Bermudian Days

THREE feet of snow, the thermometer at zero, bitter March winds, and remembrances of the slow coming of the New England spring. To sit in the sun and be idle seemed best of all things, so we went to Bermuda.

The road to Paradise is rough and thorny. Beautiful Bermuda sits upon her coral reefs, guarded by waters that are not to be lightly ventured. Crossing the Gulf Stream diagonally is not conducive to ease of mind or body. Given the passage of the English Channel intensified and stretched out over four days instead of four hours, and you have the voyage from New York to Bermuda. The less said about it the better.

But beyond Purgatory lies Paradise. We left New York on a Thursday in March. On Sunday morning (Easter Sunday of 1883), those of us who were on deck saw a wonderful transformation scene, as the Orinoco passed from the dark and turbulent billows of the Atlantic into the clear blue waters of the land-locked harbor of Bermuda. There was no gradual blending of color. On one side of a sharply defined line was the dull black of molten lead ; on the other the bright azure of the June heavens. One by one the white and haggard passengers crept on deck. How they mocked at the delusion of pleasure travel at sea! How they protested that the dry land would be good enough for them, after this ! Yet in three days’ time these same passengers were chartering whale-boats, sail-boats, yachts, steam-tugs, anything that would take them far out among the reefs, where the ocean swell was heavies. So blessedly evanescent is the memory of seasickness !

The Bermudas are a cluster of islands, lying in the form of a fishhook, or a shepherd’s crook. It is claimed that there are three hundred and sixty-five of them, one for each day in the year. But in this count, if count it is, are included many so minute that a single tree would shade their whole circumference. The five largest are St. David’s, St. George’s, the Main Island, or the Continent, as it is occasionally called, Somerset, and Ireland’s Island. St. George’s lies at the upper end of the crook ; Ireland’s at the extreme point. Nature seems to have taken great care of this precious bit of her handiwork. So perfectly is it guarded by its outlying coral reefs that there is but a single channel by which large vessels can enter the harbor. Fifteen miles from shore, at the extreme northern limit of the reefs, rises a picturesque group called the North Rocks, — the highest pinnacles of a submerged Bermuda. But though according to the chronicles they may be seen, they seldom are, and the first land sighted by the New York steamer is the northeast coast of St. George’s Island. By night, the fixed white light on St. David’s Head alone gives evidence that land is near. The tortuous though well-buoyed channel can be entered only by daylight.

Out comes the negro pilot, and scrambles up on deck. We round St. George’s, and follow the northern coast line at a respectful distance till we reach Point Ireland and her majesty’s dockyard, and come to anchor in Grassy Bay. It is barely noon, but we find to our chagrin that the tide is out, and we must lie here till night and wait for it. Presently appears the little steam-tug, the Moondyne (or Mo-ondy-nè, — meaning the messenger, — if you choose to appear wiser than other folks), which sooner or later becomes so pleasantly known to all Bermudian visitors, and demands the mail. It is but a five-mile run into Hamilton harbor, and most of the passengers avail themselves of this opportunity to leave the steamer; but the Moondyne, crowded from stem to stern, looks half under water, and the descent by the swaying stairs is not enticing to heads and feet that are still unsteady.

It is dark when we reach the dock at Hamilton, — a dark, rainy, moonless night. How long it takes to lay the planks, and make ready for our disembarkation ! H— hurries on shore to look for quarters. No rooms at the hotels for love or money, but pleasant lodgings “ out,” with board at the Hamilton. A carriage waits, and a not long drive through the soft, damp, odorous darkness brings us to our temporary home.

By a flight of winding stairs we reach a covered balcony, over which a tropical vine wanders at will. Double glass doors lead into a large, square chamber, with walls of snow and floor of cedar, out of which open two good-sized bedrooms. The furniture is quaint and old-fashioned, and there are brass bedsteads with lace draperies wonderful to behold.

We crept into blessed beds that would not roll, with a queer but delightful sense of isolation akin to that one feels at night on the highest peak of some lonely mountain. What was Bermuda but a speck, a dot upon the map ! Surely the wind that was stirring the cedars would blow us off this atom in the illimitable waste of waters. But we slept, nevertheless.

Two or three low, sweet bugle notes, that I afterwards discovered to be the morning call of the baker’s boy, and a burst of jubilant bird-song awakened me. It took but a moment to throw open the window. What a contrast to icy mountains and valleys of drifted snow ! Before me were large pride-ofIndia trees, laden with their long, pendulous racemes of pale lavender, each separate blossom having a drop of maroon at its heart. Clumps of oleanders, just blushing into bloom, rose to the right and the left. Beneath me were glowing beds of geraniums, callas, roses, Easter lilies, and the many-hued coleus. Scarlet blossoms burned against the dark green of the pomegranate leaves. There rose the tall shaft of a stately palm ; there the spreading fans of the palmetto, or the slender spires of the swaying bamboo. As far as the eye could reach was one stretch of unbroken bloom and verdure. But stop a minute ! Surely there are patches of snow set in all this greenery ; snow-covered roofs glittering in the morning sun, and dazzling the eye with their brilliancy. It took more than a glance to discover that the snow was but the white coral rock, of which more anon.

