• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Introduction
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 A perfect passage
 Barbados the royal
 In the Caribbean Sea
 Kingston, Jamaica
 The land of romance
 A brighter outlook
 A visit to Colombia
 Cartagena
 Colon and Jamaica again
 Jamaica and back to Trinidad
 The northern tour
 Among the northern islands
 St. Thomas and south again
 The Spanish main
 Caracas and back towards home
 Homeward bound






Title: Back to sunny seas
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081343/00001
 Material Information
Title: Back to sunny seas
Physical Description: xiii, 287 p. : col. illus. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bullen, Frank Thomas, 1857-1915
Donor: unknown ( endowment )
Publisher: Smith, Elder
Place of Publication: London
London
Manufacturer: William Clowes and Sons, Ltd.
Publication Date: 1905
 Subjects
Subject: Description and travel -- West Indies   ( lcsh )
Spanish Main   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Frank T. Bullen. With eight coloured illustrations by A.S. Forrest.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081343
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01362896
lccn - 42039766

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
    Advertising
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Frontispiece
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Dedication
        Page v
        Page vi
    Introduction
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Table of Contents
        Page xi
        Page xii
    List of Illustrations
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    A perfect passage
        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
    Barbados the royal
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    In the Caribbean Sea
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 32b
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Kingston, Jamaica
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    The land of romance
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    A brighter outlook
        Page 88
        Page 88a
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
    A visit to Colombia
        Page 106
        Page 106a
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Cartagena
        Page 124
        Page 124a
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
    Colon and Jamaica again
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
    Jamaica and back to Trinidad
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    The northern tour
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
    Among the northern islands
        Page 202
        Page 202a
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
    St. Thomas and south again
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
    The Spanish main
        Page 238
        Page 238a
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
    Caracas and back towards home
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
    Homeward bound
        Page 276
        Page 276a
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
Full Text













BACK TO SUNNY SEAS










WORKS BY FRANK T. BULLEN, F.R.G.S.


SEA-WRACK. SECOND IMPRESSION. With 8 Illustrations by
ARTHUR TWIDLB. Crown 8vo, 6s.
SPECTATOR.-" Characteristic of Mr. Bullen's best work."
VANITY PAIR.-" A delightful volume .. The seafaring man is an
open book to Mr. Bullen."

DEEP-SEA PLUNDERINGS. THIRD IMPRESSION. With
8 Full-page Illustrations by ARTHUR TWIDLE. Crown 8vo, 6s.
SPECTATOR.-" There is something in the book to please almost every
taste.. .The book deserves to be, and will be, read by all who look to
literature to provide them with refreshment and recreation."

THE MEN OF THE MERCHANT SERVICE. Being the
Polity of the Mercantile Marine for 'Longshore Readers. SECOND
IMPRESSION. Large post 8vo, 7s. 6d.
SPECTATOR.-" The book is of great value, and of great Interest to all
the innumerable people who are curious about the most romantic and separate
of lives. But it is of importance, secondly and chiefly, as Mr. Bullen's appeal
to the political sense of his country. . We cannot commend his volume too
earnestly to public consideration."

THE CRUISE OF THE "CACHALOT" ROUND THE
WORLD AFTER SPERM WHALES. By FaANx T. BULLPEN,
First Mate. The volume includes a Letter to the Author from
RUDYARD KIPLING. TWELFTH IMPRESSION (SECOND EDI-
TION). With 8 Illustrations and a Chart. Crown 8vo, 38. 6d.
TIMES.-" Mr. Bullen has a splendid subject, and he handles It with the
pen of a master. . "The Cruise of the Cachalot" is a book which cannot
but fascinate all lovers of the sea, and all who can appreciate a masterly
presentation of its wonder and its mystery, its terrors and its trials, its humours
and its tragedies."

THE LOG OF A SEA-WAIF. Being Recollections of
the First Four Years of my Sea Life. FOURTH IMPRESSeON.
With 8 Full-page Illustrations specially drawn by ARTHUR
TWxDLE. Large post 8vo, 88. 6d.
WORLD.-" We have read many stories of sea life, but do not remember
to have been so fascinated and enthralled by any of them as by this masterly
presentation of the humours, hardships, and minor tragedies of life in the
forecastle."

THE WAY THEY HAVE IN THE NAVY. Being a
Day-to-Day Record of a Cruise in H.M. Battleship Mars "
during the Manaeuvres of 1899. THIRD IMPRESSION. Crown
8vo, paper covers, Is.; cloth, Is. 6d.
SPECTATOR.-" We recommend it most heartily and without any
misgiving."

London: SMITH, ELDER & 00., 15, Waterloo Place, S.W.
*




















































:,\; ^^.


MARTINIQUE FASHIONS.


(Frontispiece.)


i


&









BACK TO SUNNY SEAS







BY
FRANK T. BULLEN, F.R.G.S.
AUTHOR OF
"THE CRUISE OF THE 'CACHALOT,"' "THE LOG OF A SEA-WAIF,"
ETC.


WITH EIGHT COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS
BY A. S. FORREST, R.I.









LONDON
SMITH, ELDER & CO., 15, WATERLOO PLACE
1905


(AU rights reserved)









































PRINTED BY
WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
LONDON AND BECCLES.


























t0

OWEN PHILLIPS, EsQ.
THIS SKETCH OF A CRUISE IX
SOME OF THE FINE SHIPS OF
THE COMPANY OVER WHICH
HE SO ABLY PRESIDES IS
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED















INTRODUCTION

IN the following pages I have endeavoured to recall
my experiences during a trip to the West Indies and
around the Spanish Main, not exactly as an ordinary
tourist, although on the tourist route. I say not
exactly as an ordinary tourist, first, because many of
the places I had visited before when pursuing my
calling as a sailor; and secondly, because the tourist
season was really over. No one pretends that this
part of the world is a desirable place to visit during
the summer solstice, but during the winter it is de-
lightful beyond the power of language to describe.
But I want to make it perfectly clear that I was the
guest of the great Royal Mail Steam Packet Company,
whose hospitality to me was more generous and farther-
reaching than I could ever have dreamed of receiving.
Yet I would like to make it clear too, if possible, that
I have subdued my natural bias in favour of the
Company, so that I have written only what I believe
to be literally and exactly true. That statement will
no doubt be read with reservations. Yet I feel sure
vil






INTRODUCTION


that those who will do me the honour to read my
book will feel that I have endeavoured at any rate
to act up to my convictions, and that I really have
written in a quite independent spirit.
Here, at any rate, I can assert, without any fear
of contradiction, that the Company has allowed
me a perfectly free hand. I have received no in-
structions, or even hints, that I should write thus
and so. Consequently I have written just as I felt,
and I hereby declare that for my personal opinions,
very freely expressed, the Company is in no way
responsible.
Another thing, the political and social and eco-
nomical aspect of the West Indies has been laid before
me; and if I had felt it my duty to do so, I could
have compiled with great ease a great book, half of
which would have been statistics, a quarter of it views
of other people, and the rest just connective writing.
I have done nothing of the kind. Conceiving that
my book should be an expression of my opinions
upon the tour, and that such matter as can easily be
obtained from guide-books ought to have no place
in it, I have written as I felt inclined-whether well
or ill of course is a matter which the public will
soon find out. If it be said that I have been unduly
severe in dealing with the United States, Germany,
or the Central American republics, I say respectfully,
but firmly, that I have only written what I know






INTRODUCTION ix

to be true and without the slightest regard to conse-
quences. Too long, I know, have Englishmen truckled
to the United States and Germany; too long have
they allowed the fungus Governments of Central
America to flout England while subservient to the
United States and Germany, and it is really high
time that some one spoke out.
I could have wished many times that the national
aspects of the trip had not forced themselves upon
my notice, and compelled me to write about them.
It would have been so much pleasanter to have
written only on the West Indies from the point of
view of the pleasure-seeker. Well, I hope I have made
that side clear too-that I know of no trip likely
to afford a more solid return in renewed health and
wider outlook upon the world than that offered by
the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. And with
this I make my bow and leave my book to the public,
which is, after all, the final court, and from whose
decisions there is no appeal.
F. T. BULLEN.
MILLTIEID,
MIa OUVR, CAMss.


NoTE.-Since this book was finished the Postmaster-General
has determined the mail contract with the R.M. Company, which
now carries His Majesty's mails without any subsidy whatever.
F. T. B.

















CONTENTS


PAGO
A PERFECT PASSAGE ... ... ... ... 1
BARBADOS THE LOYAL ... ... ... 17
IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA ... ... ... 32
KINGSTON, JAMAICA ... ... ... 49
THE LAND OF ROMANCE ... ... ... 69
A BRIGHTER OUTLOOK ... ... ... 88
A Visrr TO COLOMBIA ... ... ... 106
CARTAGENA ... ... ... ... 124
COLON AND JAMAICA AGAIN ... ... ... 143
JAMAICA AND BACK TO TRINIDAD ... ... 163
THE NORTHERN TOUR ... ... ... 183
AMONG THE NORTHERN ISLANDS ... ... 202
ST. THOMAS AND SOUTH AGAIN ... ... 219
THE SPANISH MAIN ... ... ... 238


CARACAS AND BACK TOWARDS HOME
HOMEWARD BOUND


... 258
... 276


I.

II.

IV.
V.
VI.
VH.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XIL
XIII.
XIV.

















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


MARTInQUE FAmONS ... ... ... Frontispiece
COLOURED COQUETTES ... ... ... To face page 32
CARRYING WATER (BARBADos) ... ... 88
JAMAIcAN BOATMAN ... ... ... ,, 106
WASHING-DAY ... ... ... ... ,, 124
GoInm ASHORE ... ... ... ... ,, 202
RIPE BANAAS ... ... ... ... ,, 238
A DECK-PASSENGER ... ... ... ,, 276













BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


I
A PERFECT PASSAGE
"OH, to be in England, now that April's here," sang
Browning, and roundly has he often been jeered at for
so doing. Not, alas I without good reason too often,
for it must be confessed that the caprices of an English
April, to say nothing of an English spring generally,
are not seldom deadly in their effects upon weaklings.
But this blessed April of 1904, from its beginning, had
given us in the favoured county of Cambridgeshire no
ground for a single grumble. The air had lost its
keen edge, the sun really warmed us, and the showers
which fell at night set all the young green things
bounding upwards and outwards, impatient of their
long detention in gloom and cold. Also it seemed as
if they were anxious to try conclusions again with the
abnormalities of our fickle climate and reward the
long-suffering husbandmen for their patience and the
wasted labour of the past year.






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


In consequence of this entirely satisfactory state of
the elements there was just a tinge of regret mingled
with our joy at the prospect of soon being in the
regions of perpetual sunshine, so prone are we, happily,
to forget the prospective in the present. The quaint
and beautiful town of Southampton lay basking in the
glorious sunshine, which reflected itself gladly in
almost every face. The beautiful steamship Tagus,
reposing quietly at her moorings, belied her four years
of arduous service all round the world-(she was from
the commencement of her life one of the most valued
and useful troopships in the South African war)-for
she really looked as if newly out of the hands of the
builders, so bright, clean, fresh, and smooth were all
her appointments. There is nothing to a seaman's eye
that tells the tale of how a ship has been treated by
her owners and officers than this general appearance of
newness. I have been in a ship on her second voyage
that looked twenty years old, and in one twenty years
old that looked as does the Tagus, the difference being
entirely due to the ability of the officers and the liberal
wisdom of the owners of the latter ship. And before I
leave this part of my subject I should like to record
one notable impression. Had it not been made I
should have said nothing at all on the matter. I have
been of late years in several ocean liners, sometimes
as ordinary passenger, and sometimes as guest of the
Company, but I have never before been in a ship so






A PERYEOT rASSAGE


admirably well designed for passenger accommodation,
comfort, and space as this one. I have been in ships
more than twice her tonnage (she is 5,545 tons), ships
especially designed too for first-class ocean travel, that
did not appear half as roomy and comfortable, not
even in the promenade deck spaces. Of course in the
details of cabins, etc., there is now very little difference
between one first-class ship and another, but in that
sense of roominess and comfort so essential for the
well-being of passengers in a hot climate my present
ship ranks easily first in my experience. She reflects
the greatest credit on the grand old firm of Napiers,
her builders and designers.
There is to me one very striking feature about the
departure of a modem ocean liner, which I do not
think has received the attention that it deserves.
The old stock phrase, once inevitable in describing
such events-" all was bustle and confusion "-would
now be entirely out of place because false. Whether
it is because people generally are more accustomed to
travel, or by reason of an increase in the national
quality of self-control, or a sense of the magnitude of
the interests involved in such an event, or a combina-
tion of all three reasons I do not know, but it is
certain that .the departure of an ocean liner full of
passengers for the other side of the globe is now
attended with less than one-tenth of the excitement,
fuss, and general bewilderment to be witnessed any






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


day, say at Victoria, during the holiday season among
people about to take a journey of two or three hours'
duration. Of course there is an enormous difference
in the quality of those responsible, as one would
naturally expect; but not so much as to account for
the all-pervading air of semi-lunacy obtaining at the
railway station and the quiet self-possession of the
people at the pier.
Our departure was no exception to this universal
rule. The comings and goings of the porters, the
stewards, the friends, and the dock people all seemed
to be controlled by the calm demeanour, almost
amounting to nonchalance, of the commander, who,
like some ducal host, stands to receive his guests, bid
them welcome to his grand ship, and by a few well-
chosen words make them feel absolutely at home. I
have heard nincompoops ashore uttering asinine com-
ments upon the character and behaviour of what they
are graciously pleased to call "a mere merchant sea-
man." I am an exceedingly patient man; I make no
boast of the fact, because I was born so, I couldn't help
it; but I contritely confess' that when I hear such
remarks I feel homicidal. I am so impatient of the
fact that so many otherwise kindly disposed people
look upon the merchant seaman as a rough and
uncouth brute, who is bound to commit solecisms and
do outrageous things which are forgiven pitifully
because the poor thing doesn't know any better.






