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There is no lack of partners in carnival
time, as everybody, save the black musicians,
is dancing the everlasting contradanza.
Some of the excited toe-trippers
have abandoned their masks. One of these,
an olive-complexioned señorita, wears a
tell-tale patch of blue paint on her left
cheek: condemning testimony that at some
period of the evening she danced with that
mamarracho whose face is painted like an
Indian chief! In a dark corner of the
billiard-room, where two gentlemen attired
in the garb of Philip the Second are playing
carambola against a couple of travestied
Charles the Fifths, are seated a snug couple
lover and mistress to all appearance.
The dominoed lady is extremely bashful,
her replies are brief, and all but inaudible.
The fond youth has proposed a saunter
into the refreshing night air, where a
moon, bright enough to read the smallest
print by, is shining. His proposal is
acceded to. His heart is glad now; but
what will his feelings be when he
discovers that the beloved object is a bearded
brute like himself! The orchestra is playing
one of Lina Boza's last danzas. Lina
Boza is a negro composer and clarionette
player of great renown in Cuba, and this
particular danza is one of the pegajosa or
"irresistible" kind. You have heard it
played all over the town to-day, and tomorrow
you will hear it sung with a couple
of doggerel rhymes in Creole Spanish, which
fit into the music so well as to "appear to
be the echoes of the melody." The way in
which Lina helps the dancers in their
favourite gyrations by his inimitable and
ever-varied performance on the clarionette,
should be a warning to protecting mammas!
The step of La Danza is difficult for an
amateur to conquer, but when once it is
achieved, and you are fortunate enough to
secure a graceful partner, the result is
highly satisfactory. I am almost tempted
to trespass upon the early hours of the
morning for the sake of the music of La
Danza and those open-air refreshment
stalls where everything looks hot and
inviting. The night breeze is, moreover,
cool and exhilarating, and, after all, it is
not later than nine P.M.—in Europe. I
lead on, nevertheless, in the direction of
the Heights of El Tivoli, where I reside;
stopping not in my upward career, save to
pay a flying visit at a ball of mulattoes.
A crowd of uninvited are gazing, like
myself, between the bars of the huge
windows; for the ball is conducted upon
exclusive principles, and is accessible only
with tickets of admission. Two policias,
armed with revolvers and short Roman
swords, are stationed at the entrance-door,
and this looks very much like the
precursor of a row. Mulatto balls generally
do end in some unlooked-for compromisa,
and it would not surprise me if this
particular ball were to terminate in something

I am home, and am myself again, ruminating
upon the events of the day and
night, and I arrive at the conclusion that
the despised and oppressed negro is not so
ill off as he is made out to be, especially in
carnival time. As I enter, my grulla
thinks it must be six o'clock, and essays to
shriek that hour, as is her custom: but
I startle her in the middle of her fourth
chime, and she stops at half-past three.
Then I climb into my aërial couch, in
whose embrace I presently invoke that of
the grim masker, Morpheus!


MANY people read character by the shape
of the skull; almost everybody intuitively
and instinctively reads it in the countenance;
some affect to be able to discover
it in the handwriting of persons whom they
have never seen; while a few are of
opinion that it may be ascertained by the
manner in which a man shakes hands.
Of all these modes of studying character
that of physiognomy is the most to be
depended upon. Neverthelessas an aid
to, and not a substitute for, physiognomy
there is much to be said for hand-shaking,
as a means of deciding whether he or she
who offers or accepts this act of friendly
courtesy, is cold or warm-hearted, indifferent
or cordial, sincere or hypocritical, or
whether he is really glad to interchange
courtesies with you, or only pretends to
be so.

How did people first get into the habit
of shaking hands? The answer is not far
to seek. In early and barbarous times,
when every savage or semi-savage was his
own lawgiver, judge, soldier, and police-
man, and had to watch over his own
safety, in default of all other protection,
two friends or acquaintances, or two
strangers desiring to be friends or
acquaintances, when they chanced to meet,
offered each to the other the right hand
the hand alike of offence and defence, the
hand that wields the sword, the dagger,
the club, the tomahawk, or other weapon