It seemed a cruel waste of time to go to breakfast, but there was no help for it. As we passed from beneath our pride-of-Indias to the winding Serpentine, a very pretty girl, neatly, even daintily, dressed, and carrying a little basket lined with scarlet, tripped up to us, and with a graceful apology for detaining us, in words as well chosen as those of any lady, begged the privilege of doing our washing ! The pretty face was dark, — as dark as that of a bronze Venus. We said Yes, quite shamefacedly, no doubt, and went our way, wondering what manner of land this might be, where melodious bugle notes announce the advent of the baker, and your washerwoman has the speech and carriage of a duchess.

Kind and thoughtful courtesy is the rule in Bermuda. A handful of loquottes were laid beside my plate that morning with the remark that they were nearly out of season, and this might be my only opportunity to taste them. The loquotte is somewhat like a yellow plum; bitter and astringent if plucked too soon, but juicy and most delicious when fully ripe.

That Easter Monday was a great day for the boys of Pembroke grammar school. There were to be athletic sports at Tucker’s Field, and the victors were to receive their prizes from the fair hands of no less a personage than the Princess Louise. Such an opportunity to see Bermuda in gala-dress was not to be despised. So to the Field we went, starting early, and taking a long drive to the Flatts on Harrington Sound on the way, in order to call at the quaint and beautiful home of the American consul. There we saw our first cocoa-nut palm, its feathery branches making a soft, rustling music as the wind swept through them. And here, too, in the basin of a fountain fed directly from the sea, were dozens of beautiful angel fish, so exquisite in their blue and gold, and with something so human in their mild, innocent faces, that they seemed half uncanny. Here, also, were the little striped “ sergeant majors,’’ or pilot-fish. These curious wee creatures seem to be the forerunners, or " pilots,” of the mighty sharks, and, it is said, always precede them. Without vouching for the truth of this, I may say that whenever we saw sharks in these waters, as we often did, the pilot-fish invariably preceded them.

Tucker’s Field was a gay sight. All Bermuda was there,—a throng of welldressed, handsome grown folks and pretty children. Full one half were colored people, and it is not too much to say that some of the finest looking and finest mannered of the crowd were among them. One of the most noticeably elegant men on the grounds was a tall and stately black, with a beautiful child in his arms and his pretty wife by his side. There were soldiers in gay coats, streamers and banners flying in the soft yet not heated air, a close greensward under our feet, a wall of cedars encircling us, the blue sky over our heads, and glimpses of the blue sea in the distance. Against a background of cedar arose a white pavilion, over which floated the Bermudian flag ; and in front of it was a raised platform, covered with scarlet cloth, sacred to the princess and her suite. Her royal highness had not arrived, but the boys were already at their work, running hurdle races, vaulting, and leaping.

Presently there was a little commotion, a stir of expectancy. Down sank the flag of Bermuda, and the princess’s own standard, gorgeous in scarlet and gold, rose in its stead, as an open carriage, with outriders, drove on to the grounds. The princess, in a pretty and simple costume of purple silk, with a bonnet to match,— a little puffed affair, guiltless of flowers or feathers, — bowed to the right and to the left, her strong, sweet, womanly face lighting up as she received the greetings of the people. In Bermuda the Princess Louise won all hearts by her gracious sweetness, her affability, and the cordial kindliness and simplicity with which she met all advances.

But to go back to the boys. They raced; they jumped; they ran “threelegged races ; ” they rode obstinate though gayly caparisoned donkeys, amid cheers and laughter ; they vaulted, the pole being raised higher and higher, until the princess put a stop to it, lest the brave lads should break their necks : and then, one by one, the blushing and victorious knights received their shining silver cups from the hands of her royal highness. The pretty pageant was over, and our first day in Bermuda as well.

I have said that courtesy is the rule in Bermuda. Here is a proof of it. At one time during these performances, the crowd surged in front of me, so that I could see only a wall of backs and shoulders. A kindly-faced and sweetvoiced negro woman, perceiving this, touched my shoulder, saying, “ Take my place, lady. You cannot see.” “But,” I answered, “ if I do, you will see nothing.” “ Oh, that does not matter,” she said, with a bright smile. “ The lady is a stranger, but I have seen the princess a good many times.”

Manners in the islands, if not hearts, are exceedingly friendly. Everybody, as a rule, salutes. No man, be he white or black, passes a lady without lifting his hat. Every child makes its grave little salutation. Negro women, with baskets on their heads, give you a word or a smile, as they go by Little boys and girls steal shyly up with gifts of flowers or fruit. Nobody is in a hurry, nobody seems to have anything to do; yet every one is well clad, and looks happy and contented.

Perhaps there is poverty in Bermuda, but squalor and absolute want, if they exist, keep themselves strangely out of sight. The first thing, perhaps, that strikes the visitor, after the beauty of the water and the perfection of the flowers, is the appearance of ease and wellto-do comfort that pervades the islands. There is no rubbish, no dirt, no dust, no mud. Instead of the tumble-down shanties that deform and defile the rest of the world, here the humblest citizen not only dreams of marble halls, but actually dwells in them — or seems to. All the houses are built of the native snow - white stone ; a coral formation that underlies every foot of soil. When first quarried, this stone is so soft that it can be cut with a knife. But it hardens on exposure to the air, and so durable is it that a house once builded is good for at least a hundred years. That it readily lends itself to architectural purposes is shown by the interior of Trinity Church, and by the handsome and massive gateways, with their arches and columns, that one meets at every turn. These, with the well-kept grounds, give an impression of affluence and elegance that is, perhaps, sometimes misleading. For we are told there are not many large incomes in Bermuda, and that the style of living in these beautiful and picturesque homes is very simple and unostentatious.

