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Title: In Indian Mexico (1908)
Author: Starr, Frederick, 1858-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: THE MUSIC AT CANCUC]

IN INDIAN MEXICO

A NARRATIVE OF TRAVEL AND LABOR

BY

FREDERICK STARR

CHICAGO FORBES & COMPANY

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Starr, Frederick, 1858-1933. In Indian Mexico.


Reprint of the ed. published by Forbes, Chicago. 1. Indians of Mexico.
2. Mexico--Description and travel. 3. Starr, Frederick, 1858-1933. I.
Title. F1220.S78 1978 972'.004'97 74-9025 ISBN 0-404-11903-4

First AMS edition published in 1978.

Reprinted from the edition of 1908, Chicago. [Trim size of the original
has been slightly altered in this edition. Original trim size: 15.5 x
23.7 cm. Text area of the original has been maintained in this edition.]

IN INDIAN MEXICO IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED TO A.A. ROBINSON TO WHOM
ALL MY WORK IN MEXICO IS DUE AND WHOSE INTEREST HAS BEEN CONTINUOUS AND
UNFAILING



PREFACE


The reading public may well ask, Why another travel book on Mexico?
Few countries have been so frequently written up by the traveler.
Many books, good, bad, and indifferent, but chiefly bad, have been
perpetrated. Most of these books, however, cover the same ground,
and ground which has been traversed by many people. Indian Mexico is
practically unknown. The only travel-book regarding it, in English, is
Lumholtz's "Unknown Mexico." The indians among whom Lumholtz worked
lived in northwestern Mexico; those among whom I have studied are in
southern Mexico. The only district where his work and mine overlap is
the Tarascan area. In fact, then, I write upon an almost unknown and
untouched subject. Lumholtz studied life and customs; my study has been
the physical type of south Mexican indians. Within the area covered by
Lumholtz, the physical characteristics of the tribes have been
studied by Hrdlicka. His studies and my own are practically the only
investigations within the field.

There are two Mexicos. Northern Mexico to the latitude of the capital
city is a _mestizo_ country; the indians of pure blood within that area
occupy limited and circumscribed regions. Southern Mexico is indian
country; there are large regions, where the _mestizos_, not the indians,
are the exception. From the time of my first contact with Mexican
indians, I was impressed with the notable differences between tribes,
and desired to make a serious study of their types. In 1895, the
accidental meeting with a priest from Guatemala led to my making a
journey to Central America. It was on that journey that I saw how the
work in question might be done. While the government of Mexico is
modeled upon the same pattern as our own, it is far more paternal in its
nature. The Republic is a confederation of sovereign states, each of
which has its elected governor. The states are subdivided into districts
somewhat corresponding to our counties, over each of which is a _jefe
politico_ appointed by the governor; he has no responsibility to those
below him, but is directly responsible to the man who names him, and
who can at will remove him; he is not expected to trouble the state
government unnecessarily, and as long as he turns over the taxes which
are due the state he is given a free hand. Within the districts are
the cities and towns, each with its local, independent, elected town
government.

The work I planned to do among these indian towns was threefold: 1. The
measurement of one hundred men and twenty-five women in each population,
fourteen measurements being taken upon each subject; 2. The making
of pictures,--portraits, dress, occupations, customs, buildings, and
landscapes; 3. The making of plaster busts of five individuals in each
tribe. To do such work, of course, involved difficulty, as the Indians
of Mexico are ignorant, timid, and suspicious. Much time would be
necessary, in each village, if one depended upon establishing friendly
and personal relations with the people. But with government assistance,
all might be done promptly and easily. Such assistance was readily
secured. Before starting upon any given journey, I secured letters from
the Department of Fomento, one of the Executive Departments of the
Federal Government. These letters were directed to the governors of the
states; they were courteously worded introductions. From the governors,
I received letters of a more vigorous character to the _jefes_ of the
districts to be visited. From the _jefes_, I received stringent orders
upon the local governments; these orders entered into no detail, but
stated that I had come, recommended by the superior authorities, for
scientific investigations; that the local authorities should furnish the
necessaries of life at just prices, and that they should supply such
help as was necessary for my investigations. In addition to the orders
from the _jefes_ to the town authorities, I carried a general letter
from the governor of the state to officials of every grade within its
limits. This was done in case I should at any time reach towns in
districts where I had been unable to see the _jefe politico_. It was
desirable, when possible, that the _jefe_ should be seen before serious
work was undertaken. As Governor Gonzales of Oaxaca once remarked,
when furnishing me a general letter: "You should always see the _jefe
politico_ of the district first. These Indians know nothing of me, and
often will not recognize my name; but the _jefe_ of their district they
know, and his orders they will obey." In using these official orders, I
adopted whatever methods were best calculated to gain my ends; success
depended largely on my taking matters into my own hands. Each official
practically unloaded me upon the next below him, with the expectation
that I should gain my ends, if possible, but at the same time he felt,
and I knew, that his responsibility had ended. In case of serious
difficulty, I could not actually count upon the backing of any one above
the official with whom I then was dealing.

Upon the Guatemala expedition, which took place in January-March, 1896,
my only companion was Mr. Ernst Lux, whose knowledge of the language,
the country, and the people was of the utmost value. As the result of
that journey, my vacations through a period of four years were devoted
to this field of research. The first field expedition covered the
period from November, 1897, to the end of March, 1898; the plan of work
included the visiting of a dozen or more tribes, with interpreter,
photographer, and plaster-worker; the success of the plan depended upon
others. Dr. W.D. Powell was to serve as interpreter, Mr. Bedros
Tatarian as photographer; at the last moment the plans regarding the
plaster-worker failed; arrived in the field, Dr. Powell was unable to
carry out his contract; the photographic work disintegrated, and failure
stared us in the face. Reorganization took place. Rev. D.A. Wilson was
secured as interpreter, two Mexican plaster-workers, Anselmo Pacheco of
Puebla and Ramon Godinez of Guadalajara, were discovered, and work was
actually carried through upon four tribes. The second field expedition
covered the period of January-March, 1899; eight tribes were visited,
and a most successful season's work was done; Charles B. Lang was
photographer, Anselmo Pacheco plaster-worker, and Manuel Gonzales
general helper. The third field season, January-March, 1900, was in
every way successful, six populations being visited; my force consisted
of Louis Grabic photographer, Ramon Godinez plaster-worker, and Manuel
Gonzales general assistant. The work was brought to a conclusion in
January-March, 1901, during which period six tribes were visited; the
party was the same as the preceding year.

"In Indian Mexico" claims to be only a narrative of travel and of work.
It is intended for the general public. The scientific results of our
expeditions have been published under the following titles:

1. The Indians of Southern Mexico: an Ethnographic Album. Chicago, 1899.
Cloth; oblong 4to; pp. 32. 141 full-page plates.

2. Notes upon the Ethnography of Southern Mexico. 1900. 8vo, pp. 98. 72
cuts, maps, etc. Proc. Dav. Acad. Nat. Sci., Vol. VIII.

3. Notes on the Ethnography of Southern Mexico, Part II. 1902. 8vo, pp.
109. 52 cuts, map, etc. Proc. Dav. Acad. Nat. Sci., Vol. IX.

4. The Physical Characters of the Indians of Southern Mexico. 4to,
59 pp. Sketch map, color diagram, and 30 double cuts. Decennial
Publications, University of Chicago, 1902.

5. The Mapa de Cuauhtlantzinco or Codice Campos. 1898. 8vo, pp. 38. 46
engravings. University of Chicago Press.

6. Recent Mexican Study of the Native Languages of Mexico. 1900. 8vo,
pp. 19. 7 portraits.

7. Picture of Otomi woman beating bark paper. Printed on sheet of the
original paper; mounted.

8. The Mapa of Huilotepec. Reproduction; single sheet, mounted.

9. The Mapa of Huauhtla. Reproduction; single sheet, mounted.

10. Survivals of Paganism in Mexico. The Open Court. 1899.

11. Mexican Paper. American Antiquarian. 1900.

12. The Sacral Spot in Maya Indians. Science. 1903.

Naturally, in a work of such extent we have been under obligation
to many parties. It is impossible to acknowledge, in detail, such
obligations. We must, however, express our indebtedness, for assistance
rendered, to the Mexican Central Railroad, the Mexican Railway, the
Mexican National Railroad, the Tehuantepec Railroad, the Mexican
Southern Railroad, and the Interoceanic Railroad; also to the Ward
Line of steamers. Among individuals, it is no unfair discrimination to
express especial thanks to Mr. A.A. Robinson and Mr. A.L. Van Antwerp.
President Diaz has ever shown a friendly interest in my plans of work
and the results obtained. Señor Manuel Fernandez Leal, Minister of the
Department of Fomento, more than any other official, lent us every aid
and assistance in his power; his successor, Señor Leandro Fernandez,
continued the kindness shown by Minister Leal. And to all the governors
of the states and to the _jefes_ of the districts we are under many
obligations, and express to each and all our appreciation of their
kind assistance. Those personal friends who have been helpful in this
specific work in Indian Mexico are mentioned in the appropriate places
in the text. To those companions and assistants who accompanied us upon
the journeys a large part of the results of this work are due.

CHICAGO, January, 1908.


  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER                                Page

  I. PRIESTLY ARCHAEOLOGY                   1

  II. WE START FOR GUATEMALA               13

  III. THE LAND OF THE MIXES               22

  IV. THROUGH CHIAPAS                      39

  V. AT HUIXQUILUCAN                       56

  VI. LAKE PATZCUARO                       68

  VII. TO URUAPAN BEFORE THE RAILROAD      76

  VIII. TLAXCALA                           85

  IX. ZAMORA AND THE ONCE PUEBLOS          95

  X. THE BOY WITH THE SMILE               108

  XI. IN THE MIXTECA ALTA                 112

  XII. THE MIXES REVISITED                142

  XIII. ABOUT TEHUANTEPEC                 161

  XIV. ON THE MAIN HIGH-ROAD              173

  XV. CUICATLAN                           181

  XVI. IN TLAXCALAN TOWNS                 188

  XVII. IN THE CHINANTLA                  198

  XVIII. TO COIXTLAHUACA                  216

  XIX. HUAUHTLA AND THE MAZATECS          228

  XX. TEPEHUAS AND TOTONACS               239

  XXI. IN THE HUAXTECA                    274

  XXII. IN MAYA LAND                      293

  XXIII. OX-CART EXPERIENCES              328

  XXIV. AT TUXTLA GUTIERREZ               351

  XXV. TZOTZILS AND TZENDALS              360

  XXVI. CHOLS                             381

  XXVII. CONCLUSION                       395

  GLOSSARY                                399

  APPENDIX                                405



IN INDIAN MEXICO



CHAPTER I

PRIESTLY ARCHAEOLOGY

(1895)


While we stood in the Puebla station, waiting for the train to be made
ready, we noticed a priest, who was buying his ticket at the office. On
boarding the train, we saw nothing of him, as he had entered another
car. Soon after we started, Herman made his usual trip of inspection
through the train, and on his return told me that a learned priest was
in the second-class coach, and that I ought to know him. As I paid no
great attention to his suggestion, he soon deserted me for his priestly
friend, but presently returned and renewed his advice. He told me this
priest was no common man; that he was an ardent archaeologist; that he
not only collected relics, but made full notes and diagrams of all his
investigations; that he cared for live Indians also, and had made a
great collection of dress, weapons, and tools, among Guatemalan tribes.
When I even yet showed no intention of hurrying in to visit his new
acquaintance, the boy said: "You must come in to see him, for I promised
him you would, and you ought not to prove me to be a liar."

This appeal proved effectual and I soon called upon the priestly
archaeologist in the other car. He was an interesting man. By birth
a German, he spoke excellent English; born of Protestant parents and
reared in their faith, in early manhood be became a Catholic; renounced
by his parents and left without support, he was befriended by Jesuits
and determined to become a priest. Entering the ministry at twenty-nine
years of age, he was sent as mission priest to foreign lands. He had
lived in California, Utah, and Nevada; he had labored in Ecuador,
Panama, and Guatemala. His interest in archaeology, kindled in the
Southwest, continued in his later fields of labor. Waxing confidential
he said: "I am a priest first, because I must live, but it does not
interfere much with my archaeology." For years past the padre has lived
in Guatemala, where he had charge of one of the largest parishes in that
Republic, with some eighteen thousand full-blood indians in his charge.
Like most Germans a linguist, the padre spoke German, French, Spanish,
English, and Quiche, the most important indian speech of Guatemala. In
his parish, he so arranged his work as to leave most of his time free
for investigation. Twice a week he had baptisms, on Thursday and Sunday;
these duties on Thursday took but a couple of hours, leaving the rest of
the day free; Sundays, of course, were lost, but not completely, for the
indians often then told him of new localities, where diggings might be
undertaken. Always when digging into ancient mounds and graves, he had
his horse near by ready for mounting, and his oil and other necessaries
at hand, in case he should be summoned to the bedside of the dying. As
the indians always knew where to look for him, no time was lost.

Not only was the padre an archaeologist: he also gathered plants, birds,
and insects. When he was leaving Germany, his nephew, the ten-year-old
child of his sister, wished to accompany him. The parents refused their
permission, but the uncle gave the boy some money, and they met each
other in Frankfort and started on their journey. They have been together
ever since. The padre depends completely on the younger man, whom he has
fashioned to his mind. The plants, birdskins, and insects have supplied
a steady income. The plants cost labor; insects were easier to get. All
the indian boys in the parish were supplied with poison-bottles and set
to work; a stock of prints of saints, beads, medals, and crucifixes was
doled out to the little collectors, according to the value of their
trophies. To allay the suspicions of his parishioners, the padre
announced that he used the insects in making medicines. One Sunday a
pious old indian woman brought to church a great beetle, which she had
caught in her corn field four days before; during that time it had been
tied by a string to her bed's leg; she received a medal. One day a man
brought a bag containing some five hundred living insects; on opening
it, they all escaped into the house, causing a lively time for their
recapture.

The nephew, Ernst, had made a collection of eleven hundred skins of
Guatemalan birds. The padre and he have supplied specimens to many of
the great museums of the world, but the choicest things have never been
permitted to leave their hands.

The padre is a great success at getting into trouble. He fled from
Ecuador on account of political difficulties; his stay in Guatemala is
the longest he has ever made in one place. During his eight years there
he was successful; but he finally antagonized the government, was
arrested, and thrown into jail. He succeeded in escaping, fled to
Salvador, and from there made his way to the United States, where, for a
little time, he worked, unhappily, at San Antonio, Texas. A short
time since, the Archbishop of Oaxaca was in Texas, met the padre, and
promised him an appointment in his diocese. The padre was now on his way
to Oaxaca to see the prelate and receive his charge.

He was full of hope for a happy future. When he learned that we were
bound for the ruins of Mitla, he was fired with a desire to accompany
us. At Oaxaca we separated, going to different hotels. My party was
counting upon the company of Mr. Lucius Smith, as interpreter and
companion, to the ruins, but we were behind our appointment and he had
gone upon another expedition. This delighted the padre, who saw a new
light upon the path of duty. The archbishop had received him cordially,
and had given him a parish, although less than a day had passed since
his arrival. When the padre knew of our disappointment, he hastened to
his prelate, told him that an eminent American archaeologist, with a
party of four, wished to visit Mitla, but had no interpreter; might he
not accompany these worthy gentlemen, in some way serving mother church
by doing so? So strong was his appeal, that he was deputed to say mass
at Mitla Sunday, starting for his new parish of Chila on the Monday
following.

In the heavy, lumbering coach we left next morning, Saturday, for Mitla.
The road, usually deep with dust, was in fair condition on account of
recent rains. We arrived in the early afternoon and at once betook
ourselves to the ruins. At the curacy, we presented the archbishop's
letter to the indian cura, who turned it over once or twice, then asked
the padre to read it, as his eyes were bad. While the reading proceeded,
the old man listened with wonder, and then exclaimed, "What a learned
man you are to read like that!" As we left, the padre expressed his
feelings at the comeliness of the old priest's indian housekeeper, at
the number of her children, at the suspicious wideness of his bed, and
at his ignorance, in wearing a ring, for all the world just like a
bishop's. But he soon forgot his pious irritation amid those marvelous
ruins of past grandeur. In our early ramble he lost no opportunity to
tell the indians that he would repeat mass on the morrow at seven, and
that they should make a special effort to be present.

[Illustration: WITH THE PADRE IN MITLA RUINS]

[Illustration: THE PADRE, ERNST AND THE DOGS]

But as we wandered from one to another of the ancient buildings, the
thought of the morrow's duty lost its sweetness. He several times
remarked that it was a great pity to lose any of our precious morning
hours in saying mass, when there were ruins of such interest to be seen.
These complaints gained in force and frequency as evening approached,
until finally, as we sat at supper, he announced his decision to say
mass before daybreak; he would call me at five o'clock, we would go
directly to the church, we would be through service before six, would
take our morning's coffee immediately after, and then would have quite a
piece of the morning left for the ruins, before the coach should leave
for Oaxaca.

The plan was carried out in detail. At five we were called from our beds
by the anxious padre. Herman and I were the only members of the party
who were sufficiently devout to care to hear mass so early. With the
padre, we stumbled in the darkness up to the church, where we roused the
old woman who kept the key and the boy who rang the bell. The vestments
were produced, the padre hastily robed, and the bell rung; the padre was
evidently irritated at the absence of a congregation, as he showed by
the rapid and careless way in which he repeated the first part of the
service. When, however, at the _Credo_, he turned and saw that several
poor indians had quietly crept in, a change came over him; his tone
became fuller, his manner more dignified, and the service itself more
impressive and decorous. Still, we were through long before six, and
throwing off his vestments, which he left the boy to put away, the padre
seized me by the arm, and we hastened down the hill to our morning's
coffee. On the way we met a number of indians on their way to mass,
whom the padre sternly rebuked for their laziness and want of devotion.
Immediately after coffee, we were among the ruins.

The padre had kindly arranged for my presentation to his Grace,
Archbishop Gillow. Reaching Oaxaca late on Sunday afternoon, we called
at the Palace. His Grace is a man of good presence, with a face of some
strength and a courteous and gracious manner. He appeared to be about
fifty-five years of age. After the padre had knelt and kissed the ring,
the archbishop invited us to be seated, expressed an interest in our
trip to Mitla, hoping that it had proved successful. He then spoke at
some length in regard to his diocese. He emphasized its diversity in
climate and productions, the wide range of its plant life, the great
number of indian tribes which occupied it, the Babel of tongues within
it, its vast mineral wealth. A Mexican by birth, the archbishop is, in
part, of English blood and was educated, as a boy, in England. He speaks
English easily and well. He showed us many curious and interesting
things. Among these was a cylindrical, box-like figure of a rain-god,
which was found by a priest upon his arrival at the Mixe Indian village
of Mixistlan.[A] It was in the village church, at the high altar where
it shared worship with the virgin and the crucifix. The archbishop
himself, in his description of the incident, used the word _latria_.
We were also shown a little cross, which stood upon the archbishop's
writing-table, made in part from a fragment of that miraculous cross,
which was found by Sir Francis Drake, upon the west coast. That
"terrible fanatic" tried to destroy it, according to a well-known story.
The cross was found standing when the Spaniards first arrived and is
commonly attributed to St. Thomas. Sir Francis upon seeing this emblem
of a hated faith, first gave orders to hew it down with axes; but axes
were not sharp enough to harm it. Fires were then kindled to burn it,
but had no effect. Ropes were attached to it and many men were set to
drag it from the sand; but all their efforts could not move it. So it
was left standing, and from that time became an object of especial
veneration. Time, however, destroys all things. People were constantly
breaking off bits of the sacred emblem for relics until so little was
left of the trunk near the ground that it was deemed necessary to remove
the cross. The diggers were surprised to find that it had never set more
than a foot into the sand. This shows the greatness of the miracle.

[A] Survivals of Paganism in Mexico. The Open Court. 1899.

The padre had been assigned to the parish of Chila, a great indian town,
near Tehuacan. Early the next morning he left for his new home.



Not only did the padre, while in Oaxaca, urge us to call upon him in
his new parish; after he was settled, he renewed his invitation. So we
started for Chila. We had been in the _tierra caliente_, at Cordoba.
From there we went by rail to Esperanza, from which uninteresting town
we took a street-car line, forty-two miles long, to Tehuacan. This saved
us time, distance, and money, and gave us a brand-new experience. There
were three coaches on our train, first-, second-, and third-class. When
buying tickets we struck acquaintance with a Syrian peddler. Three of
these were travelling together; one of them spoke a little English,
being proficient in profanity. He likes the United States, _per se_, and
does not like Mexico; but he says the latter is the better for trade.
"In the United States, you sell maybe fifteen, twenty-five, fifty cents
a day; here ten, fifteen, twenty-five dollars." The trip lasted three
hours and involved three changes of mules at stations, where we found
all the excitement and bustle of a true railroad station.

The country was, at first, rolling, with a sparse growth of yuccas, many
of which were exceptionally large and fine. On the hills were occasional
_haciendas_. This broken district was succeeded by a genuine desert,
covered with fine dust, which rose, as we rode, in suffocating clouds.
Here the valley began to close in upon us and its slopes were sprinkled
with great cushion cactuses in strange and grotesque forms. After this
desert gorge, we came out into a more open and more fertile district
extending to Tehuacan. Even this, however, was dry and sunburned.

Our party numbered four. We had written and telegraphed to the padre
and expected that he, or Ernst, would meet us in Tehuacan. Neither was
there. No one seemed to know just how far it was to Chila. Replies to
our inquiries ranged from five to ten leagues.[B] Looking for some mode
of conveyance, we refused a coach, offered at fifteen pesos, as the
price seemed high. Hunting horses, we found four, which with a foot
_mozo_ to bring them back, would cost twenty pesos. Telling the owner
that we were not buying horses, but merely renting, we returned to the
proprietor of the coach and stated that we would take it, though his
price was high, and that he should send it without delay to the railroad
station, where our companions were waiting. Upon this the owner of the
coach pretended that he had not understood that there were four of us
(though we had plainly so informed him); his price was for two. If we
were four, he must have forty pesos. A fair price here might be eight
pesos for the coach, or four for horses. So we told the coach owner
that we would walk to Chila, rather than submit to such extortion.
This amused him greatly and he made some facetious observations, which
determined me to actually perform the trip on foot. Returning to the
railroad station, where two of the party were waiting, I announced my
intention of walking to Chila; as the way was long and the sand heavy
and the padre's silence and non-appearance boded no great hospitality in
welcome, I directed the rest to remain comfortably at Tehuacan until my
return on the next day. Herman, however, refused the proposition; my
scheme was dangerous; for me to go alone, at night, over a strange road,
to Chila was foolhardy; he should accompany me to protect me. Consenting
that he should accompany, we began to seek a _mozo_, as guide to
Chila. With difficulty, and some loss of time, one was found who would
undertake the business for two pesos. In vain a Jew peddler standing by
and the station agent remonstrated with the man; two pesos was a full
week's wages; it was ridiculous to demand such a price for guiding two
foot travellers to Chila. He admitted that two pesos might be a week's
wages; but he did not have to go to Chila and if we wanted him to do so
we must pay his price. We capitulated, the station agent loaned us a
revolver, we left our friends behind us and started on our journey. It
was now dark. In a mysterious voice, our guide said we must go first to
his house; there he secured his _serape_ and a heavy club. As we left
his house he feared we must be hungry and indicated a bread-shop; we
purchased and all three ate as we walked; a moment later he suggested
that we would need _cigarros_ of course, and a stock of these were
added, at our expense. Then, at last, we came down to business.

[B] The Mexican league is 2.7 miles.

Plainly our guide did not enjoy his task. Shortly after we started, the
moon rose and, from its shining full on the light sand, it was almost
as bright as day. We were in single file, our guide, Herman, and I. At
sight of every bush or indistinct object, our guide clutched his club
and crossed himself, as he mumbled a prayer. When we met anyone, we
kept strictly to our side of the road, they to theirs, and, in passing,
barely exchanged a word of greeting. The timidity and terror of our
guide increased as we advanced, until I concluded to be prepared for any
emergency and carried the revolver in my hand, instead of in my pocket.
Mile after mile we trudged along through the heavy sand, into which we
sunk so far that our low shoes repeatedly became filled and we had to
stop to take them off and empty them. We passed through San Pablo, left
the Hacienda of San Andres to one hand, and, finally, at 10:10 found
ourselves in the great indian town of San Gabriel de Chila. It was much
larger than we had anticipated and almost purely indian. We walked
through a considerable portion of the town before we reached the plaza,
the church, and the _curato_. Our journey had probably been one of
fifteen miles. All was dark at the _curato_; an indian was sleeping in
the corridor, but he was a traveller and gave us no information on being
awakened. At our third or fourth pounding upon the door, Ernst appeared
at the window; on learning who we were he hastened to let us in. He
reported trouble in the camp; the padre had gone hastily to Oaxaca to
see the archbishop; our telegram had not been received; our letter came
that morning. We found that things were packed ready for removal. A good
supper was soon ready, but while it was being prepared we took a cool
bath, by moonlight, in the trough bath-tub out in the _patio_.

In the morning we heard the full story. Formerly there was here a
priest, who devoted his whole life to this parish, growing old in its
service; in his old age he was pensioned, with sixty pesos monthly from
the parish receipts. The priest who succeeded him, coming something
over three years ago, was a much younger man. During his three years of
service, he was continually grumbling; the work was hard, his health was
bad at Chila, the heat was intolerable; he wished another parish. The
archbishop finally took him at his word; without warning he transferred
him to another parish, and sent our friend, the archaeologist here, in
his place. This did not suit the man relieved; Chila itself was much to
his liking; what he really wanted was to be relieved from the support
of his superannuated predecessor. No sooner was he transferred than he
began to look with longing on his former charge and to make a vigorous
effort to regain it. Accusations were hurried to Oaxaca; the new priest
was pursuing agriculture as a means of profit; he had not paid the dues
to the aged priest; he had himself admitted to parishioners that his
object in coming to Chila was more to study antiquities and natural
history than to preach the gospel. It is claimed that, immediately on
receiving this communication, the archbishop sent a peremptory letter to
the padre demanding an explanation; this letter, Ernst said, never was
delivered, hence no explanation was sent. The prelate acted promptly;
orders were sent to our friend to give up the parish to the former
priest, who appeared on the scene to receive his charge. Then, and then
only, it is said the delayed letter came to light. The padre had left,
at once, for Oaxaca and his archbishop. From there he sent messages
by telegraph: "Pack up, and come to Tehuacan;" "Wait until you hear
further." A third came the morning we were there: "Pack up; meet me at
Tehuacan, ready to go to a new parish."

It was really sad to look about the new home, to which he had come with
such buoyant hopes and of which he had been so soon dispossessed. When
he arrived, the place was neglected and filthy; two whole days were
necessary to clean it. It had contained practically no furniture; he
had made it look like a place in which to live. He had improved and
beautified its surroundings. He had planted a little corn and set out
some young banana trees; he had gathered many species of cactus from the
neighboring hills and had built up a fine bed of the strange plants
in his _patio_. Passionately fond of pets, he had two magnificent
greyhounds and a pug--all brought from Guatemala--a black collie, doves,
hens and turkeys on the place. And now, he was again without a home and
his time, money, and labor were lost.

Ernst accompanied us to Tehuacan. We rented three horses and a man on
foot went with us to bring them back to the village. And for the whole
we paid the regular price of eighty-seven centavos--twenty-five each for
the animals, and twelve centavos for the man--something less than the
twenty pesos demanded the day before at Tehuacan.



CHAPTER II

WE START FOR GUATEMALA

(1896)


The evening we were at Mitla, Señor Quiero came hurrying to our room and
urged us to step out to the corridor before the house to see some
Mixes. It was our first glimpse of representatives of this little known
mountain people. Some thirty of them, men and women, loaded with fruit,
coffee, and charcoal, were on their way to the great fair and market,
at Tlacolula. They had now stopped for the night and had piled their
burdens against the wall. Wrapping themselves in their tattered and
dirty blankets, they laid themselves down on the stone floor, so close
together that they reminded me of sardines in a box. With a blazing
splinter of fat pine for torch, we made our inspection. Their broad dark
faces, wide flat noses, thick lips and projecting jaws, their coarse
clothing, their filthiness, their harsh and guttural speech, profoundly
impressed me and I resolved to penetrate into their country and see them
in their homes, at the first opportunity.

Our friend the padre never tired of telling how much more interesting
Guatemala was than Mexico; he could not understand why any man of sense
should waste his time in Mexico, a land so large that a dozen students
could not begin to solve its problems, while Guatemala, full of
interesting ruins and crowded with attractive Indians, was of such size
that one man's lifetime could count for something. His tales of indian
towns, life, dress, customs, kindled enthusiasm; but it was only after
thinking over the Mixes, that I decided to make a journey to Guatemala.
The padre, himself, could not accompany me, being a political refugee,
but he had told me Ernst should go with me. After three months'
consideration my plan was made. We would start from Oaxaca overland via
the Mixes country; we would everywhere keep in the mountains; in Chiapas
we would completely avoid the usual highway, hot and dusty, near the
coast; in Guatemala itself, we would go by Nenton, Huehuetenango and
Nibaj. This did not suit the padre: he had had in mind a journey all
rail and steamer; and friends, long resident in Mexico, shook their
heads and spoke of fatigues and dangers. But I was adamant; the Mixes
drew me; we would go overland, on horse, or not at all.

When the Padre left Chila, he took a letter of recommendation from the
Archbishop of Oaxaca to the Bishop of Vera Cruz at Jalapa. By him,
the padre was located at Medellin, a few miles from Vera Cruz itself.
Thither I journeyed to join Ernst and make the final preparations for
the journey. Ernst met me at the station at 6:30 in the evening and we
stayed the night in the hot, mosquito-tortured, plague-stricken city.
Leaving at eight o'clock in the morning we were at Medellin in an hour.
Our journey was through low, swampy ground on which the chief growth was
of palm. The padre, whom we had not seen since we parted at Oaxaca, met
us at the station and took us at once to his house. The town is small,
the population a miserable mixture of black, white, and indian elements.
Few of the couples living there have been legally married. The parish is
one of the worst in the whole diocese. The bishop warned the padre that
it was an undesirable field, but it was the only one then unoccupied.
But the padre was working wonders and the church was then undergoing
repairs and decorations. The actual _curato_ was long ago seized by
the government and is now used as a schoolhouse. The priest lived in a
rented house close by the river bank. The house is a double one and the
priest occupied but half of it; those in the other half were hostile to
him and he was anxious to rent the whole place. His neighbors, however,
did not care to leave and threatened vengeance; they were behind a mass
of accusations filed against him with the bishop. His friends rallied to
his support, sent in a strong endorsement, and he remained. The padre
had been industrious while here. Behind his house is the little river,
with a bath-house built over it; crossing in a dugout canoe we found his
garden flourishing, filled with fresh vegetables. The family of pets had
grown; Baldur, Freia, Votan, Doxil--the dogs--were here as at Chila, but
he also had fantail and capuchin pigeons, hens and chicks, ducks
and geese, canary birds, and native birds in cages. Here also were
archaeological relics, plants, beetles and birds for gathering. And here
too, for the first time, I had the opportunity of examining his great
collection of Ecuadorean humming-birds and a magnificent lot of
Guatemalan quetzal skins, among them probably the finest ever collected.

[Illustration: THE PADRE'S HOUSE; MEDELLIN]

[Illustration: THE CHURCH; MEDELLIN]

We left Medellin on January 8th; went by rail to Puebla, then to Oaxaca.
Here we found our friend Doctor Hyde, of Silao, who was nursing Lucius
Smith, in what proved to be a final illness. He aided us in finding
animals and completing preparations for our journey. We secured a large
bay horse for myself, a roan for Ernst, a little mule for baggage. For
my own part, I dislike mules; Ernst and the doctor, however, were loud
in their praise of such a beast; both asserted that a good mule should
sell for double its cost on our arrival at Guatemala City. When,
finally, after inspecting a variety of animals we found one lively,
young one, the doctor was delighted. Taking me to one side, he informed
me that such an opportunity was unlikely to occur again. I yielded and
the little mule was ours. We named the three animals Mixe, Zapotec, and
Chontal, from three tribes through whose country we expected to pass.

The doctor's helpfulness was not confined to advice regarding mules. He
insisted upon our buying various supplies, such as boxes of sardines,
sago, coffee, etc., the utility of which appeared neither at the time
nor later. Also at his suggestion a quart of whiskey was purchased and
carefully divided into two flasks, one for each saddlebag. Most useful
of all the doctor's suggestions, and one for which we had reason many
times to thank him, was the securing from the governor of a letter to
all local authorities in the state, directing them to supply us with the
necessities of life, at just prices.

We had hoped to start from Oaxaca in the early morning, but it was well
on in the afternoon before all arrangements were completed. The doctor
and his Mexican friend rode with us to Tule to see us well started. It
was out over the old road to Mitla. The afternoon was hot, dust was
deep, and a heavy wind blew it up into our faces in clouds. The sun was
already setting when we rode into Santa Maria Tule, and we went at once
to see the famous cypress tree, which no one in the party, save myself,
had seen. It seems now to be a single tree, but was perhaps, originally,
three; at present it displays a single, vast trunk, buttressed with
heavy irregular projecting columns. So irregular is this enormous mass
that no two persons taking its girth exactly agree. We measured it four
feet above the ground and made the circumference one hundred and sixty
feet. The mass of delicate green foliage above was compact, vigorous,
and beautiful. Many years ago Humboldt cut a rectangular piece of bark
from the old trunk and on the smooth surface thus exposed carved an
inscription with his name.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Bark has since grown over the sides and corners of this tablet, but much
of the inscription may still be read. Since Humboldt's visit many lesser
men have gashed the old tree to leave their mark.

As it was now darkening we hurried to the _meson_ of the village. The
old lady in charge received us with suspicion; she could not feed us and
refused to receive us into the house for the night; she would permit
us to sleep outside, in the corridor--which we might have done without
asking permission. At this moment, the doctor's friend remembered that
he knew a man here and went out to reconnoitre; he soon returned and led
us to his friend's house, where we were well received. A supper of eggs,
_tortillas_, and chocolate was soon served. Before we had finished the
moon had risen and by its light the doctor and his friend started
on their return to town. We slept on beds, made of boards laid upon
sawhorses, in a grain store-room, where rats were running around all
night long.

The next day, we were again at Mitla. It was a festival day, that of the
Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. In the evening there were rockets,
the band played, and a company of drummers and _chirimiya_ blowers went
through the town. Señor Quiero had fires of blazing pine knots at the
door. When the procession passed we noted its elements. In front was the
band of ten boys; men with curious standards mounted on poles followed.
The first of these standards was a figure, in strips of white and pink
tissue paper, of a long-legged, long-necked, long-billed bird, perhaps a
heron; next stars of colored paper, with lights inside; then were large
globes, also illuminated, three of white paper and three in the national
colors--red, white, and green. Grandest of all, however, was a globular
banner of cloth on which was painted a startling picture of the saint's
conversion. All of these were carried high in the air and kept rotating.
Behind the standard bearers came a drummer and the player on the shrill
pipe or _pito--chirimiya_. The procession stopped at Señor Quiero's
_tienda_, and the old man opened both his heart and his bottles; spirits
flowed freely to all who could crowd into the little shop and bottles
and packs of _cigarros_ were sent out to the standard-bearers. As a
result we were given a vigorous explosion of rockets, and several pieces
by the band, the drummer, and the _pitero_.

Beyond Mitla the valley narrows and the road rises onto a gently sloping
terrace; when it strikes the mountains it soon becomes a bridle-path
zigzagging up the cliffside. As we mounted by it, the valley behind
expanded magnificently under our view. We passed through a belt of
little oak trees, the foliage of which was purple-red, like the autumnal
coloring of our own forests. Higher up we reached the pine timber. As
soon as we reached the summit, the lovely valley view was lost and we
plunged downward, even more abruptly than we had mounted, along the side
of a rapidly deepening gorge. At the very mouth of this, on a pretty
terrace, we came abruptly on the little town of San Lorenzo with
palm-thatched huts of brush or cane and well grown hedges of _organo_
cactus. Here we ate _tortillas_ and fried-eggs with chili. Immediately
on setting out from here we rode over hills, the rock of which was
deeply stained with rust and streaked with veins of quartz, up to a
crest of limestone covered with a crust of stalagmite.

[Illustration: THE START FROM OAXACA]

[Illustration: THE CELEBRATION AT MITLA]

The road up to this summit was not good, but that down the other side
was _bad_. The irregular, great blocks of limestone, covered with the
smooth, dry, slippery coating, caused constant stumbling to our poor
animals. From this valley we rose onto a yet grander range. Here we had
our first Mixe experience. At the very summit, where the road became
for a little time level, before plunging down into the profound valley
beyond, we met two Indians, plainly Mixes. Both were bareheaded, and
both wore the usual dirty garments--a cotton shirt over a pair of cotton
trousers, the legs of which were rolled up to the knees or higher. The
younger of the men bore a double load, as he had relieved his companion.
The old man's face was scratched and torn, his hands were smeared with
blood and blood stained his shirt. We cried an "_adios_" and the old man
kissed my hand, while the younger, pointing to his friend said "_Sangre,
Señor, sangre_" (Blood, sir, blood.) Vigorously they told the story of
the old man's misfortune, but in incomprehensible Spanish. While they
spoke three others like them, each bent under his burden came up onto
the ridge. These kissed my hand and then, excitedly pointing to the old
man, all talking at once, tried to tell his story. Having expressed our
sympathy, we left the five looking after us, the old man, with his torn
and bleeding face, being well in the foreground.

Down in the valley, across a little stream, we struck into a pleasant
meadow road leading to the Hacienda of San Bartolo. Suddenly, before us,
in the road, we saw a man lying. We thought he was dead. He was a young
man, an indian in the usual dress, apparently a Zapotec. His face was
bloody and his shirt was soaked in front with blood, which had trickled
down upon the ground forming a pool in which he lay. We could see no
deep wound, but, as he lay upon his side, there may have been such. Near
him in the road there lay a knife, the blade covered with blood. The man
lay perfectly still, but we fancied we could see a slight movement of
the chest. In Mexico, it is best not to investigate too closely, because
the last to touch a murdered man may be held responsible for his death.
So we hurried on toward the _hacienda_ but, before reaching it, met two
girls about nineteen years of age and a little lad all Zapotecs. We told
them what we had seen and bade them notify the authorities. One of
the girls cried, "_Si, Señor, es mi hermano_" ("Yes, sir, it is my
brother"), and they ran down the road. As for us, we hurried onward,
without stopping at the _hacienda_, in order not to be delayed or held
as witnesses.

There is no love between the Zapotecs and Mixes. We never learned
the actual story, but imagined it somewhat as follows. The old Mixe,
carrying his burden, had probably encountered the young Zapotec and
had words with him. Probably there had been blows, and the old man was
having the worst of it when his companions came along and turned the
tide of battle.

The road, after passing the _hacienda_, ascended almost constantly for
many miles. We passed clumps of yuccas. As we mounted we faced a strong
and cutting wind, and were glad when any turn in the road gave us a
moment's relief. The final ascent was sharp and difficult, up a hill of
red or purple slate, which splintered into bits that were both slippery
and sharp to the feet of our poor animals. Just as the sun was
setting and dusk fell, we reached the miserable pueblo of Santa Maria
Albarradas. It was situated on a terrace or shelf, and its little houses
were made of red or purple adobe bricks, and thatched with grass. Little
garden patches and groups of cultivated trees surrounded the houses. The
church was little larger than the dwellings, and was constructed of the
same clay, thatched with the same grass. Near it was the town-house. We
summoned the _presidente_, and while we waited for him, the men, women,
and children of the town thronged around us and watched our every
movement, commenting the while on our actions and words. When the
_presidente_ came, we made known our wants and soon had supper for
ourselves, food for our animals, a shelter for the night, and a _mozo_
as guide for the morrow. The town-house was put at our disposition; it
was sadly in need of repairs, and consisted of two rooms, one larger
than the other. In the larger room there was a long and heavy table, a
bench or two, and some wooden chairs. We slept upon the ground, and
long before we rolled ourselves up in our blankets the wind was blowing
squarely from the north. The sky was half covered with a heavy black
cloud; as the night advanced, it became colder and colder, the wind
cutting like a knife, and while we shivered in our blankets, it seemed
as if we had been born to freeze there in the tropics.



CHAPTER III

THE LAND OF THE MIXES

(1896)


Santa Maria was the last Zapotec town; we were on the border of the
country of the Mixes. Starting at seven next morning, we followed a
dizzy trail up the mountain side to the summit. Beyond that the road
went down and up many a slope. A norther was on; cold wind swept over
the crest, penetrating and piercing; cloud masses hung upon the higher
summits; and now and again sheets of fine, thin mist were swept down
upon us by the wind; this mist was too thin to darken the air, but on
the surface of the driving sheets rainbows floated. The ridge, which for
a time we followed, was covered with a thicket of purple-leaved oaks,
which were completely overgrown with bromelias and other air-plants.
From here, we passed into a mountain country that beggars description.
I know and love the Carolina mountains--their graceful forms, their
sparkling streams and springs, the lovely sky stretched above them; but
the millionaires are welcome to their "land of the sky"; we have our
land of the Mixes, and to it they will never come. The mountains here
are like those of Carolina, but far grander and bolder; here the sky is
more amply extended. There, the slopes are clad with rhododendrons and
azaleas, with the flowering shrub, with strawberries gleaming amid
grass; here we have rhododendrons also, in clusters that scent the air
with the odor of cloves, and display sheets of pink and purple bloom;
here we have magnificent tree-ferns, with trunks that rise twenty feet
into the air and unroll from their summits fronds ten feet in length;
fifty kinds of delicate terrestrial ferns display themselves in a single
morning ride; here are palms with graceful foliage; here are orchids
stretching forth sprays--three or four feet long--toward the hand for
plucking; here are pine-trees covering slopes with fragrant fallen
needles. A striking feature is the different flora on the different
slopes of a single ridge. Here, too, are bubbling springs, purling
brooks, dashing cascades, the equals of any in the world. And hither the
tourist, with his destroying touch, will never come.

We had thought to find our wild Mixes living in miserable huts among the
rocks, dressed in scanty native garb, leading half wild lives. We found
good clearings on the hillside; fair fields of maize and peas, gourds
and calabashes; cattle grazed in the meadows; fowls and turkeys were
kept; the homes were log-houses, substantially built, in good condition,
in neat enclosures; men and women, the latter in European dress, were
busied with the duties of their little farms. Clearing after clearing
in the forest told the same story of industry, thrift, and moderate
comfort.

After more than five hours of hard travel we reached the Mixe town of
Ayutla, and rode at once to the _curato_. The priest was not at home. It
was market-day, and people were in town from all the country round. The
men, surprised at sight of strangers, crowded about us; some gazed at us
with angry glances, others eyed us with dark suspicion, some examined us
with curious and even friendly interest. Many of them spoke little or no
Spanish. Thronging about us they felt our clothing, touched our skins,
saddles, baggage, and exhibited childish curiosity. The women at the
_curato_ spoke Spanish, of course; we told them we should stay there
for a day or two, and sent out for the _presidente_. On his coming, we
explained to him our business and asked leave to occupy the _curato_ in
the absence of the priest.

Ayutla is situated on a high terrace, before which opens a lovely valley
and behind which rises a fine mountain slope. The village church, while
large, is roofless; the town-house lies below the village, and by it
are two jails for men and women. The houses of the village are small,
rectangular structures of a red-brown-ochre adobe brick; the roofs slope
from in front backward, and are covered with red tiles they project in
front so as to cover a little space before the house.

By evening most of the indians in the town were drunk. At sunset a
miserable procession started from the church, passed through the
village, and then returned to the church; composed mostly of women, it
was preceded by a band of music and the men who carried the _santito_.
Later, we heard most disconsolate strains, and, on examination, found
four musicians playing in front of the old church; three of them had
curious, extremely long, old-fashioned horns of brass, while the fourth
had a drum or _tambour_. The _tambour_ was continuously played, while
the other instruments were alternated in the most curious fashion. The
music was strange and weird, unlike any that we had ever heard before.
However, we became thoroughly familiar with it before we had traversed
the whole Mixe country, as we heard it twice daily, at sunrise and after
sunset. It was the music of the Candelaria, played during the nine days
preceding February 2d. As we sat listening to the music the _presidente_
of the town appeared. His Spanish, at no time adequate, was now at its
worst, as he was sadly intoxicated. We tried to carry on a conversation
with him, but soon seeing that naught but disaster could be expected, if
we continued, we discreetly withdrew to our room.

[Illustration: A STREET IN SAN LORENZO]

[Illustration: AYUTLA]

There we found the _fiscal_, and I have rarely seen so drunk an
official. When drunk, he is violent and abusive, and it was plain that
the women at the _curato_ were afraid of him. More than one hundred and
fifty years ago Padre Quintana, who was the mission priest at Juquila,
translated the _Doctrina_ into Mixe and wrote a _Gramatica_ of the
language, both of which were then printed. We wished to secure copies of
these old and rare books, and asked the _fiscal_ if there were any here.
He promptly replied that he had one at his house, and invited us to go
there with him to see it. We at once started, and on our way had to pass
the drunken _presidente_ and the musicians. As we drew near them the
_presidente_, with drunken dignity, rose and said: "Where are you going,
Señores?" The _fiscal_ was for going directly onward without giving
answer; we hesitated and began a reply. Our delay was fatal; staggering
up to us, his Honor said: "I shall not permit you to go; this man is
drunk; he will be dangerous. I am responsible for your safety." The
_fiscal_, standing at a little distance, cried: "Señores! shall we go?"
We started toward him; the _presidente_ interfered: "No, Señores,
you shall not go to-night; the man is drunk; return to your house."
"_Vámonos_," (Let us go) hiccoughed the _fiscal. "Mañana_," (to-morrow)
hiccoughed the _presidente_. The _fiscal_ stormed; the _presidente_
threatened him with jail, ordered him home, and with a body-guard
for our protection led us to our room. Scarcely able to totter, the
_presidente_ assured us that drunken men were dangerous and ought not
to be trusted; at the same time he produced his bottle and offered us
a drop to warm us. It required tact and time to get rid of him and
his corps of protectors. Early the next morning both of these worthy
officials, _presidente_ and _fiscal_, still drunk, called upon us with
the book--a _Doctrina_ of 1729. With the _presidente_ were two stalwart
fellows, intended, as he whispered to us audibly, to handle the
_fiscal_ in case he became dangerous. The audience ended, and the party
dismissed, the _presidente_ stood in the road until the _fiscal_ had
started for home, when he left for the town-house. The _fiscal's_
home-going, however, was mere pretense. No sooner was the _presidente_
gone than he came staggering into the _patio_ of the _curato_. The women
ran into our room, in terror: "The _fiscal_ comes; bar the door; do
not let him in." A moment later a feeble rap at the door, a call and
a mournful request for admission; the barricaded door gave no
encouragement. At intervals through the morning there came the flying
maids: "He comes! don't let him in." Again and again the barricade;
again and again, the vain appeal for entrance. We left Ayutla at noon.
We had scarcely well started when we heard some one calling behind us.
Turning, we saw the _fiscal_, running unsteadily toward us. We waited;
he came up out of breath. "_Ya se va_?" (Now you are leaving?) "_Si,
señor_," (Yes, sir.) With a look of despair he removed his hat, and
fumbling in its depths produced two cigarettes; presenting one to each
of us, he waved his hand as we rode away and cried: "_Adios! señores_."

For some distance our road led up a cañon. Reaching its head, we gained
the pass at two o'clock. A wonderful sight here presented itself. Above
us was a brilliant blue sky--cloudless; every detail of the rock crest
upon which we stood was clear. Forested to its summit, the ridge formed
the half of a magnificent amphitheatre, whose slopes had been vertically
furrowed at a hundred points by torrents; to the left a spur projected,
the crest of which sloped gently downward, forming an enclosing wall
upon that side. Before us, beyond the valley, was a boundary line of
mountain masses, sharply outlined against the sky. Lower ridges, nearer
to us, paralleled this distant rampart. The only apparent outlet from
this valley was around the spur to our left. Looking down upon this
magnificent valley, we saw it occupied by a sea of clouds, the level
surface of which looked like a lake of water flecked here and there with
whitecaps. The higher hills within the valley rose like islands from the
water; to the left a mighty river seemed to flow around the spur, out
into a boundless sea of cloud beyond. The level surface of this lake,
river, and sea of clouds was hundreds of feet below us.

From this summit, our trail plunged downward into this sea of mists.
When we reached its upper surface, which was plainly defined, little
wisps of mist or cloud were streaming up along the furrowed channels of
the mountain walls. As we entered the lake of cloud the sunlight became
fainter, uprushes of cold mists struck us, gloom settled, denser and
denser grew the fog, drops of condensed vapor dripped from the trees
under which we passed. At the bottom of the valley, we could scarcely
see a dozen yards in any direction. We were passing along meadows, like
those of New England, with brakes, sunflowers, and huckleberries; here
and there were little fields of wheat or peas. The fog was too dense for
us to know whether we lost fine scenery. We saw nothing of the little
villages through which we passed. On and on we plunged along the trail,
until it began an ascent of a ridge, almost like a knife-edge, with
steep slopes on both sides. When we had reached the summit of this
ridge, we found the trail level, through a growth of oak trees which
were loaded with bromelias and orchids. Though still dim, the light had
brightened as we rose to higher levels. Graceful ferns and sprays of
terrestrial orchids overhung our trail at every cutting or slope. One
spray, which I plucked as I rode under it, was more than a yard in
length, and its curiously colored brown and yellow flowers were
strangely like insects in form. At one level summit of our ridge, we
came upon a little whitewashed building of adobe, dome-topped, with no
windows and but one little door. Pushing this open, I entered through
a doorway so narrow that I had to remove my hat, and so low that I was
forced to bend, and found myself in a little shrine with a cross and
pictures of two or three saints, before which were plain vases filled
with fresh flowers, the offerings of travelers. We added our spray of
orchids before we resumed our journey.

For three hours, during which no distant view had delighted our eyes, we
had traveled in the mists; we had almost forgotten that the sun could
shine. At the end of a long, narrow ridge, where it joined the greater
mountain mass, we found a rest-house. Here the trail turned abruptly
onto the larger ridge, mounted sharply through a dugway, and then to our
complete surprise emerged into the fair sunlight. The clear, blue sky
was over us, and directly below us, at our horses' feet, was the flat
top of the sea of clouds. A moment more and we rose to a point of view
from which the grandest view of a lifetime burst upon our vision.
Opposite, the evening sun was nearing the horizon, before and below us
lay the valley; we were upon the very edge of a great mountain slope. To
our right lay the cloud mass, which was all in movement, precipitating
itself down the slope into the profound valley. It was a river of
vapors, more than two miles, perhaps, in width, plunging, perhaps, two
thousand feet into the abyss. Niagara, which I have often seen, is a
pigmy cataract in comparison. The cloud mass tossed and heaved, whirled
and poured in one enormous sheet over the precipice, breaking into spray
as it struck against projecting rock masses. Every movement of whirling
and plunging water was there; the rapid above the fall, the plunge, the
whirlpool, the wild rush of whirlpool rapids, all were there, but all
silent, fearfully and impressively silent. We could have stood there
gazing for hours, but night was coming and a stretch of unknown road
still lay before us. At the other end of the valley, in the dusk of
early evening, we saw a second cataract pouring in. From both ends the
cloud rivers were rushing in to fill the valley, along the edge of which
we crept. And presently we plunged down again into the mists; night
fell; our trail was barely visible, and we had to trust to our horses to
find it; the air was cold and penetrating. Long after dark, we rode into
Juquila.

[Illustration: CLOUD CATARACT; NEAR JUQUILA]

[Illustration: DANCERS IN THE DANZA DE LA CONQUISTA; JUQUILA]

The _cura_ had gone to bed; the _meson_ had no room for us and no food
for our horses; our case seemed desperate. We heard, however, noisy
laughter and the loud voices of men drinking. So I begged Ernst to
seek the _presidente_ and tell him our needs while I looked after the
animals. The official was at the _tienda_, drinking with his friends.
Ernst made known our wishes, producing our letter from the governor. At
this, the _presidente_ became furious: "Who is this with orders from the
governor? Let me kill him," and with that he drew his _machete_ and
made at Ernst. Some of his less-intoxicated friends restrained him, and
Ernst, concluding that the moment was not propitious, returned to me.
After other fruitless efforts to get food for ourselves and animals we
resigned ourselves to our fate, and lay down upon the stone floor of
the corridor outside the _meson_, with a crowd of sleeping indians as
companions.

Very early in the morning, all the town officials, except the
_presidente_, came to apologize for the occurrence of the night. They
announced that the _presidente_, realizing what he had done, had taken
to the mountains, and asked what they could do for us. We ordered fodder
for our hungry beasts, food for ourselves, and a place of shelter. The
town-house was offered to us, and we were moved into those quarters with
due ceremony.

Although we stayed several days at Juquila, the _presidente_ did not
return, during our presence, to resume his duties of office. We were,
however, well treated. The _cura_ aided us with advice, information, and
helpers. While we were in the village the _danza de la Conquista_ took
place. It is a popular play, with much dancing and music, and little
action or dialogue, which celebrates the Conquest of Mexico by Cortez.
It was rendered in the shade of a great tree near the church. In the
first act, nine men and two girls took part; in the second act, there
were many others. The nine men and two girls represented Indians; they
wore crowns with plumes of snow-white down; in their hands they carried
a rattle, made from the fruit of a tree and a wand of white down, with
which they beat time. One man, representing Montezuma, had a crown of
brilliantly colored plumes. The other eight men were warriors; the two
girls were "_Malinches_." The first act consisted of a series of dances,
including a very pretty maypole dance. The play lasted about
three hours, and represented the life of the indians before the
Conquest--Montezuma in his court, with the amusements celebrated for his
entertainment. Hearing of the arrival of the Spaniards, he is filled
with sad forebodings, which the amusements fail to dispel. In the second
act, Hernando Cortez appears, with soldiers. While the costumes of the
indians were gay, and more or less attractive, those of these European
warriors were ludicrously mongrel and unbecoming. The new-comers
demanded that Montezuma acknowledge the authority of the King of Spain
and the cross of Christ. Conversations, demands, replies, tableaus,
sword-dances, etc., ensued. Finally, Montezuma and his warriors yielded,
and kissed the crucifix.

[Illustration: ROAD APPROACHING QUEZALTEPEC]

While this drama was being enacted under the shade-tree, another
amusement, in connection with the _fiesta of_ _San Marcos_, was in
progress in front of the church. The musicians with the long horns made
doleful music; a dozen gayly-costumed dancers took part. They wore dark
trousers slitted up the sides; bright kerchiefs, with the point hanging
down in front, were tied about the waists; crowns of plumes were on
the heads; red vests and kerchiefs, crossed at the neck, completed the
costume. One player, who seemed to be a leader, carried a tri-colored
flag; another represented a man on horseback, by creeping into a frame
of sticks, covered with cloth, in the shape of a horse. They danced in
the full sunlight for hours; their movements were varied and pretty,
quite different, too, from the figures in the _danza de la Conquista_.
Two outside characters played the clown. One of these was a little lad
dressed in a garment representing a tiger-skin, while over his face he
wore a heavy, old wooden mask, imitating an animal's head. The other
was older, dressed in a leather suit, with a wooden mask like a
vacant-looking human face. These two were very popular, and indulged
in many acts that bordered on the obscene. We got no satisfactory
explanation of this whole performance. The _cura_ said that it
represented the conflict between Christ and the Jews; this we greatly
doubted.

Mixe roads avoid no mountains, and usually go straight up one slope and
down the other. The Mixe villages are set upon the very crests, or upon
little terraces a few hundred feet below the crest, or the summit of
some spur that juts out from the great mountain mass, of a long and
narrow ridge. The road from Juquila, by Ocotopec to Quezaltepec was
beautiful and typical. The ascent, just before Quezaltepec, was
magnificent. We had a letter of introduction from the _cura_ at Juquila
to the schoolteacher at Quezaltepec, and therefore rode directly to the
school. The four boys who were in attendance were promptly dismissed and
the _maestro_ was at our disposition. He was a _mestizo_, and possessed
the art of lying in a fine degree, like so many of his kind. This man
set us an excellent supper, having asked us beforehand what we would
like. We replied that we would be glad to have fresh meat, if there was
any to be had. He replied, "There is always fresh meat here; someone
kills every day." It really appeared in the dinner, but, as we ate it,
our host remarked--"Gentlemen, it is indeed lucky that you arrived here
just now, because to-night we have fresh meat, and like enough a month
will pass before anyone in town kills again." Our teacher friend fully
appreciated his opportunity, and we paid a large price for our meal,
with its fresh meat, our beds on the school benches, and the fodder
supplied our horses. The next day being Saturday, the _maestro_ offered
to accompany us to Ixcuintepec, where his half-brother, the local
teacher, would welcome our coming and arrange for our entertainment.

Passing Camotlan, we entered a magnificent gorge, along one side of
which we climbed, passing in front of lovely cascades and having
magnificent outlooks. While we were on this trail, we encountered the
_maestro_ from Ixcuintepec, who was on his way to Quezaltepec to spend
his holiday. A whispered word with his half-brother, our companion,
quickly changed his plan, and he accompanied us. Upon this trail we
found our first swinging foot-bridges made of _lianas_, or vines,
hanging from trees. These are, of course, only suitable for
foot-travellers, but are a great convenience, where streams are likely
to be swollen. Two or three long and slender vines, laid side by side
and lashed together, form the footway, which is swung from one tree to
another; other _lianas_ are stretched across as side rails, smaller
vines being twined in between and around them to hold them in place;
long vines, pendant from the high branches of the supporting trees, are
fastened to the upper rails to steady and anchor these frail bridges,
which swing and yield with every weight.

[Illustration: TREE FERN IN TROPICAL FOREST; QUEZALTEPEC]

[Illustration: CASCADE, NEAR QUEZALTEPEC]

Ixcuintepec is upon one of the most abrupt ridges of this whole
district. We went first to the schoolhouse, where our animals were to
be guarded in a little open space before it; then we walked over to
the _curato_ which was being prepared for us. We had ordered _zacate_
(fodder) for our animals and had divided it suitably between them. We
ate our own meal, took a turn around the town, and were about to go to
our quarters for the night, when Ernst noticed that the fodder, for
which we had paid an outrageous price, had completely disappeared from
before the two horses, although the pile before the mule had diminished
but little. No doubt the two school teachers could have explained this
mysterious disappearance; we could not, however, tax them with theft,
but we made so much fuss over the matter that the officials brought a
new supply. While I went to our room to write up my notes, Ernst sat in
the gathering darkness watching the animals, as they ate, to prevent
further robbery. I was busily writing, listening now and then to the
fierce gusts of a gale that was blowing without, when the door burst
open and Ernst, greatly excited, called me to follow, and we hastened
to the place where our animals were tied. There we found that the great
tree under which Chontal, the little mule, had been feeding, had been
torn by the tempest and half of it had fallen upon the animal, bearing
it to the ground. The crash had come without a moment's warning.
Fortunately, the mule was unhurt, though it could not move until the
branches which had crushed it to the earth had been cut away with axes.
When we had released the beast and were retiring to our quarters, we
saw a sight never to be forgotten. Looking down from our crest into the
valley and across upon the other ridges and mountains beyond, we saw
that the camp-fires of charcoal-burners and wayfarers had been fanned
by the winds and spread into the forest until a dozen great lines of
blazing trees lit up the landscape in every direction.

Our leaving Ixcuintepec in the early morning was not agreeable. The
teachers were irritated over the affair of the _zacate_; the town
authorities were dissatisfied with our refusal to pay for two lots of
it. There was grumbling, and many dark looks followed us. We were rather
glad to get away from the town without a serious outbreak. We were now
on the road to the last of the Mixe towns we should visit, Coatlan. The
road seemed endless, the ascent interminable; the town itself impressed
us as exceptionally mean and squalid, and we stopped only long enough
to eat a miserable dinner of eggs with chili and _tortillas_. The women
here wore native dress. Several were clad as the Zapotec women from here
to Tehuantepec, but a few were dressed in striking _huipilis_ of native
weaving, with embroidered patterns, and had their black hair done up in
great rings around their heads, bright strips of cloth or ribbon being
intermingled in the braiding. Literally and figuratively shaking the
dust of the Mixe towns from our feet, we now descended into the Zapotec
country. We were oppressed by a cramped, smothered feeling as we
descended from the land of forested mountains and beautiful streams. At
evening we reached San Miguel, the first Zapotec settlement, a little
group of houses amid coffee plantings.

[Illustration: FIESTA OF SAN MARCOS; JUQUILA]

[Illustration: BRIDGE OF VINES, NEAR IXCUINTEPEC]

At the first indian house, we asked if we might have shelter for the
night. The owner cordially answered, "_Como no? señores_," (Why not?
sirs). He explained, however, that there was nought to eat. After eating
elsewhere, we made our way back to our lodging-place, a typical Zapotec
hut, a single room, with dirt-floor, walls of canes or poles, and thatch
of grass. The house contained a hammock and two beds of poles, comforts
we had not known for days. I threw myself into the hammock; Ernst lay
down upon one of the beds; the man and woman, squatting, were husking
corn for our horses; a little girl was feeding a fire of pine splints,
built upon the floor, which served for light. As they worked and
we rested the man asked that question which ever seems of supreme
importance to Mexican indians, "_Como se llama Ud. señor_?" (What is
your name, sir?). "Ernst," replied our spokesman, to whom the question
was addressed. "_Y el otro_?" (And the other?), pointing to me. I
replied for myself, "_Federico_." The man seemed not to catch the word
and badly repeated it after me. "_No, no_," said the much quicker
woman, "_Federico! Federico! si, señor, nosotros tenemos un Federico,
también_," (Yes, sir, and we have a Frederick, also). "Ah, and where is
he?" "He will come, sir; we have four boys, Luca and Pedrito, Castolo
and Federico; Federico is the baby; the little girl, here, is between
him and Castolo; they are working in the coffee-field, but they will
soon be here." At nine o'clock the little fellows appeared. They lined
up in the order of age, placed their hands behind them, and waited to be
addressed. Castolo, then about ten years of age, most pleased me, and
I asked him, among other things, whether he could read and write. His
father answered for him, that he could not read or write; that the
opportunities were not good; but that he believed Castolo _could_ learn,
that he had a good mind. At this point the mother spoke to her husband
in Zapotec. Some argument ensued, in which at last she triumphed.
Turning to me, the man said: "She says you may have Castolo; you may
take him to your country and there he can learn to read and write and
whatever else you wish." It was not altogether easy to refuse this gift;
finally I replied that we had a long journey ahead and that Castolo
would weary on the road; that he had better wait until some later time.

It was now time for the family to dispose of itself for the night. I was
already in the hammock and Ernst had one of the pole-beds; the man, his
wife, and little Federico occupied the other bed; the little girl and
the three older boys climbed, by a notched log, up to a loft constructed
of poles or canes on which they laid themselves down. After all were
located, the woman barred the door and we were soon asleep.

All rose early. Not only did we wish to make an early start, but the
boys, too, were to make a journey. Our friends had agreed to make us
some coffee and _tortillas_. We had made our preparations for starting
and were waiting for our breakfast, when a shriveled and wrinkled
old woman tottered up to beg the strangers to visit her sick son and
prescribe some _remedio_. On our consenting to go with her, she caught
up a stick of fat pine, lighted it in the fire, and with this blazing
torch to light the way, preceded us to her house. Her son had been a
strong and robust young man, but four months of lying upon his pole-bed
had sadly reduced him. He was thin and pale, coughed sadly, and suffered
with fever, chills, and dreadful headaches. He was taking medicines
brought from Tehuantepec, but these seemed to have no effect and we were
begged to suggest treatment. We advised continuance of the remedy she
had been using, but also prescribed hot water taken in the morning and
at night, hot water applications for the headaches, quinine for the
chills and fever, and a digestive for the stomach trouble, and furnished
these remedies from our own supplies. Having lighted us back to our
lodging-place the old lady asked our charge. When we refused to receive
payment from the poor creature, we noted an increased activity on the
part of our host and hostess; a bit of cheese was promptly found and
added to the waiting coffee and _tortillas_, and when we called for our
own reckoning, we received the hearty response--"_Nada, señor, nada_;"
(nothing, sir, nothing) "and when you come this way again, come straight
to us, our door is always open to you."

[Illustration: SANTIAGO GUEVEA]

We were now ready and found that the three boys, Luca, Pedrito, and
Castolo, were waiting to accompany us as far as our roads were the same.
They were to go on foot, five leagues, into the mountains to bring back
some mules from a camp; they expected to reach their destination that
day, to sleep on the mountain, and to bring in the animals the next day.
The little fellows, from thirteen to nine or ten years old, seemed to
find nothing extraordinary in their undertaking; each carried his little
carrying-net, with food, drinking-gourd, and an extra garment for the
chilly night, upon his back; Pedrito buckled to his belt the great
_machete_, which men here regularly carry for clearing the path, cutting
firewood, or protection against animals. They were very happy at
accompanying us for a distance. We soon rose from the low, malarial,
coffee _fincas_ onto a fine mountain, which was the last of its kind
that we saw for many days; it was like the mountains of the Mixes,
with its abundant vegetation of ferns, begonias, and trees loaded with
bromelias and orchids. Our bodyguard kept up with us bravely until we
had made one-half of the ascent, where they fell behind and we saw them
no more. Reaching the summit, we saw before us a distant line of blue,
interrupted here and there by some hill or mountain,--the great Pacific.
From here on, the beauty of the road disappeared. We descended and then
mounted along dry slopes to Santiago Guevea, then hot and dusty. Our
friends of San Miguel really live in Guevea and are at San Miguel only
when the coffee needs attention. From Guevea the road was hard and dry
and dusty to Santa Maria. The mountain mass over which we passed was
a peak, the summit of which was covered with masses of chalcedony of
brilliant colors, which broke into innumerable splinters, which were
lovely to see but hard upon the feet of horses; the surface of this part
also gave out a glare or reflection that was almost intolerable. We
descended over granite which presented typical spheroidal weathering.
We went onward, up and down many little hills, reaching Santa Maria at
noonday. The village sweltered; the air scorched and blistered; there
was no sign of life, save a few naked children playing in the shade or
rolling upon the hot sand. It was so hot and dusty that we hated to
resume our journey and tarried so long that we had to ride after
nightfall before we reached the _rancho_ of Los Cocos, where we lay in
the corridor and all night long heard the grinding of sugar-cane at the
mill close by.

We had just such another hard, hot, and dusty ride the next day,
on through Auyuga and Tlacotepec, where we stopped for noon, until
Tehuantepec, where we arrived at evening.



CHAPTER IV

THROUGH CHIAPAS

(1896)


Tehuantepec is meanly built; it is hot and dusty, and the almost
constant winds drive the dust in clouds through the streets. But its
picturesque market is a redeeming feature. Every morning it is crowded
and presents a brilliant and lively spectacle. All the trade is in the
hands of women, and the Tehuantepec women have the reputation of being
the handsomest in the world. They are large, finely-built, and in their
movements exhibit an indescribable freedom and grace. Their natural
attractions are set off by a characteristic and becoming costume. The
_huipilili_ is a little sleeveless waist, loose at the neck and arms,
and so short that it rarely reaches to the waist-line, to which, of
course, it is supposed to extend; it is of bright cotton--red, brown,
purple, with stripes or spots of white--and is stitched at the neck with
yellow silk. The _enagua_, or skirt, is a strip of heavy cotton cloth,
less than a yard wide, which is simply wrapped around the figure and
hangs from the waist, being held in place by a brightly colored belt or
girdle. The _enagua_ is usually a rich red, but it is sometimes a fine
violet purple. It reaches but little below the knees. It generally fails
to meet the _huipilili_ above, so that a broader or narrower band of
fine, dark brown separates the two garments. Nothing is worn on the
feet, which are exposed, as are also the finely shaped and beautifully
developed arms. But the most striking article in the Tehuantepec
woman's costume is her _huipíl_, which travellers usually describe as
a head-dress, although it is nothing of the kind. It is in reality a
waist-garment with sleeves. It is made of lace or cotton, or linen, and
is bordered at the neck, the sleeves, and the lower margin with broad
ruffs of pleated lace. Only at church or on some important or ceremonial
occasion is the _huipíl_ worn as it was meant to be. Usually at church
the wearer draws the garment over her upper body, but does not put her
arms into the sleeves, nor her head through the neck-opening, simply
fitting her face into this in such a way that it appears to be framed in
a broad, oval, well-starched border of pleated lace. Usually, however,
the garment is not even worn in this manner, but is turned upside down
and carelessly hung upon the head so that the broad lower fringe of lace
falls back upon the hair, while the upper part of the garment, with the
sleeves, the collar, and cuff-ruffs, hangs down upon the back. The whole
effect is that of a fine crest rising from the head, coursing down the
back, and moving with the breeze as the woman walks. These Zapotec women
are fond of decoration, but particularly prize gold coins. In the past,
when Tehuantepec was more important than now, it was no uncommon thing
to see a woman in this market with several hundred dollars in gold coins
hanging to her neck chain. In these later days of little trade and
harder times, these once prized decorations have been spent, and it
is rare to see any woman wearing more than twenty to fifty dollars as
display.

[Illustration: READY FOR CHURCH; TEHUANTEPEC]

[Illustration: THE WIDE ROAD; TEHUANTEPEC TO JUCHITAN]

Resuming our journey, we struck out upon the highway which parallels
the coast. Almost immediately, the road changed from a fair country
cart-road to a road remarkable at once for its straightness, breadth and
levelness. It was, however, dreadfully hot and dusty, and was
bordered on both sides with a tiresome and monotonous growth of low,
thorn-bearing trees, with occasional clumps of palms. We ate dinner at
Juchitan, in a little eating-house conducted by a _Japanese_! A little
beyond that important indian centre, we saw a puma pace forth from the
thicket; with indescribably graceful and slow tread it crossed the dusty
road and disappeared in the thicket. In the morning we had startled
flocks of parrots, which rose with harsh cries, hovered while we passed,
and then resettled on the same trees where they had been before. In the
evening we saw pairs of macaws flying high, and as they flew over our
heads they looked like black crosses sharp against the evening sky. At
evening we reached Guviño, a dreadful town, in the population of which
there seems to be a negro strain. We stopped with the _presidente_, in
whose veins flowed Spanish, indian, and negro blood. In his one-roomed
house besides ourselves there slept the owner, his wife, two daughters,
one with a six-weeks baby, a son, and two young men--friends of the
family.

Turning north the next day, onto the Niltepec road, we wandered from our
trail, losing five leagues of space and more than three hours of time.
The country through which we passed was terribly dry; there were
no running streams. We crossed the bed of one dried river after
another--streaks of sand and pebbles. The people in the villages near
these dried river-beds dug holes a foot or two deep into this sand and
gravel and thus got water. At the place where we camped for the night,
Suspiro Ranch, a new house was being palm-thatched. All the men and boys
of the neighborhood were helping; the labor was carefully divided; some
were bringing in great bundles of the palm leaves; others pitched these
up to the thatchers, who were skilfully fitting them under and over the
poles of the roof framework and then beating them firmly home. Many of
the helpers had come considerable distances and spent the night, so that
we shared our room with quite a dozen men and boys, while the women and
children slept in another house.

Passing through Zanatepec, we stopped for Sunday at Tanatepec. Here we
found ourselves again upon the low coast road. It was, however, our last
point of low altitude, as from there we struck inland over a higher,
cooler, and more interesting mountain road. At Zanatepec we first saw
the _marimba_ played. This musical instrument, unquestionably African
in name and origin, is hardly found north of Chiapas, but is extremely
common through Central America. It consists of a wooden frame supporting
keys made of wood and metal, each of which gives forth its own note when
struck with small hammers. Below the keys of lowest tone are hung tubes,
pipes, or gourds, as sounding boxes to increase the sound produced by
striking the key. Usually four players perform at one time, each using
two or more little hammers. The music is rapid and brilliant, somewhat
resembling that of the piano. The instrument usually has some fanciful
name, which is painted upon it. The one at Tanatepec was _La Azteca_
(The Aztec Lady), while our next one was _La reina de las flores_ (The
queen of the flowers). At Zanatepec, _La Azteca_ was an advertising
part of a traveling circus. The troupe consisted of three men and
three women, the latter of whom seemed to be mulattos. The men were
ridiculously garbed and painted to represent wild indians. The real,
live indians, who followed these clowns in delighted crowds, enjoyed
thrills of terror at their whoops, fierce glances, and wild antics,
and assured us that these actors were, if not the real thing, at least
wonderfully accurate impersonations of the natives of the _Estados
unidos_ (United States)--the land of the "Apaches."

From Tanatepec we were in Chiapas, the southernmost state of the
republic. We struck out over a fine mountain road, _passable for carts_
all the way to Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the state. Our first
ascent was over a magnificent mountain mass of syenite, which at some
places seemed to be as fine as our own Quincy stone. The road, with many
short zigzags, made a remarkably abrupt ascent, and, having reached the
crest, wound like a vast serpent along the summit. As we descended into
the following valley, we encountered a beautiful deer, which stood in
the middle of the road, eyeing us with curiosity, until we were almost
upon it, when it dashed into the thicket and then stopped to again eye
us. Upon attaining the second summit we were amid pines. All day we had
had a wind in our faces, cold and so strong as to almost blow us from
the narrow ridge, yet the sky was cloudless. Looking back from our
summit, a magnificent view to the ocean was spread before us. Below us
were the mountains over which we had come, then a valley broken with
mountains of a lesser size; beyond, was the dry, coastal plain, and yet
beyond it, the sea. The dark green pines, the blue sky, the brown hills,
the gray plain, the stretch of blue-green waters, made a wonderful color
combination.

The next two days were most uninteresting. We were often reminded of
the recent threat of war between Mexico and Guatemala, the disputed
border-line between which we were now nearing. We met marching bands of
soldiers who were returning to Juchitan. Officers were on horses,
common soldiers on foot, pack-mules were laden with luggage, the women
(accompanying their husbands) were weighed down with coffee-pots,
bundles of clothes, and babies, all strapped on their backs together.
They were a motley crew. At Jiquipilas a company was encamped in the
plaza. Our mule, Chontal, took particular delight in running into such
bands of marching soldiers as we encountered, causing no end of trouble.
On one occasion, as a group approached us, he ran forward at a
lively pace into their midst and tangled himself up with a party of
prisoners,--apparently soldiers in disgrace,--who, tied together with
ropes, were under guard. As we rode up to capture him, I felt a hand at
that coat pocket which contained our money-bag and, turning suddenly,
found one of the guard trying to draw the bag of money from my pocket. I
struck at him with my whip and he slunk away.

The last day of travel before reaching Tuxtla Gutierrez, we passed one
of the few pretty places on this dreary road, Agua Bendita. At this
point the road makes a great curve, almost like a horseshoe; at the
middle of this curve there rises to the right of the road a wall of
limestone rock the plainly defined strata of which are thrown into a
gentle anticlinal fold. The upper layers of this arch were covered with
shrubs, clinging to its face, while the lower layers were tapestried
with a curtain of delicate ferns, which hung down over the open arch
below, under which the road passed. Water trickled through this
limestone mass and dripped and collected in little basins, which had
been excavated in the ledge close by the roadside. Some grateful passer
had set up little crosses by the water pools, and they were gay that day
with purple orchids plucked from a near-by tree. In this tree, amid the
brilliant clumps of yet unplucked blossoms of the orchids, were a number
of toucans with their enormous, brightly colored bills--the _picos de
canoa_ (canoe beaks) of the people.

Tuxtla Gutierrez is a town of some thousands population, with a central
plaza where the local band plays almost every evening, and a market
place of exceptional interest. Here, as nowhere else, we saw crowds of
the purest indians in native dress. Chiapas is the home of at least
thirteen tribes, each with its own language. Among the most interesting
indians we saw in the market were the Tzotzils, from Chamula, who wore
heavy, black woolen garments. The indians of the town and its immediate
vicinity are Zoques.

Few Mexican governors possess the breadth of view and the intelligent
enterprise of Governor Leon, whom we encountered here. A man of middle
age, of fair stature though slight in build, with dark complexion,
iron-gray hair, beard and whiskers carefully trimmed after the French
fashion, his appearance creates a favorable impression. He did
everything in his power for our comfort and assistance, and supplied us
with letters to the _jefes politicos_ of the districts through which we
were to pass. We congratulated him upon the cart-road over which we
had come from Zanatepec, an important public work for this part of the
world; he told us he began it three years ago with a force of but nine
men; that it would be extended to San Cristobal and San Bartolome; that
he was no engineer, but that he could tell quite well when a road was
passable for a cart. We found him greatly interested in a congress
which he had called of persons interested in labor questions. Among the
questions which he hoped to see considered was the abolition of the
system of _peonage,_ which still exists in full development in the
state.

Less than three leagues from Tuxtla Gutierrez is Chiapa, famous for the
brightly painted gourds and calabash vessels there manufactured and
sent out to all parts of the republic. Toys, rattles, cups, and great
bowl-basins are among the forms produced. We visited a house where five
women were making pretty rattles from little crook-necked gourds. The
workers sat upon the floor, with their materials and tools before them.
The first one rubbed the body of the dry gourds over with an oil paint.
These paints are bought in bulk and mixed upon a flat slab, with a
fine-grained, smooth, hard pebble as a grinder, with _aje_ and a white
earth dug near the road between Chiapa and Tuxtla Gutierrez. The _aje_
is a yellow, putty-like mass which gives a brilliant, lacquer-like
lustre; the white earth causes the color to adhere to the surface to
which it is applied. The second woman rubbed the neck of the gourd with
green paint; the third painted the line of junction of the two colors
with white, using a brush; the fourth brought out the lustre of the
before dull object by rubbing it upon a pad of cotton cloth upon
her knee, giving a final touch by careful rubbing with a tuft of
cotton-wool; with a brush, the final worker rapidly painted on the
lustrous surface delicate floral or geometric decoration. Though
representing so much delicate and ingenious labor, these pretty toys
were sold at the price of two for a _medio_ (three cents in United
States currency).

The _aje_ which gives the brilliant lustre to this work deserves more
than a passing notice. It is made chiefly at San Bartolome and is
secured from an insect, a sort of plant-louse, which lives upon the
blackthorn and related trees. The insect is found only in the wet
season, is small, though growing rapidly, and is of a fiery-red color,
though it coats itself over with a white secretion. It lives in swarms,
which form conspicuous masses. These are gathered in vessels, washed
to remove the white secretion, boiled, crushed, and strained through a
cloth; an oily matter, mixed with blood (?) and water passes out, which
is boiled to drive off the water and to concentrate the oily mass. This
is then washed in trays, to rid it of the blood, and made up into balls,
which are sold at ten or twelve _centavos_ (five or six cents) a pound.
It is a putty-like substance, with a handsome yellow color. We have
already stated that it is ground up with dry paints to be rubbed on
the object which is to be adorned, and that the brilliant lustre is
developed by gentle and rapid friction.

[Illustration: ZAPOTEC WOMAN; SAN BLAS]

[Illustration: CASE OF WHITE PINTO; TUXITA GUTIERREZ]

_Pinto_, a spotting or discoloring of the skin, is a common disease in
many parts of Mexico. Three varieties are recognized--white, red, and
blue or purple. The disease is particularly frequent in the states
of Guerrero and Chiapas, and we had heard that it was very common
in Chiapa. Perhaps twenty per cent of the population really has the
disease; at San Bartolome perhaps seventy-five per cent are affected; in
some towns an even larger proportion is reported. The white form appears
the commonest. One subject examined at Tuxtla Gutierrez was a woman some
sixty years of age. At birth she showed no symptom of the trouble, but
spots began to appear when she was seven or eight years old. She was
naturally dark, and the white spots were in notable contrast to her
normal color; the spots increased in number and in size until her face
and arms looked as if they had been white and become brown-spotted,
instead of _vice versa_. After she was forty years of age her spots
varied but little. The cause of this disease is still obscure, although
several treatises have been written upon it. Authorities do not even
agree as to the sequence of the forms of the disease, if there be such
sequence. Some assert that the white form is the early stage and that
the disease may never progress beyond it; others assert that the white
spots are merely the permanent scars, left after the disappearance
of the disease itself. Maps of distribution seem to show a distinct
relation of the disease to altitude and character of water-supply. The
common herd attribute it to an insect sting, to drinking of certain
water, or to bathing in certain pools. Usually, there is no pain or
danger connected with the trouble, except in the red form, but if the
person affected changes residence, itching and some discomfort may
temporarily ensue. The _presidente_ at Chiapa took us to the jail, where
the prisoners were filed before us and made to hold out hands and feet
for our inspection. Such cases of _pinto_ as were found were somewhat
carefully examined. All we encountered there were of the white variety.
Later, at private houses, we saw some dreadful cases of the purple form.
Very often, those whose faces were purple-blotched had white-spotted
hands and feet.

We had not planned to stop at Acala, but after a hard ride over a dreary
road and a ferrying across a wide and deep river in a great dugout canoe
thirty feet or more in length--our animals swimming alongside--we found
our beasts too tired for further progress. And it was a sad town. How
strange, that beautifully clear and sparkling mountain water often
produces actual misery among an ignorant population! Scarcely had we
dismounted at our lodging place, when a man of forty, an idiot and
goitrous, came to the door and with sadly imperfectly co-ordinated
movements, gestured a message which he could not speak. Almost as soon
as he had gone a deaf-mute boy passed. As we sat at our doorway, we saw
a half-witted child at play before the next house. Goitre, deaf-mutism,
and imbecility, all are fearfully common, and all are relatedly due to
the drinking water.

To us, sitting at the door near dusk, a song was borne upon the evening
breeze. Nearer and nearer it came, until we saw a group of twelve or
fifteen persons, women in front, men and children behind, who sang as
they walked. Some aided themselves with long staves; all carried burdens
of clothing, food, utensils; all were wearied and footsore with the long
journey, but full of joy and enthusiasm, as they were nearing their
destination--a famous shrine. Passing us, they journeyed onward to an
open space at the end of town, where, with many others who had reached
there sooner, they camped for the night. The next day we constantly
passed such parties of pilgrims; coming or going to this shrine which
lay a little off the road between Acala and San Bartolome. In one group,
we counted ninety pilgrims.

[Illustration: RIVER BETWEEN CHIAPA AND ACALA]

[Illustration: THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT AT SAN BARTOLOME]

We had been told that San Bartolome was full of goitre, and we really
found no lack of cases. It is said that forty years ago it was far more
common than now, and that the decrease has followed the selection of a
new water source and the careful piping of the water to the town. In the
population of two thousand, it was estimated that there might be two
hundred cases, fifty of which were notable. None, however, was so
extraordinary as that of which several told us, the late _secretario_ of
the town, who had a goitre of such size that, when he sat at the table
to write, he had to lift the swelling with both hands and place it on
the table before he began work. The former prevalence of the disease is
abundantly suggested by the frequency of deaf-mutes, a score or more
of whom live here--all children of goitrous parents. Bad as was San
Bartolome, it seemed to us surpassed by San Antonio, where we found
the disease in an aggravated form, while at Nenton, our first point in
Guatemala, every one appeared affected, although we saw no dreadful
cases.

