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Havana As Is

Havana As Is image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

A correspondent writes tnat " trie wan that once surrounded the City of Havana has crumbled to dust and presents a sad spectacle of neglect and deoay. The canal that inclosed the wall ia in a bad condition, and its pools of green scum poison the air. The home govermnent extorts the last farthing, and leaves no tithe for the repairs of the ravages of time. The houses, save those of the rioh, bear the unmistakable garb of age and neglect. - The streets are not wider than two passing vehicles demand, and the side-walks but two feet. The streets are mostly unattractive retail establishments and barnlike wholesale houses. The public buildings are picturesque in their tropical style, but inexpensive ; and the saloons plaiu to rudeness. Yet for all this, Havana is a beautif ui city, and highly attractive in its antiquo style. The traveler lingerg there in a dreamy fascination that seems never to weary, Her harbor, the securost in the world, with its fringe of villages and innumerable gondoliers, presents a picture not as brilliant as tho bay of New York, nor as historical as that of Naples, but as charming in its poetic suggestisreness. In the absence of music at the Camp of Mars and the Grovernor's ganlens I passed many evenings sailing on the bav and enjoying the three hours' tropical twilight where the moon looks down, not through the gray air of our climate, but an atmosphere of vermillion. Tho native Havanese is an excellent specimen of humanity, sïightly less than medium size, with graceful form and usually handsome face. His intellect is quick, and often brilliant, but rarely strong or philosophical. His friendships are warm, but rarely enduring; and, though altogether a sympathetic and companionable person, I would not select him for the friend of ïny soul. Yet I believe his qualities of mind and heart are such as would, under self-government, develop a first-class race. There are but few good scholars in the Caribhean Islands, thougli irnc Is sUuuk with their wonderful facility in languages. You wlll rarely meet a Caribbean, white or black, who does not speak English, French and Spanish. The Cuban women are greatly inferior to ours. They are usually short, fat and brown, with black hair and eyes. Their manner of life precludes the possibility of beauty or health. They never exercise nor take, except late in the afternoon, any recreation in the outer air except in carriages. My first observation of Cuban feinale beauty was in the brilliantly lighted gardens of the Governor at a popular concert, when the black eyes, powdered skin and gorgeous apparel of the Señoritas was seen to full advantage under the roseate transpa encies."


Old News
Michigan Argus