The new Havana, the city outside the old wall, is about as old as Chicago but not nearly as tall. There is no reason why it should be. Here are wide streets and broad avenues, and real sidewalks, some of them about as wide as the entire street in the old city. About 1830, the region beyond the wall was held largely by Spaniards to whom grants of land had been made for one reason or another. These tracts were plantations, pastures, or unimproved lands, according to the fancy of the proprietor who usually lived in the city and enjoyed himself after the manner of his kind. Here and there, a straggling village of palm-leaf huts sprang up. The roads were rough tracks. To Governor-General Tacon seems due much of the credit for the improvement beyond the walls. During his somewhat iron-handed rule several notable buildings were erected, some of them by his authority. The most notable feature of the district is the renowned Prado, a broad boulevard with a park between two drive-ways, running from the water-front, at the entrance to the harbor, southward for about a mile. A few years ago, rows of trees shaded the central parkway, but they were almost entirely wrecked by the hurricanes in 1906 and 1910.

A half mile or so from its northern end, the Prado runs along the west side of the Parque Central, the most notable of the numerous little squares of walks and trees and flowers. A block or two further on is a little park with an excellent statue, known as La India. Opposite that is another really beautiful park, from the western side of which runs a broad street that leads to the Paseo de Carlos Tercero, formerly the Paseo de Tacon, one of the monuments left to his own memory by one of Cuba's most noted Spanish rulers. The Paseo runs westward to El Castillo del Principe, originally a fortress but now a penitentiary. The Prado stops just beyond the companion parks, La India and Colon. These originally formed the Campo de Marte, laid out by General Tacon and, in his time, used as a military parade ground. In a way, the Parque Central is the centre of the city. It is almost that, geographically, and perhaps quite that, socially. In its immediate vicinity are some of the leading hotels and the principal theatres. One of the latter, facing the park on its western side, across the Prado, is now known as the Nacional. Formerly it was the Tacon, a monument to that notable man. There is quite a story about that structure. It is somewhat too long for inclusion here, but it seems worth telling. The following is an abridgment of the tale as it is told in Mr. Ballou's History of Cuba, published in 1854. Tacon was the Governor of the island from 1834 to 1838. At that time, a certain man named Marti was eminent in the smuggling and piracy business, an industry in which many others were engaged. But Marti seems to have stood at the top of his profession, a man of skill and daring and evidently well supplied with brains. Tacon's efforts to capture him, or to break up his business, were entirely unsuccessful, and a large reward was offered for his body, alive or dead. Mr. Ballou tells the story in somewhat dramatic manner:

"It was a dark, cloudy night in Havana, a few months after the announcement of the reward, when two sentinels were pacing backward and forward before the main entrance to the Governor's palace. A little before midnight, a man was watching them from behind a statue in the park, and after observing that the sentinels paced their brief walk so as to meet each other, and then turned their backs as they separated, leaving a brief moment in the interval when the eyes of both were turned away from the entrance, seemed to calculate upon passing them unobserved. It was an exceedingly delicate manoeuvre, and required great care and dexterity to effect it; but, at last, it was adroitly done, and the stranger sprang lightly through the entrance, secreting himself behind one of the pillars of the inner court. The sentinels paced on undisturbed. The figure which had thus stealthily effected an entrance, now sought the broad stairs that led to the Governor's suite, with a confidence that evinced a perfect knowledge of the place. A second guard-post was to be passed at the head of the stairs; but, assuming an air of authority, the stranger offered a cold military salute and passed forward, as though there was not the most distant question of his right to do so; and thus avoiding all suspicion in the guard's mind, he boldly entered the Governor's reception room unchallenged, and closed the door behind him."

