Mr. Archbold took us a-sailing to Hog Island, & there the proprietor & his negroes pared oranges, chattucks, & other fruits, under the trees & our crowd ate them—just a fruit debauch. Our half dozen men must have eaten several barrels of fruit.
That was after the bath. The bath was beyond imagination. The sand was white & velvety to the feet, no undertow, a gradual slope out to sea; the color of the water was the palest & most limpid & flashing green; & when the great waves rose & curled to break, you seemed to see through them; when (swimming,) you looked along the surface, the soft colors, of many shades, chased each other & gave the effect of the flitting soft fires that hunt each other through an opal. Archbold & I swam far out into the enchanted solitudes & rode the rich seas for half an hour. There was no sense of cold or stiffness or cramp or fatigue. We didn’t spend the day out there, only because we hadn’t the time.
We sailed up among the islands & in one of the channels we visited the Sea Garden. The water was not more than 10 or 12 feet deep—absolutely clear, & transparent, like air—& through the glass bottom of the boat we saw the corals of every form & color standing up out of the white bottom, a natural miniature park, the avenues traversed by fishes of splendid color, out picknicking, the coral shadows falling over the sunny paths & mottling them prettily [MTP]. Note: John Dustin Archbold, with Standard Oil Co.
“Let a penny go!…Do, boss”
Arrived at Nassau 7 a.m.
Visited the Sea Garden with Archbold & Hyacinth Jackson: Mr. Higg’s place on Hog Island. Spended sea-bath. Fruit debauch afterward —oranges &c on skewers. Lunch at the big hotel—drive through Congo town—native Congo music.]
SPONGE [NB 45 TS 6]. Note: Sarah Dunham Twichell (Sally) (b. 1882) daughter of Joseph H.
Twichell. See notes on Carter below.
Sam’s ship log:
Arrived at Nassau, 7 a.m. Anchored in a long narrow harbor like a lake. White coral bottom, & crystal clear water: in 5 fathoms the ship seemed to float on air.
Watch-word of the place: “Let a penny go! …..Do, Boss!”
In all the narrow back-lanes a pest of small niggers swarms continually after the carriages wailing this abject refrain & making touring uncheerful & irksome. The population is black, with a mere sprinkle of whites; the only prosperous industry is the begetting of more niggers; the only other industry, the sponge-fishery. Of the new crop of niggers Commodore was offered two for fifteen dollars by their dam. This does not pay for seed.
Archbold was there, & young & cheerful & hospitable & enterprising as ever. For recreation, not profit, he runs a nigger-show in the suburbs, & very much overpays the artists. The chief features are a pair of pathetic antediluvians out of the Ark who play monotones on a gridiron & drone a weak & wavery sing-song of the date of the Post-Pliocene or Early Quarternary, while a woman of that period smiles with her gums & dances a lewd dance which suggests unchastity but does not provoke it.
Out in Archbold’s Addition every shack is a shop, with a 3-foot counter in it, & ten cents’ worth of fruit for sale. The commercializing spirit of the age has laid its clammy hand upon that place.
Archbold fed the gang at the hotel.
Then, by invitation of his Excellency Sir Gilbert Carter, the Governor, they called at Government House. From the front door one has an enchanting view of the many-colored splendors of the harbor-water—as wonderful a water picture as I have seen any where, I think. The colors are pale & deep purple, several shades of green, & all shades of blue—with sometimes a silken film of pale bronze on the shady side of the waves when the sunlight falls aslant upon them. Possibly the Mediterranean blue is not there, but all the other blues are. The water is mediterraneanly brilliant & transparent.
Mr. Gladstone, the private secretary, was present. He does not find Nassau exciting. He ought to rent a box at Archbold’s prehistoric nigger-show.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.