San Bartolome is an almost purely indian town, where for the first time
our attention was called to the two sets of town officials--indian and
_ladino_. The indian town government consisted of four Indians of pure
blood, who wore the native costume. This, here, is characteristic, both
for men and women. The men wore wide-legged trousers of native woven
cotton, and an upper jacket-shirt, square at the bottom, made of the
same stuff, with designs--rosettes, flowers, geometrical figures, birds,
animals, or men--wrought in them in red, green, or yellow wools; about
the waist was a handsome brilliant native belt, while a bright kerchief
was twisted about the head. The men were well-built, but the _alcalde_
was a white _pinto_. Women wore _huipilis_, waist-garments, sometimes
thick and heavy, at others thin and open, in texture, but in both cases
decorated with lines of brightly colored designs. Their _enaguas_,
skirts, were of heavy indigo-blue stuff or of plain white cotton, of two
narrow pieces sewed together and quite plain except for a line of bright
stitching along the line of juncture. As among other indian tribes, this
cloth was simply wrapped around the figure and held in place by a belt.
The town is famous for its weaving and dyeing; the loom is the simple,
primitive device used all through Mexico long before the Conquest.
We were surprised to find that the designs in colored wools are not
embroidered upon the finished fabric, but are worked in with bits of
worsted during the weaving.

From San Bartolome to Comitan, the road passes over a curious lime
deposit, apparently formed by ancient hot waters; it is a porous tufa
which gave back a hollow sound under the hoofs of our horses. It
contains moss, leaves, and branches, crusted with lime, and often forms
basin terraces, which, while beautiful to see, were peculiarly harsh and
rough for our animals. But the hard, and far more ancient, limestone,
onto which we then passed, was quite as bad. At the very summit of
one hill of this we found a cave close by the road; entering it, we
penetrated to a distance of perhaps seventy-five feet, finding the roof
hung with stalactites and the walls sheeted with stalagmite. Just after
leaving this cave, we met a tramp on foot, ragged, weary, and dusty, and
with a little bundle slung upon a stick over his shoulder. He accosted
me in Spanish, asking whence we had come; on my reply, probably catching
my foreign accent, he winked and said in plain English,--"Yes? And where
are you going, pard?"

After a hard day's ride, over a shut-in road, destitute of fine views,
we reached the crest overlooking Comitan. The descent was almost
precipitous. The town, better built and more compact than most, was
situated near the foot of the hill; near it, on a terrace, was the
cemetery. On the level road, stretching to a long distance from the
town, we saw lines of hundreds of pack-mules, dwarfed by distance. South
from the town stretched a grassy plain, bordered here and there with
pine trees. Back of this plain rose round-topped hills, and beyond
them were again the blue mountains; far in the distance, behind these,
towered the mighty crests of the Guatemalan Sierra Madre.

The town was crowded, as the annual _feria_ (fair) was in progress, and
it was with difficulty that we found a room to sleep in, going for our
meals to one of the many temporary eating-places in the plaza. Comitan
is the last town of consequence in Mexico, and has wide fame on account
of its spirits, known at _comiteco_. This drink, of enormous strength,
distilled from coarse, brown sugar (_panela,_) is a favorite in
Guatemala, and its smuggling across the border, though risky, is a
lucrative business. There are scores of little distilleries in the town,
many of them belonging to and conducted by women.

Mexican paper money is useless between Tuxtla Gutierrez and Comitan. At
the latter city it may be exchanged for silver, but with difficulty.
From here on we found no copper in circulation, and before reaching
Comitan we had begun to receive Guatemalan silver in our change. Fully
thirty leagues from the border we ceased to receive Mexican silver from
anyone. This notable displacement of Mexican currency seems curious,
because Guatemalan money is at a heavy discount in comparison with it.
At San Bartolome we sent a soldier-police to buy _zacate_, giving him
Mexican money. He brought back two Guatemalan pieces in change, and on
our objecting to receive it, assured me, not only that the money was
good, but also that here the people were Guatemalans. "Here," said he,
"not Mexico: here we are all Carrera's people." This, of course, was
sheer treason. Carrera, the pure-blood indian who in the stirring days
of 1839 seized the power in Guatemala, a strange and wild being who had
a real love for his country, has left a profound impression. At times an
exile, he had lived at Comitan, where his name was familiar to all the
indians around. His coins are much prized by the indians for necklaces
and earrings, and even at Tehuantepec we had seen women wearing his
little gold pieces in their ears.

It should have been an easy matter to go from Comitan to Nenton (in
Guatemala) in a single day. As it was, we made it with great difficulty
in two, our mule Chontal apparently being completely worn out. We
crossed the _llano_, passed through patches of pines, and then came out
upon a terrible country of limestone hills. In our last day's journey we
had to coax, threaten, beat, drag, and push that mule until our voices
were gone and our arms were tired. Immediately on passing the line into
Guatemala, we found the telegraph wires cut and poles down, a result of
the late unpleasantness with Mexico. The mountain mass before us, which
had been in view for two days past, loomed up frightfully before us.
Would our little mule be able to pass it? We remembered what an American
tramp, whom we had met at Tuxtla Gutierrez and who had walked on foot
from Guatemala City, had said: "Between Nenton and Huehuetenango you
will pass over a mountain that will make your heart sick; may God help
you." Just at dusk we looked down upon Nenton in a little valley, with a
fine stream crossed by a pretty bridge, where mountains rose steeply on
every side. Having been registered by the custom officials, we slept
that night, our first in the new republic, in the municipal house.

Next morning we started bravely, the whole town having assembled to
see us off. We safely reached the foot of the mountain, where the mule
stopped and braced himself. We spoke kindly, coaxed, dragged, but all
to no effect. Finally he started, but three times within the next few
minutes, he and we went through the same procedure. Patience had ceased
to be a virtue; we held a serious consultation. Ernst asserted that by
placing the rope over the nostrils of the animal and then leading, he
must move. We tried the experiment. The beast gave a snort, a groan,
lurched, fell over, kicked convulsively, closed his eyes, and lay to all
appearance dead. The town below, which had been watching progress, came
running up. We removed the halter; the animal lay quiet. The pity of
the by-standers was maddening; their remarks exasperating. "Poor little
mule, he dies;" they pointed to his rubbed sides,--"Ah, poor creature!
What a heavy load! How thin he is." It is certain that the best mule in
the town was in far worse condition, and as for food, Chontal had eaten
more the night before than our two horses put together. Having exhausted
their vocabulary of sympathy, our friends left us, as the "poor little
animal" showed signs of coming to. We concluded to engage a man on foot
to carry the burden across the mountains and to lead Chontal. After
some delay a man was found, who readily agreed to carry the burden and
pack-saddle, but when he found he was to lead the mule besides, he
defied the town authorities and refused to go. Unfortunately, he was a
carpenter and, by law, could not be made to go against his will. Hours
passed, while another carrier was sought. Declaring that I would not
return to town, I waited on the road with the mule, while Ernst rode
back and forth. As soon as he had left, the beast began to mend; he
coughed, raised his head, and, opening one eye, gravely winked. Taking
his halter and encouraging him to rise, I led him a few yards up
the hill, when he again braced himself and I desisted. There he ate
_zacate_. Presently we took another turn, mounted a little higher up the
hill, where he stopped again. A little later we made another journey,
and again halted. Just then I heard an indian boy of fourteen years
calling from the cliff above me in great excitement, "_Señor, un
animal_" (An animal, sir). Clambering over rocks, I came up to the boy,
with his _machete_ in his hand, standing at the foot of a tree upon the
leafless branches of which was a fine iguana (lizard) two feet or more
in length. Visions of iguana steak, which I had long desired to try,
rose in fancy. The boy was disgusted when he found I had no pistol
with which to shoot his animal, but grunted, "If we but had a cord." I
directed him where to find a cord among our luggage and on his return
he made a slip-noose, cut a long and slender pole to which he tied his
snare, then handing me his _machete_ he raised his pole and tried to
slip the noose over the lizard's head. The iguana gave a leap, and as it
shot by me I struck at it with the _machete_, which hit it and threw it
on the rocks below. However, before we could reach it, it had made good
its escape.

Returning to the mule I found it eating grass contentedly by the
roadside. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when our human beast of
burden finally arrived, took up his burden and was ready to start. Then,
suddenly, I took a new resolve. Before us rose the appalling mass of the
Sierra Madre; to get that mule across it would wear us out in mind
and body; I regretted that he had not died, and determined to have no
further trouble with him. Quickly, we sent back word to Nenton that a
mule and saddle were for sale; the crowd gathered. We demanded fifteen
dollars for the mule, ten for the saddle; and were offered ten and five
respectively. But we declared we would kill the mule and burn the saddle
before we would take less; we triumphed. Our account stood:

  Cost of mule                              $45.00
  Cost of saddle                              6.00
                                            ------
                                             51.00

  Selling price of mule                      15.00
  Selling price of saddle                    10.00
                                            ------
                                            $25.00
                                            ------
  Loss--paid for experience in mules        $26.00



CHAPTER V

AT HUIXQUILUCAN

(1897)


Our serious work was to begin with one of the most conservative and
reserved of Mexican indian populations. If we could do what we planned
to do with the Otomis, we were likely to have but little greater trouble
with any tribe. In ancient times the name of Otomi was synonymous with
stupidity. When an Aztec was particularly stupid or clumsy, his fellows
in derision called him an Otomi. They still are ignorant, suspicious,
and unprogressive.

Huixquilucan, which we had chosen as our field for labor, is situated
on a high ridge within sight of the National Railroad, at a distance
of perhaps a mile and a half from the station of Dos Rios. A crowd of
indian women and children are always at the station when trains pass, to
sell _tortillas, chalupas_, and _pulque_ to passengers; few travellers
from the United States, passing over this road, have failed to notice
the dark and ugly faces of these sellers, and have received their first
impression of the indians of Mexico from seeing them. Our party, three
in number, reached Dos Rios in the morning and began work at the station
with the women who were selling there. Dr. Powell, as our interpreter,
undertook the personal dealings, and our material, as was to be
expected, was chiefly women. When we came to record the names of
our subjects, we found that every woman's first name was Maria, the
differentiation between them being first found in the middle name. They
were little creatures, scarcely larger than well grown girls of eleven
or twelve among ourselves. Some old women, with grey hair and wrinkled
faces who piously kissed our hands when they met us, were among the
smallest. Now and then some young woman or girl was attractive, but
usually their faces were suspicious, sad, and old before their time. The
skin was a rich brown; the eyebrows heavily haired, often meeting above
the nose; the hair grew low upon the forehead, and in young women the
forehead itself was covered with a fine downy black growth. The nose
was flat, broad, and depressed at the roots, while its tip was flat and
wide. The eyes were dark brown and the hair was black and coarse. If we
were to judge the population by the women only, we might call the
Otomis true pygmies. The average stature of 28 subjects was 1,435
millimeters--while Sir William Flower's limit for pygmy peoples is 1,500
millimeters.

[Illustration: OTOMI INDIAN GIRLS; HUIXQUILUCAN]

[Illustration: THE MOON-STONE, AT DOS RIOS STATION]

Many of the women whom we measured and photographed carried babies; the
disposition of the children while the mothers were being examined was
something of a problem. When given to another woman they usually cried
lustily, and so conducted themselves as to distract the attention of
their mothers and interfere seriously with our work. In the crowd of
lookers-on there chanced to be a little girl, surely not more than ten
years old, who seemed to be a born caretaker. Upon her back, supported
by her _ayate_, she carried her own baby brother. We quickly found that
really refractory babies were best committed to her charge. No matter
how loudly they might have been crying beforehand, when transferred to
the arms of this little creature they became instantly quiet. The poor
little thing was kept busily employed the greater part of the afternoon
with the two babies, one upon her back, the other in her arms.

Almost all the women wear the ancient costume, which consists of the
_huipíl, enagua, faja_, and _ayate_. The _huipíl_ is a cotton blanket,
with a slit through which the head passes. On each side of the slit are
bands of patterns embroidered in bright colors. Much of the remaining
surface of the garment may be similarly decorated; sometimes it becomes
one mass of designs. The patterns are usually geometrical figures, but
may be representations of animals, birds, or human beings. They may be
regularly arranged, or jumbled together haphazard. The _enagua_, skirt,
consists of two strips of cloth of different kinds and colors, sewn
together side by side and then wrapped horizontally about the body. The
strips of cloth are native spun, native dyed, and native woven.
The favorite colors are dark blue, brownish purple, or indian red,
horizontally banded with narrow black stripes. The two strips are
usually joined by a line of colored stitching. The _enagua_ is simply
wrapped about the body, sometimes thrown into pleatings in front, and
held in place by a broad cotton belt of bright color, into which are
woven birds, animals, human figures, and geometrical forms. These
belts are called by the Spanish name, _faja_. Both men and women carry
_ayates_. These are square or rectangular blankets made of _ixtli_, the
strong fibre of the maguéy. Like the _enaguas_, they usually consist of
two pieces, side by side, stitched together with some bright color. The
fibre, which is gotten from the leaves partly by maceration, partly by
beating, is spun in a primitive fashion. Almost every woman one meets
upon the road, no matter what burden of babies or goods she carries,
has a hank of the fibre thrown over her shoulder, and keeps her little
spindle whirling, spinning the strong thread as she walks. Her spindle
consists of a slender stick thrust through a whorl of baked pottery.
Such whorls are no longer made, but the ancient ones, called by the
Aztec name _malacates_, are picked up in the fields and reapplied to
their old use. Usually the _ixtli_ thread is left of its original grey
or white color, but sometimes the fibre is dyed, a fine shade of orange
being favored. The _ixtli_ thread is woven into _ayates_, which are used
for carrying burdens. Vegetables, charcoal, babies--anything--are put
into them. Two ends are tied together to hold the burden in place, and
the other two are passed across the breast and tied in front. These
blankets are astonishingly strong and unyielding.

At evening, after a fair day's work, we made our way on foot across the
valley and up the long slope to the summit of the ridge on which lay
Huixquilucan, the official centre of a municipality of 11,000 persons.
Of these, 3,000 live in the village, while the remainder are clustered
together in hamlets like San Bartolito, San Francisco, Agua Bendita, or
are scattered in single-house settlements over the mountains. Of the
11,000 persons, more than three-fourths claim to be full Otomis. There
are no truly poor in the whole town. Every family has its field, its
house, its bit of woodland. All the people still speak the native
tongue, and many speak no other. The town is picturesquely situated upon
the crest and flank of a long, narrow ridge, which is enclosed by a
grand sweeping curve of lofty mountains. The flanks of the enclosed
ridge and the whole slope of the surrounding mountains are occupied by
the little fields of the indians, long narrow patches separated by lines
of _maguéy_ or century-plants. The houses are built of adobe bricks with
thick and solid walls, which are usually plastered on the outside and
tinted white or pink. The roofs are pitched, but with a gentle slope.
They consist of frameworks of poles upon which long narrow shingles are
laid, and pegged in place with wooden pegs which project both above and
below for several inches in a formidable, bristling way. Sometimes the
shingles, instead of being pegged in place, are held by stones, which
in some cases weigh several pounds, and are laid in regular horizontal
lines.

When we were there, great stacks of corn-husks were to be seen in
almost every yard; these were placed on floorings, raised by posts some
distance above the ground to keep them from animals. A long ladder
usually leaned against one side of the stack and a light cross of sticks
stuck into the top of the stack kept off evil influences. Sometimes this
cross was cut in relief on the smooth, carefully trimmed end of the
stack itself. More striking than these stacks, and quite characteristic
of the Otomi country, were the queer corn-bins or granaries called by
the Aztec name _cincalote_. They rose in all directions like great
square columns. The floor of boards was slightly raised from the ground
by stones, and measured some 4 or 5 feet on a side; from its corners
rose 4 poles, sometimes to the height of 20 feet; these were connected
at the top and held firm by ropes. The sides of the bin were built up
of a cobwork of slender staves laid horizontally. The vertical bin thus
formed was filled with ears of corn roofed about with a light thatch or
shingled roof. Later in the season, as the corn was taken from these
bins, the sides would have been removed piecemeal to keep progress with
the diminishing hoard. When the time of planting should be near, the
whole structure but the floor and upright poles would have disappeared.

Next to maize the chief culture among the Otomis is _maguéy_. This forms
division lines between the corn-fields and the village yards, and is
sometimes, though not commonly here, planted in fields. The _maguéy_ is
an agave very close to the century-plant. Manifold are its uses, but to
the Otomi its value is chiefly in two directions. It furnishes _ixtli_
fibre for _ayates_, and it yields _pulque_. For a dozen years
the _maguéy_ plant stores away starchy food in its long, thick,
sharp-pointed leaves. It is the intended nourishment for a great shaft
of flowers. Finally, the flower-bud forms amid the cluster of leaves.
Left to itself the plant now sends all its reserve of food into this
bud, and the great flower-stalk shoots upward at the rate of several
inches daily; then the great pyramid of flowers develops. But man
interferes. The flower-bud is cut out, and a neat, deep cup is fashioned
amid the bases of the cluster of leaves. The sap which should produce
that wonderful growth is poured into this cup. The _pulque_ gatherer,
with his long gourd collecting-tube, and skin carrying-bottle, goes from
plant to plant and gathers the _agua miel_--honey-water. Fermented, it
becomes the whitish, dirty, ropy, sour-tasting, bad-smelling stuff
so dear to the indians. And the Otomi are fond of _pulque_. We were
compelled to do our work in the mornings; in the afternoons everyone was
drunk and limp and useless in the operator's hands.

We slept and ate at the house of the _presidente_, an old _mestizo_
of rather forbidding manners but kindly spirit. Our cases came rather
slowly and a deal of coaxing, argument, and bribes were necessary to
secure them. Here we gave a trifle, a few _centavos_, to each subject.
The policy was bad, and we abandoned it with reference to all subsequent
populations. Naturally the natives were hostile to our work. They
thought that we were measuring them for their coffins; that they would
be forced into the army; that disease would result; that an uncanny
influence was laid upon them; that witchcraft might be worked against
them. After having had a lot of trouble with many of our subjects, we
were surprised one day to have the oldest man of the village, Antonio
Calistro, born in 1813, still so hale and hearty that he works his own
fields, come in for measurement and photographing. He still wears the
old style of dress: a loose jacket with wide sleeves made of dark blue
woolen cloth, gathered around the waist by a closely-woven cotton belt;
short, wide-legged trousers of buckskin. He is the only man left in the
village who wears his hair after the old fashion; that on top of his
head in front was combed together and braided into a little tail, while
that on the sides and back of the head was made into a longer braid.
When we asked him how it was that he was not afraid to undergo our
measurement and photographing, we learned that someone had told him that
the purport of the work was to send information to the Pope in Rome as
to how his Otomi children looked, and from respect for the Holy Father
the old man of eighty years had walked in from his distant farm to be
measured and photographed.

A curious fact in respect to the Otomis resulted from our study. The
men, apparently of pure blood, presented two quite different types.
There are many who are as little as the women; these present almost the
type already given as that of the women, but are a little lighter in
color. The second type is tall, sometimes over 1,700 millimeters. It is
lighter in color, presenting at times a light brownish-yellow shade.
Some indians of this large type have white skins, blotched with
disagreeable red or purple. The eyes of these large men are usually
widely-spaced, and the face appears rounder than in their smaller
brethren. All the Otomis of both types, men and women, have
astonishingly big heads, and many dwarfish individuals would require a
7-1/4 hat.

[Illustration: THE CHURCH; HUIXQUILUCAN]

[Illustration: OTOMI INDIAN; HUIXQUILUCAN]

One night during our stay we had a grand illumination. It was St.
Martin's Eve. During the afternoon the men and boys planted dead trees
in the plaza and streets, and filled the branches with bunches of dry
brush. At dusk we walked up to the crest before the church. All through
the valley the men and boys had been busy, and as darkness settled down,
blaze after blaze sprung forth until every hillside was dotted with
flaming heaps. On every church and farm-house of large size, straight
lines of little bonfires were built along the edges of the roof. There
must have been many hundreds of fires in sight at once. Meanwhile,
all the churches of the little hamlets around clanged their bells
discordantly. Then the church close by us burst into illumination,
and its bells joined in the clangor as we started down the hill. The
villagers were putting torches to the piles, and children were dancing
in the glare, shooting off their little rockets and adding their full
share to the general confusion.

In the olden time Huixquilucan had a bad reputation for highway
robberies. A great hill overlooking the town is called the hill of
crosses, and here a cross by the wayside usually signifies a place of
murder. Many a traveller in the not distant past found his way from here
as best he could to the capital city minus burden and money, minus hat
and shoes, and sometimes minus clothing. They used to say that from
Toluca to the city a man was robbed three times; the first time they
took his money, the second his watch and valuables, the third, his
clothes. We were told that the church here, the chief church of our
Otomi friends, is called "the church of the thieves," and that it was
even lately a favorite resort of _ladrones_, who prayed for blessing
upon their thieving expeditions and for release in case they should
be taken captive. And not so long ago, among the little silver votive
offerings,--eyes, legs, arms, hands,--all given in fulfillment of
promises for the cure of ailing members,--one might see little chains
and manacles, visible evidence that saint or Virgin had kindly released
some fellow, taken in his misdeeds, from a well deserved punishment, in
answer to his pious prayers.

Below the station of Dos Rios a little ravine borders the main valley.
There, within sight of the track on one side of the ravine lies the
stone which long ago "fell from the moon." It is a great boulder, with
flat lower surface, and round upper surface, sufficiently large for a
considerable party to camp on. The earth is washed away somewhat from
below it, and on its under side are rude figures painted in imitation
of suns and circles and symbolic designs. It is said that the indians
throughout the country around respect this rock, making prayers and
offerings to it.

One of Huixquilucan's pretty hamlets is Agua Bendita,--blessed
water,--near the upper, narrowing end of the valley. A dozen or so
houses compose the settlement. Near it, upon a little side gorge, two
lovely springs burst forth from the rock. From them a babbling stream
of sparkling water flows, in which, in the bright sunshine, women wash
clothes, and lay them out on bushes or grassy banks to dry; little naked
children play about while the mothers labor; hither dusky maidens come
to perform their toilets; here women fill their _ollas_ with water; here
_pulque_-gatherers wash and scrape their skin bottles. In the little
tank below, where the water lies so clear that everything is
visible upon its bottom, one may see axolotls creeping. They are
water-salamanders, but they have a strange history. Like frogs, they
pass through a series of changes, and the larval is very different from
the adult form. In some Mexican lakes of genial temperature, the little
creature goes through its full history from the larva to the adult; but
in cold mountain lakes, the adult form is never attained, and the larva
(elsewhere immature) lays eggs that hatch its like.

Our last evening at Huixquilucan, I went out to purchase native
garments. We rode from house to house, and were quite away from the town
in a district where houses were few and far between. It was nearly dusk
and our search must end. We were at the last house on a slope near the
bottom of a valley, on whose opposite slope were but a few houses. The
people were primitive in appearance, dress and language. They could not
understand all we said, but were anxious to please the "_padrecito_,"
whose hand they kissed. Having no clothing to sell us, they tried to
help us procure some. Orders were given to a shy and wild girl, with
deep-set, shining jet-black eyes, raven hair and dark brown skin,
dressed in rags. Stepping to a little out-jutting mass of rock, she
gave a wild cry, looking across the valley to the nearest house on the
opposite slope, fully half a mile away. We could see the people of
the house turn out to hear. Then, in a high, clear voice, strangely
penetrating, but without harshness or a break or pause for breath,
with rising and falling intonation, she cried her message. There was a
moment's pause, and then we saw the answering crier take her place, and
in the same clear, penetrating, unbroken, up-and-down voice, came back
the reply. It was not favorable, and the old man apologized for the
failure, as he kissed the _padrecito's_ hand in parting.



Some weeks later we were again at Huixquilucan, this time to secure some
busts. Having reached the house of the _presidente_, we sent out our
drunken friend Augustin, who had been useful to us during our measuring
experiences, to find subjects. He finally appeared with a man who agreed
to submit to the operation for one _peso_. Everything went well until
the moulds were removed; it is true that in the removal a good deal of
hair was pulled out, but no serious damage was done. When the _peso_
agreed upon was offered, the subject indignantly refused to receive it,
demanding five. I replied that he well understood our agreement: there
was his _peso_; if he cared to take it, good; if not, I would keep it;
but that to pay five _pesos_ was out of the question. He thereupon
grew angry and boisterously demanded the increased sum. Several of his
friends gathered and backed him in his demand. The noise they made
attracted a still greater crowd until at last we were surrounded by
forty or fifty angry Indians. The man continued to demand his five
_pesos_, the other crying, "Pay him five _pesos_." I was firm, declaring
that the man should receive no more than had been promised. Again the
_peso_ was offered, again to be rejected. At that moment some brilliant
genius cried, "If you do not pay five _pesos_ we will break your
moulds." And the cry was caught up by the angry crowd: "Yes, we will
break the moulds unless you pay five _pesos_." At this threat I told my
two companions to stand back out of the way, and then, speaking to him
who had suggested the breaking of the moulds, said, pointing to them,
"Yes, break the moulds." His ardor cooled. Turning to another, I said
to him, "Come, break the moulds." He began to back away. Turning to the
cause of the disturbance, who had joined in the cry about destroying the
moulds, I said to him, "Come, come, we are waiting for you to break the
moulds." No one made a move toward destroying our plaster-work, so I
said, "No, you know quite well you will not break the moulds; if you
did, you know what would happen; I should take you all as prisoners to
Toluca." At that moment, catching sight of the old _presidente_ who was
passing on the road, I clapped my hands and beckoned him. When the old
man came I laid the matter fairly before him, telling him the agreement
that had been made, the time taken for the work, and the fact I had
offered the man the _peso_ promised; that he now demanded five _pesos_,
refusing to take the proffered money. The old man looked a moment at me,
then at the angry indian; then at me, and again at the indian; then,
stepping up to him, he patted him on the back as a father might a
spoiled child, saying, "Come, come, son; don't be a fool; three good
days' wages for an hour's time; take your _peso_ and be gone." We had
feared the incident would cast a damper on our work and hinder other
subjects. Far from it. We were supplied as rapidly as our men could work
at the same price we paid our first subject.



CHAPTER VI

LAKE PATZCUARO

(1897)


Mexico has few large lakes, the largest, Chapala, having an area of
only 1,685 square kilometers. Patzcuaro is much smaller, but far more
picturesque. The form is something like a fat horseshoe; fine hills rise
around it on all sides, behind which are mountain heights, with jagged
outlines; pretty islands dot its waters, and twenty-two villages or
towns of Tarascan indians are situated on its borders. The indians of
these villages rarely use the land roads in going from town to town,
commonly journeying by canoes, of a somewhat peculiar type. These are
"dug outs," made from single tree trunks, and range in size from those
intended for a single hunter to those which will carry ten or twelve
persons. At the stern they are cut almost squarely across; at the bow
they are trimmed to a slope; they are flat-bottomed and considerably
wider at the bottom than above; they are dug out in such fashion that
the walls are thin and almost vertical on the inner side. Buttressing
pieces are left at the bottom, at two or three places, extending across
the canoe and no doubt strengthening the sides; they also serve as
squatting places for the passengers. The prow narrows as well as slopes
upward, and a buttressing piece left in it serves as a foot-rest for the
steersman, who sits in the bow, instead of in the stern. He steers by
means of a long-handled paddle thrust through a loop of wood fastened
to one side of the canoe. The paddles used for propulsion have handles
three or four feet long, with round blades. The paddlers sometimes make
their stroke on but one side of the canoe, sometimes on both. When they
paddle over one side only, the stroke of the oar through the water is
oblique, maintaining a steady course.

[Illustration: SANTA FE DE LA LAGUNA]

In such canoes the Tarascans of the lake villages go from place to
place; in such a canoe, we started one morning before six o'clock, for
Santa Fe de la Laguna. Our force consisted of three persons, an old man
named Felipe, his wife, and a young man. All three had paddles, but only
two really paddled, the third one steering. The sun rose shortly after
we started, and the light effects of early morning on the water and
surrounding mountains were fine. Though we had made an early start, many
had started earlier, and in the first part of our journey we met scores
of canoes, the paddlers of which were on their way to Patzcuaro. It
was a beautiful sight to see six or eight paddlers in some great canoe
keeping exact time in their movements, singing as they went. Sometimes
two canoes were raced, and laughter and excited cries accompanied
the contest. Here and there along the shores we saw little huts of
fishermen, with nets hung out to dry, or groups of men seining or
dropping dip-nets; upon many slopes were little terrace garden spots,
where modest crops were cultivated; here and there were mats lately
finished or heaps of fresh-cut rushes for their fabrication. Five hours
of good paddling brought us to Santa Fe de la Laguna, just opposite the
far more famous Tzintzuntzan, and but a little distance from the much
larger town, Quiroga. Santa Fe is quite a town, stretching for a
considerable distance along a terrace, but little elevated above the
water level. The houses are built of rather large, dark-brown, adobe
bricks; the walls are usually white plastered; the roofs of all the
houses are tiled, and the supporting rafters of the roof extend out far
beyond the front wall of the house, so that the passer on the footpath
is sheltered against rain and the noonday sun. The outer ends of these
rafters are cut to give an ornamental effect. All the houses are
surrounded by fruit trees--orange, lemon, lime, _ahuacate_ and
_chirimoya_. Each little property is surrounded by a stone wall of some
height; the gate-way through this, giving entrance to the yard, is
surmounted by a pretty little double-pitched roofing of thatch.

A crowd of pure indians had gathered at the landing, by the time we were
unloaded. Forty or fifty men and women of medium stature, dark-brown
skin and broad, expressionless faces, watched our every movement with
curiosity, but none was ready to assist us in carrying our luggage to
the _curato_. Taking it ourselves, as best we could, we found a boy to
direct us and made our way to the house. The _cura_, had gone to Quiroga
and his suspicious household would not receive us until his return,
although permitting us to leave our goods. Going to the _plaza_, we
succeeded in getting bread and cheese at a _tienda_, and after eating
loitered until, at half-past-two, the Padre Ponce made his appearance.
We showed him our letters and asked his interest and aid. He at
once made us at home in his house, summoned the officials, read the
governor's letter aloud to them, and told them it was their duty to
assist us in every way. We at once began our work, and before nightfall
had measured and photographed a number of cases.

The next morning, Saturday, all started merrily. After breakfast,
however, Padre Ponce left us, going to Quiroga for celebrating
Christmas. The moment he was gone, work slackened, and it was with
difficulty that we could procure subjects. Early the next morning the
_padre_ appeared to say mass, after which he stirred up the people and
we were again at work. But as soon as he left for Quiroga, once more,
the interest diminished. Finally, as no one came and the officials had
disappeared, we started out upon a tour of investigation. We found the
whole town drunk; the _juez_, the chief of police, the _mayores_, all
were too drunk for measurement. We experimented upon two or three
subjects, but soon gave up in despair.

[Illustration: LOS VIEJOS; SANTA FE DE LA LAGUNA]

Padre Ponce need not have gone to Quiroga for Christmas celebrations; we
had them also. For example, we had _Los Viejos_. One afternoon, we saw a
band of half-a-dozen persons singing in the street. All but one of them
were men or boys dressed in long robes of brilliant red, purple or
green, which were buttoned down the front; their heads were covered with
white cloth, over which were fitted little masks of clay. The last one
in the company was a woman, dressed quite in the usual fashion, but
barefoot and with her _rebozo_ covering her face and a man's _sombrero_
on her head. Two of the party had guitars of local manufacture. This
company strolled through the streets, singing and dancing; some of the
dancing was clog-dance, some the _jarabe_, a man and woman taking part.
Having noticed this group, we saw that the whole town seemed in movement
toward the _corral_ connected with the shrine behind the church.
Following with the crowd, we found the _corral_ already filled with
people. The men were seated on benches or squatting against the walls;
women and children were sitting on the ground. We noticed that all the
women brought burdens, which proved to be pots full of hot _atole_,
bundles of large _tortillas_, trays heaped high with _tamales_, or sacks
full of little cups. Various bands of dancers made their way around,
delighting the crowd with their performances. The group we had already
seen was the least interesting. Those that really represented _los
viejos_ (the old men) were the best. These wore large, comic, wooden
masks, many of which showed signs of long-continued use; one represented
a long, warty, bearded face and was painted purple; others were painted
red or brown, but most of them were of the natural color of the wood;
great wigs of corn-husk or of matting were worn over the back of the
head; the clothing was ragged and dirty, and in some cases was really
of ancient style; some wore roughly made garments of the skin of the
_tigre_. Each band had its leader, and each tried to outdo the others in
the oddity of performance, vigor of dancing and coarseness of jest. Much
fun and laughter were caused by their antics. Meantime, boys and young
women were busied as waiters. Cups of steaming _atole_, delicious
_tortillas_, hot _tamales_ were distributed until everyone, including
the strangers, were supplied. No one ate until the whole company had
been served, when the town officials set the example and all fell to
feasting. Dancing, music, laughter and fun followed, and were kept up
until some time after nightfall.

On the second day after Christmas a strolling band of _pastores_, from
San Geronimo, passed from house to house singing their Christmas songs.
The company consisted of two or three musicians, a carrier--who was an
indian boy about fifteen years old--and half a dozen other youngsters,
wearing new palm hats and carrying long staves ending above in a loop
from which streamed strips of brilliantly colored tissue paper. The
carrier bore a cushion, upon which was stretched a figure of the infant
Christ. At each house, he passed before the spectators, allowing them
to kiss the figure and to deposit gifts of flowers or of money for the
little church at San Geronimo; the music then struck up, the leader
began to sing, and the little shepherds (_pastores_) marched around and
around singing in chorus.

We lost quite two days on account of the drunkenness of the town. When
it was past, by a vigorous indulgence in wheedling and threatening,
we got the work again under way, and were just finishing with our
one-hundredth man, when Padre Ponce returned for good and all. We had
nearly starved during his absence; his old housekeeper had done her best
with the poor materials which we were able to secure, but the best was
bad. With Padre Ponce came another priest, Padre Torres of Patzcuaro,
who used to be located at Santa Fe and was much loved by the natives.
With the assistance of the two Padres we were able to secure and deal
with our female subjects in less than a day, and were ready to bid adieu
to the _padrecitos_ and leave for Tzintzuntzan.

[Illustration: CHURCHYARD AND BELLS; TZINTZUNTZAN]

[Illustration: VIEW AT JANICHO; LAKE PATZCUARO]

All the tourist world that goes to Patzcuaro visits Tzintzuntzan to see
the Titian. Padre Ponce was anxious to have us see the famous picture
and photograph it. It was late when we reached the town, which consists
in large part of _mestizos_ and indians who speak little but native
Tarascan. We found the _cura_ was not in town, but were taken to the
_curato_; arrived there, we discovered that the good man had taken his
keys with him. We arranged, with some difficulty, for something to eat,
and, after supper, were shown into an open room, with an unfinished
roof, without a door, and with no hint of bed. Here we shared a lumber
pile with two or three young men and suffered frightfully from cold all
night. We were up early, as sleep was impossible, and filled our time as
best we could, until it was light enough to photograph the picture.

We had our letter from Padre Ponce to the _cura_, in which he
recommended the priest to have us photograph the painting. This letter
and the governor's letter we had shown the town officials the night
before, telling them that we should make the picture. They replied that
they could not give permission to do so during the _padre's_ absence.
After we had breakfasted, and the light had become sufficient, we made
our way to the old church, in front of which are some beautifully
gnarled and irregular ancient olive trees, amid which the old bells are
quaintly hung. Entering the church, we soon found the Titian, a descent
from the cross. The figures are boldly painted and skillfully grouped;
the action and lighting concentrate upon the figure of the Christ. Padre
Ponce had told us that the proper place from which to photograph was the
pulpit, and he was right. The sacristan was looking on with doubt: when
he saw us making preparations for the picture, he hurried to us and said
it was against all rule for anyone to take a photograph when the _cura_
was not present. We told him our time was short; that we must return
to Patzcuaro that day to arrange our farther journey; we showed the
governor's order and Padre Ponce's letter, but all in vain. We must wait
until the _cura_ came. With this I put some _centavos_ in his hand and
told him I was certain his duties called him outside the church and that
we would not detain him; that we should stay awhile to gaze upon
the picture, which deserved close and pious examination. He at once
withdrew, locking the door behind him. The instrument was quickly placed
in the pulpit and the picture taken. Curiously, the sacristal duties
ended just as we were ready to leave the church and the door opened as
if we had said "Open sesame."

By ten-thirty we had secured a canoe and boatmen, two young and vigorous
pure-blood indians. Though a wind was blowing squarely against us,
we made good time. We stopped at the picturesque fishing-village of
Janicho, on its rock island. Its houses cluster on a little terrace near
the bottom of the hill, which rises behind it as a fine background.
Steps of rock lead up the stony slope from the water's edge to the
houses. In every yard mattings are laid, upon which little white fish
are drying. As they walk through the streets or stand talking together,
the men are ever tatting at nets; long lines of net-cord are reeled out
for many yards along the wayside; hundreds of feet of seines are hung
out in the sun to dry. The houses, with their pretty red tiling, are
irregularly clustered along narrow winding streets. The people are
purely indian, and wear the characteristic dress.

[Illustration: TARASCAN FISHERMEN; JANICHO]

No town in all the region makes so much use of the _tsupakua_, or
spear-thrower, a wooden stick cut to fit the hand and support the shaft
of a spear or long dart, the end of which rests against a peg near the
tip of the thrower. By means of this instrument, the long, light, darts
of cane with iron points are thrown more directly and forcibly than by
the hand alone. These spears are used in hunting ducks. Anciently a
spear-throwing stick was widely used through Mexico; to-day it lingers
in few places, the best known of which is here on Lake Patzcuaro.



CHAPTER VII

TO URUAPAN BEFORE THE RAILROAD

(1898)


We easily arranged at Patzcuaro to leave for Uruapan the next morning.
Although delayed beyond our proposed hour of starting, we were off at
six. It was early enough, indeed, for the morning air was cold; heavy
frost coated the leaves and grass and lay upon the soil; in spite of our
heavy blankets, wrapped closely about us, we shivered as we rode along
upon our horses.

The ride, however, was a lovely one. At first we seemed to leave the
lake behind us; mounting for some time we reached a summit from which it
again broke upon our view; descending, we constantly caught glimpses
of it, with its sinuous shores, its lovely mountain backgrounds, its
islands, and its pretty indian towns. Finally, we again left it and rose
into a magnificent mountain region, covered chiefly with pines. Passing
through Ajuno, which lies upon a steep slope, we overtook a party of
police, mounted on horses, taking a group of prisoners to Uruapan.
At Escondidas, itself a miserable village, we were impressed by the
mercantile spirit of these indians. In all these villages the houses are
constructed of heavy logs or timbers, closely and neatly joined; the
roofs are shingled with long and narrow shingles, and are abruptly
four-sloped. At every house there was something for sale--food, drink,
or _cigarros_. All these houses were built close to the edge of the
road, and in the middle of the front was a little square window, in
which the goods were shown. When no trade was solicited, these windows
were closed with solid wooden shutters. Not only, however, was every
house a store, but on the highway between towns, we passed many places
where, beneath brush shelters, women offered fruit, food, or drink for
sale. Usually several such shelters would be near together, and the
venders had gay times, chatting, laughing and singing. Such houses and
roadside-selling are common through the whole Tarascan region.

[Illustration: TARASCAN WOMEN; JANICHO]

Soon after passing Escondidas, we began a descent, which seemed
absolutely endless. Time after time we thought we had reached the
bottom, only to find that we were on a terrace from which another
drop led us still further down. On and on into this bottomless pit we
descended to Ziracuaretaro, a striking town. Banana plantings surrounded
the houses; orange-trees covered with their golden spheres reared
themselves to the unusual height of thirty feet or more; _maméys_, with
their strange nut-brown fruits, and coffee-trees, loaded to breaking,
were abundant. Amid this luxuriant mass of tropical vegetation,
houses were almost invisible until we were directly in front of them.
Notwithstanding the enormous descent we had made, it appeared to us,
when we crossed the stream and began the ascent, that we had not really
been to the bottom of the great valley. For a long distance we mounted
through a district of sugar-canes; then passed a little settlement
of rude huts spread out over a reddish space; then, by a gentle but
circuitous ascent, to a rugged trail which brought us to the summit
and the edge of the great slope to Uruapan. At the further side of the
valley and to our left, in a mass of green, we saw smoke rising from the
factories of Uruapan. Crossing one of the characteristic bridges of the
district, with a pretty shingled roof--four-sloped like those of the
houses--over it, and with benches at the sides, where passers can
sit and rest, while looking at the dashing, gurgling, foaming, water
below,--we followed a level road between blackberries, wild roses, and
other shrubs, to Uruapan.

No town in Mexico is more beautiful. Perpetual spring reigns. Although
several thousand feet above sea level, it is so situated, with reference
to mountain slopes and funnel valleys, that it has a genial climate,
where plants nourish which are usually found only at lower altitudes.
Its fruits and "the finest coffee in the world" have rendered the town
long famous. The houses, bowered in dense groves of green, are of the
picturesque Tarascan type. The four-sloped roofs, now covered with long,
narrow shingles, now with the dull red tiles, suggest the prettiest
pictures in Japanese towns. The streets are clean. Through the centre
of the town dashes a mountain stream of clearest water, with the hue of
sapphire. This pretty stream furnishes power for mills, factories and
lighting-plant, and is crossed several times by picturesque, roofed
bridges, in the shelter of which one may spend hours in watching the
dashing water, foaming cascades, curious potholes worn in the rocky
banks, and the passing Indians. Most Mexican towns are contented with
one _plaza_; this one has three, following each other closely, separated
only by single lines of narrow buildings. They are neatly planted, and
supplied with bandstand and monuments. The town is electric-lighted and
several hotels had been lately put in readiness to receive the crowd of
visitors expected with the completion of the railroad, a matter of a few
months later.

The _prefecto_ of Uruapan and _jefe politico_ of the district is the
son-in-law of Governor Mercado, and to him we bore a special letter from
his father-in-law. The old gentleman had been insistent that we should
return by Capacuaro and Cheran, indian towns. He said that at the former
we should find a _mogote_ (mound or heap of stones and dirt) which every
traveler should see, while at the latter Lumholtz had secured some
skulls of exceptional interest, and that we should do the same. As our
time was short, we asked the _prefecto_ to send a messenger to Cheran
with orders to dig some skulls and have them ready against the time of
our arrival. That official expressed delight in doing our bidding, and
we saw the messenger summoned and the order placed in his hands, with
full direction as to its delivery.

[Illustration: INDIAN SPEAR-THROWER; LAKE PATZCUARO]

Meantime, there were objects of interest for us in Uruapan itself. The
town is famous for its lacquer work, made with _aje_, like that of
Chiapa. Gourds are ornamented, fruit-forms are colored after nature,
bowls made from fruit shells are elaborately decorated, all quite like
the Chiapa work. What is characteristic of Uruapan are the placques and
table-tops of wood, decorated with floral designs in brilliant colors,
upon a background of dark-green, pink, blue, yellow, or black. This art
is in the hands of a few persons, some pure indians. Visiting them, we
found the wooden placques and table-tops are brought from one of the
mountain villages of the Tarascans; they are first covered thickly with
the background color; upon this the pattern is pencilled and then cut
out in the lacquered surface; the color, mixed with oil and _aje_, as
with other substances, is then applied with the finger-tips to fill the
cut patterns; the lustre is then brought out by careful rubbing. The
work is striking, and is prized throughout the Republic.

In the same quarter of the town, where this local industry is carried
on, are many goitrous persons. The disease seems to be confined to the
one district, but there perhaps one-half the people have it, most of
them to but a slight degree. Occasionally the swelling is notable, and
in the families affected we find, as usual, deaf-mutism.

On the morning of New Year's day, we left for Capacuaro and Cheran. As
we rode out from the city, we were more than ever impressed with
its verdant beauty and picturesqueness. The road to Capacuaro was
unexpectedly level and good, and we reached the town, which is purely
indian, by nine o'clock. Women, almost without exception, wore the
native dress. Goitres were common, and some, among the men, were really
enormous. Riding through the long town, we drew up before the house
of the _jefe de policia_ (chief of police), and summoned the village
officials. On their appearance we found that all but the _jefe_ himself,
were drunk, the _secretario_ in particular being almost useless. When we
handed him the letter from the _prefecto_ he was quite unable to make
aught of its grandiloquence. Having looked it through in a dazed way, he
declared that we were "gringos," "like the one who was here last year"
(presumably Lumholtz). With some severity, I told him he did wrong to
call visitors to the town by the opprobrious name of _gringos_, and
ordered him to read the letter and make known its contents to the
_jefe_. He made another effort and then helplessly said--"Who can make
anything of such a letter? It is in their _idioma_." Sternly pointing to
the signature I said--"The letter is from your _prefecto_ and written
in his _idioma_; you see the _firma_." Helplessly shaking his head, he
said, "Oh, yes, the _firma_ is that of Silvano Martinez, but the letter
is in your _idioma_." Seeing that he was of no earthly use, I took the
letter from him, and, turning to the crowd which had gathered, rebuked
them for their drunkenness, asserting that it was disgraceful for a
whole town government to be intoxicated at the same time; that some one
ought always to be sober enough to attend to business; that we had been
insulted by being called _gringos_, and that our order had not been read
to them because the _secretario_ was too drunk to do his business; that
there were two ways of dealing with such town governments, and that,
unless something was done promptly, we would see how they would like
to go back with us to Uruapan, whence we had come. The _jefe_, who was
really not drunk, thereupon begged to know what we desired, and the
drunken _secretario_ was somewhat frightened; the remainder of the
official body expressed a wish to do only what we wanted. I then read
the _prefecto's_ letter in my best manner and added that we had come to
Capacuaro only at the desire of the governor himself, to visit their
_mogote_, and that we ought to wait no longer for guidance. At once all
was commotion and bustle. Bidding the disgraced _secretario_ go to his
house and stay there, the _jefe de policia_ summoned the rest of his
company about him, seized his staff of office, buckled on his great
_machete_, and took the lead; three policemen, with their _machetes_,
followed; two others, unarmed, followed, and, with this escort, we
started to hunt our ruins on the mountain. They proved to be two heaps
of rubbish, from constructions of stone. Had we had time for serious
investigation they might have proved of interest; as it was, we spent
but a few minutes in their inspection, and then, bidding our drunken
escort good-bye, we continued our journey. We had planned to go first to
Nehuatzen, thence to Parracho, and, after visiting Cheran, back again to
Nehuatzen. At the _mogote_, however, we were already near the Parracho
highway and at once struck into it. Our journey led through forests,
chiefly of pine, with open glades, at intervals; on many of the trees
we saw great bunches of a parasite that bore honeysuckle-like, yellow
flowers. Parracho we found lying at the base of mountains at the very
end of a long stretch of level. It is an unattractive town, our only
reason for visiting which was to see something of the manufacture of its
famous _rebozos_, which differ from others in the wide border of white
and azure blue silk, which is attached to a netted foundation to form
decorative patterns, representing birds and animals, or geometric
figures. The work is curious, and I am inclined to see in it a surviving
imitation of the ancient feather-work for which the ancient Tarascans
were famous. From Parracho our road led through Aranza to Cheran. Just
beyond Aranza we passed over the astonishing wash from some summer
torrent. During the wet season a single rain may fill the gorges, sheet
the mountain slopes with water, tear great trees from their hold, break
off mighty rock fragments and carry them onward, like wooden blocks,
with hundreds of tons of finer gravel. At this season there was not a
sign of water; not a trickling thread was visible in any of the gorges;
but from their now dried mouths there spread fan-shaped deposits many
rods in length and breadth, containing quantities of blocks of rock that
measured from four to ten feet in diameter, trunks of trees up to
two feet in thickness, all in the greatest confusion and at places
completely covering our road to a depth of several feet. We could trace
the tailing out of the fans of deposit, from their thicker, heavier part
at the base of the torrent, to their margin on the plain; from heavy
rock masses weighing tons, through smaller masses, into sand and gravel.

[Illustration: HOUSES AT URUAPAN]

The way to Cheran seemed endless, but at last we reached that
interesting, great indian town, when the afternoon was nearly spent.
It was the New Year, and the street celebration of _los negritos_ (the
negroes--or the little negroes) was in progress. As we rode through the
streets, however, we attracted much attention and the performance was
neglected. We rode directly to the town-house, entered and asked for the
_presidente_. He was slow in appearing and long before he arrived scores
of people were crowding around the doors and windows to see us and know
our business. When he arrived, we greeted him in a most friendly way and
told him that we had come for the skulls. He looked aghast. "The skulls,
what skulls, sir?" "The skulls the _prefecto_ ordered you to dig for
us." By this time, the crowd outside, which had increased with every
minute, showed uneasiness. The _presidente_ declared he knew nothing of
any skulls. After we had explained the matter more fully, he assured us
that no messenger had come from the _prefecto_; this, which at first we
thought to be a lie, was no doubt true. He was plainly scared. He begged
us to be careful lest the people, who were ignorant, should overhear us.
He told us that a year before Don Carlos (Lumholtz) had been there; that
he, too, had wanted skulls, and that the town officials had given him
permission to dig some from the graveyard; that this caused so much
excitement and so many threats that the permission had to be revoked. He
feared the people had already heard our wishes and were even then in an
ugly mood--a thing which seemed likely from an inspection of the faces
in the doorway and windows. He said, however, that Don Carlos afterward
secured some skulls from an ancient burial-place not distant from the
village, and, if we pleased to wait in Cheran through the morrow, as it
was now too late, five in the evening, to do aught, he would gladly show
us the burial place of the ancients, where no doubt abundant skulls
could be secured. Not yet certain that the man was telling truth, we
spoke to him severely, saying that we should report him to the governor
for not having obeyed the order of the _prefecto_. At the same time we
demanded an official document signed by himself as _presidente_, and by
the _secretario_, and duly sealed, stating that no messenger had come
to him from the _prefecto_. To our surprise this document was promptly
furnished, good evidence that the _prefecto_ had played us false, only
pretending to despatch the messenger whom we had seen started.

With profuse apologies and expressions of regret from the officials, we
left Cheran, hurrying on to Nehuatzen for the night. Our chief reason
for doing so was that everyone who knew of our intention to visit Cheran
had shaken their heads, remarking "Ah! there the nights are always
cold." Certainly, if it is colder there than at Nehuatzen, we would
prefer the frigid zone outright. Nehuatzen is famous as the town where
the canoes for Lake Patzcuaro are made. We had difficulty in securing
food and a place to sleep. The room in which we were expected to slumber
was hung with an extensive wardrobe of female garments. These we added
to the blankets we carried with us, but suffered all night long from the
penetrating cold. The two indian boys, who accompanied us as guides and
carriers, slept in the corridor outside our door and when day broke
they were so cramped and numbed and stiff with cold, that they lighted
matches and thrust their cold hands into the flames, before they could
move their finger-joints. We had planned to leave at five, but it was
too cold to ride until the sun should be an hour high, so finally
we left at seven. There was heavy frost on everything; curved frost
crystals protruded from the soil, and we broke ice a half inch thick in
water-troughs, unfinished canoes, by the roadside.

For ten hours we rode, without even stopping for lunch, through Sabina
and Pichataro, San Juan Tumbio and Ajuno, back to comfortable Patzcuaro.



CHAPTER VIII

TLAXCALA

(1898)


We have always loved the State of Tlaxcala and its quaint little capital
city of the same name. For more than a dozen years its governor has been
Prospero Cahuantzi, a pure-blood indian, whose native language is Aztec.
He is a large, well built man, with full face and little black eyes that
are sunken deeply into the flesh. He is a man of some force and energy.
The population of his little state, the most densely populated in the
Republic, is almost entirely indian, and it at once fears, hates, and
respects him. Having made several previous visits to the city, and
having always been graciously received by Don Prospero, we thought it
hardly necessary to carry with us our usual letters of recommendation
from the Federal authorities.

Just before we were ready to visit Tlaxcala, while we were in the City
of Mexico, we learned that Governor Cahuantzi was there, on business.
We thought it best to call upon him, explaining our proposed work and
asking his interest. So to the Hotel Sanz, where he always stops when in
the Capital, we went. We called twice without finding him and our third
call appeared to be as unsuccessful, but just as we were leaving,
resolved not to try again, we met the governor alighting from his
carriage at the door. Intercepting him, we asked a moment's interview,
which was granted, though with ill grace. It was plain that he was sadly
out of humor. Apologizing to him for our intrusion at so late an hour
and so immediately after his return to his hotel, we told him of our
projected visit, described the measurements, photographs and other data
we were gathering, reminding him that two years earlier he had heard our
plans and promised his assistance. In a somewhat gentler mood, he told
us we might visit Tlaxcala and that he would aid us, but he must have a
little time "for preparing the soil;" that all his people were indians,
and that our work would necessarily be considered with suspicion. Upon
our asking him how much time would be needed "to prepare the soil," we
received no definite reply. He, himself, planned to leave for home the
following morning, Friday; so we suggested that we would go first to
Puebla, and reach his capital on Monday. He plainly considered this
somewhat hasty, but grunted his assent, and we left him, somewhat
surprised at his unusual gruffness and lack of interest.

Early Monday morning, we appeared upon the scene. After breakfast we
betook ourselves to the state palace; the governor was already in
his reception room, but, instead of being ushered promptly into his
presence, as had always happened in our previous visits, we were left
to sit two hours in the outer office. Finally, on our displaying some
impatience, a message was again taken to his Excellency, and a few
minutes later, the _jefe politico_ of the district bustled past us into
the carefully guarded reception chamber. He did not long remain there,
and, on coming out into the office where we were waiting, brusquely
asked, "Are you the persons who want to measure heads? Well, they are
waiting for you out there in the corridor; why don't you go to work?"
Seizing our instruments, blanks and camera, we hurried to the corridor
and began operations. Three or four were measured in quick succession;
then, when I cried, "_Otro_" (another), the _jefe's_ eyes began
to bulge. That one measured, and another called for, he seemed
half-distracted; desperation seized him; as he faintly repeated "_Otro_"
he looked wildly around in search of subjects and it was plain that
he had not begun to realize what demands we planned to make upon him.
Before the noonday rest, we had measured fourteen subjects, but the
_jefe's_ personal interest had ceased, and he had completely disappeared
from the scene of action. When we returned at three o'clock to resume
work, only the guards were there to help us. One and another subject,
invited to be measured, showed no interest in advancing science. So, Mr.
Wilson went to see the _jefe_ in his office; the old man was furious and
actually ran out, with the statement that he had plenty of his own work
to do. When this scene had been reported, it in no wise increased the
readiness of subjects to undergo the operation. Finding that we were
accomplishing nothing, we decided upon desperate measures. Going to the
office of the governor's private secretary, we insisted on his telling
the chief executive that we were losing time, that no one was assisting
us, that subjects were obdurate and stubborn, and that something must
be promptly done. We waited but a few minutes. The fiat went forth; the
_jefe politico_ appeared, puffing and blowing, and wildly excited. He
was closeted a moment with the governor. On his reappearance, we greeted
him cordially, and told him that the people present would not be
measured and indicated one particularly stubborn subject, who was dealt
with, promptly, and without gloves. The _jefe_ remained long enough to
reestablish order, though, under his breath, he muttered curses and
threats, and expressed his feeling to any official, who chanced to pass.
He said the business was driving him clean crazy; that he was doing what
he did, not for love of us, but from respect to the orders of his chief.
Having set the ball to rolling, he left us and there were no more
delays.

When the labor of the day was over, we stopped at the _jefe's_ office
to inform him that we should continue work the following day, and
emphasized the fact that we wished one hundred cases, and, as yet, had
less than half that number. We suggested that systematic arrangements
would not only facilitate _our_ labor, but would lessen his own task.
The result was evident; on the following day delegations, ordered by the
_jefe_, and consisting of from six to a dozen persons each, began to
come in from the outlying villages. This made our work easy, indeed. In
one respect, Tlaxcala differs from all the other Mexican states with
which we are acquainted. Most of the people live in very little towns,
which cluster around the larger places. Thus, around the capital city,
Tlaxcala, there are some seventeen of these small pueblos.

Working at the palace, we had secured almost no women for measurement.
Asking the advice of the _cura_, in the matter, he recommended that we
should go to some one of the neighboring indian villages; that he would
give us a letter to the _juez_ and that, thus, we would secure our
subjects easily. He suggested San Estevan and wrote the promised letter
to the _juez_ of that village. San Estevan is a pretty village, near the
summit of some low gray hills of tufa, behind which rises a background
of higher hills of the same material. The slope is terraced for the
houses, which are all built of adobe bricks and have flat roofs. The
"three part house," of the ancient Aztec type--god-house, kitchen, and
granary--is better shown in this state than almost any other part of the
Republic. The granary, or _cuezcomate_, is particularly characteristic.
It is built of clay, in the form of a great vase or urn, open at the
top, above which is built a little thatch to shed rain and to protect
the contents. The _cuezcomate_ is often ten feet high. One or more of
them is found in connection with every house.

[Illustration: HOUSE AND CUEZCOMATE; LOS REYES]

The _juez_ lived in a comfortable house of two rooms, half of which is
used at present for the boy's school, of which his son is teacher. He
received us graciously, and was pleased to receive a letter from the
_padre_, though he stated it was not a government order and carried no
actual authority; that if the women cared to be measured, well and good,
but if not, no force could be employed. The appearance of the camera,
however, interested him; plainly, he desired to have a family group
photographed; he hinted at this so broadly that, taking him to one side,
I whispered that it was, of course, impossible to take family groups
for everyone, but if we secured the twenty-five women without delay,
notwithstanding the fact that we had no more authoritative document than
a _cura's_ letter, the group should be taken. The effect was immediate.
The police were summoned and sent through the village to bring in women
for measurement and naught was said about their right of refusal.

When, toward evening, we returned from San Estevan, tired but quite
satisfied with the day's work, we found a delegation of more than a
dozen men waiting for us in the _plaza_. We did not need so large a
number to complete our work, and it was nearly dark; we would gladly
have dismissed them and run our chances of securing others the next
day. But neither they nor the _jefe politico_ were to be bluffed. So we
marched into the corridor, lighted candles and got to work. When those
lacking to make our full hundred had been measured, we proposed to let
the others go, but they were not to be thus got rid of, and insisted
on being measured as such were the orders of the governor. We were not
through until long after dark, and we were ravenously hungry.

This delegation was one of the most attractive, clean, and intelligent
with whom we had dealt. It was from Los Reyes, a little town at a
distance of about half a league. It was headed by the village _juez_.
After we had completed the measuring, they stood, shifting their
_sombreros_ from hand to hand and plainly wishing to say something
further; finally, mustering courage, the _juez_ and _secretario_
advanced and stated that it was the town's desire to have a picture
taken of the church, with the saint and people of the village before
the door. Would it be possible for us to make the picture and on what
conditions? We replied that time was precious and that the trip, if it
involved a loss of time, was quite impossible; but if they supplied
carriers to take the instruments to and from their village, and had all
ready before seven in the morning, we would make it. Delighted, the
officials then inquired what we would wish for breakfast; we answered
French bread and red wine. When we looked out of our window, a little
before seven, we saw our party ready and waiting. The _juez_, the
_secretario_, and two others made the company. A basket, carefully
carried by one, was suspected to contain our breakfast. The burdens were
shouldered, and we started out in the cool, fresh morning air, for the
village, where we arrived in about half an hour. It is a town of less
than one hundred people, situated upon a little mountain, hidden, to one
looking from Tlaxcala, by intervening hills. We were received in the
town-house, which is a portion of the old church building; mass was in
progress, and we told those who received us, that we had no wish to
interfere with their religious duties; that those who wished, might go
to service. Most went, but two or three were left as a committee of
entertainment. They took us to a view-point from which there was a
magnificent valley to be seen. And, here, we found one of the finest
echoes possible. Rockets were exploded and the noise was echoed
from hill to hill around the great amphitheatre; it was like a long
reverberation of thunder, but it sank and swelled, sank and swelled,
repeatedly, until it seemed that it would never stop. Service over, the
procession formed, and the _santito_ was brought out before the church.
The townspeople were arranged and the view taken. We were then invited
in to breakfast, which was fine. There were plenty of French rolls and
the red wine brought from town, and a great heap of _enchiladas_, fresh
lettuce and eggs. After eating, we expressed a wish to hear the village
drum, a great _huehuetl_. This musical instrument is a reminder of the
olden times; it is not found everywhere, but a number of indian towns
possess one, which is kept to be played on festal occasions. The one as
Los Reyes was some three feet or so in height, a hollow cylinder of wood
with a membrane stretched across the upper end; it was painted blue.
A chair of state was placed for me in the little _patio_. After I was
seated the three musicians took their places,--one played the great
_huehuetl_, a second beat the _tambour_ or ordinary drum, the third
performed upon the _chirimiya_, a shrill wooden pipe. It was the first
time we had really heard a _huehuetl_. The player used two sticks with
padded heads, beating with great force in excellent time. The booming of
the instruments was audible to a great distance. The whole village had
gathered, and in a momentary lull in the music, I told the people of the
ancient use of the _huehuetl_; that Bernal Diaz, in his history of the
Conquest of Mexico, tells us what feelings filled the hearts of the
Spaniards, when they heard the great _huehuetl_, in the temple of the
ancient city of Tenochtitlan; then it was chiefly beaten when human
victims were being sacrificed to the gods, and the soldiers knew that
some fellow-countryman, or a Tlaxcalan ally, was dying. Never have I
given a public lecture, that was listened to with more attention or
greater appreciation.

[Illustration: THE VILLAGE AND ITS SAINT; LOS REYES]

[Illustration: CUEZCOMATE, OR GRANARY; SAN NICOLAS PANOTLA]

The day we measured women at San Estevan, we found an indian mason
there at work, whom we had measured at Tlaxcala, and with whom, on one
occasion, we had some conversation. He was disgusted at the conduct of
the women while undergoing measurement, and at evening said, "Sir, it is
a pity for you to waste your time in a town like this; these people are
little better than animals; in my town there is great enthusiasm over
your work, and by going there you might do your will and find people
with minds, not beasts." There was really no work left to be done, but
we desired to see a town where there was great enthusiasm over our
investigations. Hence, we arranged with Ignacio Cempoalteca to visit his
pueblo of San Nicolas Panotla. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the day
when we visited Los Reyes, we went across the valley to Panotla, Ignacio
and an older brother, Jose, met us at the hotel, where--excusing
himself on account of the mason-work at San Estevan, which could not
wait--Ignacio left us, assuring us that Jose would do everything for us.
This was quite true, and we found Panotla all that it had been painted.

Jose led us directly to their home. The walls were well built of stone
set in adobe mortar; they were smoothly coated with a snowy plaster; the
supporting walls of the little terrace on which the house was built were
also well constructed and it was with some pride that Jose told us that
the work had all been done by himself and Ignacio. Jose is married and
has a wife and three children; Ignacio is a bachelor; a younger
brother, Carmen, is also unmarried--he has taught himself free-hand and
architectural drawing and showed us examples of his work. The old father
and mother own the home and received us hospitably. Jose guided us
through the village, where we photographed whatever took our fancy,
entered houses, examined all that interested us, and really found
enthusiasm for our work everywhere. Before the churchyard stands a
quaint old cross of stone, dated 1728, upon which are represented all
the symbols of Christ's passion; a long inscription in Aztec is cut into
the base. Close by the church, we visited the boy's school, where
we found some forty dark-skinned, black-eyed, youngsters, whose
mother-speech is Aztec. We proposed to photograph them, so they were
grouped outside the schoolhouse, but not until a pair of national flags
and the portrait of the governor, Prospero Cahuantzi, were fixed upon
the background wall.

[Illustration: THE ANCIENT DRUM--HUEHUETL; LOS REYES]

[Illustration: FIESTA AT CHOLULA; DAY OF SAN ANTONIO ABAD]

After the picture had been taken, we told the _maestro_ we would like
to hear the boys sing. It was plain he did not consider singing their
strong forte, but our wishes were met. One boy, standing, wielded the
baton, beating time. When the singing was done with, the _maestro_
said he would like us to see the class in arithmetic, if we had time.
Accordingly fourteen or fifteen boys, from ten to fourteen years of
age, stepped out upon the dirt floor; we were told that they could
work examples in percentage, interest, bonds and mortgages, discount,
alligation--which did we prefer? Truth to say, it was so long since we
had studied alligation, that we had really forgotten what it was, and
so expressed a preference for it. "Very good, sir," said the _maestro_.
"Will you not propound a problem?" From this quandary we escaped
by stating that we could not think of doing so; that we had every
confidence in his fairness and that he had better give it, as the boys
were more accustomed to him. We have visited many classes of the same
grade and age in the United States and have never seen one that would
surpass them in quickness, accuracy, and clearness of explanation. After
our trip through San Nicolas Panotla, Jose took us back to his house,
where, meantime, a, dinner had been made ready.



Weeks later, we learned the probable reason of the governor's gruffness,
which was in such marked contrast to his previous treatment, that it
puzzled us considerably. At about the time of our visit, a number of
wealthy _hacienderos,_ of the State of Tlaxcala, had been arrested for
counterfeiting silver money. They were men whose _maguéy_ fields brought
them enormous incomes; one would suppose their legitimate sources of
wealth would have contented them! But such was not the case, and they
had gone into wholesale counterfeiting. The fraudulent coin had long
been known and diligent efforts were made to find the criminals, efforts
at last crowned with success. The guilt was fixed without a doubt, the
parties were arrested, tried, and sentenced. Every attempt was made to
secure their pardon, in vain. Governor Cahuantzi is an old friend of
President Diaz, believed to have great influence with him. Men of
wealth, interested in the release and pardon of the criminals, promised
Cahuantzi ten thousand dollars in case of his successful intercession
with the President in the matter. These details, not generally known, we
received from a source respectable and trustworthy, and we believe them
true. Anxious to gain the reward, and probably feeling certain of his
influence with Diaz, the old man made the journey to Mexico. It was the
very time when we called upon him. When we had our interview, he had
just seen the President, and it is hinted that, not only did Don
Porfirio refuse to pardon the counterfeiters, but showed a dangerous
inclination to investigate the reason of the indian governor's
intervention. No wonder that the old man was gruff and surly to his
visitors, after the loss of ten thousand dollars which he had looked
upon as certain, and with uncertainty as to the final outcome of his
unlucky business.

[Illustration: TLAXCALAN SCHOOLBOYS; SAN NICOLAS PANOTLA]



CHAPTER IX

ZAMORA AND THE ONCE PUEBLOS

(1898)


The morning train from Guadalajara brought us to Negrete at about two
in the afternoon, and we had soon mounted to the top of the clumsy old
coach, which was dragged by six horses. The road to Zamora runs through
a rich farming district. For the greater part of the distance the road
is level and passes amidst great _haciendas_. The corn crop had been
abundant and carts were constantly coming and going from and to the
fields. These carts were rectangular, with side walls some four or five
feet in height, made of corn-stalks set close together and upright.
All were drawn by oxen. Most of the carts had a light cross, made of
corn-stalks, set at the front end, to protect the load from adverse
influences. Great numbers of men, dressed in leather trousers drawn over
their cotton drawers, in single file lined past us, with great
baskets full of corn strapped on their backs. Here and there, in the
corn-fields, groups of such men were cutting the ripened ears from the
plants.

We now and then met groups of men bringing great timbers from the
mountains fifty or sixty miles away. These timbers were many feet in
length and trimmed to a foot square; from four to six made a load. The
cart upon which they were carried consisted of a pair of wheels and an
axle; one end of the timbers was attached to this, and the other was
fastened to the yoke of oxen. It was rare that we met with a single
timber cart, as four or five usually went together. The drivers who were
in charge of them were pure Tarascans.

For a considerable distance a fine slope rose to our left, strewn
with loose rock masses, and covered with a growth which was chiefly
_pitahaya_, some of the plants attaining the size of grown trees. Many
of them presented an appearance which we had not seen elsewhere--the
tips and upper part of the upright branches being as white as if
intentionally whitewashed; the simple explanation of this strange
appearance was that the branches in question had served as buzzards'
roosts. Our journey of twenty-five miles was made with two relays of
horses. After perhaps three hours' riding, we reached the Zamora River,
which we followed for some distance. From the time when we began to
follow this stream, our road was almost a dead level. At many places
along the river, we saw a peculiar style of irrigation machine, a great
wooden scoop or spoon with long handle swung between supporting poles.
The instrument was worked by a single man and scooped up water from the
river, throwing it upon the higher land and into canals which carried it
through the fields. Sometimes two of these scoops were supported side by
side upon a single frame, and were worked in unison by two persons. At
the only town of any consequence upon the road, we found numbers of
interesting hot springs which might really be called geysers. They were
scattered at intervals over the flat mud plain for a distance of a half
mile or more. We could see jets of steam of more or less vigor rising
from a score or so at a time. At some of these the water really boiled,
and we saw it bubbling and tossing to a height of a foot or so above the
margin of the spring. Groups of women, laughing and talking or singing
snatches of songs, were washing clothes at several of these hot springs,
and the garments were spread out over the bushes and trees to dry. At
one little geyser, bubbling up in the very middle of the road, as we
passed we saw a boy pelting the water with stones and mud in order to
make it mad and see it spout. The plain was sprinkled here and there
with thickets of acacia and mesquite. In the early evening the breeze
came loaded with the fragrance of the golden balls of the acacia. There
was bright moonlight, and we could see the country, even after sunset.
The latter portion of the journey was through low swampy ground, much of
the time over causeways.

There are few towns in central Mexico, not on a railroad, to be compared
with Zamora. It is large, clean, well built, and presents an air of
unusual comfort. The main _plaza_ is large, and finely planted with
palms, orange-trees, roses and flowering shrubs. The orange-trees
were in full bloom and the air was heavy with their odor. The town is
electric-lighted and has a good system of waterworks. The great church,
with two slender towers, fills up the whole of one side of the _plaza_,
while the other three are occupied with business houses. The amount of
life in the town at night surprised us. Even after ten o'clock, many
were on the streets, and the _dulce_ stands, _cafe_ tables and _loto_
hall were doing a large business. Few towns in Mexico are so completely
under priestly influence, but few again appear as prosperous,
progressive, and well-behaved. Two distinct types of houses
predominate, the older and the newer. The old style house is such as
is characteristic of many other Tarascan towns, but is here more
picturesquely developed than in most places. The low-sloped,
heavily-tiled roof projects far over the street and is supported below
by projecting timbers, which are trimmed at the end to give a pleasing
finish. So far do these roofs project over the sidewalk that the water
is thrown into the middle of the street and the footpath below is well
sheltered. The new style of house, which is required by the recent laws,
has an almost flat roof which ends squarely at the sidewalk, and from
which long tin pipes project to throw the water into the streets. Here,
as so frequently, the old fashion is at once more comfortable and more
artistic.

We spent the morning in efforts to secure horses, but finally secured a
man, Don Nabor, who agreed to accompany us with five animals. The party
consisted of myself, my interpreter, my plaster-worker, and Don Nabor.
Each of us was mounted, and a fifth horse carried the plaster and other
luggage. Leaving at noon, we took the long road past Jacona, a little
town famous for its fruit. Having passed there, after a long journey, we
looked down from the height almost directly upon the place whence we
had started. The scene was of unusual beauty--the wide-spreading, flat
valley, with its fields of wheat and clustered trees, presented a mass
of rich green coloring, in the midst of which stood the pretty
city. After a long climb, we descended into a valley in which lies
Tangancicuaro, a large town with a _plaza_ full of fine, great trees,
where we ate at a quaint little _meson_. From here we pushed on to
Chilchota, the head town of the Once Pueblos. From the crest, just above
the town, we looked down upon a level valley, green with new wheat.
Entering the town a little after five, we rode up to the _meson_ of
San Francisco, near the little _plaza_. It was with difficulty that we
secured a room containing a single bed, with mattress, and two mats.
There was nothing at all to eat at the _meson_, but on strolling out to
the _plaza_ we found some Indian women selling _atole_ and bread.
With this we were compelled to be content until morning, paying seven
_centavos_ for our four suppers. Hunting up the _presidente_ of the
town, we found him sitting, with his court, on benches in the _plaza_.
He was a pleasant, rather dressy young man, but at once took interest in
our work, and told us that Huancito was the best town for our bust work,
as the population there is primitive and purely indian.

The Once Pueblos--eleven towns--are famous through this portion of
the Republic. Several of them are purely indian; Chilchota is largely
_mestizo_. The towns lie in a long line on the side of the little
valley, at the foot of the bordering hills. Between some, spaces of
considerable extent intervene; others are so close together that, in
riding through them, one sees no line of separation. All consist of
adobe houses, of a rich brown color, roofed with tiles. Some of the
churches are of considerable size, but are also built of brown adobe.
The Once Pueblos are famous for their pottery, and in some of them
almost every house has its little kiln or oven. Fruit is cultivated,
and the houses are frequently embowered in trees; in many yards are
bee-hives. The valley is abundantly watered with little streams of
perfect clearness.

The _presidente_ had insisted that the school teacher at Huancito would
prove invaluable. He gave us a letter of introduction to him, and an
order upon the authorities. We were at once given possession of the
schoolhouse for our work, and I started out to find a subject. Almost
the first person encountered was a young man of twenty-three years, who
presented the pure Tarascan type. I at once told him that he was the
very man we wanted; that we planned to make a picture of him in plaster;
at the same time, I described the method of work, and while talking,
holding him by the arm, drew him over toward the schoolhouse. Almost
before he realized it, we were ready for the task. As he removed his
shirt and prepared for the operation of oiling and the application of
the plaster, he looked somewhat sombre. After seeing the work well
begun, I stepped outside and sat in the portico until it should be
done. The first piece of plaster had been applied, the subject had been
turned, and was lying ready for the second application. At this moment,
an indian maiden, with dishevelled hair, came rapidly running across
the _plaza_ toward the schoolhouse. Rushing past me, she entered the
school-room, and seeing the subject lying on the floor clasped her hands
and cried, "Florencito! My Florencito, why wait here? Stay not with
these cruel men; flee with me!" Seizing him by the hand, they dislodged
the plaster from his shoulders and started for the door, but catching
sight of me, cast a glance around, saw the open window, and leaping
through it, dashed off home. Up to this time the local authorities had
shown an interest in our work and a willingness to aid. Calling the
chief of police, I bade him and the teacher seek our subject and bring
him back for the completion of the operation. "But, sir," said the chief
of police, "suppose he does not wish to come?" "Why are you chief of
police?" was my reply. The teacher, who is himself a _mestizo_ and
despises the poor indians in his charge, was loud in his complaints. He
vigorously declared that what these people needed was a second Cortez,
that they had never been properly conquered, and, with the chief of
police, he started out for the new conquest. After an hour or more of
waiting, we saw them reappear with Florencito. But humanity is ever
loath to admit defeat. As he passed us, he grumbled that he saw no good
reason for such a fuss, as he had simply gone to eat his breakfast.

Having completed the work with this subject, we suggested that others
should be brought, but met with a prompt refusal. The judge and the
chief of police both declared that the people did not wish to have busts
made, and that they would bring no more. In vain I suggested that a
meeting of the townspeople should be called together in order that
we might address them and explain the purpose of our visit. It was
impossible to move the officials. Finally I told the judge that I should
send a mounted messenger, who had accompanied us from the _presidente_,
to Chilchota to report the failure of the town officials to do their
duty. He promptly declared that he was going to Chilchota himself to
see the _presidente_ in the matter. Sure enough, when my messenger was
ready, he had made his preparations, and the two departed together to
present the different sides of the question. Neither returned until
we were through for the day. During the afternoon we secured two more
subjects, and by nightfall had three good busts as the result of the
day's labor. Then we faced new difficulties. Carriers could not be had
for love nor money. What was wanted were three men, one to carry each
bust back to Chilchota, where we planned to spend the night. Finally,
after loss of time and temper, each of us shouldered a bust and rode
back on horseback with our trophies.

We soon discovered that the eleven towns were in a ferment of
excitement. Most dreadful tales were rife with regard to us and our
work. Some asserted that we cut off heads and hung them up to dry; that
in drying, they turned white. Others reported that with knives, made for
the purpose, we sliced off the ears of unfortunate indians, close to
their heads. Still others reported that we had a frightful instrument
which was fitted into the nose, and by means of which we tore strips
of flesh and skin from the face of the subject. It was said, and quite
likely truly, that they were arming in all the houses; that _machetes_,
guns, pistols, and clubs were laid convenient to hand.

The next day was Sunday, and we made no attempt to continue work. It was
market-day, and indians from all the pueblos had gathered in the _plaza_
to buy and sell. All were pure in blood and spoke Tarascan. Fruits,
sugar-cane, corn, _tortillas, atole_, coffee, were the chief staples.
Stocks of pottery were attractively displayed. Two characteristic wares
are both pretty. Most typical, perhaps, is the black and green ware
which is made into bowls, plates, mugs, and pitchers. The clay of which
it is baked is local and dark brown in color; a white earth applied to
this, on baking, gives rise to a rich metallic green glaze. Designs are
painted upon this in black. This black and green ware goes far and
wide, and everywhere is recognized as coming from the Once Pueblos. At
Huancito and some other pueblos, they make little _canteras_ with a red
ground and decorative designs in black and white. One thing, offered in
the market, was new to us, dishes full of _ucuares_--long, irregular,
swollen, dry, brown objects that looked like stewed worms with thick and
fleshy skins. One _centavo_ bought far more than any person would be
likely to eat; even after having been stewed in sugar, they were bitter,
and had a foul smell that was most unpleasant; they appeared to be roots
or tubers of some plant.

Naturally, our work had attracted much attention in Chilchota. No one
of the many dozen visitors who came to see us at the _meson_ was so
profoundly impressed as a boy of fourteen, named Ignacio. Appearing
early in the morning, he remained with us almost all the hours of the
twenty-four. Thinking that the effect on the villagers might be good,
I decided to ride in the afternoon through the pueblos. When the
_presidente_ discovered my intention, he insisted upon supplying a
mounted and armed escort, and at the same time gave me a general letter
to the eleven towns, in which strict orders were given that my wishes
should be respected, and dire threats made in case any one should show
me aught but the greatest consideration. Ignacio accompanied me. Riding
through the towns, we passed far enough beyond Huancito to see the most
remote of the eleven pueblos. They are separated somewhat from the rest,
and lie rather higher up in a bend of the valley. Everywhere I took some
pains to talk with the people, to visit their houses, to examine their
pottery, their bees and their growing crops, as I felt that such an
interest would help us in our work. On our return, Ignacio told me that
he should stay to dinner with us, as he much preferred to do so to going
home. He also told me that it would be a great pity to lose the theatre,
which was to take place that evening. Accordingly, after dinner was
over, we went to see the play. I expected that at that season of the
year it would be a _pastorela_--and in fact it had been so announced.
It was, however, a true drama, and one of the
funniest--unintentionally--imaginable. The stage was set in the middle
of the _patio_ of a large house. The boy insisted that we would be late,
and so we went at 7:15, although the bill announced the hour as 8. The
spectators brought their own chairs with them. Except a few youngsters,
no one arrived before 9, and the curtain at last rose at a quarter
before eleven. Among the last to arrive was the _presidente_ and his
party. He was resplendent in a cape of crimson velvet with brilliant
yellow facings. Hardly was his party seated, when we were politely
invited to sit with them. Three acts were rendered, and while waiting
for the fourth, one of the party declared that there would be eleven
more. This gave the _presidente_ an opportunity to relate an experience
of his own. On one occasion, after watching a play from seven in the
evening until four in the morning, the stage broke down; the management
appeared and apologized regarding the accident, particularly, since some
twenty acts were still to have been rendered. Our play, however, turned
out to have had but eight acts, and one of these was omitted. When it
should have been given, the whole troupe appeared upon the platform;
the manager announced the reason why the act would not be given, but
promised that on the following Sunday, in another play, an extra act
should be inserted, in order that all might receive the full value of
their money. Our play ended at one, when the audience dispersed.

Needing but two more subjects, we looked about Chilchota the next day,
hoping to find indians from the more remote villages, who might permit
their busts to be made. Two excellent cases were found. The last was a
man from Carapan, the most remote of the eleven towns. He was a man of
forty years, whose father accompanied him, and both were for a long time
dubious about the operation. Finally, however, consent was given and the
bust was made. As he arose and dressed to go, I said, "Did I tell you
the truth? Did the operation hurt you, or did it not? Was there a reason
why you should not have your bust made?" He promptly answered, "Sir, you
told me truth; the operation did not hurt me and there surely is no harm
in it; but, sir, you can hardly believe what an excitement this work has
caused in our town. Yesterday, in the market-place at Chilchota, there
were more than twenty men from Carapan who carried weapons in their
clothing. We had selected leaders and arranged signals, and at the first
sign of an attack from your party, we were prepared to sell our lives
dearly."

It was a work of time to fill the moulds and pack the busts. Before
we were ready to start upon our journey, it was half-past four in the
afternoon. True wisdom would have suggested waiting until morning.
Time, however, was precious, and I hoped to make Cheran that night;
consequently, though against the advice of many, we started out, with
eight leagues to go, over a road with a bad reputation, and at some
points difficult to traverse. For a little distance, we followed the
familiar trail down through the pueblos, but at Tanaquillo we turned
up into the mountain. The ascent was steady until we reached the pass,
through which an icy wind drove down upon us. We could hope to make the
distance in six hours. At first we met many persons, all of whom warned
us that we would be late in arriving, and recommended that we should
stop at Rancho Seco. We had no intention of so doing, but knew that
we must turn at that point into a new road. Between sunset and bright
moonlight, there was an interval of darkness, and in that interval we
must have passed the turning which led to Rancho Seco. At all events,
we presently found ourselves entirely at a loss, wandering over a rocky
hill covered with brush, amid which the trail had entirely disappeared.
Retracing, as well as we could, our road, we finally found ourselves
upon another trail which we followed until 9:30, when we met a little
band of indians, the first whom we had seen for a long time. From them
we found that we were not upon the road for Cheran, but at the edge of
a slope at the bottom of which was a little indian town, Tanaco.
Descending to it, we found a house where they agreed to shelter us for
the night, and in the _tienda_ near by we bought hard bread and old
cheese. We were sheltered in a substantially built room, into which the
cold air did not penetrate. The indians with whom we were staying were
unusually intelligent; a number of books, including a large dictionary,
lay upon the table, and the men, who crowded in upon us, were anxious to
learn the English words for common things. This was an experience which
rarely happened to us in indian Mexico. The people, however, were not
quite sure of our intentions, and Nabor said that when he went to water
the horses, a committee of village folk waited upon him, asking whether
we were the party of white men who had been skinning live indians over
in the Once Pueblos.

