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´╗┐Title: Our Little Porto Rican Cousin
Author: Wade, Mary Hazelton Blanchard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Our Little Porto Rican Cousin



The Little Cousin Series

[Illustration]

    Each volume illustrated with six or more full-page plates
    in tint. Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover,
    per volume, 60 cents.

[Illustration]

=LIST OF TITLES=

BY MARY HAZELTON WADE (unless otherwise indicated).

    =Our Little African Cousin=
    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=
    =Our Little Brown Cousin=
    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=
        By Elizabeth R. Macdonald
    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
        By Isaac Taylor Headland
    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=
    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little English Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=
    =Our Little French Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little German Cousin=
    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=
    =Our Little Indian Cousin=
    =Our Little Irish Cousin=
    =Our Little Italian Cousin=
    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=
    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=
    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike
    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
        By Edward C. Butler
    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=
    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike
    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=
    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=
    =Our Little Russian Cousin=
    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=
    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=
    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=

(_In Preparation_)

    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=

[Illustration]


    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    New England Building,   Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: MANUEL]



Our Little Porto Rican Cousin

    By
    Mary Hazelton Wade

    _Illustrated by_
    L. J. Bridgman

[Illustration]

    Boston
    L. C. Page & Company
    Publishers



    _Copyright, 1902_
    BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

    (INCORPORATED)

    _All rights reserved_

    Published, June, 1902

    Fifth Impression, March, 1906

    Colonial Press
    Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
    Boston, Mass., U. S. A.



Preface


THE beautiful island of Porto Rico lies, as you will see by looking at
the map, near that great open doorway to North America and the United
States which we call the Gulf of Mexico. Very near it looks, does it
not?

So the little cousin with whom we are going to become acquainted to-day
is our near neighbour as well. To be sure, a schoolboy or girl from
Massachusetts would have to travel a thousand miles or so to see his
Porto Rican cousin; and even a child from Florida could not say good
morning to his Porto Rican neighbour unless he were to take a sail of
several hundred miles.

However, we, who are used to taking little excursions over the world
(between the covers of a book), so that we may learn to know our tiny
Eskimo cousins who live near the icy pole, and our little African
cousins south of the equator, as well as our Japanese cousins on the
other side of the globe, think nothing of the distance between here
and Porto Rico. We should expect to feel very much at home after we
arrived there, especially now that Porto Rico has become part of our
own country.

We shall find our Porto Rican cousins and neighbours, with their
dark skins, black hair, and soft black eyes, somewhat different in
appearance, indeed, from ourselves; and we shall not be able to
understand what they say unless we have learned the Spanish language;
for, as we know, the parents or forefathers of our Porto Rican cousins
came from Spain to Porto Rico, just as the parents and forefathers of
most of us who speak English came from England.

However, these are slight differences; and the Spanish people, from
whom our black-eyed Porto Rican cousin is descended, belong to the
same branch of the great human family as we do, who are descended,
most of us, from English people. That is, the Spanish people and their
descendants, the Porto Ricans, belong to the white race. Manuel is thus
a nearer relative than the little black cousin, who belongs to the
negro race; or the little Japanese cousin, who belongs to the yellow
or Mongolian race; or the little Indian cousin, who belongs to the red
race; or the little Malayan cousin, who belongs to the brown race. So
we shall welcome the Porto Rican neighbours near our doorway into our
nation's family. They were already our cousins by descent; they have
become our adopted brothers in our nation.



Contents


    CHAPTER                    PAGE
       I. MANUEL                  9
      II. DOLORES                15
     III. LESSONS                21
      IV. THROUGH THE WOODS      28
       V. THE COFFEE-TREE        35
      VI. SONGS AND STORIES      40
     VII. A CRUEL SPORT          50
    VIII. EARLY TIMES            56
      IX. THE CARIBS             63
       X. A SEASIDE PICNIC       68
      XI. THE WONDERFUL CAVE     78
     XII. THE HURRICANE          87
    XIII. THE NEW BABY           93
     XIV. THE CITY               98



List of Illustrations


                                                            PAGE
  MANUEL                                           _Frontispiece_
  "A FOUNTAIN IS PLAYING IN THE CENTRE OF THE PAVED YARD"     12
  DOLORES                                                     17
  "THE HOMES OF THE WORKMEN"                                  40
  "ONE IS QUITE LARGE, AND IS FORMED IN THE SHAPE OF A FAN"   73
  A STREET IN SAN JUAN                                       101



Our Little Porto Rican Cousin



CHAPTER I.

MANUEL.


IT is a beautiful May day. The air is still, yet clear; the sun is
shining brightly, but it is not too warm for comfort. There is not a
cloud in the sky.

And yet lazy little Manuel lies curled up in his comfortable bed, sound
asleep at eight o'clock in the morning. See! A smile lights up his
face. Perhaps he is dreaming of his newly adopted American brothers.

Of the things he has read about, he longs to see a real New England
snow-storm most of all. To built a snow fort, to make balls of
snow and have a mock battle, what fun it must be! To slide down
the icy hills, to ride over the snowy roads to the jingle of the
sleigh-bells,--surely there is nothing in his island home to equal
sport like that. And so in his dreams our little Manuel takes part in
games he cannot play while awake, until they at last become quite real
to him.

But now the door opens, and old black Juana, Manuel's nurse ever since
he was born, comes softly into the dark room, bringing a tray in her
hand. She steps toward a little stand beside the bed, and sets down the
tray. Then she goes to the casement and opens wide the wooden shutter.
The sunlight pours into the room, and Manuel slowly opens his big black
eyes.

"Oh, it is you, mammy dear, is it?" he says, sleepily, and slowly
stretches himself and sits up in bed.

Juana brings a basin of fresh water and a towel for the boy to bathe
his hands and face, then draws the stand closer to his side and hands
him a cup of steaming chocolate and a roll. What thick, rich chocolate
it is, and what a dainty little roll! This is all the boy ever cares
to eat in the morning, for he is seldom hungry when first roused. His
father and mother are having coffee in their own bedroom at the same
time Manuel is drinking his chocolate. This is the way every one in the
family takes the first meal of the day.

Manuel is a creole. Many, many years ago his great-great-great (indeed
I cannot tell you how many times great) grandfather left Spain and
crossed the wide Atlantic Ocean. He came to this beautiful island of
Porto Rico to live, and his children and grandchildren liked the place
so well they never cared to go back to the mother country. Such people
are called creoles; that is, people born in the West Indies of European
parents. They set out great plantations of tobacco and sugar and
became very rich.

[Illustration: "A FOUNTAIN IS PLAYING IN THE CENTRE OF THE PAVED YARD"]

Manuel's father has many acres of their land still, but the fortune of
the family has been slowly lost; and, although there are many servants,
and a large, comfortable home, there is not much money to spend.

The house is at least a hundred years old. It is made of blocks of
stone, built around the four sides of a square courtyard, where
orange-trees and magnolias stand in immense pots. A fountain is playing
in the centre of the paved yard and making soft music as the spray
falls upon the stones. There is a large aquarium at one side, where
Manuel's mother cares for many beautiful fishes.

Vines climb up over the wide verandas; the stone work is nearly hidden
by mosses which have made their home here; and, over all, the tall,
graceful trees of the tropics sway gently to and fro.

There are water-lemon and banana, cocoanut and tamarind trees growing
close to the house, and underneath in the rose-bushes and acacias
hundreds of brilliant humming-birds are glancing in and out.

At first thought, it may seem strange to us that there are no windows
fitted with glass in this old mansion. Our window is an opening in the
wall of a building to let in or keep out light and air, as needed. In
Porto Rico, where it is summer all the time, people need to have all
the air possible in the house; they have no use for panes of glass such
as we use. These are rarely seen anywhere in the island, but instead
of them bars of iron are fastened across the casements, or else there
are wooden shutters, as in Manuel's home. The slats of these shutters
can be set open as much as one likes, or closed tightly when the heavy
rains come.

When Manuel has finished drinking his chocolate, old Juana prepares a
bath for him. She does not bring any soap, for his mother believes it
spoils the skin; but the bath is scented with Florida-water, and the
sweet perfume fills the room.

Manuel is soon dressed, for he wears only a little shirt and loose
white trousers during the daytime at home. His feet are left bare, so
he may be as cool as possible.

What a handsome fellow he is now that he is wide awake! He is a
little smaller than his American brothers of his own age, but he is
well-shaped and graceful. People say he looks very much like his
beautiful mother. His black eyes are tender and loving, his hair is
black, but fine and soft; his skin is dark, yet clear; and his teeth
are even and white. Yes, he is not only good-looking, but kind and
lovable, we feel sure.



CHAPTER II.

