Sivut kuvina

them, and these rollers, three in number, all moved by the steam-engine. The juice flows into large copper caldrons, where it is boiled and skimmed. As they were not at work, we did not see the actual process. Leaving the sugar-house, we went in pursuit of the mayoral, or overseer, who seemed to inhabit comfortable quarters, in a long, low house, shielded from the sun by a thick screen of matting. We found him a powerful, thick-set man, of surly and uncivil manners, girded with a sword, and further armed with a pistol, a dagger, and a stout whip. He was much too important a person to waste his words upon us, but signified that the major-domo would wait on us, which he presently did. We now cntereil the negro quarter, a solid range of low buildings, formed around a hollow scjuara, whose strong entrance is closed at nightfall, and its inmates kept in strict confinement till the morning hour of ■work comes round. Just within the doorway we encountered the trader, who visits the plantations every Sunday, to tempt the stray cash of the negroes by various commodities, of which the chief seemed to be white bread, calicoes, muslins, and bright cotton handkerchiefs. He told us that their usual weekly expenditure amounted to about twenty-five dollars. Bargaining with him stood the negrodriver, a tattooed African, armed with a whip- All within the court swarmed the black bees of the hive,— the men with little clothing, the small children naked, the women decent. All had their little charcoal fires, with pots boiling over them; the rooms within looked dismally dark, close, and dirty; there are no windows, no air and light save through the ever-open door. The beds are sometimes partitioned ofTby a screen of dried palmleaf, but I saw no better sleeping-privilege than a board with a blanket or coverlet- From this we turned to the nursery, where all the children incapable of work arc kept; the babies are quite naked, and sometimes very handsome in their wav, black and shining, with bright eyes and well-formed limits. No great

provision is made for their amusement, but the little girls nurse them tenderly enough, and now and then the elders fling them a bit of orange or chaimilo, for which they scramble like so many monkeys. Appeals are constantly made to the pockets of visitors, by open hands stretched out in all directions. To these "Naila"—" Nothing"—is the safe reply; for, if you give to one, the others close about you with frantic gesticulation, and you have to break your way through them with some violence, which hurts your own feelings more than it does theirs. On. strict plantations this is not allowed; but Don Jacinto, like Lord Ashburton at the time of the Maine treaty, is an old man,— a very old man; and where discipline cannot be maintained, peace must be secured on any terms. We visit next the sugar-house, where we find the desired condiment in various stages of color and refinement It is whitened with clay, in large funnel-shaped vessels, open at the bottom, to allow the molasses to run off". Above are hogsheads of coarse, dark sugar; below is a huge pit of fermenting molasses, in which rats and small negroes occasionally commit involuntary suicide, and from which rum is made.—N. B. Rum is not a wicked word in Cuba ; in Boston everybody is shocked when it is named, and in Cuba nobody is shocked when it is drunk.

And here endeth the description of our visit to the sugar-plantation of Don Jacinto, and in good time, too,— for by this it had grown so hot, that we made a feeble rush for the volante, and lay back in it, panting for breath. Encountering a negress with a load of oranges on her head, we bought and ate the fruit with eagerness, though the oranges were bitter. The jolting over three miles of stone and rut did not improve the condition of our aching heads. Arriving at San Antonio, we thankfully went to bed for the rest of the morning, and dreamed, only dreamed, that the saucy black boy in the boilinghouse had run after us, had lifted the curtain of the volante, screeched a last impertinence after us, and kissed his hand for a good-bye, which, luckily for him, is likely to prove eternal.


The Spanish government experiences an unwillingness to admit foreigners into the Morro, their great stronghold, the causes of which may not be altogether mysterious. Americans have been of late especially excluded from it, and it was only by a fortunate chance that we •were allowed to visit it. A friend of a friend of ours happened to have a friend iu the garrison, and, after some delays and negotiations, an early morning hour was fixed upon for the expedition.

