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GAN-EDE..N :
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PICTURES, OF CUBA.
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.:.ol~ Y" ~_<f--' " The place was called Gan-Eden, the Garden of Delight; and-it be-
\t1,--./'- '._~' longed lo the Ca.Uph HarounAl-Uaschid, "hO, "hen bis heart "as con
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trnctcd, us6d lo come to that ;arden and si t there ; so WB hC.1.rt became
dilated, and-bis anxiety ceased." - Nouredd~" and tile Fair Persian.

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BOSTON:
PUBLISHED BY jOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY.
I CLEVELAND, ORIO:
JEWETT, PROCTOR AND WORTIIINGTON.
,'J NBW YORK: SUELDON, LAMPORT AND BLAKEMAN.

1854.

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TO :MY FRIEND

M R S F. 'V. S ,
Entered a.ccording to Act oC CongreBB in the year 1854, by
IN THE :N,\.ME 01" O:NE WHOSE MEllIQRY 18 LI:NKED WITH TRB
JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Oflice oCthe District Court ofthe Dlstrict ofMassachuselta. SWll:ETltST AND TRE 8ADDEST RECOLLECTIONS

01" MY cunAN JOURNEY,

TRIS BOOK 18 DEDICATED.

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CAMBRIDGE:

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ALLEN AND FARNHAH, BTEREOITPERS AND PRINTERB o

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PREFACE.

IN calling Cuba a "Garden of Delight," 1


only express the sum of those bright memories,
o a genial nature, and of more genial human
friends, which 1 brought away from the tropics.
The title "Pictures o Cuba," indicates rny
inlention in composing this yolume. 1 have not
attcmpted to write a history, or a gazetteer of
Cuba. 1 have only sought to reproduce the
sights alld thoughts which passed before the eyes,
and through the mind of one whose interest" in
Cuba is by no means recent, and who tried to
see and to think for himself. Many mistakes
o detall, 1 must have made. 1 have done rny
best to avoid them, but fi?y chief wish has been,
~~ to preserve the aroma o those general impres
~
sions, which are the best things that an unscien-

viii PREFACE.

tific traveller has to offer to an exacting publico


l
The considerate reader, to whom I shall be for
tunate enough to convey any distincter notions
of the sweet, sad South, I am sure, will pardon
the prominence which the plan of the book
necessarily gives to the first personal pronoun.
It is proper to say here, that something of the CONTENT8.
substance of these pages has already appeared
in the form of letters addressed to the National
Era, and that Chapter XIV. has been altered and
. . . !'AG.

. . . .
CHAPTER l. 1

condensed from an article published in the North


" n. 15

American Review, for January, 1849.


" m. . . 23
" IV.

34
"
"
V.

VI.
.
45

58

" VII.
VIII.
73

" 86

" IX. 100

X.
"
124
" XI.
XII.
.
139
" 153
" XIII.
181

...- " XIV. . 202

" XV.
225

. I

GHAPTER 1.

"New-born deligllts."
KEATS.


t THERE are names which afi'ect us like a
GAN-EDEN: "
tt. delicious poem 01' a glowing picture. When
OR, ~
young Rassan heard his father talking with
1 the merchants from Cairo about Egypt and
:1.
PICTURES F CUBA. her Nile,' his heart dilated with pleasurable
pain, and he found no rest till he sallied
forth from the western gate of Mosul across
the Syrian sands., Only with reading ovar
the names on a map of Italy 01' of England,
we can warm a winter's hour, and cover
I the barcst walls with such landscapes as
i
\ nevar Claude 01' Constable, Tintoret 01'
F" Turner put upon the canvas. The name
!.

of Cuba leaves a r.ing of doubloons 011 the


ear, a flavor of guava on the lips.
I Cuba has no history. One sublime figure
"
alone does that magic word summon up
1
1

i
2 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 3
before us, a figure how sublime! a shape of rock bound coast," racked in body upon the
rewarded greatness, --- of triumphant pa swiftly revolving wheels of a climatic_ tor
tience, - a grand heroic figure, motionless ture, the pains of which are the more in
upon the rude prow of a low caravel, with tense, that he cannot anticipate where 01'
sad eyes brightening in an awful jOy,as that when they will recu1', - racked in spirit by
new world, borne abont so long within his the vexatious excitelllents of the most dis
throbbing brain, slowly rises, a visible tracting and unjoyous life men have ever
reality, from the bosom of the calm blue ledo He finds in tropical Spanish America
sea! a Kingdom of Cockaigne
Before Columbus aU human history in - - - " a place
Cuba is a blal1k, after him it is aU blood Blest by Heaven's especial grace,
and business. Yet is that fair island' a land A plcasunt shore,
Where It sweet clime is breuthed from It land
of sirens to those who know it not; to those Of fragrance, quietness, and trees and fiowers,
who have wandered there, a land of the Full of culm joy it is, as we of grief,
Too full of joy una 80ft delicious warmth."
lotus. 1 have heard young men talk re
gretfuUy of the Havana while lounging Within three days' sail of ou1' southem
along the brilliant Boulevards of Paris, and ports, lie scenes than wlch India itsclf
a venerable mel'chant, as chary of his offers nothing more thoroughly strange t
emotions as of his indorsements, once said our eyes. The worl<1 of nature is r-;trange.
to me, with a light of yonth in his old gray The eye seeks in vain the ma.ny-branching
eyes, that his arrival in Cuba gave him the smaU-Ieaved forests of the Continent. They
most vivid idea he ever had of the passage are 1'eplacec1 by taller, more leafy, more
from this world to the next. What won graceful tribes of the vegetable kingdom,
del' that this should be so? The Northern the grains and the grasses of onr cornfields
.Anglo-American sails from his "stern and and onr ponds, shooting up, mighty arbo
).
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4 GAN-EDEN. prOTURES OF CUDA. 5


rescent giants overhead. The rich and goldcn boat, in which she loats Cleopatra
dainty fiowers, whose acquaintance we like, and careless of the chase, thI'ough the
made as the delicately nurtured belles of luxurious purple skies. N ot less strange in
the aristocratic New England hothouse, appearance than the moon, are the waters
fiaunt upon us, rude and healthy hoydens.. which she sways. The ocean ro11s around
from every hedge and roadside. New the volcanic and coralline rocks, a tide more
lights are in the firmament, strange con "deeply darkly beautifu11y blue" than is
stellations shining with a plal1etary splen ever seen upon our northern coasts, more
dor in these new,more magnificent heavens. bIne even than the glorious blue waters of
There, most beautiful of a11 the signs Goc1 the Mediterranean. These waters which
hath set in the skies, flames the Southern are very deep close in shore, for the shores
Cross, the Christia,n conste11ation, the sym of northern Cuba are generally steep and
bol of the new hopes and the new life re sudden, are trallsparent and pe11ucid as the
vealed f.o Christendom in that later age \, crystal of Lake George, and leaning ovar
when first it greeted European eyes. the bows of the ship you may see far down
Strangely, among the new tenants of the below you a whole submarine landscape of
upper world, shows the familiar brightness queer and enormous plants, populous with
of Orion and of the Pleiades, and the great 0,11 manner of lazy conservatives, - huge
Northern Bear seems a wanderer like our turtles not less grave and aldermanic in
selves, gazing on the splendid southern stars appearance than their transatlantic human
as the rude Gothic heroes and fierce Vik . foes, - star-fishes content throughout their
inger gazed of old upon the gorgeous lives to be the admiration of their own
pageantries of Rome and of Byzantium. Little Pedlingtons; lazzaroni conchs to
The very crescent moon has changed, the whom Heaven has granted what alone the
huntress Diana has bartered her bow for a i lazzarone of Naples considers wanting to his
! 1*
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6 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 7
bliss, "that food should have legs and crawl zone, becomes its chief ancl cheapest luxury
to him;" for lying on his back, the happy in Cuba. One finds it more easy to surren
conch, with feelers indolently stretched del' his barbarian faith in the forms 01' mat
along the tide, takes ton 01' an slight living ter, and accepts more submissively the gos
things that pass that way. How cool and pel 01' gas, wheli he finds how effectively
inviting seem to the sun-burned, soul-weary and sweetly the mere atmosphere 01' the
voyager those silent watery realms, unvex tropics can attune the dissonant chords of
ed by merman or by mermaid, "a dream his substantial mortal body. Those bland
01' idleness in groves Elysian!" airs steal over the system, curdled by our
Not alone are the eyes refreshed with uneasy atmosphere, with a soothing influ
new sights on land and sea; the air is full ence such as the companionship of the
01' winged jewels, the groves and canefields serene and the noble exerta upon hearts
glancing by day with the prismatic colors snatched from the Rociety 01' the vexatious,
01' thousands 01' coleoptera, and brilliant the passionate, and the querulous. It is so
broad-winged butterfiies, and glittering by strange and so pleasant to trust in the skies
night with the electrical splendors 01' the as one trusts in one's friends! Our north
famous cucullos, those torch-bearing aerial ern Auror[1 is a mere Armida, -nay, she
watchmen, those living emeralds, whose is a very Jae1, and when, luUed by her
effulgence no gem 01' the mineral world seclucing smiles, we lay our trusting he:1(1.s
can rival. Nay, the very air itself is a upon her htp, she rewards our conficlence
novelty to northern lungs in which the with a nai1 smartIy driven through the ~c <o

senses take not less delight than in aught temples! The Cuban morning, faithful as
01' sight or sound that rejoices them. Fiordelisa, crowns us
Breathing, which is perhaps the greatest
"Con gioia e con diletto

inconvenience 01' life in our intemperate Seuza ayer tema o di guerm sospetto."

,.'

8 GAN-EDEN. & PICTURES OF CUBA. 9

Here it is almost as unsafe to countt"pon reVIves his visions 01' his memories of the
a pleasant to-morrow in the country as to far Levant. Our Anglo-Saxondom has so
speculate upon the chances of a Cape Rorn appropriated to itself the American name;
voyage, 01' a presidential nomination. In the "young giant of the West," so yearns to
Cuba, aman may arrange periodical pic crown his head with the Arctic Circle and
nics for his grandchildren yet unborn. Of to bathe his feet in the southern sea, that
course in such a land nobody talks of the most of us think little of those bygone
weather, excepting raw foreigners, and days, when the lndies were but the pantry
the comparative dulness of large social
'" and the strong-box of the Catholic kings,
gatherings in Ravana may perhaps be when the Caribbean was a Spanish lake,
due in part to the impossibility of intro when the man who sailed from London a
ducing this agreeable and fruitful topic, to trader was hung in Panama a pirate, and
which we owe so much of the easy and the old Gothic monarchy talked as confi
brilliant conversation that abounds in our dently of its manifest rights as does young
own saloons. America now of its manifest destiny. So
If God's world in Cuba, the world of it seems to us, that to have reached this
nature, as Columbus and Ojeda found it statcly panorama of IIa,vana, we must have
there three centuries ago, is thus strange to traversed many mile.s of longitrlde instead
the children of the temperate zones, man's of a few degrees of latitude. On the left
world, the world of arts and manners, as hand rise fortifications massive as those of
the successors of Columbus and Ojeda have lt1alta 01' Gibraltar, wronght into the dark
~~;'>
reared it, is not less striking. and strange. grey rocks of the Morro, sweeping along
The northern voyager, as his steamer glides the many-hued hill~sic1es of the Cabaas,
into the huge tub-shaped harbor of Ravana, glittering throughout their lengthening
gazes with astonishment on a scene which lines with the white uniforms and shin

. - - -- 5 ""i

10 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 11


mg bayonets of the sentinels who guard with shafts sixteen feet long, and wheels
the proud flag of Spain, that gorgeous six yards in circumference, driven by a
banner of blobd and of gold, which sym negro postilion, three parts jack-boots and
bolizes so well the' career and the charac one part silver-Iaced jacket. nto this
ter of the pedlar knights, 01' knightly ped singular vehicle you fling yourself, and find
lars, who conquered the lndies for Castile that to the gig of your dear native land,
and Leon. this tropical gig is as the pine-apple is to
On tIle right, stretch irregular masses the pcarmain, so luxurious, so cradling,
of parti-colored buildings, blue, pink, white, to provocative of bland indifference to aH
green, yellow, overtopped at intervals by worldly cares! You reach your inn, alld
some massive church tower 01' graceful find it in appeamnce a Moorish palace,
tufted palro-tree. Qneer-Iooking boats, in general--discomfort a German boarding
emancipated gondolas, shameless sisters of house, in expense a Bond street hotel.
the veiled Venetian nuns, and brilliant as You find that you are to live on two meals
butterflies, dart in and out along the a day; a breakfast that begins with eggs
crowded quays. Half-naked negroes are and rice, is sustained by fried pork und
riding fractious horses into the sluggish Catalan wine, and ends with coffee and
water, and a confused incessant buzz) like cigars; a dinner, every dish of which is a
that which rises from vociferous Naples to voyage of discovery. You are to sleop on
the ear of tIle lonely traveller dreaming what most resembles a square drurn-head
among the orange groves of lofty San of J ullien dimensions, without mtttress 01'
Elmo, comes faintly from the shore. You coverlets, in a room with a red-tiled floor,
land, penetrate the mysteries of the city, and with windows in which the utter want
and still the wonder grows. You call a of glass is compensated for by the presence
coach, and find only an odd looking gig of innumerable iron bars. Boots is a na
f

12 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 13


tive African, an ex-cannibal for aught you that you had ever ceased to feel how fear
know, wonderfully tattooed, and the laun fuI a thing the bonnet of civilization is.
dress an athletic young negress who Water carriers, balancing their jars, mules
smokes authentic long nines. half hidden from the eye by fresh bundles
You walk out through streets narrow as of green fodder, borne on either side, large
those of Pompeii, past shops open to the cream-colored oxen, superb as the mild
ground like those of Naples, and shaded eyed monsters of Lombardy, pulling pri
with heavy awnings that often sweep meval carts by means of yokes fastened in
across the sheet. Every thing is patent front of the horns, crowd up the narrow
to your gaze and nobody seems to be aware streets. And through them all the fre
of the fact. 0111y now and then you pass quent calesero, swinging in his heavy sad
some vast pile of yellow stone, stately as dIe, steers the clumsy length of his quitrn
the palaces of Genoa, and catch through with careless certain skill.
the great archway a glimpse of court-yards, '1.1he signs of the shops startle you, for
fountain"'cooled and paIm-shaded, that sug if you are to talce them au pied de la lettre,
gest dreams of Eastern seclusion and invisi aH the retail business of Ravana is in the
ble beauty. You dream on this fine dream, hands of saints, goddesses, and heroes, of
for in aH your walk you meet no female birds, beasts, and beauties. St. Dominic
form save of the Pariah class, unless, pcr deals in healing drugs, St. Anthony boldIy
chance, you stumble on sorne fair for handles laces, muslins, and ribbons, Diana
eigner, at sight of whose bonnet the incu dispenses sweets to aH the dandies of the
rious native deigns to -look up from his town, the Empress Eugenia meeldy mea
business in doors, 01' his lounge in the sures tapes, and the blessed Sun himself
shade, with a sudden stare and a half-pity has really "proved a micher," and cheats
ing smile, which provoke you to wonder in cosmetics. The greater merchants, like
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14 GAN-EDEN.

the burghers of the middle ages, often


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occupy with their families tbe elegant

upper floors of the building which in its

first stories serves them for a warehouse.

CHAPTER 11.
Not less medireval is the confusion of
quarters. N ext door to the begrimed " In the afternoon they cnrne unto a land
hovel of a dealer in coal, rises the palatial Wherein it seernCd ulwuys ufternoon."
TENNYSON.
home of the opulent marquis; St. Giles and
St. James elbow each other. WHAT shocks may not oul' personal iden 4

Rave we not passed the pillars of Rer tity survive? A month ago 1 sate, a listless
cules, and shall we not "loole the blue convalescent, gowned and slippered, beside
straits over," for the heights of Morocco ? a roaring coal fire, feebly dreaming of Cuba
and the Azores, of Madeira and of Georgia.
Then, the cf\,utious journcy from the phials
t
l and pill-boxcs of the sick room to the busts
l and tho books of tho genial libmry, was
, an f\,ffair of doubts, and hopes, and fears.
Then, to watch the panting podcstrians in
l
!
the street as they toiled through the drift
ing snow, and to follow the tintinnabular
:~. Il:~
sleigh horse with the ear long after he had
va,nished from the eye in the eddying
snow-rni,'3ts, was to see the world and to
share in its concerns. A fortnight later 1
lay sickening and shivering in the narrow
16 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF cunA. 17

berth of an unquiet steamer, tossed to and shore, covered with a luxuriant growth of
fro by the riotous waves about Cape Rat aloes und feathery palmettoes, and dot
teras. And now 1 sit at mine ease, in the ted aH alol1g with shinil1g white cottages,
gigantic frescoed saloon of an old Spanish amol1g which towered a cage-like light
house, in a cool undress, oblivious of physic house; rows of pelicans, dipping into the
and of pain, lapped in a sweet frenzy of surf after fishes; half a dozen vessels moor
1.11\
fragrance and of sunlight, eating, drinking,
ed along-side a long wooden piel', and as
breathing the very life of summer! - We
many more lying motionless further out on
~ left Charleston on a bleak wintry morning,
the glassy green water; such was Key
i
and for two days 1 lay in my berth just West on that fine sunny morning. New
I
! over the boiler, and just under the heels life began to kindle in my veins. Delight
l"," fuHy the day wore on. Flying-fishes dart
of sixteen horses, en route for Ravana, eat
ing oranges and wishing myself in New ed here and there aboye the surface of the
England. On the third day, th~ heat from still and glittcring sea. Sometimes the
below, and the noise from aboye, fairly white sails of a wrecking schooner, fiap
drove me on deck. The weather had al ping in the calm; sometimes the hare spars
ready becorne demi-tropical, and a warm of a stranded ship; sometimes the slender
shimmer over the sea wooed us seduc network of an iron light-house, drew the
ingly onwards. When 1 awoke under the attention of the little knots of passengers
rich golden light that streamed through the from the generalconsultation of watches
cabin window on the fourth morning, we and the stnc1y of maps. We were seven
were just backing up to the piel' at Key hours behind time, and great was our fear
I~'

West. lest we should BOt pass the Morro Castle


This purgatory of underwriters was a before sundown. Since the times of Lopez,
the government of the Island have enforc
charming surprise to me. A low sanl1y
2*
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18 GAN-EDEN. prCTURES OF CUBA. 19


ed the order which forbids ships entering gmy rocks amI white tower of the Morro
the harbor after the evening gun is fired, Cnstle, the terraced 1'oofs and glittering
and it was not pleasant to anticipate a houses of the city. Not a sail was in sight.
night on the rolling billows that ceaselessly It seemed as if we, fortunate discoverers,
surge outside the narrow gateway of the now saw before us that populous Cathay
port. for which Columbus longed. 800n a lateen
If"
S About noon the breeze sprang up, the sail swooped out on the sea from behind
! good ship spread her wings, and with the the threatening rocks, and the massive
double help 'of Drodalus and Watt we hur masonry of the fortifications became dis
ried onwards. Islet after islet appeared tinguishable. The lateen-sail d1'ooped be
;J and vanished like shadows on the far hori side our still advancing ship, a pilot carne
zon, low isles on board, and while the sun was still kind
"remote, that ride ling the cloud-bank on our right, and flash
l. On the occan's bosom uncspicu."
\ . ing yellow light ayer all the gay and gor

n'i
At four o'clock there was a rush to the geous scene, we shot through the narrow en
upper deck, and lo! bold and brown trance of the port, and the whole panorama
I
against the silver-blue cloud-bank before us, of the vast landlockcd bay, with its ships
U,~
rose the irregular outline of Cuba. The
!
..I and its shores, suddenly swept into view,
hue of the waves brightened as we went ! Not more strange, not more rich, not more
onward, till we sailed through such glowing beautiful is the bay of Naples 01' the road
i:i
\ deeps of blue as beat about the cliffs of stead of Genoa !
,1
Capri. An endless line of masts from which
,:} floated a profusion of gay flags. Negroes
I Plainer and plainer grew the brown hill
sides, the glancing Italian villas, the 10fty in bright jackets and briefest trowsers
/1 palm-trees, plainer and plainer the dark thronging the quays of yellowish stone, 01'
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20 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUll4. 21
darting ayer the water in boatE, the lnteen i here and there ahout the hay; a French
sails and painted hulls of which, now bright stearn-frigate off the Alameda de Paula,
scarlet, now blue, now striped in green and and hard by ourselves a magnificent Eng
white, give infinite and picturesque variety
to the scene. Great square stone ware
\

1
1
lish seventy-four displayed the white ensign
of the West lndian Admira!. We had
houses fronted with low colonnades; elegant \ surely seen aH this before, when in boyish
dwellings in the Italian style, stuccoed and daysTorn Cringle treated us to the crimes
painted, and continually relieved by bright
and candies of his Caribbean Log! Funny
green jalousies and plumes of graceful foli
little canopied boats manned by clean, neat
age; the renowned volantes, brilliant with"
Spaniards in white jackets, swarmed about
silver, rolling in and rolling out of enor
us, and eager negl'oes balanced on the
mous gateways. Ever and anon from be
swinging bows of fragile barquichuelas,
hind the Janciful lines of the diversified
waved golc1en hunchcs of the pendulous
houses, rises the sombre gray tower of a
!~ banana befare our wondering eyes. The
Romanesque church, 01' the high-peaked
fJ escaping steam shrieked with joy to be re
roof of a huge convento
lieved from duty, the hurrying passengers
The entrance to the harbor was hidden
besieged the grave polite customs' officers
by the battlemented heights behind us, and
who had boarded us, beseeching them to
what with solid forts, squaring the hill-tops
llJ
k here and there, and white hamlets, and red
grant landing permits for that night, and
the valets-de-place of the different hotels
I

hamlets, and hamlets of every hue, and
rich green tufts of tropical trees chequering
kept shoving cards into everybody's hands.
Decic1edly we had arrived!
the brown slopes, the whole circle of the
~ 800n but two passengers remained on
harbor was as brightly beautiful as need
board, of the sixty-two who had truversed
be. Half a dozen Spanish men of war lay
the placid seas in company. The night air

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22 GAN-EDEN.

in the harbor was so mild, that 1 could not


deny myself the delight of dallying a little
longer with the sober certainty 01 arrival.
Weary with the excitement of the day, but
not otherwise conscious of that great illness
from which 1 had so lately escaped, 1 lay
\ \

CHAPTER 111.

"Rambling from one inn to another."


on the deck with my pleasant El1glish - JOHN LOCKE.

friendo We watched the great moon and 1 HAn no trouble at the Aduana. "Smith's
stars come out into the purple sky. T~e Leading Cases," two delicate octavos in calf
lights glittered one by one at the mast skin, attracted the attention of the cour

/
heads of the wal' ships all over the bayo teous official, who removed his cigar to ask
The sounds froro the shore grew fainter an explanation;" Las leyes de Ingla terra! "
and fainter, and the familiar strains of 1 solemnly answered; "Ah si!" and evi
"God save the Queen" coming mellowed dently convinced that aman who could
over the water from the stately English not travel without a "Corpus Juris" in his
shil), were our evening hymn. portmanteau, must be a miracle of good
behavior, the Aduanero replaced his cigar,
"'\
waved his hand politely, and passed our
i
luggage. 1 found him afterwards charged
in the bill, by the polite and excellent An
tonio, our Spanish landlord, who had come

to find us on board of the ship, and to
t pilot us to his house. And what a house!
neither English, nor American, nor French;
a genuine Spamsh Posada, colonial indeed,
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,,: 24 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 25


but redolent of the Asturias! The house . The squat stone pillars and low arches of
1,t was once a bishbp'S palace, and dates from
the days of Velasquez and Cortez. When
the gallery which runs around the hollow
, square of the house, and the' green blinds
this house was built, Puritanism was a capi which shade that gallery, give a Moorish
,
tal joke, and the king of the Spains was I air to the interior. Every pillar is vocal

I the Bugaboo of aH AngloSaxondom. How


grave and quiet was the company at the I
with Canary hirds. The rooms around the

gallery have no doors, only large curtains,

f{

,
breakfast table! the waiters, how good i1 lazily stirred now by the light breeze. The
humored without familiarity, how respect red tiles of the inner raofs, the brown stone

l"

fuI ::without servility! An amiable New f fioors, the serious, dignified Spanish faces

Zealander, my friend and fellow passengcr, 1 of the two 01' three guests lounging in the
brought me to this place, whither lluinitia
ted Americans rarely wander. My vigorous
I huge antiquated saloon, the heavy mahog
any chairs, ranged in two opposing ranks

te

.,

gratitude ought to reaeh him at the Antip


odes. But for yonder negress, who, with
a cigar in her mouth, is ironing at a large
table in' the red-tiled back court of this
lI
i

between the enormous doorway and the
equally enormous window, and decorated
eaeh with a coronet of faded gilt, the
stuifed tropical birds in cases, on the mas s
l.:

,1
second story,I might imagine myself to be
in that very "venta, que por su mal Don
ively carved buifet, the queer monkish ehan
delier dangling from the dark green rafters
~!
~

il
Quixote penso que era castillo 1" that mem of the high-pitched eeiling, aU conspire
j orable inn where the four wool-combers to perfect this seene of warm and in
of Segovia, the three Cordovan leather dolent delight. From my baleony of dark
(
t
dressers, and the strollers of Seville, that green wood, 1 look. up the short vista
jocose and lively folk tossed Sancho in a of a street about twenty feet wide to a
- ~:

blanket to pay his master's bill. government building, an Italian palazzo


3
1-,
r
1
~.. J :'1
~r: ~ l: ';(.. :/:~:'.~;~J.~t>\ . ,~_ :..c:),~,:'~~,;~;;<: .
.
<.

. .f" ..
26 GAN-EDEN; PICTVRES OF CUBA. 27

painted light g1'een, anc1 picked out with bck a Creole boy, with smiling kindly
white, in the Plaza de Armas, and to the face, artd great black eyes,. and 'warm
sunny garden of the Plaza, gay with bright complexion, hulf sitting, haIf lying
aloes in full bloom, and fuchsias, and a between two great straw panniers full of
hundred other tropical flowers. Above oranges 01' zapotes, 01' pine-apples, 01' plan
them all rises a marble statue, shaded by tains. The whole spirit of the place ls that
three noble cocoa-nut palms, whose rich of a drowsier Spanish Italy. For the laz
plumes of b1'ownish green wave graceflllly zaroni, we have the negroes, many of them
in the light breeze, while their smooth-Iook magnificent Africans, the finest specimens
ing grayish white trunks gleam brightly in of the race 1 ever saw. 'rheir ways are
the sunshine. infinitely queer. For instance, they use

!r ,
From the little shops over the way, in
whose terraced 1'oofs 1 recognize "the Abode
of Pece, Bagdad," sally forth novel figures;
sometimes a trig little Spaniard in white
their ears for pockets. You see a huge,
tattooed, bronze Hercules take out a lucifer
match' from hehind one eal', and a long
cigar from behind the other, while small
jacket and jaunty sombrero, sometimes a silver change gleams in the orifices of
r
l stalwart African in no jacket and no hat, both.

l
)

his rich brownblack skin swelling with the
tension of such a muscular system as would
1 have since gone through a course of
hotels in Havana. There are klzans far
, ~ not discredit a lion. Ever and anon, a finer than this Castilian hostelry, far finer,
l'
punchy black mule with stiff, erect, close and far costlier. There is :Le Grand's, out
~ shaven mane, and braided tail tied with gay side the walls, that statel'y Hotel-Restau
I ribbons to the saddle, comes prancing by r~nt, where bad Bordeaux wine, anc1 worse
in the shafts of a gorgeolls volante, 01' a Bordeaux French, malee such a mimicry of
grey donkey shambles along, and on his Paris, as suffices to bewilL1er, and to charm
'.'