A PERFECT PASSAGE


Ladies and gentlemen, in historic phrase, "let us
clear our minds of cant." The seafaring profession
does not make cads, it makes "men; and modem
steamship faring makes the most perfectly finished
gentlemen under heaven. Beneath that genial,
elegant exterior presented to Messieurs et Mesdames
the passengers there lies the man who is responsible,
whose skill, resourcefulness, and courage make ocean
travel so pleasant. You are so apt to take things as a
matter of course, so apt to forget, as you lie wearily
tossing in your bunks throughout a heavy sea at night,
that if you are suffering the pangs of sea-sickness,
there are men and brethren below you, twenty feet
below, toiling furiously to keep steam in the boilers
that the good ship may thrust her way through the
weariless seas into the fine weather for which you
yearn. Do, lady and gentlemen passengers, bestow
an occasional kindly thought upon your brothers
beneath, in barest justice.
The foregoing outburst because of an evil sprite
who hurled at us an old W.S.W. swell of gigantic
dimensions. End on to it, the pleasant Tagus made
the best weather she could, but, alas I! the unseasoned
ones blenched before that mighty swell, and felt that
for them henceforward life was a dreary blank. In
vain did we pour soft words of hope into their weary
ears; they turned hopeless eyes upon us, and wished
I hadn't come." Vain, too, were the promises we made







BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


of better days immediately forthcoming, of golden
seas and lucent skies. Optimism on our part was of
no avail, since in them the black genius of pessimism
reigned supreme. Indeed it is a waste of words, the
kindly advice and comforting speeches addressed to
sufferers from sea-sickness. Do I not know, I who
speak, who on my last voyage, a seasoned sailor of
fifteen years, was as seasick as any first-trip channel
passenger? What to me were all the kind or unkind
things said at such times but idle wind? Enough:
gallantly the Tagus breasted the enormous swell left
by an old gale, and hopelessly the sick ones awaited
some relief. It came, as it always does, all the
sweeter for being unexpected, and, on the third day,
behold us a united family, ready to be friendly with
anybody for that we were so glad to find ourselves
still alive and well.
That blissful Saturday passed like a dream, and
ushered in a Sunday even more delightful. A limpid
sea of deepest azure, a gentle, cool breeze, just suffi-
cient motion to remind us that we were at sea and not
in populous city pent, and the delight of congenial
company, every face wearing a smile. And now I
come to an experience of which I hardly dare trust
myself to write. Divine service was fixed for 10.30 as
usual; but to my amazement and utter delight,
officers, sailors, firemen, and stewards trooped down
into the saloon to participate. Many such services






A PERFECT PASSAGE


have I attended, but never one like this. My heart
swelled as I looked around upon those weather-beaten
faces, and realized to the full how good and pleasant a
thing it was for them all to be gathered in brotherly
association to listen to the same great truths, the same
eternal aspirations. Putting it on the lowest ground,
how good it is to let your men know that in the sight
of God they are your brethren, albeit the accidents of
fortune, birth, or what not have placed you above
them socially. Honestly, in all my varied experience
of spiritual work, I have never enjoyed a service more,
and I shall think the better of this Company all my
life because I have learned that this is their invari-
able custom. I have written very bitterly upon this
subject, my remarks being based upon experience; but
I am therefore the more delighted to chronicle this
fragrant change in my knowledge of matters maritime.
Having paid tribute to Neptune in the shape of
three days exceeding liveliness as the buoyant ship
faced that great old swell, we receive our reward by
entering upon the halcyon sea-the central North
Atlantic, which is one of the most beautiful places in
the world. And, in these hustling, busy days, few
indeed are the passages one may make in any direction
where the beautiful weather is so soon, so easily reached,
and where it remains so steadfastly lovely for such
a lengthened period. Bound to the westward direct,
say to any port on the North American littoral, and






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


at whatever time of the year you make the passage,
you are liable, if not to actually bad weather, certainly
to unpleasantness such as fog, heavy swells, alterna-
tions of cold and heat, etc. Go to the east, the
Mediterranean has as many moods as an Italian
coquette, and although variety be charming, such
variety as that becomes irksome when dealing with
the sea. Then if you be bound further East, the
sweltering ditch of Suez greets you, followed by the
torrid, blistering blasts of the Red Sea, the Gulf of
Aden, and the Arabian Sea. If you go farther yet-
to Australia or New Zealand, the southern Indian
Ocean will bless your parched and weary frame with
such delicious weather as we now enjoy, but it is a
long way to go to earn that little respite.
No! for those who travel in search of health, even
if they must go in the middle of summer, I would say
emphatically, go to Barbados direct, and come back
by the next ship. You will have almost a month of
weather as nearly perfect as this dear earth affords.
In winter, of course, you should cruise the islands, but
I must not anticipate. If only I could draw you a
satisfying word-picture of to-day I The mighty circle
of sea, just gently rippled by the tender breath of the
nascent N.E. Trade Wind-(of course the Trade Wind
doesn't really begin until within the Tropic of Cancer,
but when did ever a sailor fail to call the first settled
wind below 35 either N. or S. of the line the Trades ?)






A PERFECT PASSAGE 9
-the sky above, not yet of that deep, dark blue it will
take on later, but of the most delicate shade, temper-
ing the sun's ardent rays by a filmy veil invisibly
spread for our benefit, and the graceful sailing cumulus
clouds, like tufts of snowiest fleece, all help to form
this picture, which in its entirety baffles all description.
For who can present to the senses that delightful
atmosphere of purity and freshness, the flood of light
bathing all things in a golden glow, the solemn
sensation of peace which comes even to the most
thoughtless, if only they will step aside from their
fellows for a little while and let the ocean speak to
them?
I always feel that it is a pity people need so much
exercise at sea. I know it is necessary, although I
am sure it is overdone by some restless souls who
seem never satisfied unless they are arranging, con-
ducting, or inventing some form of playful activity.
At sea, of all places in the wide world, when personal
comfort is absolutely assured as it is here, one can
cultivate the almost lost art of meditation. Reading
is not easy except after going to bed, and then there
are few who can read aught but the lightest of litera-
ture, But sit silently hour after hour gazing, with
sight-strengthening effect, out over the wide, smiling
sea. Its "many-dimpled smile," the multitudinous
flashings of the tiny crests where the infant wavelets
break, will exercise an almost hypnotic effect. So, too,






BACK TO StJITNY SEAS


does the aspect of the sky, each gliding cloud passing
with ever-changing contour across the infinite blue,
beneficent spirits engaged en errands essential to the
well-being of man. Presently the sense of pro-
pinquity with one's fellows is lost, the throb of the
engines becomes unfelt, the consciousness of the ship
disappears, and the soul is alone with immensity, the
vast solemnity of Nature in her highest form and
grandest mood encompasses us, and we soar into un-
familiar regions, think new thoughts, learn a new
language, receive an education undreamed of in the
philosophy of the schools.
But, alas! though we should love the highest when
we see it, such a privilege as this is too often neglected
by us, we suffer incalculable loss-the absence of that
perfect Elysium of the mind from which we may return
to the daily round and common task of life not merely
refreshed, re-energized, and informed, but ennobled.
Could we but realize this we should no longer wish to
rush madly from place to place complaining of delay,
and intolerant of the slightest hindrance to swift pro-
gress, but use the healing of the sea in its intended
way. And in so doing we need never-we should
never-lose sight of the all-important fact that in
order to perfect our enjoyment of this privilege men
must toil, devise, and suffer night and day. Nor should
we, if we do remember this fact, attempt to dismiss it
from our minds with the callous remark, Well, they






A PERFECT PASSAGE


are paid for it: it is their business." Faithful, un-
wearying attention such as theirs is never rewarded
adequately by monetary payment, however lavish; but
I fear it is seldom appreciated at its real worth, and
we only get some idea of its value when we get bad or
perfunctory service. However, though this is a topic
upon which I feel very deeply, I am quite aware of the
difficulty of getting the majority of people to see eye
to eye with me, and so will leave it.
Crossing the North Atlantic diagonally from east
to west-from the Azores to the Antilles-means
traversing a vast expanse of silent sea, almost as
empty of traffic as the South Atlantic from Ascension
to nearly Fernando Noronha, which is, I suppose, as
unfrequented a sea as any in the world, save the lonely
Antarctic. For instance, we have now been eight days
in finest, clearest weather, and we have seen one ship
-a disconsolate-looking four-masted barque, to all
appearance a forlorn survival of the great white-winged
fleets of the past. And, indeed, in a swift steamship
the ocean seems lonelier than it really is. The fauna
of the sea-even the flying fish-show themselves
most infrequently, so that the sight of a whale, even
of a good school of porpoises, is an event to be entered
in a diary as an uncommon sight. As for bonito,
dolphin, albacore, et hoe genus omne, one may look
in vain for them, for the throb of the propeller keeps
them effectually beyond the range of vision. But






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


what of all this ? the glorious, age-old, ever young sea
is all-sufficient for the needs of the weary mind, the
body revolting against the incessant round of un-
changing activities. In spite of repeating myself, I
must say again that this is the most sumptuous and
efficacious rest-cure possible. If it were only available
to more of our overworked and underpaid servants of
a strenuous civilization I!
Rather strangely, considering the time of year, the
North-East Trades are exceedingly light, barely suffi-
cient to keep the sails of a heavily sparred sailing ship
distended. Just the weather to give the highest
contentment to the company of a ship like this, and
to cause the deepest disgust and annoyance to the
crew of a windjammer which has been perchance
hauled up among the doldrums, the light winds,
variables, and calms of the line; and now, when
hoping to make up for some lost time, finding that
the Trade Wind-that permanent feature of the tropics
all round the world-has failed them. No mere words
can do justice to their disappointment and discontent.
But, alas I! when all one's own ways are so pleasant that
even the proverbial crumpled rose-leaf would cause a
tremor of indignant amazement, it is indeed difficult
to sympathize with others whose situation is as un-
pleasant as ours is the reverse. More, I fear that even
the most benevolent among us do occasionally feel the
force of the cynical Frenchman's remark that "there






A PERFECT PASSAGE


is something not unpleasing in witnessing the mis-
fortunes of our friends."
That crumpled rose-leaf has found me in a most
unexpected and, for a passenger, an unusual spot. I
realize that this halcyon passage is near its close. I
could wish it prolonged-most selfishly, as I am
probably the only person on board who is not already
conscious of a desire for a change. They begin to feel
what is so unrighteously termed the monotony of the
sea when applied to such a passage as this. Poor
people! had they been battering at a savage westerly
off Cape Horn for forty days, with never a break in
the lowering, leaden sky, with all consciousness
that such a condition of body as comfort could exist
departed, aching with bruises, smarting with sea-sores,
hunger-sick and hopeless of any change-the use of
the word monotony in connection with such perfect
conditions of life as this would strike them as little
short of blasphemy against the benevolent Providence
which had suffered them to live and enjoy it. Or, to
take another such instance, but much milder: having
reached, aftei a four or five months' passage from the
East Indies, a position say five hundred miles west of
Ushant, to be met by a hard, easterly wind-hard
because of the perfect, steel-blue sky and brilliant
sunshine-accompanying a blistering blast that bites
into the very marrow of the brittle bones, and congeals
the thin blood of the seafarers only a few days emerged






