• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Chapter XIV
 Chapter XV
 L'Envoi






Group Title: Gan-Eden, or, Pictures of Cuba.
Title: Gan-Eden
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074040/00001
 Material Information
Title: Gan-Eden or, Pictures of Cuba
Alternate Title: Pictures of Cuba
Physical Description: viii, 235 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hurlbert, William Henry, 1827-1895
Publisher: J.P. Jewett and company
Sheldon, Lamport and Blakeman
Place of Publication: Boston
New York
Publication Date: 1854
 Subjects
Subject: Description and travel -- Cuba   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: William Henry Hurlbert.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074040
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001367436
oclc - 23320092
notis - AGM8954

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Half Title
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Dedication
        Page v
        Page vi
    Preface
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Chapter II
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Chapter III
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Chapter IV
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Chapter V
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Chapter VI
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Chapter VII
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Chapter VIII
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Chapter IX
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Chapter X
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Chapter XI
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
    Chapter XII
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    Chapter XIII
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
    Chapter XIV
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Chapter XV
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
    L'Envoi
        Page 236
Full Text
i Ir





/










Presented by --, -_ -_-/_ U :7

qi7,aY --V^5 A
Extracts from the Rules.
1st. The Library will be open every other Saturday
ai ev ry own Meeting day, from 1 to 3 and from 7 to
9 cld c, M.
2* in habitant of the town of the age of and
overqin tate-from the Library one volume at a time.
No faipil Chogever, can have more than 3 volumes at
the sae e.*I
3d. ':o)NE 'UT THE LIBRARIAN is allowed to take
books from the slaves.
4th. ihis -oomnay be kept from the Library 4 weeks,
except as'imifed i the 5th Rule; and if not ret rned at
or before tIh expir4aon of that time, a fine of cents
will be incurred foibeach fortnight kept, which must be
paid before tfe blirro r can take another book.
5th. All 1boks~must be returned to the Library on or
before the Satu iay preceding the first Monday of April
annually, under penalty of the cost of the book.
6th. Books lost must be replaced by the borrower and
any damage done to them beyond the ordinary wear must
also be paid as estimated by the Librarian or the Library
Committee.
7th. Any person may have his book renewed, unless
their person has previously called for the same and
,. for its return.


.. ..--L -L,








)(Iv


GAN-EDEN:


PICTURES OF CUBA.






The place was called Gan-Eden, the Garden of Delight; and it be-
longed to the Caliph Haroun-Al-Raschid, who, when his heart was con-
tracted, used to come to that garden and sit there; so his heart became
dilated, and his anxiety ceased." Noureddin and the Fair Persian.






BOSTON:
PUBLISHED BY JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY.
CLEVELAND, OHIO:
JEWETT, PROCTOR AND WORTHINGTON.
NEW YORK: SHELDON, LAMPORT AND BLAKEMAN.
1854.


~d,,p,


I


ii
i


'/-/%5`3 I






































Entered according to'Act of Congress in the year 1854, by
JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.





















CAMBRIDGE:
ALLEN AND FARNHAM, STEREOTYPERS AND PRINTERS





























TO MY FRIEND


MRS. F. W. S.,

IN THE NAME OF ONE WHOSE MEMORY IS LINKED WITH THE

SWEETEST AND THE SADDEST RECOLLECTIONS

OF MY CUBAN JOURNEY,

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED.
















PREFACE.


IN calling Cuba a "Garden of Delight," I
only express the sum of those bright memories,
of a genial nature, and of more genial human
friends, which I brought away from the tropics.
The title "Pictures of Cuba," indicates my
intention in composing this volume. I have not
attempted to write a history, or a gazetteer of
Cuba. I have only sought to reproduce the
sights and 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
of detail, I must have made. I have done my
best to avoid them, but my chief wish has been,
to preserve the aroma of those general impres-
sions, which are the best things that an unscien-









V1ll PREFACE.

tific traveller has to offer to an exacting public.
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
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
condensed from an article published in the North
American Review, for January, 1849.
























CONTENTS.


PAGE
CHAPTER I. .
II ... 15
"c M. 23




V .. 58
VII. 73
VIII. .. 86


c 124
c XI 139
I. 153

XIII. 181
XIV. .. 202
XV.. 225



















GAN-EDEN:


PICTURES


OF CUBA.















CHAPTER I.


"New-born delights."
KEATS.

THERE are names which affect us like a
delicious poem or a glowing picture. When
young Hassan heard his father talking with
the merchants from Cairo about Egypt and
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 over
the names on a map of Italy or of England,
we can warm a winter's hour, and cover
the barest walls with such landscapes as
never Claude or Constable, Tintoret or
Turner put upon the canvas. The name
of Cuba leaves a ring of doubloons on the
ear, a flavor of guava on the lips.
Cuba has no history. One sublime figure
alone does that magic word summon up
1


- A









2 GAN-EDEN.

before us, a figure how sublime! a shape of
rewarded greatness, of triumphant pa-
tience,-a grand heroic figure, motionless
upon the rude prow of a low caravel, with
sad eyes brightening in an awful joy,as that
new world, borne about so long within his
throbbing brain, slowly rises, a visible
reality, from the bosom of the calm blue
sea!
Before Columbus all human history in
Cuba is a blank, after him it is all blood
and business. Yet is that fair island a land
of sirens to those who know it not; to those
who have wandered there, a land of the
lotus. I have heard young men talk re-
gretfully of the Havana while lounging
along the brilliant Boulevards of Paris, and
a venerable merchant, as chary of his
emotions as of his indorsements, once said
to me, with a light of youth in his old gray
eyes, that his arrival in Cuba gave him the
most vivid idea he ever had of the passage
from this world to the next. What won-
der that this should be so ? The Northern
Anglo-American sails from his "stern and










PICTURES OF CUBA.


rock bound coast," racked in body upon the
swiftly revolving wheels of a climatic tor-
ture, the pains of which are the more in-
tense, that he cannot anticipate where or
when they will recur, -racked in spirit by
the vexatious excitements of the most dis-
tracting and unjoyous life men have ever
led. He finds in tropical Spanish America
a Kingdom of Cockaigne
-- "a place
Blest by Heaven's especial grace,
.. A pleasant shore,
Where a sweet clime is breathed from a land
Of fragrance, quietness, and trees and flowers,
Full of calm joy it is, as we of grief,
Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth."

Within three days' sail of our southern
ports, lie scenes than which India itself
offers nothing more thoroughly strange to
our eyes. The world of nature is strange.
The eye seeks in vain the many-branching
small-leaved forests of the Continent. W'hey
are replaced by taller, more leafy, more
graceful tribes of the vegetable kingdom,-
the grains and the. grasses of our cornfields
and our ponds, shooting up, mighty arbo- ,









GAN-EDEN.


recent giants overhead. The rich and
dainty flowers, whose acquaintance we
made as the delicately nurtured belles of
the aristocratic New England hothouse,
flaunt upon us, rude and healthy hoydens,
from every hedge and roadside. New
lights are in the firmament, strange con-
stellations shining with a planetary splen-
dor in these new,more magnificent heavens.
There, most beautiful of all the signs God
hath set in the skies, flames the Southern
Cross, the Christian constellation, the sym-
bol of the new hopes and the new life re-
vealed to Christendom in that later age
when first it greeted European eyes.
Strangely, among the new tenants of the
upper world, shows the familiar brightness
of Orion and of the Pleiades, and the great
Northern Bear seems a wanderer like our-
selves, gazing on the splendid southern stars
as #e rude Gothic heroes and fierce Vik-
inger gazed of old upon the gorgeous
pageantries of Rome and of Byzantium.
The very crescent moon has changed, the
huntress Diana has bartered her bow for a









PICTURES OF CUBA. 5

golden boat, in which she floats Cleopatra-
like, and careless of the chase, through the
luxurious purple skies. Not less strange in
appearance than the moon, are'the waters
which she sways. The ocean rolls around
the volcanic and coralline rocks, a tide more
"deeply darkly beautifully blue" than is
ever seen upon our northern coasts, more
blue even than the glorious blue waters of
the Mediterranean. These waters which
are very deep close in shore, for the shores
of northern Cuba are generally steep and
sudden, are transparent and pellucid as the
crystal of Lake George, and leaning over
the bows of the ship you may see far down
below you a whole submarine landscape of
queer and enormous plants, populous with
all manner of lazy conservatives, -huge
turtles not less grave and aldermanic in
appearance than their transatlantic human
foes, star-fishes content throughout their
lives to be the admiration of their own
Little Pedlingtons; lazzaroni conchs to
whom Heaven has granted what alone the
lazzarone of Naples considers wanting to his
1*









GAN-EDEN.


bliss, that food should have legs and crawl
to him;" for lying on his back, the happy
conch, with feelers indolently stretched
along the tide, takes toll of all slight living
things that pass that way. How cool and
inviting seem to the sun-burned, soul-weary
voyager those silent watery realms, unvex-
ed by merman or by mermaid, "a dream
of idleness in groves Elysian!"
Not alone are the eyes refreshed with
new sights on land and sea; the air is full
of winged jewels, the groves and canefields
glancing by day with the prismatic colors
of thousands of coleoptera, and brilliant
broad-winged butterflies, and glittering by
night with the electrical splendors of the
famous cucullos, those torch-bearing aerial
watchmen, those living emeralds, whose
effulgence no gem of the mineral world
can rival. Nay, the very air itself is a
novelty to northern lungs in which the
senses take not less delight than in aught
of sight or sound that rejoices them.
Breathing, which is perhaps the greatest
inconvenience of life in our intemperate









PICTURES O-F CUBA.


zone, becomes its chief and cheapest luxury
in Cuba. One finds it more easy to surren-
der his barbarian faith in the forms of mat-
ter, and accepts more submissively the gos-
pel of gas, when he finds how effectively
and sweetly the mere atmosphere of the
tropics can attune the dissonant chords of
his substantial mortal body. Those bland
airs steal over the system, curdled by our
uneasy atmosphere, with a soothing influ-
ence such as the companionship of the
serene and the noble exerts upon hearts
snatched from the society of the vexatious,
the passionate, and the querulous. It is so
strange and so pleasant to trust, in the skies
as one trusts in one's friends! Our north-
ern Aurora is a mere Armida, -nay, she
is a very Jael, and when, lulled by her
seducing smiles, we lay our trusting heads
upon her lap, she rewards our confidence
with a nail smartly driven through the
temples! The Cuban morning, faithful as
Fiordelisa, crowns us

"Con gioia e con diletto
Senza aver tema o di guerra sospetto."









