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the “ Wellington;" and thought, doubtless, that I preferred remaining below in the dirt.
I was over two hours in this place, and even that was not pleasant. When I went up into the fashionable room above, I found there, among others, a negro of exceeding blackness. I do not know that I ever saw skin so purely black. He was talking eagerly with his friends, and after a while I heard him say, in a voice of considerable dignity, "I shall bring forward a motion on de subject in de house to-morrow." So that I had not fallen into bad society.
But even under these circumstances' two hours spent in a tavern without a book, without any necessity for eating or drinking, is not pleasant; and I trust that when I next visit Jamaica I may find the seat of government moved to Kingston. The Governor would do Kingston some good; and it is on the cards that Kingston might return the compliment.
The inns in Kingston rejoice in the grand name of halls. Not that you ask which is the best hall, or inquire at what hall your friend is staying; but such is the title given to the individual house. One is the Date-tree Hall, another Blundle's Hall, a third Barkly Hall, and so on. I took up my abode at Blundle Hall, and found that the landlady in whose custody I had placed myself was a sister of good Mrs. Seacole. My sister wanted to go to India," said my landlady, "with the army, you know. But Queen Victoria would not let her; her life was too precious.” So that Mrs. Seacole is a prophet, even in her own country.
Much cannot be said for the West Indian hotels in general. By far the best that I met was at Cien Fuegos, in Cuba. This one, kept by Mrs. Seacole's sister, was not worse, if not much better, than the average.
It was WEST INDIAN HOTELS.
clean, and reasonable as to its charges. I used to wish that the patriotic lady who kept it could be induced to abandon the idea that beefsteaks and onions, and bread and cheese and beer composed the only diet proper for an Englishman. But it is to be remarked all through the island that the people are fond of English dishes, and that they despise, or affect to despise, their own productions. They will give you ox-tail soup when turtle would be much cheaper. Roast beef and beefsteaks are found at almost every meal. An immense deal of beer is consumed. When yams, avocado pears, the mountain cabbage, plantains, and twenty other delicious vegetables may be had for the gathering, people will insist on eating bad English potatoes; and the desire for English pickles is quite a passion. This is one phase of that love for England which is so predominant a characteristic of the white inhabitants of the West Indies.
At the inns, as at the private houses, the household servants are almost always black. The manners of these people are to a stranger very strange. They are not absolutely uncivil, except on occasions ; but they have an easy, free, patronizing air. If you find fault with them, they insist on having the last word and are generally successful. They do not appear to be greedy of money ; rarely ask for it, and express but little thankfulness when they get it. At home, in England, one is apt to think that an extra shilling will go a long way with boots and chambermaid, and produce hotter water, more copious towels, and quicker attendance than is ordinary. But in the West Indies a similar result does not follow in a similar degree. And in the West Indies it is absolutely necessary that these people should be treated with dignity; and it is not always very easy to reach the proper point of dignity. They like familiarity, but are singularly
A GENTLEMAN BOOT-BLACK.
averse to ridicule ; and though they wish to be on good terms with you, they do not choose that these shall be reached without the proper degree of antecedent ceremony.
Halloo, old fellow! how about that bath ?" I said one morning to a lad who had been commissioned to see a bath filled for me. He was cleaning boots at the time, and went on with his employment, sedulously, as though he had not heard a word. But he was over sedulous, and I saw that he heard me. "I say,
how about that bath ?" I continued. But he did not move a muscle.
“Put down those boots, sir," I said, going up to him ; “and go and do as I bid you.”
“Who you call fellor? You speak to a gen'lman gen’lmanly, and den he fill de bath."
James,” said I, “ might I trouble you to leave those boots, and see the bath filled for me ?" and I bowed to him.
“'Es, sir,” he answered, returning my bow ; “ go at once.” And so he did perfectly satisfied. Had he imagined, however, that I was quizzing him, in all probability he would not have gone at all.
There will be those who will say that I had received a good lesson; and perhaps I had. But it would be rather cumbersome if we were forced to treat our juvenile servants at home in this manner-or even those who are not juvenile.
I must say this for the servants, that I never knew them to steal anything, or heard of their doing so from
any one deserves to be robbed, I deserve it; for I leave my keys and my money everywhere, and seldom find time to lock my portmanteau. But my carelessness was not punished in Jamaica. And this I
any one else.
THE SHOPS IN KINGSTON.
think is the character of the people as regards absolute personal property, personal property that has been housed and garnered—that has, as it were, been made the possessor's very own. There can be no more diligent thieves than they are in appropriating to themselves the fruits of the earth while they are still on the trees.
They will not understand that this is stealing. Nor can much be said for their honesty in dealing. There is a great difference between cheating and stealing in the minds of many men, whether they be black or white.
There are good shops in Kingston, and I believe that men in trade are making money there. I cannot tell on what principle prices range themselves as compared with those in England. Some things are considerably cheaper than with us, and some much, very much dearer. A pair of excellent duck trousers, if I may be excused for alluding to them, cost me eighteen shillings when made to order. Whereas, a pair of evening white gloves could not be had under four-and-sixpence. That, at least, was the price charged, though I am bound to own that the shop-boy considerately returned me sixpence, discount for ready money,
The men in the shops are generally of the colored race, and they are also extremely free and easy in their man
From them this is more disagreeable than from the negroes. “ Four-and-sixpence for white gloves !" I said ; “is not that high ?” “ Not at all, sir; by no means. We consider it rather cheap. But in Kingston, sir, you must not think about little economies." And he leered at me in a very nauseous manner as he tied his parcel. However, I ought to forgive him, for did he not return to me sixpence discount, unasked ?
There are various places of worship in Kingston, and the negroes are fond of attending them. But they love
best that class of religion which allows them to hear the most of their own voices. They are therefore fond of Baptists; and fonder of the Wesleyans than of the Church of England. Many also are Roman Catholics. Their singing-classes are constantly to be heard as one walks through the streets. No religion is worth anything to them which does not offer the allurement of some excitement.
Very little excitement is to be found in the Church-ofEngland Kingston parish church. The church itself, with its rickety pews, and creaking doors, and wretched seats made purposely so as to render genuflection impossible, and the sleepy, droning, somnolent service are exactly what was so common in England twenty years since; but which are common no longer, thanks to certain much-abused clerical gentlemen. Not but that it may still be found in England if diligently sought for.
But I must not finish my notice on the town of Kingston without a word of allusion to my enemies, the musquitoes. Let no European attempt to sleep there at any time of the year without musquito-curtains. If he do, it will only be an attempt; which will probably end in madness and fever before morning.
Nor will musquito-curtains suffice unless they be brushed out with no ordinary care, and then tucked in ; and unless, also, the would-be-sleeper, after having cunningly crept into his bed at the smallest available aperture, carefully pins up that aperture.
Your Kingston musquito is the craftiest of insects, and the most deadly