BACK TO SUNNY BEA13


from tropical heats. Scurvy has revived all old aches
and sores; officers and men are alike sick to death of
each other's society, but have recently grown slightly
more amenable to softer feelings; and now this shuts
down upon them, effectually barring them from home.
Black despondency grips them, and they set their
teeth hopelessly, forgetting, if they can, that ever
they enjoyed their lives, and may do again.
But there, I do not mean to scold those who have
been happy enough to escape from what used to be
one of the commonest evils of a seafarer's lot. I only
wish to try and show by contrast how discontent with
an almost ideal condition of things, such as this, is in
the highest degree ungrateful, is, in fact, tempting the
Higher Powers to withdraw their benevolence from us
and give us some solid ground for complaint. One
grievance I certainly have against the ordinary pas-
senger, not merely as a seafarer myself, but as a fellow-
passenger. It is that he will not, even to save himself
from being bored to death by inaction of mind and
body, take any interest in what one may call the
polity of the ship in which he sails. How the vast
and complicated machine devised and prepared for
his service by the best intellectual and practical
ability of our time is kept running so smoothly in all
its component parts. How, from the time of the
vessel's leaving home until her return, whether at sea
or in harbour, some portion of the crew are ever at






A PERFECT PASSAGE


work planning, doing, for the comfort and security of
those committed to their charge. What they do, how
they do it, and why ? All these things should afford
much pleasant and profitable mental exercise to the
passenger, the result being inevitably that he would
unconsciously learn to appreciate the way in which
these splendid vessels are managed, a way that I, in
all my experience, have never seen equalled outside
of the navy. The mere watching of the working of
this ship is to me a never-ending source of wonder
and delight, the smoothness with which the human
machinery runs being only comparable to the perfect
operation of the main engines, the hydraulic cranes
lifting their tons in apparently effortless silence, and
the velvet velocity of the dynamos. I will not dare
to say that there is no friction between officers and
men, but I do assert that I have seen no evidence of
any; the work goes steadily forward in the same
manner as the ship is brought alongside of and leaves
the wharves, that is, without a voice being raised
beyond an ordinary conversational tone. And, beyond
the necessary interpreters among the waiters, there is
scarcely a foreigner in the ship, even the chef, to my
great delight, being English, and a credit to his
profession.
But here I must come to a sudden stop, for the
ship is within sight of .the loyal and beautiful little
island of Barbados, and a whole host of memories are






16 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
surging through my brain of the last time, nearly a
quarter of a century ago, when I saw these shores. I
will put away my manuscript, and go on deck to enjoy
the spectacle of the Tagus picking up her buoy
punctually to the advertised hour.

















BARBADOS THE LOYAL

BEYOND and above the delight I feel at standing once
more on deck at the breaking of the day and watch-
ing the well-remembered outlines of little Barbados
gradually growing distinct in the pearly light, is the
recollection of the really great part played by the
island in the fortunes of the West Indies. Loyal with
a blind, unreasoning loyalty, speaking of themselves
as more English than the English, the Barbadians,
whether white or black, are, perhaps, as intensely
patriotic as any people under the sun. Why this
should be so I do not pretend to speculate, I can only
note the existence of a strange fact, one that must be
reckoned with in all our dealings with the West
Indies. A few moments' thought about the matter
breeds great wonder why it should be so. For it will
be remembered that, in the bad old days of our history,
even those who fought and died for the freedom we
now enjoy were not averse, when opportunity offered,
from sending their own white countrymen and women,






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


whom the fortune or accident of war had delivered
into their hands, out here as slaves. Yes, slaves; to
toil under this blazing, tropical sun, and live upon
such coarse and miserable food as the avarice of those
who purchased them would allow. One would naturally
expect to find in the descendants of people thus used a
fierce, deep-seated hatred of the land that could thus
use her children, or at the best some such feeling as
that possessed by American citizens of British and
Dutch descent towards England to-day. I mean
the feeling that prompts them to teach in their
schools the daily lesson of hatred and contempt
for England, and to dwell with never-fading delight
upon the fact that they "whipped us," as they
put it.
But in spite of the past, and of the long neglect
which, after our bungling fashion, we have accorded to
our most loyal colonies, the Barbadians love the old
country with a deep-seated affection which nothing
seems able to weaken in the least degree. And this
it is, more than anything else, which makes the little
island so very interesting to a thoughtful Briton. I
must hasten to say, however, that this by no means
exhausts its attractions, it rather only accentuates
them. Owing to its position in what may justly be
called the heart of the North-East Trade Winds and
the configuration of the land it is the healthiest place
possessed by us, of any note, within the tropics. I






BARBADOS THE LOYAL 19

am quite well aware that you will see upon the old
tombstones, dating back over two hundred years,
many allusions to the deadly climate," but one must
steadily bear in mind the way in which people lived
in those days, and transfer the blame to them from the
climate.
And now I beg to inform you, courteous reader,
that I am not going to write a guide-book; there are
many excellent works of that kind easily available.
I wish only to record my impressions of this tour, from
the point of view of the passenger in search of health,
rest, and change, with such additions from time to time
as experience may suggest. So with this caution we
will, if you please, return to the point at which the
last chapter closed, viz., our arrival at Carlisle Bay at
daybreak.
While enjoying most keenly the view as daylight
strengthened, I was greatly amused, but withal some-
what saddened, to notice how persistently a large class
of travellers will worry themselves into a perfect fever,
without the slightest cause, upon and before arriving
at their destination. You meet them everywhere, on
train journeys, coming to Euston, say, they will be
fussing and fidgeting about before arriving at Willes-
den, and will stand, their hands full of parcels or bags,
ready to leap upon the platform before the train stops,
and work themselves almost into a fit of madness over
supposed losses of luggage. That they are usually






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


far later in getting away from the station than the
deliberate passenger, who does not stir until the train
stops, never seems to occur to them, any more than
does the obvious fact that the saving of five minutes,
if possible, would be dearly bought by the waste of
tissue necessary for such feverish restlessness. In like
manner you shall see, upon the arrival of one of our
cross-channel steamers, an almost frantic rushing and
crushing to get ashore, in spite of the contemptuous
warning of the officials and the repeated assurance
that there is really no hurry, the train will not leave
until all passengers have disembarked.
So in like manner and equal foolishness is it here.
Instead of remembering that they are abroad for
pleasure, and that hurry and worry are the two sworn
foes of anything like enjoyment, behold the tourist
at least an hour before there is the slightest necessity
for preparation, standing fully panoplied, and loaded
with light articles, feverishly tapping the deck with
one foot and mopping his streaming brow at intervals,
as if the ship were about to dash into the harbour at
sixty miles an hour and, hardly giving him time to
get into a boat, turn round, and speed to sea again.
I do verily believe that such folly as this does more
to spoil a holiday than anything else, and is, moreover,
in tropical countries, distinctly dangerous. The
officials on board ship to-day, with but few exceptions,
are far too careful of the interests of those they are







BARBADOS THE LOYAL


employed to look after, to leave any loophole for delay
and discomfort. Therefore please, dear fellow-tourist,
don't hurry and don't worry. Having superintended
the packing of your impedimenta, if you are leaving
the ship here, and dressed for going ashore, stand and
enjoy the busy scene, snuff up the strange new scent of
this sunny island, and watch the ebullient negro eager
to do you some service to be rewarded in current
coin.
As the Tagus steamed grandly up to her buoy and
was made fast, I noted with some surprise that there
were three huge sailing-ships in harbour, deep laden,
and, sailor-like, I fell a-wondering what they could be
doing here. Because it was absurd to suppose that
they had got that immense mass of cargo here, or
that they had brought it for discharge here, under
the present conditions of trade. But it was not until
I met the genial Superintendent of the Royal Mail
Company that the mystery was explained, and another
instance afforded of the wonderful ramifications of
world trade. They were sugar ships from Java which,
in the unsettled condition of the sugar market, had
been ordered here as a good centre from which they
might sail with all despatch to the most profitable
market upon receipt of telegraphic advices; to the
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or the
continent of Europe. Also there was a survival of
a bygone day, an old clumsy-looking barque from New







BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


Bedford on a sperm-whaling expedition, whose appear-
ance carried me back in spirit over most of the seas
of the round world. The ubiquitous German steamer
was also there, and an Italian groping for cargo.
But what pleased me best was the appearance of the
yacht-like inter-island steamers of this Company, so
gracefully elegant in their lines that it was hard to
credit them with two thousand and odd tons' capacity.
I find it hard occasionally not to draw comparisons,
and only succeed by putting a strong restraint upon
myself, but I may be permitted to say that, of all the
companies I know who keep what we call "station
boats" employed, the Royal Mail may be congratu-
lated upon having the prettiest and best kept up for
the passenger service. The Eden, Esk, and Solent
would be admired anywhere; of their comfort from
the passengers' point of view I know nothing yet, but
shall have full experience by-and-by, as I am booked
for a month in the first-named.
Comes to add to the bewilderment and further
unrest of the passengers before named a flotilla of
boats, each with its sable occupants screaming for
patronage in choice negrese (for I find I have to coin
a word to express the quaintness of the negro dialect),
and ready apparently to divide the prospective
passenger piecemeal in order to get a share of his
custom. Come, also, the dorys of the diving-boys,
who to the untravelled beholder are really great fun,






BARBADOS THE LOYAL


causing one to forget that water really can drown by
the way in which they behave in its instability. But
presently the tourist, even for the first-time tourist,
is made aware that beneath this chaos the forces of
order have been at work; men he has never seen,
humble servants of his that he will not be called
upon to recognize financially or otherwise, have been
labouring on his behalf, and he has only to get into
a boat and be rowed ashore to find that, except for
the inevitable wonder at the strangeness of all
surrounding scenes, his ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all his paths are peace-comparatively so, of
course.
Here may I interpolate a remark to the effect that
the tourist in quest of strange scenes, of utter change,
and whose purse does not permit such a costly journey
as that to the far East, may find, will find, in these
our West Indian possessions, sufficient of marvel, of
mystery, and of utter difference from anything to
which he has hitherto been accustomed, to compensate
him for not being able to go farther afield. Why,
even the far East has here been brought to your
door-but I am in Barbados, and must not suggest
that in face of the loyal and industrious 'Badian black
man, the coolie and the "chink," anglice "China-
man," are permitted here. The latter will be found in
sufficient numbers before we are much more acquainted
with the strange West.






)3ACK TO SUNNY SEAS


Thirty years ago, when I first landed at the carenage
(canash) of Barbados, I was utterly bewildered by the
amount of animation exhibited by the people, by the
strangeness of everything around me, and by the all-
embracing heat. The latter, indeed, as compared with
what is felt on board the ship, is at first rather alarming
to the novice in the tropics. But there is really no
reason for alarm, as I soon found, or even discomfort,
if only the commonest precautions suggested by pru-
dence be observed. I have seen on this cruise a young
man go ashore in Barbados in an ordinary suit of
dittoes and a cloth cap. When I met him he was
almost in a state of collapse through the heat, and
actually wondered why. One would have thought that
his personal sensations would have been sufficient to
warn him from so foolish a course. To the ordinary
person, however, who has summer clothes, the weather
presents no terrors, and, by taking things quietly, little
or no inconvenience is felt. This is a topic that will
intrude itself when writing about these parts; but,
having made passing allusion to it, I am determined
henceforth to keep it at bay, since the more one dwells
upon it the more troublesome it becomes, until it is
quite easy to fancy the heat unendurable when it is
really nothing of the sort.
To the student of history especially, Barbados
should be intensely interesting. Driving along its
beautiful roads, and enjoying the splendour of the






BARBADOS THE LOYAL


vegetation, especially the gorgeousness of the flowers,
one cannot help but think of the white slaves to whom
I alluded in the outset of this chapter. I must recall
with feelings of utter horror the cruelty that doomed
men and women of our own race to be sold like beasts,
and used worse than beasts, in this tropical clime.
Slavery is vile-has not one redeeming feature about
it; but I often wonder whether the good people who
are shrieking about what by an utter abuse of language
they are calling proposed Chinese slavery in the Trans-
vaal ever are conscious of the entire lack of proportion
in their ideas. It is so easy to exhaust one's vocabulary
of abuse upon a trivial object, and have none left to
use when real occasion arises. The sight of a bond fide
slavery such as it has often been my lot to witness,
would, I venture to believe, lead these really good
people to modify their exaggerated language, carefully
calculated for them by unscrupulous demagogues for
the sole purpose of harassing political opponents, and
that without the faintest regard for sincerity.
But perhaps this diatribe is somewhat beside the
mark, and my only excuse for it must be the utter
hatred I have for cant of all kinds, but especially
political cant. Returning to a consideration of Barba-
dos from an historical point of view, one is continually
bound to wonder whether even under the lash the
negro and white slaves worked as do the freemen of
to-day. I have just met an antiquated-looking truck