GAN-EDEN.


Here it is almost as unsafe to count upon
a pleasant to-morrow in the country as to
speculate upon the chances of a Cape Horn
voyage, or a presidential nomination. In
Cuba, a man may arrange periodical pic-
nics for his grandchildren yet unborn. Of
course in such a land nobody talks of the
weather, excepting raw foreigners, and
the comparative dulness of large social
gatherings in Havana may perhaps be
due in part to the impossibility of intro-
ducing this agreeable and fruitful topic, to
which we owe so much of the easy and
brilliant conversation that abounds in our
own saloons.
If God's world in Cuba, the world of
nature, as Columbus and Ojeda found it
there three centuries ago, is thus strange to
the children of the temperate zones, man's
world, the world of arts and manners, as
the successors of Columbus and Ojeda have
reared it, is not less striking and strange.
The northern voyager, as his steamer glides
into the huge tub-shaped harbor of Havana,
gazes with astonishment on a scene which









PICTURES OF CUBA.


revives his visions or his memories of the
far Levant. Our Anglo-Saxondom has so
appropriated to itself the American name;
the "young giant of the West," so yearns to
crown his head with the Arctic Circle and
to bathe his feet in the southern sea, that
most of us think little of those bygone
days, when the Indies were but the pantry
and the strong-box of the Catholic kings,
when the Caribbean was a Spanish lake,
when the man who sailed from London a
trader was hung in Panama a pirate, and
the old Gothic monarchy talked as confi-
dently of its manifest rights as does young
America now of its manifest destiny. So
it seems to us, that to have reached this
stately panorama of Havana, we must have
traversed many miles of longitude instead
of a few degrees of latitude. On the left
hand rise fortifications massive as those of
Malta or Gibraltar, wrought into the dark
grey rocks of the Morro, sweeping along
the many-hued hill-sides of the Cabanas,
glittering throughout their lengthening
lines with the white uniforms and shin-









GAN-EDEN.


ing bayonets of the sentinels who guard
the proud flag of Spain, that gorgeous
banner of blood and of gold, which sym-
bolizes so well the career and the charac-
ter of the pedlar knights, or knightly ped-
lars, who conquered the Indies for Castile
and Leon.
On the right, stretch irregular masses
of parti-colored buildings, blue, pink, white,
green, yellow, overtopped at intervals by
some massive church tower or graceful
tufted palm-tree. Queer-looking boats,
emancipated gondolas, shameless sisters of
the veiled Venetian nuns, and brilliant as
butterflies, dart in and out along the
crowded quays. Half-naked negroes are
riding fractious horses into the sluggish
water, and a confused incessant buzz, like
that which rises from vociferous Naples to
the ear of the lonely traveller dreaming
among the orange groves of lofty San
Elmo, comes faintly from the shore. You
land, penetrate the mysteries of the city,
and still the wonder grows. You call a
coach, and find only an odd looking gig









PICTURES OF CUBA.


with shafts sixteen feet long, and wheels
six yards in circumference, driven by a
negro postilion, three parts jack-boots and
one part silver-laced jacket. Into this
singular vehicle you fling yourself, and find
that to the gig.of your dear native land,
this tropical gig is as the pine-apple is to
the pearmain, so luxurious, so cradling,
to provocative of bland indifference to all
worldly cares! You reach your inn, and
'find it in appearance a Moorish palace, -
in general discomfort a German boarding-
house, in expense a Bond street hotel.
You find that you are to live on two meals
a day; a breakfast that begins with eggs
and rice, is sustained by fried pork and
Catalan wine, and ends with coffee and
cigars; a dinner, every dish of which is a
voyage of discovery. You are to sleep on
what most resembles a square drum-head
of Jullien dimensions, without mattress or
coverlets, in a room with a red-tiled floor,
and with windows in which the utter want
of glass is compensated for by the presence
of il4amerable iron bars. Boots is a na-









GAN-EDEN.


tive African, an ex-cannibal for aught you
know, wonderfully tattooed, and the laun-
dress an athletic young negress who
smokes authentic long nines.
You walk out through streets narrow as
those of Pompeii, past shops open to the
ground like those of Naples, and shaded
with heavy awnings that often sweep
across the street. Every thing is patent
to your gaze and nobody seems to be aware
of the fact. Only now and then you pass
some vast pile of yellow stone, stately as
the palaces of Genoa, and catch through
the great archway a glimpse of court-yards,
fountain-cooled and palm-shaded, that sug-
gest dreams of Eastern seclusion and invisi-
ble beauty. You dream on this fine dream,
for in all your walk you meet no female
form save of the Pariah class, unless, per-
chance, you stumble on some fair for-
eigner, at sight of whose bonnet the incu-
rious native deigns to look up from his
business in doors, or his lounge in the
shade, with a sudden stare and a half-pity-
ing smile, which provoke you to wonder








PICTURES OF CUBA.


that you had ever ceased to feel how fear-
ful a thing the bonnet of civilization is.
Water carriers, balancing their jars, mules
half hidden from the eye by fresh bundles
of green fodder, borne on either side, large
cream-colored oxen, superb as the mild-
eyed monsters of Lombardy, pulling pri-
meval carts by means of yokes fastened in
front of the horns, crowd up the narrow
streets. And through them all the fre-
quent calesero, swinging in his heavy sad-
dle, steers the clumsy length of his quitrin
with careless certain skill.
The signs of the shops startle you, for
if you are to take them au pied de la lettre,
all the retail business of Havana is in the
hands of saints, goddesses, and heroes, of
birds, beasts, and beauties. St. Dominic
deals in healing drugs, St. Anthony boldly
handles laces, muslins, and ribbons, Diana
dispenses sweets to all the dandies of the
town, the Empress Eugenia meekly mea-
sures tapes, and the blessed Sun himself
has really ,"proved a micher," and cheats
in cosmetics. The greater merchants, like
2








GAN-EDEN.


the burghers of the middle ages, often
occupy with their families the elegant
upper floors of the building which in its
first stories serves them for a warehouse.
Not less medieval is the confusion of
quarters. Next door to the begrimed
hovel of a dealer in coal, rises the palatial
home of the opulent marquis; St. Giles and
St. James elbow each other.
Have we not passed the pillars of Her-
cules, and shall we not "look the blue
straits over," for the heights of Morocco ?















CHAPTER II.


"In the afternoon they came unto a land
Wherein it seemed always afternoon."
TENNYSON.

WHAT shocks may not our personal iden-
tity survive ? A month ago I sate, a listless
convalescent, gowned and slippered, beside
a roaring coal fire, feebly dreaming of Cuba
and the Azores, of Madeira and of Georgia.
Then, the cautious journey from the phials
and pill-boxes of the sick room to the busts
and the books of the genial library, was
an affair of doubts, and hopes, and fears.
Then, to watch the panting pedestrians in
the street as they toiled through the drift-
ing .snow, and to follow the tintinnabular
sleigh horse with the ear long after he had
vanished from the eye in the eddying
snow-mists, was to see the world and to
share in its concerns. A fortnight later I
lay sickening and shivering in the narrow









GAN-EDEN.


berth of an unquiet steamer, tossed to and
fro by the riotous waves about Cape Hat-
teras. And now I sit at mine ease, in the
gigantic frescoed saloon of an old Spanish
house, in a cool undress, oblivious of physic
and of pain, lapped in a sweet frenzy of
fragrance and of sunlight, eating, drinking,
breathing the very life of summer! We
left Charleston on a bleak wintry morning,
and for two days I lay in my berth just
over the boiler, and just under the heels
of sixteen horses, en route for Havana, eat-
ing oranges and wishing myself in New
England. On the third day, the heat from
below, and the noise from above, fairly
drove me on deck. The weather had al-
ready become demi-tropical, and a warm
shimmer over the sea wooed us seduc-
ingly onwards. When I awoke under the
rich golden light that streamed through the
cabin window on the fourth morning, we
were just backing up to the pier at Key
West.
This purgatory of underwriters was a
charming surprise to me. A low sandy









PICTURES OF CUBA.


shore, covered with a luxuriant growth of
aloes and feathery palmettoes, and dot-
ted- all along with shining white cottages,
among which towered a cage-like light-
house; rows of pelicans, dipping into the
surf after fishes; half a dozen vessels moor-
ed along-side a long wooden pier, and as
many more lying motionless further out on
the glassy green water; such was Key
West on that fine sunny morning. New
life began to kindle in my veins. Delight-
fully the day wore on. Flying-fishes dart-
ed here and there above the surface of the
still and glittering sea. Sometimes the
white sails of a wrecking schooner, flap-
ping in the calm; sometimes the bare spars
of a stranded ship; sometimes the slender
network of an iron light-house, drew the
attention of the little knots of passengers
from the general consultation of watches
and the study of maps. We were seven
hours behind time, and great was our fear
lest we should not pass the Morro Castle
before sundown. Since the times of Lopez,
the government of the Island have enforc-
2*









GAN-EDEN.


ed the order which forbids ships entering
the harbor after the evening gun is fired,
and it was not pleasant to anticipate a
night on the rolling billows that ceaselessly
surge outside the narrow gateway of the
port.
About noon the .breeze sprang up, the
good ship spread her wings, and with the
double help of Daedalus and Watt we hur-
ried onwards. Islet after islet appeared
and vanished like shadows on the far hori-
zon, low isles
"remote, that ride
On the ocean's bosom unespied."
At four o'clock there was a rush to the
upper deck, and lo! bold and brown
against the silver-blue cloud-bank before us,
rose the irregular outline of Cuba. The
hue of the waves brightened as we went
onward, till we sailed through such glowing
deeps of blue as beat about the cliffs of
Capri.
Plainer and plainer grew the brown hill-
sides, the glancing Italian villas, the lofty
palm-trees, -plainer and plainer the dark









PICTURES OF CUBA.


gray rocks and white tower of the Morro
Castle, the terraced roofs and glittering
houses of the city. Not a sail was in sight.
It seemed as if we, fortunate discoverers,
now saw before us that populous Cathay
for which Columbus longed. Soon a lateen-
sail swooped out on the sea from behind
the threatening rocks, and the massive
masonry of the fortifications became dis-
tinguishable. The lateen-sail drooped be-
side our still advancing ship, a pilot came
on board, and while the sun was still kind-
ling the cloud-bank on our right, and flash-
ing yellow light over all the gay and gor-
geous scene, we shot through the narrow en-
trance of the port, and the whole panorama
of the vast landlocked bay, with its ships
and its shores, suddenly swept into view,
Not more strange, not more rich, not more
beautiful is the bay of Naples or the road-
stead of Genoa!
An endless line of masts from which
floated a profusion of gay flags. Negroes
in, bright jackets and briefest trowsers
thronging the. quays of yellowish stone, or