DOLORES.


AND now he goes from his room out into the courtyard, for the house is
only one story high. His sister Dolores is there already, and runs to
kiss him good morning.

"Oh, Dolores," says Manuel, "do you think we have time before our
lessons begin to go over to Salvador's and see if he got those
fireflies yet? He was to bring them to me last night."

"It's only nine o'clock now, we have an hour yet," answers Dolores, in
her sweet voice. "I'm all ready, so let's go."

Both children put on their broad white hats and take a shady path
through the fields. They soon reach the huts of the coloured workmen,
clustered together in a grove of pimento-trees. A "pimento-walk" such
a grove is sometimes called, and it would be hard to find anything
more beautiful. The trees are of nearly the same height, reaching up
about thirty feet from the ground. The branches are covered with glossy
green leaves. The berries are not yet ready to pick, but when they are
still green the coloured boys on the place must climb the trees and
break off the twigs; they will throw them down to their sisters on the
ground, who will pick off the berries and store them in bags for their
master to send to the United States mainland. We call these berries
"allspice," and after they have been dried we buy them under that name.

[Illustration: DOLORES]

The huts of the workmen are scarcely more than sheds with roofs of
thatched palm leaves. Some have sides and doorways, while others are
quite open. What do these poor people care for that in this land of
summer? If they have plantains enough to satisfy their hunger,
plenty of cigars to smoke, and hammocks of the bark of the palm-tree to
swing in, they are happy and contented.

Within the huts one can see a few earthen pots and gourds; that is all
that is needed in their simple housekeeping, whether they belong to the
black race or are "jibaros," as the poor whites are called. And most of
the people are poor in this beautiful land, although Mother Nature is
so generous here in her gifts to men.

But we must go back to Manuel and Dolores, who are quickly surrounded
by a group of little children. They are of all colours: some black as
jet, the whites of their eyes looking like windows; others of shades
running from dark brown to pale yellow. But they are all noisy, all
happy, all talking at the same time, and all naked.

As for Dolores, herself, the dainty little maiden wears only a cotton
slip at her play. Many another white child on the island goes about
her home with no clothing, and feels very comfortable, too. It is only
when the children get to be nine or ten years old that their parents
make them dress; and that is a sad time for them, you may be sure.

But Dolores lives in quite a grand way, you know, so she and Manuel
were never allowed to go about naked since they were old enough to walk.

But look! one of the little black boys is handing something to Manuel.
It is a net filled with the fireflies or beetles he wished to get.

"Come to the house to-night, Salvador," says Manuel, as he takes his
treasures, "and I will pay you."

Now what do you suppose Manuel cares for these beetles? They are not
beautiful in the daytime. We would far rather watch those lovely green
and blue butterflies flitting among the bushes. But Manuel is going to
make pets of them. He will put them in a little wicker cage, feed them
with sugar, and they will grow quite tame. At night they will be more
beautiful than any precious gems owned by his mother.

Let us examine them. They are of a dull drab colour, except around the
eyes and underneath, where there are rings or bands that glow brightly
in the dark, giving forth red and green lights. They gleam like
diamonds. Manuel can read by their light, should he choose to do so.
The fireflies of Porto Rico are the largest and most brilliant in the
whole world.

After the children have finished their lessons to-day, perhaps they
will take some calabashes and bore holes in them. Then when night
comes they can put the beetles inside and play outdoors with them for
lanterns. Some of the poor people in Porto Rico use no other light at
night, except these little creatures.

Manuel carries the net very carefully as he and his sister return to
the house. He does not wish a single beetle to be injured or frightened.

"Mamma dear!" he calls as he sees his mother on the veranda, "you shall
wear the most beautiful one I have in your lace dress to-night."

What a strange idea this seems to us! but the smiling lady in her white
wrapper does not seem at all surprised. She often fastens the living
gems under the thin net of her evening gown; perhaps they will glisten
on her shoulders, perhaps at her throat, or in her hair. She certainly
could not wear more beautiful jewels than these.

"Thank you, my precious child," she answers, "you are very thoughtful;
but now your teacher is waiting for you in the schoolroom. Go to her,
and give your studies good attention this morning."



CHAPTER III.

LESSONS.


DOLORES and Manuel are soon busy with their lessons. Although Manuel
is twelve years old and his sister ten, they are both learning to
speak French and a little Italian. I fear you would think them rather
backward in arithmetic and other grammar-school studies, but their
parents do not see the need of knowing as much of such things as do
American fathers and mothers.

The children have always had a governess, and have never been in a
public schoolroom in their lives. In fact, these are only now becoming
common since our people have taken Porto Rico under their care. Think
of it, children! In this beautiful island, only one person out of five
can read and write at present. Most of these have been brought up in
the towns and cities. Those who live out in the country seldom have had
a chance to go to school. If they were too poor to hire a governess or
study with the nuns in the convents, they grew up ignorant indeed.

Dolores is taught to embroider and to play a little on the guitar, so
her mother thinks her daughter is quite accomplished. Besides, both
Manuel and his sister are very graceful dancers and can sing well.
These are quite important studies, for wherever one goes in Porto Rico,
there he will find music and dancing.

At half-past eleven the books are closed, and the children join their
parents for the first regular meal of the day. This is the real
breakfast.

It is served in the large, low dining-room, where for the first time we
see the children's grown-up sister, Teresa. She is a lovely young lady
of sixteen, slight and graceful. She has the same black eyes as Manuel
and Dolores, soft and beautiful.

She wears no stockings, but her feet are encased in dainty blue kid
slippers. They are embroidered with pearl beads, and, no doubt, came
from Paris.

An ugly-looking woman takes her place beside Teresa at the table. This
is her "duenna." It is her duty to go everywhere with the young girl.
It would not be considered at all proper for Teresa to go driving, or
even walking, alone. It would not do for her to go shopping to the
town only three miles away unless her duenna were with her; and as
for a party or any evening entertainment whatever, if Teresa were to
go without her parents or this same duenna, every one in the country
around would be terribly shocked.

But now all are busy eating the breakfast the coloured waiter is
serving. First, there is a nice omelet, cooked in olive oil. Then
come pineapple jam, fish fried a delicate brown, fried bananas, fried
chicken, and a salad made of many kinds of vegetables. We must not
forget to mention the apricots stewed in honey, nor the tea steeped
with the leaves of lemon verbena. It has a delicious odour, and
Manuel's father and mother are very fond of it.

There is no butter to eat on the rolls, but the fact is, almost all
the butter in Porto Rico comes in tin cans from other countries. On
account of the hot climate, it is often rancid, so it is seldom used in
Manuel's home. The cooking is done with olive oil. Nearly everything is
fried, instead of being broiled or roasted, and no one feels the need
of butter.

Manuel and Dolores, like some other boys and girls we know, are very
fond of sweet things, so they eat a great deal of the cooked fruits on
the table. But they also seem to like the salad very much, even though
it is so hot with Cayenne pepper as to burn the mouth of any one not
used to it. But the children are accustomed to highly spiced dishes.
Our cooking would seem tasteless to them. Perhaps it is the hot climate
all the year round that makes it necessary to have strongly flavoured
foods to excite the appetite.

After this second breakfast is over, cigarettes are served, and, would
you believe it! our little Manuel, as well as his mother and older
sister, joins in a smoke. Such is the custom of his country that even
children of three or four years use tobacco. It is no wonder, then,
that as the boys and girls grow up, they have so little strength. We
are no longer surprised that Manuel does not care much for active play.

It is now the hottest part of the day. The boy and his sister play a
few games of dominoes and cards out on the veranda, and then sleepily
stretch themselves in hammocks under the palms for an afternoon nap.
Manuel's little dog, Ponce, lies on the ground by his side, ready to
bark if any stranger should come near his master.

But what do the poor children of Porto Rico do, while Manuel is taking
his "siesta," as the afternoon nap is called? They, too, are probably
having their siestas, for all classes of people rest during the hottest
part of the day. Very little business is done in the cities; the time
for work is in the early morning and late afternoon.

The coloured children of the plantation would think it a perfect feast
to have a breakfast like Manuel's. A bit of salt fish, with some
breadfruit, plantains, and coffee,--these satisfy their hunger day
after day. But in the sugar season, when the canes are ripe and full
of juice, then indeed it is hard to make the people work, whether they
are white or black. Oh, the delicious sugar-cane! there is nothing like
the pleasure of sucking it. Here and there, in every nook and corner,
one sees boys and girls, men and women, with joints of the cane in
their hands, sucking away for dear life. Then is the time to stop all
worry and grow fat.



CHAPTER IV.

THROUGH THE WOODS.