26 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
laden with a hogshead of sugar, the net weight of
which is always about a ton. This truck, heavy and
cumbrous enough in itself to be a fairly awkward drag
in roughly paved streets like these, is, with its immense
burden, being dragged along by two negroes, a third
manipulating a pair of shafts for steering in the rear.
I am rather at a loss how to characterize their labour,
for fear of being accused of exaggeration; but really
under a northern sky I should call it terrific, to my-
self. In conveying cargo off to the ships, also, a most
cumbrous, but immensely strong barge, capable of
taking some twenty tons, is used. Now, during the most
of the year the N.E. Trade Winds blow into Carlisle Bay
with almost the force of a gale throughout the day;
yet these huge boats are rowed off by four or five men
working twenty-foot scaffold poles flattened at the ends.
To row a mile like that, against a heavy wind and sea,
is a task that seems impossible of performance; yet it
is daily done, and nobody is surprised. But to see the
muscular effort put forth by these negroes, from the
time they leave the carenage, or river, until they
arrive at the ship, should inspire a wholesome respect,
not merely for their strength, but for their powers of
endurance and obvious willingness to put those powers
to the proof. There is certainly nothing of the "lazy
nigger" about them. In fact, I discover in this extreme
capacity for the hardest work and cheapness of labour
a most potent reason for the backwardness of some






BARBADOS THE LOYAL


West India Islands, notably Barbados in the struggle,
for existence. Ancient, cumbrous, and lengthy methods
are still used for the two reasons given in the begin-
ning of this sentence. There is also a third which,
whether advanced by prudential suggestions or phil-
anthropic motives, is equally praiseworthy. It is that
work, and consequently food, must be found for the
teeming population; and if a sudden influx of capital
were to result in the displacement of the human labour
by the introduction of machinery some very serious
social complications would be certain to ensue. Things
would adjust themselves in time, no doubt, but during
that time there is equally no doubt that distress and
disturbance would assume alarming proportions.
I know of no place in the world-certainly not even
in the southern States of America-where the curious
spectacle of white and black people equally native to
the soil, equally acclimatized, and in perfect accord
with each other, may be seen as here. In the absence
of any direct statistics, I must assume that many of
the whites are descendants of English slaves sent over
here under the infamous old system in vogue two
hundred years ago. Some must, of course, be
descendants of planters who have come down in a
double sense to the social status of the field negro.
But by some peculiar latent pride of race these poor
whites-at least, a very large number of them-have
absolutely refused to miscegenate. One look at them






28 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
is sufficient to show that no African blood has ever
mingled with theirs, and, though burnt a lively red
by exposure to the sun, their hair, features, and eyes
are perfectly and entirely British, while those of the
women, who have been able to shade themselves a
little, would, but for the curious 'Badian dialect, pass
muster in any English town as English. This, too, is
in face of the fact that in many negro families of five
or six children with an absolutely black mother and
pseudo-father there will be as many shades of colour
as there are children. But this is a delicate subject,
and I refrain from pursuing it farther.
Bearing the fact in mind that Barbados was
practically the last discovered of all the West Indian
Islands, or Caribbean Islands, as I should prefer to
call them, rather than help to perpetuate the old
misconception, there is, or should be, something
fascinating in the consideration of its progress and in
the contemplation of its cultivation. The tourist who
arrives here will certainly, if he is wise, expend little
precious time during the day in roaming the crowded,
hot, and dusty streets of Bridgetown, but either by
light railway or carriage get out into the country,
where he will find much to interest, amuse, and
instruct, and, what is also of great consequence,
excellent accommodation in a few comfortable hotels.
I need not go over the ground already so ably
covered by the Royal Mail Company's guide-book in






BARBADOS THE LOYAL


pointing out where to go and where to stay, but
observe that no one need be at a loss what to do, if
only they will consult the Company's officials on the
matter, their courtesy and attention to those confided
to their care being proverbial. Of course, for the
tourist who expects to be cooked (no pun intended),
disappointment is waiting, and such persons will
usually be found lounging in long chairs on the front
verandah of the nearest hotel, looking inexpressibly
bored, and apparently wondering why they came.
Yet even they are unconsciously receiving much benefit
from the warm air and strong life-giving breezes of
this most healthful little island-the outpost of all
the Caribbees, and from its geographical position the
most perfectly aerated of them. Those who intend
to obtain all the mental and physical good that such
a wonderful trip as this can do them will never be at
a loss for objects of interest and pleasure, for even
driving along the roads one can study the domestic
life of the people--can note how with a little cabin the
size of an omnibus, propped up on a few blocks of coral
from the damp of the ground, the proprietor manages
to run quite an estate, having a patch of garden
ground, a pig or two, some goats, fowls, and ducks, and
even sometimes soaring to the possession of a calf and
a well-groomed little donkey.
Into the much-vexed arena of politics I do not
propose to enter. It does not commend itself to me






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


as a profitable study in such a series of sketches as I
intend this to be. But I should be entirely false to
my own convictions if I failed to point out how much
evil has been done to Barbados in the past by the
neglect and utter ignorance of successive Home
Governments, and in spite of all the hard things
that have been said about her planters, etc., she has
managed to hold her own against the utterly unscru-
pulous attempts of Germany especially to destroy her
trade. But America also intends her no good, unless
she will transfer her affections to the United States,
which is unlikely, and if effected would be of doubtful
benefit to her. Also I must say that I feel grieved
to see how deeply the splendid services of the Royal
Mail Company in the past have been ignored, and
pariah steamers of foreign origin, of perfectly loath-
some conditions and run at about one-tenth of the
expense per ton of this company, are allowed to come
in and carry off the cargo from under the very bows
of the mail ships. The competition is so entirely
one sided. These mail ships are well kept, well
manned, well officered. In the vessel in which I am
at present writing, of 1,300 tons register, there are a
captain and four officers, a chief engineer and four
juniors, a doctor, a purser, a chief steward, and at least
fifty hands. And there is not one too many for the
work to be done, for on the inter-island passage north-
ward from Barbados neither captain nor crew can






BARBADOS THE LOYAL 31
reckon on a full watch's sleep, so rapid and arduous
is the service, while its punctuality is to be implicitly
relied upon. To think that this splendid service is
often run without either profit or gratitude makes me
feel very sad.















IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA

IN attempting the description of a tour of this kind,
there is always a distinct danger of repeating one's self,
from the fact that some of the same places are visited
again and again. True, such after-visits are usually
en passant, but still fresh impressions of the same
place are continually imprinting themselves upon the
sensoria. Therefore, I feel it necessary to deprecate
beforehand any accusation of repetition that may be
made by pointing out the extreme possibility of saying
the same things over again in a different way by
reason of subsequent visits. But I can promise you,
reader, that I will do all that in me lies to avoid this.
And now let us return to Carlisle Bay, Barbados,
and make a fresh start. Our pleasant party, whose
society has been so mutually delightful, is somewhat
thinned, but enough of them remain to maintain still
the kindly Tagus tradition under our genial skipper.
We have shipped the first of the curiously conglomerate
crowds of which we shall see so much during the
next few weeks, and the study of their components,
32









































COLOURED COQUETTES.







IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA 33
individually and collectively, is a source of great
interest and often amusement. Also, we are forcibly
reminded of Babel, not merely because of the echoes
of German, French, Spanish, etc., but from the amazing
varieties of negro perversions of English current among
natives of the islands without consideration of colour.
These dialects are enough to drive a precisian in
language imbecile. For, not content with inflexions
and intonations copious enough to turn a Chinese
green with envy, every rule of grammar is systemati-
cally inverted, and the quaint melange of speech is
delivered at hurricane-like speed, making this
pseudo-English quite as unintelligible as Sanscrit.
I earnestly trust that no one will attempt to write a
book in any current West Indian dialect of English.
It would, I feel sure, be absolutely unreadable;
besides, the accent and tone-values are impossible of
reproduction in print. Without attempting to do the
impossible, I would like to quote just one sentence I
caught from our carriage one day. How yer doan go
down dese road and fetch dem water like yew ben beg
for long pass." In fairness to the negro, it must be
said that when speaking to fresh people," as they
term the English visitors, they modify their terrible
jargon greatly, so that it does become possible to
understand them if one listens very carefully, while
the better class of coloured folks speak quite a pure
English, albeit with a very quaint intonation.






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


We are bidden to expect great things in the way
of beauty and prosperity at Trinidad by the natives
and old residents of that great island. They speak
patronizingly of Barbados, rather scornfully of other
islands, but of Trinidad they can only talk in super-
latives. It is our first introduction to a curious and
not entirely unpleasant feature of general conversation
with the white residents of the British West Indies,
viz. that whatever island they live in is by their
account the healthiest, the coolest, the most interest-
ing, and (but this does not apply generally) the most
prosperous. It must not, however, be supposed that
in thus eulogizing their own island they necessarily
disparage others. Rather do they speak pityingly,
as if they were somewhat sorry for those not so
fortunate as themselves, whose lives have been cast in
less pleasant places. I lend an attentive ear to all
these remarks, making mental reservations the while
with an almost desperate sense of the futility of
attempting to reconcile so many conflicting statements.
And so through the pleasant tropical night the
Tagus glides swiftly, silently, with hardly any appreci-
able sense of motion. Indeed, in only one place in
this fine ship is there any noticeable vibration, and
that .is right over the propeller, where it must be felt.
The spacious promenade deck is filled with a well-
contented if motley crowd, each constituent of which is
ready at a moment's notice to enter into confidential






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


conversation with any one upon almost any topic, and
in, usually, any one of half a dozen differing languages
or dialects. Gradually the deck becomes deserted by
all except a few hardy souls who prefer to lounge in a
deck-chair all night to seeking the seclusion of their
cabins. But when, as is my wont, I come on deck at
5.30 a.m., in all the freedom of pyjamas, I find only
the captain, chief officer, and purser strolling about,
pleasant land genial as if they had enjoyed a long,
uninterrupted night's sleep, instead of having snatched
at best two or three hours of greatly needed rest.
Presently the swiftly grown dawn reveals the dim
mountainous masses on either hand in all their
splendour of tropical vegetation. What has seemed
like smooth peaks and ravines are shown to be dense
forests, apparently impassable by foot of man, huge
trees with their branches so thickly interlaced that
they must form a complete barrier against any stray
sunbeam ever reaching the steaming ground beneath.
Onward we glide in perfect silence through the narrow
gap between the mountains, called by the old Spaniards
the Boca del Mono, or Ape's Mouth, which from the
direction in which we have come is the shortest way
into the Gulf of Paria, formed by a great westerly
indentation of Venezuela on the one hand, and the big
island of Trinidad on the other. The mighty flood of
the Orinoco, pouring through the many channels of its
delta an incalculable flood of fresh water, has changed






36 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
the bright blue of the sea into an extraordinary tint of
dark olive, which churned up by the propeller under
the slanting rays of the rising sun, gives a most
peculiar effect of colour, and adds much to the beauty
of the whole sea and landscape. Presently, in small
clearings or on tiny beaches, there appear isolated
groups of houses, adding an intense picturesqueness
to the charm of the whole scene, especially where
they are perched nest-like upon lonely groups of
islands. I cannot help wondering why, with all this
gigantic area of unoccupied land around them, there
should be found in so many parts of the world people
who voluntarily choose for their habitation some for-
lorn and almost inaccessible spot on island or crag. I
suppose for the same reason that in small country
towns at home one finds people who might have as
much room as they chose for their houses huddled
together in positive slums with pathways between the
cottages so narrow that one may almost stand upon
one's threshold and shake hands with a neighbour
across the road leaning out of the window. Perhaps
it is the gregarious instinct in its lowest form, allied
to the equally natural desire of living in a place hard
to be got at by possible enemies.
Now the masts of the shipping at Port of Spain
appear, and the fine town itself, under the canopy of a
dense cloud of morning mist, becomes visible. The
limits of approach to the anchorage are very clearly






IN THE CARIIBBEAN SEA


marked (in the daytime) by a sudden change in the
colour of the water from olive green to mud. Btit
there are no chances taken in these ships. Nothing
is left to guess-work. In true naval style, a quarter-
master on either side heaves the lead, and more or less
musically, according to his ability, chants the depth
of water. Bang, bang, goes the double explosion of
our signal rocket, there is a crash of the falling anchor,
a few backward turns of the screw to keep the good
ship astern of her cable, and we have arrived.
Then, under the earnest scrutiny of many eyes,
comes the medical officer, an indispensable official
everywhere out here. He receives with becoming
dignity the clean bill of health from the hands of our
doctor, and grants us pratique or freedom to com-
municate with the shore-and pandemonium begins.
For here, as in most of our West India possessions,
the advent of a mail ship is a matter of highest im-
port to the boatmen. It means to them very possibly
the income whereon they can live for a week, one day
of heavy toil and much extra-legal fare wrung out of
the overborne traveller. But I would put in a plea
for the boatmen of the British West Indies as I do for
my good friends the London cabmen. If all pas-
sengers paid their legal fare they could not possibly
live, and the little extra given, drawing the line at
extortion, is but a most unimportant item in the sum
total of pleasure expenditure. And you have the






