This is a colored young man who plies for hire in the harbor, & has a boat with a window in the bottom of it. He speaks West Indian English, which is London Cockney as regards the H, but is individualized & localized by special devilishnesses of its own, & is not very easy to understand. He is fluent & oily & pious, & is a diligent & shameless flatterer. But his tongue is for social commerce only; he does not employ it in business, where by accident or indiscretion it could compromise him, but uses his eye & his smile instead. These leave no record. With his eye & his smile he vividly agreed to take us to & from the Sea Garden for 8 shillings; but when we got back he raised the limit to twenty—& collected it. It was plain villany; all knew it, but none could prove it. The future tourist will find it an advantage to lay low & let this person draw his contract with his eye & his smile, then jump on him & make him sign it with his tongue.
The Sea Garden is in a side-channel 3 miles up the harbor. It is a miniature forest of many kinds of coral, growing out of a white bottom in a crystal-clear water 6 or 8 feet deep, with speckled lobsters, & fishes of radiant color loafing & lazying in the splashes of sunlight & mottlings of shadow that add a land-like charm & beauty to the subterranean park.
Hog Island . Returning, the party stopped there, & had a fruit debauch at cost of Mr. Higgs, the proprietor. The host & an assistant peeled oranges & impaled them on pine skewers, & the guests ate several dozen a piece, corn-on-cob-fashion.
Then went with Archbold—sub-proprietor of Nassau & the encircling seas—& had a bath in a rolling ocean of opaline water daintily beautiful to look upon & very refreshing to body & spirit.
THE SILK COTTON TREE.
This imposingly buttressed wonder stands in the middle of Nassau town, & may fairly challenge the great banyank of Calcutta as a “sight,” I think [MTP].
In Sam’s Mar. 22 to Livy, he at first confused a trip to Government House this day with Mar. 20. From his Mar. 22:
& all called & spent half an hour at Government House—no, that was the day before [Mar. 20]. The invitation was by letter to me from the Governor, Sir Gilbert Carter, who was glad to see me “again.” I think I must have known him in England…
Night before last [Mar. 20] at 2 in the morning, I thought that if I had a pair of slippers I would go on deck & cool off—& I turned on the light, & there were the cloth slippers on the floor waiting. It is wonderful the way your thoughtfulness meets the necessities every time. I have only to wish & you respond. I love you dearly, sweetheart [MTP]. Note: Gilbert Thomas Carter (1848-1927) was Governor and Commander-in-chief of Bahamas (1898-1904).
March 21 Friday – On board the Kanawha at Nassau, Bahamas, Sam wrote on Hotel Colonial letterhead to Livy about activities of the prior day (see entry). He added after this narrative:
The sea-colors here are all beautiful—splendid bars & stretches of brilliant green—others of brilliant blue—others of rich purple & bronze, & so on. A lady (so report says) brought away a bottle-full of each color to show home at America.
They keep hurrying me—the launch is ready to go to the bathing-beach [MTP].
And, from his Mar. 22 to Livy he wrote more of this day’s activities:
We had the grand sea-bath again at noon yesterday [Mar. 21], dear heart …
Yesterday at 3.30 we brought off him [Gov. Carter] & some ladies in the launch—17 persons in all, & the launch still had some room to spare & did not notice the weight. We champagned them, showed them over the ship, returned them to shore & set sail immediately [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.