In his office, alone, the stranger found Tacon, who was naturally surprised at the appearance of an unannounced caller. He demanded to know who the visitor was, but a direct answer was evaded. After referring to the matter of the reward offered for the discovery of Marti, and the pledge of immunity to the discoverer, the caller demanded and obtained a verbal endorsement of the promise of immunity, under the Governor's word of honor, whatever might be the circumstances of his revelation. He then announced himself as the much-sought pirate and smuggler, Marti. Tacon was somewhat astounded, but he kept his word. Marti was held overnight, but "on the following day," the Ballou account proceeds, "one of the men-of-war that lay idly beneath the guns of Morro Castle suddenly became the scene of the utmost activity, and, before noon, had weighed her anchor, and was standing out into the gulf stream. Marti the smuggler was on board as her pilot; and faithfully did he guide the ship on the discharge of his treacherous business, revealing every haunt of the rovers, exposing their most valuable depots; and many a smuggling craft was taken and destroyed. The amount of money and property thus secured was very great." The contemptible job of betraying his former companions and followers being successfully accomplished, Marti returned with the ships, and claimed his reward from Tacon. The General, according to his word of honor, gave Marti a full and unconditional pardon for all his past offences, and an order on the treasury for the amount of the reward offered. The latter was declined but, in lieu of the sum, Marti asked for and obtained a monopoly of the right to sell fish in Havana. He offered to build, at his own expense, a public market of stone, that should, after a specified term of years, revert to the government, "with all right and the title to the fishery." This struck Tacon as a good business proposition; he saved to his treasury the important sum of the reward and, after a time, the city would own a valuable fish-market. He agreed to the plan. Marti thereupon went into the fish business, made huge profits, and became, so the story goes, the richest man in the island. After a time, being burdened with wealth, he looked about for means of increasing his income. So he asked for and obtained a monopoly of the theatre business in Havana, promising to build one of the largest and finest theatres in the world. The result of the enterprise was the present Nacional theatre, for many years regarded as second only to the Grand theatre in Milan. But it was named the Tacon. Its special attraction was internal; its exterior was far from imposing. It has recently been considerably glorified. Having thus halted for the story of the theatre, we may return to the Prado on which it fronts. Here, Havana society used to gather every afternoon to drive, walk, and talk. The afternoon paseo was and still is the great event of the day, the great social function of the city. At the time of my first visit, in 1899, there was no Malecon drive along the shore to the westward. That enterprise was begun during the First Intervention, and continued by succeeding administrations. In the earlier days, the route for driving was down the east side of the Prado, between the Parque Central and the Carcel, and up the west side, around and around, up and down, with bows and smiles to acquaintances met or passed, and, probably, gossip about the strangers. Many horsemen appeared in the procession, and the central promenade was thronged with those who walked, either because they preferred to or because they could not afford to ride around and around. In the Parque Central were other walkers, chatting groups, and lookers-on. Some days the band played. Then the Prado was extended to the water-front; the glorieta was erected; and that became another centre for chatterers and watchers. The building of the Malecon extended the range of the driveway. This afternoon function is an old established institution and a good one. It may not compare favorably with the drive in some of our parks in this country, but it is the best substitute possible in Havana. Indulgence in ices, cooling drinks, chocolate, or other refections, during this daily ceremony, is fairly common but by no means a general practice. The afternoon tea habit has not yet seized upon Havana. The ices are almost invariably excellent. Some of them are prepared from native fruit flavors that are quite unknown here. Theguanabana ice is particularly to be recommended. All such matters are quite individual, but a decoction called chocolate Espanol is also to be recommended. It is served hot, too thick to drink, and is to be taken with a spoon, to the accompaniment of cake. It is highly nourishing as well as palatable. There is a wide variety of "soft drinks," made with oranges, limes, or other fruits, and the orchata, made from almonds, and the products of American soda fountains, but there is little use of the high-ball or the cocktail except by Americans.

The Cubans are an exceedingly temperate people. Wine is used by all classes, and aguadiente, the native rum, is consumed in considerable quantity, but the Cuban rarely drinks to excess. I recall an experience during the earlier years. I was asked to write a series of articles on the use of intoxicants in the island, for a temperance publication in this country. My first article so offended the publishers that they declined to print it, and cancelled the order for the rest of the series. It was perhaps somewhat improper, but in that article I summed up the situation by stating that "the temperance question in Cuba is only a question of how soon we succeed in converting them into a nation of drunkards." Beer is used, both imported and of local manufacture. Gin, brandy, and anisette, cordials and liqueurs are all used to some but moderate extent, but intoxication is quite rare. One fluid extract I particularly recommend, that is the milk of the cocoanut, the green nut. Much, however, depends upon the cocoanut. Properly ripened, the "milk" is delicious, cooling and wholesome, more so perhaps on a country journey than in the city. The nut not fully ripened gives the milk, or what is locally called the "water," an unpleasant, woody taste. I have experimented with it in different parts of the world, in the Philippines, Ceylon, and elsewhere, and have found it wholesome and refreshing in all places.