U6 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
satisfaction of knowing that you have given a certain
amount of delight to a really very hard-working man
or set of men. A most immoral doctrine, I hear some
wealthy curmudgeon say-a man most likely who will
spend as much on some perfectly useless entertain-
ment to people who are most acutely bored by it, as
the sum total of all his cab fares during his whole
life. I understand his attitude, but I hate it all the
same.
Comes the smiling agent of the Company, well-
groomed, suave, as if he had not been in his office
before daybreak awaiting the advent of the mail ship.
Now is he in great request, expected to be, and,
indeed, generally being, an encyclopaedia of informa-
tion connected with the islands. To the most inane,
irritating questions, put by people without thought,
he must return polite, intelligent answers, showing no
trace of annoyance, although his brain be humming
with a hundred things. Let me give an instance. A
lady approached the agent; in a highly excited tone
she declared that her luggage had been lost, volubly
declared that she would hold the Company responsible,
etc. Politely the agent replied, requesting a descrip-
tion of the missing property. Another flood of infor-
mation, ending in many tears. A heap of luggage lay
close to them to which the agent turned, and, hauling
out a trunk said quietly: "This seems to answer your
description, madam." She stared incredulously for a






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


moment, then admitted reluctantly that it was. And
all the rest of her belongings lay closely adjacent
thereto in their proper place for going ashore. Of
course she did not show any sorrow for having yielded
to such unwarrantable fears and said so many strong
things, but the agent smilingly congratulated her
upon finding her baggage so easily, and turned meekly
to another complainant.
These and many similar incidents give to the
observant traveller or tourist abundant opportunities
for amusement and instruction, apart altogether from
the exceeding interest of the trip. The study of
human nature under varying conditions, especially
when the humanity we are accustomed to comes into
contact with a totally different class of men and women
is, I venture to think, of highest value and profit.
Which must be my apology for thus devoting a
couple of paragraphs to the foregoing.
Now, on my first visit to Trinidad the vessel only
remained in port from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m., and as I
was going to return and spend two or three days on
the island I did not feel inclined to go ashore for so
brief a stay. It was a mistake such as I can so easily
make, feeling as I do that to rush ashore and tear
about there in the great heat would be the reverse of
pleasant. My subsequent experience has convinced
me that five or six hours ashore in such a place as
Trinidad is ample time wherein to gain a really good






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


idea of the beauty, extent, and prosperity of the port.
And this experience may be gained without any
undue rushing about, rather in the easiest possible
manner, so many are the facilities for getting about
placed at the disposal of the traveller. Also, while I
have no desire to advertise anybody, I should be doing
less than justice were I not to say that Port of Spain
boasts the most comfortable hotel in the West Indies;
that is, as far as my experience goes and by common
report. Which, as travellers well know, is a matter of
no small importance.
So I remained on board in great content and
indolence, watching the life of the harbour, and enjoy-
ing conversation with all sorts and conditions of
people, of all shades between ebony and white. Not,
however, without an uneasy feeling that I should find
some difficulty in dovetailing the several sets of
impressions received on my various visits to the same
places. That, however, was purely personal. Mean-
while the work of the ship went on with immense
swiftness and smoothness, independent entirely of the
constant coming and going of visitors of all kinds.
And the morning slipped away so easily and pleasantly
that I was quite astonished when the warning bell for
all outsiders to leave the ship began its usual voci-
ferous clanging. The more so because I discovered
that there were a goodly number of amiable fish
which responded readily to my invitation to come






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


aboard on a permanent visit, fishing being a pursuit
of which I have always been very fond. Punctually
at the time appointed, however, the warning gong
sounded in the engine-room, and I hurriedly coiled
my lines lest the giant screw should reel them in for
me-and retain them.
How readily one falls into the comfortable ways of
the ship! and what a sense of relief is experienced, a
feeling as of home-coming, upon returning to her even
after the most pleasant time ashore Even I, whose
experience has been fairly comprehensive, never got
quite quit of the feeling, and always enjoy gathering
round the cosy meal-table, seeing the familiar faces
(one does grow familiar so soon on board ship) around,
and exchanging our newly-acquired stock of impres-
sions. Moreover, we can now settle down for the
long stretch across the Caribbean Sea to Kingston,
Jamaica, which will occupy the best part of three
days we are told. But our delight at being "once
more on board the lugger is tempered by the loss,
quite a personal loss we feel it, of some fellow-voyagers,
who, although only known to us for so short a time,
appear to us as if they were life-long friends. Their
going appears to have left quite a gap in our lives,
and we recall regretfully how for the first two or three
days out we eyed each other distrustfully, as the
manner of Britons is when they are compelled to
foregather for the first time. Apart from this,






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


which is unavoidable, we entirely enjoy the run to
Jamaica.
There is a great charm about this portion of the
ocean, shut in as it were from the Atlantic, to which
it belongs, by the vast mountain chain of the Antilles,
and shut off from the Gulf of Mexico by the close
approach of the Western extremity of Hayti to the
mainland of Central America. It has been the scene
of some of the wildest, most bloodthirsty exploits of
all the rabble of the sea pirates, buccaneers, and
privateers that lawless times have produced, and were
it not for the kindly, cleansing nature of the beauteous
sea, every wave should be permanently stained with
blood. Naturally it is beautiful, but by no means
placid, for conflicting currents and abnormally strong
winds, for this tropical region, make its crossing at
certain months of the year an exceedingly rough one.
And ever in the autumn hovers over it the dread
possibility of that tremendous scourge, the hurricane.
Happily the time limit of these awful meteors is
known with great accuracy, and consequently during
what are called the hurricane months, no one visits
these waters on pleasure bent, as we are. Moreover,
apart from the possibility of meeting such a convulsion
of nature on its destroying path, the weather in the
hurricane season is of a peculiarly unpleasant kind.
Mighty masses of leaden cloud shut out the sun, but
do not keep his heat from filling what appears to be






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


the very limited space beneath that grim canopy.
The fresh breezes of the Trades which temper the
direct rays of the sun at other times, making a delicious
coolness in the shade and rendering the nights almost
chilly (but in how different a sense from the chill of
Northern climes?) are now languid, fitful, and indeed
often absent. Man and beast suffer alike, and all
those who can avoid this region make haste to do so.
It is an unpleasant time, to use as mild a word as
possible.
But now the sky is of a limpid blue, flecked with
fleecy cloudlets by day, and a deep, deep violet,
bediamonded with stars of a brilliance unknown to the
temperate zones, by night. The sea is dazzling to
look upon, and but for the fact that we are-the whole
mighty mass of ship and contents-being hurled
through these bright waters at sixteen miles an hour,
would be seen to be most plentifully peopled with fish
of many kinds, besides the shining shoals of flying
fish which ever and again dart affrightedly from under
our bows. We have, to be sure, the inestimable
advantage of being practically independent of wind
and current, making our arrival in each port a matter
to be reckoned upon with almost the same accuracy in
point of time as that of a first-class English railway,
but we have lost the privilege accorded to voyagers in
the old sailing-vessels of observing closely the habits
of the wonderful sea-population, to say nothing of the







BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


delight their marvellous beauties are to the eye. But
there be very, very few who give one thought to this
really great loss, so satisfied are they with the
immense change for the better in ocean travel, and I
certainly am not disposed to quarrel with them because
of this. For the benefit to the world is so great
through the coming of ocean steam, that it would be
more than usually idiotic to sigh for the "good old
days because of a certain loss of beauty and time for
meditation.
Enough, however, of this. Our good ship draws
rapidly nearer her destination, until on Friday morning
at daylight, sixty-four hours from Trinidad, I once
more behold the blue hills of beautiful Jamaica. Is
it any wonder that I feel strangely as I see them ?
My mind flies so swiftly back to thirty odd years ago
when, a child full of wonder and unsatisfied longings,
I sailed these blue waters, first saw these lovely shores.
How keenly, vividly, do all the circumstances recur
which I have recorded in "The Log of a Sea-Waif."
But most clearly I remember, as emphasizing the
whirligig of fortune, the changes of a few brief years;
my lying bound upon the schooner's deck, bidden to
pray as I was about to be drowned as a sacrifice to
the ignorant superstitions of that brutal gang of
barbarous men. And now; to revisit the scene of so
much suffering under the very pleasantest of conditions,
able to enjoy to the full all the varied beauties of sea






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


and shore, seemed almost too great a change to be
really true. The morning was delightful with that
splendid freshness only felt on tropical shores near
dawn, but I regret to say there were few on deck to
share the joy of it with me. It really is a very great
mistake which is continually made by voyagers in
search of pleasure, especially ladies, that they do not
seem able to tear themselves from their beds until the
first bloom is off the day. And the loss is much
greater when, as at this time, the ship is coasting
along such a beautiful shore.
Presently the long, low-lying spit upon which
famous or infamous Port Royal stands, and is known
as the Palisades, is seen stretching out like an
attenuated arm into the sea, its extremity pointing
at the first group of coral islets and reefs we have
seen this voyage. We steer almost directly for the
point, and soon discern the pilot awaiting us in a
canoe, as used to be the case thirty years ago. No
change here. And the men who handle that canoe
are just as clumsy as usual. One would think that
long practice would have made them expert at coming
alongside of a ship, especially one moving as slowly
as the Tagus is now. But no; before they are able
to tranship their pilot to us, our jolly captain's
patience is sorely tried, and he calls sharply from the
bridge: "Are you going to keep the ship here all
day?" That, however, is but the beginning of his






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


annoyance, for upon reaching the end of the spit
upon which Port Royal stands, the ship is stopped,
and lies for nearly half-an-hour awaiting the coming
of the health officer, customs officials, etc., who all
seem to be quite unaware of the fact that by their
dilatoriness they are keeping His Majesty's mails and
His Majesty's lieges from England waiting an uncon-
scionable time.
Now, while I sympathize fully with the captain's
most justifiable impatience, I feel a secret delight in
being able to have a thorough survey of this most
interesting spot, where over thirty years ago I used
to come out at night from Kingston, and fish with
friendly negroes. I recall, too, the stories I was then
told of the buried town of Port Royal, and the belfry
of the submerged cathedral which, so the legend says,
reverberates during hurricanes with the clangour of
its bells swinging far beneath the sea. Of all the
bloodstained history of Port Royal, its shelter to the
buccaneers and pirates, its horrible licence and curious
law, at such a time as this and under such circum-
stances one can do little more than catch occasional
mental glimpses. The gory old days, with their
splendid halo of romance are clean gone, and in their
place remain to my Philistine and bourgeois satisfaction
the trim, clean, and punctual steamship, with her
crowd of eager, curious tourists, and her comforts so
nearly approximating to those of a well-appointed






IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA


hotel ashore. I cannot help feeling this-perhaps it
is the effect of middle age, but having experienced
something of the miseries of the romantic life of the
sea, the glamour of that time long past is discounted,
and beneath it I see poor human flesh groaning and
travailing under its burden. No wonder men dared
and did so much when life was a possession hardly
worth the keeping, when death meant, at any rate,
surcease from known woes, release from unnameable
tortures, and the future, dark, dreadful, and unknown,
promised at least a change from the intolerable agonies
of the present.
Hurrah we are free to depart for Kingston. The
engine-room bell clangs viciously, as if the officer of
the watch had been able to impress it with his strong
sentiments. Obediently the good ship swings round
the point, and speeds towards the city of Kingston,
place of so many vicissitudes of fortune. But as the
vessel nears the wharves I listen to a tale which
aroused my utmost indignation. I hear that the
octopus of the United Fruit Company, of which more
later, is actually tightening its grip on Jamaica, nay,
more, is with that amazing ingenuity of the American
billionaire, finding ways to divert Imperial Funds
granted for the resuscitation of this grand island to
its own purposes and aggrandisement. I dare not go
into details yet, for my evidence is incomplete, but I
have heard enough to make me feel hot and angry






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


with Englishmen who can actually allow themselves
to be made the tools of the fiercest enemies of their
country. American business men seem to direct all
their energies to the undermining of British trade
everywhere, but nowhere are their machinations,
utterly unscrupulous as they always are, to be seen in
greater force than they are in this part of the world,
which Americans seem to consider should be naturally
a part of the United States. I have no quarrel with
Americans if only they will come out boldly and say:
" We hate you, and wish to destroy your trade every-
where," but I must confess that the cant about blood
being thicker than water," and hands across the sea,"
makes me positively sick. Not a dime in money or
one drop of blood would be expended by America to
save Britain from destruction unless it injured United
States trade.
