.f
28 GAN-EDEN. PICTUltES OF CUBA. 29
the aspiring youth of Ravana. So the commanding post! how c1elicious the fresh
young cockney, through a small Willdow breath of the ocean which rolls its broad
I of his own Colosseum gazing, on square shining flo~d hnlfway arol1nd the horizon!
yards ofAlps, and cubic inches of cascade, Algiers 8eoms hcneath you to the north,
11
dreams of the Traveller's Club, and fasci the broad promenade and European eity
:1 nates the listening ear of Clapham, 01' of walls to the south carry the imagination

I Pentonville, with tales of bold adventure! away to tbe Peninsula; while to the east,
I
I Le Grand's, however, is a truly delightful the vast ycllowish masses of the Cabaas,
house. Passing by, one night, the aspect and the light-tower of the Morro, mark the
of the Caf restaurant, with its marble most individual feature of the seene. A
floors, and 10ftY ceilings, anc1 the Parisian fine ship going out under full sail, two or
elegance of its decorations, and the quiet three vessels running in from afar, a few
satisfaction visible on the faces of the port large birc1s swaying lazily to anc1 fro, or
ly guests, quite attracted me. 1 installed circling overhead, and the clumsy gallop
myself there, ~nd passed a pleasaht fort of the volante horses belO\y, are rarely
night beneath and upon its hospitable roof. wanting to give life and animation to a
That lofty azotea, that great terraced scene, ""hich would otl1erwise be almost
housetop, like a watchtower of Asmo oppressively still, in the broad tropical
deus, commands the roors of half the city, light. The balconies below, in the eady
and when the sea-breeze cools the even evening, look out upon the Paseo Isabel Ir.,
ing air, a lively little upper world, another thronged with aU its prornenading world.
"realm of the birds," an airy kingdom of One thing only was lacking to my enjoy
sauntering youths, and gaily dressed dam ment of this admirable house. My cham
seIs, comes finely into sight! In the early ber woulcl have been a disgrace to an apart
morning, how lovely is the view from that ment au cinquime in the Eue de la Ver
3 ::
?~,

30 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 31


rene. The saloon was a large, long, hand~ lous contrast between his expenditure and
some room, marble fioored, and furnished his entertainment. In London 01' Pars,
in the cool sparing fashion of ,the country. one may spend vast sums of money in the
Of the restaurant, 1 have already spoken. purchase of ephememl satisfactions, and
But the sleeping rooms of the hotel were magnificent trifies, but the satisfactions,
smal1, ill-contrived, and vilely furnished. however expensive, will be satisfactory,
An attenuated bed, a dilapidated wa('h and the trifies, however trivial, wiU be
stand, and space for a trunk, limited roy magnificent. In Havana, one pays the
host's idea of necessary lodging-rooms. To price of luxuries for necessities, and those
be sure this notion was not particular to pOOl' of their kind. If aman could live on
him, but general to the native. Some guaya jelly and cigars, 1 suppose he might
), private families, of high respectability, are
in the habit of turning loose a number of
find Havana an economical place; but if he
requires any thing eIse, if he wants bread
.!

cots into their vast saloons at night, for the and meat, and water, and a good bed to
accommodation of soroe of the multitudi~ sleep in, let him go to Antioch 01' Ancona,
J nous members that go to malte up a hou8e to Brindisi 01' to Bassorah, rather than to
hold in this prolific region. And. at the Ravana. At his hotel he will have to pay
I
best American hotel in the city, to which more than at the best New York houses,
~.
also 1 roved, the accornmodations were and if he ever humbly expostulated with
such, that 1 have known more than one that feudal baron, his landlord, at the St.
very worshipful party landed in the morn Nicholas, 01' the New York, for putting him
ing froro New York tl1ke flight in the up stairs beyond the reach of waiters, and
afternoon for New Orleans, at the mere in a room so small that he must go out of
aspect of their sleeping apartment! In the window to get into bed, he,.will repent
truth, one is forced to smile at the ridicn~ h'is disloyal murmuring against the fiat of
32 GAN-ED EN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 33
American autocracy, when he learns that strolling. actors. But it is sadIy inharmoni
the second bed in his Ravana chamber is ous, this juxtaposition of the middIe ages
likely at any moment to be tenanted by a at our inn with the nineteenth centnry on
stranger, and. that when two adventitious the road. These slldden changes of mental
cts have cut off bis approach to the wash temperature, are trying as those of a New
stand and the 100king-gIass, a fourth weary EngIand spring.
wanderer just Ianded from the Chagres
steamer, may be laid to die of the Isthmus
fever in his own double bed. This is no
fancy sketch. "Such things have been."
Whenever 1 was lucky enough to have a
room to myseIf, 1 felt the constant anxiety
of a respited criminal. Now, surely, a car
) avanserai is much better than this. Far
better bring one's bed with one, sure of a
place apart where to lay it down privateIy
and peaceful1y, than sleep on furnished
down after this fashion. It is quite too
romantic, und too vividly reminds you of
Maritornes and the mishaps of the Posada.
It likes me not, and, in conjunction with
railroads, is intolerable. Let liS have one
thing or another. If we must sleep four in
a room, Iet us travel exclusiveIy afranc-trier,
and dine every day under the trees, with
y,
,

PICTU RES O}' cunA. 35


lessIy swinging, 01' rather jerking, a huge
censer, aneI gl:mcing upward, from side to
side, at the balconies, fl111 of i:'1ir Habaneras,
as he slouched along. Then fonr men, car
CHAprr ER IV. rying a gilded canopy, in front of which
paraded a boy in white, and a priest in
Les plaisirs out leur tour,
C'est lenr plus doux usage white silk and gold, bearing the shining
Que de fiuir les soins du jour. Ros, and folIowed by another priest, in
MOLIUE.
yellow silk and gold. Then" the anny
IT was a high festival day on which 1 incog.," black, white, and yellow. An om
first drove out to the Paseos, the Charnps nibus, (are there not omnibus-gondolas
Elyses of Ravana. in Venice!) an omnib-qs got in their way,
On our way we passed a church, out of as it was natural such a heretical, modern
which was moving the most absnrd imagin French monstrosity shonld do. Livid with
able religious procession. Let Naples hide rage, the censer-man, more incensed than
her diminished head, and Einsiedeln be ever 1 sawmonk before, rushed up, swore
rebuked! First carne fonr negroes, playing at the driver, stopped the horses, and turn
the violin, bass-viol, fiute, and fiageolet, 1'01 ed out the passengers. The driver, a good
Iing their eyes, und grinning in an ecstasy Iooking young Spaniard, bowed, crossed
of jocose ,irnportance. Then, boys and men himself, shrugged his shoulders, and winked
carrying candles, and shoving everybody at the spectators. The passengers humbly
aside, like neivly appointed policemen. gave up, except one grey-haired American
Then, a hangdog looking friar in a greasy in spectacles, who fought the priest through
white gown, with cowl thrown buck, care the window with an umbreIla, and was only
~
dislodged by the joint and furious swearing
t

"
"

36 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 37


of the holy man, and five or six soldiers pretty sombrero of the morning. The eyes
wha carne to his assistance. 1 never saw a of all these youths are directed with a per
more disgusting scene. tinacity of impertinence, which at first
The Paseos malee the most charming of awakens tingling sensations in the toe of a
prornenades. Beyond the walls stretch for Northern boot, upon the countenances and
several miles, broad, well-made roads, bol'. persona of the hundreds of young ladies
dered with stately buildings near the city, who are trotted slowly up and down the
and lined throughout their whol~ extent carriage roads, in the wide and open vo
with fine rows of poplars and of palms. lantes. Soon, however, the conviction forces
Sorne of these Paseos are adorned with roy itself upon the .stranger, that the young
al statues, more 01' less hideous, with foun ladies doat upon this impertinence, and will
tains, or with gardens. With the Plaza de
be looked ato Certainly the exhibition is a
Armas, the Paseos, and the Alameda, or wonderfully brilliant one! Mr. Angus Mc
Poplar Walk, de Paula, a delightful well
Kaskill, the Nova Scotia giant, and a genu
paved walk along a sea-wall, somewhat
ine Polar Walrus, whose seducing likenesses
resembling the approach to the Villa Reale
just now adorn the useless city walls, must
at Naples, Ravana has received no younger
surely solicit the public attention in vain,
sister's portion. The Paseos are the after
whep. such a pageant as this is nightly
noon resort of the fine world. There, j ust
open to the world! The rich sunlight L'111s
before sundown, the footways are throng
upon hundreds of beautiful heads, tastefully
ed with hundreds of young Creole. exqui-'
dressed as if for the opera 01' the ballroom,
sites, in their eternal uniform of black and
and adorned generally with fine natural
white, vindicating the universal incongrui.
I fiowers. The features of the Creole ladies
ties of fashion, by the substitution of an
are generally good, and the complexions o
ugly heavy beaver hat for the easy and
the younger among them, though perfectly
4

"

'I'i

38 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 39


pale, are of that rich paleness, that sunny young men go swinging their canes
hue of antique marble, which distinguished through the gates. The long procession
the face of Napoleon in his youth. The of the watchmen, walking two and two
elderly ladies, generally ridillg sandwiched with lighted lanterns appears, and lo! it
between two younger ones, are not 'often is night. Nigbt, which falls not sweetly
more attractive than Napoleon in his fat and slowly down al'ound the weary worId,
and flabby age. Rarely among the Cuban as in the northern clirnes, but comes down
ladies of maturer years, does one see those suddenly, almost with a jel'k, as if the string
healthy, sweet, and venerable faces which of a curtain had broken! At night, the
so often make old age lovely in the llorth. tropic world is aH awake, aU tremulous
These dames and damsels are arrayed in the with Efe and light. The streets. within
most intense colors, fiery red, ultrarnarine the walls are thronged and gayo Then the
blue, gamboge yellow, colors as vivid as ladies of condition go shopping, and their
the hues of the flarningo and the parrot, volantes crowd the narrow streets. The
the cactus-flower and the jaquey. But fair inmates, disdaining to descend, are
these glowing colors belong naturally waited on by L'Lmiliar, yet courteous shop
enough to a landscape where all things men, Spaniards of old Spain, and masters
glow, in the heavens and on the earth. of that courteous fttmiliarity, in which, as in
<#
The line of volantes is broken at intervals, so many othcr graceful traits, the Moor still
by sorne arnbitious Don fretting his heIp triumphs in the heart of Spain. One feels
less, heavily bitted, long-tailed steed into a the Orient too, in the equanimity with
. continual caracole, 01' by the clase English which the dignified dealer in germine Re
, carriage of sorne exclusive noble, 01' enter galias, 01' wOllderful fans, condescends to
rlf
prising botel keeper. Gradually the cal' waive a trifie of forty 01' fifty per cent., on
riages roll off tbe ground. Sallow inane the original price he had asked fo1' his

40 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 41


admirable wares. And do you not seem to live your loveliness, and long live Amer
see that incomparable lady of Bassorah: to ica !" Yet as she chanced to be very
whom the young silk merchant gave such pretty, and as America is by no means
long credit, and loaned such large sums,on unpopular with the Creoles, she grew quite
the mere security of her magnificent eyes, accustomed to such salutations, before the
when you hear the stately and sounding ride was over, and even submitted with a
adulation with which these Peninsular tolerably good grace to receive the informa
tradesmen ply their customers, adroitly tion from a waiter at the Caf, where she
puffing not their goods, but the fair buyers stopped to take an ice, "that the ices of
thereof? The ecstatic ejaculations which the beautiflll ladies had been paid for, by a
burst from the lips of the Persian princes, Caballero who had gone out!'"
when tliey first beheld themselves sur At night, too, the daughters of the mid
rounded by the unveiled Houris of a Lon dling c1asses, arrayed in their best, stand
don drawing-room, are the daily license of behind the gratings of the huge gronnd
the young Habanero, Dor do the native floor windows, guiltless of glass, and gaze
ladies take any offence at the compliment out upon the busy street, while their
ary nonsense which salutes their passage dowdy mammas, in the easiest undress,
through the streets. But 1 shall not soon rock slowly in the huge butacas, 01' arm
;-\':
forget the mixture of alarm and indigna chairs, which are always arranged in two
tion with which a northern lady of my ac parallellines from the front windows. The
quaintance, sallying from the hotel door for promenaders without, so narrow are the
her first volante expedition, heard herself side-walks, alrnost brush the dresses of the
addressed by two youths, who took off their young ladies within, yet'. the wax-women
hats in passing, and exc1aimed, "Go with who so obligingly lcad the fashions, in
God! lovely and beautiful American! Lo~l.g the shop-windows of Broadway and Wash
4*

'1' ~
~"

42 GAN-EDEN. preTUREs OF CUDA. 43

ington street, are not more impassive under place, suggesting reeolleetions more eharm
the stare of rural wonder 01' delight, than ing still o 10veIier pIaees, of the gardens of
are the$e Oreole damsels under the bold King Agib, and of the courts wherein
gaze of native criticism 01' foreign admi "Ganero, the Distraeted Slave of Love,"
ration, to which they are nightly sub \
reeited extemporaneous verses to the dark
jected. How favorable this arrangement eyed Alcolomb. And at night the Plaza de
is to the commercc in billets doux, 1 need Armas has new charms of its own. 'fhen
not say, and as the windows are gene the regimental bands gathered around the
rally somewhat bowed, 1 have even wit conspicuous marble statue of Ferdinand
nessed exchal1ges of a more tender nature, VII., discourse most passionate music; then,
made through the gratings. At night the moving groups of ladies' in mantillas, and
Plaza de Armas is in its glory. The Plaza caballeros, (alas that 1 must write it!) in
de Armas is not so large as Hyde Park, I

{,1 blaek dress eoats and white pantaloons,


neither does it at aH resemble the Battery; :1 chequer the rich moonlight on the mar
and those wise people who disdain Drachen
fels, for its little likeness to AnthonY'i3 L'
ble pavements, and swarthy slaves glaneing
with ornaments of silver and of gold, lean
Nose, and despise Windermere, because it ~ over the low walls, bandying their ehuck
is but a teacup beside the great 'wash-tub ,11
1
ling wit in their strange negro Spanish;
of Lake Erie, find the Plaza de Armas "
and half hidden in the broad shadows of the
neither fair nor pleasing. Yet it seems to buildings round about the Plaza, dark-eyed
me a charming place, with its pieturesque Alcolombs receive the homage of meeker
frontiers of Southern buildings, and its cita and lesi3 ecstatic Ganems, assiduous beside
del of marble quiet, when the hot noon those wondrous vehicles, whieh, to the lady
broods aboye its' silent palms, and still, of Havana, are gondola and throne, fauteuil
dreaming, odorous flowers. A charming and palanquin at once.
At nine o'clock the bands march off the
'~,_"_'-"!CO;C._" "4.

1
,
44 GAN-EDEN.

gronnd. The voln.ntes follow, and the aim


less masculine world repairs to the Cafs.
The Cafs are stately sqnares of marble
columns, open in the centre to the airs of
heaven, and refreshed with the plashing of CHAPTER V.
fountains. There the representatives of
half the nations of the world are to be "Spectacles, bals, festins, concerts, converslltions."
GIL BLAS at Lirias.
found, the heavy moustachio of the Span
ish dragoon, and the ruddy, clean shaven PEOPLE in the tropcs rarely perpetrate
visage of the English middy, equal1y active those wild excesses with whicb the north
in the discussion of an manner of new and ern races warm their frozen blood. The
fragrant componnds, cool with Northern tropics are the home of temperance and
ice, and aromatic with the life of tropic regularity. The very winds are always
fruits. There, oysters are a costly luxury, methodical in their madness, and give roan
and pineapples are a drug, and nobody kind timely notice of their intended orgies,
reads the newspaper. An uproarious con like that considen\'te nobleman, who llsed
fusion of tongues, the continual ringing to announce to his friends, "Next Thursday,
from the little silver braziers, which the by the blessing of Heaven, 1 propose to be
unwearied waiters c1atter down upon the drunk." The life of a Habanero dandy is
marble tables in answer to the perpetual as systematic as that of a New England
cries of " Candela! Candela!" (Fire! Fire!) deacon. . The morning, whether passed in a .
which echo through the building, and a butaca, or behind a desk in one of those
ceaseless roovement to arid fro in the bright enormons marble-fioored counting-honses,
gas-light distinguish the world of roen with which give such a princely air to the mer
in. Without, the ladies in their volantes cantile life of Havala, is passed quietly and
take ices, and a little more gallantry. -
h "? n_..,.~_

,.
L

46 GANEDEN. PICTURES F CUDA. 47


calmly. The afternoon melts impercep waters, by the lazy streams and strearnlets
tibly away at one of thse Creole dinner that go dancing and dawdiing on for miles
tables, where luxury of equipage and through the savage woodland. The Creole
entertainment so harmoniously combines dandy, (compassionate him, oh thou his
with perfect simplicity of manners to fur serious Northern brother!) drifts slowly
nish a meal, which, like the suppers of down his sluggish canal of life without a
Plato, is "a pleasure not for the moment dream of struggle 01' endeavor. Some
only, but for many succeedipg days." 'l'hen times he riots in a melodious operatic rage;
comes tbe serene 1011nge in the balcony, but the wave rises highest in his heart,
with sorne domestic charmer, 01' the saunter whenever the Dulcinea of the moment
along the crowded Paseo. The evening makes his encircling arrn her stay in the
belongs to the Plaza de Armas, 01' to the slow, graceful whirl of that delicious contra
corridor of the Opera House. Should a danza, which is the rhythmic utterance of
ball or a party break the uniformity of this his warm languid Efe. Oh! how wooingly,
routine, the preparation for such a festival how trancingly floats now through rny
involves no such expenditure of thought memory) the soft enthralling music of "that
und labor, as the assiduousNortherner under luxurious dance 1 a mystery as strange and
goes in a like case. The prevailing expres sweet as is aH that, life so alien from our
sion of equanimity which distinguishes the own, which flavors the tropic \Vorld! It is
Creole face, testifies to the facility with the dance of Cuba, and the children of
wbich the Creole lives. Plainly the Greole Cuba alone have its secreto You can al
wastes upon the economic and moral ends ways detect the foreigner through' aH the
of human Efe) no more thought than is grace and an the precision of his step. The
bestowed upon the great corn-grinding dance is the earliest and most national of
and board-sawing mission of an running nationallyrics. The Tarantella, maddening
:.'

48 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES oF C UDA.. 49

011 the moonlit sands of Sorrento; the vanished people, to whom to die was easier
Cachucha, inspiring every limb of the ar than to work. Long may it be before the
dent daughter of Andalusia; the contra camp dances of the big-booted Sclavoni
danza, pouring the plaintive p'assion of its ans, 01' the mineing absurdities of the diplo
wailing eadences through every nerve and matic quadrille, s11a11 banish f1'Om the
vein of the pale, dark-eyed O1'eoles, till the saloons of Oubn, their own most graceful
very music seems to come from them, and expressive mensure!
" And aH the notes appcl\r to bc The present customs of the lana in
The echoes of their feet ; " reg!1 rd to the intercourse of tIle young
these may aH be felt, but cannot be fathom people, are a g~eat shield to the contradanza.
ed by the stranger. The measure of the 'l'he youths and maiclens could not spare
contradanza always brought beforeme vis it. Every Cllban young lady is careful1y
ions of" the mild-eyed melancholy" lndians, seclllded from tho approaches of "young
of that soft, unwarlike people to whom Cuba," by a system of modified duenna
life was one sweet song and breathing domo On the Paseo, and particularly on
dance in this fair island, before the greedy the Plaza de Armas, the shepherd may in
Spaniard carne with traffie and with toil, deed converse with his nymph, but always
to sweep them from the earth. The under the eye of her dragon, and the third
music of the lndian names and words visit of Lycidas to Ohloris, subjects him to a
which the conquerors have. preserved, is t@te--tete with Ohloris mere, and to a spe
kindred in character with the measure of cifie investigation into his intentions. The
the contradanza. Guanabaeoa, Oamarioca, mazes of the contl'adanza alone are free, and
Baracoa, Guanajay, guanavana, guayava; in that brief season of sunshine, fiirtations
the soft delaying flow of snch words as spring up like flowers in the fieeting Scan
these revives for us the whole spirit of the dinavian summer.
r'
5
- -. ;.':"
., - 4

r ##

50 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUllA. 51


Social enteriainments at Ravana borrow children, and oyster-eating adults. What
l1 great churm, too, fi~omthe spaciOtsness ever refreshments are offered, are always
and airiness of the houses. 'rhe lofty ceil better calculated to revive, than to stun
ings, the long capacious rooms, the huge
windows opening upon moonlit balconies, rI the syste m; and 1 should thillk that a fort
night of "the season" at New York would
lend to the ba118 and parties of Huvana an I,
be more detrimen tal to body and mind,
air of ease and n,mplitude, which rnakes than months ol' gaiety in the Southern
them seem more social, und more enter capital. The" tertulia," which is the more
taining too, than the" jams" of the North. common form of entertainment in Havanu,
The ladie~, when not dancing, to be sure, is very simple, und much less trying than
are apt to rnn to the walls, and the gentle a tea-party. It i8, in fuct, nothing but a
men to eddyaround the door-post~ after a kind of" reception." '1'he capital required
fashion usually regltrded as Anglo-Saxon, for a Northcl'n "rcception," belng mainly a
yet which is quite as much in vogue among pail' of black pantaI0011Ei, and a perpetual
the Southern nations, as in London 01' Bos smile, fol' a Cuban tertulia, a perpetual
ton. But conversation, however trivial, smile, and a pair 01' "dlite pantaloons will
is here more freely canied on, and one ls suffice.
not oppressed with the sensual horrors of The easiest and plcasantest form of social
supper as in the Sttttes. The climate, too, life at Havana, hO"\vever, is the great, gene
compels the men, in particular, to dress ral " tertulia," of the eut,.' aetes at the Opera
more rationally, and you never see a sweet Rouse. Everybody kncnvs that the Tacon
temper soured by tight boots, 01' a noble '11 heatre is the largest in America, alld one
nature humbled under the tyranny of a of the largest in tbc world. Madmne Cal
8hirt-collar. A party at Ravana is some deron familiarized lIR with the splendors of
thing more than a congress of polking its appearance, to which, inc1eed, that lively
1

52 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF cunA. 53

lady did no more than justice. The well~ more sad than amusing, however, to witness
dressed pit relieves, with musses of black one feature 01' this brilliant spectacle. The
and white, the variegated glitter of the Creole children, in too many cases, shock
boxes. Inclosec1 only by a slender gilded the eye by their costume, and their man
railing, these boxes display very finely the ners, more than they win it by their
f1.ashing eyes, and f1.ashing diamonds, the beauty of person ancl of feature. One
dark tresses, and glowing dresses of fair rarely sees a positively ugly child in Ha
Ravana. Each box contains a family party vana. But quite as rarely does one see a
with a seat 01' two to spare, and throughout childly child. It is one of the sad conse
the evening each family receives visitors, quences of the system of social life in the
who wander around the great cool passage Islt:tnd, that children associated with their
ways, peep through the latticed partitions, lllothers in the ballroom, the dining-room,
and spend their evenings as that ancient and the theatre, from the tenderest years,
bachelor his mornings, "in making dodging that they muy escape the contamination of
calls, and wriggling round among the slave infiuence, are forced into a precocity,
ladies." When the spectacle within grows compared with which the sophistication of
tedious, you wander into those great corri Punch's immortal j Llveniles resembles the
dora, refreshed with breezes that blow innocence of the babes in the wood. And
through enormous windows, and throng there they are at the Opera House, mirror~
ed with animated groups. Impertinent ing "the greater audience in an a udience
looking soldiers in their white uniforms less," the absurd little boys in tight body~
stalk majestically about, shoving the Cre coats and high hats, swinging jewelled canes,
oles, and making way for foreigners, while the girls laced, fringed, flonnced like their
at the open door of every box " obsequious mammas, flirting, too, like them, their costly
darkness waits" in gold-luced livery. It is fans with the imitated air, and too often
5 .;
'.'

~.
~

54 GAN-EDEN.

with the genuine expression of the matur


~~' PICTU RES F CUBA.

must make the Habaneros very suscep


55

est coquetry. Over them the moralist tible of the titillating infillence of merely
drops a tear. The hopeful traveller re sensuous m usic. One would not look
calls with grateful heart the memory of here for snch an intelligent and judicial
other little ones, more in number, too, Jurore as those that have so often shaken
than the Pipcr left in Hamelin, in whose the walls of the Fenice and La Scala, of
bright eyes childhood laughed, whose red the Pergola and San Carlo, but a gushing,
lips budded only in the sinless smile of irrational, dispendious enthusiasm is always
happy infancy, and thereupon, beholds the entertaining to the calmer spectator. It is
Cuban future shine more cheerily upon his pleasant to see 110w much the Creoles en
thought. joy the very indifferent music which they
This winter Ravana has had no Italian like. The Clubs of Havana (for the Eng
troupe. 1 shonld have been glad to see lish club-house has wandered fu'rther than
one of those deifications, which have so the Chinese herb, 01' the Arabian berry, and
easily won for Ravana the reputation of has undergone as many culinary modifica
beinl a very mus~cal city. A Steffanoni, tions as they,) partake of the character of
crowned with silver, and pelted with jewels, Philharmonic Societies. It was very agree
a Marini, ranting in regal state, would have able to see this innovation upon the bearish
been a sight worth seeing. The applauses system of the club-house, and though the
of such an audience as Ravana could performances were ordinary enough, and
fllrnish, must come down like a tropical the programmes such as are now served up
shower, undiscriminating, fierce, and appall only fol' the delectation of second-rate New
ing. For while the musical cultivation
of Ravana is evidently ver'y imperfect, the
Creole nature and the Creole edllcation
., Englanc1 towns, the extravagant, and evi
dently sincere enjoyment of the audiences
quite won my sympathies. The music sello

~
\
~

56
~
GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 57
ers III the town, too, though their shelves
~1 of the galleys, 1 should not have supposed
would have driven a genuine Mendels I

I that any tolerably educated public could be


sohnian of Boston quite wild with disgust, insensible to the fascinations of her voice
seemed to be doing a more extensive busi and her method.
ness than 1 should have fancied possible,
in a community where ffisthetic cultiva
tion generally is at so low an ebb. .Ger
man and classical Italian music are in very
little demand, but Donizetti and Verdi must
weep and howl by turns, through a third
of the better houses of Ravana. This is
very well for a city where you cannot pur
chase a decent box of colors, oro a tolerable
drawing-book.
And 1 was really surprised to hear that
J enny Lind had not paid her expenses in
Ravana. For it required hardly more than
the sense of hearing to fit persons of merely
average capacity for the enjoyment of her
delicious singing, at once so singular and
so simple was it in its excellence. What ~ I

mattered the clo'ud of humbug from which I

the angelic accents issued? Had she been !


conducted by a company of Connecticut
clock-makers; had she been pardoned out
1!

