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Title: Rambles in Cuba
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095181/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rambles in Cuba
Physical Description: 1 p. l., v-vi, 7-136 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Donor: unknown ( endowment )
Publisher: Carleton, publisher
S. Low, Son and Co.
Place of Publication: New York
London
Publication Date: 1870
Copyright Date: 1870
 Subjects
Subject: Description and travel -- Cuba   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Cuba
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095181
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 03589154
lccn - 17023209

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Full Text













RAMBLES IN CUBA.




















NEW YORK:
Carleton, Publisher, Madison Square.
LONDON: S. LOW, SON & CO.
MDCCCLXX.










// 7


AMEICA















Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
GEORGE W. CARLETON,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District
of New York.





















Stereotyped at
THE WOMeNw'S PRINTING HROuSo
Eighth Street and Avenue A,
New York.




















CONTENTS.





PAGB
In the Tropics-First View of Havana-Entering the Bay -Surrounded -
Landed -A Street in Havana "Queen's Hotel"-A Breakfast-The
Harbor- The Coolies The Plaza de Arma- Cuban Women A
Volante -Fine Avenues A Priest Shopping .

II.
Celebrating a Victory General Serrano A Cuban Sacristan His View of
Mary Magdalene Sunday The Theatre de Tacon General Serrano's
Wife-A "Norther" -The Fish Market- Brilliancy of the Fish-A
Venerable Cosmopolite-The Slaves-The Chain Gang-The Cerro
-A Count's Country-house No Twilight Oranges Polyglot Dinner
-Lottery Ticket 17

In.
Drive to the Sea-shore -Evening Boat-ride- Splendor of the Waters-
Campo del Marte- Low Mass- The "Madonna" -Beautiful Children
Church of San Filipo Sacred Names The Mount of Jesus Cor-
ruption of the Clergy Cuba Misrepresented in Books Growing "used
to it" A Creole Cascarilla Warm Weather The Cortina 30

IV.
Departing Guests-The Varieties-On Board, but not. Gone -No Chim-
neys Dog-Pails-Horses' Tails-Tall Negroes-Ecclesiastical Torch-
light Procession- Watchmen-Leaving Havana-In the Country-
Stopped Seeking a Breakfast A Cuban Village A Primitive Well -
A Peculiar Palmn-Guineas-Our Quarters therein 45

V.
A Palm-grove- A Planter's Household Coolies as compared with Negroes
-Anecdotes of Coolies- Robbers- Heterogeneous Dinner -Creole
Politeness 60










vi CONTENTS.


VI.
PAGE
"Nice pretty House in the Country"-Wrong Side of the Horse -Discovery
in Mental Photography -Visit to the Country-house -Not to be ob-
tained Contrast of Palms and Bamboos The Youth of Tropical Na-
ture -A Remarkable Phenomenon House of the Marquis of V---
"Le Armistad"-Burial of an Officer's Child-A Shock-"Cafe-
tal" -"La Providencia" -A Sugar Plantation-The "Royal High-
way -A Grand View 67

VII.

It Rains The Effect No Miserera- Guirappa-seeking A Skeleton
Horse B--s Pantomimes A Day More The Bells of Guiness -
Market Day An Invitation Another Plantation A Remarkable
Tree Palm-Sunday- A Sundayless World Dreamland I Didn't
Smoke Cushioned Heads 84

VIII.

Dear old Mr. B- - hess and Whist and Life -Good Friday -A Relig-
ious Procession The Silence of the Town The Miserere To Matan-
zas Company in the Cave Father M- 's approach to Matanzas -
The Bay Valley of the Yumuri The Plaza The Dominica The
Ensor House Easter Sunday The Paseo Steamer to Havana A
Night on Board -" Queen's Hotel Tricks on a Travelling Author -
Theft on the Almanac 97

IX.

A Discovery for the Benefit of Smugglers-The Steamer Karnak-Adieu,
Cuba I- An English Ship -Nassau -The Negro Custom-officer Eng-
lish Hotel- An Ex-President What the Island is and has The Negro
Element The "Eastern Road" The Air The Bean Monde Turtle
Houses .. 113

X.

The Military Church The Zouave Costume Sunday come again Twi-
light Rambles The Kirk -Miscegenation -A Private Misery -The
Old Fort-Lazy Negroes Wrecking- The Town Library-Shopping
-The Zouave Band-The Search for Coolness-The Government
House -Silver Key Buying Shellwork-Nassau grows Purgatorial -
Farewell to Nassau 124
















RAMBLES IN CUBA.



I.

In the Tropics- First View of Havana Entering the
Bay Surrounded- Landed- A Street in Havana
-" Queens Hotel" -A Breakfast- The Harbor-
The Coolies The Plaza de Armas Cuban Women
-A Volante-Fine Avenues-A Priest- Shopping.

HAVANA, March 1, 18-.

HE first dawn of day found me already on
deck, to assure myself we had really arrived
at the shores of a tropical world.
I was not disenchanted. A mist had possessed,
like a dream, the blue quiet of the entire bay, half
dissolving its masts and sails, softening the pictur-
esque battlements .of Mlorro Castle, throwing over
the walls, domes, and spires of the city an air of
hoary distance so complete that I half fancied those
solitary palm-trees waved their arms over some city
half-buried in the mirage of deserts, or the pages of
some medieval romance.







ARRIVAL IN HA VANA.


But the dream departs, and so must we. Stir-
ring music from the two men-of-war lying at anchor
unite with the first sounds from the long, low bar-
racks close by, and with the signal guns from the
Morro, to say that the sun is risen, and consequently
we may go on shore.
First comes the pilot, a stout Spaniard in su-
pernaturally white trousers and inexplicably thick
overcoat. He sits under the awning of his boat,
and is rowed by twelve bronze, attenuated creoles,
dressed in wide-mouthed jackets, bare feet, much
hair, a few wearing turbans.
The steps are lowered; the pilot comes on deck,
says good-morning to the captain, in dislocated
English, and goes forward to his duty.
We make the difficult entrance of the bay, to
find ourselves assailed by every species of small
craft. All have awnings, are rowed by negroes,
black to hyperbole (B-- says coal would make
a white mark on them), or by coolies, or creoles;
and all are importuning us, with frantic gestures,
imploring or menacing looks, bad Spanish or worse
English, to let them carry us ashore.
Here come boats laden with oranges, or shells,
corals, and sponges for sale; there a pocket edition
of a steamboat brings the health-officer, without
whose inspection no one can come here, even for
his health,-and presently a more elegantly orna-
mented boat, with oarsmen in livery, brings the
Captain-General's aid-de-camp, dressed as if freshly
emerged from a Paris bandbox, and anxiously in-
quiring if there is news from Spain. Captain







ARRIVAL IN HA VANA. *


- replies that there is a victory over the Moors,
and that he brings important dispatches from the
Spanish minister at Washington, which he must
deliver in person. Therewith he accompanies the
officer to the Government House, the bundle of
documents under his arm.
Meanwhile the passengers are in great perplexity
what hotel to go to, and I am beginning to feel that
sense of desolation and isolation so natural to a
stranger in a strange land, when B- appears,
bringing a gentleman with a kindly English face,
and introduces Mr. S- At once we are at
home and in safe hands. His boat waits for us.
In five minutes we are in the Custom House to
get a permit in exchange for our passports (for
both an enormous fee is demanded), and to await
the luggage. This is soon ranged on great tables
before us; all the trunks are opened at once ; trav-
ellers, servants, Spaniards, negroes, anybody, as
well as the officials, can critically inspect the mys-
teries of ladies' linen and laces.
The hotel being distant but a block, we walk in
the street. A Cuban lady would as soon think of
walking a rope, and would do it as well.
Do not figure to yourself Broadway: when I talk
of a street in Havana, I mean a fissure; an open-
ing, in extremely straitened circumstances, between
two stone walls, which the Cubans, being diminu-
tive people, are able to get through. The sidewalks
are in proportion. By dint of cautious and careful
attention to the exigencies of my centre of gravity,
I was able much of the time to get a foothold on








ARRIVAL IN HA VANA.


the outer edge of them, while my crinoline, repulsed
by the wall on one side, attracted in self-defence
Mr. S- who walked down in the street on the
other.
We have not even time to glance at the incon-
ceivable novelties on every hand, for Queen's Hotel,
the- first English sign we have seen, is here over the
arched gateway. We walk through an open passage
leading to the court, and up the marble steps to an
elegant saloon. This hotel, like every other in the
city, is overflowing; so we are obliged to take, for a
few days, "the room behind the curtain; that is, one
end )f the parlor, with only a calico wall between
our prospective sleep and the rows not groups -
of English, Irish, French, but mostly American
guests. I say rows, because the chairs here are al-
ways placed in two straight lines in front of the long
open windows, thus bringing their occupants in a
perpetual vis-a-vis.
Meantime, Creole and negro waiters are bringing
in breakfast to the adjoining room, which, is parti-
tioned from the airy courtyard only by high arches
and pillars. Every thing looks temptingly fresh
and clean, quite the reverse of all we have heard
of the filth and bad cooking of Cuba. Fried fruits
in great variety, numerous mosaics from the animal,
vegetable, and I know not what kingdoms of nature,
of which I can only remember the name picadille,
vary the bill of fare. Cafe au lait comes in after
breakfast is over.
Night. All day guns have been firing, flags fly-
ing from balconies, windows, and housetops, and








ARRIVAL IN HA VANA.


endless preparations for a grand illumination to-
night in honor of the victory.
This afternoon we took the steam ferry across
the bay, to get a view of the harbor decked with its
flags, and to see the sugar storehouses on the other
shore.
This is our first sight of coolies in native costume
and usual Cuban occupation. They look not only
small, but weak, and extremely feminine in face and
form. They are mostly naked to the waist, where
some sort of a sash confines short loose trousers,
and, in the boys, nothing at all. The faces, more
cheerful and adroit in expression than those of the
negroes, are of a brown reddish hue, as if the light
came upon them from a bright copper sun.
To-night we walked to the Plaza de Armas. It
is filled with trees, four of them palms, and with
blooming flowers, mostly large, brilliant, odorless,
and unknown to me. During all this time, the band
played sweetly from the opera of Lucia de Lammer-
moor, and swarthy, moustached and cigared men,
and gaudily-dressefl and ill-walking ladies, promen-
aded round and round the walks, while their car-
riages waited outside the gates.
How opaque are these faces 1 The outside is well
enough, admirably chiselled and toned, but it does
not hint of anything behind. They too often lack the
only beautiful features that can be in a man's face,
-intellect and sensibility. I wonder where Cuban
people keep their souls! Yet for all that, this is a
scene of enchantment,-the intense light in those
stars, buried so deep in the intense blue; the daz-







ARRIVAL IN HAVANA.


zling brightness of the vertical moon, that makes
everybody walk upon his own shadow; the pure
breeze, coming fresh from over the sea; the many
lights from the palace balconies, revealing high,
open windows, and through them gay forms and
foreign aspects.
Friday, March 2.- This morning stayed in my
room to rest, for I have commenced with too large
doses of the tropics. But who can rest in the midst
of thundering like these, guns, bands of music,
shouts of rejoicing? I hope the Spaniards will not
gain any more victories over the Moors until I get
away from them.
This evening my first ride in a volante. Cuba is
more Spanish than Spain itself: for here we have the
quaint, the characteristic Spain; the Spain as it was
when Don Quixote created it and was created by it;
the Spain isolated; the Spain which Paris and Eu-
ropean civilization have little touched or tainted; the
Spain which, in want of religion, has the absence
of progression. But these grotesque volantesl They
strike me as something saved wh6le out of the gen-
eral change and wreck of the past. They consist
of two long shafts, with a little low-seated and low-
topped kind of a tite-d-tete at one end, which usu-
ally contains three bright, gauzy clouds, enveloping
three plump, dark-eyed ladies in bare head, neck,
and arms, -the youngest and prettiest always be-
tween and a little in front of the other two. At
the other end of the shafts is fastened a minute
horse; his tail is carefully braided, and tied with a
string to the left side of the saddle, upon which sits,








ARRIVAL IN HAVANA.


the postillion, in boots and livery. Sometimes a sec-
ond horse is added, upon which the postillion sits to
guide the first; but this is superfluous, and merely,
like the rich mountings of silver on the horse and
volante, to display the wealth of the owner.
The gait of these horses is peculiar and indescrib-
able. It is not a trot, nor a pace, nor a canter, but
a kind of combination of all, and disdainful avoid-
ance of each. It is a parody on quadrupedal peri-
patetics. They are born to it. It is hereditary. It
never entered into the head or rather feet of
a Cuban Rozinante, that there are horses in *the
world not orthodox in this mode of locomotion.
It gives the rider, too, the most ridiculous motion
imaginable,- as if the saddle were a cushion, but
a pin-cushion, with the pins stuck the wrong way.
Mr. S- who accompanied us, said, on our re-
turn, that, when paying the callisero, he asked him
if he had an escudo in change. Oh, yes! said the
darkey, and took the coin out of his ear.
We drove at once past the walls of the city, upon
the Pasep de Isabel Segunda and the Paseo Tacon,
-said to be the finest avenues in this hemisphere,-
with their five or six rows of magnificent palms,
their smooth, broad roads, statues, fountains, and gar-
dens, and, far in the distance, the luxurious plains,
the graceful green slopes of hills and mountains, the
wonderfully tall, solitary palms and cocoa-trees,
standing like imposing sentinels to keep the voluptu-
ons vegetation from running riot, and over all the
doting sunlight bathing its pet island in a never-
ending tide of fervor.








ARRIVAL IN HAVANA.


No wonder these people love gay hues, paint their
houses in the brightest colors, wear dresses and carry
umbrellas dyed in rainbows; for nature sets the
example of brilliancy everywhere. The phosphoric
waters surrounding the island reply to every touch,
every question, of oar, with colors dipped in heav-
en." Even the smallest fishes have, almost without
exception, selected their scaly wardrobes from pris-
matic excesses.
Last evening a game of whist, with a Catholic
priest to complete the party. He is a charming,
accomplished Irishman; is more clever at repartee,
and more graceful in compliment, than any man I
ever saw. What infinitely delicate things he said!
and all with as much feeling as if he had learned
both flattery and feeling in courts, instead of cate-
chisms. But he is so extravagantly fond of the
game, and scolded B- so tempestuously, yet po-
litely, for little mistakes, that I was thankful to have
the indulgent face of Mr. S- for partner, instead
of that of the charming priest. He deplores the
religious condition of Cuba, and ridicules every
thing else in it; shrugs his shoulders sententiously
at all these patriotic ebullitions, and declares that
volantes are just fit to carry chickens in. I even
heard him, yesterday, at breakfast, imitating the
sing-song tone of the Cuban priests in their masses,
the comical expression of his face equalling the
irresistibly funny intonations of his voice.
Saturday evening, MJarch 3d. A shopping excur-
sion, with Mr. S- for guide and interpreter. In
some shops they knew a little French, but less English.








ARRIVAL IN HA VANA.