There were four leagues between us and Cheran, and many more beyond it
to Patzcuaro, where we hoped to arrive the next night. Accordingly, we
made an early start. Our host agreed to pilot us over the indistinct and
tortuous bridle-path to the high-road. Many little mountains, almost
artificially regular, arose in the otherwise plain country. As we rode
along the trail we saw the church of Parracho far behind us in the
distance. The latter part of the road, after Cheran was once in sight,
seemed hopelessly long, but a little before ten o'clock we pulled up at
the _meson_. We at once made arangements for food for ourselves and the
horses, and determined to rest until noon. Our reputation had preceded
us. I asked a child at the _meson_ to bring me a mug of water. When he
brought it, I noticed that the mug was of the characteristic black and
green ware of the Once Pueblos, but asked the boy where it was made.
With a cunning look, he answered, "O yes, that comes from where you
people have been,--up at the Once Pueblos." And yet we had not come over
the road from the Once Pueblos, but by the main highway from Parracho.

Rested and refreshed, we started at 12:30 for the long fourteen leagues
of journey. We passed Pichataro, where the round paddles for Patzcuaro
canoes are made, and where the applewood, so prized as material for
spear-throwers, is procured. We passed Sabina, where the canoes
themselves are hollowed out, miles from their launching place, to which
they must be carried over mountains. Each town we passed made me more
and more uneasy, as I knew that Nabor contemplated revolt. He did not
like the idea of too long a journey for his horses. He wished to stop
long before the goal that I had fixed. When we left the last of the
important towns behind us, I felt for the first time secure. It was now
dark, and we found the roads far worse than we remembered them. They
were worn into deep gullies, into which our horses fell and over which
they stumbled. Long before reaching Ajuno I felt convinced that we had
missed the road, but we floundered on, and never was sight more welcome
than the light of fires shining through the cane walls of the wretched
huts of that miserable town. Here there was a final council regarding
resting for the night. The whole party, except myself, considered Ajuno
as a capital resting-place. All yielded, however, and we continued on
our way. It was almost midnight when we rode up to the hotel, upon the
_plaza_ in quaint old Patzcuaro. All were cross and tired; neither
crossness nor weariness were helped when we were told that there was no
room for us at the inn. We made such vigorous representations, however,
that the doors were finally thrown open. An old store-house was cleaned
out and supplied with decent beds, and a good supper was served.



CHAPTER X

THE BOY WITH THE SMILE

(1898)


It is doubtful whether the common people of any country are so rarely
surprised, or taken unaware, as those of Mexico. At a moment's notice,
the commonest indian, who may have scarcely been outside of his own
town in all his life, may start to go across the country. Astonishing
incidents appear to create no more surprise in their minds than the
ordinary affairs of every day. In January, 1898, we revisited Cholula.
As we alighted from the street-car we noticed a boy, some fourteen years
old, whose most striking characteristic was his smile. He wished to
serve as guide, to show us the pyramid, the convents, the chapel of the
natives. On assuring him that we knew far more about the lions of his
town than he, he was in no wise abashed, but joined himself to us for
the remainder of the day. He accompanied us to see the blessing of the
animals in the great churchyard. He displayed an interesting knowledge
of English, answering "yes" quite perfectly to every sort of question,
and repeating the two words, which are well known the whole world over
as American-English, on all conceivable occasions. When at evening he
saw us safely on the street-car he left us with the same smile with
which he had received us. On our next visit to Cholula much the same
thing happened, but learning that we planned to stop at Cuauhtlantzinco
on our way to Puebla, he stole a ride upon the car, for the sake of
accompanying us. He was a rather handy boy, good-natured and anxious to
please, so that, later in our journey, we hired him for several days and
let him do what he could to help us.

Much later, when at home planning the details of our next extensive
journey, the thought struck us that it might be well to make the boy
with the smile a member of our party. It seemed as if, in going into
districts rarely visited by strangers, it would be well to have the
party as largely Mexican as possible. If, however, the boy were to
accompany us, it was necessary that he should first learn something of
our work and needs, and perhaps of English. Accordingly, I decided to go
to Cholula and bring the boy up to the States.

The resolution was so hastily taken that there was no time to send word
to the boy himself. Going straight to Cholula, I had some difficulty in
finding his abode. I knew that the boy had no father, that his widowed
mother had but one other child, a girl younger than the boy himself. I
had once seen the mother and the little sister; I also knew the street
on which they lived. Arriving at the street, however, no one apparently
had ever heard of the boy. One and another through the whole length of
the street was questioned, but none knew his name or recognized his
description. Excepting that I knew that trait of Mexican character which
assists acquaintances to seclusion, when they are sought by strangers, I
should have despaired. As it was, I kept on asking, and finally, from a
child who could hardly speak on account of youth, I discovered the house
which I sought. It was a little hut set back behind a yard of growing
corn. I had inquired at the houses on either side and at the house
across the road, as also of a man working in the corn in the yard
itself. But everyone had been profoundly ignorant of the boy's
existence. Walking up to the house, I found the door open, and the
mother and the little girl within. The moment the woman saw me, she
said, "_Que milagro, Señor_!" (What a miracle, sir!) and rising, gave me
a warm embrace. The little girl did the same. "And where is Manuel?" I
inquired. "Ah, sir, he has gone to Puebla on an errand for a gentleman;
but he will be back on the street-car at half-past ten. Pray wait, sir,
till he comes."

The house consisted, like most of its class, of a single room. The walls
were built of sun-dried bricks of adobe. Entrance was by a single door.
There were no windows. The floor was clay. The flat roof was scarcely
six feet above the floor. The furniture, though ample, was scanty. A
little earthen brazier for heating and cooking, a stone _metate_, a
rubbing-stone for grinding corn-meal, a table heaped with bundles and
boxes containing the family clothing, and a chair were all. There were
no beds, not even the mats which so frequently, among the poor of
Mexico, take their place. Several pictures of saints and of the virgin
were pinned against the wall, and there were signs of tapers which had
been burned before them. A bird or two in wooden cages, a rooster and a
little dog lived in the house with the family.

After answering various questions from the good woman and the little
girl, I finally stated that I proposed to take Manuel with me to my
country. He would stay with me there for six months, after which he
would come back and accompany me for three months longer on a journey
into southern Mexico. "If I have your consent," I said, "we leave
to-day." Immediately the woman answered, "Sir, it is for you to say."
Just then, however, the little girl, Dolores, began to cry. "Tut, tut,
Dolores," said I, "I am sure you want Manuel to go away and visit a
strange country and have a fine time; and think of the pictures that
he can bring you to show what he has seen. And more than that, it is
already half-past ten, and you shall go down tothe street-car to meet
him, and tell him that he must come straight home, for fear that he will
loiter on the way; but do not tell him I am here, nor say anything about
his going away, for we wish to surprise him." Drying her eyes, and
smiling almost as the boy himself, Dolores started to run to the
street-car line, and presently fetched Manuel home in triumph. As he
entered and saw me, he said, "_Que milagro, Señor_" and kissed my hand.
Having asked, as Mexican politeness requires, a variety of questions
about his welfare, I finally said, "Well, Manuel, how would you like to
go to Puebla with me for the day?" "Sir, it is for you to say." "Very
good," said I. "And if I should conclude that it was best to take you to
Mexico for a few days, what would you say to that?" "I am entirely in
your hands, sir," he replied, "to do your orders." "Well," said I,
"suppose I took you to my own country and kept you there for six
months?" and the boy replied, "Sir, you are my owner; it is for you
to command." "Very well," said I, "get ready, and we will go on the
street-car, at twelve o'clock, to Puebla."

[Illustration: THE CROSS; SAN NICOLAS PANOTLA]

[Illustration: THE BOY WITH THE SMILE]

Telling his mother that she should put together the few articles of
which there might be need, we started for the noonday car. As we left,
I suggested that she and the little girl come to the city, during the
afternoon or evening, to bid the boy good-bye, as we should leave on an
early train the following morning. They came at nightfall. She had his
small possessions tied up in a carrying cloth, and her mind was stored
with bits of excellent advice and admonition as to his conduct and
behaviour in his new surroundings. After Dolores and her brother had
given each other a, farewell embrace, the mother said a few words to the
boy, who knelt upon the floor of the room and crossed his hands upon
his breast. The mother then gave him her parting blessing, and sent him
forth into the outside world.



CHAPTER XI

IN THE MIXTECA ALTA

(1898)


Of all railroad cities in the Republic, Oaxaca is the most completely
indian. It is the capital of a state the population of which is
nine-tenths of native blood. Fifteen native languages are spoken in the
state to-day. While some of these are related to each other, they are
distinct languages, not dialects, even those which are related being as
unlike as the French, Italian, and Spanish. The indians commonly seen on
the city streets are Zapotecs or Mixtecs, but at times Mixes come from
their distant mountain homes with burdens on their backs, or parties
of Tehuantepecanas attract attention, by their fine forms and striking
dress, as they walk through the streets. The market is crowded, even
late in the day; ox-carts from the indian towns for miles around are
constantly seen in the streets. Most of the sellers in the market are
indians; they bring fruits and vegetables, dried fish from the Pacific,
_jícaras_ and strainers of gourds, beautifully painted and polished
gourds from Ocotopec, honey, sugar--both the crude brown and the refined
yellow cakes--and pottery. The indian pottery here sold is famous. Three
kinds of wares are well known--a dull plain red, an unglazed but highly
polished black, and a brilliant glazed green. The black ware is made
into useful vessels, and also into a variety of toys, chiefly whistles
and bells. Pottery would seem to be one of the least suitable materials
for bells. Here, however, bells of pottery in many shapes are
found--little bells, with handles like the upper part of a human figure;
larger bells, with curious flat handles set transversely; others, still
larger, like cow-bells in size and tone, and curious cross-shaped bells,
really a group of four united. Among the whistles some are made into the
shape of animals and birds and curious human figures; among the latter,
some closely resemble ancient whistles from the prehistoric graves. This
black ware is made at Coyotepec, and when the objects are first taken
from the kiln they are almost white; before they are cold, they
are exposed to dense smoke, and thus assume their black color. The
brilliantly glazed green ware is the most attractive. Vessels made from
it are thin, and, in the parts which are unglazed, resemble common
flower-pot ware. The larger portion of their surfaces, however, is
covered with a rich, thick, emerald-green glaze. Cups, bowls, saucers,
plates, sugar-bowls, tea-pots, flasks, and censers are among the forms
commonly made in this ware. The shapes are often graceful and the
prices low. Most beautiful, however, and relatively expensive, are the
miniature vessels made in this ware--scarcely an inch in height, but
formed with the greatest care, and in such variety of dainty forms that
one may seek some time to duplicate a piece which he has found; these
little pieces are completely covered with the rich green glaze both
outside and inside.

Our plan of journey for the year was first to make an expedition from
Oaxaca to the north-west, into the Mixteca Alta; returning to Oaxaca,
to strike eastward by way of Mitla, and the land of the Mixes, to
Tehuantepec, from which place we should make a brief trip to the Juaves;
returning to Tehuantepec, we should take the high road, by way of San
Carlos, back to Oaxaca. Our first duty in the city of Oaxaca was to
procure letters and orders from the governor. No governor in Mexico more
completely realizes his importance and dignity than Governor Gonzales of
Oaxaca. It is ever difficult to secure an audience with him; appointment
after appointment is made, only to be broken when the inquiring visitor
presents himself, and has been kept waiting an undue length of time. We
had been through the experience before, and therefore were not surprised
that it required four visits, each of them appointed by the governor
himself, before we really had our interview. Governor Gonzales, is,
however, an excellent officer. While we were waiting for our letters,
after having explained to him our errand and plan of procedure, we had
the opportunity to see a somewhat unusual and interesting sight. Like
all public buildings and better-grade houses in Mexican cities, the
governor's palace is built about _patios_, or inner courts. A wide
balcony surrounds the court at the level of the second story and upon
it the rooms of that story open. Having given orders that our letters
should be prepared, the governor excused himself for a few moments, as
he said that certain of his local authorities were ordered to meet him.
We were seated where we could watch the reception. As we had entered the
palace we had been impressed by the great number of indians, carrying
official staves, who were waiting near the door. We now found that they
were official delegates from the different towns, and that they had been
sent from their homes to give the governor New Year's greetings. Having
carefully arrayed himself for the meeting, the governor took his
position in the wide balcony already referred to, with two officials of
the palace stationed near, one on either side. The Indians represented
perhaps twenty-five different towns, the delegation from each town
varying from three or four to fifteen or twenty persons. All were
dressed in their cleanest garments, and all carried their long staves of
office, most of which had ribbons of bright colors streaming from them.
The secretary of the governor arranged these delegations in their order,
and they were presented one by one to the chief executive. As each
delegation was presented, its members scraped and bowed, and the
_presidente_ and _secretario_ kissed the governor's hand. A word or two
of greeting having been exchanged, the spokesman from the village made a
speech, sometimes read from a written copy, after which he presented
a bouquet of flowers, real or artificial. The governor received the
bouquet with a bow, placed the flowers on a little table near by, or, if
the gift were a large bouquet of real flowers, handed it to one of the
attendants standing near, and then made a polite speech of response,
emphasizing it with vigorous gestures and plainly expressive of much
interest and earnestness. The delegation then took its leave, always
bowing reverently, and each man kissing the governor's hand as he passed
out. As he received this mark of respect, the governor would make a
playful remark, or pat the persons on the head, or otherwise treat
them as a father might his little children. Instantly the flowers were
cleared away, the next delegation ushered in, and the same ceremony
gone through with. Finally, all was ready for our leaving. The party
consisted of five persons--myself, as leader, Mr. Lang, my American
photographer, Don Anselmo, my Mexican plaster-worker, Manuel, and the
_mozo_. All but the _mozo_ were mounted on horses, more or less good or
bad. The _mozo_, Mariano, a Mixtec indian, went on foot, carrying the
photographic outfit on his back, and our measuring-rod in his hand.
It was well on in the afternoon before we started, and hardly were we
outside the town, before Mr. Lang's horse showed signs of sickness. His
suffering was plain, and every person we met volunteered the information
that unless something was done promptly, we should have a dead horse on
our hands. Going to a little shop on the roadside, where strong drinks
were sold, we stopped, and after preparing a remedy with the help of a
passing Indian, threw the horse down, wedged his mouth open, and gave
him what seemed to be an unsavory draught. More than an hour was lost
out of our already short afternoon by this veterinary practice, and long
before we reached Etla, where we were compelled to pass the night, it
was dark.

Leaving Etla in the morning, looking down as we passed out from the city
upon a wonderful group of mounds, we passed rather slowly through the
town of Huitzo. Don Anselmo and I loitered, as we found the whole
country to be rich in ancient relics, examples of which were to be found
in almost every house. As the afternoon passed, we found that we were
likely to be completely left by our companions, and were forced to
hasten on. The latter part of the daylight ride was up a continuous, and
at times steep, ascent. As the sun neared setting, we reached the summit
and found ourselves close by the station of Las Sedas, the highest point
upon the Mexican Southern Railway. We had there expected to overtake
the others of our party, but found that they had hurried on. It was a
serious question whether we should try to overtake them. It had been
wisdom to have stayed the night where we were. In this uncertainty,
we met an indian boy driving mules toward Oaxaca, who volunteered the
information that he had met our companions, who were just ahead, and
that we would soon overtake them. This decided us, and we started down
the trail. A heavy wind was blowing, and the night air was cold and
penetrating. In a few minutes we met a half-breed Mexican, who,
accosting us at once, urged us to go no further. His manner was somewhat
sinister and disagreeable. He warned us that, if we attempted to make
the descent in the darkness, we would at least lame our animals. He
asserted that our comrades were fully three leagues ahead when he had
met them, and that we would never overtake them. He also hinted darkly
as to other dangers of the road, if we should succeed in making the
descent without breaking the legs of our horses. Refusing his invitation
to stop with him for the night, we pressed onward, and as we did so, he
called out derisively after us.

The descent would not have been an easy one, even in the daytime, and
in the gathering darkness there was really an element of danger in the
journey. We left the following of the trail almost entirely to our
animals. We were finally down the worst of the descent before night had
actually set in. From here on, although the road varied but little from
a level trail, we were obliged to go slowly, and it was with a feeling
of true relief that, after floundering for a while in a brook in which
our road seemed to lose itself, we heard ourselves called by name, from
an indian hut situated a little way up the bank. As usual, the house
consisted of a single room, of no great size, and was lightly built
of cane. Two men, three women, a boy, and three little girls were the
occupants. Our companions were already resting; their horses were
unsaddled and were eating contentedly, and we were told that supper
was being prepared for us. Entering the house, we found the women busy
making _tortillas_, and fresh goat's meat, hanging from the rafters,
gave promise of a substantial meal. When all was ready, we sat down to
the finest of corn-cakes, beans, eggs, and tender kidmeat. We spread our
blankets under a little shelter which stood in front of one side of the
house. None of us slept well. It was very cold; dogs barked all night
long; now and then a sudden outbreak of their barking, and curious
signals and whistles, which were repeated in various parts of the
mountain, gave us some uneasiness. At three o'clock in the morning, just
as we were napping, Don Anselmo startled us by the statement that our
mule was dead. In a moment, all was excitement. Mariano examined the
animal and reiterated the statement. As for us, we were in the mood to
care but little whether the mule was living or dead. Half frozen and
very weary, our frame of mind was not a cheerful one. Just before
daybreak we could stand the cold no longer, and gathering some dry wood,
we started a fire and crowded around it. The report about the mule
proved to be false, and when morning came, there was no sign that
anything was the matter with him.

It was nine o'clock before we started on our journey in the morning. We
had three long hours of clambering up and down heavy slopes, and, much
of the way, through a stream the bed of which was filled with slippery
boulders and pebbles, over which the horses slipped and stumbled
frightfully. Our horses slid down small cascades, but, when we came to
larger ones, we had to mount the banks by ugly bits of road, descending
below the falls. After much labor and weariness, we reached El Parian at
noon. Having rested through the hotter portion of the day, we took the
road again at two. We followed up the brook-bed to the point where
another stream entered it, at an acute angle. Up this stream we turned,
and after following it a little, struck suddenly up a steep hill, and
then climbed on and on over a good road, cut in the limestone rock, up
and up, until we reached the very summit. The vegetation here was a
curious assemblage,--palms, cedars, oaks, and a mimosa-like tree, formed
the chief types. The limestone rock upon the summit was curiously
eroded, as if by rain rills. The masses presented all the appearance
and detail of erosion shown by the great mountain mass of the country
itself; looking at one of these little models, only a few feet across,
and then gazing out upon the great tangle of mountain peaks around us,
one could almost imagine that the one was the intentional reproduction
of the other, in miniature. For a long time we followed the almost
level summit; then a little climb and a slight descent brought us to
Huaclilla. At the _meson_ we found real rooms and true beds, and decided
to stay for the night. The supper was less attractive. A brief walk
about the village brought to light two cases of small-pox, and, on
returning to the _meson_, we were charmed to find a third one in the
building itself. Still, we slept well, and were up betimes next morning.
The country through which we were passing was Mariano's _país_ (native
land). Assuming that his knowledge was adequate, we left our _meson_
early, with the intention of breakfasting at San Pedrito, where we were
assured that everything was lovely; we were also told that it was but
a short distance. The road thither was through a high open country,
planted to wheat and oats and with some _maguéy_. The road was
discouragingly long, but after at least three hours of constant riding,
we reached precious San Pedrito, chiefly notable for the amount of
_pulque_ drunk there. It was with the greatest difficulty that we
succeeded in getting anything to eat; the breakfast was certainly worse
than the supper of the preceding night. With the prevalence of _maguéy_
as a cultivated plant, the appearance of the houses and other
buildings changed, as all of them were thatched with the broad, long,
sharp-pointed leaves of the famous plant. Everyone in the district
carries _tinajas_, or little sacks woven from splints of palm. Here, for
the first time, we noticed that many of these had decorated patterns
worked in black splints on the lighter ground. The blackness of
these splints is given by exposure to the smoke of burning pine.
Carrying-straps, also made of palm, are used for adjusting these
_tinajas_ to the back.

From San Pedrito the road is over a soft rock, which produces, when
worn, a white glaring trail. The country through which we passed was
fertile. Everywhere were fields of grain, wheat, oats, and, as we were
descending into the lower land, corn. The little watch-houses for
guarding the newly-sown fields are a striking feature of the landscape.
In the higher districts they were small, conical or dome-shaped
structures, made of the leaves of the _maguéy_, and hardly large enough
for a man to lie down in. Lower down, these were replaced by little
rectangular huts, only a few feet across, with thatched roofs, the whole
construction being raised on poles ten or twelve feet above the ground.
It was scarcely more than noonday when we reached Nochixtlan, where
the _jefe_ of the district lives. Telling him that we desired to visit
Yodocono and Tilantongo, he wrote orders for us, and charged some
indians of Tidaa to show us the road, so far as they were going. The
country through which we passed was a continuation of that preceding
Nochixtlan. The road was nearly level, with but slight ups and downs,
until a little before we reached our destination, when we had an abrupt
up-turn to Yodocono, a pretty town on the border of a little lake, which
has but recently appeared, and which covers an area which a few years
ago was occupied by cultivated fields. Our letter from the _jefe_
introduced us to Don Macario Espinola, a _mestizo_, owner of the chief
store in the village, who showed us gracious hospitality. We were guests
of honor. The parlor was surrendered to our use; the chairs were placed
in such a way that, when supplied with mattress, sheets, and blankets,
they made capital beds. Our meals were good. Don Macario, on hearing
the purpose of our visit, placed himself entirely at our disposition.
Unfortunately, he gained the idea that the people whom we wanted for
measurement and photography were old folk, and the most astonishing
collection of aged men and women was summoned from every part of the
village and surrounding neighborhood, and all had to be measured,
although the measurements were afterwards discarded.

[Illustration: YODOCONO]

Leaving Yodocono at ten the following morning, we rode to Tilantongo.
Though assured that the road was over a district as level as a floor,
we found a good deal of up-hill riding. Tilantongo itself, with 2,266
inhabitants, is located upon the further slope of a hill, and but few
houses were in sight until we were actually in the town. The public
buildings surrounded a small open space, in the centre of which is a
stone sun-dial. One side of this little _plaza_ is occupied by the
schoolhouse; the town-house and jail occupy the rear. The town is built
upon a horseshoe-shaped, sloping ridge, and the church is at the edge
of the town, at one of the very ends of the horseshoe. Riding to the
town-house, we presented our documents to the _presidente_, and ordered
dinner for ourselves and food for the horses. We had letters to the
priest, but he was not in town. The schoolhouse was placed at our
disposal, and we moved two long benches close to each other, side by
side; rush mats were brought, and these we laid upon the benches, and
upon the teacher's table, for beds. Mr. Lang and Don Anselmo took the
table, Manuel and I the benches, and Mariano had the floor. The cold was
so intense that none of us slept much. We were astonished, in the middle
of the night, and at intervals in the early morning, say at two or four
o'clock, to hear snatches of songs. At first, we imagined it might be
some religious festival, but on inquiring, we found that it was nothing
but bands of drunken indians making night hideous.

We waited some time in the morning before beginning work, hoping that
the _cura_ might come and assist us with his influence. Finally,
wearying of delay, we explained to the _presidente_ the work we planned
to do. We told him we must have subjects for measurement, photographing
and modeling. He showed no great enthusiasm in the matter. One and
another came to be measured, if they chose, but a number entirely
refused. It was plain that something must be done. Quitting my work, I
sent orders for the _presidente_ to appear, and, after an intolerable
delay, he presented himself. I told him that we were losing time; that
subjects were not presenting themselves; that some of those who did
present themselves refused to be measured; that I wished a _mozo_ at
once to carry a report from me to the _jefe_ that my wishes were not
regarded by the authorities, and that his orders had no influence; that
the _mozo_ must be ready at once, as there was no time to lose, and we
should shortly leave his town without accomplishing our work. The effect
was instantaneous. The official air of arrogance disappeared; he replied
quiet humbly that subjects should be at once supplied, as rapidly as
they could be brought in. I replied, "Here are two persons now who have
refused; why wait while others shall be brought?" The fiat went forth,
the two obdurate and not good-humored victims were marched up. As I
measured them, they whispered to me that the _presidente_ himself
had not been measured, and begged that he be ordered to undergo the
operation. The request was reasonable, and when they were through, they
waited to see what would happen. Great was their delight when, turning
to the chief man of the town, I said, "It is best for you to be measured
next. It will set a good example to the rest," and without a word,
although I knew that he had stated that he would not be measured, he
stepped under the rod. From then on there was no lack of material. Our
subjects were measured, photographed and modeled as rapidly as we could
do the work. At noon the priest had come. As he passed where we were
working, he gave us an extremely distant greeting and rode on up to the
_curato_. From his castle he sent immediate complaint because our horses
had been put into his stable without his permission. I went to the good
man's house and found him hearing confessions. Leaving with him the
letters from the archbishop and the _jefe_, I returned to my work,
leaving word that the horses would have to stay where they were, as
there was no other suitable place for their keeping. After a hard day's
work, the night started very cold, and we hurried to bed early. All were
sleeping, but myself, when a rap came at the door. It was a message from
the _cura_, begging us to come to the _curato_, where we would be more
comfortable. Sending back a word of thanks, I stated that we would be
there for the following night.

[Illustration: MIXTEC HOUSES; TILANTONGO]

The _cura_ had been away from home for several days. The result was
that, on his return, his parishioners turned out in force to greet him,
and hardly was he housed, when a procession bearing gifts marched to the
_curato_. In front went one bearing flowers. Those who followed carried
some kind of food,--great pieces of meat, fowls, eggs, corn, chilis,
and other supplies. The following morning we were awakened by a great
explosion of fire-crackers and rockets, and by pealing bells, announcing
the early mass. After his religious duties were performed, the _padre_
came down to the _plaza_ to watch our work and use his influence in our
behalf. When it was dinner-time, he invited us to go with him to that
meal. We had thought that the donation party we had witnessed was a
generous one; after that dinner, we had no doubt of the matter. Hardly
had we disposed of the many good things on the table when the _padre_
took us to a large room, the parish schoolhouse, and showed us the
arrangements he had made for our comfort. Four beds, descending in grade
of comfort from the one for myself to the one for Manuel, were shown us.
Never was a party happier to move from one set of quarters to another.

Called away the next morning by his religious duties, the priest left
us in charge of house and household. The work went merrily on in the
_plaza_. We quickly found, however, that the town was getting into a
condition of intoxication, and long before noon every person in
the place was drunk. At noon we were waited upon by a committee,
representing the town, who informed us that they appreciated the lofty
honor which was conferred on the place by our presence, and stated that,
realizing that we had brought with us letters from the President of the
Republic and from the Archbishop of the diocese, they desired not to be
lacking in the respect due to such distinguished visitors. Accordingly,
they said, they had arranged for the brass band to discourse sweet music
for us, while we ate our dinner. No sooner was the statement made, than
preparations were begun. The band stood around us in a semi-circle,
chiefly notable for its unsteadiness on its legs, and regaled us with a
series of most doleful pieces. When word came that dinner was ready
at the _curato_, the band accompanied us to our stopping-place. The
bandmaster announced his intention of personally serving us at the
table. At the same time orders were given that the musicians, standing
without, should continue to play pieces throughout the repast.

[Illustration:]

[Illustration:]

The last day of our stay at Tilantongo, the _padre_ stated that it must
be interesting to see the way in which a parish priest, returning from a
visit to a neighboring town, is received by his parish. Accordingly, he
planned that a picture should be taken of himself on horseback, with all
the people gathered around welcoming him. Telling us that he would
be ready when we should have made our own preparations for this
photographic effort, he waited for our summons. We quickly found,
however, that the proposition, although hailed at first with joy, did
not create great enthusiasm. We recommended to the people that they
should get ready; told the musicians that the band should be prepared,
and that soon we should send for the _padre_ to be welcomed. When we
finally succeeded in getting the matter under way, and were seriously
thinking of summoning the reverend gentleman, it was reported that
an old woman had been found dead in her lonely hut that morning, and
arrangements were at once started for her funeral. In vain we suggested
that they should wait until the picture had been made. Musicians and
parishioners alike disappeared, going down to the house where the dead
body lay. The afternoon was passing. It would soon be quite too dark for
a picture. Meantime, the _cura_, having become anxious in the matter,
hastened from his house on foot, to ask why he had not been sent for. On
our explaining that a funeral was in progress, he was greatly outraged.
We pointed out the house in front of which the funeral procession was
now forming. He stood watching, as the line of mourners approached. The
person who had died was an aged woman named Hilaria. The body was borne
upon a stretcher, as coffins are not much used among these people. The
procession came winding up the high-road, where we stood. The band in
front was playing mournfully; next came the bearers, two of whom, at
least, were sadly drunk. The corpse was clad in the daily garments of
the woman, and the body sagged down through gaps in the stretcher; a
motley crowd of mourners, chiefly women, some with babies in their arms,
followed. One man, walking with the band in front, carried a book in his
hand and seemed to read the service, as they slowly passed along. When
the procession had come near us and was about to pass, the _padre_
stopped it; expressing his dissatisfaction at the failure to arrange for
the photograph which he had ordered, he told the bearers to take the
corpse out behind the house and leave it there. They did so, returned,
and were arranged in a group with the _padre_ in their midst, and
photographed, after which the body was picked up again, the procession
was reformed, and proceeded as if nothing had happened.

The following morning at six o'clock we were again upon the road. We
first descended into the valley, passing the miserable hut from whence
the dead woman had been borne. In all the yards we noticed peach-trees
loaded with their pink blossoms. From the deep and narrow valley, we
began to climb steadily upward. We passed along the side of a gorge,
the bed of which had all the appearance of a giant stairway. Higher and
higher we mounted, leaving San Juan Diusi on our right. Great masses of
gray clouds hung upon the summits of the highest mountain, their lower
line coming very nearly to our level. The wind beginning to blow, the
gray mass soon was whirled and spread down like a great veil around us.
We were indeed glad when we began to descend and have a little shelter
behind us, against the wind, and dry skies instead of damp clouds above
us. Making a sudden descent, we found ourselves in a cleared district,
where the only trees left on the high summits were palms, which bore
little round dates with round seeds; these were quite sweet and good.
Small ranches were scattered, here and there, along the road. After
another descent and ascent, we found ourselves in an extensive forest of
great gnarled oaks, thickly covered with tufts of air-plants and with
orchids. Many of the latter were in full bloom, forming masses of
brilliant color. In making the descent from here, we found the slope
composed of slippery limestone, with sharp, rain-channeled surfaces,
where our horses with great difficulty kept their footing. Soon after we
were down, we reached San Bartolo.

This purely Mixtec town was a delightful spot. It is large, and strung
along two or three long straight streets.

[Illustration: THE PEOPLE RECEIVING THEIR PADRE; TILANTONGO]

The houses were in yards completely filled with fruit
trees--_chirimoyas, limas, granadas de China, ahuacates_ and oranges.
Garden-beds of spinach, lettuce, and onions were frequent. The houses
were of poles set upright, with thick thatchings of palms. Bee-hives in
quantity were seen at almost every house. At Tilantongo we had seen but
few women in native dress. Here almost every woman was clad in native
garments, many of which were beautifully decorated. The men wore
brilliant sashes, woven in the town. When we reached the town-house we
found the doorway decorated with flowers,--stars and rosettes made of
palm. We were well received, and a capital dinner was soon served, after
which we were escorted around the town by the authorities, who arranged
for photographing everything that seemed to us of interest. But, at
three o'clock, we left this pretty spot. Again, we climbed much of the
way over limestone roads. Santo Domingo, past which we journeyed, is a
mean little town, with houses much like those of Tilantongo, but of a
gray color instead of reddish-brown. From here we plunged downward, and
when we ascended again, followed along the side of a rock-walled cañon
with pretty cascades and magnificent masses of fallen rock. The last
part of our journey was made by moonlight, along a brook-side over
a road which seemed quite endless. With some trouble, we found the
dilapidated old church and the municipal house; we took possession of
the school, and after a miserable supper, thoroughly tired, lay down to
rest upon the benches.

The town--Magdalena de los Comales--is so named from the _comales_, or
earthenware griddles, made there. Besides this characteristic product,
the town makes a good deal of unglazed but polished red pottery. The
forms are chiefly candle-sticks, censers and toys. Much weaving of palm
is here done, and the hats of the place are rather famous. Famous,
too, are the _mantas_, or women's dresses, of black wool, made in long
rectangular pieces. The common grade sells for $6.00, and in using it,
it is, like indian dresses generally, simply wrapped about the figure
and held in place by a sash or belt.

Nowhere in our journey in southern Mexico had we met with the kind of
scenery which we encountered between Magdalena and Tlaxiaco; its whole
character was like that of New Mexico. Directly behind the town was
a fine cart-road, worn in red sand pumice; before the town rose a
magnificent cliff, which had been a landmark in our journey of the day
before. The road running up the mountain, over gray and red pumice
strata, was deeply worn, just like the road back of Cochiti, New Mexico.
Here, too, were the same noble pines for forest. It was a full hour's
climb to the summit, where we found a pretty brook tumbling over ledge
after ledge into deep round basins of purest water. A long and rather
gentle slope downward led to a valley filled with neat farm-houses and
cleared patches. Our last ascent brought us to a mass of rounded hills,
composed of brilliant clays--yellow, brown, pink, red and white. From
among these hillocks Tlaxiaco, a magnificent picture, burst into view.
It is compactly built; the flat-topped houses are white or blue-tinted;
trees are sprinkled through the town; the old convent, with the two
towers of its church, dominates the whole place; a pretty stream flows
along its border; and a magnificent range of encircling mountains hems
it in on all sides. The descent was rapid, and we reached Tlaxiaco with
the morning but half gone.

[Illustration: MIXTEC HOUSES WITH BEEHIVES; SAN BARTOLO]

The _jefes_ of the districts of Mexico are frequently men of ability and
force. Rarely, however, have we encountered one so prompt and energetic
as Javier Cordova, then _jefe_ of the district of Tlaxiaco. When he took
possession of this district, not long before, deeds of robbery along
the high-road were common. In many portions of the district, acts of
violence were quite the rule. Perhaps the largest agricultural district
in the Republic, it possessed few of the conveniences of modern life.
Under Cordova's administration, vast improvements have been made. The
roads are secure, deeds of violence are rare, the advantages of the
district are being rapidly developed, telephone and telegraph have been
introduced, and a railroad is talked of. Although we had no letter
from the governor addressed to Señor Cordova, when we showed him the
communications for other _jefes_, we were received with the greatest
courtesy and everything was done to facilitate our work. We told him
that we planned to visit the Triquis at Chicahuastla. He at once wrote
letters to the town authorities and to Don Guillermo Murcio, living at
that village. The plaster for our bust-making had not yet been received,
but Señor Cordova promised, in case it came, to forward it after us
promptly, and, in case it did not come, to send twenty miles into the
mountains for the raw plaster, which he would have prepared and sent on
to Chicahuastla. It was late in the afternoon, before we started for
Cuquila, where we planned to pass the night. It was a mistake to make so
late a start. For a time, the road was fairly level, but at last we went
up a brisk ascent, reaching the summit near sunset. The road down would
have been a bad one, even in the daytime. As it was, if we had not had a
good moon, we could hardly have made the descent. From the depth of the
cañon we ascended to Cuquila, thoroughly tired, somewhat before seven.
It was with the greatest difficulty that we could find anyone of whom to
ask our way to the town-house. Our voices were sufficient to plunge any
house into instant darkness and silence. After a long search, we found
a man who agreed to seek the _presidente_. He and the rest of the town
officials finally met us on the road, and, after reading our order, took
us to the town-house. It was with difficulty that we got fodder for our
horses. It was only after persistent and dire threats, that we secured
food for ourselves, and firewood to make the room, in which we were to
sleep, endurable. It was long past eleven before we were through our
troubles and lay down on mats to sleep.

Though we had warned the town officials that we should leave at seven,
and must have breakfast before we left, when we arose, we found no steps
whatever taken for our accommodation. Yet the town officials had been
up long enough to be thoroughly affected by their early morning drinks.
Feeling that patience had ceased to be a virtue, we summoned the
authorities, and told the _presidente_ that he had paid no attention
whatever to his _jefe's_ order; that we had had far too much difficulty
in securing the bad accommodations we had been furnished; that their
promise to prepare a suitable breakfast had been completely disregarded.
We told them that our duty was to send immediate complaint to Tlaxiaco;
that we would, however, give them one more chance. We should not stop
for breakfast, but would proceed upon our journey hungry; if, however,
we sent him further orders regarding our return journey, we should
expect them obeyed to the very letter. With this we mounted.

In vain the _presidente_ and officials begged us to wait, promising that
everything should be prepared. Time was too precious, and away we rode.

Soon after leaving Cuquila we struck a fifty-minute mountain, the summit
of which we made at nine o'clock exactly. Here we sat in the shade and
lunched on bread and pineapples, bought the day before in Tlaxiaco. From
the summit, there was a slow and gentle descent around that ridge, and
then a slow incline along an endless ravine, until at last we came
out upon a crest, from which we looked down upon one of the grandest
mountain scenes of the world. A valley of impressive size, surrounded by
magnificent mountain masses, lay below us, and just to the right, at our
feet, was Chicahuastla. Few people in Mexico are so little known as the
Triquis. Orozco y Berra, usually a good authority, locates them near
Tehuantepec, in the low country. The towns which he calls Triqui are
Chontal; the five true Triqui towns are in the high Mixteca. The largest
is the town which we were now approaching. The Triquis are people of
small stature, dark-brown color, black eyes, aquiline, but low and
rather broad nose; they are among the most conservative, suspicious and
superstitious of Mexican indians. Most of them dress in native clothing,
and all speak the Triqui and not the Spanish language. As a people they
are sadly degraded, through being exceptionally addicted to drink.

Don Guillermo Murcio is a character. He and his family are almost the
only _mestizos_ in the place. He is a hale and hearty blacksmith, and
has lived for fifteen years in this purely indian town, where he has
gained almost unbounded influence among the simple natives. His word is
law, and the town-government trembles before his gaze. He is impetuous
in manner, quick-tempered, and on the slightest suggestion of disregard
of his commands, freely threatens jail or other punishment. He received
us cordially, and we lived at his house, where we were treated to the
best that was available.

We have already referred to the beautiful location of Chicahuastla. Its
appearance is most picturesque. Unlike the indian towns in the Mixteca
which we had so far visited, it has many houses of circular form with
conical roof. It is possible that this style of construction is the
result of African influence. At Chicahuastla we were on the very summit
of the great water-shed, and from it, when the air is clear, one may
look down, over a sea of lesser summits and mountain ranges, to the
waters of the Pacific. Along the Pacific coast, in the state of
Guerrero, are whole towns of Africans, descendants of slaves, who build
their houses after the circular pattern, so common throughout the dark
continent. We did not find in the Triquis any admixture of African
blood, but it is possible the mode of house-building may have been
influenced by negro example.

Our first glimpse of the town suggested a veritable paradise. At eleven
the sky was clear, the sun almost tropical, the whole country smiled
under its warm beams; but at two there came a change. Fogs, so dense as
to shut out the view of what was across the road, drifted down from the
summit on which we had seen cloud masses forming. Deeper and deeper,
wetter and wetter, colder and colder grew the mist. All, wrapped in
their thickest blankets, were shivering, crouched upon the ground,
trying in vain to keep themselves warm. At first we thought this might
be a rare occasion, but were assured that it is an every-day occurrence,
and from our own experience of four or five days, we can easily believe
the statement to be true. How any people can live in such a spot,
suffering keenly twenty hours in the day, simply for the four hours of
clear sunshine and warmth is inexplicable; and the nights were torments!
Don Guillermo's house is well built of logs and plaster, but no house
could keep out that bitter cold night air which chilled us, as we lay in
bed, until we could hardly move.

[Illustration: DON GUILLERMO AND HIS FAMILY; CHICAHUASTLA]

[Illustration: GROUP OF TRIQUIS; CHICAHUASTLA]

We have already stated that the people of Chicahuastla are conservative
and superstitious. Our operations of measuring, photographing and
bust-making filled the town with alarm and concern. It was hard enough
to get our male subjects; the women were yet more difficult. At first
we failed to secure any, but after we had several times told the town
officials that twenty-five women must be forthcoming for measurement,
and Don Guillermo had stormed and threatened, the town-government began
to plan a mode of carrying out our wishes. Close by Don Guillermo's
house was the miserable little village _plaza_, where the women of the
town assembled with corn-cakes and other articles for trade. There, they
met the travelling peddlers coming from Tlaxiaco, from Cuquila and the
coast, and drove their bargains, mostly a matter of trade, not purchase,
with them. Waiting at the place where we were working, until one or two
women were to be seen in the _plaza_, the town officials separated,
going in two directions. In a few minutes an anxious watcher, from our
point of view, might have seen a gradually contracting circle of men
surrounding the _plaza_. Usually at the same time that this circle was
evident to the watcher, it became also evident to the women. With cries
of terror, the poor creatures would start off as fast as their legs
would carry them, over the mountain trails, with the whole town
government, sixteen strong, in pursuit, with yells and screams. It was
like nothing but the chase of deer by hounds. Usually, the women, given
strength by terror, escaped; but once out of three times, perhaps, the
officials returned in triumph with their prisoner in their midst, who
was at once measured and then, if need be, photographed. In course of
time these hunts supplied the twenty-five victims desired.

It might not be uninteresting to describe the events of a single
afternoon in a Triqui town. On one occasion, having eaten dinner, we had
scarcely begun our work when we heard a great uproar and din upon the
road toward Santo Domingo. Looking in that direction, we saw a crowd of
men and boys struggling toward us. As they came nearer, we saw that
six or eight of the party were carrying some awkward and inconvenient
burden. It was a man, sprawling face downward; two or more held his
arms, an equal number his legs; about his waist a belt, knotted behind,
was tied, and then through the knot was thrust a strong pole, which was
being carried by two men, one on either side. Struggling against those
who carried him, raising his face and snarling and gnashing at the
crowd, the prisoner presented a fearful spectacle. It seemed that, being
drunk, he had quarreled with his friend, whom he had nearly murdered
with his _machete_. About the middle of the afternoon we heard a loud
crying in the other direction, toward the church and jail, and, on
looking, saw coming toward us a man, whose head was broken open and from
it was streaming blood, his head and face were covered, and his white
shirt, to the waist and even below, was soaked with the red fluid. He
was wringing his hands and crying in a piteous manner. When he came to
where we stood, he told his tale of woe. He was the majordomo in charge
of the church property. He had expected that the priest would make his
visit to the pueblo on that day, and had so announced it to the people;
the pious parishioners looked forward, with interest, to the coming of
the _padre_. When the day passed, however, and the priest failed to
appear, one of the more religious felt so outraged that he had
broken open the head of the majordomo with a club, on account of his
disappointment. We told the poor fellow to go home and let his wife
clean him up and change his clothing, promising that, if he died, his
assailant should be punished. That evening there was a little moonlight
at Chicuhuastla, the only time during our stay. As we sat eating supper,
we heard an outcry in the direction of the church and jail. Asking Don
Guillermo what might be the cause, he replied that there was probably
some trouble at the jail. We insisted on going to see what might be
happening. Don Guillermo, the plaster-worker, Mariano, Manuel and I,
seizing whatever weapons were convenient at hand, started for the jail.
We found an excited crowd gathered around the doorway. On a log before
the door there sat a creature crazy-drunk. I have never seen a case more
horrible. He screamed, yelled, gnashed his teeth, struck and snapped
at everyone around. The whole village stood in terror. I addressed the
policemen, who seemed quite helpless. "Why not thrust him into the jail?
Quick! Seize him! In with him!" Encouraged by our words, they seized
him, the door was quickly opened, and he was cast into the little room,
which already contained more than thirty persons, the harvest of a
single afternoon. When the door was locked, we saw for the first time
why the policemen had been so timid. One of them came limping up to us,
crying, and showed his leg. From its fleshy part a good mouthful of
flesh had been cleanly bitten by the madman. The wound was bleeding
profusely, and the poor fellow wrung his hands and cried with pain.

[Illustration: VIEW AT CHICAHUASTLA]

We had finished our measurements and photographs, but there had been no
sign as yet of the plaster; concluding that Señor Cordova had forgotten
his promise, we were prepared to leave town early the next morning.
After dark two men came from Tlaxiaco, one of whom brought sufficient
plaster for making two good busts. This plaster had been brought, in
a crude state, twenty miles from the mountains to Tlaxiaco; had been
calcined and ground there, by prisoners in the jail, and then sent
fifteen miles to us over the mountains. We were interested in the men
who brought it. One of them was a prisoner from the Tlaxiaco jail. He
had been sentenced to ten days for drinking, and it was he who carried
the plaster. The other proudly informed us that he was a policeman, and
had come to make sure that the prisoner returned. Thoroughly delighted
at their coming, we broke our custom and gave the men a trifle. Alas,
the day! That very night both men, policeman and prisoner, were thrust
into the local jail, helplessly drunk.

One evening, during our stay at Chicahuastla, Don Guillermo begged me
to go into the kitchen to examine a baby, upon whom he was thinking
of performing a surgical operation. The creature was a boy some three
months old, pure indian. We had heard him crying at night ever since
we had come, but had not seen him. A tumor, or some growth, was on his
neck, below the chin. Don Guillermo handed me the razor, in order that
I might remove the swelling, but I refused the task. The story of the
child is sad. It is the son of a young indian boy and girl, not married.
That would not be a serious matter among the Triquis. For some reason,
however, the mother did not like the child, and scarcely was it born,
when she went with it into the forest; there in a lonely place she
choked it, as she thought, to death, and buried it in the ground. The
town authorities, suspecting something of her purpose, had followed her
and were watching at the moment. No sooner had she left the spot than
they dug up the child, found it still alive, and brought it to Don
Guillermo, who had kept it at the town's charge.

The last night of our stay at Chicahuastla, just after supper,
a cavalcade came to the door. It was the _jefe_ of the next
district--Juxtlahuaca--with a guard of six mounted men. Apparently a
pleasant fellow, he was at the moment excited over a recent disturbance
in his district. In an attempt which he had made to adjust a certain
difficulty, he and his guard had been fired on and stones thrown
from the height above them, by the people of the pueblo. One of his
companions died from the effect of the attack. The officer plainly
feared an outbreak or uprising, and was nervous and uneasy, though Don
Guillermo assured him that in his house there was absolutely no danger.
Finally, we quieted down and all went to bed, we with the intention of
an early start the next morning.

[Illustration: AT WORK; MEASURING]

[Illustration: AT WORK; BUST MAKING]

After an uneasy night, I awoke about five o'clock. Just as I was
thinking of calling my companions, I felt a faint trembling, which
rapidly increased to a heavy shaking, of the house in which we slept.
There was a moment's pause, and then a second shaking, which began
stronger than the other, but which lasted about the same time. It was
the most serious earthquake shock we ever experienced in Mexico. Had the
house been made of brick and plaster, considerable damage might have
been done. Everyone was wide awake in an instant. The whole town was in
excitement. The church-bell was rung and the people flocked out into the
street. The shock passed at exactly 5:20, and, in other towns, notably
in Oaxaca, it did considerable damage.

Two days before, we had sent word to the authorities at Cuquila, that we
should breakfast with them on our way back to Tlaxiaco, and ordered them
to be ready for our coming. This was the opportunity which had been
promised them for redeeming themselves and avoiding complaint to their
_jefe_. Arriving at the town at 9:40, we were met at the roadside by
some of the officials, who led us at once to the town-house. Here the
whole town government was gathered to greet us; politely each one,
stepping forward, removed his hat and kissed my hand; they then invited
us to sit down at the table and breakfast,--whereupon eggs, chicken,
_tortillas_ and _frijoles_--the best the town could supply--were set
before us. The whole government sat by, looking on as we ate.

Immediately after breakfast, in accordance with our order previously
sent, we were taken to see a potter at work. Cuquila is famous for two
lines of manufacture, pottery and woolen garments. The pottery here made
is skillfully shaped into wonderfully large vessels of different forms.
The product goes throughout this whole district, and even down to the
Pacific coast, a hundred miles distant. Along the roads it is a common
thing to meet parties of three or four men carrying great loads of
water-jars, large bowls, etc., for sale or trade. While we were
inspecting the potter's work, a slight shock of earthquake, almost too
gentle to be noticed, passed through the place.

At Cuquila, we found that we should not meet Señor Cordova at Tlaxiaco.
He had passed through the town the night before, on his way to
Juxtlahuaca, with a band of soldiers to assist his neighboring _jefe_ in
maintaining order.

Leaving our Cuquila reprobates in friendly and gentle mood, we started
for Tlaxiaco, where we arrived at half-past two. Something after four
o'clock, we heard a violent ringing of the church-bell and saw the
people flocking out onto the streets; looking up at the church-tower,
although we did not feel the shock, we saw that the whole church was
being violently shaken, and that the ringing bells, which we had heard,
were not moved by human hands. This third shock of the day was more
strongly felt in other districts, than with us. In the City of Mexico,
three hundred miles away, it was the most severe of the day.

The whole town was in commotion; people threw themselves upon their
knees in the streets and prayed to the Virgin for protection. Later
in the day, we saw a priest and a saint's figure passing through the
streets, and as they passed the people paid reverence. Surely the little
procession, illegal though it was, must have been successful, for there
were no further shocks. We found here a most interesting superstition,
which we had not met before, but which we heard several times later, in
other districts. We were assured that the earthquake was but one of many
signs that the world was coming to an end. We discovered that thousands
of the people expected the ending of the world in 1900, and when we
asked why, were reminded that this was the last year of the century.
This is certainly a survival of ancient superstition. The old Mexicans
did not count their years by hundreds or centuries, as we do, but by
cycles of 52 years each. It was believed that the world would come to an
end at the close of a cycle, and important ceremonies were conducted
to avert such a catastrophe. It is clear that the old idea, of the
destruction of the world at the close of a cycle, has been transferred
to the new mode of reckoning time.

[Illustration: VIEW AT CHICAHUASTLA]

From Tlaxiaco to Teposcolula, there was a cart-road, though it was
possible that no _carreta_ ever passed over it. It presented little good
scenery. We passed the pueblos of San Martin Jilmeca, San Felipe, and
San Miguel. Just before reaching the first of these towns, the road
passes over a coarse rock mass, which weathers into spheroidal shells.
At Jilmeca and some other points along the day's route the rock over
which we passed was a white tufaceous material loaded with streaks of
black flint. Sometimes this black flint passes into chert and chalcedony
of blue and purple tints. Here and there, along the mountain sides,
we caught glimpses of rock exposures, which looked snow-white in the
distance. Between Jilmeca and San Felipe there was a pretty brook, with
fine cypresses along the banks, and a suspension bridge of great logs.
Having passed through San Felipe and San Miguel, a pleasant road,
through a gorge, brought us to the valley in which Teposcolula lies. The
great convent church, historically interesting, is striking in size and
architecture. The priest, an excellent man, is a pure-blooded Mixtec
indian, talking the language as his mother tongue. With great pride
he showed us about the building, which was once a grand Dominican
monastery. The old carved wooden cupboard for gold and silver articles,
used in the church service, is fine work. The gold and silver articles
for which it was built have long since disappeared. In the _patio_ are
many old paintings, most of which are badly damaged, and some of which
have been repaired with pieces cut from other pictures, not at all like
the missing piece. Among these pictures is a series of scenes from the
life of Santo Domingo. Of the figures in the church, two are fairly
good; one, which is famous, represents Our Lady of the Rosary. In a
little chapel are buried the remains of the old friars; here also is a
beautiful old carved confessional. In front of the old church is a great
court surrounded by a stone wall, which is surmounted here and there
with little, pointed, square pillars. To the right of the church is a
mass of masonry, in reddish-brown freestone, consisting of a series of
arches, now more or less in ruins. When the convent was at the height
of its splendor, the crowd of worshippers was too large for the church
itself, and these beautiful arches were erected to receive the overflow.
In the church itself, the plaster in the domes of the towers and the
coloring on the walls and domes had chipped and fallen, on account of
the earthquake, the day before. In the ruins of the upper rooms of the
convent proper, stone and mortar, dislodged from the decaying walls by
the same shocks, lay in little heaps on the floor.

The _cura_ had ten churches in his charge. He says there are 2,000
people in Teposcolula, few of whom are indians. In his ten churches,
he has 12,000 parishioners. He seemed a devout man, and emphasized the
importance of his preaching to his congregation in their native tongue
and his. So convinced is he that the native idiom of the people is the
shortest road to their heart and understanding, that he has prepared a
catechism and Christian doctrine in the modern Mixtec, which has been
printed. The town itself is desolate; the _plaza_ is much too large,
and dwarfs the buildings which surround it, and signs of desolation
and decay mark everything. With the fondness which Mexicans show for
high-sounding and pious inscriptions, the municipality has painted,
upon the side of the town-house, in full sight for a long distance, the
words, "Nations to be great and free must be educated." From here to
Nochixtlan there was nothing of special interest. For some four leagues
the road was through a gorge; from this valley we mounted to the height,
just before reaching the town of Tiltepec, from which we caught an
extensive view down over the great valley in which Nochixtlan and this
town lie. From Tiltepec we had a rather tiresome, hot, and painful ride,
passing San Juan Tillo and Santiago Tillo. By half past one we were
again in the city of Nochixtlan.

[Illustration: TRIQUI CHILDREN; CHICAHUASTLA]

[Illustration: MIXTEC POTTER; CUQUILA]



CHAPTER XII

THE MIXES REVISITED

(1899)


After resting at Oaxaca, from our trip into the high Mixteca, we made
preparations for our new journey, leaving at three o'clock in the
afternoon for the land of the Zapotecs and Mixes. Our late start
compelled stopping at Tule for the night. In the morning we went on to
Tlacolula, where we nooned, in order to see the _jefe_ in regard to our
work. He is a competent man, showed great interest in our plan, and gave
valuable advice, in addition to the orders to his officials. He warned
us that we might meet some difficulty at Milta, where we were planning
to make our study of the Zapotecs, on account of the _fiesta_ then in
progress. He told us to notify him at once in case matters did not go
well there.

The _fiesta_ at Milta should have been a three days' affair. This year,
however, it began on Sunday with the result that it filled four days.
Reaching there in the afternoon of Monday, we found the whole town in
great excitement and dissipation. The _plaza_ had been enclosed with a
fencing of poles, and _toros_ were the amusement of the afternoon. The
country sports with bulls are different from the regular bull-fights of
the cities. Any one takes part who pleases, and while there is little of
trained skill, there is often much of fun, frolic, and daring. The bull
is led into the ring from outside by a lasso. It is then lassoed from
behind and dragged up to a post or tree, to which it is firmly tied to
prevent its moving. A rope is then tightly cinched about its middle and
a man mounts upon the back of the beast, fixing his feet firmly in the
rope below, between it and the animal, and winding his hands into it
above. The ropes which hold the bull are then withdrawn so as to set
it loose. Dozens of men and big boys, with jackets and _serapes_, then
torment the beast, which, plunging and dashing at them, scatters them in
every direction. Sometimes the angry animal attempts to break through
the fence, causing excitement and consternation among the crowds who
have been hanging to it and looking over. When, as sometimes happens, he
does break through, there is great scattering before him, and closing
in behind him, until he is again captured. The man riding on the bull's
back clings as long as he can, in spite of the plunging and other
frantic efforts of the animal to unseat him; comparatively few stay long
in their uncomfortable position, and when they are thrown, much agility
is required to escape from the furious animal.

[Illustration: IN TLACOLULA]

[Illustration: TYPICAL ZAPOTEC HOUSE; TLACOLULA]

As we rode into town these sports were in full blast; everyone, save the
bull-fighters, was drunk. Now and then a tube of iron filled with powder
was exploded. A band in front of the municipal house was supplying
music. A little group of men with _pitos_ and _tambours_ strolled from
place to place, playing. Much selling was in progress in the booths, the
chief articles offered being intoxicating drinks. A cluster of drunken
vocalists, sitting flat upon the ground, but almost unable to hold
themselves upright, were singing horribly to untuned guitars. In front
of the town-house a bench had been dragged out by the authorities for
the benefit of the _cura_, who, seated thereon, was watching the sports
with maudlin gravity. The _presidente_ and other officials were standing
by the _padre_, and all were drinking at frequent intervals. Thinking
the moment opportune, I approached the party and handed them my
documents; but both _presidente_ and priest were far too drunk to
realize my needs. Surveying the drunken town, I felt that it was
necessary to act promptly and firmly if we were to accomplish anything
before the _fiesta_ ended. The only member of the government who was not
extremely drunk that afternoon was the _sindico_. Calling him to me, I
addressed him, scorning both priest and _presidente_. I refused to drink
with them, saying that they were already too drunk to know their duties,
and that both should be ashamed of their condition. At this time the
_cura_ asked me if I were a clergyman. On my replying no, he remarked
that I looked like one. I told him yes, that I was frequently mistaken
for one; that a priest in the Mixteca had even thought that I was a
bishop. He then drunkenly inquired whether I were married, and on my
replying no, made the astonishing observation that then, it was certain
that I could not be a priest,--that every priest had one wife, bishops
two, and archbishops three. This drunken priest had just been making
certain observations to the _presidente_ calculated to interfere with my
work, and I felt that I now had my opportunity. So, turning upon him, I
gravely reproved him for his remark. I told him that, in his language
and his drunkenness, he was setting a bad example to his parish; that he
should go at once to the _curato_, and not venture forth during the time
that we remained in the town. Half-sobered by my order, he arose without
a word, went to his house, and did not again appear for four days.
Having gotten him out of the way, I turned to the drunken officials and
told them that, early the next morning, I should begin my work, and
that they must make the needful preparations; that I wished to measure,
photograph, and make busts of the population. I told them that at
present they were too drunk to aid me, but that the following morning
things must be different; that enough at least to attend to my orders
must be sober. After supper, attracted by the noise and hubbub, we set
out to see the _plaza_. Torches were flaring in every direction, and
considerable business was being done at all the booths. Crowds of
drunken people were squatting on the ground in all directions; at the
town-house the band of music was playing the _jarabe_, and 40 or 50
persons were dancing this lively dance. Old and young, men and women,
boys and girls, all were taking part; no one paid attention to any other
person, but each seemed to be trying to prove himself the most agile of
the party. All were drunk, some astonishingly so. Occasionally a
dancer would bump against such an one, who would fall head over heels.
Immediately picking himself up, he would go at it again, with even
greater vigor; sometimes one fell, of himself, in a helpless heap,
and lay where he fell, until kicked out of the way or until the music
stopped. All around was pandemonium; yelling, singing, cursing, fighting
were in progress; the jail was crowded, but every now and then a new
case was dragged up; for an instant the door was opened, and against the
crowd, pushing from within, the new prisoner would be crowded into the
cell. At one time in the evening a cry arose that a murder was being
committed in the jail. The door was opened, the policemen crowded in,
and the two men who had clinched and were battling were torn apart. One
was dragged outside and thrown into the woman's jail, and for a time the
air was blue with the most insulting cries. Convinced that no work
could be done in the afternoons, we labored with the greatest possible
diligence each morning. The first morning, going to the town-house,
we ordered subjects to be brought. The _presidente_ was drunk; the
_sindico_ also; still, some of the town officials were found in
a condition able to do our bidding. Having measured a few of the
officials, we proposed to take such prisoners as still remained in the
jail, from the batch of the preceding day. There were eighteen of these,
and with them we made a good beginning. Among the prisoners we found our
first subject for modelling. Oiling him, we began to make the moulds.
The back-piece had been applied; the second piece, covering the lower
part of the face and upper chest, was hardening, and we were busily
engaged in putting on the final application over the upper part of the
face. At this moment the _presidente_ staggered into the jail. When
his eyes fell upon our subject, he stopped aghast; for a moment he was
unable to speak; then he groaned out the words, "O horrible spectacle!
To think of seeing a son of this town in such a position!" As I was
beginning to laugh and ridicule him, the old mother of the young man
came bursting into the jail, weeping and trembling, to see what fate had
overtaken her son. Wringing her hands, the tears rolled down her face,
and her voice was choked with sobs, as she asked pitifully whether he
must die; she told me that he was her only support, and that, without
him, she was absolutely alone. Taking the old woman outside, while the
mask should be completed, I chatted with her, and as soon as the pieces
of the mould were removed, delivered her precious son, unharmed, into
her hands.

Just as we were ready for a new subject, a young fellow, better dressed
than most, passed by. We called him to come in and be measured, but with
a somewhat insolent manner, he walked by, paying no attention to our
words. Sending the policemen for him, they soon returned with the
report, "_No quiere_" (He does not care to come). To allow a first
refusal was not to be thought of, so we ordered his return. Again the
policemen came back with no result. Thereupon I declared that no more
work should be done until he came; that time would be lost thereby, and
the _jefe's_ order would be disregarded, but that it was not our fault.
Upon this the _presidente_ informed us that the order was not explicit;
it did not state that people must be measured; he would consult the
civil code to see whether anyone but criminals must be measured. "Very
good," said I, "do as you like; but unless that young man is brought in
we shall send complaint to the _jefe_; send for a messenger at once to
carry my report." At this stage, the policemen returned, telling me that
the young man wanted did not belong to this town; that he could not be
found, and probably had gone home. We told them that we did not believe
them, but that we would proceed with our work; however, I said, that,
if he really were a stranger but appeared again, I should order his
immediate arrest and jailing. To this they all agreed; and we continued
work until the town was again too drunk for anything to be done.

[Illustration: ORGANO CACTUS; TLACOLULA]

[Illustration: WHERE TREE FERNS GROW]

About the middle of the afternoon, when the bull-fighting was at its
height, the young man wanted appeared in the ring as the chief fighter
and attraction of the day. Stepping at once to the policemen I told
them that he must be brought immediately to the town-house,--that
the bull-fight must cease while our matters were arranged. With much
grumbling and complaint they obeyed. The young man dismounted from his
bull and was brought by the policeman before us. Here we asked the
_sindico_ the name and residence of the young man; and, as we supposed,
he belonged in Mitla. Asking him why he had not come to be measured
when he was told to do so, he replied that we had already measured him.
Telling him that lying would not save him, I commanded him to appear the
following morning for measurement,--that otherwise he would be sent a
prisoner to Oaxaca. In the morning he did not appear until officials
were sent to bring him. After he had gone through the ordeal of
measurement he swore eternal friendship to me, and at no time afterward
was I able to pass him, on the street or in the square, without his
begging me to drink _tepache_ with him.

Mitla is famous for its weaving; fine _mantas_ of wool are made there
in two chief styles--one a long strip of black or blue-black cloth, the
other a rich red, sometimes banded or striped with black. These Mitla
_mantas_ are widely sold to Zapotecs, in all the district around, and
form the characteristic women's dress. The Zapotecs of this district
wear something on their feet that more nearly resembles true shoes than
the footgear of any other Indians in southern Mexico. The sandal of the
man has a projecting heel-flap which is bound around the ankles by means
of thongs, and forms a good protection to the hind part of the foot. The
women have not only such a flap, even higher than that used by the men,
but also a broad strip of leather over the forward part of the foot,
leaving the toes peeping out in front; between the heel flap and the toe
covering, the foot is quite as well enclosed, excepting for the toes, as
in a white man's shoe.

It was quite impossible, with the amount of work we had to do, and the
difficulties under which we labored, to give the least attention to
the ruins. We arranged, however, to make a photograph of the town
authorities standing in the great court of one of the fine old
buildings--a court the walls of which are covered with beautiful mosaic
decorations, betraying taste and skill. The motley crew of half-drunk
officials, miserably dressed, degraded, poor, in this scene of past
magnificence, called up thoughts of the contrast between the government
of old Mitla and the present,--of past magnificence and modern squalor.

[Illustration: THE CONTRAST; PAST AND PRESENT--MITLA]

Having accomplished all we wished at Mitla, we again struck eastward
toward the land of the Mixes. Late in starting, we made no attempt to go
further than San Lorenzo that afternoon. The old road was familiar,
and from there on, through the following day, everything came back
to memory. Even individual trees, projecting rock masses, and little
streams, were precisely as we remembered them from our journey of three
years earlier. We reached Ayutla in the evening a little before sunset.
Riding directly to the municipal house we summoned the town government.
We had not provided ourselves with orders from the _jefe_ of the
district, as Villa Alta, the _jefatura_, lay far out of our course. We
planned to use our general letter from the governor. When the officials
assembled we presented our order and explained it; we told them what we
needed for the night, and arrangements were at once made for supplying
us; we then told the _presidente_ of the work we had before us, and
informed him that, because his town was small, we should ask for only
thirty-five men for measurement, and that these must be ready, early in
the morning, with no trouble to us.

The _presidente_ demurred; he doubted whether the people would come to
be measured; we told him that they would not come, of course, unless he
sent for them. When morning came, although everything had been done for
our comfort, there was no sign of subjects. That no time might be lost,
we took the _presidente_ and three or four other officials, who were
waiting around the house; then, with firmness, we ordered that he should
bring other subjects. The officials were gone for upwards of an hour,
and when they returned, had some ten or twelve men with them. "Ah," said
I, "you have brought these, then, for measurement?" "On the contrary,
sir," said the _presidente_, "this is a committee of the principal men
of the town who have come to tell you that the people do not wish to be
measured." "Ah," said I, "so you are a committee, are you, come to tell
me that you do not wish to be measured?" "Yes." Waiting a moment, I
turned to the officials and asked, "And which one particularly does
not wish to be measured of this committee?" Immediately, a most
conservative-looking individual was pointed out. Addressing him, I said,
"And so you do not wish to be measured?" "No sir," said he, "I will not
be measured." "Very good," said I. "What is your name?" He told us.
I marked it down upon my blank, and wrote out the description of his
person. Then, seizing my measuring rod, I said to him quite sharply,
"Well, well! Take off your hat and sandals. We must lose no time!"
And before he really realized what we were doing, I had taken his
measurements. Having finished with him, I turned again to the
_presidente_. "And what other member of the committee particularly
objects to being measured?" As I spoke, another man was indicated.
Turning to him, I said, "Let us lose no time. Take off your hat and
sandals while I measure you." In an instant the thing was done. The
operation was carried through. Before I had finished with the second
case, the others began to smile and snicker, and when I was ready for
my third subject I simply asked, "Who next?" and they came one after
another without complaint. Having measured all the members of the
committee, I soberly addressed them. "Now, if there is any harm in this
that I have done, you are all as badly off as can be. If I were you, I
would try to get as many other people in the same position as I could;
go out and bring in others." Before noon the work was done, and we were
ready to go on to Juquila.

We rested, however, the balance of the day, and spent a second night at
Ayutla. The day had been given to drinking, throughout the town. It will
be remembered that the village proper lies on a terrace, upon a slope
above the town-house. As we sat before the house, in the afternoon
and evening, we heard from time to time yells and cries above. Some
policemen, who were standing up there to keep order, would then appear
upon the edge of the slope, and, waving their hands, would loudly cry
for help; then the policemen from the town-house would run to their
assistance, and in a little time the party would return, dragging one
or more victims to the jail. This operation continued from early in the
afternoon until late at night; fully fifteen or twenty persons were
brought down from the village to the jail during that time.

We had hoped to find the valley of clouds, and the great cloud cataract,
on the road to Juquila, but were doomed to disappointment. When we stood
upon the summit, looking down into what before had been the sea of mist,
the whole place was clear, and everything, to the very bottom of the
valley, was visible. The further journey seemed more tedious than
before, and the latter part of the road seemed truly endless. There was
not a breath of air; the sun poured its hot rays down mercilessly. Long
before we reached Juquila I felt, for the first time in Mexico, that I
was suffering from fever. After seven and a half hours on the road,
we reached the town at 1:30 in the afternoon, and went at once to the
town-house, where we were well received, and arrangements were made
for our comfort. When they saw that I was suffering, they brought out
hammocks, of which I made no use. Making myself a bed of blankets upon
the floor, I lay down in my misery and covered myself from the world, a
blanket over my head. After some hours, I felt that we were losing
time, and that we must, at least, make arrangements for the work of the
following day. It was now dusk. I sent for the officials, and when they
appeared, told them that, notwithstanding my suffering, I could not
lose time, and that early in the morning they must bring persons for
measurement. There was a good deal of discussion over the matter. The
officials were dissatisfied that my order was not signed by the _jefe_
of their district and dated from San Carlos. They suggested that we send
a messenger to San Carlos to inquire whether the order was all right. I
replied that four days would be consumed in going and coming; that time
was precious, and that it was impossible for us to wait. Seeing that
they were likely to refuse to do what I wished, I made a little speech,
in which I told them they had better do what I asked, and that promptly.
No one so far had recognized me as having been there before. I told them
that they had never had better friend that I; that this was not the
first time I had visited Juquila; that when I came before I had had
difficulty; that my companion, presenting an order from the governor,
had been badly received by their _presidente_, who tried to do him
violence; that if I had reported this incident, they knew well what
would have happened; that, however, being their good friend, I had never
reported it. Having jogged their memory regarding the past, I suggested
to them that a report of the previous occurrence, with their present
disregard of orders, might be serious. I told them that they knew what I
desired; that they might at once inform me whether it would be done or
not; if they decided in the negative, the _secretario_ and my _mozo_
must start at once on foot to Oaxaca, carrying my complaint to the
governor; that, as for me, having started them upon their journey, I
should leave early the following morning going to some town where the
people knew what obedience to the law meant. They at once promised that
no time should be lost, and that, the following morning, I should have
the subjects for whom I asked, viz., thirty-five men and twenty-five
women. Nor was it simply promises; having told them that I would begin
early in the morning whether I were well or ill, and that I wanted no
delay, we found our thirty-five men waiting, at seven o'clock.

[Illustration: THE LAND OF THE MIXES]

At Juquila the system of public crying from the _plaza_ is fully
developed. The town lies in a valley, and most of the houses are on
slopes surrounding the little plain or terrace upon which the _plaza_ is
situated on which the government house is built. When aid was needed
by the town authorities, whether _zacate_ for our horses, food for
ourselves, objects for inspection, or what not, one of the officers,
whose business it seemed to be, stepped out upon the _plaza_, and,
raising his voice would cry out what was needed by the authorities.
Whoever had the things desired, coming out before their houses, would
cry back the amount, description and variety of the articles they could
supply. This we found to be the constant practice.

Notwithstanding the clearness of the preceding day, our day of working
was cold, damp, and foggy. The sea of cloud and cataract of mists must
have been in full operation. Where we were, a heavy wind was blowing
and, before night, rain falling. We had not thought of the possibility
of heavy storms or damaged roads at this time of the year, but, before
night came, the people of the village expressed surprise that we should
talk of leaving the next morning. They assured us that at Quezaltepec
and Ixcuintepec it was surely raining heavily, and that the roads would
be wet, slippery and impassable. Long before we went to bed, a gale was
blowing and we felt doubts regarding further progress. In the morning
it was still wet and chilly; all told of terrible roads and risks in
proceeding; we delayed. Finally, we decided to press on at least to
Ocotopec. We had tried to send the _mozos_ forward with our baggage, but
it was plain they would not move until we did. Finally, somewhat after
nine, we started. It was still heavy and chilly; we found the road much
better than we feared; at some points it was slippery, but not for
long distances. Until we were on the final descent to Ocotopec we were
sheltered from the cold wind. To be sure, here and there, where the road
passed little funnel openings along the crest, we felt fully the cold
wind loaded with mist.

We noticed, what on the other trip escaped my attention, the profound
difference in vegetation between the two sides of the hill upon the
crest of which we were travelling. The one slope, cold and damp, was
densely forested with trees, loaded with air-plants and orchids. The
other slope, warmer and drier, was far less heavily grown, and in large
part, with pines. Among the plants noticed by the roadside was a species
of pinguicula which was very common on damp clay-cuttings. Its leaves
form a close, flat rosette upon the ground, from which a slender stalk
rises, with a a single crimson flower. When we reached the final descent
to the town, we caught the full force of the cold, mist-laden wind,
which struck our faces and made us shiver. Yet it was on this very
slope, so frequently cold and wet, that the oaks, covered with
air-plants and blooming orchids, were at their finest. Ferns in
astonishing variety, from the most delicate, through giant herbaceous
forms, to magnificent tree-ferns; lycopods of several species, and
selaginellas, in tufts, covered the slopes; and great banks of begonias,
in fine bloom, showed themselves. Before we reached the village we were
forced to dismount, on account of the slippery condition of the road,
and entered town on foot.

In our other journey Ocotopec made no impression on us. It is really one
of the most picturesque and interesting of the Mixe towns. It is built
upon a slope, which is cut and built into a series of little terraced
gardens; clusters or groups of houses stand on the terraces. The houses
are rectangular, built of adobe brick and heavy thatch, with a thick
comb of thatch riding the ridge. Unlike most Mixe churches, the church
at Ocotopec is entire, and in good condition. It is built of stone. The
town is purely Indian, and the type is the best we had seen. Had there
been light for photographing, we should have stopped there and done our
work, instead of passing on to Ixcuintepec. As it was, we spent the
night, and were well treated. Leaving early in the morning, we
hurried to Quezaltepec for dinner, the road being better than we had
anticipated. The town is prettily distributed upon a curved crest; the
houses are neat, built of adobe or of poles daubed with mud. Much fruit
is grown here, and coffee is an important crop. In almost every yard
mats were spread out, on which coffee was drying, or being sorted by
people squatting on the ground. Considerable cotton is woven at this
point.

Leaving at 3:40, the evening ride through the forest was magnificent.
The flora was such as we have before described. As we rode through the
higher forests, we constantly heard birds, notable among which were the
_claríns_, with their fine clear notes. It was dark before we reached
Camotlan. Nowhere had we been better treated. We were shown at once into
a clean room, and were soon surrounded by bustle and preparation for our
comfort. There are but 143 inhabitants, of whom six--four men and two
women--have goitres. We had been previously informed that the whole town
was goitrous. There were three deaf-mutes, but no idiots, in the town.
Inquiring for books printed in the Mixe tongue, we were informed that
the choir-master had one. On expressing my desire to see it, they sent
to bring him. We were astonished at his appearance. The messengers who
brought him carried him in their arms, and set him down upon the floor,
when we saw that he had been born without legs, and with sadly deformed
arms and hands. Yet, when once placed upon the floor, he moved about
easily, and had a cheery face and sunny temper. He was delighted to show
us his book and took the greatest pride in reading from it. It is truly
remarkable that he can do this. The book was written in the dialect of
Juquila of more than 170 years ago. The dialect of Juquila was no doubt
then different from that of Camotlan, and during the 170 years there
have been great changes, even in that town itself. As I watched the
man read from his book, I noticed that he pronounced parts of words
differently from the way in which they were spelled; how he had worked
out for himself, unaided, the proper meaning and purport of the words
was a mystery. I had intended to purchase the book, but found him so
attached to it that I gave up the plan. Had he been a normal man, I
should have insisted; but then, if he had been a normal man, he would
not have had the book nor known how to read it.

From Camotlan we rode steadily for five hours to reach Ixcuintepec.
There were considerable stretches of slippery road to be passed. The two
gorge rides, the bridges of vines, and the houses along the way, were
beautiful as ever, but the magnificent mountain forests were left
entirely behind us. The old church at Ixcuintepec is visible on the high
crest for a considerable distance. As we made the final climb, the boys
noticed in the trees structures one and a half feet or two feet in
diameter, and somewhat dome-shaped. I should have taken them for wasps'
nests, but the party insisted that they saw parrots come out of them,
and that no doubt young parrots were in the nests. Immediately there was
great excitement, for Manuel had all along wanted to capture a parrot to
take home with him. The party stopped, and stones were thrown to drive
out the birds, but with no result. Finally Mariano climbed the tree,
creeping out along the branches almost to the nest; just at that moment
an unusually well-aimed stone struck the nest, but instead of parrots,
out streamed a great cloud of wasps, which flew straight towards the
_mozo_, who lost no time in getting down from his precarious position.

[Illustration: VIEW IN QUEZALTEPEC]

We found Ixcuintepec almost deserted; hardly any of the town officials
were there. Almost everyone was off, working in the coffee _fincas_.
We quickly saw that we had made a great mistake in waiting for our
remaining subjects until this town. Not only were men conspicuous by
their absence, but the women were extremely hostile. They objected to
our photographing their houses or themselves. They drove the messenger
whom I had sent to measure a house, for the purpose of making a
miniature reproduction, off the premises with clubs. The _mozos_, who
had accompanied us thus far, had no intention of going farther, and the
problem of getting carriers--which had troubled us ever since we had
left Mitla--assumed serious proportions. It was with great difficulty
and much bluster that we secured the food we needed and the _mozos_.
When the _mozos_ came, three out of the four whom it was necessary
for us to employ, were mere boys, the heartiest and best of whom was
scarcely ten years old. In vain we declared that it was impossible for
such little fellows to carry the burdens that needed transportation. It
was plain that they were our only resource. Starting the three boys
upon a short cut to San Miguel, the oldest _mozo_ and ourselves went by
another road to Coatlan. It was fortunate for us that the school-teacher
at this town was interested in our work. We took possession of the
schoolhouse, showed our orders to the officials, and, after much
difficulty, obtained our wishes. The town was almost as deserted as had
been Ixcuintepec, but after infinite difficulty, we succeeded in getting
sufficient subjects to complete our work.

We had thought ourselves unfortunate at Ixcuintepec and Coatlan; the
worst lay before us. We found San Miguel deserted. Our three _mozos_ who
had been paid, and ordered to go simply to that village, and there to
leave our things, had left before we arrived. The man who had come with
us, we had dismissed before we realized conditions. The coffee had
been gathered for the season; the chief man of the place was in the
mountains; there was no town government; neither prayers, threats, nor
bribes produced food for ourselves and our horses; two or three men
around the place would not be hired as _mozos_. We finally were forced
to leave our busts, plaster, photographic outfit and plates on a bench
under an open shed, and go on alone to Santiago Guevea. It was a bitter
disappointment, because our previous experience at San Miguel had been
so pleasant and interesting.

When we left Coatlan that morning, it had been through clouds and
drizzling rain. When we passed through San Miguel, conditions were but
little better. From there, we went through a gorge road, everywhere
passing little plantations of coffee, bananas, and tobacco. Finally, we
began our last mountain or forest climb. The wind with the rain became
colder and more penetrating. At the summit, we found a typical norther
raging, and at points our animals and ourselves were almost blown from
the crest. In good weather the road is long, but through this it was
dreadful. Few towns compare in beauty of location, and appearance from
a distance, with Santiago Guevea. It was nearly five when we drew up in
front of the crowded town-house. It will be remembered that this town is
Zapotec, Coatlan being the last Mixe town. The school-teacher interested
himself in our welfare, securing for us a real sleeping-room with cots,
putting our horses into the corridor of the schoolhouse, and arranging
for our meals. Chocolate and bread were at once furnished, and at eight
o'clock a good supper was sent to our room. In the _plaza_ outside, the
wind was blowing a hurricane and the cold cut like a knife; but the
house in which we slept was tight and warm. In the morning, we found the
wild weather still continuing. It had been out of the question to send
_mozos_ to San Miguel the night before, and it seemed wicked to start
them out in such a storm of wind, fog, rain and cold. Still, our time
was precious, and we ordered men sent to the place where our stuff had
been left, to fetch it; meanwhile, we decided to wait until they should
appear. Our animals had had nothing to eat the previous day, except a
little corn we had brought with us from Coatlan. We therefore ordered
_zacate_ brought for them. The night before, I had inquired regarding
the acquaintances we had made at San Miguel in our previous trip. I
learned that the man had died less than a month before, but that the
widow, the four boys and the little girl, having finished their work at
the coffee _finca_ at San Miguel, were in town. Accordingly we called
at the house. The woman immediately recognized me, and asked after Don
Ernesto. The boys were sleeping, bedded on piles of coffee, but were
routed from their slumber to greet us. At first, none of them remembered
me, but the little girl did, and soon Castolo also. Their house was
comfortable, and piles of corn, coffee, and bananas were stacked up in
the place. They invited us to stop with them, but we were already well
housed by the authorities. As we left, the woman went to the corner,
and, from a pile of similar objects, took two things neatly wrapped in
corn-husks. On opening them, we found that they were eggs, which are
frequently wrapped in this way for storage, in all the indian towns.
Although we had ordered food for the horses, at seven o'clock it had
not appeared. We called at the town-house several times, but still no
_zacate_. Our dinner came, and the afternoon passed, but still no fodder
for the horses was produced, and the poor animals had eaten nothing,
practically, for two whole days, although subjected to hard work and the
pelting storm. We anxiously watched for the coming of the _mozos_ with
our equipment. The storm, though still raging, was abating, and we could
see well down the road. When, at half past three in the afternoon, there
was no sign of either men or fodder, we called the town authorities to
account. We told them that we would wait no longer in a town where our
animals could only starve; that they must forward our boxes, plaster and
busts promptly to Tehuantepec; that we should hold them responsible for
loss or delay, and that all should be delivered at the office of the
_jefe_. Paying no attention to their entreaties that we should wait a
little longer for the fodder, which they promised, as they had so many
times before, would come soon, we saddled our animals, and at 4:20 left
the town. Just as we started, little Castolo appeared with two bunches
of _zacate_ sent by his mother, as a present to Don Federico.

Certainly, there must be a new and better road from Guevea to Santa
Maria than the one we traversed in our other journey, and which again,
following from memory, we used. It was a fearful trail, neglected and
ruined, over slippery rock and rough, sharp-splintered stone. Still we
pressed on rapidly, making even better time than we had been assured at
the town that we might expect to make. Never were we more happy than in
reaching Santa Maria, lovely in the moonlight, with its great church,
fine municipal-house, cocoa-nut trees and thatched huts. Here was no
sign either of the norther or the rain. The next day's journey was over
the hot dusty road with glimpses now and then of the distant Pacific and
Tlacotepec for destination. The following morning we pressed on toward
Tehuantepec, through the dust and heat, reaching the city at noonday. To
our great surprise, we found the _mozos_, with the plaster, the busts,
and the boxes of plates, waiting for us since four o'clock in the
morning.