~
'" i
I
.,
I

PICTUIlES OF CUBA. 59

and the terrible Ccmis was worshipped,


and the Cerro, are all interesting in them
selves, and offer various und noble views of
the city and the bay. The Dane in the
CHAPTER VI. lmprovisatore who exclaims as the dili
gence 1'011s into Itri, that dirt and the pic
" Sta d' oltlL torre, e scopre i monti e i campi." turesque are inseparable, would rejoice over
TASSO.
these ancient villages, so solid at once and
FEW persons expect to find much beauty so squalid. Such rich browns and blacks
in the environs of Ravana. Yet few cities in the interiors! Such fine besmooched
of the New 'Vorld can compare in this red 1'oof8! Guanabacoa is the most fash
respect with the Cuban capital. It was my ionable wateril1g-place of the lsland dur
good fortune to faU in with S--, the ing the summer months. The lavish in
grave scenery-hunting German paint81', stincts of the Creole nature, and the opu
who, after filling portfolio upon portfolio lence of Cuban society, are then displayed
with visions of Egypt and the East, of in aU their brilliancy. In the winter the
Europe and of Africa, had wandered hither old lndian city is EL quiet, dreamy, deserted
on his way to Yucatan and Mexico. In place, as dull, as a dead moth. You may
his company 1, spent many a delightful reach it by a charming road which runs
hour upon the fine sloping hills which sur around the bay, 01', more appropriately, by
round the city. The suburbs, of Regla a kind of decayed railway, from which the
where 'the foreign ships anchor, and the noise and the speed of the engine have
admirable storehouseR stand, Jesus del vanished, as the glitter and the chatter of
Monte, Guanabacoa, which claims to be young life from this Newport of the Cubans.
an old lndian town, where Caciques ruled 1 Tired mules hanl the faded, battered, soli

..
"'1
I
!
,.
... /

f
60 GAN- EDEN . ,) PICTU RES OF CUBA . 61
tary cal' along the worn and shaki ng rails. dozes, to take shelte r in your shaded vo
,;,
But howe ver you may reach them, the hills lant from the vertic al rays of the sun, and,
of Guan abaco a disdo se a prosp ect which drivin g off at a pace which quick ens the
roused the enthu siasm even of the firm and alr into a breeze, to seek the refreshing
patrio tic New York er, whose pleas ant com green of the quint a gardens. The nobles
pany made more pleas ant my first visit to to whom most of these garde ns belong,
the spot, and who loved the magnificent court eousl y throw them open to the publico
harbor" of his own city, as warm ly and as The garde ns are much neglected, but open
wisely as its glorious loveliness deserves. hande d natur e lavishes her savage beaut y
The Cerro is a subur b neare r the city, and npon them. Gorgeous fiowers, fruit-trees
full of villas. In the soft eveni ng light, the like the zapote and the aguacate, that rival
drive thithe r is delicious; the landscape shade trees in their size and their masses of
quite East lndia n in chara cter, made up of foliage, sublime palm avenll~s, these and
houses with overh angin g eaves, groves of the pleas ant air make a morning's ramble in
palm-trees, Brahm inee bulls, such as lord it these places one of the most agreeable feat
over Bena res, and Chinese coolies. The ures of Hava na life. The queer old negro
villas, quintas they are called here, are built garde ner of the Quint a de Palatino, hob
in a large palati al style of architecture, with bling throu gh "the crisped shades and
charm ing gardens, and as you go sway bowers," with his sweet bl1rden of cluste ring
ing along in your volante, ever and anon fiowers, is a pleas ant figure in the memo ry
sweep ing views break on you of the rich of many a North ern heart. 1 can but hint
exube rantly verda nt count ry, of the for at the charms of that free and genial hospi
tress-crowned heights, and of the blue trem tulity which has made the name of t~e
bling of the distan t ocean. Not less deli Cerro musical in many ears. State ly
cious is it in the hot noon, when aH the city ceyba of the Bishop's garde n, long may
6
'r""' "

62 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 63
thy lordly benediction welcome companies
But perhaps the finest excllrsions around
as courteous and as gay, as those with
Havana, are to be made to the different
whom 1 wiled away the careless hours
fortresses. The city is exce11ently fortificd,
about the buttressed majesty of thy co
particularIy on the seaward side. The
10ssaI trunk! Towering palms of Palatino,
Morro Castle and the Cabaas, if properIy
may the smiles of Heaven never fail upon
manned and armed, might defy the largest
your sweepillg leaves, tlie smiles of gIad
fleet, so narrow is the entrance to the har
dened human hearts beneath your grace
fuI arches ! bol', and so commanding is their position.
When the English took Havana in 1762,
There are fine drives, too, out to Puentes
they landed their troops at two points, east
Grandes, or the (( High Bridge," where the
and west of the city. At one of these points
green Almendares, the Guadalquiver of the
, an insignificant fortification, called the Eng
Ravana poets, glides under the hanging
lish fort, is stiU standing near the mouth of
groves, and past the sentimental caas
the Cogimar river. Since that time the ad
bravas of lordly grounds, so stealthily you
ditional forts of Principe and Atares have
see not its swiftness, till its seaward Course
been erected, so that Ravana has become
is impeded, and .its speed betrayed by a
ledge of rocks, over which it leaps angrily more defensible against la.nd attacks. But
none of these fortresses are adequately gar
enough in a series of small cascades; 01' to
the tangled, treacherous mangroves of the risoned, nor can they possibly be so with the
force which 8pain usually maintains in the
Chorera, where the same Almendares slips
Tsland. vVhen the troops were sent from
quietly out into the Gulf. And Iovely is
Ravana to fight the battle of Las Pozas,
the row by moonlight across the landlocked
the fortresses were left in so unprotected a
bay, dotted 11,11 over by the stately forms
of ships sleeping on the tide! state, that a few resolute young men might
have made themselves masters of the city.

I!'

._4 _

"F"

6,4 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 65


1 enjoyed very favorable opportunities for
who, on receiving the account, is reported
visiting the great stl'ongholds of the Morro
to have taken. 111) his spy-glass, and to have
and the Cabaas in company with Capt.
commenced a cal'efu1 survey of the horizon.
- - , a most amiable and accomplished
On being asked what. objeet he sought, the
officer of the Spanish army, and spent two
King answered that he was looking fol' the
mornings there very delightfully. The as
Cabaas, whieh he certain1y ought to be
pect of the massive walls, as you approach
able to see at uny distance.
them in your boat, is very imposing, and
'fhe quarters of my friend the Captain,
the solid masonry which commands the
were 10w and by 710 means extensive, yet
winding ascent to the fortresses is truly
the walls are of such immense thickness '
Cyclopean. One wall of this inclined plane
that they must be as coo1 as--a cavern. A
is formed by the solid rocks, and the pas few gardens, carefully cultivated in different
sage is comp1etely commanded by the em parts of the vast inclosure, and a marb1e
brasures of numerous batteries. But 'it s monument raised to commemorate the
on1y when you have passed the last of the "Valor and Loya1ty,"of the brave who fell
heavy gateways, and traversed the broad in beating back Lopez and his crew, are the
burning square within, and mounted the only ornaments of these gigantic walls.
huge parapets, that you begin to appre But the view fl'om the battlements is glori
ciate fully the grandeur and extent of fol'ti ous. Far down belO'\v you, wall beneath
cations which well support the hard earned wa1l, stretch the huge defences, in the whole
fame of the Spaniards as"builders, and quite, so 10fty that the stately vessels at anchor in
throw into the shade even the defences of the bay beneath, show like shallops. 'fhe
Quebec. It is said that the building of the closely cl'owded, divel'sified buildings of the

I
Cabaas cost forty millions of dollars, a sum populous city, that seemed so many and so
which startled even the stupid Charles III., great, whell YOU walked the narrow streets,
! 6*

t'


r'F
r-
.. ':: ""..~>~.'" /~~<)~t~-;'~;~'. ,;'-;;'f.~"".;"" ~:.? .". ''''~'"7''

66
GAN- EDEN .

occup y the smallest space of the vast land~


1
PICTU RES F CUBA. 67
The vibl e arma ment of the Morro, like .
scape opene d to your sight !
Betw een the Ca,baas and the Morro
f that of the Cabaas, is certai nly inaclequate.
'rhe famous canno n called the "Twe lve
CasUe, lies an unduln,ting, bare, and rocky Apostles," are heavy guns, but they seemed

space of groun d, a sort of sheepwalk. There


to me to be in a not much bette r condition
, are 8ubte rrane an communications, also, be than the other ecclesiastical instit ution s of
tween the two fortresses. The entra nce to the Colony. 'ren thons and men, at least,
the Morro Castle, on the side of the Ca would be requi red to defen d these vast for

baas, is steep, sudden, and very striking, tifications. At no time durin g my stay in

the surro undin g ditche s deep and treme n Cuba, was the Spanish force in all the
dous. The fortification itself is much less island, recko ned at more than 13,000 men
exten sive than the Cabaas, of which how by the most comp etent judges. Prope rly
ever it is pract ically but an outwo rk. Yet to man an the forts aroun d Rava na, includ
to the unprofessional visitor, the Morro is ing Princ ipe, Atare s, La Punta , and other

the more intere sting of the two, from its


lesser defences, not less than 15,000 men
,mor e castel lated chara cter, and its superb would be necessary. Princ ipe and Atare s
position. Stand ing on the outer parap ets, are both of them impo rtant and consider

you may loo~ ayer them sheer down into able posts. Atare s has obtain ed a melan

the sea, which, notwi thstan ding its great choly celeb rity as the scene of the great

depth , is here so surpr isingl y clear, that milita ry execu tion which followed the de

even from this great height, objects may be feat of Lopez.


clearl y discerned upon the bottom. The A precise knowleclge of the plans and

1;
sea-view from the splenclid and admir ably

I1ppointed light-house of the Morro, can


hardl y be surpassed.
l outlines of these fortresses canno t easily be
obtain ed, for the 8pani sh autho rities are as
rigiclly sever e as the Austr ians in their hos

68 GAN-E DEN.
PICTU RES OF cunA . 69
tility to sketch-books. A friend of mine tinen tly shut up. It requi red a11 the good
was stayin g at the same hotel with a youn g sense unc1 the coura ge of the Consul to con
Engli shma n, one of the devotees of Bristol vince the antho rities that the liegem an of
board, whom you meet a11 over the world,

t
Victo ria hud no designs upon the dominions
puttin g in the Pyram ids in sepia, touch ing of Isabe11a, altho ugh on the evidence of the
up the Coliseum with burnt sienn a and : sketc h itself, nobod y could ever have con
fiake-white, washing over the vale of Interl a
victec1 its autho r of uttem pting to portr ay
chen with a fiood of sap-green. The young the ontlines of the Morro. A similar inci
Brito n, who had made himself, as pleas ant c1ent, termi natin g more agreeably, occurred
youn g Brito ns are apt to do, quite the life to a Germ an gentl eman quite recen tly.
of the house, sa11ied out one morn ing for a
The base of the hill on which Atare s stanc1s,
dab at the Bay, but return ed not to his
is leasec1 to a mark et gardener. Our Ger
dinne r, nor yet to sleep, nor with the next
man being in the neighborhooc1 one day,
morn ing. The day wore on, and as he did
was struck with .the odd appea rance of the
not appea r, sorne of his fe11ow-lodgers had
crooked wooden plough, still used to scratch
begun to think of looking after him, when a
up the rich sol1 of Cuba. He hac1 nearl y
messe nger arrive d to say, that the lover of transferrec1 the o1Jject to his sketc h book,
natur e was lodge d in the Morro Castle, and when he was pounced upon by a corporal,
had sent for his Consul and for clean linen.
rmd lec1 off into the presence of the com
The ga11ant old repre senta tive of Engla nd mancling officer. For 80me time a11 passed
was soon on the alert, and discovered that in dumb show, till u Germ an soldier in the
his youn g coun tryma n had been seen fort being sent for, explained the aff'1ir.
sketc hing the Morro frQffi a boat, broug ht " If t11e corporal charg cs me with sketc hing
to by a sentinel, arrest ed, and by reason of the fortres8," said the German, "let him
his ignor ance of the Spanish t~ngue, incon produce his proof s!" "The proofs are here,

...I
I
70 GAN-EDEN.
r

PICTURES OF C UEA. 71
Seor!" cried the delighted subofficer, and

he exhibited the captured sketch book. A


what Leigh Hunt somewhere says is not
single glance at the drawillg sufficed to
unfounded, that the Spanish character is
satisfy the comrnander, who burst into a nt
less truly European than that of any other
of laughter, dismissed his sagacious subordi
western people.
nate with a reprimand, and' invited the
The walk along the shore beyond the
German to dinner.
Morro to the English fort, and the Cogi
These fortresses serve as prisons for polit
mar, is very interesting. The formation of
ical offenders, and there is rarely a time
the coast is singular. The coralline rocks,
when their dungeons are unoccupied. Be
broken and jagged, are in color very like
yond a doubt men have been brought to
the old red sandstone, of which some
trial and to rnilitary execution within
English cathedrals are built, and in shape
these walls, whose fate is still a rnystery to
resembles masses of dead iron such as are
their friends and families. It is very easy
flung out of old furnaces, 01' the heaps of
to exaggerate the atrocities cornmitted by
scorim which encumber the sides of Etna
a despotic government, but it is certainly
and Vesuvius. They are overlaid and
idle to question faets which are involved in
strewn with innumerable fragments of
the very being of such a government. The
coral, exquisite sea fans, and sea shells often
traditional Spaniard of Anglo-Saxon and very beautiful, but generally much shatter
Protestant countries, the legacy of AIva and ed and worn by the waves. The sea-view
the Inquisition, of the Armada and the wars is magnificent. The promontory and towers
of the Spanish rnain, is indeed an absurd of the ~~orro, conceal the city; and as far
as the eye can mnge, nothing is visible but
nd frightful creatnre, quite out of nature.
But a tyrannical system makes tyrannical
I
.~
the widening deep bIue waters of the Gulf;
measures, and tyrannical meno Moreover save when a huge bird goes swn.ying
through the air, 01' a gallant ship Beuds

..

.;~~ .,""'?=,'''''~

72 GAN-EDEN.
>ti
along the horizon, 01' the great gold ball of
the Sun sinks out of sight in the floods of
the west, impurpled by !lis last rays. it\'
Lonely, wild, and solemn, are now these CHAPTER VII.
rugged beaehes. B ut time rons on, and
the prophetie eye sadc1ens to diseern the "To still retre~ts, und ftowery solitudes."
TnoMSON.
day, when where the Morro Castle now
frowns defiance from its sombre rock, a IT i8 not an easj thing to get away from
huge white many-windowed building with l~ana. There is a story that when Prinee
broad piazzas, and multitudinous lonie eol William Henry of Engh"tnd was he1'e, as a
onnades may real' its ghastly form! Where gay midshipman with Rodney, he carne on
the weary sentinel paces his solitary raund, 8hore to dine, and stayed so obstinately,
the polka will be then madly daneed by that the Admiral could only compel his
beardless boys and brainless girls, to the return by thre,ttening to sail without him.
musie of Dodsworth's bando The irregular e
So mighty afe the charms of the Creol
sho1'es over which the searcher after shells hospitality. 13ut there is anothe1' difficulty
and stones, now pieks his eareful way, well in the way. You ca,nnot quit Havana
beaten into a capital road, will mock the withollt a passport, renewable at the end
....
tossing foam of the sea, with the manes of 1 of your journey, and if you wish to go
fast horses urged to speed by faster men in anywhere by railway, you must rise in
trotting wagons, and the summer glory of time to walk out of town, about a mile, to
Newport and Nahant, will be oLltshone ,j ~ the railway station, before six o'clock, A. M.
through an the winter months, by the I
More trains pass over one of our great
splenclid follies of the Castle Morro Hotel! ~ llorthern roads in a day than are run in a
7

..
,

. ~.,~,:,.-

74 GAN-EDEN.
PICTUltEK Ol? CUllA. 75
\Veck OIl a1l tbe roads of Cuba. Bet\,\r e en
Ravana ancl l\Iatallza~, the New Y~rk and palaces of Portici. \Ve mn - no, we mov
Boston . of the islancl, there are but h"o ed at a caJm, c1ignifiec1 pace, through a beau
trains rUl1, one each way daily, and those tifu1 coul1try, fertile and well-tilled, past
leave their respective cities at 6, A. M. Un orchards of fine fruit-trees, among which
del' these circumstances, one cannot but be the dark glistening leaves and shining
profoundly impressed by the sagacity of a globes, the "golden lamps in a green
regulation which forbids tIte volantes to night" of the orange, and the conicaI,
appear in the streets before seven o'clock! dwarfish proportions of the pine-apple were
When 1 at Iast resolved to see the interior best known to me, on to the station of San
of the island, 1 rose by candlelight, took Felipe, a sort of Grand Junction, where we
the inevitable morning cup of coffee, and made a halt, and were regaled with aH
having put my portmanteau into a Iarge' manner of fruits, the oranges being by fhr
;" ~
basket, saw the same shouldered and then . the best 1 had tas~ed in the .island. Beyond
. hearlecl by a giant African, 'who started off San Felipe, groves of the bushy-topped
with it a~ a rapid troto Things at the cocoa-palm, ando hedges of the plumy beau~
railway station passed much as in America, tiful hamboo appearcd. We renched at last
for in Cuba you have a.U the annoyances the Almacen of Eatabano, a place hulf bil
and none of the comforts of despotismo liarc1 rOOlll and half Posada, and there, at
The cars had a familiar Iook, having been the end of an irnrncnsely long pier, lay a
built in those long port-holed edifices, which, great, white, neat Yankee-Iooking stenmer,
when transfigured by distance and the sun~ the General Concha, the pride of the
set light, seem to the 'romantic traveIIer Southern coast. 1 affiictec1 fi ve gentlemen
OYer the West Boston bridge, quite as pic~ I in shirt sleeves, by decIining their several in
turesque as the barracks of Naples, 01' the
r
i
vitations to eat up their savory breakfast
of beefsteaks, which had been first stewed
Jo.
I

L
"
PICTURES OF CUBA. 77
76 G J\N-ED EN.
tho vossol ttnc1 hor dccorations, to ma,ke me
with garIic, and then fried in buttor; critj feel quito at home. Tho berths a,lone were
cally examined an interesting seI'ie~ of novel. These, instead of a,ny mattress or
highly.colored prints representing the con sheet, revealed nothing but a StOllt piece of
quest of Mexico, as \Ven as authentic por adrnirably bnned brown hide, stretched
tr:1its of five European sovereigns, of Gene along the bottom, and fLlrnishing a cool
ral Jose de la Concha, and of u heroic 8er , and elastic couch perfectly' adapted to the
\
goant of Lancers, who feH valiuntly at Las clilnate. After dinner, a. 8panish dinner,

l
Pozas, after transfixing fourieen of the served with gravity, and discllssed with
"pirates and robbers;" and accurately sur a composnre und goodbreeding which 1
veyed the upper and lower decks of the am sorry to say did not remind me of simi
1.

handsome steamer, consnming in this way lar seenes at home, we walked the deck,
about two hours, at the end of which time the little old Captain and myself, till sun
our worthy little Captain "concluded to set, ac1rniring tbe fine outline of the moun
start." W e steamed off into a perfectly tains of the Vuelta Abajo, which we kept
culm tropical sea. The deck was crowded in sigbt aH the afternoon. At dark the
with Monteros in their huge cloaks, silver ga,mbling hog<tn. Thc Spaniards play con
hilte<l swor<ls, un<l deerskin shoes, who stantly, but with moderation, and the game
stalked loftily about among the wretched of Monte was canicd 011 by the majority
groups of hospital patients, nl1mbers of of the pussengers all tho evoning with no
whom are yearly sent by a truly benevo noise, and in a solemn good-humored way.
lent society of Havana, to the medicinal But moo 11light agail1st Monte, 1 went on
baths of San Diego. The cabin wn,s filled deek. The l1ight \vas unspeakably beauti
with pa,ssengers of a higher and undis fuI. The Isla de Pilios, ancient ha unt of
tinguished grade, whose cigars and expecto pirates, luy dusky and dim 011 the South
rations conspired, with the whole aspect of 7 :,:

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78 OAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUilA. 79
ern horizon, quiet was in the air and on
1'ealm of matter. The elements are in
tlle sea, no sail in sight. Swiftly, almost
alliance with our bodies. The tbrone Df
stea1thily, we glided over the tranquil
the high powers within us is threatened.
waters, tIle shilling treacherous \vaters, so
We become suddenly conscious of the po~si
often cloven by tbe keels of fierce and cruel
hle divorce between the spirit anc1 the fiesh.
1'obbers. That sense of something evil in
I Our dream of the Fountain of Youth
the air, which haunts the heart at Naples, I grows sensual, and tIle spirit trembles for
came upon me. The divine South is full of

I
its dominion. Whatever be their source,
sadness. But the feeling of which 1 speak,
such feelings were crowding on me, when
is lilee the shudder of life at the touch of
a new direetion was given to my mind by
Death. Then, this delicious beauty, warm,
the sudden stoppage of OUl' steame1'. vVe
glowing, luxurious, seems to us a Lamia, a
had stuck fast in the fango, Anglic mud,
l\tlelusina; tIle wornan vanishes, the loathly
for the shores of this part of the coast shoal
serpent chills us with her clarnmy, poison
out very gradually into the sea. This Mis
ous coil. 18 it because, as Landor says, "The
sissippian feature in my sea-voyage 1 had
heart is hardest in the softest climes," and
not anticipated. Our little Captain came
these 10vely lands are charged with a
aft and told us it was "quite uncertain"
weight of frightful memories? 01' must we
when we should get off again; the engine
not 100k more deeply,into the very consti
was stoppeu, and the passengers as com
tution of Our natures? In the tropics an posedly as if they expected to remain sta
lower life, the life of vegetables, the phys
tionary till the sumIller mins should fall,
ical life of animals, nay, of man himself,
gathered about the tables in the saloon,
f1.ourishes, the life of the aifections and the
without one exclamation of impatience 01'
intellect, the life of the kingly passions in
man alone degenerates. There ia the r dissatisfaction, and began to pby Monte
more assiduously than before. Finding

r
80 GAN-E DEN.
PICTU RES F CUBA . 81
that an the berth s hac1 been taken durin g
our stay at Batab ano, 1 "vas prepa ring to ed La Columa about 4, A. 1\1. There 1 found
" turn in" upon 'a sofa, when a youn g Span the calesero of my friend - - waiting for
iard came up to me, and il1sisted 011 111)' me with a volante, at a large, rambling,
takin g his place. 1 was a foreigner,'" he nondescript establishment, which appears as
said, and he, thoug h not a native, yet a resi a village on the maps. A jaunt y grey
dent of the island, and if 1 would not take heade d old Creole with srnall, twillkling, dis
his berth , nobod y should occupy it. Famil agreeable eyes carne up to me here, flonr
iar as 1 had alread y becorne with the grace ishing a gold-headed cane of that flexible
fuI court esy of his people, this self-sacrific animal fibre so much prized in Cuba, and
ing p.oliteness. seem ed to me extra ordin ary. assuring me that Don - was his bosom
At horne 1 fear 1 should have distrusted it, friend, very obligingly offered to take a
which is hardl y a complirnent to our own seat with me as far as our ronds should lie
race. But there was no doub ting the sin togeth er. 1 had no objection to make, and
cerity and disinterestedness of this youn g after taJcing sorne excessively bad coffee,
Castilian. \Ve set off, in cornpany with several meek
What ever may be the charms of the looking persons, appar ently armed to the
gaille of Monte to the players, it is cer teeth. The road was wonderful! Now up,
tainly the most soothing of games to the now c1own, now plung ing up to the hor8e's
spectators. It consists appar ently in a girths in a small river, now runni ng tilted
mono tonou s iterat ion of numerals. "Sese n at an angle of 45 c1egrees along a sand
ta-cuatro, Veinte-dos," and the like, mur bank, and al ways at fuU speed. Ir the led
mure d in the slow drawling fashion of the horse lagged, the calesero haulec1 him along
island, are a most effec tuallu llaby .
We did move on again at last, and reach- .,. like a pig; if the saddle-horse flinched, the
calesero boxed his ears. Ridin g like a cen
tanr, he flung horses und volan te down glll-

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82 OAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OY CUBA. g3
lies, and jerked them up hills with a seem.,
ing recklessness, which at first made me as to the importan ce of preparing the island
uneasy. But as my companion seemed te to hold her own, before inviting strangers
think it aH right, 1 tried to faH into the to set her free. 1 did not, however, say
same state of ~ind, and entered into con what 1 could not but think, that these vast
versation with him. unoccupied tobacco-lands of the Vuelta
The road for the whole way ran through Abajo would certainly tempt hither swarl1lS
a savanna, a sort of tropical Cape Cod, with of settlers from Virginia and KntllCk)T,
palm-trees instead of stunted oaks, and taH whose presence and enterprise would soon
pine-trees springing out of the weedy awaken in the Creole mind longing memo
grollnd. My companion expatiuted on the ries of the "good old royal days." When
waste of these lands, the uselessness of the my companion becurne confidential, and
pine-trees, (that might be so profitable,) and begun to talk of his own affairs, his remarks
~he miserable government to which these were ruther Rhoeking. My Mediterranean
things, and aH the other short-comings of experience had made me tolerably familiar
Cuba were to be attributed. He was evi with the singular skill in blasphemy of the
dently a malecontent of the first water, but Southern nations, but 1 was hardly prepar
he looked for deliverance only to foreign ed to hear from living lips, an improvement
arms, and inq uired anxiously into the upon D~nte's rnost nudacious imagination.
chances of war between the United States "lVly wife died last year," said my com
and Spain. This unmanly tone thorough - panon, "my sister died six months ago, rny
ly disgusted me, and 1 thought of astonish wife's rnother and my daughter have just
ing him with Sir \Villiam Jones's Ode, just ~
died; now 1 should like t see what God
as we used to deelaim it nt Cambridge, but up yonder can do next! 1 defy him, and
contented myself with sudry sllggestions he may come on if he dures!"
Three hours brought us to un Almacen,

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84 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES oF CUBA. 85

01' "country-store," where this pious and emerged, and 1 was instu,lltly at home in
patriotic gentleman alighted. During the this strange world.
journey, he hud taken occasion to ofier me 1 told - ' - that his bosom friend had
his cane, a blow of which, he said, would favored me with his society, and described
infiict a wound like a sword-cut, and his , the individual as accurately as possible.
watch; now, on parting, he assured me " Friend !" cried - laughing. "The ras
that 1 was the proprietor of his house und cal is one of the most respectable men, and
estate, and begged me saon to come and greateat acamps in this scampish district.
take possession of them. He insulted one of my men last week, and
In a few minutes, my volante, as its has cheated me as often as he possibly
name imports, was "flying" through the could! Moreover he carried you half a
rustic gateway, guarded by a white headed mile out of your way!"
old African, naked as u native on the Coast
of Congo, into the extensive pasture-Iands
of Don - - ' 8 plantation. Then past paIm 8
trees and ~ango thickets, giant ceybas
and gnarled parasites, by grazing herds of
oxen and scattered mules, over fields that
gIowed with f1.owers of every hue, we dash
ed on up to the low, broad stone house of
one story, with steep red-tiled roof, and
dark green veral1dahs.
Great dogs rushed out with most ambigu
ous barking, to welcome me, and, presentIy,
with lounging graceful step, my friend - r

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preTURES OF CUBA. 87
costly French machinery in use on the
northern coast. Bnt the same causes
which ma,ke his position peculiarIy profit
able, deprive him of society. He lives in
CHAPTER VIII. a practical exile, relieved by occasional
trips to the States. Once he said to me,
" A pleasing land oC drowsyhead it was." "Nothing pleasant ever chances here, and
THOllISON.
the best news 1 can have in the morning is
"NON unus mentes agitat furor," aH (,
no news." Such persons as my friend and
men are not mad in the same way, says his family, it is true, can never be without
Juvenal, speaking 01' tmffic1cers by sea. the best company in the '\Vorld, in their
Perhaps like Ulysses and myself, Juvenal own thoughts and feelings. But the best
was "semper nauseator," in which case, of us need at least occasiona,l intercourse
hawking wares over the water IDight rea with our fellows. And ~his protracted se
sonably have appeared to him quite lllnat clusion from the busy world must wear
ical; and 1 am sure that if the coin of the upon the most genial spirits.
realm seemed to him an insllfficient induce \ Yet, to the casual guest, how delicious is
ment to a Levant voyage, it never would the careless monotony of such a seques
have satisfied him as the plea of aman tered exstence! ' The clmate of this re
who should devote himself to alife on a gon is far finer than that of Havana. In~
sugar-estate in the W estern Vuelta Abajo. valids come to the Vuelta Abajo from
As the only large sugar-planter in a popu~ other parts of the islanc1, and the diseases
lous district, rny friend - - enjoys a ready which ravage the northern coast, rarely
sale of his prod ncts on the spot, and as he ? wander here.
does not export, is not obliged to adopt the Nor are the heavens more bland than
~ .'