WHEN Manuel and Dolores finish their siesta, it is nearly three
o'clock. Old Juana appears on the veranda with a pitcher of limeade,
made with fresh limes, and Manuel drinks glass after glass. It is very
refreshing, and he begins to feel like moving about, so he orders his
pet donkey to be brought. He says to Dolores:

"I think I will ride through the woods and around the plantation. I
will take my gun, as we may see some rabbits. Please come with me,
Dolores."

The little girl is always ready to oblige her brother, so she sends
for her own donkey, and the children start for the woods, with Ponce
following close behind.

Dear little patient, long-eared donkeys! Just as slow and stupid and
stubborn as other donkeys in other parts of the world. Manuel loves his
Pedro, as he is called. Pedro has been his friend and companion ever
since the boy was big enough to sit up straight.

Pedro is not obliged to work very hard, and is now quite willing to set
off on a gentle trot.

Dolores holds a dainty little parasol over her head, but as they reach
the deep shadow of the woods, she shuts it down; then in some magical
way changes it into a fan, with which she brushes away the mosquitoes.

What beautiful woods these are! Cocoanut, banana, sago, and palmetto
trees grow here, as well as cedar, India-rubber, guava, and many other
tall and stately trees belonging to the tropics. More than five hundred
different kinds of trees are found on the one island of Porto Rico,
every one of them growing over fifteen feet high.

Just think of it, children! Manuel can pick lemons, oranges, bananas,
limes, plantains, peaches, apricots, olives, tamarinds, and--dear me!
I can't tell you how many other fruits, without stepping off the land
owned by his father.

"Listen!" says Dolores to her brother, "don't you hear that grinding,
buzzing noise? It sounds like some one grinding a knife. I wonder what
it can be."

The children make the donkeys stop, and look all around them. No one
is to be seen. Then turning their eyes up into the branches of a tree
close by, they see a strange sight. It is a beetle at least six inches
long. He is very busy sawing off a small branch.

"Oh, I know what that is," says Manuel. "Father has told me all about
him. Some people call him a razor-grinder because he makes a noise
like the grinding of a razor. He is the largest beetle in the world. So
come along, Dolores, I want to shoot some pigeons."

"Aren't you afraid, Manuel, to go any farther into the woods?" whispers
his sister. "I just heard a queer, rustling noise. Perhaps it is a wild
dog. It may spring at us before we can get away."

The children of Porto Rico have more fear of wild dogs than of anything
else. They imagine all kinds of terrible things about them, and
whenever they come to a dark place in the woods, they begin to fear an
attack. The fact is that dogs, as well as cats, often leave their homes
and run wild on account of the good times they can have in the woods.
There are so many mice and birds to be caught that they need never go
hungry, but there is little to fear from them.

That is what Manuel thinks, sensible little fellow that he is, so he
answers:

"Oh, pshaw, Dolores, you never yet saw a wild dog in your life. So come
along; I'll take care of you. You know I have my gun."

Just at this moment Manuel spies a brown object behind a rock. Look!
now a sharp-pointed nose is thrust straight up in the air, and a pair
of bright eyes can be seen.

"That is a dear little agouti. Please don't shoot him. See how shy he
looks; he is too scared to run. Oh, what a beautiful glossy coat he
has!" says Dolores. "I wish we had one to tame for a pet. Don't you,
Manuel?"

At first thought, Manuel was going to shoot the agouti, but he quickly
thinks better of it. Any one would indeed be hard-hearted to wish to
kill such a pretty, timid little creature. The agouti is a cousin of
the hare and the rabbit, but lives in warmer lands than they.

The children ride slowly along. Manuel shoots a couple of pigeons, and
they are about to turn out of the woods when they spy a big hole in the
ground near them. The appearance of the earth shows that it must have
been freshly dug.

"I know what that means," exclaims Manuel, "an armadillo is hiding from
us. He heard us coming and at once burrowed under ground. I don't see
how they can dig so fast. Do you? Now let's make our donkeys rest, and
see if he will come out when all is quiet."

The children get off and tie their donkeys to some trees, while they
themselves sit down at quite a little distance from the hole.

It is not long before Mr. Armadillo appears, reaching his head out from
his shell as he climbs. He does not come very far, however, before
Ponce spies him. The dog begins to bark furiously, and tries to get
away from Manuel, who holds him by his collar. The armadillo flees
back into his hole "as quick as a flash," as the saying is, and does
not make his appearance again, although the children wait quite a while
longer.

What a curious looking animal it is, with its shell of horny plates,
and a white horn on its back through which it blows and makes a loud
noise! When in danger, it draws itself completely within its shell. The
flesh is a great dainty, but the little animal is hard to catch. The
negroes on some of the West Indian islands belonging to England call
the armadillo "hog-in-armour." Not a bad name, is it?

Manuel and Dolores, still mounted on their patient little donkeys,
leave the woods, and come out upon a path leading through their
father's coffee plantation.



CHAPTER V.

THE COFFEE-TREE.


WHEN the first white people came to Porto Rico they did not find any
coffee among the other tropical fruits. To-day it is the most valuable
product of the island, yet all the trees growing now came from a few
plants brought here nearly two hundred years ago. Perhaps you would
like to hear the story.

In the year 1714, all the coffee used in the civilised world was under
the control of the Dutch. They were very jealous of other people
growing it, but one of the governors of Amsterdam gave a single plant
to the King of France. From this plant a few others were raised and
sent across the ocean to Martinique, an island of the West Indies
belonging to France.

The voyage was long. The fresh water on board the ship nearly gave
out, but the man who had the plants in his care shared his allowance
with them. They were thus kept alive, and from them have come the
coffee-trees that cover thousands of acres of land to-day in Porto
Rico, Martinique, and the other islands.

Manuel and Dolores delight in riding through the plantation at this
season of the year; the rows of small, evenly trimmed trees, with their
glossy green leaves, are always a pretty sight. But just now they
are more beautiful than at other times, for each tree is a mass of
snow-white blossoms, filling the air with their fragrance.

Dolores's mother hires some of the coloured children to collect petals
of the coffee flowers as they drop upon the ground. She will fill jars
with them to scent her drawing-room with their perfume; but no one is
allowed to pick the blossoms from the trees, for each flower means a
berry later on in the season.

As the fruit forms, it is first green, then a pale pink, and at last a
bright red. Not all the berries ripen at the same time, as cherries do,
so the autumn picking lasts several weeks.

After they have been gathered, the berries are first washed and then
hulled by machinery. Even then, however, they are not ready for
market, for they must still be dried. At Manuel's home this is done by
spreading them on floors paved with stones, where the sun can shine
upon them; but on larger plantations it is usually done by steam or hot
air.

The men and women who work for Manuel's father are always busy, for
there are many things to do besides attending to the coffee-trees.
These stand in rows about fifteen feet apart, and between the rows
there are "catch crops," as they are called. One can see sweet
potatoes, pigeon pease, eddoes, and other vegetables.

Coffee-trees are quite tender, and need a good deal of shade when they
are young, so banana and plantain trees have been planted between the
rows to protect them from the hot sun.

Manuel's father does not pay his workmen in money; he gives them a
certain number of plantains for each day's labour. They keep enough of
this fruit to feed their families, and sell the rest in the towns near
by.

The children stop for a chat with the overseer, then ride onward to the
house, for dinner must be ready.

Just as the meal is over, and the family leave the dining-room, the
convent bells begin to ring. It is six o'clock, the time for evening
prayer, and all bow their heads in silence. Although Manuel is a little
boy, he likes these quiet moments in the day. The air is filled with
peace; it seems as though he feels God's love more fully than at any
other time.



CHAPTER VI.

SONGS AND STORIES.


NIGHT falls suddenly on this beautiful home. There is no long twilight
as in northern lands; and soon the stars are shining, myriads of them.
They do not twinkle, but give a strong, steady light.

[Illustration: "THE HOMES OF THE WORKMEN"]

This is the best part of the day. The planter sits on the veranda,
smoking; his wife, in her delicate evening dress, keeps him company.
Teresa plays some sweet tunes on her guitar and sings, while her
duenna sits back in a rattan chair and dozes. Manuel and Dolores dance
together along the garden paths or play with their fireflies.

Hark! listen to that lively music coming from the homes of the workmen.
We know there are mandolins among the instruments they are playing,
but what is that strange, swishing noise we hear, keeping time with the
other instruments? It is somewhat like the sound of shuffling feet. It
is made upon gourds notched in many places, with holes in the shape of
triangles cut in the necks.

A few nights ago Manuel and Dolores begged their father to take them
over to the "quarters," as the cabins of the coloured farm labourers
are called. Manuel said:

"We want to see the sport. They have such good times over there when
their work is done, and do tell such funny stories. But, after all,
papa, it's the way they tell them that I like best. Their black eyes
are so solemn and look as though they believed every word that is said."

