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Title: Guatemala : The land of the quetzal
Author: Brigham, William Tufts
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Guatemala : The land of the quetzal" ***



[Illustration: MONOLITH ‘A’ AT QUIRIGUA.]


                         THE LAND OF THE QUETZAL

                                 A Sketch

                       BY WILLIAM T. BRIGHAM, A.M.


                                 NEW YORK
                         CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS

                            _Copyright, 1887_,
                          BY WILLIAM T. BRIGHAM.

                            UNIVERSITY PRESS:
                     JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.


A belief in the increasing importance of Central America, both
geographically and politically, has led the writer of the following
pages to collect for his own use and print for the use of others, notes
made during three journeys in Guatemala and Honduras. He does not
pretend to offer a monograph on Guatemala, nor to add to the general
knowledge of Central America; but remembering the lack of guidance from
which he suffered in travelling through the country, would in some
measure save others from the same inconvenience. He seeks also, with
perhaps more ambition, to awaken among Americans greater interest in the
much-neglected regions between the Republic of Mexico and the Isthmus of

A land which was the cradle of civilization on this continent, and whose
recently explored monuments are most justly claiming the study and
admiration of archæologists in Europe as well as in America, has been
strangely neglected by the American traveller as well as by the American
merchant. Since the Travels of Stephens fascinated the public nearly half
a century ago, the people of the United States have paid very little
attention to Guatemala or its commerce. Even now there are thousands of
square miles of wholly unexplored territory between the low Isthmus of
Tehuantepec and the Lake of Nicaragua.

No country on the northern half of the American continent has a finer
climate or more beautiful and varied scenery, or is a more attractive
field for the genuine traveller. Valleys rivalling the paradises of the
islands of the Pacific; uplands not unlike the plateau of the Indian
Neilgherries; forests as dense and luxuriant as those of Brazil; lakes as
picturesque as those of Switzerland; green slopes that might have been
taken from the Emerald Isle; glens like the Trossachs; desert wastes
that recall the Sahara; volcanoes like Ætna; and a population as various
as in that land whence comes the Indian name,—all these features make
but the incomplete outline of the Guatemaltecan picture. Then there is
that charming freedom from conventionality which permits a costume for
comfort rather than for fashion, accoutrements for convenience rather
than for show. No dangerous beast or savage man attempts the traveller’s
life, no lurking danger or insidious pestilence is in his path. The
hair-breadth escapes, more interesting to the reader than pleasant to the
explorer, are rare here, and the rough places and the irritations from
which no land on earth is wholly free, seem softened and vanishing to the
retrospective eye.

Old travellers know how soon the individuality of a country is lost
when once the tide of foreign travel is turned through its towns or
its by-ways; and when the ship-railway of Eads crosses the Isthmus of
Tehuantepec, when the Northern Railroad extends through Guatemala, when
the Transcontinental Railway traverses the plains of Honduras, and the
Nicaraguan Canal unites the Atlantic and the Pacific, the charm will be
broken, the mule-path and the mozo de cargo will be supplanted, and a
journey across Central America become almost as dull as a journey from
Chicago to Cheyenne.

In the sober work to which this Preface introduces the reader, first
impressions have been confirmed or corrected by subsequent experience,
and flights of the imagination curbed by the truth-telling camera; from
the published maps the most correct portion has been selected, and the
statistics are from the Government reports. Many hundred photographic
plates made by the writer during a period of three years have contributed
to the illustrations of this book, so that accuracy has been secured.
Where the plates are not direct reproductions from the negatives, the ink
drawings have been made from photographic prints with care. There are no
fancy sketches.

                                                                  W. T. B.

BOSTON, _June 16, 1887_.

[Illustration: From an Ancient Manuscript.]



     I. THE KINGDOM OF GUATEMALA                      1



    IV. FROM COBAN TO QUEZALTENANGO                 103


    VI. GUATEMALA CITY                              171

   VII. GUATEMALA TO ESQUIPULAS                     190

  VIII. ESQUIPULAS AND QUIRIGUA                     201

    IX. IN THE OLDEN TIME                           228

     X. THE REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA                   281


   XII. EARTHQUAKES AND VOLCANOES                   377

        APPENDIX                                    411

        INDEX                                       445


                        FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.

  MONOLITH AT QUIRIGUA (A)                                   _Frontispiece_

                                                              TO FACE PAGE

  A STREET IN LIVINGSTON                                                28

  INTERIOR OF A CARIB HOUSE                                             30

  GRATING CASSAVA                                                       32

  WEAVING A SERPIENTE                                                   36

  EL RIO CHOCON                                                         44

  COBAN CHURCH AND PLAZA (from the tower of the Cabildo)                94

  FRANK AND HIS MARE MABEL                                             106

  CHICAMAN (two views taken from the same place before sunrise)        109

  VALLEY OF THE CHIXOY                                                 114

  PLAZA OF SACAPULAS                                                   118

  TOTONICAPAN VALLEY                                                   138

  LAGO DE ATITLAN (from the road above Panajachel)                     156

  A STREET IN GUATEMALA CITY                                           177

  GUATEMALA CITY (from the Church of the Carmen)                       178

  SANTUARIO AT ESQUIPULAS                                              202

  MONOLITH AT QUIRIGUA (E)                                             218

  ALTAR-STONES AT QUIRIGUA                                             222

  ETHNOGRAPHIC CHART (after Dr. Stoll)                                 271

  A GROUP OF CARIB CHILDREN                                            272

  TWO CARIB BOYS                                                       274

  A CARIB PLAITING A PETACA                                            276

  A COURT SCENE IN LIVINGSTON                                          318

  IN THE FOREST                                                        324

  COHUNE PALMS (_Attalea cohune_, Mart.)                               330

  VOLCAN DE FUEGO (from the Cabildo, Antigua)                          392

                           TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS.


  FIGURES (from an ancient Manuscript)                                 vii

  LUCIANO CALLETANO (captain at Chocon)                                 24

  BARRACK POINT, LIVINGSTON                                             27

  ENTRANCE TO THE RIO DULCE                                             41

  FEMALE IGUANAS                                                        47

  BARBECUE AT BENITO                                                    50

  SECTION OF VEJUCO DE AGUA                                             54

  DRAGON ROCK, CHOCON                                                   55

  SAN GIL (from the author’s house at Livingston)                       59

  PUERTO BARRIOS                                                        61

  SULPHUR SPRING                                                        63

  PADDLE AND MACHETE                                                    65

  CASTILLO DE SAN FELIPE (plan drawn by F. E. Blaisdell)                69

  MAKING TORTILLAS                                                      71

  ROOF-TILE (from a sketch by F. E. Blaisdell)                          89

  IN HOTEL ALEMAN                                                       91

  PLAN OF HOTEL ALEMAN (by F. E. Blaisdell)                             92

  THE CABILDO OF COBAN                                                  93

  INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH AT COBAN                                       94

  PATTERN OF CLOTH                                                      95

  QUETZAL (_Macropharus mocino_)                                        97

  INDIO OF COBAN                                                        99

  CUARTILLO OF GUATEMALA                                               102

  ROPE BRIDGE OVER THE CHIXOY                                          107

  QUICHÉ ALTAR OF TOHIL (Sacrificatorio)                               122

  MARIMBA                                                              123

  JICARA                                                               124

  SOLOLÀ AND VOLCAN DE ATITLAN                                         132

  CHURCH AT QUEZALTENANGO                                              143

  MANUEL LISANDRO BARILLAS (President of Guatemala)                    145

  ALCALDES OF QUEZALTENANGO                                            146

  CUATRO-REALES OF HONDURAS                                            147

  J. RUFINO BARRIOS (photograph taken in 1883)                         149

  BOAT ON THE LAGO DE ATITLAN                                          153

  WASHOUT IN THE ROAD                                                  157

  ANTIGUA AND THE VOLCAN DE AGUA                                       159

  RUINED CHURCH IN ANTIGUA GUATEMALA                                   161

  RAILROADS FOR GUATEMALA                                              168

  BREAD-FRUIT (_Artocarpus incisa_)                                    170

  SECTION OF BOAT AT AMATITLAN                                         174

  CHURCH OF THE CARMEN                                                 179

  SPANISH STIRRUP (of the time of Cortez)                              184

  TERRA-COTTA FIGURINES                                                184

  INDIAN POTTERY                                                       189

  PACAYA, FUEGO, AGUA                                                  190

  HUNAPU FROM THE EASTWARD                                             191

  MOZO ON THE ROAD                                                     198

  LAVA MASK IN THE MUSEO NACIONAL                                      200

  INCENSE-BURNER (about half the size of the original)                 207

  REMAINS AT QUIRIGUA (from Mr. Maudslay’s plan)                       217

  MONOLITH AT QUIRIGUA (F)                                             219

  MONOLITH E (portion of back)                                         221

  IZABAL (from the end of the wharf)                                   225

  WHISTLE FROM LAS QUEBRADAS                                           227

  ANCIENT TEMPLE (from an old Manuscript)                              245

  INDIO SACRIFICING BLOOD FROM HIS TONGUE (Kingsborough)               246

  IDEOGRAPHS                                                           251

  ANCIENT INCENSE-BURNER                                               251

  STONE RING FOR BALL GAME (at Chichen Itza)                           257

  A CARIB WOMAN                                                        272

  INDIAN WOMEN, POCOMAM TRIBE                                          275

  MOZOS DE CARGO, QUICHÉ                                               279

  CARVED STONE SEAT (Museo Nacional)                                   280

  ARMS OF GUATEMALA                                                    281

  RAFAEL CARRERA (from a silver dollar)                                288

  MATAPALO-TREE                                                        326

  ATTALEA COHUNE (flowers and fruit)                                   330

  LEAF TIP OF CLIMBING PALM (_Desmoncus_)                              332


  A PRIMITIVE SUGAR-MILL (common at Livingston)                        341

  THEOBROMA CACAO (chocolate tree)                                     346

  CASTILLOA ELASTICA (India-rubber tree)                               347

  A BUNCH OF PLANTAINS (young)                                         352

  POUNDING RICE                                                        356

  GROWTH OF A YOUNG COCONUT                                            360

  PASSIFLORA BRIGHAMI                                                  376

  CONGREHOY PEAK                                                       384

  COSEGUINA (from the sea)                                             399

  GROUP (from an ancient Manuscript)                                   442


  CENTRAL AMERICA                                                        6

  LAGO DE ATITLAN                                                      154

  CENTRAL AMERICAN VOLCANOES                                           377

  LAGO DE ILOPANGO                                                     403

  GUATEMALA                                                   _End of Book_




That part of the North American continent usually known as Central
America was included by the Spanish conquerors in the kingdom of
Guatemala; and while my purpose is to describe the republic of
Guatemala,—a portion only of the ancient kingdom,—I may be pardoned if
I call the attention of my readers briefly to the geography and history
of all that country which once bore the name and is still closely allied
with the interests of Guatemala.

Central America should extend from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to that
of Darien; from the Caribbean Sea on the northeast, to the Pacific
Ocean on the southwest. Mexico, however, has taken Chiapas and Yucatan,
on the west and north, Great Britain has seized the east coast of
Guatemala (British Honduras), and the Isthmus of Panama is included in
the territory of South America. The present independent republics of
Guatemala, San Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, constitute
what is known as Central America,—a territory extending between 8°
10′ and 19° 20′ north latitude, and between 82° 25′ and 92° 30′ west
longitude. In length it measures between eight and nine hundred miles,
while its breadth varies from thirty to three hundred miles. No competent
survey has ever been made of this country, and even the coast-line is not
always correctly laid down on the best charts. Maps have been made at
haphazard in most cases, and very few positions have been scientifically
determined. Government surveys along the lines of proposed canals or
railways have not extended beyond a narrow line, usually in low regions
remote from important centres. Dr. Frantzius[1] has published a very
excellent map of Costa Rica; but most of the so-called maps published
by or under the authority of individual republics are of no scientific
value, the course of the principal rivers and the direction of the main
mountain-chains being unknown. To illustrate the uncertain geography
of Central America, let me give the extent and population as published
by three authorities,—(I.) Lippincott’s Gazetteer, (II.) Whittaker’s
Almanac, and (III.) the “Geografía de Centro-América” of Dr. González.

                  Square Miles.       Population.


  Guatemala          40,777            1,190,754
  Salvador            7,335              434,520
  Honduras           47,090              351,700
  Nicaragua          58,000              236,000
  Costa Rica         21,495              180,000
                    -------            ---------
                    174,697            2,392,974


  Guatemala          40,776            1,500,000
  Salvador            7,335              554,000
  Honduras           39,600              300,000
  Nicaragua          58,170              300,000
  Costa Rica         26,040              200,000
                    -------            ---------
                    171,921            2,854,000


  Guatemala          50,600            1,200,000
  Salvador            9,600              600,000
  Honduras           40,000              400,000
  Nicaragua          40,000    (1882)    275,816
  Costa Rica         21,000              200,000
                    -------            ---------
                    161,200            2,675,816

Without surveys and without a proper census of the Indian tribes no
scientific description of the country can be given. Humboldt’s theory of
an Andean cordillera has been disputed, and his mountain-chain has proved
to be a confusing (but not confused) series of mountain-ridges. Yet it
well may prove that the great naturalist was right; and so far as we now
know from maps and personal observation, the vast earth-wrinkle which
extends along the western border of our continent is a mountain-range of
definite direction (about E. 20° S. to W. 20° N.) in Central America,
and there occupying nearly the whole width of the continent. If we can
picture to ourselves the formation in those remote ages, that it is
the geologist’s task to rehabilitate in thought, of a vast ridge, not
sharp like the typical mountain range, but of broad dimensions like the
swell of some vast ocean, we shall have the material then forming the
earth’s crust bent upwards, and in unelastic places broken, and this
partly or entirely beneath the ocean. The rising land as the ages passed
would be acted upon not only by the ocean waves and currents, but by
the torrential rains, which were of a force and frequency that even our
water-spouts of the present age cannot equal. Cracks were widened, gorges
were formed; and as the earth approached the present geological age, the
gentler rains only supplied the rivers and lakes which now occupied the
furrows ploughed deeply by primeval torrents. The rough work was done,
the statue blocked out; and henceforth meteoric influences were merely to
finish, add expression and polish to the work.

A traveller crossing this territory from ocean to ocean would sometimes
follow the river valleys, then climb ridges, again traverse a plain,
cross a valley, ride along another mountain-ridge, compassing a volcano,
and finally descend abruptly to the Pacific. His direction had not
changed, but the nature of his path had been wonderfully transformed.

Geologists know well that on one of these lines of disturbance, such as
has been described, molten and disintegrated material is apt to come to
the surface as lava and ashes; they expect also to find metallic veins,
especially of the precious metals, and hot springs with various minerals
in solution, and they infer earthquakes. All these phenomena are present
in Central America in full force. Immense cones have arisen along the
Pacific slope since the general features of the land were made, and
not only have spread vast deposits around their base, but have blocked
up valleys, forming lakes as Atitlan, built promontories as Coseguina,
islands as Ometepec in the Lake of Nicaragua, and have turned rivers,
changed prevailing winds, and otherwise altered the physical conditions
of the country.

Gold sands from the disintegrated veins sparkle in every mountain-brook,
and the deposits of silver are no doubt as rich as those of Mexico,
Nevada, and Potosi. _Aguas calientes_, or hot springs, are found all over
the country, and earthquakes, often severe, are common on the Pacific

All along the Atlantic side the rock material is limestone or dolomite,
while as one goes westward he meets andesyte and other forms of trachytic
lava, such as pumice and obsidian. Even among the limestone mountains
of the northeast are occasional volcanic deposits, exactly as might be
expected when so extensive an upheaval has taken place.

Whatever has been the exact process by which this essentially mountainous
country has been formed, we have at present at its northern boundary the
high plain of Anahuac, extending from Mexico (where it is interrupted by
the Isthmus of Tehuantepec) through Guatemala; of somewhat lower level
in Honduras and Salvador; sinking to almost sea-level in Nicaragua (154
feet); and rising again in the Altos of Veragua to about 3,250 feet. This
main range has its axis much nearer the Pacific shore and almost parallel
to it, being in San Salvador distant seventy-five miles, and in Guatemala
(Totonicapan) only fifty. Towards the Pacific the slope is steep,
interrupted by many volcanoes; while on the Atlantic side the gently
terraced incline is broken into subsidiary ridges extending to the very
shores. In the oceanic valleys and along the coast are the only lowlands
of Central America; and these contain the wash of volcanoes, limestone
mountains, and ages of vegetable growth and decay, forming the richest of
soils for agricultural purposes.

In Guatemala the mean height of the cordillera is about seven thousand,
and probably the mean height of this republic is not less than five
thousand, feet. The Sierra Madre, or Cuchumatanes, in the Department of
Huehuetenango, is the highest land (always excepting the volcanoes, which
will be described later); and of the less important ridges are the Sierra
de Chamá (of limestone, and full of caverns), which extends towards the
northeast and ends in the Cockscomb Range of British Honduras; Sierra de
Santa Cruz, also of limestone, extends nearly eastward, north of the Lago
de Izabal and the Rio Polochic, and south of the Rio Sarstun; Sierra de
las Minas, nearly parallel to the last, and separating the valley of the
Rio Motagua from that of the Polochic. Of this range is the Montaña del
Mico and the peak of San Gil, near Livingston: the material is no longer
limestone, but metamorphic rock, containing mines of some importance.
Last we have the Sierra del Merendon, which forms the boundary between
Guatemala and Spanish Honduras; and with various names it finally ends in
the Montaña de Omoa on the coast,—an important landmark several thousand
feet high.

The mountains of Salvador are all volcanic and shoreward of the main
chain; but in Honduras the lines again repeat the general arrangement of
Guatemala, while the names are many, indicating a more broken system.
Between the ranges are broad and fertile valleys, the Llano de Comayagua
being forty miles in length, with a breadth of from five to fifteen
miles. In Nicaragua the ridges slope towards the southwest, breaking
abruptly to the Mosquito coast, and an important part of its territory
is occupied by the lakes of Managua and Nicaragua. From the broad valley
the land again rises towards Costa Rica, where it attains the height of
forty-three hundred feet, and, owing to the narrowness of the continent,
the lateral branches are insignificant. From the table-land of Veragua
the cordillera dwindles to the basaltic ridge of Panama.

[Illustration: CENTRAL AMERICA.]

Rivers are, next to mountains, the most important factors in the physical
aspect of the land; and in Central America they are abundant, though,
from the broken nature of the country, not of great size. From the
position of the backbone of the land, most of the watershed is towards
the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea; even the great lakes of
Nicaragua, which are really on the Pacific side, empty through the Rio
San Juan into the Atlantic, the river taking advantage of a break in the
cordillera. The lower or navigable portion of the Central American rivers
is the only part known; the sources of even the largest streams are still
unexplored. So tortuous are the courses that names are multiplied, and
rivers that flow from inhabited valleys through wild forests again appear
in the lowlands as unknown strangers; and the river that one traveller
describes as important and navigable, because he sees it in the season of
rain, the next visitor may cross knee-deep, and know only as a brook.

On the Pacific side may be mentioned the Rio Lempa, which rises near
Esquipulas, receives the waters of the considerable Lago de Guija (on
the boundary of Guatemala and Salvador), and even after the dry season
is of large volume, thirty miles from its mouth attaining a breadth of
more than six hundred feet and a depth of ten feet, which is nearly
twenty-seven when the floods of the rainy season occur. If it were not
for the bar, which has hardly a fathom of water, the navigation would
develop rich lands on either bank. The Rio Paz, the Rio de los Esclavos,
and the Rio Michatoya are not navigable, although formerly the latter
stream at its mouth (Istapa) was large enough within the bar to admit the
construction of vessels of moderate size; it was here that the Spaniards
fitted out several fleets.

Far different are some of the rivers that find their way into the
Atlantic. Chief among them all is the noble Usumacinta, which flows into
the Gulf of Mexico through the Lago de Terminos, and is navigable many
miles through a singularly fertile and interesting country, as beautiful
as fancy pictures the cradle of the human race,—a land seldom visited by
white men, and the home of the unconquered and unbaptized (La Candones)
Indios. The swift Chixoy, the Rio de la Pasion, and the almost unknown
San Pedro unite to form this “Child of many Waters.”

The Belize River, rising in the Montaña de Dolores near Peten and
crossing the British colony, is the principal highway for the commerce of
Peten, the pitpans bringing down huge mahogany bowls, paddles, baskets,
and other Indian goods. The Sarstun forms the southern boundary of the
British possessions, and is navigable for small canoes as far as the
rapids of Gracias á Dios. None but timber-cutters disturb its solitudes.
The Polochic is at present the most useful river of Guatemala. It rises
near Tactic, and is a foaming torrent for much of its course in Alta
Verapaz. At Pansos the waters are navigable for light-draft steamers,
except in very dry seasons; and not far below, its volume is materially
increased by the Cahabon. It flows through the Lake of Izabal, and, as
the Rio Dulce, empties into the Gulf of Amatique over a bar of sand. The
Motagua is nearly parallel to the Polochic, and rises near Santa Cruz del
Quiché. From Gualan it is navigable in canoes. Smaller streams are the
Ulúa, Aguan, and Segovia in Spanish Honduras, which are navigable for
pitpans. Finally we have the San Juan, known as one of the elements of
the “Nicaragua Canal” route, but not at present navigable for boats of
any size.

All the rivers of Central America that can be used for commerce require
a special river service; for wherever the depth of water is sufficient,
the always-present bar cuts off access to vessels drawing more than six
feet. Should the development of the country warrant it, the bar of the
Rio Dulce could be deepened sufficiently to admit vessels drawing ten or
fifteen feet.

Small lakes are common enough in the northern part of Central America.
The Laguna del Peten is about five hundred feet above the sea, nine
leagues long and five broad. The Lago de Atitlan, in the Department
of Sololà, is sixteen and a half miles long from San Lucas Toliman to
San Juan, and eight miles wide from San Buenaventura to Canajpú, and
soundings show a depth of a thousand feet. With the Laguna de Amatitlan,
this will be described in the Itinerary. Of Honduras, the chief lakes
are the Laguna de Caratasca, or Cartago, close on the Atlantic coast,
thirty-six miles long by twelve wide; the Lago de Yojoa, between the
Departments of Comayagua and Santa Bárbara, twenty-five miles long and
from five to eight wide; the Lago de Cartina, eighteen miles by eight,
and the Laguna de la Criba, fifteen by seven miles. Of all the lakes
of Central America, none is so interesting commercially as the Lake of
Nicaragua. It is large (ninety miles by forty), and the largest south of
Lake Michigan. Of a depth sufficient for all vessels (forty-five fathoms
in places), and connected with the Atlantic by the Rio San Juan, with
the Lago de Managua (thirty-five miles by sixteen), by the Tipitapa, it
has the serious disadvantage of being a volcanic basin, whose bottom
may at any time be elevated above the surface,—as in the case of the
volcano of Ometepec. Whether the channel between these two lakes is
permanent, is a matter of some doubt, as travellers have lately found
no water flowing from Managua. The Lago de Guija, between Guatemala and
Salvador, is seventeen miles long from east to west, and its mean width
is six. Fishes and alligators abound, and its waters—which are not of the
best quality—discharge through the Lempa to the Pacific. Another lake
in Salvador has attracted attention in late years by a curious volcanic
disturbance in its midst; Ilopango will be described with the volcanoes.

With this bare list of some of the prominent features of the country,
we may join a brief account of those other natural and political
characteristics of what was once Spain’s stronghold on this continent
that have most immediate relation to the present inhabitants. Leaving
Guatemala for a separate chapter, the other four republics may be
described as follows:—

_Salvador._—The smallest in extent, but by far the most populous, having
no less than sixty-three inhabitants to the square mile. The central part
is an upland of a mean elevation of two thousand feet above the sea,
bounded on the Pacific side by a chain of volcanic peaks; beyond these a
strip of lowland from ten to twenty miles wide. Eastward and westward are
two great depressions, San Miguel and Sonsonate, “the place of a hundred
springs” (_centsonatl_). The Gulf of Fonseca, fifty miles long and nearly
thirty wide, is said to be the most beautiful harbor on the Pacific
coast. On the southwest side is the principal port of La Union, a town of
little more than two thousand inhabitants, and unhealthful, as are all
the Pacific ports. The mean temperature is 80° Fahr.; and were it not for
the capital commercial facilities of the town, its inhabitants would be
few. Libertad has an open roadstead, and a population only half that of
La Union. Acajutla lies between the headlands of Remedios and Santiago,
and has but five hundred inhabitants; as the port of Sonsonate (distant
five leagues), however, it is much frequented, and is provided with an
iron pier, as is Libertad. In 1882 the first railway in the republic was
opened, from Acajutla to Sonsonate, a distance of fifteen miles; and work
has since been slowly progressing in the direction of Santa Ana.

Mines of gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, and anthracite coal are found
within the borders of Salvador, the principal being those of Loma-Larga,
Corozal, Devisadero, Encuentros, and Tabanco.

The capital was founded April 1, 1528, by Jorge de Alvarado, brother of
the conqueror of Guatemala; but ten or twelve years afterwards it was
removed to its present site in the valley De los Hamacas, where it has
been many times ruined by the terrible earthquakes to which this region
is especially subject.

The republic is divided into fourteen departments, twenty-nine districts,
and two hundred and twenty-eight towns.

  Departments.       Principal Cities.

  Santa Ana.         Santa Ana (25,000).
  Ahuachapan.        Ahuachapan.
  Sonsonate.         Sonsonate (8,000).
  La Libertad.       Nueva San Salvador (Santa Tecla).
  San Salvador.      San Salvador (30,000).
  Chalatenango.      Chalatenango.
  Cuscatlan.         Cojutepeque.
  La Paz.            Santa Lucia (Zacatecoluca).
  San Vincente.      San Vincente (10,000).
  Cabañas.           Sensuntepeque.
  Usulutan.          Usulutan.
  San Miguel.        San Miguel.
  Gotera.            Gotera.
  La Union.          San Carlos (La Union).

The legislative power is exercised by two chambers,—one of Deputies, the
other of Senators; each Department elects a senator and a substitute,
each District a representative and his substitute. The executive power is
in the hands of a citizen elected as President by the people directly;
should there be no election by an absolute majority of votes, the General
Assembly elects from the three citizens who have obtained the greatest
number of votes. Three senators are designated as heirs-apparent.
The term of office is four years, without immediate re-election. The
judiciary is similar in order and functions in all these republics, and
will be described as in Guatemala. The organized militia numbers about
thirteen thousand men; and in case of invasion, war lawfully declared,
and internal rebellion, all Salvadoreños between the ages of eighteen and
fifty are liable to military duty.

In 1879 the number of primary schools was 624 (465 boys’, and the rest
girls’); and these were attended by 20,400 boys and 4,038 girls, at a
probable cost of $150,000. There is a central university, with faculties
of Law, Medicine, Theology, and Civil Engineering, and it has branches at
Santa Ana and San Miguel.

There are six hundred and ninety-three miles of telegraph, with forty
offices; and the service is reasonably well performed by the Government
officials. A railroad between Santa Tecla and the capital, and five
hundred and nine leagues of cart-roads, afford communication; and there
are lines of stages subsidized by the Government.

In 1879 the imports were $2,549,160.19, and the exports $4,122,888.05;
the income $2,914,236.29, and the expenditures $2,785,068. The funded
debt was $1,945,201, the floating debt $392,777.11, and there is no
foreign debt.

Salvador is essentially an agricultural state, and coffee, indigo,
balsam, tobacco, rice, cacao, sugar, rubber, and other less important
products are produced abundantly from her fertile fields.

_Honduras._—The third republic of Central America covers an area of
about forty thousand square miles. Its boundaries are seen on the map,
and its surface is diversified with high mountain-ranges, broad and
fertile valleys, vast forests, and plentiful streams. Its climate is
extremely hot on the coast; but in the mountain region, as at Intibucá,
the temperature is low. Never so hot as a summer in New England cities,
and not so cold as to check a most luxuriant vegetable growth, the
traveller has an alternation of spring and summer as he changes his
level, irrespective of the astronomical year. Four hundred miles of
Atlantic coast-line, dotted with river-mouths, bays, and ports; sixty
miles on the Pacific side, in the secure Gulf of Fonseca,—seem to provide
ample commercial advantages; and to make these of use are the following
resources: vast plains in Comayagua and Olancho, covered with excellent
grass, pasture large herds of cattle, thousands of which are shipped
each year to Cuba.[2] The forests, which occupy much of the Atlantic
coast-region and the lower mountain-slopes abound in mahogany, rosewood,
cedar (_Bursera_), logwood (_Hæmatoxylon campecheanum_) brazil-wood
(_Cæsalpinia Braziliensis_), sarsaparilla (_Smilax_), and other
marketable products; the principal timber regions being on the rivers
Ulúa, Aguan, Negro, and Patuca,—all on the Atlantic side. In mineral
wealth Honduras easily outranks all her sister republics. Silver ores are
exceedingly abundant, chiefly on the Pacific slopes; and among them are
chlorides of remarkable richness. Gold washings occur in Olancho, and
are now worked by several foreign companies. Copper deposits are often
mingled with silver; iron exists as magnetite,—sometimes so pure that
it may be worked without smelting; antimony, tin, and zinc also have
been reported. Beds of lignite are found in the Department of Gracias;
and here too are the Hondureñan opals. Fruits of many kinds are now
grown in the neighborhood of Puerto Cortez, such as bananas, plantains,
coconuts, pines, for which there is a constant demand from the steamers
which come here from New Orleans. Of indigo little is now exported; but
the production of tobacco is increasing. Especially fine is the leaf
grown near Copan, rivalling, when properly cured, the best product of the
Cuban valleys; but the common cigars, which are sold for eight dollars
per thousand, are dear even at that price. In 1879 the importations were
valued at about one million dollars, and the exports twice that amount.
In later years these exports have largely increased. A railroad of narrow
gauge extends from Puerto Cortez to San Pedro,—thirty-seven miles; and
while the republic is sadly deficient in cart-roads, it is only fair
to say that the authorities are doing something to improve these very
necessary means, in the expectation that the country is to develop as it

The government is very like that of Salvador, and the administrative
departments are:—

  Departments.          Chief Cities.

  Islas de la Bahía.    Coxen Hole (Roatan).
  Yoro.                 Yoro.
  Olancho.              Juticalpa.
  Paraíso.              Yuscaran.
  Tegucigalpa.          Tegucigalpa (12,000).
  Choluteca.            Choluteca.
  La Paz.               La Paz.
  Comayagua.            Comayagua (10,000).
  Santa Bárbara.        Santa Bárbara.
  Gracias.              Gracias.
  Copan.                Santa Rosa.
  Colon.                Trujillo.

Public lands are abundant, and are granted to actual settlers of any
nationality at low rates, provided they will cultivate them. The towns
are all small, although some of them were flourishing sixty years before
the settlement of Jamestown in Virginia. Of the more important are
Tegucigalpa, the capital, in the midst of a plain some three thousand
feet above the sea, and surrounded by a mining region. It possesses a
Universidad Central, founded in 1849 by Don Juan Lindo, then President.
Comayagua was founded in 1540 by Alonzo de Cáceres, also in the midst
of a plain, where still are visible the monuments of antiquity,—the
less perishable works of a people more energetic than their successors;
for with the exception of some few churches, little of the work of the
present inhabitants would survive three centuries of occupation by a
foreign invader. Amapala, on the Island of Tigre, in the Gulf of Fonseca,
was formerly a favorite rendezvous of the buccaneers, Drake making it
his base of operations in the South Sea. Now it is no less desirable
as a port, having deep water close to shore. Puerto Cortez, or Puerto
Caballos,—as Cortez called it, from the death of some of his horses
here,—on the north coast, in latitude 15° 49′ N., and longitude 87° 57′
W., was selected by Cortez as the _entrepôt_ of New Spain, under the name
of Navedad. For more than two hundred years it was the principal port on
the coast; but dread of the buccaneers caused the removal to Omoa. The
bay is nine miles in circumference, with a depth of from four to twelve
fathoms over its principal area; and on the northern side, where the
water is deepest, large ocean steamers may come to the wharves. Omoa,
in latitude 15° 47′ N. and longitude 88° 5′ W., has a smaller harbor,
defended by the Castillo de San Fernando. Trujillo, an ancient port on
the western shore of a noble bay, is now growing in importance with the
development of Olancho, of which it is the natural seaport; but it has no
wharf or any sufficient landing-place for merchandise.

The Bay Islands are small, but of considerable importance. Roatan, the
largest, is about thirty miles long by nine broad, and in its highest
part nearly a thousand feet above the sea. Guanaja, or Bonaca, the first
land of Central America discovered by Columbus on his fourth voyage, is
fifteen miles from Roatan, and of an extent of five by nine miles. This
group is fertile, and with a fine climate should prove very attractive
to settlers from the North who appreciate the waste of life in an arctic
climate of eight months each year, when all vegetation ceases to grow,
and man himself can be kept alive only by artificial heat, where the
farmer must toil wearily four months for the poor produce that is to
sustain him all the “famine months,” and the laborer live poorly all the
twelvemonth, whatever be his work.

The history of Honduras has not been a happy one, even since its revolt
from the Spanish yoke in 1821, and revolutions have been the rule; but
in 1865 a new Constitution was adopted, with some prospect of internal
quiet. The four hundred thousand inhabitants include perhaps seven
thousand whites, the Spanish population being mainly on the Pacific
side, Caribs along the Atlantic coast, and several thousand of the mixed
races, the great majority being Indios, known as Xicaques and Poyas.
Perhaps the most adverse influence to the progress of this naturally rich
republic, next to the revolutions, was the scandalous loan for building
the “Honduras Inter-oceanic Railway” from Puerto Cortez to the Gulf of
Fonseca, a hundred and forty-eight miles. This loan, amounting in 1876
to $27,000,000, was as complete a swindle as has ever disgraced American
finances; but the people of Honduras, although responsible for the debt,
had little to do with its origin, and cannot rightly be blamed for not
paying interest on what they never had any advantage from. The internal
debt is about $2,000,000.

_Nicaragua._—Of nearly the same area as Honduras, Nicaragua is chiefly
distinguished by its lower level and the great lake which offers so
inviting a route for an inter-oceanic canal. The same fertility and
genial climate extend from the Hondureñan uplands into Chontales and
Segovia, where Northerners can enjoy life; but it is hot and unwholesome
near the sea, especially throughout the Mosquito Reservation, where the
frequent river-floods and the miasmatic marshes breed an endemic fever
very fatal to Europeans. The mean annual temperature (excepting the
highlands) is about 80° F., falling to 70° at night, and rising to 90° in
the hottest weather. The seasons, as elsewhere in Central America, are
two,—the wet from May to November, the dry including the winter months.
At Rivas, on the isthmus between the Lago de Nicaragua and the Pacific,
the annual rainfall is about a hundred and two inches; elsewhere the
summer rainfall is about ninety, and the winter less than ten.

Geologically, Nicaragua is no less rich than Honduras in variety of
structure and mineral possibilities. The volcanic formations on the
extreme West are rich in pumice and sulphur, while across the lake are
andesyte, trachyte, greenstone, and metalliferous porphyries, succeeded
by crystallized schists, dolerites, and metamorphic beds, extending, so
far as is known, beneath the alluvial deposits of the coast-region. The
Chontales gold mines have been worked for some time near Libertad, and
so have the silver mines of Matagalpa and Dipilto; but the total annual
yield of precious metals seldom exceeds $200,000.

The chief articles of export are cacao, hides, coffee, and gums, as
well as gold and silver bullion; and in 1880 the exports amounted to
$2,057,500, and the imports to $1,475,000. The revenue for this year was
$2,435,000, while the expenditures slightly exceeded it. All Nicaraguans
between the age of eighteen and thirty-five are in the army.

For more than half a century Nicaragua has been darkly distinguished
above all other countries of the world by war and bloodshed. Military
_pronunciamientos_, civil war, and popular revolts have so exhausted all
the resources of this rich country that it is quiet at last from utter
exhaustion. Could these fermenting republics be induced to give up their
absurd and expensive military establishments, and expend the money, now
worse than wasted, in opening roads and teaching the people something
besides military drill, the prosperity of this wonderfully fertile and
agreeable region would be assured. Only their revolutionary habits now
stand in the way of the introduction of foreign capital; and are not
these habits fostered by the constant military display which guards the
President and judges alike? It is certainly foreign to all Northern ideas
to have a court of justice guarded by military sentinels. Would that this
Eden might be reclaimed, the swords beaten into ploughshares, and the
generals and other officers turn their wasted energies to agriculture and

Nicaragua is divided into the following departments, according to the
census of 1882:—

  Departments.                  Chief Cities.

  Managua              12,000   Managua         7,800
  Granada              51,056   Granada        16,000
  Leon                 26,389   Leon           25,000
  Rivas                16,875   Rivas          10,000
  Chinandega           17,578   Chinandega     11,000
  Chontales            27,738   Libertad        5,000
  Matagalpa            51,699   Matagalpa       9,000
  Nueva Segovia        36,902   Ocotal          3,000
  San Juan del Norte    2,000   Greytown        1,512
  Mosquitia            36,000   Blewfields      1,000

These figures cannot, however, be relied upon for the population. With
a coast-line of two hundred and eighty miles on the Caribbean Sea, the
only port is San Juan del Norte (Greytown), formed by the northern branch
of the delta of the San Juan; and this is now nearly choked with sand.
The Pacific coast is bold and rocky, extending nearly two hundred miles
from Coseguina Point to Salinas Bay, and has several convenient harbors,
as San Juan del Sur, Brito, and, best of all, Realejo. Among the chief
cities is Leon, founded by Francisco Fernandez de Córdoba in 1523 in
Imbita, near the northwest shore of Lago de Managua, whence it was moved
in 1610 to the present site at the Indian town of Subtiaba. Managua, the
capital of the republic, was nearly destroyed in 1876 by a land-slide,
but is now rebuilt. Granada is the collegiate town of the republic, and
is on the shores of the great lake. A railway has long been in process
of construction to connect the capital with the ocean. In 1882 the
telegraphic system of eight hundred miles was completed, and eighty-one
thousand despatches were forwarded the preceding year through twenty-six
offices. In 1882 the total attendance at the national schools was only
five thousand, or less than eight per cent of the whole population. The
annual grant for the purposes of education was $50,000.

The Mosquito coast cuts from Nicaragua a large portion of her shore-line,
precisely as British Honduras robs Guatemala of hers; and this has
been a cause of serious trouble. This territory, which is about forty
miles wide, had been under the protection of Great Britain from 1655
to 1850, when that very un-American document the Clayton-Bulwer treaty
gave England certain rights in her colony of Belize in exchange for such
claims as she had to this coast, and by the treaty of Managua, in 1860,
she formally ceded her protectorate to Nicaragua; but there are still
several disputed points.

_Costa Rica._—The fifth and most southern republic of Central America
has an area of only twenty-one thousand square miles. The Atlantic
coast is low, and the country is covered with a dense forest, while the
Pacific slope is characterized by wide savannas, or _llanuras_. Between
these borders are high volcanoes and an elevated table-land three to
four thousand feet above the sea,—the latter almost the only cultivated
land in the State. The forests are largely composed of very valuable
trees,—mahogany, ebony, brazil-wood, and oak; and the usual tropical
fruits grow well. Coffee, however, is the staple export, being grown
extensively in the neighborhood of San José and Cartago; the soil most
favorable being dark volcanic ash, from three to eighteen feet deep. The
amount exported in 1874 was valued at $4,464,000; in 1885 the amount is
placed at $4,219,617.

On the Atlantic side Puerto Limon is the chief commercial town, and on
the Pacific, Punta Arenas. In 1871 the Government negotiated a loan in
London of $5,000,000, and the next year another of $12,000,000,—but from
both of them never received more than $5,058,059.60,—with the avowed
intention of building an inter-oceanic railway between the two principal
ports; but only detached portions have been built,—twenty-four miles
from Alajuela to Cartago, sixty from Limon to Carrillo, and six from
Punta Arenas to Esparta. The country is bankrupt, and makes no attempt
to pay any part of its liabilities; indeed, its revenues, derived from
intolerable duties (even on the export of coffee), monopolies of spirits
and tobacco, national bank, sales of land, and internal taxes, do not
balance the expenditures.

The legislature is composed of a Congress of Deputies,—one for each
electoral district,—holding office six years, half being renewed every
three years. The members of the Corte de Justicia are elected by
Congress. The present constitution (from 1871) is the seventh that has
been in force. The departments are,—

  Departments.               Chief Cities.

  San José       45,000      San José       15,000
  Cartago        36,000      Cartago        10,000
  Heredia        30,000      Heredia         9,000
  Alajuela       29,000      Alajuela        6,000
  Guanacaste      8,000      Liberia         2,000
  Punta Arenas    6,000      Punta Arenas    1,800

The population is estimated by M. Belly.

Both the northern boundary on Nicaragua, and the southern one on
Columbia, are in dispute.[3]

I have endeavored to give most briefly the chief matters of importance
relating to the four republics that, with Guatemala, constitute Central
America. I am well aware that I have turned, that I can turn but little
light on the darkness; too little is known of the country, beyond its
trade and political relations to the rest of the world. Volcanoes,
earthquakes, and revolutions have popularly been associated with the
whole region, and public taste has been turned away from such unpleasant
outbreaks of subterranean fires or human passions. The time will come
when these regions, far more fertile and accessible than those African
wilds that for a score of years have interested, strangely enough, both
explorer and capitalist, will claim the attention due their natural
merits; and the fertile plains will be the garden and orchard of the
United States,—not necessarily by political annexation, but by commercial
intercourse. All our sugar, all our coffee, all our rice, all our
chocolate, all our india-rubber ought to come from Central America,
where these products can be raised better and cheaper than in any other
country; and next to these staples, the subsidiary fruits, as oranges,
plantains, bananas, pines, limes, granadillas, aguacates, and dozens of
others now unknown to commerce, ought to come to us from Limon, Puerto
Cortez, and Livingston. These are to be obtained in Guatemala of better
quality and in better order than in the West Indies. Louisiana would then
perhaps give up the unnatural cultivation of sugar, and Florida cease her
useless striving to raise really good oranges, and both States turn to
the products they are better fitted for raising.

I will ask you to go with me through the republic of Guatemala, and to
see it, so far as you can, with my eyes; and until that journey is
ended, we will leave the story of the old times, the present system
of government, the ethnology, the volcanoes, the flora and fauna, to
chapters by themselves, even if the unsystematic arrangement should savor
strongly of the irregularity of the land we journey through.

[Illustration: Luciano Calletano (Captain at Chocon).]



As the steamer anchors far from the shore at the port of Livingston, the
traveller sees almost exactly what the Spaniards saw,—earth, sky, and
sea, so little change have four centuries wrought on the outer shores
of Guatemala. Northward are the picturesque hills of British Honduras,
backed by the blue summits of the Cockscomb range; southward the majestic
San Gil, bearing like another Atlas the clouds on his broad shoulders;
eastward the low Cays, covered with the feathery coconuts; before
him the shore, here marked by a long limestone cliff crowned by the
palm-sheltered houses of the Caribs, while farther to the westward rise
the Santa Cruz mountains. The yellow waters of some great river lave the
vessel’s sides; but no break is visible in the landward horizon.

For a while all is as it was when Hernan Cortez, in the year 1525, came
to this shore after his terrible march from Mexico. There was even then
a little village on the high bluff; and he found two of his countrymen
gathering _sapotes_ (_Lucuma mammosa_) to save the little colony of
Spaniards, a few leagues farther south, from starving. Waiting in the
early dawn for the landing-boats, I cannot but recall the ancient times;
imagination sinks the great steamer into the little caravel, and the
feelings of the _conquistadores_ are mine for the time. Soon the white
sails drop out from the foliage, the canoes are seen rapidly approaching,
and the chatter of Caribs, both men and women, banishes all daydreams.

The “Progreso,” once a Buzzard Bay racer, sails rapidly out and takes on
board her cargo,—my friend, his mother, and myself, and traps of no light
weight. Her bows are soon turned landward, and as she glides along, all
the features of the shore unfold,—the coco-palms of marked luxuriance,
the thatched houses with shining white walls, the limestone cliff almost
covered with convolvulus and other foliage, the narrow beach, the canoes
of various size and shape. We turn a point, and the town of Livingston is
before us, and we are in the mouth of the Rio Dulce.

On the shore the only prominent building is the custom-house, built
before Livingston was declared a free port; and in front of this is a
low, dilapidated wharf, at which our tender landed us, the water being
not more than fifteen inches deep. The tides here are less than a foot,
so that shoal-water keeps boats of any size at a distance, making landing
difficult. It was comforting to know that a charter for a wharf had been
obtained, and that our successors may land with greater ease.

We did not find the heat greater than on the steamer in the offing, and
even the necessary bustle and trouble in getting luggage transferred to
the backs of men did not cause discomfort. The custom-house and a few
offices occupy the front of an amphitheatre with very steep sides, above
which is the town. Springs burst from the gravel and furnish pools for
the washerwomen, whose sturdy, yet graceful forms, barely concealed by
their scanty garb, are very attractive. Some stood in the clear pools,
others bent over the washing-stones, some played with their children in
the water, while others climbed the steep path to the town, carrying a
head-burden of great weight.

[Illustration: Barrack Point, Livingston.]

Our abode was on the Campo Santo Viejo, the burial-hill of former days,
and right across our path lay the empty tomb of a son of Carrera, the
former President of Guatemala; as we passed this we noted the admirable
mortar with which its bricks were laid,—so strong that no brick can be
cut out whole. On this resting-place of perished Caribs the foreign
inhabitants of Livingston dwell. It is the west end of the town, and
overlooks both the river and the native town, where are also the stores
and the hotels.

All descriptions of a growing town must be unsatisfactory, so rapidly
does the population and topography change; and a few words may convey all
the geographical knowledge needed. Rolling ground, which might easily be
drained, but is not; streets generally at right angles, none paved, and
most of them exceedingly muddy in wet weather; fences of the rudest form,
mostly sticks bound together with vines; houses with walls of adobe or
of wattle, in both cases covered with mud plaster and whitewashed, none
of them over one story, but with high roofs thatched with palm; yards,
but no gardens; stores here and there built of boards from New Orleans,
and occupied by foreigners,—French, Germans, Italians, Americans (_del
Norte_); a dilapidated chapel on or among the neglected foundations of an
intended church; beyond this the barracks on a beautiful point; children
of all ages playing in the dirt and merrily greeting the passer-by
with their black, shiny, healthy faces; palm-trees, mangoes, sapotes,
bread-fruit, oranges, anonas, bananas, and coffee-trees scattered without
order, and wholly uncultivated,—make the external features of this place.
No vehicles are in the streets, though a few horses roam untethered
through the town. Every burden is carried on the heads of men or women.
The house-doors are all open; but the interior is generally too dark to
disclose much of the inner mysteries to the stranger. Westward from the
town lies the new Campo Santo, and beyond this the almost impenetrable


The situation of Livingston is good,—at the mouth of one of the finest
rivers of the Atlantic coast of Central America. The climate is very
healthful and agreeable, and the frequent communication by two lines
of steamers with New Orleans, one line with New York, and another with
Liverpool, make it an important business-centre. All the fine coffee
from Alta Verapaz and the fruit from the plantations on the Chocon
and Polochic is shipped here; and the product might be indefinitely
increased. The drawbacks are a bar with only a fathom of water at the
mouth of a river navigable otherwise for many miles by the largest
steamers, no wharves, little enterprise on the part of the native
inhabitants, and a frequent sea-breeze in the afternoon, which sometimes
makes landing through the rough water on the bar unpleasant. The
population is about two thousand, chiefly Caribs; and long inaction and
complete lack of enterprise have produced a people poor and careless of
riches if obtained at the price of labor. As in all similar places, there
is no lack of adventurers of the lowest character.

All this matter is not, however, learned at once, and observation must
be depended on rather than report; for the merchants of Livingston see
the prospects of their town in very different lights when talking with a
mere visitor or with a possible rival in the small but very profitable
business. As a stranger, I was told that the place was an el dorado;
that limitless crops grew without urging from a soil of unequalled
richness; that the climate was salubrious, and eternal summer reigned;
that business was brisk, and constantly increasing under wise laws and
a favoring government. As a settler, the song was sung to me in a minor
key: labor was not to be had; no good lands could be obtained; the
steamers were the tyrants of the place, and all earnings were eaten up
by freights. Then there were the warning cries of those unfortunate
men who wanted to make money in a newly opened country, but had not the
necessary courage and endurance for a pioneer. They had not met success,
and they had not grit enough to seek it. Micawbers far from home, they
waited for something to turn up.

The process of finding out about the place was not an unpleasant one; it
was what we had come for, and we began it the first day at breakfast.
While we lodged in our house on the hill, we took our meals—with the
exception of early coffee and rolls—in the town at the house of Señor
Castellan; and they were in genuine Hispano-American style. Eleven
o’clock is the hour for _almuerzo_, or breakfast, and thus the time for
ceasing work and taking the needed midday rest. Late in the afternoon
came the _comida_, or dinner,—differing from breakfast only in the
occasional provision of _dulces_, or sweetmeats. The _menu_ was constant;
an oily soup, beans black or white, beef or chicken stew with chillis,
fish, bread, and coffee, formed the almost unvarying round. Our waiters
were two little boys,—one the son of our host, the other his ward. With
our coffee we generally had fresh milk; but when the supply of this
failed, a can of condensed milk took its place. Not infrequently the
sugar also failed; and then one of the boys ran to the nearest store and
bought half a pound of a coarse brown kind, and replenished the saucer
that did duty as sugar-bowl. No supply of anything was ever kept in the


Our dining-room was dark,—the only light coming from the open doors at
either end. There was but the earth, hard trodden, for the floor, and the
furnishing was simple enough,—a rough table and half a dozen rickety
chairs. A tablecloth served also for napkins, and the dishes were of many
patterns, colors, and degrees of dirtiness. It seemed absurd to call for
a clean plate; but we did so, to see what would happen. Besides our own
party of four, we had a _padre_ and an Italian as fellow-boarders; and a
little observation of the habits of these polite friends helped us much
in our new circumstances.

A large tame duck used to waddle under my chair, and at last would take
bits of tortilla from my hand. Several mangy dogs and cats had to be
driven out whenever we sat down to eat; but the hens were not disturbed,
for they contributed so much to our larder that they were privileged,
and one nested in an old felt hat on a corner shelf, while another came
cackling out of one of the dark bedrooms that opened on either side. In
spite of all these drawbacks, we liked the cookery, and did ample justice
to it.

As the ancient Romans in their luxury had entertainment for the eye as
they reclined at meat, we in our simplicity had a constantly moving
panorama at our street door. Stout Carib women, straight as one could
wish, walked by, with every burden, however insignificant, balanced on
the head. Half a pound of sugar or a dose of salts would be placed above
the turban as surely as would a heavy jar of water or a house-timber.
Some fine forms, both of men and women, made part of this procession; and
the latter wore garments short at either end, fastened over one shoulder
only, and displaying the bust perfectly. A soldier came along once in a
while, but only his cap and musket told his class. Boys wrestling but
seldom fighting, dogs fighting for a bone,—all helped us to prolong our
meal. It was difficult to make the boys understand that they must not
spit on the floor as they handed us the dishes. A large brick oven in the
courtyard furnished bread for a number of families, and good bread.

In our walks about the town we were often politely invited into the
houses, and so had a chance to see the cassava bread making. The tuberous
roots of the manioc (_Manihot utilissima_) often attain a weight of
twenty or thirty pounds, and are full of a poisonous juice, deadly when
swallowed. A mahogany board is provided, into which broken crystals of
quartz are inserted, and this serves to grate the root into a coarse
meal, which is washed carefully (the starch is partly removed, and
settles in the water as tapioca), and is then placed in a long sack of
basket-work, called very appropriately _serpiente_. This ingenious press
is fastened at one end to a house-beam, while on a lever placed through
the loop at the other end all the children of the family sit in turn,
or together if they are small; and the squeezed mass is dexterously
made afterwards into flat loaves about three feet in diameter, and not
more than a quarter of an inch thick, dried, and then baked. The result
is a wholesome and very nutritious bread, which keeps a long time and
is capital on an excursion. Later on, when our own housekeeping was in
order, we found it made excellent puddings, and was better than crackers
in soup; while in the woods it was indispensable. It is also a capital
diet in dyspepsia, can be eaten in sea-sickness when all other food is
rejected, and serves to fill out the bony outlines of an emaciated human
frame better than anything else. The clean white loaves can be easily
exported, and are very attractive. Fine oranges we bought from a tree in
the yard of our cassava-maker at ten for a medio (five cents).

[Illustration: GRATING CASSAVA.]

The fine view from the fort can be seen in the illustration; but as Frank
and I stepped over the low wall and set up the camera to photograph it,
we attracted the attention of the officer in charge, who at once ordered
us to come to him. A convenient temporary ignorance of Spanish delayed
us until the view was secured and a squad of soldiers sent to arrest us,
when the officer wanted to know what we were “telegraphing in the fort
for.” With a very few words I exposed his ignorance to his soldiers,
who laughed as heartily at him as if they had not been quite as stupid
as he; and he begged us to leave at once. Of this same garrison it is
related that some years ago a French corvette anchored off the point and
fired a salute. The first gun was all right; but the second astonished
the valiant soldiers, and at the third they all threw down their guns
and fled to the bush, fully convinced that an attack on the village was
intended. After a while boys were sent out into the woods to tell these
warriors that it was safe to come home. The lighthouse here, which all
incoming vessels are taxed to maintain, consists of a stout pole; but the
lantern has been broken, and not replaced.

Below this military post is the usual landing-place for canoas. These
are nearly all dug out of single mahogany or cedar logs, and are not
only well made, but of good form. Some are forty feet long and six feet
wide. The paddles were of mahogany, and the women paddled as well and
powerfully as the men; both, indeed, seemed to be quite at home on the

Some of the incoming canoes were laden with coconuts, others with bananas
and plantains from the little _fincas_ along the coast, and yet others
with fish. The last we noted more carefully, as there is no fish-market
in Livingston, and the fish are always interesting to a stranger; for
odd and various as may be the fruits of a new clime, the produce of the
sea generally surpasses that of the land in curious forms. There were
some of the oddest of the Central American waters; and the man who first
ate them must have been very brave or very hungry. One of them had flesh
resembling beef in color, and good and substantial when cooked.

Paths about the town are narrow and grass-grown, and the hooked seeds of
a _Desmodium_ cling to the clothes, and the thorns of the sensitive-plant
(_Mimosa pudicans_) scratch the bare feet of the passer; but worse than
all these, in the grass are tiny insects called _coloradía_, which bite
the ankles and other exposed parts, causing red spots and an intolerable
itching,—easily allayed, however, by salt-water or bay-rum applications.
Mosquitoes were not troublesome, and we used no nettings; nor did we see
any house-flies.

A bath in the Rio Dulce was tempered by the dread of sharks; and
refreshing as the sweet water was, there was a self-congratulatory
feeling on getting safely back to the huge square-hewn mahogany logs that
served for dressing-room.

To the outward world Livingston is principally interesting as the free
port of Guatemala,—the outlet of the coffee of Alta Verapaz and the
fruits of the Atlantic coast-region. In its early history it was a
settlement of Caribs,—those splendid negroes who were driven from the
islands of the sea, which still bear their name, when the Spaniards
enslaved or destroyed their fellow-owners of the land. Its situation at
the entrance of the chief waterway to the interior and the capital soon
marked it for a Spanish post; but the buccaneers were too powerful, and
before their advance the port of entry was moved far up the Rio Dulce to
Izabal, on the lake of that name,—the fort of San Felipe blocking the
way to these lawless enemies. Not only pirates, but the Home Government
hastened the decay and disuse of this port, and the banks of the Rio
Dulce were of little importance, except to the mahogany-cutters and
sarsaparilla-gatherers, for two centuries.

An enlightened Government, in fostering the immense agricultural wealth
of Guatemala, turned the attention of foreign capital, first to the rich
coffee-lands in the neighborhood of Coban, and later to the even richer
fruit-lands of the valleys east of the high table-lands of the interior.
The outlet for all the produce was by the Polochic, and the shipping-port
was Livingston; so the little village built by the exiled Caribals
(cannibals) has been gradually occupied by business men of various
nations, until now the population may be nearly two thousand. The shores
are high and healthful, and the anchorage within the river is secure.
Dredging would easily open a channel, and jetties like those placed in
the Mississippi by Captain Eads would doubtless keep the way open; for
the current is frequently very strong, but now wastes its strength over
a mile of shoal-water. At present all the ocean steamers lie at anchor
outside; and consequently the lighterage is an important business.

In the immediate neighborhood of this port, and accessible by water,
are lands pre-eminently adapted for sugar or cotton cultivation;
although now, owing to the smaller capital required, and speedier
returns, bananas and plantains are the chief products. The Government
determined to develop these lands,—which have hitherto been left to the
solitude of their dense forests and the occasional intrusion of the
mahogany-cutter,—and in 1882 declared Livingston a free port, including
in its territory a large triangular part of the eastern coast. The public
lands were then offered for sale at reasonable rates; and in consequence,
several capitalists from the United States have purchased large tracts,
and are cultivating soil perhaps the most fertile on the continent.

Climatic changes are insensible here, and it may truly be said that the
one season is summer. Never has yellow fever or other dangerous zymotic
disease visited Livingston, and the death-rate is about one quarter that
of Boston. The rapid increase of its population and commercial importance
will make imperative the demand for improved harbor and wharf facilities.

Ten miles to the south of Livingston is the fine harbor of Santo Tomas,
where in 1843 a Belgian colony was established; and as this unfortunate
attempt has given an ill reputation to all Central America, it is well
to state that failure was by no means due to the insalubrity of the
climate, but to the want of foresight of the projectors and the abject
ignorance of tropical trials on the part of the immigrants. Landed
in an unaccustomed climate, in the wet season, without shelter, and
inadequately provisioned, they lost heart, health, or life itself.

[Illustration: WEAVING A SERPIENTE.]

Pioneers and frontiersmen should not be recruited from shops and
counters. The pluck and caution needed for a struggle with untried
conditions, the determination to be content with slim comforts and
undaunted in the face of every discouragement, looking always to the
final result, experience shows cannot be found in this class. They
do well enough as eleventh-hour assistants, when the strong men have
felled the forest and broken the ground and built houses and shops for
these weaker but still useful brothers; but the first colonists must
be of sterner stuff. Probably, had shelter and good food been provided
for those inexperienced Belgians, there would have been at Santo Tomas
something more to-day than the memory of their visit.

In 1881 the little town contained but one hundred and twenty-nine
inhabitants, mostly fishermen; but the construction of the Ferro-carril
del Norte, to connect the capital with the Atlantic, changed for a time
the sleepy hamlet into the busy haunt of contractors and laborers. The
exigencies of the railroad calling for the deepest water, however, the
new town of Port Barrios has been founded, some three miles to the
eastward of the ancient village. Curiously enough, the Bay of Santo Tomas
has no river; but it lies between the Rio Dulce and the Motagua.

From Livingston to New Orleans the distance is 900 miles; to Belize,
125; to Kingston, Jamaica, 800; to Puerto Cortez (Caballos), 55; to
Izabal, 45; to Pansos, 90; and to Guatemala City (water to Izabal, and
mule-path thence), 120. The usual steamer time from New Orleans is six
days, including a stop of two days at Belize; from New York, ten days,
including stops at Kingston and Belize; and three days should be ample to
New Orleans, seven to New York, and eight to Boston. A glance at a map
will show that the course as well as the distance between Livingston
and New York is much in favor of that route over the better-known one
from Aspinwall to the metropolis; and when to this saving of time and
avoidance of the dangers of navigation is added the greater facilities
for raising and shipping fruit which Livingston is now developing, there
is great probability that New Orleans will not long be allowed to absorb
all the bananas, plantains, and pines, or England all the coffee and
mahogany, shipped at Livingston.

The natural advantages of a port and the conveniences of trade between
that and other countries are of small moment if there is nothing beyond
the port; and one must look well into the interior of the country to see
its poverty or richness. Before crossing the republic, the fruit-lands of
Livingston are worthy of exploration. The little plantations at Cocali,
on the coast northward, and those along the banks of the Rio Dulce,
are easily seen, and in their present condition offer nothing new or
especially interesting. Bananas and plantains are almost the only product
of commercial importance; for the pines grow wild, cassava, bread-fruit,
mangoes, and sapotes are not exported, and the coconut is native on the

No systematic cultivation is known in this region, and the crops grow
very much as they did in the Garden of Eden. Plantation-work consists
of clearing the land of forest (which is done in January and February),
allowing the felled trees to dry, burning in May, and planting in June.
No plough ever furrows the rich ground, and the hoe is sufficient for the
planter’s needs, while most handy for the laborers. As may be supposed,
the labor of keeping the crops clear of weeds is considerable, but not
so great as on our Northern farms; for although the vegetable growth is
very rapid, the country is as yet free from foreign weeds. With us the
most rapidly growing and pernicious weeds have all been imported; and on
the Hawaiian Islands the vegetable growths that have laid waste thousands
of acres of the best pasturage are the lantana, verbena, and indigo,
not one of them indigenous. In the course of years cultivation may
bring these agricultural curses; but at present the Guatemalan planter
in Livingston has only palms, canes, ferns, ginger, and other easily
eradicated plants to contend with.

Indian corn (_maiz_) is planted in slight holes made with a stick and
covered with the foot, and seed planted on Thursday has been found four
inches high on the following Monday. The stalks are sometimes seventeen
feet high, and average three ears each; only ninety days are required to
mature the crop, which is gathered three times each year. Upland rice is
scattered broadcast on the soil, and the straw grows six feet high, with
generous heads, yielding the finest rice known; two crops can be raised
each year. Sugar-cane has been found to yield three tons of sugar per
acre for twenty years without replanting,—a result unknown in any other
sugar-country. At present there are no mills in eastern Guatemala, and
only enough cane is planted to supply the demand for eating, or rather

Bananas have within the last ten years become very common all over the
United States, and every one is familiar with the imported varieties; but
few are aware that the varieties grown in the tropics exceed two hundred,
many of them too delicate to bear transportation, and as far superior to
the common sorts as a choice table-apple surpasses the cider-apple of our
New England pastures. The kinds of banana most raised near Livingston
are the same as those of Aspinwall; but the quality is superior.
Plantains are grown even more commonly than bananas, and the domestic
consumption is much greater. Among Northern fruit-dealers the banana and
plantain are frequently confounded; but they are as different as pears
and apples. To grow either, simply requires planting of suckers, which
in nine months should bear a bunch of fruit. The stem is now cut down,
and from its base sprout several suckers, all over three being removed
for planting elsewhere. It is only necessary to remove the finished stem
and extra suckers to insure crops for a long series of years. No attempt
has been made to use the valuable fibre, of which there is an average of
three pounds to a stalk.

When we turn from what is done here to the consideration of what may be,
the interest vastly increases; and to this end let the reader join us in
an exploration of one of the rivers flowing from a valley of great extent
and unrivalled fertility, but covered with forest, and unknown save to
the mahogany-cutters and an occasional huntsman. The Rio Chocon is almost
unnoticed on the maps, and its source unknown; but it probably rises in
the Santa Cruz mountains.

In the middle of October, 1883, the “Progreso” was manned and
provisioned, and in the early afternoon we were on board waiting for
the sea-breeze to help us up the river. The light wind served to carry
us across the Rio Dulce, but no more; and anchoring, we sent three
men ashore to lay in a supply of plantains, bananas, coconuts, and
sugar-cane. Travelling in the tropics is usually far from luxurious;
and our present outfit was no exception to the rule. Our captain
had provided a Jamaica negro for cook, Santiago, a half-breed, for
_montero_, or guide in the forest, and our crew consisted of Guillermo,
an attractive looking but bad boy, who was always singing about his
_corazon_ (heart), Francisco, and two other men, whose exact ethnological
classification was a puzzle. Our cook, his oil-stove and canned
provisions filled the little cabin; but the cock-pit was large, and Frank
shared with me one side, while the captain occupied the other, and at
night we had a canvas awning over the whole. Folding-chairs served for
beds as well, and our traps were put into the capital water-proof baskets
called _petácas_.

[Illustration: Entrance to the Rio Dulce.]

Later than usual the breeze freshened, and we were sailing apparently
for the spur of San Gil, which stretches northward right across the
river. As we advanced, the walls opened, and we entered a gorge far finer
than that of the Saguenay; for the savage cliffs of the wild Canadian
stream are here replaced by white limestone precipices jealously covered
with palms and vines, until only here and there could the rock be seen
under or through its richly colored mantle. The river is deep, in places
eighteen fathoms, and, except in the overhanging trees, there was no
place to land on either side for some distance.

Frank shot at a fine pelican, but only broke a wing; and although he
pursued the wounded bird rapidly in a little _cayuco_ that we had in
tow, he did not gain on the powerful swimmer until a shot from the
“Progreso” killed the fugitive, whose remains measured seven feet across
the wings. Other birds tempted us, but the fast-waning daylight warned us
against delay; and as darkness fell upon us with tropical rapidity, we
came to the lake-like Golfete, nine miles from Livingston, and anchored
for the night off Cayo Paloma (Dove Island), the only inhabited spot
on the river. Our crew went ashore for shelter, and we retired under
our substantial awning, which protected us from the rain which fell in
torrents during the night. We had found no mosquitoes at Livingston, and
there were none here; so our sleep was not broken until our boys came
on board before daybreak. Where we had entered this beautiful lake we
strangers did not know; and even when the direction was ascertained, the
opening of the river was invisible. Coconut-palms and bananas will give a
charm to any landscape; yet the little Cayo Paloma hardly needed them, so
beautiful was it in itself.

Grand San Gil brushed the clouds from his forehead and looked down
smilingly upon us in promise of a fair day as we sailed up the Golfete.
A short league brought us to a curious limestone rock on the northern
shore,—a regular cube, rising from deep water, and capped with a pyramid
of foliage. So unusual a formation could hardly have failed to attract
the aboriginal mind; and there may be on the summit some remains,—a
sacrificial altar, or stele. We did not go near enough to see any way of
access; but the branches seem to hang low enough on one side to promise
an entrance to an active climber, and we determined to try it some other
day when we had more time.[4]

If the entrance to the Rio Dulce was well concealed, that to the Rio
Chocon was still harder to find; and but for the rock island, one might
try several apparent openings in the hedge-like border of the stream
before entering the canal that sweeps in a semicircle into the actual
river. Two alligators sat, like the porters at an Egyptian palace,
opposite each other at the entrance, but dropped incontinently into the
stream before our rifles were ready,—giving us an unpleasant reminder of
what we might expect should we take a bath in the cool river. From animal
to vegetable was but a glance; and the musky odor of the reptiles faded
into the fragrance of a large purple passion-flower, which hung so low
that we slipped into the _cayuco_, Frank and I, and paddled from bank to
bank in the little mahogany dug-out, pulling down branches and vines,
shaking out lizards and beetles, while humming-birds of almost every
bright color, and butterflies of hues seldom seen in cooler climates,
would hardly leave the fragrant flowers we gathered. Nothing could be
seen beyond the river, for we were in a green lane bordered by all the
tropics can produce of vegetable life; and as the day wore on we felt
the weariness of seeing. A little white passion-flower (_P. Brighami_),
with curiously clipped leaves, three kinds of morning-glory, a crimson
abutilon, and a host of plants whose family alone was known to us, had
been consigned to the plant-press. At first there were no palms; but as
we ascended the stream, which was in flood, the banks at last appeared,
growing gradually higher, and only on solid ground could the palms find
foothold. The cohune (_Attalea cohune_), with its long clusters of hard
oily nuts, came first; then a small pinnate-leaved, graceful, but unknown
species; then an astrocarya, with dreadful spines and hard but edible
nuts; and finally, on the rocky banks, slender, long-stemmed species,
and a climbing palm that, like the rattan, attained a length of several
hundred feet. Our first glimpse of the family in full force was at the
junction of the two mouths of the Chocon. Here there is an enlargement of
the river into a lagoon, and the eastern branch looks as large and easily
navigable as that we had entered. At another time we found this was the
case. Bambus bent their graceful stems in clusters over the water, and
here and there tall reeds in blossom waved their light plumes against the
dark-green trees behind them.

With the drift floating down stream we noticed queer green things
which were evidently vegetable; but what else? At last we came to some
sapoton-trees (_Pachira_); and it was their fruit, now ripening,—like
in size and appearance to a husked coconut,—that furnished our puzzle.
The fruits split while on the tree, and drop the nuts, which are about
as large as a hen’s egg, into the water, where they soon germinate, and
float about with expanded cotyledons until caught on some shoal, or at
the bank, where they take root.

[Illustration: EL RIO CHOCON.]

Not once all day did we see a place to land; indeed, until we had
ascended the river several miles there was no land, so high was the
flood. Dense foliage, suitably defended with spines of palm and the no
less unpleasant thorns of the guilandina and sarsaparilla, hid what might
be disagreeable of animal life along shore; and as we could not land,
neither could we plunge into the cool river,—that was already engaged by
the alligators.

As the sun dropped behind the trees we made fast to a large post in
midstream, starting a whole family of little leaf-nosed bats out of a
woodpecker’s hole in this dead tree; and as our _comida_ was being laid,
I explored more carefully this curious mooring. Water-logged and stranded
on the bottom, some twenty feet below us, it was a perfect image of life
in death; for every part above the water was covered with a luxuriant
growth not its own, and yet perfectly in place. On one side clung three
different orchids in seed, a cluster of peperomias in blossom, and a fine
cereus, while mosses and ferns quite covered the interstices. We did not
at that time know the naughty habits of the bright little bats,[5] or
we should not have slept so quietly; as it was, the mosquitoes were very
thick, and only our veils protected us.

It was a strange bed-chamber. The river, black beneath and around us,
was silent enough; for the current hardly rippled against our boat, no
wind moved the leaves, and only our own voices broke the stillness while
we waited for sleep. Suddenly a sound between a shriek and a roar burst
almost over our heads. “Tigre,” muttered Frank as he felt for his rifle.
It was only a lion-bird; but its terrible cry was repeated until it
seemed to awake all the nocturnal noises of the forests that stretched
for fifty miles around us. Howling monkeys (_Mycetes ursinus_), a shrill
water-bird, hooting owls, were all easily distinguished by our _montero_;
and we slept more tranquilly after his explanation, even though we
thought we felt the rough back of an alligator scrape the bottom of our
boat. I have heard the real tiger’s howl in the Sumatran jungle; but it
was not so terrible as this wretched bird, nor are the tropical nocturnal
noises so loud and various in any other place where I have been.

So far the country through which we passed was worthless for agricultural
purposes; but early the next morning we came to an elevated limestone
ridge, and beyond this outwork the banks grew sensibly higher, until they
were some twelve feet above the present high water. With the higher banks
appeared the iguanas; and I made my first shot,—a large female,— which
was picked up, while three others fell into the water and sank before we
could reach them. It was some time before I learned to distinguish these
reptiles; for they are nearly of the color of the branches on which they
bask, and until they move, are to the unpractised eye only a part of the
bewildering foliage. I did not like to be told where to look, so before
the day was half gone I could see an iguana as soon as a native.

[Illustration: Female Iguanas.]

A mouth like a toad’s, green, glittering eyes, a large pendulous dewlap,
a row of lancet-shaped spines down the back, slender claws, and a long,
pointed tail, certainly are not features to make the iguana an attractive
pet; and yet it is gentle, easily tamed, and there are people who enjoy
its company. Let not the Northern ladies shudder as they look on this
picture; for do they not know, are there not among their number those
who fondle and kiss(!) even the deformed pugs and lap-dogs? Unlike the
worthless curs, the iguana is a most excellent food-animal; its delicate
white meat is not unlike chicken, and the eggs—of which the female lays
five or six dozen—are all yolk, and very delicious.[6] Being good
swimmers, they drop from their perches over the river when alarmed, and
after a fall sometimes of sixty to eighty feet the splash is suggestive
of broken ribs, or at least a total loss of wind; but they scramble
nimbly up the banks under the overhanging shrubs, and are lost in the
forest. Like the chameleon, they change color, and from green of various
hues become greenish gray when taken from the trees. We had much less
difficulty than Columbus and his companions experienced in adding these
“serpentes” to our cosmopolitan bill of fare.

In the afternoon a boom across the river showed the neighborhood of
mahogany-cutters, and a short row above this brought us to the head of
navigation for our large boat, and we made fast to a tree on the right
bank, where there was no clearing nor any easy way to land, although we
could see that the banks were some ten feet above the water, and steep.
Leaving the “Progreso” in the cook’s charge, we continued up stream in
the little _cayuco_ until we broke a paddle and had to return,—not,
however, until we had made two landings.

Once up the steep and slippery bank, we found the land level, and in the
dense forest there was no undergrowth. It always seems odd to a stranger
in the tropics,—this entire absence of sod; but so dense is the upper
foliage that there is no chance for small plants below, except such as
can, like the sarsaparilla, climb up into the light above, or orchids,
like the vanilla, which cling to, if they do not draw a part of their
sustenance from, the tree-stems. The cohune palm (_Attalea cohune_,
Martius.) was abundant, and by its presence confirmed the testimony of
the dark chocolate soil to the exceeding fertility of the land. This palm
seems to have three names applied to as many stages of growth. When young
and stemless, it is _manàca_; in middle age, when the bases of the old
leaves still cling to the trunk, it is _cohune_; and when age removes
these scales, the smooth stem is _corozo_. I have never seen the manàca
in flower or fruit, but I believe the three are but one species. Other
palms were intermingled with these,—some in blossom, some in fruit,—but
none so common nor so large, both in stem and leaf. Later on we shall see
a picture of the cohune and its very valuable fruit.

In one place along the bank I measured fourteen feet of soil of the best
quality; nor was this surprising, since the valley through which the Rio
Chocon flows is a catch-basin for the detritus of the limestone ranges
of the Sarstun and Santa Cruz mountains, and its form guards against
torrential floods which might wash away the rich deposit. When the summer
rains flood the banks, as we found later, the water subsides in a few
hours, owing to the wide-open lower course of the river.

[Illustration: Barbecue at Benito.]

A gigantic ceiba-tree (_Eriodendron_) stood not far from the river,
and two of its great buttresses enclosed a semicircle thirty feet in
diameter, while the projections themselves were not half a foot thick.
Trees of very various kinds throw out these supports. I have even seen
a goyava (_Psidium_), which usually has a rather slender trunk, expand
most astonishingly into these buttresses when growing in a rich loose
soil. It will, not unnaturally, occur to the reader that this must
greatly increase the difficulty of felling such trees in clearing land.
The difficulty is met by the woodmen in this way. A platform—called,
strangely enough, a “barbecue”—is built of slim poles, often to a height
of fifteen feet; and balanced on these frail supports, the cutter
swings his long-handled axe. Of course he leaves a stump as high as his
barbecue; but the ants (_comajen_) soon reduce this to dust. I have since
then watched the cutters, and have wondered how they so speedily fell
(they call it “fall”) a hard-wood tree, with no better vantage than two
poles for their bare feet to cling to.

All through the forest there was a close, damp feeling, and in some
places there was little light. We saw sarsaparilla, india-rubber,
vanilla, and cacao growing wild, and every step brought some new thing to
view; but it was less oppressive on the river, where there was sky above
us of the true blue,—so much better to our tastes than the green canopy
that met our eyes as we looked up on land. While on the river, we saw
some curious long-legged spiders, seemingly plastered against the white
limestone; and they were very unwilling to move their legs, which were
two inches long. The vejucos from the over-hanging branches were very
interesting, as these long, slender rootlets, if rootlets they be, hung
sometimes a hundred feet, ending close to the water, but not touching
it except in flood-time, nor do they, like subterranean roots, have
branches or fibrous ends, although sometimes they seem to be unravelled
into separate strands, like a cord whose form they imitate and whose
use they usurp. We often pulled them and shook the branches from which
they spring, without detaching them. The water was now clear and cool,
and everything was enticing us to loiter; but the day was closing, and
_comida_ awaiting us on the “Progreso.”

The moon that night was full; and with no mosquitoes in the air, we
hardly cared to creep under our _toldo_. The light filtered through the
palm-leaves and sparkled on the black river as it glided around the bend.
We could see but a few rods either up or down stream, and we almost
wondered how we came there, and should we ever get away. Far in the
distance the howls of the monkeys and the cries of the night-birds broke
the stillness around us; but we slept unconscious of the shower that
poured on our toldo before morning.

A very bright, warm morning in the middle of October is not unpleasant in
the temperate zone; but here it seemed almost too warm to be seasonable,
although the thermometer persisted in indicating 83°. Five of us were in
our little cayuco at early dawn on our way down stream. The cayuco was
not especially crank, but it was loaded to the water’s edge with five
solid men; and as my hands grasped the gunwales, my fingers dipped in
water on both sides. It was impossible for me to restrain the attempt
to balance, which of course kept the cayuco in a constant quiver, alike
unpleasant to myself and my companions. Add to this the consciousness
that alligators were ready for us if we did upset, and it will be
supposed that the voyage was not altogether agreeable.

We landed at last, and had a hard scramble up the steep, muddy bank, as
many of the palms were armed with spines like needles (_Acrocomia sp._),
and there was little else to catch by. I was on the watch for snakes, and
had my machete in my hand; but the first living denizen of the forest
that met me was a fine blue butterfly (_Morpho_), nearly eight inches
across. I could not, and Guillermo would not, catch it, because he said
it was _mala por los ojos_ (bad for the eyes). It was a “sight for sair
e’en.” I found this curious superstition about butterflies common all
through the country, and I confess that following their brilliantly
colored wings in their rapid flight, under a blazing sun, does give one’s
eyes a very tired feeling that may explain the origin of the popular
belief. I will not compel any one to follow me through the forest, nor
up the steep limestone ridges where the corroded rock was worn into
fantastic forms and partly covered with begonias, lycopodiums, and other
plants. We found several circular valleys among those ridges drained by
sink-holes, and often I heard water running beneath my feet. In some
places were little wells, like the _cenotes_ of Yucatan, containing fish,
which pass from one to another by underground aqueducts. Again and again
I mistook for serpents the huge, green, scaly creepers that flattened
themselves against the trees or swung from the branches. Sluggish and
insignificant centipedes were not uncommon on the trees; but nothing
except tracks of wild hogs, peccaries, jaguars, and tapirs indicated that
the forest was the resort of troublesome animals. The entire absence of
any fallen or decaying trees or dead branches was a marked feature of
this forest. The insects had eaten all this unpleasant matter; and in
one place we saw a cavity as large as a barrel, where the ants had eaten
a palm-stump, leaving only the fibrous roots to keep the earth in place
about the large hole.

Towards noon the air, loaded with moisture and unmoved by any wind in
the forest, became almost unbearable, and we were parched with thirst.
Santiago came to our aid; and selecting a rough-looking vine, of which we
could not see the leaves, cut from it a length of some three feet, and
from this trickled a tumblerful of clear, cool, tasteless water. This
_vejuco de agua_ was as large as a man’s wrist, of tender substance and
very porous. The mozos declared that if the vejuco was cut only once,
the juice would all run up from the pendent end; so it was necessary
to cut at once above, and block its retreat. On the palm-trees were
often found clusters of nuts of various sizes, some with such hard
shells that even the parrots must have been baffled. We cracked several
kinds, and found them more woody and less oily than the coconut. Several
mahogany-trees came in our way, and they impressed me more than the
sequoias of California or the banians and baobabs of India. Rising with
a straight and uniform stem far above the surrounding trees, they then
spread their dense foliage like a massive oak above the tree-top plane.
Rosewood, palo de mulatto, sapodilla, ironwood, and many other kinds were
recognized, and our exploration ended for the day with a bath on board
the boat, in which we dashed the cool river water over each other. The
air was 86°, while the water was 78°. Our men who had been sent up stream
to build a _champa_, or native house, returned to us at sundown in true
monkey style, swinging down on to the boat from the branches of the tree
overhanging the “Progreso.” The absence of mosquitoes puzzled us, as it
had the night before.

[Illustration: Section of Vejuco de Agua.]

[Illustration: Dragon Rock, Chocon.]

After the rain ceased, the next morning about seven, we paddled up stream
in the cayuco. I have never seen rocks so curiously corroded; in some
places they were like fossil bones of mammoth size, then like battered
capitals and fluted columns, always of rather smooth surface, sometimes
quite perforated. In the hollows were ferns, selaginellas, and sometimes
curious spiders; one rock was just like some monster crawling into the
river. On the right bank several small springs trickled in, and on the
other side a swift-flowing creek added materially to the volume of the
river. Still we were getting into shallower water, and after passing
in one way and another fifteen rapids or _corrientes_, we came to a
huge tree that completely blocked our way. With a satisfied feeling, we
declined to drag our heavy cayuco over, but beached her on a sand-spit,
and waited for the return through the forest of part of our men whom we
had sent to explore inland. Wild figs of good size came tumbling into the
stream from the trees above; but they were not to our taste, although
Guillermo said they were eaten when ripe. While we waited, a large canoe
came down from the mahogany region miles above, and the three Caribs
in it dragged it over the log with great labor. Besides their petácas,
they had mahogany mortars for rice-hulling, and mahogany platters. In
the forest their work is task-work, and they often have half the day
to themselves; in this leisure time they carve the rejected butts into
various useful articles, which they sell at the _Boca_, or mouth of the
river. As we returned, we saw another use to which the ever-present
machete is put; it is in turn knife, axe, adze, hammer, spoon,
back-scratcher, shovel, pump-handle, door-bolt, blind-fastener,—and now a
fishing-rod! Guillermo actually split the head of a large fish that was
in the shadow of a rock,—a fish weighing some five pounds!

In the afternoon we inspected the champa our men had been building. The
building process was certainly a novel one. On receiving our orders, the
Caribs held a brief consultation, chattering in their very unattractive
language; while we knew no more of their talk than we knew of the
intelligent ants, who are equally black, and hold their consultations
unbeknown to us. The result was, however, that they separated and
disappeared in the forest. Soon we heard the blows of the machetes; and
then they came straggling back, two with the _aucones_ or main posts
of the house, others with side-posts, rafters, coils of vejucos, and
bundles of manàca-leaves. In an incredibly short time the frame was tied
together. The thatching with the palm-leaves took longer, as it was
necessary to split each of the immense leaves, which were quite thirty
feet long. These were tied on to the rafters closely, like clapboards,
and formed an excellent roof, only surpassed by that made of another
palm, called _confra_, found nearer the sea, which is so durable as to
last eight or ten years. Butts of the manàca formed the sides of the
champa; and then we had a house large enough for twenty men, with the
labor of five men a day and a half, at a cost of $3.75. For our purpose
it was better than the Palace of the Cæsars.