KINGSTON, JAMAICA

THE last chapter closed with a feeble attempt to
express my sentiments respecting the American
methods of competition with England, if that can
be called competition where one competitor has both
hands tied behind his back, and the other has neither
sense of fairplay or honour to guide him. It is a
subject I would gladly leave alone, but after two long
tours in the United States, where I have been made
to feel that it were better to be any alien than an
Englishman, and been subjected to every form of
insult that a sensitive man could feel, not personal
but national, I do wish in the strongest terms to warn
my countrymen not to place any reliance upon pro-
fessions of American friendship. Therefore I am
undoubtedly prejudiced in my views of Americans
and their methods of business, but I do believe that
I am justifiably so, and that, too, by their own
admissions, both public and private. Witness the
evidence offered in Miss Ida Tarbell's wonderful book






50 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
on the Standard Oil Company, lately running through
the pages of McClure's Magazine.
But now I wish, and I feel certain my readers
would wish me, to return to the subject of my book,
that is, the tour and its concomitants. As we steam
slowly along the sea-front of the city, with its bright-
looking houses embowered in tropical vegetation, it
looks a very pleasant and picturesque place, but
awakens no memories in my mind. It has changed so
much in thirty years. I note with great satisfaction
how well, solidly, and neatly the wharves are built
and kept, and mentally contrast them with the ram-
shackle piles of lumber which do duty for wharves in
the mighty city of New York. It is one of the
mysterious anomalies which Americans seem to de-
light in, this of having side by side public works and
buildings of equal importance, one set of which will
seem built for eternity, and the other apparently
ready to fall to pieces at a touch. It lends an air
of instability and want of permanence to some of
America's greatest cities. There has not been a
single port out here which I have not visited, and
even those on the Spanish Main, such as Limon,
Savanilla, La Guayra, Colon, where the ship lies at a
wharf, where her wharfage has not been incomparably
superior to that given to ships of four times the
tonnage in New York. And I am sure I cannot tell
why.






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 51
Oar big ship comes gently, certainly, into her
berth, with hardly a sound heard except the occasional
clang of the engine-room bell, and the shrilling of the
boatswain's pipe at intervals. Without delay she is
moored, and a gangway laid so that whosoever will
may walk ashore. And here I felt my first desire to
complain. For ladies in summer dresses and gentle-
men in light clothing, to have to run the gauntlet
of a host of coal-carrying or cargo-handling negroes
in an atmosphere of coal-dust, and amid all the vary-
ing, unpleasant odours of a tropical cargo warehouse, is
annoying to say the least of it, especially after the
extreme cleanliness of the ship. And if there be any
wind blowing, the place where the cabs stand in the
Company's yard, and where passengers must needs
board them, is a place of horror, for clouds of coal-
dust, sweltering heat, noise, and smells. Worse still,
although I would not say that it is always the case,
the wharf on sailing days for a hundred feet from the
gangway is thronged, packed with negroes of both
sexes, clean and unclean, through which crowd it is
necessary to bore one's way, subjected to ribald
remarks in volleys, and in absolute danger of personal
violence from lewd negroes of the baser sort. It was
really the first time that I saw anything to complain
of during the trip, but it was and is a very serious
grievance, which is why I set it down here, for I feel
sure that it has only to be known to the heads of the






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


Company to be promptly remedied. They will, at any
rate, be assured that I have not exaggerated in the
least.
Here I landed at once, and with the majority of
the passengers who were going on with the ship, drove
out to the beautiful Constant Spring Hotel, about
three miles distant from the town. Kingston itself
was full of interest, but at that time of the day in-
tensely hot and dusty, and crowded with busy traffic.
In fact, its general air of bustle and activity gave us
a most favourable impression of its prosperity, and
the many fine shops, full of buyers, did much to
deepen that impression. But the condition of the
streets and sidewalks was very bad. It seemed as if
the American custom of neglected thoroughfares had
full hold of the municipal authorities, although I
gladly admit that I saw no streets as bad as I have
seen in Chicago, Boston, and New York, to place them
in their order of demerit. There is also a very fine
service of electric cars run on the trolly or over-
head-wire principle, and the track, as well as the
standards supporting the wires, was kept in English
fashion, that is to say, incomparably better than I
have ever seen in America. The speed at which the
cars travel, however, is almost as great as it is in the
United States, that is to say, about double what is
allowed in England.
The ride up to Constant Spring is a charming






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 53
one, and the crowds of negresses in spotless white,
bearing burdens on their heads, with an easy, swinging
gait, are an interesting study, but they lead to a
deepening of the impression that in these islands the
women do most of the heavy labour. It is natural
I suppose, and without it the labour problem out here
would become very acute, but it grates unpleasantly
upon our senses as a kind of topsy-turvy idea, a
remnant of savagery. And so, along a wide, pleasant
road, bounded by houses large and small, standing in
their own richly wooded grounds, and in many cases
bounded by living fences of pillared cacti, we reach
the lovely grounds of Constant Spring, and catch
our first view of the fine tropical-looking building
nestling at the foot of the hills, which stretch away
upward, fold upon fold, until their richly clothed
summits are lost in the rolling mists. Here, through
a long trellised corridor, resplendent with the glorious
flowers of the Bougainvillia, we emerge upon the front
stoop of the hotel, commanding a beautiful view over
the adjacent country. What a contrast everything
presents to the dear sober tints of home. Under the
white-hot sunshine the glaring colours glow again,
they smite the eye with a sense of vividness never
gained at home, except under the artificial conditions
and intense light of a well-managed pantomime.
Indeed I have repeatedly remarked to friends upon
coming out into the morning glow at Constant






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


Spring, that it reminded me of a scene in a Drury-
lane pantomime, so brilliant and blazing were the
colours. Oh, it is an intense land, and one that would
appeal, must appeal, to the artist and philosopher
equally, for it opens up new problems and pictures
at every turn with unstinting hand. I do not pretend
to understand the situation out here at all, but I
confess that it seems to me that something must be
radically wrong with the management of an island
like this when it is in financial difficulties. Every-
thing we need in England, and are willing to pay for
at remunerative rates that the tropics can produce,
will grow here in abundance-coffee, cotton, cocoa,
spice, dyewoods: to mention only a few of the highly
valued products, while fruit, as we know well, is
demanded from Jamaica in ever increasing volume.
The labour problem is not present here as in Bar-
bados. Under any intelligent system of cultivation
and management the island would support many
times its present population, yet I fear very much
that it is gradually slipping back into a semi-barbarous
condition. The system of peasant proprietorship, so
valuable in most temperate countries, is fatal here to
any development of great industries. If the black
man can produce from his plot of land, with machine-
like regularity year by year, sufficient for his family's
simple needs, why should he seek to accumulate?
He lives an ideal life, one that would appeal with great






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 55
force, I suppose, to such a man as John Ruskin.
Primitive, care-free, and picturesque, but bearing no
relation to the pressing, breathless desires of modem
Europe. And even while I write I feel that, after all,
the black man who, with the minimum of labour and
thought, produces an ample sufficiency for all his
simple needs may be far happier, nay most probably
is happier, than a multi-millionaire, who in his
gorgeous Park-lane mansion sighs for a tin plateful
of pork and beans, and the healthy appetite he used
to bring to it. His dress clothes irk him, the velvet-
footed flunkeys annoy him, he wants to be about in
open-breasted shirt and pants, feeling the primitive
joy of mastery over circumstances only tasted by those
who do. What, then, is a poor scribe to say, with all
the problems of twentieth-century existence con-
fronting each other in his mind ? The eternal Cui bono
will arise and rend him between duty and inclination.
I confess that I have looked upon the "nigger"
proprietor taking his siesta outside his cottage door,
and mentally compared him with the Lancashire mill-
hand, to the immense disadvantage of the latter.
Within .the space of a few fleeting years both will
be dust, and who shall decide which of the twain has
been of most service to his kind ? I certainly shall
not hesitate to decide which has been the happier,
if personal happiness were the summum bonum. But
between the senseless waste, the useless extravagance






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


of modem society and primitive savagery there are
infinite degrees, and it is exceedingly difficult to say
where, in that vast interval, lies the golden mean.
However, I do not propose to tackle a problem which
has daunted wise heads, yes the wisest, but state it as
it appears to me. Of one thing I feel assured, which
is that the spread of small holdings in the British
West Indies under our mild, paternal rule, means
inevitably a return to primitive conditions, and a
gradual but certain falling off of trade. And in this
opinion I am borne out by men on the spot who have
the very best means of judging.
Up here the traveller will feel, if he has not done
so before, that his trip is a great success. There are
exceptions, of course, poor wretches who have brought
their cares with them, and still more unfortunate
beings who go through life grumbling and scowling,
apparently grieved more when there is nought to
grumble at than when there is really ground for
complaint. Such folks are a curse to themselves and
everybody else, and it is hard to see why they ever
come on a pleasure trip at all. But they do, worse
luck, and often by their persistent fault-finding infect
good-natured but weak-minded people to such an
extent that the latter will follow, albeit at some
distance, on their gloomy path. Of the harm they do
I need not speak; I will only say what is well known,
that often purely imaginary grievances have been






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 57
formulated and exaggerated until some quite innocent
man or set of men have been ruined, their life careers
closed as far as that particular occupation in which
they then were was concerned. Please understand
that this outburst is entirely due to my remembering
my first morning at Constant Spring. Rising as
usual at 5.30, I went downstairs, got a cup of coffee,
and took it out on the verandah. The sun rose in
indescribable glory over a scene that made me think
it comparable to Paradise. The light was so perfect,
the air so sweet, the colours so lovely; the varied
greens of foliage and turf alone affording a study in
tints to make an artist despair. It was a time to
make the heart swell, and almost make the dumb to
sing. But into it there came certain persons who,
blind and deaf to its influences, began a conversation
full of fault-finding, calumny, and bitterness. They
spoilt everything, like a stripe of mud across a bridal
dress, and I fled to recover my peace in the sumptuous
swimming-bath, fed continually from the constant
spring with cold, sparkling, fresh water, and large
enough to afford a-dozen people swimming and diving
room at once. The extreme physical delight of a cool
swim in the tropics, under shelter from the sun's
burning rays, is something never to be forgotten, and
-I hope I am not ungrateful to my beloved sea-it is
enhanced by being in fresh water.
That morning swim set the keynote for the whole






58 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
day, but really after breakfast I was like a book-lover
turned loose in a huge library, I did not know where
to begin the banquet of pleasures that lay before me.
So for two hours I sat in a long chair on the verandah,
bathed in beauty, not caring to move or think; just to
feel how good it was to be alive. And a line or
two of Longfellow's surged melodiously through my
basking mind-
"Oh, gift of God, oh, perfect day,
Whereon shall no man work, but play
Wherein it is enough for me,
Not to be doing, but to be."
Suddenly I started guiltily, being abruptly aroused
by some of my more energetic shipmates, and bidden
peremptorily to shake off such shameful sloth and
come and see things. So I went, though I confess I
had been well content to sit still, so sweet was the
place of my sojourn. Boarding the tramcar at the
hotel gate, we sped swiftly down to what is called
the "halfway tree," where we changed cars and were
carried to the Hope Botanical Gardens. Then I was
glad I came. For although Hope Gardens has none
of the conventional parterres or carpet gardening of
similar places at home, it has a wild beauty entirely
its own, and the sensation of walking amidst trees
and shrubs bearing products only familiar before in
their prepared state, was an entirely novel and
delightful one to most of our party. There was a







KINGSTON, JAMAICA 59
queer feeling of being at the source of things, of
having skipped the intermediate stages of preparation
and carriage between the English counter and the
tropical tree, which I for one most thoroughly
enjoyed, although my first experience of the kind
goes back to 1869, when I first saw sugar-cane and
coco-nuts growing in Demerara. Here we saw cocoa,
coffee, spice of all kinds, cotton of all kinds, pepper,
fruit of every imaginable kind that needs a tropical
climate for its full development, and flowers-oh, I
cannot begin to talk about the splendour of form and
colour displayed by those floral miracles. But I must
say a word about the flamboyant tree. Imagine an
immense tree, with spreading branches shading an
area of say two thousand square feet, the dark green
of its foliage almost concealed beneath a veritable
mass of blazing crimson blossoms. They are so
bright and pure in their intense colour that they
strike upon the eye almost as does the sudden blast
of a trumpet upon the ear. And all over the branches
of other trees, themselves beautiful beyond the power
of language to describe, climb parasitical plants, such
as orchids, climbing cacti, lianas, etc., each and all
of which may only be reared with the greatest care
in hot-houses at home. Pretty, perky little lizards
dart about, their bright- beady eyes peering from
among the green leaves inquisitively. Occasionally
one may be seen motionless upon a leaf-stalk or a






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


tree-trunk, except for a slow inflating and deflating of
its neck-pouch. The colour of this curious appendage,
in almost startling contrast to the vivid green of the
lizard's body, was a pure purple, that exquisite tint
obtained from the murex by the ancient Tyrians, the
Imperial purple of the Roman Emperors.
So beautiful and interesting was this place that,
although the sun poured down his fervent rays almost
vertically upon us, and the sweat streamed from
every pore, we found it hard to take the warnings
of prudence, and seek shade. Sit down we could not,
for the ladies of the party had a strange horror of
ants, and of these busy but aimless insects there
were so many that it was impossible to glance at
the ground anywhere without seeing them rushing
about. Except for them, however, insect life did not
appear more plentiful than at home, but that, I
suppose, was owing to the fact that the ground was
well cleared between the trees and shrubs. Some
returned to the hotel, which, so quickly does the mind
assimilate novel surroundings, seemed as if we had
known it a long time, quite homelike in fact.
Luncheon was ready, and for the tropics fairly good,
but-I really don't wish to grumble-the negro waiter
is an infernal nuisance. The one who attended upon
me was as perfectly hideous as one of Max Beerbohm's
attempts at caricature, but a good, amiable soul, as
willing to please as those we are used to at home.