When the planter and his children drew near, they found the coloured
people squatting in a big circle in front of one of the huts. The sun
was just setting in a great round ball in the west. There was still
light enough in the sky to show the shining dark faces ranged around.
Two rows of glistening ivory teeth could be plainly seen in each face
as the workmen jumped up to bow and smile before "Massa, little Massa,
and little Missus." They were quite proud to be honoured by a visit
from these great people. And now the sun suddenly dropped below the
horizon, and the air seemed filled with the darkness.

It was the sign to begin, and the blacks, at a motion from their
leader, started in with an old, old song not learned from books; it had
been handed down from the time when their people lived in their native
land of Africa. It was a song about a beautiful star, and before it
was ended Dolores and Manuel felt as if the star itself were a living
friend and helper of these ignorant, earnest people.

Sing! The word does not begin to describe the music they not only
heard but saw and felt. The voices of the singers were sweet and rich;
their bodies swayed back and forth, keeping perfect time. Their great
round eyes rolled from side to side, and as they sang verse after
verse, they seemed to forget their company as well as themselves. Their
faces shone with a smile of perfect happiness.

When the song was ended a story was called for, and an old gray-haired
man began to tell this tale of the elephant and the whale.

"Once upon a time an elephant was walking on the shore. He saw a whale
in the water. He spoke to the whale and said:

"'Brother Whale, I can pull you up on to the shore.'

"'Indeed you can't,' cried the whale.

"'I bet three thousand dollars that I can,' the elephant answered.

"'All right, let me see you try,' the whale said, quickly, and went
away.

"Soon afterward they met again. The whale spoke this time, and said:

"'Brother Elephant, I can pull you into the sea.'

"'What an idea!' said the elephant. 'No man in the world could pull me
into the sea.'

"Brother Rabbit heard the two talking, and said:

"'I'll try it to-morrow at twelve o'clock.'

"He went away and got a piece of rope. He tied one end of it around the
whale's neck and the other around the elephant's neck. Then he said:

"'When I speak the word you must both pull hard.'

"Now when the whale pulled, he dragged the elephant into the sea. He
said:

"'You, Brother Elephant, think the little rabbit is doing all this.'

"Then the elephant pulled hard, and brought the whale into the surf.
The whale caught underneath a shelf of rock and the elephant found
himself fastened to a big tree.

"These two mightiest of creatures pulled and pulled, till at last the
rope broke, and the elephant was jerked way back into the forest and
the whale was jerked way out to sea. That is why you always see the
whale in the ocean and the elephant in the woods."

There was a great clapping of hands when the tale was ended. After
that, there were other songs and stories, while the faces of the people
grew more earnest and eager after each one.

It was growing late, and Manuel's father said:

"Come, children, we must go now. Your mother will be watching for you.
It is long past your bedtime."

As they walked homeward, Manuel was quiet for some time. Then he said:

"Father, what nonsense many of these stories are! Yet I like them,
too, because they seem to bring one so near all living things. Even
the rabbit and the elephant are brothers to them. It's a little odd,
though, that in their animal stories they always make the rabbit the
wisest."

Sometimes Manuel's father walks over to the "quarters" with his boy to
see the dancing. It is wild and exciting; it fairly makes Manuel dizzy
to watch the people twist and turn themselves about. It is so different
from the slow, graceful steps he and Dolores have been taught.

One wonders if the children are not afraid of snakes in the long grass
at night. No, for in all Porto Rico, it is said, a poisonous serpent
has never been seen. In two other islands of the West Indies the most
deadly snake of the Western world is found. This is the terrible
fer-de-lance whose bite is so much dreaded; but this serpent has never
made its way into Porto Rico. It probably drifted on limbs of forest
trees from South America to the other islands, but never reached
Manuel's home. The boy should be very grateful that it did not.

But there are other things for him to fear. When he goes to bed
to-night, he will get Juana to look under his bed and in every corner
of the room before he can settle himself to sleep. Is he afraid of
burglars, do you suppose? He never thinks of them; but he knows that
scorpions and centipedes can creep into the house, and even into
his bed, without being seen. And oh! their sting means very great
suffering. Manuel's mother was once stung by a scorpion's fiery tail,
and the wound was very painful for a long time.

It was only a few nights ago that Juana found a centipede snuggled away
under a cushion in the sitting-room. Suppose some one had sat down upon
it unawares and been bitten! It makes the shivers creep up and down
Manuel's back to think of it.

The word centipede, perhaps you know, means hundred-footed. These
little insects travel quite rapidly, and although they do not cause
death, they may make very painful wounds.

There are other things, too, to trouble Manuel and Dolores, for
mosquitoes and fleas are always plentiful, and sometimes the children
are awakened at night by an attack from a small regiment of cruel
little ants, and sleep no more till morning.

There is a certain insect in the West Indies known as a "chico,"
"chigoe," or "jigger," and woe to the toes of the person whom it
visits. It gets under the skin, and there lays many eggs and prepares
to make itself very much at home. So if any person's toe begins to
itch, he needs to have it examined at once, or there may be trouble.
People have sometimes been obliged to have the toe, and even the foot
and leg, cut off on account of the inflammation caused by a chico and
her family.

But the curious thing about it is that this insect seems to prefer the
toes of white strangers, so that Manuel and Dolores, who were born on
the island, are pretty safe in going barefooted.



CHAPTER VII.

A CRUEL SPORT.


TO-MORROW there will be "lots of fun," as Manuel says. After the
morning service in the church (for it will be Sunday) his father will
take him and Dolores to a cock-fight. Manuel has been brought up to
think there is no pleasure like it.

When our government took charge of the island, after the war with
Spain, they forbade any more cock-fighting. But all the people, black
and white, loved the sport so dearly, and felt so bad on account of the
new law, that it has been set aside for the present.

Yes, Manuel, our gentle, kind-hearted little cousin, has seen many
cock-fights. Sunday is the day his people take for the cruel pleasure.
The boy's father has a very handsome cock he has been training for
to-morrow's fight. He has bet quite a large sum on him, and is even
more anxious than his little son for the next day to come. Why, this
game-cock of his has been getting as much care and attention as a fine
horse or pony generally receives from a loving master!

And now it is Sunday. Not even a flea has disturbed Manuel's dreams
all night. Late in the afternoon a carriage comes to the door, and the
planter drives away to the town with his two younger children. His wife
and Teresa do not go, as it is not considered proper; but it is thought
to be all right for Manuel and Dolores, as it is the fashion of this
country for boys and little girls to go.

What a crowd there is around the entrance! Men and children, both black
and white, are jostling each other, talking loudly, and quarrelling
together. See that man elbow his way along! He has a cock under his
arm, probably a contribution to the entertainment.

Manuel's father beckons to a servant who has followed him on horseback
with his precious game-cock in charge, and together they pass inside.
Every one must pay for admission to the show. And what does one see
within? There is a large cleared space covered with sawdust. This is
for the cocks; all around are seats for the people who look on.

Over at one side of the pit a man is lifting the cocks, one by one, and
weighing them to find their fighting weight. See the care with which
each skinny fowl is tied in a bandanna and handled; one would think it
something very precious. And, indeed, they are precious, and cost their
owners many dollars.

Look! the men are fastening sharp knives to the spurs of the poor
fowls, whose necks and backs are bare of feathers. These knives are
sharper than the natural spurs, and will help to make the battle a
deadly one. They are not always used, however.

And now, in the midst of shouts and yells, the first battle begins. It
means death to one or both of the birds. The two cocks enter into the
fight as though they delight in it. See the feathers fly from their
heads and sides!

Ah! one of them is blinded by the dust. His owner rushes up and squirts
alum water in his eyes. The fight goes on till one cock lies breathing
his last on the ground, and the other stands beside him dizzy and
tottering, yet hanging to him still.

There is silence while the bets are paid; then the noise begins again,
and two more cocks are brought in. Battle after battle is fought till
night falls upon the cruel sport.

There is no doubt that these game-cocks enjoy fighting, yet this is no
reason they should be pitted against each other by human beings; nor
that people should think it sport to watch suffering and bloodshed even
among stupid fowls.

It is hoped that Manuel and Dolores will learn better as they grow
older. We cannot blame them now, for the customs of their country have
made it seem quite right and proper.

A still more cruel sport was brought by the Spaniards to Porto Rico,
but it is now forbidden by American law. This is bull-fighting. It
is not long, however, since the finest ladies in the land dressed
themselves in their handsomest gowns, and with their husbands attended
a bull-fight. You would have thought to see the rich jewels and fans,
the fine silks and satins, that they were in a ballroom.