I was obliged to use French for articles of attire
which Mr. S- could not manage in Spanish, and,
among us all three or four clerks usually looking
on to help and laugh I think a linguistical hash
was concocted as droll as any vegetable or animal
arrangement that comes on our hotel tables; and
that is saying a great deal, when you consider the oils,
peppers, and garlic that are pressed into the service.
Here merchants do not name the shops after
themselves,, as Americans" do, but more modestly
and tastefully. The shop is christened with a name
of its own, as in Europe. For instance, on one corner
you have Pobre Diablo (Poor Devil), and on the cor-
ner opposite Rico Diablo (Rich Devil); then we
have all the saints and sinners in the Calendar,
so that the shop can change hands without losing its
identity. Shops containing magnificent goods have
often a very humble appearance, because ladies do
not walk the streets, or leave their volantes those
darling volantes, which are their feet, their couches,
their homes, the body of which they are the soul,
and which I have many times seen standing, much
at home, in the corners of their parlors So all the
goods are kept in great boxes, and carried out to
the volantes, where my lady condescends to sit in
state and in attire to inspect, and, without knowing
it, to pay twice the value of all she buys.
On coming home, we took another turn in the
Plaza de Armas, where festivities still continue.
We are fortunate to be here at this time, for it is a
continual holiday, and will be so nearly all of next
week. Illuminations of all sorts, fine bands of








ARRIVAL IN HAVANA.


music, awnings and flags of red and yellow, the
national colors of Spain, carriages and volantes
full of richly-dressed people, promenaders in Sun-
day, costume all these are to be met in every street
of the city. I have been much amused at promis-
cuous Moors in effigy, hanging out of the windows,
in the centre of huge doorways, or dangling from a
cord over our heads in the middle of the street.
They are usually in full Moorish costume, and
pierced pathetically through the heart. Our driver
flourished his whip vigorously in passing, mostly
ending by a patriotic cut at the devoted images.
Close by this promenade we found a refreshing
seat and ice-cream in the famous Dominica. The
cream was fruit-flavored and built up pyramidally
in an overgrown wineglass. On the plate under it,
lay a long brown coil, looking like a cigar, and tast-
ing like a baked combination of brown sugar, well-
beaten eggs, and flour. This is designed as a spoon
to eat the towering cream with, and to eat with the
towering cream. Many ladies sit at the tables, but
more remain before the doors and windows in their
volantps, receiving sweet liquids from the waiters,
and dispensing sweeter and more liquid glances to
the admiring cavaliers gathered around them.













II.

Celebrating a Victory General Serrano a Cuban Sa-
cristan His View of Mary Magdalene Sunday -
The Theatre de Tacots- General Serrano's Wife-A
Norther" The Fish Market Brilliancy of the
Fish A Venerable Cosmopolite The Slaves The
Chain Gang The Cerro A Count's Country-house
No Twilight Oranges- Polyglot Dinner Lot-
tery Ticket.
SUNDAY, March 4th.

HIS morning high mass was celebrated, and
the Te Deum sung in the Cathedral. As
this is in honor of the victory, all the church
dignitaries and officers of state were in attendance,
dressed in their respective uniforms. First came
Captain-General Serrano, whose title in Spain is
Marquis de San Antonio. He is heralded by a grand
flourish of martial music from the band, which'had
just played the national air of Spain. He is a rather
fine-looking man, with a massive bald head and
penetrating eye ; the countenance expressing weight
of character, stirring experiences in life, a con-
sciousness of power and responsibility. He is
said to be the father of two of the children of the
Queen of Spain. Her marble statue has just been
erected in one of the principal squares, and is night-
(17)







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


ly illuminated to receive the admiration and hom-
age of the loyal multitude. Following him, as next
in office, comes the Governor of the Island, whose
resemblance to Mr. S- has often caused them
to be mistaken for each other ; the latter sometimes
finding honors thrust upon him of which he is
wholly unambitious. Then come all the military,
civil, and marine officers, in gold lace, epaulets, rib-
bons, stars, and decorations of all devices, the whole
retinue filling the church, except the centre, where a
few ladies in black veils kneel upon bright-colored
mats, which servants in livery bring under their
arms and spread for the ladies' dainty dresses to
cover. A few of these mats are brought by negresses
with shawls thrown over their heads instead of
veils. As soon as the mat is spread, the mistress.
drops upon it, crossing herself too rapidly and
adroitly for Protestant eyes to follow, all the time
saying her prayers and looking devoutly at the
image of the Virgin standing in the centre of the
altar. The negress kneels respectfully upon the bare
floor by her side or behind her. Mr. S- pointed
out to me several counts, marquises, and other nota-
bilities, refreshing to the republicanism of Yankee
optics. Meanwhile the chancel is filling with bish-
ops, priest, and friars, in magnificent costumes, and
soon the grand Te Deum swells over the kneeling
multitude. Governor, lords, ladies, and soldiers,
bowed on the same floor with the negro slave. It
floats on over the floating incense; then it ascends
and seems to pause like a halo around the painted
heads of saints and apostles listening in the ceiling.







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


Just in front of us knelt Count -, a friend of
Mr. S-, leaning upon a diamond-headed cane,
and looking incessantly at his watch, to see how
soon the ceremonies and unaccustomed posture
would come to an end.
After all was over, the sacristan, dressed in a
blue woollen gown and wide embroidered white
cambric collar, escorted us over the edifice. Its ex-
ternal, so quaint and unique, so like a relic of the
middle ages, with towers and walls marred and
rent, and crumbling with the rapid effects of the
moist climate rather than of time, did not indicate
so much beauty and art as existed within. It is
chiefly in the Moorish style, the numerous paintings
mostly from Rome, and nearly all copies from the
best masters. The sacristan made himself jolly; of-
fered to robe me in the bishop's vestments and or-
nament me with the crosiers, and staffs, and mitres,
and what-nots, in the robing-room. But I, being
less familiar with these sacred emblems than he,
felt less contempt, and declined the honor. One of
the paintings, a dark old dilapidated affair hanging
in an ante-room, represents Christ talking ear-
nestly to Mary Magdalene. She turns her coquet-
tish head from him in a most coquettish way, and
with a look of more affected than real shame and sor-
row. The old fellow pointed it out to us, and, with a
significant twinkle, said to Mr. S- in Spanish, -
That was Jesus Christ's woman."
To Mr. S- 's exclamation of astonishment, he
replied,--
Of course he was a man, like the rest of us."







HA VANA AND VICINITY.


We paused before the modest tomb of Columbus,
whose remains were interred in the chancel of the
Cathedral many years ago, with respectful cere-
monies and magnificence. His bas-relief in marble
is placed in much the same position as the bust of
Shakspeare in the Avon church. From the Cathe-
dral we passed to the miniature garden separating
it from the seminary. This contains flowers, trees,
shrubs, a fountain in the centre. The sacristan
picked me a bouquet of pretty purple and pink
blossoms without odor, bowing to my "gracias"
most graciously, and upon receiving a little fee,
instead of begging for two reals more," as D-
says he did upon his departure, the old man seemed
surprised that he received anything at all.
Staid American eyes are struck by the spiritual
stolidity of these people. Favorites of nature,
crowned forever by her flowers, inspired by her
fresh and friendly breezes, basking always in her
fondest sunlight, they receive all these gifts in for-
getfulness of the giver. It being Sunday, all kinds
of festivities riot in increased abandonment. The
shops, unlike those of most towns in Europe, are
open; tailors and shoemakers are at their work in
little dark dens resembling those to which the me-
chanics of Naples retreat on rainy days; and, though
forbidden by law, Sunday trade flourishes thriftily,
as if Sundays and religions were an impertinent re-
striction upon a Cuban's right to life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness.
ifonday, 5th. -This morning we walked on the
Cortina to inhale the cool sea breezes which there







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


defy the scorching tyranny of even this. sun. How
refreshing, after panting through those hot, fuming,
dusty, noisy streets, to sit under that dense shade,
upon the marble seats, with the tired city hidden
behind you, and the blue tranquil bay sleeping in
its brightness before I The Morro lies peacefully
on the other side, brown, and dim, and silent as a
weary lion. From the lighthouse of the castle are
floating flags of various colors, to me inexplicable.
But Mr. S- explains. The different shapes and
colors indicate the kind and nationality of any ves-
sel that is described making for the port; so that
long before even the glasses of watchers in the city
can discern anything, it is known by these flags
that preparations must be made to receive the new-
comer; that friends are approaching, or friends
must be left behind; that partings and meetings
are to resume their tyranny in the world.
Evening. The Theatre de Tacon, or Opera
House, disappointed us. It is large, airy, and con-
venient, but plain and bare to a degree. It being
" Commandment Night," that is, the Captain-Gen-
eral having signified his intention of being present,
and the rejoicings not yet over -the usual opera
was omitted. First, a national anthem, sung by one
hundred performers. Then followed a Spanish
comedy, capitally acted, I could be sure, though as
good as ignorant of the language. Then came
some divine airs from the opera of the Bohemian
Girl, sung by Gassier. Her voice is full, sustained,
in some passages, touching. But the embonpoint !
Alas, why must women of the poetical South







HA VANA AND VICINITY.


always be so unpoetically fat I Or why are we not
blind to the incongruity of passion, and adipose
tissue. These Spaniards are critical and enthusi-
astic judges of music; never tolerate a bad thing;
applaud and hiss vociferously.
But to me the attraction of the evening was the
lovely marquise, wife of the Captain-General (some-
times I can understand how a port may be abso-
lutely panic-struck with a woman's beauty). A Creole
by birth, with a fortune of several millions, she mar-
ied Serrano, who became embassador to France,
where he spent the greater part of her wealth in
maintaining the honor of Spain, by a magnificence
which is said to have eclipsed that of the Emperor.
So he is sent here to recruit; that is, to rob the Cu-
bans of a million or two, as his predecessors have
done. The Governor's box was only two boxes
from ours, so that I could distinctly watch every
shade of her expression. La sefnora looked sad,
absent; she assumes a pensive attitude irresistibly
charming in one so lovely and so necessarily the
observed of all observers. Her personal charms are
enough to excite all the enthusiasm the Cubans feel
for her, but her Creole birth renders it unbounded.
She wore her dark hair thrown back from a com-
pletely classical head and face; a subdued fire in-
dicating rare power of passion and suffering burns
in her eyes; her nose, mouth, and chin, are full of
sensitive, delicacy; in every curve of the exquisite
bust and slender figure, grace achieves a very
pathos of perfection. She was draped in some
gauzy fabric floating about her like a dream; large







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


dark roses on hair, bosom, and dress, the only
ornament. People say she sighs for the life in
Paris, and that she was for a long time the rival of
the Empress. Who knows? who can unravel the
web of suffering which stifles out the life and hope
from any woman's heart? The most comical
scenes scarcely wakened a smile on her face; but
her husband, sitting at her right, smiled and patted
his white kids with very accurate and well-timed
condescension. The box in which they sat is gaily
hung, the national coat of arms placed over the cen-
tre. They went out between every act to receive
guests in an adjoining saloon. We found more
beauty among the women than writers on Cuba
had promised us. Regular, I may say, exquisite,
features are very common; and these, illuminated
by dark, deep eyes, with effective and well-ma-
nceuvered glances, make as lovely women as is pos-
sible, where intellect and soul seem to exile them-
selves behind so much of what elsewhere than on a
lady would be called fat. All are in full, the fullest
possible, dress; all are displaying great eloquence
of- skill in manipulating their lace and jewelled
fans; all are, or aspire to be, the magnets for the
dark, handsome eyes and well-levelled opera-glasses
in the pit below. It was curious, among all that
tumultuous sea of masculine heads in the parquette,
to see not one with fair hair all black with youth,
gray with manhood, white or bald with age.
Tuesday, 6th.- The thermometer has fallen from
90 to 75 degrees. This is the result of a norther,"
which drives the cold waters of the Atlantic furi-







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


ously into our bay; changes the usual moist perspir-
ing atmosphere into a husky dryness; turns the
roads, almost the paving-stones, into dust; shrivels
and browns the foliage in the country; and with its
cold puts the low-necked dresses, paintings, and fans
of our hotel-ladies in their trunks. So we ventured
on a walk, even at high noon, to our favorite Cortina,
keeping on the shady side, and stopping at the fish
market. It is palpably true that God set his dyed
bow in the heavens; but I did not before know that
he also set it in the floods to reassure us that we
should have no more flood, else where did these
fishes learn this trick of exaggerated brightness?
Of all the myriads ranged on the endlessly long
metallic tables, I do not remember one in quaker
costume. Everywhere a fantastic variety of colors
and gradations and combinations of shades. Jo-
seph's coat would have looked plain beside them.
May not the excessive phosphorescence, latent, or
developed in the native waters of these fishes, ex-
plain in some way their pre-eminence of color ?
Wednesday, March 7th.- At last we have a room
possessing the fundamental doctrines of a room, viz.,
four walls of its own. It was formerly the library
of the bishop, who built the palace and lived in it
several years, and is now, by the way, enormously
rich, and they say" hints not egregiously pious.
Our room has an ambitious window, from which we
always see the sky, and nothing else. The door, pro-
tected by fanciful iron gratings, opens upon the
dining-room. The floor, of the usual black and
white marble, resembles a chess-board with the







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


squares placed diagonally. As queen of this chess-
board, I am in a fair way to be checkmated, as well
as its king, if the jolly priest continues his jolly sup-
pers. The rest of the room would suit me well
enough, if it were not so discouragingly convenient.
With the exception of a kind of wooden-tiled ceil-
ing, and one of the beds furnished with stretched
canvass instead of a mattress, you might suppose
yourself commonplacely domiciled in a respectable
hotel in Yankeedom.
Thursday, 8th.- This morning Mr. S. brought his
venerable friend Mr. R- Hie is a Frenchman,
though born in Baltimore and educated in England;
has lived indefinitely on the Continent; is waiting
to die in Cuba. He is delightful, thoroughly a cos-
mopolite, speaks many languages, knows everything
and everybody. Long intimacy with this govern-
ment, its officers, and many of the nobility, has made
him au fait in the policy and intrigues as well as
customs and characteristics of the island. Lady
Wortly is indebted to him for her anecdotes of Cuba.
I have been able to correct many false impressions
received from various writers; for instance: -
The line of separation between Creoles and
Spaniards is not distinctly drawn. The Creoles
sympathize in these victorious rejoicings; would
be perfectly satisfied with an allegiance to Spain,
if they could have a voice in their own gov-
ernment. Creole ladies are lighter in color, bet-
ter educated, less rigid in forms of etiquette and
propriety than the Spanish. But everywhere the
negro blood is so intermixed, that it is impossible to







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


make a distinct separation between any of the races;
a fact of difficult management in the event of self-
government, or any step towards it. He says there
are not fifty families in the island untainted by Af-
rican blood. It seems very natural that a dark race
should have less repugnance to a black race than
white people have.
We all know the greater leniency of the laws
here, with regard to slaves, than in the United States.
I find, in addition, that there is, in Cuba, much more
indulgence and affection between master and slave,
unless it be on the remote plantations. In our drives,
particularly through the suburbs, I continually see
negroes and their Creole mistresses, dressed equally
well, lounging on the balconies, not as equals, but
in a way that indicates affectionate intimacy, and a
gayety too abundant to suggest the true dolce far
niente. I am told that, almost without exception,
masters here would be willing to free their slaves in
case of remuneration.
Among the many foolish arrangements of this
government, the chain-gang seems to be a wise one.
It is a penitentiary on the highway. My author on
Cuba, says of this chain-gang, It is Sunday; but
no rest for them." The truth is, they always rest
on Sunday, unless unusual circumstances occur; as,
for instance, a road that must be finished for some
great occasion.
Thursday evening, March 9th.-This evening
drove to the Cerro, three miles distant, to visit the
country house of Count Fernandino, an intimate
friend of Mr. R-, who accompanied us. Contrary







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


to Mr. -----'s expectations, the family, consisting of
the old widowed count, and his son and daughter-in-
law, had not yet left their winter residence in the city.
An old family servant, however, conducted us every-
where, with equal pride and pleasure. The house
is a quaint, irregular structure. You stumble every-
where upon recesses, balconies, unexpected rooms,
and general surprises. In the drawing-room are
two genuine Claude Lorraines, and two Vernets. I
was sorry to be hurried away from them to the bil-
liard-room; the octagon library, the high, large,
open piazza, roofed with vines and paved with mar-
ble, where two hundred dancers find fantastic toe-
room; the curious chambers, busts, statues, curiosi-
ties everywhere.
But the grounds we only saw from the tower, and
without them we have seen nothing. They are ex-
tensive and beautiful; here a rustic bridge crosses
the mysteriously winding brook which branches into
a fanciful bathing-house, hung with pictures of
naiads and water-gods; there stands a little airy
temple overhung by doting cypresses, and sacred to
its only inhabitant,-an exquisite marble Venus.
Whatever chance leads your steps, it will be sure to
reveal some new beauty of tree, or flower, or shrub,
or arbor, or rustic seat; some avenue looking far
out upon the wonderful campagna. As the short
and sudden twilight comes, a lovely waterfall catches
the light coming from the distant Morro, with level,
and distinct, and separate rays over the city spires
and roofs, over its pale, irregularly planted lights
and absorbing shadows. Many of the trees and







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


shrubs are from Europe and Asia. The gardener
gave me a spray from an Australian tree, imported
when a small slip, for which the count paid seven
hundred dollars. He also gave me two handfuls of
bouquets, some of them from his own private nur-
sery, by which he makes a hundred dollars per
month, in addition to his wages. Mr. R- tells me
that, in the last hurricane, most of the trees in these
grounds were prostrated; that he saw the count
and countess, when they first discovered the desola-
tion, crying like children. The great difficulty in
gardening here is to repress vegetation, it being near-
ly impossible to curb its rank luxuriance. If left
to itself, any garden will in two or three years be-
come a dense impenetrable tangle of trees, vines,
flowers, and weeds. But it is time to hurry away
from all this loveliness. A few minutes ago we
were watching the sunset emparadising both heaven
and earth; now, before we have time for a second
sigh at its departure, night has-dropped upon us like
a silent and intangible avalanche, with no interlud-
ing, apologistic twilight to warn or to reconcile us.
March 10th. -Rose this morning, as usual, at six.
So soon as bathed and dressed, commenced the day
in the customary national style; namely, by a vigor-
ous attack upon a pyramid of huge oranges, which
B- has just brought in, paying twelve cents for
ten. He giees me two-thirds of each, for the remain-
ing third and the privilege of peeling them. I am
commanded by high authority to devour twelve every
morning; until I achieve that I cannot be said to
like oranges, or even to eat them.







