• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 On the Caribbean Sea
 The exiled lottery
 In Honduras
 At Corinto
 On the Isthmus of Panama
 The Paris of South America














Title: Three gringos in Venezuela and Central America.
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078403/00001
 Material Information
Title: Three gringos in Venezuela and Central America.
Series Title: Three gringos in Venezuela and Central America.
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Davis, Richard Harding,
Publisher: Harper
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078403
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: ltuf - ADB6857
oclc - 123174549
alephbibnum - 000588127

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Frontispiece
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Dedication
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    On the Caribbean Sea
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    The exiled lottery
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
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        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    In Honduras
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
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        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
    At Corinto
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
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        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    On the Isthmus of Panama
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
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        Page 216
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        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
    The Paris of South America
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
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Full Text









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FORDING THE CHAMELICON RIVER


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THREE GRINGOS
IN VENEZUELA AND
CENTRAL AMERICA


BY
RICHARD HARDING DAVIS

ILLUSTRATED


NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS
PUBLISHERS I 9o 3












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,/ '' ,


7



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Copyright, 1896, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

All rights resred.

































TO

MY FRIENDS

H. SOMERS SOMERSET
AND

LLOYD GRISCOM





























CONTENTS


ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA . . .

THE EXILED LOTTERY . . .

IN HONDURAS . . .

AT CORINTO .........

ON THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA .

THE PARIS OF SOUTH AMERICA .


PAGE
. . . I

. . . 27

... .* 56

. ..... 6o

. . . 193

. . . 221























ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE
FORDING THE CHAMELICON RIVER . .. .Frmoisfece
MAP OF VENEZUELA AND CENTRAL AMERICA, SHOWING
THE ROUTE OF THE "THREE GRINGOS" . xiii
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, BELIZE. . . . . 7
SIR ALFRED MOLONEY . . . . ... .IO
NATIVE CONSTABULARY, BELIZE . . . ... 13
MAIN STREET, BELIZE . . . . ... 17
NATIVE WOMEN AT LIVINGSTON . . . . 20
THE GUATEMALLECAN ARMY AT LIVINGSTON . 23
BARRACKS AT PORT BARRIOS . . . ... .25
THE EXILED LOTTERY BUILDING . . . .. 35
THE IGUANAS OF HONDURAS. . . . ... 51
OUR NAVAL ATTACHE . . . . .. 57
OUR MILITARY ATTACHE . . . . . 60
A STRETCH OF CENTRAL-AMERICAN RAILWAY . . 62
THE THREE GRINGOS . . . . . . 64
SETTING OUT FROM SAN PEDRO SULA . . .. .67
THE HIGHLANDS OF HONDURAS. . . . 71
SOMERSET . . . . . . . 74
A DRAWER OF WATER. . . . . . 77
NATIVE METHOD OF DRYING COFFEE . . . 85
IN A CENTRAL-AMERICAN FOREST . . ... 89
ON THE TRAIL TO SANTA BARBARA. . . .. .97
A HALT AT TRINIDAD . . . . ... 101











x ILLUSTRATIONS
PAGE
GENERAL LOUIS BOGRAN. . . . . 105
OUR PACK-TRAIN AT SANTA BARBARA. . . 107
A VILLAGE IN THE INTERIOR . . .. . . 114
BRIDGE CONNECTING TEGUCIGALPA WITH ITS SUBURB 123
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF TEGUCIGALPA . . .. 127
THE BANK OF HONDURAS. . . . . 129
STATUE OF MORAZAN ..... .. . .... 132
P. BONILLA. . . . . .. . 135
GENERAL LOUIS BOGRAN, EX-PRESIDENT . . . 138
BARRACKS OF TEGUCIGALPA AFTER THE ATTACK OF THE
REVOLUTIONISTS . . . ... .141
MORAZAN, THE LIBERATOR OF HONDURAS ... 145
ON THE WAY TO CORINTO . . . .... 155
PRINCIPAL HOTEL AND PRINCIPAL HOUSE AT CORINTO 162
HARBOR OF CORINTO . . . . . .. 175
THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE AT MANAGUA . . .. 179
PRESIDENT ZELAYA OF NICARAGUA ...... .183
MAP OF THE WORLD SHOWING CHANGE IN TRADE
ROUTES AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE NICARA-

GUA CANAL . . . . .. . 191
DREDGES IN THE CANAL . . . . .. 195

THE BAY OF PANAMA . . .. . 199
PANAMA CANAL ON THE PACIFIC SIDE . . 203
HUTS OF WORKMEN EMPLOYED ON THE CANAL .. 206

THE TOP OF A DREDGE . . . . . 209
STREET SCENE IN PANAMA . . . 213
THE CANAL IN THE INTERIOR . . . . 217
STATUE OF SIMON BOLIVAR, CARACAS . . .. 223
STATUE OF WASHINGTON DECORATED WITH FLORAL

WREATHS BY THE VENEZUELANS . . . 227
DECORATION OF THE STATUE OF BOLIVAR AT CARACAS,
VENEZUELA, DECEMBER I8, 1895, BY AMERICAN RESI-
DENTS. . . . . . 231











ILLUSTRATITOS xi
PAGE

SIMON BOLIVAR ............ 234
VIEW OF LA GAYRA . . . ..... 23

THE RAILROAD UP THE MOUNTAIN .... 2

COURT-YARD OF A HOUSE IN CARACAS . . 243
THE MARKET OF CARACAS ........ 247
PRESIDENT CRESPO, OF VENEZUELA .. . 251

LEGISLATIVE BUILDING, CARACAS . . ... 253
THE PRESIDENT'S BODY-GUARD OF COWBOYS .. 255

BAPTIZING INDIANS AT A VENEZUELAN STATION ON THE

CUYUNI RIVER . . . . . .. .259

A TYPICAL HUNTING-PARTY IN VENEZUELA. . . 263

A CLEARING IN THE COUNTRY.. .. . . . 267
THE CUYUNI RIVER. . . . . . . 27

VIEW OF CARACAS .... .. .. Facin 274

VENEZUELAN STATION ON THE CUY NI RIVER. 274

ENGLISH STATION ON THE CUYUNI RIVER . .. ..275
DR. PEDRO EZEQUIEL ROJAS . . . . .. 277

MAP EXPLAINING VENEZUELAN BOUNDARY DISPUTE 278

THE CITY OF CARACAS. . . . . ... 279








































MAP OF VENEZUELA AND CENTRAL AMERICA, SHOWING THE ROUTE OF THE "THREE GRINGOS"

















ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


.S-HE steamer Breakwater lay at the
end of a muddy fruit-wharf a mile
down the levee.
She was listed to sail that morning
for Central American ports, and we were going
with her in search of warm weather and other
unusual things. When we left New York the
streets were lined with frozen barricades of snow,
upon which the new brooms of a still newer ad-
ministration had made so little impression that
people were using them as an excuse for being
late for dinners; and at Washington, while the
snow had disappeared, it was still bitterly cold.
And now even as far south as New Orleans we
were shivering in our great-coats, and the news-
papers were telling of a man who, the night be-
fore, had been found frozen to death in the
streets. It seemed as though we were to keep
on going south, forever seeking warmth, only to
find that Nature at every point of lower latitude
I








2 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

had paid us the compliment of changing her
season to spite us.
So the first question we asked when we came
over the side of the Breakwater was not when
we should first see land, but when we should
reach warm weather.
There were four of us, counting Charlwood,
young Somerset's servant. There was Henry
Somers Somerset, who has travelled greater dis-
tances for a boy still under age than any other
one of his much-travelled countrymen that I
have ever met. He has covered as many miles
in the last four years as would make five trips
around the world, and he came with me for the
fun of it, and in what proved the vain hope of
big game. The third was Lloyd Griscom, of
Philadelphia, and later of London, where he has
been attach& at our embassy during the present
administration. He had been ordered south by
his doctor, and only joined us the day before we
sailed.
We sat shivering under the awning on the
upper deck, and watched the levees drop away
on either side as we pushed down the last ninety
miles of the Mississippi River. Church spires
and the roofs of houses showed from the low-
lying grounds behind the dikes, and gave us the
impression that we were riding on an elevated
road. The great river steamers, with paddle-
wheels astern and high double smoke-stacks, that








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


were associated in our minds with pictures of the
war and those in our school geographies, passed
us, pouring out heavy volumes of black smoke,
on their way to St. Louis, and on each bank we
recognized, also from pictures, magnolia-trees
and the ugly cotton-gins and the rows of ne-
groes' quarters like the men's barracks in a fort.
At six o'clock, when we had reached the Gulf,
the sun sank a blood-red disk into great desolate
bayous of long grass and dreary stretches of va-
cant water. Dead trees with hanging gray moss
and mistletoe on their bare branches reared them-
selves out of the swamps like gallows-trees or giant
sign-posts pointing the road to nowhere; and
the herons, perched by dozens on their limbs or
moving heavily across the sky with harsh, melan-
choly cries, were the only signs of life. On each
side of the muddy Mississippi the waste swamp-
land stretched as far as the eye could reach, and
every blade of the long grass and of the stunted
willows and every post of the dikes stood out
black against the red sky as vividly as though it
were lit by a great conflagration, and the stag-
nant pools and stretches of water showed one
moment like flashing lakes of fire, and the next,
as the light left them, turned into mirrors of ink.
It was a scene of the most awful and beautiful
desolation, and the silence, save for the steady
breathing of the steamer's engine, was the si-
lence of the Nile at night.