Do not let us think of such sad things any longer, however. Those days
are gone by for ever, let us hope.

While Manuel and Dolores are giving their mother an exciting account of
the Sunday's pleasure, let us go back to the Porto Rico of long, long
ago.



CHAPTER VIII.

EARLY TIMES.


WE find Columbus sailing into one of its harbours after his second
trip across the great Atlantic Ocean. The trees and plants look very
beautiful to him. But he notices other things; he sees rivers flowing
down into the sea, and the natives tell him of stores of gold to be
found in the beds of these streams. For this reason he calls it "Puerto
Rico," or the "Rich Port," and so it has been called to this day.

He and his men are full of interest in the strange sights around them.
In the waters about Porto Rico are wonderful creatures they have never
seen before. Among these is the manatee, which, rising up out of the
water, looks at a distance somewhat like a human being.

"It is a mermaid," cries Columbus, "but, alas! it is not as beautiful
as I expected." He wrote of it in this way in the account of his voyage.

In those days of long ago people had many queer ideas. One of these
notions was that beings lived in the sea who had heads and arms like
men and women, but the lower parts of their bodies were shaped like
fishes. They were, therefore, half human and half fish. Their home was
far down in cool groves at the bottom of the sea. A diver once said
he had visited the very place. He found the water perfectly clear,
and lighted up by crystal pyramids. There were gardens of beautiful
sea-weeds, furniture all made of precious stones, and the strange
beings dwelling there wore ornaments and combs of shining gold.

They believed that these beings of the sea rose sometimes to the
surface of the water. There they would sing sweet songs as they combed
their long yellow hair. But they sang only to make the sailors forget
their own homes and to lead them into harm.

It was no wonder that Columbus was disappointed when he discovered
the manatee, and believed he had at last seen the mermaids of whom he
had read so many stories. The sea-cow is certainly not a beautiful
creature. It looks somewhat like a small whale; it has a fat body, with
small eyes and ears. It is very timid, and probably swam off as fast
as it could when it found the vessels of Columbus near. Of course,
the great sailor did not get a good view of it or he could not have
believed it to be the mermaid described in song and story.

Not many years after Columbus discovered Porto Rico, Ponce de Leon led
a company of Spaniards to its shores and settled there. The Indian
chief of the country was very kind to the strangers. He gave them
provisions and rich presents, and showed them the fruits and vegetables
which grew there. He shared his treasures with them, and, most
important of all, he led them to a river where stores of gold could be
found in its bed.

Gold! It filled the Spaniards' hearts with greed. This was what they
had longed for; now they could go back to their own country with great
fortunes.

How did they return the kindness of the gentle, trusting natives? By
treating them like slaves! By making them do the hardest labour, and
then rewarding them with cruelties.

When they first came to the shores of the island they had said to the
Indians: "We are immortal; we cannot die; we will live on for ever."

But when the poor Indians had suffered for a long time at their hands,
and when many of their kindred had died from the ill-treatment of the
Spaniards, they said:

"We will prove what these cruel strangers have told us."

They seized a Spanish soldier and held his head under water for two
hours. Then they carried his body to the shore of the river, and sat
down beside it for two whole days. But it showed no signs of life. At
the end of that time they took the body to their chief, who said:

"They have deceived us, for this man has died, even as we would die."

You can easily imagine what followed. There was war between the natives
and the strangers. But the poor Indians had little chance. They had
only bows and arrows, rough spears of wood, and battle-axes of stone.
The Spaniards were armed with swords and guns. Those Indians who were
not killed were made prisoners and set to work in the gold mines and
sugar fields, where they rapidly died from their hard labour.

Years passed by. Ponce de Leon was growing old. His hair was gray; his
face was wrinkled; the top of his head was bald. He had many pains in
his body and was often ill.

Then he thought of the stories told by his Indian slaves of a wonderful
fountain not far away. They declared that its waters were always fresh
and pure; not only this, but each draught that a person swallowed would
make him younger and happier.

"Ah!" sighed the old man, "I wish I might find this spring of living
water, and rid myself of stiff joints and rheumatism. I will start out
in search of it at once. If I can only reach it, I shall become young
and handsome again, and shall never die."

This was the reason the conqueror of Porto Rico sailed away to find the
wonderful Fountain of Eternal Youth of which the Indians had told him.

You probably know the story of the coming of Ponce de Leon to Florida
one beautiful Easter Sunday, which in the Spanish language is called
_Pascua Florida_. So he called the country Florida, saying:

"In this beautiful land must be the wondrous fountain."

Soon afterward, while searching for it, he was shot with a poisoned
arrow, and died on the voyage back to the island.



CHAPTER IX.

THE CARIBS.


THE Indians whom Ponce de Leon and his followers treated so unkindly
were gentle and generous, as I have said. They were not eager for war,
like many of the tribes on the continent, nor savage in their habits.
They wore short girdles of cotton cloth, raised crops of corn and
manioc, and built large canoes in which they took quite long voyages.
They wrought the gold found in the streams into ornaments.

This tribe of Indians was very numerous at the time the Spaniards first
came to the West Indies, but now there is not a single trace of them
left. War with the Spaniards, hard work for their masters in the mines
and fields,--these made the race die out rapidly.

It is sad to think that the Spaniards tortured them also.

Is it any wonder that the natives did not care to share the Spaniards'
heaven, but died hating them with all their hearts?

Long before Ponce de Leon came to Porto Rico, the poor Indians were
attacked from time to time by other enemies; but although they suffered
much, they were never conquered. These enemies were the Caribs, who
seemed to love war better than anything else in the world.

Sometimes the people would be strolling along the shores of the island
when they would see something out on the ocean which looked like a mass
of floating palm leaves. That did not frighten them, of course, and
they would go on with their sports.

When it was too late to give the alarm, they discovered that the mass
of palm leaves was the covering of a boat-load of fierce warriors who
were all ready to attack them.

Or perhaps their foes would hide themselves from sight in some other
clever way until they were all ready to spring out of their boats and
take the peaceful islanders by surprise.

You wonder, perhaps, where was the Caribs' home. They told legends of
a far-distant land in the north, from which their own people had come.
They had fought their way from Florida to South America, and feared no
one in the world. They believed that their tribe had grown up out of
the stones which had been planted in the soil.

They belonged to the great Indian, or red, race, as did the natives
of Porto Rico, but their customs and natures were very different.
They painted their faces to make themselves look as fierce as they
felt. They were trained to fight from the time when they were little
children. They loved to sail upon the ocean, and guided their boats by
studying the stars.

When the Spaniards had settled in Porto Rico, the Caribs thought it
would be an easy thing to master them in fight, and trouble them as
they had troubled the poor natives. But the white men were a match for
them, and, when they landed on the shores of the island, the Spaniards
entrapped them and drove them over the side of a cliff down into the
water below. Not one Carib lived to tell the story of that fearful day.

Time passed by and many workers were needed, and as the natives became
fewer the Spaniards sent ships to the coast of Africa and brought away
the black people to be their slaves. To-day the negroes are all free
and seem to be happy in their island home; but most of them are very,
very poor, as are the greater part of the whites of Porto Rico. The
rule of Spain has kept them so; and it was a glorious thing for these
people when our soldiers, under General Miles, marched in triumph
through the land.



CHAPTER X.

A SEASIDE PICNIC.


SEVERAL weeks have passed since Manuel and Dolores went with their
father to the cock-fight. It is a beautiful June evening, and the
children are walking through the garden, planning a picnic at the
seashore for to-morrow. Their mother comes out hastily on the veranda,
and calls:

"Manuel! Dolores! come in at once out of the moonlight! You know
well enough that animals will never lie with the moon shining upon
them; they are too wise. Oh, the evil I have seen that has come from
the moon! Don't you remember poor little Sancho? He is feeble-minded
because his careless nurse let him sleep in the moonlight when he was
a baby. Come quickly, my darlings, to the shade of the veranda."

Manuel and Dolores are a little frightened, and hurry toward the house,
where they join the family in Spanish songs before going to rest.

When Juana wakes them, early the next morning, they hear the rain
falling in torrents outside. That will not prevent the picnic, however,
for they feel sure it will not last long. It is the beginning of the
spring rains, and there are showers every day, but they seldom continue
more than an hour. But, oh, how the rain falls when it does come! It
seems as though the heavens opened and all the water in the sky fell at
once.

By eight o'clock the shower is over, and Teresa, her duenna, Manuel,
and Dolores are ready to start. The planter must be busy to-day, and
his wife does not care to go.

