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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, January 30, 1896, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060762/1896-01-30/ed-1/seq-1/

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Vol. IX.— No. ■_!<>.
I truii the streets I used to tread
When all the world was fair;
The friends 1 knew from thence had tied.
No kindly faee was there
Of all the host 1 used to know
When youth’s sweet days were bright:
No friendly smile on me did glow
To till me with delight.
J.mig years have passed since 1 was young
A rover I had been:
The Siren's song to me was sung
That led my heart to sin.
And from my native liome 1 strayed
Across the dark, wide world.
The mount of fame my feet essayed
But backward 1 was’hurled.
\nd now with silver in my hair.
With crow's feet round iny eyes.
1 stood one summer morning fair
Beneath my native skies.
But 1 was all a stranger then,
Forgotten and alone:
Though ’round me stood a throng of men
At home I was unknown.
<« >h! crushed my heart was then and sore
My soul so desolate:
1 thought that my life in youth had wore
A gleam of brighter fate.
Blit how how changed, how dark the sky
Mow dreary seemed tlie land;
No loving glance to meet my eyes
No welcome grasp of hand.
■i >li. cruel, bitter thoughts to come
Why did I deem it blest
l o see once more my native borne.
Where 1 had thought to rest.
\ud then to see a stranger throng.
No one to welcome me:
VI v aching heart though cold and strong
Breaks with its misery.
—w 11 .si • n Hi' vr St i t es
Now that we read so much of Cuba, j
: n connection with the brave struggle j
her sons are making for their emanci- 1
pation from the galling yoke of Spain,
it might interest the readers of The
Mikboji to learn from one who has
spent some time in Havana, more of
the real character of the island and its
The sea for the entire voyage of live j
days had been a veritable mill-pond, I
scarcely a ripple had disturbed the!
plac id surface of old ocean's swell from
The time we left abeam Scotland Light
ship: and now, on a bright afternoon
in early May. from the deck of a Ward
Liner, we sighted Fan of Matanzas,
a high peak to the west of the city of |
Matanzas on the north coast of Cuba.
Three hours later we stood within the
lee of the great light tower of More
Bastle, a giant fortress situated on a
high promontory to the left and com
manding the entrance to the harbor of
Havana. A gun from our port side
boomed a salute to the flag of Spain
and we entered the harbor and pro
ceeded to make fast to a buoy. Only
one line, the French Line, having a
pier to which ocean going vessels may
The hoisting of numerous Hags on
the towers and turrets of Moro Castle,
with the booming of cannon, had been
a signal to the half asleep populace of
Havana that a steamer was entering
port; so that as we proceeded up the
harbor we were joined by numerous
small boats, that came up in the wake,
until by the time we had come to a full
stop, one could not but compare the
great ship followed by a half hundred
small boats, to a homely sight common
in any duck pond. These boats con
tained health officers, custom-house
officials and hotel runners, but by far
the greater part of them brought vend
ers of small wares, in the form of sea
beans, sea shells, star fish, sharks’ teeth
etc. There were also boats to land the
passengers and their baggage at the
custom-house wharf for unapeso (sl.oo)
each. I have been solicited by the
venders of Irish point lace and sham
rocks off the coast of Ireland, while
our ship hove-to landing the mails,
and I have had also a passing acquaint
ance with the dealers in second-hand
clothing in Baxter St.. New York; but;
for persistence and real stick-to-it-ive
ness, the fakir and hotel runner of
Havana easily wear the honors of their
class. This motley crowd having clam
bered up the ship’s ladder, it was with
the greatest difficulty, amid the confu
sion and babel, that 1 finally was able
to make a selection of a hotel and ar
range to have my baggage sent ashore.