4 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
For the next three days we dropped due south
as the map lies from the delta of the Mississippi
through the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean
Sea. It was moonlight by night, and sun and
blue water by day, and the decks kept level, and
the vessel was clean.
Our fellow-passengers were banana-planters
and engineers going to Panama and Bluefields,
and we asked them many questions concerning
rates of exchange and the rainy season and dis-
tances and means of transportation, to which
they gave answers as opposite as can only come
from people who have lived together in the same
place for the greater part of their lives.
Land, when it came, appeared in the shape of
little islands that floated in mid-air above the
horizon like the tops of trees, without trunks
to support them, or low lying clouds. They
formed the skirmish-line of Yucatan, the north-
ern spur of Central America, and seemed from
our decks as innocent as the Jersey sand-hills,
but were, the pilot told us, inhabited by wild
Indians who massacre people who are so un-
fortunate as to be shipwrecked there, and who
will not pay taxes to Mexico. But the little' we
saw of their savagery was when we passed within
a ship's length of a ruined temple to the Sun,
standing conspicuously on a jutting point of land,
with pillars as regular and heavily cut as some
of those on the Parthenon. It was interesting








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


to find such a monument a few days out from
New Orleans.
Islands of palms on one side and blue moun-
tains on the other, and water as green as cor-
roded copper, took the place of the white sand-
banks of Yucatan, and on the third day out we
had passed the Mexican state and steamed in
towards the coast of British Honduras, and its
chief seaport and capital, Belize.
British Honduras was formerly owned by
Spain, as was all of Central America, and was,
on account of its bays and islands, a picturesque
refuge for English and other pirates. In the
seventeenth century English logwood-cutters vis-
ited the place and obtained a footing, which has
been extended since by concessions and by con-
quest, so that the place is now a British depend-
ency. It forms a little slice of land between
Yucatan and Guatemala, one hundred and seven-
ty-four miles in its greatest length, and running
sixty-eight miles inland.
Belize is a pretty village of six thousand peo-
ple, living in low, broad-roofed bungalows, lying
white and cool-looking in the border of waving
cocoanut-trees and tall, graceful palms. It was
not necessary to tell us that Belize would be the
last civilized city we should see until we reached
the capital of Spanish Honduras. A British col-
ony is always civilized; it is always the same, no
matter in what latitude it may be, and it is al-








6 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

ways distinctly British. Every one knows that
an Englishman takes his atmosphere with him
wherever he goes, but the truth of it never im-
pressed me so much as it did at Belize. There
were not more than two hundred English men
and women in the place, and yet, in the two
halves of two days that I was there I seemed to
see everything characteristic of an Englishman
in his native land. There were a few concessions
made to the country and to the huge native pop-
ulation, who are British subjects themselves; but
the colony, in spite of its surroundings, was just
as individually English as is the shilling that the-
ship's steward pulls out of his pocket with a
handful of the queer coin that he has picked up
at the ports of a half-dozen Spanish republics.
They may be of all sizes and designs, and of
varying degrees'of a value, or the lack of it,
which changes from day to day, but the English
shilling, with the queen's profile on one side and
its simple one shilling" on the other, is worth
just as much at that moment and at that dis-
tance from home as it would be were you hand-
ing it to a hansom-cab driver in Piccadilly. And
we were not at all surprised to find that the
black native police wore the familiar blue-and-
white-striped cuff of the London bobby, and the
district-attorney a mortar-board cap and gown,
and the colonial bishop gaiters and an apron.
It was quite in keeping, also, that the advertise-


















rIT


GOVERNMENT HOUSE, IELIZE








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


ments on the boardings should announce and
give equal prominence to a "Sunday- school
treat" and a boxing-match between men of
H.M.S. Pelican, and that the officers of that man-
of-war should be playing cricket with a local
eleven under the full tropical sun, and that the
chairs in the Council room and Government
House should be of heavy leather stamped V.R.,
with a crown above the initials. An American
official in as hot a climate, being more adaptable,
would have had bamboo chairs with large, open-
work backs, or would have even supplied the
council with rocking-chairs.
Lightfoot agreed to take us ashore at a quarter
of a dollar apiece. He had a large open sail-boat,
and everybody called him Lightfoot and seemed
to know him intimately, so we called him Light-
foot too. He was very black, and light-hearted
at least, and spoke English with the soft, hesitat-
ing gentleness that marks the speech of all these
natives. It was Sunday on land, and Sunday in
an English colony is observed exactly as it should
be, and so the natives were in heavily starched
white clothes, and were all apparently going some-
where to church in rigid rows of five or six. But
there were some black soldiers of the West India
Regiment in smart Zouave uniforms and turbans
that furnished us with local color, and we pursued
one of them for some time admiringly, until he be-
come nervous and beat a retreat to the barracks.









TO THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

Somerset had a letter from his ambassador in
Washington to Sir Alfred Moloney, K.C.M.G.,
the governor of British Honduras, and as we
hoped it would get us all an invitation to dinner,


SIR ALFRED MOLONEY
(Central Figure)


we urged him to present it at once. Four days
of the ship's steward's bountiful dinners, served
at four o'clock in the afternoon, had made us
anxious for a change both in the hour and the








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


diet. The governor's house at Belize is a very
large building, fronting the bay, with one of the
finest views from and most refreshing breezes on
its veranda that a man could hope to find on a
warm day, and there is a proud and haughty
sentry at each corner of the grounds and at the
main entrance. A fine view of blue waters be-
yond a green turf terrace covered with cannon
and lawn-tennis courts, and four sentries march-
ing up and down in the hot sun, ought to make
any man, so it seems to me, content to sit on his
porch in the shade and feel glad that he is a
governor.
Somerset passed the first sentry with safety,
and we sat down on the grass by the side of the
road opposite to await developments, and were
distressed to observe him make directly for the
kitchen, with the ambassador's letter held firmly
in his hand. So we stood up and shouted to him
to go the other way, and he became embarrassed,
and continued to march up and down the gravel
walk with much indecision, and as if he could
not make up his mind where he wanted to go,
like the grenadiers in front ofSt. James's Palace.
It happened that his excellency was out, so
Somerset left our cards and his letter, and we
walked off through the green, well-kept streets
and wondered at the parrots and the chained
monkeys and the Anglicized little negro girls in
white cotton stockings and with Sunday-school








12 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

books under their arms. All the show-places of
interest were closed on that day, so, after an in-
effectual attempt to force our way into the jail,
which we mistook for a monastery, we walked
back through an avenue of cocoanut-palms to the
International Hotel for dinner.
We had agreed that as it was our first dinner
on shore, it should be a long and excellent one,
with several kinds of wine. The International
Hotel is a large one, with four stories, and a
balcony on each floor; and after wandering over
the first three of these in the dark we came upon
a lonely woman with three crying children, who
told us with reproving firmness that in Belize the
dinner-hour is at four in the afternoon, and that
no one should expect a dinner at seven. We
were naturally cast down at this rebuff, and even
more so when her husband appeared out of the
night and informed us that keeping a hotel did
not pay-at least, that it did not pay him-and
that he could not give us anything to drink be-
cause he had not renewed his license, and even if
he had a license he would not sell us anything
on Sunday. He had a touch of malaria, he said,
and took a gloomy view of life in consequence,
and our anxiety to dine well seemed, in contrast,
unfeeling and impertinent. But we praised the
beauty of the three children, and did not set him
right when he mistook us for officers from the
English gunboats in the harbor, and for one of









































SB."Cg


NATIVE CONSTABULARY. BELIZE


.i.







ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


these reasons he finally gave us a cold dinner by
the light of a smoking lamp, and made us a pres-
ent of a bottle of stout, for which he later re-
fused any money. We would have enjoyed our
dinner at Belize in spite of our disappointment
had not an orderly arrived in hot search after
Somerset, and borne him away to dine at Gov-
ernment House, where Griscom and I pictured
him, as we continued eating our cold chicken
and beans, dining at her majesty's expense, with
fine linen and champagne, and probably ice.
Lightfoot took us back to the boat in mournful
silence, and we spent the rest of the evening on
the quarter-deck telling each other of the most
important people with whom we had ever dined,
and had nearly succeeded in re-establishing our
self-esteem, when Somerset dashed up in a man-
of-war's launch glittering with brass and union-
jacks, and left it with much ringing of electric
bells and saluting and genial farewells from ad-
mirals and midshipmen in gold-lace, with whom
he seemed to be on a most familiar and friendly
footing. This was the final straw, and we held
him struggling over the ship's side, and threatened
to drop him to the sharks unless he promised
never to so desert us again. And discipline was
only restored when he assured us that he was the
bearer of an invitation from the governor to both
breakfast and luncheon the following morning.
The governor apologized the next day for the in-







16 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA


formality of the manner in which he had sent us
the invitation, so I thought it best not to tell
him that it had been delivered by a young man
while dangling by his ankles from the side of the
ship, with one hand holding his helmet and the
other clutching at the rail of the gangway.
There is much to be said of Belize, for in its
way it was one of the prettiest ports at which
we touched, and its cleanliness and order, while
they were not picturesque or foreign to us then,
were in so great contrast to the ports we visited
later as to make them most remarkable. It was
interesting to see the responsibilities and the:
labor of government apportioned out so carefully
and discreetly, and to find commissioners of
roads, and then district commissioners, and under
them inspectors, and to hear of boards of edu-
cation and boards of justice, each doing its ap-
pointed work in this miniature government, and
all responsible to the representative of the big
government across the sea. And it was reassur-
ing to read in the blue-books of the colony that
the health of the port has improved enormously
during the last three years.
Monday showed an almost entirely different
Belize from the one we had seen on the day
before. Shops were open and busy, and the
markets were piled high with yellow oranges and
bananas and strange fruits, presided over by
negresses in rich-colored robes and turbans, and



































