A low, comfortable carriage is drawn up in front, the lunch is packed
away under the seats, and the coachman is told to start. Ponce tries to
follow, but Manuel orders him back. They will drive at least ten miles,
but the roads are fine, it is down-hill all the way, and the views are
beautiful.

The party soon cross a bridge over a little stream. There they see two
women standing nearly knee-deep in the water. They are washing clothes
and having a sociable chat at the same time. Two large, flat stones
serve as scrubbing boards, and each one of the women holds a club in
her hands.

"What is that for?" one asks. To beat the dirt out of the clothes! The
garments are spread on the stones, rubbed with some native berries
(instead of soap), then pounded with the clubs. Not a delicate way to
handle fine linen, to be sure; but the women seem to enjoy their work,
and stop every few minutes to sit on the banks and smoke their pipes.

When the party have nearly reached the seashore, the road leads through
thick woods. Suddenly they hear a great scuttling among the trees. The
driver stops his horses, and every one looks to see what is the matter.

It is nothing more nor less than an army of land-crabs on their yearly
journey from the mountains to the sea. The children have often found
one of them in the garden or the woods near the house, but such a
number as this, they have never seen or heard before.

These land-crabs can fight, and can frighten the horses greatly, if
they should choose to take the road. So Pedro very wisely uses the
whip, and the party soon leave this queer army behind them. The crabs
make a dainty dish when served with lime-juice and Cayenne pepper, and
Manuel and Dolores are very fond of them served in this way.

A turn in the road brings the ocean in view. Dolores claps her hands in
delight, and cries:

[Illustration: "ONE IS QUITE LARGE, AND IS FORMED IN THE SHAPE OF A
FAN"]

"Oh, what a lovely time we will have! I wonder who will find the most
curiosities, Manuel, you or I."

Even the sober-faced duenna looks pleased as they drive out upon a
smooth beach. How beautiful the ocean looks to-day! It is such a
wonderful blue; much like the colour of the sapphire, and not at all
like the waters of the northern seas.

The children take little baskets on their arms and trot about
barefooted to see what they can find. It is a perfect paradise among
beaches. Their American brothers and sisters would dance for joy at the
sight of so many kinds of beautiful shells. And the starfish! Manuel
finds one big fellow as much as ten inches across. It is not flat like
those seen in the temperate zone, but at least six inches through the
middle of his horny body. The little boy cannot get him off the rock
to which he has fastened, but Pedro comes, and even he has to use
all his strength to pull him away. A New York merchant is to visit the
children's father very soon, and Manuel wants to send this starfish to
his little son.

But there are other kinds of starfish here that are pretty and
delicate. Dolores finds a dear little daisy-star only half an inch
across, with fringes on its sides, and, a moment after, her sister
picks up a fern-star.

What delights the children most of all are the bits of coral washed up
by the waves. Some of the pieces are red, some black, and others white.
One is quite large, and is formed in the shape of a fan, while another
spray looks like a mushroom.

After luncheon is over, Manuel says:

"Dolores, let's try to find some sea-anemones. Do you see that rocky
cliff at the end of the beach? Perhaps if we go there we can see some."

The children start off once more, and soon are climbing up over the
rock. They creep along till they are able to look over its edge as it
juts out over the water.

What a wonderful sight meets their eyes! It is the flower garden of the
sea. Deep down under the clear waters they see many things living and
growing that look for all the world like roses and marigolds, pinks
and buttercups. What wonderful colours they have! Coral is indeed
beautiful, but it cannot compare with the sea-anemones.

Manuel and his sister fairly hold their breath with delight.

"Oh, Dolores, isn't it strange that those lovely things are animals and
not plants! There they stay in one place for ever, yet they are alive
like the coral polyps. We must get Teresa to come and see them, too.
She never saw them growing; I've heard her say so."

Manuel whispers these words as though he fears the anemones may hear
him and hide themselves from his sight. Dolores answers, in her soft
voice:

"Manuel, did you ever think about what our teacher told us, that the
bottom of the ocean is like the land, with hills and valleys, mountains
and caves? Many kinds of creatures live there, just as other kinds
live on the earth; but it seems to me that the coral polyps and the
sea-anemones are the strangest of all."

When the children get back to the others, they beg Alfonso to get a
boat and row them around to where the anemones are growing. Perhaps
they can reach some of them. But he tells them that their father has
forbidden him to take them out on the water, for the terrible blue
shark dares to come quite close to the shore, and, even in a row-boat,
they could not be sure of safety if a shark should follow them.

He then tells them of adventures with sharks by people living near
their own home.

After these stories Manuel and Dolores are quite willing to give up a
row after anemones, nor do they care to go in bathing, even close to
the shore.

The time comes all too soon to go home, and all enjoy the ride in the
cool evening air. They have not travelled far before the moon rises and
sends its light down through the tree-tops.

Dolores happens to be looking out of the carriage, when she sees an
ugly-looking animal peering out from behind a bush. It is an iguana,
with jaws and mouth like an alligator. He looks fierce enough to devour
any one, but Alfonso assures the party that he is really a very timid
creature, and will not fight unless he is cornered and cannot get away.
He likes to live quietly by himself in the trees and bushes, and no
doubt is afraid of the horses.

After awhile the children grow sleepy and doze in each other's arms
till home is reached. Their father and mother are watching, and the
dinner has been kept waiting until they should arrive.



CHAPTER XI.

THE WONDERFUL CAVE.


THEY have so much to tell, it seems as though they had been gone a
week. Their mother is most interested in hearing about the anemones,
while their father wishes he could have been with them when they saw
the land-crabs.

"It makes me think," says he, "of a wonderful trip I made when I was
quite a young man. I met land-crabs that day in a much stranger place
than you ever saw them, Manuel. Did I ever tell you children about my
visit to the 'Great Caves'?"

Manuel and Dolores draw close to their father's side and exclaim
together:

"Why, no, papa. Oh, do tell us, please. I never even heard of them."

The planter smiles and answers: "It is not strange, my dears, for there
are people living within a much shorter distance of these caves who
have never heard of them, as well as yourselves. It is, indeed, odd;
but you will yet see the day when travellers from distant lands will
visit our island for the sake of seeing the wonderful things hidden
away in those very caverns.

"When I was younger, I was always looking for adventures. My father
was a rich man, and I was allowed to do very much as I liked. So when
some friends of mine asked me to join them in a trip to the caves, I
was much pleased. They told me the ride would be tiresome and perhaps
dangerous, but I liked the idea far better for that very reason.

"We started out early one morning. Two guides went with us. They were
men who had been in the caves many times. They knew the best way to
reach them. We carried coils of rope and a roll of pitch lights, as
well as a good luncheon.

"If we could have gone straight up the side of the mountain, it would
have been a short trip; but the trail led up and down, in and out. Now
we had to climb a narrow ridge, and then descend again into a valley.
One of these ridges was so steep that I had to hold on to the pommel of
the saddle with all my might. I shut my eyes at the same time. I feared
I would grow dizzy and slip from the back of the horse down the side of
the precipice.

"But this was for only a short distance. Most of the road was very
beautiful and lined with fruit-trees. Sometimes we could have picked
great ripe oranges without dismounting; in many a narrow pass the
clusters of bananas hung down so near us we had to bend our heads to
keep from being knocked from the saddles.

"At last we had climbed so high we found ourselves with mountain tops
on every side. Far below lay an immense coffee plantation. We could see
the great drying-pans near the buildings. Only a short distance ahead
of us was a white cliff of limestone. Here lay the caves we had come to
visit.

"We tied our horses to some trees, and crept, hand and foot, up through
a narrow gorge. Its sides were walls of rock, and its roof was made of
vines, ferns, and overhanging fruit-trees. How sweet and cool the air
seemed!

"Yes, straight in front of us we could just see two great black holes.
These were the doorways of the caves. And now the guides handed each
one of us a lighted torch. The burning gum made a sweet incense as it
sputtered. It gave the only light we should have for many hours.

"The guides slowly led the way into the dark cavern ahead. The floor
was wet and muddy, and we had to take care not to slip.

"Ugh! there were numbers of great black spiders here. Their bite might
be poisonous, and we took care not to lay our hands against the walls
where they travelled up and down. The place was damp and slippery.
There was certainly nothing beautiful to be seen yet.

"Hark! There was a rustling sound over our heads. It grew louder and
louder, until we could not hear each other's voices. As we looked up
into the darkness, we could see we had startled an army of bats. There
were thousands of them. Yes, surely, many thousands. You wouldn't have
enjoyed their flying around you one bit, Manuel, good little huntsman
even as you are. And as for you, my precious Dolores, I fear you would
have screamed and begged to be taken home.

