The day we measured women at San Estevan, we found an indian mason there at work, whom we had measured at Tlaxcala, and with whom, on one occasion, we had some conversation. He was disgusted at the conduct of the women while undergoing measurement, and at evening said, "Sir, it is a pity for you to waste your time in a town like this; these people are little better than animals; in my town there is great enthusiasm over your work, and by going there you might do your will and find people with minds, not beasts." There was really no work left to be done, but we desired to see a town where there was great enthusiasm over our investigations. Hence, we arranged with Ignacio Cempoalteca to visit his pueblo of San Nicolas Panotla. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the day when we visited Los Reyes, we went across the valley to Panotla, Ignacio and an older brother, Jose, met us at the hotel, where—excusing himself on account of the mason-work at San Estevan, which could not wait—Ignacio left us, assuring us that Jose would do everything for us. This was quite true, and we found Panotla all that it had been painted.
Jose led us directly to their home. The walls were well built of stone set in adobe mortar; they were smoothly coated with a snowy plaster; the supporting walls of the little terrace on which the house was built were also well constructed and it was with some pride that Jose told us that the work had all been done by himself and Ignacio. Jose is married and has a wife and three children; Ignacio is a bachelor; a younger brother, Carmen, is also unmarried—he has taught himself free-hand and architectural drawing and showed us examples of his work. The old father and mother own the home and received us hospitably. Jose guided us through the village, where we photographed whatever took our fancy, entered houses, examined all that interested us, and really found enthusiasm for our work everywhere. Before the churchyard stands a quaint old cross of stone, dated 1728, upon which are represented all the symbols of Christ's passion; a long inscription in Aztec is cut into the base. Close by the church, we visited the boy's school, where we found some forty dark-skinned, black-eyed, youngsters, whose mother-speech is Aztec. We proposed to photograph them, so they were grouped outside the schoolhouse, but not until a pair of national flags and the portrait of the governor, Prospero Cahuantzi, were fixed upon the background wall.
After the picture had been taken, we told the maestro we would like to hear the boys sing. It was plain he did not consider singing their strong forte, but our wishes were met. One boy, standing, wielded the baton, beating time. When the singing was done with, the maestro said he would like us to see the class in arithmetic, if we had time. Accordingly fourteen or fifteen boys, from ten to fourteen years of age, stepped out upon the dirt floor; we were told that they could work examples in percentage, interest, bonds and mortgages, discount, alligation—which did we prefer? Truth to say, it was so long since we had studied alligation, that we had really forgotten what it was, and so expressed a preference for it. "Very good, sir," said the maestro. "Will you not propound a problem?" From this quandary we escaped by stating that we could not think of doing so; that we had every confidence in his fairness and that he had better give it, as the boys were more accustomed to him. We have visited many classes of the same grade and age in the United States and have never seen one that would surpass them in quickness, accuracy, and clearness of explanation. After our trip through San Nicolas Panotla, Jose took us back to his house, where, meantime, a, dinner had been made ready.
Weeks later, we learned the probable reason of the governor's gruffness, which was in such marked contrast to his previous treatment, that it puzzled us considerably. At about the time of our visit, a number of wealthy hacienderos, of the State of Tlaxcala, had been arrested for counterfeiting silver money. They were men whose maguey fields brought them enormous incomes; one would suppose their legitimate sources of wealth would have contented them! But such was not the case, and they had gone into wholesale counterfeiting. The fraudulent coin had long been known and diligent efforts were made to find the criminals, efforts at last crowned with success. The guilt was fixed without a doubt, the parties were arrested, tried, and sentenced. Every attempt was made to secure their pardon, in vain. Governor Cahuantzi is an old friend of President Diaz, believed to have great influence with him. Men of wealth, interested in the release and pardon of the criminals, promised Cahuantzi ten thousand dollars in case of his successful intercession with the President in the matter. These details, not generally known, we received from a source respectable and trustworthy, and we believe them true. Anxious to gain the reward, and probably feeling certain of his influence with Diaz, the old man made the journey to Mexico. It was the very time when we called upon him. When we had our interview, he had just seen the President, and it is hinted that, not only did Don Porfirio refuse to pardon the counterfeiters, but showed a dangerous inclination to investigate the reason of the indian governor's intervention. No wonder that the old man was gruff and surly to his visitors, after the loss of ten thousand dollars which he had looked upon as certain, and with uncertainty as to the final outcome of his unlucky business.
ZAMORA AND THE ONCE PUEBLOS
The morning train from Guadalajara brought us to Negrete at about two in the afternoon, and we had soon mounted to the top of the clumsy old coach, which was dragged by six horses. The road to Zamora runs through a rich farming district. For the greater part of the distance the road is level and passes amidst great haciendas. The corn crop had been abundant and carts were constantly coming and going from and to the fields. These carts were rectangular, with side walls some four or five feet in height, made of corn-stalks set close together and upright. All were drawn by oxen. Most of the carts had a light cross, made of corn-stalks, set at the front end, to protect the load from adverse influences. Great numbers of men, dressed in leather trousers drawn over their cotton drawers, in single file lined past us, with great baskets full of corn strapped on their backs. Here and there, in the corn-fields, groups of such men were cutting the ripened ears from the plants.
We now and then met groups of men bringing great timbers from the mountains fifty or sixty miles away. These timbers were many feet in length and trimmed to a foot square; from four to six made a load. The cart upon which they were carried consisted of a pair of wheels and an axle; one end of the timbers was attached to this, and the other was fastened to the yoke of oxen. It was rare that we met with a single timber cart, as four or five usually went together. The drivers who were in charge of them were pure Tarascans.
For a considerable distance a fine slope rose to our left, strewn with loose rock masses, and covered with a growth which was chiefly pitahaya, some of the plants attaining the size of grown trees. Many of them presented an appearance which we had not seen elsewhere—the tips and upper part of the upright branches being as white as if intentionally whitewashed; the simple explanation of this strange appearance was that the branches in question had served as buzzards' roosts. Our journey of twenty-five miles was made with two relays of horses. After perhaps three hours' riding, we reached the Zamora River, which we followed for some distance. From the time when we began to follow this stream, our road was almost a dead level. At many places along the river, we saw a peculiar style of irrigation machine, a great wooden scoop or spoon with long handle swung between supporting poles. The instrument was worked by a single man and scooped up water from the river, throwing it upon the higher land and into canals which carried it through the fields. Sometimes two of these scoops were supported side by side upon a single frame, and were worked in unison by two persons. At the only town of any consequence upon the road, we found numbers of interesting hot springs which might really be called geysers. They were scattered at intervals over the flat mud plain for a distance of a half mile or more. We could see jets of steam of more or less vigor rising from a score or so at a time. At some of these the water really boiled, and we saw it bubbling and tossing to a height of a foot or so above the margin of the spring. Groups of women, laughing and talking or singing snatches of songs, were washing clothes at several of these hot springs, and the garments were spread out over the bushes and trees to dry. At one little geyser, bubbling up in the very middle of the road, as we passed we saw a boy pelting the water with stones and mud in order to make it mad and see it spout. The plain was sprinkled here and there with thickets of acacia and mesquite. In the early evening the breeze came loaded with the fragrance of the golden balls of the acacia. There was bright moonlight, and we could see the country, even after sunset. The latter portion of the journey was through low swampy ground, much of the time over causeways.
There are few towns in central Mexico, not on a railroad, to be compared with Zamora. It is large, clean, well built, and presents an air of unusual comfort. The main plaza is large, and finely planted with palms, orange-trees, roses and flowering shrubs. The orange-trees were in full bloom and the air was heavy with their odor. The town is electric-lighted and has a good system of waterworks. The great church, with two slender towers, fills up the whole of one side of the plaza, while the other three are occupied with business houses. The amount of life in the town at night surprised us. Even after ten o'clock, many were on the streets, and the dulce stands, cafe tables and loto hall were doing a large business. Few towns in Mexico are so completely under priestly influence, but few again appear as prosperous, progressive, and well-behaved. Two distinct types of houses predominate, the older and the newer. The old style house is such as is characteristic of many other Tarascan towns, but is here more picturesquely developed than in most places. The low-sloped, heavily-tiled roof projects far over the street and is supported below by projecting timbers, which are trimmed at the end to give a pleasing finish. So far do these roofs project over the sidewalk that the water is thrown into the middle of the street and the footpath below is well sheltered. The new style of house, which is required by the recent laws, has an almost flat roof which ends squarely at the sidewalk, and from which long tin pipes project to throw the water into the streets. Here, as so frequently, the old fashion is at once more comfortable and more artistic.
We spent the morning in efforts to secure horses, but finally secured a man, Don Nabor, who agreed to accompany us with five animals. The party consisted of myself, my interpreter, my plaster-worker, and Don Nabor. Each of us was mounted, and a fifth horse carried the plaster and other luggage. Leaving at noon, we took the long road past Jacona, a little town famous for its fruit. Having passed there, after a long journey, we looked down from the height almost directly upon the place whence we had started. The scene was of unusual beauty—the wide-spreading, flat valley, with its fields of wheat and clustered trees, presented a mass of rich green coloring, in the midst of which stood the pretty city. After a long climb, we descended into a valley in which lies Tangancicuaro, a large town with a plaza full of fine, great trees, where we ate at a quaint little meson. From here we pushed on to Chilchota, the head town of the Once Pueblos. From the crest, just above the town, we looked down upon a level valley, green with new wheat. Entering the town a little after five, we rode up to the meson of San Francisco, near the little plaza. It was with difficulty that we secured a room containing a single bed, with mattress, and two mats. There was nothing at all to eat at the meson, but on strolling out to the plaza we found some Indian women selling atole and bread. With this we were compelled to be content until morning, paying seven centavos for our four suppers. Hunting up the presidente of the town, we found him sitting, with his court, on benches in the plaza. He was a pleasant, rather dressy young man, but at once took interest in our work, and told us that Huancito was the best town for our bust work, as the population there is primitive and purely indian.
