Here we are still in the “Cherokee;” she is calculated to hold some hundreds of passengers. Thank God! there are only some sixty on board; but I do not feel equally grateful for their allowing me to pay double price for a cabin to myself when two-thirds of them are empty, not to mention that the single fare is eight guineas. She is a regular old tub of a boat; the cabins are profitably fitted with three beds in each, one above the other; the consequence is, that if you wish to sneeze at night, you must turn on your side, or you’ll break your nose against the bed above you in the little jerk that usually accompanies the sternutatory process. The feeding on board is the worst I ever saw—tough, cold, and greasy, the whole unpleasantly accompanied with dirt.
Having parted from my travelling companion at New Orleans, one of my first endeavours was, by the aid of physiognomy, to discover some passenger on whom it might suit me to inflict my society. Casting my eyes around, they soon lit upon a fair-haired youth with a countenance to match, the expression thereof bespeaking kindness and intelligence; and when, upon further examination, I saw the most indubitable and agreeable evidence that his person and apparel were on the most successful and intimate terms with soap and water, I pounced upon him without delay, and soon found that he was a German gentleman travelling with his brother-in-law, and they both had assumed an incognito, being desirous of avoiding that curious observation which, had their real position in life been known, they would most inevitably have been subject to. Reader, be not you too curious, for I cannot withdraw the veil they chose to travel under; suffice it to know, their society added much to my enjoyment, both on the passage and at the Havana. The sailing of the vessel is so ingeniously managed, that you arrive at the harbour’s mouth just after sunset, and are consequently allowed the privilege of waiting outside all night, no vessels except men-of-war being allowed to enter between sunset and daybreak. The hopes of the morrow were our only consolation, until at early dawn we ran through the narrow battery-girt entrance, and dropped anchor in the land-locked harbour of Havana.
[Footnote T: This was written in January, 1853.—The bale may be roughly estimated at 450 lbs.]
[Footnote U: This hotel has long since been re-opened.]
[Footnote V: All large cities in America must of necessity be democratic.]
[Footnote W: I have since heard that the Charleston authorities allow the captains of vessels to keep their coloured crew on board, under penalty of a heavy fine in case they land.]
The Queen of the Antilles.