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wretched girl is conducted to a dark chamber,
where her baby, five months old, is
shortly afterwards brought her for solace
and aliment. I venture to inquire the
nature of her crime, and am assured that
it is ungovernable temper and general
insubordination of more than a month's

Our horses are halting on one of the
four secaderos, or barbacués—smooth platforms
on which the ripe coffee-berry is laid
and raked out to be blackened and baked
by the sun. Near the secaderos is a circle
of ground, hedged in like a bull-ring, and
containing a horizontal fluted roller, turned
by a crank. This roller, or pulping-mill,
is made to gyrate by a mule, crushing in
its perpetual journey the already baked
coffee-berry, until the crisp husk peels off
and exposes a couple of whity-brown,
hard, oval seeds, upon which are inscribed
two straight furrows. Those are winnowing-machines,
for separating the chaff from
the already milled grain. In that outhouse
a group of dark divinities are engaged
in the difficult process of sieving
and sorting. See with what exceeding
dexterity Alicia, Ernestina, and Constancia
the black workers have the whitest of
christian nameshandle their big sieves.
Alicia, cigar in mouth, takes an armful of
the winnowed seed from the sack at her
side, and transfers it to her sieve, which
she shakes until the dust and remaining
particles of husk fall like floating feathers
to the ground. Then, by an expert turn
of the wrist she separates the smaller and
better quality of seed from the larger and
coarser; and by another remarkable sleight
of hand, tilts the former into its corresponding
heap on the ground, and pours
the latter into a sack. Constancia is scarcely
as expert as Alicia though. Her sieve's
perforations are wide enough to admit the
small seed of the caracol, and she separates
the two qualities by the ordinary process of
sieving the small and retaining the great.

Well seated on his chestnut charger, Don
Miguel conducts us by a circuitous path
up an exceedingly steep hill. The trees are
tall and ponderous; the leaves are, for the
most part, gigantic and easy to count; the
fruits are of the biggest; the mountain tops
are inaccessible; and the rivers contain fish
for Titans. Surely giants must have peopled
Cuba, long before Columbus found out the
colony! Don Miguel takes little or no interest
in the landscape, his attention being
wholly absorbed by the small round berries,
which may before long be converted
into grains of gold, if the coffee crop yield
as it promises.

The pickers are at their work. A score
of them are close at hand, with their
baskets already filled. Observe how they
choose the dark red, and eschew the unripe
green, or the black and overdone berry.
The second overseer, whip in hand, is ever
behind, to see that the pickers do not flag.
He is a genuine white; but his complexion
is so bronzed, that you would scarcely distinguish
him from a mulatto, save for his
lank hair and thin lips. He volunteers explanation.
He points to the big fruit of the
cacao, or cocoa plant, and shows which are
the bread, the milk, and the cotton trees.
Learning that I am a foreigner and an
Englishman, he offers some useful information
respecting certain trees and
plants which yield invaluable products,
such as might be turned to good account
by an enterprising European, but which
are unnoticed and neglected by the wealthy
independent native. At our request, he
unsheathes his machete and cuts us a few
odd-shaped twigs from a coffee-bush, with
which we may manufacture walking-sticks.
He exhibits one of his own handiwork. It
is engraved all over, polished and stained
in imitation of a snake; and, as it rests in
the green grass, it looks the very counterpart
of such a reptile, with beady eyes and
scaly back. On closer acquaintanceship, I
find the second overseer to be a great cane

It is our breakfast hour, and Doña
Cachita and the other ladies will not like
to be kept waiting. So we return to the
barbacué, where the powerful odour of
roasting coffee is wafted towards us. The
black cook is roasting a quantity of the
drab seed, in a flat pipkin over a slow
fire. She is careful to keep the seed in
motion with a stick, lest it burn; and
when it has attained the approved rich
brown hue, she sprinkles a spoonful of sugar
over it to bring out its flavour, and
then leaves it to cool on the ground. Near
her are a wooden pestle and mortar for reducing
the crisp toasted seed to powder;
and a small framework of wood in which
rests a flannel bag for straining the rich
brown decoction after it has been mixed
and boiled.

Substantial breakfast over, some of us
carry our hammocks and betake ourselves
to the adjacent stream. Here, beneath
the shade of lofty bamboos; within
hearing of the musical mocking bird, the
wild pigeon and the humming bird; in