One morning I explored the tree to which we were moored. A fine
balloon-vine (_Cardiospermum_) hung in festoons of fragrant flowers from
the branches; among them was a humming-bird’s nest fashioned as daintily
as usual of the golden down of tree-ferns, and shingled with bits of
lichens. It was not the season for eggs; but I have at other times found
many nests, with never more than two white eggs of the size of a small
bean. The young birds, I may add, are, when first hatched, most amusing
little things, all heads and eyes, and without the long bill of maturer
days. I found also a green grasshopper (_Tropideres_), five inches long,
and very handsome of his kind. I wondered if he ate sugar-cane, and other
things one might want to grow if living in the champa.

One day, going ashore to cut some sticks for an awning on the canoa, I
hacked with my machete at a tall, slim tree very common along the banks,
and which had often bothered me by its curled, dried leaves, clinging
to the tree and looking very much like the doves (_qualm_) which were
so often on the tree that it is named for them. This tree, which is
botanically known as a cecropia, one of the nettle family, had a hollow
trunk divided transversely by thin partitions, and from this cavity
came a swarm of ants. I had here a chance to verify the interesting
description given by Mr. Belt[7] of the habits of these remarkable
creatures. As he says, they get into the tree by boring a small hole,
and then eat their way through the many floors of this vegetable tower;
they do not, however, eat the tree directly for sustenance, but import
with great care numbers of coccidæ, or scale-insects, to feed on the
tree-juices and elaborate a honey-like matter, which the ants eagerly
suck from a pore on the back of these little cows. I tried in vain to
find the queen ant; but while every cecropia that I touched was tenanted
by ants, never a single female came to light. There are several small
outer doors, for the disturbed stem is dotted with the pugnacious little
ants in a very short time. What first taught the ants to farm these dull,
inert coccidæ? Other vegetables are ant-inhabited, but none that I know
of afford such spacious accommodations.

Pleasant as this life on the river and in the forest was, the time came
when we must return; and it was startling how many things we saw on
our way down which we had passed unnoticed coming up,—tall reeds with
feathery blossoms more graceful than the pampas-grass; palms with bluish
green foliage; flowers of the arum family more beautiful than a calla;
blue herons; butterflies of the most attractive colors; fish like glass,
that is as transparent, and about a foot long. Frank shot a beautiful
grossbeak with scarlet breast and metallic green back, and brought me a
fine purple passion-flower; another of the party shot an alligator, who
turned over, exposing his yellow belly as he died. Altogether, the voyage
down was more agreeable than the hard run up. Trees that were bare a few
days before were now covered with white feathery flowers, and others
presented masses of greenish flowers on their flat tops. We sailed and
floated down the Rio Dulce by moonlight, and at early dawn anchored at

[Illustration: San Gil, from Author’s House in Livingston.]

Opposite the town are lands fertile and capable of producing fine crops
to an enterprising owner. Frank and I rowed over several times, once
exploring a neglected _finca_, where cane, sapotes, cassava, bananas,
plantains, rose-apples, and coconuts were all jumbled together; at
another time visiting a cacao-plantation farther up the stream. There is
certainly room for a wise investment of capital on these lands on the
eastern slope of San Gil as far as Santo Tomas. And here let me write of
this port, Puerto Barrios, and the Northern Railroad, although I did not
visit them until the spring of 1885.

Santo Tomas is beautifully situated; but since the sad failure of the
Belgian colony established there by a legislative decree of April, 1843,
it has borne a bad reputation, and its inhabitants diminished to the
insignificant number of a hundred and twenty-nine by the last census.
Its harbor, into which no large river empties, is an exceedingly good
one, and a wharf might be constructed on deep water; but the authorities,
in selecting a terminus for the projected railway which is to connect
Guatemala City with the Atlantic coast, and so unite the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, chose a place some three miles eastward from Santo Tomas,
where they must construct a wharf some three hundred feet in length to
reach twenty feet of water, and where often ships cannot lie, but must
run for Santo Tomas in bad weather. Add to this that the site of the fine
city of Puerto Barrios is a swamp at present uninhabitable, although
laid out (on paper) in a very attractive way, with castle, theatre,
hippodrome, and all the elements of a Centro-American city of the first
rank. The splendid mango-trees, with their dark, dense foliage, are
abundant in the old village, while here even the palms are dwarfed.

[Illustration: Puerto Barrios.]

Arriving at Puerto Barrios late in the afternoon, we were kindly received
by the contractors, and after an exceedingly good supper allotted
comfortable beds in the large storehouse. We had heard of the cruelty
practised towards the workmen on the railroad, and wished to know the
truth. I of course understood the circumstances under which men were
induced to go there to work, and knew that agents in New Orleans and
elsewhere might and did make unauthorized promises to the shiftless
adventurers who sought to better their fortunes in a new land. Men from
the North cannot do hard manual work in this climate unless they are very
careful in regard to diet, clothing, and general sanitary conditions. If
they get wet, and sleep in their wet clothes, they will have a malarial
fever in a newly cleared country. If they eat improper food, or proper
food at improper times, their bowels will certainly protest. Now, I was
convinced that the contractors did not take these precautions with their
men, that in consequence of this negligence a large amount of sickness
resulted, and that complaints printed in the newspapers of the United
States from the sick men were justified. I have seen the men who left
the railroad and took service on plantations, and have talked with them,
although I have never mentioned the subject to the several contractors
and overseers I met; my opinion is therefore formed from what these
unfortunate men told me.

In the morning we were provided with the only hand-car the road owns,
and began our explorations. I will not mention the builders of that car,
for it was a worthless article, and had it belonged to me I should have
run it off the track and down a steep place into the sea. The road,
of thirty-six inch gauge, was graded (in March, 1885) some six miles,
and rails were laid four miles; but the thirty-ton locomotive, which
had to do the work one of half the size could do, could run only over
three miles, the track was so uneven. Men were cutting sleepers in the
adjoining forest, and we saw many of mahogany. The grade is also being
pushed from Tenedores, on the Motagua River, to meet this end. No great
engineering is here visible, and the main difficulty seems to have been
in getting suitable foundations for the bridges over the numerous small
creeks. Along the track we saw two large snakes of the boa family which
had been killed by the workmen. Some five miles from Puerto Barrios we
came to the hot sulphur-spring. It is a pool, fifteen feet in diameter,
close by the track, and pours out a considerable volume of clear, hot
water, pleasant to drink when cooled, but while in the pool too hot to
put one’s finger in. Bubbles, probably of hydrosulphuric acid, escaped
freely; but vegetation extended to the very borders of the pool, and all
around the forest was dense. A cool brook ran near at hand and gave a
fine bathing-place as the hot water mingled with it. We were assured that
the men who drank the sulphurous hot water never had fever.

[Illustration: Sulphur Spring.]

From Tenedores the surveyed line of railroad extends up the valley of
the Motagua to Gualan, thence up the ascent to the high plateau on which
stands Chiquimula, and thence to Guatemala City, where it will connect
with the road now in operation from that city to San José, on the
Pacific, five thousand feet below.

Before leaving the Atlantic coast we must again mention the numerous
steamship lines from Livingston to New Orleans, New York, Belize, Puerto
Cortez, Jamaica, and England. Communication may thus be had with the
best markets for all tropical products. The lowlands are amply able
to supply New Orleans, New York, and Boston with bananas, plantains,
pine-apples, and coconuts, the latter growing most abundantly at Cabo
de Tres Puntas on Manabique. The climate is healthful and not too hot,
averaging for the year about 80°; and as there is no marked change of
season, a perpetual June seems to exist. Capital alone is wanted to
develop this Atlantic coast into the great fruit-producing orchard of the
United States. Sugar-cane grows rapidly; and so strong is the soil that
rattoon crops have been cut for twenty years without replanting, and no
diminution of the saccharine yield has been noticed. Sugar can certainly
be raised much cheaper here than in Cuba or in the Hawaiian Islands.[8]
One day carries the crop to Belize, four days to New Orleans, and eight
to Boston or New York. Yet, notwithstanding all these advantages, the
Northern farmer wears out his life in the consumptive fields of New
England, where his crops grow only four months of the year, instead of
settling here, where he can plant any day of the year (except saints’
days, unless he employ coolies), and reap a rich harvest in due season.
He sometimes goes to Florida, which is neither tropical nor temperate,
which is nothing but a raised coral reef with a veneering of soil,
and where frosts cut off his crops every few years. We often hear of
the extreme unhealthfulness of the tropics; but is it generally known
that more persons die of consumption in Massachusetts than of the most
dreaded tropical diseases in Central America? The last time an official
census was taken, Livingston had a population of a thousand, in round
numbers, and the deaths of the year numbered seven,—one a centenarian,
and two youths who fell from coconut-trees and broke their necks; while
in Boston the rate for July, 1885, was 28.1 per thousand.

The objection to being among a strange people and under a foreign
government and strange laws may best be met by following me through the
country, where my object was to answer these very objections for myself;
and if my readers will patiently follow me, I will tell what I saw, and
they may form their own opinions.

[Illustration: Paddle and Machete.]



The last days of October, 1883, promised good weather for the
hill-country, and Frank and I again left Livingston in the only way one
can leave it,—by water. Our route was as before,—up the Rio Dulce; but
this time we had no comfortable but heavy “Progreso.” We had, however,
a better craft for our voyage,—a fine native canoa, cut from a single
log of a wood they called cedar (which it is not); its length was thirty
feet, and its beam five and a half. With two masts and triangular sails,
this canoa could show good speed with a fair wind; but we cared little
for her sailing qualities on the present voyage. As there were no ribs,
and the thwarts were easily removed, we made the after part, which was
floored, quite comfortable with a temporary roof, or _toldo_; our luggage
was stowed amidships, while our captain and two men had their quarters
forward when not rowing or paddling. We had our coffee-pot (as necessary
a travelling companion in Central America as an umbrella in England) and
a supply of food for a week; although we hoped our voyage might last less
than five days.

The cliffs on the Rio Dulce were as beautiful as ever. Theirs is a beauty
which never fades with the fading year; and yet the changes are very
marked. I never saw such a river,—a very Proteus, it presented a new
form every time I saw it; and Frank, who is far more familiar with its
face, tells me I have never seen it in its glory, which comes in July,
when the brilliant orchids are all aglow. Now a cereus with crimson
blossoms was prominent; so were the bromeliads, parasites on almost every
tree. But among roses I saw the thorn. Our Caribs discovered a huge
serpent asleep on a white cliff far above us. Frank, with a laudable
blindness to all that was not pleasant, could see nothing but a fallen
tree. I saw only a few feet of the head end, which had a diameter of
about six inches; and I obstinately refused to fire at the reptile,
since he was quite as near as it was desirable to have him, and should
my bullet wound but not kill him, it was quite possible that he might
wriggle down into the river below. Porpoises were common far up into the
Golfete, where they were pursuing the abundant freshwater fish. A light
sea-breeze helping us, we anchored for the night far above Cayo Paloma.
Our _mozo_, Santiago, slept on one of the thwarts, which he exactly
fitted, being slightly less in stature than the average New Englander.

Our anchor was up betimes; and before six o’clock in the morning we came
to San Felipe,—a place we both had great curiosity to see; for in the
absence of any definite account of the old Spanish fort, we allowed our
imagination to build a very imposing, picturesque, and, withal, strong

We found that Spanish castles in Guatemala were almost as unsubstantial
as _châteaux en Espagne_; and it was some time before we distinguished
the Castillo de San Felipe through the morning mist. At the outlet of
the Lago de Izabal the shores approach each other closely,—indeed, the
channel is hardly a stone’s cast broad; and on the northern point stands
the fort built in 1655 to protect the then important commerce of Izabal
from the buccaneers.[9] It is well built of round (uncut) stone, and the
waves of the lago dash against the walls, which are gradually yielding
to the insinuating roots of many plants,—even a delicate blue commelyna
joining in the attack that the seventeenth-century pirates began in
vain. The van of this vegetable scaling-party was led by a fine papaya
(_Carica papaya_), which now towered far above the walls with its head
of ornamental leaves, but which perished soon after; and we saw only the
bare stem on our return, three months later.

Passing this mediæval ruin, we came to a slight wharf of stakes, where
we had to undergo a rigid inspection by the _guarda_, who insisted on
opening our trunks, in spite of a slight shower that was wetting us. But
we submitted with better grace on reflecting how little amusement of any
sort the custom-house men could have in this sleepy looking place; and
when the nonsense was over we sent Santiago with the coffee-pot, which
he was told to have boiled over somebody’s fire. He was also told to get
all the food he could find; and this useless wretch brought back, as
the total result of his foraging, three eggs! Coconut-trees and goyavas
were abundant, but no fruit could be found. After this very frugal
breakfast,—in which we did not ask Santiago to join,—we walked to the
little Comandancia; but the officials were not visible, and we entered
the old fort, as the only other sight in the dirty little town.

[Illustration: Castillo de San Felipe.]

The plan is rather peculiar, but doubtless well suited to the defensive
warfare of those days. The doorless entrance-ports invited us to enter,
and we found a courtyard of paved and level surface occupying almost
the entire area. At the outer end, commanding the channel, the bastion
was higher than the main portion, approached by narrow and winding
steps, easily defended; and here was the most curious part of the
whole edifice,—the gun-deck. There is a law in the Guatemaltecan code
forbidding photographing in military works; but I have since wished
that I had broken that law then and there, so that my readers might see
for themselves the clumsy guns, the carriages with wooden wheels, the
magazine roofed, indeed, but doorless,—the whole business as dangerous to
the gunners as to any enemy outside. Some fine orange-trees were growing
up through the pavement, and their hard green fruit would be suitable
ammunition for the ancient guns.

There was nothing whatever to attract the most curious traveller in San
Felipe, and we sailed and paddled on with frequent calms and showers.
We were completely in the hands of our boatmen, whose knowledge of the
lago proved to be very limited; but as ours was even less, we suffered
them to coast the northern shore, when, as we afterwards learned, the
law directed our course southward to Izabal, the port of entry, where we
should have obtained a permit to proceed on our voyage inland. Our map
indicated the course we selected as the shorter to the mouth of the Rio
Polochic; but the map was, as usual, wrong.

There was not much to see, as the mist and rain hid the mountains and
hung low on the shores, driving us frequently under our rubber roof.
Whenever the mist lifted we caught glimpses of the far southern shore,
with the grand wall of the Sierra de las Minas catching the fleecy clouds
on every black pinnacle; and the clearing sky attracted us still closer
to the northern shore, where we could see a low wooded country backed by
a high range of mountains, with here and there an opening through which
some stream reached the lake. At two o’clock we landed at Sauce, on a
beach of black sand, evidently volcanic, scattered with fragments of
chalcedony and agatized wood,—a formation which puzzled me exceedingly,
as all this region is supposed to be non-volcanic. We had no time to
follow the beach to ascertain the extent of black sand, but it reached
far beyond the few comfortable huts on the shore,—as far, indeed, as we
could go into the jungle inland. In it grew luxuriantly limes, bananas,
mangoes, and other cultivated plants not recognized. Goyavas grew to a
large size, but all the fruit was ruined by worms.

[Illustration: Making Tortillas.]

Here first we saw the whole process of tortilla-making. The _maiz_ was
hulled in lime-water, washed in the lake, and ground laboriously on a
stone _metatle_ into a consistent paste, which is then skilfully patted
into cakes from four to six inches in diameter, round and thick as an
ordinary griddle-cake. These are then baked on an iron plate or _comal_,
but not browned, and should be eaten hot, and then the tortilla tastes
like parched corn. The metatles in Guatemala were all of very simple
pattern and unornamented, not so well wrought as those in Mexico and
farther southward, but serving their purpose equally well. A woman who
cannot make good tortillas is in Guatemala not deemed fit to assume the
duties of housekeeping; and yet there are few articles of food requiring
more labor in preparation than this unleavened bread. Except the Hawaiian
_poi_ (paste of the _Colocasium esculentum_ or _Kalo_), I can recall no
article of diet that demands more physical labor. The inhabitants of the
tropics in both these cases lay aside their proverbial indolence and earn
their bread by the sweat of their brows. For our men we procured meat in
long strips put on skewers and crisped over the fire, while for ourselves
we bought bananas, limes, and tortillas. After this we continued our
voyage until dark, when we anchored near shore and enjoyed a very quiet
night. At early dawn we were again under way. The showers continued, and
far away on the Santa Cruz range the rains were heavy, boding ill for our
ascent of the river. The lake water, usually quite potable, was now full
of a small green alga, and the cast skins of ephemera were so thick on
the surface that for miles we could with difficulty get a dipper of clear

Twice our Caribs thought they had found the mouth of the Polochic;
and at last, at high noon, we discovered it, where we least expected,
on a marshy promontory or delta. Masses of coarse floating grass were
attached to the banks on each side, almost blocking the way; and the
rapid current, which we estimated at five miles an hour, made these grass
plots wave as if the breezes were playing over their tops. Pelicans
were abundant and tame; so were the iguanas. The air was still, and
the thermometer marked eighty-five degrees, while the water was much
cooler,—nine degrees. All the creeks in the lowland flowed from the
river, so high was the flood, and we found no comfortable landing-place.

At night we anchored in the stream, and the mosquitoes were very
troublesome; unlike those on the Chocon, these were black, and had very
long and sharp lancets. At three in the morning we could bear them no
longer; Orion was in the zenith, and we struck our toldo, the men slowly
rowing on until six, when we anchored for coffee. As we were eating, a
cayuco, covered with a neat awning of leaves, came rapidly by us on the
way down; its occupants assured us that there were many _vueltas_ (bends)
and a great current (_mucho corriente_) before we should be able to reach

Ten miles a day was the utmost limit of our propelling power, and in
crossing the bends to escape the current we hardly held our own, so
strong were the flood-waters. Our creeping pace gave us ample time to
see, but no time to stop for, the many curious things on either bank.
Close on the shore were red abutilons, and over them crept the long-tubed
white convolvulus (_Ipomœa bona-nox_) and the brilliant yellow allamanda;
high up on the wild fig-trees were black, long-tailed monkeys, common and
tame, their wonderfully human faces peering down at the intruders, the
mothers clasping their hairy little babies to their breasts with one arm,
and with the other scratching their heads in a puzzled manner. One of our
Caribs shot a little fellow before I could prevent him, and the creature
clung, even in death, by his tail. As I had shot an iguana through the
head with my revolver in the morning, I was called upon to cut with my
bullet the provoking tail, that the Caribs might have a _caribal_ feast.
Regard for my reputation as a marksman, and the memory of a taste of
roast monkey in India, forbade the attempt, and the poor monkey, like the
Tyburn thief, “is hanging there still.” There was foam on the water, but
we heard no water-fall,—and indeed the flat nature of the country made
falls, cascades, or even rapids, impossible.

We passed another night when the torrents of rain had no effect on the
myriads of mosquitoes and black-flies. Still all the brooks ran inland,
although, as we afterwards learned, in the dry season these banks are so
high above the water that they are hard to climb. All day long we saw
monkeys along the banks, though high above us, and the following night we
heard the howlers; but in compensation for that evil had no mosquitoes.
By Saturday (Nov. 3, 1883) we hoped to be well on our road from Pansos
to Coban, but, except the cayuco, we saw no signs of men or the work of
men’s hands; on that morning, however, we came to a little _finca_ on the
river bank, where a good sized stream from the river flowed into the
yard and through the house. The poultry had taken refuge on the roof,
and the Indian proprietors waded through the flood. Luckily the oven, or
fire-place, was raised on sticks several feet above the water, so that
the señora could make us some tortillas,—eight for a real. Eggs were the
same price. Slight as the forage was, it was very acceptable, as our food
was nearly gone, and we were already dependent on the Caribs for their
cassava-bread. The river, these persons said, was falling, so we pushed
on with new courage.

A fine spider-lily (_Crinum_) grew on the bank where we moored our
canoa. We noticed that whenever we made fast to the cane-brake, the
black-flies bothered us far more than when we had trees overhead; was
it not because the cane did not afford roosts or concealment for the
fly-catching birds and reptiles? The blossoms of the cane were very
beautiful, indeed as attractive as those we had noticed on the Chocon.
Mahogany-trees were seen here and there, and we were told that there
was much of this fine wood on the Rio Zarco, just at hand. I also saw
a goyava-tree, some eighteen inches in diameter and eighty feet high.
In the afternoon we passed willows (_Sauce_), and about five o’clock
were startled by an unusual noise behind us, when a huge three-storied
structure came sweeping up the stream, as if in pursuit; it was the
steamer “City of Belize,” a flat-bottomed stern-wheeler. As the current
was very strong and the channel narrow, we hastened to make fast to a
large fig-tree overhanging the stream. Before, however, our arrangements
were made, the steamer was upon us, and her surge, added to the current,
tore us from our mooring and swept us under the tree. Our masts caught
in a branch, and we were turned on our beam-ends. For an instant our
situation was critical. Our weather-rail was six inches under water, and
we were clinging to the other side as the water came pouring in; then the
mainmast slipped, and we righted, all hands bailing out eagerly, while
Frank held by some branches and prevented a repetition of the disaster.
If the canoa had upset, our journey would probably have ended there, as
our photographic supplies would have been ruined, and there would have
been little chance for us in that deep, rapid river, with no banks,
and no trees that offered food, even if they gave us shelter from the
alligators; and these too would have shown themselves as soon as the
disturbance caused by the steamer had abated. Our Carib captain was as
frightened as we were, and with the little English he knew, exclaimed as
we anchored for the night: “D—d good boat; wouldn’t sell her for h—ll!”
The persons on the “City of Belize” must have seen us filling, but they
did not stop to see if we drowned.

All night we had mosquitoes, but no rain; and to our wakeful excitement
was added the horrible noises of tigres, wild hogs, monkeys, alligators,
and other animals. We were getting tired of the river, and our voyage
seemed interminable. Early in the morning we passed the mouth of the Rio
Cahabon, where the steamer had anchored the night before, and soon after
I shot my first alligator. He was a large one, and my ball struck him
just behind the foreleg. He jumped clear of the water, turned over, and
fell back, tingeing the river with blood.

We thought we had counted twice the seventy-two vueltas in the fifty
miles between the mouth of the river and Pansos; but this port still
fled before us, and it was nearly dark before I smelt human habitations.
Not one of our company had ever been there before; but the Caribs were
greatly amused at my assertion, and I think Frank smiled in his sleeve at
my scent. But I certainly smelt them, and kept the men rowing, and blew
the conch-shell, as the law requires on approaching a port; and at last,
long after dark, the lights of the steamer fast at the wharf appeared,
and we were soon alongside.

We had been a week in our canoa, and five days without landing; but our
troubles were not yet ended. The stupid soldiers flatly refused to allow
us to land our traps without a permit from the comandante, and insisted
that we should go with them to the Comandancia, nearly a quarter of a
mile away. I started with Santiago, over a road worked into pasty mud by
the ox-carts from Coban. It was raining and very dark, and the almost
naked soldiers tried to light the way with splinters of fat-pine, called
here _ocote_. At last the road ended in a black pool, into which the
barelegged soldiers waded. But I declined to go farther unless they
carried me; and it almost made the night bright to see the look these
apologies for men gave each other and the stranger who weighed twenty
pounds more than their united weights. It ended as it should have begun;
and Santiago went on with one guard to explain matters, while with the
other I returned to the steamer. The officers of the steamer had kindly
invited us to sleep on board; but the soldier on guard refused to let us
pass the plank, so I pitched him into the river,—the proper place for
all such stupid military men,—and went on board unopposed. Soon word
came that we might sleep where we pleased. Mosquitoes were as bad here
as anywhere on the Polochic; and while Frank slept on the dining-table
without a net, I had a very dirty bed and a net full of mosquitoes and
other things; so in the morning we could not decide which had had the
least comfort.

With light usually comes a more cheerful feeling; and a good breakfast,
to which the officers of the steamer invited us, made us feel at peace
with all men, and I even took the trouble to ask if the soldier I had
pitched into the river was drowned. The rain having ceased, we started
for the town, ferrying ourselves over the creek in an old canoa half full
of water.

As the comandante had not recovered from his overnight debauch, we went
about the little village to do some necessary shopping and arrange for
our journey to Coban. The town was small, but neat and attractive. A
clear brook ran over a limestone bed, and in one place it fell over a
ledge into a pool where washing is done both of persons and garments.
An old Spaniard was bathing here, and, although half a dozen women were
washing clothes or soaking maiz in the same limited bath-tub, he invited
us to join him. Near by, a man was dressing an oxhide by pegging it to
the ground and then salting the inside.

At the Comandancia we found, not the chief, who was still too drunk,
but two very polite officials, with whom I had a pleasant chat; I then
wrote my name, residence, and all the titles I could ever lay claim to,
as well as those of Señor Don Francisco, my “Secretario.” The impression
was so marked that our lawless neglect of Izabal was overlooked, and we
were given a full permit to land our luggage. Once more we returned to
the river, in order to dismiss our Carib boatmen, and on the way we met
an intelligent ladino who spoke English (indeed he had been to London);
and he, acting as our interpreter, greatly assisted us in shopping and
in our preparations for the long journey before us. In his garden were
some goyava-trees (_Psidium_); but the fruit was unripe, and we found
that our new friends eat the goyava as the Chinese eat pears and other
fruits,—quite hard; salting it, however. Santiago found horses for Frank
and myself, and at the Comandancia we procured Indian mozos to carry our
luggage. This was our first experience of a system that we found very
convenient throughout the country. By an order from the Comandancia,
Indios are obliged to carry burdens, as in the present case, precisely
as their Northern brothers have to serve on a jury, and do it for three
reals (37½ cents) a day,—quite equal here to the fee the law allows
an intelligent juryman in the North. They cannot be sent beyond their
district, nor made to carry more than four _arrobas_ (100 lbs.). In many
cases they carry six arrobas without complaint, supporting their burden
by a raw-hide strap (called _mecapal_) over the forehead. The person
hiring pays to the authorities, with whom the men are registered, a real
a head. I provided four of these men to carry our luggage to La Tinta;
but Santiago cut down the number by half at the end of the first stage.
Our experience with these _mozos de cargo_ was pleasant, as they usually
kept up with our horses on the mountain-roads, and took good care of
the parcels intrusted to them. Each one carries a palm-leaf umbrella
(_suyacal_), which also serves for bed at night. I have employed dozens
of these bearers, and found only one of whom I could complain; and he was
not with me on the road, but sent with our mozo Santiago,—which might be
an excuse for him.

There is no _posada_ in Pansos; and after getting our breakfast at
noon in a little shop which was papered with pictures from “Harper’s
Weekly” and “Puck,” we decided to spend the night at Teleman. After
some difficulty in getting permission for our guide to leave town,—the
comandante being still drunk,[10]—at two o’clock, mounted tolerably,
Frank and I, with our boy Roberto, left Pansos. The pleasure of being
again on horseback after the dull inaction of our canoa voyage was so
great that I was willing to overlook any deficiencies in my mount. As
Roberto stopped a short distance from the town to make a slight addition
to his wardrobe, we went on alone for a while; the road could hardly be
missed, it is so worn by the bullock-carts used to bring coffee from
the plantations of Alta Verapaz. The beautiful vegetation, healthy and
luxuriant, drew our attention from the muddy road, which became worse as
we got farther into the forest. Many fine clear brooks crossed our path,
and as we came out of the woods the valley of the Boca-nueva lay before
us. Two piers of masonry stand on opposite banks of this river; but the
iron bridge lies on the shore at Livingston, and there seems to be no
very strong attraction between the iron and the masonry. The absence
of a bridge was no great hardship, for not only was the river shallow
and easily fordable, but there was a most curious vine-bridge, built of
vejucos, perhaps a hundred and fifty feet long, hung from two convenient
trees and approached by ladders. It was old, and one side was broken
down; so it required care and courage to cross it. It was very similar
in construction to modern wire suspension-bridges, but wholly vegetable,
there being not a particle of metal about it.

A few miles farther brought us out of the wooded to the cleared land,
where is the hamlet of Teleman, famed for its delicious oranges. Although
nearly sundown, and cloudy, the thermometer stood at seventy-eight
degrees. We found lodging at the house of Don Pablo, a fine-looking old
man with a heavy gray beard. His little home was in the midst of orange
and coffee trees close on the road, and only a light rail kept the too
familiar cattle out of the house. We had no long time to look around
before dark; but our comida was good, and the coffee grown there was very
fine. The hospitable Don Pablo pointed to a pile of oranges on the floor
and told us to help ourselves, which we did freely. Another Spaniard came
in soon after we were settled, and I had the best chance I had ever had
to exercise my “book Spanish.” I surprised Frank, and myself as well,
obtaining from these two agreeable men a great deal of information about
our road and the country generally. The room was certainly as strange
a one as I had ever slept in,—a table in one corner, with a mahogany
bench fifteen inches wide before it (on this bench a small child slept
all night, without pillow or covering); two hammocks; a bedstead with
mosquito-netting; piles of coffee, oranges, and other small matters; a
shrine of tinsel containing two images, before whose dingy holiness a
sardine-box lamp burned luridly; meat in strips hung from the roof. The
chickens had all gone under the bed for the night; and when it was time
for the featherless bipeds to roost also, our host and his women retired
into the dark inner room, after assigning me the bed and Frank one of
the hammocks, while the stranger took the other and soon settled himself
comfortably. The bed certainly was not luxurious, and the pillow had seen
better days; but I rigged up a cleaner head-rest with a towel, and was
comfortable enough. Not so Frank, who was unused to hammocks; and before
I was quite asleep I heard his whisper, asking if there was room to take
him in; and as the bed was large, his hammock was deserted.

We were up at four; and as it was still quite dark, the sardine-box lamp
was again lighted, and we drank the delicious coffee grown in Don Pablo’s
garden, while a little _muchacha_ drove out her chickens from under the
bed. The clouds promised rain; but we had none all day, in spite of the
predictions of both host and guide.

We crossed two _aguas calientes_. One of them was steaming in the cool
morning air; but their temperature was very little above that of the
atmosphere at midday. Cacao-trees were very common, though we saw none
cultivated. Here we first saw in abundance some of the convolvulus
blossoms for which the country is noted. One was of a pale rose, another
a deep blue, with hispid calyx and a corolla five inches across, while
a third was of flesh-color and satiny texture, covering the trees near
La Tinta. We arrived in that village about noon, and after some delay
found a house where they would cook us an almuerzo. Our _menu_ comprised
good white rolls, broiled meat, fried plantains, frijoles, fried eggs,
and good coffee,—all which we relished exceedingly; and we were not less
satisfied with the price,—two reals each. The house contained only one
room, a stone cooking-bench[11] at one end, and a row of box-like beds
along one side. Under these several hens were sitting, and two or three
dogs tried hard to get into a bed, while a colt kept putting his head
into a window, and finally upset the corn-box. There was not much to the
town, certainly. The school had thirteen pupils,—some bright enough; but
the church was an insignificant shed. Pasturage was good, and we noticed
a very large proportion of bulls by the roadside; these were quite as
gentle as the cows.

In the afternoon we crossed, on an iron truss-bridge covered with a
thatched roof, the Polochic, now a shallow but still wide stream. I
wished for my camera here,—as I had several times since I left Pansos;
but we were effectually parted until our mozos should overtake us at
Coban. We had been assured by the blind ladinos that there was no
interesting scenery on the road. We were now constantly ascending, and
we passed many Indios of the Poconchi tribe,—clean, good-looking, and
dressed in white, with fanciful designs of darker colors sewed on.

We arrived at Chamiquin early in the afternoon, and found the hamlet
consisted, as far as we could see, of two very inferior houses and as
many sheds. A fine grove of mango-trees, but no fruit; a hen-house
built in the second story only, and accessible by ladder; palms, with
the withered leaves still clinging to the stem (cultivated for the
nuts, but dreary looking); limestone cropping out on the neighboring
hills,—comprised the distinctive features of the place. Our room was
new and clean, lined with banana-leaves, and the hard earth floor was
of course uncarpeted. The furniture was simply a table and a bench; but
frugal as the furnishing was, our dinner surpassed it,—a few tortillas,
four eggs, and some nasty coffee for two hungry men! We had our own
candles, or we might not have seen how little it was. Perhaps our hostess
did as well as she could, for the twenty-five dogs that besieged our room
while we ate were evidently half starved.

All through the country the dogs are very ill conditioned, and I several
times remonstrated with their owners for what seemed to me cruel
treatment; for although I detest this unclean brute, I do not like to
see him suffer. But I was always assured that the dogs were underfed,
not on account of cruelty, but to make them good hunters and scavengers.
It certainly made them useless for the only purpose besides hunting that
dogs seem to have been created for,—human food. Guatemala canines are
certainly a contrast to the juicy little _poi_ dogs of the Hawaiians
(which are fed only on _poi_, sweet potato, and milk), or the excellent
dogs always hanging in the butcher-shops in China.

Here let me speak of the atrocious coffee that we found in this place and
elsewhere as we went on. The berry, which is of fine quality, is burned,
not roasted, and when pulverized, boiled for hours, and then bottled.
This nasty mess they call _esencia de café_, and mix it with boiling
water at the table. It was generally served to us in patent-medicine
bottles, with a corn-cob or a roll of paper for a stopper. It had not
the slightest taste of coffee, but reminded one of the smell of a
newly-printed newspaper.

We were on our way next morning at half-past five, and found the road
much washed by the severe rains of the night before. On our right, across
the valley, was a fine cascade spattering over the limestone rocks, and
now we came for the first time to home-like pine-trees. Begonias of two
species grew in the clefts of the roadside rocks, and in a house-yard
was a fine _Euphorbia Poinsettii_. As my horse had hurt his foot at
Teleman, I walked much of the way, so our progress up the hills was not
very rapid; and we were by no means expecting it when a turn in the road
between two hills brought us abruptly into San Miguel Tucurú.

This interesting town, of some three hundred inhabitants, had no posada;
but we found a capital _casa de hospedaje_, kept by a señora of African
descent married to an invisible ladino. The house was of fair size, built
of adobe, and well plastered. A black Saint Benedict hung in effigy on
the wall,—the forerunner of a host of black saints and holy people whom
we saw both in sculpture and painting as we advanced through this ancient
domain of the Spanish missionaries. Our señora had a _calentura_,—the
national excuse for not doing anything or going anywhere; but for all
that she got us a good breakfast. Our horses were used up, and our boy
could get no others. An appeal to the alcalde brought one poor horse;
but all our further efforts were answered by _mañana_ (to-morrow),—that
word so hateful to an active man, but universal here. As we had a very
comfortable house to pass the night in, we made ourselves easy, and
started to explore the town. On our way in I had seen an attractive
spring a short distance from the road, and I went alone to explore it,
taking a calabash I had just purchased for a drinking-vessel. A well-worn
path led across a meadow, and a sudden turn brought me upon a party of
women in exceedingly slight apparel, bathing and washing in a little pool
into which the spring emptied through a spout. These naiads were most
of them young; but one old woman, a foul-visaged hag, scowled savagely
upon me, while the others giggled as I quietly handed my calabash to the
prettiest, and asked her to give me a drink of water, which she caught
from the high spout with skill and without hesitation, although the
action exhibited her form in all its beauty. How I wanted my camera!

Stuck in the muddy road was a train of ox-carts, and the oxen from seven
or eight were yoked to the head cart; and when that was dragged out of
the slough to a camping-place, the next and all the rest were treated the
same way. We wandered about town between the showers, saw lime-kilns, a
lead-mine, and several potteries, and at last came to the church,—a more
considerable building than we had yet seen in Central America. The door
was tied with a leather shoestring, and there was no resident priest.
The images seemed, to our unaccustomed eyes, most horrible; but they
must have appeared in holier form to the poor worshippers, for marigolds
and amaranths were strewed before them, and votive candles burned on
the floor. The ancient name of this town was Tucurúb (meaning “town of
owls”); but the Spaniards re-christened it by one of the saints called
Michael,—which I do not know, but apparently not that one whose churches
in western Europe are usually perched on some almost inaccessible
pinnacle, as at Le Puy in France, St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, etc.
Only one man in the town could speak English, and he could give us very
little information about our road. Indeed, all the way we were in that
delightful condition of travelling without knowing exactly what is
coming, and constantly meeting the unexpected. The rain at last came down
in earnest, and drove us within doors. A Boston boy who has a fine coffee
estate in the neighborhood came in as we were at dinner and initiated
us into the mystery of _tortillas tostadas_. Certainly by toasting, the
tough, clammy, cold tortilla is made even better than new.

At four in the morning our boy Roberto lighted the candle and waked us
up. We had settled our score the night before, and so did not disturb
the family, but completed our toilet on the doorstep, as we saw to the
saddling of our horses, by the light of the solitary candle. It was so
dark as we rode away that we could not see the road, and blindly followed
our guide’s white horse. A gate across the road gave us some trouble, as
we could only feel it. By daylight the scenery must be fine; but as the
noise of rushing waters, and a blacker streak by the road-side, alone
indicated the torrents and _barrancas_ at hand, we were troubled rather
than pleased by these picturesque properties. We came to an ox-train
camped in the middle of the road; and but for the glowing embers of their
camp-fires we should have had great difficulty in passing.

As the gray dawn brightened over the mountains, the numerous white
cascades attracted enough attention to keep us from the drowsiness we
were both falling into from the darkness, cold, and dampness, and the
slow gait of our horses. Fire-flies were still sparkling when it was
light enough to see the road.

It was quite early when we came to Tamahù; and as we entered the little
town (1,517 inhabitants), which is twelve leagues from Coban, we saw
a shrine with images as horrible as any of the idols of the ancient
Polynesians. Most of the houses had tiled roofs, and looked neat and
comfortable. At one of the best we stopped for coffee; and while the
preparations for our meal were going on, Frank and I went up to the
church hard by. The door was tied with a rope, and we found little of
interest within, except images closely resembling East Indian idols, and
around all a flavor of mild decay. Our hostess—for always it was the
señora who managed the hospitalities and took the pay therefor—gave us
rolls and fried plantains with our good coffee, and the table and bench
were of some choice wood, darker and harder than mahogany. Fine roses
blossomed in the yard (it was November), and cotton-dyeing and weaving,
the principal industries of the town, were carried on in nearly every
house. Lime-burning and tile-making also employ a goodly number of the

As we rode into the country, we passed many clumps of a fine arborescent
composite some twenty feet high,—one of the giants of this great and
widely spread family. Crimson lobelias (like cardinal-flowers) with red
stems, crenulate leaves, and a very unpleasant odor, were common. The
road was badly gullied, and the nightly rains had made the Polochic,
which still kept at our side, an angry looking torrent quite unfordable.
The grades of the road were good, and showed engineering skill and
constant care; but for all this my horse broke down before noon, as I
had expected, and our boy, after some consultation with the drivers of a
mule-train we passed, captured a stray mule for me and turned the horse
loose. All the horses here seem so feeble, and many of the mules so sore,
that I seriously thought of capturing one of the powerful bulls feeding
peaceably by the path, and riding him in true African style; but Frank
earnestly dissuaded me, so we had to walk half the time to save our
wretched hacks.

Through the mud we rode into Tactic, four leagues farther on, at
half-past one o’clock. The barometer recorded 4,650 feet; but this was
not high enough to insure dry roads at this season. The town, of some
thirteen hundred inhabitants, seemed prosperous; the houses were of a
better class than any we had yet seen, and the gardens were full of
fruit-trees and vegetables. Tree-abutilons, both pink and crimson, were
covered with blossoms, and peach-trees bore both blossoms and unripe
fruit. The roads were quite too muddy for foot-travel, except in native
undress. The corridors of the houses generally had carved posts and
lintels, and the central tile of the ridge was usually fashioned into a
cross, with two lambs or doves as supporters. The _casa municipal_ was a
noteworthy building. In gardens we saw fine coffee-trees, and were told
that here there are three blossomings in May, and as many harvestings in
December; the first and third are small, while the second is large. Roses
were even finer than at Tamahù; and a little girl gave me a bunch of a
kind much like the old-fashioned cabbage-rose. Most of the inhabitants
are Indios of the Poconchi tribe.

[Illustration: Roof Tile.]

The façade of the church is ornamented with dumpy statues of saints,
and the main altar is elaborately carved. We noticed a picture of three
men in the flames of Sheol,—whether Hell or Purgatory we could not
tell; one wore a tiara, another a mitre, while the third had on a plain
four-cornered canonical cap. In front of the church we bought twenty
_jocotes_ (_Spondias sp._) for a medio. There are several varieties of
this plum-like fruit, and the red is larger and better than the yellow.
When quite ripe, the rather tender skin contains a juicy yellow pulp
around a rough stone. From the fermented juice _chicha_ is made,—much
used as a mild intoxicant, not unlike thin cider.

As we rode out of town we saw that the suburban gardens were much overrun
by squash and bean vines. Maiz stood fifteen feet high; far up on the
hills we saw cornfields (_milpas_), having in their midst dwelling-houses
almost in the clouds, and seemingly built like swallows’ nests against
the steep hillside. The _campo santo_, or cemetery, was surrounded by
adobe walls, and seemed utterly neglected. We had seen in the church, and
now found by the roadside, a fine red and yellow orchid, and another
pure white one, as well as the cardinal-flower. All day there had been
showers; and when we arrived at Santa Cruz, long after dark, we were wet,
in spite of our _ponchos_ and the water would run into our boots.

There was no posada, so our boy declared, and we had to try the _cabildo_
for the first time. The _Escuela por Niños_, or “school for ninnies,” as
Frank persisted in calling it, was placed at our disposal; but the floor
was bare, hard concrete, and we had no mats, while there was no chance to
hang our hammocks. It was not inviting; but one of the attendants kindly
brought two mahogany settees from the court-room, and this was so hard
a couch that one might be pardoned for going to bed with boots on,—and
mine were so wet that I feared I should not get them on in the morning if
they once came off. We needed food quite as much as a bed, and at last
found rolls and coffee at a little shop near at hand. At four o’clock in
the morning there was an earthquake, which did not wake Frank, though it
jarred my bed as though some one had run against it in the dark. This
shock was felt, as we afterwards found, at Coban, San Cristobal, and for
miles around. Slight earthquakes are said to be common enough here, but
we saw no evidence of severe ones.

In the morning at half-past five, while Roberto was saddling the horses,
we visited the church and found many curiously carved and gilded
altar-pieces. After performing our ablutions in a puddle in the road,
left by the last night’s rain, we got our coffee and hastened on our way,
as it was Friday, and we still had twelve miles to ride to Coban.

This city, although at an elevation of 4,500 feet, is surrounded by much
higher hills; and from the pass over which the road winds, the view of
the surrounding coffee-region is very fine. The streams were in flood,
and some of the lower plantations were under water. Near the town we
saw the method of raising coffee-plants under frames covered with dried
ferns. Crossing a good bridge, we came up a paved street, and soon after
ten o’clock rode into the Hotel Aleman, where we had a very comfortable
room and two beds with sheets and pillow-cases,—the first we had seen
since we left Livingston; and we were not now compelled to sleep in
our clothes. Our breakfast was the best we had found since we had been
in the country, and consisted of soup, sausages, _frijoles negras_,
wheaten rolls, fried plantains, _tortillas tostadas_, tomato salad, fried
potatoes, and good coffee. The potatoes here are native, seldom larger
than an English walnut, and very mealy. In the patio of the hotel bloomed
roses and violets.

[Illustration: In Hotel Aleman.]

[Illustration: Plan of the Hotel Aleman.]

As this Hotel Aleman was the first house of solid masonry we had entered
since our arrival in Guatemala, we examined it with some curiosity.
Externally it was very plain,—white with stucco, of one story, and roofed
with red tile. Windows were few, and the large door of two valves was
generally closed in a rather inhospitable manner to an outsider. Once
within the portal, however, the scene changed wonderfully. Before us was
a courtyard (_patio_), into which the house opened. Directly in front was
a plain building, used as kitchen (_cocina_) and stable; on the left was
the garden (_huerto_); on the right, the corridor, on which opened the
_sala_, or parlor, an apartment or two, and the dining-room (_comedor_).
In the corner was a large concrete tank to catch rain-water. Our own
apartment was at the left of the entrance, and was quite large, with
tiled floor and separate corridor. A curtain was suspended between two
of the pillars to shade the dining-room, and hammocks could be swung in
every direction when needed. Birds hung in cages, and flowers in baskets;
and the _négligé_ air of everything, except the neat little Indian women
who did the household work, added to the comfortable feeling the place

[Illustration: The Cabildo of Coban.]

We walked up a paved street an eighth of a mile to the casa municipal,
and, passing an arched gateway in the clock-tower, entered a spacious
plaza, with the cabildo on our left and the foundations of the new palace
on the brow of the hill opposite. Directly before us was the church and
connected buildings,—once a college of priests, since confiscated by
the Government, and now used as a music-school, blacksmith’s shop, and
for other purposes. The main part of the Plaza was paved; and here were
congregated several hundred Indios, mostly of the Quekchi tribe, buying,
selling, and bartering. We bought twenty-five fine granadillas (fruit of
the passion-flower) for a medio, and as many jocotes for the same price.
Delicate straw hats, woven in two colors, were three reals and a medio;
cotton napkins (_servilletas_) of native weaving, two reals; palm-leaf
umbrellas (_suyacales_), such as every _mozo de cargo_ carries, one real.
There was a fair supply of raw cotton, cacao, brown sugar, tallow, soap,
and blankets.

[Illustration: Interior of the Church at Coban.]


The church was very large and interesting; but the front was disfigured
by two distinct main entrances, and the bell-tower was too low for the
church. Within, there was the simplest architecture imaginable,—plain
timber posts, square, with a slight chamfer, with pillow-block capitals
and stucco bases; an uneven tiled floor; and side altars of poor design,
sometimes painted to imitate marble. On one of these altars a famished
cur was eating candle-ends; on another were the three crucifixes of
Calvary,—the repentant thief being a young man of personable form and
features, while the other was a bald-headed, bearded villain; a very
impressive object-lesson we afterwards saw in many churches. A fair St.
Sebastian was the only picture of tolerable merit.

[Illustration: Pattern of Cloth.]

We called on the excellent Jefe politico, Don Luis Molina, who received
us very politely, although our call must have been a great bore to
him, as he spoke no English, and my Spanish was very lame. The Indian
women in the streets all dress alike,—in a skirt of indigo-blue cotton,
generally figured in the loom; and their long and abundant black hair
is carefully bound in red bandages (_listones_) reaching nearly to the
ground. Their stature is below medium; they seem modest and good-natured.
The blue cloth is woven in rude looms, several of which we inspected,
and the thread is dyed in vats of masonry in the house-yard. The threads
are dressed in the loom and dried by a few coals in a potsherd placed
beneath the warp. A border is woven at each edge, and also in the woof,
at intervals, to mark the length of a dress-pattern. A common design
is given on the previous page,—the lines being light blue on dark. The
lines of light filling are carried outside the selvage, and of course
are easily broken; otherwise the cloth is coarse and strong, in widths
of a _vara_, or thirty-three inches. The weavers were very obliging, and
pleased to have us inspect their work.

The soil here is a rich red loam, and coffee grows better than elsewhere
in the country. Coffee-trees, well-trimmed and loaded with crimson
berries, were in every garden, and violets and strawberries were in

The domestic architecture was certainly not imposing, but it was
substantial, and perfectly suited to the climate. Houses were generally
but one story in height, built of masonry and covered with stucco, around
a patio towards which the tiled roof inclined, covering a wide veranda
as well as the house. The windows on the street projected slightly, and
were protected by strong iron grills. Many of the streets were paved,
and drains and culverts provided to remove the rain-water. As there is
no aqueduct, water is brought from springs or caught from the roofs
during the frequent rains. We were told it had rained incessantly for
the last ten days, and the wet clouds still rested on the surrounding
hills, giving a slightly gloomy aspect to the otherwise fine views in all
directions. The meat-market was outside the Plaza, and a single glance
was enough; but the general market was so attractive that, after a quiet
night’s rest (we were of course far more wearied by sight-seeing than
by any day’s travel), we turned our steps thither in the early morning.
In our search for mules we came to the blacksmith in the cloisters. He
was an American (_del Norte_); and it was said that when he was drunk
he could shoe a mule better than others could in their soberest moments.
He had been drinking when we found him; but he gave us some information,
took us to his den hard by, where his family consisted of a native wife
and a black monkey, and gave Frank the skin of a quetzal (_Pharomacrus
mocino_). This skin was so beautiful that it put us on the search, and we
found a señora who had a moderately large collection of these and other
bird-skins, which are brought in by the Indios from the mountains of Alta

[Illustration: Quetzal.]

The quetzal (pronounced _kezàl_) is the national emblem, and is decidedly
a bird of freedom, as it never survives captivity, even when taken in
earliest life. In ancient days none but the royal family could wear
the beautiful plumes. At present the Indios bring the skins from the
mountains in considerable numbers, their value depending on the length
of the tail-plumes, which sometimes exceeds three feet. As the female
is very plain, without the beautiful tail of the male, she escapes the
hunters, and consequently preserves the species. The wing-coverts and
tail-feathers of the male are of a superb peacock-green, changing to
indigo, the inner breast scarlet, and the wings very dark.

We went to the campo santo, on a hill westward of the town, which is
reached by a flight of a hundred and sixty concrete steps; the whole was
built at the cost of one pious man. Several shrines on the way up made
convenient resting-places for those who used those steps,—like the Golden
Stairs at Rome for knee-worship and penance. In one of these shrines was
a lamp of native make, in form of a bird with many necks. The chapel on
the top was small, and the doorway so low that I struck my head violently
in coming from the dark interior.

Except the noble pine-trees on the top, there was nothing attractive in
this last resting-place. Some grave-diggers were making merry over a
small and shallow grave they had just finished, and we gladly turned from
the _calvario_ to the fine views townward. At night the regimental band
gave us some agreeable music (perhaps national airs, certainly unfamiliar
tunes); and as the music died away in the distant streets we fell asleep,
to be awakened at day-break by the drums and fifes calling the men of
military age to the regular Sunday inspection. We were present at the
roll-call in the Plaza; and of all absurd military sights, this was the
chief! Soldiers in every costume and of all sizes stood in line, much as
they arrived at the rendezvous, and solemnly answered to their names.
Would that I could present a photograph of this “Falstaff’s Regiment” to
my readers!

After coffee Frank and I went to church. The Indian women were all
kneeling on the tiled floor, and formed the bulk of the worshippers.
A few men stood or knelt, with striped blankets thrown gracefully
over their shoulders. Mahogany benches between the side altars gave
us an opportunity to sit comfortably and study the interesting scene
before us while we listened to the very fine orchestra (consisting
mostly of Germans), which occupied benches in the midst of the nave.
Far away in the loft, over the door, a bass drum and fife, and still
farther out of doors rockets and explosions, accompanied or emphasized
the music. The sacrament of the communion was being administered to
worshippers,—apparently in both kinds; the wine in a sort of sop, while
the wafer was carried by an attendant. All through the long service the
women remained devoutly kneeling on the tiled floor.

[Illustration: Indio of Coban.]

After church the market was more active than usual, and we spent the
time before almuerzo in lounging through it. In the afternoon we were
made happy by the arrival of Santiago and our mozos, with our luggage in
perfect order; and not long after the Jefe Don Luis called, and assured
us that we should have all the mozos we needed to carry our luggage
onward. We had decided to take the unusual road to Quiché, about which
even the Jefe could give us little information, and we found no one else
who knew more; so we decided to send our heavier luggage direct by Salamà
to Guatemala City, while we took with us only one mozo to carry those
things we needed by the way.

In the evening we turned again to the church to hear the vesper service.
The spacious edifice was dimly lighted by the candles on the altars and
pillars, and men and women knelt all over the rough floor. A choir of
female voices was singing as we entered, and soon the officiating priest
was conducted by candle-bearing acolytes to the altar. The responses by
the choir and orchestra (organ, violin, flute, and violoncello) were very
impressive, the musicians often joining their voices to the music of
their instruments. The Indian drum, made of hides rudely stretched over
the hollow trunk of a tree, boomed from the remote part of the church,
and bombs and rockets exploded outside in a most effective manner. A
black-robed young priest entered a confessional near where I was sitting,
and a veiled female at once knelt at the side, while others in the
immediate neighborhood moved quietly out of earshot. The whole service
was very solemn; and the clouds of incense from the swinging censers of
the Indian boys partly concealed the tinsel and tarnished gilding of the
uncouth altar, and even cast a glamour over the huge doll, which, most
gaudily dressed, represented the Queen of Heaven. The decaying church,
so painfully out of repair by daylight, was covered with respectability,
even with sanctity, by the shadows of night. One cannot but feel with
sadness that the offices of a religion held so sacred here in centuries
gone by should be so lightly regarded, and that the church buildings
reared by so much labor and often unselfish devotion should now be cared
so little for, even in this State of Verapaz, where the Church gained
an ascendency over the Indios which the iron-clad and iron-hearted
Conquistadores had never done.

Monday was spent in photographing views in the neighborhood and hunting
for mules. Of these we agreed to take three for our use all through the
country at a charge of $150; but when we unsaddled them at our hotel we
found they all had sore backs, and accordingly sent them home. In the
evening I went with the postmaster (a Kentuckian) to an examination at
the Colegio de Libertad. Three ladino lads did most of the reciting in
arithmetic, botany, zoology, and history; and a certain doctor took the
_rôle_ of chief examiner,—evidently quite as much bent on displaying his
own knowledge as that of his pupils. I had to ask a few questions, which
were understood and promptly answered.

In the morning we visited the Government storehouse for _aguardiente_.
The inspector wanted us to taste the fire-water, which was so strong that
it seemed to blister the tongue. The sale of this liquor is a Government
monopoly, yielding a very considerable revenue.[12] A distiller at this
place has a license, for which he pays four hundred dollars per month;
and he must furnish a minimum of sixty-five bottles _per diem_, paying
twenty-five cents a bottle for all over this amount. All the product is
brought to the public store, where it is tested at 50°; and the retailers
send in their written orders for the number of bottles they require. The
_estancas_ (or drink-shops) pay forty dollars per month. The unfortunates
who drink take a small tumblerful at a time.

I bought a mare—_yegua colorada_—for sixty dollars; and as all bills
of sale and receipts must be in Spanish, we, with the help of the
postmaster, composed the following simple affair on stamped paper:—

                                         COBAN, 13 de Novr. de 1883.



  Que yo Miguel Reyes vicino de Coban, Alta Verapaz, he vendido y
  vendo a Don Guillermo T. Brigham una yegua colorada con el hierro
  del margen en la suma de sesenta pesas en efectivo. En constancia
  firmo yo el vendidor.

                                       [Illustration: Miguel Reyes]

The paper is not only stamped, but also water-marked, and is for sale
at the principal shops. As the stamps are changed every two years, the
Government has to redeem all stamped paper on hand at the end of each
biennial period.

[Illustration: Cuartillo of Guatemala (enlarged three times).]



By Wednesday we had captured two mules; and these, in addition to our
mare,—all being well shod,—enabled us to leave Coban accompanied by a
capital mozo de cargo, who carried my photographic outfit. Santiago rode
one mule, I the other; and Frank had the mare, who was a little wild at
first, but soon became very tame and attached to us by kind treatment.
After trying to get away for three days, we started early in the morning,
and nearly forgot to look at the barometer, which was my constant
companion; but after we were in the saddle the little dial was consulted,
and the needle indicated an elevation of forty-four hundred feet. No
barometer was needed to mark the elevation of our spirits on getting on
the road again. As far as Santa Cruz we retraced our steps. Our mozo
kept up with us, carrying our photographic and cooking utensils easily.
And now this little town, in the early morning, was far more attractive
than when, wet and hungry, we came to it before. On this visit there was
more to eat, and from a tree by the wayside we bought twenty-five oranges
for three cents, and also some good bananas. Our breakfast was very
satisfactory, although eaten in a dirty house full of filthy children. At
two we started on a good road for San Cristobal, where we arrived in an
hour and a half. This little town, of some four thousand inhabitants, is
surrounded by hills of great beauty; but the Laguna is an insignificant
body of water. As there is no posada, we rode into the Plaza, and had a
capital room assigned us in what was once a monastery,—now confiscated
to public uses. Our comida was obtained at the house of an aged señora
to whom the polite comandante conducted us. We found that Thursday and
Sunday were the principal market-days, that the town-clock chimed the
quarters, that there were unworked mines of silver and lead close at
hand, and that the maguey grew abundantly there. We also watched the
process by which the rotted leaves are macerated and washed in the brook
which flows through the town, and we saw the resulting _pita_ spun into
cords for hammock-weaving.


The priests’ kitchen was roofless; but the great cooking-range was
intact, being built of brick, with perhaps a dozen pot-holes of graduated
sizes,—the largest being cut from the corners of four tiles, the smaller
ones from the edges of two. Besides this range, which occupied the middle
of the kitchen, there were two large cooking-benches.

The road to our next stopping-place was remarkably good, and the scenery
very fine,—the road winding along the side of a mountain and overlooking
deep valleys in which the night-clouds still lingered. By the wayside we
saw a cascade of calcareous water, which petrified twigs and leaves in
its reach. By eleven o’clock we rode into a sugar-plantation belonging
to President Barrios, now in the charge of an old schoolmate of his,
Juan Prado. There both sugar and coffee were cultivated, and much fine
imported stock kept. It was but one of the many fincas belonging to
the President, where he has endeavored to improve the agricultural
standard of his country and the native stock as well. The cane was of the
ribbon variety, and of fair quality; but the mill was simply a vertical
twenty-inch iron roll-mill turned by four oxen. There was but one open
kettle, with no clarifier; and the inspissated syrup was run into wooden
moulds and cooled into very dark hemispherical blocks (_panela_),—a form
of sugar much in demand among the Indios.

Señor Prado received us most hospitably, and set before us bananas,
anonas, and limas, or sweet lemons; then brought us large glasses of a
warm liquid made from rice and sugar,—not at all to our taste, although a
favorite drink of the mozos. The buildings at the President’s finca were
neither pleasant nor convenient; but a large roof, substantially framed,
was being walled in with hewn pine-planks three inches thick, each plank
representing an entire tree. In this building men were grating off the
juicy pulp of the coffee-berry in rude machines; after this pulping the
berries are washed, and spread in the sun to dry.

We here learned that we could not cross the Chixoy (pronounced _chisoy_)
River that afternoon, as the wire suspension-bridge had been swept away
the last year, and the man whose duty it was to haul travellers across
on ropes would not be there so late in the day; we were consequently
obliged to yield to the importunities of our host and stay over night
at Primavera. To entertain us, in the afternoon Señor Prado took us
to a mound which the new roadway had just grazed; and together we dug
out fragments of fine pottery and bits of human bones much decayed,—the
lower third of a left femur and a fragment of a pelvis being the most
distinctly human. Some earthen vessels had been found here and sent
to the Museo Nacional in Guatemala City. The bones were mingled with
charcoal and ochre, and often cemented together like lime concretions or

We each had a tumbler of warm milk as a “stirrup-cup” when we said our
_adios_ to our kind host in the morning, and soon after six we were
on the road again. Here, as so often again in the republic, we found
that the road-bed was undergoing active repair. The primitive method of
removing large rocks and ledges greatly interested us. Fires are kept
up on and around these obstructions; when thoroughly heated, these are
left to cool, or the cooling is hastened by water. In either case the
hammerers have easy work.

[Illustration: Rope Bridge over the Chixoy.]

The narrower road led among pine-forests, where many of the trees had
been girdled and were slowly decaying,—the _comajen_ being unknown at
this elevation. Men were cutting timber for the President’s house and
for a new bridge. A mortise is cut in the end of each log, to which the
drag-ropes are fastened. We passed a pleasant village in the valley below
us on our left, and after about nine miles of poor road we came to a
rapid descent of twenty-two hundred feet, so steep that we were obliged
to lead our mules almost to the bank of the Chixoy, where the pier on the
side nearest us had been undermined in the last flood. The path ended on
a narrow rock shelf, where was fastened a rude timber frame, from which
two small and well-worn ropes stretched nearly two hundred feet to the
remaining pier on the farther bank. A hundred feet below was the Chixoy,
foaming over its rocky bed. This we might see to the best advantage;
for one by one we sat in a sling hung from a rickety traveller, and,
launching from the cliff, slid rapidly down the slack ropes, and after
sliding back at the middle, were hauled up on to the remaining pier.
From this structure we descended a rough ladder to the shore, which
was sandy and strewed with bowlders and other remains of the action of
higher waters. Dizzy as our own passage was, it was safe enough compared
to the crossing of our animals. By the help of Indios, we stretched a
rope across, and finally swam all our mules safely. Santiago and the
bridge-keeper swam splendidly in the rapid current, and the latter was
a fine muscular, lean specimen of manhood. Frank and I swam in as far
as we dared, and landed the soaked and frightened animals. The bath was
cool, and for the first time we had no thought of alligators. While I
photographed the bridge, Frank went to the hamlet of Jocote to get eggs
and tortillas, and Santiago boiled our coffee. Beautiful butterflies were
hovering over the rounded pumice-stones strewed along the banks; and on
a rock were fine Achimenes, the Dorstenia (which resembles botanically a
fig turned inside out), and a wild Martynia.


Starting again in the early afternoon, we found the way led up and down
through the valley, until we were seven hundred feet above the river,
which in one place quite disappeared beneath the limestone ledges, to
reappear some distance beyond. On either side the steep slopes were
covered with coarse grass; and there were many small, compact aloes, with
broad leaves and dried flower-stems here and there. Among the rocks were
maguey-plants and a few palms,—these last seemed quite out of place in
this high, dry country. Under the pine-trees the sod was green, and in
the small lateral valleys clear brooks improved the pasturage; and here
at the head of each larger gulch we found the deserted camps of the mozos
de cargo.

[Illustration: TWO VIEWS AT CHICAMAN.]

After many turns we came at six o’clock to the village of Chicaman, just
as the rain began to fall. This hamlet is on the north side of broken
hills, and overlooks the Chixoy valley,—here of great depth, but narrow
and winding. We found a picturesque little house, where we slung our
hammocks in the best room, eating our _huevos_ and tortillas on a shrine
sacred to the black “Lord of Esquipulas.” This shrine is usual in houses
far from any church; and here it was embowered in leaves, flowers, and
fruit,—among the latter citrons of a large size and the showy yellow
fruit of a solanum. We were nearly four thousand feet above the sea, and
the night was cool,—a comfortable ending to a day altogether too short to
hold properly all the fine weather, beautiful and changing scenery, and
delightful journeying crowded into its twelve bright hours.

Before the sun had melted the clouds in the valley below us, we were on
our horses and slowly climbing a steep ascent of eight hundred feet.
I had photographed the house, and, turning the camera on its pivot,
obtained a view of the cloudy valley below: these views are before
the reader now. A league brought us to another Santa Cruz,—a village
pleasantly situated, and about the size of Chicaman, consisting of
perhaps ten houses. There we saw by the roadside some fine oranges; but
when Frank rode up to the house with his “¡Buenos dias, señora! ¿Tiene
usted naranjas?” he was met by “No háy” (there are none). That phrase we
heard altogether too frequently on our journey. In this case it simply
meant that the señora had no oranges in the house; but she added that we
might for a medio pick as many as we wanted! We tried the several trees,
and filled a pillow-case with the fine fruit,—half a bushel for five

We had little need of guides, for the _camino real_ had few branches
between towns; but soon after leaving Santa Cruz we found a branch on
our left which puzzled us a little, as our map gave no indication of its
existence. But we kept on almost a league, riding through a pine-forest
on a nearly level road,—which proved to be the right one, although the
choice was guess-work. Grass grew beneath these noble trees, and herds
pastured in this park-like region. It was most interesting to see the
acorns inserted by the birds in the pine-bark, precisely as I had often
seen them in the forests of Nevada and California; but with all my
watching I could not catch the birds at work. The acorns that I dug out,
although frequently dry and apparently abandoned, were free from worms.
The common species of pine (_Pinus macrophylla_) had “needles” fifteen
and a half inches long; and the Indios were gathering them to strew the
floors of the churches,—a more fragrant carpet than the rushes of our
ancestors. We frequently came across artificial mounds, which, according
to Santiago, “were where houses had been.” At ten o’clock we halted at
a little village which we were told was Uspantán (our wretched mozo
Santiago, who pretended to be guide, but knew no more than we about the
road, led us into this mistake); so we unsaddled and waited for almuerzo,
with little to amuse us except two turkey-cocks, one white, the other
dark, inseparable companions, who followed us wherever we went, and at
last were driven nearly wild by their attempts to converse with us. Not
until two o’clock did we arrive at the true Uspantán, and then very
unexpectedly; for seeing some women at a spring washing, in a wild place
where no houses were visible, we turned a low ridge, and found ourselves
in the midst of a considerable Indian town. The church, which we did not
enter, had huge buttresses at the apse,—doubtless a precaution against
earthquakes. We saw a great deal of pottery, and anona-trees were on all
sides; but the full-grown fruit was not ripe. We felt so provoked at our
waste of time at the first village (whose true name we never learned)
that we did not care to stop here, but rode out of the town through
a deep artificial ravine. San Miguel Uspantán has some nine hundred
inhabitants, who weave cotton from the lowlands and wool from their
numerous flocks; and it is from the mines near by that all the silver was
obtained for the vessels of the church,—so says tradition. Ruined walls
and broken aqueducts attest the former importance of the place under the
Quiché rule.

The road became a mere trail until we came to Pericon,—a village of
two hundred inhabitants, whose only industry is wool-dyeing; and from
this we climbed the pine-clad hills to a height of over seven thousand
feet, where we came suddenly upon a fine view of Cunen, directly west,
but several leagues away, across a valley twelve hundred feet deep. I
wanted a photograph; but the sun was in our faces, we could not spare the
time, the day was almost done, and we had a difficult descent before us.
Although we did not delay, it was long after dark when we rode into Cunen
and found the Plaza, where we were assigned a good room in a confiscated
monastery or church building. We had a mahogany bench fifteen feet long
and sixteen inches wide for our bed, and a good table and several chairs
abundantly furnished our apartment. We had our own candles and coffee;
but no other food was to be had except some ears of green corn which we
had picked by the way for our animals, but which we were fain to eat
ourselves when Santiago had scorched them by the embers of the mozos’
fires in the Plaza. Although the corridor was full of mozos who were to
pass the night here, there was no noise whatever. We closed our door at
six; and as soon as our notes were made, fell asleep. The poor Indios had
no politics to quarrel over, and we had the satisfaction of a day well
spent; so there was peace and harmony beneath our roof of tiles.

Every day the vegetation changed, and we might have constructed an
itinerary of floral landmarks; to-day it was a fine pink dahlia far
surpassing in vigor of growth and blossom any of the cultivated
varieties. In such a climate, however, this plant did not provide for
hibernation in its tuberous roots, of which it had none. Acres of
fragrant Stevia perfumed the air, while Bouvardias and bright Compositæ
brushed against us on either side of the narrow pathway.

Twelve hours of solid rest were not too much; and while in the early dawn
our _bestias_ were being saddled, I strolled into the church, which is
much smaller than its ruined predecessor at its side. In Central America
the roofless walls of ancient churches usually, if not always, enclose
a campo santo, and here the early Cunenans slept their last sleep among
the crumbling relics of their work. In the modern church were two large
mermaids of the genuine Japanese type, carved as supporters to the altar.

In the cold, misty morning we started without coffee, and at once began
to climb a long ascent; for Cunen seems to be built on a platform on the
mountain side. On our left was the finest waterfall we had yet seen,
and on the banks were red violets. The summit of this pass was nearly
seven thousand feet, and a sudden turn on a sharp ridge brought us to
another region and a different climate. The transition was astonishing,
for only a few rods behind we had left the rainy season. Before us was
a vast valley bounded by forest-clad mountains and grassy buttresses;
but near and far no sign of human habitation. The path we were on was
the only token of man’s presence, and that looked more like the dry
bed of a mountain torrent than a public road. Broad-leaved agaves were
very common, some crowned with golden blossoms on immense stems, some
dead after flowering, still others wantonly hacked by the passer-by,—so
we thought, in our ignorance, until the too-frequent mutilation of the
tough stems showed a labor that could not be purposeless; and then we
remembered that these “century plants” flower but once, after years
of growth exhausting their entire substance in that supreme effort,
and leaving a withered stem and shrivelled leaves, to be swept down
the hillside by the next storm. Foiled in its attempt to flower by the
decapitating machete of the mozo, the plant lives on for a longer period,
furnishing fibre and drink from its leaves. Anona-trees grew at the
very summit of the pass, although we were assured that frosts sometimes
occurred. Oaks of two species were abundant, and laurels were in blossom.
A rancho built by the roadside, a sad travesty of the Dâk Bungalows of
India, gave us at least a chance to boil our coffee.

A long and rough descent brought us to a pine-forest, whence at an
elevation of six thousand feet we again looked down upon the valley of
the Chixoy. Among the pines and oaks I photographed the view. The little
white-housed town of Sacapulas on the hillside above the right bank of
the light-green river which did not half fill its bed; the cultivated
fields around; far in the distance the volcanic cone of Tajumulco,—the
first we had seen, a token that we had left the limestone mountains of
the Atlantic, and were looking on the fire-fountains of the Pacific
coast,—all these and so much more in this grand view before us. We hardly
noted the contour, the lines, the masses,—all that we could trust to
the ivory plate that should carry it away; but the vivid colors in that
clear atmosphere, the marvellous tints of forest, sky, and river, no
photographic art could carry away, and we must enjoy it now by ourselves.
The town was five miles away, and three thousand feet below us; and the
descent was very difficult, owing to the sharp bits of quartz in the
path. In the valley we came upon the huge cylindrical cacti (_Cereus_)
used in fencing. Jocote-trees were abundant, but the small yellow fruit
decidedly inferior. Sugar-cane grew to some extent in gardens, but fruits
and vegetables were scarce. On the trees and fences hung a light-blue
convolvulus,—the most attractive color I ever saw; and this with a
smaller white one brought the number of the “morning-glories” we had
found so far to ten species.

Women were bathing in a spring near the road; the men seem never to
bathe in public. Over the river was a bridge of six piers with simple
hewn logs laid between them, no plank or rail of any kind, although the
bridge was high and the current, even in ordinary stages of the water,
very strong. As our bestias did not hesitate, we of course crossed with
them. A short distance up stream were two brick and stone arches of a
more ancient bridge extending from the town side. Several piers of the
bridge we were crossing had fallen; but the masonry was good, and they
generally held well together, forming bowlder-like masses, on which new
piers had been built: in one case this process had been repeated. No
doubt the bridge will soon break down again; and two wire cables are
stretched from cliff to cliff to provide transit in case of accident. We
went up a steep paved street to the Plaza, where Señor Placido Estada,
the comandante, assigned us quarters in the cabildo, and exerted himself
to find us a boarding-place. Whether the climate was favorable, I know
not; but we were always very hungry when we were where food could be got:
where it was wanting we did not care for it. Here we did full justice to
the señora’s cinnamon-flavored chocolate whipped to a froth.


The church was small, and, like that of Cunen, built at the right of
an older and much more extensive edifice now shattered by earthquakes
and used only as a burial-place. We climbed the bell-tower and found
one bell with the date 1683, another with that of 1773; all were bound
to the supporting crossbeams by raw-hide thongs. The chief ornament of
the Plaza was an ancient Ceiba-tree (_Eriodendron_) of immense size and
traditionary antiquity. Below the terrace of the Plaza was a court, in
which a fountain of odd design furnished water for the town. Animals were
fed here over the gravestones that paved the court, and Frank remarked
that in an earthquake country people chose _stable_ ground for their
graves. Our photographing attracted such a crowd that we walked away
to the ruined bridge. Originally this was nine feet wide and about two
hundred and fifty feet long. Its age we could not learn; but a large
sand-box tree (_Hura crepitans_) seven and a half feet in circumference
had grown up in the very midst of the paved approach, tearing up the
stone floor with its slow, irresistible power, and another large tree
of the fig family was persistently fingering the cracks in the ancient
wall. The tiles used in the arches were thin like those in old Roman
structures, and the mortar was generally harder than the terra-cotta.
Frank sketched the bridge, and we followed in thought the river until it
became the Rio de la Pasion, then as the Usumacinta (the ancient Rio de
los Lacandones) flowing through the richest land and most genial climate,
by the ruins of the ancient cities of the earliest men, and among the
villages of the unconquered tribes to the shores of that Bay of Campeachy
where Votan gave his laws to the children of the forest.

Even in this retired spot we became an attraction to the unemployed on
this Sunday afternoon; and we slowly sauntered back to the cabildo,
measuring on our way the trunk of a dead ceiba-tree forty feet in
circumference above the buttresses. A game of ball was going on under the
tree in the Plaza. Wooden balls five inches in diameter, not very round,
were shoved about with paddles. In the evening two young men, at the
request of the comandante, played on the flute and guitar for us a number
of Spanish airs.

In all these towns the _carcél_, or prison, is simply a room in the
cabildo with grated windows and door, and separate rooms are often, but
not always, provided for women. We saw but few occupants in the prisons
of the towns we passed through.

We made exceedingly comfortable beds of the public documents in
the register’s office, and I must confess to reading one of these
marriage-records, which, as usual, was entered with great particularity,
filling a folio page. Comfortable as this “marriage bed” was, we were
in the saddle the next morning at five o’clock; and leaving our adios
for the kind comandante, followed the river bank for some distance in
the mist. Not half a league from the town we came to a ruined church
of considerable size, evidently shattered by earthquakes. Our path led
directly through a campo santo, and even over the graves, which were
usually covered with tiles crossed and edged with white paint.

We crossed the dry bed of a river,—certainly at some seasons difficult
to ford,—and came upon a good level path extending along the river side
for a mile; and then by a sudden turn we climbed out of the valley up
a steep hill of decomposing rock, coming to a grassy plain on the top.
There we met Indios loaded with pottery,—some with huge _cántaras_ of
red clay so large that two made a load; others with twelve fifteen-inch
spherical pots, all of good workmanship.[13] The water by the roadside
was all whitish, and not inviting. The highest part of the pass was 6,250
feet; only a few hundred feet below it we found a beautiful liliaceous
plant, and some of the mozos we passed carried superb clusters of a
purple orchid which we afterwards found parasitic on trees. Another
valley and another steep gravelly slope to nearly eight thousand feet,
and then we had a view over a vast extent of mountainous country. No lake
or river relieved the thirsty landscape, though rain-clouds hung on the
horizon and dropped their showers in the far west. Corn was in tassel;
and where we rested at noon on a high plateau, 7,825 feet, we found
it in milk. There we saw the maguey used as a hedge-plant,—and a very
impervious fence it made. From this high land there was a gradual descent
towards the south. Far away to the left we saw the church of San Pedro,
surrounded by its little adobe village, and soon we caught a glimpse of
the still-distant Santa Cruz del Quiché, high enough, but seemingly in a
valley, for mountains like the hills about Jerusalem guarded it on every
side. The soil near the road was very thin, and covered what seemed to be
indurated tufa. Deep pools of water were formed in this hard substance.

As we came at last, after a hard day’s ride, into the uninteresting town,
we found the streets all carefully named, as _Avenida de Barrios, salida
por Mejico_ (Barrios Street, the way to Mexico),—which was as useful as
it would be to put a sign on the corner of Broadway, “Cortland Street,
the way to Philadelphia.” All the inhabitants seemed to be in the Plaza,
listening to a band and watching some fair acrobats who tumbled on mats
and swung on a horizontal bar. After waiting some time before the locked
doors of the Hotel del Centro, the proprietor came home and let us in.
Tough meat, frijoles, bread, and tolerable chocolate were all we could
get; and the vile dogs were even more troublesome than usual. Our beds
were made up in the dining-room, and we had pillows and sheets again,—the
only good things this posada afforded.


The morning was overcast; but Frank and I walked to the campo santo,
nearly a mile from town. High walls of adobe surrounded it, and a
locked gate kept us out; but we peered in over the heaps of white
lilies (_Lilium candidum_) and marigolds offered at the entrance, and
saw masonry tombs of very bizarre forms, some painted white, others red
and blue, or blue and white, in checks. The meadows all around were
intersected by wide ditches which we had no little trouble in crossing,
the bare legs of the natives rendering bridges quite unnecessary. When
one was beyond our jump we threw in the washing-stones on the bank
until we had enough for stepping-stones. Returning to town, we paid our
respects to the Jefe politico, Don Antonio Rivera, who is a young man
exceedingly polite and obliging, and we found practice made it much
easier to converse than when we met the Governor of Coban. Don Antonio
showed us fine specimens of the woods of his neighborhood which had been
prepared for an exhibition in Guatemala City; but he could not tell us
the names, and sent for an old Indio who was better informed. This Indio
also served to show us what the Jefe evidently considered a very amusing
garment,—his trousers, which were in the usual black woollen _jerga_, cut
up in front as high as mid thigh, so that they can be rolled up behind
when the wearer girds up his loins to work. Cloths of various kinds were
brought in for our inspection, and the prices given. These seemed high,
for the material is only a _vara_ (thirty-three inches) wide, and is sold
in _vara_ lengths. Not satisfied with showing us all that the market
afforded, the kind Jefe furnished us with a guide to the ancient city of
Utatlan, or Gumarcaah, and a mozo to carry my photographic kit.

A walk of three long miles westward brought us to a great disappointment.
It is human to like what one has not got; Americans have an extreme
respect for ruins, and we were no exception to the mass of our countrymen.

Stephens has described the remains of this powerful city of the Quiché
kings, and has figured the very sacrificial altar of Tohil down whose
steep sides were hurled the quivering bodies of the human victims. Three
centuries and a half is a long period for people of a new country to look
back over; but that time has passed since the Conquistadores destroyed
the citadel and moved the inhabitants to the site of the present Santa
Cruz del Quiché. Forty years ago the towers, faced with cut stone, the
altar, some houses, and even the outer walls, were in good preservation;
but all these have since been torn down, and the neatly cut stone removed
to repair a miserable mud church in the town. These blocks of travertine
were generally of uniform size, 18 × 12 × 4 inches; and mingled with them
were blocks of pumice cut to one third of this size. The Plaza was still
paved with a smooth layer of cement exactly an inch thick, not unlike
the _chunam_ of the East Indies, and entire, except where the modern
vandals had cut through it in search of foundation-stones which they are
too stupid to cut from the quarries much nearer the town. Five towers
are plainly visible still, though now but insecure piles of rubbish, the
casing having disappeared. In several there are small cavities not large
enough for rooms, but sufficient to serve as ladder wells, and under one
our guide assured us was the entrance to a long tunnel extending to the
distant hills; but when we insisted upon his pointing out the place, he
utterly failed. Not an arrow-head could we find, although plain pottery
in fragments was abundant.

The whole fortress was built on a promontory surrounded, except at one
narrow neck, by steep barrancas several hundred feet deep; and to the
rivers at the bottom there were probably tunnels from the summit, as the
ancient Indios were very expert in underground work. It is from these
tunnels, most likely, that much of the pumice-stone was obtained. Across
the barranca towards the town are the remains of three fine watch-towers,
from which a good view of the entire fortress, as well as of the
surrounding country, may be obtained. Remains of other similar towers
were seen far up the mountain slopes on either side, and from these the
warders signalled with fire or smoke the approach of hostile visitors.

At the beginning of the present century the palace of the Quiché kings
was in such a state of preservation that its plan could be easily
traced, even to the garden. But unfortunately a small gold image was
discovered in the ruins; and this determined the Government to search for
treasure, which tradition has always located in the ruins of Utatlan. In
this search the palace was utterly destroyed; and hardly a wall would
have been left standing had not the Indios, indignant at the wanton
destruction of their once famous capital, become so turbulent that
explorations were no longer safe. In 1834 a commission from the capital
made a full and careful report on the condition of the ruins, and on this
report Stephens largely rests in his interesting account of Quiché. Even
in 1840, at the time of his visit, he found many traces which are now
gone, especially the Sacrificatorio, which was a quadrilateral pyramid,
with a base of sixty-six feet on the side, and a height, in that ruined
condition, of thirty-three feet. One side of this awful relic of human
misery was plain, though bearing traces of painted figures of animals;
but the other three sides were supplied with steps in the middle, as may
be seen in the illustration, taken from Catherwood’s sketch. These steps
were only eight inches wide on the tread, while the risers were seventeen
inches,—a proportion that must have made the descent very awkward for the
priests if they were as corpulent as the more modern monks.

[Illustration: Quiché Altar of Tohil (Sacrificatorio).]

We met on our return a _marimba_, carried by two men, while the three
players followed, beating out clear and agreeable notes. A frame between
seven and eight feet long and twenty-nine inches high, supports on cords
thirty strips of hard wood, beneath each of which is a wooden resonator
duly proportioned for tones. The music was always attractive, and just
now it drew a long procession in honor of the gymnasts of the day before,
who followed the marimba on horseback.

[Illustration: Marimba.]

In the Plaza we bought _jicaras_, or calabash[14] chocolate-cups,—three
for a medio. Other interesting things for sale were small crabs dried on
spits, dried shrimps of large size, raw cotton white and brown, floss
silk, cloths both cotton and woollen, fresh and preserved squash, bread,
sugar-candy, and _eau sucré_ colored pink, tin-ware, pottery, ropes and
bags of pita, leather sandals, sugar-cane, coconuts, baskets, and cheap
foreign wares. In this town of six thousand inhabitants there are very
few manufactures. We saw a woman boldly eating the game she caught in
a little girl’s hair. I had before seen aged Hawaiian women engaged in
this fascinating pursuit; but they always seemed ashamed to be seen by
strangers. Not so the Quiché woman; the wretch even held her hand out for

[Illustration: Jicara.]

To the fountain in the midst of the Plaza men and women came for water.
The latter all carried their water-jars on their heads, while the men
always slung them on their backs. Convicts were at work on the streets,
or carrying stone for the church. They were chained in pairs, having
shackles about the waist and ankles. The cabildo was the most important
building in the town, as the parish church had so decayed that the walls
of the entire nave had had to be removed. The new construction of adobe,
with trimmings of stone taken from the ruins, will not last many years.
The whole town looks dingy, and even dirty, owing to the universal use
of adobe. The roof-tiles are not so well made, nor so carefully kept
in place, as in some of the smaller towns; but, on the other hand,
some of the streets are paved, there are some side-walks, subterranean
street-drains, and street-lamps or candles.

The Quiché Indios of the present day are not so good-looking as the
Mayas. The women are badly dressed, and not neat; the men wear slashed
trousers, loose jackets, closed in front and put on like a shirt, and
in cold weather a narrow blanket, or poncho, with fringed ends. Some
of these ponchos are figured, and most of them have a border, more or
less elaborate, woven at each end. These Indios are small of stature and
light limbed, with scanty but common beards, round faces, and small hands
and feet; they are by no means as modest as those of Alta Verapaz, and
evidently unused to seeing strange white men. Women carry their babies
on the back while washing clothes at the fountains or by the streams. At
home hammocks serve well for cradles.

Vegetation is not free from pests here, for we saw black warts on the
oaks, and smut (_Ustilago serjetum_) on the corn. The corn-stalks are of
the size and appearance of our field-corn; but the juice is much sweeter,
and Frank considered it quite as good as that of the withered sugar-cane
brought up here from the coast. Everywhere marigolds (_calendula_) scent
the air, and bunches of them are wilting at every altar in every church.