The Once Pueblos—eleven towns—are famous through this portion of the Republic. Several of them are purely indian; Chilchota is largely mestizo. The towns lie in a long line on the side of the little valley, at the foot of the bordering hills. Between some, spaces of considerable extent intervene; others are so close together that, in riding through them, one sees no line of separation. All consist of adobe houses, of a rich brown color, roofed with tiles. Some of the churches are of considerable size, but are also built of brown adobe. The Once Pueblos are famous for their pottery, and in some of them almost every house has its little kiln or oven. Fruit is cultivated, and the houses are frequently embowered in trees; in many yards are bee-hives. The valley is abundantly watered with little streams of perfect clearness.
The presidente had insisted that the school teacher at Huancito would prove invaluable. He gave us a letter of introduction to him, and an order upon the authorities. We were at once given possession of the schoolhouse for our work, and I started out to find a subject. Almost the first person encountered was a young man of twenty-three years, who presented the pure Tarascan type. I at once told him that he was the very man we wanted; that we planned to make a picture of him in plaster; at the same time, I described the method of work, and while talking, holding him by the arm, drew him over toward the schoolhouse. Almost before he realized it, we were ready for the task. As he removed his shirt and prepared for the operation of oiling and the application of the plaster, he looked somewhat sombre. After seeing the work well begun, I stepped outside and sat in the portico until it should be done. The first piece of plaster had been applied, the subject had been turned, and was lying ready for the second application. At this moment, an indian maiden, with dishevelled hair, came rapidly running across the plaza toward the schoolhouse. Rushing past me, she entered the school-room, and seeing the subject lying on the floor clasped her hands and cried, "Florencito! My Florencito, why wait here? Stay not with these cruel men; flee with me!" Seizing him by the hand, they dislodged the plaster from his shoulders and started for the door, but catching sight of me, cast a glance around, saw the open window, and leaping through it, dashed off home. Up to this time the local authorities had shown an interest in our work and a willingness to aid. Calling the chief of police, I bade him and the teacher seek our subject and bring him back for the completion of the operation. "But, sir," said the chief of police, "suppose he does not wish to come?" "Why are you chief of police?" was my reply. The teacher, who is himself a mestizo and despises the poor indians in his charge, was loud in his complaints. He vigorously declared that what these people needed was a second Cortez, that they had never been properly conquered, and, with the chief of police, he started out for the new conquest. After an hour or more of waiting, we saw them reappear with Florencito. But humanity is ever loath to admit defeat. As he passed us, he grumbled that he saw no good reason for such a fuss, as he had simply gone to eat his breakfast.
Having completed the work with this subject, we suggested that others should be brought, but met with a prompt refusal. The judge and the chief of police both declared that the people did not wish to have busts made, and that they would bring no more. In vain I suggested that a meeting of the townspeople should be called together in order that we might address them and explain the purpose of our visit. It was impossible to move the officials. Finally I told the judge that I should send a mounted messenger, who had accompanied us from the presidente, to Chilchota to report the failure of the town officials to do their duty. He promptly declared that he was going to Chilchota himself to see the presidente in the matter. Sure enough, when my messenger was ready, he had made his preparations, and the two departed together to present the different sides of the question. Neither returned until we were through for the day. During the afternoon we secured two more subjects, and by nightfall had three good busts as the result of the day's labor. Then we faced new difficulties. Carriers could not be had for love nor money. What was wanted were three men, one to carry each bust back to Chilchota, where we planned to spend the night. Finally, after loss of time and temper, each of us shouldered a bust and rode back on horseback with our trophies.
We soon discovered that the eleven towns were in a ferment of excitement. Most dreadful tales were rife with regard to us and our work. Some asserted that we cut off heads and hung them up to dry; that in drying, they turned white. Others reported that with knives, made for the purpose, we sliced off the ears of unfortunate indians, close to their heads. Still others reported that we had a frightful instrument which was fitted into the nose, and by means of which we tore strips of flesh and skin from the face of the subject. It was said, and quite likely truly, that they were arming in all the houses; that machetes, guns, pistols, and clubs were laid convenient to hand.
The next day was Sunday, and we made no attempt to continue work. It was market-day, and indians from all the pueblos had gathered in the plaza to buy and sell. All were pure in blood and spoke Tarascan. Fruits, sugar-cane, corn, tortillas, atole, coffee, were the chief staples. Stocks of pottery were attractively displayed. Two characteristic wares are both pretty. Most typical, perhaps, is the black and green ware which is made into bowls, plates, mugs, and pitchers. The clay of which it is baked is local and dark brown in color; a white earth applied to this, on baking, gives rise to a rich metallic green glaze. Designs are painted upon this in black. This black and green ware goes far and wide, and everywhere is recognized as coming from the Once Pueblos. At Huancito and some other pueblos, they make little canteras with a red ground and decorative designs in black and white. One thing, offered in the market, was new to us, dishes full of ucuares—long, irregular, swollen, dry, brown objects that looked like stewed worms with thick and fleshy skins. One centavo bought far more than any person would be likely to eat; even after having been stewed in sugar, they were bitter, and had a foul smell that was most unpleasant; they appeared to be roots or tubers of some plant.
Naturally, our work had attracted much attention in Chilchota. No one of the many dozen visitors who came to see us at the meson was so profoundly impressed as a boy of fourteen, named Ignacio. Appearing early in the morning, he remained with us almost all the hours of the twenty-four. Thinking that the effect on the villagers might be good, I decided to ride in the afternoon through the pueblos. When the presidente discovered my intention, he insisted upon supplying a mounted and armed escort, and at the same time gave me a general letter to the eleven towns, in which strict orders were given that my wishes should be respected, and dire threats made in case any one should show me aught but the greatest consideration. Ignacio accompanied me. Riding through the towns, we passed far enough beyond Huancito to see the most remote of the eleven pueblos. They are separated somewhat from the rest, and lie rather higher up in a bend of the valley. Everywhere I took some pains to talk with the people, to visit their houses, to examine their pottery, their bees and their growing crops, as I felt that such an interest would help us in our work. On our return, Ignacio told me that he should stay to dinner with us, as he much preferred to do so to going home. He also told me that it would be a great pity to lose the theatre, which was to take place that evening. Accordingly, after dinner was over, we went to see the play. I expected that at that season of the year it would be a pastorela—and in fact it had been so announced. It was, however, a true drama, and one of the funniest—unintentionally—imaginable. The stage was set in the middle of the patio of a large house. The boy insisted that we would be late, and so we went at 7:15, although the bill announced the hour as 8. The spectators brought their own chairs with them. Except a few youngsters, no one arrived before 9, and the curtain at last rose at a quarter before eleven. Among the last to arrive was the presidente and his party. He was resplendent in a cape of crimson velvet with brilliant yellow facings. Hardly was his party seated, when we were politely invited to sit with them. Three acts were rendered, and while waiting for the fourth, one of the party declared that there would be eleven more. This gave the presidente an opportunity to relate an experience of his own. On one occasion, after watching a play from seven in the evening until four in the morning, the stage broke down; the management appeared and apologized regarding the accident, particularly, since some twenty acts were still to have been rendered. Our play, however, turned out to have had but eight acts, and one of these was omitted. When it should have been given, the whole troupe appeared upon the platform; the manager announced the reason why the act would not be given, but promised that on the following Sunday, in another play, an extra act should be inserted, in order that all might receive the full value of their money. Our play ended at one, when the audience dispersed.
Needing but two more subjects, we looked about Chilchota the next day, hoping to find indians from the more remote villages, who might permit their busts to be made. Two excellent cases were found. The last was a man from Carapan, the most remote of the eleven towns. He was a man of forty years, whose father accompanied him, and both were for a long time dubious about the operation. Finally, however, consent was given and the bust was made. As he arose and dressed to go, I said, "Did I tell you the truth? Did the operation hurt you, or did it not? Was there a reason why you should not have your bust made?" He promptly answered, "Sir, you told me truth; the operation did not hurt me and there surely is no harm in it; but, sir, you can hardly believe what an excitement this work has caused in our town. Yesterday, in the market-place at Chilchota, there were more than twenty men from Carapan who carried weapons in their clothing. We had selected leaders and arranged signals, and at the first sign of an attack from your party, we were prepared to sell our lives dearly."
It was a work of time to fill the moulds and pack the busts. Before we were ready to start upon our journey, it was half-past four in the afternoon. True wisdom would have suggested waiting until morning. Time, however, was precious, and I hoped to make Cheran that night; consequently, though against the advice of many, we started out, with eight leagues to go, over a road with a bad reputation, and at some points difficult to traverse. For a little distance, we followed the familiar trail down through the pueblos, but at Tanaquillo we turned up into the mountain. The ascent was steady until we reached the pass, through which an icy wind drove down upon us. We could hope to make the distance in six hours. At first we met many persons, all of whom warned us that we would be late in arriving, and recommended that we should stop at Rancho Seco. We had no intention of so doing, but knew that we must turn at that point into a new road. Between sunset and bright moonlight, there was an interval of darkness, and in that interval we must have passed the turning which led to Rancho Seco. At all events, we presently found ourselves entirely at a loss, wandering over a rocky hill covered with brush, amid which the trail had entirely disappeared. Retracing, as well as we could, our road, we finally found ourselves upon another trail which we followed until 9:30, when we met a little band of indians, the first whom we had seen for a long time. From them we found that we were not upon the road for Cheran, but at the edge of a slope at the bottom of which was a little indian town, Tanaco. Descending to it, we found a house where they agreed to shelter us for the night, and in the tienda near by we bought hard bread and old cheese. We were sheltered in a substantially built room, into which the cold air did not penetrate. The indians with whom we were staying were unusually intelligent; a number of books, including a large dictionary, lay upon the table, and the men, who crowded in upon us, were anxious to learn the English words for common things. This was an experience which rarely happened to us in indian Mexico. The people, however, were not quite sure of our intentions, and Nabor said that when he went to water the horses, a committee of village folk waited upon him, asking whether we were the party of white men who had been skinning live indians over in the Once Pueblos.