The fort is finely placed at the entrance of the harbor, and is in itself a picturesque object. It is built of a light, yellowish stone, which is seen, as you draw near, in strong contrast with the vivid green of the tropical waters. We approached it by water, taking a rowboat from the Alameda. As we passed, we had a good view of a daily Havana spectacle, tin; washing of the horses. This being by far the easiest and most expeditious way of cleaning the animals, they are driven daily to the sea in great numbers, those of one party being tied together; they disport themselves in the surge and their wet backs glisten in the Bun. Their drivers, nearly naked, plunge in with them, and bring them safely back to the shore.

But for the Morro. AVo entered without difficulty, anil began at once a somewhat steep ascent, which the heat, even at that early hour, made lal>orious. After some climbing, we reached the top of the parapet, and looked out from the back of the fortress. On this side, if ever on any, it will be taken,— for, standing with one's back to the harbor, one sees, nearly on the right hand, a point where trenches could be opened with advantage. The fort is heavily gunned and garrisoned, and seems to be in fighting order. The

outer wall is separated from the inner by a paved space some forty feet in width. The height of both walls makes this jioint a formidable one; but scaling-ladders could be thrown across, if one had possession of the outer wall. The material is the coralline rock common in this part of the island. It is a soft stone, and would prove, it is feared, something like the cotton-bag defence of New Orleans memory,— as the balls thrown from without would sink in, and not splinter the stone, which for the murderous work were to be wished. A little perseverance, with much perspiration, brought us to a high point, called the Lantern, which is merely a small room, where the telescope, signal-books, and signals are kept. Here we were received by an official in blue spectacles and with a hole in his boot, but still with that air of being the cbiefest thing on God's earth common to all Spaniards. The best of all was that we brought a sack of oranges with us, and that the time was now come for tbeir employment. With no other artillery than these did we take the very heart of the Morro citadel,— for, on offering them to the official with the hole, he surrendered at once, smiled, gave us seats, and sitting down with us, indeed, was soon in the midst of his half-dozenth orange. Having refreshed ourselves, examined the flags of all nations, and made all the remarks which our limited Spanish allowed, we took leave, redescended, and reembarked. One of our party, an old soldier, had meanwhile been busily scanning the points and angles of the fortress, pacing off distances, etc., etc. The result of his observations would, no doubt, be valuable to men of military minds. But the writer of this, to be candid, was especially engaged with the heat, the prospect, the oranges, and the soldiers' wives and children, who peeped out from windows here and there. Such trifling creatures do come into such massive surroundings, and trifle still!

Our ladies, being still in a furious mood of sight-seeing, desired to visit the University of Havana, and, having made appointment with an accomplished Cuban, betook themselves to the College, buildings with all proper escort. Their arrival in the peristyle occasioned some excitement. One of the students came up, and said, in good English, " What do you want?" Others, not so polite, stared and whispered in corners. A message to one of the professors was attended with some delay, and our Cuban friend, having gone to consult with him, returned to say, with some embarrassment, that the professor would be happy to show the establishment to the ladies on Sunday, at two, P. M., when every male creature but himself would be out of it; but as for their going through the rooms while the undergraduates were about, that was not to be thought of. "Why not?" asked the ladies. "For your own sake," said the messenger, and proceeded to explain that the ap|H>aranee of the skirled in these halls of learning would be followed by surh ill-conduct and indignity of impertinence on the part of the shirled as might be intolerable to the one and disadvantageous to the other. Now there be women, we know, whose horrid fronts could have awed these saucy little Cubans into decency and good behavior, and come that we know, whether possessing that power or not, would have delighted in the fancied exercise of it What strong-minded company, under these circumstances, would have turned back? What bolting, tramping, and rushing would they not have made through the ranks of the astonished professors and students? The Anniversary set, for example, who sweep the Jmjws of men, or, coming upon one forlorn, crush him as a boa does a sheep. Our silly little flock only laughed, colored, and retreated to the volanles, where they held a council of war, and decided to go visit some establishment where possibly better manners might prevail.

