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Full text of "To Cuba and back, a vacation voyage"

i 






TO CUBA AND B iCK. 



A VACATION VOYa 



BY 

RICHARD HENRY DANA, Jr., 

AXJTHOR OF "two YEARS BEFORE THE MAST," ETC., ETC. 






BOSTON: 
TICKNOR AND FIELDS 

M DCCC LIX. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by 

Richard Hexry Dana, Jr., 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE: 

STEREOTTPED AND PRINTED BY 

H. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY. 



To the Gentlemen of the Saturday Club, 
this narrative of a short absence from home and 
from their society, is dedicated. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Departure from New York. Steamship Cahawba. First 
day 9 

CHAPTER II. 

Hatteras. Gulf Stream. Coast of Florida. Routine of 
Steamer 16 

CHAPTER III. 

The passengers. Warm weather. Coast of Cuba. Pan 
of Matanzas. First view of Havana, from the sea. 
Night off Havana 24 

CHAPTER IV. 

Enter Havana, at sunrise. Harbor. Shipping. Land- 
ing. Drive through streets of Havana. Hotel 29 

CHAPTER V. 

Cuban hotel, and its landlord, rooms, servants, and guests. 
Breakfast. Fresh fruits. Houses and counting-rooms 
of merchants and bankers. Dr. Howe and Mr. Parker. 
Dinner. Opera troupe. Speech of the Cubans. After- 
noon on the Paseo. Retreta at the Plaza de Armas. 
Havana by night 39 

CHAPTER VI. 

Early morning in the city. The Chain-Gang. Soldiers. 
Banos de Mar. The Cathedral. Mass. Tomb of Co- 
lumbus 51 

CHAPTER VII. 
Gold and silver. Coinage. Family breakfasts. Coolies. 



VI CONTENTS. 

Jesus del Monte. View of city and harbor from Je- 
sus del Monte. Taste for proper names of towns, 
shops, &c. Opera at the Villanueva, the boxes, ladies, 
Captain-General, soldiers 60 

CHAPTER VIII. 

A mascara. Spanish troops. Sunday in Havana. Din- 
ner at the Bishop's. Interest in the Thirty Millions 
Bill. Visits at evejiing 74 

CHAPTER IX. 

The Belen. The Jesuit college, brethren, and pupils. 
The Order of Jesuits 82 

CHAPTER X. 

Steamer for Matanzas. Harbor and water by night. Ma- 
tanzais. Coolies. Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdez. 94 

CHAPTER XL 

Railroad from Matanzas. Views of interior of Cuba. 
Trees, flowers, fruits, and cane-fields. Sugar estates. 
Slaves laboring. Ingenio, La Ariadne. . . 102 

CHAPTER XII. 

First day on a sugar estate. The coffee estates. Change 
from coffee estates to sugar estates. Causes and effects 
of this change. Cultivation of sugar-cane. Making of 
sugar. Profits of sugar-making. Process of sugar-mak- 
ing, in the fields and mill. Division of labor. Engi- 
neer from the United States. Tr^xtment and labor of 
negroes. Officers of a plantation, and their duties : 
mayoral, mayordomo, contra-mayorales, boyero. Duties 
and cares of the master. Visit to negro quarters 112 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Trees and flowers. Chameleon. Fruits. Red ant. 
Meals and routine of life on plantation. Penitentiary, 
lying-in room, &c. Sefior Bourgoise. Third day at 
La Ariadne. Effects of foreign education on plant- 
ers 142 



CONTENTS. VU 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Life of a planter and his family. Coffee estate of St. Ca- 
talina. Afternoon ride. Departure from La Ariadne. 
Keturn to Matanzas 153 



CHAPTER XV. 

Matanzas. The Cumbre. The Yurnuri. The family of 
Mr. C . Ensor's 161 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Railroad from Matanzas to Havana. Stations, views of 
interior, from railroad train. Short sketch of the posi- 
tion of Cuba ; its productions, resources, civil and politi- 
cal rights, religion, professions, sciences, and literature. 
Return to Havana 166 

CHAPTER XVII. 

At Havana. Dr. Howe. Trial of Senor Maestri. Mu- 
sic of the contradanza . . . . .174 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Mass at the Belen. Worship in Cuban churches. Casa 
de Beneficencia. Hospital Militar. Sisters of Charity. 
Worship of the Sisters in their chapel. Sick soldiers 1 78 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Drive over the Paseo de Tacon. Count de la Fernandina. 
Cuban nobility. Hospital of San Juan de Dios. The 
Presidio and grand prison ; its inmates, discipline, &c. 190 

CHAPTER XX. 
A bull-fight 197 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Habits of the Cubans, beckoning, smoking, &c. Visit to 
the Bishop, at Jesus del Monte. Coolie mart, in the 
Cerro. The condition and prospects of the Coolies ; 
their importation, contracts, and treatment . . 208 



vm CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

A sale of slaves. Cuban preserves. Breakfast with Mr. 

. The census, and the probable number of 

slaves, free blacks, Creoles, and whites. Lotteries. 
Cock-light. The Lopez expedition . . .216 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Condition of Cuba. Different classes of whites, Span- 
iards, other foreigners, and Cubans. Political condition, 
before 1825, and since 1825. Powers of the Captain- 
General. Diminution of freedom, and growth of cen- 
tral power. Army and navy. Taxes and revenue. 

Religion, past and present. Past and present position of 
the Roman Catholic Church. 

Free Blacks ; their numbers, condition, rights, and pros- 
pects. Laws favoring emancipation. 

Slaves. Their condition. Laws for their protection. Ex- 
ecution of these laws. Compulsory sale. Purchase of 
freedom. Bright side. Dark side. Marriage, increase, 
and importation of negroes. Different views of the 
problem of negro-labor. 

Material resources. Soils, productions, trees, mineral 
wealth, coal. Chmate. The sugar crop, and other sta- 
ples. 

Education. Schools and colleges. 

Reflections and suggestions as to the future of Cuba. In- 
dependence. Annexation. Protectorate. Effects of 
her geographical position 225 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

The Cahawba. Her arrival. Last night in Havana. 
Leave-takings. On board the Cahawba. Getting un- 
der way. Last views of Cuba. Night at sea . 271 

CHAPTER XXV. 

A day at sea. Beautiful night at sea. Coast of United 
States. Death of Mr. G . Off the outer har- 
bor of New York. Pilot, news, fishing-boats. Sights 
on entering the harbor. The wharf New York hack- 
men. Leave-takings, and separation of passengers. 
End of the voyage 280 



TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER I. 



Saturday, the twelfth day of February, 1859, 
is a dull, dark day in New York, with visita- 
tions of snow-squalls, as the United States 
Mail Steamer Cahawba swings at her pier, at 
the foot of Robinson-street — a pier crowded 
with drays and drivers, and a street of mud, 
snow and ice, and poor habitations. The 
steamer is to sail at one p. m. ; and, by half-past 
twelve, her decks are full, and the mud and 
snow of the pier are well trodden by men and 
horses. Coaches drive down furiously, and 
nervous passengers put their heads out to see 
if the steamer is off before her time ; and on 
the decks, and in the gangways, inexperienced 
passengers run against everybody, and mistake 



10 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the engineer for the steward, and come up the 
same stairs they go down, without knowing 
it. In the dreary snow, the newspaper vend- 
ers cry the papers, and the book venders thrust 
yellow covers into your face — " Reading for 
the voyage, sir — five hundred pages, close 
print ! " And that being rejected, they reverse 
the process of the Sibyl, — with " Here's anoth- 
er, sir, one thousand pages, double columns." 
The great beam of the engine moves slowly 
up and down, and the black hull sways at its 
fasts. A motley group are the passengers. 
Shivering Cubans, exotics that have taken 
slight root in the hot-houses of the Fifth Ave- 
nue, are to brave a few days of sleet and 
cold at sea, for the palm-trees and mangoes, 
the cocoas and orange-trees, they will be sit- 
ting under in six days, at farthest. There are 
Yankee shipmasters going out to join their 
"cotton wagons" at New Orleans and Mobile 
merchants pursuing a commerce that knows 
no rest and no locality ; confirmed invalids 
advised to go to Cuba to die under mosquito- 
nets and be buried in a Potter's Field; and 
other invalids wisely enough avoiding our 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 11 

March winds ; and here and there a mere 
vacation-maker, like myself. 

Captain Bullock is sure to sail at the hour; 
and at the hour he is on the paddle-box, the 
fasts are loosed, the warp run out, the crew 
pull in on the warp on the port quarter, and the 
head swings off. No word is spoken, but all 
is done by signs; or, if a word is necessary, a 
low clear tone carries it to the listener. There 
is no tearing and rending escape of steam, 
deafening and distracting all, and giving a 
kind of terror to a peaceful scene ; but our 
ship swings off, gathers way, and enters upon 
ner voyage, in a quiet like that of a bank or 
counting-room, almost under a spell of si- 
lence. 

The house-tops and piers and hill-tops are 
lined with snow, the masts and decks are 
white with it, a dreary cold haze lies over 
the water, and we work down the bay, where 
few sails venture out, and but few are com- 
ing in ; and only a strong monster of a Cu- 
nard screw-steamer, the Kangaroo, comes 
down by our side. 

We leave city and suburbs, Brooklyn 



12 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Heights, and the foggy outline of Staten Is- 
land, far behind us, and hurry through the 
Narrows, for the open sea. The Kangaroo 
crossed our hawse in a strange way. Is she 
steering wild, or what is it ? Seeing two old 
unmistakable Yankee shipmasters, sitting con- 
fidentially together on two chairs, in affection- 
ate proximity to the binnacle, I address my- 
self to them, and my question, being put in 
proper nautical phrase, secures a respectful at- 
tention. I find they agree with me that the 
Kangaroo is a little wilful, and crosses our 
hawse on purpose, in some manoeuvre to dis- 
charge her pilot before we do ours ; and so 
thinks the quartermaster, who comes aft to right 
the colors. This manoeuvering of the steamer 
and pilot vessel makes an incident for a few 
minutes' talk, and an opening for several ac- 
quaintances which will be voyage-long. The 
pilots are dropped into their little cock-boats, 
and their boats drop astern, and go bobbing 
over the seas, to the pilot schooner that lies 
to for them. The Kangaroo, with her mys- 
terious submarine art of swimming without 
fins, stands due east for Liverpool, and we 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 13 

stand down the coast, southerly, for the re- 
gions of the Sun. 

The Heights of Neversink are passed. The 
night closes in upon the sea, dreary, cold, and 
snowing ; our signal lanterns, the red, the 
white, and the green, gleam out into the mist ; 
the furnace fires throw a lurid light from the 
doors below, cheerful or fearful as may be the 
temper of mind of the looker-on ; the long 
swell lifts and drops the bow and stern, and 
rolls the ship from side to side ; the sea-bells 
begin to strike their strange reckoning of the 
half-hours ; the wet and the darkness drive all 
below but the experts and the desperate, and 
our first night at sea has begun. 

At six bells, tea is announced; and the 
bright lights of the long cabin table, shining 
on plates and cups and gleaming knives and 
hurrying waiters, make a cheerful and lively 
contrast with the dark, cold, deserted deck. 

By night, I walk deck for a couple of hours 
with the young captain. After due inquiries 
about his family in Georgia, and due remem- 
brance of those of his mother's line whom 
we loved, and the public honored, before the 



14 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

grave or the sea closed over them, the fas- 
cinating topic of the navy, the frigates and the 
line-of-battle ships and little sloops, the storms, 
the wrecks, and the sea-fights, fill up the time. 
He loves the navy still, and has left it with 
regret; but the navy does not love her sons 
as they love her. On the quarter-deck at fif- 
teen, the first in rank of his year, favored by 
his commanders, with service in the best ves- 
sels, making the great fleet cruise under Mor- 
ris, taking part in the actions of the Naval 
Brigade on shore in California, serving on the 
Coast Survey, a man of science as well as a 
sailor, — yet what is there before him, or those 
like him, in our navy? The best must con- 
tinue a subaltern, a lieutenant, until he is gray. 
At fifty, he may be entitled to his first com- 
mand, and that of a class below a frigate ; and 
if he survives the African fevers and the Isth- 
mus fevers, and the perils of the sea, he may 
totter on the quarter-deck of a line-of-battle 
ship when his skill is out of date and his ca- 
pacity for further command problematical. And 
whatever may be the gallantry or the merit of 
his service, though he may cut off his right 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 15 

hand or pluck out his eye for the country's 
honor, the navy can give him no promotion, 
not even a barren title of brevet, nor a badge 
of recognition of merit, though it be but a 
star, or a half yard of blue ribbon. The most 
meritorious officers receive large offers from 
civil life ; and then, it is home, family, soci- 
ety, education of children, and pecuniary 
competency on the one side, and on the 
other, only the navy, less and less attractive 
as middle life draws on. 

The state-rooms of the Cahawba, like those 
of most American sea-going steamers, are 
built so high above the water that the windows 
may be open in all but the worst of weather, 
and good ventilation be ensured. I have a very 
nice fellow for my room-mate, in the berth un- 
der me ; but, in a state-room, no room-mate is 
better than the best ; so I change my quarters 
to a state-room further forward, nearer " the 
eyes of her," which the passengers generally 
shun, and get one to myself, free from the rattle 
of the steering gear, while the delightful rise 
and fall of the bows, and leisurely weather roll 
and lee roll, cradle and nurse one to sleep. 



16 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER II. 

Sunday^ February 13. — It is cold and rough, 
though not at all stormy, and those who are 
on deck wear thick coats and caps. There is 
no clergyman on board, and we have no relig- 
ious service. Capt. Bullock used to read the 
Liturgy himself, but in these West India and 
New Orleans voyages there are many Roman 
Catholics, and those who are not Romanists 
are of so many denominations, that he received 
little encouragement in maintaining an official 
worship ; and it is no longer held, unless there 
is a clergyman on board and a request is made 
by the passengers. 

All day there has been no sail in sight, ex- 
cept the steamer Columbia, for Charleston, 
S. C. ; and she soon disappeared below the 
horizon. 

We are near Cape Hatteras. It is night, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 17 

and soon the Light of Hatteras throws its 
bright, cheerful beam for thirty miles over a 
huge burial-ground of sailors. How many 
struggles with death, how many last efforts of 
the last resources of skill and courage, what 
floating wrecks of ships, what waste of life, 
has that light shone over! Under that reef, 
perished Bache, flying for harbor before the 
gale, in his little surveying brig. Every league 
has been and will be a field where lives and 
treasures are sown thick from the hand of 
Destruction, — one of those points on the earth's 
surface where, in the universal and endless 
struggle between life and death, preservation 
and destruction, the destroyers have the ad- 
vantage. 

Soon after 9 p. m. we stand out direct, to 
cross the Gulf Stream. A bucket is thrown 
over the side, and water drawn. Its tem- 
perature is at 42°. In fifteen minutes more, 
it is thrown again, and the water is at 72° 30'. 
We are in the Gulf Stream. 

Monday^ February 14. — Sea rather rough, 
and a good deal of sea-sickness. Several 
passengers have not been seen since we left 



18 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the dock, and only about half appear at table. 
We are to the eastward of the Gulf Stream. 
The weather is clear, and no longer cold. At 
noon, we are in about the latitude of Charles- 
ton, S. C. No vessels in sight, all day. It 
is strange, and always excites the surprise 
and comment of sea-faring men, that in the 
great highway of nations, with the immense 
commerce that is perpetually running East 
and West, North and South, a steamer may 
make her three hundred miles a day, for day 
after day, and see no sails. 

This is a truly glorious moonlight night. 
The seas and floods "in wavering morrice 
move ; " the air is pure and not cold, the 
sky a deep blue, the sea a deep blue, the 
stars glisten, and the moon bathes all in a 
serene glory. It is hard to leave the deck 
and such a scene, for the small state-room 
and its sleeping-shelf. But there must be 
sleep for infirm human nature, — a nature that 
has even less self-sustaining power than a 
locomotive engine, and must not only be 
supplied with fuel and water at every stop- 
ping place, but must lie by, in a dark cor- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 19 

ner, in absolute repose and mere oblivion, 
for one quarter of its time, or it will wear 
out in a few days. 

Tuesday, February 15. — A bright, sunny, 
cheerful day. Passengers have laid aside 
their thick coats and fur caps, the snow and 
ice are gone from the rigging and spars, the 
decks are dry, the sea is calm, and the steady- 
going engine alone, v/ith easy exercise of 
power, drives the great hull, with its freight of 
cargo and provisions and human beings, over 
the placid sea, as fast as a furious gale could 
drive it, and leaves her long wake of foam 
on the sea, and her long wake of dark smoke 
in the sky. 

The passengers are recovering from sea-sick- 
ness. The women sit on deck and sew and 
read, and the children play. That family of 
Creole children, — how sallow, how frail, what 
delicate limbs, yet not without life, and with 
no little grace ! But they are petted, and the 
girls complain, and the boys are disposed to 
tyrannize over the other boys and the dogs 
It is interesting to see, or to fancy we see 
the effect not only of climate, but of slavery, 



20 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and of despotic institutions, on the characters 
of children. "What career is therefor Cuban 
youth of ambition or merit? and what must 
be their life without one ? 

I am feeling very much at home in the 
Cahawba. She is an excellent sea boat, and 
under the best of discipline. I hardly believed 
that her commander could, — that any com- 
mander could, — fully come up to all the praise 
that had been bestowed on him ; but I think 
he weathers it all. The rule of quietness pre- 
vails, almost to the point of an English dinner- 
party. No order is given unless it be neces- 
sary, and none louder than is necessary for it 
to be heard. The reports are made in low 
voices, and the passengers are to see and hear 
as little as possible of the discipline of the 
ship. They do not know the quiet but certain 
means for ensuring the performance of every 
duty. They do not know that reports are 
made of the state of every part of the ship, 
and that, through the night, the cabins and 
passage ways and every place where fire can 
take, are watched, and that the watch reports 
every half hour. They have not learned the 



k 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 21 

merits of sturdy, faithful Miller, the chief mate, 
or quick, plucky Porter, the second mate, who 
can hardly keep down his " Liner " training to 
the tone of the Mail Steamer, nor the thorough 
excellence of the Engineer. But they do know 
the capital qualities of Mr. Rodgers, the Purser, 
a grandson of the old Commodore, a nephew 
of Perry, and connected by blood or marriage 
with half the navy, — for his station and duties 
are among the passengers, and all become his 
personal friends. 

The routine of the ship, as regards passen- 
gers, is this : a cup of coffee, if you desire it, 
when you turn out; breakfast at eight, lunch 
at twelve, dinner at three, tea at seven, and 
lights put out at ten. 

Wednesday^ February 16. — Beautiful, serene, 
summer sea ! The thermometer is at 70°, 
awnings are spread, the ladies have their books 
and sewing on deck, the men read and play 
chess and smoke, and the children play. We 
have crossed the Gulf Stream again, and are 
skirting along the Coast of Florida, as near to 
shore as safety permits ; and here the deep sea 
runs close to the land. All objects on shore are 



22 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

plainly discernible by the naked eye, from the 
deck. We are below St. Augustine, about 
half-way between that and Key West. The 
coast is an interminable reach of sand beach, 
with coral reefs before it and the Everglades 
behind it. There are three small white tents, 
on the green sward, close upon the beach, 
backed by a grove of trees, with signals flying. 
That is the station of the United States Coast 
Survey. Towards evening, we pass a rough 
camp which was one of the camps of " Billy 
Bowlegs," the famous Seminole warrior. There 
is the wreck of a bark, her lower-masts still 
standing, while the beach is strewn with casks 
and boxes. It is an old wreck, and they make 
no signal for aid. 

After dark, a light is made on our starboard 
bow. It is Cape Florida Light. At 11 p. m. 
we make the light on Carysfort Reef, the outer- 
most and southernmost of the Florida lights ; 
and, having given a good berth to the reef, 
stand out to sea again, to cross the Gulf 
Stream the third time. 

What can exceed the beauty of these nights 
at sea — these moonlight nights, the stiU sea. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 23 

those bright stars, the light, soft trade-wind 
clouds floating under them, the gentle air, and 
a feeling of tropical romance stealing over the 
exile from the snow and ice of New England ! 
There is something in the clear blue warm sea 
of the tropics, which gives to the stranger a 
feeling of unreality. Where do those vessels 
come from, that rise out of the sea, in the 
horizon ? Where do they go to, as they sink 
in the sea again ? Are those blue spots really 
fast anchored islands, with men and children, 
and horses, and machinery, and schools, pol- 
itics and newspapers on them, or are they 
afloat, and visited by beings of the air ? 



24 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



^ CHAPTER UI. 

Thursday, February 17. — Again a beauti- 
ful, warm day. I wake, and the first glance 
out of my state-room window shows the sea 
and sky flushed with the red of a bright sun- 
rise. Awnings are spread; straw-hats and 
linen coats are worn ; sewing, reading, and 
chess-playing is going on among the elders, 
and the children are romping about the decks, 
beginning to feel entirely at home. There are 
boys from the Northern States, with fair skins 
and light hair, strong, loud-voiced, plainly 
dressed, in stout shoes, honest and awkward ; 
and there are Cuban boys, with a mixed air 
of the passionate and the timorous, sallow, 
slender, small- voiced, graceful, but with the 
grace rather of girls than of boys, wearing 
slippers, ornamented waistcoats and jackets, 
and hats with broad bands of cord. What 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 25 

preternaturally black eyes those little Creole 
girls have! Are they really eyes, so out of 
proportion in size and effect to their small 
thin faces ? Their mother is hale and full- 
fleshed, and probably they will come to the 
same favour at last. 

Throughout the day, sailing down the outer 
edge of the Gulf Stream, we see vessels of all 
forms and sizes, coming in sight and passing 
away, as in a dioramic show. There is a 
heavy cotton droger from the Gulf, of 1200 
tons burden, under a cloud of sail, pressing on 
to the northern seas of New England or Old 
England. Here comes a saucy little Baltimore 
brig, close-hauled and leaning over to it ; and 
there, half down in the horizon, is a pile of 
white canvas, which the experienced eyes 
of my two friends, the passenger shipmasters, 
pronounce to be a bark, outward bound. 
Every passenger says to every other, how 
beautiful ! how exquisite I That pale thin 
girl who is going to Cuba for her health, 
her brother travelling with her, sits on the 
settee, propped by a pillow, and tries to 
smile and to think she feels stronger in this 



26 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

air. She says she shall stay in Cuba until 
she gets well ! 

After dinner, Capt. Bullock tells us that 
we shall soon see the high lands of Cuba, 
off Matanzas ; the first and highest being the 
Pan of Matanzas. It is clear over head, but 
a mist lies along the southern horizon, in the 
latter part of the day. The sharpest eyes 
detect the land, about 4 p. m., and soon it is 
visible to all. It is an undulating country 
on the coast, with high hills and mountains 
in the interior, and has a rich and fertile look. 
That height is the Pan, though we see no 
special resemblance, in its outline, to a loaf 
of bread. We are still sixty miles from Ha- 
vana. We cannot reach it before dark, and 
no vessels are allowed to pass the Morro 
after the signals are dropped at sunset. 

We coast the northern shore of Cuba, from 
Matanzas westward. There is no waste of 
sand and low flats, as in most of our southern 
states ; but the fertile, undulating land comes 
to the sea, and rises into high hills as it 
recedes. " There is the Morro ! and right 
ahead ! " " Why, there is the city too ! Is 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 27 

the city on the sea ? We thought it was 
on a harbor or bay." There, indeed, is the 
Morro, a stately hill of tawny rock, rising 
perpendicularly from the sea, and jutting into 
it, with walls and parapets and towers on 
its top, and flags and signals flying, and the 
tall lighthouse just in front of its outer wall. 
It is not very high, yet commands the sea 
about it. And there is the city, on the sea- 
coast, indeed — the houses running down to 
the coral edge of the ocean. Where is the 
harbor, and where the shipping? Ah, there 
they are ! We open an entrance, narrow and 
deep, between the beetling Morro and the 
Punta ; and through the entrance, we see the 
spreading harbor and the innumerable masts. 
But the darkness is gathering, the sunset 
gun has been fired, we can just catch the 
dying notes of trumpets from the fortifications, 
and the Morro Lighthouse throws its gleam 
over the still sea. The little lights emerge 
and twinkle from the city. We are too late 
to enter the port, and slowly and reluctantly 
the ship turns her head off" to seaward. The 
engine breathes heavily, and throws its one 



28 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

arm leisurely up and down ; we rise and fall 
on the moonlit sea; the stars are near to us, 
or we are raised nearer to them ; the South- 
ern Cross is just above the horizon ; and all 
night long, two streams of light lie upon the 
water, one of gold from the Morro, and one 
of silver from the moon. It is enchantment. 
Who can regret our delay, or wish to ex- 
change this scene for the common, close an- 
chorage of a harbor? 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 29 



CHAPTER IV. 

Friday^ February 18. — We are to go in at 
sunrise, and few, if any, are the passengers 
that are not on deck at the first glow of 
dawn. Before us lie the novel and exciting 
objects of the night before. The steep Morro, 
with its tall sentinel lighthouse, and its tow- 
ers and signal staffs and teeth of guns, is 
coming out into clear daylight; the red and 
yellow striped flag of Spain — blood and gold 
— floats over it. Point after point in the 
city becomes visible ; the blue and white 
and yCilow houses, with their roofs of dull 
red tiles, the quaint old Cathedral towers, 
and the almost endless lines of fortifica- 
tions. The masts of the immense shipping 
rise over the headland, the signal for leave 
to enter is run up, and we steer in under 
full head, the morning gun thundering from 



30 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the Morro, the trumpets braying and drums 
beating from all the fortifications, the Morro, 
the Punta, the long Cabana, the Casa Blanca 
and the city walls, while the broad sun is 
fast rising over this magnificent spectacle. 

What a world of shipping ! The masts 
make a belt of dense forest along the edge of 
the city, all the ships lying head in to the street, 
like horses at their mangers ; while the vessels 
at anchor nearly choke up the passage ways to 
the deeper bays beyond. There are the red 
and yellow stripes of decayed Spain ; the 
blue, white and red — blood to the fingers' end 
— of La Grande Nation; the Union crosses 
of the Royal Commonwealth; the stars and 
stripes of the Great Republic, and a few flags 
of Holland and Portugal, of the states of 
Northern Italy, of Brazil, and of the republics 
of the Spanish Main. We thread our slow 
and careful way among these, pass under the 
broadside of a ship-of-the-line, and under the 
stern of a screw frigate, both bearing the Span- 
ish flag, and cast our anchor in the Regla Bay, 
by the side of the steamer Karnac, which sailed 
from New York a few days before us. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 31 

Instantly we are besieged by boats, some 
loaded with oranges and bananas, and others 
coming for passengers and their luggage, all 
with awnings spread over their sterns, rowed 
by swarthy, attenuated men, in blue and white 
checks and straw hats, with here and there 
the familiar lips and teeth, and vacant, easily- 
pleased face of the negro. Among these boats 
comes oiie, from the stern of which floats the 
red and yellow flag with the crown in its field, 
and under whose awning reclines a man in 
a full suit of white linen, with straw hat and 
red cockade and a cigar. This is the Health 
Officer. Until he is satisfied, no one can come 
on board, or leave the vessel. Capt. Bullock 
salutes, steps down the ladder to the boat, 
hands his papers, reports all well, — and we are 
pronounced safe. Then comes another boat of 
similar style, another man reclining under the 
awning with a cigar, who comes on board, is 
closeted with the purser, compares the passen- 
ger list with the passports, and we are declared 
fully passed, and general leave is given to land 
with our luggage at the custom-house wharf. 

Now comes the war of cries and gestures 



32 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and grimaces among the boatmen, in their 
struggle for passengers, increased manifold by 
the fact that there is but little language in 
common between the parties to the bargains, 
and by the boatmen being required to remain 
in their boats. How thin these boatmen look! 
You cannot get it out of your mind that they 
must all have had the yellow fever last sum- 
mer, and are not yet fully recovered. Not only 
their faces, but their hands and arms and legs 
are thin, and their low-quartered slippers only 
half cover their thin yellow feet. 

In the hurry, I have to hunt after the pas- 
sengers I am to take leave of w^ho go on 
to New Orleans : — Mr. and Mrs. Benchley, on 
their way to their intended new home in West- 
ern Texas, my two sea-captains, and the little 
son of my friend, who is the guest, on this 
voyage, of our common friend the captain , 
and after all, I miss the hearty hand-shake of 
Bullock and Rodgers. Seated under an awn- 
ing, in the stern of a boat, with my trunk and 
carpet-bag and an unseasonable bundle of 
Arctic overcoat and fur cap in the bow, I 
am pulled by a man with an oar in each hand 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 33 

and a cigar in mouth, to the custom-house 
pier. Here is a busy scene of trunks, carpet- 
bags, and bundles ; and up and down the 
pier, marches a military grandee of about the 
rank of a sergeant or sub-lieutenant, with a 
preposterous strut, so out of keeping with the 
depressed military character of his country, 
and not possible to be appreciated without 
seeing it. If he would give that strut on the 
boards, in New York, he would draw full 
houses nightly. 

Our passports are kept, and we receive a 
license to remain and travel in the island, good 
for three months only, for which a large fee is 
paid. These officers of the customs are civil 
and reasonably rapid ; and in a short time my 
luggage is on a dray driven by a negro, and I 
am in a volante, managed by a negro postilion, 
and am driving through the narrow streets of 
this surprising city. 

The streets are so narrow and the houses 
built so close upon them, that they seem to 
be rather spaces between the walls of houses 
than highways for travel. It appears impossible 

that two vehicles should pass abreast ; yet they 

2* 



34 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

do SO. There are constant blockings of the 
way. In some places awnings are stretched 
over the entire street, from house to house, and 
we are riding under a long tent. What strange 
vehicles these volantes are! — A pair of very 
long, limber shafts, at one end of which is a 
pair of huge wheels, and at the other end a horse 
with his tail braided and brought forward and 
tied to the saddle, an open chaise body rest- 
ing on the shafts, about one third of the way 
from the axle to the horse ; and on the horse is 
a negro, in large postilion boots, long spurs, 
and a bright jacket. It is an easy vehicle to 
ride in ; but it must be a sore burden to the 
beast. Here and there we pass a private vo- 
lante, distinguished by rich silver mountings 
and postilions in livery. Some have two 
horses, and with the silver and the livery and 
the long dangling traces and a look of super- 
fluity, have rather an air of high life. In most, 
a gentleman is reclining, cigar in mouth; while 
in others, is a great puff of blue or pink muslin 
or calico, extending over the sides to the shafts, 
topped off by a fan, with signs of a face behind 
it. « Calle de los Officios," " Calle del Obispo," 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 35 

" Calle de San Ignacio," " Calle de Merca- 
deres," are on the little corner boards. Every 
little shop and every big shop has its title ; but 
nowhere does the name of a keeper appear. 
Almost every shop advertises " por mayor y 
menor," wholesale and retail. What a Gil 
Bias, Don Quixote feeling the names of " po- 
sada," " tienda," and " cantina " give you ! 

There are no women walking in the streets, 
except negresses. Those suits of seersucker, 
with straw hats and red cockades, are soldiers. 
It is a sensible dress for the climate. Every 
third man, perhaps more, and not a few 
women, are smoking cigars or cigarritos. Here 
are things moving along, looking like cocks of 
new mown grass, under way. But presently 
you see the head of a horse or mule peering 
out from under the mass, and a tail is visible 
at the other end, and feet are picking their 
slow way over the stones. These are the car- 
riers of green fodder, the fresh cut stalks and 
blades of corn ; and my chance companion in 
the carriage, a fellow passenger by the Ca- 
hawba, a Frenchman, who has been here be- 
fore, tells me that they supply all the horses 



36 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and mules in the city with their daily feed, as 
no hay is used. There are also mules, asses, 
and horses with bananas, plantains, oranges 
and other fruits in panniers reaching almost 
to the ground. 

Here is the Plaza de Armas, with its garden 
of rich, fragrant flowers in full bloom, in front 
of the Governor's Palace. At the corner, is 
the chapel erected over the spot where, under 
the auspices of Columbus, mass was first 
celebrated on the island. We are driven by 
a gloomy convent, by innumerable shops, by 
drinking places, billiard rooms, and the thick, 
dead walls of houses, with large windows, 
grated like dungeons, and large gates, showing 
glimpses of interior court-yards, sometimes 
with trees and flowers. But horses and car- 
riages and gentlemen and ladies and slaves, 
all seem to use the same entrance. The win- 
dows come to the ground, and, being flush with 
the street, and mostly without glass, nothing 
but the grating prevents a passenger from 
walking into the rooms. And there the ladies 
and children sit sewing, or lounging, or play- 
ing. This is all ver}^ strange. There is evi- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 37 

dently enough for me to see in the ten or 
twelve days of my stay. 

But there are no costumes among the men, 
no Spanish hats, or Spanish cloaks, or bright 
jackets, or waistcoats, or open, slashed trow- 
sers, that are so picturesque in other Spanish 
countries. The men wear black dress coats, 
long pantaloons, black cravats, and many of 
them even submit, in this hot sun, to black 
French hats. The tyranny of systematic, sci- 
entific, capable, unpicturesque, unimaginative 
France, evidently rules over the realm of man's 
dress. The houses, the vehicles, the vegeta- 
tion, the animals, are picturesque ; to the eye 
of taste 

" Every prospect pleases, and only man is vile." 

