Imatges de pÓgina
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“Oh, yer honor," said Nan, speaking It was now dark, with that clear darkness up in her fresh voice, “if the Lord had kep' of the mountain world on a summer's night. away in disgust from all sinners, what'd ha' The moon came floating up from the lower become of the world ?"

world, swimming in faint gold through “Nan, Nan!” said her mother, quickly, the black-purple atmosphere. The party “yer tongue's too free.”

broke up, and the various figures moved “ She's right,” said Paul, “and I think about like pleasant shadows in the luminous if he believed he could be of use that Paul twilight. The fire-light began to glow Finiston would come here."

through the cabin doorway. Counsels were “Do ye know him? Are ye his frind ?" being held about the housing of the stranger, cried three voices together.

the guest of the night. The women spread "I know something of him,” said Paul. new straw in an out-house, where they all

“ You do ?” cried Bid. “Oh, thin, I'll meant to sleep, leaving the cabin to his make bould to send a word till him, if yer honor. Paul frustrated their intentions, honor'll take the charge o't.”

however, by taking possession of the out. Willingly,” said Paul; “I promise he house, with Con for a companion. Soon shall surely hear your message.'

all was silent on the mountain-side. Paul “First tell him to come, for the love o'God slept soundly on his bed of straw. Once an' the poor. It would rise cratures' hearts during the night he awoke. Through a to hear a bit o' a promise from him, an' he breach in the wall he could see the moon might stop some harm, an' do many's the still hovering over the hills. In her wake good turn. An' thin if that doesn't touch, he saw a face floating; May's face, with just tell him that if he doesn't come soon that look which it had worn as she clasped there'll be a poor fool body put stannin' her black cross. in his shoes!”

“ What a coward I have been !” he said. “ How?" asked Paul. “Who is that?”

“ Yondher!” said Bid, pointing to Con, who had fallen sound asleep on the heather

A CUBAN WEDDING. at Nan's feet.

“ Tell me what you mean,” said Paul. I PACE, like a sentinel on guard, the

“ There's wan Tibbie, an’she calls hersel' spacious market-place which stands more Misther Finiston's housekeeper, an' she than forty feet above the hilly streets of lives there an’houlds the grip o' him. An' a Cuban town. Occasionally I pause to she says she's Con's aunt. An' she gives lean over the iron rail which encloses the out that her sisther, Con's mother, was market, and to contemplate a certain singlemarried on Simon's brother, an' she calls storied habitation beneath me. A covered Con the heir o' Tobereevil. An' there's a balcony, as roomy as a small chamber, lawyer comes here, the agint-may the stands before the blue and white painted curse o' the counthry

house; the windows and door of which Stop, Bid !" cried the house-mother. are so lofty and wide that the interior of

Ay, sure!” said Bid. "I needn't sin the dwelling being brilliantly illuminated my soul on him; God forgive him, an' with gas, I can see into every apartment

which faces the street. A couple of ladies, Go on, please,” said Paul.

attired in light muslin, are swaying and “ Well, this lawyer knows the way o' fanning themselves in cane rocking-chairs, makin' wills, an’some fine mornin' Simon'll and are apparently entertaining, or being die, lavin' all he has to Con. And Tibbie entertained by, two gentlemen visitors who and the lawyer'll have Tobereevil betune are seated before them, also in rockingthem. What would Paul Finiston say to chairs, and with fans and cigarettes in their honor ?"

hands. Anon a third gentleman and then a Paul had turned pale. “I think,” said fourth, both attired in spotless white drill he, “that if he wouldn't come for the first , starched to the stiffness of cardboard, step part of your message he would not for the into the balcony from the street, enter by second."

the open door, and without a word occupy “But don't ye see it's the same thing ?” | two of the twelve rocking-chairs, which are cried the house-mother, passionately. “Oh arranged in rows in the centre of the apartLord! What way will it be wid the people ment, like seats in a railway carriage. The in this counthry at all?"

conversation does not seem very animated ; “ I did not say he would not come,” said but it is varied by the younger lady, who Paul, gently.

presently rises in the most languid manner

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that, yer



possible, and crawling towards a grand " Your father is stubborn and unreasonpiano, placed on glass pedestals as a non- able, and deserves any disappointment conductor of moisture from the brick floor, which may await him. Besides, you have proceeds to play a Danza Criolla. When been severely and unjustly punished for no she has finished her performance, and a fault that I can see. And now if happiness little more conversation, or Tertulia as it is in store for you, it will be only a wellis called, has been disposed of, the visitors earned reward for much patience and sufrise in military fashion, and saluting the fering." ladies withdraw, and betake themselves to * Ay! madre mia,” sighs the younger a neighbouring house, where the same for- lady, "then you find nothing to prevent malities belonging to an evening visit in our speedy union?” Cuba are observed.

“ Nothing. And as for means, why your Still reclining upon my iron support, I father owes his position and fortune to his watch my señoras in muslin as they issue alliance with me, and although he has the forth upon the wide balcony. One of them, disposal and management of the sugar a stout old lady with a plump, good-na- estate, I have still a private purse of

my tured face, summons one of her black own out of which I will assist you both domestics, who presently appears with a if Gualterito has not sufficient.” couple of rocking-chairs, which he leaves " Papacito pretended to object to him on the balcony. It is a sultry evening on the grounds of his respectability and (though the month is January), and the honour, but now we have received from night air is inviting.

his country and his friends here ample I am intimately acquainted with the testimony on those points, and also on ladies before me, and in one of them I am that which you, mamá mia, prize more deeply interested, for her name is Cachita, than all." and she is fresh from a certain convent Yes, Gualterito is a genuine white, where she has been incarcerated six months which, in this country of doubtful colour, for making love without her father's ap- is, you know, a great recommendation. proval.* That gentleman has lately de. Your own father's mother was anything parted for North America, in order to butrecruit his health, which had been greatly “ No importa, mamacita; I am going to shattered by an accident which he met wed now after your own heart.” with while inspecting some machinery in “ Your father would have you married use at his sugar estate. It is considered to young Amador, about whose dark origin a great event when a Cuban leaves his there is very little doubt. But then Don island for a foreign country, and until news Catasús, his parent, is a rich old coffeeof his safe arrival reaches his friends at planter, and that is enough for Don Sevehome, his absence is deplored, as though riano.” he had left both the old world as well as

Cachita gazes

upwards into the obthe new. In consideration of this, together scurity of the market-place, from whence in with the fact that my inamorata has by happier times she has often looked for me her father's grace been restored to her home to emerge. and family, it is scarcely befitting, as “ I think someone is standing there,” Cuban customs go, that her lover should she observes. renew thus early his visits at her parental "Perhaps it is your lover, who is puncroof. So, until assured that my reappear- tilious about visiting us until he is assured ance will not be thought ill-timed, I pru- of my hearty welcome.” dently retire. But the scene of my retire- I cough twice. ment is at present far from remote, and Somebody is there, sure enough,” says from it I now take a very pardonable sur- Cachita. ** May I send Gumersinda, the vey of my prospects.

negress, with a message, mamacita ?” Cachita and her amiable mother are Doña Belen gives her consent, and then airing a subject which deeply concerns my signifying her intention to retire for the happiness, so I may be excused if in the night, bids her daughter follow her in half stillness of the night

pause to overhear an hour. their dialogue. That portion of it which Soon the pattering of naked feet ascendinterests me most is when the older lady ing the stone steps which lead to the observes :

market, announces the approach of GumerSee ALL THB Year Round, New Series, vol. vii, sinda. That faithful vassal comes with an


invitation for me from her fair mistress,

p. 33.


and I am not long in obeying her sum- with the sacred edifice. It is a dreary mons.

apartment, dismally lighted with two long We meet. We embrace; and though we wax candles. Nobody is present save myhave much to tell since our separation, self, the male friends already mentioned, some time elapses ere we can give expres- and the sacristan, who enlivens us by try. sion to our sentiments. When we have ing (and failing) to decorate, with false become sufficiently accustomed to one an- flowers and false candles, a miserable altarother's society, we calmly discuss our pend- piece at one extremity of the chapel. My ing marriage. Mamma has given her con- importance as a bridegroom is not at present, papa is away, and we are to be shortly sent appreciated either by myself or by united with all the ceremony attending a my friends, with whom I converse upon Cuban wedding.

indifferent subjects, and who, like myself, Some weeks pass, however, before that are attired in ordinary walking costume. happy event can be celebrated. My creed

Presently a kitrin, or gig on enormous differs somewhat from that of my intended, wheels, drawn by a couple of mules, with a and I have to submit to certain formalities black postilion in jack-boots, halts without. required by the Catholic priest who is to The bride, accompanied by her mother and marry us; the most important of these a friend, alight, and without taking notice being the production of a certificate prov- of anybody in particular, pass silently into ing my birth, parentage, and origin. We the chapel. The importance of my position must wait until this can be procured from does not reveal itself by this act, nor is my native country, and, meanwhile, other it considerably improved when the ecclesiobstacles to our union are surmounted. astic who is to marry us emerges from a Foremost among these is the question dark corner, smiles artificially around him,

my confession. Cachita confesses; and and exhausts the rest of his amiability that is nothing new to her; but I cannot with the ladies. But the priest is not so be induced to follow her example. Not unconscious of me as I suppose. Soon he that I have anything to confess about singles me out from the group of males near which I need be ashamed; but I with him, and bids me follow him, my bride, draw from this obligation on principle. and my future mother-in-law, into an ad. Besides, I have authority for my objec jacent chamber. But little is required of tion in certain British subjects who have me here besides affixing my signature to a wedded in Cuba under similar circum- paper which I do not read; and when the stances to my own. Prompted by Her holy man has addressed something or other Majesty's British consul, and a native to me in the Latin language, I am politely lawyer, I gain my point.

requested to withdraw. Shortly after my In my new capacity of accepted lover retirement the bride and her escort issue I am bound to submit to many hard from the mysterious chamber, and after ships. I may not meet my intended saluting us all round, take their departure alone under any circumstances, and I am and drive away. My distinguished posiprivileged to enjoy her society only in tion seems to be scarcely increased by these the presence of the numerous relatives proceedings; but when


friends conand friends, who visit her at all hours gratulate me, the lights of the chapel are of the day and evening. Then I am extinguished, and the decorations on the expected to return these same visits in miserable altar-piece are stowed away, I company


future bride and her endeavour to realise the feelings of a marnearest relatives. In short, the long period ried man. I follow my friends as they lead of my courtship is made so irksome that I the way to the bride's parental roof, conwould gladly relinquish two years of my soling myself with newly-rolled cigarettes married life for half an hour of the old as I walk along. secret love-making at Cachita's grated It is nearly two A.M. before we reach the window.

scene of the festivities, where most of the The wearisome ordeal at length comes to guests are already assembled. A long an end—the nuptial day arrives. The cere- table has been tastefully arranged with mony, such as it is, takes place very late sweetmeats, cakes, fruit, wine, and other in the night; indeed, it is early morning luxuries, and some of the guests, whose before I and my male friends reach the appetites could not be restrained, have cathedral, where the event is to be cele already inaugurated the festivities. Much brated. A single bell tolls like a funeral confusion, uproar, and struggling after knell as we enter a small chapel connected | dainties peculiar to a Cuban banquet pre


vail, and it is not without an effort that where, after a painful lingering of eight I contrive at last to find a place near my days, he departs for that bourn whence no bride. Healths are drunk and responded traveller returns. to incessantly, and often simultaneously; rather, as it would seem, for the excuse of drinking champagne and English bottled

A BIT OF GLASS. ale, than from motives of sentiment.

When enough cigarettes have been FAMILIARITY, if it do not always breed smoked, and enough wine and beer have contempt, often begets unjust appreciation. been disposed of, all the company rises We come to consider as matters of course, with one accord. The ladies throw light as if we picked them up in the streets, or veils across their shoulders, the gentlemen as if they grew on hedges, things which don their panamas; and the bride and her are the result of years of investigation mother, together with the bridegroom and and ages of experiment. Light is our all the guests, followed by an army of natural birthright, but we are apt to black domestics, leave Doña Belen's habi- forget that glass is a long-sought, muchtation, and marching in noisy procession desiderated, hardly-found means of transalong the narrow streets, arrive at the mitting, modifying, and fully utilising bride's future home. It is a one-storied that marvellous agent. We put on our dwelling with marble floors, whitewashed spectacles to read this journal, with as walls, and is furnished with brand-new little thought of their novelty and imcane-bottomed chairs and other adornments portance, as when we open our eyes on belonging to a Cuban residence. The huge waking.

waking. With no greater heed does the doors and windows of every apartment sailor use his telescope to discover a signal, are thrown open to their widest, and the the beauty a cheval-glass to complete her interior being brilliantly lighted with gas, toilet, and the wine-grower a bottle to retail the view from the street is almost as com- his champagne. And yet those articles plete as it is within the premises. Every- of daily utility are neither as old as the body crowds into the latter, and examines hills nor as simple as Good-day to you.” the

arrangements of each chamber with as Glass, once unknown in ordinary life, is deep an interest as if they were wandering now an object of daily and absolute necesthrough an old baronial mansion with cards sity. Rich and poor alike must have it. of invitation from its absent owner. The Who looks out of window now through reception-room, the comedor or dining- panes of oiled paper pierced with a knitroom, the out-houses around the patio or ting-needle to peer at the passers-by ? court-gard, are carefully inspected by the Who drinks wine now out of china cups or throng, who are irrepressible even in silver tankards ? What has become of the respect of the dormitory assigned for the wine-skin and the “ leather bottle”? Do use of the bridegroom, and that allotted to our navigators trust to beacon-fires, or to the bride, and situated in quite a different glazed light-houses shining certainly and

brightly, whether catoptrically or dioptriEverybody's curiosity being satisfied, cally ? What is it which enables us to | everybody, save the newly-married pair and ripen grapes in April, and to have our

a few black domestics, are wished a “muy winter gardens filled with flowers and

buenas noches,” or, more correctly speaking fruits that Alcinous never saw or dreamt \ (for the hour is four A.m.), a very good of ? Glass, undoubtedly, has been one of the morning

most powerful agents in advancing modern The remains of this little romance are civilisation. Our forefathers worked their easily disposed of. A week after our mar- weary way through an age of stone and riage Cachita's stern parent, Don Seve- an age of iron. Those epochs represented i riano, returns from his trip to North Ame- rude but solid material progress. We are

rica in a very precarious state of health, living in an age of glass, whose translucency the voyage having rather increased than symbolises the clear, onward gaze of intellessened the symptoms of his malady. He lectual advancement. No glass means no remains unaware of his daughter's alliance domestic luxury, nor even comfort, since with me, and it is deemed prudent not to darkness is a plague even in the warm enlighten him until he is in a fit condition climate of Egypt. No glass, no scientific to receive the startling news.