The _fiesta_ is in commemoration of the Conquest,—so we were told; and it
was rather curious to see the degenerate Indios decorating their houses
and holding high holiday far from the memory of the horrible tortures
inflicted on their ancestors in this same conquest. Red flags hung from
every door and window,—fit emblems of the bloody event!

The excellent mozo Ramón Ghisli, who had come with us from Coban, was
now ready to return. We would gladly have engaged this capital fellow to
go with us all the way, but it was impossible; so I gave him extra pay,
and with his _carcaste_[15] full of onions he started back on his long
journey. Our mules were not very good, so we decided to send them back
and get others here. Ramón had kept well up with the animals, had helped
bravely in crossing the Chixoy, and had yielded implicit obedience to
Santiago, who persisted in ordering about a man worth three of himself.
Ramón got safely home, and delivered the mules all right.

A little alcalde in green spectacles exerted himself to find animals for
us, as we were anxious to get away, since the hotel was full of dirty
children and even dirtier dogs, and the food far worse than anything we
had hitherto found. We had rain that night and the next day; but our
new horses were brought in fair season. When we came to settle the bill
we found the wretched landlord had charged seven dollars, given the bill
to his wife, and hidden himself. Finding expostulation with the señora
of no effect, I despatched Frank to lay the case before the Jefe, while
I tried abuse; this had the desired effect of bringing the landlord from
his hiding-place. I called him a _ladron_ (robber), and, to the intense
amusement of the many bystanders, described the meat he had set before
us as _mula solamente_ (nothing but mule). The boys caught the phrase,
and we heard it shouted at the poor man until we departed. The Jefe sent
the comandante and two soldiers to bring the “robber” to reason, and mine
host thereupon told us to pay what we pleased. The comandante suggested
three dollars as the proper price; but we gave him four, and soon after
nine o’clock we scraped the mud of this town from our feet.

The road led down immense barrancas, where we saw deposits of pumice
some eight hundred feet thick. Mingled with this layer were large blocks
of lava, seemingly ejected from some crater eruption; but where was the
crater? We passed a little hamlet marked San Sebastian de Lemoa on the
map; but all the people had gone a fishing on a lake near by, whose
borders were swarming with ducks. Four leagues from Quiché we came to
Santo Tomas Chichicastenango. This is a neat, attractive little village,
hardly as large as its name is long, with clean streets, a fountain and
eucalyptus-trees in the Plaza, and an ancient church. Close at hand
are the ruins of an older town, which we, to our regret, had no time
to visit. At the cabildo we were politely received, and our beasts of
burden, both biped and quadruped, unloaded. The Jefe had telegraphed
to Santo Tomas for horses and a mozo, and we were assured that after
almuerzo these would be ready. In this faith we strolled about the town.
The church, as usual, attracted our attention; and here for the first
time we saw the Indios burning incense, which seemed to be gum copal,
or precisely the same material their ancestors used in idol worship.
Marigolds were strewed all over the floor, and the odor was oppressive,
even without the incense and innumerable candles. The altar was covered
with plates of beaten silver of no very good workmanship. An image of
a man on horseback, with a beggar by his side, excited our curiosity,
which was not destined to be satisfied, although our mozo declared it was
Santiago (Saint James). We pushed our explorations outside the church,
and climbed by an external staircase to the organ-loft, which was floored
with hewn boards not otherwise smoothed. An ancient organ, hardly larger
than an ordinary davenport, stood in the midst, wholly apart from the
bellows, which were worked by a suspended lever much as an ordinary
forge-bellows. The keys were deeply worn by long use, horny fingers, or
both, and they covered two octaves and a half; the stops were simply
strips of hard wood projecting from the side of the case, and beyond the
reach of the organist.[16] The locks on all the doors were of wood, and
most primitive in design. All the worshipping Indios seemed very devout,
chanting their prayers in their native tongue to the bare wall or a
door-post, and they paid no attention to us as we passed them, although
outside they generally bowed respectfully.

In a little shop at a street corner we found our almuerzo (there is no
posada); and a very good one it was. Our hostess was a very respectable
woman, whose house was well furnished (sewing-machine and rocking-chairs
among other comforts), being quite a different person from the one who
in our own country would occupy her position,—a rumseller. While we
were waiting, two half-tipsy Indios came in, drank a small tumbler of
_aguardiente_, and soon settled themselves quietly on the sidewalk for a
drunken sleep, undisturbed by the passer-by.

Our way from Chichicastenango[17] led out over a narrow ridge or series
of ridges, with deep barrancas on either side. The road was good, and
hedged part of the way; but our animals were of the poorest kind. My
little horse went slowly, and at last his legs seemed to collapse, and he
came to the ground, leaving me standing over him. He was not worn out,
he was a “trick horse.” For miles Frank and I walked on, leading our
bestias. It grew very dark and misty; lightning flashed in the distance,
and the trees were dripping with dew. With every desire to get on to
Sololà, we agreed that in the darkness it was unwise to travel, and we
looked anxiously for a camping-place, although the muddy ground, dripping
bushes, and threatening sky gave no hope of a comfortable night. Twice we
were misled by the gleam of fireflies, whose glow is so steady that we
mistook it for light in a distant house. As we could find no safe place
for a camp, a high bank on one side and a seemingly deep ravine on the
other bordering the narrow cart-road, we walked on in the utter darkness
until we almost ran into two ox-carts with a squad of white-coated
soldiers, who told us we had lost our path in the dark, and were on the
road to Totonicapan, and a long league beyond Encuentros. We returned
with them to the latter place, where we found comfortable lodgings in the
house prepared for the expected visit of the President. We occupied his
room, which was temporarily furnished with plenty of Vienna bent-wood
furniture, and decorated with a full-length, life-size painting of
President Barrios and a small portrait of his wife. Two bedsteads of
the box variety were quite bare, as His Excellency always carries his
bedding, and we did not. After some excellent chocolate, but no other
food, we spread our blankets and slept.

How cold that Thursday morning was when we started at daybreak! The
thermometer marked 46° at half-past six o’clock, and we were at an
elevation of eight thousand feet. We had a fine carriage-road for our
travel to-day, on which I used Frank’s mare, while he tried his luck with
my “trick horse.” For a while all went well, and Frank made the little
beast go ahead, while I stopped to pick up some lava fragments in one of
the cuttings; and so when Frank’s turn came I could see perfectly how
odd it looked to have a horse collapse under his rider. Along the road
were elder-trees (_Sambucus_) pollarded like our willows; as, however,
they were not shady, but in the way of fine views, we voted them a
nuisance. It was down hill all the way, and as we approached Sololà
the view of the Lago de Atitlan and the volcano was disappointing. We
had surfeited, perhaps, on the glories of landscape, and had expected
something finer, with an immense lake, several volcanoes of more than
average size, and a town whose white houses and red-tiled roofs were
almost concealed in trees and flowers. However critical we might be, we
were glad enough to see the town, and not less to find a posada, where we
had a room to serve as store-room and bedchamber. We at once sent back
our miserable horses; and after reporting to the comandante, as in duty
bound,[18] we strolled through the Plaza, sending Santiago in search of
bestias for our next stage. Here we first found the ripe fruit of the
sapote (_Lucuma mammosa_), and did not like it. The outside was brown,
rough, and leathery; the meat reddish, surrounding a smooth nut, and the
whole flavored with cinnamon. Some sapotes were as large as a coconut,
but generally they were not half that size.[19] The Plaza was full of
people buying and selling. Mule-trains came in and went out, and it
seems that this is the great wheat-market. This grain (_trigo_) is small
and round, and the Government officials weighed each bag, which should
contain six arrobas, or one hundred and fifty pounds. Fat-pine (_ocote_)
is also an important article of commerce here, as it is the principal
source of candle-light among the Indios.

[Illustration: Sololà and Atitlan.]

The church is large, but of no architectural pretensions; and among
its contents we noticed several strange things. A figure of Christ,
with glass eyes and long human hair, wore a crown cocked over his left
eye like a drunken man. On the wall of the nave was a water-color
drawing passably done, representing a young man falling headlong over a
precipice, while through a sort of Lutheran window, or peep-hole, in the
sky a rather young female is trying to catch him with a long vine. The
legend states at length that the youth, in passing along the edge of the
terrible precipice above the Lago one dark night (when he had been to
his club), mistook the gleam of the water for the path, and forced his
horse over. As he fell, he breathed a prayer to the “Mother of God,”
and she opened her window and jerked him up again with a grape-vine. In
testimony whereof he offers this tablet, etc. Near the main entrance was
a large altar-piece, with a deeply sunken cruciform panel containing a
very realistic crucifix,—glass eyes, sweat, long hair, and blood-drops,
indeed, everything that could make it disgusting to a civilized being;
while from the five wounds proceeded skeins of crimson thread,—that from
the side being much thicker,—and all these knotted together in a mass,
black with the kisses of the worshippers of the blood of Christ. On one
side of this panel were painted, life-size, Roman soldiers mocking the
suffering Saviour; while on the other was a Guatemaltecan general, in
full uniform, weeping at the sad sight, and using such an embroidered
handkerchief as the nuns make at the present day. Just behind him was
an attendant who had caught off his wig on the point of his lance. This
last feature Frank interprets differently, and thinks the bald head is a
shining casque, while what I call a wig is a flowing plume. With all due
deference to his younger and brighter eyes, I submit that such a helmet
was never a part of the Guatemaltecan uniform; and even if made of such
close-fitting shape, would not have been painted flesh-color. Unluckily I
did not take a photograph, to settle, if possible, this important dispute.

Frank was busily asking every one he met about mules; and we had not
found any when, late in the afternoon, he met a gentleman walking alone
in the public garden near the Plaza. He asked the oft-repeated question
in Spanish, when, to his surprise, the person asked him if he spoke
English. This proved to be the Jefe, Don J. M. Galero; and when told
who we were and what we wanted, asked us to come to the Jefaturia in
the evening. As Señor Galero was high in favor with the Government and
beloved by his people, our very agreeable visit was interrupted by a
serenade to his Excellency; and after he had promised to send us his own
mules that very night for our journey to Totonicapan, we took our leave.

The public garden especially interested me, since all the flowers (except
an orange-tree) were such as I might find at home;[20] but times and
seasons were sadly mixed. Pinks and gladioli, sunflower and white lily,
all blossomed together. The fountain was painted blue and white,—the
national colors,—and sadly disfigured the garden, which otherwise was not
laid out with any taste.

Our apartment in this only hotel in Sololà was completely fire-proof;
walls, roof, and floor were brick or tile, and several of the floor-tiles
were deeply impressed with dog-tracks (made, of course, before the
kiln),—much resembling the fossil footprints in the red sandstone of
the Connecticut valley. A low table, one chair, a hardwood table called
a bedstead, furnished this room; and there was one door and a single
window,—the latter, with its iron grating, suggesting a prison-cell. It
was clean and quiet, and good enough. It does not require long travel in
the tropics to teach one that the less unnecessary furniture in a house,
the fewer lurking-places for cockroaches, centipedes, scorpions, snakes,
and other disagreeable tenants; and comparative emptiness decidedly
reduces the temperature of a room. During the night my hammock broke
down; and the sympathy Frank expressed as he was half-awakened by the
noise, would have been very soothing had he not fallen asleep again
in the midst of it, leaving me sitting on the floor. He continued his
sympathy in the morning, when the dreadful jar was almost forgotten.

Early next morning we were on our way, mounted better than we had been;
for we left Frank’s mare with Santiago to rest for a week, and with
the Jefe’s mules we rode briskly on to Argueta,—a small hamlet with a
deserted convent or monastery, in front of which flowed a clear cool
brook, and near by was an _ingenio_ moved by water-power. We got our
almuerzo here, early as it was, for we were warned that we should find
nothing to eat until night. From Argueta the road was very hilly, and we
climbed until my barometer said 10,450 feet. Wheat abounded everywhere,
and there were fenced threshing-floors of beaten earth. The mozos we met
carried packs of woollen blankets and _redes_ (nets) of pottery; several
had pine-boards hewn smooth, three feet wide by eight long. In the trees
were flocks of bright-green parrots. So many little streams had to be
crossed that we often wondered if they were not, many of them, parts
of one rivulet winding in devious way among the foothills. Except in
the ravines, where we had to zigzag down and up while the toiling mozos
patiently climbed the banks too steep for horses, the road was generally
over a good country for road-building. In one place, however, we had to
climb a stairway paved with stone set on edge and walled with masonry.
In places earthen pots were built into the walls to collect water for
the wayfarer, and tiles were used to cap the masonry. This extended more
than a mile, and took us up just a thousand feet by the barometer. We
could not learn its age nor the builders; but it is old, and some of the
mozos attributed it to the Jesuit Fathers. It is much out of repair, and
I fancy that most of the travel over it is on foot. The views were fine
all the way; but we knew our journey was long, and the daylight all too
short to permit us to wait for our mozos to come up with the camera.
Indeed, I hardly cared to reduce to black and white the glorious colors
the light was painting on every side. The greens of the forest faded into
the blues of the sky as in the turquoise, gold and silver glittered from
the streams, and the very gray of the rocks seemed to be richer and more
varied than usual.

On the hill-sides were ancient potato-fields only cultivated by digging
the tubers; and this process has gone on for years,—the Indios digging
at the bottom of the slope as potatoes are wanted, leaving enough for
seed, and arriving at the top by the time the rains begin. As the small
stems were quite dead and dried up, we could not ascertain the species
of this aboriginal potato; but it was certainly not the common potato of
cultivation (_Solanum tuberosum_). The Indios declared the potatoes had
never been planted, but their ancestors had dug them from the remotest
time,—_en todo tiempo, señor_.

Around us on the mountain-top were spruce-trees of immense size, four
feet in diameter, and pines two feet larger; and beneath these giants of
the forest flocks of black sheep were feeding, watched by shepherdesses
not many shades lighter. As black cloth is much worn by the Indios, they
cultivate the black sheep rather than pay the dyer. Cactus on pine-trees,
crimson sage, and a minute violet not an inch high, were novelties by the
roadside. Not a few of the pine-trees had been hacked with machetes until
a considerable niche was formed in the stem; and the pitch dripping into
this receptacle was then fired to light a camp. We found no villages on
this road, but we were seldom out of sight of some herdsman’s hovel. Late
in the afternoon we came to the brow of the cliff that bounds the immense
valley of Totonicapan on the east. The sun was low on the horizon before
us, but I was absorbed in the beauty of this grand view. On our left a
waterfall dashed over the rocks; below us were the white walls of the
Indian City we had so greatly wished to see; roads and streams traversed
the valley; and the whole surface, as well as the slopes far up the
hills, was cut into numerous fields of wheat and maiz of many shades of
green and brown. Far in the distance smoke rose over Quezaltenango, and
the broad highway between was plainly visible for many miles. My mozo was
close at hand, and in ten minutes I had two photographs caught in my box;
after which we began the very steep descent.

We found lodging at the Hotel de la Concordia. Our little room contained
three board bedsteads and one wash-stand. Usually we had no wash-stand,
but either performed our ablutions at the courtyard fountain, or else had
our valet Santiago pour water over us from a calabash.

As we had a letter to the Jefe, David Carney, I went at once to present
it, in order to get our animals for the next stage as soon as possible.
We found his house,—a fine one, the best in the town, with beautiful
roses in the neat courtyard; but the Jefe himself was a dumpy little
Indio, stupid and fat, who could say little else than “Si, Señor.” After
some delay he promised us two mules in the morning. In his parlor I
noticed a fine piano, evidently in use; and there was a decided air of
comfort about the house,—probably due to the lady rather than the lord.

That night was very cold, and in the morning at seven o’clock the
thermometer told forty-five degrees, and the barometer stood at 8,860
feet. As usual, we went to church; this was the largest and cleanest
we had yet seen, but the images, including an Indio-colored Christ,
were perhaps more hideous than ever. The church has now the old Plaza
(north of the new one) all to itself, and in addition a very large paved
courtyard, with square chapels in the outer corners. In this courtyard
we found a troop of Indian women conducting some mummery which required
veils and candles, both of great size. Some of the poor women were
so tipsy that they could hardly care for their candles, which were
perilously near to setting their neighbors’ clothes on fire. After
various marches and counter-marches, songs and responses, the performance
ended in a loud explosion. Of all the Indian towns, Totonicapan is
supposed to be the most Indian, and the people are thorough idolaters
still, with hardly the dimmest idea of the Christian religion. They
moreover dislike foreigners, as we found to our cost. The fountain and
sun-dial in the old Plaza were both much out of repair, and in the Plaza
Nueva the fountain supported a traditional Indian fresh from the shield
of Massachusetts. Made originally, as other men are, without clothes, he
had been girt with stucco,—doubtless because of the cool weather and his
damp station.


Generally the streets were paved, and drained in the middle. They
intersected at right angles; and as the houses had few outside windows
and the courtyard gates were almost always closed, the town had a very
dull, deserted look. We did peep into some doors and windows, in a way
I should hardly tolerate in any other barbarian; and by one of these
window-peeps we discovered a weaver at work, who invited us to enter.
The loom had two harnesses worked by the foot of the weaver, and twelve
more pulled by a boy at the side; the bobbins were wound on bits of small
bambu. It was a long way back in the series of the evolution of a modern
carpet-loom, and yet it did its work exceedingly well, if slowly. This
art of weaving has been practised in this city from most ancient times,
and the Indios declare that the same utensils have been used, without
essential modification. All the looms we saw were on one pattern, and
they could hardly have been simpler. I bought for four dollars a large
woollen bed-cover woven in elaborate design, which kept us warm while we
were in these highlands.

We called on the Jefe again as he was marrying several couples, and he
repeated his promise to procure mules for us before one o’clock; so we
left him for a while and strolled about town and found a potter at work.
He used both white and dark clay, and his wheel and kiln were similar to
those in use with us. At two the mules had not arrived, and we declared
the Jefe a liar. Frank must have called on him twenty times, besides the
visits of ceremony we made together three times a day. After a while two
alcaldes came to our room and begged us to go to the cabildo and inspect
the mules they had captured for us. Another failure; for there was not
one fit to carry our burden. Then they brought two to the hotel,—one a
pack-mule that refused to be saddled; then a mozo came quite drunk, and
wanted a dollar to carry our baggage to Quezaltenango. We told him to go
to the _diablo_, and he went; and so the day wore away.

On Sunday morning we went to the Plaza, captured a mozo without the
intervention of the authorities, and started on foot for Quezaltenango.
The weather was clear and cool, like a fine October day in New England;
and there was white frost on the lowlands. At first we dropped rapidly
down, and then came to a fine carriage-road, in some places a hundred
feet wide. Except the steep descent at the city limits, and an equally
steep ascent about half a league beyond, the road was level, and bordered
with agaves, some now in bud.

Just before we came to Salcaja we had a fine view of the plain where
Alvarado fought so desperately, was wounded, and finally conquered the
brave mountaineers. Though conquered then, they certainly need another
Alvarado now. A pale mist covered the distant city, but above it towered
the volcano Santa Maria,—a cone as regular as those of Sololà. Northward
we saw San Cristobal and San Francisco,—two pleasantly situated towns.
We crossed a river which flows into the Pacific at San Luis; so the
backbone of the continent was passed, and we were on the slopes of
the setting sun. We ordered our almuerzo in a little shop, and as we
waited for it we watched the customers,—among them mozos, mostly for
aguardiente, women for eggs, spices, chillis, and cord. Beggars came
also, and among them an idiot girl (the only one of this class we had
seen in the republic); one received a drink, another a handful of red
peppers, and others food.

Before one o’clock we were in Quezaltenango, having walked six leagues in
four hours and a half, excluding stops. The Hotel de Europe proved very
comfortable, and the table was good. The Cerro Quemado (Burned Mountain),
just overhanging the city, was a more attractive volcano than the loftier
Santa Maria; and I longed for time to climb to the broken crater from
whose blackened sides the huge lava-stream had descended towards the city
(the ancient Exancul), turned suddenly when almost upon the outer walls,
and then stopped forever.

The market-place was very attractive; for besides the bustle of the
builders, who were piling up the cut and sculptured stone of the
most imposing public edifice I have seen in Guatemala, the many
cloth-merchants exhibited their brilliantly colored merchandise to great
advantage. This is the centre of the trade in native cloths; and many
beautiful and durable fabrics are woven here and in the neighborhood
from cotton and wool. The stone generally used in building comes from
the volcanoes back of the town, and is a light-brown lava. The Plaza
is double,—one half bounded by the church of San Juan de Dios, the
stone penitentiary, and shops; and its space is occupied by a garden
surrounded by a wall of carved stone and provided with stone seats. A
pond in the midst has a pavilion, or band-stand, on an island. The other
half of the Plaza is paved, and used as a market-place; here are the new
buildings for the Government.

Near by the hotel I saw a sign, of which I made a note, thinking to
profit thereby; but Frank saw it more clearly than I did, and knocked all
the romance out of it. To my first glance it read, “Collection of Young

                        COLEGIO NAL. DE SEÑORITAS

but to the critical eye of my _fidus Achates_ it was simply a National
Seminary of Young Ladies; so we did not venture to explore it.

The church of San Juan de Dios was large, and the façade ornate,—worthy
the principal church in a city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants.
The old organ, of four octaves, had been recently painted; and in the
two towers hung seven bells,—three bound to the beams with rawhide, as
usual, the others on yokes. The cloisters adjoining this church[21] were
interesting, from the multitude of curious paintings they contained,
mostly of Scriptural histories; and in them Christ was always represented
as a shaven monk, with the girdle of the Cordeliers. In the old
lumber-room of the church were the remains of an ancient organ, and
heads, bodies, and arms of saints,—not relics, but the _membra disjecta_
of the dolls that are put together and dressed up on holy-days. We had
often seen similar places, which Frank called “property-rooms;” in one
we found boxes of wigs and beards, and in another a figure of Christ with
permanently bent legs, and staples in his ankles to strap him on to the
mule on Palm Sunday! It was both amusing and pitiful to see the trash
used for religious purposes.

[Illustration: Church at Quezaltenango.]

We went to the National Institute and saw very good dormitories for
the young men who study here. In preparation for an expected visit
of the President, lanterns were hung along the colonnades, and blue
and white (the national colors) met the eye on every side. There was
something homelike in the narrow, crooked streets,—so different from the
tasteless rectangles of most other Guatemaltecan cities. Then, too, they
were clean, well paved, and provided with sidewalks,—in some places,
where they were very steep, with bridges over the gutters, which in
rainy weather must be torrents. Street-lamps and letter-boxes, plenty
of fountains (and the water is cold and excellent), gave an air of
civilized comfort very agreeable to us. The houses were well built, and
usually had the window and door-jambs of sculptured stone. There were
plenty of windows, and the gates were often ajar, revealing flowers and
fountains in many courtyards. Peach-trees were in blossom, and also bore
half-ripe fruit. In the suburb Cienega is a picturesque washing-place, or
_lavadero_, where an artist has many a chance for sketching the Indias.

We saw more tokens of Sunday observance than we had yet seen in
Guatemala. Towards sunset the military band, of twenty-five instruments,
played for some time in the garden; but it was more amusing to me to
see the people with their obsolete European costumes and Sunday manners
than to listen to the music, which Frank said was good. Especially
effeminate boys wore very high heels, to give them a standing in society
they could never attain otherwise. The garden was not so good as that at
Sololà, but contained, in addition to the list of that place, oleander,
daisy, wall-flower, pink-catchfly, bachelor’s-buttons, flax, and

[Illustration: Manuel Lisandro Barillas.]

A city of nearly twenty-five thousand inhabitants—the majority Indios—has
grown up gradually on the ruins of the ancient Xelahu, until it is only
second in importance to Guatemala City. Its port is Champerico, from
which a railroad extends some distance into the interior (to Retalhuleu,
1884), and will one day enter the city. Abundant water-supply, schools
of various grades,—including a night-school for artisans,—a good
hospital, female orphan asylum, convenient public buildings and a
suitable penitentiary, a bank, public lavatories, and the hot springs of
Almolonga, are but some of the attractions of what was once the capital
of the province of Los Altos.

We had letters to the Jefe politico General Manuel Lisandro Barillas; but
he was so occupied in preparation for the visit of the President that we
thought it best not to add to his occupations by calling on him. On the
death of President Barrios, General Barillas succeeded to the Presidency;
and so satisfactory was his administration that at the next election he
became President by popular vote.

[Illustration: Four Alcaldes of Quezaltenango.]

Monday morning was quite cold and misty; but we photographed the church,
with the kind co-operation of the resident curate, Padre Felipe Sora,
who lowered curtains, opened doors, and did all he could to help us.
When we took the exterior we attracted a great deal of attention; and
fortunately the chief alcalde, who had assured us that we could get no
mozos that day, as it was a _fiesta_, in honor of the President, noticed
our performances, and, being a personable man, was seized with a strong
desire to have his _ritrato_. He offered to get us our mozo if I would
only photograph him; so I bade him to the hotel, explaining to him that
the portraits could not be seen until I returned to the North, and that
I should charge him a dollar for each picture. Honest soul! he agreed to
all this; and on his way he joined to himself three of his colleagues.
I sent them the result months after, and in due time the silver dollars
were scrupulously returned. In the mean time our alcalde Florencio Cortez
provided our mozo, and we started to walk back soon after two o’clock. We
both hoped to see this pleasant city again.

[Illustration: Cuatro Reales of Honduras.]



Our little mozo was only fifteen years old, and his load was so heavy
that we had to wait for him at every turn in the road; until, after
helping the poor little fellow for miles, Frank took the load himself. As
we reached the high ridge where there is the last view of Quezaltenango,
we noticed that all the mozos—of whom there were many on the road—looked
back at the city and removed their hats, as if in salutation. We did not
reach the hotel at Totonicapan until nearly eight o’clock; but we had no
trouble in the clear night,—except in trying to get a drink at a way-side
fountain, into which we nearly tumbled headlong.

[Illustration: J. Rufino Barrios.]

The President arrived in the morning with a cavalcade of thirty riders
and several large mule-wagons. The Plaza was deserted, and the streets
almost empty. All the Indios kept within doors, and evidently were not
anxious to honor the chief magistrate. The usual nuisance of soldiers,
however, was there; and it was very amusing to watch them fire the guns
in the Plaza for a salute. To obtain animals was our first desire, and we
telegraphed to the Jefe of Sololà, who had promised to send his mules;
but he answered us that he could not, as he was called away, with all
his attendants. So we seemed to be imprisoned in this Indian city, and I
resolved to apply at headquarters. Not expecting to meet the President
out of Guatemala City, I had no letters with me, nor even any suitable
attire for a visit of ceremony; but there was no alternative, and through
one of his attendants I obtained an appointment for the evening. In the
mean time we wandered impatiently about the town. In the church, over
the main altar, we saw, what had before escaped notice, three life-sized
figures representing God and Christ kneeling to and crowning the Virgin
Mary, over whose head a dove hovered. God had a white beard and _bald
head_, while Christ’s hair was black. Neither this Quaternity, nor
anything else we noticed in the service of religion here, surprised me;
though the shudder of disgust was stronger than when I stood on the
threshold of the sanctuary of Kali, near Calcutta, and saw the hideous
idol with its gory lips and necklace of bleeding human heads.

In the evening the President received me very politely in the _sala_
where we had called on the Jefe. I stated my case, while Frank looked
in at the window. Señor Barrios was much better looking than he appears
in his portraits; he was not a large man, but muscular, and with a very
determined and intelligent face. His little daughter, who had been
educated in New York, acted as his interpreter; and never, among the
scores of interpreters I have had in many countries, have I found so
capital a one. Once only my Spanish failed me; and instantly the little
girl repeated in idiomatic, concise English, her father’s question. I
told him I had more important business with him at the capital, but that
at present I wished only the privilege of hiring or purchasing bestias
for our journey to Sololà. He at once summoned the stupid little Jefe and
asked him why he had not furnished us as we requested. “No háy” (there
are none), replied the Indio. “Then make some before to-morrow, or you
shall suffer for it!” said President Barrios; and told me to let him know
if they were not furnished us in the morning. Next day the Jefe offered
us his own mule; but his wife, a perfect shrew, declared it should not
leave town. If I had liked that Jefe better, I would have wished that the
mule might run away with his wife and break her neck. At last he got us
two good horses, for which he would take no pay, as we were _amigos del
Presidente_. A mozo was included in this arrangement, and we started him
at noon, we following soon after two. We shook off the dust from our
feet, and were glad enough to leave Totonicapan, where we had found the
Indios so impudent and disobliging that at one time I feared I should
have to shoot some of them with my revolver in driving them from my door.

After the first steep ascent of twelve hundred feet, we rode rapidly
over the level plateau; but with all our haste we could not get to those
steep and difficult stairs before dark. Luckily we overtook two ladinos,
who rode with us; and we consequently were saved by their guidance the
discomfort of a camp in the cold night. At Argueta we were put into a
large room in the deserted monastery, where we had some excellent coffee.
In the middle of the room we made a fire of the fat-pine that we had
gathered in the mountain in preparation for camping out, thus taking off
the chill which is very decided in these high altitudes; and the clear
burning chips of _ocote_ did not smoke us out.

We were up at five next morning (_muy temprano_); and although it was
still dark, got our coffee and started for Sololà. In the corridor of the
monastery was a large pile of an odd-looking corn, the kernels shaped
like rice-corn, but yellow, and much larger. Six grains, which I brought
home, were planted in Worcester County, Massachusetts, and they all
grew,—some to a height of seventeen feet, with a diameter near the ground
of three inches. The season, however, was not long enough for them to

In the pale dawn we saw the distant volcano of Fuego smoking. We rode on
briskly in the cool morning, getting to our hotel at eight. Certainly
this was the best and fastest ride we had in Guatemala. We took no time
to rest, but at once proceeded to photograph the town. After almuerzo
we climbed down to the Lago de Atitlan by a path about twelve hundred
feet in perpendicular descent. It was a league and a half from town to
shore. We were in another climate. Oranges, sugar-cane, avocados, limes,
jocotes, and other fruits that cannot bear the cold of the town above us,
flourished here. Walled on every side by vast cliffs, and overshadowed by
high volcanoes, there were yet fertile valleys opening on the Lago here
and there. Streams of considerable volume pour into it over rocky beds,
or dash foaming down the high cliffs. Ten miles across was the ancient
town of Atitlan, famed in legend and history. We stood in one of those
mysterious places seemingly below the rest of the world, for we could see
the water fall into this valley; but no human eye sees the outlet, nor
are the waters, as in the valley of the Dead Sea, chiefly evaporated.
The surface is evidently of nearly the same level at all seasons. In
the opinion of some observers it is not improbable that this valley
was an ancient crater, in the midst of which the volcano of Atitlan
has risen,—much as Vesuvius has sprung from the ancient Somma; but the
more probable origin of the lake is that the rising volcanoes dammed
up a valley. In the lava are many cavities, and possibly through these
the surplus waters flow, to reappear in the many copious springs of the
southern shore. We were minded to try the truth of that strange assertion
of Juarros that the waters are so cold that all who venture in have their
limbs frost-bitten and swollen. The water was clear and sweet, and we
waded out some distance before there was depth enough to swim. From the
sandy bottom rose abundant bubbles,—probably of carbonic acid, as they
had no smell. It was a most refreshing bath,—cool, but not so cold as
the old historian reported. A new experience, as we stood drying on the
shore, was a shave with pumice-stones, which abound here. A little care
is needed to avoid taking the cuticle away with the hair; but these stone
razors are admirable substitutes for Sheffield steel, and are always
sharp. Water-fowl were abundant, and very tame. A good survey of this
lake would be of great geological and antiquarian interest; and we will
speak of its depth and formation in a later chapter.

[Illustration: Boat on the Lago de Atitlan.]

We should much have liked to cross the lake to the ruins on the other
side; but the sight of the only boats on the lake, as well as our limited
time, deterred us. I have never before seen boats constructed on these
lines; the handles on the stern seeming necessary to lift the large,
clumsy craft out of the water.

Oh, the hot climb up that hill to Sololà! We started at half-past one,
and did not get back until six; and were then so tired that, soon after
comida, we fell asleep, in spite of the music and rockets within a few
rods of our bedroom. The decencies of life are much neglected here, as
elsewhere in Guatemala, and our only washing-place was the veranda-rail,
over which we leaned while Santiago poured a calabash of water over us.
Those who have travelled in Central France will have some idea of the
privies of Central America, where they exist in any form,—indeed, if it
were not for the hungry dogs, who act as scavengers, the streets would be
in a most disgusting condition.

[Illustration: Sketch Map of the Lago de Atitlan.]

All this day the mountains were clear; but on the morrow the clouds
came down again. We called on the Jefe to say our adios, and found that
neither he nor his secretary could tell us the names of the immense
volcanoes before his very eyes every time he went out of his house-door.
However, he called in an old Indio, who pointed out the distant Fuego,
Agua, and Pacaya, and the nearer Atitlan, San Pedro, and Santa Clara. All
these volcanoes have been duly baptized into the Church, to induce them
to act as good citizens and _christianos_.

The Jefe had promised me his mule, and Frank was to have the horse of the
alcalde, as his mare, Mabel, had a sore back from the breaking of the
_tenedora_, or crupper, on the journey to Sololà. We secured for a dollar
and twenty-five cents two mozos to take our luggage—much increased in
weight by the cloths we had purchased in Quezaltenango—as far as Antigua,
and at noon we started. Frank’s little mare was a character. She took
the saddle all right; but when he tried to bridle her, she rose on her
hind-legs and proposed a boxing-match. Frank very naturally declined, as
he had no fists to match hers; and as Santiago and the mozos had been
sent ahead, we hardly knew what to do, until an old Spaniard kindly came
to our aid and taught us a trick. He tied some rope around the creature’s
left ear,—a proceeding to which she made not the slightest objection,—and
inserting a stout stick and twisting the rope so as to have a firm hold
of the ear, I was able to keep her down while Frank put on the bridle.
She was perfectly still as long as her ear was in limbo, and did not seem
to suffer; but it was useless to try to hold her by _mane_ force or by
the nostrils. Every time she was bridled we had to go through the same

We first rode down a very steep grade, sixteen hundred feet, to
Panajachel,—a pleasing village a league and a half from Sololà. Here are
cultivated fields on the borders of the lake far surpassing anything
of the kind I saw elsewhere in the republic. They are completely
irrigated by the water of many brooks, some of which make cascades by
the wayside. Panajachel is the garden of Sololà; with about twelve
hundred inhabitants, it has, besides its agricultural advantages,
various minerals and especially fine clays. Hot-springs come to the
surface on the lake shore. The road was being repaired, and we had to
travel slowly,—glad, however, of the excuse for loitering, as the views
of the lake and valley were not to be lightly passed by and forgotten.
Then came a long, slow climb of fourteen hundred feet to San Andres
Semetabaj,—a town of seventeen hundred inhabitants, which showed us as
its only attraction a ruined church with a remarkably fine dome; even Sir
Christopher Wren never designed a finer. On this long climb we lingered
to photograph the last view of the Lago de Atitlan and its volcanoes. The
sun was in our faces, and shone over the silvery waters with the effect
of moonlight. The three black giants—once so terrible, now so solemnly
grand—kept back the surging sea of cloud from the Pacific that seemed
struggling to climb their sides and reach the lake. Not a boat, not a
human being, was visible as we looked our last on the beautiful lago and
turned to a road quite unlike any we had travelled before.

[Illustration: LAGO DE ATITLAN.]

And now every day brought a quite new experience, as not merely the
flowers and vegetation, but the very physical aspect of the country
changed; and, strangely enough, the night was the _entr’acte_. To-day
we were crossing the immense wrinkles of the earth, while from
Chichicastenango to Sololà we had travelled with them. As we went up and
down, the light faded; and we still had three “wide rivers to cross,”
as well as many leagues to ride. As we passed the camps of the mozos de
cargo the bright light of their fires dazzled us and made the road some
way beyond seem much darker. We came at last to a plain. Here the good
resolves never to travel in this country after dark, made when we lost
the road at Encuentros, were renewed and strengthened; for every now
and then we saw in the dim gray path what looked like ink-puddles, but,
to our horror, as we were about to ride through one, we found it to be
the head of an immense barranca which was gradually eating its way into
the plain over which the road extended. The walls of this barranca were
perpendicular, and apparently thirty yards deep; and it was only one of
a dozen intersecting our path. I have never since then passed a dark
spot in the road at night without thinking of those awful abysses lying
in wait to entrap the unwary traveller. Evidently few here travel after
dark. In places were hedges of agave, and we saw here and there a house;
while the barking of dogs became more frequent, and we at last, about
half-past nine, rode into Patzùn. We had no little difficulty in finding
where the posada was; for Santiago, who led Mabel, did not like to leave
the road, and the burden, as usual, fell on Frank,—who, fortunately,
was well able to bear it. The inhabitants were all in bed; but he at
last aroused a man to direct us, and we found a good posada, with a
comfortable room, clean beds, and hot chocolate.

[Illustration: Washout in the Road.]

We slept long, and did not get our early meal until eight. Santiago added
to his disrepute by failing to find any _sacate_ (green fodder) for the
animals, while Frank found a supply at once. We always had to buy or pay
separately for our sacate and corn; seldom was either to be found in a
posada. While our bestias were feeding we went to the church, which had
a curious campanile decorated (?) with sculptured angels at the angles.
Inside, there was a wedding,—the couple kneeling within the chancel-rail
under one red shawl. The officiating priest seemed to be an Irishman. As
we rode out of town we passed a public fountain, to which excellent water
is brought from a distance of several miles by a very ancient aqueduct.
The fountain was of the usual form,—a column more or less ornamented
rising in the midst of a circular or polygonal basin, which catches the
water falling from one or more spouts near the top of the column. From
this common basin horses drink and women dip water, the spouts being
quite out of reach. The Indios place their water-jars on the edge of the
large basin and conduct the water by a bambu pole just long enough to
reach from the spout to the jar.

At eleven o’clock we reached Patzicia, but did not stop even to examine
the ruined church. The evening before we had noticed a long cliff some
ten feet high,—evidently caused by a comparatively recent subsidence;
and here we saw other evidences of earthquakes in remote ages before the
present town was built. On the trees by the road was a beautiful yellow
bignonia, and in the yards we saw fine double pink and white dahlias
growing as trees,—fifteen feet high, and with stems eight inches in
diameter. Chimaltenango, the head of this Department, did not interest
us, and we did not linger.

The road was level, but winding and dusty. We were approaching the
volcanoes Agua and Fuego, which kept changing their relative position
in a very puzzling manner. Several small hamlets—San Lorenzo, San Luis,
Pastores, and Jocotenango—served as milestones on our way. Near the
last place we discovered a man on fire in the road; and it was no easy
matter to extinguish the conflagration. Tobacco did the mischief, and
aguardiente prevented the senses of the poor Indio from working fast
enough to save much of his clothing; and as we rode away we saw his
companions stripping the smoking rags from his singed body. About dusk we
came to the Hotel del Commercio in Antigua, the capital of the Department
of Sacatepequez.

[Illustration: Antigua and the Volcan de Agua.]

Early Sunday morning we went to the Plaza, and from the second story
of the cabildo photographed both the great volcanoes Agua and Fuego.
Directly before us were the ruins of the palace of the Viceroy, the
arms of Spain carved in the stone, which still stands firmly, a century
after the terrible earthquake which shattered the rest of the building
and ruined the whole city. On the left stood the roofless cathedral,
and dotted thickly over the plain were other ruined churches,—eighty, it
is said,—which looked as if recently demolished. We had our _bestias_
saddled, and rode over to Ciudad Vieja, distant about a league. This
was the second city founded by Alvarado (Tecpan Quatemalan being the
first), and destroyed, together with the widow of the Conquistador, in
1541, by the earthquake and torrent of water from the ancient crater of
Agua. The town is small enough now. After watching a man make _roquetas_
(rockets),[22] we rode to the Baños de Medina, which we had some
difficulty in finding; we took, however, at last a short cut through a
coffee plantation where the berries were large and ripening. The baths
are in a small house of several rooms. The one Frank and I occupied had
a large tank, deep enough for a swim; the water was slightly sulphurous,
and but a few degrees warmer than the atmosphere. It was well worth the
real it cost us.

In the afternoon we strolled among the ruins of Antigua, which are
very fascinating. All the churches were of solid masonry, with vaulted
roofs,—some still entire, and supporting a mass of vegetation, among
which the Phytolacca was common. The outlay of money in building all
these elaborate churches must have been enormous for material and
transportation (many of the tiles being Spanish), although the actual
labor was by unpaid slaves. We were told strange stories of the skeletons
of mother and child found walled in a church; tunnels connecting the
churches and nunneries just outside the city; infant skeletons in a vault
of one of the nunneries, etc. With these romantic associations in mind,
we poked hither and thither among the mighty ruins; but we found only the
curiosities of architecture (of these there were enough to occupy me many
days) and the traces the treasure-hunters had left in the walls. Frank
found in one of the vaults a well-drawn fresco covered with a thick coat
of whitewash, and we tried to pry off a portion; but could not succeed
without too much damaging it. Horses were pasturing on the grass-grown
roof of a part of one of the churches, and a few had portions still in
use as places of worship, while another was occupied by a blacksmith.
In one of these we saw some finely carved wooden panels. All about the
city eucalyptus-trees had been planted. The roads are very good, and the
_alameda_, or public promenade, is attractive. The corner houses often
had most comfortable projecting windows, so placed that one could see in
both streets at once.

[Illustration: Ruined Church in Antigua.]

There are two industries in Antigua of considerable interest to the
visitor,—the carving of cane-heads, which is done in a most artistic
manner, equalling, perhaps, the famous ivory carvings of Dieppe, in
Normandy; and the manufacture of dolls, or effigies, mostly of cloth,
representing every costume and occupation of the Indios. These little
figures—seldom more than five inches high—have often an expression that
would not be thought possible, considering the material of their fabric.
Sololà is another place where these dolls, or _muñecos_, are made,—a
single family, I believe, having the monopoly; but in Antigua we found
a much greater variety. Especially good are their figures to represent
the Nativity of Christ; for it is customary in many of the towns to
keep open house at Christmas-tide, and each household tries to provide
a Bethlehem,—much as in Germany a Christmas-tree is arranged; but the
groups of Shepherds, the Wise Men from the East, as well as the Holy
Family, are often made in the most careful and artistic way, all from
bits of cloth.

Here I bought my first mule, paying for her eighty dollars in
Guatemaltecan money (silver of the value of the buzzard dollar of the
United States), the purchaser giving United States gold at twenty per
cent premium; consequently the mule cost really sixty-six dollars and
sixty-seven cents. After riding her two months I sold her for a hundred
dollars. We engaged two mozos de cargo, and then felt at leisure to
look more about the city. Near the hotel was a _chichería_, or place
where _chicha_ is sold. This drink is here made from jocotes, and the
cider-like beverage is drunk from pint bowls or calabashes. Intoxication
follows; and we frequently heard women shrieking in the arms of men,
while unearthly yells and laughter greeted the outcries. Owing to
indulgence in this dissipation, our mozos could not walk in the morning,
and we spent some hours in searching for others. The best we could do was
to get one for six reals to take our carcaste to Ciudad Vieja, the Jefe
at Antigua giving me a requisition on the comandante there for another.
We sent Santiago with a drunken mozo direct to Guatemala City; and we
afterwards found that the wretched mozo, when well out of the city,
dropped his burden and ran away, compelling Santiago to get a substitute,
with whom he arrived safely.

For ourselves, we retraced the road of yesterday to Ciudad Vieja,
and found the cabildo, where the soldiers captured the necessary
mozo,—literally at the point of the bayonet; but he was a capital fellow,
in spite of his forced service. While the hunt was in progress, we looked
about the town; but there was not much to see, except the elaborately
wrought doors of the church. There were few indications of the awful
ruin the flood from Agua had brought upon the town in 1541; but some
of the buildings seemed to be partly resting on substructures of older
date. Some of the slaves in uniform called soldiers told us we could not
go into the presence of the comandante without taking off our spurs;
so I haughtily declined to go in, or even dismount, and ordered him to
come out and receive the Jefe’s letter. He meekly obeyed, seeming to be
a very decent fellow. Clouds covered both volcanoes, and our road led
southward between them. We had a good enough road, down hill constantly,
and winding into the valleys on the side of Fuego,—often crossing
fine streams of clear cold water. The crater of the volcano was still
smoking,—as it has been since 1880, when there was a slight eruption.
We could see that the crater-wall was broken down to give issue to what
looked more like scoriæ than lava. Gases have acted extensively on the
whole summit, which displays many colors, from the decomposition of the

As the day closed, the road became bad and full of small stones. The
foothills were capped with irregular masses of lava, which in the sunset
looked not unlike the ruined castles on the Rhine. We were in the region
of canefields, and we often caught a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. At
seven we rode into Escuintla and found the hotel comfortable enough; but
all night there was a horrid noise,—drums, rockets, bombs, and shouts,
and we dreamed that the town was being captured by storm.

We had entered the region of railroads again; and our train started
next morning at half-past six for San José, on the Pacific. The fare
for the round trip was three dollars. We had a second-class carriage,
as the only first-class carriage is reserved for the President. At the
station, in the lowest part of the town, the height above sea-level is
eleven hundred feet; and for the first three miles out the grade is
rather steep. The remaining twenty-five miles offered no difficulties
in road-building; but the culverts and bridges are fast decaying, and
as they are not promptly repaired, the road is not safe. The run was
made in two hours,—certainly not a high rate of speed. There were fine
views of the volcanoes, and some interesting scenes at the stations. As
we approached the coast the line crossed several shallow lagoons, and
the country looked low and uninviting. I did not, however, see evidence
of much ill-health among the natives, although the manners and customs
were loose enough. The railroad (_ferro-carril_) ended in a respectable
station in San José, at the head of a fine iron pier extending some six
hundred feet into the sea,—beyond the surf, but not where vessels can
come alongside.

We had seen the Pacific the day before as we rode from Antigua, and it
was, as always, a welcome sight to me, for some of the pleasantest years
of my life have been passed on its shores or on its islands. To-day its
waves rolled up on the sand in so inviting a way that as soon as we had
found the hotel on the beach and ordered almuerzo, we returned to the
pier, and, under its shelter, stripped and waded in. The rollers took us
off our feet; and as large sharks were snuffing about just outside the
iron piles of the pier, within a few yards of us, we had a sufficiently
exciting bath. I have never seen such large sharks before, even in the
shark-haunted shores of the Antilles or the Hawaiian Islands; but it is
claimed that they dare not venture between the piles. The young sharks
however have no such scruples; and we kicked several of the little
fellows out of our way. The ironwork was thickly covered with barnacles
and other crustaceans, and it took considerable skill to avoid being
dashed against this.

On the pier-head there was a cool sea-breeze, and we spent much of our
time there while waiting for the return train. A pier was built here in
1868; but a storm of unusual severity soon after destroyed it, and the
present structure was built in a more substantial manner. The piles are
of cast iron and hollow, fitted with auger-points, by which they are
screwed down into the sand. The end of the wharf is covered by a shed,
where are provided three steam hoisting-engines. As San José is, like
most of the ports on the Pacific coast, merely an open roadstead, vessels
do not care to wait long there, and stout lighters are provided to bring
cargo between ship and pier. Even with lighters of some twenty-five
tons, the task is not always easy, and many a passenger gets a wetting
in jumping from the small boat to the iron cage used in rough weather
to hoist the human freight to the pier-top. Since the completion of
the railroad, in 1880, the tracks have been laid along the pier,—thus
facilitating the handling of freight, much of which is lumber coming from
the Oregon coast, and sugar, coffee, and hides going to San Francisco.
To-day two ships were at anchor, and a steamer was expected.


As we sat in the cool shade on the end of the pier, looking dreamily
over the Pacific, I felt that the journey across the continent, as
we had made it, was far pleasanter than when, in 1869, I had used the
railroad,—then but a week old. We decided unanimously that the difference
between the two oceans was not a matter of fancy merely. I had seen the
middle Atlantic smooth as a mill-pond, and had been miserably seasick
on the raging Pacific; so without going deeper into this question, our
thoughts wandered from one thing to another, mine going back to the
days when Istapa, the old port at our left hand, was more than a swamp,
and when the Spanish shipyards there were humming with the busy workmen
who had learned their craft on the Rio Tinto at Palos or on the sandy
shores of Cadiz. Why had the place become so changed? My eye wandered
up and down the coast for an answer to a suggestion that came to me.
But only a rather steep beach was there,—no cliff, not even a detached
rock, to solve the problem of whether the coast was at the same level
as in the seventeenth century; for this was the way I was trying to
answer my own question. A rise of eight feet would explain everything
about that deserted harbor; but there was nothing except the steep slope
of the beach to indicate any change of level. Had I been able to see
any rocks within the limit of two miles, I should have left the cool
pier and trudged through the hot black sand to ask them. Frank’s more
practical mind was working in another direction; and he took up the
conversation with a question whether a railroad to the Atlantic would
change this port as well as the rest of the republic. Then we discussed
the several schemes proposed for infusing a commercial spirit into this
charmingly uncommercial country; and although we had not yet seen the
route selected for the Northern Railroad, we had been over the track of
several of the other paper railroads, and on our map—that inseparable
companion—we sketched the roads. Here is the map we made, with several
additions of a later date,—a map which shows fairly enough what can, and
in time probably will, be done to open the country. First we discussed a
road from Livingston to Coban, to open the coffee region; and as we were
fresh from the very route, we tackled the problem unhesitatingly. The
road, we decided, should run up the coast towards Cocali, turn through
the forest six miles to Chocon, crossing the Chocon River on a single
span, then over the smaller Rio Cienega and along the north shore of
the Lago de Izabal, then a little to the northward of the Rio Polochic,
bridging the Cahabon near the limestone ledges east of Pansos, thence
through Teleman, and by nearly the cart-road route to Coban. Perhaps a
hundred and twenty-five or thirty miles, in all, of single track, would
result in quadrupling the coffee export of Guatemala. It would then be
profitable to raise more of the delicious oranges of Teleman,—oranges
such as Florida can never raise; the mahogany of the Cienega and Chocon
could be marketed; and all Alta Verapaz be a plantation of coffee and
fruits. More than this, the road would pay from the first through train.
Before us on the west coast was the sugar and cacao region,—that land
that produces the royal chocolate which outside barbarians never get,
but which might be raised very extensively from Soconusco eastward
if a railroad should be built over the level lands from Escuintla to
Retalhuleu and Ocós. A road from Guatemala City through Salamà to Coban
would not only open the rich sugar estate of San Geronimo, but connect
the capital with the Mexican system, which will probably go to Coban
eventually. At Belize the English are trying to build a road inland to
Peten to open the logwood and mahogany forests; and they need a road
along the coast to open the settlements that now have no outlet save by
water. A hundred and forty miles, at the outside, would connect Belize
with Livingston. The roads in Honduras will extend between Trujillo
and Puerto Barrios, there connecting with the Northern Railroad of
Guatemala. Not one of these projected lines presents any very difficult
engineering problems. The financial question is the only obstacle; and
with the exception of the first two,—both coast roads, and of simple
construction,—they would not pay for a few years; that is, until the
plantations that would spring up along their way came into bearing,—that,
however, in this climate, would not be long, even for india-rubber.

We had not finished our discussion of the railways when it was time for
almuerzo; and we went to the hotel, where, besides a good meal and the
largest plantains (thirteen inches long) I ever saw, there were a number
of captive animals,—the most attractive being a bright little monkey who
was very eager to open my watch.

[Illustration: Bread-fruit (Artocarpus incisa).]



The run back to Escuintla took two hours and a half, and our comida was
welcome at five o’clock. In the evening we strolled to the church,—an
ancient building,—and found all the inside in confusion; the altar was
hidden from profane eyes by a cotton curtain, while preparations were
being made for the _fiesta_ of December 8,—the Immaculate Conception. One
of the attendants showed us with great pride a huge doll, representing
the Virgin Mary, standing on a blue globe studded with silver stars.
Beneath her feet was a _culebra grande_; and on twisting his tail the
serpent’s tongue was thrust out,—to the intense delight of the Indian
devotees. The priest—if such were his dignity—wished us to examine
the lace robes of the “Queen of Heaven,” and to note particularly the
decorations. As we returned to the hotel we heard a marimba, and soon
met a religious procession, consisting mostly of women. In a small plaza
we saw, covering a figure of the Virgin, a booth decorated with flowers
and fruits,—especially long strings of _manzanillas_.[23] Before this
image men and women (of respectable rank, we were assured) were dancing,
disguised in horrible masks representing devils and animals.

Escuintla is the favorite watering-place of the capital, and its baths
are certainly attractive,—especially to the Guatemalans, whose city
is supplied with miserable water. The citizens, some five thousand in
number, are occupied in commerce and agriculture. In the near future
Escuintla seems destined to become the railroad centre of the republic,
as the lines from Puerto Barrios and from Ocós will meet there.

Early in the morning of the third day of our stay at this place we
started out for one of the best bathing-places, on the way taking several
photographs. At a bath-house we passed, the men bathing in the tank came
out frequently through the wide-open door to talk with the women who were
washing clothes in the brook outside. As these men were wholly naked, I
wished to photograph this “custom” of the country; but when they saw the
camera they modestly retired within and shut the door.

Our own bath, an open pool some fifty by a hundred feet, was of a depth
increasing from three to eight feet. A high brick wall bounded one side,
and we were told that beyond this was a bath for women. A shed in which
to undress, and a tile platform on which to dry one’s self, was all the
apparatus; but the water was cool and of a wonderful clearness, and
we prolonged our swim. The fee was only a medio (five cents). In the
season, which extends from December to March, doubtless the crowd is
disagreeable; but we had the pool entirely to ourselves.

After almuerzo we started for Amatitlan; and a weary, dusty road it was,
although the main road to the capital from the port. Frank’s mare seemed
as though sunstruck, and sank down powerless by the road. Fortunately
we were near a brook. We poured cool water on her head, and she soon
recovered. We met great herds of cattle on their way from the dry uplands
to the juicy pastures of the lowlands, and also stages full of miserable
people, shaken and dusty, and with the look one might fancy a soul in
purgatory would assume,—always supposing it had a face.

The Falls of the Michatoya by the roadside relieved the monotony of the
way, but were not so beautiful as I had expected from Stephens’s account.
We found the rails of the ferro-carril laid as far as Palin;[24] and it
was graded beyond Amatitlan, on its way to Guatemala City, which it has
since (1886) reached. Basaltic rock was abundant along the road, and so
were beehives,—generally made from a hollow log and hung horizontally
under the eaves of the houses. Honey, costing us a medio a quart, was
very good; wax, however, is a more valuable product, as it plays a very
important part in the service of religion, masses costing so many pounds
of wax candles. The bees seem to be quite inoffensive, and the hives
often hung close to the house-doors. Sugar estates were common in this
district, the water-power being generally furnished by the Michatoya
river. The chimneys of the _ingenios_ did not indicate severe or frequent
earthquakes here. Oranges, not of the finest quality, sold at three cents
a dozen. Late in the afternoon we passed some cochineal plantations in a
rather neglected state, and soon after entered Amatitlan, where we found
a pretty little posada. Our mozos, who were fine fellows, were not far
behind us. The barometer told us that we were 3,650 feet above San José.

[Illustration: Section of Boat at Amatitlan.]

In the morning, finding sacate very dear, we made up our bestias’
breakfast with maiz, and started betimes. We rode to the Lago de
Amatitlan, which is very shallow, but clear near the shore. In the depths
of this lake were thrown, according to tradition, immense treasures; and
every now and then some ancient idol or bit of pottery is dragged up.
On the banks were willows of considerable size; altogether, the whole
scene was very different from anything we had found in the republic.
The fishermen’s boats were of a peculiar shape,—projecting below the
water-line, so that a cross-section amidships would be like the diagram.
In trying a short cut back to the main road, we were lost in a _cafétal_,
and had to ask the people in charge to open a locked gate and let us out
upon our road. We ascended seven hundred feet and found a good path. In
various places there were deposits of fine pumice, much of which had
been excavated, leaving caverns large enough to shelter many people from
the weather. We entered the capital about noon, meeting Santiago on the
outskirts, who conducted us to the Hotel del Globo. At this hotel, which
was kept by a wretched German, we found our mozos, and the luggage we
had sent from Coban and Antigua, in perfect order.

We were now in the principal city of Central America,—a city well worthy
of study; but not at all a representative one, for all that. After the
earthquake of Santa Marta, in 1773, had ruined the beautiful city of
Antigua Guatemala, the inhabitants sought a more stable site, farther
from the slopes of the great volcanoes; and the valley of the Hermitage
was selected, towards the north. Here was the half church, half fortress,
that still interests the visitor; but all around was a sterile plain, and
its elevation and distance from any port seemed most unfavorable to the
growth of a large city. Eighty-four miles separate Guatemala City from
its port of San José; while the Atlantic ports are more than a hundred
leagues away, with no carriage-road between. In spite of these and other
disadvantages, the city of Saint James has grown to be the largest and
most important of Central America. It numbers among its churches some
of the finest in the country; and its other public buildings are of
imposing size, if devoid of any architectural merit. Almost all the
houses are of one story; and the paved streets, laid out at right angles,
and of nearly uniform width, do not attract the stranger as he rides
over the exceedingly rough pavement. Indeed, our first impressions were
very unfavorable; for had we not seen Coban, Quezaltenango, Sololà, and
Antigua,—all of them much more beautiful than any part of Guatemala City?
It was not until we were well out of the city that we were pleased with
it,—not until it became a confused mass of white walls almost hidden in
foliage, with the church-towers rising above, and in the distance those
two noble volcanoes higher still, their heads well in the clouds. A
city of sixty thousand inhabitants, with its houses extending six miles
north and south, with a population of many nations and tribes,—mingling
the sixteenth with the nineteenth century in many customs and business
ways,—was not to be seen at a glance, was not to be understood even after
a sojourn of a few days. We envied the faculty of our English cousins who
can come to America, spend a few weeks,—even days,—and then go home and
write with more knowledge of the places they have just glanced at than
the inhabitants ever possessed.


As we entered the city we passed at some distance the fort of San José;
and it was significant that the guns all pointed towards the city it was
supposed to protect. Taking no interest in military matters, which I am
constrained to believe are undesirable if not unnecessary relics of a
barbarous age, I did not go any nearer to see whether, as in the case of
San Felipe, the guns were more deadly to those within than those outside
the fort; but the walls looked queer, and we were assured that they were
of adobe, painted to imitate stone blocks,—a kind of Quaker wall.


Although the Plaza is always the principal focus of a Spanish town, no
street ever leads directly to it, all lead by it, as if accidentally; and
so we found ourselves in the public square of Guatemala before we had
been an hour in the city. It was simply a square taken from the tiresome
rectangles of the city; and only on one side had it any sufficiently
imposing boundaries. The Government had suppressed the priestly power;
but its monument still towered above the very insignificant buildings
used as Government offices. This metropolitan cathedral is about two
hundred and seventy-five feet long, with some architectural pretensions,
but belittled by its front towers, which were added a few years ago. The
colossal statues of the four Evangelists which guard the platform in
front detract from the effect of a good façade. The interior is plain.
In a vault beneath the church repose the remains of Rafael Carrera,
the former President of the republic. On the evening of the seventh of
December the whole front was illuminated with small lamps in honor of
the Immaculate Conception. Within was a large doll dressed to represent
the Virgin Mary, “_sanctissima, purissima, caramba!—carissima_,” as we
heard a young heathen exclaim. She stood on a blue ball spangled with
stars, and trod the _culebra grande_ as at Escuintla. All the choir-boys
wore scarlet robes. It seemed as though the attendants rather hustled the
gauze angels, which trod on snakes in imitation of Madonna. The other
churches were numerous, and the more imposing date from the days of the
Spanish domination, when all good things, including plenty of money,
were in priestly hands. Perhaps the most curious of all the churches
is that one on the Cerro del Carmen which antedates the city. Santiago
carried my camera out to the distant hill, from which I not only brought
away a picture of the church, but also chose that position for a view
of the city, after patiently waiting for the clouds to roll away from
the volcanoes of Fuego and Agua. The church itself seems more a fortress
than a temple of the Prince of Peace. The heavy gates stood ajar, and we
entered the courtyard of two centuries agone. In the midst stood a round
tower, seemingly solid, and decorated by a fillet carved with cherubim
in low relief. Within the dark church all was still and deserted; only
the graves beneath the pavement of tombstones were tenanted. A curtain
hung before the image at the altar, and a carefully written notice
requested the visitor not to uncover the Virgin without permission of the
sacristan. In the bell-tower hung a bell with the date 1748,—twenty-eight
years before the city was built within its sound, when the heavy, awkward
burden must have been brought with so much difficulty into this lonely
valley. Two others, with the painfully modern date of 1872, hung by its

[Illustration: Church of the Carmen.]


We wasted the whole morning in a futile attempt to call on the President.
His house was a large one-story building at the corner of the Plaza, not
distinguishable from its surroundings except by the guard of soldiers at
the gateway to its interior courtyard. The corporal in charge refused
to take my card in, telling several falsehoods as to the whereabouts of
the President his master; but at last a superior officer arrived, who
at once ordered the fellow to take the card, and we were soon ushered,
without further ceremony, into the bedroom of the Chief of the State. It
is the custom in this country to arrange the chairs in a reception-room
on either side of a sofa and at right angles to it; and the host is
expected to sit on the sofa and entertain his guests on either hand.
President Barrios occupied this place of honor when I entered; but as we
conversed he moved about until we sat side by side. He had not forgotten
our interview at Totonicapan, and was affable, seeming to understand our
wishes perfectly. He said we should have all we asked for, and called
an officer to conduct us to the Department of the Interior, where Señor
Lainfiesta, the Secretario de Estado en el Despacho de Fomento, also
promised to expedite our business. Some days later, while discussing the
resources of Guatemala with the Minister of Foreign Relations, I spoke
incidentally of the bad arrangement of the Guatemalan exhibit at Boston
in the International Exhibition of 1883; whereupon the minister asked me
to accompany him to the President and acquaint him with the matter. We
went at once,—simply across the street; and it was gratifying to see the
stupid soldiers and the insolent corporal jump up and salute the cabinet
officer as we passed in unannounced. The President’s room was full of
disorder,—articles of daily use, with books, guitars, newspapers, all
mixed together. In the courtyard was a fine bull and several sheep, just
imported. I felt that Señor Barrios greatly improved on acquaintance,
and his bright, quick eye was decidedly intelligent. He was not tall,
but stout, with an air of military stiffness which wore off slowly. In
our conversation I asked him to refer me to any printed accounts of
his personal history; but he smiled and said, “That, señor, has never
been written.” Alas for the progress of the country! that life was soon
to end by violence, in an attempt to restore the confederation of the
republics,—a scheme very dear to this energetic man, who in ten years
did more for the internal prosperity of his own republic than has been
effected by all the governments of Central America in fifty years!

There is in Guatemala but one theatre, and to that we went on a Saturday
night. The building, a general imitation of the Église de la Madeleine in
Paris, stands in the centre of a plaza of considerable size laid out as a
public garden.[25] The Government subsidy of $25,000 to $40,000 permits
the employment of good artists for five or six months in the year; and
we saw a company fresh from Madrid play “La Mujer del Vengador.” The
ballet was tolerable,—the males far surpassing the females in skill and
agility. The tickets are kept by the visitor, the coupon being taken at
the entrance. The auditorium was lighted by gasoline sufficiently, but
the decoration was plain, and not attractive. The parquette was occupied
almost exclusively by gentlemen, who gazed serenely at the ladies in the
boxes which surround this, and were gazed upon in turn in a way that
would scandalize even a Boston audience. The wife of the President, a
lady of great personal beauty, was pointed out to us; and we were assured
that it was not improper to stare at her, even with glasses. In all
such places the audience always claims quite as much of my attention as
the stage; and among the boxes I noticed an elderly lady of decidedly
American appearance, and I fancied she might be the distinguished Madame
Susannah Peñol, to whom I had letters. A few days later, as I was ushered
into her reception-room, I saw at once that I was not mistaken; for on
the wall was a capital portrait of the lady I had seen.

[Illustration: Spanish Stirrup.]

Our hotel proved a most wretched one; the comida was poor in quality
and insufficient in quantity. A ballet-dancer and her pet dog took most
of the best bits as the various dishes were passed among the company.
Our host proved much the same sort as we had met at Quiché; and we were
compelled to move to the Gran Hotel, which we found very comfortable.

[Illustration: Terra-cotta Figurines.]

On Sunday the correct course is to see a cock-fight in the forenoon,
a bull-fight in the afternoon, and to go to church and wash up in the
evening. We varied the programme, and in the morning visited the Chief
of Police, Colonel Pratt (formerly of New York), from whom we learned
many points of interest in the municipal regulation of this city. The
Cemeterio, or Campo Santo, next claimed our attention, where we found
catacombs partly underground and lighted by a clerestory. Several very
showy monuments have been erected since the prohibition of burial within
the churches, though but few of them are in good taste. A far pleasanter
visit was to the “Bola de Oro” baths, near the Teatro Nacional, where we
had two good bath-rooms, with douche and plunge, all for four reals. The
water in the city is not good, and in the baths its turbid character was
disagreeable. The pressure on the mains is regulated by water-towers,
usually built into the house; and not being sufficient to supply a
douche, the water for this purpose has to be pumped into an elevated
cistern. From the bath we went to an exhibition of native products and
industries in the building of the Instituto Nacional. The exhibition
was a good one, and some of the products—as chocolate, rice, sugar, and
wax—were of exceedingly high quality. More interesting to me was the
Instituto itself. Originally a monastery, the Government confiscated
it when the religious orders were suppressed, and President Barrios
established in the vacant halls a college which would be creditable
to any country. We went through the recitation-rooms, the physical
laboratory, the dormitories,—where the iron bedsteads looked neat and
comfortable,—into the printing-room; thence through the garden to the
menagerie, where were many good specimens of native beasts and birds.
We next visited the meteorological observatory, the faculty room,
where hung a dismal painting of some poor Indios being torn to pieces
by dogs at the command of the Conquistadores, and finally the museum,
where, together with stuffed animals and birds, a series of specimens
of native woods (labelled only with native names), minerals, ores, and
the rest, we found a choice collection of antiquities. Here on the walls
were the dress-swords of Alvarado and Cortez, and strange stirrups,
of wrought iron of great size and weight, that the Conquistadores had
brought from Spain.[26] In the cases were grotesque incense-burners that
my friend E. Rockstroh had brought from the country of the Lacandones;
idols from various places, a lava mask from Copan (figured on page 200),
figurines in terra-cotta with tails and tigre-heads, stone figures with
turbans,—all on a subsequent morning made their impression on my plates.
But an incense-burner of red clay found in the Lago de Amatitlan failed
to excite the delicate film, so dark was the room and so refractory the
color; the form was most complicated, quite rivalling in this respect
those ancient Japanese bronzes used for the same purpose. In the library
are many valuable manuscripts, mostly unpublished, but of interest to the
historian and antiquarian.

Almost worn out with sight-seeing, we stopped at a restaurant near by,
and with our lunch had some native _cerveza negra_,—an unpleasant beer
brewed from molasses. We had lost the cock-fight; but there was to be
a bull-fight in the afternoon, to which we were strangely attracted,
and we purchased seats under the roof at three reals, walking over to
the Plaza de Toros at four o’clock. There was a fair audience—perhaps
six or seven thousand—in the immense circular building or enclosure. As
an overture we had an exhibition-drill. The soldiers wore red jackets,
blue trousers, and white caps and cross-belts. The evolutions were well
done to the bugle-notes, and the whole performance was to me much like
a ballet,—simply a complicated series of preconcerted movements of the
human body.

A horseman clad in black, mounted on a superb white horse, then rode
across the ring and formally asked leave of the Chief of the Corrida to
open the games. The Chief tossed him a roll of colored paper, which he
carried to the Amador del Toro and then backed gracefully out of the
enclosure. Then came the Espada, Manuel Aguilar of Seville, with three
Banderilleros and as many Picadores, followed by horses, mules, and
mozos. There were only five “bulls,” of which three were oxen,—and they
might all have been, for any fight they showed. The Picadores did their
work, and the Primero Espada did some excellent dodging; but this did
not satisfy us, so bloodthirsty had we become. At first we wanted to
have a horse killed, and at last nothing short of the death of a man
would satisfy us. But we were not to see anything of the kind; and after
the bulls had trotted about the Plaza until half-past five, the show
was over, and the unsatisfied audience dispersed. What would a Roman
audience have done in the Flavian amphitheatre, had their wild-beast
propensities been thus excited and disappointed? So far as the City of
Guatemala is concerned, the bull-fight is growing unfashionable, and
even with the populace such uninteresting shows cannot long attract. The
Guatemaltecans should import some of the fashionable “Cribb Clubs” of our
Northern cities, if they still wish to see human blood flow. At present
there is more brutality in the sparring exhibitions of Boston than in the
bull-fights of the Central American city.

Our day was not yet ended; and as we crossed the Plaza in the evening,
on returning from a call on a friend, we found the pavement crowded with
people and dotted with little fires, over which various Indios were
cooking doughnuts, fritters, and chocolate. The fritters were eaten with
plenty of honey, and were very palatable.

Another night we had an opportunity to see one of the religious
processions so common in former days,—afterwards prohibited by law, but
now occasionally allowed, as there is little danger of a renewal of the
priestly power, and these spectacles please the priests, women, and
children. This particular one, which we attended in part, was in honor
of “Nuestra Señora de Guadeloupe.” A huge doll, all lace and tinsel, was
carried through the streets with music, flowers, and fireworks. It was a
miracle that the image was not set on fire,—especially when the “toro,”
all blazing with squibs and Roman candles, ran through the crowd; but
no accident befell, so far as I knew. I am somewhat confused as to the
person the image represented, but was told that she was visiting the
holy lady (_santissima señora_) who lived in the church to which the
procession marched. On arriving at the door the visitor was obliged to
tip over and go in head first in a horizontal position. It was no doubt
all right, but it seemed so utterly undignified that we did not care to
go into the church and see how she got up again.

At the hippodrome in the plain of Yocotenango, to which the horse-cars
run from the grand Plaza, horse-races are held in May, August, and
November, at which times prizes are offered by the Government and the
Sociedad Zoótecnica.

It was interesting to see how the State had occupied the buildings of
the banished or suppressed communities. In the Franciscan convent was
the Revenue and Customs Bureau; the Post-Office occupied the church and
convent of the Third Order (of St. Francis); the Treasury and Telegraphs
divide the fine house formerly the home of the suppressed Sociedad
Económica; and the Bureau of Liquors and Tobacco holds the splendid
building of the Dominican friars. Other of the confiscated edifices are
used as schools, and are most admirably suited to the purpose. There
are eight elementary schools for boys, and ten for girls; two finishing
schools or academies for each sex; six night-schools for artisans and
others; and two asylums, which collect in the morning the young children
of poor parents, instruct and feed them, and return them at night to
their homes. There are two establishments for secondary instruction, one
for each sex, directed by foreign professors and well installed; one
is the Instituto Nacional, already mentioned. All these institutions
are supported by the Government, much of the system being due to the
enlightened policy of General Barrios. Provided for special instruction,
and also supported in the same way, are the Technical School (Escuela de
Artes y Oficios), well provided with laboratories and steam-power; the
Agricultural College, with fields near the city for practical work; a
Business School, with night sessions for clerks; a Law School, Medical
School (Medicina y Farmacia), Normal School, Polytechnic Institute, and
School of Design; besides many schools supported by private means.

Benevolent institutions, too, are not wanting,—among them the Asylum for
Orphans and Invalids; the Central Hospital, where four hundred patients
are cared for daily; and the Military Hospital in the suburbs. The
Penitentiary seems to be well conducted, and the House of Correction has
extensive workshops, in which good work is done. No less than twenty
public fountains and washing-places adorn and keep the city clean.

All business is not conducted in the shops, which are small, and seldom
make much display; but there are two markets, one of which, the Nacional,
is very extensive, and seems to contain within its bounds merchandise of
every sort,—in one place pottery, in another fruit; saddlery and cloths,
confectionery and hardware, bread and guns, are close at hand. The prices
are high, even of the necessaries of life; and the cheapest things were
pottery and nets, both of Indian manufacture. It was not a little amusing
to remember that the great retail stores of Boston were imitating the
variety-shops of this uncommercial city, and collecting within their
walls all kinds of goods,—from shoes to hats, from dinner-sets to
carpets, from stoves to books. The country variety-stores of New England
are outdone in both cases. As almost everywhere else, it is expected that
the purchaser will try to beat down the price. Among the curiosities of
the market we found native jackets (_guepiles_) made in the simplest
manner, but embroidered with the greatest labor and most barbaric fancy
of color and form. These the women take great pride in; and the showy
garments cloak many deficiencies in the rest of the wardrobe.

[Illustration: Indian Pottery.]



[Illustration: Pacaya, Fuego, Agua.]

Early one morning Frank and I rode out of the city and up hill to an
elevation of twelve hundred feet, passing the aqueduct and getting
several fine views of the capital,—better in some respects than the
view from the Cerro del Carmen; for now the two volcanoes were clear.
As the road was excellent, and our animals were in thorough trim, we
both got more enjoyment in the saddle than from almost any other mode
of sight-seeing. We were leaving the volcanoes of Antigua; but Pacaya
was before us, and we had entered a distinctly volcanic region. We
passed several small villages, in one of which we breakfasted on honey
and tortillas. Cerro Redondo is a small hamlet of perhaps a thousand
inhabitants, whose chief occupation is coffee-culture. The “round hill”
which gives the name is a small, very regular volcanic cone,—one of a
number less regular extending towards the Pacific coast. Here in the
road-cut were black volcanic sands and plenty of vesicular lava. As
the daylight waned, we met men, women, and children coming from their
day’s work in the cafétal, and a contented, happy company they were.
We did not arrive at the chief town of the Department of Santa Rosa,
Cuajinicuilapa,—or Cuilapa, as it is often abbreviated,—until nine
o’clock. Here we found a wretched posada, where we shared our room with
an enormous cockroach an inch wide and two and three quarter inches long.
Although we had a letter to the Jefe from the Department of State, we did
not care to wait in the morning for him to get up; so after climbing into
the church-tower and over the roof, we rode on to the fine old bridge
over the Rio de los Esclavos. This, consisting of ten masonry arches
spanning a rocky ravine, bears the dates 1592-1852. Our path followed
the valley for some time, and at a convenient place we had a bath in the
rapid river, whose waters were agreeably cool. As we left the river our
path led up a very steep ascent nearly eighteen hundred feet. On the
way we had several fine views of the “Hunapu” volcanoes,—Pacaya, Fuego,
Agua, and Acatenango,—clustered together, and in the clear atmosphere
seeming to be close at hand. Pacaya seemed to have the largest crater,
while Agua had none visible from this side. On the top of this “ladder”
we rested our animals on a grassy plain where they could pasture. We had
noticed cotton-trees (_Bombax_) on the way up, and we found some wild
pines that the men repairing the road had left, and we tracked the fruit,
which is pleasantly acid, to the pines used here for hedging (_Bromelia
Pinguin_). The curious umbrella-ants (_Œcodoma_) were common on the
path, each carrying its bit of leaf wherewith to stock the formicarium.
A puff of the breath would overset these heavy sail-bearers, which go
in Indian file. We had no time to follow them home on this occasion;[27]
for when we came to Azacualpa, still some eight leagues from Jutiapa,
we found this large village (twelve hundred inhabitants) had no posada.
Indeed, it had nothing but corn and beans, and even water was scarce; so
we pushed on into the night through an unknown country. After dark we
could buy no maiz for our bestias, though a señora sold us a bottle of
excellent honey. We had seen from the hill above, in the fading light,
a magnificent valley of great extent, broken by ridges and ravines, and
we had hoped to find some decent shelter. But when the moon rose over a
volcano, we decided to camp; and picketing our steeds on a fine pasture,
we slept on our blankets, undisturbed except by the wind, which was
strong at times. Our barometer told us we were 3,152 feet above the sea.
I noticed that in the highlands it was apt to be windy at night.

[Illustration: Hunapu from the East.]

In the morning our honey, a little bread, and some unripe oranges gave
us a very unsubstantial meal; nevertheless at daybreak we saddled and
rode on. We saw many pigeons, little gray quails that ran along the
path, and crows. At La Paz we found a very neat house, where we stopped
for almuerzo; but alas for external signs! my bowl of black-bean soup
contained a patriarchal cockroach. It was pleasant to see through the
open door our animals eating a good breakfast of _sacaton_. A little
farther on was a clear stream; but most of the way was over a dusty
plain among _espina blancas_[28] (_Acacia_) and calabash-trees, lava
streams and blocks. The surface of the ground was cracking open with
dry shrinkage, and there was little to interest us. Our Yankee nature
asserted itself, and we whittled at some of the little purple-spotted
calabashes as we rode along. The rind is very hard, even in young
fruit; and the inside is solid and consistent as an unripe squash.
The odd-looking, speckled blossoms spring from the trunk of the
crabbed-looking tree (_Crescentia cujete_).

About noon we came to Jutiapa, situated on a plain through which the
Rio Salado has cut a deep valley. We entered by a gateway and found the
Plaza. This was paved, and in the midst a dribbling fountain indicated a
very insufficient water-supply for the town. Before us was the church,
behind us the Casa Nacional, and the other sides were occupied by stores
and the house of the Jefe. Our anxious inquiries for a posada were met
with the too frequent answer that there was no such thing here in this
town of some twelve hundred inhabitants. Good fortune directed us to
inquire of a person in a shop at a corner just beyond the church; and
this resulted in a most hospitable invitation to the house of Señor
Alonzo Rozales, a Spanish gentleman whose name will be always a charm
to conjure by. He gave us a large room opening to the street as well
as into the patio, and we at once felt at home. We had walked many
miles, I leading, Frank driving, the poor tired animals. It was fifteen
leagues from Cuilapa to Jutiapa, and the road was very hard and maiz
very scarce. We were obliged to wait here for our mozos, whom we had
sent from Guatemala but had not overtaken on the road; and we were happy
enough that the necessary delay came in so comfortable a place. Our host
brought us new mats for our bedsteads, and pillows trimmed with lace in
Spanish style; then, after killing a very large and crusty scorpion which
had established himself over the door, presented us with a bottle of Val
de Peña,—a fine red wine from Spain,—and left us to our rest.

Sunday morning came, but no signs of our mozos. The church was closed,
as there was no resident padre; we got in, however, while an attendant
opened it to do some work on the bells. The roof was apparently arranged
for a fortification. Within we saw the skull of an Indio (?) built into
the stucco over the _agua bendita_, and a painting representing a padre
offering the consecrated wafer to a kneeling ass,—apparently in the
office of the communion, as the padre holds the chalice in his other
hand. A figure in the background—perhaps the owner of the ass—has long
mustachios, wears a turban, and holds up his hands in astonishment. No
explanation of this curious subject could be obtained there; and after
rejecting Balaam and his ass, we concluded that this was the ass on which
Christ rode to Jerusalem. As volcanoes are baptized into the Church, why
not asses?

There was a worn-out, poverty-stricken appearance to the town; not a
cultivated plant to be seen, as all the vegetables and fruits are grown
at some distance, in the more fertile mountain valleys. Some of the
larger houses, indeed, have a few flowers in their patio; but these are
quite invisible from the street. No fruit was in the shops or for sale in
the streets, and our animals were fed on squashes. Perhaps at the annual
fair (November 15) this ancient town, which under the name of Xutiapan
existed long before the Conquest, may assume a livelier appearance.
Still anxious about our mozos, we walked back several miles on our road,
though the high wind made travelling very disagreeable. At last, in the
afternoon, Santiago arrived with the mozo we had hired in Guatemala;
and to our astonishment the latter brought with him his wife and little
daughter. This was more of a caravan than we had bargained for, and I
was puzzled; but the woman seemed quiet and inoffensive, and the child,
who could hardly walk, and was carried always on her mother’s back, was
a good little thing, indeed, the most reasonable child I ever saw. I
acquiesced in the arrangement the more readily because I saw that the
woman was unwilling to have her husband go away so far from home that he
might not return to her. He was a handsome, strong fellow, and proved
well worth all the woman’s care.

On Monday we started our mozos and luggage at six in the morning, and
left our kind host before seven. We were almost surrounded by small
volcanic cones, but Suchitan was the only one we identified. This gave
little signs of its fiery origin to unpractised eyes, for the lower
slopes were covered with shrubs, and here and there a little house peeped
out among the trees, while fields extended to the cloudy summit. So
severe was the wind on the plain at the base of this volcano that our
animals several times turned from the path to seek shelter. Three leagues
out we passed Achuapa, and five leagues farther Horcones,—both small
villages. Clematis grew over the bushes and softened the rough appearance
of the calabash-trees and espina blancas,—almost the only vegetation on
this dry and unpromising upland. We had frequently seen the ocean from
our highway during the past few days, and now we saw the volcanoes of
Salvador, one of which was smoking, which I supposed to be Izalco. Blocks
of lava were scattered all over the plain, as if some bed of lava had
been broken up and brought down in fragments by an avalanche. The stone
was well suited for the manufacture of metatles, or tortilla-stones, and
fragments were scattered all about, as well as several half-finished
metatles, spoiled by an unlucky blow. We could not find any one at work,
and did not learn with what tools this rather difficult stone-cutting is
accomplished. The honey of Suchitan is very good, perhaps made partly
from acacia-flowers; its flavor being not unlike that of the famous honey
of Auvergne in France,—also, a region of extinct volcanoes.

We arrived at Santa Catarina about three in the afternoon; there,
while our animals rested and fed in front of the cabildo, we bespoke a
comida at a little cook-shop in the Plaza, and then explored the poor
little church, which was dark, windowless, and wholly bespattered with
bat-filth,—pictures, crucifix and all. We beat a hasty retreat from this
unseemly sanctuary; and after a wash in the public fountain, returned to
the _cocina_, where we were served with tortillas, fried eggs, plantains,
frijoles, and coffee,—for which we paid three reals, or thirty-seven
and a half cents. As we left the town we passed a noisy _trapiche_, or
sugar-mill, consisting of three vertical wooden rollers turned by four
oxen. It sounded very like one of the ancient cider-mills in New England.
A good mill could make a fair percentage of sugar out of the crushed cane
passing through these rollers.

From the town we found a rather steep descent, and at the bottom a large
river to ford, whose bed was full of loose rocks,—making the passage
very difficult. We had not gone two leagues from Santa Catarina before
darkness came on, and we camped by the roadside. A cheery fire and our
blankets made the camp very comfortable, and the little child was quiet
all night,—not civilized enough, Frank declared, to cry instead of sleep.
The dew-fall was very heavy; it is probably always so at this dry season.