The houses in the new Havana are, on the whole, vastly more cheerful than are the dwellings in the old city. They are of the same general architectural type, but because of the wider streets, more air and sunshine gets into them. Some of the best and most costly are along the Prado. A Cuban house interior generally impresses an American as lacking in home-like quality. Some of the best are richly adorned, but there is a certain bareness and an absence of color. As is usual with customs unlike our own, and which we are therefore prone to regard as inferior to ours, there are excellent reasons for Cuban interior decoration, or rather the lack of it. A little experience, or even a little reflection, shows clearly the impossibility of anything resembling American house decoration in such a climate as that of Cuba. Our warm colors, hangings, upholstered furniture, rugs, and much else that we regard as essential in northern latitudes, would be utterly unendurable in Cuba. There, the marble or tiled floors, the cool tones of wall and ceiling, and the furniture of wood and cane, are not only altogether fitting but as well altogether necessary. Our glass windows would only serve to increase heat and shut out air. As some barrier is necessary to keep passers, even Americans, from intrusive entrance by the windows whose bottoms are at floor level, the system of iron bars or elaborate grille work is adopted. Few Americans see much, if anything, of Cuban home life except as they see it through these barriers as they pass. It is not the custom of the country to invite promiscuous or casual acquaintances to call. It is even less the custom there than it is with us. A book about Cuba, published a few years ago, gives a somewhat extended account of what is called "home life," but it is the home life of workmen and people who do laundry work to eke out a meagre living. It is not even the life of fairly paid artisans, or of people of modest but comfortable income. It is no more a proper description of the domestic life of the island than would be a presentation of the life in the palaces of the wealthy. Such attempts at description are almost invariably a mistake, conveying, whether from purpose or from indifference to truth, a false impression. Domestic economy and household management vary in Cuba as they vary in the United States, in France, England, Japan, or Mexico. The selection of an individual home, or of several, as a basis for description, in Cuba or anywhere else, can only result in a picture badly out of drawing and quite misleading.

There are Cuban homes, as there are American homes, that are slatternly and badly managed, and there are Cuban homes that are as spick and span and as orderly in their administration as any home in this country. Their customs, as are ours, are the result of environment and tradition. To some of us, a rectangle of six or eight rocking-chairs, placed in the centre of a room, in which family and visitors sit and rock while they talk, may seem curious, but it is a custom that we may not criticize either with fairness or common decency. The same may be said of the not uncommon custom of using a part of the street floor of the house as a stable. It is an old custom, brought from Spain. But I have wandered from description to incident. I have no intention to attempt a description of Cuban home life, beyond saying that I have been a guest in costly homes in the city and in the little palm-leaf "shacks" of peasants, and have invariably found in both, and in the homes of intermediate classes, only cordial hospitality and gracious courtesy. Those who have found anything different have carried it with them in their own attitude toward their hosts. Many of us, probably most of us, in the United States, make a sort of fetich of the privacy of what we call our home life. We are encased in walls of wood or masonry, with blinds, curtains, or shades at our windows. It might be supposed that we wanted to hide, that there was something of which to be ashamed. It might at least be so interpreted by one unfamiliar with our ways. It is only, like the open domestic life in Cuba, a custom, a habit of long standing. Certainly, much of the domestic life of Cuba is open. The mistress of the house chides a servant, rebukes or comforts a child, sits with her embroidery, chaffers with an itinerant merchant or with the clerk from a store, all in plain sight and hearing of the passer-by. What everyone does, no one notices. The customs of any country are curious only to those from other countries where customs are different. Our ways of life are quite as curious to others as are their ways to us. We are quite blind to that fact chiefly because of an absurd conviction of the immense superiority of our ways. We do not stop to consider reasons for differences. A cup of coffee on an American breakfast table usually consists of about four parts coffee and one part milk or cream. Most Cubans usually reverse these percentages. There is a good reason for it. In our climate, we do not need the large open doors and windows, the high ceilings, and the full and free ventilation that make life endurable in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Their system here would be as impossible as would be our system there. Houses in Cuba like those of an American city or town would make life a miserable burden. The publicity, or semi-publicity, of Cuban home life is a necessary result of conditions. It is, naturally, more in evidence in the city proper, where the houses, abutting immediately on the street, as do most of our city houses, are built, as ours are, in solid rows. We avoid a good deal of publicity by piling our homes on top of each other, and by elevators and stair-climbing.