Meanwhile discovery; without it the great majority of his fond daughter never leaves the sick- the potent army of ’ometers are impossible. chamber to which he is consigned, and Glass, which gives a free passage to




light, sticks up "No thoroughfare” in the make an enormous advance (without holdface of electricity. Hence it curbs, con- ing out the slightest hope of our ever tains, and stores electricity, thereby render approaching there) in the direction of the ing enormous service to the workers in two opposite poles of immensity—the infi. electrical discovery or application. Glass nitely great and the infinitely small

. has made all the difference in the condi- However general, now, may be the use of tion of a science which can foretel future panes of glass, to allow the inhabitants to events with greater certainty than all the look out and the kindly sun to look into a oracles of old—which can now predict, to house, we should be wrong in fancying that a second, years beforehand, an eclipse of privilege to date from a very ancient past. the sun or moon, or the occultation of a Long after its discovery, glass was still star- and the same science as known to rare, and, consequently, precious. In spite of Chaldean shepherds by what their unas- what Strabo and Pliny have said respecting sisted eyes could tell them while watching the glass-houses of Sidon and Memphis, the glories of a starlight night. And the it is nevertheless true that Athens and the unknown worlds revealed by the micro- other cities of Greece, at the height of scope, what knowledge should we have of their prosperity, had no conception of such them but for glass? The singular pheno- a novelty as a glazed window. But in the mena of locomotive plants, the curiosities year 79 before the Christian era, the date of ciliary motion as seen on the heads of of Herculaneum's and Pompeii's destruction rotifers ånd elsewhere, the masses of ani. by Vesuvius, certain Romans, probably mated jelly which take any shape and are very rich patricians, fitted their windows constantly changing their protean forms, with panes of glass. Sashes furnished the proofs of design exhibited by the with bluish-green glass have been found spiracles or breathing holes in the sides of in disinterring Pompeian houses, and an insects, the multifarious crowds of life, analysis by M. Claudet shows its composi. activity, and ambiguous organism contained tion to be analogous to the glass of the in a drop less than the head of a pin, would present day. for us, without glass, be non-existent. He During the reign of Tiberius, a consiwho has never used a microscope has but derable impulse was given to the manu. a limited cognisance of the marvels of facture of glass, which still continued nature. It is his own fault if the student extremely dear, preventing its frequent remains withont that knowledge; for it is employment for windows. Glazed winplaced within his easy reach by glass. dows, however, for the people of the South,

At every step we take in the domain of who had never been accustomed to that science, we meet with glass, glass again, comfort, were things of minor necessity. and ever glass, applied to all sorts of pur. Their lodgings consisted of little chambers, poses, obedient to the philosopher's will, with scarcely any furniture in them, which assuming the most strange and improbable they occupied only at night and a very forms. Here it helps the modern Jupiter small portion of the day, the greater part Tonans to grasp the elements of thunder of their existence being spent in the streets - that is to say, of lightning, the producer and the public places. Small openings in of thunder-in his hand. There it helps the walls, near the ceiling of their apartthe chemist, in his laboratory, to ask Matter ments, allowed air and a modicum of light the rules and reasons of its wilful conduct. to enter. The houses of rich patricians Elsewhere it enables the anatomist, whe- only, or the imperial palaces, could boast ther of self-conscious animals or of uncon- of windows glazed-if we may say so—with scious plants, to unravel the pattern ac- thin slices of diaphanous alabaster, or with cording to which each special tissue is light plates of semi-transparent gypsum. woven, to trace the mode and progress of Certain windows had neither translucid organic growth, and to discover life, order, plates nor glass. They consisted of narrow and beauty in apparently shapeless dirt and slips of marble with open intervals bedust. Is it, then, too much to say that tween them. From this state of things the physical science owes much of its recent passage is long to the Crystal Palace, the rapid development to glass ? Modern new Kew palm-house, and glass-roofed science is founded on observation, and the railway stations. whole universe, inviting inspection, lies Churches were the first buildings to before it. The wider the field of observa- patronise the re-application of glass to tion, the grander and the surer are the architectural purposes. Those of Brioude conclusions grasped. Glass enables us to and Tours towards the close of the sixth

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