER I I TH.
A splendid morning, warm, clear, and sunny, with a grand blue sky, which they call an American sky, and this weather in October is generally called their Indian summer.
At 12-30 we eased to take a pilot on board, about 200 miles from New York, and there was an eager rush for the bundle of newspapers he brought in his pocket, which were distributed among the passengers, each one being read by half-a-dozen at once. During this excitement I -produced a tiny copy of The Times for 1805, and passed it round as current news, which caused some amusement.
It is now expected we shall be at Sandy Hook by four a.m. to-morrow, and up to the Custom House or Barge House by six. The sea is calm and delightfully green, and the sunshine so bright and warm that ladies are using parasols.
As night approaches the fuss of packing begins, and all seem in high glee ; but for my part the temperature and agreeable breeze of sailing are so nice I could go on a few days more with great pleasure.
After dinner, this evening, we presented an address toi the captain, signed by all the saloon passengers, thanking' him for our safe passage and for his attention to our comfort. We also had some pleasant valedictory speech-
THE VOYAGE OUT. 17
making in the smoking-room. My health was proposed in flattering terms, and I was highly complimented on my impromptu speech in reply for Manchester.
Several gentlemen, who had* crossed the Atlantic many times, said it was the most sociable and agreeable voyage they had ever had, Conspicuous amongst the number was Mr. Peixotto, the United States Consul at Lyons, whose affability and agreeable manners had greatly contributed to the general harmony. By common consent he is looked upon as president of the smoking-room, in which Mr. Breslin, the jolly landlord and proprietor of the Bray Hotel, is also a prominent and popular figure. The latter gentleman is also on his first trip to America, and is highly delighted with his fellow-passengers.
This has been practically illustrated several times by liberal distribution of some Irish liquid in bottles from a mysterious medicine chest" kept in his cabin, which evidently is not the orthodox holy water. One day he was heard to say to the Russian gentleman, Do you speak French, sir ?" "Oui parfaitment," was the ready reply. "Och, thin, I wish to goodness I did."
In anecdotes and humorous story-telling we are supposed to be competing for a kettle, which is awarded to first one and then another, but there is no doubt it will eventually go to Philadelphia. I had to give it up this evening on the verdict of our Hibernian friend, who exclaimed, amid roars of laughter, "Man-chester, you are not in it at all, the kittle goes to Philadelphia! Oh, my! oh, my! oh, my!"
I have had some mpst kind invitations to visit, and have exchanged cards with a great number of gentlemen from all parts of the States.
18 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
Any account of a trip in -the City of Chicago would be incomplete without special -reference to the Purser, John T. Kavanagh, commonly known as Lord John," and recently styled in The. World as that prince of Pursers." Early in the voyage we presented a card of introduction to him, and were, duly elected members of the Royal Club," of which he is perpetual president king, and committee. The rules are unwritten, very elastic', and tend to great sociability. The members elected meet ever morning at I 1 -30 to make a forecast of the ship's running, and the farthest off the actual distance are each fined a bottle of wine the next day. They meet again at 5-30 for a liqueur glass of Royal Mixture," which the president prepares with great skill. Members are informed that "any insurance company will insure the lives of members of the club for nothing, and that they have the privilege of presenting a five pound note to any charitable institution they please." Mr. Kavanagh is an able officer, pro M-pt and courteous, always well-up with his work, and it issaid he is tenderhearted and kind to poor' steerage passengers, who are often crossing in sorry plight and trouble.
The ship's run to-day was 337 miles.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12TH.
Awoke at four o'clock by the extra noise and stir in the ship, and on going on deck at five, found We had cc slowed up" just outside New York harbour; the mail bags 'were upon deck, and people all alive with preparations to disembark. Breakfast at seven was all hurry and scramble, and by the time we had duly
ARRIVAL AT NEW YORK. 19
discharged our obligations to our respective civil and attentive stewards, the steam tender was alongside for the mails, the saloon passengers, and their baggage. Three or four Revenue 'Officers, by the tender also, put in timely appearance, and took up their duties at the ends of the saloon tables, where we all filed past them, giving our names and making declaration of any dutiable articles of luggage. It was noticeable that these officers, representing the majesty of the law, kept their top hats on ,in the saloon, while the passengers all stood uncovered.
At 9)-30 we landed at the new Barge House or Custom House, recently built and opened for business onl 'y a few days before; then it took a large staff of porters, with trucks, an hour and a quarter to land the mountain of huge trunks and miscellaneous large boxes and hundreds of smaller packages of luggage. These were all sorted in alphabetical order, under large letters hanging in line right across an immense room, and at last the examinations began. By this time the patience of both Eng-lish and Americans was exhausted, and the new plan was loudly condemned, but for my part I thought the arrangements very convenient and likely to work well after a few days' practice.
The officers behaved very nicely to everyone, as well as I could judge; my portmanteaus and hand-bags were very slightly examined, and a lady and gentleman, who had fourteen packages of things, collected from all parts of Europe, told me, with great glee, they had not had a cent to pay. They had evidently fallen into the hands of an intelligent officer, who favoured a revision of the tariff. ,Considering that we were about to enter a free country, the last hour on the tender was a time of dreadful
20 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
anxiety about the ordeal of examination of luggage, such as one experiences in a cab in anticipation of a "Crow") with the driver at the end of the journey. As the examina 'tion proceeded, it was amusing to watch the cheerful change of countenance, as those who had got their chalk mark" announced to their fell ow-passengers I'm through all right!" and inquired "Are you through yet?"
During this unavoidable delay the telegraph boys were actively on the scene with forms and pencils ready in hand, and many of us availed ourselves of the opportunity to tell our friends of our safe arrival. The rate is fifteen cents for ten words, exclusive of addresses, within the United States, and half a dollar a word for cables" to England, addresses included.
The hotel omnibus was waiting just outside the Custom House, so we had our things put on it and walked off with a New York gentleman, a most kindhearted and generous fellow-passenger, who invited us to a parting dejei'ner at the noted Aster House, in Broadway.,
First impressions are often lasting and often not far wrong, and I shall never forget my disappointment on the first sight of Broadway, New York. From all I had heard, I expected to see the finest thoroughfare in the world (at least as wide as Portland Place, London, and Sackville Street, Dublin), with splendid stores," insurance offices, banks, hotels, and public buildings on each side for miles; instead of which, it is about the width of Oxford Street, London. The "stores" are generally much larger, and many of them running right through to the next street; but, as to value of contents, I should say the
NEW YORK. 21
average bear no6 comparison with the shops of Regent Street and New Bond Street. The pavement is rude and rough in the extreme, worn into deep holes, and the kerbstones and footpaths very rough and irregular, excepting in front of some wealthy stores or public building, where the proprietors have paid for their frontage to be flagged in a superior manner. The general effect is greatly marred by tall, crooked larch poles on each side to support hundreds of telegraph and telephone wires, which almost obscure the sky, and by huge projecting signs' and show cases for goods, which occupy nearly half the width of the footpaths.
It was Sunday morning, and had been raining;, all was unswept, and one had to wade through mud and refuse of all kinds, which, to a stranger at first sight, did not lend "enchantment to the view."
The absence of ordinary traffic gave it a dreary aspect, such as one has experienced on Sundays in other large towns besides New York.
Before noon the heat of the sun. was very great, and their "Indian Summer" a reality, so we were glad to reach the hotel and get our thin clothing on that we had brought with us for Havana.
After dinner we went a walk over the great suspension bridge between New York City and the more select or residential City of Brooklyn. It is a stupendous, elegant, and commodious structure, which took twelve years to build. It cost about 15,oo,ooo dollars; the towers are 274 feet high; the weight of wire in the four cables is 6,928,3461bs.; and the weight of each cable is 8oo tons; it is nearly a mile in length, and ninety-two feet above high-water mark. The
22 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
masonry of the two great piers or buttresses is in blocks of granite from Maine. It accommodates a double line of railway cars, ample carriage ways, and a wide road for foot passengers, who are charged a cent each way. The view of the harbour from the top of the bridge is very fine, and gives one a good idea of the importance of the city. For the present we decided to take Brooklyn as "done," and returned to our hotel early for a good night's rest, after our limited cribs on the steamer the previous ten nights.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13TH.
This morning we went to our respective banks to see that our money had been correctly advised and at command, and to Ward's Steamship Office, and took tickets for Havana by the "Saratoga" on Saturday. Being early, we had a good choice of cabins, and selected two on deck, the price being fifty dollars each, or a little over -/"io single fare.
The "Capulet," belonging to another company, will go on Thursday, but does not carry any passengers this season.
After that we made some business calls, and were sorry to hear that a gentleman we expected to see at Havana was taken very dangerously ill here of typhoid fever, six or seven weeks ago, on his way home from 'England, and is not allowed to see anyone yet but his wife and doctor.
. In the evening we made, the tour of Central Park, which is very large and beautifully laid out, well kept, and will be very fine in forty or fifty years, when
OUR HOTEL AT NEW YORK. 23
the trees -and shrubs have had that time to grow to more Hyde Park-like stature.
We have returned early to the hotel to write home and business letters and to prepare to start early in the morning on a trip up the Hudson River to Albany, and thence by rail to Niagara, leaving the sights of New York for future inspection, as we find to-morrow's steamer will be the last of the season.
The weather has been quite cold to-day, and no one would suppose that we had almost, summer heat here only yesterday.
Instead of going to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, as at first intended, we have come to the Metropolitan, lower down in Broadway, on the recommendation of a gentleman on the steamer, the charges being lower and the accommodation all that we should require. This is confirmed by further information and some experience. On the American system the charge is three dollars a day, or about 12s. 6d., including everything, and that means a comfortable bedroom, all attendance, 'such as it is, and the right to eat as much as you like four times a day from a very liberal menu of great variety, dozens of dishes I have never seen or heard of before. You may ask for anything you like, in any order you like, or go through the whole bill of fare if you have the capacity;
adit is astonishing what a quantity some of these Americans do eat and waste, at what they call "a good square meal," and seldom drink anything to it but the national iced water. We were placed at a table where there were three gentlemen, strangers to each other, and at one time they had in all twenty-one small oval dishes before them, their plates, and knives and
24 MY TRIP.TO AMERICA.
forks being changed every few minutes, and fresh iced water. When these were at last removed one of them said, bring me some peach tart, some cherry pie, some icecream and fruit," and another readjusted his serviette under his chin, took up the menu card, and said to the waiter, I have not had enough to eat," bring me some venison and red currant jelly," and I cannot remember what else. They had had soup and fish before we went in, and, as a matter of course, they all -finished with a handful of toothpicks and a cup of coffee.