There were four leagues between us and Cheran, and many more beyond it to Patzcuaro, where we hoped to arrive the next night. Accordingly, we made an early start. Our host agreed to pilot us over the indistinct and tortuous bridle-path to the high-road. Many little mountains, almost artificially regular, arose in the otherwise plain country. As we rode along the trail we saw the church of Parracho far behind us in the distance. The latter part of the road, after Cheran was once in sight, seemed hopelessly long, but a little before ten o'clock we pulled up at the meson. We at once made arangements for food for ourselves and the horses, and determined to rest until noon. Our reputation had preceded us. I asked a child at the meson to bring me a mug of water. When he brought it, I noticed that the mug was of the characteristic black and green ware of the Once Pueblos, but asked the boy where it was made. With a cunning look, he answered, "O yes, that comes from where you people have been,—up at the Once Pueblos." And yet we had not come over the road from the Once Pueblos, but by the main highway from Parracho.
Rested and refreshed, we started at 12:30 for the long fourteen leagues of journey. We passed Pichataro, where the round paddles for Patzcuaro canoes are made, and where the applewood, so prized as material for spear-throwers, is procured. We passed Sabina, where the canoes themselves are hollowed out, miles from their launching place, to which they must be carried over mountains. Each town we passed made me more and more uneasy, as I knew that Nabor contemplated revolt. He did not like the idea of too long a journey for his horses. He wished to stop long before the goal that I had fixed. When we left the last of the important towns behind us, I felt for the first time secure. It was now dark, and we found the roads far worse than we remembered them. They were worn into deep gullies, into which our horses fell and over which they stumbled. Long before reaching Ajuno I felt convinced that we had missed the road, but we floundered on, and never was sight more welcome than the light of fires shining through the cane walls of the wretched huts of that miserable town. Here there was a final council regarding resting for the night. The whole party, except myself, considered Ajuno as a capital resting-place. All yielded, however, and we continued on our way. It was almost midnight when we rode up to the hotel, upon the plaza in quaint old Patzcuaro. All were cross and tired; neither crossness nor weariness were helped when we were told that there was no room for us at the inn. We made such vigorous representations, however, that the doors were finally thrown open. An old store-house was cleaned out and supplied with decent beds, and a good supper was served.
THE BOY WITH THE SMILE
It is doubtful whether the common people of any country are so rarely surprised, or taken unaware, as those of Mexico. At a moment's notice, the commonest indian, who may have scarcely been outside of his own town in all his life, may start to go across the country. Astonishing incidents appear to create no more surprise in their minds than the ordinary affairs of every day. In January, 1898, we revisited Cholula. As we alighted from the street-car we noticed a boy, some fourteen years old, whose most striking characteristic was his smile. He wished to serve as guide, to show us the pyramid, the convents, the chapel of the natives. On assuring him that we knew far more about the lions of his town than he, he was in no wise abashed, but joined himself to us for the remainder of the day. He accompanied us to see the blessing of the animals in the great churchyard. He displayed an interesting knowledge of English, answering "yes" quite perfectly to every sort of question, and repeating the two words, which are well known the whole world over as American-English, on all conceivable occasions. When at evening he saw us safely on the street-car he left us with the same smile with which he had received us. On our next visit to Cholula much the same thing happened, but learning that we planned to stop at Cuauhtlantzinco on our way to Puebla, he stole a ride upon the car, for the sake of accompanying us. He was a rather handy boy, good-natured and anxious to please, so that, later in our journey, we hired him for several days and let him do what he could to help us.
Much later, when at home planning the details of our next extensive journey, the thought struck us that it might be well to make the boy with the smile a member of our party. It seemed as if, in going into districts rarely visited by strangers, it would be well to have the party as largely Mexican as possible. If, however, the boy were to accompany us, it was necessary that he should first learn something of our work and needs, and perhaps of English. Accordingly, I decided to go to Cholula and bring the boy up to the States.
The resolution was so hastily taken that there was no time to send word to the boy himself. Going straight to Cholula, I had some difficulty in finding his abode. I knew that the boy had no father, that his widowed mother had but one other child, a girl younger than the boy himself. I had once seen the mother and the little sister; I also knew the street on which they lived. Arriving at the street, however, no one apparently had ever heard of the boy. One and another through the whole length of the street was questioned, but none knew his name or recognized his description. Excepting that I knew that trait of Mexican character which assists acquaintances to seclusion, when they are sought by strangers, I should have despaired. As it was, I kept on asking, and finally, from a child who could hardly speak on account of youth, I discovered the house which I sought. It was a little hut set back behind a yard of growing corn. I had inquired at the houses on either side and at the house across the road, as also of a man working in the corn in the yard itself. But everyone had been profoundly ignorant of the boy's existence. Walking up to the house, I found the door open, and the mother and the little girl within. The moment the woman saw me, she said, "Que milagro, Senor!" (What a miracle, sir!) and rising, gave me a warm embrace. The little girl did the same. "And where is Manuel?" I inquired. "Ah, sir, he has gone to Puebla on an errand for a gentleman; but he will be back on the street-car at half-past ten. Pray wait, sir, till he comes."
The house consisted, like most of its class, of a single room. The walls were built of sun-dried bricks of adobe. Entrance was by a single door. There were no windows. The floor was clay. The flat roof was scarcely six feet above the floor. The furniture, though ample, was scanty. A little earthen brazier for heating and cooking, a stone metate, a rubbing-stone for grinding corn-meal, a table heaped with bundles and boxes containing the family clothing, and a chair were all. There were no beds, not even the mats which so frequently, among the poor of Mexico, take their place. Several pictures of saints and of the virgin were pinned against the wall, and there were signs of tapers which had been burned before them. A bird or two in wooden cages, a rooster and a little dog lived in the house with the family.
After answering various questions from the good woman and the little girl, I finally stated that I proposed to take Manuel with me to my country. He would stay with me there for six months, after which he would come back and accompany me for three months longer on a journey into southern Mexico. "If I have your consent," I said, "we leave to-day." Immediately the woman answered, "Sir, it is for you to say." Just then, however, the little girl, Dolores, began to cry. "Tut, tut, Dolores," said I, "I am sure you want Manuel to go away and visit a strange country and have a fine time; and think of the pictures that he can bring you to show what he has seen. And more than that, it is already half-past ten, and you shall go down tothe street-car to meet him, and tell him that he must come straight home, for fear that he will loiter on the way; but do not tell him I am here, nor say anything about his going away, for we wish to surprise him." Drying her eyes, and smiling almost as the boy himself, Dolores started to run to the street-car line, and presently fetched Manuel home in triumph. As he entered and saw me, he said, "Que milagro, Senor" and kissed my hand. Having asked, as Mexican politeness requires, a variety of questions about his welfare, I finally said, "Well, Manuel, how would you like to go to Puebla with me for the day?" "Sir, it is for you to say." "Very good," said I. "And if I should conclude that it was best to take you to Mexico for a few days, what would you say to that?" "I am entirely in your hands, sir," he replied, "to do your orders." "Well," said I, "suppose I took you to my own country and kept you there for six months?" and the boy replied, "Sir, you are my owner; it is for you to command." "Very well," said I, "get ready, and we will go on the street-car, at twelve o'clock, to Puebla."
Telling his mother that she should put together the few articles of which there might be need, we started for the noonday car. As we left, I suggested that she and the little girl come to the city, during the afternoon or evening, to bid the boy good-bye, as we should leave on an early train the following morning. They came at nightfall. She had his small possessions tied up in a carrying cloth, and her mind was stored with bits of excellent advice and admonition as to his conduct and behaviour in his new surroundings. After Dolores and her brother had given each other a, farewell embrace, the mother said a few words to the boy, who knelt upon the floor of the room and crossed his hands upon his breast. The mother then gave him her parting blessing, and sent him forth into the outside world.
IN THE MIXTECA ALTA
Of all railroad cities in the Republic, Oaxaca is the most completely indian. It is the capital of a state the population of which is nine-tenths of native blood. Fifteen native languages are spoken in the state to-day. While some of these are related to each other, they are distinct languages, not dialects, even those which are related being as unlike as the French, Italian, and Spanish. The indians commonly seen on the city streets are Zapotecs or Mixtecs, but at times Mixes come from their distant mountain homes with burdens on their backs, or parties of Tehuantepecanas attract attention, by their fine forms and striking dress, as they walk through the streets. The market is crowded, even late in the day; ox-carts from the indian towns for miles around are constantly seen in the streets. Most of the sellers in the market are indians; they bring fruits and vegetables, dried fish from the Pacific, jicaras and strainers of gourds, beautifully painted and polished gourds from Ocotopec, honey, sugar—both the crude brown and the refined yellow cakes—and pottery. The indian pottery here sold is famous. Three kinds of wares are well known—a dull plain red, an unglazed but highly polished black, and a brilliant glazed green. The black ware is made into useful vessels, and also into a variety of toys, chiefly whistles and bells. Pottery would seem to be one of the least suitable materials for bells. Here, however, bells of pottery in many shapes are found—little bells, with handles like the upper part of a human figure; larger bells, with curious flat handles set transversely; others, still larger, like cow-bells in size and tone, and curious cross-shaped bells, really a group of four united. Among the whistles some are made into the shape of animals and birds and curious human figures; among the latter, some closely resemble ancient whistles from the prehistoric graves. This black ware is made at Coyotepec, and when the objects are first taken from the kiln they are almost white; before they are cold, they are exposed to dense smoke, and thus assume their black color. The brilliantly glazed green ware is the most attractive. Vessels made from it are thin, and, in the parts which are unglazed, resemble common flower-pot ware. The larger portion of their surfaces, however, is covered with a rich, thick, emerald-green glaze. Cups, bowls, saucers, plates, sugar-bowls, tea-pots, flasks, and censers are among the forms commonly made in this ware. The shapes are often graceful and the prices low. Most beautiful, however, and relatively expensive, are the miniature vessels made in this ware—scarcely an inch in height, but formed with the greatest care, and in such variety of dainty forms that one may seek some time to duplicate a piece which he has found; these little pieces are completely covered with the rich green glaze both outside and inside.
