Half Title
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII

Title: A Hoosier in Honduras
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099188/00001
 Material Information
Title: A Hoosier in Honduras
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Morlan, Albert
Publisher: EL Dorado
Place of Publication: Indianapolis, Ind.
Publication Date: 1897
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099188
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 - 4484392

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter II
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        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
    Chapter III
        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
    Chapter IV
        Page 67
        Page 68
        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
    Chapter V
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
    Chapter VI
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Chapter VII
        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
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Chapter VIII
        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
    Chapter IX
        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
        Page 163
        Page 164
    Chapter X
        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
    Chapter XI
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184-185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
    Chapter XII
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        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
Full Text
A Hooiser In Honduras


It was the writers intention to impose this work on the public
without the formality ,of a preface. It seemed bad enough as it
was, but certain critical friends declared it would never do, You
must offer some excuse,".tliey insisted, for writing a book at all,
the people have not asked for it and it is no more than right they
should have an explanaton of the motive that prompted so reckless
an undertakitig."
I, therefore, begai looking over a lot of books, ancient and
modern, hoping to find .something to copy and save any further
trouble, but when I-saw that most writers devoted the space under
this heading to giving credit to certain other writers whose works
they had filched to.,,roduce their own, I said, I'll never do it.
The reader imai. pibk out the stolen passages himself, and if his
conscience is too sensitive to allow him to retain them-why?, he
can return then to their respective owners. I had enough trouble
to steal them, and besides I can't remember now just where they
belong,.so if the dear reader can construe this into an apology,
and feels any better satisfied thereby, the writer is very glad indeed,
and feels more than paid for the exertion it has cost.
As for a motive, I had absolutely none, beyond the sordid one,
of selling you a copy, which having accomplished, I wish to thank
you personally for your contribution and beg to remain,
Yours very truly,

Indlianapolis, Ind.



,1 .




A Hoosier in Honduras.


One bleak winter day the writer conceived the brilliant idea of
escaping cold blasts and gas bills by taking an excursion tropic-
ward, while pondering on the subject the postman appeared with
a letter, which upon examination proved an invitation to join a
trading expedition to the interior of Honduras, with side trips into
Gautemala and Nicaragua, to say nothing of a coast wise pilgrim-
age which was also to include the Bay Islands. Some passages
in this brief communication fired the imnmagination, and the outh-
ful longing to visit the scenes of romantic adventure recorded by
the followers of Columbus, Cortez, Balboa and other equally daring
albeit, reckless characters, was at once revived. Other sentences
bordered on the sentimental, for the letter was from an old friend,
and if he occasionally approached the poetical form of expression
he was certainly to be excused. Even the practical business man,
will sometimes forget himself, so in this instance memories of child-
ish exploits and asperations were vividly recalled.
"Together we will sail the 'sunny summer seas' that we used
to dream about climb gold veined mountains, explore mahogany
forests, examine volcanoes, study earthquakes"-but enough-the
concluding lines seemed to settle the matter" I await your letter
of acceptance," said he, "and have quite decided not to listen to
any excuses-come.
Outside the air was thick with falling snow, and huge icicles
hung from the eaves. The bare branches of an old cherry tree
lashed the side of the house in remembrance of some old grudge,
maybe-or perhaps it was simply because the furious blast aroused
a spirit of animosity which was in a measure appeased by thrash-
ing the only object within reach.


A few of the nearest houses could be seen, and these but
dimly through the ever increasing storm. The street with its long
rows of telephone poles and trolley supports was swallowed up in a
strange white gloom. From time to time, the dim outline of some
venturesome pedestrian would appear for an instant before the win-
dow, struggling bravely with the tempest, the next moment they
were swept from view. The heavy trucks and express wagons
that usually filled the air with their din, now stole by as silent as a
funeral train, the drivers looking like sheeted ghosts who had
somehow escaped the grip of death and returned to their duty, sil-
eut and sad, and white as the street below.
Only the voice of the wind was heard as it rattled the windows
and shook the doors, now shrieking with rage, now moaning in
despair to find evei-y opening stoutly locked against it-such was
the day when the shivering carrier, half blinded by the storm,
brought the brief message referred to.
According to the terms of the invitation, there seemed but one
thing to do,-therefore a letter of acceptance was penned and
In about two weeks came the reply. He now wrote more
fully, even enclosing a catalogue of articles necessary to the com-
fort of travelers in a tropical wilderness, among which were
"slickers" to protect us from the storms on the mountains, saddles,
blankets, leggings, spurs, hammocks, a chest of medicine, a small
selection of books, a bundle of newspapers, a great variety of
canned goods, with a lot of "cordials" put up in large long-necked
bottles, these were only to be used in cases of emergency,-of course.
The list also included a stock of rubber goods to protect us from
dampness when sailing those "Sunny Summer Seas" which he
now admitted became quite rough at times when teased by the
vagrant winds that loaf around in those latitudes.
I learned later that my correspondent was a very careful, con-
servative writer, and his intimations regarding the weather were
in no wise exaggerated, in fact he might have drawn a much more
vivid picture of those laughing waves and rollicking winds and
still left a wide margin for my imagination to sketch for I had
no conception of the force of the tornadoes, cyclones and hurri-
canes that occasionally sweep across the otherwise caln surface of
the Carribean Sea.


This letter was followed by another, a few days later with fuller
information, and an additional list of "necessaries" which included
such trifles as thread, needles, pins, buttons, cork-screws, knives,
forks, cups and a hundred other articles that are called for every
day in civilized life, but which we are so accustomed to that we
are quite unconscious of their usefulness-however, a couple of
weeks busy preparation saw the work completed, and, one cold.
clear morning I took the train amid huge drifts of snow. Forty
hours latter found us walking between walls of roses, in the city
of New Orleans, where we spent a few days looking over this, the
quainest city in the United States. We explored the French quarter
with its famous market, the ancient cathedral, Jackson's Park, the
old slave market, the warfs, the large, elegant stores, which line
Canal Street, from which the canal has disappeared and its place
taken by a street railway, over whose tracks small, uncomfortable
cars~are drawn by unwilling mules, whose eccentric dispositions
keep the driver in a state of uncertain expectancy that has driven
some to suicide and others to drink. After having visited the
Spanish fort, the cemeteries and the famous "shell roads, which
by the way are sadly out of repair, we sought the office of the
Machecka Bros. 129 Decatur street and purchased tickets for
Belize and shortly took possession of our quarters on board the
"Break-water," Captain C.W Clark commanding; a little over three.
days-or to be more accurate, a little less than four days sailing
brought us within sight of the pretty little city of Belize, which is
the capital of British Honduras, the largest and most important
port on the eastern coast of Central America. The approach to
this place is interesting from the fact that it was for many years the
rendezvous of an organized band of pirates, who practically ruled
the Western Seas for a generation or so in the seventeenth cen-
tury. Each wooded island and rocky "spit" has its legends of
buried treasures, which, however, is so carefully guarded by the
Spirits of the departed, or was so cleverly hidden, that no one has
ever been able to locate a single "cache," although we read almost
every week of wonderful "finds" of this character, investigation
invaribly proved the story to be, either a newspaper hoax cut out
of the whole cloth, or the gradual accumulation of gossip, growing
out of some insignificant circumstance, such as the discovery of a
fragment of ancient crockery or other ship's stores which had been






thrown on shore after some wreck. I doubt if there is a single
authentic case on record where treasure in any appreciable quan-
tity has been found-however, each year brings fresh victims from
all parts of the world, every one of whom feel confident they have
the "key" to these mysterious deposits of wealth, and after spending
all the money they possess, return to their respective homes, sad-
der and poorer, possibly wiser. They come from everywhere
armed with "divining rods," "witches wands." "magnetic indica-
tors, and a hundred other devices invented by the ingenious Yan-
kee, to meet the demands of these fortune seeking hordes, which
seem to increase rather than diminish, with the passing years.
Indeed, so great has been the rush of treasure hunters, during the
last decade, the government has taken advantage of the craze and
now issues a regular licence or "privilege" which has proved quite
a source of revenue. The shrewd official who drew up this docu-
ment, inserted n clause providing that a certain proportion of the
wealth recovered shall become the property of the crown, or words
to that effect, thus conveying the impression that the government
indorses the absurd tales concerning the hidden spoils of the
ancient but indiscreet buccaneer.
The fact is, the old pirates of the seventeeth century were not
such fools as to bury their hard-earned wealth where they could
not find it when wanted, and there is probably very little founda-
tion for the extravagant yarns that have been handed down from
generation to generation, acquiring new and startling features from
time to time at the hands of those who feed their imagination on
these grotesque and improbable traditions. Many practical jokes
have been perpetrated on the credulous -cranks who pass their
lives dreaming of the wealth that might have been honestly
acquired, perhaps, by the systematic saving of the depised penny.
As has been stated, many practical jokes are played on these
unsuspecting drem but so eager and blind are they, as a rule,
that the most transparent counterfeit passe,? without question.
Most of these fairy tales have their origin in the fertile brain of
some Jack Tar of whose ingenuity and industry, in the matter of
romancing, all the world know. Here is a specimen:
Jim L- second mate of the good ship B-- who had
been born on the water and who had, to use his own expression,
never been out of his "mother's lap" in all the fifty-five years of


his eventful life, was one of those whose chief delight consisted in
catering to the abnormal appetites of these seekers after lost treas-
ures, and his leisure hours were mainly devoted to the construction
of charts, showing the exact location of the hidden wealth, enter-
ing into all the details with a minuteness that left the possessor no
room to doubt his ability to go right to the spot and dig it up. In
some of these, a very careful invoice of the money and valuables
was given showing precisely where each lot was located-all by
characters or ciphers, no words being used.
These charts would sometimes turn up at an auction in Lon-
don, or Paris, or perhaps would be discovered in the chest of a dead
seaman, or some junk shop, or, in some instances, they were cast
adrift to be picked up on the shores of one of the numerous cays in
the neighborhood, but wherever they appeared they aroused the
enthusiasm of the idle dreamers, and were welcomed by the world
at large, for to tell the truth, there are few so practical that stories
of hidden millions will not for a moment at least find interest in
the tale, no matter how improbable it may be. The following cut
is a fac-simile of one of these bogus charts, and shows on what
dubious foundations these collosal structures of the imagination
often rest, and on what flimsy pretexts, men, apparently sane,
other matters, will leave home and business, often investing large
sums in the venture and not infrequently completing the sacrifice
with their lives, as did a certain Mr. Horn whose excursions in this
romantic field is the excuse for this article with its illustration, and
if by its publication some poor dupe is saved the sad experience
that is sure to follow adventures of this character, the writer will
feel amply rewarded.
This ingenious work was executed with great care on a piece
of parchment which had been previously prepared by staining to
give it the appearance of age. The figures were drawn with a
camel hair pencil, the medium used was an indelible ink of light
brown color which penetrated the material and could not be erased:



It was some sTch document that had fallen into the hands of
the Mr. Horn above referred to, on the head of which he had
embarked in the hazardous enterprise which proved so disastrous.
The amount of treasure accounted for by the "key", in his posses-
sion, was, he declared, about $1,400,000 and he confidently
expected to return to the states with this amount in a few weeks at
the farthest. How he succeeded will be told in another chapter.
To those who care to investigate the subject, the following
extract from a recent writer on ''"Treasure Trove, may prove inter-
esting. "According to the laws of England the finder of coin,
gold and silver plate or bullion, providing the same be hidden in
the earth, is not entitled to the treasure but must give notice to the
crown, to whom it belongs. If, however, the treasure is not hidden
in and covered up by the earth, it becomes the property of the
finder. The various colonies, however, have laws of their own,
modified to suit the conditions, for instance, in India the finder
holds the entire amount discovered, providing -no owner can be
found. In case the rightful owner appears the finder is entitled to
three-fourths of the amount while the real owner must be satisfied
with one-fourth only. However, the government reserves the
right to purchase by the payment of one-fifth more than the value
of the material.'
;' It was Sunday morning bright, calm, beautiful. The view
from the deck, as we picked our way slowly and cautiously among
the numerous cays and low green islands, was enchanting. In the
far distance the white buildings of the city peeped timidly out from
between long rows of royal palms, with here and there a clump of
cocanut trees, easily distinguishable even at this distance by their
long twisted trunks surmounted by a tuft of foiliage that looked
almost black when contrasted with the brighter greens of the other
vegetation. The immediate foreground was enlivened by a variety
of sailing craft, with here and there an English Merchantman lying
at anchor rocking gently with the swell of the sea. Occasionally
warningg flag, or a bright red buoy, told of hidden rocks.1
At last we found ourselves fairly within the harbor where we
anchored perhaps a half mile from shore. Here we were met by
the officials of the Custom House who carefully went through our
luggage, but finding nothing of a dangerous nature we were per-
mitted to land. As we stepped ashore we were met by a young


man representing Mr. Christo Hempsted, who with his family was
enjoying a weeks outing at one of the numerous resorts within a
few hours sail of the city. Through his representative, he begged
us to take possession of his house during his absence, which we
with characteristic freedom proceeded to do. Within a few min-
utes after landing we found ourselves delightfully situated in the
comfortable and roomy dwelling of our friend and fellow country-
man, for Mr. Hemsted although a resident of Belize for more than
twenty years, still retains his American citizenship, and withall is
one of the best and biggest hearted men in Central America. Here
we remained for several days.
Meanwhile we accepted a pressing invitation from Mrs. Capt.
Biddle, to be present regularly at her table, an invitation that was
accepted with cheerful alacrity, and which proved one of the pleas-
antest features of our visit, and it is with genuine pleasure that the
writer hereby expresses his gratitude to this estimable lady for the
many favors shown him during his stay in Belize.
The history of the colonly of British Honduras is interesting,
from the fact that it is the only English dependency Central
America. The following facts concerning its discovery and subse-
quent settlement, are taken from the "British Honduras Almanac,"
a veritable encyclopedia of information, and which has been issued
annually for more than fifty years and is lovingly referred to by
Mr. John L. Stevens in his "Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, etc.
A. D. 1839.
"This colony is deserving of interest both on account of the
romance of its past history and the promise of the importance and
commercial success which it at present holds out. Situated as it
is between 18 degrees 29 min. 5 sec. and 15 degrees 23 min. 55 sec.
North Latitude and between 9 degrees 9 mini. 22 sec. and 88 degree.
10 min. West Longitude, it contains some of the richest and most fer-
tile lands on the face of the globe. To it Europe has to look for the
greater part of its supplies of mahogany and logwood, the exportation
of which is alone suflicient to render it a wealthy and thriving col-
ony and in addition to the large interests involved in the supply of
these and other valuable woods, there now seems every probability
of its becomifig of equal importance as a center for the exports for
the various fruits which grow so abundantly on the seward slopes
of Yucatan.


The climate, though damp and hot, is singularly healthy.
Yellow fever and cholera are but rare visitors. Ague and malaria
though somewhat more frequent, are by no means as prevalent as
might be expected. To the north and south its boundaries are
respectively the frontiers of Yucatan and Guatemala, while to the
east it is bounded by the Bay of Honduras and to the west by a
line laid down by the convention with Guatemala in 1859, extend-
from the rapids of Gracios A Dios on the river Sarstoon, to Gar-
butt's Falls on the Belize river and thence due north to the Me.
can Frontier. The coast was discovered by Columbus in 1502 when
looking for a passage to the China Seas and the interior is the
scene, in part at least, of the famous and disastrous march of Cor-
tez. The greatest length and breadth of the colony are respectively
174 and 68 statute miles, containing with the adjacent cays an
area of about 7,562 square miles. The settlement was originally
calledd Belize, he name now applied to the capitol only. It is
supposed by some that it was originally settled by Buccaniers, who
were attracted to the coast 1by the shelter and safety afforded to
them by th.e extreme difficulty of navigation among the surround-
ing cays and who were induced to remain on the dispersion of their
aiu forces with the hope of gaining wealth a more legitimate
manner by cutting the woods of the country, and they were wise in
their day, for who, but a lunatic would risk life and limb in the
somewhat doubtful business of plundering an occasional ship when
they could, by a few hours labor with a good axe, bring down a
fortune of S2,500 to $3,000, for in the middle of the seventeenth
century, logwood sold readily for $100 per ton, which has grad-
ually fallen until at the present writing the price is only about $6.
In 1671 Sir Thomas Lynch, Govenor of Jamaica, reported to
the King that "it increased his Majesty's custom and the national
commerce more than any of his Majesty's colonies," showing that
Belize was a flourishing and wealthy settlement more than 200
years ago. From that time up to 1798 the territory was the cause
of much bitter contention between England and Spain, which
occasionally resulted in bloody conflicts. In 1786 England agreed
to relinquish the Mosquito Shore in exchange for the privilege of
cutting mahogany and logwood. By this treaty, England
promised to abstain from erecting fortifications or other defensive
works, thereby admitting the colony was, in name at least, under


Spanish protection." This was what a Yankee would term a good
trade. The Mosquito Shore was a howling wilderness noted only for
its scorpions, centipedes and the swarms of those interesting little
insects from which it takes its name,while Belize enjoyed a remark-
ably salubrious climate for this latitude, besides abounding in those
woods that had already proved more profitable than mines of gold
or silver. Of course, the Spaniards soon discovered how they had
been outwitted and determined to re-possess the valuable claim by
force of arms, and to that end assembled a fleet of fifteen vessels
with which, on September 10, 1798, they began an attack on the
Harbor of Belize and after two days severe fighting were totally
defeated in the memorable "Battle of St. George. Caye," which
event has been celebrated by Mr. Christo IIempstead, the local
poet, in the following stirring lines:
'Twas a dark, sultry and warm summers' night,
When St. Geoeges' Caye people saw a wonderful sight,
A bungay full of Spaniards all armed for a fray,
Came sailing from windward, o'er Honduras Bay.
Sing to rol ri urol-ri urol ri-a
And they drove all those Spaniards so far, far away.
Sing tu rol ri urol-ri urol urol ri-a
And they made them all scamper from St. Georges' "K."
The battle was fierce, and the battle was strong,
The "Pork and Dough-Boys" sticks, were both sharp and long,
And each hardy "Bayman" grasped one in his hand,
Saying we'll "chook" (spear) all those Spaniards the moment they land.
They chokede" them, and speared them and drove them like fleas,
Right into salt water way up to their knees,
Some got to their bungays and poled quick away,
Saying-" Vamonos Conmpadre" from St Georges' "K."
The battle now over, a victory hard brought,
Each gallant old "Bayman" like the devil had fought,
But thus gained their freedom by the sweat of their brow,
And that was the end of St. Georges' "K" row.
The bungay got lost is the general belief,
Way out on the "Spit," on a small bit of reef,


Naught was ever seen of her keelson or keel,
And naryy" a spaniard or General O'Neal. *
Tune: Wilkins and his Dianah.
General O'Neal was supposed to be a renegade, who deserted from
the "Baymen" and went over to the Spaniards.
Thus it was that the settlement became English by right of
conquest as well as by convention.
The city of Belize is probably the most cosmopolitan in char-
acter of any place in the world of its size. Its population of eight
or ten thousand includes citizens of England, France, Spain, Ger-
many, Italy, Africa, China, South America, Mexico, the United
States and Canada, not to mention the native Indians, Creoles,
cock-roaches, fleas, land crabs, ants, scorpions, sandflies, mosqui-
toes, and turkey buzzards, locally known as "John Crow:.
This is. a land of social and political equality and no discrim-
ination is made in favor of any class except in the cases of the
buzzard and roach. The former is protected by a special act of
the legislature making the shooting of one of these birds punisha-
ble by a fine of $25.00 for each offense. Although the price seemed
quite reasonable, we refrained from killing any of them simply
because it was not the style, besides one hates to see a man going
around making a display of his wealth.
The case of the cock-roach is different. He is protected by
the stronger law of public opinion, consequently lie assumes a
degree of audacity unparalleled in any other country. Among the
privileges accorded his lordship, the most notable is that of bath-
ing in the water pitcher at all hours, but do not loose your temper,
it is his right. Lift him out gently, place in a comfortable posi-
tion on a chair, bowing low, you will beg his pardon for interrupt-
ing his aquatic performance. You may now take a drink, provid-
ing you still have the desire. 0, don't think to escape his tyranny
by drinking wine or beer for his authority extends over the whole
territory and must be recognized alike by rich and poor. These
are not the modest little fellows that are occasionally seen in the
northern groceries glancing timidly around and vanishing like
smoke at the slightest alarm, but great lordly loafers grown proud
and arrogant through untold generations of supremacy. He is
everywhere, on the table, in the bookcase, in the pantry, the
parlor, upstairs and down,'" n the bed and und a it. When you


wake from clammy dreams you will find him mounted on the high
post at the foot of your couch, looking down on you with lofty dis-
dain, as he muses on the mutibility of man and his works. When
he moves, he does so with "kingly leisure and courtly grace. He
is "monarch of all he surveys," and he traverses his domain
imperial state.
Belize is the negro's paradise. Here he enjoys every privilege
that is accorded his white brother, and some besides, I am told.
In the shops you are met by smiling, black clerks; on the
street you are jostled by a good-natured black throng. The
police are black, likewise the mail-carriers aud postal clerks.
The police force, by the way, is said to be very efficient, being
composed of the "pick" of the province. They are tall, well pro-
portioned, finely uniformed, and bear themselves as proudly as
Roman soldiers.