We drove through the Puerta de Mon ser- 
rate, a heavy gateway of the prevailing yellow 
or tawny color, where soldiers are on guard, 
across the moat, out upon the " Paseo de Ysa- 
bel Segunda," and are now " estramuros," 
without the walls. The Paseo is a grand ave- 
nue running across the city from sea to bay, 
with two carriage-drives abreast, and two 
malls for foot passengers, and all lined with 



38' TO CUBA AND BACK. 

trees in full foliage. Here you catch a glimpse 
of the Mono, and there of the Presidio. This 
is the Teatro de Tacon ; and, in front of this 
line of tall houses, in contrast with the almost 
uniform one-story buildings of the city, the 
volante stops. This is Le Grand's hotel. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 39 



CHAPTER V. 

To a person unaccustomed to the tropics or 
the south of Europe, I know of nothing more 
discouraging than the arrival at the inn or 
hotel. It is nobody's business to attend to 
you. The landlord is strangely indifferent, 
and if there is a way to get a thing done, you 
have not learned it, and there is no one to 
teach you. Le Grand is a Frenchman. His 
house is a restaurant, with rooms for lodgers. 
The restaurant is paramount. . The lodging is 
secondary, and is left to servants. Monsieur 
does not condescend to show a room, even to 
families ; and the servants, who are whites, but 
mere lads, have all the interior in their charge, 
and there are no women employed about the 
chambers. Antonio, a swarthy Spanish lad, 
in shirt sleeves, looking very much as if he 
never washed, has my part of the house in 



40 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

charge, and shows me my room. It has but 
one window, a door opening upon the veran- 
da, and a brick floor, and is very bare of 
furniture, and the furniture has long ceased to 
be strong. A small stand barely holds up a 
basin and ewer which have not been washed 
since Antonio was washed, and the bedstead, 
covered by a canvas sacking, without mat- 
tress or bed, looks as if it would hardly bear 
the weight of a man. It is plain there is a 
good deal to be learned here. Antonio is com- 
municative, on a suggestion of several days' 
stay and good pay. Things which we cannot 
do without, we must go out of the house to 
find, and those which we caji do without, we 
must dispense with. This is odd, and strange, 
but not uninteresting, and affords scope for 
contrivance and the exercise of influence and 
other administrative powers. The Grand 
Seigneur does not mean to be troubled with 
anything; so there are no bells, and no office, 
and no clerks. He is the only source, and if 
he is approached, he shrugs his shoulders and 
gives you to understand that you have your 
chambers for your money and must look to 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 41 

the servants. Antonio starts off on an expedi- 
tion for a pitcher of water and a towel, with a 
faint hope of two towels ; for each demand 
involves an expedition to remote parts of the 
house. Then Antonio has so many rooms de- 
pendent on him, that every door is a Scylla, 
and every window a Charybdis, as he passes. 
A shrill, female voice, from the next room but 
one, calls " Antonio I Antonio ! " and that 
starts the parrot in the court yard, who cries 
" Antonio I Antonio ! " for several minutes. A 
deep, bass voice mutters "Antonio!" in a more 
confidential tone ; and last of all, an unmis- 
takably Northern voice attempts it, but ends 
in something between Antonio and Anthony. 
He is gone a good while, and has evidently 
had several episodes to his journey. But he is 
a good-natured fellow, speaks a little French, 
very little English, and seems anxious to do 
his best. 

I see the faces of my New York fellow-pas- 
sengers from the west gallery, and we come 
together and throw our acquisitions of informa- 
tion into a common stock, and help one an- 
other. Mr. Miller's servant, who has been here 



42 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

before, says there are baths and other conven- 
iences round the corner of the street; and, 
sending our bundles of thin clothes there, we 
take advantage of the baths, with comfort. To 
be sure, we must go through a billiard-room, 
where the Creoles are playing at the tables, 
and the cockroaches playing under them, and 
through a drinking-room, and a bowling-alley ; 
but the baths are built in the open yard, pro- 
tected by blinds, well ventilated, and well sup- 
plied with water and toilet apparatus. 

With the comfort of a bath, and clothed in 
linen, with straw hats, we walk back to Le 
Grand's, and enter the restaurant, for break- 
fast, — the breakfast of the country, at 10 
o'clock. Here is a scene so pretty as quite to 
make up for the defects of the chambers. The 
restaurant with cool marble floor, walls twenty- 
four feet high, open rafters painted blue, great 
windows open to the floor and looking into the 
Paseo, and the floor nearly on a level with the 
street, a light breeze fanning the thin curtains, 
the little tables, for two or four, with clean, 
white cloths, each with its pyramid of great red 
oranges and its fragrant bouquet, — the gentle- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 43 

men in white pantaloons and jackets and white 
stockings, and the ladies in fly-away muslins, 
and hair in the sweet neglect of the morning 
toilet, taking their leisurely breakfasts of fruit 
and claret, and omelette and Spanish mixed 
dishes, (ollas,) and cafe noir. How airy and 
ethereal it seems ! They are birds, not substan- 
tial men and women. They eat ambrosia and 
drink nectar. It must be that they fly, and 
live in nests, in the tamarind trees. Who can 
eat a hot, greasy breakfast of cakes and gravied 
meats, and in a close room, after this ? 

I can truly say that I ate, this morning, my 
first orange ; for. I had never before eaten one 
newly gathered, which had ripened in the sun, 
hanging on the tree. We call for the usual 
breakfast, leaving the selection to the waiter ; 
and he brings us fruits, claret, omelette, fish 
fresh from the sea, rice excellently cooked, 
fried plantains, a mixed dish of meat and veg- 
etables (oUa), and coffee. The fish, I do not 
remember its name, is boiled, and has the colors 
of the rainbow, as it lies on the plate. Havana 
is a good fish-market ; for it is as open to the 
ocean as Nahant, or the beach at Newport ; its 



44 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

streets running to the blue sea, outside the har- 
bor, so that a man may almost throw his line 
from the curb-stone into the Gulf Stream. 

After breakfast, I take a volante and ride 
into the town, to deliver my letters. Three 
merchants whom I call upon, have palaces for 
their business. The entrances are wide, the 
staircases almost as stately as that of Staf- 
ford House, the floors of marble, the panels of 
porcelain tiles, the rails of iron, and the rooms 
over twenty feet high, with open rafters, the 
doors and windows colossal, the furniture rich 
and heavy ; and there sits the merchant or 
banker, in white pantaloons and thin shoes and 
loose white coat and narrow neck-tie, smoking 
a succession of cigars, surrounded by tropical 
luxuries and tropical defences. In the lower 
story of one of these buildings is an exposition 
of silks, cotton and linens, in a room so large 
that it looked like a part of the Great Exhibi- 
tion in Hyde Park. At one of these counting- 
palaces, I met Mr. Theodore Parker and Dr. 
S. G. Howe, of Boston, who preceded me, in 
the Karnac. Mr. Parker is here for his health, 
which has caused anxiety to his friends lest his 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 45 

weakened frame should no longer support the 
strong intellectual machinery, as before. He 
finds Havana too hot, and will leave for Santa 
Cruz by the first opportunity. Dr. Howe likes 
the warm weather. It is a comfort to see 
him, — a benefactor of his race, and one of the 
few heroes we have left to us, since Kane 
died. 

The Bishop of Havana has been in delicate 
health, and is out of town, at Jesus del Monte ; 

and Miss M is not at home, and the 

Senoras F I failed to see this morning ; 

but I find a Boston young lady, whose friends 
were desirous I should see her, and who was 
glad enough to meet one so lately firom her 
home. A clergyman to whom, also, I had 
letters, is gone into the country, without much 
hope of improving his health. Stepping into a 
little shop to buy a plan of Havana, my name 
is called, and there is my hero's wife, the dis- 
tinguished author and conversationist, whom 
it is an exhilaration to meet anywhere, much 
more in a land of strangers. Dr. and Mrs. 
Howe and Mr. Parker are at the Cerro, a 
pretty and cool place in the suburbs, but are 



46 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

coming in to Mrs. Almy's boarding-house, for 
the convenience of being in the city, and for 
nearness to friends, and the comforts of some- 
thing like American or English housekeeping. 

In the latter part of the afternoon, from 
three o'clock, our parties are taking dinner at 
Le Grand's. The little tables are again full, 
with a fair complement of ladies. The after- 
noon breeze is so strong that the draught of 
air, though it is hot air, is to be avoided. The 
passers-by almost put their faces into the 
room, and the women and children of the 
poorer order look wistfully in upon the luxuri- 
ous guests, the colored glasses, the red wines, 
and the golden fruits. The Opera troupe is 
here, both the singers and the ballet ; and we 
have Gazzaniga, Lamoureux, Max Maret- 
zek and his sister, and others, in this house, 
and Miss Ada Phillips at the next door, and 
the benefit of a rehearsal, at nearly all hours 
of the day, of operas that the Habaneros are 
to rave over at night. 

I yield to no one in my admiration of the 
Spanish as a spoken language, whether in its 
rich, sonorous, musical, and lofty style, in the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 47 

mouth of a man who knows its uses, or in the 
soft, indolent, languid tones of a woman, 
broken by an occasional birdlike trill — 

" With wanton heed, and giddy cunning, 
The melting voice through mazes running" — 

but I do not like it as spoken by the common 
people of Cuba, in the streets. Their voices 
and intonations are thin and eager, very rapid, 
too much in the lips, and, withal, giving an 
impression of the passionate and the childish 
combined ; and it strikes me that the ten- 
dency here is to enfeeble the language, and 
take from it the openness of the vowels and 
the strength of the harder consonants. This is 
the criticism of a few hours' observation, and 
may not be just ; but I have heard the same 
from persons who have been longer acquainted 
with it. Among the well educated Cubans, 
the standard of Castilian is said to be kept 
high, and there is a good deal of ambition to 
reach it. 

After dinner, walked along the Paseo de 
Ysabel Segunda, to see the pleasure-driving, 
which begins at about five o'clock, and lasts 
until dark. The most common carriage is the 



48 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

volante, but there are some carriages in the 
English style, with servants in livery on the 
box. I have taken a fancy for the strange- 
looking two-horse volante. The postilion, the 
long, dangling traces, the superfluousness of a 
horse to be ridden by the man that guides the 
other, and the prodigality of silver, give the 
whole a look of style that eclipses the neat, 
appropriate English equipage. The ladies 
ride in full dress, decollete es, without hats. 
The servants on the carriages are not all ne- 
groes. Many of the drivers are whites. The 
drives are along the Paseo de Ysabel, across 
the Campo del Marte, and then along the 
Paseo de Tacon, a beautiful double avenue, 
lined with trees, which leads two or three miles, 
in a straight line, into the country. 

At 8 o'clock, drove to the Plaza de Armas, 
a square in front of the governor's house, to 
hear the Retreta, at which a military band 
plays for an hour, every evening. There is a 
clear moon above, and a blue field of glitter- 
ing stars ; the air is pure and balmy ; the band 
of fifty or sixty instruments discourses most 
eloquent music under the shade of palm-trees 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 49 

and mangoes ; the walks are filled with pronme- 
naders, and the streets around the square lined 
with carriages, in which the ladies recline, and 
receive the salutations and visits of the gentle- 
men. Very few ladies walk in the square, and 
those probably are strangers. It is against the 
etiquette for ladies to walk in public in Ha- 
vana. 

I walk leisurely home, in order to see Ha- 
vana by night. The evening is the busiest 
season for the shops. Much of the business 
of shopping is done after gas lighting. Vo- 
lantes and coaches are driving to and fro, 
and stopping at the shop doors, and attend- 
ants take their goods to the doors of the car- 
riages. The watchmen stand at the corners 
of the streets, each carrying a long pike and a 
lantern. Billiard -rooms and cafds are filled, 
and all who can walk for pleasure will walk 
now. This is also the principal time for pay- 
ing visits. 

There is one strange custom observed here 
in all the houses. In the chief room, rows 
of chairs are placed, facing each other, three 
or four or five in each line, and always run- 



50 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ning at right angles with the street wall of 
the house. As you pass along the street, 
you look up this row of chairs. In these, 
the family and the visitors take their seats, 
in formal order. As the windows are open, 
deep, and large, with wide gratings and 
no glass, one has the inspection of the inte- 
rior arrangement of all the front parlors of 
Havana, and can see what every lady wears, 
and who is visiting her. 

To-bed early, after so exciting a day as 
one's first day in the tropics. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 51 



CHAPTER VI. 

If mosquito nets were invented for the pur- 
pose of shutting mosquitoes in with you, they 
answer their purpose very well. The beds 
have no mattresses, and you lie on the hard 
sacking. This favors coolness and neatness. 
I should fear a mattress, in the economy of 
our hotel, at least. Where there is nothing 
but an iron frame, canvas stretched over it, 
and sheets and a blanket, you may know 
what you are dealing with. 

The clocks of the churches and castles strike 
the quarter hours, and at each stroke the 
watchmen blow a kind of boatswain's whis- 
tle, and cry the time and the state of the 
weather, which, from their name (serenos), 
should be always pleasant. 

I have been advised to close the shutters 
at night, whatever the heat, as the change of 



52 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

air that often takes place before dawn is in- 
jurious ; and I notice that many of the bed- 
rooms in the hotel are closed, both doors and 
shutters, at night. This is too much for my 
endurance, and I venture to leave the air to its 
course, not being in the draught. One is also 
cautioned not to step with bare feet on the 
floor, for fear of the nigua (or chigua), a very 
small insect, that is said to enter the skin and 
build tiny nests, and lay little eggs that can 
only be seen by the microscope, but are tor- 
menting and sometimes dangerous. This may 
be excessive caution, but it is so easy to ob- 
serve, that it is not worth while to test the 
question. 

Saturday^ February 19. — There are streaks 
of a clear dawn ; it is nearly six o'clock, the 
cocks are crowing, and the drums and trum- 
pets sounding. We have been told of sea- 
baths, cut in the rock, near the Punta, at the 
foot of our Paseo. I walk down, under the 
trees, towards the Presidio. What is this 
clanking sound? Can it be cavalry, march- 
ing on foot, their sabres rattling on the pave- 
ment ? No, it comes from that crowd of poor 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 53 

looking creatures that are forming in files in 
front of the Presidio. It is the chain-gang! 
Poor wretches ! I come nearer to them, and 
wait until they are formed and numbered and 
marched off. Each man has an iron band 
riveted round his ankle, and another round 
his waist, and the chain is fastened, one end 
into each of these bands, and dangles between 
them, clanking with every movement. This 
leaves the wearers free to use their arms, and, 
indeed, their whole body, it being only a 
weight and a badge and a note for discovery, 
from which they cannot rid themselves. It is 
kept on them day and night, working, eating, 
or sleeping. In some cases, two are chained 
together. They have passed their night in the 
Presidio (the great prison and garrison), and 
are marshalled for their day's toil in the public 
streets and on the public works, in the heat 
of the sun. They look thoroughly wretched. 
Can any of these be political offenders? It 
is said that Carlists, from Old Spain, worked 
in this gang. Sentence to the chain-gang in 
summer, in the case of a foreigner, must be 
nearly certain death. 



54 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Farther on, between the Presidio and the 
Punta, the soldiers are drilling; and the drum- 
mers and trumpeters are practising on the 
rampart of the city w^lls. 

A little to the left, in the Calzado de San 
Lazaro, are the Banos de Mar. These are 
boxes, each about twelve feet square and six 
or eight feet deep, cut directly into the rock 
which here forms the sea-line, with steps of 
rock, and each box having a couple of port- 
holes through which the waves of this tide- 
less shore wash in and out. This arrangement 
is necessary, as sharks are so abundant that 
bathing in the open sea is dangerous. The 
pure rock, and the flow and reflow, make 
these bathing-boxes very agreeable, and the 
water, which is that of the Gulf Stream, is 
at a temperature of 72^. The baths are 
roofed over, and partially screened on the in- 
side, but open for a view out, on the side to- 
wards the sea ; and as you bathe, you see the 
big ships floating up the Gulf Stream, that 
great highway of the Equinoctial world. The 
water stands at depths of from three to five 
feet in the baths ; and they are large enough 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 56 

for short swimming. The bottom is white 
with sand and shells. These baths are 
made at the public expense, and are free. 
Some are marked for women, some for 
men, and some " por la gente de color." 
A little further down the Calzado, is an- 
other set of baths, and further out in the 
suburbs, opposite the Beneficencia, are still 
others. 

After bath, took two or three fresh oranges, 
and a cup of coffee, without milk; for the 
little milk one uses with coffee, must not be 
taken with fruit here, even in winter. 

To the Cathedral, at 8 o'clock, to hear mass. 
The Cathedral, in its exterior, is a plain and 
quaint old structure, with a tower at each angle 
of the front ; but within, it is sumptuous. 
There is a floor of variegated marble, obstructed 
by no seats or screens, tall pillars and rich 
frescoed walls, and delicate masonry of various 
colored stone, the prevailing tint being yellow, 
and a high altar of porphyry. There is a look 
of the great days of Old Spain about it; 
and you think that knights and nobles wor- 
shipped here and enriched it from their spoils 



56 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and conquests. Every new eye turns first to 
the place within the choir, under that alto- 
relief, behind that short inscription, where, in 
the wall of the chancel, rest the remains of 
Christopher Columbus. Borne from Valla- 
dolid to Seville, from Seville to San Domingo, 
and from San Domingo to Havana, they at last 
rest here, by the altar side, in the emporium 
of the Spanish Islands. " What is man that 
thou art mindful of him ! " truly and hum- 
bly says the Psalmist ; but what is man, in- 
deed, if his fellow men are not mindful of 
such a man as this ! The creator of a hem- 
isphere! It is not often we feel that mon- 
uments are surely deserved, in their degree 
and to the extent of their utterance. But 
when, in the New World, on an island of 
that group which he gave to civilized man, you 
stand before this simple monumental slab, and 
know that all of him that man can gather up, 
lies behind it, so overpowering is the sense 
of the greatness of his deeds, that you feel re- 
lieved that no attempt has been made to 
measure it by any work of man's hands. The 
little there is, is so inadequate, that you make 



t^ijnr r- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 57 

no comparison. It is a mere finger-point, the 
hie jacetj the sic itur. 

The priests in the chancel are numerous, 
perhaps twenty or more. The service is 
chanted with no aid of instruments, except 
once the accompaniment of a small and rather 
disordered organ, and chanted in very loud and 
often harsh and blatant tones, which rever- 
berate from the marble walls, with a tiresome 
monotony of cadence. There is a degree of 
ceremony in the placing, replacing, and carry- 
ing to and fro of candles and crucifixes, and 
swinging of censers, which the Roman service 
as practised in the United States does not 
give. The priests seem duly attentive and 
reverent in their manner, but I cannot say 
as much for the boys, of whom there were 
three or four, gentlemen-fike looking lads, from 
the college, doing service as altar boys. One 
of these, who seemed to have the lead, was 
strikingly careless and irreverent in his man- 
ner; and when he went about the chancel, 
fo incense all who were there, and to give 
to each the small golden vessel to kiss, (con- 
taining, I suppose, a relic,) he seemed as if he 
3* 



58 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

were counting his playmates out for a game, 
and flinging the censer at them and snubbing 
their noses with the golden vessel. 

There were only about half a dozen persons 
at mass, beside those in the chancel; and all 
but one of these were women, and of the 
women two were negroes. The women walk 
in, veiled, drop down on the bare pavement, 
kneeling or sitting, as the service requires or 
permits. A negro woman, with devout and 
even distressed countenance, knelt at the altar 
rail, and one pale-eyed priest, in cassock, who 
looked like an American or Englishman, knelt 
close by a pillar. A file of visitors, American 
or English women, with an escort of gentle- 
men, came in and sat on the only benches, next 
the columns ; and when the Host was ele- 
vated, and a priest said to them, very civilly, 
in English, " Please to kneel down," they 
neither knelt nor stood, nor went away, but 
kept their seats. 

After service, the old sacristan, in blue 
woollen dress, showed all the visitors the little 
chapel and the cloisters, and took us beyond 
the altar to the mural tomb of Columbus, and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 59 

though he was liberally paid, haggled for two 
reals more. 

In the rear of the Cathedral is the Seminario, 
or college for boys, where also men are trained 
for the priesthood. There are cloisters and a 
pleasant garden within them. 



60 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER VIL 

Breakfast, and again the cool marble floor, 
white-robed tables, the fruits and flowers, and 
curtains gently swaying, and women in morn- 
ing toilets. Besides the openness to view, 
these rooms are strangely open to ingress. 
Lottery-ticket venders go the rounds of the 
tables at every meal, and so do the girls 
with tambourines for alms for the music in the 
street. As there is no coin in Cuba less than 
the medio, 6| cents, the musicians get a good 
deal or nothing. The absence of any smaller 
coin must be an inconvenience to the poor, as 
they must often buy more than they want, or 
go without. I find silver very scarce here. 
It is difficult to get change for gold, and at 
public places notices are put up that gold will 
not be received for small payments. I find 
the only course is to go to one of the Cambios 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 61 

de Moneda, whose signs are frequent in the 
streets, and get a half doubloon changed into 
reals and pesetas, at four per cent, discount, 
and fill my pockets with small silver. 

Spent the morning, from eleven o'clock to 
dinner-time, in my room, writing and reading. 
It is too hot to be out with comfort. It is not 
such a morning as one would spend at the St. 
Nicholas, or the Tremont, or at Morley's or 
Meurice's. The rooms all open into the court- 
yard, and the doors and windows, if open at 
all, are open to the view of all passers-by. As 
there are no bells, every call is made from the 
veranda rail, down into the court-yard, and 
repeated until the servant answers, or the caller 
gives up in despair. Antonio has a compeer 
and rival in Domingo, and the sharp voice of 
the woman in the next room but one, who 
proves to be a subordinate of the opera troupe, 
is calling out, " Do-meen-go ! Do-meen-go ! " 
and the rogue is in full sight from our side, 
making significant faces, until she changes her 
tune to "Antonio ! Antonio ! adonde esta Do- 
mingo ? " But as she speaks very little Span- 
ish, and Antonio very little French, it is not 



62 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

difficult for him to get up a misapprehension, 
especially at the distance of two stories ; and 
she is obliged to subside for a while, and her 
place is supplied by the parrot. She is usually 
unsuccessful, being either unreasonable, or bad 
pay. The opera troupe are rehearsing in the 
second flight, with doors and windows open.* 
And throughout the hot middle day, we hear 
the singing, the piano, the parrot, and the calls 
and parleys with the servants below. But we 
can see the illimitable sea from the end of the 
piazza, blue as indigo ; and the strange city is 
lying under our eye, with its strange blue and 
white and yellow houses, with their roofs of 
dull red tiles, its strange tropical shade-trees, 
and its strange vehicles and motley popula- 
tion, and the clangor of its bells, and the high 
pitched cries of the venders in its streets. 

Going down stairs at about eleven o'clock, 
I find a table set in the front hall, at the foot 
of the great staircase, and there, in full view 
of all who come or go, the landlord and his 
entire establishment, except the slaves and 
coolies, are at breakfast. This is done every 
day. At the caf<^ round the corner, the family, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 63 

with their white, hired servants, breakfast and 
dine in the hall, through which all the custom- 
ers of the place must go to the baths, the bil- 
liard rooms, and the bowling-alleys. Fancy 
the manager of the Astor or Revere, spreading 
a table for breakfast and dinner in the great 
entry, between the office and the front door, 
for himself and family and servants ! 

Yesterday and to-day I noticed in the streets 
and at work in houses, men of an Indian com- 
plexion, with coarse black hair. I asked if 
they were native Indians, or of mixed blood. 
No, they are the Coolies! Their hair, full 
grown, and the usual dress of the country 
which they wore, had not suggested to me the 
Chinese ; but the shape and expression of the 
eye make it plain. These are the victims of 
the trade, of which we hear so much. I am 
told there are 200,000 of them in Cuba, or, that 
so many have been imported, and all within 
seven years. I have met them everywhere, 
the newly arrived, in Chinese costume, with 
shaved heads, but the greater number in panta- 
loons and jackets and straw hats, with hair full 
grown. Two of the cooks at our hotel are 



64 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Coolies. I must inform myself on the subject 
of this strange development of the domination 
of capital over labor. I am told there is a mart 
of Coolies in the Cerro. This I must see, if it 
is to be seen. 

After dinner drove out to the Jesus del 
Monte, to deliver my letter of introduction to 
the Bishop. The drive, by way of the Cal- 
zada de Jesus del Monte, takes one through 
a wretched portion, I hope the most wretched 
portion, of Havana, by long lines of one story 
wood and mud hovels, hardly habitable even 
for negroes, and interspersed with an abun- 
dance of drinking shops. The horses, mules, 
asses, chickens, children, and grown people use 
the same door; and the back yards disclose 
heaps of rubbish. The looks of the men, the 
horses tied to the door-posts, the mules with 
their panniers of fruits and leaves reaching 
to the ground, all speak of Gil Bias, and of 
what we have read of humble life in Spain. 
The little negro children go stark naked, as in- 
nocent of clothing as the puppies. But this is 
so all over the city. In the front hall of Le 
Grand's, this morning, a lady, standing in a full 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 65 

dress of spotless white, held by the hand a 
naked little negro boy, of two or three years 
old, nestling in black relief against the folds 
of her dress. 

Now we rise to the higher grounds of Jesus 
del Monte. The houses improve in character. 
They are still of one story, but high and of 
stone, with marble floors and tiled roofs, with 
court-yards of grass and trees, and through the 
gratings of the wide, long, open windows, I see 
the decent furniture, the double, formal row of 
chairs, prints on the walls, and well-dressed 
women manoeuvering their fans. 

As a carriage with a pair of cream-colored 
horses passed, having two men within, in the 
dress of ecclesiastics, my driver pulled up and 
said that was the Bishop's carriage, and that he 
was going out for an evening drive. Still, I 
must go on ; and we drive to his house. As 
you go up the hill, a glorious view lies upon 
the left. Havana, both city and suburbs, the 
Morro with its batteries and lighthouse, the 
ridge of fortifications called the Cabana and 
Casa Blanca, the Castle of Atares, near at 
hand, a perfect truncated cone, fortified at the 



6Q TO CUBA AND BACK. 

top, — ^the higher and most distant Castle of 
Principe, 

" And, poured round all, 
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste " — 

No I Not so ! Young Ocean, the Ocean of 
to-day ! The blue, bright, healthful, glittering, 
gladdening, inspiring Ocean ! Have I ever seen 
a city viev^ so grand ? The view of Quebec from 
the foot of the Montmorenci Falls, may rival, 
but does not excel it. My preference is for 
this ; for nothing, not even the St. Lawrence, 
broad and affluent as it is, will make up for the 
living sea, the boundless horizon, the dioramic 
vision of gliding, distant sails, and the open 
arms and motherly bosom of the harbor, " with 
handmaid lamp attending " : — our Mother 
Earth, forgetting never the perils of that gay 
and treacherous world of waters, its change of 
moods, its "strumpet winds," — ready is she 
at all times, by day or by night, to fold back 
to her bosom her returning sons, knowing 
that the sea can give them no drink, no food, 
no path, no light, nor bear up their foot for an 
instant, if they are sinking in its depths. 

The regular episcopal residence is in town. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 67 

This is only a house which the Bishop occu- 
pies temporarily, for the sake of his health. It 
is a modest house of one story, standing 
very high, with a commanding view of city, 
harbor, sea, and suburbs. The floors are mar- 
ble, and the roof is of open rafters, painted 
blue, and above twenty feet in height; the 
windows are as large as doors, and the doors 
as large as gates. The mayor-domo shows me 
the parlor, in which are portraits in oil of dis- 
tinguished scholars and missionaries and mar- 
tyrs. 

On my way back to the city, I direct the 
driver to avoid the disagreeable road by which 
we came out, and we drive by a cross road, 
and strike the Paseo de Tacon at its outer 
end, where is a fountain and statue, and a 
public garden of the most exquisite flowers, 
shrubs, and trees ; and around them are 
standing, though it is nearly dark, files of car- 
riages waiting for the promenaders, who are 
enjoying a walk in the garden. I am able 
to take the entire drive of the Paseo. It is 
straight, very wide, with two carriage ways 
and two foot ways, with rows of trees between. 



68 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and at three points has a statue and a foun- 
tain. One of these statues, if I recollect 
aright, is of Tacon ; one of a Queen of Spain; 
and one is an allegorical figure. The Paseo 
is two or three miles in length ; reaching from 
the Campo de Marte, just outside the walls, to 
the last statue and public garden, on gradu- 
ally ascending ground, and lined with beautiful 
villas, and rich gardens full of tropical trees 
and plants. No city in America has such an 
avenue as the Paseo de Tacon. This, like 
most of the glories of Havana, they tell you 
they owe to the energy and genius of the man 
whose name it bears. — I must guard myself, 
by the way, while here, against using the words 
America and American, when I mean the 
United States and the people of our Republic ; 
for this is America also ; and they here use the 
word America as including the entire continent 
and islands, and distinguish between Spanish 
and English America, the islands and the 
main. 

The Cubans have a taste for prodigality in 
grandiloquent or pretty names. Every shop, 
the most humble, has its name. They name 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 69 

the shops after the sun and moon and stars; 
after gods and goddesses, demi-gods and he- 
roes; after fruits and flowers, gems and pre- 
cious stones ; after favorite names of women, 
with pretty, fanciful additions ; and after all 
alluring qualities, all delights of the senses, 
and all pleasing affections of the mind. The 
wards of jails and hospitals are each known 
by some religious or patriotic designation ; 
and twelve guns in the Morro are named for 
the Apostles. Every town has the name of 
an apostle or saint, or of some sacred subject. 
The full name of Havana, in honor of Colum- 
bus, is San Cristobal de la Habana ; and that of 
Matanzas is San Carlos Alcazar de Matanzas. 
It is strange that the island itself has defied 
all the Spanish attempts to name it. It has 
been solemnly named Juana, after the daugh- 
ter of Ferdinand and Isabella ; then Ferdi- 
nandina. after Ferdinand himself; then Santi- 
ago, and, lastly, Ave Maria ; but it has always 
fallen back upon the original Indian name of 
Cuba. And the only compensation to the 
hyperbolical taste of the race is that they dec- 
orate it, on state and ceremonious occasions, 



70 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

with the musical prefix of " La siempre fide- 
lisima Isla de Cuba." 

At 7.30 p. M. went with my New York fel- 
low-passengers to hear an opera, or, more cor- 
rectly, to see the people of Havana at an 
opera. The Teatro de Tacon is closed for 
repairs. This is unfortunate, as it is said by 
some to be the finest theatre, and by all to be 
one of the three finest theatres in the world. 
This, too, is attributed to Tacon ; although it 
is said to have been a speculation of a clever 
pirate, turned fish-dealer, who made a fortune 
by it. But I like well enough the Teatro de 
Villanueva. The stage is deep and wide, the 
pit high and comfortable, and the boxes light 
and airy and open in front, with only a light 
tracery of iron to support the rails, leaving 
you a full view of the costumes of the ladies, 
even to their slippers. The boxes are also 
separated from the passage ways in the rear, 
only by wide lattice work ; so that the prom- 
enaders between the acts can see the en- 
tire contents of the boxes at one view; and 
the ladies dress and sit and talk and use the 
fan with a full sense that they are under 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 71 

the inspection of a "committee of the whole 
house." They are all in full dress, d^collet^es, 
without hats. It seemed, to my fancy, that 
the mature women were divisible into two 
classes, distinctly marked and with few inter- 
mediates, — ^the obese and the shrivelled. I 
suspect that the effect of time in this climate is 
to produce a decided result in the one direction 
or the other. But a single night's view at an 
opera is very imperfect material for an induc- 
tion, I know. The young ladies had, gen- 
erally, full figures, with tapering fingers and 
well rounded arms ; yet there were some in 
the extreme contrast of sallow, bilious, sharp 
countenances, with glassy eyes. There is evi- 
dently great attention to manner, to the mode 
of sitting and moving, to the music of the 
voice in speaking, the use of the hands and 
arms, and, perhaps it may be ungallant to 
add, of the eyes. 

The Governor-General, Concha, (whose title 
is, strictly, Capitan- General,) with his wife 
and two daughters, and two aides-de-camp, is 
in the Vice-regal box, hung with red curtains, 
and surmounted by the royal arms. I can 



72 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

form no opinion of him from his physiognomy, 
as that is rather heavy, and gives not much 
indication. 

Between the acts, I make, as all the gentle- 
men do, the promenade of the house. AU parts 
of it are respectable, and the regulations are 
good. I notice one curious custom, which I 
am told prevails in all Spanish theatres. As 
no women sit in the pit, and the boxes are 
often hired for the season, and are high-priced, 
a portion of an upper tier is set apart for those 
women and children who cannot or do not 
choose to get seats in the boxes. Their quar- 
ter is separated from the rest of the house by 
gates, and is attended by two or three old 
women, with a man to guard the entrance. 
No men are admitted among them, and their 
parents, brothers, cousins and beaux are al- 
lowed only to come to the door, and must 
send in refreshments, and even a cup of 
water, by the hands of the duenas. 

Military, on duty, abound at the doors and 
in the passage ways. The men to-night are 
of the regiment of Guards, dressed in white. 
There are enough of them to put down a 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 73 

small insurrection, on the spot. The singers 
screamed well enough, and the play was a 
poor one, Maria de Rohan, but the prima 
donna, Gazzaniga, is a favorite, and the ex- 
citable Cubans shout and scream, and throw 
bouquets, and jump on the benches, and, at 
last, present her with a crown, wreathed with 
flowers, and with jewels of value attached to 
it. Miss Adelaide Phillips is here, too, and 
a favorite, and has been crowned, they say; 
but she does not sing to-night. 



74 TO CUBA AND BACK 



CHAPTER VIII. 

To-morrow, I am to go, at eight o'clock, 
either to the church of San Domingo, to hear 
the military mass, or to the Jesuit church of 
Belen ; for the service of my own church is not 
publicly celebrated, even at the British Con- 
sulate ; no service but the Roman Catholic 
being tolerated on the island. 