GAN-EDEN.


darting over the water in boats, the lateen-
sails and painted hulls of which, now bright
scarlet, now blue, now striped in green and
white, give infinite and picturesque variety
to the scene. Great square stone ware-
houses fronted with low colonnades; elegant
dwellings in the Italian style, stuccoed and
painted, and continually relieved by bright
green jalousies and plumes of graceful foli-
age; the renowned volantes, brilliant with
silver, rolling in and rolling out of enor-
mous gateways. Ever and anon from be-
hind the fanciful lines of the diversified
houses, rises the sombre gray tower of a
Romanesque church, or the high-peaked
roof of a huge convent.
The entrance to the harbor was hidden
by the battlemented heights behind us, and
what with solid forts, squaring the hill-tops
here and there, and white hamlets, and red
hamlets, and hamlets of every hue, and
rich green tufts of tropical trees chequering
the brown slopes, the whole circle of the
harbor was as brightly beautiful as need
be. Half a dozen Spanish men of war lay








PICTURES OF CUBA.


here and there about the bay; a French
steam-frigate off the Alameda de Paula,
and hard by ourselves a magnificent Eng-
lish seventy-four displayed the white ensign
of the West Indian Admiral. We had
surely seen all this before, when in boyish
days Tom Cringle treated us to the crimes
and candies of his Caribbean.Log! Funny
little canopied boats manned by clean, neat
Spaniards in white jackets, swarmed about
us, and eager negroes balanced on the
swinging bows of fragile barquichuelas,
waved golden bunches of the pendulous
banana before our wondering eyes. The
escaping steam shrieked with joy to be re-
lieved from duty, the hurrying passengers
besieged the grave polite customs' officers
who had boarded us, beseeching them to
grant landing permits for that night, and
the valets-de-place of the different hotels
kept shoving cards into everybody's hands.
Decidedly we had arrived!
Soon but two passengers remained on
board, of the sixty-two who had traversed
the placid seas in company. The night air








GAN-EDEN.


in the harbor was so mild, that I could not
deny myself the delight of dallying a little
longer with the sober certainty of arrival.
Weary with the excitement of the day, but
not otherwise conscious of that great illness
from which I had so lately escaped, I lay
on the deck with my pleasant English
friend. We watched the great moon and
stars come out into the purple sky. The
lights glittered one by one at the mast-
heads of'the war ships all over the bay.
The sounds from the shore grew fainter
and fainter, and the familiar strains of
"God save the Queen" coming mellowed
over the water from the stately English
ship, were our evening hymn.














CHAPTER III.


"Rambling from one inn to another."
JoHN LOCKE.
I HAD no trouble at the Aduana. "Smith's
Leading Cases," two delicate octavos in calf-
skin, attracted the attention of the cour-
teous official,who removed his cigar to ask
an explanation;" Las leyes de Ingla terra!"
I solemnly answered; "Ah si I" and evi-
dently convinced that a man who could
not travel without a Corpus Juris" in his
portmanteau, must be a miracle of good
behavior, the Aduanero replaced his cigar,
waved his hand politely, and passed our
luggage. I 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
pilot us to his house. And what a house!
neither English, nor American, nor French;
a genuine Spanish Posada, colonial indeed,








GAN-EDEN.


but redolent of the Asturias! The house
was once a bishop's palace, and dates from
the days of Velasquez and Cortez. When
this house was built, Puritanism was a capi-
tal joke, and the king of the Spains was
the Bugaboo of all Anglo-Saxondom. How
grave and quiet was the company at the
breakfast table! the waiters, how good-
humored without familiarity, how respect-
ful without servility! An amiable New
Zealander, my friend and fellow passenger,
brought me to this.place, whither uninitia-
ted Americans rarely wander. My vigorous
gratitude ought to reach 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
second story, I might imagine myself to be
in that very venta, que por su mal Don
Quixote pensb que era castillo!" that mem-
orable inn where the four wool-combers
of Segovia, the three Cordovan leather-
dressers, and the strollers of Seville, that
jocose and lively folk tossed Sancho in a
blanket to pay his master's bill.








PICTURES OF CUBA. 25

The squat stone pillars and low arches of
the gallery which runs around the hollow
square of the house, and the green blinds
which shade that gallery, give a Moorish
air to the interior. Every pillar is vocal
with Canary birds. The rooms around the
gallery have no doors, only large curtains,
lazily stirred now by the light breeze. The
red tiles of the inner roofs, the brown stone
floors, the serious, dignified Spanish faces
of the two or three guests lounging in the
huge antiquated saloon, the heavy mahog-
any chairs, ranged in two opposing ranks
between the enormous doorway and the
equally enormous window, and decorated
each with a coronet of faded gilt, the
stuffed tropical birds in cases, on the mass-
ively carved buffet, the queer monkish chan-
delier dangling from the dark green rafters
of the high-pitched ceiling, all conspire
to perfect this scene of warm and in-
dolent delight. From my balcony of dark
green wood, I look up the short vista
of a street about twenty feet wide to a
government building, an Italian palazzo


"" -* *









GAN-EDEN.


painted light green, and picked out with
white, in the Plaza de Armas, and to the
sunny garden of the Plaza, gay with
aloes in full bloom, and fuchsias, and a
hundred other tropical flowers. Above
them all rises a marble statue, shaded by
three noble cocoa-nut palms, whose rich
plumes of brownish green wave gracefully
in the light breeze, while their smooth-look-
ing grayish white trunks gleam brightly in
the sunshine.
From the little shops over the way, in
whose terraced roofs I recognize "the Abode
of Peace, Bagdad," sally forth novel figures;
sometimes a trig little Spaniard in white
jacket and jaunty sombrero, sometimes a
stalwart African in no jacket and no hat,
his rich brown-black skin swelling with the
tension of such a muscular system as would
not discredit a lion. Ever and anon, a
punchy black mile with stiff, erect, close-
shaven mane, and braided tail tied with gay
ribbons to the saddle, comes prancing by
in the shafts of a gorgeous volante, or a
grey donkey shambles along, and on his
\ **









PICTURES OF CUBA.


back a Creole boy, with smiling kindly
face, and great black eyes, and warm
bright complexion, half sitting, half lying
between two great straw panniers fill of
oranges or zapotes, or pine-apples, or plan-
tains. The whole spirit of the place is that
of a drowsier Spanish Italy. For the laz-
zaroni, we have the negroes, many of them
magnificent Africans, the finest specimens
of the race I ever saw. Their ways are
infinitely, queer. For instance, they use
their ears for pockets. You see a huge,
tattooed, bronze Hercules take out a lucifer
match from behind one ear, and a long
cigar from behind the other, while small
silver change gleams in the orifices of
both.
I have since gone through a course of
hotels in Havana. There are kkans far
finer than this Castilian hostelry, far finer,
and far costlier. There is Le Grand's, out-
side the walls, that stately Hotel-Restau-
rant, where bad Bordeaux wine, and worse
Bordeaux French, make such a mimicry of
Paris, as suffices to bewilder, and to chaim









GAN-EDEN.


the aspiring youth of Havana. So the
young cockney, through a small window
of his own Colosseum gazing, on square
yards of Alps, and cubic inches of cascade,
dreams of the Traveller's Club, and fasci-
nates the listening ear of Clapham, or of
Pentonville, with tales of bold adventure!
Le Grand's, however, is a truly delightful
house. Passing by, one night, the aspect
of the Caf4 restaurant, with its marble
floors, and lofty ceilings, and the Parisian
elegance of its decorations, and the quiet
satisfaction visible on the faces of the port-
ly guests, quite attracted me. I installed
myself there, and passed a pleasant fort-
night beneath and upon its hospitable roof.
That lofty azotea, that great terraced
housetop, like a watchtower of Asmo-
deus, commands the roofs of half the city,
and when the sea-breeze cools the even-
ing air, a lively little upper world, another
"realm of the birds," an airy kingdom of
sauntering youths, and gaily dressed dam-
sels, comes finely into sight! In the early
morning, how lovely is the view from that








PICTURES OF CUBA.


commanding post! how delicious the fresh
breath of the ocean which rolls its broad
shining flood half-way around the horizon!
Algiers seems beneath you to the north,
the broad promenade aid European city
walls to the south carry, the imagination
away to the Peninsula; while to the east,
the vast yellowish masses of the Cabafas,
and the light-tower of the Morro, mark the
most individual feature of the scene. A
fine ship going out under full sail, two or
three vessels running in from afar, a few
large birds swaying lazily to and fro, or
circling overhead, and the clumsy gallop
of the volante horses below, are rarely
wanting to give life and animation to a
scene, which would otherwise be almost
oppressively still, in the broad tropical
light. The balconies below, in the early
evening, look out upon the Paseo Isabel II.,
thronged with all its promenading world.
One thing only was lacking to my enjoy-
ment of this admirable house. My cham-
ber would have been a disgrace to an apart-
ment au cinquidme in the Rue de la Ver-
3*









GAN-EDEN.


rerie. The saloon was a large, long, hand-
some room, marble floored, and furnished
in the cool sparing fashion of the country.
Of the restaurant, I have already spoken.
But the sleeping rooms of the hotel were
small, ill-contrived, and vilely furnished.
An attenuated bed, a dilapidated wash-
stand, and space for a trunk, limited my
host's idea of necessary lodging-rooms. To
be sure this notion was not particular to
him, but general to the native. Some
private families, of high respectability, are
in the habit of turning loose a number of
cots into their vast saloons at night, for the
accommodation of some of the multitudi-
nous members that go to make up a house-
hold in this prolific region. And at the
best American hotel in the city, to which
also I roved, the accommodations were
such, that I have known more than one
very worshipful party landed in the morn-
ing from New York take flight in the
afternoon for New Orleans, at the mere
.aspect of their sleeping apartment! In
truth, one is forced to smile at the ridicu-








PICTURES OF CUBA.


lous contrast between his expenditure and
his entertainment. In London or Paris,
one may spend vast sums of money in the
purchase of ephemeral satisfactions, and
magnificent trifles, but the satisfactions,
however expensive, will be satisfactory,
and the trifles, however trivial, will be
magnificent. In Havana, one pays the
price of luxuries for necessities, and those
poor of their kind. If a man could live on
guava jelly and cigars, I suppose he might
find Havana an economical place; but if he
requires any thing else, if he wants bread
and meat, and water, and a good bed to
sleep in, let him go to Antioch or Ancona,
to Brindisi or to Bassorah, rather than to
Havana. At his hotel he will have to pay
more than- at the best New York houses,
and if he ever humbly expostulated with
that feudal baron, his landlord, at the St.
Nicholas, or the New York, for putting him
up stairs beyond the reach of waiters, and
in a room so small that he must go out of
the window to get into bed, he will repent
his disloyal murmuring against the fiat of








GAN-EDEN.