The principal dining saloon is beautifully decorated with handsome mirrors, &c., and about four times the size of the coffee-room at the Euston Hotel, and set with similar tables for six or eight persons each. There are about thirty negro waiters, neatly dressed in black, and wearing white aprons, who came rushing from the kitchen elevator at great speed, with heavily-laden trays balanced on the tips of the fingers of the left hand, and held high above their heads; the right arm bent at the elbow, with towel flapping in hand, working backward and forward at a tremendous rate. Every moment one expects to see somebody either beheaded or be-trayed, but somehow they avoid collision by putting a powerful automatic brake on a pair of broad flat feet, and. manage to pull up somewhere near the right table. You are politely received at the door by the dining-room chief manager, and passed on to one of his three assistants, all men of colour, who go about very actively to find you ,places and to see you get attended to, constantly gesticulating, beckoning, and snapping their fingers to attract the attention of the waiters, which struck me as a most objectionable feature. Qne very
OUR'HOTEL AT, NEW YORK. 25
remarkable thing in a large dining-saloon like this is the almost entire absence of wine on the tables, only here and there a bottle of claret. Under -the same conditions, in London, you see champagne, claret, hock, or sherry on every table. But I believe the Americans do more drinking of "cocktails" and squashese" at the restaurant bars, particularly in the
The other resources of this hotel are enormous. On
the ground floor you enter on a level with the street a spacious hall, with floor of marble and slate blocks. It is furnished with large couches on both sides, and at the far end are the coun ter and offices. On the left side there is a similar hall, or smoking-saloon, and locker for luggage, and next to these a hair-cutting and shaving saloon, where about six persons can be attended to at once. The professoro" of this establishment has also a private room in which to operate as a chiro 'podist. On the other side of the entrance hall are a writing-room, a newspaper and book-stall, and office for the sale of theatre tickets; and next to these a telegraph office and entrance to Niblo's Theatre, and beyond that a large restaurant, open to the public. There is also a separate entrance to the hotel for ladies, from Broadway.
Upstairs on first floor are a music-room, with grand piano, a writing-room for ladies, another for gentlemen, a drawing or general conversation -room, a large anteroom, luxuriously furnished with easy chairs, ottomans, and sofas, and the great dining-room previously described, as well as smaller dining or supper rooms, and suites of private rooms for families. The next floor, and I don't know how many more, are bedrooms, &c., which you get
26 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
to by wide, well-carpeted staircases and corridors. An elevator from the basement is kept going until one O'clock in the 'morning, and you have never to wait more than a few moments to go up or down. In the bedrooms you are attended to by negro men only, and the rooms are "done out" once a day by old women who are'sitting about the stairs and passages. If 'you disorder your room after once done it remains so until next day, and I understand this is the custom at all the best hotels. If you want to order a bath, you ring your electric bell five times, as directed on the notice affixed, and in about ten minutes a man will almost certainly enter your room and put down a large jug of iced water, as they cannot imagine you ever want anything else. You say I rang for the bathman, and he disappears without a word of reply; and in another ten minutes, a hoary-headed and worn-out old nigger puts his head in at the door and receives your order, and in twenty minutes more returns, and says briefly, "bath ready," slams the door, and you may find it as best you can; you also find it in your bill, charged half a dollar.
I must not omit -to mention that at every turn your attention is directed to the way to the fire escapes,, and coils of. hose pipe are abundantly provided ready for use, which is all very comforting.
There does not appear to be an y che 'ck upon who goes into the dining-room for meals; all who present themselves are shown to places, and are bowed out again without any inquiry for name or number, and it seems to rest with themselves whether they go down to the office to pay or not.
THE HUDSON RIVER.. 27
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14TH.
Breakfasted at seven o'clock, paid hotel bill, and left all our luggage except hand-bags and rugs in the locker. After being jolted in the hotel omnibus over about two miles of the vile pavement and holes in the streets of New York, for which we had paid a dollar and a half each in our bills, we were soon on board of the "Albany" steamer. Punctually at 8-35 we left the pier on a trip up the great Hudson River to the city of Albany, distance about 150 miles.
She is a splendid boat, and keeps up the great speed of seventeen to eighteen miles an hour, and sometimes with a favourable wind and tide she makes twenty-five miles an hour. At this time of year the great charm of the Hudson River scenery is the autumn foliage of the lovely trees, "shrubs, and creepers with which its banks are covered down to the water's edge. I have never seen any foliage so varied or so beautiful, and cannot describe it. As 'one goes gliding swiftly on for i 5 miles from bright sunny morning, until late in the evening on a great river like the Rhine, one stands for minutes together in silent admiration of the grandeur of the varied tints of foliage right and left all the way; but perhaps mostly so as far as Westpoint: and if going for that trip only, Westpoint is recom mended as far enough, if to get back to New York the same night. To give an idea of the width and scenery of the Hudson, Lake Windermere, with its undulating and well-wooded sloping banks, s the best comparison I can think of, as the "Hudson is, in my opinion, far more beautifully irregular than the Rhine. The volume of water is
28" MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
magnificent, and at one part I believe about four miles wide. The trees are much smaller than'the grand old oaks, sycamores, ashes, and firs at Windermere, and as they appeared from the steamer, more like the growth of a few years; but their surpassing beauty is in the great variety of tints in the foliage, from the most delicate lemon-yellow to the deepest green and the richest crimson and red.
One great beauty and peculiarity on most of them is an appearance of having been delicately struck, or shot with a distinct colour on the ends of the branches. I noticed a beautifully -shaped little oak, standing rather apart, that looked as though some rich liquid cochineal had been spilt on its head and had dripped down on a fewleaves below.
just imagine thousands of graceful acacias with their pendant foliage, some branches a rich scarlet or crimson, and others shading off to delicate gre en and yellow. What adds greatly to the beauty of it all is the rich colour of the small underwood bushes and creepers on the ground.
Lines of railway run close to the margin of the river on both sides, and -for a long time we kept nearly even with a long goods-train running in our direction. We called at six or eight places to land and take on passengers, and this is done with wonderful alacrity as though life depended upon a second or two. The Captain prides himself on keeping up to time, and tells me we are doing so to-day against both wind and tidal current.
Early in the day we took our railway sleeping-car tickets from Albany to Niagara, at an office on the
ALBANY TO NIAGARA. 29
steamer, which would be duly secured by telegram from the next calling place; so at Albany we had time for dinner and to look about the streets for an hour or two before our train started.
On entering the sleeping car, about. io P.M., my spirits fell very considerably, for after going along a narrow passage at the side of a private stateroom, and the ladies' toilet-room, we found ourselves in a very long, narrow gangway, formed by heavy curtains hooked on to a pole running the whole length of the car right and left, each pair of curtains tightly covering an upper and lower sleeping bunk, into which one has to crawl or climb and undress on one's knees, and roll one's clothes up anyhow. Ladies must do likewise, or undress within a small toilet-room and carry their clothing on their arms along the gangway, in which, at short intervals, one knocks against a hump of projecting curtain, made by somebody struggling behind it to get his or her clothes off. As the curtains are all alike, there being nothing to distinguish one section from another, one has to focus the position as nearly as possible, and then begin peeping between the curtains for the right number. Sometimes you find a lady and sometimes a gentleman in bed, who for a moment think you want to borrow their watch or purse. At the other end of the car is the men's lavatory and vile insanitary arrangements.
The whole car is heated by a large stove at each end' up to at least 900, and so stuffy one can hardly breathe.
At last every berth is occupied. All is still, and you go jolting on all night over a wretchedly-laid railway track,, sometimes asleep, but generally in a wearied aching muddle, until at last you see daylight, and glad to get up,
30 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
if only to look at dreary, miles of flat country portioned out by zig-zag timber fences, as cheaply constructed as possible. Here and there you see orchards of small fruit trees planted at regular intervals and covering many acres.
In these country parts, all the houses and a great majority of those in towns, are built of wood and have a neat appearance, something like a pavilion in one of our better class cricket grounds.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER I 5'TH.
This morning, by the time we were up and dressed, our train arrived at Buffalo, where we had a few minutes' halt for breakfast in the not very appetising railwaystation refreshment-room, so mine was limited to a cup of coffee and bun. When we returned to the car, the curtains and beds had all disappeared and the seats readjusted in the ordinary way; but the negro attendant persisted, in spite of strong remonstrance, in brushing the carpets and smothering us with dust, as we continued our journey. If we had. been staying in the neighbourhood, and been acquainted with the officials, I should have recommended that nigger for promotion!
On the way up the river we had made the acquaintance of two young gentlemen from London. On arrival at Niagara station we deposited our bags at an office, and were soon outside in a babel of drivers and guides, soliciting the passengers. We picked out a nice open carriage for four, with a pair of good little grey horses. The dri ver offered to take us where we liked and as long as we liked for a dollar each," and a very nice, obliging
N. IAGARA FALLS AND RAPIDS. 31
man he was. He fulfilled his contract very pleasantly and accepted the payment without a grumble, and I know he gained s-methingby his civility.
First we drove about a mile to a bazaar-like building for the sale of photographs, polished stones, shells, and such like, which is the entrance to the great rapids. Here we took tickets and passed to the elevator, and were lowered to the bottom, and emerged from the cage upon the rocks at the side of the rapids, where we spent half an hour in gazing at the fierce torrent of beautiful green water. Here we also yielded to the persuasion of a photographer, and had our likeness taken, seated on the rocks with the rapids for a back-ground."
Looking to the left from this point, the rapids can be seen for half a mile, and the railway bridge, which spans the.- abyss, appears like a large gossamer high in the air. The vast body of beautifully green water seems to be rushing down a steep incline, and is sometimes thrown fifteen or twenty feet high in torrent 'waves and spray. Such a one has been caught in our photograph, and has the appearance of a great cloud with a finely-spiked fringe. To our right at a distance. of three or four hundred yards, the rapids expend their force and fury in the great whirlpool, which, from where we stood, seemed to be an immense land-locked foaming caldron.
We ascended by the elevator, and, after spending a few minutes in the bazaar, walked along the bank to see the whirlpool more closely, and found the outlet running exactly at right angles with the rapids.
The rapids, the whirlpool, and the outlet from this point, are very fascinating, and we should have liked to linger there an hour or two in the bright sunshine.
32 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
As our time was limited, we re-entered the carriage and returned.to the great suspension bridge, and passed, over it to the Canadian side; and up, to the.hot el at the Horse Shoe Falls.
Many visitors, both ladies and gentlemen, descended in parties and went under the falls. We decided to follow the usual custom, and accordingly were handed over to a guide, who in regular order dressed us in oilcloth jackets, overalls, and hats, and tied towels tightly round our necks. This expedition was novel and amusing, rather than interesting and agreeable. When fairly under the water one cannot see through it, and the fierce jets of spray on the face are very disagreeable. On disrobing and paying a dollar each for guide and garb, we drove on to see the Islands and hot-water spring, crossing three or four bridges on the way.
The rapids above the Horse Shoe Falls are very broad and fine, and give one the idea that Lake Erie would 'be emptied in a few hours.
Evidently a raft had recently got adrift on the lake, and had been broken up, as huge balks of timber had floated down and. were strewn about, being caught by projecting rocks in the rapids above the falls, as though a leviathan box of common matches had been upset in the water.
Returning by the same route we recrossed the suspension bridge and passed through Prospect Park to the American Falls, and, having taken seats in a sloping car mounted on a steep inclined plane, we were quickly lowered to the edge of the water.
To go under the falls on the American side is considered the correct thing to do, being rather more disagreeable
NIAGARA FALLS AND RAPIDS. 133
than the other; but we declined to submit to the ordeal again,' and were willing to believe it was "awfully
The Falls of Niagara have been so often and so
graphically described, both in prose and verse, that any attempt of mine would only spoil. the imagination. Without further reference to my own admiration and sentiments, I will simply say that, as we were favoured with. clear bright sunshine, the day was perfect for seeing the falls in all their dazzling splendour. Their greatness and grandeur must be seen and felt to be realised.