To-night there is a public mascara (mask 
ball) at the great hall, next door to Le Grand's. 
My only window is by the side of the numer- 
ous windows of the great hall, and all these 
are wide open ; and I should be stifled if I 
were to close mine. The music is loud and 
violent, from a very large band, with kettle 
drums and bass drums and trumpets ; and be- 
cause these do not make noise and uproar 
enough, pistols are discharged, at the turns in 
the tunes. For sleeping, I might as well have 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 75 

been stretched on the bass drum. This tumult 
of noises, and the heat are wearing and oppres- 
sive beyond endurance, as it draws on past 
midnight, to the small hours ; and the servants 
in the court of the hall seem to be tending at 
tables of quarrelling men, and to be intermin- 
ably washing and breaking dishes. After sev- 
eral feverish hours, I light a match and look 
at my watch. It is nearly five o'clock in the 
morning. There is an hour to daylight, — and 
will this noise stop before then ? The city 
clocks struck five; the music ceased; and the 
bells of the convents and monasteries tolled 
their matins, to call the nuns and monks to 
their prayers and to the bedsides of the sick 
and dying in the hospitals, as the maskers go 
home from their revels at this hideous hour 
of Sunday morning. The servants ceased their 
noises, the cocks began to crow and the bells 
to chime, the trumpets began to bray, and the 
cries of the streets broke in before dawn, and 
I dropped asleep just as I was thinking sleep 
past hoping for ; when I am awaked by a 
knocking at the door, and Antonio calling, 
" Usted ! Usted ! Un caballero quiere ver 



76 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

listed ! " to find it half-past nine, the middle 
of the forenoon, and an ecclesiastic in black 
dress and shovel hat, waiting in the passage 
way, with a message from the bishop. 

His Excellency regrets not having seen me 
the day before, and invites me to dinner at 
three o'clock, to meet three or four gentlemen ; 
an invitation which I accept with pleasure. 

I am too late for the mass, or any other 
religious service, as all the churches close at ten 
o'clock. A tepid, soothing bath, at " Los banos 
publicos," round the corner, and I spend the 
morning in my chamber. As we are at break- 
fast, the troops pass by the Paseo, from the 
mass service. Their gait is quick and easy, 
with swinging arms, after the French fashion. 
Their dress is seersucker, with straw hats and 
red cockades : the regiments being distinguished 
by the color of the cloth on the cuffs of the 
coat, some being yellow, some green, and some 
blue. 

Soon after two o'clock, I take a carriage for 
the bishop's. On my way out I see that the 
streets are full of Spanish sailors from the men- 
of-war, ashore for a holiday, dressed in the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 77 

style of English sailors, with wide duck trow- 
sers, blue jackets, and straw hats, with the 
nanne of their ship on the front of the hat. 
All business is going on as usual, and labor- 
ers are at work in the streets and on the 
houses. 

The company consists of the bishop him- 
self, the Bishop of Puebla de los Angelos in 
Mexico, Father Luch, the rector of the Jesuit 
College, who has a high reputation as a man 
of intellect, and two young ecclesiastics. Our 
dinner is well cooked, and in the Spanish style, 
consisting of fish, vegetables, fruits, and of 
stewed light dishes, made up of vegetables, 
fowls and other meats, a style of cooking well 
adapted to a climate in which one is very will- 
ing to dispense with the solid, heavy cuts of 
an English dinner. 

The Bishop of Puebla wore the purple, the 
Bishop of Havana a black robe with a broad 
cape, lined with red, and each wore the Epis- 
copal cross and ring. The others were in 
simple black cassocks. The conversation was 
in French ; for, to my surprise, none of the 
company could speak English ; and being 



78 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

allowed my election between French and 
Spanish, I chose the former, as the lighter in- 
fliction on my associates. 

I am surprised to see what an impression is 
made on all classes in this country by the 
pending « Thirty Millions Bill" of Mr. Slidell. 
It is known to be an Administration measure, 
and is thought to be the first step in a series 
which is to end in an attempt to seize the is- 
land. Our steamer brought verbal intelligence 
that it had passed the Senate, and it was so 
announced in the Diario of the day after our 
arrival, although no newspaper that we brought 
so stated it. Not only with these clergymen, but 
with the merchants and others whom I have 
met since our arrival, foreigners as well as 
Cubans, this is the absorbing topic. Their 
future seems to be hanging in doubt, de- 
pending on the action of our government, 
which is thought to have a settled purpose to 
acquire the island. I suggested that it had not 
passed the Senate, and would not pass the 
House ; and, at most, was only an authority to 
the President to make an offer that would cer- 
tainly be refused. But they looked beyond the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 79 

form of the act, and regarded it as the first 
move in a plan, of which, although they could 
not entirely know the details, they thought 
they understood the motive. 

These clergymen were well informed as to 
the state of religion in the United States, the 
relative numbers and force of the various de- 
nominations, and their doctrinal differences ; 
the reputations of Brownson, Parker, Beecher, 
and others; and most minutely acquainted with 
the condition of their own church in the Uni- 
ted States, and with the chief of its clergy. 
This acquaintance is not attributable solely to 
their unity of organization, and to the con- 
sequent interchange of communication, but 
largely also to the tie of a common education 
at the Propaganda or St. Sulpice, the cata- 
logues of whose alumni are familiar to the 
educated Catholic clergy throughout the world. 

The subject of slavery, and the condition 
and prospects of the negro race in Cuba, the 
probable results of the Coolie system, and the 
relations between Church and State in Cuba, 
and the manner in which Sunday is treated 
in Havana, the public school system in Amer- 



80 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ica, the fate of Mormonism, and how our gov- 
ernment will treat it, were freely discussed. 
It is not because I have any reason to suppose 
that these gentlemen would object to all they 
said being printed in these pages, and read 
by all who may choose to read it in Cuba, 
or the United States, that I do not report 
their interesting and instructive conversation ; 
but because it would be, in my opinion, a vio- 
lation of the universal understanding among 
gentlemen. 

After dinner, we walked on the piazza, with 
the noble sunset view of the unsurpassed 
panorama lying before us ; and I took my 
leave of my host, a kind and courteous 
gentleman of Old Spain, as well as a prel- 
ate, just as a few lights w^ere beginning to 
sprinkle over the fading city, and the Morro 
Xiight to gleam on the untroubled air. 

Made two visits in the city this evening. 
In each house, I found the double row of 
chairs, facing each other, always with about 
four or five feet of space between the rows. 
The etiquette is that the gentlemen sit on the 
row opposite to the ladies, if there be but 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 81 

two or three present. If a lady, on entering, 
go to the side of a gentleman, when the other 
row is open to her, it indicates either familiar 
acquaintance or boldness. There is no peo- 
ple so observant of outguards, as the Spanish 
race. 

I notice, and my observation is supported by 
what I am told by the residents here, that there 
is no street-walking, in the technical sense, in 
Havana, Whether this is from the fact that 
no ladies walk in the streets, — which are too 
narrow for comfortable or even safe walking, 
— or by reason of police regulations, I do not 
know. From what one meets with in the 
streets, if he does not look farther, one would 
not know that there was a vice in Havana, 
not even drunkenness. 



4* 



82 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Monday^ February 2. — Rose before six, and 
walked as usual, down the Paseo, to the sea 
baths. How refreshing is this bath, after the 
hot night and close rooms ! At your side, 
the wide blue sea with its distant sails, the 
bath cut into the clean rock, the gentle wash- 
ing in and out of the tideless sea, at the Gulf 
Stream temperature, in the cool of the morn- 
ing! As I pass down, I meet a file of Coolies, 
in Chinese costume, marching, under over- 
seers, to their work or their jail. And there 
is the chain-gang! clank, clank, as they go, 
headed by officers with pistols and swords, 
and flanked by drivers with whips. This is 
simple wretchedness! 

While at breakfast, a gentleman in the 
dress of the regular clergy, speaking English, 
called upon me, bringing me, from the bishop, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. b3 

an open letter of introduction and admission 
to all the religious, charitable, and educational 
institutions of the city, and offering to con- 
duct me to the Belen (Bethlehem). He is 
Father B. of Charleston, S. C, temporarily in 
Havana, with whom I find I have some ac- 
quaintances in common, both in America and 
abroad. We drive together to the Belen. I 
say drive ; for few persons walk far in Havana, 
after ten o'clock in the morning. The volantes 
are the public carriages of Havana ; and are 
as abundant as cabs in London. You never 
need stand long at a street door without 
finding one. The postilions are always ne- 
groes ; and I am told that they pay the owner 
a certain sum per day for the horse and vo- 
lante, and make what they can above that. 

The Belen is a group of buildings, of the 
usual yellow or tawny color, covering a good 
deal of ground, and of a thoroughly monastic 
character. It was first a Franciscan monas- 
tery, then a barrack, and now has been given 
by the Government to the Jesuits. The com- 
pany of Jesuits here is composed of a rector 
and about forty clerical and twenty lay brethren. 



84 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

These perform every office, from the highest 
scientific investigations and instruction, down 
to the lowest menial offices, in the care of the 
children ; some serving in costly vestments at 
the high altar, and others in coarse black 
garb at the gates. It is only three years 
since they established themselves in Havana, 
but in that time they have formed a school 
of two hundred boarders and one hundred 
day scholars, built dormitories for the boarders, 
and a common hall, restored the church and 
made it the most fully attended in the city; 
established a missionary work in all parts of 
the town, recalled a great number to the dis- 
cipline of the Church, and not only created 
something like an enthusiasm of devotion 
among the women, who are said to have 
monopolized the religion of Cuba in times 
past, but have introduced among the men, 
and among many influential men, the prac- 
tices of confession and communion, to which 
they had been almost entirely strangers. I do 
not take this account from the Jesuits them- 
selves, but from the regular clergy of other 
orders, and from Protestants who are opposed 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 85 

to them and their influence. All agree that 
they are at work with zeal and success. 

1 met my distinguished acquaintance of yes- 
terday, the rector, who took me to the hoys* 
chapel, and introduced me to Father Antonio 
Cabre, a very young man of a spare frame 
and intellectual countenance, with hands so 
white and so thin, and eyes so bright, and 
cheek so pale ! He is at the head of the de- 
partment of mathematics and astronomy, and 
looks indeed as if he had outwatched the 
stars, in vigils of science or of devotion. He 
took me to his laboratory, his observatory, 
and his apparatus of philosophic instruments. 
These I am told are according to the latest 
inventions, and in the best style of French and 
German workmanship. I was also shown a 
collection of coins and medals, a cabinet of 
shells, the commencement of a museum of 
natural history, already enriched with most of 
the birds of Cuba, and an interesting cabinet 
of the woods of the island, in small blocks, each 
piece being polished on one side, and rough on 
the other. Among the woods were the ma- 
hoganies, the iron-wood, the ebony, the lignum 



86 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

vitae, the cedar, and many others, of names 
unfamiliar to me, which admit of the most ex- 
quisite polish. Some of the most curious were 
from the Isla de Pinos, an island belonging to 
Cuba, and on its southern shore. 

The sleeping arrangement for the boys here 
seemed to me to be new, and to be well 
adapted to the climate. There is a large hall, 
with a roof about thirty feet from the floor, 
and windows near the top, to give light and 
ventilation above, and small port-holes, near 
the ground, to let air into the passages. In 
this hall are double rows of compartments, 
like high pews, or, more profanely, like the 
large boxes in restaurants and chop-houses, 
open at the top, with curtains instead of doors, 
and each large enough to contain a single bed, 
a chair, and a toilet table. This ensures both 
privacy and the light and air of the great hall. 
The bedsteads are of iron ; and nothing can 
exceed the neatness and order of the apart- 
ments. The boys' clothes are kept in another 
part of the house, and they take to their dormi- 
tories only the clothes that they are using. 
Each boy sleeps alone. Several of the Fath- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 87 

ers sleep in the hall, in curtained rooms at the 
ends of the passage-ways, and a watchman 
walks the rounds all night, to guard against 
fire, and to give notice of sickness. 

The boys have a playground, a gymna- 
sium, and a riding-school. But although they 
like riding and fencing, they do not take to the 
robust exercises and sports of English school- 
boys. An American whom I met here, who 
had spent several months at the school, told 
me that in their recreations they were more 
like girls, and liked to sit a good deal, play- 
ing or working with their hands. He pointed 
out to me a boy, the son of an American 
mother, a lady to whom I brought letters and 
kind wishes from her many friends at the 
North, and told me that he had more pluck 
than any boy in the school. 

The roof of the Belen is flat, and gives a 
pleasant promenade, in the open air, after the 
sun is gone down, which is much needed, as 
the buildings are in the dense part of the city. 

The brethren of this order wear short hair, 
with the tonsure, and dress in coarse cassocks 
of plain black, coming to the feet, and but- 



88 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

toned close to the neck, with a cape, but with 
. no white of collar above ; and in these, they 
sweep like black spectres, about the passage- 
ways, and across the halls and court-yards. 
There are so many of them that they are able 
to give thorough and minute attention to the 
boys, not only in instruction, both secular and 
religious, but in their entire training and de- 
velopment. 

From the scholastic part of the institution, 
I passed to the church. It is not very large, 
has an open marble floor, a gallery newly 
erected for the use of the brethren and other 
men, a sumptuous high altar, a sacristy 
and vestry behind, and a small altar, by which 
burned the undying lamp, indicating the pres- 
ence of the Sacrament. In the vestry, I was 
shown the vestments for the service of the high 
altar, some of which are costly and gorgeous in 
the extreme, not probably exceeded by those 
of the Temple at Jerusalem in the palmiest 
days of the Jewish hierarchy. All are presents 
from wealthy devotees. One, an alb, had a 
circle of precious stones ; and the lace alone on 
another, a present from a lady of rank, is said 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 89 

to have cost three thousand dollars. Whatever 
may be thought of the rightfulness of this ex- 
penditure, turning upon the old question as to 
which the alabaster box of ointment and the 
ordained costliness of the Jewish ritual " must 
give us pause," it cannot be said of the Jesuits 
that they live in cedar, while the ark of God 
rests in curtains ; for the actual life of the 
streets hardly presents any greater contrast, 
than that between the sumptuousness of their 
apparel at the altar, and the coarseness and 
cheapness of their ordinary dress, the bareness, 
of their rooms, and the apparent severity of 
their life. 

The Cubans have a childish taste for exces- 
sive decoration. Their altars look like toy- 
shops. A priest, not a Cuban, told me that 
he went to the high altar of the cathedral 
once, on a Christmas day, to officiate, and 
when his eye fell on the childish and almost 
profane attempts at symbolism, — a kind of doll 
millinery, — if he had not got so far that he 
could not retire without scandal, he would 
have left the duties of the day to others. At 
the Belen there is less of this ; but the Jesuits 



90 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

find or think it necessary to conform a good 
deal to the popular taste. 

In the sacristy, near the side altar, is a dis- 
tressing image of the Virgin, not in youth, but 
the mother of the mature man, with a sword 
pierced through her heart, — referring to the 
figurative prediction, " a sword shall pierce 
through thine own soul also." The handle and 
a part of the blade remain without, while the 
marks of the deep wound are seen, and the 
countenance expresses the sorest agony of 
mind and body. It is painful, and beyond 
all legitimate scope of art, and haunts one, 
like a vision of actual misery. It is almost 
the only thing in the church of' which I have 
brought away a distinct image in my memory. 

A strange, eventful history, is that of the 
Society of Jesus ! Ignatius Loyola, a soldier 
and noble of Spain, renouncing arms and 
knighthood, hangs his trophies of war upon 
the altar of Monserrate. After intense studies 
and barefoot pilgrimages, persecuted by relig- 
ious orders whose excesses he sought to re- 
strain, and frowned upon by the Inquisition, 
he organizes, with Xavier and Faber, at Mont- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 91 

martre, a society of three. From this small 
beginning, spreading upwards and outwards, 
it overshadows the earth. Now, at the top of 
success, it is supposed to control half Christen- 
dom. Now, his order proscribed by State and 
Church alike and suppressed by the Pope him- 
self, there is not a spot of earth in Catholic 
Christendom where the Jesuit can place the 
sole of his foot. In this hour of distress, he 
finds refuge in Russia, and in Protestant Prus- 
sia. Then, restored and tolerated, the order 
revives here and there in Europe, with a fitful 
life ; and, at length, blazes out into a glory of 
missionary triumphs and martyrdoms in China, 
in India, in Africa, and in North America; 
and now, in these later days, we see it ad- 
vancing everywhere to a new epoch of labor 
and influence. Thorough in education, per- 
fect in discipline, absolute in obedience, — as 
yielding, as indestructible, as all-pervading as 
water or as air ! 

The Jesuits make strong friends and strong 
enemies. Many, who are neither the one nor 
the other, say of them that their ethics are ar- 
tificial, and their system unnatural ; that they 



92 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

do not reform nature, but destroy it; that, aim- 
ing to use the world without abusing it, they 
reduce it to subjection and tutelage; that they 
are always either in dangerous power, or in 
disgrace ; and although they may labor with 
more enthusiasm and self-consecration than 
any other order, and meet with astonishing 
successes for a time, yet such is the char- 
acter of their system that these successes are 
never permanent, but result in opposition, not 
only from Protestants, and moderate Catholics, 
and from the civil power, but from other relig- 
ious orders and from the regular clergy in their 
own Church, — an opposition to which they 
are invariably compelled to yield, at last. In 
fine, they declare, that, allowing them all zeal, 
and all ability, and all devotedness, their sys- 
tem is too severe and too unnatural for per- 
manent usefulness anywhere, — medicine and 
not food, lightning and not light, flame and not 
warmth. 

Not satisfied with this moderated judgment, 
their opponents have met them, always and 
everywhere, with uniform and vehement repro- 
bation. They say to them — the opinion of 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 93 

mankind has condemned you ! The just and 
irreversible sentence of time has made you a 
by-word and a hissing, and reduced your very 
name, the most sacred in its origin, to a syno- 
nyme for ambition and deceit ! 

Others, again, esteem them the nearest ap- 
proach in modern times to that type of men 
portrayed by one of the chiefest, in his epis- 
tle : " In much patience, in afflictions, in ne- 
cessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprison- 
ments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in 
fastings ; by pureness, by knowledge, by long- 
suffering ; ... by honor and dishonor ; by evil 
report and good report; as deceivers and yet 
true ; as unknown, and yet well known ; as 
dying, and behold we live ; as chastened, and 
not killed; as sorrowful, and yet always re- 
joicing ; as poor, yet making many rich ; as 
having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 



94 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER X. 

As there are no plantations to be seen near 
Havana, I determine to go down to Matanzas, 
near which the sugar plantations are in full 
tide of operation at this season. A steamer 
leaves here every night at ten o'clock, reaching 
Matanzas before daylight, the distance by sea 
being between fifty and sixty miles. 

Took this steamer to-night. She got under 
way punctually at ten o'clock, and steamed 
down the harbor. The dark waters are alive 
with phosphorescent light. From each ship 
that lies moored, the cable from the bows, 
tautened to its anchor, makes a run of silver 
light. Each boat, gliding silently from ship to 
ship, and shore to shore, turns up a silver rip- 
ple at its stem, and trails a wake of silver be- 
hind ; while the dip of the oar-blades brings 
up liquid silver, dripping, from the opaque 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 95 

deep. We pass along the side of the two- 
decker, and see through her ports the lanterns 
and men ; under the stern of one frigate, and 
across the bows of another (for Havana is w^ell 
supplied w^ith men-of-war) ; and drop leisurely 
down by the Cabana, where we are hailed from 
the rocks ; and bend round the Morro, and are 
out on the salt, rolling sea. Having a day 
of work before me, I went early to my berth, 
and was waked up by the letting off of steam, 
in the lower harbor of Matanzas, at three 
o'clock in the morning. My fellow-passengers, 
who sat up, said the little steamer tore and 
plunged, and jumped through the water like 
a thing that had lost its wits. They seemed to 
think that the Cuban engineer had got a ma- 
chine that would some day run away with 
him. It was, certainly, a very short passage. 
We passed a good many vessels lying at 
anchor in the lower harbor of Matanzas, and 
came to anchor about a mile from the pier. It 
was clear, bright moonlight. The small boats 
came off to us, and took us and our luggage 
ashore. I was landed alone on a quay, carpet- 
bag in hand, and had to guess my way to the 



96 TO CUBA AND BACK, 

inn, which was near the water-side. I beat on 
the big, close-barred door ; and a sleepy negro, 
in time, opened it. Mine host was up, expect- 
ing passengers, and after waiting on the very- 
tardy movements of the negro, who made a 
separate journey to the yard for each thing the 
room needed, I got to bed by four o'clock, on 
the usual piece of canvas stretched over an 
iron frame, in a room having a brick floor, and 
windows without glass closed with big-bolted 
shutters. 

Tuesday^ February 22. — After coffee, walked 
out to deliver my letters to' Mr. , an Amer- 
ican merchant, who has married the daughter 
of a planter, a gentleman of wealth and char- 
acter. He is much more agreeable and pains- 
taking than we have any right to expect of one 
who is served so frequently with notice that 
his attentions are desired for the entertainment 
of a stranger. Knowing that it is my wish 
to visit a plantation, he gives me a letter to 

Don Juan C , who has an ingenio (sugar 

plantation), called La Ariadne, near Limo- 
nar, and about twenty-five miles back in the 
country from Matanzas. The train leaves at 



A -VACATION VOYAGE. 97 

2.30 p. M., which gives me several hours for 
the city. 

Although it is not yet nine o'clock, it is very 
hot, and one is glad to keep on the shady side 
of the broad streets of Matanzas. This city 
was built later and more under foreign direc- 
tion than Havana, and I have been told, not by 
persons here however, that for many years the 
controlling influences of society were French, 
English, and American ; but that lately the pol- 
icy of the government has been to discourage 
foreign influence, and now Spanish customs 
prevail — bull-fights have been introduced, and 
other usages and entertainments which had 
had no place here before. Whatever may be 
the reason, this city differs from Havana in 
buildings, vehicles, and dress, and in the width 
of its streets, and has less of the peculiar air 
of a tropical city. It has about 25,000 inhabi- 
tants, and stands where two small rivers, the 
Yumuri and the San Juan, crossed by hand- 
some stone bridges, run into the sea, dividing 
the city into three parts. The vessels lie at 
anchor from one to three miles below the 
city, and lighters, with masts and sails, line 
5 



98 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the stone quays of the little rivers. The city 
is flat and hot, but the country around is pic- 
turesque, hilly, and fertile. To the westward 
of the town, rises a ridge, bordering on the sea, 
called the Cumbre, which is a place of resort 
for the beauty of its views ; and in front of the 
Cumbre, on the inland side, is the deep rich 
valley of the Yumuri, with its celebrated 
cavern. These I must see, if I can, on my 
return from the plantation. 

In my morning walk, I see a company of 
Coolies, in the hot sun, carrying stones to 
build a house, under the eye of a taskmaster 
who sits in the shade. The stones have been 
dropped in a pile, from carts, and the Coolies, 
carry them, in files, to the cellar of the house. 
They are naked to the waist, with short-legged 
cotton trowsers coming to the knees. Some 
of these men were strongly, one or two of them 
powerfully built, but many seemed very thin 
and frail. While looking on, I saw an Ameri- 
can face standing near me, and getting into 
conversation with the man, found him an in- 
telligent shipmaster from New York, who had 
lived in Matanzas, for a year or two engaged 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 99 

in business. He told me, as I had heard in 
Havana, that the importer of the Coolies gets 
$400 a head for them from the purchaser, and 
that the Coolies are entitled from the purchaser 
to four dollars a month, which they may de- 
mand monthly if they choose, and are bound to 
eight years' service, during which time they 
may be held to all the service that a slave is 
subject to. They are more intelligent, and are 
put to higher labor than the negro. He said, 
too, it would not do to flog a Coolie. Idolaters 
as they are, they have a notion of the dignity 
of the human body, at least as against stran- 
gers, which does not allow them to submit to 
the indignity of corporal chastisement. If a 
Coolie is flogged, somebody must die ; either 
the Coolie himself, for they are fearfully giv^n 
to suicide, or the perpetrator of the indignity, 
or some one else, according to their strange 
principles of vicarious punishment. Yet such 
is the value of labor in Cuba, that a citizen 
will give $400, in cash, for the chance of 
enforcing eight years' labor, at $4 per month, 
from a man speaking a strange language, wor- 
shipping strange gods or none, thinking sui- 



100 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

cide a virtue, and governed by no moral laws 
in common with his master, — his value being 
yet further diminished by the chances of nat- 
ural death, of sickness, accident, escape, and 
of forfeiting his services to the government, 
for any crime he may commit against laws he 
does not understand. 

The Plaza is in the usual style, — an enclosed 
garden, with walks ; and in front is the Gov- 
ernment House. In this spot, so fair and so 
still in the noon-day sun, some fourteen years 
ago, under the fire of the platoons of Spanish 
soldiers, fell the patriot and poet, one of the 
few popular poets of Cuba, Gabriel de la Con- 
cepcion Valdez. Charged with being the head 
of that concerted movement of the slaves for 
their freedom which struck such terror into 
Cuba, in 1844, he was convicted and ordered 
to be shot. At the first volley, as the story 
is told, he was only wounded. " Aim here ! " 
said he, pointing to his head. Another volley, 
and it was all over. 

The name and story of Gabriel de la Con-^ 
ception Valdez are preserved by the historians 
and tourists of Cuba. He is best known, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 101 

however, by the name of Placido, that under 
which he wrote and published, than by his 
proper name. He was a man of genius and 
a man of valor, but — he was a mulatto ! 



102 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XL 

Took the train for Limonar, at 2.30 p. m. 
There are three classes of cars, all after the 
American model, the first of about the con- 
dition of our first-class cars when on the point 
of being condemned as worn out ; the second, 
a little plainer; and the third, only covered 
wagons with benches. The car I entered had 
" Davenport & Co., makers, Cambridgeport, 
Mass.," familiarly on its front, and the next 
had " Eaton, Gilbert & Co., Troy, N. York." 
The brakemen on the train are Coolies, one of 
them a handsome lad, with coarse, black hair, 
that lay gracefully about his head, and eyes 
handsome, though of the Chinese pattern. 
They were all dressed in the common shirt, 
trowsers and hat, and, but for their eyes, might 
be taken for men of any of the Oriental races. 

As we leave Matanzas, we rise on an as- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 103 

cending grade, and the bay and city lie open 
before us. The bay is deep on the western 
shore, under the ridge of the Cumbre, and there 
the vessels lie at anchor ; while the rest of the 
bay is shallow, and its water, in this state of 
the sky and light, is of a pale green color. 
The lighters, with sail and oar, are plying be- 
tween the quays and the vessels below. All is 
pretty and quiet and warm, but the scene has 
none of those regal points, that so impress 
themselves on the imagination and memory 
in the surroundings of Havana. 

I am now to get my first view of the interior 
of Cuba. I could not have a more favorable 
day. The air is clear, and not excessively 
hot. The soft clouds float midway in the 
serene sky, the sun shines fair and bright, 
and the luxuriance of a perpetual summer 
covers the face of nature. These strange 
palm-trees everywhere ! I cannot yet feel at 
home among them. Many of the other trees 
are like our own, and though, tropical in 
fact, look to the eye as if they might grow as 
well in New England as here. But the royal 
palm looks so intensely and exclusively trop- 



104 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ical ! It cannot grow beyond this narrow belt 
of the earth's surface. Its long, thin body, so 
straight and so smooth, swathed from the foot 
— in a tight bandage of gray canvas, leaving 
only its deep-green neck, and over that its crest 
and plumage of deep-green leaves! It gives 
no shade, and bears no fruit that is valued by 
men. And it has no beauty to atone for those 
wants. Yet it has more than beauty, — a 
strange fascination over the eye and the fancy, 
that will never allow it to be overlooked or 
forgotten. The palm-tree seems a kind of 
lusus naturce to the northern eye — an exotic 
wherever you meet it. It seems to be con- 
scious of its want of usefulness for food or 
shade, yet has a dignity of its own, a pride 
of unmixed blood and royal descent, — the 
hidalgo of the soil. 

What are those groves and clusters of 
small growth, looking like Indian corn in a 
state of transmigration into trees, the stalk 
turning into a trunk, a thin soft coating half 
changed to bark, and the ears of corn turning 
into melons? Those are the bananas and 
plantains, as their bunches of green and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 105 

yellow fruits plainly enough indicate, when 
you come nearer. But, that sad, weeping 
tree, its long yellow-green leaves drooping 
to the ground! What can that be? It has 
a green fruit like a melon. There it is 
again, in groves ! I interrupt my neigh- 
bor's tenth cigarrito, to ask him the name 
of the tree. It is the cocoa! And that soft 
green melon becomes the hard shell we break 
with a hammer. Other trees there are, in 
abundance, of various forms and foliage, but 
they might have grown in New England or 
New York, so far as the eye can teach us; 
but the palm, the cocoa, the banana and plan- 
tain are the characteristic trees you could not 
possibly meet with in any other zone. 

Thickets, — jungles I might call them — 
abound. It seems as if a bird could hardly 
get through them ; yet they are rich with wild 
flowers of all forms and colors, the white, the 
purple, the pink, and the blue. The trees are 
full of birds of all plumage. There is one 
like our brilliant oriole. I cannot hear their 
notes, for the clatter of the train. Stone 
fences, neatly laid up, run across the lands ; 
5* 



106 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

— not of our cold bluish -gray granite, the 
color, as a friend once said, of a miser's eye, 
but of soft, warm brown and russet, and 
well overgrown with creepers, and fringed with 
flowers. There are avenues, and here are 
clumps of the prim orange-tree, with its 
dense and deep-green polished foliage gleam- 
ing with golden fruit. Now we come to 
acres upon acres of the sugar-cane, looking 
at a distance like fields of overgrown broom- 
corn. It grows to the height of eight or ten 
feet, and very thick. An army could be hid- 
den in it. This soil must be deeply and 
intensely fertile. 

There, at the end of an avenue of palms, 
in a nest of shade-trees, is a group of white 
buildings, with a sea of cane-fields about 
it, with one high furnace-chimney, pouring 
out its volume of black smoke. This is a 
sugar plantation, — my first sight of an in- 
genio; and the chimney is for the steam 
works of the sugar-house. It is the height 
of the sugar season, and the untiring engine 
toils and smokes day and night. Ox carts, 
loaded with cane, are moving slowly to the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 107 

sugar-house from the fields ; and about the 
house, and in the fields, in various atti- 
tudes and motions of labor, are the negroes, 
men and women and children, some cutting 
the cane, some loading the carts, and some 
tending the mill and the furnace. It is a 
busy scene of distant industry, in the after- 
noon sun of a languid Cuban day. 

Now these groups of white one -story build- 
ings become more frequent, sometimes very 
near each other, all having the same character, 
— the group of white buildings, the mill, with 
its tall furnace-chimney, and the look of a dis- 
tillery, and all differing from each other only 
in the number and extent of the buildings, or 
in the ornament and comfort of shade-trees and 
avenues about them. Some are approached 
by broad alleys of the palm, or mango, or 
orange, and have gardens around them, and 
stand under clusters of shade-trees ; while 
others glitter in the hot sun, on the flat sea of 
cane-fields, with only a little oasis of shade- 
trees and fruit-trees immediately about the 
houses. 

I now begin to feel that I am in Cuba ; 



108 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

in the tropical, rich, sugar-growing, slave- 
tilled Cuba. Heretofore, I have seen only 
the cities and their environs, in which there 
are more things that are common to the 
rest of the world. The country life tells the 
story of any people that have a country life. 
The New England farm-house shows the heart 
of New England. The mansion-house and 
cottage show the heart of Old England. The 
plantation life that I am seeing and about to 
see, tells the story of Cuba, the Cuba that 
has been and that is. 

As we stop at one station, which seems 
to be in the middle of a cane-field, the ne- 
groes and Coolies go to the cane, slash off 
a piece with their knives, cut off the rind, 
and chew the stick of soft, saccharine pulp, 
the juice running out of their mouths as they 
eat. They seem to enjoy it so highly, that I 
am tempted to try the taste of it, myself. But 
I shall have time for all this at La Ariadne. 

These stations consist merely of one or two 
buildings, where the produce of the neighbor- 
hood is collected for transportation, and at 
which there are very few passengers. The 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 109 

railroad is intended for the carriage of sugar 
and other produce, and gets its support almost 
entirely in that way ; for it runs through a 
sparse, rural population, where there are no 
towns ; yet so large and valuable is the sugar 
crop that I believe the road is well supported. 
At each station, are its hangers-on of free ne- 
groes, a few slaves on duty as carriers, a few 
low whites, and now and then some one who 
looks as if he might be an overseer or mayoral 
of a plantation. 