88
I PICTURES OF C UHA. 89
GAN-EDEN.

the temper of my Southern home. N 0 meals a day, and dreams every night he is
body is in anybody's else way. We live ~ dying of hunger,) js nearly beside himseIf
like the Thelemites of Rabelais. A11 our with fear, Iest his enemy the mayoral
moments are employed "selon notre vou should have succeeded this time in hurting
loir et franc arbitre. Notre rgle n'est que him with his employer, by giving him more
cctte clause, Fais ce que voudras!" The juice than he can work up in his allotted
early m~nning here is truly divine, having half of the week. So an the departments
,gold in its hands, as the Germans say, and are in full activity. Wild-Iooking, haIf-na
things better than gold, beauty glittering ked hordes of negroes, many ofthero roaring
dewy-brigh t on every leaf and blade of all out jokes to each other in savage dialects
this leafy \Vorld, and softest breezes breath of the African coast, tramp up and down
ing health ! When you weary of Iounging the pIatform of the mill, thrusting arrnfuls
in the broad piazza, to sketch the graceful of the canes behveen the ponderous 1'ollers
.palm-trees that surround the house, 01' the of the crnshing machine; and there is no
long-eared, browsing mules, you may stron pause in the flowing of the miIky stream of
out across the flowery fields, to yonder vast, cane-juice, which, plunging in a small cata
low sugar-house. You have been watching ract from beneath the 1'o11ers, runs swiftly
the soft wreaths of smoke curl lazily about through canals of cloven pahn-trunks to the
its lofty chimney, the only moving things vats of the neighboring pllrging house.
in an the sleeping landscape, for half an There is the heart of this small kingdom.
hour, while your hand has been da11ying Beneath, huge furnaces glow with the
dreamily with your idle pencil. The great,
red-tiled shed of the mill is fu11 to the top
of the cut and bundIed canes, and the fat
old Spanish sugar-master (who eats five
l fierceIy burning fuel of the dried cancstalks.
Above, the j uice, transferred from boiler to
boiler, endures an manner of transforma
tions, simmering here, foaming there, here
8*

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90 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUBA. 91

moody and sluggish, a brown and turbid nothing but J une; J une flowering over all
pool, there tossing and bubbling, an un -r' the fields, J une in the deep blue 01' the
easy sea of liquid gold, sending up its cloudless skies. The great, low red roofl:
wholesome vapors in dense white wreaths; of the distant sugar-hol1ses glow in the
now beaten into a perfect syllabub by stal warm sunlight. The gentle breeze which
wart negroes, with long paddles made of stirs the air about us here, is just strong
aloes-wood, and anon ladled out, in like enough to awaken the crisp rustle of the
manner, into a trench with lofty sides, drooping palm-Ieaves, and does not seem to
wherein it is stirred, and flung aloft in shake the heavy foliage of yonder magnifi
beautiful showers tinted with the softest cent ceybas. Just opposite, rises a huge
browns, crystnllizing slowly as it falls and forest kunk completeli mastered and ap~
cools. Sugar is in the air, the ground is yel propriated by the deadly parasite, the
low with sl1gar, the walls glitter with small jaquey-macho, whose closely set, shining
crystals of sugar, the dogs lap up the sugar dark.green leaves, with their irregular out
from the shallow pans, the little naked line, look as if they were embroidered l1p
negroes tumbling about the door-ways, are on the soft sky. Great crows fly chatter
crusted ayer with sugar; you have faund ing about the broad savanna, tbe bright
life's clumsy realization of childhood's sump hues of parrots and paroquets glance in the
tuous dreams. Thus the world mimics light, and countless pine-linnets wheel about
Snowdrop's forest home. the trees, keeping up a continual delicate
But the sun rides high, and we draw singing. The hills to the north have put
into the broad piazza our deep, backward on their noonday purple; and to tbe south,
, the bright yellow-green of the canefieldl:
sloping Spanish chairs, chairs into which a
tired man sinks as easily as a sinner into L makes merry the horizon. Througb the
sin. Far as the eye can reach, we seo amber-colored heaps of bagasso, the crushed

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92 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUBA. 93


i
1,
canes drying in the sun, a swart African began to narrow, and the cell to form, in
woman malees her way, balancing a water which, for a thousand years, he was to be
jar upon her head. 1'he tinkling of the shut out from the sedges and the green
mule-bells grows fainter and fainter, as the ponds.
long train of laden mules winds slowly on Then you are grateful for the stirring
ward into the wood beyond those swaying talk of "states and wars," and thegame
palm-trees. thereto congenial, of time-honored English
Trouble not your brain with studious whist, whereby your kind friend draws you
plans, for this conspiracy of idleness will back to modern and expansive life.
surely defeat them all! Your indolence is You resolve to botanize, and find that
indeed an indolente of incessant thoughts, you have spent the morning at the foot of
but of thoughts that glide from the grasp a colossal ceyba, niched between two of the
of your will. They flow through your broad buttresses that spring from its mas
mind like the sap of life through every sive trunk, and watching the sports of the
vein of this wonderf111 vegetable,world negro children in the field, or the diversi
aroun,d you. Y ou are roused at last, only fied forms of viciousness displayed by the
by the gathering sadness which this still mules, grandiloquent Pindar's "children of
stream has borne into your sou!.
the tempest-footed steeds," in their war of
As day after day rolls on, the isolation
independence with the sullen arriero their
and the quiet of this ~ife begin to close
tyrnnt. "1
around you. The Thebaid and the Cloister
In the afternoon - - rides with you to
become intelligible. Sometimes you are
the tobacco-farm, beautiful with the intense
conscious of a feeling, such as may have "
verdure of the broad-leaved plants, 01' down
dimly glowed in the mind of an antedilu
vian toad, when the cavity of his refuge
l through the guaya groves to give the re
I luctant blooclhouncls a swim in the little
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94 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 95


Laguna de San Matteo, 01' ayer to the iron bars. Perhaps we may make a call
neighboring town, the capital of cock upon sorne village L'tmily. Close shaven,
fights, baHs, and lawsuits, for aH the coun slender, sallow-faced gentlemen receive us
try ronnd. It is a queer, dirty town,the with elaborate courtesy; we take our seats
chef-lieu of a department, containing 1,000 in immense arm-chairs, and conllnence a ,
inhabitants, and maintaining SO shops, vapid conversation,. which becomes still
where, by a simple process of alchemy, the more vapid when the ladies appear. They
tobacco of the Vuelta Abajo is converted saunter into the room, very lightly dressed,
into building materials for substantial cas and apparently quite overloaded and op
tles in Spain. In this town a Lieutenant pressed by the scanty dress they wear, sa
Governor holds his court; there many law lute us feebly, drop into the opposite arm
yers congregate, and in the barracks a chairs, and begin to fan themselves vel'Y
thonsand troops are stationed. Ir we go langllidly. The few and foolish things they
there by day, we see only a few dark eyes say are uttel'ed in a very nasal voice,
and dirty faces staring at our volante, wq.ich sadly vulgarizes the sonorous Spanish
thl'ough the iron bars of the low houses, tongue. The pOOl' creatul'es look as if life
unless it be a.festival, when the cock:pit is were one weary dawdle, and so 1 suppose it
fiHed with a crowd. which, like aH village is to them.
crowds, comes one knows not whence, No humane person can long endure the
and disappears when the show is over, as sight of suifering which he cannot relieve,
mysteriously. At night, the little town so we take our departure, are faintly bid
mocks in its provincial way, the greater den "go in a good hOllr," and drive up to
capitaL The curtains drawn aside from the Plaza, an irregular piece of ground,
the huge windows, reveal handsome rooms decol'ated with a prepostel'ous little chnrch,
and menageries of fair ladies behind the a part-colored Governor's House, and sun

)
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96 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF cunA. 97

dry huts, hovels,and whitewashed barracks. moonlight-blue of the Grotto of Capri.


But the mingling lights of the moon and There is no
of torches, make the forlorn little Plaza " Gathcring up thc goldcll rcillS,
picturesque, and it is not without pleasure And pacing lcisurcly down arobcr plains ; "
that we listen to the military band playing
"indifferent well." When we drive home only one broad sweeping gush of western
through the moonlit gullies, and across the light, and then the purple drops suddenly
wild savanna, stories of the brigap.d age ayer aH, and the innumerable stars are
I that used to be fit well the scene. glittering larger and brighter than ours.
In this life we lead, 01' which, more prop 80metimes the evening is made more
I erly speaking, leads us, every ehange in beautiful by a fire in the savanna, a sight
_ not uncommon in this region, and unpleas
I
i
the aspect of nature is an evento The
i changes of the skies, so interesting every ant to the d\vellers in the land, only whcn
where, become doubly fascinating here. it threatens a canefield in its course. Oue
The Cuban skies are, 1 think, the most evening, while watching the shadows of the
beautiful 1 have ever seen. They combine trees, and tree-like vi:nes in the lake, and
the various and splendid brilliancy of our the play of the graceful dogs on the shore,
own skies with the soft luminousness of the 1 heard a rushing sound like the beating of
European. The sunsets are startling. Twi many wings upon the air, and looking in
light belongs to the lands of the imagina the direction whence it carne, saw clouds of
tion. Here we pass in a moment from light blue smoke rolling slowly up against
darkness to day, and from the sunshine the sky. In a few moments the southern
into starlight, just as one moment's breath sky was stained all over in black and gold,
less silence takes you from the glowing with the thick smoke and leaping flames.
magnificence of the Hay of Naples, into the We hurried to the house, and turning on
9
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. 98 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUllA. 99


the hill, saw a broad sheet of waving flame under my windows, a depression in the
running all along the southern border of earth two 01' three inches deep. With the
the lake and reflected in the still water. rain came tremendous peals of thunder,
More and more intense grew the conflagra scaring the fierce hounds, and lightning
tion, till it reddened the dark-purple sky, brighter than molten iron. The air was
and put out the stars above its path with full of electricity. 1 took up a pail' of
its fiery glow. The graceful 01' fantastic scissors, and receivec1 a smart shock. vVith
shapes of the trees stood out finely from the lull in the rain, there appeared from
this wild background, and from time to north to south, across the east~rn sky, a
time a fresh gleam of flame, seen through magnificent rainbow, the arch complete, as
the interstices of the thick low chapparal, if seen over the ocean, only the southorn
would flash like the heart of a carbuncle. end dipped through the glistening folinge of
The most gorgeous atmospheric pageant a superb ceyba, before it c1isappearcc1 in tho
of the tropics, the thundershower, can only beryl-bright wuves of the cunefields. And
be seen in perfection during the summer over ull the landscape such a lood of light !
months. Yet we had one shower which, the mellow light of October, bathing overy
, though not 01 the first water, was very fine leaf and blade of refreshed unc1 sparkling

I in the eyes of an inexperiencec1 Northerner. nature. Then shifting lhrollgh a myriac1
I
1 had neve!' seen clouds so dense and black changes of huo and form, the cloud-racks
as were gathered in the sonth, while in the broke up, and slowly wanderec1 off along
:1
IJ
west the blue sky still glittered with the the burnishec1 sky. The distant mountains
Bun. The rain began with a few drops, glowed amothystine, like the Apennines at
large as bullets, falling slowly, then carne sunsct.
the whole mass of water, beating down
every thing, and forming in a few moments)


prCTURES OF CUBA. 101
guidebook, cm'es not to see a single sight,
and, for long da,ys, dreams wide awake in
the balcony of his botel, finding the true
Pompcii and Rerculaneum in the visions
which the bIue smoke-wreatb of far Ve8u
vius is hourly weaving, the Roman with bis
CHAPTER IX. fierce luxury, the Greek with his voluptu
ous grace, in Capri's stately cloud, and soft
Adieu! doux et brillinnt rivnge,
O l'tranger reste cornrne enchain. Sorrento's sunlit heighi. ~
BRANGER.
The life of this tropic "Castle of Indo
"SEE Naples und then die," says the prov lence," is more dreamy than the dream of
erb, with a fine extravagance. One soon Naples. Thoughts vanish like vapors in
comprehends the spirit of the speech, when this warm snnlight, and the minc1 is clond
the genius of the place has fairly possessed less as tbe skies. Rayti and Jamaica loomed
his senses and his souI. It is not on re large upon the horizon of my purpose when
cord, to be sure, that anybody ever really I.wandered here, but they have gone like u/
overturned his cupof life, simply because vision of sails.
Naples had filled it to the. brim. Men and Day afier day has glided noiselessly by.
1. women have- sung in serious earnest tbe
;- "Why should 1 seek to gather up in scat
l song of Tbekla, but not for that. But tered fragments here and there, the Cuba
I Na,ples so satisfies the body and the brain whose very essence is held he1'e in a golden
with a glowing sensuous beauty immanent cup to my lips?" Thus I dreamt and mused,
in the air, the skies, the landscape, and the till tbe sound of the Easter be11s rang in
sea, that one find.s the proverb rising to his our ears, anc1 roused us to seek the city.
lips, laughs at the ciceroni, is glad of no For this year the holy Easter time was to
9*

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i
102 GAN-EDEN. :prCTURES F CUBA. 103
be pompously celebrated. The fighting JL
vana, though there is a railway and steam

bu11s of Spain were to assert their triumph boat communication nearly a11 the way!

over the pacific bu11 of Pope Pius V. by a This, however, is perhaps to give Her Ma

magnificent contest on Easter Sunc1ny in jesty's courier time to read at his leisure

the new Plaza de Toros at Havana. A aH the contents of Her Majesty's mails.

quadrille of bu11-fighters had just arrived, The Baths of San Diego are the chief
headed by one Juan Pastor of Seville, .Spa, the Saratoga of Cuba. The waters
'Yhose name has been consigned to fame are highly medicinal, and the river San
by MI'. Wa11is, in his pleasant book about Diego, besides "tasting of warm fiatirons,"
Spain. cxhibits a phenomenon rarely witnessed in
Every thing was to be arranged in the no,ture, though familiar enough in the
true Castilian style, for the authorities hope world of politics and human feeling, by
to galvanize Cuba into loyalty by the good running hot, cold, and lukewarm, within
old Spanish excitement. So we set out one a very short career. Numbers of people
fine morning after a heavy thundershower throng to these baths every year, and
which had converted the sha110w trench, though the cabillS are naturally enough as
01' deep rut, called a road, into a lively detestable as the accommodations at more
watercourse. renowned resorts of invalided fashion, one
A great part of this district is accessible would expect t.o find the road thither at
only on horseback. The mule driver with least passable. But it is atrocic:'lsly bad;
his long string of beasts tied together, and as much more appalling than a cllar-a-bana
depending each upon the strength of his pass in Switzerlanc1, as earth is more yield
predecessor's tail, is the great carrier. Tp.e ing than rock,. and a smother in unfathom
mail is taken on horseback from the con able mud more awful than a cleanly tum
siderable town of Pinar del Rio to Ha 1i
ble down a grand ravine into a clear,
sparkling mountain stream.

" .. .......' 1'" .1 ' " . .,. '

104 GAN-ED EN.


PICTURES OF CUBA. 105
'Ve reached the Alma.cen de la Oolumtt
about ten o'cIock, and 1 had leisure to sur Above the storehouse and along the cor
vey the place. 'rhese Spanish-American ric1ors, were the rooms of the "hotel," OCC1.1
variety-store-warehouse-hotels, have pecu picu just then by the families of the smalI
liar features of their own. Instead of the planters in the neighborhood, who had come
dreary counter, and the shelves with their for the "sea bathing," that is, for the privi
rows of sinister-Iooking decanters and demi lege of spending a couple of hours a dfty,
johns, we had here a small apartment, very padclling about in three feet 01' so of salt.
'like a booth at a fair, arched over with a mud und water, within a space of twenty
painted' arch, decorated with the Spanish feet by fifteen, under a heavy covering of
colors, and bearing the attractive inscription palm thatch.
"Las Delicias de la Ooluma;" the fitness of The permanent population of "La 00
the tltle being apparent on a glance at the luma," consists of three men and a boy, fhe
shelves of sweetmeats, cigars, sardines, cor cats, eleven dogs, and a game-cock, the lnttcr
dials, and aguardiente. The dispenser of creature,during his " piping times of peace,"
these delights was an olive-complexioned being tied by the leg to a huge hiclebound
boy of fifteen, with laughing black eyes, chair in the storehouse. We asked the head
like those of Murillo's musical ragamuffins of the house how many guests ,"vere sta.ying
at Dulwich. His defcrencc to his seniors wi th hirn. "Pij'tcen zuonzen," he replicd, "be
was quite astonishing, to one accustomed to sideB sorne ?nen and c1zitdren, perhaps forty in .
the independent and uncompromising style alI." Thc next "Woman's Rights Oonvcn
of "Young America" in such positions. tion," ought to be held in La. Ooluma, fol' it
Within the spacious warehouse were to is plain that the male population of that
be found all manner of things, fl'om codfish place is better prepared for an unconditional
"'tr
to preserved figs, coarse cloth for the slaves, surrender of the antiqunted privileges of
and coarse jewelry for the Vegueras. man, than any othcr beyond the borders of

~
,.

,.
\,

.~

106 OAN-EDEN.

California 01' Australia. W c spent fonr 01'


five hours at the Almacen, waiting, as usual,
j PICTURES OF cunA.

omnge colored stockings, a blue silk shawl


gorgeously embroidered with large dahlias
107

for the steamer, during which time the and roses in green and yel10w silk; a bunch
fifteen females, so precio lIS in the eyes of of artificial flowers adorned her hair, and
their host, came out. into their .saloon, this huge gold, ear-rings glittered in her ears.
same saloon serving at the same time as a Thus wonderful in her appearance, she
coach-house for a dusty volante, and as a glided gracefully into the storehouse, pur
prvate dining-room for a family party, while chased a long J enny Lind cigar, asked the
~[-?
its position on one side of the house, and favor of a light from a Montero gentleman
its mural arrangements, - there being no in a striped blue shirt, with a sword at his
doors, - enabled the occupants to observe side, and silver spurs on his stockingless feet;
the arrivals and departures, and to enliven and then returning to the "saloon," while
their retirement with the spectacle of diver the 80ft smoke curled about he1' head, took
sifiec1 dog-fights. The women were a yel up a broom and proceedec1 to sweep away
low, sickly-looking set of creatnres, dressed the remnants of the morning's meal. The
in very bright colors. Their manners anc1 family party dined in private, 8hortly after.
customs were peculiarly naive and uncon Thcy court.eously invitcd every one who
strained. 1 was particularly attructed by passed by to take a seat at the table, but as
one old lady of sixty, whose parchment face four mules were loading at the time, one of
reminded me of Heine's dame in the Harz wh~m liked to back viciously into the saloon
mountains, whose countenance resembled a every tim~ his master came near him, we
palimpsest in which a monkish homily had declined their invitation, hoping f9r a decent
been written over a Greek love story. Hel' dinner on board the boato But the boat
dress still wore a hue of youthful folly. She did not come, so tht we were forced to
was arrayed in scarlet and white muslin, dine at the table d'hte of the Almacen in

i'
108 GAN-EDEN.
I
!
prOTURES DF CUBA. 100
\
company with the people of the house, sorne E'~:ncho, "ollr fingers thick with good Chris
laborers, the crew of a lighter, and a dra
goon partial1y intoxicated. And 1 mus. say
to the honor of these good souls, that their
I

I
tian fat," who illight .'lave been the Man.
chegan squire masquerading; and there is a
berlin-clriver in Ravana who perfectly re
manners, though by no means elegant, were produces Lazarillo de Tormes: but, generally
I
vastly more decent, unselfish, and becoming, speaking, the Spanish type has deteriorated
r
I than have been displayed by rnuch better and lost cIIaracter in Cuba. 011 the way
r
} i
':<

dressed companies at railway stations and
on board of steamers at home. Even the
drunken dragoon only evinced his state by
up in the boat, which came at !ast, long
afier its time, 1 had a conversation with a
civil engineer, who told me he had just beea
r' bad behavior towards the dogs, which kept selling a hacienda of land, in the western
I running under the tableo He kicked at department of the Vuelta Abajo, which had
I thero, traitorously seduced them to approach brought on an average nine hllndred clollars
him, and then cpffed them dreadfully, and tho Caballeriaof abollt thirty-three acres.
when they "fought shy" of him, earnestly This was regarded as an extraordinary price,
adjured "Maria satissima, purissima," to though the haciencla comprisec1 sorne of the
interest herself for their eternal perdition. best tobacco lanas under cultivation in Cuba,
This dragoon was a short red-faced, white
one small vega 01' farm on the estate, tilled
haired, jaunty fellow, very like an Irishman
I by one man alone, without slaves, having
in forro and features. This is by no means
netted one thousand dollars to its tenallt
an uncommon thing here among the Span
I
:

iards of the lower orders. One's romantic
during the past year. This region is the
prornised land of the small planten3 of Ken
j notions of the haughty, sad-eyed Castilian tucky and Virginia.
f~
face are sadly shocked in Cuba. Once 1
'Ve reached Ravana on Good Friday.
t
~ sawa white-robed Dominican covered like
I That day there was to have been a great
lO
... 1
110 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 111
and thoroughly Spanish show of the pro .~ o,n omen of good luck for thc whole yea1',
cession of the Sacred Interment, and the to be first on the wharves. At ten the can
subsequent wailings in the churches, a sort non boomed, the be11s began to ring, and
of tude deux crayons, a caricature in black the rattle of innumerable wheels, the bl'ay
and yellow-white, of the magnificent cere ing of donkeys, the ye11s and cries of men,
monies of Seville was to have been, but was made the fail' Eastcr-day hideous. Thcy
not, for the rain fe11 in tol'rents from five in are worse here, particularly in the matter
-~~ l.
the afternoon till ten at night. Nothing of be11s, than in Italy. A convent hard by
was even attempted, which was very wise, my hotel, rang out a lively jig in honor of
for excepting a pic-nic in May, nothing is so the holy day, dllring foul' long hours. It is
pitiable as a clamp procession, The Caf said that the priests find it a good thing to
men who count largely upon the gains of dispose of their negro penitent.s by setting
Good Friday, were disappointed, the priests them to ring the be11s, a,nd the fl'eq uency
were disappointed, the strangers, everybody with which thc genuinc "break-down," in
but the young citizens who have to do es an ite modifications, assails the ear, inclines
cort duty to their female relations, and find one to accept the story.
them in countless ice-creams aH along the On Sunda.z afternoon, the first bllll-fight
route of the parade. On Saturday morning in the new Plaza was to have come off; but
the s,un rose clear, and, by daybreak, the the rain began agaiu, at fonr o'clock. A
Paseo, without the wa11s, was crowded with Creole marquis, enriched by the ingenious
carts and wheeled vehicles of every kind, appropriation of a number of negroes, hired
jostling and jolting together for the prece out to him by the mixed commission of
dence. At ten o'clock, the circlllation withill
the walls, suspended dllring Good Friday,
begins agaiI)., and the cal'tmen regard it as
-
I
England and Spain, intended to have opened
the show in the state affected OH such occa
sions by the nobles of Old Spain, in a gildec1

112 flAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 113


coach, with outriders and banners and what bus, a mural monument of white marble,
noto The rain) which spoiled his sport, af with an imaginary bas-relief portrait, and a
forded an impoverishecl. Spanish rnarquis of paltry inscription. Yet the style of the
rny acquaintance, who condscends to a choir, with its lofty altar of porphyry and
berth in the custom-house, an opportnnity its dark mahogany misereres and desks, lends
of dilating upon the magnificence of the a pleasant Italian character to this last rest
outfit with which he himself would have ing-place of the great Genoese, who, for
adorned the show, had the weather per weary years, bore the New World about in
mitted. The grand Catalan ball also had his throbbing brain, praying the nations of
to be postponed, as the ballroom was knee the earth to take the magnificent gift at his
deep in water. And the only spectacle of hands. On Easter Sunday the Cathedral
Easter Sunday was the grand mass at the appeared to the best advantage. The high
Cathe.dral in the morning, when the Te altar glowed with candles, little and large.
Deurn was sung in honor of the queen's The great aisle of the nave was lined on
escape from the knife of the crazy priest each side with mahogany benches, covered
Martino, ayear ago. This was really a bril with scarlet velvet, the floor between being
liant affair. The Cathedral itself is very appropriated to ladies. Before nine o'clock,
like San Ignazio at Rome, without the gild flights of fail' Cubans in their graceful cos
ing, the lapis lazuli, and the marbles - a turne had occupiecl nearly all this space,
large, tawdry, Romanesque church of the kneeling on praying-carpets spread for them
seventeenth century, with stuccoed pillars, by little negro pages, whose gay liveries,
a bright blue organ, quantities of brass 01' chiefly scarlet, 01' blue and white, contrasted
naments, wax divinities, art.ifi~ial flowers, finely with their dark faces. 1 was aston.
and pOOl' pictures. The interest of the ished to see how few of the lndies wore the
building centres about the tomb of Colum- old "regnlation black," of the church. Silks
10*

...

114 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUllA. 115


of every color rustled anc1 glisteued in the
aids-de-camp in scarlet uniforms, Caedo
fine sunlight. The effect "vas not so rich as

that produced by the dark masses of figures r 1\

himsel~ stiff with gold lace, blazing with


plaques aud stars, and cut in two diagonally
at an Italian high mass; hut the fiowing
by a huge crimson ribboI), marched up the
1.

mantillas' and veils were there, and remem broad aisle among the kneeling ladies, with
bering how near to Cuba may be the inva :.
the stately step of a pll1ralist rector. As 1
l.

sion of the bonnets, 1 was grateful for what I


stood in the Cathedral, and saw this repre
I
yet remained of the picturesque. Officers sentative of the ancient crown of Spain
in various uniforms, ecclesiastics in capes advance, in an the pantphernalia of his
and cassocks of yeUow and purple and scaf A

rank, and looked arounc1 me on the strange


let a'ud black aud green, kept coming iu, throng of decorated officers, and silken e;'
aud the mahogany benches soou began to clesiastics, and collegians in black doublets
be fiUed; while an increasing crowd of fiU and square ruffs, recaUing the days-of RIl
lattoes and quadroons and negroes, of dra bens and Vandyck and Velasquez, 1 seemed
goons in lemou-colored jackets, aud foot-sol to be gazing on a "dissolving view," '~he
diers in full dress of bIne and red,looking next mutation of which would present to
like awkward National Guards, and creoles the eye, "lean and hungry" yankees in
in black, and foreigners in white, swarmed black satin waistcoats; for the Cuptain-Gen
in the side aisles. The Plaza outside was eral und the Bishop, the "Governor of the
full of volantes, and the fine horses reared, State," and the "reverend clergy," and for
and plunged, and backed, greatly to the de a "grand mass in honor of the queen," a

. Fourth of July oration in the Tacon theatre.


light of the vocii:'erating caleseros.
Soon, a brilliant staff of officers, glittering j, These visions were son scared away by
with orders, announced the Captain-Gene the uproar of the service. The music was
1'al; and tben, accompanied by a couple of Moorish in the matter of clangor and rack
116 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 117
et; and the bell-ringing at the altar, now
at brief intervals, with the impetuous sud .-.
I
silver censers as the tired stoker loathes his
denness of a steamboat bell signaling "stop_
i coal-hod?
her" and "ease her," now prolonged and After the granel mass we had a parade.
stunning, like a dinner-bell, was more intol The Captain-General reviewed about two
erable than 1 have ever heard elsewhere. thousand men, infantry and artillery. The
There was a great deal of posturing, as men are very sensibly dressed in white linen
usual, by men in cloth of gold and cloth of uniforms, and present a respectable appear
silver, but the service, though not less Bud ance. They were then armed with heavy
dhistical, ,vas less brilliant than in even the 8panish muskets, for which I understand
smaller Italian ci tieso Mini rifles have since been substitnted.
I happened to be very near four censer How much of the old stuff that made up
men, two in red velvet dressing-gowns, and the armies of Charles V. and Philip n., when
two in red damasle They had the potato tho inf.rmtry of 8pain were the best of Eu
like faces of the most forlorn sons of Con. rope, ancl the bigotes of Alva gave a fitting
name to aU tyrants in religion, is still to be
naught; the soiled collars of their seedy
black coats peeped ayer the splendors of faund uneler the turreted flag, is a question
their robes; the huge silver urns hung I will not undertake to settle., One thing
dejectedly, for the day was hot, and the at least is certain. In those old times the
8pani::;h soldier was a gentleman, and weIl
men were as weary as jaded hacks around
a railroad station. These wretched men born men passecl their lives in the ranks.
Now the 8panish solc1ier is treatecl like a

..
haunted me till I left the church. What
dogo I saw men kicked and cnffed by the
possible purpose of religion could be an
officers on paraele. COlllmoh soldiers every
swered by the incense of such miserable
where, are not apt to be the lite of man
mortals, who seerned to loathe their heavy
kinc1, says Leigh Hunt, ancl these troops are

1",
''''!

1.