CHAPTER XIII

ABOUT TEHUANTEPEC (1899)


Since our former visit to Tehuantepec, that hot and dusty city had
suffered terrible misfortune. Through a period of several months it was
subject to frequent shocks of earthquakes; for a time these were of
daily occurrence, and on one occasion there were seventeen in a single
day. The town still showed the destruction produced by these earthquake
shocks, although for some months past there had been none. Houses,
stores, churches, all presented great cracks and bare spots from which
plaster had fallen. Many of the people had left the city permanently;
those who remained were completely discouraged and unwilling to spend
trouble and money in the repair of their houses. Tehuantepec is, of
course, a city of considerable size; situated on a railroad, it has
lost its importance since that thoroughfare was constructed. It was,
formerly, the natural point through which all the produce of the
surrounding country passed; the railroad has given similar opportunity
to other places, to the loss of Tehuantepec. Between earthquakes, the
damage resulting from the railroad, and the location of the military
forces at Juchitan, not far distant, the town is declining. It is still,
however, the _cabecera_, and the _jefe_ is a man of some force and
vigor. Shortly after our arrival, I visited his office, delivered the
governor's letter, and stated our purpose in visiting his city. He
seemed interested, and at once stated that there would be no difficulty
in carrying out my plans; that I would find plenty of women for
measurement in Tehuantepec itself; that the 100 men had better be
secured at San Blas, which, although independent in government, adjoins
Tehuantepec. I suggested that it would be well to measure the women in
the court-yard of his palace; he, however, replied, "By no means; it
will be much better to go directly to the market, where the women are
gathered in great numbers; a _regidor_ will accompany you to arrange the
matter with your subjects."

Although convinced that his plan was bad, we arranged to begin work the
following morning; with instruments and _regidor_ we presented ourselves
in the market, picking out a suitable spot and preparing for work. Then
I told the _regidor_ to bring a subject. The market-place was crowded,
probably two or three hundred women being there gathered. Approaching
the nearest of them, the _regidor_ politely asked her to step up and
be measured. We were not, however, dealing with Triquis. The women of
Tehuantepec are certainly the heads of their houses; the men occupy
but an inferior position. Possibly, they are really larger than their
husbands, but, whether that be true or not, they give that impression to
the spectator. The lady indicated lost no time in assuring the
_regidor_ that she had no intention of being measured, and he returned
crest-fallen to report results. He met with no sympathy. I told him he
had been sent to bring the women, that my business was simply to measure
them; that if he would do his duty, I would do mine. He made two other
efforts, equally futile, and finally returning, said he thought an order
would be necessary. I told him, if he had not already an order I did not
know what an order was; that the _jefe_ had distinctly told me what he
was to do; that he was not doing it. He then said he had better go to
the palace a moment; would I kindly wait. I waited. He soon reappeared,
and started in bravely with a new subject, but was again repulsed.
Returning, he said that we had better go up to the palace and interview
the _jefe_ again. I replied that I had no time to spare; that we had
already lost two hours at the palace, waiting for the _jefe_ to appear,
and that I did not propose to lose more time; that he knew what I
expected, and must either do it, or I would return to my hotel. He
helplessly remarked that we had better see the _jefe_, whereupon
I picked up my instruments and departed to the hotel. Leaving my
instruments at the hotel, I decided, while matters were adjusting
themselves--for I had no thought of bothering myself further--to call
upon the bishop. Sallying from the hotel, I met upon the street the
_regidor_ and two other town officials, who were awaiting me. "Sir,"
said he, "will you not measure the women?" "No," said I, "I am going to
call upon the bishop. I have no time to waste. We went once to measure
the women, but you had no power; your _jefe_ plainly is a man without
authority." "No, sir," cried he, "the _jefe_ has issued a strict order
that the women must be measured." "No matter," I replied, "I have no
time to waste. I shall make my call." With this I entered the bishop's
palace, and had an interesting visit with that prelate. When leaving
the palace, I found the _regidor_ and four town officials, awaiting
my appearance. He at once demanded whether it was not my intention to
measure the women. He said that he had been to see the _jefe_, and that
the _jefe_ said my wishes must be obeyed. I asked him where it was
proposed to measure the women, and he replied that it should be wherever
I pleased. "Very good," said I. "We will measure them in the court-yard
of the _jefe's_ palace; have subjects brought there at once, and send a
man to my hotel for my instruments."

To the palace we went, and thither shortly four policemen brought a
woman from the market. With bad grace, she submitted to be measured,
after which the four policemen went again to the market, and soon
after reappeared with a second subject. So the work went on, with four
policemen to each woman, until our full number was finally secured and
the work completed.

Three years ago, on my return from Guatemala, I met in this city an
English doctor named Castle, who has lived here for many years--a man
of scientific tastes and interests, who has employed his leisure in
studying the botany, zoology, and indians of the district. He is
well-informed, and one of the few persons acquainted with the Juaves. I
counted on his help in approaching that curious and little-known tribe.
The doctor's house is full of pets; eight different kinds of parrots,
a red and yellow macaw, a brilliant-billed, dark-plumaged toucan, an
angora goat, a raccoon, dogs and cats, are a part of the happy family
that prowls at large in his house. A little creature, an indian, no more
than eight years old, has adopted the doctor for her father. She
had come to him as a patient for a trouble by no means uncommon
here--night-blindness; in caring for her, he gained the little
creature's heart, and she will hardly hear of leaving him to return
home. The doctor accompanied us on our first visit to San Blas, and told
us many things, not only of the Juaves, but of the Zapotecs and other
indians of the region.

From the hotel, in the heart of Tehuantepec, to the town-house of San
Blas, is a walk of only twenty minutes. Here for three days we did
our work, returning to our hotel for meals and lodging. The work went
easily, the men presenting little or no objection to our operations;
measurements, busts, portraits--all were taken. On the whole, the
Tehuantepecanos do not present a simple, pure indian type. The women
seemed to be purer than the men. The _secretario_ at San Blas has been
to school. He is one of the few indians of the district who has taken an
interest in the study of his native tongue. He has already published a
grammar of the Zapotec, as spoken in his village. He has also printed a
little tract for lovers, in which high-sounding phrases are translated
from the Spanish into Zapotec. He has also prepared, and holds in
manuscript, a dictionary of the dialect containing some 4,000 words.

The visit to the Juaves we considered one of the most important and
interesting of our journey. These people are conservative, and among
the least known of the native populations of Mexico. There are but four
towns, with a total population of probably less than three thousand
persons. These towns are situated at a few leagues' distance from
Tehuantepec, near the Pacific, upon narrow tongues of land, washed by
salt lagoons. The nearest, largest, and according to Dr. Castle, the
most conservative of the four towns, is San Mateo del Mar. We had hoped
that Dr. Castle might accompany us on our journey. This, however, was
impossible, but he suggested that he would go with us part of the way.
To avoid the great heat, we travelled by night, as there was moonlight.
Hiring a _carretero_ at San Blas, we loaded our materials and
instruments into the cart, and started it upon its way. At about four
o'clock in the afternoon, we rode from Tehuantepec, taking a roundabout
road in order to see the hill which gives name to the town. It was
Sunday, and many women and girls had been visiting the cemetery,
carrying bowls filled with flowers to put upon the graves of friends. We
saw numbers of young fellows sitting by the roadside, and learned that
they were the lovers of the young women, awaiting their return from the
cemetery.

The name Tehuantepec means the mountain of man-eaters. These man-eaters
were not men, but tigers, or ocelots. The story runs that long ago this
mountain was infested with wild beasts who destroyed the people of the
neighboring villages. Fearing extermination, the people of the town
decided to consult the Juaves, who were famous for their _naguales_, or
witches. The oldest and most skilled _naguál_ of the tribe was employed.
Having performed his incantations, he told them they might expect
immediate deliverance; that he had conjured a deliverer from the sea.
Soon there came forth from the water a gigantic turtle, who made his way
slowly inland, until he reached the bottom of the hill, which was the
home of the tigers. The dangerous animals were just descending from
the mountain in a double line, but the moment they caught sight of the
mammoth sea-monster, their bodies froze with terror and they were turned
to stone. Terrified at the power of the creature he had conjured, the
old _naguál_ quickly made use of his most powerful incantation, with the
result that the turtle also was transformed into stone. The proof of the
truth of the story we saw in the lines of stone tigers on the mountain
side and the stone turtle at the foot of the hill, as we rode by.

The doctor suggested that it would be well to take a guide with us from
San Blas as far as Huilotepec, as there were many side-roads before
we reached that town, and that, from there, we would need no help. We
followed his suggestion. The road was almost level. It passed through a
district covered with a dense growth of brush and thorny trees, except
where the land had been plowed for planting corn. In the early evening
we saw many birds. Flocks of parrots rose from the trees as we passed
by; at one point Manuel shot a little eagle, which fell wounded to the
ground. Our guide concluded to carry it on alive. All went well for some
time, but at last, with no warning, the bird made a vicious dash, and
with its claws tore through the trousers of the guide, making a great
gash in his leg. The man promptly decided it was better, on the whole,
to carry it further dead than living.

The doctor turned back at sunset. We reached Huilotepec something before
eight, and found it a large pueblo with houses built of bamboo or cane.
Here we had a good supper, and dismissing our guide started out, by
brilliant moonlight, for the last part of our journey. Shortly beyond
the town, the road turned, for a moment, into the river, and after
passing for a few rods in the river-bed, struck up again onto the bank.
At this place we made a fatal blunder. When the road went down into the
river, supposing that we were about to ford, we kept straight across the
stream. Finding a road upon the other side we had no suspicion but what
we were going well and travelled onward. For a long time we found trails
of varying degree of badness. Sometimes the branches formed a complete
tangle which, even in the daytime, would have required careful watching.
As it was, the faces of the party were well scratched with thorns.
Sometimes, we seemed to be on a good road; at others, we had hardly
found a trail. At one place we passed a ranch--Corral de San Diego. A
host of barking dogs announced our coming, and we cried out to the old
man living there to tell us the road. His directions were not clear, but
in attempting to follow them, we retraced our trail, and then struck
into another road. Keeping to it until we really could not follow
it further for the tangle, we retraced our steps until we came to a
cart-road crossing that on which we were. We started first to the right
upon this; then, concluding we were wrong, turned about and went the
other way. We soon found ourselves off the road again, and travelling
blindly through the brush. Coming to a round patch of clear sand, to
which the trail on which we were seemed to have led us, we could find no
way out. Convinced that we were hopelessly lost, we camped out upon the
sand for the night. Fortunately we had a little corn with us which we
gave to the horses, after which we tied them to the trees. As we lay
upon the sand in the bright moonlight, we could hear the dashing of the
sea waves not far away. The heat was intolerable and the mosquitoes
venomous. We secured no rest, and, at the first signs of day, were ready
for our start. The two boys went out to hunt a rabbit, but returned
with most discouraging reports. While they were absent, Don Anselmo and
myself were left in camp. Suddenly he cried out that our horses
were running away; such was really the case. The last one was just
disappearing in the brush and Anselmo started after them, leaving me
to keep the camp. When the other two returned, they, too, started in
pursuit. After a hard chase, the animals were captured and brought back.
By seven we had mounted and were on our way. We retraced our trail of
the night before, going back to the cart-road. A little before eight we
came upon a ranch, the Ranchito del Boca del Rio. Here we asked our way,
and found that we were still as far from San Mateo, as when we left
Huilotepec the night before. Eating a light breakfast, we secured a
guide who took us, by the shortest way across the river, back to the
main trail for San Mateo, where he left us. The road was long and hot
and sandy. Our horses could hardly keep up a decent walk. It seemed that
we would never reach the town. More than an hour before we arrived at
the town, we encountered little ranches belonging to it. Everywhere we
saw flocks of sheep, cows and horses. Curiously, the Juaves have always
had herds, since our first records of them, but they eat no meat. The
country was more tropical than any through which we had passed. Clumps
of palm trees were to be seen here and there. Pools of standing water,
where horses and cattle stood cooling themselves, were frequent. The
people whom we met wore little clothing. Men frequently had nothing but
the breech-clout and hat. Women wore a skirt, but no upper garment.
Children up to ten and twelve years of age ran naked. Reaching San Mateo
at twelve o'clock, we found the village excited at our non-appearance.
Our _carretero_ had arrived long before with our luggage. He had told
the _presidente_ of our intended coming, and men from the town had been
sent through the by-roads to seek for us. The town lies on a level
stretch of sand, and the houses are built of canes and thatched with
palm. Most of the trees in the village are palms; some, cocoa palms. The
_plaza_ is a large open space. On one side of it is the church, of stone
and brick; on another side is the town-building made of brick, covered
with plaster, and consisting of three portions,--the _presidencia,
curato_, and jail. A brick-paved corridor, roofed above, runs before
the whole building. We were given the jail and _presidencia_ with the
corridor. Here hammocks and a bed of palm stalks were prepared for us,
and orders issued that eggs and _tortillas_ should be brought us. The
Juaves raise no crops. They are fishermen, and their food and living
come from the sea. Their dried fish and shrimps, and the salt, which
they make from the brine-soaked bottoms of dried lagoons, go far and
wide through the country, and for these they get in trade the corn,
coffee, chocolate, and raw cotton which they need. We have already
spoken of their cattle, which is a source of income, though, as stated
before, the Juaves rarely eat meat food.

[Illustration: JUAVE INDIANS; SAN MATEO DEL MAR]

[Illustration: JUAVE FISHERMAN: SAN MATEO DEL MAR]

The Juaves present a well-defined physical type. They are of medium
stature or tall. Their noses are the largest and most prominent in
indian Mexico, and are boldly aquiline. The men are rarely idle; even
as they walk, they carry with them their netting, or spindle with which
they spin cord for making nets. It seems to be law, and is certainly
custom, that persons coming to the _plaza_ are expected to be more fully
dressed than when travelling on the road or when in their homes. Usually
white cotton drawers and shirt are worn in the _plaza_; outside,
practically nothing but the breech-clout.

There is an interesting commerce carried on in Juave towns by Zapotec
traders from Juchitan. As might be expected, this is entirely in the
hands of women. Some women make two journeys weekly between the two
towns. They come in ox-carts, with loads of corn, fodder, coffee,
chocolate, cotton and the like. These they trade or sell. When they
return to Juchitan, they carry with them a lot of salted and dried
fish, shrimps, salt and eggs. Upon these expeditions the whole family
accompanies the woman; the traveling is done almost entirely by night.
These Zapotec women are shrewd at bargaining. They must be doing a
paying business. It was interesting to see the primitive devices for
weighing. The scales consisted of two tin pans of equal size and weight
hung from a balance beam. The only weight was a stone weighing a pound.
In case a Juave woman wished to buy a quarter-of-a-pound of cotton, the
procedure was as follows: The weight was put into one pan of the scales
and a pound of cotton weighed out into the other; the weight was then
removed and the cotton divided, so as to balance in the two pans; one of
the pans was then emptied, and the remaining cotton again divided, with
the result that a quarter-of-a-pound of cotton had been weighed.

One curious feature, which we had not seen elsewhere, but which Dr.
Castle had warned us we should find, was the nightly guard set upon us.
As we lay upon our beds at night, looking out upon the white sand in
front of us, we could see, by the moonlight, at some little distance,
a circle of eight or ten men who spent the night sleeping within call.
Another striking feature was the music which we heard in the late
evening and early morning. In the early morning, five o'clock or
earlier, and at sunset, there was service in the church. Later on, at
eight, there was again singing in the churchyard, lasting until quite
a late hour. One evening, on investigating, we found eight or ten men
kneeling on the sand before the church door, singing in the moonlight.
They were practicing for the procession and special service of the
second Friday of Lent.

The water-life of the Juaves is at once picturesque and curiously tame.
The men spend much of their time on or in the water. They make great
dugout canoes from large tree trunks. There are usually no paddles, but
poles are used to propel the craft sluggishly over the waters of the
lagoon. Few of the men can swim. The fish are chiefly caught with nets,
and both seines and throw nets are used. The lagoons are said to abound
in alligators, and the men, when fishing, generally carry with them
spears with long iron points which are said to be used for protection
against attacks of these reptiles. Great respect is shown the alligator,
and curious superstitions prevail regarding it.

Between San Mateo and the nearest of the great lagoons, the country
ceases to be level and is covered with sand dunes. On these dunes there
are great numbers of hares of a species peculiar to the locality. They
make excellent eating, and Manuel kept our larder supplied with fresh
meat, which was welcome, and which we could not otherwise have had among
these non-meat-eating folk. An old Zapotec woman, seventy years of age,
with snowy hair and gentle face, was deputed by the town authorities to
do our cooking. Her relatives live in Juchitan, and why she had chosen
to live among these people I do not know. She took a motherly interest
in all our party. Nothing was too good for us. She spent her whole time
in hunting supplies and cooking and serving food. Not only did she
insist on all our purchases being supplied at cheapest rates, but her
own charge for help and service was ridiculously small. From early
morning until late at night the poor old soul was busy in our behalf. On
our leaving, she took my hands between her own, and kissing them, begged
that we would send her a picture as a remembrance.

The road to Tehuantepec at night was one of no adventure. We were
impressed with the great number of families travelling in ox-carts over
these roads in the cool night air. It was a custom and habit of which we
had before no realization. It lacked but ten minutes of one o'clock when
finally we rode up to the hotel in Tehuantepec. From the hostler we
learned that every room was full,--five persons in some cases sleeping
in a single room. So we were compelled to lie down upon the porch
outside until the morning.



CHAPTER XIV

ON THE MAIN HIGH-ROAD

(1899)


After a day or two of rest, we started from Tehuantepec upon our return
to Oaxaca. For the first time, we were to follow the usually travelled
high-road. Our hearts failed us, as we thought of thus neglecting the
lovely land of the Mixes, but it was on our program to see the Chontals.
Starting at seven, we lost a little time in having a photograph of our
party taken as we left the city, so that it was really 8:15 before we
were on our way. Our plaster had been sent by _carreta_ to Xalapa. We
had a hot, hot, hot ride over a heavy, difficult sand road. At least
half a dozen times we forded the Tehuantepec river, and everywhere at
places which would have justified the name, Xalapa, "the sandy water."
Finally, arriving at Xalapa at four o'clock, we found it a large
town, of the usual hot, dusty Zapotec kind. The authorities bestirred
themselves vigorously to locate us in comfortable quarters, with an old
lady of regal appearance and dignity. From the start, we feared that
this royal appearance and dignity would be paid for, but the opportunity
for comfort was not to be neglected. One of the houses of her royal
domain was vacated for our use, and two good cots and a hammock were put
at our disposal. The supper was abundant, and capital in quality, and
there was plenty of food for the horses. Strolling down to the river
after supper we found it broad but very shallow; it did not reach our
knees at any point, when we waded across it; the bottom was, as we
imagined it would be from the name, moving sand. After a bath in the
much too shallow stream for swimming, we returned refreshed to our
comfortable beds. As anticipated, we found the bill, when presented in
the morning, truly regal; after some demur, our queenly hostess reduced
it slightly, but, even so, we were reminded of the summer-resorts of our
own country.

Tequixistlan, perhaps the largest of the Chontal towns, we found without
an official head. While we were in Tehuantepec the _jefe_ received
notice of his father's death. This notice had been duly sent to all
the villages and towns within the district, and, on a certain day, the
_presidente_ and other chief officers of the different pueblos gathered
at Tehuantepec to express their sympathy by speeches and to present
flowers to the official. It was for this errand that the _presidente_ of
Tequixistlan had gone to the _cabecera_. Had he been at home, perhaps
we would have had no difficulty, but as it was we found the government
disjointed and nerveless. Constant nagging and harrying were necessary
in carrying out our wishes. The town itself was not bad. It stands upon
a sort of terrace, at a little height above the neighboring river. The
town-house is a long building, occupying the whole upper end of the
large rectangular _plaza_; at the lower end is the fine church and
_curato_. Along the sides were _tiendas_, school, etc., well built
adobes and plastered over with tinted plaster. Behind the church beyond
the river rises a handsome background of mountains. The long corridor in
front of the municipal-house was fine and broad, with a high roof and
brick pavement. Oleanders bloomed before this corridor. The view from
it was fine, and the air cool there even in the middle of the day. We
accordingly took possession of it, working and sleeping there. So far
as personal comfort was concerned, we were well cared for. We had good
meals, comfortable cots, plenty of food for the horses, but, as we have
said, the work lagged, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that
we could accomplish it.

There is little distinctive about the Chontals, as we saw them. The
women dress much like the Zapotec women in the neighboring towns. The
men present nothing notable in dress. Outside the _plaza_, the houses
were built of light materials, and resembled the ordinary cane-walled,
thatched huts of the Zapotecs. The people appeared to be badly mixed,
and this not only with white, but also with negro blood. Nevertheless,
as we worked upon subject after subject, a fairly defined type seemed
to grow upon us. We could see that the Chontals are tall, with rather
well-shaped faces, though somewhat high cheek-bones, with light
complexions, and with wavy or curly hair. When the work was finished,
we had great difficulty in securing carriers to bear our burdens to San
Bartolo. Enormous prices were demanded, and at last, angry over the
attempted extortion, we threatened to leave all our stuff behind us, and
hold the town responsible, reporting them to the authorities when we
should reach Oaxaca, demanding that damages should be collected. These
threats had the desired effect. The _secretario_, who had been the only
member of the town government displaying energy in our behalf, promised
by all that was sacred that our goods should be delivered promptly at
San Bartolo; that if they were not already there on our arrival,
we might safely arrange for further transportation from that town,
convinced that the goods would come before we left.

That we might not be too much delayed by this palaver regarding
carriers, I had started the balance of the party ahead, and rode on
alone after them. They had left at 10:15, and we all had a hot, dry,
dusty, thirsty mountain ride until five o'clock in the afternoon, when
we reached the ranch, Las Vacas. It consisted of a dozen houses. We
rode to the last one in the place, which consisted of brush and leafy
branches, and had an enclosed _corral_ adjoining it, where we asked
for lodging. The owner was a young Zapotec, who, with his wife, was
strikingly neat and clean. A little girl of seven was the only other
member of the family. The house had but a single room, but there was a
_coro_, or cane platform, and loft. Having fed our horses and eaten our
own supper, I mounted to the loft, despite the advice of all the members
of the party, who predicted smoke, heat, mosquitoes, fleas and other
trials. They stayed below. There is no question that they fared worse
from all the sources mentioned than myself. The woman worked until
midnight, making _tortillas_ and cooking chicken for us to carry as
luncheon on the road. We had started by four in the morning, and
pushed along over a mountain road. The first portion of the road was
well-watered, but afterward it became hot, dry, and stony. Having gained
the pass looking down upon the valley, we could see, at its further
side, lying on a terrace, the pueblo of San Bartolo, stretching out in
a long line near the front of a mighty mountain, upon which plainly our
way would pass. It was almost noon when we reached the municipal-house,
and found that our carriers had already arrived, and left the luggage.
Here things were really quite as bad as at Tequixistlan, but here
fortunately we had no work to do. The town was Zapotec. One might
suppose, from its being upon the main high-road, that they would be
accustomed to see strangers. We have hardly found a population at once
so stupid and timid. It was with great difficulty that we found food
to eat. Here we had to pay for beds (made of sticks tied together),
belonging to the municipality, a thing which we had never done at any
other town in Mexico.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM OUR CORRIDOR; SAN BARTOLO]

The people wear curious and characteristic garments.

All the stuff used for clothing is woven in the town, and not only the
women's _camisas_, but the men's _camisas_ and trousers, are decorated
with elaborate designs--birds, animals, and geometrical figures--worked
in various colors. Even in purchasing examples of these clothes, we were
compelled to make a vigorous display of our civil and religious orders.
After some bickering, we arranged for carriers to San Carlos, which is
the _cabecera_ of the district. Starting by moonlight, at two o'clock in
the morning, we struck out over the enormous mountain mass to which we
have already referred. Roads in the Zapotec country do not go directly
up the hillside, as in the land of the Mixes, but zigzag by gentle
diagonals up the slopes. The road was largely composed of jagged rock;
two hours and fifteen minutes were necessary for the ascent; the descent
was bad enough, but a distinct improvement. At one place, however,
we wandered from the main-travelled road, and found ourselves in an
abandoned portion of the road, full of great holes which were filled
with drifted fallen leaves, so that their presence was not betrayed
until our horses fell into them. The latter part of this descent was
slippery, being over hard stone, which was worn almost to a glassy
smoothness by the passage of many hoofs. A little before reaching
Manteca, as we looked down from the height, we saw an immense train of
pack-mules coming. In the good old days, before there were railroads,
such trains as this were frequent. From Manteca the road penetrated into
contracting valleys, until finally it might, with propriety, be called a
cañon road. At half past eight we reached San Carlos, a mean town with
no _meson_ or other regular stopping-place. We left the horses under
the shady trees with the old farrier. While we rested and waited for
breakfast, I called upon the _jefe politico_, who had received several
communications from me, and had become interested in my work. Our
luggage was all at his office, and he promptly made arrangements for its
further transportation. At breakfast, we received the cheerful news
that Mr. Lang's horse had the lockjaw and showed signs of dying. On
inspection, this proved to be quite true; the poor animal was in great
pain, and could eat nothing, though making every effort to do so. Our
first thought was a shot in the head to put it out of misery, but the
old farrier wished to try a _remedio_. He did his best, and it looked as
if the animal might recover; it was plain, however, that he could not be
used again that afternoon. Accordingly, an extra horse was rented for
Mr. Lang's use. The remainder of the party was started on the road at
1:50, while I waited to give the _remedio_ a chance to operate and the
beast an opportunity to rest. At three I started, leading the sick
horse. We had a fine ride in the cool of the evening, over a mountain
road past the little ranch El Quemado, beyond which we found an immense
ascent. When we reached the summit, it was fast darkening, and I
pressed on as rapidly as the led horse would permit. Finally, I reached
Escondido at seven. Several large parties of packers, with their trains
of mules, had already settled for the night; camp-fires were burning.
Here and there drinking had been going on, and there was noise of loud
laughter, singing and dancing. Our party was already eating supper when
I arrived, and my own meal had been ordered. Shelter was supplied
us adjoining the house, where we spread our blankets and spent a
comfortable night. We were late in starting, and were not upon the road
until seven in the morning. We found the high-road most uninteresting.
For long distances we descended, passing a ranch and emerging finally
into a deep, hot gorge. By the time we reached Pichones we were tired,
hot and thirsty. There, however, we could get no water, for man or
beast, for love or money; suffering with thirst, the road seemed long to
the river near Totolapa, where we refreshed ourselves with water, but a
heavier road than ever had to be traversed. Much of the way we followed
the stream-bed, fording repeatedly; the remainder was through deep sand
and over rolling pebbles. Passing Juanico, on a high bank overlooking
the river, at noonday, we were delighted to strike upon a rock road,
high on the river bank. Keeping to this trail, passing from plantations
of bananas lying at the river level below us and catching many pretty
views of valley and of mountain, we at last reached Totolapa, completely
worn out with the journey and the heat. Here we rested until the heat of
the day should be past.

[Illustration: OUR PARTY LEAVING TEHUANTEPEC]

[Illustration: ZAPOTEC WOMEN AND GIRLS, TLACOLULA]

We had expected at this town to secure a muleteer, as the one we hired
from San Carlos had agreed to come only to this town. Here, too, we had
expected to rent a new horse for Mr. Lang. Our muleteer, however, was
much taken with the party, and declared that he should hire himself to
continue with us to Tlacolula. We quickly arranged with him, and at four
o'clock prepared to leave. The sick horse was then at its worst; it had
lain down, and for a time we believed it was really dead; it was out of
the question for it to go further; so, calling one of the villagers, I
told him that he might have the horse, and if there was any possibility
of curing, it, he should do what might be necessary.

From four to seven it was a tiresome climb, largely through stream-beds
to Carvajal. It is a large _rancho_, but we stopped at the first house
we came to, a miserable place, where, however, we got coffee, bread,
beans and eggs, and some mats for beds, which we laid out upon the
ground, under the open sky. Taking early coffee and _tortillas_, we were
again mounted at four and on our way. It was the last ascent. The moon
was shining brightly, and we could see that the road followed the edge
of a fine gorge. When we once reached the summit, there was no further
descent to make. We were on the high, flat, table-land of Oaxaca, and
from here to the capital city of the state, the road is level, and
passes through a rich agricultural district. Passing San Dionisio at
seven, we pressed on as rapidly as possible to Tlacolula, where we
arrived before noon, ready for the good meals and comfortable quarters
which we well knew awaited us there.

Tlacolula is a large town, in the midst of a dusty valley. Its houses
are large, rectangular constructions, well built of poles, with fine
thatched roofs. They stand in yards, which are enclosed by fences of
organ-pipe cactus. The people dress well, and at almost every house they
own an ox-cart and a yoke of animals. While photographing there that
afternoon, we suggested that we wanted a group of girls and women in
native dress. "Very well; I will take you to the house, where you can
get one." Arrived there, the policeman at once led out five women and
four children, whom he placed in line. After the picture was taken, we
expressed our satisfaction and surprise that so good a group had been so
readily secured at a single house. "Oh, sir," he replied, "we struck a
lucky time; there is a funeral going on there."

[Illustration: IN THE HOT VALLEY; CUICATLAN]



CHAPTER XV

CUICATLAN

(1899)


Between Tehuacan and Oaxaca the railroad passes through a low, deep
valley which is ever hot. Few people on the train pass through this
valley without feeling its depressing influence. It would seem that
travelers would hardly stop at stations within its limits, unless
impelled by actual necessity. The most important of the towns in this
valley is Cuicatlan. Little of it is to be seen from the railroad, but
in reality it is a notably picturesque village.

It is the _cabecera_ of a district in which dwell three most interesting
tribes--the Cuicatecs, Chinantecs, and Mazatecs. We had time to visit
only the nearest of the Cuicatec towns. Cuicatlan itself is situated
near one side of a valley, through which runs a considerable stream. The
distant bank rises in two magnificent mountain masses. The nearer bank,
at the very base of which the town nestles on a series of little hills,
rises into almost sheer precipices of purple conglomerate. These cliffs
are hundreds of feet high, and are, apparently, due to a gigantic
landslide. The mass which fell must have measured fully two miles in
length, and still lies, broken and heaped up, at the base of the cliffs.
The face of the cliffs, and the fallen masses of rock at its base, are
cut into narrow gullies and gaps by water. The town consists of several
clusters of houses, scaled along the slopes of little hillocks and
settled into the spaces between them. Gigantic cactuses surround the
town, and cocoa palms rise to great heights within it.

It is customary for travelers to emphasize the slowness of the Mexicans.
Either we have been exceptionally fortunate, or the reputation is
largely undeserved. We have been rarely delayed by sluggish action.
Here, however, we found a _jefe_ who would surely satisfy the most
complaining. He was mild in manner, gentle in speech, fond of brilliant
plans and schemes, all of which, however, were to be put in operation
to-morrow and not to-day. It was with difficulty that we impressed upon
him our necessity. We told him that we wanted animals to carry us to
Papalo. In reply, he told us that Papalo was but a poor town, and he
outlined a journey the traveling alone in which would occupy some
eight or ten days. When we assured him that we had no time for such an
enterprise, he said that it would be much better for the towns to come
to us in Cuicatlan. He proposed sending to-morrow to those towns, and
assured us that, at the end of a week's time, we would have all the
subjects we needed. So, when we suggested that this, too, was loss of
time, he had other brilliant plans, all quite as useless. With the
utmost difficulty we finally succeeded in getting him to arrange for
animals to go to Papalo. From the very start, the road was up-hill.
Passing first through a section covered with a magnificent growth of
tree cactuses of two species, in fine fruit and flower, we found the
vegetation varied as we mounted, and at last came up among the pines.
There was a great variety of landscape and geological formation.
Purple-red conglomerate, with horizontal layers weathered into massive
forms; granitic schistose rocks, over which we later passed, gave their
peculiar scenic outlines. We climbed steadily for fully four hours,
and then looked down, along a gently sloping hill trail, to our town,
perched upon a slightly lower hill. Just at the edge of the town, we
passed a gang of men and boys at work, making a level platform for the
new _plaza_ and town-house. We congratulated ourselves that we should
have no difficulty, here, in finding subjects. The town claimed three
thousand population. Many of them were certainly away upon their fields
and ranches, scattered through the mountains, and working _fincas_ for
wealthy landowners. The town itself is picturesque in the extreme.
Notable among its features is the ruined church, the roof of which has
fallen in; the walls still stand, bare and broken, but the decorations,
some richly carved and gilded, are still unmoved within the
demolished edifice. The damage was recent, and represented a double
catastrophe--lightning and earthquake.

[Illustration: CACTUS; CUICATLAN]

We could not begin work until the _mozo_ came with the instruments.
Finally, at four o'clock in the afternoon, we began measuring with no
great difficulty. Before night, fifteen subjects had passed through our
hands and one bust had been made. Even when we arrived, at midday, it
was too cold for us to stay with comfort in the town-house, though it
was hot enough outside in the sunshine. When night came, it was bitter
cold, and we went to bed early in hope of keeping warm, a hope without
foundation. Early the next morning, we were ready for our work. Every
one had disappeared, except those whom we had measured the night before.
We requested the town authorities to bring in subjects. A few stragglers
were dragged in and measured, and some pictures taken. Notwithstanding
the poor way in which they had done their work, the policemen struck,
declaring that they would not bring others until they had been paid. It
was plain the town needed a lesson. We promptly paid the demand made
upon us, and, then, calling the _presidente_ and the _secretario_,
we told them that we must have a receipt for the payment to show the
_jefe_. We said that such a thing was unheard of; that, for town
officials to demand pay, before they would agree to obey the order
of their chief, was mutiny. At first they flatly refused to give the
receipt, but after a little consultation were anxious to return the
money, and threats were freely made to throw the whole police-force into
jail. We said that this was not our desire; we were surprised at the
demand, but, having met it, we insisted upon having our receipt. A
meeting of the town authorities being held to consider the matter, our
request was again refused, but attention was called to the fact that
some subjects were waiting outside to be measured and photographed. I
thereupon refused to measure or photograph any person until my demand
had been met. I showed them, clearly, the position in which they had
placed themselves; I stated that when they had done a wrong, and a
stranger demanded an official statement of the case, their duty was
simple and clear. By this time my own party was in arms; photographer,
plaster-worker, Manuel, all were scared. They insisted that our throats
would be cut that night. They called attention to the ugly manner and
black looks of the town authorities. They declared that we had better
flee, while yet there was opportunity; they insisted that they had not
left comfortable homes to be murdered in cold blood; they begged that I
would, at least, retreat from the position taken, and consent to measure
the subjects who were waiting. I assured them that it was far more
important to teach the town a lesson regarding their duty to their
higher officials, than to measure a few indians. Finally, after hours
of uncertainty, black looks, mutterings, and refusals, the town
capitulated, and the receipt was in my possession. Having gained my
point, I called the attention of the town officials to the bearings of
the case. I emphasized their duty to the _jefe_. They knew, quite well,
that it was out of place to demand money for obeying his order; I stated
that I appreciated whatever work the policemen might have done, and
that, in due season, I might have recognized it by a gift, but that
demands were quite another thing. I showed them how important it was,
that, when trouble rose between them and a stranger, they should furnish
any statement of the case he might, in justice, ask. Having stated the
matter fully, I consented to receive back the money, and tore up the
receipt much to their relief.

[Illustration:]

Still the work went slowly. No one was left in town but the officials
and some women. The latter locked and barred their doors, at the
approach of any of the town authorities, and neither threats to burn
their houses above their heads nor bribes would bring them forth. It was
only after three days of hard work that eighty men and twenty-five women
were secured. By that time, it was plain that the other men were safely
out of reach, and we concluded that naught remained but to return to
Cuicatlan, to complete our work with representatives from other towns.
This we did, although we found our _jefe_ still gentle, mild, and slow.

Once in the hot valley, we concluded that we might as well see more of
it. Leaving Cuicatlan at noon, a few minutes' ride brought us to the
station at Tecomavaca, perhaps the hottest of the hot valley towns.
Within it are ruins which have been strangely neglected by all tourists
and investigators. Probably, the great heat has killed whatever little
enthusiasm may have been kindled in those who have seen aught of these
ruins. When we reached the station, in the hottest portion of the day,
the valley seemed to glow; all looked hot and desolate. There were no
_mozos_ to help in carrying baggage, though the town was fully half a
mile from the station, behind bare, hot, sandy hills. It is one of the
poorest and meanest of the Mexican towns. A dreary _plaza_ is surrounded
by miserable adobe, or adobe-plastered, buildings. The only edifices
that looked clean and neat were the school, jail, and town-house. We
found shelter at a sort of a _meson_, where we could get no supper until
nine, or possibly till ten. Rather than go inside the rooms, we took
possession of the corridor, and there, with two cots, a table, and the
floor, lay down to rest. But not to sleep! The town, small as it was,
had twenty cases of _la grippe_. The woman of the house where we were
stopping was one of these. Her husband, who came back from the mountains
long after dark, appeared to have an affection and solicitude regarding
her, which, under other circumstances, might have been quite touching,
but which, then, was thoroughly exasperating. While he cooked his own
supper, made chocolate for her, and heated hot water for her use, he
kept passing back and forth, between the kitchen and the sick chamber,
until later than two o'clock in the morning. The noise which he made,
and these repeated movements, kept us all awake the whole night long.
The night was hot and close, and new and unknown insects troubled
us extremely. We were glad to be dressed and mounted, the following
morning. Riding across the river, we made the ascent to the summit, on
which were the ruins of Tecomavaca Viejo. The ascent was so abrupt that
our horses were repeatedly compelled to stop for breath. The trail
passed through cactuses, and spiny shrubs and trees, which tore our
clothes more than all we had endured during weeks of travel. The ruins
are unquestionably old. The hilly slope presents a succession of
terraced platforms, one behind the other, at different heights. The
rock walls between these are banked up and faced with rock, coated with
plaster and mud; there are many pyramids and mounds; there are also
curious subterranean, stone-faced, graves. Many curious disks of stone
were found, a foot or eighteen inches in diameter, and three or four
inches thick; these were all reddish grit, and had plainly been piled
one upon another to form pillars. Along the forward edge of some of the
terraced platforms, we found the lower discs of some columns still in
place. While the amount of work, represented in these cut terraces,
banked rocks, and subterranean constructions, impressed us greatly, it
was difficult to get a clear idea of the relationship of the parts.

[Illustration: CACTUS NEAR CUICATLAN]

[Illustration: VIEW IN A TLAXCALAN BARRANCA]

When, however, we found ourselves at the station, waiting for the train,
we looked back across the river to our three ruin-crowned hills. Then,
for the first time, having visited the spot, we could clearly make out
the relations. Three natural mountains or hills, the greater, central
one flanked on both sides by lesser, had been utilized by the old
builders; the natural rock masses had been cut and walled, until they
practically formed masses of construction, rising terrace behind
terrace, to the very summit. When the terraces were entire, with their
temple-crowned pyramids, and with embankments and walls in full repair,
these vast constructions must have been indeed impressive.



CHAPTER XVI

IN TLAXCALAN TOWNS

(1900)


A street-car line, running for most of the distance down hill, connects
Santa Ana with Tlaxcala, the towns being separated by seven miles. When
making this little journey to Tlaxcala in January, 1897, we noticed
in the car with us, a stout, purely indian man, who seemed anxious
to engage us in conversation. Knowing a few words of English, he was
particularly anxious to practice them. He called our attention to the
various villages, streams, and mountains in the country through which
we were passing, and took delight in analyzing the native names and
explaining their meanings. When we were returning in the afternoon, we
met a gentleman who had been in the same car with us in the morning, and
we inquired regarding our indian acquaintance. He told us that he was
a full-blooded indian, whose native tongue was Aztec, and who lived in
Santa Ana. Being the child of poor parents, the state had assisted in
his education; he was now studying law in the city of Puebla. He was
also a musician, and on this occasion had been upon his way to a public
appointment, where he was to sing.

Later, in Puebla, we called upon this gentleman, whose name we found was
Quechol, meaning a bird with a crooked neck, perhaps a flamingo. He was
interested in our study, and said we ought some time to visit the indian
towns of his people upon the slopes of Malintzi. In January, 1900,
having been delayed in our plans, we decided to spend a few days in
Tlaxcala, and secured his company. Our preparations were made at Santa
Ana; at the home of his parents we were hospitably welcomed, and
chocolate and bread were furnished, before we started on our journey.
While this refreshment was preparing, we visited the old church, in
front of which stood an aged cypress tree, hung with gray moss and
blazing with red flowers. We also entered some of the houses, where,
on domestic looms, the _serapes_ for which the town is famous are
manufactured. We visited also a private school for girls, established by
a Señor Barela, who is noted as the first to introduce the industry of
weaving wool into this community. While the memory of this gentleman
is held in high esteem by this people, that of his wife is by no means
savory. It seems that she was an avaricious, vain and selfish woman,
with no sympathy for his schemes for the betterment of the people. Her
feeling was well known, and she died heartily hated by all. When the
time came for her burial, the grave was prepared, and her body placed
within it. But the earth twice refused to receive the corpse. It was
then carried to to the Sawapa, near by, and thrown into its waters. The
stream overflowed its banks, and tossed the body upon the ground; again
the effort was made to thus dispose of it, but again it was thrown upon
the shore. It was then suggested that it be carried to "the Cuezcomate,"
an extinct geyser-crater, famous through all the country, and popularly
believed to be the mouth of hell; when the body was thrown into this
opening, it is said the devils were seen to swarm upward to receive it.

It was almost noon as our little party started on foot in the direction
of Malintzi. Our indian friend, his brother, a white friend, our
photographer, our Mexican boy and ourself, made up the party, and we
were followed by three _mozos_ on foot carrying supplies of food. We
struck out over a sandy plain, where the foot sunk deep into dry sand,
until we finally reached a well-built wall of stone, considered in the
district a notable piece of engineering. It was constructed to turn the
course of a little stream which, in times of flood, has frequently done
damage to the town. From here, our trail led us on through the sandy
pine-scrub, broken now and then by narrow gullies, called _barrancas_,
with almost vertical sides. In every case, we were obliged to descend
into these gullies and climb out upon the other side. After one and a
half hours of walking we reached the village of San Pedro, where we
stopped for dinner. The two Americans accompanying us lay down upon the
ground, completely tired out, and were fast asleep within five minutes.
Manuel assisted the local cook in preparing dinner, while we talked with
visitors until the meal was ready. The houses of San Pedro are well
constructed of stone, set in adobe, and have well-thatched roofs. The
granaries, or _cuezcomates_, are of unusual size and well built. They
range from six or eight feet in height to twelve or more, and are shaped
like great urns, open at the top, which is protected by a thatch,
generally two-pitched. The _temascals_ were also unusually well built of
stone, and frequently were neatly covered with white plaster. Soon
after leaving San Pedro, in the afternoon, we came upon two indian boys
digging in the ground. Inquiring what they were doing, we learned that
they were hunting honey-ants, and in a moment our whole party was
engaged in the same operation. These ants were found some inches below
the surface, either singly, or in roundish holes containing half a dozen
or more; the abdomen was swelled until it was as round as a pea and as
large as a fair-sized currant, and was filled with honey. To get the
sweet liquid, one takes the insect by the head or forward body and
pressing the honey bag sucks out the contents. It is sweet and rich,
with a little twang, as if fermented, and people in the district call
it honey-wine. Three quarters of an hour brought us to San Francisco,
though we had to go down and up two large _barrancas_ before we reached
the town. It was almost sunset when we arrived. Sitting down before
the town-house, we sent for the _agente_. Soon after our arrival the
church-bell rang furiously, and the din and clangor was kept up a long
time. While waiting for the official, supper was prepared, though we had
had some difficulty in arranging for it, and were in doubt as to where
we were to spend the night. Before supper was ready, a motley crowd
poured into the room in which we sat. One large fellow carried a great
sword strapped at his side, another bore a short sword, another a knife,
another a large and ancient gun. Probably there were other weapons not
in sight. This group of indians was the _agente_ and his _guardia_. We
were objects of suspicion, and much argument, and an abundant supply of
_huitzatl_--strong drink--were necessary, before we secured permission
to spend the night at the house where we were to have supper. No sooner
had this company withdrawn and supper been eaten, than we prepared for
bed. One wooden bed, with a mat of rushes, served for Señor Quechol and
myself. A second mat, laid on the floor, formed the bed for our four
companions. In the morning, we took a walk to Akxotla, where we wished
to see an ancient painting. Here we encountered greater suspicion than
before, and, after wasting the greater part of the day, accomplished
nothing. It is true an indian made a _camalpa_ for us. This is a
stringed musical instrument; though the name is Aztec, it is unlikely
that it was known before the coming of the Spaniards. Quechol says the
word means mouth-harp, coming from the Aztec _cam_, mouth, and the
Spanish _harpa,_ harp. We returned to San Francisco for our dinner, and
at four o'clock again started on our journey.

It was after five before we reached San Bartolome. As we drew near the
village, we saw a magnificent double rainbow, brilliantly displayed
upon the eastern sky against a cloud of almost inky blackness. Looking
westward, as we entered the village, we saw the sun setting in a sea of
gold, between Popocatapetl and Ixtaccihuatl. Watching this magnificent
sunset, we sat down before the old church, and almost instantly a
crowd gathered to see what the strangers might want. Don Romualdo, in
wandering through the village, found a _temascal_ in use, and hurrying
to us, led us to see the method of its use. It is a dome-shaped
structure, with an entrance so low that one must crawl upon his hands
and knees in entering; it is a sweat-bath, used for cleanliness and
health. A quick fire, built inside, heats it thoroughly, after which
water is thrown upon the hot stones to produce steam. Four persons, of
both sexes, were in the one in question, taking a sweat-bath. When we
returned to our companions, sitting before the church, an indian of the
village, accosting Don Romualdo, claimed to know him; he also claimed my
acquaintance, and reminded me that he had been one of the subjects I had
measured two years before in Tlaxcala. A score or more of natives had
gathered, in the moonlight, around our party. Having heard some indians
singing, we tried to get these to sing some native songs. Only after
Louis and Frank had sung some English songs, which were well received,
were we able to hear Aztec songs in exchange. After a long delay, we
were taken to the schoolhouse for supper and the night, and spent the
balance of the evening in taking down a native song, _The Tlaxcalteca_,
and witnessing a dance which accompanied it. A bed was made up for the
party by putting various benches and tables together.

[Illustration: TLAXCALAN HOUSE WITH TEMASCAL.]

[Illustration: THE MAPAHO IN USE; SAN JUAN ZAUTLA]

Most of the following day was spent in visiting in the village,
purchasing idols and in making notes on life and customs; at four
o'clock in the afternoon, we set out for Ixcotla. Near sunset we reached
the house of Quechol's uncle, old Isidro. Almost eighty years of age, he
was straight and lithe as a man of thirty. His house and all the lesser
buildings of his place were excellent and in fine condition. A flight
of steps led to the flat roof, from which we watched the sunset. In the
yard, were half a dozen hives for bees, made from the stocks of the
_maguéy_. The old man was rich, and owned other houses, but he lives
alone, his wife being dead and his daughters married. He is a master of
the Aztec, and uses it in its most poetical and figurative style. He
does not speak like common men, but his conversation abounds in metaphor
and flowers of speech. When once one spoke to him of his lonely and
solitary life, he said, "Alone and solitary! No, we are three! There are
here myself, my good angel, and my bad angel. I am never alone." Isidro
knows all the boundaries of the fields, and can trace all the titles,
and is frequently appealed to in land disputes, and even in law cases,
is summoned to give testimony. He received us heartily, offered
cigarettes and ordered supper. To refresh us, he broke fresh leaves from
the orange-tree and steeped them in hot water, sweetening with sugar.
After supper, good beds were made upon the floor, with plenty of mats
and blankets.

We had hardly risen in the morning, when the village was thrown into
great excitement by the appearance of a band of soldiers. They had come
to arrest a young man supposed to be a leader in the local opposition to
Governor Cahuantzi. This opposition was just at fever heat; the election
was approaching, and a fierce effort was being made to oust the
governor. Forty-four towns were in open rebellion, among them, all of
those which we had visited. There had been new laws passed regarding
land and taxes; these had been resisted. The governor had threatened
to send engineers to make new surveys, and to bring land-titles into
question. The suspicion and distrust which we had met were doubtless, in
large part, due to these measures, and the fear that we were government
spies. So great was the discontent, and so openly expressed, that it was
said that on the Saturday preceding, in the Plaza of Tlaxcala itself,
there was a riot, with cries of derision and contempt, and firing of
guns upon the palace. We were told that the nearest _haciendero_, who
was friendly to the governor, was marked for assassination and would be
killed within the next few days.

Leaving at ten next morning, we skirted Santa Ana, and, having passed
through San Pablo, came out upon the banks of the Sawapa. This pretty
stream has reputed remedial power, and in May hundreds of people bathe
in its waters, to protect themselves against small-pox. As we crossed
the great stone bridge, we met a drunken indian who attached himself to
our party. Between him and the Mexican members of our party, there arose
hostility and an exchange of angry words. To us, personally, he was
maudlinly affectionate and respectful. Finally, shaking him off, after
climbing a considerable height, we stopped at Belen for a noonday rest
and lunch. Dinner having been ordered, we seated ourselves in the shade,
when our drunken friend again appeared upon the scene, and in great
excitement, begged me to move, as it was certain death for a heated and
perspiring person to sit in the shadow of a Peru tree. So persistent was
he, that Quehcol and Manuel lost all patience, and ordered the local
officials to arrest him.

About the middle of the afternoon we were again upon the road; having
passed the bare, fortress-like church of San Mateo, and descended a long
hill, toward evening we crossed a fine bridge over a gorge of black
basaltic rock, and shortly reached Santa Maria Atlihuitzia, where we
planned to spend the night. Here is a fine old church, with a façade
absolutely covered with elaborate carving; a square tower rises at one
corner. The great altar is a magnificent piece of carving and gold
work; the windows are set with thin slabs of onyx. Within, near the
church-door, are two paintings representing the scene of mayrtrdom for
which the town is famous. These pictures are ancient, and represent some
interesting details of indian life at the time of the Conquest. The
head-dress and mantle of feathers worn by the old chieftain, the dress
and hair-dressing of his wife, war weapons and buildings are all shown.
Here, in 1527, the boy Cristoval, child of the great chief Acxotecatl
and his wife Apalxitzin, was killed by his father because he would not
renounce Christianity. The little lad was only thirteen years of age,
and had been trained by Spanish priests. He was the proto-martyr of
the new world, and the story of his martyrdom and the early church in
Tlaxcala, have been charmingly narrated by Mendieta. Close by the church
stand the ruined walls of the monastery, impressive for their massive
construction and the enormous space which was enclosed. It was dark
before we finished the examination of these quaint and interesting
old buildings, and we were glad enough to go to the house of the
_secretario_, where we found good beds and elaborate furniture. In the
room where we were to sleep there was a _nacimiento_, made in connection
with the Christmas season. The table was covered with little landscapes,
scattered over which were figures of many kinds, including a group of
San Jose, Maria, and the infant Christ.

Santa Maria is purely _mestizo_. In the morning, finding breakfast
somewhat slow, we started for a walk, and passing by the old church,
came shortly to the spot where the boy martyr was killed. From here we
descended, over a long slope of gray tufa, to a pretty stream flowing
through black basalt. The rock is hard and shiny with cells or
air-bubbles scattered through its mass. Close by the water's edge we
were shown some curious impressions, on the nearly level surface of the
rock, which were said to be the imprints of the knees of the Holy Virgin
as she knelt here to wash clothes in the brook; there are also grooves
made by the Virgin's fingers as she scrubbed the clothing on the rock;
by the side of these impressions are two hollows, marking the spot where
the Holy Child sat with its mother as she worked. On the rock behind
is the impression of a mule's foot. Formerly there were two of these
impressions, but in 1888 a tornado broke away the mass of rock, on which
was the other impression. Just below this place the stream leaps in a
pretty cascade which, with its white foam, contrasts strikingly with the
black rock. The trail followed by Cortez on his way from Vera Cruz to
Tlaxcala was pointed out to us and we were told that Atlihuitzia in
those days was an important city, numbering five thousand _solteros_
(unmarried men). On the way back to the village, we visited the _arbol
huerfano_--orphan tree--a cypress, so called because it is the only tree
of its kind in this district. Quechol says that a long line of such
trees, at a distance of several leagues apart, was planted by the
Spaniards, and he and the villagers mentioned a number of them in
different places. Passing once more by the spot of martyrdom, a white
_capulin_ was pointed out, as being the very tree represented in the
picture of the killing.

It was now almost ten o'clock and we found breakfast waiting. At
Quechol's request, it was a purely Mexican meal, consisting of
Aztec dishes. We had _tamales_, _atole_, and, for the first time,
_champurado_. The latter is _atole_--corn gruel--mixed with chocolate,
and is really an excellent dish. After breakfast, we left our friends of
Atlihuitzia and hastened back over the same road past San Mateo, Belen,
San Pablo, and Santa Ana. The way was long and the sun was hot, but the
road was beguiled with many stories regarding the places that we passed,
for the whole state of Tlaxcala abounds in legend.



CHAPTER XVII

IN THE CHINANTLA

(1900)


Once more we found ourselves in picturesque Cuicatlan. Walking up the
familiar street, we again found lodging with Doña Serafina. Having
settled, and taken a look out over the beautiful landscape visible
through our windows, we interviewed the _jefe politico_, whom we we
found the same nerveless, well-meaning individual as ever. After
grumbling, and insisting that it was impossible to fit us out on such
short notice, he finally promised that all should be ready the next
morning. It was a sorry outfit that we found; one medium-sized mule for
myself, and four small _burros_ for the other members of the party. A
boy from the jail was sent with us as _mozo_ to carry our instruments.
It was still early when we started through the hot, sandy, flat land,
covered with gigantic cactus trees, which swarmed with little birds of
many beautiful kinds. We soon began to climb the great, red rock cliffs,
up, and up, and up, endlessly. We had forgotten how long the road was;
but it was longer than ever on account of the beasts we rode. Long
before we reached Papalo, Manuel and Louis were on foot, rather than
longer submit to the torture of riding their little _burros_. As we
neared the town, we were surprised to find a cloud effect almost as fine
as that near Juquila in the Mixe country. Had it had clearly defined
banks on both sides, its resemblance to a cataract would have been
complete. As it was, there was no boundary back of the side towards us,
and the clouds plunged over and downward as well as in the direction of
the flow of the main mass. No one in the town recognized us. Supper and
a night's lodging were readily supplied, but when we wished to secure
new animals for the onward journey, there was difficulty. They were
promised, indeed, for seven o'clock, but it was long after eight before
we saw any signs of their appearance. Remonstrating, we were told that
there was other business to attend to, and that the town officials could
not devote themselves to us. With great difficulty, by 10 o'clock all
preparations were made, and we started on the journey. The animals were
not bad, but we had been told that there were eight leagues of hard road
between us and Tepanapa, and six more from there to San Juan Zautla, our
destination; we were told that we should spend the night at Tepanapa,
reaching Zautla the second day. As we left the town we overtook a
funeral procession on its way to the little hill-crest cemetery which we
passed soon after. At first the road was good, gradually ascending. It
led us up a rising pine-covered crest, with a little hollow of deciduous
trees in the midst. We were again getting into a region where the great
hills presented two differing slopes, one dry, pine-clad; the other
moist and covered with the dense tropical forest. We soon found
ourselves upon the damp slope in a forest, almost the counterpart of
those with which we were familiar in the land of the Mixes. Great oaks
were loaded with bromelias and dotted with orchids; ferns of many
beautiful kinds grew along the roadside. Unlike the forest of the Mixes,
the trees here were hung with masses of golden-yellow moss, presenting
a curious and mysterious aspect. From here, the trail descended rapidly
over surfaces of slippery stone and patches of mud; the air was heavier
and heavier with moisture. Ferns abounded, and presently great tree
ferns were to be seen, here and there, in all directions. Shortly, our
road was through a true gorge, where the footing for the horses was
precarious. Great masses of lycopods of several species covered the
rocks and little round tufts of a dark green plant with feathery foliage
dotted the decaying tree trunks. The descent seemed endless, and for
more than two hours we descended deeper and deeper into the dampness and
darkness. It was six o'clock when we came out upon a slope where the
trail was easier and almost level, and it was after dark before we
reached the first hut of the miserable _ranchito_ of Tepanapa. Checking
our horses, we called, but received no answer. Sending our _mozo_ to the
house, we asked for food and shelter, but were refused everything, as
they said that they were in bed. A little lad, however, agreed to show
us to the next hut, and we followed him as well as we could in the
darkness and over the slippery road, some rods further. We found there
two empty huts within an enclosure, and, taking possession of one,
brought in our things out of the mist, and soon had a fire built and a
candle lighted. In vain we urged our _mozo_ to hunt for food. He said
that all the houses were empty, and, if perchance one were occupied, no
one would turn out so late to supply us. All were extremely hungry, as
we had eaten nothing since morning except a _tortilla_ or two with some
eggs as we rode along. Manuel, Louis and Frank slept in the loft, Ramon
and I upon the floor below. The two _mozos_ with the saddles slept in
the other hut. The night was cold and the damp air penetrating. We arose
early to go upon our way, but unfortunately yielded to the request of
Louis and Ramon, permitting them to go in search of food. Two full hours
passed before they returned with a few _tortillas_ and two eggs; so that
it was half-past-eight when finally we started.

[Illustration: SAN JUAN ZAUTLA]

The road was slippery and muddy, descending constantly; a large portion
of the way was through woods: at the bottom of the slope we found
ourselves by a fine brook, which we forded. Then began an ascent as
precipitous, slippery and unpleasant. The trail followed the bank of the
stream. Passing through a dense jungle of vegetation, where the air was
hot and wet, the flora was characteristic. Trees with large, coarse,
broad pods enclosing two or three great seeds, trees with acorn-shaped
red fruits, quantities of sensitive plants covered with pink flowers,
occasional orchids bearing flowers of brilliant flame color, and vines
with lovely blue pea-flowers made up the bulk of the tangled growth
through which we passed. At two places we crossed pretty streams, with
cascades and narrow gorges, opening on to the gorge along the sides of
which we were travelling; where these streams crossed our trail there
were great masses of caladiums with their leaves of green velvet. We
passed two little coffee plantations, the first of which was sadly
neglected and overgrown with weeds, the second neatly kept. From this we
rose again, and having gained the summit, looked down upon the village
of San Juan Zautla.

Riding to the town-house, we met the _presidente_ and _secretario_, the
latter an intelligent fellow, who told us that the town was dwindling,
numbering at present but 80 _contribuentes_. He ordered a capital dinner
for us of chicken, fried bananas, eggs, _frijoles, tortillas_ and
coffee. Though the _secretario_ was intelligent, the _presidente_ was
otherwise. He was good-natured, but a fool. With pride he frequently
remarked, "_yo soy presidente_" (I am president). Then he whispered
and mumbled, kissed my hand, assumed an air of great intelligence, and
walked off with a peculiar tottering movement. These performances
took place not once or twice, but every time the official made his
appearance. Having fed us, the _secretario_ disappeared, and did no more
for us. While waiting for him, our attention was attracted by a curious
drumming noise. It was due to women who were beating cotton. At the
first house we visited we found three women all busily occupied. An old
woman sitting in the doorway was spinning thread; a second, somewhat
younger woman with a baby in a blanket on her back, sitting on the
ground, was weaving cloth; a third woman sat, with a great cushion of
moss in a bag of matting on the ground before her, over which was spread
a deer-skin on which was laid raw cotton, which she briskly beat with
beaters made of five or six divergent sticks fastened together at one
end. Such beating sticks are called _mapaho_; one is held in each hand,
and the beating is briskly done, alternately with one and the other; the
beating is intended to spread the raw cotton into a thin and even sheet
before it is spun into thread. Returning to the town-house, we began our
work, but were soon interrupted. The town is situated on a slope over
which the houses are scattered. From the porch of the municipal house
where we sat, we could see several huts upon the slope above. Groups of
women and children gathered on the little terraces before the houses to
look down upon us at our work. The _presidente_ and other officials had
gone to bring us subjects, when we heard an outcry upon one of these
terraces. A man cried out to the officials; struggled, apparently with
a woman, then fell. The police rushed up the path. A moment later a
surging crowd of a dozen persons were struggling together with cries and
shouts. In spite of the commands of the _segundo secretario_, we started
for the scene of the disturbance, but long before we reached the spot,
met a big _topil_ with his head cut open and blood streaming down his
face, soaking his garments. His arm was thrown around another man's
neck, whose wrist he held, dragging him thus a prisoner toward the jail.
Two others followed, holding a bad-looking little man between them. The
two had fought, and when the _topil_ tried to take them, the little man,
seizing a rock, split open his head. The two persons were thrust into
the jail and a guard set. Great effort was made to find the stone with
which the blow was dealt, in order that it might be used as evidence.
The _secretario_ told the _topil_ not to staunch nor wash the wound.
With natural curiosity, the _presidente_ and other men were clustered
around the jail, looking in at the prisoners, when the _segundo
secretario_ ordered them from the door.

This man is a strange one. He is a Cuicatec, who married a Chinatec
wife. He is little, but important. He ever carries a queer old sword.
When he first appeared before us, he impressively said, "_No tengas
cuidado_" (Have no care.) He told us that our comfort and our orders
should be cared for, even though we were in a pueblo of mere brutes,
unreasoning beings; he should charge himself and the officials with our
needs. There were scarce three hours of daylight in the afternoon, and
night set in chilly and damp. Meantime, the _secretario_, the _segundo_,
the _presidente_ and the _topils_, all had disappeared. In vain we urged
that arrangements should be made for fuel, for beds, and for a _mozo_,
whom we had ordered should be supplied to accompany the man from Papalo
back to that town with the horses. It was now dark and late, with no
sign of attention to our wishes. Through the darkness, we picked our way
over a muddy road, slippery and soaked with water, to the _secretario's_
house, where we forcibly made known our wishes, and said that attention
must be paid to them. Before we got back to the town-house our shoes
were soaked with water and heavy with mud, while our clothing was soaked
through with moisture from the air filled with mist and drizzling rain;
and this in the midst of the dry season!

During the afternoon, we had seen a curious-looking indian, dressed in
a red flannel shirt, white drawers and a cap, but with the regular red
Chinantec neck-cloth. He was a Mixtec from San Francisco Huitzo, who is
in charge of the well-kept little coffee _finca_ which we passed upon
the road. He showed us a bottle of coffee essence of his manufacture. It
was a heavy, oily, clear liquid which I understood he had distilled from
a weaker and darker coffee extract. It was exceedingly strong, and was
supposed to be used for making coffee, a small quantity of the essence
being put into a cup with hot water and sugar. He desired us to test
this, but a look at it was quite sufficient. He was a handy fellow, and
did much to hasten the fulfillment of our orders. Under his direction,
sleeping mats were brought, and he, himself, served our supper, when
finally it was ready. We were so tired that directly after supper we
laid down upon the mats spread on the damp earthen floor. We had hoped
to start our man from Papalo back with our horses early; the officials
had promised that the _mozo_ to accompany him should be ready; but, of
course, neither breakfast nor _mozo_ was to be seen. So we again started
for the _secretario's_ house. The _secretario_ himself was lying drunk
in bed, and the _segundo_ was almost as bad. In vigorous words I made
known my dissatisfaction. The _segundo_, with his sword in one hand
and _tortillas_ in the other, almost too drunk to walk, led us to the
town-house and summoned the people before him. He thundered forth his
orders: "You dogs, children of a degraded race! Wretched brutes! What
do you mean? Why are you not bringing in breakfast for these gentlemen?
Eggs, _tortillas, frijoles_, chicken? Why are you not supplying them?
Obey his order. Fulfill your duty. You hear? If you do not fulfill your
duty, you shall be punished. Hear and obey at once." Under this impulse
the men started and breakfast was soon disposed of.

Work being slack, the boys went bird-hunting. Manuel fetched in a _rara
avis_, a little old man of 95 years, who had an extra thumb on his right
hand. Notwithstanding the small population of the town, there were three
cases of extra digits. In addition to this old man with his extra thumb,
two persons in the town each had an extra toe upon one foot. We have
already stated that the _presidente_ of the village was a fool. He had
plenty of companions. One of the men, who made himself quite useful to
us was an imbecile; he crossed himself, kissed our hands, nodded his
head, and told us the most surprising things in regard to the subjects
whom he brought before us. In connection with each case he cried and
carried on at a great rate, and finally insisted that he was going to
bring me a raw egg as an offering of friendship, which he did. One of
his subjects was his cousin, who was both idiotic and a deaf-mute. My
impression was that there were several cases of deaf-mutism in the
village. One man, whenever any of our party spoke to him, or in any way
turned our attention to him, piously and vigorously crossed himself,
grimaced and gesticulated as if in a fit. One man, who seemed
exceptionally intelligent, after he had seen us make a plaster bust of
one of his townfellows, stated with great delight, that it was an idol,
representing Jesus Christ, and that we were going to use it in the
church. Unlike any other indian town we have visited, there is not even
the pretence of an open school in this place. Nowhere else have women
and children showed so great a fear of us and our work. From the moment
that I showed an interest in the _mapaho_, the beating of cotton ceased,
and the village was quiet. At no time during our stay did women or
children come to the town-house. Shortly after sending back our horses
to Papalo, we found that there were no animals for riding in San Juan
Zautla. Fortunately, our next point, San Pedro, was but two leagues
distant, and rather than wait until animals could be brought from
Cuicatlan, we decided to walk. The night before we were to leave, we
made arrangements for our carriers. The _secretario_ had set the price
at two _reales_ a man; four were ordered, and an early hour set for the
departure. When the time came, our men were in open rebellion. They
refused to go upon the journey. We told the town officials that, if
these men failed us, they themselves must do the work. The men were
really scared, and stated that the people of San Pedro had threatened to
kill us all, if we came to their town. In vain we argued--they were sure
that the whole party were going to their doom. For such a paltry sum
no man would risk his life. At last, however, the officials decreed
obedience, and our party started. At first we led the company and the
carriers came behind. The road led straight down the mountain-side to a
brook, and then up the opposite side to the summit, just beyond which
lay our goal. As we started, he who had recognized the bust of Jesus
insisted upon accompanying us a way for friendship, and on the journey
made various wise remarks regarding the busts. Hardly had we started
when our men again rebelled; they would not make the journey for the
price agreed upon, the risk was too great; they must be paid more,
if they went at all. I felt that patience had ceased to be a virtue.
Telling them that we would no longer go ahead, we ordered them to take
up their burdens and precede us, at the same time threatening to shoot
them, if they stopped without permission. After marching along in this
new order for a time, they indicated a desire to parley. They would
carry their burdens to the foot of the hill, where they would leave them
by the brook-side. We could then go on to the village of San Pedro
and send back carriers to bring them. To this proposition we gave no
encouragement. The descent was abrupt. At the bottom was a fine brook,
with a hanging bridge of vines swinging from tree to tree across it.
Here we stopped to drink the fresh cool water, cut some sugar-canes,
catch butterflies, and take views. One of the trees from which the vines
hung was a perfect mass of ferns, orchids and bromelias of many kinds.
On the great slope back of us, toward the gap through which the brook
had broken, were great cliffs of massive rock; otherwise the whole
mountain slope was a sheet of richest green. The ascent was long and
difficult, and the party went slowly, with many rests. It was amusing,
how, even at this distance, as we mounted the slope, we could hear the
constant beating of the _mapaho_ in the village behind us, as if in
rejoicing at our departure. As we neared the summit, our carriers again
made signals of a desire to converse. They would fulfill their whole
duty, and would carry their burdens to the town-house in San Pedro, but
would we have the kindness, from here on, to take the lead? Oh, yes, we
answered, we would take the lead, and they should see that nothing would
happen. No one would harm us; we were not about to die.

To make a favorable impression, we asked for a drink of water at the
first house we came to, and passed a greeting with the few men, women
and children whom we met on our way into town. The greater part of the
population was at church, where we found a service in progress, and we
were obliged to wait until it was over before we saw the town
officials. I told the _secretario_ to summon the town government to the
municipal-house, which was a small affair, no more than 15 or 18 by 20
feet, with walls of lashed poles and a palm roof. A narrow bench ran
around the four sides, and two tables, one long and one short one, set
at right angles, occupied the greater portion of the open space. A long
wide bench was placed alongside of the larger. At one end there was a
_santo_, in a little shrine decorated with flowers and leaves. A little
fire was built upon the floor, over which wax was melting, in which
candles were being dipped.

The _secretario_ chanced to be a man whom I had met at Cuicatlan the
year before. He recalled our work, and taking us to his own house, we
soon had an excellent dinner. He seemed to be well-to-do, and had
two houses built of slabs lashed vertically together. Nets full of
_jícaras_, great stacks of corn neatly laid out, good tableware in
quantity, and a kerosene-lamp, all were evidences of his wealth. We
ate at a good table, in the house, where the corn was stored. The most
astonishing thing, however, in the house was an old-fashioned piano,
long beyond use. How it was ever brought over the mountains to this
village is a wonder. When we asked him, what we were to pay for the
dinner, he replied, nothing; that we would begin to pay later. The
impression made upon us by San Pedro was more agreeable than that
produced by Zautla. The town government is large and vigorous,
comprising a dozen well-built young fellows. On account of the church
festival, plenty of subjects had been brought together. We did not
understand what the _secretario_ expected, and therefore took up our
quarters at the town-house. We paid dearly for our misunderstanding. We
waited long for supper, but none came. The _presidente_ and the older
men were at church. The _secretario_ was nowhere to be found. While we
were waiting, the young fellows who were making candles, and a crowd of
boys, crouched about the fire and watched the work. Presently they lay
down a couple of _serapes_ on the floor, and the whole group, eighteen
or twenty in number, dropped down upon them, a perfect mass of humanity,
packed close together in the most curiously twisted attitudes, and were
fast asleep in no time. They had no covering, but seemed to keep each
other warm. After they were fast asleep, some of the other men appeared,
and we urged the bringing in of supper. A handful of _tortillas_ and two
fried eggs were not a hearty meal for six hungry persons, nor were our
sleeping accommodations satisfactory. With difficulty we got some mats,
and I lay down upon the smaller table, Frank on the larger, Louis and
Manuel rolled up on the ground below the latter, and Ramon and the
_mozo_ on the long bench. Half a dozen of the older men remained sitting
about the fire. It can be understood that the room was fairly full. The
men made no pretense of sleeping until past ten o'clock, and two or
three times during the night they broke out into loud conversation.

[Illustration: CHINANTEC GIRL SPINNING; SAN JUAN ZAUTLA]

[Illustration: CHINANTEC WEAVING; SAN JUAN ZAUTLA]

Just outside the town-house, under a thatched shelter, a group of old
women were cooking _atole_ in great _ollas_ until a late hour. This
gruel they ladled out to those men and boys who had been working, and
doled out to them drinks from black bottles. The men and boys, with
their red head-cloths or neck-cloths, went forth from time to time in
groups upon some public errand. Towards evening, eight or ten little
fellows came from the forest with bundles of firewood upon their heads
and great _machetes_ hanging at their sides. In the morning, the same
group of youngsters came in loaded with bunches of green leaves and
holly to be used in decorating the church. At eight o'clock there was a
procession in the churchyard; the saint, dressed in flowing garments,
was carried about, accompanied by banners and a band of music. During
the festival, everyone drank; even the little boys of eight or nine
years, who brought in their loads of wood, received their spirits, which
they drank like old topers. There was no evidence of bad temper as a
result of this drinking, but an increasing stupidity. When, in the
morning, we found our breakfast to consist of nothing but coffee, we
realized our mistake of the night before, and promptly betook ourselves
to the house of the _secretario_, where we spent the following day. The
demands of the church during the day were so heavy that we did little
work. The day itself was dark and dismal. In the late morning the
boys brought in great loads of poinsettia, from which they fashioned
brilliant rosettes and garlands for the church. At night, a wooden
platform was brought in for a bed, upon which Louis, Manuel and I slept,
while the others made a bed of broad boards upon the floor. Being behind
with his developing, Louis set to work as soon as the lights were out,
and kept at it until half-past-one. Scarcely had he come to bed and
promptly fallen asleep, when there was a pounding at the door, which was
almost immediately after broken in. Rising, I called out to see what was
wanted, and four or five indians, all very drunk, came staggering in.
The oldest of the party carried a great _machete_, and one of them
closely hugged a bottle full of spirits. After begging pardon for
disturbing us, they built a smoky fire, near the drying negatives.
Fearing that their drunken movements and the smoke would work disaster,
I made them change their place of rest and fire, moving them to the
other end of the room. There they built another fire, and, before
morning, they had consumed three bottles of spirits. What with the
firelight and smoke, the noisy laughter, the loud talking and constant
movement, it was impossible for me to sleep. Only for a single hour,
when they fell back upon the floor in drunken slumber, and their fire
burned down, did I get a bit of rest. If seems that they were an
official guard put to watch the town store of grain which was kept in
the building, and which was subject to the depredations of animals.
During the following day we completed our work upon Chinantecs. The type
is one of the best marked. In the child, the nose is wide, flat at
the tip, with a straight or even concave bridge; the eyes are widely
separated and often oblique; the mouth is large, the lips thick and the
upper lip projects notably beyond the lower; the face is wide, and
flat at the cheek-bones. With age, this type changes, the nose becomes
aquiline, and of moderate breadth, the upper lip becomes less prominent,
the skin lightens.

For two days more, days of darkness, rain and cold that penetrated to
the marrow, we remained prisoners in the village, waiting for the horses
for which we had sent the day of our arrival. It was impossible to make
photographs, nor was it feasible to look around the town, or into the
adjoining country. The _secretario_, indeed, showed us the way in which
spirits are distilled from the sap of sugar-cane, and we had ample
opportunity to examine the dress of the people and the mode of weaving.
All the women dress in garments of home-woven cotton, and the red
head-cloths, so characteristic a feature of the dress of men and boys,
are woven here from thread already dyed, bought in other places. The
little figures of animals or birds or geometrical designs worked in
them in green or yellow worsted are woven in, at the time of making the
cloths, with bright bits of wool.

At last our animals appeared. They had been sent from Papalo, and we
made arrangements, as we supposed, for using them through to Cuicatlan.
The animals arrived at 9:30 in the morning and the _mozo_ with them
reported that the roads were bad from the constant rains of the past
several days. We decided to leave that afternoon, stopping at Zautla for
the night, and then, making an early start, to push through in a single
day. The _presidente, alcalde_, and other town officials accompanied us
to the border of the village, where they bade us adieu, begging for
a _real_ for drink. As we left, the sky was clear and the mists were
rising from the valleys. For the first time we gained some idea of the
beauty of the country all around us. The houses of the town are well
built, with walls of poles or narrow slabs neatly corded together in a
vertical position. The roofs are thatched with palm; they pitch
sharply from a central ridge and the ends pitch also from the ridge in
independent slopes. The top is crested with a comb of thatch, neatly
applied. Off to the right from the village lay a magnificent valley,
with massive rock walls clad with green forest. The low masses of clouds
and great banks of mist but emphasized the impression made by those
parts of the scene that were visible. Soon we had passed the ridge and
looked down again into the Zautla valley. The road was not as bad as
we had anticipated. As we made our upward climb, we found that the
flame-colored orchids, few when we last passed that way, were out in
quantity. They are a terrestrial species, and the colors are a beautiful
combination of flame-red with chrome-yellow. The other day only the
outer and lower flowers of the racemes were blown, but on this occasion
the whole cluster was in bloom. We noticed strikingly, what had before
suggested itself to us, that through this district flowers of certain
colors mass themselves together. Thus, on this slope, the hundreds of
bunches of flame-colored orchids were rivalled by clusters of a tubular
flower perhaps an inch in length, of almost the same hues. Along the
glen-road near Tepanapa all sorts of flowers seemed to be pink or
flesh-colored, while along the jungle-bank, near the coffee plantation,
everything was blue or purple. When we reached Zautla, neither the
_presidente_, the _secretario_ nor the _segundo_ was in town. The big
_topil_, whose head was healing, did the honors of the place. We had
intended to make an early start, but it was half past six before we
mounted and were on our way. Going back over the old road, we soon
reached the little coffee _finca_ in charge of our Mixtec friend, and
here we left the familiar trail, for what our guide insisted was a
better one. We struck up and up and up the slope to avoid little ravines
which he assured us were very bad. At last, when it was certain that he
had completely lost his way, we started down into the forest. For a time
we followed a bad and disused trail, but soon even this disappeared, and
we tore our way through the tropical vegetation as best we could. Often
the men had to cut the way with their _machetes_; sometimes we slid for
yards over the wet mud; frequently our heads were caught by hanging
vines, and faces and hands were scratched with brambles. When at last
we came out upon a cleared space, we found ourselves at the Chinantec
village of Santa Maria. Perhaps there were four houses in the village.
Our appearance caused great excitement. Our pack-animals bade fair to
destroy the maize and other plantings in the field. In the trail were
oxen, which had to be gotten out of our way for fear of being driven to
frenzy by our mere passing. They assured us that we were on the road to
Tepanapa, so we completed the descent to the brooklet and started up a
trail which at any time would have been steep, stony, slippery, all at
once. We were compelled, finally, to dismount and lead our animals;
Frank, before he did so, tumbled his horse three times down the bank. At
one place two of the horses fell together in a struggling mass, and for
a moment things looked serious. All the animals but my own fell, at
least once, before we reached the summit. From there, it was an easy
ride over a level district until we were in sight of Tepanapa, which, by
sunlight, presented a most attractive appearance. The houses are spread
over a gentle slope, to the very edge of a little _barranca_. Each had
a little enclosure, with a group of banana plants. Butterflies of
brilliant hues lazily flew about, and a few birds uttered their
characteristic cries. We could not, however, delay. Before us lay a
tremendous ascent; the first part, which we had passed after dusk, we
found rougher than we realized; rock masses here were covered with a
thick cushion of brilliant crimson moss, a kind of sphagnum. The gully
trail had not been improved by the recent rains, and it taxed our
animals severely to reach the summit. Arrived in the district of the
trees loaded with beards of golden-yellow moss, we caught a magnificent
view back over the valley. With one sweep of the eyes, we could almost
follow our whole round of wandering. The ridges on which lay San Juan
Zautla and San Pedro Soochiapan both were in sight, as were the valleys
in which Santa Maria and Tepanapa lay. But the only actual feature which
we could see and recognize was the little coffee _finca_ this side of
Zautla. The combination of green mountains, blue ridges and bare rock
cliffs was grand. Here our road forked, and at this point we had a
moment's excitement. We met an old indian man with a baby tied upon his
back, and his old wife, carrying a burden, followed after. Before them a
black bull was calmly walking. The moment the old man saw us, he waved
his arms and cried out, in great excitement, "_Toro, muy bravo_!" (Bull,
very fierce!) and hastened forward to catch the lasso wound round the
horns of the beast to lead him out of our way. Just then the bull took
matters into his own control, and, with a snort and plunge, started
wildly away, dragging the old fellow at a wild run down the trail,
finally whirling him and the baby into a heap by the roadside, while he
himself took up the mountain-side. It was after dark before we reached
Papalo.

After much grumbling, supper was prepared and a solemn promise given
that we should leave at seven in the morning. When we were ready, no
animals were to be seen. The _presidente_ asserted that the price which
we had paid was only to that point, and that if we wanted animals for
Cuicatlan we must make a new arrangement. This was sheer blackmail,
because there had been no misunderstanding in the matter, and a liberal
price had been paid. After wrangling for an hour, we shook the dust
of Papalo literally from our feet, and started to walk to Cuicatlan,
telling the town authorities that our burdens must be taken by _mozos_
to the _cabecera_ before three o'clock, and that we should pay nothing
for the service. Probably we should not have been so ready to take this
heroic action if we had not remembered that the road was down hill all
the way, and good walking. Still, fifteen miles is fifteen miles, and
the sun was hot, and though we left at 8:30, it was two o'clock before
we entered Cuicatlan. We had no adventures by the way, except the
killing of a coral snake which lay in the middle of the road. At three
the _mozos_ with their burdens arrived, and felt it very hard that we
kept our promise of paying nothing for their service.



CHAPTER XVIII

TO COIXTLAHUACA

(1900)


For a day we rested at Cuicatlan to make arrangements for a trip to
the land of the Chochos. We complained bitterly to the _jefe politico_
regarding the miserable animals which had been supplied us for our last
journey, and demanded something better.

Frank had had enough of practical anthropology, and left us, so there
were but four to be provided. At eight o'clock the following morning,
four decent horses and two pack animals were waiting at our door. A
mounted _arriero_ was in charge, to accompany us. Although he had been
inefficient on the preceding journey, the same jail-bird was sent with
us, as _mozo_, whom we had had before. At 8:30 our party of six persons
started; passing the river, which we forded, an excellent road took us,
for a league, over the sandy plain, which was fairly grown with trees,
supplying a little shade. The great _pitahayas_ were in bloom, and their
white flowers looked well against the ugly, stiff green branches. The
roadside was bordered with _acacias_ which, in full bloom, presented
masses of golden balls and perfumed the air with their delicate odor.
Passing a considerable sugar _hacienda_, the trail struck into the
mountains, and for three hours we made a steady ascent. The road itself
was excellent but the sun beat down with fearful force, and the heat
was reflected from the bare road and the rock cliffs along which we
travelled. At one place the vegetation consisted of a curious mixture of
gigantic cactuses, rising as single stalks as high as telegraph poles
but larger in diameter, and palms. Arriving at the crest, we saw a long
plain stretching before us, presenting a mingled growth of palms and
pines. At the very border of the ridge stood a hut of poles, where we
stopped to drink _tepache_ and to eat broiled chicken which we had
brought with us. We found the old woman, an indian--neither Cuicatec,
Chinantec, Mixtec, nor Zapotec, as we might expect--but a full Aztec
from Cordoba. She was bright and shrewd, and, as we chatted with her,
we noticed a little chicken a few days old awkwardly running about with
curiously deformed feet. Upon my noticing it, the old lady remarked that
the moon made it so. I inquired what she meant. She said, "Yes, we
know it is the moon which shapes the bodies of all young animals." We
followed the road a long distance over the hot plain, passing San Pedro
Jocotepec to our left, and shortly after, struck up the mountain side
and had another long and steady climb, until, at last, we reached the
crest of all the district. Here and there, we encountered bits of
limestone, which always, in this southern country, makes the worst
roads for travel. The rain erodes it into the oddest of forms, leaving
projecting ridges almost as sharp as knife-edges, with irregular hollows
pitting the surface, so that it forms a most insecure and unpleasant
foot-hold for the animals. Not only so, but the surface, rough as it is,
is frequently as polished as glass, and, whether wet or dry, is slippery
to the tread. Walking over these jagged surfaces of limestone is
destructive to any shoes. A single afternoon of this will do more wear
than a month of ordinary use. Troublesome as these limestones are, as
roads, they are ever interesting, because the masses by the roadside
present the most astonishing and beautiful forms of waterwear; upon a
mass eight or ten feet across, there will be worn a system of ridges
and intervening channels, which, in miniature, seems to reproduce the
orographic features of the whole country.

