Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Etiquette of Cuban Maidens

A young Cuban couple in traditional dress, circa 1890 — The strict watch maintained over Cuban maidens, the cast-iron rules of etiquette, which prohibit them from too great an indulgence in athletic sports or outdoor life, like that of Northern maidens, renders them less susceptible to tender passion.

Cuban Maids and Thoughts of Love

Slender, graceful Cuban maids, with smoothly plaited tresses, black as the raven's wing, large, lustrous, dreamy black eyes, clear, pale complexion, resembling the waxen tint of the lily, have their pretty heads filled with dreams of love before they quit the schoolroom. 

Their peculiar training, restricted sphere, as well as early maturity—for in the tropics, a girl blooms into womanhood in her thirteenth or fourteenth year—may be the reason why their thoughts turn to love before they have discarded their dolls, braids and short dresses. 

The strict watch maintained over the tender buds, the cast-iron rules of etiquette, which prohibit them from too great an indulgence in athletic sports or outdoor life, which a Northern maid enjoys, precluding romantic ideas and rendering her less susceptible to the tender passion, which is fostered by a secluded existence, may be the reason why Cuban girls look forward to matrimony as a release from these irksome bonds.

The romantic manner in which courtship is carried on tends to keep alive their illusions, for lovers susually walk up and down before their lady's dwelling like a sentinel on duty, because they are debarred from calling on a maiden until formally engaged, and then they can only see her in the presence of the family or exchange tender nothings under the argus eyes of her mamma, who keeps a strict watch over her offspring. —Leslie's Weekly, 1898



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