Monday 28th May 2012 (Letter 6th December 1880)

My friend and guide John Cahill has reached 500 species in his “Big Year”, a quest to see as many species of bird in Guatemala in 2012!! Please see his blog in the Links section on the right.

GCC enjoys the luxury at Las Nubes, and Leopoldo gets malaria, but is cured with quinine

The house at Las Nubes, in which GCC felt so welcome

LAS NUBES
MAZATENANGO
COSTA GRANDE
GUATEMALA

Dec 6th 1880

My dear Mother,

I enclose a few lines in a letter I am sending to Mr. Godman in case I should miss the next mail. I left Quetzaltenango on 18th November and once more came on here. Mr. Cuthbert, the Manager, makes me very welcome, he has been a very good friend to me in many ways; fine house and plenty of rooms (the former owner having built this house to live in but he did not live to enjoy it) far more comfortable than San Gerónimo, splendid view of the volcanoes and the sea, though far away. I have been very busy since my return, getting my four months’ work in order to ship from Champerico by the steamer of the 20th.

Looking down towards the coastal plain from above Las Nubes

I leave probably next week for San Augustín on the Volcano Atitlán; this is a coffee estate also, and belongs to the same owners as Las Nubes, shall probably spend Christmas at this place, unless I have to go to the Capital before then. Very fine weather now, the rains are nearly over, and we are getting well into summer – cloudless sky until about noon, later it clouds over as in many mountainous places; in the afternoon, it is like looking under a curtain, beneath the clouds we see the coast region below. Very fine climate here in the dry season, not too hot nor too cold. San Gerónimo is much hotter. Very busy now Sunday and weekdays getting in the coffee crop, they will soon begin to ship. Mr. Cuthbert is a great sportsman, he shoots a deer nearly every week, so we often have fresh venison. I shall be very sorry to leave this place, but there is no help for it, the time is getting very short, March will soon be here, and I have a lot of ground to go over before I leave.

The Volcan Atitlan viewed from the South

There must be letters from Mr. Salvin and you for me by this time in Guatemala, but travelling so much, I often do not get the letters for a long time. My servant has been ill with fever (he does not stand the climate as well as I do) but quinine etc. has cured him, he is alright again now. I have a great many things to send Mr. Godman this time, it is so long since I shipped anything, they fill a large packing case and weigh altogether about 100 pounds. An Indian will go with them tomorrow to Retaluleu; the day after, another will go to Champerico. I thought San Gerónimo was a comfortable place, but Las Nubes is far superior, the worst of it, is that one does not much like roughing it afterwards. Mr. Cuthbert has helped me in every possible way. You must excuse this short letter but I promise a longer one next time. I wish I could bottle up a little sunshine to send you, I dare say you would be glad of it. Wishing you all happy Christmas and New Year,

Believe me, dear Mother,
Your affectionate son,

A farm on the southern slope of the Volcan Atitlan where quinine is still cultivated

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