[Illustration: WOMEN WITH BABIES; SAN JUAN ZAUTLA]

[Illustration: CAIRN, ON ROAD TO COIXTLAHUACA]

While we were passing over one of these limestone stretches, a little
before reaching the summit, we found a spot of unusual difficulty. The
two pack animals were together, one tied to the tail of the other; the
second had several times acted badly, but in passing over this bit of
road, he jumped and plunged, so that his pack loosened and slid to one
side. Plunging, kicking, and falling, he dragged down the unfortunate
beast to whose tail he was tied; the old rope tugged and creaked, and,
for a moment, we expected to see the very tail of the forward animal
pulled out, and both packs destroyed by the struggling beasts.
Fortunately, at this moment, the rope itself broke. The forward
animal was loosened and quickly quieted; but the other one kicked and
struggled, with our load of plates and developing trays under him.
Quickly cutting the ropes that held the burden, we tried to release the
animal, but it lay exhausted, and, for a moment, we thought it dead.
Really, however, it was not hurt at all, and the loads themselves
appeared undamaged. The burdens having been repacked, we again started
on the journey. At several places on this road, we had noticed cairns,
or heaps of pebbles. On inquiring from Don Manuel--the funny little
man, who had the animals in charge--we learned that every Chocho indian
passing the place adds a pebble to the heap, to secure good luck and
insure his safe return home. At the summit, we found one of these piles
of stone surmounted by a cross, and learned that when the Chochos reach
this spot, they always stop, repeat a prayer, and dance for good health
and fortune before the cross. It was now almost dark. Soon we saw the
downward slope, at the foot of which Huauhtla lay. We hastened down
the slope, passing through a grove of oak trees, heavily loaded with
bromelias; at the foot of the slope, we crossed a stream of clearest
water, bordered with handsome cypress trees, and passing several houses,
came to the one where we planned to stop for the night. It was now dark.
There was no opportunity for sleeping in the hut, and so we prepared
to lie down outside. The people in the house prepared _tortillas_ and
beans, and, after eating, we rolled up in our blankets and lay down on
some dried corn-husks on the ground. It was a night of suffering; the
cold was so great that our blankets furnished no protection, and the
place swarmed with fleas innumerable. At last, at four o'clock, two
hours before sunrise, we started on our journey in the hope of getting
warm. The air was damp and heavy, and, until the sun rose, we had
a desolate journey. We were again upon a limestone district, with
interesting features of scenery, and with few difficulties in the road.
We passed many oblong hills of limestone, the horizontal layers of which
upon the slopes present tiers of steps, one behind the other. These
hills were astonishingly overgrown with trees, and formed masses of
the darkest green. There was a great deal of subterranean water, and
sink-holes produced by caving over such streams were frequent. The soil
generally was a residual red or brownish clay. Flocks of gray pigeons
were startled from their roosts by our passing; and little doves were
plentiful; great hawks and small eagles were seen in pairs, hovering
high in the air. We passed several little ranches, to one of which the
name of El Zapato is given from a foot-print which is said to be painted
on the rocks at that point. Finally, we saw before us the hill behind
which, Don Manuel assured us, lay Coixtlahuaca. To mount and drop down
behind it seemed a simple thing, but we had to traverse the whole length
of the rather irregular ridge, which seemed interminable. The road which
led up to it was called the Rio Blanca--white river--an appropriate
name, as it was broad and deeply worn into the soft rock of which the
ridge consisted. When we reached the crest, we found the ridge extending
as a flat plain of light, buff-colored tufa, with many trails worn
deeply into it, and giving out, under the bright sunshine, a frightful
reflection of light and heat. Long before we reached the end of this
dreary stretch, we saw Coixtlahuaca and its adjoining indian villages,
Nativitas and San Cristobal. As we drew nearer, the view was striking.
The town is broad, but of little depth; its streets are laid out with
regularity; its great church, with masses of ruin on either side, is
conspicuous; the _plaza_ is large for the size of the town. To one side
of it are the _portales_ and the town-house and _jefatura_. To the
right of the town and behind it is a large, walled cemetery with many
gravestones. Back of all, rise hills of tufa, such as we had just
traversed. The houses, similar to those at Huautla, and in the country
between there and here, appear to be constructed with a view to cold.
At least, two houses usually occur in one inclosure; the one, more
important, corresponds to the god-house of the Aztecs and the other
to the cook-house. The former is better built, and has low, carefully
constructed walls, and a high abruptly four-pitched, heavily thatched
roof. Going to the _jefatura_, the young clerk there was much impressed
by the documents we presented, and asked us if we would accompany him to
the _jefe's_ house, as thus no time would be lost. Upon arriving at the
house of the _jefe_, we found that a wedding was about to be celebrated
in the church. The _jefe_ received us with magnificent promises; we
should room at the palace, arrangements should be made for boarding at
a private house, beds and other proper furniture should be brought
immediately, and the following day we should journey on horseback
through all the indian towns of the vicinity. This was all very fine,
but we told him that meantime we were hungry--we had eaten nothing since
the night before and then had fared badly--and that we must unload our
animals, which we had left with the rest of our company, standing in
front of the palace. The unloading was done at once and we were given
the schoolhouse for our quarters, at the rear of the _patio_ of the
palace. At this moment, however, everything else was neglected for the
wedding. This we all attended, and it was, indeed, an occasion. The
bride in white, with veil and orange-blossoms, was accompanied by her
mother, god-mother, and other female friends. She was really a pretty
and wholesome indian girl, and the groom was a decent young _mestizo_,
with gray wool sombrero, and linen jacket, cloth trousers, etc. He
and his god-father were bustling about attending to all sorts of
preliminaries. In the solemn procession which took place to the church,
the company of ladies preceded; the _jefe_ and myself led the line of
male friends, and, when we filed into the church, the building was
fairly filled. The special friends, including our party, moved in
procession to the high altar, where the ceremony was performed. The
bridal company knelt with candles in their hands. Other candles, some of
enormous size, were burning in various parts of the church. The priest,
with much ceremony, gave the sacrament of the communion to the couple,
and then fastened two golden chains, crossing, about both their necks.
A scarf of satin was placed upon them so as to cover both, passing over
the head of the woman, and the shoulders of the man. From the church,
our procession, dwindled to the particular friends and guests of honor,
walked through the village to the justice-court, where the civil
ceremony was performed. The matter having been accomplished with full
respect to the requirements of the law, we thought again of dinner. The
_jefe_ told us that to-morrow we should go to our boarding-place, but
that to-day we were to dine together in state. Time passed, hour after
hour lagged by, until the _mozo_ and _arriero_ struck for money, with
which to buy themselves something to eat. Meantime, we waited. Finally,
at three o'clock in the afternoon, we were summoned, and the _jefe_,
myself, and our companions, started down the hot, dusty, main street.
On and on we walked, until, at last, the _jefe_ himself impatiently
demanded of our guide how far we had to go. At last, we heard the
strains of music, and, shortly, found ourselves in a yard crowded with
people, among whom two bands of music were present, one with stringed
instruments and the other with brass. It was the house of the bride, and
after a moment's waiting in the yard, we were ushered, by the _jefe's_
clerk, into the building. It had been cleared of all its contents and a
long table, set in the middle, ran lengthwise of the place. Benches were
placed beside it. A line of vases, filled with bouquets, occupied the
middle of the table and between these were bottles of wine, _catalán,
mescal, pulque, tepache_, beer, etc. The ladies were already seated; we
took the remaining seats. The company consisted of the bride and groom,
their parents, god-parents, families, and particular friends. And then,
we had a dinner which amply compensated for the thirty-six hours through
which we had been fasting--good bread, soup, stews, broiled meat, _mole,
mole prieto_, chicken, beans, sweetmeats, coffee, with the beverages
before mentioned. Dishes, when they came in, were politely passed across
the table to the ladies opposite; no one ate till all were served, and
when we were through, the place was cleared, and another room full of
friends sat down to the bountiful repast. And then a third, and then
a fourth, till everyone had feasted, even to the commonest, and the
musicians, to whom abundance was carried after those invited in had
eaten. Through all this lengthy feasting the bands of music alternated
with each other. When all had eaten, the women quickly cleared the
house, the tables were moved, and all the chairs of the neighborhood
were set stiffly around the walls, after which dancing began, continuing
through the night.

[Illustration]

After having eaten, we stepped outside to visit with the crowd. Among
them, several drunken men showed special friendliness. One of these
insisted upon showing us an idol, which, from his description, should
have been a rather beautiful piece. It turned out to be a very
crudely-made head, wrought in coarse, cellular lava. Considering the
material, the work was really fine; nor was it a fragment broken from
the body, as there had never been more than what we saw. From here, a
yet more drunken _dulcero_ insisted on our going to his _dulceria_ and
bake-shop, where he told us that he had a much finer piece. We found
he really had an enormous head, made of coarse, but rather bright, red
stone; it was another example of the same type of separate head, a type
which must be characteristic of the district.

Notwithstanding the fine promises, we found no beds or other furniture
when we returned to our room. This was not, perhaps, surprising, in view
of the excitement over the wedding, which might drive lesser matters out
of the mind of the great official. With difficulty, we secured some mats
from the chief of police, and made our beds with these upon the desks
and benches of the school room. But, though we remained in Coixtlahuaca
several days, no beds were forthcoming, though we referred to them often
enough; nor did the private boarding-house materialize. We, however,
found a little place in the village where we got plenty of good food
cheaply. Nor did the ride on horseback through the neighboring villages,
which had been so pleasantly suggested by the _jefe_, materialize.
However, each day of our stay we were assured that all arrangements had
been made for it to take place on the morrow.

We have already mentioned the _plaza_ as large in proportion to the size
of the town. On Sunday it was crowded, and while many things were bought
and sold, the trade in _sombreros_ surpassed all others. This is a
specialty of all the district; throughout the Chocho towns, they make an
excellent grade of palm-hats and everyone engages in the making. Both
men and women braid palm, and in every yard there is excavated in the
soft, tufaceous rock, a _cueva_, or cave, in which they work. Here
the palm is left between times, and here two persons generally work
together, each braiding at a hat, while a little cross, cut in the
rock-wall, looks down upon the work, for good luck. These caves have a
narrow opening upward and are scarcely large enough to admit the two
persons who sit at their work. The object of the cave is to keep the
work moist, as the plaiting cannot be well done, if the palm dries out.

The Monday we were there, the victory of February 5th was celebrated.
The day began with music by the brass-band, from the roof of the
_presidencia_. The band, a large one, consisted almost entirely of boys
about fifteen years of age. Only the director and one among the players
were men grown. At sunrise the national flag was raised, and at seven
the church-bells were rung. Through the afternoon, games of ball and
cock-fights furnished amusement. Among the crowd, at the house of the
bride, we had met a little, stout man of about twenty-five or thirty
years, who considered himself superior to the other people, and who
variously attempted to make himself familiar. At several times during
our measuring and bust-making, he had hung around, making smart remarks,
but we had never invited him to submit to measure, as he did not seem to
be a really full-blood indian. He had made a nuisance of himself, but,
finally, one day, when he was standing in the crowd, which was looking
on, he called my attention to a friend of his, remarking that here was
a good subject. On calling this young man to be measured, we met with
unexpected resistance. He was purely indian, short, well-dressed, and
well-mannered, but he refused to be measured. We had had some little
trouble with our subjects that afternoon, and therefore insisted that he
should undergo the operation. He refused. Of course, the officials were
on our side, and the police led him off to jail. When he saw that there
was no escape, he consented to be measured, and they brought him back,
under guard, until the operation was performed. So much feeling had been
raised by the matter, that his foolish friend, to whose jocularity he
owed the unpleasant experience, thought best himself to be measured.
Accordingly measures were taken, although it was after dark, and a
candle had to be used in reading. As our day's work was done, we
returned to our room, making ready to go to supper. The crowd had
departed. To our surprise, we found these foolish fellows at our door
awaiting us. "Sir," they said, "we would speak with you a moment." Going
aside with them, I asked their wishes. They then launched out, with
weeping and groans and much wringing of hands, into a dreary tale. They
were young teachers waiting for appointment; one of them had a little
family; it would be a dreadful thing for them to be taken away and
forced into the army. It was impossible to convince them that there was
no harm in the matter. After long discussion and elaborate explanations,
they cheered up somewhat, but insisted that I must go to the house of
one of them, the one who had given trouble, to take _pulque_. We
went, three abreast, each one of them taking one of my _brazitos
queridos_--"beloved little arms;" as we went, they alternately indulged
in admiring exclamations--"Ah, Severo, what a _maestro_! how fine a
gentleman! how amiable! Say Manuelito, was there ever such a one." At
the house, which was neat and clean, I met the mother and two little
ones, who would be left behind in case Severo were forced to go into the
army. Then the _pulque_ was brought in and sampled. As I was leaving to
go to supper, they said, no, I must go to my room; they would accompany
me. In vain I reminded them that my companions were waiting for me at
the eating-place; I must be seen back to my very door, then I might go
where I pleased; but with them I had gone forth, and until they saw me
home again, they would be responsible for my person.

Coixtlahuaca itself is largely a _mestizo_ town. But immediately in its
neighborhood, and on its outskirts, are indian villages. All Chochos
know Spanish, and but few talk their own language. There is little of
interest in their life and nothing characteristic in their dress, which
is that of _mestizos_ in general. But the physical type is well defined.
The stature is small; the face is short and broad; the nose is wide and
flat, with a fat, flattened tip; the hair is somewhat inclined to curl,
especially on top behind.

Despairing of the promised trip through the villages, we issued orders
for our animals to be ready early one morning. Only after vigorous
complaints and threats were they actually ready. The owner of the beast
which I, myself, mounted went with us on foot, and a _mozo_ was supplied
for carrying instruments. In spite of fair promises that we would
leave at three, it was 4:40 before we started, though we had risen at
half-past-two. Our _arriero_ was the best we ever had; far from
sparing his good horse and grumbling at our speed, he was continually
complaining at our slowness. "Why don't the boys want to go fast?" he
would say. "Don't you want to get there at a good hour? Why do you go
so slowly?" And then, striking the horse, he trotted along at wonderful
speed. We reached Huautla at half-past-eight, stopping an hour to feed
our horses and to eat beans and _tortillas_. We then pushed on down the
slope, and out over the long ridge, passing the hut of our Cordoban
Aztec woman. It was the hottest hour of the day when we descended the
broad road, over the hot rocks, and saw Cuicatlan in the distance.
Thanks to our _arriero_, we drew up at Doña Serafina's when it was but
3:40 in the afternoon, having been upon the road eleven hours.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIX

HUAUHTLA AND THE MAZATECS

(1900)


A short ride upon the train, through the hot and dusty valley, brought
us to the miserable station of San Antonio, from which, we had been
assured, a coach ran daily to Teotitlan del Camino; arrived at the
station, no stage was in sight, and we were told that it sometimes came
and sometimes not. Accordingly, leaving my companions at the station in
care of the baggage, I walked to the village, half a mile away, to see
what arrangements could be made for transportation. It was hot, and it
seemed difficult to arouse interest on the part of the town authorities.
Neither conveyance nor animals were to be had. Accordingly, a foot
messenger was sent to Teotitlan, which is a _cabecera_, asking that some
arrangement be made for transporting us. As there was no hurry, and it
would be some time before we could receive an answer, I sat under the
thatched roof in front of the town-house, resting and enjoying the
little breeze which had sprung up. Suddenly the belated coach, itself,
came into sight, bound for the station. Starting to mount, the driver
told me it was better for me to remain sitting comfortably in the shade,
and that he would pick up my companions, of whom, I told him, there
were three, and that I could join the company, as they passed. As
arrangements had already been made regarding the transportation of the
baggage by mules, the advice seemed good, and I remained where I was. A
long time passed, and when, at last, the coach arrived, it contained but
one passenger, a dignified _licenciado_. When I asked the driver where
my companions were, he answered that they had refused to come because
I had sent no written order to that effect. I suggested that we should
turn back and get them, but to this proposition he gave refusal. Not
only so, but the _licenciado_ expressed vexation at the delay which he
was suffering, and demanded that we should go on at once. Argument,
persuasions, threats were all of no avail, and, as it was necessary that
I should see the _jefe_ at the earliest possible moment, I was forced
to mount the coach and leave my unfortunate and obedient companions to
their fate. For an hour and a half the coach lumbered slowly over a hot
and dusty road, which passed between small, bare, gray or brown rock
hills, rising to a higher level only a little before we reached
Teotitlan itself.

Hastening to the _jefatura_, I discovered that the _jefe_ had gone to
Mexico, leaving the _presidente_ of the town as his lieutenant. This man
was neither willing, interested, nor efficient. He had little authority,
even with his own policemen and townsmen. I requested that the first
thing should be to send for my companions and bring them to town within
the briefest time. Orders were sent by the policemen to the driver
of the coach, that he should return at once to the station; to these
orders, he sent the false reply that his coach had broken down, one
wheel being completely ruined. After some wrangling and delay, the
_presidente_ sent a foot-messenger to San Antonio with orders to the
authorities of that village to supply three animals for the travellers.
The messenger left at five in the evening. Meantime, we arranged with
difficulty for beasts for our further journey. Although we were assured
that no animals from the town could accompany us further than the first
_ranchito_ in the mountains, named San Bernardino, they assured us that
fresh animals could be obtained there for the remainder of the journey.
Going to the regular hotel in the village, we found the prices higher
than in Oaxaca or Puebla, and equal to those of a first-class hotel in
Mexico itself. As the landlady seemed to have no disposition to do aught
for us, we decided to look elsewhere. At a second so-called hotel we
found a single bed. At this point, a bystander suggested that Don Pedro
Barrios would probably supply us lodging; hastening to his house, I
secured a capital room, opening by one door directly onto the main road,
and by another, opposite, onto the large _patio_ of his place. The room
was large and clean, and four good cots were soon in place. Having
ordered supper at a little eating-house, for four persons, to be ready
at seven o'clock, I spent a little time in looking at relics found
in the neighborhood. Pottery figures and heads are quite common and
frequently painted brilliantly; small heads and ornaments of green-stone
are not uncommon; curious clubs of stone for beating bark-paper are also
found; objects of gold and silver have been found in ancient graves,
near the foot of the mountains, on the outskirts of the village. These
were of curious forms and excellent workmanship, and included large
ornaments for the ears and pendants for the neck, made of thin sheets of
gold; turtles and human skulls cast in a single piece; and most curious
of all, odd pieces of filigree where the gold-wire was coiled into
strange human heads. One of these was made half of gold and half of
silver wire.

At seven, no sign of my companions had appeared. A policeman went to
tell the keeper of the eating-house that we would eat at eight, and,
putting my chair outside the open door, I sat in the cool air and
watched the people passing in the moonlight. Eight o'clock came, and no
companions. The supper hour was postponed to nine. Between nine and ten,
Don Pedro and I talked over various matters, and at last, yielding to
his solicitation, I went to supper, he promising to send my comrades in
case they should arrive during my absence. I had just finished supper,
at half-past ten, when my three hungry companions arrived, with big
appetites for their own meals, and it was after eleven before the party
was through its supper.

[Illustration]

They, themselves, had by no means spent a dull afternoon. The station
agent and his lady wife had indulged in a vigorous battle. Both were
drunk, shot revolvers recklessly, bit one another, tore hair, and
clubbed most vigorously. The man finally took $6,000 in money out of the
company's safe and left the station, vowing that he would never be seen
again. Though the authorities at San Antonio had received the order to
supply animals at six o'clock, it was after nine before they had the
beasts ready for the travellers.

After an excellent night's rest we started our pack-animals, and
were ourselves ready for the journey at nine, when we found that no
arrangements had been made for a foot _mozo_ to carry our instruments.
This again caused delay and trouble, but at last we were upon the road,
and started out through the little village towards the mountains. My
animal appeared a beast of vigor and spirit, and my hope ran high. The
moment, however, that we struck the climb, matters changed. He then
stopped every few yards, breathing as if it were his last gasp. This he
kept up for the whole ascent, and there seemed doubt whether he would
ever reach the summit. For a long distance, the road followed the side
of a gorge in which a fine brook plunged and dashed. We passed and
repassed picturesque groups of Mazatec indians with their burdens. The
women wore _enaguas_, the lower part of which was brown, the upper
white. Their _huipilis_ are among the most striking we have seen, being
made of native cotton, decorated with elaborate embroidered patterns of
large size, in pink or red. The favorite design is the eagle. Men wore
_cotones_ of black or dark blue wool. We had been riding steadily for
two hours before we reached San Bernardino, where the _mozos_ and pack
animals were changed, and where we rested for a few minutes. We then
rode for a long time, gently ascending through forests of pine or oak.
Here and there the air-plants on the oak trees were notable. Finally, we
mounted to a road along a narrow ridge, like a knife's edge, and from
here on had one of the most remarkable roads that I have ever travelled.
Keeping continuously upon the crest, we had upon the one side the dry
slope, with the pine forest, and on the other the damp slope, densely
grown with low oaks, heavily clad with orchids and bromelias and
weighted with great bunches of gray moss. The road passed up and down
gentle and abrupt slopes separated by level spaces. When we first caught
sight of Huauhtla it looked so near, and the road to be traversed was so
plain, that we expected to reach the town before three o'clock; but the
trail proved drearily long. True, the scenery was magnificent. The great
mass of mountains; curious ridges extending out from their flanks; the
multitude of horizontal, parallel long roads following these; the little
towns, San Geronimo, San Lucas--all were attractive. From the great
slope opposite Huauhtla, the view of the town was most impressive.
Before us opened a narrow valley, the depth of which we only realized
after we had traversed it. An hour and a half was necessary for making
the descent and the up-climb. From the point whence we were looking, the
church, town-house, and clustered houses of the village were above us.
Below stretched a line of _nublina_, and beneath it the whole great
mountain flank was checkered with the irregular brown and green fields
belonging to the villagers. It was already five o'clock when we began
the descent from this fine view-point, and, on our way down the slope
and up the opposite slope to the village, we met great numbers of
drunken indians,--as it was Sunday,--usually a man and woman together.
Two of the men we met had been fighting, and were covered with blood;
the face of one of them was livid with the blows which he had received.
Many of the parties were noisy and quarrelsome, and some of them showed
a tendency to meddle with us, as we passed.

[Illustration]

The greater portion of the journey had been over fine, dry roads; after
we reached the knife-edge ridge, however, whenever there was a descent
or ascent, we found the road of clay, moist and slippery; in the rainy
season these bits would be bad enough. At this time of year they are due
to the _nublina_, great masses of which we saw from the time we reached
the crest-road, and, at times, we passed through great sheets of it
which cut off all view and which soaked our clothing. Upon our last
descent and ascent, we were almost discouraged, and the last half-hour
of our journey was made by the light of the moon, struggling through
_nublina_. Though it was dark, when we reached the village, we were
impressed with the fineness of the municipal-house, the best constructed
we have seen in an indian town. Its location, near the edge of the
mountain slope, giving a magnificent outlook over the great valley, is
very fine. The houses of the Mazatecs are picturesque. The walls are
built of mud, or slabs or posts daubed with mud, while the roofs are
thatched with palm. The ridge pole extends, at both ends, in projections
which themselves are thatched, forming curious and striking horns. This
same mode of thatch, picturesque in the extreme, is also used above the
little granaries which are raised, on poles, several feet above the
ground, in order to keep the contents from the attacks of animals.
Huauhtla is a large town. The village and its immediate dependencies
have a population of 7000. Until lately the town was jealous of visits
from outside, and little inclined to hospitality towards travellers. If
this were formerly true, it has ceased to be so. We were received most
heartily; the large and enthusiastic town government, after learning our
errand, expressed their willingness to aid us in every way. They at once
cleared a fine large room in the town-house for our occupancy, prepared
four beds of boards covered with _petates_, and brought from the
priest's house, hard by, blankets, sheets, and pillows for my own use.
Arrangements were also made for our eating with the priest, Padre
Manzano, with whom we fared in truly regal fashion. In the days we
stayed at Huauhtla, there were no delays in our work and everything went
in orderly fashion. It is true, our subjects for busts were an awkward
and trying lot. The first subject broke the back-piece of the mould
to fragments, and, when the plaster was being applied to his face,
he opened his mouth and talked, opened his eyes, and drew out his
nose-tubes, with the result that eyes, nose and mouth were all filled
with the soft mixture, and it was all that we could do to clean him
without damage. As for trying to take his bust again, that was quite
out of the question. The second subject was all right, until the last
application had been made, when he turned in the partly hardened mould
with truly disastrous results. The third one acted so awkwardly that a
piece of mould, which should have come off singly, was taken off in ten
fragments.

The dress of the Mazatec women is elaborate and striking, both _enagua_
and _huipíl_ being made from the cotton woven by themselves. At the
base of the _enagua_ is a broad and heavy band of wool, embroidered in
geometrical patterns, the color being cochineal. Above these bands,
there are embroideries in the same colored wool, animal and human
figures, and geometrical designs. Unfortunately, cochineal, while
brilliant, is by no means permanent, a single washing of the garment
spreading the color through the white texture. The _huipilis_ are
ornamented frequently with red, purple and crimson ribbons, bought in
stores in the town, which are sewed to the garment in such a fashion as
to divide it into rectangular spaces. These, in turn, are occupied with
the elaborate large patterns in pink representing the eagle and other
designs already described. It is uncommon among Mexican indians to
find a native use of silk. Here, however, silk-worms are reared and
carry-cloths, kerchiefs and belts are woven from their product. These
are worn by both men and women. The mode of wearing the hair among the
Mazatec women is in two broad, flat braids hanging down the back. The
women made no demur whatever to being measured, but everyone, who
presented herself for the operation, came dressed in her best clothing,
with her hair elaborately braided, and showed serious disappointment and
dissatisfaction if not invited to be photographed.

[Illustration: MAZATEC WOMEN; HUAUHTLA]

[Illustration: HEAVY BRAIDS; MAZATEC WOMEN; HUAUHTLA]

The town has a most curious reputation, as devoted to commerce, and not
to manual labor. In fact, it is considered disgraceful for a man of
Huauhtla to indulge in work. The people of San Lucas, the nearest town,
and a dependency, are, on the other hand, notably industrious, and it
is they who carry burdens and do menial work for the lordly Huauhtla
people. Mrs. de Butrie told us that she tried in vain to get a cook in
the village. The woman was satisfied to cook and found no fault with the
wages offered, but refused the job because it involved the carrying of
water, and she feared lest she might be seen at such ignoble labor. Mr.
de Butrie a while ago bought a set of shelves from a man who had them in
his house. As they were dirty, he suggested that they must be cleaned
before he would receive them. The seller said, very well, he would send
for a man of San Lucas to clean them. It was only lately that they
condescended to carry stuff to Teotitlan to sell. In the town-house they
cherish two much-prized possessions, the _titulo_ and _mapa_ of the
town. The former is the grant made by the Spanish government to this
village, in the year 1763. It is an excellently preserved document in
parchment and the old writing is but little faded. As for the _mapa_, it
is a strip of native, coarse cotton cloth, seven feet by three feet nine
inches in size, with a landscape map of the surrounding country painted
upon it in red, yellow, black and brown. It is a quaint piece of
painting, with mountains valleys, streams, caves, trees, houses,
churches and villages represented on it with fair exactness. It was
probably painted at the same time that the _titulo_ was given to the
village.

The morning after our arrival, we witnessed a quadruple indian wedding
in the church at seven. The brides were magnificent in the brilliant
_huipilis_, and the godmothers were almost as much so, with their fine
embroideries. The ceremony was much like that at Coixtlahuaca, already
described. The bride put a silver ring upon the groom's finger, and
he did the same by her; the priest put money into the man's hands, he
transferred this to the woman, and she to the priest; single chains
were hung about the neck of each of the party, both men and women; the
covering sheet or scarf was stretched over all four couples at once,
covering the heads of the women and the shoulders of the men.

Near the town-house, along the main street, is a series of sheds or
shacks used as shops, altogether numerically disproportionate to the
population. Great was our surprise to find that one of these was kept
by a Frenchman, who spoke excellent English, and who is married to an
English lady. They were the only white people living in this great
indian town. Monsieur de Butrie has a coffee plantation in the valley a
few miles away, at Chichotla, but he finds the climate bad for himself
and lady. Accordingly, they had moved up onto the high land, and it is
easy for him, when he must give attention to his _finca_, to go to it
for the necessary time. They have some pretty children and are doing
well. We called at their house, quite like the others of the town, and
were hospitably received with chocolate and sweet English cakes. During
our stay, this gentleman and his wife did their utmost for our comfort,
and gave us many interesting bits of information regarding the people,
their customs and their superstitions. We have elsewhere described in
detail their witchcraft practices, their belief in transformation into
tigers, and their ideas regarding the destiny and condition of persons
after death.

[Illustration] [MAZATEC FROM SAN LUCAS]

[Illustration] [MAZATEC FROM SAN LUCAS]

Just across the way from the town-house, was a large house of the usual
fashion, which we quickly learned was the rendezvous and practice-place
of the town band. This consisted entirely of boys, none of them more
than twenty years of age, and numbered upwards of thirty pieces. The
leader was a man of forty, a capital trainer. The daily practice began
at 4:30 in the morning, and was kept up until noon; then ensued an
hour's rest. At one, they were again practicing, and no break occurred
until long after dark. During the days that we were there, a single
piece only was being practiced. It was our alarm clock in the morning,
beat time for our work throughout the day, and lulled us to sleep when
we retired for the night. Señor de Butrie insists that during the year
and more than he has lived in the village, several boys have blown
themselves, through consumption, into early graves. Our pleasant stay
at Huauhtla came to an equally pleasant termination. Having stated the
number of animals and human carriers necessary, and the hour at which
we wished to start, we found every preparation made on awaking in the
morning, and at 6:25, after an excellent breakfast with Padre Manzano,
we sallied forth. Six human carriers bore our busts and baggage, and
four capital horses carried us rapidly over the good road. It was a
magnificent morning, but later in the day, as the sun rose, it became
hot. We arrived at three in the afternoon with our carriers close
behind. The following morning we forgave the crabbed _cochero_ at
Teotitlan sufficiently to take his stage coach for San Antonio, where
we arrived in fifty minutes, having two hours to wait before the
north-bound train took us towards Puebla.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XX

TEPEHUAS AND TOTONACS

(1900)


Leaving Puebla on the early morning train, and taking the Pachuca branch
at Ometusco, we changed cars at Tepa onto the narrow-gauge Hidalgo
road for Tulancingo, which took us by a winding course through a great
_maguéy_ country. After two hours of riding, in the latter part of which
we were within sight of a pretty lakelet, we reached Tulancingo. Broad
avenues, bordered with handsome trees, connected the station with the
town, in the _plaza_ of which we shortly found ourselves. This _plaza_
consists of a large square, planted with trees, with an open space
before it, and is surrounded by various shops and the great church.
It is pretentious, but desolate. In front of the treed space, were
temporary booths erected for the carnival, in which _dulces, aguas
frescas_, and _cascarones_ were offered for sale. Hawkers on the streets
were selling _cascarones_, some of which were quite elaborate. The
simplest were egg-shells, dyed and stained in brilliant colors, and
filled with bits of cut paper; these were broken upon the heads of
persons as they passed, setting loose the bits of paper which became
entangled in the hair and scattered over the clothing. Some had, pasted
over the open ends, little conical caps of colored tissue-paper. Others
consisted of a lyre-shaped frame, with an eggshell in the center of the
open part. Some had white birds, single or in pairs, hovering over the
upper end. The carnival was on in full force, and we saw frequent bands
of maskers. They went in companies of a dozen or so, dressed like
clowns, with their clothing spotted and striped with red. Their faces
were concealed by cloth. They walked rapidly, almost ran, through the
streets. They spoke to no one, and did nothing except to keep up a loud
and constant trilling of the most ridiculous kind. Packs of youngsters
chased behind and crowded upon them; they also pelted them with stones,
and the head of one of the maskers was bleeding quite profusely, but he
still kept up his headlong run and trilling. We had counted upon the
assistance of the _jefe_, but found him too dignified to receive us
outside of office hours, and therefore we arranged the matter of
our transportation to Huachinango. The price was high, the coach
inconvenient, and the _cochero_ unaccommodating. In vain we tried to
have all of our plaster taken in the load with us; only one-half could
go, the balance must follow the succeeding day. Finally, at about ten in
the morning, we lumbered heavily away, and were soon out of the town,
passing through a brown, hilly district, at first devoted to _pulque_
plantations, but further along becoming fine pastureland. Neat fields,
separated by bands of yellow, unplowed stubble, and true farm-houses of
good size, were striking features. We passed through quantities of pine
groves, and everywhere a cold wind blew strongly in our faces. At one
place, we were obliged to dismount and walk, on account of the sharp
descent, and found ourselves upon an ugly piece of limestone or
sandstone rock, which soon, to our surprise, we found replaced by a
solid mass of obsidian. The _cochero_, says that the place is known
as _itzlis_--the obsidians, the knives. It was 2:30 when we reached
Aguazotepec, where we called upon the _presidente_, and engaged a
_mozo_, for a _peso_, to convey our instruments the balance of the
journey, as we were completely tired out with carrying them upon our
knees. We also arranged with that official to forward the balance of
our stuff to Huachinango the following day. We also arranged to pay
for horses from Aguazotepec to Huachinango. Having eaten an excellent
dinner, when ready for resuming our journey, we discovered, with
surprise, that the stage was still our conveyance to Venta Colorado,
only a league from Huachinango. There we were to secure the animals
for which we had paid, though we were warned that only three could be
supplied. Manuel and Louis at once tossed coins to see which should
ride first. Although we had paid the full cost of the coach, two other
passengers were crowded in upon us, and the man, for whom we had paid
the _peso_ to carry our instruments, ran alongside the coach on foot,
throwing stones at the mules, while we had again the pleasure of
carrying the instruments and boxes on our knees. The country through
which we rode was much as before. For some time we passed through a fine
pine forest; then we made a deep descent into a valley, at the bottom of
which flowed a large stream, which was bridged by a grand old structure
of stone and cement. This descent, and the opposite ascent, we were
obliged to make on foot, as the approaches were bad. We have been
impressed strongly with the fact that everywhere in Mexico the worst
bits of road are those which, in old Spanish days, were handsomely
and well paved; and which, during the disturbed period of the early
Republic, were neglected and allowed to go to decay. It is depressing to
see so many evidences of past magnificence and present poverty. It was
almost dusk when, after skirting the edge of a deep gorge, we reached a
piece of bad road, where the coach with difficulty made its way, with
frightful jolts and pitchings, till we drew up at Venta Colorado. Here
the coach was finally abandoned. Our animals were packed and mounted,
and after fussing and quarreling with our ugly _cochero_ as to whether
he or we should carry the bulk of our baggage, we started. The distance
was not great. It was down hill, and we had to pick our way with great
care over the rough road, filled with loosened and separated blocks of
ancient paving.

This district, in one respect, reminded us of the Tarascan country.
Every house along the road was a sales-place, where drinks, cigarettes,
fruit and bread were offered, and each had the little boarded window,
open when sales were solicited, and closed when business stopped. The
houses, too, were log structures with shingled four-pitched roofs, and
the houses in the town were well built, cement-walled, with low-sloped,
far projecting tile roofs supported on trimmed beams. One might as well
have been in Patzcuaro, Uruapan, or Chilchota. Again the _cochero_; we
had told him that the stuff should go to the _jefatura_, and not to the
hotel; he told us with great insolence that the _jefatura_ was closed,
and that it would be impossible to see the _jefe_ and that the stuff
would remain at the hotel; he followed us, when we went to the _jefe's_
house, and great was his surprise when he found our order efficacious.
We had a long talk with the _jefe_, who told us that few indians lived
in the town, and that none of them were Totonacs; he assured us that,
though there were no Totonacs in Huachinango, we could find them in
abundance at Pahuatlan, to which he recommended us to go. The nearest
indian town to Huachinango is Chiconcuauhtla, but it is Aztec. The next
day was spent in town, waiting for our other baggage, and for the _jefe_
to arrange our orders and lay out our journey. My day of fever was on,
and I spent it mostly in bed. There were many indians in the market,
most of whom were Aztecs, though a few were Otomis. The men wore dark
brown or black _cotones_; the _enaguas_ of the women were wool and were
dark blue or black. Many carried on their shoulders carry-pouches,
consisting of two rectangular frames of sticks, corded together along
the lower side, and kept from opening too widely, above, by a net of
cords at the ends. The indians of Chiconcuauhtla are easily recognized
by their little flat, round caps. Late in the afternoon the bands of
maskers, here called the _huehuetes_, were out. There were a dozen of
them, dressed in absurd costumes; a bewhiskered Englishman in loud
clothing, a gentleman, a clown, a lady, etc. These all went, by twos,
on horseback; a clown and a devil and a boy with a prod, on foot,
accompanied them. The duty of the latter, who remotely resembled death,
was to prod the unhappy devil. They were accompanied by noisy crowds the
several times they made the rounds of the town, keeping up the peculiar
trilling, which we had noticed at Tulancingo. At dusk, these maskers
dismounted and promenaded in couples about the _plaza_.

Nowhere, as in this region, have we had so much difficulty with regard
to animals. The demands were so exorbitant that we insisted upon the
_jefe_ making the arrangements. He received us in anything but a
pleasant mood, but acceded, and finally we secured four horses and four
mules, for which we were to pay for two full days, and a foot _mozo_ to
whom we also were to pay two full days' wages. As the _jefe_ himself
had made this arrangement, we consented to it, but the man who was
outfitting us then demanded pay for the _mozo_ who went to bring back
the horses and for the fodder of the animals. At this, even the _jefe_
balked, declaring that he was not in favor of really robbing the
gentlemen. Paying him the seventeen dollars and twenty-five cents, in
order that there might be no further discussion, we started. Just as we
left, the man who supplied the animals decided that our loads, which
before had been so large, were really not too large for three mules,
which number was actually sent with us, though we had paid for four.
We were ready for starting at seven, but it was ten before we left.
Meantime, clouds had gathered, and just as we started, rain began. There
were first several separate showers, and then a steady downpour, which
lasted almost till we reached Pahuatlan. All the blankets had been
packed away, and we rode through the rain until our clothes were
drenched through and through. For three hours this continued, and it
was impossible to see anything of the country through which we passed.
Finally, however, as we reached a great crest, and looked down into the
valley beyond, the sky was clear and we could see something of the scene
about us. The descent we were to make, and the slope in front, were
covered with sugar-cane, broken here and there by great patches of
pineapples. With each plantation of sugar-cane there was a little
shelter of poles under which was a sap-trough or boiling-tank, while at
the side of and behind the shelter was a rude mill, the power for which
was furnished by a yoke of oxen. Boys fed the fresh cane between the
crushing rollers, and the sap, as it ran out, was carried in little
troughs to vats. Not at all these little shelters was sugar-making in
progress, as we passed, but over both slopes many columns of smoke
indicated places where the work was going on. The fire in the vat kept
the sap boiling, and a man standing near with a great ladle, pierced
with holes, kept dipping up and pouring out the hot sap. When we started
up the great ascent we had no hint of Pahuatlan, and, when we reached
the summit, could see nothing of it. But hardly had we begun the descent
before we saw the large and handsome town below, but still with a long
slope and a sharp ascent to be passed, before we could reach it. From
the brook-side, at the bottom of the valley, almost to the village
itself, we passed through a dense growth of bananas, which seemed to
have suffered some damage, as many were dry and yellow, and individual
leaves were curiously tattered and jagged. Among them grew other plants,
coffee, orange-trees, peaches, and cane. When we reached the town, my
heart sank; a church with handsome dome and modern tower, a planted
_plaza_ with central fountain, buildings, of two stories with gaudy
fronts and _portales_, surrounding three sides of the square, augured
better for comfort while we were in the place, than for work
on Totonacs. We rode up to the _municipio_, where we found the
_presidente_, a rather stylish young fellow, who was interested in our
work and helpful. The town controls fourteen thousand persons, and its
name is derived from that of a large _ahuacate_, the Aztec name of which
is _pahuatl_. The _presidente_ assured us that there was no Totonac
town, properly speaking, within the limits of the _municipio_. For all
this district, Orozco y Berra makes many errors. Atla, which he lists as
Totonac, is really Aztec. The _presidente_, upon a local map, showed us
the interesting way in which natural barriers limit idioms. Two
little streams, coming together at an acute angle, may divide three
languages--one being spoken in the angle and one on either side.
In Tlaxco, a small village in this _municipio_, four idioms are
spoken--Aztec, Otomi, Totonac and Tepehua.

Two years before, just as my work was ending, we were in the great Otomi
town of Huixquilucan, in the state of Mexico. While resting at midday, I
noticed a neatly-dressed and clean young indian, plainly not Otomi, with
whom I conversed. He was an Aztec, and much interested in the work we
were doing. In our conversation, he told me that I would find much of
interest in the state of Hidalgo, and particularly called my attention
to the making of paper from bark, which he had observed in the town of
San Gregorio, two years before. This particularly interested me, and I
then made notes regarding the method of getting to San Gregorio. I was
advised by him, in case of going to that place, to talk with Don Pablo
Leyra, of Huehuetla, who was himself an Indian and a man of consequence
in the district--a sort of _cacique_ among his people. Several years
ago, I had first learned from Señor Eurosa, a Mexican Protestant
clergyman, that in the little town of Tlacuilotepec, there still survive
interesting pagan practices. In planning our present journey, I had
arranged to visit San Gregorio and Tlacuilotepec for the purpose of
investigating this manufacture of paper and these pagan customs.
Inquiring of the _presidente_ of Pahuatlan about his indians, I asked
regarding paper-beating, and discovered that it was done at the nearest
indian village of San Pablito, Otomi. We were told that bark of several
species of trees was used--_jonote_, dragon, and mulberry; that the
paper is usually made secretly and in-doors; that the passing traveller
can hear the sound of light and rapid pounding as he passes through the
village; that it is made in every house, and the proper season is when
the sap runs, April to June; San Pablito is the only village in the
_municipio_ where it is made. It is used in _brujería_ (witchcraft);
other paper can be bought much cheaper, but only this kind is
serviceable. It is cut into _muñecos_; representing human beings and
horses and other animals, and these are used to work injury to human
beings and beasts, being buried in front of the house or in the
_corral_. The judge, who was sitting by, told us that a prisoner brought
before him for trial was found to carry such a paper figure, which was
sewed through the body with thread and had its lips sewed also; he
learned that this figure represented himself, and that the lips were
sewed to prevent him from pronouncing judgment on the prisoner. They
assured me that the nearest point for finding Totonacs or Tepehuas, in
sufficient numbers for my purpose, was in the district of Tenango del
Doria, where, at Huehuetla, we would find the largest Tepehua town, and
that in Pantepec, which is in the district of Huachinango, and near
Huehuetla, we would find Totonacs. We had had such ill success in
locating Totonacs so far, that, at our suggestion, they telephoned to
the _jefe_ at Tenango inquiring regarding the populations of Huehuetla
and Pantepec, with the result that we decided to visit those towns.

At Tulancingo, we had been snubbed by the _jefe_, who would not treat
with us outside of office hours. When the _presidente_ of Pahuatlan took
us to the house where arrangements had been made for our accommodation,
we found a garrulous, simple-minded, individual who was set to clear
our room and make our beds. To myself, as leader of the company, he
was attentive and ceremonious in the highest degree, and on several
occasions he took my companions to task for their ignorance regarding
the proper deference to display toward me. He inquired whether we were
acquainted with Señor Arroyo, _jefe politico_ of Tulancingo, and then
informed us, with pride that that gentleman was his "Señor Padre."
"If so, Señors, you may well ask why you see me thus dressed in
_calzoncillos_. For two reasons: first, I am not a legitimate son, no,
Señors, my lady mother, who bore me was an Otomi indian, but I am the
acknowledged illegitimate son of my honored Señor Padre. Second, I had
the misfortune to be involved in trouble in the district of Del Doria,
which forced me to flee from that district to escape the _jefe_. But,
sir, my Señor Padre said to me, 'son, I am the _jefe politico_ of
Tulancingo and the governor of the State is Pedro L. Rodriguez; I am his
intimate friend, and we shall succeed in ousting that _jefe_ in Tenango
del Doria who has ordered your arrest.'" He also told us of one time,
when his Señor Padre and an inspector visited that unfortunate district
as an investigating committee, and found the _jefe_ guilty and put him
in jail _incomunicado_. He also told us of the band of Pahuatlan, justly
famous, which made so great an impression in one town it visited,
that it determined to go to Tulancingo to serenade the _jefe_ of that
district, his honored Señor Padre. "And I was invited, sir, not that I
am a musician or know one note from another, but because I am of
the family of the gentleman who was to be honored, and as a mark of
distinguished favor to both members of the family. The band played so
beautifully, that it was not allowed to stop until half-past-eleven at
night, when it retired in great triumph." All this was very interesting,
the first time it was told us, but the natural son remained while we ate
supper, and afterwards, following us to our sleeping-room, kept up the
repetition until two were already in bed and asleep and the others
wished to be, when, finally, we turned him out and locked the door upon
him for the night. We have stated that we paid for four animals to bring
our baggage hither, while but three were actually employed; the animals,
both pack and passenger, started on their journey for Huachinango at
half-past-four in the afternoon, though we had paid both beast and man
two full days' wages.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Tlacuilotepec is a dependency of Pahuatlan. We started for our day's
trip thither on a good lot of animals, at eight o'clock in the morning,
with two foot _mozos_ for carriers. The journey was delightful. For a
little, we followed a trail down the left-hand bank of a fine ravine.
Nearly at the foot we struck to the left, through a little cut, and were
surprised to find ourselves upon the right-hand slope of another gulf of
immense depth. A few minutes later, we reached the point where the two
streams united. And from there on, for a long time, we followed the
bottom of a great gorge. The rock walls were bold and often sheer, and
the upper line of mountain horizon was graceful and varied. The cliffs
were mostly limestone, and presented remarkable examples of folding and
dislocation. The long roots of trees, following exposed rock surfaces
downward for yards, and twisting and bending to find lodgment in the
crevices, were curious. Great tufts of a plant with long, narrow,
light-green leaves hung down along vertical rock faces. In little
caverns, at the foot of cliffs, were damp spots filled with ferns and
broad-leaved caladiums, and brilliant clusters of begonias in bloom.
At several places, the water of springs or underground streams gushed
forth, in natural rock-basins, or from under projecting ledges. At one
spot, there was a dainty basin of limestone into which a pretty veil of
spring water fell gracefully. We crossed and recrossed the stream many
times. Everywhere we were within sound of the creaking sugar-mills, and
in sight of the ladling of boiled sap; everywhere we met _arrieros_
driving animals loaded with little loaves of native sugar; everywhere
the forest was broken with little patches of sugar-cane, growing on the
slopes. Here and there, we saw cables slung across the streams, for
passing cargoes at high water. At one place was a fine display of
basaltic columns, the position of which was horizontal, the flow having
come up as a sheet injected from below, and not as a surface out-flow,
where the jointage would have been vertical. Finally, leaving this
beautiful ravine, we made a rapid ascent, passing a little village
consisting almost wholly of a school, noisy with study, and a church,
with a separate square tower. Shortly after reaching the summit, and
dipping slightly, we found Tlacuilotepec. It is not a large town. At its
center _mestizo,_ it has charge of several indian villages. We had
been referred for information concerning surviving paganism to a Señor
Martinez. We were interested in finding that the _presidente_ of the
town was a brother of this gentleman, and that both were Protestants. We
were received with great cordiality, not only on account of our official
introduction, but also because we brought an unofficial introduction
from Protestant friends. Two charming beds were arranged in the little
meeting-place in Señor Martinez's own house, and two others, almost as
good, were secured for the others of the party, in the little _meson_
of the village. As we chatted, we were refreshed with a delicious
orange-wine, which is made here, and during our days spent with Don
Quirino, we had meals fit for a king. The indians under his charge are
Otomis, and in one little village, Santa Maria, Totonac. When we came
to inquire regarding the pagan practice for which we were searching,
we learned that it was peculiar to the Otomis, and formed their annual
_costumbre_--custom. They believe that Montezuma is to come again.
Meantime, from him come health, crops, and all good things. Their
_costumbre_ is a feast given in his honor, of which he is believed to
partake. A _jacál_--hut--is prepared in a retired spot; a table is
constructed full length of the house within, and upon this a feast is
spread of which all partake.

Upon this table they place many _muñecos_ of paper; formerly these were
made of the bark paper, but they are now made of ordinary paper bought
in the stores. There may be so many of these that they cover the table
an inch or two thick. The feasters shove money, usually small pieces
of silver, beneath these figures. They then kill turkeys and hens and
chickens, and sprinkle the blood from the headless bodies over the
_muñecos_. This they do that Montezuma may be propitiated, and give them
what they desire; the money and the _muñecos_, sprinkled with blood, are
left upon the table after the feast, the former being stolen by passing
_mestizos_.

The _presidente_ stated that, at the _pueblito_ of Santa Maria, where we
should go upon the morrow to see some Totonacs, they had just celebrated
their annual _costumbre_. He said that it might be somewhat similar,
as they had sent him a headless turkey, as a gift. In the morning, we
visited this village accompanied by the two brothers. A half hour's ride
brought us to the spot, from which one gets one of the most lovely views
in all this picturesque country. Standing on the end of a little spur
upon which the village lies, one sees the handsome river below, which
separates this _municipio_ from that of Villa Juarez. To the left, rise
magnificent mountains covered with brilliant green vegetation, broken
here and there by bare rock faces, from the base of which gentle slopes,
extending down to the river, are covered with little corn-fields.
Cuauhtepec, a Totonac pueblo, where all are said to dress in white, lies
upon this stream, and immediately back from it the cultivated fields
of the village stretch up to the very crest. To the right, is seen
the little ranch Tanchitla, with its fields, a strip of green forest
separating these from the fields of the next village, Tlapajualla. The
stream abounds in fish of various kinds, which form an important food
supply. They are, however, rapidly being destroyed by the practice of
exploding dynamite cartridges in the water, by which not only the adult
fish, but the young, of all ages, are killed. Unless the practice soon
ceases, and there are rigid laws against it, there will soon be no fish
left in any of the streams of this whole region. This particular stream
bears different names in different portions of its course--thus it is
called Tanchitla, Pahuatlan, San Marcos, Caxones, Xico, etc.

Having noticed that here, as at Pahuatlan, the banana trees were badly
injured, we learned that this havoc was the result of two recent
hail-storms, which were felt over a wide area, and which were of almost
unexampled severity. By the time we had enjoyed the outlook, and learned
a little of the village, the messenger who had been sent to call the
people together had performed his duty, and a picturesque group of our
long-sought Totonacs were at hand. The women wear _quichiquemils_ of
native cotton cloth, the neck opening of which is over-hemmed with
black wool. Lines of crosses, rosettes, birds, etc., are worked in
various-colored wools upon them. Many of them have a broad line of
color, in geometrical combinations, running vertically up the middle.
The men wear _cotones_ of black and white.

Twenty-five or thirty of the more important men of the village were now
taken to the schoolhouse, where the _presidente_ inquired, for me, in
regard to the _costumbre_. At first a little hesitancy was shown, but
soon all were interested and talked freely. The _costumbre_ comes at
about the same time each year, though not upon a fixed date. Its purpose
is to secure health, good weather and crops for the coming year, though
it may be held on the occasion of pestilence. Everyone, even widows and
old maids, brings something for the feast. The celebration is held in
some large house, and lasts through two days; floral decorations are
arranged in the four corners of the room, candles are lighted, and
_copal_ is burned. The first day, each person brings a handful of earth
from his field, which is placed in a heap upon the floor. Fowls and
animals are slaughtered for the occasion; their heads are cut off and
their blood is sprinkled upon the earth. After feasting and drinking, a
dance follows, the dancers wearing crowns and necklaces of yellow arnica
flowers, and carry in their hands wands made of pine-splints wrapped
with corn-husks, and with a flower of arnica tied to each end. The
second day, corn on the ear and beans are brought instead of earth, and
these are sprinkled with blood. On both days, blood-sprinkled material
is carried home, and the seed and earth are later put into the field. In
the feasting-room, two paper lanterns are hung from the ceiling; these
are stuck over with gilt and colored paper disks and stars. They
represent the sun and stars. Upon these lanterns a cross of blood is
made, at the time when the earth and seed are sprinkled. After the dance
ends on the second day, children shoot at the lanterns with small arrows
and try to break them. Disappointed that no mention had been made of
bark paper in connection with this ceremonial, we asked whether they
ever used it. They answered promptly in the affirmative. For what? To
wrap _ocotes_. With this, the man who told me hastened out and came back
with a little parcel in his hand. This consisted of twelve little sticks
of pine about three inches long; they were tied together with a band of
thread or bark fibre, and were stained with blood; these were wrapped in
a piece of green banana leaf, the upper face of the leaf being placed
inside and the base of the leaf kept downward. When it had been thus
carefully folded, it was carried to the field and buried in a hole,
carefully dug, so that the top of the package was close to the surface
of the ground, and the face of the leaf wrapping was directed toward the
rising sun. To anyone who has studied American indian religions, these
two _costumbres_ suggest much of interest.

The young man who had been most interested in our proper understanding
of the _costumbre_ was anxious that we should see the village idols.
These are kept concealed, apparently in a cave, though it is possible
that they are buried in the ground. At all events, they exist, and in
considerable number. A lively discussion ensued as to whether it would
be proper to show them to us, and it was decided that nothing ought to
be done until the old woman, who is at the head of the pagan practices
of the village, should be present. It seems that in the _costumbre_,
already described, there are four priests or leaders. One of these is
the old woman just mentioned, and the other three are men. She was sent
for, and while we waited, we were told that, if we desired to see
the lanterns that were used in the last _costumbre_, they were still
preserved in the _santocalli. Santocalli_ is a mongrel word--from
Spanish _santo_, saint, and the Aztec _calli_, house. It was a little
structure of adobe and canes, close to the schoolhouse, and fronting
with it upon the little _plaza_ of the village. It had a two-pitched
thatched roof and a single door in the front. After some demur, it was
opened, and we entered. It consisted of a single plain room with two
benches made of beams along the wall. At the back was a terrible Christ
and Virgin, and, to the right and behind, another Virgin. These Virgin
figures were both small and unattractive, and both wore _quichiquemils_.
In front of the Christ and larger Virgin was a simple altar built
against the wall. In the floor, directly in front of it, were four small
hollows. To the right of the altar, a flat stone was set into the floor.
In front of the altar stood a small table on which were censers and
candle-sticks. Underneath this table, the space between the four
legs was occupied by a heap of ashes; in front and behind this were
ill-defined basin hollows. To beams in front of these were hung the
almost globular paper lanterns already mentioned. When we had seen these
lanterns, and were about to leave, the old _bruja_ appeared, with her
female acolyte. She was furious over the desecration of strangers
entering the _santocalli_, without her presence. She was a striking
figure; very small, with a wrinkled, shrewd and serious, but not unkind,
face; her white hair was almost concealed by her _rebozo_, which was
folded square and laid upon her head with a portion flowing behind.
The most striking thing was her great devotion, and complete unconcern
regarding all around her. Entering, she hastened to the altar,
knelt,--touched her forehead to the edge--and in a clear but not loud
voice crooned an impassioned cry to Christ, to San Jose and to the
Virgin. Imperiously turning to her acolyte, she seized the censer filled
with copal, and, having lighted it, incensed the figures. Turning to the
_presidente_, she asked whether he were going to placate the saint for
invasion by giving _aguardiente_ and candles, both of which appeared, as
if by magic, when she was given money. Pouring _aguardiente_ from the
bottle into a glass, she poured into the four basins in the ground
before the altar, before the Virgin, before and behind the heaps of
ashes under the table, and then placed it to the lips of the Virgin and
Christ, lovingly requesting them to partake. She then compelled each of
the three men priests to make the same libation. Taking the unlighted
candles, she made passes with them, over and across the figures, first
to one side and then to the other, brushing the wicks against them.
This, too, had to be done by the three assistants, after which the old
lady began to make vigorous personal use of the bottle of spirits,
though she was not at all selfish, urging, not only her acolytes, but
the _presidente_, his brother, and the chief guest, to partake. It was
too late to suggest a visit to the idols, but the curious scene we
had witnessed gave sufficient food for thought. Hurrying back to
Tlacuilotepec, we ate a last excellent dinner, which had been long
waiting, and at three left for Pahuatlan. Our host, who had been
unremitting in his attention, refused all money. At certain indian
houses which we passed upon our homeward way, we saw curious pouches
made of armadillo-shells, hanging upon posts or on the house walls. We
learned that they were used at planting-time for holding seed-corn.
When the shell is freshly removed from the animal, it is bent into the
required shape, and then packed full with wet ashes, to make it retain
its form in drying. Though it was half-past three when we left, the way
was so cool and delightful that we made the journey in three hours.

During our day at Pahuatlan, with a guide furnished by the _presidente_,
I made the journey on foot to Atla, an Aztec town, famous for the little
cotton sacks with red wool patterns, which are almost universally
carried by men throughout this district. White _cotones_, with narrow,
dark stripes and a transverse band of red decoration at each end, and
white _quichiquemils_, decorated with brilliant designs in red wool, are
also made here. Our object was not so much to see the village and the
garments, as to visit a famous witch's cave, situated in the noble
pinnacle of rock, plainly visible from Pahuatlan. The whole party
started out from Pahuatlan, but at the bottom of the great slope, I left
my companions to swim, while the guide and I, crossing a pretty
covered bridge, scarcely high enough for a man of my height wearing a
_sombrero_, went on. It was a long climb to the village, but, when
we reached there, my _mozo_ with great glee called my attention to
_bruhería_ directly at the side of the church. In front of the building,
to the right of the door as one enters, is a hole in the ground, into
which a few large stones have been clumsily thrown or laid. Here
chickens, flowers, eggs, etc., are buried, in order to secure good luck
or to restore health. Carefully removing some of the stones, we saw
ample evidences of such offerings, in bones, bits of egg-shells, and
dried flowers. From here, the climb was easy to the crest overlooking
the village, and to the curious tower-like mass projecting conspicuously
from it. The cave is situated in this mass of rock and faces almost
east; it is a shallow cavern, well-sheltered and dry, perhaps fifty feet
wide along the cliff's front, though only the eastern third, which is
the more completely worn out, is used for ceremonies; it is, perhaps,
no more than eight or ten feet deep, and has greater height than depth.
Within the cave itself we found a little table, a small chair, and two
blocks for seats. On either side of the table, a pole was set obliquely
against the wall. The upper end of the left-hand pole was tied with a
strip of palm which was looped through a hole in the rock wall. At two
or three other places, strips of palm had been slipped through natural
holes in the wall, behind bars of stone, and then tied. To the left,
were a censer and two candle-sticks, behind which, lying obliquely
against the wall, were twenty-five or thirty dance-wands. These were
sticks wrapped with corn-husks and tufted with clusters of flowers tied
about the middle and at each end. The flowers used were mostly the
yellow death-flower and purple ever-lastings. Two or three of them were
made with the yellow death-flower--_cempoalxochil_--alone. A few were
made of _xocopa_ leaves. While only twenty-five or thirty were in
position, hundreds of old ones lay on the bank to the left. Three small
crosses of wood were placed near the wands; much white paper, clipped
and cut into decorated designs, was lying about, as also wads of cotton,
colored wools, long strings of yarn, and bits of half-beaten bark fibre.
Near the front edge of the cave was a hole with large stones; here, with
a little scratching, we found feathers and bits of bone of turkeys and
hens, that had been sacrificed, as well as splints of pine tied together
with bark string. Wooden spoons, probably used in the banquets of the
witches, were stowed away in crevices of the rock. Chains of the yellow
death-flower were looped up against the wall. It is said that the people
of the town never enter here, but only _brujas_. Nor is it the exclusive
property of the witches of Atla, of whom there are but two or three, but
those of several pueblos make their rendezvous in this cave. In fact,
from the crest, we could see two other little towns that are interested
in this cave, though located in another valley.

[Illustration: THE PAGAN PRIESTESS AND HER ACOLYTE; SANTA MARIA]

[Illustration: THE WITCH'S CAVE AT ATLA]

Don Antonio, at whose house we stayed, told us that San Pablito is worse
for _bruhería_ than Atla. He says the people of that town make use of
_muñecos_ of wood, of various sizes. For these he makes many little
shoes, for which he charges five or six _reales_ a pair; at that time he
had orders for three pairs, and showed us the little forms or lasts he
employs, and the special leather; they are particular about this, using
black for shoes for males and red for females. He says they also
use little hats, _serapes, enaguas_ and _quichiquemils_, for their
_muñecos_. Some of these dolls they place on the altar in the church,
and consider them as sacred, though they remove them when they expect
the priest. Others they take to a lake in the district of Tenango, near
San Pablo el Grande, and leave them there as offerings. They also throw
money and other offerings into the lake.

We started at eight o'clock the following morning, bound for Tenango
del Doria. For a little time, after leaving Pahuatlan, we mounted, soon
finding ourselves at the top of a magnificent crest. From here the
descent was rapid and profound; in front of it rose an equally abrupt
slope to an even greater height; toward the left this presented a
wonderful knife-edge crest, jagged and toothed astonishingly, and on
this great slope, below the level where we were, we saw San Pablito,
prettily located. As it was Sunday, most of the people were on their
way to market, and we saw many Otomis, whose dark color and broad faces
reminded us of those in the state of Mexico, though they did not present
so marked a type. The _enaguas_ of the women consisted of an upper white
strip and a lower striped one, the colors in the latter being blue and
white, or white with a broad band of purplish blue, in which were woven
white designs. Their _quichiquemil_ was usually rather plain; white with
a broad band of red, magenta or purple, parallel to the edge. It might,
however, be decorated with a number of very small geometrical, floral,
and animal figures, worked in brown, purple and blue, which were never
so crowded as to destroy the white background. At 9:30 we reached the
schoolhouse and called out the teacher, to whom we delivered a letter
which the _presidente_ of Pahuatlan had given us for him. He summoned
the town authorities and we made known our wish to see some of the bark
paper. At first there was some hesitancy, but, at last, an old woman
produced two sheets which, she said, she made the day before. At our
wish she then brought out the _tabla_, or board of wood on which the
beating is done, and the stone for beating. The latter was smaller than
the ancient beating-stone, and not grooved upon the beating surfaces; it
had, however, the side notches for convenient holding in the hand. The
board on which the beating is done is smooth, and is constantly cleaned
and soaped. Two kinds of bark are used, _moral_ and _xalama_, the former
giving white, the latter a purplish paper. The bark is thoroughly washed
with lye-water taken from soaked maize; it is then washed with fresh
water and thoroughly boiled; it is split into thin strips which are
carefully arranged upon the board. First the border is laid out the size
of the sheet to be made; then, within this, strips are laid lengthwise,
side by side. All of this is then beaten with the stone until the sheet
of paper results. The paper when finished, presents two sides quite
different from each other; one, smooth and finished, is the surface that
was below in the beating, while the other, rougher, is the one that was
beaten with the stone. The sheets are dried in the sun, carefully folded
into convenient size, and done up in packages of a dozen, which are sold
to the indians in all the country round about. We secured seventeen
dozen sheets of this paper, and samples of the bark, and the board and
stone used in the beating.

While arrangements were being made for showing us these details
regarding paper-making, we visited the village church, which was very
mean and bare; we were disappointed to find nothing suspicious in the
way of _muñecos_. It was suggested that we should visit the _oratorio_,
where we found more. Here they held their _costumbre_ in June, or
thereabouts. Saints were arranged in the back of the room on a raised
altar; in front of this, running through the middle of the room, was a
table on which stood censers and small candle-sticks of rude pottery.
Upon the wall, over the saints, were decorations of rushes. Here the
whole village feast and dance. There were no _muñecos_ present, but we
found plenty of cut paper, most of which was probably decorative; the
most curious was cut into groups of human figures, some of which had
crowns and horns, or tufts of hair, upon the top of their heads. These
were said to be decorations for Montezuma, in whose honor the feast was
given. Leaving San Pablo at eleven, we rapidly made what remained of the
great ascent. As we neared the jagged crest of rock, it appeared more
irregularly gashed and pinnacled than ever. At the crest, leaving the
old road, which passed directly through the fantastic mass of rocks,
we reached San Nicolas, from which, on looking backward, we gained a
magnificent view of the valley and a fine waterfall, which shone like a
sheet of polished metal, far up the mountain side. From here our road
descended gently, but winding, in and out, through a series of narrow
valleys, lying between parallel ridges. As we passed the crest, we saw a
level field of green corn, which looked as if we must reach it in a few
minutes. But the curves of the road proved frightfully long. It was
after two o'clock before we reached the green field, and, just below it,
Tenango del Doria, and made our way to the _jefatura_.

When the _jefe_ came, we found, to our surprise, that he was the Don
Pablo Leyra of whom Xochihua had told us two years before. He is a pure
indian, tall, smooth-faced, of gentlemanly manner, and with all the
reserve characteristic of his race. He has lived at Huehuetla since
boyhood, forty-four years, till just now, and has but recently come to
take the position of _jefe politico_. He has not yet moved his family
from Huehuetla, and occupies a single room in his office-building. He
secured us a pleasant room, with good beds for the older, and good
mattresses for the younger, members of our party, in a house near-by
upon the hill. The _jefatura_ fills one side of the little _plaza_;
around the other side are _tiendas_, with high-pitched single roofs, and
private houses. The town suffers much from _nublina_, and is cold most
of the time.

[Illustration: INDIANS FISHING IN STREAM]

[Illustration: PAGANISM AND CHRISTIANITY]

We asked Don Pablo about the lake, concerning which we had heard. He
says it is not as much visited as formerly. While used by Otomis, and
others of this district, it is most favored by the Huaxtecs, parties of
whom go there from long distances. They visit it when there is drought,
for fear that the siren, who lives in it, is annoyed at their neglecting
to make gifts; when there is too copious rain, they visit it to beg her
to desist from sending more, and, when crops have been destroyed, to
placate her anger. Sometimes two or three hundred indians are in these
companies. They bring _muñecos_ of wood, cloth, clay, or even metal;
such are shod, clad and hatted. They leave these upon the shore. They
also bring seeds and strew them in the water, and some throw money in.
They also make offerings of turkeys and hens. Sometimes these bands
spend several days on the shore, dancing and eating.

We found that Don Pablo had arranged all our plans. We were to leave
at nine, dine at twelve at San Bartolo, leave there at one, and reach
Huehuetla between five and six. It was really only a quarter-past-nine
when we did start, and the _jefe_, himself, saw us on our way. The
journey was uneventful; the descents were gradual; we saw San Bartolo
long before we reached it; and, between it and us, there lay a valley,
like a narrow gash, down which we had to go, and up the other side of
which we had to climb. We passed Santa Maria, an insignificant town,
just before reaching the edge of this gully. From there we saw, in the
mountain ahead, above and behind San Bartolo, a great cavern which we
believe must belong to witches. Arriving at San Bartolo, we found
the market in full progress, and had ample opportunity to see the
characteristic dress of the women, with the little black, red and purple
designs embroidered upon the white ground. We were impressively received
at the town-house, for Don Pablo had telephoned them to be ready. Still,
we waited a long time for the promised dinner, but at half-past-one
climbed up a steep hill, in the rear of the town-house, to the home
of the _presidente's_ father, where a very elaborate meal had been
prepared, with wine and luxuries. All payment was refused, and, after we
had rested and refreshed ourselves, we left at half-past-two. The road
was long; it followed the side of a great gorge, into which it descended
abruptly; in this gorge we saw magnificent vegetation. The trees were
heavily hung with long vines and ferns; parasitic fig trees, hugging
victims whose life sap they were stealing, were abundant. The country
was of limestone. On the whole, the road was good, but, here and there,
were patches where we traveled over sharp and jagged out-croppings of
rock, and near Huehuetla we were forced to make some stiff climbs up the
cliff sides. Flocks of parrots were numerous, especially toward evening.
The stream was a handsome one, with clear, deep water; we crossed
and recrossed many times. The foot-paths rarely crossed, being cut
sometimes, as a narrow trail, in the rock of the cliff. Noticeable were
numerous silvery lines of water falling over the cliff, several of which
must have been hundreds of feet in height; these little threads of water
were impregnated with lime, and deposited material in a sheet upon the
bank over which they flowed, so that trails of brown tufa marked their
location; the lower ends of these deposits expanded into fan-like masses
of tufa, over which the water trickled, dripped or fell. Where there was
not sufficient water to produce a stream and fall, but enough to keep
the tufa moist, the growth of ferns, and other delicate vegetation, was
brilliant and striking. We passed a number of coffee and sugar ranches
on the road. It was dark long before we reached Huehuetla, and had it
not been for the moonlight struggling through the clouds, we should have
had difficulty in traveling the last portion of the road. At 7:35 we
arrived, and went at once to the large and handsome house of Don Pablo
himself, where we were expected, and where an elaborate supper was being
made ready. The largest room in the house was put at our disposal and
good beds and cots, beautifully clean and carefully made, were ready.
Formerly, Don Pablo was the _presidente_ of the town. His successor was
at the house to meet us, within five minutes after our arrival, and took
supper with us. It is needless to say that in this town we met with no
delays in our work. To our surprise, we found a fellow countryman, a
civil engineer named Culin, from Philadelphia, who has done and is doing
much work for the pueblos of this region.

Huehuetla is a large town, occupying a long valley hemmed in between
mountains and bordering a stream. The streets are regular, and the view
from the hills about, looking down upon the well-built houses and the
intersecting streets, is very pretty. The houses have substantial walls
of stone and mud, and many of them are white-plastered outside; all have
a thick and heavy thatch. The _plaza_ lies before the house where
we stopped, and, to the right, the large church stands on a terrace
somewhat above the town. A large school building, finer than many of the
best in some large cities, was just being finished; its construction was
due to Don Pablo's influence, and it was soon to be occupied. Meantime,
the children were given instruction in the church, and at noon and
evening, when their lessons were closed, they marched in double file,
down the flight of steps in front of the church and across the _plaza_,
where they separated and made their way home. During the time that we
were working at this town, when the school children filed past, they
always removed their hats in the most respectful manner. While there are
many _mestizos_ in the town, it may truly be called an indian town, the
largest of those belonging to the Tepehuas. According to Orozco y Berra,
Tepehua is not related to any other language in Mexico. We have not
studied it sufficiently to be sure that he is right; it is, however,
certain that the language has been much affected by the Totonac, if it
is not related to it, and many words in the two languages are the same.
The people of this tribe have a great reputation, more or less deserved,
for cleanliness; probably it is comparative, contrasting with the
neighboring Otomis, rather than positive. However that may be, both men
and women are usually dressed in clean white clothing. The _enaguas_
of the women are plain white; their belts have a foundation of white
cotton, but raised designs of black wool are so thickly worked upon them
that the white is quite inconspicuous.

The _camisas_ and _quichiquemils_ are generally white, with a vertical
band of red, and with a few animal figures. Women wear many necklaces of
bright beads, and braid their hair into two braids, which end with tapes
of various colors,--brown, red, green, maroon, and black. These braids
are brought together over the head and knotted in place. We secured no
women for measure until we had practically completed the work with men,
when they came with a rush, the whole twenty-five at once, dressed in
their best clothing, and insisted that the work must be done inside
the schoolhouse, out of sight, instead of on the street, where we had
operated on the men. We had no opportunity to see any of the popular
_danzas_, in some of which, we were told, songs were sung in the Tepehua
language, but we did see examples of the little _teponastls_, or drums,
used on these occasions; they are made from a round block, perhaps ten
inches long and three inches in diameter; these are hollowed out below,
so that two thin lips only are left above, which, when struck, give out
far more musical tones than one might expect. The two nights that we
were at Huehuetla, we saw men and women fishing in the stream; carrying
blazing torches in their left hands, they waded out into the water and
watched to see the dark bodies of the fish against the pebbly bottom of
the stream; in the right hand they carried a _machete_, about a foot in
length, with which they stabbed the fish, rarely missing.

We were now ready for the last tribe of the season, the Totonacs of
Pantepec. Pantepec is in the district of Huachinango, and we had no
order from the _jefe_; Don Valentino, the _presidente_ of Huehuetla,
said, however, that the _presidente_ of Pantepec was his friend, and
that he would give us a letter of introduction, which would serve all
purposes. As we were to return by Huehuetla, we left the busts which we
had made, and all but our most necessary baggage, at Don Pablo's house.
Though we started at ten, we took the journey slowly, photographing and
hunting birds. The road was a trail in a ravine, with all the beautiful
scenery with which we now were so familiar. At one point we saw a
curious phenomenon. The cliff rose vertically from the water's edge, at
a place where the stream made a right angle; this cliff consisted of
almost horizontal strata of varying hardness, so that some of the layers
were worn a little more than others, leaving these projecting. In the
space between these projecting layers, round river-pebbles, from the
size of hen's eggs up to the size of a man's fist, were firmly wedged,
so that it was with difficulty that they could be dislodged. Not a few,
but hundreds of the pebbles, were thus wedged, so regularly and firmly
that we could not believe the work to be that of nature, but suspected
human hands. We learned, however, that nature really had done the work,
on the occasion of a flood, the result of a cloud-burst, which swept
into the valley two or three years before. At several places in this
stream, we saw groups of from two or three to ten or twelve Totonac
indians, who were fishing with little nets. Our trail led back and forth
across this stream many times, and before we reached Pantepec we had
made thirty-nine crossings. From our last crossing, we climbed a steep
ascent, passing the little village of Tenasco, and found ourselves at
Pantepec. We rode at once to the town-house, and were told that the
_presidente_ was sleeping; we went then to his house, where we were
informed that he could not be disturbed. We left word that we must see
him as soon as possible, and that he would find us at the _municipio_.
Nearly three hours passed before he put in his appearance. Inasmuch
as we had seen this man's _jefe_, and he knew our errand, we told
the _secretario_ to send a message for us to him at Huachinango. We
carefully wrote out the message for forwarding, in which we told the
_jefe_, that we had waited three hours for attention from the town
officials, and asked how much longer we should put up with delay. We
never heard his answer, but in less than ten minutes, the _presidente_,
covered with perspiration, was waiting for our orders and every
policeman or the force was ready for our bidding. The message he
received from the _jefe_ must have been vigorous, for not only was
everything done for our comfort, but work was rushed. During the next
day we measured ninety-eight men, photographed twelve subjects, and made
moulds for all our five busts--an unparalleled day's labor. We were
fortunate in one respect--that the men had been summoned that day for
public labor. So far as men were concerned, they gave no difficulty as
subjects. With the women it was different, and full half a day was taken
in getting together our twenty-five types; not but what there were
plenty of them, for our second day at Pantepec was market-day, and the
_plaza_ was gay with women, but they did not wish to be measured, and
the whole town force, from _presidente_ to the meanest _topil_, was
afraid to meddle with them; at first, too, we had none but the most
wretched cases, women broken down and worn out with years of labor. When
nearly half our number had passed through our hands, and all presented
this same unsatisfactory type, we were forced to make a sharp
remonstrance, and only so did we get fair samples of young and
middle-aged women.

At Pantepec the centre of the town is _mestizo_; the Indians consist of
Otomis, of whom there are thirty households, and Totonacs forming the
bulk of the population. It is easy to distinguish the women of the two
tribes by the difference in dress. The _quichiquemils_ are particularly
picturesque. Both are more heavily loaded with embroidery than any
Indian garments we had ever seen, but the styles of the two decorations
are completely different. The _quichiquemils_ of the Otomis are smaller
and completely covered with red and black embroidery; those of the
Totonacs are much larger, and portions of the white foundations
may still be seen, notwithstanding the heavy patterns in brilliant
colors--red, green, yellow and blue. Mothers put babies onto one side,
with their little legs astride a hip, and then tie them firmly in place
with an _ayate_, or carry-cloth, of cotton, thus leaving their hands
free for work or other burdens. If we had difficulty measuring the
Totonac women, we had still greater difficulty in photographing
satisfactory groups of them. Neither pleadings nor bribes on our part,
orders nor threats on the part of the officials, had much influence.

Pantepec is a large town, situated near the edge of the great mountain
mass, and looking across a valley, which is backed by what appears to be
a flat-topped, straight-edged, table mountain. The houses of the town
are scattered over a considerable area upon the slope. The walls are of
poles, heavily daubed with mud which is neatly and smoothly laid on. The
corners of this mud covering are rounded, instead of angular, as usual
elsewhere. The thatch is heavy and firm, and squarely cut along its
lower edge, where it projects far beyond the walls. The _plaza_ is above
the town-house, and is extremely ugly; a kiosk, which certainly can
lay no claim to beauty, stands in the centre; ugly shacks, used as
_tiendas_, border a part of it along the main road. Striking, at this
time, in the village were the _colorín_ trees, some of which occurred
in almost every enclosure; they were in bloom, and had long, slender,
flaming-red, cigarette-shaped flowers, which appeared before the leaves,
from trunks that were gnarled and brown and almost branchless. Many
popular _danzas_ are celebrated here, but none was taking place during
our stay. San Gregorio, the town of paper-making, is not far from
Pantepec, and large quantities of the bark paper are beaten in the
little village of Ixcoyotla, which belongs to this _municipio_. Asking
an old Otomi whether he knew about this paper, he answered us, with
great cunning, that we probably knew as much of it as he did. He finally
condescended to state that the _muñecos_ of it were used in curing
disease; that anyone who has a disease secures one of these _muñecos_
and applies it to the diseased part. The _presidente_ insisted that this
paper was not made from _jonote_, but from _uli_, and that formerly it
was much used in making strong and durable belts.

[Illustration]

In starting back the next morning, we went down a different slope from
the one by which we had come, with the result that we had to cross
the stream five times more than before, making the full forty-four
crossings, of which we had been warned by Culin while we were at
Huehuetla. We made our way leisurely, stopped when we pleased, and at
one point noticed a cave, which we had not seen before, just across the
stream, at a point where it was at its deepest. The cave was so near the
water's edge, that it could only be approached from the stream. The boys
swam across and entered it to see if perchance they might find some of
the paper figures used in _bruhería_. They found little of interest
within; the walls and rocks were marked with crosses, and on the floor
were hundreds of little sticks cut to various lengths. We were glad,
indeed, to reach Don Pablo's house, to eat his good supper, and to
occupy his good beds. Before we went to bed, Doña Panchita suggested
that we ought to see certain _muñecos_ kept by a man named Diego, and
used as idols by the village. Accordingly, she sent orders that the man
should bring his _muñecos_ to the house for us to see. To this request,
he returned the proper reply, that he would not do so; that they would
be offended; that they were not toys to be carried about at the nod and
beck of everyone. This greatly increased our interest, and we arranged
for a trip to his house. We first sent a messenger forward, with word
that we were coming, and ordered him to stay there to see that Diego
did not run away or hide the idols. After supper, Doña Panchita, our
company, Mr. and Mrs. Culin, and one or two others, picked our way by
moonlight across the stepping-stones and foot-bridge, up a trail by
coffee groves along a purling brook-side. We were soon at the house, and
after some hesitation, Diego led us to the Holy of Holies. The _muñecos_
were kept in a little house, which contained an altar built of boards,
with fresh flowers for decoration. At the back of the altar, against the
wall, were prints of Christian saints; on the altar were censers and an
open bundle of _copal_. Two wooden boxes were at the right end of the
altar, against the wall. These contained _muñecos_ which, for some
time, Diego hesitated to produce. Finally he took out an idol of rather
fine-grained, brownish-gray stone; the head was large and infantile,
with the Mongolian cast of countenance; its badly shaped and scrawny
arms were raised so as to bring the hands together on the chest; the
body was shapeless. This figure was clad in a suit of unbleached cotton,
much too long and slender for it, and the arms of the _camisa_, and the
legs of the _calzones_ hung limp. When we had duly admired this figure,
a second was produced--a pottery female-head, fairly shaped, with no
body to speak of; this had glass earrings fastened in the ears. Next, a
small headless figure was brought out; it was old, though probably made
after the Conquest, and we agreed that it represented a _padre_. Next
was a simple pottery head. Last was a figure, with small head and
pointed cap, made apparently of pottery; the body had been pieced out to
disproportionate length with wood, and ended in a pair of wooden feet;
this was dressed in black velvet, and wore a black hat. These, Diego
asserted, were all he had. After having expressed our delight with them,
and our regret that we had not known what we were to see, that we might
have brought with us some fine white _copal_ as incense for these gods,
we set them up in a straight line on the edge of the altar to make a
flashlight picture. As we left, we gave Diego two _reales_ to spend for
the benefit of his gods. After we left, we were assured that he had
finer ones of black stone, which he dresses in red, but we were content
with the ones we had seen. These figures are particularly used on
September 16th, San Miguel's day. They are also used at sowing-time, at
harvest, and at the first cutting of sugar-cane. On these occasions,
incense and candles are burned, the idols are taken in the hands, and to
the sound of music, worshippers move the figures, causing them to dance.
Pleased with this, they give good rains to the faithful worshippers.
When there is too much rain, they go in procession to the river, playing
music and dancing dolls; when arrived, they peg down many _ayates_ and
sacks, made for the purpose, into the water against the flow. These are
dams, to stay the flood. On the other hand, when there is drought, a
procession carries the idols to a cave, where a feast is given and a
dance, with wands of flowers carried in the hands, indulged in.