American autocracy, when he learns that
the second bed in his Havana chamber is
likely at any moment to be tenanted by a
stranger, and that when two adventitious
cots have cut off his approach to the wash-
stand and the looking-glass, a fourth weary
wanderer just landed 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 I was lucky enough to have a
room to myself, I 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 privately
and peacefully, than sleep on furnished
down after this fashion. It is quite too
romantic, and too vividly reminds you of
Maritornes and the mishaps of the Posada.
It likes me not, and, in conjunction with
railroads, is intolerable. Let us have one
thing or another. If we must sleep four in
a room, let us travel exclusively afranc-trier,
and dine every day under the trees, with


I








PICTURES OF CUBA. 33

strolling actors. But it is sadly inharmoni-
ous, this juxtaposition of the middle ages
at our inn with the nineteenth century on
the road. These sudden changes of mental
temperature, are trying as those of a New
England spring.

















CHAPTER IV.


Les plaisirs out leur tour,
C'est leur plus doux usage
Que de finir les soins dujour.
MOLIERE.

IT was a high festival day on which I
first drove out to the Paseos, the Champs
Elysees of Havana. .
On our way we passed a church, out of
which was moving the most absurd imagin-
able religious procession. Let Naples hide
her diminished head, and Einsiedeln be
rebuked! First came four negroes, playing
the violin, bass-viol, flute, and flageolet, rol-
ling their eyes, and grinning.in an ecstasy
of jocose importance. Then, boys and men
carrying candles, and shoving everybody
aside, like newly appointed policemen.
Then, a hangdog looking friar in a greasy
white gown, with cowl thrown back, care-


I '








PICTURES OF CUBA.


lessly swinging, or rather jerking, a huge
censer, and glancing upward, from side to
side, at the balconies, full of fair Habaneras,
as he slouched along. Then four men, car-
rying a gilded canopy, in front of which
paraded a boy in white, and a priest in
white silk and gold, bearing the shining
Host, and followed by another priest, in
yellow silk and gold. Then "the army
incog.," black, white, and yellow. An om-
nibus, (are there not omnibus-gondolas
in Venice!) an omnibus got in their way,
as it was natural such a heretical, modern
French monstrosity should do. Livid with
rage, the censer-man, more incensed than
ever I saw monk before, rushed up, swore
at the driver, stopped the horses, and turn-
ed out the passengers. The driver, a good
looking young Spaniard, bowed, crossed
himself, shrugged his shoulders, and winked
at tbh spectators. The passengers humbly
gave up, except one grey-haired American
in spectacles, who fought the priest through
the window with an umbrella, and was only
dislodged by the joint and furious swearing








GAN-EDEN.


of the holy man, and five or six soldiers
who came to his assistance. I never saw a
more disgusting scene.
The Paseos make the most charming of
promenades. Beyond the walls stretch for
several miles, broad, well-made roads, bor-
dered with stately buildings near the city,
and lined throughout their whole extent
with fine rows of poplars and of palms.
Some of these Paseos are adorned with roy-
al statues, more or less hideous, with foun-
tains, or with gardens. With the Plaza de
Armas, the Paseos, and the Alameda, or
Poplar Walk, de Paula, a delightful well-
paved walk along a sea-wall, somewhat
resembling the approach to the Villa Reale
at Naples, Havana has received no younger
sister's portion. The Paseos are the after-
noon resort of the fine world. There, just
before sundown, the footways are throng-
ed with hundreds of young Creole exqui-
sites, in their eternal uniform of black and
white, vindicating the universal incongrui-
ties of fashion, by the substitution of an
ugly heavy beaver hat for the easy and








PICTURES OF CUBA.


pretty sombrero of the morning. The eyes
of all these youths are directed with a per-
tinacity of impertinence, which at first
awakens tingling sensations in the toe of a
Northern boot, upon the countenances and
persons of the hundreds of young ladies
who are trotted slowly up and down the
carriage roads, in the wide and open vo-
lantes. Soon, however, the conviction forces
itself upon the stranger, that the young
ladies doat upon this impertinence, and will
be looked at. Certainly the exhibition is a
wonderfully brilliant one Mr. Angus Mc-
Kaskill, the Nova Scotia giant, and a genu-
ine Polar Walrus, whose seducing likenesses
just now adorn the useless city walls, must
surely solicit the public attention in vain,
when such a pageant as this is nightly
open to the world! The rich sunlight falls
upon hundreds of beautiful heads, tastefully
dressed as if for the opera or the ballroom,
and adorned generally with fine natural
flowers. The features of the Creole ladies
are generally good, and the complexions of
the younger among them, though perfectly
4








GAN-EDEN.


pale, are of that rich paleness, that sunny
hue of antique marble, which distinguished
the face of Napoleon in his youth. The
elderly ladies, generally riding sandwiched
between two younger ones, are not often
more attractive than Napoleon in his fat
and flabby age. Rarely among the Cuban
ladies of maturer years, does one see those
healthy, sweet, and venerable faces which
so often make old age lovely in the north.
These dames and damsels are arrayed in the
most intense colors, fiery red, ultramarine
blue, gamboge yellow, colors as vivid as
the hues of the flamingo and the parrot,
the cactus-flower and the jaquey. But
these glowing colors belong naturally
enough to a landscape where all things
glow, in the heavens and on the earth.
The line of volantes-is broken at intervals,
by some ambitious Don fretting his help-
less, heavily bitted, long-tailed steed into a
continual caracole, or by the close English
carriage of some exclusive noble, or enter-
prising hotel keeper. Gradually the car-
riages roll off the ground. Sallow inane








PICTURES. OF CUBA.


young men go swinging their canes
through the gates. The long procession
of the watchmen, walking two and two
with lighted lanterns appears, and lo! it
is night. Night, which falls not sweetly
and slowly down around the weary world,
as in the northern climes, but comes down
suddenly, almost with a jerk, as if the string
of a curtain had broken! At night, the
tropic world is all awake, all tremulous
with life and light. The streets within
the walls are thronged and gay. Then the
ladies of condition go shopping, and their
volantes crowd the narrow streets. The
fair inmates, disdaining to descend, are
waited on by familiar, yet courteous shop-
men, Spaniards of old Spain, and masters
of that courteous familiarity, in which, as in
so many other graceful traits, the Moor still
triumphs in the heart of Spain. One feels
the Orient too, in the equanimity with
which the dignified dealer in genuine Re-
galias, or wonderful fans, condescends to
waive a trifle of forty or fifty per cent., on
the original price he had asked for his








GAN-EDEN.


admirable wares. And do you not seem to
see that incomparable lady of Bassorah, to
whom the young silk merchant gave such
long credit, and loaned such large sums, on
the mere security of her magnificent eyes,
when you hear the stately and sounding
adulation with which these Peninsular
tradesmen ply their customers, adroitly
puffing not their goods, but the fair buyers
thereof? The ecstatic ejaculations which
burst from the lips of the Persian princes,
when they first beheld themselves sur-
rounded by the unveiled Houris of a Lon-
don drawing-room, are the daily license of
the young Habanero, nor do the native
ladies take any offence at the compliment-
ary nonsense which salutes their passage
through the streets. But I shall not soon
forget the mixture of alarm and indigna-
tion with which a northern lady of my ac-
quaintance, sallying from the hotel door for
her first volante expedition, heard herself
addressed by two youths, who took off their
hats in passing, and exclaimed, "Go with
God! lovely and beautiful American! Long








PICTURES OF CUBA.


live your loveliness, and long live Amer-
icg!" Yet as she chanced to be very
pretty, and as America is by no means
unpopular with the Creoles, she grew quite
accustomed to such salutations, before the
ride was over, and even submitted with a
tolerably good grace to receive the informa-
tion from a waiter at the Caf6, where she
stopped to take an ice, "that the ices of
the beautiful ladies had been paid for, by a
Caballero who had gone out!"
At night, too, the daughters of the mid-
dling classes, arrayed in their best, stand
behind the gratings of the huge ground
floor windows, guiltless of glass, and gaze
out upon the busy street, while their
dowdy mammas, in the easiest undress,
rock slowly in the huge butacas, or arm-
chairs, which are always arranged in two
parallel lines from the front windows. The
promenaders without, so narrow are the
side-walks, almost brush the dresses of the
young ladies within, yet the wax-women
who so obligingly lead the fashions, in
the shop-windows of Broadway and Wash-
4*








GAN-EDEN.


ington street, are not more impassive under
the stare of rural wonder or delight, than
are these Creole damsels under the bold
gaze of native criticism or foreign admi-
ration, to which they are nightly sub-
jected. How favorable this arrangement
is to the commerce in billets doux, I need
not say, and as the windows are gene-
rally somewhat bowed, I have even wit-
nessed exchanges of a more tender nature,
made through the gratings. At night the
Plaza de Armas is in its glory. The Plaza
de Armas is not so large as Hyde Park,
neither does it at all resemble the Battery;
and those wise people who disdain Drachen-
fels, for its little likeness to Anthony's
Nose, and despise Windermere, because it
is but a teacup beside the great wash-tub
of Lake Erie, find the Plaza de Armas
neither fair nor pleasing. Yet it seems to
me a charming place, with its picturesque
frontiers of Southern buildings, and its cita-
del of marble quiet, when the hot noon
broods above its silent palms, and still,
dreaming, odorous flowers. A charming









PICTURES OF CUBA. 43

place, suggesting recollections more charm-
ing still of lovelier places, of the gardens of
King Agib, and of the courts wherein
"Ganem, the Distracted Slave of Love,"
recited extemporaneous verses to the dark-
eyed Alcolomb. And at night the Plaza de
Armas has new charms of its own. Then
the regimental bands gathered around the
conspicuous marble statue of Ferdinand
VII., discourse most passionate music; then,
moving groups of ladies in mantillas, and
caballeros, (alas that I must write-it!) in
black dress coats -and white pantaloons,
chequer the rich moonlight on the mar-
ble pavements, and swarthy slaves glancing
with ornaments of silver and of gold, lean
over the low walls, bandying their chuck-
ling wit in their strange negro Spanish;
and half hidden in the broad shadows of the
buildings round about the Plaza, dark-eyed
Alcolombs receive the homage of meeker
and less ecstatic Ganems, assiduous beside
those wondrous vehicles, which, to the lady
of Havana, are gondola and throne, fauteuil
and palanquin at once.
At nine o'clock the bands march off the









GAN-EDEN.


ground. The volantes follow, and the aim-
less masculine world repairs to the Caf6s.
The Cafes are stately squares of marble
columns, open in the centre to the airs of
heaven, and refreshed with the plashing of
fountains. There the representatives of
half the nations of the world are to be
found, the heavy moustachio of the Span-
ish dragoon, and the ruddy, clean shaven
visage of the English middy, equally active
in the discussion of all manner of new and
fragrant compounds, cool with Northern
ice, and aromatic with the life of tropic
fruits. There, oysters are a costly luxury,
and pineapples are a drug, and nobody
reads the newspaper. An uproarious con-
fusion of tongues, the continual ringing
from the little silver braziers, which the
unwearied waiters clatter down upon the
marble tables in answer to the perpetual
cries of Candela! Candela!" (Fire! Fire!)
which echo through the building, and a
ceaseless movement to and fro in the bright
gas-light distinguish the world of men with-
in. Without, the ladies in their volantes
take ices, and a little more gallantry.