MAIN STREET, BELIZE








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


smoking fat cigars. There was a show of justice
also in a parade of prisoners, who, in spite of
their handcuffs, were very anxious to halt long
enough to be photographed, and there was a
great bustle along the wharves, where huge rafts
of logwood and mahogany floated far into the
water. The governor showed us through his
botanical station, in which he has collected food-
giving products from over all the world, and
plants that absorb the malaria in the air, and he
hinted at the social life of Belize as well, tempt-
ing us with a ball and dinners to the officers of
the men-of-war; but the Breakwater would not
wait for such frivolities, so we said farewell to
Belize and her kindly governor, and thereafter
walked under strange flags, and were met at
every step with the despotic little rules and
safeguards which mark unstable governments.
Livingston was like a village on the coast of
East Africa in comparison with Belize. It is
the chief seaport of Guatemala on the Atlantic
side, and Guatemala is the furthest advanced of
all the Central American republics; but her
civilization lies on the Pacific side, and does not
extend so far as her eastern boundary.
There are two opposite features of landscape
in the tropics which are always found together-
the royal palm, which is one of the most beauti-
ful of things, and the corrugated zinc-roof cus-
tom-house, which is one of the ugliest. Nature








20 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA


NATIVE WOMEN AT LIVINGSTON


never appears so extravagant or so luxurious as
she does in these hot latitudes; but just as soon
as she has fashioned a harbor after her own
liking, and set it off at her best so that it is a
haven of delight to those who approach it from
the sea, civilized man comes along and hammers
square walls of zinc together and spoils the
beauty of the place forever. The natives, who








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA


do not care for customs dues, help nature out
with thatch-roofed huts and walls of adobe or
yellow cane, or add curved red tiles to the more
pretentious houses, and so fill out the picture.
But the "gringo," or the man from the interior,
is in a hurry, and wants something that will with-
stand earthquakes and cyclones, and so wher-
ever you go you can tell that he has been there
before you by his architecture of zinc.
When you turn your back on the custom-
house at Livingston and the rows of wooden
shops with open fronts, you mount the hill upon
which the town stands, and there you will find
no houses but those which have been created out
of the mud and the trees of the place itself.
There are no streets to the village nor doors to
the houses; they are all exactly alike, and the
bare mud floor of one is as unindividual, except
for the number of naked children crawling upon
it, as is any of the others. The sun and the rain
are apparently free to come and go as they like,
and every one seems to live in the back of the
house, under the thatched roof which shades the
clay ovens. Most of the natives were coal-black,
and the women, in spite of the earth floors below
and the earth walls round about them, were
clean, and wore white gowns that trailed from
far down their arms, leaving the chest and shoul-
ders bare. They were a very simple, friendly
lot of people, and ran from all parts of the settle-








22 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

mnent to be photographed, and brought us flowers
from their gardens, for which they refused money.
We Irad our first view of the Central American
soldier at Livingston, and, in spite of all we had
heard, he surprised us very much. The oldest
of those whom we saw was eighteen years, and
the youngest soldiers were about nine. They
wore blue jean uniforms, ornamented with white
tape, and the uniforms differed in shade accord-
ing to the number of times they had been
washed. These young men carried their mus-
kets 'half-way up the barrel, or by the bayonet,
dragging the stock on the ground.
General Barrios, the young President of Guate-
mala, has some very smart soldiers at the capital,
and dresses them in German uniforms, which is
a compliment he pays to the young German
emperor, for whom he has a great admiration;
but his discipline does not extend so far as the
Caribbean Sea.
The river Dulce goes in from Livingston, and
we were told it was one of the things in Central
America we ought to see, as its palisades were
more beautiful than those of the Rhine. The
man who told us this said he spoke from hear-
say, and that he had never been on the Rhine,
but that he knew a gentleman who had. You
can well believe that it is very beautiful from
what you can see of its mouth, where it flows
into the Caribbean between great dark banks as



















































TIE GUATEMALLECAN ARMY AT LIVINGSTON








ON THE CARIBBEAN SEA 25

high as the palisades opposite Dobbs Ferry, and
covered with thick, impenetrable green.
Port Barrios, to which one comes in a few
hours, is at one end of a railroad, and surround-
ed by all the desecration that such an improve-
ment on nature implies, in the form of zinc
depots, piles of railroad-ties, and rusty locomo-
tives. The town consists of a single row of
native huts along the coast, terminating in a hos-
pital. Every house is papered throughout with
copies of the New York Police Gazette, which
must give the Guatemallecan a lurid light on
the habits and virtues of his cousins in North


BARRACKS AT PORT BARRIOS








26 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

America. Most of our passengers left the ship
here, and we met them, while she was taking on
bananas, wandering about the place with blank
faces, or smiling grimly at the fate which con-
demned them and their blue-prints and transits
to a place where all nature was beautiful and
only civilized man was discontented.
We lay at Barrios until late at night, wander-
ing round the deserted decks, or watching the
sharks sliding through the phosphorus and the
lights burning in the huts along the shore.
At midnight we weighed anchor, and in the
morning steamed into Puerto Cortez, the chief
port of Spanish Honduras, where the first part
of our journey ended, and where we exchanged
the ship's deck for the Mexican saddle, and
hardtack for tortillas.
















THE EXILED LOTTERY


WO years ago, while I was passing
through Texas, I asked a young man
in the smoking-car if he happened to
know where I could find the United
States troops, who were at that time riding some-
where along the borders of Texas and Mexico,
and engaged in suppressing the so-called Garza
revolution.
The young man did not show that he was
either amused or surprised at the abruptness of
the question, but answered me promptly, as a
matter of course, and with minute detail. You
want to go to San Antonio," he said, and take
the train to Laredo, on the Mexican boundary,
and then change to the freight that leaves once
a day to Corpus Christi, and get off at Pena sta-
tion. Pena is only a water-tank, but you can
hire a horse there and ride to the San Rosario
Ranch. Captain Hardie is at Rosario with Troop
G, Third Cavalry. They call him the Riding








28 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

Captain, and if any one can show you all there
is to see in this Garza outfit, he can."
The locomotive whistle sounded at that mo-
ment, the train bumped itself into a full stop at
a station, and the young man rose. "Good-
day," he said, smiling pleasantly; "I get off
here."
He was such an authoritative young man, and
he had spoken in so explicit a manner, that I did
as he had directed; and if the story that fol-
lowed was not interesting, the fault was mine,
and not that of my chance adviser.

A few months ago I was dining alone in Del-
monico's, when the same young man passed out
through the room, and stopped on his way be-
side my table.
"Do you remember me?" he said. "I met
you once in a smoking-car in Texas. Well,
I've got a story now that's better than any you'll
find lying around here in New York. You want
to go to a little bay called Puerto Cortez, on the
eastern coast of Honduras, in Central America,
and look over the exiled Louisiana State Lottery
there. It used to be the biggest gambling con-
cern in the world, but now it's been banished to
a single house on a mud-bank covered with palm-
trees, and from there it reaches out all over the
United States, and sucks in thousands and thou-
sands of victims like a great octopus. You want








THE EXILED LOTTERY


to go there and write a story about it. Good-
night," he added; then he nodded again, with a
smile, and walked across the room and disap-
peared into Broadway.
When a man that you have met once in a
smoking-car interrupts you between courses to
suggest that you are wasting your time in New
York, and that you ought to go to a coral reef in
Central America and write a story of an outlawed
lottery, it naturally interests you, even if it does
not spoil your dinner. It interested me, at least,
so much that I went back to my rooms at once,
and tried to find Puerto Cortez on the map; and
later, when the cold weather set in, and the grass-
plots in Madison Square turned into piled-up
islands of snow, surrounded by seas of slippery
asphalt, I remembered the palm-trees, and went
South to investigate the exiled lottery. That is
how this chapter and this book came to be
written.
Every one who goes to any theatre in the
United States may have read among the adver-
tisements on the programme an oddly worded
one which begins, Conrad! Conrad! Conrad!"
and which goes on to say that-

"In accepting the Presidency of the Honduras Na-
tional Lottery Company (Louisiana State Lottery Com-
pany) I shall not surrender the Presidency of the Gulf
Coast Ice and Manufacturing Company, of Bay St. Louis,
Miss.








30 THREF GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

"Therefore address all proposals for supplies, ma-
chinery, etc.. as well as all business communications, to
PAUL CONRAD. Puerto Cortez, Honduras,
Care Central America Express,
FORT TAMPA CITY,
** FLORIDA, U. S. A."

You have probably read this advertisement
often, and enjoyed the naive manner in which Mr.
Conrad asks for correspondence on different sub-
jects, especially on that relating to all business
communications," and how at the same time he
has so described his whereabouts that no letters
so addressed would ever reach his far-away home
in Puerto Cortez, but would be promptly stopped
at Tampa, as he means that they should.
After my anonymous friend had told me of
Puerto Cortez, I read of it on the programme
with a keener interest, and Puerto Cortez became
to me a harbor of much mysterious moment, of
a certain dark significance, and of possible ad-
venture. I remembered all that the lottery had
been before the days of its banishment, and all
that it had dared to be when, as a corporation
legally chartered by the State of Louisiana, it
had put its chain and collar upon legislatures
and senators, judges and editors, when it had
silenced the voice of the church and the pulpit
by great gifts of money to charities and hospi-
tals, so giving out in a lump sum with one hand
what it had taken from the people in dollars and







THE EXILED LOTTERY


half-dollars, five hundred and six hundred fold,
with the other. I remembered when its trade-
mark, in open-faced type, La. S. L.," was as
familiar in every newspaper in the United States
as were the names of the papers themselves,
when it had not been excommunicated by the
postmaster-general, and it had not to hide its real
purpose under a carefully worded paragraph in
theatrical programmes or on "dodgers" or hand-
bills that had an existence of a moment before
they were swept out into the street, and which,
as they were not sent through mails, were not
worthy the notice of the federal government.
It was not so very long ago that it requires any
effort to remember it. It is only a few years
since the lottery held its drawings freely and
with much pomp and circumstance in the Charles
Theatre, and Generals Beauregard and Early pre-
sided at these ceremonies, selling the names they
had made glorious in a lost cause to help a cause
which was, for the lottery people at least, dis-
tinctly a winning one. For in those days the
state lottery cleared above all expenses seven
million dollars a year, and Generals Beauregard
and Early drew incomes from it much larger
than the government paid to the judges of the
Supreme Court and the members of the cabinet
who finally declared against the company and
drove it into exile.
There had been many efforts made to kill it