HAVANA AND VICINITY.


After the nine o'clock breakfast, appeared the
white head of Mr. R--, and, immediately after, a
portable set of chess-men, with which he challenged
me to a game. Hle has not played much for twenty-
eight years. I did not play much before that time;
so, not unequally yoked together, we fought long
and desperately; and who do you think won ? My
modesty declines to answer.
Dinner at four, with the usual English courses and
bill of fare, except an interspersion of here and
there a Spanish or French dish; for instance, gar-
lic, onions, and oil, flavored with a piece of stewed
beef; or, further down the table, the same trio thin-
ly populated with tripe and potatoes; or, on two
cross corners of each table, a square pile of rice,
polished with oil and rouged with juice of tomatoes.
Then many new fruits, as the manna, sapote, and
others which I will describe when I know them
better. By five o'clock we have usually manifested
fully our approval of all dinners in general, and of
polyglott dinners in particular. The cafe noir is
then dispatched to make the peace, and we are ready
for the cigar, the drive, or the siesta. I do not quite
yet smoke the cigars myself as I see many IIa-
vanese ladies doing; but I have bought a lottery
ticket!-the ninth-and the drawing comes on the
22d inst. Never say you have been to Havana, un-
less you have bought a lottery ticket. They are a
native production.













III.

Drive to the Sea-shore -Evening Boat-ride-Splendor
of the Waters- Camnpo del Marte-Low Mass- The
Madonna" Beautiful Children Church of San
Filipo Sacred Names -The Mount of Jesus- Cor-
ruption of the Clergy -Cuba Misrepresented in Books-
Growing used to it" -A Creole Cascarilla Warm
Weather- The Cortina.

SATURDAY, Maxch llth.

HIS morning we drove, or more properly
rode, for no one drives in a volante, to the
sea-shore. Although the sun was burning
down upon us with his customary ardor, a northerr"
cooled his ferver so effectually as to make a thick
shawl necessary. Thicker boots wefe indispensable
to save the feet from the sharp points of coral rocks
over which we must walk, upon leaving the volante.
With the assistance of our northerr," a high tide
dashed the waves in furious beauty over the low,
unresisting shore, and with a muffled thunder straight
out of the heart of infinity. I wonder if any fa-
miliarity can ever breed a feeling of even acquaint-
anceship with this roar of torn ocean." Was it
not a pretty scene for us as we stood there, the
graceful, yet frowning Morro, with its white wave-
washed feet, growing from the promontory across
(30)







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the bay, its fluttering flags foretelling ships like a
presentiment, its towers warming and brightening in
the parting smiles of the suin, with a very human
pathos of joy! Far out on the restless sea, more
restless ships toss and tack and veer their sails;
clouds, dream thin, and sunset-souled. How blue
they make the sea How white the dark waves are
painting them!
Behind us in the west rises a rough, high bluff,
flanked by endless lines of barracks; on the outer
wall, a solitary sentinel paces and watches us; under
its shadow stands our waiting volante and the sun-
burnt callisero. Nothing more is visible except the
sky-questioning palms behind the bluff -far in the
south the strange city of this strange clime. Noth-
ing anywhere is familiar save the quiet, tender sky
above; and that is so blue, so intense, so twice a sky,
so profound in its passion of beauty, that you won-
der how sorrow and death can live beneath it!
I do not marvel that the people of sun-lands do
not greatly aspire, or labor, or achieve. What need
of this threefold weariness, this getting of spiritual
bread by spiritual brain-sweat, when happiness falls
down upon their heads all day long out of the sky;
when feeling, which is a thousand times better than
thought, buds and blossoms out of every sunbeam,
and night is but a sudden sigh, a languishing wink
of this regal lover between caresses.
Evening. And the most interesting we have
spent in Havana.
To describe a boat-ride upon the phosphorescent
waters of this bay, one should, alas! have some






RELIGION.


powers of description. I can only outline it in a
homely way and leave the rest to your imagin-
ation.
All our previous nights have been without twi-
light. The only apparent change was in the color,
not the quality, of light; the warm gold, blanch-
ing into a colder, purer blaze, fitting the mind and
eye for its enjoyment: it is the quantity not the
intensity of daylight. But to-night the sun dies
under the western sea, and an azure which is neither
light nor darkness, fills the void. The stars discover
through it their happy images below, and our throb-
bing oars oars no longer, but living light rival
the pulsations of the stars.
All this time our trackless way" is distinctly
blazing far behind, while far below our cutting keel
leaves its cicatrice; an antipodean milky-way, and
our prow, like a Yankee boreas, carries its snow-
cloud in its teeth. There flies a fish with planetary
speed, invisible in air, but in its native element a
mistress at home." Even the oscillation of our
little boat causes flashes of softest light in the sur-
rounding air, by which our faces are brightened
to reveal the beautiful peace and pleasure each
feels.
We lean and look in the water at our side, and
see the myriad scintillations that come and go with
ever-changing variety, and then think, that to each
spark is attached an organized body, with circulating
medium and force, with sensations more or less
acute; and that in this bay of some three square
miles, is a galaxy of worlds; every globule a world







RELIGION.


of itself, inhabited by perfect and sentient beings,
each with its hopes, fears, and perhaps its loves and
hates, and therefore sorrows; and then we remember
that the whole tropical waters which girdle the
globe are equally crowded with life.
Saturday, 11th. The rejoicings profess to have
reached a patriotic climax, a grand display of
all the troops on the island, which is twice the num-
ber of the whole military force of the United States.
With the only vacant seat in our English carriage
filled at last by our venerable friend Mr. N- ,
we drove out to the Campo del Marte. We found it
difficult and delightful, steering our way through
the archipelago of carriages and volantes filled with
ladies in full ball costume, many of the faces and
figures striking, a few very handsome; so that with
well-rewarded patience and time, we obtained a good
position.
The poverty of republican eyes is imbibantly
observant of all appurtenances of royalty. First
dashes past the knighted Governor-General, doffing
cap and plume, and bowing with great dignity to
the bowing multitude. Following are body-guard
and staff, counts, marquises, and other nobility in
uniform, crosses and decorations of honor.
The gentlemen informed me that the troops
marched well. I am sure the regiments of negroes
thought so, and enjoyed the supposition. We re-
turned home to whist and delightful conversation
on all things new and old, followed by the most
cordial imaginable of good-nights and hand-shak-
ings.






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Sunday. Early this morning to a Jesuit mass -
low mass, and so very low that it could not be heard
at all. Two priests only officiated, both meek-faced,
keeping custody of eyes; one of them with the
most remarkable intellectual and characteristic
head I ever saw, the other with the devoutest,
purest face. All the devotees, mostly women and
girls, and liveried servants, knelt upon mats placed
over the marble floor. All the ladies were grace-
fully arrayed in black lace Spanish veils, which,
like moonlight on the Coliseum, leaves that beau-
tiful which still was so, and makes that which was
not." They were repeating their prayers; those
who could read, from books, those who could not,
from memory; and all the time the young and
pretty ones were rolling their dark fascinating eyes
around upon my.escort of gentlemen, except when
the moment came for crossing themselves and look-
ing devoutly towards an image of the Virgin exe-
crably done in wax.
I find the only way to extract good instead of
disgust from scenes like this, is to ignore the wax
and the tawdry ornaments, and to remember only
the divinely sweet woman who loved Christ as I
fear none of us have loved him; who suffered for
him as none of us shall be honored by suffering for
him; the only woman who united to the virgin's
charm the mother's hallowing rapture; the woman
whom God loved more than all earthly women,
making her the mother of his son. You must think
of the sanctity she has given to all motherhood.
You must remember the elevation and delicacy she






RELIGION.


has given to the love of many pure and wise priests,
who through the dark centuries loved no woman
but her; who centred in her the love that might
not be human nor for the human. Think of all
this, and then see if you can wonder that the devout
imaginations of the learned as well as of the igno-
rant Romanist have found a female element in the
Trinity, and in worshipping the Father and Son
have also most tenderly adored her who was a link
between them; her through whom God is no
longer an avenging God, and through whom Christ
longs and makes ready for us.
The church, to my great surprise, though belong-
ing to the Jesuits, displays no wealth and no taste;
forlornly ugly pictures, clumsy tawdry flowers, and
atrocious statues everywhere. Many things, however,
were interesting enough to repay us for the trouble
of getting up so early and walking so far.
Nothing could surpass the extremely graceful
attitude of the ladies, or the universal beauty of the
children, especially of the boys. How exquisitely
regular and clear cut are their features how trans-
parent their large, soft, black eyes! how intelligent
their whole expression I am told that all Spanish
boys and girls are remarkably precocious. At
thirteen they promise to be geniuses, sing, paint,
even write poetry that would not only startle a
Nothern mother, but frighten her with a certainty
of the imminent dissolution of her cherub. After
that age the tropical child remains savingly in status
quo, if he does not perceptibly degenerate.
Having still twenty minutes before breakfast, we






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drove quickly to the fashionable church of San
Filipo. Found it having more pretension than the
Jesuit (" Belen ") church, but not more taste.
Abundance of tinsel, plenty of yellowed grotesque,
semi-arabesque carvings on tinselled columns and
what-not, but no beauty, unless, perchance, under
the happy veil of some worshipping angel.
Sunday evening. Is it a question of piety, or of
taste, that so many places have holy names ? "Jesus
dil monto" "Jesus Maria," "Las dace Apostles; "
the latter being a battery of guns under the Morro,
intended to convert enemies' ships into enemies'
wrecks a highly apostolic mode of conversion.
To end our Sabbath we ascended the Mount of
Jesus and walked in a garden of cocoa-trees sup-
posed to occupy relatively the position of Geth-
semane.
Really the straight, tall lines of boles with their
parachute tops, in a rapidly diminishing light, do
produce a very novel impression half rural, half
architectural. One may fancy aisles and naves,
transepts and choirs; the roofs, however, are real,
made of leaves fourteen feet long, drooping like the
mitres of a groin, and gothicizing a roof through
which a few slender green rays penetrate enough
to reveal form without detail. But no marble gives
sound to our footsteps; grass, poor a cow would say,
but grass, for a carpet, and old cocoa-nuts to stum-
ble over, bring us down to earth again. Here we
are rewarded by some pretty flowers, which are the
only beauties in this land of beauty who can wander
"in maiden's meditation, fancy free." It is an effort






RELIGION.


to mount the Pisgah before us, but we must on to
the very top, for our ankles are goaded by living
spurs that lie lurking in the grass.
But we are spaciously rewarded, for there lies
Havana in its whole extent before us; the level line
of sea behind it; the Morro guarding it; the Prin-
cipe fort threatening it; the bay reflecting it and the
setting sun gilding it; palms on every hand outline
their greens against the intensely azure sky behind,
and white walls glance out of the luxuriant foliage,
proud that humanity has a home within them. Low-
like mounds fill up the background like priests with
shaven crowns, but all with beauteous vestments
sweeping to their feet, running over the plains be-
tween them, up the adjacent ones, round the next--
an interminable reticulation of life and loveliness.
The embroidery on God's footstool is here wrought
with a lavish and loving hand.
Wonderful tropics! The normal home of man;
the only soil and sun in which could grow the fair
and fatal tree of knowledge or of life.
No sinister cold, no smoke-tarnished atmosphere,
no death-bearing fogs, no fierce animal energy, no
gross crimes; all is sunny and perpetual youth.
Eden unquestionably was not more than twenty-
three or thirty degrees from the equator. But the
intermittent flash of the light in the tower of the
Morro startles every half minute the sudden night-
fall, and we hasten to return, in love with nature,
and reconciled to ourselves.
Monday, March 13th. This morning came Mr.
R- bringing an unexpected armful of books,






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with which we are to equip ourselves for a visit to
the country, where we are making arrangements to
go. Commenced the morning by chess, in which I
am now habitually ruined, and ended, as usual, by
a long conversation, in which I am listener-in- chief,
an interested if not a brilliant or eloquent one.
Mr. R- is a Romanist, but I learn from him
more of the corruption of the clergy of the island
than an uninitiated Protestant or Romanist either
could invent. Priests in the country are badly
salaried, often unable to get enough to pay their
cooking and washing. So they become entangled
in a peculiar kind of reciprocity with some negress
or quadroon, who in time comes to live openly with
them, and is recognized, and not unfrequently re-
spected and acknowledged socially, as the mother
of their large families. I find residents here indig-
nant at visitors who come and skip over the surface
of the country, necessarily, if they write at all, as
superficial as false and absurd. Madame 's
book is said to be a tissue of falsehoods, as well as
that of D- which I had supposed photographic.
Every one, in fact, but Humboldt, has assumed a
knowledge to hide ignorance. Cuba seems to be the
least abused because least investigated country
which has got into books.
Mr. R- accepted our invitation to dinner. Like
all Frenchmen, he prefers claret to other wines, and,
like all old men who wish to live long, eats nothing.
Thursday, 15th. Who can wonder that sailors
never tire of seeing the sea. With what a loyal
instinct the old retired captain seeks the shelter of







RELIGION.


some wave-worn cliff where the familiar spray may
kiss his weather-beaten cheek, and the cry of the
deep be the lullaby of his last sleep. Primeval
forests want light ; prairies are stale and flat" if
not "unprofitable; mountain ranges, those petri-
fied waves of earth, are groups of individuals: but
ocean is one, an adequate expression of extent illim-
itable, of bulk immeasurable, of depth unfathom-
able, of force irresistible, of life everlasting. It is
the eternity of time. But here in Cuba, where
so much is transitory and fugitive, where the ac-
cumulation of wealth to expend elsewhere is the
aim of all, the aesthetic claims of the sea are unre-
garded. The backs of the houses are universally
turned towards it. The Cubans smother palaces in
narrow streets, rejecting the air which has learned
purity and inspiration from the sea, for siroccos of
dust and heat. Ugly wharves abound, so do bat-
teries to make might right. It is only -in refine-
ment without degeneracy, in taste without tinsel,
in wealth without avarice, that you find the loving
adornment of ocean's shores.
We rode, while thinking and saying these things,
to Chomero, a little bay with little cottages on its
little sandy shore; little shrubs, little shells, and lit-
tle life. A square fort guards it in sinister silence;
a large railway station promises to turn the little
Chomero into the large suburban Carmelo, and
straight streets, straight avenues, and right angles
threaten to make it as ugly as the tasteless plans
of architects could devise.
But deliciously sweet is the air; deliciously sweet