CHAPTER V.


"Spectacles, bals, festips, concerts, conversations."
GIL BLAS at Lirias.

PEOPLE in the tropics rarely perpetrate
those wild excesses with which the north-
ern races warm their frozen blood. The
tropics are the home of temperance and
regularity. The very winds are always
methodical in their madness, and give man-
kind timely notice of their intended orgies,
like that considerate nobleman, who used
to announce to his friends, "Next Thursday,
by the blessing of Heaven, I propose to be
drunk." The life of a Habanero dandy is
as systematic as that of a New England
deacon. The morning, whether passed in a
butaca, or behind a desk in one of those
enormous marble-floored counting-houses,
which give such a princely air to the mer-
cautile life of Havana, is passed quietly and









GAN-EDEN.


calmly. The afternoon melts impercep-
tibly away at one of those Creole dinner-
tables, where luxury of equipage and
entertainment so harmoniously combines
with perfect simplicity of manners to fur-
nish a meal, which, like the suppers of
Plato, is "a pleasure not for the moment
only, but for many succeeding days." Then
comes the serene lounge in the balcony,
with some domestic charmer, or the saunter
along the crowded Paseo. The evening
belongs to the Plaza de Armas, or to the
corridor of the Opera House. Should a
ball or a party break the uniformity of this
routine, the preparation for such a festival
involves no such expenditure of thought
and labor, as the assiduous Northerner under-
goes in a-like case. The prevailing expres-
sion of equanimity which distinguishes the
Creole face, testifies to the facility with
which the Creole lives. Plainly the Creole
wastes upon the economic and moral ends
of human life, no more thought than is
bestowed upon the great corn-grinding
and board-sawing mission of all running








PICTURES OF CUBA.


waters, by the lazy streams and streamlets
that go dancing and dawdling on for miles
through the savage woodland. The Creole
dandy, (compassionate him, oh thou his
serious Northern brother!) drifts slowly
down his sluggish canal of life without a
dream of struggle or endeavor. Some-
times he riots in a melodious operatic rage;
but the wave rises highest in his heart,
whenever the Dulcinea of the moment
makes his encircling arm her stay in the
slow, graceful whirl of that delicious contra-
danza, which is the rhythmic utterance of
his warm languid life. Oh! how wooingly,
how trancingly floats now through my
memory, the soft enthralling music of that
luxurious dance! a mystery as strange and
sweet as is all that, life so aliei from our
own, which flavors the tropic world! It is
the dance of Cuba, and the children of
Cuba alone have its secret. You cairal-
ways detect the foreigner through all the
grace and all the precision of his step. The
dance is the earliest and most national of
national lyrics. The Tarantella, maddening









GAN-EDEN.


on the moonlit sands of Sorrento; the
Cachucha, inspiring every limb of the ar-
dent daughter of Andalusia; the contra-
danza, pouring the plaintive passion of its
wailing cadences through every nerve and
vein of the pale, dark-eyed Creoles, till the
very music seems to come from them,
"And all the notes appear to be
The echoes of their feet :"
these may all be felt, but cannot be fathom-
ed by the stranger. The measure of the
contradanza always brought before me vis-
ions of the mild-eyed melancholy" Indians,
of that soft, unwarlike people to whom
life was one sweet song and breathing
dance in this fair island, before the greedy
Spaniard came with traffic and with toil,
to sweeps them from the earth. The
music of the Indian names and words
which the conquerors have preserved, is
kindred in character with the measure of
the contradanza. Guanabacoa, Camarioca,
Baracoa, Guanajay, guanavana, guayava;
the soft delaying flow of such words as
these revives for us the whole spirit of the








PICTURES OF CUBA.


vanished people, to whom to die was easier
than to work. Long may it be before the
camp dances of the big-booted Sclavoni-
ans, or the mincing absurdities of the diplo-
matic quadrille, shall banish from the
saloons of Cuba, their own most graceful
and expressive measure!
The present customs of the land in
regard to the intercourse of the young
people, are a great shield to the contradanza.
The youths and maidens could not spare
it. Every Cuban young lady is carefully
secluded from the approaches of "young
Cuba," by a system of modified duenna-
dom. On the Paseo, and particularly on
the Plaza de Armas, the shepherd may in-
deed converse with his nymph, but always
under the eye of her dragon, andfthe third
visit of Lycidas to Chloris, subjects him to a
tete-a-tete with Chloris m&re, and to a spe-
cific investigation into his intentions. The
mazes of the contradanza alone are free, and
in that brief season of sunshine, flirtations
spring up like flowers in the fleeting Scan-
dinavian summer.









GAN-EDEN.


Social entertainments at Havana. borrow
a great charm, too, from the spaciousness
and airiness of the houses. The lofty ceil-
ings, the long capacious rooms, the huge
windows opening upon moonlit balconies,
lend to the balls and parties of Havana an
air of ease and amplitude, which makes
them seem more social, and more enter-
taining too, than the "jams" of the North.
The ladies, when not dancing, to be sure,
are apt to run to the walls, and the gentle-
men to eddy around the door-posts, after a
fashion usually regarded as Anglo-Saxon,
yet which is quite as much in vogue among
the Southern nations, as in London or Bos-
ton. But conversation, however trivial,
is here more freely carried on, and one is
not oppressed with the sensual horrors of
supper as in the States. The climate, too,
compels the men, in particular, to dress
more rationally, and you never see a sweet
temper soured by tight boots, or a noble
nature humbled under the tyranny of a
shirt-collar. A party at Havana is some-
thing more than a congress of polking








PICTURES OF CUBA.


children, and oyster-eating adults. What-
ever refreshments are offered, are always
better calculated to revive, than to stun
the system; and I should think that a fort-
night of "the season" at New York would
be more detrimental to body and mind,
than months of gaiety in the Southern
capital. The tertulia," which is the more
common form of entertainment in Havana,
is very simple, and much less trying than
a tea-party. It is, in fact, nothing but a
kind of" reception." The capital required
for a Northern reception," being mainly a
pair of black pantaloons, and a perpetual
smile, for a Cuban tertulia, a perpetual
smile, and a pair of white pantaloons will
suffice.
The easiest and pleasantest form of social
life at Havana, however, is the great, gene-
ral tertulia of the entr' actes at the Opera
House. Everybody-knows that the Tacon
Theatre is the largest in A'merica, and one
of the largest in the world. Madame Cal-
deron familiarized us with the splendors of
its appearance, to which, indeed, that lively


51








GAN-EDEN.


lady did no more than justice. The well-
dressed pit relieves, with masses of black
and white, the variegated glitter of the
boxes. Inclosed only by a slender gilded
railing, these boxes display very finely the
flashing eyes, and flashing diamonds, the
dark tresses, and glowing dresses of fair
Havana. Each box contains a family party
with a seat or two to spare, and throughout
the evening each family receives visitors,
who wander around the great cool passage-
ways, peep through the latticed partitions,
and spend their evenings as that ancient
bachelor his mornings, "in making dodging
calls; and wriggling round among the
ladies." When the spectacle within grows
tedious, you wander into those great corri-
dors, refreshed with breezes that blow
through enormous windows, and throng-
ed with animated groups. Impertinent
-looking soldiers in their white uniforms
stalk majestically about, shoving the Cre-
-oles, and making way for foreigners, while
at the open door of every box obsequious
darkness waits" in gold-laced livery. It is









PICTURES OF CUBA.


more sad than amusing, however, to witness
one feature of this brilliant spectacle. The
Creole children, in too many cases, shock
the eye by their costume, and their man-
ners, more than they win it by their
beauty of person and of feature. One
rarely sees a positively ugly child in Ha-
vana. But quite as rarely does one see a
childly child. It is one of the sad conse-
quences of the system of social life in the
Island, that children associated with their
mothers in the ballroom, the dining-room,
and the theatre, from the tenderest years,
that they may escape the contamination of
slave influence, are forced into a precocity,
compared with which the sophistication of
Punch's immortal juveniles resembles the
innocence'of the babes in the wood. And
there they are at the Opera House, mirror-
ing "the greater audience in an audience
less," the absurd little boys in tight body-
coats and high hats, swinging jewelled canes,
the girls laced, fringed, flounced like their
mammas, flirting, too, like them, their costly
fans with the imitated air, and too often
5*









GAN-EDEN.


with the genuine expression of the matur-
est coquetry. Over them the moralist
drops a tear. The hopeful traveller re-
calls with grateful heart the memory of
other little ones, more in number, too,
than the Piper left in Hamelin, in whose
bright eyes childhood laughed, whose red
lips budded only in the sinless smile of
happy infancy, and thereupon, beholds the
Cuban future shine more cheerily upon his
thought.
This winter Havana has had no Italian
troupe. I should have been glad to see
one of those deifications, which have so
easily won for Havana the reputation of
being a very musical city. A Steffanoni,
crowned with silver, and pelted with jewels,
a Marini, ranting in regal state, would have
been a sight worth seeing. The applause
of such an audience as Havana could
furnish, must come down like a tropical
shower, undiscriminating, fierce, and appall-
ing.- For while the musical cultivation
of Havana is evidently very imperfect, the
Creole nature and the Creole education









PICTURES OF CUBA.