We were up at light, and sent the men to find water while we got the fire
burning and made coffee. With honey and wheaten rolls we breakfasted
well,—indeed, our out-door life in this good climate made us feel at
peace with all men, and satisfied—nay, pleased—with everything that
befell us. The morning was cloudy; but we knew the clouds did not mean
rain at this season, and we were in the saddle before the dew was quite
dried from our blankets. As we went along we several times passed black
obsidian chips, some recent, but most of them quite old,—evidently the
refuse of the knife-makers, whose work in ancient times was much in
demand; the long, slim blades used in circumcision were never used but
once, then consecrated in the temples or broken; and those knives used
for other purposes were of course brittle, and soon destroyed.

[Illustration: Mozo on the Road.]

We arrived at Agua Blanca about eight o’clock, and stopped to feed our
bestias on cornstalks and squashes. The former were kept high up in
the trees, which neither cows nor pigs could climb, while the squashes
in endless variety nearly filled a small house, through whose bambu
walls the wandering hogs could smell the coveted food. The town is
appropriately named “White Water,” for the only supply was very milky
in appearance and very clayey in taste. Almost directly over the town,
the volcano of Monte Rico, long extinct, is the most striking feature
in the landscape. Cultivated to the very edge of the crater, which is
said to contain a large lake, the fertility of the fields was greatest
at the top,—due, no doubt, to the waters of the crater; while the lower
slopes are comparatively dry and barren. Around the base are many smaller
cones, which remind one of those which dot the slopes of Ætna and give
the Sicilian volcano the name “Mother of Mountains.” Not a league beyond
we crossed the only clear stream we saw all day; but even this water was
not very pleasing to the taste. Bars across the road made us fear we
had missed the path and were no longer in the “camino real;” we were,
nevertheless. At Piedras Gordas, in the afternoon, we stopped for food,
in hopes of hearing tidings of our guide and mozos, who had started
before us. Our frugal meal of plantains, tortillas, and red bananas was
constantly interrupted by the pigs who were stealing the sacaton from
our hungry animals. For miles there were booths and stone fireplaces
marking the camps of the pilgrims who journey to the sacred Sanctuario
de Esquipulas. At six o’clock we camped in a fine pine-forest high up
in the mountains. No human habitation was near, but a few cattle were
seen here and there. The pasturage was good between the scattered trees
of this grand park. We built a roaring fire, which cast curious shadows
from the trees, pegged our bestias securely, enjoyed a good _lomilomi_,
or Hawaiian massage, and both fell asleep. Suddenly I awoke with the
strong impression that something was wrong. There was no noise, not
even the cry of a night-bird; only the soft sough of the night-breezes
in the pine-tops. Frank was breathing quietly at my side, the fire was
out, and the night was cold outside the blankets. As I sat up to look
about, a dark object caught my eye in the dim distance, and without much
thought or reason I went towards it, simply because I felt impelled to do
so. There was no consideration of personal danger, but an overpowering
feeling that all was not as it should be. The first thought as I got
near the black object, which seemed to move towards me, was amusing,—it
looked like the devil; there were the short, straight horns, the hoofs,
and I saw the switch of a tail. It was very like a dream. I had seen the
“father of lies” in many a human form, but never so undisguised; and I
was filled with curiosity. The next moment a joyful hinny discovered our
mare Mabel, who recognized me before I could plainly see her. Putting my
arm around her neck, I found the remnant of the horse-hair lariat with
which Frank had fastened her. I tried to return to camp, more than an
eighth of a mile away, but could not orient myself in the dark, and had
to call to Frank. Guided by his answer, I retraced my steps, stumbling
into a brook I had unconsciously crossed in going out; and we found the
peg and again secured Mabel. In this curious way we were saved a long
hunt for the next day.

At daylight we were on a very good road, and soon after eight we stopped
at a sugar-plantation for some coffee and frijoles negras. Here was a
fine stream, together with vats formerly used for indigo-making, now
useless. Hill rose above hill, and Esquipulas seemed as far away as ever.
By the roadside were the pilgrim fireplaces, frequent and extensive,
and we noticed a large deposit of a pink-colored rock, which I supposed
might contain manganese (_Rhodonite_). The specimens I brought away, I
regret to say, were afterwards left at one of our camps. The last hill at
length climbed, before us lay an extensive valley reaching to the distant
mountains of Merendon, the boundary of Spanish Honduras.

[Illustration: Lava Mask in the Museo Nacional.]



I have grouped in this chapter two most interesting monuments of the
past,—a Christian temple whose mission seems to have been fulfilled, and
a pagan graveyard where stand the monuments of unknown kings or heroes.
They are not inaptly joined; for in this busy, matter-of-fact, commercial
age, it is well that the less perishable records of our brothers who have
preceded us in the unending march of life upon this globe should detain
us, if but for a moment, with the lessons they may teach to thoughtful
minds,—the temple raised lay pious labor to signify that there is more
than the present to live for, the monuments of the dead to carry on the
personalities so soon lost in earthly life.

We gazed from the precipice at the white building, large even on so vast
a plain, and began the steep descent. The little village was almost dead
in appearance. There were many houses and rooms to let, but no posada;
and as our mozos had not arrived, we rode to the Santuario down the
single street of the town. It was wide, paved with cobbles, and bordered
on either side by the booths and lodging-sheds for the merchants and
devotees who still crowd the town at the festival season. Two streams,
one the headwaters of the Rio Lempa, flowed across the road beneath solid
masonry bridges. Into two of the posts of one of these were inserted
two ancient sculptures, said to have been brought from Peten, but more
probably from the neighboring ruins of Copan, just beyond the mountains.
One was the grotesque head of a griffin, the other a small human figure
with a preposterous head-dress. The Santuario is an imposing structure,
massive rather than elegant, and dazzling in its whiteness. Towers rise
at the four corners, divided into four stages, of which the lower one is
broken only by a small oval window on the side; the second is pierced by
an arched window and decorated with pilasters; the third, still square,
rises above the general roof with two windows on each side; the fourth,
octagonal in shape, has a single window on the alternate sides. A large
dome rises in the midst, figures of saints and a clock mark the façade,
and the whole structure rises from an extensive platform surrounded by an
iron fence with masonry posts, and approached by a broad and easy flight
of steps.


On entering, the first thing noticed was the immense thickness of the
walls, ten or twelve feet at least,—a reminder that this is an earthquake
country. The floor was paved with large red tiles, needing repairs in
places. Among the pictures was one of the Last Supper, and near it a
decidedly local one of people lassoing Christ. We had hardly glanced
about, when a curious figure presented himself, speaking tolerable
English very rapidly, and, after the usual interchange of compliments,
introduced himself as Dr. José Fabregos y Pares, a traveller; and
then presented his companion, the handsome young cura, Padre Gabriel
Dávila, who welcomed us to his church and showed us the curiosities
of the place. First, of course, we wanted to see the famous black
Christ, “Our Lord of Esquipulas.” This miraculous image, to whose
shrine devout pilgrims have gathered even from distant Mexico and
Panama,—pilgrims numbered in former years as many as fifty thousand at a
single festival,—was made in Guatemala City in 1594 by Quirio Cataño, a
Portuguese, at the order of Bishop Cristobal de Morales, on the petition
of the pueblo of Esquipulas. The sculptor was paid “cien tostones,”—a
testoon being of the value of four reals, or half a dollar; and to
meet this expense the Indios planted cotton on the very land where the
sanctuary now stands. For more than a century and a half the image stood
in the village church, where the miracles wrought spread its fame very
far. The first archbishop of Guatemala, Pedro Pardo de Figueroa, laid the
foundation of the present temple, which he did not live to finish, but
died Feb. 2, 1751, praying with his last breath that his bones might rest
at the feet of this image of his Lord. In 1759 Señor D. Alonso de Arcos y
Moreno, President of the Real Audiencia of Guatemala, completed the great
work, at a cost, it is said, of three million dollars; and on January 6
of that year the image was translated with all the pomp of the Romish
Church. Twelve days later, the remains of the pious archbishop followed.
The founder established a brotherhood of worthy people who should take
upon themselves the material support of the edifice; but Padre Miguel
Muñoz, writing in 1827, says that this laudable custom had died out among
the whites, only the Indios holding to the compact. Those of Totonicapan
furnish a certain amount of wax and provide for some offices of the
Church; those of Mexico visit the shrine in Holy Week with offerings
of wax; while from Salvador are brought wax, incense, balsam, oil, and

Now, with all this we expected to see something remarkable, but saw
only an ordinary altar-piece, with plain curtains before the miraculous
image. It was not a holy-service time, consequently the curtains could
not be raised; the padre, however, after sending Frank’s revolver out
of the holy place, took us behind the altar and admitted us to a small
glass room where the black image stands. It was much less than life
size, very black,—painted, however, only by time,—inferior in conception
and execution, and wearing long female hair. Ex-voto pictures and gold
and silver images and tokens hung upon and around this figure, and in
the same chamber were figures of Joseph and Mary, together with angels
with cotton-wool wings. It was impossible for me to feel any of the awe
with which past generations of Indios have regarded this black Christ.
My imagination is not wholly dulled, and I have felt curious sensations
before the horrible idols of the Pacific islanders, before the placid
features of a gigantic Buddha, in the Hall of Gods at Canton, and
before the Jove of the Vatican. I have been in the holy places of many
nations, and have felt a sympathy with the worshippers; even the black
cliffs of the supposed Sinai have led my thoughts captive. But here in
Esquipulas there was nothing but the husk,—nothing solemn, nothing holy;
the portrait of Figueroa was the most respectable thing in the church.
It was, moreover, no strange thing to pass into the vestry and overhaul
the boxes of gold and silver ex-votos; these we could purchase at so
much an ounce. They were indeed, as our new friend Dr. José declared,
“very curibus.” All parts of the human body, healthy or diseased, many
animals, and other objects of human desire or solicitude, were to be
found here. To our matter-of-fact Northerners it may be necessary to
explain the theory and object of these works of native _platerías_.
Medical men and surgeons are almost unknown in the remote regions of
Central America, and a sick or injured man, while applying all known
remedies, sends also to the nearest _platero_, or silversmith (common
enough among the aborigines), and has a model of the affected part made;
this token some friend, if the patient be unable to make the journey
himself, carries to the mysterious image, whose power to heal he devoutly
believes in. It is a faith, rather than a mind, cure. The barren woman
in the northern climes, instead of being bowed down with her sad lot,
obtains an easy consolation in a pug or lap-dog; but her Indian sister
takes a truer view of the purpose of her life, and in her prayerful
longing devotes in effigy the coveted offspring,—much as Hannah, the
wife of Elkanah, devoted the unbegotten Samuel to the Lord. Like the
Hebrew barren wife, the Indian goes up on a pilgrimage to the most sacred
shrine, makes her offering, and breathes her prayer. The Eli of the
Sanctuary bids her “go in peace.”

The accumulated offerings of gold and silver images are sold to pay the
charges of the Templo,—not always, however; for report has it that the
Government some years ago seized fifty thousand dollars’ worth of this
treasure and appropriated it to its own use.

Dr. José invited us to share his room, which we gladly did. He had just
returned from Honduras, and was on his way to an Indian city in Guatemala
where was buried, to his certain information, an immense treasure of the
ancient kings. I will not tell my readers the exact locality, though I
fear Don José will find no treasures greater than the beautiful opals
he brought from beyond the Merendon Mountains. As we left the Templo I
bought oranges of a little girl, giving her the price she asked,—ten for
a cuartillo (three cents); and I almost believed in the miracle-working
image when the girl brought me three more oranges! I ought to have
insisted on having twenty for a cuartillo. Very late in the afternoon the
mozos arrived, having been lost in the Cerros, where we strangers had
found a plain path without guides. There was not enough daylight left to
give us a photograph of the image, but we got the white Santuario. Even
at the present day the annual festival, extending from the sixth to the
ninth of January, brings together many people,—but perhaps quite as much
for trade as for worship.

As we rode out of the town in the morning we passed men repairing the
aqueduct,—which reminds me that the water in Esquipulas is very bad.
We climbed an unbroken hill eighteen hundred feet to an altitude of
forty-six hundred, glancing back for a last look at the great white
temple, monarch of the plain. As we crossed the divide, we had a fine
view of Quezaltepeque, with Monte Rico and Suchitan looking in the
distance much more volcanic than when we passed them on the road. Hard
as the ascent was, the descent was even worse; twenty-one hundred feet
of exceedingly bad road delayed us greatly, and it was long after noon
when we arrived at Quezaltepeque. There was not much to see here. In
the dirty church I noticed a picture of the “Virgen de Lourdes,” and a
contribution-box for offerings to that modern shrine; and Frank found a
very curious incense-burner, which certainly did not give evidence that
the second commandment had been broken. As we stayed only an hour for our
almuerzo and comida combined, we did not see much besides the Plaza and
the main street; we followed the latter out of the town, fording a stream
of some size, with gravelly bed and bordered with fruit-trees.

[Illustration: Incense-burner.]

We were now in the picturesque valley of the Hondo,—a winding, clear,
and generally rapid stream; our path sometimes crossed it, and again was
high above it on the cliffs. We passed through San Jacinto about dusk and
camped a few miles beyond, having to go a long way after dark, as both
sides of the road were fenced, a most unusual thing. We at last stopped
at a very unsuitable place, kindled a fire which guided Santiago to our
camp, and then decided to have our mozo and his family with us for an
early start in the morning. Frank took his revolver and went back nearly
two miles, where he found the Indio sound asleep in a house. Father,
mother, and child were quickly routed out, and when they came up we
comforted them with some hot coffee. Towards morning it rained, but not
through our blankets; and before the morning mist had risen quite above
the hills around us, I had my camera at work. The daylight showed what
a queer bedchamber we had chosen. Acacia-brambles were thick enough, and
there was no level ground; while behind us was a high limestone cliff
closely resembling a columnar basaltic formation, and just across the
road a precipitous descent to the river. We sent the mozos on at six
o’clock, and followed soon after. At Santa Elena we saw many fan-palms,
cultivated as material for hats. At Vado Hondo we could resist the
tempting river no longer, but had a delightful swim in the clear, cool
water. All the valley was beautiful, and generally cultivated,—here with
sugar, there with corn, and we saw several small sugar-mills.

As we approached the lower valley the sun broke through the clouds and
was very hot; but when we came to the wide gravel bed of the sometimes
broad river above which Chiquimula stands, the heat was most unbearable.
On a plateau to the right stood the ruins of an immense church, while far
away to the left stretched a fertile valley. We rode up hill into the
town at eleven o’clock, and, as usual, found no posada. We did, however,
find good food and a very comfortable room at the large mercantile house
of Señora Anacleta Nufio de Monasterio (this was the mark on her china).
The house was large, and in the patio were orange-trees and a fountain of
good water. The important matter of lodgings settled, we went to church,
finding it out of repair and dingy. To put ourselves in thorough moral
order, I decided to offer here at this ecclesiastical centre two tallow
candles,—a penance we wished to perform at Quezaltepeque, but could
find no candles for sale near at hand. I placed the candles, lighted,
in silver candlesticks, which were empty on the grand altar, and sat
down on the doorstep to see what would happen. Soon an attendant came
and asked if I had offered the candles; and on being assured that I
had, exclaimed “Buen!” in a very satisfied tone; nevertheless he took
the poor candles from their place of honor and put them before an empty
saint-case. Well, the saints above were perhaps as well satisfied; but
Frank here below was rather indignant, and declared he would never offer
a candle again. But what else could we expect for making light of the

We called on the Jefe, Don Ezequel Palma, a military man past middle
age, who was very polite and who sent his private secretary, Dr. Domingo
Estrada, to show us the lions of Chiquimula. We rode first to the ruins
of the ancient town where we had seen the remains of the church in the
morning. The same earthquake that in 1773 destroyed Antigua shattered
this town and caused the removal of the inhabitants some distance to the
westward. The old site was a better one; but the people moved away to
save the trouble of clearing up the ruins. The church was two hundred
and fifty feet long, and seventy-five wide. The immense walls, ten feet
thick, were still standing; but the vaulted roof blocked the interior
with its fragments. The ruins of this once holy place were now used as a
cemetery, the rank in this world of the occupier determining the distance
of each grave from the altar-end; while outside were the neglected ashes
of the commoners. The brambles and thorny plants made the locality
unpleasant for living beings, and we got our horses away as soon as

We passed the new hospital, which Dr. Estrada showed us with pride;
it will be, if ever completed, the best in Guatemala. A visit to a
sugar-estate in the valley showed us fields of red cane, small, but very
sweet. There were two small mills, both made in Buffalo, N. Y.,—one
turned by wind, the other by oxen; and the product is about nine hundred
pounds of brown sugar a day.

At five the next morning we were serenaded by the military band of the
town,—an honor we had received several times before; and the music was
very good. We left the ancient town of Chiquimula at eight o’clock,
although our hostess, Señora Anacleta, wished us to stay and join an
expedition of her friends to Copan to examine “las ruinas,”—an excursion
we longed to make, but could not then.

The road to Zacapa was good, and we saw many gigantic cylindrical
cacti. These curious trees looked pulpy and fragile; but Frank tried a
branch with his raw-hide lasso, and the horse could not pull it off! We
shall never again lasso a prickly cactus. On trees by the road (chiefly
euphorbiaceous trees) were large nests, eighteen to twenty inches long,
of some mud-wasp. As we approached Zacapa we crossed the Hondo by a ford
where the water was not two feet deep; but the path was very long and
winding, and the current rapid. As usual, there was no posada; but a
call on the Jefe, Don Brígido Castañeda, resulted in a page being sent
to conduct us to the decent house of a widow, where we found lodging
and comida. Our first search was for a blacksmith, our animals needing
re-shoeing. There were three _herreras_ in the town; but one was sick,
another had no charcoal, while the third had no nails,—and there was no
lending among these sons of Thor. So Frank had to do the work himself
with hammer and axe; and his general handiness again stood us in stead.
There was little enough to attract us in this town, and early the next
morning (Sunday) we sent the mozos ahead and followed before the weekly
drill of the militia was finished. In Zacapa the Government has a large
tobacco-factory; and the “Zacapa puros” are much liked by smokers.

All the way out of town the fields were dry, although we passed several
small streams, and beyond San Pablo a grove of fan-palms watered by a
fine brook. No fruit was anywhere to be seen, not even on the great
cacti. The Motagua River we had looked for at every turn, and at last we
came upon a stream so rapid that it does not even water its dry banks. A
swim was out of the question, but our bath was very refreshing.

At Zacapa we left the volcanic region; and afterwards we saw no more
lava or tufa, but a formation resembling old red sandstone, mica schist,
slates, milk-quartz, and some serpentine. We were then in the metamorphic
mountain-belt. The shapes of the hills of course changed with their
geological nature, and we missed the beautiful cones that had formed a
characteristic of our daily landscape since we had our first glimpse of
Tajumulco from the Chixoy valley many weeks before.

On this road we saw the Palo Cortez,—one of the most splendid
flowering-trees I ever saw. It was large, leafless, and covered with
dark-pink flowers. Never in large numbers, it brightened the dark
forests with its mass of rich color, and as many as five or six would be
in sight at once. Surely we could have made a calendar marked by some
remarkable plant each day; and this Sunday was a red-letter day, marked
by this tree named in honor of the great Conquistador. A fine arborescent
composite, with dark-orange blossoms of the size and shape of thistles,
closely recalled the Hesperomannia that my dear friend Horace Mann (the
younger) discovered during our explorations in the Hawaiian Islands,
twenty years before.

In the afternoon we passed the rancho of Don Cayetano, where we saw good
cattle, but did not stop until some distance beyond, when we boiled our
coffee by the roadside and I photographed our travelling arrangements.
Although we arrived at Gualan at half-past five, we had more than the
usual trouble in finding a lodging; but at last a deaf old man, who was
also burdened with a large goitre, took us into his comfortable house of
two rooms, while Santiago, who professed to be familiar with the place,
took our animals in charge. The town was insignificant and decayed,
although on the main road from Guatemala City to the coast. After a
supper of the toughest meat we had found in this republic, our host gave
us his daughter’s room; and while Frank attempted to make the little bed
comfortable, I slung my hammock from the dusty rafters. The daughter,
about sixteen, was rather pretty, and we were sorry to incommode her; but
she turned in with the old man, and we could hear that they were both
asleep long before we got used to the squeaking noise of a lizard in the
thatch and to the showers of dust every motion of my hammock shook down
from above.

We were at the head of navigation on the Motagua, and decided to send
our mozos on to Los Amates by land, while we took a canoa. Santiago had
promised us one in the morning, but could not find it; whereupon Frank
found a boatman, and reduced his price from $4.00 to $2.50. Just as
we were returning to the house to get our luggage, we met our useless
Santiago with a man who had kindly consented, as an especial favor to
him, to take us for $6.00. In going to the river we passed the Calvario,
which was elaborately walled; but the roots of many shrubs were prying
the masonry open. A descent of about two hundred feet brought us to the
river bank, and we found the water cool and good.

Our canoa was a good “dugout,” with a mat of split bambu for our seat,
and our boatman managed it very skilfully, avoiding the frequent shoals
and taking full advantage of the current. Bathers and washerwomen were
common along the banks,—the latter with precious little clothing, but
usually working under a palm-leaf shelter. Often they did not hear the
paddle, so noisy were their tongues, until we were close upon them; and
they generally ducked when they saw us. White herons, alligators, and
iguanas were common enough, and we saw two very round turtles about a
foot in diameter. Twice we touched bottom in the rapids; but the skill of
the paddler kept us bows on and saved us a wetting.

At Barbasco the river was wide, and we saw three mules crossing, as our
bestias would have to do later in the day. They waded two thirds of the
distance and swam the rest, one being carried by the current into the
bushes down stream.[29] The exhilarating motion was in marked contrast to
our struggle up the Rio Polochic; but there was no such interest in the
valley of the Rio Motagua as in that of the Polochic, and not until we
approached Los Amates did we come to the forest. In many places banana
or plantain suckers had got entangled in the bushes overhanging the
banks or on shoals, and were rooting and growing. The river is about a
hundred yards wide at Los Amates, where we landed after a canoa voyage
of five hours and a half. The steep bank was muddy, and the whole town
likewise, as far as we could see. Four open-walled reed huts shelter all
the inhabitants, both man and beast. The view riverwards was attractive,
as the river seemed the only way out of this forest-environed spot. We
walked into the woods on the trail northward to El Mico, about three
quarters of a league; here the ground was utterly water-soaked, and we
saw nothing interesting except two humming-birds having a bitter duel.
They were so absorbed in their deadly hatred that we stood some minutes
within arm’s length without interrupting them. Near the houses the
manàca-palms overspread the path in most perfect Gothic arches, forming
groined vaults of living green. Our comida was tolerable; but flies and
mosquitoes were abundant, so were dogs and pigs, and there were many
chickens with their wings turned inside out and their feathers put on the
wrong way. We could throw stones at the dogs without attracting notice;
but I found the people evidently did not like to have the pigs insulted.

Our señora was a curious specimen, all skin and bones, clad in a scant
dress, a large straw hat, and apparently nothing else, and smoking
an ever-burning cigar. At night she put us on a shelf of slim bambus
that would not bear our weight standing, though they made a fairly
comfortable bed. We shared this loft with corn and poultry; and looking
down into the common room beneath us, we saw by the light of a bowl of
oil strange domestic scenes. Women were swinging in hammocks and smoking
cigars, and children lying naked on the bare earth floor; and it was
pleasant to see such at-one-ness and the utter absence of anything like

Our calendar alone informed us that the next day was Christmas, and we
spent it in waiting for our mozos and bestias, who arrived about three
o’clock. We sat on the sheet-iron pipes, fifteen inches in diameter,
which were resting here on their way to the Friedmann mines, farther
south. They kept us out of the mud, and were the only comfortable seats
in the town. On the mango and orange trees we found a pretty little
yellow orchid (_Oncidium_?). In the houses we saw tanning done, without a
vat, by making a bag of the hide and filling it with the bark decoction,
which slowly percolated through and was replaced. The remains of an
English steam-launch were scattered about, sheets of copper from her
bottom serving as clapboards to part of the house where we lodged. At
night the men of the place were all drunk and very noisy. The fires were
kept burning late, and cast weird gleams through the open slat walls into
the darkness.

Having engaged a guide for the so-called Ruinas at Quirigua, at eight
o’clock the next morning we said our adios (after paying our hostess
nineteen reals for ourselves and mozos) and started down the river bank.
Across the river were the largest bambus we had seen in the country,
some joints at least six inches in diameter. Our path led through a
canebrake, and often so close on the loose banks of the Motagua that I
feared we should drop in. For two hours we went on in this way, stopping
only to rifle a turtle’s nest of fourteen small eggs (less in size
than a pullet’s). We then turned to the left and came to the Quirigua
river,—which more resembled a creek; and here my heart sank, for I have a
great dread of black waters and muddy bottoms. Santiago waded in first,
and I followed close on the little mule; and we all crossed safely, our
mozo leading his wife by the hand with great care. Once in the thick
forest, our guide did his best to empty a generous bottle of aguardiente
he had brought with him; so that within an hour he knew very little about
the road, or anything else useful. Cohune and similar palms were on all
sides, and we first saw here the _pacaya_ (_Euterpe edulis_?),—a slender
palm with edible pods or buds. Enormous trees with buttresses even the
goyava took this form here—were prominent among the lower palms, and
ginger and wild bananas bordered the rather indefinite path, which we had
constantly to clear of vejucos and fallen palm-leaves. Many round holes,
as large as a flour-barrel, showed where palm-stumps had been eaten out
by insects.

[Illustration: Remains at Quirigua.]

A little brook with chalybeate waters cost us both a wetting; for Frank’s
mare stuck in a mud-hole, and my mule slid down a steep bank backwards
into the water, soaking my saddlebags. After travelling three hours on
this muddy road, we came to a clearing, where were two large champas
fast going to ruin. Mr. A. P. Maudslay, an Englishman who has spent much
labor and money in exploring Guatemaltecan antiquities, had been here
twice, and not only cleared a considerable space around the principal
monuments, but had cleaned the stones, and even made moulds in plaster of
some of them; he had also built the champas that sheltered us. We spread
our wet things over a fire, and went to the first monument (A on the
plan), which was close at hand. Mr. Catherwood’s sketches, published in
Stephens’s most interesting Travels, led us to expect rough menhirs quite
analogous to the Standing Stones of Stennis, or those better known of
Stonehenge. Here, rising from a pool of water collected in the excavation
Mr. Maudslay had made to examine the foundation, was a monolith of
light-colored, coarse-grained sandstone, well carved over its entire
surface except top and bottom. On the front and back were full-length
human figures, not deities, but attempted likenesses, joined with the
tigre’s head to indicate chieftainship, and a skull to represent death.
Both sides were covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions quite distinct,
but not intelligible to any living being. (See Frontispiece.) What would
I have given to be permitted to read the stone-cut story! No locked
chamber ever inspired half the curiosity. When was this stone set up,
by whom, and to what purpose? Whose are the portraits, when did these
persons live, and what did they do for their fellows. The mocking answer
to all these questions is cut in the stone before us. The native name of
_idolos_ is an idle one, unless used in the Greek sense; for these are no
gods, but memorials of the dead as distinctly as the tombstones in our
modern graveyards. While the hieroglyphs are similar to those at Copan
and Palenque, they are not, I think, identical, and I fancy they are
of the nature of the denominative cartouches of the Egyptian obelisks.
I copy Mr. Maudslay’s plan of this group of monuments, from which it
will at once be seen that their relative position to the other remains
is puzzling in the extreme. We left our imaginings for the time, and
proceeded to the practical work of photography. This was no light task;
for the sun was behind trees which cast shadows on the monuments, while
the shady side was almost invisible in the camera. Insects swarmed in
front of the lens, and the heat was almost insupportable under the rubber
focusing-cloth. However, I succeeded fairly in carrying away a dozen
pictures. Whether I can with no greater difficulty explain to my readers
what this cemetery looked like, even with the aid of Mr. Maudslay’s rough
plan, is more questionable.

We entered a clearing, some four hundred feet square, made only the
year before, but already covered with undergrowth, so that our men had
to use their machetes freely to expose the stones. The level was low
and the soil full of water, which stood in pools here and there. On our
left was a mound, more than two hundred feet long, which we did not
inspect, and in front of this were placed three monoliths. The first
(A) was the smallest; the second (B) was four feet wide, three feet
deep, and perhaps sixteen feet high; the third (C) was four feet nine
inches wide, two feet nine inches deep, and eighteen feet high. Both
B and C stood on irregular ends, and the tops of all were left much
as they came from the quarry. Two taller ones stood on the opposite
side of the clearing. One (F) was inclined (as it was to a much less
extent when Mr. Catherwood made his drawing, forty years ago), and the
under side has been protected from the weather, so that the face is
well preserved, the large nose being intact. This face, unlike the one
on the opposite side, is below the general level of the sculptures,
suggesting a substitution of the present portrait for the original one.
The inclination is about thirty-six degrees from the vertical; and as
the stone is about twenty-five feet above ground, it must be wedged with
large foundation-stones, or be buried deep in the soft earth.

[Illustration: MONOLITH AT QUIRIGUA, E.]

[Illustration: Monolith at Quirigua, F.]

Of all the portraits cut upon these stones, this leaning monolith has
the most remarkable. The hands and feet are represented in the same
conventional manner as on the stone marked E; but the immense size of the
nose, as well as of the ears, distinguishes it from all others. The cast
of countenance is very Egyptian. On many of these sculptures are seen
indications of the worship of the cross (as in the figure on the reverse
of E), although this symbol is usually of complicated form, as on the
celebrated tablet at Palenque. The monolith B has on the breast, in place
of the cross, the double triangle, sometimes called Solomon’s Seal, and,
like the cross, a well-known symbol of primitive worship. The nose of the
figure on what is now the upper side of F, is broken, but was of large
size originally.

There were several curious features in the decorative or symbolic work
on the monument marked E on the plan. The plumes above the head are very
extensive, and there are two distinct heads of the tigre, superimposed
with two well-modelled hands extending from the union. The face is much
injured. The ears are enormous, and beneath the chin is a projection
reminding one of the “beard-case” of the ancient Egyptians. One arm,
with ruffled sleeve, holds an instrument much like a “jumping-jack,”
or else a human body impaled, while the other is concealed beneath a
richly ornamented target. The feet are turned out, and on them rest
what closely resemble felt hats with plumes, while the pedestal (part
of the one stone) on which the figure stands, bears the death’s-head
surmounted by a small head with the remarkable ears of the chief figure.
On the reverse the features of the figure are better preserved. A diadem
is distinct under a large and very realistic jaguar-head, the ears are
covered by strap-like ornaments, the sandals elaborately wrought, and the
hat-like ornaments much more distinct than on the other side. The costume
is more elaborate, although not cut in so high relief.

[Illustration: Monolith. E (back).]

Two large bowlder-like masses (D and G) of the same stone are placed
unsymmetrically in relation to the other monoliths, and rest on separate
cross-stones. They are carved all over with figures and inscriptions, G
being fashioned at one end into the head and claws of some monster. A
decidedly Aryan head, with mustache and flowing beard, is carved in high
relief on the other.[30] If these were altars, they must have been very
inconvenient ones, as they are about five feet high, and very little of
the upper surface is level. We did not visit the other portions of the
cemetery as shown on the plan, because we did not at the time know of
their existence, our guide being still under the malign influence of the

We boiled our turtle’s eggs (these, by the way, no boiling ever hardens),
drank coffee and limonade, and ate sardines among these Maya relics,
and then departed, after an interesting visit of only three hours. The
heat and the swarms of insects by day gave us no encouragement to pass
the night there, though we could not leave without a hope that we might
return, and perhaps dig about the stones. Although visitors do not often
get to these monuments, some have left the proofs of their low sense
of propriety in inscriptions scratched on the stone. Truly the Indios
who wander through this cemetery and call the figures _idolos_ are more
civilized than those fellows who have desecrated the stones by their
otherwise unimportant names.

Our way out was a return for two miles, and then branched into another
path, where the marks of the railway surveyors were plainly visible, and
it seems that the Ferro-carril del Norte will come close to the Ruinas
of Quirigua. As we left the lowlands we came upon ledges of sandstone
perhaps a mile from the Ruinas, of the same kind used for the monoliths;
but we could not find, perhaps owing to the dense vegetation, any signs
of quarry work. In the path we saw fragments of pottery apparently
ancient; and there are no modern habitations near at hand. As the path
wound up the hill we crossed a sandstone ridge and had fine views over
the valley of the Motagua. It was pleasant to get among the pines
again, and on solid dry ground: I think I dread mud more than any other
impediment in the road. When we struck the “camino real” late in the
afternoon, Santiago went to the little village of Quirigua to get the
traps he had left there, while Frank and I went on to the hacienda
of Señor Rascon, late Jefe of Izabal, whom we had met in the office
of Secretario Sanchez in the City of Guatemala. This hacienda was a
mud-house with poor accommodations and little food; but as it cost us
only two reals, we had no reason to grumble. The old señora in charge had
only one egg; but overcome by Frank’s plaintive appeal, she scrambled
under the bed where the hens were roosting, and managed to coax another
from one of them. We were here entertained by the process of branding
cattle,—not an attractive exhibition of brute force and brute suffering.

[Illustration: STONES AT QUIRIGUA.]

We were in the saddle at seven, expecting a hard day’s journey. The
road was bad enough, muddy even when steep. In places it was paved; but
this was worse still. The flowers were interesting, and the splendid
butterflies were flitting all the way. A fine passion-flower which Frank
gathered for me, and a cypress-vine (_Ipomœa_), were among the old
friends in a new place. Several trains of pack-mules on their way to
Guatemala City passed us, and we had to use care to avoid being bruised
by their loads, which they did not hesitate to push into us if not driven
aside. As Mabel had cast a shoe, Frank walked almost all the way, using
the mare occasionally as a bridge when the stream to be forded was wide.
As we came out on the northern slope of El Mico we had an attractive view
of the Lago de Izabal, and later of the town itself, where we arrived
early in the afternoon, finding quarters in the posada of Señora Juana,
an ancient mulattress. Her house, at the extreme east end of the town,
was large and ruinous; but we had a comfortable and cool room and a very
decent comida. In the garden the señora had roses, gardenias, caladiums,
hibiscus, and the Mexican vine (_Antigonon leptopus_). The town, with
its white houses, low level, and ditched streets, reminded us of Belize;
but while the capital of British Honduras is alive, Izabal is dead. On
the hill westward was a fort, with lighthouse and town-bell. At 5 and
6 A.M., and at 6, 8, and 9 P.M., the fort made a noise. The wharf at
the custom-house was long, but had only two feet of water, so shallow
is the lake at this side. The shore was sandy, and the water clear. The
principal streets are lighted by _gaz_ (kerosene); and as the ditches
on either side are worse than the gutters in New Orleans, this is a
necessary precaution.

In the photograph of Izabal, taken from the end of the dilapidated wharf,
the fort is seen on the hill above the large warehouse; at the right is
the cluster of buildings belonging to Mr. Potts,—a gentleman who has a
fine collection of native orchids in his garden, the only one in all the
republic who seemed to take much interest in horticulture. The church is
just behind this dwelling, and on the hill at the extreme right of the
view is the Campo Santo. In the foreground the corroded piles show well
the action of wood-destroying animals in the tropical fresh waters.

[Illustration: Izabal.]

We saw also in Izabal a very interesting collection of antiquities from
the mines of Las Quebradas, on the Motagua. There were clay heads of
curious workmanship, obsidian and flint knives, arrow and spear heads;
but what attracted me most were three small whistles of terra-cotta. They
represented human figures in a squatting position, all with _maxtlis_,
or waist-cloths, about the loins, and a coif, or turban, on the heads.
One little fat fellow reminded me of the Chinese roly-poly mandarins, and
was of light-colored clay. Another, who also had a paunch of generous
proportions, presented the profile of an Egyptian sphinx. But the third,
which was four and a quarter inches high and of a dark bronze color, bore
a close resemblance to a North American Indian. The figure had earrings
precisely like those copper ones that Professor Putnam discovered in
the Ohio mounds. This whistle could be made to sound three notes, the
mouthpiece being at the posterior base. I tried to buy these interesting
relics, which were found buried at a considerable depth, but the owner
would not part with them; and as the whole collection is kept in a basket
and often handled, I suppose the photographs I took will soon be all
that is left of them. Clay whistles modelled in grotesque form, which
also sound three notes, may be found to-day in the plazas for sale; but
the material and workmanship of these ancient terra-cottas surpasses any
of the work of modern Indios.

During the night we were awakened by the noise of the surf on the beach;
but when I went out on the piazza there was no wind. Before morning the
“City of Belize”—the very steamer that had nearly finished our journey in
the Rio Polochic—arrived from Pansos. At daybreak I found that the bats
had ruined my raw-hide lasso, the reins of my bridle, and had eaten the
seeds of some _toranjas_, or shaddocks, which we had carefully saved for
planting. We hung all these articles from the ceiling to avoid rats or

Frank and Santiago had no end of difficulty in getting our animals on
board the steamer; but it was done at last, as everything else that Frank
attempted, and just before noon we started, after an excellent breakfast
on board, in which Señor Gomez, the newly appointed Jefe politico, joined
us. We were now back to the land of rains; and as we steamed across the
lake to Santa Cruz we had a tropical downpour. As the steamer was out of
fuel, we coasted the lake to a place about a league above Castillo de San
Felipe, where, after getting some three cords of wood on board, we tied
to the trees for the night. At daybreak we took on more wood, and then
went on to the old fort, where the comandante had some wood to sell, and
used his authority to press the soldiers and bystanders to load it. As it
was Sunday there were plenty of loafers around; but one dandy who had on
a clean shirt would not work, and another fellow had a stomach-ache and
could not; but the military authority was respected, and the wood soon
loaded. The pilot-house was a fine, roomy place on the upper deck, and
our comfort was in marked contrast to the experience of the canoa-voyage
up, some months before. Islands and lagoons succeeded each other rapidly,
and we soon crossed the Golfete and were in the beautiful Rio Dulce. At
three in the afternoon we arrived at the wharf in Livingston, and our
pleasant journey was at an end.

[Illustration: Whistle from Las Quebradas.]



The physical features of Central America are rich and varied; but the
story of the races which have peopled it is tinged with a romance and
clouded with a mystery which accord intimately with the cloud-capped
summits, the impenetrable forests, and the earth-fires. Stories written
in stone, whose authors no man knows, whose meaning none can read,
carry us back beyond history and beyond legend; and until patient study
unravels the enigma, as it must in time, our vision of the aborigines is
illumined only by those legends which beautify and corrupt all history.
We may treat all legendary lore as mythic if we are willing to forget
that a myth is the creation of an advanced thought and civilization which
we do not usually concede to the long-perished races who have preceded
us; or we may simply accept what has been preserved for us, smile at its
simplicity, wonder at its beauty, or puzzle our brains to connect and
classify it with similar matter from other sources and of other times.
In an uncontroversial spirit I would accept the slight glimpses of early
human races which have lived upon this continent, and leave to others the
task, agreeable to their tastes, of weighing, measuring, and analyzing
these stories of a simple people who can no longer speak for themselves.

In most ancient times Votan[31] came to the coast now known as Tabasco,
found savages inhabiting the country, whom by patient labor he civilized,
thus founding the Empire of Xibalbay[32] and the dynasty of the
Votanides. He or his immediate descendants built Nachan or Culhuacan,
whose ruins at Palenque in Yucatan have astonished all travellers and
students since their discovery.[33] Similar ruins, inscribed with the
same hieroglyphic characters, are found at Copan in Honduras, Quirigua,
Tikal, and other places; and the arts of architecture and sculpture show
in these remains a development not attained by any succeeding inhabitants
of this continent until the present century. While Xibalbay was still
extending its empire over portions of Mexico and Central America,
another leader brought with him from the North a people called Nahoas,
who founded a city not far from Palenque, towards the southwest, naming
it Tula (whence this people are often called Tultecas). The chief bore
a symbolic name, as is even now usual with the Indian tribes of North
America, and Quetzalcoatl (serpent with the plumes of the quetzal), or
Gucumatz,—as he is known in the Guatemaltecan legends,—by his superior
ability (called magic by the people), brought his power to such a height
as wholly to overshadow the flourishing Xibalbay, whose conquered
inhabitants were scattered in various directions. Some went northward to
Mexico and founded a monarchy (according to Clavigero, in the seventh
century of our era), which after four hundred years of prosperity was
destroyed by famine; and the survivors, led by their king, Topiltzin
Acxitl, returned to the fruitful lands of Central America, and in
Honduras founded the kingdom of Hueytlat, with the principal city of
Copantl, now known by the wonderful ruins of Copan.

Other immigrations are mentioned by tradition, but no definite account of
their origin is given. It seems probable, however, that certain tribes,
called Mam[34] or Mem, came from the North and destroyed both Tula and
Nachan. Another inroad, led by the four chiefs Balam Agab, Balam Quitze,
Mahucutah, and Iq Balam, advanced as far as Mount Hacavitz in Verapaz,
north of Rabinal; and here these chiefs remained as freebooters and
founded that tribe known as the Quichés. They constantly attacked their
neighbors, and offered the captives taken in these encounters to their
god Tohil, who, with Avilitz and Hacavitz, formed the trinity in the
Quiché cult. Force and stratagem proving of no avail against them, the
surrounding tribes gradually submitted; and when peace was established,
the four captains conveniently disappeared, leaving the government in
the hands of three sons, Iq Balam having no offspring. And now we have
the curious account given by the unknown author of the “Popul Vuh,”
or sacred book of the Quichés, of which two translations exist, one
in Spanish by Ximenes, the other in French by the Abbé Brasseur de
Bourbourg. The annalist tells us that before the departure of the four
chiefs they charged their sons to undertake a journey to the East; and
the new rulers, in obedience to this command, passed the sea easily (Lago
de Izabal?) and came to the city of a great lord called Nacxit,[35]
who instructed them in the art of government and invested them with the
feather umbrellas,[36] throne, and other symbols whose Indian names both
translators fail to interpret.

On their return all their subjects received them with joy; but so
numerous had the people become that Mount Hacavitz could no longer
contain them, and now began the dispersion of the tribes.

One branch went westward and founded Izmachi, a city some distance
westward of Santa Cruz del Quiché. No rude Indios these who built Izmachi
of stone and mortar.

From this centre grew the Quiché power, until it reached from the borders
of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and eastward to the Lago de Izabal.
Several tribes or feudatory monarchies owed allegiance to the ruler of
Izmachi; and if we may believe the “Popul Vuh,” we must recognize a
feudal system quite as elaborate as that of Europe in the Middle Ages. A
line of monarchs, extending to fourteen, or even twenty-four, exercised
authority; but so obscure are the accounts that the line cannot at
present be followed. Only this seems clear, that there were but three
great families of the Quichés, and these lived in peace for a time in
their new lands, perhaps during the fifth and sixth centuries of our era.
At last the jealousy of the tribe of Ilocab, or the ambitious designs
of the kings Cotuha and Iztayul, kindled the first of a long series of
wars that in local importance rivalled those between Rome and Carthage.
In the security of a long peace the guards of Cotuha were surprised by
well-armed visitors from Ilocab; but so complete was the military system
of the Quichés that immediately the hosts were collected, battled with
the rebels, and after utterly routing them, reduced some to slavery, and
sacrificed others on the bloody altar of Tohil.

The successors of Cotuha and Iztayul were Gucumatz and Cotuha II.,
during whose reigns the capital was removed to the site called Utatlan
or Gumarcah. On this platform, so admirably adapted for fortification,
palaces and altars, as well as fortifications, were built of cut stone.
Watch-towers rose high in air, and answered to those in the surrounding
mountain regions. The Plaza was paved with a smooth white cement superior
to the stucco of Pompeii, and the ruins so distinct forty years ago tell
a plain story of an advanced civilization. It may be of interest to read
what this most remarkable people say of themselves, that we may more
clearly see them before us. Their greatness passed away, as did all the
learning, art, and refinement of Athens and Rome, to be succeeded by
ignorance, slavery, and degradation; and alas! this nation of the New
World has left but few monuments to tell the story of what it once was.

So slight are the glimpses we have of that past, that the picture must
be a shadowy outline at best; but it is worth while to trace even
the outline, for the portrait will apply to the other inhabitants of
Guatemala as well as to the Quichés. The wisdom of the kings was magic
even to the Spanish annalists, and these tell of the “Rey portentoso”
Gucumatz that, like the prophet Mohammed, he ascended into heaven, where
he abode seven days; and that he descended into hell, where he tarried
other seven days. He transformed himself into a serpent, a tigre, an
eagle, and a mass of clotted blood, each change lasting seven days,—that
mystic number of the Cabala and of European black art. “And surely,” says
the Spaniard, “great was the respect he gained by these miracles before
all the lords and all those of his kingdom.”

Nothing puzzles the student more than the duplication and interchange
of names; but let it be remembered that the Quiché names that have come
to us are rather titles, and this is especially the case with Gucumatz,
a word equivalent to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl, which is applied to any
distinguished reformer or leader of his people. Cadmus and George
Washington might both claim the title.

I will translate from the “Popul Vuh,” using generally the Spanish
version of Ximenes, as less influenced by the theories of the translator
than the later one of Brasseur de Bourbourg. I begin with the creation of
the world and of man.

“Then the word came to Tepeu Gucumatz[37] in the shades of night; it
spoke to Gucumatz and said to him: It is time to consult, to consider,
to meet and hold counsel together, to join speech and wisdom to light
the way and for mutual guidance. And the name of this is Huracan, the
Voice which sounds: the Voice of Thunder is the first; the second is the
Flash of Light; the Lightning is the third. These three are the Heart
of Heaven, and they descended to Gucumatz at the moment when he was
considering the work of creation. Know that this water will retire and
give place to land, which shall appear everywhere; there shall be light
in the heaven and on earth: but we have yet made no being who shall
respect and honor us. They spoke, and the land appeared because of them.”

After the mountains and plains and rivers and all animals of the forest
had been created, the gods proceeded to form man. First they made him of
mud; but the rains descended and beat upon that being, and he dissolved.
Not being able to make man according to their desires, they called to
their aid the mysterious powers of Xpiyacoc and Xmucane, magic adepts,
and by incantation learned that man should be made of wood, and woman of
the pith of bulrush. This second edition of the human species was little
better than the first, although more durable. The stiff, wooden images
had neither fat nor blood; they could speak and beget children, but
lacked intelligence. Their eyes were never turned to heaven, and their
tongues never glorified Huracan. Then there fell from heaven a torrent of
bitumen and pitch on these ungrateful children, a bird named Xecotcovuch
tore out their eyes, another, named Camulotz, cut their heads, while an
animal called Cotzbalam ate their flesh, and the Tucumbalam crushed their
bones. The poor wretches climbed their roofs to escape the flood; but
the walls crumbled beneath them, and the trees fled from them, and when
they sought refuge in the caves of the mountains, the stone doors shut in
their faces. Of all the numerous progeny of this wooden couple, only a
few were preserved, and from them have descended the apes of the present

A third attempt was more successful, as maiz was used to form blood and
flesh and fat. Xmucane ground the corn and cunningly concocted nine
beverages, which were changed into the various humors of the body. This
first successful creation was fourfold, and the names of the quartette
were identical with those of the four chiefs who conducted the Quichés
to Mount Hacavitz. While these primitive men slept, their wives were
built,—not, however, by robbing the men, but of the remaining portion of
the same meal.

The celestial powers did not, however, have everything as they wished.
The man was tolerable, but by no means perfect, for his teeth were
defective; and he was built too much like the apes to carry himself erect
with perfect safety, hence he became ruptured. But there was no time to
try again, for they had already a rival in the person of Vucub-caquix,—a
sort of Lucifer who imagined himself to be the sun, moon, and all the
stars. How he was punished, the “Popul Vuh” tells at length; and I am
tempted to translate literally, using the text of Ximenes, that my
readers may judge both of the style of this sacred book, and also of the
mode of thought and the belief among the Quichés at the time when Utatlan
was in all its glory.

“This is, or was, the cause of the destruction of Vucub-caquix by the
two young men. Hunahpu, so was called the one, and the other was called
Xbalanque: these moreover were gods, and therefore that arrogance seemed
evil to them, in that it claimed superiority to the Heart of Heaven; and
they said, the two young men: ‘It will not be right to let this go on,
for men will not live here on earth; and so we will try to shoot him with
the blow-gun (_cerbatana_) when he is eating: we will shoot him and
disable him; and then will be dispersed his riches, his precious stones,
and his emeralds, which are the foundation of his greatness;’ and so
said the youths, each one with his blow-gun on his shoulder. Now, that
Vucub-caquix had two sons: the elder was called Sipacua, and the second
was called Cabracan, and their mother was named Chimalmat. She was the
wife of Vucub-caquix. And that son of his, Sipacua, whose pasture-ground
was great mountains, that one moreover in one night before dawn made
the mountain called Hunahpupecul, Yaxcanulmucamob, Hulisnab, because in
a night Sipacua made a mountain; and his brother Cabracan (this is, of
two feet) used to move and shake the mountains both great and small. And
so moreover these two sons of Vucub-caquix became proud; and thus said
Vucub-caquix: ‘Know ye that I am the sun.’ ‘And I am the maker of the
earth,’ said Sipacua; ‘and I,’ said Cabracan, ‘am he who moves the earth,
I will demolish all the world.’ And thus the sons of Vucub-caquix became
arrogant even as their father was arrogant; and this seemed evil in the
sight of the two youths, Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Nevertheless our first
fathers and mothers were not yet created, and thus the two youths plotted
the death of Vucub-caquix, of Sipacua, and of Cabracan.

“And here follows the telling of the blow the two youths gave to
Vucub-caquix, and how each one was destroyed by his arrogance.

“This Vucub-caquix had a tree of _nances_, because that was his only
food; and every day he climbed the tree to eat the fruit. This Hunahpu
and Xbalanque had observed that it was his food; and they lay in ambush,
the two youths, under the tree hidden among the leaves of the grass.
And then came Vucub-caquix; and while he was yet climbing the tree,
Hunahpu fired a shot which was well aimed, and hit him in the jaw; then,
groaning, he fell to the ground. And as soon as Hunahpu saw Vucub-caquix
fall, he sprang with the greatest promptitude to catch him. Then
Vucub-caquix seized Hunahpu’s arm and tore it off at the shoulder; and
then Hunahpu let Vucub-caquix go; and so the youths had the best of it,
for they were not beaten by Vucub-caquix, who ran home carrying Hunahpu’s
arm, but holding his broken jaws.

“‘What has happened to you?’ said Chimalmat to her husband Vucub-caquix.

“‘What has happened? But two devils shot me with a blow-gun and unhinged
my jaw; they knocked out all my teeth,—and how they ache! But I have here
the arm of one of them. Put it in the smoke over the fire against they
come for it, the two devils!’ said Vucub-caquix. And then she hung up the
arm of Hunahpu.

“But in the mean while Hunahpu and Xbalanque were consulting as to
what was to be done; and having taken counsel, they went to speak to
an ancient man whose hair was white, and an old woman who in truth was
very old; and so great was the age of the couple that they walked bent
double. The old man was called Saquinimac, and the old woman was called
Saquinimatzitz. And the two youths said to the old man and the old woman,—

“‘Come with us to get our arm at the house of Vucub-caquix. We will go
behind you, as if we were your grandchildren whose father and mother
were dead; and if they question you, say that we are in your company,
and that you are travelling about extracting the maggot that eats the
grinders and other teeth; and so Vucub-caquix will look upon us as mere
lads, and we will advise you what to do further.’ Thus spoke the two

“‘It is well,’ said the elders; and then they came to the corner of
Vucub-caquix’s house, where he was reclining on his throne. And then they
went on, the two elders, and the two boys playing behind them, and they
went under the house of Vucub-caquix, who was groaning with the pain of
his teeth. When he saw them, the elders and the boys, he asked,—

“‘Whence come you, grandparents?’

“‘We, lord, are going to seek our remedy.’

“‘How are you seeking your remedy? Are these your sons who are with you?’

“‘No, lord, they are our grandchildren; but we have had compassion on
them so far as to give them a bit of tortilla,’ the elders replied.

“Just then the lord had a very sharp twinge of toothache, so that he
could hardly speak; and he begged them to have pity on him.

“‘What is it that you do; what do you cure?’ said the lord.

“‘Sir, our cure,’ said the elders, ‘is to extract the maggot from the
teeth; and we cure eye-troubles, and likewise broken bones.’

“‘Well, if this is true, cure my toothache; for I am without rest, and
cannot sleep, and my eyes trouble me also, since the two devils shot me,
and so I cannot eat. Now have compassion on me, for all my teeth are
rattling about!’

“‘Surely, sir, it is a maggot which injures you; we will pull out your
teeth and put others in their place.’

“‘Oh! perhaps that won’t succeed; but I can’t eat without my teeth and

“And they replied,—

“‘We will put others in their place; we will put in ground bone.’

“But this ground bone was only white corn.

“‘It is well,’ said the lord; ‘pull them out and put them in order.’

“And then they took out the teeth of Vucub-caquix; and it was only white
corn that they put in the place of teeth, and the kernels of corn shone
in his mouth. And his countenance fell, and he never more appeared a
lord; but they took out all his teeth, and left his mouth smarting. And
when they cured the eyes of Vucub-caquix, they tore out the pupils. Then
they took away all his money, and he did not know it; for he was no
longer great nor arrogant. And this was done by the counsel of Hunahpu
and Xbalanque.

“And Vucub-caquix died, and then Hunahpu took his arm; and also Chimalmat
died, the wife of Vucub-caquix; and so was lost all the treasure of
Vucub-caquix. Then the doctor took all the precious stones which had
puffed him up with pride here on earth. The old man and old woman who did
these things were divine; and when they took his arm, they put it in its
place, and it reunited and was well. And they did these things only to
cause the death of Vucub-caquix because his pride seemed an evil thing to
them. So did the two youths, and it was thus done by the command of the
Heart of Heaven.”

Then follows an account of the pride and evil-doing of Sipacua, and how
he destroyed the “_cuatrocientos muchachos_” (four hundred young men);
and the Chronicle continues:—

“Then follows how Sipacua was conquered and killed; how another time he
was overcome by the youths Hunahpu and Xbalanque: to them he appeared
contemptible because he had killed the four hundred youths. And Sipacua
was alone fishing and hunting crabs on the river banks; this was his
every-day diet. Days he spent seeking his food, while at night he moved
mountains. Then Hunahpu and Xbalanque made an image of a crab. They made
the large claws of the crab of a leaf which grows on the trees and is
called _ec_, and the little ones of other smaller leaves called _pahac_;
and the shell and claws they made of flat stones. And they made it and
placed it in a cave under a hill called Meaban, where he was conquered.
Then they went along and met Sipacua by the rivulet, and asked him where
he was going. And Sipacua replied,—

“‘I am not going anywhere; I am only looking for something to eat.’

“And they asked him, ‘What is your food?’

“‘Only fishes and crabs, and I have found none; and since the day before
yesterday I have not eaten, and now I cannot bear my hunger.’

“Then said they: ‘There is a crab below in the gulch; in truth it is very
large: would you might eat that! We wanted to catch it, but it bit us,
and we were in terror of it, or else we would have caught it.’

“‘Have pity on me and take me where it is,’ said Sipacua.

“‘We do not wish to,’ said they; ‘but go, you cannot lose your way. Go up
stream, turn to the right, and you will be in front of it under a great
hill; it is making a noise and making _hovol_: you will go straight to
it,’ said Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

“‘O miserable me! if perchance you had not found it,’ said Sipacua. ‘I
will go and show you where there are plenty of birds; you will shoot them
with the blow-gun. I alone know where they are, and in return for them I
will go under the rock.’

“‘And shall you truly be able to catch it? Do not make us return for no
purpose; because we tried to catch it, and could not, because we crawled
in on our bellies and it bit us; and so by a trifle we could not catch
it. So it will be well for you to go in pursuit tail-end first.’

“‘It is well,’ said Sipacua.

“And then they went with him to the gulch, and the crab was lying on his
side, and his shell was very bright-colored; and here under the valley
was the secret of the youths. ‘Hurrah!’ said Sipacua, joyfully; and he
wished to eat it, for he was dying with hunger. And he tried to enter
lying down; but the crab rose up, and he at once retreated. And the
youths said to him,—

“‘Didn’t you catch it?’

“‘I didn’t catch it, I just missed it; but as it has gone up high, it
will be well for me to enter head first.’

“And immediately he crawled in head first; and when he had got in all
but his knees, the mountain toppled down and fell quietly down upon his
breast, and he returned no more. And Sipacua became stone. And thus was
Sipacua conquered by the youths Hunahpu and Xbalanque; and they tell that
in ancient times it was he who made the mountains, this elder son of
Vucub-caquix. Under the mountain which is called Meaban he was overcome,
and only by a miracle was he conquered; and now will we tell of the other
who was puffed up with pride.

“The third fellow who was arrogant, the second son of Vucub-caquix, who
was called Cabracan, used to say, ‘I am the one who destroys mountains.’

“And so it came to pass that Hunahpu and Xbalanque declared that
they would put an end to Cabracan. Then Huracan, Chipa-caculha, and
Raxa-caculha spoke unto Hunahpu and Xbalanque, saying that the second son
of Vucub-caquix must be destroyed also.

“‘This have I commanded, because he does evil upon the earth; because he
makes himself very great; and this ought not so to be. Arise now, and
seek him towards the sunrise.’ So spoke Huracan to the two youths.

“‘It is well,’ they replied, ‘and it seems good to us to risk. There is
no danger. Is not your greatness, O Heart of Heaven, above all?’ Thus
spoke the two youths in reply to Huracan, and at the very time Cabracan
was shaking the mountains. Hardly had he shaken them a little, kicking
with his feet on the ground (then he was breaking the mountains great and
small), when the two youths met him and asked,—

“‘Where are you going, boy?’

“‘I am not going anywhere,’ he replied; ‘I am only here shaking the
mountains, and I shall always be shaking them.’

“Then said Cabracan to Hunahpu and Xbalanque, ‘What do you come here for?
I don’t recognize you, nor do I know what you are here for. What are your

“‘We have no name,’ replied they; ‘we are only hunters with the blow-gun,
and we catch birds with bird-lime. We are poor and have nothing, and we
are tramping over the mountains great and small. Here in the East we see
a great mountain, and its sweet odor is very pleasant. And it is so lofty
that it overtops all the other mountains. So we have not been able, it
is so high, to catch a single bird. So if it be true that you overturn
mountains,’ said Hunahpu and Xbalanque, ‘then you will aid us.’

“‘It certainly is true,’ said Cabracan. ‘Have you seen this mountain of
which you speak? Where is it? I will look at it, and I will topple it
down. Where did you see it?’

“‘There,’ said they, ‘it is, where the sun rises.’

“‘Very well,’ said Cabracan, ‘let us go; and it will be strange if we
don’t get some birds between us. One will go on the right hand, the other
on the left. We will take our blow-guns, and if there is a bird we’ll
shoot him.’

“So they went on happily, shooting birds (and it should be said that when
they shot, it was not with balls of clay, but only with a puff of breath
did they knock down the birds), and Cabracan went on astonished. Then
the youths made a fire and set about cooking the birds in the fire; and
one bird they anointed with _tizate_, white earth they put on it. ‘This
we will give him,’ said they, ‘when desire is strong upon him, smelling
its savor. This our bird shall conquer him, for in conquering him he must
fall to the ground; and in the ground must he be buried (wise is the
Creator!) before human beings are brought to light.’ So spoke the two
youths, and to themselves they said it. Great desire had Cabracan in his
heart to eat of it. Then they turned the bird on the fire and seasoned
it. Now it was brown, and the fat of the birds ran out, and the savor
was delectable; so Cabracan was most eager to eat them, and his mouth
watered, and the saliva dropped from it, because of the delicious smell
the birds gave out. And then he asked them,—

“‘What is this your food? Truly it is an appetizing odor I smell; give me
a bit.’

“He spoke, and then was given a bird to Cabracan for his destruction;
and he quickly finished the bird. And then they went on, and came to the
birthplace of the sun, where was that great mountain. But Cabracan was
now sickened, and he had no strength in his hands and feet, because of
that earth which they had put on the bird he ate; and now he could no
longer do anything to the mountains, nor could he overturn them. So the
youths tied his hands behind him, and likewise tied his feet together,
and threw him on the ground and buried him. So was Cabracan conquered by
Hunahpu and Xbalanque alone. It is not possible to tell the feats these
youths did here on earth.”

The author of the “Popul Vuh,” however, goes on to tell of some of the
wonders they did in Xibalbay,—which Ximenes considers hell,—and my
readers would find the story very amusing; but I have translated perhaps
enough to show the ideas of the Quichés ten centuries ago.

The Quiché kings had removed their capital from Izmachi to
Gumarcah,—afterwards called Utatlan,—not far from the modern Spanish town
of Santa Cruz del Quiché; and it was the poor remains of this city,
destroyed three centuries and a half ago, that I visited in journeying
through Guatemala. The situation was a fine one, well suited for the
metropolis of an extensive kingdom; for while roads and mountain-passes
gave access in all directions, the very mountains formed a wall easily
guarded, and watch-towers to discover approaching danger. It was situated
not unlike Granada on the Vega in the Sierras of Andalusia; and like
that noble capital of the Moorish kingdom, it was well fortified, and
embellished with all the knowledge and taste of the time.

[Illustration: Ancient Temple. (_From an old Manuscript._)]

On the platform where Frank and I had stumbled over the confused piles
of rubbish and tried in vain to trace the buildings, so distinct only
forty years before, the mighty Gucumatz had built high the altar of
the bloodthirsty Tohil,—a steep pyramid in the centre of the rebuilt
Gumarcah, now called Utatlan. Our knowledge of the ceremonial of that
Quiché worship is but slight; but enough is known to give an air of
reality to the pile of rubbish that alone marks the site of the holy
place of this ancient kingdom. I sat near the base of the altar, and the
city walls arose about me; the ruin of three centuries departed, and
again all was new and full of busy life. Around me, but at a suitable
distance from the altar-temple, were the palaces of the princes, built
of cut stone and covered with the most brilliant white stucco. From the
flat roofs of these massive dwellings floated banners of many colors and
strange devices; arches of evergreens and flowers spanned every entrance
to this Plaza, whose floor was of the smoothest, whitest stucco, and
heaps of fragrant flowers were piled at the palace-doorways and about
the great altar that towered like a mountain of light in the midst. All
around me were the phantom forms of the Indios, clad in garments of
rich colors, but silent and expectant; I seemed to know them all and
understand their tongue. It was the most sacred festival of the year; the
rains had ceased, and the summer was beginning,—and a summer at Utatlan
was a delight unequalled in the outer world.

[Illustration: Indio Sacrificing.]

For many months the high priest and king had hidden himself from the
sight of man, high in the mountains that overlook the Quiché plain. In
his _casa verde_ he was engaged in prayer and meditation, while his only
food was fruit and uncooked maiz. His body was unclothed, but stained
with dismal dyes; and twice every day, as the sun rose and set, he cut
himself with an obsidian knife on his arms, legs, tongue, and genitals,
that he might offer his choicest blood to the divinity he worshipped.
Once only in his life must he do this; and scattered in the remote
mountain-hermitages were many nobles keeping him company in the spirit.
These were the fathers of the young men who had not yet offered their
blood, and had been selected to be the god-children of their king and
priest. In these lonely retreats the fathers taught their sons manly
duties, and drew their blood from the five wounds.[38]

The votaries had gathered from their various cells at the sound of the
drum, which was beaten only on most solemn occasions, and were marching
in procession to the Plaza. I could see them as they filed on to the
narrow causeway that led into the town, and then they were lost to
sight as they climbed the steep ascent. In profound silence these men
and youths, naked as they were born, entered the enclosure and seated
themselves at the foot of the altar-steps. The solemn silence was now
suddenly broken by a crash of trumpets and drums, while a procession of
a different kind took up its march to the temple. Bright colors and the
gleam of gold and precious stones, the clang of barbaric music and the
sound of holy songs, reached the eye and ear as the idols, which had
been carefully concealed since the last fiesta, were now brought to the
place of sacrifice. Strange things these were,—not of “heaven above,
nor the earth beneath, nor of the waters which are under the earth,”
but carved from wood and stone and decked with beaten gold, hung with
jewels, and borne triumphantly on the shoulders of the noblest citizens.
Then all was joy and bustle in the Plaza. The hermits were clothed with
new robes and welcomed back with honor, the high priest put on his robes
and mitre, and for a while the people gave themselves up to music and
dancing and ball-playing; it seemed as if life had no other end. But a
terrible solemnity was to come. Even among the dancers I saw men clothed
in a peculiar but rich garb,—generally of another people, but not always
foreign; and I knew that these men had for days before the festival gone
freely through the town, entered any house, even the royal palace, where
the food they sought was freely given them, and they were treated with
marked respect. Outside the city-walls were some of them, with collars
about their necks, attended by four officers of the king’s guard. Food,
drink, and even the women were free to these honored men; but they were
captives taken in war, or perhaps men who were obnoxious to the king,
and were to be sacrificed to Tohil. A terrible death awaited them; but
they regarded their fate as a matter they could not help, and with Indian
stolidity enjoyed the frolics of the people and smiled at care. It was
strange to see how little any one seemed to be affected by the certainly
approaching death of their fellows. Every one knew what was coming; but
no dread anticipation marred the festive scene.

The music ceased in the Plaza, the chief idol was placed on the
altar-top, and the priests and nobles seized the victims by the hair
and passed them, struggling, one by one up the steep steps of the altar
to the chief priest, who stood high on the sacrificatorio in the sight
of all the people. There was no murmur, not even a shudder, among the
multitude, only the involuntary shrieks of the sacrifice as the priest
cut into his breast with the stone knife and tore out his quivering
heart. Holding this in the golden spoon of the temple, he placed it
reverently in the mouth of the idol, loudly chanting this prayer:
“Lord, hear us, for we are thine! Give us health, give us children and
prosperity, that thy people may increase! Give us water and the rains,
that we may be nourished and live! Hear our supplications, receive our
prayers, assist us against our enemies, and grant us peace and quiet!”
And the people cried, “So be it, O Lord!”

The body had been extended on a rounded sacrificial stone and the neck
held securely by the yoke; but now it was hurled down the side of the
pyramid where there were no steps, and those appointed carried the
remains to the caldron whither those who had the right came for the
cooked meat, the hands and feet being reserved for the officiating
priest.[39] One by one the victims were offered to the idol, while the
pyramid was no longer white, but crimson; and their death-shrieks were
ringing in my ear, when Frank laid his hand on my shoulder and asked if
I was asleep. Called back to deserted ruins and the humdrum present, I
could not entirely shake off the impression of the past. On that little
mound where we were sitting so peacefully, hundreds, yes, thousands,
of our fellow-men had writhed in agony to satisfy the enmity of their
fellows or to be an acceptable offering to the gods who were supposed
to be their creators.[40] Truly there are few nations whose religious
history is pleasant reading; let us turn to other matters.

The more artificial _civilization_ becomes, the weaker is the desire
for offspring; and we must relegate the Quichés, by this rule, to a
very primitive state, for the burden of their prayers was “Give unto us
children,” and their faith was incarnate in works. They believed, with
the psalmist, that “children are an heritage of the Lord; happy is the
man that hath his quiver full of them.” Hence the birth of a child was
a most auspicious event, to be celebrated with feasts and rejoicings,
and each returning birthday was duly remembered. With the truest mercy,
they put an end to all children born deformed or defective in mind or
body; hence deformed or idiotic persons are exceedingly rare among their

[Illustration: Ideographs.]

[Illustration: Ancient Incense-burner.]

The Quichés possessed the art of writing, though in logographs or
ideographs, and they were skilled in the use of colors.[41] I present
some of the more common forms, traced from the copies in Kingsborough’s
“Antiquities.” The first, two interlocked elbows, signifies the fourth
day of the month; one of the elbows was colored red in the manuscript,
while the other was green, both having an inner border of yellow. The
simple hinge was of blue and red, with a yellow articulation; the hinge
enclosing a dagger was yellow and green with red inner borders, and the
dagger was red, yellow, and blue. The character denoting or representing
a temple is readily recognized, and its usual colors are red and yellow;
but it must not be supposed that these colors were always the same,
they evidently depended on the taste of the scribe. A rude figure of a
censer with a long handle through which the priest could blow upon the
burning gum copal used as incense, always denoted a sacrifice. This art
of pictorial representation could not strictly be called writing, but
was a very useful substitute for it, and it was continued long after the
Conquest. I have thought, after looking at some of the caricatures of the
priests of the new worship which was forced upon these Indios, of the
rite of baptism, and of the sacrifice of the Mass, that perhaps these
unfortunate subjects had as much influence in the wanton destruction of
aboriginal literature as had the alleged doctrine of devilish things with
which the books were said to be imbued. The old Spanish priests ought
to have felt little fear of a creature they knew so well as they knew
Satan. The shaven crowns of the padres were easily represented even by
less skilled draughtsmen than the Quichés, and the new doctrines gave the
irreverent splendid chances for effective caricatures.

In textile work they were advanced, obtaining results with their rude
hand-looms that even to-day would hold their own against the machine-made
fabrics of the present day for durability and aptness of design, even
as the barbaric cashmere shawl cannot be equalled by the skilled
artisans of France. To-day the weavers of this region produce cloths
of very attractive design and made of honest material, while their
shawls or blankets are often works of art. I once watched an Indian
woman weaving a girdle on a narrow loom not more than six inches wide;
and without pattern before her she traced figures resembling those in
the old manuscripts, though mingled with very modern-looking pictures.
The country abounds in dye-stuffs, so it is not surprising that their
color-sense has been well developed by use. For fibres they were limited
to cotton and wool in the looms, reserving the pita and other coarser
fibres for hammocks and _redes_.

Pottery of good shape and well baked is found among the ruins of Utatlan,
and Stephens saw a figure of terra-cotta that must have required no
little skill to model and bake. All the potsherds a diligent though
not extended search gave us were of dark red color, hard baked, and
evidently portions of spherical vessels. Not a sign of roof-tiles was
seen, nor any painted fragments, although figured work was common enough.

The Quiché rivers abounded in fish, and the forests and mountains in
game, while the fields produced abundant crops with little labor. No
wonder the Spanish conquerors found a civilization that astonished them,
a wealth which roused all their terrible cupidity, but a resistance more
determined and bloody than they had found in Mexico.

It may not interest my readers to go deeply into the forms of government
in those ancient times, but it may be said that it was an aristocratic
monarchy hereditary in this peculiar way. When the principal king
(Ahau-Ahpop) of the dual reign (there were always two kings at a time)
died, the crown he had worn passed to his oldest brother, who performed
the functions of Ahpop-Camhá, and as second king had share in the
government. The oldest son of the Ahau-Ahpop, who during the life of his
father had been Nim-Chocoh-Cawek, became Ahpop-Camhá, and his cousin (son
of the king’s brother), who had been Ahau-Ah-Tohil or high priest of this
god, Nim-Chocoh-Cawek, the elder son of the new sovereign taking the
vacant post.

In this wise method of civil service regencies were never needed, and
each king had fitted himself, by exercise of subordinate but important
offices, for the supreme rule. If any one of these dignitaries proved
his unfitness for advancement, he was passed over, and the next in
rank chosen; and thus through a long series of offices. The corrupting
influences of so-called popular elections, which are usually manipulated
by a few conscienceless politicians who use the “dear people” simply
as cat’s-paws, are certainly avoided; but was it not possible to hasten
the succession, or to have a sort of “commission of lunacy” condemn an
unpopular candidate, and so advance another unrighteously? The insignia
of the four chief dignitaries were feather canopies, of which the king
had four, and the others in descending series. A council of the chief
families advised the monarch in his government.

The judges, who were also tax-gatherers, were appointed from the noble
families, and held office during good behavior; death was the penalty
for impeding these magistrates in their office. Capital punishment was
rendered more bitter by the confiscation of the victim’s possessions and
the enslavement of his immediate relatives. Breaches of trust ranked
first among crimes, and homicide, adultery, confirmed robbery, larceny
of sacred things, witchcraft, rape, were all capital crimes; and the
strangers who hunted or fished in the forests or rivers of the country,
as well as the slaves who ran away the second time, were punished with

There were laws against polygamy, and only the first wife was legitimate;
but, as among the most civilized nations of modern times, there were many
concubines. In Guatemala perhaps this practice was more open and honest
than in modern states and times. Only the children of the lawful wife
could inherit, and the man who died without lawful issue was buried with
his wealth, consisting generally of cotton cloths, ornaments, feathers,
and cacao, which served as money. The laws of all the Central American
tribes were severe, and differed somewhat from those of the Quichés.
But it has not seemed desirable to discuss these here; we will rather
consider some of the customs common to most of the inhabitants of the
kingdom of Guatemala, and so pass beyond the walls of Utatlan, to which,
however, we shall presently return.

Agriculture among the Central American nations was mostly confined to the
planting of maiz and beans (_frijoles_), which were staple products and
served as a currency in gross, while cacao, which was said to have been
first planted by Hunahpu, eighth king of Quiché, served for small change.
They cultivated cotton, which furnished their clothing, and tobacco,
which they smoked with moderation. Chocolate was not a common drink, but
reserved for the nobles and soldiers who had distinguished themselves in
battle. The cacao was planted with great ceremony. Seeds of the largest
pods were selected and carefully fumigated with copal and other gums; and
these seeds were then left in the open air four nights during the time of
the full moon, and meanwhile the planters attended assiduously to their
marital duties. Onions, plantains, potatoes, yams, chickpease, squashes
of various kinds, supplied their table, and many native fruits added
to their comfort. The Indios then, as now, were very fond of flowers;
but whether they generally cultivated them, or found enough growing
spontaneously, we do not know. Certainly there were royal gardens at

In manufactures, weaving was of first importance, and the threads were
dyed with indigo, cochineal, or purple. Embroidery was also much used.
Then from fibrous plants they plaited hammocks and nets, from reeds
(_junco_) they wove hats of great durability, and from withes, baskets
and sacks. The potter’s work was also of great importance, and the
vases, bowls, and jars, often of great size, were colored with certain
waters and mineral deposits. I do not know that they had any glaze, other
than perhaps salt.

They had no iron, but they made tools from an alloy of copper and tin to
which they gave an extraordinary hardness, and they also used obsidian
for knives and cutting instruments generally. Remains of knife-factories
are common enough through the country, and often, too where the raw
material is not _in situ_. Gold was found in the streams, and the
goldsmiths attained no little skill in making ornaments, which were often
enriched with precious stones, especially opals from Honduras. Curious
feather work was brought from Tesulutan in Verapaz.

They made paper from a bark called _amatl_, and also used parchment.
Maps were plotted, and the scribes had books in which were entered all
the divisions of the land; and to these, as to a registry of deeds, were
referred all disputes about real estate. Chroniclers there were who
compiled great books, many of which Las Casas saw; and these, he tells
us, were burned by the early missionaries, who have thus earned the
curses of succeeding generations. Superhuman must have been their good
deeds to counterbalance this destruction!

The Quichés, Cakchiquels, and nearly all the other tribes divided the
year into eighteen months of twenty days, adding five days (consecrated
to Votan) to complete the cycle, and every fourth year still another day.
There were twenty day-names, of which we have three slightly differing
lists; but the month was not subdivided into weeks.

[Illustration: Stone Ring for Ball Game.]

We know but little of the games and amusements of the Indios in ancient
times; but Torquemada has described[42] for us one national game,
which seems to have required more skill and agility than the game of
court-tennis (I do not speak of the effeminate lawn-tennis). The court
consisted of two parallel walls very thick, and about one hundred feet
apart. These walls were thirty feet high, and in each, at a height of
from twenty to twenty-four feet, was a stone ring usually sculptured
in some careful manner. At the open ends of the court were two little
temples. A ball of rubber, large and very hard, was used by the players,
who received the coming ball, not on a bat or racket, but on the padded
buttock, from which the player endeavored to throw it through the ring,
but without touching it with his hands. As the hole was only about
eighteen inches in diameter, this was a most difficult feat, requiring
great flexibility of the pelvic and thigh muscles. The victor was allowed
to take the clothes of any of the spectators; so it may be supposed these
went to the game in scant garb. Remains of these ball-grounds are found
in many cities, and the stone ring of the illustration is at Chichen
Itza; it is four feet in diameter, and decorated with the symbols of

A nation of warriors, it would be supposed their arts would provide arms
both offensive and defensive; but there seems to have been nothing of
peculiar originality. Arrows and darts, often poisoned, hatchets and
wooden swords, in which were inserted obsidian teeth, were their weapons
of offence, and those of defence were coats of quilted cotton, which the
Spaniards were not slow to adopt, and shields of skins lined with cotton.
While the generals and other officers were clothed in skins of pumas,
jaguars, eagles, and other animals, it does not appear that the rank
and file had any especial uniform.[43] All joined battle with yells and
the lugubrious blasts of the _tun_ or _teponaztles_,—a sort of trumpet
sounding even worse than an Alpine _lure_.

Let us return to Utatlan, and follow for a while the fortunes of the
Quichés. Under brave kings their bounds had extended, and towns, tribes,
and nations were compelled to acknowledge the kings of Utatlan as their
lieges. In all this external prosperity, internal dissensions arose; and
the _plebs_, incited by demagogues, demanded privileges which the king,
Quicab, was compelled to grant after the palaces of the nobles had been
sacked by the mob. Another more serious trouble arose from this mob-rule.
It was the custom for the rulers of the conquered tribes to reside at
court at least a part of the year; and the two kings of the Cakchiquels,
Huntoh and Vucubatz, were visiting Quicab, when a street-riot, of no
importance in itself, turned the mob against the Cakchiquels, and they
loudly called upon Quicab to surrender the Cakchiquel kings to their
fury. The wise old king warned these of their danger, and advised them
to retire to Iximché, or Tecpan Quauhtemalan. They did so, and this
city became their capital. Now the fortunes of the Cakchiquels wax,
while those of the Quichés wane. The new capital is fortified, and its
inhabitants prepare for the strife evidently impending.

The first attack is made by the Quichés, who are beaten, and for a few
years remain quiet. Their king Quicab dies, and Tepepul II., the ninth
king, reigns with Iztayul III. The kings of the Cakchiquels were now
Oxlahuhtzi and Cablahu-Tihax, under whose reign a famine, caused by
unusual cold, troubles the capital. The Quichés saw a chance again to
subdue their rebellious vassals, and an army was gathered, which with
great pomp set out from Utatlan, carrying the god Tohil with it. A
deserter from the Quiché army warned the kings of Iximché of their peril,
and they bravely prepared for the contest. In the Cakchiquel Chronicle we
have this description of the battle:—

“As soon as the dawn began to brighten the mountain-tops the war-cries
were heard, standards were unfurled, drums and conchs resounded, and in
the midst of this clamor the rapidly moving files of the Quichés were
seen descending the mountains in every direction.

“Arrived at the banks of the stream that runs by the suburbs of the city,
they occupied some houses and formed in battle under the command of the
kings Tepepul and Iztayul.

“The encounter was awful and fear-inspiring. The war-cries and the
clangor of the martial instruments stupefied the combatants, and
the heroes of both armies _made use of all their enchantments_.
Notwithstanding, after a little the Quichés were broken, and confusion
entered their ranks. The most of their army fled without fighting, and
the losses were so great that they could not be calculated. Among the
captives were the kings Tepepul and Iztayul, who surrendered, together
with their god Tohil, the Galel-achi and the Ahpop-achi, grandfather and
son of the keeper of the royal jewels, the die-cutter, the treasurer, the
secretary, and plebeians without number; and all were put to the sword.
Our old men tell us, my children, that it was impossible to count the
Quichés who perished that day at the hands of the Cakchiquels. Such were
the heroic deeds with which the kings Oxlahuhtzi and Cablahu-Tihax, also
Roimox and Rokelbatzin, made the mountain of Iximché forever famous.”

After this defeat the Quiché kings appear in history only as names,—of
which seven, including two appointed by the Conquistadores, complete the
list. Dull as was their decline, their ending was brilliant; and none of
the people of Central America made such a brave struggle for independence
as this grand old tribe.

Other nations occupied portions of Guatemala; and before we follow the
course of the Cakchiquels we may consider some of these. In Soconusco
were several bands of Tultecs who had left the Aztec plateau, and in
course of time were attacked by Olmecs and reduced to the most abject
slavery. At last this became unbearable, and by the advice of their
priests they decided to emigrate; and under sacerdotal guidance they
journeyed twenty days along the Pacific coast, until they came to the
Rio Michatoya, where the priest who had led them sickened and died.
The delay and uncertainty this event caused resulted in the foundation
of Itzcuintlan (Escuintla) by some who were weary of the journey. The
greater part went on twenty leagues farther; and here came another
halt, half remaining there at Cuscatlan (San Salvador) and Xilopanco
(Ilopango), while the others went on to the Gulf of Conchagua, on the
bounds of Honduras and Nicaragua. These people were called Cholutecas, or
Exiles, and their descendants Pipiles.

The Cakchiquels soon got into trouble with a branch of their own
people,—the Akahales, who occupied the country between the Volcan
de Pacaya and the Lago de Izabal. The king of the Akahales was
Ychal-amoyac,—a brave and wealthy man, whose capital, Holum, rivalled
Tecpan Quauhtemalan. His wealth was coveted by the victorious
Cakchiquels, and he was summoned to their court. Warned of the impending
fate, he obeyed the summons, accompanied only by five of his friends. As
they entered the audience chamber, in the very presence of the two kings
the unfortunate Akahales were assassinated. Their riches were seized, and
their towns quietly incorporated into the Cakchiquel kingdom.

Although the Akahales seem to have submitted without fighting, some of
the neighboring tribes saw with concern this lawless act of the powerful
kings of Tecpan, and felt that their turn might come next. Wookaok, king
of the Atziquinihayi, whose country bordered on the Lago de Atitlan,
and Belehe-Gih, a mountain cacique on the borders of Quiché, became
leaders; and the former intrenched himself in a strong fortress which the
Cakchiquels besieged for fifteen days, and on its fall they put to the
sword the entire garrison.

Now the Cakchiquels were by far the most important of the ruling tribes
of Central America, and it was near the close of the fifteenth century.
The white men had already landed on the coast of America, and the history
of the tribes was hastening to a close. Insurrections here, treasons and
plots there, make the substance of what there is to tell. The attempt of
Cay-Hunahpù to incite rebellion shook the kingdom, but failed in the end.
Revolutions gradually loosed the feudal chains that bound the subject
tribes, and several of them proclaimed their independence. Chief among
these were the Sacatepequez, who chose a king from their own tribe with
the title Achi-Calel, and the capital of their kingdom was Yampuk; only
three kings reigned, until the Conquest. The Pokomans from Cuscatlan came
to Sacatepequez seeking land, and they were well provided with lands and
settlements by the Sacatepequez, that they might not ally themselves with
the hated Cakchiquels.