RELIGION.


the new old story of the sea, and deliciously sweet
the mareschino with which we flavor our aqua
pura. All things return to their original starting
point. Existence is a rounding of circles. The
sun, a tired prodigal, returns to the parent arms of
the horizon; like Socrates, his last act is to bathe,
which he does in the returning tide, and he returns
to el Hotel de la Reina, there to chat with Father,
C- or play with Sefior R-, or, better still, to
lounge on the sofas and fan our tropical thoughts
into tropical dreams.
Saturday, 17th.-At last our days are come to have
a family resemblance. I must even confess to a kind
of monotony, a stereotypedness, in their lineaments.
I grow to look upon all these extravagant novelties
with sangfroid, to ride through the streets reclining
in my volante with rarely being amused, and never
startled, that Spanish gentlemen sitting against the
walls in rows, or standing at the corners in groups,
one and all, smile and bow, as if I were an old
friend. I am not a bit shocked to see negro and
Creole and Spanish little boys standing in the doors
or running about at play with more backs than
shirts -in short, as innocent of clothing as their
great-greatest-grandpapa was when, overtaken by
that unfortunate after-dinner nap, and the angel
performed the delicate surgical operation of taking
the still crooked rib from his side, and was not ob-
liged to waken him by unbuttoning his jacket. I
can promenade the balcony of our hotel without
any uncomfortable nervousness because all the
upper and under clerks in the store opposite collect







RELIGION.'


at once to gape and criticize and express in some
way the admiration a Cuban gentleman is conscien-
tiously bound to feel whenever he sees a wonder.
I can see the lottery venders thrust their tickets into
my hand at the corner of every street when going
to church, in all public places and most private ones,
without one puritanical spasm. I am obliged to
find Sunday turned into a general holiday without
thinking an earthquake is coming to-morrow, and
to hear the ship's bell and car's whistle mingling
with the church bell without expecting a consequent
and immediate steam-boiler explosion. I have even
ceased wondering at this eternity of sunshine, and
find it is silly to keep expecting blindness from its
piercing light. I forgot to inquire why it cannot
scald these deliciously cool breezes, or why these
strong airs, always blowing upon the sunshine, as if
it were a great plateful of hot gumbo soup, cannot
manage to cool it.
If it be true that many microscopic beings which
are vegetables in the shade become ripened into
animals in the sun, then what happens to animals
that live in the sun as much as we do ? what are we
to ripen to ? Angels naturally but sadly sun-
burnt.
This evening, my first acquaintance with a Creole,
and one who is not only willing, but proud, to own
it. He speaks English hesitatingly and solves a
difficult riddle it is possible for a Creole counte-
nance to express, not only intellectuality, but genius,
even spirituality. How polite are these people!
Being an amateur artist, he invited me to-morrow to







RELIGION.


his studio; offered at once to contribute to my
portfolio, and to lend any pictures I may choose to
copy while on the island. Conversation turning
upon the famous cascarilla, a powder made of egg-
shells, and universally used on the skin by these ladies
to make black white, all the gentlemen, strange to say,
advocated its use. Upon this I expressed an inten-
tion of getting some immediately and using it liber-
ally. Seiior at once replied, Oh, I shall be only too
happy to send it to you! and sure enough, after he
left, a beautifully ornamented box of the ornament,
found itself on my dressing-table.
You must never express a particular admiration
for any thing one of these people possesses, or he
will at once present it to you, from his plantation
to his pipe; and the latter is the surer test of his
politeness. The other day I asked Mr. R- where
I could find a bookstore keeping some little views
of Havana. The same evening came a great book
containing all I wished, beautifully executed. Last
evening on the Cortena, he took out a little micros-
cope to examine some parasitic flowers I had gath-
ered from the walls of the Cathedral (all the old
walls of buildings are covered with such plants). I
could not help exclaiming at the great power and
convenience of the little instrument, when, what
should come this morning but Mr. R- with a
bright new microscope in his hand, begging I would
do him the favor to accept it!
With all our interest in this Creole, I could not
help a sensation of relief, when he rose to bid us
good-night. It is so difficult talking with a for-







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eigner who can only comprehend your simplest
words, which express your simplest ideas. You feel
like a child talking to a child, knowing all the time
that you are without the innocence or beauty of
children. And this repression of thought, instead
of repressing the voice, gives one an unconquerable
instinct to raise it to its highest pitch. One seems
to think that an immense quantity of sound will
hide an immense lack of sense; that they do not
understand because they do not hear; that one is
not so dumb as they are deaf.
Sunday, March 18th.- For the first time the heat
is oppressive, enervating. We did not even sum-
mon courage for the early mass, the only religi-
ous service in a city which can boast one distinguish-
ing peculiarity it practises as much as it preaches,
for it almost never preaches at all. What is bet-
ter than the Cortina when you talk of fresh airs,
and fresh shade, and fresh silence ? So for the
Cortina we set out, stopping by the way at the
Cathedral. Here we find half a dozen sincere-look-
ing devotees kneeling in different parts of the
quaint, cool, serene temple; humble their birth, no
doubt, as well as posture, for they kneel upon the
bare marble, with no mat and no appearance of dis-
comfort. When prayers are said and crossing done,
they depart, silent and unnoticed as they enter; and
we, with only the gratification of curiosity where
worship should be, do the same.
Arrived at the promenade, we find an insinuating
mist and an unusual event, a south wind, legitima-
tizing all this languor. Everybody in Havana pouts







RELIGION.


when the wind hails from the equator, and shivers
when it comes out of a temperate zone. Both
changes are so slight that a Northerner, accustomed
as he is to the fiercely rapid changes at home, ob-
serves nothing different from usual. The ordinary
wind here, which baffles all the scorching proclivi-
ties of this sunshine; which comes fresh and unworn
over the salt and laboring seas; which makes this
island an Eden of never-failing green, this strong
and pure, and gentle, as all that is strong should be,
angel of mercy, is always an east wind. I am glad
that 1 came to Havana to learn that the sole errand
of an east wind in the world is not to manufacture
influenzas, consumption, gout-twinges, blue devils,
and growlery-mongers.
To-night a long conversation with Father C-
who has just returned from an expedition to the in-
terior for the purpose of collecting contributions for
"me chur-r-r-rch" in Ireland. We talked of the
Eucharist, of confessions, of indulgences, of rites
and popes; in half an hour I learned more of Ro-
manism from a Romanist's point of view, than in a
liberal share of twenty-eight years of my former
life. lie confessed that the corruptions of the
church forced on the Reformation. I am sure the
wary priest rather more than half expected to con-
vert me, and I amused myself down in my sleeve at
his amiable hallucination, while at the same time I
reflected how surely the fogs of prejudice and sec-
tarianism clear away before the inevitably advancing
sun of knowledge.













IV.

Departing Guests The Varieties On Board, but not
Gone No Chimneys Dog-Pails Horses' Tails -
Tall Negroes Ecclesiastical Torch-light Procession
Watchmen Leaving Havana In the Country -
Stopped- Seeking a Breakfast A Cuban Village -
A Primitive Well A Peculiar Palm Guiness -
Our Quarters Therein.
MONDAY, March 19th.
NE by one, our guests have left the hotel.
The swarthy Portuguese gentleman whose
acquaintance we made on shipboard, and
who told us so much of the interiors of Asia
and Africa, where he has spent much time. I am
meditating the purchase of a camel to take home
with me, to ride for health and pleasure. Think of
the panic of the unsophisticated people of E- at
seeing a genuine live dromedary, philosophically
promenading their streets with the valley on his
back populated by your rejoicing and philosophical
humble servant. Soon after this departure went
the handsome and villainous-looking Russian, whom
we suspect to have been a serf, because he told
B- one evening a long story of his feats and dif-
ficulties on leaving Russia without a passport. He
has travelled all over the world, but in intellect will
perpetually live, and irremediably die, a serf. The
(45)







LEA VING HA VANA.


young, honest-eyed Scotchman, too, who played
operas for me all one morning with so much skill
and amiability, wh; has had his throat ventilated
by three bullets in three battles, and is travelling-
not consequently -for health, is gone to New Or-
leans. The diamond-labelled widow from Boston,
worth an undoubted million, is gone to Matanzas,
accompanied by her much-smiling daughter, and the
daughter's blue-nosed governess. The latter should
always be seen with the ears, for she talked well.
The gentleman with consumption is gone from the
adjoining room, so that my nights are no longer
made hideous by his sepulchral cough. He goes to
the south of France -so expect his wife and daugh-
ter -I expect to an ocean grave. Also is departed
the dandy from New York, having, like the beast in
Daniel's vision, a mouth speaking great things, but
differing from that other biblical beast, the Israel-
ites' calf, in that the ancient calf was made of orna-
ments, while this modern one only wears them.
The aldermanic Englishman, with ruddy wife, are
gone like a comfort from the other end of the table,
leaving us to their roast beef and ale. The pretty
school-girl and incipient belle from Baltimore, has
relieved the parlor atmosphere of the perfumery of
her beaux, and the piano of gymnastic or belligerent
manipulations extraordinary, but not, alas! unheard
of. Indeed, we are left almost alone, for mine
hostess declares she is losing money at four dollars
per day in gold. Cannot afford it; disinclines any
longer to endure the imposition of servants and shop-
men retires to the United States in disgust. Mean-







LEAVING HA VANA.


while the chamber-maid, having taken a fancy to
me, opens for my use the large parlor in front of
my bedroom, where I receive friends and reign
supreme in a room spacious and lofty enough for a
church, and retaining all the odor of sanctity left in
it by the Bishop.
This evening we are to pack our trunks, to put on
travelling attire, to say good-by to our friends, to
fee the servants who have served us, and to take a
volante for the steamer to Matanzas; but to say we
leave here to-night for Matanzas, would be a choice
and especial piece of presumption. I will tell you
why. Last Saturday evening, we rehearsed all
the above-mentioned performance. Our Havanese
friends came to say adieus. Mr. P- so full of
regrets and kind speeches. Mr. M- sitting by
the parlor table, so long writing letters of introduc-
tion, that we did not ask for, to his friends in
Matanzas, and then hurrying down to see that the
state-rooms we had secured in the morning were all
right, and to introduce us to the captain. Mr. R--
accepted B-- 's invitation to take a seat in my
volante. These public volantes never hold more than
two, and consequently, B-- paid for his amibility by
walking. Nothing doubting, we arrived at the steam-
ing steamer; luggage is unfastened in great haste; we
quickly alight, when, forsooth, the steamer does not
particularly go to-night, not indeed until Monday next.
The wind, it is said, took it in its head this morning to
blow a suggestion breath for an hour; a prophetic
flash of lightning was supposed to have been seen
about four o'clock. Every body takes it as a matter







LEAVING HA VAANA.


of course, and I am obliged to smother my vexation
behind an appearance of amiability.
A few more novelties, before going, I must be-
queathe to you and to my memory, putting them in
the hands of paper and ink for my safe keeping -
then we will have done for the present with Havana.
Did you ever think of one curious result of being
really a city of the sun, viz., it is a city without
chimneys. All the box stoves, and air-tight stoves,
and best parlor ditto, were cast, if at all, in the
foundry of Jupiter; all the steam and hot-air fur-
naces, instead of being interred in the cellars, are
placed in the topmost garret of all garrets; the great
vanity of inventions and ornaments in the shape of fire-
places, grates with their artistic devices, their pretty
screens and shades, and the glowing faces and toast-
ing feet before them. All these are snugly built in
an architectural niche not made with hands, while
their fires are kindled and formed not by the lungs
of bellowses, but by the early-rising wings of enter-
prising angels. Ever since making this discovery I
feel quite philosophically inclined to regard the fact
that every man, or at any rate every man and a half
you meet, carries his household fire about with him,
using a cigar for fuel, and his devoted nose for a
chimney.
Last night, while passing some highly respectable
shops, we saw a pail of water standing in the door of
each. B- said, Can you guess what those are
for?" Of course I could not. He replied, The law
commands them to be provided in every house at
certain seasons, so that all dogs may drink when







LEA VING HA VANA.


they wish, and thus diminish the danger of hydro-
phobia."
It is not less curious that horses' tails are braided
by law, a fine following each omission. For aught
I know, the law dictates the member of strands in
the braid; that it must be done by a governmental
barber, greased as if it were human, and always
tied, as it is, to the left side of the saddle. This
hen-hussy government also directs at what precise
age children must cease to be models for statues
and become the victims of tailors and dress-makers.
I wonder nobody seems to have observed how
remarkably tall the larger number of these negroes
are. The women particularly are not only tall and
erect, but magnificent in outline, having an eye to
which their dresses are exceedingly low in the neck
and short in the sleeves. They are absolutely stat-
uesque. The Spanish and Creole ladies look dum-
pish, I might say dwarfish, beside them.
But the drawback upon all goings forward, the
voluminous reiteration of feminine folking, must be
performed; and we must again test the frailty of
tropical locomotive veracity and steamboat protesta-
tions.
Tuesday, 20th. -We simply didn't go last night
because the steamer didn't; reason not yet transpired.
I am becoming so used to these failures of plans and
probabilities, that I think nothing would disappoint
me now, but a want of disappointment. However,
I was not sorry that this last detention gave me an
opportunity to witness a very interesting spectacle.
A torchlight procession of priests and friars and







LEAVING HA VANA.


mourners and friends, to say mass over a dying
person. We were first drawn to the balcony by the
incessant singing of a peculiarly toned bell, and
then we saw them slowly and solemnly marching
far below us, down the dark and narrow street,
heralded by the strange bell in the hands of one of
the novices, and going with devout faith in its abso-
lute efficacy to shrive a human soul its last
earthly help in its last earthly extremity. The
effect was much like that of the .isericordia in the
cities of Italy, except that you miss here the quaint-
ness and impressiveness of the black or white dominos.
I did not care for the superstition; I only felt a pro-
found awe, a solemn sense of mystery and fitness; I
only marvelled that people can ever scorn or ridicule
any faith that is sincere in heart.
At half-past ten we retired, just as the watchman
was commencing his round of duty. Few things
are more novel to us than this. The curious whis-
tle is a kind of prelude to the monotonous tone with
which he, every half-hour, slowly pacing up and
down, lantern and spear in hand, announces the
hour of the night and the state of the weather. He
keeps a sharp lookout on the weather as well as
other vagrants, and clearly feels a responsibility in
the matter. I have learned all the words he uses to
tell us that' the moon is shining, or clouds are ob-
scuring it; if it is cold enough to encourage an
extra blanket, or if a norther or sdrocco is getting
the upper hand of things; which hour is giving up
the ghost, or which is like a soul rolling from out
the vast." But I can never comprehend what he







LEA VING HA VANA.


says; the words are so drawled and twisted to suit
the tune, which my English ears understand to be
musical and not unsuited to a lullaby, and at the
same time so many other watchmen in neighboring
streets are mingling their echoes and refrains.
Guiness, Wednesday, March 21st.- At last I
With the earliest dawning of the dawn we found
ourselves actually leaving Havana, and that not by
the boat, which it had become our turn to disappoint.
How tired the watchmen looked as we passed them I!
lantern lights burnt out, long ancient looking spears
carried listlessly by their sides, the guardianship of
the weather left in the hands of the coming Apollo.
The busy markets are already open; shopmen
unfastening shutters; life beginning to awake and
throb through the great body of Havana. Its
soul, whether great or small, is scarcely yet awakened
into any circulation through the channels of art or
literature. The bells are ringing, drums beating,
and guns firing, for it is five o'clock. The day is
up betimes. The morning and evening here are
the first day, and every day. Noon is but a shorter
panting, gilded, interluding flight, when all sleep
who can, and all long for sleep who cannot. But
the carriage stops in the midst of an articulating
human mass. How it hurries and bustles! how
many faces it has, and every one a different variety
of brown or a new invention in the shades of
black.
Presently the gentlemen come with tickets, sep-
arate ones for baggage and passage, and obtained
with much difficulty and circumlocution, as the rule