must make the Habaneros very suscep-
tible of the titillating influence of merely
sensuous music. One would not look
here for such an intelligent and judicial
furore as those that have so often shaken
the walls of the Fenice and La Scala, of
the Pergola and San Carlo, but a gushing,
irrational, dispendious enthusiasm is always
entertaining to the calmer spectator. It is
pleasant to see how much the Creoles en-
joy the very indifferent music which they
like. The Clubs of Havana (for the Eng-
lish club-house has wandered further than
the Chinese herb, or the Arabian berry, and
has undergone as many culinary modifica-
tions as they,) partake of the character of
Philharmonic Societies. It was very agree-
able to see this innovation upon the bearish
system of the club-house, and though the
performances were ordinary enough, and
the programmes such as are now served up
only for the delectation of second-rate New
England towns, the extravagant, and evi-
dently sincere enjoyment of the audiences
quite won my sympathies. The music sell-









GAN-EDEN.


ers in the town, too, though their shelves
would have driven a genuine Mendels-
sohnian of Boston quite wild with disgust,
seemed to be doing a more extensive busi-
ness than I should have fancied possible,
in a community where aesthetic 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 Havana. This is
very well for a city where you cannot pur-
chase a decent box of colors, or a tolerable
drawing-book.
And I was really surprised to hear that
Jenny Lind had not pala her expenses in
Havana. 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
mattered the cloud of humbug from which
the angelic accents issued? Had she been
conducted by a company of Connecticut
clock-makers; had she been pardoned out









PICTURES OF CUBA.


of the galleys, I should not have supposed
that any tolerably educated public could be
insensible to the fascinations of her voice
and her method.















CHAPTER VI.


"Sta d' alta torre, e scopre i monti e i campi."
TASSO.

FEW persons expect to find much beauty
in the environs of Havana. Yet few cities
of the New World can compare in this
respect with the Cuban capital. It was my
good fortune to fall in with S- the
grave scenery-hunting German painter,
who, after filling portfolio upon portfolio
with visions of Egypl and the East, of
Europe and of Africa, had wandered hither
on his way to Yucatan and Mexico. In
his company I spent many a delightful
hour upon the fine sloping hills which sur-
round the city. The suburbs, of Regla
where the foreign ships anchor, and the
admirable storehouses stand, Jesus del
Monte, Guanabacoa, which claims to be
an old Indian town, where Caciques ruled








PICTURES OF CUBA.


and the terrible Cemis was worshipped,
and the Cerro, are all interesting in them-
selves, and offer various and noble views of
the city and the bay. The Dane in the
Improvisatore who exclaims as the dili-
gence rolls into Itri, that dirt and the pic-
turesque are inseparable, would rejoice over
These ancient villages, so solid at once and
so squalid. Such rich browns and blacks
in the interiors! Such fine besmooched
red roofs! Guanabacoa is the most fash-
ionable watering-place of the Island dur-
ing the summer months. The lavish in-
stincts of the Creole nature and the opu-
lence of Cuban society, are then displayed
in all their brilliancy. In the winter the
old Indian city is a quiet, dreamy, deserted
place, as dull as a dead moth. You may
reach it by a charming road which runs
around the bay, or, more appropriately, by
a kind of decayed railway, from which the
noise and the speed of the engine have
vanished, as the glitter and the chatter of
young life from this Newport of the Cubans.
Tired mules haul the faded, battered, soli-









GAN-EDEN.


tary car along the worn and shaking rails.
But however you may reach them, the hills
of Guanabacoa disclose a prospect which
roused the enthusiasm even of the firm and
patriotic New Yorker, whose pleasant com-
pany made more pleasant my first visit to
the spot, and who loved the magnificent
harbor of his own city, as warmly and as
wisely as its glorious loveliness deserves.
The Cerro-is a suburb nearer the city, and
full of villas. In the soft evening light, the
drive thither is delicious; the landscape
quite East Indian in character, made up of
houses with overhanging eaves, groves of
palm-trees, Brahminee bulls, such as lord it
over Benares, and Chinese coolies. The
villas, quintas they are called here, are built
in a large palatial style of architecture, with
charming gardens, and as you go sway-
ing along in your volante, ever and anon
sweeping views break on you of the rich
exuberantly verdant country, of the for-
tress-crowned heights, and of the blue trem-
bling of the distant ocean. Not less deli-
cious is it in the hot noon, when all the city








PICTURES OF CUBA.


dozes, to take shelter in your shaded vo-
lante from the vertical rays of the sun, and,
driving off at a pace which quickens the
air into a breeze, to seek the refreshing
green of the quinta gardens. The nobles
to whom most of these gardens belong,
courteously throw them open to the public.
The gardens are much neglected, but open-
handed nature lavishes her savage beauty
upon them. Gorgeous flowers, fruit-trees
like the zapote and the aguacate, that rival
shade trees in their size and their masses of
foliage, sublime palm avenues, these and
the pleasant air make a morning's ramble in
these places one of the most agreeable feat-
ures of Havana life. The queer old negro
gardener of the Quinta de Palatino, hob-
bling through "the crisped shades and
bowers," with his sweet burden of clustering
flowers, is a pleasant figure in the memory
of many a Northern heart. I can .t hint
at the charms of that free and genial hospi-
tality which has made the name of the
Cerro musical in many ears. Stately
ceyba of the Bishop's garden, long may
6









GAN-EDEN.


thy lordly benediction welcome companies
as courteous and as gay, as those with
whom I wiled away the careless hours
about the buttressed majesty of thy co-
lossal trunk! Towering palms of Palatino,
may the smiles of Heaven never fail upon
your sweeping leaves, the smiles of glad-
dened human hearts beneath your grace-
ful arches!
There are fine drives, too, out to Puentes
Grandes, or the High Bridge," where the
green Almendares, the Guadalquiver of the
Havana poets, glides under the hanging
groves, and past the sentimental caias
bravas of lordly grounds, so stealthily you
see not its swiftness, till its seaward course
is impeded, and its speed betrayed by a
ledge of rocks, over which it leaps angrily
enough in a series of small cascades; or to
the tangled, treacherous mangroves of the
Chorera, where the same Almendares slips
quietly out into the Gulf. And lovely is
the row by moonlight across the landlocked
bay, dotted all over by the stately forms
of ships sleeping on the tide!









PICTURES OF CUBA. 63

But perhaps the finest excursions around
Havana, are to be made to the different
fortresses. The city is excellently fortified,
particularly on the seaward side. The
Morro Castle and the Caba~ias, if properly
manned and armed, might defy the largest
fleet, so narrow is the entrance to the har-
bor, and so commanding is their position.
When the English took Havana in 1762,
they landed their troops at two points, east
and west of the city. At one of these points
an insignificant fortification, called the Eng-
lish fort, is still standing near the mouth of
the Cogimar river. Since that time the ad-
ditional forts of Principe and Atares have
been erected, so that Havana has become
more defensible against land attacks. But
none of these fortresses are adequately gar-
risoned, nor can they possibly be so with the
force which Spain usually maintains in the
Island. When the troops were sent from
Havana to fight the battle of Las Pozas,
the fortresses were left in so unprotected a
state, that a few resolute young men might
have made themselves masters of the city.








GAN-EDEN.


I enjoyed very favorable opportunities for
visiting the great strongholds of the Morro
and the Cabanas in company with Capt.
a most amiable and accomplished
officer of the Spanish army, and spent two
mornings there very delightfully. The as-
pect of the massive walls, as you approach
them in your boat, is very imposing, and
the solid masonry which commands the
winding ascent to the fortresses is truly
Cyclopean. One wall of this inclined plane
is formed by the solid rocks, and the. pas-
sage is completely commanded by the em-
brasures of numerous batteries. But it is
only when you have passed the last of the
heavy gateways, and traversed the broad
burning square within, and mounted the
huge parapets, that you begin to appre-
ciate fully the grandeur and extent of forti-
cations which well support the hard earned
fame of the Spaniards as builders, and quite
throw into the shade even the defences of
Quebec. It is said that the building of the
Cabaias cost forty millions of dollars, a sum
which startled even the stupid Charles IIl.,








PICTURES OF CUBA.


who, on receiving the account, is reported
to have taken up his spy-glass, and to have
commenced a careful survey of the horizon.
On being asked what object he sought, the
King answered that he was looking for the
Cabailas, which he certainly ought to be
able to see at any distance.
The quarters of my friend the Captain,
were low and by no means extensive, yet
the walls are of such immense thickness
that they must be as cool as a cavern. A
few gardens, carefully cultivated in different
parts of the vast inclosure, and a marble
monument raised to commemorate the
"Valor and Loyalty," of the brave who. fell
in beating back Lopez and his crew, are the
only ornaments of these gigantic walls.
But the view from the battlements is glori-
ous. Far down below you, wall beneath
wall, stretch the huge defences, in the whole
so lofty that the stately vessels at anchor in
the bay beneath, show like scallops. The
closely crowded, diversified buildings of the
populous city, that seemed so many and so
great, when you walked the' narrow streets,
6*








GAN-EDEN.


occupy the smallest space of the vast land-
scape opened to your sight !
Between the Cabanias and the Morro
Castle, lies an undulating, bare, and rocky
space of ground, a sort of sheepwalk. There
are subterranean communications, also, be-
tween the two fortresses. The entrance to
the Morro Castle, on the side of the Ca-
bafas, is steep, sudden, and very striking,
the surrounding ditches deep and tremen-
dous. The fortification itself is much less
extensive than the Cabanas, of which how-
ever it is practically but an outwork. Yet
to the unprofessional visitor, the Morro is
the more interesting of the two, from its
more castellated character, and its superb
position. Standing on the outer parapets,
you may look over them sheer down into
the sea, which, notwithstanding its great
depth, is here so surprisingly clear, that
even from this great height, objects may be
clearly discerned upon the bottom. The
sea-view from the splendid and admirably
appointed light-house of the Morro, can
hardly be surpassed.








PICTURES OF CUBA.