The location of a residence in Havana gives no special idea of the wealth or the social standing of those who occupy it. Not a few well-to-do people still live in the old city, where the streets are narrow and where business is trying to crowd out everything except itself. The home in that quarter may be in a block in which a number of buildings are residences, or it may stand with a warehouse on one side and a workshop on the other. A few people, of unquestionable social position still live in buildings in which the street floor is a store or an office. There is nothing curious about this. In many American cities, old families have clung to old homes, and not a few new families have, from one reason or another, occupied similar quarters. Such a residence may not conform to modern social ideas and standards, but there are Americans in this country, as well as Cubans and Spaniards in Havana, who can afford to ignore those standards. The same is true of many who live in the newer city, outside the old walls. There as here, business encroaches on many streets formerly strictly residential. This holds in the newer part of the city as well as in the old part. A number of streets there are, for a part of their length, quite given over to business. Even the Prado itself is the victim of commercial invasion. What was once one of the finest residences in the city, the old Aldama place fronting on the Campo de Marte, is now a cigar factory. A little beyond it is the Tacon market, occupying an entire block. Stores and shops surround it. The old avenue leading to the once fashionable Cerro, and to the only less fashionable Jesus del Monte, is now a business street. Another business street leads out of the Parque Central, alongside the former Tacon theatre. The broad Calzada de Galiano, once a fashionable residence street, is now largely commercial. While less picturesque than some parts of the old city within the walls, the most attractive part of Havana is undoubtedly the section of El Vedado, the westward extension along the shore. Here are broad streets, trees, gardens, and many beautiful and costly dwellings. This is really the modern Havana. A part of it is only a little above sea-level, and behind that strip is a hill. A few years ago, only a small number of houses were on the hillside or the hilltop. Now, it is well built over with modern houses. The architectural type is generally retained, and it is rather a pity that there should be even what variation there is. El Vedado is the region of the wealthy and the well-to-do, with a large percentage of foreigners. It has its social ways, very much as other places have, in this country, in France, Hong Kong, or Honolulu. They are not quite our ways, but they are a result of conditions, just as ours are.

On the hill, a little back of El Vedado, are two "points of interest" for visitors; the old fortress, el Castillo del Principe, and the cemetery. In the latter are some notable monuments. One is known as the Firemen's Monument. For many years, Havana has had, supplementary to its municipal organization, a volunteer firemen's corps. In various ways the latter resembles a number of military organizations in the United States. It is at once a somewhat exclusive social club and a practical force. Membership is a social distinction. If you are in Havana and see men in admirably tailored, uniforms and fire helmets, rushing in a particular direction in cabs, carriages or automobiles, you may know that they are members of the Bomberos del Comercio on their way to a conflagration. Most excellent real work they have done again and again in time of fire and flood. On parade, they look exceedingly dapper with their helmets, uniforms, boots and equipment, somewhat too dandified even to suggest any smoke other than that of cigars or cigarettes. But they are the "real thing in smoke-eaters" when they get to work. They have a long list of heroic deeds on their records. The monument in Colon Cemetery commemorates one of those deeds. In an extensive and dangerous fire, in May, 1890, thirty of these men lost their lives. A few years later, this beautiful and costly shaft was erected, by private subscription, as a tribute to their valor and devotion. Another shaft, perhaps no less notable, commemorates a deplorable and unpardonable event. A number of medical students, mere boys, in the University of Havana, were charged with defacing the tomb of a Spanish officer who had been killed by a Cuban in a political quarrel. At its worst, it was a boyish prank, demanding rebuke or even some mild punishment. Later evidence indicates that while there was a demonstration there was no defacement of the vault. Forty-two students were arrested as participants, tried by court-martial, and sentenced to be shot. Eight of them were shot at La Punta, at the foot of the Prado near the sea-front, and the remainder sentenced to imprisonment for life. All of these, I believe, were afterward released. The Students' Monument expresses the feeling of the Cubans in the matter, a noble memorial. There are numerous other shafts and memorials that are notable and interesting. A number of Cuba's leaders, Maximo Gomez, Calixto Garcia, and others, are buried in this cemetery.

Further on, to the southeast, are other sections of the new Havana, the districts of Cerro and Jesus del Monte. El Vedado has largely supplanted these neighborhoods as the "court end" of the city. Many of the fine old residences of forty or fifty years ago still remain, but most of them are now closely surrounded by the more modest homes of a less aristocratic group. A few gardens remain to suggest what they were in the earlier days. Still further out, in the west-and-south quarter-circle, are little towns, villages, and hamlets, typically Cuban, with here and there the more imposing estate of planter or proprietor. But, far the greater number of visitors, perhaps with greater reason, find more of charm and interest in the city itself than in the suburbs or the surrounding country. The enjoyment of unfamiliar places is altogether personal. There are many who really see nothing; they come away from a brief visit with only a confusion of vague recollections of sights and sounds, of brief inspection of buildings about which they knew nothing, of the big, yellow Palace, of this church and that, of the Morro and the harbor, of sunny days, and of late afternoons along the Prado and the Malecon. To me, Havana is losing its greatest charm through an excess of Americanization, slowly but steadily taking from the place much of the individuality that made it most attractive. It will be a long time before that is entirely lost, but five-story office buildings, automobiles in the afternoon parade, steaks or ham and eggs at an eight or nine o'clock breakfast, and all kinds of indescribable hats in place of dainty and graceful mantillas, seem to me a detraction, like bay-windows and porticos added to an old colonial mansion.