Having landed at the custom-house
wharf, the formality of examining bag
gage was waived for a small considera
tion and I was then given over as the
rightful prey of the “cabbies” that
llocked the narrow street. Upon arriv
ing at the hotel I was much disap
pointed by its outward appearance: so
bidding the “cabby” wait till 1 further
investigated, I made the discovery that
the interior was in perfect harmony
with its exterior. On my return, though
gone less than five minutes, I found my
.Jehu fast asleep upon the box. Wak
ing him by a vigorous shake, he pro
ceeded to wake the diminutive animal
that in Cuba is called a horse. Driving
to another hotel, the Pasaje, I w r as more
fortunate and was so<ui comfortably
located in a room overlooking the
Brand I’la/.a which had been occu-
pied on former occasions, 1 was told,
by the Comte de Paris, Baby McKee's
uncle Bussell and other personages
more or less notable.
To one from “up north” as in Cuba
they speak of the United States the
first sight of Havana and its surround
ings come as though it were an illusion,
for it seems impossible that less than
one hundred miles from our own shores
one should come upon a land and a
people so wholly foreign to anything
that is American. The city of Havana
lies upon very low ground to the right
of the harbor, and from the deck of a
vessel presents a very pleasing appear
ance. The red tile roofs, and houses
painted either a very light blue or yel
low, give to it a gala dress, while the
numerous domes and minarets. w r ith
many traces of the Moorish in the ar
chitecture, is certainly very enchanting
from a distance.
But Havana of my youthful visions,
or the beautiful city one sees from the
ocean, was not Havana as 1 found it. j
With but one or two exceptions the )
streets are very narrow, badly paved j
and extremely dirty; resembling in some |
respects alleys as found in our own ;
cities. No attempt at street cleaning '
was apparent and offal of all clescrip- j
tions was permitted to decay and re- j
solve itself into the atmosphere of the ;
city. The sidewalks were not much j
cleaner. The typical Havana residence
is two stories in height, built of wood
and plastered inside and out. One
large door opens immediately off the
sidewalk, and the one window in the
ground floor is very large, reaching j
down to the level of the sidewalk, and
is guarded by stout iron bars; in the
rear of the house is a courtyard sur
rounded by a high wall; in this court
yard, growing iu pots or tubs, may be
found banana trees, smali palms and
other tropical growths. Occasionally
a fountain occupies the central space
in the courtyard, which, though floored
with flagging, constitutes the piazza,
lawn, and often the sleeping apartment
of the family. The children of the
middle and lower class are permitted to
run at large, wearing but one garment
of dress and, in many instances, en
tirely nude until they have arrived at
the age of six or seven, when they are
sent to the parochial schools. The city
lying low and there being only a faint
attempt at tides, its sanitary condition
is of necessity of the very worst. The
water supply, too, is very inferior, much
vegetable matter, in a more or less de
gree of decomposition, is always pres
ent in the water. In view of all this it
was not surprising,though quite alarm
ing, to learn that there were in the city,
at the time of my arrival, forty cases
of yellow fever. But this dread disease
is always prevalent in Havana and the
wonder is that it lias not long ere this
become epidemic ind depopulated the
eitv. 1
Speaking of the piasses. they are ap
parently without any ambition, and
possess but little energy; lazy.shiftless,
indolent, careless: the small earnings
made in the sugar season or at the cigar
factories amply providing the scanty
clothing necessary and the inexpensive
diet of bread and fruit. Havana at all
times presents a holiday appearance.
Crowds of men lounge about the drink
ing places, sitting beneath canopies at
shop doors, smoking the inevitable cig
arette and drinking rum. the national
beverage, in enormous quantities, while
ignorance and viciousness is prevalent.
The theatres are open the year round,
Sunday notexceptcd. Yaudevillesand
varieties of the. meanest order are con
stantly before the foot lights, though
an occasional troop from Madrid plays
an engagement in the circuit of Span
ish-American capitals. Bull-fighting
has degenerated into cock-fighting, and
in this ratio we find a prototype of the
degeneracy of the < übun people. Spain
with her mighty hand has well nigh
succeeded in extinguishing the last
smouldering embers of manhood iu this
the “Fair Bern of the Antilles.”
ll'ONi )< T.AsT.