LEAVING HA VANA.


is that baggage must be sent the night before -
which ours was not. No sooner are we settled in
the cool cane seats than will you believe it ? a
whistle, the modern screech of a steam-whistle, is
heard, and we start precisely punctual to the
minute. Therefore, I assert, and will maintain
that it is conceivable, it is not contrary to all the
laws of nature, it is possible for a promise to be
kept this side the Tropic of Cancer. But how am I
to become reconciled to all this comfort and speed,
this steam-engine, this trail insinuating itself so
complacently through these celestial plains, snorting
and blowing and smoking through these orange-
groves, past these waving royal palms, in the midst
of sights and sounds such as lulled Eve into
slumber upon the bridal night of her birth! 0
insatiate Yankeedom! with all the lurid sins you
have to answer for, will not this alone secure you a
life lease in Purgatory ? But I have no time for
unpatriotic indignation, Fields of belligerent
looking pineapples; orchards of bananas twenty
feet high, with immense leaves all torn into rags by
the wind; groves of cocoa-nuts that look like senti-
mental palms in delicate health, with the green
clustered fruit hanging round their necks like an
affectionate necklace; cacti, the prickly pear
growing fifteen feet high, and fences of the kinds
I have cultivated in pots with so much care;
vegetables, familiar and unfamiliar, for the Havana
market; everywhere trees of gayest plumage, the
blossoms so large and brilliant, that you grow
incredulous and wonder if your eyes are not become







LEA VING HA VANA.


telescopic. As you approach the interior, immense
corn-fields greet you with their sweetened breath,
looking like corn-fields of the Southern States
grown delicate and pale from close confinement, a
thickened growth that excludes the air.
At nine o'clock the train stops at a village named
Bejucal. But for some reason it does not start
again. B- inquires to find we are to remain
three hours some failure in the engine. So we
do what nobody else does, walk half a mile under
our umbrellas to examine the town and get a break-
fast. See if you do not think this a droll sight for
American eyes. A village containing over a
thousand inhabitants, every house in it, except the
church, of one high story, roofed with large red
earthen tiles, built of stone covered with clay or
plaster, and painted in all possible colors that are
bright. Not a pane of glass visible, all the
immense windows being only grated and then filled
with idle, staring women and naked children.
Every house opens directly upon the sidewalk; and
in the whole extent of streets, gardens, and court-
yards, here in this land of miraculous vegeta-
tion, not a tree to be seen. Bat I have no eyes
or curiosity left. I am one huge unreconciled
appetite.
We stop at a house with larger rooms, larger
windows, and larger basements than the rest; where
rows of breakfast-tables, each with a caster in the
centre and a tall black wine-bottle on either side,
promise a drop, possibly a mouthful, of comfort to
the perishing inner woman. But the tablecloths!







LEA VING HA VANA.


Even my great hunger hasn't stomach for them all,
overlaid and underlaid as they are
"With food-prints that perhaps another,
Sitting o'er their various stain,
A forlorn and famished sister
Seeing still might eat again."

Not so I. Consequently a private room is ordered
with a breakfast in it, and while preparing to fill up
the vacuum, not of the within, we sally out for
a reconnoitre. Just at the back door, we stumble
upon you do not guess ? a veritable theatre,
- boxes, galleries, pit, stage with decorations for
scenes, painted curtains, trap-door opening upon the
prompter's den, and niches properly placed for foot-
lights. But the boxes are only stalls with rough
board partitions, the seats are wooden benches, the
galleries are an upper loft still retaining remnants
of former hay, the floor is of mother earth unmod-
ified by pavement or broom, and in fact we have
every evidence that this temple is devoted to horses
and oxen by day, and to the muse of the histrionic
art by night. But this aching void which nature
has the good sense to abhor! Will breakfast
never be ready ? It is eleven o'clock! I wish I
hadn't seen the tablecloths." Al, here comes an
agile quadroon announcing it in Spanish, which does
not get itself translated. We go to a little bedroom
from which a cot has been hastily ejected, and sit
down to a table loaded with fresh fruits of great
variety and abundance, in addition to the usual
bountiful breakfast of the country, and, best of all,
clean linen under them. You are right: we revel,







LEAVING HA VANA.


we luxuriate, and to this hour I sit and think of that
breakfast with a gastronomic satisfaction none the
less because we paid five dollars for it. We are now
ready for any adventure at the disposal of the re-
maining hour, and set out for the ruins of an old
castle said to have been built by the Marquis de San
Phillippi and honored by the presence of King Fer-
dinand VII. at a ball, while he was incognito in
this country. Now the walls are crumbling to dust;
one or two window-shutters flap disconsolately in
the wind, parasitic plants grow over the mouldering
arches where a dead past sleeps its sleeps and
dreams its dreams.
The church, Moorish in architecture, is just across
the Plaza, and invites, but the sun threatens, and we
decide for a tempting grove near the railway
station.
As we walk over the very clean pavement, stared
at by wondering groups of villagers, a woman rushes
up to us breathlessly explaining that she knows
where the English person who lives here is to be
found, and will be very willing to show us the way.
Mr. S- thanks her, with the assurance that we
are only waiting for the train; and we soon find
ourselves reclining beatifically under deliciously
breathing trees, whose shadows are thick as night
with darkness.
I must not forget to mention a primitive kind of
well we saw when again en route. It was like an
ordinary well: an old white horse walking away
from it when the bucket was full and backing to it







LEA VING HA VANA.


after it was emptied into the cask on the cart, and
must go down for more..
We came also for the first time upon a peculiar
species of palm, distinguishable from the royal palm
only by an enormous swelling half way up the
trunk. I pronounced them dropsical. B- was
more brilliant, declaring they resembled a snake,
that had fallen into the misfortune of swallowing a
toad,- an idea which Mr. S-- developed in a
drawing which I copied and am saving to show you.
Very many of these singular trees grow crookedly
- vegetable leaning towers suggesting the idea that
a variation from the perpendicular may be peculiarly
incident to trees as well as tropical towers and
morality.
It is an interesting fact that instead of undressing
with the indelicate precipitancy of our trees at home,
the palm-tree drops only one leaf every lunar month,
- a replenishing of its wardrobe which is dignified
as well as rhythmical.
On the subject of palms I find authors in Cuba
again inaccurate. It is asserted that they are of no
use, when it is true that of all the several hundreds
of varieties found on the island every one is useful.
A gentleman who has lived here in the country
many years says, "They are the most useful tree
we have." They give food to animals, thatches to
roofs, brooms to housemaids, cords to tobacconists,
hats to men, besides being used for numerous other
purposes.
The young palm often reminds one of an over-
grown aquatic weed; very many resemble a gigan-







LEA VING HA VANA.


tic pencil-case, the trunk quite straight and equal
until you approach the top, where it suddenly dimin-
ishes, looking loose as if it would shove up and
down like the pencil point.
Arrived at Guiness, the volante does not come as
wve expected from the plantation where we are in-
vited to spend a week or more. We go -not to a
fonda, for they are usually only miserably dirty
inns, but to a private boarding-house, with which
Mr. S- is already acquainted. Here we find
what we have so much desired -a characteristic
Cuban house with characteristic Creole customs,
although our landlord is a fat, good-natured French-
man, and his wife a tall, stately, imposing negress.
Her history is a little interesting. A sister of hers
had a daughter, whose father was a wealthy Span-
iard, and who sent her to Paris to be educated.
Soon after she died, leaving this aunt $10,000, with
which she purchased her freedom, and, I conjecture,
the French husband.
As we enter the door, large enough for a camel,
she greeted us with a hospitable smile and graceful
bow, at the same time motioning us to sit in the
row of rocking-chairs standing accurately in front
of the huge window. I am told that unlike
ordinary parallel lines these have been known to
absolutely meet. If I do not mistake, the occasion is
apt to be when an appreciative senor find a pretty
Creole for a vis-d-vis.
The house is a fac-simile of nearly all these
houses. Massive stone, directly upon the street.
It is of one high story; tiles keep out the heat; the







58 LEAVING HA VANA.

pointed roof and bare rafters inside giving a bare-
like effect, which the brick-paved floor tries to
counteract, and the enormous doorways to main-
tain.
A curtain with curious embroidery at the bottom
conceals this door which separates this salac from
my chamber. There I find plenty of finest linen
and the clean odor which should always sanctify
bedrooms. Canvas stretchers across the cot-like
bedsteads make a delightfully cool and clean mat-
tress. Carefully embroidered pillow-cases endeavor
to excite our admiration, and brightly colored pic-
tures of saints and martyrs on the wall, our de-
votion.
At three comes a Spanish jumble of sounds which
mean, "Dinner is ready." We walk out on a back
piazza, overlooking the pretty courtyard with its
shrubs and flowers, while we are sheltered from the
sun by thickly-growing and blossoming vines.
Our chairs are a curious kind of wooden frame
covered with some sort of hairy skin stretched
tightly across the back and bottom; our floor is of
clean cement; our soup is colored a bright yellow
with saffron; our fish is fresh and white from the
Carribean Sea; our rice is pearls set in sweet oil;
our green peas have lost their identity by the same
process; our water-unlike the quality of mercy-
is strained, and through a filter; while our beef, like
all the beef we have found in Cuba, is suspiciously
dark and tough. Yet we have faith, remembering
that the colored bipeds are much higher in the mar-
ket than the quadrupeds. In addition to all this,







LEAVING HA VANA.


our table is loaded with nondescript dishes of Creole
names and ingenuity, and all are ranged in one
stiff row down the middle of the table. Opposite
me sits a Creole gentleman who has not only be-
longed to the army (it has been asserted that
Creoles are not permitted to enter the army in any
capacity), but has been an officer in Spain. We
strike up a conversation in French, and imagine my
admiration for the flexibility of his politeness, when
he inquires how long I lived in Paris. Between
dessert and coffee he leaves the table to smoke,
apologizing to Mr. S- by saying he is so much
of a Spaniard that he must smoke before taking
coffee, and he does not like to do it at the table
in the presence of an American lady.
I confess it made me feel a little peculiar to see
our French landlord sitting complacently at the head
of the table with his bona-fide negro wife standing
as complacently behind his chair to serve us.
After dinner I am attracted to the water-filter
standing in one corner. It is a large moss-covered
porous stone, with a cavity in the top where the
water and charcoal are placed; the water creeping
through the stone drop by drop, into the vessel
below. I wish I could remember the name of the
island where it is found, and, indeed, of which it is
the foundation.













V.

A Palm-grove A Planter's Household- Coolies as com-
pared with Negroes- Anecdotes of Coolies-Robbers
Heterogeneous Dinner- Creole Politeness.

THURSDAY, March 22d.

HIS morning comes intelligence that death
has occurred in the family of the owner of
the plantation and that his sister is become
insane. Our visit -there is necessarily abandoned.
However, we are not uncomfortable in our present
quarters, and its independence reconciles us to the
disappointment; for you must know a Cuban planter
would as soon think of taking pay for the air and
sunshine you breathe in his house as for any amount
of board, lodging, or attendance he might give you.
To-day, we discovered an inviting grove of palms
just outside the town, and, unwisely careless of the
threatening of the sun, set out to find them. They
looked very near, over the tops of the houses, and so
tall that, like vegetable Mother Gooses, they seemed
to be "sweeping the cobwebs from the sky," but,
as we walk on, seem to recede farther and farther.
The sun waxes and waxes; our fatigue becomes
exhaustion; but we find, as did Macbeth, that to re-
turn is as difficult as to go on; so on we go -melt
-utterly dissolve-until, at last, we reach a lovely
(60)







COOLIES VS. NEGROES.


garden, and with permission from the major domo,
drop down upon the roots of a tree in the midst of
many of the best fruit and ornamental trees of the
the country. Was there ever shade so profound,
perfumes so delicious, orange-trees so dark-leaved
and bright-fruited!
The ground around us is covered with a great
variety of fallen fruits of which we do not even know
the names. They are left quite at the mercy of vari-
ous fat, black, lazy, meandering pigs that at first
look to you like overgrown rats -for, like all the
hogs of Cuba, they are entirely without bristles, as
smooth-shaven as if just from the razor of the barber.
Presently, we discover a little house behind the
trees, apparently unoccupied. The same idea occurs
to us all at once if we could get it to live in while
we remain. We go for the major-domo, who con-
ducts us inside. Rude enough, indeed, for the most
rural or romantic tastes, and with eight great black
- so black that you could not see them negroes sit-
ting in the middle of the middle room. They are
all dressed in spots; that is, a few rags still cling,
by chance, or by preternatural adhesion, to different
parts of the body ; and all are busily filling some sort
of a demijohn with a kind of black bran much
grown and used here. Not too inviting, certainly,
neither, is the stifling, annihilating walk before us,
in a sun whose furnace is heated seven times hotter
than before. We survive, I could never tell how, to
find that the dinner at home has scarcely survived
an hour's waiting for us, and I go to rest till soup
and fish are over.







COOLIES VS. NEGROES.


Immediately after dinner, a Chinaman rides up
to the door, leading three horses. A friend of Mr.
S-, a sugar planter, hearing of our arrival, sends
the horses, with an invitation for us to visit his
estate. So soon as habited, I select the horse that
wears the side-saddle. He starts off at once in the
delightful and peculiar gait of Creole horses, not
an ornamental one, as I somewhere said before, but
well suited to the climate, perhaps a result of it,
- an amble, giving exhilarating exercise, without
fatigue.
The plantation is but a league distant, and very
soon the tall white chimneys and low roofs reveal
our saccharine destination. Flocks of decently
dressed and moderately happy-faced negroes and
coolies are at work in the corn-fields. As we pass
on an odor as of nice sweet cake while in the pro-
gress of baking greets us from the boiling sugar,
with a savory familiarity; then a glimpse through
the trees of blue walls and red tiles suggests the
family mansion.
What can be so fresh and peaceful as that pretty,
low, rambling house, nestled in among the greenery,
with the huge trees behind it giving that back-
ground so indispensable to beauty in houses, while
on all sides stranger varieties of trees, flowers, and
shrubs breathe upon us the sweetnes of their wel-
come !
Our hostess, a charming lady from the United
States, living here twenty years, meets us on the
piazza with a graceful hospitality. The gentlemen
go to the sugar-house or ingenio, which yields an







COOLIES VS. NEGROES.


income of from seventy-five to a hundred thousand
per year, with two hundred and fifty negroes and
coolies to perform the work. I am taken into the
grounds and gardens by Mrs. D- and her soil;
where among all that is new I find a great variety
of cactuses, many twenty or thirty feet high; ripe
oranges, perfectly green in color; mignionette and
allspice trees; tall trees of blooming oleanders; also
cape jasmines and the night-blooming cereus.
We talk much of the coolie system. Although
less amiable than negroes, Mrs. D- prefers them
on account of their superior activity, ingenuity, and
intelligence. Nearly all of them can read and
write, and have some proficiency in arithmetic and
geography. Beside being very passionate, they con-
sider their persons sacred: many of them would
die rather than endure any bodily chastisement.
Several murders have occurred on this plantation
among them, but we learned on the way home that
Mr. D-- had the matter hushed up in some way
to save their lives and his money. To illustrate the
character of these antipodes of ours: A celestial in
Havana, supposing himself detected in a theft, con-
fessed his guilt to the unsuspecting owner of the
property, also a Chinaman, who at once tied his
hands behind his back and commenced leading him
through the streets backward. The authorities
stopped this, to the great indignation of the perse-
cutor, because he could not do as people always did
in his own country. But the companions of the
thief all deserted him, refused to eat, sleep, or speak
with him, not on account of his guilt, but of the







COOLIES VS. NEGROES.