Our plan of journey for the year was first to make an expedition from Oaxaca to the north-west, into the Mixteca Alta; returning to Oaxaca, to strike eastward by way of Mitla, and the land of the Mixes, to Tehuantepec, from which place we should make a brief trip to the Juaves; returning to Tehuantepec, we should take the high road, by way of San Carlos, back to Oaxaca. Our first duty in the city of Oaxaca was to procure letters and orders from the governor. No governor in Mexico more completely realizes his importance and dignity than Governor Gonzales of Oaxaca. It is ever difficult to secure an audience with him; appointment after appointment is made, only to be broken when the inquiring visitor presents himself, and has been kept waiting an undue length of time. We had been through the experience before, and therefore were not surprised that it required four visits, each of them appointed by the governor himself, before we really had our interview. Governor Gonzales, is, however, an excellent officer. While we were waiting for our letters, after having explained to him our errand and plan of procedure, we had the opportunity to see a somewhat unusual and interesting sight. Like all public buildings and better-grade houses in Mexican cities, the governor's palace is built about patios, or inner courts. A wide balcony surrounds the court at the level of the second story and upon it the rooms of that story open. Having given orders that our letters should be prepared, the governor excused himself for a few moments, as he said that certain of his local authorities were ordered to meet him. We were seated where we could watch the reception. As we had entered the palace we had been impressed by the great number of indians, carrying official staves, who were waiting near the door. We now found that they were official delegates from the different towns, and that they had been sent from their homes to give the governor New Year's greetings. Having carefully arrayed himself for the meeting, the governor took his position in the wide balcony already referred to, with two officials of the palace stationed near, one on either side. The Indians represented perhaps twenty-five different towns, the delegation from each town varying from three or four to fifteen or twenty persons. All were dressed in their cleanest garments, and all carried their long staves of office, most of which had ribbons of bright colors streaming from them. The secretary of the governor arranged these delegations in their order, and they were presented one by one to the chief executive. As each delegation was presented, its members scraped and bowed, and the presidente and secretario kissed the governor's hand. A word or two of greeting having been exchanged, the spokesman from the village made a speech, sometimes read from a written copy, after which he presented a bouquet of flowers, real or artificial. The governor received the bouquet with a bow, placed the flowers on a little table near by, or, if the gift were a large bouquet of real flowers, handed it to one of the attendants standing near, and then made a polite speech of response, emphasizing it with vigorous gestures and plainly expressive of much interest and earnestness. The delegation then took its leave, always bowing reverently, and each man kissing the governor's hand as he passed out. As he received this mark of respect, the governor would make a playful remark, or pat the persons on the head, or otherwise treat them as a father might his little children. Instantly the flowers were cleared away, the next delegation ushered in, and the same ceremony gone through with. Finally, all was ready for our leaving. The party consisted of five persons—myself, as leader, Mr. Lang, my American photographer, Don Anselmo, my Mexican plaster-worker, Manuel, and the mozo. All but the mozo were mounted on horses, more or less good or bad. The mozo, Mariano, a Mixtec indian, went on foot, carrying the photographic outfit on his back, and our measuring-rod in his hand. It was well on in the afternoon before we started, and hardly were we outside the town, before Mr. Lang's horse showed signs of sickness. His suffering was plain, and every person we met volunteered the information that unless something was done promptly, we should have a dead horse on our hands. Going to a little shop on the roadside, where strong drinks were sold, we stopped, and after preparing a remedy with the help of a passing Indian, threw the horse down, wedged his mouth open, and gave him what seemed to be an unsavory draught. More than an hour was lost out of our already short afternoon by this veterinary practice, and long before we reached Etla, where we were compelled to pass the night, it was dark.
Leaving Etla in the morning, looking down as we passed out from the city upon a wonderful group of mounds, we passed rather slowly through the town of Huitzo. Don Anselmo and I loitered, as we found the whole country to be rich in ancient relics, examples of which were to be found in almost every house. As the afternoon passed, we found that we were likely to be completely left by our companions, and were forced to hasten on. The latter part of the daylight ride was up a continuous, and at times steep, ascent. As the sun neared setting, we reached the summit and found ourselves close by the station of Las Sedas, the highest point upon the Mexican Southern Railway. We had there expected to overtake the others of our party, but found that they had hurried on. It was a serious question whether we should try to overtake them. It had been wisdom to have stayed the night where we were. In this uncertainty, we met an indian boy driving mules toward Oaxaca, who volunteered the information that he had met our companions, who were just ahead, and that we would soon overtake them. This decided us, and we started down the trail. A heavy wind was blowing, and the night air was cold and penetrating. In a few minutes we met a half-breed Mexican, who, accosting us at once, urged us to go no further. His manner was somewhat sinister and disagreeable. He warned us that, if we attempted to make the descent in the darkness, we would at least lame our animals. He asserted that our comrades were fully three leagues ahead when he had met them, and that we would never overtake them. He also hinted darkly as to other dangers of the road, if we should succeed in making the descent without breaking the legs of our horses. Refusing his invitation to stop with him for the night, we pressed onward, and as we did so, he called out derisively after us.
The descent would not have been an easy one, even in the daytime, and in the gathering darkness there was really an element of danger in the journey. We left the following of the trail almost entirely to our animals. We were finally down the worst of the descent before night had actually set in. From here on, although the road varied but little from a level trail, we were obliged to go slowly, and it was with a feeling of true relief that, after floundering for a while in a brook in which our road seemed to lose itself, we heard ourselves called by name, from an indian hut situated a little way up the bank. As usual, the house consisted of a single room, of no great size, and was lightly built of cane. Two men, three women, a boy, and three little girls were the occupants. Our companions were already resting; their horses were unsaddled and were eating contentedly, and we were told that supper was being prepared for us. Entering the house, we found the women busy making tortillas, and fresh goat's meat, hanging from the rafters, gave promise of a substantial meal. When all was ready, we sat down to the finest of corn-cakes, beans, eggs, and tender kidmeat. We spread our blankets under a little shelter which stood in front of one side of the house. None of us slept well. It was very cold; dogs barked all night long; now and then a sudden outbreak of their barking, and curious signals and whistles, which were repeated in various parts of the mountain, gave us some uneasiness. At three o'clock in the morning, just as we were napping, Don Anselmo startled us by the statement that our mule was dead. In a moment, all was excitement. Mariano examined the animal and reiterated the statement. As for us, we were in the mood to care but little whether the mule was living or dead. Half frozen and very weary, our frame of mind was not a cheerful one. Just before daybreak we could stand the cold no longer, and gathering some dry wood, we started a fire and crowded around it. The report about the mule proved to be false, and when morning came, there was no sign that anything was the matter with him.
It was nine o'clock before we started on our journey in the morning. We had three long hours of clambering up and down heavy slopes, and, much of the way, through a stream the bed of which was filled with slippery boulders and pebbles, over which the horses slipped and stumbled frightfully. Our horses slid down small cascades, but, when we came to larger ones, we had to mount the banks by ugly bits of road, descending below the falls. After much labor and weariness, we reached El Parian at noon. Having rested through the hotter portion of the day, we took the road again at two. We followed up the brook-bed to the point where another stream entered it, at an acute angle. Up this stream we turned, and after following it a little, struck suddenly up a steep hill, and then climbed on and on over a good road, cut in the limestone rock, up and up, until we reached the very summit. The vegetation here was a curious assemblage,—palms, cedars, oaks, and a mimosa-like tree, formed the chief types. The limestone rock upon the summit was curiously eroded, as if by rain rills. The masses presented all the appearance and detail of erosion shown by the great mountain mass of the country itself; looking at one of these little models, only a few feet across, and then gazing out upon the great tangle of mountain peaks around us, one could almost imagine that the one was the intentional reproduction of the other, in miniature. For a long time we followed the almost level summit; then a little climb and a slight descent brought us to Huaclilla. At the meson we found real rooms and true beds, and decided to stay for the night. The supper was less attractive. A brief walk about the village brought to light two cases of small-pox, and, on returning to the meson, we were charmed to find a third one in the building itself. Still, we slept well, and were up betimes next morning. The country through which we were passing was Mariano's pais (native land). Assuming that his knowledge was adequate, we left our meson early, with the intention of breakfasting at San Pedrito, where we were assured that everything was lovely; we were also told that it was but a short distance. The road thither was through a high open country, planted to wheat and oats and with some maguey. The road was discouragingly long, but after at least three hours of constant riding, we reached precious San Pedrito, chiefly notable for the amount of pulque drunk there. It was with the greatest difficulty that we succeeded in getting anything to eat; the breakfast was certainly worse than the supper of the preceding night. With the prevalence of maguey as a cultivated plant, the appearance of the houses and other buildings changed, as all of them were thatched with the broad, long, sharp-pointed leaves of the famous plant. Everyone in the district carries tinajas, or little sacks woven from splints of palm. Here, for the first time, we noticed that many of these had decorated patterns worked in black splints on the lighter ground. The blackness of these splints is given by exposure to the smoke of burning pine. Carrying-straps, also made of palm, are used for adjusting these tinajas to the back.