32 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

in the past, and the state lottery was called
"the national disgrace and the modern slav-
ery." and Louisiana was spoken of as a blot on
the map of our country, as was Utah when
polygamy flourished within her boundaries and
defied the laws of the federal government. The
final rally against the lottery occurred in 1890,
when the lease of the company expired, and
the directors applied to the legislature for a
renewal. At that time it was paying out but
very little and taking in fabulous sums; how
much it really made will probably never be told,
but its gains were probably no more exaggerated
by its enemies than was the amount of its ex-
penses by the company itself. Its outlay for ad-
vertising, for instance, which must have been one
of its chief expenses, was only forty thousand
dollars a year, which is a little more than a firm
of soap manufacturers pay for their advertising
for the same length of time ; and it is rather dis-
couraging to remember that for a share of this
bribe every newspaper in the city of New Orleans
and in the State of Louisiana, with a few notable
exceptions, became an organ of the lottery, and
said nothing concerning it but what was good.
To this sum may be-added the salaries of its
officers, the money paid out in prizes, the cost
of printing and mailing the tickets, and the sum
of forty thousand dollars paid annually to the
State of Louisiana. This tribute was considered







THE EXILED LOTTERY


as quite sufficient when the lottery was first start-
ed, and while it struggled for ten years to make a
living; but in 1890, when its continued existence
wias threatened, the company found it could very
well afford to offer the state not forty thousand,
but a million dollars a year, which gives a faint
idea of what its net earnings must have been. As
a matter of fact, in those palmy times when there
were daily drawings, the lottery received on some
days as many as eighteen to twenty thousand
letters, with orders for tickets enclosed which
averaged five dollars a letter.
It was Postmaster-general Wanamaker who
put a stop to all this by refusing to allow any
printed matter concerning the lottery to pass
outside of the State of Louisiana, which decis-
ion, when it came, proved to be the order of ex-
ile to the greatest gambling concern of modern
times.
The lottery, of course, fought this decision in
the courts, and the case was appealed to the Su-
preme Court of the United States, and was up-
held, and from that time no letter addressed to
the lottery in this country, or known to contain
matter referring to the lottery, and no news-
paper advertising it, can pass through the mails.
This ruling was known before the vote on the
renewal of the lease came up in the Legislature
of Louisiana, and the lottery people say that,
knowing that they could not, under these new
3








34 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

restrictions, afford to pay the sum of one million
dollars a year, they ceased their efforts to pass
the bill granting a renewal of their lease, and let
it go without a fight. This may or may not be
true, but in any event the bill did not pass, and
the greatest lottery of all times was without a
place in which to spin its wheel, without a charter
or a home, and was cut off from the most obvi-
ous means of communication with its hundreds
of thousands of supporters. But though it was
excommunicated, outlawed, and exiled, it was
not beaten; it still retained agents all over the
country, and it still held its customers, who were
only waiting to throw their money into its lap,
and still hoping that the next drawing would
bring the grand prize.
For some long time the lottery was driven
about from pillar to post, and knocked eagerly
here and there for admittance, seeking a home
and resting-place. It was not at first successful.
The first rebuff came from Mexico, where it had
proposed to move its plant, but the Mexican
government was greedy, and wanted too large a
sum for itself, or, what is more likely, did not
want so well-organized a rival to threaten the
earnings of its own national lottery. Then the
republics of Colombia and Nicaragua were each
tempted with the honor of giving a name to the
new company, but each declined that distinction,
and so it finally came begging to Honduras, the








THE EXILED LOTTERY


least advanced of all of the Central American
republics, and the most heavily burdened with
debt.
Honduras agreed to receive the exile, and to
give it her name and protection for the sum of


THE EXILED LOTTERY BUILDING


twenty thousand dollars a year and twenty per
cent. of its gross earnings. It would seem that
this to a country that has not paid the interest








36 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
on her national debt for twelve years was a very
advantageous bargain; but as four presidents
and as many revolutions and governments have
appeared and disappeared in the two years in
which the lottery people have received their
charter in Honduras, the benefit of the arrange-
ment to them has not been an obvious one,
and it was not until two years ago that the first
drawing of the lottery was held at Puerto Cortez.
The company celebrated this occasion with a
pitiful imitation of its former pomp and cere-
mony, and there was much feasting and speech-
making, and a special train was run from the in-
terior to bring important natives to the ceremo-
nies. But the train fell off the track four times,
and was just a day late in consequence. The
young man who had charge of the train told me
this, and he also added that he did not believe
in lotteries.
During these two years, when representatives
of the company were taking rides of nine days
each to the capital to overcome the objections of
the new presidents who had sprung into office
while these same representatives had been mak-
ing their return trip to the coast, others were
seeking a foothold for the company in the United
States. The need of this was obvious and im-
perative. The necessity which had been forced
upon them of holding the drawings out of this
country, and of giving up the old name and








THE EXILED LOTTERY


trade-mark, was serious enough, though it had
been partially overcome. It did not matter
where they spun their wheel; but if the com-
pany expected to live, there must be some place
where it could receive its mail and distribute its
tickets other than the hot little Honduranian
port, locked against all comers by quarantine for
six months of the year, and only to be reached
during the other six by a mail that arrives once
every eight days.
The lottery could not entirely overcome this
difficulty, of course, but through the aid of the
express companies of this country it was able to
effect a substitute, and through this cumbersome
and expensive method of transportation its man-
agers endeavored to carry on the business which
in the days when the post-office helped them
had brought them in twenty thousand letters in
twenty-four hours. They selected for their base
of operations in the United States the port of
Tampa, in the State of Florida-that refuge of
prize-fighters and home of unhappy Englishmen
who have invested in the swamp-lands there, un-
der the delusion that they were buying town sites
and orange plantations, and which masquerades
as a winter resort with a thermometer that not
infrequently falls below freezing. So Tampa be-
came their home; and though the legislature of
that state proved incorruptible, so the lottery
people themselves tell me, there was at least an








38 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
understanding between them and those in au-
thority that the express company was not to be
disturbed, and that no other lottery was to have
a footing in Florida for many years to come.
If Puerto Cortez proved interesting when it
was only a name on a theatre programme, you
may understand to what importance it grew
when it could not be found on the map of any
steamship company in New York, and when no
paper of that city advertised dates of sailing to
that port. For the first time Low's Exchange
failed me and asked for time, and the ubiquitous
Cook & Sons threw up their hands, and offered
in desperation and as a substitute a comfortable
trip to upper Burmah or to Mozambique, pro-
testing that Central America was beyond even
their finding out. Even the Maritime Exchange
confessed to a much more intimate knowledge
of the west coast of China than of the little
group of republics which lies only a three or
four days' journey from the city of New Orleans.
So I was forced to haunt the -shipping-offices of
Bowling Green for days together, and convinced
myself while so engaged that that is the only
way properly to pursue the study of geography,
and I advise every one to try it, and submit the
idea respectfully to instructors of youth. For
you will find that by the time you have in-
terviewed fifty shipping-clerks, and learned from
them where they can set you down and pick you







THE EXILED LOTTERY


up and exchange you to a fruit-vessel or coast-
ing steamer, you will have obtained an idea of
foreign ports and distances which can never be
gathered from flat maps or little revolving globes.
I finally discovered that there was a line running
from New York and another from New Orleans,
the fastest steamer of which latter line, as I
learned afterwards, was subsidized by the lottery
people. They use it every month to take their
representatives and clerks to Puerto Cortez, when,
after they have held the monthly drawing, they
steam back again to New Orleans or Tampa,
carrying with them the list of winning numbers
and the prizes.
It was in the boat of this latter line that we
finally awoke one morning to find her anchored
in the harbor of Puerto Cortez.
The harbor is a very large one and a very safe
one. It is encircled by mountains on the sea-
side, and by almost impenetrable swamps and
jungles on the other. Close around the waters
of the bay are bunches and rows of the cocoanut
palm, and a village of mud huts covered with
thatch. There is also a tin custom-house, which
includes the railroad-office and a comandancia,
and this and the jail or barracks of rotting white-
washed boards, and the half-dozen houses of one
story belonging to consuls and shipping agents,
are the only other frame buildings in the place
save one. That is a large mansion with broad








40 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

verandas, painted in colors, and set in a carefully
designed garden of rare plants and manaca palms.
Two poles are planted in the garden, one flying
the blue-and-white flag of Honduras, the other
with the stripes and stars of the United States.
This is the home of the exiled lottery. It is the
most pretentious building and the cleanest in
the whole republic of Honduras, from the Carib-
bean Sea to the Pacific slope.
I confess that I was foolish enough to regard
this house of magnificent exterior, as I viewed it
from the wharf, as seriously as a general observes
the ramparts and defences of the enemy before
making his advance. I had taken a nine days'
journey with the single purpose of seeing and
getting at the truth concerning this particular
building, and whether I was now to be viewed
with suspicion and treated as an intruder, whether
my object would be guessed at once and I should
be forced to wait on the beach for the next
steamer, or whether I would be received with
kindness which came from ignorance of my
intentions, I could not tell. And while I con-
sidered, a black Jamaica negro decided my move-
ments for me. There was a hotel, he answered,
doubtfully, but he thought it would be better,
if Mr. Barross would let me in, to try for a room
in the Lottery Building.
Mr. Barross sometimes takes boarders," he
said, and the Lottery Building is a fine house,