Limonar, appears in large letters on the 
small building where we next stop, and I get 
out and inquire of a squad of idlers for the 

plantation of Senor C . They point 

to a group of white buildings, about a quarter 
of a mile distant, standing prettily under 
high shade-trees, and approached by an ave- 
nue of orange-trees. Getting a tall negro to 
shoulder my bag, for a real, I walk to the 
house. It is an afternoon of exquisite beauty. 
How can any one have a weather sensation, 
in such an air as this? There is no current 
of the slightest chill anywhere, neither is it 
oppressively hot. The air is serene and pure 



110 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and light. The sky gives its mild assur- 
ance of settled fair weather. All about me 
is rich verdure, over a gently undulating sur- 
face of deeply fertile country, with here and 
there a high hill in the horizon, and, on one 
side, a ridge that may be called mountains. 
There is no sound but that of the birds, and in 
the next tree they may be counted by hun- 
dreds. Wild flowers, of all colors and scents, 
cover the ground and the thickets. This is 
the famous red earth, too. The avenue looks 
as if it had been laid down with pulverized 
brick, and all the dust on any object you see is 
red. Now we turn into the straight avenue of 
orange-trees, — prim, deep-green trees, glitter- 
ing with golden fruit. Here is the one-story, 
high-roofed house, with long, high piazzas. 
There is a high wall, carefully whitewashed, 
enclosing a square with one gate, looking like 
a garrisoned spot. That must be the negroes' 
quarters ; for there is a group of little negroes 
at the gate, looking earnestly at the approach- 
ing stranger. Beyond is the sugar-house, and 
the smoking chimney, and the ox carts, and the 
field hands. * Through the wide, open door of 



A VACATION VOYAGE. Ill 

the mansion, I see two gentlemen at dinner, an 
older and a younger, — ^the head of gray, and 
the head of black, and two negro women, one 
serving, and the other swinging her brush to 
disperse the flies. Two big, deep-mouthed 
hounds come out and bark ; and the younger 
gentleman looks at us, comes out, and calls 
off the dogs. My negro stops at the path and 
touches his hat, waiting permission to go to 
the piazza with the luggage; for negroes do 
not go to the house door without previous 
leave, in strictly ordered plantations. I deliver 
my letter, and in a moment am received with 
such cordial welcome that I am made to feel 
as if I had conferred a favor by coming out 
to see them.* 

* I have no right to introduce the pubHc to the house 

of Mr. C . But that has already been done. Many 

tourists, and last and most unreservedly of all, Miss Bremer, 
in her Homes of the New World, have already given it 
such publicity, that I have thought my lighter step would 
not be felt on the beaten way. 



112 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XII. 

At some seasons, a visit may be a favor, on 
remote plantations; but I know this is the 
height of the sugar season, when every hour is 
precious to the master. After a brief toilet, I 
sit down with them ; for they have just be- 
gun dinner. In five minutes, I am led to 
feel as if I were a friend of many years. 
Both gentlemen speak English like a native 
tongue. To the younger it is so, for he was 
born in South Carolina, and his mother is a 
lady of that State. The family are not here. 
They do not live on the plantation, but in 
Matanzas. The plantation is managed by the 
son, who resides upon it; the father coming 
out occasionally for a few days, as now, in 
the busy season. 

The dinner is in the Spanish style, which I 
am getting attached to. I should flee from a 



A VACATION" VOYAGE. 113 

joint, or a sirloin. We have rice, excellently 
cooked, as always in Cuba, eggs with it, if we 
choose, and fried plantains, sweet potatoes, 
mixed dishes of fowl and vegetables, with a 
good deal of oil and seasoning, in which a hot 
red pepper, about the size of the barberry, pre- 
vails. Catalonia wine, which is pretty sure to 
be pure, is their table claret, while sherry, which 
also comes direct from the mother-country, is 
for dessert. I have taken them by surprise, in 
the midst of the busiest season, in a house 
where there are no ladies ; yet the table, the 
service, the dress and the etiquette, are none 
the less in the style of good society. There 
seems to be no letting down, where letting 
down would be so natural and excusable. 

I suppose the fact that the land and the. 
agricultural capital of the interior are in the 
hands of an upper class, which does no manual 
labor, and which has enough of wealth and 
leisure to secure the advantages of continued 
intercourse with city and foreign society, and 
of occasional foreign travel, tends to preserve 
throughout the remote agricultural districts, 
habits and tone and etiquette, which other- 



114 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

wise would die out, in the entire absence of 
large towns and of high local influences. 

Whoever has met with a book called 
" Evenings in Boston," and read the story of 
the old negro, Saturday, and seen the frontis- 
piece of the negro fleeing through the woods 
of St. Domingo, with two little white boys, 
one in each hand, will know as much of Mr. 

C , the elder, as I did the day before 

seeing him. He is the living hero, or rather 
subject, for Saturday was the hero, of that 
tale. His father was a wealthy planter of St. 
Domingo, a Frenchman, of large estates, with 
wife, children, friends and neighbors. These 
were gathered about him in a social circle in 
his house, when the dreadful insurrection over- 
took them, and father, mother, sons and daugh- 
ters were murdered in one night, and only two 
of the children, boys of eight and ten, were saved 
by the fidelity of Saturday, an old and devoted 
house servant. Saturday concealed the boys, 
got them off the island, took them to Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, where they found friends 
among the Huguenot families, and the refu- 
gees from St. Domingo. There Mr. C 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 115 

grew up; and after a checkered and adven- 
turous early life, a large part of it on the sea, 
he married a lady of worth and culture, in 
South Carolina, and settled himself as a plan- 
ter, on this spot, nearly forty years ago. His 
plantation he named El Labarinto, (The 
Labyrinth,) after a favorite vessel he had 
commanded, and for thirty years it was a 
prosperous cafetal, the home of a happy 
family, and much visited by strangers from 
America and Europe. The causes which 
broke up the coffee estates of Cuba, carried 
this with the others; and it was converted 
into a sugar plantation, under the new name 
of La Ariadne, from the fancy of Ariadne 
having shown the way out of the Labyrinth. 
Like most of the sugar estates, it is no longer 
the regular home of its proprietors. 

The change from coffee plantations to sugar 
plantations, — from the cafetal to the ingenio, 
has seriously affected the social, as it has the 
economic condition of Cuba. 

Coffee must grow under shade. Conse- 
quently the coffee estate was, in the first place, 
a plantation of trees, and by the hundred acres. 



116 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Economy and taste led the planters, who were 
chiefly the French refugees from St. Domingo, 
to select fruit-trees, and trees valuable for their 
wood, as well as pleasing for their beauty and 
shade. Under these plantations of trees, grew 
the coffee plant, an evergreen, and almost an 
ever-flowering plant, with berries of changing 
hues, and, twice a year, brought its fruit to 
maturity. That the coffee might be tended 
and gathered, avenues wide enough for wagons 
must be carried through the plantations, at fre- 
quent intervals. The plantation was, therefore, 
laid out like a garden, with avenues and foot- 
paths, all under the shade of the finest trees, 
and the spaces between the avenues were 
groves of fruit-trees and shade-trees, under 
which grew, trimmed down to the height of 
five or six feet, the coffee plant. The labor of 
the plantation was in tending, picking, drying, 
and shelling the coffee, and gathering the fresh 
fruits of trees for use and for the market, and 
for preserves and sweetmeats, and in raising 
vegetables and poultry, and rearing sheep and 
horned cattle and horses. It was a beautiful 
and simple horticulture, on a very large scale. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 117 

Time was required to perfect this garden, — the 
Cubans call it paradise — of a cafetal ; but 
when matured, it was a cherished home. It 
required and admitted of no extraordinary me- 
chanical power, or of the application of steam, 
or of science, beyond the knowledge of soils, 
of simple culture, and of plants and trees. 

For twenty years and more it has been 
forced upon the knowledge of the reluctant 
Cubans, that Brazil, the West India Islands 
to the southward of Cuba, and the Spanish 
Main, can excel them in cofFee-raising. The 
successive disastrous hurricanes of 1843 and 
1845, which destroyed many and damaged most 
of the coffee estates, added to the colonial sys- 
tem of the mother-country, which did not give 
extraordinary protection to this product, are 
commonly said to have put an end to the cof- 
fee plantations. Probably, they only hastened 
a change which must at some time have come. 
But the same causes of soil and climate which 
made Cuba inferior in coffee-growing, gave her 
a marked superiority in the cultivation of 
sugar. The damaged plantations were not re- 
stored as coffee estates, but were laid down to 



118 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the sugar-cane ; and gradually, first in the 
western and northern parts, and daily extend- 
ing easterly and southerly over the entire isl- 
and, the exquisite cafetals have been prostrated 
and dismantled, the groves of shade and fruit 
trees cut down, the avenues and footpaths 
ploughed up, and the denuded land laid down 
to wastes of sugar-cane. 

The sugar-cane allows of no shade. There- 
fore the groves and avenues must fall. To 
make its culture profitable, it must be raised 
in the largest possible quantities that the ex- 
tent of land will permit. To attempt the 
raising of fruit, or of the ornamental woods, is 
bad economy for the sugar planter. Most of 
the fruits, especially the orange, which is the 
chief export, ripen in the midst of the sugar 
season, and no hands can be spared to attend 
to them. The sugar planter often buys the 
fruits he needs for daily use and for making 
preserves, from the neighboring cafetals. The 
cane ripens but once a year. Between the 
time when enough of it is ripe to justify be- 
ginning to work the mill, and the time when 
the heat and rains spoil its qualities, all the 



A VA.CATION VOYAGE. 119 

sugar making of the year must be done. 
In Louisiana, this period does not exceed eight 
weeks. In Cuba it is full four months. This 
gives Cuba a great advantage. Yet these four 
months are short enough ; and during that 
time, the steam-engine plies and the furnace 
fires burn night and day. 

Sugar making brings with it steam, fire, 
smoke, and a drive of labor, and admits of and 
requires the application of science. Managed 
with skill and energy, it is extremely produc- 
tive. Indifferently managed, it may be a loss. 
The sugar estate is not valuable, like the coffee 
estate, for what the land will produce, aided 
by ordinary and quiet manual labor only. Its 
value is in the skill, and the character of the 
labor. The land is there, and the negroes are 
there ; but the result is loss or gain, according 
to the amount of labor that can be obtained, 
and the skill with which the manual labor and 
the mechanical powers are applied. It is said 
that at the present time, in the present state 
of the market, a well-managed sugar estate 
yields from fifteen to twenty-five per cent, on 
the investment. This is true, I am inclined to 



120 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

think, if by the investment be meant only the 
land, the machinery, and the slaves. But the 
land is not a large element in the investment. 
The machinery is costly, yet its value depends 
on the science applied to its construction and 
operation. The chief item in the investment 
is the slave labor. Taking all the slaves to- 
gether, men, women, and children, the young 
and the old, the sick and the well, the good 
and the bad, their market value averages 
above $1000 a head. Yet of these, allowing 
for those too young or too old, for the sick, and 
for those who must tend the young, the old 
and the sick, and for those whose labor, like 
that of the cooks, only sustains the others, not 
more than one half are able-bodied, productive 
laborers. The value of this chief item in the 
investment depends largely on moral and in- 
tellectual considerations. How unsatisfactory 
is it, then, to calculate the profits of the in- 
vestment, when you leave out of the calcula- 
tion the value of the controlling power, the 
power that extorts the contributions of labor 
from the steam and the engine and the fire, 
and from the more difficult human will. This 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 121 

is the " plus X " of the formula, which, unas- 
certained, gives us little light as to the result. 
But, to return to the changes wrought by 
this substitution of sugar for coffee. The sugar 
plantation is no grove, or garden, or orchard. 
It is not the home of the pride and affections 
of the planter's family. It is not a coveted, 
indeed, hardly a desirable residence. Such 
families as would like to remain on these 
plantations, are driven off for want of neigh- 
boring society. Thus the estates, largely 
abandoned by the families of the planters 
suffer the evils of absenteeism, while the 
owners live in the suburbs of Havana and 
Matanzas, and in the Fifth Avenue of New 
York. The slave system loses its patriarchal 
character. The master is not the head of a 
great family, its judge, its governor, its physi- 
cian, its priest and its father, as the fond dream 
of the advocates of slavery, and sometimes, 
doubtless, the reality, made him. Middlemen, 
in the shape of administradores, stand between 
the owner and the slaves. The slave is lit- 
tle else than an item of labor raised or bought. 
The sympathies of common home, common 



122 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

childhood, long and intimate relations and 
many kind offices, common attachments to 
house, to land, to dogs, to cattle, to trees, to 
birds, — ^the knowledge of births, sicknesses, and 
deaths, and the duties and sympathies of a 
common religion, — all those things that may 
ameliorate the legal relations of the master 
and slave, and often give to the face of ser- 
vitude itself precarious but interesting features 
of beauty and strength, — these they must not 
look to have. 

This change has had some effect already, 
and will produce much more, on the social 
system of Cuba. 

There are still plantations on which the 
families of the wealthy and educated planters 
reside. And in some cases the administrador 
is a younger member or a relative of the 
family, holding the same social position ; and 
the permanent administrador will have his 
family with him. Yet, it is enough to say 
that the same causes which render the ingenio 
no longer a desirable residence for the owner, 
make it probable that the administrador will 
be either a dependent or an adventurer ; a 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 123 

person from whom the owner will expect a 
great deal, and the slaves but little, and from 
whom none will get all they expect, and per- 
haps none all they are entitled to. 

In the afternoon we went to the sugar-house, 
and I was initiated into the mysteries of the 
work. There are four agents : steam, fire, cane- 
juice, and negroes. The results are sugar and 
molasses. At this ingenio, they make only the 
Muscovado, or brown sugar. The processes 
are easily described, but it is difficult to give 
an idea of the scene. It is one of condensed 
and determined labor. 

To begin at the beginning. — The cane is 
cut from the fields, by companies of men and 
women, working together, who use an instru- 
ment called a machete, which is something 
between a sword and a cleaver. Two blows 
with this slash off* the long leaves, and a third 
blow cuts off" the stalk, near to the ground. 
At this work, the laborers move like reapers, 
in even lines, at stated distances. Before 
them is a field of dense, high-waving cane; 
and behind them, strewn wrecks of stalks and 
leaves. Near, and in charge of the party, 



124 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

stands a driver, or more grandiloquently, a con- 
tra-mayoral, with the short, limber plantation 
whip, the badge of his office, under his arm. 

Ox-carts pass over the field, and are loaded 
with the cane, which they carry to the mill. 
The oxen are worked in the Spanish fashion, 
the yoke being strapped upon the head, close 
to the horns, instead of being hung round the 
neck, as with us, and are guided by goads, 
and by a rope attached to a ring through the 
nostrils. At the mill, the cane is tipped from 
the carts into large pUes, by the side of the 
platform. From these piles, it is placed care- 
fully, by hand, lengthwise, in a long trough. 
This trough is made of slats, and moved by 
the power of the endless chain, connected with 
the engine. In this trough, it is carried be- 
tween heavy, horizontal, cylindrical rollers, 
where it is crushed, its juice falling into re- 
ceivers below, and the crushed cane passing 
off and falling into a pile on the other side. 

This crushed cane, (bagazo) falling from be- 
tween the rollers, is gathered into baskets, by 
men and women, who carry it on their heads 
into the fields and spread it for drying. There 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 125 

it is watched and tended as carefully as new- 
mown grass in haymaking, and raked into 
cocks or winrows, on an alarm of rain. When 
dry, it is placed under sheds for protection 
against wet. From the sheds and from the 
fields, it is loaded into carts and drawn to 
the furnace doors, into which it is thrown by 
negroes, who crowd it in by the armful, and 
rake it about with long poles. Here it feeds 
the perpetual fires by which the steam is made, 
the machinery moved, and the cane-juice 
boiled. The care of the bagazo is an impor- 
tant part of the system ; for if that becomes 
wet and fails, the fires must stop, or resort be 
had to wood, which is scarce and expensive. 

Thus, on one side of the rollers is the cease- 
less current of fresh, full, juicy cane-stalks, just 
cut from the open field ; and on the other side, 
is the crushed, mangled, juiceless mass, drifting 
out at the draught, and fit only to be cast into 
the oven and burned. This is the way of the 
world, as it is the course of art. The cane is 
made to destroy itself. The ruined and cor- 
rupted furnish the fuel and fan the flame that 
lures on and draws in and crushes the fresh 



126 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and wholesome; and the operation seems about 
as mechanical and unceasing in the one case 
as in the other. 

From the rollers, the juice falls below into 
a large receiver, from which it flows into great, 
open vats, called defecators. These defecators 
are heated by the exhaust steam of the engine, 
led through them in pipes. All the steam con- 
densed forms water, which is returned warm 
into the boiler of the engine. In the defecators, 
as their name denotes, the scum of the juice 
is purged off", so far as heat alone will do it. 
From the last defecator, the juice is passed 
through a trough into the first caldron. Of 
the caldrons, there is a series, or, as they call 
it, a train, through all which the juice must 
go. Each caldron is a large, deep, copper vat, 
heated very hot, in which the juice seethes 
and boils. At each, stands a strong negro, 
with long, heavy skimmer in hand, stirring the 
juice and skimming off the surface. This 
scum is collected and given to the hogs, or 
thrown upon the muck heap, and is said 
to be very fructifying. The juice is ladled 
from one caldron to the next, as fast as the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 127 

office of each is finished. From the last cal- 
dron, where its complete crystallization is ef- 
fected, it is transferred to coolers, which are 
large, shallow pans. When fully cooled, it 
looks like brown sugar and molasses mixed. 
It is then shovelled from the coolers into hogs- 
heads. These hogsheads have holes bored in 
their bottoms ; and, to facilitate the drainage, 
strips of cane are placed in the hogshead, with 
their ends in these holes, and the hogshead is 
filled. The hogsheads are set on open frames, 
under which are copper receivers, on an in- 
clined plane, to catch and carry off the drip- 
pings from the hogsheads. These drippings 
are the molasses, which is collected and put 
into tight casks. 

I believe I have given the entire process. 
When it is remembered that all this, in every, 
stage, is going on at once, within the limits of 
the mill, it may well be supposed to present a 
busy scene. The smell of juice and of sugar- 
vapor, in all its stages, is intense. The negroes 
fatten on it. The clank of the engine, the 
steady grind of the machines, and the high, 
wild cry of the negroes at the caldrons to the 



128 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

stokers at the furnace doors, as they chant out 
their directions or wants — now for more fire, 
and now to scatter the fire — which must be 
heard above the din, "A-a-b'la! A-a-b'la!'' 
" E-e-cha candela ! " " Pu-er-ta ! " and the bar- 
baric African chant and chorus of the gang at 
work filling the cane-troughs ; — all these make 
the first visit at the sugar-house a strange ex- 
perience. But after one or two visits, the mo- 
notony is as tiresome as the first view is excit- 
ing. There is, literally, no change in the work. 
There are the same noises of the machines, the 
same cries fi-om negroes at the same spots, the 
same intensely sweet smell, the same state of 
the work in all its stages, at whatever hour you 
visit it, whether in the morning, or evening, at 
midnight, or at the dawn of the day. If you 
wake up at night, you hear the "A-a-b'la ! 
A-a-b'la ! " " E-e-cha ! E-e-cha ! " of the cal- 
dron-men crying to the stokers, and the high, 
monotonous chant of the gangs filling the 
wagons or the trough, a short, improvisated 
stave, and then the chorus ; — not a tune, like 
the song of sailors at the tackles and falls, but 
a barbaric, tuneless intonation. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 129 

When I went into the sugar-house, 1 saw 
a man with an unmistakably New England 
face in charge of the engine, with that look 
of intelligence and independence so different 
from the intelligence and independence of all 
other persons. 

" Is not that a New England man ? " 

"Yes," said Mr. C , "he is from 

Lowell ; and the engine was built in Lowell." 

When I found him at leisure, I made my- 
self known to him, and he sat down on the 
brick work of the furnace, and had a good un- 
burdening of talk ; for he had not seen any- 
one from the United States for three months. 
He talked, like a true Yankee, of law and 
politics, — the Lowell Bar and Mr. Butler, Mr. 
Abbott and Mr. Wentworth ; of the Boston 
Bar and Mr. Choate ; of Massachusetts poli- 
tics and Governor Banks ; and of national 
politics and the Thirty Millions Bill, and 
whether it would pass, and what if it did. 

This engineer is one of a numerous class, 
whom the sugar culture brings annually to 
(yuba. They leave home in the autumn, en- 
gage themselves for the sugar season, put the 
6=* 



130 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

machinery in order, work it for the four or five 
months of its operation, clean and put it in 
order for lying by, and return to the United 
States in the spring. They must be machin- 
ists, as well as engineers ; for all the repairs 
and contrivances, so necessary in a remote 
place, fall upon them. Their skill is of great 
value, and while on the plantation their work 
is incessant, and they have no society or re- 
creations whatever. The occupation, however, 
is healthful, their position independent, and 
their pay large. This engineer had been sev- 
eral years in Cuba, and I found him well in- 
formed, and, I think, impartial and indepen- 
dent. He tells me, which I had also heard in 
Havana, that this plantation is a favorable 
specimen, both for skill and humanity, and is 
managed on principles of science and justice, 
and yields a large return. On many planta- 
tions, — on most, I suspect, from all I can 
learn — the negroes, during the sugar season, 
are allowed but four hours for sleep in the 
twenty-four, with one for dinner, and a half 
hour for breakfast, the night being divided into 
three watches, of four hours each, the laborers 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 131 

taking their turns. On this plantation, the 
laborers are in two watches, and divide the 
night equally between them, which gives them 
six hours for sleep. In the day, they have 
half an hour for breakfast and one hour for 
dinner. Here, too, the very young and the 
very old are excused from the sugar-house, 
and the nursing mothers have lighter duties 
and frequent intervals of rest. The women 
worked at cutting the cane, feeding the mill, 
carrying the bagazo in baskets, spreading and 
drying it, and filling the wagons; but not in 
the sugar-house itself, or at the furnace doors. 
I saw that no boys or girls were in the mill — . 
none but full grown persons. The very small 
children do absolutely nothing all day, and the 
older children tend the cattle and run of errands. 
And the engineer tells me that in the long run 
this liberal system of treatment, as to hours 
and duties, yields a better return than a more 
stringent rule. 

He thinks the crop this year, which has been 
a favorable one, will yield, in well-managed 
plantations a net interest of from fifteen to 
twenty-five per cent, on the investment ; mak- 



132 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ing no allowance, of course, for the time and 
skill of the master. This will be a clear re- 
turn to planters like Mr. C , who do not 

eat up their profits by interest on advances, 
and have no mortgages, and require no ad- 
vances from the merchants. 

But the risks of the investment are great. 
The cane-fields are liable to fires, and these 
spread with great rapidity, and are difficult to 

extinguish.* Last year Mr. C lost 

$7,000 in a few hours by fire. In the cholera 
season he lost $12,000 in a few days by 
deaths among the negroes. 

According to the usual mode of calcula- 
tion, I suppose the value of the investment of 

Mr. C to be between $125,000 and 

$150,000. On well-managed estates of this 
size, the expenses should not exceed $10,000. 

* While these sheets are in press, the newspapers report 
that a fire has spread over a section of country between 
Matanzas and Cardenas, not only destroying the standing 
cane, but burning up houses, sugar-mills, and the sugar 
and molasses stored for the market. Several lives were 
lost by the conflagration, which affected, more or less, 
above twenty plantations. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 133 

The gross receipts, in sugar and molasses, at a 
fair rate of the markets, cannot average less 
than between $35,000 and $40,000. This 
should leave a profit of between eighteen and 
twenty-two per cent. Still, the worth of an 
estimate depends on the principle on which 
the capital is appraised. The number of acres 
laid down to cane, on this plantation, is about 
three hundred. The whole number of negroes 
is one hundred, and of these not more than 
half, at any time, are capable of efficient labor ; 
and there are twenty-two children below the 
age of five years, out of a total of one hun- 
dred negroes. 

Beside the engineer, some large plantations 
have one or more white assistants ; but here 
an intelligent negro has been taught enough to 
take charge of the engine when the engineer is 
off duty. This is the highest post a negro can 
reach in the mill, and this negro was mightily 
pleased when I addressed him as maquinista. 
There are, also, two or three white men 
employed, during the season, as sugar mas- 
ters. Their post is beside the caldrons and 
defecators, where they are to watch the work 



134 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

in all its stages, regulate the heat and the 
time for each removal, and oversee the men. 
These, with the engineer, make the force 
of white men who are employed for the 
season. 

The regular and permanent officers of a 
plantation are the mayoral and mayordomo. 

The mayoral is, under the master or his ad- 
ministrador, the chief mate or first lieutenant 
of the ship'. He has the general oversight of 
the negroes, at their work or in their houses, 
and has the duty of exacting labor and en- 
forcing discipline. Much depends on his 
character, as to the comfort of master and 
slaves. If he is faithful and just, there may 
be ease and comfort ; but if he is not, the 
slaves are never sure of justice, and the mas- 
ter is sure of nothing. The mayoral comes, 
of necessity, from the middle class of whites, 
and is usually a native Cuban, and it is not 
often that a satisfactory one can be found or 
kept. The day before I arrived, in the height 

of the season, Mr. C had been obliged 

to dismiss his mayoral, on account of his con- 
duct to the women, which was producing the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 136 

worst results with them and with the men : 



and not long before, one was dismissed for 
conniving with the negroes in a wholesale sys- 
tem of theft, of which he got the lion's share. 

The mayordomo is the purser, and has the 
immediate charge of the stores, produce, mate- 
rials for labor, and provisions for consump- 
tion, and keeps the accounts. On well regu- 
lated plantations, he is charged with all the 
articles of use or consumption, and with the 
products as soon as they are in condition to 
be numbered, weighed, or counted, and renders 
his accounts of what is consumed or destroyed, 
and of the produce sent away. 

There is also a boyero, who is the herdsman, 
and has charge of all the cattle. He is some- 
times a negro. 

Under the mayoral, are a number of contra-' 
mayorales, who are the boatswain's mates of 
the ship, and correspond to the " drivers " of 
our southern plantations. One of them goes 
with every gang when set to work, whether in 
the field or elsewhere, and whether men or 
women, and watches and directs them, and 
enforces labor from them. The drivers carry 



136 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

under the arm, at all times, the short, limber 
plantation whip, the badge of their office and 
their means of compulsion. They are almost 
always negroes ; and it is generally thought 
that negroes are not more humane in this 
office than the low whites. On this planta- 
tion, it is three years since any slave has been 
whipped; and that punishment is never in- 
flicted here on a woman. Near the negro 
quarters, is a penitentiary, which is of stone, 
with three cells for solitary confinement, each 
dark, but well ventilated. Confinement in 
these, on bread and water, is the extreme 
punishment that has been found necessary 
for the last three years. The negro fears 
solitude and darkness, and covets his food, 
fire, and companionship. 

With all the corps of hired white labor, the 
master must still be the real power, and on his 
character the comfort and success of the plan- 
tation depend. If he has skill as a chem- 
ist, a geologist, or a machinist, it is not lost ; 
but, except as to the engineer, who may 
usually be relied upon, the master must be 
capable of overseeing the whole economy 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 137 

of the plantation, or all will go wrong. His 
chief duty is to oversee the overseers ; to 
watch his officers, the mayoral, the mayor- 
domo, the boyero, and the sugar masters. 
These are mere hirelings, and of a low sort, 
such as a slave system reduces them to ; and 
if they are lazy, the work slackens ; and if 
they are ill-natured, somebody suffers. The 
mere personal presence of the master operates 
as a stimulus to the work. This afternoon 

young Mr. C and I took horses and 

rode out to the cane-field, where the people 
were cutting. They had been at work a half 
hour. He stopped his horse where they were 
when we came to them, and the next half 
hour, without a word from him, they had made 
double the distance of the first. It seems to 
me that the work of a plantation is what a 
clock would be that always required a man's 
hand pressing on the main spring. With the 
slave, the ultimate sanction is force. The mo- 
tives of pride, shame, interest, ambition, and 
affection may be appealed to, and the minor 
punishments of degradation in duty, depriva- 
tion of food and sleep, and solitary confine- 



138 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ment, may be resorted to ; but the whip which 
the driver always carries, reminds the slave 
that if all else fails, the infliction of painful 
bodily punishment lies behind, and will be 
brought to bear, rather than that the question 
be left unsettled. Whether this extreme be 
reached, and how often it be reached, depends 
on the personal qualities of the master. If he 
is lacking in self-control, he will fall into vio- 
lence. If he has not the faculty of ruling by 
moral and intellectual power, — be he ever so 
humane, if he is not firm and intelligent, the 
bad among the slaves will get the upper hand, 
and he will be in danger of trying to recover 
his position by force. Such is the reasoning 
a priori. 

At six o'clock, the large bell tolls the knell of 
parting day and the call to the Oracion, which 
any who are religious enough can say, wherever 
they may be, at work or at rest. In the times 
of more religious strictness, the bell for the Ora- 
cion, just at dusk, was the signal for prayer in 
every house and field, and even in the street, 
and for the benediction from parent to child, 
and master to servant. Now, in the cities, it 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 139 

tolls unnoticed, and on the plantations, it is 
treated only as the signal for leaving off work. 
The distribution of provisions is made at the 
storehouse, by the mayordomo, my host super- 
intending it in person. The people take ac- 
cording to the number in their families ; and 
so well acquainted are all with the apportion- 
ment, that in only one or two instances were 
inquiries necessary. The kitchen fires are 
lighted in the quarters, and the evening meal 
is prepared. I went into the quarters before 
they were closed. A high wall surrounds an 
open square, in which are the houses of the 
negroes. This has one gate, which is locked at 
dark ; and to leave the quarters after that time, 
is a serious offence. The huts were plain, but 
reasonably neat, and comfortable in their con- 
struction and arrangement. In some were fires, 
round which, even in this hot weather, the ne- 
groes like to gather. A group of little negroes 
came round the strange gentleman, and the 
smallest knelt down with uncovered heads, in a 
reverent manner, saying, " Buenos dias Senor." 
I did not understand the purpose of this action, 
and as there was no one to explain the usage 



140 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

to me, I did them the injustice to suppose that 
they expected money, and distributed some 
small coins among them. But I learned after- 
wards that they were expecting the benedic- 
tion, — the hand on the head, and the " Dios 
te haga bueno." It was touching to see their 
simple, trusting faces turned up to the stran- 
ger, — countenances not yet wrought by mis- 
fortune, or injury, or crime, into the strong 
expressions of mature life. None of these 
children, even the smallest, was naked, as 
one usually sees them in Havana. In one 
of the huts, a proud mother showed me her 
Herculean twin boys, sprawling in sleep on the 
bed. Before dark, the gate of the quarters is 
bolted, and the night is begun. But the fires 
of the sugar-house are burning, and half of the 
working people are on duty there for their six 
hours. 

I sat for several hours with my host and his 
son, in the veranda, engaged in conversation, 
agreeable and instructive to me, on those topics 
likely to present themselves to a person placed 
as I was; — ^the state of Cuba, its probable 
future, its past, its relations to Europe and the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 141 

United States, slavery, the Coolie problem, the 
free-negro-labor problem, and the agriculture, 
horticulture, trees and fruits of the island. 
The elder gentleman retired early, as he was 
to take the early train for Matanzas. 

My sleeping-room is large and comfortable, 
with brick floor and glass windows, pure white 
bed linen and mosquito net, and ewer and basin 
scrupulously clean, bringing back, by contrast, 
visions of Le Grand's, and Antonio, and Do- 
mingo, and the sounds and smells of those 
upper chambers. The only moral I am en- 
titled to draw from this is, that a well-ordered 
private house with slave labor, may be more 
neat and creditable than an ill-ordered public 
house with free labor. As the stillness of the 
room comes over me, I realize that I am far 
away in the hill country of Cuba, the guest of 
a planter, under this strange system, by which 
one man is enthroned in the labor of another 
race, brought from across the sea. The song 
of the negroes breaks out afresh from the fields, 
where they are loading up the wagons, — that 
barbaric undulation of sound : — 

" Na-nu, A-ya, — Na-ne, A-ya:" 



142 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and the recurrence of here and there a few 
words of Spanish, among which " Manana " 
seemed to be a favorite. Once, in the middle 
of the night, I waked, to hear the strains again, 
as they worked in the open field, under the 
stars. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 143 



CHAPTER Xin. 

When I came out from my chamber this 

morning, the elder Mr. C had gone. 

The watchful negress brought me coffee, and 
I could choose between oranges and bananas, 
for my fruit. The young master had been in 
the saddle an hour or so. I sauntered to 
the sugar-house. It was past six, and all 
hands were at work again ; amid the per- 
petual boiling of the caldrons, the skimming 
and dipping and stirring, the cries of . the 
caldron-men to the firemen, the slow gait of 
the wagons, and the perpetual to-and-fro of 
the carriers of the cane. The engine is doing 
well enough, and the engineer has the great 
sheet of the New York Weekly Herald, 
which he is studying, in the intervals of 
labor, as he sits on the corner of the brick- 
work. 



144 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

But a turn in the garden is more agreeable, 
among birds, and flowers, and aromatic trees. 
Here is a mignonette-tree, forty feet high, and 
every part is full and fragrant with flowers, 
as is the little mignonette in our flower-pots. 
There is the allspice, a large tree, each leaf 
strong enough to flavor a dish. Here is the 
tamarind-tree : I must sit under it, for the sake 
of the old song. My young friend joins me, 
and points out, on the allspice-tree, a chame- 
leon. It is about six inches long, and of a 
pea-green color. He thinks its changes of 
color, which are no fable, depend on the will 
or on the sensations, and not on the color of 
the object the animal rests upon. This one, 
though on a black trunk, remained pale green. 
When they take the color of the tree they 
rest on, it may be to elude their enemies, to 
whom their slow motions make them an easy 
prey. At the corner of the house stands a 
pomegranate-tree, full of fruit, which is not 
yet entirely ripe ; but we find enough to give 
a fair taste of its rich flavor. Then there are 
sweet oranges, and sour oranges, and limes, 
and cocoa-nuts, and pine-apples, the latter not 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 145 

entirely ripe, but in the condition in which they 
are usually plucked for our market, and abun- 
dance of fuschias, and Cape jasmines, and the 
highly prized night-blooming cereus. 

The most frequent shade-tree here is the 
mango. It is a large, dense tree, with a gen- 
eral resemblance, in form and size, to our lime 
or linden. Three noble trees stand before the 
door, in front of the house. One is a Ta- 
hiti almond, another a mango, and the third a 
cedar. And in the distance is a majestic tree, 
of incredible size, which is, I believe, a ceyba. 
When this estate was a cafetal, the house 
stood at the junction of four avenues, from the 
four points of the compass : one of the sweet 
orange, one of the sour orange, one of palms, 
and. one of mangoes. Many of these trees fell 
in the huiricanes of 1843 and '45. The ave- 
nue which leads from the road, and part of 
that leading towards the sugar-house, are pre- 
served. The rest have fallen a sacrifice to the 
sugar-cane ; but the garden, the trees about the 
house, and what remains of the avenuos, give 
still a delightful appearance of sheltei and 
repose. 