KINGSTON, JAMAICA


But the rest! Without exception they behaved as
if it was gall and wormwood to their haughty souls
to have to wait upon the white person; insolence was
in every look and gesture, and the only thing which
seemed to afford them any satisfaction was to stand
and contemplate their beauty in the mirrors made by
darkened windows and such reflectors. I believe I am
one of the most patient men alive, but I admit that
my blood got very hot as I saw elderly English ladies
being scorned, really insulted, by these black fellows,
in a way unmistakably denoting that they were
revenging themselves for the indignity of having to
accept such service. White men doing the same
work would have done it cheerfully and well. I have
done waiter's work before now, and certainly felt no
shame in it, and I see no reason why the occupation
should not be as honourable as any other. But I am
told that what I saw was so usual that people had
grown to accept it as an unavoidable evil, not to
be cured but endured. What becomes, then, of the
elevation of the negro? I am so sorry, but my
experience is that, except in rare cases, most beautiful
exceptions, I gladly admit, the elevation of the negro
is a myth. And this I say deliberately, well knowing
what a storm of indignation I am raising.
During the great heat of the afternoon, no matter
what the hurry may be, visitors to the tropics will be
well advised to keep in the shade. There are many






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


ills lying in wait for us denizens of colder climes
who neglect such elementary precautions as this of
keeping out of the sun when he is at his greatest
strength. I am glad to say that all my shipmates
were thus sensible, retiring to the cool shade of their
own rooms and enjoying the siesta, so refreshing and
necessary. Upon awakening, a cup of really good tea,
and then another drive. There is no difficulty in
finding a number of interesting drives around Kings-
ton, and if one has the time to penetrate the interior
of the lovely island he will certainly be surfeited with
beauty. A glance at any of the guide-books will give
a fairly good indication of the sights that may be
enjoyed by the tourist, but it is nothing less than
an impertinence to try and reproduce on paper the
wonderful charm, atmosphere, and aroma of Jamaica.
Then came sudden night. Flaming billows of
crimson flooded the sky, shot through and through
with bars of other tints from deepest emerald to
orange and amethyst, and then, while yet we gazed
entranced upon the amazing spectacle, we became
conscious that the sombre hills were fading from
vision into the deepening violet behind them, a star
or two peeped shyly out, the light of the day darkened,
was gone. And all the host of heaven glowed fbrth
in scintillating squadrons. No birds, as with us on
summer evenings, heralded the coming nest-time with
their sweet songs, but in their stead were to be heard






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 63
the incessant shrill note of the cicalas, or tree crickets,
the melancholy voices of the frogs, and curious sounds
made by extraordinary-looking beetles. What the
scientific denomination of these latter may be I do not
know, but few things have surprised me more than my
first sudden acquaintance with one. I was standing
in a garden at Caracas one afternoon, at about five
o'clock, with a dear companion, when we were both
startled by a long, piercing whistle, followed by some
extraordinary combination of chords such as I should
have thought producible only by a bird or a fiddle.
We immediately began to scan the branches above for
a bird but we could see none, except the ordinary
perky little black starling of these regions, which is
incapable of omitting any melody whatever. We
were entirely at a loss to account for the sound, when
my companion suddenly said, "Why, there it is!"
pointing at the same time to a grey moth-like beetle
upon the trunk of a gigantic ceiba, or cotton-tree, just
in front of us. Upon its back was a device curiously
like a human face, and as it gave utterance to its
wonderful notes, it just bent its body upwards and
then straightened out again. I stared incredulously
at the creature, wondering wherever its voice came
from, if it really could be the source of the almost
deafening sounds we were hearing. Suddenly it
became aware of me, and departed with a whirring of
wings just like any ordinary beetle indulging in






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


flight. I stared after it stupidly as if I had seen
a ghost.
The smell of the night was heavy, luscious,
entrancing; full of strange suggestions and reminis-
cence, but I remember vividly comparing it to the
scent of the sweet June nights at home to its dis-
advantage, only because of its richness though. And
then the fireflies, like myriads of fairies bearing tiny
electric lights over the dark sward and among the
shrubs. It seems almost banal just to say, "they
were very beautiful," but I feel it impossible to
describe the wonderful charm they gave to the night.
At one time-something must have disturbed them-
they all appeared to rise a few feet from the ground
simultaneously, and all the air was full of fairy fire.
How I pitied the bridge-players who sat within,
oblivious of all the beauty without How crushingly
superior I felt myself to be to them in my choice of
pleasures, and wondered how men and women could be
so stupid. And then I blushed hotly in the darkness
as I realized how contemptible such a frame of mind
was. The revulsion was salutary, no doubt, but it
drove me off to bed, although I felt quite loth to
leave. Still, even going to bed under such circum-
stances was delightful-to be able to throw the
windows wide open to the delicious freshness of the
night, and to lie sleepily counting the bright stars
shining placidly down on my face.







KINGSTON, JAMAICA 65
Daylight: dear me, have I overslept ? No, but
the feeling of having done so was very strong, and I
tumbled up with all speed. Blessings on the people
who run hotels in these countries for their habit of
early rising-making coffee attainable as early as 5.30.
That was the time by the hall clock as I strolled down-
stairs and out again, with that sense of virtue common
to all voluntary early risers. And I thought, regret-
fully, that this was, although only my second morning,
my last for some time in this beautiful place. For
the ship was due to sail at noon, and I must do some
visiting in town. So immediately after breakfast we
boarded the tram and were whirled into Kingston,
where I spent a couple of hours going from one house
to another making calls, and all the time feeling as if I
were moving on the stage of a theatre. But I had an
intensely interesting interview with the editor of the
best newspaper in the West Indies (I quote common
report). He was a native, very dark, and evidently of
Portuguese extraction, small, lean, and a bundle of
nerves. His assistant was much darker, but better
featured, also a martyr to neurasthenia, and just then
on the verge of collapse. They interviewed me
cautiously, curiously, with a strange air of mingled
defiance and deference which was most amusing. And
all the while I was taking in the details of my sur-
roundings, the dirt, the dust, the litter, the squalor:
feeling what I suspect was close to the truth, that
F





66 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
colonial journalism meant a severe struggle with the
proverbial wolf. Every part of the office gave me the
impression of the staff having moved in in a very great
hurry some years ago and commenced work while only
tentatively straight. Thus they had gone on from
day to day, and never found time to reduce the chaos
to order. But how they produced the paper was a
mystery to me. This state of things, however, I also
found obtaining in the private houses of fairly wealthy
natives of foreign extraction; as if they had given up
in despair trying to make their servants keep things
tidy, and for the same reason had never bought any
decent furniture. If any of them see this I do hope
they won't think it set down in malice; I merely
record my recollection of it, and believe I trace it to
the right source when I say that it is the doing of the
negro servant, to whom order is disagreeable folly.
The company which owns the Constant Spring
Hotel have also one in Kingston, the Myrtle Bank,
which is most pleasantly situated right on the verge
of the bay, indeed, there is a small covered-in jetty at
the end of the grounds upon which guests sit and read,
out over the surf. It is also exceedingly comfortable,
having, in contrast to the beautiful environs of Con-
stant Spring, the wide sweep of the harbour and the
busy water traffic to interest and amuse. Here I met
and took leave of several of my newly found friends,
somewhat pathetically impressed by their earnest






KINGSTON, JAMAICA 67
desire that I should represent the condition of things
Jamaican to the authorities at home, and quite un-
willing to believe that I was not meditating any such
thing as interference in matters political or financial,
even had I the slightest right to do so. But I did
try, as I always do, to impress upon them the
necessity of guarding against the insidious approaches
of England's two most bitter and unscrupulous foes, in
a business sense, the Americans and Germans. For I
found that the United Fruit Company had already
succeeded, with the usual conscienceless ability of the
American billionaire, in reaping a great deal of the
benefit paid for in hard cash by the taxpayer at
home, to help the West Indies out of their difficulties.
Also, I learned that the Germans were doing, for the
purpose of obtaining freight for their vast fleet, what
the Royal Mail Company were forbidden to do, that is,
lending money to the planters on the security of their
crops, and the promise to ship all their produce in
German vessels. I cannot trust myself to comment
upon this fresh instance of the way in which Britain
treats her enemies, to their huge delight and scorn at
her folly.
I pass over the disagreeable process of embarking,
as I have gone into it at some length before, and
come to a much pleasanter theme. Punctually at the
appointed time, the lines were cast off, and the screw
revolved. The Tagus went majestically astern, turned






68 BACK TO SUNNY SEAS
with as much docility as if she were going ahead, and,
in less than five minutes, was steaming swiftly down
the bay en route for the Spanish main, having started
with as little fuss as if she were a penny steamer leav-
ing Westminster-bridge pier. It is a never-ending
source of delight to me, the way she is handled.

















THE LAND OF ROMANCE

WE are now, although we have only just left Kingston,
fairly on the old buccaneer track, for we are bound to
the Isthmus, where so many bloody deeds were done
under all sorts of pretexts or none. For, although
buccaneering really had its origin in the great island
of Hayti or San Domingo (it is called by both names
now), its more extended operations were carried on
from Port Royal. It was hence that Sir Henry
Morgan sailed for his historic attack on Panama, the
world being regaled with the spectacle of a British
Governor who was also one of the most bloodthirsty
pirates and murderers that ever lived. It is of no
avail to say that he was fighting against his country's
foes-really he was a man without a country, hostess
human generic, and his only object in life was the
gratification of his horrible lusts. Providence chooses
strange weapons for working out her ends, and verily,
guilty as the Spaniards were, they were terribly repaid
for all their cruelties to the hapless Indians whom







BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


they supplanted by having such fiends as Morgan let
loose upon them. And as we steamed across that
lonely, peaceful sea, I could not help picturing Morgan
and his host of unspeakable villains sailing in their
motley fleet in the same direction, each one of them
panting with lust of blood and plunder-an awful
contrast to our serene and peaceful errand. Also the
contrast between the conditions of life on board those
old buccaneering vessels and ours is so great that the
mind can hardly take it in, will refuse to realize how
it was possible for men to live at all under such bestial
circumstances, with such nameless horrors in the way
of food and drink to keep them up to their work as
the buccaneers did.
Sunday at sea in these ships is always to me, at
least, a delightfully peaceful time. It is a day of
rest, indeed, for even those extraordinarily energetic
souls who consider every moment wasted unless they
are playing some of the ordinary ship games, feel it
incumbent upon them to refrain from them to-day.
But for the crew that day, there was only the rest
obtainable in the watch below. The watch on deck,
and a large gang of labourers also, were tremendously
busy removing from the ship the traces of that most
essential, but terribly soiling operation of coaling. In
Kingston they had received on board during our
absence sufficient coal to last the ship back to England,
and so dry was it that, in spite of every precaution






THE LAND OF ROMANCE


being taken to localize the uncleanness, coal-dust had
permeated into apparently impossible places. But so
energetic was the attack made upon the cleaning, that
by the time Sunday was well over, the ship was re-
stored to her ordinary condition of purity. I could
not, however, help feeling like a heartless sybarite as
I lay luxuriously on the promenade deck in a long
chair watching the proceedings. I felt as if I had no
business to be thus loafing while so many of my
shipmates were toiling. I do not think I shall ever
get used to it.
At daylight next morning the coast of Central
America was revealed close at hand, and at seven
o'clock we rounded the low spit upon which Colon
stands, and in company with the British cruiser
Betribution, steamed slowly in. She, of course, came
to an anchor, but we went in alongside the wharf in
our usual easy, nonchalant style, the whole operation,
from stopping the engines, taking only about ten
minutes. Here we found a motley collection of
steamships. There was a Spaniard, a Frenchman, a
Norwegian, a German, and two Americans-vessels of
the direct New York line these latter. There was
also one of the Combine (Morgan) steamers, recently
belonging to the Leyland line. The remainder of our
passengers from England, all on business bent, now
prepared to leave us, to my great regret, for our
fellowship had been of the pleasantest. Moreover, so