It is the very afternoon for a walk, the air being cool and bracing, though the sun is hot. It is the 3d of April, and the mercury at eight A. M. stood at 62° in the shade. “ Too cold to work out-of-doors,” explained a laborer whom our landlord had engaged to work in his garden; and forthwith he gathered up his tools and departed. Think of that, ye Yankee farmers, who chop wood and “ cut fodder ” with the thermometer at zero !

Shall we go to the North Shore, taking Pembroke church by the way ? You can see its square tower of massive stone rising above the trees yonder. The long white roof with the two towers, nearly opposite, just beyond that stately royal palm, belongs to Woodlands, one of the finest places here. Here the hard, smooth road leads us on between long avenues of cedar-trees, and there between walls of coral rock thirty feet high. We pause to rest on a low stone wall, where the oleander hedges, just bursting into bloom, pink and white and vivid crimson, reach far above our heads and fill the air with fragrance. Deadly sweet? Poisonous? May be so, like many other charming things. But we ’ll risk it, with this strong sea-breeze blowing.

We meet funny, sturdy little donkeys drawing loads preposterously large; carts laden with crates of onions for the outgoing steamer; negro women bearing baskets and bundles on their turbaned heads, — tall, erect, stately, oftentimes with strong, clearly cut features almost statuesque in their repose ; children, white and black, just out of school, with their books and satchels.

For a wonder, the square-towered Pembroke church is closed. But the gate is open, and we turn into the quiet churchyard, where so many generations lie buried. To unaccustomed eyes the scene is a strange one, and the effect is most singular. The surface of the ground is almost hidden by gray, coffinshaped tombs, like huge sarcophagi, solid and heavy as the eternal rocks of the island. As I understand it, the bodies are deposited, tier upon tier in many cases, in excavations, or tombs, cut in the underlying rock, and these strange structures are raised over them. But the impression one gets is that of a multitude of great stone coffins, resting on the ground. Very few of them bear any inscription. For the most part, they are simply numbered, and the record of names and dates is kept in a parish book.

Of course there are exceptions, as in the case of Bishop Field, who lies under a polished slab of Peterhead granite, suitably inscribed. But love cares for her dead, all the same. Palms rustle softly. Pride-of-India trees, oleanders, and pomegranates wave their boughs and scatter their blossoms. Lilies and callas and roses in rich profusion make the place lovely beyond description, while wreaths and crosses lie upon tombs that are gray with age. At the head of one grave — that of Governor Laffan, who died last year — is a great tub of English violets. At its foot a sago-palm stretches its broad arms as if in benediction.

We go past the government house, Mount Langton, catching a glimpse of the avenue, where the bourganvilier, a tropical vine, covers a wall thirty-live feet high with a solid mass of crimson flowers. But special permission to eater must be had ; so we can only take a surreptitious glance to-day, and are soon at the North Shore, looking straight out to sea.

The nearest point of land is Cape Hatteras, six hundred and fifty miles away. The strong ocean winds, free from all taint of earthly soil or sin, sweep over us with strength and healing in every breath. And the coloring ! Look ! Far off on the horizon, the sky, azure overhead, softens to a pale rosecolor. The line that meets it is a deep indigo blue, — a blue so intense that we can hardly believe it is the sea. Thence, through infinite gradations, the color faints and fades, from indigo to dark sapphire, from sapphire to lapis-lazuli, from lapis-lazuli to the palest shade of the forget-me-not. It changes, even as we gaze, to deepest emerald, which in turn fades to a tender apple-green, touched here and there with rose. It dies away in saffron and pale amber where it kisses the shore, with long reaches of purple where the coral reefs lie hidden.

But as we scramble down upon the rocky shore, how the huge breakers foam and fret! They toss their proud heads, and dash themselves against the frowning cliffs with the noise of booming thunder. We can scarcely hear our own voices, and will run from the spray and the tumult to a quieter spot farther on. Here we find some oddly shaped shells, and that strange creature called the Portuguese man-of-war. It looks like a pale bluish pearl, shining in the sea. But it is merely an elliptical bladder, and floats about, balanced by long, blue, hanging tentacles. Capture it with cane or parasol, if you can. But beware of touching it, for it exudes a subtle liquid that will sting you like a nettle.

To-morrow, an’ you please, we will cross the island to the Sand Hills, on the South Shore; shortening the distance, if we choose, by taking the ferry across the harbor to Paget. The ferry is a row-boat, and Charon will take us over for a penny ha’penny apiece, with all the beauty and the soft sweet airs thrown in. Cheap enough, in all conscience ! For here are softly undulating shores, green-clad hills, white cottages, each a pearl in a setting of emerald, the busy dock with its quaintly foreign aspect, the white-winged yachts flying hither and thither, the blue sky overhead, the bluer sea below. Is it not worth the money ? Yonder lies a Norwegian ship, with her sailors climbing the shrouds like so many monkeys. Round the nearest point comes a boat from H. M. ship Tenedos. The Tenedos is lying at Grassy Bay, making herself fine to receive the princess, and her jolly tars are in high spirits. When her royal highness sails, next week, what with the flying banners and the gayly dressed crowd, the blue and white canopy with its flower-wreathed pillars, the broad scarlet-covered steps leading down to the water, the admiral’s cutter with its blue-jacketed tars, the gold-laced admiral himself with his sword and his plumed hat and all the rest of the fuss and feathers, it will be for all the world like a scene from Pinafore.