Oscar Wilde, it is said, found the Atlantic disappointing, and many who visit Lodore waterfall with Southey's description ready in hand or mindDashing and flashing and splashing and clashing
And so never ending, but always descending,
Sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproarAnd this way the water comes down at Lodoreare a little disappointed, if they chance to visit it, as I did, when, instead of, a cataract," there was barely enough water to keep up a continuous trickle between the dry boulders.
I also remember since my schooldays every line of Buckingham's address to Niagara, in which he says so beautifully:
Who e'er has seen thine incense rise,
Or heard thy torrent's roar,.
Must have bent before the God of all,
To worship and adore.
A more humble poet, of the Verdant Green "Ode to' the Moon" type, is said to have been overcome'at the
34 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
sight of Niagara, and on the spot immortalised himself by the following lines
Oh, Niagara, Niagarer!
Thou art indeed astaggerer'!
And so I think; but even the sight of Niagara Falls affects persons differently. I have heard of two men who were looking at them side by sid e; one in wonder and amazement exclaimed, "Just look at the water tumbling headlong over that great height; is it not wonderful ?" and his unmoved companion only replied, "Well, I don't see anything to prevent it.'
In one particular we were disappointed, and in that our senses did not realise the general experience. It is said "the sound of the falls can be heard for miles," but we should say a few hundred yards would be more correct.
A cloud of white mist-rose to no great height above the falls, but this maybe accounted for by f1he great heat of the sun, which would absorb the vapour very rapidly. In driving from the railway station to the entrance to the rapids, we neither heard nor saw anything to indicate that we were near either falls or rapids. From flat country on the American side to the same level on the Canadian side, you look right across the deep gorge of the rapids, and see nothing of them until actually descending in the elevator.
After this long digression you. will wonder what became of our carriage: well, the obliging driver had been waiting patiently for half an 'hour in Prospect Park, and finally took us to the Cataract Hotel.
It was now three o'clock, and as we had had only a slender early breakfast at Buffalo, it was at once
NIAGARA TO NEW YORK. 35
unanimously agreed .to have a good dinner. Considering the resources of this noted hotel, the menu was not good, and the slow service by languid negro waiters very trying to hungry men; it was the end lof the season, and probably the dining-room manager's energy and whip were worn out ; at any rate, we were badly attended to, and felt that an order for a bottle of champagne at four dollars ought to have awakened more respect for our feelings.
We had heard everywhere of robbery" and extortionate charges at the- Falls, but I don't think there is much -to complain of, considering all the accommodation of bridges and machinery to be attended to and kept in good repair.
The charges are for -each person
Entrance to Rapids 50 .~ cents.
Suspension Bridge ....50 The Islands and Hot Spring .530 Prospect Park and Falls . 50
These are all fixed by Government, and plainly posted up, and we had no touting or asking for anything more.
As our return night-train did not leave Niagara until 6-40, we had two hours to spare to walk about the town, looking at bazaars, buying photographs, &c. .On the return railway journey we halted for two hours at Buffalo, and had time to see something of the city. Not far from the station there is a good wide thoroughfare, with nice bright-looking stores, and, it is well paved with granite setts.
We had secured places in the night express train for New York, timed to start at 9 -p.m., -and while it was
36 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
being made up in the centre of the 'station; there being no platform, the passengers were standing promiscuously about all over the lines, now and then stepping out, of the way of approaching trains. Amid the great confusion and disorder of noisy excursionists, at 9-25 the train began to move on without any signal or "take your seats;" and we all made a rush for the cars, scrambling in as wel I as we could.
The sleeping-car was superbly built of mahogany, as perfect and comfortable as they can be made; and our negro attendant was a very nice, smart, civil fellow. At the best they are hot-and disagreeable, and I awoke with a dreadful. headache.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16TH.
At daylight we were at Albany and had' time for coffee ; the rest of the journey, 150 miles, all on the margin of the Hudson in the bright morning sun was very pleasant; and the glorious tints of foliage were seen at their best.
At Pougahkeepsie the train stopped a few minutes for breakfast, and started again without warning, when scores of passengers were standing on the platform, so there was another rush to jump on the narrow steps of the moving cars.
On the platform a boy was selling New York daily papers. I took a Herald,". for which he demanded five cents. I said, Five cents for a two cents paper ?" and he replied," "Yes they cost us three cents; we don't stand here for nothing," and rudely taking the paper out of my hand walked off and left me.
NEW YORK. TO HAVANA. 37
We arrived at New York terminus at I I -3o, and by noon we were comfortably reinstated at the Metropolitan Hotel.
After two or three hours, for bath and luncheon we had only time to make a few calls, and, retired early for a good night's rest, after spending the two previous nights, in so-called sleeping cars.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17TH.
This morning we went down to the dock to see our staterooms on the Saratoga" for Havana' to-mor.row ; called at our Banks for money; visited the Post Office; and went to the top of the Equitable Insurance Buildings, Broadway, to get a bird's-eye view of the City; returned to the hotel to lunch, and received very welcome letters from home. In the evening Mr. Hunter went out to dinner, leaving me to write a number of letters for the morning mail to England.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18TH.
Strolled out for an hour or two, returned early to pack up ; and left the hotel at two o'clock for "the steamer, starting punctually at three. We have a full cargo, five steerage and twenty-six cabin passengers, including Mr. Crowe, the, British Consul-general, and the German Consul-general, both returning to their duties at Havana after leave of absence; the rest are mostly Cubans. For the first fifty miles the sea has been rather rough. and the evening cold, so that an Ulster coat is not too m uch.
3$ MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19TH.
A fine clay, and all on board very quiet; no Church service, and nothing but reading and talking and smoking. The cabins are very comfortable and convenient, and the ship is kept scrupulously clean from stem to stern. I have never seen any like it. The men are constantly painting, scrubbing, washing, sponging and polishing doors, windows, seats, brasses, &c., all over the deck and saloons, and the officers and stewards are civil and obliging. The captain's and the purser's rooms are large and elegant, as compared with those on the "City of Chicago." The tables are fairly well supplied, but not equal to the Atlantic liners. And the wines and spirits on board we consider dear, and not very good, so we are keeping to iced water, coffee, &c.
We are now nearly 30o miles from New York, and getting into a warm climate, which is very agreeable.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20TH.
Grand weather; we have passed Cape Hatteras, and crossed the Gulf Stream, which runs northward at about four miles an hour. Temperature in the shade 70, and in the sun at three o'clock this afternoon 920. The water looks like a sea of delicate blue ink, and large masses of yellow moss are floating about like irregular shaped Persian rugs. To-day we saw a large number of flying fish flitting about from wave to wave; a very pretty sight. At first I thought they were elegant little birds, something like the beautiful light grey wagtails we see on the lawn.
Distance run since yesterday 256 miles.
NEW YORK TO HAVANA. 39
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2IST;.
Another fine day, and as we get on to the, eastern margin of the stream the ship is met by-cross waves and rolls a good bit. We are obliged to have frames on the dinner tables, and sometimes all the plates, dishes, knives, and forks are suddenly shot tothe side and some entirely off the tables. This evening we are passing through shoals of phosphorescent jelly-fish, commonly known at sea as Portuguese men-of-war;" they look, in the dusk, like bright' shooting stars, just under the surface of the water.
We have had, to put our thinnest clothing on to-day, the air and gentle breeze are so soft and balmy. I have sat up talking, first with Mr. Crowe, and then with Captain M'I.ntosh, until eleven o'clock without any overcoat, and feel quite reluctant to go to bed.
Distahce today 271 mil6s.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22ND.
The weather all day has continued most delightful. All along the coast of Florida, through beautiful blue sea, the sailing, is very enjoyable as we go gliding slowly on, at eleven to twelve miles an hour. The thermometer in my room was 880, and on taking it into the sun shortly after mid-day it quickly went up to 1O2O. I am told that at this time of year this is real Havana weather. A steamer from New York for New Orleans was in sight for some hours to-day, and gradually overtook and passed us with the, usual exchange of salutes. A great number of porpoises have also been
40 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
racing and amusing us with their antics. Directly after we get in to-morrow the weekly steamer will leave Havana with mails for New York, and I shall take the opportunity to enclose the leaves of this diary with my letter. They have been written sometimes under the difficulties of a rolling ship and bad light, and I hope all imperfections may be excused.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23RD.
On waking up at six this morning, we were entering the beautiful harbour at Havana, and made all haste to get a cup of coffee and be ready for landing. The grimlooking old fortress of the Morro Castle and Lighthouse on our left, and on the right were plainly visible the fort of La Punta, and the City. The houses appear to be coloured white, blue, and yellow, with flat red-tiled roofs and without any chimneys. As soon as we dropped anchor, about a mile from the Custom House quay, a crowd of sailing-boats came alongside; the Government medical officer, and a lot of people to meet their friends, came on board, also quite a swarm of hotel-runners, who solicited our patronage very persistently, speaking both English and Spanish; at one time not less than eight or ten heads and hands with cards blocked my cabin door.
A friend had bespoken rooms for us at the Hotel Pasaje, but we adhered to our resolution to go to the Hotel Inglaterra on condition that we should have front rooms.
The man from the Pasaje was greatly disappointed, and lingered about entreating us to go there, until the
one from the Inglaterra was vexed, and turning round upon him, said, They are going to Inglaterra, and would not go to the Pasaje for nothing;" this vehement reproof took effect and settled the matter. At seven we left the ship, and entering a boat with an awning over us in the stern and luggage in the bow, sailed pleasantly up to the Custom House.
In the large room of the Customn House we were in a busy throng of people, attracted by the arrival of our steamer: Cubans,, 'Spaniards,' Mexicans, Americans, Chinese, Mulattos, Negroes, and English. They were nearly all smoking cigars or cigarettes, and I heard many of them speaking English.
From the moment we signified our intention of going to the Inglaterra," the energetic runner of that hotel took us entirely under his protection, and we had no trouble about the boat fare or porterage, and very little about examination of luggage or passports. It was a beautiful bright sunny morning, and first impressions of Havana were very agreeable. just outside there were numerous little carriages for passengers, and mule carts for baggage, and after a few minutes' drive, mostly through narrow streets, we arrived at our hotel. The price of rooms and board, on the American plan, was a matter of bargain, and easily settled at three and. a half dollars each per day, or about 14s. 6d. in our money. This is quite enough as we shall seldom want anything more than bed and breakfast in the house. I was induced to take a back room until to-morrow, when "' a family will leave by the French-a stae, aind I can then have a front room as previously arranged.
42 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
The Hotel Inglaterra is a fine building, situated in the Grand Prado, and facing the Parque de Isabel; the entrance on a level with the boulevard is through a corridor slightly partitioned off, and partly occupied by a cigar dealer and money-changer. All the rest of the ground floor, except the offices at the back, is a spacious dining-room set with small tables, all looking very neat and orderly.
On the first floor upstairs, the centre is a large saloon or anteroom with coffee tables, chairs, and couches. The windows open on to the verandah, where it is pleasant to sit and listen to the band in the evenings. To the right and left of this saloon are the bedrooms ; these, to our English notions of comfort, aie barely furnished and without carpets, but this may be partly owing to the hot climate. The spring mattresses of the beds are merely covered with canvas, and the "bedclothes" consist of a single thin. sheet. Fine muslin mosquito-curtains are carefully closed all around the beds.