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Returning on the Sunday, at the hour appointed, they walked through the deserted building, and found spacious rooms, the pulpits of the professors, the benches of the students, the Queen's portrait, a

yery limited library, and, for all consolation, some pleasant Latin sentences over the doors of the various departments, celebrating the solace and delights of learning. This was seeing the College, literally; but it was a good deal like seeing the lion's den, the lion himself being absent on leave,— or like visiting the hippopotamus in Regent's Park on those days in which he remains steadfastly buried in his tank, and will show only the tip of a nostril for your entrance-fee. Still, it was a pleasure to know that learning was so handsomely housed; and as for the little rabble who could not be trusted in the presence of the sex, we forgave them heartily, knowing that soberer manners would one day come upon them, as inevitably as baldness and paternity.

Let me here say, that a few days in Havana make clear to one the seclusion of women in the East, and its causes. Wherever the animal vigor of men is so large in proportion to their moral power, as in those countries, women must be glad to forego their liberties for the protection of the strong arm. One master is better for them than many. Whatever tyranny may grow out of such barbarous manners, the institution springs from a veritable necessity and an original good intention. The Christian religion should change this, which is justifiable only in a Mohammedan country. But where that religion is so loosely administered as in Cuba, where its teachers themselves frequent the cockpit and the gaming-table, one must not look for too much of its power in the manners and morals of men.

The Bcneficenza was our next station. It is, as its name signifies, an institution with a benevolent purpose, an orphan asylum and foundling hospital in one. The State here charitably considers that infants who are abandoned by their parents are as much orphaned as they can become by the interposition of death,— nay, more. The death of parents oftenest leaves a child with some friend or relative; but the foundling is cut off from all human relationship, — he belongs only to the hand that takes him up, when he has been left to die. Despite the kind cruelty of modern theories, which will not allow of suitable provision for the sufferer, for fear of increasing the frequency of the crime by which he suffers, our hearts revolt at the miserable condition of those little creatures in our great cities, confounded with hopeless pauperism in its desolate asylums, or fanned out to •tarve and die. They belong to the State, and the State should nobly retrieve the world's offence against them. Their broken galaxy shows many a bright star here and there. Such a little wailing creature has been found who has commanded great actions and done good service among men. Let us, then, cherish the race of foundlings, of whom Moses was the first and the greatest. The princess who reared him saw not the glorious destiny which lay hid, as a birth-jewel, in his little basket of reeds. She saw only, as some of us have seen, a helpless, friendless babe. When he dedicated to her his

first edition of the Pentateuch But,

nay, he did not; for neither gratitude nor dedications were in fashion among the Jews.

We found the Beneficenza spacious, well-ventilated, and administered with great order. It stands near the sea, with a fine prospect in view, and must command a cool breeze, if there be any. The children enjoy sea-bathing in summer. The superintendent received us most kindly, and presented us to the sisters who have charge of the children, who were good specimens of their class. We walked with them through the neat dormitories, and observed that they were much more airy than those of the Jesuit College, lately described. They all slept on the sac-kings of the cots, beds being provided only in the infirmary. In the latter place we found but two inmates,— one suffering from ordinary Cuban fever, the other with ophthalmia. — N. B. Disease of the eyes does not seem to be common in Cuba, in spite of the tropical glare of the sun; nor do people nurse and complain of their eyes there, as with us. We found a separate small kitchen