-
118 GAN-EDEN. prCTURES OF C UDA. 119

no exception to the rule. MI'. Wallis speaks poetry quite as poor as the effusions of more
in high terms of the spirit und martial bear conspicuous laureates. On Sunday, accounts
ing of the Spanish troops in Cadiz and the of the successive cockfights were transmit
neighborhood, but the troops at Havana are ted to Havana. This nonsense, like the fol
certainly not distinguished in that way. lies of the Carnival at Rome, is sedulously
Perhaps the c1i,mate affects them, but they encouraged by the government.
'. look dejected and dull. The disappointments of Easter week fell
Easter-Tuesday, closing the Easter festi heavily on the Catalans, whose Orphan So
vals, sent back many unlucky people to ciety is aided by the profits of annual balls
their business, who had come up to the city at Easter. These ba11s are usually given in
for amusements with which the "norther" the Opera I-Iouse, but this year the proprie
had sadly interfered. In different rural di& tol' of that building, (a notorious ex-pirate,
tricts the season passed off brilliantly. At to whom rracon grantcd great privilcgcs,
San Antonio arid Guanajay, for instance, two
young ladies being severally chosen queens
1 including the monopoly of the fish-market,)
was so unreasonable, that the Catalans got
of the yellow and the crimson bands, ap permission to erect a great shanty in the
pointed their courts, created nobles, and, of Campo Marte 01' parade ground. The de
course, dec1ared war against each other. parture of the country people was asad
The cockpit was their Flanders, and the blow to the Catalans, and the ex-pil'ate prob
confiict was waged by those gladiatorial ably rubbed his hands with delight at every
birds, whose courage makes them the vic shower. But when at last they gave theil'
tims of man's ferocious tastes. The news ball, the attendance was good, and the scene
papers of Havana for a fortnight had been very lively. There were masks of all sorts,
full of pompous proclamations from these negroes, animals, Chinamen, Indian~, slim
rival queens, records of levees, and loyal little brown Highlandel's in white kilts, Cos
"

120 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 121
sacks in putent leather pumps, un English ing-match ought to be ten times more dis
jockey in a red cotton frock coal and yellow gusting on that score. Neither do 1 think
Spanish boots, with other such vraisemblani that the sufferings of the bull are such as to
eharacters as one usuully sees <tt sl1ch place~. shock ns greatly. The bull is a fierce crea
But there were also some genuine novelties, tu re. On Dr. 'Vatts's theo1'Y he should be
Andalusians in the ?naia, Biscayans, Astu allowed to " deIight" in bellowing and but
rians, Gallicians, in their national costumes.
ting, "for 'tis his nature to!" Every thing
Oomparsas, 01' bands of young men, performed
conspires to excite him; and when his blood
on a great platform, different national
is up, he can hardly be even so conscious of
dances. Anq. yet the show was the ve1'Y
the wounds which he receives, as is aman
faintest shadow of that enthmlling and_
Iri/ or a boy of the bIows which he takes in a
astounding WaIpurgis-night, the masked
n battle of fisticuffs. The true loathsomeness
ball of the French Opera:. The Spania1'd i of the speetacle (the 1110ral infiuence of the
wants the wit and diablerie, the CreoIe Iacks
whole practice is, of course, detestable) con
the vigor and vivacity of that most naive,
sists, 1 think, in the appearance of the
extraordinary, blas and yet inexhaustibIe
wounded horses. 1 saw but one bull-fight,
youth, the true Parisian.
and such was the impression left on my
The Spaniard would never toIerate those
mind. Yet that was a ,; gentIe and joyous
jocose and frivolous parodies of the bull
passage of arms," for onIy two horses per
fight, which used to win such appIause at
ished. Three of the bulls indeed played
the Hippodrome ; neither wouId the Parisian
the ox, and refused the encounter, justifying
endure the brutality of the veritable "cor
'r thus the sneer of that Captain-General who
rida de toros." The horror of the bull-fight

refused to establish bull-fights on the pIea


does not consist in the danger to the meno
that there were no bulls in Cuba. One of
As Lord Byr(,l~ well says, an English bo_~-
..
~.'
these recreants, as soon as the picador rode
11
~

122 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 123

+
at him, lance in rest, turned tail and trotted story about the priest's bull at Cadiz, that
off as if before the herdsman. Round and was cheered for tossing thl;ee horses. AH
round tIle arena he trotted, looking np pa tIlese fights were criticized in the "Diario
thetically at the people, till the audience de la l\1arina," as gravely and elaborately as
clamored for his removal. The beast was tIle performances at the theatre. But the
so astounded and alarmed, that when the show and the criticism interested only Pen
door was opened he kept running by it, till insulars. The Creoles do not love the sport
sorne person wisely thought of backing in in itself, and they regard its revival as a
another bull, at sight of whose familiar tail, mere farce.
the bull within made a rusIl and followed
bis cousin out. A brave black bull who
fought fiercely, received great applause from
the amateurs round about me. "Ay! ay!"
cried one, "that is like the little ones (los
chicos) of Navarre!" This bull was struck
by the nwtador (01' killer) very unsteadily,
so that his first rush upon the extended
sword did not slay him, and be was dis
patched by a second blow. This was en
tirely against the rules of the "art," and the
unlucky matador was chased out with hisses
and cries of "Blockhead! assassin! fonl finr
gers! butcher!" "Ay de mi!" sighed an
enthusiast near by me, "so noble a bull so
basely killed!" 1 was reminded of Byron's
1.

"f"
PICTURES OF CUBA. 125

.. cities of Central America in a green night,


and built along the Orinoco and the
Amazon fortresses of barbarism and of ig
norance, impregnable alike by commerce
and by curiosity. The wastes of north
ern Cuba are jungles of closely twining
CHAPTER X. plants, gay with the myriad hues of strange,
magnificent fiowers, and overtopped by
"Jnto the green-recessed WOOd3."
KEAT8. gigantic trees, whose trunks are not less
gay with fantastic embroideries, and from
TUE change from the endless levels, pine whose Briarean arms hang countless veils
barrens, swamps, and sluggish streams of and fringes of creeping plants, the names of
Eastern Carolina and Virginia; to the high which cause upon the Bar the same indefi
lands, clean forests, and quick waters of the nite impression of savage magnificence that
mountain districts, is not more complete is made by their blended, indistinguishable
than from the rolling savannas, sentinel forms upon the eye. AH things, which to
palms, and motionless lagunas of the Vuelta us of the temperate zones are creatures of
Abajo, to the hill roads, dense vegetation, boxes and of bales, creations, we might per
and broad, sweeping vistas of the north haps as truly say, of the merchant and the
coast. The south is tropical to the spirit, grocer, meet us here at every turn, wild and
the north more sl1perbly tropical to the eye. bold in the woods, the fan-like cacao-tree,
Bere is the domain of that gorgeous and the spreading vanilla, the parasite tamarind,
formidable vegetation which wages. such a the gaunt and desolate guaya. The cactus
constant war with the works of man, the no longer struggles for existence in the fee
~
vegetation which has toppled down the "

ble sunshine of a three pair back window


temples of the Aztec, and hidden the 11 *

1,
".
1.,:
126 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 127
II

with a southern exposure; but, swollen to


the size of a scrub-oak, impedes your way
1 point of giving an impatient shout, when
your purpose is anticipated by nature with
with its dull, hideous, prickly leaves, and a shriek which pierces your very brain, a
fiaunts its great fiowers in your face. You shriek mean and malicious as the cry of an
may 6001 your thirst by day with the sweet, imp. Saddening is the absence of song
clear waters of the cocoa-nut. You may birds from th.e Cuban landscape. With the
cool your heuted eyes by night with such exception of a few visitor~ from the Florida
fioods of golden moonlight as would have coast, the birds of Cuba'a~e only gaily
driven Shelley mad. The moon, which gives dressed birds of the ball-room. America, in
expression to the most tedious landscape, general, has been ill-treated in this matter.
and the most unmeaning face, and converts Among the woods of our own New England,
the delight of gazing upon beauty into a we may not hold our breath to hear as in
kind of frenzy, the moon makes all roen Surrey 01' in Switzerland :
Endymions in Cuba.
" The selfsame song that found a path,
The silence of these tropic forests is treo Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for horne,
mendous. Still are they as the seat of She stood in tears arnong the alien corn; "

Saturno No beast crashes through the


undergrowth, no bird sings in the pranches, nor soar with "the scorner of the ground,"
no wind sighs through the mighty tops. till our o\vn souls become "blithesome and
The living creatures of that world glance cumberless," as that "sightless song." Yet
noiselessly through the air, 01' glide steaIth for us the clarion of th~ wood thrush rings
ily beneath the heavy .sound-deadening nobly sweet through the aisles of the pine
verdure. Your own voice startles you. forest, and the Canadian whistler outpipes
Sublime at first, this silence soon grows all Arcady among our stately hills, and the
~
insufferably oppressive. You are on the bubbling rapture of the bobolink chases

...

128 GAN-EDEN.
I

129
I
PICTURES OF CUBA.
I1while the thought of death that haunts our
fatal shores. Cuba has no such voices. Her
landscape is worse than soulless. The par.
rot gives it an uncanny soul, a sprite 0f evil.
-- are, however, a few places of sorne note
which possess a picturesqne illdividuality.
Matanzas, the "home ofihe Muses" in Cuba,
Is there not at least an elective affinity be has its lovely bay, shoaling out so far-' from
tween scandal-mongers and parrots, between shore that between the fleet of ships and
those shrewish, furbelowed, feathered dowa the noble quay the moon at night makes a
gers, and their ill-tongued gossips, the broad lagoon of gold, dotted over with little
"Kaffeeschwestern," the unmusical human scudding cloud-like boats and launches; and
souls that love "the treasons, stratagems, it's long, rolling, flower-studded hill of the
.and spoils" of social life? The white par Cumbre, parting the bnsy town frorn the
rot in particular, has something positively happy valley of the Yumuri, a valley bright
diabolical in the tone of its voice. Had with the contrasting beryls and emeralds of
Ver-Vert been a white parrot, he had never the cane fields and the woods, and peaceful
needed a trip to Lyons to corrupt him. \vith the calm presence of colossal ceybas,
But if the ear be defrauded of its dues in that rise above its green and golden undula
Cuba, the eye luxuriates. The island com tions of foliage, lilee holy bishops, full of
prises within its borders the most beauteous power and pastoral love. In its efect llpon
extremes of hill and plain - plains un a landscape the ceyba singularly resembles
broken as prairies, mountains that rival the that most impressive of trees, the Roman
highest peaks of the Appalachians. The pme.
towns, it is true, are monotonously alilee. Ancient Baracoa, the earliest settlement
In seeing Havana one has seen the leading of the 8panish, stands like one of the eyry

traits of appearance and of social character ...,.-,
I cities of the Rhine, a watchtower looking
which distinguish aH the lesser cities. There to the east. Santiago de Cuba, scarrcd by
earthquakes [rom which its magnificent
rocky portaIs, its pillars of Hercules, were

....

~

1I
i
130 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 131
no defence, asserts in iis stately position and ( l. Less than one third of the land m Cuba
in the French tone of its society, a right to being under cultivation, large regions are as
particular mention. So, too, 1 suppose would little known as the interior of Asia. From
revolutionary Puerto Principe, which had every height which the traveller attains, he
the courage to shut up its doors and win may descry a horizon teeming with wonder
dows during the visit of his Excellency the und with fancy, out of the ignorance and
Captain-General, giying the lie by the som silence of whose purple mystery no voice has
bre silence of the houses and the compara come, these hundred years. There are for
ti ve desertion of the stree ts, to the loyal up ests, the refuge of the wild dog and the
holstery of the public buildings and the wilder man, the fierce Maroon, the black
Plaza. Enterprising Trinidad boasts of its pioneer of doom, haunting the outskirts of
fine harbor, and its handsome houses, and a tyrannous civilization. There are moun
of the princely sugar estates which assnre tains, unmeasured and ungauged, couching,
its prosperity. Even the little new western it may be, aboye treasures which the venge
port of Cabaas lifts up its voice, concerning fuI Cemis hid from the greedy murderers of
the grandellr of that arm of the sea which his mild worshippers.
for seven miles forces its way through bold Much of the inhabited interior, too, is as
shores luxuriant with a gorgeous vegetation, little vis~ted as the western slopes of the
and affords a space wherein, as the geogra southern Alleghanies. rrhe primitive method
phies say, "all the navies o the world might of travelling, anc1 the antique hospitality of
ride securely at anchor." The oyster eater the rural regions, throw a charm of mediffi
will find his way to Sagua., and the man val unreulity ayer scenes that may be really
who " dapends on shooting a flarningo," like
the traveller in Switzerland whose heart is
set on a chamois, will probably see more of
- explorad. The mngnificcnt vale of Muriel,
fitir as tIlOse onter realms of Paradise over
which the eyes of Adam rangad from his
the island than he will care to describe.


A"

.~

!l
"
~{.
132 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF. CUBA. 133
. -
"heaVEm-kissing verdurous walls;'~ the ro~
....\ by the huge wheels of ox-earts, often lead
mantic cliffs that mirror their wealth of flow
ing you through the small rivers of the
ers in the green glistening "\vaters of the
conntry, and always guiltless of even the
winding Canimar; the mighty steeps of the
semblance of a bridge, these "highways"
Loma de Indra, from whose heights the view
make intelligible to you old Fr.oissart's hesi
. sweeps to either ocean, and away to the dim
tation in recording the feat of that young
bIne hills of Jamaica; the endless fragrant
Percy, who actually travelled from Berlin to
palm-studded solitudes of the south-west; the
Ghen t in fourleen dalJs, to join the. army of
picturesque ravines of the north-east, where
king Edward III.* Riding along these
young girls may be seen riding on the backs
wretchel raads you meet only the most pri
of oxen; the subterranean streams gushing
meval vehicles, long files of packhorses and
sudd~nlY' into the moonlight from the black
mules, und armed horsemen glittering with
ness of the sumideros, 01' caverns, which hon
spur and sword.
eycomb the surface of the island; the hun
dred sequestered nooks where still the gua~ In bygone years, an invalids who visited
giro chants his rude improvisations, melodi the island were obliged to find their way
ous and fuU of meaning as the cries of a into the interior, depending upon the un
bellman, or the songs of a gondolier, and
'*' The dwelIer in the land, who does n't care ror the middle
charms, in the skilflll gymnastics of the zap ages, looks with smalI complacency upon these roads. A fliend
ateado, groups of soft-eyed girls, graceful as of mine imported from Antwerp sorne machinery, which was
sent about seventy miles into the interior, to his estate. The
the palm-trees arching overhead; an these cost of land transportation was much greater than the freight
you reach over roads that transport you to across the Atlantic.
One is struck in JIavana by tIle apparent waste of power in
the middle ages. Rudely marked out with
limits which the irrepressible gush of vege
table life is continually obliterating, worn
- the manner of loading the maloja, or green fodder,on the backs of
mules. But a single trip into the country satisfies you, tllat a five
miles' journcy in a cart would tum the greenest fodder into exe.
crable hay.
12

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134 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 135
failing hospitality of the planters. Now the convalescents. Nothing can be more fatal
coast lines of raiIway have changed the sys than confinement to a great dreary board
tem, and a few well-known boarding-hol1ses, ing.house in a foreign country. 1 shall
comparatively easy of access, secure the never forget the melancholy face of a young
traveller a sllfficient variety of scene and American lady whom 1 saw at Guines, left
atrnosphere. Most of these places are on the there with her YOllng child, to recover from
northern shore, though tbe southern towns an attack premonitory of consumption. She
are within an easyjourney of Ravana now, had not been out of the honse for days, and
by the Bataban6 railway and the steamers though it was pIain that her heaIth had not
which run along the coast. Guines, Buena been serionsly shaken by her disease, the
Esperanza, and Limonar are the points to solitude and ,vofulness of her situation were
which strangers are generally directed. The doing he1' more harm than all the winds of
intelligent author of "Notes 011 Cuba," Dr. the East could have wrought. The balmiest
W urdeman, considers Limonar the most de clirnate can do little for the body while the
sirable spring residence on the island. It mind is nlpped and chilled. One sees many
may be reached now easily by railway, en people in Cuba who seem t.o be taking the
joys a most delicious climate, and offers the sweet air, j ust as theY would take bIack
further attraction of comfortable houses, draughts and bIne pills. Of course it is not
well kept and in a cheerful neighborhood. surprising that they derive no more benefit
Guines, which used to be the most ceIebrated from the one than from the other. Those
hospital town in Cuba, has sunk in impor who can visit the tropics in favorable cir
tance of late years. The rides in the neigh cumstances, and before disease has clestroyed
borhood are pIeasant, though by no means their power of enjoyment, should be in aH
solovely as those about Limonar. This con ways encouraged to undertake the voyage.
sideration is of the first consequence for To thern Cuba will be indeed a " Garden of
~I

1:
rI
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~. "'. t, te i .:.:f t ftm. ;.~.; .;; --.-;...


1

136 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 137


Delight." To aH others it is quite as likely set aronnd with candles, in the great saloon
to be a "Garden of Death." If a roan is left -'. of their homes. Ghastly faces stare sud
alone with his ailing consciousness, nnable to denly out on you from within the iron-barred
eomprehend the life going on around him, winL1ows,as you walk the city streets. Un
brought into none but mercenary relations coffined and ul1shrouded, for the most part,
with his fellow-creatures, and cannot run the dead are flung into shallow graves,
away; a sick deer in a strange herd, what whence they will soon be jostled by their
can he do but die?' And snch is the vigor successors in the endless procession. Dark
of that nature, death grows as rapidly as stories are told of those who have charge of
life. Deeay does not crumble, it crushes. these interments. A certain countess, who
Reckless as is the temper of modern times, died near by ns in Ravana, was laid out "in
death among strangers must still be dread state and superbly arrayed. When the, day
fuI to all who have ever loved ahorne. All of the funeral carne, one of the friends with
that accornpanies death, too, in Cuba, is par a knife,cut into shreds the fine silks and sat
ticularly repulsive. Difficulties are thrown ins of her robes, making them -valueless as
in the way of the becoming burial of those merchandise.
who die out of the communion of the Roly Among the conservative old Spanish a
Church of Ferdinand VII. and Isabella n. great deal of formality obtains in the mat
The Campos Santos, or burial-grounds, are ter of mourning. lt is considered proper
vile places, where corpses are thrown aside [or the family to shroud every thing in the
as they are in Italy, without respect and hOl1se of death. Pietnres are turned to the
without memorials even so lasting as the wall, furniture gloomily draped. Immedi
widow's tears or the tolli?g of the funeral ately after the funeral, all the relations and
bello Before burial,the dead, dressed in the .4. connections of the deceased meet at the
gayest manner, are exposed on catafalques house, where they dine together, the family
12 *

138 GAN-EDEN.

keeping out of the way in private rooms till


after dinner, when they appear, and two
great circles are formed in the saloon, the
r
1\
females gathering into one and the males
j.

into another. Lugubrious conversation then .~ .


eommenees. This ceremony is repeated ~,
daily during nine days! and is plainly only
a variation of, and as plainly not an im CHAPTER XI.
provement upon, the barbarie mourning of
" Destiny cast them among the plantations, and the gardens, wllera
the East. were fruits growing in clusters." ARABIAN NIGHTS.

THE great sugar estates of Cuba lie in


the Vuelta Arriba, the "upper district," the
region of the famous "red earth." The face
.. of this region srniles with prosperity. In
every direction the traveller rides astonished
through a garden of plenty, equally im
pressed by the magnificent extent, and the
profllse fertility of the estates whose paIm
avenlles, plantain orchards, and cane fields
succeed each other in almost unbroken suc
cession. Many of these properties yield

... \1 princely revenues, and are worked by


" gangs" of slaves, much larger than are
cornmon in the American States. The orig
.--.,.."

- . ,~,~'<':"';,,~_.-- . ....,.--:-" .~.",..,.........-... ,;...._~~Jl'o'i: ,1 \ , ."' ~

140 GAN-ED EN. PIeTURES OF e UllA. 141


inal outlay upon such an estate is very large, Cholera, sweeping away troops of his slaves,
,,?
although land can be procured cheaply the match of an envious, 01' the cigar of a
enough, and the expenses of m.anagement careless nwntero kindling a flame that nothing
are very heavy. The salaries of engineers can arrest, are alike powerless to interrupt
upon estates worked in the old-fashioned seriously the prosperou8 career of an intel
manner, average abont onehundred and ligent and enterprising lwce12dado. The rui
twenty dollars a month,dnring tbe grinding nous practice of absenteeism, which pre
season. But the Frencb machinery is con pared for the British West Indies that
ducted by persons of superior capacity, who sudden ruin,so often and so unjustly charged
are tempted hither from Europe or America upon emancipation, is comparatively un
by the ofl'er of permanent situations at much known in Cuba. The administradores of the
higher salaries. Four 01' five snch persons Cuban estatos are frequently members of
must be maintained upon a large estate. the proprietor's family. And the proprietors
To theamount thus expended, must be themselves generally pass a part of the year
added the wages of white subordinates, the on the!r estates. 'fhe master's eye keeps
expenses of five hundred or of a thousand watch over those admirable arrangements
negroes, the value of cattle annually de and tasteful decorations, which malee a great
stroyed, the incidental outlay, and in the sugar estate so delightful to the stranger.
majority of cases, the interest upon the large Particularly beautiful aro the cstatcs to
sums which the plantel' has horrowed in a which a cafetaZ is attached. The coffee cul
country where money has an extraordinary ture was introduced by the French refugees
value. Yet so productive are the estates, from Hayti, men of taste and refinement,
and so steady is "the demand for the plant who in laying out the gronnds of their new
er's crop, that the great sugar planters of -r homes, toole thought for the bea,utiful as
Cuba are in truth princes of agriculture. well as fol' the useful. The Spaniards gen

,1
~,
,,~If
'~r
.,.,!
. '0...
f."'"

PICTURES OF CUBA. 143


142 GAN-EDEN.
: seductions of the lanu persuade you
~,~
li.S
erally, (Garcilaso to the contrary notwi~h.
standing) seem to have done but little fol' I
into a new charity towarus men so superbly
\
the advance of landscape gardening, and the
I tempted. The energy with which the ad
glorious opportunities offered by Cuba to the ministr'adores address themselves to their
art, have been littleimproved excepting in \
work is surprising to you. You feel as if
the cafetales. Although Brazil has quite \ the calls of prudellce, in such a region, might
well enough be met in the spirit of Nou
bl'oken down the Cuban coffee trade, these 1,
coffee estates are still numerous in the Vu reddin, when to all his steward's remon
eIta Arriba, where they are kept up on the
\ ;
\',~:
strances he calmly answered, "Know O
French models, chiefiy as ornaments to the steward! that if thou hast in thy hands
,
what will suffice for my dinner, thou shalt
sugar estates, vegetable fhrms, and !lomes
., not burden me with anxiety respectillg my
for the younger 01' the decrepit" negroes.
The imposing scale of the operations on a supper! "
great inflenio, imparts a charactel' of barbaric I ,
\
Looking at them simply as an entertain
\

regal state to the life one leads there. The ment, the mills of these great sugar estates
baracon becomes a town, the plantel' a feudal are not incongruous with the easy delight
"
lord, administering hospitalities as lavish as of the place. Every thillg is open and airy,
the bounty of the climate and the soil. anu the processes of the beautiful steam
Living in snch a region, one soon enters into machinery go on without the odors as with
the spil'it of that eastern munificcnce and t.. out the noiscs that malee most manufhcto
ries odious. Many ingenious applications

~
pl'ofusion which disdains limits and calcula
tions. The singular number falls into disre of chemical and mechanical 8cience lend an
pute. A kind of gol'geous superfinity 8eems interest to the De Rosny trains,* which were
~ ~.
only fit and becoming. Your thought is all * Tilo tcrm train is givon to tho succossion o boilors ancl vats
"of Africa and golden joys." The luxuri- throngh which the cane juice passes in the course of its transmu
tation into sugar.

\
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I
PICTURES OF cunA. 145
1, 144 GAN-EDEN.
light ye110w suga,r! Watching this inge
invented by a Frenchman who had nevar
seen a sugar estate, and who on coming t
) nious process, 1 used to fa,ncy that somewhat
in this wiHe, rnight the nebulm of space be
the West Indies, could not work profitably
slowly fashiolling into worlds.
his own machinery. The most interesting
But the cafetal is after a11 the great charm
to me of these arrangements was the cen
of these northern il1.qenios. On one of the love
trifugal process. The molasses, which on the '
liest in the isl::tnd, 1 spent a season,the brevity
old-fashioned estates eventually distils into
of which 1 sha11 aIw,~ys regret. Early in the
diamond drops of aguardiente, is converted
inspiring mo1'ning, rny friend Don - - Hscd
by this 'process into sugar. It passes into a
to surnmon me for a drive. A dozen ne
large vat, by the side of which is a row of
groes \Vould appear,to harness oue littIe lively
double cylinders, the outer one of solid
horse, into a light American wagon, bought
metal, the inner of wire gauze. These cyI
by IDY friend for the purpose of d1'iving over
inders revolve each on an axis attached by
the thirteen miles of sugar and coffee es
a horizontal wheel and band to a shaft
tates, on which he has made good broad
which communicates with the central engine.
The molasses is ladled out into the spaces I roads. A whole pack of 90gs start.ed off
before us, yelping, Ieaping, and darting in

I
between the external and internal cylinders,
aH c1irections, and then we dashed awa,y [tt
and the axes are set in motion at the rate
a brisk pace, thl'ough the seemingly ndless
of nineteen hundred revolutions a minute.
"
,; cane fields. The heavy dew, glitte1'ing on
For three mi.nutes you see only a white in
the waves of g1'een, gave thero a soft b1'il
distinct whirling; then the motion is ar
liancy; the cloudless skies, the buoyant air,
rested; slowly and more slowly the cylin
beguiled the way, till we drove into the
ders revolve, then stop,and behold! the
:--'i cool shades of the plantaneria, 01' plantain
whole inner surface of the inner cyIinder is
grove, the unfailing adjunct of aU estates
covered with beautiful crystallizations of a
13

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146 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 147
in this land, where plantain ana pork n,re as
aisles of surpassing beauty. The height of
mnch the sta1T of life to the montero, ana
the palms is immense, many of them rising
the negro, as are beef ana water to the
more than a hundred and twenty feet into
guacho, 01' bacon ana greens to the Virgin
the airo Overtopping thus the other trees,
ian. The plantain tree, though by no
their sweeping noble arches do not exclude
means 10ftY 01' imposing -looking, indeed,
the sunlight, which pours through the inter
more like a seeay cabbage with long leves
vals, as through the clere-story windows of a
01' an overgrown flag, than like a tree - still
reaches the height of twenty feet 01' more, cathedraJ, and illuminates the green solem
nity of tho majestic colonnades.
and its heavy dark green leaves 110dding
over the ruady gronna, make a delightful Tbo cottage of tho cafetal \Vas an elegantly
shade, a SOft of cool baptistery, from which proportioned little tropical mansion, cool,
you pass into the statelier sanctuaries of the dark, floored with marble, wainscoted, and
cafetal. There tbe fllll-Ieaved orange, the
furnished with rich deep-hued lndian woods.
thrifty, dark, glossy foliage of the mango, A garden filled with heavy blooms, of jas
mine and roses, and the gorgeous pllrple
the tall elm-like aguacate, the coneshaped
mamey, cove!' the ln,nd on both sides as far Carolina, and a hundred drooping odorous
flowers, made the air faint with fragrance.
as the eye can reach. Everywhere you FOeo
the light, shrubby outlines of the coffee A dense grove of omnge trees ncar by, was
plant springing up beneath the taller trees. lighted IIp through all its reccsses by the
Avenues, miles in length, lead to the diifer glowing fruit. Oranges lay all about on the
ent quarters of the estate, and formed as bright red earth, little' naked negroes kick
they are of the full exuberant mango, 01' the ing aside, and satiated pigs disdainfully neg
i lecting great lllscious fruit, which the North
branching aguacate, planted alternately with !lO'
r'
the towering royal palm, become forest would pile with pricle, upon salvers of silver
1"
I and porcelain.

