Monday 19th November 2012 (Letter 25th March 1883)

GCC’s penultimate letter from Central America – he makes it to Panama City together with a cargo of pigs

The Grand Central Hotel, Panama, by Muybridge, 1875

GRAND HOTEL, PANAMA

March 25th, 1883

My dear Mother,

I arrived here safely last night per sailing vessel “Catalina”. We left David on the 12th and had a very tedious passage, but much smoother than I expected, very little wind, but on the contrary calms. We brought hides, rice, salt beef, coconuts, maize etc, also about 40 pigs, and of course, had a rough time of it, though the food was not bad, but as for accommodation, there was none. I have just received your letter of March 1st and was very sorry to hear that you were again troubled with the old enemy (unidentified illness).

Tomorrow I think of running over to Colón, but shall return again in the evening or following day, it is only 45 miles by the railroad, yet the fare is £5 and the same to return, but through friends here, I can get a pass. In the course of a few days, I hope to get off again from Panama, en route for the Pearl Islands – to San Miguel, from whence I will write if possible. I hear that there is a steamer leaving tomorrow for New York, so write a few lines at once as I have just missed the English steamer. If I go to the Island of Old Providence, my return is likely to be delayed a little; if not, I ought to be in England by the end of May or early in June.

Am staying at the Grand Hotel this time, though they are very full and have not a single room empty.

Panama is full of Frenchmen, Jews, and loafers; a dollar goes about as far as sixpence at home and the people seem to do nothing but drink and gamble from morning till night. I don’t like the noise and bustle of Panama; much prefer Chiriquí where you can go about as you please.

Hoping to be with you soon, even if only for a short time, and with best love to all,

Believe me, dear Mother,
Your affectionate son.

The Plaza, Panama City, by Muybridge, 1875

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