« PreviousContinue »
"Lola Montez is bidding us farewell, and leaves
us for America. Whoever ye be, young or old, rich or poor, it is impossible for you not to have heard of Mme. Comtesse Landsfield, the butterfly known as Lola Montez. The laurels won by Fannie Elssler and Jenny Lind has driven sleep from her eyes. She too wishes to conquer. Farewell then, Mme. Comtesse, may America be propitious to you. If a handful of adventurers under Cortez effected the conquest of Mexico, why should not Lola Montez triumph over the New World.”
The writers in the Paris press in acknowledging her peculiar and fascinating beanty, said that dancing was not an art with her, but natural, like the singing of a bird.
In touring the United States, Lea caught the gold fever, and arrived on the Isthmus on her way to California in May, 1853. She appeared on the streets of Panama in men's clothes, and armed with a riding whip, presented a picturesque and striking figure. On occasion, young man of the town had the temerity to pull the tail of her coat. She turned upon himn in terrible anger, and raising her whip struck the offender a sharp blow in the face which left its mark for many a day.
Love Me, Love My Dog.
While at Gorgona on her way across the Isthmus, she ordered the hotel keeper to fit up a cot in the room she had engaged for the night, for her dog, which was her
separable companion. The host remonstrated stating that all of his cots were occupied and that many of his guests had to content themselves with sleeping on the floor. “I think Madame,” he said, “ that your dog can sleep very well for one night on
the floor.” "Sir," replied the Countess, removing a Havana from her pretty lips, “I do not care where or how your guests sleep, but I would have you to know that my dog has slept in palaces. Get me the cot immediately and say no more about it." The now frightened hotel keeper obeyed, and the next morning
charged five dollars in the bill for the dog's bed. To this the Countess objected, aud on the landlord ivsisting that the bill should be paid, she pulled out her pistol, and threatened to settle not only the bill, but the hotel keeper as well, for extortion. There was no further argument.
A representative of the "Panama Star" interviewed the artiste on May 9, 1853, at the Cocoa Grove Hotel and wrote an account of it as follows:
"Instead of meeting a giantess in appearance, and a person of masculine manners as was expected, we were most agreeably surprised when on preseutation to the Countess, to find her a lady of ordinary stature, and of rather delicate frame, possessing the most regular and handsome features, with a pair of brilliant and expressive eyes, and withal an exceedingly winning address. We were still more surprised when on extending her hand, to find it so diminutive."
" During an hour's conversation with the Countess, we could observe no peculiarity about her, beyond what we would desire to see in any well educated woman, possessing a degree of assurance peculiar to people who have traveled much, thus enabling her to give expression to her thoughts without any of that simpering mock modesty which makes many people appear ridiculous."
"It was not until after dark, and as we were about to take our leave, that we had a fair opportunity to judge of the courageous daring of this remarkable woman. One of the guests of the hotel who had been taking a walk about the grounds was attacked and an attempt made to shoot him. Lola Montez immediately went to where it was going on and rendered what aid possible, returning with the guest to the house. In all the excitement, there was no desire to faint, or expression of fear on her part. She cross-questioned the guest thoroughly, but the affair remained a mystery.
The stay of Lola Montez on the Isthinus not of long duration, but she expressed great pleasure over her visit, and it was many a day before the memory of her and her queer attire was forgotten.
Oceans Linked by Steel Ribbons
The possibilities incident to the construction of a railroad across the Isthmus early attracted the attention of capitalists and others. The first move in this direction was made in 1835 when, pursuant to a resolution offered in the United States Senate by Henry Clay, President Andrew Jackson appointed Charles Biddle a commissioner to visit the different routes on the continent of America best adapted for interoceanic communication, and to port thereon with reference to their value to the commercial interests of the United States. Mr. Biddle came to the Isthmus and accompanied by Don Josè Obaldia at that time a member of the Colombian Congress, la'ter visited Bogota where, after repeated delays, he secured from the government a decree giving him the right to build a railroad across the Isthmus. He returned to the United States in 1837, but died before he able to make a report.
In 1847, a French syndicate headed by Mateo Kline obtained an option on the proposed undertaking from the Government of New Granada which, however, was permitted to lapse the following year.
The rush of the goldseekers
nal de Bogotá, Colombia.
Offers his Professional Servi
ces to the Public.
Ofrece sus Servicios Proteslonáles.
Oficina, Calle 5a. No. 36, Panamá.
to California in 19 and the lack of a safe and rapid means of transit across the Isthmus, about which much complaint was made at the time, induced
group of American capitalists to interest themselves in the project. In this year a company was formed by William . Aspinwall, John L. Stephens and Henry Chauncy of New York City under the name of the Panama Railroad Company. This company secured a concession from the Republic of New Granada giving it the exclusive privilege of constructing a railroad on the Isthmus in which incorporated a provision that no negotiations looking to the building and operation of a ship canal could be concluded without the consent of the railroad. The concession was made for a period of forty-nine years dating from the completion of the road. The time given for completion was six years from the date of signing the contract
In 1867 when the name of the Republic of New Granada was changed to that of Colombia the concession was tended for a period of ninety-nine years, thus making the entire term of the grant 118 years from the. date of completion. At the expiration of this time, the concession provided that the railroad and appartenances should be turned over to the Colombian Government in fee simple, with no rights for ceding or selling to any foreigu government.
When the French canal company sought from the Colombian Government a concession to construct a canal across the Isthmus, it found that the consent of the Panama Railroad was necessary, and after some negotiations concluded to buy the railroad, and in that way to secure the advantage of its concession, rather than to undertake to purchase its consent, which would have to
be approved by the Colombian authorities.
After repeated efforts they finally, in August : 1881, secured possession of sixty-eight seventieths of the stock, paying $250 per share, and in addition permitted the American stockholders to strip the company of all the cash and accumulated sur