Wednesday 15th August 2012 (Letter 31st January 1882)

GCC loses his coffee AND a close friend

This brief letter from my great grandfather, entomologist George Charles Champion, to his mother in London is his first for the year 1882. He is clearly becoming a little jaded, and finds the dry season less interesting as there are fewer insects for him to collect.

The Volcan Baru


31 enero (January) 1882

My dear Mother,

There is just a chance of this letter catching the steamer now at David, so I write a few hasty lines in hopes of being in time; have an opportunity of sending this tomorrow.

I have but little to tell you this time except that I am well and going on as usual. I received your letter of Dec 1st a few days ago, a friend bringing it on to me here to Bugaba.

Shall make Bugabita my headquarters for the remainder of the dry season, it is more convenient in many ways. Though I am no longer staying with Mr. Preedy, still I am very close and we see one another nearly every day; he lends me books and assists me in all sorts of ways. Since before Christmas we have not had a drop of rain, and now it is very dusty and dry everywhere, such a contrast to the rainy season; splendid weather all the time, almost cloudless sky but so hot! The pleasantest time is the very early morning. Then again the moonlight nights, sit out in the open air till quite late, no one cares to go to bed soon. At midday one is obliged to rest a little on account of the sun. My costume here in the low country is of the lightest description. The natives wear very little indeed and even the Europeans wear but little, and nearly everybody goes barefoot.

Live now principally on rice, eggs, bananas, salt beef, fresh on Sundays only, chicken and coffee, seldom anything else.

During the next few months, shall probably be travelling about a good deal, but always returning to Bugaba, shall not go so often probably to the Capital (David) as before but you address me to David as usual. I wrote to Guatemala about the coffee and have a letter in reply saying that it was stolen and that they will make it good this new crop, better late than never.

There is very little for me to do in the dry season, everything is too dry, so I often take my gun and shoot a few pigeons or a parrot, something to eat for a change. I wonder how you spent your Christmas. I think I wrote and told you how I spent mine. In the papers you sent I read of the death of one of my best Burton friends, Dr. Garneys, aged 40. I was very much upset when I read of his death; I little thought to hear of his dying so suddenly; he teased me a great deal about quinine etc. when I last saw him.

Hoping you are all well and with very best love to all,

Believe me etc.

A sunset in Western Panama

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