Though the price for animals from Huehuetla to Las Tortugas was
exorbitant, we had agreed to pay it--but told the man that, if he left
later than six, it should be cut two dollars. It was long after eight
before they appeared, and then it was only our own animals that were
ready. We were forced to leave the packing to be done by the man himself
without direction; we ourselves hurried along the trail, hardly stopping
at San Bartolo on the way, arriving at Tenango at 4:15. Our animals
were fagged, and we were soaked to the skin, having travelled through
_nublina_ most of the afternoon. Don Pablo received us with his usual
courtesy, and had arranged for us to sleep at the same house, where we
had been before. At bed-time, our man with the mules had not appeared,
and we had received most contradictory and discouraging statements
regarding him. He had started at nine with two mules and left half our
stuff for another day; he had been seen at the river near San Bartolo
with two mules heavily loaded, unable to proceed; he had concluded to
stop at San Bartolo for the night, to push on to Tenango the next day,
and reach Las Tortugas on the third. Dissatisfied and uncertain, we went
to bed; still, we determined to leave at five, and so gave orders to
our _mozo_. We rose at 4:15 and the horses were ready before five.
Contradictory stories were again told us regarding our animals. Some
said the man had passed with them at five o'clock; others that he had
not yet come; others that he had spent the night at Santa Maria. Our
foot _mozo_ did not come, and sending the rest ahead, I waited for him.
Hardly had they started, when Ramon galloped back to announce that the
man was in town, that he had three animals and was nearly ready to
leave. As he, himself, had told us that he must leave Tenango at three
in order to reach Las Tortugas in time for the train, this was not
reassuring. Ramon hastened on with the party. At six the _mozo_ appeared
and started at once. In a few minutes we passed our _arriero_ who was
packing, but not ready to start. I urged him to hasten, but did not
wait. Mist had settled during the night, but it was now rising, and we
could see the scenery, which, in wildness and beauty, was almost the
equal of anything in Mexico, though with a character quite its own. Our
trail ran along the side of a precipice; to our left rose great cliffs
presenting almost vertical faces of smooth rock; the summits were
jagged, and suggested that the mass consisted of stratified rocks tilted
up on end. Just as we left town, two narrow and lofty parallel rocks
suggested a gate-way. Further down, a mass was worn out into a sharp
column, a little separated from the rock mass behind. On the right, was
the precipice, ever abrupt, and sometimes the almost vertical bank of a
yawning chasm. After an hour and a half over the fairly good road, we
came to a grand ascent. It was magnificent, though difficult. In some
spots the road was muddy, and at others it was a series of rough stone
steps; at still others, it was the unmodified bed of a mountain torrent.
As we followed up this gorge, side-gorges joined it, in which we
glimpsed pretty cascades, pits worn by little falls, trees, the trunks
of which were covered with thick sheets of green moss, quantities of
tree-ferns blighted by the late frost, cliffs, and wild forms of rock,
in wonderful variety. At last I reached the summit and overtook Manuel,
whose horse was completely fagged, and who had been forced to drop
behind; for some time we saw the others before us, but somewhere they
took a different trail, and we saw them no more. After a considerable
descent, we made our final but easy rise. From here we were on a level
road, which constantly improved until near Mepetec, while beyond it, we
came to a true cart-road. From here a fine view presented itself, over
a forest of pine trees to the clean brown plain so typical of Hidalgo,
swept, as we soon found, by the equally typical Hidalgo wind. We rode
rapidly from the _herrería_ of the Trinidad to Metepec, and then to Las
Tortugas, where we arrived at 11:40, having been five hours and a half
upon the road. To our surprise, Louis and Ramon were not there. Having
waited some time, as it was almost the hour for the train, we ordered
dinner for two, but before we had begun to eat the others appeared.
They had taken a short road, which did not go by Metepec, and travelled
slowly that we might overtake them. After a good meal, we waited for
our man with the pack animals. Meantime the train was preparing, and we
watched it, realizing that if we missed it, we had a day of dust and
scorching sun and heavy wind before us. The train's crew made all ready,
the cry of "_Vámonos_" was given, and we settled down in desperation to
await our tardy man. An hour after the train left, he arrived, received
his fee less the two dollars, and started homeward. Twenty-three hours
later we took the train, and our season's work was done.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XXI

IN THE HUAXTECA

(1901)


The scenery on the Tampico branch was at its best, as there had been
recent rains, and everything was fresh and green. At Tampico, we
resisted the attractions of the hotels "where Americans always stop,"
and went to the unpretentious Pan Cardo. Here we were comfortably
located, and early the next morning tried to define our plans. We were
in uncertainty as to what towns we should visit in order to examine
the Huaxtecs. The ancient Huaxtecs were among the most interesting of
Mexican tribes. They are a northern offshoot of that great family, of
which the Maya of Yucatan is the type. The linguistic relationship is
evident upon the most careless comparison. The ancient area occupied
by the Huaxtecs was near the Gulf of Mexico, and on both sides of the
Panuco River, near the mouth of which some of their important centres
were located. To-day Mexicans divide the Huaxteca into two parts,--the
Huaxteca Veracruzana and the Huaxteca Potosina--the former in the state
of Vera Cruz, the latter in the state of San Luis Potosi. At first,
we thought to visit the latter, but the difficulty of reaching it was
presented so forcibly, and the ease of reaching the Huaxteca Veracruzana
so emphasized, that we determined upon the latter, and selected the town
of Ozuluama for our central point. We could go by canoes across the
river to Pueblo Viejo, where we could secure horses for the further
journey. We were led to believe that it would be easy to make the trip
in a single day. We had arranged for a canoe over night. It belonged in
Pueblo Viejo, and it was to come over early in the morning; we were at
the wharf at six, ready to start, but no canoe was in sight. Not only
so, but a norther was blowing, and comforters, lounging on the wharf
assured us that no canoe would come from Pueblo Viejo until the storm
ceased, which would not be for twenty-four hours. We were loath to
believe this information, and brought all our baggage from the various
storing-places, where we had left it, out onto the wharf. Time passed;
the norther continued, and no canoe from Pueblo Viejo came. Thinking
that it might be possible to secure a canoe from here to Pueblo Viejo,
we dickered with a boatman at the wharf. We had agreed to pay for the
canoe ordered $1.00 for the journey, which was something more than the
regular price. The man with whom we now were talking declared that he
would not take us across for less than $3.50. We were on the point of
yielding to necessity, when a rival appeared and offered to do the work
for $2.50. Such is human perversity that we now insisted that he must
go for $2.00, which he finally agreed to do. Hurrying away to get his
canoe, he soon appeared, and our hearts sank. The man who had demanded
$3.50 had a large, well-built boat, which should stand any wind and
water. The man whom we had engaged had a canoe so narrow, low, and small
that we doubted his ability to perform his contract; however, he assured
us that all would be well, and showed himself so skilful in packing our
stuff into his boat, that we ourselves embarked, and started down the
little lagoon in his canoe. So long as we remained in this narrow,
sheltered stream, all was well; but when he poled from its mouth out to
the open river, we found it a different matter. More than this, we saw
two or three canoes dancing over the white caps, and managed with great
difficulty, although not loaded. The courage of our boatman was a little
dashed; he suggested that we leave Ramon, Louis, and Manuel on an old
scow standing on the bank and fast going to ruin, while he poled myself
and the luggage over, after which he would return for my companions.
This seemed good sense, and the boys were left behind. It was
interesting to see the skill with which the man handled our rather
awkward craft, loaded at it was almost to the water's edge. He had no
motive power but his long pole. We did not ship a single drop of water,
and at last entered the quiet, broad, canal-like lagoon on the other
side of the river. A moment more, and we were unloading our luggage onto
the shore. To do this, we were forced to wade through mud up to the
knees. But at last all was safe, and with his empty canoe, our boatman
started merrily back for his other passengers. When they arrived, only
a few minutes were necessary for reloading the canoe, and we started up
the lagoon. Little side lagoons opened frequently into the one through
which we passed. At their mouths were V-shaped weirs of stakes, driven
into the bottom and wattled together with flexible twigs. These were
open at the mouth, and in the openings were set dip-nets, which could
be lowered into the water. Just now, with the heavy norther blowing,
thousands of _camarón_ (shrimps) were driven into the nets, and at each
one we saw fishermen busily occupied. The lagoon abounded in water-birds
of many kinds, and hardly had we entered it, when Louis shot a pretty,
small white heron.

Believing that the owner of animals to whom we had been referred was
demanding too high a price for his horses and mules, we decided to see
what the town authorities would do for us, and went to the _municipio_.
The _presidente_ told us, with delight, that the _jefe politico_ of
Ozuluama was there with his family, rusticating, and at once summoned
him to meet us. He was a gentlemanly fellow, who told us that the price
demanded was regular, but advised us to travel in a different way.
"Here," he said, "you can get a large canoe; starting now, you can
travel all night; reaching La Llave in the early morning, you can get
horses and go the seven leagues remaining comfortably. Take a little
something to eat before you start, and carry something for the way."
This seemed an opportunity for a new experience, and, though the price
was little, if any, less than we were asked to pay for animals, we
decided to try it. Arrangements were begun at once, breakfast ordered,
and a light lunch prepared for carrying. Meantime, the _jefe_ told us
that there were few Indians in Ozuluama, but that in Citlaltepec we
would find abundance. He gave us orders to his _secretario_, who
represented him during his absence, and bade us god-speed. We left at
one o'clock, in a great canoe, a heavy, timber-framed boat, propelled
by long poles, by oars in quiet and deep water, and by a clumsy sail. A
framework of poles, covered with matting, roofed over the middle of the
boat, and a piece of matting was spread upon the floor. Hanging blankets
to shelter ourselves from the heavy wind yet blowing, we busied
ourselves variously, the boys skinning birds which they had shot, and I
making up my various notes. The lagoon which we now entered was a large
stretch of open water. We raised our sail, and made easy work. Having
crossed the large lagoon, we entered the mouth of what probably would be
considered a fair-sized river, which at first was closely bordered by a
tangle of trees and vines, and presented a truly tropical appearance.
Palms were abundant, and, here and there, one of unusual size towered
high above the rest. The other trees were densely hung with long gray
moss. Now and then, we disturbed alligators along the banks, and we were
told that snakes were abundant in the grass. The quantity of water-birds
was astonishing--great and small white herons, large blue herons, little
blue herons, the curious, dark wry-necks, and ducks by thousands. The
positions and attitudes of these long-necked and long-legged birds, in
the water and on the trees, were curious and striking. The boys kept
busy shooting and skinning birds all the afternoon. In the evening, the
men built a fire with charcoal in a tin-lined box in the end of the
canoe, and toasted _tortillas_ and made coffee. The awning was scarcely
large enough to cover the whole party comfortably, when we lay down
to sleep, but we wrapped up in blankets and spread mats for beds. We
suffered intensely with the cold, sleeping little. At five o'clock our
boat came to a stop along the bank, and at six it was light enough to
disembark and explore. Climbing up a little bank of clay, we found
ourselves on a flat meadow, covered with grass and weeds, through which
narrow trails ran to a few scattered palm-thatched huts. With a letter
from the _jefe_, we called at Señora Mora's house. This lady was a
widow, whose husband had but lately died; she was well to do, and
promised to supply us with animals after we should have had our
breakfast. This was long preparing, but at last good coffee, fine
_enchiladas_ and cheese were served, and, after eating heartily, we
found six animals ready for us. When we asked for our account, the good
lady replied that the bill was $2.00. It was plain that she had made no
charge for either breakfast or animals, but only something for the
boys whom she sent along to bring back the beasts. At about eleven, we
started on what was called seven leagues, but what was certainly the
longest nine leagues we had travelled for a long time. We had excellent
horses that kept up a steady jog. Still, it was after five when we
reached Ozuluama. The journey was for the most part over a _llano_,
thicket-covered and sprinkled, here and there, with groves of palm;
the soil was dark clay, which in spots, wet by recent rains, was hard
travelling for the animals. We caught sight of the town, prettily
located upon a hill-slope, about an hour before we reached it. From it,
we looked out over an extensive stretch of dark green plains, broken,
here and there, by little wooded hillocks, none of them so large as that
upon which Ozuluama itself is situated. Riding to the town-house,
the _secretario_ was at once sent for. He ordered supper, and put a
comfortable room, behind the office, at our disposal. On the back porch,
just at our door, was chained a tiger-cat. It belonged to the _jefe_,
and was a favorite with his little children, but since they had been
gone, it had been teased until it had developed an ugly disposition. It
was a beautiful little creature, graceful in form and elegantly spotted.
But it snarled and strove to get at everyone who came near it. The
_secretario_ at once told us that Citlaltepec was not the point we ought
to aim for, as it was purely Aztec; our best plan was to go to Tamalin,
where we would find one congregation of Huaxtecs. From there, if we
needed further subjects, we might go to Tancoco, although it did not
belong to this district, but to that of Tuxpan. In the course of our
conversation, I was reminded that Ozuluama is the home of Alejandro
Marcelo, a full-blooded Huaxtec, who once published a book upon the
Huaxtec language. Expressing an interest in meeting this man, he was
sent for. He is far older than I had realized, celebrating his 74th
birthday that very week. He was a man of unusual intelligence and most
gentle manner. At nine o'clock next morning, supplied with new animals,
we started for Tamalin, said to be thirteen leagues distant. We were
well mounted, and the journey was much like that of the preceding day.
For three hours we were impressed with the loneliness of the road; no
people were to be seen anywhere. Here and there, set far back from the
road, were country houses. The road itself was an extremely wide one,
cut through a woods, which consisted for the most part of low and
scrubby trees, with scattered clumps of palm trees here and there.
Usually the trail was single, but where we came on mud patches, many
little trails were distributed over the whole breadth of the road. Here
and there, where there were particularly bad spots, into which our
horses would have sunk knee-deep, we were forced to take trails back
among the trees. While the earlier part of the journey was through
rolling country, we came at noon into a true plain, though wooded. We
found many cross roads, broad and straight, cut through the woods, and
were impressed by the great number of dry _barrancas_ into which we
had to descend, and out of which we had to climb. Most of these were
actually dry, but many of them contained a dirty pool of stagnant water.
At many places, the road was bordered with plants, the leaves of which
somewhat resembled those of the pineapple. They were light green in
color, narrow and long-pointed at the upper end, and spiny along the
sides. This plant, named _guamara_, bears spikes of yellow fruits which
are pointed at the upper end, but in color, size, texture, structure and
taste reminded us of podophyllum, though it leaves a prickly sensation
in the mouth, much like that produced by fresh pineapples. There were
also many trees bearing little limes or lemons, of which we gathered
abundance for making lemonade. At two o'clock our man pointed out a
ranch-house near the road, in front of which two men sat eating, and
told us we could procure food and drink there if we wished, and that we
had plenty of time for stopping. We found the men at the table to be the
parish priest of Tantima and his servant. The priest informed us that
Tamalin was three and three-fourths leagues away, while Tantima was
four. The road for the greater part of the distance to the two places
was the same. We had an interesting conversation with the good priest,
and for the first time we met the curious prejudice, which exists
throughout this portion of the Huaxteca, against the Huaxtecs, and in
favor of the Aztecs. We were kept waiting some little time for our
dinner, but by three o'clock were again upon our way. Just as we
started, we crossed the first true stream which we had met, but during
the balance of the journey we crossed one or two others. Soon, leaving
the main road, we bore off to the left, and found several bad spots of
stiff black mud, into which our poor animals sank frightfully. After
five o'clock we saw, from the slope on which we were, for we had left
the _llano_ and were again in rolling country, a little village, and
higher and further to the left, a second. The first of these was
Gutierrez Zamora, which is Huaxtec, with a few Mexican families living
at one side; the second was our destination, Tamalin. We passed through
Gutierrez at six, and reached Tamalin at seven.

The _alcalde_ of the village was not there; in fact, we suspect that
he but rarely is. The _secretario_, likewise, was absent. We finally
prevailed upon his brother to help us to find an indian girl to cook our
meals, and a room in the _secretario's_ house. In this room there was
but a single bed and our helper thought me very particular in demanding
that _petates_ should be brought as beds for my companions. He assured
us that, when he traveled, he slept upon the floor, without _petates_.
It was long after 10 o'clock before we had supper and secured a
resting-place. We had planned to push out from here the following
morning; no sign, however, of our baggage had appeared, and we were
forced to spend two days at Tamalin waiting for its coming. Here, too,
we found that there were no Huaxtecs, the town being, so far as it was
indian, purely Aztec. We decided, therefore, to try Tancoco, returning,
if need be, to Gutierrez. Both Gutierrez and Tancoco were in the
district of Tuxpan. Fortunately, we still carried our last year's letter
from the governor of Vera Cruz to serve us with the local authorities,
as it would be most inconvenient to go to Tuxpan for orders. Seeing
that it was impossible to leave that day, I walked in the afternoon to
Tantima to visit the priest. Between the two towns rises a fine, high
rock hill. The ascent from Tamalin was in three slopes, with short
levels between; the crest was but a few yards wide; the descent to
Tantima was abrupt and short. From the summit we looked down upon the
pretty, level, enclosed valley occupied by a rather regular town, built
about a large plaza which, the day being a market day, was gay with
booths and people. I met almost the whole population of Tamalin on my
way over, as they returned from market. All the men were drunk; some
were so helpless that they sprawled upon the road, while others were
being helped by their more sober comrades. I reached the plaza just
thirty-seven minutes after leaving Tamalin, and at once telegraphed to
Ozuluama about the baggage. When I inquired for the priest's house, the
telegraph operator informed me that the _padre_ had told him all about
us and our errand and that he would accompany me to the _curato_.
Crossing the square, we found the _padre_ living in a comfortable place,
close by the great, pretentious, stone church. We were warmly welcomed,
and orders were at once given for coffee. The Aztec servant hastened to
bring some, piping hot, and was quite abashed at being sharply reproved
for offering it directly to me. No, indeed, a gentlemen so distinguished
was not to be thus served; the table was moved up before my chair, a
clean cloth spread, sweet cakes were sent for, a glass of fresh milk
placed, and then the coffee was set upon the table. Thus, in solitary
grandeur, I sat and ate and drank, while the priest and operator took
their cups of coffee in their hands. Though we had ordered horses for
the following morning, the baggage had not come, and we waited all the
day. Strolling around the village, we found it a pretty place, through
which ran a fine stream, separating the houses into groups or clusters.
It is a true Aztec town, and the houses are well-constructed. Several
houses are set irregularly within a single enclosure; the walls are
built of poles set upright, but these are so heavily daubed with a
mixture of mud and chopped straw that they are strong and durable. In
applying this daub, the hand is used, and a simple block of wood of
rectangular form, with a projecting edge extending midway of the upper
side, is used as a trowel for spreading it, and giving it a smooth
finish. The thatchings are thick, and project far beyond the walls; they
are of palm, and neatly cut at the edges; a cresting, thin, but evenly
placed and firmly pegged down, projects over the ridge, down either
slope, and its edges form the only break in the smooth surface. Many of
the houses had _temascals_, differing considerably from those of Puebla
and Tlaxcala. They are rectangular; the walls are built of poles,
set upright, close together, and strengthened by being lashed to a
horizontal timber set midway of their height. The roof is a round vault
or arch of poles set lengthwise. The whole is neatly plastered over with
a mixture of mud and chopped straw, and in the front a cross is worked
in the clay mixture, to insure good fortune. The women here wove cotton
in the usual indian fashion, but few wore the old dress, and those few
were mostly aged. We noticed quantities of pottery here, and throughout
the Huaxteca, but none of it is local in manufacture. Most of it has
come from the two towns, Huejutla, an Aztec town, and Panuco. We were
forced to spend a third night at Tamalin. The _secretario_ had been at
home for two days and had fairly done his duty; still, our animals were
late when we were ready to start the following morning, and we were not
off until 9:30. It was a steady climb, over a long series of ascents,
until we reached a crest from which Tancoco could be seen. We made
a long descent and then a little upward climb to the town, which is
notable for its cleanliness and the industry and cleanness of its
inhabitants. The town is situated upon a little hill, from which one
looks out on a sea of green forests, with little rocky hillocks covered
with trees rising from it, here and there, like wooded islands. Between
us and Tamalin rose a semi-circle of ridges, sweeping from us off to the
left and forward in the distance. In front, near the top of this curve
of ridges, two leagues distant, lay Amatlan, clear and impressive, from
this point. Riding up to the little town-house, which had a portico
enclosed by a neat railing and supplied with pine benches, we
dismounted, and, with some doubt as to its reception, presented our old
letter. The _secretario_ was an intelligent _mestizo_ from Tuxpan. He
sent at once for the _alcalde_, who was a good-natured, little Huaxtec,
of pure blood, thoroughly dependent upon his subordinate officer. We
were promised everything. The schoolhouse, remarkably clean, was put
at our disposal, and a messenger was sent to notify an old woman named
Guadelupe that she was to prepare our meals. Before four o'clock, work
was under way, and during the two days that we remained, there were no
difficulties. The houses of the town are somewhat like those of Tamalin,
but less well built. The single industry is the weaving of hats from
palm. On the house-roofs, and on the ground before the houses, palm was
drying. Some of the work was extremely delicate, and the four grades of
hats sell for from four pesos upward. Men, women and children are all
occupied in the manufacture, and as they sit in their houses or at the
door of an evening, or as they walk through the village on errands,
their hands are ever busily occupied with the plaiting. There is
absolutely nothing characteristic in dress, both men and women dressing
like _mestizos_ in the important cities of the Republic. Almost every
one wears shoes; women, those with high French heels. A resident tailor
makes the bulk of the clothing for the more particular men of the
town. In our school-room we were supplied with good kerosene lamps, an
experience almost unique. Few, if any, of the houses in the village
were without the same mode of light. Many, if not all, of the women had
sewing-machines.

[Illustration: VIEW AT TANCOCO]

We were more than ever impressed with the anomalous condition of these
people in their own land. They were the cleanest, most industrious, best
dressed and most progressive indians whom we had seen in any part of
Mexico; but in the Huaxteca, the land which bears their name, they are
being crowded by the less progressive Aztecs. _Mestizos_ and Aztecs both
speak of them with contempt, and treat them like dogs. As for their
language, it is neglected and despised; while many of them know both
Spanish and Aztec, neither _mestizo_ nor Aztec considers it worth while
to know a word of Huaxtec. While we had no trouble with the men, we
began to feel that the women would fail us. It was after five o'clock,
the last day of our stay, before a single one appeared. Then they came
in a body, accompanied by the full town force, and each with her husband
as a guard, to our quarters. They were dressed in their best calico,
muslin, silk and satin, with laces and artificial flowers, earrings,
necklaces, and with shoes the heels of which measured from thirty to
thirty-five millimeters. They were perfumed; their hair was heavily
oiled with odorous greases. Each shook hands with our whole party,
greeted us politely, and sat down on the long school-benches, waiting
for her turn for measurement. Notwithstanding this rather oppressively
lady-like mode of procedure, we were assured by old Guadelupe that our
errand and work in the town had caused much terror and doubt, the women
particularly feeling sure that it boded ill. It was said that they
recalled the fact that years ago certain of their old men predicted that
strangers would eventually come to the village, who would bewitch the
people and destroy the town. It was commonly believed that we were now
fulfilling this prediction.

The physical type of the Huaxtecs seems to be well marked. A peculiar
gray tint underlies the brown color of the skin. The head is short,
broad, and curiously compressed behind; the eyes are wide apart, and
frequently oblique; the mouth is large, with thick but not projecting
lips.

We had planned to leave about the middle of the afternoon, and at 3:50
the best animals we have ever had were ready for our use. A magnificent
horse, the special pride of the _alcalde_ himself, was put at my
disposal. When we came to settle for the animals, all payment was
refused, their use being the voluntary offering of the town officials.
The animals made nothing of the journey, and within an hour and a half
we had again reached Tamalin.

We found that Aztec town as disagreeable as ever. Solemn promises had
been made that various _danzas_ should be ready for us, and that there
should be no delay regarding animals. Of course, we found nothing doing.
The only satisfactory memory connected with the town is our cook,
Porfiria. She was a master hand, and with training, should make a
reputation and a fortune. A pure indian, we would rather eat at her
table than at that of any half-breed cook in all that section. She
always had quantities of food, and no two meals were alike. Unless we
expressly ordered something we had had before, it is doubtful whether
she would have repeated a single dish. Her _enchiladas_, seasoned with
cheese and onions, were the best we ever had, and after the first
experience, we insisted on having them at every meal. Her masterpieces
were in simple maize. Her _tortillas_ were good, but _tortillas_ one
finds everywhere; she served _cocoles, chavacanes_, and _pemol. Cocoles_
are round, flat biscuits or cakes of maize, a couple of inches across
and half an inch in diameter; they contain shortening, and when served
hot, are delicious. _Chavacanes_ are thin, flat square crackers of
corn-meal with shortening and eggs; they are good even when cold, but
are best when hot from the griddle. _Pemol_ is a corn-cake, crumbly,
sweet, and baked; it contains sugar and shortening, and is made up into
the form of rather large cakes, shaped like horse-collars.

As the result of vigorous remonstrance, the _secretario_ really had the
_danza_ of _los Negros_ at his house that night. Music was furnished by
_pito_ and _huehuetl_. The two performers, one representing a Spaniard
and the other a negro, were masked. The action was lively, and the
dialogue vociferous--both players frequently talking at once. The dance
was kept up until nearly ten o'clock, after which, as we planned an
early start, we were soon in bed. Just as we were dropping off to sleep,
we heard the whistling and roaring of the norther outside, and the cold
air found its way through every crack into our room. From our house the
musicians and the dancers had gone to the _syndico's_, where they stayed
some time; but, between one and two in the morning, they came back to
our house and played in the room next to ours, with the door wide open.
Our interest was not great enough to lead us forth again. Finally they
left, but at four o'clock the musicians, now quite drunk, appeared
again, and for a long time the _secretario_, his lady, and the
school-master, danced in lonely grandeur up and down the room.

[Illustration: OUR CANOE FOR SIXTY HOURS; THE LAGOONS]

[Illustration: MANGROVE ROOTS]

Don Leandro, the _secretario_, had promised to accompany us the
following morning as far as San Geronimo. We had decided to go on
horseback to Paso Real, a little distance beyond San Geronimo, and there
take boat for Tampico. When morning came, we expressed surprise over Don
Leandro's charging rent, in addition to the rather large price which we
had already paid for beds. This seemed to hurt his sensitive feelings,
with the result that we started without his company. The ride was
monotonous, over a road which made few ascents or descents, and
presented little of variety or interest. Little green hills bordered
the road on either side, and on many of them were ranch-houses, some of
rather good construction. In a little stream over which we passed, we
saw a great idol's head, of stone, a foot or more across, and well
made. San Geronimo we found to be the comfortable country-house of the
_alcalde_ of Tamalin and all the ranches among which we had made our
journey. It was a fine old place, with high airy rooms, good verandas,
and an old-fashioned tile roof. Our journey had been hot, and we found a
fine breeze blowing through the house. The _alcalde_ knew all about
our errand and was ready to be helpful. He was a tall, slender,
mild-mannered and polite _mestizo_. After we had eaten, he rode with us
to Paso Real to arrange about a boat and point out various objects of
interest on the way. _Chapapote_, from which chewing gum is made, is an
important product here, and among those interested in it as a business
is an American dentist. We saw many birds, among which doves were
conspicuous; the _alcalde_ says that six or eight species occur here,
the different kinds singing at different seasons; one of them had a
peculiarly sad and mournful song, and is heard in the early morning.
Another bird, the _primavera_, seems to be like our mockingbird,
imitating the notes and cries of many other birds and animals. At two
places we passed black lines of foraging ants, and he told us that
insects, frogs, toads, and even snakes, encountered by these lines, are
helpless, being promptly overcome and devoured. Arrived at Paso Real,
the _alcalde_ arranged for our boat. He told us that loaded boats
require three days for making the journey to Tampico, but that ours,
being empty, would probably go through in twenty-four hours. The boat he
arranged for had been partly loaded, but its owner had agreed to unload
in order to receive us. As a favor to him, we consented to permit five
or six not large boxes to go along. Having ordered supper for us at the
house upon the summit from which the road descended to Paso Real, the
_alcalde_ left us. Supper was slow, but at last was over. Our baggage
had already been carried to the boat, and we strolled down to take our
passage. Less room was left for us than we had expected the boxes would
leave, but it was dark and we raised no question. We waited an impatient
hour for our canoemen to take their supper, being almost devoured by
mosquitoes, but at last were off at nine o'clock. Our force consisted
of two men and a little lad. It was with difficulty that two could
be accommodated beneath the awning, and Manuel and I took our places
outside. For my own part, sleep was impossible. Now that we were in
motion, the mosquitoes ceased to trouble us. The stream was narrow, and
on account of the curves, we were forced to move slowly. We floated out
under and beneath bamboos, which hung far over the water and outlined
themselves like lace-work against the sky. At first, there was
moonlight. Later, the moon set, but the stars were brilliant. The early
morning was cold, and a heavy dew dampened everything outside the
awning. During the day our men stopped on every pretext to rest and
sleep, and whenever we came to a considerable stretch of water, any sign
of storm or cloud was heralded. Just before daybreak, we had reached the
beginning of the first large lagoon. Here our sail was hoisted, though
it was of little use, while we poled along near shore, following all the
long curves. Our first stop, on account of a norther, was exciting; from
the anxiety of the men, we expected to be instantly upset. We ran
into the mouth of a little stream and lay to, and the men were almost
instantly asleep. Our party went out exploring; our landing place was a
heap of shells, whether artificial or natural I am not sure; the place
was a favorite spot with hunters of caimans, or alligators, and we found
numbers of almost complete skeletons and skulls lying on the banks. The
boys picked up quantities of scales and teeth, and it was interesting to
see how the new conical teeth grow up under the hollows of the old ones.
We killed a duck or two for supper. One or two large caimans were seen,
as we strolled along. Finally, I insisted upon the men starting again.
We were traversing a system of great lagoons which opened one into
another. Poling was our only mode of progress. That night Manuel and I
occupied the shelter. When we rose, we found the great lagoon, through
which we were then passing, quite different in its character from those
preceding it. Thickets of mangroves bordered the shore; the display
of aerial roots was interesting, and here we were able to examine the
curious smooth tips of the roots which are to penetrate the soft mud
bottom. We landed at one place to get wood and to catch a glimpse of
the sea, whose roaring we had for hours heard. We left our boat in the
lagoon, and walked a short distance over sand dunes, thickly grown with
trees, to the beach, which only appeared in sight when we reached the
top of the last dune. It was a gently sloping sandy stretch, upon which
a fine surf was beating. There were no pebbles save bits of water-worn
coral and shell. Quantities of sea-gulls were flying about and flocks of
little snipe ran down over the retreating surf, catching food, turning
and running rapidly in before the coming wave. A single shot into the
flock killed thirty-one of the little creatures, which later in the day
supplied us an excellent meal. From this lagoon of mangroves, we finally
entered the great lagoon of La Riviera, which pretty town we passed a
little before three o'clock. From here we knew that, by hiring horses,
we could reach Tampico in two hours; had we really known what lay before
us, we would have done so. Having passed La Riviera, we entered a narrow
canal, bordered for the most part with tall, flat rushes and a great
grass much like our wild rice. Here again we saw large herons and great
kingfishers; the boys had repeatedly tried to shoot one of the latter
birds, but with no success; finally, one was seen standing on the branch
of a tree hanging over the stream; this one was shot, and when we picked
it up, we found it to be curiously distorted, the breast being strangely
swollen. When skinned, this swelling proved to be due to a fish which
the bird had eaten, and which was almost as large as itself. Weighted
with this heavy burden, it is no wonder that the bird had been shot so
easily. At dusk we found ourselves at a landing-place, where we left the
boxes, which turned out to be eight in number, each of which weighed one
hundred and twenty-five pounds. They contained _chapapote_. Our men had
talked much of _the_ canal, to which, for some time, we had been looking
forward. At this landing, arrangements were made for helping us through
the canal, a little canoe being despatched after us, to help unload us.
When we reached the canal, narrow, shallow and straight, cut for the
most part through the solid rock, the moon was shining brightly. Our
great canoe was soon aground, and whole party, seven in number, climbed
out into the water to push and pull. We dislodged it soon, but shortly
came to a complete standstill. Here for the first time, we realized the
cargo which we carried, which before had been carefully covered so that
we really were in ignorance of it. Eighty half-dozen cakes of sugar were
unloaded into the little canoe, which paddled away. We waited, noting
with regret that the falling water, probably due to tide, was fixing our
canoe more and more firmly in the mud. Finally, the little canoe came
back, taking another eighty half-dozen cakes of sugar on board. Our
canoe having been thus lightened, we made another effort to move it,
and, after many struggles and groans, finally found ourselves in deeper
water, embarked, and poled off. Having reached the place upon the bank
where the canoe loads had been left, we stopped to freight again. To our
surprise, we found here once more the eight boxes of _chapapote_, which,
apparently, had been carted across. We were now able to calculate the
load which our "empty" canoe, hired at thirty pesos, in order to take us
quickly through to Tampico, was carrying:

  120 dozen cakes of _panela_, of 2 lbs       2,880 lbs.
  8 boxes _chapapote_, of 125 lbs             1,000 lbs.
  6 sacks of beans, of 100 lbs                  600 lbs.

            Total                             4,480 lbs.

In other words, we had been crowded and delayed by more than two tons of
cargo. Perhaps, had we been actually alone in the boat, it might have
made its journey in the twenty-four hours promised, instead of the sixty
of accomplishment. It was nine o'clock when we were again aboard, and we
made the boatman travel all night long. At the stroke of half-past-three
we heard the bells of Tampico, and drew up along the waterside-landing
of that city. For two full hours we lay there, listening to the buyers
bartering with the boatmen for their load of maize, _frijol_ and
_panela_ until daylight, when we gave orders to unload.



CHAPTER XXII

IN MAYA LAND

(1901)


We had planned to go from Tampico to Chiapas, and from there to Yucatan,
where we were to finish our work for the season. We found, however, that
there was no certainty in regard to a boat for Coatzacoalcos, while the
Benito Juarez was about to sail for Progreso the next day. Not to lose
time, we decided to do our Yucatan work first, and to let Chiapas wait
until later. We were busy that day making arrangements for departure,
and in the afternoon hired a canoe to take our stuff from the wharf to
the boat, which was standing out in the river, beyond Doña Cecilia.
There was a brisk wind against us, and we almost arrived too late to
have our luggage taken aboard. The next morning, we took the first train
to Doña Cecilia, and were on board the boat at nine o'clock. We had been
told that the sailing would take place at ten, but, on arrival, found
that they were waiting for cattle which were being brought across
country. One hundred and twenty head were to make our chief cargo, and
they were expected at six a.m. Nothing, however, was to be seen of them
in any direction. We had taken breakfast, and it was almost twelve
o'clock before the first signs of the animals were to be seen. Meantime,
at eleven, a norther appeared, and we were informed that it would be
impossible to leave short of twenty-four hours. Besides our company,
there were three first-class passengers--a sort of German-Austrian baron
and his lady, and a contractor, who was taking a force of hands to
Yucatan for farm labor. Eighty-three of these hands were our third-class
passengers; they had been picked up all along the line of the Tampico
Branch of the Central Railway, and few of them realized the hardships
and trials which lay before them. We were assured that more than half of
them would surely die before the end of their first year in Yucatan. As
we could not leave until the norther passed, it was decided not to take
the cattle on board until next day. Thus we spent a day as prisoners
on the boat, standing in the river. In the morning the water was still
rough and the wind heavy, but at 9:30 the loading of the animals began.
They were brought out on a barge, about one-half of the whole number to
a load; tackle was rigged and the creatures were lifted by ropes looped
around their horns. The first few were lifted singly, but after that,
two at once. While it sounds brutal, it is really a most convenient
method, and the animals, though startled, do not seem to be injured in
the least, nor indulge in much kicking. By 11:40 all were loaded and
we were ready for our start. We had to wait until the customs-house
inspector should come on board to discharge us, and this was not done
until half-past one. We sailed out, between the jetties, at two o'clock,
and found the Gulf rough, and a high wind, which continued through most
of our voyage. The smell from the cattle was disagreeable, and between
it and the roughness, all were seasick before the first afternoon was
over.

Captain Irvine is the youngest captain of the Ward Line, being but
twenty-six years of age. He has followed the sea since he was thirteen
years old. A Nova Scotian by birth, he has sailed this coast for some
little time, and is a competent official, doing his utmost for the
pleasure and convenience of his passengers. The journey was uneventful.
There was some excitement among the third-class passengers, many of
whom were drunk and quarrelsome. The first evening, two of them were
fighting, with the result that the head of one was split open and had to
be dressed by the captain. When we had been some forty-eight or fifty
hours at sea, we found ourselves off the Campeche banks, in quieter
water. Those who had suffered from sickness were again quite themselves.
It was 4:30 Sunday morning, February 3, after we had been almost three
days and three nights at sea, and four days on the boat, that the
Progreso light was sighted, and not long after we came to anchor. We
waited from six o'clock until almost ten for lighters and the doctor.
After he had made his inspection, we piled off with all our baggage
onto a little steamer, which charged three dollars, each passenger, for
taking us to the pier, which was close by, and to which our own boat
could easily have run. This, however, was but the beginning of Yucatecan
troubles. When we found ourselves on the wharf, the customs officials
insisted upon our going to the general office for inspection, on account
of the character and amount of our luggage. Arrived there, we found that
we had no clearing papers for our stuff, and forty dollars duty was
required for material which had already paid duty in entering Mexico,
and which had only gone from one Mexican port to another, as baggage. In
vain we argued and attempted to explain matters. The officials advised
us to bring the American consul and have him straighten matters; but his
office was shut, as it was Sunday. Meantime, we saw the train, which we
had expected to take at 11:30, leave for Mérida, and at twelve o'clock
the customs-house offices were closed, and we were forced to leave the
business for another day. Fortunately, there are two railroads from
Progreso to Mérida, and we were able to take an afternoon train over the
narrow-gauge line for the capital city. The station was an enormous,
wooden, barn-like structure; the cars were weather-beaten and
dilapidated to a degree--except the first-class car, which was in fair
condition. Passengers were gathering, but no particular signs of the
starting of a train were evident. Boys at the station were selling slabs
of pudding, squares of sponge cake soaked with red liquor, pieces of
_papaya_, cups of sweetened boiled rice, and oranges. The oranges were
unexpectedly high in price, two selling for a _medio_; the seller pares
off the yellow skins and cuts them squarely in two before selling; the
buyer eats merely the pulp, throwing the white skin away. As train-time
neared, interesting incidents occurred. The ticket-agent was drunk and
picked a quarrel with a decent, harmless-looking indian; the conductor
dressed in the waiting-room, putting on a clean shirt and taking off his
old one, at the same time talking to us about our baggage-checks. A fine
horse, frisky and active, was loaded into the same baggage-freight car
with our goods. The bells were rung as signals, and the station locked;
the whole management--ticket-agent, conductor and baggagemen--then got
upon the train and we were off. At one of the stations the ticket-agent
took his horse out from the car, and riding off into the country, we saw
no more of him.

[Illustration: LOADING CATTLE; DOÑA CECILIA]

[Illustration: MAYAS, RETURNING FROM WORK; SANTA MARIA]

The country through which we were running was just as I had imagined it.
Though it was supposed to be the cold season, the day was frightfully
hot, and everyone was suffering. The country was level and covered with
a growth of scrub. There was, however, more color in the gray landscape
than I had expected. Besides the grays of many shades--dusty trees,
foliage, bark and branches--there were greens and yellows, both of
foliage and flowers, and here and there, a little red. But everywhere
there was the flat land, the gray limestone, the low scrub, the dust
and dryness, and the blazing sun. There were many palm trees--chiefly
cocoa-nut--on the country-places, and there were fields of hennequín,
though neither so extensive nor well-kept as I had anticipated. It
resembles the maguéy, though the leaves are not so broad, nor do
they grow from the ground; the hennequín leaves are long, narrow,
sharp-pointed, and rather thickly set upon a woody stalk that grows
upright to a height of several feet. The leaves are trimmed off, from
season to season, leaving the bare stalk, showing the leaf-scar. The
upper leaves continue to grow. In places we noticed a curious mode of
protecting trees by rings of limestone rock built around them; many of
these trees appear to grow from an elevated, circular earth mass. At
Conkal, the great stone church magnificently represented the olden time,
but it bore two lightning rods and was accompanied by two wind-mills of
American manufacture. Everywhere, in fact, the American wind-mill is
in evidence. One can but wish that the poor users of the old _cenotes_
might come to life, and, for a little time, enjoy the work of the winds
in their behalf. Everywhere we saw plenty of Maya indians and heard
something of the old language. All travellers to Yucatan comment on the
universal cleanness of the population; notable in the indians, this
marks equally well the _mestizos_, whites and negroes. They are not
only clean, but all are well dressed. Men wear low, round-crowned,
broad-brimmed palm hats; trousers are rarely of the tight-fitting
Mexican kind; indians who work at heavy labor protect their clean white
shirts and drawers with a strip of stuff, like ticking, wrapped about
them. Women wear two white garments, both ample, hanging from the neck,
bordered with black or colored bands. They generally wear long necklaces
or rosaries, the beads of which are spaced with gold coins, and a cross
of gold or a medal of the same material hangs at the bottom. Women of
middle age are usually stout, and march with quite a stately tread.

Mérida itself is much larger and better built than we had expected. Many
of the houses, especially on the outskirts, are elliptical in section,
and have walls of small stones closely set in mud plaster. In the center
of the town the houses are covered with painted plaster and are in the
usual Latin-American style. Great numbers of quaint little coaches, with
a single horse, were waiting at the station. As we walked up to the
center of the town, we found but few places open, practically nothing
but barber-shops and drug-stores. Of both of these, however, there were
a surprising number.

Having been directed to the Hotel Concordia, we were disappointed when
the old lady in charge stated that she had no rooms, and directed us
across the way to the Hotel de Mexico. As we had arranged for the
delivery of our stuff, we did not care to look elsewhere, and therefore
inspected the rooms in this hotel. To reach them, we went through a
barber-shop into a narrow _patio_, and, mounting some rickety stairs,
found our quarters, which were filthy, vile-smelling, hot and uncared
for. Yet for these choice quarters, with two beds in each of two rooms,
leaving no space practically between, we were expected to pay four
dollars. Upon remonstrating with the proprietor at the price demanded,
he cooly said, "Oh, yes, everything here costs high; but there is money
to pay it with." This really stated the fact. Conditions in Mérida are
the most abnormal of any place which I have visited. Owing to the war in
the Philippines, and interference with the trade in hemp, the fiber
of the hennequín is in great demand, and money is plentiful. At good
restaurants each plate costs thirty cents, instead of ten or twelve, as
in the City of Mexico itself. No coach will cross the street for less
than fifty cents; for a cooling drink, such as in the capital city would
cost three cents, one here pays twelve. The shortest street-car line
charges ten cents; and everything else is in proportion. What the
hotel-keeper said, about there being money to pay these frightful
prices, was equally true. We paid _cargadors_ four times, draymen three
times, more than we have ever done in any other part of Mexico. In the
restaurants we saw _cargadors_ calling for plates at thirty cents,
boot-blacks eating ices at one _real_, newsboys riding in coaches, and
other astonishing sights. In the plaza, good music is played on Sunday
nights, and every one is out in all his finery; fruits, sweetmeats,
refreshing drinks, are hawked everywhere, and are much indulged in;
under the corridors are little tables, where ices, iced milk and drinks
are served. At the hotel we passed a night of horror, suffering from the
heat, dust, ill-placed lights, mosquitoes and other insects. Leaving my
companions I went the following morning to Progreso to attend to the
unlucky baggage. For variety, I took the broad-gauge road, but found
little difference in the country through which we passed. The number of
wind-mills was astonishing, and most of them were Chicago aeromotors. At
one station a great crowd of pure indians got off and on the train. The
American consul at Progreso is too much interested in archaeology to be
found at his office, but his Mexican vice-consul was present. To him
our difficulty was explained, and on his advice we deposited the forty
dollars demanded for duty, and signed various documents of remonstrance,
upon which we paid almost four dollars more for stamps. We were then
permitted to take out enough plates for immediate use, leaving the
balance in Progreso until we should be ready for our return journey.

Acting on the advice of the vice-consul, we changed quarters in Mérida
from the Hotel de Mexico, to the Moromuzo, kept by an American who had
been many years in the country, and where, though we paid even more for
rooms, we had some comfort. By industrious search, we found a Chinese
restaurant, where prices were not high and service quite as good as in
the aristocratic place where we had dined before. The day before we
called at the palace, hoping to see the governor, though it was Sunday.
He was out of town, and we were asked to call the following day.
Accordingly, in the afternoon, after returning from Progreso, I repeated
my call but was told that the governor had gone out of town again and
that I should come the following day. The third day, again presenting
myself at the office, I learned that it was a holiday and that the
governor would not be at the palace; the secretary recommended that I
try to see him at his house. To his house I went, and sending in my card
and my letters from the Federal authorities was surprised, after having
been kept waiting in the corridor, to be informed that the governor
would not see me, and that I should call at the palace, the next day, in
the afternoon, at two o'clock. Sending back a polite message that we had
waited three whole days to see his excellency, and that our time was
limited, my surprise was still greater at receiving the tart reply that
he had stated when he would see me. We spent the balance of day and all
the morning of the next, looking about the town.

Having failed in my visit to Governor Canton, I took a street-car to
Itzimna to see the bishop, to ask him for a letter to his clergy. The
well-known Bishop Ancona had lately died, and the new incumbent was
a young man from the interior of Mexico, who had been here but a few
months. He had been ill through the whole period of his residence, and
seemed frail and weak. He received me in the kindest way, and after
reading the letters I presented, asked whether I had not been in Puebla
at a certain time two years before; on my replying in the affirmative,
he remarked that he had met me at the palace of the bishop of Puebla and
had then learned of my work and studies. He gave me an excellent letter
to his clergy, and as I left, with much feeling, he urged me to be
careful of my health and that of my companions while we were in the
country. When he came from Puebla, only a few months before, he brought
three companions with him, all of whom had died of yellow fever. He told
me that, though this was not the season for that dread disease, cases of
it had already broken out in the city; at the same time he stated that
more than eight hundred cases of small-pox were reported in Mérida,
and that many of them were of the most virulent. Sunday we had walked
through dust ankle-deep upon the roads; Tuesday and Wednesday it was
with difficulty that we could cross the streets, which were filled with
mud, and, part of the time, with muddy water a foot and more in depth.
This is a frequent occurrence, and foot-passengers who desire to cross
the street are often forced to hire a coach for that purpose. As one
walks the street, he runs constant risk of being splashed with mud and
water from passing vehicles and street-cars. During the four days we
spent in Mérida we met several persons interested in literary lines, and
visited a number of institutions, among which the most interesting was
the Museo Yucateco, of which Señor Gamboa Guzman is in charge. It is by
no means what it should be, or what, with but small outlay, it might be.
But it contains interesting things in archaeology, in local history, and
in zoology. It is of special interest to Americans because Le Plongeon
was interested in its foundation and early development.

An old gentleman, clerk in the diocesan offices, advised us to visit
Tekax and Peto for our study. The governor had set the hour of two for
our reception. Merely to see when he would come, we seated ourselves
in the garden of the plaza, so that we could watch the entrance to
the palace. Two came, but no governor. At 2:30 several gentlemen were
waiting near the office door. At three no governor had arrived. At five
minutes past three, we noticed that hum of excitement and expectation
which usually heralds some great event, and looking down the street, saw
the governor pompously approaching. As he passed, hats were removed and
profound salutations given. Waiting until he had entered the office, we
walked up to the reception room, where we found ten or twelve gentlemen
waiting audience. The great man himself had disappeared into an office
which opened onto this reception-room, but the door of which was not
closed. All waited patiently; from time to time the usher-secretary
crept noiselessly to the office door and peeked through the key-hole
to see whether the executive was ready. Finally, at 3:35 the word was
given, and the privilege of the first audience was granted to myself.
During these days of waiting--something which has never occurred with
any of the many governors of states in Mexico upon whom I have called--I
had expressed my surprise to a gentleman of wealth and prominence in the
city, at the governor's compelling me to wait for audience. With some
feeling, this gentleman replied, "But, sir, you are fortunate; you are
a stranger, and bring letters from cabinet officials; many of the best
gentlemen in this city have been kept waiting months in order to see
Governor Canton in regard to business of the highest consequence to
themselves and to the public." I will do the governor justice by saying
that he listened with apparent interest to my statement, and that he
gave orders that the letters which I wished, to local authorities,
should be prepared without delay. Thanking him, I withdrew, and by five
o'clock the secretary handed me the desired documents; we had lost four
days. Early the following morning, as no _cargadors_ were at hand, our
little company resolved itself into a band of carriers and we took our
baggage and equipment to the Peto station. The securing of tickets and
the checking of baggage was quite an undertaking, and if the train had
started at the time announced, we should have missed it; however, we
were in good season, and left something less than an hour late. The
country through which we passed was an improvement upon what we had seen
before. The trees were greener, and many flowers were in bloom. From the
train, we saw a group of pyramids at one point, and an isolated pyramid
at another. Some of the indian towns through which we passed, with
curious Maya names, were interesting. So, too, were the vendors at
the station. Hot tamales, "_pura masa_" (pure dough), as Manuel said,
slippery and soapy in feeling and consistency, done up in banana leaves
and carefully tied, seemed to be the favorite goods; far better were
split _tortillas_ with beans inside and cheese outside; beautiful red
bananas and plump smooth yellow ones were offered in quantity. We lost
an hour at the station where trains met, reaching Tekax at eleven. We
walked up to the hot _plaza_, where we found the town offices closed,
and had difficulty in even leaving our stuff with the police. At a
restaurant we had a fair breakfast, for which we paid a peso each
person. As there were no signs of the town officials, we dropped into
the _curato_ to see the priest, to whom we presented the bishop's
letter. He was a Spaniard, who had been in this country only a few
months, and despises it heartily. He was sitting at table with two young
men, who had accompanied him from Spain, and who love Yucatan no better
than he. He greeted us most heartily, and was interested in our plan of
work. He sent at once for the judge of the _registro civil_, who could
tell us many curious things about the indians, and, as soon as the old
man came, the good priest ordered chocolate to be served. We chatted for
some time, when, seeing that the _jefe's_ office was open, I suggested
that I had better go to present my letters. The _cura_ and the judge at
once began to abuse that official roundly for his sins of commission,
and particularly for those of omission, and told me that I should have
him summoned; that it was much better than to trouble myself by going
to his office, where I had already been twice in vain; it was but right
that he should attend to business; he ought to be in his office when
visitors came to see him. Accordingly a messenger was sent and the
_jefe_ summoned.

He seemed a rather nice young fellow, and was much impressed by the
letter from his governor; he expressed himself as ready and anxious to
serve us in every way, and made arrangements for us to begin work in
the town-house, where, before dark, we had taken fifteen sets of
measurements. This was a capital beginning, but the next two days our
work fell flat. It was necessary to keep constantly at the _jefe_,
and it soon became plain that he was making no great effort to secure
subjects for us, on the assumption that we had better wait until Sunday,
when there would be plenty of people without trouble to the police.

It was useless to urge effort, and we spent the time talking with the
old judge in regard to the habits and superstitions of the indians and
in walking with the judge of _primera instancia_ up to the ridge which
overlooked the town, and which was crowned by a little _hermita_. The
population of Yucatan is still, for the most part, pure indian of Maya
blood and speech. The former importance of this people is well known;
they had made the greatest progress of any North American population,
and the ruins of their old towns have often been described. They
built temples and public buildings of stone and with elaborate carved
decorations; they ornamented walls with stucco, often worked into
remarkable figures; they cast copper and gold; they hived bees, and used
both wax and honey in religious ceremonial. They spun and wove cotton,
which they dyed with brilliant colors; they had a system of writing
which, while largely pictorial, contained some phonetic elements. They
are still a vital people, more than holding their own in the present
population, and forcing their native language upon the white invaders.
Nominally good Catholics, a great deal of old superstition still
survives, and they have many interesting practices and beliefs. The cura
presented me a _ke'esh_ of gold, which he took from the church, where
it had been left by a worshipper. It is a little votive figure crudely
made, commonly of silver; the word means "exchange," and such figures
are given by the indians to their saint or to the Virgin in exchange for
themselves, after some sickness or danger.

The ridge overlooking the town is of limestone, and is covered with a
handsome growth of trees and grass. The terrace on which the _hermita_
is built is flat and cleared; it is reached by a gently graded ascent,
with a flight of wide and easy steps, now much neglected. The little
building is dismantled, though there is some talk of reconstructing it.
Behind it is a well of vile and stagnant water, which is reputed to cure
disease. From the ridge a pretty view of Tekax is to be had, bedded in
a green sheet of trees. The town is regularly laid out, and presents
little of interest, though the two-storied _portales_ and the odd
three-storied house of Señor Duarte attract attention. There are also
many high, square, ventilated shafts, or towers, of distilleries. From
the terrace where we stood, in the days of the last great insurrection,
the indians swept down upon the town and are said to have killed 2,500
of the people, including men, women and children.

The school-teacher of the town is a man of varied attainments, being
also a photographer, watch-maker, medical-adviser, chemist, and so
forth. His house is full of scientific instruments--a really good
camera, a fine aneroid barometer, several thermometers, including
self-registering maximum and minimum, etc., etc. All seem excellent in
quality, but I could not learn that he makes any use of them, except
the camera. The _cura_, and the judge deride his possession of the
instruments, doubting whether he knows how to use them. They assert that
he has an apparatus for projection, for which he paid 1,000 pesos, which
has never yet been unpacked. When we called on him he showed us, by his
hygrometer, that the air was very humid, though the temperature was at
86° Fahr., and told us, what probably is true, that in this heavy, hot
weather, every wound and bruise, however trifling, is likely to become
serious. In illustration of this fact, the _cura_ mentioned that his
Spanish carpenter, who merely bruised his leg against the table, has
suffered frightfully for three months, having now an ugly sore several
inches across, that makes walking difficult. Great care is necessary
with any injury that breaks or bruises the skin. We ourselves had
already experienced the fact that insect-bites became ugly open sores
that showed no signs of healing; as a fact, none of us succeeded in
curing such for several weeks after leaving Yucatan. In the afternoon,
the priest, the judge of _primera instancia_ and myself took a coach
to ride out to a neighboring _hacienda_, where there was a great
sugar-mill, Louis accompanying us on horseback. Our road ran alongside
the ridge and consisted of red limestone-clay. It was fairly good,
though dry and dusty, and closely bordered with the usual Yucatecan
scrub. The ridge, along which we were coursing, is the single elevation
in the peninsula; beginning in northeastern Yucatan, it runs diagonally
toward the southwest, ending near Campeche. It is generally covered with
a dense growth of forest, unless artificial clearings have been made.
Covies of birds, like quail, were seen here and there, along the road,
and at one point a handsome green snake, a yard or more in length,
glided across the way. Snakes are said to be common, and among them
several are venomous--the rattlesnake, the coral-snake, and most dreaded
of all, a little dark serpent a foot or so in length, with an enormous
head, whose bite is said to be immediately fatal. There are also many
tree-snakes, as thick as a man's arm. In the forest, mountain-lions are
rare, but "tigers" are common. We found Santa Maria to be an extensive
_hacienda_, and the sugar-mill was a large structure, well supplied with
modern machinery, and turning out a large amount of product. We saw
a few of the indian hands, went through the factory, and were shown
through the owner's house, which has beautiful running water and baths,
though there is little furniture, and nothing of what we would consider
decoration. It was after dark before we started to town, and when we got
there we found two wedding parties waiting for the padre's services.

The promised crowd filled the market Sunday, and our work went finely.
Between the town officials and the priest, subjects were constantly
supplied. Among the indians who presented themselves for measurement was
old Manuel, sacristan from Xaya; he is a _h'men_, and we had hoped that
he would show us the method of using the _sastun_, or divining crystal.
He is a full-blood, and neither in face nor manner shows the least
emotion. Automatic in movement, he is quiet and phlegmatic in manner;
having assumed the usual indian pose for rest, a squat position in
which no part of the body except the feet rests upon the ground, or any
support, he sat quietly, with the movement of scarcely a muscle, for
hours at a time. He sang for us the invocation to the winds of the four
quarters, which they use in the ceremony of planting time. Though he is
frequently employed to say the "milpa mass" and to conjure, he claims
that he never learned how to use the _sastun_, but told us that another
_h'men_ in his village knew it well.

One of the _padre's_ companions has been ill ever since he came to
Yucatan; Sunday he suffered so greatly that a doctor was sent for
in haste. Nothing was told us as to what his trouble might be, but
personally I suspected that he had the small-pox. In connection with his
illness, we learned for the first time that another companion of the
priest, brought from Spain, died in the room I was occupying, less
than two weeks before, from yellow fever. We had known that one of his
companions had died of yellow fever, but supposed it was some months
earlier. Toward evening the priest was sent for by a neighbor, who
needed the last service. On the _padre's_ return, we learned that this
person was believed to be dying from _vomito_. For a moment we were in
doubt what was best to do, especially as the police had told us that the
_padre_ had permitted no fumigation of his premises after his comrade's
death, simply sprinkling holy water about the place. That night the
young man in the next room suffered greatly, and I could not help but
wonder what ailed him. However, I decided that what danger there might
be from the disease we had already risked, and as we expected to remain
but one or two more days, it seemed hardly worth while to make a change.
Monday we planned a visit to San Juan and Xaya. The horses had been
ordered for five o'clock, but mass had been said, chocolate taken, and
all was ready, long before they appeared. Six, seven, eight all passed,
and at last, at nine, only three animals appeared. This decided us to
leave Ramon behind to pack the busts which we had made, while the others
of the party, with the _padre_, mounted on his own horse, should make
the journey. A foot _mozo_ carried the camera. The road was of the usual
kind, and was marked at every quarter league with a little cross of wood
set into a pile of stones and bearing the words, De Tekax----L. As we
passed La Trinidad we noticed great tanks of water for irrigation before
the house, and tall trees with their bare, gray roots running over and
enveloping the piles of stones on which they had been planted. There
were no other plantations or villages until just before the ninth
cross--two and a quarter leagues--we came to the hennequín plantation of
San Juan. The mayor domo was delighted to see the _padre_ and greeted us
warmly, taking us at once to the great house. We rode between long lines
of orange trees, loaded with sweet and juicy fruits, and were soon
sitting in the cool and delightful hallway. It is impossible to say how
many dozens of those oranges four of us ate, but we were urged to make
away with all we could, as the daily gathering is something more than
five thousand. Soon an elaborate breakfast was ready for us, but before
we ate we took a drink of fresh milk from cocoanuts cut expressly for
us. We had salmon, eggs, meat-stew, beans, tortillas, and wine. But the
mayor domo expressed his regret that he did not know we were coming, as
he would gladly have killed a little pig for us. As dessert a great dish
of fresh _papaya_ cut up into squares and soaking in its own juice,
was served. Sitting in the cool corridor, after a good breakfast,
and looking out over a beautiful country, with promises that all the
subjects necessary for measurement should be supplied, the idea of
riding on to Xaya lost attractiveness, and we sent a foot-messenger with
an order to the town authorities to send the _h'men_ with his _sastuns_
without delay to see us.

[Illustration: MAYA DANCE; SAN JUAN]

[Illustration: THE H'MEN WITH HIS SASTUN; SAN JUAN]

This was our first opportunity to see the industry of hennequín, which
is the chief product of this _hacienda_. The leaves, after cutting, are
brought from the field tied up in bundles. These are opened, and the
leaves are fed into a revolving, endless double chain, which carries
them on iron arms upward and dumps them onto a table, where three men
receive them and feed them into the stripper. This consists of a round
table, into the inner, excavated, circular face of which a round knife
with dull edge fits closely, though at only one place at once; the
leaves, fed between the table and knife, are held firmly by them at
about one-third their length. The projecting two-thirds of the leaves
hang downward; as the table revolves the leaves thus held are carried to
a vertical revolving rasp which strips out the flesh, leaving the fibre
masses hanging. These taken out from between the table and the knife are
fed again to a second revolving table which holds the masses of fibre,
leaving the unstripped portion of the leaves exposed to a second rasp,
which strips it. The hanks of fibre are dropped from the second table
onto a horizontal wooden bar, where they are rapidly sorted over by
a man who throws inferior and spotted bunches to one side. The whole
operation is rapid and beautiful. The fresh fibre is then hung over
bars, in the southern wind, to dry, after which it is baled in presses
for shipment.

[Illustration: MAYA HOUSE; SAN JUAN]

We had no trouble in completing the measurement of subjects from the
indian hands on the place, and made portraits and photographs of native
dancers. In the afternoon the _h'men_ appeared. He was an extremely
clean and neat indian of forty-five, and carried at his side a little
sack, within which, carefully wrapped up in a handkerchief, were his
_sastuns_. There were five in all; three were small round balls of
glass, broken from the stoppers of perfume bottles; one was somewhat
barrel-shaped and of bluish color, while the other, the largest of all,
was rather long, fancifully formed, and with facets ground out upon it;
it was yellowish in tint. The two latter were apparently from toilet
bottles. Telling him that I was anxious to learn about something which
had been stolen from me, I asked what was necessary in the way of
preparation. He demanded a candle and _aguardiente_. A great taper of
yellow wax and a bottle of spirits were supplied. Taking these in his
hand, he entered the little chapel of the _hacienda_, considering it a
good place for conjuring. He piously kissed the altar tables and the
bases of the crucifixes and saints; then picking out a dark corner he
opened his cloth, took out his glasses, lighted the candle and squatted
for his operation. Taking one of the crystal balls between his fingers,
he held it between the flame and his eye and looked intently into it,
as if seeking something. One after another, the five crystals were
carefully examined. Finally, laying the last aside, he shook his head.
He could see nothing, nothing whatever, that interested the gentleman,
unless indeed sickness; this he pointed out in one of the little balls;
redness, fever. Being urged to try again, after an interval he got down
to real business; he took the _aguardiente_, dipped the crystals into
the liquor, repeating formulas as he did so, and again made the test,
but with no better result. He could see nothing, absolutely nothing, of
stolen property; there was nothing in the crystal of interest to the
gentleman, except fever; that there was, he was certain. This practice
of divining by means of crystals is a survival from the old pagan days.
It is probable that there is no indian town of any size in Yucatan where
some _h'men_ does not make use of it.

We had now finished our work with Maya Indians, except the measurement
of a few women and the making of a single bust. Upon rather strong
representation to the _jefe_, a desperate effort was made by the
policemen and the women were secured. Among the village police-force,
one man had attracted our particular attention, as representing a
type of face, quite common among the Mayas, which we have called the
serpent-face. It is round and broad, with retreating chin and receding
forehead, and with curious, widely-separated, expressionless eyes. We
had already measured and photographed the subject, but, because he was
a policeman and had been useful, we thought we would not subject him to
the operation of bust-making. Seeing, however, that no other equally
good subject had presented itself, we decided to make his bust, and told
him so. To our surprise he refused. The _jefe_, for once, acted promptly
and without hesitation issued an absolute order that the man's bust
should be made. The order had no effect. The officials scolded,
threatened, but Modesto Kan was immovable. The _jefe_ ordered that he
should be thrown into jail, which order was promptly obeyed, but all to
no purpose. Our subject said we might whip him, fine him, keep him in
jail, or kill him, but he would not have his bust made. Hours passed,
and neither remonstrance nor threats on the part of the _jefe_ or
ourselves were of the least avail. On my last interview with him, I
found him lying on a mat with so high a fever that I dared not urge the
matter further, and we desisted from our efforts to secure him. It was
the only subject among 3,000 Indians, with whom we failed to carry out
our work.

A story which the old judge had told us had its influence in my
permitting this subject to escape. These Mayas often die for spite, or
because they have made up their mind to do so. Don Manuel at one time
was summoned by a rich indian with whom he was well acquainted. The man
was not old, and had land, good houses, many head of cattle, much maize,
and many fowls. He had three children, and owned the houses near his own
in which they lived. Everything was prospering with him. Yet the message
to the judge was that he should come at once to hear this indian's last
words. With a companion he hastened to the house, and found the man in
his hammock, dressed in his best clothes, waiting for them. He seemed
in perfect health. When they accosted him, he told them he was about
to make his will, and say his last words. They told him that a man in
health had a perfect right to make his will, but remonstrated with him
for saying that he was about to speak his last words. He insisted,
however, that he was about to die. In vain they argued with him; he had
had his dream. He gave to one child, house, animals, corn, poultry; to
the second, similar gifts; to the third, the same. Then, having bidden
them all farewell, he lay down in his hammock, took no food or drink,
spoke to no one, and in six days was dead. Such cases are not uncommon
among Maya indians of pure blood.

When we reached home that night we found Ramon unwell. Next day, the
last of our stay at Tekax he was suffering with fever. He had done
no work while we were absent the day before, and all the packing and
doing-up of plaster fell upon the others of the party. As for him, he
collapsed so completely that it scared me. The ordinary _mestizo_ has
no power of resistance; no matter how trifling the disease, he suffers
frightfully and looks for momentary dissolution. It was plain from the
first moment that Ramon believed that he had the yellow fever; instead
of trying to keep at work or occupying himself with something which
would distract his attention, he withdrew into the least-aired corner of
a hot room and threw himself onto heap of rugs and blankets, in which
he almost smothered himself, cut off from every breath of fresh air. In
vain we urged him to exert himself; in the middle of the afternoon we
took him to the doctor, who assured us that the case was in no way
serious--at the worst nothing more than a light attack of malaria. In
the afternoon the _jefe_, neglecting the _padre_, invited the judge of
_primera instancia_ and myself to accompany him upon a little expedition
to the neighboring Cave of the Fifth of May. We went in a coach, taking
Louis, who sat with the driver, as photographer; on the way, we visited
the town cemetery, which we found a dreary place, with no effort at
adornment and with an air of general neglect. We passed a number of
places where they were boiling sugar, and at one we stopped to see the
mode of dipping calabashes for _dulces_; the fruits are gourd-like, but
have considerable soft pulp within the thin, hard crust; several holes
are bored through the external shell and the calabashes, slung by
strings into groups at the end of a pole, are dipped into the boiling
sap or syrup; the dipping is done two or even three times, and the
clusters are removed and allowed to drip and dry between dips. The loose
flesh is soaked through with the syrup, making a rich, sweet mass, much
used for desserts. Finally, we turned into another place where sugar was
being made, and found it the cleanest and neatest of its kind. Here we
sampled little cakes of clean brown sugar, and were treated with similar
cakes in which peanuts and squash-pips were embedded, making a delicious
confection. We were here supplied with a clean, fresh _jícara_ cup, and,
walking along the path a few rods, ascended slightly to the mouth of the
cave, which was far handsomer than we had expected. The limestone of
Yucatan abounds in caves and subterranean water-courses, especially near
the base of the ridge already mentioned. The mouth of the cavern was
fringed with ferns and other vegetation. A flight of rustic steps led
down to the nearly level floor of red cave-earth. The light from outside
entered sufficiently to show the greater portion of the cave. The rock
walls, opposite the opening, were brilliantly green with some minute
growth; from the floor rose a heap of stone upon the top of which was
set an _olla_ of large size to catch the water dripping from the roof;
it was full of most beautifully clear, cool water, which we dipped out
with our _jícara_ and drank. At two or three other places on the floor,
and on projections from the side walls of the cave, were other _ollas_,
or broken water-troughs of stone, for catching water. Lighting our
candles we went behind a pendant veil of thick stalagmite. At some spots
hummocks of snow-white crystalline matter, with a reticulated surface,
had been deposited by dripping water. A few great masses of stalagmite
rose from the floor, and there were some columns of the same material.
On returning from the cavern, nothing would do but we must breakfast
with the _jefe_, which we did, in state, though at our usual
boarding-house.

[Illustration: FRESHLY-DIPPED CALABASHES, NEAR TEKAX]

[Illustration: THE COACH THAT CARRIED US TO THE STATION; TEKAX]

The three great industries about Tekax are sugar, hennequín, and liquor.
Father Juan insisted that we should visit one of the local distilleries,
of which there are fourteen in Tekax. Sugar, ground with water into a
thick syrup, is drawn off from the mill into great vats, where it is
permitted to ferment; it is then taken into the still, where it is
heated and vaporized, and the vapor carried up into high towers
for condensation. These three-storied, square, wooden towers, with
ventilator-shafts, are one of the characteristic features of the town.

Padre Juan insisted on supplying a coach for our leaving, in the
morning. This coach, like those at Mérida, was an extremely small
affair, for a single horse. Under any circumstances it would scarcely
carry three persons, without luggage, besides the driver. When it is
remembered that our party, (consisting of four), the stout _padre_, four
satchels, measuring-rod, tin pan and blankets, made up the load, it can
be easily appreciated that the little coach was full. We rode slowly,
and the poor, creaking vehicle threatened to fall to pieces every
moment, but we reached the station safely. It was scarcely ten when we
arrived at Mérida and took our old quarters at the Moromuzo. Our invalid
at once lay down, and neither threats nor bribes would move him; he
looked as if he suffered, but he insisted on doing so; going to the
nearest drug store we described his symptoms to the apothecary, who
assured us that the case could not be serious, and supplied a remedy
which was rapid and energetic in its action, though our sick man
insisted that he was not improved.

We were now but waiting for notice of a vessel sailing from Progreso for
Coatzacoalcos. Writing, errands, visits, filled up the time, but it was
dreary waiting. The muddy streets, the heavy, moist, fetid air, the
outrageous prices, the mosquitoes--all combined to make a disagreeable
experience. We worried through three days, and still no announcement of
a boat. In a visit made to the bishop, to tell him of our kind reception
in Tekax and to make inquiry regarding books printed in the Maya, we
were again warned by the prelate to be most careful of our health; that
day, he told us, two of our countrymen, working at the electric-light
plant, had been stricken with yellow fever and would surely die. The
second day we were in town the boys met Don Poncio, one of the Spanish
comrades of the _padre_ at Tekax, who, with another of the household,
had run away, leaving the good priest alone, as the young fellow who had
been ill in the room next ours developed a full case of yellow fever the
day we left, and was dead before night.

One day we went to a _cenote_ for a bath. Passing through a house into a
rather pretty garden, we came to a stairway, partly natural and partly
cut in the solid rock, which we descended; we found ourselves in a
natural cave, with a pool of blue, transparent water. A paved platform
surrounded one side of the cave, and near its rear edge was a bench of
masonry, which was continued along the side of the pool by a similar
bench, cut partly from the living rock. The water was so clear that we
could see, by the light coming from above, to its very bottom, and
could detect little black fishes, like bull-heads, against the sand and
pebbles. The pool was irregular in shape, so that a portion of it was
out of sight behind the rock-wall, beyond which we found that there was
a paved floor and benching similar to that in the portion which we had
entered. We had a delightful and refreshing swim in this underground
pool, but it was noticeable that, after we came out into the air, there
was no evaporation of water from the body, and towels were absolutely
necessary for drying. Such _cenotes_ are found in many parts of Yucatan,
and form the regular bathing-places, and are often the only natural
supplies of drinking-water. Of streams above ground there are
practically none in the whole peninsula.

The last day of our stay in Mérida we saw the _xtoles_. These are bands
of indian dancers who go from house to house during the carnival season;
they are dressed in costumes which reproduce some features of the
ancient indian dress. In the little company which we saw were fifteen
dancers, including the standard-bearer; all were males, but half of them
were dressed like females and took the part of such. The male dancers
wore the usual white _camisa_ and drawers, but these had a red stripe
down the side of the leg; jingling hawk-bells of tin or brass were
attached to various parts of their dress; a red belt encircled the
waist; all wore sandals. The "female" dancers wore white dresses of the
usual sort, with decorated borders at the arm and neck; also necklaces
of gold beads and gold chains with pendants. Two of the dancers were
little children, but the rest appeared to be young men up to about
thirty-five years of age. All wore crowns upon the head; these
consisted of a circlet of tin, from which rose two curved strips, which
intersected over the middle of the head; from the circlet rose four
feathers--either natural or made of tin. Two of the crowns of special
size, with real feathers, marked the king and queen. Under the crowns,
covering the top of the head and hanging down from the shoulders, were
gay handkerchiefs of red or blue. All the dancers were masked. The men
wore bandoliers of cotton, worked with bright designs representing
animals, birds and geometrical forms; the square ends of these were hung
with marine shells. In their hands, the dancers carried curious rattles
and fans, which they used in making graceful movements as they danced.
The handle of the fan consisted of the leg and foot of a turkey, while
the body was composed of the brilliant and beautifully spotted feathers
of the ocellated turkey, a bird peculiar to Yucatan and the adjacent
country. There were two musicians, one with a long _pito_, or fife, and
the other with a _huehuetl_ or drum, which he struck with his hand.
Hanging to the side of the drum near the top was a turtle-shell, upon
which the drummer beat, from time to time, with a deer's horn. A
standard was carried by the company, which bore a representation of the
sun, with dancers and a serpent; the pole by which it was carried was
surmounted with a tin disk representing the sun's face. The music was
apparently of indian origin and the words of the song were Maya. The
dancing itself was graceful and accompanied by many curious movements.
Mr. Thompson, our American consul to Yucatan, believes this dance is
ancient, and thinks he has found representations of it painted on the
walls of ancient ruins at Chichen Itza.

[Illustration: THE XTOLES; Mérida]

[Illustration: THE XTOLES; Mérida]

Mérida prides itself upon its carnival, which, it claims, ranks
third,--Venice and New Orleans alone surpassing it. It was admitted that
the celebration of this year was far below that of others. The cause of
this dullness was generally stated to be the great amount of sickness
prevalent in the city. However that may be, it certainly was a tame
affair. On the 15th two processions took place, one in the morning,
the other in the afternoon; these were arranged by two clubs of young
people, and each desired to surpass the other. We saw that of the
afternoon, and found it not particularly interesting. A number of
private carriages, drawn up in line, passed through the streets; within
were gentlemen, ladies and children, but few of them wore masks, or
were otherwise notable; besides these, in the procession, were five
allegorical cars. One represented a gilded boat containing pretty girls;
it was arranged to seem to rise and fall upon a billowy sea. A second
float represented the well-known ancient statue, the Chacmool; an
indian, in the attitude of the figure mentioned, held an _olla_ upon his
breast, while one or two others stood near him as guards or companions.
The most attractive float was loaded with the products of Yucatan, and
a group of figures symbolizing its industries and interests. Upon the
fourth, a female figure stood erect in a chariot drawn by lions. The
fifth was comic, and represented marriage in public and private--a
vulgar couple indulging in affectionate display before a partition,
and in a conjugal quarrel behind it. These floats were scattered at
intervals through the procession, which was of no great length.

By this time Ramon had suffered violent agonies, and had become so weak
that assistance was needed when he walked. The second day in Mérida we
had sent for a competent physician, who assured us that nothing was the
matter excepting an unimportant attack of bilious fever, and that with a
day or two of treatment he should be entirely recovered. On his second
visit he was much irritated, as the young man had not made the promised
improvement, and assured us that there was no cause for his collapse.
During our first visit to Mérida, in hunting through the city for
Protestants--a practice in which he invariably indulged whenever we
reached a town of consequence--Ramon had happened on an interesting
little man who represents the American Bible Society in this district.
By name Fernandez, this gentleman was born in Argentina, educated in
Spain, and has served as colporteur in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco
and Yucatan for upwards of a dozen years. He was stout, active, and
vivacious; he claimed to have been in every town in Chiapas, and gave
us much advice regarding our journey to that state; he called upon us
several times during our stay, and shared the general disgust over our
sick man, who, he assured us, had nothing serious the matter, and only
needed to arouse himself to throw off the bilious attack from which he
suffered. On the streets we met the baron who had been with us on our
voyage from Tampico. He told us that after one day in Mérida, he and
his lady decided that they preferred Progreso, and were stopping there,
going down upon the day-train when they wished to visit Mérida. He also
warned us that we need never expect to see the forty dollars which we
had advanced through the vice-consul, as whatever disposition should be
made of our complaint regarding customs charges by the government, no
such money was ever known to leave his hands. Following events entirely
confirmed this gentleman's dire prophecy; neither Mr. Thompson nor Señor
Solis have paid the least attention to communications regarding the
matter sent after our return to our own country. It is little likely
that the Mexican government refused to refund the payment; but we shall
probably never know.

The remarks of the baron suggested a new line of action. Why longer
wait in Mérida for our boat? Progreso is cleaner, cooler, enjoys a sea
breeze, and gives as good living for less than half the price we were
paying. For comfort, for the benefit of our sick man, for the advantage
of our pocket, we would be better off at Progreso than in Mérida. While
there were cases of small-pox in the little seaport, there were none of
yellow fever. In every way it looked attractive, and on Monday morning
we left, and found ourselves, before noon, comfortably located in the
curious little hotel, La Estrella de Oro, in Progreso. To be sure,
our rooms were mere stalls, being separated from each other by board
partitions scarcely eight feet in height, and without ceiling, so that
it was impossible to escape the conversation in neighboring rooms at
night. The table, however, was excellent, and the price, compared with
what we had been paying, economy itself. Having seen my companions
comfortably located, I returned to Mérida, where there was still some
business demanding attention. This time I found a room in the Hotel
Concordia, which was the most comfortable I enjoyed in Mérida, although
the price of $4 for the mere room was high. The day before, we had seen
the Battle of Flowers of the carnival. No flowers figured in it; it
consisted of a long procession of carriages, mostly private and mostly
good; they were filled with well-dressed young people, of whom few were
masked; all were supplied with confetti, which was thrown in handfuls
by those in the carriages upon those in carriages going in the other
direction, for the procession was double. Usually, girls and ladies
threw at men and boys, who reciprocated the compliment; the ladies had
their hair loose and flowing, and wore no hats; so that in a little time
it was filled with the brilliant bits of paper. Everyone, also, had long
strips of colored paper, rolled up like ribbons, which were now and then
launched, either with no direct aim or at some person; as these strips
unrolled they trailed prettily in the air, and everyone caught at the
trailing streamers. Crowds of poor children chased along, beside and
behind the carriages, catching at the showers of bits of paper, and at
the long streamers, which they kept, or, in turn, hurled at passers. The
balconies of all the better houses were filled with people, as were the
seats and raised platform fronting the town-house, and those in
the balconies and on the seats rained down paper upon those in the
carriages. Many children in the balconies were masked, and wore
grotesque costumes, but few grown persons were so decked out. While
pretty and characteristic, the Battle of Flowers disappointed us,
lacking the life and "abandon" which one usually associates with
the idea of carnival. It was all reserved, and respectable, and
unenthusiastic. The only persons who really seemed to enjoy it were the
poor children, with their loads of bright paper and long streamers.
Monday afternoon, the most striking function of the carnival, so far
seen, took place. This was an enormous procession of vehicles; private
carriages, with elaborate equipment, were filled with finely-dressed
gentlemen and ladies; common rented coaches were in line, and some of
them were loaded to their full capacity with common people--four, five,
or even six, in one; in one were four brawny, young _cargadors_; in
another an old grandmother, her two daughters, and some grandchildren,
pure indians, rode complacently, enjoying the admiration which they knew
their best clothes must attract; in some of the fine private coaches, no
one but indian nurses or favored servants rode. Even here, few of the
parties were really dashing, lively or beautiful. The whole thing was
constrained, artificial and sedate. An occasional group seemed to really
enjoy the occasion. One bony horse dragged an ancient buggy or cart,
which might well be that of some country doctor, and in it was the
gentleman himself, commonly dressed, but with a whole family of little
people, who were bubbling over with enjoyment. Another happy party was
that of a common carter, who had his own dray in the line, with his
children, neatly but commonly dressed, as its only occupants; in two or
three carriages were maskers, though none of them appeared funny;
one drayman's cart had been hired by a crowd of loud and boisterous
youngsters, who performed all kinds of pranks and bawled nonsensical
remarks to the crowd.

[Illustration: CARNIVAL AT PROGRESO]

[Illustration: CARNIVAL AT PROGRESO]

My chief errand was to see the leader of the _xtoles_, to purchase from
him some of the objects which they had used in their dance. Just as I
was starting, at evening, for the address he had given me, I met Señor
Fernandez in the plaza, and he agreed to accompany me to the place. We
went some little distance on the street-car, and, dismounting at the
corner of a narrow lane, were about to start through it, when someone
touched my companion on the arm, and greeted him. He recognized the
owner of the little shop before which we stood. Heartily invited to
enter the _tienda_, we did so and stated the object of our quest. The
shopkeeper at once said that we must have a lantern, as the road was
dark, and ordered his clerk to accompany us with one, for which we were
truly thankful. We came, finally, to the house where Don Gregorio,
the leader of the dancers, lived. Fernandez was friendly and voluble,
greeting every company of girls and women that we met, or who were at
the house, as "_lindas_," and passing compliments. He was, however,
uneasy, continually glancing around and asking repeatedly when Don
Gregorio would appear. The dancers were still absent, but expected
every moment; in fact, we could hear their music in the distance. When,
finally, they did appear, their leader, who was very drunk, insisted
that he could not treat in the matter until after the next day, which
would be the culmination of the carnival, and their chief day for
dancing. The instant that we received this answer, Fernandez seized
the lantern, which the clerk had left, and, grasping me by the arm, we
started off at breakneck pace. As we almost rushed down the stony road,
he looked furtively to right and left, and told me that there were, no
doubt, persons in the neighborhood who had recognized him, and said
that, more than once, in this very neighborhood, he had been stoned
when selling bibles, and that any moment we ran our chances of a night
attack. Apparently, however, people were too much excited over carnival
to waste their time in baiting Protestants, and we heard no whizzing
missiles, and soon, reaching the corner shop, left the lantern, and went
home. There had been doubt as to whether trains would run the following
day, Tuesday, on account of carnival. I found, however, that the train
on which I had counted, leaving at seven in the morning, went as usual,
though it was the only train of the day for Progreso. My companions
were delighted to see me, and I found our sick man sure that death was
imminent; to tell the truth, he was constantly spitting black blood,
which oozed from his gums, and which gave me more concern than any of
his previous symptoms. We found the carnival at Progreso more natural
and unpretentious, but also far more lively and amusing, than anything
in Mérida. To be sure, some of the performances bordered on the
indecent, but on the whole, it was jolly, and scarcely gave cause for
Manuel's pious ejaculation that there were many _abusos_. Groups of men
and boys went through the streets decked with ribbons and flowers, and
with their faces painted or daubed; many carried handfuls of flour,
or of blue paint, which they dashed into the faces or over the clean
clothes of those they met; bands of maskers danced through the streets;
companies of almost naked boys, daubed with colors, played _toro_ with
one who was inside a frame of wood. One man, completely naked, painted
grotesquely, pranced through the streets on all fours; young fellows,
dressed in women's clothes, with faces masked or painted, wandered about
singly, addressing persons on the street in a high falsetto voice with
all sorts of woeful stories or absurd questions. Very pretty was a
company of trained dancers,--with a standard, leader, music, and fancy
costume,--each of whom carried two staves in his hands; these performed
a variety of graceful movements, and sung a song in Spanish; this was
interestingly like the song of the _xtoles_, and the movements were
almost precisely theirs. In the evening, we attended the _baile de los
mestizos_--dance of the _mestizos_, where the elite of the little city
was gathered, and the place was crowded. Very little of it was
enough, for while the music and dancing were all right, the heat, the
tobacco-smoke, and the perfume, were overpowering.