146 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

I have amused myself by tracing the pro- 
gress, and learning the habits of the red ants, a 
pretty formidable enemy to all structures of 
wood. They eat into the heart of the hard- 
est woods ; not even the lignum vitae, or iron- 
wood, or cedar, being proof against them. 
Their operations are secret. They never ap- 
pear upon the wood, or touch its outer shell. A 
beam or rafter stands as ever with a goodly 
outside; but you tap it, and find it a shell. 
Their approaches, too, are by covered ways. 
When going from one piece of wood to an- 
other, they construct a covered way, very small 
and low, as a protection against their numer- 
ous enemies, and through this they advance 
to their new labors. I think that they may 
sap the strength of a whole roof of rafters, 
without the observer being able to see one of 
them, unless he breaks their covered ways, or 
lays open the wood. 

The course of life at the plantation is after 
this manner. At six o'clock, the great bell be- 
gins the day, and the negroes go to their work. 
The house servants bring coffee to the family 
and guests, as they appear or send for it. The 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 147 

master's horse is at the door, under the tree, 
as soon as it is light, and he is off on his tour, 
before the sun rises. The family breakfasts 
at ten o'clock, and the people, — ^la gente, as 
the technical phrase is for the laborers, break- 
fast at nine. The breakfast is like that of the 
cities, with the exception of fish and the vari- 
ety of meats, and consists of rice, eggs, fried 
plantains, mixed dishes of vegetables and 
fowls, other meats rarely, and fruits, with 
claret or Catalonia and coffee. The time for 
the siesta or rest, is between breakfast and 
dinner. Dinner hour is three for the family, 
and two for the people. The dinner does not 
differ much from the breakfast, except that 
there is less of fruit and more of meat, and 
that some preserve is usually eaten, as a des- 
sert. Like the breakfast, it ends with coffee. 
In all manner of preserves, the island is rich. 
The almond, the guava, the cocoa, the sour- 
sop, the orange, the lime, and the mamey ap- 
ple, afford a great variety. After dinner, and 
before dark, is the time for long drives ; and, 
when the families are on the estates, for visits 
to neighbors. There is no third meal ; but cof- 



148 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

fee, and sometimes tea, is offered at night. 
The usual time for bed is as early as ten 
o'clock, for the day begins early, and the chief 
out-door works and active recreations must be 
had before breakfast. 

In addition to the family house, the negro 
quarters, and the sugar-house, there is a range 
of stone buildings, ending with a kitchen, occu- 
pied by the engineer, the mayoral, the boyero, 
and the mayordomo, who have an old negro 
woman to cook for them, and another to 
wait on them. There is also another row of 
stone buildings, comprising the store-house, 
the penitentiary, the hospital, and the lying- 
in room. The penitentiary, I have described. 
The hospital and lying-in room are airy, well- 
ventilated, and suitable for their purposes. 
Neither of them had any tenants to-day. 
In the centre of the group of buildings, is a 
high frame, on which hangs the great bell 
of the plantation. This rings the negroes up 
in the morning, and in at night, and sounds 
the hours for meals. It calls all in, on any 
special occasion, and is used for an alarm to 
the neighboring plantations, rung long and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 149 

loud, in case of j&re in the cane-fields, or other 
occasions for calling in aid. 

After dinner, to-day, a volante, with two 
horses, and a postilion in bright jacket and 
buckled boots and large silver spurs, the har- 
ness well-besprinkled with silver, drove to the 
door, and an elderly gentleman alighted and 
came to the house, attired with scrupulous 
nicety of white cravat and dress coat, and with 
the manners of the ancien regime. This is M. 
Bourgeoise, the owner of the neighboring, large 
plantation, Santa Catalina, one of the few cafe- 
tals remaining in this part of the island. He is 
too old, and too much attached to his planta- 
tion, to change it to a sugar estate ; and he is 
too rich to need the change. He, too, was a 
refugee from the insurrection of St. Domingo, 

but older than M. C . Not being able 

to escape, he was compelled to serve as aid- 
de-camp to Jacques Dessalines. He has a good 
deal to say about the insurrection and its re- 
sults, of a great part of which he was an eye- 
witness. The sight of him brought vividly to 
mind the high career and sad fate of the just 
and brave Toussaint L'Ouverture, and the bril- 



150 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

liant successes, and fickle, cruel rule, of Des- 
salines, — when French marshals were out-ma- 
noeuvred by negro generals, and pitched battles 
were won by negroes and mulattoes against 
European armies. 

This gentleman had driven over in the 
hope of seeing his friend and neighbor, Mr. 

C , the elder. He remained with us 

for some time, sitting under the veranda, 
the silvered volante and its black horses and 
black postilion standing under the trees. He 
invited us to visit his plantation, which I 
was desirous to do, as a cafetal is a rarity 
now. 

My third day at La Ariadne, is much like 
the preceding days : the early rising, the coffee 
and fruit, the walk, visits to the mill, the 
fields, the garden, and the quarters, break- 
fast, rest in-doors with reading and writing, 
dinner, out of doors again, and the evening 
under the veranda, with conversations on sub- 
jects now so interesting to me. These conver- 
sations, and what I had learned from other 
persons, open to me new causes for interest 
and sympathy with my younger host. Born 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 151 

in South Carolina, he has secured his rights 
of birth, and is a citizen of the United 
'States, though all his pecuniary interests and 
family affections are in Cuba. He went 
to Paris at the age of nine, and remained 
there until he was nineteen, devoting the ten 
years to thorough courses of study in the 
best schools. He has spent much time in 
Boston, and has been at sea, to China, India, 
and the Pacific and California, — was wrecked 
in the Boston ship Mary Ellen, on a coral 
reef in the India seas, taken captive, restored, 
and brought back to Boston in another ship, 
whence he sailed for California. There he 
had a long and checkered experience, was 
wounded in the battle with the Indians who 
killed Lieut. Dale and defeated his party, 
was engaged in scientific surveys, topograph- 
ical and geological, took the fever of the 
South Coast at a remote place, was reported 
dead, and came to his mother's door, at the 
spot where we are talking this evening, so 
weak and sunken that his brothers did not 
know him, thinking it happiness enough if 
he could reach his home, to die in his 



152 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

mother's arms. But home and its cherish- 
ings, and revived moral force, restored him ; 
and now, active and strong again, when, in 
consequence of the marriage of his brothers 
and sisters, and the departure of neighbors, 
the family leave their home of thirty-five 
years for the city, he becomes the acting 
master, the administrador of the estate, and 
makes the old house his bachelor's hall. 

An education in Europe or the United States 
must tend to free the youth of Cuba from 
the besetting fault of un travelled plantation- 
masters. They are in no danger of thinking 
their plantations and Cuba the world, or any 
great part of it. In such cases, I should think 
the danger might be rather the other way, — 
rather that of disgust and discouragement at 
the narrowness of the field, the entire want 
of a career set before them, — a career of 
any kind, literary, scientific, political, or mil- 
itary. The choice is between expatriation, 
and contentment in the position of a secluded 
cultivator of sugar by slave labor, with oc- 
casional opportunities of intercourse with the 
world and of foreign travel, with no other field 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 153 

than the limits of the plantation afford, for 
the exercise of the scientific knowledge, so 
laboriously acquired, and with no more excit- 
ing motive for the continuance of intellec- 
tual culture than the general sense of its 
worth and fitness. 



7* 



154: TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

If the master of a plantation is faithful 
and thorough, will tolerate no misconduct or 
imposition, and yet is humane and watchful 
over the interests and rights, as well as over 
the duties of the negroes, he has a hard and 
anxious life. Sickness to be ministered to, 
the feigning of sickness to be counteracted, 
rights of the slaves to be secured against 
other negroes, as well as against whites, with 
a poor chance of getting at the truth from 
either ; the obligations of the negro quasi 
marriage to be enforced against all the sen- 
sual and childish tendencies of the race; 
theft and violence and wanderings from home 
to be detected and prevented ; the work to 
be done, and yet no one to be overworked ; 
and all this often with no effectual aid, often 
with only obstructions, from the intermediate 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 156 

whites! Nor is it his own people only that 
are to be looked to. The thieving and vio- 
lence of negroes from other plantations, their 
visits by night against law, and the encroach- 
ments of the neighboring free blacks and low 
whites, are all to be watched and prevented or 
punished. The master is a policeman, as well 
as an economist and a judge. His revolver 
and rifle are always loaded. He has his dogs, 
his trackers and seizers, that lie at his gate, 
trained to give the alarm when a strange 
step comes near the house or the quarters, 
and ready to pursue. His hedges may be 
broken down, his cane trampled or cut, or, 
still worse, set fire to, goats let into his pas- 
tures, his poultry stolen, and sometimes his 
dogs poisoned. It is a country of little law. 
and order, and what with slavery and free 
negroes and low whites, violence or fraud are 
imminent and always formidable. No man 
rides far unarmed. The negroes are held un- 
der the subjection of force. A quarter-deck 
organization is established. The master owns 
vessel and cargo, and is captain of the ship, 
and he and his family live in the cabin and 



156 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

hold the quarter-deck. There are no other 
commissioned officers on board, and no guard 
of marines. There are a few petty officers, 
and under all, a great crew of negroes, for 
every kind of work, held by compulsion, — the 
results of a press-gang. All are at sea to- 
gether. There are some laws, and civil author- 
ities for the protection of each, but not very 
near, nor always accessible. 

After dinner to-day, we take saddle-horses 
for a ride to Santa Catalina. Necessary duties 
in the field and mill delay us, and we are in 
danger of not being able to visit the house, as 
ray friend must be back in season for the close 
of work and the distribution of provisions, in 
the absence of his mayoral. The horses have 
the famous "march," as it is called, of the 
island, an easy rapid step, something like 
pacing, and delightful for a quiet ride under a 
soft afternoon sky, among flowers and sweet 
odors. I have seen but few trotting horses in 
Cuba. 

The afternoon is serene. Near, the birds are 
flying, or chattering with extreme sociability in 
close trees, and the thickets are fragrant with 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 157 

flowers ; while far off, the high hills loom in 
the horizon ; and all about us is this tropical 
growth, with which I cannot yet become 
familiar, of palms and cocoas and bananas. 
We amble over the red earth of the winding 
lanes, and turn into the broad avenue of 
Santa Catalina, with its double row of royal 
palms. We are in — not a forest, for the trees 
are not thick and wild and large enough for 
that — ^but in a huge, dense, tropical orchard. 
The avenue is as clear and straight and 
wide as a city mall ; while all the ground on 
either side, for hundreds of acres, is a plan- 
tation of oranges and limes, bananas and 
plantains, cocoas and pine-apples, and of cedar 
and mango, mignonette and allspice, under 
whose shade is growing the green-leaved, the 
evergreen-leaved coffee plant, with its little 
dark red berry, the tonic of half the world. 
Here we have a glimpse of the lost charm of 
Cuba. No wonder that the aged proprietor 
cannot find the heart to lay it waste for the 
monotonous cane-field, and make the quiet, 
peaceful horticulture, the natural growth of 
fruit and berry, and the simple processes of 



158 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

gathering, drying, and storing, give place 
to the steam and smoke and drive and life- 
consuming toil of the ingenio ! 

At a turn in the avenue, we come upon the 
proprietor, who is taking his evening walk, 
still in the exact dress and with the exact 
manners of urban life. With truly French 
politeness, he is distressed, and all but of- 
fended, that we cannot go to his house. It 
is my duty to insist on declining his invita- 
tion, for I know that C is anxious to 

return. At another turn, we come upon a 
group of little black children, under the 
charge of a decent, matronly mulatto, com- 
ing up a shaded footpath, which leads among 

the coffee. C stops to give a kind word 

to them. 

But it is sunset, and we must turn about. 
We ride rather rapidly down the avenue, and 
along the highway, where we meet several 
travellers, nearly all with pistols in their hol- 
sters, and one of the mounted police, with car- 
bine and sword ; and then cross the brook, 
pass through the little, mean hamlet of Li- 
monar, whose inmates are about half blacks 



A VACATION VOYAaE. 159 

and half whites, but once a famed resort for 
invalids, and enter our own avenue, and 
thence to the house. On our way, we pass 
a burying-ground, which my companion says 
he is ashamed to have me see. Its condi- 
tion is bad enough. The planter^ are taxed 
for it, but the charge of it is with the padre, 
who takes big fees for burials, and lets it go 
to ruin. The bell has rung long ago, but the 
people are waiting our return, and the evening 
duties of distributing food, turning on the 
night gang for night work, and closing the 
gates, are performed. 

To-night the hounds have an alarm, and 

C is off in the darkness. In a few 

minutes he returns. There has been some 
one about, but nothing is discovered. A 
negro may have attempted to steal out, or 
some strange negro may be trying to steal 
in, or some prowling white, or free black, 
has been reconnoitering. These are the terms 
on which this system is carried on ; and I 
think, too, that when the tramp of horses is 
heard after dark, and strange men ride to- 
wards the piazza, it causes some uneasiness. 



160 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

The morning of the fourth day, I take my 
leave, by the early train for Matanzas. The 
hour is half-past six ; but the habits of rising 
are so early that it requires no special prepara- 
tion. I have time for coffee, for a last visit to 
the sugar-house, a good-by to the engineer, 
who will be back on the banks of the Merri- 
mack in May, and for a last look into the 
quarters, to gather the little group of kneelers 
for " la bendicion," with their " Buenos dias, 
Senor." My horse is ready, the negro has gone 
with my luggage, and I must take my leave 
of my newly-made friend. Alone together, we 
have been more intimate in three days than 
w^e should have been in as many weeks in 
a full household. Adios ! — may the opening 
of a new home on the old spot, which I hear 
is awaiting you, be the harbinger of a more 
cheerful life, and the creation of such fresh 
ties and interests, that the delightful air of 
the hill country of Cuba, the dreamy mono- 
tony of the day, the serenity of nights which 
seem to bring the stars down to your roof or 
to raise you half-way to them, and the lux- 
uriance and variety of vegetable and animal 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 161 

life, may not be the only satisfactions of exist- 
ence here. 

A quiet amble over the red earth, to the sta- 
tion, in a thick morning mist, almost cold 
enough to make an overcoat comfortable ; and, 
after two hours on the rail, I am again in 
Matanzas, among close-packed houses, and 
with views of blue ocean and of ships. 



162 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Instead of the posada by the water-side, I 
take up my quarters at a hotel kept by Ensor, 
an American, and his sister. Here the hours, 
cooking, and chief arrangements are in the 
fashion of the country, as they should be, but 
there is more of that attention to guests 
which we are accustomed to at home, than 
the Cuban hotels usually give. 

The objects to be visited here are the Cum- 
bre and the valley of the Yumuri. It is too 
late for a morning ride, and I put off my visit 
until afternoon. Gazzaniga and some of the 
opera troupe are here ; and several Americans 
at the hotel, who were at the opera last night, 
tell me that the people of Matanzas made a 
handsome show, and are of opinion that there 
was more beauty in the boxes than we saw at 
the Villanueva. It appears, too, that at the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 163 

Retreta, in the Plaza de Armas, when the band 
plays, and at evening promenades, the ladies 
walk about, and do not keep to their carriages 
as in Havana. 

As soon as the sun began to decline, I set 
off for the Cumbre, mounted on a pacer, with 
a negro for a guide, who rode, as I soon dis- 
covered, a better nag than mine. We cross 
the stone bridges, and pass the great hospital, 
which dominates over the town. A regiment, 
dressed in seersucker and straw hats, is drill- 
ing, by trumpet call, and drilling well, too, 
on the green in front of the barracks ; while 
we take our winding way up the ascent of 
the Cumbre. 

The bay, town, and shipping lie beneath us ; 
the Pan rises in the distance to the height of 
some 3,000 feet ; the ocean is before us, rolling 
against the outside base of the hills ; and, on 
the inside, lies the deep, rich, peaceful valley 
of the Yumuri. On the top of the Cumbre, 
commanding the noblest view of ocean and 
valley, bay and town, is the ingenio of a 
Mr. Jenkes, a merchant, bearing a name that 
would put Spanish tongues to their trumps to 



164 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

sound, were it not that they probably take ref- 
uge in the Don Guillermo, or Don Enrique, 
of his Christian name. The estate bears the 
name of La Victoria, and is kindly thrown 
open to visitors from the city. It is said to 
be a model establishment. The house is large, 
in a classic style, and costly, and the negro 
quarters, the storehouses, mechanic shops, and 
sugar-house are of dimensions indicating an 
estate of the first class. 

On the way up from the city, several fine 
points of sight were occupied by villas, all of 
one story, usually in the Roman or Grecian 
style, surrounded by gardens and shade-trees, 
and with every appearance of taste and wealth. 

It is late, but I must not miss the Yumuri ; 
so we dive down the short, steep descent, and 
cross dry brooks and wet brooks, and over 
stones, and along bridle-paths, and over fields 
without paths, and by wretched hovels, and 
a few decent cottages, with yelping dogs and 
cackling hens and staring children, and be- 
tween high, overhanging cliffs, and along the 
side of a still lake, and after it is so dark that 
we can hardly see stones or paths, we strike a 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 165 

bridle-path, and then come out upon the road, 
and, in a few minutes more, are among the 
gas-lights and noises of the city. 

At the hotel, there is a New York company 
who have spent the day at the Yumuri, and 
describe a cave not yet fully explored, which 
is visited by all who have time, — abounding 
in stalactites, and, though much smaller, re- 
minding one of the Mammoth Cave of Ken- 
tucky. 

I cannot leave Matanzas without paying my 
respects to the family to whose kindness I owe 

so much. Mr. C lives in a part of the 

suburbs called Versailles, near the barracks, 
in a large and handsome house, built after 
the style of the country. There I spend an 
agreeable evening, at a gathering of nearly 
all the family, sons and daughters, and the 
sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. There is 
something strangely cosmopolitan in many of 
the Cuban families, — as in this, where are 
found French origin, Spanish and American 
intermarriage, education in Europe or the 
United States, home and property in Cuba, 
friendships and sympathies and half a resi- 



166 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

dence in Boston or New York or Charleston, 
and three languages at command. 

Here I learn that the Thirty Millions Bill 
has not passed, and, by the latest dates, is not 
likely to pass. 

My room at Ensor's is on a level with the 
court-yard, and a horse puts his face into the 
grating as I am dressing, and I know of noth- 
ing to prevent his walking in at the door, if he 
chooses, so that the negro may finish rubbing 
him down by my looking-glass. Yet the house 
is neatly furnished and cared for, and its keep- 
ers are attentive and deserving people. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 167 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Saturday^ February 28. — At eight o'clock 
this morning, I take my leave of Matanzas, 
by the railroad for Havana. 

Although the distance to Havana, as the bird 
flies, is only sixty miles, the railroad, winding 
into the interior, to draw out the sugar freights, 
makes a line of nearly one hundred miles. 
This adds to the length of our journey, but 
also greatly to its interest. 

In the cars are two Americans, who have 
also been visiting plantations. They give me 
the following statistics of a sugar plantation, 
which they think may be relied upon. 

Lands, machinery, 320 slaves, and 20 Coo- 
lies, worth $500,000. Produce this year, 4,000 
boxes of sugar and 800 casks of molasses, worth 
$104,000. Expenses, $35,000. Net, $69,000, 
or about 14 per cent. This is not a large in- 



168 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

terest on an investment so much of which is 
perishable and subject to deterioration. 

The day, as has been every day of mine 
in Cuba, is fair and beautiful. The heat is 
great, perhaps even dangerous to a Northerner, 
should he be exposed to it in active exercise, 
at noon, — but, with the shade and motion of 
the cars, not disagreeable, for the air is pure 
and elastic, and it is only the direct heat of the 
sun that is oppressive. I think one notices the 
results of this pure air, in the throats and nasal 
organs of the people. One seldom meets a 
person that seems to have a cold in the head 
or the throat ; and pocket handkerchiefs are 
used chiefly for ornament. 

I cannot weary of gazing upon these new 
and strange scenes ; the stations, with the 
groups of peasants and negroes and fruit- 
sellers that gather about them, and the stores 
of sugar and molasses collected there ; the 
ingenios, glimmering in the heat of the sun, 
with their tall, furnace chimneys ; the cane- 
fields, acres upon acres ; the slow ox-carts car- 
rying the cane to the mill ; then the intervals 
of unused country, the jungles, adorned with 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 169 

little wild flowers, the groves of the weeping, 
drooping, sad, homesick cocoa ; the royal palm, 
which is to trees what the camel or dromedary- 
is among animals, — seeming to have strayed 
from Nubia or Mesopotamia ; the stiff, close 
orange-tree, with its golden balls of fruit ; and 
then the remains of a cafetal, the coffee plant 
growing untrimmed and wild under the re- 
prieved groves of plantain and banana. How 
can this tire an eye that two weeks ago to-day 
rested on the midwinter snow and mud of the 
close streets of lower New York ? 

It is certainly true that there is such a thing 
as industry in the tropics. The labor of the 
tropics goes on. Notwithstanding all we hear 
and know of the enervating influence of the 
climate, the white man, if not laborious him- 
self, is the cause that labor is in others. With 
all its social and political discouragements, 
with the disadvantages of a duty of about 
twenty-five per cent, on its sugars laid in the 
United States, and a duty of full one hundred 
per cent, on all flour imported from the United 
States, and after paying heavier taxes than 
any people on earth pay at this moment, and 



170 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

yielding a revenue, which nets, after every de- 
duction and discount, not less than sixteen 
millions a year ;— -against all these disadvan- 
tages, this island is still very productive and 
very rich. There is, to be sure, little variety 
in its industry. In the country, it is nothing 
but the raising and making of sugar ; and in 
the towns, it is the selling and exporting of 
sugar. With the addition of a little coffee and 
copper, more tobacco, and some fresh fruit and 
preserves, and the commerce which they stimu- 
late, and the mechanic and trading necessities 
of the towns, we have the sum of its industry 
and resources. Science, arts, letters, arms, 
manufactures, and the learning and discussions 
of politics, of theology, and of the great prob- 
lems and opinions that move the minds of 
the thinking world, — in these the people of 
Cuba have no part. These move by them, as 
the great Gulf Stream drifts by their shores. 
Nor is there, nor has there been in Cuba, in 
the memory of the young and middle-aged, 
debate, or vote, or juries, or one of the least 
and most rudimental processes of self-govern- 
ment. The African and Chinese do the man- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 171 

ual labor; the Cubans hold the land and the 
capital, and direct the agricultural industry ; 
the commerce is shared between the Cubans, 
and foreigners of all nations ; and the govern- 
ment, civil and military, is exercised by the 
citizens of Old Spain. No Cuban votes, or 
attends a lawful political meeting, or sits on 
a jury, or sees a law-making assembly, except 
as a curiosity abroad, even in a municipality ; 
nor has he ever helped to make, or interpret, 
or administer laws, or borne arms, except by 
special license of government granted to such 
as are friends of government. In religion, he 
has no choice, except between the Roman 
Catholic and none. The laws that govern 
him are made abroad, and administered by 
a central power, a foreign Captain- General, 
through the agency of foreign civil and mili- 
tary officers. The Cuban has no public career. 
If he removes to Old Spain, and is known as 
a supporter of Spanish royal power, his Creole 
birth is probably no impediment to him. But 
at home, as a Cuban, he may be a planter, a 
merchant, a physician, but he cannot expect to 
be a civil magistrate, or to hold a commission 



172 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

in the army, or an office in the police ; and 
though he may be a lawyer, and read, sitting, 
a written argument to a Court of Judges, he 
cannot expect to be himself a Judge. He may 
publish a book, but the government must be 
the responsible author. He may edit a jour- 
nal, but the government must be the editor- 
in-chief. 

At the chief stations on the road, there are 
fruit-sellers in abundance, with fruit fresh from 
the trees : oranges, bananas, sapotes, and co- 
coas. The cocoa is eaten at an earlier stage 
than that in which we see it at the North, 
for it is gathered for exportation after it has 
become hard. It is eaten here when no harder 
than a melon, and is cut through with a knife, 
and the soft white pulp, mixed with the milk, 
is eaten with a spoon. It is luscious and 
wholesome, much more so than when the rind 
has hardened into the sheU, and the soft pulp 
into a hard meat. 

A little later in the afternoon, the character 
of the views begins to change. The ingenios 
and cane-fields become less frequent, then 
cease altogether, and the houses have more the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 173 

appearance of pleasure retreats than of work- 
ing estates. The roads show lines of mules 
and horses, loaded with panniers of fruits, or 
sweeping the ground with the long stalks of 
fresh fodder laid across their backs, all moving 
towards a common centre. Pleasure carriages 
appear. Next comes the distant view of the 
Castle of Atares, and the Principe, and then the 
harbor and the sea, the belt of masts, the high 
ridge of fortifications, the blue and white and 
yellow houses, with brown tops ; and now we 
are in the streets of Havana. 

It seems like coming home; and I feel as 
if I had been an age away, when it is only 
eight days since I first saw Cuba. Here are 
the familiar signs — Por mayor y menor, Po- 
sada y Cantina, Tienda, Panaderia, Relojeria, 
and the fanciful names of the shops, the high 
pitched falsetto cries of the streets, the long 
files of mules and horses, with panniers of 
fruit, or hidden, all but their noses and tails, 
under stacks of fresh fodder, the volantes, 
and the motley multitude of whites, blacks, 
and Chinese, soldiers and civilians, and occa- 
sionally priests, — negro women, lottery-ticket 



174 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

venders, and the girl musicians with their 
begging tambourines. 

The same idlers are at the door of Le 
Grand's ; a rehearsal, as usual, is going on at 
the head of the first flight; and the parrot is 
blinking at the hot, white walls of the court- 
yard, and screaming bits of Spanish. My 
New York friends have got back from the 
country a day before me. I am installed in 
a better room than before, on the house-top, 
where the sun is hot, but where there is air, 
and a view of the ocean. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 175 



CHAPTER XVII. 

The warm bath round the corner, is a re- 
freshment after a day's railroad ride in such 
heat ; and there, in the front room, the man 
in his shirt sleeves is serving out liquor, as 
before, and the usual company of Creoles is 
gathered about the billiard tables. After a 
dinner in the handsome, airy restaurant of 
Le Grand's, I drive into the city in the 
evening, to the close streets of the Entra- 
muros, and pay a visit to the lady whom I 
failed to see on my arrival. I am so for- 
tunate as to meet her, and beside the pleas- 
ure to be found in her society, I am glad to 
be able to give her personal information from 
her attached and sympathizing friends, at the 
North. 

While I am there, a tinkling sound of bells 
is heard in the streets, and lights flash by. It 



176 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

is a procession, going to carry the viaticum, 
the last sacrament, to a dying person. 

From this house, I drove towards the water- 
side, past the Plaza de Armas, the old Plaza 
de San Francisco, with its monastery turned 
into an almazen (a storehouse of merchan- 
dise,) through the Calle de los Officios, to 
the boarding-house of Madame Almy, to call 
upon Dr. and Mrs. Howe. Mr. Parker left 
Havana, as he intended, last Tuesday, for 
Santa Cruz. He found Havana rather too hot 
for his comfort, and Santa Cruz, the most 
healthful and temperate of the islands, had 
always been his destination. He had visited 
a few places in the city, and among others, 
the College of Belen, where he had been cour- 
teously received by the Jesuits. I found that 
they knew his reputation as a scholar and 
writer, and a leading champion of modern 
Theism in America. Dr. Howe had called at 
Le Grand's, yesterday, to invite me to go 
with him to attend a trial, at the Audiencia, 
which attracted a good deal of interest among 
the Creoles. The story, as told by the friends 
of Senor Maestri, the defendant, is, that in 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 177 

the performance of a judicial duty, he dis- 
charged a person against whom the govern- 
ment was proceeding illegally, and that this 
led to a correspondence between him and the 
authorities, which resulted in his being deposed 
and brought to trial, before the Audiencia, on 
a charge of disrespect to the Captain- General. 
I have no means of learning the correctness 
of this statement, at present — 

" I say the tale as 't was said to me." 

The cause has, at all events, excited a deep 
interest among the Creoles, who see in it 
another proof of the unlimited character of 
the centralized power that governs them. I 
regret that I missed a scene of so much 
interest and instruction. Dr. Howe told 
me that Maestri' s counsel, Seiior Azcarate, a 
young lawyer, defended his friend courage- 
ously; but the evidence being all in writing, 
without the exciting conflicts and vicissitudes 
of oral testimony, and the written arguments 
being delivered sitting, there was not much 
in the proceedings to stimulate the Creole 
excitability. No decision was given, the 
8* 



178 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Court taking time to deliberate. It seems to 
have been a Montalembert trial, on a small 
theatre. 

To-night there is again a mascara at the 
next door, but my room is now more remote, 
and I am able to sleep through it. Once I 
awoke. It was nearly five o'clock. The music 
was still going on, but in softer and more sub- 
dued tones. The drums and trumpets were 
hushed, and all had fallen, as if by the magic 
touch of the approaching dawn, into a trance 
of sound, a rondo of constantly returning de- 
licious melody, as nearly irresistible to the 
charmed sense as sound can be conceived to 
be, — ^just bordering on the fusing state be- 
tween sense and spirit. It is a contradanza 
of Cuba. The great bells beat five, over the 
city ; and instantly the music ceases, and is 
heard no more. The watchmen cry the hour, 
and the bells of the hospitals and convents 
sound their matins, though it is yet dark. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 179 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

At break of day, I am in the delightful sea- 
baths again, not ill-named Recreo and Eliseo. 
But the forlorn chain-gang are mustered be- 
fore the Presidio. It is Sunday, but there is 
no day of rest for them. 

At eight o'clock I present myself at the Be- 
len. A lady, who was passing through the 
cloister, with head and face covered by the 
usual black veil, turned and came to me. It 
was Mrs. , whom I had seen last even- 
ing. She kindly took me to the sacristy, and 

asked some one to tell Father that I 

was there, and then went to her place in 
church. While waiting in the sacristy, I saw 
the robing and unrobing of the officiating 
priests, the preparation of altar ceremonials by 
boys and men, and could hear the voices and 
music in the church, on the other side of the 



180 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

great altar. The manner of the Jesuits is in 
striking contrast with that at the Cathedral. 
All is slow, orderly and reverential, whether 
on the part of men or boys. Instead of the 
hurried walk, the nod and duck, there is a 
slow march, a kneeling, or a reverential bow. 
At a small side altar, in the sacristy, com- 
munion is administered by a single priest. 
Among the recipients are several men of 
mature years and respectable position ; and 
side by side with them, the poor and the 
negroes. In the Church, there is no distinc- 
tion of race or color. 

Father appears, is unrobed, and 

takes me to the gallery of the church, near 
the organ. From this, I looked down upon a 
sea of rich costumes of women, veiled heads, 
and kneeling figures, literally covering the floor 
of the church. On the marble pavement, the 
little carpets are spread, and on these, as close 
as they can sit or kneel, are the ladies of rank 
and wealth of Havana. A new comer glides 
in among them, seeking room for her carpet, 
or room of charity or friendship on a carpet al- 
ready spread ; and the kneelers or sitters move 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 181 

and gather in their wide skirts to let her pass. 
Here and there a servant in livery winds his 
way behind his mistress, bearing her carpet, 
and returns to the porch when it has been 
spread. The whole floor is left to women. 
The men gather about the walls and door- 
ways, or sit in the gallery, which is reserved 
for them. But among the women, though 
chiefly of rank and wealth, are some who are 
negroes, usually distinguished by the plain 
shawl, instead of the veil over the head. The 
Countess Villanueva, immensely rich, of high 
rank, and of a name great in the annals of 
Cuba, but childless, and blind, and a widow, is 
led in by the hand by her negro servant. The 
service of the altar is performed with dignity 
and reverence, and the singing, which is by the 
Jesuit Brothers themselves, is admirable. In 
the choir I recognized my new friends, the 
Rector and young Father Cabre, the professor 
of physics. The " Tantum ergo Sacramen- 
tum," which was sung kneeling, brought tears 
into my eyes, and kept them there. 

After service, Mr. came to me, and 

made an engagement to show me the benevo- 



182 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

lent institutions on the Bishop's list, accepting 
my invitation to breakfast at Le Grand's, at 
eleven o'clock. At eleven he came, and af- 
ter a quiet breakfast in a side room, we went 

to the house of Senor — , whom he well 

knows, in the hope that he would go with 
as. The Senor was engaged to meet one of 
the Fathers at noon, and could not go, but 
introduced to me a relative of his, a young 
student of medicine in the University, who 
offered to take me to the Presidio and other 
places, the next day. 

It occurred to us to call upon a young 
American lady, who was residing at the house 
of a Spanish lady of wealth and rank, and in- 
vite her to go with us to see the Beneficencia, 
which we thought she might do, as it is an 
institution under the charge of nuns, and she 
was to go with a Padre in full dress. But the 

customs of the country are rigid. Miss 

was very desirous to go, but had doubts. She 
consulted the lady of the house, who would 
know, if any one could, the etiquette of Ha- 
vana. The Seiiora's reply was, "You are an 
American, and may do anything." This set- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 183 

tied the matter in the negative, and we went 

alone. Now we drive to Don Juan 's. 

The gate is closed. The driver, who is a 
white, gets off and makes a feeble and timid 
rap at the door. " Knock louder ! " says my 
friend, in Spanish. " What cowards they 
are ! " he adds to me. The man makes a 
knock, a little louder. " There, see that ! 
Peeking into the keyhole ! Mean ! An Eng- 
lishman would beat the door down before he 
would do that." Don Juan is in the country , 
— so we fail of all our expected companions. 