From San Pedrito the road is over a soft rock, which produces, when worn, a white glaring trail. The country through which we passed was fertile. Everywhere were fields of grain, wheat, oats, and, as we were descending into the lower land, corn. The little watch-houses for guarding the newly-sown fields are a striking feature of the landscape. In the higher districts they were small, conical or dome-shaped structures, made of the leaves of the maguey, and hardly large enough for a man to lie down in. Lower down, these were replaced by little rectangular huts, only a few feet across, with thatched roofs, the whole construction being raised on poles ten or twelve feet above the ground. It was scarcely more than noonday when we reached Nochixtlan, where the jefe of the district lives. Telling him that we desired to visit Yodocono and Tilantongo, he wrote orders for us, and charged some indians of Tidaa to show us the road, so far as they were going. The country through which we passed was a continuation of that preceding Nochixtlan. The road was nearly level, with but slight ups and downs, until a little before we reached our destination, when we had an abrupt up-turn to Yodocono, a pretty town on the border of a little lake, which has but recently appeared, and which covers an area which a few years ago was occupied by cultivated fields. Our letter from the jefe introduced us to Don Macario Espinola, a mestizo, owner of the chief store in the village, who showed us gracious hospitality. We were guests of honor. The parlor was surrendered to our use; the chairs were placed in such a way that, when supplied with mattress, sheets, and blankets, they made capital beds. Our meals were good. Don Macario, on hearing the purpose of our visit, placed himself entirely at our disposition. Unfortunately, he gained the idea that the people whom we wanted for measurement and photography were old folk, and the most astonishing collection of aged men and women was summoned from every part of the village and surrounding neighborhood, and all had to be measured, although the measurements were afterwards discarded.
Leaving Yodocono at ten the following morning, we rode to Tilantongo. Though assured that the road was over a district as level as a floor, we found a good deal of up-hill riding. Tilantongo itself, with 2,266 inhabitants, is located upon the further slope of a hill, and but few houses were in sight until we were actually in the town. The public buildings surrounded a small open space, in the centre of which is a stone sun-dial. One side of this little plaza is occupied by the schoolhouse; the town-house and jail occupy the rear. The town is built upon a horseshoe-shaped, sloping ridge, and the church is at the edge of the town, at one of the very ends of the horseshoe. Riding to the town-house, we presented our documents to the presidente, and ordered dinner for ourselves and food for the horses. We had letters to the priest, but he was not in town. The schoolhouse was placed at our disposal, and we moved two long benches close to each other, side by side; rush mats were brought, and these we laid upon the benches, and upon the teacher's table, for beds. Mr. Lang and Don Anselmo took the table, Manuel and I the benches, and Mariano had the floor. The cold was so intense that none of us slept much. We were astonished, in the middle of the night, and at intervals in the early morning, say at two or four o'clock, to hear snatches of songs. At first, we imagined it might be some religious festival, but on inquiring, we found that it was nothing but bands of drunken indians making night hideous.
We waited some time in the morning before beginning work, hoping that the cura might come and assist us with his influence. Finally, wearying of delay, we explained to the presidente the work we planned to do. We told him we must have subjects for measurement, photographing and modeling. He showed no great enthusiasm in the matter. One and another came to be measured, if they chose, but a number entirely refused. It was plain that something must be done. Quitting my work, I sent orders for the presidente to appear, and, after an intolerable delay, he presented himself. I told him that we were losing time; that subjects were not presenting themselves; that some of those who did present themselves refused to be measured; that I wished a mozo at once to carry a report from me to the jefe that my wishes were not regarded by the authorities, and that his orders had no influence; that the mozo must be ready at once, as there was no time to lose, and we should shortly leave his town without accomplishing our work. The effect was instantaneous. The official air of arrogance disappeared; he replied quiet humbly that subjects should be at once supplied, as rapidly as they could be brought in. I replied, "Here are two persons now who have refused; why wait while others shall be brought?" The fiat went forth, the two obdurate and not good-humored victims were marched up. As I measured them, they whispered to me that the presidente himself had not been measured, and begged that he be ordered to undergo the operation. The request was reasonable, and when they were through, they waited to see what would happen. Great was their delight when, turning to the chief man of the town, I said, "It is best for you to be measured next. It will set a good example to the rest," and without a word, although I knew that he had stated that he would not be measured, he stepped under the rod. From then on there was no lack of material. Our subjects were measured, photographed and modeled as rapidly as we could do the work. At noon the priest had come. As he passed where we were working, he gave us an extremely distant greeting and rode on up to the curato. From his castle he sent immediate complaint because our horses had been put into his stable without his permission. I went to the good man's house and found him hearing confessions. Leaving with him the letters from the archbishop and the jefe, I returned to my work, leaving word that the horses would have to stay where they were, as there was no other suitable place for their keeping. After a hard day's work, the night started very cold, and we hurried to bed early. All were sleeping, but myself, when a rap came at the door. It was a message from the cura, begging us to come to the curato, where we would be more comfortable. Sending back a word of thanks, I stated that we would be there for the following night.
The cura had been away from home for several days. The result was that, on his return, his parishioners turned out in force to greet him, and hardly was he housed, when a procession bearing gifts marched to the curato. In front went one bearing flowers. Those who followed carried some kind of food,—great pieces of meat, fowls, eggs, corn, chilis, and other supplies. The following morning we were awakened by a great explosion of fire-crackers and rockets, and by pealing bells, announcing the early mass. After his religious duties were performed, the padre came down to the plaza to watch our work and use his influence in our behalf. When it was dinner-time, he invited us to go with him to that meal. We had thought that the donation party we had witnessed was a generous one; after that dinner, we had no doubt of the matter. Hardly had we disposed of the many good things on the table when the padre took us to a large room, the parish schoolhouse, and showed us the arrangements he had made for our comfort. Four beds, descending in grade of comfort from the one for myself to the one for Manuel, were shown us. Never was a party happier to move from one set of quarters to another.
Called away the next morning by his religious duties, the priest left us in charge of house and household. The work went merrily on in the plaza. We quickly found, however, that the town was getting into a condition of intoxication, and long before noon every person in the place was drunk. At noon we were waited upon by a committee, representing the town, who informed us that they appreciated the lofty honor which was conferred on the place by our presence, and stated that, realizing that we had brought with us letters from the President of the Republic and from the Archbishop of the diocese, they desired not to be lacking in the respect due to such distinguished visitors. Accordingly, they said, they had arranged for the brass band to discourse sweet music for us, while we ate our dinner. No sooner was the statement made, than preparations were begun. The band stood around us in a semi-circle, chiefly notable for its unsteadiness on its legs, and regaled us with a series of most doleful pieces. When word came that dinner was ready at the curato, the band accompanied us to our stopping-place. The bandmaster announced his intention of personally serving us at the table. At the same time orders were given that the musicians, standing without, should continue to play pieces throughout the repast.
The last day of our stay at Tilantongo, the padre stated that it must be interesting to see the way in which a parish priest, returning from a visit to a neighboring town, is received by his parish. Accordingly, he planned that a picture should be taken of himself on horseback, with all the people gathered around welcoming him. Telling us that he would be ready when we should have made our own preparations for this photographic effort, he waited for our summons. We quickly found, however, that the proposition, although hailed at first with joy, did not create great enthusiasm. We recommended to the people that they should get ready; told the musicians that the band should be prepared, and that soon we should send for the padre to be welcomed. When we finally succeeded in getting the matter under way, and were seriously thinking of summoning the reverend gentleman, it was reported that an old woman had been found dead in her lonely hut that morning, and arrangements were at once started for her funeral. In vain we suggested that they should wait until the picture had been made. Musicians and parishioners alike disappeared, going down to the house where the dead body lay. The afternoon was passing. It would soon be quite too dark for a picture. Meantime, the cura, having become anxious in the matter, hastened from his house on foot, to ask why he had not been sent for. On our explaining that a funeral was in progress, he was greatly outraged. We pointed out the house in front of which the funeral procession was now forming. He stood watching, as the line of mourners approached. The person who had died was an aged woman named Hilaria. The body was borne upon a stretcher, as coffins are not much used among these people. The procession came winding up the high-road, where we stood. The band in front was playing mournfully; next came the bearers, two of whom, at least, were sadly drunk. The corpse was clad in the daily garments of the woman, and the body sagged down through gaps in the stretcher; a motley crowd of mourners, chiefly women, some with babies in their arms, followed. One man, walking with the band in front, carried a book in his hand and seemed to read the service, as they slowly passed along. When the procession had come near us and was about to pass, the padre stopped it; expressing his dissatisfaction at the failure to arrange for the photograph which he had ordered, he told the bearers to take the corpse out behind the house and leave it there. They did so, returned, and were arranged in a group with the padre in their midst, and photographed, after which the body was picked up again, the procession was reformed, and proceeded as if nothing had happened.
