Puslapio vaizdai

ings in every manner of artistic scroll, presidential palace destined to rival defy the heat of perpetual summer, and the best of Europe. About the same at the same time give free play to the all time the provincial governor concluded but constant sea breezes. The openness to build himself a simple little marble of living which this style of dwelling cabin. Election day came, and the new brings with it would not appeal to the president, after the spendthrift manner American sense of privacy in family life. of Latin-American executives, repudiThrough the iron-barred rejas, flush with ated the undertaking of his predecessor, the sidewalk, the passer-by may look which lies to-day the abandoned grave of deep back into the tile-floored parlor, several million pesos. The governor of with its forest of chairs, and often into the living-rooms beyond. At midday they look particularly cool and inviting from the sundrenched street; in the evening the stroller has a

sense of sauntering un molested through the very heart of a hundred family circles.

Old residents tell us that Havana is a far different city from the one from which the Spanish flag was banished twenty years ago. Its best streets, they

A mounted policeman of Havana say, were mere lanes of mud then, or their cobbled pavements so far down beneath the province was convinced by irrethe filth of generations that the uncover- futable arguments that his half-finished ing of them resembled a mining opera- little cabin was out of proportion to his tion. Along the sea, where a boulevard, importance, and yielded it to his political

a second only to the peerless Beira Mar superior. It is nearing completion now, of Rio, runs to-day, the last century left a thing of beauty that should, for a time a stenching city garbage-heap. The at least, satisfy the artistic longings even broad, laurel-shaded Prado leading from of great Cuba. For it has nothing of the the beautiful central plaza to the head- inexpensive Jeffersonian simplicity of land facing Morro Castle was a laby- our own White House, fit only for such rinthian cluster of unsavory hovels. plebeian occupants as our Lincolns and All this, if one may be pardoned a sug- Garfields, but is worthy a Cuban presigestion of boasting, was accomplished dent-during the few months of the by the first American governor.

But year when he is not occupying his the Cubans themselves have contin- suburban or his summer palace. ued the good work. Once cleaned and Havana has grown in breadth as well paved, the streets have remained so. as character since it became the capital Buildings of which any city might be of a free country. While the population proud have been erected without foreign of the island has nearly doubled, that of assistance. In their sudden spurt of the metropolis has trebled. Víbora, ambition the Cubans have sometimes Cerro, and Jesús del Monte have overreached themselves. A former ad- changed from outlying country villages ministration began the erection of a of thatched huts to thriving suburbs;



Vedado, the abode of a few scattered turn distributes his patronage to the farmers when the treaty of Paris was lesser fry and becomes a political power signed, has become a great residential within his district. The whole makes a region where sugar-millionaires and splendidly compact machine that can successful politicians vie with one

be turned to any purpose by the another in the erection of private palaces, chauffeur at the political wheel. not to mention the occasional perpetra- Barely had we arrived in Havana tion of architectural monstrosities. Un- when the rumor reached me that the der the impulse of an ever-increasing billeteros could be compelled to sell their and ever-wealthier population, abetted tickets at the legal price, if one "had by energetic young Cubans who have the nerve” to insist. I abhor a financial copied American real-estate methods, dispute, but I have as little use for Havana is already leaping like a prairie hearsay evidence.

hearsay evidence. I concluded to test fire to the crests of new fields, which will the great question personally. Having soon be wholly embraced in the con- purchased two “pieces" at the customflagration of prosperity.

ary price, to forestall any charge of One of the purposes of Cuba's revolt miserliness, I set out to buy one at the against Spain was the suppression of lawful rate. A booth on a busy corner the lottery. For years the new republic of Calle Obispo, a large choice of numsternly frowned down any tendency bers fluttering from its ticket-racks, toward a return of this particular form seemed the most promising scene for my of vice. To this day it is unlawful to nefarious project, because a traffic policebring the tickets of the Spanish lottery man stood close by. I chose a “piece" into the island. But blood will tell, and and, having tucked it away in a pocket, the mere winning of political freedom handed the vender a peseta. could not cure the Cuban of his love for "It is thirty cents," he announced gambling. Private games of chance politely, smiling at what he took to increased in number and spread through- be my American innocence. out the island. The Government saw "Not at all," I answered, blushing at itself losing millions of revenue yearly, my own pettiness. “The price is twenty while enterprising persons enriched them- cents; it is printed on the ticket." selves; for to all rulers of Iberian ances- "I sell them only at thirty,” he replied, try the exploitation of a people's gam- with a gesture that invited me to return bling instinct seems a legitimate source of the ticket. state income. New palaces and boule- “The legal price is all I pay,” I re vards cost money, independence brings torted. “If you don't like that, call the with it unexpected expenditures. By policeman," and I strolled slowly on. the end of the second intervention the In an instant both the vender and the free Cubans were looking with favor officer were hurrying after me. The upon a system which they had professed latter demanded to know why I had not to abhor as Spanish subjects. The law paid the amount asked. of July 7, 1909, decreed a public revenue “The law sets the price at twenty under the name of “Loteria Nacional,” cents," I explained. “As a guardian of and to-day the lottery is as firmly order, you surely do not mean to help established a function of the Govern- this man collect an illegal sum." ment as the postal service.

The policeman gave me a look of scorn There are two advantages in a state such as he might have turned upon a lottery—to the Government. It is not millionaire caught stealing chickens, and only an unfailing source of revenue; it answered with a sneer: is a splendid means of rewarding political “He is entitled to one cent profit." henchmen. Colectorías, the privilege of “But not to ten cents," I added dispensing lottery-tickets within a given triumphantly. district, are to the Cuban congressman The guardian of law and order grunted what postmasterships are to our own. an unwilling affirmative, casting a pityThe possession of one is a botella (bottle), ing glance up and down my person, and Cuban slang for sinecure; the lucky turned away with another audible sneer possessor is called a botellero. He in only when I had produced a cent. The vender snatched the coin with an expres- room, just clear of the standing crowd sion of disgust, and retains to this day, of hopeful riffraff, was a similar table I suppose, a much lowered opinion of on which another group of solemnAmericans.

faced men were busily scribbling in as The silly ordeal, which I have never many large blank-books, with the sophissince had the courage to repeat, proved ticated air of court or congressional the assertion that the Cubans may reporters. Between the tables were two buy their lottery-tickets at the legal globes of open-work brass, one perprice, but it demonstrated at the same haps six feet in diameter, the other time why few of them do so. Pride is several times smaller. The larger was the chief ally of the profiteer. The filled with balls the size of marbles, difference between twenty cents and each engraved with a number; the thirty is not worth a dispute, but the smaller one contained several thoufailure of the individual Cuban to insist sand others, representing varying sums upon his rights, and of his Government in

of money. protecting them, constitutes a serious The winning tickets may be cashed tax upon the nation and enriches many at any official colectoría at any time a worthless loafer. With some forty within a year, but such delays are rare. lottery drawings a year, this extra, illegal Barely is the drawing ended when the ten cents a "piece" costs the Cuban venders, armed with the billetes of the people the neat little sum of at least next sorteo, hurry forth over their $12,000,000 a year, or four dollars per accustomed beats to pay the winners and capita.

establish a reputation not so much for The drawings take place every ten promptitude as for the ability to offer days, besides a few loterias extra-ordi- lucky

lucky numbers. The capital prize, narios, with prizes several times larger, $100,000 in most cases, is perhaps won on the principal holidays. They are


now and then by some favorite of forconducted in the old treasury building tune, instead of falling to the Governdown near the end of Calle Obispo. ment, collector of all unsold winners, We reached there soon after seven of though I have never personally known the morning named on our tickets. A of such a stroke of luck during all my crowd of two hundred or more heavy- wanderings in lottery-infested lands. mouthed negroes, poorly clad meztizos, Smaller causes for momentary happiness and ragged, emaciated old Chinamen are more frequent, for with 1741 prizes, for the most part, were huddled to- divisible into a hundred "pieces" each, gether in the shade at the edge of the it would be strange if a persistent player porch-like room. A policeman-not did not now and then “make a killing." the one whose scorn I had aroused- But even these must be rare in comparbeckoned to us to step inside and take ison to the optimistic multitude that one of the seats of honor along the wall, pursues the goddess Chance, for on the not, evidently, because we were Ameri- morning following a drawing the streets cans, but because our clothing was not of Havana are everywhere littered with patched or our collars missing. At the worthless billetes cast off by wrathy back a long table stretched the entire purchasers. Wherefore an incorrigible length of the room. A dozen solemn moralist has deduced a motto that may officials, resembling a jury or an elec- be worth passing on to future travelers tion board, lolled in their seats behind it, in Cuba: a huge ledger, a sheath of papers, an “Buy a 'piece or two that you may ink-well and several pens and pencils know the sneer of Fortune, but don't before each of them. At the edge of the get the habit."

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The Tide of Affairs

Comment on the Times



THE SYRIAN BONE OF CONTENTION going into detail respecting the more HE war accustomed us to a

remote background of the question, what world of dramatic magni

is the story of the present strained

situation? tudes, and we are having

Back in 1916 an arrangement respectsome difficulty in scaling

ing Syria was entered into by France, down our sense of propor- England, and Russia. At that time tion to the actual affairs of the post-war French and British spheres of influence world. Situations in international poli- were marked out in Asia Minor. Under tics that back in 1914 would have set the that agreement England assumed Palesworld agog with interest, captured head- tine and Mesopotamia as her sphere to lines, and called the largest type into the south, while France took her sphere service, to-day are tucked away in ten- to the north -a sphere that included the line despatches on inside pages save by Mediterranean coast at valuable points a spare half-dozen metropolitan papers and a back country reaching as far as which pay particular attention to foreign Persia. But that agreement was not news. The Anglo-French tension over destined to stand unquestioned. New Syria is a case in point. In 1910, let us factors entered into the situation. Russay, this situation would doubtless have sia and Russian interests went into been played up in the press as a possible eclipse. Mr. Wilson came into the picprelude to a war between France and ture with his doctrine of mandates. In England. Now it is calmly passed by as the whole process of the war and the merely a bit of unfinished business left peace conference the 1916 agreement by the peace conference. It may be, of lost its definiteness, and it was accepted course, that this attitude represents a on all hands that subsequent events correction rather than a distortion of our had to some extent made necessary a sense of proportion. At any rate, Syria, revision of the arrangement. In feeling at the moment of writing, is one of their way toward a resettlement French the interesting tension points in world and British interests have had no little politics.

difficulty in avoiding serious tension. Syria, a long strip of territory be- Lord Curzon, seeing Mesopotamia as tween the Arabian Desert and the Med- an increasingly British concern, began iterranean Sea, has long been a signifi- to look about for its natural and adecant spot in world politics, because it quate outlet to the Mediterranean. is a line of communication between Asia That outlet clearly was the port of and Africa. It has long been a battle- Alexandretta. But the port of Alexground of conflicting national interests. andretta was in the French sphere of inHere Turkish, English, French, Russian, fluence to the north, according to the and German interests have jockeyed for 1916 arrangement. It was a ticklish position. It is part of the medley of the matter to handle. But imperial “necesEastern question in which it has proved sities” would not justify an undue yielddifficult to reconcile French and British ing to the niceties of the situation. interests. The present position of affairs Alexandretta stands at the neck of the is such that unless an amicable under- desert bottle through which the richly standing on these matters can be reached laden caravans from the hinterland must the future relations of France and Eng- pass. Furthermore, Alexandretta lies land may be deeply disturbed. Without

Without advantageously on the continental route

to the Indies. Surely France should see land will not lightly assent to the estabthe logic of the situation; so Lord Curzon lishment of any other world power in proceeded to explain the naturalness, this strategic position. With the stirthe inevitability, and the justice of the rings of imperialistic dreams in certain British desire for Alexandretta. The French quarters, England will not look logic of the situation did not, however, pleasantly upon French pretensions here, seem to lie so clear in the mind of M. whatever be the basis of argument. Pichon, speaking for the Quai d'Orsay, French opinion has been nettled by as it lay in the mind of Lord Curzon, British action throughout in the Perspeaking for Downing Street. M. sian, Syrian, and Turkish situations. Pichon agreed with Lord Curzon up to Despite the customary gestures of the point that subsequent events had brotherly love, an ugly mood is being made desirable a reconsideration of the generated. 1916 arrangement, but any such recon- It is a strangely involved situation. sideration must, in French opinion, start The dominant Mohammedan element with the fact that France, regardless of prefers to see the Kingdom of the Hedconcessions she may have made in 1916, jaz infringe upon and limit the French could not now listen to any proposal that sphere rather than see any extension of meant the dismemberment of Syria's French control. England's policy plays racial and geographical unity. British into the hands of the Hedjaz. While the dominance in Palestine began to rankle Arabs do not like the idea of a Zionist in the French breast. To the French state on what they claim is an Arab land, mind no logic could justify the separa- as between a possible Christian penetion of Palestine from the rest of the tration and a Jewish occupation they province. Nor does the case for English will choose the Jewish. If British diplocontrol of the port of Alexandretta seem macy plays a clever hand with the clearer to French eyes. Alexandretta is Moslem world, France may as well pack the best and the only natural port of the her belongings and surrender her Syrian territory. Beirut and Tripoli, with their dreams. This is just another indication costly artificial moles, cannot compare that the quest of empire with its attenwith Alexandretta, protected as it is by dant rivalries did not die at Versailles. a wonderful bay. Syria's maximum value to its possessor hinges to a large

NEW YORK'S TOWN HALL degree upon possession of Alexandretta. There will doubtless be much shifting In the midst of New York's vastand counter-shifting of zones of occu- ness, complexity, and hectic hurry, the pation as between French and British quiet and intimate parley of the New troops before a real settlement is reached. England town-meeting is to be instituSome sort of arrangement may indeed

tionalized. If conscious and careful be reached by the time this comment organization can do it, the lost art of reaches the reader, but the stubborn community discussion is to be revived at facts of the situation do not promise a the very heart and center of metropolitan final settlement soon.

distractions. French logic will hardly shake British Under the guidance of the League for interests in Palestine. It is well to re

Political Education, there is being member that back in the quiet days of erected at 113-123 West 43d Street a 1903, when international affairs were town hall, dedicated to the orderly, but less upon the front page than now, Brit- unhampered, discussion of the common ish diplomacy took a paternal interest interests of city, State, and nation. in Zionism. A hurried reading of the new The building will serve as the home map of that region will show that Real- of the League for Political Education, politik was lurking in the background the Civic Forum, and the Economic even then. Palestine, it will be seen, Club. A reading-room, maintained with stands strategically between the British special reference to political science, possession of Egypt on the one hand and will ultimately house a political-science the British possessions of India, Persia, library of ten thousand volumes, not and Mesopotamia on the other. Eng- duplicating, but correlating and inter

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