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wealthier inhabitants of the islands, we began to open the lovely valley of Diego Martin, when darkness came on. It was late when we approached the red flare of the light-house, surrounded by a confusion of masts, hulls, and long streaks of light reflected from the windows of the houses on the quays.
The female innkeepers of the West Indies are a race peculiar to these islands. However tenacious of the maiden prefix, they have generally contributed their mite towards the population, and it is difficult to know at first which they most pique themselves upon, the title of the maiden or the performance of the matron. Miss Caroline Lee points with a bland smile to one little brown indiscretion, in the fashioning of which she has been assisted by a Captain of Grenadiers, another is the result of a government secretary, another the leisure of a member of the bench ; but to each partner of their labours they invariably pay the compliment of going into mourning if they hear of his death. Miss Betsey Austin has worn mourning ever since the demise of his Majesty William IV., who, while a midshipman, visited the loyal Island of Barbados. We landed, and found Miss Bertram's hotel full; we repaired, by her advice, to Miss Kitty's, whose house was extremely filthy, and could furnish us with but a very frugal supper. My companion, who considered justly that we had already had enough of bad fare, and that it was high time to alter the system, set out to look for some friends whom he might arouse; I remained lazily where I was. Miss Kitty's assurances that there were no cockroaches in the bedroom were fallacious. Alas! there were enough to have pulled me out of bed bodily if they had come at me all together.
Port of Spain is the prettiest town in the West Indies. Having been burnt down some years back, it has since been built up of stone upon the regular ground-plan which has been adopted in the cities of the Spanish main, but the hand of taste has directed the whole. The Almeida is planted with superb timber trees; the palmeit, the most architectural in form among the inhabitants of the forest, has been selected to form its angles. A large square, railed in in front of the church, is divided into walks, and fitted with plantations of native and exotic trees. The Catholic cathedral, which fronts the end of the Almeida, is highly creditable to the architectural taste of the projectors, in the interior especially; the frame-work of the roof, and all the gothic fittings up, worked in the hard timbers of the island, might challenge competition in most countries; the unseemly saints and flaunting cherubs of Venezuela have no place here. The houses of Port of Spain have each their garden in front or rear, or both; and the inhabitants have a pride in collecting into these the most beautiful flowering shrubs and the rarest specimens from their forests. The environs are lovely; the roads—what a contrast with the roads we had left!-smooth as gravel-walks, and each leading out through a scene that might be taken for a continued park; pursuing the road to St. Anne's, the fine broad savannah, the well-laid out pleasure-grounds, the botanical gardens, all attest the refined mind of Sir Ralph Woodford, to whom every thing that art has done for Trinidad is referred, though he found the island fashioned in beauty to his hand. The barracks of St. James's are a handsome pile of buildings, surrounded by ranges of cast-iron pillars, among the loveliest groups of grugru palms, bamboos, and sand-box trees, placed at the entrance of the beautiful valley of Marival, and commanding from the upper verandah as fair a prospect as the eye would wish to gaze upon; but there lurks upon the borders of the placid gulf, among the rank vegetation of a marsh, as malignant a spirit as ever dwelt among the lagoons of the Guarapiche. Full many a time have the occupants of that barrack been doomed to furnish fresh victims for the insatiate maw of that foul spirit of evil.
The next steamer, which was to convey us to Tobago, was not expected for some days, and we had ample time to rest from our toils and look about us I resolved to profit by the short interval, to make an excursion. My compagnon de voyage, who had long resided in the island, preferred renewing old acquaintances and drinking iced hock to wandering over familiar scenes. I embarked on board a French war schooner for La Brea. The commander had been sent from Guadaloupe to return thanks to Trinidad for the assistance received from that island after her unhappy sufferings by the earthquake. The schooner had been much fèted at Port of Spain, and was making this excursion previous to her return. An old Bonapartist dragoon, who had turned planter at Guadaloupe after the fall of the emperor, and who had himself lost every thing by the earthquake, save his spirits and good-humour, formed one of the party. He mingled his anecdotes of Napoleon with those of the destruction of the island, but was equally graphic in both. After the first crash at Point-a-Pitre, while the people were hurrying to and fro, helping those who were among the ruins, it chanced that a Jew, a money-lender, noted for his usuries, stealing out of the ruins of his abode, suddenly recollected that he had left behind him a box fuil of promissory bills; he retraced his steps, the fire had already seized upon his shattered abode, but he made his way through its rage, tenaciously clutched the box, and bore it off in addition to the money he had already secured about him. Just as he reached the last of the buildings by which his house was surrounded, the fire, which had long been playing over the walls, flared up in wilder jets, and the building fell with a crash. The smoke and dust rolled off, and disclosed the head of the wretched Jew above the rubbish, calling first in the authoritative tone of wealth, then in expostulation, then in entreaty to the passengers for assistance. The Jew's extortions were notorious; as each passed by he recognised the features of the money-lender, and told him that he must wait, better men required aid.