THE EXILED LOTTERY


sir-finest house this side Mexico city." He
added, encouragingly, that he spoke English
" very good," and that he had been in London.
Sitting on the wide porch of the Lottery Build-
ing was a dark-faced, distinguished-looking little
man, a creole apparently, with white hair and
white goatee. He rose and bowed as I came up
through the garden and inquired of him if he
was the manager of the lottery, Mr. Barross, and
if he could give me food and shelter. The gen-
tleman answered that he was Mr. Barross, and
that he could and would do as I asked, and
appealed with hospitable warmth to a tall, hand-
some woman, with beautiful white hair, to sup-
port him in his invitation. Mrs. Barross assent-
ed kindly, and directed her servants to place a
rocking-chair in the shade, and requested me to
be seated in it; luncheon, she assured me, would
be ready in a half-hour, and she hoped that the
voyage south had been a pleasant one.
And so within five minutes after arriving in
the mysterious harbor of Puerto Cortez I found
myself at home under the roof of the outlawed
lottery, and being particularly well treated by
its representative, and feeling particularly un-
comfortable in consequence. I was heartily
sorry that I had not gone to the hotel. And so,
after I had been in my room, I took pains to
ascertain exactly what my position in the house
might be, and whether or not, apart from the








42 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

courtesy of Mr. Barross and his wife, for which
no one could make return, I was on the same
free footing that I would have been in a hotel.
I was assured that I was regarded as a transient
boarder, and that I was a patron rather than a
guest; but as I did not yet feel at ease, I took
courage, and explained to Mr. Barross that I
was not a coffee-planter or a capitalist looking
for a concession from the government, but that I
was in Honduras to write of what I found there.
Mr. Barross answered that he knew already why
I was there from the New Orleans papers which
had arrived in the boat with me, and seemed
rather pleased than otherwise to have me about
the house. This set my mind at rest, and though
it may not possibly be of the least interest to
the reader, it is of great importance to me that
the same reader should understand that all which
I write here of the lottery was told to me by
the lottery people themselves, with the full
knowledge that I was going to publish it. And
later, when I had the pleasure of meeting Mr.
Duprez, the late editor of the States, in New
Orleans, and then in Tegucigalpa, as representa-
tive of the lottery, I warned him in the presence
of several of our friends to be careful, as I would
probably make use of all he told me. To which
he agreed, and continued answering questions
for the rest of the evening. I may also add that
I have taken care to verify the figures used here,








THE EXILED LOTTERY


for the reason that the lottery people are at such
an obvious disadvantage in not being allowed
by law to reply to what is said of them, nor to
correct any mistake in any statements that may
be made to their disadvantage.
I had never visited a hotel or a country-house
as curious as the one presided over by Mr. Bar-
ross. It was entirely original in its decoration,
unique in its sources of entertainment, and its
business office, unlike most business offices, pos-
sessed a peculiar fascination. The stationery for
the use of the patrons, and on which I wrote to
innocent friends in the North, bore the letter-
head of the Honduras Lottery Company; the
pictures on the walls were framed groups of lot-
tery tickets purchased in the past by Mr. Bar-
ross, which had not drawn prizes; and the safe
in which the guest might place his valuables con-
tained a large canvas-bag sealed with red wax,
and holding in prizes for the next drawing sev-
enty-five thousand dollars.
Wherever you turned were evidences of the
peculiar business that was being carried on un-
der the roof that sheltered you, and outside in
the garden stood another building, containing
the printing-presses on which the lists of win-
ning numbers were struck off before they were
distributed broadcast about the world. But of
more interest than all else was the long, sunshiny,
empty room running the full length of the house,








44 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

in which, on a platform at one end, were two
immense wheels, one of glass and brass, and as
transparent as a bowl of goldfish, and the other
closely draped in a heavy canvas hood laced and
strapped around it, and holding sealed and locked
within its great bowels one hundred thousand
paper tickets in one hundred thousand rubber
tubes. In this atmosphere and with these sur-
roundings my host and hostess lived their life of
quiet conventional comfort-a life full of the
lesser interests of every day, and lighted for others
by their most gracious and kindly courtesy and
hospitable good-will. When I sat at their table
I was always conscious of the great wheels, show-
ing through the open door from the room be-
yond like skeletons in a closet; but it was not
so with my host, whose chief concern might be
that our glasses should be filled, nor with my
hostess, who presided at the head of the table-
which means more than sitting there-with that
dignity and charm which is peculiar to a South-
ern woman, and which made dining with her an
affair of state, and not one of appetite.
I had come to see the working of a great gam-
bling scheme, and I had anticipated that there
might be some difficulty put in the way of my
doing so; but if the lottery plant had been a
cider-press in an orchard I could not have been
more welcome to examine and to study it and
to take it to pieces. It was not so much that








THE EXILED LOTTERY


they had nothing to conceal, or that now, while
they are fighting for existence, they would rather
risk being abused than not being mentioned at
all. For they can fight abuse; they have had
to do that for a long time. It is silence and ob-
livion that they fear now; the silence that means
they are forgotten, that their arrogant glory has
departed, that they are only a memory. They
can fight those who fight them, but they cannot
fight with people who, if they think of them at
all, think of them as already dead and buried.
It was neither of these reasons that gave me free
admittance to the workings of the lottery; it
was simply that to Mr. and Mrs. Barross the
lottery was a religion; it was the greatest chari-
table organization of the age, and the purest
philanthropist of modern times could not have
more thoroughly believed in his good works than
did Mrs. Barross believe that noble and gener-
ous benefits were being bestowed on mankind at
every turn of the great wheel in her back parlor.
This showed itself in the admiration which
she shares with her husband for the gentlemen
of the company, and their coming once a month
is an event of great moment to Mrs. Barross,
who must find it dull sometimes, in spite of the
great cool house, with its many rooms and broad
porches, and gorgeous silk hangings over the
beds, and the clean linen, and airy, sunlit dining-
room. She is much more interested in telling








46 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

the news that the gentlemen brought down with
them when they last came than in the result of
the drawing, and she recalls the compliments
they paid her garden, but she cannot remember
the number that drew the capital prize. It was
interesting to find this big gambling scheme in
the hands of two such simple, kindly people, and
to see how commonplace it was to them, how
much a matter of routine and of habit. They
sang its praises if you wished to talk of it, but
they were more deeply interested in the lesser
affairs of their own household. And at one time
we ceased discussing it to help try on the baby's
new boots that had just arrived on the steamer,
and patted them on the place where the heel
should have been to drive them on the extremi-
ties of two waving fat legs. We all admired the
tassels which hung from them, and which the
baby tried to pull off and put in his mouth.
They were bronze boots with black buttons, and
the first the baby had ever worn, and the event
filled the home of the exiled lottery with intense
excitement.
In the cool of the afternoon Mr. Barross sat
on the broad porch rocking himself in a big bent-
wood chair and talked of the civil war, in which
he had taken an active part, with that enthusiasm
and detail with which only a Southerner speaks
of it, not knowing that to this generation in the
North it is history, and something of which one







THE EXILED LOTTERY


reads in books, and is not a topic of conversa-
tion of as fresh interest as the fall of Tammany or
the Venezuela boundary dispute. And as we lis-
tened we watched Mrs. Barross moving about
among her flowers with a sunshade above her
white hair and holding her train in her hand,
stopping to cut away a dead branch or to pluck
a rose or to turn a bud away from the leaves so
that it might feel the sun.
And inside, young Barross was going over the
letters which had arrived with the morning's
steamer, emptying out the money that came with
them on the table, filing them away, and noting
them as carefully and as methodically as a bank
clerk, and sealing up in return the little green
and yellow tickets that were to go out all over
the world, and which had been paid for by clerks
on small salaries, laboring-men of large families,
idle good-for-nothings, visionaries, born gamblers
and ne'er-do-wells, and that multitude of others
of this world who want something for nothing,
and who trust that a turn of luck will accomplish
for them what they are too listless and faint-
hearted and lazy ever to accomplish for them-
selves. It would be an excellent thing for each
of these gamblers if he could look in at the great
wheel at Puerto Cortez, and see just what one
hundred thousand tickets look like, and what
chance his one atom of a ticket has of forcing
its way to the top of that great mass at the ex-








48 THR11EE RINCGOS IN CENTRAl. AMERICA

act moment that the capital prize rises to the
surface in the other wheel. -e could have seen
it in the old days at the Charles Theatre, and he
is as free as is any one to see it to-day at Puerto
Cortcz; but I should think it would be unfortu-
nate for the lottery if any of its customers be-
came too thorough a student of the doctrine of
chances.
The room in which the drawings are held is
about forty feet long, well lighted by many long,
wide windows, and with the stage upon which
the wheels stand blocking one end. It is unfur-
nished, except for the chairs and benches, upon
which the natives or any chance or intentional
visitors are welcome to sit and to watch the
drawing. The larger wheel, which holds, when
all- the tickets are sold, the hopes of one hundred
thousand people, is about six feet in diameter,
with sides of heavy glass, bound together by a
wooden tire two feet wide. This tire or rim is
made of staves, formed like those of a hogshead,
and in it is a door a foot square. After the
tickets have been placed in their little rubber
jackets and shovelled into the wheel, this door is
locked with a padlock, and strips of paper are
pasted across it and sealed at each end, and so
it remains until the next drawing. One hundred
thousand tickets in rubber tubes an inch long
and a quarter of an inch wide take up a great
deal of space, and make such an appreciable







THE EXILED LOTTERY


difference in the weight of the wheel that it re-
quires the efforts of two men pulling on the
handles at either side to even budge it. Another
man and myself were quite satisfied when we
had put our shoulders to it and had succeeded
in turning it a foot or two. But it was interest-
ing to watch the little black tubes with even
that slow start go slipping and sliding down over
the others, leaving the greater mass undisturbed
and packed together at the bottom as a wave
sweeps back the upper layer of pebbles on a
beach. This wheel was manufactured by Jack-
son & Sharp, of Wilmington, Delaware. The
other wheel is much smaller, and holds the prizes.
It was made by John Robinson, of Baltimore.
Whenever there is a drawing, General W. L.
Cabell, of Texas, and Colonel C. J. Villere, of
Louisiana,. who have taken the places of the late
General Beauregard and of the late General
Early, take their stand at different wheels, Gen-
eral Cabell at the large and Colonel Villere at
the one holding the prizes. They open the
doors which they had sealed up a month previ-
ous, and into each wheel a little Indian girl puts
her hand and draws out a tube. The tube hold-
ing the ticket is handed to General Cabell, and
the one holding the prize won is given to Colonel
Villere, and they read the numbers aloud and
the amount won six times, three times in Spanish
and three times in English, on the principle