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


bad was the impression I had received of Colon and
the Isthmus generally from the lurid stories I had
heard and read of its extreme unhealthiness, that I
felt pity for them being compelled to land here.
Most of them, however, were crossing the Isthmus in
order to take ship at Panama for Chili and Peru.
So uninviting did the place seem that I felt not
the slightest inclination to go ashore, especially as the
heat threatened to exceed any that we had yet ex-
perienced; but I was assured that yellow fever, which
used to slay great numbers of people here regularly,
had been practically stamped out by careful destruc-
tion of mosquito germs. All pools of stagnant water
were treated with kerosene, which spreads a thin film
over the surface, and is a barrier of death to the newly
hatched mosquito through which he cannot pass. By
this simple means of destroying the malignant little
inoculators of disease, an immense and permanent
benefit to the dwellers in Panama has been established,
and now, by all accounts, once deadly Colon has been
robbed of its most grisly terror. There was another
reason why I should go ashore. I had heard, as who
has not, of the tremendous fiasco of the Panama Canal,
of the masses of material dumped here and allowed to
lie unclaimed, unnoticed, unwanted. The whole story
was so strange that it seemed quite necessary to see
for one's self evidences of the shameful waste, incom-
petency, and peculation that abounded in Canal times






THE LAND OF ROMANCE


before being really able to believe it all. Still I
doubt if I should have gone had it not been for the
courtesy of the Company's agent, who procured me a
free pass by railway to Panama, and telegraphed to
the agents in Panama to meet me and do everything
for me that I could wish. So I shook off my sloth and
faced the glare, having several gentlemen from the
ship with me for company. In passing, I may say
that the railway is American, with all the faults of the
American railway and none of its excellencies. The
distance is forty-seven miles, the time taken, three
hours, and the fare, first class, which is much inferior
to third class at home, is four pounds return; so that
I think I am justified in calling it the most expensive
railway for its length in the world; and yet, when one
considers the frightful expenditure of life in the
building of it, no mere money payment would appear
adequate to repay. It is said that every sleeper cost
the life of a man, and I have no difficulty in believing
it. My great trouble is to understand how men could
live at all, let alone work in the dank, steamy under-
growth of the long malaria-haunted levels along which
the railways runs for many miles. And going back
further still, however did the old Spaniards march
and fight in this awful climate, even wearing armour
in which one would have thought they must have
roasted like a lobster in its shell before a fierce fire ?
Englishmen too-but there, what is there of the







BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


seemingly impossible in the most terrible climates in
the world which Englishmen have not done? But
even Kingsley, magician as he is, never succeeds in
wondrous "Westward Ho!" in making one realize the
furnace-like heat of these equatorial forests-in fact,
I doubt if any one could. Only actual experience
can convince.
However, I must not anticipate so. The train was
to start at ten o'clock a.m., so dressing in my lightest
flannels, I strolled up the wharf and into the train;
there was hardly any place that one could say with
any certainty was the station. For here, as in so
many old towns in central America, everything seemed
casual, ramshackle, unpermanent, as if possibly it might
have to be abandoned in a hurry. The railway ran, or
crawled, windingly along the main street, the houses
upon which gave no hint of the amazing flow of wealth
into this place a handful of years ago. Indeed, the
casual visitor would jump at the conclusion that most
of the soi-disant shops were just drinking-dens, and I
was solemnly given to understand that the soil upon
which Colon stood was a rich compost of corpses and
sewage, since in Canal times, as in revolutionary
times, men died like flies anywhere they happened to
be, and were hurriedly shoved out of sight; while as
for sanitation, I doubt if the word has any meaning to
a Central American at all. I climbed into the train
doubtfully, the big bell on the front of the engine







THE LAND OF ROMANCE


tolled dolefully, more Americano, and we started along
the street. Tony Veller, Esq., said the whistle of a
locomotive always seemed to express, "Here's 250
souls in mortal terror, an' here's their 250 screams in
vun," but the American locomotive, starting, always
seems to say, "I am going to kill a lot of people
before I stop, and so I'm tolling their knells before-
hand."
It was some little time before we gathered way,"
as a sailor would say, for the locomotive was almost a
toy (albeit a very dirty toy); but presently we were
bowling along the level sand, amidst a tangled growth
of banana trees, coco palms, and wooden huts, some of
which made pretensions to being shops, usually kept
by Chinamen, on one side, and an untidy beach
sloping down to a dazzlingly blue sea on the other.
And then we ran into an oven. A perfect forest of
bananas in fall bearing encroached upon the line and
shut out all breeze, while the sun vertically showered
down his fervent glare upon us. Through the open
windows of the car came a steady shower of soot, for
the locomotive was burning patent fuel, and its com-
bustion was far from perfect. Very soon those of us
who were new-comers had reduced our garments to the
simplest elements, and were looking enviously upon
certain cold-blooded individuals who, even in this
stewing heat, were wearing serge-coats, vests, and
trousers. How or why do they do it ? I do not know.






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


I am aware that some people have a theory that what
will keep out cold will keep out heat, but as far as I
am concerned that theory is a false one.
The speed, never exceeding twenty miles an hour,
suddenly slackened, and the train stopped apparently
for breath, but really at a station, although at first
nothing was visible but the dense boscage around.
But on closer inspection a long, low shed came into
view, and adjacent to it could presently be made out,
amid the overgrowth of greenery, great heaps of rail-
way material. And thenceforward, until we reached
the great Culebra cutting, we were continually pass-
ing rows of locomotives, of travelling cranes-none
of which had ever moved of their own independent
volition-and row after row of construction waggons.
The rank vegetation of the country had played the
strangest pranks with these productions of an alien
civilization. In one place I saw a noble young palm
growing erect and sturdy out of the chimney of a
locomotive, and, in many others, strange plants of
every conceivable shape and manner of growth were
wreathed around waggon wheels, climbling lovingly
over cranes, and wandering at their own sweet will
about and about intricate pieces of machinery destined
never to fulfil the part for which they were produced.
Occasionally we caught glimpses of the Chagres
River, every bend and eddy of which said loudly,
"Beware of alligators;" and sometimes we came






THE LAND OF ROMANCE


across a picturesque group of women and bright,
bronze-like little children, naked as the day, engaged
in washing on the verge of some sparkling stream. Be
sure that wherever you see the negro woman in this
country-outside of the towns, that is-she will not
be idle, and in nine cases out of ten she will be
laboriously making cotton or linen clothes dazzlingly
white. Never mind how-only be certain that they,
the garments, will not last long. But as that minor
trouble is not confined to any one district in the
world where washerwomen are to be found, it would
be invidious to dwell upon it here.
Presently we emerged from the stifling, banana-
growing lowlands into a fairly picturesque country,
the sides of the line being dotted at decreasing inter-
vals with piles of rusting railway material, as before
noted. And then, suddenly, the mighty Culebra
cutting came into view-that Titanic work where a
mountain has been hewn in twain in order to allow
the biggest ships in the world to pass through it on
their way from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or the
reverse. This great piece of civil engineering was,
with the exception of the pier at the mouth of the
Chagres River, and the piles of useless machinery, the
first evidence we had yet seen of the uses to which
those squandered sixty millions of Panama Canal
funds had been put. In itself it was a stupendous
piece of work, compelling admiration and respect for






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


the labours of those who had designed and carried it
out. But our view of it was brief, for there was no
station just there, and we were soon carried out of
sight of it. Then we suddenly came upon the first
hopeful sign we had seen in this much-harassed, badly
governed country. We stopped at a large, straggling
village, and immediately became aware of a new and
entirely desirable human element. Mingling non-
chalantly with the slouching, furtive crowd of parti-
coloured people were several keen-looking, well-set-up
youths, whose faces were full of intelligence, as their
movements were of self-confidence. They wore an
eminently business-like rig-I felt thankful to be
unable to call it a uniform, remembering as I did the
hideous travesty of clothing that soldiers have so long
been called upon to wear-a garb seemingly specially
designed to prevent the wearers from doing those
violent acts and deeds which they were intended to
perform. These men wore blue shirts open at the neck,
and with sleeves rolled up to the elbow, khaki pants
and gaiters, and serviceable, yet not heavy-looking
boots. Round their waists were bandolier belts, at one
side of which hung a revolver. A khaki-coloured hat,
with brim turned up at one side, completed this smart
costume, making the wearers look eminently fit and
workmanlike. They were American soldiers sent by
the great Republic to preserve the peace of the Isthmus
under the new agreement, by virtue of which the






THE LAND OF ROMANCE


United States has contracted to finish the Panama
Canal. They were the visible signs of northern law
and order-the only thing needed in this distracted
country to make it wealthy and steadily prosperous.
The reason for their presence was explained by the
fact that the negotiations between the Republic of
Panama and the Government of the United States had
just been completed, and one of the clauses in the
compact gave them the right to maintain order along
the line of their property-if I am not wrong in
describing the Canal and its adjacent land for a certain
distance on either side as their property. I know it
is not so called in official documents; bat the differ-
ence between my name and theirs is only a difference
in dialectics-we both mean the same thing. When
a people like the Americans of the United States
purchase a concession like that of the Panama water-
way, and, owing to the incompetence of its nominal
owners, are obliged to send troops there to protect the
property, there can be no question of the restoration,
or retrocession, rather, of the reclaimed country to its
original semi-savagery. And in spite of my distrust
of the Americans, and my utter detestation of their
business methods, I am heartily glad to see them in
Panama. They will, I feel sure, make an amazing change
for the better in that hitherto unsavoury land, and,
having undertaken their gigantic task, national pride
will not permit them to relinquish it, whatever the cost.






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


Already one sees signs of the coming beneficent
revolution beyond that of the presence of the American
soldiers. Keen-faced, smartly dressed men, with that
alert nonchalance so characteristic of the American
man of business, are pervading the Isthmus; not at
all on pleasure bent, but taking the measure of things
in their several capacities, and each absolutely deter-
mined that whoever gets left" in the pursuit of the
almighty dollar it will not be him. Even the inhabi-
tants of this land of mariana are awaking to the fact
that mariana is to be changed to ahora," to-morrow
to now. And that in itself is a portent of no mean
dimensions. But I am lingering long on the road to
Panama City-almost as long as that procrastinating,
soot-showering train. No bad likeness of a chimney-
sweep out for a holiday, with eyes full of grit, and
parched throat, I emerged at last at the mean collection
of shacks doing duty for the Panama terminus of this
most important railway. I was at once taken in charge
by a courteous, polyglot young German, who, for a
great wonder, did not show his contempt for me
because I was an Englander, and also a new chum.
Perhaps the fact of my having been specially recom-
mended to his good offices by the great Company for
which his firm was agent had more than a little to do
with his most kindly reception of me. He hurried me
into a carriage, and we drove off at once to the Grand
Central Hotel-along the very worst roads I have yet






THE LAND OF ROMANCE


travelled in this part of the world-so bad, indeed, that
after ten minutes' drive I felt as if all my teeth were
loose, and I was positively sore with bumping about.
So villainous were the roads that I kept mentally
comparing them with some I had suffered from in
Boston and Chicago, and wondering if these were not
really worse. So that when we pulled up in front of
the Hotel-I beg its pardon-the Gran H6tel Central,
I had seen nothing of Panama at all.
A very short experience of this hotel is sufficient
to cause each new visitor to scan the faces of the
American visitors keenly in the earnest hope that
some of them are potential hotel proprietors. For
some American will surely confer an inestimable
boon upon his fellow men and women by starting
and carrying on a decent hotel in this most important
place. Only think of it, here on the great highway
of the Isthmus, in its principal city, where all the
year round there is a steady stream of passengers on
business or pleasure bent, the principal, almost the
only hotel, is a sort of tenth-rate boarding-house,
of which the only thing not entirely condemnatory
that can be said about it is that it is big. And for
housing like paupers, and feeding like pigs, one pays
like a prince, eight dollars for a bottle of very medium
claret, equivalent to sixteen shillings English. I do
not wish to deal in superlatives, either eulogistic or
condemnatory, but I would strongly advise tourists
G






BACK TO SUNNY SEAS


bound to Pacific ports, who are taking this route, to
put in the time they have to wait at Colon, where
there is a decent hotel that compensates for the other
drawbacks of the port, rather than be made miserable
at Panama, and fleeced most shockingly in the
bargain. However, the Americans will alter all that.
Under their regime one will have to pay, of course,
and a high price, but there will be an equivalent for
the money.
After luncheon, as a carriage-drive was impossible,
a small party of us sallied forth, first visiting the
historic cathedral, which stood on the opposite side
of the plaza to our hotel. While changing, I had
noted from my cell window the ruinous condition of
the building, and especially the way in which,
through utter neglect, the various parasitic plants of
the country were gradually covering the towers and
terraces of the building with a rich mantle of vegeta-
tion, the roots of which were, of course, displacing the
stones with which the edifice was built. Not that it
ever had been a fine building in any sense of the
word. Its design was practically the same as usual
in these countries and in Malta, two dumpy towers
at the corners of an almost flat front, and a long barn-
like body trailing away astern of them, with a sort of
dome over the chancel. Within both building and
ornaments were-well, just tawdry. Over the whole
place brooded an air of decay, as if, after dominating




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs