Adventures and Letters HTML version

SAN PEDRO--SULA--February, 1895.
The afternoon of the day we were in Puerto Cortez the man of war Atlanta steamed into
the little harbor and we all cheered and the lottery people ran up the American flag. Then
I and the others went out to her as fast as we could be rowed and I went over the side and
the surprise of the officers was very great. They called Somers and Griscom to come up
and we spent the day there. They were a much younger and more amusing lot of fellows
than those on the Minneapolis and treated us most kindly. It was a beautiful boat and
each of us confessed to feeling quite tempted to go back again to civilization after one
day on her. Their boat had touched at Tangier and so they claimed that she was the one
meant in the Exiles. They told me that the guide Isaac Cohen whom I mentioned in
Harper's Weekly carries it around as an advertisement and wanted to ship with them as
cabin boy. We left the next day on the railroad and the boys finding that two negroes sat
on the cowcatcher to throw sand on the rails in slippery places bribed them for their
places and I sat on the sand box. I never took a more beautiful drive. We did not go faster
than an ordinary horse car but still it was exciting and the views and vistas wonderful.
Sometimes we went for a half mile under arches of cocoanut palms and a straight broad
leafed palm called the manaca that rises in separate leaves sixty feet from the ground.
Imagine a palm such as we put in pots at weddings and teas as high as Holy Trinity
Church and hundreds and hundreds of them. The country is very like Cuba but more
luxuriant in every way. There are some trees with marble like trunks and great branches
covered with oriole nests and a hundred orioles flying in and out of them or else plastered
with orchids. If Billy Furness were to see in what abundance they grew he would be quite
mad. It is a great pity he did not come with us. This little town is the terminus of the
railroad and we have been here four days while Jeffs the American Colonel in the
Hondurean Army is getting our outfit. It has been very pleasant and we are in no hurry
which is a good thing for us. It is a most exciting country and as despotic as all
uncivilized and unstable governments must be. But we have called on the Governor of
the district with Jeffs and he gave us a very fine letter to all civil and unmilitary
authorities in the district calling on them to aid and protect us in every way. I am getting
awfully good material for my novel and for half a dozen stories to boot only I am
surprised to find how true my novel was to what really exists here. About ten years ago --
-- disappeared, having as I thought drunk himself to death. He came up to me here on my
arrival with a lot of waybills in his hand and I learned that he had been employed in this
hole in the ground by a railroad for two years. I remembered meeting him at Newport
when I was still at Lehigh, and last night he asked me to dinner and told me what he had
been doing which included everything from acting in South America to blacking boots in
Australia. His boss was a Pittsburgh engineer who is apparently licking him into shape
and who told me to tell his father that he had stopped drinking absolutely. His colored
"missus" sat with us at the table and played with a beetle during the three hours I stayed
there during which time he asked me about ---- who he said had ruined him. He told me
of how ---- had done and said this, and the contrast to the thatched roof and the mud floor
and the Scotch American engineer and the mulatto girl was rather striking. I never had
more luck in any trip than I have had on this one and the luck of R. H. D. of which I was
fond of boasting seems to hold good. That man of war, for instance, was the only