The fire was approaching, the struggles and prayers of the half-buried Jew became frantic; large promises of reward were shrieked from his quivering Jips; larger and larger as the approaching flames began to blister his frenzied brow; still the people as they passed on looked upon the money-lender, and his prayers were unheeded; his offers were redoubled, and the flames threatened on; long columns of fire were hastening upon him from opposite sides; he inade one last effort, promised his entire wealth, even to the box of bills, and the columns closed over his head. The schooner only reached La Brea late after dark ; the commander had, however, provided excellent fare, and there was no dulness in the hours.
At La Brea, there is a bituminous lake, three miles across and fluid in the centre, which the schooner's party were anxious to visit ; the smell of the bitumen is perceptible far off the land, and in fact, it runs far out under the sea. Having myself previously visited the lake, admired its fair islets, glittering with flowers and sparkling with humming-birds, and wandered over its surface, reticulated with fissures, filled up with the clearest water, I was only anxious to get on shore, and having at length succeeded in effecting a landing through the surf, I procured a boat and reached Naparimo after three or four hours' rowing. Awaking next morning, I first looked down upon the bay, filled with shipping taking off the produce, and next proceeded up the country, along tracts of several miles, which waved with canes, and, at each separate estate, steam-engines and the most elaborate works were in active employment.
In Venezuela, to find on one estate 200 acres of canes and a watermill had been quite a startling rencontre ; here were 100 well-regulated properties, and in this port, of secondary importance in the island, as many vessels as could be seen in La Guayra, through which the greater part of the cominerce of the republic passes.
Almost all the timber of the Venezuelan forests is found in Trinidad in rank abundance. Its remoter depths and its numerous lagoons are frequented by similar game. Its alluvial soil is the most fertile of any of the British possessions, and it only wants population ; even here, it has the advantage over the continent, numbers of whose peons are lured over by the higher wages, either for the season, or for permanent residence.
Returning to Port of Spain, I found my companion still loud in the praises of iced hock, no doubt the thirst of the South American llanos had produced a craving for the grateful beverage.
A glass of your Hockheimer, a green glass,
Wreathed with rich grapes and bacchanal devices, would have been a foretaste of paradise under the sun of San Fernando d'Apure.
The people of Trinidad are infinitely more serious in their religious exercises than on the main ; indeed the reproach of Spanish bigotry could never be more unjustly applied than to the free-thinking Vene. zuelans of the present day. Even under the Spanish rule, although the Spanish colonies and conquests were noininally the gift of the pope, his holiness's influence was ever small; his bulls could only obtain currency by permission, setting forth that there was nothing in them contrary to the law of the land. In Port of Spain, the cathedral is crowded to excess, and the church equally so, and Puseyism having lately found adherents among the congregation of the latter, long discussions were in progress as to the comfort and advantage of young ladies attending the confessional to relieve themselves of their little budget of iniquities into the ears of the juvenile Puseyite parsons. In the midst of all this and much more the mail-steamer appeared, one bottle of iced hock more after passing the Bocas, a few hours of sleep, and we awoke in Courland bay, the very inconvenient mail-harbour of Tobago.
June. -TOL. LXXIV, NO. CCXCIV.
THE CARNIVAL AT COLOGNE.
On the 3rd of February was celebrated the annual Carnival of Cologne, presenting a scene throughout all the principal streets, singularly at variance with the habitually grave, quiet, and business-like atmosphere which pervades that old city. The carnival lasts three days; but the grand day was the one which we are about to describe. It will be our purpose to give an account of the various scenes that presented themselves, transcribed from notes taken at the moment, and which we promise not to endeavour to “ embellish” with a view to making any more interesting or brilliant effects than we actually witnessed. The reader is not to expect such scenes as he may have seen, or heard of, in Italian and Spanish cities during great festivals, but only a faithful account of a German Carnival. Should he feel any disappointment in the deficiency of that bright and hilarious vortex of masked character, which he would gladly have presented to his imagination, he is solicited to be so reasonable as to bear in mind that we are merely the historian of a Great Farce, and not the inventor or author, and that we only beg his attention to a few grotesque or merry matters-offact which actually occurred in the venerable city of Cologne on the 3rd of February, 1845.
