Young Man of Caracas

PRESIDENT GRANT is responsible for this book: it was at his request that Judge Russell of Boston went as our Minister to Venezuela in 1874. With the Judge went his wife and his three bouncing daughters, and when Nelly, aged sixteen and the prettiest, took to sitting in the window she brought the Venezuelan army to a halt. The Judge had a good sense of humor (as we see by his letters back home), but Nelly had a better — and well she did have, for as the wife of General Alejandro Ybarra she had more ups and downs than she would ever have known on Pinckney Street. She referred to her beautifully uniformed soldier as ‘The Boomer,’ and with her philosophic grin and her Irish bodyguard, ‘Yessie’ Sullivan, she enjoyed whatever life had to offer. When the General was in favor, and so in command of the Venezuelan soldiery, the Ybarras lived in state, and Tom, their son, had a pony and was petted by the guard; but when he quarreled with the dictator— as he frequently did — the family stole out the back door and took refuge in the Dutch Islands or in Boston. Tom Ybarra, in describing his affectionate and tempestuous household, has given us a memoir rich in anecdote and authentic in color-a passkey that will unlock Venezuela for many a Northerner.
E. W.