The government is very indulgent to its prisoners, allowing
them to take a stroll about town every morning, from 8 to 12
o'clock, and for exercise they are permitted to break stone or make
any necessary improvements on the streets, for which they are very
grateful, no doubt.
I met a squad one morning starting out for their daily walk,
and noticed with pleasure the tender-hearted policy that sent a
couple of officers along with the gang to see that they did not get
hurt or lost in their rambles. To enable the officers to properly
protect their wards they were armed with double-barrelled, breech-
loading shot guns.


Each convict had his name and number conspicuously lettered
in bright red on the back of his shirt, which added not a little to
their picturesque appearance.
The houses are all frame, with one or two exceptions, and
those of the better class, usually being three stories in height with
balconies and wide verandas, over which are trained vines and
climbing roses. The buildings are nearly all painted white with
green blinds and the effect is charming. Flowers endle.
variety flourish throughout the year, filling the air with their
fragrance, among these, the oleander is one of the most conspic-
uous, the tree attaining here its greatest perfection, often reaching
a hight of twelve feet, its pink and white blossoms, contrasting
beautifully with the (lark green foliage of the mango trees, which
are planted extensively for shade as well as fruit.
The streets, which stretch away in every direction, were laid
out without regard to regularity. They cross each other at every
possible angle, and describe the most remarkable curves ever con-
ceived by a city engineer. However, these sudden turns are con-
stantly revealing some new and unexpected feature, and one easily
forgives the eccentric genius who planed this flowery maze when
wandering through its mysterious depths.
Regent street is an exception to the rule, being straight for
half mile or so, and it would be hard to imagine a prettier picture
than that presented, looking down this avenue, bordered by wav-
ing palms, its white balconied houses half hidden by vines and
flowering shrubs, ending at last in a fine grove of mahogany trees,
in the midst of which stands the mansion of the governor.
There are no sidewalks, every one taking the middle of the
street, dodging hither and thither to avoid the donkey carts, cabs
and horsemen. H-owever, accidents seldom occur, and as there is
no mud, and the "Brown Brigade" carefully takes up all dust and
papers every morning we need not complain.
Looking in almost any direction we have a background of blue
sea with its white caps and hundreds of strange craft, known as
dories, but which are peculiar to this locality, being constructed by
Shollowing out a log, and rigging sloop fashion. These are invari-
ably manned by caribs who come hundreds of miles to buy and sell
in the markets of Belize.
Owing to the prevalence of the trade winds which sweep over


the gulf from the east almost every week during the year, the
climate is delightful at all seasons, the summers average about 85
degrees and the winters about 10 degrees lower.
One evening the chief of the fire department called to inquire
if I would like to witness his company go through their fortnightly
exercises, I told him confidentially that it was for that very pur-
pose that I had left home and kindred and became a wanderer in a
strange land. He was much affected, but restrained his feelings
remarkably well, though there was a perceptible tremor in his
voice as he grasped my hand and said: "It is well' the desire of
thy soul shall be granted.
In less than fifteen minutes after it had been announced
that the visitor wished to see the "nigger's whoop 'er up" every
man was in his place, each arrayed in a flaming red shirt and shin-
ing tin helmet.
"Lively now boys," shouted the captain, and the way the old
pump -attled down the street -as frightful to contemplate.
The stentorian tones of the leader were drowned in the chorus of
wild yells that rose from the heroic band, as they charged madly
along the principal thoroughfare, the rickety old engine lunging
from side to side, threatening every moment to start on a deadly
excursion through the crowd that lined the way, lending their voices
to swell the unearthly din. The machine soon reached the river
without accident, other than turning over a fruit stand on top of
its terrified owner whose frantic struggles to extricate herself
added greatly to the general joy.
A half hour was now spent adjusting the suction house, dur-
ing which each member acted as leader por tern., giving orders to
every one, that no one obeyed; however, all was ready at
last. The captain shouted, "Give it to 'er! make 'er howl: shake
'er up lively; let 'er have it!" Thus encouraged each man put
his soul in his work and bent to the task as if the salvation of the
town depended on his single arm. Shortly the water reached the
nozzle, spurting forth fitfully, but gradually increased in force and
volume until a distance of thirty-five yard was recorded, which was
considered remarkable. I thanked the captain and begged him to
dismiss the perspiring crew, who were nearly dead from such
unusual exertion.
The town of Belize has been twice destroyed by fire, which


accounts for this department, which is the only one in Central
America. The danger is now much less than formerly, owing to
the passing of an ordinance prohibiting any but metal or tile rools.
The town has many pretty churches and a number of large
stores, where you can find everything under the sun except the one
article you happen to need. Its public buildings are solid, if not
elegant, and the market house would do credit to a city of much
greater pretensions.
The Belize river divides the town about equally, and
spanned by a bridge over which a motley crowd sweeps from
early morning till late at night.
Two weeklies, the Colonial Guardian and Belize Advertiser,
supply the news a week after the rest of the world has forgotten it;
but the merchants are liberal advertisers, and both publications
seem fairly prosperous, and each editor assures me that his paper
has a larger circulation than all others combined, which proves
that the printers instinct, is much the same the world over.
Belize is a delighful place to spend a few weeks or months dur-
ing the winter season, the climate during December, January, Feb-
uruary and March is simply delightful, while the days are warm
the nights are cool enough to make a blanket desirable. Hardly
a cloud will be seen during these months, the air is laden with the
perfume of flowering plants, pineapples and mangoes abound
attaining their greatest perfection, oranges glisten amid the dark
green foliage like the fabled apples.of gold, and may be had for
the picking, providing the owner's away. The private residences
of the merchants are furnished with a degree of luxury that
astonishes the visitor who has become possessed with the idea that
life in the tropics mean simply straw huts and bananas. //
The markets furnish almost everything "the appetite could wish
except fresh butter and milk. These articles are imported in cans,
mostly from France or England and answer the purpose very well.
Numerous boarding houses and two first class hotels furnish ample
accommodation for tourists. The Union Hotel is probably the best
known. It was established in 1871 and is pleasantly located on
North Front street, surrounded by ample grounds where one may
sit in the shade and study the "Tariff" which is printed in English
and Spanish as follow.


Precios. Charge.
Por Dia 6s Board and
Almuerzo O Comida 2s Lodging 6s
Cafe Is Breakfast or Dinner 2s
Posada Solameute 3s Coffee Is
Se Hacen Arreglos Lodging only 3s
Especialls por Messes Arrangenmnts for the month
O Semanas previo Aviso or week to be previously agreed
I Lainfiesta Proprietor.
This information is here inserted free of charge. Mr. Lain-
fiesta deserves it for maintaining such a comfortable resort at such
ridiculously low figures, only 6s Por Dia and then his
Almuerzo O Comido is most excellent and very reasonable at
2s. I have personally examined his Posada Solamente and find
it perfect in quality and entirely satisfactory as to quantity, fact
no one could expect so large an amount for the trifling sum of
Within easy reach of Belize are a number of resorts where one
may spend a day or two very pleasantly, and a sail over the spark-
ling waters of the harbor, in the early morning or under the soft
light of the moon,is a delightful experience which can be enjoyed
at a trifling expense, as the supply of boats and sailors is always
equal to the demand. The towns of Livingston and Puerto Cor-
tez are within easy reach by steamer and well repay a visit. The
former is the principal port of entree to Guatemala on the Atlantic
side and is inhabited for the most part by the Carib Indians, whose
strange houses and habits will prove an interesting study. The
latter is the principal Atlantic port of Honduras and is connected
with San Pedro by the only railroad in the republic. This hit of
road is thirty-six miles lbng, and tourists who wish a novel exper-
ience should ride over it. It cost little less than a million
dollars a mile and is not paid for. There may be worse roads in
the world but they have not been advertised.
There are two great days in Belize. Monday when the mail
arrives and Friday when it goes out. As the custom of the country
is "never to do anything to-day that can be put off till to-morrow,"
the consequence is that Friday finds every one answering letters
that ought to have been answered on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thurs-


day. Don't speak to anyone now, if you value your life. Wan-
der away to some secluded dell, anywhere to escape the scribbling
pen. The mail closes at 10 A. M. as the hour approaches the fury
increases, to get their letters posted before the fatal stroke of the
bell, now becomes the soul ambition of the Belizian, but there is
one last hope-a kind, indulgent government, holds the steamer
one hour longer during which letters may be taken aboard by pay-
ing a double rate. From the income of this last hour, I was told,
public buildings were erected, official salaries paid, hospitals and
asylums maintained, but I am inclined to think my informant was
not strictly reliable, at least not as reliable as I would wish if com-
piling an Encyclopedia of general information.


The stranger is struck by the peculiar appearance of the
houses and it is sometimes quite a while before he discovers the
reason, for as a rule, they are very similar to the buildings at home
but after little he looks for the chimneys and finds none. Kitchens
are always built separately and at a safe distance front the dwelling,
Here the cook reigns, and she is a despot of the most pronounced
type. She does not stay at the house but comes at irregular inter-
vals and prepares the miiialffid departs with the fragments with
which she supports her own family and all her near and distant
relatives. Servants seldom reside on the premises but come at
stated times, each doing the particular work assigned and no more.


As soon as their task is performed they disappear. Every house
keeper must have a cook, a table girl, a laundress and one for gen-
eral house work. Of course, if she lives in any sort of style she
will also require a housekeeper: a ladies maid, a butler, coachman,
a boy to carry her money and parcels when she goes shopping.
These various functionaries appear at certain hours, performing their
offices with the slightest possible outlay of energy. Their duties
ended they aniish. That's the very word, no other term will
describe the suddenness with which they fade away, however, they
return next day with less speed and more ceremony, sometimes
requiring a full half hour to traverse the space between the gate
to the door, but they file up promptly Saturday and take their
wages with just as much satisfaction as though they had earned it.
The servant does all the marketing and thereby increases her sal-
ary perceptably-for instance you tell cook to get "fip-pence worth
o' plantains," she will return with a pennyworth and explain the
small measure by a long story about low market. "Plantain
mighty case Missus. Most all gone fur true. Bockra man just
get all," and so with everything else, Bockra is the Carib word for
white. From time immemorial the native cook has prepared the
meals on a primitive range made by placing a couple of stones on
the floor then laying another across for a top, and when some of
the more enterprising merchants sought to introduce modern stoves
there was a regular "howl." However, they were gradually adop-
ted. A friend of ours had just put one in and had, as she sup-
posed, explained its workings so that the cook would have no trou-
ble. You can imagine her astonishment when, after waiting an
hour and a half for dinner, she ventured to investigate the cause of
delay to find the demon of the kitchen standing over the stove
fairly boiling with rage, and pouring forth a perfect torrent of Cre-
ole English mixed with a large proportion Carib Spanish, the only
language in which she could express the heavy weight "swear
words" with which she was freighted; instead of starting the fire
in the stove she had kindled a huge conflagration under it, then
placed the victuals on top, in the oven, in the fire place, on the
hearth and "there she stood yelling like a wounded tiger" said my
friend, and "when she saw me laughillg,turned with a bread knife
in such fury that I was glad to escape to the house." After a
few weeks the poor creature became reconciled but insists to this


day that the old style is much the best and to prove her wisdom
makes a practice of burning up a dinner about once a week.
I have spoken of the stores where are kept "everything except
the article you want.'' Perhaps I ought to modify that remark, for on
several occasions I found exactly what I was looking for and was sur-
prised to note the great amount and variety of goods handled by
these merchants, whose trade extends hundreds of miles along the
coast and far back into the interior towns of Guatemala and Hon-
duras. Among the establishments as vast and varied as a mus-
eum, I might mention Beattie & Co., of the "Colosseum, James
Brodie & Co., A. E. Morlan, the largest dealer in jewelry, musi-
cal instruments and merchandise in Central America. Here you
will find all the latest novelties imported direct from the manufac-
turers in England and Europe as well as the United States. The
owner of this establishment is also United States Consul* for this
port which, of course, makes his store the center of attraction to
tourists from the states, who are speedily attracted to the spot by
the stars and stipes which floats above the office. Among other
representatives houses might be mentioned B. Cramer & Co., Krug
& Oswald, Gray & Co.
The stranger will find a mine of amusement in the market,
which he may work at intervals to good advantage. Here he will
meet a busy throng, noisy but good-natured, every one trying to
get the best of every one else in the way of trade. Caribs from the
adjacent coast with their little stores of fruit, Casava Bread, yams,
plantains, etc., Coolies from India squatting on the ground with
their stock in trade arranged on mats before them. These people
have a peculiar, far away, melancholy expression that is touching
to note, but I'm told they are about the shrewdest traders in the
market. Indians, half-breeds, Chinese and Mexicans mingle in
this strange crowds and urge their wares with such vehemence of
gesture and wealth of language that it takes a man of strong mental
qualities to be able to run this gauntlet of attractions without
carrying away some memento of the place.

*Siuce the above was written, Mr. Morlau's establishment has changed
hands, Mr. N. J. Keating succeeding to the business. However, the office of
the U. S. Consulate will be found in its old quarters immediately East of
the store.


The inhabitants depend altogether on rain water for all domes-
tic purposes, each house being provided with a huge tank for pre-
serving the same and on a public square near the center of the city
a collection of huge wooden reservoirs will be seen. These huge
barrels, 20 or 25 feet high, 50 or 60 feet in circumference, always
attract the attention of the visitor. They are the property of the
colony and are used as a reserve supply on which the citizens may
draw in times of drought. Naturally this water is very 'arm but
is rendered cool by a simple process. Each family is provided
with a large stone jar of porous texture with a slim neck, locally
known as a "water monkey. These are filled and placed where
a current of air will strike them and it is remarkable how soon the
contents become cool and palatable.


One of the pleasant features of Belize is "The Colonial Club."
which was established in 1880. This association includes in its
membership all the literary and artistic talent of the place, and to its
influence, direct and otherwise, we may trace much of the improve-
ment that has marked the past ten years of the cities history.
The Club took possession of its handsome and pleasant quarters on
Regent street, January 15, 1886, and is open every day. Sunday
excepted. The Reading Rooms, Iibrary and Billiard Parlors are
on the third floor over looking the bay, from whence comes a
delightful breeze. Strangers are welcome, and they will find here
all the leading publications of the United States and England,
besides a library that will surprise you by the large number and


excellent character of books contained, which includes many of the
standard historical and scientific works, as well as late editions of
the encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. To these are added a respect-
able collection of the lighter literature of the day, largely English,
of course, but containing a fair sprinkling of American authors.
'On the second floor is a large hall where the literary branch of
the association hold their meetings and at times indulge in aniatuer
theatricals, These performances are sure to attract a large audi-
ence, which, if it is disappointed by the exhibition, never acknow-
ledge it, because its "quite English you know.
Mention has already been made of the healthfulness of this
port; there are other than natural advantages that account for the
immunity from fevers enjoyed by the residents of Belize, these are
found in the strict sanitary regulations enforced by the officers
entrusted with that most responsible department of the colonial
Through the efforts of this body almost perfect drainage has
been attained by a system of canals, that carry off all surface
after and which, aside from their value in a sanitary point of
view, are made an ornament to the city, the sides and bottom being
smoothly cemented, and handsomely curbed throughout their
length with the same indestructible material; they are lined with
flowering shrubs, and over hung by masses of foilage, all being
reflected in the glassy surface with the accuracy of a mirror and
the streets are carried over by numerous bridges producing an
affect that is charming as well as novel.
It is gratifying to know that the death rate has been greatly
lowered by these precautions, since the completion of this work,
yellow fever has almost dissapeared while ague and malarial com-
plaints have been reduced to the minimum, in fact Belize, at the
present time will compare favorably in the matter of health statis-
tic. with towns of similar size in the States, which enjoy very
much greater climatic advantages.
Like all towns, Belize has its children of genius, "natural
born" poets, painters, inventors, mind readers, etc., etc., these
local celebrities are pointed out to the visitor and their various
accomplishments, paraded with a degree of pride that is comendable.
While loafing around one of the newspaper offices one day the edi-
tor placed a bundle of papers in my hands labeled "offerings of the

A HoosI,:R IN Ho(NTm)RAS.

Poets." It had been accumulating for months, they did not strike
him as being quite the thing for a newspaper, but he has pacified
the writers by promising to publish the collection in a neat vol-
ume, under the title of "colonial songs, by colonial songsters," as
soon as time will permit. As he hopes to be busy for several years
to come he kindly allowed nme to copy a few of the most touching,
which are here given. Not, however, as a fair example of Belizian
literature, but rather as a tropical curiosity.

Sir John Crow sat on a potato tree
Picking his teeth so silently, silently,
His good wife sat right by his side
Gazing o'er the sea so wild and wide.
Said he to she, "what d'ye think,"
Said she to he, "let's take a drink."
Then Sir John flapped his sable wing,
"You bet, that's just the proper thing."
G. G. S-- .

0 beautiful girl, with the dark black curl
I'm waiting for thee by the deep, damp sea,
Waiting for thee, waiting for thee,
All alone by the moist wet sea.
Then quickly come, and bring your gum
And we will chin, while the minutes spin.
For my arm is long and my heart is strong,
Then hurry along, love, hurry along.
J. D. L---- d.
(Last and best.)

"The sand fly floats in the evening air,
The mosquito, too, is everywhere,
Other bugs and things that sting
Are crawling over everything,
Soap and candles
Sugar and snuff,
Land of lizards and plumduff."
F. C. McI- .



Having concluded our work in Belize, we took our departure
for the South on the evening of May 4. On the morning of the
fifth we found ourselves in the Harbor of Puerto Cortez, with the
lofty mountain of Omoa on our right and the village on the left,
which looked very pretty from a distance, half hidden among the
shadows of the tall trees. But a closer view revealed but few pas-
sably decent houses with a large number of old frames, that were
all but read) to fall, a few thatched huts, a sandy 'aste called a
street, through which the celebrated railroad is built, a custom
house which I hope has fallen down or been blown away or otherwise
destroyed, but no doubt it is tottering in its old track to this day-
changes rarely occur in this country, only one or two have been
noted since its discovery in 1502.
Our vessel lay here several hours taking on bananas, five
thousand bunches were received, about one-fourth that number
were rejected and cast into the sea, much to the disgust of the pro-
ducers. Next morning found us at Livingston, which, as has
already been stated is Guatemala' chief port of entry the
Atlantic coast. Here we found accommodation at the "American
Hotel" kept by Mr. J. C. Norrich. The "American" is not as
large as the Astor House, but it is more expensive in proportion to
its size, "Tariff" $2.00 per diem. If the Astor House should take
the American as a standard and charge in the same ratio for ser-
vice rendered, I judge its rates would be about $60,000 a week,
however, the American furnishes many things that would be a
novelty at the Astor. The frijoles are just as good as anybody's and
weigh just as much to the pound. Here we first met the tortillas
with which we afterward became so familiar. Now we might have
lived at the Astor for years and never made the acquaintance of
either of these nutritious dishes. The "American" has fewer
rooms than the Astor but accommodates more guests. These


Pcguests do not all leave their autographs in the register. In orderr
1' to have more space for our work we hired a house across the street,
where we established our headquarters from whence the writer
made daily excursion into the surrounding forests, while his
more methodical and business-like companion arranged a glittering
exhibition that attracted crowds of natives from all the country
Livingston contains a large Carib population which proved an
interesting study. In the following paper, which was originally
published in the Indianapolis Journal, the writer endeavored to
give a brief outline of their history as told by "Jim" with some
observation on their present habits and condition.
"During my recent visit to Guatemala I became greatly inter-
ested in that strange race, now nearly extinct, known as the Carib
Indians. The village of Livingston, situated at the entrance of
the Gulf Dulce, is one of the largest settlements of these people,
containing, as near as I could learn, about two thousand Caribs,

-- 4 _iU. ,tI,,r.

,,. *' t S,, >'t


with a few whites and a handful of soldiers, ragged, barefooted
and totally undisciplined, but whose presence is deemed necessary
to maintain the dignity of the little republic and properly impress
the stranger with the military -sources of the country. Being
delayed some time at this place, the writer devoted his leisure
hours to the study of Carib history from their own standpoint, but,

must I admit it, with small success, for, garrulous as they are orant
almost any other subject, they could hardly be induced to speak of e-
themselves: however, by putting together the fragments gleaned
from different sources, I think the reader may get a very fair idea
of the present condition of this remnant of a once powerful race,
with a glimpse of its past record that may prove interesting to
those whose tastes lead them in the direction of historical research
or the more delightful study of folk lore. This singular reticence
in regard to their customs and beliefs may be accounted for, in
part, from the dread they have of being interfered with by the gov-
ernment, whose representatives regard with suspicion the perform-
ance of certain rights and ceremonies held sacred by the successors
of the fiery Caonabo, who reigned in the southern archipelago at
the time of its discovery by Columbus.
In the writer's opinion, these periodical complaints are simply
the result of jealousy on the part of the petty officials, whose env,
is aroused by the superior thrift of the Caribs, whose industrious
and economical habits contrast sharply with the lazy, shiftless
lives of the half-breeds, who are in many instances appointed to
administer the law in these remote corners of the state, and whose
fitness for the position is never questioned, providing their politi-
cal creed is found favorable to the party in power. It is a matter
of astonishment that a people of such primitive habits should have
survived the terrible persecution of the Spaniards, whose heartless
cruelty seeined satisfied with nothing short of the total extinction
of every national trait, as witness the Aztecs of Mexico, and the
still more highly cultured "Children of the Sun, who had con-
verted the desert wastes of Peru into blooming gardens, and whose
knowledge of agriculture and mechanics should have been pre-
served at all hazards, as an acquisition of far greater importance,
than all the mineral wealth of the mountains. Had thirst for
knowledge equaled her love of gold, Spain might to-day have held
the first place among the nations of the earth, but, like all nations
or individuals whose highest aini is the accumulation of wealth
for purely selfish ends, the successors of Ferdinand and Isabella
sank steadily, until, at the present time, they occupy the lowest
position among the powers laying claim to any degree of civiliza-
But my present purpose is not to discuss questions or morality
or philosophy, but rather to sketch hastily some of the character-


istics of this interesting tiibe, whose ancestors ruled the Western
P sea, and whose huge, painted dories appearing on the horizon filled
the inhabitants of the neighboring islands with consternation.
The Caribs of to-day are confined to a few small settlements along
the coast of Honduras, and at this one point in Guatemala, they
have not only retained their native tongue, but many of their
ancient customs, and continue to be the best sailor. on the coast.
They were first met with by Columbus on his second voyage, and
formed a striking contrast to the friendly, easy-going savages with
whom he became familiar during his first visit. Among all the
daring enterprises undertaken by the Admiral, or those under his
command, the ones directed against these ferocious chiefs were
attended with the most danger, and the story of the wild adven-
tures of the valiant Ojeda reads more like Grecian fable than act-

r 5


----- ---

but fertile island near the coast of

ual historical facts. How-
ever, their desperate cour-
age, coupled with a know-
ledge of war far superior to
that of the tribes around
them, was no match for
their civilized assailants,
and their story from that
time is one of gradual de-
cay. Driven from point to
point by an ever advancing
toe, the territory of the
Carib Chiefs rapidly dwin-
died away until their iden-
tity as a nation was lost:
1796 the English gov-
ernment transported the
entire Carib. population
from Dominica and St.
Vincent to Ruatau, a small
Honduras, whither most of

them have since emigrated, owing to the constant encroachment
of English settlers.
These people have a legend, somewhat shady, but pretty
withal, which I drew from an old Carib sailor locally known as


"Jim," in whose dory I spent many pleasant hours, skirting theraut
palm-fringed shores of the Rio Dulce, as the natives persist in call- le-
ing the narrow entrance to Lake Golfete. This story necessarily
abridged for present purposes, traces their history back through
centuries of time to the cradle of the nation in a beautiful valley in
the midst of the Blue mountains of North America, and correspond-
ing with the territory now known as Virginia or North Carolina.
In this happy vale, surrounded by every luxury an Indian could
de. -, they lived and loved, fought and died, and were buried or
burned, as the case might be: the rich bottom lands furnished
corn in abundance, almost without effort, the mountains were alive
with game, the rivers swarmed with fish, the men were brave, the
women beautiful, and there they might have been living in peace
and happiness to this day, possibly, had not a most unfortunate
vision come to their chief, Un-gow-a, in which a lovely female
formed the central feature, as is frequently the case in visions of
to-day among men much further advanced socially and politi-
This figure, as described by' the infatuated Un-gow-a,
posssessed a fair skin, a face radiant with light, while her long'
golden tresses floated 'about her shapely shoulders like a cloud.
She appeared every evening in the southern sky, smiling and beck-
oning to our unhappy chief. True, others saw nothing but a
bright star, with a long trail of light streaming after it, but
no Carib ever questioned a chief, especially on matters connected
with visions in which handsome women appeared. It wasn't con-
sidered safe. So the lovely phantom appearing every evening,
continued to smile and beckon, until Un-gow-a quite lost his head,
if not his heart, and, like men of a much later period, soon found a
hundred or more good and sufficient reasons for doing the thing lie
most of all desired to do. He, therefore, assembled the wise men
in common council, during which he delivered an address of such
persuasive eloquence and convincing power that each member of
that conservative body expressed himself more than satisfied with
the plan suggested, which was nothing less than the abandoning
of their mountain home to follow the bright star of the southern
sky, for it was as such that the beautiful creature appeared to
ordinary eyes. Un-gow-a told them by so doing they would be
led to a land of flowers, where snow would never be seen, where

wouldd be found fruits of every kind flourishing throughout the year,
PFg'where cold and hunger, work and worry would be forgotten, in
Y fact he drew a picture so fascinating in detail, rich in coloring
and poetic in sentiment that the whole tribe was wild with delight,
with the exception of two old sceptics, who were promptly burned.
This pleasant duty ended, the nation demanded to be led forthwith
to the land of rest and ready-made hominy.
Thus began tie long series of moves to the southward, lured on
from year.- o year by the bright vision that still smiled encourag-
ingly, shaking her shining tresses over the soft summer sky at that
witching hour, between daylight and dark, when even ordinary
objects are invested with a strange charm. On they went, fighting

,,- Ik^ .d 11" .,' J l

their way through hostile territories, climbing mountains, fording
rivers, cutting paths through matted jungles, conquering all foes,
overcoming lnl obstacles, until at last they found themselves con-
fronted by a wild waste of water. Great minds are only stimu-
lated by opposition. These doughty warriors gazed awhile on the
heaving deep and decided to cross it, and to that end began at once
the construction of a boat suitable for the purpose. This was the
first of the famous dories which have excited the admiration of all
sailors down to the present day. With their usual good fortune
they passed safely lo the nearest island of that long chain now
known as the Bahamas. Thereafter their progress was an uninter-
rupted series of conquests, passing from one verdant isle to another

until they reached the great archipelago of the southern Antilles, pant
where every promise of the beautiful guide seemed fulfilled and ne-
the vision faded from the sky, not, however, until she had made
an earthward swoop, carrying off the faithful Un-gow-a to shine
with her forever in some remote heaven for beyond the ken of mor-
tals. Here in these lovely islands, shaded by stately groves,
watered by crystal springs, the weary warriors built their villages.
Surely this was the Indian paradise, the veritable "happy hunting
ground." Fruits to every taste, flowers of every hue, serene skies,
sunny seas, misty mountains, limpid streams, vast forests, where
bright-winged birds flashed from tree, or poised on the perfumed
air, their trembling wings sparkling like gems in the sunlight.
Such, in short, is the story of the Caribs, as told by "Jim, which,
no doubt, is quite as false and not more foolish than the fables of
the Norsemen, which have fed the insatiable appetites of a dozen
generations of poets, without affecting these inexhaustable minds
of fiction.
Improbable as this story of Carib migration may seem, it has
engaged the serious attention of a number of learned writers,
among whom might be mentioned the name of our own Irving,
who, referring to some similar fable says: "To trace the footsteps
of this roving tribe throughout its wide migrations from the Appa-
lachian Mountains along the clusters of islands which stud the
Gulf of Mexico and Carribean Sea, to the shores of Paria and so
across the vast regions of Guayana and Amazonia to the remote
coast of Brazil, would be one of the most curious researches in
aboriginal history and throw much light on the mysterious ques-
tion of the population of the New World;" and it must remain a
matter of regret that this most delightful of American historical
writers was never moved to undertake the work.
While the Caribs of to-day are regarded with suspicion by a
certain class of people, those who know them best will tell you that
they are not only industrious, but in most cases honest and trust-
worthy; that some of the men have a weakness for rum cannot be
denied, but in a country where this beverage forms a part, and
often the principal part of every merchant's stock, it is not a mat-
ter of surprise that some have followed the example of their white
neighbors. The women are hard workers, earning good wages on
the sugar and banana plantations, where their services are always

26A lloosi: l-iii..

.:n demand, while mauy who reside in the villages engage in the
laundryy business: one of the sights of Livingston is this departmentL
of Carib enterprise. Near the landing, where a strong spring fur-
nishes an abundant supply of clear, soft water, you can see almost
any day a half dozen or more women bending over little wooden
troughs made by splitting a small tree in halves and hewing out
the insides, just as the northern farmers do when short of "sap"
buck-ts during maple sugar season. They use no "washboards,
but saturate the clothes wfth soap and water, after whfch they beat
them over large', smooth stones, with disastrous results sometimes.
They present a highly picturesque -appearance with their single
sleeveless garment, which is cut very low in the neck, and greatly
abridged in length, and is held in place by shoulder straps. This
feminine inven'ion, which cannot be properly described as
"dress" or a "skirt," or even as a 'aist," forms their sole protec-


section from the burning rays of the tropical sun, excepting the
red or yellow turbans worn more as an ornament than from any
The men are nearly all sailors, and are either employed on
the coasting vessels or as lightermen, or as is frequently the case,
engaged in the carrying trade independently, many of them owning
dories of several tons burden, which they manage with remarkable
skill. These boats are models of their kind. They are construc-
ted of a solid piece of wood, hollowed and shaped with the greatest
care. They are all sizes, from the tiniest craft capable of carrying
only one or two persons, up to thirty or forty feet in length, with a


carrying capacity of twelve to fifteen tons. We frequently met
these little shells several miles from shore with a single occupant
standing up and steering his course with the utmost ease. Some-
times when the sea was rough both man and boat would disappear
behind a huge roller, always, however, rising on the next wave,
where it would hang an instant on the crest, then down like an
arrow into the watery valley. To us it seemed quite impossible for
such frail specks to survive in the wild tumult of wind and waves,
but these intrepid sailors showed no concern whatever, but hailed
us cheerily as they passed and were soon lost in the distance.
Often in the dusk of evening these strange rovers of the deep would
appear suddenly, like restless spirits wandering abroad over the
dark waters, their swarthy features illumined an instant by the
rudy glow of the ship's lantern, and then swallowed up in the
As already stated these boats are constructed of one solid piece
of wood and the building of one of the larger sizes is an undertak-
ing of great importance, the first step, of course, is the selection of
a suitable tree. This frequently involves a search through miles
of forest and occupies weeks of time. The largest vessel of this
class, that came under my notice, and which I carefully measured,
proved to be a little over eight feet across the beam and sixty feet
in length. The reader can imagine the size of the tree from which
this~huge dory was cut. However, it was not considered a good
model, being twelve or fourteen feet too short to meet the
nice requirements of the native draughtsman. The dwellings of
the Caribs also attract attention by their peculiar construction,
being almost identical with those found on the islands at the time
of their discovery. No nails are used, the frame being secured by
lashings of the rope like vines with which the forests abound. In
this way each plate and rafter is fastened. Then comes the roof.
This is made of the huge fronds of the Cahune palms, ingeniously
woven together, and when completed will effectually turn the
heavy rains that fall daily during the wet season. The walls of
these unique houses are made by weaving together a kind of wild
like rude basket work. In some cases these plastered
over with mud, but oftener left open, and lively scene. are some-
times witnessed during the evening hours when the interior is
illuminated by the pine torches or the fire on the floor over which


the good wife prepares the evening meal which she and her lord
will enjoy separately, as the wife never presumes to eat at the same
table with her husband. They have a fable which pretends to
account for this unsocial custom by stating that at a remote period
the Caribs captured their women from a neighboring tribe and
made them their wives without the usual formality, which so.
enraged the sensitive creatures that they vowed never to associate
with their captors as companions, though compelled to follow them
as servants.


These dwellings, viewed from a distance, so exactly resemble
huge stacks of hay that the writer had often been deceived by the
appearance, and even after a long residence in the country, would
still find himself surprised to see a thin blue column of smoke slowly
rising from their crests, betraying the secret of the interior. These
abodes are built so closely together in villages that frequently the
low projecting eaves actually touch, leaving only two or three feet


between walls. They are placed at all angles without the least
regard for the cardinal points. While the walls are only six or
seven feet high at the sides, the roof towers up twenty-five or thirty
feet. Usually they have but two openings, one at the front, the
other at the rear end. These are sometimes closed by a wicket
gate, but oftener are left open day and night. As might be
expected where such inflamable structures are built so closely,'
fires sometimes occur, but as a rule one or two houses only are
destroyed, for contrary to appearance, these thatched roofs burn
very slowly and are easily extinguished. This is owing to the
fact that they are very compactly woven, to a thickness of 12 to 16,
inches, and during the wet season become so saturated with water
that they hardly get dry before the recurrence of the rainy months..
In case of such disaster, the inhabitants turn out enmasse, and
rebuild the destroyed house, without any thought of recompense,.
so that aside from the temporary inconvenience, the loss is not
The Carib housewife is easily satisfied so far as house furnish-
ings are concerned. A small table, two or three stools from the
native workshop, usually complete her outfit. The stove conmist.s
of a couple of stones, over which a third of flat shape is laid. Under
this the fire is built on the earthen floor. The smoke finds its way
out through crevices in roof and wall. Bedsteads are unknown,
the hammock forming their only couch. But if the Carib wife or
daughter care little for carpets, chairs, or dresses, they make up.
this deficiency in the feminine character, by their inordinate craving
for jewelry, no woman considering herself fully dressed without at
least a necklace of gold or silver, while if her means will allow she
will fairly weigh herself down with earrings, bracelets, and strings
of beads, to say nothing of finger rings, lockets, chains and
charms. Enterprising traders knowing their weakness in this dir-
ection, visit their villages from time to time and are always sure of
a good trade, at least as long as their money holds out. At the-
time of my visit one of these Nomadic dealers appeared and opened
a store in a deserted house and I spent some time watching them.
trade, often admiring the tact displayed, in order to secure the cov-
eted article at a price which they considered a bargain. They
imagine they can detect an alloy in metals by the sense of smell
and we were often amused to see both men and women subjecting


the different articles in the case to this curious test. We were also
surprised with what accuracy they were able to judge of the merits
of pieces that appeared exactly alike to the eye. Several times the
jeweler tested this faculty by taking two rings, one solid, the other
plated, and between which we could see no difference. These he
wrapped fn tissue paper, leaving only a small surface of the metal
visible, then holding them in his own hand, submit them for
inspection, asking "which good?" The answer usually came
promptly and was nearly always correct.
The wearing apparel of the men rivals that of the women in
simplicity, consisting of a pair of pants made of cotton drill, to
which on state occasions may be added a-shirt of the same mater-
ial. The pants are held in place by a leather belt with a holder
for the inseparable "Machete," a long, heavy knife which is used
for every conceivable purpose. In the cultivation of their crops,
this universal tool takes the place of plow, harrow, hoe and rake,
while in the household it represents the can opener, butcher knife,
hatchet, hammer, ax, saw or
plane. I doubt if any other
People can turn one tool to as
Many uses and do it as grace-
i '. fully. Carib language is a
terror to strangers to whom it
"' seems the wildest gibberish,
though we were told that it
[' has been reduced to a sys-
tern, provided with a well de-
r DTO fined grammar, and that some
pious priests once published
prayer book the native tongue, though we failed to dis-
cover a copy.
To the traveler who hears it for the first time it is simply an
unintelligible jumble, and seems to be complete in less than a
dozen words, or rather sounds, which are continually repeated
with fiery vehemence. In this connection I may be excused for
quoting this passage from a recently published letter, "Their lan-
guage is as peculiar as their dress and manner:, and is exceed-
ingly hard to master. The laundress has just called and
rendered her bill orally in the following flowery strain:


"Ingowalibouswabt uzoimel Erngubas evtre yeloken of spache-
druz! Is it any wonder we look forward to every funeral with
sort of wild exultation?
An amusing incident occurred during our stay at Livingston,
which proved very disagreeable to one of the parties concerned.
A young German but recently arrived and quite ignorant of Carib-
customs secured passage in one of their boats bound for Belize.
Everything went well until evening, when the captain made for a
lonely headland, covered with a dense forest of palms. Here they
made a landing and soon had a good fire with a large kettle
swinging over it. At times they indulged a strange dance
around the fire accompanied by the wildest gestures and most
doleful chant. Our German friend watched their performance from
his place in the boat with ever-increasing apprehension, but when
the crew returned presently and invited him to join them on shore
he became thoroughly 'ared. In their ignorance of his language
they tried to make him understand by signs that supper was ready.
They would point to their mouths, all the while working their
jaw. -apidly, then shut their eyes, which meant simply, that after
eating they would sleep and continue the journey in the morning,
but their passenger, whose mind was filled with wild fancies,.
interpreted their friendly overtures quite differently. He imagined
he was Lo be killed and cooked; and not being in sympathy with
the plan. finally covered the leader with his revolver, it was the
Caribs turn to be frightened now,and with one accord they dissap-
peared under the water, for they swim like porpoise, some com-
ing up at the bow served to attract his attention by pretending to
climb up by the cable, while two others silently slipped over the
stern and quickly disarmed the trembling Dutchman, following
this act by tying him securely and in this condition he was deliv-
ered next day, half starved, to the authorities at Belize. Interpre-
ters were called and the story soon unraveled; from the rein ark-
able actions of the German, the natives supposed him to be a lun--
atic, and so did the very best thing under the circumstances.
Mutual explanations, followed by a square meal and a case of rum
for the wearied crew, made everything alright and diplomatic
relations between two great powers remained undisturbed.
I cannot bring this article to a close without recording a most
emphatic denial of the charge of Cannibalism, which has some-


times been preferred against the Caribs, by persons entirely igno-
rant of their habits and history. The fact is, the Carib population
of Honduras, is far the most desirable of all the different tribes
represented in the colony. As a rule, they are harmless, good
natured, industrious and remarkable cleanly, a virtue, by the way,
almost unknown among the Indians and half-breeds of the inter-
ior. The writer willhalways remember his visit among these dusky
descendants of the wild sea rovers, with pleasure. Thq name
recalls many a dash among the roaring breakers, many a campfire
on the lonely shore, followed by a substantial lunch with its
dessert of juicy pineapples or still more delicious mangoes, then to
our hammocks to smoke and gossip and watch the stars or listen to
the waves, until one by one the pipes went out, and we slept as
only tired travelers could."
One warm afternoon we were aroused from our siesta by a dis-
cordant jingling of bells and supposing a fire had broken out we
made a.rush for the street, when the landlady informed us that it
was only a funeral, and said it would pass the house. A few min-
utes later, hearing a sort of wild music mingled with shouts and
laughter, we hurried to the balcony where we arrived just in time
to see four half drunk men, shoeless and hatless, coming along at
a brisk pace bearing a coffin on their shoulders. It was simply a
rough box wrapped in a piece of stripped calico and swayed from
side to side as the bearers reeled along. Following was a woman,
the widow I was told, carrying a rude cross covered with flowers.
She seemed in excellent spirits and was laughing immoderately.
Next to the hilarious chief mourner came the band, consisting of
one accordion, two fiddles, a tin horn and a drum. All were run-
ning to their full capacity, following the band came a mixed crowd
of men, women and children. The men were attired in their usual
costume, a pair of cotton drawers, and shirt worn outside. The
women were simply dressed, with the regulation sleeveless garment,
that shows their dusky charms to such good advantage. The
children were arrayed in their innocence only. All, from the
least to the greatest were smoking and all laughed and danced by
turns. It was by all odds the most cheerful and inspiring funeral
we had ever witnessed. I had just returned to my desk when my
attention was once more called to the street by a chorus of
yells and uproarious merriment. Stepping out, the cause was


apparent. One of the bearers had stumbled and fallen, throwing
the coffin to the ground, one side of the frail box was broken out,
exposing an arm and a ghastly hand half closed; but it was a well
behaved corpse, and instead of getting out and thrashing the
awkward bearers, as it should have done, it simply lay quiet taking
the whole thing as a joke. Presently the fallen man struggled to
his feet. The coffin was again taken up and the procession moved
merrily on. The landlord declared that this was a very tame
affair and assured us that the burial services of the rich are very
much livlier and more imposing-in such cases the "body" is
dressed up in the best shirt his estate affords. It is then carefully
tied in a chair in an upright position and thus carried to the grave

-" -


yard while the whole town turns out to do him honor by the dis-
charge of crackers, rockets and a variety of native fire works, while
the drinking is general and the joy unbounded.
We hoped to witness a first-class affair, but were dissapointed
by the unreasonable stubborness of the principle, he was the owner
of three huts and a pair of mules, a regular Jay Gould, and he was
sick enough to die-everybody said so-and everybody was look-
ing forward to a grand time, yet this hard hearted unsympathizing
creature refused to abandon his real estate and live stock, and
even had the audacity to discharge his doctor, after which he rap-
idly recovered. It was several days, however, before he took this
bold step and it was during this time that his friends exhibited so
much anxiety. They would steal up to the door to note progress


and report to the eager crowd. The interest was intense. As
usual in times of great excitement, the news was very conflicting;
one bulletin was to the effect that he was almost gone: at such
times a confused murmur would run through the assembly and an
occasional shout would be heard, with here and there a random
cracker. Then would come some discouraging new. he 'as
getting better, slowly but steadily growing stronger, and faces
bright with happy anticipations became clouded by dissapointment.
Finally a conimittee was appointed to wait upon the sick man.
They argued the case long and well but he was obdurate. They
had to give up. After while they returned, they came in great
haste. The miserable millionaire, with the cold indifference of the
class he represents the world over, not only stubbornly refused to
give his humble fellow citizens a brief half holiday. but actually
drove them off the premises with a club. It was then that he dis-
charged the doctor and all hope was abandoned. The following
note on "oysters" taken from our memorandum book, and
recalls an incident of a somewhat novel character.
"We went oyster hunting this morning had fairly good success
-James knocked them off the trees, while the rest of us gathered
them up-got about two bushels-they were fat and plump-but
not large: they roost on trees but not very high-they do not
This was a novel experience-alwh, s thought oysters lived in
the water-never heard of them being found on trees-learn some-
thing every day-this is literally true-the shores are lined with
mangrove tree, these trees are very peculiar, they flourish in salt
water, they are about equally divided between roots and branches,
the former strike out from about 10 or 12 feet above the water
reaching down at an angle of 45 degrees, much resembling
the skeleton of an umbrella half closed, the branches shoot up in
much the same manner, making a tree -10 feet high-the oys-
sters attach themselves to these roots when the tide is in, when it
ebbs they are left high and dry, and all the hunter has to do is to
gather them like any other fruit-at a little distance, a grove of
mangroves has the appearance of a forest on stilts, while single trees
look like leafy giants wading in the sea.
Messers. Anderson and Owen represent the interests of the
United States at this point. Both stand high in commercial circle.


and are known far and wide. These gentlemen did much to make
stay in Iivingston pleasant and profitable. Mr. Anderson was
so charmed with the climate that lie declared he would never live
anywhere else, and as an evidence of his sincerity, he had erected
one of the finest private residences on the coast. The situation was
certainly delightful, on the crest of a high hill, overlooking the vil-
lage and bay on the left, on the right the eye wanderedd over the
mountain heights that rose beyond the famed Rio Dulce, a descrip-
tion of which formed the subject of a letter to the "Pittsburg Post"
which I take the liberty to borrow.
"I have just returned from a trip up the Rio Dulce, which is
claimed by some to be the most beautiful river in the world, (the
Rio Dulce, so called, is not a river at all, but a long narrow body of
water known as Lake Golfete, which connects the larger lake
known as Gulf Dulce, with the Gulf of Honduras, but it is just as
pretty as though it was a river and, in fact is usually spoken of as
such.) One traveler speaking on the subject, said he had traversed
Europe and America in search of the picturesque, visiting almost
every place celebrated in song and story on both continents, and his
sketch book contained many lovely bits from sunny France, Spain
and Italy. He dwelt long in Switzerland and carried thence many
beautiful studies, but for restful, dreamy, intoxicating beauty, he
acknowledged the Rio Dulce queen of all. It may not be amiss to
state that this charming bit of water is situated in the eastern part
of Guatemala and forms the boundary line between the departments
of Chiquimula and Vera Paz. Its general course is north east and
its outlet the Gulf of Honduras. A small steamer makes weekly
trips between Livingston near the mouth, to Isabel a small Spanish
settlement near the head of navigation. Having heard so much
regarding the scenery along this stream, I determined to view it for
myself. I, therefore, consulted a friend and we decided to take the
excursion together. We, looked about and found a boat that would
answer very well, also a stout Carib to man it. With a well-filled
hamper, we stepped on board just as day was breaking. The
morning was perfect, and under the influence of a scarcely percep-
tible breeze we moved slowly up stream, beneath the shadows of the
mountains which rise abruptly from the eastern shore, watching the
gradual lighting of the opposite range, whose highest points rises
far above the clouds and whose misty summits are bathed in the


warm sunlight fully an hour before the denser forests at their
Nothing could be more delightful than to float thus idly along,
lying at our ease, watching the shifting shadows every moment
giving way before the king of day. The water is so clear one
could easily imagine the boat suspended in air. At a depth of six
fathoms the river's floor was plainly seen, covered with pebbles and
bright colored shells. Fish of many varieties were darting from
place to place like lashes of light. Others lazily suspended in the
crystal depths watched us we imagined, with a degree of curiosity
quite equal to our own.
The shore is covered with white sand and pebbles up to
the tide limit, where the rich tropical vegetation begins, which for
luxuriance and varietyy is probably unexcelled. Right above the



white line of the beach we have the pimento, rancoon and cahune
palms, massed together with trees of a hundred varieties, the whole
over run with a tangled mass of vines and creepers, many of them
laden with brilliant flowers, among which we noted the morning
glory, the only familiar face among this wild confusion of green and
At six o'clock our man ran the Dory ashore on a wide stretch
of white sand, where a cool spring added its limpid waters to the
river. Here he started a fire and proceeded to make a cup of coffee
and spread a light lunch. A campfire has a charm all its own, the
flickering blaze, the column of. blue smoke slowly rising and


spreading out among the tops of the trees; the odor of frying ham,
the cheerful simmering of the coffee pot are never so enticing as
when encountered in the forest, remote from the haunts of men.
There was Sabbath-like stillness, broken only by the song of
birds and the gentle purling of the brook as it made its way over
the shinning sands. Among the bird-voices only one was familiar,
that of the morning dove, filling the air with its sweet, but melan-
Our repast over, we re-enter the boat. The wonderful pano-
rama increases in interest and beauty at every turn. The breeze
has freshened and the dory glides swiftly along at the base of the
mountains, whose seared summits tower a mile above us, in places
presenting almost perpendicular walls a thousand feet high. Over
these frowning ramparts nature has thrown a veil of swaying vines
and flowering shrubs, whose many colored blossoms relieve the
vivid green of the overhanging foliage. We note beds of lillies of
several different species, among them one that closely resembles the
calla. On the higher slopes are the wild fruit trees, some bursting
forth in a gorgeous array of white and pink, others laden with gol-
den clusters ripening in the sun.
Thus we float on in trance of delight, passing point after
point, -ach new opening revealing some hidden treasure. We take
no thought of time or toil, free for the moment, as the birds of the
forest whose liquid notes come across the waters faintly, like
music in a dream. At times the river widens out to a lake-like
proportion. Here and there are little islands so lovely in their sol-
itude that one could ahnost wish to give up the world with its
thousand cankering cares and stop among these enchanted bowers
for ever more.
What an existence! To open one's eyes every morning on
such a display of color, such effects of light and shade, such vistas
framed by jutting headlands that stretch away interminably until the
outlines are gradually lost iu the violet haze that no painter may
attempt or poet describe. Oh, thou disconsolate lover, forego
thy piteous sighs! Here is a retreat suited to thy condition.
Kind nature will nurmur in thy ear sweet sympathy. Eve-r voice
of earth and air will minister to thy comfort and fill thy heart with
a deep content.


At noon our guide turned the boat into a little hay which
proved to be the mouth of a mountain stream that came tumbling
over the rocks in noisy glee, sparkling in the sunlight as it danced
over the white pebbles of the shore. In this pleasant nook we tar-
ried an hour, sketching and lunching by turns. Near by a pair of
pelicans set us a noble example by their unflagging industry. They
made their headquarters on a projecting rock, from whence they
took excursions up and down or across the river, seldom returning
without a fish, which they caught by dropping suddenly on the
unsuspecting victim.
At one place a boiling spring rises from the bottom of the
stream with such force that the surface of the water is raised a
couple of feet or more above the general level, and the sound of
escaping steam is fearfully suggestive of possible eruption. Large

M 1:

\ 2 ..'.


fragments of pumice stone abound, showing conclusively that at one
time this peaceful region must have echoed to the dreadful sounds
of bursting volcanoes and devastating earthquakes.
During the afternoon we returned, very reluctanly and slowly,
now on one shore, now across to the other, exploring bays, discov-
ing waterfalls. some of considerable extent, whose merry music runs
on through the whole year unchecked by winter's frost or summer'
About three o'clock we were overtaken by one of those
showers that arise so suddenly in this latitude, but our worthy
guide was not to be surprised. Warned by signs of which we-were
quite ignorant, he made for a little cove, sheltered on the
windward side by a towering wall of rock, where he dropped
anchor, and in less than five minutes stretched a water proof awn-


ing that completely protected us from the rain. But it was quickly
nver, and the sun striking through the retreating clouds gave us
one of the finest effects of the day. Every trembling leaf supported
a diamond of its own, whose dazzling brilliance put to shame the
gems of royalty.
We arrived at port just as the sinking sun cast his last golden
,s on the eastern hills. The black storm clouds that a few hours
previous looked so threatening now lay on the distant horizon at
the base of Mt. Omoa, reflecting all the bright tints of the dying
day, their softened outlines melting aw. in the rosy haze that pre-
cedes the sudden falling of the tropical night.
From Livingston we went to Santa Thomas, having chartered
a five ton sloop the "Mary Ellen, manned by three coal black
sailors from Belize. We arrived one Sunday evening about eight
M., just in time to witness the performance of some stroling
acrobats from Mexico. The scene was novel one. They had
arranged their trapeze across the principal street near the
wharf, in front of the cartel or barracks, where a half dozen ragged
soldiers dragged out a weary existence, and who seemed very
thankful for the temporary excitement. The soldiers ran about
assisting the showman in every way they could, even giving up
their quarters for a dressing room, from whence the actors presently
appeared, their straw colored tights embroidered with gold and sil-
ver tinsel, faces powdered and painted in the most approved style,
high pointed caps and a string of small bells attached to their belts,
which jingled most musically. The scene was illuminated by
row of oil lamps and the audience consisted of perhaps two hun-
dred men, women and children. They were seated on the ground
on both sides of the narrow road, the ladies with shawls over their
heads smoking and laughing incessantly. The ruddy glare of the
torches, the strange costumes and the babel of Indian-Spanish all
combined to form a striking picture. The actors acquitted them-
selves in a creditable manner and must have been highly elated by
the success of their performance. The crowd was good natured
and not over critical, the applause frequent and prolonged, and
when the perspiring comedians doffed their clown hats and made
their pilgrimage through the audience they were rewarded by a
shower of reals, each of which was acknowledged by a bow and a
grimace that caused shouts of merriment.


Santa Thomas does not boast of a hotel, but we found quarters
in a private house, where we were treated with the greatest cour-
tesy, as well as to all the delicacies of the season, which consisted
is this instance of the usual frijoles and tortillas with the addition of
a piece of fresh pork and a cup of milk, the latter being a treat that
was highly appreciated. Fruit growing is the principal industry of
Santa Thomas, mostly bananas: having been requested to furnish
some information on this subject, I, therefore, began to look around
for facts and figures and presently found quite a lot. How much we
owe to the fierce and uncompromising compiler of statistics! His
bold spirit knows not fear-he seeks the depth of the tropical for-
est, he delves in darksome mines, climbs lofty mountains, dives


into the sea and measures the floor thereof-awhile he tarries in the
sunny south-anon seeketh the frozen north, no height to great,'no
depth to vast, no region to remote-he the hardy pioneer of
hunan knowledge, pushing his way into the wild wilderness of
undiscovered facts that hedge us about on every side. He return-
eth like a general at the head of an army-of figures-figures in
lines, in columns, in squares, figures in companies, in regiments, in
battalions, an invincible array of totals that stagger the intellect;
but I feel very grateful to one of these fearless adventurers, who has
given the material for the following brief chapter on bananas.



Although extensively cultivated along the entire coast line of
Central America and the West Indies, this fruit is said to attain the
highest degree of perfection along the eastern shore of Guatemala
and the north coast of Honduras. This may be true, or it may be
a fancy, fondly cherished by growers whose fortune it is to be
located within this favored belt.
These thoughts were suggested by watching a train of mules
that just passed the door, each laden with from four to six huge
bunches. The reluctant animals were urged on by a half dozen
Mozo's, whose dark, swarthy skin, restless black eyes and unkempt
locks gave them an appearance of wild ferocity, quite out of harm-
ony with their mild lazy dispositions. This noisy cavalcade
came from a large plantation at the foot of the mountain
just back of the village, from the overseer of which I have gleaned
the information contained in this article.
The fruit, he informs me, is all contracted for by New York
and New Orleans companies. between whom there is great rivalry,
and frequently collisions occur of an ugly nature. On several
occasions they have assumed so serious a character as to require
the interference of the militia.
The trade has developed rapidly during the past five years and
it is claimed that the importations of this year will exceed 10,000,-
000 bunches, divided between New York, New Orleans, Boston,
Philadelphia and Baltimore, New York taking the lead with about
3,500,000, or 140 cargoes of 25,000 bunches each. In 1830 the
first full cargo of red bananas was entered at New York and con-
sisted of 1,500 bunches, a quantity so enormous that the daring
pioneer in this trade was looked upon as a crank," harmless,
perhaps, but certainly crazy.
To give a better idea of the present proportions of this industry

50 A HousL R HONDuKAS.

and its rapidly increasing dimensions, I submit the following offi-
cial figures giving the importations for 1887-8:
1887- 1888-
New York ... .2,461,355 3,021,640
New Orleans 2,153,143 2,541,075
Boston 454,751 1,053,729
Philadelphia 315,560 1,151,938
Baltimore 529,663 280,692
5,914,472 8,049,074
This shows a gain in one year of 2,134,602 bunches. These
figures are certainly encouraging to those who contemplate open-
ing plantations. I am told by growers here that a profit of $75 per
acre can be realized with ordinary care and this, it is claimed, may
be considerably increased by careful cultivation. One grower
assured me that he had netted $150 per acre, but I am convinced
that this was an exceptional experience. Probably a safe estimate
would be $50 per acre for the first year and $60 for the next ten
years. However, a net profit of $25 an acre would be better than
a gold mine, without any of the risks attending such enterprises, for
while the profits of fruit raising are enormous, they are at the
same time very sure, for of all tropical productions, this is the one
most likely to succeed with the inexperienced planter.
The banana delights in a warm, moist soil, in the neighbor-
hood of the sea, the salt breeze being essential to its highest devel-
opment. The best season for starting a "walk" or plantation, is
from the middle of May to the middle of June. The bush is first
cut and burned, the ground carefully cleared of all stones, weeds,
etc., and the soil loosened to a depth of ten inches or a foot.
The suckers are now taken from the parent stem. Strong, vigor-
ous shoots should be selected from two to three feet high. These
are cut about eight inches above the neck and placed in a slanting
direction in the holes prepared for them and covered with earth,
leaving only about two inches exposed. The plants mature in
from 10 to 12 months, each producing a bunch of fruit averaging
about 60 pounds, though specimens weighing from 90 to 100
pounds, are not rare.
There are several varieties of bananas, among which may be
mentioned the red, yellow, dwarf and giant: but those most in
favor in this region are known locally as the ''Doubloon, "China"


and "Fig. The red variety is almost entirely confined to the
islands of Cuba, Jamaica and Hayti, while the yellow is most pop-
ular on the coast, and, I believe, commands the best market in the
States. The dwarf is found in the interior among the mountains,
often flourishing at an elevation of 5,000 feet. It is of unexcelled
flavor, but to small for profitable cultivation, being only three
inches in length.
The banana is not a native of America, as many suppose, but
,as introduced by the Spaniards shortly after the discovery of the
country. By the middle of the sixteenth century it had become
one of the principal food products of the newly discovered islands.
It is the most nutritious of all known fruits, and forms the princi-
pal food of millions of inhabitants of tropical countries residing
within thirty degrees of the equator.
The plantain is a variety of banana little known outside of the
region where it produced and a small section of the Southern States,
where it is highly esteemed. To the casual observer the only dif-
ference between the two products is in the size of the plant and
fruit. The banana, so-called, attains a height of 18 or 20 feet,
while the plaintain seldom exceeds 12 or 15 feet: but while the
stalk of the the plantain is the smallest, the fruit is much the larg-
est. The banana is usually eaten raw, while the plantain is nearly
always cooked-either boiled, fried or roasted. Like the banana,
the plantain does best near the sea. Its cultivation is the same,
each stalk producing a single cluster of fruit. When its mission
is ended its place is filled by a sucker growing from the root.
The fruit of the plantain is preserved by drying, and in some
instances ground or powdered in a mortar. This product is known
as "plantain meal, and is made into a number of palatable and
nourishing dishes. It also produces a fine and wholesome quality
of starch. It has also been utilized in the manufacture of wine,
the quality of the beverage being pronounced excellent. A dis-
tillery for this purpose was established a few years ago in Hon-
duras, hut proved a failure, financially.
To give an idea of the nutritive quality of the plantain, it is
asserted on good authority that a piece of ground 60 feet square
will produce 4,000 pounds of fruit, which will support 50 persons
two weeks, while the same space planted in wheat would not
afford sustenance to more than one person for the same length of


time. This explains in a large measure the lazy. shiftless habits
of the natives; living in a climate with an average temperature of
80 degrees, houses are only necessary as a protection from the fierce
rays of the sun or the drenching tropical rains. For this purpose
four poles set in the ground surmounted by a high, pointed roof,
thatched with palm leaves, answers every requirement. Clothing
is not worth mentioning as the children wear none and the parents
little more. With a few days work the husband can provide his
family with the necessities of life for the whole year, therefore the
head of the house may be seen swinging idly in a hammock, enjoy-
ing his cigarette, while his good wife prepares the meal of boiled
plantains which she has just cut from the stalk that shades the
A plantation once established will continue to produce for
about 15 years, requiring no special cultivation other than to reap
the harvest and remove the dead stalks. At the end of this time
it will be found profitable to break new ground. Land suitable for
this purpose can be secured at an expense of $1.00 to $5.00 per
acre, according to the location. Although the fruit is maturing
every mouth in the year, the banana season proper begins in Feb-
ruary and continues until July; March, April, and May being the
months when the business is at its best.
I am informed that a mill for grinding bananas on a large scale
has recently been started at Port Limon, Costa Rica, but am unable
to say what success has attended the venture which represents a
considerable capital, principally from the north.
We left Santa Thomas one bright morning, arriving at Puerto
Cortez just as the sun was sinking into the troubled waters of the
gulf, which were now considerable agitated by a brisk breeze, that
had suddenly sprung up, "just to see us into port in good style, so
our dusky captain declared.
From 10 A. until 3 P. we enjoyed a dead calm, not the
ghost of a zepher appeared during those five burning hours. The
"Mary Ellen" lay like a log, rolling uneasily with the swell that
rose and fell, with an irregular and desponding motion, as though
old ocean was slowly dying, and these fitful hearings might be her
last convulsive gasps. The heat was intense, the air was like the
breath from a furnace, the distant shore looked like a long, pale
green ribbon trembling above the water. A far-away island


seemed dancing between sea and sky. The heat was fervent-that
was all. We had often seen this word, often heard it repeated,
but never until this day did we have any idea of its terrible mean-
ing. The sun never appeared so close. It seemed like a great,
red-hot globe that was gradually, but surely swooping down upon
The sea, smooth as molten glass, flung back the burning air
in long, wavering lines, and between the blazing sky and the sim-
mering sea we hung, helpless, hopeless, blistering. All through
these hours the captain sat at the helm, whistling a low plaintive
melody or ihonody. It was the sailors prayer to his patron saint,
San Antonia, at whose will, blows the wind, fair or ill-so our
captain firmly believed; so, while the rest of us sought the slim
line of shade cast by the idly flapping sail and crouched there,
sweltering and envying a school of porpoises, who were playing a
noisy game a few hundred yards away, or wishing we were one of
those huge green turtles that now and then floated by, so calm and
comfortable, independent of wind and wave. Our good captain
held his place, his eyes fixed on a distant point on the horizon,
which had not carried a degree for ages, it seemed to us, and whis-
tled-very low, but very persistently-occasionally varying the
monotony by the spoken words, which we understood to be, simply
a translation of the whistled tune and run something like this
"San Autonia-San Antonia, hear a sailor's prayer,
A prayer for wind, not wild and wailing,
Just a gentle breeze, for sailing,
San Antonia-San Antonia, ruler of the air."
About three o'clock in the afternoon the sailor's patron saint
seemed suddenly to become aware that someone was calling him,
for about that hour the sail stretched itself once or twice, then
become taut. The burnished water was broken by a thousand rip-
ples. with here and there a tiny white cap the distance, then
more, and more, until after a little while the whole ocean seemed
to be trying to run over itself, huge piles of dark green water would
rise up like a wall only to come tumbling down with a crash on the
heels of another roller. On we flew, grandly, gloriously, delight-
fully. The "Mary Ellen" was herself again, and the sailors faith
in San Antonia and the magic whistle was mightily increased. So
we came into port as our captain observed in "good style, just as
the sun was sinking into the tumbling waters of the gulf. The


houses in the distant village were touched by the golden glow that
lingers but a moment after the sun disappears. We could pick out
the office of the American Consular Agent, the barracks, the sta-
tion, the home and office of the "Conmmandantee, or commanding
officer, a broad low structure standing upon stilts some six or eight
feet above the ground; meanwhile we were waited upon by the
alcalde accompanied by a quartette of ragged soldiers, who having
examined our papers and cargo, we were accorded the liberty of
the port, but having heard of the clouds of mosquitoes and sand
flies that rise out of the neighboring swamps about sunset, we
determined to spend the night on deck and visit the town early


the morning. We, therefore, spread our blankets and stretched
ourselves thereon, the air was now delightfully cool, the slight
rocking of the vessel was soothing in the extreme-so, smoking and
talking, we watched the lights twinkling over in the village and
listened in a half dream to the music that floated out across the
water from the "Hotel, where some unfortunate traveller
bravely seeking forgetfulness of the hour, by vigorously sawing on
a fiddle-but at last the lights were extinguished, the unfortunate
traveller either succeeded in drowning his sorrow or gave up the
attempt and the only voice of the hight was the low wash of the
waves about the prow of the boat, as she lay gently tugging at her


We landed earl) in the morning and soon found our way to
the only hotel, and while our practical and progressive friend
looked after the commercial interests of his house, which -as rep-
resented here by an agency, the writer, as the licensed idler of the
party, roamed about the village seeking whom he might devour.
In the course of his prowlings, he found himself in the office of the
American Consular Agent at that time represented by Mr. Henry
Seymour. Mr. Seymour was a bright, young fellow, a native of
Grand Rapids, Michig; and the building in which he was located
was constructed in his native town and shipped to this place, a dis-
tance of about 3,000 miles and "set up" by native workmen at
a cost of something less than six hundred dollars. The house con-
sisted of three good-sized roouls with a veranda across the front
double roof, allowing an air space of about one foot between, nak-
ing the Consular office one of the coolest spots in the village, there-
fore, it was quite natural that we should drop in there and help our
friend put in the time that appeared to drag somewhat heavily-as
Consulur business seemed very quiet. Henry was quite communi-
cative and we profited thereby, and some of the knowledge gained
in those interviews will be given here, and no extra charge made.
This is certainly liberal, considering the distance we had traveled
to secure the information. Among other things, we made special
inquiries about the healthfulness of the place. "Well," lie replied,
"Puerto Cortez is without doubt the healthiest point on the coast
of Central America. Although a constant resident here for six
ears I have never known what it is to be sick-not even for a
single day. This seemed remarkable and we sat a long while
thinking it over, also thinking of the numerous attacks of sore
throat, coughs, colds, tussels with la grippe, bilious and malarial
fevers with which we had contended during the same period in a
climate where the temperature varies from 70 degrees above freez-
ing in the summer to 50 degrees below the winter, or in other
words, where we enjoy a range of 120 degrees between the extreme.
of heat and dold and the thermometer frequently records a variation
of 20, 30, 40 and sometimes as high as 50 degrees, less than
twenty-four hours. "Here" continued Mr. Seymour, "we have
an average summer temperature of 85 degrees, which, tempered as
it is by the delightful sea breeze, is far from oppressive; during the
dry, or winter season, the average falls to about 75 degrees, and


this slight change is accomplished so gradually that the difference
is not perceived, consequently there is no occasion to make any
change in clothing or housekeeping arrangements account of
varying seasons. Our winters correspond with the month of June
the northern states, while our summers are cooler than the
months of July and August in New York or Boston.
The prospect was charming. From where we sat we could
look across the tranquil bay, beyond which, rising to the very
clouds, was the dim outline of the mountains of Omoa. In the
foreground a group of cocoanut trees afforded a wide patch of deep
shade, where a lot of native children were playing. They were
not burdened with clothes and we could not but admire the ease
and freedom of their motions. The longer we gazed on this pleas-
ant scene, the more infatuated we became. The fierce blasts of
winter with their suggestive hints of coal bills, new overcoats
and underwear, to 'ay nothing of boots, scarfs, fur caps and
capes for each of the children, were here unknown. Later in
the day we met quite a number of old residents, persons who had
become acclimated, but who, for some reason did not appear very
robust, but all told the same story-"'never knew what it was to be
laid up" and "never sick a day," were the sterotyped phrases, and
never in all our travels on that coast, were we able to find a
man who had ever been ill. Threats and bribery alike failed to
produce a single witness adverse to the salubrity of this wonderful
climate. Men differed politically, religiously, socially: they took
sides on questions of finance and government measure. and party
spirit sometimes ran to bitter extremes, but on the subject of clim-
ate and health there was but one voice-Honduras possessed the
finest climate in the world and the most conducive to long life and
happiness. That evening we wrote a short note to our wife-the
wife of our bosom-who had' stood by us through many howling
winters in that far north land and this was to inform her that we
had found a haven of rest, but here is the letter-itself:
My dear Mary Jane-I have found a perfect paradise, where sick-
ness, sorrow and de-December are unknown, only lovely May and
sweet September. It is too glorious to think about. Two bright
seasons compose the blissful year, a land of beauty and plenty,
where golden fruits drop at one's feet, where children need no
boots-only frilled collars and straw hats, were happy mothers


have nothing to do but lie in hammocks and watch the darling lit-
tle creatures at their play under the spreading fronds of the cocoa-
nut trees. Sell off everything and come at once. Excuse haste-
I'm looking for a house. Will write again in a day or two.
It then occurred to us that there would be no steamer leaving
for the north for several days, so there was no hurry. We would
leave the letter open and perhaps might be able to add that the
house had been secured. Three of four days later we called again
at the office of the American Consular Agency and were greatly
surprised to find that gay, young representative stretched at full
length on a cot-looking-well, very much like a sick man. His
face was pale, his voice weak, and while his greeting was cordial
it lacked the heartiness that marked our first meeting. "Look
here old fellow" we said, "what's wrong? You seem to be under
the weather, what has happened, lost a consignment, or a friend-
surely not ill?" The consul did not reply at once, but after a
moments pause, during which he lay quite still with eyes closed,
he answered, but in a voice so trembling and broken that we could
hardly believe it was the same that had charmed us on the occasion
of our first call. "No-loss-of-business-or friend" he said, in
a far away tone that was touching to hear, "and-and not-sick
no-not sick." The last words seemed to cost great effort, and
weic accompanied by a ghastly, shivering smile that fairly rattled
as it made its escape between his tightly set teeth. It was a grave-
yard smile-a smile that was full of horrible suggestions-it was
like the fitful gleam of the sexton's lantern among the tombs at
mid-night. "Not sick-no-not sick," he repeated the ,words
feebly, and with a mournful cadence that touched our heart, but
its hard to find an outlet for ones sympathy when the object of
ones solicitude insists they are not ailing in the least. We sug-
gested timidly, "Up a trifle late, or perhaps the brandy was just a
wee bit strong. "No-not-that-just a touch-a touch-of-of
chills-chills and-and fever-every-everybody has them-its
nothing-its nothing-at-at all-please throw that-blanket-
over-my-feet-there-thanks-its nothing. A dose of pills--10
grains of quinine-a couple of hours sleep-and you feel-like-a
new man." This was quite a revelation to us, but we were glad
to know that Henry was not sick. It is true he shook till his cot
rattled half way across the room, but he did this simply because it


was the custom of the country. He 'as perfectly well. We
looked about a little more and found "everybody" had them, and
had them bad. It was a part of the program and a man who
refused to shake with his fellows, would be regarded as mean and
selfish and would be looked upon with suspicion if not with fear.
While my friend had not been "sick a day" he had lost on an
average fifty days every year, or about one year out of the six. One
year of freezing and burning by turns, one solid year of torture-
but "never sick."
We added a postscript to our letter. "Do not make any
change at present. Don't think it would pay to have a sale just
now, besides'there are no houses
vacant at this season. While
the people know nothing
S- sickness, they have strange
S.. shivering spells during which
S their teeth rattle like the "first
bones" in a minstrel show. only
.! ^- "^ louder and wilder. Then the
jr oranges art not ripe and the
i cocoanuts often fall on the heads
of the children and kill them.
There are only two months in
the year, but you might not like
this arrangement of the calander, so please wait."
A few days later we began to feel that we were attracting atten-
tion-that we were being talked about. The hotel loungers would
gather in little groups consulting in whispers and frequently one
or another of the crowd would point over his shoulder in our dir-
ection, and from time to time some remark would be overheard,
which plainly indicated that we were being discussed-and criti-
cised severely, for in all the time we had been at the port, we had
not had a chill and the natives felt that we were puffed up and
proud and not inclined to be sociable. Now we did not wish to
create a bad impression, and as soon as we fairly understood the
sentiment of the community, we sent word around that we would
have "a shake" at 3 P. M. A change occurred. Everyone now
seemed pleased to meet us. There was no more suspicious looks
and whispered consultations. We were welcomed like a brother.


We have often thought since then that it would be almost as pleas-
ant to be sick. The first sensation was an irresistable desire to lie
down and the next a want-to-go-home feeling that was quite crush-
ing, then a chill stole silently down our back. In a few minutes a
dozen were on the field, chasing each other up and down our
spinal column and taking occasional excursions down to our toes.
This lasted an hour, during w\iich we could not get enough blank-
ets, though they were piled up about two feet high all over us.
Suddenly came a change. Our head began to burn, then a flash
of heat dashed in among the racing chills and for ten minutes it
was a struggle which would win, but by degrees the fever gained
and at last occupied the whole ground. The heat seemed unbear-
able. The blankets were scattered in every direction. Such rack-
ing pains in back and limbs, such bursting headache, such thirst.
Finally we slept, a troubled sleep, during which we dreamed of all
the cooling drinks we had ever heard. Even visions of rhe old
spring house at home, with its rows of milk pans half submerged
in the clear, cold water, came to torment us, but at last it was over,
and as Henry had told us, we fell like a "new man, but we also
felt as though we had lost several years in making the change, how-
ever, we were now acclimated and in sympathy with our townsmen
and that is worth a great deal.
We always make a point of stopping at the best hotel-the
best Honduras are not usually too good. The "Ameri-
can" was not an exception to the rule-and this description is
given free-we feel that we ought to be paid for it, but when we
remember how many things we got that were not in the bill of
fare, we think the least we can do is to give the "American" a
free notice. It is not a very large house, and has not been painted
since the Conquest of Mexico, and at the time of our visit was not
crowded. By the way, it is an odd circumstance that almost every
IHotel in Central America is dubbed the "American, beginning
at Livingston, we find an "American House" in every town boasting
a tavern, even to the capitol city. The captain of the Breakwater
had described the structure so minutely that we had little difficulty
in finding it, besides it had a small sign nailed up in front. We
walked in but the clerk was out. The office was a small room
with board partitions, on which were traced many strange names
in pencil and chalk, also a few lager beer cards and some legal


notices in Spanish. The ceiling was formed by stretching muslin
across the joists. It must have been done a long time ago, it
was deeply stained and torn. Long shreds hung down in fanciful
patterns. From various holes the cunning spider constructed his
funnel shaped trap and throve mightily. The plank floor -as
bare, at least it would have been after a scrubbing. In one corner
rested a chair with a broken leg, il another was one with a broken
back, in an adjoining apartment, which seemed to be a sort of
reading we found the third chair, a rocker, which was
quite robust, with the exception of a broken arm. No one seemed
to be at home, if we except a parrot, who was perched on a small
table and who kept muttering .morosly. We selected the
strongest of the invalid chairs, and feeling that we were taking
a mean advantage of one so helpless, seated ourselves as lightly as
possible and awaited developments. After we had received calls
from a hen and brood of chickens, a monkey and a lean hun-
gry-looking dog, the landlady herself appeared, a creole of vast pro-
portions. She was smoking a cigarette, but she spoke English,
which 'as a comfort, and we soon came to an understanding.
We were to have coffee at 6 A. breakfast 10:30 A. \I., dinner at
4:30 t. ni., tea at 7 1'. and an upstairs room, all for the very
reasonable sum of $2.00 per diem. At 10:30 we appeared on the scene,
but no indications of the promised meal. An interview with the
landlady was not particularly satisfactory. "Bekfust soon ready,
she said, and no more information was to be had. We waited-l1
o'clock, 11:30, still no "signs." Meanwhile three Americans and
three Spaniards had gathered in. The natives took possession of the
helpless chairs and puffed away at their cigarettes quite contentedly.
The Americans tramped across the room in restless rage, indulg-
ing their feelings from time to time by outbursts of language that
could hardly be worked into a Sunday school oration, no matter
how carefully the selection might be made. It was past 12 o'clock
when a small darky appeared: "Bekfust sah, as he spoke these
words he disappeared through a dark passage. We all followed
and found the dining hall about such a room as the office, with a
long rickety table in the center, around which the guests seated
themselves and each one reached forth and helped himself. Who
ever placed the breakfast on the table had vanished and
we were left in undisturbed possession, being interrupted only


once by the entrance of a very small girl of ebony complexion,
who brought each a glass of water. At the end of the meal
she came again with a pot full of black coffee.
The following extract from a letter, published in the Pittsburg
Post, contains a pretty faithful description of life at the port at the
time of our visit:
"In the center of the table was a large dish containing the
first course, soup-bean soup. Some one had the hardihood to
ladle out a portion and gently slid the dish before his left hand
neighbor, on the old principle of "cut to the right and deal to the
left." In this way the tureen traveled the whole length of the
table. Second course, roast beef, which the same hardy pioneer
started on its round in the same way. With the beef we ha(d
boiled rice, plantains, casava and frijoles, Bread, but no butter.
Frijoles are simply black beans cooked down to a thick pnsty mass,
seasoned with salt and pepper. Casava is a root, which, when
thoroughly cooked, and not to old, very much resembles our Irish
potato, but when only half done is like so much wood. When the
second course was disposed of the small colored girl appeared
again, removed the plates and put in their place a cup and saucer.
Then she brought a coffee-pot and a bowl of sugar. These articles
made the round of the table, each one pouring out a cupful of the
mixture, black and strong beyond expression. We then lit cigars
and sipped the compound in true Spanish style. During the pro-
gress of the meal the chickens came in to pick up the crumbs and
look alter the floor in a general way, which they did very thor-
oughly in places. This description is not exaggerated, but rather
underdrawn, every meal was a repetition. For a few days it
was not so bad, but as time rolled on, it became intolerable and
we formed the habit of buying canned fruits, pineapples, pickles,
etc. to help out.
When evening came we asked to be shown our room. The
same diminitive colored girl lit a candle and started upstairs, we
followed and were more than pleased, as we had not expected
such a large apartment, in fact this room included the whole
second floor. We told the girl we had no use for so many cots.
There were 16 scattered around, each with its little canopy of mos-
quito bar. Then she informed us that these cots were for the gen-
eral use of the guests, and that each 'gen 'I'man" had an "upstairs"


room. It was the only room. We felt somewhat abashed. We
had never had a whole house placed at our disposal, with so many
privileges before. Silently and swiftly we crept into one of the lit-
tle tents; for the 'andfly -as there,-and his business was urgent.
While we lay there thinking of all the advantages we enjoyed, a
light appeared and one of the boarders quickly divested himself of
his outer covering and shot under the side of the net. He did not
stop to blow out the candle and we could easily see him. He was
looking for something. Presently his hand came up slowly, then
down with a crash. He had caught it. After a little more skirlm-
ishing around he lay down, apparently satisfied.
Nearly everyone carried gold watches, and more or less cash,
but no one seemed to have any fear of robbers and took no precau-
tion whatever. I afterwards learned that the doors were left open
all night. It is but just to say that we never knew of any loss
from theft, this may be owing to lack of energy on part of the
native-but if you please, you may attribute it to his honesty.
In order that strangers may receive a proper impression of the
dignity and strength of the Republic as a military power, it is con-
sidered necessary to have detachment of soldiers stationed
every village. And it is well, for the impression is generally deep
and lasting. At this port, which is the principal one on the Atlan-
tic coast, there are 12 of these native warriors quartered in an old
tumble-down building, known as the "Quartel." Eleven of them
sleep while one leans lazily on his musket to keep them from all
harm. This one is known as the "guardian angel. All are bare-
foot, all ragged-and not too clean. All are genuine natives, Hon-
durians, which means a mixture of Indian, negro and Spaniard.
They are dark-skinned, with black eyes, and shocks of blach hair
which hangs down over their foreheads, they are altogether with-
out enterprise and have hungry, hopeless look. Here they lay
week after week month after month, with no 'ariation in their
daily routine. They receive 2 reals a day (25 cents,) and out of
this sum they must support themselves. The government furnishes
nothing but uniforms, for which it charges a fair price-so fair,
indeed, that the men have to wear a suit to tatters before they 'an
get another. The only active duty they have to perform is at
night, when the mosquitoes and saud flie.. come down on their
defenseless quarters in blinding swarms. To make this dismal sea-


son somewhat more bearable, they light fires about the place just
before sunset and cover them with green wood and grass, produc-
ing a dense smoke. In this way they spend the night in an active
campaign against any invisible enemy.
By the way, I wish to state that, while these insects exist here
great number, they are not so large or dangerous as some
writers would have you believe. I have made a special study of
this subject. That the mosquitoes of Central America have been
grossly and maliciously misrepresented, there can be no doubt.
One writer states that "they are fully as large as a Durham cow,"
with "wings that spread 50 feet," that "they carry a steel-pointed
bill 75 feet long," that they reach across "the street tap a man
under the ear and draw all the blood out of him before he can turn
around," and that the "victim falls to the ground a shriveled,
corpse, so light that the winds blow him about like a dead leaf."
This is all romance and should have no weight with the reader.
I have examined hundreds of specimens, and have never seen one
two feel long. They do not carry of children, and it is all a ho;
about their boring through the thick wall of a house to reach their
prey. The truth the very largest will not weigh five pounds,
and their bills are not as long as some tailors, and not nearly so
sharp. It gives me great pleasure to be able, from personal exper-
ience, to correct these misstatements of unprincipled travelers, and
I would say to all who contemplate a visit to this delightful
region, do not be afraid. You can easily defend yourselves
from the largest and fierciest mosquito with an ordinary "machete,
or short sword, which all the natives carry for this-and other pur-
The Country is beautiful with its cocoanut walks and orange
groves and endless variety of flowering vines and shrubs. The
harbor of Puerto Cortez is one of the finest on the coast, guarded by
lofty mountains on the south and by a long strip of level land on the
north. It is about five miles long and three wide, and so deep that
the largest vessels can approach within a stones throw of the shore
almost, Viewed from the sea the town presents a very pretty pic-
ture, its white houses gleaming among the deep green tropical fol-
iage. It is also the starting point of the only railroad in the State,
which makes it commercially the most important town on the
coast. Banana culture is the main industry, 5000 bunches being


shipped every week from this point alone. While we were at the
port we witnessed the trial of a new engine or locomotive intended
for the famous railroad above referred to, which connects this place
with San Pedro, thirty-six miles inland. By the way, the maps
show this road as completed to Amapala on the Pacific coast, but
like most other Central American enterprises, this great continen-
tal line piled up a debt of $27,000,000 in the first thirty-six miles
of its way, and it was thought best to stop it before it got into the
mountains where it might prove unmanageable.
The locomotive referred to was not exactly new but had been
made to look quite respectable by paint and polish. It was a sec-
ond hand affair picked up at New Orleans by General Kraft, who
practically controlled the road at this time. This was a great
event. For twenty years, more or- less, the natives had watched
the stackless old engine drag its weary way through the one long
street, and when the huge machine was placed on the track in all
its glory of brass, with a huge stack and double.whistle, the peo-
were fairly wild, although half afraid of the monster, which now
threw out smoke and sparks like a volcano and rushed along at
the unheard of speed of 20 miles an hour. The enthusiasm was
unbounded. The superintendent, sub-officers, with the alcalde
and all the local great men, were seated in the tender waving their
hats and bowing to the assembled multitude who answered with
deafening cheers. After making three trips from the Custom
House to the Lagoon, a distance of about three miles, the test was
decided to be satisfactory and the machine accepted. Everybody
drank to the road and its management, to the president, whose
name was painted in bold characters on the pilot, to his cabinet, to
the U. S. and her representatives, to everybody, and to everything.
The joy 'as universal, and no wonder-for years the time
between the port and San Pedro had averaged ten hours and very
often, owing to a breakdown, two whole days would be spent on
the road-but alas! for human hopes-the test had been made on
the hard road bed along the shore which owing to its proximity to
the superintendent's office had been kept in pretty good condi-
tion, and it never occurred to the eager purchasers to extend
the trial trip to San Pedro. The first trip out, the heavy
engine crushed the road into the earth and toppled over, sustaining
considerable damage. Finally it was dragged back to the "lagoon"


where are situated the repair shops, and where, most likely, it
lying to this day. At all events the poor old cripple that had done
service for so maniy years was recalled, and on our last visit was
still carrying freight and passengers at 'irregular intervals, at the
very safe speed of three miles an hour."
Quite a number of Americans have recently established cocoa-
nut plantations on this coast, and the neighboring islands, and when
we consider the small capitol required, the certainty of success, and
the comfortable profits, it is surprising that more have not followed
their example. With proper care this thrifty palm begins to bear
the fourth or fifth year from planting, and continues without inter-
missions for fifty years at least, just how much longer no one seems
to know, though we were shown trees that were said to be seventy-
five years old, that were still producing a fair quality of nuts. A
"walk' once established, the proprieter may rest assured that his
future is provided for, as far as income is concerned, as the demand
bids fair to exceed the supply for a long time to come. Each tree
in full bearing is worth from two to three dollars per annum,
from $120 to $180 per acre. The only labor required is to go
over the ground at stated seasons and gather the fallen nuts into
piles at convenient distances from the shore, from.whence they will
be taken by vessels ingaged in the fruit trade, the cash being paid
as soon as the load is complete.
Cocoanuts have no season, but are constantly maturing through-
out the year. on each tree will be found nuts in every stage of
growth, from the blossom to those fully ripe. This tree loves the
sea and flourishes best within the sound of the surf. The salt
breath of the ocean is necessary to insure perfection. A
Jamaica planter informed the writer that the cost of setting a grove
on that island, including all expenses, until it begins to bear, will
not exceed $-10 per acre-what could be more delightful than a
home in this land of perpetual summer, and ever blooming flowers,
surrounded by the tall palms, which 1i their wealth at your feet
while you swing in y-our hammock listening to the murmur of the
sea, or the melancholy paint of the musical-- mosquito.

--C --~~

~-- ------



One day it occurred to us, that we had seen enough of Puerto
The captain of Utilla Sloop, "The Sea Gull," of nine
tons burden, happened to be on hand with an empty vessel,
waiting for a commission. Having learned that he was one of the
best sailors in the south, and that he was not averse to a cruise of
a month, we chartered the vessel. and soon transferred our belongings
to its hold, after which we bid adieu to our many friends and went
aboard about 3 r. We rejoiced to again breathe th'e free air of
the sea and feel the motion of the boat as it answered to the swell
that was now running quite high, owing to a stiff breeze from the
north, which drove the waters of the gulf through the narrow
entrance of the harbor and piled them up until they splashed
among the piles supporting the old store-house, which we had just
abandoned and which ordinarily stood fifty feet from the shore.
We lay at anchor until about sun down, when the north wind fell,
and shortly after the "land" breeze came in fitful puffs, then more
steadily, until our sail filled and we were under way. Our crew
consisted of Capt. Brown and mate Roland, both white,
natives of Jamaica, the latter acted in the double capacity of cook
and common sailor: the passengers were three in number, the
writer, his cousin axd colored servant, James, sometimes called
Santiago. James was a native of Mexico and a bright boy of his
class. He spoke the Spanish language fluently, and was well
versed in the strange dialect of the Caribs, which made his ser-
vices valuable in dealing with the mixed population of the coast,
who invested many a shining dollar through the enticing eloquence
of this dusky trader.
We stopped at a number of small villages and did a thriving
trade. There are no harbor, along the north coast excepting


those of Puerto Cortez and Truxillo, the latter being protected on
one side only, is nothing to brag of, but the towns and vil-
lages lying between those points are without harbors and landing
is difficult and sometimes dangerous. Owing to the prevalence of
the trade winds, there is usually a tremendous surf, and vessels
are often detained several days on this account. This, of course,
is a great disadvantage to these places, which otherwise are splen-
didly situated in the midst of the fruit belt.
We made shore at Tela, in the aidst of a surf that threatened
destruction to goods and passengers. Landing under such circum-
stances is an experience to be remembered. The Captain and
Roland are good oarsmen. They are in the small boat which is
being tossed about like a bubble, now it strikes the sloop with a


bang, the next instant is ten feet awiy, then back, up and down.
The sloop is small and light, and rolls almost as bad as the yawl.
The Captain is waiting for us to make "the leap from the deck to
his boat. We watch closely, the tenth part of a second too soon
or too late, means a plunge into the sea. The water looks nice


and cool, but a half dozen sharks have been following in our wake.
They are large and hungry. We do not wish to meet them-we
watch the little boat-it strikes the sloop with a crash. "Now!"
shouts the captain, we leap wildly and fall in a heap, but safe.
Then for the land. As we approach, the angry breakers roll
higher and higher. The Captain is an expert. We ride the
waves like bird, we approach the shore, the water is becoming
rougher every instant, a great, green wall is piling up behind us,
the captain shouts, we know he is shouting by the motion of his
lips, but his words are lost-our ears are filled with the roar of the
surf that is breaking along the coast for miles, it is louder than
Niagara, every time we rise on the crest, of one of those green
mountains we can see the shore-men are watching us-waiting
for us-then we sink into a valley. For a moment nothing is vis-
able but a streak of sky-up once more-then a shock, we have
struck the sand, but fifty feet of shoal water still intervenes, men
rush out to meet us-they motion us to jump on their backs. Our
cousin is a light weight. He leaps nimbly on the shoulders of a
stalwart native and is borne safely to the land. The captain,
Roland and James all go safely. I hesitate, having never been
carried since I can remember-don't like the idea-native looks
weak-no other way. Indian says "come, only word of English
he know.. I go, he trembles under me-will he reach the shore ?
He hesitates, then, with a snort like a wild horse he staggers for-
ward. I pity him, offer to get down and help, but he don't under-
stand and before I can make my meaning clear, he is on land.
"Kiramba," is the only word he utters as he falls on the sand,
sprawling at full length. Thus we land at Tela, a village of huts,
with a few orange trees and cocoanut palms and some small ban-
ana plantations. A few soldiers, one of whom died during our
visit and we saw him buried with scant ceremony in his ragged
uniform, and without a coffin.
Two incidents occurred during our stay in this village, that serve
to fix the place indelibly in our minds. The first was the passing of
a waterspout and as it was the first event of the kind we ever wit-
nessed, we were much impressed by the spectacle. The following
account is taken from the Pittsburg Post:
About three o'clock this afternoon, while enjoying our usual
siesia, we were aroused by a strange noise-it was unlike anv-


thing I had heard, and I listened for a minute or so, trying to
account for it without the trouble of getting up, for as yet I was
only half awake. The air was.heavy and close, as though charged
with some noxious gas; breathing required an'effort that was unnat-
ural. We seemed tu lie under the shadow of some uncertain peril.
The interior of the grove was dark as a deserted church.
Meanwhile the mysterious din increased to a heavy rum-
bling roar, to which were now added a variety of notes, sharp, shrill.
hissing, at times so piercing as to amount to a shriek, almost human
in its intensity. There was also a succession of sharp reports with
a crackling sound like that produced by the burning of a cane brake.
Now fully awake I tumbled from my hammock in baste, and
sought the source of all this commotion. Emerging from the deep
shadows of the grove I was confronted by the most remarkable
spectacle I had ever witnessed. Within a quarter of a mile of the
shore a gigantic waterspout was moving slowly in a westerly dir-


section almost parallel with the line of breakers that lashed the
coast. At this distance the appearance was peculiar and striking.
A dark-column rose from the water to the cloud above, which
seemed torn by contending winds, so that great sections of the

A I-oosrimz h-oxDur'As.

black curtain were every moment whipped off and went tumbling
downward only to be drawn within the terrible vortex and again
sent skyward and there scattered in a thousand fragments by the
opposing forces above. Thus there was a constant downward rush
of clouds at a shortdistance from the center of action, and a con-
stant upward rush close to the rising column as they were drawn
within the influence of the whirlwind.
At the base of the pillar, which grew heavier and blacker
every moment, the water was lashed into a state of fury quite inde
scribable. Clouds of spray obscured the sea for a distance of one
hundred yards or more. beyond which it was comparatively
smooth. Although frequent and vivid flashes of lightning played
among the writhing masses of vapor, there was no following crash
of thunder, which struck one as remarkable at the time, though I
am now convinced that the sound was simply drowned, as it were,
by the superior roar of wind and waves. The scene pre-
sented was grand and fearful. The heavy brow of the approach-
ing cloud bulged downward as though ready to burst with the
accumulated weight of water; the color of this advance guard was
a dull olive, almost black, merging into a sulphurous yellow on
the edges of the heavy folds, among which the lurid flashes
gleamed incessantly. It seemed like a hand-to-hand conflict
between the forces of air and water, and we watched it with intense
interest, and some apprehension, for several minutes, after which
the wind seemed to have spent its strength, the stately shaft began
to waver and soon broke near the center, the upper portion mning
ling with the clouds, the lower part falling back into the sea which
soon became calm as the surrounding surface.
Three minutes later the over-burdened clouds, unable longer
to support the tremendous weight imposed on them, gave way, and
the downpour that followed baffles description. It was not rain
the ordinary sense; the water did not fall in drops, but in streams,
producing a fine spr, that hid all but the nearest objects.
Although our house was situated on a high knoll it trembled under
the pressure, and we seemed surrounded by the sea. Fortunately
this did not last but a few seconds, else the very earth must have
been washed away. As it was, the lower portion of the village was
inundated and many houses destroyed.
I have described in a feeble way the appearance of what is


popularly known as a waterspout, but which is nothing more or
less than a whirlwind of unusual violence, occurring on the water
instead of land, and gathering up in its strong arms the spray from
the waves, in place of dust,. leaves and other light material encoun-
tered when traversing the same distance over fields and woods.
The primary cause of whirlwinds has h ever been satisfactorally
explained. The commonly accepted theory is,that they are produced
by the action of counter currents of air, that is, two currents, moving
in opposite directions meet and instead of sliding along smoothly and
peaceably, as they should, one will try to induce the other to
change its course, which the other naturally refuses to do, the con-
sequence is, a portion of air from either side becomes engaged in a
violent tussel pulled to the right on one hand, to the left on the
other, until in the confusion it forgets which side it belongs to, and
gaining in strength, declares itself an independent body, and goes
whirling along quite indifferent to all the laws of air, a windy rebel,
full of blow and bluster!
The only plausible, I should say reasonable, theory that has
been advanced was given 'a few years ago by a writer who said
the atmosphere surrounding the earth might be compared to
a series of blankets, stretched one above the other, the dividing
line usually being marked by clouds of various forms arranged in
horizontal lines, their character varying according to their height.
On certain occasions a stratum of very warm air lies immediately
over the earth's surface, right above this we find a second stratum
of cold air. The hot air being light presses upward with a con-
stant effort to escape, but is held in place by an equally firm pres-
sure from above, but it sometimes happens that the 6verlying
blanket has been worn thin in places and the hot air taking advan-
tage of the situation rips out a square and rushe. through. News
of the breach spreads rapidly, and soon all the warm air in the
vicinity hurries forward watching for an opportunity to crowd out
into the cool space above. My-authority goes on to say that the
motion of the air near this opening is precisely the same as that
produced in a basin of water by suddenly removing the stopper in
the bottom. The rapid displacement of the lower portion causes a
commotion which in a second or two extends to the surface, form-
ing a miniature whirlpool which continues to revolve until all the
'ater has escaped.


The accompanying illustration, from a sketch made on the
spot, will give the reader some idea of a waterspout as viewed by the
writer from a distance of one-fourth of a mile, or there about.
Two miles out the sun is brightly shining and the tiny white caps
flash merrily. Far away, on the horizon, a couple of schooners
bound for some southern port, are tranquiling sailing, apparently
unconscious of their dangerous neighbor; but the captains have
already noted the storm and carefully computed its distance, its
speed and direction. They knew long ago that there was nothing
to fear from this revolution of the winds."
The other event which renders Tela quite unforgettable was
the result of a trait peculiar to the native. While the experience
was purely personal, its rehearsal will serve as an illustration of
Hondurian character and for this purpose we again quote from the
"The politeness of the Spaniards is proverbial. Sometimes it
is excessive-I might say oppressive. They place their houses,
furniture and servants at your disposal. Do you contemplate a
journey, they will furnish horses as well as Mozos, and accompany
you in person quite regardless of the sacrifice to their own inter-
ests. If you admire an article you are at once informed that "it is
yours." Yesterday my traveling companion, himself a man of
family and a lover of children, stopped at a wayside cottage in
quest of bananas. He says he was met in the doorway by a baby
of the brunette type, a dark, rich, walnut color, with a shock of
black tangled hair and great fishy, staring eyes. It was naked. With
one dusky hand resting on the bamboo frame it aided its faltering
steps, with the other it grasped a large piece ot "dulce" (native
sugar,) which it sucked with evident satisfaction. Wishing to
make a good impression at the start, and well knowing a mother's
weakest point, he began to extol the infant's charms in the warm-
est terms. Such lovely eyes! Such a heavenly complexion!
Such a sweet expression! (literally true.) He says he will never
forget the feeling of amazement, followed by one of horror and
disgust, when the polite senora thrust the squirming youngster
into his arms saying, "take him, he is yours.' I do not wish to ques-
tion friends veracity-but this sounds like a-well say a
chestnut re-roasted.
I had been suffering silently several days from a defective


tooth. One morning the pain was so great I could got conceal my
annoyance. It was a large, double molar, wayback in the
upper jaw. I was almost frantic. There was no dentist within a
hundred miles. Our good host, Don Jose, noticing my agitation,
inquired the cause and at once offered his services. His father had
practiced dentistry ars ago, and among the old heirlooms was
a pair of forceps of ancient pattern. They were covered with a
thick coating of rust-dark red-horribly suggestive. For a half
hour I had been seriously contemplating self-destruction, but the
moment my importunate friend appeared with this frightful instru-
uienf of emancipation the pain ceased, and life seemed a sweet
and priceless possession.
I hastened to assure him of my recovery and begged him not
to trouble himself further, adding, that I should always feel under
obligations for the unselfish interest manifested in my behalt. But
he was not to be moved. The tooth should be taken out by all
means. It would not be any trouble, on the contrary he would
consider it a personal favor to be allowed to "serve senor.'' It would
be a mark of respect and confidence that would be appreciated and
treasured in his memory for years, he said. Meanwhile a crowd of
natives had gathered about the door. His wife and daughter came
in and added their entreaties to those of the ardent Don. The
spectators were becoming restless. Murmurs of impatience were
heard. Insinuations, muttered half aloud, reached my ears.
Some of these were not exactly flattering to my vanity. 'Bockra
man too much 'fraid. This was more than my pride could bear.
I offered myself an unwilling and trembling sacrifice to that man'
vain ambition. Oh !
From Tela we went to Ceiba, where we were landed in the
usual picturesque fashion. This pretty little city nestles at the foot
of Conger Hoy, the highest mountain in Honduras. It has a pop-
ulation of about 4000. Being situated in the center of the banana
belt, it enjoys a degree of prosperity unequaled by any town on the
north coast. It is well built of frame and adobe houses, many of
them neatly painted, their red-tiled roofs gleaming among banana
and cocoanut ''walks," which abound on every side. I am told
that the shipments of bananas from this point alone average about
100,000 bunches monthly during the busy season, which includes
April, May, June and July.


The thunder of the surf makes endless music for the lover of
nature, but the contending waves interfere sadly with the work of
loading vessels which have to anchor about a mile away beyond
the line of breakers. All fruit must be taken out in lighters, and
the difficulty of "putting off" and lauding in these raging waters
can only be appreciated by those who have enjoyed the personal ex-
perience. Often the sea is so rough that even the Caribs, who are
expert sailors, are unable to launch a boat. At such times I have
known steamers to lie early a week waiting for .the angry waters
to subside.
The scenery in this vicinity is charming. The lofty dome-like
crest of Conger Hoy rises to a height of 8,040 feet, clothed with
verdure to its very top. This is an extinct volcano, and the shore
is strewn with pumice stone thrown from its crater centuries ago,
for it has not been active since the discovery of America. Some-
times in the early morning a beautiful and startling effect is pro-
duced. The base, shrouded in mist, seems far away, dim and
indistinct, while the summit, towering far above the clouds, every
projecting rock and shadowy ravine revealed by the slanting rays
of the rising sun, seems thrust forward until it overhangs the town.
So striking is this illusion at times that one can hardly resist the
feeling of awe, almost of fear, inspired by the strange spectacle.


To the westward stands the twin peak of Bonita, almost as
high and much more precipitous. The two are connected by a


series of lofty ridges, presenting in places an unbroken rock
wall 2,000 feet high. It is only by comparison that the mind
can grasp comprehensively such tremendous elevations. To do
so, stand before the Masonic Temple (Chicago,) on the Soldiers
monument (Indianapolis,) look up to the top of the shaft, measure
well the distance, then, if your imagination is strong enough, pile
six towers of the same height on the one before you. This will
will give some idea of the precipice presented by the huge ragged
spur that connects these giants.
These are the mountains that guided the storm-tossed vessels
of Columbus when on his fourth voyage he vainly sought for a
strait through which he might sail into the undiscovered seas to
the westward. It was within a few leagues of this place that he
landed on the 14th day of August, 1502, to attend mass, which
was celebrated under the trees, in the presence of the sailors and a
large number of natives, who had assembled for the double pur-
pose of satisfying their curiosity and bartering the products of the
country for European trinkets.
And here we are to-day trading with the decendauts of these
same natives in much the same manner, transporting our stock on
mules, traveling for days through unbroken forests, traversing
dense jungles or toiling wearily over mountains. Four centuries,
so eventful in other parts of the earth, seem to have left no
impression on this land of hammocks and dreamy repose." One
evening we found ourselves before the ancient city of Truxillo.
In the year 1524 or 1525, Hernando Cortez, then in the zen-
ith of his fame, arrived at this port, which was at that early date,
a place of considerable importance. Cortez had left the capital of
Mexico for the express purpose of punishing the rebel Christoval
de Olid, a brave but unprincipeled general, whom the ruler of New
Spain had instructed to establish a settlement on the north coast
of Honduras, and to that end he was intrusted with a small army
to carry out the enterprise, which, having accomplished, he
decided to set up a govern nient of his own. However, the story
of his disaffection finally reached the ears of the Vice Roy, who at
once despatched a faithful follower, Francisco de las Casas, with
orders to arrest the rebel-but the avenger fell into the hands of
Olid and was made a prisoner, but after a time was released. No
sooner was he at liberty than he began plotting the overthrow of


Olid and at last succeeded in securing enough followers to carry
out his purpose, and Christoval de Olid was promptly beheaded.
Meanwhile Las Casas, having remained absent so long, Cortez
fearing that he had been overtaken by some disaster, decided to go
to his rescue and at the same time punish his rebellious general in
such a way that the example would be an object lesson to others
who might be tempted in the same manner. Cortez finding his
mission fulfilled, so far as Olid was concerned, spent some time
exploring the country near the mouth of the Rio Dulce, after
which he fitted up two brigantines and continued the expedition
with a view of exploring more thoroughly the coast of Honduras.
It was during this excursion that he visited the port now known as
Truxillo or Trujillo, as the Spaniards frequently write it. The
surf was running so high that lie decided not to land, but the
inhabitants "were so overjoyed that they rushed into the shallow
water and eagerly bore the general their arms to the shore.
Just so, we have been carried at almost every place on the coast
and our heart swells with pride to think that our appearance has
been hailed with almost the same enthusiasm that greeted the
renowned Cortez, and that people have splashed out through the
salt water for the purpose of carrying us ashore, for pure love and
admiration-of our pocket book.



The city possesses a fair harbor, being partly sheltered by
long narrow strip of land, which runs out to the east of the town,
and as the prevailing winds are from that direction, landing ordiu-
arily is easily accomplished. We arrived at this place on the 15th
of July. The sea being calm, we went on shore at once. 'The
principal part of the town is built on a narrow plateau about eighty
feet above the sea, but the custom house and a few wholesale
stores are clustered about the landing and along the line of the
street leading up to the main portion of the city. This road is
cobbled from wall to wall and is very long and steep and those who
have walked its length under the tropical sun, will not soon for-
get the tramp, but at the enld we are rewarded by the sight of the
"Posado Crespo," one of the finest, best equipped and managed
hotels in Honduras. Here we were allowed rooms on the second
floor, large, airy apartments opening on a long balcony ovdrlook-
ing the plaza.
The plateau on which the city is built is perhaps a half riile
wide, immediately back of which the mountains rise to the clouds.
Like most towns on the coast, the Caribs represent the working
class and we took advantage of the opportunity to secure a sup.
ply of pine apples. This matchless product of the tropics here
attains its highest degree of perfection, its cultivation requiring
only the slightest effort, yet with all these advantages, and in face
of the fact that it always commands a good market, the indolent
natives refuse to take the trouble to raise it, hence our appreciation
of the industrious habits of the caribs, whose enterprise made it
possible for us to enjoy this delicious fruit to the fullest extent.
Truxillo or Trujillo, was founded sometime previous to 1525,
probably about 1520, for it was an established settlement enjoying
a considerable trade at the time of the visit of Cortez. While this
famous general was being feasted in the village and his brigan-
tines were rocking idly in the sunny sea, John de Verrazano was
exploring the cold and cheerless shores of- New York, but it was
almost a hundred years later that the first permanent settlement
was made by the Dutch on Manhattan Island, thus it will be seen
that Truxillo is one of the oldest towns in America being from 30
to 40 years older than St. Augustine, Fla.
Among the interesting specimens of ancient Spanish architec-
ture, the old church and ruined fort will probably have the great-


est attraction for the visitor, especially if lie has a taste for antiqui-
ties. The crumbling towers of the old fortification with its walls
covered with vines, forms one of the most picturesque objects in
the town, and if the tourist is artistically inclined he will not leave
without carrying with him some sketches of this romantic ruin.
The modern town is built of adobe and many of the houses were
neatly painted and quite a number of new structures were under
course of construction.
We were not long in learning that Truxillo was even more
healthful than Puerto Cortez, and fever was quite unknown but a
many persons had the same strange spells of shivering that
were noted at all other points on the coast, and during our short
stay there were several deaths. Among those who were "never
sick" was a young man from New York. He was quite delirious
and talked incessantly about the cool spring on his father's farm,
which was situated near Albany. In any other country this man
would have been considered "quite under the weather," but not so
here. "He'll be up in a day or two" said the doctor, and the doc-
tor was right, two days later found him "up" on the hill, but
he did go of his own volition. If this case had occurred
one of our own ports,
it would have been ,
classed yellow fever
and the town quarain-
tined: but they have
no such troubles in -z
this happy land. Thel
deception so univer-
sally practiced by the .
officials, and in some --
cases by the leading .= ,c& aTrz /
merchants and plan- -"-
ters in regard to the
prevalence of deadly BREAD TRE AND FRUIT.
fevers is nothing short
of criminal, and is altogether inexcusable, as by taking such wise pre-
cautions as have been noted iu the more progressive town of Belize,
the ravages of this dread disease (call it yellow fever or black, as
you prefer, its equally fatal) would be greatly diminished if not
wholly avoided.


This reckless indifference to the welfare of visitors and possible
investor, the outgrowth of selfishness and ignorance, satisfactorily
accounts for the backward conditions of society and trade along this
coast which under happier circumstances might enjoy a high degree
of prosperity. It was at this place that Win. Walker of Filibuster
fame met his death. Those unfamiliar with the history of this
famous outlaw will find an admirable account of his life and wild
raids in the book entitled "Story of the Filibusters, by James
Jeffrey Roche, to which we are indebted for the following record of
his sentence and death. "To capture the town of Trujillo on the
mainland was but work of half an hour, only a few of the assailants
being wounded. Walker received a slight wound the face.
Scarcely had the town been occupied when a British war steamer,
the Icarus, appeared on the scene. Captain Salmon. her com-
mander, immediately notified Walker that the British Government
held a mortgage against the revenues of the port as security for cer-
tain claims, and that he intended to protect the interests of his gov-
ernment by taking possession of the town. Walker replied that he
had made Trujillo a free port and consequently could not entertain
any claims for revenues which no longer existed. The captain re-
fused to recognize any change in the government of Ionduras and
sent a peremptory demand for surrender, promising in case of corn
pliance to carry the prisoners back to the UnitedStates, and threat-
ening to open fire on the town if his demand was not iimmediatly com-
plied with, meanwhile General Alverez.with 700 soldiers was pre-
paring to make an assualt by land, thus hemmed in Walker deter-
mined to evacuate Trujillo, which he did the following night
retreating down the coast with only seventy men. In their haste
they were compelled to leave behind all their heavy baggage and
accoutrements, carrying only thirty rounds of ammunition each,
the rest they destroyed. When the British landed next morning
they were only in time to protect the sick and wounded in the hos-
pital from the ferocious Hondurians. The Icarus immediately took
Alvarez and a strong force on board and steamed down the coast in
pursuit. At the mouth of the Rio Negro they learned that Walker
lay encamped at the Indian village of Lemas whither the boats of
the Icarus were sent. They found the adventurers in no condi-
tion to oppose such overwhelming odds. They carried with them
only two barrels of bread and being without blankets or overcoats


many had been attacked with fever from sleeping on the damp
ground. To Captain Salmon's demand for unconditional surrender,
Walker replied witu the inquiry whether he was surrendering to the
British or Hondurians? Captain Salmon twice assured him dis-
tinctly and specifically that it was to her Majesty's forces, where-
upon the Filibusters laid down their armns and were carried on
board the Icarus. On arriving at Trujillo, CaptAin Salmon,
turned his prisoners over to the Hondurian authorities despite their
protest and demand for trial before a British tribunal. Walker was
arraigned before a court-martiel on the eleventh of September and
after a brief examination was condemned to die by the fusillade next
morning. He heard his sentence with calmness and was remanded
to prison to pass the night in preparing for death. At half past
seven o'clock on the
morning of September
12th he was led out to
the place of execution. 4 J
He walked unfettered ''
with a calm firm tread.
He carried the crucifix
in his left hand, a hat in
his right. A priest
walked by his side re-
citing prayers for the
dying. Two soldiers -:
walked before him carry-
ing drawn sabres, three-
more followed him with
bayonets at the charged. DENTIT.
Upon entering the hollow square of soldiery on the plaza, he begged
the priest to ask pardon in his name of anyone whom he had
wronged in his last expedition, then mounting the fatal stool he
addressed his executioners in Spanish, as follows
"I am a Roman Catholic. The war which I made in accor-
dance with the suggestion of some of the people Ruatan was unjust.
I ask pardon of the people. I receive death with resignation,
would that it might be for the good of society," Then calm as he
had ever been in peace or in war, he awaited the fatal signal. The
captain of the firing party gave a sharp order, dropped the point of


his saber and at this sign three soldiers stepped forward to within
twenty feet of the condemned man and fired their muskets. All of
the balls took effect but still the victim was not dead, whereopon a
fourth soldier advanced; and placing the muzzle of his piece to the
forehead of the victim, blew out his brains-and so died the last of
the Filibusters.
Though Walker, the outlaw, freebooter and usurper, may have
richly deserved the fate which overtook him the plaza of this
ancient town, language cannot frame a sentence biLLer enough to
properly express the feeling of scorn which is aroused in recalling
the perfidy of Captain Salmon, whose treachery in thus delivering
his prisoners into the hands of his enemies, after faithfully promis-
ing to carry him and his wretched companions to the United States,
could only be matched by the brutal and inhuman savages into
whose hands he played. It seems incredible that an English offi-
cer of his rank and intelligence could have been guilty of such base-
ness. I hope my readers will not attribute this outbreak to sec-
tional feeling or national antipathy-it was simply a case of indi-
vidual barbarity and for fear these words ay be misconstrued as
aimed at the British as a class, I will recite another incident which
goes to show that the English heart is not always: on the wrong
side. The story told in the following letter, recently printed
in the "News."
"Now that the brief misunderstanding between this country
and Great Britain is happily at an end, and we are shaking hands
and congratulating each other on the peaceful settlement of the diffi-
cult), it is pleasant to recall an incident in which her majesty'
armed sloop Niobe once did us a friendly turn. It was during the
Cuban Rebellion of 1868-76 and the date was November, 1873. A
vessel, the Virginus, sailing under the United Sates flag had been
captured by the Spanish gunboat, Tornado, and carried into the
harbor of Santiago, where here crew and over 100 passengers were
thrown into prison. Among the latter were four insurgent leaders,
Senores Ryan, Cespedes, Varona and Del Sol. These were immed-
iately tried by the Spanish Military Court and five days after the
capture were shot, their heads cut off and carried about the
streets on pikes, while-some of the bearers pressed the ghastly relics
against the bars of the prison windows, as a reminder of the late the
captives might expect. Having so quickly dispatched these rebels,


the thirst for blood was increased ten fold. The remaining priso-
ners were at once treated to a mock trial and condemned to death.
No attention was paid to the protests of the English and American
Consuls and on the seventh day of November, Captain Fry an
American citizen, and fifty-one companions were cruelly butchered
in the presence of a howling mob, who were allowed to mutilate the
dead bodies as they choose. This fiendish work was not only per-
mitted but was encouraged by the Spanish commander. It seems
incredible that such atrocities could have been perpetrated in the
present century by i Christian nation, but such are the facts which
are well authenticated. About ninety poor wretches still remained
in confinement, and in spite of the earnest protest of our representa-
tives supplemented by the efforts of the English Consul, the entire
number where condemned to death and the hour set for their execu-
tion. No American ,-ssel was in those waters at that time, but
thanks to the ever present English man of war the armed sloop
Niobe lay at Kingston within a d, -s sail. No sooner had her com-
mander, Sir Lambton Lorraine, heard of the work going on at San-
tiago than he set sail for that port, where he arrived promptly and
without waiting for instructions or consulting anyone, he at once
demanded the reprieve of the condemmed men, most of whom were
Americans, and when General Burriel sought to argue the ques-
tion, he quickly brought the debate to a close. You have mur-
dered British subjects, he declared, and are holding others in prison,
release them immediately or I will blow your town to atoms! There
was no dallying, the Niobe's ports were open, her guns trained and
every man at his post. It required only a signal from the commander
to bring down a storm of shot and shell that would soon have reduced
the town to a mass of smoking ruins. Burriel made one more effort
by insisting that only Americans were concerned, thinking by this
assertion to arouse the prejudice of the English commander. The
ruse did not succeed. If that the case, replied Lorraine, I
will take the responsibility of protecting American citizens, if you
do not at once comply with my demands I will open fire. The
Spaniard was forced to accept the terms and to this friendly but
unwarranted act of an English captain, nearly a hundred lives were
saved, a large proportion of whom were citizens of the United
States. Possibly -the Englishman erred in a diplomatic point of
view by taking the high-handed course adopted on this occasion,


but we cannot help admiring the courage that moved him to act so
promptly and vigorously in behalf of the little band of Americans
who would have been shot like dogs within a few hours. The epi-
sode furnishes one example at least when a British man of war was
a welcome sight to Yankee eyes, and the remembrance at this tiuie
cannot fail to hasten the return of an era of good felling on the part
of the two great powers, that after all are very closely allied in all
that appeals to the great heart of humanity.



From Truxillo we returned to Puerto Cortez by way of the
Bay Islands, visiting Bonacca, Ruatan and Utilla in succession.
This part of the trip was like a holiday excursion and will always
be remembered with pleasure. The first day's sail was rather rough
owing to headwinds which kepts on the "tack" during the
whole day and the motto of the hour was, "Look out for the boom,
for with each change of course the heavy timber would swing
across the deck with teriffic force, and fearfully close to the floor,
so whenever we heard the warning cry all hands fell flat. The
waves were glorious and we could not sufficiently admire the beaut-
iful play of color as the light penetrated the rising crest that fell a
moment later in a sheet of glistening foam. The breeze continued
fresh, flocks of gulls wheeled about over head while vast schools of
porpoises churned the sea into a creamy foam. Occasionally a wave
of unusual dimensions would sweep the deck drenching us to the
skin in spite of our huge oil skin coats or 'slickers, which we had
provided for such emergencies, but with a temperature averaging
about 85 degrees, a ducking 'as not such a disagreeable exper-
ience. Here and there some pirate of the deep, would be be seen
in pursuit of its legitimate prey, the flying fish, but apparently
meeting with small success, the little fellows being to quick for
them; as they rose from the water in the distance they looked like
flakes of burnished silver floating in the air-their flight was swift
and extended front one hundred to two hundred yards, at a time.
One struck the sail and fell on deck, which we captured, but
soon restored to liberty and the chances of being devoured by its
old enemy. *
Bonacca is a picturesque little island, inhabited by a mixed
population of Indians, negroes and half breeds and one or two
whites. Like all other places on the coast, this town was noted for
its healthfulness-indeed, the climate was so excessively salubrious
the inhabitants could not live on the mainland but built their village a
mile or more from shore, where a coral reef formed the foundation


for the miserable huts which were raised on piles about four feet
above the water. All communication was carried on in boats. As
might he expected under such circumstances, the citizens of this
western \Venice are lawless and ignorant, their principal diversion
being found in cutting each others throats. The only incident
recalled at this place occurred on the evening of our arrival. A
couple of Indians had been indulging their tastes for carnage, by
hacking each other heads with their ever ready machetes- As is
usual in such affrays, one of the pair was killed. The "Comand-
ante" sent a couple of half clad soldiers to arrest the criminal.
They succeeded in capturing hin and were proceeding to the
Cabildo in their boat, when the prisoner, succeeding in freeing his
hands, made a sudden leap for liberty. He swam with the great-
est ease but the soldiers followed him closely belaboring him with
their oars until he sank from exhaustion. He was then dragged
out and carried to headquarters in an insensible condition, covered
with blood. The scene was revolting and we were glad to leave
the miserable island, which under a stable and civilized government
might be made one of the pleasantest resorts in the south.
From Bonacca to Ruatan is some 30 or 40 mile., the wind
being favorable the "sea-gull'' fairly leaped from wave to wave.
We were now in the track of the trade winds which blow with such
regularity that they cause surface current that bears the boat
along as on a river. The same wind carried Columbus and his
intrepid followers gaily along the same path four hundred.years
before, but proved a perfect demon when he attempted to return
and he was forced to "tack" along the shore of the main land,
much as we had done on our outward journey, but we were in the
"swim" now and a few hours sailing found us at the little harbor
of Oakridge, Island of Ruatan. The entrance to this pretty little
bay is scarcely wide enough to admit a vessel being protected by
long line of coral reefs. A couple of poles firmly fixed in an
upright position indicated the exact location of the opening and by
carefully maneuvering, our captain steered tlhe sloop safely between
the rocks over which the water was roaring with a voice louder
than thunder. We only stopped at this place long enough to
secure a fresh supply of water and pineapples, and to call on some
English boat builders, the Cooper Bros., who, with their parents
had made this lonely, but lovely harbor their home for many years.


Here we saw the bread fruit, and the tree which produces it. We
were dissapointed-instead of nice crisp, brown leaves hanging
from eve-y liimb ready for the table, we found only a green spongy
sort of substance about the size of a cauliflower, which it somewhat
resembles: it was not good raw, and was worse boiled, but it
is said to be nutritious; it will sustain life, which is about all the
natives care for; however, if the fruit is not quite up to ones expec-
tations the tree itself surpasses them. It is beautiful and attains
huge proportions, and should be cultivated for shade and ornament
if for nothing else, its wide spreading branches and light green fol-
iage, which forms an agreeable contrast to the denser growths,
making it particularly desirable for public highways or private
grounds. From here we went to Coxenhole, the largest town on
the island but were prevented from landing by reports of yellow
fever, which some evil minded person had circulated but which, of
course, were indignantly denied by the Spanish officials. How-
ever, the American Consul, Mr. Burchard, came abroad our vessel
and advised us to stay on the boat, for, said he, "while there may
be no lever in the town, quite a number of persons have persisted
in dying every day and almost without warning. Two of my office
force have been carried 'up the hill' within the last forty-eight
hours." Neither had been "sick," they simply died, to be in
fashion perhaps, but as we had no ambition to keep up with the
style and cared very little for the opinions of these people, we
decided to run the risk of incurring their displeasure by continuing
in this vulgar state of existence; so after viewing this interesting
old town for a few hours from the deck of the sloop and taking on
a supply of fresh water and 'ruit, we put about and were soon in
the open, flying before the trade wind that had favored us ever
since leaving Bonacca. The sea was glorious, the sky a peculiarly
deep blue flecked here and there with light feathery clouds that
took many fantastic foi-ms. Referring to my note book for that dite,
I find the following: "Good breeze-heav, sea-captain says we
are making nine knots-pretty fair-throw out line-catch a Bar-
racuda-gamy fish-showed fight-weight, 15 pounds-Roland
prepares same for dinner, not all, only part-elegant-throw out
again, man on lookout shouts "a whale"-everybody makes a dash
for the line; find it very hot, drop it-James fingers cut to the
bone-a royal battle; we get oakum to protect hands, all size line,


but with our united efforts cannot pull him up, he thrashes the
water like a whirlwind, then down, the length of the line, he is
huge-but is growing weaker after a half hour tug we haul him
not a whale-a dolphin-beautiful fish."
Having read so much concerning the changing colors that play
over the surface of the dolphin while dying, I took particular pains
to ascertain if the published accounts were really true, as I had
always been somewhat skeptical on the subject: I draw on my
note book again. "The fish when first landed was a bright golden
yellow, with brilliant green spots. In less than five minutes the
yellow, which formed the back ground, changed to a bright
green and the spots to a vivid blue. Eor the next three minutes
scarcely any change occurred. Then the green became almost

1 - "-- Z,-.