bodily degradation he had suffered, and the next
morning in despair he went and hanged himself.
Mr. R- told me of a cook of his (they make the
best cooks in the world) who was attacked by a dis-
ease for which the doctor, fearing it to be infections,
sent him to the hospital. While there he was
attended by the noble Sisters of Charity, of whose
unselfish though sometimes mistaken devotion I
hear so much. When he was cured one of the nuns
said to Mr. R- "Do take care of him, for he is
a good Christian; and as he desired it, we have bap-
tized him." Afterwards his master, knowing so
well the tenaciousness of the idolatry of the Chinese,
said to him, "How come it that you were bap-
tized ? "- "Oh," said the fellow, "my head was very
hot, and I thought I would let them put a little water
on to cool it." This was being Cooley!
A little event has just occurred on our plantation,
from which I am wandering. One of the labor-
ers, a Chinaman, it is suspected (because the negroes
are such cowards), threw into one of the wheels of
the machinery an iron bolt of some sort to prevent
its operation, and so give them all a holiday. The
master, not being able to discover the offender,
forced them all to work harder than ever through the
week, and all the following Sunday.
But night is coming on and we must go in spite
of urgent invitations to remain, and many expressed
regrets from our kind hostess that her house is
already too full of visitors to admit us permanently,
and so, promising to "Come soon and spend the
day," we encounter the darkness, and I many mis-







COOLIES VS. NEGROES.


giving of possible robbers. And why should I
not ? The country, from all accounts is full of
them. Everybody goes armed. Not one man do
you meet, from the elegant sefnor down to the
stupidest negro, without pistols in his saddle and a
long sword at his side, which I always see brush-
ing against the hedges as they ride in the country,
or rattling on the pavement as they walk in town.
My fears are somewhat quieted by the assurance
that nobody accompanied by a lady has ever been
attacked or in all probability will be, an assurance
more interesting than convincing, it must be con-
fessed. However, somewhat armed and strengthened
by my weakness, we ride through the bristling
hedges and star-lighted air until tremor is lorgetten
in the sweet enchantment of the scene, and we are
sorry to see the lights of Guiness rising one by
one out of the darkness.
Friday, March 23d.- These people have unques-
tionably the most heterogeneous tastes in the world.
At dinner to-day I counted ten dishes entirely new
to me, all but two, intricate complications of
flesh, fish, or fowl, but mostly of vegetables, com-
pounds which no ingenuity of chemist could hope
to resolve back to their elements. How think you,
is unsophisticated American digestion to make terms
with this marked array? How not to dissappoint
the attentive hostess who expects you to encounter
them all unflinchingly, and end them, not yourself,
victoriously ?
During dinner we happened to mention our inten-
tion of procuring horses and riding twice a day in







66 COOLIES VS. NEGROES.

search of adventures and an appetite, when what
does a polite Creole opposite do but offer me the
use of his own horse as long as 1 stay: it is in Ma-
tanzas and he will be only too happy to send for it.
I found my French useful to decline and to ex-
press thanks more ample than the Spanish gracias."














VI

" Nice f dtty House in the Country Wrong Side of
the Horse Discovery in Mental Photography Visit
to the Country House Not to be obtained- Contrast
of Palms and Bamboos The Youth of Tropical Na-
ture-A Remarkable Phenomenon-House of the
Marquise of V--- Le Armistad" Burial of an
Officer's Child-A Shock--" Cafetal"- "La Provi-
dencia" A Sugar Plantation The Royal High-
way" A Grand View.

HIS evening comes Mr. S- from Father
P- full of a nice pretty house we are to
get in the country. Immediately a horse
resembling an overgrown rat is procured, warranted
amiable with ladies, and we prepare for investiga-
tion.
Imagine my dismay when about to mount, to find
the side-saddle turned to the right of the horse in-
stead of the left. It is indeed the ordinary style of
this extraordinary country. I remember seeing la-
dies in long, white habits, riding in this way in the
suburbs of Havana, quite at ease, and unsuspicious
of the droll figure they were making. I have,
however, seen or been told that ladies in the south
of Europe are taught both modes of riding, still, I
(67)







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


am not inclined to try a new horse in a new manner;
so, after a change of saddles, we find ourselves sail-
ing off in the stereotyped gait of the Cuban horse,
than which nothing can be more safe, or less calcu-
lated for the display of horsewomanship. The
scene is exquisite; we could ask no change in the
day, the place, the hour, the sunshine and the
shade," except that one might excuse the low, red
afternoon sun from peering up so inquisitively as it
does under ones eyelids.
How dense and massive are these great cactus
hedges on either side of the road! and how their
fierceness is softened or masked by thick vines
creeping and penetrating everywhere, with blossoms
and perfumes in their hands!
My equestrian experiences continually reimpress
upon me a discovery I am making in the philosophy
of mental photography of scenery.
Riding towards the east is far more inspiriting
than going towards the west. Travelling to the
south is equally more cheering than to the north. I
find that western views, however intrinsically beau-
tiful, have in them an accent of sadness, of depar-
ture, of farewells. It is there that the sun, and
moon, and stars go down to be buried, leaving be-
hind them a consciousness that all bright and fair
and tender things must also drop into a night of
death.
Eastern views, on the contrary, however rude and
desolate, are yet seen and beautified through an at-
mosphere of hope. A sweet sense of promise al-
ways comes up from under the orient; there is an







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


inherent life and light in it that no stalking shades
can terrify.
Northern views, though outwardly full of grace
and beauty, have always about them a haunting des-
olation. You think only of those "thrilling re-
gions of thick-ribbed ice," with no heart beating
under the ribs, no blood in the veins, no kindling in
the fixed eye. You fall into shivering reveries
about the unbending attitude of those hyperborean
scenes, wondering if it is their backbone, the north
pole that keeps them there forever, so stiff and
stark. You see those ice fields inhabited mostly by
the longing looks, the gasping yearnings of lost
souls who are condemned to burn forever in flames
that do not purify or consume.
But southern views, though they may be insipid
or uncouth in material form and feature, are always
sweet with the very soul of passion and poetry.
They cry out for you in advance to all sorrow and
hopelessness and death,-
Avaunt thy mistreated front."

But the low roofs and bright walls of the house
we are seeking have discovered us through the trees.
We enter the long, straight avenue of palms in-
terspersed with laden orange-trees, and are met at
the door, not by simply the mayoral, as we had ex-
pected, but by the son of the proprietor who, con-
trary to our information, lives here with his family.
We are shown to the sala, the living and dining-
room combined. Here sits the pretty, pale mistress
sewing on little dresses, while her child of two years







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


totters up to meet us, three large fourths of her
comfortable little brown delicious form visible.
Our errand is of course baffled, but we sit talking
until the host invites us to visit the grounds. They
are large, cultivated with great care and watered by
a kind of inundation. Numbers of exotic fruits
are shown us among others, well grown American
apples, which it has been said, like peaches, will not
grow in the tropics. Think of apples nearly ripe
in the month of March!
After having made our adieus we turn our horses'
heads towards the wild, primitive-looking forest
across the plantation.. Directly we find a serpentine
path through the dark, rich, reddish-brown soil, the
only soil in which oranges and many other tropical
fruits will grow; which stains the men's feet who
work in it, or shoes if they have them; browns the
oxen, carts, everything that it touches; and which is
grateful as music after howling," to sun-dazzled
eyes.
I have not before been so much impressed by the
exquisite contrast of palms and bamboo-trees grow-
ing together. The strange, sombre palm, with its
erect, uncompromising trunk, its long, straight, dark
leaves, looking so doric, so rich in individuality, and
then, nestled quite under its very shadow, you often
see a clump of the slender willowy, delicate bam-
boo, its pale green leaves, so soft and fine and
feathery. It is the vegetable masculine and fem-
inine attraction. Or it is not unlikely that a stern
warrior, and an ethereal post 'would be drawn
together by the same contrasts.







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


As the path narrows and the forest thickens,
these dull things are obscured by densely woven
vines, which everywhere hover over these trees,
making the forests at times so dense, that it must be
a very small bird or breeze to get through them:
as for a man, he might as well attempt to wedge his
way into the future before the present has cut a way
for him.
But we do not care to have night shading these
shadows with her black crayons, and so, at the first
opening, turn our horses' heads, and amble home-
ward, beneath the thrillings of those great ardent
hearts up in the blue bosom of the sky; those stars
so large and fair that we need no astronomer to
suggest that it is only distance which keeps them
from being suns.
Saturday, 24th. When we had drunk the delic-
ious coffee and milk, or, more accurately, milk and
coffee, which our landlady brings so soon as we are
awake, or should be, we hurried off for the early
ride.
What can be more fresh and innocent, more
externally young, than this tropical nature I She is
a robust Titaness, it is true, but always out of her
strong comes forth sweetness, and no riddle either.
How readily she justifies the taste which decks her
in these early mornings with all her jewels I And
then she is so tender, so peaceful, so serene. Her
tears, thank heaven, like those of infants, are not
tears of sorrow. Her tempests, tornadoes, and
straits of passion have been studiously kept from
us. It is true one misses that "sense of promise







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


everywhere" with which our Northern springs con-
sole their sweet virgin hearts, for nature is always
here in he. fruition of beauty; "her every future
is already in her every present." "The world," says
Plato (and he knows)," is God's epistle to mankind."
Here the manuscript is written in a large, generous
hand; the ink flowed freely; the thoughts are large-
ly outlined.
Even the people, in spite of numerous reports of
robberies, have almost universally an innocent and
amiable expression of countenance and the most
unoffending, respectful way in the world. Even the
horses, I am constantly assured, are never vicious.
A lady might ride at random any of the native
species with safety. It may be that an habitual
and contented indolence is largely among the
causes, but it strikes me that harmlessness is the
most apparent characteristic of these children of
the sun.
I must have forgotten to tell you of a remarkable
phenomenon which we met every morning coming in
to market from the country, or already arrived when
we leave. It moves like an animal; its physiognomy
is that of a vegetable. The first thing you see ad-
vancing upon you is a huge heap of corn-stalks,
called fodder, I think, at home, and mollacca here;
It is very high above, and trails upon the ground
below. By careful examination, you may discover
at one end of it a muzzled appearance resembling
a horse's head; from the other extremity dangles a
possible appendage you would declare to be his tail,
while sometimes, by careful scanning and difficult







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


investigation, you may count four feet under the
thing, upon which it seems to move. Sometimes,
eight or ten of these mysterious apparitions are
fastened in a procession by a rope, pace slowly along
with one negro to drive or conduct it, often sitting
astride on the top of this superstructure. After many
investigations, I venture to affirm that the framework
of this architecture is actually a horse buried, yet
alive and doing well. It would also have amused
you to see the great sun-umbrellas nearly all these
countrymen carry on horseback; not of the dark
orthodox colors, but a bright light red alternated
with blue or yellow, tipped with black, or purple
bordered with green : an attempt to eclipse the sun
in more ways than one.
After breakfast we with our umbrellas walked
over to accept the invitation of Father M-- to see
his garden, or rather the garden in the courtyard of
the Marquis of V- in whose vacant house the
priest lives alone and free of expense. Finding that
he had not yet returned from morning mass, we took
the liberty of avoiding the scorching sun of the gar-
den by rambling through the great deserted corri-
dors, chambers, and antechambers, all built and fur-
nished in Spanish style and only occupied, like most
of the great houses out of the cities, one or two
months of every year. Presently, after I had duly
ensconced myself to rest in one corner of a sofa be-
hind the door of the grand drawing-room, came in
the priest, jolly as the priests of romance, saluting us
with a stunning volley of Spanish and politeness; we
replying in smiles and nods which Mr. S- did not







74 A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


translate, and in English, which he did. The rever-
end father is a short man even for a Creole, and when
sitting suggests the form of a pyramid; but the lit-
tle twinkling gray eyes situated near the apex of the
structure suggested anything rather than the sepul-
chral. After we had seen and duly admired some
of the frescoes in the rooms and all the distant views
from different upper piazzas and windows, the priest,
with the air of one who is doing you an uncommon
favor, invited us to visit his sanctum. I put on a
look of becoming gravity and awe, and, with a feel-
ing of profound grief at my ignorance of the mys-
teries of science, and, alas! of art and theology, and
with profound gratification that there are some
works, even in Cuba, where science and wisdom find
refuge, where learning and piety shake hands, I
follow the father and the gentlemen follow me.
We enter a dark, long passage leading to this
cell of midnight vigils and occult research; the
door slowly opens, I reverently enter upon heaps
of tinsel leaves and flowers, with scissors and glue
and all the paraphernalia for flower-making; piles
of bouquets lie on the bed, all with silver leaves ex-
actly alike, and each one with a brick-red rose in
the centre. They are to decorate the church on
Easter Sunday; they are the only'proofs of piety
and science and lore that the sanctum of our jolly
priest posesses.
After dinner, Father M--- came in, bringing a
gentleman who said we could have a house of his in
the country. We go at once on our horses, to find a
river of remarkably clear and pure water running







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


behind the house among the trees, all most inviting;
but the house is wretchedly dilapidated, kitchen to
be built, and, withal, a Creole overseer is to occupy
one half of it. Thus nonplussed, we resign all
thought of a permanent location in the country,
and decide to spend our time in travelling over
the island so soon as the interest of Guiness is
exhausted.
From this place we ride to Le Arnistad, the
ingenio of Mr. D- our first Guiness friend, with
the hope of getting some guirappa or cane-juice to
drink. It is said to have remarkable fattening as
well as curative power. But the machinery is si-
lent, the chimneys are smokeless, the odor of nice
sweet cake only regales the nostrils of the memory;
and so, redisappointed, we turn again toward home,
and ride through the hedges by the light of a Venus
that has a halo as distinct as, you may have seen
around the moon. Instead of fast horsemen with
dangling sword and pistol-equipped saddle, we only
meet sleepy-looking market-men returning home
astride the collapsed panniers, which in the morn-
ing bulged at each side of their horses like huge
saddle-bags, stuffed with all kinds of fruits or poul-
try, and these poor horses would think themselves
fortunate if fruits and ducks and chickens were
all that is packed upon their devoted backs. Not
only all the fodder and charcoal go to town in this-
way, but I saw this morning four exhausted-looking
creatures wilting along through the mid-day sun
with chairs, tables, and bedsteads, piled high upon
their backs, and sometimes a good-for-nothing-look-







A RIDE IN TIHE COUNTRY.


ing negro mounted on the top of all openly rejoic-
ing in that bad eminence."
Sunday, March 25th.- Awoke too late and too
weary for early mass this morning. Immediately
after breakfast I was attracted to the window by
martial music and a procession. The landlady came
in, saying it was the burial of an officer's child.
First came the musicians, mulattoes with handsome
serious faces; after them boys in the dress of
novices, then the priests in robes. But no relatives
or mourners were to be seen, for the immediate
friends of the dead never go to the burial, do not
leave their houses on these occasions. It is not con-
sidered decent or appropriate anywhere on the
island. One is constantly impressed with the truth
that geographical nearness has little to do with real
nearness. All the customs of this country ally it
much more nearly to Europe than to America.
I stood looking carelessly on at the long process-
ion, with only curiosity excited, when I am attracted
by the peculiarly sad and solemn and tender expres-
sion in the faces of the soldiers who follow. I see
tearful eyes turned toward the centre of the group.
I look what an apparition! Never shall I forget
the shock, the thrill, the agony of the sight. Upon
an open litter carried in the hands of these soldiers
it lay, the little angel face of rarest possible loveli-
ness, wreathed with flowers that are pale and fair,
but not so fair and pale as itself. The little dead
hands full of white flowers are raised and clasped
in a supplicating attitude, the little heavenly form,
just the fatal and familiar size, is robed in a trail-







A RDIE IN THE COUNTRY.