But this morning Jack is bent on getting rid of his money. He will manage to leave half a year’s wages behind him in those queer, dark, uninviting little shops on Front Street. For there are more enticements hidden away in most incongruous nooks and corners than one would imagine. You step into a grocery, for instance, and find a fine display of amber jewelry. If you are in want of some choice cologne, do not fail to ask for it at the nearest shoe-shop, It is as likely to be there as in more legitimate quarters. The rule is, If you want a thing, hunt till you find it. It is pretty sure to be somewhere.

A pleasant walk from the ferry brings us to the Sand Hills, over which we tramp, only pausing to admire the exquisite oleander blooms, the largest we have yet seen. We clamber down the rocks, and reach the long, smooth, white beach, as hard and level as a floor. There is a fresh breeze, and the surf comes rolling in, driving the baby crabs far up the beach, and leaving them stranded. We laugh at their queer antics for a minute, and then leave them to chase the sea-bottles that are rolling over the sand. Can they really be alive, these little globes of iridescent glass filled with sea-water ?

But we turn, erelong, from all the strange creatures of the sea to the sea itself, lured by its own resistless spell. There is not a being in sight, save one lone darkey gathering mussels in the distance. There is not a sign of human habitation. Only the long stretch of sandy beach, the rocky background, and the wide ocean, vast, lonely, illimitable. We write dear names on the sand, and with half a smile and a whole sigh watch the tide as it blots them out. What do we care that myriads before us have played at the same childish game ? Higher and still higher up we write them, but the result is always the same. The cruel, crawling, hungry sea stretches its hand over them, and they are gone.

Having done much tramping within a day or two, what if we were to take a drive to-day, a long one to St. George’s ? We can go by the North Road, the South Road, or the Middle Road. They are all good. But we will take the North, returning by the South. The comfortable carriage has seats for four; but we look dubiously at the one horse, until we are told that on these hard, smooth roads, hewn out of the solid rock, one horse will do the work of two. It is whispered, also, under the rose, that there are not more than four pairs of horses, or “ double teams,” in all Bermuda.

So off we go, in the cool, clear morning, bright with sunshine and odorous with flower scents. As we bowl swiftly along, the sea sparkles at our left, as if there were a diamond in the heart of every sapphire wave. Between us and it the slight and graceful tamarisk rises like a pale green mist. The Bermudians call it the “ salt cedar.” Taste it, and you get the very flavor of the brine. To the right are undulating hills and sleepy valleys, with pretty cottages nestling in their green recesses, and here and there a stately mansion perched far up on some height that commands two ocean views. We pass clumps of cedar and thickets of the fan-leaved palmetto. The curious, club-like paw-paw rises, straight as an arrow, with a tuft of leaves at the top, and fruit, looking not unlike a great green lemon, growing directly from the trunk. The aloe is in bloom, and the Spanish bayonet bristles by the wayside. The drooping purple flower of the banana and its heavy clusters of fruit are in every garden. The banana is as omnipresent as the onion.

Often the road passes for long distances between lofty walls of solid rock, from the crevices of which all lovely growths are springing. The dainty sweet elyssum clings to the rock in great patches, and the little rice plant lays its pink cheek against it lovingly. Here and everywhere spring the life-plant and the blue stars of the Bermudiana. The orange is not now in fruit, but on many of the lemon-trees the yellow globes are hanging like golden lamps,

A long causeway — a gigantic piece of work, massive and strong enough to defy wind and water for ages — connects St. George’s with the mainland. As we approach it, a fresh and exquisite picture meets us at every turn, while the views from the causeway itself are surpassingly fine. It is nearly two miles in length, and a revolving bridge gives two wide water passages for boats.

The quaint, picturesque old town, which was founded in 1612, seems to bristle with forts. Indeed, this is true of the whole island range, — the Bermudas being, with the exception of Gibraltar, England’s most strongly fortified hold. One not to the manner born cannot help wondering why this infinitesimal bit of land in the midst of mighty seas should require a fort on every exposed point; why there should be batteries and martello towers at every turn, and why red-coats and marines should meet, you at every corner. But it must be remembered that this is the rendezvous for the British fleet in all these waters, and here vast quantities of arms and ammunition are stored. England doubtless knows her own business; and it cannot be questioned that her strong position here would give her an immense advantage, in case— which may God forbid! — of her ever going to war with America.

Strangers are not allowed inside the forts. But we can climb the heights, if we choose, and see the outside of the shore. Or, while we are waiting for dinner to be made ready in the old-fashioned inn facing the square, where the landlord himself will serve you at table, carving the joints with his own hand, we can wander about the narrow streets with their odd balconied and jalousied houses, and imagine ourselves in the Orient. Or we can go to the Public Garden, and sit under the shade of datepalms one hundred and fifty years old. Here, in the ivy-covered wall at the left of the lower gate, — a dark slab in a niche, —is the monument of Sir George Somers, for whom the town was named, and in honor of whom the Bermudas were once known as the Somers Islands. Only his heart is buried here. His body lies in White Church, Dorsetshire, England. In the wall above the old monument is a white marble tablet, erected by Lieutenant-General Lefroy, bearing this inscription : —

Near this spot Was interred, in the year 1610, the Heart of the Heroic Admiral, SIR GEORGE SOMERS, KT., Who nobly sacrificed his Life To carry succor To the infant and suffering Plantation, Now THE STATE OF VIRGINIA. To preserve his Name to Future Ages Near the scene of his memorable shipwreck of 1609, The Governor and Commander-in-Chief Of this Colony for the time being caused this tablet to be erected. 1876.