for the sick, which was neat and eonven. ient The larger kitchen, too, was bandsomely endowed with apparatus, and the superintendent told us, with a twinkle in his eye, that the children lived well. Coffee at six, a good breakfast at nine, dinner at the usual hour, bread and coffee before bed-time; — this seemed very suitable as to quantity, though differing from our ideas of children's food; but it must be remembered that the nervous stimulus of coffee is not found to be excessive in hot climates; it seems to be only wbat Nature demands,— no more. The kind nun who accompanied us now showed us, with some pride, various large presses, 6et in the wall, and piled to the top with clean and comfortable children's clothing. We came presently to where the boys were reciting their catechism. An ecclesiastic was hearing them ; — they seemed ready enough with their answers, but were allowed to gabble off the holy words in a manner almost unintelligible, and quite indecorous. They were bright, healthylooking little fellows, ranging apparently from eight to twelve in age. They had good play-ground set off for them, and shady galleries to walk up and down in. Coming from their quarter, the girls' department seemed quiet enough. Here was going on the eternal task of needlework, to which the sex has been condemned ever since Adam's discovery of his want of wardrobe. Oh, ye wretched, foolish women ! why will ye forever sew? "We must not only sew, but be thankful to sew; that little needle being, as the sentimental Curtis has said, the only thing between us and the worst that may befall." These incipient women were engaged in various forms of sewing, —the mast skilful in a sort of embroidery, like that which forms the border of pina handkerchiefs. A few were reading and spelling. One poor blind girl sat amongst them, with melancholy arms folded, and learned nothing,—they told us, nothing; for the instruction of the blind is not thought of in these parts. This seemed piteous to us, and made us reflect how happy are our blinds, to say nothing of oar deafs and dumbs. Idiocy is not uncommon here, and is the result of continual intermarriage between near relations; but it will be long before they will provide it with a separate asylum aud suitable instruction.

But now came the saddest part of the whole exhibition, — a sight common enough in Europe, but, by some accident, hitherto unseen by us. Here is a sort of receptacle, with three or four compartments, which turns on a pivot. One side of it is open to the street, and in it the wretched parent lays the more wretched baby, — ringing a small bell, at the same time, for the new admittance; tho parent vanishes, the receptacle turns on its pivot,—the baby is within, and, we are willing to believe, in merciful hands.

The sight of this made, for the first time, the crime real to me. I saw, at a flash, the whole tragedy of desertion,— the cautious approach, the frightened countenance, the furtive act, and the great avenging pang of Nature after its consummation. What was Hester Prynne's pillory-, compared to the heart of any of those mothers? I thought, too, of Rousseau, bringing to such a place as this children who had the right to inherit divine genius, and deserting them for the sordid reason that he did not choose to earn their bread,— the helpless mother weeping at home, and begging, through long years, to be allowed to seek and reclaim them.

Well, here were the little creatures kindly cared for; yet what a piteous place was their nursery! Some of the recent arrivals looked as if ill-usage had been exhausted upon them belbre they were brought hither. Blows and drugs

and starvation had been tried upon them, but, with the tenacity of infancy, they clung to life. They would not die ;—well, then, they should live to regret it. Some of them lay on the floor, deformed and helpless; the older ones formed a little class, and were going through some elementary exercise when we passed. The babies had a large room allotted to them, and I found the wet-nurses apportioned one to each child. This appeared a very generous provision, as, in such establishments elsewhere, three and even four children are given to one nurse. They had comfortable cribs, on each of which was pinned the name of its little inmate, and the date of its entrance ;—generally, the name and age of the child are found written on a slip of paper attached to its clothing, when it is left in the receptacle. I saw on one, "Cecilio, three weeks old." He had been but a few days in the establishment.

Of course, I lingered longest in the babies' room, and longest of all near the crib of the little Cecilio. He was a pretty baby, and seemed to me the most ill-used of all, because the youngest "Could they not bear with you three weeks, little fellow?" I said. "I know those at whose firesides such as you would have been welcome guests. That New York woman whom I met lately, young, rich, and childless,— I could commend you to her in place of the snarling little spaniel fiend who was her constant care and companion."

But here the superintendent made a polite bow, saying, — "And now your Worships have seen all; for the chapel is undergoing repairs, and cannot be visited." And so we thanked, aud departed.

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