In 1510 the king of the Cakchiquels, Oxlahuhtzi, died, and the next
year his colleague, Cablahu-Tihax, died also; and Hunig and Lahuh Noh
succeeded their fathers. Their reign was remarkable for an embassy sent
by Montezuma to the kings of Central America. What the object of the
Mexicans may have been, the Chronicles do not explain. Fuentes supposes
that not Montezuma, but the eighth Mexican king Ahuitzotl was the one who
tried to communicate with his southern neighbors. Certainly this king
carried his arms as far as Nicaragua along the shores of the Pacific
Ocean; but there is no proof that he ever penetrated the interior of
Guatemala. Whatever the ambassadors wanted, whether conquest or an
alliance against the coming invaders, they met with poor success. At
Utatlan the Quiché king refused to listen to them, on the excuse that he
could not understand what they said. They went thence to Tecpan, where
they found a better reception; but we do not hear that they made any
treaty. When they came to the chiefs of Atitlan they were driven away by
arrow-shots; and they retreated to Utatlan, when the king warned them
to leave his capital that very day, and the country within twenty suns.
This is the only record we have of any communication between Mexico and
Guatemala before the famous march of Cortez.

In Utatlan Vahxaki-Caam and Quicab were kings when a Cakchiquel wizard,
who some say was the king’s son, came by night to the palaces of Utatlan
and yelled and shouted so that the poor kings could not sleep; and as
bootjacks were not yet invented, they had to listen to this ancient
tomcat, who, when they put their heads out of the window, called them
_mama-caixon_ and other dreadfully opprobrious epithets. Next day the
king called together all his wizards and offered large rewards for the
capture of the nocturnal enemy. A Quiché wizard undertook the task, and
chased the foreigner a long time, both jumping from mountain to mountain.
At last he captured the Cakchiquel and brought him before the royalty
he had insulted. When asked if he had made the horrid noises at night,
he replied that he had. “Then,” said the king, “you shall see what a
festival we will make with you.” Then the nobles began a war-dance to
celebrate the capture of that wizard, and transforming themselves into
eagles, lions, and tigers, they danced around and clawed the poor
Indio. All things being ready for his execution, he turned to the king
and all the others, crying, “Wait a bit, until you hear what I wish to
say to you. Know that the time is at hand when you will despair at the
calamities which are to come upon you, and that _mama-caixon_ must die;
and know that some men clothed—not naked like you—from head to foot,
and armed, men terrible and cruel, sons of Teja, will come, perhaps
to-morrow, perhaps the next day, and will destroy all these palaces, and
will make them dwellings for the owls and wildcats, and all the grandeur
of this court shall pass away.” When he had spoken they sacrificed him,
and paid little attention to his prophecy. Warring here and there,
suffering defeat seldom, but troubled with diseases and epidemics, a
plague came at last which nearly depopulated the city of Tecpan, and was
especially fatal among the nobility, both kings dying. So great was the
mortality that there was not time to bury the dead, and they were often
left to the vultures.

When this scourge had passed, Achi-Balam and Belehé-Qat were called to
the throne, and during their reign came the news of the terrible work of
the Spaniards in Mexico. These young kings decided to send an embassy
to the mighty chief of the invaders, begging his protection and aid
against their enemies. We have to-day the letter of Cortez to Charles V.,
dated in Mexico, Oct. 15, 1524, describing this embassy of Guatemalans
to surrender their country and countrymen to the foreign devils who had
destroyed their neighbors beyond the forests of the North. One almost
feels that these wretched Cakchiquels deserved the miseries they brought
upon themselves. Whether by any combination the tribes of Central
America could have resisted the invaders, as did the Lacandones, no man
can say. Probably their time had come, and no human or divine influence
could change the event; but it is sad to see these many tribes, while the
storm was gathering over their devoted heads, fighting among themselves
in the most headstrong way: and so they fought until the coming of Pedro
Alvarado. Guatemala held three hostile camps,—the Quichés at Utatlan;
the Cakchiquels at Iximché or Tecpan Quauhtemalan; and the Tzutohiles at

December 6, 1523, the greatest general and most trusted friend of Cortez,
Pedro de Alvarado, departed from the City of Mexico at the head of
three hundred infantry (of whom one hundred and thirty were archers and
gunners), and one hundred and twenty cavalry. He took four small cannon,
in which were used stone balls, forty reserve horses, and his native
allies were two hundred Tlaxcaltecas and one hundred Mexicans, besides a
large number of _tlamenes_ to carry the baggage. With this warlike array
went two ministers of the Prince of Peace, Juan Godinez and Juan Diaz.
The conquest of Guatemala was the end to be attained.

Alvarado marched south to Soconusco, and here met his first opponents.
Unlike the contemptible Cakchiquels, the brave Quichés would make no
terms with the invaders of their country, and as the Spaniards approached
they hastened to join the men of Soconusco, and near Tonalá fought their
first battle with the white men. The Indios were utterly routed; but
they fell back and made preparations for a greater struggle. Oxib-Queh
was then Ahau-Ahpop of the Quichés, and his fellow-king or Ahpop-Camhá
was Beleheb-Tzi; Tecum-Umam and Tepepul were the other principal chiefs.
Tecum, as commander-in-chief of the army, designated Chuvi-Megena
(Totonicapan) as the rendezvous of the Quiché forces. His army was
immense (the annalists make it equal to the enrolled army of Germany!);
but no one knows the exact number of naked soldiers he brought together.

After the victory at Tonalá, Alvarado marched inland towards Zapotitlan,
the capital of Suchitepequez; and as he approached the city, sent some
spies he had captured in the mountains with friendly messages to their
chiefs. No answer, either good or bad, was returned, but a battle was
fought on the Rio Tilapa, and again the Spaniards were victorious. Some
of the inhabitants of Zapotitlan called from a distance to the invaders
and invited them to come into the city; but Alvarado preferred to choose
his own time, and the Indios again attacked him. Desperately fighting,
they were constantly driven back, and the invaders trampled over their
bodies even through the streets of the city and for half a league beyond,
where the battle ended; and Alvarado returned to the city and camped
in the market-place. More like hungry locusts than human beings, these
land-pirates went on destroying army after army in a way that is painful
to read about. On the plains of the River Olintepec so great was the
slaughter of the Indios that the stream was colored for days with their
blood. The loss of the Spaniards was only a few men and horses wounded.

Tzakahá was occupied without resistance, and the Mexican allies changed
the name to Quezaltenango. Under a canopy of branches the ambassadors
of the Prince of Peace offered sacrifice to the god of battles. Here at
the first mass celebrated in Guatemala these blood-stained murderers
knelt. No wonder that the priests have in their turn been driven from the

Xelahuh was found deserted, and here Alvarado rested three days to
remove the rusting blood from his arms. Then came the news that another
Quiché army (Alvarado writes to Cortez that it was composed of twelve
thousand men from Utatlan and countless numbers from the neighboring
towns) was approaching; and the Spaniards marched out to meet them on
the magnificent plain between Quezaltenango and Totonicapan. This was
the decisive battle, and marvellous are the Indian legends gathering
around it. Over the head of Tecum, the Quiché commander, hovered a
gigantic quetzal (the _nagual_ of the chief), who savagely attacked
the Spanish general. At last the Spanish lance killed the bird, and at
the same moment the unfortunate Tecum fell lifeless at the feet of the

In his report to Cortez, Alvarado writes: “That day I killed and captured
many people, many of them captains and persons of rank.”

All the prisoners taken in this war (both men and women) were branded
on the cheek and thigh and sold as slaves at public auction, a fifth of
their price belonging to the King of Spain.

The last army of the noble Quichés being destroyed, and their utmost
efforts being unavailing to turn aside the destroyers of their country,
it is not difficult to imagine the terror in Utatlan or the hurried
counsels of the two kings. In desperation they decided to sacrifice their
city, if they might destroy at the same time these invincible Spaniards.
The enemy was to be lured within the walls, and the only two means
of entrance closed, and then the thatched and wooden roofs were to be
fired, and so the imprisoned enemy destroyed. It was an effective plan,
and might have been successful with a less wary general than Alvarado.
He discovered the plot after he had entered Utatlan; but feigning
friendship, he managed to get out of the city on the plea that his horses
could not bear the paved streets, and the next morning begged the honor
of a visit from the two kings. Oxib-Queh and Beleheb-Tzi came with a
considerable retinue of nobles, and Alvarado received them with pretended
friendship. When all the preparations were made, a party of soldiers
loaded the guests with chains, and then their host bitterly reproached
them (the poor heathen) for their plot. By a court-martial they were
condemned to be burned alive. This horrible sentence was carried out,
and during Holy Week, April, 1524, the last legitimate sovereigns of the
most powerful nation in Central America perished in the flames. Bishop
Marroquin named the city that succeeded Utatlan, Santa Cruz (holy cross),
because the Indian capital was captured on Good Friday!

Alvarado wrote to Cortez: “That I might bring them to the service of His
Majesty, I determined to burn the lords; ... and for the well-being and
peace of this land I burned them (_yo los quemé_), and commanded their
city to be burned and razed to its foundations.”

The scattered Quichés, driven to fury by the awful death of their beloved
monarchs, fought to the death; and Alvarado was obliged to despatch
messengers to Iximché to demand aid from his Cakchiquel allies, who
hastened to send four thousand warriors to crush the bleeding remains of
their ancient rivals.

The reception of the Spaniards at Iximché, the fights with the
Tzutohiles, and the destruction of Atitlan, seem tame enough after the
martyrdom of the Quichés, the sole defenders of their country. Henceforth
the rebellions and battles are only outbursts against individual
oppression. Many tribes followed the Cakchiquel example, and submitted
without a struggle. Itzcuintlan (Escuintla) refused; but the Spaniards
entered the city on a stormy night and murdered most of the inhabitants.
Alvarado marched to San Salvador in spite of considerable unorganized
opposition, and returned to Iximché, where he founded on the 25th of July
the capital of the kingdom of Guatemala, claiming as patron Santiago
(Saint James) of Spain. This was afterwards removed to Almolonga (Ciudad

While in Iximché, Alvarado showed his foolish Indian allies what his true
character was. One of the chiefs of the Cakchiquels had just espoused
the beautiful princess Xuchil; but the lustful eye of the Conquistador
had fallen on her, and he sent for her on the pretext that he wished to
consult her about the people to the southward whom he intended to subdue.
The husband in well-grounded alarm begged the general, with tears in
his eyes, to return his beloved wife, offering with his petition a rich
present of gold and ornaments. “But the proud and hard-hearted Spanish
knight, who thought he did honor by his passion for the bride of a
Cakchiquel prince, as he had done in Mexico with the daughter of one of
the lords of Tlaxcala, accepted the present, but refused with disdain
the prince’s petition.” Again Alvarado called upon the kings of Iximché,
Belehé-Qat and Cahí-Ymox, to bring him all the gold and silver they
possessed, even to the royal insignia; and to emphasize his demand he
snatched from the wretched kings their earrings, so that they shed tears
at the physical pain. “If within five days all your gold is not here,
woe be unto you! I know well my heart!” The kings, advised by a native
priest, decided to leave the city with their wives and children, and
they resolutely refused to return when Alvarado sent friendly messages
and promises to them. Then the Spaniards began a war of extermination
and slavery against the Cakchiquels, and the Quichés and Tzutohiles now
took the side of the invaders against their hereditary enemies. All this
destruction and misery had come upon Guatemala in one year, 1524. When
the tribes were conquered, one by one, their sufferings only commenced;
for so terrible was the slavery to which the Indian population of
Guatemala was reduced that death was welcomed by the sufferers, and the
Quiché nobles refused to rear children to serve their conquerors.


I do not care to follow the history of Guatemala under Spanish rule;
it would be no pleasure excursion through the sloughs of deceit and
over mountains of tyranny. Priests and soldiers vied with each other in
iniquity; and the Indios, then as now, seem to have been the most moral
part of the population.

In closing this long chapter on the early people of the kingdom, I would
call the attention of my readers to the present Indians of Guatemala and
their relationship, according to Dr. Otto Stoll. This learned ethnologist
classifies the Indios mainly by language rather than by physical data,
and I am myself sceptical of the value of linguistic distinctions. I
know Bengalis who speak English most perfectly, and I can well imagine
their losing their mother-tongue from disuse or disassociation with their
brethren; but the Bengali does not thus become an Anglo-Saxon. I believe
very little stress should be put on lingual relationships; and also do
I protest against any system of classification founded on the cranium
alone: the whole body, outer integuments as well as osseous frame, must
be called in witness; and one day perhaps the study of human proportions
and physical peculiarities will result in a classification in which
language plays no part, or at least a very subsidiary one. In the mean
time let us take the chart of the Swiss professor as the best thing we
have at present. The nineteen tribes or families Dr. Stoll names as
follows, and their location is indicated by the numbers on the chart:—

  1. Mam.
  2. Ixil.
  3. Aguacateca.
  4. Uspanteca.
  5. Poconchi.
  6. Quekchi.
  7. Chol.
  8. Mopan.
  9. Quiché.
  10. Tzutohil.
  11. Cakchiquel.
  12. Pipil.
  13. Sinca.
  14. Pupuluca.
  15. Pokomam.
  16. Chorti.
  17. Alaguilac.
  18. Maya.
  19. Carib.

Of the Aztec stem, only the Pipiles (12) are found in Guatemala. They are
probably the descendants of the Tultecs, who were subdued by the Olmecs.
Of the Mije stem are the small tribe of Pupulucas (14). The Caribbean
stem is represented on the coast by the Caribs (19); and of these so many
differing accounts have been given that I am tempted to give a fuller

[Illustration: Carib Woman.]

When the West Indies were discovered, they were peopled by several races;
but among them none were so formidable as the inhabitants of the southern
islands of that sea, now called, from their supposed name, Caribbean.
The Caribs dwelt also in the valley of the Orinoco; but seldom chose
their home far from the sea. They were understood to have the habit of
eating their fellow-men; and it is from a corruption of Caribal that
we have the opprobrious term “cannibal.” Whether they did limit their
diet to the orthodox fare or not, is by no means clear; for the Spanish
conquerors did not scruple to indict, condemn, and put to death the
innocent natives who opposed them,—and no stouter opponents than the
Caribs did they find. Two distinct tribes are generally included under
the name,—the black Caribs, and the yellow: the latter with straight
black hair; but the former are no doubt the mixed breed of the true
Carib (who was generally at war with the European intruder) and the
African slaves who escaped to the protection of the aborigines from their
tyrannical masters. In 1796 England removed these troublesome people from
St. Vincent to Roatan,—one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras,
whence they gradually emigrated to the mainland; and now their villages
are found from Belize to Cape Gracios á Dios.


All along this coast they are of distinct and uniform character, to the
casual observer differing little from the negro type; of good stature,
firm, muscular build, and powerful limbs,—women as well as men. To
one who is used to study the physical character of men, the outward
resemblance to the negro is less marked. The hair is woolly; but the nose
is less flattened, the mouth not so wide, nor are the lips so thick. The
shoulders are broad, but so are the hips; and the narrow pelvis of the
African is generally wanting. The fingers have large joints, and from
the last all the fingers, but especially the thumb, taper sharply to the
end. The heel is not so projecting, and the feet are very broad. Other
differences are of interest to the student of the human form rather than
to the public.

Almost all speak some English,—seldom using the baby-talk of the negro,
but not always conforming to the correct idiom; more familiar still with
Spanish, they always use their own language in conversation with each
other. Several grammars and vocabularies of the dialects spoken by these
islanders and by their namesakes in South America have been published
(as may be seen in the list of books given in the Appendix), but I
have not studied this language enough to learn the difference, if any,
between the speech of the yellow and the black tribes. The Caribbee has a
disagreeable sound,—perhaps by contrast to the Spanish; but the syllables
_ber_ and _bub_ are frequent, and the enunciation is exceedingly rapid,
making it very difficult for an alien to catch the words. Add to this the
curious fact that the men and women speak a distinct language, and the
obstacles a learner meets are important. To illustrate, here are a few of
the man and woman words:—

              Man.        Woman.

  Father    yumaan       nucuxili
  Mother    ixanum       nucuxum
  Son       macu, imulu  nirajö
  Daughter  niananti     nirajö
  House     tubana       tujonoco
  Earth     nonum        cati
  Brother   ibuguia      (?)

The traveller becomes familiar with such expressions as _Igarybai_, “let
it alone;” _Buraba duna nu_, “bring me water;” _Kimoi_, “let us go;”
_Fagai_, “paddle;” _Mawèr_, “O Lord!” _Ih hj_, “I don’t know,”—pronounced
with a contemptuous nasal twang that would outdo the veriest Yankee.

[Illustration: TWO CARIB BOYS.]

Talkative beyond measure, it is difficult to quiet them in camp at night,
unless they have had a hard day’s work. Good-natured when well treated,
they have a very good opinion of themselves, and their self-love is
easily disturbed. Superstitious to an extreme, they are not in public
very religious; but there are strange stories told of human sacrifices
in which a child was the victim. I have noticed that they put a rude
cross on the window and door openings of an unfinished house to keep out
the devils. When becalmed in a dory with Caribs, I have often heard the

  “_Sopla, San Antonio, barba de oro cachimba de plata!_
  Blow, Saint Antony, with golden beard and silver pipe!”

And if the saint did not blow when asked repeatedly, the next proceeding
was to make a cross of sticks and tow it astern; this last performance,
like reading the Lord’s Prayer backwards, usually raised a breeze. The
worship of Mafìa (the devil) I believe is general; but they do not like
to talk about it. Caribs are less musical than any of the black races I
have met; but they are fond of noisy drums, and will dance until utterly
exhausted. Some of their dances last two days.

[Illustration: Indian Women, Pocomam Tribe.]

Of all the languages of Central America, no one has been more studied
than the Maya. It is the language of Yucatan, and there many foreigners
both speak and read it. In Guatemala it is the parent tongue of the
great majority of the tribes, including the Quichés, Cakchiquels, and
Tzutohiles,—those long-time enemies. The reader may see by the table of
words I borrow from Dr. Berendt the similarity of certain common words in
sixteen of these dialects.


  |           |Man.        |Woman.    |Father.    |Mother.    |Water.    |
  |Huasteca   |iník        |uxúm      |pailóm pap |mim        |ja        |
  |Maya       |xib, xiblál |ch’uplál  |yum        |na         |jaá       |
  |Chontal    |vuiník      |ixík      |pap        |naá        |jaá       |
  |Tzental    |vuiník      |antz      |tat        |nan        |jaá       |
  |Tzotzil    |vuiník      |antz      |tot        |me         |joó       |
  |Chañabal   |vuiník      |ixúk      |tat        |nan        |ja        |
  |Chol       |vuiník      |ixík      |tiát       |niá        |jaá       |
  |Quekchi    |vuínk       |ixk       |yuvuá      |na         |ja        |
  |Pokomchi   |vinák       |ixók      |ajáu       |tut        |jotíc, jab|
  |Pokomam    |vinák       |ixk’ón    |tat        |nan, tut   |ja        |
  |Cakchiquel |achí, vinák |ixók      |tatá       |té, nan    |ya        |
  |Quiché     |vinák       |ixók      |tat        |nan, chuch |ja, jorón |
  |Uspanteca  |vinák       |ixók      |aj         |xchuch     |ja        |
  |Ixil       |ná          |ixó       |bal        |chuch      |a         |
  |Aguacateca |yáje, yaátz |xnan      |ta         |chu        |a         |
  |Mam        |ca, íchang  |ching, xuj|mán        |chúy       |a         |

  |           |Blood.    |Day.       |Night.    |Good.    |Bad.      |
  |Huasteca   |xljtz     |kl, aquichá|akál      |alvuá    |atáx      |
  |Maya       |qu’i’c    |k’in       |ak’áb     |utz      |kas, loób |
  |Chontal    |ch’i’ch   |k’in       |ak’ób     |utz’án   |?         |
  |Tzental    |ch’ii’ch  |k’in       |ajk’abál  |lek      |ma lek uc |
  |Tzotzil    |ch’i’ch   |k’ak’ál    |ak’ubál   |lek      |ma lek uc |
  |Chañabal   |chic      |k’agú      |ak’uál    |lek      |mi lek    |
  |Chol       |ch’i’ch   |k’in       |ak’ualél  |utz’át   |bibí      |
  |Quekchi    |qu’iqu’él |cután      |k’ojyí    |us       |ma us     |
  |Pokomchi   |qu’iqu’él |k’ij       |chak’áb   |atób     |ma atób tá|
  |Pokomam    |qu’i’c    |k’ij       |chak’ám   |quiró    |ixc’á     |
  |Cakchiquel |qu’iqu’él |k’ij       |ak’á      |utz      |itzél     |
  |Quiché     |qu’i’c    |k’ij       |ak’áb     |utz      |itzél     |
  |Uspanteca  |qu’i’c    |k’ij       |ak’áb     |tzi      |étzel     |
  |Ixil       |cajál     |k’ij       |a’kbál    |ban      |ycbanáx   |
  |Aguacateca |chich     |k’e        |a’kbál    |ban      |yab       |
  |Mam        |chi’c     |?          |?         |ban      |?         |

The Lacandones, those unconquered Indios of the Usumacinta, speak a
dialect cognate with that spoken in Yucatan, Campeche, and the sacred
island Cozumel; and what gives additional interest to the Maya language
is the fact that all the inscribed monuments of Tikal, Copan, Quirigua,
and Usumacinta belong to this race, and if interpreted, this is probably
the key.

The Quekchi language (6) is spoken by the Indios of Coban Cahabon,
Senajú, and adjoining parts of Alta Verapaz, while close at hand (San
Cristobal, Tactic, Tucurú, La Tinta, and Teleman) we have the Poconchi
form. Externally both tribes are alike, although the Quekchis perhaps
dress rather better.


The extant literature of the Quichés has been freely consulted in the
preparation of this chapter. Would my readers like to see what the
original language of the “Popul Vuh” is like?

  Are u xe oher tzih varal Quichbe    | This is the beginning of the story
  u bi.                               | of those who were formerly in the
                                      | land that is called Quiché.
  Varal xchekatzibah, xchikatiqiba    | There begins and commences
  vi oher tzih, u tiqaribal, u xenabal| the knowledge of the earlier time,
  puch ronohel xban pa ’tinamit       | the origin and beginning of all
  Quiche, r’amag Quiche vinak.        | done in the Quiché state in the
                                      | home of Quiché men.

Uspantán has a little dialect all to itself (4). Of the Cakchiquel
language we have a most interesting remnant in the “Cakchiquel
Manuscript,” next in importance to the “Popul Vuh.” In it the account of
the creation is copied, as was natural, from the Quiché narrative; but
the main portion of the work is a history of the revolution which led to
the departure from Utatlan and the occupation of Iximché, and also of the
advent of the Spaniards and the subsequent events until the establishment
of Christianity as the State religion. The author was the grandson of the
king who died of the pest in 1519; and his story goes to the year 1582,
when another member of the same family continues it to 1597.

The Tzutohiles (10), who, it will be remembered, were a fighting tribe on
the shores of the Lago de Atitlan, are still of the same spirit; and when
Mr. Maudslay attempted to photograph them, the women shook their fists
in his face. The unwillingness to be photographed I also found among the
Quiché women (old ones) of Sacapulas; but a word from the comandante
subdued their opposition.

The Ixils (1) dwell in the Sierras west of Coban, and the Mames (2)
are found at San Marcos, Chiantla, and Huehuetenango, all westward to
Soconusco and south to Ocós. The Aguacateca (3) occupies a small space
north of Utatlan, and the vocabulary given by Stoll differs entirely from
that of Dr. Berendt’s already quoted. Chorti (16) is spoken at Chiquimula
and Zacapa, and in the opinion of some is the language of the sculptors
of the glyphs at Copan. Sinca (13) and Alaguilac (17) are almost unknown,
and Stoll cannot classify them.

[Illustration: Mozos de Cargo, Quichó.]

The personality of these tribes is wholly absent from Dr. Stoll’s learned
treatise; and my own knowledge of their appearance and way of thought is
too limited to lead me to venture to fill the void. I have noticed what
every one else speaks of,—the sober bearing of the Guatemaltecan Indios;
but I have often seen the face of my mozo de cargo brighten as I greeted
him, and I have been even led to think that his mourning expression is
worn much as civilized ladies wear their black,—to save themselves
trouble. It is laid aside in the family, or with a friend they can trust.
Many of the men are well formed, although small, and their faces are
often very attractive. I believe them to be neater in their persons and
garb than the ladino population.

[Illustration: Carved stone Seat (Museo Nacional).]



[Illustration: Arms of Guatemala.]

For almost three centuries Spain governed Central America (1524-1821)
by the Audiencia Real. Every act of oppression that could be exercised
upon the Indios was invented by the foreign rulers, and the native
population was greatly reduced by this mismanagement; but such a course
always reacts most terribly upon the perpetrators. The thirst for wealth
that brought the foreigners to these shores pursued them still, and the
brave resistance to wrongs unlimited, that the Spaniards themselves
chronicle, does not seem to have awakened that respect in the bosoms of
the Conquistadores that it now rouses in the heart of every generous
student of the past. The Indios were lawful prey, it was “spoiling the
Egyptians;” and although Las Casas and some of the missionaries tried
faithfully to protect their flock, and although the King of Spain made
decrees, the powers of evil seemed to have their own way in this distant
colony. We cannot but admire the undoubted courage and indifference to
personal hardship exhibited by the Conquistadores; but that must not
blind us to the fact that they were little better than freebooters in
their treatment of the American nations they subdued, and that their
policy, so far as they had any, was of the most selfish and narrow kind.
Jealousy of other nations, especially of England, who was now beginning
to try her hand in ruling the sea, although in a rather irregular way,
led to the establishment of all the important cities in the mountain
region of the interior, where they might well escape the notice of other
nations. The natural walls that Nature had provided were made very
useful to their utmost extent; the ports were but conveniences to help
the invaders to supplies from the mother-country and afford a necessary
means for the exportation of their ill-gotten gains, and general commerce
was discouraged in every way. The buccaneers helped to discourage the
growth of ports, but the Home Government did quite as much in this
direction. The atrocious system of _encomiendas_, by which the native
population was reduced to an almost hopeless slavery, was permitted, if
not encouraged, by the Church, and no attempt was ever made to develop
the country on a basis of improvement in the Indian population; and the
animal, vegetable, and mineral wealth of Guatemala were treated much in
the same way,—a prey for the present robber. The Indios were all subdued,
except the Lacandones far on the northern frontier, who were too poor to
pay for subjugation; and the iniquitous policy of selfishness began to
bear fruit. Unlimited power and immunity in the hands of the clergy begot
intolerance. The shepherds became the wolves, and not only devoured their
own flocks, but the entire country as well. Monopolies, corruption,
oppression grew like true tropical vegetation, until the air became too
close for healthful life; and then came the fermentation. Uprisings
of the Indios had occurred before the death of Alvarado (1541),—for
example, the brave attempt of the Cacique Lempira in Honduras; but these
rebellions were all crushed by the iron hand of the Adelantado and by his
generals. Now came the low murmur of a rising tempest over the land, and
the winds were blowing from a different quarter of the heavens. Now the
ruling caste was uneasy, and it was about to reap the inevitable harvest
of the wind it had sowed.

Not in the province of Guatemala, not at the seat of the Audiencia Real,
but on that disturbed strip of land along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua
and San Salvador, where earthquakes are on the most terrific scale,
and volcanic vents bristle threateningly, appeared the first forcible
remonstrances against this aged and encrusted tyranny. In 1811 there
were risings, little _pronunciamentos_; but there was no combination
to insure success. The false system of government taught a distrust of
others; selfishness permeated individual character as well as the nation
at large; and no man could put confidence in his neighbor. No leader
appeared to unite the discordant elements, the evolution of a free state
was very slow, and at last was as much owing to the supineness of Spain
as to any forceful act on the part of the provinces. We have here no
war of freedom, no Washington, no Bolivar. Sporadic murmurs were heard
now and again; they came to the ears of the people and set a few men
to thinking; the number of these thinkers grew, until in 1821 the then
representative of Spain, Gavino Gainza, joined the rebels,—much as a
disappointed politician of the present day leaves his party for the camp
of its opponents,—and independence was solemnly proclaimed, September 15,
in Guatemala. Spain seems to have acquiesced in an act which deprived
her of her fair American colonies; but it may be supposed that her
mismanagement had left little value in the possession.

Three centuries of abasement had been a most inopportune school for the
freedom of a republic, and one cannot be surprised that the change was
no easy one, or that the results have not, even after two generations,
been all that the patriots among these first rebels may have wished.
Subjectively, “Be thou fed” is very easy; but objectively the result
seldom meets the command. Slavery was abolished forty years before the
great Republic of the North dared to do that right; but this eminently
proper step was very embarrassing, for not only were there no means left
for the forced repair of roads, bridges, and other means of intercourse,
that in a tropical country need constant vigilance, but the commerce
between town and town fell off, and the little traffic that had led
a struggling existence for some years with Spain and other European
countries now died out entirely, and the revenues of the State were
affected with an atrophy that crippled every attempt of the Government
to improve the internal communications of the country. The clergy,
who had perhaps made the freest use of forced labor, in covering the
land with elaborate churches and convents that all the revenues of the
Government of the present day could hardly keep in repair, felt aggrieved
and uneasy. All was in transition, and there were few wise men to guide
the counsels. The stream was turbulent, and not easily kept within its
proper channel. Is it wonderful that round blocks should be found in
square holes under such circumstances; or that the political equilibrium,
all unstable, should turn to this signal disturbance or that, without
much reason?

There were two parties, around which rallied opposing elements,—the
Conservative, Central, or Servile, as it was variously called, and the
Federal, Liberal, or Democratic. To the former belonged the leading
families, who possessed certain monopolies and feared to lose them; the
clergy, who with these few families held themselves for an aristocracy;
and a few of the lower classes, who from personal or religious feelings
were satisfied with the existing order of things: and all these bitterly
resisted any innovation, especially any attack upon the privileges of the
Church. To the Liberals flocked all those who did not enjoy monopolies,
and who could not be worse off under any change; but there came to this
standard also men of intellect, who saw the dangers which threatened
their country, and who rejected the superstition into which the local
Church had fallen, but who in their eagerness to hold up the example of
the United States of the North to their newly emancipated countrymen,
forgot the radical difference between the Anglo-Saxon and Spanish stock
and training. Then came in the feeling of race-prejudice; and when one
remembers that three quarters of the population was Indian, and that of
the other quarter was composed the entire ruling class, it will perhaps
be a matter of surprise that more evil did not come from this threatening
condition of affairs. If the Indios of Guatemala had not been the most
peaceable and law-abiding of their kind known to history, they might
have improved the opportunity to repay all the miseries inflicted upon
their ancestors. As it happened, they could at least be conscious of
their power.

With no fixed policy, the ancient States of the kingdom of Guatemala cut
adrift from Spain. At one time all, except San Salvador, entertained the
idea of union with the new Empire of Mexico under Iturbide, but they
escaped that complication by the early collapse of the Mexican throne;
and at last, on the 1st of April, 1823, representatives of the States met
in the City of Guatemala, and the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, after
long debates and many propositions, in which, as might be supposed, the
Church party had no unimportant influence, a Federal Constitution was
proclaimed on Nov. 24, 1824.

Three years later the Vice-President, Flores, was murdered in
Quezaltenango by a mob of female furies instigated, it is claimed,
by the Church party, and his body was stripped and mutilated by the
fiend-like women. This was done in the church as the wretched man clung
to the altar, and it was done in the name of religion. The consequence
immediately following was an absolute reign of religious fanaticism. San
Salvador, however, sent an army to restore order, and on March 16, 1827,
attacked the capital; but these troops of the Liberal party were driven
back, and for two years a barren warfare was kept up. In 1829 General
Francisco Morazan led the Salvadoreñan army to Guatemala; and now success
attended the Liberals. After a battle lasting three days they entered
Guatemala City in triumph, banished the leaders of the Central party, and
suppressed the convents. In 1831 Morazan was elected President of the
Republic or Confederacy, and for ten years his party held the government.
It is not easy for a foreigner to get trustworthy information of the true
value of Morazan’s administration; but while the man seems to have been
patriotic and of excellent private character, he was not strong enough to
control the warring elements around him. The Church was his bitter enemy;
and while it long endured the low estate to which the party in power
had reduced it, there was no lack of grumbling, nor of even more active
endeavors to find a champion.

In the mean time an Indio of low birth[44] and wholly uneducated, but
of great courage, had come into prominence as a leader of bands of
marauding Indios. Rafael Carrera, young as he was, saw his advantage in
the disturbed condition of his country, and after various defeats at the
hands of the President, at last drove Morazan from Guatemala, and the
Confederation came to an end (1839).

Carrera favored the Church party, but had not the slightest intention
of letting the Church rule him. He knew how to use it, and the clergy
generally submitted gracefully. In all previous revolutions the defeated
party had been banished, and so the State was kept unanimous—a condition
that could not obtain now, because neither party had much real power
left after the constant struggles of the past few years. It was while
our countryman John L. Stephens, whose fascinating account of his
travels will always be a classic, was on a diplomatic mission to Central
America that young Carrera was gathering his power, and it is to this
distinguished traveller that most of the information about Carrera is
due. Carrera, _Fundador de la República de Guatemala_ (Founder of the
Republic), is the title he claimed on the coinage of Guatemala during his
administration; and after a long reign—the word is used intentionally—he
was able to designate his successor and die in his bed, while his chief
antagonist, Morazan, after a most persevering struggle for the union
of Central America, was shot by his ungrateful countrymen. The tomb of
Carrera is in the metropolitan church in Guatemala City.

[Illustration: Rafael Carrera.]

On the death of Carrera, in 1865, Don Vincente Cerna succeeded to the
Presidency; but he did not possess the power over the Indios that Carrera
held, and before his term of office had half passed, disturbances broke
out on the northern frontier, where a man named Barrios had collected
a gang of outlaws. This insurrection was suppressed, and Barrios
executed; he however left a successor in the person of Serapio Cruz, a
very corpulent man, but for all that a typical brigand, who for some
time waged a guerilla war from his mountain retreats, capturing the
distilleries of aguardiente (then a Government monopoly), and destroying
what he could not carry away. Joined to this enemy on the outskirts of
the republic was a no-less disturbing element in the legislature in the
person of Don Miguel Garcia Granados, who was most active in attacking
the Government. As the Presidential term of Cerna ended, a rival in the
political field, General Victor Zavala, seemed likely to be elected; but
by a close vote Cerna was re-elected. In 1869 a loan was negotiated in
London which enabled the Government to pay its most pressing debts, and
quiet was apparently secured. All this time, however, the insurgent Cruz
was strengthening his band in the mountains, where he was joined by a man
destined to hold the chief place in Guatemala, General J. Rufino Barrios;
and in December, 1869, the rebel army approached the capital. The city
was in a most excited state, expecting pillage if not destruction, when
the unexpected news came that the _head_ of Cruz would soon be in the
city. It was true; a party of Indios had attacked and defeated the chief,
and now brought his bleeding head to the President. This disagreeable
trophy was photographed, and prints were sold in the shops for fifty
cents. The rebellion was over for the time, and Barrios fled to Mexico.
President Cerna was very lenient to his enemies, and Granados was merely
banished, and put under ten thousand dollars’ bond not to return to

Banished men are always dangerous, and Granados was no exception. Seeing
his opportunity in some dissatisfaction with the governmental policy, he
invaded Guatemala, and was at once joined by General Barrios. The march
from Mexican territory was almost a triumphal procession, and on the
plain between Quezaltenango and Totonicapan (the Esdraelon of Guatemala)
the decisive battle was fought. Cerna could not trust his generals, and
so took the field in person. For a time the battle was with him; but
Barrios brought up his troops in good time, and the national army had to
give way. President Cerna rallied his forces at Chimaltenango, only to
be again defeated; and after making a final stand at San Lucas, a small
village between Antigua and Mixco, fled to Chiquimula, where he advised
his followers to submit to the conquerors, while he went over into

On the 30th of June the “Army of Liberators” entered the capital, and
Granados was proclaimed President _pro tempore_. The new President
found an empty treasury, and called upon the merchants for a loan. The
authorities were very careful to say that this was not a forced loan;
but the method was very much of that character, for a list was made
out of all the merchants in the city, and the proportion each one was
thought capable of paying set against his name. The “subscription paper”
was then sent around, and few dared to refuse. No wonder that Central
Americans do not wish to be thought rich or prosperous! Granados was
nominally President; but no one doubted that the man soon to become his
successor was in reality acting in that capacity even then, although it
was convenient for him to have Granados arrange the finances as well as
the disturbed politics. Several reforms were proclaimed, as freedom of
the press, and the abolition of the monopoly of distilling aguardiente.
Before three months had passed, the clergy began to make trouble, and
in September, 1872, the Archbishop and the entire Order of Jesuits were
banished the republic for inciting insurrection at Santa Rosa. The San
Franciscans, Capucins, and Dominicans were expelled the following year.
This was briefly the story of the beginning of the reign of Barrios.

On June 30, 1871, General J. Rufino Barrios was elected President of the
independent republic that Carrera claimed to have founded; and from that
date Guatemala began to make real progress. His iron will determined that
Guatemala should indeed be chief of all the Central American States, so
that when the time came to renew the union of all the States,—a cherished
scheme of Barrios,—there could be no question of her leadership. He
so far succeeded that his country has undoubtedly made more material
progress in the ten years of his administration than the other Central
American Republics have made in half a century.

Without going into even a brief history of the politics of the republic
under Barrios, certain important acts must be mentioned, such as the
adoption of a Constitution, Dec. 9, 1879, the expulsion of the Jesuits,
the confiscation of much Church property and its appropriation to
the uses of public education, as well as for hotels and government
offices,—acts which have greatly advanced this once priest-ridden
country. I would not have it thought that in speaking of the
sequestration of the churches and monasteries I undervalue the offices
of religion, or am at variance with the particular branch of the Church
whose property was so treated. Guatemala needs more religion, not less;
and could some of those pure and devoted priests of the Church of Rome
whom I have rejoiced to meet in many a remote region, turn their energies
to Central America, it would be well. It cannot, however, be too clearly
stated that what was called the Church in these lands was a church for
any other purpose than those truly religious men could approve. The
evidences of corruption are too clear to admit a doubt that the clergy
had ceased to do the people any good: they failed to do their duty, in
their eager struggle for temporal power; and to-day the splendid churches
they built are in ruins, or left to the ministrations of some itinerant
priest. There are in Guatemala church edifices enough to contain the
entire population, not a tenth part of which ever enters for worship,
since the majority has been repelled rather than attracted by the
unfaithful padres.

The legislative power is in the Asamblea Nacional of Guatemala, which
convenes on the 1st of March annually; and its ordinary sessions last
only two months, although it may continue in session another month if
necessary. Owing to the adoption of a code, the republic is generally
saved the “hayseed” law of the Northern legislatures and the “judge-made”
law of the courts; and the work of the Asamblea is greatly lightened.
The deputies who compose the Asamblea are elected on the basis of one
for every twenty thousand inhabitants, or for a fraction exceeding one
half of that number. Each is elected for a term of four years; but the
terms are so arranged that one half of the deputies is changed every two
years. To these deputies the various Secretaries of State make formal
reports regarding the matters usually contained in the President’s
Message to the Congress of the United States.

The President of Guatemala is elected by direct popular vote for the term
of six years; and the Asamblea elects two persons to succeed him in turn,
should he die or cease to act during the term for which he was elected.
Profiting by the example of the older republic, Guatemala has rejected
the farcical election still used in the North, where the people are
supposed to elect electors to elect a President. The President appoints
the following Secretaries of State:—

  Relaciones Exteriores           Foreign Affairs.
  Gobernacion i Justicia          Government and Justice.
  Hacienda y Credito Publico      Treasury.
  Guerra                          War.
  Fomento                         Interior.
  Instruccion Publica             Public Instruction.

These officials, with nine Counsellors, form the Council of State. For
the purposes of government the republic is divided into twenty-three
Departments, which are subdivided into sixty-one Districts. In these
Districts are eleven cities (_ciudades_), thirty-two towns (_villas_),
two hundred and ninety-nine villages (_pueblos_), fourteen hundred
and six settlements (_aldeas_), fifty-nine shore hamlets (_caserios
litorales_), and three thousand seven hundred and forty-two interior
hamlets (_caserios rurales_). The Departments, with their chief towns,
are as follows:

  Departments.    Chief Towns.

  Guatemala       Guatemala               (ciudad)
  Amatitlan       Amatitlan                  ”
  Escuintla       Escuintla                  ”
  Sacatepequez    Antigua                    ”
  Chimaltenango   Chimaltenango           (villa)
  Sololà          Sololà                     ”
  Totonicapan     Totonicapan             (ciudad)
  Suchitepequez   Mazatenango             (villa)
  Retalhuleu      Retalhuleu                 ”
  Quezaltenango   Quezaltenango           (ciudad)
  San Marcos      San Marcos                 ”
  Huehuetenango   Huehuetenango              ”
  Quiché          Santa Cruz del Quiché   (villa)
  Santa Rosa      Cuajinicuilapa             ”
  Jutiapa         Jutiapa                    ”
  Jalapa          Jalapa                     ”
  Chiquimula      Chiquimula              (ciudad)
  Zacapa          Zacapa                  (villa)
  Izabal          Izabal                  (puerto)
  Livingston      Livingston                 ”
  Baja Verapaz    Salamà                  (ciudad)
  Alta Verapaz    Coban                      ”
  Peten           Sacluk                  (pueblo)

The Executive appoints over each of these Departments a Jefe politico, or
civil governor; and, like the Secretaries of State, they must be men in
whom he has implicit confidence. I may add that I met fifteen of these
Jefes in the course of my journey, and found them, with two exceptions,
men of character and intelligence, who would compare favorably with the
governors of any of the Northern States; nor is this surprising, since
they are appointed for their fitness, and not elected, as the United
States governors often are, by a handful of irresponsible politicians
who use popular votes simply to forward their private ends.

The organic law of Guatemala is the Civil, or Roman. The code is the
result of careful study and adaptation to the needs of the country, and
not the result of the tinkering of village Solons and the decisions of
wiseacre judges, as is that heterogeneous mass, amorphous and illogical,
the common law. Wherever especial needs have arisen, the code has been
supplemented by _decretos_ conforming to the system. The judiciary is
appointed, and the members hold office for four years. It cannot be
denied that some of the lower judges are not always men of considerable
legal attainments; but it will be remembered that they do not usurp the
legislative function, as is too often the case with judges under the
common law.

Although the country is of the Roman Catholic form of religion, the
Constitution allows full liberty of worship to other sects, within
their respective churches, but forbids acts subversive of public order,
or which might invalidate any civil or political obligations.[45]
Notwithstanding this liberty, there is, I believe, but one Protestant
congregation worshipping in the republic. It seems that the offices of
religion are used most by women and by the dying. Guatemala certainly
cannot be called a religious community. The ruined churches, crumbling
to dust and serving only as cemeteries of the dead, are monuments of a
departed worship. Perhaps some day a purer religion may rebuild these
fair temples and call within their walls all the Guatemaltecan children
of the Great Father, to be refreshed with new life and courage.

In sad contrast with the religious life of Guatemala is the military
vigor. It is difficult to obtain the exact statistics of the army,
even in a time of peace; but it is said that the standing army numbers
twenty-five hundred rank and file, with eighty jefes and two hundred and
fifty-three other officers, while the militia, including all males not
physically exempt, between the ages of eighteen and fifty, amounted in
1883 to 49,835 men. Under control of the War Department are the police,
street-lighting, and the Polytechnic School. While it is possible that
the army does not cost so much in proportion to the population as in some
of the other Central American republics, it is nevertheless a terrible
drain upon the resources of the people, apart from the bad moral effect
of a military life, as seen in all history. May the time soon come when
this beautiful republic shall throw off the incubus and devote all her
energies to the development of her vast resources!

I pass to a more agreeable theme, the foundation-stone of a
republic,—public instruction. On Dec. 13, 1879, President Barrios by
decree established the present excellent system of compulsory and
gratuitous elementary education. Under this in the primary schools
are taught reading, Spanish, knowledge of objects, writing and linear
drawing, geography, history, morals, and politeness.[46] For those who
wish to go beyond these elements, equally gratuitous facilities are
afforded for learning Spanish grammar, book-keeping, elementary natural
history, geography, and history of Central America, and some other
branches (complementary).

In 1883 there were in Guatemala eight hundred and fifty primary schools,
divided thus,—for boys, five hundred and forty; for girls, two hundred
and thirty-six; mixed, sixteen; artisans’ evening-schools, forty-seven;
a Sunday-school for workmen, one also for women, and nine complementary
schools. The attendance at these schools was 39,642 pupils, 27,974
males and 11,668 females; there were 735 male teachers, and 302 female
teachers, while the cost was $241,499.14, or $6.09 each pupil. These
schools, scattered all over the republic, meeting sometimes in old
convents or other confiscated church buildings, sometimes in the cabildo
or in buildings especially provided, are visited and inspected frequently
by suitable persons appointed by Government, who do the duty laid upon
them far more intelligently than most of the New England school-committee
men,—I have had experience of both.

Teachers’ institutes are held in three places each year in November,
and the teachers are expected to attend and gather what new matter
or interest may be provided for them. As the Government appoints the
teachers, it is responsible; and I believe there is a general care among
these teachers to keep well up to the requirements. Wisely, the schools
are not overloaded, as are those in many Northern cities, with every
conceivable subject; but the aim is to give every child the beginning of
an elementary education, which he can, if circumstances permit, greatly

There are also fifty-five private schools, with 1,870 pupils costing
$84,154, of which the Government pays $4,944.

The secondary instruction is given in several high schools or academies,
of which the most important is the Instituto Nacional, Central de
Hombres, in the City of Guatemala. The spacious buildings, formerly
church property, well accommodate the physical and chemical laboratories,
the meteorological observatory (the most complete in Central America),
the zoölogical museum, mineral cabinet, and lecture-rooms, while within
the courts is a good zoölogical garden. Besides the numerous class-rooms
and offices are commodious dormitories provided with iron bedsteads
and kept in very neat order. The corps of instruction consists of a
director and twenty-seven professors, and in 1883 there were two hundred
and fifty-three boarders, and one hundred and thirty day pupils, with
twenty-three pupils in the normal department, and eleven free pupils.
The day-pupils pay a matriculation fee of $10 annually, and $3 for an
examination in each course. The institute costs $19,839.00, or $180.75
for each boarder, and $105.30 for each day-pupil. I have examined the
work of the pupils, and found it very creditable, quite equal in many
respects to that of the boys in the Latin and high schools of Boston.
The girls are not neglected, although their instruction does not proceed
to the extravagant lengths common in the eastern United States and in
England, where the endeavor is made to train the female intellect to the
standard of the male, and so wholly unfit for the privileges of matrimony
and maternity the unfortunate girls who are subjected to such training.
The Instituto de Belen, Central de Señoritas, has a faculty of one
preceptress and ten female teachers in charge of one hundred and twelve
pupils, costing the nation $78,000. This school occupies an extensive
building, with suitable cabinets and a gymnasium. A kindergarten is
attached to this school.

In Chiquimula is the Instituto de Oriente, with one director, six
professors, and thirty-three boys, nine boarders, and fourteen
day-pupils. More important than this is the Instituto de Occidente, in
Quezaltenango, with a director, twenty-two professors, and two hundred
and twenty-one pupils. Cabinets of minerals and other natural objects,
a chemical laboratory and a meteorological observatory, help in the
instruction. In the same city is a similar school for girls, with a
preceptress (_directora_), eleven _professoras_, and eighty-two pupils.

Professional instruction, which in the United States of the North is
not deemed a part of the system of free public education, is here
undertaken by the Government; and four faculties are established to
teach law (_derecho y notariado_), medicine and pharmacy, engineering,
and philosophy and literature. Each of these faculties elects a dean,
secretary, and four _vocales_ who have charge of the courses of study
and other matters peculiar to their branch, while the four directories
(_juntas directivas_) form a council charged with the sole administration
of the professional schools. Forty professors teach one hundred and
thirty-three pupils at a cost of $24,903.96 to the nation. The law claims
forty-two pupils; medicine, seventy; engineering, eleven; and literature,
ten. Special instruction does not stop here, for there are also in the
capital seven schools, costing $21,762.24, and teaching two hundred and
forty-two pupils in the following branches:—

  Music and Oratory      66 pupils.
  Commerce               50   ”
  Design                 62   ”
  Arts and Occupations   55   ”

A school for deaf-mutes has nine pupils. The Polytechnic School is under
the direction of the Minister of War, and has eighty pupils. It is
interesting to note that the system of marks in use in this institution
has recently been adopted in Harvard University.

While I am aware that a mere table of numbers, a census of pupils
and teachers, even if illustrated with the courses pursued and the
instruments for instruction, cannot convey to my readers a fair
understanding of the results accomplished by the system of public
education in Guatemala, I may be permitted to say that I have for six
years performed with attention my duties on the school-board of one
of the largest cities in the North, and my interest in the subject
of education led me to examine the schools of this Southern city,
with constant comparisons with the type most familiar to me; and the
conclusion to which I arrived was that the system in Guatemala was
excellently suited to the country and people, that the Government had
done better than my own Government in the North, and if the results
were not in every case all that could be desired, it was not the
fault of schools or teachers. I have examined both public and private
schools, containing both ladino and Indian children, and have found
many well-instructed boys and girls, but never the execrable system
of cramming so much in vogue at the North. I did not see the sallow,
pimply, stooping, weak-eyed boys that form so large a minority of the
public-school children at home. I am sure that if fewer “branches” are
taught here, less ill-health results; and I am quite ready to honor good
health before mere book-learning.

With some hesitation, I add to the means of education the modern
newspaper. Before the election of Barrios there were but two official
publications of this class,—“La Gaceta” and “La Semana,” both proceeding
from one pen, and the journal of the Sociedad Económica. Now there are in
the capital four printing establishments, and the list of publications
is a very respectable one. The official “El Guatemalteco” presents four
times a week all official announcements, including the text of all public
grants or contracts,—a plan which must place a check on extravagance or
improper favoritism. “La Estrella de Guatemala,” an independent daily;
“Diario de Centro-América,” “La Gaceta de los Tribunales,” twice a
month; “La Gaceta de los Hospitales,” monthly; “El Horizonte” and “El
Ensayo,” weekly, are published in the capital. In Quezaltenango “El Bien
Publico” is a well-written twice-a-week publication. In Mazatenango “El
Eco de los Altos,” twice a month; in Antigua “El Eco del Valle,” daily;
in Chiquimula “El Oriental,” weekly; in Salamà “La Voz del Norte,” in
Coban “El Quetzal,” both weekly, have a considerable local circulation;
and during the session of the Asamblea full stenographic reports of the
proceedings are published in the “Diario de las Sesiones.”

I cannot say much about the Guatemaltecan libraries, although not for
the reason that made the chapter “On Serpents” in the History of Norway
so famous. The national library is very small, and the treasures of
manuscript which survived the ungentle hands of the early rulers have
been so carelessly guarded that the choicest are now in foreign hands
(French and German); and the printed volumes relating to the history of
Central America, or the publications of the native Press, are difficult
to find. There are no important bookstores in Guatemala, and I had the
greatest difficulty in obtaining a sight of Fuentes and Juarros, both of
which I found only in private libraries. In an old curiosity shop a copy
of Villagutierre Soto Mayor’s “Historia de la Conquista de la Provincia
de el Itza” was held at $50, or twice the price the old folio fetches in

With no Coast or Interior Survey (except the temporary work of the
Commission on the Northern Boundary), there are few scientific or
historical publications issued by the Government.

The debt of Guatemala is reported at a total (1885) of $5,817,947.19,
drawing interest at six per cent. It is made up of the following items:—

  An English loan for which Guatemala became
    responsible in the days of the Confederation       $554,268.83
  An English loan of 1869 (by President Cerna)        3,599,771.75
  Government bonds in circulation (Interior debt)     1,663,906.61

For the payment of the bonds of the Interior, a sinking-fund is provided,
consisting of fifteen per cent of the duties on imports, the sums
received for exemption from military service, etc. The average duties on
imports are between fifty-five and sixty per cent _ad valorem_.

The income of the republic during the year 1882 was:


  3% on real estate                    $103,886.05
  Road tax                               34,830.85
  Military tax                           13,925.17
  Abated taxes                            4,132.56
                                        ----------   $156,224.63


  Duties on imports                  $1,698,469.93
  Duties on exports                      66,685.36
  Harbor dues                             3,960.22
  Stamped paper and stamps              114,221.57
  Impost on native flour                 47,198.19
  Impost on salt                         27.454.58
  Impost on legacies                     11,514.06
  Beneficio de Reses                     99,964.59
  5% on transfers of real estate         53,530.42
                                     -------------  2,122,998.92

  Tax for higher education              $10,127.87
  Tax for municipios                     10,678.62
  Tax for police in the capital         113,296.13
  Tax for hospitals                     119,507.26
  Telegraphs                             55,575.96
  Mails                                  25,687.95
  Mint                                   19,518.51
  Fondos judiciales                       6,513.19
                                       -----------    360,905.49

  Excise on liquors                  $1,266,042.43
  Excise on tobacco                     346,263.15
  Excise on gunpowder and saltpetre      23,994.31
                                     -------------  1,636,299.89

  Various income                                      135,457.44
  Contracts, etc. (anticipation of taxes)           2,030,033.01

Of the expenses of the Government for the same fiscal period, it will be
seen from the following abstract that the army expenses form more than a
sixth of the entire sum, even in a time of peace.


  Department of the Interior          $167,349.25
      ”             Treasury           208,872.45
      ”        War                   1,164,521.37
      ”        Justice                 723,746.93
      ”        Public Instruction      252,891.62
      ”        Foreign Affairs          80,850.11
                                     ------------  $2,598,231.73


  Collecting direct taxes               $6,962.01
      ”      indirect taxes             32,410.52
  Excise on liquors                    126,031.04
      ”     tobacco                     96,289.65
  Higher instruction                    25,418.55
  Municipios                            15,704.77
  Pawnshops and pensions                45,053.54
  Mails                                 42,725.16
  Telegraphs                           101,288.61
  Mint                                  20,539.59
  Mobiliario                             2,986.76
  Hospitals                            136,794.20
  Police                               148,128.12
  Confiscations                            581.52
  Judiciary                              6,033.37
  Extraordinary                          6,606.92
  Gunpowder and saltpetre                2,960.64
                                       ----------     816,514.97

  Interest                            $200,325.81
  Purchase of tobacco                   99,342.05
      ”       gunpowder and saltpetre    5,795.70
  Repayments (_Devolutiones_)           14,373.07
  Public property                        6,197.09
  Accounts                               2,010.24
                                      -----------     328,043.96

  Funding bonds and obligations                     2,554,076.94
  Subsidy to street-railroad                              833.33
  Various payments                                    205,721.45

However dry long columns of figures may be, they tell the story in
the shortest way, and will give to those interested in the work of a
Government some insight into its methods. Like many other Governments,
that of Guatemala anticipates taxes, borrows, and issues paper
obligations. Its chief income is from the sale of liquor and from import
duties. I have in another place described the method of taxing the sale
of liquors, and I may say here that the tax seems to be collected with
fairness; but the heavy import duties offer a premium on smuggling, and
I was told some very ingenious and amusing methods that had been used to
evade the customs. If the ports of Guatemala were not just what they are,
it would be a very difficult matter to collect the revenue from imports.

The currency of Guatemala is silver, with the exception of about $50,000
of Government paper, and, like the silver currency of the United States,
is worth only about seventy per cent of its face in gold; but, unlike
the Northern Republic, Guatemala has not the power to float her debased
coin, and the standard is therefore American gold. To meet its needs the
Government sometimes mortgages to money-lenders its revenues in part,
or even puts a custom-house in pawn; and cases have occurred where its
subsidies have been suspended by arbitrary decree for a year, or even
longer. Hence the unwillingness to embark in any enterprise that is
largely dependent on Government aid. Even the mail-subsidies when paid
are paid with orders on the customs. This, together with the very heavy
import duties, certainly checks the investment of foreign capital; though
to those within the country, and informed as to methods, the duties are
much lightened by purchasing Government bonds at fifty per cent and
paying them for duties at par. By this and similar practices, which I
do not think it best to describe, large mercantile establishments derive
great profit at the expense of the revenues.

To meet the needs of commerce there are but three banks; two, “El Banco
Internacional” and “El Banco Columbiano,” are in the City of Guatemala,
while the third is in Quezaltenango. These have between them a capital
of perhaps $5,000,000, and they do the business of banks of circulation,
deposit, and exchange. The usual rate on deposits subject to sight drafts
is three per cent per annum, and on current accounts and discounts twelve
per cent; while they pay their stockholders from twelve per cent to
twenty per cent in dividends. The Banco Internacional has called in but
seventy per cent of its capital stock. These banks date only from 1875,
and their notes are hardly current outside the larger cities. Many of
the principal mercantile houses do a larger banking business, and hold
extensive private deposits.

Of large corporations Guatemala has but few. That of the Piers (Compañia
de los Muelles de San José y Champerico) has a capital of $250,000; its
profits are said to be immense, as it holds the monopoly of all the
landing facilities on the Pacific coast. The railroads between Guatemala
and San José, and between Champerico and Retalhuleu, are capitalized at
about $5,000,000. The proposed railroad from Puerto Barrios (Santo Tomas)
to the capital, at present mostly owned by natives, will, it is supposed,
cost from twelve to fifteen millions. The street railway in Guatemala has
a capital of $200,000.

The Government owns the entire telegraphic system of the republic,
and all the towns of any importance are connected by more than three
thousand miles of wire, with seventy offices. The expenditures of this
bureau seem to be nearly twice the amount of the receipts, and from the
nature of the country the cost of maintenance must be very great, owing
to the rapid growth of tropical vegetation and the destruction wrought by
insects, especially the _comajen_; yet the tariff is reasonable, and one
can, while paying for a message, pay also for the answer (_contestacion
pagado_). Both the designs on the telegraph blanks and the paper used
are much better than the companies in the United States supply to their
customers. By cable Guatemala has communication with South America,
Mexico, the United States, and Europe.

The mail service is excellent between the principal towns and foreign
ports; but owing to the nature of the country the time consumed over
the less-frequented roads is very great. As a fair indication of the
development of the country since 1871 under the administration of
President Barrios, the great increase in the amount of matter sent
through the mails may be cited; for in that year the total number of
letters, papers, and circulars did not reach fifty thousand, while in
1884 it exceeded three millions. Guatemala has joined the Postal Union,
but demands ten cents per rate on letters leaving her ports. While so
many of the great nations put upon their postage-stamps the portraits of
their rulers or most distinguished men to be spit upon and defaced, this
republic, with better taste, submits only the national bird (quetzal) to
this rough treatment.[47]

What a people imports is always a matter of no slight moment in studying
their social condition; and on examining the classified list which I have
taken from the official publications, one will see several very curious
facts. First a large amount of cinnamon is imported, chiefly to flavor
chocolate, when it might readily be raised at home,—indicating that
the enormous duty of one hundred per cent does not prevent importation
or stimulate home production. The same may be predicated of white wax,
wheat, and flour, for bees flourish in the uplands, and the wheat is
of the best quality; but mills are scarce, and private enterprise is
wanting. Few printed books are imported; and as the domestic publications
are unimportant, we must infer that the Guatemaltecans are not a reading
people. The table also gives an idea of the duties levied, and is worthy
of attention. That the reader may see how little the commerce of the
United States brings to Guatemala, I have given a table of imports by
countries. Nearer than England or France, it is still cheaper to pass her
by and go to the distant markets.


                                      Values.         Duties.
  Oils (vegetable)                  $14,839.45      $14,128.30
  Aguardiente                        35,124.70       43,694.75
  Cotton thread and cloth         1,607,362.34    1,594,756.48
  Firearms                            1,758.00        2,435.00
  Shoes                               3,697.42        3,926.28
  Cinnamon                           20,845.00       20,194.45
  Carriages                           2,600.00        1,575.00
  Barley                              4,386.20          438.62
  White wax                           3,122.50        2,982.20
  Beer                               29,856.20       30,267.96
  Preserves                          47,539.87       41,851.68
  Glass                              10,725.63        8,397.56
  Money                              82,932.00          free
  Sundry articles                    11,375.40       11,594.34
  Drugs                              21,462.94       22,794.77
  Stearine, crude, and candles       14,798.15       11,563.22
  Matches                             7,235.76        7,359.43
  Flour                             118,490.00      139,082.10
  Iron in bars, etc.                 85,852.25       99,637.37
    arts, and sciences                2,728.80          272.88
  Wool, thread, and cloth           146,294.34      159,381.69
  Printed books                      12,627.50        1,252.75
  Sweet liquors                       5,386.65        5,893.49
  Linen cloth                        11,743.17       11,236.54
  Earthenware                        15,490.86       14,129.36
  Timber for building                35,594.00          free
  Machinery                          48,475.70        4,847.57
  Medicines                          52,952.85       54,326.68
  Hardware                           23,738.46       21,954.95
  Wooden furniture                    1,143.50        1,865.46
  Articles for institutions of
    charity or public education      10,837.94          free
  Paper                              41,694.37       29,358.39
  Perfumery                           5,873.65        6,034.26
  Petroleum and naphtha              14,764.00        8,439.30
  Pianos                             10,950.00        6,470.00
  Tanned leather                     56,863.84       31,263.10
  Prenderia fina                     19,145.00        1,914.50
  Utensils of tin, iron, etc.        24,678.26       21,245.84
  Clocks                              3,956.00          786.55
  Empty bags                         25,384.83          free
  Salt                                4,122.30       12,778.56
  Silk thread and cloth             102,835.72      116,936.29
  Saddles                               946.25        1,082.00
  Hats of all kinds                  23,751.68       24,369.35
  Corrugated iron, barbed wire,
    carts, pumps                     18,462.70        1,536.91
  Wheat                              60,128.51       28,362.68
  Railroad supplies                 328,426.37          free
  Wine                               48,697.40       52,165.24
                                 -------------   -------------
                                 $3,281,698.46   $2,674,583.85


  England                 $1,735,954.87
  France                     450,365.75
  CALIFORNIA                =391,782.50=
  Germany                    170,824.35
  NEW ORLEANS               =103,548.24=
  NEW YORK                   =98,296.18=
  Switzerland                 75,173.61
  Spain                       69,387.49
  Italy                       51,632.60
  China                       48,594.32
  Belgium                     29,781.25
  Belize (British Honduras)   28,937.48
  Central America             14,569.77
  United Slates of Columbia   10,314.05
  Chile                        2,536.00

California furnishes most of the flour and wheat, but New Orleans most
of the timber for building, while New York contributes printed books,
canned goods, clocks, firearms, and patent medicines. From the three
ports of the United States which are in direct steam communication with
the ports of Guatemala goods valued at $593,626.92 were imported,—less
than came from France and Germany, and not a third part of what England
sends. Yankee traders are certainly left entirely behind in Guatemaltecan
commerce. Without going deeply into the causes which drive the United
States from a natural market, I will state several facts which an
intelligent reader may interpret for himself.

The largest mercantile houses in Guatemala are German; Americans of
the North are absent. When it was suggested to the agent of one of the
largest cotton-mills in New England that the cases in which its cloths
were usually packed for market could not be handled in a country provided
only with mule transportation, the Yankee agent thought it not worth
the trouble to pack in smaller bales, as did the English and French
manufacturers. Ready-made clothes are cheaper in France, and shoes in
Germany and France. If I want barbed wire for my fences, corrugated iron
for my warehouses, or rails for my tramways, my English correspondent can
deliver all these to me on my wharf at Livingston much cheaper than I can
buy any of these manufactures of iron in protected New York. England,
from her experience in her tropical colonies, knows how to prepare
merchandise, and what sorts are needed for the trade with tropical
America; she buys the crop of mahogany, logwood, and coffee, and saves
exchange by selling her own products, and at the same time supports her
own vessels in the carrying trade. If it were not for the fresh fruit
which the United States needs, there would probably not be a single line
of steamers between these countries; for on the Pacific side Guatemala
is merely a way-station. Finally, the sarsaparilla goes to England, and
is there manufactured into extract or syrup for the use of the immense
establishments of patent medicines in the United States.

Now let us see what Guatemala contributes to the needs of foreign
nations; and I give a table of exports for two years, that the changes
may be noted. Of the former staples, such as indigo and cochineal, the
amount now exported is insignificant; the exportation of coffee fell off,
owing to a short crop; sugar was influenced by the low prices ruling in
foreign markets.


  |                    |            1883.             |
  |                    |   Cwt.   |Price|    Value    |
  |Indigo              |    135.02|$1.25|   $16.881.25|
  |Sugar and muscovado | 44,927.27|  .05|   223,136.35|
  |Bananas (bunches)   | 29,699.00|  .40|    11,876.60|
  |Ores                |    160.80|  .20|     3,216.00|
  |Cacao               |     97.66|  .40|     3.905.40|
  |Coffee              |404,069.39|  .12| 4,848,832.68|
  |Cochineal           |    184.01|  .50|     9,200.50|
  |Ox-hides            |  7,577.41|  .20|   151,548.20|
  |Deer-skins          |    230.83|  .40|     9,233.20|
  |White wax           |     22.34|  .50|     1,117.00|
  |India-rubber        |  3,454.14|  .65|   224.519.10|
  |Timber (feet)       |253,504.00|  .04|    10,140.16|
  |Heifers             |    230.00|25.00|     5,750.00|
  |Cows                |     89.00|15.00|     1,355.00|
  |Woollen cloth       |    211.54| 1.50|    31,731.00|
  |Sarsaparilla        |    332.12|  .10|     3,321.20|
  |Suelos              |     96.06|  .40|     3,682.40|
  |Various articles    |          |     |    13,375.43|
  |Current money       |          |     |   145,515.60|
  |  Totals            |744,720.59|     |$5,718,341.07|

  |                    |            1884.             |
  |                    |   Cwt.   |Price|    Value    |
  |Indigo              |     62.67|$1.25|    $7,833.75|
  |Sugar and muscovado | 37,956.95|  .04|   151,827.80|
  |Bananas (bunches)   | 54,633.00|  .55|    30,048.15|
  |Ores                |     26.60|  .20|       532.00|
  |Cacao               |     14.92|  .40|       596.80|
  |Coffee              |371,306.44|  .12| 4,455,677.28|
  |Cochineal           |      8.12|  .50|       406.00|
  |Ox-hides            |  7,888.79|  .20|   157,775.80|
  |Deer-skins          |    248.12|  .40|     9,924.80|
  |White wax           |          |     |             |
  |India-rubber        |  1,485.80|  .35|    52,003.00|
  |Timber (feet)       |352,006.00|  .04|    14,082.64|
  |Heifers             |          |     |             |
  |Cows                |          |     |             |
  |Woollen cloth       |     61.69| 1.50|     9,253.60|
  |Sarsaparilla        |    632.30|  .10|     6,323.00|
  |Suelos              |     63.31|  .40|     2,532.40|
  |Various articles    |          |     |     6,272.21|
  |Current money       |          |     |    32,852.00|
  |  Totals            |826,666.26|     |$4,937,941.13|

The business is divided between the three principal ports in the
following proportion:—

                  San José.      Champerico.   Livingston.
                     cwt.           cwt.          cwt.

  Imports        308,596.27       62,789.62     51,698.59
  Exports        170,615.90      224,739.49     31,134.12

I have elsewhere written of the products that Guatemala might export, and
I willingly turn from the commercial features of the country to those
that affect the comfort and happiness of the inhabitants. A sufficient
government is the first necessity. To sustain this the people must be
educated; and to develop it the country must possess natural riches and
the opportunity of marketing them. But all these elements work, not
in a line, but in a circle, as it were. Without revenue, government
cannot provide for free education; without education, a people will not
establish a wise form of government; without a wise government, the
resources of the country cannot be developed to yield a proper income.
All these things are interdependent. The government must foster education
and protect property; it must encourage those occupations which increase
the material wealth of the people. Increased wealth means larger revenue,
and permits greater expenditures for public works; so government and
people grow together.

Possessed of a remarkably fine climate, a favorable geographical
situation, and great variety in its fertile soil, Guatemala has a
population poor and unable to undertake important works which require
capital. Money must therefore be sought abroad to develop the riches
of the land, which are in agricultural products rather than in mines;
and the Government offers to any industrious, respectable colonists
suitable tracts of public land (_terrenos baldíos_), together with
exemption from duties and taxes for ten years. That this offer may
not seem too attractive, it must be added that the best public lands
remaining undisposed of are remote from ports, with no adequate means
of communication. They are also covered for the most part with dense
forests, to be cleared away only at great expense. Besides, it is well
known that whenever virgin soil is broken up, mysterious fevers and
malarial emanations are liberated from the soil; and although these
are not dangerous to men of good constitution, they certainly are not
pleasant. Not only enterprise and perseverance are needful for the
planter, but a respectable capital as well; for the colonist has to build
his own houses, wharves, and bridges, make his own roads, and own his
tools, animals, boats, and carts.

Labor is both by the day and by the task, and wages are very low. A day’s
labor—from six o’clock in the morning to six at night, with an hour from
ten o’clock to eleven for breakfast (almuerzo), and another from one
o’clock to two for rest—is paid from twenty-five to fifty cents. Laborers
are also hired by the month, with allowance for rations. On the Atlantic
coast the Carib is a good, strong workman when properly managed, while in
the interior the Indios and ladinos supply fully the present demand.

Articles of food are cheap, and some of the prices, as given by the
Minister of the Interior, are as follows: beef, pork, and mutton, eight
cents per pound; fowls of good size, thirty-seven and a half to sixty-two
cents; rice, a dollar and a half to two dollars per arroba (twenty-five
pounds); flour, eight to nine dollars per quintal (one hundred pounds);
maiz, a dollar and a half to three dollars a fanega (four hundred
ears); beans, white, black, or red, four to six dollars a quintal;
eggs, a dollar and a half a hundred; milk, six cents a bottle; cheese,
twelve to twenty-five cents a pound; butter, sixty-two cents per pound.
Guatemaltecan cookery, although simplicity itself in its instalment,
is excellent and wholesome,—none of the vile saleratus-bread, tough
doughnuts, and clammy pies (I have great respect for a good tart) which
are the curse of the country cooking of New England. But let the comida
consist of only tortillas, frijoles, and huevos; these staples are
always well cooked.

Of the industrial and mechanical arts Guatemala has very little to show,
apart from the woven fabrics and pottery already alluded to. Tailors and
shoemakers abound,—and this in a climate where the former might almost
be dispensed with, and where the latter work for not a moiety of the
population. On the other hand, there are few cabinet-makers, although
the native woods offer the choicest material for the skilled workman.
There are no foundries or forges worthy the name, and all machinery is
imported, and repairs must be made in San Francisco or New Orleans.
Glass, porcelain, and stoneware is all imported, although the materials,
of the best quality, are found here in abundance. Fibre-plants and rags
are plentiful, and the consumption of paper is large; but every sheet
is imported,—that used for stamps being made in France. While coconuts,
sesame, cohune, castor-bean, and croton grow abundantly, there is no
commercial manufacture of the vegetable oils; and we have seen that more
than fourteen thousand dollars’ worth were imported in 1884.

While the general climate of Guatemala is remarkably healthy, the people
are exceedingly careless of all sanitary precautions, especially in the
matter of drainage and the waste products of the human body, trusting
to the intervention of vultures and dogs to remove health-endangering
filth. Yellow fever was common through the hot lowlands of the Pacific
coast in 1883, and whooping-cough, measles, and small-pox prevailed
in many parts of the country. The consumption of patent medicines and
empirical preparations, obtained from the apothecary rather than the
physician, is enormous in proportion to the population. Vital statistics
are not obtained with the greatest accuracy, and only the constant care
of the superior officer enables any result worthy of attention to be
obtained. The following table is tolerably accurate. The population is,
as estimated on December 31:—

  |     |         |       Births.      |       Deaths.      |Increase.   |
  |     |         +------+------+------+------+------+------+      |     |
  |Year.| Popul-  |Males.|      |      |Males.|      |      |      |     |
  |     | ation.  |      Females.      |      Females.      |      |     |
  |     |         |      |      |Total.|      |      |Total.|  Marriages.|
  |1881 |1,252,497|28,146|25,708|53,854|14,019|11,940|25,959|27,895|4,611|
  |1882 |1,276,961|29,362|26,697|56,059|16,728|14,867|31,595|24,464|4,864|
  |1883 |1,278,311|28,488|25,934|54,422|28,431|24,641|53,072| 1,350|4,287|
  |1884 |         |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |     |
  |1885 |         |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |     |

Of the children born in 1883, 41,260 were legitimate, and 13,162 natural;
16,991 were ladinos, and 37,431 Indios. The legitimate children were in
the proportion of one to every one hundred and twenty-eight of the ladino
population, and one to every forty-one of the Indios. The natural births
stand one to each one hundred and eighty-three ladinos, and one to each
two hundred and seven Indios,—proportions which speak volumes for the
superior morality of the indigenous population.

No less than nine hospitals were supported by the Government in 1883,—one
each in Antigua, Amatitlan, Escuintla, Quezaltenango, Retalhuleu, and
Chiquimula, and three in Guatemala City. In these 11,998 patients were
treated during the year, with the result of one death to every thirteen
treated. Of the diseases from which patients died, the following is a
list of all numbering over ten victims:—

  Consumption           75
  Fever (perniciosa)    74
  Dysentery             68
  Entero-colitis        63
  Yellow fever          52
  Enteritis             42
  Pneumonia             33
  Alcoholism            24
  Small-pox             18
  Cachexia paludica     18
  Typhoid fever         11

Of the consumptive patients, probably the majority were foreigners
seeking safety in the mild climate of Guatemala; and in the others the
disease was not of throat origin, but sprang from that unclean state that
wise physicians are beginning to recognize as phthisical in its tendency.

I wish I could say more of the remedies of the Indios. In a land
abounding in healing plants, it would be supposed that the inhabitants
would be expert in their qualities; and so the Indios are, if report may
be trusted (they are said to cure even hernia, by applying astringent
herbs to the tumor). But they are shy, and unwilling to display their
knowledge before strangers; and my stay among them was too short to
invite their confidence. The Caribs do not seem to possess much knowledge
of the healing art.

From the bodily ills of a people one turns naturally to the moral
diseases; and it is interesting to note what are the crimes and
misdemeanors to which punishments are most frequently allotted. Of
9,303 persons tried during the course of 1883, 6,125 were accused of
misdemeanors (_faltas_), and 3,178 of crimes (_delitos_). Of the former
class 764 were acquitted, while of those tried for crimes 1,515 were
judged not guilty,—leaving only 1,663 criminals out of a population of
a million and a quarter. The carefully prepared tables published each
year by the Government show that there is hardly one delinquent for each
thousand inhabitants; that notwithstanding the greatly inferior numbers
of the ladinos, this class claims many more convicts; and that eighty per
cent of the criminals have no education.

  |Crimes or Delitos.  |Males.|Females.|Ladinos.|Indios.|
  |Against authority   |  133 |     6  |   111  |    28 |
  |Assaults            |   56 |     5  |    51  |    10 |
  |Wounding            |  396 |    21  |   298  |   119 |
  |Homicide            |  188 |    15  |   117  |    86 |
  |Bodily injuries     |  312 |    35  |   202  |   145 |
  |Adultery            |   55 |    55  |    69  |    41 |
  |Seduction           |   38 |        |    24  |    14 |
  |Rape                |   42 |        |    41  |     1 |
  |Lewdness            |   68 |        |    50  |    18 |
  |Injurias            |   80 |    50  |   106  |    24 |
  |Cattle-stealing     |   74 |        |    40  |    34 |
  |Tricks              |   39 |    10  |    44  |     5 |
  |Robbery             |   32 |     5  |    33  |     4 |
  |Larceny             |  303 |    49  |   264  |    88 |
  |Against liquor laws |  276 |   316  |   313  |   279 |
  |Smuggling tobacco   |   25 |    12  |    25  |    12 |
  |Defrauding          |   95 |    75  |    71  |    99 |
  |Desertion           |   49 |        |    48  |     1 |
  |All other delitos   |  227 |    36  |   188  |    75 |
  |Totals              | 2488 |   690  |  2095  |  1083 |

  |Crimes or Delitos.  |Read.|Write.|Uneducated.|Single.|Married.|Total.|
  |Against authority   |   8 |   48 |      83   |    56 |    83  |  139 |
  |Assaults            |   6 |   18 |      37   |    37 |    24  |   61 |
  |Wounding            |  19 |   82 |     315   |   215 |   201  |  417 |
  |Homicide            |   4 |   46 |     153   |   107 |    96  |  203 |
  |Bodily injuries     |  12 |   40 |     295   |   174 |   173  |  347 |
  |Adultery            |   7 |   24 |      79   |    25 |    85  |  110 |
  |Seduction           |   1 |    9 |      28   |    31 |     7  |   38 |
  |Rape                |   4 |   20 |      18   |    33 |     9  |   42 |
  |Lewdness            |   7 |   18 |      43   |    49 |    19  |   68 |
  |Injurias            |  14 |   29 |      87   |    62 |    68  |  130 |
  |Cattle-stealing     |     |   14 |      60   |    26 |    48  |   74 |
  |Tricks              |   4 |   22 |      23   |    34 |    15  |   49 |
  |Robbery             |   2 |   12 |      23   |    31 |     6  |   37 |
  |Larceny             |  13 |   80 |     259   |   208 |   144  |  352 |
  |Against liquor laws |  23 |   60 |     509   |   175 |   417  |  592 |
  |Smuggling tobacco   |   1 |    8 |      28   |    11 |    26  |   37 |
  |Defrauding          |   4 |   16 |     150   |    61 |   109  |  170 |
  |Desertion           |   1 |    7 |      41   |    28 |    21  |   49 |
  |All other delitos   |  18 |   84 |     161   |   126 |   137  |  236 |
  |Totals              | 148 |  639 |    2392   |  1489 |  1688  | 3178 |


Included in the “other _delitos_” are several crimes much more common
in New England and elsewhere,—perjury, nine; libel, fifteen; arson,
thirteen; poisoning, three; infanticide, four; bribery, two; abandonment
of infants, four. In Livingston the “Court” kindly consented to sit for
its portrait; and although this abode of the blind goddess was very dark,
I got a satisfactory picture. I also photographed a man sitting in the
stocks and undergoing a whipping; but this the principal citizens prayed
me to suppress.

  |Misdemeanors or faltas.    |Males.|Females.|Ladinos.|Indios.|
  |Against public order       |3,680 |    740 |  1,679 |  2,520|
  |   ”    municipal law      |  146 |     13 |    111 |    38 |
  |   ”    persons            |  933 |    393 |    832 |   387 |
  |   ”    property           |  152 |     31 |    141 |    42 |
  |   ”    military discipline|   37 |        |     21 |    16 |
  |                           |4,948 |  1,177 |  2,784 | 3,003 |

  |Misdemeanors or faltas.    |Read.|Write.|Uneducated.|Single.|Married.|
  |Against public order       | 170 |  496 |   3,466   | 1,861 | 2,276  |
  |   ”    municipal law      |   8 |   29 |      87   |    69 |    55  |
  |   ”    persons            |  34 |  157 |     879   |   620 |   453  |
  |   ”    property           |   3 |   20 |     144   |   107 |    41  |
  |   ”    military discipline|   5 |    5 |      27   |    13 |    24  |
  |                           | 220 |  707 |   4,603   | 2,674 | 2,849  |

A notable fact in regard to punishments in Guatemala is their publicity.
In New England every effort is made to conceal criminals from public
gaze; the punishment which is intended to deter others from a similar
act is, foolishly enough, merely a matter of hearsay to the bulk of the
population. A silly sentimentality hides the convicts in prisons better
and more commodious than the homes of a majority of the people, feeds
them with sufficient and wholesome food, and in general wastes more
pity on them than it vouchsafes to the honest poor,—and all this at the
expense of innocent citizens! In Guatemala I examined many prisons,
finding them all open to inspection. The passer-by can see through the
grated door of the _carcél_ all the prisoners within. When finally
sentenced, the criminals are put upon the public roads and set to work
under guard and chained, so that every one may be reminded that the
“way of transgressors is hard.” In the prisons they sleep on mats, and
receive from the Government a real (twelve and a half cents) a day, with
which to buy food. In the new prisons all the modern improvements are
introduced, and hard labor is provided in great variety. I believe also
that as large a proportion of crimes is detected and punished as in any
other country. I have been enabled to follow several cases through the
courts, and found the decisions in strict accordance with the law, both
in criminal and civil actions.

It would be unfair to pass in complete silence the darker scenes in the
life of the Guatemaltecan republic; but I confess to an ignorance as to
the exact truth of the stories that have been whispered about,—whispers
indeed that I heard myself while in the City of Guatemala. Distinguished
members of the old conservative party assured me that they lived in daily
dread of the Government. Spies and informers were ready at all times to
entrap them if in an unguarded moment they should utter their opinion
of the political situation, or condemn official corruption. Trial by
court-martial—that most odious form of injustice—might result in their
banishment or death; and I was told that the laws, however generally
wise, really depended on the caprice of the President, who could
suspend or annul them whenever he saw occasion. I am sure that these
persons believed what they told me with bated breath; but I also know
to what extreme opinions political dislikes will lead in these Southern
republics. On the death of Barrios and the accession of Barillas, it
is said that eight hundred political prisoners were released from the
prisons where they had been immured by the late President, often without
even the form of a trial. The universal rule of favoritism is too evident
to be concealed, and the _amigo del Presidente_ has certainly undue
power. To our Northern haste the tedious delay of all official work
is a marked contrast, for the officials have not the skill, wisdom,
or cunning of the members of our Northern legislatures, who remain
in session an unconscionable time, apparently overwhelmed with work,
although when they at last adjourn, the records show scant results. The
Government of Guatemala is republican in name only, the President having
actually as much irresponsible power as the Czar; but so far as actually
proved, this power is used with moderation, and is perhaps a political
necessity of the country and race, however repugnant to Anglo-Saxon
ideas. As in all small governments, there is much form and red-tape, and
the individual or company who has business with the authorities must
have an accredited agent at the seat of Government to present petitions,
press suit, or patiently await the result; no person at a distance has
any prospect of prompt attention. With the exception of some of the
higher officials, there are but few Guatemaltecans who really welcome
foreigners, and among the Indios there is little attempt to conceal the
feelings of jealousy or distrust with which outsiders are regarded. While
the future growth of the country depends on the introduction of foreign
capital, there are not many, now that Barrios is no more, who will dare
to offend popular prejudices by openly taking the part of foreigners
who either have invested capital here, or intend to do so. The popular
idea of the day is a renewed confederation of the five republics, with
Guatemala at the head; this means no extension of foreign relations,
but the impotent self-sufficiency that has always distinguished Central
America and retarded her advance.