Building’s Bay, on the North Shore, is believed to be the spot where, after the shipwreck, the “ heroic admiral ” built his two cedar ships, the Deliverance and the Patience.

In the Public Library at Hamilton one is shown with much pride a thin booklet of perhaps a dozen pages, printed in black letter. It has lately been rebound in red morocco, thus renewing its youth. It bears the imprint “ London, 1613, " and purports to be Sir George’s own account of his shipwreck and deliverance.

It is but a step from the Public Garden to St. Peter’s, the oldest church on the islands. In the walls are many interesting tablets, and the sexton will show you the communion service, of massive silver, presented by King William III., in 1684.

To American eyes, its narrow streets and oddly shaped houses give St. George’s a charm that is quite distinctive. York Street is but ten feet wide, and, with its gardens crowded with semi-tropical vegetation, it is like an oriental picture.

On the way home there are marvelous caves it would be a sin not to visit. We leave the carriage, and pick our way for some distance through thickets of cedar and oleander, with coffee-trees, bamboos, and lemons interspersed, till we reach the desired haven. It proves by no means a haven of rest, however, for the descent into the caves is rough and precipitous. Yet, if you are fond of cavernous depths, it pays. Our guide, an intelligent colored man, who owns the place, lights a bonfire of cedar brush, and the transformation scene begins. The dark, damp, gloomy cavern stretches away through magnificent distances, and through openings in the walls we catch glimpses of other chambers, of whose splendors we are content to dream. Far above us soars the vaulted roof, hung with stalactites, and glittering as with the light of countless jewels. Below us lies a lake, clear and cold, whereon fairies might launch their airy shallops. There are many of these caves in different parts of the islands, but one description answers for all. We may, however, stop for a moment at the “ Devil’s Hole.” No rendezvous for gods or fairies this, but a natural fishpond, through whose rocky basin, set in a huge cavernous chamber, the ocean sends its tides continually. The fish, strange creatures called groupers, with great sluggish bodies and horribly human faces, come crowding up to be fed, and stare at us hungrily with their awful eyes.

It is Sunday morning, and all eyes are turned anxiously to the signal station at Mount Langton. As we look, a red, white, and blue pennant flies from the yard-arm, announcing that the steamer from New York is in sight. Now we can go to church in peace, sure of getting our mail some time to-morrow. It is impossible to get it to-day, and after a little natural Yankee grumbling at Bermudian slowness we accept the situation. What does it matter ? What does anything matter in this lazy, lotuseating land, where it seems always afternoon ?

The Bermudians are a church-going people. The question asked is not, “ Are you going to church to-day ?” but, “ Where are you going ? ” The going is taken for granted, as it used to be in New England. Yet there is no Puritanic sombreness. All is gay and bright. Flags fly in honor of the day from Mount Langton, from Admiralty House, and from the shipping in the harbor. At half past nine A. M. precisely, a pennant flies from the staff in Victoria Park, to announce that church time is near.

We Hamiltonians can go to Pembroke, beautifully set in its garden of green ; or to Trinity, a handsome church, with fine memorial windows, and columns and arches of the native stone. Or we can get Charon to row us across the ferry, and stroll for a mile along a quiet, shaded country road to the beautiful Paget Church. If we do this last, we shall surely be tempted to rest a while on a low stone wall that runs parallel with the road behind the parish school, and try to fix the lovely picture in our minds forever.

We can easily find a Presbyterian kirk and a Wesleyan chapel. But here, as in England, Dissenters are in the minority, the union of church and state being very close. Wherever we go, however, we shall find the same pleasant and cordial mingling of whites and blacks in the audience. Bermuda does not raise a partition wall between her children, setting the light on one side, the dark on the other. Their pews are side by side, in the flowerdecked churches, and as a rule the colored people are as neatly dressed, as well mannered, and as devout, as their lighter brethren. One cannot look upon their tranquil, thoughtful faces, or hear their low-toned, musical voices in the responses, without thanking God for what fifty years of freedom, under favorable auspices, can do for the black race.

Bermuda belongs to the see of Newfoundland and Labrador, the bishop making a yearly visitation. What a rounding of the circle, — to live half the year in frozen Labrador, and half in soft Bermuda !

There are eight parishes, with the names of which the visitor soon grows as familiar as with the streets of his native town; if he stays long he talks of Southampton, Devonshire, and Warwick as glibly as the islanders themselves. Parliament is composed of a legislative and executive council appointed by the crown, and an assembly. The latter, formed of four members from each parish, is elected for a term of seven years. The schools are in charge of the parish authorities, who are empowered to enforce attendance. A fine is exacted from the parent if the child fails to appear. There are also several private schools, which are said to be good. At all events, the Bermudians are refined and intelligent, and by far the greater number, of course, have been educated at home. Now and then the son or daughter of a well-to-do family is sent to England to be “finished,” but one meets many bright and clever men and women who have never left the islands.