50 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

probably of the man in the play who had only
one line, and who spoke that twice, "so that the
audience will know I am saying it."
The two tickets are then handed to young
Barross,- who fastens them together with a rub-
ber band and throws them into a basket for fur-
ther reference. Three clerks with duplicate
books keep tally of the numbers and of the prizes
won. The drawing begins generally at six in
the morning and lasts until ten, and then, every-
body having been made rich, the philanthropists
and generals and colonels and Indian girls-and,
let us hope, the men who turned the wheel-go
in to breakfast.
So far as I could see, the drawings are con-
ducted with fairness. But with only 3434 prizes
and Ioo,ooo tickets the chances are so infinitesi-
mal and the advantage to the company so enor-
mous that honesty in manipulating the wheel
ceases to be a virtue, and becomes the lottery's
only advertisement.
But what is most interesting about the lottery
at present is not whether it is or it is not con-
ducted fairly, but that it should exist at all; that
its promoters should be willing to drag out such
an existence at such a price and in so fallen a
state. This becomes all the more remarkable
because the men who control the lottery belong
to a class which, as a rule, cares for the good
opinion of its fellows, and is willing to sacrifice













143c7


3e~J
'l~~a.e .:~


THE IGUANAS OF HONDURAS








THE EXILED LOTTERY


much to retain it. But the lottery people do
not seem anxious for the good opinion of any
one, and they have made such vast sums of
money in the past, and they have made them so
easily, that they cannot release their hold on the
geese that are.laying the golden eggs for them,
even though they find themselves exiled and ex-
communicated by their own countrymen. If
they were thimble-riggers or confidence men in
need of money their persistence would not appear
so remarkable, but these gentlemen of the lottery
are men of enormous wealth, their daughters are
in what is called society in New Orleans and in
New York, their sons are at the universities, and
they themselves belong to those clubs most diffi-
cult of access. One would think that they had
reached that point when they could say "we are
rich enough now, and we can afford to spend
the remainder of our lives in making ourselves re-
spectable." Becky Sharp is authority for the fact
that it is easy to be respectable on as little as five
hundred pounds a year, but these gentlemen, hav-
ing many hundreds of thousands of pounds, are
not even willing to make the effort. Two years
ago, when, according to their own account, they
were losing forty thousand dollars a month,
which, after all, is only what they once cleared in
a day, and when they were being driven out of
one country after another, like the cholera or any
other disease, it seems strange that it never oc.








54 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
curred to them to stop fighting, and to get into
a better business while there was yet time.
Even the keeper of a roulette wheel has too
much self-respect to continue turning when there
is only one man playing against the table, and
in comparison with him the scramble of the lot-
tery company after the Honduranian tin dol-
lar, and the scant savings of servant-girls and of
brakesmen and negro barbers in the United
States, is to me the most curious feature of this
once great enterprise.
What a contrast it makes with those other
days, when the Charles Theatre was filled from
boxes to gallery with the flower of Southern
chivalry and beauty," when the band played,
and the major-generals proclaimed the result of
the drawings. It is hard to take the lottery se-
riously, for the day when it was worthy of abuse
has passed away. And, indeed, there are few men
or measures so important as to deserve abuse,
while there is no measure if it be for good so insig-
nificant that it is not deserving the exertion of
a good word or a line of praise and gratitude.
And the only emotion one can feel for the lot-
tery now is the pity which you might have experi-
enced for William M. Tweed when, as a fugitive
from justice, he sat on the beach at Santiago de
Cuba and watched a naked fisherman catch his
breakfast for him beyond the first line of break-
ers, or that you might feel for Monte Carlo were








THE EXILED LOTTERY


it to be exiled to a fever-stricken island off the
S swampy coast of West Africa, or, to pay the lot-
tery a very high compliment indeed, that which
you give to that noble adventurer exiled to the
Isle of Elba.
There was something almost pathetic to me
in the sight of this great, arrogant gambling
scheme, that had in its day brought the good
name of a state into disrepute, that had boasted
of the prices it paid for the honor of men, and
that had robbed a whole nation willing to be
robbed, spinning its wheel in a back room in a
hot, half-barbarous country, and to an audience of
gaping Indians and unwashed Honduranian gen-
erals. Sooner than fall as low as that it would
seem to be better to fall altogether; to own
that you are beaten, that the color has gone
against you too often, and, like that honorable
gambler and gentleman, Mr. John Oakhurst,
who "struck a streak of bad luck about the
middle of February, 1864," to put a pistol to
your head, and go down as arrogantly and de-
fiantly as you had lived.*
Since this was written, Professor S. H. Woodbridge, of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been successful in
having a bill passed which hinders the lottery still further by
closing to it apparently every avenue of advertisement and corre-
spondence.
The lottery people in consequence are at present negotiating
with the government of Venezuela, and have offered it fifty thou-
sand dollars a year and a share of the earnings for its protection.
















IN HONDURAS


I

EGUCIGALPA is the odd name of
the capital of the republic of Hon-
duras, the least advanced of the re-
publics of Central or South America.
Somerset had learned that there were no means
of getting to this capital from either the Pacific
Ocean on one side or from the Caribbean Sea on
the other except on muleback, and we argued
that while there were many mining-camps and
military outposts and ranches situated a nine
days' ride from civilization, capitals at such a
distance were rare, and for that reason might
prove entertaining. Capitals at the mouths of
great rivers and at the junction of many railway
systems we knew, but a capital hidden away be-
hind almost inaccessible mountains, like a mon-
astery of the Greek Church, we had never seen.
A door-mat in the front hall of a house is use-
ful, and may even be ornamental, though it is







IN HONDURAS


9,


,i JN


OUR NAVAL ATTACHE

never interesting; but if the door-mat be hid-
den away in the third-story back room it instantly
assumes an importance and a value which it
never could have attained in its proper sphere of
usefulness.
Our ideas as to the characteristics of Hon-
duras were very vague, and it is possible that we
might never have seen Tegucigalpa had it not
been for Colonel Charles Jeffs, whom we found








58 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
apparently waiting for us at Puerto Cortez, and
who, we still believe, had been stationed there by
some guardian spirit to guide us in safety across
the continent. Colonel Jeffs is a young Ameri-
can mining engineer from Minneapolis, and has
lived in Honduras for the past eleven years.
Some time ago he assisted Bogran, when that
general was president, in one of the revolutions
against him, and was made a colonel in conse-
quence. So we called him our military attache,
and Griscom our naval attach, because he was
an officer of the Naval Brigade of Pennsylvania.
Jeffs we found at Puerto Cortez. It was there
that he first made himself known to us by telling
our porters they had no right to rob us merely
because we were gringos, and so saved us some
dollars. He made us understand at the same
time that it was as gringos, or foreigners, we
were thereafter to be designated and disliked.
We had no agreement with Jeffs, nor even what
might be called an understanding. He had, as
I have said, been intended by Providence to
convey us across Honduras, and every one con-
cerned in the outfit seemed to accept that act
of kindly fate without question. We told him
we were going to the capital, and were on pleas-
ure bent, and he said he had business at the
capital himself, and would like a few days'
shooting on the way, so we asked him to come
with us and act as guide, philosopher, and








IN HONDURAS


friend, and he said, "The train starts at eight
to-morrow morning for San Pedro Sula, where I
will hire the mules." And so it was settled, and
we went off to get our things out of the custom-
house with a sense of perfect confidence in our
new acquaintance and of delightful freedom
from all responsibility. And though, perhaps, it
is not always best to put the entire charge of an
excursion through an unknown country into the
hands of the first kindly stranger whom you see
sitting on a hotel porch on landing, we found
that it worked admirably, and we depended on
our military attach so completely that we never
pulled a cinch-strap or interviewed an ex-presi-
dent without first asking his permission. I wish
every traveller as kindly a guide and as good a
friend.
The train to San Pedro Sula was made up of
a rusty engine and three little cars, with no
glass in the windows, and with seats too wide
for one person, and not at all large enough for
two. The natives made a great expedition of
this journey, and piled the cramped seats with
bananas and tortillas and old bottles filled with
drinking-water. We carried no luncheons our-
selves, but we had the greater advantage of
them in that we were enjoying for the first time
the most beautiful stretch of tropical swamp
land and jungle that we came across during our
entire trip through Honduras, Sometimes the









60 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

train moved through tunnels of palms as straight
and as regular as the elms leading to an English
country-house, and again through jungles where
they grew in the most wonderful riot and dis-
order, so that their branches swept in through
the car-windows and brushed the cinders from
the roof. The jungle spread out within a few
feet of the track on either side, and we peered


I ~-i
,

i

'r
r.
jvi~.? -'Ty
'~'^C'~s;.~*ra ~
'~ r)
"cVi~;