"Over our heads we could hear the sound of running water all the time.
We kept bravely on. It began to grow lighter, and we could see several
openings in front of us. Choosing one of these, we crept through a
narrow passage and found ourselves at once in a vast hall. It was like
Aladdin's palace, which, you remember, was brilliant with beautiful
gems.

"I looked up to the high roof and saw hundreds of sparkling white
pendants. Some of them were quite small, but others reached down so
far that I could touch them. They shone like the finest marble. They
were made by the water trickling through the roof and leaving particles
of lime as it slowly made its way downward. Such pendants are called
stalactites. Some of them were tinted a beautiful blue or green. This
was because the water had passed through some mineral substance of
those colours.

"And the walls of that hall! Sparkling white columns reached from
the floor to the very dome. They were fluted and worked in the most
delicate patterns. I can never forget that wonderful picture.

"But what ugly creatures made their home in this wonderful palace of
Mother Nature? They were land-crabs, to be sure, that tried to get out
of our way as fast as their clumsy feet would permit. It was your story
of the crabs, Manuel, that made me think of that day's tramp.

"You can hardly believe it, children, but we passed from one such hall
to another until we had travelled at least a mile underground. Here and
there were dark holes leading farther down yet. We could look over the
edge sometimes and see other great hallways directly under where we
were. The guides said:

"'No, no, you must not try to reach them. You may never get back.'

"But I insisted on going into one, at least. A stout rope was fastened
about my waist; two men held it tightly, and gradually let me go.
Down I went, down, down, down. Would I never reach the bottom? I was
growing a little scared, when I found myself on the floor of another
great hall, much like the one above it. I groped about and relighted my
torch, which had gone out as I was lowered through the damp air.

"I found myself beside a stream of running water. It was flowing right
by the doorway into the cave. I had heard there was just such an
entrance as this,--that down on the side of the mountain a person could
get into the cavern by first passing through the water.

"I had read a legend of this very place. It was about a young girl who
had hidden herself from her enemies by swimming into the cave through
the secret entrance below the surface of the river.

"By this time my friends were getting worried about me. I felt a gentle
pull at the rope and I heard them calling. Their voices seemed strange
and far away. And now I was slowly lifted upward to find myself in the
midst of my friends.

"It was time to turn again toward the daylight. We said good-bye to
the cave and its city of palaces. In another hour we were again in
open air, looking at mountain tops. We asked ourselves if the day's
wonderful sights really had been a dream or not."



CHAPTER XII.

THE HURRICANE.


WEEKS pass by; it is August, and the midst of the rainy season. This
is the time to be ready for hurricanes. No one feels safe, for at any
moment he may be taken by surprise, and his home, with its massive
stone walls, may be dashed to the ground.

Such a thing never yet has happened to Manuel's family, but that does
not keep fear away. Does not Manuel remember the story of Josephine,
afterward the beautiful wife of Napoleon? She spent her young days
on an island not far from Porto Rico. In a few hours the plantation
on which she lived was wrecked by a hurricane and hardly a trace of
her home was left. It is fearful to think of what she and her family
suffered, but Manuel and Dolores cannot keep the story out of their
minds when the midsummer storms arrive.

They are kept in terror at least three months of the year, for the
hurricane season begins the latter part of July, and the great winds
may come at any moment from that time on to the end of October.

If the children should visit the shore now, they would find all the
boats drawn up high and dry in sheltered nooks. The fishermen are
afraid to venture out to any distance for fear of sudden danger.

This very morning Manuel's father looked at the barometer before he
left the house, for that is the first thing to tell him a storm is
approaching. Then he directed Alfonso to see if the iron bars were in
good order for fastening the casements; everything must be in readiness
for a sudden departure.

After his ride around the plantation, he stopped at the hill-cave, or
hurricane house, and directed one of the workmen to leave the door open
for awhile, to air it.

This cave was dug out of the side of a hill near the house when Manuel
and Dolores were still babies. It is lined with a thick wall of stones;
it has no windows or other opening except a low, narrow doorway. At the
first sign of a hurricane, the whole family flee to this cave, and stay
there till the storm is over.

Look! the sky is overcast. And now it has become the colour of lead.
How sultry it is! Not a leaf moves, except when a sudden gust of
wind takes it by surprise. The barometer is falling rapidly. See the
lightning flashing over the sky, with no sound of thunder to follow it.

Dolores begins to tremble and cry. Even her mother grows pale, and
often crosses herself in silent prayer. The planter moves quickly
around, giving orders to the overseer about the workmen and the
cattle. Stout-hearted little Manuel is very busy. He must not let
Dolores think he is afraid. No, not for anything! He helps Alfonso
carry the food and cushions out to the hurricane house, while the doors
and shutters of the mansion are being locked and barred.

There is no time to be lost. A man has just ridden by, telling of the
strange appearance of the ocean.

"It was perfectly still," he said, "but far out on the water long,
quiet, sweeping waves rolled in toward the shore, then broke suddenly
at a fearful height close to land."

And now all hasten out to the cave. There is no laughing; every one is
still and sober. The door is shut and made fast. It is as dark as a
tomb within. The air is heavy. But no one thinks of fretting; all are
too busy listening to the howling of the wind and the noise of falling
trees.

The planter steadily watches the barometer by the dim light of a
lantern. Manuel and Dolores cling to their mother, one on each side.
Teresa strives to appear calm, and her duenna is the only one who tries
to talk.

Hours upon hours pass by. Ah! what does that trembling of the ground
mean? It makes one feel dizzy and strange. It is the shock of a slight
earthquake. It is over now, and at the same time it becomes quiet
outside. Papa once more looks at the barometer, and says it is rising,
and it will soon be safe to venture out.

When the door is opened, and they feel the fresh air on their faces
once more, they look out on the darkness of night. But the stars are
shining with their usual brightness, and the air is filled with peace
and quiet.

Was it all a dream? Oh, no! for broken trees and branches bar the
pathway to the house, while pools of water are everywhere about. The
dear old home is safe except that a part of the veranda has been torn
away.

The sunlight next morning shows that many of the roofs at the quarters
have been blown off, while much damage was done to the coffee-trees.
No human being or animal on the place has been injured, and all give
thanks that the hurricane has passed.

"Let us hope," says Manuel's father, "we shall not see another such
storm this year. One bad storm is quite enough for a season, I am sure."

The time of danger passes by, and although there are many severe
storms, not one of them is so bad that the family are obliged to hide
themselves in the hill-cave. The autumn rains are very heavy, and
Manuel and Dolores spend much time in the house or on the verandas.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE NEW BABY.


NOVEMBER comes, and early one morning Juana enters the children's rooms
very much excited. She wakes them with the news that a little sister
was born to them last night.

"A baby! a dear, darling little baby in the house!" cries Dolores.
"Oh! I have begged mother for one so often! Now we shall always have
something to amuse us. Manuel, aren't you glad?"

The children do not care for chocolate and rolls in bed this morning;
that is certain. They must see the precious baby as soon as possible.

It is such a dear little mite. It fills all hearts with joy. But it
must be christened without delay. Who shall be godfather? The planter
and his wife consider very carefully. At last they decide to ask a
great friend of theirs, who is the owner of a sugar plantation not
far from them. He is very wealthy, and will no doubt celebrate the
christening in grand style.

In the next place, what shall be the baby's name? Of course, she must
be called "Maria" to begin with. Every girl-baby is named Maria, and
if there are no girls in the family, the boy receives that name as his
first. I suppose the name is in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

But what others must be added? Manuel suggests Christina, while Dolores
begs that her baby sister be called Lucia. At length it is decided
that this tiny tot shall bear the dignified name of Maria Francesca
Christina Lucia, and every one is pleased.

When the baby is just one week old, the christening takes place.
Several beautiful carriages drive up to the house, and the friends and
relatives take their places inside. The godfather is a fine-looking
gentleman with piercing black eyes and black moustache. He has made
Manuel and Dolores happy by presenting each of them with a gold piece
strung on a ribbon. He has also given each one of the house servants a
piece of silver.

The children are dressed in white and look very pretty. The baby wears
a beautiful robe, embroidered by the nuns. As she lies sleeping in her
nurse's arms, she does not dream that this celebration is all in her
honour.

The christening party drives away to the church, while the mother lies
in her chamber, quietly resting. She is not well enough to go with them.

After the service is over, the godfather invites the guests to attend
a dinner party in honour of his little godchild, at his own home; but
the baby must now go back to her loving mother. She could scarcely
appreciate the feast, and is much safer at home. So the nurse is driven
off in one of the carriages with her precious charge, while the rest of
the party go to the godfather's beautiful house.