After breakfasting at nearly mid-day, we spent two or three hours in the cigar factory of Mr. Luis Marx, the present owner of the noted old brand of "Cabarga." Afterwards we called at Cabafias factory and made an appointment to meet Mr. Carvajal in the morning. When we returned to the hotel to dine at seven o'clock, Mr. Carvajal had already called and left his cards. in acknowledgment of our visit
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24TH...
This morning we visited the great cigar factory of Cabafias, of world-wide fame, and met Mr. Carvajal, the
present head of the firm, who took great pains to show us all about the treatment of tobacco and the art of cigar making.
We then accepted his invitation to remain for breakfast,' and had a very lively, and pleasant time, being joined by several of his principal men.
Mr. Carvajal was surprised that I declined to have ice in my wine, and assured me "it was very good ice! that he was the president of the company for making it, and they sold it wholesale at a price equal to our halfpenny per lb." In reply, I said I had no doubt the ice was both good and cheap, but that good ice would not make good wine.' The exchange of ideas, in conversation, readily interpreted by Mr. Hunter, into Spanish and English, was sometimes very comical, and afforded much amusement.
The cigars to be smoked after breakfast were made fresh and brought up to the table, according to the usual custom.
In the afternoon we also visited the well- known cigar factories of Larrafiaga" and. "La Intimidad," where we were politely received, and presented with a number of samples for trial. They are all very kind and generous in. giving us cigars; immediately after our first arrival a. box of the finest quality was placed in each of our rooms' at the. Hotel, and we have been liberally supplied since with a number ofboxes.
After dinner at the hotel we took a carriage drive all about to see the city by gaslight; it looked bright and vely,, and many sights. were novel and amusing to a stranger.
44 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25TH.
To-day has also been devoted entirely to cigar business, visiting Villar's, and other principal factories, selecting samples and giving 'orders for shipment in December.
My notes on tobacco culture in Cuba, and cigar making at Havana, give a few particulars that I have been able to gather on the subject from information and observation on the spot, and may be interesting to some of my friends.
Tobacco is raised by farmers from seed, on land cultivated with ordinary manure or guano, a tobacco plantation or farm being called a "vega;" the VUELTA ABAJO, or lower valley, to the west of Havana, being the best district of all, and the VUELTA ARRIBA, or upper valley, to the east of Havana, is the next. The Partido, and many other districts of less repute in the market, growing thousands of acres of tobacco, are seldom heard of by name in other countries. The young plants, called "postura," are very hardy, and are transplanted on the land three feet apart, just as we do cabbage plants. The growth and quality of tobacco crops, like other farm produce, greatly depend upon the weather; an excessive quantity of rain or drought at a critical time will either make or spoil a good crop.
Very few of the Havana cigar manufacturers own vegas or grow any tobacco; it is grown by planters or farmers, who bring their samples to Havana to sell to the merchants and manufacturers, who distribute Cuban tobacco and cigars all over the world.
When a crop is exceptionally good, those manufacturers who can afford hold over a reserve stock of it in bales in their warehouses, to use or blend with the next if necessary, in order to keep up the quality of their various sizes as uniformly as possible.
In spring, when the crop is ready to harvest, the leaves are taken off the plants, and carefully sorted into different classes and sizes for wrappers and fillers, called respectively "capa" and "tria." After being dried in the sun they are made into small bunches tied together at the stems. A bunch of thirty to forty leaves is called a "gavilla," and four gavillas a "manojo," and eighty of these, tightly bound in palm leaves, make a "tercio," or bale, which weighs IOO to 150 lbs., according to thi size of the leaves.
Tobacco is bought from the farmers by the bale, and sold in the Havana market, sometimes by weight and sometimes by the bale, and, whether held in the farmers' hands, or by dealers or cigar manufacturers, it must remain in the bales four or five months to mature, before they begin to work it, generally about September or October.
At the factory, when the tobacco is fit for making into cigars, the gavillas or bunches are taken out of the bales, loosened and dipped in water. When thus moistened they are easily opened out without tearing, and .the following day the leaves go through the hands of the "strippers," who dexterously remove the stalks. The wrapper is then ready for the cigar makers, but by far
the greater proportion for fillers has to pass through a process of fermentation or sweating for a few days, in barrels with holes cut in them near the top for the escape of evaporation.
46 MY TRIP" TO AMERICA.
As the process of embalming affects the strength "and flavour of the tobacco, it is 'carefully watched from day to day by the principals and foremen, the number of days being varied according to the country for which the cigars are required,-if "for America, about eighteen or twenty days suffice, while twenty-two or four is not too long if for England.
From the stripping-room the cigar makers have served out to them the different classes they have to work. The number of leaves for wrappers delivered to each one being noted by the foreman, and afterwards checked with the number of cigars m ade. The actual making of cigars seems to be very simple, but no doubt requires much practice to make perfect. The cigar maker first collects neatly in the palm of the left hand as much of the fillers (trzjpa) as necessary for the size he is making, and rolls it up in an imperfect leaf into something like the shape required, and finally in a capa or picked leaf for the outside, which he rolls- spirally around the cigar, and finishes the last tip or mouth piece with a slight touch of paste. The only tool he uses is a broad, flat, and sharp knife-blade without haft, for trimming the wrapper into shape; the length of the cigar -when finished is tested by a nick on a small piece of board standing before him, and then, it is laid beside the rest to see if it be the right Substance. When even a skilful workman has been making a particular si ze for a few days, it takes some hours' practice to get into making. another size quite correctly.
At the end of the day, upon leaving off work, each worker ties the cigars he has made in bundles of fifty and leaves them on his table, from whence they are
collected and taken to the "sorting-room," where the operation of sorting, bundling, and packing in boxes .is performed.
The sorting into the various shades of colour is entrusted to. the most experienced and 'highly-paid men in the trade, and upon their innocent heads the happiness of tens of thousands of cigar smokers in all parts of the world daily depends. From a pile of cigars before them, all of the same tobacco and day's making, they have to assort every colour of wrapper from "claro" to "oscuro," each factory having its own standard of colour. After packing, the boxes are taken to another department, where they are finally labelled and branded, or stencilled with colours and names, and are then ready, for shipment. The confident assertion, so freely made, that English and German cigars are sent out to Havana and returned with Havana brands and labels, has no foundation; in fact, it cannot be done, as the importation into Cuba of all foreign to 'bacco, manufactured or otherwise, is strictly prohibited.
The fictitious labels that appear on so many cigar boxes sold in the United Kingdom, are mostly imported imitations from other countries, in facsimile of noted brands, or with names and addresses that have no existence at Havana. It is almost needless to say that these fabrications purport to be made of tobacco of the Vuelta Abajo district.
Cigar making in all the best 'actories in Havana is done by men and boys, and --mostly by piece-work. Some of the first-class workers, who make the fine sizes and shapes, earn high wages, and nearly all are very
48 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
independent and difficult to manage. Sometimes they are careless in their work, and frequently stay away or leave their work at any hour without notice.
When at work their hats, coats,* and vests, and frequently their shirts, are hung on pegs in the workrooms, which are large and well-lighted, and often looking out upon palms and other tropical plants in an inner open space in the centre of the factory.
The men and boys, sometimes 150 to 200 in one room, are seated in orderly rows, at tables with divisions without lids, like boys at our school desks.
Everyone is allowed to smoke, while at work, as many as he likes of the cigars he is making, and in this they appear to be wasteful, as large cigars, that had 'only been smoked a few minutes, are thrown down and lie about on the floor, all over the workrooms.
Cigar smoking in Havana is general among all classes and all day long, and is not confined to men only, but women are seldom seen smoking in the street, the exceptions being a few aged negresses.
Pipes are not smoked except by Chinamen and a few sailors; cigarettes are largely consumed, the bulk of them being made of "picadura," or chopped. tobacco, the short cuttings, &c., from cigar-making.
Fine cigars are dear and not a matter of course, even at Havana, but they can always be got by going to the best fabricas. Connoisseurs smoke their cigars when fresh made, and prefer those with dark wrappers. When a gentleman invites friends to dinner, he calls at a factory and orders the cigars to be made the same afternoon ; but there is no such thing known as green cigars, what is meant is freshly-made cigars.
HAVANA: AMUSEMENTS. 49
Mr. Carvajal's favourite kind are made specially for him from leaves that have been allowed to ripen or mature on the plant, but I did not think them as fine and delicate in aroma as average Excepcionales.
Common cigars, such as are smoked by the lower classes, are made of very poor tobacco, and are comparatively cheap.
In Spanish, cigars are called tabacos, and cigarettes are cigarros, which is rather confusing to foreigners.
Really fine Havana cigars are not likely to be cheap again in the present generation, as the area of production of fine tobacco in Cuba cannot be extended, and the demand and consumption of the finest kinds increase year by year throughout the world.
After dinner a party of us drove to the Chinese Theatre, situated in a part of the city called the Chinese quarter, and a wretchedly poor and dirty quarter it is. We were politely received and shown to the front row of seats in the gallery, and an attendant immediately brought us each a glass of water and some "panales," for which he declined to receive either payment or gratuity. Panales are honeycomb sponge-cakes of white of egg and sugar, which dissolve on being dipped in the water, and make a kind of eau sucr'e. As it was Saturday evening there was a large attendance, the ground floor being fully occupied by Chinamen only, who kept up a constant chatter amid a cloud of smoke. The dialogue of the performance was carried on in Chinese, pitched in a high, discordant key, that sounded most disagreeably like "cats on the tiles," and to us was neither intelligible nor comical, so we soon had enough of it. I understand their plays are chiefly historical, and go on for years.
50 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
Next we went to see a grand. negro ball, held at alarge concert and ballroom. There was some doubt whether we should be admitted, but, as usual, the dollars prevailed, and we. ascended a wide stairs into a splendid room with a'well-laid and highly-polished floor, and brilliantly lighted .with gas. The guests, in a very orderly manner, were slowly arriving, and the presence of six or eight smart policemen seemed unnecessary. The brass band was loud and long, and the dancing very tame indeed.
The men were neatly dressed in black with white vests, and extensive in rings and watch-guards, and the women, gorgeously attired in clean prints and muslin dresses, wore large ear-rings and bangles, their plentiful and frizzy hair being piled high on their heads and decorated with bright ribbons.
In dancing, each couple only shuffled round four or five times on one spot, and then stood still for three or four minutes without speaking to each other; the men generally staring vacantly at the ceiling, or to some other part of the room; the women using their fans, and many of them smoking cigarettes. We expected to see some characteristic negro dances, and were informed it would get more lively towards eleven o'clock, so we adjourned for an hour. When we -returned, the numbers had #increased, but the same dull shuffling waltz was going on, and we soon retired from the scene.
The two principal theatres, which are very large, are not open at present, and the performances at a third seem very third-rate, and of questionable character; -but being in Spanish, I am not competent to form an independent opinion.
HAVANA*: BULL-FIGHTS. 51
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26TH.
This morning we went by steam-tramcar to Chorrera, a pretty suburb on the coast, three or four miles off, to breakfast at Petit's noted French restaurant, and very pleasant it was on the open verandah, a dreadful plague of flies excepted.
The cars were stopped anywhere to take up or set down passengers as ordinary tramcars. The tramroad, after the first few streets, is not used by other vehicles, but people walk along or cross it just as they please.
In front of the restaurant some poor men were fishing with rods, and waded into the sea up to their waists.