A certain insular narrowness may sometimes be felt, as when a lady said to her friend, “ I wonder what the world would do without Bermuda! Just think how many potatoes and onions we export ! ” It is a blessed fact that one’s own home is the hub of the universe. Bermuda does not seem small to its inhabitants. To them it is the world, and holds the fullness thereof. “ The maps do not do us justice,” said one of them to the writer. “ For you see we really are not so very small.”

But the truth is that in its exceeding smallness lies one of its chief charms. And to realize how small it is one must visit the lighthouse, a drive of six miles, or so, from Hamilton. Down the hill to Front Street, past Parliament House and the Public Library, past Pembroke Hall and its group of Royal Palms, — five magnificent trees, lifting their stately, granite-colored shafts like columns in some ancient temple, — round the harbor, and then on through Paget and Warwick to Gibbs’s Hill in Southampton. This is one of the most delightful drives possible, the road running past fine country mansions and cozy cottages, with here and there a glimpse of the shining sea. Just where we leave the highway to go to Gibbs’s Hill we pass a ruined house, weird and sombre in its desolation. It is a place to haunt one’s dreams. The high stone steps are worn in great suggestive hollows. The water tank is empty, and rats have taken possession. From the broken windows ghostly faces seem peering out. But we pick a geranium that flaunts gayly in the sun by the shattered door-sill, and go on our upward and winding way to the lighthouse.

The ascent of the lofty tower is not difficult, in spite of its height. The light is, we are told, a “ revolving dioptric lens with mirrors,” — whatever that may be, — and is among the largest and most powerful in the world. The building is exquisitely kept, its polished floors and glittering brasses being dainty enough for my lady’s boudoir. Civil service means something in Bermuda. One of the three keepers told me he had not left his lonely eyrie for a night in seventeen years, and it was evident he considered himself settled for life. Very proud were the three of their stately and beautiful charge, touching the costly and delicate machinery as tenderly as if it were a sentient being and felt their caressing hands.

But it is the view from the gallery we came to see, and out we go, with a word of caution from the guide as to the wind. We are on the very outermost point of the southwestern coast, and from where we stand we can take in the whole island group, from St. George’s to Ireland. What a little spot it is, to be sure ! — a mere point in the illimitable waste of waters that stretch away to the horizon on every side. But the view is magnificent beyond description. It is worth the half of one’s kingdom to stand for just half an hour, of a clear afternoon, on the lighthouse tower at Gibbs’s Hill.

Yet the chief attraction of Bermuda is in her iridescent waters and what lies beneath them. At nine of the clock, one morning, Williams, a bronze Hercules, low voiced, gentle mannered, a trusty boatman, and an enthusiast in his calling, meets us at the dock, with his water glasses, nippers, and all else needed for a successful trip to the reefs. But our first objective point is Ireland Island, and to gain time we embark on the Moondyne, — a pleasant party of five, with lunch baskets and the ever-present waterproofs and umbrellas. Towing our row-boat, away we glide down the beautiful sunlit bay, winding our way in and out among the fairy islands of the Great Sound, after a fashion strikingly like the passage through the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence. Passing the lovely shores of Somerset and Boaz, which last was formerly the convict station, we get good views of the naval and military hospitals, with their broad balconies and shaded grounds. At Ireland Island is her majesty’s dockyard, with forts and batteries, all alive with soldiers, marines, and busy workmen. Several men-of-war, with a multitude of smaller craft, are at anchor in Grassy Bay, and the admiral’s ship, the Northampton, is lying in the great floating dock, Bermuda, for repairs. This enormous structure, said to be the largest of its kind in the world, was towed over from England in 1868. To naval, military, and business men this is a most attractive spot, but so much red tape must be untied before one can enter the dockyard that we content ourselves with an outside view, and walk across the island to the cemetery. Here, within sound of the moaning sea and the fierce guns of the forts, all is as peaceful and serene as in any country graveyard in New England. Trees wave, flowers bloom, brightwinged birds flit from palm to cedar, and great masses of the scarlet heath burn in the soft, cool light.

But we are most impressed by the records of sudden and violent deaths; for here we find inscriptions instead of the conventional number. “ Killed by a fall from the masthead of H. M. ship Daylight.” “ Drowned off Spanish Rock.” “ Died suddenly, a victim to yellow fever.” Erected by his messmates to the memory of —, who died at sea.” So the inscriptions ran. Many of the epitaphs were curious ; but all were to me indescribably pathetic.

Some civilians are buried here, arid many little children; and I came upon a pathetic memorial to a fair young English wife, who followed her soldier husband hither only to give birth to a little child and die on these far-off shores. But for the most part the sleepers in this beautiful God’s acre are strong and stalwart men, cut off in the flower of their days.

We lunch in delicious shade, with the sea at our feet and a bright-eyed, swiftfooted little mulatto boy for our Ganymede. Then we row along the coast and through the narrows to the dockyard harbor, bound for the reefs.

As we round the point there is a sudden gathering of the clans and the swell of martial music. Hundreds of soldiers and sailors swarm upon the piers and cling to every masthead. Evidently something exciting is going on. The band strikes up Home, Sweet Home, and the good ship Humber steams out, with all sails set, bound for England, and crowded from stem to stern. She takes home a regiment whose term of service has expired. A storm of cheers bursts from the comrades they are leaving behind, answered by shouts and hurrahs from the happy fellows on board. They scramble up the tall masts, and far out on the yard-arms; they cling to the shrouds, waving their caps and shouting themselves hoarse, as the band plays The Girl I left Behind Me. One agile fellow stands on the very top of the tallest mast, his figure in bold relief against the blue of the sky. As the ship passes the near buoys Auld Lang Syne floats plaintively over the deep, and the men on the dock turn soberly, perhaps sadly, to the monotonous routine of duties.