Such a feast as is spread before them! Such a display of silver and
china! What a richly embroidered table cover! Course after course is
served.

First there is a rich soup, followed by fried chicken and rice coloured
with tomato; there are salads, stews of game, fruits hot and cold, a
dainty dessert, cheese and coffee.

Soon after the feast is over, the children return home, for their dear
mother must not get lonesome.

The baby grows rapidly, and when she is two months old the planter
proposes to take the whole family to San Juan, the capital of the
island. Teresa is perhaps more joyful than any one else, for now she
will have a chance to wear some lovely new dresses at the evening
parties she will attend there.

Manuel and Dolores are most pleased because they are to travel in a
sailing vessel. They will, at last, have a chance to see live sharks as
well as other strange creatures of the sea, of which they have heard.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CITY.


IT is a delightful trip. The weather is just cool enough for comfort,
and no one is seasick. The children are never tired of sitting on deck
and watching the views, changing hour by hour.

They are never out of sight of land, but sail along the shores of their
loved island. Here is a little village of palm-thatched huts, there a
grove of breadfruit or cocoanut trees; again one meets another sailing
vessel with all its men busy shark-fishing. The skin of the ugly
monster is valuable, as well as its fins and tail, which are prized as
food by many of the people of Porto Rico.

Looking down beneath the clear blue waters Dolores descries the rainbow
fish and claps her hands at its beauty. It is so called because of its
many beautiful colours.

And see! Here is a shoal of flying-fish darting over the waters. They
do not really fly, as some people think, but dart up out of the water,
with their long fins spread in such a way that they are carried through
the air for quite a distance.

Deep down in the water the children see a beautiful object. It is
moving rapidly, and its back shines like burnished gold, then changes
in the sunlight into many shades and tints of colour.

"Papa, do please come quickly, and tell me what this is," calls Manuel.

"That is a dolphin, my dear, one of the most beautiful of all creatures
living in the sea," says his father, as he looks over the ship's side.
"But he is always hungry, and if he sees those flying-fish ahead of him
it will be a sad day for them."

[Illustration: A STREET IN SAN JUAN]

At this very moment the dolphin seems to get a view of his favourite
prey. He darts to the surface of the water and leaps forward at the
flying-fish with the speed of a bullet; at least it seems so to the
watching children, who pity the little fellows with all their hearts.
When they discover their foe it is too late for them to escape, for,
although they flee with all their might, now in one direction, then in
another, the dolphin gains upon them and snaps them up one by one in
his great jaws. In their fright many of them throw themselves clear out
of the water with their fins spread, and are carried many feet on the
air. It is this that gives them the appearance of flying.

The voyage seems only too short to Manuel and Dolores. When they arrive
at San Juan there are so many new things to see that the days pass only
too quickly. They have never been in the city before.

The narrow streets, with the still narrower sidewalks, seem odd
indeed to these children used to plantation life. Sometimes they cannot
even walk side by side without one being pushed into the street. And
the houses, although many of them are built of stone like their own,
are so close together that Manuel says to his sister:

"I wonder how people can like being so crowded together. I should think
they would feel choked."

The friends whom they visit live on the upper floor of their house.
Although they are quite wealthy, they let the lower floor to a poor,
dirty, and ignorant family with many children. Such an arrangement is
often made in San Juan; but the two families do not mingle at all,
although living in the same house.

Balconies jut out from the upper story, and Manuel and Dolores like to
sit here and watch the passers-by.

It is so odd to see the milkman ride up to the house astride of his
donkey, with his milk cans jostling against each other between his
legs. Sometimes a cow is led through the streets, and her owner stops
at neighbouring doorways to draw the milk as the people wish. Dolores
thinks the milk must be much nicer when obtained in this way.

"But look, now, Manuel," she says, "at that poor mule! He is almost
smothered under an immense bundle of fodder; and, as though that were
not enough for the poor beastie, his master is riding on top of the
load."

Sometimes the children rise as early as five o'clock in the morning.
They like to go to the market held in a public square of the city. They
see people of all shades of colour selling their goods.

There is the baker with his bags of freshly baked bread and oddly
twisted rolls; there is the poultry man with wicker cages full of live
fowls hanging to the sides of his half-starved donkey; there, too,
is the butcher with sides of beef hanging by hooks from his horse's
harness; while crowded together are those who have brought their fruits
and vegetables afoot many a long mile in early morning.

There are great piles of yellow oranges; plantains, green, brown, and
yellow; pineapples, melons, onions, guavas, and lemons; while behind
them sit their owners, who laugh and joke and make love, and at the
same time are busy shouting their wares and making bargains.

Oh, but one must not forget the game-cocks fastened to stakes here and
there in the midst of the busy crowd. Many a trade is made, many a bet
laid on these ugly, skinny, but greatly admired cocks as they pull at
their stakes.

Later in the day no sign of this busy scene is left in the public
square. One notices for the first time that there is a band stand,
and when the evening comes, Manuel's father and mother are driven
with their hosts to this square. Many other carriages, filled with
richly dressed ladies and gentlemen, also arrive and take their places
at one side of the band stand. Here they sit laughing and chatting or
listening to the music; the ladies' black eyes sparkle as a favourite
tune is played, and they keep time by gentle taps of their fans.

Many of these fans are very beautiful. Manuel's mother has one made of
the feathers of humming-birds. It is brilliant, even in the soft light
of evening, and the dear lady herself looks very charming with a lace
mantilla drawn over her head, its point reaching down over the forehead
almost to her nose. To be sure, her cheeks are heavily powdered, but
that is the fashion of all the ladies in her land, and so it seems
quite natural.

The rest of the square is filled with the crowd of poorer people who
cannot afford to ride. They walk slowly about, and seem to enjoy
the music and each other's company as much as those who sit in the
carriages.

There are many street processions in San Juan, and the children are on
the lookout not to miss them. These processions are in honour of some
saint. Dolores is out on the balcony one morning when she hears music.
It is the voices of children singing.

"O Manuel, Teresa, mamma, do come and see the pretty sight," she calls,
as a procession draws near.

People dressed in the costumes of different lands come marching by;
then follows a cart, decked gaily with flowers, and in it stands a
little girl dressed to represent the virgin mother of Jesus. There is a
band of music playing sacred airs.

The children take their hats and follow the procession to the public
square, where the little girl in the flower-decked carriage recites a
poem written in honour of the day. All business stops in the stores
near by. All vehicles give way to the procession, and the passers-by
stand still to admire and listen.

It seems strange to the children to see the red, white, and blue of
the American flag floating over the city, instead of the colours of
Spain--the red and yellow they were formerly taught to love.

"But this new flag means friendship, you know, Dolores," says her
brother. "The poor will not be taxed so much as they used to be, and
the good Americans will not allow any other people to harm us. At least
father says so, and he is very wise. Dolores, he has promised to take
us sometime to that wonderful city, New York, where we shall see so
much we have never even dreamed of. I hope the time will come soon, for
I want to get acquainted with my American cousins in their own land,
our own land, now."


THE LITTLE COUSIN SERIES


The most delightful and interesting accounts possible of child-life in
other lands, filled with quaint sayings, doings, and adventures.

Each 1 vol., 12mo, decorative cover, cloth, with six full-page
illustrations in color by L. J. Bridgman.

    Price per volume      $0.60


_By MARY HAZELTON WADE_


    =Our Little African Cousin=
    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=
    =Our Little Brown Cousin=
    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=
    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=
    =Our Little German Cousin=
    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=
    =Our Little Indian Cousin=
    =Our Little Irish Cousin=
    =Our Little Italian Cousin=
    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=
    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=
    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=
    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=
    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=
    =Our Little Russian Cousin=
    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=
    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=
    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=


_By BLANCHE McMANUS_

    =Our Little English Cousin=
    =Our Little French Cousin=


_By ELIZABETH ROBERTS MacDONALD_

    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=


_By ISAAC HEADLAND TAYLOR_

    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=


_By H. LEE M. PIKE_

    =Our Little Korean Cousin=



ANIMAL TALES

By Charles G. D. Roberts


ILLUSTRATED BY

Charles Livingston Bull

as follows:

    =The Lord of the Air=
    (THE EAGLE)

    =The King of the Mamozekel=
    (THE MOOSE)

    =The Watchers of the Camp-fire=
    (THE PANTHER)

    =The Haunter of the Pine Gloom=
    (THE LYNX)

    =The Return to the Trails=
    (THE BEAR)

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    (THE RACCOON)

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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Page vii, Table of Contents, Chapter VII's page number was misprinted.
"30" has been changed to "50" to match the text.

Page 33, "themseves" changed to "themselves" (they themselves sit)

Page 42, "hall" changed to "ball" (great round ball)





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