To our joy, on Wednesday, the "Hidalgo" appeared, bound for
Coatzacoalcos. All day Thursday we waited for it to unload its cargo,
and on Friday morning, we loaded into a little sail-boat at the wharf,
which we hired for a price far below what the regular steamer would
have charged to take us to our vessel. The luggage had been weighed and
valued, and an imposing bill of lading, and an official document, had
been made out, to prevent our paying duty a third time when we should
reach our port. At 10:30 we were on the "Hidalgo," ready for leaving. It
is the crankiest steamer on the Ward Line, and dirty in the extreme.
The table is incomparably bad. The one redeeming feature is that the
first-class cabins are good, and on the upper deck, where they receive
abundance of fresh air; there were plenty of seats for everyone to sit
upon the deck, a thing which was not true of the "Benito Juarez."
Of other first-class passengers, there were two harmless Yucatecan
gentlemen--one of whom was seasick all the voyage,--and two Americans,
brothers, one from St. Louis, Mo., and the other from Springfield, Ill.
The captain of our vessel was a Norwegian, the first officer was a
Mexican, the chief engineer an American, the purser a low-German, the
chief steward an Oaxaca indian, and the cook a Filipino. Never was I so
glad to reach a resting-place, never so relieved, as when we got our
baggage and our sick man safely on board. As to the latter, he at once
lay down, and, practically, was not on his feet during the voyage. We
had expected to make the run in thirty hours, but were hindered by rough
weather, catching portions of two northers; the second was so bad that,
when almost in sight of our destination, we were forced to put to sea
again, and lost many hours of time and miles of distance. On the morning
of the third day, however, we had dropped anchor, and on looking from
the cabins at five, caught sight of Coatzacoalcos; but it was not the
Coatzacoalcos of 1896. Prodigious changes had taken place. The Pearson
Company, having taken possession of the railroad, had made great
improvements; their pretentious general-offices, located at the wharf,
had recently been completed; the railroad station had been improved;
the old shack, where we slept in 1896, had been torn down, and a
construction track occupied its place; on the little rise behind, a
pretty and large hotel had been erected; on the higher land, to
the right, a line of well-built houses, making some pretension to
architectural effect, had been constructed. It was only after landing,
and walking through the older portions of the town, that any familiar
scenes were recognized. Though we were ready to land at five, and wished
to catch the train at seven, we were forced to wait for the official
inspection, and saw the longed-for train--and there would be no other
for two days--pull out before our eyes. Finally, at nine o'clock, we
were permitted to land. To my surprise, my shipping document was called
for, but, being produced, we were subjected to no difficulty. The
balance of the day was spent in wandering about the village, meeting
former acquaintances, attending to odds and ends of shipment, and
strolling on the familiar beach, which was still covered with scurrying
crabs and sprinkled with white "sand dollars." During the night, a
terrific norther blew, and the next day, cold, dull gray, rainy, kept us
in-doors. By this time, the purser of the "Hidalgo," who had himself had
yellow fever, and said he was familiar with it, had convinced us that
Ramon really had had a slight touch of that dread disease, but having
passed his tenth day of sickness, was destined to recover, and would be
no serious menace to other people.



CHAPTER XXIII

OX-CART EXPERIENCES

(1901)


On the following morning, at seven, we took the railroad train, and at
five at night had reached Tehuantepec, and were pleasantly located in
our old hotel, the Europa. On February 28, we visited the market, called
at the house of the _jefe politico_ for a letter to the town authorities
of Huilotepec, and visited Dr. Castle, whom we found much the same as
ever. We failed to find the _jefe_ at his office, though we went there
several times, but found him sitting in a _tienda_ much the worse for
drinking. He was charmed to see us, embraced us warmly, and told us that
his thoughts had frequently been with us since our former sojourn in
his district. New supplies of wine, and, on the appearance of certain
ladies, of champagne, were ordered in witness of his satisfaction. In
regard to our desires, he was delighted to learn that Louis was shooting
birds, declaring that we were just in time; that he had a damnable order
from Mexico to send on skins of all the birds of his district for the
National Museum, and that he had not known what to do in the matter;
we must prepare them; if we did so, willingly, we should be handsomely
paid; but if not, he would be compelled to force us. The jail was
ready, and men die easily in Southern Mexico. With this, he made some
suggestions that it was easy for a person to be officially reported as
accidentally killed, or dead from _vomito_. He insisted that we should
not go alone to Huilotepec, but that he himself would accompany us and
make sure that everything was done according to our wishes. All these
dire threats and great promises were completely forgotten on the
following day, when we sallied forth alone.

[Illustration: MANUEL AND AN IGUANA; TEHUANTEPEC]

[Illustration: MARKET WOMEN; SAN BLAS]

In the _jefe's_ office we learned that during the past year not only
Coatzacoalcos, but Tehuantepec, had suffered frightfully from yellow
fever. Of course, the disease is no rarity on the Gulf coast, though it
was never worse than in the last season; but in Tehuantepec, and on the
Pacific coast, it is a thing so rare as to be almost unknown. So true is
this, that, when it was first reported from this district, the federal
government did not believe the story, and sent a commission to
investigate. We learned that the commission arrived at evening, and,
finding two persons dead in their black vomit on the street, made no
further investigation, but started for Mexico on the following train.
The spread of the disease to the west coast is generally attributed, and
no doubt correctly, to the railroad. The disease was particularly fatal,
in both places, to Americans and Englishmen, and it was whispered that
90 per cent of the employes of the new railroad management succumbed.
The chief clerk in the _jefe's_ office told us that, while many cases
occurred here, no pure indians were taken, and that none of the
_mestizos_ who were affected died--the mortality being confined to the
foreigners.

Dr. Castle had moved, but his place was as interesting as ever. For
pets, he had three hairless dogs, a _mapachtl_, two macaws, two parrots,
and a lot of doves, one of which he had taught tricks. He was much
interested in cactuses, and had established a garden in which he planned
to have all the species of the district. We had purchased some iguanas
in the market, and Louis had been skinning them. The Doctor said that
there were three species of iguanas in the district, the largest being
green, changing to orange or gray, and its flesh not being eaten, as it
is too sweet; the second species is of medium size, and gray or black in
color; the third is rarer, smaller, and is striped lengthwise; it lives
among the rocks near the coast. The two last species are both eaten,
and are often sold in market. Here we learned, by a casual remark which
Manuel dropped on seeing the ugliest of the hairless dogs, that these
are believed, not only here, but in Puebla, and no doubt elsewhere
through the Republic, to cure rheumatism. In order to effect a cure, the
dog must sleep for three nights with the patient, and the uglier the dog
the more certain the cure. Through Dr. Castle, we also learned that the
Zapotec Indians hereabouts, have many songs, of which the _sandunga_ is
a great favorite. Questioning an indian friend of mine, we afterwards
learned that there are many of these pieces of music which are held
to be truly indian. The words are largely Zapotec; Spanish words are
scattered through the song, and the sentiment is largely borrowed.
Most of the songs are love-songs, and they abound in metaphorical
expressions. Our little trip to Huilotepec was for the purpose of
photographing the curious and interesting _mapa_ belonging to the
village. We rode out over the hot and dusty river-bed road, arriving at
noon. Sending for the _agente_ and _secretario_, we ordered breakfast
and made known our errand. Though it plainly was not to their taste, the
_mapa_ was brought out for our inspection. It is painted on a piece of
coarse cotton cloth, of native weaving, in three colors--blue, red and
black. The places around Huilotepec are indicated by their ancient
hieroglyphs. Several personages of the ancient time are represented in
the conventional manner commonly used in Zapotec writings before the
Conquest. After eating, we placed the _mapa_ against the wall, wrote out
a description of it, and photographed it. Dismay now filled the soul of
the _agente_, and the one _principal_ whom he had summoned for advice.
They talked long and earnestly with me about the _mapa_, and begged me
to assure the _jefe_ that it was no good; that it was not _autorizado_;
that it was _mudo_. To quiet their fears, I was compelled to write a
letter to that effect to be delivered to the _jefe_; if it ever came to
hand, he certainly found it incomprehensible. Mrs. Seler, in her book,
describes the trouble that they had in seeing this _mapa_, and the
interest which their examination of it aroused. Dr. Castle told us
that, several years ago, he accompanied a Mr. Werner and a priest to
Huilotepec to see the _mapa_, and, if possible, to secure a picture of
it. For a long time they were unable to secure a glimpse of the old
document, and it was only when the priest assured the indians that the
doctor was an American engineer, who had been commissioned to survey
the line in dispute between the village and the Juaves, that they were
allowed to see it. Before permission was then given, a general meeting
of the _principales_ was held, and none of the guests were permitted to
touch the document. Mr. Werner made an exposure, which he sent to the
States for development; it was lost or destroyed. It is thus possible
that ours is the only picture of it in existence.

We had been told that a coach went regularly from San Geronimo to Tuxtla
Gutierrez, making the journey in two days. This seemed too good to be
true, and no one at Tehuantepec knew anything of such an arrangement,
but we took the train the following morning for San Geronimo, hoping to
get off without delay. All that the traveller sees upon descending from
the train is the station, the place of Señor Espindola, and the little
Hotel Europa. To our surprise, we found that our baggage had not yet
come from Coatzacoalcos, although we had seen it loaded on the train
ourselves. Still worse, we were informed that frequently fifteen days
were consumed in transportation of freight from that point hither, and
that we had no right to expect it so promptly. Inquiry regarding the
coach revealed the fact that no such vehicle existed. Six hard days of
horseback riding would be necessary for the journey, and, though
Ramon admitted himself to be much better, he was too weak for such an
undertaking. This had had its influence in determining us to go by
coach in the first place. When in doubt as to what we should do, Señor
Espindola suggested that the journey could be made by ox-cart in ten or
eleven days. Though this seemed slow, it was better than to run risks
with our invalid, and we determined to journey in that fashion as soon
as our luggage should appear.

The station is situated on a somewhat elevated plain, constantly swept
by heavy winds. While we were there, this wind was hot, and loaded with
dust. In the afternoon, we walked through the indian town, which extends
over a considerable area. The houses are rectangular, with adobe walls,
mostly whitewashed, and with steep, pitched roofs. We met a funeral
procession in the road, with the usual band in front. The coffin open,
so as to show the child, was carried on the shoulders of several men.
The mother, in contortions of real or simulated grief, was supported by
two women, and the mourners brought up the rear, wailing now and then.
Among the mourners was a woman who suffered from black _pinto_, notably
developed. The principal industry of the town is pottery. The clay,
which is of a greyish-black color, is stiff and hard, and is first
broken up with a mallet. When worked into a stiff paste, it is built
by hand into great _ollas_ and plates, one and a half or two feet in
diameter. These _ollas_ we saw at many houses, and sometimes they were
lashed to carts, plainly for bringing water from the stream. A single
_olla_ thus lashed, practically filled a fair-sized cart.

[Illustration: DRYING POTTERY; SAN GERONIMO]

[Illustration: CART AND OLLA; SAN GERONIMO]

The little hotel at the station is a new venture, and deserves complete
success. At few places in Mexico have we found meals so good and cheap.
In the evening, more from curiosity than expectation, we watched the
train come from the east, and to our surprise and satisfaction, found
our luggage. We had really made up our minds that we must spend some
days in waiting; on the whole, the quiet and comfort of the little
tavern would not have been unpleasant; but we hastened at once to Señor
Espindola, and urged him to make instant arrangements for our leaving in
the morning. To this he replied that no _carretero_ would be likely to
start on Sunday, and that we would have to wait until the following
day. Matters turned out better than anticipated, and before nine, the
following morning, our arrangements had been made. Two _carretas_ were
hired, at twenty-eight pesos each, to make the journey; our driver
agreed that, without counting that day, he could get us to Tuxtla in
eight days; in order to encourage him, we promised to pay five pesos
extra for each _carreta_, in case we reached the city of Tuxtla on
Monday the 11th. His name was Eustasio; he was a good-natured little
Zapotec, from Juchitan originally, but living now at Guviño, Union
Hidalgo. He warned us that, for the first day, we would have to put up
with some discomfort, but that, upon reaching his home, he would fit us
out magnificently. He promised to start at four that afternoon, and we
were ready; of course, he was not, nor was he at five; so we went back
to the hotel for a last good supper, and finally at 5:50 started. There
were four teams and carts in the company, loaded with freight for
Hidalgo. The night was clear, with a fine moon. The road was over heavy
sand. Sometimes we walked in the moonlight, passing Ixtaltepec at 8:30,
and reaching Espinal at ten, where we lost three-quarters of an hour in
loading freight. From there all went well, until a-quarter-of-two in
the morning, when we were passing through a country covered with scrub
timber. Here we constantly met many carts heavily loaded; the road was
narrow, and several times collisions, due to the falling asleep of one
or other of the _carreteros_, were narrowly escaped. Finally, one really
did take place, between our second cart and a heavily loaded one going
in the other direction. The axle of our cart was broken, and the vehicle
totally disabled. Two hours and a quarter were consumed in making
repairs and in reloading. Here, for the first time, we were impressed
with two characteristics in our driver: first, his ability to swear,
surpassing anything that we had ever heard; second, his astonishing
skill and ingenuity in repairing any accident or break, which happened
on the road. Before our journey was over, we learned that both these
qualities are common to his profession. It was four o'clock in the
morning before we were again upon our way. All hope of reaching Union
Hidalgo at the promised hour disappeared. Before sunrise, we had turned
into the hot, dusty, broad, straight high-road, which, after my journey
of 1896, I had devoutly hoped never to see again. Just as the sun
rose, we took quite a walk, killing some parrots, _calandrias_, and
_chacalaccas_ as we walked. They said that _javali_--peccaries,--were
common there. The day was blisteringly hot, long before we reached Union
Hidalgo; hot, hungry and sleepy, we reached our carter's home, a little
before ten in the morning. The _carreta_ in which we were travelling was
here far ahead, and after we had rested half-an-hour or more, Manuel,
hot and perspiring, appeared, and reported that the disabled cart had
broken down again, and that the other two were delayed by a sick animal.
All came straggling in later. We had planned to leave here toward
evening, travelling all Monday night; but hardly had we rested a little,
and eaten dinner, when Eustasio announced that we should spend the night
here, and not leave until the following afternoon. He said the animals
were hot and tired from travelling in the daytime, and that to push on
would defeat our plans. He swore that, unless God decreed otherwise, we
should reach Tuxtla Gutierrez by the promised date. There was nothing
for it but submission, though we would gladly have chosen a more
interesting town than Union Hidalgo for a stay of almost two days. When
evening came, I took my bed of poles out into the open air, into the
space between two houses; Ramon lay down upon a loaded _carreta_, also
out of doors, while Louis and Manuel took possession of hammocks in one
of the houses. It was a cloudless night, with brilliant moon. The air
soon grew cool. After midnight, I was aroused by the most frightful
yelling, and opening my eyes, I saw a barefooted, bareheaded Indian
yelling out the most frightful imprecations and oaths. At first I
thought that he was insulting some one in the house, but both the houses
were fast closed. Ramon, completely wrapped in his blanket, could
attract no notice, and I did not believe that I had been observed, nor
that I was addressed. For quite ten minutes the crazy drunkard stood
there in the moonlight, bawling out a frightful torrent of abuse,
invective, and profanity, with an occasional "_Viva Mexico! Muere
Guatemala_!" patriotically thrown in.

[Illustration: THE DRUNKARD'S EXCHANGE; UNION HIDALGO]

[Illustration: BEFORE REACHING UNION HIDALGO]

At last he disappeared, but for a long time could be heard howling,
as he went from house to house. Believing that it might be well to be
prepared for intruders, I arose and pulled a stake from one of the
carts, and laid it at my side, upon the bed. But I was soon fast asleep
again. Awaking at five, I found myself so cold, and the dew so heavy,
that I dressed, and wrapped my blanket around me, and sat up, waiting
for daylight. At 5:30 our drunken friend passed again, somewhat less
voluble, but still vociferous. He was absolutely crazed with drink, and
through the day several times made his appearance, and always with a
torrent of abuse and profanity which made one's blood run cold. Before
the day was well begun, a second person, almost as drunk, but far more
quiet, a nice-looking old man, began making similar visits about the
village. The two drunkards, differing in age and build, differed also in
dress, but on the occasion of one of their visits, they were taken with
the crazy notion of exchanging clothes, and proceeded to undress, making
the exchange, and re-clothing themselves in garments ridiculously
non-fitting--all with the utmost gravity and unsteadiness. During
the day, our _carretas_ were being prepared. Apologizing for the
inconvenience of the preceding day, Eustasio proposed to fix our cart
"as fine as a church." He put a decent cover over it, and laid our sacks
of plaster on the floor. Upon this, he spread a layer of corn-stalks,
and over them, a new and clean _petate_. To be sure, the space left
above was low for comfort, and we were horrified when we saw him loading
up the second one, not only with the balance of our luggage, but high
with maize, fodder, and great nets of ears of corn, to feed the animals.
We had supposed that two persons and part of the luggage would go in
each of the carts, and never thought of carrying food enough to last
four oxen eight days. Crowding four people into our _carreta_ made it
impossible to lie down in comfort. Still, such is the custom of the
country, and we submitted. During the day we heard a woman crying in
a house. Upon investigating, we found that she was the wife of a
_carretero_ who had been injured on the road, and for whom a _carreta_
had been sent. Shortly afterward, they brought the poor fellow into
town, amid weeping and lamenting. When they took him from the _carreta_
in which he had been brought, he was supported by two men and helped
into the house, where he was laid upon a hammock. He groaned with pain,
and a crowd of curious villagers pressed into the room.

It was easy to locate four broken ribs behind, and he complained of
great internal bleeding. It seemed that he had started to climb up onto
his moving cart in the usual way, and the stake which he had seized
broke, letting him fall to the ground under the wheel of the
heavily-loaded cart, which passed over his body.

Finally, all was ready, and at about five in the evening we started.
Packed like sardines in a box, we were most uncomfortable. Personally, I
did not try to sleep, neither lying down, nor closing my eyes. Shortly
after leaving town, we crossed a running stream, and from the other side
went over a piece of corduroy, upon which we jounced and jolted. Soon
after, we descended into a little gully, from which our team had
difficulty in drawing us. The baggage-cart had a more serious time; the
team made several attempts to drag it up the slope, but failed, even
though our whole company, by pushing and bracing, encouraging and
howling, aided. There was a real element of danger in such help, the
slipping animals and the back-sliding cart constantly threatening to
fall upon the pushers. Finally, the cart was propped upon the slope, and
its own team removed; our team, which was heavier and stronger, was then
hitched on, but it was only with a hard tug, and with heavy pushing,
that success was gained, and the cart reached the summit of the slope.
We crossed a fine marsh of salt water, quite like the lagoon at San
Mateo del Mar, and were told that we were not far from the Juave town
of San Dionisio. From here, the country, was, for a distance, an open
plain. With the moonlight, the night was almost as bright as day; cold
winds swept sheets of sand and dust over us. At one o'clock, we happened
upon a cluster of six or eight carts, drawn up for rest, and the company
of travellers were warming themselves at little fires, or cooking a late
supper. We learned that this gypsy-like group was a _compania comica_,
a comic theatre troupe, who had been playing at Tuxtla, and were now on
their way to Juchitan. We never before realized that such travelling of
ox-carts as we were now experiencing was a regular matter, and that the
carter's trade is a real business. At two o'clock, we stopped to repack
our loads, but were shortly on the way again. After the sun rose, we
were in misery; the road was deep with dust, and we were grimy, hot, and
choking. When the cross that marks the beginning of the land belonging
to Ixhuatlan was pointed out, we were delighted, but it was still a long
ride before we crossed the little stream and rode into the village.

Ixhuatlan is like all the Zapotec towns of this district, but less
clean, on account of its lying in the midst of dust, instead of sand.
Our carts drew up in a little grove, a regular resting-place for carting
companies, where more than fifteen were already taking their daytime
rest. Having ordered breakfast, we hastened to the stream, where all
enjoyed a bath and cleansing. Coffee, bread, _tortillas_, eggs, and
brandied peaches, made a good impression, and we ordered our buxom young
Zapotec cook, who was a hustler, to have an equally good dinner ready at
2:30. We set this hour, believing that she would be late, but she was
more than prompt, and called us at two to a chicken dinner. It was
interesting to watch the _carreteros_ in the grove. The scenes of
starting and arriving, packing and unpacking, chaffing and quarreling,
were all interesting. In the lagoons of Vera Cruz, our boatmen applied
the term _jornada_ to a straight stretch across a lagoon made at one
poling; here among the _carreteros_, the word _jornada_ means the run
made from resting-place to resting-place. In neither case is strict
attention paid to the original meaning of the word, a day's journey.
Ixhuatlan is a made town; a paternal government, disturbed over the no
progress of the pure Juaves in their seaside towns, set aside the ground
on which this town now rests, and moved a village of Juaves to the
spot. High hopes were expressed for the success of the experiment; now,
however, the town is not a Juave town. It is true, that a few families
of that people still remain, but for the most part, the Juaves have
drifted back to the shore, and resumed their fishing, shrimp-catching
and salt-making, while the expansive Zapotecs have crowded in, and
practically make up the population of the place. Between dinner and
our starting, we wandered about the village, dropping into the various
houses in search of relics. As elsewhere, we were impressed with the
independent bearing and freeness of the Zapotec woman. She talks with
everyone, on any subject, shrewdly. She loves to chaff, and is willing
to take sarcasm, as freely as she gives it. In one house we had a
specially interesting time, being shown a lot of things. The woman had
some broken pottery figures of ancient times, but also produced some
interesting crude affairs of modern make from Juchitan. These were
figures of men and women--the latter generally carrying babies in indian
fashion--of horses and other animals. As works of art, they make no
pretension, but they are stained with native colors, and are used as
gifts at New Year's by the common people. Here we saw the making of
baked _tortillas_, and sampled some hot from the oven. Such _tortillas_
are called _tortillas del horno_--oven _tortillas_. Flat _tortillas_,
about the size of a fruit-plate, are fashioned in the usual way; a great
_olla_ is sunk in the ground until its mouth is level with the surface.
This is kept covered by a _comal_, or a smaller _olla_, and a good hot
fire of coals is kept burning within. When the _tortillas_ have been
shaped, they are stuck on the hot _olla_, being pressed against the
sides, to which they adhere, and are left to bake. In baking, the edges
curl up so that the cake, instead of being flat, is saucer-shaped. They
are crisp and good. Leaving at four, we continued on the hot, deep,
dusty road, but saw interesting plants and animals along the way.
There were fine displays of the parasitic fig, from examples where the
parasite was just beginning to embrace its victim, through cases where
it had surrounded the tree with a fine network of its own material, to
those where the original tree-trunk was entirely imbedded in the great
continuous gray investing trunk of the parasite, now larger than its
host. Some trees bore bunches of pale-purple flowers of tubular form,
which fell easily from the calyx, and dotted the ground along the
roadside. Other trees appeared as if covered with veils of little
purplish-red flowers hung over them. Others were a mass of golden bloom,
the flowers being about the size of cherry blossoms. A few trees, yet
leafless, showed large, brilliant white flowers at the tips of rather
slender branches. At Ixhuatlan, we saw the first monkey's comb of the
trip. This orange-yellow flower, growing in clusters so curiously shaped
as to suggest the name, is among the most characteristic, from this
point on through Chiapas into Guatemala. There were but few birds, but
among them were macaws and toucans. Eustasio said that in the season,
when certain berry-bearing trees are in full fruit, the latter may be
seen by hundreds.

When night had really fallen, I unwisely sat in front with the driver,
to prevent his sleeping, and to keep the animals moving. Both drivers
had a way of dozing off, utterly regardless of the movements of the
animals or the dangers of the road. Carts going in opposite directions
must often depend absolutely upon the oxen for their chance of escaping
collisions or being thrown over precipices. Frequently the animals
themselves stop, and the whole company is at a standstill until the
driver wakes up. In this _jornada_, we had planned to reach La Frontera,
the border of the state of Chiapas, at which place we had been promised
we should arrive at 8:30 in the morning. Everything had gone well, and
we were just about to reach the place, where it was planned to repack
for the last time; it was just daylight, and Eustasio was congratulating
us upon our prompt arrival; we drove to the brink of a dry stream, on
the other side of which was our resting-place; just at that instant,
we heard the other driver cry out; we stopped, and found that the
baggage-cart was overturned. This dashed all hopes. There was
unhitching, unloading, the making of a new axle, and reloading. It was
plain that we could not reach La Frontera. While the men were putting
things to rights, we strolled up the dry stream-bed to a shanty, where
Eustasio told us we could breakfast. There was a well there, with fresh
water, and the shanty, for the refreshment of travellers, consisted of
nothing but a little shelter of poles. Here, however, we found baked
_tortillas, atole_, and hard meat; the breakfast for four persons, cost
twenty-five centavos, equal to ten cents American money. Through the
day, birds were hunted and skinned, reading and writing carried on,
until at half-past-three in the afternoon we were again ready for
movement. The road was now sandy, and not dusty, the sand being produced
by the decomposition of crystalline rocks. Mounting to a high _llano_,
we shot a pair of curious birds, which looked like water-birds, but were
living in a dry place and were able to run with great speed. They were
of the size of a hen, and had a long beak, long legs and four flat
though not webbed toes. At the end of this high _llano_, we passed the
Hacienda of Agua Blanca, a property belonging to the _jefe_ of Juchitan.
From here, we descended rapidly over a poor road, coming out at nine
onto the straight road from Tapanatepec, at this point four leagues
behind us. From here on, the whole road was familiar to me. La Frontera
was just ahead, and, arriving there at 10 o'clock, we spent an hour.
Before us rose a massive mountain, the ascent of which seemed appalling.
We could see a white line of road zigzagging up its side, and well
remembered Governor Leon's pride in having constructed a cart-road
against great natural difficulties. Thirty or forty ox-teams had
gathered here, either ready to make the ascent, or resting, after having
come down the mountain. Having gotten breath and courage, we started at
about eleven. The road had suffered during the five years since I last
passed over it, but was still an excellent work of engineering. As we
mounted, zigzagging constantly, the magnificent view over the valley
widened; each new turn increased its beauty. My companions were asleep,
and had had so little rest recently, that I hated to disturb them for
the view. When, however, we were two-thirds up the slope, they awakened,
and were as delighted as myself. We all got out, and walked for a
considerable distance. An astonishing number of little streams and pools
of fresh water burst forth from the rocks, and cut across the road or
flowed along its sides. Finally, we reached the summit, and began the
descent. This had made no impression on me when I went over it on
horseback, but travelling in an ox-cart was a different matter, and I
shall never again forget it. It was less abrupt than the ascent--less of
vertical zigzag, and more of long steady windings. It also was excavated
in the solid rock. It was badly neglected, and the cart jolted, and
threatened every instant to upset us, or leap into the gulf. Coming
out into a more level district, we passed Paraje and Dolores, reaching
Carizal at five, where we stopped for the day. This is a regular resting
place for _carreteros_, and there were plenty of carts there for the
day.

As soon as the oxen were unyoked, I turned out my companions and lay
down in the cart, trying to get an hour's sleep before the sun should
rise, as I had not closed my eyes since leaving Union Hidalgo two days
before. I was asleep at once, but in less than an hour was awakened
by the assaults of swarms of minute black-flies, whose stings were
dreadful. The rest of the company suffered in the same way, so we all
got up and went to work. A group of _carreteros_ breakfasting, invited
me to eat with them--hard _tortillas, atole_ and salted meat, formed a
much better breakfast than we got, a little later, at the house upon the
hill where travellers eat their meals. At this house they had a little
parrot which was very tame, and also a _chacalacca_, which had been
hatched by a domestic hen from a captured egg. This bird is more slender
and graceful than a hen, but our landlord informed us that its eggs are
much larger than those of the common fowl, and much used for food. Both
this bird and the little parrot regularly fly off with flocks of their
wild fellows, but always come back afterward to the house. This was a
most interesting example of an intermediate stage between true wildness
and domestication. There was little doing throughout the day. Heat,
black-flies, and sunlight all made it impossible to sleep; but we took a
bath in the running brook, and skinned some birds, and tasted _posole_
for the first time. _Posole_ is a mixture of pounded or ground corn and
sugar, of a yellow or brownish color, much like grape-nuts. It may be
eaten dry, but is much more commonly mixed with water. The indian dips
up a _jícara_ full of clear spring water, and then, taking a handful of
_posole_ from his pouch, kneads it up until a rather thick, light-yellow
liquid results, which is drunk, and is refreshing and satisfying.

Almost all the _carreteros_ at this camp were Juchitecos. They were
great, strong fellows, and almost all of them wore the old-fashioned
indian breech-clout of red cotton under their drawers or trousers.
When they were working at their carts, greasing the wheels, or making
repairs, they were apt to lay by all their clothing but this simple
piece of cloth, and their dark-brown bodies, finely muscled, hard and
tough, presented handsome pictures. The little fellows who accompanied
them, up to the age of twelve, usually ran about with no article of
clothing save their little breech-clouts and white cotton shirts. In the
early afternoon, serious work began, and everywhere we saw these men
patching coverings, greasing wheels, readjusting cargoes, feeding and
watering their animals, harnessing, and making other preparations for
leaving. During the idle portion of the day, dice were in evidence,
and Eustasio was fascinated with the game. The stakes, of course, were
small, but he kept at it persistently until he had lost five pesos,
when, with forcible words, he gave up. I am sure the dice were loaded,
but I am equally sure, from all I know of Eustasio, that the next time
he makes that journey, he will have some loaded dice himself. Setting
out at 3:30, we were at the head of a long line of cars, and were soon
making another steady zigzag to ever greater heights than those before
climbed. According to the official _itinerario_, the distance from
Dolores to San Miguel is five leagues; we had left Dolores a league
behind in arriving at Carizal, and we naturally assumed that four
leagues would bring us to San Miguel. Eustasio, however, who never
under-estimated, claimed that it would take constant travelling until
eight in the morning to reach Los Pinos, which is still this side of San
Miguel. This is a fair example of the inaccuracy of figures published by
the government. As I looked behind at the long line of carts, some of
which were empty, and able to journey at good speed, the desire took
possession of me to hire one, at least for a short distance, in the hope
of getting a little sleep. Looking over the line, to make my choice, I
had just selected one, and was about to broach my plan, when its driver
ran the vehicle into the branches of a tree, which projected over
the road, and tore away his awning. The idea was unaffected by this
accident, however, and picking out a cart, which had a thick layer of
corn-husks piled in it, promising a comfortable bed, I arranged my
bargain with the owner, and deserted my party, betaking myself to my
private car. Having no load, we pushed ahead and, stretching myself at
full length upon the heap of corn-husks, I was soon asleep. It was my
purpose to disembark at Los Pinos, but we had passed that place long
before I awoke, and were in sight of San Miguel when I opened my
eyes. It was too early for breakfast, so I concluded to ride along to
Macuilapa, where my carter turned off into another road. It was just
eight when we arrived, and I thought of my companions as probably just
reaching Los Pinos. Starting from there at three in the afternoon, they
should overtake me at seven. So I took possession of the great country
house, sitting in the corridor all day long. The house is a long, large,
single-storied building, with heavy tiled-roof; the store-houses, sheds
and other out-houses, with the adobe huts belonging to the workmen,
surround a somewhat regular area. The view, however, in front of the
house is uninterrupted, and looks off into a narrow valley, bounded
prettily by hills. The house has a wide brick-paved corridor. Near
it was an interesting ancient stone carving. The rock was coarsely
crystalline, and gray, or olive-gray in color. It had been battered into
the bold, simple outline of a frog, crouched for leaping; the head had
an almost human face, with a single central tooth projecting from the
lower jaw. The work was in low relief, and looked as if the ancient
workman had taken a natural boulder, and beaten with his hammer-stone
only sufficiently to bring out the details. The stone measured perhaps
four feet in length, three feet in breadth, and two feet in thickness.
It was found in the mountains near, and, from the marks upon it, seems
to have been embedded in the soil half way up the legs. Probably, when
first made, it was placed so that the feet were even with the ground
surface, but the accumulation of vegetable soil since has been
considerable. The Hacienda of Macuilapa manufactures sugar and raises
indigo, quantities of the seed of which were being cleaned when I was
there. The owner of the place is a man of means, but the meals served
were of a mean and frugal kind. Everyone made dire prophecies about the
time of possible arrival of my companions, and the period necessary
for our further journey to Tuxtla Gutierrez. I had not expected my
companions before seven, and after these dismal forebodings, gave up
that expectation. To my surprise, they appeared, in good health and
spirits, at five o'clock, though with exciting tales of peril and
suffering. After a meal together, we again mounted in the old fashion,
and were on our way. The air was fresh and cool, and at 9:30 the moon
rose, giving perfect light. The road was high and sandy, with occasional
small ascents and descents. At eleven we stopped to rest, I agreeing
to wake them all at midnight; at one o'clock I was awakened by our
_carretero_ raising the tongue of the wagon! We passed La Razon at
three. As one of the oxen, which had been somewhat lame, was now in bad
condition, we all dismounted, half-a-league before we reached Zapote,
and walked the rest of the way. The Hacienda of Zapote is really almost
a town. There are two _fincas_, belonging to two brothers. Their fine
large houses, the out-buildings, and the clusters of adobe huts for the
workmen, make an imposing appearance. We stopped at the first group of
buildings, which stands a little lower than the other. Arriving at six,
we spent the whole day at this place; the meals at the great house were
excellent and cheap. In the afternoon we heard marimba-playing; the
instrument was called _la golondrina_ and cost the owner forty-three
pesos.

[Illustration: A DAY REST; THE CARIZAL]

[Illustration: MARIMBA-PLAYING; HACIENDA DE ZAPOTE]

The players were carefully trained, being four brothers. The youngest of
them was not more than fourteen years old, but he put much expression
and spirit into his playing. It was the first time that any of the
party, but myself, had heard this instrument, and all were delighted
at its brilliant, quick, and pleasing music. We left at 3:45 in the
afternoon, but our ailing animal was worse than ever, and Eustasio ran
ahead, trying to secure others at different ranches. He had had no
success when, after a rough ride of several hours, we drew up at
Jiquipilas, where we waited until the morning. We planned to secure new
animals, to leave at dawn, and to reach Tuxtla after a twenty-four hour
ride. We laid down and slept, waking at five, but finding no sign of
animals. We breakfasted at seven, and a little later the new oxen
appeared. There were two yokes of rather light animals. Leaving our sick
beast, and driving the other three along with us, the new animals were
put to the loads, and at eight o'clock we started. I failed to recognize
Rancho Disengaño, but having passed it, we found ourselves at the bottom
of the much-dreaded, last important climb of the journey. The little
team dragging the passenger cart was inefficient and unruly; tiring
of them, I dismounted and went ahead on foot. For a time I drove the
unyoked cattle, but a stubborn one wandering into the brush, I gave up
the job, and left poor Louis, who had just overtaken me, to chase him.
He had hard work, through tangled brush, here and there, up and down,
until at last the animal was once more upon the road. The boy was hot,
tired, and loaded with _pinolillos_. These insects had been in evidence
for a long time back. They are exceedingly small ticks, which fix their
claws firmly in the flesh, and cause intolerable itching. Keeping in the
road, the traveller is little likely to be troubled by them; but walking
through grass, or among leafy plants, is dangerous. Having climbed a
portion of our great ascent, we found ourselves at Agua Bendita. It was
not as beautiful as on the occasion of my other visit; the projecting
ledge of rock had little water dripping, and in the round catch-basins,
which formerly were filled with fresh, clear water, there was scarcely
any; on account of the unusual dryness, the ferns were wilted, and there
was little of that beauty and freshness which so delighted me before.
Eustasio said that he had never seen the spot so dry in all his many
journeys. Nor were there orchids blooming on the great tree near; nor
any of the little toucans which had been so attractive in 1896. As we
stood, seeking for these well-remembered things, we heard curious cries
rising from the valley. At first, I thought it was indians wailing for
the dead; then, that it was a band of pilgrims singing. But it turned
out to be a company of cowboys, bringing cattle up for shipment to
Tabasco. Some rode ahead, and, with loud but not unmusical cries,
invited and urged the animals and their drivers to follow. The beasts
were divided into three bands, thirty or forty in a band, each of which
had its mounted drivers. The animals were lively, and we were warned
that they were _muy bravo_. Manuel had taken the task of driving our
loose cattle, and was fearful that he would be overtaken, asserting that
the cowboys had said that he must keep on, as they could not pass him
with their animals. When he came up to where we were, we put a quick
end to his folly, driving our three oxen to the outer edge of the road,
where Louis and he stood guard over them, while I crept up on the cliff
to avoid scaring the animals that were coming. It took much driving,
urging, and coaxing on the part of the cowboys to get the first two or
three to pass us, but after they had led the way, the others followed
with a rush.

[Illustration: AGUA BENDITA]

[Illustration: MOVING THE GREAT STONE; AGUA BENDITA]

Presently our passenger-cart came along, with both teams of oxen hitched
to it; the new animals had proved too light to drag their proper loads,
so the freight-cart had been left behind, and the full force employed in
dragging the first cart up the hill. Just beyond this spot, we found a
gang of indians, under a superintendent, prying off an immense rock mass
that had fallen from the cliff above onto the road, with the intention
of dumping it over the wall into the abyss. It would have been a sight
to have seen it plunge, but we had no time to wait, so simply stopped
a few minutes to see the method of moving the immense mass with pole
pries. Our cart had gone ahead, so we finished the ascent on foot, and
having gained the summit, walked a short distance on the high plateau to
Petapa, where the cart and _carretero_, Manuel and Ramon, were waiting.
Before we arrived, we met our men going back with the four oxen for
the freight-cart. We had supper at the ranch, and waited, until at six
o'clock everything was ready. Here we sent back the two yokes of animals
which we had brought from Jiquipilas, and secured a fine, strong beast
to make up our number, and started. We did not stop to grease the
wheels, for lack of time. It was dark, and the first part of the journey
was uncertain and difficult; coming out on to the Llano Grande, we found
things easy, though here and there were stony places, where we jolted
fearfully. At 10:30, we had passed La Cienega, and our ungreased wheels
were not only an annoyance, but, Eustasio suggested, a source of danger,
as they might take fire. So, at 11:30, we stopped to grease them. As the
axles and wheels were then too hot for grease to be safely applied, we
lay down while they should cool. Probably in less than five minutes, we
were all asleep, and no one moved until, waking with a start and looking
at my watch, I found it two in the morning. We hastily applied grease,
without removing the wheels, and hurried onward, passing Sabino Perez,
Yerba Santa, and Sabinal. Here, the errors in our _itinerario_, and in
our driver's guessing at distances, were curiously emphasized. We had a
rather heavy descent, for some distance, over a limestone hill called
Santo Domingo. Nowhere do I know of any road which, under the best
of circumstances, seems as long as the last stretch before Tuxtla
Gutierrez. This we had noticed on our earlier journey, when we were
mounted on horseback. Present conditions were not likely to diminish the
impression. At last, at 11:30 in the morning of March 12, we reached the
capital city of the State of Chiapas, and were taken by our _carretero_
to the little old Hotel Mexico, kept by Paco, where we met a hearty
welcome and, for several days, made up for the hardships of our journey
in the way of eating.



CHAPTER XXIV

AT TUXTLA GUTIERREZ

(1901)


We knew that Governor Pimentel was not at home, having met him in
Coalzacoalcos, where we had presented our official letters, and had
received from him a communication to his Lieutenant-Governor, Lopez.
Having spent the afternoon in settling and cleaning, I called in the
evening upon Governor Lopez and explained my needs. After chatting a
little time together, he inquired whether I had not made the steamboat
journey from Coalzacoalcos to Vera Cruz in March, 1896, and, upon my
answering in the affirmative, told me that we had been fellow-travellers
on that occasion. He promised that there should be no delay, and made
an appointment with me for the morning. I then called on Don Conrado
Palacios, who lived directly opposite our little tavern, and who claimed
that he recognized me the moment I dismounted from our cart this
morning. He is still photographer, but for three years of the time since
last we met has been living in the State of Vera Cruz, and but lately
returned to Tuxtla. In the morning, Governor Lopez supplied the letters
for my further journey, and summoned the _jefe politico_ and the
_presidente_ of the city and gave them personal orders that they were to
assist, in every way, my work at Tuxtla, among the Zoques. The _jefe_
himself took charge of my arrangements, put his office at my disposition
for a workshop, and the work began at once. Contrary to my usual
experience, we had less difficulty in securing female subjects here
than male. The male indians of Tuxtla are, in large part, employed in
contract labor on _fincas_ at a distance from the town. According to
their contract, they are not subject to the order of local authorities,
and may not be summoned without permission of their employers, or a
pecuniary settlement with them. The first day, more than half the women
were measured, and the second day, the rest. As is well known the women
of Tehuantepec are famous for their beauty. It is not so well known that
rivalry exists between them and the women of Tuxtla in this matter. This
rivalry had been called to our attention on our preceding visit, and we
found that it had in no wise abated. Personally, we saw no comparison
between the two sets of women, the Tehuantepecanas being far superior.
Eustasio, however, ungallantly and unpatriotically declared that he
thought the women of Tuxtla the handsomer; however, we suspect that
Eustasio would find the women of any town he might be in, the champions
in beauty for the time being. Their dress is picturesque. The _enagua_
is made of two strips of dark blue cloth, sewed together, side by side,
with a fancy stitching of colored silks. The free borders are also
decorated with similar stitching, and the ends of the strip, which is
usually more than two yards in length, sewn together with similarly
decorative needlework. In fastening this garment about the body, no belt
is used. The open bag is gathered in about the waist, the surplus is
folded into pleats in front and the overlap, at the upper edge, is so
tucked in as to hold the garment tightly in place, and at the same time
form a pouch, or pocket, in which small articles are carried. The little
_huipíl_, worn upon the upper body, is of thin, white cotton cloth,
native-woven, but a neat and pretty stuff; there are no sleeves, and the
neck-opening and arm-slits are bordered with pleated strips of cotton,
worked with black embroidery. A larger _huipíl_ is regularly carried,
but we never saw it in use; practically, it never is worn. If put in
place, it would form a garment for the body, with the neck-opening and
sleeves bordered with lace, and the lower edge reaching to the knees.
The woman carries this garment with her, folding it into a sort of pad,
which she places on her head, letting it hang down upon the back and
shoulders. Upon this cushion, the woman carries a great bowl, made from
the rind of a sort of squash or pumpkin, in which she brings her stuff
to market. These vessels are a specialty of the neighborhood, being made
at Chiapa; they are richly decorated with a lacquer finish, of bright
color. In carrying a baby, the child is placed against one side of the
body, with its little legs astride, one in front and one behind, and
then lashed in place by a strip of cloth, which is knotted over the
woman's opposite shoulder. Almost every Zoque woman is asymmetrical,
from this mode of carrying babies, one shoulder being much higher than
the other. Among the subjects measured, was a woman notable in several
ways. She was the fattest indian woman we had ever seen; she was the
richest of her kind, and not only were her garments beautiful in work
and decoration, but she was gorgeous with necklaces, bristling with gold
coins and crosses; more than this, she was a capital case of purple
_pinta_. The disease is common among the indians of the town, and, while
both the red and white forms are found, purple seems to be the common
type. Sometimes the face looks as if powder-burned, the purple blotch
appearing as if in scattered specks; at other times, the purple spots
are continuous, and the skin seems raised and pitted.

[Illustration: ZOQUE MODE OF CARRYING BABIES; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

[Illustration: FAT, RICH, AND PIXTA; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

It appears that the adjusting of family quarrels and disputes between
friends are among the duties of the _jefe_. In the office that day, a
quarrel was settled involving two young men related by blood and by
comradeship; a woman and a man of middle age were also interested;
the quarrel had been a serious one, involving assaults, ambushes, and
shootings. The _jefe_ first summoned each of the four persons singly,
going over the whole matter with each one; the more intelligent of the
two combatants was first to be reasoned with; then the woman was called
in and he and she were left together in the office. For a long time,
they would not even speak to each other. Finding this condition, the
_jefe_ reasoned with them, and warned them that they must come to some
conclusion, after which he left them to themselves again. At first
they would not speak, but finally held a conversation, and came to an
understanding; the old man was then called in and made to talk the
matter over with the two, who had already been in conference. Lastly,
the more belligerent youth was summoned, the _jefe_ remaining in the
room with the whole party. At first he would not speak, but finally his
pride and anger gave way, and he shook hands with his cousin, and the
whole party left, after promising the _jefe_ that the past should be
forgotten.

The first afternoon that we were working, a curious couple came to the
_jefe's_ office. The woman was not unattractive, though rather bold
and hard in bearing. She was dark, pretentiously made-up, and rather
elegantly dressed. The gentleman was a quiet, handsome fellow, dressed
in sober black. When they sailed in, I supposed they were the _jefe's_
personal friends. Sitting down, they showed interest in my work, and the
lady in a rather strident voice, but with much composure, addressed
us in English. Her knowledge of our language, however, proved to be
extremely limited, being confined to such expressions as "How are you,
sir?" "I am very well," "Yes, sir," "No, sir," and "I know New York."
She was a mystery to the town, where she was commonly called "the
Turkish lady."

[Illustration: ZOQUE WOMEN; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

[Illustration: THE INDIAN ALCALDES; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

This nickname, her limited knowledge of English, and her boasted
acquaintance with New York, aroused the question, in my mind, whether
she might not have been an oriental dancer. She, herself, told us that
she was born in South America, and referred to Caracas, as if it were a
place with which she was familiar. The _jefe_ was extremely polite in
his dealings with these people, and, as soon as they were seated, rang
his bell for glasses, and we all drank the lady's health in cognac. The
fact was, that these two persons were prisoners; they had come here
within a few days, and had the city for a prison; as they had made no
effort to leave the town, their movements were not interfered with, but
if they had attempted to step outside the city limits, they would have
been shot without a word of warning. The _jefe_ himself did not know who
they were, nor what crime they had committed; nor did he know how long
they would remain in his custody; they had come a weary journey, as he
put it, "along the Cordillera;" they had been passed from hand to hand,
from one _jefe_ to another; when the order came, he was to start them on
their journey to the _jefe_ of the next district. Of the many stories
told regarding them, a few will serve as samples. She was said to be the
wife of a wealthy merchant of Campeche, from whom she had eloped with
her companion, carrying away $150,000. According to another view, they
were connected with an important band of forgers and robbers, who had
been carrying on extensive operations. The most minutely detailed story,
however, was that she had been the mistress and favorite of Francisco
Canton, Governor of the State of Yucatan; that, pleased with a younger
and handsomer man, she had stolen $7,000 from His Excellency, and
attempted an elopement; that, captured, they were being sent as
prisoners, nominally to Mexico. Whether any of these stories had a basis
of fact, we cannot say, but from remarks the prisoners themselves made
to us, we feel sure that the centre of their trouble was Mérida, and
that, in some way, they had offended the pompous governor. At all
events, it is likely that, long before these words are written, both
have met their death upon the road. It is a common thing for prisoners,
passing along the Cordillera, to be shot "while attempting to escape
from their guard."

The _jefe politico_ of this district is a man of education, and
professional ability; he is a physician, trained in the City of Mexico;
he is ingenious in mechanics, and has devised a number of instruments
and inventions of a scientific kind. He had been but a short time in
this district, having come from Tonala, where he has a _finca_. He
entertained us at his house, while we were there, and showed us every
assistance. It is plain, however, that he found us a white elephant upon
his hands. Not that his willingness was lacking, but where should
he find one hundred indian men? We pestered him almost to death for
subjects, when at last his _secretario_ suggested the district jail.
This was a veritable inspiration. There they were sure we would have no
difficulty in finding the remainder of our hundred. To the jail we went,
but out of seventy-five prisoners fully half were Tzotzils from Chamula
and not Zoques. More than half of the remainder were not indian, but
_mestizos_. In fact, out of the total number, only a baker's dozen
served our purpose. When we again presented ourselves, the following
morning, for subjects, the poor man was in genuine desperation. But
again his assistant made a shrewd suggestion. Yesterday we were at the
jail; to-day we should go to the _cuartel_, and measure the soldiers.
There were two hundred there, and this would more than see us through.
The _jefe_ himself accompanied us to the barracks and introduced us to
the colonel, leaving orders that we should be supplied with every aid,
and went off happy, in the sense of a bad job well done. But out of the
two hundred soldiers in the barracks, just ten turned out to be Zoques
of pure blood. And long before the day was over, we were again clamoring
at the _jefe's_ house for thirty-six more subjects. To tell the truth,
we doubted his ability to secure them, and, in order to lose no time,
started our goods and plaster by _carreta_ for San Cristobal. Still,
while it was plain that he did not know where to look for help, the good
man assured us that we should have our thirty-six subjects the next
morning. Meantime, he sent officials with us to visit certain indian
houses which we desired to examine, and arranged that we should see a
certain characteristic indian dance at his house, at four o'clock that
afternoon.

Tuxtla Gutierrez is a capital city. It is also a busy commercial centre.
Of course, the population is for the most part _mestizo_, and not
indian. We had been surprised at finding so many indians in the city as
there were. We were yet more surprised to find to what extent the
houses of the city, though admirably built, were truly indian in style,
presenting many points of interest. The walls of the "god-house" were
heavy and substantial, smoothly daubed with mud, neatly plastered and
often adorned with colored decorations. The "cook-house," slighter and
less well-built, was made of poles daubed with mud, and rough with heavy
thatching. The granary was elevated above the ground, and sheltered with
its own neat thatching.

In the afternoon, at four o'clock, we betook ourselves to the _jefe's_
house to see the dance. At Tuxtla, there are two town governments,
that of the _mestizos_ and that of the indians. The indian
officials--"_alcaldes indios_"--are recognizable by their dress, which
is a survival of the ancient indian dress of the district. Their
_camisa_, broad hat, and leather breeches, are characteristic. Around
the head, under the hat, they wear a red cloth, and those who have
served as indian _alcaldes_ continue to wear this head-cloth after their
official service ends. These indian officials had been commissioned to
bring together the dancers, and make all necessary arrangements. The
colonel, the prisoners of state, and one or two other guests were
present. The leader of the dance was gaily dressed, in a pair of wide
drawers with lace about the legs below the knee, a pair of overdrawers
made of bright-colored handkerchiefs, and a helmet or cap of bright-red
stuff from which rose a crest of macaw feathers, tipped with tufts of
cotton. On his back, he bore a kind of pouch, the upper edge of which
was bordered with a line of macaw feathers. In his hand, he carried a
wooden war-axe. A pretty little girl, dressed in a Guatemaltec _enagua_,
wore a fancy head-dress, and, in her hand, bore a _jícara_, which was
filled with pink carnival flowers. These two dancers faced each other
and in dancing moved slowly back and forth, and from one foot to the
other; the only other dancers were two men, one of whom was dressed as,
and took the part of a woman. This couple danced in much the same way,
but with greater freedom than the chief persons, and at times circled
around them. The music consisted of a violin and native _pito_ or pipe,
and a drum of the _huehuetl_ type,--cut from a single cylindrical block,
but with skin stretched over both ends instead of one.

I was surprised the following morning when thirty-six subjects were
produced; we knew that, for the moment, the building operations of the
government palace were discontinued, and we suspected that all the work
done by indians in Tuxtla was likewise temporarily ceased. When the last
one had passed under the instruments, the _jefe_ heaved a sigh, rang his
bell for glasses, and the event was celebrated by a final draught of
cognac.

[Illustration: ZOQUE DANCERS; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

[Illustration: TZENDALS FROM TENEJAPA; COLD HANDS]

The man with whom we had expected to arrange for animals had promised to
come to the hotel at seven. He came not then, nor at half-past, nor at
eight, nor at nine. When we sent an inquiry, he made the cool reply,
that it was now too late to arrange matters; that he would see us at
eight the following morning. Furious at his failure, we ourselves went
with the boy from the hotel at ten o'clock to his house, but could not
get him even to open the door. "To-morrow! To-morrow!" was his cry.
Desperate, we went, although it was now almost midnight, to another
_arriero_, who, after some dickering, agreed to leave at eight the
following morning, charging a price something more than fifty per cent
above the usual rate. Of course he was behindhand, but we actually set
out at nine.



CHAPTER XXV

TZOTZILS AND TZENDALS

(1901)


We started out over the hot and dusty road, passing here and there
through cuts of the white earth, which is used by the women of Chiapa in
their lacquer-work. We soon reached the river, and, leaving our animals
behind, to cool before swimming them across, embarked with a dozen other
passengers, and all our baggage, in one of the great canoes, which we
by no means filled. Landing on the other side, with an hour to wait, we
walked down stream, and took a fine bath in the fresh cold, clear, deep
water. Just below where we were bathing, some indians had exploded a
dynamite cartridge, killing a quantity of fish, and the surface was
immediately spotted with their white, upturned bellies. A canoe-load of
four men put out to gather the fish, as soon as the shot was fired. Just
as they reached the spot, and were leaning over the boat to catch them,
the canoe overturned, and all the men were floundering in the water, up
to their necks, and the canoe was rapidly drifting down the stream. The
fish they get here are quite large, and seem to be a kind of cat-fish.
Strolling back to our landing-place, we were interested in the lively
scenes there being enacted. Under little arbors of leafy boughs, women
were washing clothing; crowds of children, of both sexes, were playing
on the sand or splashing in the water; half-a-dozen great canoes were
dragged up on the bank, and amid these a group of little brown fellows,
from ten to fourteen years of age, were swimming; here and there, a man
or woman squatted in the shallow water, dipped water over their bare
bodies with _jícaras_. Now and then the great ferry-boat, loaded with
passengers and with animals swimming alongside, made its crossing.
Presently our seven animals were swum across, and, after a moment's
drying, were repacked and saddled, and we were ready for our forward
movement.

[Illustration: ZOQUE COMPADRES GREETING; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

[Illustration: OUR FERRY-BOAT; CHIAPA]

Chiapa was formerly the great town of the Chiapanecs, an Indian tribe to
whom tradition assigns past splendor, but who, to-day, are represented
in three villages, Chiapa, Suchiapa, and Acala. They are much mixed with
Spanish blood, and have largely forgotten their ancient language. It is,
however, from them, that the modern state, Chiapas, received its name.
Chiapa, itself, is a city of some size, situated on a terrace a little
way from the river, with a ridge of hills rising behind it. The _plaza_
is large, and in it stands a market-building. Near by is a picturesque
old gothic fountain, built of brick. Market was almost over, but we were
interested in seeing the quantities of pineapples and cacao beans there
offered. To lose no time waiting for dinner, we bought bread and one or
two large pineapples, which we ate under the shade of the trees in the
_plaza_. The pineapples were delicious, being tender and exceedingly
sweet; our _arriero_ refused to eat any of them, asserting that they
were barely fit to eat, lacking sweetness, and being prickly to the
taste. The pineapples of Simojovel were to his liking; they are
sugar-sweet, leaving no prickly sensation, and anyone can eat three
whole ones at a sitting. After luncheon, we looked about for examples of
lacquer-work. In one house, we found some small objects and wooden trays
of indifferent workmanship. An old crone, badly affected with _pinto_,
the mother of the young woman artist, showed us the wares. With her was
the older sister of the lady-worker, who, after we had bought two of
the trays, asked whence we came. Upon our telling her that Manuel was a
native of Cordoba, and that I had come from the United States, without a
word of warning she raised her hands, turned her eyes upward, and gave
vent to a torrent of shrill, impassioned, apostrophe to her absent,
artistic sister: "_A dios, hermana mia_, Anastasia Torres, to think that
your art-products should penetrate to those distant lands, to those
remote portions of the world, to be the wonder and admiration of foreign
eyes. _A dios, hermana mia_, Anastasia Torres!" This she repeated
several times, in a voice high enough to be heard a block or two away.
Leaving her to continue her exclamations of joy and admiration over the
fate of her sister's workmanship, we returned to the _plaza_, where,
in a house near by, we found a considerable stock of better work,
consisting of decorated bowls, cups, toy _jícaras_, gourd-rattles, etc.
This brilliant work, characteristic of the town, is carried hundreds
of miles into the States of Oaxaca, Tabasco, Vera Cruz, and into the
Republic of Guatemala. At two o'clock we hurried from the town in the
midst of terrific heat. As we rode out, over the dry and sandy road, we
were impressed by the display of death; not only was there one cemetery,
with its whitened walls and monuments, but at least three other burial
places capped the little hillocks at the border of the town. One,
particularly attracted attention, as it resembled an ancient terraced
pyramid, with a flight of steps up one side.

From the foothills, we struck up the flank of the great mountain mass
itself. Mounting higher and higher, a great panorama presented itself
behind and below us, including the Chiapa valley, with the hills beyond
it. It was, however, merely extensive, and not particularly beautiful
or picturesque. As we followed the slope towards the crest, into the
narrowing valley, the scene became bolder, until we were at the very
edge of a mighty chasm, which yawned sheer at our side. Following it, we
saw the gorge suddenly shallow hundreds of feet by a vast precipice of
limestone rock rising from its bottom. Having passed this, we journeyed
on up the cañon, lessened in grandeur, but still presenting pretty bits
of scenery. Up to this point, limestone had prevailed, but from here on,
we passed over various formations--heavy beds of sand or clay, lying
upon conglomerates and shales. The road wound astonishingly, and at one
point, coming out upon a hog's-back ridge, we found that we had actually
made a loop, and stood directly above where we had been some time
before. Near sunset, we reached the summit, and looked down upon the
little town of Ixtapa, upon a high _llano_ below, and seeming to be a
half-hour's ride distant. Descending on to the _llano_, we found it
intersected by deep and narrow gorges; following along the level, narrow
ridge, surrounded by ravines on every side, except the one from which we
had approached, we presently descended, along its flank, the bank of the
deepest of these _barrancas_. The sun had set long before we reached
the bottom, and through the darkness, we had to climb up over the steep
dugway in the sandy clay to the village, which we reached at seven. The
little room supplied us for a sleeping-place was clean and neat, the
floor was strewn with fresh and fragrant pine-needles, and the wooden
beds were supplied with _petates_. Leaving before eight, the following
morning, we travelled through a beautiful cañon, with an abundant stream
of whitish-blue water, tumbling in fine cascades among the rocks, and
dashing now and then into deep pools of inky blackness. Having passed
through it, our bridle-trail plunged abruptly downward. From it, we
looked upon a neighboring slope, cut at three different levels, one
above the other, for the cart-road. Passing next through a small cañon
of little beauty, but where the air was heavy with an odor like vanilla,
coming from sheets of pale-purple or violet flowers, on trees of eight
or ten feet in height, we reached San Sebastian, where we found our
_carretero_, whom we supposed to have reached San Cristobal the day
before. Rating him soundly, and threatening dire consequences from his
delay, we resumed our journey. We were also worried over our _mozo_,
who started from Chiapa at noon, the day before, with our photographic
instruments, and whom we had not seen since, although there were several
places where we would gladly have taken views. From here, for a long
distance, the road was a hard, steep climb, over limestone in great
variety--solid limestone, tufaceous stuff, concretionary coatings, satin
spar, and calcite crystals. Having passed a small pueblo, or large
_finca_, lying in a little plain below us, we looked down upon
Zinacantan. The descent was quickly made, and passing through the
village, without stopping, we made a long, slow, ascent before catching
sight of our destination, San Cristobal. It made a fine appearance,
lying on a little terrace at the base of hills, at the very end of the
valley. Its churches and public buildings are so situated as to make
the most impression; on account of its length and narrowness, the town
appears much larger than it really is. We entered at one end, and then,
practically, paralleled our trail through it to the centre, where we
stopped at the Hotel Progreso, at 3:30 in the afternoon. We went to the
palace, and made arrangements so promptly that we could have begun work
immediately, if the _carretero_ and _mozo_ had not been behind. As it
was, we waited until next day, and were warned by the _secretario_ at
the _jefatura_ that there would not be enough light for work before nine
o'clock. In the evening, we called on Padre Sanchez, well known for his
study of the native languages, and the works he had written regarding
them. He is a large man, well-built, of attractive appearance, and of
genial manner. He has been _cura_ in various indian towns among the
Chamulas, and he loves the indians, and is regarded as a friend by them.
We were prepared for a cold night, and had it, though no heavy frost
formed, as had done the night before. In one day's journey, the
traveller finds towns, in this neighborhood, with totally different
climates. Here woolen garments are necessary, and in towns like Chamula
and Cancuc the indians find the heaviest ones comfortable. Our rating of
the _carretero_ had an effect both prompt and dire; when we left him,
he hastened to hire carriers to bring in the more important part of our
load; these, he insisted, should travel all night, and at eight o'clock
we found them at the hotel. In the darkness they had stumbled, and our
loads had fallen. Whole boxes of unused plates were wrecked, and, still
worse, many of our choicest negatives were broken. At nine o'clock the
missing _mozo_ appeared with the instruments; it is customary for our
carrier to keep up with the company, as we have frequent need of taking
views upon the journey; this was almost the only instance, in the
hundreds of leagues that we have travelled on horseback, over mountain
roads, where our carrier had failed to keep alongside of the animals, or
make the same time in journeying that we mounted travellers did.

[Illustration: THE JAIL; SAN CRISTOBAL]

[Illustration: TZOTZIL MUSICIANS IN SAN CRISTOBAL JAIL]

Though there had been an early mist, there was no lack of sunshine, even
before seven. Still, we did not go to the palace until nine o'clock, the
hour set. San Cristobal was formerly the capital of the state, and its
public buildings are more pretentious than usual in _cabeceras_. The
place in which we did our work was a building of two stories, filling
one side of the plaza. We worked in the broad corridor of the second
story, outside of the _secretario's_ office, from which our subjects,
mostly indians who had come to pay school-taxes, were sent to us for
measurement. The market-place of San Cristobal is characteristically
indian. Not only do the two chief tribes which frequent it--Tzotzils and
Tzendals--differ in dress, but even the different villages of each wear
characteristic garments. The Tzotzil of Chamula differs from his brother
of Huixtan and San Bartolome; the Tzendal women of Tenejapa, Cancuc and
San Andres may be quickly recognized by difference in dress.

Most interesting are the Tzotzils of Chamula. Though looked upon by the
_mestizos_ of San Cristobal as mere brutes and savages, they are notably
industrious. They weave heavy, woolen blankets and _chamaras_; they
are skilled carpenters, making plain furniture of every kind; they are
musicians, and manufacture quantities of harps, guitars, and
violins; they braid straw, and make hats of palm; they are excellent
leather-dressers, and give a black stain and polish to heavy leather,
which is unequalled by the work of their white neighbors. Men wear lower
garments of cotton, and heavy black woolen over-garments, which are
gathered at the waist with woolen girdles. They wear broad-brimmed,
low-crowned hats, of their own braiding, which they adorn with long,
streaming, red and green ribbons. Their sandals are supplied with
heel-guards of black leather, the height of which indicates the wealth
or consequence of the wearer. These indians of Chamula have a love of
liberty and desire for independence. The most serious outbreak of recent
times was theirs in 1868, when, under the influence of the young woman,
Checheb, they attempted to restore the native government, the indian
life, and the old-time religion. Temples were erected to the ancient
gods, whose inspired priestess the young woman claimed to be; but three
hundred years of Christianity had accustomed them to the idea of a
Christ crucified; an indian Christ was necessary, not one from the hated
invading race; accordingly, a little indian lad, the nephew of the
priestess, was crucified, to become a saviour for their race. Their
plans involved the killing of every white and _mestizo_ in all the
country; in reality, more than one hundred men, women, and children,
in the _fincas_ and little towns, were killed; San Cristobal, then the
capital city, suffered a veritable panic, and it took the entire force
of the whole state to restore order.

[Illustration: TZOTZILS; HUIXTAN]

[Illustration: TZOTZIL WOMAN; CHAMULA]

The Tzendals of Tenejapa are picturesque in the extreme. Their dark
skin, their long black hair, completely covering and concealing the
ears, their coarse features, and the black and white striped _chamaras_
of wool--which they buy from the weavers of Chamula--form a striking
combination. They do but little weaving, their chief industry being the
raising and selling of fruits. Most of the men carry a little sack,
netted from strong fibre, slung at one side. Among other trifling
possessions in it, is generally a little gourd filled with a green
powder, which they call _mai_, or _pelico_. It consists chiefly of
tobacco, with a mixture of lime and chili, and is chewed, no doubt, for
stimulating properties--to remove the weariness of the road, and "to
strengthen the teeth," as some say.

When we had exhausted the stock of those who came to pay their taxes,
it was suggested that we would find good subjects in the jail. This
occupied what was once a fine old convent, built around a large
open court, and connected with the church, which, judging from its
elaborately carved façade, must have been beautiful. On presenting our
credentials to the officials, an order was given, and all the pure-blood
indians, one hundred at least, were lined up before us for inspection.
There were Tzotzils from Chamula, and Tzendals from Tenejapa, and among
them many excellent faces, showing the pure types, finely developed.
Having made our inspection, and indicated those whom we should use, we
looked about the prison. The prisoners were housed in the old rooms of
the monastery, each of which was large enough for six or eight persons.
In these rooms, each prisoner had his personal possessions--good
clothing, tools, cherished articles, instruments of music. Those who
cared to do so, were permitted to work at such things as they could do,
and the product of their labor was sold for their benefit. Some braided
palm into long strips, to make up into hats; others plaited straw into
elaborate, decorative cords or bands for hats; some wove _pita_ into
pouches; some dressed leather. Almost all were busily employed. Freedom
of conversation and visiting was permitted, and there was no particular
hardship in the matter of imprisonment, except the inability to go
outside. We were impressed with the fact that, in appearance and manner,
few, if any, of these indian prisoners, particularly the Chamulas,
showed any signs of criminal tendencies. In fact, they were as clean,
as frank, as docile, as intelligent, as any persons we might find in
Mexico. A little curious to know the charges on which they had been
committed, we inquired, and discovered that some had fifteen or twenty
points against them, among which were such trifling charges as murder,
manslaughter, arson, rape, and highway robbery. We thought best not to
inquire too closely, but it is doubtful, whether any of the subjects
here incarcerated under these long and dreadful lists of charges, are
guilty of anything except insurrection--a final struggle for freedom.

[Illustration: POSITION OF REST; TZENDALS, TENEJAPA]

[Illustration: TZOTZILS FROM HUIXTAN]

There were various signs of the approach of Holy Week, and the landlady
at our hotel, and her various helpers, were busy manufacturing incense
for that occasion. This was made in sticks, as thick as the thumb, and
six or eight inches in length, of a black color. Besides copal, leaves
and other materials from various kinds of odorous plants were employed
in its fabrication; the incense thus made is really fragrant, and it
would be interesting to know whether it is, in part at least, of indian
origin. In three days we had completed our examination of the men, but
not a woman had been produced for examination. On the fourth day, we
reiterated our demands to the authorities, and Don Murcio, the janitor
or messenger, who had been put subject to our order, was almost frantic.
He declared that to secure the women we needed would tax every power of
the government; that they refused to come; that his mere appearance in
the market caused a scattering. Finally, we told him, that if he would
provide twenty-five Chamula women, we would get the Tzendals in their
villages, as we passed through them. Encouraged, by having one-half of
our demand abated, he made another visit to the market. Soon we heard
excited voices, and a moment later Don Murcio came rushing up the stairs
with both arms filled with black _chamaras_. It is the custom of the
indian women, when they come to market, and settle down with wares to
sell, to fold their heavier garments and lay them on the ground beside
them. Don Murcio had gathered up the first of these he came to, and fled
with them to the government palace, while the crowd of angry women,
chasing along behind, expressed their feelings vigorously. Putting the
garments out of reach, the women were told by the officials, that each
would receive back her property as soon as the strangers made their
desired measurements. While we were dealing with the first cluster, Don
Murcio sallied forth, and returned once more with garments and women. In
this way, the work proceeded, until the final lot were in our hands.
Not to unnecessarily increase their terrors, we had refrained from
photographing, until the final company had been secured. We had told the
officials of our plan, and as these later ones were measured, they were
told that they must wait for their garments until the last one was
measured, and until the gentleman had done some other work. When all had
been measured, it was explained to the six of seven in the group, that
they were to go down into the _patio_, where a picture would be taken of
the company. That they might be properly prepared for the picture, their
garments were returned. Suspecting no treachery, Don Murcio led the
way, and one of two police officers accompanied the forward part of the
procession, while Louis brought up the rear, in expectation of making
the portrait. All went well until the first two or three had entered the
_patio_, when the rest suddenly balked, and started to run out onto the
street. Hearing the confusion, I started down and caught one of the
women as she neared the doorway, while Louis held another, and each of
the police officers, and Don Murcio, seized a prisoner. So violent,
however, were the struggles, and so loud the outcries of the woman whom
I held, that I released her, which was the unintended signal for each of
the other guards to do the same, and our group vanished and all thought
of gathering a second was given up in desperation.

[Illustration: TZOTZIL BROTHERS; CHAMULA]

[Illustration: TZENDAL FATHER AND SON; TENEJAPA]

The morning had thus passed; animals for the further journey had been
ordered for ten o'clock, and were really ready a little before three.
For once, however, _we_ were not prepared. It was our custom to pack the
busts in petroleum boxes; these boxes, each holding a five-gallon can of
oil, are of just the size to take a single bust, and they are so thin
and light, yet at the same time, so well constructed, that they served
our purpose admirably. In small indian towns, they are frequently
unobtainable, but in the places where _mestizos_ live, it had been
always easy to procure them, at prices varying from ten to twenty-five
cents each. In a town the size of San Cristobal, it should be easy to
get them; to our surprise, we found that they had been in such demand,
for carrying purposes by public workmen, that the supply was small and
the price outrageous. We had left the securing of the boxes and the
packing of the busts to our plaster-worker, and, though we knew he had
had difficulty, imagined that he had secured all needed, and that the
busts would be all ready. Diligent search, however, had secured but two
boxes, and ridiculous prices had been demanded for those. All of us took
to the streets, visiting stores and private houses, and at last five
boxes were secured, though they were a dilapidated lot, with bad covers.
For these we paid an average of sixty-two cents each. Realizing the time
and labor necessary for securing boxes, stuff for packing, and for the
work of putting up the busts, we dismissed our horsemen, and arranged
for leaving the next morning. In fact, night had fallen before our work
was done. Leaving a little before eight, we had a magnificent mountain
ride. For a league or more, we rose steadily over a cart-road; keeping
at a high altitude, and, with but little of ups and downs, we journeyed
through fine pine forests, with oaks mingled, here and there, among the
pines. We met quantities of Chamula and Tenejapa indians on their way to
market. The Chamulas carried chairs, loads of well-tanned skins, and
sacks full of little, round wooden boxes, well and neatly made, while
the Tenejapes were loaded with nets of oranges, _limas_, and
_ahuacates_. We were sorry to leave the village of Chamula to one side,
but lack of time forbade our visiting it. It was amusing to note the
terror of our _arriero_ on the road. Until we passed Cancuc, he was
constantly expecting attack from the dreadful indians of Chamula,
Tenejapa, and Cancuc, telling us that such attacks might be expected at
any time, but particularly in the early morning and in the dusk of
evening. What indians we met were most gentle, and answered our
salutations with apparent kindness. After a long journey on the high,
smooth road, we finally began descending into a pretty valley, and soon
saw the great town of Tenejapa, below us, on a space almost as level as
a floor, neatly laid out, and still decked with the arches erected for a
recent fiesta. The _agente_ of the town had been warned of our coming,
by telephone from the _jefatura_, and received us warmly, a little
before one o'clock, giving us a large and comfortable room in the
municipal building, supplied with chairs and benches, and a table,
though without beds or mats. We were here delayed by the slowness of the
old man, who had been furnished at San Cristobal for carrying our
instruments. By three o'clock, all was ready, and the twenty-five women
were summoned. They gave no kind of trouble, and by six o'clock the work
was done. Women here braid their hair in two braids, which are wrapped
about closely with cords, making them look like red ropes; these are
then wound around the head and picturesquely fastened. The _huipíls_ of
cotton are short, and decorated with scattered designs, worked in color,
and loosely arranged in transverse bands. Belts are of wool, red in
color, and broad, but not long. Over their shoulders the women wear,
particularly in cool weather, a red and blue striped cotton shawl or
wrap. The red worn--whether in belts, wraps, or hair-strings--is all of
one shade, a dull crimson-red. As night fell, dozens of little bonfires
were lighted in the plaza, made from cobwork piles of fat-pine. People
were already gathering from other pueblos for market, and many of them
slept through the night in the open market-place. The band played a
mournful piece, repeatedly, during the evening, and some rockets were
fired--no doubt, the tailing-off of the late fiesta.

[Illustration: CLOSE OF MARKET, TENEJAPA]

Market had begun in the morning, as we prepared to leave, but the
great plaza was not more than half-full, and there was little that was
characteristic. Noteworthy, however, were the great loaves of salt made
at Ixtapa; about the size of old-fashioned sugar-loaves, they were
shaped in rush-mats, and showed the marks of the matting on their
surface; saws were used to cut off pieces for purchasers. The _agente_
said that it was not good, being mixed with earth or sand. He, himself,
came from the neighborhood of Tapachula, where quantities of salt are
made from the lagoon water. The salt-water and the salt-soaked earth
from the bottom of the lagoon are put into vats and leached, and the
resulting saline is boiled in ovens, each of which contains an _olla_.
The industry is conducted by _ladinos_, as well as indians, but the salt
is poor.

It was 8:45 when we started, and almost immediately we began a hard
climb over limestone, giving a severe test to our poor animals. At the
summit we found a group of indian carriers, who, as usual, stopped
at the pass to rest and look upon the landscape. The view was really
beautiful, the little town lying in a curious, level valley, which was
encircled by an abrupt slope, and which had been excavated from an
almost level plateau. For some time, we followed this high level, but
finally plunged down into a deep gully, where our road passed away
to the left in a dry gorge, while to the right, the valley deepened
abruptly by a great vertical wall. When we reached the point of sudden
deepening, in the gorge below, we saw water, bursting in volume from the
cliff's base. Dismounting from our horses, and climbing down, we found
a magnificent arch of limestone over the emerging stream, the water of
which was fresh and cold, and clear as crystal. The shallow portion of
the valley marks the ancient level of the stream. In some past time, the
stream had sunk, cutting a subterranean channel under its old bed, which
was left high and dry. The deep part of the valley may be due to the
falling of the roof of rock above the subterranean stream. Following up
the ancient valley, we presently turned into one of its old tributary
gorges, coming out into a country well-wooded with pines and oaks. The
whole country hereabouts is composed of monoclines, all the crests
presenting one long, gentle slope, with rocks dipping with the slope,
and one abrupt short slope, cutting the strata. The roads, for the most
part, follow along the edge of these monoclines, making them unusually
long, though easy. The rocks over which we passed were an olive
shaly-sandstone, with notable concentric weathering, limestone, and here
and there, red sandstone, abundantly green-spotted. Indians, everywhere,
were burning over fields, preparatory to planting, while the day was
clear, the smoke rose in clouds, and at many places we suffered from
these field fires. Twice we passed a point just as the flames leaped
from one side of the road to the other, and rode between two lines of
blaze. The fire, burning green branches and stalks, caused thousands of
loud explosions, like the rattle of musketry.

Long before we were near it, we caught sight of Cancuc, the beautiful,
perched upon its lofty crest. In San Cristobal, our journey had
been matter of conversation among the _mestizos_ and many and dire
predictions had been made. "Ah, yes, it is easy for these gentlemen to
do this work here in the _cabecera_, but let them get to Tenejapa, and
Cancuc--there it will be another matter; they will be killed upon the
journey; if they reach Cancuc, they will never leave the town alive."
The town is built on the edge of a ridge, which drops in both
directions, leaving barely room for the placing of houses. From it, we
looked out in every direction over a magnificent landscape. Cancuc is
famous for the insurrection of 1712. Curiously, like the outbreak at
Chamula in 1868, it was due to the visions and religious influence of a
girl. Maria Candaleria was the centre and impulse of the whole movement.
Dr. Brinton has thrown the incident, which abounded in picturesque
details, and which caused the Spanish government great difficulty, into
a little drama, which bears the name of the inspired priestess.

[Illustration: TZENDAL MAN AND WIFE; TENEJAPA]

[Illustration: TZENDALS; TENEJAPA]

We were now within the district of my friend Valencia. Two years ago,
when we passed through the country of the Mixes, he was the _jefe
politico_ of the District of Yautepec; he had been transferred to this
state and this district, with his _cabecera_ at Ocosingo. That town lay
far from our course, and we had written Señor Valencia, that we planned
to pass through his district, but had not time to visit the _cabecera_.
We named the towns through which we planned to pass, and begged him to
send orders directly to the local authorities, instead of trying to
communicate with us. This he had done promptly, and during our stay in
his district, everything was done for us without delay. The _agente_
at Cancuc is a new official, but a man of sense, and sympathy for the
indians, among whom he lives. We arrived at half-past three and had our
_mozo_ been on time, might have done some work. The _agente_ showed
us the historic picture in the old church; it is the portrait of a
clergyman, whose influence did much to quell the insurrection in 1713.
More interesting to us than the old picture, were groups of indians,
kneeling and praying. When they knelt, they touched their foreheads and
faces to the ground, which they saluted with a kiss. Having assumed
the attitude of prayer, they were oblivious to all around them, and,
curiously, their prayers were in the native language. The town-house was
placed at the disposition of our party, but the _agente's_ bed, in his
own house, was given to me. As I sat writing at the table in his room,
the whole town government--a dozen or so in number--stalked in. Most of
them wore the heavy black _chamaras_ made by the Chamula indians. These
were so long that they almost swept the ground. The faces of the men
were dark and wild, and their hair hung in great black shocks down upon
their shoulders and backs. In their hands they held their long official
staves. Advancing to the table where I sat, in the order of their rank,
they saluted me, kissing my hand; arranging themselves in a half-circle
before my table, the _presidente_ placed before me a bowl filled with
eggs, each wrapped in corn-husks, while the first _alcalde_ deposited a
cloth filled with a high pile of hot _tortillas_; a speech was made in
Tzendal, which was translated by the second official, in which they told
me that they appreciated our visit; it gave them pleasure that such
important persons should come from such a distance to investigate the
life and manners of their humble town; they trusted that our errand
might be entirely to our wishes, and that, in leaving, we might bear
with us a pleasant memory. They begged us to accept the poor presents
they had brought, while they assured us that, in them, we had our
thousand most obedient servants. And this in Cancuc--the town where
we were to have met our death! At night, the fires on a hundred hills
around us made a magnificent display, forming all sorts of fantastic
combinations and outlines. In the evening, the son of the _agente_, who
had been to Tenango with a friend, came home in great excitement. He was
a lively young fellow of eighteen years. At the river-crossing, where
they arrived at five in the evening, a black cow, standing in the river,
scared their horses so that they could not make them cross; the boy
emptied his revolver at the animal, but with no effect; it was clearly
a _vaca bruja_--witch cow; an hour and a half was lost before they
succeeded in getting their horses past with a rush.

[Illustration: THE TOWN GOVERNMENT; CANCUC]

The morning was spent in making pictures. While still in Yucatan, we
heard about the music of Cancuc, and among our views was one of the
musicians. These are three in number, and they head processions at
fiestas; the drum, like that we saw at Tuxtla, is cylindrical, with two
heads; the _pito_ is the usual reed whistle; the _tortuga_, a large
turtle-shell, was brought from Palenque; it is hung by a belt to the
player, and is beaten on the lower side with two leg-bones of a deer.
The Cancuc dress is simple. Men wear the breech-clout, and, when they
carry burdens, little else; at other times, they wear short, cotton
trousers which hardly reach the knees. The chief garment is a _camisa_,
of native cotton, with a colored stitching at the neck and along the
seam where the two edges join; this _camisa_ is of such length that,
when girded, it hangs just to, or a little below, the lower edge of the
trouser leg. The belts are home-woven, but are made of cotton which is
bought already dyed a brilliant red or yellow. Women wear woolen belts
made by Chamulas; their _enaguas_ are plain, dull blue in color; their
_huipíls_ are a dirty white, with a minimum of colored stitching. The
chief industry at Cancuc is raising pigs for market.

At 1:15 we started from the town, and rode down the crest of long,
gently-sloping ridges, which seemed interminable. The rock over which we
passed was red sandstone, mottled and streaked with green, red shale,
and occasional patches of conglomerate. Crossing a little stream by a
pretty bridge, we made an abrupt ascent, and soon saw the little town,
Cuaquitepec, at the base of the opposite hill.

We met many indians carrying great ovoidal jars which were made at
Tenango, and which are chiefly used for carrying _chicha_. This is a
fermented drink, made from the sap of sugar-cane, and is much used
throughout this state and the adjoining parts of Central America. We
inquired of a girl who carried such a vessel, what she had, and asked
to try it. She gave us a sip in a wee gourd-vessel, holding less than a
wine-glass. Knowing nothing of the price of _chicha_, we gave her six
centavos, with which she seemed well satisfied. A little later, deciding
to test the drink again, we stopped a man, who had a vessel of it, and
again were given the little cup. On stating that we wished a centavo's
worth, we were much surprised to have him fill a great _jícara_ for
the price mentioned. It seems the little vessel is carried only for
sampling, and that a sale is made only after the purchaser has approved
the quality.

Reaching Cuaquitepec at five, we rode up to the town-house, that the
authorities might know that we had passed. The place is small and
dwindling; there are relatively many _ladinos_, and few indians. They
were expecting us, and seemed disappointed at our refusal to stop.
The shell of the old church, almost ready to fall, suggested past
magnificence. The little modern structure, at its side, is suited to the
present needs. We were vexed at the wanton sacrifice of a great
tree, which had stood near the town-house, but whose giant trunk was
prostrate, and stripped of its branches. A man on foot showed us the
road beyond the town, and it was moonlight before we reached Citala,
where we planned to sleep. Of the town itself, we know nothing. The old
church is decaying, but in its best days must have been magnificent. The
_presidente_ was absent, but his wife, an active, bustling intelligent
_ladino_, expected us, and did everything possible for our comfort.
Eggs, beans, _tortillas_ and coffee made up the supper. A room,
containing a bed for me, and _petates_ on the floor for my companions,
was waiting. When a light was struck more than a dozen great cockroaches
were seen running over the wall, none of them less than two inches and a
half in length, and of the most brilliant orange and dark brown. In the
morning, a fine chicken breakfast was promptly ready, and the woman had
summoned a _cargador_ to be ready for our starting. She said that in
this town there is a considerable indian population, and that these
Tzendals are tall and strongly-built, in comparison with those of
Cuaquitepec, and other neighboring towns. She regretted that we could
not wait until her husband came, as she had sent him word of our
arrival, and was expecting him. We assured her that she had done
everything which he could possibly have done, had he been present, and
that we should, with pleasure, report our satisfaction to the _jefe_.

[Illustration: INDIAN CARRIERS RESTING]

[Illustration: DRIVING PIGS, NEAR CANCUC]

The _cargador_ whom she supplied, was a comfort, after the wretched
sluggards whom we had lately had. With our instruments upon his
shoulders, he trotted, like a faithful dog, directly at our side, from
start to finish, never showing the least weariness or sense of burden.
Both foot _mozos_ and _arrieros_ through this district carry a mass of
_posole_ with them on a journey. Unlike that which Eustasio and his
Zapotec companions carried, the mass here is pure corn, white and moist,
being kept wrapped in fresh banana leaves; at every brook-side, a
_jícara_ of fresh water is dipped, and a handful of _posole_ is squeezed
up in it till thoroughly mixed, when it is drunk. It tastes a little
sour, and is refreshing. At 11:15, we passed the bridge over the stream
on which Chilon is built, and a moment later drew up at the town-house.
Here we regretted that our serious work with the Tzendals was done.
We were received royally, and told that our house was ready. This was
really so, a pretty little house of three good rooms having been cleaned
and prepared for our use. We lay down and napped until the good dinner,
which had been started when we had first been seen upon the road, and
some time before we reached the village, was ready. Sitting on the porch
of our little house, and looking out over bushes, full of roses, in the
garden before us, we rested until the greatest heat of the day was past,
when we started, and pushed on over the three leagues that lay between
us and Yajalon, where we arrived at near sunset. The town is large, and,
in great part, indian. The women dressed more gaily than in any other
Tzendal town which we have seen; their _huipíls_ were decorated with a
mass of bright designs, worked in colored wools or silk. Here we saw our
first Chol, a carrier, passing through the village with his load; in
order to make a start upon our final tribe, we had him halted, to take
his measurements and picture. At this town, we stopped at a sort of
boarding-house, or traveller's-rest, close by the town-house, kept by
a widow with several children. We impressed upon this good woman the
necessity of having breakfast without fail at five o'clock, as we wished
to make an early start, stopping at Hidalgo for work during the hotter
portion of the day, and pressing on to Tumbala at night. The poor
creature kept me awake all night, making her preparations for the meal,
which was to be a masterpiece of culinary art, and at four o'clock
routed us all out with the report that breakfast was waiting on the
table. It was a turkey-breakfast, too.



