No 9 Curaçao 3rd April 1891
My dear Mother,
The day after posting my last letter to you I received your three welcome weeklies of 16th & 22nd Feby. & 2nd March, with account of Dora Sinton’s visit, your amusements during same, etc. I congratulate you on the acquisition of the secretaire.
I have done a fair business here in Curaçao & in addition have had a good time. One of my friends, Mr van Kleunen, gave a dance in my honour & we separated at 4 o’clock in the morning. It was very jolly indeed. I had lots of nice things said to me, had my health proposed, & so on. The girls here know how to dance; – no pain in the arm next day like what one has at home, after careering round with a few heavy-weights!
I was introduced to a middle-aged married lady, weight about 15 stone, but with sprightly youthful aspirations. I did not ask her to dance, not being able to go round even half of the younger ladies present. Next day her husband, a jolly fellow whom I know very well, told me the following dialogue had taken place on the way home.
– “So that’s what you call a nice young man!” –
– “Yes, one of the nicest young men I have met in the West Indies” –
– “Well, I don’t think so at all; – he never asked me to dance!”
Before going to the dance I was one of four guests (& I had the seat of honour) at a very pleasant dinner-party at Mr Fensohn’s, to celebrate his birthday. The six or eight excellent courses (the invitation was for 6 o’c. & we rose from table at 9) prepared me for the subsequent exertions.
I had already spent an evening at Mr Fensohn’s delightful house, playing whist & scat, & he has arranged another whist party for tomorrow evg.
Further I have paid several visits at different houses, & have been asked to pay more, so that I can always spend the spare time agreeably enough in Curaçao. Today a Mr Bethencourt, one of the most cultured of the Venezuelans living here, made me a present of a nice book.
I have already spent some 4/- in postage of letters by this mail, so you may imagine I am about written out. I should like to write to Father, Addie, & Julie, but I really can’t manage it. But I have sent a few lines with birthday wishes to Annie.
I wrote part of this last night after 12, & this morning I was up shortly after 6. The mornings are so delightful – warm & fresh at the same time – that it does not require an effort to rise early. As a rule I wander about a little in pyjamas, lean out of the window that overlooks the picturesque little harbour, & watch the steamers passing in not 50 yards away, as soon as it is daylight. By the way you have no idea what a useful present I find your field glasses. I can make out every face on the steamers, & can distinguish people in their houses on the other side of the harbour.
Two captains, two first mates, & several officers of minor degree, not to mention a crowd of civilians, have already praised the glasses highly.
I breakfasted on board one of the steamers in port on Monday last, at the invitation of my old acquaintances, the Captain & the Chief engineer, & with the kind permission of Thomas, the black steward. We had excellent fare – one of the items being a large & tender steak with two fried eggs on the top, for each person.
The “Philadelphia” which brought me down from New York arrived again this morning. I intend going on board bye & bye to see Captain Chambers, & I expect he will invite me to dinner.
At the request of numerous friends & admirers – inverted commas – I am seriously thinking of getting photographed – note of exclamation – this is an appreciative public, quick to discern modest merit – small italics -. The local artist has, among his stock-in-trade a boat, with two oars, & realistic waves, not to mention a sailor hat, – quite a “cocky” hat, as Dora Sinton would say. I have seen this boat, oars, waves, & hat in half the albums of Curaçao, & I think if I were to be taken standing up in the boat, regardless of the realistic waves, leaning carelessly on an oar, & waving the cocky sailor-hat towards the shipwrecked & anguish-torn photographer, as if declaiming
“Fear not but trust in Dollinger and he will bring you through” – the result would be effective – very!
Two o’clock, post-time, must shut up the camara. The picture will shortly be on view at Rodman’s, admission sixpence, ladies free.
Love to all
Boggio Yanes & Monteverde
- Dora Sinton (see Index to people) ↵
- a secretary desk,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_desk ↵
- Mr van Kleunen (see Index to People) was probably Jacob van Kleunen (‘merchant”), a Dutch citizen from Curaçao (b 27th November 1859, m 31st August 1881 in Curaçao to Margaretha Louisa Moors, d Curaçao 25th October 1912). ↵
- Mr Fensohn could have been Emil Fensohn born in Hamburg ~1849, a merchant, or Carl Fensohn (b 20th September 1850 in Hamburg, d 1st June 1942 in Curaçao). Carl was the German Consul in Curaçao, “acting as agent for the Red D Line and who as such was one of the leading business men on the island” (see Index to People) https://udspace.udel.edu/bitstream/handle/19716/7896/mss0109_1930-00.pdf. He was a secret German agent during WWII. He married Marianna Léonore Esteva (b 24th January 1862 in Paris) on 23rd February 1881 in Curaçao. ↵
- Pascual Telesforo Bethencourt (b ~1854 Bejuma, Venezuela; m Maria Aurelia van der Wall Arneman; d 31st October 1918 Curaçao), OR his brother, Rafael Minguel Felipe Bethencourt (b 1st February 1848 Bejuma, Venezuela; m Maria Aleida Prince; d 11th February 1901 Curaçao). ↵
- Her 24th birthday (b 24 April 1867) ↵
- “Fear not, but lean on Dollinger, And he will fetch you through.” From "The Aged Pilot Man" by Mark Twain: https://poets.org/poem/aged-pilot-man ↵
- Boggio, Yanes & Monteverde is listed as selling "dry goods, wholesale" in Valencia, Venezuela, in the International Bureau of the American Republics, 1892. ↵