Many indications point to an attempt in the near future to renew the
confederation of the five republics, and it is not improbable that
Mexico may be included in the Central American Estados Unidos. It was
the ambition of General Barrios to become emperor or president (the name
matters little) of all Central America; and he lost his life in the
attempt. His death will not deter the politicians of the several States
from attempting a revolution which may aggrandize their private fortunes
in the general disturbance. If Mexico—a very inferior nation both in the
character of her population and in natural resources—could be left out,
it would seem very possible to unite again the fortunes of Guatemala,
Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica; but such a confederacy
would not attract foreign capital as readily as a treaty alliance between
quite independent republics, owing to a widespread distrust of the
permanency of any confederacy. If the laws of the United States stretched
to the Isthmus of Darien, doubtless capital would eagerly enter this rich
field; but at present it is as safe under the laws of Guatemala as under
those of any Central American country.

As England and Germany always protect the interests of their subjects
wherever invested, and as the United States Government has neither the
will nor the power to guard the interests of her people in foreign lands,
it is not strange that Englishmen and Germans embark in profitable
enterprises in the Central-American Republics while Americans hesitate.
At present we have to trust for our commercial rights to the general laws
of nations and the favorable inclinations of the existing Government.



Tropical vegetation cannot well be described; but the fact that even when
seen it is hard to understand, need not prevent an attempt to sketch the
general features. The real trouble that meets the novice on the threshold
of the tropics is the utter inadequacy of the English language to express
the variety and luxuriance he sees in the vegetable world. Even in color
his vocabulary fails him, and he must include in the name “green” so many
distinct tints that at last he relinquishes the difficult task and falls
back upon the commonplace epithets, or leaves his tale untold. In the
abundance, in the confusion, of plant-life the observer sees that as he
goes from shore to mountain the trees and plants are not the same, and he
will readily divide the vegetation into four tolerably distinct regions;
these are the Shore, the River-bottoms, the Upland, and the Arid plain.

On all the low Cayos that are almost awash with every wave, and on the
low margin of the mainland, extending up the wide rivers for miles, are
the mangroves (_Rhizophora mangle_), giving the landscape a dull look not
at all attractive. They make indeed a hedge of interlaced branches and
tangled roots inhospitably forbidding landing on the shores. In their
branches are orchids, bromeliads, and other showy plants, while above
all this comparatively low bush rises the graceful coco or the confra
(_Manicaria Plukenetii_). The presence of mangroves is usually considered
an indication of the haunt of malaria, but on insufficient grounds; for
when these trees are cleared away, the shore is admirably suited for
coconuts, which with equal unreason are popularly regarded as token of a
salubrious climate.

[Illustration: IN THE CHOCON FOREST.]

As we follow up the rivers from the shore, we see the mangroves breaking
their dense wall, while reeds and bambus fill the gaps; until at last
mangroves have disappeared, as the rich valleys are reached. And now no
one, or two, or six species can claim supremacy. Two trees are, however,
prominent, where man has not interfered,—the cohune and the mahogany;
both trees of attractive form and size, and both by their presence
indicating the richest soil. The unspoiled forest of the river region
presents a wonderful variety above the ground; but among its roots the
exceptionally rich soil is almost bare, dwarf palms, wild bananas,
gingers, and ferns scantily covering its surface. From the trees hang
long vines (_vejucos_), some of them of value for cordage, others, as
the paullinia (_P. sorbilis_) and zarza (_Smilax sp._), possessed of
medicinal properties, while others are full of grateful sap. Endless
variety reigns, and on every side the puzzled observer sees different
trees. Often the stems are so covered with orchids, aroids, and other
parasitic and climbing plants that they can hardly be recognized, and
their leaves and flowers are but a part of the fresh canopy some sixty
feet or more above the ground. From a mountain ridge this forest looks
like a level plain, even as the top of a well-trimmed hedge; its surface
is here and there broken by the giant mahogany, or seamed by the river
and its affluents. Rosewood, cedar, palo de mulatto, cacao, figs,[48]
are all here, and the palms, from the noble cohune to the insignificant
chamaedoras, are plentifully scattered among the other trees. During
the season of flowers the brilliant yellow of the wild tamarind
(_Schizolobium_), the equally bright magenta of the Palo de Cortez, and
the white of the plumosa, appear to the observer from above like a rich
mosaic, while all this color is invisible to one who is beneath these
trees. All vegetation here is not merely luxuriant, it is composite.
There are no solitary trees, no hermits, in the vegetable world. Every
trunk is but a trellis for vines, some of them, like the matapalo,
strangling the fostering tree, or a nest for plants that do not seem
able to get up in the forest on their own stems. If I find a branch in
blossom, I must make sure that it is of the tree itself, and not part of
some mistletoe-like hanger-on. I have seen single trees bearing on their
trunk and branches enough orchids and other choice plants to stock a
hothouse. The matapalo deserves more than a passing word, for it is the
type of a numerous group of plants in the tropics. This vine may start
from the ground, but quite as often it germinates in the hollow of a
branch, or among the other parasites of the higher branches; in either
case it is at first a slender, innocent-looking vine, clinging timidly
to the tree for support and protection. Soon the vine grows until its
proportions resemble those of a huge serpent, and it has reached the
topmost branches and mingled its own foliage and flowers with those of
its trellis. The standard tree is from that moment doomed, and wastes
away in the murderous grasp of the vegetable anaconda. The matapalo may
fall in the ruin of its decaying foster-parent, but not infrequently it
has prepared for the emergency by sending out many a guy and splitting
the main stem into numerous buttresses, so that it can stand alone—a very
remarkable tree, and one often used as a boundary-mark.

[Illustration: Matapalo Tree.]

In this region of the river-bottoms we could linger long; but it must
be left, for a scientific description of its treasures would fill many
volumes of the size of this, and the explorer has not yet collected[49]
the material needed. Any botanist who would devote three months to the
thorough exploration of the valley forests of Guatemala ought to add not
less than a hundred new species to the flora of the region, and also
determine the species of most of the beautiful cabinet woods now known
only by their native names.[50]

Climbing the hills brings one to a very distinct vegetation, and here in
the uplands are trees in masses; that is, there are whole forests of one
or two species, and the representatives of the kinds most common in the
cooler regions are found here. There are pine-trees as much as eight
feet in diameter, and spruces of little less size. Oaks also of several
species are abundant; but the palm family almost disappears in the dryer
soil, only the cabbage-palm climbing out of the rich lowlands,—and that
is not abundant enough to give character to the vegetation. While in
the lowlands the ground is devoid of sod, here the grass carpets the
soil, extending to the very tree-trunks, and is kept in fine order by
the numerous sheep. Agaves are found on the hillsides, creepers like the
clematis take the place of the vejucos, and stevias, bouvardias, and
dahlias that of gingers and marantas.

The fourth region is quite as distinct as either of the others. It
comprises the dry lava plains where the changes of diurnal temperature
are considerable, and where the soil, though rich, is scant and
insufficiently watered. Here are found the calabash-tree (_Crescentia
cujete_), espina blanca, or gum arabic, and the cockspur (_Acacia
spadicifera_); while a coarse grass covers the ground between the lava

In Guatemala there are two families of plants,—Palm and
Orchid,—presenting numerous species and of attractive and beautiful
appearance, at the same time by no means devoid of commercial importance.

[Illustration: Attalea Cohune.

  A _Staminate blossoms_.
  B _Stem of same_.
  C _Cluster of unripe nuts_.
  D _Transverse section of nut_.
  E _Longitudinal section of nut_.]

Chief among palms stands the cohune (_Attalea cohune_), known also as
manàca and corozo. When young, the palm has no stem, its enormous leaves
rising from the ground more than thirty feet. The rhachis, or midrib,
of the pinnate fronds is of a rich red color, and larger round than a
man’s wrist, the distinct, conduplicate divisions being long and broad.
Mr. Morris estimates a leaf he saw in British Honduras at sixty feet in
length and eight feet in breadth. I have never seen one more than forty
feet long and five wide; but this is not an uncommon size of the manàca
as it is cut for thatching, one leaf extending across the roof. After
remaining some years in the manàca state, the stem begins to elongate,
and as it rises, the leaves become smaller, as is the case with the
coconut and other palms so far as known. The leaf-stems are persistent,
giving the tree a rough, untidy look, but doubtless having a purpose to
fulfil in the economy of Nature. This palm is now known as corozo, and
begins to fruit. The male inflorescence is an immense mass of more than
thirty thousand staminate flowers in a compound raceme between four and
five feet long; these have a heavy, not disagreeable odor, and attract a
great many bees and wasps, so that on one occasion the mozo who climbed
the stem and cut for me a fine specimen was badly stung. These insects
were so persistent after a great deal of shaking that the camera was used
as quickly as possible, specimens were saved, and the spadix was, with
the too-attractive flowers, thrown into the river. The pollen, which
under the microscope shows a form exactly like a baker’s roll, is in
such abundance from the four hundred and fifty thousand stamens that it
would fill a pint measure. The spathe, or cover of the inflorescence,
looks like leather, is deeply furrowed on the outside, and would make a
commodious bath-tub for a child. The fertile spadix has shorter branches,
with the rather large flowers succeeded by from five to ten nuts, the
whole bunch, which is about five feet long and weighs more than a hundred
pounds, bearing from eight hundred to a thousand nuts. These nuts are
two and a half inches long, and covered with a fibrous husk and so
thick a shell that the valuable kernel cannot be extracted in quantity
without powerful and expensive machinery. Like the coconut, the fruit
is normally three-celled. But as in that palm two of the cells give up
the struggle for existence in early life, so in the cohune; and I have
never, in the scores of nuts opened, found more than one cell. Professor
Watson has noticed two cells in several specimens, but never three. In
the illustration of this palm the bunch of nearly ripe nuts is clearly
shown, and in the diagram of flowers and fruit the fibrous husks and
the abortive cells may be seen. The natives crush the ripe nuts between
stones, and after pounding the rather small kernel in a mahogany mortar,
boil the resulting cake until the oil floats; this is skimmed off and
boiled again, to drive out the water. The average yield is a quart of
oil from a hundred nuts. The oil is said to be superior to coconut-oil,
a pint of it giving as much light, or rather burning as long, as a quart
of the latter.[51] It is not probable that the manufacture will pay in
the presence of the more tractable coconut. As the cohune grows older,
the hitherto persistent leaf-stems drop, the scars disappear, and the
smooth stem rises thirty to fifty feet clear to the crown of leaves at
the summit.

[Illustration: CHOCUN PALMS.]

The pimento-palm has a small cinnamon-colored stem much used for house
building, as is also the poknoboy (_Bactris balanoidea_). The warree
cohune (_Bactris cohune_), armed with spines, bears an edible nut much
easier to crack than the larger fruit of the attalea. The cabbage-palm
(_Oreodoxa oleracea_) is common in the upper valleys, and the base of
the leaf is a very poor cabbage, nor is it eaten to any extent. In the
forests the pacaya (_Euterpe edulis_) is a slender tree, the unexpanded
flower-buds being the edible part; and these are on sale in the
market-places tied in neat and attractive bundles. In taste it is rather
insipid. On the ridges the _Acrocomia sclerocarpa_ flourishes; its stem
is, like the warree cohune, armed with formidable spines, which serve as
pins, needles, and awls. The _Acrocomia vinifera_ also is common in the
valley of the Motagua. Along the river-banks the _Desmoncus_, a climbing
palm, is very common and very troublesome to the explorer; but it shows
such a curious adaptation of parts to special ends that its bad qualities
may be overlooked by the naturalist. It is generally understood that
in the foliage of palms the palmate form is the earlier, and that the
growth or development of the midrib results in a pinnate or feather form.
This is seen to be the case in the coco-palm, where the first leaves are
palmate or fan-shaped; but when the palm is a few months old it puts off
these childish garments and dons the toga virilis in the pinnate form. In
the desmoncus the development does not stop with the mere lengthening of
the midrib, but transforms the leaflets at the end into claws to aid the
limp stem to climb into sunlight. Here is a leaf-tip to show how this is
done; the ribs of the leaflets, instead of expanding into thin blades,
have thickened and bent backward to serve as the barbs of an arrow and
allow motion in one direction only. The leaf can push the stiffly bent
fingers through the thick foliage, where they stick fast and hold up the
stem. The rattan-palm (_Calamus rotang_) of the East Indies climbs over
the trees in a similar way. The Guatemalan climber bears a small cluster
of spiny but edible nuts. The graceful little Chamaedoreas may be found
in flower or fruit at almost any season of the year, and their slender
stems make good walking-sticks. The confra (_Manicaria Plukenetii_),
so useful for thatching, grows only near the sea, usually in clumps of
five or more. The nut is globular when one-celled, and about two inches
in diameter. The coco (_Cocos nucifera_) is too well known to need
description, though we shall consider the commercial importance of the
nuts presently. Of the other fifty or more species of palms few have been
identified, and their local names have no meaning for us.

[Illustration: Leaf-tip of Climbing Palm.]

To the family of orchids the collector is sure to turn with eagerness;
but I must confess that the brilliant colors and bizarre forms of these
flowers are not attractive to me. They are parasites; and although
possessing a commercial value far above many more beautiful and honest
flowers, only the vanilla has any useful qualities, so far as known. The
vanilla moreover is an article of luxury, not necessity; for doubtless
the chemist will discover, if he has not already done so, a substitute in
some of the thousand and one products of the decomposition of coal-tar.

All along the coast the _Epidendrum bicornutum_ and the _Schomburgkia
tibicina_ are very common, affecting mangroves especially. On
orange-trees in the Motagua valley grows a bright little yellow
_Oncidium_, the flower being the largest part of the plant. In the
mountains is an orchid which bears several long spikes of rich purple
flowers, which with the pure white clusters of a ground orchid care much
used in church decoration. So little is popularly known of the vanilla
(_V. planifolia_) that I may be pardoned for quoting from Mr. Morris the
directions lately issued from his Botanical Department of Jamaica, which
are entirely applicable to the plant in Guatemala. In the Chocon forests
it grows abundantly and fruits naturally, the insect needed to fertilize
the flowers being present; and the pods are of excellent quality.

_Vanilla._—“This is a vigorous, soft-stemmed vine, the cured fruits
of which are the valuable vanilla-beans of commerce. If cuttings are
taken, their upper ends, or portion to appear above ground, may readily
be determined by examination of the base of the attached leaf, in the
axil or upper face of which is a small growth-bud. Cut the stem with say
three or four joints at one fourth of an inch below the basal node or
joint, then place the base of each cutting shallowly in prepared soil
against the bole or trunk of a rough-barked, low-branching tree, as, for
instance, calabash, or on a low-trellised frame three or four feet high,
the supports of which should be unbarked logwood, yoke, or calabash.

“If the insect which fertilizes the flowers of this orchid in its
natural habitat is not present, in order to secure a crop of fruit it is
necessary that the flowers should be artificially fertilized. This may be
easily accomplished as follows. In the flower is a central white column,
at the summit of which is a detachable cap or anther, which if touched on
the lower front edge with a sharpened pencil or knife-blade will adhere
to the implement. The pollen masses contained in the anther must then
be made lightly to touch the sticky disk situated on the front of the
column. Each flower must be so treated at or about noon of the day on
which it opens.

“To cure vanilla-beans, gather when full, steep for about two minutes in
boiling water, and place in flannel to dry in the sun. When perfectly
dry, place them the next day on plates of iron or tin, anointing once or
twice with sweet oil, to keep them soft and plump. Complete the curing
process by exposing them carefully in the sun for several days [weeks].
When quite cured they should have a uniformly rich brown color, and the
full fragrance of this valuable product.”

In my own experience I have found it very difficult properly to dry the
pods in the damp atmosphere of the rainy season on the coast, and prefer
to use the hot-air dryers now generally used for tea, coffee, cacao, etc.

Of the family of ferns little need be said. The gold-fern (_Gymnogramma
aurea_) is a common weed at Livingston, and adiantums, lygodiums, and
selaginellas are found everywhere in the forests. While the small ferns
are abundant, tree-ferns are very scarce, only one specimen being seen
(in the forests of El Mico), and that not a fine one.

_Mahogany._—From the small extent of coast-line possessed by Guatemala,
her mahogany exports are perhaps not so extensive as those of the two
Hondurases on either side of her. In 1884 there was exported of all
woods (mahogany being the chief) from the port of Izabal (Livingston) a
measurement of 352,066 feet, valued at four cents a foot, or $14,082.64;
while the shipments from Belize for the same time were about 3,000,000
feet, worth $150,000. This is not because the Guatemalan forests
yield less of this valuable wood; on the contrary, mahogany-trees are
very abundant in the Chocon forests, on the smaller tributaries of the
Polochic, and in the Motagua valley. I have myself seen hundreds of
immense trees deep in the forests, while along the larger watercourses
the trees have generally been cut. In British Honduras the origin and
existence of the colony is due to mahogany-cutting. The mahogany-lands
are in the hands of a few proprietors who will not sell nor allow
settlers, since the young trees grow rapidly; and it is said that in
thirty years from a clearing, logs of large size may be cut from the
shoots which spring from the stumps. The business of mahogany-cutting is
thoroughly organized and made the most of. In the neighboring republic,
much of the mahogany-land belongs to the Government, which allows any one
to cut the timber on pretended payment of five dollars stumpage. A few
private individuals cut here and there and in a desultory way. The work
at a mahogany bank is generally done by Caribs, who are skilful woodmen.
The hunter or _montero_ strikes alone into the forest and searches for
trees. If he finds enough of a suitable size (squaring not less than
eighteen inches) within reasonable distance from the “bank,” a road is
opened from the tree to the river. Often the buttresses are immense, and
the platform, or “barbecue,” is raised a dozen feet from the ground. The
log is roughly squared, hauled to the river, usually by night, by the
light of pine-torches, and only when floated to port is it trimmed into
its final shape for the market. The best mahogany comes from limestone

With the mahogany is usually found the cedar (_Cedrela odorata_), from
which cigar-boxes are made, and which is also used (as is mahogany) for
single-log canoas, dories, and cayucos.

As an article of export, logwood ranks next to mahogany, of which the
best is found in the region of the Usumacinta. It is not a large tree,
fifteen to twenty feet high, and much easier to handle than the mahogany.
The dark heartwood alone is used.

The Santa Maria (_Calophyllum calaba_) is much used in house-building.
Rosewood (_Dalbergia_) grows to a large size and is most beautifully
veined, as is also the exquisite Palo de mulatto (_Spondias lutea_); but
both sink in water, and are difficult to transport. I have used rosewood
logs twenty inches thick to support a cistern, as they are almost
imperishable, and not attacked by insects. Sapodilla (_Achras sapota_) is
nearly as heavy. When freshly hewn, its color is curiously red, beefy in
tone; but it soon loses this on exposure, and shrinks considerably. It
splits easily, but is so tough that splinters are used as nails in soft
woods. Salmwood (_Jacaranda, sp._) is light colored, and much used for
door and window frames. Ziricote is beautifully veined.

Two species of pine are common, the _Pinus cubensis_, or _ocote_,
whence is obtained the fat-pine which serves as candle for a great
majority of the people of Central America, and the long-leaved pine (_P.
macrophylla_) of the mountains. I have placed in the Appendix a list of
other woods valuable in many ways, but never exported, and known only by
their local names.

The two products that in former years ranked high among the Guatemalan
exports, indigo and cochineal, have now been so completely superseded by
other dyes, the product of the laboratory, that they no longer need be
considered of importance, although enough indigo is still made to supply
native dyers, the Indios especially prizing the true indigo blue. Both
dye-stuffs were chiefly cultivated on the Pacific slopes, and I have seen
half-neglected _nopaleras_ in the vicinity of Antigua and Amatitlan, the
nopal or opuntia generally yielding place to sugar-cane and retiring to
the roadside and neglected corners, while the cochineal insect, unfed
and uncared-for, is gradually disappearing. In 1883 there were exported
135.02 cwt. of indigo, valued at $16,881.25; while in 1884 only 62.67
cwt., of a value of $7,833.75. A more decided decrease is seen in the
exportation of cochineal in those years, the amounts being 184.01 cwt.,
of a value of $9,200.50, in 1883, against 8.12 cwt., valued at $406, in

It has been my fortune to visit many of the tropical regions of the
world, and I have visited them not from idle curiosity, but with a
genuine interest in their inhabitants and productions. I have looked
upon the human, animal, and vegetable population of these places as
closely as my limited knowledge and the time allowed me would permit. It
is an agreeable study to place the physical capabilities of a region,
the richness of the soil, the climatic influences, the geographical and
commercial situation, side by side with the people, their industry,
strength, and intelligence, and from these premises draw the conclusion
of the might-be.

Once in travelling alone on horseback over the desert lands which lie
between the mountains of the Island of Maui, of the Hawaiian group, I
was impressed with the desolate, arid land of that great plain. Stunted
indigo, verbena, and malvaceous weeds thinly covered the parched soil,
which was cracked in every direction. Ten thousand feet above me rose the
vast dome of Haleakala, bare on this landward side, but which had sent
down for centuries volcanic ash to make this plain, and which now was
covering these earlier deposits with the decomposition of its rich lavas.
I examined this soil and found it full of the elements best suited for
the growth of cane. As is the case with many of our own Western plains
comprised in what was known as the Great American Desert, which have
often impressed me as the most inhospitable land, not even excepting the
Sahara, I have ever seen, this Hawaiian plain needed only water to turn
the desert into a fertile field. I laid before the then Government of
Hawaii my plan for reclaiming this land, which in great part belonged to
the School Fund. The Minister of Foreign Relations, the Hon. Robert C.
Wyllie, a most remarkable man, saw the physical possibilities, but also
the financial impossibilities, so far as the Government was concerned.
Years went by, when on a second visit to Maui I had the pleasure of
seeing that my plan had in part been carried out by private parties, and
prospering sugar plantations, valued at many millions, occupied the once
waste land.

In travelling through Guatemala I was convinced of the physical
advantages the country possessed, though I was not blind to the
indisputable fact that of all countries I have seen, Guatemala, in
common with the other States of Central America, makes least use of her
natural advantages, and does least to overcome those obstacles Nature has
thrown in her way. My readers will pardon me, I trust, if, in briefly
discussing the present outcome of the soil, I let my imagination, trained
and curbed by an extended experience, suggest at the same time what the
wonderfully fertile lands of Guatemala might yield, properly cultivated.
While I will endeavor to guard myself from all exaggeration, I cannot
conceal from myself the fact that those not familiar with tropical
luxuriance of growth and fruitfulness will not fully acquit me of this
fault so generally charged to travellers.

[Illustration: Indian Plough; a Type of Guatemaltecan Agriculture.]

_Sugar-cane._—Arranging the products to be described, not in a scientific
order, but in that sequence which their commercial importance seems to
suit, sugar-cane easily leads; and this in spite of the difficulties of
the labor supply, which I deem of more importance than the artificial
competition of the very inferior sugar-beet. It is a bold assertion that
no country or climate is better suited to the culture of sugar-cane.
I have watched the growth of four of the choicest varieties[52] of
cane side by side with that usually cultivated on the Atlantic coast
(Bourbon), compared this with the growth of cane in Louisiana, the West
Indies, Guiana, the Hawaiian Islands, India, the East Indies, Egypt, and
the Mauritius, and I have ascertained the cost of cultivation, expense
of living, yield and freight of product to market, in all these various
centres of sugar-production, in a much more elaborate way than would be
in place to record in this book.

[Illustration: A Primitive Sugar-mill.]

At present the sugar-plantations of any importance are on the Pacific
side of Guatemala, although some, as that of San Geronimo, near Salamà,
are in the high interior. The valley of the Michatoya is full of small
plantations, or _ingenios_. From the Pacific ports was exported in 1883,
44,927.27 cwt. of sugar, valued at $223,136.35; in 1884. about 7,000
cwt. less. The home consumption of sugar is very great, and most of
that raised in the Department of Chiquimula is not exported. Much of
the manufacture is by the rudest wooden mills, and the sugar resembles
the poorest quality of maple-sugar; it is cooled in wooden blocks in
hemispherical form, and comes to market wrapped in corn husks, when it
is called _panela_.

That the sugar production may be better understood, I give the statistics
for 1883, as published by the Government. A _finca_ is a plantation; a
_manzana_ equals an acre and three quarters, more or less; an _arroba_
weighs twenty-five pounds, and a _quintal_ one hundred pounds.

  |              | Number | Manzanas|   Arrobas |
  |Departments.  |   of   | planted.|     of    |
  |              | fincas.|         |    sugar. |
  |              |        |         |           |
  |Guatemala     |   68   |    203  |    3,259  |
  |Escuintla     |   55   |  1,851  |   40,507  |
  |Sacatepequez  |    2   |    163  |   13,494  |
  |Chimaltenango |  265   |    216  |    2,168  |
  |Sololà        |   16   |    214  |      132  |
  |Suchitepequez |   20   |    312  |    7,999  |
  |Retalhuleu    |   31   |    305  |    4,200  |
  |Quezaltenango |   23   |    249  |           |
  |San Marcos    |   66   |    252  |           |
  |Huehuetenango |  513   |    112  |      311  |
  |Quiché        |   57   |     43  |           |
  |Baja Verapaz  |   77   |    384  |    2,201  |
  |Alta Verapaz  |   61   |    157  |      411  |
  |Peten         |   71   |    127  |           |
  |Zacapa        |  106   |    213  |    4,696  |
  |Chiquimula    |  505   |    605  |   56,254  |
  |Jalapa        |  135   |  1,800  |    1,052  |
  |Jutiapa       |  144   |    380  |   15,136  |
  |Santa Rosa    |   32   |    174  |    2,719  |
  |Totals        |2,247   |  7,810  |  154,599  |
  |              |        |         |  @ $1.75  |
  |Value         |        |         |$270,548.25|

  |              | Loads of | Arrobas  | Quintals  |
  |Departments.  |panela, 64|   of     |   of      |
  |              | parcels  | molasses.| moscovado.|
  |              | each.    |          |           |
  |Guatemala     |   1,571  |  5,162   |  1,472    |
  |Escuintla     |   7,315  | 66,441   | 15,168    |
  |Sacatepequez  |     413  | 35,765   | 45,796    |
  |Chimaltenango |   2,128  |     13   |           |
  |Sololà        |   1,067  |    150   |           |
  |Suchitepequez |   4,149  |  9,560   |           |
  |Retalhuleu    |   3,191  |  9,825   |      8    |
  |Quezaltenango |   1,641  |  6,661   |           |
  |San Marcos    |   6,996  |  4,918   |           |
  |Huehuetenango |   4,043  |    122   |           |
  |Quiché        |   1,256  |          |           |
  |Baja Verapaz  |   3,889  |  3,401   |  2,003    |
  |Alta Verapaz  |     867  |    632   |           |
  |Peten         |     499  |          |           |
  |Zacapa        |   1,549  |  2,125   |      8    |
  |Chiquimula    |  17,201  |  7,558   |     42    |
  |Jalapa        |     741  |    269   |           |
  |Jutiapa       |   2,202  |  6,461   |           |
  |Santa Rosa    |   6,465  |    121   |           |
  |Totals        |  67,183  |159,184   | 64,497    |
  |              |  @ $8.00 |@ 25 cts. |@ $2.00    |
  |Value         | $537,464 |$39,896   |$128,994   |

While this table is by no means exact, it shows fairly the amount of
saccharine products and their distribution. It is curious to note
how many very small plantations are reported from the Department
of Huehuetenango yielding almost exclusively the coarse panela. In
Chiquimula the large proportion of sugar is due to foreign enterprise.
There the cane-fields are capable of irrigation from the Hondo or other
streams, and the cane is chiefly a small red variety. Escuintla and
Jalapa have nearly the same area of cane planted, but the former, by
superior machinery, produces forty times the amount of sugar, and ten
times as much panela. The cultivation at present is almost confined to
burying the seed-cane and trashing, that is, stripping the lower leaves
twice in a season. In the rich valleys of the Atlantic, cane will grow
nine feet in as many months, will yield four tons of sugar to the acre,
will rattoon freely for twenty years without replanting, and may be
ground during nine months of the year. Much of the product of the cane
is in Guatemala converted into aguardiente, or rum. With the exception
of the experimental plantation to which I have referred, I know of no
sugar fincas in northern Guatemala, although there are several in similar
situations in British Honduras.

It is a well-known saying in this part of the world that “Wherever
mahogany will grow, there every tropical product will flourish; and
wherever logwood grows, there you can produce the finest rice.” Cane
certainly is no exception to this rule.

_Coffee._—Second on the list may be placed coffee, both from the
importance of the present product, and from its very excellent quality.
On the coast the Liberian coffee flourishes, and as the berries do not
drop as soon as ripe, the trouble of harvesting is much lessened. Most
of the crop exported from Livingston goes to England, and it has up
to the present time been difficult to obtain the best quality, except
through England. In 1883, 404,069.39 cwt. of a value (at twelve cents) of
$4,848,832.68 were exported. On this the Government levies a tax, varying
year by year, proportioned to the harvest.

The present importance of the coffee interest is shown by the following
table of the coffee crop, commencing October, 1883, and ending June,

  |Departments. | Fincas.|   Trees.  |   Crop.   |     Value.    | Pounds|
  |             |        |           |           |               | per   |
  |             |        |           |           |               | tree. |
  |Guatemala    |    213 |   756,484 | 11,340.26 |   $113,402.60 |  1.50 |
  |Amatitlan    |    507 | 5,152,900 | 45,288.76 |    452,887.60 |       |
  |Escuintla    |    104 | 5,914,850 | 38,560.00 |    385,600.00 |  0.65 |
  |Sacatepequez |    626 | 2,805,400 | 18,286.18 |    182,860.80 |       |
  |Chimaltenango|     47 | 3,511,839 | 27,573.26 |    275,732.60 |       |
  |Sololà       |     82 | 2,287,525 | 27,993.52 |    279,935.20 |       |
  |Suchitepequez|    253 | 3,511,839 | 52,860.32 |    528,603.20 |  1.50 |
  |Retalhuleu   |    598 | 5,129,857 | 33,250.15 |    332,501.50 |       |
  |Quezaltenango|    409 | 8,903,552 |124,779.70 |  1,247,797.00 |  1.50 |
  |San Marcos   |    177 | 1,595,488 | 45,115.68 |    451,156.80 |  0.40 |
  |Huehuetenango|    248 |   627,276 |  7,354.94 |     73,549.40 |       |
  |Alta Verapaz |    265 | 3,835,084 |  2,883.25 |    288,732.50 |  0.75 |
  |Baja Verapaz |     54 |   900,856 |    813.54 |      8,135.40 |       |
  |Peten        |    101 |    18,545 |    278.36 |      2,783.60 |  1.50 |
  |Zucapa       |     91 |    56,410 |    182.36 |      1,823.60 |       |
  |Chiquimula   |  1,000 |   908,670 |  6,595.52 |     65,955.20 |       |
  |Jalapa       |     96 |    30,210 |    206.86 |      2,068.60 |       |
  |Santa Rosa   |    560 | 4,354,428 | 26,032.45 |    260,324.50 |  0.60 |
  |Totals       |  5,431 |60,301,213 |495,385.11 | $4,953,850.11 |  0.82 |

If the figures of this table are correct, the average yield throughout
the republic is 0.82 lb. per tree; in Escuintla .65 lb.; in Santa Rosa
.60; in Guatemala 1.5; in Quezaltenango and Peten the same; in Alta
Verapaz .75; and in San Marcos .40,—figures which show a very large
number of non-bearing trees.

Coffee is planted in the shade, and the young plants require the
protection of banana or other trees until well established. Plants are
set ten feet apart each way, and topped when about six feet high. The
Liberian variety is large beaned, and although of a lower price than
the best Arabian, is more prolific, and in the lower lands, where the
latter does not do well, is certainly more profitable.[53] It begins
to bear the third year, produces three to four hundred pounds per acre
in the fifth year, attains its maximum in the tenth, and is old in the
thirtieth. Coffee exhausts the soil more than any crop except tobacco.

_Cacao._—All through the forests of the Atlantic coast cacao grows
wild, and even in this condition generally of choice quality. On the
Pacific coast are the chief plantations, although the amount exported is
insignificant (1,492 lbs. in 1884). Just over the Mexican boundary, in
the province of Soconusco, grows the most celebrated cacao known; and
probably careful selection of seed and cultivation would produce the
same results in Guatemalan territory. Throughout the republic there is
probably less cacao raised than before the Conquest, when the nib was
current as money, and chocolate a royal drink. Like the coffee-tree,
cacao requires protection,[54] which must be continuous, for the cacao
never outgrows it; but a thin shade such as the India-rubber affords
will answer very well, and in this case the _madre cacao_ is profitable.
A cacao-plantation should be in full bearing about the seventh year;
and while the curing of the pods requires much care and experience, the
cultivation of the trees is very simple. The many varieties and the
interesting process by which the bean is prepared for market are well
described in the pamphlet to which reference has been made. Plantations
in the valleys of the Polochic, Chocon, and Motagua would yield a rich
return. In Guatemala are several factories for preparing chocolate from
the bean, and I have seen samples of very high quality. It is generally,
if not always, flavored with cinnamon, and when used as a beverage is
churned or beaten into froth.

[Illustration: Theobroma Cacao (Chocolate Tree).

  A _Enlarged flower._
  B _Stamens and pistil._
  C _Andrœcium._
  D _Petal._
  E _Ovary, vertical._
  F _Ovary, transverse._
  G _Pod section._
  H _Ripe pod._]

_India-rubber._—Like the cacao, the _Castilloa elastica_ grows wild in
all the coast valleys; but although the Government has placed a bounty on
plantations of this very desirable tree, few have been formed. Now, as
formerly, the Indios collect the gum in a very wasteful way, and soon the
supply will be greatly lessened. I am tempted to quote from Juarros[55]
what I believe is the earliest notice of the use of India-rubber for
waterproof garments. “On pricking the trunk of this tree [ule] an
abundant juice issues, which serves, as Fuentes assures us, to coat a
boot, with which one can pass a stream or a swamp dryshod.”

[Illustration: Castilloa elastica (India-rubber Tree).]

The castilloa grows to a height of about forty to fifty feet, and its
clean, smooth stem may be two feet in diameter at the base. The leaves
are large, oblong in shape, and rather hairy. The foliage is light
green in color, and not very dense. The small greenish flowers appear
in February and March, and the seed ripens three months later. Mr.
Morris[56] gives the following account of the rubber gathering:—

“The castilloa rubber-tree is fit to be tapped for caoutchoue, or the
gummy substance produced by its milk, when about seven to ten years
old. The milk is obtained at present, from trees growing wild, by men
called rubber-gatherers, who are well acquainted with all the localities
inhabited by the Toonu [ule]. The proper season for tapping the trees
is after the autumn rains, which occur some months after the trees have
ripened their fruit, and before they put forth buds for the next season.
The flow of milk is most copious during the months of October, November,
December, and January. The rubber-gatherers commence operations on an
untapped tree by reaching with a ladder, or by means of lianes, the
upper portions of its trunk, and scoring the bark the whole length with
deep cuts, which extend all round. The cuts are sometimes made so as to
form a series of spirals all round the tree; at other times they are
shaped simply like the letter V, with a small piece of hoop-iron, the
blade of a cutlass, or the leaf of a palm placed at the lower angle to
form a spout to lead the milk into a receptacle below. A number of trees
are treated in this manner, and left to bleed for several hours. At
the close of the day the rubber-gatherer collects all the milk, washes
it by means of water, and leaves it standing till the next morning.
He now procures a quantity of the stem of the moon-plant (_Calonyction
speciosum_), pounds it into a mass, and throws it into a bucket of water.
After this decoction has been strained, it is added to the rubber milk in
the proportion of one pint to a gallon, or until, after brisk stirring,
the whole of the milk is coagulated. The masses of rubber floating on
the surface are now strained from the liquid, kneaded into cakes, and
placed under heavy weights to get rid of all watery particles.” It is
true that either very heavy weights are not handy, or the honest Indian
wishes to sell water at the price of rubber; for the masses, as I have
examined them freshly brought in for sale, contain a large quantity
of water held mechanically in the interstices. Alum is sometimes used
to coagulate the milk, but is thought to render the gum hard and less
elastic. A full-grown tree should yield about eight gallons of milk
when first tapped,—which is equivalent to sixteen pounds of rubber,
worth from ten to twelve dollars. Although the law of Guatemala forbids
the tapping of young trees, and tries to regulate the frequency of the
attack, it is ineffectual to prevent the gradual destruction of the wild
trees through improvident bleeding, and only the establishment of private
plantations will prevent the final extinction of this most valuable
source of rubber. The Para rubber (_Hevea brasiliensis_) grows only in
swamps unfit for cultivation; the true rubber (_Ficus elastica_), so
popular a house-plant, does not seem to thrive and yield a supply of
rubber away from its native East Indies; and the Ceara rubber of South
America (_Manihot Glaziovi_) is not of easy cultivation, so that the
Castilloa certainly promises to be the tree, of the many known to produce
rubber, most likely to supply in cultivation that useful gum civilized
nations cannot now do without, although the science of adulteration has
progressed so far that an ordinary pair of so-called rubber boots contain
hardly a spoonful of the pure gum, the rest being sulphur, coal-tar, and
other matters.

The trees should be planted forty feet apart; and as the seed is very
perishable, it should be planted, or at least packed in earth, as soon as

_Sarsaparilla._—One of the most troublesome vejucos, or vines, common
all through the forests of the Atlantic seaboard is the zarza, or
sarsaparilla. Probably the American public is familiar with the popular
remedies compounded in part with this valuable medicinal plant, which,
belonging to the Smilax family, affects damp, warm forests, climbing to
great heights over the trees. The portion used is the long, tough root;
this the zarza-gatherer digs and pulls from the loose soil, replanting
the stem, which in due time replaces its stolen roots, to be again
robbed. The roots are washed, loosely bundled, and sold to the dealers,
who have the fibres made up into tight rolls, a few hundred of which
are then pressed together and sewed up in the thickest hide that can be
found; for the “custom of trade” includes the wrapper in the tare of the
more costly drug. Most of the sarsaparilla exported from Belize comes
from Guatemala and Honduras; but from Livingston more than 60,000 pounds
were exported in 1884, of an appraised value of ten cents per pound. The
plant is easily propagated by cuttings or seeds, and of course needs no
cultivation or clearing; the yield will average twenty pounds of dried
root from each plant.

_Bananas and Plantains._—No export from Guatemala has increased more
rapidly in value than have the products under this head. The permanent
establishment of lines of steamers between New Orleans and Livingston,
and the bounty offered by the Government, stimulated the planting of many
small fincas along the shores and on the river-banks. Under contract with
the steamship companies, the producer sells his bananas at 50 cents a
bunch (of not less than eight hands) during five months of the year, and
for 37½ cents the rest of the year. The cost of production may be placed
at 12½ cents per bunch. All these prices are in silver currency of the
value of the sham dollar of the United States. Plantains are sold at 25
cents a bunch of twenty-five, sometimes commanding $1.25 per hundred. The
profits of this business go, as usual, not to the producer, but to the
middle-man or the steamer-companies. For example, a man raises a hundred
bunches of good fruit; the cost to him is $12.50 delivered on board the
steamer. He is paid in the best season $50 in silver, for which he can
get $40 in American gold. The steamer people, after a voyage of four
days, during which all their expenses are paid by the passenger-list
and the Government mail-subsidies, sell the bananas on the wharf in New
Orleans for $125 in gold, or its equivalent,—clearing $85; while the
planter, for a year’s labor put into the bananas, gets $30. I have put
the price paid the planter at the highest, and the sales in New Orleans
at the lowest. The loss is insignificant at these figures, and it is not
uncommon for the profits of a single round trip of two weeks to exceed
$40,000. Half this shared with the planter would make him rich.

If the planting of bananas is to profit the grower, he must raise
enough—say twenty thousand bunches a month—to freight his own steamer,
and be independent of the present monopolies of the Italian fruiterers.
The extent of this business is seen in the fact that from Livingston in
1883 were exported 29,699 bunches, and in 1884, 54,633, or nearly double
the amount.

[Illustration: Bunch of Plantains (young).]

This is not the proper place to enter into a detailed history of the
banana, its culture and its varieties; but there is much uncertainty
in the Northern markets as to the distinction between bananas and
plantains, which it may be well to remove. At present plantains are not
brought to the Boston or New York markets. Botanically, it is difficult
to distinguish between these two fruits, as connecting varieties run
imperceptibly into the two extremes; no one, however, would ever mistake
a typical plantain for a banana, either single or in bunch. Of all the
varieties of the banana (and I have myself seen at least two hundred,
including the seeding-banana of Chittagong), only two or three are raised
for exportation in Guatemala, and these are by no means the best; but
as the steamer people will give no more for a choice variety, there is
no inducement to improve the stock. Both yellow and red varieties are
grown, and the former sometimes have two hundred and fifty bananas on a
bunch, weighing, unripe, ninety pounds. The plantain is yellow when ripe
(I have never seen a red variety), and is much larger and more curved
than a banana, while the bunches are looser and much smaller, seldom
numbering more than thirty-five fruits. Some plantains attain a length of
fifteen inches, and some are quite palatable uncooked; but the usual way
to eat them is either baked or fried. Few of our Northerners appreciate
the wonderful nutritive qualities of the plantain, which in this respect
surpasses the banana; and it may be authoritatively stated that sixteen
hundred and seven square feet of rich land will produce four thousand
pounds of nutritive substance from plantains, which will support fifty
persons, while the same land planted with wheat will support but two.
When the plantain is dried, it will keep from twenty to thirty years;
and if dried before ripening, an admirable meal (better than arrowroot)
can be made from the ground white fruits, while the ripe fruit forms a
conserve not unlike a fig in flavor, and of course free from the seeds so
troublesome in that fruit. One hundred parts of the fresh fruit contain
twenty-seven parts of nutritive matter, easily digested and superior to
pure starch. The comparative cost and profit of the two fruits may be
thus stated:—

                                        Banana.      Plantain.
  Cost of one acre of land    $1.00
  Clearing and planting       20.00   300 bunches   15,000 fruits
  430 stools                   2.50     at .50        at $1.25
  Care to first crop          10.00    less cost     per hundred
  Shipping                    10.00
                            -------   -----------   -------------
                             $43.50    $106.50        $144.00

The second year the increase would be in favor of the plantain, and the
product has reached more than thirty-five thousand per acre. Of the fibre
no account has been taken, although this bids fair to become an important
by-product. The plantain contains more fibre than the banana,—the inner
portion in both stems being much finer. At present the possible four
pounds of fibre in each stem is wasted; and as the stems should be cut to
the ground after the fruit is gathered, these large fibrous trunks are
much in the way of cultivation. It will be remembered that the Manilla
hemp is the product of a species of banana (_Musa textilis_).

Usually bananas or plantains are planted in a cafétal or in a cacao or
orange orchard, to shade the young plants, and after three or four years
are removed as the more permanent trees attain their growth. All the
fruit exported must be cut and shipped while quite green and not fully
grown; and this, conjoined to the tar and bilge smell of the steamers,
certainly gives the fruit a flavor it does not have in its native land
when allowed to attain its full growth and then slowly ripened under
shelter from the sun. Bananas, like some pears, should not be allowed to
ripen on the trees.

There are two articles of food and commerce which should certainly
attract the attention of merchants, and so of the public, in our Northern
States,—fresh plantains, as a most nutritious and delicious vegetable,
more costly than the banana, though of easier transport; and the dried
plantain, for which there is already an increasing market on the Pacific

_Pita and Sisal Hemp._—The mention of the plantain-fibre calls to
mind two very valuable fibrous plants at present little cultivated
in Guatemala, except for home consumption. The _pita_, or silk-grass
(_Bromelia pita_) belongs to the pineapple family, and is very commonly
used for hedges in the interior of the country. The long sharp leaves
are rotted, and the fibre extracted by the rudest means, usually by
pounding on stones in a running stream; but the product makes most
durable and desirable hammocks and bags and cords. The other plant is
most cultivated in Yucatan, whence the name Sisal hemp, from the shipping
port. It is also called henequen (_Agave ixtli_), and much resembles the
century-plant. Common over the mountain-ranges, certainly to a height of
eight thousand feet, it is little used, except for hedges. From Yucatan
it is exported to the annual value of $500,000. The ixtli grows in poor
dry soil and is easily propagated by cuttings. An American machine
removes the pulp and cleans the fibre at the rate of a leaf a minute, and
the product is then baled and shipped without further trouble. The fibre,
according to the “Textile Record,” costs the planter two thirds of a cent
per pound, the freight to New York is three quarters of a cent, and with
commissions and incidental expenses, the total charge per pound is a cent
and a half, and it sells for from five to seven cents per pound. In the
English market Sisal hemp is quoted at £30 per ton.

The species and varieties of the agaves or henequen and pulque plants are
not clearly distinguished; but two types are tolerably distinct. _Agave
Americana_, or maguey, is cultivated in Mexico for the juice which when
fermented is called pulque. The plant after some years of growth in a
stemless condition throws up a stem very rapidly to a height of forty
feet, or even more. The Mexican cultivator, however, nips this stem
before it has attained two feet; and scooping a large hollow in the cut
stump, waits for the sap to collect. The yield from a vigorous plant—and
the sap continues to run for three months—is from two to three hundred
gallons! The agave, it must be remembered, grows in the driest soil.
The fibre of the leaf is very strong, and is used to make paper of the
toughest and most durable kind.

[Illustration: Pounding Rice.]

The _Agave ixtli_, or henequen, is larger than the last species. When the
plants are three years old the leaves may be cut, and a good plant should
yield from fifty to a hundred leaves annually, the cutting being repeated
every four months. The continuous fibres in a leaf are sometimes five and
a half feet long, and are used by the natives without spinning. The life
of the ixtli subjected to this pruning and not allowed to flower, may
extend to ten years, but usually is several years less.

_Bromelia pita_ produces a much finer and stronger fibre, but is not so
easy to handle. As these fibres come to market they are often confounded,
even by the Indios, and the term “pita” is not infrequently applied to
the product of agaves, and even of plantains.

The genus _Fourcroya_, closely allied to agave, also yields valuable

_Rice._—The upland variety grows remarkably well in the bottom-lands of
the Chocon River, producing two crops a year of very heavy rice. All
through the logwood country it might profitably be cultivated; but up
to the present time not enough has been raised fairly to determine how
much the yield per acre may be. There are no suitable rice-mills, and the
grain is hulled by the rude and wasteful method of pounding in mortars.

_Oranges._—The delusion which has led so many to plant orange-trees on
the frost-visited sand-banks of Florida has at least turned the attention
of Americans to the desirability of orange-walks not too remote from our
principal fruit-markets. The Florida oranges, while sweet and juicy, are
wanting in flavor, especially the mandarin variety, which is far inferior
to the fruit of that variety raised in China. Even the Louisiana oranges,
which are generally superior to those from Florida, are not first-rate,
and in both States I have seen the foliage utterly destroyed by frost,—an
accident which must seriously interfere with the succeeding crop. As
a substitute for these unsuitable regions, Guatemala offers great
advantages. At Teleman, on the Polochic, the quality of the uncultivated
fruit is nearly equal to the Syrian oranges; that is, finer than any I
have seen in Jamaica or the West Indies generally,—and the same fruit can
be raised on all the bottom-lands of the Atlantic coast. Lemons do not do
so well, as this fruit requires a cooler climate and must be relegated
to the higher interior valleys; but limes grow wild in remarkable
perfection, being often used as hedge-plants. Raised from seed, the
plants at three years are six feet high, and in five are bearing. On the
western side limas, or sweet lemons, citrons, and toranjas, or shaddocks,
grow very well. Oranges of many varieties can be grown in the greatest
perfection in the rich valleys; and yet it is difficult to obtain oranges
enough for home consumption even where the alcaldes are not so stupid
as one reported during the cholera scare in 1884, who ordered all the
orange-trees in his village to be cut down, as their fruit was sure to
cause cholera! Along the coast of Honduras, near Trujillo, I have bought
for one dollar a barrel the finest limes I ever saw.

_Coconuts._—On the sandy shores, where no other fruit will grow, the
coconut flourishes. As a rule the nuts are not so large as those of the
Pacific Islands; but I have seen some of good size on the north shore of
the Island of Roatan. The low, sandy cayos and the equally low shores
of Manabique are admirably suited for coconut-walks. In one place on
the Hondureñan coast a large factory was established at great cost, but
for some reason not known to the writer it has been abandoned; and now,
nowhere on the northern coast of Guatemala is any organized attempt to
prepare either the oil or fibre (coir or cobre), and the nuts are shipped
to the United States or to England. Prolific bearers, these palms require
no care after they come into bearing in the fourth year; and as they
bear heavily by the seventh year, a young walk soon becomes a source of
profit. Usually a tree produces a flower-spathe every month; so there are
generally on a tree nuts in all stages. On a single spadix I have counted
five thousand nine hundred and fifty staminate or male blossoms, and
fifty-two pistillate or female. Of the latter not more than thirty, and
usually only twenty, develop into nuts; but a young tree in a good soil
will probably bear three hundred and sixty nuts per annum, worth $9. In a
walk, however, it is a good tree that is worth $3 per annum.

The trade in green nuts is of course limited; but they usually sell at
the rate of two cents apiece. No more delicious drink is found in the
tropical fruits than the rich milk of the nut when so green that the
shell is easily cut with a knife. When fully ripe, the nuts may be piled
in a damp place and left to germinate. The milk disappears, and its place
is occupied by a porous mass completely filling the cavity and of the
consistency of sponge-cake, quite edible withal. As the shoot pushes
through the eye and breaks through the thick husk, the innocent-looking
sponge seems to absorb the meat of the coconut; when this is finished,
the plant has, as it were, hatched itself from the old shell, and is
ready to continue life on its own basis. The coconut presents a good
illustration of the development of pinnate or feather leaves from palmate
(or leaves shaped like a fan),—all the early leaves of this palm being
of the latter class, while the noble leaves of the mature palm are long

[Illustration: Growth of a Young Coconut.]

If the trees are planted about sixty to the acre in ordinary situations,
such a plantation should not cost, including the land, more than forty
dollars until the trees bear; and in eight years the planter may expect
a crop of at least eight thousand nuts annually,—which should net him
about two hundred dollars. It is a great mistake to plant the nut on the
surface of the ground, as it is liable to be overturned by the winds, or
too thick, as it then grows tall and spindly, and bears poorly.

The exports of coconuts from Belize during six years previous to 1882, as
given by Mr. Morris,[57] are shown thus:—

  1876    381,000
  1877    604,000
  1878    698,000
  1879    919,000
  1880  1,623,000
  1881  6,047,160

A remarkable increase, that shows that the profits induce more extensive
planting. As to the duration of a fruitful coconut, I have not sufficient
data. I have seen old trees on Utila that had been growing less than
twenty-five years, and I have seen trees still bearing on the shores of
Hawaii which are distinctly marked with the cannon-balls Captain Cook’s
ships fired at the village of Kaawaloa after the great navigator’s tragic
death, more than a century ago; and these trees must have been well grown
at that remote day. I may add that on the Hawaiian Group few coconuts
bear before they are seven years old,—some not until they are fourteen.

_Pineapples._—No systematic cultivation of this most delicious fruit
has been undertaken in Guatemala, although the wild pines are of good
quality. The _piña de azucar_, or sugar-pine, is large (over six pounds),
and very tender and juicy; but the horse-pine has more flavor. On the
Chocon plantation the pine-fields planted in the lighter soil do very
well, but require cleaning five times each year. The sprouts from the
base of the fruit are planted, and after two years the stock has spread
so as to produce several pines annually. Three thousand plants to the
acre should yield, at six cents per pine, a hundred and twenty dollars
the first crop, and a hundred and eighty dollars afterwards. Whether
these fine fruits can profitably drive the inferior pineapples of the
West Indies from our markets, is yet doubtful. A wild pine, in which the
fruit is not crowded into a compact head, but is more acid and of less
flavor, is common in the mountains; but I have never seen this species
offered for sale.

_Nutmegs._—While I do not know of a dozen trees of the nutmeg, outside of
the Chocon plantation, the soil and climate are admirably suited to this
tree. The nutmeg requires at least eighty inches of rainfall per annum,
begins to bear when eight or ten years old, and improves for a century.
The first few years the yield is from one to five thousand nuts, of
from sixty-eight to one hundred and twenty to the pound. In the Botanic
Gardens, Trinidad, the net yield per tree has been more than twenty
pounds (say eighteen hundred nuts), with an average price of fifty-four
cents per pound. This would amount to three hundred and fifty dollars
per acre. The value of the mace is additional. In the Chocon region the
trees have not yet matured; but there seems no doubt that the conditions
of growth and fruitfulness are better than on the Island of Trinidad, and
with these trees planted thirty feet apart, or forty-five to an acre,
allowing one third to be male or barren trees, we should have at least
1,600 × 30 = 48,000 nutmegs to the acre. Averaging the nuts at ninety to
the pound, the crop would weigh five hundred and thirty-three pounds,
and at fifty cents per pound would amount to two hundred and sixty-six
dollars. Considering the less expense for care this permanent crop
would require, the profit would be sufficient even at forty cents per
pound. The red, fresh mace does not bring so high a price as when old and

_Maiz._—Indian corn (_Zea mays_) grows well all over the republic,
and forms the most important food of the Indian tribes. Yet the kinds
cultivated are not of fine quality, although growing freely. The stalks
are often a dozen feet high, and three ears are not uncommon. Three crops
can be raised annually. The corn is always stored and transported in the
husk. When the Spaniards first came among the Central Americans, they
found the milpas of maiz carefully cultivated; and as to-day the little
cornfields are found all over the country cultivated precisely as the
ancients were doing centuries ago, so the product is to-day prepared
and eaten in the same old-time manner. Mr. Belt,[58] in his work on
Nicaragua,—unfortunately too little known,—describes the preparation of
maiz better than I have seen done elsewhere. He says: “In Central America
the bread made from the maiz is prepared at the present day exactly
as it was in ancient Mexico. The grain is first of all boiled, along
with wood-ashes or a little lime. The alkali loosens the outer skin of
the grain, and this is rubbed off with the hands in running water; a
little of it at a time is placed upon a slightly concave stone,—called a
_metatle_, from the Aztec _metatl_,—on which it is rubbed with another
stone, shaped like a rolling-pin. A little water is thrown on it as it is
bruised, and it is thus formed into paste. A ball of the paste is taken
and flattened out between the hands into a cake about ten inches diameter
and three sixteenths inch thick, which is baked on a slightly concave
earthenware [or iron] pan. The cakes so made are called _tortillas_, and
are very nutritious. When travelling, I preferred them myself to bread
made from wheaten flour. When well made and eaten warm, they are very

Besides the importance of this grain for human food, it is necessary for
the horses, who could not well endure the hard steep roads on sacate
alone. Much might be exported to the neighboring republics.

_Wheat._—Throughout the uplands much wheat is grown. The straw is
generally small, but the grain heavy and good. In the grain centres, such
as Sololà, the wheat is inspected and weighed by Government officials.
The seed is sown in drills rather than broadcast. I found the bread
made from this home wheat of a uniformly good quality, though sometimes
dark colored,—indeed it is superior to the bread found in the country
throughout the United States.

_Potatoes, and other Food-Plants._—However the philosopher may try to
confine his attention to those products of a country which may have a
commercial value, be he cynic or epicurean he will be interested in those
fruits and vegetables not necessary to the support of life, but none the
less very important factors in human comfort. I have briefly noticed the
principal fruits that may be exported from Guatemala, and have passed
unnoticed the scores of valuable woods, because I can add nothing to
the general knowledge of these. For the same reason I have omitted the
hundred and one drugs or medicinal plants; but I should fail in my duty
to this pleasant country if I did not tell of some of those fruits and
vegetables that add to the pleasure of life.

The common potato I have already mentioned in a former chapter (p. 136).
The sweet potato (_Batatas edulis_) will grow in all its varieties, from
the huge purple-fleshed tuber to the delicate little yellow form; but it
is very little cultivated. The yam (_Dioscorea_) is much more common, but
dry and tasteless. The cocos or kalo (_Colocasium esculentum_) grows well
in the wetter lands, but is more common in Belize than in Guatemala, and
in neither place attains the prominence as a vegetable that it enjoys
in the Pacific Islands or in China and the East Indies. The cassava
(_Manihot utilissima_), so important a food in South America, is here
mostly confined to Carib use, and I have never seen it inland or on the
south coast; as a dietary its importance merits attention, and it should
be exported. In a dry climate it keeps well, and I have specimens four
years old still perfectly good. Frijoles, or beans, black, white, and
red, are very abundant and good. The Mexicans are the greatest consumers
of beans in the world, and their neighbors southward probably rank next.

The breadfruit (_Artocarpus incisa_) grows remarkably well in Livingston
and Belize, although I think the fruit is smaller than in the Pacific
islands. Carefully baked when full grown, but not ripe, it is a fine
vegetable, and the baked fruit sliced and fried is a delicacy. The odor
of the uncooked fruit is very unpleasant. Squashes, cucumbers (including
a small spiny wild one which is very good), melons, grow well, and
pumpkins are planted among the corn, as in New England. Indeed, the
variety of squashes is very great, and one may see a dozen or fifteen
kinds in a single heap. They are fed to cattle as pumpkins are with us.
Some are so hard that they keep a long time. The _chiote_ (_Sechium
edule_) is a rapid growing runner, often covering the houses, and bearing
a fruit about the shape of a pear and three inches thick, covered with
soft prickles. This was abundant all through the villages, and in the
plazas it was sold parboiled, fried, or preserved in sugar. It tastes
much like a vegetable marrow.

Tomatoes grow everywhere, and are of great importance in the kitchen,
next to the universal chile (_Capsicum annuum_). Peppers of other kinds
are used, especially a large green one which is stuffed with minced
meat coated with egg and crumbs and served as _Chile relleno_. Pawpaws
(_Carica papaya_) are common (a small wild species is abundant on the
Pacific coast); and the fruit, as large as a cantaloupe, and filled with
pungent seeds like those of the tropæolum, is eaten raw, or cooked in
tarts. Its juice is of the greatest use in making tough meat tender. The
akee (_Blighia sapida_) is much like a custard when cooked.

The avocado (_Persea gratissima_) is one of the fruits that have many
names. In Peru it is called _palta_, and the Mexican _ahuacatl_ was
twisted by the Spaniards into _aguacate_ and _avocado_, and the English
corrupted this last into alligator-pear. Intermediate, like the carica,
between vegetable and fruit, few strangers like the aguacate at first.
There are many varieties; but the best is pear-shaped, weighing about
a pound, with a shiny purple, leathery skin. Between the skin and the
rather large kernel is a greenish pulp nearly an inch thick, which is the
edible part of this delicious fruit. It is of a buttery consistency, and
may serve as substitute for butter, and be eaten alone, or with salt and
pepper. The sapote (_Lucuma mammosa_) somewhat resembles the aguacate in
the size and position of the edible pulp; but the outside is rough and
brown, and the salmon-colored interior is insipid and inferior.

Among the first rank of fruits may be placed the mango (_Mangifera
indica_), although the West Indian is far inferior to the East Indian
representative. As a mere shade-tree the mango is beautiful; but the rich
juicy, golden-meated fruit, slightly tinged with a flavor of turpentine
in the poorer sorts, is a never-to-be-forgotten delight. The unripe fruit
is good baked or made into a sauce, when it much resembles apples in
taste. The slippery, juicy meat, and the strong fibres which attach this
to the large flat stone, make it anything but an easy task for the novice
to eat this fruit; he should have plenty of water and napkins within
reach. When the tree does not bear well, root-pruning may be resorted
to, although the natives usually hack the stem. I have planted seeds of
the sour mango sent from Hawaii, and they have grown rapidly and promise
well. The mango may be grafted as easily, it is said, as the cherry or

The icaco (_Chrysobalanus icaco_), or coco-plum, grows near the shore,
and makes an excellent preserve; so does the manzanilla, a small

In the interior, a tree very commonly used for fences is the jocote
(_Spondias purpurea_?). This bears a plum-like fruit all over the smaller
branches, which is either yellow or red when ripe, and very juicy. The
stone closely resembles a medium-sized peanut. The juice when fermented
makes a very popular drink (_Chicha_). To propagate the tree it is only
necessary to plant a branch or cutting, which may be several inches in
diameter, and it takes root and bears the next season. I am not sure
of the species of spondias, but it is much smaller than the _S. dulcis_
of the Pacific Islands, and more like the hog-plum of Jamaica. Peaches
grow in the highlands, but of the poorest quality, and the trees are
in blossom and fruit at the same time. Figs grow very well; yet the
Guatemaltecans import canned figs from New Orleans. The star-apple
(_Chrysophyllum cainito_), so popular in the West Indies, the mangosteen
(_Garcinia mangostana_), the most delicious fruit of the East Indies, the
loquat (_Eriobotrya japonica_), the durian (_Durio zibethinus_), that
foul-smelling but pleasant-tasting fruit, the bhêl (_Ægle marmelos_), the
Marquesan plum (_Spondias dulcis_), and a host of others might grow here,
but do not.

Guavas or goyavas grow wild, but are of very poor quality; I have not
found the very fine strawberry guavas, but have planted seeds of the
black guava, the best of its kind. Cherimoyers (_Anona cherimolia_) are
very common in the uplands, extending even into the region of occasional
frosts. A red-pulped variety is much prized. The sour-sop (_Anona
muricata_) is cultivated all along the coast, and is seldom absent from
a Carib village. Grapes grow finely on the Pacific slope, and would
probably do equally well on the north. That most pleasing fruit of the
passion-flower (_Passiflora sp._), the granadilla, or water-lemon, may
be found, in the season, for sale in every plaza in the highlands. The
more common kind is of the size of a large hen’s egg, and the tough shell
contains an aromatic jelly of which one can eat almost without limit;
this fruit is sold at ten for a cuartil (3 cents). The larger species has
a fine purple blossom as large as a saucer, while the fruit is more than
a foot long. These vines are easily propagated by cuttings. The tamarind
(_Tamarindus officinalis_) is found all over the country, and its pulpy
pods make a wholesome and cooling drink. There are many other fruits
which I have not tasted and cannot describe; but they are generally those
that a stranger does not especially like, nor are they abundant. While
our common garden vegetables can be easily raised, if kept from ants,
especially from the ravages of the zompopos, there are few gardens that
contain any of them.

With food for man, it is important to provide well for his faithful
servants, horses, mules, and cattle. On the uplands the pasturage is
good, and the sheep and neat cattle thrive. On the lowlands and in the
river valleys grass must be planted, and the Guinea grass (_Panicum
jumentorum_) and Bahama grass (_Cynodon dactylon_) are usually chosen.
On the ridges _Paspalum distichum_ grows naturally, and in the interior
the grass is the same, I am told, as that of the famous plains of Yoro,
Olancho, and Comayagua in Honduras, where one acre will pasture two
animals, while in Texas four acres will barely feed one.

The fauna of Guatemala has been almost as much neglected as the flora;
but although insect-life seems abundant, and many of the rivers swarm
with fish, I believe that animal life is comparatively scarce. Game
certainly is, red-deer, peccaries, javias, turkeys, and pigeons being
almost the whole bag. Among the mammals the monkeys are here fairly
represented, the little white-faced (_Cebus albifrons_) being the most
attractive. This monkey has a face nearly devoid of hair, and as white as
a European. The hands and feet are very well formed, the nails especially
so, and the tail is quite long. It seems less difficult for him to stand
erect than for most monkeys, and when domesticated (an easy process) he
is an affectionate pet. The howling-monkeys (_Mycetes stentor_) will be
remembered by every traveller as the noisiest of the nocturnal animals.
Several other small _monos_ are common in the forests (_Simia apella_,
_S. fatuellus_, and _S. capucina_), where they feed on wild-figs and
other fruits. The pezote (_Nassua solitaria_) is found in the forests of
the eastern mountain-ranges.

The manatee, or lamantin (_Manatus Americanus_), once found in the Golfo
Dulce, is now seldom, if ever, seen on the coast of Guatemala, although
still found in British Honduras, where the hide is used for whips, canes,
etc. I have seen the tracks of the danta (_Tapirus Americanus_) in the
Chocon forests, but never the animal, as its habits are more nocturnal
than mine. Conies (_Lepus Douglassi_), taltusas (_Geomys heterodus_),
mapachines (_Procyon cancrivorus_), and armadillos (_Dasypus sp._) are
common articles of food among the Indios. Red-deer (_Cervus dama_) are
found in the interior. Peccaries (_Jabali_, _Dicotyles tajaçu_) feed in
droves in the bottom-lands, and are perhaps the most dangerous of the
wild animals of Guatemala; their sharp tusks will cut terribly, and the
little beast is too stupid to be frightened away when thoroughly angered.
It is said that even the jaguar fears to attack a drove, but skulks
behind, hoping to pick up a straggler. They can, however, be tamed, and
I have seen them with domestic pigs about the streets of San Felipe,
Pansos, and other places. The white-lipped peccary, jaguilla, or warree
(_Dicotyles torquatus_), makes its presence known at a considerable
distance by the peculiar odor emitted from a small pouch on its back.
The hunter, when killing, takes care to cut this sack out at once, or it
would quickly taint the entire body of this otherwise good pork. In the
open forests I have often found peccary tracks, but never unaccompanied
by the full, round print of the jaguar. When pursued, the peccary takes
readily to the water, and swims rivers. The jaguar, or tigre, as he is
always called in Central America, is not a very dangerous animal, as he
fears man much more than man fears him. The tigre is especially fond of
dogs, and will enter a house at night to carry off the prized morsel;
sometimes when hungry he will persistently resist all efforts to drive
him away from a house-yard, and one of my monteros was attacked by one
when sleeping in the forest. In this case the tigre was in complete
darkness, and was badly gashed by the man’s machete; but so far from
being frightened, he actually pursued the montero more than a mile to
the nearest house, where a gun was obtained and the wounded animal shot.
I have seen skins between five and six feet long, exclusive of head and
tail. The puma (_Felis concolor_) is more common in the mountain regions,
and the “lion” that descended from the Volcan de Agua and ravaged the
country about the young City of Guatemala (_antigua_) was of this
species. The ocelot (_Leopardus pardalis_) and coyote (_Canis ochropus_)
are also found in the interior.

Of creeping things the warm regions of the earth are supposed to be
prolific. I had been told of the terrible serpents,—the boas that hung
from the trees and whipped up deer, the deadly tomagoff, and others,
until I was ready to see their folds around every tree, or their coils
under every bush. I was to be deprived of a swim in the rivers and lakes
because of the alligators, and I must beware of scorpions and centipedes.
Now, in fact, the alligators are few in number, small in size, and very
deficient in courage. There are a hundred in Florida to every one in
Guatemala, and I seldom got a shot at any; I was able to kill only one,
and he was not over seven feet in length. A much larger one came ashore
to lay her eggs near a house on the Chocon plantation, and was killed.
The musky odor of the alligator is very strong during the breeding
season, and the eggs (which are eaten by the Caribs) have a very strong
flavor. They are small,—less than three inches long,—alike at each end,
and rough; when dry, the shells contract, and finally split in spiral
strips. Young alligators, not more than a foot long, are eaten, it is
said, by the Indios.

The iguana I have already described. So abundant are these delicious
reptiles that they are sometimes brought to Belize by the dory-load; and
one may see several hundred Caribs each carrying home one or two iguanas,
still alive, but with toes tied together, over the back. Of other lizards
there are many kinds, from the harmless little fellows which make a
squeaking in the thatch at night, to the long-tailed, crested lizards
which rob the hens’ nests and even make way with the small chickens.
Fresh-water turtles are abundant, and one, the _hikatee_, is excellent
eating; so are its eggs, of the size of a pullet’s, of which some two or
three dozen are found in a nest six or eight inches below the surface of
the sand. The sexes are easily distinguished by the shape of the tail,
the female having a shorter and thicker one. The sea-turtle (including
the hawksbill, so valuable for the tortoise-shell) are very abundant, and
are caught in seines by the use of floating decoys. Some of these turtle
weigh one hundred and fifty pounds, and their steaks are white and tender
as the best veal. I have never been on the shore at the egg-season, and
so can say nothing of the taste; but I am told they are much inferior to
the eggs of the iguana. It is a common thing to capture sea-turtles which
have had a flapper bitten off by sharks, and usually the wound has healed
well, the soft scales covering the stump completely.

Of the frogs, the most troublesome are those which get into the cisterns
or behind the water-jars, and make a very loud and disagreeable noise.

On the Atlantic coast snakes are much less common than on the Pacific.
Two long, slender snakes, quite harmless,—one green, the other
reddish-brown,—are seen once in a while; but although the natives believe
that all snakes are poisonous, only the tomagoff,—a short, thick snake of
dark color,—the rattlesnake, and the coral snake are really venomous, and
these are rarely seen. Stories are told of boas seen lying across a road
with head and tail concealed in the trees on either side; but they lack
confirmation, and perhaps may be classed with the absurd snake story told
by Juarros.[59]

The supply of fish is good. The saw-fish grows to a great size, and
its teeth are very long and sharp. The jew-fish is large, weighing
several hundred pounds, and is good food. Snappers, mullet, bone-fish,
king-fish, and a score of others of which we know only the local names,
including one with solid red meat, are found in the rivers and bays. Of
crustaceans, the crayfish takes the place of the lobster, and a small
crab is common among the mangroves and in swampy forests; larger crabs
come to the shores in breeding-time, but not in such numbers as at

Scorpions are large and dreaded; but their sting is not more painful
than that of a hornet, and they are sluggish, and not abundant even in
their chosen haunts. Centipedes are seen on the tree-stems, and many are
drowned during the rains. This articulate is by no means quick in its
motions, and falls a prey to the agile cockroach.

Spiders are abundant, both in species and individuals; and Mr. Frederick
Sarg, of Guatemala, has drawn most beautifully, and carefully described,
many new species. The hairy tarantula is the most dreaded; but others
found on the rocks by the river-sides are perhaps larger.

The birds of Guatemala are of great beauty; and the quetzal (_Macropharus
mocino_), the pavo (_Meleagris ocellata_), and the curassow, are perhaps
unsurpassed in splendor of plumage. The wild turkey was supposed to
be peculiar to Honduras, but has been found in Verapaz. Toucans with
enormous bills and brilliant colors, parrots even more brightly colored,
especially the guacamayo (_Psittacus macao_), and many species of
humming-birds, frequent the river-banks; the palomas, or doves, and the
social and noisy yellow-tails are on the trees, especially the qualm
(_Cecropia sp._); the white cranes and the great pelicans frequent the
shoals; the johncrows (_Cathartes aurea_) congregate on the trees about
the towns and serve as scavengers; and owls, hawks, and eagles are
distinct elements of the Guatemaltecan avifauna.

Not less brilliant than the birds are the lepidoptera. The superb blue
butterfly (_Morpho sp._) flits among the trees with its wings spreading
nine inches; with this are smaller relatives,—black, blue, carmine,
and yellow; some with swallow-tails (Papilionidæ), others short and
broad. Among the beetles are two of immense size,—the Hercules beetle
(_Dynastes Herculis_) and the harlequin (_Acrocinus longimanus_); the
former attains a size of five inches in length, and the latter infests
the rubber-trees. Another beetle—one of the Elateridæ (_Pyrophorus
nyctophorus_)—gives a most brilliant and constant light, quite as bright
as the _cacuyo_ of the West Indies. All through the highlands wasp-nests
of large size and curious form are seen in the trees; ants also build
mud-nests in the trees and on posts. Many chapters might be written of
the habits of the Central American ants, which are perhaps the most
abundant of indigenous insects,—the little “crazy ant,” which runs
rapidly in all directions, seemingly without any object; the zompopos, or
leaf-cutters (_Œcodoma_), whose trains are seen all through the forests,
bearing above them the great sail-like fragments of leaf they have cut
to stock their homes; the comajen (white ant), which destroys dead-wood
and is intolerant of light; the fire-ant; and many others. The zompopos
are very destructive in the vegetable garden, and indeed would quickly
destroy a cacao, orange, or coffee plantation if allowed to establish
their immense burrow in the midst. Some of the burrows are thirty feet
in diameter, and can only be destroyed by persistent efforts,—fire,
coal-tar, and carbolic acid being the best agents of destruction.[60] The
sandflies are almost unendurable along the coast at certain seasons, and
so are the mosquitoes (the genuine _Culex mosquito_, with striped body
and black lancet) on the rivers. House-flies are not seen at Livingston;
but all through the country the “botlass” is a pest. A bite by this
fly leaves a persistent black spot, surrounded by an inflamed circle.
Jiggers, beef-worms, and coloradias are troublesome about the towns
and where there is uncleanness. The garrapatos (_Ixodes bovis_) are
often found on horses and other animals, and when full are as large as a
coffee-bean. Man does not escape this pest; but they are so large that
they are easily picked off, especially if one has a monkey.

Among the mollusks the conch holds an important place both as an
article of food and as an instrument of noise. Three kinds are
distinguished,—the _queen_, _king_, and _horse_; the two last being the
best for eating, while the first is much sought for cameo-cutting. A
fine pink pearl is found in some of the shells. I consider a conch-soup
quite equal to oyster-soup; but it is said (with some reason) to be
a strong aphrodisiac. Madrepores, corals, sea-fans, and the varied
inhabitants of reefs, are found in considerable variety, and are now the
subject of collection and study by at least two competent observers.
Jellyfish (_Medusæ_), Portuguese men-of-war (_Physalia_), and star-fish
(_Asterias_) are abundant, and a naturalist would have a good harvest on
the cayos and reefs of the Bay of Honduras.

[Illustration: Passiflora Brighami, Watson.]




Much has been written of the effect upon the character and feelings of
a people caused by constant dwelling among the more marked phenomena
of Nature. It is a mistake to suppose that the eye sees all that is
impressed on the retina, that the ear catches more than an insignificant
share of the innumerable sounds falling ceaselessly on the tympanum, or
that the mind interprets many of the marvels that each instant presents
to it. Only the educated eye, the practised ear, the cultivated mind,
can appreciate what the Creator has placed before it in this beautiful
world whose wonders no human understanding, however taught, is capable of
wholly comprehending. The worldly wisdom of the saying that “familiarity
breeds contempt” is applicable to the greater portion of humanity; and
dwellers among the Alps cease to see, if indeed they ever saw, what
strikes the dweller on the plain with awe as he gazes for the first time
at the Jungfrau. To a thinking, studying man, familiarity is the mother
of awe.

In a region where the molecular forces, those mighty slaves of a Divine
Will, are working out of doors, so to speak; where from the summit of a
volcanic peak one can count scores of others ranged on his right hand
and on his left; where he can see, if he has opened the door for such
vision, the cooling globe wrinkling with age, the force of contraction
liquefying in fervent heat the solid materials of the earth’s crust and
pouring out into daylight the molten rock, or puffing out the dust of
stones ground to powder in the gigantic mill,—his heart, his brain, his
very being, will be enlarged by the reflections that come to him in such
moments. Not so the Indio who lazily cultivates his milpa on the lower
slopes of this same volcano. His feet never seek the summit, where no
maiz can grow. He knows that the ground is very fertile where his hut is
placed; he has nothing that an earthquake can destroy, and the showers
of ashes, while injuring his present crop, are a pledge of increased
fertility in the future; then from the streams of lava he can run, should
they come in his way. When a more terrible outbreak of the great mass
above him disturbs his stolidity, he attributes it to some supernatural
agency, and calls upon his especial saints for the protection due their
votary. Have not the Central Americans baptized their volcanoes, and
have not these huge Christians since that rite been quiescent and proper
members of the Church?

The people who live in the midst of this region of volcanic disturbances
have not been elevated by communion with this manifestation of the
agencies of Nature. Their religion is not autochthonic; their choicest
traditions come from the non-volcanic lands to the eastward, and are
not tinged with the lurid glow of the earth-fires. Even their hell is
no fiery furnace, and the apostles of an Eastern religion introduced to
their imagination that supposed element of future punishment. Where a
suggestion of fire-worship appears, it is always called forth by the
sun,—that source of life and warmth and growth.

And yet, here is a country where volcanoes cluster,—their number reaching
several hundred,—where hot-springs are more common than the cold-springs
in most countries, and where earthquakes are very frequent and
destructive. The volcanoes of the Hawaiian Archipelago are larger, those
of Java more destructive, and the equatorial group of South America is
loftier; but here between Popocatepetl and Istaccuahuatl, the giants of
the plain of Anahuac, and the Costa Rican Turrialba extends an unbroken
line of mighty cones and gaping craters. Somewhere on that line, smoke is
ever rising; and at night the mariner along the Pacific coast sees the
beacon-fires lighted by no mortal hand.

We must not expect to find in native records any careful account, or
even notice, of eruptions or earthquakes; if referred to at all, it will
be much as in the quotation I have already given from the “Popul Vuh,”
where Cabracan is said to be in the habit of shaking the mountains. In
the three centuries and a half since Spain sent her educated sons to
this land, with the exception of some three hundred earthquakes and half
a hundred eruptions, we have no better record. While it is true that
geology has existed as a science only within the present century, yet
one would suppose that a catastrophe causing the death of hundreds of
people and the destruction of much property would be entered with some
minuteness in the annals of the time; but were it not for the masses
and church processions to calm the trembling earth or appease the angry
mountains, the worthy padres would perhaps have failed to notice these
disturbances of Nature in their parochial records. Even the stories we
have of the early experiences of the Spaniards in matters of vulcanology
are so mingled with devils and unholy work that they are nearly
incredible; and the stone volumes lying about the mountains, written by
the hand of Nature, rather than the human chronicles, must be our guide.


Stephens has described some of the Central American volcanoes from
personal visits, but not with the pen of a geologist, and in the last
years of the French Empire able geologists[61] redescribed some of the
same peaks; but there are still more than a score of lofty cones that no
geologist has ever ascended, and there are many rising from an almost
unbroken forest, whose volcanic nature has not yet been fully determined.
Even in the present age of physical research Central America has been
sadly neglected; and we may express a hope that some young man is even
now training his thews and sinews, and hardening his constitution by
virtuous abstinence and careful exercise, as well as training his mind to
interpret and his eye to see the rich harvest that here awaits the proper
explorer. No feeble student need attempt the task. Death surely waits for
him in the jungle, on the precipices, in the treacherous craters, even
in the posada to which he brings his exhausted frame, should he be so
foolhardy as to ascend a volcano in this tropical climate.

This is not the place to enter into a scientific description of even the
little that is known of the volcanic phenomena of Central America; but
perhaps my readers will pardon me if I make some few quotations from what
Mr. Darwin once wrote me he considered the poetry of geology. I may at
the same time show faintly what a tempting field there is for the truly
scientific explorer.[62] What I have said already will be my excuse for
inaccuracies, and I can only claim to have consulted the best authorities
when my personal observation fails, and they must bear the blame of
any misstatements. I give first a list of the principal volcanoes,
then of their best-known eruptions, and finally an enumeration of the
earthquakes. Hot and mineral springs are very frequent all over the
country; but as their chemical constituents and medicinal properties have
not been determined, and their physical peculiarities are not noteworthy,
we may pass them by in this brief survey with the remark that the Indios
do not seem to have made much use of their medicinal virtues, and turn at
once to a catalogue of the volcanoes. From what I have myself seen of the
extinct craters in the republic of Guatemala, I am convinced that I have
collected in this list barely a tithe of the distinct volcanic vents. The
Soconuscan volcano Istak has never been described, and some have doubted
its existence; of the others whose names are in the list very few have
been examined by geologists. Beginning at the extreme northwestern end of
the chain in Central America, we find it extends south fifty-five degrees
east; and while the volcanoes are generally in line, there are several
subsidiary lines at right angles to the general trend.

  Name.                       Present State. Last Eruption.  Height.


  Tacanà                      Quiescent          1855
  Tajumulco[63]               Extinct                        18,317(?)
  Santa Maria (Exancul)          ”                           11,415
  Cerro Quemado               Quiescent          1785        10,205
  Zuñil                       Extinct
  Santa Clara                    ”                            8,554
  San Pedro                      ”                            8,125
  Atitlan                     Active             1852         9,870
  Acatenango                  Quiescent                      13,563
  Fuego                       Active             1880        12,075
  Agua                        Extinct                        12,337
  Pacaya (Pecul)              Quiescent          1775         8,390
  Cerro Redondo               Extinct                         3,550
  Tecuamburro                    ”
  Moyuta                         ”
  Chingo                         ”                            6,500
  Amayo                          ”
  Mita                           ”                            5,000
  Suchitan, or Santa Catarina    ”               1469(?)
  Monte Rico                     ”
  Ipala                          ”                            5,460


  Apaneca                     Extinct                         5,826
  Santa Ana                   Active                          6,000
  Izalco                         ”              constant      6,000
  San Salvador[64]               ”                            6,182
  Cojutepeque, or Ilopango       ”                            3,400
  San Vincente                Quiescent          1643         7,600
  Tecapa                      Extinct
  Usulutan                       ”
  Chinameca                   Quiescent                       5,000
  San Miguel                  Active             1844         6,244
  Conchagua                   Quiescent                       3,915


  Zacate Grande               Extinct                         2,000
  Tigre                          ”                            2,632
  Congrehoy Peak              Quiescent                       8,040
  Bonito                         ”
  Bay Islands                 Extinct                         1,000


  Coseguina                   Quiescent          1835         3,600
  Chonco                         ”
  El Viejo (Belcher, 1838)       ”                            5,562
  Santa Clara                    ”                            4,700
  Telica                      Active             1850         3,800
  Orota                       Quiescent
  Las Pilas                      ”                            4,000
  Axusco, or Asososco         Extinct                         4,690
  Momotombo                   Active             1852         7,000
  Momotombito                 Extinct
  Guanapepe                      ”
  Nindiri                     Quiescent
  Masaya                      Active             1858         3,000
  Mombacho                    Extinct                         5,250
  Zapeton, or Zapatera           ”
  Ometepec                    Active             1883         5,050
  Madeira                     Quiescent                       5,000


  Orosi                       Quiescent                       8,650
  Rincon de la Vieja             ”
  Miravalles                  Extinct                         5,500
  Tenorio                        ”
  Los Votos, or Poas             ”                           10,500
  Barba                          ”
  Irazu, or Cartago           Active             1726        11,450
  Turrialba                   Extinct                        12,533
  Chiripo                        ”

Besides the volcanoes contained in the preceding list there are in
Columbia three volcanic peaks:—

  Name.             Present State.   Height.

  Pico Blanco          Extinct       11,740
  Rovalo                 (?)          7,021
  Chiriqui               (?)         11,265

The volcanoes on the Atlantic coast have been little noticed. Congrehoy
Peak has the sharpest cone I have ever seen, almost equalling the
impossible cones in Humboldt’s drawings of the Cordilleras; and I regret
that the only photograph I was able to make of the mountain-top rising
above the low-lying clouds was defective. Trusting too securely to my
camera, I did not measure the angle, although the sketch I made just
before is quite as the mountain looks. The sharpness is perhaps the
result of an eruption said to have taken place a few years ago, when the
crater fell in and ashes were carried as far as Belize,—a hundred and
fifty miles. Belonging to the same system as Congrehoy and Bonito are the
Bay Islands. Of these, Utila shows streams of vesicular basaltic lava,
and fragments of a more compact, older basalt; but I have found neither
on this island nor on Roatan any signs of a crater. The formation is,
however, distinctly volcanic, and apparently of a period anterior to the
eruptions which built the Island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Group,—I judge
by the amount of decomposition and degradation, the lavas in both cases
being similar in composition and physical character.