The Casa de Beneficencia is a large in- 
stitution, for orphan and destitute children, 
for infirm old persons, and for the insane. It 
is admirably situated, bordering on the open 
sea, with fresh air and very good attention to 
ventilation in the rooms. It is a government 
institution, but is placed under charge of the 
Sisters of Charity, one of whom accompanied 
us about the building. Though called a gov- 
ernment institution, it must not be supposed 
that it is a charity from the crown. On the 
contrary, it is supported by a specific appro- 
priation of certain of the taxes and revenues 



184 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

of the island. In the building, is a church 
not yet finished, large enough for all the in- 
mates, and a quiet little private chapel for the 
Sisters' devotions, where a burning lamp indi- 
cated the presence of the Sacrament on the 
small altar. I am sorry to have forgotten the 
number of children. It was large, and in- 
cluded both sexes, with a separate depart- 
ment for each. In a third department, are 
the insane. They are kindly treated and not 
confined, except when violent ; but the Sister 
told us they had no medical treatment un- 
less in case of sickness. (Dr. Howe told me 
that he was also so informed.) The last de- 
partment is for aged and indigent women. 

One of the little orphans clung to the Sister 
who accompanied us, holding her hand, and 
nestling in her coarse but clean blue gown ; 
and when we took our leave, and I put a 
small coin into her little soft hand, her eyes 
brightened up into a pretty smile. 

The number of the Sisters is not full. As 
none have joined the order from Cuba, (I am 
told literally none,) they are all from abroad, 
chiefly from France and Spain; and having 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 185 

acclimation to go through, with exposure to 
yellow fever and cl^plera, many of those that 
come here die in the first or second summer. 
And yet they still come, in simple, religious 
fidelity, under the shadow of death. 

The Casa de Beneficencia must be pro- 
nounced by all, even by those accustomed to 
the system and order of the best charitable in- 
stitutions in the world, a credit to the island of 
Cuba. The charity is large and liberal, and 
the order and neatness of its administration 
are beyond praise. 

From the Beneficencia we drove to the Mili- 
tary Hospital. This is a huge establishment, 
designed to accommodate all the sick of the 
army. The walls are high, the floors are of 
brick and scrupulously clean, as are all things 
under the charge of the Sisters of Charity; 
and the ventilation is tolerable. The building 
suffered from the explosion of the magazine 
last year, and some quarters have not yet been 
restored for occupation. The number of sick 
soldiers now in hospital actually exceeds one 
thousand! Most of them are young, some 
mere lads, victims of the conscription of Old 



186 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Spain, which takes them from their rustic 
homes in Andalusia and Catalonia and the 
Pyrenees, to expose them to the tropical heats 
of Cuba, and to the other dangers of its cli- 
mate. Most had fevers. We saw a few 
cases of vomito. Notwithstanding all that is 
said about the healthfalness of a winter in 
Cuba, the experienced Sister Servant (which, 
I believe, is the title of the Superior of a 
body of Sisters of Charity) told us that a 
few sporadic cases of yellow fever occur in 
Havana, in all seasons of the year; but that 
we need not fear to go through the wards. 
One patient was covered with the blotches of 
recent smallpox. It was affecting to see the 
wistful eyes of these poor, fevered soldier- 
boys, gazing on the serene, kind countenances 
of the nuns, and thinking of their mothers 
and sisters in the dear home in Old Spain, 
and feeling, no doubt, that this womanly, 
religious care was the nearest and best sub- 
stitute. 

The present number of Sisters, charged with 
the entire care of this great hospital, except 
the duty of cooks and the mere manual and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 187 

mechanic labor necessarily done by men, is 
not above twenty-five. The Sister Servant 
told us that the proper complement was forty. 
The last summer, eleven of these devoted 
women died of yellow fever. Every summer, 
when yellow fever or cholera prevails, some 
of them die. They know it. Yet the vacan- 
cies are filled up ; and their serene and ever 
happy countenances give the stranger no in- 
dication that they have bound themselves to 
the bedside of contagious and loathsome dis- 
eases every year, and to scenes of sickness 
and death every day. 

As we walked through the passage-ways, 
we came upon the little private chapel of the 
Sisters. Here was a scene I can never forget. 
It was an hour assigned for prayer. All who 
could leave the sick wards — not more than 
twelve or fourteen — were kneeling in that per- 
fectly still, secluded, darkened room, in a 
double row, all facing to the altar, on which 
burned one taper, showing the presence of the 
Sacrament, and all in silent prayer. — That 
double row of silent, kneeling women, uncon- 
scious of the presence of any one, in their 



188 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

snow-white, close caps and long capes, and 
coarse, clean, blue gowns, — heroines, if the 
world ever had heroines, their angels beholding 
the face of their Father in heaven, as they 
knelt on earth ! 

It was affecting and yet almost amusing, — 
it would have been amusing anywhere else, — 
that these simple creatures, not knowing the 
ways of the world, and desirous to have soft 
music fill their room, as they knelt at silent 
prayer, and not having (for their duties pre- 
clude it) any skill in the practice of music, had 
a large music-box wound and placed on a 
stand, in the rear, giving out its liquid tones, 
just loud enough to pervade the air, without 
forcing attention. The effect was beautiful; 
and yet the tunes were not all, nor chiefly, 
religious. They were such as any music-box 
would give. But what do these poor crea- 
tures know of what the world marches to, or 
dances to, or makes love to ? To them it 
was all music, and pure and holy! 

Minute after minute we stood, waiting for, 
but not desiring, an end of these delightful 
sounds, and a dissolving of this spell of silent 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 189 

adoration. One of the Sisters began prayers 
aloud, a series of short prayers and adorations 
and thanksgivings, to each of which, at its 
close, the others made response in full, sweet 
voices. The tone of prayer of this Sister was 
just what it should be. No skill of art could 
reach it. How much truer than the cathedral, 
or the great ceremonial ! It was low, yet 
audible, composed, reverent: neither the fami- 
liar, which offends so often, nor the rhetorical, 
which always offends, but that unconscious 
sustained intonation, not of speech, but of 
music, which frequent devotions in company 
with others naturally call out; showing us 
that poetry and music, and not prose and 
speech, are the natural expressions of the 
deepest and highest emotions. 

They rose, with the prayer of benediction, 
and we withdrew. They separated, to station 
themselves, one in each ward of the hospital, 
there, aloud and standing, to repeat their 
prayers, — the sick men raising themselves on 
their elbows, or sitting in bed, or, if more 
feeble, raising their eyes and clasping then- 
hands, and all who can or choose, joining in 
the responses. 



190 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Drove out over the Paseo de Tacon to the 
Cerro, a height, formerly a village, now a part 
of the suburbs of Havana. It is high ground, 
and commands a noble view of Havana and 
the sea. Coming in, I met the Bishop, who 
introduced me to the Count de La Fernandina, 
a dignified Spanish nobleman, who owns a 
beautiful villa on this Paseo, where we walked 
a while in the grounds. This house is very 
elegant and costly, with marble floors, high 
ceilings, piazzas, and a garden of the richest 
trees and flowers coming into the court-yard, 
and advancing even into the windows of the 
house. It is one of the most beautiful villas 
in the vicinity of Havana. 

There are several noblemen who have their 
estates and titles in Cuba, but are recognized 
as nobles of Spain ; — in all, I should say, about 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 191 

fifty or sixty. Some of these have received 
their titles for civil or military services; but 
most of them have bee^ raised to their rank 
on account of their wealth, or have pur- 
chased their titles outright. I believe there 
are but two grades, the marquis and the 
count. Among the titles best known to 
strangers are Villanueva, Fernandina, and 
O'Reilly. The number of Irish families who 
have taken rank in the Spanish service and 
become connected with Cuba, is rather re- 
markable. Beside O'Reilly, there are O'Don- 
nel, O'Farrel, and O'Lawlor, descendants of 
Irishmen who entered the Spanish service after 
the battle of the Boyne. 

Dr. Howe had seen the Presidio, the great 
prison of Havana, once ; but was desirous to 
visit it again ; so he joined me, under the con- 
duct of our young friend, Senor , to 

visit that and the hospital of San Juan de 
Dios. The hospital we saw first. It is sup- 
ported by the government, — that is to say, by 
Cuban revenues, — for charity patients chiefly, 
but some, who can afford it, pay more or less. 
There are about two hundred and fifty pa- 



192 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

tients. This, again, is in the charge of the 
Sisters of Charity. As we came upon one 
of the Sisters, in a passage way, in her 
white cap and cape, and black and blue 
dress, Dr. Howe said, " I always take oif my 
hat to a Sister of Charity," and we paid them 
all that attention, whenever we passed them. 
Dr. Howe examined the book of prescriptions, 
and said that there was less drugging than 
he supposed there would be. The attending 
physician told us that nearly all the physi- 
cians had studied in Paris, or in Philadelphia. 
There were a great many medical students in 
attendance, and there had just been an opera- 
tion in the theatre. In an open yard we saw 
two men washing a dead body, and carelessly 
laying it on a table, for dissection. I am told 
that the medical and surgical professions are 
in a very satisfactory state of advancement in 
the island, and that a degree in medicine, and 
a license to practise, carry with them proofs of 
considerable proficiency. It is always observ- 
able that the physical and the exact sciences 
are the last to suffer under despotisms. 

The Presidio and Grand Carcel of Havana 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 193 

is a large building, of yellow stone, standing 
near the fort of the Punta, and is one of the 
striking objects as you enter the harbor. It 
has no appearance of a jail without, but 
rather of a palace or court; but within, it is 
full of live men's bones and of all uncleanness. 
No man, whose notions are derived from an 
American or English penitentiary of the last 
twenty years, or fifty years, can form an idea 
of the great Cuban prison. It is simply hor- 
rible. There are no cells, except for solitary 
confinement of "incommunicados," — who are 
usually political offenders. The prisoners are 
placed in large rooms, with stone floors and 
grated windows, where they are left, from 
twenty to fifty in each, without work, without 
books, without interference or intervention of 
any one, day and night, day and night, for the 
weeks, months or years of their sentences. 
The sights are dreadful. In this hot climate, 
so many beings, with no provision for ventila- 
tion but the grated windows, — so unclean, and 
most of them naked above the waist, — all 
spend their time in walking, talking, playing, 
and smoking; and, at night, without bed or 



194 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

blanket, they lie down on the stone floor, on 
what clothes they may have, to sleep if they 
can. The whole prison, with the exception 
of the few cells for the " incommunicados," 
was a series of these great cages, in which 
human beings were shut up. Incarceration is 
the beginning, middle and end of the whole 
system. Reformation, improvement, benefit 
to soul or body, are not thought of. We in- 
quired carefully, both of the officer who was 
sent to attend us, and of a capitan de par- 
tido, who was there, and were positively 
assured that the only distinction among the 
prisoners was determined by the money they 
paid. Those who can pay nothing, are left 
to the worst. Those who can pay two reals 
(twenty-five cents) a day, are placed in wards 
a little higher and better. Those who can 
pay six reals (seventy-five cents) a day, have 
better places still, called the " Salas de dis- 
tincion," and some privileges of walking in 
the galleries. The amount of money, and 
not the degree of criminality, determines the 
character of the punishment. There seems 
to be no limit to the right of the prisoners 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 195 

to talk with any whom they can get to hear 
them, at whatever distance, and to converse 
with visitors, and to receive money from 
them. In fact, the whole scene was a Babel. 
All that was insured was that they should 
not escape. When J say that no work was 
done, I should make the qualification that a 
few prisoners were employed in rolling tobacco 
into cigars, for a contractor * but they were 
very few. Among the prisoners was a capitan 
de partido (a local magistrate), who was com- 
mitted on a charge of conniving at the slave- 
trade. He could pay his six reals, of course ; 
and had the privileges of a " Sala de distin- 
cion " and of the galleries. He walked about 
with us, cigar in mouth, and talked freely, 
and gave us much information respecting the 
prison. My last request was to see the gar- 
rotte ; but it was refused me. 

It was beginning to grow dark before we 
got to the gate, which was duly opened to us, 
and we passed out, with a good will, into the 
open air. Dr. Howe said he was nowise re- 
luctant to be outside. It seemed to bring back 
to his mind his Prussian prison, a little too for- 



196 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

cibly to be agreeable. He felt as if he were 
in keeping again, and was thinking how he 
should feel if, just as we got to the gate, an 
officer were to bow and say, " Dr. Howe ? " 
" Yes, sir." *' You may remain here. There 
is a charge against you of seditious language, 
since you have been in the island." No man 
would meet such a danger more calmly, and 
V say less about it, than he, if he thought duty 
to his fellow-beings called him to it. 

The open air, the chainless ocean, and the 
ships freely coming and going, were a pleasant 
change to the eye, even of one who had never 
suffered bonds for conscience' sake. It seemed 
strange to see that all persons outside were 
doing as they pleased. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 197 



CHAPTER XX. 

A bull-fight has been advertised all over 
the town, at the Plaza de Toros. Shall we 
go ? I would not, if it were only -pleasure 
that I was seeking. As I am sure I expect 
only the contrary, and wish merely to learn the 
character of this national recreation, I will go. 

The Plaza de Toros is a wooden amphithea- 
tre, in the suburbs, open at the top, — a circle 
of rising seats, with the arena in the centre. I 
am late. The cries of the people inside are 
loud, sharp, and constant; a full band is 
blowing its trumpets and beating its drums; 
and the late stragglers are justling for their 
tickets. I go through at a low door, — find 
myself under benches filled with an eager, 
stamping, shouting multitude, make my way 
through a passage, and come out on the 
shady side, for it is a late afternoon sun, and 



198 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

take my place at a good point of view. A 
bull, with some blood about his fore-quarters, 
and two or three darts (bandarillas) sticking 
in his neck, is trotting harmlessly about the 
arena, " more sinned against than sinning," 
and seeming to have no other desire than 
to get out. Two men, each carrying a long, 
stout, wooden pole, pointed with a short piece 
of iron, not long enough to kill, but only to 
drive off and to goad, are mounted on two of 
the sorriest nags eyes ever beheld, — reprieved 
jades, whom it would not pay to feed and 
scarcely pay to kill, and who have been left 
to take their chances of death here. They 
could hardly be pricked into a trot, and were 
too weak to escape. I have seen horses in 
every stage of life and in every degree of 
neglect, but no New York negro hack-driver 
would have taken these for a gift, if he were 
obliged to keep them. The bull could not 
be said to run away from the horses, for they 
did not pursue ; but when, distracted by sights 
and sounds, he came against a horse, the horse 
stood still to be gored, and the bull only 
pushed against him with his head, until driven 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 199 

off by the punching of the iron-pointed pole 
of the horseman. 

Around the arena are sentry-boxes, each 
large enough to hold two men, behind which 
they can easily jump, but which the bull can- 
not enter ; and from these, the cowardly 
wretches run out, flourish a red cloth at the 
bull, and jump back. Three or four men, with 
darts in hand, run before the bull, entice him 
by flapping their red cloths, and, as he trots 
up to them, stick bandarillas into his neck. 
These torment the bull, and he tries to shake 
them off, and paws the ground ; but still he 
shows no fight. He trots to the gate, and 
snuffs to get out. Some of the multitude cry 
" Fuera el toro ! Fuera el toro I " which 
means that he is a failure, and must be let 
out at the gate. Others are excited, and cry 
for the killer, the (matador) ; and a demo- 
niacal scene follows, of yells and shouts, half 
drowned by twenty or thirty drums and trum- 
pets. The cries to go on prevail ; and the 
matador appears, dressed in a tight-fitting 
suit of green small-clothes, with a broad sil- 
ver stripe, jerkin, and stockings, — a tall, light- 



200 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

complexioned, elegantly made, glittering man, 
bearing in one hand a long, heavy, dull black 
sword, and in the other a broad, red cloth. 
Now comes the harrying and distracting of 
the bull by flags, and red cloths, and darts ; the 
matador runs before, flings his cloth up and 
down ; the bull trots towards it — no furious 
rush, or maddened dash, but a moderate trot, — 
the cloth is flashed over his face, and one skil- 
fully directed lunge of the sword into his back 
neck, and he drops instantly dead at the feet 
of the matador, at the very spot where he re- 
ceived the stab. Frantic shouts of applause 
follow ; and the matador bows around, like an 
applauded circus-rider, and retires. The great 
gate opens, and three horses abreast are driven 
in, decked with ribbons, to drag the bull round 
the arena. But they are such feeble animals 
that, with all the flourish of music and the 
whipping of drivers, they are barely able to 
tug the bull along over the tan, in a straight 
line for the gate, through which the sorry pa- 
geant and harmless bull disappear. 

Now, some meagre, hungry, swarthy, sweaty, 
mean-looking degenerates of Spain jump in 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 201 

and rake over the arena, and cover up the 
blood, and put things to rights again ; and I 
find time to take a view of the company. 
Thankful I am, and creditable it is, that there 
are no women. Yes, — there are two mulatto 
women, in a seat on the sunny side, which 
is the cheap side. And there are two shriv- 
elled, dark, Creole women, in a box ; and there 
is one girl of eight or ten years, in full dress, 
with an elderly man. These are all the 
women. In the State Box, under the faded 
royal arms, are a few officials, not of high de- 
gree. The rest of the large company is a 
motley collection, chiefly of the middle or 
lower classes, mostly standing on the benches, 
and nearly all smoking. 

The music beats and brays again, the great 
gates open, and another bull rushes in, dis- 
tracted by sights and sounds so novel, and for 
a few minutes shows signs of power and 
vigor; but, as he becomes accustomed to the 
scene, he tames down ; and after several min- 
utes of flaunting of cloths and flags, and pierc- 
ing with darts, and punching with the poles of 
the horsemen, he runs under the poor white 

9* 



202 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

horse, and upsets him, but leaves him unhurt 
by his horns ; has a leisurely trial of endurance' 
with the red horse, goring him a little with one 
horn, and receiving the pike of the driver, — the 
horse helpless and patient, and the bull very 
reasonable and temperate in the use of his 
power, — and then is enticed off by flags, and 
worried with darts ; and, at last, a new mata- 
dor appears, — a fierce-looking fellow, dressed 
in dark green, with a large head of curling, 
snaky, black hair, and a skin almost black. 
He makes a great strut and flourish, and 
after two or three unsuccessful attempts to 
get the bull head on, at length, getting a fair 
chance, plunges his black sword to the hilt 
in the bull's neck, — ^but there is no fall of 
the bull. He has missed the spinal cord, and 
the bull trots off, bleeding in a small stream, 
with a sword-handle protruding a few inches 
above the hide of his back-neck. The spec- 
tators hoot their contempt for the failure; but 
with no sign of pity for the beast. The 
bull is weakened, but trots about and makes 
a few runs at cloths, and the sword is drawn 
from his hide by an agile dart-sticker, (banda- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 203 

rillero,) and given to the black bully in dark 
green, who makes one more lunge, with no 
better success. The bull runs round, and reels, 
and staggers, and falls half down, gets partly 
up, lows and breathes heavily, is pushed over 
and held down, until a butcher dispatches 
him with a sharp knife, at the spinal cord. 
Then come the opened gates, the three horses 
abreast, decked with ribbons, the hard tug 
at the bull's body over the ground, — his limbs 
still swaying with remaining life, the clash and 
clang of the band, and the yells of the people. 

Shall I stay another? Perhaps it may be 
more successful, and — if the new bull will 
only bruise somebody ! But the new bull is 
a failure. After all their attempts to excite 
him, he only trots round, and snufFs at the 
gates ; and the cry of " Fuera el toro ! " be- 
comes so general, with the significant triple 
beat of the feet, in time with the words, all 
over the house, that the gates are opened, 
and the bull trots through, to his quarters. 

But the meanness, and cruelty, and impo- 
tency of this crowd! They cry out to the 
spear-men and the dart-men, and to the tor- 



204 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

mentors, and to the bull, and to the horses, and 
to each other, in a Babel of sounds, where no 
man's voice can possibly be distinguished ten 
feet from him, all manner of advice and en- 
couragement or derision, like children at a 
play. One full grown, well-dressed young 
man, near me, kept up a constant cry to the 
men in the ring, when I am sure no one could 
distinguish his words, and no one cared to, — 
until I became so irritated that I could have 
throttled him. 

But, such you are! You can cry and howl 
at bull-fights and cock-fights and in the pits 
of operas and theatres, and drive bulls and 
horses distracted, and urge gallant game-cocks 
to the death, and applaud opera singers into 
patriotic songs, and leave them to imprison- 
ment and fines, — and you yourselves, cannot 
lift a finger, or join hand to hand, or bring 
to the hazard life, fortune, or honor, for your 
liberty and your dignity as men. Work your 
slaves, torture your bulls, fight your game- 
cocks, crown your dancers and singers, — and 
leave the weightier matters of judgment and 
justice, of fame by sea and land, of letters and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 205 

arts and sciences, of private right and public 
honor, the present and future of your race and 
of your native land, to the care of others, — 
of a people of no better blood than your own, 
strangers and sojourners among you! 

The next bull is treated to a refinement of 
torture, in the form of darts filled with heavy 
China crackers, which explode on the neck of 
the poor beast. I could not see that even this 
made him really dangerous. The light coin- 
plexioned, green-and-silver matador dispatches 
him, as he did the first bull, with a single lunge, 
and — a fall and a quiver, and all is over ! 

The fifth bull is a failure and is allowed to 
go out of the ring. The sixth is nearly the 
same with the others, harmless if let alone, 
and goaded into short-lived activity, but not 
into anything like fury or even a dangerous 
animosity. He is treated to fire-crackers, and 
gores one horse a little, — the horse standing, 
side on, and taking it, until the bull is driven 
off by the punching of the spear ; and runs at 
the other horse, and, to my delight, upsets the 
rider, but unfortunately without hurting him, 
and the black-haired matador in green tries his 



206 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

hand on him and fails again, and is hooted, 
and takes to throwing darts, and gets a fall, 
and looks disconcerted, and gets his sword 
again, and makes another false thrust; and 
the crippled and bleeding animal is thrown 
down and dispatched by the butcher with his 
short knife, and drawn off by the three poor 
horses. The gates close, and I hurry out of 
the theatre, in a din of shouts and drums 
and trumpets, the great crowd waiting for the 
last bull ; — but I have seen enough. 

There is no volante in waiting, and I have 
to take my seat in an omnibus, and wait for 
the end of the scene. The confusion of cries 
and shouts and the interludes of music still 
goes on, for a quarter of an hour, and then th*^. 
crowd begins to pour out, and to scatter over 
the ground. Four faces in a line are heading 
for my omnibus. There is no mistaking that 
head man, the file leader. " Down East " 
is written legibly all over his face. Tall, thin, 
sallow, grave, circumspect! The others are 
not counterparts. They vary. But " New 
England " is graven on all. 

" Wa-a-al ! " says the leader, as he gets into 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 207 

the omnibus. No reply. They take their seats, 
and wipe their foreheads. One expectorates. 
Another looks too wise for utterance. '^ By," 
.... a long pause — How will he end it ? — 
*' Jingoes!" That is a failure. It is plain he 
fell short, and did not end as he intended. 
The sentiment of the four has not yet got ut- 
tered. The fat, flaxen -haired man makes his 
attempt. " If there is a new-milch cow in Ver- 
mont that wouldn't show more fight, under 
such usage, than them bulls, I'd buy her and 
make a present of her to Governor Cunchy^ — 
or whatever they call him." — This is practical 
and direct, and opens the way to a more free 
interchange. The northern ice is thawed. 
The meanness and cruelty of the exhibition 
is commented upon. The moral view is not 
overlooked, nor underrated. — None but cow- 
ards would be so cruel. And last of all, it is 
an imposition. Their money has been ob- 
tained under false pretences. A suit would 
lie to recover it back ; but the poor devils are 
welcome to the money. The coach fills up 
with Cubans ; and the noise of the pavements 
drowns the further reflections of the four 
philanthropists, patriots and economists. 



208 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XXL 

The people of Cuba have a mode of calling 
attention by a sound of the tongue and lips, a 
sort of " P — s — ^t ! " after the fashion of some 
parts of the continent of Europe. It is uni- 
versal here ; and is used not only to servants 
and children, but between themselves, and to 
strangers. It has a mean sound, to us. They 
make it clear and penetrating ; yet it seems a 
poor, effeminate sibilation, and no generous, 
open-mouthed call. It is the mode of stop- 
ping a volante, calling a waiter, attracting the 
attention of a friend, or calling the notice of a 
stranger. I have no doubt, if a fire were to 
break out at the next door, a Cuban would 
call " P— s—t ! " 

They beckon a person to come to them by 
the reverse of our motion. They raise the 
open hand, with the palm outwards, bending 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 209 

the fingers toward the person they are calling. 
We should interpret it to be a sign to go 
away. 

Smoking is universal, and all but constant. 
I have amused myself, in the street, by seeing 
what proportion of those I meet have cigars or 
cigarettos in their mouths. Sometimes it has 
been one half, sometimes one in three. The 
cigar is a great leveller. Any man may stop 
another for a light. I have seen the poor por- 
ters, on the wharf, bow to gentlemen, stran- 
gers to them, and hold out a cigar, and the 
gentlemen stop, give a light, and go on, — all 
as of course. 

In the evening, called on the Sefioritas 
F , at the house of Mr. B , and on the 



American young lady at Senor M 's, and 

on Mrs. Howe, at Mde. Almy's, to offer to take 
letters or packets. 

At Mrs. Almy's, there is a gentleman from 
New York, Mr. G , who is dying of con- 
sumption. His only wish is to live until the 
Cahawba comes in, that he may at least die at 
sea, if he cannot survive until she reaches New 
York. He has a horror of dying here, and be- 



210 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ing buried in the Potter's Field. — Dr. Howe 
has just come from his chamber. 

I drove out to the bishop's, to pay my part- 
ing respects. It is about half-past eight in the 
evening. He has just returned from his even- 
. ing drive, is dressed in a cool, cambric dressing- 
gov^n, after a bath, and is taking a quiet cigar, 
in his high-roofed parlor. He is very cordial 
and polite, and talks again about the Thirty 
Millions Bill, and asks what I think of the 
result, and what I have seen of the island, 
and my opinion of the religious and charitable 
institutions. I praise the Belen and the Sis- 
ters of Charity, and condemn the prison, and 
he appears to agree with me. He appreciates 
the learning and zeal of the Brothers of Belen ; 
speaks in the highest terms of the devotedness 
of the Sisters of Charity; and admits the 
great faults of the prison, but says it was 
built recently, at an enormous outlay, and he 
supposes the government is reluctant to be at 
the expense of abandoning it and building 
another. He charges me with messages of 
remembrance and respect to acquaintances we 
have in common. As I take my leave, he 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 211 

goes with me to the outer gate, which is kept 
locked, and again takes leave, for two leave- 
takings are the custom of the country, and 
returns to the solitude of his house. 

Yesterday I drove out to the Cerro, to see 
the Coolie jail, or market, where the imported 
Coolies are kept for sale. It is a well-known 
place, and open to all visitors. The building 
has a fair-looking front; and through this I 
enter, by two porters, into an open yard in 
the rear, where, on the gravel ground, are 
squatting a double line of Coolies, with heads 
shaved, except a tuft on the crown, dressed in 
loose Chinese garments of blue and yellow. 
The dealer, who is a calm, shrewd, heartless 
looking man, speaking English as well as if 
it were his native tongue, comes out with me, 
calls to the Coolies, and they all stand up in 
a double line, facing inward, and we pass 
through them, preceded by a driver armed 
with the usual badge of the plantation driver, 
the short, limber whip. The dealer does not 
hesitate to tell me the terms on which the 
contracts are made, as the trade is not illegal. 
His account is this — The importer receives 



212 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

$340 for each Coolie, and the purchaser 
agrees to pay the Coolie four dollars per 
month, and to give him food, and two suits 
of clothes a year. For this, he has his ser- 
vices for eight years. The contract is reduced 
to writing before a magistrate, and two orig- 
inals are made, one kept by the Coolie and 
one by the purchaser, and each in Chinese 
and Spanish. 

This was a strange and striking exhibition 
of power. Two or three white men, bringing 
hundreds of Chinese thousands of miles, to a 
new climate and people, holding them prison- 
ers, selling their services to masters having an 
unknown tongue and an unknown religion, to 
work at unknown trades, for inscrutable pur- 
poses! 

The Coolies did not look unhealthy, though 
some had complaints of the eyes; yet they 
looked, or I fancied they looked, — some of 
them, unhappy, and some of them stolid. 
One I am sure had the leprosy ; although the 
dealer would not admit it. The dealer did 
not deny their tendency to suicide, and the 
danger of attempting to chastise them, but 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 218 

alleged their great superiority to the negro in 
intelligence, and contended that their condi- 
tion was good, and better than in China, hav- 
ing four dollars a month, and being free at the 
end of eight years. He said, which I found 
to be true, that after being separated and 
employed in work, they let their hair grow, 
and adopt the habits and dress of the coun- 
try. The newly arrived Coolies wear tufts, 
and blue-and-yellow, loose, Chinese clothes. 
Those who have been here long are distin- 
guishable from the whites only by the pecu- 
liar tinge of the cheek, and the form of the 
eye. 

The only respect in which his account dif- 
fered from what I heard elsewhere, was in the 
amount the importer receives, which has al- 
ways been stated to me at $400. 

While I am talking with him, a gentle- 
man comes and passes down the line. He is 
probably a purchaser, I judge; and I leave my 
informant to follow what is more for his inter- 
est than talking with me. 

The importation has not yet existed eight 
years. So the question, what will become of 



214 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

these men, exotics, without women or children, 
taking no root in the land, has not come to a 
solution. The constant question is — ^will they 
remain and mix with the other races? Will 
they be permitted to remain? Will they be 
able to go back ? 

So far as I can learn, there is no law in 
China regulating the contracts and shipment 
of Chinese Coolies, and none in Cuba regulat- 
ing their transportation, landing, or treatment 
while here. The trade has grown up and been 
permitted and recognized, but not regulated. 
It is yet to be determined how far the contract 
is enforceable against either party. Those 
Coolies that are taken from the British East 
Indies to British islands, are taken under 
contracts, with regulations, as to their expor- 
tation and return, understood and enforced. 
Not so the Chinese Coolies. Their importers 
are lege soluti. Some say the government will 
insist on their being returned. But the pre- 
vailing impression is that they will be brought 
in debt, and bound over again for their debts, 
or in some other way secured to a life-long 
servitude. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 215 

Mr. , a very wealthy and intelligent 

planter, tells me he is to go over to Regla, to- 
morrow morning, to see a lot of slaves offered 
for sale to him, and asks me if I have ever 
seen a sale of slaves. I never have seen that 
sight, and accept his invitation. We are to 
leave here at half-past six, or seven, at the 
latest. All work is early here ; I believe I 
have mentioned that the hour of 'Change for 
merchants is 7.30 a. m. 



216 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XXIL 

Tuesday, March 1. — Rise early, and walk 
to the sea-baths, and take a delightful float 
and swim. And refreshing it is, after a fever- 
ish night in my hot room, where I did not 
sleep an hour all night, but heard every quar- 
ter-hour struck, and the boatswain's whistle 
of the watchmen and their full cry of the hour 
and the weather, at every clock-strike. From 
the bath, I look out over the wall, far to the 
northeast, in the hope of catching a glimpse of 
the Cahawba's smoke. This is the day of her 
expected arrival. My New York friends and 
myself feel that we have seen Havana to our 
satisfaction, and the heat is becoming intense. 
We are beginning to receive advice against 
eating fruit after cafe au lait, or bananas with 
wine, and in favor of high crowned hats at 
noon to prevent congestion from heat, and to 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 217 

avoid fogs in the morning. But there is no 
Cahawba in sight, and I hear only the bray of 
trumpets and roll of drums from the Morro and 
Cabana and Panta, and the clanking march 
of the chain-gang down the Paseo, and the 
march of the guard to trumpet and drum. 

Mr. is punctual at seven, his son with 

him, and a man in a suit of white linen, who 

is the broker employed by Mr. . We 

take a ferry-boat and cross to the Regla ; and 
a few minutes' walk brings us to a small nail 
factory, where all the workmen are Coolies. 
In the back yard of this factory is a line 
of low buildings, from which the slaves are 
brought out, to be shown. "We had taken up, 
at the ferry-boat, a small, thin, sharp-faced 
man, who was the dealer. The slaves are 
formed in a semicircle, by the dealer and 
broker. The broker pushed and pulled them 
about in a coarse, careless manner, worse than 
the manner of the dealer. I am glad he is not 

to be their master. Mr. spoke kindly to 

them. They were fully dressed ; and no exa- 
mination was made except by the eye ; and no 

exhibitions of strength or agility were required, 
10 



218 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and none of those offensive examinations of 
which we read so much. What examination 
had been made or was to be made by the 
broker, out of my presence, I do not know. 
The "lot" consisted of about fifty, of both 
sexes and of all ages; some being old, and 
some very young. They were not a valuable 

lot, and Mr. refused to purchase them all. 

The dealer offered to separate them. Mr. 

selected about half of them, and they were set 
apart. I watched the countenances of all, — the 
taken and the left. It was hard to decipher 
the character of their emotions. A kind of 
fixed hopelessness marked the faces of some, 
listlessness that of others, and others seemed 
anxious or disappointed, but whether because 
taken or rejected, it was hard to say. When 
the separation was made, and they knew its 
purpose, still no complaint was made and no 
suggestion ventured by the slaves that a tie 
of nature or affection was broken. I asked 
Mr. if some of them might not be re- 
lated. He said he should attend to that, as 
he never separated families. He spoke to 
each of those he had chosen, separately, and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 219 

asked if they had parent or child, husband or 
wife, or brother or sister among those who were 
rejected. A few pointed out their relations, 

and Mr. took them into his lot. One was 

an aged mother, one a wife, and another a 
little daughter. I am satisfied that no separa- 
tions were made in this case, and equally sat- 
isfied that neither the dealer nor the broker 
would have asked the question. 