The visible armament of the Morro, like
that of the Cabaias, is certainly inadequate.
The famous cannon called the "Twelve
Apostles," are heavy guns, but they seemed
to me to be in a not much better condition
than the other ecclesiastical institutions of
the Colony. Ten thousand men, at least,
would be required to defend these vast for-
tifications. At no time during my stay in
Cuba, was the Spanish force in all the
island, reckoned at more than 13,000 men
by the most competent judges. Properly
to man all the forts around Havana, includ-
ing Principe, Atares, La Punta, and other
lesser defences, not less than 15,000 men
would be necessary. Principe and Atares
are both of them important and consider-
able posts. Atares has obtained a melan-
choly celebrity as the scene of the great
military execution which followed the de-
feat of Lopez.
A precise knowledge of the plans and
outlines of these fortresses cannot easily be
obtained, for the Spanish authorities are as
rigidly severe as the Austrians in their hos-









GAN-EDEN.


utility to sketch-books. A friend of mine
was staying at the same hotel with a young
Englishman, one of the devotees of Bristol-
board, whom you meet all over the world,
putting in the Pyramids in sepia, touching
up the Coliseum with burnt sienna and
flake-white, washing over the vale of Interla-
chen with a flood of sap-green. The young
Briton, who had made himself, as pleasant
young Britons are apt to do, quite the life
of the house, sallied out one morning for a
dab at the Bay, but returned not to his
dinner, nor yet to sleep, nor with the next
morning. The day wore on, and as he did
not appear, some of his fellow-lodgers had
begun to think of looking after him, when a
messenger arrived to say, that the lover of
nature was lodged in the Morro Castle, and
had sent for his Consul and for clean linen.
The gallant old representative of England
was soon on the alert, and discovered that
his young countryman had been seen
sketching the Morro from a boat, brought
to by a sentinel, arrested, and by reason of
his ignorance of the Spanish tongue, incon-









PICTURES OF CUBA.


tinently shut up. It required all the good
sense and the courage of the Consul to con-
vince the authorities that the liegeman of
Victoria had no designs upon the dominions
of Isabella, although on the evidence of the
sketch itself, nobody could ever have con-
victed its author of attempting to portray
the outlines of the Morro. A similar inci-
dent, terminating more agreeably, occurred
to a German gentleman quite recently.
The base of the hill on which Atares stands,
is leased to a market gardener. Our Ger-
man being in the neighborhood one day,
was struck with the odd appearance of the
crooked wooden plough, still used to scratch
up the rich soil of Cuba. He had nearly
transferred the object to his sketch book,
when he was pounced upon by a corporal,
and led off into the presence of the com-
manding officer. For some time all passed
in dumb show, till a German soldier in the
fort being sent for, explained the affair.
"If the corporal charges me with sketching
the fortress," said the German, "let him
produce his proofs!" "The proofs are here,








GAN-EDEN.


Senor!" cried the delighted subofficer, and
he exhibited the captured sketch book. A
single glance at the drawing sufficed to
satisfy the commander, who burst into a fit
of laughter, dismissed his sagacious subordi-
nate with a reprimand, and invited the
German to dinner.
These fortresses serve as prisons for polit-
ical offenders, and there is rarely a time
when their dungeons are unoccupied. Be-
yond a doubt men have been brought to
trial and to military execution within
these walls, whose fate is still a mystery to
their friends and families. It is very easy
to exaggerate the atrocities committed by
a despotic government, but it is certainly
idle to question facts which are involved in
the very being of such a government. The
traditional Spaniard of Anglo-Saxon and
Protestant countries, the legacy of Alva and
the Inquisition, of the Armada and the wars
of the Spanish main, is indeed an absurd
and frightful creature, quite out of nature.
But a tyrannical system makes tyrannical
measures, and tyrannical men. Moreover








PICTURES OF CUBA.


what Leigh Hunt somewhere says is not
unfounded, that the* Spanish character is
less truly European than that of any other
western people.
The walk along the shore beyond the
Morro to the English fort, and the Cogi-
mar, is very interesting. The formation of
the coast is singular. The coralline rocks,
broken and jagged, are in color very like
the old red sandstone, of which some
English cathedrals are built, and in shape
resembles masses of dead iron such as are
flung out of old furnaces, or the heaps of
scorime which encumber the sides of Etna
and Vesuvius. They are overlaid and
strewn with innumerable fragments of
coral, exquisite sea fans, and sea shells often
very beautiful, but generally much shatter-
ed and worn by the waves. The sea-view
is magnificent. The promontory and towers
of the Morro, conceal the city; and as far
as the eye can range, nothing is visible but
the widening deep blue waters of the Gulf,
save when a huge bird goes swaying
through the air, or a gallant ship scuds









GAN-EDEN.


along the horizon, or the great gold ball of
the Sun sinks out of sight in the floods of
the west, impurpled by his last rays.
Lonely, wild, and solemn, are now these
rugged beaches. But time rolls on, and
the prophetic eye saddens to discern the
day, when where the Morro Castle now
frowns defiance from its sombre rock, a
huge white many-windowed building with
broad piazzas, and multitudinous Ionic col-
onnades may rear its ghastly form! Where
the weary sentinel paces his solitary round,
the polka will be then madly danced by
beardless boys and brainless girls, to the
music of Dodsworth's band. The irregular
shores over which the searcher after shells
and stones, now picks his careful way, well
beaten into a capital road, will mock the
tossing foam of the sea, with the manes of
fast horses urged to speed by faster men in
trotting wagons, and the summer glory of
Newport and Nahant, will be outshone
through all the winter months, by the
splendid follies of the Castle Morro Hotel!




'I


CHAPTER VII.

"To still retreats, and flowery solitudes."
STTHOMSON.

IT is not an-easy thing to get away from
Havana. There is a story that when Prince
William Henry of England was here, as a
gay midshipman with Rodney, he came on
shore to dine, and stayed so obstinately,
that the Admiral could only compel his
return by threatening to sail without him.
So mighty are the charms of the Creole
hospitality. But there is another difficulty
in the way. You cannot quit Havana
without a passport, renewable at the end
of your journey, and if you wish to go
anywhere by railway, you must rise in
time to walk out of town, about a mile, to
the railway station, before six o'clock, A. M.
More trains pass over one of our great
northern roads in a day than are run in a








GAN-EDEN.


week on all the roads of Cuba. Between
Havana and Matanzas, the New York and
Boston of the island, there are but two
trains run, one each way daily, and those
leave their respective cities at 6, A. M. Un-
der these circumstances, one cannot but be
profoundly impressed by the sagacity of a
regulation which forbids the volantes to
appear in the streets before seven o'clock!
When I at last resolved to see the interior
of the island, I rose by candlelight, took
the inevitable morning cup of coffee, and
having put my portmanteau into a large
basket, saw the same shouldered and then
headed by a giant African, who started off
with it at a rapid trot. Things at the
railway station passed much as in America,
for in Cuba you have all the annoyances
and none of the comforts of despotism.
The cars had a familiar look, having been
built in those long port-holed edifices, which,
when transfigured by distance and the sun-
set light, seem to the romantic traveller
over the West Boston bridge, quite as pic-
turesque as the barracks of Naples, or the








PICTURES OF CUBA.


palaces of Pqrtici. We ran no, we mov-
ed at a calm, dignified pace, through a beau-
tiful country, fertile and well-tilled, past
orchards of fine fruit-trees, among which
the dark glistening leaves and shining
globes, the "golden lamps in a green
night" of the orange, and the conical,
dwarfish proportions of the pine-apple were
best known to me, on to the station of San
Felipe, a sort of Grand Junction, where we
made a halt, and were regaled with all
manner of fruits, the oranges being by far
the best I had tasted in the island. Beyond
San Felipe, groves of the bushy-topped
cocoa-palm, and hedges of the plumy beau-
tiful bamboo appeared. We reached at last
the Almacen of Batabanb, a place half bil-
liard room and half Posada, and there, at
the end of an immensely long pier, lay a
great, white, neat Yankee-looking steamer,
the General Concha, the pride of the
Southern coast. I afflicted five gentlemen
in shirt sleeves, by declining their several in-
vitations to eat up their savory breakfast
of beefsteaks, which had been first stewed









GAN-EDEN.


with garlic, and then fried in butter; criti-
cally examined an interesting series of
highly-colored prints representing the con-
quest of Mexico, as well as authentic por-
traits of five European sovereigns, of Gene-
ral Jose de la Concha, and of a heroic Ser-
geant of Lancers, who fell valiantly at Las
Pozas, after transfixing fourteen of the
"pirates and robbers;" and accurately sur-
veyed the upper and lower decks of the
handsome steamer, consuming in this way
about two hours, at the end of which time
our worthy little Captain "concluded to
start." We steamed off into a perfectly
calm tropical sea. The deck was crowded
with Monteros in their huge cloaks, silver-
hilted swords, and deerskin shoes, who
stalked loftily about among the wretched
groups of hospital patients, numbers of
whom are yearly sent by a truly benevo-
lent society of Havana, to the medicinal
baths of San Diego. The cabin was -filled
with passengers of a higher and undis-
tinguished grade, whose cigars and expecto-
rations conspired, with the whole aspect of








PICTURES OF CUBA.


the vessel and her decorations, to make me
feel quite at home. The berths alone were
novel. These, instead of any mattress or
sheet, revealed nothing but a stout piece of
admirably tanned brown hide, stretched
along the bottom, and furnishing a cool
and elastic couch perfectly adapted to the
climate. After dinner, a Spanish dinner,
served with gravity, and discussed with
a composure and goodbreeding which I
am sorry to say did not remind me of simi-
lar scenes at home, we walked the deck,
the little old Captain and myself, till sun-
set, admiring the fine outline of the moun-
tains of the Vuelta Abajo, which we kept
in sight all the afternoon. At dark the
gambling began. The Spaniards play con-
stantly, but with moderation, and the game
of Monte was carried on by the majority
of the passengers all the evening with no
noise, and in a solemn good-humored way.
But moonlight against Monte, I went on
deek. The night was unspeakably beauti-
ful. The Isla de Piiios, ancient haunt of
pirates, lay dusky and dim on the South-
7*









GAN-EDEN.


ern horizon, quiet was in the air and on
the sea, no sail in sight. Swiftly, almost
stealthily, we glided over the tranquil
waters, the shining treacherous waters, so
often cloven by the keels of fierce and cruel
robbers. That sense of something evil in
the air, which haunts the heart at Naples,
came upon me. The divine South is full of
sadness. But the feeling of which I speak,
is like the shudder of life at the touch of
Death. Then, this delicious beauty, warm,
glowing, luxurious, seems to us a Lami,, a
Melusina; the woman vanishes, the loathly
serpent chills us with her clammy, poison-
ous coil. Is it because, as Landor says, The
heart is hardest in the softest climes," and
these lovely lands are charged with a
weight of frightful memories ? Or must we
not look more deeply,into the very consti-
tution of our natures? In the tropics all
lower life, the life of vegetables, the phys-
ical life of animals, nay, of man himself,
flourishes, the life of the affections and the
intellect, the life of the kingly passions in
man alone degenerates. There is the