The following morning at six o'clock we were again upon the road. We first descended into the valley, passing the miserable hut from whence the dead woman had been borne. In all the yards we noticed peach-trees loaded with their pink blossoms. From the deep and narrow valley, we began to climb steadily upward. We passed along the side of a gorge, the bed of which had all the appearance of a giant stairway. Higher and higher we mounted, leaving San Juan Diusi on our right. Great masses of gray clouds hung upon the summits of the highest mountain, their lower line coming very nearly to our level. The wind beginning to blow, the gray mass soon was whirled and spread down like a great veil around us. We were indeed glad when we began to descend and have a little shelter behind us, against the wind, and dry skies instead of damp clouds above us. Making a sudden descent, we found ourselves in a cleared district, where the only trees left on the high summits were palms, which bore little round dates with round seeds; these were quite sweet and good. Small ranches were scattered, here and there, along the road. After another descent and ascent, we found ourselves in an extensive forest of great gnarled oaks, thickly covered with tufts of air-plants and with orchids. Many of the latter were in full bloom, forming masses of brilliant color. In making the descent from here, we found the slope composed of slippery limestone, with sharp, rain-channeled surfaces, where our horses with great difficulty kept their footing. Soon after we were down, we reached San Bartolo.
This purely Mixtec town was a delightful spot. It is large, and strung along two or three long straight streets.
The houses were in yards completely filled with fruit trees—chirimoyas, limas, granadas de China, ahuacates and oranges. Garden-beds of spinach, lettuce, and onions were frequent. The houses were of poles set upright, with thick thatchings of palms. Bee-hives in quantity were seen at almost every house. At Tilantongo we had seen but few women in native dress. Here almost every woman was clad in native garments, many of which were beautifully decorated. The men wore brilliant sashes, woven in the town. When we reached the town-house we found the doorway decorated with flowers,—stars and rosettes made of palm. We were well received, and a capital dinner was soon served, after which we were escorted around the town by the authorities, who arranged for photographing everything that seemed to us of interest. But, at three o'clock, we left this pretty spot. Again, we climbed much of the way over limestone roads. Santo Domingo, past which we journeyed, is a mean little town, with houses much like those of Tilantongo, but of a gray color instead of reddish-brown. From here we plunged downward, and when we ascended again, followed along the side of a rock-walled canon with pretty cascades and magnificent masses of fallen rock. The last part of our journey was made by moonlight, along a brook-side over a road which seemed quite endless. With some trouble, we found the dilapidated old church and the municipal house; we took possession of the school, and after a miserable supper, thoroughly tired, lay down to rest upon the benches.
The town—Magdalena de los Comales—is so named from the comales, or earthenware griddles, made there. Besides this characteristic product, the town makes a good deal of unglazed but polished red pottery. The forms are chiefly candle-sticks, censers and toys. Much weaving of palm is here done, and the hats of the place are rather famous. Famous, too, are the mantas, or women's dresses, of black wool, made in long rectangular pieces. The common grade sells for $6.00, and in using it, it is, like indian dresses generally, simply wrapped about the figure and held in place by a sash or belt.
Nowhere in our journey in southern Mexico had we met with the kind of scenery which we encountered between Magdalena and Tlaxiaco; its whole character was like that of New Mexico. Directly behind the town was a fine cart-road, worn in red sand pumice; before the town rose a magnificent cliff, which had been a landmark in our journey of the day before. The road running up the mountain, over gray and red pumice strata, was deeply worn, just like the road back of Cochiti, New Mexico. Here, too, were the same noble pines for forest. It was a full hour's climb to the summit, where we found a pretty brook tumbling over ledge after ledge into deep round basins of purest water. A long and rather gentle slope downward led to a valley filled with neat farm-houses and cleared patches. Our last ascent brought us to a mass of rounded hills, composed of brilliant clays—yellow, brown, pink, red and white. From among these hillocks Tlaxiaco, a magnificent picture, burst into view. It is compactly built; the flat-topped houses are white or blue-tinted; trees are sprinkled through the town; the old convent, with the two towers of its church, dominates the whole place; a pretty stream flows along its border; and a magnificent range of encircling mountains hems it in on all sides. The descent was rapid, and we reached Tlaxiaco with the morning but half gone.
The jefes of the districts of Mexico are frequently men of ability and force. Rarely, however, have we encountered one so prompt and energetic as Javier Cordova, then jefe of the district of Tlaxiaco. When he took possession of this district, not long before, deeds of robbery along the high-road were common. In many portions of the district, acts of violence were quite the rule. Perhaps the largest agricultural district in the Republic, it possessed few of the conveniences of modern life. Under Cordova's administration, vast improvements have been made. The roads are secure, deeds of violence are rare, the advantages of the district are being rapidly developed, telephone and telegraph have been introduced, and a railroad is talked of. Although we had no letter from the governor addressed to Senor Cordova, when we showed him the communications for other jefes, we were received with the greatest courtesy and everything was done to facilitate our work. We told him that we planned to visit the Triquis at Chicahuastla. He at once wrote letters to the town authorities and to Don Guillermo Murcio, living at that village. The plaster for our bust-making had not yet been received, but Senor Cordova promised, in case it came, to forward it after us promptly, and, in case it did not come, to send twenty miles into the mountains for the raw plaster, which he would have prepared and sent on to Chicahuastla. It was late in the afternoon, before we started for Cuquila, where we planned to pass the night. It was a mistake to make so late a start. For a time, the road was fairly level, but at last we went up a brisk ascent, reaching the summit near sunset. The road down would have been a bad one, even in the daytime. As it was, if we had not had a good moon, we could hardly have made the descent. From the depth of the canon we ascended to Cuquila, thoroughly tired, somewhat before seven. It was with the greatest difficulty that we could find anyone of whom to ask our way to the town-house. Our voices were sufficient to plunge any house into instant darkness and silence. After a long search, we found a man who agreed to seek the presidente. He and the rest of the town officials finally met us on the road, and, after reading our order, took us to the town-house. It was with difficulty that we got fodder for our horses. It was only after persistent and dire threats, that we secured food for ourselves, and firewood to make the room, in which we were to sleep, endurable. It was long past eleven before we were through our troubles and lay down on mats to sleep.
Though we had warned the town officials that we should leave at seven, and must have breakfast before we left, when we arose, we found no steps whatever taken for our accommodation. Yet the town officials had been up long enough to be thoroughly affected by their early morning drinks. Feeling that patience had ceased to be a virtue, we summoned the authorities, and told the presidente that he had paid no attention whatever to his jefe's order; that we had had far too much difficulty in securing the bad accommodations we had been furnished; that their promise to prepare a suitable breakfast had been completely disregarded. We told them that our duty was to send immediate complaint to Tlaxiaco; that we would, however, give them one more chance. We should not stop for breakfast, but would proceed upon our journey hungry; if, however, we sent him further orders regarding our return journey, we should expect them obeyed to the very letter. With this we mounted.
In vain the presidente and officials begged us to wait, promising that everything should be prepared. Time was too precious, and away we rode.
Soon after leaving Cuquila we struck a fifty-minute mountain, the summit of which we made at nine o'clock exactly. Here we sat in the shade and lunched on bread and pineapples, bought the day before in Tlaxiaco. From the summit, there was a slow and gentle descent around that ridge, and then a slow incline along an endless ravine, until at last we came out upon a crest, from which we looked down upon one of the grandest mountain scenes of the world. A valley of impressive size, surrounded by magnificent mountain masses, lay below us, and just to the right, at our feet, was Chicahuastla. Few people in Mexico are so little known as the Triquis. Orozco y Berra, usually a good authority, locates them near Tehuantepec, in the low country. The towns which he calls Triqui are Chontal; the five true Triqui towns are in the high Mixteca. The largest is the town which we were now approaching. The Triquis are people of small stature, dark-brown color, black eyes, aquiline, but low and rather broad nose; they are among the most conservative, suspicious and superstitious of Mexican indians. Most of them dress in native clothing, and all speak the Triqui and not the Spanish language. As a people they are sadly degraded, through being exceptionally addicted to drink.
Don Guillermo Murcio is a character. He and his family are almost the only mestizos in the place. He is a hale and hearty blacksmith, and has lived for fifteen years in this purely indian town, where he has gained almost unbounded influence among the simple natives. His word is law, and the town-government trembles before his gaze. He is impetuous in manner, quick-tempered, and on the slightest suggestion of disregard of his commands, freely threatens jail or other punishment. He received us cordially, and we lived at his house, where we were treated to the best that was available.
We have already referred to the beautiful location of Chicahuastla. Its appearance is most picturesque. Unlike the indian towns in the Mixteca which we had so far visited, it has many houses of circular form with conical roof. It is possible that this style of construction is the result of African influence. At Chicahuastla we were on the very summit of the great water-shed, and from it, when the air is clear, one may look down, over a sea of lesser summits and mountain ranges, to the waters of the Pacific. Along the Pacific coast, in the state of Guerrero, are whole towns of Africans, descendants of slaves, who build their houses after the circular pattern, so common throughout the dark continent. We did not find in the Triquis any admixture of African blood, but it is possible the mode of house-building may have been influenced by negro example.
Our first glimpse of the town suggested a veritable paradise. At eleven the sky was clear, the sun almost tropical, the whole country smiled under its warm beams; but at two there came a change. Fogs, so dense as to shut out the view of what was across the road, drifted down from the summit on which we had seen cloud masses forming. Deeper and deeper, wetter and wetter, colder and colder grew the mist. All, wrapped in their thickest blankets, were shivering, crouched upon the ground, trying in vain to keep themselves warm. At first we thought this might be a rare occasion, but were assured that it is an every-day occurrence, and from our own experience of four or five days, we can easily believe the statement to be true. How any people can live in such a spot, suffering keenly twenty hours in the day, simply for the four hours of clear sunshine and warmth is inexplicable; and the nights were torments! Don Guillermo's house is well built of logs and plaster, but no house could keep out that bitter cold night air which chilled us, as we lay in bed, until we could hardly move.