I asked Mr. on what principle he made 

his selection, as he did not seem to me always 
to take the strongest. " On the principle of 
race," said he. He told me that these negroes 
were probably natives of Africa, (bozales,) ex- 
cept the youngest, and that the signs of the 
races were known to all planters. A certain 
race he named as having always more intelli- 
gence and ambition than any other; as more 
difficult to manage, but far superior when well 
managed. AU of this race in the company, he 
took at once, whatever their age or strength. 
I think the preferred tribe was the Lucumi, 
but am not certain. 

From this place, I made a short visit to the 
Almacen de azucar, in the Regla, the great 



220 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

storehouses of sugar. These are a range of 
one-story, stone warehouses, so large that a 
great part of the sugar crop of the island, as I 
am told, could be stored in them. Here the 
vessels go to load, and the merchants store 
their sugar here, as wine is stored in the Lon- 
don docks. 

The Cubans are careful of the diet of for- 
eigners, even in winter. I bought a couple of 

oranges, and young Mr. bought a sapote, 

a kind of sweet-sour apple, when the broker 
said " Take care ! Did you not have milk 
with your coffee ? " I inquired, and they told 
me it was not well to eat fresh fruit soon after 
taking milk, or to take bananas with Avine, 
or to drink spirits. "But is this in winter, 
also ? " " Yes ; and it is already very hot, and 
there is danger of fever among strangers." 

Went to La Dominica, the great restaur- 
ant and depot of preserves and sweetmeats for 
Havana, and made out my order for preserves 
to take home with me. After consultation, 
I am advised to make up my list as follows : 
guava of Peru, limes, mammey apples, sour- 
sop, cocoa-nut, oranges, guava jelly, guava 
marmalade, and almonds. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 221 

The ladies tell me there is a kind of fine 
linen sold here, called bolan, which it is diffi- 
cult to obtain in the United States, and which 
would be very proper to take home for a pres- 
ent. On this advice, I bought a quantity of it, 
of blue and white, at La Diana, a shop on the 
corner of Calle de Obispo and San Ignacio. 

Breakfasted with a wealthy and intelligent 
gentleman, a large planter, who is a native of 
Cuba, but of European descent. A very nice 
breakfast, of Spanish mixed dishes, rice cooked 
to perfection, fruits, claret, and the only cup 
of good black tea I have tasted in Cuba. At 
Le Grand's, we have no tea but the green. 

At breakfast, we talked freely on the subject 
of the condition and prospects of Cuba; and 
I obtained from my host his views of the eco- 
nomical and industrial situation of the island. 
He was confident that the number of slaves 
does not exceed 500,000, to 200,000 free 
blacks, and 600,000 or 700,000 whites. His 
argument led him to put the number of slaves 
as low as he could, yet he estimated it far 
above that of the census of 1857, which makes 
it 375,000. But no one regards the census 



222 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

of slaves as correct. There is a tax on slaves, 
and the government has little chance of get- 
ting them stated at the full number. One 
planter said to a friend of mine a year or 
two ago, that his two hundred slaves were 
returned as one hundred. I find the best 
opinions put the slaves at 650,000, the free 
blacks at 200,000, and the whites at 700,000. 

Havana is flooded with lottery-ticket vend- 
ers. They infest every eating-house and pub- 
lic way, and vex you at dinner, in your walks 
and rides. They sell for one grand lottery, 
established and guarantied by the government, 
always in operation, and yielding to the State 
a net revenue of nearly two millions a year. 
The Cubans are infatuated with this lottery. 
All classes seem to embark in it. Its effect 
is especially bad on the slaves, who invest in 
it all they can earn, beg, or steal, allured by 
the glorious vision of possibly purchasing their 
freedom, and elevating themselves into the 
class of proprietors. 

Some gentlemen at Le Grand's have been 
to a cock-fight. I shall be obliged to leave 
the island without seeing this national sport, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 223 

for which every town, and every village has 
a pit, a Valle de Gallos. They tell me it was 
a very exciting scene among the spectators. 
Negroes, free and slave, low whites, Coolies, 
and men of high condition, were all fran- 
tically betting. Most of the bets were made 
by holding up the fingers and by other signs, 
between boxes and galleries. They say I 
should hardly credit the large sums which the 
most ordinary looking men staked and paid. 

I am surprised to find what an impression 
the Lopez expedition made in Cuba, — a far 
greater impression than is commonly supposed 
in the United States. The fears of the govern- 
ment and hopes of sympathizers exaggerated 
the force, and the whole military power of the 
government was stirred against them. Their 
little force of a few hundred broken-down men 
and lads, deceived and deserted, fought a 
body of eight times their number, and kept 
them at bay, causing great slaughter. The 
railroad trains brought the wounded into Ha- 
vana, car after car ; rumors of defeat filled the 
city ; artillery was sent out ; and the actual loss 
of the Spaniards, in killed and wounded, was 



224 TO CUBA AND BACKu 

surprisingly large. On the front wall of the 
Cabana, plainly seen from the deck of every 
vessel that leaves or enters the port, is a monu- 
ment to the honor of those who fell in the 
battle with the Filibusteros. The spot where 
Lopez was garroted, in front of the Punta, is 
pointed out, as well as the slope of the hill 
from the castle of Atares, where his surviving 
followers were shot. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 225 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

To an American, from the free States, Cuba 
presents an object of singular interest. His 
mind is occupied and almost oppressed by the 
thought of the strange problems that are in 
process of solution around him. He is con- 
stantly a critic, and a philosophizer, if not 
a philosopher. A despotic civil government, 
compulsory religious uniformity, and slavery, 
are in full possession of the field. He is al- 
ways seeking information as to causes, pro- 
cesses and effects, and almost as constantly 
baffled. There are three classes of persons in 
Cuba, from whom he receives contradictory 
and irreconcilable statements : the Cubans, the 
Spaniards, and foreigners of other nations. By 
Cubans, I mean the CrioUos (Creoles), or na- 
tives of Cuba. By Spaniards, I mean the 
Peninsulares, or natives of Old Spain. In the 

10* 



226 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

third class, are comprised the Americans, Eng- 
lish, French, Germans, and all other foreigners, 
except Spaniards, who are residents on the 
island, but not natives. This last class is 
large, possesses a great deal of wealth, and 
includes a great number of merchants, bank- 
ers and other traders. 

The Spaniards, or Peninsulares, constitute 
the army and navy, the officers of the govern- 
ment in all departments, judicial, educational, 
fiscal and postal, the revenue and the police, 
the upper clergy, and a large and wealthy class 
of merchants, bankers, shopkeepers, and me- 
chanics. The higher military and civil oflScers 
are from all parts of Spain ; but the Catalans 
furnish the great body of the mechanics and 
small traders. The Spaniards may be counted 
on as opponents of the independence of Cuba, 
and especially of her annexation to the United 
States. In their political opinions, they vary. 
Some belong to the fiberal, or Progresista 
party, and others are advocates of, or at least 
apologists for, the present order of things. 
Their force and influence is increased by the 
fact that the government encourages its mili- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 227 

tary and civil officers, at the expiration of their 
terms of service, to remain in the island, still 
holding some nominal office, or on the pay of 
a retired list. 

The foreign residents, not Spaniards, are 
chiefly engaged in commerce, banking, or 
trade, or are in scientific or mechanic em- 
ployments. These do not intend to become 
citizens of Cuba. They strike no root into 
the soil, but feel that they are only sojourners, 
for purposes of their own. Of all classes of 
persons, I know of none whose situation is 
more unfavorable to the growth and develop- 
ment of sentiments of patriotism and philan- 
thropy, and of interest in the future of a race, 
than foreigners, temporarily resident, for pur- 
poses of money-making only, in a country with 
which they have nothing in common, in the fu- 
ture or the past. This class is often called im- 
partial. I do not agree to that use of the term. 
They are, indeed, free from the bias of feefing 
or sentiment ; and from the bias generated by 
the combined action of men thinking and feel- 
ing alike, which we call political party. But 
they are subject to the attractions of interest ; 



228 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

and interest will magnetize the mind as ef- 
fectually as feeling. Planted in a soil where 
the more tender and delicate fibres can take 
no hold, they stand by the strong tap-root of 
interest. It is for their immediate advantage 
to preserve peace and the existing order of 
things ; and even if it may be fairly argued 
that their ultimate interests would be bene- 
fited by a change, yet the process is hazard- 
ous, and the result not sure ; and, at most, 
they would do no more than take advantage 
of the change, if it occurred. I should say, as 
a general thing, that this class is content with 
the present order of things. The island is 
rich, production is large, commerce flourishes, 
life and property are well protected, and if a 
man does not concern himself with political or 
religious questions, he has nothing to fear. Of 
the Americans in this class, many, doubtless, 
may be favorably inclined toward annexation, 
but they are careful talkers, if they are so ; and 
the foreigners, not Americans, are of course 
earnestly opposed to it, and the pendency of 
the question tends to draw them towards the 
present government. 



A VACATION VOYAGl-]. 229 

It remains only to speak of the Cubans. 
They are commonly styled Creoles. But as 
that word includes natives of all Spanish 
America, it is not quite definite. Of the Cu- 
bans ; a few are advocates of the present 
government, — but very few. The far greater 
part are disaffected. They desire something 
approximating to self-government. If that can 
be had firom Spain, they would prefer it. If 
not, there is nothing for them but indepen- 
dence, or annexation to some other power. 
Not one of them thinks of independence ; and 
if it be annexation, I believe their present im- 
pulse is toward the United States. Yet on 
this point, among even the most disaffected 
of the Cubans, there is a difference of opinion. 
Many of them are sincere emancipationists, 
and fear that if they come in at the southern 
end of our Union, that question is closed for- 
ever. Others fear that the Anglo-Saxon race 
would swallow up the power and property of 
the island, as they have in done California 
and Texas, and that the Creoles would go to 
the wall. 

It has been my fortune to see persons of 



230 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

influence and intelligence from each of these 
chief divisions, and from the subdivisions, and 
to talk with them freely. From the sum of 
their conflicting opinions and conflicting state- 
ments, I have endeavored to settle upon some 
things as certain ; and, as to other things, to 
ascertain how far the debatable ground ex- 
tends, and the principles which govern the 
debate. From all these sources, and from my 
own observations, I will endeavor to set down 
what I think to be the present state of Cuba, 
in its various interesting features, trusting to 
do it as becomes one whose acquaintance with 
the island has been so recent and so short. 

POLITICAL CONDITION. 

When the liberal constitutions were in force 
in Spain, in the early part of this century, the 
benefits of them extended to Cuba. Some- 
thing like a provincial legislature was estab- 
lished ; juntas, or advisory boards and com- 
mittees, discussed public questions, and made 
recommendations; a militia was organized.; 
the right to bear arms was recognized; tribu- 
nals, with something of the nature of juries. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 231 

passed upon certain questions ; the press was 
free, and Cuba sent delegates to the Spanish 
Cortes. This state of things continued, with 
but few interruptions or variations, to 1825. 
Then was issued the celebrated Royal Order 
of May 29, 1825, under which Cuba has been 
governed to the present hour. This Royal Or- 
der is the only constitution of Cuba. It was 
probably intended merely as a temporary order 
to the then Captain- General ; but it has been 
found convenient to adhere to it. It clothes 
the Captain- General with the fullest powers, 
the tests and limit of which are as follows: 

" fully investing you with the whole 

extent of power which, by the royal ordinances, 
is granted to the governors of besieged towns. 
In consequence thereof. His Majesty most am- 
ply and unrestrictedly authorizes your Excel- 
lency not only to remove from the island such 
persons, holding offices from government or 
not, whatever their occupation, rank, class, or 
situation in life may be, whose residence there 
you may believe prejudicial, or whose public 
or private conduct may appear suspicious to 
you " 



232 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

So that, since 1825, Cuba has been not only 
under martial law, but in a state of siege. 

As to the more or less of justice or injustice, 
of honesty or peculation, of fidelity or corrup- 
tion, of liberality or severity, with which these 
powers may have been exercised, a residence 
of a few days, the reading of a few books, 
and conversations with a few men, though on 
both sides, give me no right to pronounce. 
Of the probabilities, all can judge ; especially 
when we remember that these powers are 
wielded by natives of one country over natives 
of another country. 

Into the details and anecdotes, and the con- 
troversies respecting motives, I do not enter. 
Certain things we know. Since 1825, there 
has been no legislative assembly in Cuba, 
either provincial or municipal. The municipal 
corporations ( ayuntamientos ) were formerly 
hereditary, the dignity was purchasable, and 
no doubt the bodies were corrupt. But they 
exercised some control, at least in the levying 
and expending of taxes ; and, being hereditary, 
were somewhat independent, and might have 
served, like those of Europe in the middle ages, 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 233 

as nuclei of popular liberties These have lost 
the few powers they possessed, and the mem- 
bers are now mere appointees of the Captain- 
General. Since 1836, Cuba has been deprived 
of its right to a delegation in the Cortes. 
Since 1825, vestiges of anything approaching 
to popular assemblies, juntas, a jury, inde- 
pendent tribunals, a right of voting, or a right 
to bear arms, have vanished from the island. 
The press is under censorship ; and so are the 
theatres and operas. When " I Puritani " is 
played, the singers are required to substitute 
Lealta for Liberta, and one singer was fined 
and imprisoned for recusancy ; and Facciolo, 
the printer of a secretly circulated newspaper, 
advocating the cause of Cuban independence, 
was garroted. The power of banishing, with- 
out a charge made, or a trial, or even a record, 
but on the mere will of the Captain- General, 
persons whose presence he thinks, or professes 
to think, prejudicial to the government, what- 
ever their condition, rank, or office, has been 
frequently exercised, and hangs at all hours 
over the head of every Cuban. Besides, that 
terrible power which is restrained only by the 



234 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

analogy of a state of siege, may be at any 
time called into action. Cubans may be, 
and I suppose usually are, regularly charged 
and tried before judges, on political accusa- 
tions ; but this is not their right ; and the 
judges themselves, even of the highest court, 
the Real Audiencia, may be deposed and ban- 
ished, at the will of the military chief. 

According to the strictness of the written 
law, no native Cuban can hold any office of 
honor, trust, or emolument in Cuba. The 
army and navy are composed of Spaniards, 
even to the soldiers in the ranks, and to the 
sailors at the guns. It is said by the support- 
ers of the government that this order is not ad- 
hered to ; and they point to a capitan-general, 
an intendente, and a chief of the customs, who 
were Cubans. Still, such is the written law ; 
and if a few Cubans are put into office against 
the law, those who are so favored are likely to 
be the most servile of officers, and the situation 
of the rest is only the more degraded. Not- 
withstanding the exceptions, it may be said 
with substantial truth, that an independent 
Cuban has open to him no career, civil or mili- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 235 

tary. There is a force of volunteers, to which 
some Cubans are admitted, but they hold their 
places at the will of the government ; and none 
are allowed to join or remain with them unless 
they are acceptable to the government. 

There are vexatious and mortifying regula- 
tions, too numerous and minute to be complied 
with or even remembered, and which put the 
people in danger of fines or extortion at every 
turn. Take, for instance, the regulation that 
no man shall entertain a stranger over night at 
his house, without previous notice to the mag- 
istrate. As to the absolute prohibition of con- 
cealed weapons, and of all weapons but the 
regulation sword and pistols, — ^it was no doubt 
introduced and enforced by Tacon as a means 
of suppressing assassinations, broils and open 
violence ; and it has made life safer in Havana 
than it is in New York ; yet it cannot be de- 
nied that it created a serious disability. In 
fine, what is the Spanish government in Cuba, 
but an armed monarchy, encamped in the 
midst of a disarmed and disfranchised people ? 

The taxes paid by the Cubans on their prop- 
erty, and the duties levied on their commerce, 



236 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

are enormous, making a net income of not less 
than $16,000,000 a year. Cuba pays all the 
expenses of its own government, the salaries 
of all officers, the entire cost of the army and 
navy quartered upon it, the maintenance of 
the Roman Catholic religion, and of all the 
charitable and benevolent institutions, and 
sends an annual remittance to Spain.* 

The number of Spanish men-of-war sta- 
tioned on the coast, varies from twenty-five 
to thirty. Of the number of soldiers of the 
regular army in Cuba, it is difficult to form an 
opinion. The official journal puts them at 
30,000. The lowest estimate I heard, was 
25,000 ; and the highest was 40,000. Judging 
from the number of sick I saw at the Hospital 
Militar, I should not be surprised if the larger 
estimate was nearer the truth. 

Education is substantially in the hands of 
the government. As an instance of their strict- 
ness, no man can take a degree at the Univer- 
sity, unless he makes oath that he does not 

* Since my return, it has been officially announced that 
a commission is to be appointed to revise and reduce the 
tariffs of duties. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 237 

belong to, has never belonged to, and will not 
belong to, any society not known to and per- 
mitted by the government. 

But details are of little importance. The 
actual administration may be a little more or 
less rigid or lax. In its legal character, the 
government is an unmixed despotism of one 
nation over another. 

Religion. 
No religion is tolerated but the Roman 
Catholic. Formerly the church was wealthy, 
authoritative and independent, and checked 
the civil and military power by an ecclesias- 
tical power wielded also by the dominant na- 
tion. But the property of the church has been 
sequestrated and confiscated, and the govern- 
ment now owns all the property once ecclesi- 
astical, including the church edifices, and ap- 
points all the clergy, from the bishop to the 
humblest country curate. All are salaried offi- 
cers. And so powerless is the church, that, 
however scandalous may be the life of a parish 
priest, the bishop cannot remove him. He can 
only institute proceedings against him before 



238 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

a tribunal over which the government has 
large control, with a certainty of long delays, 
and entire uncertainty as to the result. The 
bishopric of Havana was formerly one of the 
wealthiest sees in Christendom. Now the sal- 
ary is hardly sufficient to meet the demands 
which custom makes in respect of charity, hos- 
pitality and style of living. It may be said, 
I think with truth, that the Roman Catholic 
Church has now .neither civil nor political 
power in Cuba. 

That there was a long period of time during 
which the morals of the clergy were excessively 
corrupt, I think there can be no doubt. Make 
every allowance for theological bias, or for 
irreligious bias, in the writers and tourists in 
Cuba, still, the testimony from Roman Cath- 
olics themselves is irresistible. The details, it 
is not worth while to contend about. It is 
said that a family of children, with a recog- 
nized relation to its female head, which the 
rule of celibacy prevented ever becoming a 
marriage, was general with the country priest- 
hood. A priest who was faithful to that rela- 
tion, and kept from cock-fighting and gam- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 239 

bling, was esteemed a respectable man by 
the common people. Cuba became a kind 
of Botany Bay for the Romish clergy. There 
they seem to have been concealed from the eye 
of discipline. With this state of things, there 
existed, naturally enough, a vast amount of 
practical infidelity among the people, and 
especially among the men, who, it is said, 
scarcely recognized religious obligations at 
all. 

No one can observe the state of Europe 
now, without seeing that the rapidity of com- 
munication by steam and electricity has 
tended to add to the efficiency of the central 
power of the Roman Catholic Church, and to 
the efficacy and extent of its discipline. Cuba 
has begun to feel these effects. Whether they 
have yet reached the interior, or the towns 
generally, I do not know ; but the concurrent 
testimony of all classes satisfied me that a 
considerable change has been effected in Ha- 
vana. The instrumentalities which that church 
brings to bear in such cases, are in opera- 
tion : frequent preaching, and stricter discipline 
of confession and communion. The most 



240 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

marked result is in the number of men, and 
men of character and weight, who have be- 
come earnest in the use of these means. Much 
of this must be attributed, no doubt, to the 
Jesuits ; but how long they will be permitted 
to remain here, and what will be the permanent 
effects of the movement, I cannot, of course, 
conjecture. 

I do not enter into the old field of contest. 
" We care not," says one side, " which be 
cause and which effect ; — whether the people 
are Papists, because they are what they are, or 
are as they are because they are Papists. It 
is enough that the two things coexist." The 
other side replies that no Protestant institu- 
tions have ever yet been tried for any length 
of time, and to any large extent, with southern 
races, in a tropical climate ; and the question, 
— what would be their influence, and what the 
effect of surrounding causes upon them, lies 
altogether in the region of conjecture, or, at 
best, of faith. 

Of the moral habits of the clergy, as of the 
people, at the present time, I am entirely un- 
able to judge. I saw very little that indicated 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 241 

the existence of any vices whatever among the 
people. Five minutes of a street view of Lon- 
don by night, exhibits more vice, to the casual 
observer, than all Havana for a year. I do not 
mean to say that the social morals of the Cu- 
bans are good, or are bad ; I only mean to say 
that I am not a judge of the question. 

The most striking indication of the want 
of religious control, is the disregard of the 
Lord's Day. All business seems to go on as 
usual, unless it be in the public offices. The 
chain-gang works in the streets, under public 
officers. House-building and mechanic trades 
go on uninterrupted ; and the shops are more 
active than ever. The churches, to be sure, 
are open and well filled in the morning ; and 
I do not refer to amusements and recreations ; 
I speak of public, secular labor. The Church 
must be held to some responsibility for this. 
Granted that Sunday is not the Sabbath. 
Yet, it is a day which, by the rule of the Ro- 
man Church, the English Church in England 
and America, the Greek Church and other Ori- 
ental Churches, — all claiming to rest the rule 
on Apostolic authority, as well as by the usage 
11 



242 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

of Protestants on the continent of Europe, — 
whether Lutherans or Calvinists, — is a day of 
rest from secular labor, and especially from en- 
forced labor. Pressing this upon an intelli- 
gent ecclesiastic, his reply to me was that the 
Church could not enforce the observance ;— 
that it must be enforced by the civil author- 
ities ; and the civil authorities fall in with the 
selfishness and gratifications of the ruling 
classes. And he appealed to the change lately 
wrought in Paris, in these respects, as evidence 
of the consistency of his Church. This is an 
answer, so far as concerns the Church's direct 
authority ; but it is an admission either of 
feeble moral power, or of neglect of duty in 
times past. An embarrassment in the way of 
more strictness as to secular labor, arises from 
the fact that slaves are entitled to their time 
on Sundays, beyond the necessary labor of 
providing for the day ; and this time they may 
use in working out their freedom. 

Another of the difficulties the church has to 
contend with, arises out of negro slavery. The 
Church recognizes the unity of all races, and 
allows marriage between them. The civil law 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 243 

of Cuba, under the interpretations in force here, 
prohibits marriage between whites and persons 
who have any tinge of the black blood. In 
consequence of this rule, concubinage prevails, 
to a great extent, between whites and mulat- 
toes or quadroons, often with recognition of 
the children. If either party to this arrange- 
ment comes under the influence of the Church's 
discipline, the relation must terminate. The 
Church would allow and advise marriage ; but 
the law prohibits it — and if there should be a 
separation, there may be no provision for the 
children. This state of things creates no small 
obstacle to the influence of the Church over the 
domestic relations. 

SLAVERY. 

It is difficult to come to a satisfactory con- 
clusion as to the number of slaves in Cuba. 
The census of 1857 puts it at 375,000 ; but 
neither this census nor that of 1853 is to be 
relied upon, on this point. The Cubans are 
taxed for their slaves, and the government find 
it difficult, as I have said, to get correct re- 
turns. No person of intelligence in Cuba, 



244 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

however desirous to put the number at the 
lowest, has stated it to me at less than 500,000. 
Many set it at 700,000. I am inclined to think 
that 600,000 is the nearest to the truth. 

The census makes the free blacks, in 1857, 
125,000. It is thought to be 200,000, by 
the best authorities. The whites are about 
700,000. The only point in which the census 
seems to agree with public opinion, is in the 
proportion. Both make the proportion of 
blacks to be about one free black to three 
slaves; and make the whites not quite equal 
to the entire number of blacks, free and slave 
together. As to the Coolies, it is impossible 
to do more than conjecture. In 1853, they 
were not noticed in the census; and in 1857, 
hardly noticed. The number imported may, 
to some extent, be obtained from the records 
and files of the Aduana, but not so as to be 
relied upon. I heard the number estimated at 
200,000 by intelligent and well-informed Cu- 
bans. Others put it as low as 60,000. Cer- 
tain it is that Coolies are to be met with 
everywhere, in town and country. 

To ascertain the condition of slaves in 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 245 

Cuba, two things are to be considered: first, 
the laws, and secondly, the execution of the 
laws. The written laws, there is no great diffi- 
culty in ascertaining. As to their execution, 
there is room for opinion. 

At this point, one general remark should be 
made, which I deem to be of considerable im- 
portance. The laws relating to slavery do 
not emanate from the slave-holding mind ; nor 
are they interpreted or executed by the slave- 
holding class. The slave benefits by the divis- 
ion of power and property between the two 
rival and even hostile races of whites, the Cre- 
oles and the Spaniards. Spain is not slave- 
holding, at home; and so long as the laws 
are made in Spain, and the civil offices are 
held by Spaniards only, the slave has at least 
the advantage of a conflict of interests and 
principles, between the two classes that are 
concerned in his bondage. 

The fact that one negro in every four is free, 
indicates that the laws favor emancipation. 
They do both favor emancipation, and favor 
the free blacks after emancipation. The stran- 
ger visiting Havana will see a regiment of one 



246 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

thousand free black volunteers, parading with 
the troops of the line and the white volunteers, 
and keeping guard in the Obra Pia. When it 
is remembered that the bearing arms and per- 
forming military duty as volunteers, is esteemed 
an honor and privilege, and is not allowed to 
the whites of Creole birth, except to a few who 
are favored by the government, the significance 
of this fact may be appreciated. The Cuban 
slave-holders are more impatient under this 
favoring of the free blacks, than under almost 
any other act of the government. They see in 
it an attempt, on the part of the authorities, to 
secure the sympathy and cooperation of the 
free blacks, in case of a revolutionary move- 
ment, — to set race against race, and to make 
the free blacks familiar with military duty, 
while the whites are growing up in ignorance 
of it. In point of civil privileges, the free 
blacks are the equals of the whites. In courts 
of law, as witnesses or parties, no difference 
is known ; and they have the same rights as to 
the holding of lands and other property. As 
to their social position, I have not the means 
of speaking. I should think it quite as good 
as it is in New England, if not better. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 247 

So far as to the position of the blacks, when 
free. The laws also directly favor emancipa- 
tion. Every slave has a right to go to a mag- 
istrate and have himself valued, and on paying 
the valuation, to receive his free papers. The 
valuation is made by three assessors, of whom 
the master nominates one and the magistrate 
the other two. The slave is not obliged to pay 
the entire valuation at once ; but may pay it in 
instalments, of not less than fifty dollars each. 
These payments are not made as mere ad- 
vances of money, on the security of the mas- 
ter's receipt, but are part purchases. Each 
payment makes the slave an owner of such a 
portion of himself, pro parte indivisd, or as 
the Common Law would say, in tenancy-in- 
common, with his master. If the valuation 
be one thousand dollars, and he pays one hun- 
dred dollars, he is owned, one tenth by himself 
and nine tenths by his master. It has been 
said, in nearly all the American books on Cuba, 
that, on paying a share, he becomes entitled 
to a corresponding share of his time and labor ; 
but, from the best information I can get, I think 
this is a mistake. The payment affects the 



248 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

proprietary title, but not the usufruct. Until 
all is paid, the master's dominion over the 
slave is not reduced, as respects either disci- 
pline, or labor, or right of transfer; but if the 
slave is sold, or goes by operation of law to 
heirs or legatees or creditors, they take only 
the interest not paid for, subject to the right of 
future payment under the valuation. 

There is another provision, which, at first 
sight, may not appear very important, but 
which is, I am inclined to think, the best prac- 
tical protection the slave has against ill treat- 
ment by his master: that is, the right to a 
compulsory sale. A slave may, on the same 
process of valuation, compel his master to 
transfer him to any person who will pay the 
money. For this purpose, he need establish 
no cause of complaint. It is enough if he 
desires to be transferred, and some one is will- 
ing to buy him. This operates as a check 
upon the master, and an inducement to him 
to remove special causes of dissatisfaction ; 
and it enables the better class of slave-holders 
in a neighborhood, if cases of ill-usage are 
known, to relieve the slave, without conten- 
tion or pecuniary loss. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 249 

In making the valuation, whether for eman- 
cipation or compulsory transfer, the slave is 
to be estimated at his value as a common 
laborer, according to his strength, age, and 
health. If he knows an art or trade, however 
much that may add to his value, only one 
hundred doUars can be added to the estimate 
for this trade or art. Thus the skill, industry 
and character of the slave, do not furnish an 
obstacle to his emancipation or transfer. On 
the contrary, all that his trade or art adds 
to his value, above one hundred dollars, is, in 
fact, a capital for his benefit. 

There are other provisions for the relief of 
the slave, which, although they may make even 
a better show on paper, are of less practical 
value. On complaint and proof of cruel 
treatment, the law will dissolve the relation 
between master and slave. No slave can be 
flogged with more than twenty-five lashes, 
b^ the master's authority. If his offence is 
thought greater than that punishment will suf- 
fice for, the public authorities must be called 
in.' A slave mother may buy the freedom 
of her infant, for twenty-five dollars. If slaves 



250 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

have been married by the Church, they can- 
not be separated against their will ; and the 
mother has the right to keep her nursing 
child. Each slave is entitled to his time on 
Sundays and all other holidays, beyond two 
hours allowed for necessary labor, except on 
sugar estates during the grinding season. 
Every slave born on the island is to be bap- 
tized and instructed in the Catholic faith, and 
to receive Christian burial. Formerly, there 
were provisions requiring religious services and 
instruction on each plantation, according to 
its size ; but I believe these are either repealed, 
or become a dead letter. There are also pro- 
visions respecting the food, clothing and treat- 
ment of slaves in other respects, and the pro- 
viding of a sick room and medicines, &c. ; 
and the government has appointed magis- 
trates, styled Sindicos, numerous enough, and 
living in all localities, whose duty it is to at- 
tend to the petitions and complaints of slaves, 
and to the measures relating to their sale, 
transfer or emancipation. 

As to the enforcement of these laws, I have 
little or no personal knowledge to offer ; but 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 251 

some things, I think, I may treat as reason- 
ably sure, from my own observation, and from 
the concurrent testimony of books, and of per- 
sons of all classes with whom I have con- 
versed. 

The rule respecting religion is so far ob- 
served as this, that infants are baptized, and 
all receive Christian burial. But there is no 
enforcement of the obligation to give the slaves 
religious instruction, or to allow them to at- 
tend public religious service. Most of those 
in the rural districts see no church and no 
priest, from baptism to burial. If they do re- 
ceive religious instruction, or have religious 
services provided for them, it is the free gift 
of the master. 

Marriage by the Church is seldom cele- 
brated. As in the Roman Church marriage is 
a sacrament and indissoluble, it entails great 
inconvenience upon the master, as regards sales 
or mortgages, and is a restraint on the negroes 
themselves, to which it is not always easy to 
reconcile them. Consequently, marriages are 
usually performed by the master only, and of 
course, carry with them no legal rights or 



252 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

duties. Even this imperfect and dissoluble 
connection has been bat little attended to. 
While the slave-trade was allowed, the plant- 
ers supplied their stock with bozales (native 
Africans) and paid little attention, even on 
economic principles, to the improvement, or, 
speaking after the fashion of cattle-farms, to 
the increase of the stock on the plantation. 
Now that importation is more difficult, and 
labor is in demand, their attention is more 
turned to their own stock, and they are begin- 
ning to learn, in the physiology of increase, 
that canon which the Everlasting has fixed 
against promiscuous intercourse. 

The laws respecting valuation, the purchase 
of freedom at once or by instalments, and the 
compulsory transfer, I know to be in active 
operation in the towns, and on plantations 
affording easy access to towns or magistrates. 
I heard frequent complaints from slave-holders 
and those who sympathized with them, as to 
the operation of these provisions. A lady in 
Havana had a slave who was an excellent 
cook ; and she had been offered $1700 for him, 
and refused it. He applied for valuation for 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 253 

the purpose of transfer, and was valued at 
$1000 as a laborer, which, with the $100 for 
his trade, made a loss to the owner of $600 ; 
and, as no slave can be subsequently sold for 
a larger sum than his valuation, this provision 
gave the slave a capital of $600. Another 
instance was of a planter near Matanzas, who 
had a slave taught as a carpenter ; but after 
learning his trade, the slave got himself trans- 
ferred to a master in the city, for the oppor- 
tunity of working out his freedom, on holidays 
and in extra hours. So general is the enforce- 
ment of these provisions, that it is said to 
have resulted in a refusal of many masters to 
teach their slaves any art or trade, and in the 
hiring of the labor of artizans of all sorts, and 
the confining of the slaves to mere manual 
labor. I heard of complaints of the conduct 
of individuals who were charged with attempt- 
ing to influence the credulous and too ready 
slaves to agree to be transferred to them, either 
to gratify some ill-will against the owner, or 
for some supposed selfish interest. From the 
frequency of this tone of complaint and anec- 
dote, as well as from positive assertions on 



254 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

good authority, I believe these provisions to 
have considerable efficacy. 