At Havana it is the custom to give their horses a good wash and swim in the salt water, almost daily, and this fine morning was more than usually devoted to it. For this refreshing bath they are strung together in great numbers. One negro was cleverly managing nineteen at once, all swimming about with little more than heads visible.
Being in Cuba one is expected to do as the Cubans do, and this afternoon we went to see a grand bull-fight, not without qualms I must admit, and on Sunday, too, above all days; but I am sorry to say that in Cuba there is no Sunday, as known and generally observed in England. In Cuba the great day for bull-fights, cockfights, balls, and grand spectacular performances is Sunday. Well, I have been to a bull-fight, and came away very much disgusted and disappointed with the amusement. Bull-fights may be better in Spain, but in Havana they are cruel and miserable exhibitions, without, as it appears to me, any redeeming feature.
52 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
The attractions of this particular bull-fight were placarded in the cafrs and all over the walls of the city, and some renowned bull-fighters had come from Spain for the occasion. As all the world was going, excepting, I am glad to say, women and children, we started out at two o'clock, and were soon in the stream of people all eagerly hurrying on to the Plaza de Toros, or bull-ring. On the way the bull-fighters in gorgeous apparel passed us, some on horseback and some in chariots, and the mere sight of them seemed to inflame the crowd that was trying to keep up with them.
The press at the entrance to the ferry was so great, we prudently bought tickets at a high premium, for both ferry-steamer and bull-ring from a bawling speculator outside, and this settled, we buttoned up our coats and pockets, and pressed forward in a mixed crowd of people of all classes but the very poorest.
The Plaza de Toros" is just like a large uncovered circus, and arranged in the same way, with tiers of plank seats all round, and with similar openings for entrance and exit. Over the entrance for bulls and horses, a sort of "royal box'" was reserved for distinguished patrons, and a private box for the president and his attendants. The seats on the "shady side" (entrada d la sombra) were twice the price of those in the rays of the sun (al sol), and that was the only difference.
When we arrived there were already two to three thousand spectators, and, the place continued to fill rapidly, until there were perhaps five thousand present.
On the arrival of the president there was a general stir of excitement, as without his presence the spectacle cannot begin; the entrance door was thrown open to
HAVANA: BULL-FIGHTS. 53
admit a grand procession of performers. At the head of it was the key-bearer, gorgeously dressed in velvet, trimmed with gold lace, and a jaunty Spanish cloak over his shoulders, and mounted on a beautiful prancing charger. Next came the two picadores or lancers, also mounted on horses, but these were poor, weak, wretchedlooking animals; not worth more than fifty shillings each, and dear at three pounds. These men had their legs either encased in iron or thickly wadded and then covered with chamois leather; they wore jackets and vests of velvet, grandly trimmed with gold lace, and flatlooking hats decorated with feathers. Then the dartmen (los banderilleros) followed on foot, also attired in velvet and gold, knee-breeches, white silk stockings, and low shoes with bright buckles, their jet black hair tied in a knot at the back, and velvet cap and feathers.
The two swordsmen (matadores or espadas) came next, also in short velvet jackets, richly trimmed with gold lace, knee-breeches, and pink silk stockings. Last of the procession were three Spanish mules yoked together with splendid harness, and with bells and gaudy tassels about their heads; these were driven by men in short jackets, white trousers, and coloured silk handkerchiefs round their heads.
After marching once round the ring the key-bearer reined up in the centre and saluted the president, who threw the key to him from his box over our heads; it was cleverly caught, the bugle sounded, and the ring was then open." The key-bearer and picadores retired, and the mules were led out, leaving all the rest in the arena to wait for the bull. In a few moments the first one came running tamely in, two or three
54 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
darts with gay ribbons sticking in his neck to make him lively.
He was a poor little beast, and looked quite bewildered at the banderilleros and matadres, who pranced about, passing bright, gaudy silk cloaks before his eyes to attract his attention from one to another. If he made a rush the men slipped sideways behind wooden screens erected for their safety inside the barrier of the arena, or they jumped over the barrier to get out of his reach. When the bull was thus excited the picadores re-entered on their blindfolded, wretched-looking, little white horses, and almost stood still to let the bull run at them and butt or gore the horses, without tilting at him with their lances, or making any show of resistance. This most brutal part of the performance was repeated with one or other of the horses several times, until one of them was deeply gored in the flank.
The excitement of the spectators was then intense, many rising to their feet, and, amid loud yells and calls to the president for los banderilleros from hundreds of throats, the bugle was sounded, and the picadores retired on their poor trembling horses.
The "fight" was then continued by the banderilleros and espadas, who had to resort to further torture to enrage the bull. For this purpose darts (or banderillas) were brought to the men; these are like thin arrows, about two feet long, pointed with steel barbs, and decorated with frills of fancy-coloured paper. One of the banderilleros took a dart in each hand, and, facing the bull, dodged nimbly about for two or three minutes, watching for an opportunity, and when the bull was making a run at him he quickly stuck them into his
HAVANA: BULL-FIGHTS. 5 5
shoulders, one on each side, and jumped aside to. let the bull pass. This was repeated by the other dartman with a great., show of danger and difficulty, and now four darts were dangling from his shoulders, and small streams of blood running from the wounds.
The bull, now stupefied and foaming at the mouth, stood still for moments, or made weak attempts to get at his tormentors. By this time he was nearly exhausted, the bugle was again sounded, and one of the matadors immediately appeared with a scarlet cloak on his left arm, and a sharp sword in his right hand, with which to put an end to his pain. This skilful swordsman was a noted bull-killer from Spain and a very fine-looking, well-built man for such a performance. After a bow to' the president, he began to dance about with great agility and show' of difficulty and danger in his dreadful purpose; the bull made a few more feeble runs at the red cloak, and then, at a moment when he stood and lowered his head, the sword was dexterously thrust through the shoulder to his heart, and he dropped on his knees dead. The matador was loudly cheered, the team of mules was instantly hurried in, a rope passed round the horns of the bull, attached to the traces, and the. animal was dragged out of the ring. At the same moment another bull, a rather finer and more ferocious looking animal than the first, was admitted, and the exhibitions of skill repeated exactly as before, except that the matador was not quite as skilful or expert as the first, and made several unsuccessful attempts to kill the bull; sometimes leaving the sword dangling with the point-sticking in the flesh; but at last he also fell, and the assistants finished the business somehow.
56 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
I was now satisfied with the sport and we tried to get out, *but before we managed to do so a third bull was done to death in the same manner, and three more were to follow.
Through the whole affair there is no sense of fear -for the men, who are all fine, active fellows; one's sympathy in a most unequal- combat is all for the bulls, and one's pity for the poor horses. It appeared to me that a good big shorthorn bull, such as we often see in England, would have knocked the whole place to pieces in a few minutes, and I am told that some large Texas bulls were actually brought over for a grand occasion, and the bull-fighters declined to encounter them.
Such is the spectacle, as I saw it, of a grand bull-fight at Havana, upon which I shall not attempt to moralise, as the Cubans might make unfavourable comparison with some of our national sports.
It was a great relief to get out of the place, and in recrossing the beautiful harbour on our way to Havana it was pleasant to find we, had the steamer almost to ourselves.
To help to dispel the scene of the Plaza de Toros, we took an open carriage drive in the grand Paceo, halting at the Captain General's Palace for a stroll under the shady trees, and where, if the truth were
known,) soefarn E pcionales" contributed to our enjoyment.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27TH.
This morning, after spending an hour or two on cigar business at Cabanas' offices, Mr. Carvajal took us a drive
HAVANA: THE CASINO. 57
in his open carriage to see a large new cemetery in the suburbs, and especially to see an immense tomb he has recently had made for his family. The blocks of polished granite from the United States are an enormous size and weight, and the interior 'is constructed as a beautiful small chapel. We were afterwards told it had cost him i0,000 dollars (gold) and 3,000 more for the removal of the granite slabs from the ship to the cemetery; special wagons having to be made to convey them.
"And so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die."
After dinner Mr. Carvajal called for me at the hotel to go to the Grand Spanish Casino, of which he has been president the last four years. It is a large handsome building, looking on to the Parque de Isabel; it contains spacious rooms for reading, billiards, balls, committees, and for all the purposes of a great political and social club.
Mr. Carvajal is a most affable and courteous gentleman, and said to be the most popular man in Havana; everywhere in the streets he receives most friendly greetings, and at the Casino he appears to be beloved by the members, who flock around him, shaking hands right and left, as though they had not seen, him for a month. He is an active and loyal supporter of the Spanish government in Cuba. By his portrait in the club, I see his full name and title is, His Excellency Don Leopoldo Carvajal, and when in full dress he wears a number of handsome "decorations" from the Court of Madrid.
58 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28TH.
At ten o'clock Mr. Carvajal called for an "early" breakfast with us at the hotel, and then took us in a carriage and pair about six miles- into the country-, to see the great water spring at Vento, and the Havana waterworks, which were begun many years ago on a magnificent scale, and stopped for want of money, when the principal works and three miles of aqueduct had been well made under an eminent American engineer. For the last four years not a cent has been spent in further construction, and 400,000 dollars is still owing to the first contractor. Mr. Carvajal is the president or chairman of the undertaking, and for want of funds is quite powerless to go on with the work, though the water is greatly needed- in the city. The volume of water, which never fails or varies winter or summer, is so great that it has been calculated to be sufficient to supply a population twice the size of London. It is supposed, or has been proved, to come under the gulf from Florida, as it exactly agrees in analysis with a lake or stream of water which there disappears in the earth. At our visit the waste sluice was closed and the great basin over the spring filled, and another sluice opened to allow the water to flow down the aqueduct, filling it continuously about four feet wide and deep. -I have never seen a large stream of water so beautifully clear and so pure in taste.
On the way out we drove past thousands of tall palmtrees, like huge feather dusters, thirty to forty feet high, rows of cocoa-Palms with fruit on, bananas with clusters of fruit nearly ripe, hedges covered with convolvulus,
HAVANA: WATERWORKS. 59
and the poinsettia -pulcherrima in full bloom, and lovely flowers I could not distinguish ; yuccas and aloes were also plentiful in the roadside hedges.
The cocoa-palms are dying in great numbers from the ravages of an insect like a large cockroach, which attacks the core, and causes the fronds or branches to turn from green to pale yellow or straw colour, and then they drop off; when they decay the core smells like putrid meat."
We also passed a sugar plantation which produces eight to ten thousand hogsheads a year.
The sun was extremely hot, so we were glad to keep the carriage-hood over our heads all the way.
We met a number of rude carts, each with four to six mules yoked, tandem, bringing country produce into Havana market. It is more generally brought on the backs of mules in large baskets made of matting or palm leaves. Live fowls and turkeys are sometimes brought in crates, but are frequently slung by the legs in large bunches over the backs of mules, and the poor things are also hawked about the streets in the hands of men and boys. I noticed that if any fowl uttered a caw of distress, they swung the lot sharply round, to silence the culprit who ventured to complain of the treatment.
In a hot climate to kill and eat is the custom, and it is no uncommon thing to see poultry brought in alive and on the table for dinner an hour after.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29TH.