ing white satin shroud, and over this unearthly
vision shines the burning sun with mocking glare,
and upon it stare the passers-by with indifferent faces
through which no broken heart has ever looked.
But with this wonderful image some mothers's soul
at home is blackened, with this wonderful image
the blackness of the grave will be brightened. Ah,
that grave! It will hold another dead infant upon
its heart, but it will give back none in return !
.Zarch 26th.-Again this morning from bed to
horse for a little free air, a little hour to enjoy this
wonderfully sweet and delicious nature before the
sun begins his reign of tyranny, and, to all who have
the temerity to encounter his personal presence,
reign of terror.
Among untried points of the compass, we remem-
ber due south as one. Here we very soon find our-
selves and the road entering upon a long avenue
formed by hedges that have grown to trees, often
meeting over our heads. These are filled with birds
and flowers of all songs and perfumes; through
them we catch glimpses of scattered cocoa-nut
groves and wide cane-fields.
Presently we come upon a high, ornamented,
close-locked gate, the first of the kind we have seen,
and as unlike a sketch I made of it as a pretty gate
must almost be to. a bad drawing of it. On ap-
proaching more nearly we find written upon it
" Cafetal." We look over the side fence and dis-
cover a wide avenue of palms leading to the con-
cealed house, and on both sides the pretty coffee-
plant, with its small, dark-green leaves. All over







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


the wide fields it is growing under the shade of a
great variety of trees,-the cocoa-nut, orange, palm
etc.; for you must know the coffee-plant has the
feminine peculiarity of always needing shelter and
protection, as well as of causing palpitations, exhil-
arations, trepidations, and nervousness generally.
What a shame and sin it was to turn all these
shady, poetical cafetals into horrid ingenios with
their treeless, monotonous, endless fields of cane,
their dreary smoking chimneys, their steaming en-
gines, and broiling machinery of men and women!
In the perpetual battles between gold and beauty,
it is likely, I fear, the latter will not win until it has
the millennium for an ally.
As we were turning away from the closed gate, a
huge piece of midnight, bungled into human shape,
and dressed, or rather undressed, so as to display the
herculean proportions of the entire morning and
evening of his body, having the noon in eclipse,
came up to us, holding out an immense charcoal
paw, accompanied by a beseeching jumble of
chopped Spanish.
B- put in it a piece of silver, which the black-
meat looked at so contemptuously as to quite spoil
his attempt at a civil "gracis."
Evening. We ventured to penetrate the invit-
ing avenue of this morning; found it leads to the beau-
tiful Cafetal of "La Providencia." The grounds
lovely, with overgrown ornamental trees and shrubs,
and pretty brook of rural and domestic habits. Just
beyond we met the administrator with his wife and
sister, returning on horseback from the "south side."







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


where we had much wished to extend our own ride.
The pros why we should go are:-this is just the
season for the sea-cow; they are being caught in
large numbers, -and I am positively assured by those
who should know, that they are the real original
mermaid -the prosaic suggestion of all the roman-
tic ballads and traditions. But the cons that con-
front our enthfisiam are mostly the roads, which are
so bad as to be dangerous; the horses we met had
been almost buried in the fhud, and it is a severe
test of the strength of the most vigorous person.
So we yield to the urgencies of that wretched bug-
bear, invalidism, and, finally, to the invitation of the
party, to go back with them to the house. Here we
are urged to remain to dinner, which is waiting in
the large living-room where we sit, but the sun is
already set, and we excuse ourselves, accepting at
last some fruit and a glass of guirappa.
By the time we have passed the grounds night
is lapping over the edge of day without any per-
ceptible clasp of twilight. And those hedges so
high and thickly woven! The starlight scarcely
contrives to get through them. How easily an
army of robbers might conceal there and rush upon
us, unarmed as we are, and the darkness robbing us
of our only protection my sex, and its weakness
and appeal to gallantry. Our horses even instinct-
ively press close to each other afid quicken their
pace. But the darkness, or the invisible hand and
heart that fashion it, protects us safely home. Here we
are just in time for the usual evening music on the
plaza, a pretty square in the heart of the little town,







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


made and ornamented by concha, with much taste
and expense. It is like all the plazas I have seen,
an imitation of the one at Havana; with exactly
four palm-trees, with shrubs and flowers and
statues; with small bilious-looking men, and belles
with regular oriental features, soft and dark eyes,
fat forms, pretty ball dresses, and an awkward mode
of progression which they fancy is walking.
Tuesday, 27th.- To-day we explored our way to
a new sugar plantation, the first I have seen where
the cane is ground by. oxen instead of the usual
steam-engine. I have always pitied those poor
oxen and horses pacing round and round in the
mill, round and round with the rounding months
and years; but these wretched beings who drive
them, with long whips or rather poles in their
hands, calling out to the long train of animals at
every step, as they follow them, in hideous mono-
tonous, guttural tones that never end; fifty in
number, all young and mostly females; night and
day, day and night; and several overseeers with the
invariable long whip in hand to watch at every
step, it made me heart-sick, and glad enough to
turn from the entrance of the building, where we
sat on our horses, and ride up to the house of the
mayoral for a glass of water. His wife, with an
interesting Creole face and Spanish tongue, insists
that we dismount, which accordingly we do, and
wait while the slip-shod negress (negresses here are
always slip-shod) goes to the sugar-house for guirappa.
We learn that the plantation belongs to Marquise
Somebody, who only comes once in two or three







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


years, occupying the family house across the green,
which, though ample and well built, has not a tree,
a shrub, a leaf to turn it into a home. As we wait,
a small chain-gang passes by us, coolies and negroes
linked together at their work; not an uncommon
appendage to a plantation, and in fact essential with
coolies, who are quite certain to commit suicide if
whipped. The lady tells me by proxy that she
much prefers negroes to coolies because they are so
much more amiable..
This being the reverse of opinions frequently ex-
pressed to me, I infer that the preference indicates
the character of the employer quite as much as that
of the servants.
We return -home with the eight o'clock morning
sun applying itself with the vigor and precision of a
hot flatiron to the back of our necks. Here we
cool off and rest ourselves for the substantialest of
breakfasts, only to be surpassed by the substantialest
of appetites.
As a daily increasing strength allows a daily in-
crease of circuit in our excursions, we this evening
ventured toward the attractive range of mountains
stretched across the northern horizon. Our course
soon led us upon the Royal Highway," a broad,
smooth military road leading to Havana; presently
we turned upon a wandering equestrian path, with
the appearance of once having been the rough bed
of some mountain stream. And this is not improba-
ble, for the entire luxuriously fertile plain of
Guiness is watered by streams born and matured
here; their course and the amount of water each
6







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY.


plantation shall receive being regulated by the
government.
The water for the towns we see carried in little
casks, upon the backs of the horses.
The soil on those barren heights being too sterile
for the luxurious tastes of the sugar-cane, Indian
corn, vegetables for the markets, and many un-
familiar plants are cultivated by the simple, con-
tented-looking Creoles, whom we find living in
these little scattered cottages, with their high-
pointed thatched roofs, few or no windows, and
multitudinous appendages of goats and children.
Arrived at the top of one mountain, we find
another still towering above us, evidently command-
ing the northern view, so nothing remains but to
pick our way across the valley and its hill, and in-
quire the best path of the wondering mountaineers.
As we go on the squalidness increases; the soil be-
comes more stony and obdurate; the whole aspect
of thle country, with the exception of here and there
a stray palm, Mr. S- tells us, is precisely like
that of the poorer parts of Ireland.
At one point we come across oxen toiling up a
hill with an immense hogshead of water, upon a
real Yankee sled; at another we meet a dashing
horseman, who reins up to salute us. Mr. S-
praises his horse, when he replies, with a bow full
of native grace, It is always at the service of your
worship."
But here we are at last, upon the very pinnacle
of this temple, beholding the kingdoms of Cuba and
the glory thereof.







A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY. 83

East and west of us mountains those pyramids
of nature, which will never, like those of man, for-
get their maker are rising and falling to suit
their own ideas of grace and majesty; north and
south are stretched fair and smiling plains and
valleys, with all their strong contrasts and harmo-
nious blendings of colors : the horizon on the south
is carressed by the soft, sunny, sky-blue waters of
the Carribean Sea, looking lfke the beginning of a
new firmament; the northern horizon is washed by
the darker and wilder waves of the Atlantic; and
over all is poured, in bewildering floods, the glory
and passion of a tropical sunset.













VII.

It Rains-- The Effect- No Miserere- Guirappa-seek-
ing-A Skeleton Horse-B-'s Pantomimes-A
Day More- The Bells of Guiness Market Day -
An Invitation Another Plantation A Remarkable
Tree-Palm-Sunday -A Sundayless World- Dream-
land-I Didn't Smoke Cushioned Heads.

WEDNESDAY, 28th.

VER since our arrival in Cuba, nature has
kept in her after-dinner mood; but to-day,
for the first time, clouds are come over the
sky with another motive than that of simple orna-
ment. If every cloud is an angel's face, and no
angel's faces elsewhere, then are we not blessed
with angelic physiognomies ? For the first time these
gauzy waves have ceased to vagabondize over our
heads like mere apparitions of loveliness that cannot
discover or remember their own errands in the
world. In short, the rain has poured in torrents, in
desperate cataracts, for two hours. Every thing,
as well as the roses, is "dripping and drowned."
The streets are rushing rivers.
But I do not see that nature is especially glad, or
even conscious of the change, unless it be in sym-
pathy with our gladness; for it is here that she
seems always to have within her, and in the atmos-
(84)







SIGHT-SEEING.


phere she breathes, a fountain of perpetual freshness
and youth.
So many weeks of heat and drouth at home would
calcine everything to ashes; but now we see all
vegetation bright as when it was born. Nature is
here a goddess of immortal youth sipping invisible
nectar and ambrosia, and forever ministering to
her favorites from the secret of her reservoirs.
So the rain having made us domestic, I sit behind
the grates of the swelling window, mending gloves,
sewing on buttons (they foresaw the rain), listening
to ludicrous passages from Handy Andy, taking
lessons in cribbage, studying Spanish verbs, and
watching the enraptured little boys sailing minia-
ture boats in the street; or the stately negresses
passing by with the rain dripping from umbrellas
upon their bare shoulders; or the omnipresent
soldiers hurrying along to get out of the rain and
give me a glimpse of the irresistibly comical cut of
their semi-skirted coats. I do not know how better
to describe these coats than that they always remind
me of the pathetic condition of those redoubtable
three blind mice after

"They all ran after the farmer's wife,
And she cut off their tails with the carving knife."

This evening ave mustered courage, India-rub-
bers, and umbrellas, and went to the cathedral to
hear the Miserere. This being Holy Week, it was
to be chanted every night. But the rain, that could
not keep away curiosity, had quenched the fire of
devotion. No one else came, and we wandered







SIGHT-SEEING.


about in the silent aisles listening to no music but
the echoings of our own voices through the high
arches, and our footsteps over the marble floor.
We saw by the dim light of the wax tapers, only
vague outlines of statues and pictures draped in
black crape for the sadness of the Passion-week.
Presently, through the deepening darkness, we saw
emerge the black-robed figures of two pale, melan-
choly-looking young priests, moving about like
spectres in the chancel, arranging images and orna-
ments, and, though unconscious of our presence, al-
ways kneeling and making the sign of the cross
when passing the image of the Virgin.
Thursday, March 29th.-Again guirappa-seeking
at the plantation, for our morning cordial. Young
Mr. D- who brought it, poured out the great
pitcher nearly full that was left upon the ground.
I exclaimed at his wastefulness, when he replied
that it is free as water. The negroes and dogs
all drink what they choose, and invariably grow fat
in sugar time. Seeing close by a great black heap
resembling a coal-pit, I inquired its nature. He
said it was the animal charcoal with which the
sugar is discolorized; that it comes only from Europe
and nothing else can take its place. Thus the
greatest whiteness and purity is obtained only by
means of the blackest substance, as the whitest souls
have grown fair through the darkest suffering, and
sometimes, it may be, sin.
Directly a Chinese servant came from the house
with the incomparable coffee and milk always used
to pacify Cuban hunger until the late breakfast







SIGHT-SEEING.


hour arrives. We swallowed their coffee, and they
our thanks, with an equal appearance of pleasure.
In bowing ourselves away from the shadow of
the building, where our horses had been standing,
we turned upon a curious spectacle, one of those
skeleton horses that one so often sees moving me-
chanically about here under their enormous burdens.
The horses pass for living, but I have more than
once inclined to the supposition that it is the gal-
vanic life which may be given to animals after
death. As I was saying, one of these posthumous
nags was slowly coming up the road, with a com-
fortable-visaged tin-pedlar mounted astride the roof
of the edifice of which the horse was the basement,
and between the two, and branching out each side
of them, a huge pannier, plethoric with all the para-
phernalia appertaining to a tin-pedlar. Over the
top were dangling strings of tin basins and baking
pans; long-handled dippers were hitting the poor
animal's ears at every step he took; and as he turned
up to the house of one of the under overseers, I saw
the man pull out .from unknown depths wooden
spoons, sticks of tape, molasses candy, yards of
calico, china dolls, and tin boxes of shoe-blacking.
Mr. S- is gone to Havana, and we are left
quite at the mercy of our French, and the little
Spanish we manage to extract from the grammar
and dictionary. Nobody but our host understands
a word of French, and in his absence you can
imagine our mute helplessness. If anybody were
to come in at that open door and ask permission to
cut my throat, I should hardly be able to decline







SIGHT-SEEING.


the civility or to express any opinion of my own on
the subject. B- however, as you know, is ad-
mirably ingenious in pantomime, so when we wish
any thing I stand in the door, repeating by rote
words I have just picked out of the dictionary,
while he is stationed near talking with nose, eyes,
hands, and feet, by way of explanation; as you re-
member, in the infancy of the drama among the
Greeks, one performer stood out in the front of the
stage repeating the words while the actors in the
background gesticulated the play in pantomime.
All this, as you may imagine, is infinitely amusing
to the always-present retinue of staring servants
(there are at least two and a baby to every guest).
These darkeys take great pride in my success in
making my wants known, by using the hissing
whistling ps-s-s-s-s-t," with the tongue between the
teeth, which always and everywhere answers in
place of bells to call servants, and which I can do
like a native.
I had nearly forgotten to mention a little incident
that occurred the day of our arrival, and has since
been frequently repeated. Dinner had just gone out,
and we were sitting enjoying our exclusive knowl-
edge of the English language, which makes us al-
most as much isolated as if we had the luxury of a
separate table and house, and keeps the curiosity of
the rest of the company in an absolutely abnormal
condition of activity, thus we were sitting and talk-
ing while waiting for the supplement, the amen to
our dinner, viz., the cup of cafed noir (and, mind
you, this word noir is by no means figurative: this







SIGHT-SEEING.


after-dinner coffee is so black and opaque that if an
elephant were in the bottom of the cup you could
not see him). Well, as was I trying to say, we were sit-
ting waiting and talking, when an unaccustomed noise
was heard upon the brick pavement of the parlor; we
looked, and lo! what should we see walking majes-
tically through the parlor, through the doors,
through our piazza, dining-room, through the walk
of the courtyard, but the very fine, well-kept
American horse of Monsieur, mine host. B-
and I were of course sufficiently amused, and the
rest of the company sufficiently astonished at our
amusement: the only novelty to them was that the
horse came alone, without the volante.
Friday, March 30th.- This morning, as every
morning, I was not awakened by the bells and
clocks of Guiness; though, for the matter of a capa-
city to rupture sleep, they,might have been invented
by all the imps of discord. You can no more com-
prehend than you can describe them. It would be
interesting to know where can have been found
metal so base to produce sounds so execrable that
"sweet bells jangled out of tune" would be
heavenly harmony compared with them. You
would suppose they been tuned by an earthquake.
If I had to manage to endure them, I should see to
it and have my hours longer, or farther apart. But
yet, as I said, it was not the braying, horrible dis-
cord of the bells that sent Queen Mab off in a hys-
teric fit; it was, alas the earlier five o'clock sounds
of washings and scrubbings in the next rooms.
Such scourings and pouring and dashings of walls