,
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PICTURES OF CUllA. 149


148 GAN-EDEN.

daintiest. The zapote, that potato-faced


Whenever we rode over to the cafetal, we
peach, and the mamoy, are rich and sweet,
always found lying on the marble tables of
but lack savor. And generally, the W ~st
the saloon, a heap of these superb oranges,
lndian fruits are decidedly inferior in deli
with the morning still in their fragrance, 01'
cacy and pungel1cy of flavor to the frits of
-a- huge golden pineapple.
the temperate zones, and of the east. The
Pineapples, like poets, appear to the best
lordly, aromatic strawberry, the melting
advantage at horneo The ripe orange from
odoriferous peal', the peach, that carries in
'fue tree has a delicate atmosphere of its
its ruddy heart such sweet merilOries of its
own, but in substance is hardly better tban
Persian home, "the cherry delighting the
a well ripened orange from the fruiterer's
sense of every man," these are unrivalled in
shop. The" lush banana," is never allowed
Cuba. The universal monotone of the
to ripen on the tree, as it fc'tlls out of its
tropics is struck for the palate too. The
sholtering pllrple glove immediately on
fruits lack piquancy, as the inland landscape
coming to maturity. Miss Bremer, there
almost in variably lacks the life of running
I'ore, might have "made friends" with the
water.
banana,as well in New York as in Havana.
1 have already spoken of the exceeding
But the pineapple oI' Cuba is another crea
beauty of the Cnban nights, and of the
ture I'rom that stringy, sour, indigestible
golden moon, which pours over the tropical
thing which we tolerate for the chance oI' lts
landscape a fiood oI' luxurious splendor,quite
aroma, just as people who have no Italian
read Hool\!;'s Ariosto. It is as unquestionably /.. unimaginable by those who have but
watched her climb the northern skies with
the king among tropical I'ruits, as is Bur

J
a wan face, and with sad steps. Beneath
gundy among the wines of France. Tbe
the moon, too, and the stars, the night
I'amous aguacate is really no I'ruit, but a veg
glances with living meteors. The cucullo8
etable, eatable only as a salad, and of the

I
I
13 *

150 GAN-EDEN. prCTURES OF CUBA. 151


are indeed inconceivably brilliant. "Watch little cages of reeds. They are carefully
men of the insects," serenos de los bichos, a washed at morning and night, and fed with
lovely quickwitted boy of four summers, suga'-cane, (if fed with sugar the saccharine
the child of one of my friends, called these particles adhere to their legs, and they faU
torchbearers, when he first ~aw them; and upon each other like Kilkenny cata,) and in
f1.ying in long lines, with their double lights, this way may be kept alive and shining for
they do produce an effect similar to that of many days. They have been carried thus
the long processi6ns of the watch at Ha to New York, and set free in Broadway to
vana. They are quiet, however, in which the great wonderment of the Gotharnites.
they do not resemble those worthies, who The nature of their .light 1 do not know.
must be called seren08 in irony, for they But all the underpart of the body is trans
make night dreadful with perioc1ical how18, parent, and the light appears to be under
lUuch more prolonged and eloquent than the cucullo's control, flashing and failing
the similar uproar with which peace is like the bottled up auroras of Professor
hourly proclaimed nt night in Philac1elphia. \ L - - at Cambridge.
The light of the cucullo is really strong The calm eternal sbrs, look hardly more
enough to serve as a candle. 1t is also very divine than these mortal stars, that seem
delicate, a fine green luminousness, precisely sent to cheat liS pOOl' rnoths, out of our
like the effulgence which emeralds shed
" Devotion to sornething afar
upon a lovely neck. But the emeralds of }'rom the sphere of our sorrow,"
inca 01' suItan may soon be counted, and these
glories are showered indifferently into the into a desire for more accessible, though
verandah of the noble, and the baracon of I
more evanescent, joys. Once 1 caught sorne

the slave Children delight in them, keep and gave them to a littl,e girl, who forth
ing them shut up, by forties and fifties, in with hung thern aronnd her light dress, say-
,. ,
j
!~

(
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152 GAN-EDEN.

ing, that "God had made them with hooks


to fasten on little girl's dresses." An inde
feasible inference! the hooks are certainly
there.
Did God also make mahogany trees to be
hacked into canoes? One day 1 saw a I CHAPTER XII.
couple of Africans hewing away, to eonvert \
"Ro! ha!" ,9ried Orlando," you too are for throwing stolles, nre
a noble mahogany trunk into a mere vulgar !\ .
you?" MORGA~TE IIIAGGlOHE.
" dug-out." Probably MI'. Ruskin \Vould eall
the destiny of that trunk more divine, in
I

l' N ORTRERN life is not aH peaehes and roses.


being true as an honest, clumsy dug-out, ., Neither, alas! is the life of the tropies only
I
than in coming with a smooth and var I pineapples and pleasant breathing. To me,
nished faee, as the deeeitful veneering of a Cuba was, in the main, a garden of delight,
pinewood table, to eherish dyspepsia and "where my hcart was dilated, and my
seandal in polite soeiety ! anxietyeeased." And so fal' 1 have l'ecordec1
chicf1y the deleetable impressions w hieh 1
l'etain of the island. Were 1 writing of an
eient Ieeland 01' mocle1'n Tongataboo, 1 Ulight
forbear handling more painful themes, ob
serving a disereet silenee eoneerning 8no1'
1'o's little weakness of pimey, and Amekam
eha,'s passion for foreign fiesh. When we
t
think of the Caliph in Gan-Eden, why need
,ye remember 8heikh Ibrahim, pl'eparing
slight bastinadoes fol' imp1'ope1' eha1'aeters at
the gate? But there are Cubans in Cuba,
'\

154 GAN-EDEN. PIUTURES OF CUBA. 155


and it is of no slight importance to under ('
~
island, and possess horses enough to mount
stand what manner of men they are. As f a regiment. But the remembrance of an
they seerned to me, so l must describe them ; those nnliquidated obligations shall not, l
if need be, "throwing stones." 1 beg thee, hope, delay 01' divert rny hand.
reader, to believe that 1 am led to this task Of course, Cuba has great distinctions of
by no such instinct as sometimes constrains society.. Tbere, in the first place, is the vast
the mildest of boys to "have a shy" at the gulf between white and b1l1ck Cuba. Of the
meekest of cats, when he sees her conspicu darker side of that gnlf l sha.ll hereafter
speak. l have to deal now with the grada
ous on a shed in the sun. That Marid and
taskmaster of the Anglo-Saxon race, "a \ tions of life in white Cuba.
':[1he whites in Cuba numbering, l suppose,
sense of duty," is the rcsponsible party.
Consequently l sha11 be as faithful in the (for nobody exactly knows,) about four llUn
work as l am reluctant to commence it. dred thousand souls,* are divided primarily
When the brave town of Marblehead lay into old Spaniards, 01' Peninsulars, and Cre- ,
be~"ond the borders of civilization, every oles. The old Spaniards fill a11 the offices
bewildered trave11er who mistook that mu of the island, and transact by far the greater
nicipal blind alley for a thoroughfare, used part of its commercial affairs.
to be greeted with a savage salaam of siza The mother count1'Y has been in the habit
ble pebbles, accompanied with the intima of applying her sons, like leeches, to the
tion that a sma11 pecuniary tribute was in bodies of he1' colonies,, and the succes.sive
dispensable. Cuba offered me tribute before generations of old Spaniards have come
1 evinced any hostile disposition. Had l upon the lndies, like those great waves of
exacted of a11 the Creoles l happened to barbaric invasion which swept over the
meet, a just discharge of a11 their promises,
1 should now be a la1'ge landholder in the * The unreliable census of 1849, says 457,132.
156 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 157
Roman Empire. Naturally enough the old the second generation, rejoicing in the sun
Spaniard looks down upon the Creole with shine of fashionable life. Tbe Catalans are
the contempt of a conquerol'. Not less nat generally very loyal, for they enjoya num
urally the Creole regards his kinsmen of Cas ber of monopolies which, like all monopolists,
tile with a sort of spiteful aversion. The they blindly and ignorantly cherish, to the
bright-eyed boy at the caf curls his full lip serious injury of Cuba. Political economy
with scorn,when you ask him if he was born in Spain seems to be just abreast with tbe
in Cuba, and his shrill treble grows a cIarion wisdom of the age o Walpole. For instance,
in the reply, "No, Seor! soy Asturiano! "
The judge ~:m the bench, the beaten soldier
I1t the barracks, assume towards the native of
\I the fiour monopoly so protects the exporters
of Ferrol and Santander, that the wheat of
northern Spain, origirtally very gooc1, is
the island, something of the port with which forced upon the Cuban markets, after under
an Alvarado 01' a Sandoval imposed respect going voyages of sl1ch a length, that one can
upon the defeated Aztec. But the Spanish only account for them, by sl1pposing that
superiority does not consume itself in sneers each captain, on every trip, has to find
and airs. The old Spaniards monopolize the tbe new world all ayer again, without refer
most profitable traffic. The Catalans, the ence to Columbus! It was the loyal Cata
yankees of. ol~ Spain, the hard-headed, lans who clamored most loudly for the exe
shrewd Catalans, faithful to their motto of cution of the foolish and unfortunate men
"fiv: e years .of privations, and a fortnne," of the Lopez expedition. General Concha
are to be found in every town and hamlet, was forced to threaten the Catalan leaders
and' in every stage of social developrnent, in order to restrain their indiscreet zeaL
from .the domestic grub, toilsomely outspin What nerves indeed are so sensitive as those
ning the brilliant cocoon that is to be, up 01' of trade? Governments, not royal, have not
down to the gay and gorgeous butterfiy of disdained to embrace the patriotism which
14
158 GAN- EDEN .
PICTU RES OF CUBA . 159
starte d into life at the first thrill o a pecu subor dinate s at the Palace. The whole
niary panic ! thing is in the pures t orien tal taste, hut one
More irreco ncilab ly hostile than the mer- must be very immoral to enjoy it.
chal1ts to the Creole popul ation, are the
Throu ghou t the count ry, the "pate rnal"
old Spanish officials. It is really hard to gover nmen t is as affeetionately watc1iful ayer
exagg erate the exten t to which bribe ry and the people as a duenn a aunt ayer a prett y
corru ption are carrie d among these persons, niece, and as fudiciousl firm as an old-fash
01' the annoy ances to which the ul1protecte
d ioned schoolmaster. Engli shme n and Amer
nativ es are subjected at the hands of Dog
berry s clothed with more 01' less autho rity.
\
! ~
icans, more accustomed to worry than to he
P worried by their governments, can hardl y
At Hava na, it is notoriously impossible to ir
bring themselves to believe in the realit y of
procu re any papel' of impo rtance at the ! such an incessant, inquisitive, undignified
gover nmen t house, witho ut employing an tyran ny as prevails where ver a " stron g gov
agente 01' gener al broke r, a limite d numb er ernm ent" is "main tainin g order." 1 knew
of whom are licensed by the gover nmen t. one man, whose amall prope rty happe ned to
1 tried the exper imen t myse lf of applying lie on the road taken by a party of troop s
perso nally for a certai n document, but arter conve ying sorne miserable prisoners of the
danci ng atten dance for nearl y a week in Lopez "arm y" to Havana. One of these
the large and little rooms of the Palace, 1 c.aptives feIl by the way, and was left to die.
gave it up and put the matte r into the hands Foun d by sorne negroes, the dying man was
of un agente, who within the day broug ht visited by the plante l' of whom 1 speak, car
me the reqni red parc.hment stamp ed con ried to his house and cared fol'. He, how
spicuously with the word gratis, and de ever, soon died. This act of huma nity being
mand ed seven donars af:! the price thereof! lle<qal, the plantel' became a mark ed mano
These fees are of cours divided with the Milita ry requisitions of carts were made
,

160 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 161
(.

upon him in the height of the grinding forbore to ask any questions while she was
season, vexatious searches, and aH sorts of present, for what a dreadful creature, what
small annoyances infiicted upon him. Nat 1 a Cuban Jack Sheppard, laughing like love
at locksmiths, and rich in resources as Monte
uraHy enough, the objeet of this despicable
persecution sometimes gave vent to his feel
ings in injudieious language. The doctrine
I Cristo's Abb, must that criminal be, who
was thought capable of making his way
of "constructive treason" being thorol1ghly through a stone wall with a German silver
understood in Cuba, he was at last arrested, teaspoon! To my amazement, my friend
carried to Havana, and was lyil1g there in
prison when 1 left the island.
\ informed me that the prisoner was a lad re
markable only for bis poverty of spirit, a
1 flfLt fool in short, who lived 011 an estate only
Visiting the house of a friend one day, in
the country, 1 found there an old woman 1 as an incumbrance attached to his father the
wrinkled as only Spanish Creoles can be overseer. This pOOl' numbskull, going to
wrinkled, who was tearfully discoursing the Tienda, thought to give himself impor
about her imprisoned son, whom she had tance among the open-mouthedmonteros, by
that day for the first time been allowed to annol1l1cil1g that an American fieet had been
see. The youth, it seemed, was alone in a seen off Cape Antonio, bringing a mighty
damp, dirty cell, and compelled to eat his army to avenge Las Pozas! Fo!' this silly
vile meals without so much as a spoon. His lie, the boy had then been incarcerated more
pOOl' old mother told us she had been at tlum flve months! and migbt be for years,
work an day, carving out two little wooden since even in the regular course of law, a
spoons for him. " Muy bien hechas," "very trial is no necessary conseqllence of an a1'
wen made," she said they were; and who rest, and the military authorities, 1'ight 01'
would wish to doubt it? My heart was wrong, think it always best to malee their
moved bJ' the pOOl' creature's story, bt 1 mark 011 their prizes.
14 *
162 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 163
In annther partido, a lawyer of eminence ant ending, not without the offer and accept

I
arrested at his own house in the night, re ance of a "token of regard."
mained four months in prison, inco17ulnicado, No man can be trusted with irresponsible
a11owed, that is, to see no oue. At the end power, and the system which multiplies
of that time, with no explanations given, he petty authorities beyond the reach of pub
was turned out, and sent home, to find his 1 lic opinion, must entaiI upon any country
wife dead, and his affairs in complete dis --- the curse which weighs on Cuba. To sup
order. port the army which keeps this swarm of
A Brazilian gentleman, deputed by his functionaries safe, the Cubans are taxed
government to examine the sugar and to much more heavily than any other civilized
bacco culture, happened in the course, of his people.*
journeys to stay iu my neighborhood, with From the officiaIs, who aptly enough sup
a Creole of high inte11igence, who was sus ply the places of the venomous and annoy
pected of republicanism, and convicted of ing insects from which Cuba is singularIy
manliness andindependence. This was free,I pass to that great body of the natives
enough to bring suspicion on the envoy of on which they feed.
a friendly empire, who was summoned be The first conquerors of Cuba,like Harri
fore the Capitan de Partido. After many son at Naseby field, "did not their work
absurd questions, "Why do n't you study -~ n"egligently." The name of the second com
tobacco-growing in the United States?" mercial city of the island, Matanzas, 01' the
asked the officia1. "Perhaps 1 sha11," an Massacres, commemorates, it is said, the Iast
swered the shrewd Brazilian," but 1 dislike
the institutions of that country so much that
* For fun details of the despotic ndrninistration, and of the
. taxation of Cuba, which, as there stated, arnounts in the gros~ to
1 am in no h urry to go there ! " This was about 2~ per cent. per annurn, on $800,000,000, the total o
property in fue island, 1 refer the reader to the exeellent work
enough. The examination carne to a pleas- entitled " Cuba and thc Cubans," published at New York in 1850.
r

--
164 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 165
of the great slaughters which overtook the
idolatrous Indians, who were so profane as enough be used to clarify blood, and it is hard
to object to the combined gift of shwery and to see why a title honestly bought with good
salvation which the Christians proft'ered golel doubloons 'S not quite as gooel a thing
them. The trooper's sword and the miner's as a title taken by force of arms, 01' pur
spade evangelized Cuba, and the present I
chased by worse than menial services ren
natives of the island, unlike the hybrid dered to sorne vulgar sensual prince. Closely
peons of the continent, are of pure Spanish allied with the p]anters are the great Oreole
blood. The twenty-two cities 01' towns of merchants. Often very opulent, these Cre
sorne size which exist in the island, co~tain a oles of the first rank are almost al ways
fair proportion of these Creoles, a few more distinguished fol' the easy courtesy of their
1 manners, and for the genial hospitality of
are scattered ayer the great haciendas 01' 1
estates of the sugar ana coffee planters; but I their households. Nor are they wanting in
the great majority of the native born whites enterprise. Ouba, in the matter of railways,
is to be found on the vegas ana tobacco may compare favorably with many of the
farms, in the villages and hamlets of the in American States, and the railways are the
terior. These are the people who must give result of Creo]e energyand enterprise. The
to Cuba its chief national peculiarities. The Creole planters are indefatigable in their
planters, of course, give tone to the highest eiforts to improve their estates, and to ele
ranks of Cuban society. To their number velop the resources of their magnificent
belong the thirty 01' forty marquises and island. No one of the Southern States can
counts of Cuba, the "sugar nobles';' as the show a finer, few an show so fine a body of
old Spaniards call them in disdain, though intelligent and well-bred gcntlemen as the
one might suppose that if blooa may bl3 haciendas anel the cities of Cuba may be
used to clarify sugar, sugar may reasonab]y justly proud of possessing. The women of
this class generally exhibit those qualities
166 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 167
ominously significant, nor does a closer in
of warm and devoted affection which so
vestigation dispel its significance.
universaHy adorn the female history of the
In aH the island in 1840, out of more than
8panish race. But the imperfection of their
ninety thousand free children, only nine

~
education, in many cases, and in many more
thousancl attended any school, and of thes8
the absence of noble incitements to mental
only one tllird were educated at the public ex
and moral activity, condemns these fine na ,
pense, that is to say, had their ears pulled and
tures to alife which withers and wastes
were beaten by certain incompetent friars.
their best energies. From these higher
The much abused Turks are not more illit
classes of Cuban society have come the most
erate than the rural Cuhans. Newspapers
enlightened and fervent ~dvocates of Cuban
only reach the interior in the forro of wrap
liberty and independence. Were we to
pers. Dr. W urdeman tells us of one yeo
judge of the inteHectual and moral re
roan, well-to-do in the world, who had bought
sources of the island, by the proofs, with
a school geography from a peddler for twenty
which the poets, patriots, and orators of this
five dollars, kept it ostentatiously in sight,
class have furnished us, of cultivated powers
and professed to have learned therein that
and 10ft y aspirations, we should go far be
the English and Americans were the most
yond the mark. With the exception of the
notorious stabbers in the world! This man
extraordinary mulatto of Matanzas, Placido,*
must have been a snperfluous hypocrite, for
aH those Cubans who have distinguished
most of !lis fellows have a fine scorn of let
themselves generously, in literature 01' in life,
terso My friend - - told me one day that
belong to the planting 01' urbane classes.
a neighbor of his had just been condoling
The multitudinous hamlets and villages,
with him ubout his insane visitor; insane 1
the ancient vegas of the interior, have given
must be, it was clear, for 1 had been seen
us neither song nor speech. This fact is
very often, reading a book in the verandah !
'*' And Placido himself, it will be seen, was a eitizen.

'
..

168 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUBA. 169


Great as is my respect for books,I do Dot -rhe newspape1's indeed, in the dearth of
regard a knowledge of the alphabet as es \mrnaculate matter fol' their rigidly expur
sential to human exce11ence. Charlemagne ~atcd columns, devoto a gooelly spa,ce every
contrived to make his mark tolerably intel morning to compendious biographies of the
ligible, long before he could write his name, . ;:1nts of the day. But th~ people who read
and Crosar Borgia was a better scholar than the newspapers, the merchants and men of
John Bunyan. The ignorance of the Ouban business, are rarely seen within the church
mind would be far from hopeless, were the ,valls. Were it not for the zeal "devoti
Cuban heart enlightened by that sweet fmrninei sexus," as good San Carlo Borrorneo
knowledge, of which aH the lore of the long since called them, the Ravana churches
brain is, and ought to be, the very h umble would be as empty as San Stefano Rotando,
slave and servant. But this is not so. The 01' any other of those stranded old Roman

education of the popular heart and con ships of faith, which lie so high and elry,
science belongs chief1y, of cou1'se, to the beached on 8ho1'es from which the tides 9f
church. And the church in Cuba has prac human life receded centuries ago. Neither
ticany abdicated its spiritual functions. The painting nor music, nor the mere magnifi
tyrannical ostentation of 1'eligious uniformity cence of gold and jewels, invests the ritual
is indeed kept up, aH Protestant settle1's of Cuba with attractive pompo And what
being obliged to abjure their faith before is so disrnnl as shabby Romanisrn, the "scar
their oath of allegiance can be received; let womnn" in rags and tatters ? The old "
perju1'Y opening the door for loyalty to walk French Encyclopdie reviles the church in
in. But the majority of the Cubrms hardly - \ Cuba, for being so "revoltingly rich." The
give themselves the pains to pretend to an riches have tak.en unto themselves wings,
I
interest in church matte1's. The attendance and though a few of the dignitaries still
on the church services is usua11y meagre. enjy large incomes, the scanty revenues of
15
'.
Ir

170 GAN-ED EN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 171


the chnrch greatly limit its power for good, cism of the Roman Church, but it certainly
und aggravate its worst influences. The \'
is a great misfortune fol' any country that
church in Haly, 01' in Austria, is like Thuck its religious teachers should be constantly
eray's Louis le Grand, stutely in high-heeled living in open viola,tion of one of the most
shoes and nodding periwig, glittering with sacred rules of their order. In truth, there
the factitious kingliness of velvet coats and 8eems to be a tacit llnderstanding between
diamond stars; the church in Cuba resem the priests and the people, that neither shall
bIes the sume Louis, diminished in shuffiing trouble the other'; the curas laugh and look
slippers, and with bowed bald head shaking after their nieces, their nephews, and their
aboye his withered and decrepid limbs. farms; the lVlonteros laugh, train fighting
This primitive simplicity of the rural church cocks, dance, blaspherne, make love, and
however, only affects the extern~ls of things. play at monte. An oppressive government
Well says straightforward old Chaucer, "a and a tempting c1imate complete the ro u
fouI priest canl10t make a clean parish." Of cation of t11e yeomanry, for so we may ren
course there are worthy and welI-conducted del' the title of nwnteros, which is given to
roen among the village curas of Cuba, but the rural whites. Is it hard to imagine
in general the cura is regarded as a kind of the result? The Condesa de Merlin, an en
civil officer, and he thinks as little of utter tertaining Cuban Scheherezade, who was by
ing, as his people do of hearing, hornilies. no means critical in he1' col1ation of author
Often he is only the best boon companion ities, once gave an account of the monteros,
in his d~strict, and the will of Gregory the which resembled the reality of montero Jife
Great seems to have been set aside by the and character, just abollt as closely as Made
cornrnon consent of clergy and people. One moisclle de Scndri's Persians resembled the
cannot wonder at the impulse which revolts ffiends and folIowen~ 01' the great Cyrus.
from the unnatural and corrupting asceti- According 1.0 her, the montero cavalier was
r ..

172 GAN-EDEN.

a true knight and pilgrim of love, able to


~ PICTURES OF CUBA.

every organ, new ease in the discharge of


173

ride fabnlous distances, on steeds noble and every physical function, naturally enovgh
\1
dear as Bavieca, outwatching the stars, and ponrs something of his own inward delight
\vith his lute "striking ladies into tronble, ayer every thing which he meets and sees.
as his sword struck men to death." Done But those who are thrown, by the necessities
of their position, into daily contact with a

~
into pretty French, the Condesa's rich ro
mance perfumed all the saloons of Paris. people, are the safest guides, and the testi
The altars of Chateaubriand and Sto Pierre, mony of an the planters I ever knew, goes
of Paul and Chactas smoked again. Scoff to confirm the inferences I drew from my
ing debauchery, gant oeurre /mis, raved own observation, in regard to the montero
about the majestic silence, and primeval and lower Creole character. I need not
passion of the tropic forest, to sentimental dwell upon the stories thttt are everywhere
insincerity in gauze. Nature, gayly cos current, of the occasional brigandage to
tumed and scented with the south, became which the natives resort. Authentic iri
presentable and even fashionable. The Cu stances carne within my own knowledge of
ban guagiro was not less fascinating than organizations formed for the purpose of high
Fra Diavolo. With him, with the ~fexican way robbery by individuals of considerable
jarocho, and the Chilian pincheyra, the New standing. In one case, the leading lawyer
World was no longer savage. Less roman of a certain town was discovered to be the
tic and more scrupnlons writers than the chief of a set of banditti who had ravaged
Condesa, have yet painted the montero in the adjacent country, and had actually
the warm hues with which the tropics had stormcd and taken one h,tmlet and storehouse
charged their palettes. A kindly man, of respectable size. This lawyer being
travelling from hospitality to hospitality, brought to trial, escaped by oiling the hands
and conscious every day of new vigor in of justice. His fortune went to Spain in
15 *
,
1

174 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 175


remittanccs from certain functionaries. He Englishrnan 01' American, are dangerous and
himsel1' had leave to go to Mexico. His ..,?eadly things, it would be invidious to
. .
mqmre.
brother sold his estate to a 1'riend 01' mine,
who, on removing the barn, 1'ound six skele 1,
Inclo1ent, beyona conception, the montero
tons quietly disposed beneath the fioors. ,1 certainly is. His rule 01' action is, "Never
I do to-day what you can possibly put off till
These instances lllight be paralleled,I know,
nenrer home.* But there can be no doubt to-morrow." That cabalistic \Vord "Maa
that the monteros generally, entertain ideas na," "To-morrow," which comes upon the
with regard to the intrinsic propriety 01' pi fiery nortbman's impatience from every
raey and robbery, lUuch more in aceordanee 8panish lip, likc the calm rebuke f the
with the theory and practice 01' the ancient Egyptian's patient eyes, is ten times more
Greeks, than of any modern people 01' the appallillg in the Creole mouth. You fee1
west. General Tacon, in the universal that to contend with it ,vould be like dash
sweep which he made 01' all the liberties oI' ing yoursel1' against the barred doors of
Cuba, included the 1'reedom oI' the Toad, and destiny.
at present, those who go to Cuba with the Nor is it much easier to load a restive
expectation 01' seeing gentlemen drop sud mule, than to lay a responsibility upon the
denly dead in the archways 01' the city, 01' 4
shoulder8 01' a montero. His word i8 his
01' surrendering their own purses to a Claude slave. He is as cunning as Clovis, and as
Duval in leggings, will probably be disap false as Lok. Yet one can understand how
pointed. How much 01' the present secllrity the montero contrives to leav~ such a pleas
01' the roads is due to the eneJ'getic police ant impression on the minds ofcareless and
force, and how much to the prevalent im contented travellers. He has a ready smile,
pression that firearms in the hands of an a "well-placed \Vord 01' glozing courtesy,"
warm \Vith the phrases 01' the Moor, always
* As, fol' instance, in tho "Martha Washington" caso.
~L 76 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA . 177
.. a.t his eommand. Rarely is the montero the monteros have so little weight of char
snrly 01' quarrelsome. The easy audacity acter, that they can inspire in each other no
of his bearing is even attractive. The very mutual confidence. 1 shoulcl judge them to
'" boys are lordly in their laziness. Wal1der be as incapable of maintaining a free and
ing over the tufted hills, you eatch sight of orderly polity, as were the Hindoos before
a fine clump of cocoa palms, and your heated the English conquest. In the event of any
palate eraves the refreshment which nature political commotion, it is clear that the mon
has hung up yonder in those unsightlycups. tero would side with the gods rather than
y ou look around you, and meet the flashing with Cato. They hate the Spanish govern
eyes of.a hatless, shoeless urchin, just such ment, but dread the chances of an insurrec
a brown, white-toothed, glowing creature as tion. Individually,I dare say the monteros
Murillo loved, lying in the shade of a brolcen are not deficient in brl1very, but regimented
wall. You hail Lazarillo and tempt him they must form a despicable militia, revers
with silver. He rises to his feet, with such iag the character of the French, wIlo like
a langnid graee! pl1ts his fingers to his lips, grains of gunpowder, however sputtering
and with one shrill whistle brings his father's theymay be as units, are terrific in masses.
only slave from the patch of land hard by, Physically, the monteros are by no means
sends lli'm l1p the smooth, difficult mast, and an ill-Iooking race, though c1ecidedly inferior,
before yau have recovered from your sur as are tIle Creoles in general, 1 think~ to the
prise, offel's you haH' a dozen oI' the won nativos of old Spain. Whether it be true
drons nuts! 01' not, that the European races degenerate
Fond of eheap vices, and proud of cheap physically in the New World, is a question
virtues, superstitious waiters upon Provi not here to be discussed. Certain it is that
dence in all matters of business, and bold the Creoles are slighter in frame than the
blasphemers on the slightest provocation, Peninsulars: that the common tones of the
, ...

