Puslapio vaizdai

last, and guessed it was time I took him in hand like a man. I remember getting red-hot all over, and feeling a rush of righteous anger rise up in my head. And an angry man will do anything, so up I got in the eye of all the people, a thing very contrary to my nature, I'm sure. The place swam before my eyes, and I was only conscious of one thing: my wife tugging at my tail to drag me down. But naught could have shut me up at that tragical moment, and I spoke with a loud and steady voice:

"I deny it and defy it, Rev. Batson," I said when he asked if anybody knew just cause; and the people fluttered like a flock of geese, and parson made answer:

"You will meet me in the vestry after divine service, Farmer Blake," he said, and so went on with his work.

I sat down, and my wife whispered: "Now you 've done it, you silly gawk!" But I was too put about to heed her. In fact, I could n't stand no more religion for the moment, and I rose up and went out, and hid behind the family vault of the lords of the manor till the people had all got away after service. And then I came forth, and went in the vestry. But I was n't the first, for who should be waiting for me but my sister Mary and Bob Battle himself!

Bob was looking out of the window at the graves, thoughtful-like, and parson was getting out of his robes; but Mary did n't wait for them. She let on to me like a catamountain, and I never had such a dressing-down from mortal man or woman in my life as I had from her that Sunday morning.

"You meddlesome, know-naught, gert fool!" she said. "How do you dare to lift your beastly voice in the house of God, and defy your Maker, and disgrace your family, and come between me and the man I be going to marry? You're an insult to the parish and the nation," she screamed out, "and 't is enough to make father and mother turn in their graves."

"I did n't know you was to church," I answered her, "and of course if you 're pleased-"

'Pleased!" she cried. "Very like I am pleased! 'T is a pleasing sort of thing for a woman to wait for marriage till she 's in sight of seventy, and then hear her banns defied by her own brother! Of

course I'm pleased-quite delighted, I 'm sure. Who would n't be?"

Well, we was three men to one woman, and little by little we calmed her down with a glass of cold water and words of wisdom from the reverend. Then I apologized to all of 'em, to Mary first for mistaking her meaning, and to Bob next for being a bit too busy, and to his holiness most of all for brawling under the sacred roof. But he was an understanding man, and thought nothing of it; and as to Battle, he had meant to come up that very afternoon, along with his betrothed wife, to see us. And it had been Mary's maidenly idea to let us hear tell. about it in church first-to break the news and spare her blushes.

Well, I went home with my tail a good bit between my legs, in a manner of speaking, and my sister so far forgave me as to come to tea that day fortnight, though not sooner. And she was cold and terrible stand-offish when she did come. We made it up, however, long before the wedding, thanks to Bob himself; for he bore no malice, and confessed to me in strict privacy, after all was over, that it had been a difficult and dangerous business, and the Chitral campaign a fool to it.

"The thing is to strike the right note in these matters," he said. "And it were n't till the third time that I struck it with your sister. Afore that I talked of being her right hand and protector and so on, and I offered to be a prop to her declining years and all that. And I knew I 'd failed almost before the words were spoken. But the third time I just went for her all ends up, as if we was boy and girl, and I told her that I loved her and wanted her for herself and would n't take no for an answer. Why, God forgive me! I even said I 'd throw myself in the river if she refused again! But there it was; she yielded, and I kissed her, and she very near fainted with excitement. And I want you to understand this, Rupert Blake; I 'm not after her stuff nor her farm nor nothing that 's worth a penny to any man. Her will stands, and everything goes back to you and yours. I only ask to stop along with her till I 'm called; for I 'm alone in the world, and should n't like to be thrust out. And if Mary goes first, then I ordain that you let me bide to my dying day in comfort,

out of respect to her memory. And that 's all I ask or want."

Well, I did n't see how the man could say fairer than that, nor more did my wife. And it all went very easy, I'm sure. They was wedded, and spent eight fairly happy years together, and Bob knew his place till Mary's dying day. He did n't kill himself with work after he 'd got her, and he was n't at church as regular as of old; but he pleasured her very willing' most times, and was always kind and considerate and attentive; and if ever they had a word, only them and their Maker knew about it.

She loved him, and she loved the ring he put on her finger, and she loved signing herself "Mary Battle" -never tired of that. And then she died, and he bided on till he was a very old, ancient man, with my son to help him. And then he died, too, and was buried along with his wife. He was always self-contained and selfrespecting. He took his luck for granted, and never made no fuss about it; and such was his character, that no man ever envied him his good fortune. In fact, I do believe that everybody quite agreed with his own opinion, that he had n't got any more than he deserved, if as much.

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TOT all my treasure hath the bandit Time

Locked in his glimmering caverns of the past:

Fair women dead, and friendships of old rhyme,
And noble dreams that had to end at last.
Ah, these indeed, and from youth's sacristy
Full many a holy relic hath he torn,

Vessels of mystic faith God filled for me,
Holding them up to Him in life's young morn.
All these are mine no more; Time hath them all-
Time and his adamantine jailer Death.
Despoilure vast! yet seemeth it but small
When unto thee I turn, thy bloom and breath
Filling with light and incense the last shrine,
Innermost, inaccessible-yea, thine!

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Author of "The Man Who Saw It," "We Find the Island of Servants," etc.




Drawn by W. M. Berger TINAJONE, OR WATER-JAR

HOEVER drinks its tinajone water, surely shall return to Camagüey. So they say in Camagüey, once the always faithful, very noble, and very loyal city of Santa Maria de Puerto Principe.

It must be true. I have drunk its tinajone water, and I cannot be content. I must see again the broad church towers of gamboge and pink and blue above the red roofs of pottery, and lose myself in the tight, gaudy streets. It is not the taste of the tinajone water that draws one. Tinajone water is rain-water, extremely pure, without doubt, but not extremely delicious.

I want to sit again under the Moorish eaves of the house-galleries about a patio garden where the water-jars sit, red and globular, as Arabic as the fluted rooftiles from which the water will roar to

fill them when the black West Indian rains come. Into such jars the faithful Morgiana poured the oil that boiled the Forty Thieves so efficiently.

Soon the water-jars will be dry. Camagüey owns a most modern water-supply system, which arrives through iron pipes, and the noble earthenware cisterns will survive only as ornaments or as receptacles for palms. Then there will be no more work for the agreeable old gentleman whose official duty it is to inspect every water-jar in Camagüey once a week, and put live little fishes into the water to destroy breeding mosquitos. There will be no more processions of donkeys, pitching and rolling under giant tins of riverwater, to replenish the jars when the dry season prolongs itself unduly. The blue and green lizards will have no place in which to drown themselves. The red and yellow frogs will miss the cool, arched interiors to which they love to paste themselves. The scorpions will miss the happy race-tracks of the deep rims.

Other charms beside the water-jars are going from Camagüey. Camagüey mer

chants are beginning to put glass windows into shops, and glass windows mark the end of painted cities. When shops become fended from the rest of the street by more than a pillar or two, that street ceases to be a Moor's street of bazaars.

Still, the Moor's houses remain. They remain through hurricane and earthquake and revolution. They have survived the conscientious efforts of pirates and bucaneers, as may be seen set truly forth in Mr. Thomas Cates's doleful remark about Santo Domingo. Mr. Cates was with Sir Francis Drake at the taking of that city. They held the town for a month, and tried with honest patience to destroy it. "But," said Mr. Cates, bitterly, "tho' we ordeined eche morning by day breake that two hundred Mariners did naught else but labour to fire and burne, yet did we not in this time consume so much as one third of the towne."

Stone-floored, stone-walled, the only wood in the ancient houses is the iron-like wood of the rafters supporting the peaked roofs of tile, and the equally iron-like wood of doors and shutters.

Drawn by W. M. Berger


So the old American cities remain more truly old in aspect than some of the old cities of Europe. They are our cities of Harun-alRashid; for when the Spaniard built them, he was fresh from the domination of the Moor. His architecture, his engineering, his art were of the Arabic universities of Toledo, Cordova, Seville, and Granada.

Of all the painted cities, Camagüey is the last to surrender its seclusion. The others were long ago found by the tourist steamship, for they sit by the sea; but Camagüey sits in the middle of the very big and very untraveled land of Cuba.

The railroad discovered it only twelve years ago. For more than three centuries it had sat, strong and rich, so utterly hidden that its very name was scarcely known to the outer world. To reach any other city, its denizens had to journey on horseback, depending for night shelter on the hospitality of planters or, lacking that,

slinging their hammocks under a cocoathatch shed in a village.

Stubbornly, intelligently, Camagüey is both resisting and accepting modernity. The great gilt and jeweled images from the churches are still carried through its streets on religious feast-days, followed by multitudes with tall, lighted candles, and led by naked, golden-brown little children, with gauze wings tied to their shoulders. But the narrow streets through which the medieval procession crawls are kept so clean that one may wander through any part of Camagüey, from plaza to slum, in white linen clothes and white canvas shoes, and gather never a speck of dirt.

The gong of the trolley-car clangs in Camagüey, but it is still a city of riders. In all the streets stand horses, swamped

under Spanish saddles, hung with braided and silvered ornament of stirrup and bridle. The trolley-car waits to let trains of pack-horses pass, each horse tied to another's tail. Everywhere are wild, armed riders, with machetes clattering. Thin, swarthy countrymen, in cotton shirt and trousers, with sandaled feet, gallop into town, their mighty spurs tied to their naked ankles with thongs of leather.

The American carriage, and even an automobile or two, have found their way to Camagüey, but the volante still comes in from country districts, with its ladies looking timidly out upon the wonders of the city. The volante used to be the only wheeled vehicle besides the all-wooden oxcarts that could be used in interior Cuba. Even to-day there are thousands of miles of road and trail passable only for it. It is a two-wheeled carriage, the body being set not over the wheels, but on the two immense shafts. The horses are harnessed tandem, and there are no reins. The volante is governed by a rider who sits on the leading horse.

People are beginning to walk in Camagüey, but they have not yet become obsessed by the habit. However, it has become entirely unfashionable to ride into one's house and through the drawingroom into the patio, as was a custom when Camagüey was the lonely queen of all the great cattle country about it.

There is nothing except fashion to prevent one from riding into any house today. The doorways are amply high enough for mounted visitors to enter. The stone floors would not suffer from the dainty step of the gaited Cuban horse. The drawing-rooms are large enough for any modest equestrian evolution. The rider's head is in no danger from the ceiling, for the ceiling of a Camagüey house is the roof, and the roof is twentyfive feet high, and more in the peak.

Our neighbor in Camagüey not only held to the old fashion of

riding into his house, but he drove his gua

gua into it. A Camagüey gua-gua is not a duck; it is a public stage. Our neighbor was the town driver, and he had the simple habit of driving the entire outfit into the house and unhitching in the drawingroom. There the gua-gua remained till next morning, while the horses wandered unrestrained about the patio, gazing amiably into the rooms when they were not seeking passionately for vegetation that they had devoured years before.


Although the gua-gua-man was next-door neighbor, we lived in an unquestionably aristocratic part of town. Promiscuous neighbors are a feature of life in a painted city of the Caribbean world. Our washerwoman lived next door to a former governor of the province. Outwardly their houses were quite alike, except that his was painted a most becoming rose-color, while hers was motley with the paints of many generations. The great double doors were alike, each formidable, rivet-studded, ponderous of hinges and bolts, and painted a Cuban blue. By peering through the two blue doorways, one obtained instantly the local atmosphere that is needed to understand the Arabian Nights intimately.

As the characters in the Arabian Nights forever enter doorways to find themselves quite unexpectedly in a scene of limitless grandeur or limitless lack of it, so, through one blue door could be seen rooms radiantly decked, with the patio beyond blazing like a floral conflagration. And through the other blue door the view was of a stone room empty of everything except two hand-hewn, rush-bottomed chairs,


Drawn by W. M. Berger


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