OUR MILITARY ATTACHg








IN HONDURAS


into an impenetrable net-work of vines and
creepers and mammoth ferns and cacti and giant
trees covered with orchids, and so tall that one
could only see their tops by looking up at them
from the rear platform.
The railroad journey from Puerto Cortez to
San Pedro Sula lasts four hours, but the distance
is only thirty-seven miles. This was, until a
short time ago, when the line was extended by a
New York company, the only thirty-seven miles
of railroad track in Honduras, and as it has
given to the country a foreign debt of $27,992,-
850, the interest on which has not been paid
since 1872, it would seem to be quite enough.
About thirty years ago an interoceanic railroad
was projected from Puerto Cortez to the Pacific
coast, a distance of one hundred and forty-eight
miles, but the railroad turned out to be a co-
lossal swindle, and the government was left with
this debt on its hands, an army of despoiled
stockholders to satisfy, and only thirty-seven
miles of bad road for itself. The road was to
have been paid for at a certain rate per mile,
and -the men who mapped it out made it in
consequence twice as long as it need to have
been, and its curves and grades and turns would
cause an honest engineer to weep with disap-
proval.
The grades are in some places very steep, and
as the engine was not as young as it had been,








62 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

two negro boys and a box of sand were placed
on the cow-catcher, and whenever the necessity
of stopping the train was immediate, or when it
was going downhill too quickly, they would


A STRETCH OF CENTRAL-AMERICAN RAILWAY


lean forward and pour this sand on the rails.
As soon as Griscom and Somerset discovered
these assistant engineers they bribed them to
give up their places to them, and after the first





PAGE
NOT AVAILABLE
FOR SCANNING





PAGE
NOT AVAILABLE
FOR SCANNING








IN HONDURAS


built when the railroad was expected to continue
on across the continent, we could see above the
palms in the garden the clouds moving from one
mountain-top to another, or lying packed like
drifts of snow in the hollows between. We used
to sit for hours on this porch in absolute idle-
ness, watching Jeffs hurrying in and out below
with infinite,pity, while we listened to the palms
rustling and whispering as they bent and cour-
tesied before us, and saw the sunshine turn the
mountains a light green, like dry moss, or leave
half of them dark and sombre when a cloud
passed in between. It was a clean, lazy little
place of many clay huts, with gardens back of
them fillet with banana-palms and wide-reach-
ing trees, which were one mass of brilliant crim-
son flowers. In the centre of the town was a
grass-grown plaza where the barefooted and
ragged boy-soldiers went through leisurely evolu-
tions, and the mules and cows gazed at them
from the other end.
Our hotel was leased by an American woman,
who was making an unappreciated fight against
dirt and insects, and the height of whose am-
bition was to get back to Brooklyn and take in
light sewing and educate her two very young
daughters. Her husband had died in the in-
terior, and his portrait hung in the dining-room
of the hotel. She used to talk about him while
she was waiting at dinner, and of what a well-








66 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

read and able man he had been. She would
grow so interested in her stories that the dinner.
would turn cold while she stood gazing at the
picture and shaking her head at it. We became
very much interested in the husband, and used
to look up over our shoulders at his portrait
with respectful attention, as though he were
present. His widow did not like Honduranians;
and though she might have made enough money
to take her home, had she consented to accept
them as boarders, she would only receive gringos
at her hotel, which she herself swept and scrubbed
when she was not cooking the dinner and mak-
ing the beds. She had saved eight dollars of the
sum necessary to convey her and hOr children
home, and to educate them when they got there;
and as American travellers in Honduras are few,
and as most of them ask you for rfoney to help
them to God's country, I am afraid her chance
of seeing the Brooklyn Bridge is very doubtful.
We contributed to her fund, and bought her a
bundle of lottery tickets, which we told her
were the means of making money easily; and I
should like to add that she won the grand prize,
and lived happily on Brooklyn Heights ever
after; but when we saw the list at Panama, her
numbers were not on it, and so, I fear, she is
still keeping the only clean hotel in Hondu-
ras, which is something more difficult to ac-
complish and a much more public-spirited


















































SETTING OUT FROM SAN I'EDRO SULA








IN HONDLRA.


thing to do than to win a grand prize in a
lottery.
We left San Pedro Sula on a Sunday morn-
ing, with a train of eleven mules: five to carry
our luggage and the other six for ourselves,
Jeffs, Charlwood, Somerset's servant, and Emilio,
our chief moso, or muleteer. There were two
other mosos, who walked the entire distance, and
in bull-hide sandals at that, guarding and driving
the pack-mules, and who were generally able to
catch up with us an hour or so after we had
halted for the night. I do not know which was
the worst of the mosos, although Emilio seems
to have been first choice with all of us. We
agreed, after it was all over, that we did not so
much regret not having killed them as that they
could not know how frequently they had been
near to sudden and awful death.
The people of Honduras, where all the travel-
ling is done on mule or horse back, have a pretty
custom of riding out to meet a friend when he
is known to be coming to town, and of accom-
panying him when he departs. This latter cere-
mony always made me feel as though I were an
undesirable citizen who was being conveyed out-
side of the city limits by a Vigilance Committee;
but it is very well meant, and a man in Hon-
duras measures his popularity by the number
of friends who come forth to greet him on his
arrival, or who speed him on his way when he








THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA


sets forth again. We were accompanied out of
San Pedro Sula by the consular agent, the able
American manager of the thirty-seven miles
of railroad, and his youthful baggage-master, a
young gentleman whom I had formerly known
in the States.
Our escort left us at the end of a few miles,
at the foot of the mountains, and we began the
ascent alone. From that time on until we
reached the Pacific Ocean we moved at the rate
of three miles an hour, or some nine leagues a
day, as distances are measured in Honduras, ten
hours being a day's journey. Our mules were
not at all the animals that we know as mules in
the States, but rather overgrown donkeys or
burros, and not much stouter than those in the
streets of Cairo, whether it be the Street in
Cairo of Chicago, or the one that runs in front
of Shepheard's Hotel. They were patient, plucky,
and wonderfully sure-footed little creatures, and
so careful of their own legs and necks that, after
the first few hours, we ceased to feel any anxiety
about our own, and left the entire charge of the
matter to them.
I think we were all a little startled at sight of
the trail we were expected to follow, but if we
were we did not say so-at least, not before Jeffs.
It led almost directly up the face of the moun-
tain, along little ledges and pathways cut in
the solid rock, and at times was so slightly









(' rnit


THE JIG;IL.ANDS (oF IiONf)R\AS








IN HONDURAS


marked that we could not see it five yards ahead
of us. On that first day, during which the trail
was always leading upward, the mules did not
once put down any one of their four little feet
withe at first testing the spot upon which it was
to rest. This made our progress slow, but it
gave one a sense of security, which the angle
and attitude of the body of the man in front
did much to dissipate. I do not know the
name of the mountains over which we passed,
nor do I know the name of any mountain in
Honduras, except those which we named our-
selves, for the reason that there is not much in
Honduras except mountains, and it would be as
difficult to give a name to each of her many
peaks as to christen every town site on a Western
prairie. When the greater part of all the earth
of a country stands on edge in the air, it would
be invidious to designate any one particular hill
or chain of hills. A Honduranian deputy once
crumpled up a page of letter-paper in his hand
and dropped it on the desk before him. "That,"
he said, is an outline map of Honduras."
We rode in single file, with Jeffs in front,
followed by Somerset, with Griscom and myself
next, and Charlwood, the best and most faith-
ful of servants, bringing up the rear. The pack-
mules, as I have said, were two hours farther
back, and we could sometimes see them over
the edge of a precipice crawling along a thou-








74 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
sand feet below and behind us. It seemed an
unsociable way for friends to travel through a
strange country, and I supposed that in an hour
or so we would come
to a broader trail and
pull up abreast and
exchange tobacco
pouches and grow
better acquainted.
But we n6ver came
Sto that broad trail
until we had trav-
elled sixteen days,
and had left Tegu-
: ,cigalpa behind us,
and in the fore-
ground of all the
pictures I have in
my mind of Hondu-
ras there is always a
row of men's backs
and shoulders and
bobbing helmets dis-
appearing down a
. slippery path of rock,
or rising above the
SOMERSET edge of a mountain
and outlined against
a blazing blue sky. We were generally near
enough to one another to talk if we spoke in








IN HONDURAS


a loud voice or turned in the saddle, though
sometimes we rode silently, and merely raised
an arm to point at a beautiful valley below or.
at a strange bird on a tree, and kept it rigid
until the man behind said, "Yes, I see," when
it dropped, like a semaphore signal after the
train has passed.
Early in the afternoon of the day of our set-
ting forth we saw for the last time the thatched
roofs of San Pedro Sula, like a bare spot in the
great green plain hundreds of feet below us.
and then we passed through the clouds we had
watched from the town itself, and bade the
eastern coast of Honduras a final farewell.
The trail we followed was so rough and uncer-
tain that at first I conceived a very poor opinion
of the Honduranians for not having improved it,
but as we continued scrambling upward I ad-
mired them for moving about at all under such
conditions. After all, we who had chosen to
take this road through curiosity had certainly no
right to complain of what was to the natives
their only means of communication with the At-
lantic seaboard. It is interesting to think of a
country absolutely and entirely dependent on
such thoroughfares for every necessity of life.
For whether it be a postal card or a piano, or a
bale of cotton, or a box of matches, it must be
brought to Tegucigalpa on the back of a mule
or on the shoulders of a man, who must slip and








76 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

slide and scramble either over this trail'or-dfe
one on the western coast.
Sometimes this high-road of commerce was cut
through the living rock in steps as even and sharp
as those in front of a brownstone house on Fifth
Avenue, and so narrow that we had to draw up
our knees to keep them from being scratched
and cut on the rough walls of the passageway,
and again it led through jungle so dense that
if one wandered three yards from the trail he
could not have found his way back again; but
this danger was not imminent, as no one could
go that far from the trail without having first
hacked and cut his way there.
It was not always so difficult; at times we
came out into bare open spaces, and rode up the
dry bed of a mountain stream, and felt the full
force of the sun, or again it led along a ledge of
rock two feet wide at the edge of a precipice, and
we were fanned with cool, damp breaths from the
pit a thousand feet below, where the sun had
never penetrated, and where the moss and fern
of centuries grew in a thick, dark tangle.
We stopped for our first meal at a bare place
on the top of a mountain, where there were a
half-dozen mud huts. Jeffs went from one to
another of these and collected a few eggs, and
hired a woman to cook them and to make us
some coffee. We added tinned things aud bread
to this luncheon, which, as there were no benches,






























































































