"
178 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF cunA. 179
Creole voice are less fnll and musical than brero flaps solemnly downward over his nose;
those of the Spanish, and that the Creole his stockingless, sain tly :;: feet thrust in to yel
has lost something of the direct, vivid glance lowish deerskin sandals, dangle in the heavy
of the Celtiberian race, a loss which is pe-r stirrups, and seem drawn backwards by the
haps counterbalanced by the richer, softer weight of his massive silver spurs; the long,
beauty of the Creole eyes. In the rural straight, silver-hilted machete jingles against
districts, where the practice of shaving is the rows of silver buttons, sometimes in the
very general, I was struck with the preva shape of silver coin, that adorn the seams
lence of an Irish type of face. The Irish of hi1:l coarse trowsers. Our montero is
face of Kerry pleads strongly fol' the Mile plainly of themind of that fashionable lady,
sian claims of the sons of Erin. Bnt the who said she could easily dispense with the
Irish type 1 recognized in Cuba, is that more necessaries oflife,but not with its luxuries.
common, heavier, and less attractive type He must have his finery. This trait of his
which all the world hails as belonging td character makes the fortune of the Catalan
the "finest pisintry on the earth." The traders who keep the Tiendas of the inte
montero, as you meet hirn riding along t-he rior. Many a village whose high-sounding
Cuban roads, if roads they may be called, name smacks of old Castile 01' fair Granada
forms a striking feature in the novel land is incleed of the proportions of Martin Chuz
scape. l\Iounted on the small, sturdy, pacing zlcwit's Ec1cn. Two 01' three warehouses,
hor8e of the country, and sitting in his huge and a Tienda, are sufficient to constitute a
high-peaked saddle as carele8sly as if in. a hamlet whither the monteros from miles
cart, his brown skin, his wrought shirt, and around shall daily resort. / There they lounge
baggy trowsers red with the dust of the soil, away the mornings; their horses tethered
the montero, though by no means romantic,
'*' The Selloi at Dodona gloried in being,aVl1rT01rOe'i I1nd who
is certainly picturesque. His slouching som ever saw a clean Capuchin 1
1",
I
!
!
". 180 GAN-EDEN.

aH aroulld the stone-floored piazza, and


themselves hanging about the counters
within, drinking aguardiente, (the "slow,
sweet, Spanish name" for rum,) smoking
cigar after cigar, jockeying, betting, and
talking scandal. How many times has the
painful idea seiz~d me, a 80rt of mental
CHAPTER XIII.
. stitch in the side, as 1 rode away from one
of these barefooted, barefacec1, disreputable "By your Ieave, sweet welkin, 1 must sigh in your face."
LovE's LADOR LOST.
assemblies, that the nOlsiest and most voluble
Sir Oracle of them all, might perhaps, at no MAN is at once the crown and the curse
,
I
.distant day, be infiicted upon our own unfor
tunate Congress, as a representative from the
of earth. Hman love may lend perfume
to Paradise itself; human hate may make
80vereign State of Cuba! the desert more dreadful. Not for their
l- snow are the wastes of Siberia most fearful ;
deadlier vapors than rise from her swamps,

.'
I
l
,
taint tho sweet airs of the South. Within
the shadow. of the' Pyramids the squalid
l
I
Fellah skulks; the Queen of the Antilles is
I
a Queen of slaves !
1 have called t~e great estates of Cuba
principalities. Feudal lordships they too
truly are. We cross the ocean to stare,
in the self-complacent pride of liberty,
upon the crumbling ruins of Raglan, and
16
~

182 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 183


of Baden, seeing in those grim walls to us the best traits in the pictures of Cer
" which nature's ivy, and man'::; IOmance llave vantes and of Scott. 'rhe gentle-hoartec1
so softly veiled, the outward shape and mistress is the refuge and the treasury of
she11 of a life long since extinct. Yet here, her slaves; the negro child bows his head
near by our northern homes, that life is ac and asks a blessing as his master passes, and
tive still, as stern and strong as ever! the rllde African, writhing in the agonies of
" Stone walls do not a prison make !" "Cus tho cholera, cries out that he should not die,
tom," cried Teufelsdrockh, "doth make do if the master whom he reveres as a supe
tards of lIS all." The Paladin Orlando, the rior being, were only by his side. "Up to
traitor Ganelon are busy ~till in their diverse the ears in corn und pumpkins," Quashee
paths, only serving 01' deceiving now a fool blesses such Go~d as he worships, for his haur
ish magnanimous public, instead of a foolish of laziness and sunlight, and thinks well of
magnanimous Charlemagne. The stone walls life. 'Von by personal qualities, which are
of cruel law, and prejudice, and passion, everywhere the strongest bond between
were the true prisons of the pOOl', the true man and mal,l, sorne faithful slave may well
castles of the great in the old feudal (lnys. be found willing to die by his noble and
They are standing now in the New World, consic1erate 10rc1, and incapable of conceiv
with guarded battlements, und drawbridge ing a conc1ition more satisfactory than his
lifted, and deep dangerous moat! Those own. Without falling into the weakness of
features which ni.ake the retrospect of feu eclecticism, one may freely admit that the
dalism "romantic," are not wanting to charm relation of a humane master to his slaves
sentimental travellers into a half admiration calls out certain virtues,which in the let alone
of modern slavery. The warm hospitality, system of modern civilization, are less fre
the gallant bearing, the manly natural dig quently developed through the usual rela
nity of many a cultivated slave-holder, recall tions of society. But at each step of his
\

184 GAN-EDEN. preTURES F CUDA. 185


progre SS towards a perfect social order, it lounging, whip in hand, and brow severe
has been the constant destiny of man to with brief authority, no array of cllnning
drop for a time some threads of the mighty arguments can ever avail with him against
web he is weaving, which is nevertheless, the witness -Of that moment's deep disgusto
always advancing towards completion. We Once c10thed in fiesh, the mystery of wrong
must judge any state of society by the haunts the memory forever.
totality of the impression it makes upon uso The metaphysics of evil are the anodynes
And we must remember that the character
.. , of the conscience, but the vision oI' tyranny
of that impression wiU depend very much lights a fiame in the soul, before which
upon the vivacity of our 'own instincts. The doubts and opinions are as flax in the fire.
traveller in a slave country will find his love And by t~le vi~ion of tyranny, 1 do not mean
of luxury, andcourtesy, and generous ease the spectac1eof what are usually called the
appealed to on every hand. Not less ur "horro1's of slavery." I have never seen in
gently and continually will his respect for any slave countr.v much positive physical
roan be aroused to protest against the tone suffering, und I saw less in Cuba than I have
and temper of society around him. If the seen in Carolina. The" frightful sights" of
couch and the banqueting-hall, the "c1ap any country are not easily to be seen by
ping of hands, jars of jewels, and violet the casual traveller. How many strangers
sherbet," c.arry the day, he will find more can honestIy say that they ever 8au; as much
reasons than an Escobar could give, why misery in London 01' in Paris, as they have
iust at t1zis t1ne, those things should be treated seen within an easy walk of their own
with considerate forbearance. But if within homes? The sight ofthat which is usual,
his heart, the wholesome thought of labor calm, and unimpassioned in the relations of
curdles, when beside the swart husbandman the sI ave and the master, is itself the deep
in the sunny fields, he sees the surly driver est "horror of slavery,"to a lover of free
16 *
.
'.
~ ':~. " .
....
"

.'
'.

185 GAN-EDEN~ PICTURES OF CUBA', 187


domo Howtnuch more appalling than this come from .the inhabitants thernselves of the
01' that detail of crime, is the perfect uncon dirtiest, vilest, and most squalid dwellings.
sciousness
. with which the literature and the
'
There can be no doubt that the prretorians
art of antiquity reveal .the secular l'iot of of a J ung Bahadoor, 01' a Napoleon, would
the senses! And thus, in a land of slavery, favor us with eulogistic views of despotic
it is the master's good-natured, unquestioning government. J ust so the bulk of slaves,
superiority, the slave's natural, unconstrained like the bulk of rnen everywhere, resign
servility, which most shock the best instincts themselves to the inevitable limitations of
of manhood, and like the mere sight of the their lot, and those of them who find favor
silent cunnon and the ranged soldiery of with their masters are very likely to con
insolent authority bearding unarmed right, ceive exalted notions of their state. But
/

rouse while they sadden the heart. as in the case 6f the denizens of filthy Wap
Sluvery on parade is just as repulsive to ping and close Sto Giles's, though they may
every thoughtful lovel' of the rights of rnan neither feel nor proclaim the depth of their
as is slavery in undress. It does not better own wretchedness,yet nature' protests against
the impression of the institution, that its the outrageous wrong, in the brand of ugli
victirns appear to us sleek, fat, und gayo ness and sin which she sets upon their faces
How does it aifect our judgrnent of the and their forrns, and in the sudden declama
nature and tendency of military life, to hear tion of the pestilence; so in the case of
that General J ones visited the quarters of slavery, though the slaves themselves should
the men, "tasted their soup," and pro find no fault, the eternallaws are vindicated
nounced it excellent, and that the soldiers in the baseness of the slave character, and
expressed themselves entirely satisfied with in the sluggish chill that .smites the Efe
their condition? The London Board of blood of society.
Hcalth have observed that cornplaints never Evel'Y person who believes that man
l

188 GAN-EDEN. \ PICTURES OF C UDA. 189


was made for self-government, and 1"ho aH, but to those who think tha,t Jesus, when
wishes to see the world about him flourish he said, " Ye aH are brethren," meant " Mind
ing mainly in the characters of his fellow your own business." Sucb must seek their
roen, must look with utter loathing upon the ideal of human society in savage New
system which severs the social nerves of Guinea, rather than in philanthropic New
feeling and of though~, and condemns the England.
vast main body of society to a movem.ent It was my fortune to see in Cuba perhaps
aimless, soulless, and mechanical. And this the mi1dest form of agricultura1 slavery.
loathing if it be sincere, will find a voice. Among the slave-ho1ders ofmy acquaintance
Slavery is everybody's business. It must are nl1rnbered sorne of my most va1ued
be attended to thoughtfully and reasonably, friends, men of candor and of character,
like aH other business, but the safety und with whorn one could speak as unreserved1y
hope of mankind are lodged in the freedorn on the su~ject of slavery, as with high.
and force of private opinion, and the tl'ue minc1cd officers on the subject of war. Dn
spirit of a Christian civilization makes every del' their auspices 1 saw the system in its
man a missionary, to contend in his way and most nt vorable aspects. Moreover, the Span
ineasure, against every wrong which he sees ish slave 1aws rather resemb1e those of the
and feels in a world full of wrongs. Sa.ncho East than those of America. There is a
Panzas abound, with small hearts set upon master too, aboye the masters in Cuba, and
eventual Baratarias, but however common though the supreme authority is exerted 1ess
the folly of Don Quixote still may be, his to benefit the slaves than to oppress the
nobility.of mind and the unselfish devotion slave-ho1ders, still there are circumstances of
of Christian knight-errantry, do not grow t great superiority in the condition of the
Cuban over that of thc American slave.
like wild flowers. Whatever tends to en
courage their culture, must give delight to The American slave has no hope but that
190 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 191
of which man cannot deprive him, the hope The domestic relations of the Cuban slaves
of immortality. His earthly destiny is are also protected by the law, and the great
taken completely out of his own hands. immorality which exists among them, is a
He has no majority, and like a child 01' a consequence of their own unrestrained sav
beast, must look to receive from another his age instincts, and of the debasing eX<tmple
good 01' evil fortune, without an effort on of the lower whites, rather than of any snch
his parto The Cuban slave is protected by tyranny as that which is too truly painted
the law in the enjoyment of a certain in Dnele Tom's Cabin. The Cuban law, too,
amount of property, and may apply his forbids the infiiction of more than twenty-.ftve
earnings to the purchase of bis own liberty. lashes (1) and the master wIlo maltreats his
An authoritative. arbitration may settle his slave, is compelled, as in Turkey, to sen him.
value, on his own appeal, and so soon as hp The mildness of the c1imate is in favor of
shall accllmulate fifty dollars, his master i~ the Cuban negro. And on the great estates,
obliged to accept that suro as an instalment the slave quarters, the baracones, are usually
of the slave's price which buys fol' him a pl'O as neat and wen arranged as on the best, the
portionate command of his time, and in the exceptional plantatiolls of the South. The
event of his sale to another owner before he baracon is generally divided into separate
has accomplisbed his liberty, shall be carried domiciles which are about as large as an
to his credit. 1 have seen slaves who were average Welsh cottage, and are rarely so
free for five 01' six days out of the seven, and dirty as tbe homes of the paradise of conso
would soon emancipate themselves entirely.* nants. To the baracon a hospital is always
attached, often under the charge of sorne
'*' The large proportion of free negroes, (for they compose
nearly one si~th of the population,) is a standing witness to the granted them for an instant, in the American slaye States. They
advantages enjoyed by the African rare in Cuba. Moreover, the are enrolled in the militia, and sorne o them have just been
free blacks and mulattocs enjoy privileges which would not be called into active serviee.
GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUllA. 193
192
African Sangrado, skilled in leeching and by the slaves, who in small bands of three
01' four men, denied even such savage sem
bleeding, and in the compounding of " snake
butter," * and other astonishing specifics, but bltLnce of family life as the great estates
always superintended by a, physician who aiford, are worked upon the small tobacco
visits the estate once 01' twice a week, 01' f:'11'm8, by owne1's whose poverty of means,
even oftener, according to its size. The anc1 love of luxu1'Y make them utterly in
older women, exempted from harder labor, human. Under the moonlight, as undel'
(for Cuba does not traffic much, like New the .sunlight, these hapless wretches, with
o1'1 ea11S, in second hand muscles) take care little rest and no comfort, must plant and
of the children in a great nursery. The tend' and gather the pleasant poisonous
chldren are not often numerons, for the weed. From that so famous "tobaceo of
growth of the slave population in Cuba is the Vuelta Abajo," a eunning alehemist
sadly checked by the infiuencc of {hc slavc might dra.w secrets more fatal than its
trade, which keeps up an alarming prepon hidden nieotine !
derance of the male sexo Even on the best of the great estates,
The greatest severity of toil is endured from November to May, the negroes are re
qnired to work 'sixteen and sometimes nine
'*' "Sno.ke-butter," extracted chicfiy from the majo, the largcst teen hours a day. They work, like sailors,
snake in the island, is considered a specific for the rheumatism.
8t. Patrick seemsto have visited Cuba also, tbough he contented by ,vatches, making the "night joint laborer
himself there with converting the snakes. Nonc of them are with the day," and startling the strangel'
venomous in the slightest degl'ee. Indeed, exccpting thc taran
tula and the scorpion, neither of which is half so bad as its rcpu
from his midnight sleep, with the prolonged
tation, Cuba has no dangerous ereatures, even o.mong the insects. wailing eadenees of their barbarie chants.
The skin of the majo, which sometimes grows to the length of
eight or ten feet, when tanned, makes ll. very pretty leather,
In this excessive toil both sexes bear an
Of such skins the fierce Aztecs used to make their "wild war equal part. It may, perhaps, be doubted
drums." For modem men of milder manners, they furnish the whether this particularIy aggravates the
neatest of slippers.
17
194 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUllA. 195
case. The hoe in the fields may possibly be of newly landecl slaves before the mixed
less deadly to body and to soul, than the commission, but the slave-trade still goes on
needle in the garret. profitably, and for the most part in Ameri
The number of slaves in Cuba probably can bot.toms, sailing under the American
rather exceeds than falls short of 350,000. flag. The excitement which is sometimes
Of this number fully one half are Bozales, created in America by the news that a Brit
muzzled ones, (so runs the expressive phrase;) ish cruiser has boarded an American vessel
who cannot say whence they came. These in the Cuban watera, would, douhtless, he
are the native Africans, most of whom have considerably mitigated, did our patriotism
been imported in' defiance of the treaties_ refiect upon the disgraceful way on which
with England, and are therefore entitled to our so-cnJlcc1 " national honor" is constantly
their freedom. The complicity of several made to serve as a shield for the pirates of
Captain-Generals with the 81ave-trade is a the slave-trade. The freqnent advertise
matter of notoriety in the island. 'rhe ad ment in tbe Havana journals, of " a new,
ministration of the honorable anc1 high hanc1some, und s'\vift American harque, en
mind,ed General Valdez, by showing how tirely ready for sea," has a meaning easy to
much an honest executive could do to inter be mastered. The demanc1 for these vessels
, rupt this system of piracy, threw a heavier is permanent, fo:' after a slave-ship has dis
burden of suspicion llpon his successors, and charged her fearful cargo, she is usually
the innocence of General Caedo will not scuttled and sunl\:. The profit on victims
be easily establishcd, in the face of the fact who can be sold in Cuba at from six hun
that large cargoes have been continually dred to seventeen hunc1rec1 per cent. profit
landed along the coast during !lis term of on their cost in Africa, nmply repays the
office. The energetic English con8ul has great expenses of these horrible speculations.
occasionally succeeded in bringing a number The freedom of the Bozales must be es
196 GAN-EDEN. preTURES F CUBA. 197
tablished before the mixed commlSSlOn. time, fro111 u fhihing boat, and had been sold
This mixed commission, of English and and resold six times, in different parts of
Spanish judges, sits at Ravana. The" eman Cuba. 'l'he emancipados have been often
cipados," 01' slaves declared free by this com very vilely treated, those to whom they
mission, are apprenticed for a term of eight were hired selling them into slavery aIld
years in the island, ato the end of which time returning their names as ,dead, at the end
they are set free, and may be cal'ried back of the eight years. The honorable urgency
to Africa, 01' to 011e of the British 'Vest oi' England to obtain a more faithful fuliil
Indies, usually to Jamaica. As the untor ment of treaty obligations in regard to these
tunate men are generally captives of wal', men, is the only foundation, so far as I could
it would be impossible to restore them to learn, for the reports that Englalld is tI'ying
tkeir own countries, which, in many cases, are ta excite Spa,in to an imitation of her OWIl
in the interior, and could only be reached dell10cratic policy of emancipation.
through the territories of their nn,tural ene The numel'OUS body ol' Bo.?;alcs, emancipados
mies. We are often told that Jamaica is a and slaves, constitutes as muy be supposed,
much wol'se country for the negro than a l1ucleus of insurrection, which, in tlle
Cuba, but thus much is certain, that the event of any general commotion, must prove
slaves stolen from the British Islands, mani formidable. It would be rash to suy that
fest a singular desire to return there. Sev the whites entertaill any positive fear of the
eral instances of the sort fen under my ob negro population. ~rhe frightful atrocities
servation, in one of which I had the pleasure which attended the suppression of the
of conveying to the English consul an inti alleged insurrectionary attempt of 1843-44,
mation of the existence and wish to escape, must be attributed to the rapacity of the
of a negro, who, with two companions, had Spanish fiscaJs ancl low officers of the crown,
been . stolen seventeell years before that rather than to any panic among the Creoles.
17 *
198 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 199
Thollgh the black pop-ulation of Cuba out~ zest of which are due entirely to the fresh
numbers the white, the sllperiority of the vivacity of barbarian feeling continually
latter in habits of command and resources infused into the negro population. The
of organization can hardly, under ordinary mirth of "El Dia de los Reyes," the "Day
circumstances, be shaken. In Hayti, the of Kings," has a strong flavor uf the horri
blacks were thirty times more nllmerous ble. The No Popery dances of Hugh and
than the whites, but the servile war even Dennis, were Lydian measures when com~
there, only attained importance through the pared with the canni balesque contortions of
conflict between the royalist and republican that hideous carnival.
whites. Among the Bozales, the tribe of Lucumis
It is not, however, to be denied that the is especially noticeable. The Lucumis are
wisest Cubans look with extreme dislike not only numerous; they are the fiercest
upon the constant introduction of new and most warlike of the coast tribes, the
bordes of savages iuto the island. The Caribs of Afriea. Their pride is such that
Junta de Fomento, a quasi-representative they will rarely eudure punishment.
body, now placed like every tbing else, un~ Dr. 'Vurdeman tells us of a planter,' who,
del' the control of the Capain-General, has having purchased a gang of newly-Ianded
not hesitated to recornmend,..very urgently, Lucumis, thought fit to punish one of them.
the introduction of white and Indian colo~ 800n afterwards he was summoned to the
nists. Many coolies from China have been help of his overseer, and found the Lucumis
already dispersed over the island, and they dancing their war-dance around a tree on
seem to give general satisfaction to the which the Lucumi who had been punished,
planters who employ them. Miss Bremer was hanging, having taken refuge from
has described at length, the savage games what he thol1ghtdisgrace, in suicide. Mat
and dances of the negroes, the spirit and ters 100kec1 very threatening. But the
200 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 201
plantel', with great tact, ordered the dead only fierce and intelligent savages imported
body to be respectfu11y taken down, placed into Cuba. Whether this constant ground
upon u bier and borne to the baracon. He swell into the sluggish waters of slavery is
fo11owed it himself, hat in hand. The Lu fl:L varable 01' not to the safety of the vessel
cumis stared, fe11 into the procession, and that fioats on such a tide, my readers will
marched on in silence. At the baracon, the decide for themselves.
plantel' addressed them in praise of the
braye Lucumi nation, und of that particular
hero there before them, assured them they
should be kindly treated, but must be gov
erned, and then requested thcm to bury
their friend with 0.11 the honors of their
savage wake. This proceeding quite concil
iated them, and the plantel' had little more
trouble with them. The Lucumis are not
merely proud und fierce. They are very'
inte11igent. 1 have seen them intrusted
with the care of important departments in
the complicated sugar machinery, and a
friend of mine in Havana, an admirable
chess-player, w~s badly beaten at his favor
ite game, by a Lucnmi, who had been but
fonr years in the island, and yet spoke Span
ish as we11 as most of the O1'eole negroes.
.. And the Lucumis are by no means the
PICTunES F CUBA. 203
Maracaybo, "that information should not
become general in America;" and how ex
clusively the energies of the Creole mind
have been directed to what is called practi
c[\,1 life, th[\,t is,' to eating, drinking, sleeping,
and trafficking, it certainly is astonishing
CHAP TER XIV. that Cuba should have produced any writers
capable of interesting mankind seriously by
11 They, too, huve made verses, which have been published in books.'
TACITUS DE ORAT. the vigor, dignity, and beauty of their
works. Yet sueh, as 1 sha11 hope to show,
-'
I MIGUT go on with tlmt ficry eulogist of is the case.
" Young Rome," Aper, to add, "and which I know how apt we are to overestimate
are no better than the verses of Oicero," any 'thing which has any flavor of " eaviare."
did I not remember how much pleasure 1 Superiorities of aH sorts are sttd snares.
took, long ago, in discussing certain " applef'o. "Those oysters we had at Venice," huse
of gold in pictures of silver," ,,,hich carno spoiled the appetite of many an untraveHed
to my hands as the firs~fruits of the "gar friend, who was beginning to be ignorant1y
den of delight." Doubtless the majority jubilrmt over the choicest products of
of my readers will be surprised to heal' that Prinee's Bay. And the oldest thoughts,
Cuba has any literature at all. And when clothed in a foreign tongue, aifect us like a
we consider how completely the island has familiar landscape seen through stained win
been enveloped in the colonial system of a dows. But after a11 deductions made, and
government, which has always acted upon judging thern in the most impartial spirit,
the resolution frankly proclaimed by Charles some of tlle Cuban ftuthors deserve, it seems
IV. when he suppressed the University of to me, tbis high praise, that they have been
... 5 R.l .10... .'t7i.,.:.~

204 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 205

thinkers a,nd artists in a land indifferent to but the censors of the press have suc
thought and to art, tl'ue lovers of liberty in ceeded in purifying even the "Poet's Cor
an atmosphel'e of oppl'ession. Particubrly ner." The" Revista de la Habana," the first
must this pmise be awardecl to three men, number of which appeared during my stay
Heredia, Milanes, and Placido. These aU in the island, is as decorously dull as the
are poets, al1d the best produetions of the " Giornale di Roma" itself.
Cuban mind must be sought in the fieId of A brief sketch of the character and tero
poetry. The poet is everywhel'e the morn per of the poets whose names 1 have men
ing stal' of mind, in whose light tyrants see tioned, will show the reader how much there
only anothel' ornament of the night tbey is to be rep1'essed in the impulses of the
love, while the oppressed hail the harbinger higher class of Cuban minds. 1 select these
of day. No prose-writer could ever have writers, not merely because they seem to
secured the publication in Cuba of the me the first in point of literary excellence,.
thoughts and feelings which ter poets have but because they sprang froro three different
given to the world. The government in classes of the city population.
every case, it is true, has awakened, sooner Jose Maria Heredia was a gentleman, by
01' later, to recognize the patriot in the min birth and position. The son of a patriot,
strel, and there are few of the noteworthy whose pat1'iotism made him an exile, He1'e
bards of Cuba upon whom the hand of au dia, born in 1803, at Santiago de Cuba, was
thority has not fallen more 01' less heavily. carried in his childhood to Mexico. There,
The works of most of these writel's are now at the age of sixteen, he lost his father, and,
contraband at horne, and cannot easily be returning to Havana, was admitted in 1823,
. procured. Formerly, there were several topractice as an advocate, by the Supreme
journals and magazines in the island, which Court at Puerto Principe. His opinions and
used to be enriched with melodious sedition, conduct soon attracted the suspicions of the
18
206 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES F CUllA. 207
government, and in November of the same Fair land of Cuba! on thy shores are seen,
Life's fuI' extremes of noble and of mean;
year, he 'was obliged to f1.y to America. He The world of sense in mutehless beauty dressed,
published the first collection of his poems, And namcless horror3 Itid within thy breast.
Ordained of HeRven the fairest fiQwer of earth,
at New York, in 1825. In 1826, he was :False to thy gifts, and reekless of thy birth !
invited to Mexico, where he was at once Tite tyrant's clamor, and the slave's sad ery,
appointed assistant secretary of Sta~e, soon "\yith the sharp lash in insolent reply,-
Snch are the sounds thut echo on thy plains,
afterwards became a judge of the Supreme 1Vhle virtue faints, and vice unblushing reigns.
Court,' and was sent to the senate of the Risc, and to power a daring heart oppose !
Confront with death these \Vorse than deathlike "\roes.
republic. He died at Mexico in the prime Unfailing valor ehains tite fiying fate;
of life, May 6, 1839. An edition of his ""Vho dares to die shall win the eonqueror's state!
'vVe, too, can leave a glory and a name
works was published at Toluca in Mexico, Our chldren's cl1ldren shall not blush to claim;
in 1832, and another at Barcelona, the Mar '1'0 the far future let us turn our eyes,
And up to God's still unpollutecl skies!
seilles of Spain, in 1840. As aman, Here Better to bare the breast, and unclismayed
dia is honorably remembered for the gener Meet tite sltarp vengeanee of the hostile blade,
osity, integrity, and amiability of his char Than on the coueh of helpless grief to lie,
And in one death a thousand deaths to die.
acter; as a poet, the dignity of his thought, }'earest thou blood? O, better, in the strife,
the harmony of his versification, and the Prom patriot ",onnds to pour the gushing Ufe,
Than let it ereep ingloriolls through the yeins
graces of his language well support his claim Benumbed by sin, and agony, and ehains !
to the high rank which his countrymen have ,Vlmt hast thoa, CuLan? Life itself resign, _
Thy very grave is inseeurely thine!
assigned to him; as a patriot, his love of Th)' Llood, thy treasure, pOllrcd like tropie rain
country seems to have been not less wise Prom t)'rant hanus to fccd the sol of Spaino
lf it bc truth, that nations still must bear
than fervent. The follo.wing lines from one -'
TiJe (;l'llshing yoke, the wasting fettcrs wCl1r,
of his unpublished poems, "The Exilc's If to tiJe peoplc this be Ileaven's deeree,
'1'0 dasp tbeiloslI:lll1c, nor struggle to be free,
Hymn," vibrate with the gelluine thrill of r'rom truth so Lase my Iteart inJ.ignant tllrns,
poetic feeling, and with the manliest passion. 'Vith frecdom's frenzy all my spirit burns,
208 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUllA. 209

That rage which nued the Roman's soul of fire, How sweet, dear love, to listen to the rain,

And filled thy heart, Columbia's patriot sire 1 That patters softly on Ollr lllllnhle home ;

Cuba! thou still shalt rise, as pure, as bright, To hear the wilcl wincls whistliug o'er the plain,

As thy free air,-as full of living Iightj And the deep booming of the ocean's roar,

Free as tho waves that foam around UlY strands, "Vhere shattering surges lash the distant shore!

Kissing thy shores, and curling o'er thy sands ! There, by thy side, on softest eoueh reelined,

My throbbing lyre shall rest upon thy knees,

And my glad heart shall sing the boundless peace,

Heredia's fine poem of Niagara must be Of thy-fair soul, the Iight of thy dear faee,

known to many of our readers through MI'. My happy lot, and God's surpassing graee.