-;.-l x-.

.--. b", I -

....- .. &,- ... ...- -, ~


white, the blue spots continuing the same. A little later the white
suddenly became a deep bronze green, the spots a brilliant yellow
with a touch of carmine and the whole surface took on a peculiar
metalic lustre. These shades continued with little change until
the fish was quite dead." The effect was striking and with very
little aid of the imagination, the poet's conception would be fully
Nothing could be more delightful than this trip. The air was
cool but never chilly, the ever changing panorama of mountain
and sea, the ceaseless music of the surf as it broke over the coral


reefs that everywhere guard the coast like a line of pickets-all
restraints of civilization were for the time cast aside, we reveled in our
freedom like boys just out of school. We lolled about the deck,
and read or dozed, fished or listened to Roland's wild songs.
The play of the awkward porpoises was a constant source of amuse-
ment. These huge'black fish seem to have nothing in the world
to do but race about in schools of a dozen or more, chasing each
other like children at play, frequently leaping out of the water and
coining down like an avalanche, lashing the sea into a white froth.
Often we sat up late at night watching the phosphorescent glow of
the waves or the ever shifting lines of light reflected from the moon,
which shone with a brilliancy unknown in the north.
We varied the monotony by a daily bath on the deck, or in the
surf along shore. We enloyed the most extraordinary appetites.
Roland declared, three more such'passengers would be worse Ihan
a visitation of locusts. Our meals were served on tin pans and our
coffee in tin cups, the only kind of ware that could live through the
buffetting our little vessel endured, but a hungry traveler cares lit-
tle for tha ways of society, or its fancy dishes, and I am sure men
never enjoyed their meals better than we. The Fifth Avenue with
its elaborate menu and elegant service never awakened the keen
zest with which we attacked our beans and bacon. Refer-
ring again to my notes. I find: "July 19th, have just finished
dinner-fish barracuda ) caught about an hour ago, roasted plan-
tains, casava, bread, tinned butter, Holland corned beef, beans, ban-
anas, pineapples, coffee, milk in tins from France, cigars from Cuba.
After dinner we smoked and read, exchanged yarns, landed
another fish. Just as the sun was sinking between the island
mountains, the captain, by a skillful maneuver, turned the "gull"
into the harbor or Utilla. This is an English settlement and has
an air of thrift and purpose that is usually lacking in the Spanish
towns. Having ascertained that there was nothing to be feared,
from fever at this place, we were soon on snore. This was the
home of the captain and Roland, and at their request we decided
to stop here a day or two and make some sketches along the coast,
which is very wild and picturesque. The village is small and of
little importance as a trading point. Some bananas and pineap-
ples were shipped from this place. While here we were enter-
tained by Mr. Rose, the principal merchant of the port. His home


the most modern in the village, attested the good tas'' of its
inmates, consisting of Mrs. Rose and her two handsome daughters.
It had been so long since we had entered a house provided with
carpets and modern furniture, we hardly knew how to behave.
Since leaving Belize three months ago, we had not found a build-
ing containing any of these luxuries, with the single exception of
the hotel at Truxillo. Here we found not only carpets, but
papered walls hung.with pictures, upholstered chairs, carved tables,
a piano, bedsteads of the latest pattern with springs and white
sheets. It seined like a veritable palace to us, and then the fresh
bread and real butter, the snowy cloth, the china, the tea and
toast, the well trained servant who glided noislessy about, always
appearing just when wanted, and vanishing at the proper moment;
the hearty good will of the parents, the ready wit, and merry laugh-
ter of the young iadies, all combined to make our day at Utilla one
to be remembered with pleasure. -But like all earthly pleasures,
this came to au end, and bidding ohr friends good bye, we returned
to the deck of the boat which somehow seemed to have lost much
of its attractiveness during our brief absence. Although the sky
looked threatening, our captain decided to start about four o'clock.
Roland protested stoutly. He was sure a storm was brewing, and
he thought no harm could come of tarrying a few hours longer, but
the captain was not to be moved. He declared he could weather
any gale that was likely to arise and as we were all anxious to get
back to the Porte, where a week or two must be consumed in prep-
arations for the over land trip, we took sides with the skipper.
the air was heavy, a strange, dull gray mist hung over the distant
mountains, the surf. breaking on the reefs a couple of milessouthward
moaned in a most melancholy way, the coral caverns aloig the
shore seemed to catch and muffle the sound of the swirling water.
The sea birds shrieked ominously, the gulls flew low, a brass col-
ored sun glimmnored faintly through a murky haze, but the captain
laughed at the fears of his mate, and at the appointed hour we
were on board, picking our -ay slowly among the fishing vessels
that crowded the little harbor. About five P. we found our-
selves clear, the breeze was fresh and as the sun neared the horizon
the haze became thicker, until Irom a sickly yellow, the great ball
turned to a dull red, tinging the whole sky with a fire glow.
This was reflected by the water which now took the hue of molten


copper. The distant peak of Conger Hoy was covered by a dark
mass of clouds, whose black folds, slowly envelloped his giant
shoulders gradually blotting out ravine or rocky precipice: from
the midst of the writhing vapors, The lightening flashed, and a
moment later the thunder would be heard pealing across the water
like a signal of distress. The vapor seemed to gather from all sides
and a few minutes after sunset the sky was covered. Not a single
star on which to hang our hopes; the wind was rising and the huge
billows gave out a phosphorescent glare that showed their outlines
dimly is they rose in ourwake momentarily threatening the destruc-
tion of our tiny craft. What appeared to be balls of pale green fire
were frequently noticed in the water. These were probably the
dimly seen forms of some of the numerous species of luminous fish,
that inhabit these regions, but whatever the cause, the mysterious
light added not a little to the wildness of the scene. Now and
then a roller of ambitious proportions would climb over the stern and
distribute itself about the deck. Under such circumstances the
ocean seems very large, the boat very small-a two inch plank
between you and eternity-these were many dangerous reefs along
the coast and some isolated rock, but in the awful blackness of
the night' nothing was visible, except when illuminated for an
instant by the lightning, which was frequent, and it was to this
finally that we owed our preservation. About midnight we were
alarmed by a sound like muffled thunder, but continuous, a dull
roar that was easily heard above the tumult of the storm.
The captain understood at once that we were driving straight
into the breakers. The force of the wind and the swell of the sea had
carried us several points to the leeward. The old sailor knew every
inch of the coast, and under ordinary circumstances would have
passed these dangerous points in safety, no matter how dark the
night, but he had not been able to cope with the elements. We
had been driven far out of our course. As it w, our only hope lay in
steering through a narrow passage between two masses of rock that
rose out of the sea like a ruined castle. This narrow opening was
'arcelv wide enough to admit a small boat and, of course, 'as
quite invisible in the darkne. but we must risk it. The sound
of the breakers became more and more distinct. Our chances
were very slight indeed. Should our frail .ssel strike these
cks she would be reduced to splinters in a few minute., that the


danger was imminent could not be denied, our captain held his
place at the helnm-motionless-speechless-rigid as an image of
stone. The thunder of the breakers grew more teriffic every mom-
ent, while we were all but smothered by the deluge of salt spray-
we clung to the rigging with the grip of despair-out of the black-
ness Death whispered hoarsely, "welcome, welcome !" It was dur-
ing this awful hour, when one's mind ought to have been concen-
trated on spiritual matters, that the writer found himself the victim
of a common delusion known as "living over the past"-and I con-
fess with shame that the review revealed little to be proud of
-strangely enough, the pictures recalled belonged to the period of
childhood or early youth-again I smoked my first "cheroot" back
of a deserted house, hidden anmong a wilderness of weeds-once
more, I "reaped" where I had not "sown," at least that was the
testimony of an irate farmer who presented a bill to my astonished


S-- _--- _- -


parent for fruits that had never been ordered-in fact it seemed
that the life of the victim, had been made up of a series of wicked
and unlawful acts, one of the most disreputable of which seemed to
stand out with a distinctness that eclisped all others.
Trembling on the verge of a waterary grave, all present sur-
roundings were forgotten, the author was a boy once more, it wasa
lovely morning in March; a sharp frost the previous night had bridged
the streams with a thin film of ice which rang like steel as we
skipped stones across the shinny surface, however, this melted
rapidly under the warm rays of the sun-it was the sugar inakingsea-
son. in northern Ohio. Four school boys had found excuses sufli-


ciently plausible to secure their freedom, they were now approach-
ing a "carap" near the village-they did not seem to understand
that the manufacture of maple molasses was carried on for profit,
and when they found the place deserted, it occurred to them that it
would be a pleasant experiment to "boil down" a few gallons of
sap until it acquired that peculiar quality known as "wax'-with
this laudable object in view, one of the number began to gather
wood, another carried the water, the third washed the pan and
made ready for the work, while the fourth sinner whose name shall
never be known, was appointed to the important service of scout,
with instructions to give the alarm in case of danger.
Number one was John H- d, number two, Jerome
B- n. number three, George McC-- h, number four-
The property lay immediately west of the village cemetery and
had been leased for the season by a pious old man locally known as
'Dad Burnit"-"Dad" was a member of the church, a
consistent, hard working christian, whose conscientious scruples
forbade the use of profanity under the most trying circumstances,
but who, *nevertheless, found it absolutely necessary at times, to
give -tent to his feelings or die from suffocation, he therefore
'invented the mild expression quoted above, by which, from long
association became recognized for miles around.
The unnamed member of this quartet of depradators stationed
himself on a fence and watched five minutes-from a nearby hedge
came the song of a sparrow-the creek hills were velled by a bluish
mist that softened their rugged outlines-a chipmonk scampered
across an open spate; number four gave one sharp, scrutinizing
glance around the horizon-all was as peaceful as a dream-
surely there could be no danger: he could hear the voices of num-
ber one, two and three talking in low tones; he could also see the
smoke, now slowly rising out of the underbrush; surely it could do
no harm to look after that chipmonk-the chase proved long and
exciting, even the ''wax" was forgotten-and number four seemed
quite oblivious of the fact that he was in any way connected with
the enterprise, however, his responsibility as sentry was suddenly
recalled- there was a tremendous shout, "Dad Burnit, don't
run-er I'll fiill yer so full of holes you won't make a decent shad-
der." Number four was paralyzed with fright and stood like a


statue, unable to move, number one, two and tree were affected
differently, they fled like the wind, making for the cemetery where
they escaped, hiding among the tombs-while the unfortunate sen-
try was dragged back to town, down through the main street to his
fathers door, and the story of his infamy told with many outbursts
of indignation on the part of the narrator-of course he received
such punishment as was deemd proper under the- circumstances,
but the unkindest cut of all, came in the evening when his three
accomplices returned with a pan full of "wax" which they had
made undisturbed security while their companion was being
ignominously marched off to the village; the sorrow of remorse of
that moment all came back on this memorable night, and the roar
of wind and waves was drowned hv the dreadful shout of old
"Dad Burnit." and the regret of a niisspent life was lost in the deeper
regret of that day in March, thirty years ago, not regret for the
sin, but for the loss of his share the spoils-this confes-
sion is made in the interest of science-not because the writer care.
to expose his unregenerate heart to the gaze of the world-can any
one explain the phenomena? IIe truly wished to think of- things
that were good, but at that supreme moment he could think of
nothing but the "wax"-that he failed to secure. Suddenly a
vivid flash, followed by another, revealed our position. The illum-
ination lasted only a fraction of a second but it was enough for the
'aptain to determine the location of the narrow strait, into which
we were soon driving, the keel grazing the wall in its passage.
which would certainly have proved our destruction had it not been
for the timely flash. Once through this channel the sea
became smoother and we felt comparatively safe. Everything
loose had been washed overboard. Kettle, bucket, water cask;
even our tin plates and drinking cups had dissapeared. These
things had been overlooked in the hurry to secure the hatches the
evening before. It was well that this was our last night on the
sloop, as our meals would have been pitifully slim after this loss.
Roland mounred the fate of his huge dinner pot and refused to be
conmorted. He felt that no other could ever take its place, and he
dwelt long and lovingly on its peculiar qualities recalling the
miraculous stews that had been concocted in its dark depths.
About four o'clock we entered the harbor of Puerto Cortez.
the second time, in a gale that sent the waters swirling almost to


the doors of the custom house. About six o'clock a couple of offi-
cers rowed out where we lay rocking on the short choppy sea,
and, having examined our documents we were permitted to land.
We were thoroughly drenched, having slept none during the night,
consequently were not in a particularly good humor. It seemed
an age since we .left Utillia, and it was nearly a month before
we entirely recovered from the peculiar sensation caused by the
constant motion of the sloop-for days the earth seemed to be
slowly heaving like the sea; when we closed our eyes we imagined
we could feel the floor of the hotel rising and falling like the deck
of the vessel. After a good bath, a complete change of clothing
and a cup of black coffee brewed by our old friend, the hostess of
the "Hotel American," we felt much refreshed and set at once
about our preparations for the overland journey. The captain and
Roland only lingered long enough to replace the lost utensils and
hurriedly bade us adieu. They were anxious to return to their
families; who would naturally be alarmed, on account of the storm
which broke so soon after we left the harbor.
We felt like very old friends indeed, although our acquaint-
ance extended over a period of less than sixty days, it seemed to us
that we had known these honest sailors all our lives, and it
'as with genuine regret we bade them adieu.
It is wonderful how quickly men of widely different circunm-
stances become attached to each other when exposed to common
dangers: for weeks we had shared alike the pleasures and perils of
the little sloop, together we had partaken of the strange dishes
invented by Roland, "the genius of the skillet, as the captain
dubbed him, together we had sizzled under the burning sky dur-
ing those calms that have already been referred to, together we had
plowed the midnight sea when every moment seemed an hour and
every hour an age-but it was over at last and the experience
forms a figure in the ever lengthening pattern that falls from mem-
ories looms; looms whose busy shuttles never cease gathering up
the parti-colored threads of our lives: light and dark, bright or
somber. We part at the wharf. We will not say good bye-only
'so long, we'll see you later. Of course we never expected to
but somehow its easier to part that way.
As rapidly as possible we made our preparations for the moun-
tain trip. When at last everything was packed and delivered to


the railroad company, we sat down to wait for a train. While
waiting, we explored the neighborhood in search of "pines" and
found some-this recalls a little lecture recently delivered by
"'Hoosier School Master" for the benefit of the children under his
charge in which he gravely informed his interested listeners that
pineapples grew on pine trees, calling attention to the
close resemblance of the "apple" to the cones with which the
boys and girls were familiar, the difference in size and quality
being due, he declared to climatic influence; he did not say that the
natives trained monkeys to climb these trees and bring down the
fruit, though that would not have been more absurd-we do not
like to dispute so high an authority but a strict adherence to the
facts compels us to state that pineapples do not grow on pine trees
-or trees of any description but on a lowly plant which attains a
height of from 3 to 4 feet. The cultivation of this fruit is one of
the profitable industries of the south-the crop is very sure, and
pays quite as well as bananas-the following extract from the
"Honduras Almanac" is the result of many years successful exper-
ience by an English planter.


"The climate must be moist with a damp soil; as it does not
"seed, this plant "is propagated by suckers, requiring only from
12 to 18 months to realize on the first crop-they should be planted
in rich red soil, about 18 inches apart and carefully weeded about
every three months-careful cultivation greatly improves the
flavor of the fruit.
"The distance apart at which they are planted in Jamiaca is
3 1-2 feet between rows and 21- feet in the rows, this gives 4,840
plants to the acre, out of this number you can safely count on 4,000
perfect pines, these sold at the very low price of 5 cents would give


the producer an income of $200.00 per acre ever- 16 or 18 months.
The pine fields ought to be cleaned five or six times a year, each
cleaning costing say, $5 per acre, or from $25 to $30 per acre per
annum, this constitutes the whole cultivation. Each plant pro
duces one "pine," its place is then taken by one of the numerol
suckers, the superfluous ones being carefully removed: only those
who have tested the pine apple when fully matured in its native
home have any idea of its delicious qualities, it is without doubt
the finest of all southern fruits. We might add for the inform;
tion of those who are interested in the subject that the varieties
best adapted for export are the black Antigua, black Jamaica or
"cow-boy, the Ripley, Charlotte Rothschild, smooth Cayenne,
scarlet (or Cuban) and British Queen. Northern visitors are
astonished at the size this fruit attains under proper cultivation,
many specimens weighing from 10 to 12 pounds.


The reader who will take the trouble to consult the map of
Central America, published by Rand, McNally & Co., will notice
a long black line drawn across the republic of Honduras. It begins
at Puerto Cortex and ends at a point on the Pacific near Amapala,
or vice versa, as the observer may decide. It represents the rail-
road which 'as to become "America's highway" and which,
to use the flowery language of its enthusiastic promoters, was to
"shape the destiny of the nation.
The rich agricultural regions of the interior would be opened
to the world, and the tide of prosperity that would follow could
hardly be imagined much less described. An elaborate system of
ieeders'were planned that would tap all those rich dining centers,
which lacked only transportation facilities to transform them into
veritable bonanzas. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land,
almost worthless from a commercial point of view, would find a
market at prices that made the unsuspecting native fairly dizx
with anticipation. For a while the little republic endulged in rosy
visions of wealth, the humblest citizens would become millionaires,
bamboo huts and 'dobe walls would be replaced by palaces of mar-
ble. Alas for Central American enterprise! The natives gazed a
moment on these busy preparations with a sort of wild surprise,
then with a murmured "Manana".sank back in their hammocks to
slumber and dream.
Not so the scheming contractors, who "worked" the gove.n-
ment for all it was worth-and more. A small army of men were
employed and operations began oh the northern division, while the
attention of the country was centered on this scene of activity, the
wiley agents of a syndicate of English Bankers were no less busy
at the capitol negotiating a loan, by which the state became respon-
sible to the amount of $27,000,000. This deal having been suc-
cessfully accomplished, it suddenly dawned on the projectors that
the plan of building a road across the mountains was not feasible at


that time. The workmen were laid off, "temporarily" with in-
structions to be in readiness to report at a moments notice. A
quarter of a century has passed and they are still waiting with that
patience that is characteristic of the Spanish American. Mean-
while the ardent advocates of the enterprise disappeared. leaving
thirty-six or thirty-seven miles of poorly constructed narrow gauge
track as a slight compensation for the millions they carried away.
Over this wretched remnant of a great "transcontinental railroad"
toy cars are dragged by a toy locomotive, covering the distance
from the port to San Pedro in from three to ten hours, according to
the condition of the lame engine, and its native fireman. Trains
do not arrive or depart at regular intervals, but are dispatched



whenever a sufficient amount of freight has accumulated to war-
-ant such extravagance. So the restless traveler mi have to wait
,,e, two, or three days for chancee to risk his life on this, the
worse bit of railroad in existence. The risk not from reckless
speed or danger of collisions or that the train may jump the track,
or from any of the usual accidents of rail\v, travel-it is that you
may die from starvation before reaching your destination, or be
devoured by mosquitoes during one of those half day stops in the
midst of a swamp where the air is darkened by swarms of these
persistent insects, or that you may be tempted to destroy one or
two of the officials, or in the enthusiasm of the moment you might
even sacrifice the conductor or a brakeman, and thus bring down
lihe vengeance of the law, which is administered in such a loose and

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