Up at 4-30 to start by train at six for Matanzas to see some wonderful caves. We started punctually, and
6o MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
went right along the public street ringing a bell for people to get out of the way. When clear of Havana we went on at a good speed and with few stoppages. The rails are Well laid, and the carriages, built on the American pattern, were all of one class, airy, and fairly comfortable. The distance is about forty-six miles, and we arrived there at 8-45. In a downpour of rain we drove to a noted hotel to breakfast, and by ten o'clock our volante was at the door, with two good horses and a negro postillion. We then started for the "Caves of Bellamar," distant about three miles. The volante is an elegant light carriage for two persons, with hood and curtain to protect from the sun; it is supported on long slender shafts, the ends of which rest on the axle, and it swings easily from side to side on strong leather springs., The wheels are about six feet high, very light, and made of the best materials. The horses are traced semitandem, so that the driver seated on the near horse can reach back and lay hold of the bridle of the other. The first part of the journey, by the beautiful bay of Matanzas, was very pleasant, many of the houses being quaint and pretty, and we crossed over several river bridges. The whole scene, it is said, greatly resembles Venice. After leaving the seaside we turned off into a rough, stony road, winding up to the top of a hill. Our negro driver sat on the first horse as if he were glued upon a large clumsy-looking saddle, and, threading his way for nearly a mile, the wheels of the volante went skipping over huge smooth-faced rocks embedded in the track.
In a field at the top we came to the Cave House, a large wooden building erected over the entrance to the
HAVANA TO MATANZAS. 6
cave. Directly we alighted the horses were led under a tree with spreading branches, to protect them from the intense rays of the sun. The guide .was soon in attendance, and advised us to divest ourselves of our coats, on account of the great heat of the caves, and we were thankful for that, as a thin serge bathing costume would have been far more comfortable and appropriate than what we kept on. Descending, a stairway into the first chamber, the guide and another attendant preceded us with lighted torches of coarse brown bees' wax, rolled into thick sticks, two feet long, lit with flaming wicks. In this order we went on and on through great vaulted chambers, with thousands upon thousands of most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, from pretty little icicle-like pendants to huge trunks like the pillars of a -great temple. Some are almost transparent, and other formations look like large petrified sponges of innumerable shapes and' sizes, and the millions of crystals are of dazzling brilliancy. We continued yet on and on, and down and down, through cavern after cavern, and arch after arch, all beautiful alike.
All the way the path was as dry as powdered lime, the stairways good, and the bridges and handrails, firmly made. The heat was intense, but without any feeling of dampness or oppressiveness. When we had walked at a fair pace for three-quarters of an hour, I inquired if there was any ending, and the guide replied it was a long way off yet; continuing on until we were three miles from the entrance and something more than five hundred feet deep. In returning we got entirely different views and effects, so that it appeared nearly all new to us ; the Turkish bath-like temperature being our only discomfort.
62 MY' TRIP TO AMERICA.
On reaching the mouth of the cave we were asked if we would like to see the new cave, discovered and opened within the last two years. Again we began to descend by another stairway into chambers of the same kind, many of them so beautiful, with delicate stalactites and crystals, that it has been thought necessary to protect some of the finest by cage-like barriers of iron bars. This cave, though in-extent not as great as the first, is if possible even more beautiful. For the convenience and safety of visitors, the proprietor has bestowed. great pains and expense in both, in little bridges, handrails, and. steps hewn out of the rock. It only remains to add the electric light, which, without fear of spoiling the crystals with smoke, would give extraordinary effects.
Having paid a dollar each for admission to each cave, and bought a few- specimens of crystals to bring away, we re-entered the volante, and were soon at the Bahia station, to return by another line of railway to Havana.
The Bahia station was recently destroyed by fire, and a very convenient one of English,-like appearance erected, with convenient waiting-rooms and a covered platform.
Inside the station, when taking tickets, we were surrounded by ten of the most wretched -look in g beggars I have ever seen together; many of them were miserable cripples, and all Chinamen.
At the refreshment bar we paid equal to three shillings for a small bottle of lager beer, and some sugar sweets of English make were ticketed at the same price per pound, though the plantations in the immediate neighbourhood supply, at less than three-halfpence per pound, thousands of tons of raw sugar annually to America.
HAVANA TO MATANZAS. 63
On the railway jo urney. we passed miles of sugar plantations, forests and rows of palm trees, cocoa-palms, and bananas, Poinsettias, and other rare hothouse plants in full bloom, all looking bright and gay as if it were mid-summer. Of animals, the most remarkable were large herds of fine cattle, a rich dark brown on the back, shaded off to fawn that would delight Sidney Cooper; many such were ploughing, and other fine teams were drawing heavy wagons. In one instance six splendid bullocks, yoked two-and-two, were drawing a heavy load. Goats were plentiful, and herds of gaunt black swine; the sheep after the first year have only short hair like fallow deer, instead of a coat of wool.
We saw large flocks of white turkeys, and the domestic fowls are like our own. Of wild birds, the most numerous and remarkable are black-birds, nearly as big as magpies, and similar in flight.
In some parts the soil is a deep red colour, and the legs of mules and bullocks are stained and smeared with it, as though they had been wading through red ochre.
The dwellings are mostly miserable little huts thatched with palm leaves, and the children seen running about seem to cost their parents very little in tailoring, dressmaking, and millinery.
At many way-side stations, saddle mules in lieu of wheel conveyances were waiting for passengers, and at every station men and boys jumped on the trains and rushed through the cars offering for sale sugar-sweets, fruits, milk, butter, cream-cheese, live quails, bibles, and of course lottery tickets.
The day's excursion to Matanzas has left an agreeable impression of novelty and interest, which, if time
64 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
had permitted, we should doubtless have extended by a drive from Matanzas to the lovely valley of the Yumurri.
At Havana, later in the afternoon, we had a pleasant drive to the military barracks, on the top of a rocky eminence, commanding a grand view of the surrounding country.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30TH.
This morning we visited the great cigarette manufactory, "La Honradez," and were particularly interested in a most ingenious and beautiful American machine for making cigarettes. A continuous band of fine paper is regularly supplied with the requisite quantity of cut tobacco as it passes on through a tube, where it is neatly folded, fastened, and then cut off in the exact lengths required, as fast as they can be carried away to make into packets.
The remainder of my time this morning was spent in paying farewell calls, including a very pleasant visit to the Chinese Ambassadors. They speak English fluently in sweet musical voice, without any peculiarity of accent. I had the pleasure of taking a cup of fine tea with them in the native fashion, and of exchanging cartes-de-visite.
We have been comfortable at the Hotel Inglaterra, and can recommend it; the dining-room menu both for breakfast and dinner is on a liberal scale, and the service good.
Mr. Crowe, the English Consul-general, and friends, who know their way about pretty well, give the Inglaterra the preference for dining. In the bedrooms we are attended to by men; a mulatto and a negress
chambermaids are occasionally seen about the anteroom, but at the approach of strangers they droop their large black eyes and disappear.
In answer to my occasional inquiries, the runner" always informs me "the French-a steamer has not come as expected," so I have not had the offer of a front room as stipulated, and no explanation or apology is volunteered at the office. The hotel Pasaje has much finer rooms than the Inglaterra, and the "Telegrafo" is also spoken of as one of the best.
In a visit only extending over a single week a full description of Havana, and of the manners and customs of the people could not be expected; yet to give some idea of the place, while my memory is fresh, I may briefly add a few observations to my diary. The population of about 250,000 is very mixed, including a large proportion of people of all shades of colour, from the genuine dark negro to pale olive mulatto. The latter are variously described as octoroons, quadroons, "or coffee and milk" and "yellow pines," &c. There are in Cuba, and chiefly in Havana, 6oooo Chinamen and no Chinawomen; the negroes and Chinamen being chiefly employed in domestic service and doing all kinds of menial and laborious work.
The Captain-General is governor of the island and military chief, and his authority is supported by a large army of about twenty thousand men. He is appointed for three years, and seldom exceeds his term of office; he has a palace and splendid stables in the city, and a summer residence with large garden and well-wooded pleasure grounds in the suburbs. Sometimes he is popular and gives grand entertainments, and sometimes
66 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
the reverse, and makes all he can by the position, including fees and bribes right and left.
In Havana, life and property are protected by a numerous body of smart, military-looking police, both mounted and foot, who, always two and two, pat rol the city and suburbs armed wi th swords and large pistols, as robberies with violence are frequent and quickly executed.
When the desperadoes who commit these assaults do fall into the hands of the police, and offer resistance in capture or conveyance to the lock-up; it is said they are shot without much hesitation, and taken in dead; a declaration that the prisoner attempted to escape, and that they were obliged to shoot him, being sufficient. However, I am glad to say that during my visit I 'have not seen Iany altercation or a single drunk or disorderly ,Person.
I was informed that the pay of the police is often eight or nine months in arrears, and that of the army and navy for a much longer period.
The Cuban ladies are generally small and genteel, and a great majority are pretty, but nearly all of the same type of beauty: black hair, fine dark eyes, regular features, and pale faces. They dress well, and when out of doors wear a mantilla of black lace loosely over the head and shoulders. The men are generally handsome and slender, smartly dressed, and walk erect with elastic step.
Many of the young negresses and mulattas are tall and handsome, and march along with a jaunty air and heads erect. When I remarked that I did not see any elderly women of the same stamp, I was told "they generally die of consumption."
The few aged black women to be seen in the streets are mostly short, stout, and ugly; but the most miserable objects of human beings I have ever seen are the Chinese cripples and beggars in Cuba. Many of the wretched creatures look like mere skeletons covered with parchment.
Business men, as a rule, take when dressing only a cup of chocolate or card? con leche (coffee with milk), then go to their offices for three or four hours, and return to breakfast at from eleven to twelve. They rest during the heat of the day, and revisit their business later on. At seven they dine, and after that, say from eight to ten, they sit in the open air or promenade and listen to the fine military bands that play in the fashionable Parque Isabel nearly every evening. There it is you see welldressed ladies and gentlemen in thousands promenading every evening, or sitting on chairs provided, which are charged for exactly as at Rotten Row. Pretty little dark-eyed children, beautifully dressed in muslins and bright sashes, are also there in hundreds, either walking hand-in-hand with their parents or playing and romping about until a late hour in charge of a black nurse, having probably been kept indoors during the heat of the day. To these open-air concerts many ladies come on the Prado in open carriages and do not alight, in which case the mantilla is often not worn and the arrangement of the hair is then a triumph, The coachmen are nearly always negroes in gorgeous livery.
In the morning ladies are seldom seen out, except occasionally for shopping, and then the best class are always accompanied by a negress, who rides side by side in the Victoria, or, if walking, keeps at a respectful
68 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
distance behind. In the evenings the grand caf~s, especially the Louvre next to the Hotel Inglaterra, are thronged with gentlemen smoking 'and talking with great animation. They take a variety of cooling drinks, which are a specuitif in a climate where they have perpetual summer.
The public conveyances are mostly one-horse Victorias for two persons; they have hoods and curtains to protect from the sun, and the fare is twenty cents (paper), or equal to fivepence per single journey; there are also open barouches, with two horses, for four persons. On a few main routes tramcars and omnibuses, drawn by miserable-looking horses or Spanish mules, run frequently at cheap rates.- The horses and mules in harness are provided with large tassels about the head to keep off the troublesome flies.
For shade from the sun the streets of Havana have been purposely made very narrow, excepting only a few squares or open spaces, and the grand Prado or wide boulevard that -divides the old part of the city from the more modern. The footpaths on each side are so narrow that people can walk along them only in single-file.