Williams picks up his oars, and we are soon far out among the reefs. It is so still and clear that a water glass is scarcely needed. Without its aid we can look far down, down, into the azure and amber depths, so translucent, so pure, that the minutest object is distinctly visible. What marvelous growths, what wonderful creations! Is this a submerged flower-garden ? Great sea-fans wave their purple branches, swaying to the swell as pine-boughs sway to the breeze. Magnificent sprays of star-coral, some as fine and delicate as lace-work, and so frail that it would be impossible to remove them from their bed, and some like the strong antlers of some forest monarch, grow upon the sides of the deep sea mountains. Here the shelfcoral hangs from the rocks like an inverted mushroom, delicately wrought, and the rose-coral unfolds like a fairyflower. There lie great brainstones, another variety of coral, with their singular convolutions, side by side with fingersponges, tall, brown, branching sea-rods, sea-cucumbers, and many another wonder. There are star-fish, sea-urchins, and sea-anemones, — gorgeous creatures in ashes of rose and orange, or in pink and brown with dashes of yellow, and a flutter of white ruffles, that unfold as you gaze, like the opening of a flowerbud. And in and around and about them all glide the blue angel fish, with their fins just tipped with gold, yellow canary fish, the zebra-striped sergeant majors, and a ruby-colored fish that gleams in the water like a ray of light.

We gather fans and corals ; we exhaust our vocabularies in expressions of delight; and then in the soft glow of sunset, while the shores are bathed in rosy mist, and each little island is an emerald or an amethyst set in silver, and the far lighthouse towers above them all like a watchful sentinel, we half row, half float, homeward with the tide, silent, tired, but happy.

It would be impossible to tell of all the pleasant excursions that gave light and color to our Bermudian days. One morning we drove to Tucker’s Town— about seven miles — and there hired a whaleboat and three stout oarsmen for the day, that we might, explore Castle Harbor and its surroundings.

We were soon flying over the waves, with our square sail set, bound for Castle Island ; but we stopped at the extreme point of the mainland, that the gentlemen might visit a cave called the Queen’s White Hall. The ladies, meanwhile, climbed the high cliffs to watch the breakers as they dashed over the rocks below us. Suddenly there was a rush, a loud whirr of wings, a burst of laughter, and a call to us ; and down we went. The lighting of a bit of magnesium wire had disclosed a boatswain bird on its nest. Blinded by the sudden glare, it had given one fearful cry ere it was caught and brought out for our inspection, The boatswain is a beautiful white creature, of the gull family, with two long feathers in its tail, by means of which it is popularly supposed to steer its flight; hence the name. When we let it go, it flew far out to sea. But we were scarcely in the boat again when we saw it circling and wheeling far above our heads, only waiting till we strange intruders should be gone before returning to its nest.

Having set sail again, we made for Castle Island. Steep stairs cut in the rocks led us to a broad plateau bordered by ruined fortifications, massive structures which were built early in the seventeenth century, when the Spanish buccaneers made constant raids upon Bermuda. In fact, the pirates once held Castle Island, and we walked over the paths their feet had worn nearly three hundred years ago. Afterwards the castle was for a time the seat of government. The massive walls of fort and castle, full ten feet thick, seem as if they might stand forever.

Climbing up into one of the deep embrasures, with the lonely sea before me and the silent court behind, I tried to imagine the scene as it was when gay with red-coats and gold-laced officers, with their powdered wigs, their queues, their queer cocked hats, and all the pomp and pageantry of glorious war. Far down on the beach below me lay a rusty cannon, half buried in the sand. Doubtless from the very spot where I stood it had belched forth its thunders at the approaching pirate fleets.

We lunched in the gray old court, sitting on a low stone seat whereon, it was easy to believe, many a brave soldier and many a fair lady had whispered sweet secrets, long ago. Names were carved in the rocks and on the walls, the numbers of many regiments — some famous in English annals — appearing over and over again. The remains of the old ovens were still there, and chimneys blackened by the smoke of fires so long gone out.

In the old government house there is a hall, floorless and windowless now, where many a Bermuda girl danced and was made love to by the gay gallants of other days. For Bermuda has always been gay, — gayer, they say, in the past than it is now. So long ago as when our Puritan fathers were struggling with cold, with savages, and with all the hardships and privations of early New England life, Bermuda was sitting in the sun and smiling as serenely as to-day. The traditions there are not of spinning and weaving, of hard-won comforts, of serious endeavor, of Indian fights and cruel massacres, but of gay fêtes and brilliant masquerades, of happy competence and careless ease. The old ladies of to-day show you the fine dresses, the laces and ornaments, that their greatgrandmothers wore when they, the great-grandmothers, were young.