SIGHT-SEEING.


and floors, and of all supposable things, were surely
never heard out of Holland, where, Leigh Hunt tells
us, the women wash everything but the water.
Much as I doat on cleanliness, I find it a poor ex-
change to pay for it in the more precious commodity
of sleep, and I record myself to you as a wretched
victim to this diurnal deluge of neatness.
On our way to the ingenio I mustered Spanish
enough to beg a cane-stalk of the negresses who
were cutting it down with great rapidity in the
fields, using huge sharp knives that I could scarcely
lift. They eagerly gave us more than we could
carry, enough to keep us sucking all the way home,
and a six weeks to come. Willis says, "Nobody
can starve here: the cane-fields are all open; and if
hungry, one has only to cut a stick and suck." We
discovered this morning still another sugar planta-
tion, but distrusting the availability of our Spanish,
only rode past the sugar-house without asking for
guirappa. As we passed a gate near which groups
of women were at work, one of them came up with
outstretched hand, begging countenance, and some
sort of a jumble, and all the rest started to follow
her example; but being purseless, and with no great
mind to use a purse if I had had it, I shook my
head and said, 1No hablo Espagnol," emphasizing
the remark by a decided application of my horse-
whip to the horse.
Saturday, 31st. This evening we promised our-
selves another visit to our mountain, but an unusual
amount of heat and exhaustion forbade the ascent,
and very soon found me reclining under the irresist-







SIGHT-SEEING.


ible shadow of trees that knew how to make shade,
while B- galloped off to reconnoitre. But I
soon found myself comparing myself to Gulliver
when he became populated with Liliputians, so
many insects shared in my taste for shade and soli-
tude ; and I was glad enough when B- made his
perspiring appearance.
This being market-day, we found great amusement
in watching the peasants astride their panniers
which bestrode the horses. In addition to being
stuffed monstrously with vegetables, over the edge
of most of the panniers were dangling chickens,
ducks, and Guinea-hens, tied together by their feet,
feathers ruffled, wings flapping backwards, heads
dangling downwards, and an expression on their
faces of pious resignation adapted to the study of
bigger bipeds. All the poor things were alive, but
one was -sure must die of vertigo or apolexy, before
they could by any possibility reach the town. Here
we noticed particularly the tethering of the horses
and cattle, a custom indispensable in a country
where there are no fences and rarely hedges. One
end of the rope being tied around the animal's neck,
the other is fastened to a tree or shrub or stake
driven in the ground, or sometimes to the long,
strong grass. Thus localized, they are allowed food
and exercise to the full capacity of the rope, but no
farther. Each one is made a hermit, ruminating
round and round in his solitude and his circle,
which, instead of increasing, is sure to diminish, for
the rope gets tangled in knots, or twisted around
sticks, or the animal's own legs, so that prudence







SIGHT-SEEING.


soon forces a sedentary life upon him. Not unfre-
quently these ropes were lying in ambush across our
path, often so hidden by the grass that neither our-
selves nor our horses discovered them until we were
nearly caught in the snare. Imagine the interesting
frights and ingenious summersaults that we es-
caped!
I must not forget a remarkable tree we discovered
across the fields, which attracted so much our
fancy that we immediately turned off, overleaping
hedges and ditches (small ones) to examine it. Its
outward proportions were on the most magnificent
scale, eclipsing in size all -its neighbors and all the
trees we have before seen, but the trunk proved to
be nearly or quite hollow. B- rode in through
the gothic opening, turned his horse around inside,
and came out again, and I might have done the same
thing at the same time. It would make a dwelling
absolutely larger than some of the inhabited huts I
have seen here. That admirable disciplinarian, the
old woman who lived in her shoe, etc., would here
have found ample room and verge enough for
all her surplus of light infantry, while those who had
to go to bed without molasses or bread could have
amused themselves with the echoes of their own
squallings, for the cavity sounded hollow, like a
great unfurnished room. But at the time I only
thought how much the tree resembled those magnif-
icent lives spreading out so fair and grandly, reach-
ing so near their kindred blue that in the eyes of the
world they are fulfilling all of a high and happy des-
tiny. You must approach very near, perhaps pene-







SIGHT-SEEING.


trate the abysses of their being, to find that the
great heart is gone; its place is only supplied by
hollow echoes and aching void. '
April 1st.- Palm Sunday like all the other
Cuban Sundays, except that two, or at most three,
men have passed on horseback, with long palm
branches in their hands.
A south wind again, more enervating than can
well be imagined by those who have never felt it
come hot and hissing from the equator. It is an
incipient sirocco, and always sends the Italians to
bed. Of course, too languid for the early, and only
mass, coming as it does, before breakfast: the
rest of the day we have only to endure with the
aid of a fan, and to watch the altitudes of the
thermometer.
I have not yet recovered from the uncomfort-
able sensation of living in a Sundayless world,- a
world which being so elaborate in its upholstery,
is supposed to have required the full seven days
to complete it, leaving no rest or hallowing for
anybody
You can well understand that writing to you,
or anybody, on these hot but heavenly days, is
simply a contrivance for inking over my dulness.
As you suspect, I am getting to live quietly here,
dreaming away life, without much help of books,
it is true, but, what is better still, without much
hindrance from them either.
After all, why not take a little time to dream a
few little dreams in this large dream of life ?
Death will come soon enough to tap us on the







SIGHT-SEEING.


forehead, or it may be to shake us rudely, and
then we shall be wide awake, and for a long
time. Besides, if it takes a long time to dream
one's dreams, it takes as long time to undream
them; and you know- who does not ?-that they
are a kind of atmosphere which penetrates where
everything is as much as where everything is
not.
I also assure you that pen and ink have no natural,
or so far as I am concerned, acquired relations
with these transcendent tropical nights we are
having now; nights when you can feel this won-
derful moonlight, creeping in its slippers of silence,
over all the longing darkness, through all the sleep-
ing lids of this softly breathing nature, sprinkling
them all the time with its white juice-of-love-in-
idleness. Sometimes, you lie its willing and help-
less victim, until all your unpastured emotions
come to be swayed by it, as by a shepherd's voice.
Again you can think of it only as growing, growing,
more and more, wider and deeper, all over the
world, like a blanched and intangible parasite,
which no morning will ever dare with profane
fingers to pull up by the roots.
Tuesday, April 3d.- Yesterday we remembered
the invitation of the major dome of the sugar
plantation, where oxen instead of steam get the
saccharineness out of sugar-cane, as we do out of
babies by squeezing. The consequence was that
the rough Creole saw the sun and us dawning upon
him at the same distinguished moment; that we
dismounted to be conducted over the establishment;







SIGHT-SEEING.


that the trampling feet of oxen, the monotonous
and endless cries of their female drivers, rang in my
ears as repulsively as they did at first, and still keep
doing, in spite of all my efforts to banish them;
that we stood beside the boiling cauldron, where
two withered old men were stationed to skim off
the scum, and remind one of the witches in Macbeth
bent over their cauldron to catch the scum, the
" Bubble, bubble, Toil and trouble" of human
destiny. While I stood looking at this strange
scene, our conductor, with great empressment, drew
from his pocket two fine cigars, offering one to me,
and the other to B-, and was sorely chagrined
and puzzled that I declined it. I was obliged to
resort to the plea of invalidism to pacify him.
From this we went to the refining house, where
little inverted tin pyramids, full of sugar, were set-
ting all over the floors, with thick layers of black
clay spread over their heads, and little tubs, to
catch the molasses, set under the opening in their
feet. This apartment opened into the one for dry-
ing in which these little vessels had been emptied;
the whitened sugar lay evenly all over the floor,
and a fat negress walked over it with a rake in her
hand, and the shoes she was born in on her feet.
I noticed here, as often before, deep scars on the
women's necks, cheeks, and arms, frightfully dis-
figuring, and painfully suggestive, but I was relieved
to find it is only the effects of their favorite custom
of tattooing. I thought before, that nature and
the most servile of drudgery had carried the ugli-
ness of these poor wretches to the extremest







SIGHT-SEEING.


verge of possibility, but I find that, in that deep,"
as well as in all others, there is still a lower
deep."
We were also puzzled to divine the import of
immense round cushions fastened securely upon
nearly all the women's heads, but soon discovered
they were to make a comfortable seat for the
immense burdens of sugar going from one house to
another; for all the ordinary burdens we had before
seen, carried on the head (negroes here have no
idea that their heads were made for any other use)
had been simply with the aid and comfort of the
woolly padding of nature.















VIII.

Dear old Mr. R- -- Chess and Whist and Life-
Good Friday A Religious Procession The silence
of the Town The Miserere To Matanazs -
Company in the Cave Father M---'s approach to
Matanzas The Bay Valley of the Yumuri- The
Plaza The Dominica The Ensor House Easter
Sunday The Paseo Steamer to Havana A
Night on board-- Queen's Botel' Tricks on a
Travelling Author Theft on the Almanac.

THu usIAY, April 5th.

ESTERDAY the train brought dear old
Mr. R- to see us. In addition to our
former chess and conversations on litera-
ture and art, he reads French, gives me lessons in
Spanish, and occupies all the time that would
otherwise have made this a bigger if not a wiser
or a better letter.
I have often suggested to you the resemblance
between the game of chess and the game of life.
It occurs to me at this moment, that, if this be true,
fatalism must also be true. These inhabitants of
chessdom are forced about by an inevitable will;
their success and ruin are equally beyond their own
7 (97)








98 MATANZAS AND VICINITY


let or hindrance. They are created as we are, with
certain powers and spheres for action and being;
with certain possibilities which, whether they will
or not, may become impossibilities, but with, alas!
impossibilities which must remain such.
From an inevitable force of circumstances, the
great and powerful in chess may become weak; the
insignificant may have a greatness thrust upon them.
The humble pawn can at times act with the dignity
of a queen; the queen is often less powerful than
the little plebeian beside her. The bishops, in their
attempts to serve royalty, often sacrifice themselves;
the knights sometimes ruin the queen they are
sworn to protect. The queen has the position many
other women would like, she is the only female
in her empire. But, alas! this dizzying distinction
sometimes spoils her wits: in trying to rule her
allies and conquer her enemies, she is too apt to
destroy herself and her kingdom. Her king and
lord lives mostly in status quo-ism. lie would be
her admiring imbecile except that he has found out
the secret of endless life: The king never dies."
He may at times, it is true, be a wandering Jew,
but he is an immortal one; he can -well afford to
be besotted with inertia, for he is too wise to die.
But this wisdom is also his fatality. All that he
and his queen or subjects do or refrain from doing
is foreordained; their entire existence seems to me
an admirable illustration of the doctrine of predes-
tination.
If, however, you wish to find an example of life
as it is, of man as he is in these struggling between







MATANZAS AND VICINITY.


the inevitable providence (which in this other game
we call chance) and his own free will, between cir-
cumstances and character, ability and materials, we
must go to the game of whist. Here you are al-
ways balancing the must be with the may be ; you
are recalling the past, and from it foreseeing the
future. You are calculating the chances, you are
making desperate and uncertain ventures, which
may result in disappointing success or brilliant fail-
ure. And here is life, this unfathomable life of
ours; this wrestling with hidden and unprecedented
elements, this combating an unguessed destiny; more
than all, this yielding with an equal grace to its fond-
ness or its hate. Here, as in life, honor is for the
successful; but true greatness is for him who uses
most wisely and most valiantly the much or the
little that is given him.
Friday, 6th, has brought back Mr. S- with
intelligence that the steamer leaves for Nassau on
the 14th inst. So we must be off at once to Matan-
zas, if at all; and Trinidad, and all other places
must, alas! be given up, from the lateness of the
season and the excess of heat.
This evening was celebrated by a grand religious
procession, one of the ceremonies of Good Friday.
At five o'clock, low, muffled sounds of music were
heard approaching. Presently the band appeared,
draped in mourning; following it, drawn by black
horses, came a great hearse, with heavy pall and
waving plumes, and on the top of this, under a
white shroud, was plainly visible the sharp outline
of a human figure; blood spots were on the edge







MATANZAS AND VICINITY.


of the shroud, and above them, drooping on one
side, with matted and stained hair, lay the agonized,
ghastly face, in wax, of the crucified Saviour. It
was horrible!
I felt myself grow sick and faint, but looked
around in vain for a corresponding horror in the
faces of the other spectators. They stared on with
only a little less than their usual gayety and indif-
ference, and turned with curiosity, as I did for re-
lief, to the remainder of the procession. Next came
a line of priests in sable robes, and officers of gov-
ernment with crape on their arms, all with uncov-
ered heads, and carrying in their hands immense
wax candles that flickered and paled before the light
of the receding sun. The procession paused a few
minutes before each of the principal houses, while
the dead march kept beating on. But now they
have passed, and here comes an august, standing
figure, mounted upon a high carriage: we soon dis-
cover it to be the Virgin following her son to the
grave.
Her dress is of long, trailing black velvet; upon
her head is a faded crown; the face is horribly wan
and white, with an expression in it of excruciating
torture and despair, and, alas! what is this car-
ried, high in the pale, uplifted hand! We shud-
der, we are faint, we look again; it is a deeply
flounced, elegantly embroidered white pocket-hand-
kerchief !
Behind all this follows an indiscriminate mass of
men, women, and children; but I have seen enough,
and go back to the house, wondering over the







MATANZAS AND VICINITY.


strange things in heaven and earth and our philoso-
phies.
Mr. S- tells us so much of the elaborate cele-
brations and ceremonies in Havana, during these
Easter days, that we regret not having gone back to
witness them. Yesterday, the streets in all parts of
the city were filled by ladies walking to and. from
all the different churches; the great ambition and
proof of piety being, to visit as many as possible
during the day. All were dressed in deep black.
This is the only day of the year when dainty Hava-
nese female feet press the pavements. Not a sound
was to be heard over the entire city. All shops
closed, carriages and vehicles of all kinds forbidden
to stir, as was the case in Guiness ; profound silence
reigns because Christ is dead, and no profane sound
must disturb his slumbers. In most of the churches
an image of the dead Christ lay in a tomb sur-
rounded by burning tapers, and all the signs of bu-
rial. Even some of the private houses, opening as
they do on the streets, discovered in the principal
room, to passers by, the same ghostly image partly
covered by a black pall, while the family and guests
sit around it in deep mourning, which is, or should
be, enlivened only by occasional sobs.
Friday evening, 10 o'clockl.-We are just returned
from the Cathedral. As we entered, the Miserere
was being sung by two young priests and our friend
Father M-; the organ accompaniment played by
a young priest. The pathetic strains, here mourn-
ful as the sob of a broken heart, there subdued
into the tones of resignation, then suddenly strug-







MA TANZAS AND VICINITY.


gling out in an energy like despair, seemed to thrill
all the hearts of the kneeling worshippers. They
were composed entirely of black-robed women; for
you must know, devotion here is entirely a feminine
accomplishment: the men only stand around against
the wall to admire the performer, apparently quite
forgetting the performance.
I perceived on one side a regularly arranged
pyramid of wax candles. At certain periods of the
ceremony one of the lights was extinguished, then
another and another; when all were out the services
were to close; but finding my strength waning
faster than the lights, I came home to make a
hurried note of sounds and scenes that I do not
attempt to describe, of ceremonies that have all the
grotesqueness and absurdity of those of Rome with-
out their dignity and grandeur. The piety of Cuba
seems to think that the next best thing to being in
Rome and doing as the Romans do, 'is to be out of
Rome and do more than Romans do.
Saturday, April 7th. At nine o'clock this
morning we found ourselves waiting at the pretty
and fanciful American depot for the Havana train.
As soon as fairly seated in the American car, in
came our jolly friend the priest, accompanied by a
large number of officers; we find that he is chap-
lain of the regiment. Officers have taken the little
private sitting-room one always finds in these cars.
They amuse themselves more than us by uproarious
singing and laughter. As we start the priest crosses
himself, laughing, and accompanying it by a mut-
tered prayer; all we hear is "Father, Son, and




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