Probably never Tefore lias the mod
ern newspaper so strongly proven its
claim to excellence as during the past
year. The world, from one end to the
other, has been agitated as never be
fore, not only by wars and rumors of
wars, but by social and economic dis- j
turbances and controversies involving
vast interests and millions of dis
putants. Within nations, hostile fac
tions have wrestled with the new in
dustrial problems that come of new
industrial methods. As if to add to
unprecedented domestic complications,
from which no clime or country is ex
empt, the horrors of universal war,
grave international complications have
followed another in quick succession,
each leaving a sting and adding to the
probability of a conflagration which
may at any moment sweep the planet.
The China-Japanese war and compli
cations growing out of it: the move
ment in favor of the construction of
the Nicaragua canal; the invasion of
Nicaragua by the British: the bloody
outbreak of Turkish intolerance in I
Armenia: the crisis in the Venezuelan j
boundary controversy; and the recent!
! collision between Jameson's English
freebooters and the Boers and the in
tervention of the kaiser, are occurences
which have recently claimed the world’s
attention, and it has been the mission
of the modern newspaper to enlighten
j mankind as to the events, in the order
; of their occurrence their relation te
! the past, their bearing upon the future.
; The task has been well performed, and
j if, as a slight compensation for the mis
■ fortunes of the period, there has been a
vast addition to the sum of human
knowledge, it is because the modern
newspaper, as intelligencer, historian,
philosopher, jurist, publicist and
teacher, lias placed within the reach of
millions, day after day, every available
scrap of information as to a series of
momentous events, transpiring at
points widely separated, yet each exer
cising an influence upon the great com
plex organism called mankind. There
has been more history published in the
newspapers and that too, in more pa
pers, in the last twelve months than
before in twenty And it is not
able that every line of it is carefully
read. Eminent scholars have written
brief statements requiring the best ac
quaintance with history and the best
libraries in their preparation, and the
newspapers have given these treasures
of learning to their readers. Bright
editors and specialists are on the look
out for anything that will add to the
public information. Arguments are
made that would be a credit to any ad
vocate before the highest court of our
land. All this is at the service of the
ordinary newspaper readers.
The scope of this history is wide as
the earth. It reaches back for 2.'>o
years and includes treaties as well as
wars: diplomatic correspondence, ge
ography old and new, explorations and
the biographies belonging to the vari
ous periods. It brings out clearly the
sources of history and its repositories.
All the schools in the country could
not in ten years do the work done iu
the last two months by the newspapers
in connection with the Venezuelan and
Transvaal disturbances. This wonder
ful school is furnished cheaply and
every day according to the wants of the
But this is not all. The most astute
propositions of international law are
discussed and explained. The princi
ples governing the courts and rulers of
the world are laid bare to the common
understanding. The motives that in
fluence men in masses are scrutinized,
classified and. judged of. There has
been nothing like it as an education
since the period before the war. and
even that was much narrower in its
scope. Now. do the readers of the pa
pers appreciate this?
The avidity with which these grave
and complex questions are being
studied by the American masses shows
that our people are students of no
small attainments. It is complimen
tary to their readers that the papers
are called upon to furnish such read
ing matter.--St. Joseph (Mod Bazette.
The country being flooded with such |
a diversified class of literature, it re-;
quires a wise head to select the kind j
best suited to elevate the reader. Novel j
reading, for instance, depends upon j
the character of the author or the j
spirit that actuated the writer. There |
are many good novel scribes whose 1
moral tone throughout their entire
works is better by iar than no reading 1
at all. They carry us through scenes i
so lifelike as to leave us morally \
strengthened for future symbols of the '
same kind. The manner of speech j
touches our deeper nature and. as with ;
the plowshare of truth, turns over in '
our souls the best form by which we j
may address ourselves to the learned j
people who have thus accustomed their |
minds to nature's best charms in giv
ing clear cut diagrams of how best to
cultivate easy maimers in speech or
action. We are taught by those clever
novelists not to confide tou much in
j strangers, but to wait until we know
them. The novel that is clear from
imaginary murder traits of disposition,
of weird pictures of midnight horrors,
tales of love in which the participants
fought at daggers’ points fur the heart
and hand of some fair one. ending in
death of one and the hangman s rope
for the other, the mind becomes
entwined in doubt while traveling the
courseof such a writer. The inference is
drawn that love cannot be carried to the
proper sphere unless a tragedy happens.