We have already stated that the people of Chicahuastla are conservative and superstitious. Our operations of measuring, photographing and bust-making filled the town with alarm and concern. It was hard enough to get our male subjects; the women were yet more difficult. At first we failed to secure any, but after we had several times told the town officials that twenty-five women must be forthcoming for measurement, and Don Guillermo had stormed and threatened, the town-government began to plan a mode of carrying out our wishes. Close by Don Guillermo's house was the miserable little village plaza, where the women of the town assembled with corn-cakes and other articles for trade. There, they met the travelling peddlers coming from Tlaxiaco, from Cuquila and the coast, and drove their bargains, mostly a matter of trade, not purchase, with them. Waiting at the place where we were working, until one or two women were to be seen in the plaza, the town officials separated, going in two directions. In a few minutes an anxious watcher, from our point of view, might have seen a gradually contracting circle of men surrounding the plaza. Usually at the same time that this circle was evident to the watcher, it became also evident to the women. With cries of terror, the poor creatures would start off as fast as their legs would carry them, over the mountain trails, with the whole town government, sixteen strong, in pursuit, with yells and screams. It was like nothing but the chase of deer by hounds. Usually, the women, given strength by terror, escaped; but once out of three times, perhaps, the officials returned in triumph with their prisoner in their midst, who was at once measured and then, if need be, photographed. In course of time these hunts supplied the twenty-five victims desired.
It might not be uninteresting to describe the events of a single afternoon in a Triqui town. On one occasion, having eaten dinner, we had scarcely begun our work when we heard a great uproar and din upon the road toward Santo Domingo. Looking in that direction, we saw a crowd of men and boys struggling toward us. As they came nearer, we saw that six or eight of the party were carrying some awkward and inconvenient burden. It was a man, sprawling face downward; two or more held his arms, an equal number his legs; about his waist a belt, knotted behind, was tied, and then through the knot was thrust a strong pole, which was being carried by two men, one on either side. Struggling against those who carried him, raising his face and snarling and gnashing at the crowd, the prisoner presented a fearful spectacle. It seemed that, being drunk, he had quarreled with his friend, whom he had nearly murdered with his machete. About the middle of the afternoon we heard a loud crying in the other direction, toward the church and jail, and, on looking, saw coming toward us a man, whose head was broken open and from it was streaming blood, his head and face were covered, and his white shirt, to the waist and even below, was soaked with the red fluid. He was wringing his hands and crying in a piteous manner. When he came to where we stood, he told his tale of woe. He was the majordomo in charge of the church property. He had expected that the priest would make his visit to the pueblo on that day, and had so announced it to the people; the pious parishioners looked forward, with interest, to the coming of the padre. When the day passed, however, and the priest failed to appear, one of the more religious felt so outraged that he had broken open the head of the majordomo with a club, on account of his disappointment. We told the poor fellow to go home and let his wife clean him up and change his clothing, promising that, if he died, his assailant should be punished. That evening there was a little moonlight at Chicuhuastla, the only time during our stay. As we sat eating supper, we heard an outcry in the direction of the church and jail. Asking Don Guillermo what might be the cause, he replied that there was probably some trouble at the jail. We insisted on going to see what might be happening. Don Guillermo, the plaster-worker, Mariano, Manuel and I, seizing whatever weapons were convenient at hand, started for the jail. We found an excited crowd gathered around the doorway. On a log before the door there sat a creature crazy-drunk. I have never seen a case more horrible. He screamed, yelled, gnashed his teeth, struck and snapped at everyone around. The whole village stood in terror. I addressed the policemen, who seemed quite helpless. "Why not thrust him into the jail? Quick! Seize him! In with him!" Encouraged by our words, they seized him, the door was quickly opened, and he was cast into the little room, which already contained more than thirty persons, the harvest of a single afternoon. When the door was locked, we saw for the first time why the policemen had been so timid. One of them came limping up to us, crying, and showed his leg. From its fleshy part a good mouthful of flesh had been cleanly bitten by the madman. The wound was bleeding profusely, and the poor fellow wrung his hands and cried with pain.
We had finished our measurements and photographs, but there had been no sign as yet of the plaster; concluding that Senor Cordova had forgotten his promise, we were prepared to leave town early the next morning. After dark two men came from Tlaxiaco, one of whom brought sufficient plaster for making two good busts. This plaster had been brought, in a crude state, twenty miles from the mountains to Tlaxiaco; had been calcined and ground there, by prisoners in the jail, and then sent fifteen miles to us over the mountains. We were interested in the men who brought it. One of them was a prisoner from the Tlaxiaco jail. He had been sentenced to ten days for drinking, and it was he who carried the plaster. The other proudly informed us that he was a policeman, and had come to make sure that the prisoner returned. Thoroughly delighted at their coming, we broke our custom and gave the men a trifle. Alas, the day! That very night both men, policeman and prisoner, were thrust into the local jail, helplessly drunk.
One evening, during our stay at Chicahuastla, Don Guillermo begged me to go into the kitchen to examine a baby, upon whom he was thinking of performing a surgical operation. The creature was a boy some three months old, pure indian. We had heard him crying at night ever since we had come, but had not seen him. A tumor, or some growth, was on his neck, below the chin. Don Guillermo handed me the razor, in order that I might remove the swelling, but I refused the task. The story of the child is sad. It is the son of a young indian boy and girl, not married. That would not be a serious matter among the Triquis. For some reason, however, the mother did not like the child, and scarcely was it born, when she went with it into the forest; there in a lonely place she choked it, as she thought, to death, and buried it in the ground. The town authorities, suspecting something of her purpose, had followed her and were watching at the moment. No sooner had she left the spot than they dug up the child, found it still alive, and brought it to Don Guillermo, who had kept it at the town's charge.
The last night of our stay at Chicahuastla, just after supper, a cavalcade came to the door. It was the jefe of the next district—Juxtlahuaca—with a guard of six mounted men. Apparently a pleasant fellow, he was at the moment excited over a recent disturbance in his district. In an attempt which he had made to adjust a certain difficulty, he and his guard had been fired on and stones thrown from the height above them, by the people of the pueblo. One of his companions died from the effect of the attack. The officer plainly feared an outbreak or uprising, and was nervous and uneasy, though Don Guillermo assured him that in his house there was absolutely no danger. Finally, we quieted down and all went to bed, we with the intention of an early start the next morning.
After an uneasy night, I awoke about five o'clock. Just as I was thinking of calling my companions, I felt a faint trembling, which rapidly increased to a heavy shaking, of the house in which we slept. There was a moment's pause, and then a second shaking, which began stronger than the other, but which lasted about the same time. It was the most serious earthquake shock we ever experienced in Mexico. Had the house been made of brick and plaster, considerable damage might have been done. Everyone was wide awake in an instant. The whole town was in excitement. The church-bell was rung and the people flocked out into the street. The shock passed at exactly 5:20, and, in other towns, notably in Oaxaca, it did considerable damage.
Two days before, we had sent word to the authorities at Cuquila, that we should breakfast with them on our way back to Tlaxiaco, and ordered them to be ready for our coming. This was the opportunity which had been promised them for redeeming themselves and avoiding complaint to their jefe. Arriving at the town at 9:40, we were met at the roadside by some of the officials, who led us at once to the town-house. Here the whole town government was gathered to greet us; politely each one, stepping forward, removed his hat and kissed my hand; they then invited us to sit down at the table and breakfast,—whereupon eggs, chicken, tortillas and frijoles—the best the town could supply—were set before us. The whole government sat by, looking on as we ate.
Immediately after breakfast, in accordance with our order previously sent, we were taken to see a potter at work. Cuquila is famous for two lines of manufacture, pottery and woolen garments. The pottery here made is skillfully shaped into wonderfully large vessels of different forms. The product goes throughout this whole district, and even down to the Pacific coast, a hundred miles distant. Along the roads it is a common thing to meet parties of three or four men carrying great loads of water-jars, large bowls, etc., for sale or trade. While we were inspecting the potter's work, a slight shock of earthquake, almost too gentle to be noticed, passed through the place.
At Cuquila, we found that we should not meet Senor Cordova at Tlaxiaco. He had passed through the town the night before, on his way to Juxtlahuaca, with a band of soldiers to assist his neighboring jefe in maintaining order.
Leaving our Cuquila reprobates in friendly and gentle mood, we started for Tlaxiaco, where we arrived at half-past two. Something after four o'clock, we heard a violent ringing of the church-bell and saw the people flocking out onto the streets; looking up at the church-tower, although we did not feel the shock, we saw that the whole church was being violently shaken, and that the ringing bells, which we had heard, were not moved by human hands. This third shock of the day was more strongly felt in other districts, than with us. In the City of Mexico, three hundred miles away, it was the most severe of the day.
The whole town was in commotion; people threw themselves upon their knees in the streets and prayed to the Virgin for protection. Later in the day, we saw a priest and a saint's figure passing through the streets, and as they passed the people paid reverence. Surely the little procession, illegal though it was, must have been successful, for there were no further shocks. We found here a most interesting superstition, which we had not met before, but which we heard several times later, in other districts. We were assured that the earthquake was but one of many signs that the world was coming to an end. We discovered that thousands of the people expected the ending of the world in 1900, and when we asked why, were reminded that this was the last year of the century. This is certainly a survival of ancient superstition. The old Mexicans did not count their years by hundreds or centuries, as we do, but by cycles of 52 years each. It was believed that the world would come to an end at the close of a cycle, and important ceremonies were conducted to avert such a catastrophe. It is clear that the old idea, of the destruction of the world at the close of a cycle, has been transferred to the new mode of reckoning time.