Setting sail again, we swept through the great harbor, passing Nonsuch and Cooper islands and rounding St. David’s Head, a magnificent promontory, against which, the sea beat itself to foam. The wind was high; we were in the open sea, and the boat was tossed like a feather by the great waves that came rolling in from beyond the reefs. The headlands of St. David’s are precipitous cliffs, with deep bays and curious indented caves. One of them is called Cupid’s Oven,— a most maladroit name, — for the little god would be frightened out of his wits by the mere sight of the dark, uncanny hole. Elsewhere a door is cut in the high ocean wall. Does it lead down to Hades?

We entered the narrows just beyond the island, and the oarsmen, the sail being lowered, pulled along the coast to St. George’s. Here our carriages were in waiting and we drove home by the way of Moore’s Calabash Tree, in a dark, secluded glen. The poet, it is said, was wont to sit here and sing of the charms of Bermudian girls.

In this long and, for our men, hard trip, we did not hear from them one loud word, much less an oath. The captain, a handsome young negro, gave his orders by a look, a word, a sign, and was obeyed as quietly.

One can’t get lost in Bermuda. Walk where you will, or drive, if you dare, — for Bermudians turn to the left, and Americans are apt to come to grief, — you will be sure to come out in sight of some well-known landmark. Never to be forgotten is one bright afternoon, when two of us drove all by ourselves to Knapton Hill and Spanish Rock. Sacred, too, is the memory of another, when, in the same independent fashion, we went to Spanish Point, and after picking up shells for an hour, and counting the white sails flitting like sea-gulls over the sparkling bay, we turned and drove to the North Shore. The water was so marvelously clear that from cliffs forty feet above the sea we could count the shells and pebbles lying twenty feet beneath it. By and by we turned off into a road that was new to us, leading up a hill, and lined with oleanders, pink, white, and crimson, as large as good-sized apple-trees. We did not know where it led, nor did we care. But we came out at last near the old church in Devonshire, an ivy-covered ruin. Having been warned that the roof might fall, we did not go inside, but through the broken windows we saw the crumbling walls, from which the precious tablets had been removed, the dilapidated pews, and the high pulpit with antique hangings, faded and hoary. In one of the aisles was stowed away a ghastly hearse and a tottering bier, on which, no doubt, many generations of the dead who were sleeping so soundly, hard by, had been borne to their last rest. I turned away with a shudder.

But without, how sweet and still it was! It was late afternoon. Not a sound reached us, not even the lapsing of the waves. Only now and then a lone bird twittered softly, or the winds sighed in the palm-trees. Great gray tombs lay all around, like huge sarcophagi, and stretched far up the hill, weird and sombre in the light of dying day. Perhaps it was against the rules, — I don’t know, — but with a great lump in my throat, and a tender thought of the little unknown sleeper, I picked a rose from a bush that was heaping a child’s grave with its fragrant petals. If it was a sin, I here make full confession, and crave absolution from the baby s mother ! Rose geraniums grew wild in great profusion, making the air sweet with their strong perfume. It is called in Bermuda the “ graveyard geranium,” and I was told that pillows for coffined heads are filled with the fragrant leaves. An immense but dying cedar— the oldest on the islands — stands near the church, and is used as a bell-cote. The trunk is hollow, and inside it two vigorous young trees are growing.

There are no springs in Bermuda, and the great water-tanks are conspicuous objects everywhere. Built of heavy stone, cool, dark, and entered solely by a door in the side which admits the bucket, the water they contain is limpid and delicious. Every householder is compelled by law to have a tank, and to keep it in good repair.

Another thing that attracts attention is the animals tethered here, there, and everywhere. You see donkeys, goats, cows, even cats, hens, and turkeys, — these last drooping sulkily, or swelling with outraged dignity, — confined by the inevitable tether. Noticing the strange manœuvres of a hen in an inclosure near the road, I stopped to investigate, and discovered that she was tied by a cord two yards long to another hen. Their gyrations and flutterings were attempts to walk in opposite directions, — a pair of unaccommodating Siamese twins.

But time would fail us to tell of all that filled our Bermudian days with a satisfying, restful delight: of trips on the Moondyne ; of moonlit walks to Hungry Bay, when the spray was hoar frost, and the waves were rippled silver; of Saturday mornings at Prospect, to see the fine drill of the Royal Irish Rifles; of amateur theatricals given by the officers and their wives in the rickety old theatre ; of receptions and lawn tennis at the government house; of pleasant glimpses of Bermudian homes ; of kindly greetings and warm hand clasps. Shall I ever forget a certain “ afternoon tea,” where we were served in the shaded balcony by the five fair daughters of the house, while the happy, handsome mother smiled serenely, and took her ease with the rest of us ? Shall I ever cease to remember the mangroves, looking for all the world like tipsy bacchanalians, that in some way always reminded me of Saxe Holm’s story of the One-Legged Dancers ?

A few last words as to the climate. It is somewhat capricious, but is never really cold. Bermuda has no frosts. Yet during seven weeks, beginning in March and ending in May, we were in no need of thin summer clothing. The mercury in winter seldom falls below 60°. In the height of summer it is seldom above 85°, and there is always the breeze from the sea. When it blows from the southwest, Bermudians stay within doors, and remain quiet till it changes. Tropical plants thrive, not because it is hotter than with us in summer, but because they are never winter killed.

Bermuda is not the place for consumptives. But for the overworked and weary, for those who need rest and recreation and quiet amusement, for those who love the beauty of sea and sky better than noisy crowds and fashionable display, and can dispense with some accustomed conveniences for the sake of what they may gain in other ways, it is truly a paradise.

Julia C. R. Dorr.