As to the practical advantage the slaves can 
get from these provisions in remote places ; and 
as to the amount of protection they get any- 
where from the special provisions respecting 
punishment, food, clothing, and treatment gen- 
erally, almost everything lies in the region of 
opinion. There is no end to statement and 
anecdote on each side. If one cannot get a 
full and lengthened personal experience, not 
only as the guest of the slave-holder, but as 
the companion of the local magistrates, of the 
lower officers on the plantation, of slave-deal- 
ers and slave-hunters, and of the emancipated 
slaves, I advise him to shut his ears to mere 
anecdotes and general statements, and to trust 
to reasonable deductions from established facts. 
The established facts are, that one race, hav- 
ing all power in its hands, holds an inferior 
race in slavery; that this bondage exists in 
cities, in populous neighborhoods, and in re- 
mote districts ; that the owners are human 
beings, of tropical races, and the slaves are 
human beings just emerging from barbarism ; 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 255 

and that no small part of this power is exer- 
cised by a low-lived and low-minded class of 
intermediate agents. "What is likely to be the 
effect on all the parties to this system, judging 
from all we know of human nature ? 

If persons coming from the North are cred- 
ulous enough to suppose that they will see 
chains and stripes and tracks of blood ; and 
if, taking letters to the best class of slave- 
holders, seeing their way of life, and hearing 
their dinner-table anecdotes, and the breakfast- 
table talk of the ladies, they find no outward 
signs of violence or corruption, they will prob- 
ably, also, be credulous enough to suppose 
they have seen the whole of slavery. They 
do not know that that large plantation, with 
its smoking chimneys, about which they hear 
nothing, and which their host does not visit, 
has passed to the creditors of the late owner, 
who is a bankrupt, and is in charge of a man- 
ager, who is to get all he can from it in the 
shortest time, and to sell off the slaves as he 
can, having no interest, moral or pecuniary, in 
their future. They do not know that that 
other plantation, belonging to the young man 



256 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

who spends half his time in Havana, is an 
abode of licentiousness and cruelty. Neither 
do they know that the tall hounds chained at 
the kennel of the house they are visiting, are 
Cuban bloodhounds, trained to track and to 
seize. They do not know that the barking 
last night was a pursuit and capture, in which 
all the white men on the place took part ; and 
that, for the week past, the men of the planta- 
tion have been a committee of detective and 
protective police. They do not know that the 
ill-looking man who was there yesterday, and 
whom the ladies did not like, and all treated 
with ill-disguised aversion, is a professed hun- 
ter of slaves. They have never seen or heard 
of the Sierra del Cristal, the mountain-range 
at the eastern end of Cuba, inhabited by run- 
aways, where white men hardly dare to go. 
Nor do they know that those young ladies, 
when little children, were taken to the city in 
the time of the insurrection in the Vuelta de 
Arriba. They have not heard the story of that 
downcast-looking girl, the now incorrigibly 
riialignant negro, and the lying mayoral. In 
the cities, they are amused by the flashy dress- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 257 

es, indolence and good-humor of the slaves, 
and pleased with the respectfulness of their 
manners, and hear anecdotes of their attach- 
ment to their masters, and how they so dote 
upon slavery that nothing but bad advice 
can entice them into freedom; and are told, 
too, of the worse condition of the free blacks. 
They have not visited the slave-jails, or the 
whipping-posts in the house outside the walls, 
where low whites do the flogging of the city 
house-servants, men and women, at so many 
reals a head. 

But the reflecting mind soon tires of the 
anecdotes of injustice, cruelty and licentious- 
ness on the one hand, and of justice, kindness 
and mutual attachment, on the other. You 
know that all coexist ; but in what propor- 
tion you can only conjecture. You know what 
slavery must be, in its effect on both the parties 
to it. You seek to grapple with the problem 
itself. And, stating it fairly, it is this, — Shall 
the industry of Cuba go on, or shall the island 
be abandoned to a state of nature ? If the 
former, and if the whites cannot do the hard 
labor in that climate, and the blacks can, will 



258 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the seven hundred thousand whites, who own 
all the land and improvements, surrender them 
to the blacks and leave the island, or will they 
remain ? If they must be expected to remain, 
what is to be the relation of the two races ? 
The blacks must do the hard work, or it will 
not be done. Shall it be the enforced labor of 
slavery, or shall the experiment of free labor be 
tried ? Will the government try the experi- 
ment, and if so, on what terms and in what 
manner? If something is not done by the gov- 
ernment, slavery will continue ; for a successful 
insurrection of slaves in Cuba is impossible, 
and manumissions do not gain upon the births 
and importations. 

As to the Coolie labor, I do not know that I 
have anything to add to what I have already 
incidentally stated. The Coolies are from 
China ; and there is no law of China regulating 
or supervising their contracts there, or their 
shipment, or making any provisions for their 
security. Neither are there any specific laws 
of Cuba regulating their delivery here, or the 
relations between them and their masters. 
The Cuban authorities assume them to be 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 259 

free men, making voluntary contracts, and do 
no more. That they are kept in strict con- 
finement until sold, and then kept to labor by 
force, there is no doubt. I suppose there is 
as little doubt that the form of a contract is 
gone through with, which binds them to all 
labor for eight years, at four dollars per month 
and their board and two suits of clothes an- 
nually. It is not yet eight years since their 
introduction ; and it remains to be decided 
what this contract amounts to. That they 
can be forced into a servitude for life, if it is 
for the interest of their purchasers to force 
them to it, and thie government does not inter- 
fere energetically, there can be as little doubt. 
It is known by all, I suppose, that no women 
or children are imported ; and it is said that 
they do not amalgamate with the people of 
color. The tenure is so uncertain that their 
master has little motive to do more than keep 
them up to the labor point, so long as their 
labor is valuable, and to neglect them utterly, 
when it ceases to be so. They are deprived 
of all the sympathetic and humanizing in- 
fluences and protections of home, family, com- 



260 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

mon language, and common religion. They 
are idolaters ; but no one seems enough inter- 
ested in them to undertake their conversion. 
They are taught to labor, and taught nothing 
else. Their presence in Cuba adds another 
distressing element to the difficulties of the 
labor question, which hangs, like a black cloud, 
over all the islands of the West Indies. 

MATERIAL RESOURCES. EDUCATION. 

Cuba contains more good harbors than does 
any part of the United States south of Norfolk. 
Its soil is very rich, and there are no large 
wastes of sand, either by the sea or in the in- 
terior. The coral rocks bound the sea, and the 
grass and trees come down to the coral rocks. 
The surface of the country is diversified by 
mountains, hills and undulating lands, and is 
very well wooded, and tolerably well watered. 
It is interesting and picturesque to the eye, 
and abounds in flowers, trees of all varieties, 
and birds of rich plumage, though not of rich 
notes. It has mines of copper, and probably of 
iron, and is not cursed with gold or silver ore. 
There is no anthracite, but probably a large 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 261 

amount of a ver}' soft, bituminous coal, which 
can be used for manufactures. It has also 
marble, and other kinds of stone ; and the hard 
woods, as mahogany, cedar, ebony, iron-wood, 
lignum-vitae, &c., are in abundance. Mineral 
salt is to be found, and probably in sufficient 
quantities for the use of the island. It is the 
boast of the Cubans, that the island has no 
wild beasts or venomous reptiles. This has 
been so often repeated by tourists and his- 
torians, that I suppose it must be admitted to 
be true, with the qualification that they have 
the scorpion, and tarantula, and nigua; but 
they say that the bite of the scorpion and 
tarantula, though painful, is not dangerous to 
life. The nigua, (sometimes called chigua, 
and by the English corrupted into jigger,) is 
troublesome ; and if it be permitted to lie long 
under the flesh, is ineradicable, and makes am- 
putation necessary. With these exceptions, 
the claim to freedom from wild or venomous 
animals may be admitted. Their snakes are 
harmless, and the mosquitoes no worse than 
those of New England. 

As to the climate, I have no doubt that in 



262 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the interior, especially on the red earth, it is 
healthy and delightful, in summer as well 
as in winter ; but on the river borders, in the 
low lands of black earth, and on the savannas, 
intermittent fever and fever-and-ague prevail. 
The cities have the scourge of yellow fever; 
and, of late years, also the cholera. In the 
cities, I suppose, the year may be divided, as 
to sickness, into three equal portions : four 
months of winter, when they are safe ; four 
of summer, when they are unsafe; and four 
of spring and autumn, when they are pass- 
ing from one state to the other. There are, 
indeed, a few cases of vomito in the course 
of the winter, but they are little regarded, 
and must be the result of extreme impru- 
dence. It is estimated that twenty-five per 
cent, of the soldiers die of yellow fever the first 
years of their acclimation; and during the 
year of the cholera, sixty per cent, of the 
newly-arrived soldiers died. The mean tem- 
perature in winter is 70°, and in summer 83°, 
Fahrenheit. The island has suffered severely 
from hurricanes, although they are not so fre- 
quent as in others of the West India islands. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 263 

They have violent thunderstorms in summer, 
and have suffered from droughts in winter, 
though usually the heavy dews keep vegeta- 
tion green through the dry season. 

That which has been to me, personally, most 
unexpected, is the industry of the island. It 
seems to me that, allowing for the heat of 
noon and the debilitating effect of the climate, 
the industry in agriculture and trade is rather 
striking. The sugar crop is enormous. The 
annual exportation is about 400,000 tons, or 
about 2,000,000 boxes, and the amount con- 
sumed on the island is very great, not only in 
coffee and in daily cooking, but in the making 
of preserves and sweetmeats, which are a con- 
siderable part of the food of the people. There 
is also about half a million hogsheads of mo- 
lasses exported annually. Add to this, the 
coffee, tobacco and copper, and a general no- 
tion may be got of the industry and produc- 
tions of the island. Its weak point is the want 
of variety. There are no manufactures of 
any consequence ; the mineral exports are not 
great; and, in fact, sugar is the one staple. 
All Cuba has but one neck, — the worst wish 
of the tyrant. 



264 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

As to education, I have no doubt that a 
good education in medicine, and a respectable 
course of instruction in the Roman and Span- 
ish law, and in the natural sciences, can be ob- 
tained at the University of Havana ; and that 
a fair collegiate education, after the manner of 
the Latin races, can be obtained at the Jesuit 
College, the Seminario, and other institutions 
at Havana, and in the other large cities ; and 
the Sisters of the Sacred Heart have a flour- 
ishing school for girls at Havana. But the 
general elementary education of the people is 
in a very low state. The scattered life of 
planters is unfavorable to public day-schools, 
nay, almost inconsistent with their existence. 
The richer inhabitants send their children 
abroad, or to Havana: but the middle and 
lower classes of whites cannot do this. The 
tables show that of the free white children, 
not more than one in sixty-three attend any 
school, while in the British West India islands, 
the proportion is from one in ten to one in 
twenty. As to the state of education, cul- 
ture and literary habits among the upper 
classes, my limited experience gives me no 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 265 

opportunity to judge. The concurrent testi- 
mony of tourists and other writers on Cuba is, 
that the habits of the Cuban women of the 
upper and middle classes are unintellectual. 

To return to the political state and prospects 
of Cuba. As for those persons whose political 
opinions and plans are not regulated by moral 
principle, it may be safely said, that whatever 
their plans, their object will not be the good of 
Cuba, but their own advantage. Of those 
who are governed by principle, each man's 
expectation or plan will depend upon the gen- 
eral opinion he entertains respecting the na- 
ture of men and of society. This is going 
back a good way for a test ; but I am con- 
vinced it is only going to the source of opinion 
and action. If a man believes that human na- 
ture in an unrestrained course, is good, and 
self-governing, and that when it is not so, there 
is a temporary and local cause to be assigned 
for the deviation ; if he believes that men, at 
least in civilized society, are independent be- 
ings, by right entitled to, and by nature ca- 
pable of, the exercise of popular self-govern- 



266 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

ment, and that if they have not this power in 
exercise, it is because they have been deprived 
of it by somebody's fraud or violence, which 
ought to be detected and remedied, as we 
abate a public nuisance in the highway ; if a 
man thinks that overturning a throne and 
erecting a constitution will answer the pur- 
pose ; — if these are his opinions as to men and 
society, his plan for Cuba, and for every other 
part of the world, may be simple. No wonder 
such an one is impatient of the inactivity of 
the governed masses, and is in a constant state 
of surprise that the fraud and violence of a few 
should always prevail over the rights and mer- 
its of the many — when they themselves might 
ehd their thraldom by a blow, and put their 
oppressors to rest — by a bare bodkin ! 

But if the history of the world and the obser- 
vation of his own times have led a man to the 
opinion that, of divine right and human neces- 
sity, government of some sort there must be, 
in which power must be vested somewhere, 
and exercised somehow ; that popular self- 
government is rather of the nature of a faculty 
than of a right ; that human nature is so con- 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 267 

stituted that the actual condition of civil society 
in any place and nation, is, on the whole, the 
fair result of conflicting forces of good and 
evil — the power being in proportion to the need 
of power, and the franchises to the capacity for 
using franchises ; that autocrats and oligarchs 
are the growth of the soil ; and that every 
people has, in the main, and in the long run, 
a government as good as it deserves — If such 
is the substance of the belief to which he has 
been led or forced, he will look gravely upon 
the future of such a people as the Cubans, 
and hesitate as to the invention and applica- 
tion of remedies. If he reflects that of all the 
nations of the southern races in North and 
South America, from Texas to Cape Horn, 
the Brazilians alone, who have a constitutional 
monarchy, are in a state of order and progress ; 
and if he further reflects that Cuba, as a royal 
province, with all its evils, is in a better condi- 
tion than nearly all the Spanish republican 
states, — he may well be slow to believe that, 
with their complication of difliculties, and 
causes of disorder and weakness, — with their 
half million or more of slaves and quarter mil- 



268 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

lion or less of free blacks, with their Coolies, 
and their divided and hostile races of whites, — 
their Spanish blood, and their utter want of 
experience in the discharge of any public du- 
ties, the Cubans will work out successfully 
the problem of self-government. You cannot 
reason from Massachusetts to Cuba. When 
Massachusetts entered into the Revolution, 
she had had one hundred and fifty years of 
experience in popular self-government ; under 
a system in which the exercise of this power 
was more generally diffused among the people, 
and extended over a larger class of subjects, 
and more decentralized, than had ever been 
known before in any part of the world, or at 
any period of the world's story. She had been, 
all along, for most purposes, an independent 
republic, with an obligation to the British Em- 
pire undefined and seldom attempted to be en- 
forced. The thirteen colonies were ships fully 
armed and equipped, officered and manned, 
with long sea experience, sailing as a wing of 
a great fleet, under the Admiral's fleet signals. 
They had only to pass secret signals, fall out 
of line, haul their wind, and sail off as a 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 269 

squadron by themselves ; and if the Admiral 
with the rest of the fleet made chase and 
gave battle, it was sailor to sailor and ship to 
ship. But Cuba has neither officers trained 
to the quarter-deck, nor sailors trained to the 
helm, the yard, or the gun. Nay, the ship is 
not built, nor the keel laid, nor is the timber 
grown, from which the keel is to be cut. 

The natural process for Cuba is an ame- 
lioration of her institutions under Spanish 
auspices. If this is not to be had, or if the 
connection with Spain is dissolved in any 
way, she will probably be substantially under 
the protection of some other power, or a part 
of another empire. Whatever nation may 
enter upon such an undertaking as this, 
should take a bond of fate. Beside her in- 
ternal danger and difficulties, Cuba is impli- 
cated externally with every cause of jealousy 
and conflict. She has been called the key to 
the Gulf of Mexico. But the Gulf of Mexico 
cannot be locked. Whoever takes her is more 
likely to find in her a key to Pandora's box. 
Close upon her is the great island of Ja- 
maica, where the experiment of free negro 



270 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

labor, in the same products, is on trial. Near 
to her is Hayti, where the experiment of ne- 
gro self-government is on trial. And further 
off, separated, it is true, by the great Gulf 
Stream, and with the neighborhood of the al- 
most uninhabited and uninhabitable sea-coast 
of Southern Florida, yet near enough to fur- 
nish some cause for uneasiness, are the slave- 
states of the Great Republic. She is an 
island, too ; and as an island, whatever power 
holds or protects her, must maintain on the 
spot a sufficient army and navy, as it would 
not do to rely upon being able to throw in 
troops and munitions of war, after notice 
of need. 

As to the wishes of the Cubans themselves, 
the degree of reliance they place, or are en- 
titled to place, on each other, and their op- 
portunities and capacity for organized action 
of any kind, I have already set down all I 
can be truly said to know ; and there is no 
end to assertion and conjecture, or to the 
conflicting character of what is called infor- 
mation, whether received through men or 
books. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 271 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

All day there have been earnest looks to 
the northwest, for the smoke of the Cahaw- 
ba. We are willing and desirous to depart. 
Our sights are seen, our business done, and 
our trunks packed. While we are sitting 
round our table after dinner, George, Mr. 
Miller's servant, comes in, with a bright coun- 
tenance, and says "There is a steamer off." 
We go to the roof, and there, far in the N. W., 
is a small but unmistakable cloud of steamer's 
smoke, just in the course the Cahawba would 
take. " Let us walk down to the Punta, and 
see her come in." It is between four and five 
o'clock, and a pleasant afternoon, (there has 
been no rain or sign of rain in Cuba since 
we first saw it — twelve days ago,) and we 
saunter along, keeping in the shade, and sit 
down on the boards at the wharf, in front of 



272 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

the Presidio, near to where politicians are gar- 
roted, and watch the progress of the steamer, 
amusing ourselves at the same time, with see- 
ing the negroes swimming and washing horses 
in the shallow water off the bank. A Yankee 
flag flies from the signal-post of the Morro, 
but the Punta keeps the steamer from our 
sight. It draws towards six o'clock, and no 
vessel can enter after dark. We begin to fear 
she will not reach the point in season. Her 
cloud of smoke rises over the Punta, the city 
clocks strike six, the Morro strikes six, the 
trumpets bray out, the sun is down, the sig- 
nals on the Morro are lowering — " She'll miss 
it ! " — " No — ^there she is ! " — and, round the 
Punta comes her sharp black head, and then 
her full body, her toiling engine and smoking 
chimney and peopled decks, and flying stars 
and stripes — Good luck to her! and, though 
the signal is down, she pushes on and passes 
the forts without objection, and is lost among 
the shipping. 

My companions are so enthusiastic that they 
go on board; but I return to my hotel and 
take a volante, and make my last calls, and 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 273 

take my last looks, and am ready to leave in 
the morning. 

In half an hour, the arrival of the Cahawba 
is known over all Havana, and the news of 
the loss of her consort, the Black Warrior, 
in a fog off New York — passengers and crew, 
and specie safe. My companions come back. 
They met Capt. Bullock on the pier, and 
took tea v^ith him in La Dominica. He 
sails at two o'clock to-morrow. 

Wednesday^ March 2, 1859. — I shall not see 
them again, but there they will be, day after 
day. day after day, — how long ? — aye, how 
long? — the squalid, degraded chain-gang! The 
horrible prison ! — profaning one of the grandest 
of sites, where city, sea and shore unite as 
almost nowhere else on earth ! These were 
my thoughts as, in the pink and gray dawn, 
I walked down the Paseo, to enjoy my last 
refreshing in the rock-hewn sea-baths. 

This leave-taking is a strange process, and 

has strange effects. How suddenly a little of 

unnoticed good in what you leave behind 

comes out, and touches you, in a moment of 
12* 



274 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

tenderness ! And how much of the evil and 
disagreeable seems to have disappeared ! Le 
Grand, after all, is no more inattentive and in- 
tractable than many others would become in 
his place ; and he does keep a good table, and 
those breakfasts are very pretty. Antonio is 
no hydropathist, to be sure, and his ear dis- 
tinguishes the voices that pay best ; yet one 
pities him in his routine, and in the fear he 
is under, being a native of Old Spain, that his 
name will turn up in the conscription, when he 
will have to shoulder his musket for five years 
in the Cabaiia and Punta. Nor can he get off 
the island, for the permit will be refused him, 
poor fellow ! 

One or two of our friends are to remain 
here, for they have pulmonary difficulties, and 
prefer to avoid the North in March. They 
look a little sad at being left alone, and 
talk of going into the country to escape the 
increasing heat. A New York gentleman has 
taken a great fancy to the volantes, and thinks 
that a costly one, with two horses, and silvered 
postilion in boots and spurs and bright jacket, 
would eclipse any equipage in the Fifth Ave- 
nue. 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 275 

When you come to leave, you find that 
the strange and picturesque character of the 
city has interested you more than you think; 
and you stare out of your carriage to read 
the familiar signs, the names of streets, the 
Obra Pia, Lamparilla, Mercaderes, San Igna- 
cio, Obispo, O'Reilly, and Officios, and the 
pretty and fantastic names of the shops. You 
think even the narrow streets have their ad- 
vantages, as they are better shaded, and the 
awnings can stretch across them, though, to be 
sure, they keep out the air. No city has finer 
avenues than the Ysabel and the Tacon ; and 
the palm-trees, at least, we shall not see at the 
North. Here is La Dominica. It is a pleas- 
ant place, in the evening, after the Retreta, to 
take your tea or coffee under the trees by the 
fountain in the court-yard, and meet the Amer- 
icans and English ; — the only public place, 
except the theatre, where ladies are to be 
seen out of their volantes. Still, we are 
quite ready to go ; for we have seen all we 
have been told to see in Havana, and it is 
excessively hot, and growing hotter. 

But no one can leave Cuba without a per- 



276 TO CUBA AND BACK, 

mit. When you arrive, the vis^ of your pass- 
port is not enough, but you must pay a fee for 
a permit to land, and remain in the island ; and 
when you wish to return, you must pay four 
dollars to get back your passport, with a per- 
mit to leave. The custom-house officials were 
not troublesome in respect to our luggage, 
hardly examining it at all, and, I must admit, 
showed no signs of expecting private fees. 
Along the range of piers, where the bows of 
the vessels run in, and on which the labor of 
this great commerce is performed, there runs a 
high, wide roof, covering all from the intense 
rays of the sun. Before this was put up, they 
say that workmen used to fall dead with sun- 
strokes, on the wharves. 

On board the Cahawba, I find my barrel 
of oranges from Yglesia, and box of sweet- 
meats from La Dominica, and boxes of cigars 
from Cabana's, punctually delivered. There, 
once more, is Bullock, cheerful, and efficient ; 
Rodgers, full of kindness and good-humor; 
and sturdy, trustworthy Miller, and Porter, 
the kindly and spirited; and the pleased face 
of Henry, the captain's steward; and the 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 277 

lamiliar faces of the other stewards ; and my 
friend's son, who is well and very glad to see 
me, and full of New Orleans, and of last night, 
which he spent on shore in Havana. All are 
in good spirits, for a short sea voyage with old 
friends is before us ; and then — home ! 

The decks are loaded and piled up with 
oranges : — oranges in barrels and oranges in 
crates, j&lling all the wings and gangways, the 
barrels cut to let in air, and the crates with 
bars just close enough to keep in the oranges. 
The delays from want of lighters, and the great 
amount of freight, keep us through the day; 
and it is nearly sundown before we get under 
way. All day the fruit boats are alongside, 
and passengers and crew lay in stocks of or- 
anges and bananas and sapotes, and little 
boxes of sweetmeats. At length, the last bar- 
rel is on board, the permits and passenger- 
lists are examined, the revenue officers leave 
us, and we begin to heave up our anchor. 

The harbor is very full of vessels, and the 
room for swinging is small. A British mail- 
steamer, and a Spanish man-of-war, and sev- 
eral merchantmen, are close upon us. Captain 



278 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

Bullock takes his second mate aft, and they 
have a conference, as quietly as if they were 
arranging a funeral. He is explaining to him 
his plan for running the warps and swinging 
the ship, and telling him beforehand what he 
is to do in this case, and what in that, and 
how to understand his signs, so that no orders, 
or as few as possible, need be given at the time 
of action. The engine moves, the warp is 
hauled upon, the anchor tripped, and dropped 
again, and tripped again, the ship takes the 
right sheer, clear of everything, and goes hand- 
somely out of the harbor, the star and stripes at 
her peak, with a waving of hats from friends 
on the Punta wharf. The western sky is gor- 
geous with the setting sun, and the evening 
drums and trumpets sound from the encircling 
fortifications, as we pass the Casa Blanca, the 
Cabana, the Punta, and the Morro. The sky 
fades, the ship rises and falls in the heave of 
the sea, the lantern of the Morro gleams over 
the water, and the dim shores of Cuba are 
hidden from our sight. 

After tea, all are on deck. It is a clear 
night, and no night or day has been else than 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 279 

clear at sea or on shore, since we first crossed 
the Gulf Stream, on our passage out. The 
Southern Cross is visible in the south, and 
the North Star is above the horizon in the 
north. No winter climate of Cuba, in moun- 
tain or on plain, — the climate of no land, can 
be compared with the ocean, — the clear, brac- 
ing, saline air of ocean ! How one drinks it 
in ! And, then, again, the rocking cradle that 
nurses one in sleep ! Nothing but the neces- 
sity of sleep, — the ultimate necessity of self- 
preservation, can close one's eyes upon such a 
night as this, in the equinoctial seas. 



^ 



280 TO CUBA AND BACK. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Thursday^ March 3. — The open sea, fine 
weather, moderate breeze, and awnings spread, 
as it is still hot in the sun. The young gentle- 
man who was at Mrs. Almy's, Mr. G , 

survived to be brought on board. His friends 
say, that after one day's waiting, if the Ca- 
hawba had not arrived Tuesday night, he 
would not have lived till morning. He was 
brought on board in an arm-chair. The 
Purser, though a stranger to him, has given 
up his room to him ; and the second mate, 
who knows his family, treats him like a 
brother. His first wish being accomplished, 
he now says that if he can live to see his 
home and to receive the sacrament, he will 
be content to meet his end, which he knows 
is soon to come. 

Friday^ March 4. — To-day, the sea is high 
and the vessel rolls and pitches, but the sky 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 281 

is clear and the air delightful. Awnings still 
up. Most of the passengers are seasick, and 
only one woman comes to dinner. 

The body of the late Chief Justice Eustis, 
of Louisiana, is on board, about to be taken 
to his family tomb in Massachusetts. I wish 
we could, at least those of us who are from 
New England, in some proper way, testify 
our respect for the memory of a man of 
such learning and weight of character. But 
everything connected with the removal seems 
to be strictly private. The jumble of life has 
put on board Sheppard, the man who trained 
Morrissey for the famous fight with Heenan. 
He is a quiet, well-behaved man, among the 
passengers. 

Glorious night. "Walk deck with Captain 
Bullock until eleven o'clock. There is not 
an abuse in the navy, that we have not cor- 
rected, or a deficiency that we have not sup- 
plied. We have meted to each ship and 
hero in the war of 1812, with strictest justice, 
the due share of praise. We have given 
much better names to the new steam sloops- 
of-war, taking them from Indian rivers and 



282 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

lakes, and the battle-fields of the revolu- 
tionary war, than the names of towns where 
the leading politicians of the government 
party reside, which the sycophancy or vanity 
of those in office has selected. 

Saturday^ March 5. — Fine breeze, clear cool 
weather, fresh blue sea, off the coast of North 
Carolina ; but, as we keep in the Gulf Stream, 
we make no land. We are in the highway 
of the commerce of all the central part of 
America, yet, as before, how few vessels we 
see ! Only one in three days ! 

A few ladies join a company gathered in 
the captain's state-room this evening, where 
all, who can, contribute their anecdotes of sea 
life, of storms and wrecks, and of the tradi- 
tions, notions, and superstitions of sailors, and 
snatches of sea-songs — Tom Bowline, Captain 
Kid, Bay of Biscay, and specimens of the less 
classical, but more genuine songs of the cap- 
stan and falls. 

^nday^ March 6. — Cooler. Out of the 
Gulf Stream. Awnings taken down, clear 
sky, clear sea, — ^the finest, cheerfullest, whole- 
somest weather in the world ! Poor G 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 283 

is still alive, and has hopes of getting in. 
We expect to be in by to-morrow noon. 
The sea is very smooth, and nearly all are 
relieved from sea-sickness. We pass a few 
vessels floating up the Gulf Stream, with 
wind and current, — a bark, an hermaphrodite 
brig, and a schooner ; but no vessel of size 

or mark. As I pass G 's room, at ten 

o'clock to-night, I see the faithful purser and 
second mate sitting, like brothers, by his 
bedside, relieving the young man who has 
come out to Havana from his father's count- 
ing-room, to bring him home. The sea is still, 
and all is favorable to the prolonging of life ; 
yet he is very low, and wandering in his 
mind, and is talking of getting up a Sunday 
School. 

Monday^ March 7. — It is daybreak, the 
lights of Barnegat were made at four o'clock 
this morning, and now the heights of Never- 
sink are visible ; the long shore of New Jersey 
is open on our lee ; the harbor of New York 
is but four or five hours off, where the ship 
may still her pulse, and rest, and friends meet 
friends. But death has visited us by night. 



284 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

G has passed away. He breathed his 

last before midnight, just as we were on the 
point of sighting the long wished for shore, — 
the haven where he would be. 

So mixed and heterogeneous is the com- 
pany of such a passenger ship, that few seem 
even to know that there has been a death, 
and fewer to remember it. The succession 
of events, the shore, the sails, the pilot, the 
news, the excitement and expectation, and 
the sights of home, are too engrossing. 

On the low sand-beach of Long Island, 
are the bones of the Black Warrior, our con- 
sort. Far in the eastern horizon, just discern- 
ible, is the smoke of the Europa, due from 
Liverpool. The water far out to sea, twenty 
or thirty miles from the harbor, is dotted with 
little boats, fishing for the all-consuming mar- 
ket of New York ; and steam-tugs, short and 
low, just breathing out a little steam, are 
^vatching, far out at sea, their chances for in- 
ward-bound vessels. On the larboard hand, 
are the twin lights of Neversink. We leave 
them astern, and are abreast of the low, white 
spit of Sandy Hook, when a pilot boat comes 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 285 

bobbing over the waves. We heave to, lower 
the steps, and the pilot jumps on board. In a 
few minutes, the news is over the ship — the 
Thirty Millions BUI withdrawn by Mr. Slidell, 
Congress adjourned, the five cent postage bill 
defeated, and the Sickles and Key tragedy. 
A few copies of New York papers are in the 
hands of the more eager passengers. 

No harbor has a more beautiful and noble 
entrance than New York. The Narrows, Staten 
Island, the Heights of Brooklyn, the distant 
view of the Hudson River Highlands, the 
densely populous outskirts in all directions, 
the broad bay and its rich tributaries, on the 
north and the east, — and then, the tall spires 
and lofty warehouses of the city, and the long 
stretches, north and east and south and west, 
of the close-packed huUs and entangled spars 
of the shipping. 

There is no snow to be seen over the land- 
scape or on the house-tops, yet the leafless 
trees, the dry grass, the thick overcoats and 
furs, are in strange contrast with the palm-leaf 
hats, white linen coats, fluttering awnings, cov- 
eted shades, and the sun-baked harvests of five 
days ago. 



286 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

We drew in to our dock as silently and 
surely as everything is done in the Cahawba. 
A crowd of New York hack men is gathered 
on the pier, looking as if they had stolen their 
coaches and horses, and meant to steal our 
luggage. There are no policemen in sight. 
Everybody predicts a fight. The officers of 
the boat say that the police are of no use if 
present, for their indifference and non-interven- 
tion rather encourage the fighters. 

For a few minutes, there is no other incon- 
venience than noise and crowding for passen- 
gers and luggage ; but soon they press on the 
decks, — are ordered off, — hang back, — the crew 
try to force them ashore, — ^then comes a gath- 
ering about the gangway — " I can fight if you 
can," says a quarter-master, — and they are at 
it, blow for blow ! As soon as the hackmen on 
the wharf see the fight, they make a breach 
into the boat, and the quarter-master is driven, 
with blows and curses, into the engine-room, — 
the crew rally, and Rodgers jumps down into 
the midst, spreads out his arms, — " Away with 
you all, out of the ship ! " Capt. Bullock 
steps down from the wheel-house, passengers 



A VACATION VOYAGE. 287 

gather round, and the hackmen fall back. Still, 
a few resist, and one of them is knocked over 
the head by a marlinespike, falls fainting, on 
the guards, and is lifted ashore by his compan- 
ions. The hackmen are slowly but firmly 
forced ashore. But on the wharf, and leaning 
on the vessePs rail, they openly threaten the 
lives of the crew, and especially of the man 
who used the marlinespike, if they catch him 
on shore — "We'll wait for you ! " — " You must 
come, sooner or later ! It will be the last step 
you'll take ! Your time is up ! " etc., etc. The 
officers of the boat are used to this, and expect 
to protect ship and passengers by their own 
force, and at their own peril. 

We had been talking high patriotism to 
some Cuban passengers ; and all the compari- 
sons, hitherto, had been favorable to our coun- 
try, — the style of the vessels, and the manner 
in which the three boats, the health-boat, the 
revenue-boat, and the news-boat, discharged 
their duties. But here was rather a counterset. 
The strangers saw it in a worse light than 
we did. We knew it was only a lawless fight 
for fares, and would end in a few blows, and 



288 TO CUBA AND BACK. 

perhaps the loss of a bag or trunk or two. 
But in their eyes, it looked like an insurrection 
of the lower orders. They did not know 
where it would end. One elderly lady, in 
particular, with great varieties of luggage, and 
speaking no English, was in special trepida- 
tion, and could not be persuaded to trust her- 
self or her luggage to the chances of the conflict, 
which she was sure would take place over it. 

But it is the genius of our people to get out 
of difficulties, as well as to get into them. The 
affair soon calms down ; the crowd thins off", 
as passengers select their coachmen, and leave 
the boat ; and in an hour or so after we touch 
the wharf, the decks are still, the engine is 
breathing out its last, the ship has done its 
stint in the commerce of the world, Bullock 
and Rodgers are shaken by the hand, compli- 
mented and bade adieu to by all, and our 
chance-gathered household of the last five 
days, not to meet again on earth or sea, — is 
scattered among the streets of the great city, 
to the snow-lined hills of New England, and 
over the wide world of the great West. 

THE END. 



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