[Illustration: Congrehoy Peak.]

I have mentioned the deposits of volcanic sand found on the north shore
of the Lago de Izabal, in a region surrounded by what are thought to be
calcareous mountains; and I may add that several peaks in the Cockscomb
Range of British Honduras appear from a distance of perhaps forty miles
to be volcanic cones.

Passing over the traditional outbreaks of the Central American volcanoes
before the Conquest, the earliest recorded eruption was that of Masaya
in 1522; and the Spanish chroniclers tell a very amusing story of the
attempt of the Dominican friar Blase and his companions to draw up the
molten gold (lava) in an iron bucket from El Infierno de Masaya, or Hell
of Masaya. The bucket, as well as the chain which held it, melted on
approaching the lava; and the pious Churchmen, instead of being enriched
by the precious metal, were poorer by the cost of the expedition.
According to the same authority, the Indios at certain seasons cast
living maids into the crater to appease the fire, that it might not
break forth and injure their crops. This would indicate a continued
state of activity, without an outbreak from the crater, much as in the
Halemaumau of the volcano Kilauea. It is curious that in Yucatan the
Mayas sacrificed maidens to water by casting them into the sacred well
or Cenote of Chichen Itza;[65] and a similar sacrifice has been made at
Ilopango in modern times. In 1772 the next real eruption took place,
and in 1858 another slight one. The cone is directly over the Lake of
Masaya,—the only source of water in that dry land; and its ejections are
encroaching upon the area of the lake. But I will put the eruptions in a
tabular form for convenience:—


  Year.             Volcano.

  1522              Masaya
  1526              Fuego
  1565              Pacaya
  1581              Fuego
  1582                ”
  1585 and 1586       ”
  1614                ”
  1623                ”
  1643              San Vincente
  1651              Pacaya
  1664                ”
  1668                ”
  1670              (?) in Nicaragua
  1671              Pacaya
  1677                ”
  1686              Fuego
  1699                ”
  1705                ”
  1706                ”
  1707                ”
  1710                ”  two eruptions
  1717                ”
  1723              Irazu
  1726                ”
  1732              Fuego
  1737                ”
  1764              Momotombo
  1770              Izalco (formation of)
  1772              Masaya
  1775              (?) in Nicaragua
  1775              Pacaya
  1785              Cerro Quemado
  1798              Izalco
  1799              Fuego
  1803              Izalco
  1821              (?) in Nicaragua
  1829              Fuego
  1835              Coseguina
  1844              San Miguel
  1847              (?) in Nicaragua
  1850              Telica
  1852              Momotombo
  1855              Tacanà
  1855              Fuego
  1856                ”
  1857                ”
  1858              Masaya
  1869              Izalco
  1870                ”
  1880              Ilopango (Lago de)
  1880              Fuego
  1883              Omotepec


I do not propose to weary my readers with a list of the three hundred
earthquakes that have been thought severe enough to be recorded; but a
picture of Central America would be unrecognizable without some color of
the natural disturbances that are inseparably connected in the popular
mind with this part of the continent.

In 1541 the capital of the kingdom of Guatemala, now Ciudad Vieja, was a
young and flourishing city. Founded in July, 1524, between the mountains
Agua and Fuego, in the place called Almolonga (“water-fountain”), with
the proud title of “City of Saint James of the Knights of Guatemala,” it
had grown to a respectable size, in spite of numerous misfortunes, to
which Juarros devotes an entire chapter of his “Compendio.” An earthquake
in 1526, so severe, says Bernal Diaz del Castillo, that men could not
stand, seems to have frightened the population less than did an enormous
lion (puma?) which descended the forest-clad slopes of Agua in 1532
and made great havoc, until a reward of twenty-five gold dollars and a
hundred fanegas of wheat induced a peasant to kill the monster. Politics
had, as is usually the case, made more disturbance than the forces of
Nature. The Conquistador Alvarado was recently dead, his widow, Doña
Beatriz de la Cueva, had claimed the government, and the obsequies of the
dead and the ceremonials of the new ruler were agitating the city when
the sudden and terrible destruction of both ruler and her capital came.
Accounts of the catastrophe vary, as is usual with all history,—which
some one has wisely called “probabilities and possibilities extracted
from lies;” but from nine extant descriptions and an examination of the
physical marks which three centuries have not wholly effaced, I believe
the following to be a fair story of the event:—

September is always a rainy month in Guatemala, and on Thursday, the 8th,
a storm began which was violent even for that place and season. Rain fell
in torrents, and continued to fall all that day and Friday and Saturday.
Two hours after dark on the last day a severe earthquake shock was felt,
and from Hunapu, since called the Volcan de Agua, came an avalanche of
water, carrying with it immense rocks and entire forests. The terror of
the earthquake and the roar of the unseen torrent wrought the excitement
of the inhabitants to the utmost. Soon the deluge reached the city; the
streets were filled to overflowing, and the houses were beaten by the
waves and battered by the great trees brought by the torrent. Among
the houses most exposed was that of Doña Beatriz, the widow of the
Adelantado. She was preparing for bed; but startled by the earthquake
and the terrible noise, endeavored to obtain safety in a small chapel
near by, and while clinging to the crucifix was killed by the fall of
the chapel wall. Her house was uninjured. All through the city the loss
of life was very great; six hundred Spaniards perished, and the loss of
Indios and Negroes was far greater. In the morning the remains of the
city hardly appeared above the trees, rocks, and mud of the avalanche.
It was then that the disheartened survivors decided to remove a league
eastward, to the present Antigua.

The earthquake did not destroy the city, still less was there an eruption
of water from the volcano; but the crater of the long-extinct cone had
been filled with the rains, and the tremor shattered the loose dam of
the crater-lip and let the great body of water down the steep side of
the mountain. There was water in the crater long before, and the crater
to-day shows marks of the broken wall and emptied lake. The destruction
of the city was considered a judgment of Heaven upon Doña Beatriz
for certain impious remarks made in her bereavement, and it was with
difficulty that her family were able to bury her remains in consecrated

On May 23, 1575, San Salvador (Cuscatlan) was destroyed by an earthquake
which also greatly damaged Antigua. Afterwards the latter city had
an experience that would have discouraged the people of any Northern
town, for in 1576 and 1577 it was badly shaken, and on Dec. 23, 1586,
destroyed. Then it was rebuilt enough to be again shattered on Feb. 18,
1651, and again on Feb. 12, 1689, and Sept. 29, 1717. The day after
this last shock Antigua was destroyed completely; but for all that, on
March 4, 1751, the chronicler writes “many ruins,” and then the centre
of disturbance goes southward for a while. In April, 1765, several
towns were destroyed in San Salvador, and the next month many in the
Department of Chiquimula in Guatemala; while during the following October
the “earthquake of San Rafael” shook many Guatemaltecan towns to pieces.

On July 29, 1773, Antigua was again destroyed,—if such a thing was
possible; and although her inhabitants yielded to the momentary
discouragement and permitted the Government to be removed to the Valley
of the Hermitage, they have never allowed the ruins to become desolate,
and to-day the traveller gazes in astonishment at the shattered walls of
nearly eighty churches still the ornament of the town. The Antigua that
once sheltered eighty thousand inhabitants, beautiful in its situation
and distinguished by its architectural display, is still attractive in
its ruins; its forty thousand inhabitants go in and out under the shadow
of the volcano and await the next destruction, which may come to-morrow
or years hence: the lesson that is past is all forgotten. I confess
myself that the ruined churches, so fresh after the sun and rains of a
century have penetrated their shattered walls, inspired no apprehension
of danger; they were objects of great interest rather than warning; and
it was no strange thing that those born in that charming place should
cling to it still.

In 1774 nearly all the towns on the Balsam Coast of San Salvador were
ruined. I hope my readers understand the delicate gradation in the terms
used in speaking of the misfortunes of earthquake countries. A place is
“shaken,” then “shattered,” then “ruined,” and finally “destroyed” by the
_visit_ of a _temblor_; and it is a very nice matter to decide exactly
where one term is appropriate and another not.

In February, 1798, San Salvador was badly shaken and after a rather long
rest, broken by “no great shakes,” two very destructive earthquakes were
felt in March and October, 1839. On Sept. 2, 1841, Cartago, in Costa
Rica, was destroyed; in June, 1847, the Balsam Coast was greatly ruined;
on May 16, 1852, the disturbances occurred northward, in the vicinity
of Quezaltenango; on April 16, 1854, San Salvador was destroyed,—not,
however, for the last time. On Nov. 6, 1857, Cojutepeque was badly
shaken, and the same misfortune came upon La Union Aug. 25, 1859. The
following December houses were shattered in Escuintla and Amatitlan;
Dec. 19, 1862, Antigua, Amatitlan, Escuintla, Tecpan Guatemala, and the
neighboring towns were severely shaken; June 12, 1870, Chiquimulilla
was destroyed, and much damage done in Cuajinicuilapa; a month later a
severe earthquake was felt in the Departments of Santa Rosa and Jutiapa;
March 4, 1873, San Salvador and the neighboring towns were destroyed,—a
process they must have become quite accustomed to by this time,—and
eighteen months later it was the turn of Patzicia to be destroyed, while
Chimaltenango, Antigua and the vicinity were only ruined. The year 1878
was marked by the destruction of several towns in Usulutan, San Salvador,
and on Dec. 27 and 30, 1879, most of the small towns in the neighborhood
of the Lago de Ilopango were overturned.

Hardly a month passes without some slight tremor in western Guatemala. In
recent years so much more attention has been paid to seismology, or the
observation and record of the time, duration, and direction of earthquake
shocks, that the longer lists seem to indicate the increase of slight
tremors; but this is not probable, and certainly the volcanic eruptions
have diminished in force and frequency. Fuego, the most important, lays
claim to twenty-one of the fifty recorded eruptions of the Central
American volcanoes; but during the present century it has cast out merely
sand, and no lava streams.

[Illustration: VOLCAN DE FUEGO.]

I have never had the experience of a very severe earthquake, although I
have had the pictures swing on the walls and the plastering crack and
fall; therefore I must borrow the description of an earthquake, that the
list just given may seem more real. The following account is considered
very truthful:—

“The night of the 16th of April, 1854, will ever be one of sad and
bitter memory for the people of Salvador. On that unfortunate night our
happy and beautiful capital was made a heap of ruins. Movements of the
earth were felt on Holy Thursday, preceded by sounds like the rolling
of heavy artillery over pavements and like distant thunder. The people
were a little alarmed in consequence of this phenomenon, but it did not
prevent them from meeting in the churches to celebrate the solemnities
of the day. On Saturday all was quiet, and confidence was restored.
The people of the neighborhood assembled as usual to celebrate the
Passover. The night of Saturday was tranquil, as was also the whole
of Sunday. The heat, it is true, was considerable, but the atmosphere
was calm and serene. For the first three hours of the evening nothing
unusual occurred; but at half-past nine a severe shock of an earthquake,
occurring without the preliminary noises, alarmed the whole city. Many
families left their houses and made encampments in the public squares,
while others prepared to pass the night in their respective courtyards.

“Finally, at ten minutes to eleven, without premonition of any kind,
the earth began to heave and tremble with such fearful force that in
ten seconds the entire city was prostrated. The crashing of houses and
churches stunned the ears of the terrified inhabitants, while a cloud
of dust from the falling ruins enveloped them in a pall of impenetrable
darkness. Not a drop of water could be got to relieve the half-choking
and suffocating, for the wells and fountains were filled up or made dry.
The clock-tower of the cathedral carried a great part of that edifice
with it in its fall. The towers of the church of San Francisco crushed
the episcopal oratory and part of the palace. The church of Santo Domingo
was buried beneath its towers, and the college of the Assumption was
entirely ruined. The new and beautiful edifice of the university was
demolished, the church of the Merced separated in the centre, and its
walls fell outward to the ground. Of the private houses a few were
left standing, but all were rendered uninhabitable. It is worthy of
remark that the walls left standing are old ones; all those of modern
construction have fallen. The public edifices of the Government and city
shared the common destruction.

“The devastation was effected, as we have said, in the first ten seconds;
for although the succeeding shocks were tremendous, and accompanied by
fearful rumblings beneath our feet, they had comparatively trifling
results for the reason that the first had left but little for their
ravages. Solemn and terrible was the picture presented on the dark
funereal night of a whole people clustering in the plazas and on their
knees crying with loud voices to Heaven for mercy, or in agonizing
accents calling for their children and friends whom they believed to
be buried beneath the ruins. A heaven opaque and ominous; a movement of
the earth rapid and unequal, causing a terror indescribable; an intense
sulphurous odor filling the atmosphere, and indicating an approaching
eruption of the volcano; streets filled with ruins, or overhung by
threatening walls; a suffocating cloud of dust almost rendering
respiration impossible,—such was the spectacle presented by the unhappy
city on that memorable and awful night.

“A hundred boys were shut up in the college, many invalids crowded the
hospitals, and the barracks were full of soldiers. The sense of the
catastrophe which must have befallen them gave poignancy to the first
moment of reflection after the earthquake was over. It was believed that
at least a fourth part of the inhabitants had been buried beneath the
ruins. The members of the Government, however, hastened to ascertain,
so far as practicable, the extent of the catastrophe, and to quiet the
public mind. It was found that the loss of life was much less than was
supposed; and it now appears probable that the number of killed will not
exceed one hundred, and of wounded, fifty. Fortunately the earthquake has
not been followed by rains, which gives an opportunity to disinter the
public archives, as also many of the valuables contained in the dwellings
of the citizens. The movements of the earth still continue, with strong
shocks; and the people, fearing a general swallowing up of the site of
the city, or that it may be buried under some sudden eruption of the
volcano, are hastening away.” In 1859 the city was again in order, as
the seat of government, after an ineffectual attempt to remove it to the
plain of Santa Tecla, ten miles distant.

The birth of the volcano of Izalco occurred in 1770. It is, indeed, only
a lateral opening of the volcano of Santa Ana, which, like Ætna, is a
mother of mountains. San Marcellino, Naranjo, Tamasique, Aguila, San
Juan, Launita, and Apaneca all seem to be her offspring. Near the base
of the main volcano was, previous to 1770, a large cattle rancho. At the
close of 1769 the people on this estate were alarmed by subterranean
noises and earthquake shocks, which continued to increase in loudness
and severity until February 23, when the earth opened about half a mile
from the houses on the hacienda, emitting fire, smoke, and lava. The
house-people fled from so terrible a neighbor; but the _vaqueros_, or
cowboys, who came daily to see the new monster, declared it grew worse
and worse, throwing out more smoke and flame daily, and that while the
flow of lava sometimes stopped for a while, vast quantities of sand and
stones were thrown out instead. For more than a century this action
has gone on, and the ejecta have formed a cone more than six thousand
feet high, or higher than Vesuvius. At intervals of from ten to twenty
minutes, loud explosions occur, with dense smoke and a puff of cinders
and stones. By night the view from Sonsonate is very attractive, as the
cloud of smoke is illuminated by the molten mass within, and the red-hot
stones shoot through this darker mass and seem to ignite vapors, which
flash like lightning. As these stones roll down the steep sides of the
cone, they leave a faint track some distance (optical, probably), and
sometimes the caldron boils over, sending rills of molten lava down
the cone. Well may the sailors call this “El faro de Salvador,”—the
lighthouse of Salvador. Like Stromboli, it is always active; and while
most volcanoes are noted for the irregularity of their eruptions, Izalco
is exceedingly regular, though sometimes acting with unusual violence
(1798, 1869, 1870). The volcano of Tanna, in the western Pacific,
exhibits this same pulsating character.

San Miguel is the largest active volcano in San Salvador, rising from
the plain to a height of perhaps sixty-five hundred feet. Like most of
the Central American volcanoes, its mass is a very regular cone, and its
form, size, and beautiful colors render it one of the grandest objects
of its class. From the deep green of the forest which surrounds its
base, the color fades to the light green of the upland grass, then to
the deep red of the scoriæ, and the top is grayish-white. Above all, the
ever-changing cloud of smoke floats lazily away. Of all the accounts
of ascents of Central American volcanoes, I have selected the account
published many years ago by Don Carlos Gutierrez of his ascent of San
Miguel, because it seems to convey a fair idea of the simplest form of
mountain-climbing and of the appearance of an active cone. He says:—

“We started from the city of San Miguel on the afternoon of the 7th of
December, 1848, directing our course towards the western border of the
plain where rises the dark bulk of the volcano. At eleven o’clock at
night we reached the foot of the mountain, distant four leagues from the
town. Although the moon shone with extraordinary brilliancy and the night
was one of serenest beauty, yet we considered it safer to take shelter in
an Indian hut for the remainder of the night than trust ourselves among
the fissures of the mountain in the treacherous moonlight. At four in
the morning, with the earliest dawn of day, we commenced our ascent on
horseback. We however soon found our course so much impeded by masses of
lava, over which it was difficult to force the animals, that we were
compelled to dismount and pursue our journey on foot. About half way up
the mountain the dikes of lava became less frequent, and the ground more
firm and open, and, although quite precipitous, yet not difficult of
ascent. This open belt, however, does not extend to the summit, and long
before we reached it we were again driven upon the beds of sharp, rough,
and unsteady lava.

“Our course now lay through a deep channel formed between two vast
currents of lava, composed of enormous crags, which in 1844 had flowed
out from fissures in the side of the volcano. We had not proceeded far
between these walls of rock when we found the scoriæ beneath our feet
so yielding and unsteady that we could scarcely retain our foothold.
Frequently we slid back three or four yards, thus losing in a moment the
advance which it had cost us great labor to accomplish. Nevertheless,
after many efforts and through much exertion, and after having suffered
several severe falls, we succeeded in reaching the throat of the
mountain. Here the lava was solid and the scoriæ firm; and though the
slope was very steep and dangerous, yet we found it easier to proceed
here than over the soft and yielding ashes below.

“About mid-day we reached the summit proper of the mountain and stood on
the edge of the great crater, which is surrounded by a wall of immense
rocks, irregular in height, and having a circuit of a mile and a half.
The area within these strange bulwarks is level; but on descending, we
found with alarm that it was traversed in every direction by profound
fissures, varying from one foot to five yards in width, from which
escaped dense clouds of sulphurous smoke. About in the centre of this
area was the yawning, active crater, or mouth of the crater, or mouth of
the volcano. Our guide peremptorily refused to advance farther, insisting
that we were liable at any moment to sink into some one of the numerous
fissures which yawned beneath the superficial crust. He added further
that in the neighborhood of the crater the gases were so pungent and the
sulphurous odor so overwhelming that we could not escape suffocation.

“The alarm with which our guide endeavored to inspire us did not,
however, get the better of our curiosity, and we determined to reach
the crater. Providing ourselves with long staves with which to test the
nature of the ground, we advanced carefully and slowly. At every step the
clouds of smoke became more dense, and the odor of the gases escaping
from the multitudinous fissures more overpowering. Our efforts, however,
were amply repaid by the sight which met our eyes when we finally reached
the brink of the crater. Nothing could be grander or more magnificent.

“A few months before, I had seen the volcano of Izalco, with its crown
of living fire and its flashing tongues of flame, throwing out floods
of incandescent lava; but sublime as was the spectacle, it paled and
grew tame in comparison with that before us. The crater, as before
observed, is in the centre of the level area which I have described. It
is of irregular width, in some places only ten or twelve yards broad; in
others, fifty or sixty, dividing the greater crater from side to side.
The depth of this orifice, or cleft, is so great that the eye cannot
fathom it. One sees only a vast gulf of molten lava, over which plays
a pale and sulphurous flame, reflected again and again from burned and
blistered rocks, fantastic in shape and capricious in position, which
form the walls of the orifice. Thick whorls of smoke drifted up from all
sides, so that at times I was unable to distinguish my companion, distant
only a few yards. An indescribable magnetic influence or fascination
seemed to rivet our eyes on the molten floods surging below us, and
which, from their roar and vibrations, seemed to threaten momentarily to
rise and overwhelm us, as if the volcano were on the verge of eruption.

“Our contemplations of this fearful orifice were therefore brief, the
smoke and odor overpowered us; and in a few moments we were forced to
abandon our positions and seek a breath of pure air at a distance. We
returned rapidly to the place where we had left our guide; and casting a
farewell glance over the strange area before us, commenced our descent,
reaching San Miguel at six o’clock in the evening, weary and exhausted.”

[Illustration: Volcan de Coseguina, from the Sea.]

Of the eruptions of the Central American volcanoes none in the historical
period have surpassed that of Coseguina in 1835. This mountain forms the
eastern gate-ward of the Gulf of Fonseca, Conchagua rising on the other
side of the rather narrow entrance. Not remarkably high (3,600 feet),
it rises directly from the sea, and by its irregular outline, scarred
slopes, and desolate appearance conveys the impression of a greater than
its real mass. On the 20th of January, 1835, the disturbance began with
very loud explosions, heard for a hundred leagues. Above the mountain
rose an inky cloud which spread outwards precisely as Pliny describes the
terrible cloud that rose above Vesuvius in 79, spreading like an Italian
pine. From this column of heated vapor and sand darted lightning-flashes,
produced either by the friction of the immense quantity of rough mineral
particles, or by the sudden projection of hot gases and minerals into
the much cooler atmosphere. As the cloud spread, the light of the sun
was obscured, everything looked sickly in the yellow light, and the
falling sand irritated both eyes and lungs. For two days the explosions
grew more frequent and louder, while the eruption of sand increased; and
on the third day the terrible noises were loudest in an almost absolute
darkness. The rain of sand continued until a deposit of several feet had
formed for many leagues around the crater. At Leon, in Nicaragua, more
than a hundred miles away, the sand was several inches deep, and it fell
in Vera Cruz, Jamaica, Santa Fé de Bogota, and over an area nearly two
thousand miles in diameter. At Belize the noise of the explosions was
so loud that the commandant mustered his troops and manned the forts,
thinking there was a naval action off the anchorage. For eight hundred
miles these noises were heard, and the vibrations near the volcano must
have been indeed terrible. We can credit the accounts of the terror of
the wild things of Nature as well as of human beings. For thirty leagues
around, the astounded people believed that the Last Judgment had come,
and in the darkness, thick with the falling ashes, groped hither and
thither, bearing crosses and uttering prayers inaudible to themselves in
the crash of elements. At the end of forty-three hours the earthquakes
and explosions ceased, and with a strong wind the ashes were gradually
blown away from the atmosphere. The returning light of day showed a
gloomy outlook. Ashes covered the country on every side. On Coseguina a
crater had opened a mile in diameter, and vast streams of lava had flowed
into the gulf on one side, and into the ocean on the other. While the
verdure was gone from the land, pumice covered the sea for a hundred and
fifty miles.

Terrible as was this outbreak, the explosive violence was not so great as
of the eruption from some unknown vent whose deposits are about Quiché in
Guatemala, in the valley of the Chixoy, and elsewhere; and Pacaya has in
some prehistoric time thrown out sand and pumice in greater quantity than
did Coseguina, as we see by the deposits about the Lago de Amatitlan.

[Illustration: Lago de Ilopango, 1880.]

With the mention of the Lago de Amatitlan it occurs to me that the
so-called volcanic lakes of Central America deserve a short notice. I
would not claim that there are not here genuine pit-craters filled with
water and called _lagos_ or _lagunas_. On the summit of many of the
extinct volcanoes are craters filled with water, as Ipala and others, and
as Agua was before the destruction of the crater-lip in 1541; while in
San Salvador and Nicaragua are many lakes, usually of small extent, but
sometimes so large as to mislead the casual observer as to their origin,
though of undoubtedly volcanic nature. Of this last class is the Lago
de Masaya, from whose deep pool the people of the neighboring village
obtain all their water. Coatepeque is another volcanic lake, whose walls
are so steep that they can be descended only at certain points by means
of ladders and steps cut in the lava rock. Finally there are many pits,
sometimes no more than a hundred feet in diameter, but of very great
depth, and filled sometimes with fresh water, but more commonly with
saline waters so strongly impregnated as to be undrinkable. The great
lakes of Amatitlan and Atitlan are not certainly volcanic, although their
shores are dotted with hot-springs and guarded by volcanoes,—they are
not, that is, actual craters; but the former seems to be the result of a
subsidence caused perhaps by the removal of material from lower layers
by eruptions of Pacaya, and it is of no considerable depth, while good
authority has considered the Lago de Atitlan the result of damming up
a valley and streams by the masses of the volcanic group of the same
name. A glance at the map of this lake (p. 154) as given by the French
geologists whose opinion is quoted, will show that the volcanoes occupy
a position not far from the geometrical centre of the Lago, or where
they should be if the lake was an ancient crater. Compare with this,
if you will, the plan of an undoubted volcanic lake, that of Ilopango
in San Salvador. This body of water is not only the seat of volcanic
eruptions, as is also the Great Lake of Nicaragua, but probably fills
a depression that has been the result of the coalescence of several
points of eruption. I have before me the interesting report to the
Guatemaltecan Government by my friend Edwin Rockstroh of his observations
made on the eruption of one of these craters in 1880. The lake is 9,200
metres wide from east to west, and 7,300 metres from north to south,
with an area of 54.3 kilometres. Completely surrounded by precipitous
mountains, interrupted only on the southeast by the narrow gorge through
which the waters of the lake are discharged, it receives no important
affluents from the surface; and as its emissary is of much greater
volume at all seasons than these insignificant brooks, it is probably
fed by subterranean springs,—indeed one of these, near the south shore,
enters with such force as to cause a ripple on the surface of the lake.
Soundings indicate a cup-like bottom with an extreme depth of less than
seven hundred feet (209.26 metres). The level of the lake has often
changed, and in 1880 the surface-level fell more than thirty-four feet,
leaving exposed stumps of trees encrusted with calcareous deposits. It
was before the last eruption well stocked with fish of the varieties
called by the people who lived near by _mojarra_, _burrito_ (both species
of the genus _Heros_), _pepesca_, and _chimbolo_. At times an eruption
of sulphurous gases partly asphyxiated the fish, driving them to the
shores, where they fell a prey to the fishermen. What the fishermen did
on occasion of greater disturbances is told in the following extract from
a Guatemaltecan journal;[66] the author, Don Camillo Galvan, formerly
Visitador-General, writes as follows:—

“The people of the pueblos around the lake, Cojutepeque, Texacuangos, and
Tepezontes, say that when the earthquakes came from the lake, which they
knew by the disappearance of fish, it was a sign that the monster lord of
those regions who dwelt in the depths of the lake was eating the fish,
and probably would consume them all shortly, unless provided with a more
delicate and juicy diet worthy of his power and voracity; for they say
that the monster only eats fish as men eat fruit, to refresh and allay
hunger. The natives, deeply afflicted by the fish famine, the failure of
an article of commerce and their ordinary diet, collected at the command
of their chiefs. Then the sorcerers (_los brujos_) commanded the people
to throw flowers and fruits into the lake: if the tremblings continued,
they were to cast in animals, preferring conies (_Lepus Douglassii_),
taltusas (_Geomys heterodus_), then armadillos (_Dasypus_), and
mapachines (_Procyon cancrivorus_). These animals must be caught alive
and cast living into the water, under penalty of no less than hanging
with the vine _zinak_. If some days passed, and the tremors continued,
and the fish did not come out of their caves, they (the brujos) took
a girl of from six to nine years old, decked her with flowers, and at
midnight the wizards took her to the middle of the lake and cast her in,
bound hand and foot and with a stone fast to her neck. The next day, if
the child appeared upon the surface and the tremors continued, another
victim was cast into the lake with the same ceremonies.

“Even in the years 1861 and 1862, when I visited these towns, they
told me, though with much reserve, that the people of Cojutepeque and
Chinameca kept this barbarous custom to prevent the failure of the fish.”

Near the end of November, 1879, a series of earthquakes shook the lake
(more than six hundred were counted), and on Jan. 11, 1880, the waters
had risen about four feet. On the next day, between half-past four and
half-past seven in the afternoon, 13,790,000 cubic metres of water
escaped from the outlet of the lake, making a stream of greater volume
than the Seine at Paris or the Rhine at Basle. The little river Jiboa,
which received this torrent, did great damage to the plantations on its

As is usual, the earthquakes were accompanied by the discharge of
sulphuretted hydrogen, now in such quantities as to be very unpleasant at
the city of San Salvador. On the 9th of January there appeared floating
on the surface numerous flakes of a black foam composed of ferric
sulphide, which in contact with flame burned with a slight explosion.
On the 20th, at eleven o’clock in the evening, a great disturbance was
noticed in the midst of the lake, and the next morning a pile of rocks
was seen, from whose midst arose a column of vapor. For more than a month
this vapor column was visible, and the pile of rocks near the centre of
the lake increased, while the water was heated and the sulphurous vapors
extended over all the neighborhood. Beyond this no permanent volcano was
formed above the level of the lake (1,600 feet above the sea).

It is dangerous to form conclusions as to the general course of volcanic
action anywhere, for science is very much in the dark as to the causes
of eruptions and earthquakes, as to the condition of the interior of our
globe, whether fluid or solid, and also as to whether the lavas poured
out during an eruption have been fluid since the earth was formed, or
have been suddenly melted either as cause or effect of what we call an
eruption. In the Central American volcanic region, as was stated at the
beginning of this chapter, little has been done in the way of scientific
exploration, and the facts recorded, beyond popular accounts of some
especial disturbance, are so meagre that no large space would be required
to present them to the reader. This is not, however, the place to enter
into a scientific discussion, and I must content myself with a few bare

In the first place, the volcanoes of the country discharge both ashes
and lava, the latter being most frequently trachytic. Basaltic lavas
occur, though less frequently than in Mexico and farther northward; and
the columnar structure seen so well at Regla in Mexico is very rare in
Guatemala. On the other hand, pumice and obsidian, which are classed with
the acid or trachytic lavas, are abundant, the latter furnishing material
for knives, while the former has many applications in the arts of the
present day. I have seen both basalt and basaltic rapilli in eastern
Guatemala near the boundary of San Salvador, and basaltic sand is common
on the southern coast.

Another feature of the Central American volcanoes is their remarkable
regularity of form. This is due to the fact that the emissions consist
of ash and lava of slight fluidity. In the Hawaiian Islands, where the
basaltic lava is more fluid than in any other volcanic region, the
lava-streams often flow for months, and extend fifty or sixty miles from
the crater, building by successive eruptions a cone of great diameter in
proportion to their height; Mauna Loa having a diameter of ninety miles
at the sea-level, with a height of less than fourteen thousand feet and
a slope of about seven degrees. The eruptions of the American volcanoes
are mainly of masses of rock which are piled regularly about the base,
in this way increasing the height, and great quantities of sand which
fills the interstices, and finally of lava in a thick, viscid state which
clings to the slopes of the growing cone and cements together the sand
and larger fragments. No lava-stream, at least of modern times, has been
found at any considerable distance from its source.

From the specimens I collected in some of the ravines which traverse
the older deposits, I saw that in former ages the outflow was not only
different from that of modern times, but of great variety of form in
contemporaneous streams, although the chemical composition did not vary

Earthquakes are mainly due to the injection of intensely heated lava
into strata of cold rock in the process of forming dikes. When a volcano
pours its lava out of its summit-crater, the eruption may be wholly
free from earth tremors, as is often the case on the Hawaiian Islands;
and this gives rise to the popular belief that active volcanoes are in
some way a safety-valve for the subterranean forces. When, however, the
shrinkage of the earth’s crust or the explosive force of pent-up vapors
cracks the solid rock, thus giving passage to the molten mass which must
be supposed to underlie this volcanic region, the sudden contact of two
bodies of very different temperatures (perhaps two thousand degrees) must
cause vibrations entirely sufficient to account for the worst earthquake
recorded. That the supply of molten rock is ample beneath the crust of
this region, we have proof in the constant activity of Izalco, which for
more than a century has poured out lava with the other ejections.

This theory of earthquake action is so simple that it must commend itself
to any one who has observed the powerful vibrations excited by placing a
cold kettle upon a hot stove, or by admitting with force a stream of hot
water into a bath-tub partly filled with cold water. It may be stated
also that lava is a remarkably poor conductor of heat (I have been able
to walk over a crust that bent beneath my weight, and again where I left
footprints in the half-hardened lava), and solid lava might retain a
temperature of less than two hundred within a few feet of a molten mass
ranging among the thousands of degrees. The secular refrigeration of
the subterranean molten masses due to the slight conductivity of solid
lava is well illustrated in the temperature of hot-springs, that remains
unchanged for centuries.

Eruptions are usually of an explosive nature in the Central American
region (as described in the outbreak of Coseguina), and the ejected ash
is scattered often to a great distance to form by its decomposition
layers of soil especially fitted for the cultivation of coffee, sugar,
and the vine. Sulphur is not so abundantly deposited as at Ætna, Hekla,
or even the Mexican volcanoes.


What an attic-room is to the thrifty housewife, an appendix is to the
maker of a book. Some things that do not seem to be in place in the
parlor or chamber are yet useful, and altogether too good to be thrown
away, so they are put into the garret to await the expected use. In a
book there are matters that the writer thinks ought to interest some
reader, things that will be missed if they are not under the same roof,—I
mean between the covers of the volume in hand,—and yet the skill is
wanting to incorporate these odd pieces (of furniture, if you wish) in
the orderly chapters of the book. And so I give you here several long
notes and some longer lists.


  Almond (_Amygdalus communis_).
  Fustic (_Maclura tinctoria_).
  Mahogany (_Swietenia mahogani_),—of various kinds, as red, circular,
  Mangrove (_Rhizophora Mangle_); the wood is dark red, and very durable.
  Mangrove (_R. Candel_); the wood is very heavy and takes a fine polish.
  Granadillo,—a very solid dark-red wood, much used for tables.
  Guachapeli,—a dark, very hard and strong wood, used in boat-building.
  Madre cacao (_Erythrina_),—soft.
  Alligator wood (_Guarea Swartzii_).
  Uña de gato (_Pithecolobium unguis-cati_).
  Blood-wood (_Laplacea hæmatoxylon_).
  Palo de Cortez.
  Palo de mulatto (_Spondias lutea_),—a most beautiful and durable
      wood, very heavy.
  Cola de pava.
  Sangre de perro.
  Cedar (_Cedrela odorata_).
  Coco-wood (_Inga vera_).
  Brasiletto (_Cæsalpinia crista_).
  Goyava (_Psidium_); wood hard and compact, though not of great size.
  Arnotto (_Bixa orellana_) variety, with white wood.
  Bambu (_Bambusa_).
  Huiliguiste,—light-colored wood.
  Balsam-tree (_Clusia rosea_).
  Calabash-tree, Guaje (_Crescentia cujete_).
  Pié de paloma.
  Orange (_Citrus_),—white and close grained.
  Cedar (_Bursera_).
  Locust, Anime (_Hymenæa courbaril_); from this tree gum-copal is
  Locust (_Byrsonima cinerea_).
  Gum-thorn (_Acacia Arabica_).
  Irayol,—yellow and ochre-colored.
  Quiebra-hacha (_Sloanea Jamaicensis_),—black wood.
  Copalchi,—quinine-tree; the bark is used, and the wood is also in
  Mammee (_Lucuma mammosa_); the wood is very hard and heavy, but
      splits easily.
  Quita calzon.
  Palo grande.
  Pigeon-wood (_Coccoloba diversifolia_).
  Rose-apple (_Jambosa vulgaris_).
  Sebesten (_Cordia sebestena_).
  Rosewood (_Dalbergia_).
  Sandbox-tree (_Hura crepitans_).
  Screw-pine (_Pandanus_); the heart-wood is very hard and ornamental.
  Salm (_Jacaranda_); light-colored, much used for door-frames.
  Ironwood (_Laplacea hæmatoxylon_).
  Pine, ocote (_Pinus cubensis_).
  Pine, long-leaved (_P. macrophyllum_).
  Poknoboy (_Bactris balanoidea_).
  Sandpaper-tree (_Curatella Americana_),—the rough leaves used for
  Hog-gum (_Symphonia globulifera_).
  Walnut (_Picrodendron juglans_).
  Tamarind (_Tamarindus Indica_).
  Espina blanca (_Acacia Arabica_).
  Copal (_Hedwigia balsamifera_).
  Copalche, small (_Strychnos pseudoquina_).
  Pimiento (_Pimenta vulgaris_).
  Zebra-wood (_Eugenia fragrans_).
  Mignonette-tree (_Lawsonia inermis_).
  Guazuma (_G. tomentosa_).
  Oak (_Ilex sideroxyloides_).
  Spanish plum (_Spondias purpurea_).
  Santa Maria (_Calophyllum calaba_).
  Pomegranate (_Punica granatum_).
  Sapodilla (_Achras sapota_).
  Ziricote,—beautifully marked; heavy.
  Pine, mountain (_P. Ayacahuite_).
  Pine (_P. filifolia_).
  Maho (_Spondias?_).
  Sapoton (_Pachira macrocarpa_).
  Tamarind, wild (_Pithecolobium filicifolium_).
  White-wood (_Oreodaphne leucoxylon_).
  Willow, yellow (_Salix_).
  Ebony, mosaic (_Brya ebenus_).
  Balsam (_Myrospermum salvatoriensis_).
  Qualm (_Cecropia peltata_).


The Œcodoma, Zompopos, or leaf-cutting ants, are such a pest to the
fruit-growers of Central America that I have quoted from Mr. Belt the
most satisfactory account of their habits that has ever been published.
He says:—

  “The first acquaintance a stranger generally makes with them
  is on encountering their paths on the outskirts of the forest
  crowded with the ants,—one lot carrying off the pieces of leaves,
  each piece about the size of a sixpence and held up vertically
  between the jaws of the ant, another lot hurrying along in an
  opposite direction empty handed, but eager to get loaded with
  their leafy burdens. If he follows this last division, it will
  lead him to some young trees or shrubs, up which the ants mount,
  and where each one, stationing itself on the edge of a leaf,
  commences to make a circular cut with its scissor-like jaws from
  the edge, its hinder feet being the centre on which it turns.
  When the piece is nearly cut off, it is still stationed upon it,
  and it looks as though it would fall to the ground with it; but
  on being finally detached, the ant is generally found to have
  hold of the leaf with one foot, and soon righting itself, and
  arranging its burden to its satisfaction, it sets off at once on
  its return. Following it again, it is seen to join a throng of
  others, each laden like itself, and without a moment’s delay it
  hurries along the well-worn path. As it proceeds, other paths,
  each thronged with busy workers, come in from the sides, until
  the main road often gets to be seven or eight inches broad, and
  more thronged than the streets of the city of London.

  “After travelling for some hundreds of yards, often for more
  than half a mile, the formicarium is reached. It consists of low
  wide mounds of brown clayey-looking earth, above and immediately
  around which the bushes have been killed by their buds and leaves
  having been persistently bitten off as they attempted to grow
  after their first defoliation. Under high trees in the thick
  forest the ants do not make their nests, because, I believe, the
  ventilation of their underground galleries, about which they are
  very particular, would be interfered with, and perhaps to avoid
  the drip from the trees. It is on the outskirts of the forest,
  or around clearings or near wide roads that let in the sun, that
  these formicariums are generally found. Numerous round tunnels,
  varying from half an inch to seven or eight inches in diameter,
  lead down through the mounds of earth; and many more from some
  distance around also lead underneath them. At some of the holes
  on the mounds ants will be seen busily at work bringing up
  little pellets of earth from below and casting them down on the
  ever-increasing mounds, so that its surface is nearly fresh and

  “The ceaseless toiling hosts impress one with their power, and
  one asks, What forests can stand before such invaders? How is it
  that vegetation is not eaten off the face of the earth? Surely
  nowhere but in the tropics, where the recuperative powers of
  Nature are immense and ever active, could such devastation be
  withstood.... None of the indigenous trees appear so suitable for
  them as the introduced ones....

  “In June, 1859, very soon after the formation of my garden,
  the leaf-cutting ants came down upon it, and at once commenced
  denuding the young bananas, orange, and mango trees of their
  leaves. I followed up the paths of the invading hosts to their
  nest, which was about one hundred yards distant, close to the
  edge of the forest. The nest was not a very large one, the low
  mound of earth covering it being about four yards in diameter.
  At first I tried to stop the holes up; but fresh ones were
  immediately opened out. I then dug down below the mound and laid
  bare the chambers beneath, filled with ant-food and young ants
  in every stage of growth. But I soon found that the underground
  ramifications extended so far and to so great a depth, whilst
  the ants were continually at work making fresh excavations, that
  it would be an immense task to eradicate them by such means;
  and notwithstanding all the digging I had done the first day, I
  found them as busily at work as ever at my garden, which they
  were rapidly defoliating. At this stage our medical officer,
  Dr. J. H. Simpson, came to my assistance, and suggested the
  pouring carbolic acid, mixed with water, down their burrows.
  The suggestion proved a most valuable one. We had a quantity
  of common brown carbolic acid, about a pint of which I mixed
  with four buckets of water, and, after stirring it well about,
  poured it down their burrows. I could hear it rumbling down to
  the lowest depths of the formicarium, four or five feet from
  the surface. The effect was all that I could have wished; the
  marauding parties were at once drawn off from my garden to meet
  the new danger at home. The whole formicarium was disorganized.
  Big fellows came stalking up from the cavernous regions below,
  only to descend again in the utmost perplexity.

  “Next day I found them busily employed bringing up the ant-food
  from the old burrows and carrying it to a new one a few yards
  distant; and here I first noticed a wonderful instance of their
  reasoning powers. Between the old burrows and the new one was a
  steep slope. Instead of descending this with their burdens, they
  cast them down on the top of the slope, whence they rolled down
  to the bottom, where another relay of laborers picked them up and
  carried them to the new burrow. It was amusing to watch the ants
  hurrying out with bundles of food, dropping them over the slope
  and rushing back immediately for more. They also brought out
  great numbers of dead ants that the fumes of the carbolic acid
  had killed. A few days afterwards, when I visited the locality
  again, I found both the old burrows and the new one entirely
  deserted, and I thought they had died off; but subsequent events
  convinced me that the survivors had only moved away to a greater
  distance. It was fully twelve months before my garden was again
  invaded. I had then a number of rose-trees, and also cabbages
  growing, which the ants seemed to prefer to everything else. The
  rose-trees were soon defoliated, and great havoc was made amongst
  the cabbages. I followed them to their nest, and found it about
  two hundred yards from the one of the year before. I poured down
  the burrows, as before, several buckets of water with carbolic
  acid. The water is required to carry the acid down to the lowest
  chambers. The ants, as before, were at once withdrawn from my
  garden; and two days afterwards, on visiting the place, I found
  all the survivors at work on one track that led directly to the
  old nest of the year before, where they were busily employed
  making fresh excavations. Many were bringing along pieces of
  the ant-food from the old to the new nests; others carried the
  undeveloped white pupæ and larvæ. It was a wholesale and entire
  migration; and the next day the formicarium down which I had last
  poured the carbolic acid was entirely deserted.

  “Don Francisco Velasquez informed me in 1870 that he had a powder
  which made the ants mad, so that they bit and destroyed each
  other. He gave me a little of it, and it proved to be corrosive
  sublimate. I made several trials of it, and found it most
  efficacious in turning a large column of the ants. A little of
  it sprinkled across one of their paths in dry weather has a most
  surprising effect. As soon as one of the ants touches the white
  powder it commences to run about wildly, and to attack any other
  ant it comes across. In a couple of hours round balls of the ants
  will be found all biting each other; and numerous individuals
  will be seen bitten completely in two, whilst others have lost
  some of their legs or antennæ. News of the commotion is carried
  to the formicarium, and huge fellows, measuring three quarters
  of an inch in length, that only come out of the nest during a
  migration or an attack on the nest or one of the working columns,
  are seen stalking down with a determined air, as if they would
  soon right matters. As soon, however, as they have touched the
  sublimate, all their stateliness leaves them; they rush about,
  their legs are seized hold of by some of the smaller ants already
  affected by the poison, and they themselves begin to bite, and in
  a short time become the centre of fresh balls of rabid ants.”[67]

I wish I could quote all Mr. Belt’s interesting article; for his
conclusion as to the use the ants make of the bits of leaf they are so
incessantly collecting, is an ingenious one, and probably true. It is
certain that the little fellows are never seen taking a nibble of their
burdens, which would probably be the case if this material was intended
for food; and Mr. Belt thinks that the smaller ants, who seldom leave
the nest and never carry leaves, have the task of cutting the leaves up
into very small bits, which serve as manure for a minute fungus, which
is the real ant-food. It seems that “some of the ants make mistakes, and
carry in unsuitable leaves; thus grass is always rejected by them. But I
have seen some ants, perhaps young ones, carrying leaves of grass; but
after a while these pieces are always brought out again and thrown away.
I can imagine a young ant getting a severe ear-wigging from one of the
major-domos for its stupidity.”


Here is a translation I have made from the Spanish version given by Milla
of a Quiché prayer; and as the petitioner is a supposed Christian, it
will serve to illustrate the theological status of the Indio converts,
and no less of their descendants of the present day. Compare it with the
heathen prayer (p. 249):—

  “O Jesus Christ my God, thou God the Son with the Father and the
  Holy Spirit art but one God! To-day on this day, at this hour,
  on this day of Tijax, I invoke the holy spirits who attend the
  dawn and the last glimmerings of day! With the holy spirits I
  pray to thee, O chief of the Genii who dwell in this mountain
  of Sija-Raxquin! Come, blessed spirits of Juan Vachiac, of
  D. Domingo Vachiac, of Juan Ixquiaptop; blessed spirits of
  Francisco Ecoquij, of Diego Soom, of Juan Tay, of Alonso Tzep;
  holy spirits, I repeat, of Diego Tziquin and Don Pedro Noj; you,
  O priests, to whom all things are open, and thou Chief of the
  Genii; ye Gods of the mountain, Gods of the plain, Don Puruperto
  Martin,—come, accept this incense, accept now this candle! Come
  also mother mine, holy Mary, and thou my Lord of Esquipulas, the
  Lord of Capetagua, ... Captain Santiago, Saint Christopher, ...
  thou Lord and King Pascual, be present here! And thou frost, thou
  God of the plain, thou God Quiacbasulup, thou Lord of Retal-euleu
  [here follows a long list of names of towns and mountains]! I
  make myself compadre and comadre, I who pray; I am the witness
  and the brother of this man who makes himself your son, of this
  man who prays. O blessed spirits, suffer no evil to come to him,
  nor let him be in any way unhappy! I the one who speak, I the
  priest, I who burn this incense, I who pray for him, I who take
  him under my protection, I beseech you that he may easily find
  his food. Do thou then, God, send him his money; do not allow him
  to get sick with fever, let him not become paralytic, let him not
  be choked with a cough, let him not be bitten by a serpent, let
  him not be swollen with wind nor asthmatic, let him not become
  mad nor be bitten by a dog, let him not perish by a thunderbolt,
  suffer him not to perish by rum, nor die by sword or stave,
  neither let an eagle snatch him away; assist him, O clouds!
  assist him, O lightnings! assist him, O thunderclap! Aid him,
  Saint Peter, aid him, Saint Paul, aid him, thou Eternal Father!
  I then who have spoken for him thus far, I pray that sickness
  may come upon his opponents; grant that when his enemy goes
  forth from his house he may encounter sickness; grant likewise
  that wherever he may please to go, there he may meet with
  difficulties. Do your duty against enemies wherever they may be;
  do it as I pray you, blessed spirits! God be with you! God the
  Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost! So be it! Amen, Jesus!”


It is uncertain whether at the present day any of the aboriginal names of
places survive, for the successive invaders from the North or from beyond
the seas, if they did not utterly destroy towns, imposed new names on
the conquered places. We speak of the ruins of Palenque or of Quirigua,
but we do not know the former names of these places, and call them, for
convenience, by the name of the nearest modern village. Much ingenuity
has been expended in the derivation of Indian names still extant, even
the name of the republic itself being one of the undetermined ones; for
while Guatemala is undoubtedly taken from the name of the Cakchiquel
capital, Tecpan Quahtemalan, it is not known whether this was named for
Prince Jieutemal, or indeed whether the prince of that name ever existed.
_Quiché_ is derived from _qui_, “many,” and _che_, “trees;” or from
_queche_, _quechelau_, meaning “a forest,”—an inappropriate name now.
No less questionable are the derivations of _Tucurúb_, “town of owls;”
_Es(Itz)cuintla(n)_, “land of dogs;” _Izmachi_, “black hair;” and many

The termination _pan_ means a “standard” or “chief place;” hence,
_Mayapan_ of the Mayas, and _Totonicapan_ of the Totonaques. _Tepec_
is a “mountain,” or “high place;” hence, Alotepeque, Coatepeque,
Olintepeque, Jilotepeque, and Quezaltepeque,—all of them in mountainous
regions, the second being a volcano of considerable height. _Tlan_
means a “city” or “home;” hence, _Atitlan_, “the home of the old woman
(Atit),” _Zapotitlan_, etc. The most common termination is _tenango_, a
Mexican word with much the same meaning as _tlan_,—_Huehuetenango_ being
equivalent to “the ancient abode;” _Chimaltenango_ to “the House of the

A troublesome matter is the varying and uncertain orthography of most of
the names now in use. Goattemala, Gautemala, Guatimala, are all used by
writers. The termination _pan_ is often in official publications spelled
_pam_. Quezaltenango is properly, though seldom, written Quetzaltenango;
and Cumarcah or Gumarcah, Izabal or Yzabal, Jutiapa or Xutiapa, are
common variations. The omission of the letter _n_ in such words as
Montezuma and Montagua, and at the end of Escuintlan, is the rule in
Guatemala; but foreign writers do not always regard it. The interchange
of _b_ and _v_ is common,—as _bejuco_ or _vejuco_; _benta_ or _venta_.
So far as sound goes, the name of the large macaw may be _Juacamalla_ or
_Guacamaya_. _Tzololà_ was one form of _Sololà_; _Taltic_, of _Tactic_;
and _Mictlan_, of _Mita_.

It is quite possible that Soconusco is derived from _xoconochtli_, a word
meaning “wild figs,” and Honduras from _fonduras_, meaning “depths,”
although the application may not be clear at the present day. More
satisfactory are _Michatoyatl_, “a river abounding in fish;” _Paxa_,
“water which separates,”—the Rio Pax, or Paz, having always been the
boundary between Guatemala and San Salvador. _Tonalá_, the “City of the
Sun,” and _Gumarca(a)h_, “ruined houses,” are generally admitted to be
correct derivations.

The Spanish invaders exhibited slight inventive powers, and some half
a dozen saints were made godfathers and godmothers to all the Indian
towns that were important enough to be rechristened; and Santos Juan,
José, Tomas, and Marcos, and Santas Maria, Lucia, Ana, and Catarina
are the favorites, although Pedro, Esteban, Jago, Miguel, Antonio,
Cristoval, Pablo, Izabal, and Clara are by no means neglected. The
proper name of the capital city of Guatemala is Santiago (St. James); and
if the ambitious projects dear to the late President Barrios should be
accomplished, as seems not improbable, England will have to be satisfied
with St. George, and leave “The Court of St. James” to the Central
American kingdom.

To the Anglo-Saxon such names as True Cross, Holy Cross, Thanks to God,
City of Angels, Nativity, and Holy Saviour seem wholly inappropriate
as names of places; but to the devout Spaniard they were evidently
favorite appellations. Nor are they very different from Praise-God
Barebones, Faith, Prudence, and the like, which we know were not uncommon
appellatives among the Puritans.


In all the remains of ancient cities or holy places hitherto discovered
in Central America, there are temples or oratories, and so-called
palaces, but not a sign of human habitations; even the palaces are
apparently too small for comfortable habitation, and the temples would
not admit more than four or five persons at the same time. Herrera says
there “were so many and such stately Stone Buildings that it was amazing;
and the greatest Wonder is, that, having no Use of any Metal, they were
able to raise such Structures, which seem to have been Temples, for
their Houses were always of Timber and thatched.” Always of less durable
material than stone, the houses have disappeared, and we must not infer
that there were no dwellers about the places where we find to-day only
monuments of the dead or religious edifices. At the present time there
is many a village in Guatemala where the church is the only building of
masonry, all the houses being of the most perishable materials, as palm
stems and leaves, bark and mud. If the town of Livingston were destroyed
to-day and not rebuilt, there would be nothing on the site after two
years to show that men had ever lived there.

It would certainly be interesting to learn why many of the temples have
doors, passages, and even rooms that a man of average stature cannot
stand erect in.


To show how difficult the study of race peculiarities must be in a
country where there is so much amalgamation, I give a list of the names
of some of the crosses:—

  Crosses.                Male.               Female.

  Mestizo (Ladino)        Spaniard.           Indian woman.
  Castiso                 Spaniard.           Mestiza.
  Españolo                Castiso.            Spanish woman.
  Mulato                  Negro.              Spanish woman.
  Morisco                 Spaniard.           Mulata.
  Albino                  Morisco.            Spanish woman.
  Tornatras               Albino.             Spanish woman.
  Tente en el aire        Tornatras.          Spanish woman.
  Lobo (wolf)             Negro.              Indian woman.
  Caribujo                Lobo.               Indian woman.
  Barsino                 Coyote (Indigene).  Mulata.
  Grifo                   Lobo.               Negress.
  Albarazado              Coyote.             Indian woman.
  Chaniso                 Indio.              Mestiza.
  Mechino                 Coyote.             Loba.


I do not speak of the tables of the upper classes, where variety is
found in Guatemala as well as elsewhere; but of the common cookery
that a stranger finds in travelling, it may truly be said that it has
not a national character, nor does justice to the abundant material at
hand. What there is of it is, however, good; a fresh tortilla is better
than the cakes of the Northern backwoods, and the wheaten bread made
by the _panadero_ of the village is exceedingly palatable. Frijoles,
or beans, the most popular general dish, are always stewed over an
open fire, and are much better than the baked beans of New England.
Eggs are always present, either fried, poached, or baked in the shell
(_huevos tibios_); when fried, always seasoned with tomato, chillis,
and vinegar. _Salchichas_, or sausages, fried in lard, with plenty of
garlic; _gigote_, or hashed meat; _higate_, a potage made of figs, pork,
fowl, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and allspice, bread, soup, and innumerable
ollas,—are present as solid dishes, the meats generally being of poor
quality. Besides the vegetables of Northern gardens, there are _chiotes_,
palm-cabbage, and, best of all, plantain. For _verduras_, or greens,
there are many plants,—none, however, better than spinach or dandelions;
and the _ensaladas_ are not remarkable. In the shore region one can
have most delicious turtle-steak, white and tender as veal, iguanas
fricasseed,—perhaps the best native dish,—javia-steaks, armadillo (which
I am sorry to say I have not eaten), and fish of many kinds and flavors.

I have spoken of the bad coffees served as “esencia,” but have not said
enough about the chocolate, which I never found carelessly prepared.
Perhaps the best is prepared entirely at home; that is, the beans of
cacao are carefully roasted, as coffee might be, and the shells removed
by rubbing in the hands. The metatle then serves to crush the oily mass,
as corn is prepared in tortilla-making; sugar is added, and enough
cinnamon or vanilla to flavor the crushed cacao, which becomes pasty by
grinding, and may be run into moulds, or simply dropped on some cool
surface to harden. These chocolate-drops are dissolved in boiling milk as
wanted, and the whole churned to a froth. Prepared in this way, chocolate
is much better than the cake chocolate of the manufacturers. An ancient
recipe was much more complicated than this, and although I have never
tried it myself, I venture to give it to my readers. It is this: “One
hundred cacaos,—treating them as has been described,—two pods of chilli,
a handful of anis and orjevala, two of mesachasil or vanilla (this may be
replaced by six roses of Alexandria, powdered), two drams of cinnamon,
a dozen each of almonds and filberts, half a pound of white sugar, and
arnotto to color it.” This mixture must of course be whipped to a froth.

Perhaps the people of Guatemala are as cleanly as others; but according
to our observation the common practice was to allow the dogs to lick the
dishes, which received no additional washing. It was the custom also at
the table d’hôte in the hotels to finish a meal by filling the mouth
with water and spurting it on the tiled floor. Once, when we stopped at
a way-side house to get some coffee, the señora made a little fire out
of doors, put the coffee in a very black pot to boil, and, after fanning
the reluctant fire with her straw hat, threw herself on the ground
near by to rest and smoke her _puro_. When the pot was near to boiling,
she reached out her bare leg and tested the temperature of the contents
with her toe, as a Northern cook might have used his finger. Frank was
scandalized; but, after all, it was merely a matter of taste.


In stating that the scenes illustrated in this book are all from
photographs, it may be added that the clearness of the atmosphere enables
a distant view to be taken with great distinctness (unfortunately lost
in the mechanical reproductions) even in minute details. The lens used
for views not requiring extreme rapidity was the Dallmeyer single
landscape,—a lens unsurpassed for its purpose; while for architectural
subjects, or those in motion, a Ross rapid rectilinear was generally
used. The plates were those prepared by Allen & Rowell, of Boston,—as
usual, of the finest quality. For apparatus, the camera was a 5 × 8
size of the American Optical Company’s make, fitted with a changing
box containing eighteen plates, and also with an attachment, arranged
by the author, for making two or three smaller pictures on the 5 × 8
plate. I carried no tent, but changed my plates at night under a blanket,
depending on touch rather than sight. For the stereoscopic pictures, I
used a pair of Euryscope No. 0 lenses. The plates were developed months
afterwards, with a very small percentage of failures. In later journeys
in Guatemala I have used plates of the 8 × 10 size; but for all purposes
of illustration the 4 × 5 size is to be preferred. For packing the plates
I have used a strong barrel and cork-dust with complete success. It is a
matter of deep regret that the method of mechanical reproduction utterly
destroys all the beauty of the original photographs. In cases where
phototypes are presented from ink-drawings, these have generally been
drawn directly from a transparency which I have made from the original
negative and projected in the lantern. The drawings are of large size,
and reduced to one quarter, or even less, in the phototype. This method
insures at least accuracy of outline.


Persons interested in silver coinage might have a good field for
collection here; and one of the Government collectors, who had a fancy
for numismatics, showed me a curious lot he had received in payment of
taxes. Maximilian coins from Mexico were the rarest; but every country of
Central and South America was well represented. Among current coins the
dollar of Peru and Chili (_sols_) are most common; and the smaller change
is mainly in Guatemalan and Hondureñan currency. The dollar (_peso_,
piece of eight) contains eight reals, and the real two medios, or four
cuartillos. This last is the smallest coin used, although the cent
(_centavo_) has been coined. A real is twelve and a half cents, a medio
six and a quarter, and a cuartillo three and an eighth; but in the text
I have spoken of these coins as valued in gold, or, approximately, ten,
five, and three cents.


  Tactic                          4,725
  Coban                           4,356
  San Cristobal                   4,643
  San Miguel Uspantán             6,040
  Cunen                           5,942
  Sacapulas                       3,826
  Santa Cruz del Quiché           6,621
  Quezaltenango                   7,697
  Totonicapan                     8,150
  Sololà                          7,041
  Guatemala City                  5,013
  Antigua                         5,072
  Ciudad Vieja                    5,151
  Escuintla                       1,450
  Amatitlan                       3,901
  Palin                           3,753
  Cuajinicuilapa                  2,848
  Cerro Redondo                   3,542
  Los Esclavos                    2,394
  Agua Blanca                     2,658
  Suchitan                        4,108
  Santa Catarina (Rio)            2,251
  Santa Catarina (Pueblo)         2,324
  Esquipulas                      2,986
  Paso del Rodeo                  2,744
  Los Horcones                    3,637
  Piedra de Amolar                2,340
  Copan                           1,830
  Vado Hondo                      1,237
  Chiquimula                      1,244
  Zacapa                            449
  Pacaya                          8,366
  Volcan de Agua (summit)        12,313
     ”      ”    (S. Maria)       6,828
     ”      ”    (crater bot.)   12,087
  Volcan de Fuego                13,127
     ”      ”    (La Meseta)     12,001
  Acatenango                     13,616
  Volcan de Atitlan              11,723
  Cerro Quemado                  10,201
  Santa Maria                    11,483
  Lago de Atitlan                 5,112
  Lago de Amatitlan               3,895
  Lago de San Cristobal           4,643

I find it impossible to reconcile some of these measurements of the
French Expedition with my own or those of other observers; but usually
the difference is not greater than might be expected from observations
with the aneroid barometer.


Land is usually bought and sold by _caballerias_ (33.33 acres),
_hectareas_ (2.47 acres), _manzanas_ (a square of one hundred yards),
or _varas_ (2.78 feet). The most common weights are the _quintal_ (a
hundredweight) and the _arroba_ (25 pounds of 16 ounces each). Among
the Indios other weights and measures are used, but I could find no
trustworthy information about them. They also retain the old cacao
currency to some extent, and I have been offered cacao-beans for small
change, as the cuartillo is not common away from the large cities.

     400 cacao beans = contle.
   8,000   ”     ”   = jiquipil = 20 contles.
  24,000   ”     ”   = carga    =  3 jiquipiles.


I am indebted to my friend Professor Sereno Watson, of Harvard, for the
identification of species, which to the number of sixty he has already
determined from some five hundred that he collected in the Departments of
Livingston and Izabal. I did not myself make any collection, but noted
the genera that were familiar to me as I travelled through the country.
So little has been published about the Guatemaltecan Flora that I have
ventured to add these notes to Professor Watson’s list.

  Clematis americana, Will. Near Izabal.
    dioica, L. Panajachel.
    caripensis, HBK. Sacapulas, Jutiapa.
    polycephala, Bert. V. de Agua.
    sericea, HBK. San José.

  Davilla rugosa, Poir. Banks of Rio Dulce, Rio Chocon.
    lucida, Presl? Chocon.

  Doliocarpus pubens, Mart. Livingston.

  Curatella americana, L. Dry hills near Quirigua.

  Tetracera n. sp. Rio Chocon.

  Guatteria Jurgensenii, Hemsl. Shores of Lago de Izabal, Chocon.
    n. sp.

  Anona squamosa, L. Livingston, muricata, L. Cunen, Uspantán.

  Anona Cherimolia, Mill. Common.
    palustris, L. Sea-shore near Livingston.

  Xylopia frutescens, Aubl., var. glabra. Shores of Lago de Izabal.

  Cissampelus Pareira, L. Izabal, Rio Dulce.
    tropæolifolia, DC.? Izabal.

  Nymphaea ampla, DC. Rio Polochic, mouth of Rio Chocon.

  Argemone mexicana, L.

  Draba vulcanica, Benth. V. de Agua.

  Cleome polygama, L. San Felipe.

  Moringa pterygosperma, Gaertu. Zacapa, Chiquimula.

  Bixa Orellana, L.

  Xylosma nitida, A. G.

  Alsodeia guatemalensis, Watson. Rio Chocon.

  Oncoba laurina, Oliver. Izabal, Rio Chocon.

  Casearia Brighami, Watson. Chocon.

  Polygala asperuloides, HBK. Izabal.

  Jatropha Curcas, L.

  Janipha Manihot, HBK.

  Croton. (Several sp. on coast, not determined.)

  Euphorbia Poinsettii. Uplands.

  Hura crepitans, L. Sacapulas, Zacapa.
    Two euphorbiaceous trees in eastern highlands.

  Drymaria cordata, Willd. Lago de Izabal.

  Quercus (2 sp.). Cunen to Quiché.

  Portulaca oleracea, L. Livingston, Chocon.

  Phytolacca icosandra, L. Antigua, Santa Cruz del Quiché.

  Amaranthus paniculatus, L. Cunen, Jutiapa.

  Sida rhombifolia, L. Chocon.

  Abutilon. (Trees at La Tinta. Several allied sp. banks of Rio Chocon.)

  Hibiscus Abelmoschus, L. Izabal.

  Gossypium barbadense, L. Livingston.

  Hampea (?) stipitata, Watson. Large tree, Chocon.

  Paritium tiliaceum, A. Juss. Shore near Santo Tomas.

  Pavonia racemosa, Swartz. Rio Dulce.

  Eriodendron ceiba. Sacapulas, Chocon, Quirigua.

  Bernoullia flammea, Oliv. Istapa.

  Cheirostemon platanoides, Hum. & Bon. V. de Fuego, Encuentros.

  Helicteres guazumæfolia, HBK. Cerro del Mico.

  Pachira macrocarpa. Rio Chocon, Motagua.
    insignis, Sav. Red petals at Omoa.
    sp. Chocon.

  Theobroma cacao, L. Chocon, Quirigua, Pansos.

  Guazuma tomentosa, HBK. Chocon.

  Gouania tomentosa, Jacq.

  Gomphia (Ouratea) guatemalensis, Engler. Chocon.

  Vitis sicyoides, var. ovata, Baker. Lago de Izabal.
    lanceolata, Watson. Rio Dulce, Rio Chocon.
    vulpina, L. var. Izabalana, Watson. Izabal.

  Clusia guatemalensis, Hemsl. V. de Fuego.
    Large tree, Chocon.
    Low, wide-spreading tree, Izabal.
    Matapalo tree.

  Symphonia globulifera, L. “Hog-gum.” Large tree, Chocon.

  Calophyllum Calaba, Jacq. Livingston.

  Maregraavia rectiflora, Triana & Planch.
    var. Goudoutiana. Chocon.

  Ruyschia Souroubea, W. Livingston.

  Sauraujia oreophila, Hemsl. V. de Fuego.
    pauciserrata, Hemsl. V. de Fuego.

  Sauvagesia erecta, L. Cerro del Mico.
    tenella, Lam. Barbasco.

  Salix (2 sp.). Lago de Izabal, Rio Polochic, Amatitlan.

  Erythroxylum sp. Livingston.

  Linum guatemalense, Benth. V. de Agua.

  Byrsonima crassifolia, HBK. Cult. Izabal.

  Bunchosia Lanieri, Watson. Tree, Izabal.
    Lindeniana, Juss. Cuilapa.

  Stigmaphyllon Lupulus, Watson. Chocon.

  Hiræa reclinata, Jacq. Rio Dulce.
    sp.? Chocon?

  Cardiospermum grandiflorum, Swartz, var. hirsutum, Radl. Izabal.
    Halicacabum, L. Rio Chocon.

  Serjania mexicana, Willd. Rio Chocon.

  Paullinia sorbilis, Mart. Chocon.
    velutina, DC. Chocon.
    guatemalensis, Turcz.

  Melia Azederach, L. Escuintla, Izabal, naturalized.

  Guarea bijuga, C. DC.? Chocon.

  Swietenia Mahogani, L. Chocon, Quirigua.

  Cedrela odorata, L. Chocon.

  Citrus medica, var. Limonum. Naturalized.

  Oxalis dendroides, HBK. Cerro del Mico, 1500 ft.

  Tribulus cistoides, L. Shores.

  Guaiacum officinale, L.
    guatemalense, Herb. Kew, Zacapa.

  Quassia amara, L. Shores of Lago de Izabal.

  Picræna excelsa, Lindl.? Chocon.

  Alvaradoa amorphoides, Liebm. (?) Chocon.

  Hippocratea ovata, Lam. Rio Dulce.

  Wimmeria discolor, Schlecht. Rio Dulce.

  Zizyphus guatemalensis, Hemsl.

  Ficus (3 + sp.). Chocon.

  Cecropia palmata, W. Rio Chocon.

  Dorstenia contrayerva, L. Chixoy Valley.

  Castilloa elastica, Cervant.

  Maclura aurantiaca, Nutt.

  Peperomia (2 sp.). On trees, Chocon.

  Bursera gummifera, L.? Chocon.

  Spondias lutea, L. Chocon.
    purpurea, L. “Jocote.”
    sp.? “Maho.” Chocon.

  Rourea glabra, HBK. Lago de Izabal.

  Connarus Pottsii, Watson. Shores at Izabal.

  Mangifera indica, L. Naturalized.

  Anacardium occidentale, L. Cayo Paloma, Pacific coast.

  Quercus (2 sp.). Uplands above Cunen.

  Indigofera anil, L.

  Tephrosia toxicaria, Pers.

  Sesbania exasperata, HBK.

  Desmodium. 2 sp. at Chocon, another at El Mico.

  Mucuna puriens, DC. Vado Hondo.

  Erythrina velutina, W. Livingston.

  Myroxylon Pereirac, Klotzs. Escuintla.
    toluiferum, HBK. S. Coast.

  Poinciana pulcherrima, L. Antigua.

  Hæmatoxylon campechianum, L. Usumacinta Valley.

  Guilandina bonduc, L. Shores.

  Cæsalpinia (2 sp.). Chocon and Pacific.

  Dalbergia calycina, Benth. Chocon.

  Cassia fistula, L.
    2 sp. common at Livingston, another at Antigua.

  Tamarindus indica, L.

  Hymenæa courbaril, L. Rio Chocon, Rio Polochic.

  Bauhinia (2 sp.). Chocon, Quirigua.

  Entada scandens, Benth. Chocon.

  Prosopis juliflora, DC. Dry uplands.

  Mimosa pudica, L.
    casta, L. Livingston.
    guatemalensis, Benth.

  Acacia Farnesiana, W. Jutiapa, Cuilapa.
    spadicigera, Schlecht.
    arabica, W. Jutiapa. (4 + others.)

  Calliandra saman, Gr. Santo Tomas.

  Pithecolobium sp. Vado Hondo.

  Inga vera, W. Rio Chocon, Rio Polochic.

  Schizolobium sp. “Wild tamarind.” Rio Dulce, Rio Chocon.

  Chrysobalanus Icaco, L. Shores.

  Hirtella americana, Aublet. Chocon.

  Rubus sp. Alta Verapaz.

  Jambosa vulgaris, DC. Rio Dulce.

  Psidium guava, Radd. Pansos, San Felipe.
    sp. Quirigua, Rio Polochic.

  Jussiæa repens, L. Rio Polochic.

  Rhizophora Mangle, L. Rio Dulce, Santo Tomas.

  Cacoucia coccinea, Aublet. Rio Chocon, common.

  Terminalia Catappa, L. Naturalized, San Pedro Sula.

  Persea gratissima, G. Naturalized.

  Orcodaphne sp. Cunen.

  Sechium edule, Sw. West coast, Cerro Redondo.

  Cucumis Anguria, L. Punta Gorda.

  Luffa acutangula, Roxb. West coast.

  Lagenaria vulgaris, Sw.

  Cyclanthera explodens, Naud. V. de Fuego.

  Microsechium guatemalense, Hemsl. Trujillo, Palin.

  Fevillea, sp.

  Carica Papaya, L.
    sp. with small, unedible fruit. Valleys of Volcan de Fuego.

  Passiflora Brighami, Watson. Livingston, Rio Chocon.
    edulis, Sims.
    guatemalensis Watson. Chocon.
    choconiana, Watson,
    lunata, Willd.
    coriacea, Juss.
    quadrangularis, L. Antigua.
    3 sp. Rio Chocon, 1 El Mico, small plant with veined leaves, Chocon.

  Turnera sp. San Pedro.

  Aristolochia, sp. with immense blossoms. Roatan.

  Cereus (2 sp.). Jutiapa, Zacapa, Chixoy.

  Opuntia coccinellifera, Mill. Antigua, Amatitlan.

  Begonia scandens, Sw. Chocon.
    2 sp. Chocon, 1 at Uspantán.

  Ximenia americana, L. Livingston.

  Loranthaceae. 3 sp. observed. Chocon, Zacapa.

  Sambucus sp. Encuentros, Sololà.

  Rondeletia cordata, Benth. Guatemala City.
    gracilis, Hemsl. Coban.

  Psychotria sp. Rio Chocon.

  Bouvardia sp. Cunen.
    leiantha, Benth. Chimaltenango.

  Exostemma sp. Livingston.

  Ageratum conyzoides, L. Common.

  Stevia sp. Quiché, Cunen.

  Mikania guaca. Chocon.

  Wedelia phyllocephala, Kemel. Chixoy Valley.

  Verbesina gigantea, Jacq. Zacapa.

  Dahlia sp. Quiché, Quezaltenango.

  Tagetes micrantha, Cav. V. de Fuego.
    sp. 2. San Cristobal, Patzùn.

  Lobelia fulgens, Willd. Uplands.
    calcarata, Bertol. V. Santa Maria.
    cordifolia, H&A. Coban.

  Lobeliaceæ (3 sp.).

  Chrysophyllum Cainito, L.

  Sapota Achras, Mill.

  Lucuma mammosa, G.
    multiflora, A. DC. (?) Chocon.

  Jasminum officinale, L. Naturalized.

  Allamanda cathartica, L. Rio Chocon, Rio Polochic.

  Vinca rosea, L.

  Plumeria rubra L. (?) Several members of this family on Rio Chocon.

  Asclepias curassavica, L. Livingston, Uspantán, Antigua.

  Limnanthemum Humboldtianum, Gr. Lagoons, Rio Chocon.

  Datura (Brugmansia) suaveolens, Humb., Bonpl. Izabal.

  Physalis peruviana, L.

  Capsicum frutescens, L.
    annuum, L.

  Crescentia Cujete, L. Jutiapa and dry uplands generally.

  Jacaranda sp. Fine tree, Chocon.

  Bignoniaceae. 3 sp. Chocon forests, 1 sp. Antigua.

  Achimenes coccinea, Pers. Chixoy Valley.

  Martynia sp. Chixoy Valley.

  Jacobinia aurea, Hemsl. Chocon, Quirigua.

  Ipomœa bona-nox, L.
    Batatas, Lam.

  Quamoclit, L.

  Calonyction sp. Eight other convolvulaceæ noticed.

  Cuscuta sp. Zacapa.

  Cordia Sebestina, Jacq. Escuintla.

  Heliotropium curassavicum, L. San José.

  Salvia coccinea, L. Santa Cruz del Quiché. 3 other sp.

  Lantana sp. Esquipulas.

  Avicennia nitida, Jacq. Golfete.

  Pinus cubensis, Griseb.
    macrophylla, Parlat.

  Ayacahuite, Erenb.
    filifolia, Lindl.

  Abies sp.

  Monstera (2 sp.). Livingston, Chocon.

  Aroids of many sp. and several genera.

  Wolfia punctata, Gr. Rio Chocon.

  Typha sp.

  Euterpe oleracea, Mart.

  Oreodoxa oleracea.

  Manicaria Plukenetii, Gr. and Wendl.

  Desmoncus sp.

  Acrocomia vinifera, Oersted. Izabal, Chixoy Valley.

  Acrocomia sclerocarpa.

  Cocos nucifera, L.

  Attalea cohune, Mart.

  Bactris balanoidea, Wendl. Izabal.
    cohune, Watson. Chocon.

  Twenty-five sp. palms were collected at Chocon, but have not been
      determined yet.

  Commelyna cayennensis, Rich. San Felipe, 2 sp. Cunen.

  Pontederia sp. pink flowers. Livingston.

  Bambusa (2 sp.). Motagua, Chocon.

  Zea Mays, L.

  Agave americana, L.
    ixtli, Karw.

  Fourcroya gigantea, Vent.

  Pancratium caribæum, L. (?) Cayo Grande, Rio Polochic.

  Crinum sp. Rio Dulce.

  Smilax officinalis. Chocon.

  Ananassa sativa, Lindl. Izabal, Chixoy Valley.

  Bromelia Pinguin, L. Jutiapa.
    Karatas, Lemair. Jutiapa.


  Tillandsia (2 sp.).

  Bromeliaceæ (several sp.). Rio Dulce.

  Heliconia Bihai, L. Pansos, Quirigua.
    sp. Quirigua, Rio Dulce.

  Renealmia sp.

  Zinziber sp.

  Maranta (2 sp.).

  Vanilla planifolia, Andr. Chocon.

  Epidendrum bicornutum, Hook.

  Schomburgkia tubicina, Lindl.

  Oncidium citrinum, Lindl. Los Amates.
    iridifolium. HBK.

  Notylia guatemalensis, Watson.

  Ornithocephalus Pottsiæ, Watson.

  Bletia Pottsii, Watson.

  Salvinia auriculata, Aubl.

  The number of Orchidaceæ in Guatemala is very large.


A full bibliography of works that contain information about the region
through which we have been travelling together would fill a volume much
larger than the present; but the following brief list of some of the more
important titles may aid those who are interested in the past history or
the future prospects of the tropical part of this continent. I have not
thought it worth while to mention those unprinted works not at present
accessible to the public, nor the ephemeral publications of simple

ACOSTA, Fr. JOSÉ DE. Historia natural y moral de las Indias. Sevilla,

ADAM, LUCIEN. Études sur six Langues Américaines, Paris, 1878.

⸺ Du parler des Hommes et du parler des Femmes. Paris, 1879.

ALCEDO, ANTONIO DE. Diccionario geografico-histórico de las Indias
occidentales ó América; es á saber; de los reynos del Peru, Nueva España,
Tierra Firme, Chile y Nuevo Reyno de Granada. Madrid, 1786-89. 5 vols. An
English Translation, with Additions, by G. A. Thompson, was published in
London, 1812-15. 5 vols.

ANCONA, ELIGIO. Historia de Yucatan. Merida, 1878.

ANDAGOYA, PASCUAL DE, Narrative of. Translated by C. R. Markham. Hakluyt
Soc. London, 1865.

ASTABURUAGA, FRANCISCO S. Repúblicas de Centre-América o Idea de su
Historia i de su Estado actual. Santiago, Chili, 1837.

BAILY, JOHN. Central America; describing each of the States of Guatemala,
Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. London, 1850.

BALDWIN, JOHN D. Ancient America, in notes on American Archæology. New
York, 1872.

BANCROFT, HUBERT H. Native Races of the Pacific States of North America.
San Francisco, 1875 _et seq._

BARCIA, ANDRES GONZALES. Historiadores primitivos de las Indias
occidentales, que juntó, traduxo en parte y sacó á luz, ilustrados con
eruditas notas y copiosos índices el Señor Don Andres Gonzales Barcia,
del Consejo y Camera de Su Majestad. Madrid, año 1749.

BARD, S. A. Waikna: Adventures on the Mosquito Shore. London, 1855. 12mo.

BASTIAN, A. Die Culturlander des Alten Amerika. Berlin, 1878. 2 vols.

⸺ Steinsculpturen aus Guatemala. Berlin, 1882.

BATEMAN, JAMES. Orchidaceæ of Mexico and Guatemala. London, 1843. fol.

BATES, H. W. Central and South America. London, 1878.

BELAEZ, GARCIA. Memorias para la historia del antiguo reino de Guatemala.
Guatemala, 1851. 2 vols.

BELLY, FELIX. À travers l’Amérique Centrale; le Nicaragua et le Canal
Interocéanique. Paris, 1867.

BELT, THOMAS. The Naturalist in Nicaragua: a Narrative of a residence
at the Gold Mines of Chontales; Journeys in the Savannahs and Forests.
London, 1874.

BELTRAN DE SANTA ROSA, Fr. PEDRO. Arte del Idioma Maya reducido a
succintas reglas, y semilexicon Yucateco. Mexico, 1746; also Merida, 1859.

BENZONI, GIROLAMO. History of the new World. Travels 1541-1556. Venice,
1572. (First ed. 1565.) English Translation, Hakluyt Society, London,

BERENDT, Dr. C. H. Analytical Alphabet for the Mexican and Central
American Languages. New York, 1869. American Ethnological Society.

⸺ Remarks on the Centres of Ancient Civilization in Central America, and
their Geographical Distribution. New York, 1876. Bulletin of the American
Geographical Society.

BIOLOGIA-CENTRALI-AMERICANA; or, Contributions to the Knowledge of the
Fauna and Flora of Mexico and Central America. London, 1879.

BODHAM-WETHAM, J. W. Across Central America. London, 1877.

BONNYCASTLE, R. H. Spanish America; or, a Descriptive, Historical, and
Geographical Account of the Dominions of Spain in the Western Hemisphere,
Continental and Insular. London, 1818. 2 vols.

BOTURINI, BENADUCCI. Idea de una Nueva Historia General de la América
Septentrional. Madrid, 1746.

BOYLE, FREDERICK. Wanderings in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. London, 1868.

BRADFORD, ALEXANDER W. American Antiquities and the Red Race. New York,

BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG. Histoire des Nations civilisées du Mexique et de
l’Amérique Centrale durant les siècles antérieurs a Christophe Colomb,
écrite sur les documents originaux et entièrement inédits, puisés aux
anciennes archives des Indigènes. Paris, 1859. 4 vols.

⸺ Popul Vuh. Le Livre sacré et les Mythes de l’Antiquité Américaine, avec
les Livres héroïques et historiques des Quichés. Ouvrage original des
Indigènes de Guatemala, texte Quiché et traduction française en regard.
Paris, 1861.

⸺ Bibliotheque Mexico-Guatemalienne, précédé d’un coup d’œil sur les
études Américaines. Paris, 1871.

⸺ Grammaire de la langue Quichée; espagnole-française mise en parallel
avec ses deux dialectes Cachiquel et Tzutuhil, etc. Paris, 1862.

⸺ Recherches sur les ruines de Palenque et sur les origines de la
civilisation du Mexique. Paris, 1866.

⸺ Voyage sur l’Isthme de Tehuantepec dans l’état de Chiapas et la
république de Guatemala (1859-1860). Paris, 1861.

BRETON, RAYMOND. Dictionnaire caraibe-français. Auxerre, 1665.

BRINTON, Dr. DANIEL G. American Hero Myths.

⸺ The Names of the Gods in the Kiche Myths of Central America.
Philadelphia, 1881. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society,
vol. xix.

⸺ The Maya Chronicles. Philadelphia, 1882.

BÜLOW, A. VON. Dcr Freistaat Nicaragua in Mittel-Amerika, und seine
Wichtigkeit für den Welthandel, etc. Berlin, 1849.

⸺ Der Freistaat Costa Rica in Mittel-Amerika, etc. Berlin, 1850.

BYAM, GEORGE. Wild Life in the Interior of Central America. London, 1849.

CABRERA, P. F. Description of an Ancient City discovered near Palenque in
Guatemala. Translated from the Report of Antonio del Rio. Followed by a
History of the Americans. 1822.

CARILLO, Canon CRESCENTIO. Manual de Historia y Geografía de la Peninsula
de Yucatan. Merida.

CASAS, BARTOLOMEO DE LAS. Narratio regionum indicarum per Hispanos
quosdam devastatarum. Francofort, 1598. De Bry.

⸺ An | Account | Of the First | Voyages and discoveries | Made by the
Spaniards in America | Containing | The most Exact Relation hitherto
pub | lished of their unparallel’d Cruelties | on the Indians, in the
destruction of a | bove Forty Millions of People. | With the Propositions
offer’d to the King of Spain, | to prevent the further Ruin of the West
Indies. | By Don Bartholomew de las Casas, Bishop of Chiapa, | who was
an Eye | -witness of their Cruelties. London, 1699.