There is no select residential quarter of the city, the best family houses being scattered about among the business premises, and often adjoining very objectionable neighbours. In such situations it is of course impossible to have nice gardens and pleasure grounds to the houses, as in our suburbs; the best they can do is to 'have handsome palms, &c., in their spacious courtyards. The flat housetops are also available for plants, and for a cool seat in the evenings.
Charcoal is used for cooking purposes, and as no house fires are required there is no smoke, and consequently the city may be said to be without chimneys.
The grand Prado or Paseo has, in addition to a broad carriage drive which runs right down to the sea, convenient walks and paths among beds of shrubs, palms, and tropical trees.
The ancient city was formerly protected by very thick walls of stone and cement, and guards were mounted at the handsome entrance gates. These old walls have been in course of demolition for thirty years, and a gentleman said to me: "At Havana everything goes slow; we have no money to spare for such work."
The best shops are in the streets Obispo, Ricla, and O'Reilly. They are open to the footpaths and attractively arranged in a bazaar-like fashion; the stocks are comparatively small and not of great value. A gay appearance is imparted to some of these narrow streets, by awnings stretched from side to side to shade from the sun.
The streets are badly paved with stone setts, which have to be imported from America, and consequently are very expensive. The insanitary "modern conveniences" indoors and the drainage outside are very defective, and in a tropical climate one is almost thankful that the germs of zymotic disease are not festering in imperfect sewers. In the more modern portion of the city many of the streets remain year after year in deep holes and ruts, neither paved nor sewered.
The streets are swept by negro scavengers, and domestic refuse of all kinds is set out in tubs in the streets, to be removed during the night. Assisting
70 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
the scavengers in the removal of offal refuse in the city are hundreds of large carrion-birds, like cormorants, flying about almost tame, and under the special protection of the city authorities.
The markets are well supplied with fruit, vegetables, fish, and poultry, and the banana in great abundance, which may be said to be the bread of the poor of Cuba.
Hawking in the streets is carried on to a great extent. Sometimes the baskets or hampers are carried in hand or on the head, but more generally on the backs of mules, on which men sit swinging lazily along, calling out their speciality just as one hears in London. In this way all kinds of bread, fish, fruit and confectionery, live fowls, quails, &c., are distributed. In many public places Chinamen are standing at tables and stalls on tressels, set out with curious cakes and sweetmeats, over which they instinctively keep waving a light feather plume or common fan, to keep the flies off. I noticed scores of these stalls and never once saw a customer stop to buy anything.
Fresh milk is supplied from cows kept standing on the shady side of streets, here and there, in convenient places all over the city; often half-a-dozen together, and always have with them their pretty fawn-coloured young calves.
In offices, factories, and workrooms, drinking water is kept cool in large brown clay, unglazed, pilgrim jars, with a handle. at the top and narrow spout at the side, from which water is poured into the mouth without touching the spout with the lips. I tried it once, and the first part of the refreshing stream was spilt all over my shirt front.
The shoeblack boys of Havana look very. sharply after business at all likely places, and. particularly at the donors of hotels and restaurants. They are permitted to come into the dining-rooms among the tables, to "shine your boots as you sit at dinner.
The lottery ticket nuisance, the curse of Cuba, is the worst of all. From the first moment of setting foot on shore until the last before leaving, lottery tickets, lottery tickets, lottery tickets are fluttered before one's eyes at all places, and at all times-morning, noon, and night. Old men, old women, and children, at cigar shops, ticket offices, everywhere, push them under notice, and one cannot escape them. At Matanzas it was just the same; the instant we got out of the railway-car the lottery ticket vendors rushed up to us, confident that we could not possibly have gone there for any other purpose than to buy lottery tickets. I understand these Government lotteries of 25,000 tickets, of forty dollars (paper) each, and subdivided into tickets of one and two dollars, take place about every twelve days all the year round. In the way described, speculators in the tickets dispose of as many as they can, perhaps ten or fifteen thousand. The rest of the chances remain in the hands of the Government, who also take twenty-five per cent of the gross amount of each lottery. The expectation of some day drawing a grand prize is sufficient to keep up the excitement among all classes, down to the poorest workmen who can manage to buy or join in buying a ticket in divided shares.
Havana has natural advantages for commerce in its beautiful large harbour, with water deep enough for the largest vessels, and in a climate of perpetual summer.
72 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
Of the fertile' soil of the Island of Cuba, the chief products are sugar, tobacco, and coffee, and on these industries, directly or indirectly, the population of Havana mainly depend. It also grows a great quantity of fruits, such as bananas, cocoa-nuts, pines, limes,
-oranges, guavas, and green mangos; but for berry fruits of all kinds the, climate is too hot, and they are consequently small and shrivelled. Of vegetables may be mentioned sweet potatoes, cabbages, onions, and garlic; the strong odour of the latter is constantly met with among the working-class and is very offensive.
The f6od supply is considerably supplemented by a great variety of fish caught at Havana, and all around the coast. Sharks are numerous, and shark-shooting is one of the exciting sports; oil is extracted from them, and the smaller ones are eaten.
On our return voyage we have in the cargo 1,200 hogsheads of sugar for New York and 183 cases of cigars for America, England, and Germany; the steamer since our arrival having been to Cardenas to take the sugar on board. We have also a large quantity of fruit, especially bananas.
The currency is in paper notes of the nominal value of five cents and upwards, and in gold ounces and ha4founces; the paper money is worth in gold less than half the amount stated upon it. For instance, in change for a gold ounce of seventeen dollars, I received a few cents over thirty-eight dollars in paper. Hence in all money matters, it 'is necessary to quote prices, so many dollars .per; because if you simply
gold, or so many dollars pa I
say, I gave ten dollars for this straw-hat,"" it would not be understood whether it cost twenty shillings or
HAVANA TO NEW YOR K. 73
something under ten. These pretty little notes, not much larger than a gentleman's visiting card, get very worn and dirty, and, roll up into little pellets in one's pockets very inconveniently.'
Havana has modern London fire-engines and a smart fire-brigade.
Life in Havana during the hot season is very trying to Europeans, mosquitos and other insects being very troublesome, and there is great liability to yellow fever. My stay, of a few days in the cool season, among novel sights and sounds, has been exceedingly interesting and pleasant, and leaves a strong desire to come again, and make excursions to other parts of the Island.
I am returning in the Saratoga to New York, and Mr. Hunter is staying another week for business at Havana.
We came off to the steamer in a sailing boat, just as we were first taken ashore. Mr. Carvajal, Mr. Marx, and Mr. Hunter came on board to see me off and went ashore at five o'clock, when we left the harbour.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD.
We arrived at New York at five o'clock this evening, after a voyage of exactly four days, having left Havana at five on Thursday. For the first three days and nights the weather was perfect; the soft warm breeze was delicious, particularly in the evenings. The temperature after sunset, in my open cabin on deck, was 8o0, and only began to fall as we came north of Cape Hatteras, wh ,ere the wind was north-east, and made us put thick clothing on. We were in the Gulf Stream all the way
74 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
back to there in such lovely blue water as I have never seen elsewhere. My bath-water was pumped in direct from the sea, fresh every morning, and beautifully clear and warm.
The evenings were most enjoyable when the sun was setting in a great red, blaze on one side of the ship, and the full moon just above the horizon on the other; the sea being nearly calm was thus lit into a bright silvery glitter and made a beautiful picture. Sometimes with ships in full sail in sight, or a steamer passing and saluting us with coloured lights, and often shoals of porpoises, flying-fish, and phosphorescent jelly-fish, were all around our steamer.
The few passengers we had were mostly Cubans, and not speaking Spanish I could not fraternize with them.
Mr. Richard Gibbs, United States Resident Minister and Consul-general at Bolivia, South America, was very entertaining, with anecdotes and information about his travels, earthquakes, shipwrecks, &c., extending over a long" and varied experience 'of forty years, during which period of time he had made ninety-three trips.
Another agreeable fellow-passenger was Mr. Brown, the master-pilot of Mr. Gordon Bennett's No. 6 New York pilot boat, who, when taking last week's Havana steamer out, had been unable to return to his boat, and was taken on to Havana.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH.
On the eve of the great Presidential election, the Havana steamer arrived at New York,'and. I was soon reinstated in a comfortable room at the Metropolitan
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. 75
Hotel. The uncertainty as to the issue of the election causes intense excitement a m*ong all classes, and is demonstrated in a way which Englishmen have no conception of ; business is almost suspended. The whole people are deeply stirred by the momentous event and its probable consequences for the next four years. Even the most wealthy leading citizens take part in the great processions and may be seen marching in the ranks through the streets. At home we are not indifferent to the great importance of a general election. When the day comes we repair to the polling-booths, record our votes, and await the results ; but here it is different. For days and even weeks the excitement is kept up by the uncertainty of the vast returns from the various States; and the most influential citizens throng the great hotels night after night, until a late hour. At Fifth Avenue, Hoffman House, Windsor, Brunswick, Delmonico's, and all the 'principal hotels, thousands are rushing about to see the returns posted on huge illuminated transparencies exhibited in rapid succession; or they gather in knots, and the situation is discussed with the greatest -animation, bets to fabulous amounts being made. To a stranger and outsider, the most surprising thing is first this demonstration of earnestness and excitement, and grouping together of so many first-class citizens; and, 'secondly, the want of faith in the returns received and published. Throughout the States the polling was on Tuesday, and even now on Friday night, in New York, the rival parties, Republican and Democrat, are unable or unwilling to accept the returns as any indication of the final result. I have just -had a conversation with a gentleman in the entrance
76 MY TRIP. TO AMERICA.
hall of, Fifth Avenue 'Hotel on the election, and particularly as to the unbelief' in returns published from various sources. The difficulty of obtaining authentic returns *from so vast an area of far off, thin ly-populated districts, and the official reports having to be sent by messenger on foot or horseback, formed the basis of his reasonable explanation..
In contrast with American political feeling, I informed him that at a general election in our country the anxiety and interest in the results were quite as great; but that whoever chooses to remain in town at hotel or club to see the returns as they come flashing in by telegraph may accept then as correct at once, whether they favour his party or not, as they are seldom materially changed. When we parted, -this gentleman quietly but emphatically said, Well, we shall probably never meet again, but you will remember that in the very midst of this election a New York citizen declared that, if he were worth two hundred thousand dollars, he would to-night bet one hundred and fifty thousand of them that J. G. Blamne will be the next President of the United States."
And in New York City, up to now, as far as I am able to judge, this is the general opinion and sanguine hope. The processions, bands, and hurrahs are all for Blamne; and Cleveland, as the Americans say, has no show." For the last few days here the turmoil of the election has interfered with sight-seeing; and tomorrow I leave for Baltimore to pay a promised visit.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH.
The railway journey from New York, to Baltimore is over a flat and rather uninteresting country, the distance
NEW'YORK TO B3ALTIMORE.' 77
being about 200 mil es. The soil is light-coloured and sandy-looking, with a great deal of .coarse grass and bush plantations. On the way, the' principal features are the railway bridges over shallow outlets of the Chesapeake Bay, wooden houses, snake fences, and hideous advertisements, often in letters six or-eight feet high, on every available spot.
On the Pennsylvania and Ohio Railway, which is the best line in America, the Pullman-car express travels at a good speed; but in point of comfort, for a similar distance, say from Manchester to London, cannot be compared, in my opinion, with an English first-class carriage. Here in America the rushing in and out of the cars, and the constant officialism in. examining and snipping the tickets after leaving every station, is very distracting.