From Tlaxiaco to Teposcolula, there was a cart-road, though it was possible that no carreta ever passed over it. It presented little good scenery. We passed the pueblos of San Martin Jilmeca, San Felipe, and San Miguel. Just before reaching the first of these towns, the road passes over a coarse rock mass, which weathers into spheroidal shells. At Jilmeca and some other points along the day's route the rock over which we passed was a white tufaceous material loaded with streaks of black flint. Sometimes this black flint passes into chert and chalcedony of blue and purple tints. Here and there, along the mountain sides, we caught glimpses of rock exposures, which looked snow-white in the distance. Between Jilmeca and San Felipe there was a pretty brook, with fine cypresses along the banks, and a suspension bridge of great logs. Having passed through San Felipe and San Miguel, a pleasant road, through a gorge, brought us to the valley in which Teposcolula lies. The great convent church, historically interesting, is striking in size and architecture. The priest, an excellent man, is a pure-blooded Mixtec indian, talking the language as his mother tongue. With great pride he showed us about the building, which was once a grand Dominican monastery. The old carved wooden cupboard for gold and silver articles, used in the church service, is fine work. The gold and silver articles for which it was built have long since disappeared. In the patio are many old paintings, most of which are badly damaged, and some of which have been repaired with pieces cut from other pictures, not at all like the missing piece. Among these pictures is a series of scenes from the life of Santo Domingo. Of the figures in the church, two are fairly good; one, which is famous, represents Our Lady of the Rosary. In a little chapel are buried the remains of the old friars; here also is a beautiful old carved confessional. In front of the old church is a great court surrounded by a stone wall, which is surmounted here and there with little, pointed, square pillars. To the right of the church is a mass of masonry, in reddish-brown freestone, consisting of a series of arches, now more or less in ruins. When the convent was at the height of its splendor, the crowd of worshippers was too large for the church itself, and these beautiful arches were erected to receive the overflow. In the church itself, the plaster in the domes of the towers and the coloring on the walls and domes had chipped and fallen, on account of the earthquake, the day before. In the ruins of the upper rooms of the convent proper, stone and mortar, dislodged from the decaying walls by the same shocks, lay in little heaps on the floor.
The cura had ten churches in his charge. He says there are 2,000 people in Teposcolula, few of whom are indians. In his ten churches, he has 12,000 parishioners. He seemed a devout man, and emphasized the importance of his preaching to his congregation in their native tongue and his. So convinced is he that the native idiom of the people is the shortest road to their heart and understanding, that he has prepared a catechism and Christian doctrine in the modern Mixtec, which has been printed. The town itself is desolate; the plaza is much too large, and dwarfs the buildings which surround it, and signs of desolation and decay mark everything. With the fondness which Mexicans show for high-sounding and pious inscriptions, the municipality has painted, upon the side of the town-house, in full sight for a long distance, the words, "Nations to be great and free must be educated." From here to Nochixtlan there was nothing of special interest. For some four leagues the road was through a gorge; from this valley we mounted to the height, just before reaching the town of Tiltepec, from which we caught an extensive view down over the great valley in which Nochixtlan and this town lie. From Tiltepec we had a rather tiresome, hot, and painful ride, passing San Juan Tillo and Santiago Tillo. By half past one we were again in the city of Nochixtlan.
THE MIXES REVISITED
After resting at Oaxaca, from our trip into the high Mixteca, we made preparations for our new journey, leaving at three o'clock in the afternoon for the land of the Zapotecs and Mixes. Our late start compelled stopping at Tule for the night. In the morning we went on to Tlacolula, where we nooned, in order to see the jefe in regard to our work. He is a competent man, showed great interest in our plan, and gave valuable advice, in addition to the orders to his officials. He warned us that we might meet some difficulty at Milta, where we were planning to make our study of the Zapotecs, on account of the fiesta then in progress. He told us to notify him at once in case matters did not go well there.
The fiesta at Milta should have been a three days' affair. This year, however, it began on Sunday with the result that it filled four days. Reaching there in the afternoon of Monday, we found the whole town in great excitement and dissipation. The plaza had been enclosed with a fencing of poles, and toros were the amusement of the afternoon. The country sports with bulls are different from the regular bull-fights of the cities. Any one takes part who pleases, and while there is little of trained skill, there is often much of fun, frolic, and daring. The bull is led into the ring from outside by a lasso. It is then lassoed from behind and dragged up to a post or tree, to which it is firmly tied to prevent its moving. A rope is then tightly cinched about its middle and a man mounts upon the back of the beast, fixing his feet firmly in the rope below, between it and the animal, and winding his hands into it above. The ropes which hold the bull are then withdrawn so as to set it loose. Dozens of men and big boys, with jackets and serapes, then torment the beast, which, plunging and dashing at them, scatters them in every direction. Sometimes the angry animal attempts to break through the fence, causing excitement and consternation among the crowds who have been hanging to it and looking over. When, as sometimes happens, he does break through, there is great scattering before him, and closing in behind him, until he is again captured. The man riding on the bull's back clings as long as he can, in spite of the plunging and other frantic efforts of the animal to unseat him; comparatively few stay long in their uncomfortable position, and when they are thrown, much agility is required to escape from the furious animal.
As we rode into town these sports were in full blast; everyone, save the bull-fighters, was drunk. Now and then a tube of iron filled with powder was exploded. A band in front of the municipal house was supplying music. A little group of men with pitos and tambours strolled from place to place, playing. Much selling was in progress in the booths, the chief articles offered being intoxicating drinks. A cluster of drunken vocalists, sitting flat upon the ground, but almost unable to hold themselves upright, were singing horribly to untuned guitars. In front of the town-house a bench had been dragged out by the authorities for the benefit of the cura, who, seated thereon, was watching the sports with maudlin gravity. The presidente and other officials were standing by the padre, and all were drinking at frequent intervals. Thinking the moment opportune, I approached the party and handed them my documents; but both presidente and priest were far too drunk to realize my needs. Surveying the drunken town, I felt that it was necessary to act promptly and firmly if we were to accomplish anything before the fiesta ended. The only member of the government who was not extremely drunk that afternoon was the sindico. Calling him to me, I addressed him, scorning both priest and presidente. I refused to drink with them, saying that they were already too drunk to know their duties, and that both should be ashamed of their condition. At this time the cura asked me if I were a clergyman. On my replying no, he remarked that I looked like one. I told him yes, that I was frequently mistaken for one; that a priest in the Mixteca had even thought that I was a bishop. He then drunkenly inquired whether I were married, and on my replying no, made the astonishing observation that then, it was certain that I could not be a priest,—that every priest had one wife, bishops two, and archbishops three. This drunken priest had just been making certain observations to the presidente calculated to interfere with my work, and I felt that I now had my opportunity. So, turning upon him, I gravely reproved him for his remark. I told him that, in his language and his drunkenness, he was setting a bad example to his parish; that he should go at once to the curato, and not venture forth during the time that we remained in the town. Half-sobered by my order, he arose without a word, went to his house, and did not again appear for four days. Having gotten him out of the way, I turned to the drunken officials and told them that, early the next morning, I should begin my work, and that they must make the needful preparations; that I wished to measure, photograph, and make busts of the population. I told them that at present they were too drunk to aid me, but that the following morning things must be different; that enough at least to attend to my orders must be sober. After supper, attracted by the noise and hubbub, we set out to see the plaza. Torches were flaring in every direction, and considerable business was being done at all the booths. Crowds of drunken people were squatting on the ground in all directions; at the town-house the band of music was playing the jarabe, and 40 or 50 persons were dancing this lively dance. Old and young, men and women, boys and girls, all were taking part; no one paid attention to any other person, but each seemed to be trying to prove himself the most agile of the party. All were drunk, some astonishingly so. Occasionally a dancer would bump against such an one, who would fall head over heels. Immediately picking himself up, he would go at it again, with even greater vigor; sometimes one fell, of himself, in a helpless heap, and lay where he fell, until kicked out of the way or until the music stopped. All around was pandemonium; yelling, singing, cursing, fighting were in progress; the jail was crowded, but every now and then a new case was dragged up; for an instant the door was opened, and against the crowd, pushing from within, the new prisoner would be crowded into the cell. At one time in the evening a cry arose that a murder was being committed in the jail. The door was opened, the policemen crowded in, and the two men who had clinched and were battling were torn apart. One was dragged outside and thrown into the woman's jail, and for a time the air was blue with the most insulting cries. Convinced that no work could be done in the afternoons, we labored with the greatest possible diligence each morning. The first morning, going to the town-house, we ordered subjects to be brought. The presidente was drunk; the sindico also; still, some of the town officials were found in a condition able to do our bidding. Having measured a few of the officials, we proposed to take such prisoners as still remained in the jail, from the batch of the preceding day. There were eighteen of these, and with them we made a good beginning. Among the prisoners we found our first subject for modelling. Oiling him, we began to make the moulds. The back-piece had been applied; the second piece, covering the lower part of the face and upper chest, was hardening, and we were busily engaged in putting on the final application over the upper part of the face. At this moment the presidente staggered into the jail. When his eyes fell upon our subject, he stopped aghast; for a moment he was unable to speak; then he groaned out the words, "O horrible spectacle! To think of seeing a son of this town in such a position!" As I was beginning to laugh and ridicule him, the old mother of the young man came bursting into the jail, weeping and trembling, to see what fate had overtaken her son. Wringing her hands, the tears rolled down her face, and her voice was choked with sobs, as she asked pitifully whether he must die; she told me that he was her only support, and that, without him, she was absolutely alone. Taking the old woman outside, while the mask should be completed, I chatted with her, and as soon as the pieces of the mould were removed, delivered her precious son, unharmed, into her hands.