CASAS, BARTOLOMEO DE LAS. Historia apologetica de las Indias 5 vols.
folio in manuscript, at Madrid. (A copy is in the Force. Library at

⸺ Historia de las Indias, ahora por primera vez dada á luz por el Marqués
de la Fuensanta del Valle y D. J. S. Rayon. Madrid, 1875-76. 5 vols.

CATHERWOOD, FREDERICK. Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America,
Chiapas, and Yucatan. London, 1844. Folio. See also Stephens.

CHARENCY, HENRI DE. Le Mithe de Votan. Paris, 1871.

CHARNAY, DÉSIRÉ. Cités et Ruines Américaines, Mitla, Palenqué, Izamal,
Chichen-Itza, Uxmal, recueillies et photographiées. Texte par Viollet le
Due. Paris, 1863. 49 folio plates.

⸺ Les Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde. Voyages d’Explorations au
Mexique et dans l’Amérique centrale, 1857-1882. Paris, 1885.

CLAVIGERO, FRANCISCO YAVIER. Storia antica del Messico, Cesena, 1780. 4

⸺ History of Mexico from Spanish and Mexican Historians, MSS., Paintings,
etc. Translated, with Dissertations, by Cullen. London, 1807. 2 vols.

⸺ Historia Antigua de Megico traducida por Don J. G. Mara. London, 1826.
2 vols. Maps and curious plates.

COCKBURN, JOHN. A Journey over Land from the Gulf of Honduras to the
Great South Sea. Performed by J. C. and Five Other Englishmen. London,

COGOLLUDO, DIEGO LOPEZ. Los tres Siglos de la dominacion Española en
Yucatan, ó sea Historia de esta provincia desde la conquista hasta la
independencia. 2 vols. 8vo. hf. bd. Campeche, 1842; Merida, 1845.

CORTEZ, HERNAN, Cartas y relaciones de, al Emperador Carlos V. Colegidas
é ilustradas por Don Pascual de Gayangos. Paris, 1866.

DAVIS, W. W. H. The Spanish Conquest of New Mexico. Doyleston, Pa., 1869.

DE LA BORDE. Relation de l’origine des Caraibes. Paris, 1674.

DIAZ DEL CASTILLO, BERNAL. Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva
España. Madrid, 1632. Another edition, 1795-6, Madrid, in 4 vols. English
editions: True History of the Conquest of Mexico. Translated by Keatinge.
London, 1800. Memoirs containing an account of the Conquest of Mexico.
Translated by J. G. Lockhart. London, 1844. 2 vols.

DONDE, JUAN, Y JOAQUIN. Apuntes sobre las plantas de Yucatan. Merida,

DUNLOP, R. G. Travels in Central America. London, 1847.

DUNN, HENRY. Guatimala, or the Republic of Central America in 1827-8;
being Sketches and Memorandums made during a Twelve-month’s Residence.
London, 1829. 8vo. pp. 328.

DUPAIX, Capt. Antiquités Mexicaines; contenant les diverses expéditions
du capitaine Dupaix entreprises au Mexique, aux ruines de Palenque.
Paris, 1834. See Kingsborough.

DURAN, Fr. DIEGO. Historia de las Indias de la Nueva España y Islas de
Tierra Firme. Mexico, 1867.

FABREGAT. Esposizione del Codice Borgia.

FANCOURT, C. ST. J. History of Yucatan to the close of the Seventeenth
Century. London, 1854.

FERNANDEZ, MANUEL. Bosquejo Físico, Político é Histórico de la República
del Salvador. San Salvador, 1869. pp. 166.

FLORES, Fr. ILDEFONSO JOSÉ. Arte de la Lengua Metropolitana del Regno
Cakchiquel ó Guatemalteco. Guatemala, 1753.

FOLEDO. Geografía de Centro-América. Guatemala, 1874.

FRANTZIUS, Dr. A. VON. Die Costa Rica Eisenbahn. In “Das Ausland,” 1868,
No. 6.

⸺ Der südöstliche Theil der Republik Costa Rica. 1869. In “Petermann’s

⸺ Klimatischen Verhältnisse Central Americas. Berlin, 1869. In
“Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde.”

Dr. Frantzius has also translated from Palacio the “San Salvador and
Honduras in 1576” (1873).

FUENTES Y GUZMAN. Historia de Guatemala ó recopilacion florida. 1609. New
edition. Madrid, 1882.

GABB, WILLIAM M. Notes on the Geology of Costa Rica. In American Journal
of Science and Art, November, 1874, and March, 1875.

GAGE, Fr. THOMAS. New Survey of the West Indies. 2d edit. London, 1655,
folio; 3d edit. 1677, 12mo; 4th edit. 1699, 8vo.

GALLATIN, ALBERT. Notes on the Semi-Civilized Nations of Mexico. Trans.
of the Amer. Ethnological Soc., vol. i. New York.

GARCIA, GREGORIO. Origen de los Indios del nuevo mundo. Valencia, 1607;
also Madrid. 1729.

GARCIA Y GARCIA, APOLINAR. Historia de la Guerra de Castas en Yucatan.
Merida, 1865. Not completed.

GOMARA, FRANCISCO LOPEZ DE. Historia general de las Indias. Anvers, 1554.

⸺ Pleasant Historie of the Conquest of the West Indies, now called New
Spayne, atcheived by the worthy Prince Hernando Cortez, Marquis of the
Valley of Huaxacac, most delectable to read. Translated by T. Nicholas
anno 1578. Black letter.

GONZALES, DARÍO. Compendio de Geografía de Centro-América. Guatemala,

GRANADOS Y GALVEZ, JOSÉ JOAQUIN. Tardes Americanos. Mexico, 1778.

GRIMM, W. Die Staaten Central-Americas. Berlin, 1871.

GRISEBACH, A. H. R. Flora of the British West Indian Islands. London,

GUZMAN. Apuntamientos sobre la geografía física de la república del
Salvador. 1883.

HABEL, Dr. The Sculptures of Santa Lucia Cozumalhuapa. Washington, 1879.
Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.

HAEFKEN, I. Reize naar Guatemala. Gravenhage, 1828.

HAKLUYT SOCIETY’S PUBLICATIONS. Discovery of America; Cortez’s Expedition
to Honduras, etc. London, 1868.

HASSAUREK, F. Four Years among Spanish-Americans. London, 1868.

HELPS, ARTHUR. The Spanish Conquest in America, and its relation to
the History of Slavery and to the Government of the Colonies. London,
1855-1861. 4 vols.

HENDERSON, G. An Account of the British Settlement of Honduras. Being a
Brief View of its Commercial and Agricultural Resources, Soil, Climate,
Natural History, etc. To which are added Sketches of the Manners and
Customs of the Mosquito Indians. London, 1809. Second edition, 1811.

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[Illustration: From an Ancient Manuscript.]


[1] Petermann’s Mittheilungen, 1869.

[2] This business is declining, owing to the inferior cattle produced in
Florida and shipped at a cheaper rate.

[3] Guatemala has been accepted (1886) by both Nicaragua and Costa Rica
as referee in the boundary dispute.

[4] Another year we climbed the rock and found several interesting
plants, but no human remains.

[5] These were vampire bats (_Phyllostoma sp._); and several times
afterwards we saw cattle that had been so severely bitten that the blood
was still dripping from their shoulders the next morning. These little
fellows are about the size of an English sparrow; and yet they do as much
harm as their much larger relatives of South America. They have ventured
into our sleeping-room at Livingston; but would generally awaken us by
brushing our faces with their wings,—perhaps because our feet (the part
they usually attack) were covered.

[6] “These serpentes are lyke unto crocodiles, saving in bigness; they
call them guanas. Unto that day none of owre men durste aduenture to
taste of them, by reason of theyre horrible deformitie and lothsomnes.
Yet the Adelantado being entysed by the pleasantnes of the king’s sister,
Anacaona, determined to taste the serpentes. But when he felte the flesh
thereof to be so delycate to his tongue, he fel to amayne without al
feare. The which thyng his companions perceiuing, were not behynde hym
in greedyness; insomuch that they had now none other talke than of the
sweetnesse of these serpentes, which they affirm to be of more pleasant
taste than eyther our phesantes or partriches.”—_Peter Martyr, decad. i.
book v. (Eden’s English translation)._

[7] The Naturalist in Nicaragua, by Thomas Belt, p. 222.

[8] Should the new product, saccharine, meet with favor, the planting of
cane will follow the fate of indigo; and coal-tar will supply the sweet
things of life as well as the flavors and colors. Coal is “sweetness and

[9] Its armament was approved by the Royal Seal, Nov. 7, 1658, and an
order of Feb. 26, 1687, provided for its complete repair. The plan is
from a sketch by F. E. Blaisdell.

[10] I may add that soon after our arrival in Coban the Jefe politico
deposed this unworthy comandante, punishing him with various indignities.

[11] Owing to the heavy duty, iron stoves are seldom seen in Guatemala;
but a structure of stone, where that material is at hand, elsewhere of
sticks covered with clay, is reared to the height of about two feet. Its
size depends, of course, on the wants of the household; but large or
small, the form is always the same. Three suitable stones, forming what
would correspond to a pot-hole in an ordinary stove, are embedded in the
clay-top of this house-altar, and the long slim sticks that furnish fuel
serve also as poker, shovel, and tongs. There is no chimney, but the
smoke and steam escape by the many cracks in the walls or by the windows.
On one stone tripod a _comal_ for tortillas, on another an earthen
pitcher of coffee, and on another a stew-pan (_cazuela_) of frijoles, is
the usual kitchen arrangement. Answering its purpose as well as a costly
stove, it may be built for a few reals; and if an oven is needed for
bread, a stone and earthen dome built over such a table-like hearth makes
a capital one, not unlike those so common among the Canadians and in
other half-civilized countries.

[12] In 1882, $1,266,042.43, or about one fifth of the total revenue.

[13] The uses of pottery in Central America are almost universal;
it supplies not only water-cisterns, flour-barrels, ovens, stoves,
wash-tubs, baths, coffee-pots, stew-pans, but dishes, lamps, floors,
roofs, and aqueducts. Some made of white clay is exceedingly light, and
the patterns are often very tasteful. The _tinajas_ (water-jars) and
_cántaras_ are also light, but very strong, while the _cazuelas_, or flat
pans, and the coffee-pots are quite fire proof. I have seen a house-wall
built of pots not unlike a Yankee bean-pot in shape, the mouths opening
into the house being “pigeon-holes” for the human inhabitants; while
those opening out of doors were the nesting-places of pigeons and hens.
The roof-tiles are not in great variety, usually semicylindrical or
conical, and seldom ornamented; floor-tiles are large, square, and not
very thick. The porous water-jars suspended in a current of air keep
their contents refreshingly cool.

[14] Calabashes are of great importance and of universal use as household
utensils. Some varieties are long and slim, and these, split lengthwise,
make ladles; the very spherical ones make boxes, flat ones form bowls and
platters, while those of the shape illustrated become chocolate-cups.
The black color is permanent, although scarcely penetrating the hard
surface; it is made by a bean that I have not been able to identify.
Calabash-cups, although very light, are strong and durable. I have
one, given me by Don Ramón Viada of Trujillo, which is as delicate as

[15] It is well to explain that the framework used for carrying small
articles on the back is called _kataure_ by the Caribs, and _carcaste_
by the Indios of the interior. Ramón carried in his not only all my
photographic apparatus,—the camera and box of plates being carefully
wrapped in water-proof material,—but also our cooking utensils and his
own luggage. After he left us we found so much trouble in hiring suitable
carcastes that we purchased one for a few reals and fitted it up with
pita cords, which served our purpose very conveniently. When a desirable
view presented, a whistle brought the mozo to our side, and from ten to
fifteen minutes only were required to unpack, set up, expose one or two
plates, repack, and remount our animals. It may be interesting to state
that in all this long journey, where plates were carried in this way, not
one was broken, nor was a piece of the apparatus damaged.

[16] There were many similar organs in the old churches,—some, indeed,
removed to the lumber-rooms; but they were so securely fastened together
that I could not get at the internal mechanism without too much
disturbance, and I concluded that the instruments were imported entire.
No modern organs of any size were seen outside of the metropolitan
cathedrals; and yet even a large organ is very easy to transport. One
little instrument that I tried was not in tune, but the pipe-tones
were good. In the old church at Trujillo Frank found a modern French
cabinet-organ of remarkably sweet tones.

[17] In stumbling over this crooked name, it occurs to me that it would
be fair to my readers, who are perhaps less familiar with Indian names,
to state briefly how they are pronounced. _G_ is always guttural; _ch_
is like _tche_; _h_ is strongly aspirate; _j_ is pronounced like _h_;
_x_ is _sh_; _u_ is the French _ou_; _v_ is equivalent to _w_; and the
vowels have the Italian values. Of the Indian names the signification
is not always known, but there are certain terminations common enough
and well understood; as _tepec_, a mountain or high thing, in Alotepec,
Quezaltepec, Coatepeque, Olintepeque, Jilotepeque. Those who are curious
in these matters will find another note in the Appendix.

[18] It is the duty of every person to whose house strangers come to pass
the night to report to headquarters the name, where from and whither
bound, so that we could be tracked all over the republic from the central
telegraph office in Guatemala City,—often very useful.

[19] There is no little confusion in the nomenclature of the sapotes, or
sapodillas. What is usually called sapote in Guatemala does not belong to
the genus _Sapota_, but to an allied genus _Lucuma_, and is known in the
West Indies as the mammee-apple. The true sapote has several seeds; the
mammee only one. An allied genus contains the star-apple (_Chrysophyllum
cainito_). The sapoton, or big sapote, does not even belong to the
_Sapota_ family, but is a _Pachira_.

[20] Sweet peas and geraniums in abundance, carnations, marigolds,
campanula, yarrow, pinks, sweet-williams, chrysanthemums, iris, scabious,
abutilon, poppy, princess’-feathers, fuchsia, linaria, _Lilium candidum_,
peach, evening-primrose, gilliflowers, amaryllis, gladioli, alyssum,
larkspur, brugmansia, mignonette, sunflower, adenanthera, willow,
balsams, dahlia, spider-lily, canna, hollyhock, eucalyptus, ragged-lady,
roses (4), yellow sweet-clover, asparagus, _Hydrangea hortensis_, blue
African lily, lupine, Boston-pink, wool-pink, cypress, sedum, agave,
chelidonium, euphorbia (long-leaved), and broom.

[21] It was here that the Vice-President, Flores, was torn to pieces by
women in the last days of the Confederacy, when the Church was in power.

[22] The cases of these rockets were of bambu, and usually three were
attached to one stick. As they were fired in daylight, and valued
for their effect upon the ear rather than the eye, the proportion of
explosive powder was increased,—each discharge giving three sharp cracks.

[23] These little apples—about the size of crab-apples—are tasteless
uncooked, but make an excellent _dulce_; the señoras know how to use them
for a sweet pickle.

[24] Palin is the market-garden and orchard of the metropolis, and the
fruit is good, but not cultivated with any care; nor is there here or
elsewhere in Guatemala any attempt to procure new and choice varieties of
either fruits or vegetables.

[25] It was in this garden that the attempt was made to kill President
Barrios, on the evening of Sunday, April 13, 1884. He was walking with
General Barrundia, the Minister of War, when a bomb exploded, severely
wounding both; but to allay public excitement the President bravely
walked twice around the garden, and then home. The would-be assassin
was captured, and proved to be a former conspirator whom Barrios had
generously pardoned. The bomb was loaded with poisoned bullets.

[26] One of these stirrups (seen in the figure), given to me by Don
Enrique Toriello, then Jefe at Livingston, now Chargé d’Affaires and
Consul-General of Guatemala at New York, weighs five and a half pounds,
and is seventeen inches long.

[27] See note on Zompopos in the Appendix.

[28] These acacias not only yield gum-arabic, but the pods contain so
much tannin that they are used to make ink.

[29] Another time when Frank was crossing he had to swim for his life,
and nearly lost his animals.

[30] Although on the stone, and in the photograph as well, this head
has the appearance noted in the text, a more careful examination of
the photographic image magnified shows that the upper portion of the
seemingly human face is in truth that of a tigre, while the flowing beard
is the remaining part of a mutilated human face.

[31] Le mithe de Votan. H. de Charencey, Alençon, 1871.

[32] Pronounced Shibalbay.

[33] Discovered by Spaniards in 1750, but no illustrations were published
until 1834.

[34] Meaning dumb, because they could not pronounce certain letters of
the Cakchiquel alphabet.

[35] Topiltzin Acxitl, the Tultec king of Copantl.

[36] This recalls the _Kahili_, or feather standard, the symbol of
authority in the Hawaiian Islands.

[37] The signification of these names, as given by a distinguished
scholar, is as follows: _Hunahpu_, the one master of supernatural power;
_Vuch_, opossum; _Gucumatz_, decorated with feathers; _Xmucane_, female
vigor; _Xpiyacoc_, membrum virile (_xiphil_, and _ococ_, to enter);
_Huracan_, one very great (_hun_, one, and _racan_, great); _Cabracan_,
second great one; _Chirakan_, ostium vaginæ; _Tepeu_, high.

[38] It is probable that at this time they circumcised their sons,
although we have no direct statement to that effect. The Mayas practised
this sanatory measure, which seems to have had no religious significance.
Stone knives were used, and only once.

[39] I have often had the pleasure of conversing with cannibals, and
they always assured me that the hands were the choicest morsel. It will
be noted that, the Central American Indios always boiled their cannibal
food, while the Pacific Islanders as generally roasted it. In one of the
manuscripts preserved in the Vatican Library is a clear picture of this
process, and the kettle seems large enough to receive the body whole.

[40] It is the way of Christian communities to speak with holy horror of
the human sacrifices these heathen were accustomed to offer at each new
year to their gods; the bloodthirsty Christian Spaniards spoke much in
the same way of these sacrifices three centuries ago. While the Indios
did what they honestly believed was right, and did it in a most merciful
manner, without torture, the cruel invaders, in the name of the gentle
Jesus of Nazareth and of the Mother of God, burned these poor Indios
alive by hundreds (Las Casas says by thousands), or gave them to be torn
in pieces by the dogs. Let the Christian nations hold their peace over
the human sacrifices of Central America, when they remember the Holy
Inquisition, St. Bartholomew, and the tortures of Jews, Turks, witches,
Quakers, and other heretics, sanctioned by the Christian Church,—murders
so cruel, so unprovoked, that they make the sacrifices of the Indios seem
no worse than justifiable homicide. Were the sacrifices to Tohil so much
more sinful than the sacrifices so common in this enlightened nation of
children born, or unborn, to the Molochs of Comfort or Reputation?

[41] The Spaniards found, according to Herrera (Decade III. lib. iv.),
paintings done at Utatlan eight hundred years before the Conquest, in
which were represented the three kinds of royal insignia,—indicating an
antiquity greater than that of the Aztecs.

[42] Monarquia Indiana, lib. ii. ch. xii.

[43] Among the curious illustrations in the Kingsborough Collection are
coats of armor belonging to the nobles, consisting of a shirt of simple
body-form, embroidered or painted with various devices. With these are
helmets, sometimes of conical shape, but frequently in form of animal

[44] Carrera was a servant in the family of the Marquis de Aycinena;
afterwards a drummer-boy in the regiment under his master’s command. A
pamphlet was published to prove that this young half-breed was a natural
son of Aycinena. From the countenance as represented on the coins there
is indication of Negro and Indian, rather than Spanish, blood in his

[45] “Art. 24. El ejercicio de todas las religiones, sin preeminencia
alguna, queda garantizado en el interior de los templos; pero ese
libre ejercicio no podrá extenderse hasta ejecutar actos subversivos ó
practicas incompatibles con la paz y el órden público, ni da derecho para
oponerse al cumplimiento de las obligaciones civiles y políticas.”

[46] “Lectura, nociones practicas de la lengua patria, conocimientos
de objectos, escritura y dibujo lineal, geografía e historia, moral y

[47] A new series of stamps was issued in 1886; and it is reported
that they were furnished to the Government free of cost by a private
individual, who asked as his only compensation the entire lot of stamps
of the old issue then on hand. Evidently the rage for old postage-stamps
has a money basis, and this contractor expects to get a corner on old
Guatemaltecan stamps; and no doubt he will make profit on his venture.

[48] These are not the edible figs, but many varieties of the fig family
that form an important food for monkeys and birds. In the latter part of
this book I have given a list of the more important trees of this forest

[49] Professor Sereno Watson, of the Harvard College Herbarium,
collected, during two winter months in the Department of Izabal, five
hundred species of plants, many of them new to science (Proceedings of
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. xxi. pp. 456 _et seq._).
Notes of some of these will be found in the Appendix. He collected no
less than twenty-five species of palms.

[50] In the Appendix will be found a list of the woods under their local
names; but as these vary in the different provinces, it will be of little
use in determining the trees from which they are obtained. Rosewood is
said to be furnished by at least three trees not connected botanically,
and the application of the name “cedar” is as puzzling.

[51] Mr. Coffin, the hospitable magistrate at Punta Gorda, gave me some
of the best oil; and in the limited experiments I have tried with it, its
properties much resemble those of coconut-oil.

[52] Lahaina, Salangore, Elephant, Ribbon.

[53] Even at nine cents per pound it pays as well as the best Jamaica at
fourteen cents.

[54] Cacao: How to grow and how to cure it. London: Prepared by the
Jamaica Government.

[55] Compendio de la Historia de la Ciudad de Guatemala, t. 2, p. 95, ed.

[56] The Colony of British Honduras. D. Morris, London, 1883, p. 76.

[57] British Honduras, p. 100.

[58] The Naturalist in Nicaragua, p. 56.

[59] Compendio, t. ii. p. 94, Concerning the Tepulcuat.

[60] See Appendix for account of the habits of the zompopos.

[61] Dollfus et Montserrat, Voyage géologique dans les républiques de
Guatemala et Salvador. Paris, 1868.

[62] Not for the pseudo-geologists who see glacial action on every bed of
recent lava or in every railroad embankment.

[63] Vandegehuchte.

[64] Rockstroh.

[65] Brasseur de Bourbourg, ii. 44.

[66] La Sociedad Económica, No. 6, March 14, 1880.

[67] Thomas Belt, The Naturalist in Nicaragua, p. 71.

[Illustration: A MAP OF GUATEMALA.]


[_Illustrations are marked by italic pagination._]

  Abutilons, 88.

  Acacia, 192.

  Acajutla, 11.

  Acorns in bark, 110.

  Agatized wood, 70.

  Agaves, 113, 355.

  Agua Blanca, 197.

  Agua, Volcan de, _159_, 387.

  Aguacateca, 278.

  Aguan River, 9.

  Aguardiente monopoly, 101.

  Aguas calientes, 5, 81, 381.

  Akahales, 261.

  Alaguilac, 278.

  Alajuela, railroad, 22.

  Alcaldes, _146_.

  Aleman, Hotel, _91_, _92_.

  Alligator, eggs, 372.
    pear, 366.
    shot, 75, 371.

  Almolonga, 145, 269, 387.

  Almuerzo, 30.

  Altar of Tohil, _122_.

  Alvarado, Jorge de, 11.
    Pedro de, 265.
    widow of, dies, 389.

  Amapala, 16.

  Amates, Los, 214.

  Amatitlan, 174.
    Laguna de, 9, 174.

  Antigua, _159_.
    ruins of, _161_.

  Antonio, Saint, prayer to, 274.

  Ants, 375.
    in qualm-tree, 57.
    leaf-cutting, 413.
    white, 51, 375.

  Apes, origin of, 234.

  Argueta, 135, 151.

  Armor, coats of, 258.
    defensive, 258.

  Arms of Guatemala, _281_.

  Army, 296.

  Asamblea Nacional, 292.

  Ass at Jutiapa, 194.

  Assassination attempted, 181.

  Atitlan, Lago de, _154_, _156_, 402.
    boat at, _153_.
    Volcan de, 132, 382.

  Audiencia Real, 281.

  Avalanche from Agua, 358.

  Avocado pear, 366.

  Azacualpa, 192.

  Bahama grass, 369.

  Ball at Sacapulas, 116.

  Ball-game, _257_.

  Balsam coast shaken, 390.

  Bananas, 351.

  Baños de Medina. (_See_ Bath.)

  Barbasco, 213.

  Barbecue, _50_.

  Barillas. M. L., _145_.

  Barrack Point, _27_.

  Barracks, Livingston, 33.

  Barrancas, 87, 157.

  Barrios, J. R. _149_.
    in exile, 290.
    president, 291.
    visited, 180.
    Puerto, 60, 61.

  Bath, Atitlan, 152.
    Bola de oro, 183.
    Ciudad Vieja, 160.
    Escuintla, 172.
    in Pacific Ocean, 165.

  Bats, destructive, 226.
    vampire, 45.

  Bay Islands, 17, 67.

  Beans, 365.

  Beetles, 374.

  Belgian Colony, 36, 60.

  Belize, City of, 74.
    River, 8.

  Bibliography, 430.

  Birds of Guatemala, 374.

  Black sheep, 137.

  Blacksmiths at Zacapa, 210.

  Blow-gun, 236.

  Boas, 62.

  Boat at Atitlan, _153_.
    Amatitlan, _174_.

  Boca-nueva Valley, 79.

  Bonaca Island, 17.

  Botlass-fly, 375.

  Bourbourg, Brasseur de, 230.

  Brand on slaves, 267.
    mare, _102_.

  Breadfruit, _170_, 365.

  Breeds, mixed, 421.

  Bridge, Los Esclavos, 191.
    ropes, _107_.
    vines, 79.

  Bridling a mare, 155.

  Bromelia Pinguin, 191.

  Buenaventura, San, 9.

  Bullfight, 185.

  Bulls, gentle, 82.

  Burial-ground, 119.
    mound, 106. (_See_ Campo Santo.)

  Burned kings, 268.

  Butterflies, 53, 374.

  Caballos, Puerto de, 16.

  Cabildo of Coban, 93.

  Cabracan, 236.

  Cacao, 345, _346_.

  Cáceres, Alonzo de, 16.

  Cactus, 114.
    lassoed, 210.

  Cahabon River, 9, 75.

  Cakchiquel Chronicle, 259, 277.

  Cakchiquels, 262.

  Calabash, 123, 193.

  Calonyction speciosum, 349.

  Calletano, Luciano, _24_.

  Canajpú, 9.

  Candles offered, 208.

  Cane-brake, 74.

  Cane heads, 162.

  Cannibalism, 249.

  Canoa, 66.

  Cántaras, 117.

  Campo Santo, Livingston, 27.
    Quiché, 119.
    Coban, 98.
    Guatemala, 182.

  Caratasca, Lago de, 9.

  Carcaste, 126, 198.

  Carib boys, 274.
    prayer, 274.

  Caribbee, 273.

  Caribs, 271.

  Carillo, 22.

  Carmen, Church of, _179_.

  Carrera, Rafael, 287, _288_.
    tomb of, 178.

  Cartago, 9, 22.
    destroyed, 391.
    Volcan de, 383.

  Cartina, Lago de, 10.

  Cassava, 32, 365.
    grating, _32_.

  Castillo de S. Felipe, _69_.

  Castilloa elastica, _347_.

  Cathedral, Santiago, 178.

  Cayo Paloma, 42.

  Cazuela, 82.

  Cecropia-tree, 57.

  Cedar, 337.

  Ceiba-tree, 49.
    Sacapulas, _118_.

  Cenotes, 53, 385.

  Censer, ancient, _251_.
    modern, _207_.

  Centipedes, 374.

  Central America, bounds, 2.
    mountains, 3.
    lakes, 9.
    rivers, 7.

  Cerbatana, 236.

  Cerna, defeated, 290.
    president, 289.

  Cerro Quemado, 141, 382.

  Chamá, Sierra de, 6.

  Chamiquin, 83.

  Champa building, 56.

  Champerico, 145.

  Chicaman, 108, _110_.

  Chicha, 68, 163.

  Chichería, 163.

  Chichicastenango, 127, 129.

  Children desired, 250.

  Chile, 366.

  Chile relleno, 366.

  Chimalmat, 236.

  Chiote, 366.

  Chiquimula, 208.

  Chixoy bridge, 106, _107_.
    River, 8.
    Valley, 114.

  Chocolate, _346_.
    drink, 422.
    planting, 255.

  Chocon River, _44_.

  Chontales, 18.

  Chorti language, 278.

  Church, Carmen, _179_.
    Coban, _94_.
    confiscation, 292.
    Quezaltenango, _143_.
    ruined, Antigua, _161_.
    service, Coban, 99.

  Circumcision, 247.

  City of Belize, steamer, 74.

  Ciudad Vieja, 160.
    destroyed, 388.

  Civil service, Quiché, 253.

  Clavigero quoted, 229.

  Cleanliness, want of, 422.

  Climbing-palm, _332_.

  Cloth pattern, _95_.

  Coatepeque, Lago de, 401.

  Coban, Campo Santo, 98.
    church, _94_.
    Plaza, _94_.
    Indio, _99_.

  Cobre, 359.

  Cochineal, 337.

  Cockscomb Range, 6.

  Coconut, 358.
    young, _360_.

  Cocos, 365.

  Coffee, 343.
    crop, 344.
    esencia de, 84.
    Liberian, 344.

  Cohune palm, 49, _330_.

  Coir, 359.

  Colegio de Libertad, 101.
    Señoritas, 142.

  Coloradía (Leptus sp.), 34.

  Comajen, 51.

  Comal, 71.

  Comayagua plain, 6.

  Comida, 30.

  Composite, 87.

  Conch soup, 376.

  Conch, trumpet, 76.
    various kinds, 376.

  Confiscated church, 292.

  Confra palm, 333.

  Congrehoy Peak, 384.

  Conquistadores, 282.

  Constitution, 286.

  Convolvulus, 81, 427.

  Cookery, 314, 421.

  Cooking-bench, 82.

  Copan, 229.

  Córdoba founded, 20.

  Corn at Argueta, 151.
    man made from, 235.

  Corozal mines, 11.

  Corozo palm, 329.

  Coseguina, eruption, 399.

  Cotuha, king, 231.

  Court at Livingston, _318_.
    trials, 318.

  Coyote, 371.

  Crab-catching, 240.

  Creation of world, 233.
    man, 235.

  Criba, Laguna de, 10.

  Cross-breeding, 421.

  Cross on monoliths, 220.

  Cruz, Serapio, 289.

  Cuatro-reales, _147_.

  Cuajinicuilapa, 191.

  Cuartillo, _102_.

  Cuchumatanes, 6.

  Cuilapa, 191.

  Culhuacan, 229.

  Cunen, 111.

  Currency of Guatemala, 305.

  Cuscatlan, 261.

  Danta, 370.

  Deaf-mutes, school for, 300.

  Dahlia, 112, 158.

  Dávila, Padre, 202.

  Death-rate, 65.

  Debt, public, 302.

  Departments, Costa Rica, 22.
    Guatemala, 294.
    Honduras, 15.
    Nicaragua, 20.
    San Salvador, 12.

  Depilto mines, 19.

  Deluge, Quiché, 234.

  Dentistry, Quiché, 238.

  Desmoncus, _332_.

  Devisadero mines, 11.

  Dogs, half-fed, 83.

  Dolls at Antigua, 162.

  Dragon Rock, _55_.

  Dulce, Rio, 9, 41.

  Dwellings, no ruins of, 420.

  Earrings, 225.

  Earthquake, Santa Cruz, 90.
    terms, 390.

  Earthquakes, 387.
    theory of, 407.

  Education, public, 296.

  Elena, Santa, 208.

  Encuentros, 130.
    mine, 11.

  Eruptions, volcanic, 386.

  Esclavos, Rio de, 8, 191.

  Escuintla, 164.
    conquered, 269.
    founded, 261.

  Esencia de café, 84.

  Espina blanca, 192.

  Esquipulas, 201.
    Santuario, _202_.

  Ethnographic Chart, _271_.

  Euphorbia, 84.

  Exancul, 141.

  Expenses of Guatemala, 303.

  Exports of Guatemala, 312.

  Ex-votos, 205.

  Falls of Michatoya, 173.

  Feather-work, 256.

  Ferns, 335.

  Ferro-carril del Norte, 62.

  Feudal system, 231.

  Fibre, agave, 355.
    banana, 354.
    ixtli, 355.
    pita, 354.
    plantain, 354.

  Ficus elastica, 349.

  Figueroa, Bishop, 203.

  Fish, 373.
    at Ilopango, 403.

  Flores murdered, 142, 286.

  Fonseca, Gulf of, 11.

  Forced loan, 290.

  Forest at Chocon, _324_.

  Fort of San Felipe, _69_.
    José, 177.

  Frank on Mabel, _106_.

  Frijoles, 365.

  Frogs, 373.

  Fruits, 368.

  Fuego, Volcan de, 151, _392_.

  Galero, Don J. M., 134.

  Game, 369.

  Garden, Sololà, 134.
    Quezaltenango, 144.

  Garrapatos, 376.

  Gil, San, _59_.

  Girdle-weaving, 252.

  Goyavas, green, 78.
    varieties, 368.

  Granada, 20.

  Granadillas, 93, 368.

  Granados, President, 290.

  Grasses, 369.

  Grasshopper, 57.

  Gualan, 212.

  Guanaja, or Bonaca, 17.

  Guatemala City, _178_.
    Street, _176_.

  Guatemaltecan names, 418.

  Guavas, 368.

  Guepiles, 189.

  Guija, Lago de, 10.

  Guinea grass, 369.

  Gucumatz, 229.

  Gumarcah, 232.

  Heights of mountains, 424.

  Henequen, 355.

  Hevea braziliensis, 349.

  Hikatee, 372.

  Hippodrome, 187.

  Hondo Valley, 207.

  Honduras, 13.
    Interoceanic Railway, 17.
    name of, 419.

  Horse astray, 199.

  Hospitals, 316.

  House, Carib, _30_.

  Houses in Coban, 96.

  Hueytlat, 230.

  Humming-birds fighting, 217.
    nest, 57.

  Hunahpu, 235.

  Hunapu volcanoes, _191_.

  Huntoh, king, 258.

  Huracan, 233.

  Icaco plum, 367.

  Ideographs, _251_.

  Iguanas, _47_, 372.

  Ilocab, 231.

  Ilopango, Lago de, 402, _403_.
    sacrifice at, 404.

  Imports of Guatemala, 308.

  Incense-burner, 207.

  India-rubber, 346, _347_.

  Indigo, 337.

  Instituto Nacional, 183.

  Intibucá, cool, 13.

  Istak volcano, 381.

  Istapa, 8, 168.

  Ixils, 278.

  Iximché, 259.

  Ixtli fibre, 355.

  Izabal, 224, _225_.
    Lago de, 224.

  Izalco formed, 395.

  Izmachi founded, 231.

  Iztayul, 231.

  Jacinto, San, 207.

  Jaguar (tigre), 371.

  Jaguilla, 370.

  Jefes politicos, 294.

  Jesuits banished, 291.

  Jicara, 123, 124.

  Jocote fruit, 89, 367.

  Jocote village, 108.

  José, San, Costa Rica, 21.
    Guatemala, 165.

  Juan, San, Rio, 9.

  Jutiapa, 193.

  Kataure, 126.

  Kingdom of Guatemala, 1.

  Kings of Quiché, 253.

  Kitchen, monks’, 104.

  Labor Wage, 314.

  Lacandones, 8.

  Ladron at Quiché, 127.

  Lago, Amatitlan, 174.
    Atitlan, 152, _154_, _156_.
    Guija, 10.

  Lamp, native, 98.

  La Paz, 192.

  La Tinta, 81.

  La Union, 11.

  Las Quebradas relics, 224.

  Lassoing cactus, 210.

  Law of Guatemala, 295.

  Legislature, Costa Rica, 22.
    Guatemala, 292.
    Salvador, 12.

  Lemoa, 127.

  Lemons, 358.

  Lempa, Rio, 10.

  Lempira rebels, 283.

  Leon founded, 20.

  Libertad, 11.

  Libraries in Guatemala, 301.

  Limas, 358.

  Limes, 358.

  Limestone corroded, 54, _55_.

  Limon, Puerto, 22.

  Lion bird, 46.

  Listones, 95.

  Livingston, 28.
    death-rate, 65.
    free port, 36.
    landing, 26.
    street, _28_.

  Lobelias, 88.

  Logwood, 337.

  Loma-Larga mines, 11.

  Los Amates, 214.

  Machete, _65_.

  Mafìa (devil), 275.

  Mahogany, 335.

  Mail-service, 307.

  Maiz, 39, 363.

  Mam, 230.

  Mama-caixon, 263.

  Man created, 234.

  Man on fire, 159.

  Manàca palm, 49.

  Managua destroyed, 20.
    Lago de, 10.
    Treaty of, 21.

  Manatee, 370.

  Manihot, 365.

  Mango, 367.

  Mangroves, 323.

  Manzanillas, 171, 367.

  Mapachines, 370.

  Maps, 256.

  Mare sunstruck, 172.
    to bridle a, 155.

  Marimba, 122, _123_.

  Markets in Guatemala, 188.

  Masaya eruption, 385.

  Mask in Museo Nacional, _200_.

  Matagalpa mines, 19.

  Matapalo-tree, 325, _326_.

  Maya language, 275.

  Measures and weights, 425.

  Mecapal, 78.

  Merendon, Sierra del, 6.

  Mermaids in church, 112.

  Metatle, 70, 363.

  Michatoya Falls, 173.
    Rio, 8.

  Mico, El, crossing, 223.

  Miguel, San, 84.
    Volcan de, 396.

  Mines, 11, 14, 19.

  Miracle, Esquipulas, 206.

  Mixed races, 421.

  Molina, Don Luis, 95.

  Money in Guatemala, 305, 424.

  Monkeys, 73, 369.

  Monoliths, _219_, _220_, _221_, _222_.

  Monte Rico, 198.

  Montezuma’s embassy, 262.

  Months, Quiché, 256.

  Moon-plant, 349.

  Morazan, General, 286.

  Mosquito Reservation, 18, 21.

  Motagua, Rio, 9, 211.

  Mozo hiring, 78.

  Mozo on road, _198_.

  Mozos de cargo, 78, 279.

  Museo Nacional, 183.

  Nachan, 229.

  Nahoas, 229.

  Naiads in a spring, 85.

  Names of towns, 418.

  Newspapers, 301.

  Nicaragua, 18.
    Lago de, 10.
    Volcanoes, 383.

  Nopal, 338.

  Nutmegs, 362.

  Ocós, Puerto de, 172.

  Ocote, 76.

  Offspring desired, 250.

  Oil of cohune, 331.

  Ometepec, 10, 387.

  Omoa, 16.
    Montaña de, 6.

  Opals, 14.

  Oranges, 357.
    cheap, 109.
    Teleman, 80.

  Organs in church, 128.

  Orchids, 333, 428.

  Pablo, San, 211.

  Pacaya palm, 331.
    Volcan de, 216.

  Paddle and machete, _65_.

  Painting, Quiché, 250.

  Palenque, 229.

  Palin, 173.

  Palms, 328.

  Palo Cortez, 211.

  Panajachel, 155.

  Panela, 105, 342.

  Pansos, 9, 76.

  Papaya, 366.

  Paper, 256.

  Parties, political, 285.

  Passion-flower, 44, _376_.

  Patzicia, 158, 391.

  Patzùn, 157.

  Pawpaw, 366.

  Peccaries, 370.

  Pelican shot, 42.

  Petaca making, _276_.

  Peten, Laguna del, 9.

  Petrifying brook, 104.

  Pharomacrus mocino, _97_.

  Photographs taken, 423.

  Piedras Gordas, 198.

  Pier, San José, 166.

  Pimento palm, 331.

  Pine (Pinus), 337.

  Pine-apples, 191, 361.

  Pine-needles, 110.

  Pipiles, 271.

  Pit-craters, 401.

  Pita, 104, 357.

  Pitpans, 8.

  Plantains, 351, _352_.

  Plants, indigenous, 425.

  Plaza, Coban, _94_.
    Sacapulas, _118_.

  Plough, Indian, _340_.

  Pocomam women, _275_.

  Pokomans, 262.

  Poconchi Indios, 82.

  Poknoboy palm, 331.

  Political parties, 285.

  Polochic, Rio, 8, 72.

  Polygamy, unlawful, 254.

  Popul Vuh, 230.

  Porpoises in Golfete, 67.

  Postage-stamps, 307.

  Potato-fields, 136.

  Potatoes, sweet, 365.

  Pottery, 117, _189_.

  Poyas, 17.

  Prado, Juan, 105.

  Prayer, Quiché, old, 249.

  Prayer, Quiché, Christian, 417.

  President Barillas, _145_.
    Barrios, _149_.
    Carrera, _288_.
    Cerna, 289.
    Granados, 290.
    how elected, 293.
    visited, 150, 180.

  Primavera, 105.

  Prisons, 116.

  Privies, absent, 154.

  Procession, religious, 186.

  Professional instruction, 299.

  Pronunciation of names, 129.

  Provisions, price of, 314.

  Puerto Barrios, 60, 61.
    Caballos, 16.
    Cortez, 16.
    Limon, 22.

  Pulque, 355.

  Puma, 371.

  Pumice, 174.

  Pumice razors, 153.

  Punishments in Guatemala, 319.

  Punta Arenas, 22.

  Pupuluca, 271.

  Qualm-tree, 57.

  Quaternity, 149.

  Quekchi Indio, 93, 277.

  Quetzal, 97.

  Quetzalcoatl, 229.

  Quezaltenango, 141.
    alcaldes, _146_.
    church, 143.

  Quezaltepeque, 206.

  Quicab, king, 258.

  Quiché, Santa Cruz del, 118.
    language, 277.
    names, 233.
    prayer, 417.
      ancient, 249.
    sacred book, 230.
    trousers, 119.

  Quirigua, plan, _217_.
    River, 216.

  Railroad Map, _168_.
    to San José, 165.

  Razor of pumice, 153.

  Religion free, 295.

  Remedies, Indian, 317.

  Retalhuleu, 145.

  Revolution, 283.

  Rey portentoso, 232.

  Rice-crops, 39, 357.
    pounding, _356_.

  Rivas, 18.

  Road-building, 106.

  Roatan, 17.

  Rock Island, 43.

  Rocket-making, 160.

  Roof-tile, _89_.

  Roses, 87.

  Rosewood, 337.

  Rozales, Don Alonzo, 193.

  Ruins, Antigua, _161_.
    Quirigua, 217.
    Utatlan, 120.

  Sacapulas, 115.
    Plaza, _118_.
    Chixoy Valley, _114_.

  Sacate buying, 157.

  Sacatepequez, 262.

  Sacaton, 192.

  Saccharine, 64.

  Sacrificatorio, _122_.

  Sacrifice, human, 249.
    at Ilopango, 404.
    to Tohil, _246_.

  Salcaja, 140.

  Salmwood, 337.

  Salvador, San, 11.
    City destroyed, 392.

  San Andres, 156.
    Cristobal, 103.
    Felipe, 67, _69_.
    Gil, _59_.
    José, 165.
    Juan, 20.
    Miguel, 11.
      Tucurú, 84.
      Volcan de, 396.

  Santa Ana, 395.
    Catarina, 196.
    Cruz, Alta Verapaz, 90.
      breakfast, 103.
    Cruz (2), 109.
    Cruz del Quiché, 260.
    Maria wood, 337.
      Volcan de, 141.

  Santo Tomas, 36, 60.
    Chichicastenango, 127.

  Santuario, Esquipulas, 202.

  Sapodilla, 337.

  Sapote, 131.

  Sapoton fruit, 44.

  Saquinimac, 237.

  Sarsaparilla, 350.

  Sarstun, Rio, 8.

  Sauce, 70.

  Schools in Guatemala, 297.

  Scorpions, 374.

  Seat, stone, _280_.

  Secondary instruction, 298.

  Secretaries of State, 293.

  Segovia, Rio, 9.

  Semetabaj, 156.

  Serpiente, _36_.

  Shaving with pumice, 153.

  Sheol, men in, 89.

  Sinca language, 278.

  Sipacua, 236, 240.

  Sisal hemp, 355.

  Slaves branded, 267.

  Smilax, 350.

  Snakes, 62, 67, 377.

  Sololà, 131, _132_.

  Sonsonate, 11.

  Spanish stirrup, 184.

  Spiders, 374.

  Squashes, 365.

  Stamped paper, 102.

  Stevia, 112.

  Stirrup, ancient, 184.

  Stoll, Dr. A., 271.

  Street, Guatemala City, _176_.
    Livingston, _28_.

  Subsidence, 158.

  Suchitan, 195.

  Sugar-cane, 340.
    crop, 342.
    mill, _341_.
    yield, 39.

  Sulphur spring, _63_.

  Suyacal, 78.

  Tactic, 88.

  Taltusas, 370.

  Tamahù, 87.

  Taxes in Guatemala, 303.

  Teachers’ Institutes, 297.

  Tecpan Quauhtemalan, 160, 259.

  Tecum, 260.

  Tegucigalpa, 16.

  Telegraphs, 306.

  Teleman, 80.

  Temple, ancient, _245_.

  Tenedores, 63.

  Terminos, Lago de, 8.

  Tepepul, king, 259.

  Teponaztles, 258.

  Theatre, 181.

  Theobroma cacao, _346_.

  Tigres, 371.

  Tilapa, Rio, 266.

  Tile on roof, _89_.

  Tipitapa, Rio, 10.

  Tizate poison, 243.

  Tobacco of Copan, 15.

  Tohil’s altar, _122_.

  Toldo, 66.

  Toliman, San Lucas, 9.

  Tomas, Santo, 60.
    Chichicastenango, 127.

  Tonalá, Battle of, 266.

  Topiltzin Acxitl, 230.

  Toranjas, 358.

  Tortilla-making, _71_, 363.

  Totonicapan, 137, _138_.

  Trachyte, 406.

  Trapiche, 196.

  Trinity, Quiché, 230.

  Trousers in Quiché, 119.

  Trujillo, 16.

  Tucurú, 84.

  Tula, 229.

  Tultecas, 229.

  Tultec emigration, 260.

  Tun, 258.

  Turtle, 372.

  Turtle nest, 216.

  Tzutohiles, 277, 278.

  Ulúa, Rio, 9.

  Uspantán, 110, 277.

  Usumacinta, Rio, 8, 116.

  Utatlan, 120, 232.

  Utila, 384.

  Vado Hondo, 208.

  Vampire-bats, 45.

  Vanilla, 334.

  Vara, 96.

  Vejuco de agua, _54_.

  Vejucos, 51.

  Vine bridge, 79.

  Vital statistics, 316.

  Volcanic action, 406.
    cones, 407.

  Volcanoes of Central America, 380.

  Votan, 229.

  Vucubatz, king, 258.

  Vucub-caquix, 235.

  Warree, 370.

  Warree cohune, 331.

  Washout on road, _157_.

  Water-vine, _54_.

  Watson, S., collection, 327.

  Weaving, 95, 139, 252, 255.

  Wedding at Patzùn, 158.

  Weights and Measures, 425.

  Wheat, 364.

  Wheat market, Sololà, 132.

  Whistle, Las Quebradas, 227.

  Wizard, 263.

  Woman created, 235.

  Woods, native names, 411.

  Writing, Quiché, 250.

  Xbalanque, 235.

  Xelahu, 145, 267.

  Xibalbay, 229.

  Xicaques, 17.

  Ximenes, 230.

  Xmucane, 234.

  Xpiyacoc, 233, 234.

  Xuchil, rape of, 269.

  Xutiapan, 194.

  Yam, 365.

  Yampuk, 262.

  Yojoa, Lago de, 10.

  Zacapa, 210.
    puros, 211.

  Zapotitlan, 266.

  Zarco, Rio, 74.

  Zarza, 350.

  Ziricote, 337.

  Zompopos, 413.

University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.

       *       *       *       *       *



The first full and authorized account of the most important and
successful Arctic Exploration ever made.


By Lieutenant A. W. GREELY, U.S.A., Commanding the Expedition.

This book contains Lieutenant Greely’s story of an expedition which
reached the most northerly point ever attained; and of an experience that
stands alone in Arctic annals. Apart from the narrative of extraordinary
suffering and final rescue which appears here, the fact that no one else
ever passed the same length of time so far within the Arctic circle gives
to the account the value and interest of observations absolutely new.
Lieutenant Greely’s training, attainments, and above all the long study
of Arctic matters and the Polar question which first led him to seek this
service, all qualified him to make and to record these observations, and
his book will be found to give his experience with a simple directness
that makes the story the more absorbing, and with no detention of the
reader over useless comment.

“The most remarkable book ever produced upon the subject of Arctic
explorations.”—_JOURNAL OF COMMERCE._




  _Extra Cloth, per volume_,          _$5 00_
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  _Half Morocco, Gilt, per volume_,    _8 00_
  _Full Morocco, Gilt, per volume_,   _10 00_


Delivered to any part of the United States free of charge.



_=Commander W. S. SCHLEY, U. S. N., and Prof. J. RUSSELL SOLEY, U. S. N.=_


=1 Vol., 8vo, New Edition, $2.00.=

Now that the story of the relief of Greely and his party is fully told,
it turns out to be one of the most stirring and absorbing chapters in
Arctic annals. The two disastrous attempts made in previous years, to the
disappointment of the whole people, were enough to show that the rescue
was not a matter of simply sailing up to Cape Sabine and back; there was
some reason besides “luck” why two expeditions ended in disaster, and why
the Navy finally accomplished what had been twice tried by others.

The simplicity and modesty of Captain Schley’s and Mr. Soley’s narrative
do not hide from any reader what this reason really was.



  =From the Lakes of Killarney= to the Golden Horn,            $2.00
  =From Egypt to Japan=,                                        2.00
  =On the Desert=,                                              2.00
  =Among the Holy Hills.= With a map,                           1.50
  =The Greek Islands=, and Turkey after the War. With
    illustrations and maps,                                     1.50

The Set, Five Volumes, Crown 8vo, in a Box, $9.00.



“As we all know, it is not necessary for a man to discover a new country
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do not go far with Dr. Field before finding out that he is a traveller of
this sort.”



“In this second volume, Dr. Field, I think, has surpassed himself in the
first, and this is saying a good deal. In both volumes the editorial
instinct and habit are conspicuous. Dr. Prime has said that an editor
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An account of a journey in the track of the Israelites along the Red Sea,
among the peaks of Sinai, through the Desert of the Wandering, and up to
the Promised Land.


“There is not an uninteresting chapter in the book. It is entertaining
throughout. It depicts men and countries in a picturesque and thoughtful
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capital books of travel.”


A description of the sacred localities of Palestine by a veteran
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was spent the most wonderful life that ever was lived on the earth; and
the purpose of the journey, to which this book is indebted, is to trace
that life from its beginning among its native hills and to follow closely
in the footsteps of our Lord, not merely in the streets of Jerusalem, but
through Samaria and Galilee, along the lake shore and on the mountain


_From a Letter from Dr. HOWARD CROSBY._

“It fully sustains the high reputation which the author has won from his
preceding books of travel. I believe that the verdict of posterity will
put Dr. Field’s name first in the list of American travel writers. His
graceful style, his thorough mastery of language, his graphic picturing,
his historical and political references to his sound conclusions, make
most fascinating and instructive reading.”

“It is the best of all works on the Island of Greece, and on Turkey and
Asia Minor.”—_Springfield Republican._

“If there were any best among Dr. Field’s works of travel, we should
aver that it was this.”—_The Critic._





_=With Plans and Catalogues of the Chief Art Galleries, Maps, Tables of
Routes, and 160 Illustrations.=_

One Volume, 16mo, 600 Pages, $3.50.

In condensing into one volume what Baedeker could hardly comprise
in nine, and Murray in fifteen, Professor Loomis has accomplished a
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art. He has met the work with a discrimination and intelligence which can
hardly be too highly praised.

“Only words of praise can be spoken of this work.”

“The best and completest.”

“By all odds the best Guide I have ever seen.”

“And something better than a guide-book.”

“Almost a triumph of genius in bookmaking.”

PART I.—_Scenery, Art, History, Legends, and Myths_, including
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PART II.—_Plans and Catalogues of the Art Galleries of Europe._

PART III.—_Maps, Tables, and Directions for all leading Routes of Travel._




_One Volume, 16mo. With large folded maps. Leather, net, $2.50._

THE MEXICAN GUIDE has received the official endorsement of the Mexican
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substantial approval of the travelling public. It is the only practical,
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“_The Mexican Guide_, written in English and destined for the use of
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the judgment and care shown in its preparation. The book is accompanied
by a map of the City of Mexico, and one of its environs, both exact and
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With Map. One Volume, 12mo, $1.25.

“A delicious book in its bright descriptions of a sunny land, where
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_Illustrated by Drawings from Nature, by the Author, and Maps._

One Volume, 8vo, $4.50.

Mr. Elliott has for many years been connected with the Smithsonian
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of great value and importance as a contribution to scientific research.
The author has spent six or seven years in studying Alaska and its
people, travelling from the most southerly point of the province to the
most northerly, along the coast, and among the islands extending 300
miles to the west. His treatment of the seal interests is particularly
full, and of especial moment in view of the fact that the contract
between the United States and the Alaska Seal Company, which supplies
the world with sealskins, will soon lapse, and the subject is certain to
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illustrations, of which there are about a hundred, are engraved from the
author’s original drawings and water-color paintings.

_Philadelphia Record._ There has scarcely been a book published on Arctic
travel so vivid and picturesque in treatment, and so clear and definite
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_N. Y. Journal of Commerce._ Other books may still be written about
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one in interest, or in any way shake its authority as an accurate guide
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_Boston Literary World._ A book that is a work; not a sportsman’s
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description, not a narrative of adventure; but a carefully studied,
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exposition of Alaska.

_Chicago Herald._ Nothing so complete and satisfactory has ever before
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_New York Times._ Few books on Alaska contain so much that has real value
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_Boston Traveller._ A standard, comprehensive work, whose scientific
accuracy is beyond question, and whose graphic descriptions and vital
interpretations of the resources of Alaska hold the reader with something
of the charm of a romance.... The book is certainly one of the most
valuable contributions to contemporary literature.



A Survey of the Geography, Government, Literature, Social Life, Arts and
History of the Chinese Empire and its Inhabitants.



_Professor of the Chinese Language and Literature at Yale College; Author
of Tonic and Syllabic Dictionaries of the Chinese Language._

=Two Volumes, 8vo. Price, $9.00.=

The wonderful advance in the arts of civilization and intellectual
development made by China during the thirty-five years since this book
was first written, and especially the new basis upon which its foreign
relations have been established and the events that are even now
occurring in this connection, render the publication of this revised
edition unusually important.

“All this vast mass of new and trustworthy information concerning the
‘Middle Kingdom,’ Dr. Williams has gathered together and condensed with
praiseworthy diligence and ability, and the result is an encyclopædia
of China the value of which cannot be overestimated.... An exceedingly
complete and accurate account of the most interesting country in the
world.”—_London Saturday Review._

“The revised edition of the ‘Middle Kingdom’ is the most ambitious and
the best executed work, typographically speaking, that has issued for
a long time from American presses. From a literary standpoint it must
be regarded as the best general work on China extant, and therefore as
indispensable to the reader who wishes to obtain a comprehensive view of
the wonderful country and people it treats of.”—_N. Y. Tribune._




=1 Vol., 8vo, with numerous maps and illustrations, new edition, $2.50.=

“The work bears witness to a vast amount of well-directed labor; and
while it is clothed with a rare charm for the general reader, whose
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from the student of history, ethnology, and philology. The discussion,
indeed, of the Corean language in an appendix is the first essay on
the subject which has seemed to us at once explicit, intelligible, and
trustworthy.”—_New York Sun._


A Record of Travel and Observation in the Countries of Moab, Gilead, and
Bashan, during the years 1875-1877.

By SELAH MERRILL, _Archæologist of the American Palestine Exploration

=With illustrations and a map. 1 Vol., 8vo, new edition, $3.00.=

No other American is so much at home in the East Jordan country as Mr.
Merrill, and there does not exist in any other language so much fresh and
valuable information respecting it. The illustrations which embellish the
book are fresh and original, and the style of the narrative is graphic
and entertaining. The work is exceedingly interesting as an account of
exploration in this field, rich in historic associations.



_Illustrated from sketches by J. Wells Champney and others. 1 Vol., 8vo.,
extra cloth, $5.00._

“In this book Mr. Smith, an American, who has lived and travelled for the
greater part of eight years in Brazil, gives so excellent an account of
that country that we cannot regret this addition to the already extensive
literature of the subject. The book is a very successful attempt to
present a comprehensive picture, drawn both from the experience of the
author and from that of previous Brazilian and foreign writers, of the
present state of Brazil.”—_London Academy._


Notes of a Journey, in 1873, in the Russian Province of Turkistan, the
Khanates of Khokan and Bokhara, and Provinces of Kuldaja.

With a Chapter showing Russian Progress in Central Asia during the last
ten years.


=New Edition. With many illustrations. 2 Vols., 8vo, $5.00.=




_Square 8vo, with twenty-four full-page Illustrations, $2.00._

The wonderfully interesting array of facts which Mr. Holder brought
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young that has ever been made, and was a fitting forerunner to _The
Ivory King_, which is devoted entirely to the Elephant, and has even a
more vivid fascination than the first named volume. The summary of its
contents includes the Natural History of the Elephant, its habits and
ways and its intelligence, the Mammoth Three and Four Tusked Elephants,
Hunting and Capturing Wild Elephants, the Elephant in Captivity, Rogue
Elephants, the White Elephant, Trained Elephants, Show Elephants, Ivory,
War Elephants, etc., etc. The numerous illustrations are especially
excellent, being drawn from a great variety of sources.

It would be hard to name a book which would be a more welcome and valued
addition to the library of the average boy or girl just beginning to
cultivate a love of reading and an interest in the world around them.



_Square 8vo, with thirty-two full-page Illustrations, $2.00._

“One of the most remarkable of recent publications.... The kind of
book that ought to find its place in libraries for boys and girls
of a thoughtful and inquiring turn of mind. It not only satisfies
a healthful curiosity but it furnishes a world of substantial
information.”—_Christian Union._



_With many Illustrations of the Government Buildings, Halls of Congress,
Etc., Etc._

One volume, square 8vo, $2.50.

The author of this book was for four years connected with the legislative
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to gain, and both young and old cannot but be delighted with Mr. Alton’s
reminiscences of one of the most exciting periods of our history, that
immediately following the civil war.




_With 241 Illustrations and Maps. One Volume, 12mo. Price, $1.50._


This little book is intended to meet, so far as it may, the want of
brief, compact, and handy manuals of the beginnings of our country.

It aims to occupy a place between the larger and the lesser
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give it greater vitality, or so extend and elucidate what the school
history too often leaves obscure for want of space as to supply the
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intended that a chapter on the same subject be read, to fill out the bare
outlines of the common school text-book.



=1 Vol., small quarto, $2.00. Cheap Edition, yellow paper cover, 25

The book gives a lively account of the author’s famous drive with a
party of friends on a coach through England and Scotland. The trip was
originally suggested by Mr. Black’s novel, “The Strange Adventures of a
Phaeton,” and extended from Brighton to Inverness, a distance of more
than eight hundred miles, which was accomplished in about seven weeks.
Mr. Carnegie is an entertaining and agreeable writer, and this record of
his novel journey makes a delightful and readable book.

_Uniform with the small quarto edition of AN AMERICAN FOUR-IN-HAND IN



=1 Vol., small quarto, $2.50.=

Mr. Carnegie’s _Four-in-Hand in Britain_ was one of the brightest and
most popular books of the season. His new volume, as it has a wider
scope, has also a more comprehensive interest and value. Buoyant,
keen, joyous, and practical, the author sets down without reserve or
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at the moment, and the rapid flow of the narrative fairly enchains the
reader’s attention.

Sailing from San Francisco to Japan on his course round the world, the
larger part of Mr. Carnegie’s book is taken up with the description of
Eastern lands, and it forms a real addition to the literature of travel.



=1 Vol., 8vo. Price, $2.00.=

This work will open the eyes of the masses to the wonderful
advancement—physical, moral, political, and intellectual—of the United
States during the last half century, an advancement either little
understood or willfully misrepresented in Europe. Though various causes
have contributed to this unexampled rate of progress, the principal one,
in Mr. Carnegie’s opinion, is the fundamental fact of the equality of the
citizen in the Republic.




=Illustrated by Edward L. Chichester. 1 vol., 12mo. New Edition, $1.25.=

“The book takes us into the old and out-of-the-way places of which we
have heard less, and in which we are more interested because of their
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chronicler.”—_Chicago Interior._


_=One Volume, 12mo, paper, 50 cents; cloth, $1.00.=_

_This witty and incisive book on England, by an anonymous French author,
is the sensation of the moment in Paris, London, and America. The
British press and public have been compelled to laugh over the admirable
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critics have recognized the striking truth and merit of the more serious
criticism which forms no insignificant part of it._



Principal authority of the English press on the Central Asia Dispute.

_=Illustrated with portraits and maps. Paper, 50 cts.; cloth, $1.00.=_


=By F. V. GREENE=,

Lieutenant of Engineers, United States Army.

_Late Military Attaché to the U. S. Legation in St. Petersburg, and
author of “The Russian Army and its Campaigns in Turkey in 1877-78.”_

_=One Volume, 12mo. New Edition, $1.25.=_

“The sketches are excellently well done, graphic, evidently not
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“This volume is in every way an admirable picture of army life in Russia.
It is clear, concise, discriminating, and often very picturesque. The
author, besides possessing an excellent style, is extremely modest, and
there are very few books of travel in which the first person is kept so
absolutely in the background.”—_International Review._


Being a Narrative of a Journey from Santa Fé, New Mexico, to the villages
of the Moqui Indians of Arizona, with a Description of the Manners and
Customs of this Peculiar People. By JOHN G. BOURKE, Captain Third U. S.
Cavalry. One volume, crown 8vo, with more than thirty plates, many of
them beautifully colored. $5.00.

While Captain Bourke’s narrative presents an extraordinarily interesting
narration of adventure, its importance should be emphasized as an
original contribution to the literature bearing upon the manners,
customs, and religions of a peculiar and historic people, who have lived
in Mexico and Arizona since the Spaniards first entered this portion
of the country, in the middle of the sixteenth century. Captain Bourke
was the first white man to witness many of the curious and picturesque
customs of the Moqui Indians, particularly the famous Snake Dance.

“The work forms a valuable contribution to the study of native American
ethnology, while its vivid descriptions of weird scenes, stirring
incidents of travel, and characteristic anecdotes, culminating with the
accounts of the tablet and snake dances, generally written in a plain
unaffected style, make it very agreeable reading.”—_The London Academy._



_=One Volume, 12mo, paper, 50 cents; cloth, $1.00.=_



_Brevet Brig.-Gen. U. S. Vols.; Asst. Adj.-Gen. of the Corps, Oct. 9,
1862-Jan. 12, 1865._


1 Vol., 8vo, 750 pages, $4.00.

General Walker served through the war with the famous Second Army
Corps, and writes, therefore, from personal knowledge; but, aside from
this qualification, he is to an unusual degree fitted for the task of
preparing this historical and personal account of the Corps by his gift
for vivid and powerful writing.

The Second Army Corps was one of the five original corps organized
by President Lincoln. It remained in service during the entire war,
captured forty-four Confederate flags before it had lost a color of its
own; numbered among its commanders, Sumner, Couch, Warren, Hancock, and
Humphries, and among its Generals of Division, Sedgwick, Howard, Miles,
Webb, Gibbon, French, Barlow, and Birney; made the greatest assault at
Marye’s Heights; bore the brunt of Longstreet’s charge at Gettysburg;
made a noble record at Spottsylvania; fought the last infantry battle of
the war against the Army of Northern Virginia, and left nearly 40,000 men
on the various fields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

The history of the Second Army Corps, by virtue of its extraordinary
activity and achievements, is really the history of the war in the East,
and the exceptional value of General Walker’s work is self-evident.




One Volume, 12mo, $1.50.

“There is something fascinating in the atmosphere of a book like
this, containing the informal talk of an old General, whose heart is
light, whose manner is hearty and who lives and revels in the old
war times. Such a book draws many a reader, and touches the heart of
soldiers who fought among the battles and are familiar with the scenes
described.”—_Brooklyn Union._


By CAPT. STANHOPE E. BLUNT, _Of the Ordnance Dep’t, U. S. A._

Prepared by command of Brigadier-General S. V. Benét, Chief of Ordnance,
U. S. Army, and published by authority.

With many illustrations. Leather, with clasp, net, $2.00.


By E. F. QUALTROUGH, Master U. S. Navy.

_With Colored Plates, and many Illustrations. 1 vol., square 16mo, 620
pages. Blue roan, red edges._ =PRICE, $3.50.=

“_I think Mr. Qualtrough’s Book very valuable to every young officer,
to yachtsmen, and to all who follow the sea. The material is carefully
prepared, well arranged, and very useful to all interested in maritime
matters._”—C. R. P. RODGERS, Rear-Admiral.

The American naval service and merchant marine, and that very large
class of Americans who are interested in yachting or in some form of
seamanship, have hitherto lacked one convenience—almost a necessity,
indeed. There has been no one book which, not aiming to replace abstruse
scientific and theoretical treatises on seamanship, should bring together
in a convenient form the really practical knowledge necessary for a
sailor; which should give him, immediately at hand, a compendium of those
thousand details prompt and thorough acquaintance with which makes the
difference between the good and the incompetent seaman.

This want Lieutenant Qualtrough, of the United States Navy, has now
filled by a book which is the most exhaustive and practical that could be



A complete treatise on the management of sailing boats of all kinds, and
under all conditions of weather, containing also concise descriptions
of the various rigs in general use, at home and abroad, directions for
handling, sailing canoes, and “The Rudiments of Cutter and Sloop Sailing.”

=_1 vol., square 16mo. Blue roan, orange edges. With numerous plates and
illustrations. Price, $2.00, net._=




_Author of “Sailors’ Yarns,” “Archibald the Cat,” “How Old Wiggins Wore
Ship,” Etc., Etc._

=_1 vol., 12mo. With Illustrations. Paper, 50c. Cloth, $1.00._=

A history of all the races since 1851 for the possession of the trophy,
the emblem of the yachting supremacy of the world—commonly called the
Queen’s Cup—with an account of the English yachts Genesta and Galatea,
entered for the races to be sailed in September, 1885, for the possession
of this most coveted prize. Also descriptions of the yachts Priscilla
and Puritan. There are twelve full-page illustrations from drawings by
Frederick S. Cozzens, an engraving of the cup, and a reproduction of John
Leech’s cartoon published in London _Punch_ after the remarkable victory
of the America in 1851.



Plates by FREDERICK S. COZZENS. Text by J. D. J. KELLEY, Lieut. U. S. N.


      I. The Early Racers.
     II. Sandy Hook to the Needles—1866.
    III. An Old Rendezvous—New London.
     IV. Off Brenton’s Reef.
      V. Rounding the Light Ship.
     VI. The Finish off Staten Island—1870.
    VII. In the Narrows—A Black Squall.
   VIII. Running Out—New Bedford.
     IX. Off Soundings—A Smoky Sou’wester.
      X. Robbins Reef—Sunset.
     XI. Around the Cape—Marblehead.
    XII. Over the Cape May Course—1873.
   XIII. By Sou’west Spit.
    XIV. Moonlight on Nantucket Shoals.
     XV. Lying-To off George’s Banks.
    XVI. A Stern Chase and a Long One—1876.
   XVII. A Breezy Day Outside.
  XVIII. Crossing the Line—New York Bay.
    XIX. Minot’s Ledge Light.
     XX. For the America’s Cup—1881—The Start.
    XXI. A Misty Morning—Drifting.
   XXII. In Down East Waters—Boston Bay.
  XXIII. Before the Wind—Newport, 1883.
   XXIV. Under the Palisades.
    XXV. Ice Boating on the Hudson.
   XXVI. Signal Chart.

⁂ _Sold exclusively by subscription. Edition limited. No order taken
except for the complete work._




Fully illustrated by the author. One volume, 8vo. New Edition, $2.00

The popular Boy’s Own Book of a generation ago is now, for Americans at
least, completely obsolete. The imitations and elaborations of it have
all the complicated and unpractical features of the original, without its
merits. Most of them treat the reader either as a child or as a person
with all manner of mechanical and scientific resources always at hand to
help him. _Mr. Beard’s book is the first to tell the active, inventive,
and practical American boy the things he really wants to know; the
thousand things he wants to do, and the ten thousand ways in which he can
do them, with the helps and ingenious contrivances which every boy can
either procure or make._ The author divides the book among the sports of
the four seasons; and he has made an almost exhaustive collection of the
cleverest modern devices—besides himself inventing an immense number of
capital and practical ideas—in

          { Kite-Making,           Trapping,            }
  SPRING. { Fishing,               Taxidermy,           } AUTUMN.
          { Aquarium-Making, Etc.  Home-Made Hunting    }
                                     Apparatus, Etc.    }

          { Boat-Building,         Ice-Boating,         }
          { Boat-Rigging,          Snow-Ball Warfare,   }
  SUMMER. { Boat-Sailing,          Winter Fishing,      } WINTER.
          { Camping-Out,           Sled-Building,       }
          { Balloons, Etc.         Puppet-Shows, Etc.   }


  Four volumes, 12mo, in a box, illustrated, $5.00
  Sold separately, per volume,                1.50





In the “_Boy’s Library of Pluck and Action_,” the design was to bring
together the representative and most popular books of four of the best
known writers for young people.

The volumes are beautifully illustrated and uniformly bound in a most
attractive form.

THE BOY’S Library of Legend and Chivalry.


=Richly Illustrated by Fredericks, Bensell, and Kappes=

  Four vols., cloth, uniform binding, per set, $7.00
  Sold separately, per volume,                  2.00


Being Sir Thomas Mallory’s History of King Arthur and his Knights of the
Round Table.


Being Sir John Froissart’s Chronicles of Adventure, Battle, and Custom in
England, France, Spain, Etc.



“Amid all the strange and fanciful scenery of these stories, character
and the ideals of character remain at the simplest and purest. The
romantic history transpires in the healthy atmosphere of the open air on
the green earth beneath the open sky.... The figures of Right, Truth,
Justice, Honor, Purity, Courage, Reverence for Law, are always in the
background; and the grand passion inspired by the book is for strength to
do well and nobly in the world.”—_The Independent._


PYLE. =1 vol., 4to. $3.00.=

This superb book is unquestionably the most original and elaborate
ever produced by any American artist. Mr. Pyle has told with pencil and
pen the complete and consecutive story of Robin Hood and his merry men
in their haunts in Sherwood Forest, gathered from the old ballads and






Sold Separately at $1 per Volume. Each Set, 8 Volumes in a Box, $8.

_Twenty-four volumes, containing over a Thousand Illustrations. Each
volume, 12mo, Complete in Itself._

Messrs. CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS take pleasure in announcing that they
have now completed the new edition of THE WONDER LIBRARY, the success
of which has been most extraordinary and lasting. The books in this
attractive new form will be found more valuable than ever.

The series is designed to bring within popular comprehension the various
operations and procedures in Science and the Arts, the phenomena and laws
of nature, curious and striking facts in natural history, remarkable
exploits, archæological discoveries, and a historical account of the
progress of the fine arts. The subjects treated are of universal
interest, and they are discussed in a popular and interesting manner.

The illustrations are very numerous, and leave nothing to be desired on
the score of completeness; they add materially to the attractiveness and
value of the series, which is by far the most thorough, interesting, and
valuable of the kind ever produced.


  Intelligence of Animals.
  Mountain Adventures.
  Bodily Strength and Skill.
  Wonderful Escapes.
  Thunder and Lightning.
  Adventures on the Great Hunting Grounds of the World.
  Wonders of the Human Body.
  The Sublime in Nature.

_=The set, 8 vols. in a box, $8.00.=_


  Egypt 3,300 Years Ago.
  The Wonders of Sculpture.
  Wonders of Glass-Making.
  Wonders of European Art.
  Pompeii and the Pompeians.
  Wonders of Architecture.
  The Wonders of Italian Art.
  The Wonders of Engraving.

_=The set, 8 vols. in a box, $8.00.=_


  Wonders of Heat.
  Wonders of the Heavens.
  Wonders of Optics.
  The Sun.
  Wonders of Acoustics.
  Wonders of Water.
  Wonders of the Moon.
  Meteors, Aerolites, Etc.

_=The set, 8 vols. in a box, $8.00.=_

Volumes not included in New Edition.

  Wonderful Balloon Ascents,    $1.25
  The Bottom of the Sea,         1.25
  Wonders of Electricity,        1.50
  Arms and Armour,               1.50
  Wonders of Vegetation,         1.50
  Diamonds and Precious Stones,  1.50

The Campaigns of the Civil War.


_Price, per volume, $1.00; per Set, $12.50._

=A series of volumes, contributed by a number of leading actors in and
students of the great conflict of 1861-’65, with a view to bringing
together, for the first time, a full and authoritative military history
of the suppression of the Rebellion.=

=The volumes are duodecimos of about 250 pages each, illustrated by maps
and plans prepared under the direction of the authors.=

=I.—The Outbreak of Rebellion.= By JOHN G. NICOLAY.

A preliminary volume, describing the opening of the war, and covering the
period from the election of Lincoln to the end of the first battle of
Bull Run.

=II.—From Fort Henry to Corinth.= By the HON. M. F. FORCE.

The narrative of events in the West from the Summer of 1861 to May, 1862;
covering the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh,
etc., etc.

=III.—The Peninsula.= By ALEXANDER S. WEBB, LL.D.

The history of McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, from his appointment to
the end of the Seven Days’ Fight.

=IV.—The Army under Pope.= By JOHN C. ROPES.

From the appointment of Pope to command the Army of Virginia, to the
appointment of McClellan to the general command in September, 1862.

=V.—The Antietam and Fredericksburg.= By GEN. FRANCIS WINTHROP PALFREY.

From the appointment of McClellan to the general command, September,
1862, to the end of the battle of Fredericksburg.

=VI.—Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.= By GEN. ABNER DOUBLEDAY.

From the appointment of Hooker, through the campaigns of Chancellorsville
and Gettysburg, to the retreat of Lee after the latter battle.

=VII.—The Army of the Cumberland.= By GEN. HENRY M. CIST.

From the formation of the Army of the Cumberland to the end of the
battles at Chattanooga, November, 1863.


An account of the operations—especially at Vicksburg and Port Hudson—by
which the Mississippi River and its shores were restored to the control
of the Union.

=IX.—Atlanta.= By the HON. JACOB D. COX.

From Sherman’s first advance into Georgia in May, 1864, to the beginning
of the March to the Sea.

=X.—The March to the Sea—Franklin and Nashville.= By the HON. JACOB D.

From the beginning of the March to the Sea to the surrender of
Johnston—including also the operations of Thomas in Tennessee.

=XI.—The Shenandoah Valley in 1864. The Campaign of Sheridan.= By GEORGE

=XII.—The Virginia Campaign of ’64 and ’65. The Army of the Potomac and
the Army of the James.= By ANDREW A. HUMPHREYS.

=XIII.—Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States.= By

This Record includes the figures of the quotas and men actually furnished
by all States; a list of all organizations mustered into the U. S.
service; the strength of the army at various periods; its organization in
armies, corps, etc.; the divisions of the country into departments, etc.;
chronological list of all engagements, with the losses in each; tabulated
statements of all losses in the war, with the causes of death, etc.; full
lists of all general officers, and an immense amount of other valuable
statistical matter relating to the War.


“_Scribner’s ‘Campaigns of the Civil War’ are probably the ablest and
most striking account of the late war that has yet been written. Choosing
the flower of military authors, the publishers have assigned to each the
task of writing the history of the events he knew most about. Thus, both
accuracy and a life-like freshness have been secured._”


=In three volumes, 12mo, uniform with “The Campaigns of the Civil War.”=

=With Maps and Plans.=

=_Price, per volume, $1.00._=

  =I.—The Blockade and the Cruisers.= By PROFESSOR J. RUSSELL SOLEY,
      U. S. Navy.
  =II.—The Atlantic Coast.=—By REAR-ADMIRAL DANIEL AMMEN, U. S. Navy.
  =III.—The Gulf and Inland Waters.= By COMMANDER A. T. MAHAN, U. S.

Two Years in the Jungle.

The Experiences of a Hunter and Naturalist in India, Ceylon, the Malay
Peninsula, and Borneo.


Chief Taxidermist U. S. National Museum.

One vol., 8vo, pp. xxii. 512, two folding maps and 51 illustrations.
Price, $3.00.


The author relates the experiences of a hunter and naturalist in India,
Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula, and Borneo; and certainly no richer
hunting-ground could be found anywhere else in the world. Mr. Hornaday is
chief taxidermist in the United States National Museum. He was formerly
connected with Professor Ward’s Natural Science Museum of Rochester,
N. Y., and his expedition to the East was in the interests of that
establishment. While his book is in some respects like such works as
those which Du Chaillu and Sir Samuel W. Baker have written to delight
and interest a multitude of readers, he has imparted a vast amount of
information, a large part of which is new and of the greatest moment to
the naturalist.

Mr. Hornaday started from New York in 1876. From England he went finally
south to India, arriving at Bombay; he went across country to Benares;
from here he made an expedition to the north to Cawnpore and Agra. From
Benares he worked his way to Calcutta, journeyed down the Bay of Bengal
to Madras; southward again, he made a complete circuit of Ceylon, then
to the Malay Peninsula, and finally to Borneo, where his adventures with
the orangutan were met, ending his two years of fruitful and entirely
successful search. The illustrations are many, and most of them are taken
from Mr. Hornaday’s own sketches. Though it may seem to be stating much,
it certainly may be truly said that a more interesting book of travel and
adventures was never published.

“Decidedly the most interesting and instructive book of travel and
adventure in the East Indies it has ever been our good fortune to
read.”—_Baltimore News._

“An entertaining volume.... The author has proved his ability to write a
good book of travel.”—_Morning Post_ (London).

“To the naturalist, Mr. Hornaday’s book cannot but be as deeply
interesting as to the sportsman and traveller.... It deserved
to be distinguished from among the mass of books of sporting
adventure.”—_Melbourne Argus._

“One of the most entertaining and instructive books of its kind that has
been published.”—_San Francisco Post._




Ridden, Written, and Illustrated by JOSEPH and ELIZABETH ROBINS PENNELL.

One volume, square 8vo. Paper, 50 cents.

MR. and MRS. PENNELL’S enthusiasm for the wheel led them to undertake
this journey on a tricycle through the smooth, hard roads of old England,
and to follow the path trod so many years by the Canterbury pilgrims. It
is an exceedingly graceful and spirited narrative, and puts a feeling
of breeziness in the air of these hot months. Everything prospered the
tourists, and three more enjoyable days than those consumed in the ride
from London to Canterbury Cathedral cannot easily be conceived. The
illustrations with which the artist-authors covered their pages are
surpassingly good. Mr. and Mrs. Pennell’s little book will, of course,
particularly interest those who may be devoted to the “machine.”



_With the Latest Revised Rules, as played by the best Clubs._

By Lieut. S. C. F. PEILE, B. S. C. Edited by RICHARD D. SEARS. One
volume, 12mo, flexible cloth. 75 cents.



There has hitherto been no book treating lawn tennis as a game of
skill, showing its possibilities and giving practical advice for the
cultivation of scientific play. This Mr. Peile has done, and his little
volume appeals directly to that large class of tennis players who are
anxious to become proficient in the sport. Mr. R. D. Sears, who holds
the championship of America, has added much that will interest American
readers; his notes are always practical, and cannot fail to be of service
even to experts in the game.

The London _Saturday Review_, in a long review of the book, says:

“Mr. Peile has more than usual insight into the game of lawn tennis, and
has some valuable teachings to bestow. His little book tells players what
they ought to do and what they ought not to do.... The book is, in fact,
a compendium of the game of lawn tennis, and should be in every player’s

The book has had a great run in England, and in this American edition,
with notes by Mr. Sears, it ought to become equally popular.

_For sale by all booksellers, or sent, post-paid, by the publishers_,

=_CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS, 743 & 745 Broadway, New York._=

[Published May 18, 1887, after four years’ elaboration.]


By KARL KRON, author of “Four Years at Yale, by a Graduate of ’69.” Cloth
bound, gilt top, heliotype frontispiece, 41 chapters, 880 pages, 657,000
words, elaborate indexes, no advertisements.

This is a guide-book of American roads, and its “index of places” gives
8,418 references to 3,482 towns. Its list of 3,300 advance subscribers
(arranged both alphabetically and geographically, and representing every
State in the Union) forms a unique directory of American wheelmen.

Mailed on receipt of money-order for two dollars by the publisher, KARL
KRON, _at the University Building, Washington Square, New York City, D._
Analytical contents-table, descriptive circulars, and specimen pages sent

“_The Prince of Story-Tellers._”—LONDON TIMES.



The following works of M. JULES VERNE are published by Messrs. Charles
Scribner’s Sons, by arrangement with Messrs. Sampson Low & Co., of
London, in accordance with the right ceded to them by MM. Hetzel & Co.,
the publishers of M. Verne’s works in the original French edition. These
volumes contain all the illustrations of the French edition, and are the
only complete and authorized books of M. Jules Verne published in this

_In a new and Uniform Edition. 9 vols., 8vo. With over 750 full-page
Illustrations. Price, per set in a box, $17.50._

  HECTOR SERVADAC.                                     2.00
  DICK SANDS.                                          2.00
  A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.                2.00
  FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON.                          2.00
  THE STEAM HOUSE. 2 VOLS. IN ONE.                     2.00
  THE GIANT RAFT. 2 VOLS. IN ONE.                      2.00
  THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. 3 VOLS. IN ONE.               2.50



  Three volumes, 8vo, extra cloth, with 100 full-page engravings
    in each. Price, per volume,                                     $2.50

The work includes three divisions, each in one volume complete in itself.

  I. Famous Travels and Travellers.
  II. The Great Navigators.
  III. The Explorers of the Nineteenth Century.

=Each volume in the series is very fully illustrated with full-page
engravings by French artists of note; and the volume of “FAMOUS TRAVELS”
is made still more interesting by many fac-similes from the original
prints in old voyages, atlases, etc.=

“Even if truth were not stranger than fiction, to the healthful mind
it ought be far more fascinating. Such works as this are not only
entertaining and informing, but their whole atmosphere is bracing. They
are as much better than sentimental heart histories or imaginary personal
experiences as a day in the open air is better than a day in a close and
crowded apartment.”—_N. Y. Observer._


Six Volumes, 12mo. Each with many Illustrations.



Each volume is complete in itself, and contains, first, a brief
preliminary sketch of the country to which it is devoted; next, such an
outline of previous explorations as may be necessary to explain what
has been achieved by later ones; and finally, a condensation of one or
more of the most important narratives of recent travel, accompanied with
illustrations of the scenery, architecture, and life of the races, drawn
only from the most authentic sources.

  Japan in our Day.
  Travels in Arabia.
  Travels in South Africa.
  Central Asia.
  The Lake Region of Central Africa.
  Siam, the Land of the White Elephant.

_Complete Sets, 6 Volumes (in a box), $6.00._

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