The reader thus becomes impressed
with dark forebodings and is rendered
uneasy in any love affair which may be
under consideration. Tales of aimless
travels through countries beset with
wild beasts and robbers often fascinate
the young mind and eause a wandering
spirit to possess him. thinking of the
lives others have led and the notoriety
that came from it. There is an evil
spirit thus aroused that often proves
too obstinate to be resisted. The
false idea is imprinted that one must
do something beyond the ordinary
line of events to let people know we
are here for a high purpose and not to
take part only in the every day side
of human affairs. Under such as
pects we are influenced against our
tcduq. ' SI.OO per year. inudvanoa
i tKivisa. ( Six Months.» cents.
own best interest and liable to drift
far from tlie well chosen paths of
of those old reliable landmarks so per
fect in customs of like nature as to
have left footprints worthy of the best
of us to be guided by. The more com
mon lines of travel are best for us.
We see them through from the begin
ning and can never make any bad mis
take if vve cling to them. Ways that
have not been tested by the common
line of human life are always more or
less dangerous. The boy or girl who
places much hope in them will find
rough transition and meet many
strange events that would cause the
heart to flutter with fear until after
the chasm is crossed. We should ac
custom ourselves to read that kind of
literature which gives us information
along the line of our chosen business.
Hut of course it should be occasionally
sweetened or intermingled with other
choice matter as would enable us to
talk lhiently upon any of the ordinary
subjects of the day. Study, read, think.
The mind is the center point from
which all good and great events ema
nate. Cincinnati (().) Knquirer.
‘•There is nothing new under the
sun," is an aphorism that was written
thousands of years ago. hut in this
electric age of ours we are wont to
doubt it. We look back at our near
ancestors with wonder that they could
do with so little, and yet enjoy their
life to the full, as they seemingly did.
Why, in niv memory, 1 can see the tal
low candle, and not over a hundred
years back the elite of the London
world could not stir abroad after dark
without their lanterns and linkmen to
light their way. But now, even our
humblest village boasts its electric plant
and its trolley system, and the main
street is as light as noonday, as far as
safe and sure locomotion is concerned.
And as to dress, well surely we have
had mutations. The cavalier, in "ye
olden time,” was a gorgeous creature in
his dress: and with his long flowing
curls hanging down his back, and his
rubies and slashed sleeves, and trunks,
and long hose would produce a sensa
tion on a public thoroughfare today.
And yet we are slowly but surely mov
ing in that strata, and perhaps carrying
the other sex incur train. The bicycle
costume is evolving, and the clubman,
and wheelman, and man-about-town
' now moves about in knickerbockers in
i public, even in business hours. Flow
| long will it be before the change is
| radical? How long before the "style”
will rush to the extreme? 'talk about
the days of Cromwell, why, until with
in the past five years, we have been
dressing as the Puritans of old. Sober,
subdued colors have marked the dress
of the gentleman of refined taste, and
never a “Itoundhead” of them all had
his hair cropped as it has been the cor
rect style to have ours. But the foot
ball player has grown his locks, and
long hair is "coming back” in style: too
soon, perhaps, we will have the per
fumed, curled dandies of Charles 11. in
our midst, and the woman the new
woman -well, 'tis too wide a cast to
descant on what they will add to, or
perhaps curtail, in the matter of dress.
In the light of eternity we shall see
that what we desire would have been '
fatal to us, and that what we would
have avoided was essential to our well
My experience of life makes me sure
of one truth, which I do not try to ex
plain: that the sweetest happiness we
ever know, the very wine of human
life, comes not from love, but from
sacrifice—from the effort to make
others happy. This is as true to me
and to you as that my tlesli will burn
if I touch red-hot metal.—John Boyle

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