Bryant's excellent version. It has always Cleady Heredia was aman to be seriously
seemed to me one of the very best utter " discouraged " by any despotic government.
ances ever called forth by a scene'~ whose Milanes, born in a more humble rank of life,
praise, "expressive silence" best can muse.
and bound by his occupation to the mercan
Even upon the brink of the mighty cata
tile class, was not less warm and sincere in
ract, the palm-trees of Cuba sigh through
his patriotism than Heredia. But the tem
the wanderer's thought, whispering sadly of
per of his mind was melancholy, and his
the grievances and misery that fiourish in
sweetest strains are full of asad, mystical
their shade. The" Season of the Nol' thers/'
fervor. His brother says of him in the pre
inspires some natural and musical verses, in
face to an edition of his works, published at
which the dreams of the patriot mingle
Hav:llla, that he "was inspired with the
still, with the blest reality of the husband's
noble enthusiasm of accomplishing a great
happy love.
social mission, and possessed of fuith and
bope, selected, for the subject of his songs,
My happy land! thou favored land of God,
Where rest his mildest lcoks, his kindliest smiles, moral 01' philosophical ideas." He is indeed
Oh! not forever from thy soil bclovcll, a very p1aintive poet, and in reacling his
/
May cruel fortuno tear me! but be thine
The latest light that on these eyes shall shine ! verses we are haunted with a continual in
18 *
''-,T~~.~'~'~~~=-'7,.-"""!'-----~------------

210 GAN-EDEN. preTURES OF CUBA. 211


definite sound of wailing. Certainly there whose education was of the very rudest
... is not much in the condition of Cuba which kind, a Pariah of society, bearing in his very
can inspire her bards with pride and pleas form and color the ineffaceable badge of Bis
ure. But the intense melal1choly of Mi grace and servitude. Yet this man tri
lanes has a tone of personal suffering, like umphed over an the obstacles in his way,
that which pervades the sonnets of Camoens, and after establishing a high reputation as a
01' the complaints of Tasso. The gloomy poet, set the seal to his fame by a dignified
tendencies of the temperament of Milanes, and heroic death. In 1844, particulars of
aggravated by private troubles, and still an intended insurrection of the colored pop
more, no doubt, by the consciousness of his ulation, carne from various sources to the
im'potence to redress those wrongs of his ears of the supreme authority in Cuba, and
country which he so keenly fe1t, finally over seemed to demand investigation. Every
powered his reason. thing like a representative body having
The story of this young roan, the purity been abolished by Tacon, there was no ap
of whose character, the elevation of whose parent way open for consulting with the
aims, and the. delicacy of whose genius have Creoles on the subject. The Captain-Gen
secured for him a real and beneficent infiu eral coolly resolved to settle the b1.1Siness by
ence in his own country, sad as it is, is by military commissions, and immediately let
no means the s~ddest to be found in the loose upon the island a horde of inferior
brief literary history of Cuba. A darker officials, w ho proceeded to collect testimony,
tragedy closed the career of the most inter and to infiict punishment, after the fashion
esting of the Cuban poets. Gabriel de la of the "process of the Templars," 01' "Jef
Concepcion Valdes, (not unknown in Amer frey's Campaign." Numbers of free persons
ica by his 12011'" de plume of Placido,) was a of color, and of slaves, died under the lash,*
mulatto of Matanzas, a combmaker by trade, >11' The British Commissioner, Kennedy, says three thousand.
.~. f.. 4e.,+;:": ~ .. )"?;;;:P,,~J!S I '4. ,d .. , HI 1(

212 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 213
many others were summarily shot, und such composure, und won the admiration of the
infamous excesses were committed by the numbers who visited him. In the intervals
fiscals as beggar belief. The victims of this of his preparation for death, he composed
dreadful persecution were stripped of their sorne of his finest poems, particularly his
prope~ty, and the crown officers (with a few " Prayer to God." Can we deny the honors
honorable--exceptions,) soon converted their of genius to the Ouban mulatto who could so
system of terror into a grand financial ex feel and speak?
pedient. White creoles, and foreigners, were
not exempted from this pestilence of power, God of love unbounded! Lord supreme !

In overwhclming gricf, to thce I fiy;

and the planters were compelled to ransom Rending this veil of hateful calumny,

their slaves at great cost, from the hands of 0, lct thine urm of might my fame redeem!
vVipe thou this foul disgrace from off my brbw,
a tribunal which arrested without accusation, With which the world hath sought to stamp it now
and condemned without inquiry. The con
Thou King of kings, my fathers' God and mine,
spicuous position of Placido arnong his peo Thou only urt my sure and strong defence;
pIe, marked hirn out as an early victim. It The polar snows, the tropic fires intense,
The shaded sea, the air, the light, are thine;
is not improbable that Placido may have The life of leaves, the water's changeful tide,
been concerned in the conspiracy which AH things are thine, und by thy will abide.
there is really reason to suppose was then Thou art al! power; ul!life {rom thee goes forth,
organizing, and though he contemptuously Allll fnils 01' ftows obedient to thy bre:lth ;
'Vithout thee, al! is naught, in cnllless death
denied many of the charges brought against Al! nature sinks, forlorn anll nothing W"orth.
him, he does not' appear to have shrunk y ct even the void obeys thee, and from n:lught,
By thy dread word, the liYng man was wrought.
from maintaining the right of the negroes
to rise against oppression. He was found Merciful God! how should 1 thee deeeive 1
I,et thy eterna! wisdom seareh my soul!
guilty and sentenced to be shot. He be Bowed down to earth by falsehood's base control,
haved in prison with great proprietyand Ber stainless wings not now the"ilir may cleavc.
Send fOl'th thine hosts of truth, and set her free!

Stay thou, Lord! the oppressor's victory.
~~~~":'. ~",
','
,"
.. :.

214 GAN-EDEN .. PICTU RES F CUBA. 215


Forhid it, Lord, by that most free outpouring On the morning of J une 28, Placido was
Of thine owri precious blood for every brother
Of ou1' lost ruce, Il.nd by thr Holy Mother, led, with nineteen others, to the Plaza of
So fuH of grief, so loving, so udoring, Matanzas. He passed to his death, like an
'Vho, clothed in sorrow, followed thee afar,
Weeping thy deuth !ike u deelining stur. lndian chief, chanting for a death song 'his
But if this lot thy love ordains to me,
own noble "Prayer." He was to suffer
To yield to foes most eruel and unjust, first, stepped into the square, knelt with un
To die, und leave my pOOl' und senseless dust
The seoff und sport of thei1' weak enmity,
bandaged eyes, and gave the signal to the
Speuk, thou! und then thy purposes fuifil; soldiers. When the smoke rolled away, it
Lord of my !ife, work thou thy pelfeet willl was seen that he had only been wounded,
A letter which Placido sent to his wife on and had fallen in agony to the ground. A
the night before his death, iswo~thy of a murmur of pity and horror ran through the
place beside the more famous one which crowd; but Placido slowly rising to his
Padilla wrote in circumstances so similar. knees, drew up his form proudly, and cried,
And thus the despised laborer bade farewell in a broken voice, "Farewell, world! ever
to his mother. . pitiless to me! Fire! here!" raising his
The appointed lot has eome upon me, mother,
hand to his temples.
The mournful ending of my ycars of strife ; Possibly this dark history may not yet
This ehanging world 1 leave, und to another, have rounded to its close. Men like Tou&
In blood Il.nd terror, goes my spirit's life.
But thon, gdef-smittcn, ccase thy mortal weeping, sain t ancl Placido, f<tU not obscurcly nor un
And let thy soul her wontcd pence regain ; avengcd. Their fri~nds are
1 fall for right, und thoughts of thee :tre swceping
Aeross my lyre, to wake its dying strnin,
A strain of joy und ghtc1ness, free, unfailing, exultutions, ugonies,
All-glorious und holy" pure, divine, And love, und man's unconquerable mind.
And innoeent, uneonscious as the wuiling
1 uttered at my birth; und 1 resign, A Spanish traveller in Cuba, Slas y Qui
Even now, my !ife; even now, deseending slowly,
Fuith's mantle folds me to my slumbers holy.
roga, says of Placido's poetical merits, "1
Mother, farewelll God keep thee, unc1 for ever 1
216 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 217

De gozo cnajenados mis sentidos,
know no American poet, Heredia included, Fij mi vista cn las serenas ondas,
who approaches him in genius, in polish, in y vi las ninfas, re\'olver gallardas,
dignity." The same' critic, after analyzing Las rubias hebrus de sus Arenzas blondas.
" Aimost all the versification of this poet is of this manly na
Placido's poetry, writes thus : ture; his sonnets to Nupoleon, to Christ, and to WiIliam Te11,
are three jewels of our literature; the eonclusion of the last is a
" It is truly wondel'ful to hear a poet, esteemcd humble by the
noble cry of indigna tion :
society in which he Uves, addressing himself to the Queen-Re
gent of Spain in language like this : - That eyen the insensate elements

Fling baek the despot's ashes froro their breasts.

Sorne one there is, who, with his golden lyre,

Worthier thy sovereign ear, sha11 chant


It is equally surprising to see the facility with which he manages
To the vihrations of its jewellcd strings
the tendrcst themes, and sorne of his compositions tonch tho
More grateful songs, perchance, but not more free!
deepest emotions of the sou1. ]l,'[y task would be endless, should
1 attempt to extract a11 the beauties of these poems; for if there
And these lines lLre equa11y bold and daring :
are ver)" few that can be qllOted in fu11, there is not one UIlre
And beats not thy heart, too'! Thel'eforc wil! 1, lieved by the light of genius. Their faults m'ise from the poet's
While tho pure dawn her snowy canopy wallt of instruction, their inspiration is celestial. . . . . ."
Hangs on the orient sky,
Bid my rejoicing hymns to God on high, And this man, be it once more remembered,
U pbornc by gentlcst brcezos, swiftly By:
Lot thcm_who fcar be dumb, fol' not of t)cm am 1 ! was a person, WhOIll many an American
If thou with pleasure hearest, let thy prayel's lady would have thought sufficiently hon
Swift seck the Eternal, that my songs may riso
Even to his throne, and thcn on Cuba faH,
ore'd with a place behinc1 her chair at the
Impearled in blessings from the echoing skies ! dinner-table, where he might have listened
"It was important fol' me to paint the poetic charnctcl' of Pla to edifying conversation, about the insnlted
cido, to bring into clearer and clearer rclief his astonishing mcrit.s.
1 feal', nevertheless, that roy readers will not snfficiently apprc
genius 01' Burns, and the prejudices of a
ciate the trua condition of a miserable laborel' in the island of snobbish nobility !
Cuba, and only by snch an appreciation can they fuUy estimate
the grelLt value of the lines 1 have quoted. The "gor of Pla
1 must not dwell here upon the names
cido's versification corresponds to that of his thought. WhlLt and works of Cuban poets of various merit,
poet, however loftily elevated by earthly glol'Y, would not rejoice .numerous enough to furnish sorne future Dr.
to be tho author of the four fo11owing verses, so fu11 and poI
iahed, to which our ranguage has few superior '! Griswold with ample matter for one grand
19
!
218 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 219

division of the "Poets and Poetry of Span pJetry. Thc study of the Frcnch Romanti
ish America!" It lS eno l1gh if 1 have CiSIS, (fol' France is the true teacher of the
clearly indicated the existen ce, in various enlightened Cubans,) has indeed somewhat
ranks of Cuban civic society, of nobler telieved the Cuban poets from this thral
thoughts and higher aims, than the press, 01' domo While Volney and De Tracy have
the prevailing character of social life reveal. taught the Cubans materialism in morals
The chief interest of the literture of Cuba and philosophy, Victor Hugo and Lamartine
is indeed derived from the proofs which it have disclosed to them new secrets of poet
affords us, that the seeds of liberal thought ical composition. But the prevailing tem
and pure desires, which the winds and waves per of the tropics is hostile to the highest
have somehow wafted even to those block forms of poet1'Y. In that eternal summer
aded shores, have genninated, and are bear the voice grows languid as the mind. "Out
ing fiuit. As works of a1't, the poems which of their few warm days," says Landor, " the
have fallen under my notice, cannot, in gen English, if the produce is not wine and oil,
eral, be highly commended. The literatnre gather song, and garner sensibi]ity." Out
of Spain, since thc days of Cervantes and of t11eir unchanging heats and splendors, the
Calderon, has been fe1'ti1e chiefiy in bad sons of tbe tropics g<1ther tears and garner
models. The vast majority of the later sentimentalismo The Cuban muse rarely
Spanish poets oscillate betwcen the trivial tries tIte flights of the " Theban eagle ;" as
and the drcary. 'rIle Spanish Pegasus has rare]y, the soaring rapture of the English
been broken to a tyrannous manege. The lark; she sits in the heavy foliage of her
infiuence of a system of versification, not delicious home, and there "her sad song
much less absurd than the rules of the mas- mourneth well," 01' ill, as the case may be.
ter singers, is felt by the most careless reader, The names of the Cuban poets, those
in the indescribable tediousness of Spanish rich, sonorous Spanish names, which you
}

220 GAN-EDEN.
PICTURES OF CUBA. 221
\

eannot utter without an unconscious infla passing of tbe moon from behind the cli.ffs
into the open starlit sky, .to the advent into
tion of the voice, and an involuntary wave
.
< the ball-room, of a beautiflll woman, su
of the hand, tempt one to expatiate upon
perbly dressed, and wearing a Cashmere
this subject. But 1 shall forbear. The
shawl! QuaintIy barbarie this image seems,
titles of sorne of their works will eonveya
yet how charged it is with the sad history
suffieient idea, to the judicious reader, of the
of gorgeous dreams and warrn visions, pris
seho01 to which they should be referred.
oned in the poet-brain of an outcast and a
"Leaves of My Soul," "Reart-Beats," "Whirl
Pariah!
winds of the Tropics," "Passion-Flowers,"
The prose literature of Cuba may be
such are the baptismal phrases in which
quickly reviewed. "Row can we speak,
the Cubans delight. Gleal11s of manly as
who have no freedom to will," cried J acques
piration are not wanting in these writings,
de Molay to his judges, "for with the 10S8
nor the comfortable light of a true respect
of freedom to will, man loses every thing,
for what is truest in womanhood. J\lilanes
honor, courage, eloquence!" No plea of
is not alone in the faith, that
"poetic 1icense," avails the Cuban whose
Still in womnn's henrt the tme Etlcn lill~ers,
words are not tagged with rhymes. The
llcarillg fruit of Loving, :Fceling, und Rclict'.

Ravana bookstores contain nothing to indi


cate that the "Univcrsity of Havana" has
Vivid descriptions of natural sccnory, rnllch
borne any more fruit than El Azhar, the
in the glo\ving Portuguese manner, illumin
Oxford of the Arabs. The periodicals are
ate their pages. Imaginative, these poets
trashy in the extreme, the newspaper press is,
rarely are. With that qunlity, none of them
of course, entirely in the hands of Spaniards.
was so richly gifted as Placido. His images
In the feuilleton, the ladies are general1y
are often pathetic in their originality; as,
furnished with a translation of some French
f6r instan ce, when he compares the sudden
19 *
'. 04,' , . ti . j . hi , Ji 1b J r .,1 L..

~
222 GAN-EDEN. PI CTURES OF CUBA. 223

novel. The editoria1s are often able, but name was Garcia, and that he was a misera
the body of the papel' is filled with very 1>le old creatnre, at whose house two of the
i
much such maUer as one finds in the co1 Lopez party, badly wounded, had been 1eft.
ums of the "newspapers" which young la Re treated them very 'well, but they died.
dies at boarding.schools sometimes concoct. Shortly afterwards the news of Las Pozas
The current news of the island is only to reached him, and our Cuban Falstaff in
be picked up at hearsay in Ravana, and stantly produced his dead pirates, alleging
chiefiy on the covered quay at the mouth that he had slain them, "for Queen and
of the harbor, where every morning, "the Country." Re was rewarded with a deco
merchants most do congregate." The old ration, but the truth coming to 1ight after a
8paniards are very chary of their commu whi1e, Seor Garcia ,vas compromised, and
nications, and the Creole hatred of the gov finally brought into the shadow of death.
ernment acts like a mordant, biting in the A day 01' two after the reprieve, there ap
blackest shades of every picture. peared in the Diario, what purported to be
'Vhile 1 was at Ravana, the !JCtrrotte was a sort of Jublate from the wife of one Garcia,
severa1 times erected at the Pun ta, and who ollght to bave sufered something, but
twice for the punishment of politicnJ offend had been spared by the Queen's mercy. No
ers. The newspapers made no allusion to one, who had not in sorne surreptitious way
any of these events. In one instance, 1 heard of Garcia and his story, could possibly
happened to be dining on board a man-of have comprehended this singular cornmuni
war, where an officer in the company gave cation. Two mutinies of troops, at least,
us the history of one of the political prison accompanied with fusillades, crome to my
ers, (both of whorn, by the way, were re l(now1edge, one at Villa Clara, and the other
prieved at the place of execution, and sel1t at Santiago de Cuba. rrhey were only
to the galleys at Ceuta,) telling \1S that his darkly glanced at, in leaders laudatory of
224 GAN-EDEN.

I
1
the " firm justice of Spain," and contemptu
ous of the scandal, which something not (

stated, might cause in "a neighboring na


tion." The Cuban press is indeed no tran
script of the Cuban, but only of the
"Peninsular" world.

- {;~ CHAPTER xv.


"Concini. Mais ce qui me rapporte le plus, c'est de tirer les horo
scopes et de dire la bonne aventure. Isab. Vraiment! vous savez
dire l'avenir ?" A. DE VIGNY. (La l1al'echale d'Ancl'e.)

THER,E are many Concinis in our councils


of State, gipsy politicians, who become pro
pl1etic as Hoon as thcir palms have been
crossec1 with the silver of office. Anrl these
men have so satisfied the people that the An
tilles also are our inheritance, that it may be
. dangerous to hint a doubt on that subject.
It seems to be settled that Spain is at best,
but a tellant for years in her colony. 18 it
rumored that Spain thinks of abolishing sla
very in Cuba? Instantly the heir cries out,
"Spain sha11 by no means commit waste.
~ Nothing is so deur to me as my slaves, pres
I ent and to come!" The continent clamors
for its "manifest destiny." What chance is

226 G AN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 227


there of a hearing, for a few deprecatory gloriou8 eonfederacy. Admitting the prop
voices? 'Vere it even conceivable that a ositions, 1 feel bound to q uestion the conse
minority coutd be in the right, yet wisdom quence. And this is the method of rny
exclaims with Molire, "Qu'est ce que la croaking.
raison avec un filet de voix, contre une The Spanish rule in Cuba is undoubtedly
gueule cornme celle-la?" It is a rash hateful. The immense majority of the
thing to disturb that comfortable slumber Creoles as undoubtedly hate it. And neither
of a decided opinion, which majorities the cause nor the effect is of recent origino
love. The laws of Menu proteeted the Why then is Cuba still, a Spanish colony,
quiet of Brahmins, by pouring hot oil into and why does it bear the title of " Ever
the ears of anybody who ventured to offer Faithful? " It is long, since the legend on
them so much as a hint, on any moral 01 the Spanish coins, calling the sovereign
religious subject. Ollly less severe, are the " pl;osperolls in both worlds," became an idle
punishments ordained for those who dare lie. The Peninsula succurnbed to France,
question the political creed of a majority. and was saved by England. One arter
Wiser in th~ir generation, are those writers another, the provinces of Ameriea tore them
who, whether historieal 01' prophetic, as selves from the desperate clutch of the
Montaigne obRerves: "malee it their trade to mother country. _,
turn aH events to our advantage, in spite of Cuba and Porto Rico alone were left to
sense and reo,son, and omit every considera the crown. And for this reason. The Creoles
tion in the least degree ticklish ! " of these islands preferred their colonial de
Spain is tyrannical, Cuba 18 rich, America pendence, to such il1dependence as, that of
is ravenously republicano FroID these prop San Domingo. It was doubtless disagreeable
ositions it has been deduced that Cuba must enollgh to the hidalgos of the mainlaud, t
soon becorne a member of our great and coalesce, in any degree, with the peons of

r
~
1
228 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 229
I
~iexico 01' Peru! The Cubans could not, .~.l the places of the Spanish troops could be
for a moment, endure a mulatto republic; instantly filled by an egual force of Ameri-
!j-
they knew that in the event of a war they can soldiery, regular 01' irregular, it is cer-
must secure the negroes -as auxiliaries, 01' tainly possible that " order " might be main-
meet them as antagonists, and they preferred i) tained in the new republic. But those who
quiet to either of these alternatives. Unfit-
ted as 1 believe the great body of the Cuban
Creoles td be, for the confiict 01' the triumph
of liberty, Cuba has never lackcd men
i
count upon an easy and immediate victory
ayer Spain, reckon, it is to be feared, with-
out their hosts. The Spanish troops in
Cuba are now more than respectable in
enough, fully egual in courage and charac- numbers, and though they are probably in-
ter to the best and bravest patriots of Span- ferior, in many important attributes, to our
ish America, whose infiuence might have own, still they come of a brave stock, and
roused their fellow-countrymen to a success- of a people particularly famous for fighting
fuI revolt. But slave-holding Cuba dares behind stone walls. Spain, too, has often
not attempt her freedom. shown that she is never so much to be feared
" Yet if Cuba cannot be revolutionized as when contending in a desperate cause.
from within, may she not be revolutionized Nations as well as individuals have their in-
from without?" We hear constantly of sanities of honor, and nothing is more for-
"armies of deliverance" on the way to midable than the tenacious ferocity which
those fair shores, and it has been not indis- clings to a falling cause, and never counts
tinctly hinted, that the strong arro of the the costo Our own country is, at this time,
American government may be stretched out most lamentably weak upon the water, and
to aid the oppressed islanders. If Spain we shall do well to remember that the noble
could be driven suddenly froro all her foot- sea-coasts of Spain swarm with pOOl', and
holds in Cuba, by a grand coup de main, and bold, and skilful sailors, ready for the service
20
230 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 231
of speculative adventurers in the old world perhaps be increased, but the sugar interest
and the new. Glib orators at Tammany would be sadly shaken, and tbose canny
Hall may find proposals for the conquest of economists who read the fate of nations in
Cuba sweet in the mouth, but. they will the Sibylline leaves of the ledger, can see
prove bitter in the digestion. And when no good fiowing from such a consummation,
the Spaniard shall have been driven from to n,ny American State, unless, perhaps, to
the island, are we to expect a pleasant en- Louisiana, which might rejoice over the pros-
joyment of our prize ? How will the patri. tration of her greatest rival. The poltical
archal communities of the South relish the and moral infll1ence of a Cuban common-
society of a. state charged with permanent wealth, exasperated by the most debasing
and organized negro insurrection? We need of wars, certainly would not tend to dissi-
but turn to the history of the Maroons in pate the clouds which now overhang the
Jamaica, or to the bloodier and more recent nation.
career of the revolted Indians in republican Will the conquest of Cuba be attempted?
Central America, if we would form sorne There can be no doubt that slavery, despair-
notion of the state into which Cuba would ing of her northern frontiers, has long been
be plunged by a servile war, Cuba, whose looking to Spanish and Portuguese America
negr~es are to be counted by hundreds of as her fllture domain, into whichthe power
thousands, and whose vast wildernesses are of the Union must be made to force her
not less deadly to the white man, than the way.* The accidental defeat of her designs
I
everglades of Florida. I
I
A violent transfer of Cuba from thehands I '*' The eharming naivet with which Lieut. Hcrndon, an officer
I of the American navy, officially explorillg the vallcy of the Am-
of Spain to those of America, would be at-
~J azon, talks of the fitncss of the sol of Brazil for slave labor,
tended with the most disastrons eifects upon (Report, pp. 268,281,341,) is but one evidcnce Ilrnong many, of
this fact, and of the kil1drcd [act, proofs of which are by no
her prosperity. The tobacco crop might means '\0 hard ~o findas we are slow to find them, that slavery

I
I
't';\ ) (

ji
232 GAN-EDEN. ! PICTURES OF CUBA. 233
!'~

,r
,

upon California, has naturally enough stim- sibly be sedueed into the sale. But the
ulated her zeal in other direetions. lvlexico, anteeedents and the temper of Spain make
Central Ameriea, the valley of the Amazon, ~ sueh a transaction in the last degree
lie along the horizon of her hopes. Cuba unlike]y. And if it were quietly aeeom
1(
and Hayti are near at hand. But the South ,~', plished, would the clouds be thereby raised
sadly overrates the resourees of repression \
,1\
from the future of Cuba? To rear in that
at her eommand, and as sadly underrates I fair island a slave-holding republie, is only
the explosive forees sleeping in the bosom ~'11:' to postpone, not to avert her ruin.
of Cuba, in antieipatillg a real aeeession to The "Orators of the Human Raee," may
her power fl'om the eonquest of that island. eonsider it their professional duty to deny
:1 !
"May not Cuba, however, be fairly pur I
,1 this. They may tell us that the annexation
ehased ?" The wealthy states of Ameriea :Ji
of Cuba will bring with it newspapel's, and
may perhaps be won over by their persua- l
the ballot-box, and repl'esentation fol' the
sive southern sisters, to furnish the funds fol' , . w1zites, and they may point us to the States
sueh a purchase, and the present tyrannieal of the South, where freedom and slavery
and eorrupt government of Spain, may pos- have so long lived on amicable tel'ms, and
the building of the commonweaHh has been
has thoroughly identified itself with American policy and the
American name. It is truly humiliating for a traveller, to see safe, while thunderstorm after thunderstorm
how- generally it is taken for granted, that an American must be of thought has ovel'swept the world. It is
friendly to slavery, and to the prejudices thllt grow out of it. 1
happened once, at a country-hourie in Cuba, to be called upon \ hard' to reason with "Oratol's of the Human
;1
for my opinion, in a controversy as to the propriety of admitting ~! Raee," but harder to believe that buildings
negroes into railway carriages and coaches. When 1 said that
it seemed to me neither republican nor well-bred to object to the
ean be safe, whose lightning rods end on the
presence, in a. pubUc conveyance, of any decent, and well-be-
haved person of whatever color; "Ah!" cried a lady in the
-1l roof !
Clouds and dal'kness overshadow the fu
complluy, "1 thought you did not look like nn American, and
now 1 see that you must be nn Englishman! "

,
J

~
234 GAN-EDEN. PICTURES OF CUBA. 235
:r The same faith which brightens our private
ture of fair and fertile Cuba. Physical
geography, and the nineteenth century have experience of good and ill, alone can cheer
not quite done away with the old mysteries the stern realities and dark expectancies of
of doubt and doom.
The finest regions of the earth lie still
Ir .u ~.
the world's wider life.

unblest by happy human life. The loveliest ..


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climates ofthe conquered world, are breathed
and have been breathed, for ages past, by i

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despots and by sIaves. The broadest rivers 'e
bear least upon their bosoms. These are I 'i
ways of God' which even our curious cen- 1'/
tury shan not find out. I
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While the chances of life cheat individual
hope, shan we wonder at and deny the re- !.
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tributions that overtake. nationaI sins and I
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follies ~ Do we see, in individ ual men, the


permitted waste of nobIest powers, the ty-
ranny of vice, the dissolution of life, and
shaIl we be start1ed out of measure, at the
mystery of national wrong and national deg-
radation ~ Within the narrowest circle of
human interests and affections, lie wrecks
and deserts, melancholy as those tbat deform
the shores of the oceans and of the ages. ',Ii

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L'ENVI.
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. THE young breath of~ thc nQrthern spring is lifting, ~
The airy curtains 'drooping round rny hend; i
Small argosies of summer, wrec.k~d imd drifting,
Sink through the seas of xnoonlight round me spread.
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Fair Odalisque upon the purple lying,
Luxurious daughter of the South, farewelll
l ~~

Upon rny earthe palm-tree's passionate sighing;


Fades, with the summer sea's voluptuous swell.

lIT.
Our years decay. Our souls san onward, teeming
With hopes and wishes unfulfilled below j
Oh, North of life I Oh, South of gorgeous dreaming I
Whence shall the undeceiving breezes blow ~

CAMBRIDGE, MAsa., }
May.25, 1854. )

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