CHAPTER XXVI

CHOLS

(1901)


Of course, after such a start, we were delayed in getting the animals
ready for the journey, and the sun had been up full half an hour when we
left. It was a short ride to Hidalgo, which lies prettily in a small,
flat valley, on a good-sized stream. We were doubtful about our
reception, for Yajalon was the last town in Valencia's district, and we
had no documents to present to the town officials, until we should reach
El Salto, the _cabecera_, except our general letter from Governor
Lopez. It is true that the _presidente_ of Yajalon, at our request, had
telephoned Hidalgo that we came highly recommended, and that everything
possible must be done for our assistance. The _agente_ was an old man,
suffering from headache, who showed but listless interest in our work.
In a general way, he gave us his endorsement, and we, therefore, took
the management into our own hands. He had kept the people in town,
so that we had subjects, though fewer than we had hoped. We measured
twenty-seven men, and there were really no more in the town, the rest
being away on _fincas_. The men gave us no trouble, but the women were
another matter. Several times we issued orders that they be brought to
the town-house for measurement, and each time, after an effort to obey
our orders, we were told that they would not come. "Very good," said I,
"if they will not come, it is plain that we must go and measure them in
their houses." Accompanied by the town government, we started on our
rounds. The first house was tightly closed, and no reply was made to our
demands for entrance. The second was the same; one might imagine that
it had been deserted for weeks. At the third, the door was opened, and
within, an aged woman, ugly, bent, decrepit. Here we measured. The next
house, and the next, and the next, were shut. And then another open
house contained another veritable hag. Passing several other houses,
tightly closed, we found a third old woman, and I saw that we were
destined to secure nothing but decrepit hags, as representatives of
the fair sex. At the next closed house, I stopped, and turning to an
official, who spoke Spanish, said, "I am tired of these closed houses;
who owns this house?" His name was given, and I wrote it down. "Very
well," said I, "I shall recommend to the _jefe_ of the district, when I
reach El Salto, that he be made to pay a fine of five pesos." At this,
the town officials gasped, but we walked to the next house, which was
also closed. "Who owns this house?" And down went a second name. By
the time I had three names of owners of closed houses on my paper, the
officials held a hasty whispered consultation; then coming to me,
they begged me to excuse them for a moment, as the _secretario_ would
accompany me upon my round, and they would soon rejoin us. With this,
they disappeared, and we entered another old woman's house. When we
emerged, a wonderful change had taken place; every house in the village
had its door wide open, and in the doorway were to be seen anywhere from
one to three or four ladies of all ages. From this time on, there was no
lack of women, and the twenty-five were promptly measured.

We had picked out our subjects for modeling before we started on our
rounds to measure women; and had left Ramon in charge of that part of
our work, staying only long enough to see him make the mould of the
first subject. This was an indian, named Juan, the first _alcalde_ of
the village. We had carefully explained the operation to our subjects;
we had described in detail the sensations and emotions connected with
the thing, and thought we had the subjects well prepared. When Juan
began, he seemed to have good courage, but we told a young fellow, who
sat near and understood Spanish, that he should tell the man certain
encouraging things which we repeated to him. The translation was
promptly done, and we were therefore much surprised to see our subject's
confidence gradually give way to terror. While we were applying the
first mould, he began to sob and cry like a child; this was, however,
nothing compared with the abject terror and sorrow which he displayed
while we were making the face-mould. The tears flowed from his eyes; he
sobbed, cried aloud, and we could see the thumping of his heart against
his chest. We had never had a subject who took the matter so hardly.
When the operation was completed, we learned the cause of all this
trouble. Our interpreter turned out to be a joker, and, while we were
telling him encouraging remarks, with which to soothe the subject, he
was saying, "Now you will die; pretty soon you will not be able to
breathe any more; you will be dead and buried before to-morrow; your
poor widow will no doubt feel badly, but probably she will find another
quite as good as you." We had always realized the possibility of such
misinterpretations, but, so far as we know, this was the only time that
our interpreter ever played us false.

On our return from measuring the women, we found that Ramon had made
no progress. The three subjects, whom we had selected and left in his
charge, under strenuous orders, had taken fright at Juan's experience
and fled. We lost two hours in hunting them and bringing them in; and we
should not have succeeded then, had it not been for Juan's assistance.
He seemed to feel that, having undergone the operation, it might ease
his position, and decrease possible danger, if he had companions in
misery. Finally, at 4:30, long after the hour we had set, we left for
Tumbala. We secured six _cargadors_--one each for the four moulds,
one for the instruments, and one for the remaining plaster,--as our
pack-animals had long since passed. Five of them were left to follow
at their leisure, on condition that they reach Tumbala early the next
morning, but the sixth, a wee old man, who had helped us woman-hunting,
went with us, by his own request, to carry the instruments. He was so
small that we did not believe he could carry the burden, but he made no
sort of trouble about it, trotting along most happily. We had been told
that the road was _pura subida_--pure ascent--and so we found it. We
were soon in the tropical forest of the Chinantla, and the land of the
Mixes, with begonias, tree-ferns, bromelias, and orchids. Here and
there, were bad bits of road, deep mud, slippery stones, irregular
limestone masses. It was dark before we reached Tumbala, and although
there was a moon, the mists were so dense that it did little good.
Arriving at 6:45, we found the town a wretched place, with a worthless
and nerveless _agente_. This was once the largest of the Chol towns,
and we had thought to do the bulk of our work there. It is fortunate,
indeed, that we stopped at Hidalgo, because Tumbala is now completely
ruined by the contract-labor system, which has sent its men all through
the country onto _fincas_. The _agente_ would probably have done nothing
for us, but his little daughter, much impressed by our letter from the
governor, took an active interest in our welfare, promised to prepare a
dinner, and decided him to give us sleeping-quarters in a store-room
in the building. He thawed a little after we had eaten, but spoke
discouragingly regarding the possibility of working there. He said we
would do well to go to El Triunfo; that it would take two days to find
indians and bring them to the town; that there were no animals, nothing
to eat, no conveniences in Tumbala, in all of which he probably was
quite correct. Our _arrieros_ had contracted only to this point from San
Cristobal. We urged them to make the further journey, and offered them
a price much above the regular, but they wanted to be back in San
Cristobal for Holy Week, and assured us that the roads ahead were the
worst that could be imagined, and that they ran the risk of killing all
their animals if they went with us.

[Illustration: THE TORO; FRAME AND BEARER; EL TRIUNFO]

[Illustration: PLAYING TORO; EL TRIUNFO]

As we were on the road, a little before we reached Tumbala, we found a
company of indian boys making camp for the night. Calling to us, they
said that Don Enrique had told them if they saw us on the road, to say
that we should keep straight on to El Triunfo, as he had a message for
us. We had never heard of Don Enrique, and thought there was some error,
but after supper, the _agente_ handed us a letter which had come that
afternoon from the gentleman in question. In it we read: "Sir: Mr.
Ellsworth, of the Rio Michol Rubber Co., Salto, asked me by telephone to
tell you that he will be waiting for you the 4th of April in La Cruzada,
and hopes that you will kindly accompany Mrs. Ellsworth as far as
Mexico, and that, in case she would not find a steamer in Frontera, he
is going to charter one. Hoping to see you here in Triunfo, and waiting
for an answer to La Cruzada, I remain, Yours truly, H. Rau." This was
a gleam of light amid our dark affairs. There we were, with all
our baggage and instruments, but without carriers, deserted by our
_arrieros_, and with no opportunity in Tumbala to secure new animals
or helpers; it was like the voice of a friend, to receive this English
letter from El Triunfo, and we felt that, if worst came to worst, Don
Enrique might help us out.

The room in which we slept was filled with stored stuff and two tables.
On one of these I made my bed, while my companions spread a large
_petate_ on the floor, and our little indian carrier put down a small
one for himself, as he declared he should not leave us until morning. He
had a good supper, and in a fit of generosity, presented Louis with what
was left of his package of _posole_. With much enthusiasm, he told us of
an "animal" which he had seen and tried to catch upon the road. From his
description, it appeared to be an armadillo. Before he lay down on his
_petate_, he kissed my hand, wished me a good night's rest, and asked my
good-night blessing. He was happy in possession of a _real's_ worth of
_aguardiente_, from which, at intervals during the night, he drank.
Early in the morning, he opened the door, and, looking out, crossed
himself, and repeated his morning prayer. He then came to _Tatita_
(little father) to receive his morning's blessing, and hoped that I had
passed a good night in slumber. He then brought me a _jícara_ of cool,
fresh water, after which he urged me to take a sip from his dear bottle.
Going outside a little time, he returned with two roses, heavy with dew
and very fragrant, and gave them to me as if they were a gift for kings.
Very soon, however, his potations got the better of him, and bidding us
a fond farewell, he started for Hidalgo.

It was my day of fever, and I spent the greater portion of the morning
on my hard bed, getting up from time to time to try to move the _agente_
to procure an animal, on which I might make the journey to El Triunfo.
Finally, in despair, after difficulty in securing a foot-messenger, I
sent a letter to Don Enrique, asking him to send an animal for my use.
During the afternoon, a fine mule and a letter came from El Triunfo.
"Sir: The boy brought me your letter, and I send you a good mule for
yourself, so we shall talk all the rest when you shall get here. If you
need more pack-mules I will send them afterwards, as soon as you tell
me how many you need. Hoping to see you this afternoon, I remain, Yours
very truly, Henry Rau." The road was down hill, and there were but two
or three bad spots. I rode through tropical forests, the whole distance,
with high trees, bound together with a mass of vines, and loaded with
parasitic or aerial plants. Here and there, rose the largest tree-ferns
I have ever seen. I was not in the best mood, however, for enjoying the
journey, and the hour-and-a-quarter seemed like much more. The great
coffee _finca_ of El Triunfo occupied an irregular valley, the slopes
of which were covered with thousands of coffee-trees, with their
magnificent dark green leaves and sweet-scented, white flowers. Three
hundred and fifty thousand trees made up the plantation, which was one
of two owned and managed by Señor Rau. The house was large, and rather
pretentious, two stories in height, with buildings for cleaning, packing
and storing coffee on the same terrace, and with a veritable village of
houses for the indian workmen down below. I received a warm reception
from the Señor and his household, who have established here a veritable
bit of Germany in tropical America. Not only was I myself cared for, but
I was urged to make no haste in going further, as no steamer would go
from La Cruzada before the 4th, and it would be easy to reach that
place in twenty-four hours. So, for several days the hospitable
plantation-house was my home. Great lines of mules were constantly going
from here, through to El Salto and La Cruzada, with loads of coffee,
and coming back with provisions, and the many supplies necessary for an
establishment of this importance. When the next _mulada_ should appear,
animals would be sent to Tumbala for my companions and the luggage.
Curiously, none came for two whole days--a very unusual occurrence--and
the boys remained prisoners in that dreary town for all that time. For
my own part, I was thankful to reach a place where a comfortable bed and
certain meals were to be counted on. My fever left me, but the following
morning I found myself suffering from swollen jaws; every tooth was
loose and sore, and it was difficult to chew even the flesh of bananas;
this difficulty I had lately suffered, whenever in the moist mountain
district of Pennsylvania, and I feared that there would be no relief
until I was permanently out of the district of forest-grown mountains.
Nor was I mistaken, for ten days passed, and we had reached the dry
central table-land of Mexico, before my suffering ended. One day, while
we were on the _finca_, considerable excitement was caused by one of the
Indians working in the field being bitten by a poisonous serpent. The
man was brought at once to the house, and remedies were applied which
prevented serious results, although his leg swelled badly. The serpent
was killed, and measured about five feet in length, having much the
general appearance of a rattlesnake, but with no rattles. Don Enrique
says that the most dangerous snake in this district is a little creature
more brightly colored, with a smaller head, which is less markedly flat,
and with smaller fangs; he showed us one of these, not more than a foot
in length, from whose bite a man on the plantation, a year before,
had died. In telling us of this event, he gave us a suggestion of the
working of the contract-labor system; the man who died owed one hundred
and forty pesos of work--almost three years of labor; the _jefe_,
indeed, had sent the son to work out the debt, but the young man soon
ran away, and the most diligent effort to recapture him had failed.

[Illustration: CHOL WOMEN; LA TRINIDAD]

Perhaps two hundred persons lived as workmen on the _finca_ of El
Triunfo. They were, of course, all indians, and were about evenly
divided between Tzendals and Chols; it was impossible to gather them for
measurement till Sunday, when they all came to the house and the store.
It was a day of amusement and recreation for the laborers, a day when
all of them--men, women, children--drank quantities of liquor. It was
interesting to watch them as they came up to the store to make their
little purchases for the week. All were in their best clothing, and
family groups presented many interesting scenes. On Sundays and fiestas,
they play _toro_--one man creeping into a framework of light canes
covered with leather, meant to represent a bull, while others play the
part of bull-fighters. The Chols present a well-marked type. They are
short, broad-headed and dark-skinned; their noses are among the
most aquiline in Mexico. Men, especially those of Tumbala, have a
characteristic mode of cropping the hair; that on the back of the head
is cut close, leaving the hair of the forward third of the head longer.
The men are almost immediately recognized, wherever met, by the
characteristic _camisa_, made of white cotton, vertically striped with
narrow lines of pink, which is woven in the Chol towns, and does not
appear to be used by other Indians.

The doors of the hospitable home at El Triunfo are ever open, and a day
rarely passes without some traveller seeking shelter and entertainment.
Spaniards, Mexicans, Germans, Englishmen, Americans, all are welcome,
and during the few days of our stay, the house was never free of other
visitors. Among these was Stanton Morrison, famous in Yale's football
team in '92; he now lives in this district, and has a coffee _finca_
four hours' ride away.

Finally, at 10:10 Tuesday morning, April 2d, having completed all our
work, we started from El Triunfo for our last ride of the season. We
could easily have gone, starting in the early morning, to El Salto
before night; as it was, Don Enrique planned a different method. We had
good animals, which he had loaned us, or for which he had arranged for
us with the muleteers. At two o'clock we reached La Trinidad, where he
had promised that we should eat the finest meal in the State of Chiapas.
We found a complete surprise. Trinidad is little more than a _finca_,
or _rancho_, but it has an _agente_, and quite a population of Chol
indians. The _agente_ was a decent-looking fellow, active and ambitious;
he talks a little English, and is something of an amateur photographer.
His house of poles and mud presented no notable external features, but
within, it was supplied with furniture so varied and abundant as is rare
in any part of Mexico. Chairs, rockers, tables, cupboards, washstands,
all were there; and beds, real beds, which for cleanness were marvels.
As soon as we entered the house, fresh water and clean towels were
brought. On the tables were vases of fresh-gathered flowers, in
quantities, and beautifully arranged. The visible service for all this
elegance, and for the meals, were two little indian girls not more than
six or eight years old, neatly dressed, and an indian boy of the same
size and cleanness. The invisible helpers were buxom indian girls,
well-dressed and clean, but who never came into the room where we were,
leaving all carrying, setting of tables, and serving, in the hands of
these three little servants. There was, indeed, one other person in the
household--a beautiful girl, slender and refined, whose relation to
the master I do not know, but who was treated by him as if she were
a veritable queen, or some lovely flower in the wilderness. Here we
rested, ate and slept in comfort, and here, when morning came, we paid
a bill which ordinarily would have seemed large; however, if one finds
beautiful flowers in the wilderness, he must expect to pay. It was worth
while paying to enjoy the best sleep, in the best bed, that one had had
for months.

[Illustration: A CHOL FAMILY; LA TRINIDAD]

[Illustration: CHOLS; LA TRINIDAD]

The _agente_ rode with us in the morning quite a league upon our road,
to a place which he was clearing for a _milpa_. We had heard so much
of the horrors of the road to El Salto, that we were prepared for the
worst. It was not an abrupt descent, as we had expected, but for the
most part level, over black mud. There were a few ups and downs, and
there was one limestone hill with tree-ferns and begonias, and all that
that implies. Much of the way we had a drizzling rain, and everywhere
the air was hot and heavy. After four hours' riding, we stopped at ten
to eat a breakfast which we had brought with us, and then rode through
to El Salto, where we arrived at 12:30. This is the _cabecera_ of the
district, and the _jefe_ could not understand why we should continue on
our journey, as the steamer would not leave until the following day.
Don Enrique, however, had urged us not to stop at El Salto, where he
insisted the risk from yellow fever was great. He advised us to go on to
La Cruzada, where he had a house and an agent, and where, he told us,
we could arrange for sleeping and eating as comfortably, and far more
safely, than in the town. The distance was short, but the place, in
truth, was dreary. The landing was at the bottom of a little slope, at
the upper edge of which stood Don Enrique's place, the store-house of
the steamship company, the house and barnyard of the manager of the mule
trains, and one or two unattractive huts. When we arrived, we found that
the mayor domo had that day resigned, and left the place, going to El
Salto; before he left, he quarreled with the cook, and she had gone off
in high dudgeon. Two young employes, left behind, advised us to return
to El Salto until the time of embarkation. We, however, had left El
Salto behind us, and had our luggage with us, and were little inclined
to retrace our steps. After some grumbling, we were supplied with beds,
but told that the food problem was impossible. After much wheedling,
coaxing, bribing, and threatening, a woman in one of the huts promised
to cook something for us, and we had nothing more to do but wait, until
the steamer should be ready. The chief excitement of the day was when
the mule trains were driven in, towards evening. With them came a swarm
of mosquitoes, which absolutely darkened the air. Fortunately they did
not stay, but after an hour and a half of troubling, disappeared as
suddenly as they arrived. The river had fallen to that degree that it
was impossible for our steamer, the Mariscal, to come up to La Cruzada,
and we learned that it was anchored about a league down the river. A
flatboat, poled by indians, came up to the landing, ready to receive
cargo and passengers, and to transfer them to the steamer. In the
morning, the loading of the flatboat and the getting ready for
departure, took all our thought. At ten o'clock Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth,
with their baby and two servants, appeared in small canoes, which had
been poled by indians from the plantation, several hours' journey up the
Michol River. At the last moment, Mr. Ellsworth had decided to accompany
his party to the city. When everything was loaded, quite promptly,
at twelve o'clock, the flatboat pushed out from its moorings. Mr.
Ellsworth's little launch was standing at the landing, and he invited me
to ride in it, with him and Mrs. Ellsworth and the baby, to the steamer.
We started off right proudly in the Miriam, but, alas, pride goes before
destruction, and we had hardly left the heavy flatboat a little behind
us, when our machinery broke down, and we had to wait until the clumsy
scow overtook us, when we became common passengers again, and drifted
down the stream to the Mariscal, passing the Lumeha plantation, an
American enterprise.

[Illustration: CHOLS RESTING, LA TRINIDAD]

The Mariscal itself was a little steamer, too small for the passengers
and freight it had to carry. It had no beds nor cabin; it was dirty and
crowded; it had not food enough to feed the first-class passengers, who
paid twenty-five pesos each for their short journey. There was, indeed,
no other class of passengers, only one grade of tickets being sold.
When complaints were made of the accommodations, or lack of all
accommodations, the _agente_, who was on the vessel with us, expressed
surprise, and seemed profoundly hurt. The stream is full of curves and
bends, is broad, and notably uniform in breadth; it has considerable
current, and is bordered closely by the tropical forest, except where
little clearings have been made for _fincas_. Formerly, caimans, or
alligators, were common, but they have become rare, through the diligent
hunting to which they have been subjected for supplying skins. Two days
are usually taken in the journey to Frontera, though it is not a fifteen
hours' run. Mr. Ellsworth arranged for our going directly through, so
that, except one stop at a midway station, we made a continuous journey,
and drew up at Frontera at 9:50 in the morning.

It is a mean little town, but far cleaner than Coatzacoalcos. Real grass
grows there, and the little plaza is almost a lawn. Last year, when
yellow fever was so terrible at Coatzacoalcos, and when, even at El
Salto, there were forty cases, there were none here. The town is hot,
and during the two days we spent there, our chief effort was to keep
cool. The steamer, Mexico, appeared upon the 6th, planning to leave the
same day. A norther came, however, and rendered the bar impassable. In
the morning, Easter Sunday, the wind had fallen somewhat. We saw the
little celebration at the church, and, learning that the boat was likely
to leave at noon, went aboard. At one we started. Sailing down the
river, we soon found ourselves between the piers, and the moment of
test had come. At the first thump of the keel upon the sand, we doubted
whether we should pass the bar; still we kept along with steam full on
and the bow headed seaward; nine times we struck the sandy bottom, but
then found ourselves in deeper water, and were again upon the Gulf. The
Mexico was just as dirty, the food was just as bad, and the crew just as
unaccommodating, as in 1896, when we had our first experience of her.
Rather than lie in the stuffy cabin, I took my blanket out on deck, and
rolled up there for the night. Room was plenty, as there were only a
score of passengers. When we woke, the boat was standing in the harbor
of Coatzacoalcos, and we landed to eat a breakfast at the hotel. Through
the day, we wandered about town, but were again upon the vessel at four
o'clock. We now numbered about a hundred passengers, and everything was
crowded. In the company was a comic theatre troupe. The day before,
a number of the passengers had been seasick; on this occasion,
three-fourths were suffering, and the decks were a disgusting spectacle.
Still, fresh air was there, and again I made my bed on deck. In the
middle of the night, having moved slightly, I felt a sharp and sudden
pain in my right temple, exactly as if I had rolled upon a sharp, hot
tack. I had my jacket for a pillow, and thought at first that there
really was a tack in one of the pockets, and sought, but in vain, to
find it. Lying down to sleep again, I presently moved my hand over the
blanket on the deck, and suddenly, again, I felt the sharp, burning
prick, this time in my thumb. Certain that it could not be a tack this
time, I brought my hand down forcibly, and, rising, saw by the moonlight
that I had killed a large, black scorpion. For two hours the stings felt
like fire, but by morning had ceased to pain me; then I found two or
three of the other passengers suffering from similar stings, and reached
the conclusion that the Mexico was swarming with the creatures. At dawn,
we sighted Vera Cruz, and were soon in the harbor, standing at anchor;
at eight o'clock, we stood upon the wharf, and our journeys in Indian
Mexico were ended.

[Illustration: INDIAN HUT; SANTA ANITA]

[Illustration: GUADALUPE; DECEMBER 12]



CHAPTER XXVII

CONCLUSION


But it was not necessary to go to distant Oaxaca and Chiapas to find
Mexican indians. On the border of the capital city lie Santa Anita,
Iztacalco, Mexicalcingo, Ixtapalapa, and a quantity of other villages
and towns, where one may still find Aztec indians of pure blood,
sometimes speaking the old language, sometimes wearing characteristic
dress, and maintaining, to the present, many ancient practices and
customs. At Santa Anita, for example, one may eat _juiles_ and
_tamales_, catch a glimpse of indian weddings, and delight his eyes with
the fresh beauty of the _chinampas_,--wonderful spots of verdure and
flowers--the floating gardens of the ancient Aztecs. Half an hour, or
less, in the tram-car takes the traveller to Guadalupe, which may be
called the heart of Indian Mexico. There, on the rock of Tepeyac, the
Virgin appeared to Juan Diego; there, in the churches, dedicated in
honor of that apparition, thousands of indians, from leagues around,
gather yearly. On December 12, in the crowded streets of Guadalupe,
groups, fantastically garbed as indians, dance in the Virgin's honor,
and in their songs and dances, modern though they be, can be found
suggestions of the olden time. Now and then, one may witness, what I
saw in December, 1895--a group of indian pilgrims from a distant town,
singing and dancing to the Virgin, within the great church itself. And
near the high altar, where thick glass plates are set into the floor,
letting a dim light into the crypts below, one may see crowds of indians
rubbing the smooth surface with their diseased parts to effect a cure.
On the streets of the capital city, one daily sees bands of pure Otomis
in rags and filth, bringing their loads of charcoal and of corn to
market. Their ugly dark faces, their strange native dress, their harsh
language, make on the stranger an impression not easily forgotten.

Reliable figures are wanting as to the number of pure Mexican Indians.
If the population of the Republic be estimated at fifteen millions, it
should be safe to say that five millions of this number are indians
of pure blood, speaking their old language, keeping alive much of the
ancient life and thought. In some parts of Mexico, it almost seems as if
what white-blood once existed is now breeding out. The indian of Mexico
is conservative; he does not want contact with a larger world; his
village suffices for his needs; he is ready to pay taxes for the sake of
being let alone, to live in peace, after the way his fathers lived. In
his bosom there is still hatred of the white man and the _mestizo_, and
distrust of every stranger. The Chamula outbreak in 1868, and the Maya
war just ended, are examples of this smouldering hatred. Mexico has a
serious problem in its Indians; the solution of the problem has been
attempted in various ways, according to whether the population dealt
with was Totonac, Yaqui, Maya: it is no small task, to build a nation
out of an indian population.

Soon after the publication of my "Indians of Southern Mexico," I had
the pleasure of presenting a copy of the book to President Diaz, and of
looking through its pictures with him. When we came to the general view
of Yodocono, and its little lake, tears stood in the old man's eyes as
he said, "Sir, that was my mother's birthplace, and in her honor I have
established, at my own expense, two schools, one for boys, and one for
girls." Looking at the round huts of Chicahuastla, he shivered, and
remarked: "Ah, sir, but it is cold in Chicahuastla." I replied, "Your
Excellency, I see that you have been in Chicahuastla." When he saw the
Zapotec types, from the District of Tehuantepec, he said: "They are fine
large fellows; they make good soldiers; when I was Governor of Oaxaca, I
had a body-guard of them." He then told me of the six orphan boys who,
in memory of his body-guard, he had adopted and educated; he told me
with pride of the success which the five who still live had made, and
of the positions they were filling. When he reached the portrait of the
little Mixtec, carrying a sack of corn, who, with pride, had told me, in
answer to my question, that his name was Porfirio Diaz, the President
of the Republic looked long and earnestly at the picture, and I noticed
that, when we turned the pages, his finger marked the spot where the
likeness of his name-sake was, and, when the book was finished, before
closing it, he turned back again, and looked at the little fellow's
face. At the first Otomi portrait, he had said: "Ah, sir, but my schools
will change the Otomis."

It would be pleasant to have faith in President Diaz' solution of the
Otomi problem, but to me it seems doubtful. Of course, I recall with
pleasure my visit to the boys' school at San Nicolas Panotla. It was
interesting to see those little Tlaxcalan fellows solve problems in
alligation and percentage, in bonds and mortgages; but it is doubtful
whether any of them, in actual life, will have to deal with blending
coffees, or with selling bonds, and cutting coupons. Still, from such
indian towns great men have come in the past, and great men will come in
the future. Benito Juarez, who laid the foundations on which Diaz has
so magnificently built, was a pure-blood Zapotec. From the Aztecs, the
Tlaxcalans, Mixtecs, Zapotecs and Mayas, we may hope much in the future.
They were races of achievement in the past, and the monuments of their
achievement still remain. But that the Otomi, the Triqui, or the Mixe,
should be made over by the schools is doubtful. Personally, I feel that
the prosperity of Mexico rests more upon the indian blood than on any
other element of national power. That schools will do much to train the
more gifted tribes perhaps is true. But there are indians, and indians,
in Mexico.



  GLOSSARY OF SPANISH AND INDIAN WORDS

  abusos.   abuses, disturbances.
  adios.   adieu, good-bye.
  agente.   agent.
  agua.   water.
  agua bendita.   blessed water.
  agua miel.   lit. honey water, the unfermented juice of the maguéy.
  aguardiente.   a spirituous liquor.
  aguas frescas.   refreshing drinks.
  ahuacate.   a fruit, the alligator pear.
  aje, or axe.   an insect; a greasy mass, yielding a lacquer-like lustre.
  alcalde.   a town judge.
  arbol.   tree.
  arriero.   a convoyer of loaded mules or horses.
  atole.   a corn gruel.
  autorizada.   authorized, having authority.
  axolotl.   a water salamander, with peculiar life-history.
  ayatl, or ayate.   a carry-cloth.
  barranca.   a gorge, or gully.
  bruja.   witch.
  brujería.   witchcraft.
  burro.   ass.
  cabecera.   the head-town of a district.
  cafe.   coffee.
  caiman.   a reptile much like an alligator.
  camarón.   shrimp.
  camisa.   shirt.
  cantera, cantero.   a water-jar, or pitcher.
  cargador.   carrier.
  carreta.   cart.
  carretero.   a carter.
  cascarón.   an eggshell filled with bits of cut paper.
  catalán.   a wine, named from a Spanish town.
  cenote.   a cave with water.
  centavo.   a coin, the one-hundredth part of a peso; a cent.
  chac mool.   a stone figure, found at Chichen Itza, Yucatan.
  chalupa.   a boat-shaped crust with meat or vegetables in it.
  chamara.   a blanket for wearing.
  champurrado.   a mixture, as of atole and chocolate.
  chapapote.   chewing-gum.
  chicha.   an intoxicant made from sugar-cane.
  chicle.   chewing-gum.
  chinampa.   "floating garden," a garden patch.
  chirimiya.   a shrill musical instrument, somewhat
  like a fife or flageolet.
  chirimoya.   the custard-apple.
  cigarro.   cigarette.
  cincalótl, cincalote.   granary.
  clarín.   a bird, with clear note.
  cochero.   coachman.
  colorín.   a tree.
  comiteco.   a spirits made at Comitan.
  Conquista.   Conquest.
  copal.   a gum, much used as incense.
  coro.   loft.
  corral.   an enclosure for animals.
  costumbre.   custom.
  cotón, cotones.   a man's upper garment, a sort of poncho.
  cuartel.   barracks.
  cuezcomátl, cuezcomate.   granary.
  cura.   parish priest.
  curato.   parish house.
  danza.   dance.
  doctrina.   doctrine, catechism.
  don.   Mr., used only when the Christian name of a person is spoken.
  dulce.   sweet, sweetmeat.
  dulcero.   maker or seller of sweets.
  dulceria.   sweetmeat factory.
  enagua.   woman's skirt.
  enchilada.   a fried tortilla with chili and cheese.
  feria.   fair.
  fiesta.   festival.
  finca.   farm, plantation.
  firma.   signature.
  fiscal.   fiscal officer,
  frijol, frijoles.   bean, beans,
  golondrina.   swallow,
  gramatica.   grammar.
  gringo.   somewhat derisive term applied to foreigners,
  especially Americans.
  guardia.   guard.
  hacienda.   a country-place.
  haciendado, haciendero.   the owner of an hacienda.
  hennequín.   a plant producing fibre, sisal hemp.
  hermita.   a retired shrine.
  herrería.   smithy, forge, ironworks.
  h'men.   conjuror.
  huehuetes.   the old ones.
  huehuetl, huehuete.   the ancient upright drum.
  huerfano.   orphan.
  huipíl, huipili.   a woman's waist garment.
  huipilili.   a woman's waist garment, worn under the huipíl.
  idioma.   idiom, language.
  incomunicado.   solitary, not allowed communication.
  itinerario.   itinerary.
  itztli.   obsidian.
  ixtli.   fibre from the maguéy and cactus.
  jacál.   a hut.
  jarabe.   a popular dance.
  jícara.   a gourd-cup, or vessel.
  jonote.   a tree.
  Jornada.   a day's march.
  juez.   judge.
  ke'esh.   a votive figure.
  ladino.   a mestizo, a person not Indian.
  ladrón, ladrones.   thief, thieves.
  liana.   vine.
  licenciado.   lawyer.
  lima.   a fruit, somewhat like an insipid orange.
  lindas.   pretty (girls).
  llano.   a grassy plain.
  machete.   a large knife.
  maestro.   teacher, a master in any trade.
  maguéy.   a plant, the century plant or agave, yielding pulque.
  mai, pelico.   tobacco, mixed with chili and lime.
  malacátl, malacate.   spindle-whorl.
  malinche.   malinche.
  maméy.   a fruit, orange flesh and brown exterior.
  manta.   cotton-cloth, a woman's dress.
  mañana.   to-morrow.
  mapachtl.   a small animal, perhaps the raccoon or badger.
  mapaho.   beating-sticks, for cleaning cotton.
  mayores.   chiefs, village elders, police.
  medio.   six centavos.
  meson.   a house for travellers.
  mescal.   a spirits, made from an agave.
  mestizo.   a person of mixed blood.
  metate.   stone upon which corn is ground.
  milagro.   miracle.
  milpa.   cornfield.
  mogote.   a mound or tumulus.
  mole.   a stew, highly seasoned with chili.
  mole prieto.   black mole.
  moral.   a tree, mulberry.
  mozo.   a young man, a servant.
  mudo.   mute, dumb.
  mulada.   a mule train.
  muñeco.   doll, figure.
  municipio.   town, town-government, town-house.
  nacimiento.   an arrangement of figures and grotto-work,
  made at Christmastide.
  nada.   nothing.
  naguál.   conjuror.
  negrito.   (diminutive) negro.
  nublina.   mist, fog.
  ocote.   pine-tree, splinter of pine.
  otro.   other.
  padre.   father, priest.
  padrecito.   priest.
  país.   country, esp. one's native town.
  panela.   sugar in cake or loaf.
  papaya.   a fruit.
  pastorela.   a drama relative to the Nativity.
  pastores.   shepherds.
  patio.   inside court of house.
  pelico, mai.   tobacco, with chili and lime.
  peso.   a money denomination, one hundred centavos, one dollar.
  petate.   mat.
  pinolillo.   a species of tick.
  pinto.   a disease, spotted skin.
  pita.   a fibre.
  pitero.   a fifer.
  pito.   fife.
  plaza.   town square.
  portales.   a building with corridor in front.
  posol, posole.   corn prepared to carry on journey, for mixing with
water.
  prefecto.   prefect.
  presidente.   president.
  principales.   principal men, councillors.
  pueblito.   small pueblo, village.
  pulque.   an intoxicant, made from maguéy sap.
  quichiquemil.   a woman's upper garment.
  rancho.   a country-place.
  ranchito.   a small ranch.
  rebozo.   a woman's garment, a wrap or light shawl.
  regidor.   alderman.
  remedio.   remedy.
  sangre.   blood.
  santo, santito.   saint.
  señor.   sir, gentleman.
  señora.   madam, lady.
  señorita.   Miss, young woman.
  serape.   a blanket, for wearing.
  sindico.   recorder.
  soltero.   an unmarried man.
  sombrero.   hat.
  subida.   ascent.
  tabla.   board.
  tamales.   dumplings of corn-meal.
  tambour.   drum.
  tatita.   papa.
  tepache.   a fermented drink.
  teponastl, teponaste.   the ancient horizontal drum.
  tienda.   store, shop.
  tierra caliente.   hot country.
  tigre.   tiger, jaguar.
  tinaja.   water-jar.
  topil.   a messenger or police.
  toro.   bull.
  tortillas.   corn-cakes, cooked on a griddle.
  tortuga.   turtle.
  tsupakwa.   dart-thrower.
  ule.   rubber.
  vaca.   cow.
  vámonos.   come on, we are going.
  viejos.   old.
  vomito.   yellow fever.
  xalama.   a tree.
  xtól, xtoles.   a dancer, or dancers (see Mérida, narrative).
  zacate, sacate.   hay, fodder.



ITINERARY


The expedition of 1896 was preliminary. We went by rail from the City
of Mexico to Oaxaca, capital of the state of the same name. Thence, we
journeyed by horse through the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, to the city
of Guatemala, entering the Republic of Guatemala at Nenton. The return
journey was made by rail to the Pacific port of San Jose, steamer to
Salina Cruz, rail to Coatzacoalcos, steamer to Vera Cruz, and rail to
the City of Mexico. Only the portion of this journey between Oaxaca and
Nenton is here described, the rest not lying in Indian Mexico. The City
of Mexico was headquarters for the work in 1897-98. A trip was made by
rail from there to Dos Rios, to measure and photograph the Otomis of
Huixquilucan, in the state of Mexico. Thence we went to Patzcuaro by
rail, and studied the Tarascans in the villages about Lake Patzcuaro,
visiting these by canoe-trips. We then made a trip on horseback to
Uruapan (then without rail connection), returning by some important
indian towns. After returning to Mexico, we visited the states of
Tlaxcala and Puebla. In and around the City of Tlaxcala, we secured
our Tlaxcalan subjects. At Cuauhtlantzinco, we worked upon Aztecs. Our
experiences at this large town of Puebla are not described, as Bandelier
has already rendered the place familiar, and we ourselves have written
of it elsewhere. With these two peoples, we made our first essays
at bust-making. After returning to Mexico, we went by rail, on the
Guadalajara branch of the Mexican Central, to Negrete. From there, by
coach (there being then no railroad) to Zamora. Thence, we struck, on
horseback, through the Tarascan territory, across to Patzcuaro. On the
way, we secured our full series of Tarascan busts, at the Once Pueblos.
By rail, we went from Patzcuaro to Dos Rios, to secure our lacking busts
of Otomis at Huixquilucan. In the second field expedition, January to
March 1899, we worked entirely in the state of Oaxaca. At first a trip
was made, by horse, from Oaxaca into the Mixteca Alta, where Mixtecs and
Triquis were studied. Again starting from Oaxaca, we traveled over our
old trails of 1896, through the mountains to Tehuantepec, returning
by the high-road in common use. Zapotecs were studied at Mitla and
Tehuantepec, and the Mixes, Juaves, and Chontals in various towns and
villages. The season's work closed by our study, at and near Cuicatlan,
of the Cuicatecs. At this town, too, we began to work upon Chinantecs.
In the third field expedition, during the early months of 1900, we
visited seven populations, making our regular study upon six of them. To
fill a week that would otherwise have been lost, we made a pedestrian
trip through the interesting indian towns on the slopes of Malintzi.
Then, from Cuicatlan as a center, we made two journeys--one to San Juan
Zautla and San Pedro Soochiapan, to examine Chinantecs; the other to
Coixtlahuaca, for seeing Chochos. From Cuicatlan, we struck north by
rail to San Antonio, and, by coach to Teotitlan del Camino and by horse
beyond, penetrated to the great Mazatec town of Huauhtla. Chinantecs,
Chochos, and Mazatecs are tribes of Oaxaca. Leaving that state, we
traveled by rail to Tulancingo. From there, by coach and on horseback,
we visited Otomi, Aztec, Tepehua and Totonac towns in the states of
Puebla and Hidalgo. With the field season of 1901, our work in Indian
Mexico ended. It was pursued in three separated areas. From the City of
Mexico, we went by rail to Tampico. From that point, a journey by canoe
and horse enabled us to see the Huaxtecs of the state of Vera Cruz.
Returning to Tampico, a trip by steamer across the gulf brought us to
Yucatan. Progreso and Mérida were visited, and our work was done upon
the Mayas living near the town of Tekax. A second trip on the gulf
brought us to Coatzacoalcos, whence the railroad was used to Tehuantepec
and San Geronimo. From the latter point, an ox-cart journey of ten
nights, across the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, brought us to Tuxtla
Gutierrez. By horse we continued through Chiapas to El Salto, where we
took steamer for Frontera. From there, by steamer to Vera Cruz and then
by rail, we traveled to the City of Mexico. Zoques, Tzotzils, Tzendals,
and Chols were studied in this portion of the journey.



APPENDIX

STARR IN OLD MEXICO


Oaxaca, Mexico, March 1.--Prof. Frederick Starr, of the University
of Chicago, is deep in the midst of his savages. He is manipulating
primitive town governments, wielding the authority of federal and state
governments, county police, and that of the clergy as well. He is
threatening, cajoling, clapping in jail, when necessary, and in general
conquering his series of strange nations. I found him doing all this,
and more, in a little native village fifty miles from the city of
Oaxaca, Feb. 2nd. The fat little man was complete master of the Zapotec
town of Mitla, far distant from the end of the last of the railroads,
a town famous for its ruins. He bustled about like a captain in a war
haste, dressed in a massive Indian sombrero, from which a white string
floated picturesquely behind, a necktie of slim, dusty black, which
seemed not to have been unknotted for many a day, a shirt less
immaculate than the one he may wear at the entertainment shortly to
be given him in London, and no coat. The professor's trousers are not
Indian. They are farm trousers, of an original type, with double seat
for the saddle.

The professor's blood was up. A grand native feast--in which drunken
dances, bull-fights, and a state of accumulated irresponsibility are the
rule--had delayed him three days. The Indians could no more be measured
and "busted"--as the professor calls the making of plaster casts--than
could the liquor they had drunk. After three days of pleading,
threatening, and berating, in which orders from every government and
church official in the country, from lowest to highest, had failed,
Prof. Starr seized the black-bearded and wiry president of the town
council, the chief potentate of the reeling set, called him a drunken
scoundrel, threatened in deep seriousness to imprison every man in the
town, and finally won his point--but not until the feast was done. When
feasts are over, the people are kindly, suave, gracious.

Then the professor corralled those he wanted. He was to measure for
scientific purposes 100 of the Indians, in the order in which they
chanced to present themselves. After such wheedling as it must have
taken infinite practice to acquire--pattings of the Zapotec
back, hugging of the men, chucking the children, with elaborate
explanations--the thing "took" and the people fell into the spirit of
it. The jail was the only accessible building, and was strangely empty.
It was of adobe, a jail of one room, with a dirt floor. There were no
windows, only the single barred door.

From every cane-walled, thatched, tropical hut that helps to make the
irregular cluster around the central plaza and its adjoining bull ring
they came, if not to be measured, to see. They were driven by the
highest of the town authorities--for every element of the population
waited on the bidding of the little sugar-tongued professor from the
north--one by one into the jail, and the rest curiously watched. The
measuring was done without undressing, but the "busting" was the point
of chief interest. Five representative specimens had been carefully
selected for this purpose. They were won slowly, by the glitter of 75
cents of Mexican silver. In some towns, only 50 cents was required, and
in others, $1. The smirking Indian, with his wildness hidden away, or
only peeping from his eye, entered. He disrobed with no shame. He was
put flat on the floor, face down, on a little piece of matting. At
this stage some objected. Then the Anglo-Saxon was down on the floor,
wheedling, talking such sweetness as can be spoken without silliness
only in the Spanish tongue.

The victim finally consents. Then the Mexican plaster worker, who has
followed the caravan from its start, goes to work. He makes a cast of
the back of the head and shoulders, and the Indian is turned over,
face up. Another cast of the breast and neck and chin is made, and yet
another of the front half of the head and the face, with little tubes
for breathing sticking through it. The Indian has grunted, snorted,
laughed and squirmed, but he has been made to understand that he must
be still. That great 75 cents is held always over him, and the thing is
accomplished.

During all the process, the crowd of Indians about and in the jail was
eager-eyed and astonished. The women wear odd woolen, blanket-like
skirts of red or black, folded in two great plaits down the front. The
dress does not reach the ankles, and the feet are bare. They carry the
baby on the back, wound in the rebozo, with its bare legs straddling
her and sticking out. The men wear a sandal quite different from the
ordinary Mexican footgear.

Of the 100 that were to be measured, Jose was one. Jose was of a better
family, a character in the town, and proud. He rebelled. This breach of
the professor's authority could not be allowed. Jose was summoned by the
president of the town, the honeyed, affable "Señor Presidente," the same
who had been called the drunken scoundrel, now accommodating, a true and
emotional friend. Jose sent a thousand excuses, and finally defiance.

"That man," cried the professor, showing his writ of authority from the
_jefe politico_ of the district, "I order to be arrested."

Jose did not flee. He was found next morning in the bull ring riding a
bull. He was arrested by the Chicagoan's orders, and taken to jail. He
was peremptorily ordered by the professor to appear for the measurement.
He escaped, and again defied the powers. He was again caught, and it was
explained to him by the president that this man of might from the beyond
had sworn to drag Jose with him all the way across this wild country
slowly to Tehuantepec, thence back to the city of Oaxaca, where the
state authorities would deal most painfully with him. And this, indeed,
in mighty manner and impressively, had the "man from the beyond" sworn
to do. Jose came and was measured, and I afterward saw him calling to
the professor to come and take a jolly drink out of the gourd he was
shaking at him, in the manner of a comrade.

In the afternoon, the work being done, the civilities and sugared
conduct must be continued, with a view to future visits. The professor
wanted to enter the church, which, though modern, stands in the
middle of one of the mysterious ruins. The church was locked, and the
mayor-domo not to be found.

"But I must photograph a strange picture you have in there."

"The mayor-domo is drunk, at your service, my most excellent friend,"
replied the president, sympathetically. "I am sorry, but he got under
the influence three days ago at the beginning of the feast, and he has
slept ever since. Ah, the mayor-domo is sleeping now, my excellent
friend, and he has the keys."

"You shall send a boy into the tower to ring the bell and wake the
mayor-domo," cried the professor.

The crowd sat on the stone steps, the bell was pealed, and at last the
church was opened, and the picture photographed.

The procession then moved to the top of an ancient pyramid, in which
tombs have been opened, and bones and gold ornaments found. The
professor dashed through all the tunnels, with the government after
him, before mounting to the top. On top a strange conversation was held
between the professor and the president and secretary. They appealed to
this northern man, who seemed to have all earthly authority back of him,
to grant them one longed-for boon. Would he not please speak, when he
returned to the capital, to the minister of encouragement, that he send
them a brass band! They wanted to welcome northern visitors to the ruins
with modern music.

"You have great power. You need but to ask of those in Mexico and the
band will come. Most beloved friend, oh, most excellent professor from
the far north, give to us a brass band!" And the professor promised to
speak to Minister Leal about it. Then, too, the beastly state government
was dragging some of their precious ruins away to put in a museum. Would
the professor please have the kindness to stop this? The professor
promised to do what he could, and he was hugged and blessed and patted
by the simple people.

Prof. Starr began his ethnological studies to westward of Oaxaca. Mitla
is eastward. In the west, he visited two tribes--the Mixtecas and the
Triquis. The latter are a branch of the former, but much different,
living in round bamboo huts, surprisingly like those of some African
tribes. He secured two excellent casts of the Triquis, and three of the
Mixtecas. He intended to take five of each tribe he visited, but his
plaster failed to arrive. He studies the languages, also, as he goes,
and finds many varying dialects, from each of which he secures a
test vocabulary of 200 words. He is now approaching the Mixes, the
"cannibals." All the City of Mexico papers laugh at the idea of his
encountering the slightest danger, and the professor himself scoffs at
it. He believes some of the Mixes have, within forty years, eaten human
flesh, but he says he is certain they are harmless now.

CHARLES F. EMBREE. [From _The Chicago Record_: March 24, 1899.]



THE PURPLE SPOT ON MAYA BABIES


When I was in Yucatan in 1901 the parish priest of Texax told me that it
was said that every pure blood Maya Indian has a violet or purple spot
on his back, in the sacral region. He stated that this spot was called
by the native name, uits, "bread," and that it was vulgar or insulting
to make reference to it. I at once examined three Mayas of pure blood--a
boy of ten years and two adult males--but found no trace of such a
spot. I concluded that the presence of the spot might be an infantile
character, as it is among the Japanese, but at that time I had no
opportunity to examine Maya babies.

Dr. Baelz, a German physician, who has spent many years in Japan, long
ago called attention to the existence of such spots on Japanese infants.
The spots described by him were of a blue or purple color, were located
upon the back (especially in the sacral region), and were variable in
form and size. They were temporary, disappearing at from two to eight
years of age. The occurrence of these infantile color blotches was so
common in Japan as to be almost characteristic of the race.

In time, other students reported similar spots on other Asiatic babies,
and on non-Asiatic babies of Mongolian or Mongoloid peoples. Chinese,
Annamese, Coreans, Greenland Eskimos, and some Malays are now known to
have such spots. Sacral spots have also been reported among Samoans and
Hawaiians.

Practically, all these people belong to the great yellow race, as
defined by De Quatrefages, and are, if not pure representatives of that
race, mixed bloods, in part, of it. Baelz and some other writers have,
therefore, gone so far as to consider the purple sacral spot a mark
peculiar to that race, and to believe its occurrence proof of Mongolian
origin. They have asked whether the spot occurs among American Indians,
and would consider its occurrence evidence of an Asiatic origin for
our native tribes. Satisfactory observations had not been made. Baelz
himself found two cases among Vancouver Island Indians.

In my recent trip to Mexico I planned to look for this spot among
several Indian tribes. Out of six populations that I expected to visit I
really saw but two--the Aztecs and the Mayas. I do not believe that
the sacral spot exists among Aztecs. I made no search, because
Aztec friends, who would be sure to know, all agreed in denying its
occurrence. Among the Mayas, the case is different. In the little Maya
town of Palenque I examined all the pure blood babies. The back of the
first little creature bared for my inspection bore a clearly defined,
dark blue-purple spot, just where it might be expected. The spot was
almost two inches wide and nearly three-fourths of an inch high. The
child was a boy of eight months. A brother, two years old, showed no
trace of the spot, but the mother says it was formerly well defined.

Every one of the seven pure Maya babies, below ten months old, in the
town was purple-spotted. A pair of boy twins, two months old, were
marked in precisely the same place with pale blue-purple spots, of the
same size and form. In one boy of ten months the spot seemed to be
disappearing and was represented by three ill-defined and separated
blotches. In the village, there were three babies of suitable age, but
of mixed--Spanish-Maya--blood; no one of these showed any trace of the
colored spot. We may say, then, that in Palenque every Maya baby below
ten months of age was sacral spotted, and that no Mestizo baby was.

Does this prove that the Mayas are Asiatics by ancestry? The daily press
asserts that I make that claim; it is mistaken. I am free to say I don't
know what to do with my spotted Maya babies. I presume that Baelz will
cousin them with his little Japanese.

FREDERICK STARR. From _The Chicago Tribune_: January 11, 1903.



  INDEX

  abandoned river course, 374.
  acacia, 97, 216.
  Acala, 48, 361.
  Agua Bendita (Chiapa), 44, 348.
  Agua Bendita (Mex.), 64.
  agua miel, 61.
  aguardiente, 255.
  Aguazotepec, 240.
  aje, 45: insect, 46; 79.
  Ajuno, 76, 84, 107.
  Akxotla, 191.
  alcaldes indios, 357.
  alligators, 277, 290.
  Ancona, Bishop, 300.
  antiquities, 116, 223, 230, 239, 288, 345.
  ant--foraging, 289;
  --honey, 190.
  apparition of the Virgin, 395.
  Aranza, 82.
  arbol huerfano, 196.
  arriero--tardy, 271;
  --unreliable, 358;
  --abandons us, 385.
  Arroyo--Jefe, 247.
  Atla, 245;
  carry-sacks, 256;
  costume, 256;
  witchcraft, 256.
  Atlihuitzia--Santa Maria, 195.
  axolotl, 64.
  ayate, 58, 267, 271.
  Ayutla, 23, 149.
  Aztec, 242, 279, 281, 283, 285, 397;
  breakfast, 196.

  babies--carrying, 267;
  --care of, 57.
  bamboo, 289.
  band--Huauhtla, 237;
  --honors us, 124.
  bandolier, 318.
  Barela, Sr. and Sra., 189.
  bark-paper, 245, 246, 268.
  Baron, 293, 320.
  barranca, 190,191, 214, 280, 363.
  Barrios--Pedro, 230.
  basalt, 196, 249.
  battle of flowers, 321.
  begonia, 246.
  Belen, 194.
  bells--pottery, 112.
  Benito Juarez--steamer, 293.
  Bernal Diaz, 91.
  bishop--Mérida, 300.
  blackflies, 343.
  Blanco--Juan, 303, 316.
  blessing--a mother's, 111.
  bloom--trees, 340, 364.
  Boca del Rio--rancho, 168.
  books--Mixe, 155;
  --Mixtec, 141;
  Zapotec, 165.
  bowls--calabash, 353.
  boxes--scarce, 370.
  boy--work of, 35, 37;
  --and iguana, 54.
  breech-clout, 344.
  bridge--covered, 77;
  --of vines, 32, 207.
  Brinton, 374.
  bromelias, 22, 27, 126, 154, 199, 207, 219, 232.
  bruhería, 246, 256, 376.
  bull met, 214.
  burning fields, 374, 376.
  bust-making, 65, 99, 104, 146, 234, 382.
  de Butrie--M. and Mme., 235, 236, 237.

  cactus, 8, 11, 181, 182, 217, 329;
  --pitahaya, 96.
  Cahuantzi--Gov. Prospero, 85, 94, 193.
  caimans, 290.
  cairn, 218.
  calabashes, 314.
  caladium, 201, 249.
  calandria, 334.
  Calistro--Antonio, 61.
  camalpa, 191.
  camarón, 276.
  Camotlan, 32, 155.
  camp--traveller's, 178.
  Campeche, 306, 355;
  --banks, 295.
  canal, 291.
  Cancuc, 365, 366, 371, 374;
  --outbreak, 374;
  --reception, 375;
  --music, 376;
  --dress, 377.
  Candaleria--Maria, 374.
  canoes, 275, 289, 360;
  --Tarascan, 68;
  --travel, 277;
  --empty, 292.
  Canton--Gov. Francisco, 300, 301, 355.
  Capacuaro, 78, 80.
  Carapan, 104.
  Carizal, 342.
  carnival, 239, 317, 318, 321, 324.
  Carrera, 52.
  carretero, 333, 334, 342, 343;
  --camping, 338.
  carriers, 53, 54.
  --small, but devoted, 384,386;
  --trouble, 206.
  carry-frame, 243.
  carts, 95, 333.
  cart-road, 45, 48, 139, 342.
  Carvajal, 179.
  cascades, 262.
  cascarones, 239.
  Castle, Dr., 164, 165, 170, 328, 329.
  Castolo--Zapotec boy, 35, 159.
  cattle, among Juaves, 168;
  --loading, 294;
  driving, 348.
  cave, near Comitan, 50;
  --witch's, near Atla, 256;
  --near Pantepec, 269;
  near Tekax, 313, 314.
  cave formations, 315.
  cave--hat-makers, 224.
  celebration--St. Martin's eve, 62.
  cemetery--visits to, 165.
  Cempoalteca--family, 92.
  cempoalxochil, 257.
  cenotes, 297, 316.
  chacalacca, 334, 343.
  chacmool, 319.
  chalcedony, 38, 139.
  chamara, 366, 367.
  champurado, 196.
  Chamula, 45, 365, 366, 367, 371;
  --outbreak, 366, 396.
  chapapote, 288, 291, 292.
  chavacanes, 287.
  Checheb, 366.
  Cheran, 78, 82, 106.
  chert, 129.
  Chiapa, 45, 353, 360, 361, 364;
  --lacquer, 45.
  Chiapanecs, 361.
  Chiapas, 293, 340;
  --Indians, 44.
  Chicago Record, 405;
  --Tribune, 411.
  Chicahuastla, 131, 396;
  --an afternoon in, 133.
  chicha, 377.
  Chichen-Itza, 318.
  Chila, 7, 10.
  Chilchota, 98.
  child--deserted, 136;
  --grateful, 164.
  Chilon, 379.
  chinampas, 395.
  Chinantecs, 210;
  --land of, 212.
  chirimiya--Mitla, 18;
  --Los Reyes, 91.
  Chochos, 218, 226;
  hats, 224.
  Chols, 380, 389;
  --dress, 389;
  --laborers, 384;
  --type, 389.
  Cholula, 108.
  Chontals, 173;
  --type, 175.
  Christmas celebration, 71.
  church of the thieves, 63.
  la Cienega, 349.
  cincalote, 60.
  circus, 42.
  Citala, 378.
  Citlaltepec, 277, 279.
  clays, 128.
  cleanliness of person, 297.
  climate--results, 306.
  cloud-effects, 196;
  --lake, 26;
  --cataract, 28.
  coach--unreliable, 228, 229;
  --well-loaded, 315;
  --fictitious, 331.
  Coatlan, 34, 157.
  Coatzacoalcos, 293, 325, 326, 331, 351, 393.
  cochero--troublesome, 242.
  cockroaches, 378.
  cocoa palms, 169, 181.
  cocoles, 287.
  coffee, 155;
  --plantation, 387;
  --essence, 204.
  Coixtlahuaca, 220, 224, 226;
  --hat-making, 224;
  --celebration, 224.
  color-massing of flowers, 212.
  colorín tree, 268.
  comales, 127.
  Comitan, 51.
  comiteco, 51.
  condolence--visit, 174.
  conglomerate, 181, 182, 377.
  Conkal, 297.
  contract-labor system, 384, 388.
  convent-church, 140.
  cook-house, 88.
  cooking, 339.
  copal, 252.
  Cordoba woman, 217, 227.
  Cordova--Javier, 128, 135.
  corpse rejected, 189.
  Cortez' trail, 196.
  cosmopolitan group, 325.
  costumbre-annual,--Otomi, 250;
  --Totonac, 252.
  costume, 242;
  --Juave, 169;
  --Mazateco, 221;
  --Mixtec, 127;
  --Otomi, 58, 258;
  --Totonac, 252;
  --Tzotzil, 49;
  --Zapotec, 40, 177.
  cotones--see costume.
  cotton--beating, 202.
  counterfeiters in Tlaxcala, 94.
  couple--mysterious, 354.
  Coyotepec, 113.
  crabs, 326.
  Cristobal martyr boy, 195.
  crosses, 269.
  crucified child, 366.
  la Cruzada, 387, 391;
  --unsettled conditions, 391.
  Cuaquitepec, 377, 378.
  Cuauhtepec, 251.
  cuezcomate, 88, 190.
  Cuezcomate--the, 189.
  Cuicatlan, 181, 198, 215, 227.
  Culin--Mr., 263, 269.
  Cuquila, 129, 137.
  customs-house, 295.
  cycle superstition, 139.
  cypress, 139.

  dance wands, 257.
  dancers, 317, 325.
  danza, 265, 268;
  --de la Conquista, 30;
  --de los Negros, 287;
  --de los mestizos, 325.
  date palm, 126.
  deaf-mutism, 48, 49, 79, 205.
  December, 12, 395.
  deer, 43.
  deformity, 155.
  Diaz--President Porfirio, ix, 396, 397.
  Diego--Juan, 395.
  disaster to plates, 365.
  distance marks, 309.
  distilleries, 51, 315.
  disturbance--village, 202.
  Doña Cecilia, 293.
  Dos Rios, 56.
  doves, 219, 288.
  dragon-tree, 246.
  drinking, 207.
  drunken officials, 24, 25, 29, 71, 72, 80, 144, 201;
  --visitor, 335.
  ducks, 278.
  dulces, 314.
  dynamiting streams, 251, 360.

  eagle, 166, 219.
  earthquake, 137, 138;
  --Tehuantepec, 161;
  Papalo, 183.
  echo, 90.
  eggs, 159.
  Ellsworth Mr., 385, 392.
  Embree Mr., 410.
  enagua, see costume.
  enchiladas, 286.
  Esperanza mule-line, 7.
  Espindola, Sr., 331, 332, 333.
  Espinola--Macario, 120.
  Etla, 116.
  Expeditions, vii.
  Eurosa--Sr., 246.
  Eustasio, our carretero, 333, 334, 336, 340, 341, 344, 347, 348,
  349, 352, 379.
  excitement--political, 191, 193.
  exorbitant charges, 8, 9;
  --Ixcuintepec, 33;
  --Xalapa, 174;
  --Tequixistlan, 175;
  --Tulancingo, etc., 241;
  --Huachinango, 243;
  --Huehuetla, 271.

  faja--see costume.
  fans used in dance, 318.
  feather-work, 82.
  Feb. 5, celebration, 224.
  female beauty, 352.
  feria at Comitan, 51.
  ferns, 23, 27, 44, 154, 199, 207, 249.
  Fernandez--Leandro, x.
  Fernandez--Sr., 320, 323.
  fever, 151, 387.
  fiesta--San Marcos, 31.
  fishes, 317.
  fishing--night, 265;
  --handnets, 266;
  dynamite, 360.
  flight of the Virgin, 196.
  floats in procession, 319.
  flora, 201, 249, 262, 296;
  --contrast on two slopes, 23, 154, 199, 232;
  --curious assemblage, 118;
  --land of Mixes, 22;
  --tropical, 387.
  flowering shrubs, 22.
  fog, 27, 126, 132.
  forest fire, 34.
  Frank, 189, 192, 200, 209, 213, 216.
  Frontera, 393.
  frost, 245, 251.
  fugitive Jefe, 136.
  funeral--an interrupted, 125;
  --timely, 180;
  --procession, 199, 332.

  Gillow--Archbishop Eulogio, 3, 6
  glossary, 399.
  god-house, 88.
  Godinez--Ramon, viii, 200, 209, 272, 273, 276, 308, 313, 319,
  324, 332, 335, 349, 382, 383.
  goitre, 48, 49, 79, 155.
  gold coins worn, 40, 52, 353.
  Gonzales--Manuel, viii, 108-111, 115, 156, 166, 171, 184, 189,
  194, 198, 200, 209, 210, 241, 273, 276, 289, 290, 324, 330, 334,
  348, 349.
  Gonzales--Gov. Martin, vii, 114.
  Grabic--Louis, viii, 189, 192, 198, 200, 209, 210, 241, 273, 276,
  306, 313, 318, 329, 348.
  granary, 60, 88, 190.
  granite, 38.
  greetings--New Year, 114.
  grippe, 186.
  Guadalupe, 395.
  Guadalupe, our cook at Tancoco, 284, 286.
  guamara, 280.
  Guatemala, 43, 52, 340;
  --money, 51.
  Gutierrez Zamora, 281.
  Guviño, 41, 333.
  Guzman--Gamboa, 301.

  hairless dog, 330.
  hares, 171.
  hats, 127, 224, 284.
  hauling timber, 95.
  hennequín, 296;
  --treatment, 309.
  Herman, 1, 5, 9.
  herons, 278, 291.
  Hidalgo--steamer, 325.
  high-road, 40, 173.
  h'men, 307, 310.
  honey-wine, 191.
  horse falls, 218;
  --ill, 115, 178, 179.
  hot springs, 96.
  houses--Aztec, 283;
  --Huaxtec, 284;
  --Tarascan, 97;
  --Totonac, 268.
  Hrdlicka--his work, v.
  Huachinango, 242.
  Huaclilla, 119.
  Huancito, 99.
  Huauhtla--view, 232;
  --town, 233;
  --trade, 235;
  --labor ideas, 235.
  Huautla, 218.
  Huaxteca verucruzana, 274;
  --potosina, 274.
  Huaxtecs, 261, 274, 279, 281;
  --character, 285;
  --type, 286.
  huehuetes=los viejos, 243.
  huehuetl, 91;
  --(wrongly so-called), 287, 318, 358, 376.
  Huehuetla, 247, 261, 263.
  Huejutla, 283.
  Huilotepec, 166, 328, 330, 331.
  huipíl, huipili, see costume.
  huitzatl, 191.
  Huixquilucan, 56, 59, 245;
  --thieves, 63.
  Huixtan, 366.
  Humboldt--Alexander, at Tule, 16.
  husband--devoted, 186.
  husk-stacks, 60.
  Hyde, Dr. George B., 15.

  idols, 253.
  Ignacio--boy at Chilchota, 102.
  iguana, 54, 327.
  imbecility, 48, 205.
  incense, 368.
  indian government, 49, 357.
  Indian Mexico, v. 396.
  injured carter, 336.
  interpreter--false, 383.
  irrigation, 96.
  Irvine, Captain, 294.
  Isidro--uncle, 193.
  Itztlis, 240.
  Ixcotla, 193.
  Ixcoyotla (bark paper), 268.
  Ixcuintepec, 33, 156, 157.
  Ixhuatlan, 338, 340.
  Ixtaltepec, 333.
  Ixtapa, 363, 373.
  ixtli, 58, 59.
  Ixtacalco, 395.
  Ixtapalapa, 395.

  Jacona, 98.
  jail--San Cristobal, 367.
  Janicho, 74.
  Japanese, 41.
  javali, 334.
  jefe politico--drunk, 328;
  --inefficient, 182, 185, 198, 216;
  --his relation to his people, vii;
  --as peacemaker, 353;
  --of Tuxtla Gutierrez, 356;
  --of Tulancingo--natural son of, 247.
  Jiquipilas, 43, 349.
  jonote, 246, 269.
  Jornada, 338.
  Juanico, 179.
  Juarez--President Benito, 397.
  Juaves, 164, 165, 168, 331, 337, 338;
  --type, 169;
  --night-watch, 170;
  --singing, 171.
  Juchitan, 41, 161, 333, 338, 343;
  --trader, 170.
  juiles, 395.
  Juquila (Mixe), 29, 151.
  Juxtlahuaca--Jefe of, 136.

  Kan--Modesto, 312.
  ke'esh, 305.
  kingfisher, 291.

  labor congress, 45.
  laborers for Yucatan, 294.
  lacquer--Chiapa, 45, 361;
  --Uruapang.
  lagoons, 276, 277, 290, 336.
  Lake Chapala, 68;
  --Patzcuaro, 68, 76.
  landslide, 181.
  Lang,--Charles B., viii, 115, 179, 184.
  leaf-water, 193.
  Leal--Manuel, Fernandez, ix.
  Leandro, secretario Tamalin, 287.
  Leon--Governor Francisco, 45, 342.
  Leyra--Pablo, 246, 260, 263, 271.
  libation, 255.
  lightning, 183.
  limestone, 18, 44, 50, 52, 126, 217, 249, 262, 296, 306, 314, 363,
  364, 373;
  --erosion, 118;
  --hills, 219.
  llano, 278, 281, 341, 363.
  la Llave, 277, 278.
  Lopez--Lieut.-Governor, 351, 381.
  lost at night, 167.
  Lumholtz--Charles, v., 79, 80, 83.
  Lux--Ernst, vii, 3, 10, 14, 159.
  lycopods, 154, 199.

  macaws, 4, 340.
  Macuilapa, 345.
  Magdalena de los comales, 127.
  maguéy, 60, 119.
  mai, 367.
  malacates, 59.
  Malintzi, 188, 189.
  mangroves, 290.
  mantas, 128, 148.
  Manuel, our arriero, 218, 219.
  mapa, 236, 330.
  mapachtli, 329.
  mapaho, 202, 207.
  Marcelo--Alejandro, 279.
  Maria as a female name, 56.
  marimba, 42, 346.
  Mariano, our mozo, 115, 119, 156.
  market--Tehuantepec, 162;
  --Oaxaca, 112.
  Martinez--Quirino, 249.
  Martinez--Silvano, 78, 80, 83.
  maskers, 71, 240, 243.
  Mayas, 297, 304, 396, 397;
  --stubbornness, 312.
  Mazatecs--costume, 234;
  --houses, 233.
  measuring--Mitla, 146;
  --Ayutla, 149.
  Medellin, 14.
  medical practice, 36.
  Mendieta, 195.
  Mercado--Governor Aristeo, 78.
  Mérida, 295, 297, 301, 315, 355;
  --expensive living, 298;
  --carnival, 318, 321.
  mesquite, 97.
  Mexicalcingo, 395.
  Mexico--steamer, 393, 394.
  miraculous cross, 6.
  mist, 22, 27.
  Mitla--ruins, 4;
  --Mixes seen at, 13;
  --festival, 17;
  --fiesta, 142;
  --work at, 144;
  --ruins, 148.
  Mixes, 112, 398;
  --first veiw of, 13;
  --tragedy, 18;
  --land of, 22;
  --life, 23;
  --roads, 31.
  Mixtec, 115, 139;
  --boy, 397;
  --language, 140;
  --planter, 204.
  mogote, 78, 81.
  mole, 222.
  money--Guatemalan, 51.
  monkey's comb, 340.
  Montezuma, 250, 260.
  moon influences young, 217.
  moonstone, 64.
  Mora--Señora, 278.
  moral=mulberry, 246, 259.
  Morrison--Stanton, 389.
  mosquitoes, 289.
  moss, 273;
  --crimson, 214;
  --gray, 232, 277;
  yellow, 199, 214.
  mounds, 116.
  moving stone, 349.
  mulada, 387.
  mule--purchase, 15;
  --accident, 33;
  --trouble by, 44;
  --trouble with, 52;
  --gives out, 53;
  --reported dead, 117.
  muleteer--affectionate, 179.
  muñecos, 246, 250, 258, 261, 268, 269.
  Murcio--Don, 369.
  Murcio--Guillermo, 129, 131, 136.
  Museo Yucateco, 301.
  music--of the Candelaria, 24;
  --at Los Reyes, 91.

  Nabor--Don, 98.
  nacimiento, 195.
  naguál, 166.
  names of one river, 251.
  Negrete, 95.
  los negritos, 82.
  Nehuatzen, 84.
  Nenton, 49, 52.
  New Year--celebration, 82;
  --gifts, 339.
  night-blindness, 164.
  night-travel, 172.
  night-watch, 170.
  Nochixtlan, 120.
  norther, 21, 22, 33, 158, 294, 326, 327, 393.
  nublina, 232, 233, 261, 272.

  Oaxaca, 4, 6, 15, 112.
  obsidian, 240.
  ocellated turkey, 318.
  Ocosingo, 375.
  Ocotopec (Mixe), 153, 154,
  --(Mixtec), 112.
  oleander, 174.

  Once Pueblos, 98;
  --ride through, 102.
  operation proposed, 136.
  orchids, 23, 27, 44, 126, 154, 199, 201, 207, 212, 232, 248.
  organo cactus, 18.
  Orozco y Berra, 131, 245, 264.
  Otomis, 56, 242, 261, 397, 398;
  --female type, 57:
  --costume, 58;
  --male types, 62.
  ox-cart--travel, 334, 336, 337, 338, 340;
  --accident, 341.
  ox played out, 347.
  Ozuluama, 274, 278;
  --Jefe, of 276.

  Pacheco--Anselmo, viii, 115, 168, 184.
  Pacific, 37, 43, 112, 132, 160, 165;
  --coast--yellow fever, 329.
  Padre--the, his story, 1;
  --at Chila, 10;
  --at Medellin, 14.
  paganism surviving, 254, 269, 305, 307.
  pahuatl, 245.
  Pahuatlan, 242, 244.
  Pahuatlan River, 242.
  Palacios--Conrado, 351.
  Palenque, 377.
  palms, 277, 278, 296.
  Pantepec, 247, 265;
  costume, 267;
  --houses, 268;
  --women, 267.
  Panuco, 283.
  Panuco River, 274.
  Papalo, 182, 198, 214.
  papaya, 309.
  parasitic fig, 340.
  el Parian, 118.
  Parracho, 81.
  parrots, 41, 166, 262, 334.
  Paso Real, 288, 289.
  pastores, 72.
  Patzcuaro, 84, 107.
  pea-flower, 201.
  Pearson Company, 326.
  pebbles wedged by torrent, 266.
  pelico, 367.
  pemol, 287.
  peonage, 45.
  Peru tree--belief, 194.
  piano, 208.
  Pichataro, 84, 106.
  pigeons, 219.
  pigs, 377.
  pilgrimage, 48.
  Pimentel--Governor, 351.
  pineapples, 361.
  pines, 128, 182, 371.
  pinguicula, 154.
  pinolillos, 347.
  los Pinos, 344, 345.
  pinto, 47, 332, 353, 361.
  pitahaya (cactus), 96, 216.
  pito, 287, 358, 377.
  plaster prepared, 135.
  le Plongeon--Dr. A., 301.
  polydactyly, 205.
  Ponce; Padre, 70, 71, 72, 73.
  population of Mexico, v.
  Porfiria, Aztec cook, 286.
  posole, 343, 379.
  pottery, 102, 112, 127, 137, 332, 339.
  pouch--netted, 367.
  Powell--William D., viii, 56.
  predictions dire, 374.
  presidente--sleepy, 267;
  --Zautla, 201.
  priest--drunken, 145;
  --ignorant, 4;
  active, 234;
  --gifts to, 123;
  --reception of, 124.
  priestess--pagan, 254.
  prisoners, 368;
  --of state, 354.
  private cart, 345.
  Progress, 295, 299, 320, 324.
  Puebla, 283, 300, 330.
  Pueblo Viejo, 274, 275.
  pulque, 61, 119;
  --country, 240.
  puma, 41.
  pumice, 128.
  pygmy statue, 57.
  pyramid, 303, 362.

  quail, 306.
  quarrel adjusted, 354.
  quartz, 18.
  Quechol--Romualdo, 188, 189, 191, 192, 194, 196.
  Quezaltepec, 31, 155
  quichiquemil, see costume.
  Quiero--Señor, 13, 17.
  Quiroga, 69, 70.

  railroad--Yucatecan, 296, 303.
  rain ceremonials, 271.
  rain-god, 6.
  rattle, 318.
  Rau--Enrique, 385, 386, 390.
  rebozos (Parracho), 81.
  regidor perplexed, 162.
  resting at summit, 373.
  los Reyes, 90.
  rheumatism cure, 330.
  rhododendron, 22.
  ridge in Yucatan, 306.
  la Riviera, 291.
  road ("rio blanca"), 219;
  --dilapidated, 241.
  roads--mixe, 156;
  Zapotec, 177.
  Robinson, A.A., ix.
  robbery, 63.
  rock-impressions, 196.
  Rodriguez; Governor Pedro L., 247.
  round houses, 131.
  ruins (Tecomavaca), 186.

  Sabina, 84, 106.
  sacrifice, 252, 254.
  salt, 373.
  el Salto, 381, 389, 391.
  San Antonio, 49.
  San Antonio, 228;
  --excitement at, 231.
  San Bartolo (Hacienda), 19.
  San Bartolo (Hidalgo), 261, 271;
  --market, 262.
  San Bartolo (Mixtec), 126.
  San Bartolo (Zapotec), 176;
  --costume, 177.
  San Bartolome (Tzotzil), 49, 366.
  San Bernardino, 232.
  San Blas, 164.
  San Carlos, 152, 177.
  San Cristobal (Chiapas), 364, 365, 385.
  San Estevan, 88.
  San Francisco, 191.
  San Geronimo (Mazatec), 232.
  San Geronimo (Huaxtec), 288.
  San Geronimo (Zapotec), 331, 332.
  San Gregorio, 245, 268.
  San Juan (Yucatan), 308, 309.
  San Lorenzo; 14, 18.
  San Lucas, 232, 235.
  San Mateo del Mar, 168, 334.
  San Miguel, 34, 157.
  San Miguel (Chiapas), 344, 345.
  San Nicolas, 260.
  San Nicolas Panotla, 92, 397.
  San Pablito, 246, 259;
  --witchcraft, 257;
  --paper, 259.
  San Pablo el grande, 258, 261.
  San Pedrito, 119.
  San Pedro, 190.
  San Pedro Soochiapan, 207;
  --town-house, 208;
  --public service, 209;
  houses, 212.
  San Sebastian, 364.
  Sanchez--Padre, 364.
  sandstone, 374, 377.
  sand dollars, 327.
  sandunga (song), 330.
  Santa Ana, 188.
  Santa Anita, 395.
  Santa Fe de la Laguna, 69.
  Santa Maria, 38, 160.
  Santa Maria (Totonac), 250.
  Santa Maria (Yucatan), 307.
  Santa Maria Albarradas, 20.
  Santa Maria Atlihuitzia, 195.
  Santiago Guevea, 37, 158.
  santocalli, 254.
  Santo Domingo (Chiapas), 350.
  Santo Domingo (Mixtec), 127.
  sastun, 307, 310.
  Sawapa, 89, 194.
  schistose rock, 182.
  school-teachers, 224.
  scientific results of work, viii.
  school at San Nicolas Panotla, 93.
  scorpion, 394.
  sea gulls, 290.
  las Sedas, 116.
  segundo of Zautla, 203, 204.
  selaginella, 154.
  Seler--Mrs., 331.
  semi-domestication, 343.
  sensitive plants, 201.
  September 16, San Miguel's Day, 271.
  shales, 377.
  shaly-sandstone, 374.
  silk, 235.
  singing, 171, 192.
  sister--loyal, 361.
  slate, 20.
  small-pox, 119, 194, 301, 321.
  Smith--Lucius, 4, 15.
  smuggling, 51.
  snakes, 277, 307, 358.
  snipe, 290.
  soldiers, 43.
  songs--Aztec, 192;
  --Zapotec, 330.
  spear-thrower, 75.
  spinning, 58, 202.
  spot-sacral--on Maya babies, 411.
  stalagmite, 315.
  Starr in Old Mexico, 405.
  stations--railroad, 303.
  stream-beds dry, 41.
  stubbornness, 312.
  subterranean streams, 373.
  Suchiapa, 361.
  sugar-making, 244, 249, 314,
  --mill, 307
  sunset, 192.
  surviving paganism, 6, 395.
  syenite, 43.
  Syrian peddlers, 7.

  Tamalin, 279, 281.
  Tampico, 274.
  Tanaquillo=Tanaco, 104, 105.
  Tanatepec, 42.
  Tanchitla, 251.
  Tancoco, 281, 284;
  --hats, 284;
  --houses, 284.
  Tangancicuaro, 98.
  Tantima, 280, 282;
  houses, 283, 286.
  Tapachula, 373.
  Tarascans, 68;
  --trading, 85.
  Tatarian--Bedros, viii.
  Tecomavaca, 185.
  Tecomavaca Viejo, 186.
  Tehuacan, 8.
  Tehuantepec, 39, 161, 328;
  --name story, 165;
  --yellow fever, 329.
  Tehuantepec River, 173.
  Tehuantepec women, 112;
  --beauty, 39;
  --versus Tuxtla Gutierrez, 352;
  --dress, 40.
  Tekax, 303, 305;
  --hermita, 304;
  --Jefe of, 304.
  temascal, 191, 192, 283.
  Tenango (Chiapas), 376;
  --pottery, 377.
  Tenango del Doria, 247, 260, 271.
  Tenejapa, 366, 367, 371;
  market, 372.
  Teotitlan del Camino, 228, 229.
  tepache, 148, 217.
  Tepanapa, 200, 213.
  Tepehuas, 247, 267;
  --costume, 264.
  Tepeyac, 395.
  teponastl, 265.
  Teposcolula, 139.
  Tequixistlan, 174.
  thatching, 41.
  theatre, 103.
  tiger=jaguar, or ocelotl, 307.
  tiger-cat, 279.
  Thompson--Edward, 318, 320.
  three-part house, 88.
  Tilantongo, 121.
  tinajas, 119.
  Titian--the, 73, 74.
  titulo, 236.
  Tlacolula, 142, 180.
  Tlacotepec, 38, 160.
  Tlacuilotepec, 246, 248, 249.
  Tlaxcala, 85, 188, 192, 283.
  Tlaxcalans, 397.
  Tlaxcalteca (song), 192.
  Tlaxco, 245.
  Tlaxiaco, 128.
  toro play, 324, 384.
  toros, 142.
  torrent-wash, 82.
  Torres--Anastasia, 362.
  Torres--Padre, 72.
  tortillas, 339.
  tortuga, 318, 377.
  las Tortugas, 272.
  Totolapa, 179.
  Totonacs, 242, 247, 251, 265, 396;
  --fishing, 266.
  toucan, 44, 340, 348.
  trade, 170, 235, 236.
  tramp--American, 50, 52.
  tree-ferns, 22, 54, 199, 273, 387.
  trees protected, 297, 309.
  la Trinidad, 390.
  Triquis, 131, 398.
  el Triunfo, 385, 386, 387, 388, 389.
  tropical forest, 22, 37, 387.
  troupe--comedy, 337.
  tsupakwa, 75.
  tufa, 50.
  tufaceous deposits, 119, 139, 263.
  Tulancingo, 239.
  Tule, 17, 142;
  --great tree at, 16.
  Tumbala, 380, 384, 385, 389;
  --boys delayed at, 388.
  Tuxtla Gutierrez, 44, 331, 333, 335, 338, 346, 347, 350, 351 et, 357,
376.
  Tzendals, 366, 367, 378;
  --dress, 372, 380;
  --hair-dressing, 372.
  Tzintzuntzan, 69, 73.
  Tzotzils, 45, 366, 367;
  --dress, 366;
  --industrious, 366.

  ucuares, 102.
  ule, 269.
  Union Hidalgo=Guviño, 333, 334, 335, 343.
  United States--ideas regarding, 42.
  Uruapan, 78;
  --lacquer, 79;
  --goitre, 79.

  Valencia--Jefe, 178, 375.
  Valley hot, 181.
  Van Antwerp--A.L., ix.
  Venta Colorado, 241.
  Vera Cruz, 394.
  Vice-consul (Solis), 299, 320.
  los Viejos, 71.
  view-extended, 362.
  village crying, 65, 153.

  wasp nests, 156.
  watch-houses in fields, 120.
  water birds, 277;
  --doubtful, 341.
  wayside selling, 76, 242.
  wayside shrine, 28.
  weaving, 50, 127, 138, 202, 211, 366.
  wedding, 221, 236.
  weighing, 170.
  Werner, Mr., 331.
  wheels--hot, 349.
  whistles--pottery, 112.
  Wilson, David A., viii.
  wind-mills, 297.
  witchcraft, 246, 256, 376;
  --cave, 256.
  women difficult subjects, 89, 132, 157, 162, 185, 268, 369, 381;
  --easy   subjects, 235, 265, 285;
  --of Tuxtla Gutierrez beautiful, 352;
  --Zapotec, 339.
  wool, 138.
  work--nature of, vi;
  --views regarding, 235;
  --methods and difficulties, 61, 86, 122,
  132, 144, 149, 183, 234, 312, 356.
  wry-necks, 278.

  xalama, 259.
  Xalapa, 173.
  Xaya, 307, 308, 309.
  Xochihua, Sr., 245, 260.
  xtoles, 317, 323.
  Yajalon, 379, 381.
  Yaqui, 396.
  Yautepec, 375.
  yellow fever, 301, 308, 316, 327, 328, 329, 393.
  Yodocono, 120, 396.
  Yucatan, 293, 294;
  --aspect of, 296;
  --dress, 297.

  Zamora, 97.
  Zanatepec, 42.
  el Zapato, 219.
  Zapote (hacienda), 346.
  Zapotecs, 112, 338, 379, 397;
  --wounded, 19;
  --woman's dress, 34;
  --family, 34;
  --traders, 170;
  --cook, 171;
  --family, 176;
  --songs, 330;
  --painting, 330;
  --expansion, 339.
  Zautla--San Juan, 201.
  Zinacantan, 364.
  Ziracuaretaro, 77.
  Zoques, 45, 351;
  --beauty of women, 352;
  --dress, 352;
  --baby-carrying, 353;
  --houses, 357.





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