A DRAWVER OF WATER


..
Y








IN HONDURAS


we ate seated on the ground, kicking at the dogs
and pigs and chickens, that snatched in a most
familiar manner at the food in our hands. In
Honduras there are so few hotels that travellers
are entirely dependent for food and for a place
in which to sleep upon the people who live along
the trail, who are apparently quite hardened to
having their homes invaded by strangers, and
their larders levied upon at any hour of the day
or night.
Even in the larger towns and so-called cities
we slept in private houses, and on the solitary
occasion when we were directed to a hotel we
found a bare room with a pile of canvas cots
heaped in one corner, to which we were told to
help ourselves. There was a real hotel, and a
very bad one, at the capital, where we fared much
worse than we had often done in the interior;
but with these two exceptions we were depend-
ent for shelter during our entire trip across Hon-
duras upon the people of the country. Some-
times they sent us to sleep in the town-hall, which
was a large hut with a mud floor, and furnished
with a blackboard and a row of benches, and
sometimes with stocks for prisoners for it served
as a school or prison or hotel, according to the
needs of the occasion.
We were equally dependent upon the natives
for our food. We carried breakfast bacon and
condensed milk and sardines and bread with us,








80 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

and to these we were generally able to add, at
least once a day, coffee and eggs and beans. The
national bread is the tortilla. It is made of corn-
meal, patted into the shape of a buckwheat cake
between the palms of the hands, and then baked.
They were generally given to us cold, in a huge
pile, and were burned on both sides,but untouched
by heat in the centre. The coffee was always
excellent, as it should have been, for the Hon-
duranian coffee is as fine as any grown in Central
America, and we never had too much of it; but
of eggs and black beans there was no end. The
black-bean habit in Honduras is very general;
they gave them to us three times a day, some-
times cold and sometimes hot, sometimes with
bacon and sometimes alone. They were fre-
quently served to us in the shape of sandwiches
between tortillas, and again in the form of pud-
ding with chopped-up goat's meat. At first, and
when they were served hot, I used to think them
delicious. That seems very long ago now. When
I was at Johnstown at the time of the flood, there
was a soda cracker, with jam inside, which was
served out to the correspondents in place of
bread; and even now, if it became a question of
my having to subsist on those crackers, and the
black beans of Central America, or starve, I am
sure I should starve, and by preference.
We were naturally embarrassed at first when
we walked into strange huts; but the owners








IN HONDURAS


seemed to take such invasions with apathy and
as a matter of course, and were neither glad to
see us when we came, nor relieved when we de-
parted. They asked various prices for what they
gave us-about twice as much as they would
have asked a native for the same service; at least,
so Jeffs told us; but as our bill never amounted
to more than fifty cents apiece for supper, lodg-
ing, and a breakfast the next morning, they can-
not be said to have robbed us. While the wom-
an at the first place at which we stopped boiled
the eggs, her husband industriously whittled a
lot of sharp little sticks, which he distributed
among us, and the use of which we could not
imagine, until we were told we were expected
to spike holes in the eggs with them, and then
suck out the meat. We did not make a success
of this, and our prejudice against eating eggs
after that fashion was such that we were partic-
ular to ask to have them fried during the rest of
our trip. This was the only occasion when I saw
a Honduranian husband help his wife to work.
After our breakfast on the top of the moun-
tain, we began its descent on the other side.
This was much harder on the mules than the
climbing had been, and they stepped even more
slowly, and so gave us many opportunities to
look out over the tops of trees and observe
with some misgivings the efforts of the man in
front to balance the mule by lying flat on its








82 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

hind-quarters. The temptation at such times
to sit upright and see into what depths you
were going next was very great. We struck a
level trail about six in the evening, and the mules
were so delighted at this that they started off of
their own accord at a gallop, and were further
encouraged by our calling them by the names of
different Spanish generals. This inspired them
to such a degree that we had to change their
names to Bob Ingersoll or Senator Hill, or oth-
ers to the same effect, at which they grew dis-
couraged and drooped perceptibly.
We slept that night at a ranch called La Pieta,
belonging to Dr. Miguel Pazo, where we experi-
mented for the first time with our hammocks,
and tried to grow accustomed to going to bed
under the eyes of a large household of Indian
maidens, mosos, and cowboys. There are men
who will tell you that they like to sleep in a
hammock, just as there are men who will tell
you that they like the sea best when it is rough,
and that they are happiest when the ship is
throwing them against the sides and superstruct-
ure, and when they cannot sit still without brac-
ing their legs against tables and stanchions. I
always want to ask such men if they would pre-
fer land in a state of perpetual earthquake, or in
its normal condition of steadiness, and I have al-
ways been delighted to hear sea-captains declare
themselves best pleased with a level keel, and the







IN HONDURAS


chance it gives them to go about their work with-
out having to hang on to hand-rails. And I had
a feeling of equal satisfaction when I saw as many
sailors as could find room sleeping on the hard
deck of a man-of-war at Colon, in preference to
suspending themselves in hammocks, which were
swinging empty over their heads. The ham-
mock keeps a man at an angle of forty-five de-
grees, with the weight of both his legs and his
body on the base of the spinal column, which
gets no rest in consequence.
The hammock is, however, almost universally
used in Honduras, and is a necessity there on ac-
count of the insects and ants and other beasts
that climb up the legs of cots and inhabit the
land. But the cots of bull-hide stretched on
ropes are, in spite of the insects, greatly to be
preferred; they are at least flat, and one can lie
on them without having his legs three feet higher
than his head. Their manufacture is very sim-
ple. When a steer is killed its hide is pegged
out on the ground, and left where the dogs can
eat what flesh still adheres to it; and when it
has been cleaned after this fashion and the sun
has dried it, ropes of rawhide are run through
its edges, and it is bound to a wooden frame
with the hairy side up. It makes a cool, hard
bed. In the poorer huts the hides are given to
the children at night, and spread directly on the
earth floor. During the day the same hides are







84 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

used to hold the coffee, which is piled high upon
them and placed in the sun to dry.
We left La Pieta early the next morning, in
the bright sunlight, but instead of climbing labo-
riously into the sombre mountains of the day
before, we trotted briskly along a level path be-
tween sunny fields and delicate plants, and trees
with a pale-green foliage, and covered with the
most beautiful white-and-purple flowers. There
were hundreds of doves in the air, and in the
bushes many birds of brilliant blue-and-black or
orange-and-scarlet plumage, and one of more so-
ber colors with two long white tail-feathers and a
white crest, like a macaw that had turned Quaker.
None of these showed the least inclination to
disturb himself as we approached. An hour af-
ter our setting forth we plunged.into a forest of
manacca-palms, through which we rode the rest
of the morning. This was the most beautiful
and wonderful experience of our journey. The
manacca-palm differs from the cocoanut or royal
palm in that its branches seem to rise directly
from the earth, and not to sprout, as do the oth-
ers, from the top of a tall trunk. Each branch
has a single stem, and the leaf spreads and falls
from either side of this, cut into even blades,
like a giant fern.
There is a plant that looks like the manacca-
palm at home which you see in flower-pots in the
corners of drawing-rooms at weddings, and conse-



















































NATIVE METHOD OF DRYING COFFEE








IN HONDURAS


quently when we saw the real manacca-palm the
effect was curious. It did not seem as though
they were monster specimens of these little plants
in the States, but as though we had grown small-
er. We felt dwarfed, as though we had come
across a rose-bush as large as a tree. The branch-
es of these palms were sixty feet high, and occa-
sionally six feet broad, and bent and swayed and
interlaced in the most graceful and exquisite con-
fusion. Every blade trembled in the air, and for
hours we heard no other sound save their perpet-
ual murmur and rustle. Not even the hoofs of
our mules gave a sound, for they trod on the dead
leaves of centuries. The palms made a natural
archway for us, and the leaves hung like a por-
tiere across the path, and you would see the man
riding in front raise his arm and push the long
blades to either side, and disappear as they fell
again into place behind him. It was like a scene
on the tropical island of a pantomime, where ev-
ery thing is exaggerated both in size and in beau-
ty. It made you think of a giant aquarium or
conservatory which had been long neglected.
At every hundred yards or so there were
giant trees with smooth gray trunks, as even and
regular as marble, and with roots like flying-but-
tresses, a foot in thickness, and reaching from
ten to fifteen feet up from the ground. If these
flanges had been covered over, a man on mule-
back could have taken refuge between them.








88 THREE GRINGOS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

Some of the trunks of these trees were covered
with intricate lace-work of a parasite which
twisted in and out, and which looked as though
thousands of snakes were crawling over the
white surface of the tree; they were so much
like snakes that one passed beneath them with
an uneasy shrug. Hundreds of orchids clung to
the branches of the trees, and from these stouter
limbs to the more pliable branches of the palms
below white-faced monkeys sprang and swung
from tree to tree, running along the branches
until they bent with the weight like a trout-rod,
and sprang upright again with a sweep and rush
as the monkeys leaped off chattering into the
depths of the forest. We rode through this
enchanted wilderness of wavering sunlight and
damp, green shadows for the greater part of the
day, and came out finally into a broad, open
plain, cut up by little bubbling streams, flashing
brilliantly in the sun. It was like an awakening
from a strange and beautiful nightmare.
In the early part of the afternoon we arrived
at another one of the farm-houses belonging to
young Dr. Pazo, and at which he and his brother
happened to be stopping. We had ridden out
of our way there in the hopes of obtaining a few
days' shooting, and the place seemed to promise
much sport. The Chamelicon River, filled with
fish and alligators, ran within fifty yards of the
house; and great forests, in which there were




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