PICTURES OF CUBA.


realm of matter. The elements are in
alliance with our bodies. The throne of
the high powers within us is threatened.
We become suddenly conscious of the possi-
ble divorce between the spirit and the flesh.
Our dream of the Fountain of Youth
grows sensual, and the spirit trembles for
its dominion. Whatever be their source,
such feelings were crowding on me, when
a new direction was given to my mind by
the sudden stoppage of our steamer. We
had stuck fast in the fango, Anglice mud,
for the shores of this part of the coast shoal
out very gradually into the sea. This Mis-
sissippian feature in my sea-voyage I had
not anticipated. Our little Captain came
aft and told us it was "quite uncertain"
when we should get off again; the engine
was stopped, and the passengers as com-
posedly as if they expected to remain sta-
tionary till the summer rains should fall,
gathered about the tables in the saloon,
without one exclamation of impatience or
dissatisfaction, and began to play Monte
more assiduously than before. Finding








GAN-EDEN.


that all the berths had been taken during
our stay at Batabano, I was preparing to
" turn in" upon a sofa, when a young Span-
iard came up to me, and insisted on my
taking his place. I was a foreigner, he
said, and he, though not a native, yet a resi-
dent of the island, and if I would not take
his berth, nobody should occupy it. Famil-
iar as I had already become with the grace-
ful courtesy of his people, this self-sacrific-
ing politeness seemed to me extraordinary.
At home I fear I should have distrusted it,
which is hardly a compliment to our own
race. But there was no doubting the sin-
cerity and disinterestedness of this young
Castilian.
Whatever may be the charms of the
game of Monte to the players, it is cer-
tainly the most soothing of games to the
spectators. It consists apparently in a
monotonous iteration of numerals. Sesen-
ta-cuatro, Veinte-dos," and the like, mur-
mured in the slow drawling fashion of the
island, are a most effectual lullaby.
We did move on again at last, and reach-









PICTURES OF CUBA.


ed La Columa about 4, A. M. There I found
the calesero of my friend waiting for
me with a volante, at a large, rambling,
nondescript establishment, which appears as
a village on the maps. A jaunty grey-
headed old Creole with small, twinkling, dis-
agreeable eyes came up to me here, flour-
ishing a gold-headed cane of that flexible
animal fibre so much prized in Cuba, and
assuring me that Don was his bosom
friend, very obligingly offered to take a
seat with me as far as our roads should lie
together. I had no objection to make, and
after taking some excessively bad coffee,
we set off, in company with several meek-
looking persons, apparently armed to the
teeth. The road was wonderful! Now up,
now down, now plunging up to the horse's
girths in a small river, now running tilted
at an angle of 45 degrees along a sand-
bank, and always at full speed. If the led
horse lagged, the calesero hauled him along
like a pig; if the saddle-horse flinched, the
calesero boxed his ears. Riding like a cen-
tauir, he flung horses and volante down gul-








GAN-EDEN.


lies, and jerked them up hills with a seem.
ing recklessness, which at first made me
uneasy. But as my companion seemed tc
think it all right, I tried to fall into the
same state of mind, and entered into con-
versation with him.
The road for the whole way ran through
a savanna, a sort of tropical Cape Cod, with
palm-trees instead of stunted oaks, and tall
pine-trees springing out of the weedy
ground. My companion expatiated on the
waste of these lands, the uselessness of the
pine-trees, (that might be so profitable,) and
the miserable government to which these
things, and all the other short-comings of
Cuba were to be attributed. He was evi-
dently a malecontent of the first water, but
he looked for deliverance only to foreign
arms, and inquired anxiously into the
chances of war between the United States
and Spain. This unmanly tone thorough-
ly disgusted me, and I thought of astonish-
ing him with Sir William Jones's Ode, just
as we used to declaim it at Cambridge, but
contented myself with sundry suggestions








PICTURES OF CUBA.


as to the importance of preparing the island
to hold her own, before inviting strangers
to set her free. I did not, however, say
what I could not but think, that these vast
unoccupied tobacco-lands of the Vuelta
Abajo would certainly tempt hither swarms
of settlers from Virginia and Kentucky,
whose presence and enterprise would soon
awaken in the Creole mind longing memo-
ries of the "good old royal days." When
my companion became confidential, and
began to talk of his own affairs, his remarks
were rather shocking. My Mediterranean
experience had made me tolerably familiar
with the singular skill in blasphemy of the
Southern nations, but I was hardly prepar-
ed to hear from living lips, an improvement
upon Dante's most audacious imagination.
"My wife died last year," said my com-
panion, "my sister died six months ago, my
wife's mother and my daughter have just
died; now I should like to see what God
up yonder can do next! I defy him, and
he may come on if he dares!"
Three hours brought us to an Almacen,








GAN-EDEN.


or "country-store," where this pious and
patriotic gentleman alighted. During the
journey, he had taken occasion to offer me
his cane, a blow of which, he said, would
inflict a wound like a sword-cut, and his
watch; now, on parting, he assured me
that I was the proprietor of his house and
estate, and begged me soon to come and
take possession of them.
In a few minutes, my volante, as its
name imports, was "flying" through the
rustic gateway, guarded by a white headed
old African, naked as a native on the Coast
of Congo, into the extensive pasture-lands
of Don -'s plantation. Then past palm-
trees and mango thickets, giant ceybas
and gnarled parasites, by grazing herds of
oxen and scattered mules, over fields that
glowed with flowers 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 verandahs.
Great dogs rushed out with most ambigu-
ous barking, to welcome me, and, presently,
with lounging graceful step, my friend-









PICTURES OF CUBA.


emerged, and I was instantly at home in
this strange world.
I told that his bosom friend had
favored me with his society, and described
the individual as accurately as possible.
"Friend !" cried laughing. The ras-
cal is one of the most respectable men, and
greatest scamps in this scampish district.
He insulted one of my men last week, and
has cheated me as often as he possibly
could! Moreover he carried you half a
mile out of your way!"
















CHAPTER VIII.


"A pleasing land of drowsyhead it was."
THOMSON.

"NON unus mentes agitat furor," all
men are not mad in the same way, says
Juvenal, speaking of traffickers by sea.
Perhaps like Ulysses and myself, Juvenal
was "semper nauseator," in which case,
hawking wares over the water might rea-
sonably have appeared to him quite lunat-
ical; and I am sure that if the coin of the
realm seemed to him an insufficient induce-
ment to a Levant voyage, it never would
have satisfied him as the plea of a man
who should devote himself to a life on a
sugar-estate in the Western Vuelta Abajo.
As the only large sugar-planter in a popu-
lous district, my friend enjoys a ready
sale of his products on the spot, and as he
does not export, is not obliged to adopt the









PICTURES OF CUBA.


costly French machinery in use on the
northern coast. But the same causes
which make his position peculiarly profit-
able, deprive him of society. He lives in
a practical exile, relieved by occasional
trips to the States. Once he said to me,
"Nothing pleasant ever chances here, and
the best news I can have in the morning is
no news." Such -persons as my friend and
his family, it is true, can never be without
the best company in the world, in their
own thoughts and feelings. But the best
of us need at least occasional intercourse
with our fellows. And this protracted se-
clusion from the busy world must wear
upon the most genial spirits.
Yet, to the casual guest, how delicious is
the careless monotony of such a seques-
tered existence! The climate of this re-
gion is far finer than that of Havana. In-
valids come to the Vuelta Abajo from
other parts of the island, and the diseases
which ravage the northern coast, rarely
wander here.
Nor are the heavens more bland than









GAN-EDEN.


the temper of my Southern home. No-
body is in anybody's else way. We live
like the Thelemites of Rabelais. All our
moments are employed "selon notre you-
loir et franc arbitre. Notre r6gle n'est que
cette clause, Fais ce que voudras!" The
early morning here is truly divine, having
gold in its hands, as the Germans say, and
things better than gold, beauty glittering
dewy-bright on every leaf and blade of all
this leafy world, and softest breezes breath-
ing health! When you weary of lounging
in the broad piazza, to sketch the graceful
palm-trees that surround the house, or the
long-eared, browsing mules, you may stroll
out across the flowery fields, to yonder vast,
low sugar-house. You have been watching
the soft wreaths of smoke curl lazily about
its lofty chimney, the only moving things
in all the sleeping landscape, for half an
hour, while your hand has been dallying
dreamily with your idle pencil. The great,
red-tiled shed of the mill is full to the top
of the cut and bundled canes, and the fat
old Spanish sugar-master (who eats five
4








PICTURES OF C UBA.


meals a day, and dreams every night he is
dying of hunger,) is nearly beside himself
with fear, lest his enemy the mayoral
should have succeeded this time in hurting
him with his employer, by giving him more
juice than he can work up in his allotted
half of the week. So all the departments
are in full activity. Wild-looking, half-na-
ked hordes of negroes, many of them roaring
out jokes to each other in savage dialects
of the African coast, tramp up and down
the platform of the mill, thrusting armfuls
of the canes between the ponderous rollers
of the crushing machine; and there is no
pause in the flowing of the milky stream of
cane-juice, which, plunging in a small cata-
ract from beneath the rollers, runs swiftly
through canals of cloven palm-trunks to the
vats of the neighboring purging house.
There is the heart of this small kingdom.
Beneath, huge furnaces glow with the
fiercely burning fuel of the dried canestalks.
Above, the juice, transferred from boiler to
boiler, endures all manner of transforma-
tions, simmering here, foaming there, here
8*









GAN-EDEN.


moody and sluggish, a brown and turbid
pool, there tossing and bubbling, an un-
easy sea of liquid gold, sending up its
wholesome vapors in dense white wreaths;
now beaten into a perfect syllabub by stal-
wart negroes, with long paddles made of
aloes-wood, and anon ladled out, in like
manner, into a trench with lofty sides,
wherein it is stirred, and flung aloft in
beautiful showers tinted with the softest
browns, crystallizing slowly as it falls and
cools. Sugar is in the air, the ground is yel-
low with sugar, the walls glitter with small
crystals of sugar, the dogs lap up the sugar
from the shallow pans, the little naked
negroes tumbling about the door-ways, are
crusted over with sugar; you have found
life's clumsy realization of childhood's .sump-
tuous dreams. Thus the world mimics
Snowdrop's forest home.
But the sun rides high, and we draw
into the broad piazza our deep, backward
sloping Spanish chairs, chairs into which a
tired man sinks as easily as a sinner into
sin. Far as the eye can reach, we see




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs