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  • 1912
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garden in time of war. Louis expends the same energy and water that he used in washing his carriages, much to the detriment of the once fine greenhouse.

The days are very monotonous. I never imagined a day could have so many hours. I, who have always been over-busy, and have never found the days long enough to do all I wanted to do, pass the most forlorn hours listening and waiting and wondering what will happen next. I wait and wait all through the sleepless nights. I am so nervous I cannot sleep. I do not even take off my clothes.

I have my writing-table put in the ball-room, and here I sit and write these sad letters to you. I play the piano; but I have not the heart to sing, as you may imagine.

We know that there are many tragedies going on about us, and we hear, through Louis, awful things; but we only believe the half of what he tells us.

_May 11th._

The Minister of Finance has spent in a month twenty-six millions for the war expenses alone.

My two friends, Pascal Grousset and (Rascal) Rigault, spent for their _menus plaisirs_ nearly half a million, whereas Jourde, who is Minister of Finance, and could take all the money he liked from the banks, lives in the same modest apartment, and his wife still continues to take in washing as of old, showing that he, at least, is honest among thieves.

Grousset’s appeal to the large cities of France is very theatrical. He reproaches them with their lukewarmness and their platonic sympathy, and calls them _aux armes_, as in the “Marseillaise.”

We had a very sad experience yesterday. At seven o’clock the _concierge_ was awakened from his slumbers, which (if one can judge from the repeated efforts at his bell of persons who come before breakfast) must be of the sweetest and most profound nature.

On cautiously peeping out, he saw a poor fellow leaning against the gate in a seemingly exhausted condition; he had been wounded, and begged to be allowed to come inside our courtyard. The _concierge_, who thinks it wise to be prudent, consulted with Louis; but neither dared do anything until Mr. Moulton had given the necessary orders. Louis ran about to wake up the family, and Mr. Moulton told the porter to take the man directly to the stables and to go for a doctor. The wounded man begged to see a priest, and Louis was despatched to bring one. Securing a doctor seemed to be a great undertaking. The _concierge_ had had cramps in the night (so he said), which would necessitate his remaining at home, and made so many excuses that Mr. Moulton lost patience and declared he would go himself; but this I would not hear of his doing alone, and insisted upon going with him. Mademoiselle, issuing from her room, appeared in her lilac dressing-gown, holding a pocket-handkerchief in one hand and a smelling- bottle to her nose with the other. She was told to keep watch over the invalid while we were absent. Mr. Moulton and I walked to the Faubourg St. Honoré, to our apothecary, who gave us the name of the nearest doctor. It was not pleasant, to say the least, to be in the streets. We were in the habit of hearing bombs and shells, so that was no novelty; but to see them whizzing over our heads was a new sensation, and not an agreeable one. We found a doctor, a most amiable gentleman, who, although he had been up all night, was quite ready to follow us, and we hurried back to the Rue de Courcelles, where we found Mademoiselle seated on a water-pail outside the stables and looking the picture of woe. Her idea of keeping vigil!

The doctor made a hasty examination, and was preparing the bandages when Louis arrived with the priest. I left them and went into the house to make some tea, which I thought might be needed; but my father-in-law came in and said that the man had gone to sleep.

Later, about two o’clock, Louis told us that all was over; the poor fellow had received the last sacraments, had turned over on his side, and had breathed his last. We sent for the ambulance; but it was five o’clock before they took him away.

It made us very sad all day to think that death had entered our gates.

_15th May._–Thiers’s house in the Rue St. Georges was pillaged to-day by the mob, who howled like madmen and hurled all sorts of curses and maledictions on luckless Thiers, who has done nothing wrong, and certainly tried to do good.

Auber, who lives in the same street, must have seen and heard all that was going on. How he must have suffered!


_16th May._–The Column Vendôme fell to-day; they have been working some days to undermine it at the base of the socle. Every one thought it would make a tremendous crash, but it did not; it fell just where they intended it to fall, toward the Rue de la Paix, on some fagots placed to receive it. They were a long time pulling at it; three or four pulleys, and as many ropes, and twenty men tugging with all their might–_et voilà_. The figure that replaced the Little Corporal (which is safe somewhere in Neuilly) came to earth in a cloud of dust, and the famous column lay broken in three huge pieces.

I inclose a ticket which Mr. Lemaire obtained somehow, and which, as you see, permitted him to circulate _librement_ in the Place Vendôme:


I think it is strange that Auber does not let us hear from him. I fear his heart is broken, like the column.

The weather is heavenly. The two chestnut-trees in our front courtyard are in full flower; the few plants in the greenhouse are all putting out buds. Where shall we be when the buds become flowers?

Last year at this time it was the height of the giddiest of giddy seasons. One can hardly believe it is the same Paris.

My father-in-law feels very bad that I did not leave when I still had the chance. So do I,… but now it is too late. I must stay till the bitter end, and no doubt the end will be bitter: battle, murder, and sudden death, and all the things we pray against in the Litany.

Dombrowski has failed in his sortie to St. Cloud.

_18th May._–It seems that the Communards wish all France to adopt their gentle methods, and they believe and hope that Communism will reign supreme over the country.

Rigault, to prove what an admirable government France has, yesterday issued the decree to arrest a mass of people. No one knows exactly why, except that he wishes to show how great his power is. He wants the Commune to finish in fire and flame as a funeral pile. I hope he will be on the top of it, like Sardanapalus, and suffer the most. Horrible man!

I received a letter from Mr. Mallet this morning, inclosing an invitation to assist at a concert given by all the _musiques militaires à Paris_ on the Place de la Concorde, and offering a ticket for two places on the terrace of the Tuileries. The idea of these creatures on the brink of annihilation, death, and destruction giving a concert! If it were not so tragic it would really be laughable.

DEAR LADY,–I wish I could bring you this extraordinary document _de viva persona_; but I do not like to leave the embassy, even for a short time. Lascelles and I are well, but very anxious. You will notice that this invitation is for the 21st. Our friends evidently think we will be pleasantly attuned to music on that day. They are as mad as March hares; they will be asking us to dance at Mazas next…. Hoping you are not as depressed as we are, Yours, E. MALLET.

Just as I had finished reading the above we heard a tremendous explosion. Louis said it was _l’École Militaire_, which was to be blown up to-day. What are we coming to?

Louis and I ventured to go up to the third story, and we put our heads out of one of the small windows. We saw the bombs flying over our heads like sea-gulls. All the sky was dimmed with black smoke, but we could not see if anything was burning, though we hear that the Tuileries is on fire and all the public buildings are being set fire to.

An organized mob of _pétroleurs_ and _pétroleuses_ receive two francs a day for pouring petroleum about and then setting fire. How awful!

Louis assures us that they will not come near us, as their only idea is to destroy public property. My father-in-law says the fever of destruction may seize them, and they might pillage the fine houses and set fire to them. He is having everything of value, like jewels, silver, and his precious bric-à-brac, carried down to the cellar, where there is an iron vault, and has showed us all how to open it in case of a disaster.

_May 21st._ (Sunday evening)–The Versaillais entered Paris by the Point du Jour, led by gallant Gallifet.

_May 22d._–Rigault gave the order that all the hostages (_otages_) were to be shot. Rigault wrote the order himself. It does not bear any of the fantastic seals they are so fond of, and of which they have an incredible quantity. It has been written on a paper (_une déclaration d’expédition du chemin de fer d’Orléans_). Probably he was trying to get away. It was the last order he gave, and the last fuse to be used to set fire to the funeral pile.

This proclamation, of which I give an exact copy, will give you a little idea of what this horrible brute is capable of:

Floréal, an 79 [the way they date things in republics]. Fusillez l’Archevêque et les otages; incendiez les Tuileries et le Palais Royal, et repliez-vous sur la rue Germain-des-Prés.

Procureur de la Commune,

Ici tout va bien. RAOUL RIGAULT.

In the evening of the 22d the victims–forty of them–the good Darboy, Duguerry, Bonjean, and others–were piled into a transport-wagon with only a board placed across, where they could sit, and were taken to the place of execution.

The Archbishop seemed suffering; probably the privations he had endured had weakened him. Bonjean said to him, “Lean on my arm, it is that of a good friend and a Christian,” and added, “La religion d’abord, la justice ensuite.” As soon as one name was called a door opened and a prisoner passed out–the Archbishop went first; they descended the dark and narrow steps one by one. When they were placed against the wall Bonjean said, “Let us show them how a priest and a magistrate can die.”

Rigault ordered their execution two hours after they were taken; and when some one ventured a remonstrance he curtly replied, “Nous ne faisons pas de la légalité, nous faisons de la révolution.” Some ruffian in the mob cried out the word “liberté,” which reached Darboy’s ears, and he said, “Do not profane the word of liberty; it belongs to us alone, because we die for it and for our faith.” This sainted man was the first to be shot. He died instantly; but President Bonjean crossed his arms and, standing erect, stared full in the faces of his assassins with his brave eyes fastened on theirs. This seemed to have troubled them, for of the nineteen balls they fired not one touched his head–they fired too low–but all his bones were broken. The defiant look stayed on his face until the _coup de grâce_ (a bullet behind his ear) ended this brave man’s life. These details are too dreadful. I will spare you, though I know many more and worse.

Dombrowski had a slight advantage over l’Amiraut the other day, which puffed them all up with hope; but how foolish to think that anything can help now!

_May 23d._–Now they have all lost their heads, and are at their wits’ end. There are thirty thousand artillery and more cannon than they know what to do with.

Everything is in a muddle; you can imagine in what a fearful state of anxiety we live. The only thing we ask ourselves now is, When will the volcano begin to pour out its flames?

If the troops should come in by the Arc de Triomphe and fight their way through Paris by the Champs-Élysées and the Boulevard there would not be much hope for us, as we would be just between the two fires.

_May 25th._–The Arc de Triomphe and the Champ de Mars were captured to-day, and the fighting in the streets has commenced. They are fighting like mad in the Faubourg St. Honoré. When I open the door of the vestibule I can hear the yelling and screaming of the rushing mob; it is dreadful, the spluttering of the fusillades and the guns overpower all other noises. We hope deliverance is near at hand; but who knows how long before we have peace and quiet again?

_May 28th._–MacMahon has stormed the barricades and has entered Paris, taking fifty thousand prisoners. Gallifet has ordered thousands to be shot.

We are rescued from more horrors. Thank God! these days of trembling and fear are over.

Pascal Grousset was killed on the barricades. I am thankful to say that Raoul Rigault has also departed this world. Courbet, Regnaud, a promising young painter, and how many shall we know of afterward, have been shot.

We hear that Auber became quite crazy and wandered out on the ramparts, and was killed with the soldiers. He deserved a better fate, my dear old friend! I am sure his heart was broken, and that that day we breakfasted with him was not his first but his last _jour de bonheur_.

Seventy-two days of Communism has cost France 850,000,000 francs.

DINARD, _June 18, 1871._

DEAR MOTHER,–Our peaceful life here is a great contrast to the bombs of poor dilapidated Paris. I have still the screams and bursting shells of the Faubourg St. Honoré in my ears.

When I wrote of Strakosch’s persisting in his idea of my singing in concerts, I did not dream that I should be telling you that I have succumbed to his tempting and stupendous proposition. It is true that I have said _yes_, and _vogue la galère!_

And the most curious thing is that the whole family sitting in council have urged me to do it.

“Why not?” said Mr. Moulton, making mental calculations. “I would, if I were you,” said Mrs. Moulton, overflowing with enthusiasm.

“I agree,” said Charles, only seeing the fun of a new experience.

“But,” I urged, “I doubt if I can stand on my own merits. Singing in public as an amateur is one thing, and singing as an artist is another.” This wise saying was scorned by the council.

I have ordered some fine dresses from Worth, and if my public don’t like me they can console themselves with the thought that a look at my clothes is worth a ticket.

Well, the fatal word has gone forth; I shall probably regret it, but it is too late now.

Therefore, dear mother, please break the news gently to the family and the genealogical tree, whose bark, I hope, is worse than its bite.

We leave for America in September. Strakosch goes before, “to work it up,” he says.

NEW YORK, _October._

MY DEAR MOTHER-IN-LAW,–Don’t send any more letters to the Barlows’. We thought that it was better not to stay with them (pleasant as it was) any longer. There was such a commotion in that quiet house, such ringing of bells and running about. The servants were worn out attending to me and my visitors.

I don’t know where to begin to tell you about this wonderful escapade of ours. I call it my “bravura act.” It is too exciting! I copy a letter just received from Strakosch, in answer to a letter of mine, to show you what the process of “working up” is. He writes: “You wonder at your big audiences. The reason is very simple. In the first place, people know that you are thought to be the best amateur singer in Paris–‘La Diva du Monde’–besides being a favorite in Parisian society, and that you have not only a beautiful voice, but also that you have beautiful toilettes. This is a great _attraction_. In the second place, I allow (_as a great privilege_) the tickets to be subscribed for; the remaining ones are bought at auction. You see, in this way the bids go _’way up_…. I am glad I secured Sarasate to supplement,” etc.

We have taken a suite of rooms in the Clarendon Hotel, so as to be near the opera-house, where I go to practise with the orchestra. You cannot imagine how intense the whole thing is.

To feel that I can hold a great audience, like the one that greeted me the first night, in my hand, and to know that I can make them laugh or cry whenever I please–to see the mass of upturned faces–is an inspiring sensation. The applause bewildered me at first, and I was fearfully excited; but one gets used to all things in the end. My songs, “Bel raggio” (Rossini), “Voi che sapete” (Mozart), and “La Valse de Pardon de Ploërmel” (Meyerbeer), were all encored and re-encored.

I said to Strakosch, “I can’t go on forever, tripping on and off the stage like that!” He answered, laconically, “Well, you see people have paid much for their tickets, and they want their money’s worth.”

I said, “I wish the tickets cost less.”

The flowers (you should have seen them!) were mostly what they call here “floral tributes” (what you would call _des pièces montées_), and were brought in by a procession of ushers and placed on the stage. I do not mention the quantities of bouquets handed up to me!

One “floral tribute” received an ovation as it was borne up the aisle by four men, and hauled up on to the stage by a man who came from the side scenes. It was a harp made entirely of flowers, about six feet high. It made quite a screen for me as I went in and out. The card of the harp was brought to me, and I read, “H. P. Stalton, ‘Asleep in Jesus,’ North Conway.” I had no idea what it meant, but mama remembered that some years ago, when she and I were traveling in the White Mountains, we stopped overnight at the little town of North Conway. At the hotel we heard that a lady had died, and her son was terribly grieved. There was to be a funeral service the next morning in the parlor of the inn. I asked, “Do you think that I might sing something?” “Of course, _any_ music would be welcome,” was the answer. So I chose the hymn, “Asleep in Jesus,” which I sang when the time came. As there was nothing but an old piano, I preferred to sing without accompaniment. I was very much affected, and I suppose my voice showed my emotion, because other people were equally affected. As for the young man, he knelt on the floor and put his hands over his face and sobbed out loud. Poor fellow, my heart bled for him!

I sang the hymn through with difficulty. The last verse I sang _pianissimo_ and very slowly. The silence was painful; you could have heard a pin drop. The whole scene was very emotional, and I remember feeling that I never wanted to go through such a thing again. The young man had not forgotten, after all these years, either the song or the singer. Hence the beautiful harp of flowers to thank me. I should have liked to have seen him, to thank _him_.

There is a very sad, pathetic, and patriotic song called “Tender and True” by a composer, Alfred Pease, which I sing. Strakosch said, “You must have in your _répertoire_ something American.” This song is about a young soldier who takes “a knot of ribbon blue” from his ladylove, and who dies on the battle-field with the knot of ribbon on his breast. When I sing “the flag draped over the coffin lid” the whole audience is dissolved in tears. The women weep openly; the men hide behind their opera-glasses and try to blow their noses noiselessly between the verses.

I always finish with “Beware!” and Charles always accompanies me, which pleases him very much. He thinks that American audiences are very appreciative, because they stand up and clap and the women wave their handkerchiefs.

I tell him they stand up because the next thing they are going to do is to go out.

WORCESTER, _December, 1871._

DEAR MOTHER,–Thanks for your letter. I had hoped to have received better news of Charles.

When he left Thursday he did not look well, but I thought it was owing to the excitement and late hours and the irregular life we have been leading. He wanted to go to Cambridge, where he thought that he could take better care of himself. I would have gone with him, but I felt that I could not leave Strakosch and Worcester in the lurch.

If I don’t receive a reassuring telegram from you, I shall start off without delay.

I was dreadfully nervous and unstrung, as you will see, when I tell you how I blundered. I do not like singing in oratorio. Getting up and sitting down all the time, holding and singing from a book, losing my place and having to find it in a hurry, is not what I like. However, I got on very well at first, but there is a place in the score where three angels come forward and sing a trio without accompaniment. Then the soprano (me) steps in front and sings, without a helping note: “Hail, Hail, O Lord God of Hosts!” The orchestra and chorus take up the same phrase after me.

I sang boldly enough, “Hail, Hail, O Lord God of Hosts!” but suddenly felt cold shivers down my back when Zerrahn tapped his baton on his stand, thereby stopping all further proceedings, and turning to me said, in a low whisper, “A half-tone lower.”

Good gracious, how could I find the right note! First I had to remember the last tone I had sung, then I had to transpose it in my head, all in an instant. It was a critical moment.

Suppose I did not hit the right note! The whole orchestra and the two- hundred-man-strong chorus would come thundering after me–the _orchestra on the right key_ and _the chorus following in my footsteps_.

I turned cold and hot, and my knees trembled under me. You may imagine what a relief it was when I heard things going on as if nothing had happened. _I had struck the right note!_ And I finished the oratorio without further disaster. I do not think that any one in the audience remarked anything wrong.

I said to Zerrahn, after: “Could you not have helped me? Could you not have given me the note?”

“No,” he answered. “Impossible! I could not ask the nearest violinist to play the note, and I could not trust myself to find it. I was as nervous as you were.”

[Mrs. Moulton was called to Cambridge the next day. Mr. Moulton had died suddenly.]

CUBA, HAVANA, _January, 1873._

DEAR MAMA,–We left New York in a fearful blizzard. It was snowing, hailing, blowing, and sleeting; in fact, everything that the elements could do they did on that particular day. We were muffled up to our ears in sealskin coats, furs, boas, and so forth, and were piloted over the wet and slippery deck to our stateroom on the upper deck, which we wished had been on the under deck, as it was continually washed by the “wild waves.”

We knew pretty well “what the wild waves were saying”; at least Laura did, and they kept on saying it until well into the next day.

I being an old sailor (not in years but in experience), as I had crossed the Atlantic several times, felt very superior on this occasion, and looked down without sympathy on the maiden efforts of my suffering sister; and, having dressed, goaded her almost to distraction to get up and do likewise, which she obstinately refused to do.

After ordering breakfast I ventured out on deck, to find myself alone, among deserted camp-stools. I realized then that the others preferred “rocking in the cradle of the deep” in their berths and in the privacy of their cabins. I myself felt very shaky as I stumbled about on the deck holding on to the rails, and I, hurrying back to the haven of my stateroom, happened to meet the struggling steward endeavoring to balance the tray containing the breakfast I had ordered, and to make his way through my door.

The steward, the tray, and I all collided. The result was disastrous: the food made a bee-line for the ceiling, the drinkables flooded the already wet floor and our shoes, while cups, saucers, plates, and dishes were scattered to fragments.

All that day we and every one were dreadfully sick; but what a contrast the next day was! A hot, tropical sun blazed down on us, the awnings were put up, the ladies appeared in lighter costumes, the men in straw hats and thin jackets. How odious our warm wraps and rugs seemed! And how completely our discomforts of the day before had disappeared! Laura had forgotten her miseries, and was already planning another sea-trip, and eagerly scanning the menu for dinner, to which she did ample justice.

The third day was still hotter; parasols, summer dresses, and fans made their appearance, and at four o’clock we saw Morro Castle and the lighthouse; and we steamed (literally, for we were so hot) up the exquisite harbor, where white Havana lay like a jewel on the breast of the water.

Hot! It must have been one hundred and ninety in the shade–if there had been any; but there was none. The glare of the whiteness of the city and the reflection on the water, the air thick with perfumes, gave us a tropical tinge, and made us shudder to think what we should have to endure before we could rest in the hotel, which we hoped would be cool.

Young Isnaga, who has just come from Harvard College, where I knew him, and who was now returning to his native land to help his father on the plantation, served us as a guide; in fact, he was our Baedeker. He told us that all those hundreds of little boats with coverings like hen-coops stretched over them, which swarmed like bees about our steamer, did not contain native ruffians demanding our money or our lives, as they seemed to be doing, but were simply peaceable citizens hoping to earn an honest penny.

We dreaded going through the custom-house in this excessive heat; but Isnaga recognized one of his servants, in a small boat coming toward us, gesticulating wildly and waving a paper; this paper meant, it seemed, authority with the officials, so we had no delay, as Isnaga took us under his wing. I almost wished that the custom-house had confiscated my thick clothes and the fur-lined coat; and as for the boa, it looked like a vicious constrictor of its own name, and I wished it at the bottom of the sea.

Isnaga took us in his boat and landed us on the tropical “Plaza,” where we found his _volante_ waiting. He insisted on our getting into this unique vehicle, which I will describe later when I have more time.

Our one thought was to reach the hotel, which we did finally, sending the _volante_ back to its owner by a sweeping wave of the hand in the direction of the quay, which the black Jehu seemed to comprehend.

Fortunately the proprietor spoke what he thought was English, and we were able to secure very good rooms overlooking the harbor. How delicious the cool, marble-floored room appeared to us! How we luxuriated in the fresh, cold water, the juiciest of oranges, the iced pineapples, and all the delicious fruits they brought us, and, above all, in the balmy air and the feeling of repose and rest! We reappeared in the thinnest of gauzes for the repast called dinner.

Adieu, cold and ice! _Vive le soleil!_

This hotel (San Carlos) is situated right on the bay. The quay in front of us is garnished with a row of dwarfy trees and dirty benches, these last being decorated, in their turn, by slumbering Cubans. There were colonnades underneath the hotel, where there were small shops, from which the odor of garlic and tobacco, combined with the shrieks and the snapping of the drivers’ whips, reached us, as we sat above them on our balcony.

The hotel is square, with an open courtyard in the middle, and all the rooms open on to the marble gallery which surrounds the courtyard. This gallery is used as a general dining-room; each person eats at his own little iron table placed before the door of his bedroom.

Our large room contains two iron beds (minus mattresses), with only a canvas screwed on the iron sides, but covered with the finest of linen sheets. An iron frame holds the mosquito-net in place.

Evidently a wash-stand is a thing to be ashamed of, for they are concealed in the most ingenious way. Mine in the daytime is rather an attractive commode; Laura’s is a writing-table, which at night opens up and discloses the wash-basin. Otherwise there is little furniture: two cane-bottomed chairs, two bamboo tables (twins); one has a blue ribbon tied on its leg to tell it from its brother. Two ingeniously braided mats of linen cord do duty for the _descente de lit_. Oh yes! there is a mirror for each of us, which in my hurry to finish my letter I forgot to mention; but they are so small and wavy that the less we look in them the better we are satisfied with ourselves.

We have a large balcony, which has a beautiful view of the harbor and the opposite shore, two huge wooden so-called windows, which are not windows, opening on to the balcony. There is a panel in the middle which you can open if you want some fresh air. Glass is never used for windows, so that when you shut your window you are in utter darkness. Opposite is the door which is not a door, but a sort of a gate with lattice shutters, giving the room the look of a bar-room. There is space above the shutters which is open to the ceiling.

Any one in the gallery who wanted to could stand on a chair and peer over. Everything that goes on in the gallery, every noise, every conversation, can be clearly overheard, and if one only understood the language it might be very interesting.

The bars and locks on our doors and windows date from the fifteenth century, I should say, and it is with the most herculean efforts that we manage to shut ourselves in for the night; and we only know that the day has broken when we hear the nasal and strident Cuban voices, and the clattering of plates on the other side of the gate. Then we work like galley-slaves unbarring, and the blazing sun floods our room.

I don’t know if bells are popular in Havana; but in this hotel we have none. If you want a chambermaid, which you do about every half-hour, you must open your gate and clap your hands, and if she does not come you go on clapping until some one else comes.

For our early breakfast we begin clapping at an early hour, and finally our coffee and a huge plate filled with the most delicious oranges, cut and sugared, are brought to us. We tried to obtain some simple toast; but this seemed unknown to the Cuban cuisine, and we had to content ourselves with some national mixture called rolls.

CUBA, _January 24, 1873._

The letters of introduction which kind Admiral Polo (Spanish Minister in Washington) gave me must be very powerful and far reaching, for we are received as if we were Princesses of the blood. The Governor-General came directly to put himself, his house, his family, his Generalship–in fact, all Cuba–_á la disposición de usted_. The Captain of the Port appeared in full gala uniform, and deposited the whole of the Spanish fleet, his person, and the universe in general at my feet, and said, “That no stone should be left unturned to make our stay in Havana illustrious in history.”

What could the most admirable of Polos have written to have created such an effect? Then came the General Lliano, a very handsome man, but who I thought was rather stingy, as he only put the Spanish Army at my disposition, and himself (_cela va sans dire_).

Next came Señor Herreras, dressed all in white, with the most perfect patent-leather boots, much too tight for him, and which must have caused him agonies while he was offering to put himself (of course), his bank, and all his worldly possessions in my hands.

I accepted all with a benign smile, and answered that I only had America and my fur-lined coat and boa to offer in return.

We had so many instructions given to us as to what to do and what not to do in this perfidious climate that we were quite bewildered.

Never to go out in the sun. Result–Malaria and sudden death.

Never put your feet on the bare floors. Result–Centipedes.

Never drink the water. Result–Yellow fever.

Never eat fruit at night. Result–Typhoid fever.

If you sleep too much; if you sit in the draught; if you let the moon shine on you. Result–Lockjaw and speedy annihilation.

These admonitions were very confusing, and we lay awake at night thinking how we could manage to live under these circumstances.

What a delight to look at the view from our balcony! I never imagined anything so beautiful: the distant hills are so blue, the water so sparkling, the sun gilds the hundreds of sails in the harbor. At night the water is brilliant with phosphorescence, and when the boats glide through it they throw out a thousand colors; even the reflection of the stars is multicolored. And then, pervading all, the delicious fragrance of fruit and flowers and tropicality!

When I am not poetical, as above, I notice the oxcarts with their cruel drivers yelling at their poor beasts and goading them with iron-pointed sticks. When they were not striking them, they struck picturesque attitudes themselves, leaning on their carts and smoking endless cigarettes. The cabmen are also picturesque in their way. After their return from a “course,” tired out from whipping their forlorn horses into the sideling trot which is all they are equal to, and after flicking their ears until they are too lazy to continue, they hang their hats and stockingless feet over the carriage lamps and chew sugar-cane, looking the picture of contentment.

Cabs are cheap; twenty-five cents will take you anywhere _à la course_. But if you go from one shop to another, or linger at a visit, fancy knows no bounds, for there is no tariff and the coachman’s imagination is apt to be vivid; and as you can’t trust anything else, you must trust to your conversational power to get you out of the scrape.

_Volantes_ are capricious and too exotic a vehicle to trifle with; moreover, they turn corners with difficulty, and corners in Havana are the things you meet the most of.

The streets are narrow; so that if you wish to avoid adventures you must be careful to give your coachman the correct address before starting off. The porter of the hotel did this for us to-day, as our Spanish has not reached _perfection_ yet.

All the streets are labeled _subida_, which means, “go up this street,” or _bajado_, “down this street.” If, by chance, you want to go to _27 subida_ and you amble on to 29, it takes you hours to go _bajado_ and get back to _subida_ again, going round in a _cercle vicieux_. We spent a whole broiling afternoon buying two spools of thread, my parasol being mightier than my tongue, as the poor coachman’s back can vouch for. When everything else failed we shouted in unison, “Hotel San Carlos,” and the black coachman grinned with delight. Seeing _bajado_ so often at different points, Laura thought it was the sign of an assurance company; when I saw it on the same house as Maria Jesus Street I thought it was some kind of charitable institution.

A _volante_, as I have said, is a unique and delightful vehicle, which one requires to know to appreciate. There are two huge wheels behind and none in front; the animal, secured between the shafts, supports the weight of the carriage. The seat is very low, so that you recline, more than sit; your feet are unpleasantly near the horse’s tail; a small seat can be pulled out between you and your companion if there is a child in the party. A dusky postilion decked out in high top-boots, with enormous spurs of real silver, sits astride the horse between the shafts, and a huge sombrero covers his woolly head.

The harness, spurs, buckles, and a good deal of the carriage trimmings are silver; the horse’s tail is braided once a week and tied to the saddle. No frisky frightening off the flies from his perspiring and appetizing body! Sometimes (in fact, usually) there is an extra horse outside of the traces, so that labor is thus divided. The _volante_ drags the people; the horse in the shafts drags the _volante_, and the extra horse drags everything; the coachman does the spurring, whipping, and shouting, and the inmates do the lolling.

I forgot to say that my friend, Lola Maddon, whom I used to know in Paris, is here, married to Marquis San Carlos, who was a fascinating widower with several children, whom Lola, like the dear creature she is, had taken under her youthful wing. She rushed to see me the moment she heard that I had come, and has already begun to “turn the stones” which are to be turned for me to make my “visit illustrious” here. She has invited us to the opera to-morrow, and gives a _soirée_ for me on the following evening. I confess I am rather curious to see a _soirée_ in Havana. I hope they have ice-chests to sit on and cool conversation. I shall not talk politics; in the first place I can’t, and in the second place because it is heating to the blood.

Lola says her husband is a rabid Spaniard. “A rabid Spaniard!” Could anything be more alarming? No; I will not be the innocent means to bring about discussions, and precipitate a conflict between the Cubans and the Spaniards! I have pinned upon the bed-curtains, next to the precautions for preserving health and the washing-list, the words, “Never talk politics, nor be led into listening to them,” I can always, if pushed into a corner, assume an air of profundity and say, “Is the crisis–” and then stop and look for a word. The politician, if he is anything of a politician, will finish the phrase for me, with the conviction that I know all about it but am diplomatic.

To see the cows in Havana is enough to break your heart. I weep over them in a sort of milky way. I have always seen cows in comfortable stables, with nice, clean straw under their feet and pails full of succulent food placed within easy reach, while at certain intervals a tidy, tender- hearted young milkmaid appears with a three-legged stool and a roomy pail, and extracts what the cow chooses to give her. But here the wiry creatures roam from door to door, and drop a pint or so at each call. It is pitiful to see the poor, degraded things, with their offspring following behind. The latter are graciously allowed to accompany them; but no calls on Nature are permitted, the poor little things are even muzzled!

Whenever I wish to go into the public parlor, where there is a piano, I meet the Countess C—-, who has evidently just been singing to her son and her husband.

The first day I met her I approached her with the intention to talk music; but she swept by with a look which withered me up to an autumn leaf and left the room, followed by her music, son, and husband; but afterward, when she saw the Captain of the Port in full gala offering me “_Cuba et ses dépendences_,” she changed her manner, and _then it was my turn!_ When she asked me if I also knew Count Ceballos, the Governor General, I answered, with a sweet smile, “Of course I do.” “And many other people here?” she asked, “All I think that are worth knowing,” I replied, getting up and leaving the room as abruptly as she had done. It was great fun, though L—- thought I was rude.

We went to the theater with Marquise San Carlos. “All the world is here,” said she. Certainly it looked as if all Havana filled the Tacon, which is a very large theater. Every box was full, and the parquet, as Lola told me, contained the _haute volée_ of the town; the open balconies were sacred to the middle-class, while in the upper gallery were the nobodies, with their children, poor things! decked out with flowers and trying to keep awake through the very tiresome and _démodé_ performance of “Macbeth.” Tamberlik sang. What a glorious voice he has! And when he took the high C (which, if I dare make the joke, did not at all resemble the one Laura and I encountered coming out of New York Harbor) it was all I could do to sit quiet. I wanted to wave something. The prima-donna was _assoluta_, and must have been pickled in some academy in Italy years ago, for she was not preserved. She acted as stupidly as she sang.

Each box has six seats and are all open, with the eternal lattice-door at the back, and separated from its neighbor by a small partition. It was very cozy, I thought; one could talk right and left, and when the gentlemen circulated about in the _entr’actes_ smoking the inevitable cigarette, which never leaves a Cuban’s lips except to light a fresh one, all the lattice-doors are eagerly opened to them. Lola presented all the _haute volée_ to us, the unpresented just stared. I never realized how much staring a man can do till I saw the Cuban. I mentioned this to Lola, to which she responded, “It is but natural, you are a stranger.”

“Dear friend,” said I, “I have been a stranger in other lands, but I have never seen the like of this. If I was an orang outang there might be some reason, but to a simple mortal, or two simple mortals, like my sister and myself, their stares seem either too flattering or the reverse.”

“Why, my dear,” she replied, “they mean it as the greatest compliment, you may believe me.” And she appealed to her husband, who confirmed what she said. All the gentlemen carry fans and use them with vigor; the ladies are so covered with powder (_cascarilla_) that you can’t tell a pretty one from an ugly one. If one of them happens to sneeze, there is an avalanche of powder.

Lola showed us her establishment and explained the architecture of a Cuban house. If chance has put a chimney somewhere, they place the kitchen near it. Light and size are of no account, neither is cooking of any importance.

CUBA, _February, 1873._

We make such crowds of acquaintances it would be useless to tell you the names. The Marquise San Carlos sent her carriage for us the evening of her _soirée_. All the company was assembled when we arrived: the Marquis, the Dean of Havana, and two abbés were playing _tresillo_, a Spanish game of cards.

A group of men stood in the corner and seemed to be talking politics, as far as I could judge from then gesticulations. A few ladies in sweeping trains, and very _décolletées_, sat looking on listlessly. The daughter of the house was nearing the piano. The Dean said to me, with a sly smile, “Now is the _coup de grâce!_”–his little joke. She sang, “Robert, toi que j’aime. Grâce! Grâce!” etc. Also she sang the waltz of “Pardon de Ploërmel,” a familiar _cheval de bataille_ of my own, which I was glad to see cantering on the war-path again. In the mean time conversation was at low ebb for poor Laura. She told me some fragments which certainly were peculiar. For instance, she understood the gentle man who had last been talking to her to say that he had been married five times, had twenty- eight children, and had married his eldest son’s daughter as his fifth wife. I afterward ascertained that what he had intended to convey was that he was twenty-eight when he married and had fifteen children. That was bad enough, I thought.

I sang two or three times. The gaiety was brought to rather an abrupt close, as the Marquis received a telegram of his brother’s death. The Abbé went on playing his game, not at all disturbed (such is the force of habit); but we folded our tents and departed.

The hours are sung out in the streets at night, with a little flourish at the end of each verse. I fancy the watchman trusts a good deal to inspiration about this, as my clock–an excellent one–did not at all chime in with his hours. Perhaps he composes his little verse, in which case a margin ought to be allowed him….

The bells in the churches are old and cracked and decrepit.

All the fleet, and any other boat that wants to join in fire off salute, to wake you up in the morning.

I bought to-day the eighth part of a lottery-ticket.

The Captain of the Port thinks his English is better than his French, but sometimes it is very funny. He says: “Don’t take care,” instead of “Never mind”–“The _volante_ is to the door”–“Look to me, I am all proudness”– “You are all my anxiousness.”

The houses are generally not more than one story high, built around an open court, on which all rooms open. In the middle of this is a fountain; no home is complete without a fountain, and no fountain is complete without its surroundings of palms, plants, and flowers. In one of the rooms you can see where the _volante_ reposes for the night. You only see these glories at night. When the heavy bolts are drawn back you and everybody can look in from the street on the family gathering, basking in rocking-chairs around the fountain, and in oriental, somnolent conversation.

CUBA, _February._

The annual _soirée_ of the Governor and his wife took place last night. The Captain of the Port came to fetch us. The palace is, like all other official buildings, magnificent on the outside, but simple and severe within. There was a fine staircase, and all the rooms were brilliantly lighted, but very scantily furnished, according to our ideas. We must have gone through at least six rooms before we reached the host and hostess. Every room was exactly alike: in each was a red strip of carpet, half a dozen rocking-chairs placed opposite one another, a cane- bottomed sofa, a table with nothing on it, and walls ditto. There are never any curtains, and nothing is upholstered. This is the typical Cuban salon.

There was an upright piano and a pianist at it when we entered, but the resonance was so overpowering that I could not hear what he was playing. Laura and I (after having been presented to a great many people) were invited to sit in the rocking-chairs. The gentlemen either stood out in the corridor or else behind the chair of a lady and fanned her. _Dulces_ and ices were passed round, and every one partook of them, delighted to have the opportunity to do something else than talk.

When the pianist had finished his Chopin a lady sang, accompanied by her son, who had brought a whole pile of music. She courageously attacked the _Cavatina_ of “Ernani.” The son filled up the places in her vocalization which were weak by playing a dashing chord. She was a stout lady and very warm from her exertions, and the more she exerted herself the more frequently the vacancies occurred; and the son, perspiring at every pore, had difficulty to fill them up with the chords, which became louder and more dashing.

Countess Ceballos, with much hemming and hawing, begged me to sing. I felt all eyes fixed on me; but my eyes were riveted to the little, low piano- stool on which I should have to sit. It seemed miles below the piano-keys. “How could I play on it?” Evidently none but long-bodied performers had been before me, for when I asked for a cushion, in order to raise myself a little, nothing could be found but a very bulgy bed-pillow, which was brought, I think, from the mother country. There was a sort of Andalusian swagger about it.

The dream “that I dwelt in marble halls” was no longer a dream. Here I was singing in one. I sang “_Ma Mère était Bohémienne_,” and another song which had an easy accompaniment. It took me a little moment to temper my voice to these shorn rooms.

The charge of musketry which followed was deafening, though only gentlemen clapped their hands; ladies don’t rise to such exertion in Cuba. I sang “Beware!” as a parting salute. The Captain of the Port came up, flushed with pride, and said, in his best English, “I am all proudness!”

_Panelas_ (large pieces of frosted sugar, to be melted in water) and other sweets were passed about at intervals.

Shaking hands is a great institution here. No one wears gloves except at the opera, so that one’s hands are in a perpetual state of fermentation, especially after one of these functions, when making acquaintances, expressing thanks, and everything else are done through the medium of the hands. One can literally say that one wrings one’s hands.

We, as the distinguished guests, were led into the supper-room very ceremoniously, and put among the higher strata of society. The buffet was overflowing with Cuban delicacies and _dulces_. I reveled in the fruit and left the viands severely alone.

After supper we went into the ball-room, and saw for the first time the Cuban waltz, otherwise called _Habanera_, a curious dance something between a shuffle and a languid glide. The dancers hardly move from the same spot, or at most keep in a very small circle, probably on account of the heat and exertion; and then the dispersing of so much powder, with which every lady covers herself and gets rid of when she moves, has to be considered.

The music has a peculiar measure; I have never heard anything like it before. The instruments seemed mostly to be violins, flutes, clarinets, and a small drum. The bass is very rhythmical and deep, whereas the thin tones of the other instruments are on the very highest notes, which leaves a gap between the upper and lower tones, making such a peculiar effect that the music pursues and haunts you even in your dreams.

We bade our host and hostess good night and, followed by the Captain of the Port, who now was not only “all proudness,” but full of “responsibilitiveness,” left the palace. In passing the music-room I took a farewell look at the bulgy bed-pillow, which was still reposing on the music-stool.

CUBA, _February._

DEAR MAMA,–You have no idea of the heat here. I never felt anything so scorching as it was to-day. Let me tell you what happened.

General Lliano came in the morning to ask what Havana could show me. I answered that above all things I wanted to see Morro Castle. He replied that Morro Castle was mine, and that I had only to fix the time and he would take us there.

I did fix it, and fixed it at two o’clock, as a fit hour to visit the _Cabaña_. I noticed the look of blank despair on our friend’s face, but, not knowing that all Cuba slept between the hours of two and five, I did not realize the piteousness of it. General Lliano begged the Captain of the Port, Señor Català, to accompany us, and both of these gentlemen came in full uniform, as well as their aides-de-camp.

The Captain’s trim little boat was at the wharf near our hotel, and we were rowed over by the governmental crew to the opposite shore, and were met by the Governor of Morro Castle at the landing in the most sweltering heat. I had not forgotten to take the precaution, which anywhere else would have been appropriate, to carry extra wraps, as I told Laura that they were necessary for every water excursion. You may imagine the _de- trop_-ness of these articles when the thermometer was up at one hundred and twenty in the shade.

We were taken about conscientiously and shown all that there was to be seen: all the dungeon-cells and subterranean passages, and up the hill to see the view, which was very extended and very beautiful. From there we went to the Governor’s house, where we were greeted by his wife and daughter, the wife stiff in black moiré (I mean the moiré was stiff, not she). He placed himself, his wife and daughter, and his mansion at my disposal. I would not have minded taking the old gentleman; but I absolutely refused the lady and the moiré dress.

_Dulces_ were served and some unappetizing-looking ices, which tasted better than they looked. Cakes also were offered us, of which I picked out those which had the least mauve and yellow coatings. When we were presented with some stiff little bouquets we thought it was a signal for departure, and bade adieu to the black moiré and the fast-melting ices.

From the _Cabaña_ we walked along the macadamized road to the Morro Castle, a long distance it seemed to me in the heat; but we left the hard and glaring road and walked over the grass, following the line of the subterranean passage, which made a sort of mound, and finally reached Morro Castle. Here there were more officials, more presentations and more ceremonies, and more _dulces_ and more bouquets.

The view from the ramparts, on which stood the lighthouse, was sublime: the blue sea underneath us, Havana on the left, and the purple mountains in the far distance.

One of the officials asked us whether we wanted to go to the top of the lighthouse. I declined, much to the relief of the assembled company. They say that fish have been thrown up by the spray over the lighthouse; but this seems almost as incredible as the majority of fishy stories. The castle is very high, the ramparts are higher, and the lighthouse crowns everything. The water dashes up through narrow crevices in the rocks, which gives it great force, and possibly might account for the fish story, but I doubt it.

By this time (six o’clock) we were utterly exhausted. Even at this hour the heat was intolerable. We had hoped for a little breeze on the water; but, alas! there was none. Poor Señor Herreras held his foot incased in tight patent-leather boots in his lap, moaning, “Comme je souffre!”

How they all must have blessed me for this idea of mine! I felt ashamed to look them in the face.

CUBA, _1873._

I could not tell you all the things we were taken to see. We visited the German and Spanish men-of-war As we were in the company of the Governor- General, the Commander, and the Captain-General, we were not spared the proper salutes. The tour of the war-ships had to be made, and in place of the eternal _dulces_ international refreshments were offered us. We departed in the Captain of the Port’s steam-launch, and drove to the Carreo, where the pretty villas are.

The Governor-General drove us out to his _quinta_ in great style: English horses and carriage and an American coachman. The roads were pretty bad, and we were considerably jostled going through the _Paseo._ The coachman careered from side to side to avoid ruts and tracks, and the dust was overpowering. No conversation was possible, as our throats were filled with dust and our lives hanging on a thread. I waved my hand in the direction of anything I thought pretty, and silence followed.

At the _quinta_ all was ready and waiting for us. Fountains were playing, servants in red and yellow gorgeous liveries, with white stockings, were flitting about; various Cuban delicacies were offered to us, and we admired everything that was to be admired. The return drive was delightful, through the long avenues of stately palms and graceful date- trees.

The carnival is a great event and very amusing. I am not spoiled in the way of carnivals, only having seen that of Paris (the _Boeuf gras_) and the Battle of Flowers at Nice. The populace turn out in great force, every one is gay and happy, and the Cubans high and low join in the sport.

We were invited to drive in a four-in-hand. In this way we had a kind of bird’s-eye view of the whole. No lady thinks herself too fine to join in the carnival. The procession, which defiles up and down the _Paseo_ during the fray, begins at four in the hot, broiling afternoon, and ladies, decked out as Diana, Minerva, or other celebrities, powdered _à l’outrance_, smiling and proud of their success, recline in their _volantes_. Their own servants, with false noses or otherwise disguised, have their fun, too. I never saw such an orderly crowd; no pushing, no quarreling, no drunkenness, and yet every one was enjoying himself. There were two rows of carriages, one going up, one going down, with a place in the middle for the four-in-hands and the _chars_, some of which were very ingenious. There was a steamship with sailors, who kept firing off the whistle every time they saw a skittish horse. On another car were men dressed as skeletons with death’s-heads instead of masks, and Shylock- looking Jews riding with their backs to the horses’ heads, holding on to their tails.

A Punch and Judy were acting on a little stage during the procession, surrounded by children of all sizes and ages decked out in costumes, their tinselly flowers showing off their thin and sallow faces. There was a tremendous tooting of horns, and, with the music in the square and the music on the _chars_, made a perfect Bedlam. People nudged one another as we hove in sight in our four-in-hand.

The G—-s did not relish the carnival as much as we did, and thought it a dismal affair. They captured a victoria by force, the coachman refusing to take them until they said “Paseo” upon which he started off on a trot. He had a dilapidated old horse, who had to be beaten all the way there, and when there, what do you think the coachman did? Simply pulled out a false nose and put it on and lighted a cigarette, stuck his hat on the lamp, and jeered at all the other vehicles, being on jeering terms with all the other cabmen; and as the _Paseo_ is a mile long, it meant a mile of mortification. They came home disgusted and voted the carnival a “disgraceful affair.”


DEAR M.,–In my last letter I told you of our invitation to the _bal poudré_ and _masqué_ here. Count Ceballos, thinking it would amuse us to see it, arranged that we should stay at the palace, where the ball was to take place.

The Captain of the Port, with his aide-de-camp, accompanied us on our trip, and as he was going there in some official capacity, we shared his honors.

We had no adventures except that of traveling in company with a rather rough-looking set of men, who were on their way to a cock-fight. The cocks were tied up in bags; but as I wanted to see one the man opened the bag and took it out, and also showed me the spurs they strap on them when they fight.

We arrived in Matanzas about six o’clock, to find the Mayor’s carriage waiting for us. We drove to the palace, and after dinner dressed for the ball. We did not attempt anything in the way of mask or costume, as being unknown and _unpowdered_ was a sufficient disguise.

The Captain of the Port knew every one there, and presented many of his friends. We went out and stood on the balcony, looking at the sea of upturned heads. It seemed as if every Matanzois who was not inside was outside gazing at the windows, and listening to the band which was playing in the square. The night was glorious with a full moon.

I think that I have described in a former letter the Cuban dance, the languid tropical shuffle they call the _Habanera_. The music is so monotonous, always the same over and over again, and only ceases when it is convenient to the musicians.

The ladies had _cascarilla_ (a powder made of eggshells) an inch thick on their faces. I doubt if the officers ever saw so much powder as they did at this _bal poudré_.

There was a sit-down supper, consisting of sandwiches smelling strong of bad butter, ham and chicken salads, _dulces_ of all sorts, but, alas! no fruit. The dancing continued long after we had retired for the night.

The Marquis Aldamar invited us to a _déjeuner_ for the following day; the _volantes_ were again “to the door,” and we started off in grand style and great spirits and drove to the top of the mountain, from which we enjoyed a perfectly glorious view of the Yumiri Valley. The winding river looked like a silver thread as it wound in and out through the grassy meadows.

Our _déjeuner_ was of a more European character than any that we had yet had in Cuba; the menu was in French–evidently the cook was also French–and the servants looked imported. In fact, everything was in very good style. The hostess was charming and musical, she sang some very pretty Cuban songs, and after a while asked me if I were musical, and if I would play something.

The Captain, in an undertone and in all “proudness,” said, “Ask Madame to sing.” And she did so in a rather condescending manner.

I accepted and went timidly to the piano, and as I hesitated as to what I should sing, she said, “Oh! just sing any little thing.” With an amused glance at Laura I sang Chopin’s waltz, which is the most difficult thing I sing, and the astonishment depicted on the countenance of my patronizing hostess was highly diverting.

“I wonder if you are any relation of a Mrs. Moulton whom my cousin knew in Paris,” she said. “He was very intimate with a family of your name, and often talked to me about a Mrs. Moulton who sang so beautifully.”

“Can it be that I am the same person? I have lived in Paris. What was your cousin’s name?” I inquired.

“Jules Alphonso.”

“What!” I cried. “Jules Alphonso your cousin? I have not seen him for years. I used to know him so well. Where is he?”

“He lives here in Cuba,” she answered.

“Where in Cuba?” I interrupted. “How extraordinary! How much I should like to see him again!”

“And he, I am sure, would like to see you, he has so often talked about you to me. I felt directly last night that I knew you; it must have been intuition.”

I think, Mama, you must remember Jules. He was like a second son in our house, and was an intimate friend of my brother-in-law, and would have liked to have been a brother-in-law himself if he had been accepted. We all loved him. How strange to find him here! The last place in the world I should have dreamed of! I am not sure that I ever knew that he was a Cuban.

My new friend was wild with joy. “You are the one person that I have wanted to know all my life, and, fancy, here you are!”

Was it not a curious coincidence to meet _here_, in this out-of-the-way place, some one who knew all about me?

I repeated, “I must see Jules, and if he is anywhere near I shall certainly try to find him.” “Let us go together,” she said. “I will drive you there, and we will take him by surprise.” Two _volantes_ were immediately before the door, and the Marquise Aldamar, the Captain of the Port, Laura, and I started for La Rosa, Jules’s plantation. It was an enchanting drive, though a long one, leading, as it did, through avenues of royal palms, and it was quite six o’clock before we reached Jules’s house. I said to the Marquise Aldamar, “As Jules has no idea that I am in this part of the world, let me go in alone and surprise him.”

We drove up to the entrance of his pretty villa, and the others accompanied me to the door of the salon with a finger on their lips, so that the servant should not announce us. We saw Jules sitting at a table reading. I entered softly and went behind him, and laying my hand on his shoulder said, “Jules!”

He turned quickly about, and when he saw me he thought I was an apparition or a dream. “What! What!” he cried, trembling with astonishment.

“It is I–Lillie Moulton,” I said, quietly.

“You! you! No, it can’t be possible!” And he took hold of my hands as if to see if they were flesh and blood. “Where did you come from? How did you get here? What brought you here?” followed in quick succession. The others pushed aside the curtain and came in. Then followed explanations. I was obliged to answer thousands of questions, and go into thousands of details, concerning the family, Paris, the war, and so forth. He ordered champagne, improvised a little supper for us, and did not seem to be able to do enough to show his delight at seeing me. But the Captain of the Port soon reminded us that it was time to be on our way back to Matanzas, as it was a long drive, and I bade a tearful farewell to lonely Jules. Our comet-like visit must have seemed to him like a vision, and he watched us, with eyes full of tears, drive away out of his life. Poor Jules!


We spent the following morning in driving about the city. At half-past two crossed the ferry to Yuanana-bocca, where we found the amiable director and the rest of the party. The cars, with their cane-bottomed seats, were cool. The scenery was exquisite. On both sides of the road were real jungles of tropical growth, with the purple mountains as a background. We passed many _ingenios_ (plantations), with their tall, smoking chimneys, all in full blast.

On reaching our destination we were met by _volantes_ and saddle-horses. The former were for the ladies, the latter for the gentlemen of the party, and we made our way through the narrow, dirty streets, passed the walls of the city, and came out on to the beautiful road, where a gang of chained prisoners were breaking stones.

We passed many villas and well-kept gardens, and arrived at the bottom of the hill, where we were obliged to get out and walk, for the roads became impassable. It was a stiff climb; but when we reached the summit we were rewarded by a most magnificent view. We descended and reached the _volantes,_ the drivers whipped up their horses, and away we went over rocks and ruts, but feeling nothing of them. That is the charm of a _volante;_ only the wheels, which are behind you, get the jerks and jolts.

After a half-hour’s drive we reached the famous cave, Laura and I were supplied with garments looking like mackintoshes, and, provided with torches, we began to descend. We first came to a large, vaulted hall, where miles of stalactites in every form and shape twinkled in the light of the torches.

We had to crawl through a small opening to get into another vaulted room which boasted of an echo. The guide struck a note and I sang a cadenza, which resounded like a thousand voices.

There never could have been a thermometer made that could register such heat as we felt here; the air was frightfully oppressive and almost intolerable.

They pointed out the Pope’s Miter, the Virgin’s Veil, the Altar, the Boat –all looking about as much like their names as an apple looks like a pack of cards. After being shown the lake I begged for fresh air, and we mounted the steep wooden stairs. The hot air outside seemed like a wintry breeze when we came into it, and we were told that we must cool off before venturing into the hot sun. Then we _volanted_ back to Matanzas.

Our next visit was to the well-known _ingenio_ (sugar-plantation) belonging to the cousin of the Marquis San Carlos. The sugar-mill stood in front of the master’s house, so that the master could watch from his broad balcony the bringing in of the sugar-cane, which was hauled by huge cart- loads drawn by oxen. The sugar-cane, on its arrival, was put between great crushing wheels before it was thrown into the vats. The sturdy negresses, up to their elbows, stirred the foaming syrup after it had boiled. Then it was skimmed and boiled again to purify it. It went through a centrifugal process to crystallize it, and afterward was packed in boxes and stamped in less time than it takes to relate this. I liked to breathe the hot vapors coming from the huge tanks. What remains of the sugar is used as fuel; so nothing is wasted.

All the slaves seemed gay and well-fed. The Chinese, I believe, are liked better than the natives, they are so clean and adroit. We visited the houses of the slaves and found them all well kept. The master threw silver pieces (ten cents) to the children, who seemed content in their bare nakedness and clamored for more pennies. We drank _querap_ (molasses) from the tanks mixed with whiskey. It was very good; but a little went very far. Two small children fanned us with palmettos during dinner. We passed the night there in the _ingenio_; but we saw no tarantulas, as was predicted. The next morning, when our coffee was brought, there was an assortment of delicious fruits–pineapples, guavas, bananas, cocoanuts, mangos, etc., which we enjoyed immensely. There was a little excitement before we started: the gardener, a bridegroom of eighty-five summers, was married to a blooming young person of eighty, both slaves and black as ink. We arrived at Havana that evening.

You can’t tell how grieved I was to hear of the kind and good Emperor Napoleon’s death. He was only sixty-five years old. I thought he was older. What an eventful life he had–tragical would be the right word. What did he not endure? When he was a child he was an exile, and since then, until he became first President and then Emperor, he was knocking about the world, sometimes hidden and sometimes pursued. However, he had fifteen years of glory, for there was not in all Europe a man more considered than he was, and he had until the last four years of his reign more prestige than any other sovereign. I think after the tragedy of Mexico his star began to pale.

The Emperor Napoleon was certainly the kindest-hearted and best- intentioned man in the world, so full of life, fun, and appreciation. I can see him now shaking with laughter when anything amused him, as was often the case at Compiègne.

The papers say that he had once been a policeman in London. I do not believe this is true, though the Emperor told me himself that he had lived very humbly at times; still, that is very different from being a policeman. I wonder if the Prince will try to get back the throne. He does not look as if he had a strong character, nor does he look as if he had the energy of the Emperor, which enabled him to go through so many hardships to gain his ends.

How sad it is! I am sure the Empress’s only consolation is the thought that her son can recover the position the father lost.

We returned to Havana quite tired out with our little journey, and glad to rest in the quiet of our cool rooms, and I looked across the water, crowded with boats of every description, and gazed with delight at the distant mountains, with their clouds dragging themselves from one summit to the other.

How hot it is! I never thought that the sun, which is so high up, could pour down so; but it does pour down. I think it is hotter here than in Matanzas.

We shall be leaving here in a few days, and I suppose we shall find ice and snow in New York, and return to india-rubbers and umbrellas–things unknown here. During our absence some German men-of-war have arrived here, and stationed themselves right in front of our windows.

It must be their wash-day, for all the sailors’ clothes are hanging out to dry.

Lola San Carlos is in light gray–the mourning one wears for a brother-in- law is not heavy in this warm country. She has invited us to a card-party for tomorrow; card-parties are evidently not gay enough to interfere with tears.

CUBA, _February._

DEAR MAMA,–Well, we are really going to return! As usual, I have no more clothes, and I certainly will not be bothered to have anything made here. My black tulle dress has become brown and gray in its efforts to keep up to the mark; and as for Laura’s white lace, it has become gray and brown, so you see we must go home.

We went to Lola’s card-party. There was the bereaved brother, looking very chirpy, and the Dean, and the Abbé. They kindly proposed to teach me their favorite game of _tresillo_. They took a lively interest in my ignorance. They told me the rules and the names of the extraordinary cards; for instance, hearts were represented by coins, for clubs there were clubs, while trees and swords served for diamonds and spades. Every card is something else than what you have called it before. The value of each is changed according to the trump. What you have considered always as a low card, such as the two of spades, suddenly becomes the best card in the pack.

All the cards have Spanish names–Spadilla, Manilla, Basta, Ponto, and Matadores–which sound very romantic. A simple seven of hearts becomes suddenly top card and is called Manilla, which is the second best when hearts are trumps, and then the two of clubs, which was miles high the last hand, is at the tail of all the other cards now. It is a dreadful game. I thought that I should have brain fever while learning it. They went on playing it for hours; there never seemed any end to it; they counted in the weirdest way, making ciphers and tit-tat-toes on the green baize table with chalk, and wiped out with a little brush. Every trick of the adversary was deducted, and all the heads met over the chalk-marks to find out mistakes.


DEAR M.,–A dance was given at the Captain-General’s, where all the officers of the German and Spanish men of war were present. It was a very brilliant sight, and we made many delightful acquaintances. Commodore Werner of the German _Friedrich Wilhelm,_ Commodore Livonius of the _Elizabeth,_ besides many other charming officers, as well as many Spanish officers from the _Gerona._ The Germans danced with more energy than the Cubans are accustomed to, and they stared at the unusual vigor displayed, and accounted for it, saying it was because they were new- comers. In fact, the officers, in their trim uniforms, looked very hot and wilted at the end of the evening. Commodore Werner was a most gallant gentleman, and as we did not dance, he had the leisure to tell me all about his family, his literary tastes, and his admiration for pretty ladies; and he finished by asking if we would do him the honor to lunch on his ship the next day. A handsome young lieutenant (Tirpitz) came to ask me to dance, but Commodore Werner gave him what in other less tropical countries might be called a freezing look, remarking that no one ought to dance in such heat as this. The young lieutenant left us quite subdued; but the heat did not prevent his dancing with many ladies, if not with me.

The next day we went to lunch on the _Friedrich Wilhelm,_ and it was with delight that we sat on the awning-covered deck. The Commodore asked me to give him an idea for some occupation for the sailors, who had so much time on their hands, and, as I happened to know how to plait straw, I proposed showing them how to do it.

The Commodore sent a launch to Havana to get the straw, and we passed the afternoon dividing the time between listening to the music of the ship’s band and tasting different beverages and eating German pretzels and teaching the sailors how to plait.

At five o’clock we were rowed ashore, and welcomed a little fresh breeze which had sprung up.

The following morning the inmates of the hotel were awakened at an early hour by the solemn hymn which belongs to a German serenade. The kind Commodore had sent his band to play for me, and it filled the whole hall.

The early breakfasters were dreadfully put out about it; the brass instruments sounded like a double orchestra, and resounded in these marble halls like volleys of musketry; and as for the hotel-keeper, he has not got over his surprise yet.

We had many pleasant days after this. Each one, we said, would be the last; still we stayed on. One of the German men-of-war gave a ball, the Spanish gave another; each vied with the other to give the finest entertainment. It was a pleasure to go on board the German boats, everything was so spick and span, the sailors so neat and trim, the deck so beautifully kept, and the brasses glistened red-hot in the sun.

I cannot tell you all we did these last days. I was glad to hear that the German sailors had profited by my lessons, and had in a short time plaited straw enough to make some hats for themselves. I shall always feel proud when I see a German sailor with a straw hat, for I shall feel that I laid the foundation of this industry.

One of the afternoons we spent on the Commodore’s boat. I sang for the officers in the cabin, and then, when I was on deck, I sang some of the songs from “Pinafore” for the sailors, whom the Commodore called together to hear me. They grinned from ear to ear when I sang “What, never?” “Hardly ever,” and “Never used a big, big D,” in the captain’s song in “Pinafore.” This was the last time we visited our amiable German host.

I shall post this letter in New York. It will probably reach you before we do.

Our departure was a triumphal procession. The Captain of the Port, devoted to the last, took us in his official steam-launch to our steamer. Flowers, fruit, and souvenirs of all kinds filled our cabin to overflowing, and when we passed the German boats, hats and handkerchiefs were waved aloft, and the bands on the decks played with all their Teutonic might until we were out of hearing distance.

We noticed our tall, handsome lieutenant standing alone on the fore part of the deck. He made a fine naval salute, while the good Commodore waved his handkerchief frantically.

The Captain of the Port accompanied us down the harbor as far as Morro Castle in his steam-launch.

Adieu, dear Havana!

WASHINGTON, _April, 1873._

DEAR LAURA,–The weather was atrociously bad when we returned to New York, and as for Boston–it was simply impossible. I began coughing and sneezing as soon as I reached home. So I decided to go to Washington on a visit to Mrs. Robeson, wife of the Secretary of the Navy. She had often asked me; this was an excellent opportunity to accept.

Mrs. Robeson is a fine woman, built on ministerial, lines, and looks like a war-ship in review rig. They have an amusing house. Their Sunday evenings are the rendezvous of clever people; the men are particularly entertaining–Mr. Blaine, Mr. Bayard, and other shining lights.

She is musical, and sings with pleasure. She has a luscious mezzo-soprano. She sang “Robin Adair” on one of these occasions with so much conviction that it seemed as though she was routing Robin from his first sleep. Then she sang a French song in a childish voice (she thought it was a _backfisch_ song); but I think it was anything but that, for I noticed some Scandi-knavish glances between the Danish and Swedish Ministers, which made me suspicious.

There is a delightful German Minister (Mr. Schlözer) here, who is very musical; though he does not know a note of music, he can improvise for hours.

SOMMERBERG, _July, 1874._

DEAR MAMA,–My last letter was from Dinard, where I was nestling in the bosom of my family and enjoying the repose and the rest that family bosoms alone can give. I told you of my intention to visit Helen at her place on the Rhine, and here I am enjoying another kind of rest: the rest of my income.

Paul is at present Minister in Madrid; Helen and I lead a very quiet life. Driving to Wiesbaden to see the Nassaus and other friends is our favorite occupation. We linger in the shady walks of the park, look in at the gambling-rooms, sometimes we go to the races, and always come home tired. And then, how we enjoy the garden and the beautiful view over the Rhine! Some days we go out riding in the lovely forest, which leads to the most prettily situated little “bad” place in the world–Schlangenbad.

Helen has in her stables three horses, two of which are the “fat ponies” and the third is the war-horse that Paul used in the French-German campaign. We take the war horse in turn, as he has to be exercised. When it is my day I shudder at the thought of it. Riding is not my strong point; in fact, it is my weakest point, and I feel that I am not at all in my element; and when I see the tall beast being led up to the door, and I know that at a given moment I am to be fired up on to his back, my heart sinks. He has a gentle way with him which makes the process of getting on him extremely difficult. Just as my foot is in the groom’s hand, and I say one–two–three, and am in midair, the horse moves gently to one side, and I either land on the hard pommel or, more often, I fill an empty space between the horse and the groom, which is awkward. However, when, after repeated efforts, I _do_ manage to hit the saddle on the right place I stick there.

He is full of fancies–this horse–and reminiscences, and sometimes gets the idea into his head that he hears the bugle-call to arms. Then off he goes to join his imaginary companions, and charges the trees or anything that occurs to him, and nothing on earth can stop him, certainly nothing on his back can. My hair comes down and my hat flies off, and I feel I am not doing the _haute école_ in proper style. Fortunately Helen and I are alone, and as the war-horse is miles in front of the “fat pony,” she does not see the _école_ I am doing, and I rather enjoy the wild way we career over space. I do not attempt to guide his martial steps, but let him come into camp when he feels inclined.

The groom is never surprised if I come an hour too late. I fancy he knows what I have gone through: brambles, branches, and–agony.

SOMMERBERG, _July, 1874._

I have just returned from a delightful visit to the Prince and Princess Metternich. It was very hot the day I left here, and the sun poured down on the broad, white roads which lead from Sommerberg to the station. On my arrival at Johannisberg Prince Metternich was waiting for me with a _calèche à la Daumont_.

Our jaunty postilion blew his little horn incessantly as we galloped through the village and up the long, steep hill which leads to the château. The walls on both sides of the badly paved, narrow road were high and unpicturesque–not a tree to be seen; vineyards, vineyards everywhere –nothing but vineyards.

The château is a very ugly building, of no particular kind of architecture, looking more like a barn than a castle. It is shaped like an enormous E, without towers or ornamentation of any kind.

The Princess was at the door, and welcomed me most affectionately, and with her were the other guests: the handsome Duchess d’Ossuna, Count Zichy, Count Kevenhüller, Count Fitz-James, and Commandant Duperré. The immense hall, which occupies the entire center of the house, has five windows giving out on the courtyard and five on the terrace, and is comfortably furnished with all kinds of arm-chairs, rugs, and so forth. A grand piano stood in one corner near the window, and over this window was an awning (an original idea of the Princess, to put an awning inside, instead of outside of the window). An unusually large table, covered with quaint books, periodicals, and the latest novels, stood in the middle of the room, and there were plants, palms, and flowers everywhere.

The Princess showed me the different rooms. Her boudoir was hung with embroidered satin. One room I liked particularly; the walls were covered with the coarsest kind of écru linen, on which were sewed pink pigeons cut out of cretonne; even the ceiling had its pigeons flying away in the distance. Another room was entirely furnished in cashmere shawls–a present from the Shah himself. There must have been a great many, to have covered the walls and all the divans.

Nowhere could the Princess have had such a chance to show what she could do as here, in the transforming of this barrack into a livable place. I admired everything immensely. She told me that she thought she was very practical, because, when they leave here, all the hangings can be taken down and folded and put away, so that the next year they are just as good as new.

They only stay here two months every year (July and August); the enormous display of flowers on the long terrace before the château is also temporary. There are at least four to five hundred pots of flowers, mostly geraniums, which make a brilliant effect for the time being, as long as the family are here; then they go back to the greenhouse.

Tea was served in the hall; every one was in the gayest of spirits, and crowded around the piano to hear Prince Metternich’s last waltz, which was very inspiring. After the music was finished and the tea-table removed, I was shown to my rooms; I reached them by a tiny winding staircase, the walls of which were hung with Adrianople (turkey red), and covered with miniatures and fine engravings.

Dinner was served very sumptuously; the servants were in plush breeches and had powdered hair. I sat on the left of Prince Metternich and next to Count Kevenhüller, who is a Knight of Malta. I said to the Prince, “A Knight of Malta always suggests to my mind romance and the Middle Ages.”

“It shows,” the Prince replied, “how naïve you are. It is true that he is middle-aged, but he has not a ray of romance in him. Don’t trust him! Maltese Knights and Maltese cats do their killing on the sly.”

During the dinner delicious Johannisberg was served alternately with ordinary beer. Conversation alternated with laughter, and after dinner albums and music alternated with flirtations. The Prince played some of his charming new songs. On the piano was a beautifully bound book containing them. He pointed to it, saying, “I have had this made for you,” and showed me the title-page, where he had written, “À l’Inspiratrice!” I was tremendously pleased and sang all the songs, one after the other. The Prince has had leisure to compose a great deal since he retired into private life. He is wonderfully talented–not only for music, but for painting. Everything he does he does better than any one else.

He said that during the war, when he was obliged to stay in Bordeaux, he would have died of ennui if he had not had his music and drawing to occupy him, especially as the Princess and the children were not with him, and he was dreadfully lonely.

It was a lovely night, and we walked till very late on the terrace and gazed at the view across the Rhine, over the miles of vineyards and little villages sparkling with lights.

The Prince told me all about the Empress’s flight from the Tuileries after the catastrophe of Sedan. He said that when the news came to the Embassy that the mob was about to enter the Tuileries he communicated with Count Nigra (the Italian Ambassador), and they decided to go there instantly, to offer their services to the Empress.

When they arrived there they saw the mob already before the gates. They left their carriages on the quay, and entered by a door into the gallery of the Louvre, and hurried to the apartment of the Empress. There they found her with Madame Le Breton. She was very calm and collected, already dressed in a black-silk gown, and evidently prepared for flight. She had in her hand a small traveling-bag, which contained some papers and a few jewels.

Seeing them, she exclaimed, “Tell me, what shall I do?”

The Prince said, “What does General Trochu advise, your Majesty?”

“Trochu!” she repeated. “I have sent for him twice, but he does not trouble himself to answer or to come to me.”

Then the Prince said, “Count Nigra and I are here to put ourselves entirely at your Majesty’s service.”

The Empress thanked them and said: “What do you think best for me to do? You see how helpless I am.”

The Prince answered that, according to their judgment, the wisest thing for her Majesty to do would be to leave Paris at once, and added that his carriage was there and she could make use of it.

She then put on her hat and cloak and said, “I am ready to follow you.”

They went through the Pavilion de Flore and through the Galerie du Louvre until they reached a small door leading out on to the quay, where the two coupes were waiting. The Prince had already thought of one or two friends to whom the Empress could go and remain until they joined her, to help her to devise some means for leaving Paris. He said that during the long walk through the gallery the Empress remained calm and self-possessed, though one could see that she was suffering intensely.

They reached the quay without hindrance and found the carriages. The Prince opened the door of his and gave his orders to his coachman; but the Empress suddenly refused, saying that she preferred to go in a cab, and begged them not to follow her.

There was a cab-stand directly opposite where they stood. They hailed one, and she and Madame Le Breton were about to get in when a little boy cried out, “Voilà l’Impératrice!” Count Nigra, quick as thought, turned on the boy and said in a loud voice, “Comment! tu cries ‘Vive la Prusse!” and boxed his ears, so that attention should be diverted from the Empress.

The Prince gave the names of the streets and the numbers of the houses to the cabman where he had proposed to the Empress to go, and the ladies drove away.

“Did you not follow her?” I asked.

“Yes” he answered. “In spite of the Empress’s wishes, after allowing enough time for her to get well on her way, we drove to the two addresses given, but did not find her at either of them. We could not imagine what had happened to her.”

“What _had_ happened to her?” I asked.

“It was only after hours of the greatest anxiety that we ourselves knew. About six o’clock I received a note from the Empress saying that she had gone to the two houses we had named, but that no one was there, and then, not knowing what to do, had in despair thought of Dr. Evans, the dentist, and had driven to his house, where she was in safety for the moment.”

“What a dreadful moment for the Empress! How did she dare to send the note to you?”

“It was imprudent,” said the Prince; “but she intrusted it to Dr. Crane, who happened to be dining with Dr. Evans. He brought it to me and gave it into my own hands.”

“Did you go to see her?”

“Yes, I went to see her; but strict orders had been given not to let any one enter, not even me.”

The Prince showed me this letter, which he kept locked up in a desk. Seeing the tears in my eyes, he said, giving me the envelope, “I know you will value this, and I beg you will keep it.”

[Illustration: FAC-SIMILE OF LETTER:

À Son Altesse Le Prince de Metternich

L. Napoléon.]

I told him that I would value it more than any one possibly could, and did not know how to thank him enough.

He told me a great deal more about the Empress, her hardships and trials, and how brave she had been through them all. She never uttered a word of reproach against any one, except against Trochu, whom she called an arch- traitor. He told me also of the last time he had seen her Majesty at Chiselhurst, and how sad this interview had been. The beautiful and adored Empress of France now a widow and an exile! I was sorry that our conversation was interrupted–I could have listened for hours; but tea was announced, and we were obliged to leave the library.

The next day the Prince and his friends were deeply engaged in making a kite; they tried everything imaginable to coax it to fly, but it refused. The Prince even mounted a ladder, hoping to catch the wind by holding it higher; but all in vain. The moment he let go, down flapped the kite with almost human spitefulness.

After the Prince had said _saperlotte!_ twenty times, they gave up the kite and played tennis, a new game, over which he is as enthusiastic as he used to be over croquet, until the blast of a horn announced the arrival of the archducal four-in-hand, which they were expecting.

Then there was a hurried putting on of coats and wiping of perspiring brows, and they all went forward to receive the Archduke Louis, who had driven over from Wiesbaden to spend the day, bringing with him some younger gentlemen.

Prince Metternich immediately proposed their playing tennis. Some of them were eager to do so, but the Archduke, being fatigued by his long drive, begged to go to his room until luncheon.

Then, while the gentlemen were playing tennis, the Princess took me to the kitchen-garden to show me the American green-corn, planted from seeds which we had given to her at Petit Val four years ago. She told me, with great joy, that we were to have some for dinner.

After luncheon we were invited to visit the famous wine-vaults. The intendant appeared with the keys, and, accompanied by a subordinate, we followed him down the stairs to the heavily bolted oak door, which he opened with a flourish. The first thing we saw, on entering, was _Willkommen_ in transparencies in front of the entrance.

These cellars had the same dimensions as the castle, one hundred feet each way. Rows and rows of large casks placed close together lined the walls, and each cask had a lighted candle upon it embedded in plaster. Lamps hung at intervals from the vaulted ceiling, giving a weird look to the long alleys, which seemed to stretch out for miles through the dim vista.

We walked on. Every little while we came to what the Prince called a _cabaret_, and what the Princess called more poetically a _bosquet_, but which literally was a table and chairs surrounded by plants. The smell of the wine was overpowering. When we reached _bosquet_ No. 1 the intendant handed each of us a full glass of Johannisberg, the same that was served at the table; at _bosquet_ No. 2 we received only half a glass of a finer quality. At _bosquet_ No. 3, on the walls of which were the initials of the Duchess d’Ossuna (E. O., formed by candles), we only got a liqueur glassful.

