EARLY in December, 1906, I first visited Jamaica, where I planned staying a couple of months. On January 14th, the day of the disastrous earthquake, I was returning from the north side of the island, driving by way of Mount Diabolo, and I arrived at the Ewarton Railway Station about an hour before the starting time of the train that was to carry me back to Kingston.
The day was unusually tropical for that season of the year in Jamaica, with a cloudless sky, and what was really strange, at a time when the Trade Winds should have been at their height, not a breath of air was stirring. One could almost feel the stillness, and the brightness of the sunshine was simply dazzling. As I reached the station platform, a gentleman and a young lady were attracting much attention. They were brown people of the mulatto type, well dressed and with every indication of refinement. But the young lady, who, I should judge, was about twenty-five years of age, had become hysterical.
She was wringing her hands, and between convulsive sobs kept repeating: Father, we should never have left home to-day. I told you that something dreadful is going to happen.
The gentleman naturally showed great embarrassment as he vainly strove to quiet his daughter who kept repeating in a mechanical sort of way that she knew that something dreadful was going to happen. Finally, her father led her away and I saw nothing more of either of them. But just about half an hour after their departure, suddenly the ground began to tremble and to run in waves with a crackling, sputtering sound similar to the disruption of a gigantic Leyden jar?an earthquake was upon us. Then as the tremors ceased, I glanced at my watch, the time was exactly eighteen minutes past three.