But there is no subject upon which the English and Americans more widely differ than on what constitutes comfort in railway travelling. One is accustomed to the quiet repose of a small party in a compartment, where he can, if disposed, enter into conversation; the other prefers the publicity and unrest of open cars and to be able to roam about.
At the New York station, or dep6t as they call it, I asked for a first-class for Baltimore; a railway-ticket and a ferry-ticket were duly issued without remark. I crossed by the ferry-steamer, and presented my railwayticket to the checker at the platform barrier, who in a peremptory way de manded my Pullman-car ticket." 1I said, I do not want to go in a Pullman-car, but in an ordinary first-class." "You can't go in this train without a Pullman ticket." After hunting about for some time,
78* MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
I found the office and procured one for nearly half as much as the ordinary fare additional, and returning to the platform was admitted to a car and "fixed" on pedestal NO. 7, between ladies who observed a strict silence. Finally I took refuge alone in a smoking compartment at the end of the car, until I intercepted one of the conductors, and had a qui 'et talk with him about all this checking and examination of tickets every few miles when travelling in a free country."
I had been out late the night before in the election excitement, and was looking forward to such rest on the long railway journey as I could have had on our railways in England.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER I I TH.
My visit to Baltimore has been made extremely pleasant by a most hearty welcome at the house of my host and hostess, who were, my fellow-passengers from Liverpool to New York. Such disinterested kindness and generous hospitality as I have experienced the last four days demands my warmest acknowledgments.
On Saturday, arriving early in the afternoon, we had time before dinner for a most delightful carriage-drive for a couple of hours in Druids' Park, in which is situated one of the large reservoirs of the city. It is a very large park, naturally undulating, and Iwell furnished with shrubs and fine old forest trees. The walks and carriage-' drives are deviating and beautifully irregular, and provided with comfortable seats in scores of picturesque vistas and shady nooks, every provision being made for the healthful enjoyment of old and young. Within the
limits of the park is the gentlemen's driving club,' driving and trotting being a popular pastime here, as in all American cities, and my friends greatly enjoy both. As customary here, they keep their horses and carriages at a livery stables, where they are well cared for and smartly turned out any time at a few minutes' notice, by telephone from the house. We were out in an elegant light Stanhope phaeton, with a fast trotter that had only been a few days up from grass, and not in condition to do its best, and on a piece of good level road in the park we had a "spin "at the rate of a mile in two minutes and forty seconds.
On Sunday we went to the Church of "England," the service being very nicely conducted. The large congregation was of the very respectable class, who liberally contribute to all the reasonable requirements -of the minister and his lay satellites. The weather being like midsummer, there was a grand promenade and review of fashions after church, in which the young ladies of Baltimore fully maintained their reputation for beauty, deportment, and good taste in dress; except that the latest achievement of my hostess in bonnets, just brought from Paris, had been unscrupulously copied in less than a fortnight, which was unpardonable.
On Monday we went about thirty miles by rail to see Washington, often referred to as the city of magnificent distances," and is the well-known seat of government of the'United States. In one form or another it has so frequently been said tQ me "you must see Washington before you return to England," that I felt anxious to realise a great, expectation, and I have not been disappointed.
80 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
During my short visit of a few hours, I was fortunate in having bright sunshine and a cloudless sky, and the impression left on my mind is that Washington is the finest city I have ever seen. In the last few years great improvements have been rapidly carried forward, and if the same rate of progress be continued, in forty or fifty years hence it will indeed be magnificent.
In 1790, or ninety-five years ago, when the site for thi's' city was presented to the Union by the State of Maryland, there was not even a village upon it, and ten years later, that is in 1 8oo, the seat of government was transferred from Philadelphia to Washington. The site is one of the most beautiful and picturesque that could be selected, being almost surrounded in the distance by well-wooded hills, on the banks of the great river Potomac, which is the broadest in America. It is a noble plain, affording full scope for the laying out of a. model city, and the result is in the highest "degree satisfactory. At the present time, its public buildings, parks, squares, statues, and substantial private residences, in the broad avenues, are all on a grand scale. Washington, with its fine river and excellent railway communication, possesses great facilities for bus iness enterprise, but up to the present, these have not been utilised to any extent, so that the appearance of the city- and the purity of the atmosphere are not spoilt by the smoky chimneys of manufactories. The population is about i 8otooo, of whom 6o,ooo are people of colour and Chinese.
The water is supplied through a grand aqueduct, the consumption of which is 120 million gallons per day, the largest quantity, proportionately to size, of any city in the world.
We first visited the Capitol, an imposing building 'of gigantic proportions, composed almost entirely of white marble, with an iron dome covered with copper, the style of architecture being Corinthian. For size, and shape of dome, this building may be compared with St. Paul's Cathedral, the height of the dome, 396 feet, being only four feet less than St. Paul's. It is situated on an eminence sloping in every direction down to the city, the view, from the top of the dome, commanding the broad avenues radiating at regular intervals in all directions from the margin of the ornamental gardens. For examination of the interior, we engaged a professional guide on the spot, and were much pleased with his services.
After a careful survey of the pictures, and frescoes in the great Rotunda, we visited the- Supreme Court, then sitting. The Senate Chamber is provided with seats at
-desks to accommodate seventy-four senators, arranged in semi-circular rows, in front of the vice-president's chair, which rests on a dais; but as the Senate was not in session the apartments were not seen to the best advantage, the furniture being in disorder and the carpets rolled up. The Hall of Representatives is similar to the Senate Chamber, with desks for three hundred members, arranged in rows in the same way, and in front of the Speaker's chair. Both in the Senate Chamber and the Hall of Representatives, every mem-, ber has a particular seat and desk all through the session; and the indiscriminate taking of seats, or being without, as in our Houses of Parliament, is avoided.' The members are provided with a large library, ample committee-rooms, and every comfort and convenience befitting the legislators of a great country. The fine
82 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
bronze door, by Crawford, leading from the eastern portico into the Rotunda, is worthy of special mention. Including casing, It is nineteen feet high, and nine feet wide; it weighs 200,000 pounds, and Cost 28,ooo dollars, or about ;65,6oo sterling. In high relief, it is richly ornamented with a symbolic history of Columbus and his discoveries, and of its kind it is said to be the most magnificent work in the world.
Standing on a particular block in the floor of the Rotunda, a most extraordinary effect of echo is experienced in speaking, the echo of one's voice is returned sharply into the ear with a curious sensation of instant mockery.
Taking leave of our intelligent guide, we ascended to the top gallery of the dome for a bird's-eye view of the city, and we were well rewarded for the climb by the splendour of the river, the hills, and the surrounding country as seen for miles through the clear atmosphere.
Leaving the Capitol, we visited the great central markets, which are well supplied with fish, butchers' meat, game and poultry, including wild turkeys, canvas-back and red-head ducks, quails, squirrels and racoons; also vegetables of all kinds, and fruits in abundance. The' market is spacious, and the stalls well arranged, but not kept as neat and trim as they ought to be.
At the head office of police, Colonel Cummins introduced us to his -chief, General and, after a
brief conversation, kindly accompanied us in an open carriage for three hours on a tour of inspection of the principal objects of interest in Washington, at some of which we alighted. These were the Treasury, Patent Office, White House, or residence of the President of
the United States, the Smithsonian Institution, Post Office, Georgetown University, Oak Hill Cemetery, and the Connecticut and- Massachusetts Avenues, mainly occupied by fine private residences.
The Washington Monument is a plain obelisk, 55 feet square at the base and 5 50 feet high, without any ornamentation, device, or inscription upon it, and to a stranger looks a meaningless structure. The wall is 1 5 feet' thick at the base, and gradually tapers at the rate' of a quarter of an inch to the foot on the outside. The inside of the wall is perpendicular, and encloses a space of 25 feet square for 1-50 feet, and then it is increased to 31 feet 6-inches to the top, where the outside wall, by the gradual taper, is reduced to i foot 6 inches.
The exterior is in blocks of polished white marble, obtained. near Baltimore, and the backing is of granite, from Maine. At the time of our visit men were en-gaged dressing the cap stone, and I brought a chip of it away. The material was raised on an immense elevator constructed inside, which will now be used for passengers to ascend.
The enormous weight of the monument will, I think, prove to be too great a pressure for the soft nature of the marble blocks, which already appear to be shelling off at the seams.
On our return to Baltimore, and while dressing for dinner, there was a loud report of firearms close by, and on coming downstairs we heard there had been an alarm of burglars at a neighbour's house. My friend's negro servant having run across the street, a, revolver had been handed to him by the ladies, and he had shot at a burglar as he was escaping from a back window upstairs.
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beautifully designed and kept -most scrupulously clean and orderly.
It is customary in the best families to keep at least one coloured manservant, and at ten o'clock this morning as we passed along one of the streets of large private residences it was quite remarkable that at almost every house they were out with hoses and buckets scrubbing and swilling the front steps and footpaths.
In the afternoon we went to the shipping stores and wharves, and proceeded down the river by steamer to *See the great grain elevators and loading of vessels, which is done 'with wonderful accuracy and rapidity. The railway wagons of wheat and Indian corn, sometimes brought across the river in ferry steamers, are shunted on rails in the basement of the warehouses; the contents are elevated on bands to the upper floors, weighed and discharged down long shoots in continuous streams into the holds of ships, where men are spreading and trimming the cargo in stifling dust.
Baltimore has a large export trade in grain and other produce; the trade in canned oysters, peaches, and other fruits being a special feature.
The upper ten of Baltimore seem to live on terms of happy sociability, in large, well-furnished, and substantial stone houses of diversified architecture; and the whole tone and aspect of the city and people gives one an impression of solid, well-to-do respectability and a leaven of pride in their Southern slave-state ancestry.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH.
Leaving Baltimore on Wednesday morning, I halted at Philadelphia, intending to spend only a few hours
856 MY TRIP TO AMERICA.
in driving round, to get a general idea of the place. Having called to see an old friend, he at once sent to the railway "dep6t" for my luggage, and at his residence I have, for several days, been entertained with the most cordial hospitality; in fact, it has been a repetition of the kindness and hearty reception I experienced at Baltimore. My time has been pleasantly occupied in driving in Fairmount Park, visiting the Waterworks, Girard College, Peabody Library, Ridgway Library, Independence Hall, Blind Asylum, New City Buildings, New Post Office, Masonic Temple, United States Mint, Corn Exchange, and other public buildings and institutions.
We were courteously received by His Honor the Mayor, William B. Smith, Esq., and introduced to General GiVin, the chief of police, and to other head officials.
Here also we had an inspection of a fire-brigade station, which appears to be conducted on the same lines as at Baltimore. The staff consists of 415 men and 120 horses, and the annual cost is about 95,000, the telegraph department alone being 2,546. In the police force of the city there are 1,408 men, and the lowest rate of pay per man is two dollars thirty-eight cents, or about ten shillings per day.
The area of Philadelphia is 129 square miles, and the population nearly a million. The revenue of the city is derived from a tax of one dollar eighty-five cents per one hundred dollars upon an assessment of 571,483,255 dollars, the total levy for municipal purposes thus amounting to I0,177,619 dollars.
The streets and main thoroughfares of Philadelphia are laid out in a regular chessboard pattern, and in some instances the numbers run to three or four thousand, but