It was a horrid day—an English day of the worst kind-a mizzling London morning, with the addition of a cold searching wind from the Rhine, such as we are never favoured with from the Thames. The streets were wet all over, with long puddles and swathes of mud at intervals; the air was full of dull, misty rain ; and at half-past ten o'clock we had a fall of snow. It only lasted long enough to aggravate the slushy condition of the streets, and at about eleven o'clock a few ornamented waggons, containing each some dozen of tawdry, cold, illdressed characters, made their appearance in different parts of the city, and a crowd began to collect and perambulate the streets. Very few paid any attention to the feeble attempts of the mimes in the waggons, and they were soon left alone to drink their thin red wine and Dresden beer, and sing their songs, and make their heavy jests in the ungenial air.
Shortly after this unpromising commencement, however, the weather began to clear up a little over head, the streets assumed a less dingy appearance, a number of maskers and fancy dresses issued forth, the windows were rapidly filling with ladies and children up to the top stories, and from the roofs of opposite houses cords were extended across the streets, upon which were ung large banners, flags, devices of all colours, and jack-pudding figures of the size of life, all waving and swinging together over the crowds that passed below. All the shopwindows had the shutters up, except a few that sold masks.
We followed the stream (the people and puddles inclusive) through several streets, all decorated over head in the same manner, and the windows filled with spectators, many of whom were also perched upon the tops of the houses, or sitting like a row of sparrows along the parapet, till we arrived at the Neu-Markt, a large open square, with double lines of trees encompassing it, and where the military usually
attend parades and exercise, the caserne, or barrack, fronting it on one side. This large space was roped in, upon the present occasion, on the inside of the surrounding trees, and the ropes were defended from intruders by soldiers placed at intervals. A crowd had therefore collected on the outside of the ropes all round the square, and within this space the various cars, and ornamental carts, and waggons, and platforms on wheels, and horsemen, and bands of music, and mimes, and mummers, and masqueraders were fast assembling. We soon discovered that this sacred enclosure was penetrable by the payment ten silber groschen (about one shilling English), and we accordingly entered, and had an opportunity of making more close and undisturbed observations than could otherwise have been obtained. But it will give the reader a much better idea of the scene to describe the effect of the whole, as the cortege passed through the different streets. Having seen all the “rout” of men and women, and "pleasant monsters” in detail, we took up a station on a high ground to see the whole pass in succession, and now invite the reader to place himself at our side.
Several horsemen, in fancy dresses, advance at the head of the procession, which slowly winds its way in a long train out of the great square, and commences its passage through all the principal streets of the city. Among the horsemen, the most conspicuous is a very large man with a smiling rosy face, attired in a flesh-coloured tight dress, with the skin of a wild beast over his shoulders, and bearing a club, the thicker or bossy end of which is formed by the insertion of a knuckle of ham, at once presenting a warlike outline and a festive idea. Behind him ride others who carry bottles and flasks slung at their sides, and one very good-natured, humorous old countryman is seated astride upon a small barrel, the barrel being fastened upon the horse's back in place of the saddle.
A cottage, mounted upon a waggon or platform on wheels, next makes its appearance. In front of it stands a large Christmas Tree, full of golden fruit, and fairy gifts, and bags of money, or something better. The roof of the cottage is regularly thatched, and a live crow, perched upon the top near the chimney, is evidently a very unwilling participator in the scene, and flaps his wings and opens his bill in wrath at his inability to escape.
Soon after this we see a balloon, of red and white, come bobbing along over the heads of the crowds that line the street on each side, and we presently discover that this is intended to represent a supply of wind, and is affixed to the centre of a large silver boat, in which stand various figures, attired in what they fancy to be sailors' dresses, but having rather the appearance of pastrycooks, or stewards on board a steamer bound for « an excursion.” They present printed songs to the spectators.
But what little thick figure is that which now comes hopping and skipping, on tip-toe, through the muddy streets in a flesh-coloured dress ? His fleshings fit tight to his shape, and his shape is not unlike that of the “ fat boy" in Boz. His face and hands, though painted, are absolutely blue with the cold. The cold shows through every wing. You can see that his knees are cold. He has a pair of golden things of the shape of pancakes, that hang in hopeless inactivity from