The farther we went the older, and therefore the more valuable, the wine was, and the less we were given. When we reached _bosquet_ No. 6, the last stop, we were allowed a discreet sip from a sherry glass, which was passed on from one to the other like a loving-cup.

We were told that the wines from the years 1862 and 1863 are considered to be the best. It is strange that they are entirely different from each other; the first is very sweet and the second is very dry.

What was my surprise to see here, “I know a Lillie fair to see,” against the walls designed in candles. The Princess told me that the Prince had been a long time making this, and I hope I showed due appreciation of the compliment. I was immensely flattered.

The wine is the color of amber, or pale yellow, according to the year, and tastes delicious; the aroma reminds one of sandalwood.

The wines of the best years are only sold in bottles bearing the cachet of the Prince’s arms, and the autograph of the intendant; the color of the seal denotes the quality. _Cabinet bleu_ is the best that can be bought; the less fine qualities are sold in barrels.

You will be interested to hear how they gather the grapes. It is very carefully done: each bunch is picked like a flower, and each grape is selected with the greatest care; any grape with the slightest imperfection is discarded. They remain longer on the vines here than anywhere else, so that the sweetness of the grape is doubly concentrated.

A good year will produce from sixty to eighty thousand bottles, and bring in an income of one hundred and fifty thousand marks.

The company which built the railroad through the grounds had to pay an enormous sum for the land, every inch of which is worth its weight in gold.

You may imagine the despair of the intendant when he sees so much of this valuable land taken for the croquet and tennis games; but the last straw is–the corn!

One of the guests here, Duchess d’Ossuna, is a very striking and handsome lady who has been a great beauty and is still, though now about forty years old. Her husband is one of the richest men in Spain, but is in such wretched health that she has expected hourly to be a widow for many years.

Coming away from the insidious fumes of the wine into the hot air, and leaving the dark cellars for the glaring broad daylight, made us all feel a little lightheaded. I noticed that the Archduke had to be gently and with due discretion aided up the steps.

He dropped into the first available bench and said, solemnly and with conviction: “To see this wine makes one want to taste it; to taste it makes one want to drink it; to drink it makes one want to dream.”

I hope that you appreciate this profound saying; it ought not to be lost to posterity.

We left him, thinking he would prefer the society of his adjutant to ours. I knew that I preferred mine to any one else’s, and went to my room, mounting its winding staircase, which I thought wound more than was necessary. Taking guests into wine-cellars is the great joke here, and it never fails.

Every one was in exuberant spirits at dinner. I wish I could remember half of the clever things that were said. The corn came on amid screams of delight. Our hostess ate thirteen ears, which, if reduced to kernels, would have made about one ordinary ear, there was so much cob and so little corn. The Princess enjoyed them hugely.

Coffee was served on the terrace. Later we had music in the hall, and before the departure of the Archduke there was a fine display of fireworks sent off from the terrace, which must have looked splendid from a distance.

SOMMERBERG, _August, 1874._

DEAR M.,–Prince Emil Wittgenstein and his wife have a pretty villa at Walhuf, directly on the Rhine, and they invited Helen and me to dine and spend the night there. Prince Wittgenstein promised to show us some wonderful manifestations from spiritland. Helen is not a believer, neither am I, but the Prince thinks I am, and, as Helen could not leave her guests, I went alone.

The Prince wrote that he had induced, with great difficulty (and probably with a great deal of expense), the much-talked-of Miss Cook to come with her sister to pay them a visit at their villa. Miss Cook is the medium through whom the Empress Josephine and Katie King (a lady unknown to the world, except as being the daughter of a certain old sea-captain, called John King, who roamed the seas a hundred years ago and pirated) manifest themselves.

I was delighted to have this chance of seeing Miss Cook, because I had read in the English papers that she had lately been shown up as a gigantic fraud. At one of her séances in London, just as she was in the act of materializing in conjunction with the Empress Josephine, a gentleman, disregarding all rules of etiquette, sprang from the audience and seized her in his arms; but instead of melting, as a proper spirit would have done, the incensed Empress screamed and scratched and tore herself away, actually leaving bits of her raiment in his hands. This rude gentleman swears that the imperial nails seemed wholly of earthly texture, and that the scratches were as thorough and lasted as well as if made by any common mortal.

Since this incident Miss Cook had thought it wiser to retire into private life, and has secured a husband calling himself Corner. Prince Wittgenstein found her, and, wishing to convert his wife, could think of no better way than to let her see Miss Cook materialize. The wife and her friend, Princess Croy, are avowed disbelievers.

Our dinner was dull beyond words. There were the Prince Nicholas-Nassau and his wife; the Duke Esslingen, who is nearly blind, without a wife but with convictions; Count and Countess de Vay, and the two English ladies already mentioned. Miss Cook, _alias_ Mrs. Corner, is a washed-out blond, rather barmaidish-looking English girl of medium (oh dear! I really did not mean to) height and apparently very anemic.

After dinner we were led into the room in which the séance was to take place, and were seated round a large table, and told to hold our tongues and one another’s hands; the gas was turned down to the lowest point, the lamps screwed down, and there we sat and waited and waited.

The poor host was chagrined beyond utterance; something was the matter with the magnetic current. Sometimes he would tap on the table to attract the attention of the spirit underneath, but nothing helped; the spirits were obstinate and remained silent.

I ventured to ask the Duke, by the side of whom I sat and held on to, in what manner the spirits made known their answers. He said that one knock meant “yes,” no knock meant “no,” and two knocks meant “doubtful.” At last we heard a timid knock in the direction of Mrs. Corner. Then every one was alert. Prince Wittgenstein addressed the spot and whispered in his most seductive tones, “Dear spirit, will you not manifest yourself?” Two knocks (doubtful).

“Is the company seated right?” (Silence, meaning “no.”)

“Is the company congenial?” (Silence.)

To find out who the uncongenial person was, every one asked, in turn, “Is it I?” until Princess Wittgenstein put the question, upon which came a vigorous single knock.

“My dear,” said the Prince, “I am sorry to say it, but you must go.”

So she left, nothing loath. We all thought for sure something would happen now, but nothing did.

Prince Wittgenstein commenced the same inquiries, whether the company was now congenial; but it seemed that Princess de Croy was _de trop_, and she was also obliged to leave the room. (You see, the spirits did not like to single out the hostess alone.) Now we were reduced to nine believers with moist hands.

Would the Empress not now appear? We waited long enough for her to make up her mind; but it seemed that neither her mind nor anything else was ready to be made up. The spirits were perhaps willing, but the flesh was too weak. Then Mrs. Corner remembered that at the last sitting the Empress had declared that she would never appear on German soil (her feelings having been wounded during the Franco-German War).

There still remained Katie King. We had not heard from her yet. Prince Wittgenstein addressed the table under his fingers: “Oh, dear spirits, do do something! Anything would be acceptable!” How could he or she resist such humble pleadings?

Then some one felt a cold wind pass over his face. Surely something was happening now!

“It must be Katie King about to materialize,” said the hopeful Prince.

Then we saw a dim light. We strained our eyes to the utmost to discover what it was. I should have said, if I had been truthful, that to me it looked like a carefully shaded candle; but I held my tongue. The hand of my neighbor was fast becoming jelly in mine, and I would have given worlds to have got my hand out of the current; but I did not dare to interfere with it, and I continued to hold on to the jelly. Whoever was being materialized was doing it so slowly, and without any kind of system, that we hardly had the patience to sit it out. Then a tambourine walked up some one’s arm, Prince Nassau’s spectacles were pulled off his august nose by invisible hands (of course, who else would have dared?), thus making him more near-sighted than ever. His wife’s necklace of turquoises was unclasped from her neck and hooked on to the neck of the acolyte sister; but on anxious and repeated demands to have it returned, it was replaced, much to the owner’s relief. Prince Wittgenstein thought it silly of her to have so little confidence. Suddenly, while necklaces were changing necks, we saw what looked like a cloud of gauze. We held our breaths, the raps under the table redoubled, and there were all sorts of by-play, such as hair-pulling and arm-pinching, but no Katie. The gauze which was going to be her gave up trying and disappeared altogether. “Never mind,” said the Prince. “It does not matter [I thought so, too.] She will come to-morrow night.”

This was very depressing; even Prince Wittgenstein was utterly discouraged and decided to break up the séance, and, groping his way to the nearest lamp, turned it up. We went into the other salon, where we found the two discarded ladies sitting peacefully before a samovar and playing a game of two-handed poker.

Miss Cook told Prince Wittgenstein that Katie King would probably materialize if she had the promise of getting a sapphire ring which he wore (a beautiful sapphire). Miss Cook suggested that if this ring could be hung up on a certain tree in the garden Katie King would come and get it, and would certainly materialize the next evening. Prince Wittgenstein was credulous enough to pander to this modest wish, and hung up the desired ring, hoping Katie King would return it when she was in the flesh. But Miss Cook had a succession of fainting fits which necessitated her sudden departure for England, so we never saw Katie King, neither did Prince Wittgenstein ever get his ring back, as far as I know.

_September, 1874._

Last Tuesday we three–Count and Countess Westphal and I–left Wiesbaden, slept at Frankfort, and starting the next morning at eleven o’clock, we arrived at our destination at 5.00 P.M. We found three carriages; one for us and two for the maids and luggage. Halfway to the castle we met, driving the lightest and prettiest of basket-wagons, our host and hostess, Count and Countess W–; the latter got into the carriage with us and one of us took her place by the side of the host. We passed through the village, which had but one street, irregular and narrow, and we were in constant danger of running over the shoals of little children who stood stupidly in the middle of it, gazing at us with open eyes and mouth.

The Schloss is a very large, square building, with rounded towers in the four corners. It has been remodeled, added to, and adorned so many times that it is difficult to tell to which style of architecture it belongs. The chapel is in an angle and opens on to the paved courtyard.

Our first evening was spent quietly making acquaintance with the other guests. The next morning we lunched at eleven o’clock, the gentlemen in knickerbockers and shooting attire, the ladies in sensible gowns of light material over silk petticoats. Simplicity is the order of the day. Our lunch consists of many courses, and we might have lingered for hours if the sight of the postman coming up the avenue had not given us the excuse to leave the table and devote ourselves to our correspondence, which had to be done in double-quick time, as the postman only waited a short fifteen minutes, long enough to imbibe the welcome cup of coffee or the glass of beer which he found waiting him in the kitchen. The Countess, although the mother of a young man twenty-four years of age, has a pink- and-white complexion and a fine, statuesque figure. She is a Russian lady by birth, and does a lot of kissing, as seems to be the custom in Russia. She told me that when a gentleman of a certain position kisses your hand you must kiss his forehead.

“Isn’t this rather cruel toward the ladies?” I said.

“Why,” she asked, “do you think it is cruel?”

“Ladies sometimes have on gloves when they give their hands to be kissed,